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Game 141 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

First, a late lineup change to tell you about: Ivan Rodriguez was scratched (reason unknown as of now he's feeling ill and will be available pinch hit) and Wilson Ramos will take his place. He will bat eighth, Danny Espinosa will move from seventh to eighth, and the rest of the lineup remains the same.

As for the game, Livan Hernandez will be making his fourth start this season against the Mets, the team that released midway through last season. Hernandez has said his experience with the Mets provides no extra incentive when he pitches against them, but his performance suggests otherwise. Hernandez has allowed three earned runs on 16 hits and six walks in 20 1/3 innings, which works out to a 1.33 ERA.

The Nationals are getting their third crack at knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who has been just as impressive against the Nationals as Hernandez has been against the Mets. The Nationals have managed just two earned runs off Dickey in 13 innings this season. Manager Jim Riggleman believes having seen Dickey's knuckleball should help. But then, with any knuckleball pitcher, the way Dickey is throwing will determine what happens. When that thing is dancing, it's basically unhitable.

The Nationals are going for the series win, which would clinch at least a season split against the Mets. Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 8, 2010; 12:20 PM ET
 
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Next: Livan Hernandez's adventurous out

Comments

I was surprised Ivan was in the lineup to begin with, coming off a night game, so this will be a good opportunity to get himself a couple days of rest...

Posted by: -CN- | September 8, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Let's hold them first inning. I wonder how many games we would have won this year if the opponent had been scoreless in the first? Seems like quite a few of Stammen's and Olsen's games were just about over from the start.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Let's hold them first inning. I wonder how many games we would have won this year if the opponent had been scoreless in the first? Seems like quite a few of Stammen's and Olsen's games were just about over from the start.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how our pitchers would be doing if Randy St. Claire was still the pitching coach. I think he was unfairly dismissed.

What do you expect out of Bacsik, Speigner, and company. The only pitchers St. Claire coached that remain in the league are were the bullpen, and those guys were pretty good.

After he was fired, the bullpen went downhill fast.

Posted by: jboogie1 | September 8, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"The Nationals offense comes alive"

posted yesterday.

Yesterday and today offense returns to being dead.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 8, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn has shown some improvement at first this year, but he's still a statue. He should have gloved that ball and at the very least kept it from getting by him.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 8, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what it says about Riggleman, or baseball in general these days, when the appearance of lefty Lucas Duda, hitting a robust .045, prompts a manager to pull his staff workhorse at 95 pitches in the 7th inning.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | September 8, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

mjhoya, it's baseball in general. Riggleman is as generic a manager as you can find. He pretty much does everything by the book and the book says in the 7th inning, when the starter gets in trouble, even a little trouble, you go to the bullpen. He knew the Mets would pinch hit and he'd get the matchup he got. If Dunn makes the play (which he should have done) they get the out.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 8, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll put this question out there for some of you to play GM, if Adrian Gonzalez(Padres) becomes available do we try and bring his bat and gold glove to DC instead of trying to resign Adam Dunn?

Posted by: dargregmag | September 8, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

All I'm hoping for now is that we finish with a better record than the O's. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to find out what a Buck Showalter could do with this team.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | September 8, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Re: Adam Dunn vs Gonzalez, No. You live with Dunn's relative immobility and tendency to watch called 3rd strikes because he is a fan favorite and is loved in the clubhouse. Adrian Gonzalez is a good player, but does not inspire that type of passion, either on the field or in the stands.

Now, let's see the closer of the future, Storen, finish this one up (unless there is an offensive outburst here in the bottom 8th)

Posted by: mo7290 | September 8, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, so that was wishful thinking that we would take the lead with Morgan, Desmond, Zimmerman, and Dunn due up in the 8th. Let's see whether Bernadina or Morse wants to be the hero today.

Posted by: mo7290 | September 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Man, this club sheds positive momentum sooooo quickly.

Congrats to Ramos on his first tater though.

Posted by: Kev29 | September 8, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, another day, another defeat. But don't worry, this organization is just full of so many wonderful prospects, mediocrity can be more than 3 years away! (Sorry, just channeling my Inner Tom Boswell.)

Typical awful club, when the hitters hit well, the pitching is awful, when the pitchers do well, the hitting is weak.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 8, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Well can they? avoid another 100 loss campaign that is,although Philly,Atlanta,Houston,Fla. and NY remain on the schedule all of them with the exception of Houston and NY are still in the hunt for a playoff berth, it's highly unlikely that the Nats will lose 100 games again, the odds are in their favor. The question remains, do you bring Riggleman and his staff back next season? I say no, in my mind what has sealed his fate is the overall performance defensively speaking, 100 plus errors speaks volumes about this teams lack of focus imho they need a new man at the helm. The Nationals as a team are too laid back and it isn't any one thing but the fact that no one player really defines this team, bottom line they need a leader and i for one am not sure that personality presently exsists on this team.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 8, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Um, darg, the Nats only have to go 3-19 to avoid 100 losses. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they'll do that. Let's find other things to criticize them for, okay?

