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Game 161 discussion thread: Nationals at Mets

The penultimate game of the Nationals' season will bring with an unusual international twist. Two Cuban starting pitchers, Yunesky Maya and Raul Valdes, will oppose one another.

The last time one game featured two Cuban starting pitchers was May 22, 2003, when Livan Hernandez of the Expos faced Michael Tejera of the Marlins. Hernandez pitched a complete game and Tejera took the loss as the Expos won, 8-2.

Today, Maya will try to close out a disappointing first season in the majors on a promising note. Manager Jim Riggleman feels Maya has improved with each start, but it hasn't shown in his results. Maya is 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in four starts.

Talk about the game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  | October 2, 2010; 12:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Michael Morse's breakout , season apparently over a day early

Comments

Can we agree that a new low in color commentary has been reached today when Ray Knight imitated Woody Woodpecker? He is readying himself for enterance into the Debbie Taylor wing of the Sportscaster's Hall of Fame.

Posted by: Natstoyou | October 2, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

That's a wing dedicated to, and with only enough room for, a single, eponymous enshrinee, Natsto.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | October 2, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Natstoyou:
Ray Knight = Woody Woodpecker; Really? Just one more reson to listen to the radio feed - Just wish it was synched better with the video.
One more thing for my 'off-season' wish list, I suppose.

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I wish we had someone who could imitate a major league hitter. I hope Rizzo is giving some thought to the 2011 offense so his top-line pitcher will have run support.

Posted by: longhorn64 | October 2, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

With Zimmerman, Dunn & Willingham absent from the Nationals lineup, they're about as threatening as a wet rag. It only helps to illustrate how thin the bench has been this year.

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Manuel allowing Valdes to start to 6th says he's 'mailing it in', imo. Good for the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Waitaminute - They send Flores on an ground ball? What the he!! was Pat thinking?

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Now Riggleman sends Mench up against a RHP, with LH hitters on the bench (Harris, Dunn,)? WTF?

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Mench, Harris and Maxwell has no business being on a major league roster. They may be nice guys but I'm tired of seeing guys trot up to the plate who either can't hit anymore or haven't learned how to hit.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | October 2, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Flores 2.0

Posted by: swanni | October 2, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

A lot of this is Riggleman, the Mench's, the Harris's, the Guzman's, the Batista's.

Please fire Jim Riggleman ... even the Mets broadcasters are questioning his decision to put Harris in right field. WTF Lerners FIRE RIGGLEMAN!

Posted by: periculum | October 2, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@SCNatsFan:
I've been trying to get a grip on why Mench was called up since August; still don't understand it. Not that there were a lot of OF options at either SYR or HAR at that time, but still...

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I agree. It's not like he was crushing the ball down there.

I read a quote on Maxwell somewhere that Riggs said 'there is just too much talent to give up on this young man'. How does he have poor ab after ab yet still get in this lineup? Not that it matter at this point in the season but what does it say about your commitment to winning when you have someone like his given chance after chance, failing over and over, and still playing?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | October 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone buying the left hamstring story for Morse?

Posted by: swanni | October 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

This should remove any lingering doubt that Maxwell is not, and never will be, a major league player, not even on the bench.

Looking forward to 2011 with Nats committed to same OF and no Dunn. Hope that #1 new starter (wasn't that Marquis for 2010?) throws all shutouts.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | October 2, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

A completely out-of-the-box thought - Let Dunn walk away, move Zimmerman to 1B, sign Beltre at 3B, move Desmond to CF & Espinosa to SS, re-sign Kennedy for 2B. What do we lose?

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I would think you would lose the committment to stay a National from Zimmerman... do you really think he would be like "ok, I'll move to first base" when he is pretty much the best defensive third basemen in baseball and is the defending Gold Glove winner in the NL? And still at only 26 just coming into his prime...

I mean, Beltre is pretty slick with the glove, too... but, I'd take Zimm at third over Beltre... would be nice, though, if Beltre wanted to go play 1st base for the Nats (yeah, right)...

