Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

The Nats make a few roster moves

It was a busy day for the Nats. They recalled left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Triple-A Syracuse Chief and designated right-handed pitcher Jason Bergmann for assignment.


It was inevitable when the season started with eight pitchers in the bullpen that the Nats would eventually have to drop down to seven pitchers in the bullpen. Today was that day. Bergmann wasn’t the likely candidate on Opening Day but he pitched himself into that position with a 15.43 ERA (4 ER/ 2.1 IP) in four games.


Olsen, 26, started this afternoon’s series finale at Philadelphia. Olsen made one start for Syracuse, allowing four runs on eight hits in 6.0 innings during Friday’s no-decision vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies). He started just 11 games last season and his last start was on July 10 before he had left shoulder surgery. He wasn’t quite 100 percent at the end of Spring Training but his fastball is back in the low 90’s and he could become a valuable southpaw in the Nats rotation.


Maxwell, 26, struggled this spring but was 5-for-15 (.333) with two doubles, two RBI, five runs scored, five walks and two stolen bases in four games with Syracuse prior to the promotion.


The Nats also voided the April 11 option of right-handed pitcher Garrett Mock to Syracuse, and instead, placed Mock on the 15-Day Disabled List, retroactive to April 11, with a right cervical spine disc injury. Mock, 26, received a no-decision on Friday at New York (NL) in his 2010 debut. He worked 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks.

Capps weathers the storm and Opening Week photos

Matt Capps first save.jpgThe thunderstorm was swiftly approaching Nationals Park, the radar map was decorated with Christmas colors and ominous clouds crept closer with each passing minute. The Head Groundkeeper John Turnour informed the umpires of the looming storm and a few fans in the park intently watched the radar map with their blackberry’s. The Nats were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth with the heart of the Phillies’ lineup ready to create thunder of their own. After last year, it seemed only fitting that lighting would strike at Nationals Park, not the lighting from the sky but the Phillies lineup.

If it was last year, the game would have been at 7:05 p.m.–not at 4:35 p.m.–and postponed due to rain. If it was last year, the Phillies would have tied the game in the ninth. It isn’t 2009. It is a new year and there is a new team and bolstered bullpen. Newly acquired set-up man Brian Bruney pitched a scoreless top of the eighth to preserve a one run lead for closer Matt Capps.  

The bullpen gate swung open and Capps slowly made the walk from right field to the mound–the eye of the storm. Capps doesn’t try to create fear with his entry or stare, he just tries to locate his 95 mph fastball and get outs. There is nothing scary about the soft-spoken Capps. His introduction song is Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” he looks like a cuddly teddy bear and if you didn’t know any better you would bet he wouldn’t be able to grow a beard on his baby face.

He threw a couple of warm-up pitches, walked behind the mound, removed his cap, looked down at the grass and said a prayer–he would need all the help he could get against the fearsome Phillies lineup: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth.

It didn’t take long before there was a storm brewing on the field. Utley doubled and Howard was intentionally walked. Two on and zero outs typically spells tied game.

“Only the rain can save this game for the Nats,” yelled a Phillies fan.

But Capps quickly got Werth to fly out to center and Utley advanced to third.

Cool, calm and collected is Capp’s style. He would only need four more pitches, all fastballs, to get the save. He got Raul Ibanez to fly out to left and Shane Victorino to fly out to shortstop.

“To go through that lineup, you have to feel good about it,” Capps said. “It was a great feeling when Guzman caught the ball because I knew it wasn’t hit well [enough] to do any damage. Nyjer did a great job on that ball Werth hit. Nyjer getting that ball saved the game. There were a few more nerves going out in that save situation. Everything felt good today. I threw the ball well… today felt good.”

Capps nailed it down and beat the storm on the field and avoided the storm in the sky. The rain would eventually fall but the Nats were already celebrating on the train to New York. It was only one game but it was an important win and it would have been an even tougher loss, a type of loss they experienced one too many times last year.

