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Today's lineups

Unfortunately and as expected, Braves rookie outfielder Jason Heyward will sit out tonight with his bruised thumb, on which he underwent an MRI today. Also, Manager Jim Riggleman made a change in the lineup, sending Ivan Rodriguez to the second spot in the lineup while giving Alberto Gonzalez his first start at second base since May 27 and his fifth start anywhere since April 27.

Nationals
1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Ivan Rodriguez, C
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Roger Bernadina, RF
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B
9. Stephen Strasburg, SP

Braves
1. Martin Prado, 2B
2. Melky Cabrera, RF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Troy Glaus, 1B
6. Eric Hinske, LF
7. Yunel Escobar, SS
8. Gregor Blanco, CF
9. Tim Hudson, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
 
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Next: Craig Stammen will start Tuesday

Comments

Why were we not using Gonzo more? His bat? Is he really hitting that much worse than Desmond? I like that they are giving him a shot at the middle in-field. Now hopefully he won't disappoint.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | June 28, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Not sure about the order, but at least he has the right players on the field. I know everyone wants Morse to start but you do have to have one good bench bat.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 28, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad after Kennedy gets 2 hits, we sit him for the attorney general. It's no wonder none of our hitters outside of Zimm, Hammer and Dunn can get in a rhythm with all the swapping in and out like its Little League.

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | June 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

let's hope that these roster moves are a sign that Riggleman isn't really a "glass half full" (his words) kinda guy after losing 4 in a row.

"I like the fact that the glass is half full. I like the fact that we scored runs early. We had a chance to win the allgame, and we didn't get blown out. It's a small consolation."

The Nats just blew leads of 6-0, 5-0 and 3-0 and got swept by the O's; who not only are owned by Angelos, but only had 20 wins all season at first pitch on Friday night...

Posted by: bryandc | June 28, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy contributed greatly to that loss yesterday. He should ride the pine. His role is as a bat off the bench for a contender. Make it so Rizzo.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 28, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Riggs lineup makes no sense. His 2 thru 5 which is the same as his usual 3-6, except Pudge is at the front instead of the back now, are all the heavy wood and plodders. Then 6 thru 8 are all the same type hitters--slash and run. He never mixes it up. That's why we have a million solo home runs.
God forbid he break up Zim, Dunn, Willingham and Pudge and separate those guys a little. But no, those four spots are sacred to Riggleman even though we've lost most of our games. You'd think Riggs would wake up and move things around. The guy has no original thought process.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow! So far everyone is giving Desmond a pass. That's amazing, because he is part of the problem both offensively and defensively. The fact that he is young is neither here nor there. They say good teams are strong up the middle... 2B isn't the only part of the Nats' infield that needs fixing.

Posted by: fpcsteve | June 28, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

>>The fact that he is young

Desmond aint so young. Enough with all that youngster propaganda the team is trying to sell us. He's 26 for goodness sake and has been in the minors forever. The guy is an old man in baseball years. Enough with trying to justify his errors on age.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad after Kennedy gets 2 hits, we sit him for the attorney general. It's no wonder none of our hitters outside of Zimm, Hammer and Dunn can get in a rhythm with all the swapping in and out like its Little League.Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | June 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, Kennedy has had 184 plate appearances already this year. That's plenty to show his value. He is "hitting" .238, with 15 RBI. His fielding has dropped way off. I'm not sure you can blame the manager for this. Maybe there is a reason he could not command much salary on the open market?

On the bright side, his low salary made him attractive to the Nats. If Kennedy could have demanded more money, he would have likely gone elsewhere. So at least the Nats have him as a low-budget addition to their low-budget roster. He will get more chances this year for sure, but he does not look like a regular right now to me.

Posted by: EdDC | June 28, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman closed door meeting, what will it net? A 2-1 no decision?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 28, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Errors are killing the Nats. Take a look at Boswell's column today. The error numbers are troubling and disturbing.

No matter HRs Dunn can hit, doesn't do you any good if you can't pull the ball of the dirt to your right and give up runs.

Maybe its time that we trade Dunn for a first baseman that can move, or some prospects. The Nationals are NOT going to win it all this season.

I would hate for the Nats to end up with "Soriano. Volume 2." where we miss out on any potential trade value because we hold onto a a guy too long and get nothing in return.

Posted by: bryandc | June 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify, Desmond is 24. Heaven forbid we let the facts get in the way of a good argument!

