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Today's lineup

Behind J.D. Martin, Willie Harris gets a crack in right field and against Reds right-handed start Johnny Cueto. Otherwise, it's the standard fare.

Nationals
1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Cristian Guzman, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ivan Rodriguez, C
7. Willie Harris, RF
8. Ian Desmond, SS
9. J.D. Martin, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 19, 2010; 3:08 PM ET
 
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Next: Justin Maxwell likely headed back to Syracuse -- again

Comments

Why is Willie Harris starting instead of Mike Morse? It seems ridiculous to keep having to ask this.

Posted by: bipothemo | July 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Morse sits vs RH pitching, not that I agree. But if he wants to get Harris in the game why can't he sit Morgan every now and then. Willie can play CF better that RF. It must be that they feel Morgan on the bench is totally worthless.

Posted by: sjt1455 | July 19, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

In my fantasy team Willy Harris would be the starting Right Casher at the Nationals Team Store.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

They seem to be in total denial about what ails this team.

The number one problem over the past two months, even worse than the sloppy defense and baserunning, has been the squandering of good pitching performances by the failure to score runs.

And the response is to play Willie Harris a little more, after 26 out of 27 scoreless innings? I don't get it.

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 19, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

What, you didn't hear? Willie's being showcased for the big trade.

Posted by: slopitchtom | July 19, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Nothing says, "we need to produce on offence" like Willie Harris.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 19, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Morse vs LHP: .263/.317/421 (38ab)
Morse vs RHP: .382/.432/687 (34ab)

nothing like a creative platoon to rally the troops.

Posted by: longterm | July 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Harris vs LHP: .133/.188/.200
Harris vs RHP: .183/.289/.349

Posted by: longterm | July 19, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Harris vs LHP: .133/.188/.200 (15ab)
Harris vs RHP: .183/.289/.349 (109ab)

sorry, forgot the AB

Posted by: longterm | July 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Man Crush Mode (MCM) Riggleman full speed ahead to 100 losses and another #1 of #1's pick! Yeah baby!

Posted by: periculum | July 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of offense, it's interesting to look at the numbers Marrero and Espinosa are putting up in Harrisburg.

Espinosa, who is hitting leadoff, has 11 homers, just one fewer than Marrero. He's also stolen 18 bases. But he's going to need to cut down on his strikeouts. Espinosa already has whiffed 83 times -- 14 more than Marrero.

Posted by: Drew8 | July 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable! Staring into the abyss looking for nothing, hold on its Willie Harris to the rescue.

When its comes to expectations in NatsTown I've come to expect the unimaginable.

To all those who scoff at 100 loses, its pretty easy to sumise, they have 70 games left. If they win 22 and lose 48 that equals 62-100. Now if you think its impossible that they only win 22 more think back to mid May when they were at 20-15 no one thought (including some of the Post writers) they would almost triple their loses in roughly two months, well they did. With 11 weeks left in the season at this point anything in NatsTown is possible.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, if I was manager of a team and I wanted to lose more games than I won, what would I do?
1. Continually play weaker hitting and weaker fielding players while keeping the better hitting and better fielding players on the bench.
Check.

Not worth even discussing anymore.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 19, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

This is getting comical... how is giving Willie Harris any starts a good idea? And why does Riggleman continue to insist that Morgan needs to be in CF every single freakin' day AND hit leadoff every freakin' single day... the dude has struggled all year at the plate, on the bases and in the field... he is a PART TIME PLAYER who doesn't need to be out there every day... give him more off days... and/or let him bath 7th or 8th in the lineup for a while... I really think they are delusional when it comes to Morgan at this point...

If you are going to play Harris, why not site Morgan and put Bernie in CF... we aren't going to the playoffs, why not get relatively young guys like Bernie and Morse more at bats to see what they are made of... and give relatively older guys like Morgan and Harris less and less at bats, especially since THEY AREN'T EVEN PERFORMING as well as those two afore mentioned younger guys...

Come on, give us something to watch and hope for! Ugh...

Posted by: Ghost7 | July 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

OUTFIELDERS:

Willingham vs LHP: .297/.435/.581 (74ab)
Willingham vs RHP: .269/.392/.461 (219ab)

Morgan vs LHP: .247/.330/.309 (97ab)
Morgan vs RHP: .258/.311/.320 (244ab)

Bernadina vs LHP: .250/.318/.450 (20ab)
Bernadina vs RHP: .283/.342/.422 (173ab)

Harris vs LHP: .133/.188/.200 (15ab)
Harris vs RHP: .183/.289/.349 (109ab)

Morse vs LHP: .263/.317/.421 (38ab)
Morse vs RHP: .382/.432/.687 (34ab)

Maxwell vs LHP: .174/.457/.348 (23ab)
Maxwell vs RHP: .000/.111/.000 (15 ab)

Posted by: erocks33 | July 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Lets be fare to Morgan.