“As we saw Bruney battle there in the eighth, and the way Capps was firing in the ninth, it was really encouraging to see because our pitching has to come together,” Jim Riggleman said. “It’s making strides. It’s coming together. When it does, it’s going to give us a chance.”

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. I don’t know where they got that arbitrary number. I think the best pictures are worth zero words–they tell the story so you don’t have to. But for the sake of argument, let’s say a picture is worth 10,000 words. So here is a thesis paper worth of photos as we look back at the Opening Series…


Nats fan.JPG
nyger morgan opening day c.JPG
040510-363 ryan zimmerman c.JPG
nationals park opening day 2010.JPG
pres. obama first pitch.JPG
zimmerman and obama.JPG
obama in the booth.JPG 

Walk this way and Lineups

Craig Stammen Ex. game.JPGIt is important to preface any baseball statistics or arguments made a half week into the season by saying they probably mean nothing and the records mean even less. The Pirates are undefeated and tied for the lead in the NL Central and the Dodgers are in last place in the NL West. Of course, you would rather be 2-0 than 0-2 but neither record wins a playoff spot. 

The Nats look to salvage game three of their opening series against the Phillies. They will count on 26-year-old Craig Stammen, who had an impressive spring to earn the third spot in the rotation and the Nats are hoping that the third game is a charm.

“Some of the hard work has paid off, but what you do in the spring doesn’t matter,” Stammen said. “All this stuff gets thrown out when the season starts. So I have to continue the success in April.”

For Stammen to have success against the Phillies’ lineup, he will have to pound the strike zone and limit free passes, something John Lannan, Jason Marquis and the bullpen has struggled with in the past few days.

Walk this way.

The Nationals pitching staff has struggled with their control in the first two games. They lead the Majors with 17 walks, nine walks in game one and eight walks last night. The Red Sox are right behind them with 16 walks but that is in three games. These high walk numbers might be more indicative of the two lineups the teams are facing–the Phillies and Yankees, respectively–but it is never easy to win a game when a team walks eight or more batters. Last year, there were 203 times that a team issued eight or more walks and the outcome is what you may expect. The teams issuing the walks went 55-148 (.271) in those games.

The Nationals won’t average eight walks a game but of the 17 walks: six were on full counts, two were on four pitches, two were intentional and five of the batters eventually scored. Pitching around a batter with two outs typically produces a different result than walking the first batter. Last night in the top of the ninth, the Nats intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz with two outs and the next batter, Ryan Madson, struck out. On the other hand, walking the leadoff hitter of the inning always seems to haunt teams. The Phillies leadoff hitter has been issued a free pass six times and they have crossed the plate four times. Walks aren’t runs but they lead to runs.

There are 11 teams that have surrendered 10 or more walks so far this season. Their combined record is 9-17. The 10 teams with the lowest walk totals are 16-7. These statistics aren’t trying to show a cause-and-effect–there isn’t one–and maybe there isn’t even a correlation. A team wins the game by scoring more runs than the other team–thanks John Madden–but walks help the other teams score more runs. It is that simple.

 Phillies (2-0):

1.      Jimmy Rollins – SS

2.      Placido Polanco – 3B

3.      Chase Utley – 2B

4.      Ryan Howard – 1B

5.      Jayson Werth – RF

6.      Raul Ibanez – LF

7.      Shane Victorino – CF

8.      Brian Schneider – C

9.      Kyle Kendrick – SP


*Kendrick had a stellar spring and allowed just four hits (0 BB, 0 R) over his first 9.0 innings. He gave up two earned runs or less in all seven of his appearances (5 starts).

*Kendrick replaced injured right-hander Joe Blanton (left oblique strain) in the Phillies’ rotation.

*To pitch to Howard or not is a tough question because Jayson Werth has been just as lethal against the Nats. “You are between a rock and a hard place with those guys,” Manager Jim Riggleman said.


Nationals (0-2):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – SS

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Willie Harris – RF

7.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Craig Stammen – SP

*Guzman gets his first start at SS after pinch hitting for Mike Morse and playing right field last night.

