The Nationals lost to the Rays on Saturday, 8-3, after giving up 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. With the Nats leading 2-1, Jason Bergmann replaced Jordan Zimmermann. Zimm2 had pitched fairly well after being scratched from his previous start due to minor elbow soreness. But he was on a strict pitch count and had thrown 92 pitches through his 5 innings of work, so in came Bergmann for the 6th inning. 18 pitches and 5 runs (including 2 home runs) later, Bergmann was removed from the game without recording an out and was replaced by Jesus Colome, who then gave up 2 more runs.
Bergmann was “rewarded” for his effort by being sent down to triple A Syracuse. His replacement is Kip Wells, who just came off the DL. I wish the Nats would bring up Tyler Clippard, who has pitched very well in AAA. Pitching well in AAA doesn’t guarantee success in the majors, of course, but he sure as hell couldn’t be any worse than the drek that’s already in the Nats’ bullpen.
Regarding last night’s 5-4 loss to the Rays, completing the sweep in St. Petersburg, the Nationals find all kinds of ways to lose, or at least to suck.
Way #1: Ben Zobrist hit a foul ball in the 8th inning. Willie Harris, playing 3rd base because Ryan Zimmerman was the DH, attempted to make the catch while running towards his bullpen. Unfortunately, the bullpens are in foul territory (I’ve never understood why a Major League ballpark would have its bullpens on the field…but I digress…), and the Nats’ bullpen catcher could not get out of the way fast enough. Harris tripped over him and failed to make the catch. Zobrist ended up striking out, so that mishap ultimately didn’t matter, other than to be one more display of suckitude from the Nationals.
Way #2: Pinch hitter Willie Aybar got a double when a ground ball that appeared to be headed for Harris’ glove at 3rd instead bounced off the base and went into left field. Carlos Pena then scored the go-ahead run.
This kind of crap only happens to the Nationals, who have lot 15-18 of their last 18 games. This was the 7th series in which the Nats have been swept this season.
The big news in Natstown (jeez, I hate that nickname….) is really just a strong rumor so far, which is that manager Manny Acta will be fired very soon. Per a report on foxsprts.com:
Manny Acta’s time as manager of the Washington Nationals is just about over, according to major-league sources.
Acta will be by replaced bench coach Jim Riggleman, as originally reported on FOX Saturday Baseball. The only question is when. It could be a matter of days….
Riggleman has managed for the Padres, Cubs and Mariners….
Riggleman’s record as a manager is 522-652.
Interesting comments from Nationals Team President Stan Kasten in the Washington Post’s Nationals Journal:
Hours before Saturday’s game against Tampa, a Fox Sports report, citing major league sources, suggested that Acta will be fired by week’s end and replaced with bench coach Jim Riggleman. Team president Stan Kasten neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying, “I would never talk about personnel, because I don’t. I’ve been asked a variation of that question (about Acta’s job security) — from some media outlet — almost every day since the first week of the season. And if I had a policy to talk about personnel, I’d have to do that story every single day.
“Having said that, I can’t tell you how perplexed I am by this season and this team and the things that are going on. And our record is, you know, very troubling for me every single day ….. So yeah, I’m troubled by everything. We continue to look for solutions. Have I thought about every possible recourse? I have. As has [acting general manager] Mike [Rizzo], as have our owners. We’re certainly not satisfied with our record; far from it. We’re distraught over it and we’re going to consider everything we need to do to make it better.”
One would assume that Mr. Kasten would defend his manager and vehemently deny the Acta-to-be-fired rumors if those rumors were not true. So…the Acta watch continues.
I stated here that that I thought it was time for Acta to go. For the most part, I still believe this, because I believe that a change is desperately needed. However, someone posted a comment on the above item in Nationals Journal, pointing out that the Nats record isn’t entirely Acta’s fault — “Casey Stengel couldn’t manage this team to a .500 record.” He has a point. This team just flat out stinks. Firing the pitching coach has made little difference. Firing Acta may just be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Whatever happens, I wish it would happen soon. Leaving Acta to twist in the wind is unfair to him (as well as the team), and it also feeds the notion of complete ineptitude on the part of the Nationals front office.