Willie Harris makes Morgan look like an All Star.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 19, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

MIDDLE INFIELDERS:

Guzman vs LHP: .347/.381/.439 (98ab)
Guzman vs RHP: .271/.325/.333 (192ab)

Desmond vs LHP: .265/.291/.482 (83ab)
Desmond vs RHP: .250/.297/.352 (196ab)

Kennedy vs LHP: .364/.462/.455 (22ab)
Kennedy vs RHP: .226/.293/.305 (164ab)

Gonzalez vs LHP: .321/.367/.429 (28ab)
Gonzalez vs RHP: .286/.314/.367 (49ab)

Posted by: erocks33 | July 19, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr Kilgore, you are the reporter that covers the Nats. Could you at least do your job and ask the Manager the one pertinent question that we all seem to want an answer to:

Why does Riggleman continue to put Willie Harris, in spite of his horrible stats, in the lineup? And why doesn't he want to put Mike Morse, who has excellent stats, in the lineup?

And one more question, why does it seem that it would take a federal injunction to get Nyjer Morgan out of the lineup?

Could you please do your job and ask the questions we all want answered?
Thank you.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

CATCHERS:

Rodriguez vs LHP: .383/.413/.500 (60ab)
Rodriguez vs RHP: .250/.276/.329 (164ab)

Nieves vs LHP: .095/.136/.095 (21ab)
Nieves vs RHP: .211/.240/.295 (95ab)

Posted by: erocks33 | July 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

peric, thinking we're gonna lose 100 is one thing, it's possible.
Thinking that we can earn the number one pick, now that's a real stretch.
Cause then you be counting not only on the Nats playing .315 ball, but you'd also be asking the Orioles to play .479 ball!

We've let the Orioles get too big a lead on us. I think the race for the number 1 pick is all but over.

But Riggleman will do his best to get us to 100, that's for sure!

Posted by: Sunderland | July 19, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman vs sane decisions: 0.00
Riggleman vs insane decisions: 1000.000

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 19, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@skins_fan_22, already answered.

Michael Morse, in his only appearance in the series, got a clutch hit in the ninth inning to raise his average against right handed pitching. Earlier in the game Riggleman had put Morse in the on deck circle, and again demurred, pulled him back for, you guessed it, Willie Harris.

Morse gets hits and gets benched. Harris is ineffectual and doesn't hit and gets to start?

Man Crush Mode Riggleman full speed ahead to 100 losses and the #1 of #1's! Yeah baby!

Posted by: periculum | July 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Harris is our tickets to a higher draft pick

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 19, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

oh, and why not...here are some splits from some of the Nats minor leaguers:

Chase Lambin (AAA): 31 y.o., switch-hitting 2B/OF
vs LHP: .288/.317/.432 (118ab)
vs RHP: .277/.364/.477 (220ab)

Leonard Davis (AAA): 27yo, lefty-hitting OF/IF
vs LHP: .266/.333/.297 (64ab)
vs RHP: .264/.328/.528 (125ab)

Boomer Whiting (AAA): 27yo, switch-hitting OF
vs LHP: .309/.397/.382 (55ab)
vs RHP: .253/.404/.322 (87ab)

Jason Botts (AAA): 30 yo, switch-hitting OF
vs LHP: .333/.415/.528 (36ab)
vs RHP: .280/.378/.507 (75ab)

Pete Orr (AAA): 31 yo; lefty-hitting MI/OF
vs LHP: .200/.296/.274 (95ab)
vs RHP: .250/.322/.445 (236ab)

At this point, I would take any of these guys to bat versus a RHP than Willie Harris or Adam Kennedy (yes, even Pete Orr!).

Posted by: erocks33 | July 19, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

periculum,

I am with youon this one. Let's Trade Willingham, Dunn, Livo, Pudge, and Capps. Then we can put
Willie in LF
Morgan stays in Center
Platoon Bernie, and Guzie in RF
Put Maxwell and 1st
Kennedy at 2nd
Error Desmond still at SS
Zimm still at 3rd
Nievis/Morse catching

Shut down SS run out the following starters

Lannan
Mock
Bergman
Stamen
and Chico

Oh and recall Valone as our closer.


With this line up the #1 pick is ours!!!!!


Our Motto should be WE SUX AGAIN!!!!!!


Posted by: hansenjo | July 19, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Riggleman wants Cueto to be overconfident tonight.

Genius.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 19, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

We haven't scored since Friday and are playing the first place team on the road so Riggs starts Harris and Morgan. Getting hard to take.

Posted by: Avar | July 19, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mike Rizzo,

Please get Harris out of Riggleman's dugout.
I don't care where he goes, I don't care what we put in there, maybe a second bat boy.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 19, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

What about Gonzalez? Why are his appearances so rare?

Posted by: roseglasses | July 19, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris (hitting seventh) isn't the problem with this team. Past performance this year isn't predictive of future results.

The problem is with the first through fifth hitters. For example, Dunn this year: bases empty (180 AB) .328 with 16 HR. Runners on (150 AB) .240 with 6 HR. Runners in scoring position (89 AB) .213 with 3 HR. Scoring position with 2 outs (38 AB): .079. That's no typo: he's 3 for 38.

Posted by: BPupp | July 19, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

And one more question, why does it seem that it would take a federal injunction to get Nyjer Morgan out of the lineup?

