GB&U GAME 88: The More Things Change...

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | , , , , | 1 comments »

"I thought we played real well, the first seven innings." Jim Riggleman, July 16, 2009.

THE RESULT: The Washington Nationals followed a now-familiar script tonight against the Chicago Cubs. They received a solid performance from their starting pitcher, but committed two recorded errors, made several other mental errors, then the bullpen collapsed, turning a close game into a laugher.

The Nats fell to the Cubs 6-2, before a crowd of 26,000-plus at Nationals Park. The only thing different about this game from countless others in the first half of the season was the field manager.

Jim Riggleman fielded a lineup that was essentially the same as the lineup they have been using since they acquired Nyjer Morgan, with the speedster leading off and Cristian Guzman hitting sixth.

It wouldn't matter.

In the third inning, All-Star Ryan Zimmerman threw another ball away on a very easy play, and the runner came around to score later in the inning on a two-out hit.

The team's traded runs in the sixth. Derek Lee homered off starter John Lannan in the top, then Morgan bunted for a base hit, stole second and took third on the overthrow. He scored on a groundout by Nick Johnson two pitches later.

The Cubs scratched out one more in the seventh, and Lannan (L, 6-7, 3.64) left giving up three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and one walk in six and two-thirds innings, striking out just two.

Julian Tavarez entered in the eighth and faced three batters. All three reached, and all three scored.

Zimmerman hit an opposite-field, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, his 15th of the season, after the result was assured.

THE TAKEAWAY: Hmm. Not very impressive in Jim Riggleman's debut. In fact, everything that was wrong in the first half was still wrong tonight.

In the bottom of the third, after giving up a two-out run in the top of the inning, Alberto Gonzalez tripled with one out. And there he stood when the inning was over.

Washington got four hits on the night, made two errors, had a runner get picked off, and gave up three runs in relief.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

THE GOOD: John Lannan. Another quality start. Another loss.

THE BAD: Adam Dunn. 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk.

THE UGLY: Ryan Zimmerman. Discard the home run, for now. It's absolutely inexcusable for Zimmerman to be throwing balls away on gimme outs. In-ex-cusable.

He should be embarrassed by it. And he better figure it out quickly, or else people are going to start mentioning his name in the same breath as Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch.

Maybe he just needs someone to get in his face.

NEXT GAME: Friday night against the Cubbies. Craig Stammen (2-4, 4.45) takes on Carlos Zambrano (5-4, 3.53).

NOTES: Scott Olsen was scratched from Friday's scheduled start after complaining of tightness in his left lat muscle. The team has not released any more information at this time.


  1. dcbatgirl // July 16, 2009 at 11:56 PM  

    Yes, maybe someone needs to get in Zim's face. He's never been a favorite of mine, both because I think his baseball is overrated and because he doesn't participate in all of the activities for fans. But the criticism of Manny after the fact, when it served no purpose but to pile on, made my opinion of the FOF even lower.

    I hope he grows up and grows into the accolades that people shower on him.