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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 try certain players in certain roles for the sake of experimentation. To do so would affect the integrity of the pennant race.

But, as the Nationals begin four games with the out-of-contention Astros, Riggleman may use the series to see how some relievers respond to new situations, specifically Collin Balester and Joe Bisenius.

Balester has pitched exceedingly in his latest tour with the Nationals, allowing no runs in 7 1/3 innings on two hits, three walks and 11 strikeouts. Bisenius has rare potential in his arm and his 98-mph fastballs. But both have yet face a meaningful game situation with the Nationals clinging to a lead, a test the Astros series may allow for.

"I might do that," Riggleman said. "The lineup, there's really not a lot of experimentation there. The bullpen, we have a little of that. We do have a couple guys - Balester, Bisenius - have not been thrown into tight situations against the Braves or Phillies. Maybe we would do that against Houston or the Mets, see how they respond. With the few games we have left, it's going to be a small sampling if we do get those opportunities."

Livan Hernandez will face Bud Norris with a chance to crack 200 innings for the 10th time in his career. (That doesn't count 1999, when he threw 199 2/3 innings.) Hernandez is at 194 entering the night.

Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 6:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Will today be the day the Orioles bring the Natinals lead down to a minuscule 2 games?

I'm gonna go with yes. And circle gets the square.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 20, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Today is Desmond's 25th birthday. He gets the day off so he can't make one or more errors on his birthday. Very glad to see Espinosa playing short.

Posted by: longhorn64 | September 20, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Sure would be nice to NOT give up a run in the first two innings....almost like a moral victory....

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 20, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I like Espinosa at SS. He is more natural than Desmond.

Posted by: bamabug | September 20, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Livan has a 2-game hitting streak. Wonder what the record is for a pitcher.

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 20, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

@longhorn:
He's smooth out there, isn't he? If he looks like a .250+ hitter in Viera / early season next year, he's a serious "keeper", imo.

Posted by: BinM | September 20, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Heh - turns out Livan's not even close. Longest hitting streaks for pitchers is 11, jointly held by Rick Rhoden (1984), Gary Peters (1966), and Jerry Walker (1961).

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 20, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

@gilbertbp:
Rhoden doesn't suprise me - he's a pretty good athlete (a scratch golfer), Gary Peters, (good pitcher & helped himself with both the White Sox & Red Sox over a nice career) but Jerry Walker? Wow - Had to look him up; Former All-star (BAL-1959), set the record in 1961 with the Kansas City A's.

Good stuff.

Posted by: BinM | September 20, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I knew Rhoden and Peters, but never heard of Walker (what a terrible name for a pitcher...).

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 20, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

The last six seasons have been so enjoyable to watch this team. They should make a movie (a la Bad News Bears) about these clowns! This is Natinals Baseball and this is Nats Town!

Posted by: jwing14 | September 20, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Another fantastic night in Nats Town! Ugh

Posted by: Kev29 | September 20, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Livo was cruising, then after his mental error at 1B, the team went into complete meltdown. Livo starts getting rocked, and the OF gets stupid, with errors from both Harris & Bernadina. How many ways can this team find to lose games?

Posted by: BinM | September 20, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank God Desmond is on the bench so we can play error free ball tonight, right fellas?

Posted by: Kev29 | September 20, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I like Espinosa, but he's not ready yet - starting to look a little lost at the plate. Off-season is going to be interesting, still think they need to stay with the younger guys and take their lumps for another year or 2.

Posted by: bendersx6 | September 20, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis of Bernadina's swing by Knight..

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 20, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes another splendid night in Nat's town. At this rate the Nats are going to have to pay people to come to the games.
Sorry but sick of some of the comments that Ray Knight is making. Yes in the six inning Espinosa made a great catch but honestly for Knight to make a big deal about how it's OK for him not hitting and making great plays just doesn't cut it in my mind. Between him and Riggleman they remind of us when little johnny in little league either strikes out or misses a easy fly ball that we all have to tell little johnny, "Good try, no problems". Sorry in my mind this doesn't cut it in the major leagues.

In a way it was probably better that Dibble got fired when he did, I honestly don't think he would of made it through the season, he would of out of frustration say something bad.

Posted by: Golfersal | September 20, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

What's the score guys? Natinals doing well?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 20, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to watch the rest of this game, but I haven't been disappointed in Espinosa's play. Will be interested to see what happens in the off-season.

Posted by: longhorn64 | September 20, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Checked the MLB net before i went on a conference call to close a contract deal they were leading 2-1 and i'm thinking okay Livo's hurling we got a chance and then BOOOMMM!!!!! what da hell happened?

Posted by: dargregmag | September 20, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Checked the MLB net before i went on a conference call to close a contract deal they were leading 2-1 and i'm thinking okay Livo's hurling we got a chance and then BOOOMMM!!!!! what da hell happened?

Posted by: dargregmag | September 20, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

This is the day in a row of bad defense for a Washington vs. Houston match-up!!

