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Washington Nationals Lose 4-2 To San Diego Padres, What's Wrong With Nyjer Morgan?

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The grounds crew prepares the field at PETCO Park before the 5/29/10 game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres. (photo © Bradford Smith, via @roscoeNATS.)
The grounds crew prepares the field at PETCO Park before the 5/29/10 game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres. (photo © Bradford Smith, via @roscoeNATS.)

Tonight's Top 5: 

5. Career High In K's, One Hanging Curve: By the time J.D. Martin's first outing of the 2010 season was over, the 27-year-old left-hander had tied his own career-high for K's with 5, matching the standard he'd set at PETCO Field last September in a 4-1 loss to the Padres. Tonight it was 4-2 San Diego, with the winning runs off Martin unearned after Adam Kennedy committs an error on a two-out grounder from Adrian Gonzalez in the first, bobbles and drops it, then doesn't bother with the throw, extending the inning so that Chase Headley could single and Nick Hundley could launch a hanging curve for a three-run HR to left and over the fence. 3-0 Padres after one.

4. Morgan Misjudgements: Once again, Nyjer Morgan leaps unneccesarily on a fly ball at the wall in center, left-center this time, on a hard hit ball by Nick Hundley, and Morgan misses as he leaps and has the ball land below him. A triple for Hundley, (luckily not a third inside the parker), and the Padres' catcher later scores from third on a one-out groundout by Chris Denorfia, to make it 4-2 Padres after four innings at PETCO... 

3. Latos-Intolerant: 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER and 3 walks allowed, 8 K's recorded, 94 pitches, 59 for strikes, a mid-90's fastball, a two-seamer with movement he'll throw inside to left-handers, a devastating change and a slider he mixes in occasionally. The Nats get to Mat Latos, the Padres' 22-year-old second-year right-hander, in the top of the second when Adam Dunn singles, Josh Willingham's walked and two outs later they both scores on groundouts, and at that point, draw within one at 3-2 SD. The Nats get a two-out double off Latos when Roger Bernadina splits the left-center gap with a line drive in the fourth, but Bernadina's stranded. A one-out singles erased by a DP in the fifth and the Nats go down in order in the sixth and Latos leaves the game with a 4-2 lead. 

2. The Old "Two Mistakes" Gag: The HR and triple by Nick Hundley were the only big hits J.D. Martin surrendered in his 6.0 innings on the mound. Martin makes a successful return to the majors, giving up just the four hits, two of them by batters he never would've faced had it not been for Kennedy's fielding error in the first. Tony Gwynn, Jr. hits a one-out triple in the second, then Hundley hits his triple and scores in the fourth, and those are the only four hits Martin surrenders*. 6.0 IP, 4 H, 4 runs, 1 earned, 0 BB, 5 K's, 88 pitches, 60 strikes, 2 groundouts, 8 flyouts....

1. What's Wrong With Nyjer Morgan? Nyjer Morgan is 6 for 33 (.183 AVG) in the last ten games, and 19 for 94 (.202 AVG) in May with a .265 SLG and a .234 SLG in 26 games, over which the 29-year-old outfielder has misplayed two fly balls into inside the park HR's and been caught stealing in 4 of 7 attempts. Morgan's leaping when he shouldn't, there's the glove-throwing thing too...What's wrong with Nyjer Morgan? And what should the Nats do about it?

• MIss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...

Num Name - Comments
1 souldrummer 104
2 RoscoeNats 60
3 brook 38
4 ryzim 35
5 MissB 26
6 John Quinn 27
7 TJL 18


• Final Score: Padres 4, Nationals 2.

Nationals now 25-25.


1 - Nyjer Morgan works the count full and pops up behind second to give Padres' right-hander Mat Latos the first out of the evening. Cristian Guzman takes a 95mph fastball for a called strike three from Latos, who gets a grounder from Ryan Zimmerman to his counterpart Chase Headley at third to end the top of the first...J.D. Martin strikes Will Venable out, one down on the swinging K. Martin gets a long fly to left from David Eckstein that Josh Willingham handles. Adrian Gonzalez grounds out to seco-- Adam Kennedy drops it. A two-out single to center from Chase Headley puts two on for Nick Hundley. Hanging curve from Martin and Hundley crushes it, deep to left and GONE, 3-run HR, 3-0 Padres. Nyjer Morgan catches the final out off of Jerry Hairston, Jr.'s bat, and it's 3-0 San Diego after one. 

