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Game 54 discussion thread: Nationals at Astros

Just because Nyjer Morgan is back in the leadoff spot today doesn't mean he's there to stay. "Tomorrow, I'll probably have him back in the second spot," Manager Jim Riggleman said.

So why's he there tonight? It starts with a switch that's becoming permanant. Against left-handed starters, like Wandy Rodriguez, Riggleman wants to hit Adam Dunn third and Ryan Zimmerman fourth so five-hitter Josh Willingham can protect Zimmerman. Put another way, he doesn't want a lefty pitching around Zimmerman to pitch to Dunn.

So Dunn was going to be third, period. And if Morgan hit second, that would make two lefties in a row at the top of the order. Riggleman wanted to avoid that, so Morgan, for a day, went back to the top of the order.

While he's back at No. 1 today, Morgan's attitude toward batting outside the first spot has improved since his first reaction, Riggleman said.

"I think initially, he was insulted by it," Riggleman said. "And then after talking to him, I think he felt like yeah, it's fine. He's had a couple good ballgames hitting second, so I think he realizes there's really not a lot of difference between the two.

"There's a little bit of specialty about hitting first, about being that leadoff guy. Spark the ballclub and all that kind of stuff. I think he wants to take that on."

And Morgan may have the chance again soon. "If we go good tonight with him in that one spot, you may see him in there again," Riggleman said.

Let's see how it works out. Talk about Morgan, John Lannan's start and the rest of the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 2, 2010; 8:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Craig Stammen's test

Comments

I think Morgan wants to keep his leadoff spot.

Nice way to start today

Posted by: CAskinhead | June 2, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not getting a feed on MASN2 on DirecTV (641-1), anyone else??

Posted by: -CN- | June 2, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm good on DTV 641

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if Bob has mentioned it, bt Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers has a perfect game going through 7.2 IP.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 2, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

As a Direct TV user, I often to reset my box to get MASN this time of year. The reset button is hidden behind the card slot door (lower right corner of your receiver's face).

Posted by: RFKFedEx | June 2, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

As a long time Direct TV user, I often have to reset the box to get MASN this time of year. The reset button is hidden behind the card slot door (lower right corner of your receiver's face).

Posted by: RFKFedEx | June 2, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post.

Anyone know why Dibble is absent?

Posted by: RFKFedEx | June 2, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Dibs took 4 days vacation, Knight is doing the whole Houston series.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

While I'm not enamored with Desmond in the #6 slot, his RISP says he belongs there, lacking Pudge in the lineup.

Posted by: BinM | June 2, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I miss Dibs. By far the best color man we've had.

Posted by: RFKFedEx | June 2, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Umpire blows the call on the 27th batter and Armando Galarraga loses his perfect game.

Some real issues this year with the umps

Posted by: CAskinhead | June 2, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Will Carpenter please stop talking about how bad the Astros are? He is so annoying--and stupid. He keeps harping on how Keppinger has no power--didn't he homer last night? Dibs is right--he's Mr. Jinx. Please send him to Syracuse, Lerners.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | June 2, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Dibbs instigated a pretty infamous brawl with the Astros when he threw a ball near Eric Yelding's head in 1991. Maybe it's a good thing he takes the Houston games off. That same year, by the way, he threw a ball into the stands and hit a pregnant school teacher. I like that he would intimidate batters. Not so much pregnant school teachers.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 2, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Not Nats related tonight... But holy cow, this has been a catastrophic week for MLB umpiring.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Good patience by Morse - SF or single by Nieves would be good.

Posted by: BinM | June 2, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Who failed to do his job there? Wil Nieves

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Aack - Rodriguez played the bottom of the lineup like a Stradivarius in the 4th.
Lannan has to answer with a solid bottom half.

Posted by: BinM | June 2, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Ray Knight: "I like Nieves in this spot." So does Wandy Rodriguez.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 2, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-well, RFK....gotta respectfully disagree. While the Silver Fox can get pretty self reverential...he's given TONS of good analysis. Dibs is OK-and I for one don't mind his homer-ism and "we've" stuff....but "Get out, get out"(on a HR call) is not all that informative And it seems that Carp sticks to baseball with Ray in the booth-which he's pretty darn good at-rather than go into buddy boy comedy routines with Dibs and fergit to call the plays....just my humble take.....but either way, it's all good-provided we WIN!!!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 2, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Probably the only guy who feels as bad as Armando Galarraga about the blown call is umpire Jim Joyce.

But what the heck is going on with MLB and shutouts and no-hitters and perfect games?

