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Game 112 discussion thread: Nationals at Dodgers

Not often will you see a starting pitcher take the mound with (0-3, 20.52) next to his name in August, but Jason Marquis will do it today. He hasn't pitched since April 18, the disastrous start when he faced seven batters and they all scored. Days later, he learned he had bone chips in his right elbow.

The injury, which required surgery and held him out until today, explained why the Nationals' premiere free agent acquisition pitched like a man culled out of section 122. A scout who watched Marquis in Syracuse said he looked much more like his usual self than the pitcher who allowed 20 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings this April.

Marquis will not be limited in terms of how much he can throw today, he said. In his last rehab start, he threw 78 pitches in six innings then threw 20 more in the bulllpen. He'll face Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly, making his second start for the Dodgers since they traded the Cubs for him.

Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 8, 2010; 3:55 PM ET
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Next: Balester sent to AAA to make way for Strasburg


Desmond playing a charmed game already: he was tagged going into first, and was out by 3 steps at second. Luck is the residue of design.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 8, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

One if my favorite quotes, from Branch Rickey. But if Desmond planned to get picked off, I'll eat my hat.

Getting tired of Nats runners getting picked off.

Posted by: gilbertbp | August 8, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

After 2.5 batters it appears a number of Nats bet on the Dodgers today. Heavily.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 8, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Memo to Rizzo: Get Ramos the H up here NOW! Nieves is a nice guy and everything, but he's hurting the team.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | August 8, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Thinking back to April, this is all vaguely familiar thus far. Wonder what his pitch limit is today? 40,45?

Posted by: LeeM9308 | August 8, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't really like moaning about a backup catcher - but Nieves really does need to be swapped for Ramos asap.

This has all the makings of our 10th loss in Nieves' last 14 starts

Posted by: Kev29 | August 8, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Guess I can go do some shopping. That was ugly.

Posted by: marathoner | August 8, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Marquis should be embarrassed when he cashes his paychecks.

If I'm Ramos I have to think I'm OK sitting in the minors behind Mauer but why am I riding a bus while Nieves is riding a plane.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 8, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

So the 20+ ERA goes UP. Amazing.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | August 8, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

As i said in an earlier blog(Today's lineup)he(Marquis)won't make it pass the 4th inning.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 8, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the rotation is finally falling (or failing) into place. What else can go wrong?

Posted by: Natmeister | August 8, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

30+ pitch first inning. Mr. Iowa will be in soon.


Posted by: Brue | August 8, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I really thought Marquis was going to show some improvement. Just shut him down for the year.

Posted by: amorris525 | August 8, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Brue | August 8, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As i said in an earlier blog(Today's lineup)he(Marquis)won't make it pass the 4th inning.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 8, 2010 4:40 PM

Well, you did it. Congratulations on your negativity.

Nice crack, Michael Morse. And now Maxwell - wow!!

Posted by: Kev29 | August 8, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

We need to get rid of Morse. He just keeps hitting. Oh wow was that Maxwell just now?

Posted by: CountDemoney | August 8, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Since only one of the 4 runs was earned (due to Marquis' own error) his ERA dropped!

Posted by: rbelleisle | August 8, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

We get a chance to see that Mike Morse can only hit certain types of aging relievers who are required to place the ball on a T before Morse swings. Only 7 career homeruns in the minors, he won't hit any more than that in the bigs, except against certain types of aging relievers.

Posted by: markfromark | August 8, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Brue | August 8, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Desmond twice demonstrating a new baserunning technique.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Kev29: No one's being negative just truthfull he's making a GAZILLION and he hasn't won a game this season,on another note EVERYBODY go out and buy a lottery ticket because if Maxwell hit's homerun then you know something great is about to happen(LMAO!).

Posted by: dargregmag | August 8, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

8-9-1 making it happen.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why anyone thought Marquis was ever any good. He has a 4+ career ERA, basically has been worthless everywhere he's been. Get rid of him however you can.

Posted by: Reactive1 | August 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

We're still in this game! Looks like the Dodgers are wanting to give this game away. Hope we take advantage of it.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | August 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Ian: show us that new baserunning technique again!!

