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Game 87 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Giants

The Nationals' lineup obviously is not the most potent they could run out against Matt Cain and his 2.98 ERA. It came about for a couple reasons.

First, Ivan Rodriguez had caught three straight games. Manager Jim Riggleman is sticking to his plan not to catch him more than three in a row in order to preserve his back.

Second, the Nationals will face left-handed starters (Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner) the next two nights. Riggleman wanted to give Adam Kennedy and Willie Harris a start before those two games in order to keep them fresh. (Speculating a bit, the Nationals may also want to play them to remind teams interested in a potential trade that they still exist.)

And so, the Nationals will bulwark Stephen Strasburg with a lineup that includes half of the position players hitting above .250.

"It kind of works for our club" to mix up lineups, Riggleman said. He has said the Nationals work better when they do not commit to eight everyday players. Tonight, they'll happen to send an unusual lineup to support Strasburg.

"Certainly with the bat [Josh] Willingham gives us, we miss something there," Riggleman said. "But Willie [Harris] is a very good defender. I got a lot of confidence in Willie against any right-hander in the league. I think we'll put a good defensive ballclub on the field tonight. Hopefully, it'll show up in the score for us."

Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 9, 2010; 6:50 PM ET
 
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Next: Adam Dunn is on a tear for the Nationals

Comments

"It kind of works for our club", as in kind of works for our club not winning the game tonight. The team gains defense in the OF, in exchange for limited range up the middle of the IF and a .161/.257/.314 line in for a .278/.410/.505 in LF.

Great - The LF/CF combo can spend the night quickly picking up balls that are "just beyond the reach" of Guzman & Kennedy.

Posted by: BinM | July 9, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Jus tuned in to game to see Morgan take in the 3rd out...don't know how SF scored but this is the 8th consecutive game Nats have given up at least one run in the first inning...when will this end!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 9, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Not that we have the best defense possible, but that failed pick off by San Francisco reminded me of the way we played last year. We're doing better than that this year, but still have a long way to go in the field.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | July 9, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Nieves = DP machine.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | July 9, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!! Why dont they every advance the runner with no outs? Adam Kennedy sucks! Will Nieves sucks! Debbie Taylor sucks! Strasburg Rocks!!!!!

Posted by: JohnWWW | July 9, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Runners on 1st and 2nd nobody out and AK at the plate and he's not bunting WTF!! another brain fart by Riggleman and then Nieves hit's into a DP, just another reason why i wonder what is Riggleman thinking?

Posted by: dargregmag | July 9, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

"It kind of works for our club" to mix up lineups, Riggleman said. He has said the Nationals work better when they do not commit to eight everyday players. REALLY ? What exactly has worked ? Last place in NL and worst defensive team in MLB. I agree, Nats are much better than the last 2 years, but what is Riggleman thinking ? I think their defensive problems are from lack of consistency amongst the players in the field.

Posted by: JT2009 | July 9, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

quick follow up, I meant to say last place in NL East. I sure wish Riggleman was my little league coach. EVERYONE PLAYS TODAY !!!!

Posted by: JT2009 | July 9, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg might be able to go 6IP tonight, but he'll need some runs.

LETS GO NATS!

Posted by: BinM | July 9, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, Cain is cruising - 39PT through 3.1IP

Posted by: BinM | July 9, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Two outs, an open base at first, why pitch to Dunn? But, hey, thanks for doing so.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 9, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

These guys are making Riggleman look like a genius today.

Posted by: CAskinhead | July 9, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Please... for the love of god... resign Adam Dunn now. He's only getting more expensive as his tear at the plate continues.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 9, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the "Kid" finally get some support as Dunn continues his assault and Willie finds his stroke no way the bullpen turns this into a game.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 9, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see them get "the Kid" some run support as Dunn continues his assault and Willie finds his stroke no way the bullpen turns this into a contest

Posted by: dargregmag | July 9, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

ya gotta love it.
OMG!!!1 what a crummy lineup! No way they can score runs!! Why is Riggleman managing instead of one of us??

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

OK, Uncle Teddy. What about the value of a fantastic cleanup hitter do you not understand? If we do not re-sign the Dunn-Key, we will have no credibility with professional players. Fans too! Come on, guys, PLEASE get it DUNN!

Posted by: NatsFly | July 9, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

SS is 1/100th of his way to becoming MLB's next 300-game winner!

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 9, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

there was a lot of negative chatter about this line-up...not there best, I admit, but why not try getting behind the players we have instead of always cutting them down. Enjoy the crow gang...you know who you are.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 9, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

If you can, catch a replay of Bernadina breaking from second in the bottom of the first tonight. My god, that guy is fffffast. Also see the giant grins on Mike Morse's face after Dunn's home runs. He seems like a heck of a guy to have on the team. Too bad he spends all his time in the dugout.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 9, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Wil Who!