Posted by: skins_fan_22

Because his boss traded for Morgan and anointed him the catalyst. If he sat Morgan down, it would make his boss look bad. Or wrong. Is it starting to sink in? These guys are just sucking up and cashing paychecks. They merely want to keep their jobs. They don't care about winning. That's why they're in last place for the fourth year in a row.

Posted by: Brue | July 19, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say this, since I've been more forgiving of the front office, manager and coaches than most people here:

I don't think extra practice is the way to force players to become better and I don't buy the "kick 'em in the butt and chew 'em out" theory.

The one effective inducement for players, IMHO, is playing time. Play well, play more. Play poorly, play less.

Which is a long way of saying I don't know why Willie Harris is in there tonight.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 19, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

BPupp - There's only 1 problem with your theory about Dunn and others being the problem.

A wise person once said "Past performance this year isn't predictive of future results. "
*************************************

Willie Harris (hitting seventh) isn't the problem with this team. Past performance this year isn't predictive of future results.

The problem is with the first through fifth hitters. For example, Dunn this year: bases empty (180 AB) .328 with 16 HR. Runners on (150 AB) .240 with 6 HR. Runners in scoring position (89 AB) .213 with 3 HR. Scoring position with 2 outs (38 AB): .079. That's no typo: he's 3 for 38.

Posted by: BPupp | July 19, 2010 5:26 PM

Posted by: Sunderland | July 19, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

BPupp,

If "[p]ast performance this year isn't predictive of future results" why are you writing about Dunn's past performance?

Why not just say that Harris has been terrible and that Dunn's numbers (such as HR and BA) are misleading--he hasn't come through often enough for a cleanup hitter. And that those numbers don't exactly show what will happen from here out, but they don't make you want to buy a ticket for future games when Strasburg isn't pitching?

Posted by: BPupp | July 19, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Nice post Sunderland if its accurate, which I'm sure it is.

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

Posted by: CJArlington | July 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Sabermetricians, I need your help.

BPupp brought up what almost everyone else has noticed, that Dunn with RISP is dismal.

Now Boz wrote a few days ago (in an online chat?) that Dunn was actually quite good in what he referred to as high leverage situations. I just assumed Boz was just cheking to see if anyone was paying attention.

Anyone know what Boz was talking about?
I'm just curious.
I don't to refer to a thermometer to see if it's hot today. I know it's hot.
And I don't need to refer to stat to know that Dunn has hit the ball far and hard, just not often with men on base. I know it.

Anyway, if you can point me to the right Sabermetric-ometer, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 19, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

>And I don't need to refer to stat to know that Dunn has hit the ball far and hard, just not often with men on base. I know it.

Posted by: Sunderland

I think what Boz was saying is that you need a brain to know that trading Dunn isn't the answer to the offensive problems. #1,2,6,7,8 in the order are the problems. Dunn's been swinging at a lot of stuff off the plate because they don't really have to pitch to him. The middle of the lineup can't hurt you if nobody else is hitting. It's only three hitters. If he was on a decent team, he'd see a lot more strikes, and all this whining about his production would probably cease. It's a fool's game to focus on your biggest hitter.

Posted by: Brue | July 19, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo and Riggs have succeeded in making the Nats relevant (well not really relevant, but interesting anyway) once every 5 days. Period.
Good job Boys!

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 19, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Brue.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 19, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

You want a crappy lineup, I'll give you a crappy lineup, filled by players who have actually played their starting positions in the 2010 season to date...

CF- Morgan
2B- Gonzalez
3B- Harris
RF- Morse
LF- Maxwell
SS- Guzman
1B- Kennedy
CA- Nieves
SP-

Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls - Your Washington Nationals bench.

Posted by: BinM | July 19, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Brue, other NJ'ers.
I found what Boswell wrote about Dunn, that there is sabermetrics that show is is good in the clutch, in "high leverage" situations.

I wasn't sure know how to rationalize this with a guy whose career batting average and slugging percentage are highest with bases empty, both lower with runners on, both lower still with RISP, and both lower still with RISP and 2 outs.
Then I noticed that his OBP increases with each step too. Basically, he's been, for the past 6 years (for which I have stats) taking the walk for too often in those situations (a common complaint about Dunn).

Anyway, Boz's comments are below.
And for the record, I really love Adam Dunn, especially the fact that he's swinging more and walking less this year.

From Boz, 7/15/2010 Chat
"The best stat for "clutch hitting" is probably the "leverage index" which calculates the "win probability" for every possible game situation. Then it measures how much that probability CHANGES with various outcomes __from GIDP to HR.

In his career, Dunn (career OPS .905) has had an OPS of .926 in High Leverage (clutch) situations. In Medium Leverage, his career OPS is .889. In low leverage (blow out games, nobody on base, etc.) it is .909.

So, he is very consistent. But he is BETTER in the clutch than at any other time. Not by much, but by a little.

In 1,232 high-leverage plate appearances, he has an on-base percentage of .399, a slugging average of .526 and has driven in 315 runs in 965 at bats. (The other PA's ended in walks.)

So, in high-leverage situations over 10 seasons, he's driven in one run for every three at bats! Is that good enough?"

Posted by: Sunderland | July 19, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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