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Desi needs to buy a lottery ticket tonight. He's very lucky today.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | August 8, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if Marquis had a blister; he acted like it coming off the mound.

Posted by: swanni | August 8, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

dargreg, I really don't get your extreme negativity about Marquis.
It ain't his fault that the way the business of baseball works that's he's valued at $7M or $8M a year. Heck, compared to a whole bunch of other free agent pitchers over the last 15 years, he's a bargain!

He's a good baseball player. Not much more, but certainly not much less.
He has had periods of excellence on the mound (2009 All Star for example) and periods of mediocrity (being left off of 5 post season rosters).

But he's a pro, and he could and should be a valuable member of our 2011 rotation.

How many guys we got with 200+ starts and a career winning record? That would be Livo and Marquis. And he's every bit as good a hitter as Livo is as well.

He ain't Sandy Koufax, OK.
But he also ain't Craig Stammen, Matt Chico, Luis Atilano or Ross Detwiler.

Posted by: Sunderland | August 8, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

>Wonder if Marquis had a blister; he acted like it coming off the mound.

Posted by: swanni

Probably. He threw 78 pitches last time out, and he threw 70 fun-filled pitches today. Before that he didn't hardly throw any at all.

Posted by: Brue | August 8, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I don't understand rooting against someone who is coming back from an injury. There is a big difference between a critiquing a person and the circumstances he has to deal with. An injury isn't a moral failure.

Posted by: fpcsteve | August 8, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland: Extreme negativity!! my man you can't be serious about that statement Jason Marquis was highly touted in the offseason as a solid starter and one who would "improve" the Nats very poor rotation, as a comparison what did we expect out of Livan Hernandez? He was hardly expected to make the team much less be the glue that has held this rotation together had Riggleman not mismanaged a couple of his starts this season, he'd be in double digits as far as wins are concerned,sounds to me like some of you Marquis fan's can't handle the truth, Rizzo blew it,tell you what i'd rather have Sharon Martis than Marquis and Martis would have won more games and for what we're paying Marquis,Martis would have been a hell of a lot cheaper.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 8, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, dargregmag, I don't want you to be my supervisor. You are unforgiving. No slack for an injured man... Wow! It's almost like baseball was more than entertainment.

Posted by: fpcsteve | August 8, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-well, my brother's in town so I've been following-but not posting-the Gang. Brother dargreg asked earlier about my/our thoughts on Buck..and I wanna try and give my 2 cents in relation to our own squad. Y'know, I think part of our or "negativity" has to do with the fact that-flaws and all-this team somehow seems less than the sum of it's parts. Whether you love Dunn(I do)or not, seems he never gets that 2out hit.Zimm is as good a young player there is, but those throws...Nyjer is the 1st (and only)real leadoff hitter we've had, but I "get" that his inability to play like he did when he arrived makes him another focus for ire. When Hammer goes cold-jeez, he can slow global warming! And lets not even START on Ian "That's Who I Am" Desmond. Across the board, we have players who frustrate, tease- appear,to my eyes- content with "soon". Or who don't play enough...or to much...etc.Then, we have a manager who seems to place NO value on having a consistent starting nine.Early on Riggs seemed to make all the right moves, but as the season's progressed...again, I like him. Think he's a good "baseball" guy, knows the game. Nice story, too. But some of the moves and lineups-the only imagination he displays is usually not of the "why didn't I think of that" variety...and NOW-up the road, you got a real A#1 guy in charge.May wear out his welcome, but Buck'll have those guys playing for their baseball lives TODAY-NOT tomorrow. And Jim won't look any better in comparison.Which frustrates US even MORE!
Now, given that Riggs is at the LEAST a mediocre manager-I gotta think that a lot of the moves we're seeing right now are from The Rizz.It's the only thing that makes sense to me. He's evaluating guys for the future. For all his mild persona, I think he's cold blooded when it comes to players.We all know how he loves competition, and I think he's gonna give some opportunities to guys to prove we should keep 'em going forward (and I think Nyjer's DL trip shows Rizz decided he's a keeper-now gotta see what a JMax has to offer-besides 4 K's and the occasional dinger).
But Buck...I believe we'd be over .500 with him in charge. (And I hate to sound like a broken record, but given the talent-I think Frank would've, too.) So...with what I think he'll do with the O's-it's not gonna shine a flattering light on our clubs' play.
Now, as long (winded) as this post is-I could make it a lot more in depth. But to reiterate-this team, warts and all-SHOULD be better than it is. And I think Rizzo knows that...and un-sentimentally is "losing" games now to win in the future.
Maybe Zimm,Espinosa,Desmond, Dunn and Ramos for the IF in 2010. A pitching staff capable of both striking out batters AND going more than 5 innings. But right's just deflating.I'm aware my take on 2010 has holes(just one of many possibilities).Now,Gang, who'd YOU bring in-player OR mgr-who might light a fire? And greg,sorry- Buck's off the table!
Sorry to ramble on, Gang
Go NATS!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 8, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

