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Game 99 discussion thread: Nationals at Brewers

The Nationals will try to escape Milwaukee with a win, which would prevent a sweep and also help leave less of a bitter taste about a maddening road trip. The Nationals have outscored their opposition 36-35 over their first nine games of the swing, but they are still 3-6 on the trip.

They've had high moments with pitching (allowing two earned runs in three games in Florida) and hitting (22 runs in the last three games at Cincinnati), but they have been unable to pair them up.

The Nationals will turn to Ross Detwiler, who is making his 2010 big league debut. They're hoping he can match his performance from last September, when he punched up a 1.90 ERA in five outings. The Nationals will oppose Brewers right-hander Dave Bush. ("The Shrub," as one Nats player called him.) Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 25, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
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Next: Adam Dunn's surprise visit


Good afternoon, if anyone is here. Heard game time temp in Milwaukee is 78.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

As I said to my fiancee this morning (as she pretended to listen)...why is Willie Harris playing third and not Gonzalez? We need his defense. Should be 3 out right now...

Posted by: HenryStin | July 25, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

If there is a ground ball here with the bases loaded...please let'snot have a wild throw moving the runners up on a possible DP.....

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 25, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Here we go again. First inning, high pitch count, short bullpen. Not the way to start.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Please don't walk this guy...make them earn it...

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

At this rate Detwiler will give us maybe 3 innings. Maybe we can double switch with Nyjer!

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight:

A rookie pitcher starts so Riggleman puts an unproven Willie Harris at third instead of using his Gold Glove 3B?

This is not a good team yet, but Riggleman is making it worse.

Last note: I bet Riggleman will never play Willie Harris at third when Strasburg pitches.

Posted by: swanni | July 25, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The baseball gods saw Riggleman's lineup and ordered the first ground ball to be hit to third.

Will someone please shake some sense into Rizzo? Or, are the Lerners ordering him to bring him back for another season?

Posted by: swanni | July 25, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Paging Mr. Batista. Paging Mr. Clippard. Paging Mr. Peralta. Paging Mr. Slaten.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Nobody needs a day off,they've got an off day tommorow like i said in an earlier post, THE INDIANS are only one game behind the Nat's in the win column which i find unbelievable on that stat alone Riggleman should not have been offered an extension.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 25, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

on the third out fly ball, Nyger started to throw it in, but held up. - that looked strange.

Posted by: Hattrik | July 25, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I really do want to see Gonzalez play more. Seriously, if defense is seriously a priority why does he sit?

He doesn't have to play everyday or even close but deal either Kennedy or Guzman, even if you have to pick up half his salary, and get him in there more.

Posted by: CJArlington | July 25, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

One thing--and maybe the only thing--about Kennedy: he knows how to steal bases. Not necessarily a great base runner, mind you, but he does know how to steal bases.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 25, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

CJ, the only priority seems to be lefty vs righty pitcher and vice versa. Despite all they say about defense being important, that appears to be all that matters.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Must agree with posters..Riggleman puzzles me also with some moves...began viewing game late and didn't realize Zimm. was not playing....Is Harris the back up 3rd baseman listed on the roster????

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 25, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@pentagon, No - Harris is a left handed batt. That's all Riggleman looks at. And of course it helps when he looks at strike three twice in a row.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Ho hum. Another game, another sub .500 pitcher we make look like Cy Young.

Think Rick Eckstein is aware of the following:

1. This team takes WAAY too many first pitch fastballs right down the middle.
2. So much for making contact. This team strikes out WAAY too much.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

sheesh, another error? What did Ross do to deserve this?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Almost hope the strom coming through knocks out the power. This hurts to watch.

Posted by: marathoner | July 25, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

OK, well, he shouldn't have thrown a home run ball, that he deserved.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

getting pretty dark -- and I don't just mean the ballgame.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Another 3-7 road trip, folks. Is anyone surprised at this point? Pretty much standard for this team lately.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be a way to give a loss to a player other than the pitcher, because today's loss (assuming they don't somehow come back) should be credited to Ian Desmond.

And then he should be sent to the minors and never waste a spot on a major league roster again.

Posted by: zaph | July 25, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Something has to give...No matter the reasoning, Desmond can't be the starting SS...certainly Guzman wouldn't hve made as many errors at this point if he were there...