2 - Adam Dunn singles to right on a line drive that Will Venable hustles to field before Dunn can even think about second. Josh Willingham's walked, and Adam Kennedy's up with a chance to redeem himself. Single up the middle, Dunn scores, 3-1 Padres, Hammer to third, first and third for Roger Bernadina. Latos gets Bernadina looking at an 0-2 fastball inside that cuts back in for a called strike three. Wil Nieves grounds out to second, Eckstein misses a tag attempt on Kennedy and settles for the out at first as Willingham scores. 3-2 Padres. J.D. Martin K's swinging to end the Nats' second...J.D. Martin gets a line drive to right from Chris Denorfia that Bernadina handles. One down. Tony Gwynn, Jr. rips a fly ball to center, Nyjer Morgan can't get there and Gwynn takes third as it rolls to the wall. Matt Latos lines back to the mound, one down on the defensive grab by Martin. Will Venable K's, fouling strike three into Nieves' glove. 

3 - Nyjer Morgan grounds weakly to second, one down. Cristian Guzman K's chasing a two-strike curve into the dirt. Ryan Zimmerman walks with two down, and Adam Dunn's groundout ends the Nats' third. Latos is rolling...David Eckstein grounds deep into the hole at short, Guzman fields it running toward left, spins and throws from his heels and somehow beats Eckstein to first. One down. Adrian Gonzalez flies out to center. Josh Willingham gets the final out off Headley's bat, 3-2 Padres after three. 

4 - Josh Willingham starts the fourth with a pop-out to first. Adam Kennedy K's swinging way ahead of a 2-2 change from Latos. Roger Bernadina goes with a high fastball outside and lines to the left-center track for a two-out double. Wil Nieves gets the intentionals, and Latos strikes the opposing pitcher out to end the Nats' fourth...Nick Hundley flies to left center to lead off the fourth, and Nyjer Morgan leaps--and misses it at the wall, triple for Hundley. Jerry Hairston, Jr. flies out unproductively. Chris Denorfia grounds weakly to third with Hundley running, Zim throws to first, 4-2 Padres. Tony Gwynn flies to left, 4-2 San Diego after four. 

5 - Nyjer Morgan lines out to Chris Denorfia in left. The Guzzzzzz reaches out and pokes a pitch outside back up the middle under Latos' glove. Ryan Zimmerman grounds to first, Adrian Gonzalez throws to second, retreats to the bag and catches the DP throw to first from Jerry Hairston, Jr. double play...J.D. Martin pops Latos up, Guzman grabs it. Will Venable K's looking, 3 K's today in 3 AB's so far. David Eckstein lines to center, but Nyjer Morgan charges and makes a slick catch just above the grass. 

6 - Adam Dunn swings under an 0-2 fastball upstairs at 95. Latos gets Josh Willingham looking at a 1-2 change outside. Two down. Adam Kennedy flies to center, Latos is through six with the lead...J.D. Martin's still in, Adrian Gonzalez goes down chasing a 2-2 slider, one out. Chase Headley K's looking at a full-count fastball. Nick Hundley flies out to center, Morgan gets to this one, three down for Martin . On to the seventh...

7 - Luke Gregerson on for Latos in the seventh. Roger Bernadina K's swinging. Wil Nieves grounds back to the mound. Alberto Gonzalez hits for J.D. Martin, or grounds out I should say...Miguel Batista gets a swinging K from Jerry Hairston, Jr. Miguel Batista busts Chris Denorfia inside with a full-count fastball for a swinging K. Tony Gwynn, Jr. walks with two down, but pinch hitter Oscar Salazar K's to end the Padres' seventh, still 4-2 San Diego. 

8 - MIke Adams throws a two-strike fastball through Nyjer Morgan's bat, strike three, one down. Cristian Guzman lines out to third, Headley has it. Ryan Zimmerman hits a broken-bat-blooper to center and it drops in for a single. Adam Dunn up and goes down swinging...Miguel Batista gets a grounder to first to get Venable, one down. Eckstein flies out to Bernadina. Adrian Gonzalez flies out to left, 4-2 Padres after eight. 

9 - Josh Willingham vs Heath Bell. Fly ball to center, one down. Adam Kennedy grounds out to David Eckstein. Two down. Roger Bernadina battles to a full count, fouls one off and