Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zim's unconventional walk-off

US Presswire photo
Ryan Zimmerman was all smiles after scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
Ryan Zimmerman has been at the center of a game-winning, celebratory mob more times than he can count during his six-plus years with the Nationals, so there was something of a familiar look to the scene near home plate this afternoon as the Face of the Franchise slid home with the run that gave Washington a 3-2 victory over Cincinnati in a nail-biter of a home opener.

Zimmerman's fist pump as he popped to his feet on Alfredo Simon's bottom-of-the-10th wild pitch, though, seemed to have some added purpose and emotion. He wasn't only happy to help the Nationals win this game. He was relieved not to have helped them lose it with his shaky defense at third base.

"If we had lost that game," Zimmerman said, "it would've been hard for me to sleep tonight."

It would've been difficult for anyone on the roster -- or the sellout crowd of 40,907 -- to get a good night's rest, because it would've been a humiliating way to lose a home opener. Up 2-0 most of the afternoon thanks to Gio Gonzalez's brilliant pitching performance and Adam LaRoche's clutch, two-run single, the Nationals were two outs away from wrapping up a nice, tidy win over a quality opponent.

And then the wheels fell off in an unsettling top of the ninth that saw fill-in closer Brad Lidge put four straight men on base and Zimmerman fail to make the play on Ryan Ludwick's game-tying, two-run single down the third-base line.

In the end, that ninth-inning collapse became a footnote by day's end, thanks to an unconventional, bottom-of-the-10th rally by the home club. With a chance to launch his ninth career walk-off homer into the bleachers, Zimmerman instead got things rolling by taking Simon's very first pitch off his left arm.

Jayson Werth's one-out, seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield advanced Zimmerman to second base, and then Xavier Nady's grounder advanced him to third.

So with two outs, up to the plate stepped Roger Bernadina with a chance to be the hero. Which he was simply by letting Simon's 0-1 slider bounce in the dirt and scoot away from catcher Devin Mesoraco.

Bernadina's initial reaction was to hold up his hand and tell Zimmerman to slam on the brakes and not take a chance scoring on the wild pitch. The man on third base, though, never hesitated and took off for the plate as soon as he saw what happened.

"It's one of those things that you've done since you were 10 years old," Zimmerman said. "Obviously the ball has to go away enough to where you think you can make it. Bernie hit the ball hard three times today, so I wasn't going to take the bat out of his hands. But any time you get a chance to end the game, you just gotta get a read and trust your instincts."

In the end, Bernadina was OK with his teammate's split-second decision.

"That's a good read from Zim," he said.

Even if it denied you the opportunity to drive in the game-winning run?

"Yeah, but we got the win."

Indeed, they did. It wasn't quite how they drew it up, but the Nationals happily took another nip-and-tuck victory in an opening week already filled with several of these. Of their seven games to date, five have still been up for grabs in the ninth inning. Even their "blowout" 4-0 win yesterday in New York was a tight, 1-0 game into the seventh.

One of these days, Davey Johnson and Co. are going to get to enjoy themselves in the late innings, right?

"Well, I expect us to get some hits with runners in scoring position. We haven't done as well as we're capable of doing," Johnson said. "I like the way we're swinging the bats. Hopefully we'll break out and have a laugher. Soon."

It wasn't going to happen today, not with the Nationals again struggling to cobble together more than a couple of runs. But this is the formula for victory they've established, and they're probably going to continue to call upon it until some of their ice-cold hitters bust out.

Besides, who needs offensive explosions when you've got perhaps the best starting rotation in baseball right now? Add Gonzalez's seven scoreless innings from today to the last two starts by Stephen Strasburg and Ross Detwiler (plus the final inning of Edwin Jackson's outing Monday in New York) and the Nationals rotation now has a 19-inning scoreless streak going.

That still could have gone for naught during that harrowing ninth inning, especially when Zimmerman (who had already been charged with one error earlier and was upset at himself for failing to make another play on Wilson Valdez's double in the eighth) couldn't get in front of Ludwick's bases-loaded grounder to his right.

"That play and the Valdez play, those are plays that I expect myself to make," Zimmerman said. "And I hope my teammates expect me to make those as well. They're not routine plays, but they're plays I think I should make."

"I mean, nine out of 10 times he probably does make that play," Lidge said. "He's one of the best out there. But I think it really comes back to me executing the pitch better. That's not his fault. The baserunners were my fault."

It's all good, though, because the man who had already won so many games for the Nationals both with his bat and with his glove managed to find a new way to set off a wild celebration at the plate: For maybe the first time ever, he used his legs.

"That was one of my worst games," he said. "But, we won. So I don't even remember it anymore."

No, what everyone will remember today is that the Nationals are 5-2. And yes, they sit all alone in first place in the NL East.

Not a bad perch for a franchise that since arriving in town has rarely enjoyed such a nice view.

130 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mark - you may have missed the news - according to Navy Nats Fan in the last post, Zimmerman got engaged sometime in the last day or so...

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm ... Oh Wally? You know the guy who has hit 64 home runs the last two years between A+ Potomac and AA Harrisburg well ...