The Phillies have scored 14 runs in 11 games?
The Dodgers and DBacks have two straight games go into extra innings at 0 - 0?
They've played 24 innings in 2 days, score is Dodgers 2 DBacks 0, both in terms of runs and in terms of wins.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

MASN requires them to take days off, Dibbs once said he would never miss a single game if he weren't contractually obligated to.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 2, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

-Amazing how bad the SP's (other then Livo) are. None of these guys have a clue! Knight is hitting on all cylinders much to the chagrin of most of you on NJ.

Wendy Rod had only 36 strike-outs in 9 starts, Nats making him look like Nolan Ryan!

I'm ticked, sorry posters!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 2, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

MASN requires them to take days off, Dibbs once said he would never miss a single game if he weren't contractually obligated to.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 2, 2010 9:25 PM

I don't know, this worked out nicely for Dibs. He lives in Southern California, so he could just stay home for nearly a week after the SD series. Then head back for the Reds & Jesus homestand.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Zimm is fifth in the league in OPS, we know about his fielding. So why is he not even in the top 5 in the all star voting?

If everyone who has time to read this blog would take the time to vote 25 times for him, it would help. I think it's sad we aren't supporting our best player in this way, now that they are winning. If I were Zim I would be disappointed in the lack of fan passion.

Sorry RFK Fed ex, but I'm so glad Dibs is gone. But I rarely listen to TV anyway. Dave and Charlie so much better at play by play.

Posted by: JLNash819 | June 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Can't leave the bases loaded again, can we?

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 2, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Why yes, yes we can...sigh

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 2, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Come on Nyjer...

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 2, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Just did. Wendy Rod is a magician! Pathetic

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 2, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

That was Desmond, not Nyger

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 2, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Riggleman to rein in Morgan on the basepaths. He got away with an ill-advised steal of third the other day but he just can't read pitchers. He's also turned into Felipe Lopez -- absolutely no game sense and a selfish attitude. What's the point of stealing when Dunn is at bat?
It's too bad, he has (or had) so much promise but has become a major liability.
And it looks like another double digit strikeout night. Hope Rodriguez is done.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 2, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Tippy - I know that Desmond got the last out, I was ugh-ing because that should have only been the 2nd out of the inning had Morgan not made a moronic steal attempt.

Not, that I have any faith that Mike.. er, Michael Morse would have come up with a key RBI, anyway.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 2, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Boz is right on re: beating the teams you're supposed to beat if you're going to get where you want to be. Houston is a 3 out of 4 series waiting to happen, and the boys aren't responding. Glad that Lannan's getting it done since the HR, but it's time to start making WRod pay...

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 2, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Probably the only guy who feels as bad as Armando Galarraga about the blown call is umpire Jim Joyce.

______________________

Joyce owes Galarraga a kiss...

Posted by: TimDz | June 2, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Make that WLop pay...

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 2, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Natmeister, right on.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Zendo on Dibs. I learn nothing from him now that I've heard him say, "Throw strikes." and "keep the ball down," several thousand times. Sutton was much better. Knight is too. But Dave is the most knowledgeable baseball announcer in this area. We're lucky to have him, and he's under rated, I think.

I guess everyone is going to continue to ignore my post on the Zimm-all star disgrace. Sad. Everyone, myself included, loves to complain about this or that player, but I'd like to hear what the players have to say about Nat fans.

Is hitting with RISP luck or a skill? Whatever it is, the Nats are not good at it. This game is the perfect illustration of their most glaring defect as a team, IMO.

Posted by: JLNash819 | June 2, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

How can one umpire screw a team three time in one series?

Posted by: BinM | June 2, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, if you believe the TV numbers - and figure in the STH erosion (tho of course, StanK won't divulge the true # for Nationals security reasons) - maybe all the real fans have voted 25 times each. Mostly joking. I've checked Zimm 50 times (2 different computers & IDs) but until the team gets some more exposure, All-Star votes will be few and far-between.

-----------

Zimm is fifth in the league in OPS, we know about his fielding. So why is he not even in the top 5 in the all star voting?

If everyone who has time to read this blog would take the time to vote 25 times for him, it would help. I think it's sad we aren't supporting our best player in this way, now that they are winning. If I were Zim I would be disappointed in the lack of fan passion.

Sorry RFK Fed ex, but I'm so glad Dibs is gone. But I rarely listen to TV anyway. Dave and Charlie so much better at play by play.

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 2, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

The wheels are coming off the bus! Marlins, Mets, Braves and Phills have all feel into a sustained funk at some point this season...looks like its the Nats turn!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 2, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Without at least a kiss?