I have no probvlem with Desmond bobblling a grounder but to compound it with a bad throw can only be tolerated a few times....Just hold the ball and that runner would not have scored from third...he is just not a SMART fielder yet....time for a change...And for a change it would be nice to see some emotion from the manager....

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 25, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Harris at third? Riggleman is truly the most absurd manager I've seen in my forty years of following baseball.
And I like Ross Deitweiler.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | July 25, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

5 unearned runs - now they can talk all week about how the runs were unearned instead of why he only went 3 2/3. He's got some nice stuff, he can't put people away because he comes across his body, and his fastball sails left to right instead of diving and digging. It's flat. Just like his chest. Punk needs to hit the weights - it's been four years and he hasn't gained a pound. Lazy imo

Posted by: Brue | July 25, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Could not agree with Dibs more.

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 25, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah it's hard to believe that Morse could do any more than he already has. Uh oh Big Donkey padding his free agent numbers. 63 RBI

Posted by: Brue | July 25, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Bumped up that average with two out and RISP.

Posted by: marathoner | July 25, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Is it a coincidence that the first runs came after Morse was put in? Why can't we just play our best-performing players?

Posted by: rasjcs | July 25, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer getting a little mojo going the last few days.

Posted by: marathoner | July 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

re: Nyjer. O ye of little faith. Guess he's getting his act together for his bobblehead day.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Turtles! This team is almost as bad as last year.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

rasjcs: so what would your outfield be? Can't not play the Hammer. Nyjer coming around, as noted. So it's Morse vs. Bernadina.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The coaching staff is average at best the manager over analyzes everything,they are on their way to losing nine in a row with the Phils and Braves lying in wait even with Stratsburg scheduled to make two start's in the upcomming homestand,I had hopes that if they could win 2/3 or even sweep(boy was i dreamin)they might have a shot at giving the Braves and the Phil's a competitive series,not gonna happen.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 25, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Dibble, just put your best defensive lineup out there. Left hand batting Willie Harris doesn't provide enough (any?) offense to justify his glove at third. Gonzo the is the best backup at third. The bad defense just devours starting pitching.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 25, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Hammer/Bernadina/Morse. Guzman leads off. Nyjer is coming around, but those three are out-hitting him right now. Both Morse and Bernadina have fought their way onto the field with Nyjer right behind. Until Morse or Bernadina falters, you got to get better production out of the lineup.

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 25, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

dargramps: total agree. That was the critique of Manny but Riggs just as bad if not worse. The lefty-righty thing is overrated. I love me some Willeee, but not in the hot corner.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Bernadina hitting below .200 over last 10 games. Nyjer hitting a tad above .300. Change out Bernie with Morse.

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 25, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Torture to watch, probably torture to play, manage, announce. Just brutal.

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 25, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

brutal. Night, all.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 25, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

To watch this club one needs the dispassionate curiousity of a coroner or pathologist -- what killed the patient today? You wonder how much coaching goes on during a game. Desmond has the same approach every at bat, gets pitched the same way with the same result. Poor Detweiler, as with many other Nat's pitchers, deserved better. Knight said the errors cost him 40 pitches.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 25, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman started Willie Harris at 3B. What more needs to be said about his decision making?

Although Riggs did defend Willie by saying it was a tough play. Huh? Really? Give it up, dude.

Posted by: sollazo | July 25, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that Haris was playing 3B b/c he is being shopped as a utility guy for some club that thinks he can help off the bench. reports that ladson reports tha Rizzo claims to be getting calls on Willie.

Now, can they get Desmond back to the minors to learn to field his position? The guy might be the best athlete on the field on any given night, which is impressive stuff, but he is the worst SS in the entire league on most nights. It is killing a club and the guy is not getting better is the season goes on.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 25, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

This team needs some passion. I know the players love Riggleman because he's always defending them, but he needs to get in some people's faces and yell once in a while. Tell these players that their mistakes are unacceptable and then follow it up by sitting them for a few days.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 25, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Desmond has a real problem fielding grounders when there's a base runner crossing in front of him. They need to practice that with him over and over, imo. Otherwise, he's gonna keep bobbling those plays.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 25, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

You can't blame the manager, coaches, general manager or players. Seriously! We have had several years under Ted Lerner of cost saving and profit maximization as top priorities. This had led to extraordinarily slow progress in building the ballclub. What we are seeing this year is another last place effort, as morale on the club has to be deteriorating due to the lack of ownership support.

