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Nationals Journal: September 19, 2010 - September 25, 2010

Nyjer Morgan returns to Nationals

Nyjer Morgan returned from his eight-game suspension and enjoyed a largely uneventful day aside from the beginning and the end of the Nationals' 5-0 loss to the Braves. Morgan went 1 for 5 and made all three plays he had...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 25, 2010; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Game 155 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

If the Braves finish their season out of the playoffs, they might be able to blame their performance against the Nationals. The Braves have gone 7-9 against the Nats this season, while the Phillies have gone 10-5. The difference against...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 25, 2010; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Nationals to honor Bobby Cox on Sunday

On Sunday, Bobby Cox will manage his final game in Washington, another stop on his goodbye tour around the National League. The Nationals will begin a ceremony at roughly 1:15 p.m. that includes a video tribute and a presentation to...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 25, 2010; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Ryan Zimmerman may miss rest of season

Correction: This post incorrectly said that Ryan Zimmerman had an .899 slugging percentage. That was his on-base plus slugging percentage; his slugging percentage was .510. The Nationals will be "conservative" with how they treat Ryan Zimmerman's strained rib injury, and...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 25, 2010; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Today's lineups

Nyjer Morgan returns to the Nationals in the leadoff as Danny Espinosa gets a day off. Ryan Zimmerman remains out of the lineup, with Alberto Gonzalez again back at third base. Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Roger Bernadina, LF...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 25, 2010; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Willie Harris's inside-the-park homer and other leftovers

As Willie Harris circled the bases last night, he changed speeds twice. First, he sped up around second base, when he noticed the ball bounding away from Nate McLouth in center. Second, he slowed down around third base, when his...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 25, 2010; 12:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Game 154 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

The Braves currently have a half-game lead in the wild card, and the Nationals are miles from contention. But the Nationals have actually been a thorn in the Braves' this year. The Nats are 8-7 against this Braves and are...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Nyjer Morgan will return from his suspension tomorrow

After serving the final day of his eight-game suspension tonight, Nyjer Morgan will return tomorrow to his customary spot at or near the top of the Nationals lineup. With an eventful stretch and the time off behind him, Morgan has...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Bobby Cox can see Stan Kasten as baseball's next commissioner

Stan Kasten will no longer be the Nationals team president after next week, and he is not retiring, either. Given the breadth of his experience, Kasten's career possibilities in the sports are limitless, up to and including becoming the next...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Today's lineups

Ryan Zimmerman, as expected, will sit out his second straight game with a strained rib muscle. Adam Dunn is back in the lineup, and Manager Jim Riggleman assumes Dunn will play every game the rest of the way. Today is...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Danny Espinosa could solve the Nationals' second base problem

Twenty-four men had played second base for the Nationals before Danny Espinosa arrived in the major leagues this month, and none managed to claim the position with any particularly distinction. The days of revolving second basemen, it seems, are over....

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Box Seats: Reaction to Kasten

Box Seats, the new Washington Post blog by and for D.C. area sports fans, features two posts today about Stan Kasten's departure from the Washington Nationals. One blogger isn't sure what to think, and the other gives Kasten an incomplete....

By Alexa Steele  | September 24, 2010; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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With Stan Kasten's resignation, the Nationals are at a crossroads

Stan Kasten announced his departure yesterday, and it sure feels like the Nationals are at a crossroads. This week, they drew the smallest crowd since baseball returned to Washington. Stephen Strasburg is out in San Diego, barely into his rehab...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  Morning brushback, franchise history  
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More from Stan Kasten on his departure and the Nationals

Stan Kasten met with media today in the Nationals dugout. He sat on the bench and leaned against the wall. "I need the wall because I do not trust Rizzo to be behind me with a shaving cream pie," Kasten...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 23, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Stan Kasten leaving the Nationals

Nationals Team President Stan Kasten, the chief executive who helped the Lerner family take ownership of the Nationals, oversaw the building of Nationals Park and guided the Nationals for parts of five seasons, announced his resignation, effective at the end...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 23, 2010; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Ryan Zimmerman scratched with strained rib

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is out of today's lineup with a strained rib muscle, meaning both he and Adam Dunn will not start. Dunn said he is "100 percent" available to pinch-hit. Here's the new Nationals lineup: 1. Danny Espinosa,...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 23, 2010; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Poll: Reaction to Kasten's departure

poll by twiigs.com...