Chiefs Radio: Tyler Moore just homered again. Two-run shot. 3-0 in the fourth. The Magnolia Muscle strikes again. #Nats

That's two in one game ... this early? What happens if it looks like he is going to hit 30 again in AAA? What do you do if this guy has 20 by the All Star break with all the of the other requisite numbers?

Torii Hunter ... and Vernon Wells why? Just say NO!

Natsfly said...

Having been at the park today, I have to agree that it was a bad game for Zim--I doubt we see another like that all year. And how ironic that he ends up wining the game on a wild pitch! I am worried about our MIA offense, but today I am just going to enjoy the curly W on Opening Day at home.

Feel Wood said...

Lidge comes in for the top of the ninth.

Guy next to me: Seems strange to see him pitching for us.

Me: Yeah, I used to love watching him melt down when the Phillies came here. Like when Zimmerman got the walk-off a couple years ago.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baseballswami said...

These guys fall all over themselves taking the blame for things. Zim and Lidge are dueling with who is responsible. And we ended up winning. It's almost funny. Not exactly a group of ego- maniacs. Seriously, they are just such boy scouts. Not a "bad boy" in the group this year. Gio seems to have a good effect on the group as a whole - his personality seems infectious. I know I can't help but smile when I see him.

NatsLady said...

Just watched the 10th inning. F.P. called the wild pitch TWICE before it happened.

Yes, we have two 9th inning heartburn guys. (Not going to call them "closers" because I don't think Davey thinks that way. Gotta drive the fantasy types crazy, no "quality start" for Detwiler, putting Henry-Lidge in when it's not a "save" opportunity...). Gonna be a rollercoaster until Storen gets back.

Never know who to root against when the Phillies play the Fish, but I will maintain my true Fish hatred and hope they lose.

Anonymous said...

Ryan Zimmerman is now engaged to Heather Downen of Annandale, VA.

I wonder if he had Brodie Van Wagenen do the pre-nup for him. One of our crack beat writers should ask whether it's tougher negotiating with Rizzo or with Heather.

JaneB said...

NatsLady, what did FP say? How did he know?

Our section was chatting about how odd and wonderful it was to have Lidge closing for us. Then with the missed Zimm play, we were all stunned into silence. It's just desserts that it was Zimm who plated the third run.

Best opening day at the park in several years. Gio Gonzalez -- I love him. I love that the team never gave up, even when the air was sucked out of the stadium at the top of the 9th...

Cwj said...

I'm sure Lidge will be fine.
But one thing to keep in mind: Henry Rodriguez simply does not get hit hard. He makes things interesting with his control problems, but he's never been one to give up many extra-base hits.

In Drew's absence, one of the Lidge/HRod combo will gain the edge and win the "closer" role. And if I were a betting man (way too poor for that!), I'd bet on Henry.
I like the rest of the bullpen (including Clippard) where they are.

Go First Place Nats!!!

NatsLady said...

OK, so maybe Maya lost what he found last week. Is this a name or what? Tweet from the Syracuse game---

Turfy Gosewisch just hit a grand slam off of Yunesky Maya. 5-3.

Really, that has to be a made-up name.

sm13 said...

Gee, what a suprise Maya hung a curve ball -- some things don't change.

My guess is that just when the Lidge/HRod situation sorts itself out, Druuu will be back and all will be right with the 'pen.

lls45 said...

Great pitching by Gio, Tyler, and Craig!! Very fun game to be at.

Anonymous said...

If we'd lost that game today, not only would Ryan not have slept, I wouldn't have either!

Candide said...

NatsLady said... Never know who to root against when the Phillies play the Fish...

Channeling your inner Henry Kissinger? When Iran and Iraq got into a war in 1982, Kissinger said, "It's a pity they can't both lose."

NatsLady said...

Well, first F.P. says, "Dusty Baker has a choice now, does he want Bernadina or does he want Wilson Ramos [sic, Flores was in the game]. Then they discuss Bill Bray (lefty, former Nat) in the pen.

Then F.P. says, "You treat it as an 0-2 count... You prey on the hitter's [Bernadina's] aggressiveness by not throwing strikes with [first] base open, but you gotta watch out for the wild pitch."

Next, F.P. says, "Split in the dirt. You have to be careful right now if you're Simon."

And then Simon throws the wild pitch. Carp shouts, "There it is!"

DCGuy7 said...

great day at the park. almost wasn't, and then it was. Gio was sensational. Stammen was really unbelievable. Zim, well - he just didnt look like he was all there today. thought he'd be pumped for today, but we all have off days. i even yelled at another Nats fan for mindlessly shouting about "Werth-less".

Al M said...

Great day at the Park.
Geo was awesome and his smile after his hit was amazing.
A wins is a win and we are in first.
I am glad it will be warmer on Saturday.

Al M

jeeves said...

It's nothing short of incredible. Desi has a BA of 400, an OBA of well over 400, and has made only one error (or none according to USA Today stats). As well, he's made some outstanding plays in the field and is slugging well over 500. And still, an Anon in the last posting is lambasting him. When he was good the last two months of last year, the Desi haters said Sept stats don't count. Ditto this spring training. Now, early in the season, when he is doing so exceptionally, the negative comment is that he won't keep it up. There is something repulsive about people, like this anon, who can't celebrate the fact that for a good period of time this young player has been doing very well. Will he keep up the pace? Of course not. But there is good reason to believe he is turning into an excellent shortstop.

