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Today's lineups

Josh Willingham will be the first designated hitter for the Nationals this year. His DHing allows Willie Harris the start in left-field. Also, Cristian Guzman gets the night, which sends Ivan Rodriguez to the second in the order behind Nyjer Morgan.

Also, catcher Carlos Santana -- the Lake Erie version of Stephen Strasburg -- will make his major league debut for Cleveland.

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Ivan Rodriguez, C
3. Adam Dunn, 1B
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
5. Josh Willingham, DH
6. Willie Harris, LF
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Adam Kennedy, 2B
9. Roger Bernadina, RF
-- Luis Atilano, SP

1. Trevor Crowe, CF
2. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
3. Carlos Santana, C
4. Russell Branyan, 1B
5. Austin Kearns, LF
6. Travis Hafner, DH
7. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
8. Luis Valbuena,
9. Jason Donald, SS
-- Jake Westbrook, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 11, 2010; 3:06 PM ET
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Next: The Stephen Strasburg effect spreads


Weakest lineup possible with exception of C

Posted by: swanni | June 11, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, what protection does Willie Harris give Josh Willingham? Come on, Rigs.

Posted by: swanni | June 11, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, I think Riggleman is doing a great job and all but this Willie Harris stuff needs to stop. Watch him go out and hit a bomb.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 11, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Does Willie Harris have naked pictures of Riggleman, Rizzo, Rosie O'Donnell and a farm animal together that he's using for blackmail?

Posted by: Fozzie1 | June 11, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris still has value - but as a PH and LF defensive replacement ( not RF -- he's so-so there) He should never hit behind Willingham (Swing early, Josh)

Posted by: swanni | June 11, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming Willie is 6 and Pudge 2 (rather than vice versa) to give them more L-R-L alternation, and to create a greater possibility that there's someone on base for Dunn/Zimm/Hammer to drive in.

Posted by: HHover | June 11, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Dumbest lineup eva!!! Way to sit down your hottest hitter from last night when you even got an extra hole to fill him in. But hey, Riggs' boyfriend Harris needs some face time right? Totally absurd that Morse is not in there. Riggs is starting to really look foolish.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 11, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

If it's the L-R thing, then bat Kennedy or bernadina there

Posted by: swanni | June 11, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm tellin ya this Riggs/Harris is Acta/Kearns all over again. So dumb.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 11, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Morse goes 3 for 3, and no reward? I know it's RHP vs. RHB, but the splits (career, this year) just don't point to not giving Morse a place in that lineup.

Posted by: joemktg1 | June 11, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Riggleman is aware of the many studies that suggest that lineup protection is a myth.

Posted by: joebleux | June 11, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

HHover- that's great and all. But you know who else could hit sixth for the Nats, and would be a better option batting left-handed than Willie Harris?

Adam Kennedy.
Roger Bernadina.
John Lannan.
Mike Morse, and he's right-handed.
Me, and I'm right-handed.
My mother.
Babe Ruth, and he's basically just a pile of inanimate bones at this point.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | June 11, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Rigs is constantly talking about lineup protection for dunn, zim etc.

Posted by: swanni | June 11, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Batting willie sixth is a veteran manager trying to give a veteran player a vote of confidence -- not wise IMHO but I think that's where he's coming from

Posted by: swanni | June 11, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Some of you people are just ridiculous, complaining about everything all the time. Do you take any joy at all from this game called baseball?

Riggleman isn't perfect, but despite the stupidity many here attribute to him, he somehow has the team one game below .500 as of June 11. Shut up and cheer for Willie Harris tonight. The guy plays his ass off.

Posted by: hooverama | June 11, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse


Kind of a non-sequitor, but I wanted to bring up Willingham flying under the radar (not so much with NJ'ers, but with the casual fan). I've been to about 10 games this season, including last night's, and Willingham seems to get a polite golf clap when he's introduced or comes to the plate. I cheer loudly for him, but seem to be one of the few. It's a far more subdued cheering than several other players on the Nats receive. You would never know from the crowd response to him that he leads the team in RBI's and the LEAGUE in OBP, not to mention the many clutch RBI's he's had this year at the end of games. Just wanted to add my 2 cents to how good a season the Hammer is having without getting much attention outside of the Journal.

Posted by: slewis1 | June 11, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Hooverarma.

Posted by: jlegg | June 11, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse


Have you ever done any coaching?
Better yet have you ever done any managing of any group of people?

Its a long season and you CAN'T manage/play every game like its the seventh game of the World Series.

It takes 25+ players to make it through the season and a major task for a manager is to keep all 25 players as sharp as he can. Sometimes that means you don't have your optimimum line up starting, so you have to have the proper reserve on the bench.

Rigggs does a DAMN GOOD job of maxing out the contribution of all 25 players!!

He makes hundreds of dicisions for and during a game. I for one am impressed with his success rate.

Posted by: kgwcoach | June 11, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse


Willie Harris has 91 at bats has played in 51 games is hitting:
.176 with a .274 OBP and SLG of .374?

Michael Morse in 24 at bats, 18 games exclusively as a pinch hitter
(remember Willie got a chance to start early on?)
.417 Average, .500 OBP, and a .583 OBP?

When Guzman got hot Riggleman did everything he could,
that in effect HURT THE TEAM, to keep him in games and
get him at bats? Remember Guzman in right field?

