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Game 52 discussion thread: Nationals at Astros

In theory, the Nationals should be able to use their four-game series in Houston to finish their 10-day road trip -- and a string of 20 road games in 26 games -- on an upswing. But for a team struggling to score runs at the moment, the Nationals may not have the best timing initially to face the Astros, even if they are 17-33, the worst record in the National League.

The Nationals will face Roy Oswalt, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez and Brian Moehler, not exactly a walkover. Here's how each has fared lately:

Oswalt: 2.14 ERA and a .197 batting average against over his last nine outings. In his last start, he struck out nine in eight scorlesss, four-hit innings.

Myers: 2.87 ERA over his last seven starts while striking out 37 in 47 innings.

Rodriguez: Here's where it gets easier. Rodriguez has a 5.37 ERA while the league has batted .318 against him. In his last start, the Reds shelled him for eight runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Moehler: Here's where it gets much easier. Moehler started the season in the bullpen and made 12 appearances before getting his first start Saturday. He allowed eight runs on 10 hits -- including three home runs -- in just 2 2/3 innings. He raised his season ERA to 7.29.

While the Nationals offense has been stagnant, Manager Jim Riggleman is thinking it's a matter of time before it changes direction. Adam Dunn is starting to get hot (.324/.370/.622 in AVG/OBP/SLG with homers over his past 20 games) and he figures hits will start stringing together.

"Our time is coming," Riggleman said. "Everybody in our division has gone through it. Everybody in our division has hit a time where they just weren't scoring runs. They came out of it. We haven't been as low as some of the others. But we haven't hit like we can, either. I think we're about ready to break out."

Today, both the Nationals and Astros, like every team in the league, will be wearing white hats with logos emblazoned with starts and stripes in honor of Memorial Day. It's a great gesture. As for aesthetics, Red Sox Manager Terry Francona put it best yesterday: "It looks like we're selling ice cream."

Luis Atilano will try to knock off Oswalt five days after toppling Tim Lincecum. Have a great Memorial Day, and between bites of burgers talk about it right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 31, 2010; 1:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Stephen Strasburg to debut June 8

Comments

Good afternoon, gentle Nats people, and happy Memorial Day.

And one is better than none.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting contrast in styles of play in the first inning. The Nats, struggling offensively, get the leadoff man in scoring position, and still bunt him over to third and then get him in on a sacrifice fly.

As Earl Weaver would have put it, they played for one run and that's all they got.

The Astros, also struggling offensively, get the leadoff man on first, but don't bunt. They don't play for one run but only get one thanks to a helpful strike call by the ump and an out call on the steal of second (it might have been safe).

To me, I prefer the Astros' strategy, especially with the meat of your order coming up. But then again, the Nats are facing Roy Oswalt and that may have influenced Jim Riggleman's thinking as much as anything.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 31, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Gotta give props to BinM, as Harris just walked:

"At least Harris has proven he'll look at pitches before pulling the trigger; Ian can still be suckered into swinging at "out-of-zone" pitches.

Posted by: BinM"

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Only problem with Guz as leadoff is a little slowdown in his speed and not looking for walks. But if he hits, he's on base, can't argue with that.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, here in the third, the Nats aren't playing for one run. Bases loaded, one out, Dunn up. Time for a big hit...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 31, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the experiment is working so far. Go Adam!

Posted by: marathoner | May 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Atta boy, Adam. And good work from Zimm and Listach to get him home from first.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

AND... he gets the BIG hit. Thank you, tova.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

DUNN!!!! That was awesome!!! Let's score some more!!

Posted by: chris88 | May 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

OSwalt gone!! Man we are lucky!!!

Posted by: chris88 | May 31, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Threw him out????? What is with these umps?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

AND OSWALT'S TOSSED!!!

(almost wish he was still in, after getting those runs and all)

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The home plate umpire did the right thing there. You can't show up the ump like that, the ump warned him to knock it off and he didn't do it. That's an automatic move at that point.

