Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Game 30: Nats at Pirates

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Lefties Ross Detwiler and Erik Bedard square off tonight at PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH -- With his lineup struggling to score runs, and with left-hander Erik Bedard on the mound for the Pirates tonight, Davey Johnson is going to trot out as many right-handed hitters as he can. That means Tyler Moore gets to make his second career start in left field, with veteran Xavier Nady in right field.

That also means Bryce Harper, a left-handed batter, will shift into center field. Pretty amazing how much he's been able to bounce around between positions. This is his 10th big-league game, during which time he's made six starts in left field, three starts in center field and one start in right field.

Ross Detwiler takes the mound for the Nationals in search of his team-leading fourth win. If he's fortunate to be given a lead late, it'll be interesting to see how Johnson handles the back end of the bullpen in the wake of Henry Rodriguez's ninth-inning meltdown from last night. The hunch here: Rodriguez still gets the ball in a save situation.

Check back for updates throughout...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 62 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF
NATIONALS (18-11)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Xavier Nady
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Tyler Moore
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Ross Detwiler

PIRATES (13-16)
RF Jose Tabata
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
3B Pedro Alvarez
1B Casey McGehee
LF Yamaico Navarro
C Rod Barajas
SS Josh Harrison
LHP Erik Bedard

UMPIRES
HP Gerry Davis (cc), 1B Phil Cuzzi, 2B Greg Gibson, 3B Vic Carapazza

7:06 p.m. -- We are underway with a ball outside from Erik Bedard to Ian Desmond. It's another sparse gathering of close friends and family only at PNC Park.

7:09 p.m. -- That didn't take long. Bedard retires the side with ease, with Desmond, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman all hitting the ball to second baseman Neil Walker: two grounders and a pop-up.

7:22 p.m. -- Good lord did Harper cover a ton a ground to track down Pedro Alvarez's drive to deep left-center. Seriously, he must have run at least 100 feet, maybe more, to make that play. For a guy who hasn't spent much time in center field, he sure gets good reads on fly balls. Saved the Nats a run there. Scoreless as we go to the second.

7:26 p.m. -- Wow, Bedard threw three pitches to Adam LaRoche to lead off the top of the second, then appeared to wince in pain, perhaps feeling something in his back. He's out of the game after only eight total pitches, and in comes right-hander Brad Lincoln. So much for Davey's plan to stack his lineup with right-handed hitters.

7:32 p.m. -- Not that the Nats could take advantage of the abrupt pitching change. Lincoln came in and struck out LaRoche, got Xavier Nady to ground out to third (somehow, he still couldn't beat it out after Alvarez bobbled the ball down the line) and struck out Danny Espinosa. That's Espinosa's NL-leading 38th K of the season. He's swinging at a whole lot of breaking balls out of the zone right now. Not good.

7:40 p.m. -- Wilson Ramos' bullets to second base have been few and far between this season, but he just fired one to nail Yamaico Navarro to end the bottom of the second. Only the third runner Ramos has caught stealing in 21 attempts this year.

7:46 p.m. -- Hmm, despite the fact they "knocked" Bedard out after only eight pitches, the Nats have yet to put a man on base through three innings.

8:05 p.m. -- Well that was an, uh, interesting bottom of the third. It featured the opposing pitcher reaching on a strikeout-wild pitch and eventually coming around to score. It featured RBI singles from Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee. It featured a perfectly executed rundown play by Ryan Zimmerman. And it featured a fiasco of an attempted rundown play by Ian Desmond. With McCutchen running from second, Desmond fielded McGehee's ball in the hole and then faked out McCutchen rounding third. Except McCutchen just kept running, and by the time Desmond could do anything, his throw to the plate was late. A strange play caps a strange inning that ends with the Nats trailing 3-0.

8:10 p.m. -- More strange doings involving Desmond, who led off the fourth with a shot to deep left. Navarro, though, reached up and caught the ball at the top of the fence, technically robbing a home run even though he never had to leave his feet. The umps went to instant replay just to confirm there was no fan interference, but clearly there wasn't.

8:22 p.m. -- Has this been a weird ballgame so far, or what? The latest: Bryce Harper went first-to-third on a groundball to the third baseman. Who was positioned in shallow right field on a shift. And the weirdest moment of them all: Xavier Nady delivered an RBI single! It's 3-1 as we go to the bottom of the fourth.

