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Game 132: Nats at Cardinals

Sep 2, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT

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The Nationals may have blown two golden opportunities to win games in St. Louis the last two nights, but the Cardinals also did their part to present the Nats with those opportunities, whether in Mike Matheny’s bullpen usage or the need to start Marco Gonzales instead of Carlos Martinez last night. And for tonight’s series finale, they’re once again offering the Nationals a potential life boat: Rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons will start in place of Michael Wacha.

Can the Nats actually take advantage of this opportunity for a change? We’ll see. They’ll have the exact same lineup out there as last night. (Sorry to all the Danny Espinosa supporters out there.)

[Updated: Espinosa is in the lineup after all, as Michael Taylor has been scratched due to soreness in his right knee. He first injured his knee last Thursday after running into a wall while playing against the Padres]

They’ll also have Max Scherzer on the mound, pitching in his hometown, desperately needing to get back on track after a brutal month of August. The Nationals simply can’t afford for their ace to falter again.

I’d tell everyone to enjoy the game, but I know that’s kind of tough to do right now. So I’ll just tell you to hang in there and please keep up the conversation here…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Gametime: 8:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, ESPN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185/869
Weather: Partly cloudy, 87 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to LF

NATIONALS (66-65)
RF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
CF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Yunel Escobar
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
LF Danny Espinosa
RHP Max Scherzer

CARDINALS (86-46)
3B Matt Carpenter
LF Stephen Piscotty
RF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
1B Brandon Moss
CF Tommy Pham
2B Kolten Wong
C Tony Cruz
LHP Tyler Lyons

UMPIRES
HP John Tumpane
1B James Hoye
2B Bill Welke
3B John Hirschbeck (cc)

  1. jfmii - Sep 2, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    It is hard to keep tuning in. But here I am, and watching or listening I will be.

  2. npb99 - Sep 2, 2015 at 4:54 PM

    Kudos to Mark for the good analysis of late, and for letting the tone of his postings reflect the disappointment everyone is feeling about this team.

    • bowdenball - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:16 PM

      I agree. Mark’s been doing great work capturing and articulating the mood here without going overboard with negativity or giving the team he covers a pass. Top notch, top notch.

      • jd - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:28 PM

        + many.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:22 PM

      +132

    • janebeard - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      Totally agree. Without you, Mark, and my “Imaginary (Natsinsider) Friends,” this would be unbearable. Which is whacked, right there. But it would be.

    • sunshinebobby - Sep 2, 2015 at 9:59 PM

      Our MVP: Mark Zuckerman, for about the 10th straight season.

  3. Section 222 - Sep 2, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    Same here jfmii. Sad, but true.

    This is actually a pretty good lineup. It scored 5 runs against the Cardinals two days in a row. I just hope that MW does some defensive substitutions if the time comes tonight. Werth and Esco really shouldn’t play from the 7th on, if the Nats are ahead.

    • jd - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:12 PM

      to be fair deuces, we scored 4 runs off their replacement rookie pitcher yesterday and only 1 run against every one else. We really did leave a lot on the table as well. We had like 12 hits and we could have put them sway earlier if we had executed offensively a little better.

    • jd - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:14 PM

      Also,

      I don’t think I can stand following the game tonight until the bitter end like the last 2 nights wondering what the heck MW will come up with this time.

  4. naterialguy - Sep 2, 2015 at 4:59 PM

    Danny should definitely been put in the staying line up tonight. I feel as off the only reason he is not is that Matt wants to prove he is right. If Jansen gets on the mound tonight I am taking my tv out to the driveway and running it over.

    • npb99 - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:13 PM

      LOL. But watch out – it’s just as frustrating to follow these games on the internet, especially when you check with long intervals and 4-0 is all of a sudden 5-5, and then even worse.

    • bowdenball - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:15 PM

      For who, though? Escobar I assume, with Rendon moving to third? Can’t really drop anyone else.

      • jd - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:26 PM

        It makes sense but they won’t do it. They think Esco’s offense is so far superior to Espi (it’s not) that they have to sacrifice defense. I could live with that I guess but to not make defensive switches late with the lead is nuts. It’s the mentality of ‘what if we blow the lead and we need more offense?’ well maybe if you put better defensive players out there you won’t blow the lead as often, genius.