Posted by: Ghost7 | October 2, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Never want to see Kennedy again. His half-hearted stabs on defense are on a par with his halfway offense. He's about as much of a gamer as FLop.

I am more and more pleased with the decision to keep our current outfield intact. Keeps me from getting too excited hoping for better from this team. No need to get all worked up, just move on along.

I adopted the Rockies since my son lives in Denver, and I really like their stadium (food is so much better - and cheaper - than Nats park). Maybe the Giants for the playoffs since I enjoy Jon Miller on XM. And they have the best chance of shutting down the Philthies I think. A Nats fan's gotta have a backup plan you know.

Posted by: utec | October 2, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

>>I adopted the Rockies since my son lives in Denver, and I really like their stadium Posted by: utec

Totally agree. We were in Denver a couple year's ago and hit up a Rockies game and their stadium is great. Amazing view of the mountains over the LF bullpen. And their bullpens are cool with the foilage and little waterfalls. The concourses are lined with things to do, almost like a boardwalk. It's definitely a beautiful first class stadium, much superior to Nats stadium, which is fine but looks like it was built on the cheap. As opposed to this one which looks real impressive.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | October 2, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

A completely out-of-the-box thought - Let Dunn walk away, move Zimmerman to 1B, sign Beltre at 3B, move Desmond to CF & Espinosa to SS, re-sign Kennedy for 2B. What do we lose?

Posted by: BinM
___________________________________________

Interesting thoughts, but Beltre is 6 months older than Dunn (you forgot that Dunn is ancient and can't be signed?) and will cost more than Dunn. And moving Zimm to 1B would be a waste, even though old man Beltre is no slouch, but will be ready for 1B himself in 2 years. Nats will never move Desmond to CF (there's that box thing), but his next team will.

50-50 we'll beat 2009 by 10 games as we go 48-79 or 49-78 after that 20-15 start(let's call it .380 or only 2.5 games better than 2009 over 162 game schedule). Matching 2010 will be tough in 2011 with no Dunn production, Morgan continuing to foul CF (and running into the LF, the RF and outs at 2B), and a starting staff optimistically to be led by a career flop, Carl Pavano. The "plan" continues to march in baby steps. Zimm will be 40 by the time it kicks in (and retiring from the Yankees). And Riggs will still be managing with a raise to $650k/year. And yeah, I'll probably still be a STH for a 7th year in 2011. Something about masochism... My two one word answers to the STH survey question: "lousy" for the Nats and "cheap" for the management.

Sign Adam Dunn!! and a 3 year offer for $33 million doesn't qualify as legit or in good faith.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | October 2, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Eh, it was just a thought, although it gets rid of a boatload of errors overall.

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

They won't make seventy wins ... and the Mets look unbeatable by these miserable Nats. So, a 9 game difference over last year. With this team continuing a steep decline from May.

A lot of this sits on Riggleman's shoulders.

Guzman "was hot" so you had to play him. And he was horrific in the field, at second base right field. LOOK AT MORSE's numbers by comparison and YOU had to play Guzman?????

Please fire Jim Riggleman after tomorrow's game. Please!

Posted by: periculum | October 2, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@grclark:
Pavano = OOF. I hope we all see that he is very good in 'contract years', and very bad otherwise. With the Nationals, he'd likely end up being Marquis version 2010_x2, imo. Let the Royals, A's, or somebody else sign him for another 3-4 years for $8-10M+/yr. I don't want him in DC.

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Strolled by and discovered this was a troll-free zone today so I thought I'd stay for a minute.

We're at the pointless stage of the season, aren't we? Pointless to analyze games like this and, in my mind, equally pointless to speculate on how they will do next year, especially since we don't know who's going to be on the team. It certainly feels like they begin next season behind this season since we assume Dunn is going to leave. But who knows? We'll have to see.

I also think it's pointless to pummel Riggleman for his work. As I've said before, I think he's been largely irrelevant. So, he should have know that Morse would do what he's never done, become an effective everyday RF'er and fixture in the lineup? That's a firing offense? If he didn't play Guzman at second, who's he playing, a guy who had career lows in all of his numbers or a guy who drove in four runs all year?