So on that play: why would Zim charge when Wil is staying at home?

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 8, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and just to bore you all some i watch Storen that the O's have won 4 in a row (under Buck), I believe we are the only team other than the Pirates to not win more than 3 games in a row. To not win 8 outta 10 in ANY stretch of the season.Yse, we play hard. We never appeared to sink to the level of complacent losing the O's did. But the road to ...well,you know where! paved with good intentions. And however good ours are, we just don't seem capable of saying "ENOUGH!!!" of this Shite and grinding out a consistent streak of good baseball. Of not tolerating shooting ourselves in the foot. Of shaking off a tough loss like last night (or earlier in Houston...or Colorado) and moving forward, rather than letting it deflate us for a week.
Like I said....and maybe I'm wildly wrong...but even WITH our less than stellar talent, the frustration is that we STILL should be a better club than we are.
And just to raise some hackles....I think Willie Harris is a player who would have great value to a contending team. He's got plenty of warts, but the way he's been used has done nothing to take advantage of the skills he DOES still have.
The story of 2010 (and does anyone else remember how FRobbie said "if Jamie Carroll is gone, so am I".? Frank of course was speaking to a deeper truth about Carroll as a ball player...and Bowden released him. Still looks OK, huh?)
Gang-you're great. I look forward to the day the Nats are as entertaining AND as top rank. Thanks for making the wait bearable.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 8, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so now we're going to worship Buck Showalter???


In case no one has noticed, his biggest achievement to date is that his first two teams won the World Series...the year AFTER Showalter got fired. He's such a great manager no one has wanted to hire him since the end of the 2006 season.

Could we at least give the guy, oh, two weeks on the job before we decide he's the greatest manager evah?

Posted by: baltova1 | August 8, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Nah, Baltova-didn't mean to imply that. And what-5 games?-small sample fer sure! Like I said, he's had a tendency to wear out his welcome. BUT-he is highly regarded in the game (course, so is Bobby V.!). Considered by a lot of folks smarter than me to be as knowledgeable about the game as anyone out there.So I gotta give him his due, and even players he clashed with speak highly of his baseball knowledge and ability to (initially) light a fire. I was just responding to a question about what I thought he might mean for the O's.....and indirectly, how his success-or, you're absolutely correct, his LACK of it-might reflect on our Nationals. And Baltova-you're always a pretty sharp observer/analyst; what do You think is "missing" on this squad? (And not a complete roster change!Ha! I was referring to an individual player...or manager, etc.)
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 8, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

One thing zendo brings up just now strikes me as point on. The Nats aren't completely lacking in ability. They are, I think, better than they have shown. But it does seem that they don't consistently play hard. I wouldn't argue for a manager who is a screamer/tough guy. But the issue of motivation with this club is worth thinking about. Who would challenge them and develop accountability without bringing the traits that make people like Valentine and Showalter so hard to live with? Screaming doesn't get it done. But be a "player's manger" (i.e., Riggleman) might not either.

