Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Game 24: Diamondbacks at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats hope to end their five-game losing streak tonight.
Desperate to put an end to this offensive funk before it really gets out of control, the Nationals can only hope things pick up tonight against Diamondbacks lefty Joe Saunders. Unfortunately, the Springfield, Va., native currently leads the NL with a 0.90 ERA.

As was the case Sunday against Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano, Bryce Harper will be in the starting lineup (in center field again). Unlike that game in L.A., Tyler Moore will not start. Instead, it'll be Xavier Nady (batting .130) in left field.

For those who missed Davey Johnson's explanation yesterday of how he intends to use Moore ... "Unless somebody has a little injury, I'll probably just use him off the bench, probably pinch-hitting. I liked what I saw. They were pitching us in, he was the only guy in our lineup that got the head out and hit one nine miles foul. I like that. But there's a lot of players ahead of him that need to play. We need to get Nady going. I still have a lot of confidence in him."

Edwin Jackson is on the mound for the Nationals. Plenty of updates and analysis to come...

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WNEW (1580 AM), XM 186
Weather: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF
NATIONALS (14-9)
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Xavier Nady
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Edwin Jackson

DIAMONDBACKS (13-11)
CF Gerardo Parra
2B Aaron Hill
RF Justin Upton
LF Jason Kubel
C Miguel Montero
1B Paul Goldschmidt
3B Ryan Roberts
SS John McDonald
LHP Joe Saunders

UMPIRES
HP Bill Welke, 1B Tim Tschida (cc), 2B Chris Guccione, 3B Jeff Nelson

7:05 p.m. -- We are underway on what has turned into a chilly evening in the District. Only 64 degrees as Edwin Jackson throws a strike to Gerardo Parra.

7:09 p.m. -- Nice job by Jackson in the top of the first. After getting Parra to ground out weakly to first base, he struck out both Aaron Hill and Justin Upton. Only 11 pitches (nine strikes) in the inning for E-Jax.

7:20 p.m. -- Ian Desmond leads off the bottom of the first with a double off the wall in right-center and ... what do you know, the Nats can't advance him. Steve Lombardozzi flies out to right, not deep enough for Desmond to test Upton's arm. And Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche each strike out swinging. I think we've seen this act before ...

7:29 p.m. -- A busy top of the second for Lombardozzi at third base. Four straight balls were hit in his general direction. His throw to first on Eric Goldschmidt's grounder was low and short-hopped LaRoche, and ump Tim Tschida ruled that LaRoche bobbled the ball (much to the first baseman's chagrin). Turns out Goldschmidt beat the throw anyways. No matter, because Lombo made a Zimmerman-esque diving stop of Ryan Roberts' hard smash to his left, then finished off the inning by throwing out John McDonald. I'll tell you what, Lombardozzi has played a lot better over there than most expected.

7:39 p.m. -- The good news: Bryce Harper records his first hit at Nationals Park, a little dribbler between the mound and first base. The bad news: He then was picked off for the first time in his career, taking off on a stolen base attempt too soon. Scoreless through two.

7:55 p.m. -- Hey, guess what? The Nationals have taken the lead! Ramos leads off the bottom of the third with a single to left, then scores all the way from first on Lombardozzi's two-out double down the left-field line. It's 1-0 as the Nats take their first lead since the ninth inning of Saturday's game in Los Angeles. It's also the first time they've scored a run before the sixth inning in a week. Yes, you're reading that correctly.

8:00 p.m. -- And, of course, Jackson gives the run right back as Justin Upton blasts one over the center-field fence on a 2-0 fastball to open the fourth inning. Looks like Harper lost sight of the ball, too. He threw his hands out as it sailed well over his head.

8:12 p.m. -- Make it 2-1 D'backs as Jason Kubel scores on Ryan Roberts' sac fly to left. This came moments after Goldschmidt sent a line drive to center field and Harper fired another bullet on the fly to the plate, preventing Kubel from tagging. Another standing O for the throw from the kid (though this one was up the line a bit).

8:18 p.m. -- Xavier Nady is now 1 for his last 28. Just felt like mentioning that.

8:27 p.m. -- Well, this game just got a lot more interesting. Bryce Harper came just short of launching his first career homer, driving a 3-2 fastball from Saunders off the right-center field fence. He settled for an RBI double. Moments later, Ramos' hard smash to second ate up Aaron Hill, and Harper came charging around third trying to score. Hill's throw clearly beat him, but Harper went into the plate with both hands up and knocked the ball out of Montero's glove. It wasn't quite as blatantly obvious as Jerry Hairston's swipe at Ramos Saturday night in L.A., but it was a bit interesting. No arguments from the D'backs, though. Just like that, the Nats (thanks to Harper) have taken a 3-2 lead after four.

8:54 p.m. -- And the D'backs come back to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Two straight two-out RBI hits surrendered by Jackson, the latter of which also included an error when Nady let the ball roll right through him. It didn't end up costing the Nats anything, but it was an ugly play. Ragged night for Jackson, too. He twice was handed a lead and couldn't hold onto it. We go to the bottom of the sixth, the Nats now trailing again by a run.

9:01 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche has five stolen bases in his entire, nine-year career. For some reason, he just tried to pick up No. 6. He wasn't successful.

9:04 p.m. -- Well, you all just got your wish. Xavier Nady (now 1 for his last 29) has been replaced in left field by Tyler Moore as part of a double-switch. Craig Stammen in to pitch the seventh. Jackson's final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.

9:08 p.m. -- It's not all bad news tonight, folks. Roy Halladay just blew a 6-run lead to the Braves. Then again, the Nats actually need the Phillies to win tonight to help ensure they stay in first place, so maybe that's not good news after all.

