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Game 66 discussion thread: Nationals at Tigers

Manager Jim Riggleman placed Nyjer Morgan back in the top spoit in the order, a move made because Riggleman thinks Morgan might be starting to recapture the way he played last season. He had two hits last night, and has stolen six bases in his last seven attempts, including two last night.

Also, Cristian Guzman has cooled significantly. Two weeks ago, he was leading the league in hitting at .336. Since, he is 16 for 72 and his batting average is down to .298, a problem since he inability to draw walks has left his on-base pecentage at .325.

"Just kind of trying to find a mix there with the hot hand," Riggleman said. "From the left side, Guzie's struggled a little bit lately. From the right side, he's one of the top hitters in the league. From the left side, his on-base has gone down a little bit lately. Nyjer's stuck a few hits out there lately, so we put him up there at the top and see if we can generate something that way.

"It's really almost six of one, half-dozen of the other. There's no real magic to which one hits first or second. I think you could flip them on any given day and have the same success."

Meanwhile, Livan Hernandez will face Justin Verlander in a delcious contrast. Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 16, 2010; 7:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

Boom goes the Dunnkey, 1-0 Nats!

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice 6-pitch inning for Livo

Posted by: CAskinhead | June 16, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

And now Bernadina absolutely CRUSHES one! Go Nats!

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Livo throws six pitches, gets three outs to close the first. Bernadina goes "yard" in the 2nd, now 2-0 Nats.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina to cf; morse to rf; Morgan to pine

please, riggs, please

Posted by: swanni | June 16, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Livo follows the 6-pitch 1st inning by loading the bases with nobody out in the 2nd. Great.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

well, this isn't good, Livo.

Posted by: DCguy7 | June 16, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Time for a new pitching coach.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 16, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I really don't think you can give up Morgan in a little over 1/3 of a season. Yes, it's difficult to stay with him when Morse and Bernadina are hitting so well, but the guy invigorated the team last year (and more importantly was playing great ball 10 months ago).

I'm blown away by how quick people here want to get rid of Guzman during a slump, Dunn during a slump, Morgan... I agree that all of these guys may not be part of te future, but 60+ games is too quick to give up on Morgan considering what we have previously seen out of him.

Posted by: OldNumber3 | June 16, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, like usual, we handed the lead right back to the opposing team. Still nobody out, either. It's bad when Batista is up in second inning.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Survived that inning, barely.

Posted by: marathoner | June 16, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

hey, last year's Livo is back! yay.

Posted by: DCguy7 | June 16, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't know what's going on w/Livo - A great first inning, followed by trying to paint the outside corner in the 2nd to the exclusion of nearly everything else. He got through it, but it was less than pretty - 31 pitches, now 4-2 Tigers.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Verlander's curve is looking VERY good. Let's hope he makes some more mistakes with his fastball or we might not getting anymore off him.

Posted by: OldNumber3 | June 16, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I know this is a bit premature but I am no longer confident we will finish around .500.

Olsen always injured, Livan reversion to the mean. Marquis on the DL. Lannan struggling. So much for pitching depth.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 16, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Nats take lead
Nats pitching falls apart, gives up lead
Nats offense silenced
Nats lose

Same story again tonight, I bet...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

If a team knows that the opposing pitchers are going to live on the outside 3rd of the plate, that's what they 'lock-in' on. Can somebody just go inside at least once per at-bat to keep hitters honest?

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jim Riggleman,

Willie Harris still stinks.

Signed,

All Nats Fans

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

thepostischeap wrote:
Nats take lead
Nats pitching falls apart, gives up lead
Nats offense silenced
Nats lose

=============================
the bats go silent because they're behind all the time...Strasburg is the only one now that gives the offense a chance to work...

Posted by: bromisky | June 16, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

So is the front office going to put up with this until Detwiler, Wang, Zimmermann, Marquis, Mock are ready to go?

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

Our offense rarely picks up the pitchers. When Philly is winning they do this all the time. Moyer gives up four they come back and score five.