Teams in much smaller markets spend 30 to 60 percent higher than the Nats. Minnesoata has a region of 2.2 million fewer people yet outspends the Nats by 59 percent. Detroit has a million fewer people than the Nats but has double the Nats' payroll (literally 100 percent higher).

Now all the talk is, "What can we get for our salary dumps?" A franchise intent on team-building would collect quality players over a period of years that can either be turned into wins or prospects (or some of each). But the Nats have too few assets that can be turned into either wins or prospects, and that is caused by excessive frugality. A couple years of excessive frugality would not be not so bad, but this seems to be a permanent condition around here by now.

The games are lost in the off-season when the budgets are set.

Posted by: EdDC | July 25, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

If Rizzo is seriously receiving multiple calls about Willie Harris, then how can he not pull the trigger? The guy is awful. I don't care about his "clubhouse presence" or other "intangibles". He doesn't produce. To get any other prospect would be of greater value to this team then keep Harris.

Posted by: amorris525 | July 25, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Desmond needs to be sent down to the minors and kept there until he proves he can field his position. And he needs to stop being the "face of the franchise" in the numerous post-game appearances on TV that he makes. What's up with that?

Too bad Riggleman can't be sent down as well until he proves he can manage.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 25, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Amorris, I am with you. Harris being a good guy and all is nice, but this club is not without veterans, it is not like that vet presence is causing them to win and Harris would likely LOVE a fresh start with a new club in the hunt. My guess is that no one is calling on Harris so much as Rizzo is calling other clubs seeing if he can move the guy.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 25, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

And JohnRDC, I am also with you.
Desmond simply does not have the concentration needed to play the most demanding postion on the field. Management trotting him out there every night is a disgrace. The pitchers are playing to win, and playing for contracts, the fans are looking for wins. In order to win you need a SS to catch and throw first and hit second, if at all. Desmond is just not a MLB SS. I think he can get it together, but he simply should not be playing SS in the bigs. The kid should be back in 'Cuse fielding grounders and doing drills. Fundamentals are tuaght in the minors not the Major Leagues.

My guess is that they've told him over and over that he's safe, just stay loose play your game, go out every day and just be Ian Desmond and it'll work itself out as the raw talent eventaully shows through. The approach, at least the playing him every night no matter how bad his D is -- and it makes Guz's clanky glove look Golden in comparison -- is not working.

How about they tell Demsond that in order to play SS every day in MLB, you have to make the play, every play, over and over and over, you have to be automatic. It is an adventure out there with that guy every night, every ball. It's time. September call ups are not so far away. I am sure they can find someone to talk to on MASN post-game until then.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 25, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman doesn't rip his players in the media which is Management 101. Who knows what gets said behind the clubhouse door.
As Dibble said, 2 hop ground balls need to be fielded cleanly at the ML level and ultimately the way you fix fielding (and other problems) is to change personnel.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 25, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Here's the thing: Ian won't benefit from more time in the minors...he's spent too much time there already. Who knows what'll "fix" him? You know the old bromide about kids only sticking their hand in flame (or on a hot plate, etc.) and getting burned once? Not Ian. And that nonsense he spouts about "hey, that's who I am..." and the equally nonsensical fact that he's always on the TV, his team mates have nary a bad thing to say about his performance....
Having said that, I Do think sending him down is the right move, if only to shake him AND this team outta their complacency. Rizzo-and everyone else in this organization - have made it clear that "he's their guy." So send a message...a couple of weeks might do it. How nice would it be to wake up and hear Rizzo say something like he did about Cabrera when he got official control? "I just got tired of seeing him take the mound" or something like that. It seems apparent to me that Rizzo is determined to see what he has in both Ian and Nyjer for the future by giving them every opportunity to prove they're capable-but I do expect that he'll be cold blooded with 'em after the year is up.
Also-the saber stats show Willie is best (and very good) in left why, when you have a young and fragile piece of the future pitching, do you stick him at third? You wanna give Will more p.t.? You're not doing him any favors playing him at 3rd.
Thing is....the wheels have come off this cart. There are SO many issues...and try as I might to be charitable to all involved, to keep believing in the future-at this point I'm reaching the "who cares" stage. I know it will pass, but imagine if you're not a serious seam head like those of us here. WHAT exactly has this team done to really get a casual or new baseball fan excited? Stras? "OK-I'm casually excited, but I DON'T really CARE about 'em".
And so here us Gangsters sit...bewildered, angry, least we still care.
For now.
Go Nats.

