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Game 119 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

Before the first game of every series, the Nationals' hitters gather with hitting coach Rick Eckstein and discuss the opposing pitching staff, making themselves familiar with what they're about to see.

Today's session was unique. No one on the Nationals, and very few people in the majors, had ever faced left-hander Mike Minor, who will make the second start of his career. The Nationals, naturally, know very little about him.

"Just what we hear," Riggleman said. "He's a fine, young left-handed pitcher that's breaking into the big leagues. We've got a lot of video on him. Rick Eckstein does a great job with that. Our hitters are very much in tune with him."

In his first start, Minor allowed four runs -- three earned -- in six innings. While the offense tries to solve Minor, Scott Olsen will attempt to rebound from a truly rotten start. There was one kernel of promise in the seven earned runs Olsen allowed in 1 2/3 innings his last time out. He hit 94 mph, the fastest he's thrown all year. If he can recapture that strength and locate his pitches better, he should be fine.

Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 17, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jason Marquis to start Friday, Nationals set rotation
Next: Wil Nieves's big night is nothing compared to week ahead


question - why don't the espn's of the world comment on the braves attendance?

Posted by: Nats1924 | August 17, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

if the nats had half of their success in the 90's.

Nats park would be 80% compacity every night

Posted by: Nats1924 | August 17, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta has never been a great town for baseball attendance. If I remember right, they've even failed to sell out a few NLCS games.

Posted by: js_edit | August 17, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, and who was president of the Braves as they got good but still failed to build a fan base. . . .I just can't remember.

Glad to finally know how the Nats "scout" their opposing pitchers. There has got to be a major problem with their method, as too often they have made mediocre pitchers look like Cy Young. In many of these games, they get overeager and swing at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.

Posted by: paulkp | August 17, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

paulkp - a lousy fan base has nothing to do with the teams president

Vinny cerrato (whtver title he had) was awful and the skins still owns the dc market.

Posted by: Nats1924 | August 17, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Along the same lines, we hear a lot about how defense has been the Nat's Achilles heel all season, but looking at the H2H stats in tonight's box score, the Nats have only 2 more errors on the year than the Braves, and their fielding percentages are pretty much identical.

Of course, the Braves have overall better pitching, so the errors aren't as costly. But I was kinda surprised when I looked at the numbers.

Posted by: js_edit | August 17, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

paulkp - a lousy fan base has nothing to do with the teams president

Vinny cerrato (whtver title he had) was awful and the skins still owns the dc market.

Posted by: Nats1924 | August 17, 2010 7:58 PM

Nats1924, I beg to differ.

First, on Cerrato, the Skins owned this town before he arrived. If anything, they've now got a looser grip on this town than they did before he arrived.

Stan Kasten sells thousands of Opening Day to Phillies fans, resulting in Ryan Zimmerman being booed during his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger presentation.

Stan Kasten writes a deal with a weak signal radion station, limiting the number of people who can listen, and the quality of the broadcast.

Two examples, tons more.

A team's front office has a huge impact on building a fan base.

@paulkp - I think you make a good point, dots I likely would not have connected.

Posted by: Sunderland | August 17, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Tremendous pitching from Olsen right now. Very encouraging.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 17, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone who's watching the game tell me why Pudge was ejected?
Did it have something to do with the foul tip strike-out that I saw on the gameday coverage?

Posted by: shygaard | August 17, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice at-bat by Desmond. Let's go Zimm

Posted by: 202character | August 17, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Wil who?

Posted by: Sunderland | August 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Olsen's got an excellent fastball tonight. He's staying up in the 90's. His arm is back. Looks like surgery worked. He already knows how to pitch he just needs the tools. One of the wiser 25 year olds you'd ever meet. More like 35-40

Nieves picks on some meat up and in the zone 1-0

Posted by: Brue | August 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone who's watching the game tell me why Pudge was ejected?
Did it have something to do with the foul tip strike-out that I saw on the gameday coverage?

Yes, as Pudge was putting his gear on apparently he was talking to himself or something and the third base umpire "heard" him and ejected him. Pudge ran out on the field to argue.

Posted by: amorris525 | August 17, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

shygaard...seems like another case of an umpire wanting to inject himself into the game....sad.