9:30 p.m. -- Nice work by Craig Stammen to keep this a 4-3 game with two innings of scoreless relief. It's up to the Nats lineup now to scratch out the tying run against the Arizona bullpen. Tough, side-arming right-hander Brad Ziegler is carving them up so far, especially Tyler Moore (who flailed away at a nasty breaking ball in the seventh).

9:47 p.m. -- Ugh, just when it looked like the Nats might rally in the bottom of the eighth, Jesus Flores and Danny Espinosa each struck out with the tying run on second. Espinosa whiffed on three pitches, the last one at his eyelids. That also left Harper in the on-deck circle. He'll lead off the bottom of the ninth, with the Nats still trailing 4-3 as Henry Rodriguez enters for the top of the inning.

9:59 p.m. -- Here we go. Bottom of the ninth. Trailing by a run. Harper will lead off against J.J. Putz.

10:09 p.m. -- Wow, Harper just misses another homer, settling for a double off the wall. Then after Ramos and Ankiel struck out, the pressure was on Desmond to come through. And he did in a big way. Walk-off, two-run homer into the left-field bullpen. Nats win 5-4!

197 comments:

baseballswami said...

And just why does Nady need to play? I think the person who can hit and is part of the future plans of this team needs to play. Pinch hitting and platooning are batting average killers. Players hit well with regular playing time. I understand the concept of the bench players staying fresh because of that, but they are bench players and limited at-bats come with the territory. Nady has had his career, it's time to play the kids. And it's time to play the people who make contact. This is counter- intuitive.

Marty said...

Well, we'll get to see Harper in center tonight. Given his throw last night, as long as he doesn't take crazy lines he should be fine out there.

One of these series i'd like to see Davy give Flores 2 out of 3 starts instead of Ramos.

Tcostant said...

Davey what are you doing. Harper need to bat at least 6th and Moore needs to be in the OF!

do1teach1 said...

I'm afraid that our region has been known for some lousy sports executives and coaches. Snyder, Angelos are HOFers in this category. Add Wes Unseld and Ernie Grunfeld for true basketball futility, and it looks like Edsall at Maryland will put our (geographic) name in dim lights in college football coaching.

To this list I would add the name Rick Eckstein. It would be hard to imagine a specialty coach in any sport who has worse results over an equal length of time.

When I watch them go down looking time after time, as Espi did to end the game last night, I ask myself: Who is telling these guys to watch the closest pitch possible with two strikes? Who is NOT telling them to put the ball in play and guard the plate with two strikes?

The same guy: Eckstein. He has got to go.

JayB said...

DJ sounds a lot like Riggs...."got to get Nady AB and get him going.....He was on the scrap heap and nobody wanted him for a reason. Njack...I told you this was going to happen.....costing the team wins and this is just want is going to keep them out of meaningful games in September......Stupid and pointless.....Typical Nats thinking....Baseball is a team game where you need pitching and hitting....you need starters and bull pen...you need bench and everyday players......this team was not built to win....it has huge holes that were not addressed...even though Rizzo identified them and said they were top priorities in the off season......by his own words he failed.

Section 222 said...

Davey gave Matt Stairs a bunch of starts when he took over last year, saying he "had to get him going." He even started a game at 1B if I'm not mistaken. Thankfully, that experiment didn't last long. Mr. "John's my guy" has the ability to change his mind. So we'll see how many more chances Nady gets.

Exposremains said...

sect 222. I was thinking the same thing

Kenz aFan said...

Instead of complaining about Davey's lineup choices, why not show up at the game and let him know (loudly) of your displeasure.

I doubt very much that Davey Johnson sits around reading fans suggestions and I doubt even more that he cares one iota about those suggestions.

If you want to be heard and noticed, the park is where you be vocal. After all the complaints of a park full of fans always get heard.

natsfan1a said...

Maybe it means I've been reading baseball blogs too long but I had the same thought on reading that quote.

DJ sounds a lot like Riggs...."got to get Nady AB and get him going.....

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Tcostant said...
Davey what are you doing. Harper need to bat at least 6th and Moore needs to be in the OF!

May 02, 2012 3:44 PM


Lefthanded starting pitcher

bowdenball said...

I'm usually a guy who defends the manager and front office from all the nattering nabobs of negativism, the posters who think they know everything and that there are quick and easy fixes to the ballclub's problems.

But this time around, not only the decision to start Nady over Moore but to put him in the five spot, I'm totally speechless. Have at it, ladies and gents.

natsfan1a said...

On a game note, as Samuel L. Jackson once said (more or less):

Enough is enough! I am tired of these [highly annoying] snakes on this [#our house] field! Let's go, bats and NATS!! :-)

Mickey Vernon said...

First time I've agreed with "All of the above." Nady is done. Play Moore, bat Harper above Espi, and for the love of God let Flores be the primary receiver. I'm realy tired of watching Ramos lunging for pitches on the outer half because he stands too far from the plate,fumbling tags, and bouncing throws to second. Come on Davey!

whatsanattau said...

I share the frustration over Nady being in the lineup and not Moore, but I do not share the frustration with Davey over his choices. I'm willing to admit that he knows better. I would imagine that he expects Moore to go back down to AAA in a few days. Nady will likely still be on the team. So from Davey's point of view, why not try to get Nady going. Why should Moore go down you ask? Again, because the scouts and coaches for the Nationals believe he should. Why invest more time in Nady? Because he has a track record of significantly better performance that he has shown in April.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

bowdenball, it is interesting. I don't think its broken. Its a game of momentum. Davey needs to get a lead and keep it so it turns into a W.

It sounds simple, and its not. Breaking the losing streak is tough.

Not only has Saunders looked like a Cy Young, if the Nats don't play aggressively tonight, it could get uglier.

Keys to the game, get aggressive with some steal attempts, a good bunt, and a nice 2 run HR to put the game away.

MicheleS said...

Could it be that Davey is putting Nady in to figure out if he should be the one that goes when RZ (figure Moore goes 1st) or DeRosa come off the DL.

