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Game 63 discussion thread: Nationals at Indians

The explanation Manager Jim Riggleman provided for his Nationals lineup tonight seemed paradoxical at first: Adam Kennedy is playing second base and Willie Harris is starting at designated hitter tonight, he said, because they have not played well lately. Kennedy is 2 for his last 15 with three errors, and Harris is batting .168 this year and is 2 for his last 19.

Riggleman, though, believes he must get Kennedy and Harris back to playing as they're capable -- he called them "two guys we really need to help this ballclub." He believes their play has regressed because of a lack of playing time. And so despite their struggles, Riggleman is playing them, with Kennedy taking the spot of Ian Desmond (hitting .297 with a .721 OPS in June) and Cristian Guzman moving to short.

"It's just been a situation where we haven't been able to give them enough work, and I think it's shown up in their game a little bit," Riggleman said. "I just got to use Desmond's spot in the lineup to get Kennedy in there and use the DH spot to get Harris in there. We want when we call on them to pinch hit in our National League games that they'll have something to draw on, be a little sharper."

The main victim, for both games in Cleveland, has been Michael Morse. In a rare start Thursday, Morse went 3 for 3 with a home run. Morse did not play last night, and he'll only come off the bench tonight.

With J.D. Martin on the mound, the Nationals will need to improve their defense, which has committed an astonishing 28 errors in its past 22 games. They'll try to get their offense going again against Fausto Carmona, whose sinker can be devastating when it's on. Talk about it right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 12, 2010; 7:28 PM ET
 
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Next: Nationals to shuffle lineup Sunday

Comments

Really? The lineups are based on the due theory? Oh boy...

Posted by: HotNats | June 12, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Technically, it's the Gambler's Fallacy, I think.

Or "Over-managing." I always get those two confused.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 12, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Really never thought I'd say this, but Guzman seems to be the best defensive option at second base.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 12, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The old-timey 1920's uniforms are awesome.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 12, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Just joining the conversation. Agree that this lineup is insane.

Also don't understand Ray Knight's enthusiasm about this road trip. Why should this road trip be different from any others? Because we're playing these "weak" AL Central teams? Hah!!

As I type, our inadequacies are becoming exposed.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | June 12, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the Nats play isn't.

Posted by: marathoner | June 12, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I disagree... if these guys are playing well then there are ABs for them, the reason they are 'rusty' is they haven't given a reason to be in the lineup. True, we need them playing well to succeed... or we need someone that produces to succeed, how much time to we give them to show they aren't those players. If I'm Willie I'm not shopping at costco with the thought I may not be long for DC.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | June 12, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I know it's just one start, but Martin is making me nostalgic for Stammen.

Posted by: bertbkatz | June 12, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jim, why not start Harris and Kennedy on the days Strasburg pitches when there isn't the necessity for as many runs to be scored?? And there's no such thing as a bad righty-righty match-up. Morse should be in there; Harris on the bench.

Posted by: natsfan74 | June 12, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I would think that, being five runs down, Morse and Desmond should go in for Harris and Kennedy ASAP. Why wait?

Posted by: bertbkatz | June 12, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Manny Acta reasoning to me.

Posted by: chillsonic | June 12, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree sounds like Manny Acta reasoning...

So, why isn't Kennedy at first and Dunn at DH? Gets both of them ABs, and improves the defense (that was before AK's error at 2B).

So, the rationale before on Dunn in the #3 spot was that they wanted left-handers to pitch to him. So, with a righty on the mound, why is Dunn hitting #3? What a mess...

Posted by: mo_dc | June 12, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I can see Acta now sitting in the dugout smirking to himself saying "fire me will ya" now the tribe did beat the red sox two straight 11-0 and 8-7 after trailing 5-0 so Manny had them ready for his old team and Riggleman should have known that Acta would have them up for this series, as a Nats fan you gotta hate this.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 12, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I knew this game would be a joke. 6-0 in the fifth. The bats go silent again.

Carmona looks like the second coming of Stephen Strasburg.

Top of the sixth...another DP.

What is the answer?

Posted by: M20832 | June 12, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Lately, they have made a lot of opposing pitchers look like Cy Young!!