Wally said...

Anon - if Moore has 20 HRs by the ASB, i'll be happy. Ditto if Brown keeps hitting. What's not to like about that?

Still hope that Rizzo adds a MLB-quality bat, though (although I admit, making up that I want Vernon Wells was a good one; I almost bit).

Anonymous said...

From my seat in 202 I could clearly see the MASN booth. F.P. was up and sort of pacing in the 9th and 10th when the Nationals had men on base. It was neat to see he was not only so into the game but had that nervous energy about him. I love what he brings to the broadcasts and hope he stays around a long time.

Cwj said...

NatsLady- Seriously "Turfy Gosewisch"? Hahaha! With a name like that he's destined for the Majors just so people can say his name :-)
As for Maya, I gave up on him 2 years ago. But haven't been following his minor league stats at all.

Jeeves- Yeah it's weird isn't it? How someone can actually hate the players on the team they follow amazes me.
The negative posts after the Nats improved to 5-2, I honestly question whether they are actual Nats fans.
Fortunately, their are some knowledgeable Anons here as well.

Cwj said...

Anon 9:26- That's cool to hear! I like FP and am not surprised that he was as tense as the rest of us :-)

Cwj said...

I shouldn't bother, but "their" = "there" in my post at 9:27 :D

In fact, one cool thing about NI is that grammar/spelling isn't often corrected by others.
You guys should see some of the sabermetric blogs. People are dismissed as stupid if they make a typo!
:-)

Navy Nats Fan said...

For those of you dreaming of Johnny Damon, he just signed with the Indians

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I am still "amped" from the day at the park, and I don't use that expression very often. These are not your grandfather's Nationals. This team is hungry, talented, deep and smart. And they play all 27 outs. There is no five-year plan for Grandpa, either. Walking the potential winning run in the ninth proved that to me. Davey wants to win this year, and win big. And with this pitching he's got, why not. Heck, Stammen -- who barely made the team as our 11th pitcher -- threw a wicked 10th inning -- 10 pitches, all strikes, three Ks. Don't worry about the offense. We'll scratch a run here and there. With this pitching, we don't need many.

I think my 86 wins, wild card or bust, may be light. I honestly think we're as good as the Phillies, who are getting older every day.

Loved everything about the day, especially Moose being in the middle of the game-winning rally. Loved the lady from Waco sitting in our section. Said she hadn't see a team this good since the Baylor women's basketball team won it all.

Going out Saturday with Wanda the mother-in-law. Now, this is going to be good.

SCNatsFan said...

Still amazed we pulled this one out. I agree with the poster who says in that situation Zim has to avoid the Dorn 'ole stab and knock it down. You figure Zim will win a number of games for us this year, good to win one he almost threw away.

NatsLady said...

Here is something I don't understand. There is a site called CoolStandings, and after every game they tweet the playoff chances of the teams. So yesterday they tweet:

WAS 4, NYM 0. #Nationals playoff chances now 41.5%.

Today, they tweet:

WAS 3, CIN 2. #Nationals playoff chances now 38.5%.

What am I missing here? The Nats improve their record and their playoff chances decline?

Anyone here have an explanation of how they are figuring?

P.S., this is a nice tweet however it's calculated:

PHI 3, FLA 1. #Marlins playoff chances now 8.2%.

Cool Standings

https://twitter.com/#!/coolstandings

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@NatsLady: I think CoolStandings is a victim of of the New Math.

Cwj said...

I'm baffled as well NatsLady.
I'm guessing that the closer the score in a win, the playoff % drops...and perhaps the closer the score in a loss, the playoff % increases?

The Marlins are indeed in trouble though, as are the Braves and Mets.
It's going to be a battle between Philly and the Nats for the NL East.
At least, that's what I believe :-)

natsfan1a said...

Best. Baseball name. Ever. I'm thinking he'd be a hard-charging OF who is known for his diving catches, many of which send the divots flying. Skip likes to bring him in late, for defense. The old double-switcheroo, of course.

Turfy Gosewisch just hit a grand slam off of Yunesky Maya. 5-3.

Anonymous said...

Ramos was batting.

NatsLady said...

I dunno. Maybe it has to do with other teams' chances of making the wildcard.

Here is a picture of Clipp from today. I assume this is NOT the inverted "W" form? Am I correct in this assumption?

Clippard pitching on Opening Day

http://twitpic.com/992uv6

Anonymous said...

Zim had a terrible game. He should buy Gio dinner at the Prime Rib for costing him a "W" after a brilliant pitching performance.

NatsBrat said...

@Jeeves & Cwj:
It was easy to be critical of Desi when his game wasn't going well. To harp on his game when he is doing so well is both perverse and sadly indicative of a disturbed person.

Such latter criticism can only reflect the disordered personality of the Anon who gets his jollies by being negative.

He probably does the same thing with the real relationships in his life.

Desi is more focused about what he needs to do at the plate and at bat. If someone in the Nats's farm system had spent some time directing him while he was in the minors, he probably would have arrived with his current performances two years ago.

natsfan1a said...

I watched a bit of that game and rooted for the Fish to do something to make the Phoolies Phans pipe down. :-)

Never know who to root against when the Phillies play the Fish, but I will maintain my true Fish hatred and hope they lose.

whatsanattau said...