Posted by: mjhoya12 | June 28, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@fpcsteve
Desmond is an inexperienced MLB shortstop. 92 games in his MLB career.
The "potential" for him to develop and improve is real, as it is for every other physically gifted player with 90 odd games of MLB experience.

Part of the reason Desmond gets a pass is that he has upside. He has obvious physical skills, he also has obvious flaws in his game mentally.

Kennedy has no upside. Decent field, decent bat, decent range, no more.
Guzman has no upside. Decent field, lousy range, puts the ball in play, rarely walks, career OBP in the .310 range.

Desmond certainly has the potential to cut down his errors, have a better approach to at bats, and be a solid MLB shortstop for many years.

Will he?
We'll see.
What I think we need to do to improve defensively is to play an everyday lineup in our middle infield.
Desmond and Gonzalez, or Desmond and Kennedy, everyday.
That alone would improve our defensive play.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"His 2 thru 5 which is the same as his usual 3-6, except Pudge is at the front instead of the back now, are all the heavy wood and plodders."

Um, dovelevine, it's called the meat of the order. See, you bunch together your power hitters in the middle of the lineup. They've been doing it that way for about 90 years now...

Posted by: baltova1 | June 28, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland, I think you're on to something there. Going into the season, I would have expected Kennedy to get most of the playing time at second, but that hasn't happened and it's hard to justify playing him there fulltime now, given how he's struggled. They may have to play Gonzo fulltime for defensive purposes, at least for a while.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 28, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@ Sunderland - Let me appeal to my vocation and give you an enthusiastic "Amen!" Your call for a regular, everyday infield makes sense. That kind of stability would be helpful. And I take your point on Desmond's upside. I'm just arguing against giving him a pass during this tough stretch. Last week I listened to the Nats on the local AM station (Nebraska) when they were playing the Royals. The Royals' play-by-play guy called Desmond the Nats' SS of the future. He followed with this comment: "The jury is still out on that." Fair enough. I hear you saying essentially the same thing.

Posted by: fpcsteve | June 28, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

one "enthusiastic" will be quite enough - no need to get all crazy - wish I could type

Posted by: fpcsteve | June 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"Enough with trying to justify his errors on age."

Ummmmm, really? Have you ever followed the careers of shortstops? Age, or more importantly experience has everything to do with it. With experience (and even an average defensive firstbaseman which the Nats don't have) his error totals will drop dramatically. Experience is the only way to either get better or determine that he isn't going to get better. But I'm glad you weren't making decisions when Cal Ripken and Robin Yount, among others, broke into the league.

Posted by: ouvan59 | June 28, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

@ouvan59 I don't have the stats to make this point (and maybe you do), but I don't think Ripken had as much trouble in his first season as Desmond has had this year. Of course, there is no way to quantify how a different/better 1B would change Desmond's stats at this point. We have what we have. But Desmond will be back next season, no doubt about it. And you're right; time will ultimately tell whether he is part of the solution or part of the problem.

Posted by: fpcsteve | June 28, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand his bias against Morse. Look - you're going bad, you got nothing to lose - put him in there until he stops hitting. And he probably will. But how else will you know? That just reminds me of some of the little league coaches playing favorites. You can't afford to be that ignorant at this level. They need power in the worst way.

Posted by: Brue | June 28, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad after Kennedy gets 2 hits, we sit him for the attorney general. It's no wonder none of our hitters outside of Zimm, Hammer and Dunn can get in a rhythm with all the swapping in and out like its Little League.

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | June 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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

And the fact that he gave the game away is irrelevant?

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 28, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think Ripken had as much trouble in his first season as Desmond has had this year."

Well that's settled then. He's not Rookie of the Year, get rid of him.

Posted by: 202character | June 28, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think Ripken had as much trouble in his first season as Desmond has had this year."

Well that's settled then. He's not Rookie of the Year, get rid of him.

Posted by: 202character | June 28, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

202character,

It was a Desmond defender who made the comparisons with Ripken and Yount! I'm not a Desmond basher, but the hysterical defenses of him are getting a bit much. He's had much more seasoning in the minors than Ripken, Yount, or Jeter--another farfetched comparator--had coming into their rookie seasons.

Look, we've got no other real options, so of course he's going to get most of the work at SS the rest of the year. It's reasonable to expect that he'll snap out of this hitting and fielding slump, but, for his career, I'd settle for another Royce Clayton.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | June 28, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@ CapPeterson1 - I just looked up Clayton's sats--I'm with you. I'd take that from Desmond in a heartbeat. If that is how his career plays out, it will be a plus for the Nats.

Posted by: fpcsteve | June 28, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

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