I was thinking about Stairs, too. DJ tried to get him going (I mean how often did Stairs play or even PH before DJ was here), it didn't work, Stairs was gone. I think he is doing the same thing with Nady.

Th

164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e said...

It's one thing when you're leaving in an underperforming guy like Espinosa who is part of your future and also has huge defensive talents. There, you have a big investment in "getting him going." But Nady? At a time the team is desperate for offense and needs to break a losing streak before it squanders the benefits of a hot start?

Of course, a manager also needs to keep the support of his clubhouse and it may be that a lot of the guys would resent veterans being sat for the shiny new thing. And if the Nats weren't hitting this badly as a team, I would understand the need to indulge that. But not now -- they need to do every reasonable thing possible to score runs, and Xavier Nady isn't it.

And I will say yet again that one needn't conclude that the offensive futility is Eckstein's fault in order to conclude that the team might benefit from trying something new. What's the downside?

MicheleS said...

That being said..

MLB Network is about to do a spot on the Arms in the Outfield!!!!

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, MicheleS! (Running downstairs to watch.)

164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e said...

I also have no idea why Nady and Espinosa are hitting 5-6 and Harper and Ramos -- two better hitters with power -- are hitting 7-8.

I understand that the statheads say batting order doesn't mean that much, but there's one thing we know about batting order: the guys at the top typically get more ABs in a game. Last night, when Espinosa looked at a third strike, Harper was on deck. A team without a lot of power, where runners go station to station, needs to cluster hits or at least cluster hits with productive outs. This lineup does not strike me as optimally designed for that purpose.

I hesitate to criticize this sort of thing because Davey Johnson forgot more baseball than I will ever know, but I don't understand it.

164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e said...

And, finally, yes, Davey's quote about Nady instantly reminded me of Riggleman.

This is not Little League, folks. Not everybody always gets to play.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

said...
I share the frustration over Nady being in the lineup and not Moore, but I do not share the frustration with Davey over his choices. I'm willing to admit that he knows better.


Nady won't make that big of a negative vs having Moore. It is placement in the lineup thats a head scratcher. In the 5 hole w/ his recent approach at the plate behind your 2 best OBP guys, seems unconventional. Kind of like Ankiel in the 3 hole last night, but Davey may know something we don't. Nady and Saunders were former teammates so who knows.

Espi should be better from the right-side, I would have moved him up and Ramos and put Nady in the 7th or 8th.

Almost have this feeling for the last 6 days that Davey is trying to tell the bloggers that he knows more than we do, and of course he does. Eventually he will look right just like he did having Chad Tracy go lefty/lefty in that pinch-hit appearance when I was like "WHAT IS HE DOING".

If you "stand" on 12 long enough when the dealer has a King up, you will win eventually, just not often.

I wish Davey luck because with him standing by Nady as a starter is reminding me too uncomfortably with Riggles going to Stairs.

Go Nady!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Seeing how a roster move will more than likely be made Sunday, this could (and should) be Nady's last hurrah. Nady doesn't show the bat they saw in ST, in the words of Hawk Harrelson, "he gawn."

do1teach1 said...

We're getting slammed for low attendance during the Harper debut. The 106.7FM guys really smoked us on this this morning--I think they relish the act of slamming us.

My theory is that, for the 90 percent of people who are not baseball addicts, most Nationals games have been really really boring. It's no disrespect to our great pitchers, but game after game with no scoring for either team a couple of hours into the game...just gets very boring.

And when something is boring, people change the channel or stay home.

JamesFan said...

Are we saving Moore for Philly? It is beyond crazy to play a utility player probably in his last career ml job over a 25 year old who hit 60 bombs in the past two years and 5 this year in AAA. What are we doing?

erocks33 said...

Egads, the team starts 14-4 and most everyone is happy as all get out and JayB is almost nowhere to be found. Then the Nats lose 5 in a row, JayB re-appears to blame this all on the bench and now others want Ramos gone and Espi to be sent down. Perspective people. If, at the beginning of the season, you were told the Nats would be 14-9 and in first place at this time, how many of you would be ecstatic??

And please don't think I'm picking on you JayB. I do agree that the bench has not been great, but I've asked this of you before and I'll ask again:

Who would you have picked up in the offseason to be on the bench? Also, can you tell me which NL team has the best bench this season (and why)?

Tcostant said...

Lefty or Righty, I don't care - play Moore and bat Harper no less than 6th.

As stated on a prior entry, I'd sent Espinosa to the minors, if he doesn't heat up by Sunday for Zimm's roster stop. I do remember how good he hit the first half last year (I thought he should have been an All-Star), but it's not happening right now and the guy is averaging more than a Strike Out per game. Serenity Now!

MicheleS said...

Can we lobby to get Harper moved up in the Order? Not for any reason other than I want to see him more. Plus he may get a homer before Pujols!!!

A DC Wonk said...

To repeat some answers up above:

I also have no idea why Nady and Espinosa are hitting 5-6 and Harper and Ramos -- two better hitters with power -- are hitting 7-8.

Harper does have a hard time against lefties -- he batted .190 against 'em in AAA this year.

And for all groaning about Nady -- I had the exact same thought as MicheleS above:

Could it be that Davey is putting Nady in to figure out if he should be the one that goes when RZ (figure Moore goes 1st) or DeRosa come off the DL.

I was thinking about Stairs, too. DJ tried to get him going (I mean how often did Stairs play or even PH before DJ was here), it didn't work, Stairs was gone. I think he is doing the same thing with Nady.


Yep -- I remember that, too. Davey started Stairs a couple times in a row for one of the (if not the) first time last season, he failed, Stairs was gone.

bowdenball said...

The logic behind the batting order is that Harper struggles with lefties and also should be kept in low-pressure situations, and Ramos is always put at the back end so be can concentrate on the defensive side of the game first and foremost.

