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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 also the last day of Nyjer Morgan's eight-game suspension.

Nationals
1. Danny Espinosa, 2B
2. Roger Bernadia, CF
3. Ian Desmond, SS
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Michael Morse, RF
6. Willie Harris, LF
7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
8. Alberto Gonzalez, 3B
9. Jordan Zimmermann, SP

Braves
1. Omar Infante, 2B
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Martin Prado, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Derrek Lee, 1B
6. Nate McLouth, CF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Matt Diaz, LF
9. Tim Hudson, SP

By Adam Kilgore  | September 24, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
 
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Next: Bobby Cox can see Stan Kasten as baseball's next commissioner

Comments

Well adhardwick I would bring up the O's being 4 game sback if they were. But of course it looks like you are not good at math since the O's are only 3.5 games back.

But, if beating the O's (in terms of record) is all that important this year to Natinal fans, well that's really pathetic.

See, the O's were on pace to lose close to 110-120 games the year. They won't even lose a hundred. So while the O's have turned it on the past 2 months, the Natinals have turned it off, as usual.

Oh and baltova1 I like how you call 2 months of spectacular baseball a "hot streak."

Natinal fans would wet themselves, sell their first born for a "hot streak" that lasted that long.

Oh and the Natinals will still end the season with a worse record than the Orioles.

And lord knows how many people the Natinals won't have coming to their games next year.

The O's are ending on a high-note, sending a signal to their fans (and all of MLB) that they're a force to be reckoned with for the next few years.

The Natinals....well they're finishing the season like they always do, looking ahead to their tee-times. Plus Strasburg won't be around next year so attendance will continue to plummet. They'll be lucky to draw 1.5 million next year. That's how bad the Natinals and their franchise are.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 24, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

First!

Posted by: NATurallyYours | September 24, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Second
Willy Freaking Harris, lets see what he's got ;>(

Posted by: alm1000 | September 24, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I don't what I was thinking, calling two months of baseball a hot "streak." I mean, the 2005 Nats started the year 51-30. They kept right on rolling into the playoffs...oh, wait, that's right, the Nats finished 31-50 to go 81-81.

Wait a minute, there's the '05 Orioles, led by Lee Mazzilli. They were in first place on June 23, at 42-30, and kept up that .583 winning pace to win 95 games and go to the...oh wait, that's right, they went 32-58 the rest of the way and finished fourth.

You're right, two months of baseball is an accurate reading...

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Oops, got my Nationals math a little messed up there but even Poopy can get the point there (I think...).

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Given that Tim Hudson is pitching, I think we should have gone with the "reverse lock" lineup that seemed to work yesterday. Making the other team overconfident when they see our starting lineup seems to be an effective strategy!

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, longhaul, I was leaning toward the Tonya Hardin/Nancy Kerrigan strategy myself. I'd feel a little bad seeing Hudson, writhing on the ground, holding his knee, wailing "Why me? Why?"

But not that much.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"See, the O's were on pace to lose close to 110-120 games the year. They won't even lose a hundred."

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 24, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

------

I know we're not supposed to feed them, but is this Poop guy for real? Were you ignored as a child?

Trying to stir the pot does not make you sound intelligent. And jumping for joy that you WERE on pace to be epically bad and now will be only excruciatingly bad is damning with faint praise indeed.

To reiterate what I said a few days ago, how can you be so excited to trumpet a team that has had to go on an amazing string of good baseball and STILL is going to finish in the bottom of MLB! Who does that?

Listen, buddy, both teams suck. Both are embarrassing to look at over any reasonable period of time (10+ losing seasons for the O's, Nats well on their way to matching). I guess if you post under the name Poop, it's no wonder you get excited when something turns from absolutely putrid into merely inexecrable.

Posted by: cdstej | September 24, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Think they'll shut down Zim for the remainder of the season with his ribcage strain??? I need to decide whether to keep him in my weekly fantasy lineup for the last week of the season.

Posted by: JamWhitt | September 24, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer would have been the guy to implement Tonya/Nancy on Hudson. But, alas, he won't get to once again grace Nationals Park with his brain cramps until tomorrow.