By Alexa Steele  | September 23, 2010; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Kasten to resign at end of season

3:19: Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten will step down at the end of the season. His decision was first reported by Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. Adam Kilgore is at Nationals Park, where Kasten told reporters that he made the decision...

By Alexa Steele  | September 23, 2010; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Adam Dunn out of the Nationals lineup

The Nationals will send Ross Detwiler to the mound to start for the first time since early August. He will not have Adam Dunn, who left last night's game after getting hit by a pitch, behind. Adam Kennedy will play...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 23, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Tyler Clippard, and the Nationals bullpen, win again

For the second consecutive night, Tyler Clippard won. He felt sheepish about this one. When he entered in the seventh, the Nationals led 2-1. When he left, they trailed, 3-2. But Danny Espinosa clobbered a two-run home run in the...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 23, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Adam Dunn leaves game, confident he'll start Thursday

The Nationals played the final two innings without Adam Dunn tonight, and they may or may not play with him Thursday. Dunn left Wednesday night's 4-3 win over the Astros in the seventh inning, two innings after Dunn was hit...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 11:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Game 152 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Astros

Having avoided a 100-loss season, the Nationals' next task could be avoiding 300 losses over three straight seasons. The Nationals lost 205 games over the 2008 and 2009, so they would need to lose 94 to slide in at 299...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Ivan Rodriguez goes back-to-back days

Ivan Rodriguez is in the lineup tonight, which is noteworthy because he played last night and no Nationals catcher has played consecutive days since Sept. 4. Rodriguez and Wilson Ramos have alternated games since then. Manager Jim Riggleman gave Rodriguez...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Drew Storen, Jim Riggleman and confidence

When Manager Jim Riggleman pulled Drew Storen with two outs in the ninth last night, his first priority was winning the game - he believed Sean Burnett against a right-handed hitting Geoff Blum was the most favorable match-up. He also...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 5:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Michael Morse as an everyday player

At one point this season, Michael Morse asked Manager Jim Riggleman to stop telling him if he would be playing the next day. Morse wanted to walk into the clubhouse, scan the lineup and be surprised. Morse thought that made...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals moved Roger Bernadina down to seventh with left-hander Wandy Rodriguez starting for Houston. Jason Marquis will try to redeem his last start, when he recorded one solitary out. Nationals 1. Danny Espinonsa, 2B 2. Ian Desmond, SS 3....

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Nationals renew agreement with Hagerstown

The Nationals have a two-year agreement to keep Class A Hagerstown as its affiliate in the Low-A South Atlantic League. With the announcement, the Nationals finalized their minor league affiliates for the 2010 season, changing only their rookie ball team:...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 2:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The significance of not losing 100

The Nationals last night ensured they will not lose 100 games, which, depending on one's perspective, is a meaningful signpost or an unimportant sidenote. The cosmetic significance of win No. 63 means the Nationals don't have to stare at triple...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Why Jim Riggleman pulled Drew Storen

Drew Storen entered last night in the ninth inning, the Nationals up by five runs, a chance to put his disaster in Philadelphia behind. He left last night with the game still in the ninth inning, the Nationals up by...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 12:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Game 151 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Astros

Pitching coach Steve McCatty tried out a new fashion statement before the game. He sported rolled up pants, which revealed his old-school red stirrups against white socks. "Trying to change the luck a little bit," McCatty said. "Don't know if...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Nationals still deciding on Roger Bernadina

At times this season, Roger Bernadina has seized the chance the Nationals gave him this year and seemingly proved himself an everyday player. At other times, his play has only served to make the Nationals wonder if he'll be a...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 6:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Nationals sign rookie ball agreement with Auburn

The Nationals reached a two-year player development agreement with the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League, thereby ending their affiliation with the Vermont Lake Monsters. The Nationals had used Vermont as their rookie ball affiliate since they came into...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Jim Riggleman's message to Nationals fans

