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Joe Bisenius makes it back to the majors

Before Friday night, Joe Bisenius had not been in a major league game since April 7, 2004. He had changed franchises, from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Nationals, and he had pitched in Class A, Class AA and Class AAA. He kept his high-90s fastball, and he always believed he would pitch in the majors again.

"Yep," Bisenius said. "Everyone down there - if you're in the minor leagues - they have a dream to get up here. And if you don't, you probably shouldn't be playing down there. Yeah, I thought it would happen."

On Friday night, it did. Bisenius pitched a scoreless eighth in the Nationals' 3-1 loss, allowing a single to Brad Davis but nothing else. Bisenius felt normal, like he was trying to help the Nationals win rather than auditioning for a spot next season. He always gets nervous for the first batter, and he was Friday night.

"For me there's nerves until something happens, whether it's a hit or an out," Bisenius said. "Then I'm calm."

Bisenius, as advertised, relied on his booming fastball. He threw 18 fastballs in 22 pitches, most of them at 97 miles per hour, four of them at 98 mph. He didn't strike anyone out but flashed some nice command, throwing 16 of those 22 pitches for strikes.

"The velocity speaks for itself," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "Just very encouraged by what I saw there."

Bisenius's innings contributed to the Nationals bullpen's current streak of 17 straight scoreless innings. Bisenius acted afterward as if it was just another outing for him, but surely it meant more than that.

"It felt good to get out there, get under the lights," Bisenius said. "It felt good."

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 11:39 PM ET
 
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Comments

Makes me wonder what his problem is.

Posted by: longhorn64 | September 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Nice work by Bisenius, especially after he seemed unable to throw his curve for strikes.

As for Morgan, he is a disgrace. Getting caught stealing for the third out while Lannan was batting? Even worse was Riggleman's media appearance after the game. He basically said that he can't stop Morgan from stealing in that situation bacause he already had him batting 8th and stealing is part of "who he is". Wtf?

Posted by: ehay2k | September 11, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Riggleman would not manage a team that functions at the MLB level. But what about the Nats?

The Nats save considerable money by paying Riggleman $600K, which helps them finish near first place every year among MLB franchises in the Forbes profit rankings. This is an achievement not to be taken lightly. Manny worked for about that salary too. Who else can you get for that amount? No, Buck Showalter would not do it, and he and others of his caliber would be insulted if offered this low amount.

You do have to wonder if the Nats could do better, given the low salary they are willing to pay. Moreover, Riggleman has a roster full of marginal big league talent to work with. What talented manager would be willing to manage the low-budget Nats, who have demonstrated no financial commitment to winning?

Most of the Nats are happy to be in the big leagues, are happy with their minimum wages (which are hefty salaries in the real world), and, accordingly, they give Riggleman the respect he needs to do his job. They are almost all players who can be dumped and easily replaced for 2011--like Nyjer Morgan--if they show they are difficult to manage. Riggleman does not have to worry about trying to manage guys who do not follow his direction, since these marginal performers have no leverage. They can't pout or storm around like the big contract guys sometimes feel they can do.

At any rate, last we heard, the Nats are picking up their option on Riggleman for 2011.

http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2010/07/23/gm-jim-riggleman-will-manage-nationals-in-2011/

The Nats probably are pleased that fans get upset over Manny, Jim Bowden, Randy St. Claire, and now Riggleman, since a focus on the immediate distracts fans from what is happening at the ownership level. That's where the real problem is. Everything else follows.

Posted by: EdDC | September 11, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Getting caught stealing, unfortunately, is also part of who Nyjer is. The poor man's Juan Pierre. I will say, though, that, without benefit of the replay (was at the game), it looked like Nyjer might have beaten the throw. Not defending the decision to steal, of course. Highlight of the game I guess was the Maxwell-Espinosa-Pudge play in the top of the 9th. Would have loved to have seen a replay of that too but StanK & co. have other priorities.

Man, I envy the 80-year-old guy from the last thread who's 8-4 in games attended so far. I'm 7-16 and riding a four-game losing streak.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 11, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

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