Posted by: fpcsteve | August 8, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

What more do you have to see with Marquis? And seriously, Nieves? How much longer do we have to watch the worst defense in baseball screw up ball games. First it was Kennedy last night throwing away a ball game and now the pitcher and catcher put us in a tight spot in the first inning. Unbelievable.

Get Ramos and Espinosa up here immediately. Relegate Nieves and Kennedy to the end of the bench (or worse) and let's see what we have for next season.

...And if I have to watch Maxwell strike out one more time...I don't care if he hit a homer today, the guy has NO plate discipline. He's like Mark Reynolds minus 42 HR's a year. He's like Rob Deer, but he hits for less contact.

Posted by: d-35 | August 8, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-thanks steve-you said it better'n me....but one small point. It's not that I don't think that they don't always play hard....I'll even take them and Riggs at their word that they DO. But playing hard is useless if you're trying to drive a nail with your head. The nail still sticks out and your head (and ours!)just HURTS! There's a difference between "playing hard" and playing "winning" ball-and I just don't know that they get that.
Hey-there's a topic! "Watching the Nats "play hard" is like..........".-Fill in the blanks!
Your take, Gangsters?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 8, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Riggleman, Showalter, managing the Nats....

We do infield practice very day. So what? We still stink at playing infield. What does this say about how we practice?
Cal Sr "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect".

The things that any decent manager can control:
Mental mistakes, throwing to the wrong base, missing signs, bad baserunning.
Our manager has shown no ability to control these things.

What's more frustrating than Nyjer throwing to the wrong base? Watching him do it a second time a few days later.

Riggleman has not corrected these things.
It took Nyjer 3 months to begin bunting towards first, not third. A good manager would have corrected this in 3 days, not 3 months.

Roughly half of Ian Desmond's errors are him trying to make a play that is just not there. A good manager fixes this, quickly.

Riggs (like Nieves) is likable.
We deserve better.

Posted by: Sunderland | August 8, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Zendo; thank's for the input on Buck let me just say this i've watched the O's sleepwalk through the season up until the change was made Aug.3rd, since then i'll say this the complacency is over.The Nats fustrate me because they have more talent then the 05 club but they make the same stupid errors they did under Acta, imho they are too laid back and yes Zendo Dunn still strikes out too much for me with RISP, another example, Jwill is slumping and has looked horrible at the plate since the all star break, why not sit him and let him take a break let Morse play lf with RB in RF and Nyjer in CF when he comes back why keep letting the guy dig himself a deeper hole? It is said in sports that a team often reflects it's head coach or manager in term's of it's on the field attitude what are we as fans to draw from this 2010 version of the Wshington Nationals.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 8, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

sunderland makes a point that zendo also suggested in his last post: the issue of teaching the game. It is probably too late to make that change this season. But maybe the change that is most needed is a field manger who can teach the game (play the game right per zendo) and create an atmosphere of accountability (correcting things quickly and not repeating mistakes per sunderland). Here is one thing that may be worth worrying about: If nothing changes from this year to next in how the game is taught and the club is managed, we will likely get the same (disappointing) results even with better talent. The thing I remember about the O's in their glory days: the Orioles' "way." They taught and played the game in a particular way from the low minors to Baltimore. I saw the same thing in Tulsa with the Rockies. Heavy emphasis on teaching and accountability.

Posted by: fpcsteve | August 8, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Riggs (like Nieves) is likable.
Who? Wil Nieves Who? The Wil Nieves that had an error and let three base runners steal on him in just the first inning alone. Plus calling another crappy game of 95% breaking balls...that Wil Nieves.

Posted by: bromisky | August 8, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind words, zendo. What do I think this team needs? Well, the wiseguy answer is obvious: more talent. They've made great strides from '07-'08, but have a ways to go. They still need help at 2B, SS, CF, RF, C, maybe a couple of starting pitchers.

(BTW, I think the teaching thing is overrated. It's very doubtful to me that you can "practice" your way to improvement at the big league level. Remember, the Nats aren't that young a team; if they're messing up in the field, it's because they're lousy fielders. The Orioles' way died because you don't have the necessary continuity in an organization to make it work anymore; too much free agency)

The Nats may have the help they need in the minors for some of these spots, with guys like Espinosa and Ramos. They may actually have the starters they need now with guys like Strasburg, J. Zimm, Maya, Marquis (cannot give up on him yet, cannot), Olsen, Detwiler, Lannan, Stamman, etc. They'll have to do a shake down cruise for the rest of the season, which may cost the team a couple of wins but will be worth it in the end.