But even so, if those principles result in someone like Nady batting fifth, it might be time to revisit them. Brian McCann and Matt Wieters seem to be able to hit a little higher in the order without sacrificing defense.

A DC Wonk said...

We're getting slammed for low attendance during the Harper debut. The 106.7FM guys really smoked us on this this morning--I think they relish the act of slamming us.

What a bunch of jerks. They smoked us on the same issue during the last homestand, despite the good stats.

Consider: Except for the Marlins (new stadium) the Nats have the largest average increase in attendance in the league.

It's up 30 percent! for crying out loud!

Sorry I had to call them jerks . . . decency prevents me from using more adequate words to describe them.

A DC Wonk said...

Lefty or Righty, I don't care

.190 -- I do care.

I'd like to see Harper moved up -- but I'd like to see it done against a RHP, not a lefty.

MicheleS said...

Mark just tweeted that RZ won't be back until Tuesday at Pirates.ugh.

Tcostant said...

DC Wonk -

Okay - fine bat Harper 5th vs. RHP and 6th vs. LHP. Bo no less than 6th!

bowdenball said...

MicheleS-

We all want to see Zim against the Phillies, but holding him out until Tuesday means only one extra game off to buy the guy two extra days of rest, to recover from an injury for which rest is the means of healing. It's the right move.

NatsLady said...

Ghost, your comment is why I think Davey should have played for the win in Harper's debut. Maybe there was no good time to remove Henry, maybe it wasn't conducive to Henry's mindset to have a pitcher warming the minute he stepped out of the bullpen, BUT, Davey should have figured out a way to win that game.

I trace the loss Sunday directly to the loss Saturday night. (Exactly the same reason the Rangers lost game 7 of the WS).

I was hoping that the plane trip home and off-day would put it out of the boys' heads, but I fear it hasn't, especially with RZ out of the lineup. I'm hoping they get a little mad tonight.

Everyone was hopped up for that game, in front of 54K screaming Dodger fans, and Davey is "saving his bullpen" ??????(that's what he said!!). OK, it's not the playoffs, but it was the most important game we have played to date and Harper and Stras and everyone did their part and we should have won it.

I'm not calling Davey out for the lineup order or Ankiel bunting/not bunting last night. We are going to lose games, 60+ games. That's small potatoes. I'm calling him out for not recognizing that all wins are not the same.

Exposremains said...

I don't believe there is anybody here that was glad that Harper got 3AB yesterday. I think it says it all.

Wendell said...

Michele S

I totally agree on why - much as I hate to see it - Nady is in the lineup tonight. If Nady doesn't get it going he's gone when RZ or Derosa comes back. If you play Moore over Nady against a lefty it seems like you'va already made the decision. Might as well have as much information as possible before you make the call.

Davey is playing for the season & to keep the team psyched & confident. That said, not sure about the batting order

Doc said...

Davey said in ST that he liked the sound of the ball coming off of Nagy's bat---he must be hearing echos now!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

erocks, you must not follow this site. I was calling for Espi to be sent out in Spring Training. Go back and read. Most wanted Desi's head on a platter.

My 2nd baseman is Rendon. Wait to you see this kid. He won't be a power hitter but he will be a gap hitter.

Espi is so lost right now from the left-side of the plate that he is almost an automatic out now. If it is a slump, which it may be, then he has been in it all Spring.

I heard the BS on the hamate bone and the batter's eye bull, and I see just bad mechanics and a bad eye. That combination usually keeps a player in "A" ball and a quick retirement.

This is a serious problem. Are his eyes ok? Is his head ok?

Wendell said...

ghost,

you do wonder about Espi's eyesight

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, we are on the same page. By the way, there was a large contingent of Harperstown people there who all saw Saturday's game and one guy said that Henry was gripping the balls so hard he thought the seams were going to rip.

Like I said, get the 1st run and build from there. These pitchers are going to lose their mojo as you saw with JZim last night. No question his demeanor was different toeing the rubber still behind 2-0 to begin the 7th when the Nats couldn't buy a run in the bottom of the 6th when the Ankiel dp happened.

Its the same with football teams where the defense has to hold their opponents to 10 points or less because the offense can't score 2 TDs. It doesn't work long-term. Its been the Redskins problem for years now and they weren't the 2nd coming of the Monster of the Midway.

Exposremains said...

anybody want to see something scary ?look at Milledge 2008 stats and Espinosa 2011 stats

Marty said...

@ erocks33 - If, at the beginning of the season, you were told the Nats would be 14-9 and in first place at this time, how many of you would be ecstatic??

I think that your post gets to the unique season that the Nats are having and the divergent opinions people are having about it.
There is the "we're in 1st place, what more do you want???" camp and the "we're doing really well, but is it really tenable when multiple everyday players are struggling to hit .200???" camp. I happen to think that the two are not mutually exclusive. Then of course there is the JayB "All of this could have been solved by that idiot Rizzo if he had signed magical nameless hitter X" camp...

I want the Nats to have a good season this year, I mean you don't not go for the playoffs or anything (pardon the double negative), but what I really want is for them to show that it can really all come together next year.


I'm of the opinion that you can be really happy that the Nats are 14-9 and have some pretty valid opinions about the hitting (or lack thereof) of Espinosa and Nady.

A DC Wonk said...

Ghost, your comment is why I think Davey should have played for the win in Harper's debut. Maybe there was no good time to remove Henry, maybe it wasn't conducive to Henry's mindset to have a pitcher warming the minute he stepped out of the bullpen, BUT, Davey should have figured out a way to win that game.

NatsLady -- Davey's job is to figure out a way to get us into the playoffs. Sometimes short term pain gets long term gain. That's something that Davey's strong enough to do -- that's what he did with the Mets in the '80's.