I suppose someone(s) would have commented on this previously, but WOW ... Stamen struck out the side on 10 pitches (9 of 10 strikes). He was AWESOME.

NatsLady said...

Checked the IronPigs roster.

Apparently the Chiefs' tweeter misspelled his name.

Tuffy Gosewisch is a catcher, DOB 08-17-1983, not on MLB roster.

Still a great name, IMO.

The IronPigs of Lehigh Valley are the AAA-affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies--natch.

Brycie-boy went 1 for 5 with a triple, 2 LOB, and is now hitting .261.

NatsLady said...

Stammen was great. Then people started calling for him to be the closer... sheesh.

JaneB said...

Thanks for that great report, NatsLady!
Tomorrow, there's MORE baseball! Life is good

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I actually think Tuffy Gosewisch is even cooler. To paraphrase Charlie Slowes on Tuffy's parents: "What were they thinking? Where was he going?"

SonnyG10 said...

I was at the game today also...what a nailbiter. I thought we had angered the baseball gods by blowing the save and neglecting to win the game twice in regulation. I thought to myself, there is no way we will win now. I guess the gods were more angry with the Reds. Hoooorrraaah!!! I'll take a win any way we get one.

SonnyG10 said...

Bed time for me...I'll have sweet dreams of the Nats in first place. Good-night folks.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Just catching up on everyone's comments and had to share this tidbit: Tuffy Gosewisch went to my high school! He graduated from Horizon High in Scottsdale, AZ, in 2001, then went on to play at Arizona State. I actually went to school with his older brother, Chip. Chip was on the 1995 Horizon team that won the state championship (sadly, the year after I graduated).

Cwj said...

Speaking of funny names, I always thought Homer Bailey was a good name, considering that he is a pitcher. :-) And he does indeed give up quite a few homers (52 HR/436 IP career).

For a last name it would be hard to beat Mark Hamburger, also a pitcher (Texas I believe).
Imagine something like "wow, Hamburger got chewed up in his last outing".
Silly, but kinda funny I think :D

Anonymous said...

WAS 4, NYM 0. #Nationals playoff chances now 41.5%.

Today, they tweet:

WAS 3, CIN 2. #Nationals playoff chances now 38.5%.


I believe its because the sample size continues to increase as the season progresses. The larger the sample size, the more accurate the prediction. Clearly toward the end of the season it should be pretty easy to predict ... ~laughing~

These are multiple dichotomous populations (1's and 0's). A population would represent each team's record. They could be using some weighted statistic ... who knows?

baseballswami said...

My final nightie-night comments after I mostly- fast forwarded through the game one more time (dvr'ed) -- Craig Stammen was sick! I still love Clippard, who seems to be still doing it , but in a different way? I love the high cheese, but the slider works, too. The stadium seemed to be rocking today -- sweet. Ryan Zimmerman is mortal --- sometimes. I am now hurting in my heart for the caps and their baby goaltender.

Cwj said...

That's awesome Mark!

I'm also glad that you read our posts.
Keep up the great work that you do! :-)
Most of us appreciate it greatly!

Cwj said...

Anon 11:10- Very good point.
Are you Peric? Or a different positive Anon?

I have a hard time knowing which Anon is which.

sjm308 said...

Natslady, Anon & others - ESPN also has a % of making the playoffs in their standings this year. They have the Nats at 39% with the Phillies somewhere in the 70% area (didn't really focus on them). I am not paying any attention to this but it is interesting that we are in the top 6 for the playoffs right now which means at least we have people's attention.

We really do have some good anon posts and I just wonder why they can't put even a silly name on their posts so we know who is who. I will never run into Cwj or baseballswammi, or sunshine bobby. I somehow owe "Sec 3 my pfb sofa" a beer so I assume he will hunt me down but seriously, this is a great place to learn and discuss baseball and I am puzzled why the use of anon continues.

Useless info that sounds cool said...

Nats and the Yankees are both tied for the longest current winning streak in baseball...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Mark, that was terrific! You have had as good a season as the Nats, and a better career. We all appreciated all your hard work, hustle and clear, beautiful writing. And we especially appreciate you staying up late to connect the dots between you and the Gosewisch family tree. Man, the things we learn late at night on Nats Insider!

Go You Freaking Gosewisches Go!!!!

G'night everybody...sleeping well in first place.

Anonymous said...

"Tuffy" should have his name legally changed to "Turfy". As a kid, My first dog was named "Tuffy".

They should not delay any longer and carve "Turfy Gosewisch" into stone and place it in the HOF, where it clearly belongs, as the greatest moniker, hands down, in the history of sport.

Thanks, Nats Lady, for that important disclosure.

We have blown the opportunity to go undefeated, but we can still make it 81-0 at home. Ejac seems to be the weakest link in the starting rotation. Now, that is saying something. What an impressive pitching staff, and that is without CMW and Lannen, both of whom have been starters in the past, and without Storen, our best closer.

If we can get the Beast back in 6 weeks, maybe we can finally score some runs for those guys.

BTW, the reason I use an "Anonymous" handle is because this site's S/W will not accept any of my URLs. I tried 3 of them before giving up.

Laddie_Blah_Blah

UnkyD said...