I think this team will win about 73 games this year, which will make this a good season, given where they were last year. If the pitchers and the young players come through and they make some good additions in the winter, they should be around .500 next year. Also good.

But to get to that next level, they'll need a player or two who can really spark a team and provide real leadership on and off the field. I always fall back on my time growing up as an Orioles fan to provide the necessary examples. From 1960 to 1965, the Orioles were a really good team. Couple of second places, couple of years where they won more than 90 games.

But they didn't win the World Series until they got Frank Robinson. He pushed them over the top. They then went to four World Series in the next six years with Frank on board.

I don't see that kind of guy in the organization right now, although Strasburg may have it as a pitcher. Once the Nationals get those other pieces of the puzzle, they'll have to find that player if they'll really want to win.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 8, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read all the comments--so negative and ridiculous, it's pathetic. Maxwell does well and he still gets crapped on....and etc.
Maybe the triumvirate at three, four, and five who went o for twelve should be more open to attack than some others who were selected. (heaven forbid though)

Posted by: jcampbell1 | August 8, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Some of you need to get each others digits and go have pizza and leave your personal rants to yourselves. In other words - get a life.

Posted by: Supporter51 | August 8, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

regarding baltova1's point about the difference-maker: Yep. The same thing happened with the Rockies. It was Troy Tulowitzki who ended up being the igniter. Strasburg might have that vibe by next season. Regarding teaching and free agency: agreed. But the Rockies have pretty much gone the route of homegrown talent and have bought occasional parts. You probably don't teach at the MLB level. The issue is consistent quality of play and instruction in the minors. The "bellcow" will likely be a corrective for happy go lucky play from some of our key players.

Posted by: fpcsteve | August 8, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

fpcsteve: The "Oriole Way" was a staple as you indicated from A to AAA Cal Sr. and the like taught the game the right way and no one but no one deviated from it that's why i thought F.Robby should have been kicked upstairs in some capacity but StanK was so insecure he wouldn't have had the forsight to think of that(because he's a dumbazz!) and that's why this team continues to struggle say what you want but there's a culture of complacency on this team that's why when i here "The Kid" (SS) in postgame interview's i know there's at least one player who has "the right stuff".

Posted by: dargregmag | August 8, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

>What more do you have to see with Marquis?

Posted by: d-35

A year and two months.

Posted by: Brue | August 8, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

My sentiments exactly. I also find it rather amusing that, back in the day, there were those who criticized Acta for taking a "preaching and teaching" approach. Now some say that there should be more teaching going on at the big league level. imo, it should happen in the minors, but when you don't have a lot of organizational depth and call up some guys before they're ready, I suppose that on-the-job training takes place in the bigs.


You probably don't teach at the MLB level. The issue is consistent quality of play and instruction in the minors. The "bellcow" will likely be a corrective for happy go lucky play from some of our key players.

Posted by: fpcsteve | August 8, 2010 9:28 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 9, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Acta or Riggleman are not to blame for the Nationals not being able to field or pitch...Bowden and Rizzo are. Now, don't get me wrong, Rizzo has done a great job starting to assemble the pieces for the future, but they are still a few years a way from maturing. The make-shift pieces (Kennedy at 2B, Nieves behind the plate), the younger guys learning their positions (Desmond at SS, Bernadina in RF) and the player who doesn't have a position (Dunn), together are like the Keystone Kops. These guys could take infield every second of every day and the results are going to be the results. I can count no less than 10 games that we have lost this year due to poor defense.

BTW, I love the guy who quoted Cal Sr. on the importance of playing defense. How easy it is to forget that Cal Sr. is considered one of the worst skippers in Orioles history. He made Lee Mazilli look like Sparky Anderson.

Posted by: d-35 | August 9, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

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