Our offense has to be more consistent. It has nothing to do with the pitching.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 16, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

At least Livan has settled back into a reasonable pitch count, but Verlander is racking up the K's against him (7 through 4.2IP).

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

WTF - 5 runs on 3 hits with no HR's?? Sadly this team excels in maximizing scoring efficiency for opponents with bad fielding and poor situational pitching. Wonder what the team WHIP is. Throw in unearned runs and we are behind the 8 ball much of the time.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 16, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

So is the front office going to put up with this until Detwiler, Wang, Zimmermann, Marquis, Mock are ready to go?

Posted by: bromisky

-----------------------

i'd say the answer looks to be: YES

Posted by: DCguy7 | June 16, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I really don't think you can give up Morgan in a little over 1/3 of a season. Yes, it's difficult to stay with him when Morse and Bernadina are hitting so well, but the guy invigorated the team last year (and more importantly was playing great ball 10 months ago).
*****************************************

If he looked anything at all like he did last year, we wouldn't be having this discussion. As a write this, his ugly swing turned Ball 4 into Strike 3 and his third K of the evening. Not what you want from anyone, much less the one you depend on to spark the lineup. He's not horrible, but he has not been consistent at all this year and it is a problem.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Make that 8 K's through 5IP for Verlander. Verlander is living on the outer 3rd of the plate as well, but I guess you can do that when you throw 95-98.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

@Natmeister: Team WHIP's are (roughly) as follows - Starters = 1.45, Relievers = 1.41.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Dang Pudge...I know you're smarter than that.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | June 16, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

@thepostischeap --
I agree that he has looked bad this year (especially when considering the baserunning and defensive miscues), but I'm not willing to give up on him just yet.

He hit .350 in 50 games with the Nats last year, and is hitting .250 in 65 games this year. He is probably not as good or bad as either of those numbers, and will hopefully catch fire soon and raise his average back to a .290-.300 level.

The Nats have already made it clear they are thinking more about next year than this year, so why not see exactly what you have in Morgan this season? All I'm saying is it's too early to say if we should get rid of him or annoint him the CF of the future.

Posted by: OldNumber3 | June 16, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I think that might have been a hit and run that Bernadina missed the sign on. If Riggleman or Radison really sent Pudge on a straight steal, WTF?

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Nyj is not terrible but it looks like we might have a better option in CF in Bernadina--why not try the latter? Nyj is proving himself to be a platoon player at best anyhow: can't hit lefties.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | June 16, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Riggs says he wants to go with the hot hand yet is going with Harris. Seems like to get ABs you have to be on a tear or stink; average productive players stand no chance.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | June 16, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Gotta hand it to Livo for keeping the team in the game after a putrid 2nd inning. It's hard to see getting 6 runs tonight,though. We all knew this would happen to him eventually; I never would have guessed it would be mid-June.

Posted by: p-man | June 16, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@tpic & Old#3: Morgan is what he is - A .260-.270 hitter, with a .320-.340 OBP & some speed, who turns 30 in July.

I like what he did for the team last year, and think he's a positive presence on the current team, but he's not a long-term piece, imo.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Just like last night, this loss (and we will going up against a great back end of the same bullpen that shut us down last night, so I am being quite realistic here) is to be blamed on starting pitching; in this case, one bad inning by Livo. Those walks hurt: 4 of Livo's five free passes have come around to score.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Morgan's shortcomings as leadoff seem deeper than a dropoff in batting average. The strikeouts, failed bunt attempts and caught stealings suggest a problem with his skillset. Oh yeah, the fielding miscues seem to fit in with the apparent limitations that now seem to be revealed. It's too bad, I would really like to see him succeed but the evidence is mounting that he won't.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 16, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

How long before we start a firejimriggleman.com site?

His decision to keep playing Willie and Nyjer can't be supported by any measure.