Laddie... You're not Anon. You're Laddie!!

jeeves said...

Perfectly summed up, NatsBrat.

FS said...

man I am so behind Nats news lately. Just read that Morse is out for six weeks, that's gotta hurt. Injuries have done a number on us.

Glad that we won home opener yesterday, would have preferred a 2-0 win though. I am going for Saturday's game and maybe tonight as well if I have nothing planned.

baseballswami said...

This winning glow, being in first place - one thing about being a baseball fan is that the thrill lasts for a short time and so does a losing sting. The next game is always right around the corner. Let's see some well-deserved run support for Jordan tonight!

Anonymous said...

Put me in the camp with those who are unhappy about the move to the third base side. I'm taking my daughters tonight and we sit in 142 in part so that we can see the race run right below us.

There are simple solutions to discourage the players from any future interference that would be preferable to moving the races.

Anonymous said...

Crap, I had this blog and Let Teddy Win both open and commented on the wrong site.

natsfan1a said...

Or Hamburger might be overheard saying: "Why's he calling me meat? I'm the one driving the Porsche."

For a last name it would be hard to beat Mark Hamburger, also a pitcher (Texas I believe).
Imagine something like "wow, Hamburger got chewed up in his last outing".

Rabbit said...

Just being a win, in glosses over the ineptness of our hitting. But, a win is a win and you have to be lucky to be good. And, my TV is still intact!!! GO NATIONALS!!!!

Dawn said...

Had a chance to watch the game on MLB.com late last night. Gio was really good, nice win for the good guys.

Rabbit said...

Hey NATS LADY...the reason the Nats playoff chances decreased is because the results of all the other baseball games in the division are in the mix. Remember the Phillies won, etc. etc. But, we all know statistics mean nothing. It's 'what can you do for me NOW'!

MicheleS said...

Anon/Let Teddy Win comment: I thought I heard yesterday that they are going to switch between left and right field. I think the joke was they were going to do that so that the OF/Goon Squad wouldn't do anything to interfere with the race.

MicheleS said...

RE: Zim not guarding the line. Watched the replay last night and both Carp/FP were all over that. Something about playing a no doubles defense. Seems like Zim had a brain cramp there because the next inning he was guarding the line.

NatsLady said...

Rabbit and Peric-- thanks for thoughts. Will check CoolStandings and if their formula is not a proprietary secret I might try to untangle it. It's got to be something like that, either more data points or less "space" between teams' records.

NatsLady said...

Oh, and heard (from Twitter) that Buster Olney talked this morning on Mike and Mike about the dominance of the Nats pitching. I usually delete their podcast because too much NFL but might listen today. Starting to get noticed, for better or worse, Nats.

320R2S15 said...

I have a question. Why was Zim playing up in that situation in the 9th? Just a mistake maybe? a costly one then.

I've been to every opening day since they came back, and the first one was the best. The first one in the new diggs was really good too, but yesterday had the best atmosphere. The memory I'll always have from yesterday was the smile back at the dougout from Geo just before he reached the bag. Priceless.

You can leave the URL blank and just type in a name said...

BTW, the reason I use an "Anonymous" handle is because this site's S/W will not accept any of my URLs. I tried 3 of them before giving up.

Laddie_Blah_Blah

Dawn said...

Btw,was at the Tigers/Rays game yesterday. Thought you might be interested Colin Balister got the win (only hit one batter) lol. Seriously though, Leyland has complimentary so were the radio guys.

Agree Natslady; I also was listening to Mike & Mike. Nice to hear that the Nats are relevant in the media's eyes, even though what we fans think is more important.

baseballswami said...

Re: where Zim was playing defensively. Isn't there a coach (or the manager?) that sets the defense? I was under the impression that they were given signs and signals that told them where to play. For example - isn't the "no doubles " or "the shift" set up by the coaches? I don't think the players just decide where to play on their own defensively. I think that configuration is coordinated from the dugout. True? Not true? Anyone know this for sure?

natsfan1a said...

As the above post suggests, it's possible to select the "Name/URL" option and type a name/moniker into the "Name" field. Just leave the URL field blank. On a related note, if those who type a name/moniker at the end of the narrative in their comment typed it *before* the narrative, those who might be inclined to skip over Anonymous posts would see the author's name/moniker right away. Just a random thought, fwiw.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

this site's S/W will not accept any of my URLs.

OK, now I'm really curious what those URLs might be

Dawn said...

Oops! Meant "was" complimentary, not" "has. Fingers are still sleepy from watching baseball in the wee hours.

natsfan1a said...

I was rather hesitant to click on that one but I should have known that it would be safe. :-)

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

this site's S/W will not accept any of my URLs.

OK, now I'm really curious what those URLs might be
April 13, 2012 8:25 AM

whatsanattau said...

Anonymous posting is not in and of itself bad. Anonymous posting with the slanderous and libelous ravings of a psychotic madman with mal intent; hurtful words aimed at players, posters, or media; and calls for lynchings based on a plyers bad day at the park are rather annoying and boorish.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Swami, the manager sometimes directs how/where the fielders play, like having the infielders play in for certain situations, but it's not nearly as regimented in baseball as in, say, football. Individual players, especially veterans like Zim, have a lot more latitude, generally, at the MLB level. I think Zim said he was playing a hunch by coming in, but in hindsight, he should have had both balls regardless.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Candide said...

natsfan1a said... Best. Baseball name. Ever... Turfy Gosewisch

My personal favorite is Razor Shines. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shinera01.shtml

And Cwj said... For a last name it would be hard to beat Mark Hamburger, also a pitcher (Texas I believe).