Posted by: BinM | June 2, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

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wow


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Posted by: itkonlyyou97s | June 2, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

It seems like the baseball gods punish us when someone makes a Ian Desmond - Derek Jeter comparison.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 2, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

It's tough to watch a game with crappy fundamentals. Esp. with Lannan pitching, he needs good defense behind him.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 2, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Zimm is not high up there on the ballot because he's not a household name across the country. Unless a fan is in a fantasy league or knows the game a fair bit, he/she won't know what a terrific player he is. Someone mentioned what a joke it is that Jimmy Rollins is first among NL SS - well, Rollins has had national ad campaigns run during playoff baseball. Not many players get that type of marketing nowadays.

Heck, how many times has Zimm even played on national TV? A half dozen maybe? Hell, that's a month of TV games for the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies. People will get to know our guys soon enough - when a team full of winners forces their way onto television. The Rays are only know getting that recognition.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Good for you NATurally. Actually, I just discovered you don't need to use another computer to vote 50 times, just another email address. So I'm up to 50 now too.

I've heard people say our defense is better this year. Well, it isn't. Most errors in the league, Charlie says. Desmond at short and Nyjer in CF, Guzman at 2B, are not upgrades, especially with Nieves catching.

Posted by: JLNash819 | June 2, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Ian Desmond is having a bad night...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 2, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

We are back to last in the league for errors? Just like last year?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | June 2, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Poor Lannan, he can't generate enough strikeouts to get 4-5 outs per inning. GIVE THE GUY SOME DEFENSE!!

Posted by: Natmeister | June 2, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Desmond is an upgrade at SS, anyone who thinks otherwise does not know what they're talking about. Go back and look at Jeter's rookie year. Talk to me about Desmond in about 2 years.

On a separate note, just saw the blown call in the Tiger's game. Unbelievable. The umps make ridiculous calls and then chase anyone who questions them (while actually being the antagonist in these disputes). Something is really wrong here, and MLB needs to address it before they become the WWF.

Posted by: thelonghaul | June 2, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Three errors, 9LOB, 5-1 Astros; G'night, Gracie.

Posted by: BinM | June 2, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hard Luck Lannan + Bad Defense + Tyler "THe Torch" Walker + >10K's = Another Ugly Game. So much for rolling the hapless Astros.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 2, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I feel like it's 2009 again. They're not as bad as they're showing now, but this team has merely made the jump from abysmal to mediocre. The last two nights they haven't even achieved mediocrity. It's hard enough listening to this on the radio; I can imagine how painful it must be to see. We've got tickets to one of the games with the White Sox; hopefully they'll be back to playing like a major league team again by then.

Posted by: p-man | June 2, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

The boyz are rolling over tonight - given the opposition and the current record, this is one of the more dispiriting performances of the year. On the bright side, this is the exception rather than the rule with this bunch. Still and all, it's a shame they'll be heading back to 1/2 & M with a decided limp, no matter the outcome tomorrow.

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 2, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"Is hitting with RISP luck or a skill? Whatever it is, the Nats are not good at it."

TV guys said that Nats are batting over .400 with bases loaded, 2d highest in MLB. (That was before the 4th or 5th inning I think)

Posted by: ADCWonk | June 2, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Pudge's absence is being felt--at the plate, behind the plate, and in the clubhouse.

If it's any solace, Houston did sweep both Pittsburgh and St. Louis this year. So let's grab tomorrow's game (which should have given us a 3-1 series but for umpire malfunction), and get back home. Not happy about a 4-6 road trip but not the end of the world, either.

Posted by: thelonghaul | June 2, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

My point, longhaul, was more narrow than you construed it: Desmond is not an upgrade defensively at SS this year. I like the decision to put him there, so far. But at this rate he'll make 25 or 30 errors. So don't tell me we're improved defensively with him in there. What he'll be in 2 years, who knows. But anyone who thinks he's another Derek Jeter is nuts.

Posted by: JLNash819 | June 2, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should take solace in the possibility that the Phillies are playing even worse than the Nats at this point. They're certainly playing further below their capabilities.

Posted by: p-man | June 2, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

What an ugly game tonight. This had 2009 written all over it. Two innings ended with the bases loaded, 10 runners left on, 12 strikeouts against mediocre pitching, 3 errors, etc. Ugh. Now the best we can hope for is a 4-6 road trip. Funny how we can beat Lincecum and Oswalt, but we make the no-name pitchers look like freakin' Cy Young. Riggs needs to right this ship, and soon...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 2, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Let me be the last to say Will Nieves absofreakinlutely STINKS!!! Please send that bum down. Way down.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

3-6 on this road trip, but with a +5 run differential. Now, I don't know what the hell to think.