Posted by: swanni | June 16, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

@p-man: I hear you. I figured that Livo would have shanked a game or two before now.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Livo should have been pulled out after giving up back-to-back hits. This one is all over...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Well are we back to 2009 form ???

Posted by: CBinDC | June 16, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

It's starting to look like 2005 when they fell apart after the all-star break; could be a long, long season (except for the strasmas games)

Posted by: swanni | June 16, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Well it looks official now -- we have a one man starting rotation.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 16, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman should have pulled Livo; thats not a 20-20 hindsight thing. Two runners on in the seventh when you've had Slaten up for an inning????

Riggles has been great but that was a clear botch.

http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=124

Posted by: CJArlington | June 16, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

With Livo tossing 10 quality starts over his first 12 starts this season, I think we all knew (and dreaded) that the odds said that a stinker like this was coming at some point.
That said, it doesn't stop me from feeling dissapointed as a fan.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Unless they get more pitching, I guess the Nats are going to be the Stephen Srasburg freak show the rest of the season.

Posted by: nats24 | June 16, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

now will some one please start to make some changes instead of just mouthing... not our day, night week, month, year .......they have been on a slow burn since Colorado and it is getting worse ...STRASBURG can not pitch EVERY GAME

Posted by: CBinDC | June 16, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The NL East has been up for grabs for a while, but we're quickly bowing out of any hope of contention. Every other team is playing really well; the Phillies have struggled some, but they will get their ship righted, as they are shutting down the Yankees tonight. Meanwhile, we're going to continue to struggle...

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 16, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Either trade for Oswalt (or Lee, but Oswalt would be a 2 year deal, which is preferable) or don't ever utter the words "playoffs" again this year. That's the options for the Nats. Because outside of Strasburg we don't have one guy who can pitch worth a damn. Sure, Livo has been good for us this year, but can we really count on him down the stretch during a playoff run? Nope.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 16, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Following the game online -- Livo was left in to walk Guillen? Wasn't someone up in the bullpen after 100+ pitches and two hits in the inning? This one seems ugly on many levels.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 16, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Two nights in a row keeping a pitcher in too long comes back to bite the Nats. If Livan reverts to his form of the last several years, and it's still too early to say he will, we have a one-man staff. Sure, we'll still get the odd win here and there without the Anointed One, but there are some big holes. We need Lannan to get it together and a couple of the walking wounded to get healthy. Since the 20-15 start we've won barely a third of our games. Keep that up and there and that's maybe a ten game improvement over last year. What's really amazing is that this rotation has kept its ERA under 5.

Posted by: p-man | June 16, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer has to go, either to the bench or DFA. Bernie should be playing CF and Morse should be playing RF.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | June 16, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

That whole deal where we have a ton of SP in the system is a pure illusion. We have a bunch of soft-tossers who are good for 4.5 ERAs.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 16, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

When I saw Batista warming up in the bullpen, I didn't want to see Riggleman lift Livan with two men on. On the other hand, if Storen or Slaten had been warming...
Was having Batista warming up a sign that Riggleman was conceding the game when only two runs down? Slaten had been warming earlier, and could have been brought in to face the lefty Boesch. Storen hasn't allowed an inherited runner to score yet (out of 12 possible). Why was Batista the one warming up? This one I plant squarely on Riggleman.

Posted by: bertbkatz | June 16, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Only good news is that we play at least 10 more road games in the 2nd half than in the first half.

Why are they so brutal on the road?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 16, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Correction, Nats play ten more HOME games in 2nd half.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 16, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Imjust, at this point I'd be happy to have some 4.5 ERAs. Losing Olsen was tough, because he looked like he was the real deal. Livo has exceeded everyone's expectations; if he ends up with 10 wins and has an ERA of 4 and change he will have done everything we could reasonably expect.

Posted by: p-man | June 16, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The strikeout differential between our hitters and opposing hitters must be horrific. Lots of games with 10+ K's.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 16, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

The effect of saying you are just a few breaks from really winning in streaks is you wait for your LUCK to turn ....just that you find your out of chips to play on ....the stacks are getting low Rizzo ...time to make some noise or get out of the casino

Posted by: CBinDC | June 16, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Well it looks official now -- we have a one man starting rotation.