Posted by: Supporter51 | September 20, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

2nd day in a row, I meant to say. Lol!

Posted by: Supporter51 | September 20, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

No worries, Supporter, seems to be the day for missing words, as evidenced in this line from this post:

"Balester has pitched exceedingly in his latest tour with the Nationals,"

Posted by: NatAlbert | September 20, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

@NatAlbert: As the Post says, the Nats will get the coverage they deserve! How many days till we learn Kilgore is becoming the eighth guy on the Skins beat?

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | September 20, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Ray Knight was so right on when he spoke tonight of not recognizing the Nats play as major league. As a team they are beyond pathetic.

Posted by: mrcart | September 20, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Thank God Desmond is on the bench so we can play error free ball tonight, right fellas?
Posted by: Kev29

No errors at shortstop, anyway!!

Posted by: mrcart | September 20, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone, fresh off the presses:

Fighting Showalter's of Baltimore: 60-90

Lowly Natinals of DC: 62-88


O's now just 2 games back of the slumping Natinals.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 20, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Is there some reason, as a DC baseball fan since I was 5 years old in the mid-60s, that I'm supposed to be interested in how the ORIOLES are doing...? (Cause I'm not and never have been, one way or another...) But this guy seems to be bragging about the Orioles being WORSE than the Nats? Ah, the wonders of the internet and the modern age...

Posted by: skidge | September 20, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually for the past few months the O's have been leaps and bounds better than the Natinals.

Which really speaks to the Natinals pathetic play, since after May, the O's were on pace to lose well over 100 games.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 20, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Just returned home from the game; left at the end of the 7th inning. I just couldn't stand watching this circus anymore. I guess I didn't miss a thing. It was 8-2 when I left, and 8-2 final score. These guys pretending to be professional baseball players are boring me to sleep. I'm glad I can play with my smartphone at the games which makes these forgettable games more bearable until I can leave early. 10,999 paid attendance probably includes a lot of no-show season ticket holders 'cause the ballpark looked pretty empty to me. Gee, I wonder why? Oh, that's right. Fans must be tired of paying to watch a professional baseball game but end up watching the circus.

Posted by: blufre | September 20, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Zimmerman gives us something to watch virtually every day. What a pro.

Posted by: markfromark | September 20, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, by the way, it's Fan Appreciation Week! Unfortunately, at the rate the Natinals are losing games, there won't be anyone left in the stands for the Natinals to appreciate!!!!

Posted by: blufre | September 20, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

No errors at shortstop, anyway!!

Posted by: mrcart | September 20, 2010 10:05 PM

Oh great, let's make sure those Titanic deck chairs are arranged perfectly!

Posted by: Kev29 | September 20, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

The Titanic that is the Washington Natinals is going down faster than Gianna Michaels at the AVN awards.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 20, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm ready for spring training and hope springing eternal.

Posted by: markfromark | September 20, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

man, these guys aren't even trying now...

Posted by: bromisky | September 21, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

"Abject silence filled Nationals Park, interrupted over the next nine innings only by bats cracking, gloves snapping, organ music, fielders screaming, 'I got it!' and polite applause." -- Kilgore

Very poetic, but also very far from true, the Nats crank up the noise between every batter and every inning. Nats Park would be loud if ten fans showed up.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | September 21, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

No errors at shortstop, anyway!!
Posted by: mrcart | September 20, 2010 10:05 PM
Oh great, let's make sure those Titanic deck chairs are arranged perfectly!
Posted by: Kev29
Kev29, I was reacting to your post that the "resting" of ole Stonefingers, Ian Desmond, made no difference because of all the other errors, that somehow those errors showed that Desmond was not all that bad by comparison to the rest. Man, he's so far worse than anyone else on the Nats in the field, there is no comparison. He's probably the worst fielding regular shortstop in the majors. All this talk about the Nats not needing Adam Dunn because their long term plans are for a fast, defensive team fall flat when Ian Desmond is proclaimed the shortstop of the Nats future. Always heard that defensive strength up the middle was the key to great defense. Dunn is certainly no gold glover but he's getting to be adequate, especially considering his bat, which nets a big plus in run production vs. what he gives up in the field. Stonefingers hits a pathetic .260-280, with run production that's nowhere close to Dunn's in comparison, and we are to think he's the ANSWER at shortstop. Sounds like a textbook example of a double standard to me. With this kind of player evaluation by our front office and field management our prospects don't look good for years to come.

Posted by: mrcart | September 21, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

>>Oh great, let's make sure those Titanic deck chairs are arranged perfectly! Posted by: Kev29

BTW Kev, you were pretty proud of the Nats recent accomplishments a few day's ago. What's the Nats record in Sept now? Just wondering. And what's the Os?
One team movin up, one team movin down. The Nats with Rizzo and DoubleSwitch at the helm and without Jesus or Dunn next season will lose more than 103 games, which is what they've been on pace now since about April. The good news, I don't think anyone will come out to see them. People have finally caught on to the ways of the Lerners, Rizzo and Stanky.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 21, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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