*Pudge gets a break because of the day game after a night game.

Marquis makes his first start with the Nats and lineups

Jason Marquis Opening Day.JPGIt is both game two of the series and season tonight. Last year, the second game at Nationals Park (April 15 vs. the Phillies) was postponed due to thunderstorms. There won’t be any postponements or problems with the weather today. It is another b-e-a-utiful day in the Nation’s Capital–it might even be a little too warm for April 7. The temperature is in the mid-80’s with scattered clouds and plenty of sun as the players start to warm-up.

Jason Marquis takes the mound for the first time as a member of the Washington Nationals. He made his first start of the 2009 season against the Phillies and will once again try to shut down their formidable lineup. He earned the victory last season, pitching 7.0 innings and surrendering just two runs on five hits. Marquis has traditionally performed well in his first start of the season. He is 3-1 with a 3.88 ERA (46.1 IP/ 20 ER) in eight first starts of the season since 2002. Since 2005, he is 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA (29.1 IP/ 10 ER).

The veteran pitcher said he doesn’t plan on doing anything special against the Phillies. He is just going to be Jason Marquis–a sinker ball specialist that lets his defense make plays. He is just going to stick to his game plan, pound the bottom of the strike zone and induce ground ball outs.

Phillies (1-0):

1.      Jimmy Rollins – SS

2.      Placido Polanco – 3B

3.      Chase Utley – 2B

4.      Ryan Howard – 1B

5.      Jayson Werth – RF

6.      Raul Ibanez – LF

7.      Shane Victorino – CF

8.      Carlos Ruis – C

9.      Cole Hamels – SP

*Jimmy Rollins is batting .118 (4-for-34) with five strikeouts against Marquis.

* Hamels is 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA (67.1 IP/ 11 ER) and a .200 (49-for-244) BAA over his last 10 starts against the Nationals (dates to 2007 season). He enters today with a 14.1-inning scoreless streak at Nationals Park

Nationals (0-1):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Ian Desmond – SS

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Mike Morse – RF

8.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

9.      Jason Marquis- SP

*Marquis is the only player in MLB whose club has reached the postseason each of the last 10 seasons.


Game 1 of 162 and some early season projections

Nationals Park Opening Day 2010.jpgThere are 2,430 scheduled baseball games for the 2010 season and only 13 of them were played yesterday, just one half of 1 percent of all the games. There was one game on Sunday and the Rays and O’s start their seasons tonight.

“There are 161 more to go,” Ian Desmond said. “Just because we lost one game 11-1, it’s just like losing 2-1. It doesn’t really matter.”

At the end of the day, Opening Day is just another day. It is just one of the 162 games, but the Opener is always magnified: the pomp and circumstance before the start, the President throwing out the first pitch, the sold-out park, the beautiful weather and knowing that driving in two runs leaves you on pace to have 324 RBI when the season is done. It just has a different feel to it.

It is tradition following Opening Day–like eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day–to see the regular season projections for a few players that preformed well for one game and see what they are on-pace to do during the 162-game marathon. We will forget for a few seconds that the sample size is only one game and the odds of the projections actually happening are zero. So don’t bet the farm on these projections–sample sizes of one game have the tortoise losing to the hare every time–and don’t bet your friend that Placido Polanco is going to drive in 972 runs. He is projected to do that though… and just maybe he will. It is mathematically possible. Here are five things that could happen but won’t happen because being mathematically possible isn’t the same as being mathematically practical. 

·         The Blue Jays’ Adam Lind is batting 1.000 (3-for-3) with one home run, two runs and an RBI. He is projected to bat 1.000 (486-for-486)–move aside Ted Williams–with 162 home runs, 162 RBI and 234 runs.

·         The Phillies’ Placido Polanco didn’t waste any time making his presence known in the power, home run hitting Philadelphia lineup. He went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBI. He is projected to have 486 hits, 162 home runs and a measly 972 RBI, not a bad season.