8:37 p.m. -- So, in four innings against two long relievers, seven Nationals have struck out. Right-hander Jared Hughes just entered for the top of the fifth and struck out the side. Is that good?

8:57 p.m. -- Another chance for Nady in the top of the sixth, with runners on the corners and two out. ... And he grounds out to second base on the first pitch he sees. The universe is back in order. Still 3-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth.

9:17 p.m. -- Breaking news: Espinosa doubled down the left-field line to lead off the seventh. Snapped an 0-for-10 slump. And he wound up scoring on Chad Tracy's sac fly to left, a nice, professional bat off the bench. So it's 3-2 as we reach the seventh-inning stretch.

9:46 p.m. -- Ugh. Despite loading the bases in the top of the eighth, the Nats can't push across the tying run. Perhaps that's because Espinosa and Ankiel were each trying to hit the ball into the Allegheny River. There were some mighty hacks taken by both guys there, with Espinosa flailing away at a 3-2 fastball and then Ankiel whiffing on a 1-2 fastball at his eyelids. We go to the bottom of the eighth, and it's still 3-2 Pirates.

9:53 p.m. -- So much for Craig Stammen's dominance. McCutchen launches his second homer in as many night, putting the Pirates up 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth and making things even more difficult on the Nats heading into the ninth.

10:08 p.m. -- It's over. Joel Hanrahan gets the job done this time, getting Harper to pop out with runners on second and third, and then striking out Zimmerman on a 3-2 fastball to end it. Final: 4-2. For only the second time in 10 tries, the Nationals have lost a series. This one to ... the Pirates?!

209 comments:

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REW said...

My wish has been granted. Now if we could just get Lombo in at 2b or LF and get either Nady or Espi out of there...

bowdenball said...

Glad they're gonna give Espinosa a chance to get the job done against a lefty. He's clearly more comfortable on the right side and he hasn't had many chances this year, only 25 PAs so far.

If he comes up empty again tonight against a lefty, I have a feeling he may lose a good deal of the support he has left both inside the organization and out, and at least a short term benching could be in his future. Really hope he can break out tonight.

sjm308 said...

this has nothing to do with this post in general. Just got back from driving a decent amount and was tired of listening to the same old "crap"on both of our supposed sports stations. 105.7 in Baltimore actually talks baseball and they talk a lot of baseball. Of course its not Nationals but how refreshing to hear actual baseball talk. I realize they don't have hockey or basketball but they do have the Ravens and yet the conversation was pretty much all Orioles. Interesting question about how fans were or were not rooting for Hamilton to hit that 4th home run. Also interesting insight into how far he has come and the demons he has overcome. god, I wish we had a station like that. Mark gives us 10 good minutes every time he is on and then they are back to our number 6 draft pick and his influence on next year.

Looking for Detwiler to totally shut these guys down, and hoping we don't need a save situation.

Go Nats!!

That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter said...

sjm, thanks for sharing.

Bowdenball, you're a pretty smart fella, so I assume you know why Espinosa has so few PAs against southpaws. (I'm only asking because you refer to the team giving him a chance.)

Section 222 said...

Haven't been able to read the blog today (and was too disgusted to last night), so haven't read all the comments. But I wanted to give my 2 cents on the closer situation -- I'm still an H-Rod supporter. He has incredible potential should get some more chances before we give up on him in that role. Even after Storen returns, there needs to be a secondary closer for days when Storen isn't available. Hopefully that Plan B will be H-Rod.

HOWEVER, we need to win games that we lead going into the top or bottom of the 9th and making H-Rod the closer doesn't mean that Davey has to live or die with him if he's not in good form. Just like in L.A., when he left him in too long, Davey should not have let him pitch with the tying run on 3rd. That eliminated one of his pitches, as Barajas well knew and took advantage of. Davey needs to have someone up and ready in case H-Rod falters. Last night it could have and should have been Burnett, and/or Stammen.

I'llbet Stammen would have struck Barajas out. We could have and should have won that game. What a shame to waste LaRoche's heroics. Davey has to be ready the next time.

Espi should bat 8th if Davey insists on keeping him in the lineup.

Will said...

There has to be a point where situational splits don't make a difference. In his career, Ankiel bats .232/.282/.370 against lefties.