Posted by: zendo | July 25, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Lets just cut to the chase.... this team does not have enough talent to compete on a day to day basis. Moves like getting MOrgan and Burnett, Morse, Walker, etc. are like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 25, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you too Zendo -- I am never this agreeable. BUT, Desmond is 24, it is not exactly like he's toiled away in the minors learning his craft. And he never mastered any level before getting here. The kid MAY have the chips to be a very good player, but he's just ridiculous out there.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 25, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Also-the saber stats show Willie is best (and very good) in left why, when you have a young and fragile piece of the future pitching, do you stick him at third? Posted by: zendo | July 25, 2010 7:05 PM

Willie is one of the least productive corner OF in all of MLB, even if he is adequate as a defensive LF. Only the Nats would start him a couple dozen times as a corner OF, for budgetary reasons of course. Why not collect some real players?

Posted by: EdDC | July 25, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

E.B.M. EVERYBODY BUT MARTIS!!! I don't care about his options,contract,or any of the other BS just get him up here the starting staff is basically in shambles sans Livo and "The Kid" with the bullpen on the verge of breaking down(if they haven't already)you know a couple of month's back i had hopes but now...........................

Posted by: dargregmag | July 25, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Zendo: Well said my friend it's tough right now, i say i'm not gonna watch em today and then............. there i sit with the remote in my hand hoping and praying that the team i saw back in May will somehow show itself but it seems it's only getting worse they're killin me slowly but surely, i guess like you said Zendo we could all be more forgiving if Riggs showed some emotion but he gives the impression that everything will be just fine but the truth is we all know different.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 25, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I was really looking forward to Riggleman, after Acta. But from day to day, as the breakdowns swing from offense to pitching to defense to base-running, I would like to see at least a modicum of ill-temper from Riggleman about the play. I guess being a "player's manager" means never having to say your sorry to the fans for the pitiful display. We are told they are "trying hard". But the stat in today's Post that the Nats are 1 and 49 in games in which they are trailing going into the 9th is chilling. These guys are playing as individuals and not as a team and if we are not going to look at their leadership as a possible culprit, I wish at least we didn't have to hear more defenses of their commitment from the manager. Dibble and Knight are being criticized for being critical. Maybe they just think SOMEONE has to call these guys out.

Posted by: tradeczar | July 25, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-agreed, Ed. Shoulda made it clear I was referring to his "d". And you know what? I'm still a fan of his. If some GOOD team is interested in him-free Willie! His talents-and however diminished, he still has some-are not suited to a team like ours. And thanks, dfh and greg...yea, I got the MLB package yet still I raise my blood pressure watching us make the same mistakes-how many times am I gonna have to watch the same show, rerun after rerun?
And czar, I'm with you too. Lou Piniella is ALSO considered a players manager, you know? My parents loved me and I STILL got a whuppin' every now and then-BECAUSE they loved me.
Right now it's as if we're living the last lines from "The Great Gatsby":"(Nats Fans) believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning-
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
I know, it's only baseball...
Thanks Gangsters, talk to you soon.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 25, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree that more time in the minors will not fix Desmond. He spent 6 years there and played the same way - poor defense and streaky hitting - before Davey Johnson or whoever decided he would be the next Derek Jeter in the bigs.

I'm sure we will continue to suffer through him. But as a rabid Nats fan and full season ticket holder since the first day they went on sale, I'd like to say I'm sick of watching him play and doubly sick of his arrogant post game interviews.

It's sad how this promising season has turned around but there is still time to finish on a high note.

I'll get my red on for Tuesday.

Posted by: longhorn64 | July 25, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Seems like Ian was regarded by the "experts" before he came up as a C+ prospect, while the Nats' FO regarded Ian as the SS for the next 15 years. A fixture. Same for Maxwell, a marginal too-old prospect said the "experts" but a genuine prospect by the Nats' FO, who is ready to "break out" any time. I am spinning from all the spin. How do we cut through it all?

Posted by: EdDC | July 25, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

And then, when the Nats finally get a good one, like Adam Dunn, it is time to unload him for some more hopes and wishes.

Posted by: EdDC | July 25, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

There is still Espinosa, Kobernus, and perhaps Lombardozzi. But that is 2 years away ...

Posted by: periculum | July 25, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

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