What was new about the Washington Nationals in their first game under "Interim Manager" Jim Riggleman? Nothing. They got a new manager not a new team. The same old Washington Nationals dropped a 6-2 decision to the visiting Chicago Cubs, in a game filled with errors, another bullpen implosion and another wasted effort by a starting pitcher. This time, it was staff "Ace", lefty John Lannan, who left the game down 3-1, having given up just 7 hits and 3 runs, 2 earned in 6.2 IP. DC reliever Jason Bergmann got the Nationals out of the seventh and through the eighth, but in the ninth, Julian Tavarez gave up a leadoff walk and back to back singles and saw all three Cubs score to turn a 3-1 game into a 6-1 blowout. Nick Johnson hits an RBI groundout in the sixth, and Ryan Zimmerman sends one into the right field bullpen in the ninth for the Nationals' only two runs. Cubs' starter Rich Harden K's 7 in 6.0 IP and gets his 6th win when Kevin Gregg eventually closes it...
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HEADLINES: (After The Jump)...under construction
• E = 83
• E = 84
• The Julian Tavarez Experiment Is Over?
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The Jump...
Nationals now 26-62.
• E = 83
If you have been able to ignore it up to this point, it hit home in an instant when Ryan Zimmerman came in on a weak grounder by the Cubs' catcher Koyie Hill in the third and threw it right over Nick Johnson at first allowing Hill to take second, move to third on a sac bunt and score on a sac fly for Chicago's first run of the game. Zimmerman, who would go on to make several stellar defensive plays in the game, just occasionally sails them...it's always when he loads up and has too much time, he's rarely off on a rushed throw, but when he has a moment to think, he's developed a tic, or at least a tendency, and it's one he really needs to eliminate from his game.
• E = 84
The Nationals' second error of the game, and 84th in '09, came on a weaker grounder back to the mound with runners on first and third, when DC lefty Sean Burnett, who'd inherited the situation, bobbled the ball and tossed home to Josh Bard a second too late to get the Cubs' runner, Sam Fuld. Fuld scored after having singled off Julian Tavarez earlier in Chicago's half of the frame...And speaking of Julian Tavarez...
• The Julian Tavarez Experiment Is Over?
In just 3.0 IP over his last 5 appearances, Julian Tavarez has now allowed 6 hits, 8 runs, 5 ER and 5 BB. Tavarez is (3-7) with a 4.72 ERA in 34.1 IP '09 in which he's allowed 26 runs, 18 ER, 27 walks and 1 HR. Of course, he is coming off of a (2-1) June in which he posted a 0.79 ERA in 12 G and 11.1 IP in which he gave up just 1 ER....Can that Julian Tavarez come back? Or is he done?
Chicago Cubs At Washington Nationals. Game 88 of 162.
Josh Willingham waits and then lunges for the first out of the game off Cubs’ center fielder Reed Johnson’s bat. Ryan Theriot rolls the second out to the Nationals’ second baseman, Alberto Gonzalez. Milton Bradley skies one to right, and John Lannan’s got a scoreless first...Nyjer Morgan pops out halfway to first, Derrek Lee makes the catch. Nick Johnson flies out to Reed Johnson in center. Ryan Zimmerman K’s swinging in his first post ASG AB. Cubs’ righty Rich Harden is through the first.
Josh Willingham’s glove is on the ground when he catches Derrek Lee’s line drive to right. John Lannan’s all over the zone as he walks Aramis Ramirez. Alfonso Soriano tries to check his swing, but can’t hold up on a high 2-2 fastball. After Aramis Ramirez walks Jeff Baker grounds to short, Guzman to Gonzalez for the force to end the Cubs’ second...Adam Dunn K’s swinging at a mid-90’s 2-2 fastball. Josh Willingham flies out a few feet left of center. Cristian Guzman flies out to short left, Soriano hops and catches it.
Ryan Zimmerman throws away a ground ball from Cubs’ catcher Koyie Hill. Rich Harden’s sac bunt moves Hill to third. John Lannan drops an 0-2 bender on Reed Johnson who K’s trying to check his swing. Ryan Theriot flies to right and just inside the line. Hill scores from third. 1-0 Cubs. Milton Bradley pops one up he wants back, Willingham makes the catch...Josh Bard pops out to short right. Alberto "The General" Gonzalez triples to right when Milton Bradley bobbles the liner after it bounces off the wall. John Lannan goes down swinging in an unproductive AB. Nyjer Morgan grounds out to second to end the third.