Posted by: Natmeister

Certainly seems that way doesn't it?

WTH, why don't the Nats try Storen or Clippard as starters? Can't be any worse than this garbage te fans are subjected to
on a nightly basis.

I have a bet with a co-worker on the O's series. The Nats win the series, I receive a sausage sandwich. O's win, he receives the sandwich. And with the way we play away from home (even if it's the "lowly" O's), I'm ready to buy him that sandwich.

Oh well, guess I won't make anymore sucker bets with this team...

Atilano tomorrow...sigh...

go gnats...

Posted by: M20832 | June 16, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

@swanni - With 162 games, it's always a long, long season, and it's far from over. I can't say that the Nationals were ready to contend in 2010, but have believed that this is a promising team, FWIW.
____________________

@CBinDC, Natsmeister: See above - It's only one more game out of 162, not 1 of 16 like the "big-press" team plays.

Posted by: BinM | June 16, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I love that the fanbase is pissed off at this lousy road trip - the last two years the result would have produced not much more than a shrug or an impotent whine. It's good to care and even better that we have options to argue over. Zuck's probably right that the Nats are an average team, but that's so much more than what we've been treated to over the years. Get 'em tomorrow, Luis!

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 16, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to see Willie Harris starting another game. How can you justify starting a guy with a .158 average? He's been given plenty of chances. Enough is enough.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 16, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Well the bloom is off this rose we are quickly becomming an afterthought in the NL east the starters are not getting it done other than SS, and as i posted earlier why not give Sharon Martis a shot they given every one else second and third chances he's been at the Cuse damn near a year while everyone else has had revolving door carte blanche with this team.The braintrust of this franchise keep crowing about the plethora of starting pitching and imho other than SS and Livo they got nuthin as Capone told Ness in the Untouchables. I'm a little disappointed in people posting that Nyjer Morgan should be benched or even worse DFA i am going to say this for the last time Rizzo needs to rehire Marquis Grissom(if he's available) Radison is a joke he must be some long lost friend of Riggleman's in need of a job. Mike Rizzo went out and spent 15 million on a raggedy arm arsonist of a pitcher(Marquis) with an ERA higher than the Sears tower who is now just collecting a check and we also pinned our hopes on a Yankee reject(Wang) another sore armed gem,bottom line some of Rizzo's moves are blowing up in his face and turning what could have been a surprising season into the same old story.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 16, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Hello ladies. Look at your team. Now look at me. Look back at your team. Look at me. Sadly, they are not me. But they could spell like me, if they used a dictionary.

Look down. Now look up--you're in a dugout, with a team your team could spell like. What's in your hand? I have it--it's two tickets that next Strasburg game no matter when it is. Look again--now it's a long-term contract with Bryce Harper.

I'm on a horse.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 16, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Sec3 - this is brilliant.
I'm buying you a beer at Duffy's for this one!

...I'm on a horse.

---
Hello ladies. Look at your team. Now look at me. Look back at your team. Look at me. Sadly, they are not me. But they could spell like me, if they used a dictionary.

Look down. Now look up--you're in a dugout, with a team your team could spell like. What's in your hand? I have it--it's two tickets that next Strasburg game no matter when it is. Look again--now it's a long-term contract with Bryce Harper.

I'm on a horse.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 16, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mo_dc | June 17, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I take it you've not been a regular reader of this blog over the years, as there has been plenty of venting after losses.

---

I love that the fanbase is pissed off at this lousy road trip - the last two years the result would have produced not much more than a shrug or an impotent whine. It's good to care and even better that we have options to argue over. Zuck's probably right that the Nats are an average team, but that's so much more than what we've been treated to over the years. Get 'em tomorrow, Luis!

Posted by: NATurallyYours | June 16, 2010 9:39 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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