In the wake of last night's small crowd - and before what promises to be another sparse showing tonight - Manager Jim Riggleman sent a message to fans. Asked about the importance of playing well in the final homestand of...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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A new development in the Smiley Gonzalez/Carlos Alvarez case

Nationals officials in the Dominican Republic knew of the fraud perpetrated by Carlos Alvarez -- the Dominican prospect once know as Smiley Gonzalez -- and his handlers shortly after he signed with the team, according to a report by SI.com...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 2:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Today's lineups

Justin Maxwell returns to center field after missing two games with a sore thumb. The Nationals will face J.A. Happ for the first time as an Astro while sending John Lannan to the mound. Nationals 1. Danny Espinosa, 2B 2....

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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The Nationals are having trouble drawing a crowd

If the Nationals had sold 193 more tickets last night, the crowd would have eclipsed the old low since baseball returned to D.C. And, as a team spokesman said last night, what's really the difference, in a stadium that sits...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 21, 2010; 6:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Game 150 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Astros

Including their past two series, the Nationals will play 12 of their last 19 games against the Phillies and the Braves, the teams dueling for the National League East title. In those games, Manager Jim Riggleman made clear he wouldn't...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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For inspiration, Nationals turn to ... Mike Shanahan?

The whiteboard in the Nationals clubhouse typically contains the day's schedule and events -- what time for batting practice, when players need to be on the field for the National Anthem, if the barber is available. Things like that. Today,...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Ian Desmond gets some rest

Shortstop Ian Desmond is fine physically and sitting out tonight because Manager Jim Riggleman wanted to give him a day off, perhaps Desmond's last one this year. "Just a day to set him back," Riggleman said. "He plays hard every...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Justin Maxwell heals thumb, Willie Harris back in lineup

Justin Maxwell will sit out tonight as his right thumb heals. It's doing much better today, evidenced by Maxwell participating in early batting practice while wearing a pad under his batting glove for protection. Harris could be used as a...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Today's lineups

Justin Maxwell remains on the bench with a sore right thumb, and Ian Desmond will join him as Adam Kennedy receives a rare start. Danny Espinosa will move to short for tonight. Nationals 1. Danny Espinosa, SS 2. Adam Kennedy,...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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If Drew Storen doesn't close next year, who will?

Drew Storen is the closer of the Nationals future, but the future is not today and it might not be opening day 2011. He is currently the reliever who usually pitches in the ninth inning when the Nationals have a...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  Morning brushback  
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Nyjer Morgan hosts Phillies fan hit by his throw

While serving an eight-game suspension, Nyjer Morgan wants to put behind the odd chain of events that led to it behind him. Today, he found closure to an event the league eventually absolved him of, anyway. In August, the league...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 19, 2010; 1:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Game 149 discussion thread: Nationals at Phillies

Yunesky Maya is starting today, and his primary task may be saving the overworked bullpen. It would be hard to drain the Nationals bullpen, but the Nationals starters this weekend -- Jason Marquis and Jordan Zimmermann -- have been up...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 19, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Pat Listach feels ready for his chance to manage

Nationals third base coach Pat Listach has not been contacted by any teams regarding an interview for an open managerial position, but he could become a candidate for several openings and would "definitely" jump at the chance to interview for...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 19, 2010; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Jim Riggleman not concerned with Ryan Zimmerman's throwing

By any measure, Ryan Zimmerman is probably the best defensive third baseman in baseball. He won the Gold Glove last year, and he will likely win it again this year. Scouts drool over his range. Advanced metrics, such as UZR...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 19, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Justin Maxwell sits with sore thumb

In his second at-bat last night, Justin Maxwell swung at inside fastball from Kyle Kendrick and jammed his right thumb. He felt it throbbing. When he returned to the dugout, it starting hurting more and more. "His thumb really blew...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 19, 2010; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals will try to avoid a sweep in Philly. Against right-hander Joe Blanton, Justin Maxwell will sit and Willie Harris gets the start in left as Roger Bernadina moves to center. Nationals 1. Danny Espinosa, 2B 2. Ian Desmond,...

By Adam Kilgore  | September 19, 2010; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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