      • jd - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:32 PM

        Just to clarify, overall Espi and Esco have both contributed app. 2 WAR (combining offense and defense) but if you also take into account that moving Rendon from 2nd to 3rd is a net positive I think the combo of Esoi at 2nd and Rendon at 3rd is slightly better than Rendon at 2nd and Esco at 3rd.

  5. langleyclub - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    The Nats could not have asked for any more favorable pitching matchups in this series:

    – John Lackey
    – Marco Gonzalez
    – Tyler Lyons

    Skipping Wacha and Martinez, missing Garcia and Lynn. Cardinals are treating the Nats like they are playing the Brewers, and are still beating the Nats… like they would the Brewers.

    • jd - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:33 PM

      stop it langley, haven’t we suffered enough already?

    • philipd763 - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:02 PM

      Doubt Nats could beat the Cardinals even if Henry Rodriguez (remember him?) was pitching for the Cardinals.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:36 PM

        PFB? He was the hope that the Cardinal’s closer Trevor Guildenstern has become.

        *sigh*

  6. pchuck69 - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    Mark tweeted:

    Interesting … Matheny basically saying he’s content winning first 2 games of series and sitting ace tonight… https://twitter.com/dgoold/status/639183922887323649

    He also knows there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll win with Lyons…or anyone else he starts.

    • nats106 - Sep 2, 2015 at 5:41 PM

      Oh, the humanity-this disaster of a season. Now Matheny is doing what the Card fans are doing on the message boards-dissing the Nationals and spitting in their face to boot.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      Slap in the face of the Washington Nationals… that us what we have become…

      Not even worth…. wow, but I can’t say I blame them.

  7. Karl Kolchak - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    It is mind boggling to me that the same franchise that couldn’t dump Dunn, Willingham and Morse fast enough because of their bad defense keeps trotting Escobar out to 3B night after painful night when they have a potential gold glover playing out of position.

    If Escobar doesn’t want to play 2B, bench him already.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:36 PM

      I don’t think it’s about where Escobar wants to play. I think they prefer him at third and Rendon at second.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:58 PM

        At this late date, it has nothing to do with where Escobar might want or not want to play. Fact is, he has NEVER played second base, so now is not the time to start that transition. Rizzo/MW really boxed themselves into a corner when they accepted Escobar’s offer to play third when Rendon got hurt early pm in the spring. What they should have said is “no, you stay at second, we have Danny Espinosa to play third.” I blame mainly MW here, because if he would have insisted on Espinosa as he should have, there’s no reason Rizzo would have objected.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:23 PM

        That’s a fair point. OTOH, remember where Danny’s stock stood this spring — he was in the pennies. Danny’s been better this season than any time since the first half of his rookie year, by quite a bit.

    • Guapo - Sep 3, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      Escobar is the best defensive short stop statistically on the roster. He’s also hitting over .300. If anyone should be benched it should be #20. Escobar should be the starting SS.

  8. Karl Kolchak - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    But hey, at least NOW we have three additional relievers in the pen as we should have had last night.

  9. scnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    I’ve backed Rizzo 100% but his comments today about Williams are laughable. If he thinks Williams “pushed all the right buttons” he is delusional. I’m not saying throw him under the bus but support him like this?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 7:05 PM

      Now that’s unreasonable. WTH do you expect him to do? Rip his own guy in the press?

      • scnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 7:46 PM

        No but to call his performance last night masterful? Why not keep your mouth shut?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:20 PM

        Because he was asked a question, and not answering IS answering. What is the harm in backing his guy to the wall? Even if they fire Williams in private after the season.

    • philipd763 - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:15 PM

      Rizzo may be misreading the Lerners and as a result he may sink with MW if this franchise continues to fall apart.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:27 PM

        The Phillies have fallen apart. This franchise has been beat up and under-performed.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:38 PM

        Now, the Padres … the Padres were run straight into the ground in one off-season. That’s a cautionary tale, there.