Don't forget the catastrophically-named (for a pitcher, anyway) Bob Walk. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/walkbo01.shtml

natsfan1a said...

whatsanattau, agreed, but some do scroll through Anon postings, which is why I made the suggestion I did. That, and Laddie mentioned having a sign-in issue. (Unless you weren't referring to my comment, in which case, never mind. :-))

Bowdenball said...

I don't understand the complaints about our offense. We're scoring four runs a game, on pace to score 20 more than we did last year, despite playing several games in tough parks with the wind blowing in, and playing three of those seven games against a #1 starter. And MLB offense always starts slowly in April because of the cold weather.

Sure we've come up empty with runners in scoring position too much, but on the flip side we've put runners in scoring position an awful lot. That's part of an offense too. Set the table, and then either drive them home or let the other team do the work for you.

Anyone expecting this team to score more than this all year is asking too much. 4 runs a game at that stage, under these conditions, with this lineup, is perfectly fine.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Oh, and heard (from Twitter) that Buster Olney talked this morning on Mike and Mike about the dominance of the Nats pitching. I usually delete their podcast because too much NFL but might listen today. Starting to get noticed, for better or worse, Nats.

April 13, 2012 7:55 AM
_______________________________

Glad Buster Olney noticed.

My look around the Majors is that many other teams have very good #1 and #2 pitchers also. The Nats are getting OBP, now they have to score runs.

That Game #3 with the Cubs where JZim pitched a gem and the Nats couldn't muster any offense against Jeff Samardzija is what has to change.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

whatsanattau said...

Also second.

Some people post anonymously because they aren't interested in ongoing dialog, so it doesn't matter to them that we can't respond directly without ambiguity. It's the jerks that annoy people, because they are being jerks, not because you can't tell if it's the same jerk.

NatsLady said...

Latest nickname on Twitter for the Nats pitching staff: K Street.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a said... Best. Baseball name. Ever... Turfy Gosewisch
________________________

His nickname isn't TURFY, it is TUFFY. His other nickname is JIMMY which doesn't have the same ring to it. His birth name was James Benjamin Gosewisch.

Candide said...

Bowdenball said...4 runs a game at that stage, under these conditions, with this lineup, is perfectly fine.

Four runs per game works out to 648 runs over the entire season, which would be 20 runs fewer than the 2011 league average. If that's what the Nats are going to do all year, then the pitching had better be spectacular if they hope to make the playoffs.

natsfan1a said...

That said, I tend to take comments, Anon or otherwise, with a grain of salt. Sure, most of us are your garden-variety fan, but one never knows whether a given commenter may have an undisclosed conflict of interest (current or former team employee, connection to a player or to an agency, member of a former would-be ownership group, competing blogger, etc.) that affects what they post here.

JamesFan said...

Nats should not panic over the Morse injury and trade the farm to get temporary relief. Stand pat and adjust with what we have.

I want to see Lombo get more playing time at second. We have a potential .300 hitter with solid defense on the bench while Danny continues to struggle at the plate. Can't afford that with the offense we have.

NatsLady said...

Gpnat-- Samardzija was dealing. Sometimes you just have to give it to the opposing pitcher. Sveum left him in too long (hence the 2-run dinger in the 9th) and may end up damaging his arm, but when you have a power-reliever in there for 8 innings, that happens.

natsfan1a said...

Yes, NatsLady pointed out (after a number of us had commented), that the Tweet she'd seen had his name misspelled.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a said... Best. Baseball name. Ever... Turfy Gosewisch
________________________

His nickname isn't TURFY, it is TUFFY. His other nickname is JIMMY which doesn't have the same ring to it. His birth name was James Benjamin Gosewisch.
April 13, 2012 8:55 AM

NatsLady said...

Candide-- Right. Also, long-term, we can't get away with 4 runs per game scored on walks, wild pitches and grounders. Not every team has a terrible bullpen, you can't just wait out the starter.

However, just keep getting men on base, I say, keep getting men on base. They will score.

natsfan1a said...

Well, sometimes you *can* tell it's the same person because of syntax, stylistic factors, or recurrent, er, topics of interest, but that's another story. :-)

It's the jerks that annoy people, because they are being jerks, not because you can't tell if it's the same jerk.

#4 said...

"Anyone expecting this team to score more than this all year is asking too much. 4 runs a game at that stage, under these conditions, with this lineup, is perfectly fine."

So is W-5 and L-2. Some people just need to complain.

I love the way Rizzo has built this bullpen and the way Davey is using it. It's clear to me that Stammen will mostly pitch on days when Gio and Detwiler are the starters. Gorzo will pitch when Stras, Zim, and EJax start. The reasoning is that by switching from R to L or L to R Davey can get a platoon advantage with his long relievers. If the starter manages to go 7, that frees these guys to pitch if the game goes extras like yesterday.