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 24, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Well said, cdstej. It's why I try to restrain myself and not respond to him, although I couldn't pass up the chance today.

First, "nanny nanny boo boo" does not make for intelligent, insightful commenting. You gotta bring more than that, especially if you're going to bombard people with posts.

Second, most people here are totally unconcerned about the Orioles. Many hate them and ignore them. Some (like me) like them, but just don't focus on them. Enough of the "we're better than you now" crap.

Tempting as it is to tweak this moron, it's really better for all of us if we just ignore him.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

>>baseball hot streak

The funny thing is, all the retorts to my mentioning my excitement over Buck Showalter in Baltimore has been basically well "He will implode and wear out his welcome in 3 years."

Uh OK. I'll take 3 winning seasons and some playoff appearances in the immediate future for an implosion down the road. I'd take that for the Nats too. I think any Nats fan would. Wouldn't you?

Riggleman won't implode that's for sure. He'll simply quietly keep on the losing course until he is fired with no excitement and no playoff appearances. Is that what you really want?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 24, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a Willie Harris basher, but what's the point of playing him instead of Maxwell? At some point, the Nats need to figure out if J-Max will be back or be DFA'd, plus it would improve the defense at two positions. Willie's 4 for 16 lifetime against Hudson couldn't be it.

Posted by: chiefwj | September 24, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"Uh OK. I'll take 3 winning seasons and some playoff appearances in the immediate future for an implosion down the road. I'd take that for the Nats too. I think any Nats fan would. Wouldn't you?"

Yeah, and so would the Orioles fans. But they're not likely to see that happen either. The Orioles may be improving but to get to "3 winning seasons and some playoff appearances in the immediate future," they're going to have pass at least three of the teams ahead of them: Toronto, Boston, Tampa Bay and New York. All of them have winning records, two of them (Toronto and Tampa Bay) have a lot of good young players and the other two will always break out the checkbook to remain competitive.

I can't predict the future any better than you can, but I sure don't see "3 winning seasons and some playoff appearances in the immediate future" for the Orioles.

You're offering a false comparison.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

>>You're offering a false comparison.
Posted by: baltova1


Balto for losing teams such as the Nats and Os, it's all about the future and about hope. Right now I'd say the Os have it and the Nats don't. The Nats are losing their most dynamic offensive and defensive players from this season for next year. With that being the case, how on earth can the Nats even hope to avoid another 100-loss crash next year.

As far as what will happen to the Os, I was comparing what Buck has done historically in all his previous stints. It certainly won't be easy, as you have pointed out correctly. But if you look at the talent level of the Os and the history of Buck with all his previous teams, I would be extremely surprised if the Orioles didn't finish at or above .500 next season and didn't compete for the playoffs in 2 seasons. Conversely, with Riggleman and this team as it is currently comprised, how can anyone think the Nats even have the chance of improving, let alone not losing 100+ games again next season.
Seriously.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 24, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

And let's be perfectly clear about Kasten. Smart people don't run from success. They bathe in it. If Kasten even remotely thought the Nats were about to explode (positively that is) do you for a moment think he'd be high-tailing it outta town. No way. He'd be holding court taking it all in. But Kasten sees the writing on the wall. This is gonna get real ugly before it has any chance of turning around. And that aint gonna be any time soon. That's why he's cutting his losses and bolting. Him leaving tells you all you need to know about the Nats immediate future.
BLEAK!

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 24, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Okay, let's work through this.

First, you've now downgraded your expectations, which is wise.

Second, you're still ignoring the other teams in that division. The Orioles can get a LOT better and still be way behind the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays (unless the Rays dump players for salary reasons) and (depending on who they hire as manager) I would argue the Blue Jays' future is brighter than the O's.

Third: "But if you look at the talent level of the Os and the history of Buck with all his previous teams, I would be extremely surprised if the Orioles didn't finish at or above .500 next season and didn't compete for the playoffs in 2 seasons."

