Riggleman thinking about reaching .500

In between victories against the Orioles, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he is not thinking about the Wild Card race even though his team is four games behind the Braves.

Riggleman’s goal right now is to reach .500, and the Nationals have a chance to reach that magic number Sunday against the Orioles at Nationals Park.

“We are playing good baseball and made strides to get out of last place,” Riggleman said. “We can’t do anything else until we get to .500. That is our first goal. Then we can see if we can try to pinpoint some immediate short-term goals. When we were nine under .500, we were trying to get to .500. It was a long way to go.

“I feel great about the ballclub, but we are going to see teh Mariners. They have good pitching. Then we are going to see the White Sox. They are coming alive. It’s a battle every night.”

The 2011 Nationals are clearly Riggleman’s best team since he managed the 1998 Cubs, a team that won the National League Wild Card. However, he said all of the parts are not there with the Nationals — yet.

“We are still waiting on [Steven] Strasburg,” Riggleman said. “We are banged up with [Adam] LaRoche and [Rick] Ankiel. We don’t have everybody there, but nobody does. Getting Ryan Zimmerman back is huge. I feel like we are competitive every night.”


All hail Jim Riggleman. Now we see what a true head coach is all about. Forget about Shanahan and Boudreau who in the first instance can’t seem to get along with his players and in the second instance can’t take a championship line-up past the second round of the playoffs.

Riggleman consistently gets the most out of what he has for personnel. His hitting Werth first in the line-up and having the pitcher bat eighth were the kind of brilliant unorthodox moves that you expect from a championship calibre head coach. Finally, Washington has a professional sports franchise it can be proud of. All hail Jim Riggleman and the stalwart players that he is the coach and manager of.

I like Riggleman as a coach, but I thought he should have whipped the team out of their complacency in that last Orioles game. When I saw Werth and Zimmerman’s first at bats, and Werth’s and Zimmerman’s weak play in the field in the first inning, I thought Riggleman should have take the whole team to task and fired them up not to play like losers again and miss their opportunity to get to .500. Instead, he played his Mr. Nice Guy role and the team phoned it in for their 1st loss in 9 games. Sometimes you gotta be nice and sometimes you gotta be a sonofabitch to get the most out of the team.

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