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Today's lineups

Having scored no runs in 36 of 38 innings, the Nationals will make a minor change to the top of their lineup against Reds rookie Mike Leake: Shortstop Ian Desmond will second. Desmond's on-base percentage is only .295 for the season, but batting from the second spot this season he is 12 for 34 with a home run and a triple. Adam Kennedy is back in at second base, his third start in four games.

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

Reds
1. Orlando Cabrera, SS
2. Paul Janish, 2B
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Johnny Gomes, LF
5. Jay Bruce, RF
6. Miguel Cairo, 3B
7. Drew Stubbs, CF
8. Corky Miller, C
9. Mike Leake, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 20, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

Where's Willie Harris? Also of note is that Pudge is dropped to 7th.

Posted by: rbelleisle | July 20, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Adam,

Have you asked Riggleman lately why he persists with Morgan every single day when he has three outfielders who are playing significantly better? With all the recent losing, I don't get how he justifies sitting Morse or Bernadina and playing Morgaan every stinking day.

It's very hard to watch. Very frustrating. I've been with this team since Barry first signed in to this blog from Panera in '05 and this ranks up there for frustration points for me. I'm one of the 9,000 that actually watches these stupid games on TV. I feel like the guys with the drum in Major League. Obviously, we've been worse and had worse players. But, now we finally have three good outfielders and the manager won't play them.

I just don't get it.

Posted by: Avar | July 20, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but just noticed this - "Adam Kennedy gets his third start in four games".

Same issue. Why won't he put the best players on the field? I get playing AK to keep him fresh but 3 out of 4? What possible justification is there for that?

Posted by: Avar | July 20, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@Avar,
I'm right with you brother... AND, there is no discussion, to me as if it is just an "understanding" that those inside the loop have. So, perhaps there is a "plan" for Nyjer (like hoping someone else will take a flyer on him before July 31) that we aren't privy to knowing.

I'm not a Nyjer hater, but with Morse and Bernie doing their part, it is baffling to not give them more opps to play.

----------
Have you asked Riggleman lately why he persists with Morgan every single day when he has three outfielders who are playing significantly better? With all the recent losing, I don't get how he justifies sitting Morse or Bernadina and playing Morgaan every stinking day.

It's very hard to watch. Very frustrating. I've been with this team since Barry first signed in to this blog from Panera in '05 and this ranks up there for frustration points for me. I'm one of the 9,000 that actually watches these stupid games on TV. I feel like the guys with the drum in Major League. Obviously, we've been worse and had worse players. But, now we finally have three good outfielders and the manager won't play them.

Posted by: mo_dc | July 20, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Avar, I feel your pain re morgan. Sadley I don't get to see the games where I live, so I follow on line and that is worse.

Posted by: olduffer501 | July 20, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

LOL, the delusion continues... put guys with .312 and .295 OBP in the first two slots of the order... and then ask "why didn't our team score any runs" or "strange how Zimm/Dunn/Hammer always hit solo homers, I wonder why that is"...

Why is Kennedy getting ABs when Guzman is outperforming him on all accounts... Why must Morgan play every single freakin' day, or, at the very least, why is it insisted upon that he hits leadoff every single freakin' day, at least move him to the bottom of the lineup until he starts hitting!...

Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"... I think this is quicky approaching the level of insanity...

Now go out and score 12 runs tonight, boys!

Posted by: Ghost7 | July 20, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I think/suspect Morgan is more of a Rizzo edict as playing Desmond is. If not you can be well assured that with Riggleman Guzman would be the starting shortstop and Desmond a utility man. Willie Harris would be in center field (yes, even hitting .170) and Morgan would be on the bench. You would probably see Pete Orr at second base for Kennedy at times or in right field when he wasn't. Maxwell would most assuredly be in right field and center alternating with Harris.

