Veteran anchor Livan Hernandez didn’t get the calls he wanted against Mike Quade’s Cubs Monday night. Quade stepped into the interim manager’s role for his first game since being the Cubs third base coach after “Sweet” Lou Pinella retired Sunday night for family reasons.
Hernandez has been a mostly consistent main-stay of this Nats ballclub after joining Washington in spring training this year, but Manager Jim Riggleman realizes there will still be bad nights no matter how well he’s been throwing the ball.
“He’s got to get a little edge there now and then on the plate,” Riggleman said. “When the pitches are close and you’re not getting them that’s tough for Livo.”
The Cubs, who are also a last place team in their division, hit Livo and hit him hard winning 9-1 with ten hits and seven earned runs in 4.1 innings after throwing 121 pitches. Livan the anchor just wasn’t there.
Cubs rookie Casey Coleman, on the other hand, showed up to work. Coleman is a third generation Major League player who lost his career debut as a starter with a lack-luster outing against the San Diego Padres on August 18.
Coleman is the son of 15-year Major League pitcher Joe Coleman. Coleman went 43-50 in his first six seasons after the Washington Senators took him with the third overall pick in the 1965 amateur Draft.
The younger Coleman’s debut ended in a 5-1 loss over 4.1 innings of work in which the Padres scored three earned runs and six hits while striking out one and walking three with no run support from his team. He did not receive any run support from his teammates. The Cubs only scored one run in their last 19 innings. That wasn’t the Coleman the Nationals saw.
Coleman earned his first Major League victory with his 6.1 inning outing. He allowed one run on three hits, threw 103 pitches, and got his first big league hit complete with an RBI off Hernandez in the fifth.
The Nats biggest problem with Coleman was playing small ball and getting on base. They only had three base runners all night. “We didn’t square any balls up. We didn’t hit the ball,” Riggleman said. “We just had a hard time getting the ball on the barrel against him. He’s got that look about him as a pitcher. He’s not a thrower, he’s a pitcher.”
Riggleman talked to the ballclub after the game, letting them know that they need to play with more energy. They can’t keep letting the exhaustion of a lengthy season wear them down. “[…] The game is flattening us out because we’re out there on the field a long time but, you know, we’ve got to find a way,” he said.
“It’s a 162 game schedule and you’ve got to play 162 games and tonight I felt like we allowed the game situation, the long innings and stuff, just our body language on the field, it allowed us to just have a aura hanging over us that’s.”
Tonight: LHP John Lannan 5-5, 5.13 faces RHP Carlos 4-6, 4.97.