Over the past 3 seasons, Nady bats .239/.285/.338 against all pitchers.

Nevermind that Ankiel plays very good defense, and Nady is terrible.

Time to give up on Nady, Davey. He's been awful for 4 years now!

bowdenball said...

Sure I do, and obviously it's not something that anyone can change any time soon either!

I suppose I just meant that with all the recent questions about Espinosa and his performance, I'm glad he'll get a chance against at lefty tonight after that terrible showing last night. It's good timing, and I'm sure that there were some who would like to see him take a seat in favor of Lombo even against a lefty. This gives me reason to hope, for at least one more day, that he'll get this thing turned around.

sjm308 said...

OK, one last Baltimore reference and I will let things get back to WASHINGTON NATIONALS. I am pretty sure I am correct but I think the Post and others made a big deal about our attendence during the Astro series where we were drawing about 16,000. Lets see, Tuesday night, Two first place teams, and the attendance at beautiful downtown Camden Yards.... 11,000. Please don't write any more stories about disappointing attendance at Nationals Park.

That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter said...

Thought so, bowdenball. Just making sure, lest I need to educate you by burying one in your ribs.

TimDz said...

I think if there is a save situation, MPHRod NEEDS to be out there. He is inconsistent, yes, but the team needs to see what he can do given multiple opportunities.

The other thing of interest is that Bob and FP were discussing the balls being used yesterday, if they weren't rubbed enough (apparently, teams have people that prepare the balls that will be used on a given day)...Their point was that EJax had difficulty with his slider and so did Henry. Henry with an ineffective slider is NOT going to get the job done. When he has the slider going, he is unhittable. He clearly didn't have the slider last night.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I am optimistic about tonight. Nothing against Bedard but it seems that he has trouble being consistent, game after game. So, he's had a couple of decent outings, due for a clunker. They need to get on him early so that Ankiel can bat for Nady, Bernadina (ugh) for Moore. Otherwise the ball could rattle around the outfield a lot. Be pretty ugly if it works out any other way.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Much as people want Espinosa in the 8th spot, Johnson has to bat someone there that can roll the lineup over to the pitcher, avoid pitcher leading off the next inning. The way Espinosa is hitting, the pitcher will never get up, will always be leading off.

Drew said...

Nice bathroom break between LaRoche and Moore.

That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter said...

sjm308 said...
Please don't write any more stories about disappointing attendance at Nationals Park.


Dammit.

***Tears up just-finished copy***

Tcostant said...

Harper is sandwiched between Nady and Moore; I hope he has his running shows on. I do like Moore in the lineup, but am sick of Espinosa and Nady hitting like pitchers.

Theophilus T. S. said...

OMG; Nats signed Mike Gonzalez. If there's anybody that could match Henry dirt-ball for dirt-ball, they got him. I hope nobody is really serious about this.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Dusty Baker just pulled his closer. It happens more than some think.

JamesFan said...

Tcostant,

You're insulting our pitchers. Most of our starters are outhitting them.

MicheleS said...

Tcostant. Take that back! Our pitchers would be insulted by your comparison to Espi (sigh) and Nady(ugh)

Tcostant said...

What do you think of this 'pen idea. Instead of 'Pen A & B; how anout home and away, where H-Rod is the home closer only. My toung is in cheek, but he seems to like the crowd behind him...

JamesFan said...

This weekend I watched Papelbon issue a walkoff to a rookie who got his first hit/homer to win the game. Henry has the potential but was thrust into the closer role. I'm fine with it; DJ should talk to him, give him one of his pep talks and put him back out there.

MicheleS said...

James owe you a beverage

baseballswami said...

Since the Nats have been winning with regularity I can see that my attitude is changing.The possibility of falling out of first seems like a major tragedy. Not winning a series seems downright depressing. My, my - how I have forgotten how it feels to wonder if we will ever win another game. Lost in the horror of last night's implosions -- Zim and LaRoche did not need much time to start swinging again and Ramos went deep. If the pitchers can just keep them at bay and we can eke out some offense than most of the time we are in business. I also realize often how much we miss Morse and Storen. Now Jayson. Will the other guys step up?

Tcostant said...

Two comments like that. I was saying pitchers in general, not our fine hitting Nationals pitchers, who can hit (love watching Gio hit :))

natsfan1a said...