Posted by: baltova1 | September 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

As for the fielding, I believe the Nats have actually improved during the season. They're playing better fielders and getting better fielding from some of the guys who've been here all year. Desmond had 21 errors at the halfway point of the season, which means he's made only 10 errors in the second half so far. He's playing much smarter now. Kennedy is better than Guzman at 2B and I think Espinosa will be better than him. Nyjer's playing better defense in CF in the second half, and the corner outfielders are all adequate or better. Dunn's a problem at 1B as we saw today.

As for the "laid back" problem, all teams look laid back when they don't hit and this is an inconsistent offense. They didn't look very laid back when they were scoring eight runs a game.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 8, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Fact is, they are a mediocre team that often plays bad baseball. Teams that perform this way need a new manager. You can't motivate with pablum.

Posted by: jjburns1 | September 8, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-early in the season, when we were actually above .500....even then, i posted that this team appeared to feel that they had ACCOMPLISHED something. Now, many losses later....well, score some runs and-HEY! We're the NATS!The opponent must be cowering in fear!
Yea....I'm still feeling bitter.The thing is-effort or no-I think this team has forgotten how to win. See any grind 'em out at bats the last two days? They keep believing that the future is gonna cure things....and Fairfax got that.
Baltova, I agree there, too. We are looking much better-in a number of facets of the game. And there IS hope for the future. But I can't shake the feeling that they're reading too many press clippings, and taking comfort in small victories-NOT wins-while they await the arrival of the promised land.
So...bro' darg-I've said many times I LIKE Riggs...wanna see the hometown guy succeed. I suppose the beleaguered tone he's had in his post game interviews may be a "good" sign that he's getting fed up with coming up small when EVER there's a chance to come up big. Or he could just be worn down by all the losing, too. Even that's a step in the right direction. But....last night pinch hitting Pudge who-natch-dp's and game over? Had me scratching my head. I think you said he'd be a great bench coach-knows the game, nice guy, etc. Check. But as they Boss? As the guy who is gonna light some fires? Unfortunately, I'm increasingly doubtful. And yes-small sample, blah blah blah-but how ELSE do you explain the O's going from a joke (who still swept US)- to 21-14. and taking 2 of 3 from the Rays AND the Yanks? (Not like Buck ain't done this before-and with a slightly larger sample size). Easy to criticize from the outside, so I'm still not ready to say he's gotta go...and since Rizz seems to be backing him,as well as Nyjer ( I think Nyjers' gonna have a whale of a 2011, like his '09. And Riggs was great in '09, too so mebbe they'll BOTH bounce back)I'm not ready to call for his scalp. SOME thing, though-besides talent-is missing...or not clicking...Anyone here think we're not just as talented as the Padres overall? Sure, they got us beat pitching-wise, but as mediocre as our talent may be, they appear to me to play below it. And I betcha the Pads would LOVE to have Willie Harris-cause he's a BALL player.
Jeez...I'm sorta all over the map here....
Sigh. At least the Gang is always top notch
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | September 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sure, let's go with Adrian Gonzalez over Adam Dunn. Now I know why Dunn is not being signed. it wasn't the money after all! It was because we are getting Adrian Gonzalez.

Adrian: Welcome to Washington. You will love it here.

Oh, wait. San Diego has a $5.5 million team option they can pick up on Gonzalez? Golly, even San Diego can afford that. Could Gonzalez come over in a trade? Maybe--but he would be costly for a one-year rental in terms of players you give up. Well, anyway, Gonzalez is a free agent in 2012. Probably only 8 or 9 teams will make a serious bid for him. The Nats have shown they will pay top dollar for talent, right? OK, they haven't shown that. Maybe Gonzalez over Dunn is not a real option after all.

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

batlova1: I posed the question, and then stated that the odd's were in their favor and yes i'm being critical as a fan i believe i have the right to criticize a team that i think has enough talent to have a better record than what we've seen so far i.e. look at the Astro's and the O's. You think Kennedy is better than Guzman? at best i'd say it's a wash besides Guzman's on his to the playoff's Kennedy will be watching like the rest of us.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 8, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-but Ed-they've shown they can come in SECOND! You know, Tex, Chapman....they gave a good EFFORT! Right in it to the END! Never gave UP!!! Now...lets go out and COME CLOSE with Carl, with Lee, with Werth...
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | September 8, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and in my long winded bit...what I MENT to say, darg...was I'm leaning towards agreement regarding Riggs and the coaches (and I know how we both feel about Randy). Still.... I guess I keep hoping.....
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | September 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with baltova1. An inconsistent offense makes the Nats look laid back. I have made this point before, but bear with me. Walter Alston was as laid back as they come, and he won a ton. Ditto for Joe Torre. The difference? The players they had playing for them. Riggleman is bear hunting with a switch.