We criticize him for playing Harris and Mench and Maxwell and yeah, they all stink. But who else was he going to play? I keep looking for that great player that's getting buried in this organization who should be playing instead, but I haven't found him yet.

Sometimes you can make chicken salad out of chicken $%^t, but sometimes it just turns out to be chicken $%^t. If you don't like the menu at McDonald's would you criticize the store manager?

The manager situation will resolve itself. If this team shows any progress next year, I think Riggleman will conveniently step down or not have his contract renewed at the end of the year.

We all know the real issue with this team: the talent level at the big league level and ownership's commitment to improving it. It's kind of like a murder mystery: with each passing day, the suspects have been narrowed down. Bowden, Acta, Kasten, all gone now. It's up to the Lerners now.

Good to read comments today from caring, smart people. It's a nice change from recent days. If I don't check in tomorrow, it's been great fun "talking" to all of you this season. Hopefully we'll have better reasons to do this next year.

Posted by: baltova1 | October 2, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

baltova1:
Rational statements - thank you. Rizzo has a lot of holes to cover for 2011...

1) The Bench - The collection of Kennedy, AGonz, Nieves, Harris, Maxwell, Mench just won't get it going forward.
2) The starting staff needs a boost at the top end, imo. A 1-5 of JZimm, Livo, Lannan, Marquis, & Maya, with Detwiler & others in reserve isn't going anywhere close to forward.
3) The defense may need a serious revamp in the off-season as well. 12+OF errors, and 80+IF errors from the starting eight is just unacceptable; Something needs to change.

Posted by: BinM | October 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Re: "My two one word answers to the STH survey question: "lousy" for the Nats and "cheap" for the management."
Mine were "sad" and "cheap." But unlike you, I am not likely to be an ST holder in 2011. I would like to be, but just can't stand this terrible performance anymore, and I just don't believe it will change.
In that regard, Knight did an interesting analysis of what it takes to field a starting rotation of numbers 1-5 starters. First, Knight observed that since Jeezus went down, we have no numbers 1 or 2. Second, he went through what each level of starter makes, and to field a serious MLB starting rotation (Knight said) takes $50 million. Since our entire payroll is $11 million over that, the chances of the Cheaps forking that over is slim and zip. But hey, if they surprise the bejesus out of me and sign Dunn and get a real number 1 SP, then I will re-up my tix!

Nice to have a troll free zone. Thanks to the great white sharks, perhaps.

Posted by: NatsFly | October 2, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

What Baltova said. Been lurking on and off all day, and listening now to the most excellent Jon Miller & Co. He makes me wonder what Charlie and Dave might sound like if they had a good team to announce.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 2, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Although I don't agree Riggleman has been entirely irrelevant, he's had more "chicken by-products" (http://tinyurl.com/a7d2tj) than actual meat to work with, it's undeniable.
I'm hoping there'll be a major bench upgrade over the winter, along with that #1 starter, and maybe a few new coaches.
But I'll be renewing my regular seat until then.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 2, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Would that I could listen to C&D but I live in Roanoke, no live radio except for the computer and it is VERY off synch. I So I must make do with the Walrus and the Carpenter. Oh and Debbie. The F.O. was brilliant in their choice of radio announcers. They are as good as it gets. I will assume that the TV play by play and color are a work in progress. A pair of announcers with a real DC connection would be a good start. One game to go before hockebegins. Go Leafs! (I can sure pick 'em)

Posted by: Natstoyou | October 2, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Roanoke, no live radio except for the computer and it is VERY off synch. I So I must make do with the Walrus and the Carpenter. Oh and Debbie. The F.O. was brilliant in their choice of radio announcers. They are as good as it gets. I will assume that the TV play by play and color are a work in progress. A pair of announcers with a real DC connection would be a good start. One game to go before hockey begins. Go Leafs! (I can sure pick 'em)

Posted by: Natstoyou | October 2, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I would agree with Natstoyou about radio, the last time I heard Charlie and Dave was three years ago, so I have to listen to Carpenter and the gang. Not having a decent radio network is pretty poor marketing..

Posted by: bromisky | October 2, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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