I know the game isn't over yet, but it seems to be that, every time the Nats put out a line-up that is.....less than stellar...and duly noted by someone in this blog...the team responds.

BTW...Olsen is pitching very well tonight. Would like to see him do this at home.

Posted by: TimDz | August 17, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I love what Dibble says, "you throw offspeed stuff to weak hitters and you help them."...we see it time and again, throwing strikes to them, they can't hit it and the pitcher throws off speed and gets killed...

Lot of Nats pitchers have done this and gotten bombed...especially to the opposing pitcher...Dibble says those guys are batting 210..220 for a reason...

Posted by: pentagon40 | August 17, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Okay....I spoke too soon....

Posted by: TimDz | August 17, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Gonna be a nail biter for sure...

Posted by: pentagon40 | August 17, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Gonna be a nail biter for sure...

Posted by: pentagon40 | August 17, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I think it's quickly becoming a blowout.

Posted by: thepostischeap | August 17, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

In the blink of an eye....Whew!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | August 17, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe Olsen lost it that quickly but he did. Dibble thought it might have been the heat. I guess that makes as much sense as anything.

Now that thin bench is going to kill 'em. No Pudge or Nyjer and Bernadina's also in there. I wonder if Willingham would pinch hit tonight.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 17, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Thin bench??? What am I thinking? Willie Harris is there. No worries, then...

Posted by: baltova1 | August 17, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Some classic 2010 Nationals defensive work there...

Posted by: baltova1 | August 17, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Dang...nothing makes you feel like more of a jinx than turning the game in seconds after we score our 2nd run...only to see the following onslaught. Ouch. Also...not to be a homer, but it seems to me that we're getting squeezed a bit. Anyone else notice?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | August 17, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Olsen made two bad pitches after making a lot of good ones. It's not like he walked the bases loaded. Riggs is too quick with the trigger and it's probably one of the reasons his guys tend to pitch scared whenever they get in a little trouble. Then he cries about using his bullpen up.

Posted by: Kolchak | August 17, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

That was good work by Stammen. Although, he got away with a couple of high sliders.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 17, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, they were *really, really bad* pitches...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 17, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-well...I was gonna write a longish, Pollyanna type ode to our future. Maybe later....but for now:
Yup yup yup Baltova-except it ain't just 2010 we're witnessing!
Saber-type Gangsters-any stats on how many times our pitchers give back runs they just got? Seems like ALWAYS.
Anyone seen our offense take early advantage of scoring opportunities...or put up runs late?
And didja see that look Riggs had in the dugout? Fer Gawds' SAKE-can't this bunch just ONCE justify his faith and praise of their performance-and I'm NOT talking about playing hard, not giving up, blah blah blah. I'm talking WINNING.
"Valiant effort" has become "losing effort"with this bunch...and they seem , if not content, then accepting of it.
And along those lines-I mentioned earlier that even tho the players seem (without even realizing it)...accepting? used to this?-I think The Rizz is someone who does NOT find this acceptable.Strikes me as a guy who HATES to lose. Gotta be eating him up.Too bad he ain't on the field.But-I also believe he's just getting started. Which would lead to my Pollyanna future take. I'll spare you all.
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | August 17, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

and he did walk the next guy.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 17, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

According to Charlie, who talked to the Braves' TV guy (I think), Pudge threw something onto the field. Only the 3B umpire caught it since the HP ump was engaged with Riggleman. Riggs did say the other day he is a woman, but they were not engaged in that sense.

Posted by: paulkp | August 17, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-can't wait to hear, post-game, how we "really battled". Pre-game, RZimm remarked (when asked about Harper signing) how we're "only a couple of players away' from contending. Sigh. While I know that's true objectively, and while Ryan is one of the FEW on this team (IMHO) who has that "will to win" (though even he must be disheartened at times)...we've been "a few players away" for for how long? And objectively again, I BUY that. I just wish he'd say "we HAVE what it win a LOT more than we are....No more excuses: we have to start playing like it. No, not the W.S.-but a dang sight better than what we're SHOWING!"
I promise - my "bright future and why I think the Slowly's are building a juggernaut" post will be posted soon. But after a performance like this-I'm firmly ensconced in my jaded, gimlet-eyed, bitter, show some gumption frame of mind
Ahhh...Riggs is on! Gotta Go
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 17, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

batlova1: The heat; PLEASE!!!!! it's not like Olsen has pitched a ton of innings this year as a pitcher you should be prepared to pitch at least 7-8 innings minimum that's what's wrong with all of these overpaid wussies sans Livo and "The Kid" as soon they go five innings they're looking for bullpen help what a bunch of chumps and it's the fault of all these agents and some gm's who act like these pitchers are made of glass.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 17, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey look this guy dargregmag isn't even in the Major Leagues what a chump

