Nationals RHP Odalis Perez left the mound early Tuesday night with pain in his left shoulder. According to MLB.com, he has been diagnosed with tendonitis, and will likely miss his next start. This comes as yet another blow to Washington, who already have Ryan Zimmerman, Ronnie Belliard, Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns, Paul Lo Duca, Johnny Estrada, and Chad Cordero on the Disabled List.
The Game:Washington Nationals (17-24) at New York Mets (20-18)
The Matchup:Jason Bergmann (0-1, 11.68) at Mike Pelfrey (2-3, 4.86)
The Story: Aaron Heilman blew last night’s game for the Mets, surrendering three runs in one-third of an inning before being booed off of the field at Shea Stadium. Today, the Mets look to move on and go for the split against Washington. Mike Pelfrey got credited with the loss in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Reds, but has pitched better of late. He needs to be more aggressive and not get behind in counts in order to find success against the thin Washington lineup, which has the next to lowest batting average of any team in Major League Baseball.
Jason Bergmann returns to the Nationals after being demoted to Triple-A Columbus after a rough April 12 game against Atlanta. Bergmann pitches in the zone–his K/BB ratio this year is 6–so Mets hitters will look to attack the ball.
Should be interesting to see if Scott Schoeneweiss makes it to the game today; he was hospitalized after his arms turned blue and his hands went numb. According to Adam Rubin, this was just a complication from the flu-like symptoms that have been going around the Mets clubhouse lately. Scary stuff.
Late word that Nationals 1B Nick Johnson is being placed on the DL after an MRI revealed a tear of the tendon sheath in his right wrist (whatever that is). Dmitri Young will be recalled from his rehab assignment tomorrow.
For the Mets, Luis Castillo returns to the lineup after missing a couple of games with knee soreness. Marlon Anderson takes Moises Alou‘s place in the day after night lineup despite Alou’s early exit after being ejected last night. Ramon Castro gets the start behind the plate for New York.
For the Nationals, Lastings Milledge shifts to right field after appearing to have lost his center field job. Austin Kearns replaces him. Rob Mackowiak gets the start in left today begging the question, where have you gone, Wily Mo?
Nationals: Lopez (2B), Guzman (SS), Zimmerman (3B), Boone (1B), Milledge (RF), Kearns (CF), Mackowiak (LF), Flores (C), Bergmann (P)
Mets: Reyes (SS), Castillo (2B), Wright (3B), Beltran (CF), Church (RF), Delgado (1B), Castro (C), Anderson (LF), Pelfrey (P)
Posted in Mets, Nationals
Tagged Aaron Heilman, Austin Kearns, Dmitri Young, Jason Bergmann, Lastings Milledge, Luis Castillo, Marlon Anderson, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Moises Alou, Nationals, Nick Johnson, Ramon Castro, Rob Mackowiak, Scott Schoeneweiss
It’s May 12, and the Florida Marlins are in first place.
That’s right, for the second week in a row, the team that just unloaded its sensational third baseman and its pitching ace is atop a division that includes the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.
A fluke? Not at all.
This is just one of the surprising storylines that has made this start to the 2008 season one of the more interesting that I can remember. Here are the storylines, one per team, that are making baseball fans scratch their heads right now:
Posted in Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies
Tagged Andrew Miller, Austin Kearns, Braves, Burke Badenhop, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Chase Utley, David Wright, Edgar Renteria, Jair Jurrjens, Jimmy Rollins, John Lannan, John Smoltz, Jose Reyes, Lastings Milledge, Mark Hendrickson, Marlins, Mets, Mike Hampton, Nationals, Nick Johnson, Pat Burrell, Phillies, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Church, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Olsen, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine
Tough choice here, but 1B Nick Johnson barely beats Ryan Zimmerman for the Beast of the Week honors. Nick hit .333 for the week, with a home run and 4 RBIs. He walked 8 times, striking out only 3, for a phenomenal OBP of .565. Nick’s bat will be crucial in the Nats lineup, as the failure to drive home Felipe Lopez and Cristian Guzman has been a significant problem thus far.