OTOH, the ump's had a lousy strike zone today so I know why Oswalt was ticked.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 31, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm not in a hurry to keep facing Oswalt, but he's a veteran and a pro, why didn't he keep his temper?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Need to take advantage and not stop scoring runs, especially with Oswalt gone.

Posted by: marathoner | May 31, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I bet Dibble's pissed that he took vacation for this game. Oswalt having trouble with the plate umpire, getting tossed, this is about as good as it could get for Dibs.

From what I could see, Oswalt had nothing to beef about. He argued about the 2-2 curve to Dunn, but that was clearly inside ("almost hit his kneecap", Knight noted).

Posted by: Sunderland | May 31, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

And Oswalt says the magic word - GONE! So much for the QS record; 4-1 Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | May 31, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Oswalt blew up because of the season, not because of the game. He's pitching great, but has a losing record, this team stinks, he's let the Astros know they can trade him, so he doesn't know where he's going, if anywhere. He looked like a frustrated guy from the beginning of the game.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 31, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, not that I'm a conspiracy theorist, but the umps are going to toss a pitcher on any provocation after what Joe West did, just to show their authority and their solidarity. West is getting a LOT of bad press, and you have to figure the umps don't want insubordination to infect other games. If I were a pitcher, I would just watch my tongue, that's all.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Well well ......Steve Phillips your phone is ........oh yeah that is right ....it is not ......trade Strasburg for who now ?

Nice to get ahead in the first couple of innings .....now time to put the game away

Posted by: CBinDC | May 31, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Oswalt walks Hammer after getting tossed from the game. Wow. What a game. What a team. Glad I'm not an Astros fan.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 31, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Re: Oswalt. I understand one problem with trading him is the $29 million contract he has, and the players' association won't let him take a pay cut. What kind of union support is that??? I realize that they have to consider the good of all players, but if the player HIMSELF wants to renegotiate down in order to improve his situation?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Nat_Lady:

Interesting thought, and I surely don't know, but I suspect Joe West is not highly regarded by other umpires.

And Oswalt coming off the mound and pointing his glove at the ump, he MUST get tossed. No ump would tolerate that. He gave the ump no choice, which meant he just wanted out of there.

And that kinda plays into what baltova wrote, that Oswalt is just frustrated.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 31, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

HA! We traded in Oswalt for this guy who hits a home run???? Can we have Oswalt back?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

And now Oswalt's replacement hits a homerun. This game is nuts...


Oswalt was getting squeezed all day IMO. He was giving the ump stares and long sighs/pauses and head shakes and mumbles etc. all day, though.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 31, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Atilano gets handed a 4-1 lead, and he gives up a lead-off HR to the PITCHER? Arrr-ggg-hhh; Are you kidding me?

Posted by: BinM | May 31, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Luis, we'll ignore that...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 31, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Did we not have a game a year or so ago with a early replacement pitcher after we got a big first couple if innings and he hit two home runs in his first 2 at-bats and we lost ........Seems in was Phoenix or Colorado?

Posted by: CBinDC | May 31, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Not sure that's what Nyjer was trying to do, but whatever works.

Posted by: marathoner | May 31, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Atta boys!!!

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to laugh at this stuff when it's happening to THEM...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Maldy!!!!

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Atilano batting for himself? Sure, why not.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Offense!

Posted by: amorris525 | May 31, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Yay! More Offense!

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Love it when Zimm goes to right center.

Posted by: marathoner | May 31, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

When it rains it pours! Go Nats!!!

Posted by: geai | May 31, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

When it rains it pours!!! Go Nats!!!

Posted by: geai | May 31, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow. We just might get the Pythagoras W-L back to .500, also.