Given the talent level of the O's, with holes at 3B, 1B, SS, LF, the back end of the rotation and the closer spot, I would be very surprised if the Orioles finished above .500 next season and competed for the playoffs in 2 seasons. The two month hot streak is obscuring the fact that they have a lot of holes.

Finally, "Conversely, with Riggleman and this team as it is currently comprised, how can anyone think the Nats even have the chance of improving, let alone not losing 100+ games again next season."

Well, this team isn't losing 100+ games THIS season. And in terms of talent, they're in an almost identical spot to the Orioles. Both have promising youngsters and a few established vets and a lot of holes. Showalter might be worth a couple of wins but not enough to make his team 20 games better than the Nats.

Seriously.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Now you know i'm talking smack to my co-workers, scaring them to death with the "we're playing loosey-goosey nuthin to lose attitude you guy's got the wild card hangin over your heads, Hudson's last couple of starts have been nothing to write home about yeah you guy's are going down this weekend" (LMAO!).

Posted by: dargregmag | September 24, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

darg, you're a brave man...

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ok let's continue to work thru this.
>>Showalter might be worth a couple of wins but not enough to make his team 20 games better than the Nats.

So far this season in equal games,
Os 29-18, Nats 18-29. That's 11 games better, not 2.

Next season the Nats will need a 1B and CF. They say they are set at 2nd and SS but only a 100 loss team would say that. Desmond is a liability at SS and Espinosa is an untested rookie. At catcher again you have an untested rookie and an old vet who is dying by the end of the season. LF and RF are also big needs. So the Nats field is filled with question marks.

But lets get real here. The most important position is the biggest difference. The Nats starting pitching staff is putrid. It's minor league. And until that is addressed, the rest doesn't even matter. They have no staff. That's NO staff. And that's a real crime and one that should be held up bigtime on Rizzo.

The Os meanwhile have great young pitching.
You're right that the Os need a 1b, 3b and shortstop, although they drafted their SS of the future this year and I could even live with a platoon of Wiggington and Scott at 1st and 3rd although I know that's not the answer. But the Os are set at all the other positions. You're offbase in left. Pie is going to be an excellent hitting LF.

If they can sign Koji, he is their closer for the next 2 years and a darn good one I would say. As I said their young pitching is excellent but they need 1 veteran ace brought aboard. That's not a ton of needs.

I couldnt' disagree with you more Balto. These teams have very little in common.
One is on the way up and one isn't so much on the way down as is it just continues to consistently flounder on the bottom of the pool. And while that makes me very happy for the Os, it also makes me very sad for the Nats. For I'd venture to say I've been a Nats fan even longer than you. And I'm real tired of this shite.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 24, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Damned if I care that we finish better than the O's. However, it does seem important to O's fans if they finish better than the Nats. Sounds like most people here want a strong finish and see what the kids (Bernie, Ramos, Danny, Dessy, et al) can do...

Posted by: -CN- | September 24, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

It’s absolutely stunning to me that anyone, including the most ardent fan of a team, can possibly think that the Orioles are turning around 13 CONSECUTIVE seasons of losing after what amounts to a streak of good play over a fraction of the season. The numbers under Showalter speak for themselves. It is what it is. But the nonsense posted here about going in the right direction are way, way premature. It reminds me of fans that jump on the team bandwagon on, say, April 25th in a new baseball season. Means nothing.

Frankly, the fact that they have to stop playing because the season ends soon is probably a bad sign for them. Good momentum lost. And the A.L. East factor has been covered in detail here, and remains the real issue. At best, the Orioles can shoot for a4th place finish because that will be aiming high next year.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | September 24, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Who cares how many games the O's may or may not lose in the AL. They are in another town, they play in another league.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 24, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Man, skins_fan_22 brought a bazooka to a knife fight. Way to go sure. Totally laid the smack down on these Natinal fans.

The reality is, they look up the road at B'more and see a franchise that, as you mentioned, has genuine hope and is actually being run correctly.

The Natinals on the other hand, are being run by chickens with their heads cut off. Their biggest revenue maker is out for all of 2011, their 1st basemen is probably gone, and other than Zimmerman, they got a bunch of scrubs or prospects who haven't proven jack-squat.