According to SI.com, the Nationals are supposedly considering Bobby Valentine as a replacement for Acta. Bobby Valentine?! Oh my. Too bad such a change couldn’t be made in time for the Nationals/Yankees series. Bobby Valentine vs. Joe Girardi would be highly entertaining!
0-8 is the Yankees record vs. the Red Sox this season. 0-8 is also the Nationals record in extra inning games this season.
I am not happy about this state of affairs.
I can’t help but wonder how long Chien-Ming Wang will remain with the Yankees after his latest ineffective performance in a Yankees uniform in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. Throwing 69 pitches in less than 3 innings, Wang gave up 3 runs (including a home run) on 8 hits. Wang wasn’t the only reason that the Yankees lost, of course — the fact that the Yankees left 19 men on base also had a little something to do with it. But Wang’s performance was certainly disheartening, to say the least. I don’t know if it’s a mental issue, or if his foot is still bothering him. Whatever the issue is, it doesn’t seem like something that will be “fixed” by keeping him in the starting rotation.
At least Wednesday’s game was close, unlike Tuesday’s 7-0 rout by the Red Sox. The Yankees pulled within 1 run on 2 home runs, by Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira, in the 7th inning, but that was as close as they got.
In tonight’s game, the Yankees were leading the Red Sox in the 7th inning, 3-1. And if the game had ended there, they’d have been fine. But the 8th inning had to be played, and the Red Sox fought their way back to take the lead in that inning. After a single by Nick Green and a walk to Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew singled, scoring Green. Then Kevin Youkilis singled to load the bases. Jason Bay singled, and Pedroia scored. Mike Lowell drove in the game winner with a sacrifice fly, scoring Drew. And that was the end of that. Final score: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3.
On Wednesday night against the Reds, the rain began to fall at Nationals Park in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Nationals were attempting to rally and possibly win the game. Over 2 hours later, the game resumed, and the Nats managed to tie the score, sending the game into extra innings. Unfortunately, they performed the way they’ve done all season in extra innings — poorly — surrendering 2 runs in the 12th inning to lose the game. Entering the game, Ron Villone had pitched 17 scoreless innings for the Nats, and he picked a crappy time to give up his first run of the year! Jay Bruce walked, then Alex Gonzalez was safe at 1st base on Villone’s error, sending Bruce to 2nd base. A passed ball enabled Bruce to go to 3rd, and Jason Bergmann replaced Villone. All would have been well if Bergmann hadn’t given up a double to Jonny Gomes (scoring Bruce) and a single to Jerry Hairston, Jr. scoring Gomes. The Nats did not get a hit in the bottom of the 12th and fell to 0-8 in extra inning games this season.
Wonder of wonders, the Nationals managed to pull out a win in today’s game against the Reds, 3-2. Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, with the bases loaded, Ryan Zimmerman hit the ball to Alex Gonzalez, who got the force at 2nd. Alberto Gonzalez slid hard into Brandon Phillips at second, as Phillips was trying to get Zimmerman out at first for the double play, and Phillips’ throw to 1st was off-target. Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman scored to take a 3-2 lead. Joe Beimel pitched a perfect 9th inning to preserve the win and get his first save in a Nationals uniform.
The save was the Nationals’ first since May 24th.
The Nationals are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and 2-3 in their last 5 games. Those numbers are a lot better than 0-8.
The Nationals lost to the Mets tonight, 5-2. It was not a good night for John Lannan. Three of the walks he issued lead to 3 runs for the Mets, which ultimately was the Mets’ margin of victory. Despite Lannan’s less than stellar performance, the Nationals had plenty of opportunities to take and keep the lead in this game. But the offense left 24 — yes, 24 — men on base.
The biggest issue with this game, however, was a disputed 3-run homer by Gary Sheffield in the 6th inning that broke the 1-1 tie and put the Mets ahead for good. The Nationals protested that a fan had interfered, but after reviewing the play on video, the umpires upheld the initial ruling. It didn’t look like it should have been a home run to me, but what the hell do I know?!