They also opined that perhaps Jackson didn't like the rosin bag, as he didn't use it. So, what's not to like about a rosin bag? (Serious question, kind of.)

TimDz said...

I think if there is a save situation, MPHRod NEEDS to be out there. He is inconsistent, yes, but the team needs to see what he can do given multiple opportunities.

The other thing of interest is that Bob and FP were discussing the balls being used yesterday, if they weren't rubbed enough (apparently, teams have people that prepare the balls that will be used on a given day)...Their point was that EJax had difficulty with his slider and so did Henry. Henry with an ineffective slider is NOT going to get the job done. When he has the slider going, he is unhittable. He clearly didn't have the slider last night.
May 09, 2012 3:59 PM

natsfan1a said...

sjm, great minds, as I commented to that effect in an earlier post. (Well, actually, I said that the Post should write a similar article on that team up north.) :-)

sjm308 said...

OK, one last Baltimore reference and I will let things get back to WASHINGTON NATIONALS. I am pretty sure I am correct but I think the Post and others made a big deal about our attendence during the Astro series where we were drawing about 16,000. Lets see, Tuesday night, Two first place teams, and the attendance at beautiful downtown Camden Yards.... 11,000. Please don't write any more stories about disappointing attendance at Nationals Park.
May 09, 2012 3:54 PM

natsfan1a said...

Next up, a Phillies pitcher goes "old school" on that rookie. (If so, hope that he gets "old schooled" by the rookie, kinda like Bryce did to Hamels. :-)

JamesFan said...

This weekend I watched Papelbon issue a walkoff to a rookie who got his first hit/homer to win the game. Henry has the potential but was thrust into the closer role. I'm fine with it; DJ should talk to him, give him one of his pep talks and put him back out there.
May 09, 2012 4:18 PM

natsfan1a said...

Oh, and from your mouth to the baseball g*ds' ears, Theo. I'm going with optimistic as well, until proven otherwise.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I am optimistic about tonight. Nothing against Bedard but it seems that he has trouble being consistent, game after game. So, he's had a couple of decent outings, due for a clunker. They need to get on him early so that Ankiel can bat for Nady, Bernadina (ugh) for Moore. Otherwise the ball could rattle around the outfield a lot. Be pretty ugly if it works out any other way.
May 09, 2012 3:59 PM

MicheleS said...

BRAVES LOST! ! WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!! (getting desperate )

sjm308 said...

natsfan1a - does that mean I owe you a coke?
I have a hard time buying a beverage that is not good for you so I would prefer to buy you a beer but I understand that would not be your preference. In that same vein, I think MichelleS owes me a beverage for steering her to Justin's.

Go Nats!!!

natsfan1a said...

YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! (me, too)

sjm308 said...

Michelle - you can trot out your Woooo Hoooo anytime its appropriate and this certainly is. We will be in first place for yet another day!!

natsfan1a said...

Oops, that was for Michele's post.

I don't drink, sjm, so I wouldn't want a beer. But I don't think you owe me one for that, anyway.

Go, Det!! Go, NATS!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I am not so much off the MPH Rod boat, as I am the Ramos boat. That ship has sank, IMHO. The reason MPH Rod had to go with his fastball against Barajas was Ramos is incapable of blocking sliders in the dirt. Again last night, he wasn't using proper technique. He was stabbing at the ball instead of getting his entire body in front of it to block it. Admittedly, MPH Rod was not helping with his 58-foot control. But he was getting no help behind the dish, just like in L.A.

So when the Desi ship finally sails off at 2B, I say it's time to give Kid Flores more than two games a week behind the plate. Offensively, I think they're a wash. Defensively, it's all Flores.

I won't even get into Moose's inability to throw out runners...or his complete lack of ability to hold onto throws from the outfield.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I meant Espi ship. Sorry. Got carried away with the Braves loss. WOOOO-HOOOO (Copyright, MicheleS, 2011).

NatsJack in Florida said...

As an ex-catcher, I'm going to defend Ramos on both those balls last night.

During ST, Henry was throwing his slider in the strike zone and it was a knee-buckler. Now he seems to want to throw it as a swing and miss pitch in the dirt.