There is definitely something wrong here. Riggleman does not want to win games ... perhaps that is why he did not last long in Chicago or Seattle.

Posted by: periculum | June 11, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

>>Shut up and cheer for Willie Harris tonight. The guy plays his ass off.
Posted by: hooverama |

No disrespect intended but this isn't the Mothers of Charity League. This is Major League Baseball. Produce or sit. First off Harris, as nice a guy as he is and all that, shouldn't even be on the team, let alone taking a lineup spot from Morse, Gonzo etc. What's he batting a buck 80?
Morse has got the hot hand so by all means sit him. And to say righties can't hit righties? Come on. Most pitchers are righties and most batters are righties so they face them all the time. Otherwise you may as well sit Zim and Pudge for the season. And Pudge in the 2 hole? I don't think so.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 11, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Morse cut his hair, changed his name to "Michael" and is out hitting and playing Willie Harris and even Dibble's MVP Guzman (that truly is ridiculous given Pudge and Livan) with a .417 avg. Last year and this year he was the best pinch hitter. He can't that bad a fielder he used to be a starting shortstop in the major leagues?

What does it take to get him into games to help with run production?

Posted by: periculum | June 11, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse


Why do you assume that complaining means we're not enjoying? I love watching this team and I'm gonna have a great time watching the game tonight. I'm gonna cheer for Willie Harris to hit a home run on every at bat and to make every possible play in the field. I'm not sure why that means I also have to think he belongs in the #6 spot, or in a major league lineup at all. he doesn't. He sucks this year, plain and simple. He makes millions- millions that I help to pay through ticket prices- to play a game. I don't feel the need to treat him with kid gloves.

For some of us, debating and questioning the details of managerial decisions is PART of the fun of the game. Just because you don't enjoy the game that way is no reason to judge others for doing so.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | June 11, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

>>He makes hundreds of dicisions for and during a game. I for one am impressed with his success rate.Posted by: kgwcoach

Riggs basically had only 1 decision to make last night and it almost cost us the game. Pinch hitting Harris and burning Gonzo was beyond absurd, and not because of the predictable outcome. Had Harris made a hit, it still would have been ridiculous. There was no reason to burn a better batter to get to a worse one and leave yourself a player short should the game got to extras. Riggs did this earlier and he cost us a few games. Anyone remember Guzman in RF?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 11, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Side note: For his own sake, I hope Carlos Santana turns out to be pretty good. It would suck to have to be known as "the sorry version"

Posted by: noluvdr | June 11, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Fozzie, I'm not judging anyone. Sheesh. Really, we're all fans of the same team, and this is a judge-free zone. I'm just saying that Rigs could have set 10 different lineups tonight, and some people would have complained (within 30 seconds) about each and every one of them.

I get that second-guessing the manager is a timeless tradition and the right of every fan. Again, I'm just saying that some people here -- not everyone, sure -- do nothing but second-guess Riggleman. Not only second-guess him, but also question his motives. Like periculum just did: "Riggleman does not want to win games."

Right, he's out there for the glory of losing every game he can. This lifelong baseball guy secretly hopes to get himself fired. Come on.

Posted by: hooverama | June 11, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Riggleman doesn't want to win games"????

Is Glenn Beck now blogging on NJ? It's funny what brings out the vitriol here. Just maybe Riggleman wants a right hander to PH for Harris later in the game? Or something else that escapes the collective wisdom of the wizards of NJ. He probably has an actual plan for this lineup. That's the beauty of baseball -- there's a lot of pieces to move around the chessboard. I'll be interested in seeing how this lineup works but I'm not chewing on the carpet because it doesn't match my worldview.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 11, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine is reminding me a lot of Steven on Capitol Hill.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

>>Just maybe Riggleman wants a right hander to PH for Harris later in the game?

Yea that's the ticket. Keep a better hitting player on the bench so he can get maybe 1 AB late in the game pinch hitting for a worse player who will get up at least 3 times and fail with runners in scoring position.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

BTW, whatever happened to that guy? Then again, don't tell me--I don't think I want to know.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm convinced --- Riggleman DOES want to lose games. How did I miss that? Feel sooooo stupid.

Posted by: Natmeister | June 11, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

and the good thing about complaining all the time, and the complaining about the complaining, and the counter-complaining about ... well, the point is, it raises the level of conversation to where we're denying the manager wants to lose.


Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Been out of town and out of touch most of the last two weeks. Read the bickering and ranting on here....damn I missed that.

Yeah, this is a weird lineup.
So hard to believe that the right way to manage this club is to sit Michael Morse.

Like a lot of others, there's much about Willie Harris I've come to appreciate over the years. The way he been swinging the bat this year.....that is not one of them.

I love when Doveline rants, especially when he's right.

I think Riggleman wants to win games.
Now McCatty....I'm not so sure about him.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 11, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Willie's been a league average hitter for the last 3 years, and a superb defensive left fielder. Sure, his batting average is terrible this year so far, but he has a track record of helping this team. And even this year he has 18 rbi in his 91 at bats. He's a solid backup outfielder with some clutch performances defensively and offensively and deserves some playing time. I don't know when you pull the plug on him if he doesn't pick up the pace, but I don't think it's now.

Posted by: utec | June 11, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

What does he have against Morse? The poor guy sits and watches and then when he does play he hits the crap out of the ball.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 11, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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