As I wrote last week -- better to test HRod now in high pressure situations than throw him into the fire, untested, in a super-high-pressure situation in a Sept playoff race. Because, I have no doubt we will be in the thick of a playoff race in Sept.

As Wendel said: "Davey is playing for the season & to keep the team psyched & confident."

A DC Wonk said...

Its the same with football teams where the defense has to hold their opponents to 10 points or less because the offense can't score 2 TDs.

Remember that month when the Ravens didn't score a single offensive TD, but still went undefeated that month? (Or something like that)

Pitching will get you through the lean times. Obviously, only for finite stretches.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Wendell said...
ghost,

you do wonder about Espi's eyesight

May 02, 2012 5:02 PM


I remember when Guzy was struggling on seeing the ball in 2005 and it turned out that part of it (besides taking walks) was his vision.

Dr. Smithson who is the eye doc for the Nats has the ability to increase eyesight to 20/15 or better. He calls it bionic eyesight and its totally within the MLB rules.

natsfan1a said...

No offense to any bloggers or commenters, but I for one hope that Davey doesn't give a rat's patootie what any of us thinks. I'm positive that he knows more than I do as well. :-)

Almost have this feeling for the last 6 days that Davey is trying to tell the bloggers that he knows more than we do, and of course he does.

natsfan1a said...

otoh, hope that all our bellyaching about the lineup will guarantee a sort of reverse-blog-comments whammy wherein Nady and the Nats will have a great game and a nice win. (Hey, it could happen. :-))

Another_Sam said...

How about some of you GM wannabes proposing a trade of some of this pitching talent for someone who can get a hit now and then.

erocks33 said...

@Steve M -- I've been around since day one. And I do agree that Espi has some problems (and I've mentioned them since his "slump" last season). My concern was mainly for those that are now jumping on every player after every game. Guess what folks? Some nights, a player will go 3-4 with a HR and 4 RBI. And some nights, they'll go 0-4 with 3 K's. And, unfortunately, some of these nights will be strung together. It happens. I just don't wish to speak badly of one person because he didn't get a hit last night.

And I am all for Rendon. Unfortunately, his broken ankle will preclude him from helping out any time soon. And I also think that a couple/few weeks in AAA just might be what Espi needs to straighten himself out. Lord know it hasn't been working with Eck for about 2/3 of a season now (including last year, of course).

The worst part of all of this is the waiting. Waiting to see if RZim will come back 100% healthy (and soon). Waiting to see if Morse will ever be back this season. Waiting to see if Harper is the real deal this season (in the long term, yes I think he is, but wouldn't it be great if he has a ROY type of season now?). Waiting to see if Moore is a diamond-in-the-rough and can help this year. I hate waiting.

MicheleS said...

1A.. Stairs had that walk of hit (and then shortly there after was DFA). Maybe Nady can have that same moment.

Section 222 said...

If he didn't have a better track record than what he's shown in April, he would not have been an MLB player. Not hard to do better, or even significantly better, than .130/.161/.204. But he had only had 56 PAs so far. How many should he get before Davey gives up on trying to get him going? I vote for 60. Stairs got 74 last year.

Section 222 said...

I'm afraid that Nady has already had his one big hit.

baseballswami said...

Re - the attendance "issue" - it's not summer yet for one thing, school is still in and in Virginia, it's testing time - can't take the kids out on a school night. Also - the DBacks are not going to draw like teams like the Cubs and Phils. When Strassie started, it was summer and he only pitches every 5 days. Harper will start every night and if you are going to go to one or two games this week you will probably go this weekend, on a weekend, to see the big Phils, take back the park showdown.Those people on that station just frost me big time. They know so little that they have nothing real to talk about and so they make up little stupid stuff. Now - let's hope tonight is the reverse lock and the so-called major league lineup shown above can score some runs off of Joe "Cy Young" Saunders.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I agree Harper 5th against righties and 6th against lefties. Or better yet 2nd against righttes, and second against lefties.

Section 222 said...

Absolutely right baseballswami. Also, the Strasburg start was rumored for that night in June for weeks. By contrast, most people found out that Harper had been brought up, and therefore would debut last night in DC, on Saturday night or Sunday. Not much time to make plans to see it, and why bother if you could go tonight or any other time this week.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

erocks, I like sure things and that means a trade right now and its not happening. I suggested over the Winter that the Nats needed 4 solid outfielders, all who could start and that was before we knew about Michael Morse's injury and that Rizzo wouldn't get a real centerfielder---not that there were any extras floating around anyway so the way I see it, the Nats have Werth and a bunch of bench jockeys.

It makes 3 years in a row being at least 1 outfielder short with fill-ins that can't do it. Counting on a 19 year old as a savior isn't fair to Bryce, the team or the fanbase.

Arizona got on the advanced scouting in the Dodgers series and devised the anti-Harper game plan and the way Bryce has to approach it is work the count and get his fastball to drive. They are going to work him with off-speed to get him to bite, then high and away heat to make him chase or beat them going oppo boppo. If Bryce pulls the ball, he will roll it over.

I wasn't overly impressed with Bryce's bat in Spring Training. I was impressed with his attitude, his hustle, and his arm. He has a lot to learn and while many were excited by what you saw in LA, if he can't do it with the bat, isn't he the 2nd coming of Ankiel?

ExposedinDC said...

It has become increasingly clear that an arm will have to be moved to acquire a bat or two, I love this pitching but without bats it is tough to win ball games, it would really be a shame to waste this good start.

NatsLady said...

Wonk, I don't agree. You have to win the playoff games. That game Saturday night was the closest thing to a playoff game we have had. You have to win it. You have to show the boys what it feels like to WIN that game, what it takes. You need to sacrifice Sunday's game to win Saturday's, it's fine if the guys are letdown and tired after Saturday.