The Nats tried to rally in the 7th inning, when a bases loaded walk to Ryan Zimmerman sent Wil Nieves home, making the score 5-2. But they were unable to capitalize any further on the bases loaded situation and failed to score any additional runs. This was particularly a shame, since the usually horrendous bullpen actually kept the Mets scoreless after the 6th inning.
Daniel Cabrera made his first relief appearance since being dropped from the starting rotation, and he showed exactly why he was removed from the starting rotation. Facing 5 batters in the bottom of the 7th inning, Cabrera issued 3 walks and had a wild pitch, before Jason Bergmann saved his sorry butt by getting the final out. Cabrera sucks…he just plain, flat out sucks.
Overall, it was a disappointing loss for the Nationals. In other words…same [bleep], different night.
EDIT: I forgot to mention this — the MASN broadcasters mentioned that the lineups were announced on the Jumbotron by American soldiers at Camp Victory in Baghdad. What a cool way to honor the military on Memorial Day! Well done, Mets…very well done.
Same…um, Stuff…Different Day, where the Nationals are concerned.
It’s been an up and down season so far for John Lannan. He pitched brilliantly against the Braves on the 22nd only to watch Garrett Mock and Mike Hinkley combine efforts to surrender the game winning run in the 9th inning. But then he didn’t pitch particularly well against the Phillies last night, giving up 3 home runs in 5 innings. He pitched poorly in losses to the Braves and Phillies earlier this month and then pitched well against the Marlins (getting an ND when the bullpen blew the save). I have a feeling it’s going to be that type of season for John. I just hope the bullpen doesn’t keep imploding in the games when he does pitch well so he can actually get some wins!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Another bullpen shake-up — “closer-by-committee”? Great…so what the hell does that mean…whoever displayed the least amount of suckitude in the previous game will close the current game? [begin sarcasm] Sounds like a brilliant plan to me! [end sarcasm] Whatever they do, the Nationals cannot, and must not, use Joel Blownsaverahan as their closer…EVER. He performed adequately in the closer role last year, but after 3 blown saves in 5 opportunities so far this year, his confidence is shot. A closer with no confidence is a disaster waiting to happen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Speaking of the bullpen:
Struggling Nats get Kensing in trade with Florida
PHILADELPHIA (AP) –The struggling Washington Nationals have acquired right-hander Logan Kensing from the Florida Marlins for pitching prospect Kyle Gunderson.
Nationals assistant GM Mike Rizzo announced the move on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Kensing is 7-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 108 career games spanning five seasons with the Marlins. He’s expected to be in uniform for the Nationals when they wrap up a series Wednesday night at Philadelphia.
To make room on the roster, Nationals also optioned right-hander Jason Bergmann to Triple-A Syracuse. They also transferred outfielder Roger Barnadina to the 60-day disabled list.
Bergmann had a 3.60 ERA in three relief appearances after getting recalled on April 20….
Lemme get this straight…the Nats optioned a pitcher with a 3.60 ERA in 3 relief appearances (1.40 WHIP and .167 BAA) to Syracuse to make room for a newly aquired pitcher with a 9.82 ERA in 6 relief appearances (2.59 WHIP and .412 BAA)? WTF?? Why has Joel Hanrahan not yet been given a one-way bus ticket to Syracuse?! I suspect that the only reason why Hanrahan is still on the 25-man roster is because he’s out of options. But so the hell what?! If he’s optioned and exposed to waivers, and another team is stupid enough to claim him, that’s THEIR problem. For that matter, why was Bergmann optioned instead of Saul Rivera? Options, maybe? Again, so the hell what!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Washington Nationals have activated shortstop Cristian Guzman from the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A Syracuse. Thank goodness Guzman is finally back (with, I hope, a fully healed hammy). The Nats need his defense! Not that he’s exactly a gold-glove shortstop, but in 11 games, Gonzalez had about 25 errors. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration…he only had 6 errors…it just seemed like 25.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Oh, and one more thing before I head out of here……
Yes, I know this is MLBlogs and not NHLblogs, but that’s just too bad! 😉
Congratulations to the Washington Capitals, for overcoming a 3 games to 1 deficit against the New York Rangers to win their playoff series! GO CAPS!!!