Lidge and Hrod will be fine as the closers. Because of the former's maturity and the latter's stuff, I doubt the Nats will have multiple blown saves in a week. That's when a team can really have its psyche crushed. Will they be perfect? No. But they should be good enough until the AS break.

Gonat said...

http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aSPT&ID=201204130032

What do you do with Wang when he is ready to return?

#4 said...

I would also add that Davey's strategy gives Gorzo and Stammen a good sense of which days they will pitch on. That allows them to get in a rhythm which their conditioning and side sessions.

NatsLady said...

See, I was right. It was a made-up name! Thanks for the laughs, people, and MarkZ for actually knowing the guy.

Gonat said...

His nickname isn't TURFY, it is TUFFY. His other nickname is JIMMY which doesn't have the same ring to it. His birth name was James Benjamin Gosewisch.

Bowdenball said...

Candide:

If you offered the Nats front office 648 runs on the season right now I think they'd be crazy not to take it. They made no real upgrades in personnel from an offense that scored 624 runs last year and will be without their best power threat for probably half the season.

It's not a bad thing, that is just the way this team is built. We're almost guaranteed to get above average pitching, maybe well above average. So hope for league average offense that scores around 650 runs, and the result of that would be a winning team. They simply don't have the talent to be an elite team on both sides of the equation ... yet.

Candide said...

natsfan1a said... Well, sometimes you *can* tell it's the same person because of syntax, stylistic factors, or recurrent, er, topics of interest, but that's another story. :-)

I emailed Mark last night to ask him if he had troll-banning policy; I've given up on NJ, after that Baltimore troll came this close (fingers an inch apart) to libeling me there without consequence. Got a thoughtful, courteous reply; he said that not requiring registration here lets anons post, but makes it effectively impossible to ban anyone. But he DOES read what gets posted here, as we saw yesterday, and deletes stuff he deems offensive, though he might not catch it immediately.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Candide-- Right. Also, long-term, we can't get away with 4 runs per game scored on walks, wild pitches and grounders. Not every team has a terrible bullpen, you can't just wait out the starter.

However, just keep getting men on base, I say, keep getting men on base. They will score.

April 13, 2012 9:01 AM
__________________________

The team averaged 3.87 runs per game last year. 4 runs a game is 20 more runs over last season. I agree with NatsLady on the surface but the difference would be if the starting staff and relievers perform better than last year to make up the difference. 20 more runs than last year equates to less wins in pythagorean because keep in mind the Nats had lucky wins last year.

Like you said, can't count on wild pitches and bullpens imploding, you have to get the runs early in the game when the opportunities are there.

Like Desmond said after the 4-0 win that the Nats had their chances to blow that game open.

NatsLady said...

When Wang comes back... is that a song??? Well, if no one is injured, at the beginning you pitch Wang 3 or 4 innings and platoon him with Detwiler--although that's two righties in the platoon they have very different styles.

If, after three or four starts no starter is injured... then you praise God and punt.

Meridian said...

No discussion of great baseball names should omit Washington's own Heinie Manush, whose melifluous name induced one sportswriter to recall that as he tried sleep on a Pullman car during a road trip, the clickety-clack of the rails seemed to say, "Heinie Manush will play today, Heinie Manush will play today . . . ."

MicheleS said...

On the complaining..

The person I split the season tickets with can get a wee bit cranky at times. Yesterday's conversation went like this:

Bottom of the 8th: I Don't want Davey to bring Clipp in, he makes me nervous! I say -Why, he is the best set up man in the bigs.

Lidge comes in: He has to be better than Henry, Henry is just not good as a closer. I say- you do realize that Henry got the save the other day and has pitched really well this year.

Lidge gives up 2 runs with RZ's suspect defense: Why didn't Davey keep CLIPP in. Clipp could have pitched another inning. This game is lost now. Mind you he just said he didn't like Clipp. At this point, I got frustrated and smacked him on the arm and told him to shut up and root for a comeback.

Sometimes people only look for the dark clouds.

NatsLady said...

You might enjoy this from the Reds' site. It speaks to a different--better--approach by our hitters.

Latos finished with two runs and five hits allowed over five innings, with three walks and one strikeout. But his pitch count spiked to 99 pitches with a few long sequences, including Danny Espinosa's 11-pitch plate appearance for a walk in the first inning.

"There are no excuses, really," Latos said. "A couple of walks hurt, and a couple of long at-bats hurt me. I've faced these guys plenty of times. I felt like they had a little different approach than they normally do. I threw a couple of sliders that were borderline [strikes], and I figured certain hitters would have swung at [them]."

natsfan1a said...

No dark clouds for Bos (I think he's been getting into the Kook-Aid again). :-)

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Sometimes people only look for the dark clouds.

Some people cope with their fear of ambiguity by getting out in front of bad outcomes--it's safer to be negative, because if things go bad, then at least you were right, and if they go well, you have a good outcome and can be happy with that. The fail there, of course, is that nobody cares that you were right. You probably don't even care yourself. It's like the flip side of whistling past the graveyard--proactive sour grapes.

natsfan1a said...

Let's try that one again.

Anonymous said...

Section 3

"OK, now I'm really curious what those URLs might be"

Same ones I use elsewhere. You can find "Laddie_Blah_Blah" on multiple sites on the net, if you care to look. And keep your snark to yourself, unless you wish to bring it up to my face.