Posted by: jmorrisa | May 31, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and gentlemen, your new Nats HR leader - Ryan Zimmerman (11)

Posted by: CAskinhead | May 31, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see them score some runs hope it carries over the rest of this series, with Nyjer and Guz getting 3 hits each(so far) just a note to John RDC who posted that Nyjer should be benched, obviously you never played the game in any capacity, Nyjer was the only reason a lot of us continued to watch this team last year i said it once and i'll say it again i'm not giving up on Nyjer i think he's still a good player just need's a confidence builder.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 31, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Should take Atilano out so he doesn't run up his ERA.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Keep atilano in for 9. Give the pen a rest.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 31, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

To hello with his ERA, natslady! Save the arms for a close game. Not like he's a Cy Young contender.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 31, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Allright Willie, late innings, pretend you're pinch hitting.

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

He's not a Cy Young contender, but he is a rookie just up. Riggs did the right thing.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Walker hasn't been sharp lately. Maybe get some kinks worked out in this situation.

Posted by: marathoner | May 31, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris is bumming me out, what with everyone else hitting.

Posted by: DKSW | May 31, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

OK, .500 it is!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | May 31, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Zang Boom, go the fireworks!

Posted by: HotNats | May 31, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

As somebody else posted - Zang, Boom! It's all good today - Swamped the opposition, nobody got hurt & the team is back to .500.

Posted by: BinM | May 31, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Need to build on this one, don't know if Riggs will keep Guz and Morgan 1-2 but it worked today big time,btw Happy Memorial Day everyone,Braves fans are on cloud nine after they battered the Phils today to take over first we need another solid bat and a pitcher and i like our chances to stay close.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 31, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

A little perspective: Our 26th win last season didn't come until right at the all-star break. Yowza!

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | May 31, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Crazy game, and great to have another curly W in the books.

From the postgame, sounds like Riggs will keep the 1-2 configuration for at least a while. Glad to see Nyjer have a good game. I would have been tempted to have him and Guz as co-players. No wig on Guz in the postgame, so maybe the guys couldn't decide (or maybe Cristian thought it was too itchy)? :-)

And a good Memorial Day to you, too, dargramps!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 31, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@jmorrisa: After today's win, it's 230 runs for, 240 runs against.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | May 31, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg will start June 8 against the Pirates!

Posted by: Offense-offensive | May 31, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

A little perspective: Our 26th win last season didn't come until right at the all-star break. Yowza!
-----------

Ironically, that was also against the Astros, and a 13-2 win...

Posted by: aclupp | May 31, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing re. the Maldonado at-bat. He'd just swung and missed, and my husband is like, dang. I'm like, well, he came up when Pudge was hurt, and I think he's here more for his glove than his bat. So what does Carlos do next? He hits a dinger. Uh, yeah. I so did not call it. OTOH, I kinda did call the reverse lock pitching thingy. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 31, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and evidently the source on the Strasburg date is Bill Ladson's item on the team site (which also contains the disclaimer "provided that a rainout or injury doesn't stand in the way").

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 31, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

40% chance in rain buffalo on the third in buffalo what if start gets postponed

Posted by: geai | May 31, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The NL east is the best division in baseball with one team just a game under.500,memorial day is often used by some purist as a hallmark for the rest of the season and with that in mind, I like a lot of you who post on this journal have enjoyed this team so far and i think we're in for a great ride,yes there have been some mistakes made(personel wise) but all in all who would have thought we would be at.500 as we enter June ,there are some question's do we keep Guz at second? how will it affect AK do we use some of our newly found surplus pitching for an outfield prospect? if one becomes available and do we resign Adam Dunn, and in the offseason do we make a serious play for Carl Crawford? just some thought's as i enjoy these surprsing Nat's.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 31, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Let me apolgize for poorly formed post watching jeopardy and trying to post doesn't work.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 31, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

No apology needed here, dargregmag. I took your meaning, and you *did* phrase a lot of it in the form of a question (in honor of Jeopardy, perhaps). :-)

It's been an surprising and fun ride so far, I agree, and this is one good division.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 31, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

see? i told you guys. Nyger on base makes us way better. Dropping him to 2 might jump start him. gotta love Riggs for the baseball smarts.

Posted by: jmurray019 | May 31, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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