·         If Albert Pujols wasn’t the front runner for his third straight NL MVP award, he is now. He went 4-for-5 with four runs, two home runs and three RBI to lead the Cardinals to an 11-6 win over the Reds. That is just an average day at the park for Pujols. He is project to have 648 hits and runs, 324 home runs, 486 RBI and one MVP award.

·         Jason Heyward is going to be a star, that isn’t a projection, just a fact. The 20-year-old blasted a 433-foot, three-run home run to right in his first Major League at-bat to turn Turner Field into a tizzy. The 6-foot-4, 220-lb right fielder finished 2-for-5 with four RBI, a home run and two runs. He is projected to have 324 hits, 162 home runs, 648 RBI and one memorable career.

·         Pudge Rodriguez is 38 years young but it is tough to guess that. He made his Nationals debut yesterday with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate including two doubles. Pudge inched closer to being the next member of the illustrious 3,000 hit club and only needs 286 hits. At this pace, he is projected to join the club on July 23, 2010 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. All he needs to do is get three hits every game and not miss a start… as a catcher.

And let’s not forget that 14 teams right now are projected to go 162-0… so much for these projections.

2010 Opening Day Lineup

2010 Opening Day Lineup


  1. Jimmy Rollins – SS
  2. Placido Polanco – 3B
  3. Chase Utley – 2B
  4. Ryan Howard – 1B
  5. Jayson Werth – RF
  6. Raul Ibanez – LF
  7. Shane Victorino – CF
  8. Carlos Ruis – C
  9. Roy Halladay – SP



  1. Nyjer Morgan – CF
  2. Willie Harris – RF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Adam Dunn – 1B
  5. Josh Willingham – LF
  6. Adam Kennedy – 2B
  7. Ivan Rodriguez – C
  8. Ian Desmond – SS
  9. John Lannan – SP


Below is the list of Opening Day lineups since the Nationals returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005. Cristian Guzman has been a mainstay and Livan Hernandez is back but the better question is… where were you when Terrmel Sledge started in left field?

2009 Opening Day Lineup–a 12-6 loss on April 6 against the Marlins at Land Shark Stadium.

  1. Lastings Milledge – CF
  2. Cristian Guzman – SS
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Adam Dunn – LF
  5. Nick Johnson- 1B
  6. Austin Kearns- RF
  7. Ronnie Belliard- 2B
  8. Jesus Flores- C
  9. John Lannan- SP


2008 Opening Day Lineup–a 3-2 victory over the Braves to open up Nationals Park. Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

  1. Cristian Guzman – SS
  2. Lastings Milledge – CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Nick Johnson – 1B
  5. Austin Kearns – RF
  6. Paul Lo Duca – C
  7. Elijah Dukes – LF
  8. Ronnie Belliard – 2B
  9. Odalis Perez – SP


2007 Opening Day Lineup–a 9-2 loss to the Marlins at RFK Stadium.

  1. Felipe Lopez – 2B
  2. Cristian Guzman – SS
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  4. Austin Kearns – RF
  5. Dmitri Young – 1B
  6. Brian Schneider – C
  7. Ryan Church – LF
  8. Nook Logan – CF
  9. John Patterson – SP


2006 Opening Day Lineup–a 3-2 loss to the Mets on April 3 at Shea Stadium.

  1. Brandon Watson – CF
  2. Jose Vidro – 2B
  3. Jose Guillen – RF
  4. Nick Johnson – 1B
  5. Alfonso Soriano – LF
  6. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
  7. Royce Clayton – SS
  8. Brian Schneider – C
  9. Livan Hernandez – SP


2005 Opening Day Lineup–a 8-4 loss to the Phillies on April 4 at Citizens Bank Park.

  1. Brad Wilkerson – CF
  2. Cristian Guzman – SS
  3. Jose Vidro – 2B
  4. Jose Guillen – RF
  5. Nick Johnson – 1B
  6. Vinny Castilla – 3B
  7. Terrmel Sledge–LF
  8. Brian Schneider – C
  9. Livan Hernandez – SP