Posted by: joebleux | July 9, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Ok...is this really the Phillies out there in Nats uniforms?

And where the F has this team been in May and June?

Nice Curly W Nats!! Beat 'em again tomorrow!

Posted by: M20832 | July 9, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

@NatsFly: After tonight's onslaught, Adam D leads the NL in total bases--jumping over all-stars Martin Prado and Joey Votto.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | July 9, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, where was all the hate toward the end of this post. Can't understand for the life of me how so many negative posts seem to disappear when they play well. Win or lose I like this game and this team. I am not always happy with the team but don't need to see anyone fired or dfa'd. My bet is Harris ends up somewhere around .240 which is not great but he has proven he is a major leaguer and these things work out during a long season. Just a nice win today against a hot team and I would love to see us win another series this week-end. I will be there tomorrow.

Go Nats

Posted by: sjm3091 | July 9, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

there was a lot of negative chatter about this line-up...not there best, I admit, but why not try getting behind the players we have instead of always cutting them down. Enjoy the crow gang...you know who you are.
****************************************

I'm happily eating a big serving right now :)

Posted by: thepostischeap | July 9, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I too was amazed by all the hate when the line-ups came out. Little League or the Bigs, you have to start everyone at least once/week, preferably twice. Most of the best managers down through history realized that each player needs to stay sharp, and, dare I say, feels like he is part of the team and not just a spare part.

The hate for Harris is incredibly misplaced. Here's a guy who has played arguably the best headsup baseball over these last few years on the club. He always hustles, and he has had many clutch plays over the years in the late innings. I only wish he had taken a strike during that key at-bat with runners on.

Posted by: paulkp | July 9, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Just got home. Great game. Clutch hitting from the bottom of the line-up and no errors from the shortstop position. Recipe for a Strasburg win. He's the real deal.

Go Nats!

Posted by: longhorn64 | July 9, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Things I have learned from reading this board: 1) Dunn can't play, 2) Harris can't play, 3) Nieves can't play, 4) Strasburg is a thrower not a hitter, 5) Riggleman is an idiot. I should probably find another way to pass the time. Oh, and I like "these guys are making Riggleman look like a genius." Like, even their successes reflect an underlying sort of failure because he doesn't look as stupid as he really is.

Posted by: markfromark | July 9, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Who needs Josh W? Trade him. :)

Posted by: marathoner | July 9, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@markfromark

"Oh, and I like "these guys are making Riggleman look like a genius." Like, even their successes reflect an underlying sort of failure because he doesn't look as stupid as he really is."

I didn't mean it like that. I was talking to the people who rag on Riggleman all the time. There's a reason he's a major league manager and they are not.

Posted by: CAskinhead | July 9, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of JWilly...anyone notice on Nieve's single, JW and Dunn were standing side by side behind the plate as Guz came in -- Dunn holding up his hands with a relaxed "you can come in standing up" signal, while Josh was frantically waving for Guz to slide (throw was up the line, so Dunn was right).

Posted by: joebleux | July 9, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Chad Cordero is facing Mark Teixeira with runners on! But first base is open.

Walk. Now ARod with the bases FOY. Go get em Chad!

Posted by: paulkp | July 9, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Oy. Multiple runs scored against Chad. Not sure why they were earned, but it looks like he wasn't fooling anyone.

Posted by: paulkp | July 9, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

OMG stop with the Willie H worship thing. He's still only hitting .180 AFTER a three hit game. When did .240 become good???? Especially with little power? I think he has to hit something like .380 just to get to .240, although honestly I haven't bothered to work it out. Right now the Nats have the three best guys playing most days; Willie isn't one of them, tonight's heroics notwithstanding. Morse is their fourth best all-around outfielder. I don't know that Morse is the answer, but neither does anyone else because he hasn't played much. Willie H has a track record, and it isn't all that impressive. Every AB Willie gets steals an evaluation AB from a younger player whose value has not yet been demonstrated. IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON.

Willie had his moments in Washington, thanks Willie, I think you got paid, but you are not and will not be an important part of the team being built in DC. So he hit a couple of singles tonight. So what? Get over yourselves.

Nats win tonight because of Stras and Dunn. Why the Giants pitched to Dunn in a couple of those situations is beyond rational understanding. I guess it shows that you can be an increbily talented athelete and stupid at the same time. Thank you SF.

Posted by: lesatcsc | July 10, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Wholly geez. Just read AK's gamer. National batters have to have fear in hearts now: Stras is gonna pitch inside to keep 'em off the plate. Ouch. You gotta love it.

Here's a serious question: Atilano gets optioned briefly; Maxwell gets called up again (and presumably optioned again). We always her about guys "out of options.'' Does this not kick in for them? If it costs an option, then it's not really 'free,' is it?