I think Riggleman has out thought himself in a lot of situations. He should just send the best lineup out there and let the players decide the game.

Posted by: dkwwong | June 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I am ticked off beyond words right now. I think there are AA teams that field better lineups. Harris? Kennedy? Nieves? Might as well put three pitchers in the lineup. What does Riggs have against Morse? Why is Harris a) the DH and b) batting sixth AGAIN? It didn't work last night, and it sure isn't working tonight. Farmona, who hasn't pitched a shutout in over two years, is dominating tonight as only two Nats have reached, only to be promptly erased on DPs. This is, by far, the worst game we've played all year, and I blame the lineup. Why, after last night's deflating loss, is he sitting the hottest hitters (Pudge, Desmond, Morse) and playing the mediocre guys? I am livid right now - even Strasuburg can't win if you don't score runs...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 12, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Everyone questioning the lineup - it's of little consolation, but you're right, this is overmanaging, this is goofy, Morse may as well get DFA'd if we're not going to play him.

On another topic, I wish we could have had the old school uni's for a Strasburg start. Just a little more good Walter Johnson mojo.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 12, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least Zimm is trying. 6-1. Willingham...ground ball out.
Willy strikes out...go figure. 2 outs top 8th.

Bernadina fly out.

Posted by: M20832 | June 12, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I am wondering why Rizzo didn't give ex Tiger Dontelle Willis a look Arizona jumped right on him and he's pitched well so far 1-0 with a 1.80 era,with Olsen oft injured and iffy and this team struggling for quality starts sans SS and Hernandez just wondering why Rizzo didn't give Willis a look.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 12, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Benefit of the doubt, here's the situation:

Rizzo to Rigs: we're going to cut bait on Harris
Rigs: I hear you but he hasn't really had a fair shot this season. Let's give him starts in the Cleveland series and see what he can do.
Rizzo (hopefully): I'll give you two games.

That has to be it, right?

Posted by: gtrain82 | June 12, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Martin gives up another HR 7-1 and is being replaced by Batista. Why? What does it freakin' matter?

Riggleman set up the club to lose tonight anyway. I like Riggleman, and he's done wonders for the team to make them competitive, but I have a bad feeling about his game managing skills.

Ground out. top of the 9th with bottom of the order coming up.

Oh well, Jeezus is pitching tomorrow.

Posted by: M20832 | June 12, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

gtrain, i think you're right. i love Willie, but he hasn't done squat...

In honor of Manny Acta, looks like Nats decided to bring the 2008-09 versions!

Posted by: mo_dc | June 12, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh well, Jeezus is pitching tomorrow.
***********************************

If he has a lineup behind him that looks anything like the one tonight, he'll lose. Willie Harris needs to back to the bench for good.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 12, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

This is the fastest Nats game of the year, right? Thankfully, Indians putting us out of our misery quickly.

Posted by: mo_dc | June 12, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Game over. Kennedy..you suck.

Nieves...you suck.

Gonzales...where have you been? First pitch swing, fly ball. Out.
Game over.

The bats are silent again.

Posted by: M20832 | June 12, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag - Among the many reasons Rizzo didn't take a flyer or Dontrelle, Rizzo's boss said before, we have all the pitching we need right here.

More seriously, I think we have little wiggle room in our 40 man roster. Since the start of the year, we added Livan and Coste and Storen, and had to make moves to accommodate them.
In the coming weeks, we hope to add Detwiler, perhaps CM Wang. More unlikely, adding Flores. Come September, adding J Zimmermann. And we'll have to make moves for these guys.
I didn't like picking up Coste for precisely this reason, and it is hurting us.
We got a couple guys at Syracuse who could help us now, Chase Lamdin and Joel Peralta, but both of them would require a move on the 40 man roster, and so we're not going to see them anytime soon.

Of course, 2007 - 2010, Dontrelle has also kinda sucked. He's been OK in a total of 10 innings for AZ (ERA of 1.80, but with a WHIP of 1.80 also).
There's really no reason to believe he'll be any better than the AAAA arms we already have on the roster.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 12, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow's lineup better look something like this:

Morgan CF
Desmond SS
Zimm 3B
Dunn 1B
Willingham LF
Morse DH
Rodriguez C
Guzman 2B
Bernadina RF

There might be some changes in the order, but if those players aren't the starting nine tomorrow, Riggs had better have a good reason...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 12, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Manny's Revenge Part II.