Posted by: 202character | August 17, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

The Nats showing Harper how its done "2010 style". I guess we can still bank on 2013.

What an absolute pile of steaming cr*p this game turned out to be. I'm sure Phil_D_Wood and Gentlemen Jim have already rehearsed the standard retorts of a 10+ run drubbing by the Bravos! Oh yeah Don "bore me to death" Sutton was in rare form tonight, he must have StanK in some compromising picture or something, I mean he was just merciless on the DC9.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 17, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag, don't kill the messenger, I'm just repeating what Dibble said. I have to agree with Tippy's assessment of this one. I'm looking for a refund for the last 3 hours of my life...

Posted by: baltova1 | August 17, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side, I hate the Phillies and this doesn't help them. And I have a lot of Braves on my fantasy team. Oh right, no one cares about YOUR fantasy team - forgot that old adage.

Oh and hilarious comment above about Cerrato not hurting the Skins power around here. They have not sold out for this year, have tons of club seats to shift, there are thousands of empty seats at every game and 10 to 30 thousand other seats are routinely taken up by away fans. Other than that and a 4-12 record, things are looking up for the Skins empire!

Posted by: Kev29 | August 17, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Just food for thought: In the first 89 games before the ASB, the nats lost 13 games by 5 runs or more. In the 29 since, they've lost 8.

Posted by: NebNat | August 17, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Kev29, I think the great under reported story in DC media is the decline of the Skins fan base. Yeah, they sell all of their tickets (other than the club seats, which don't count for a sellout, conveniently enough), but does anyone around town have a problem getting a ticket to a game? People buy them for 2-3 games and pawn off the rest on their friends. The stadium experience stinks, Snyder keeps gouging more money out of the fans and, oh yeah, they stink. If they weren't the biggest meal ticket in town for the media, somebody might report on that, starting with this question: how many people are still on that legendary season ticket waiting list?

Posted by: baltova1 | August 17, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Aww, man, Tippy-I'd have LOVED to have heard Sutton. The ATL broadcast blacked out on DirecTV...unless they had it on the screen with 6 games in progress...they sometimes show the other teams' feed there. Any nuggets? Dargreg, you're in ATL-is that the broadcast you caught? And, I really like that skinny punk.(I like the underdog) I just wish he'd finally start justifying my faith (you hear me, Nyjer? Ian? Dunn? Rizz? Stammen? Riggs? Hmmm...guess you could say that about MOST of our Nats.
Ahhh, yes. Nats baseball-catch it!'Cause THEY sure can't! Heh heh!
G'night, Gang
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 17, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't enjoy being pessimistic, but it would not be a surprise for the Nats to be swept by the Braves and Phils. Perhaps Stras will get an ND, with the Phils rallying late.

Giving Marquis another start is just rubbing our noses in the mud.

Posted by: nats24 | August 17, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

nats24, are you sure it's just mud...

Posted by: baltova1 | August 17, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

well, baltova, i didn't want to run afoul of the censors.

and for the record, here's to Bobby Thomson, the Flying Scot. RIP.

Posted by: nats24 | August 17, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Don't care what the coaches or Riggleman might say...there is a mindset among the starters that if they go 5 innings that is all the manager expects from them and will bail them out at the first sign of trouble...

Only maybe twice at most have I seen Riggleman keep a starter in beyond 5 innings and take his lumps...the starters have no starter mentality...let them get battered after 7 innings and maybe, just maybe their pride will kick in to do better next time...The starting rotation minus Livan and a mess...

Doesn't matter who is coming in one has proven themselves...

Posted by: pentagon40 | August 18, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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