And if it takes more sacrifice, like taking Henry out, fine, you gotta learn not just to play the playoff games, but to WIN them.

What happened when you didn't win is the guys saying, hey, we had our Ace, we had our phenom, we had the lead...WHAT MORE DOES IT TAKE TO WIN A GAME? We are losers. We are losers when the stakes are high.

No, you don't want them thinking that way.

Gonat said...

ExposedinDC, those bats are Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse

Gonat said...

NatsLADY, I agree with you. National audience with a playoff feel and coming from losing 2 straight.

jeffwx said...

Amen Expose....
I see some action on MLB Trade rumors. Yanks/A's looking for more offense with Adonis Garcia ?(like they need it and we don't ).

We will have the luxury to make some trades when Wang/Storen/Kimball/Lidge come back in June-July.
Not touching our current 5 starters, that still leaves us with an abundance of pitchers (HROD, Clippard, Matheus, Burnett, Stamman, Gorz, Lannan in 'cuse ) or a total of 11 extre not including the starting 5. We'll have 4 or 5 of these guys could be used to make up a trade and/or inventory in the minors come July.

Gonat said...

SteveM, Sadly on Harper I think you are right but he will be better than Ankiel if he never gets sent down.

jeffwx said...

Right on Nats Lady.

GONAT, given my 6:01 PM post, I think we have enough room to strengthen the bench/offense as we will have to do something with 4-5 additional pitchers when Wang/Storen/Kimball/Lidge come back.

erocks33 said...

Nats Lady said:
What happened when you didn't win is the guys saying, hey, we had our Ace, we had our phenom, we had the lead...WHAT MORE DOES IT TAKE TO WIN A GAME? We are losers. We are losers when the stakes are high.

No, you don't want them thinking that way.


And that's why Teddy MUST win! (smile)

MicheleS said...

Rant starting, so skip if you are tired of the topic:

Swammi.. I was listening to MLB Radio on the way home and they were talking about this. Making the Bandwagon, comments, Where are the fans. Then I got REALLY FROSTED when it dawned on me that one of the guys talking was BOWDEN! That guy was part of the reason we stunk for so long. For the life of me I have never wanted to call into a radio show, but I figured that they would hang up on me when I started pointing out all the issues he caused (along with MLB, Minaya, etc)

106.7 The Flagship - that is a pathetic. On the way to the game last night about 2 hours before hand, I turned it on to see if they were promoting the game/harper, etc. Nope talking about the Redskins draft.

Rant over (sorry,that's been eating at me)

NatsLady said...

Lannan pitched OK in his last start. I wonder if Rizzo talked to him when he was there watching Harper and Moore, and told him, "Hey, guy, there will come a time. Keep yourself in shape, there will come a time..."

baseballswami said...

I did not see this coming -- Harper has played three games for us and he is getting attention for -- his arm. With Harper, Ankiel and Werth in the outfield - go ahead - try to run. I want to watch. Did you guys all know he could do that? I also did not know how fast he is. All that has been talked about is his hitting. This could be fun. Well -if we stop losing.

P. Cole said...

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is raffling off a Tyler Clippard autographed ball. Donate online at http://spring2action.razoo.com/AlexandriaAnimals between 6PM and 9PM to be automatically entered in the drawing. Minimum $10 donation.

jeffwx said...

The R Sox just signed Mark Prior....Just another example of teams in dire need of pitching already. There will be a place for Lannan

MicheleS said...

Swami, take a look at the MLB archives later tonight. They did a nice little piece on the Arms in the Outfield (John Hart/Matt Yaloff on the Rundown talked about this)

NatsLady said...

P. Cole, thanks! I went to the site and didn't see the raffle, but I will donate anyway because it's a good cause. Boy I would love me a Clippard autographed ball though, I would go for that!

SFNats said...

The next time the Nats face a righty, Harper needs to hit third.

Grandstander said...

Like it or not, they have a point RE: attendance. I'm at the game right now and its practically empty. Probably won't break 10K tonight even with $1 dog night. At least I get some room in some nice seats!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Until schools out many do not go during the week (or at least I don't).

Gonat said...

Rockies Walkoff over Dodgers

MicheleS said...

Giambi just crushed one to beat the Dodgers!

baseballswami said...

I think I like anyone who beats the Dodgers. The Astros also slaughtered the Mets.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

If we score more than two runs with this lineup against this pitcher, I nominate Grandpa Davey for manager of the year.

Completely agree with NatsJack (and others) that this is last hurrah for X-Man .160. It's Nady or never, sir.

The analogy to Stares is entirely appropriate.

NatsLady said...

Congrats to Stras on NL Pitcher of the Month! Great job.

MicheleS said...

Edwin is dealing tonight. That was nasty.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Watching this team hit hurts my head

Gonat said...

Davey didn't bunt Lombo with the leadoff double by Desi. He is anti bunt and the promising start is quickly snuffed out.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Typical Nats inning. Lead off double, and then three worthless at bats. 0 for 3 RISP.

baseballswami said...

The bad news - stranded runner already. Gonat - agreed on the bunt. Lombo would have had Desi on third. Every base is precious - even if you would prefer big hits, sometimes you just have to "take what the game gives you". The good news - we won't be no hit.

Gonat said...

baseballswami, well said, well said.

nwells2 said...

As soon as Ryan Zimmerman gets back, they better bench Espinosa for Lombardozzi, I absolutely can't take it anymore. Enough already.

A DC Wonk said...

Bryce with the classic 60-foot hit ;-)

jeffwx said...

The speedy Harper....good number 2 hitter when Zimm returns.

MicheleS said...

And maybe Bryce gets the assist if he knocks the pitcher out with that 60 Foot Hit!!!

jeffwx said...

Quality abs for Harper...not so many anymore for Espi

Gonat said...

Many firsts for Bryce. Lefty pickoff

SFNats said...