Derrek Lee drives a double into the right field corner to start the Cubs’ fourth. Aramis Ramirez flies out to short center, Morgan makes the catch and holds Lee at second. Alfonso Soriano singles to center, Lee holds up at third as Nyjer Morgan throws in, and Soriano gets caught between first and second and tagged out at first. Jeff Baker flies out to right, and Soriano helps out his old team...Nick Johnson grounds out to first, Lee tosses to Rich Harden covering. Ryan Zimmerman K’s swinging at a boring sinker inside. Adam Dunn K’s again.
Cristian Guzman backhands a sharp grounder from Koyie Hill, and the Guz fires to first to get the Cubs’ catcher. Rich Harden hits a weak grounder for out no. 2. Reed Johnson hits a line drive to right that drops in front of the Hammer. Ryan Theriot ground out to second, Alberto Gonzalez throws to first...Josh Willingham pops straight up, Derrek Lee gets under it. Cristian Guzman K’s looking. Josh Bard gets hit by a pitch that bounces first. Alberto Gonzalez rips a single through short, Bard in scoring position. John Lannan grounds into a force at second to end the fifth.
Cristian Guzman takes a single away from Milton Bradley with a sliding play on a one-hopper to short. Derrek Lee gets hold of a hanging curve outside that’s deposited in right for a 2-0 Cubs’ lead. Nyjer Morgan catches out no. 2 off Aramis Ramirez’s bat. Alfonso Soriano grounds out to third...Nyjer Morgan bunts his way on to start the Nationals’ sixth. NIck "Two-Spot" Johnson up, Morgan steals second, and Koyie Hill’s throw bounces and sails into center, Morgan takes third. Nick Johnson grounds to Ryan Theriot’s backhand at short, Morgan scores, 2-1 Cubs. Ryan Zimmerman’s 0 for 3 after a groundout to short. Adam Dunn’s a mess, another K.
Cristian Guzman knocks down a hard roller deep in the hole at short, but Jeff Baker’s on with a single. Ryan Zimmerman charges in on a sac bunt from Koyie Hill and makes the throw. Nick Johnson robs Micah Hoffpauir with a backhand stab on a high hopper. Baker takes third. Reed Johnson hits a two-out single to center to score the Cubs’ third run, and Lannan’s done. 3-1 Chicago. Bergmann throws a high heater that bounces out of Bard’s glove to give Reed Johnson an extra base. Theriot K’s swinging through one of Bergmann’s patented slide pieces...Josh Willingham rolls a weak grounder toward first, and Cubs’ pitcher Angel Guzman makes the play and tag. Cristian Guzman flies out to Soriano in left. Josh Bard K’s trying, and it’s 3-1 Cubbies after seven.
Jason Bergmann makes an ill-advised return to mound in the eighth. Milton Bradley flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center. Derrek Lee rips a liner to third, Zim knocks it down and pockets it. Ground ball to short from Aramis Ramirez, Guzman to Alberto, to Nick Johnson at first, double play!!...Carlos Marmol vs Alberto Gonzalez. The General rolls a dribbler out to first. Ronnie Belliard at bat. Ronnie B. K’s chasing a slider. Nyjer Morgan takes a two-out walk, and then gets picked off to end the eighth.
Julian Tavarez vs soriANO? Leadoff walk. Sam Fuld singles through second to move Soriano to third. Koyie Hill singles to score Soriano and it’s 4-1 Cubs, Tavarez is done. Grounder back to the mound from pinch hitter Jake Fox and Sean Burnett bobbles it and tosses toward home too late, Fuld scores, 5-1 Cubs. Reed Johnson flies out to center after a wild pitch moves both runners up. Two down, Burnett out. Tyler Clippard gives up an RBI sac fly from Ryan Theriot to Willingham in right. 6-1 Cubs. Milton Bradley’s called out looking...Nick Johnson flies out to Sam Fuld in left. Ryan Zimmerman vs Kevin Gregg. Zimmerm...THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Solo shot to right and over the wall, 6-2 Cubs on Zim’s dinger. Adam Dunn takes a one-out walk. Josh Willingham flies out to right. Cristian Guzman flies out to center to end the first game of the Riggleman era.
Cubs win, 6-2 final.
Nationals now 26-62.