Runners-Up: Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan
The least of the week for the Nationals is LHP Mike O’Connor. Having been moved into the rotation to take the place of ineffective starter Matt Chico, O’Connor needed to establish consistency at the back end of the starting five. He failed, going just 3.1, giving up 9 runs, all earned, on 6 hits, walking 6 and striking out just one. His WHIP increases to 2.44 on the season. His ERA climbs to 13.00. Ouch.
Runners-Up: Lastings Milledge, Felipe Lopez, Luis Ayala
Marlins 7-Nationals 3 [BEAST-OFF]
Tim Redding never had it for the Nationals, going only 5.1 and giving up 6 runs, 5 earned, walking 4 and striking out 3. He got the loss on the night, and now stands at 4-3 on the year. Luis Gonzalez drove in three runs on the night and Jorge Cantu drove in two. Hanley Ramirez notched his 21st RBI of the year. For the Marlins, Ricky Nolasco was very good, getting the win and surrendering just one run on 4 hits in 6 innings of work, striking out 6 and walking 2. The reliable Doug Waechter was not so good in relief, surrendering two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning of work. But the rest of the fish pen held up. For the Nationals, Wily Mo Peña, Cristian Guzman, and Nick Johnson drove in runs. Ryan Zimmerman went 0-4 with a walk. Elijah Dukes returned to the Nationals, going 0-2 on the night.
Pirates 3-Braves 2
Tom Glavine is still winless after 6 starts, pitching well (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO), but getting no run support. Glavine got the no-decision after Freddy Sanchez hit a walk-off single in the ninth off of Jeff Bennett to snap the Braves’ perfect May. Ian Snell pitched well for the Bucs, going 7 full, giving up 1 run on 2 hits, walking 6 and striking out 5. John Grabow picked up his second year of the year for the Pirates. Jeff Francoeur represented the entirety of the Braves’ offense, driving in both runs, one off of Snell and one off of Tyler Yates, who blew the save for Pittsburgh.
Posted in Braves, Marlins, Nationals
Tagged Braves, Cristian Guzman, Doug Waechter, Elijah Dukes, Freddy Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Snell, Jeff Bennett, Jeff Francoeur, John Grabow, Jorge Cantu, Luis Gonzalez, Marlins, Nationals, Nick Johnson, Pirates, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Zimmerman, Tim Redding, Tom Glavine, Tyler Yates, Wily Mo Peña
Thomas Boswell thinks so. In today’s Washington Post, Boswell argues that the Nats have to keep up with the rest of the division by signing free agents this offseason, mentioning Orlando Hudson, Rafael Furcal, C.C. Sabathia, and Ben Sheets as possible targets.
Well first of all, scratch Sabathia right off that list, because there’s no way the Nats are getting anywhere close to C.C.
The article brings up a good point (even if Boswell is a bit delusional). The Nationals are at somewhat of a crossroads here. There is talent on this current team, but Jim Bowden’s “dream” lineup of players like Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez is more of a nightmare at this point. Sure, the Nationals are winning games right now, but if you told NL Beast that it was the starting pitching, not the core offense of Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, and Lastings Milledge that was most responsible, we’d be shocked.
It’s clear at this point that Stan Kasten‘s philosophy is to wait for the farm system to develop and then compete. There some great players coming up in the future, including Ross Detweiler, Chris Marrero, and Colin Balester, but there is no way this team is going to compete in the near future without signing free agents.
NL Beast is sick of the excuse that the Nationals don’t have the money to compete in the free agent market (Forbes ranked the Nationals as the 13th most profitable team in baseball).
With Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman, Wily Mo Peña, and Odalis Perez all becoming free agents after this year, it’s very possible that the starting nine will look very different next year. Or, if history has told us anything, maybe not.
Posted in Nationals
Tagged Austin Kearns, Ben Sheets, CC Sabathia, Chris Marrero, Colin Balester, Cristian Guzman, Felipe Lopez, Lastings Milledge, Nationals, Nick Johnson, Odalis Perez, Orlando Hudson, Rafael Furcal, Ross Detweiler, Ryan Zimmerman, Wily Mo Peña
Mets 5-Diamondbacks 2
One of the better pitching matchups of the year as Johan Santana squared off against Dan Haren in a pitchers’ dual that exploded in the 9th for the Mets. Santana was his classic self, going 6 full innings striking out 8 and walking 4, giving up just 1 earned run. Haren was almost as good, going 6 full giving up 2 runs on 2 hits (one a homer to David Wright in the 4th), striking out 7 and walking 1.