And it would be looking like the #1 of #1's would be coming to this franchise and our way again. Because the record would be worst than the Orioles.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-well, seems my attempts to provoke a discussion about the Slows ain't getting any traction (although a few of you have made passing comments). I can think of a couple of reasons-primarily that it's too depressing to even "go there" coupled with a fatalistic sorta "que sera, sera. But like any junkie, while I hope my dealers' supplier doesn't get popped...I'm still primarily interested in my next fix! Which is the team day-to-day...and, of course all of your comments.
SO...I'll save the Slows for a later day... and say:BinM - agreed about the surfeit of 3-5's...except that we've only seen the 5's in action, and I'd be more inclined to move 'em down a notch-#4-6's!. So maybe a real #3 looks....?
And Baltova:I fergit what it was, but I agree...you, too dfh (vis a vis Dunn's extension)
Now, contrary to most, I actually think Kennedy would have been decent IF Riggs had stuck with him instead of turning to Guzman when he got hot early (another junkie analogy would fit here). Plus I gotta figure having a career 2nd baseman (heck-even consistently the SAME player at 2nd) would have been a stabilizing force for Desmond.
Lastly, I think hansenjo pointed out our "holes". Now, while I'd keep Dunn....on a leadership/intangibles level having a rookie S.S. who leads the majors in errors as your "go to" guy for TV -the public leader, so to speak (as well as the extravagant praise he continues to receive from pretty much everybody in the org)....well, that to me is perhaps our BIGGEST hole.
As for lineups-Kennedy, Roger (cf) and Morse (rf). Stick with it for 10 games and see what happens.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 20, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Guzman, who is a terrible fielder, and undisciplined hitter with no power, but he is on pace for the most walks since he left Minnesota and Kennedy can't even hit for average which is one thing Guzman does well.

Posted by: 202character | July 20, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

This whole team has felt like the movie Major League for 5 years running ......only it's been Major League 3

And NOBODY wants to see a cardboard cut-out of Mark Lerner.

Posted by: CBinDC1 | July 20, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Plus I gotta figure having a career 2nd baseman (heck-even consistently the SAME player at 2nd) would have been a stabilizing force for Desmond."

Just as a completely random pregame gripe, I absolutely HATE the backhand flip that Kennedy (and now Guzman) use to start a 4-6-3. It's too soft, it's usually off-target, and it never gets to the shortstop in proper timing. Lord knows that Desmond's made more than his fair share of errors that are completely his fault, but at least a few of the errant double-play attempts have been due to that goofy backhand flip.

Posted by: joebleux | July 20, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Guzman, who is a terrible fielder, and undisciplined hitter with no power, but he is on pace for the most walks since he left Minnesota and Kennedy can't even hit for average which is one thing Guzman does well.

Posted by: 202character | July 20, 2010 4:18 PM

This is why I don't even get into the "play this player over this player" argument. There are so many weak spots, and almost every player has a glaring weakness or three. No wonder the backup QB is always the most popular guy in town - when he's not playing everyone forgets about how terrible he is. People crying for Gonzalez... how did last year go? People crying for more Guzman... same guys who have wanted him out of town for years. Kennedy only plays well when he's in the lineup... but don't play Kennedy. Give the young guys 3 months of starts... but don't play Desmond.

Bottom line is that we need better players. All Riggleman can do is shift things around a plan for match-ups + put guys like Kennedy and Harris in the shop window. Roger Bernadina and Christian Guzman batting 1-2 isn't going to turn us into the '27 Yanks.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 20, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

As the late George Steinbrenner said of Fidel Castro, sometimes you have to put up before they shut up. That's kind of where I am with Nyjer Morgan starting every day.

Posted by: flotsam3 | July 20, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

This whole team has felt like the movie Major League for 5 years running ......only it's been Major League 3

And NOBODY wants to see a cardboard cut-out of Mark Lerner.

Posted by: CBinDC1 | July 20, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Well Jim Riggleman does look like a little like Scott Bakula...

