Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
Before Friday afternoon's game, several Nationals who had never played in Camden Yards mentioned the park's reputation as a hitter's ballpark. They then went out and in record-setting fashion proved that to be completely true.
Addressing reports that Major League Baseball was investigation a "verbal altercation"between Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and the umpiring crew from Thursday's game at Citi Field in New York, Rizzo said today that he's been in touch with MLB executive VP for baseball operations Joe Torre and has no timeline for a resolution of the investigation.
With the Nationals facing the first of three straight right-handed pitchers, Laynce Nix is slotted into left field and, in an attempt to break up the left-handers, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has once again given Jayson Werth the start at cleanup.
As will be a trend this weekend as the Nationals begin Interleague play for the 2011 season, most of the pitchers they're facing will be unknown. To be certain they've watched video on them but few have ever faced them in person.
The Nationals get the luxury of a designated hitter this weekend as they open Interleague play in an American League park against the Baltimore Orioles. Tonight, with Jason Marquis on the mound, that may not seem like such a great idea (Marquis has one of the team's best averages) but the Nationals don't plan to waste the opportunity to get someone a few extra at-bats. The most likely candidate for those at-bats will be Matt Stairs, who relishes the opportunity.
A few thoughts and opinions as the Nationals head to Baltimore with the hope that they'll arrive with their offense in tow...
A baseball source has confirmed that MLB is looking into a report filed by the umpiring crew about a verbal altercation with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
As the Nationals packed up in the visiting clubhouse Thursday afternoon, leaving New York after 48 hours, two losses and without a single run, most of their post-game frustration was focused on Phil Cuzzi's blown call at first base in the ninth inning. "I want to be an umpire when I grow up," one Nationals player joked, the loudest voice in a quiet clubhouse. "No responsibility, no accountability."
Perhaps in an effort to ignite his offense any way he can, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has put together a completely new lineup for the Nationals 1:10 p.m. game with the Mets today. Jayson Werth will hit cleanup for the first time this season -- and just the eighth start in that spot in his career. In seven previous starts (nine previous games) as the cleanup hitter, Werth is 7-for-29 (.241) with a .313 on-base percentage and .517 slugging percentage. He's hit two homers, driven in three runs and walked three times.
Few Nationals have even faced Mets right-hander Dillon Gee, but for those that have, they're a combined 1-for-14 in 17 plate appearances against him. Here are the Nationals' full career numbers against Gee:
It's tough not to belabor the Nationals plight offensively this season. As much as there are facts to support the notion that they are indeed working their way out of the prolonged slump that has plagued them as a team since the season began (for example that they've scored four or more runs in seven of their last 10 games), the evidence to support the contrary is too substantial to overlook.
Earlier today, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a radio interview quite bluntly that Bryce Harper would not be a member of the Nationals major league team during the 2011 season. He elaborated on those comments this afternoon, adding what he'd like to see from Harper and when a possible promotion to at least Single-A Potomac may be in his future:
Updates galore from rainy Citi Field including on Rick Ankiel, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and Chien-Ming Wang.
The tarp is down here at Citi Field and the rain has been coming down on and off all day. The forecast, unfortunately, looks like more of the same but we'll keep you posted.
In his regularly scheduled interview with ESPN 980 this morning, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was asked quite bluntly about his plans for Bryce Harper and the question on everyone's minds: Will he be in the big leagues this year? In perhaps his most definitive statement on the topic, Rizzo shot down the idea. Asked if he'd ruled out Harper getting a promotion to the big leagues even after Sept. 1, he said "Yes, I have."
'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America