Posted by: jmorrisa | June 2, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Man we were the Astros tonight. What a pathetic showing. Really disappointing. Maybe this is who we are.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree dovelevine. Wil Nieves simply is not good. At all. Unfortuantely, I don't know who we would have to replace him that is better since everyone is hurt.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 2, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but with his error rate, I do not see Zimmerman as an all-star. Yes, he can be very good, but better than Scott Rolen and several other 3B this season? I don't think so. I guess I'm not a homer.

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 2, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

What did you think was going to happen with Nats?

Down is the only way the Nats are going. You can't win consistently over the course of the season with bums like Lannan, Atilano, Stammen, and Chico out there every 5 days. Out of all those guys, Lannan might be the best, but he is AT BEST a 5th starter on a GOOD team. Sure he could make the Brewers and Pirates rotation, but he couldn't sniff the Rays, Cards, Yanks, and Red Sox rotations.

The Lerners need to increase payroll by at least $30 million. Go sign Werth. Go Sign Cliff Lee. You would probably have to eat profits initially but I guarantee if they put a winning team out there people will come.

If the right moves were made our rotation could be good next year.

1. Cliff Lee
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Jordam Zimmermann
4. Scott Olsen
5. John Lannan


I would say we'd have a good shot to beat a lot of teams running Lee and Strasburg out there every 2 out of every 5 games.

Add Werth and your line up could be....

1. Desmond
2. Werth
3. Zimmerman
4. Dunn
5. Willingham
6. Guzman
7. Pudge
8. Morgan

Just adding those two pieces would instantly make us a contender. $30 million more in payroll is what it will take.

Posted by: dominic10464 | June 2, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I think its ridiculous that no one is talking about Ken Griffey Jr. retiring. He is buried on the POst's sports webpage, he's listed 2nd and 3rd on all the major sports sites behind the Perfect Game fiasco and the Hawks-Flyers Series.
This is how we react to the greatest player of our generation leaving the game?! Ludicrous!

The fact that Barry Bonds' stereoid use gets more attention is a travesty! Jr p;layed the game all out and has the injuries to prove it. I am appalled.

Thanks for the soap box, but it had to be done.

Posted by: jmurray019 | June 2, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Average players will keep you around the .500 mark all season long, Strasburg or no Strasburg.

Posted by: Supporter51 | June 3, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

this is not a team playing like it was in April, but a bunch of guys in Nats uniforms who've taken a vacation in Houston...

Posted by: bromisky | June 3, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

The method of selecting all-stars is absolutely absurd. The mere fact that one person can vote dozens of times attests to that. It's a popularity/homer contest at best, a total farce at worst.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | June 3, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I think someone said on this board a few days ago, when it started leaking that Strasburg would debut during the Pirates series, that the June 4 game would probably set a record for no-shows. Add to that a couple of ugly losses to the Astros and June 4 might have the feel of a funeral. We need this one tonight!

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 3, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

So who's going to play center when Morgan breaks his hand again from sliding head-first, Bernadina or Maxwell? I assume management signed off on the reversion in sliding technique, and it's not a case of a player going rogue?

Posted by: Ted_Striker | June 3, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

It's a marathon not a sprint we are 2 games under.500 not 20 games, we don't need to nit pick this team apart and stop with the Morgan bashing i said this weeks ago the first base coach is a joke when Grissom was coaching first Morgan was almost a guarantee to steal second because Grissom was an excellent baserunner when he played i've never heard of Radison except when i stayed in one when i traveled. Ray Knight called Radison out on tuesday during the 8-7 loss when the Astro's threw the ball away and Radison just stood there and didn't tell Guzman/Morgan to get to second base. This is a team that has overachieved so far this season do we have talent? yes, but not enough to overtake the Braves(damn!) or the Phils,Marlins but if we spend some money this offseason we can be "contendas" so let's enjoy what we have and root hard for our Nat's.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 3, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

A couple of times Nyjer has slid into FIRST(!) head-first. No one signs off on that. Gotta love the 'tude, but dude thinks he's still a hockey player (or just doesn't think that much at all)...

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | June 3, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

RE: The potential for no-shows tomorrow. Bank on it. I was looking at Craigslist yesterday and the number of tickets for sale for 6/4 almost exceeds the 6/8 SS debut game. And it’s funny to read the sellers’ comments – something came up, forgot I’ll be out of town, wife’s going into labor.

Sure, they’ll still get more than the 20K they would have pulled in but there won’t be the close to 40K they would have had. I’ll be there anyway – should an interesting night.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | June 3, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Craigslist guess-the-comments submissions: gambled and lost; #1 SS fan but Livan who, now? :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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