Posted by: fpcsteve | September 8, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

zendo,

Let's come in second for some of the best 1B, OF and pitchers out there this off-season. Crawford is good--it would be an honor, and a good sign for the future, if the Nats could come in second for him. He is my choice to finish second for.

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if I totally agree, fpcsteve. The lineup Jerry Manuel trotted out there the last 3 games is not to be confused with the '27 Yanks. Both clubs featured a couple of very good MLB bats in the middle of the lineup surrounded by youngsters. Not a good sign when your club wins the blowout but loses the two close games where the "little things" make the difference. Not putting it all on Rigs by any means but we were not "out-toolsed" by the Mets.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 8, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

For those who are interested, thought I would point out that today's loss elimninates the Nats from the NL East.

mlb.com, cbssports.com, and others will be
reporting an "elimination" number (Magic Number) of 3 (two if Philly wins tonight), but they are already gone. How ? The fact that Philly and Atlanta are only one win apart, and have 6 games left with each
other, guarantes that one of them will win
AT LEAST 83 GAMES. Coupled with the Nats'
80 losses, the Nats can't catch up.

It was ironic that the recent (and hopefully future) hero, Danny Espinosa,
made the last out today. Hopefully, next
year will produce a better "final" outcome
for both him and the team.

Posted by: PENNANTSOLUTIONS | September 8, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

In case you were wondering, "elimninates"
in my previous post means the same thing
as "eliminates".

Posted by: PENNANTSOLUTIONS | September 8, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

The Natinals lost again?!?!?!?!?!

No way.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 8, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

batlova1: I posed the question, and then stated that the odd's were in their favor and yes i'm being critical as a fan i believe i have the right to criticize a team that i think has enough talent to have a better record than what we've seen so far i.e. look at the Astro's and the O's. You think Kennedy is better than Guzman? at best i'd say it's a wash besides Guzman's on his to the playoff's Kennedy will be watching like the rest of us.

-------

As always, your logic escapes me. Why raise a question that's not in doubt? They're not going to lose 100 games and I'm not sure why a "fan" would think that would happen at this point in the year.

As for the Astros and Orioles, last time I checked, the Nats were seven games better than the Orioles, despite the O's hot streak. The Astros are six games better, probably because they're whipping up on the weak sisters in the Central.

BTW, Guzman's currently hitting .167 so he's not exactly playing a big role in the Rangers' playoff run.

And as for Riggleman, fpcsteve put it well, "he's bear hunting with a switch." I'm laughing at all of these people now saying they wish Randy St. Claire was still the pitching coach when everybody was thrilled when he got fired last year! Make up your minds, folks!

It comes down to on-field talent. The Nats have more than they did and a lot of it is young talent and that's a good thing. They need more talent and they need the young talent to get more experience. Until that happens, it really doesn't matter much who's the manager, the pitching coach or the hitting coach or what's their level of "focus" and intensity and all of that other stuff.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 8, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

No, teams that perform this way need new players.
*****************************
Fact is, they are a mediocre team that often plays bad baseball. Teams that perform this way need a new manager. You can't motivate with pablum.
Posted by: jjburns1 | September 8, 2010 4:27 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

and I don't even like Riggleman.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Hpw about both? New players AND new manager!

Posted by: nunof1 | September 8, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

How about both? New players AND new manager!

Posted by: nunof1 | September 8, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

As for the Astros and Orioles, last time I checked, the Nats were seven games better than the Orioles, despite the O's hot streak. The Astros are six games better, probably because they're whipping up on the weak sisters in the Central.
------
Posted by: baltova1 | September 8, 2010 6:57 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. Sorry baltova1 but you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you're gonna contend that the Astros are better than the Natinals because they play against the "weak sisters in the Central" than you have to say that the Orioles, playing in the best division in baseball have to be better than the Natinals, being that they are only 7 games worse than the Nats but play in a far superior division.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAHA OH SNAP

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 8, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

The Natinals lost again?!?!?!?!?!

No way.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 8, 2010 6:48 PM
___________________

Back again I see...
They really need to tighten up the work release programs...at least restrict the internet access...

Posted by: TimDz | September 8, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

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