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Nationals Journal: September 12, 2010 - September 18, 2010

Two weird moments in Philly ...

... and, believe it or not, neither involved vomit. Twice Saturday night in the Nationals' 5-2 loss to the Phillies, the game was delayed for an unusual reason. The first came in the seventh inning, when Danny Espinosa swung through...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 18, 2010; 11:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Game 148 discussion thread: Nationals at Phillies

The large hole the Nationals quickly fell into last night overshadowed pretty much everything else that happened. But one of the noteworthy developments came at first base. Adam Dunn made one diving play along the foul line and scooped three...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 18, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Ross Detwiler to start next week

Ross Detwiler, a member of the Nationals bullpen since he came back from his latest setback with his surgically repaired right hip, will return to the Nationals rotation at least for one start next week. To accommodate giving Detwiler at...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 18, 2010; 6:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Jim Riggleman likely to remain Nationals manager in 2011

The Nationals have yet to make a public declaration about Manager Jim Riggleman's status for 2011, but there are strong indications emerging from the organization that Riggleman, 95-127 since taking over midway through last season, will return for his second...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 18, 2010; 5:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals will try to even the series against the Phillies, and they might have a good shot with Kyle Kendrick on the mound for the Phillies. Charlie Manuel aligned his pitching staff so Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 18, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Potomac wins Carolina League title

Class A Potomac provided an uplifting story during a dismal night for the major league Nationals, capturing the Carolina League with a 2-1 victory over Winston-Salem that sealed their 3-1 series win. The P-Nats, who went 6-2 in two playoff...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 17, 2010; 9:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Game 147 discussion thread: Nationals at Phillies

The Nationals, by rule, have been abominable against the Phillies in recent seasons. They went 6-12 against Philadelphia in both 2007 and 2008, then made that record look glorious in 2009, when the Phillies beat them 15 times in 18...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 17, 2010; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Against contenders, no changes in the Nationals bullpen

One of the most pleasant under-the-radar developments of the final stretch of the Nationals season is the success Collin Balester has had out of the bullpen. No, really -- in his last six appearances, a span of 8 1/3 innings,...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 17, 2010; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Justin Maxwell gets his chance

With Nyjer Morgan's eight-game suspension starting today, Justin Maxwell will take center field and step into a potentially important stretch of baseball for his future. Maxwell has not been able to find consistency all season with the Nationals in terms...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 17, 2010; 6:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Today's lineup

In their first game without Nyjer Morgan, the Nationals will use both Justin Maxwell and Willie Harris as Michael Morse gets the day off. Jason Marquis will start and face Roy Oswalt, who is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA since...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 17, 2010; 2:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Adam Dunn, the importance of first base defense and the future

The argument against signing Adam Dunn to a contract centers almost wholly around his defense at first base. General Manager Mike Rizzo is intent on building a stout, run-preventing defense, and Dunn, by any objective measure, stands in the way...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 17, 2010; 7:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Nyjer Morgan suspended eight games [UPDATED]

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan will be suspended eight games and will begin serving his suspension Friday when the Nationals begin a three-game series at Philadelphia, according to two baseball sources. The league also fined Morgan $15,000, Morgan said in...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 16, 2010; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (80)
 
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Nationals extend affiliation with Potomac

The Nationals today announced they will extend their contract with Class A Potomac through at least the 2011 season. The Nationals have shared an agreement with Potomac since the team came into existence in 2005, making 2011 their seventh season...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 16, 2010; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Are the Nationals playing the spoiler, or just playing?

The whole concept of "playing the spoiler" has always seemed vague to me. It is probably more interesting for the Nationals to play games against teams with something real at stake, the presumably maximum effort by the opponent pulling...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 16, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Sean Burnett, Drew Storen highlight another good day for the Nationals bullpen

Sean Burnett, perhaps the most underrated player on the Nationals, entered Wednesday's game with one out and Eric Hinske on third base, the two best hitters on the Braves coming up. The results helped the Nationals secure a 4-2 victory...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 15, 2010; 6:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Game 146 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

The Nationals were at a pretty low point Monday night, having fallen to their sixth straight loss with no end in sight. Now, about 36 hours later, they're in a pretty good spot, relatively speaking. They've got a chance to...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 15, 2010; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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The start of Bryce Harper's career and his Arizona Fall League chances

On Thursday, first overall pick Bryce Harper will arrive with the rest of the Nationals' newest tier of prospects in Viera, Fla. for the Florida instructional league and his first baseball as a professional. Harper's adjustment to his phase of...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 15, 2010; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals are giving first baseman Adam Dunn a day off with an early start against left-handed Braves starter Mike Minor. That leads to an unorthodox lineup that includes Ian Desmond batting third and Alberto Gonzalez getting his second career...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 15, 2010; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Ian Desmond is becoming the Nationals' leader