Posted by: nats24 | July 10, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

National League batters, of course. (Everybody needs a proofer)

Posted by: nats24 | July 10, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

After listening to Strasburg's press conference, one interpretation could be that he [knows he] has the talent to call his games better, so why not start now. Another slant might be that he sort of figuratively threw his experienced catchers under the proverbial bus.

Wouldn't be surprised if Wil Nieves unofficially became his personal catcher for the balance of the season.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | July 10, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

May I just say that DEBBIE TAYLOR IS ABSOLUTELTY THE WORST COMMENTATOR I HAVE EVER SEEN OR HEARD. It is painful to watch and listen to her vapid, predictable and gawd awful questions. The players must cringe when she approaches them and then howl with derisive laughter when she leaves the room. Certainly they have to be able to upgrade. She might be good enough for Syracuse Chiefs broadcasts but certainly not major league and certainly not the Nations Capital. I tried turning the sound down but I know so well what she is going to say that I can read her lips. She is a good reason to be there in person instead of watching on TV. HEY - maybe that's the plan! There, I feel better. Go Nats.

Posted by: Natstoyou | July 10, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

"If they're going to beat me," Strasburg thought, "they're going to beat me on me calling my own game."

Seems like Strasburg has quickly come to the same conclusion as most Nats fans: McCatty and Riggleman don't know squat about pitching!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | July 10, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Nats24, in answer to your question (from Wikipedia):

If a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the active major league roster, he is said to be on optional assignment—his organization may freely move him between the major league club and the minor league club. If a player is on the 40-man roster and not the active 25 man roster for any part of more than three seasons (in which he spent 20 or more total days of service in the minors), he is out of options and may not be assigned to the minors without first clearing waivers. However, if a player has less than 5 years of professional experience, he may be optioned to the minors in a fourth season without being subject to waivers. If a major league player is ineligible for free agency and "has options" remaining, his team may option him to a minor league team without consequence. This is usually what is meant when players are "sent down" to the minors. Likewise, when a player on the 40-man roster is added to the active major league roster, he is "called up" to the majors.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 10, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Natstoyou@ Could not agree more!!! One of the main reasons I have the radio on during the game on TV. I have not heard her ask one worthwhile question or make one worthwhile statement. I don't watch the O's that much but their young lady seems to understand the game, digs a little deeper and hardly ever asks "how did it feel"

Posted by: sjm3091 | July 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think we have to keep Josh..I know a little shakey in the field but I like his hitting. Willie and Mike..its tough not playing all the time..they would have better stats if they played regularly but we all know theres only so many spots out there!! I'll tell you though, one kid I really like is that Gonzalaz, this kid is good!! He needs to play. And lastly..sign Big Bad Dunn..as soon as possible!! One more thing, some of you might not agree but most of the time I like what Dibble has to say about situations on the field.

Posted by: exexpofan | July 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think we have to keep Josh..I know a little shakey in the field but I like his hitting. Willie and Mike..its tough not playing all the time..they would have better stats if they played regularly but we all know theres only so many spots out there!! I'll tell you though, one kid I really like is that Gonzalaz, this kid is good!! He needs to play. And lastly..sign Big Bad Dunn..as soon as possible!! One more thing, some of you might not agree but most of the time I like what Dibble has to say about situations on the field.

Posted by: exexpofan | July 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

thanks, Baltova. So if I read that correctly, for this season at least, there's no limit on how many times Max and Atilano could be shipped back and forth.

Posted by: nats24 | July 10, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Yes, waivers are counted in years, not in assignments.
So Maxwell going back and forth several times all season uses only one of his available waiver assignments.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 10, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

As far as SS calling his own game, for now no one knows or understands his sutff as well as he does. Managers, pitching coaches and catchers just don't see this kind of repetoire very often. Nor do umpires, it looks like they sometimes give up on his big curve and don't watch it break over the plate. The guy seems very analytical and knows how to use his stuff with confidence and command so I say let him do it until his supporting cast catches up. The old rules just don't apply here. Speaking of old rules, I love it that he is coming inside. Can't wait to see him match up with Chase Utley -- yeah, go ahead and hang over the plate, take one for the club.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 10, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Great game last night. Nice of the Nats to give 1b such a rousing send-off for the final in-person game of her visit. Also nice to see some crow-eating in various threads in re. the lineup bellyaching. Yeah, you know who you are... :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean it like that.

Sorry. Having trouble sorting out the haters.

Posted by: markfromark | July 10, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I think he has to hit something like .380 just to get to .240,

See, it doesnt matter what he hits for the season overall. The past is gone. It only matters what he hits for the rest of the season.

Posted by: markfromark | July 10, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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