Posted by: alex35332 | July 20, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-with you, Joe. Also with Kev-as easy as it would be for me to advocate starting Gonzo at 2nd (or even S.S. and moving Desi to 2nd)-I too remember last year when, given a chance to prove himself a starter, he opened with a horrendous string of errors-which had many clamoring for HIS being DFA'd. Bottom line (again with you Kev)where are THE PLAYERS! Back over to you, Slows!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 20, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Just don't get the whole Kennedy thing with Riggleman. Would really like to hear the explanation for not playing Gonzo. Why doesn't Kilgore ask that question? Guzman and Kennedy won't be here next year. I understand they need to keep him around in case Dunn is traded but for Riggleman to take the blame for Kennedy's performance is bizzare. The man is a veteran making over $1M. He should be mentally prepared to play AT ANY TIME! If Riggleman wants to be accountable for a player's poor performance maybe he should DFA himself.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 20, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Zendo:
Thanks for the continued 'shout-outs', but the point I was trying to drive home there was the team can't afford to give up it's only LH power hitter to the WhiteSox for yet another #3-4SP; Got more than enough of those, thanks but no thanks.
Too bad the Costco/Sam's Club model (sell by volume/bulk) doesn't work in MLB, or we could move a bunch of those #5SP's for an ace.


Posted by: BinM | July 20, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I vote that we try and move a bunch of our lower end pitchers for an Ace. Stamen and someone else for that guy the D-Backs were gonna throw our way?

Posted by: alex35332 | July 20, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I have my theories about Riggleman ... and I won't voice them here. The more I see of the guys he "favors" for starts and at bats the more he frightens me.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I am not getting his whole keeping guys fresh mentality. What are you keeping them fresh for? There will be plenty of time at the end of the season to play the scrubs, go with your best lineup every night!

Posted by: Tom8 | July 20, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy is a waste of space and extremely annoying as a person best I can tell. Ship him back to the west coast for a low-prospect, 250K, and a bag of peanuts and play Gonzo more.

Posted by: CJArlington | July 20, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I am extremely tired seeing Ian Desmond, the disappointing rookie, do so many of the post-game interviews. Who has decreed that he is now the "face of the franchise"? Good God. In the interviews, he comes across as being full of himself and unaware how mediocre he is as a player.

I agree that I cannot stand to see the weak A Kennedy backhand throws to second on DP balls hit to him. Where did this get started?

All in all, the season is turning out to be a Rizzo/Riggleman disaster.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 20, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, you know, Fat Boy hasn't had too many days off at 2B lately. And he deserves it before he starts making a copious amount of errors. Gotta save the legs. Give my bud Adam some ABs. Adam Uppercut Kennedy baybee he doesn't have little man's disease or anything does he baybee!?!?! Can of corn baybee look at my softball slo-pitch windmill cut baybeeeee

Posted by: Brue | July 20, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey i'm as perplexed as anyone as to why AK get's another start but they won't even give Martis(Syr.) a shot now all i've got see is Atilano blow up tonite and i'll know this is a certified bunch of numbskull's from Rizzo on down!

Posted by: dargregmag | July 20, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy is a waste of space and extremely annoying as a person best I can tell. Ship him back to the west coast for a low-prospect, 250K, and a bag of peanuts and play Gonzo more
___________________________________________

I have no reason to think Kennedy is an annoying person, especially given his reaction to baserunning mistake #2 of the Fla series on Sunday. But no team in their right mind would give the Nats so much in return for him. Maybe if the Nats pay his remaining salary someone might throw in the proverbial bag of balls...

So why does Riggs insist on covering for him and Harris instead of trying to win or see what Bernie, Morse, even Maxwell can do given the chance to play? Gonzo is a utility man and won't stand the play everyday test, but is still a better option than Kennedy, who, unfortunately, seems to have lost all confidence and may be washed up. But we would need another utility man, and all the minor league prospects are 28-31 y.o. career minor league guys. 4 years into the current ownership and still no position prospects worth a darn. Was that your plan Stan?

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | July 20, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

>Hey i'm as perplexed as anyone as to why AK get's another start but they won't even give Martis(Syr.) a shot now all i've got see is Atilano blow up tonite and i'll know this is a certified bunch of numbskull's from Rizzo on down!