No matter what the Wunderkind throws tomorrow the Nationals have humiliated themselves royally. But the way the Tribe is going longball, don't be surprised if there is a sweep on the old reservation. Not highly likely, but who would have thought Delwyn Young would have gone long on Strasburg?

It's coming a time where they will collapse completely.

Utterly embarrassing.

Posted by: medic2010 | June 12, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Putting Harris and Kennedy in the lineup because they're slumping is bunch of BS. This is a MAJOR LEAGUE baseball game and Riggs' job is to put out the lineup that gives the team the best chance of winning (this sure as heck wasn't it), not to do favors and give guys playing time just for the sake of giving them playing time. Unbelievable!!!!

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 12, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

gtrain, good thinking. I hope you're right.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 12, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

gtrain, I also hope you're right, but I think they owe Willie a decent amount of money. He sure hasn't established a case for being trade bait, so maybe they will cut him, but I fear that we're stuck with him.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 12, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Guys hitting .163 over roughly 100 ABs have no business on a major league team even if they have some special defensive skill, which WH doesn't. I don't even want to waste a spot in AA or AAA on him.There are young guys that play defence as well that also can't hit major league pitching that are far cheaper and just might get better. Time to say bye bye Willie. DFA should be his next assignment. It`s TOO painful to weatch.

Posted by: lesatcsc | June 12, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

As a Nats fan you know i hate losing to any team managed by Acta this ruins my saturday night wish the gym was open late at least i could take my fustration out on the tread mill and the eliptical,hell wish i still smoked weed(hope my wife doesn't read that)well SS will hopefully try and salvage the series.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 12, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nats Fans, The team looks like they are tired, playing with the "blahs." Maybe they need to get some more rest, like going to bed early and cool the "jitterbugging!" But I guess baseball players and teams have been doing that for 150 years...Go Nats! Pat from Bowie

Posted by: patsgrill4U | June 12, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

How humiliting it is to lose to a team that is or was close to 10 games under .500, have the second to least HR's in the AL and mangaed by the most useless excuse for a big league skipper

Like Dibbs said, you can't wait around every 4 days for SS to win on the 5th day. Martin is the penultimate 4A'er why is he here? Any one catch what Dibbs said about Atilano? Apparently a White Sox scout was not impressed..., great!

We need status updates on Flores, Marquis, and Wang please!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 12, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Right, I don't see the purpose of giving a bunch of at bats to a journeyman utilty player who is over 30 years of age... Willie has made some spectacular plays and gotten some big hits for the Nats the last 2+ years... but those were isolated events and those plays stood out more then they would otherwise because during most of that time the team was so freakin' bad, there wasn't much else to be excited about...

But, the big picture is Willie has logged close to 800 at bats since he joined the Nats, and has gone out and hit .234 with 24 homers in them... which would be about 15 homers in 500 at bats...

Maybe Michael Morse is no better... but, at this point, we know what Willie is... and it ain't all that exciting... so why not spend these at bats to see if you have anything with Michael Morse... that dude has hit .301 in 376 career at bats... not with all that much power, but at least as much power as little Willie... I would vote to give the man a chance with regular at bats for a month or two, see what happens...

Posted by: Ghost7 | June 12, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Playing different line-ups so often is taking away continuity. I think the team needs to settle in and players who have earned the position be given the chance to play everyday, with the exception of resting Pudge on day games after he plays a night game. Desmond & Guzman have earned the right to play short and second until THEY request a day off.

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Posted by: linda38 | June 12, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman is trying too many lineups. This isn't little league where everybody plays. Harris and Kennedy are bench players. Desmond and Guzman should be starting a Short and Second every day.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | June 13, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

You win three in row against the Pirates and then start messing around with the line-up to get a couple of bench players some AB's (which means they've been complaining about not getting playing time) I don't get it...

Posted by: bromisky | June 13, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

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