  10. philipd763 - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    Metss 6 Phillies 0 after 3 innings.

  11. janebeard - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    I grew up loving the Mets. They are my original team. OBVIOUSLY I’ve changed. But I remember so many September disasters. SO many times they fell apart in September. I’m marginally holding hope. But I can’t watch. I just can’t. Unless we get way ahead, and MLB will let me know.. Which is still not safe.

    GYFNG. Please please please.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:42 PM

      Of course, 1969 is before your time, so growing up as a Cubs fan, I don’t need to hold that against you. I’m still annoyed when I see a picture of Steve Garvey’s smirk. I was at the Bartman game.

      Where was I? Oh yeah … hope. That’s the point. Keep hoping.

  12. npb99 - Sep 2, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    Boy, the chocolate sauce era seems like it was five years ago.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 2, 2015 at 9:24 PM

      Don’t it, though?

    • nats106 - Sep 2, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      Not at my house. Having vanilla ice cream and hershey’s chocolate right now. Oh you mean the 5 cases they bough?. I heard they were going to be a giveaway when we play the Reds.

  13. donkort - Sep 2, 2015 at 9:46 PM

    Harper taken out of game

    • csorrent528 - Sep 2, 2015 at 10:00 PM

      Why?

      • Elkton Manny - Sep 2, 2015 at 10:02 PM

        Butt injured, kind of sums up the season

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    Moss looked like he gave up with that swing…

  15. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 2, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    Karl said Ryan would lead the charge…. Ryan is giving his all, unfortunately it looks too little too late..

  16. Drew - Sep 2, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    The Nats lead the Cardinals in the 7th.

    PRAY FOR RAIN!

  17. abqnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 10:56 PM

    This is looking familiar. I hope the have a plot twist ahead.

  18. abqnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Zimmerman putting the Nats on his back tonight. Storen in the bottom of the 8th will be an adrenalin ride.

    • scmargenau - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:13 PM

      Pass the bourbon

  19. scmargenau - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Have a night fof!!!

  20. abqnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:30 PM

    Ok. Now finally Storen looked good. Papelbon is rested for the ninth, if not for the reasons we would have wished. Not taking anything for granted though. Would like another run or two here in the top of nine.

  21. Drew - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    Can I get a blindfold and a cigarette?

    • abqnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:39 PM

      Only bourbon here.

  22. Karl Kolchak - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    Including that last at bat, since 7/1 Dan Uggla is now 2 for 31 with 14 Ks and 0 XBHs. At this point the bat boy would be a better choice to pinch hit.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:45 PM

      Oh, please! Come on, guys. Storen finally excels and they hit Pap.

  23. Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:41 PM

    Damn! How did that ball get through?

  24. abqnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:42 PM

    That looked weak by Escobar. He needed to be aggressive on that ball, it was there for the taking.

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:45 PM

      He’s been playing that way all season.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 3, 2015 at 1:01 AM

      He alligator-armed that one. Not sure why.

  25. Drew - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:43 PM

    If at third you don’t succeed …

  26. Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:50 PM

    Well, now. That was certainly an entertaining ninth inning!

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:52 PM

      MW even tried to blow it again by not removing Escobar for defense, moving Rendon to 3B and bringing in Turner to play 2B. That’s baseball…sometimes you win despite your manager’s worst effort.

  27. abqnatsfan - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:50 PM

    Wow. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. At least they salvage one, thanks to Zim .

  28. Drew - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    Wow. I thought that grounder was in no man’s land.

    We’ll take it!

  29. npb99 - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:52 PM

    I´m grateful for the win. And grateful that for 16 hits, they only got 3 runs.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:59 PM

      I agree.16 hits, but no walks. Still amazing only 3 runs on 16 hits. It’s about time one went our way.

  30. Section 222 - Sep 2, 2015 at 11:53 PM

    Pap’s a pro. Fields his position. Gets the big K.

    Really nice inning for Drew too.

    Unfortunately, the Mets won too. MMN is 24

  31. sunshinebobby - Sep 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM

    “WOOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”
    (Copyright, MicheleS, All Rights Reserved, 2012)

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