Also, skins fan is right about the O's and closer. Uehara has been basically lights out as a closer (only 2 blown saves both to the Yankees). Their starting pitching is leaps and bounds better than the Natinals and yes lets not forget about the O's shortstop who should be up in the majors in 2-3 years, who many compare to Arod.

O's future is bright.

Natinals future is darker than Rosie O'Donnell's hoo-hoo.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 24, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

One last thing Balto, and this is Major. I stated that CF is a need for the Nats. But they have already stated that they are set and satisfied with their CF of the future in Morgan. This speaks volumes. How can you improve as a team when you continue to trot out not only sub-par players but players who consistently put you in a hole both in the field, offensively and even on the bases. Rizzo can try to sell us on junk all he wants but the facts scream otherwise. Morgan is a huge liability. Just as Riggleman's handling of Morgan shows he's a liability.

And until you recognize those problems and correct them, nothing really will change for this team, no matter who is playing what position. Because the rest of the players see thru it. And instead of inspiring them, it wears them down.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 24, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

skins_fan:

Get over yourself. Orioles lose 90+ next year and are sub .500 for the next 10 years, just as they've been for the last 10 years. They are the AL version of the Pittsburgh Pirates. There is no hope. But just keep telling yourself that Buck will fix everything...

Posted by: lesatcsc | September 24, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I can't say I've ever actually seen Rosie's hoo-hoo (or that I'd ever be able to find anyway without a large bag of flour) but, in any case, Kool Aid comes in both orange and red, so let's move on.

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 24, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

longhaul, well said...

Posted by: baltova1 | September 24, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

stop,before you make espinosa a gold glove and given the keys of the city,is only sept call up ,yes good arm and pop with a lot holes in that swing and very stiff for a second baseman and no a soft hands fielder and a chance to be average at best,give him a full season and them give him the keys

Posted by: MIGUELNAVAG | September 24, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Alright, you've lured me into this black hole conversation.

O's are in much better shape than the Nats. The O's have 4 guys who threw 150+ innings this year, the Nats have 1. Markakis, Jones, Pie/Reimhold is a better OF than anything the Nats could drum up -- with the gloves or with the bats. Roberts is among the AL's best lead-off men when healthy. Izturis can actually play SS. Weiters is better than anyone the Nats can trot out to catch. The O's have salary coming off the books and will likely grab a big bat for 1B -- Victor martinez playing 1B and some C? The Donkey? And two SP's (one of which will be someone like Brandon Webb the other a true Ace like Cliff Lee). With a healthy Mike Gonzalez in the pen they are much improved there in 2011. They have comers to match those of the Nats in Bell and Andino. They'll spend some money. They can get better a lot faster than the Nats can get better.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 24, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

>>Orioles lose 90+ next year and are sub .500 for the next 10 years, just as they've been for the last 10 years.
Posted by: lesatcsc

Les I've seen the Orioles teams for the past 10 years and I couldn't agree with you more on how bad they've been--simply awful. Nats bad. The makeup was ridiculous and their leadership was rudderless. A bunch of managers who had no business being in charge (sound familiar?).

But this team for the first time is different, it's young and talented...Markakis, Adam Jones, Wieters, Pie, Scott, Matusz, Arrieta, Koji, Tillman, Bergesen. Under the right leadership for the first time, talent like that will rise to the top. It's really inevitable.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 24, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

try this next time

...crickets...

---

Alright, you've lured me into this black hole conversation.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 24, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I would love it if the O's turned into a great team and I'm not discounting the possibility. But this is a Nat's board. I don't see how the O's performance, good or bad, affects the Nats one way or the other.

Also, both sides in this conversation are staking a claim that sounds a lot like "our side has good young talent and we'll plug our gaps in the FA market." So let's see how that plays out. Without any additions, I don't see either team making huge leaps.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | September 24, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

An inside-the-parker, evidently. Probably some game, too. ;-)

---

Willy Freaking Harris, lets see what he's got ;>(

Posted by: alm1000 | September 24, 2010 3:20 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 24, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

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