"Section 9" is a more appropriate handle for you, and you can take that up with me, in person, any time you care to.

Laddie_Blah_Blah

natsfan1a said...

Laddie, not to speak for sec 3, but my impression was that he was just kidding around rather than attempting to dis or mock you specifically.

Laddie_Blah_Blah said...

You can leave the URL blank and just type in a name said.

Just tried that. Thanks for the tip.

natsfan1a said...

And when I do take the time to read comments, I enjoy yours, fwiw.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

But my point was, what is the complement to "whistling past the graveyard"? "Complaining through the ball game"?

Laddie_Blah_Blah said...

natsfan1a said...

Click on his link. I thought the same thing as you until I looked.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Ummm... 1a is correct.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Laddie, you got me all wrong, there. I don't quite know what you thought I was doing--the link was to the Wikipedia article for the term "NSFW."

It's a JOKE, son. A JOKE.

natsfan1a said...

I don't know but this is a pretty awesome cover, imo.

natsfan1a said...

Oops, I lost something there. Gonna go have a snack now...

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

But my point was, what is the complement to "whistling past the graveyard"? "Complaining through the ball game"?
April 13, 2012 9:44 AM

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

I now I just googled "section 9" and I still don't know what that means, either.

NatsLady said...

Just thinking (while watching Gio's smile again), how great is the NL compared to the AL!!!!

jd said...

Random Thoughts:

- Zim had a bad game - so what?

- Our starting pitching could be very special this year.

- Desi looks better this year than he did at the end of last year and the good sample size is getting larger.

- Espi has had some real nice long at bats this year and also a few crappy ones like yesterday's DP in the 9th.

- Having 2 of Bernadina/Nady/DeRossa in the lineup everyday will eventually bite us in the ass. I'm with Wally we need a real regular major leaguer to replace at least one of them.

- Lidge's performance yesterday was really not that bad. No hard hit balls, no long flies. Sometimes bad stuff just happens.

- Before we get too excited about Brown and Moore let's see if they can keep it up for a month or so.

The Fox said...

#4 I agree with your analysis but Davey also will make surprising moves due to match ups.

When Davey managed the O's he would start Jeff Reboulet at 2nd instead of HOF'er Roberto Alomar who was a switch hitter when Randy Johnson pitched, surprisingly this usually worked.

As for Davey's A and B bullpen, he will try and do this but as the season goes on when he is playing a divisional game or one he really wants look for him to go to his hot hand which probably will be Clippard. Burnett may also get into a lot of games as a lefty if he is pitching well but not for the same number of innings as Clippard will.

There is a reason Jesse Orosco pitched in more games than any other pitcher, he was both left-handed and he played for Davey with the Mets and the O's. I hope Clippard has a rubber arm like Jesse did.

NatsLady said...

1A, you absolutely made my day with that link!! I hope Baton Rouge hasn't gotten civilized since I was down there mucho years ago.

NatsLady said...

So far, Clipp's arm has been pretty solid but Riggs overused him in 2010 and he was not his usual greatness in August-Sept of that year. Davey has stated his intention not to overuse Clipp, which was one reason Lidge was brought in. Then Storen went down and the best laid plans...

We'll see how Davey sticks to intentions for both Clipp and Strass if the Nats are in it in late August-early September.

natsfan1a said...

Glad you enjoyed it, NatsLady. :-)

UnkyD said...

Vey cool cover..... Like Laddies commentary, very much. Not sure what Put the bees in his bonnet there. Also not sure where section 9 comes in... Of its a manga reference, i don't get it. It IS right next to section 8, on my keyboard, but that doesn't seem to jibe, either....

The Fox said...

NatsLady,

I like Davey but I've seen this show before. If Davey overuses them and they fail he will take the blame he is just so competitive and wants to win he can't help himself. I think that is why he specifically wants 2 long men in the pen to help protect himself from himself. Like I said I like like him and I think he is a good manager but I don't think he has changed.

I think Strass will be okay and they won't over use him. Good starters are generally treated well in the major leagues, bullpen guys no so much.

A top of the line closer may get a break but the rest of the bullpen guys are probably the most abused and least compensated players in MLB. There is a reason that pitchers rather be starters than relievers.

whatsanattau said...

I liked Frank, but understood he was flawed.

I initially like Manny, but came to understand he was [looking for polite word meaning clueless].

I respected Riggleman for his knowledge, but disagreed with his approach.

I think Davey is the best, smartest, and (perhaps) most entertaining of the bunch. (although Frank was pretty fricking entertaining).

P.S., 1A my previous note about anons was in no way directed to your own insightful comments. Your the best, smartest, and most entertaining here.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

1a Rules.

1a would be the Face of the Franchise, if this were a franchise, and if it had a face. Unless that would be Mark. Whose franchise this pretty much is. And his face is right up there every post. So except for Mark.

natsfan1a said...

Aww, thanks guys, but I don't want to get a big head (we'll save that for the racing presidents). Mark's the FoF for sure. :-)

SpringfieldFan said...

I have some work to do to get my clapping hands in midseason form. Clapped them raw yesterday.

natsfan1a said...

Just remember, Springfield, that it's a marathon, not a sprint. (In the meantime, try rubbing some dirt on them.) :-)

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