As Jim Riggleman finished his post-game chat with reporters Tuesday night in his office, he paused and did something I have not seen him do all year. "You're not asking the question, but I'm going to offer this," Riggleman...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 15, 2010; 12:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Nationals announce 2011 schedule, will open at home

The Nationals released their schedule for the 2011 season tonight. The full schedule can be viewed here. The key dates to know: *The Nationals open at home for the second straight year, hosting the Braves on March 31, April 2...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 8:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Game 145 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

The Nationals are trying to snap a six-game losing streak and reverse a skid that has planted them firmly among the worst teams in the league. To reach just 70 wins at this point, the Nationals would need to finish...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Nationals looking to give Ross Detwiler a start

With 15 pitchers and seven starters currently on their staff, the Nationals have little choice but to keep several pitchers in an uncomfortable holding pattern. One of them is Ross Detwiler, who last night received his first game action in...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Wilson Ramos, Ivan Rodriguez to alternate games

Manager Jim Riggleman has said rookie call-up Wilson Ramos and Hall of Famer-in-winter Ivan Rodriguez will split time in the final portion of the season. A pattern has recently emerged as to how he'll divvy the time, with Ramos playing...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 5:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Today's lineups

Livan Hernandez will try to become the first Nationals pitcher to reach 10 wins, and Danny Espinosa remains at the top of the lineup. Nationals 1. Danny Espinosa, 2B 2. Ian Desmond, SS 3. Roger Bernadina, LF 4. Ryan Zimmerman,...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Nyjer Morgan back in lineup as Nationals wait for ruling

The Nationals will likely have to wait until at least Wednesday before the league makes its ruling on how many games it will ultimately suspend center fielder Nyjer Morgan, according to a league official. Barring a last-minute decision, Morgan will...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 1:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Young Nationals will learn as they play

If Monday night is an indication, the Nationals' final 18 games will include a lot of learning on the job. The team started five rookies (although Ian Desmond and Roger Bernadina, with more than 800 at-bats between them, are...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 14, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Game 144 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

The Nationals will begin their week playing spoiler -- six games in seven days against the NL East leading Braves and Phillies -- with a unique lineup. The Nationals have five rookies starting, including four up the middle: the pitcher...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 13, 2010; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa learning to play together before, during games

Before every game the Nationals play, about four hours until the first pitch, the same two players take the middle of the infield and provide a largely unseen slice of the Nationals' future. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa line up...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 13, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Nationals front office takes a hit as Jay Sartori leaves for Blue Jays

Nationals Director of Baseball Operations Jay Sartori is leaving less than a year after joining the team and will become an assistant general manager with the Toronto Blue Jays, according to a press release from the Jays. Sartori, 31, came...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 13, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Today's lineup

Nyjer Morgan is in center field again for the Nationals, meaning they still have not heard final word on the appeal of his dual suspensions. The Nationals will start five rookies including starter Yunesky Maya, with Danny Espinosa leading off....

By Adam Kilgore  | September 13, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Jim Riggleman's revealing thoughts

One thing, from talking to players and coaches, has become clear this season about Jim Riggleman. The manager who sticks up for players and defends mistakes and takes blame in public is not the same manager the players deal...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 13, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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Jordan Zimmermann not in command

In his start Sunday afternoon, Jordan Zimmermann felt strong and healthy, which is the best and most important news the Nationals can hear. It was also the only piece of good news for one day. Zimmermann failed to build on...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 12, 2010; 7:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Game 143 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Marlins

With just 20 games remaining in this 2010 season, it's probably worth checking on where the Nationals might draft next season. The short answer is, "high." At the moment, the 60-82 Nationals have the seventh-worst record in the majors, ahead...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 12, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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On Ian Desmond leading off, Ivan Rodriguez batting eighth

Manager Jim Riggleman made two new adjustments to the batting order, putting Ian Desmond at the leadoff spot and Ivan Rodriguez in the eight hole. Both moves stemmed from Nyjer Morgan's current situation. With Morgan set to begin a suspension...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 12, 2010; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Jim Riggleman praises pitching staff

At about 10:30 this morning, the Nationals pitching staff -- all 15 of members -- crammed into Manager Jim Riggleman's office. The manager went over some small details about infield positioning and the importance of helping out young infielders like...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 12, 2010; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Why Joe Bisenius is worth watching

The most intriguing player to watch over the Nationals' final 20 games may be reliever Joe Bisenius. How often does a veteran minor leaguer who can throw 98 miles per hour fall into a team's bullpen? Bisenius came to the...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 12, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Today's lineup

There are two interesting new looks to today's lineup: Ian Desmond is leading off for the first time, and Ivan Rodriguez is batting eighth for the first time this season. Rodriguez met with Manager Jim Riggleman and hitting coach Rick...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 12, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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