Posted by: dargregmag

Yeah Martis on his worst days throws harder than Atilano. No doubt in my mind. Keeping the ball on the corners was his problem. Couldn't be any worse. Public Service Announcement #358 - please wear batting helmets tonite while watching the game at home as you may be struck with a REALLY HARD LINE DRIVE

Posted by: Brue | July 20, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Can't remember where I heard this yesterday but apparently the Reds are using their $25M Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman out of the bullpen in the minors
and plan to bring him up as a reliever. I checked his stats and his last start was June 23. Guess he's not ready to be a starter. Good thind we lost that bidding war.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 20, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

It's great to be complaining though isn't it? We weren't able to do this in 2004!! I'm thankful for the Nats every day. But with that said, I'm with everyone else scratching their head about Morgan playing day in and day out. The season is toast, we need to see if Bernadina and Morse are really a part of the core for the next few years or just nice-to-haves. And what is the crime of just having pinch hitters and utility guys that KNOW their place. Why even throw Kennedy and Harris in the mix?? Daryl Ward had a great role and I don't remember him starting but a few games ever. Stop rotating this mess around and get rid of the dead weight. Let Gonzo be a premier utility guy and get a Matt Stairs/Ward type to come off the bench when you need a bomb. We have to many of the same type of role players!! If we have to compromise with Bobblehead Riggs at all, at least let Morse/Bernadina platoon ala Roenicke/Lowenstein (although I'd rather see both play every day for the rest of the year, just to see what we have) My main hope at this point is to see the injured pitchers all return to give us promise for the last month or so; then one (or two) big free agent signings in the offseason. Then I hope someone kills Screetch with the t-shirt bazooka.

Posted by: natsfan74 | July 20, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

My memory is that both Barry and Chico used to respond to direct questions when they were reasonable. I was hoping that my question today was reasonable and that Adam would respond. I really want to know why Riggleman keeps putting Morgan and Kennedy on the lineup card.

Adam,
I think it's a reasonable question and it would mean a lot to me if you would ask it and then tell us the answer you are given.

Posted by: Avar | July 20, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Avar, I'll second that. Why doesn't SOMEONE ask the tough question? Why Morgan every night, and why Harris and Kennedy in so many starts? Why, why, why?? And if Riggs says, "we have to get them going" then the follow-up is "why, why, why??"

Posted by: natsfan74 | July 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Thinking toward the future a little (post July 31), and barring any trades, what can be done to the roster?
> Release underperformers/Damaged goods like Willie Harris (IF-OF), Ryan Mattheus (RP), and Collin Balester (RP) from the 40-man roster; Add untested players like Josh Wilkie (RP), Tom Milone (SP) and either Chase Lambin (IF) or Leonard Davis (IF-LF) & give them a 'cup of coffee' in the majors; One or more might just stick.
> Purge the majority of the non-guaranteed contracts via non-tender or buy-outs, and let some of the FA-eligible players walk as well; THis is from the current 40+man roster...
FA eligible(8): Dunn, Guzman, Harris; Batista, Hernandez, Peralta, Slaten, Walker. [Re-sign Dunn & Hernandez, let the rest walk.]
Players w/option(1): Kennedy. [Take the buy-out]
Arbitration eligible(6): Nieves, Willingham, Flores, Olsen, Burnett, Capps. [Re-sign Willingham, tender Burnett, possibly Olsen & Capps as well; Flores & Nieves are probably both finished in DC].
Too close to call/Arbitration (players nearing 3yrs service time)(8): AGonzalez, Morgan, Bernadina, Morse, Maxwell, Mock, Chico, Lannan. [Dump Maxwell & Mock, Morgan, AGonz, & Chico are debatable; Bring back Bernadina, Morse & Lannan.]
Controlled(15): Desmond, Stammen, Martin, Atilano, Martis, Thompson, Detwiler, Zimmermann, Jaime, Clippard, Storen, English, Severino, Mattheus, Balester. [Drop Mattheus & Balester, keep the rest.]
Under extended contract(5): IRodriguez('11), Zimmerman('12), Strasburg('13), Marquis ('11), Wang('11).
With 43 players on the current roster, keep 30 & open the gates for promotions / FA signings. Keep the "core" (Dunn, Willingham, Zimmerman) intact, give another year to others (Desmond, Bernadina, Morse, maybe AGonz & Morgan) offensively & Burnett, Lannan, along with maybe Olsen and Capps and the rest of the controlled arms.

Sorry to be long winded, but that was a fair bit to chew through.

Posted by: BinM | July 20, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

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