Was that another Harper hit off a lefty?

Gonat said...

Dave Jaegler said Harpers lead at 1st base was the largest he has seen at Nats Park

Scott from Burke said...

way too many throws..that was awful

NatsJack in Florida said...

Two throws is too many? Not hardly.

jeffwx said...

ladies and gentlemen...your new starting 2b when zimm returns...Lombo

baseballswami said...

Yeah - a run before the seventh!!! You know, I love Danny Espinosa's make up but he may just need some time out of the spotlight in a far away place in NY. Lombardozzi can handle it when Zim returns and will probably be equal defensively and an upgrade offensively.

Marty said...

How much does Ramos weigh right now?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Finally, somebody turns on that inside heater.

jeffwx said...

Dreamin of June:

Lombo
Harper
Zimm
Morse
LaRoche
Werth
Ramos
Desmond

nwells2 said...

ok Lombo needs to be an everyday infielder, period.

TimDz said...

Well .....
THAT was a short lived lead...

jeffwx said...

The arm heard round the league

NatsJack in Florida said...

The D-Backs barreled up more balls in that inning then the Nats do in an entire game.

jeffwx said...

Holy Moly!!!!!!!!!!

jeffwx said...

Holy Moly Duex !!!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

great hustle by the kid. he belongs, all right.

MicheleS said...

Umm.. may need to buy a new shirt (since the first Harper shirt has paint splotches on it)

TimDz said...

The kid stays...

LoveDaNats said...

Yeah, Harper's never going back down!

JD said...

I love the way this board makes personnel changes at bat by at bat.

MicheleS said...

JD.. it's the inner arm chair GM in some of us.

waddu eye no said...

Karma at home plate!

LoveDaNats said...

Lombo MUST play every day!

baseballswami said...

Bryce Harper - the definition of Natitude. Wow. and yes, Lombo needs to play.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

WOw harper move him to seecond hole

jeffwx said...

Lombo-tude.
Harper is Hobbs-esque at the moment.

baseballswami said...

I see gorzelanny warming up (why?) -- I have been out of town and missing games - has Stammen pitched in a while? Please tell me he doesn't have a hang nail or something.

peric said...

Lombo IS playing ... he is filling the role they defined for him.

jeffwx said...

Speaking of which...I wonder how many great baseball books I could have read instead of this post...
Favorite baseball book boys and girls.
Big fan of Mickey Mantle books (eg: the last american hero)
and The Natural.

LoveDaNats said...

They need to change his definition.

UnkyD said...

I see we have 3 three runs.... Is that allowed...?

MicheleS said...

UnkyD. and those 3 runs came before the 7th inning...

LoveDaNats said...

Harper is the oldest looking 19 year old I've ever seen. I bet he never gets carded.

John said...

Ok, I understand Johnson keeping the faith with Espinosa. He is a superior defender who works well with Desmond and is still young. But please explain why it is such a high priority to get Nady going when he is a reserve player who is not part of the future and would not even be getting this many at-bats if not for an injury to Morse? Surely, the team can do better than to invest in a back-end, non-versatile roster filler?

jeffwx said...

Need to read the Last Good Season...

Nady is Nada

Marty said...

The Diamondbacks are really good. Xaiver Nady is not.

NatsFan05 said...

Romos needs to learn how to throw to second base or we're going to have a congo line going everytime someone gets on first.

UnkyD said...

(grits teeth, like Seinfeld....)

Nady!

baseballswami said...

john - amen to that.Marty also. Sheesh

jeffwx said...

We met the enemy and he is
...the pop fly

Grandstander said...

I hope this night officially ends Nady's career. There's a reason no other team wanted this guy. $10 says he just ignored a hit and run or bunt sign with ALR running there

MicheleS said...

I would like to Remind Adam LaRoche, he is not 19 and should NOT try to steal a base.

And if Nady missed a sign, he paid for it, Moore is now in

JD said...

ignored or missed; either way there is no reasonable explanation for sending him out there and batting 5th.

John said...

Perhaps Johnson was trying to challenge Nady by inserting him in the 5th hole. Instead, it has made the manager look foolish and naive.

There's no sense in prolonging the inevitable. Rizzo needs to release Nady before he drags the entire team down.

Exposremains said...

im afraid the next injury could be Ramos. His throws are awful.

mick said...

As I said yesterday, 2012 is a sort it out one last time season before the the next 10 years of seriously challenging for a pennant annually. Davey will figure out the final needs this year and who has to go starting with Nady. Harper is simply a BEAST

Marty said...

@exposremains - im afraid the next injury could be Ramos.
That's why I was asking how much Ramos weighed. When he lumbered around third and headed from home, it wasn't too difficult to picture him getting injured.

Exposremains said...

he does look heavier

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

wait what would have been Joe's era if Ramos had scored? would ss have taken NL lead?

baseballswami said...

Davey Johnson thinks he can inspire any player to perform by the sheer force of his personality and will. Having confidence in someone can help, it's nice - but it's not magic.

sm13 said...

Craig Stammen is on fire. It seems like he only tjrows throws strikes and ground balls.

NatsLady said...

Ramos-- he lost weight during the episode, but he's put it back on. Maybe his Mom's cooking?

A DC Wonk said...

If we score more than two runs with this lineup against this pitcher, I nominate Grandpa Davey for manager of the year.

I presume you'll be sending your nomination in, in the morning? ;-)

A DC Wonk said...

Comment of the day. My nomination:

I love the way this board makes personnel changes at bat by at bat.

yeah -- no kidding -- perhaps we have to change "it's a marathon not a sprint" to "it's a marathon, not a 2 yard dash"

John said...

I was hoping Stammen would hit. He knows how.

Exposremains said...

laroche smoked that ball, can we catch a break..

MicheleS said...