Jorge Sosa picked up the win for the Mets (he’s 4-1, unbelievably) and Billy Wagner notched his seventh save of the season after Arizona 1B Connor Jackson made a crucial throwing error in the top of the 9th that started a 3-run rally for the Mets. Bringing in runs for the Mets were Jose Reyes, Wright, and Marlon Anderson. Chad Qualls took the loss for Arizona. What a statement for the Mets, as they take the series off of the NL-leading D-Backs.
Phillies 6-Giants 5.
Charlie Manuel got his 500th win as the Phils took the game on a San Francisco error in the bottom of the ninth that brought in the winning run. Carlos Ruiz tied the game up in the 8th, allowing Brad Lidge to pick up his first win of the year. Cole Hamels allowed 4 runs on 7 hits through 6 innings, but he did have 5 strikeouts and no walks. Young Giants starter Tim Lincecum was better, surrendering no earned runs in 6 innings of work, striking out 5 and walking 2. But it was errors that would prove costly to the struggling Giants, who drop to 14-18. The Phillies remain a half-game up on New York and Florida.
Marlins 10-Padres 3
The big bats came to play today as Dan Uggla hit an RBI double and a home run to keep the Marlins tied with the Mets for second place in the division. Hanley Ramirez was 2-4 and scored 2 runs, and Matt Treanor was 2-4 with 2 RBIs. Young southpaw Andrew Miller finally pitched well for the Fish, getting his 2nd win and allowing 2 runs on 6 innings of work, striking out 4 and walking 2. Greg Maddux dropped to 2-3, allowing 11 hits for 5 runs, 4 earned, for 5.2 innings of work.
Braves 14-Reds 7
The Braves had 19 hits on the day, outhitting the Reds almost 2:1 and surviving a rocky outing by Tom Glavine. Chipper Jones contributed his fair share with a 3-run home run and a 2-run single. Also coming through big for the Braves were Mark Kotsay who homered and had 3 RBIs and Kelly Johnson, who was 4-6 with 2 RBIs. Glavine lasted just 4.2, surrendering 6 earned runs on 7 hits, striking out 3 and walking 5. Royce Ring picked up his first win of the season for Atlanta. As bad as Glavine was, Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was far worse, pitching just an inning and a third, giving up 7 earned runs. Josh Fogg came in for mop-up duty and didn’t pitch much better, giving up 5 earned runs on 6 hits in 2.2 innings.
Nationals 5-Pirates 2
Tim Redding continued his dominant streak, picking up his 4th win and allowing just 1 earned run on 6 innings of work, striking out 5 and walking 1. He was opposed by Pirates ace Ian Snell, who dropped to 2-2 after allowing 4 earned runs on 10 hits with 2 strikeouts and a walk. Aaron Boone hit his first home run as a National, filling in at third for the day as Ryan Zimmerman ended his Major League leading 205 consecutive game streak. Also driving in runs for the Nats were Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez, and Wily Mo Peña. The Nats are red-hot, having gone 8-3 on the last homestand.
Posted in Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies
Tagged Aaron Boone, Andrew Miller, Austin Kearns, Billy Wagner, Brad Lidge, Braves, Bronson Arroyo, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Qualls, Charlie Manuel, Chipper Jones, Cole Hamels, Connor Jackson, Dan Haren, Dan Uggla, David Wright, Diamondbacks, Felipe Lopez, Giants, Greg Maddux, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Snell, Johan Santana, Jorge Sosa, Jose Reyes, Josh Fogg, Kelly Johnson, Mark Kotsay, Marlins, Marlon Anderson, Matt Treanor, Mets, Nationals, Nick Johnson, Padres, Phillies, Reds, Royce Ring, Ryan Zimmerman, Tim Lincecum, Tim Redding, Tom Glavine, Wily Mo Peña