So I have a question for our Stat friends: Is Ramos benefitting at the plate since Harper came up? It seems like the last few days Ramos is getting some hits, seeing the ball better, getting better pitches. Is this an impact of hitting behind Harper? I could be wrong, but it just seems like it. And yes, he does look like he put a little bit of weight. But considering the super hot summer we have. I would rather have him pudgy now and work it off in August.

Exposremains said...

I had hopes, I don't know what I was thinking. Pathetic.

SCNatsFan said...

How much worse does Espinosa have to look before he gets sent down and Lombo gets solid ABs at 2nd base. Since the all star break last game he has looked overmatched at the plate.

LoveDaNats said...

It's called situational hitting. And they don't have it. This is really getting frustrating. And I hate knowing that 90% of the time Espi comes up, it is all for naught. Doesn't matter if he bats left or right, the outcome is the same.

MicheleS said...

I have a feeling that the minute RZ comes of the DL, Danny gets a mental break day or two

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

This loss if it occrs goes on the pitcher as he was given two leads and blew it both times.

However the 8th is typical of our problem. 2 on no out, and pathetic hitting.

Espi really needs to go get some training. takes two pitches that are striles (that's what people want), and swings at one that is high to strike out. that is the danger of taking so many pitches. His problem is he doesn't have a clue right now the strike zone.

Matthew J said...

Time to jettison Danny Espinosa. Lombardozzi has proved he can hit...something Danny can't do.

John said...

A lot of it is mental I'm sure, but the mechanics of his swing leaves plenty to be desired as well.

Matthew J said...

Time to jettison Danny Espinosa. Lombardozzi has proved he can hit...something Danny can't do.

Matthew J said...

Time to jettison Danny Espinosa. Lombardozzi has proved he can hit...something Danny can't do.

JaneB said...

I gues he's feeling hitterish tonight.

A DC Wonk said...

Maybe our baby-Nat should be batting clean-up? ;-)

MicheleS said...

Can we lower that wall out there? Kid is staying!

John said...

Johnson was an Earl Weaver disciple.

mick said...

Bryce deserves better, what bunch of stiffs and losers Ankiel, Espinoza and Ramos, get em the hell outta here!

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

A DC Wonk said...

Ian!!!!

mick said...

not Ian, you can stay baby!!!!

MicheleS said...

THANK YOU!!!! We needed that! and it was DESI! of all people!!!

NatsLady said...

I'm happy.

UnkyD said...

Can I pat My Boy on the back?

JaneB said...

IAN! Awesome. So so glad!
And so glad it was him!

A DC Wonk said...

You know, didn't they just say JJ Putz had converted something like 44 of his last 45 save opportunities?

sm13 said...

Yay!! We needed that!

A DC Wonk said...

And HRod with the win -- nice return after the disaster in LA.

NatsLady said...

Now, THAT will wipe out the memory of LA!!! What the h*** is going on in Atlanta? 12-9?

John said...

Tonight's three stars:

3. Craig Stammen
2. Bryce Harper
1. Ian Desmond

Exposremains said...

Thank you desmond for saving the face of many players tonight

sm13 said...

Someone needs to show Ian the Kendrys Morales tape - no jumping into home plate, please.

NatsLady said...

12-10? Well, they can't knock us out of FIRST PLACE if we don't lose!

MicheleS said...

Wild one in ATlanta.. Tied at 12 in the bottom of th 8th. Burn up that Phillies bullpen

Exposremains said...

Desmond got the big hit but the Nats don't win tonight without Harper.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

oh yes!!!!

nwells2 said...

Desmond is going to make the all-star team this year. Fact. But seriously, I love Davey Johnson, but he reaallllllllllllly needs to start bunting.

sm13 said...

Ian on Bryce: "the kid is good". Understatement?

A DC Wonk said...

3. Craig Stammen
2. Bryce Harper
1. Ian Desmond


Perhaps give a #4 to Lombo (who never played 3rd before last Sept), and a double and RBI

A DC Wonk said...

Exposremains said...

I had hopes, I don't know what I was thinking. Pathetic.

They _do_ play nine innings, ya' know . . ;_

natsfan1a said...

Yes. Yes, they do. Also, Woooooooooooo Hoooooooooooo!!

LoveDaNats said...

Now that's the way to get a win! Ray Knight, you are right. It's the best game in the world!

Exposremains said...

yes, Im glad. but that 8th inning was really sad

sm13 said...

DC Wonk - agree with your last two posts. Lombo-zim played a heck of a game and a walk-off win cures all ills

MicheleS said...

Expsoremains.. Let my get you a glass of koolaid, it's been a little weak lately, but I have a feeling it is starting to gain some strength again.

MicheleS said...

How great is this Braves/Phillies tied at 13 in the 9th now. I want the Phillies bullpen to be TOAST when it gets here on Friday.

LoveDaNats said...

MicheleS......make a big batch. We all could use a refresher.

Exposremains said...

Thanks Michele!can you imagine harper hitting between Zim and Morse..

natsfan1a said...

Hopefully the Phillies bats won't have any hits left in them, either.

MicheleS said...

How great is this Braves/Phillies tied at 13 in the 9th now. I want the Phillies bullpen to be TOAST when it gets here on Friday.
May 02, 2012 10:30 PM

baseballswami said...

Ok -- pre-season if someone had said -- who will the 3 heroes of the game be on May 2? -- No one at all would have chosen those 3. You just never know who is going to get it together, break out, go on the dl or slump. So unpredictable - so exciting! Add Lombo as a fourth and that would have been inconceivable. I will confess that the entire off season i said that Adam La Roche could not possibly come back after being off for so long and play well -- I am shocked that he is playing well and playing every day. Is it a good idea that he is playing every day, though? My heart rate has not yet returned to normal.

Tcostant said...

DC Wonk, di you still think Harper should be batting 7th vs. LHP?

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