Ramos would have needed to wear a king size posturepedic matress as a chest protector to keep last nights pitches in front of him.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

NatsJack, I always respect your opinion. And you're probably right. I'm just down on the guy. I really don't want to be, given his offseason ordeal and what-not. I just am. But you bring up some great points. Thanks.

whatsanattau said...

Bad pitches in the dirt nothwithstanding, Ramos' ability to throw out runners, block pitches, catch throws, and hold on them is an ongoing concern. I do believe it is just a fieldin slump, as opposed to ability, since he was rock solid last year, but slump or not, Flores is quite capable and still on the team. No disrespect to Ramos - none whatsoever - but Flores has skills too.

(P.S., I'm lazy, someone lookup cathers ERA and tell me if there is a significant difference between them - please)

NatsLady said...

Can Ramos wear a knuckle-ball type catcher's mitt, or is that just silly?

baseballswami said...

FP Santangelo tweets -- to send well wishes to Jayson Werth by email write Jayson Werth on the subject line and email to Community.relations@nationals.com

Gonat said...

I totally defend Ramos and as pointed out in the last post, even Pudge couldn't stop Henry's wild pitches last year.

I just checked the Reds game. Sean Marshall came into to close in a 2-0 game. He gave up a HR to Ryan Braun to make the lead 2-1 in the 9th. Dusty got Ondrusek warming immediately.


1.Ryan Braun homers (10) on a fly ball to left center field.

2.Aramis Ramirez strikes out swinging.
3.Corey Hart flies out to center fielder 4.Jonathan Lucroy singles on a line drive to left fiel
5.Norichika Aoki singles on a soft fly ball to left fielder Chris Heisey. Edwin Maysonet to 2nd.

Pitcher Change: Logan Ondrusek replaces Sean Marshall, batting 6th.
Coaching visit to mound.
6.George Kottaras walks. Edwin Maysonet to 3rd. Norichika Aoki to 2nd.
7.Travis Ishikawa flies out to left fielder Chris Heisey.

Tom in AR said...

HRod throws 100mph, I don't think you want to catch that with a regular mitt. Not like a 70 mph knuckleball from Tim Wakefield.

John said...

Will said, "Over the past 3 seasons, Nady bats .239/.285/.338 against all pitchers."

I believe Nady also only had a handful of at-bats this spring and, yet, Johnson saw something to judge him worthy of a reserve role on the team. But if in reality he is only on the roster until Morse returns, then wouldn't it make more sense to just release him now and give the opportunity to Moore, who is younger, hungrier, and was swinging a hotter bat in AAA?

JZimm's only fan... said...

why is Nady out there and not Lombo?

whatsanattau said...

Because Nady has been playing outfield his whole life and Lombo has been doing it since Tuesday.

whatsanattau said...

BTW, Moore might have only started on Monday....

Section 222 said...

Dusty got Ondrusek warming immediately.

The Pirates replaced Hanrahan last night. The Cubs replaced Marmol the other day (wouldn't you have someone warming if your closer was Marmol?) The point is that closers aren't sacrosanct or entitled to any more "confidence" than other pitchers unless they've really earned it. H-Rod has had some great outings, but he hasn't earned it yet. So get someone up at the first sign of trouble -- after a walk, or a wild pitch, or a well hit liner that ends up being an out, or even when the bullpen coach says, "he may not have it tonight." If you do it all the time, it won't seem like a slap to the closer, it will seem like what managers do when they really want to win a ballgame and they are ahead in the 9th. We should not have been in a situation last night where everyone in the park, including, especially, the hitter, knew that H-Rod couldn't throw another slider. That's just receipe for disaster.

alm said...

Ramos has missed alot more that Henry's 2 sliders in the dirt.

I am not an ex-catcher but when was the last time he caught a throw from the outfield?

He misses alot of balls, including balls not in the dirt. When no one is one is doesn't matter, but lots of them.

He seems to have gotten lazy on balls to his side and more often than not he gloves them without moving.

Love the guy but no one is raving about he D like they (we) were last year.

And what happened to his arm? The Pudge influence is weraing off and someone needs to get him back into a defensive frame of mind.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The wild pitch talk with trying to pin it on the catcher is bunk. It's on Henry. Make the pitches without burying them in the dirt. We tolerated last year when this wasn't a potential playoff team. Facing a bunch of .170 hitters in the bottom of the lineup, NO EXCUSE

Average knuckleball is 25% slower than Henrys fastballs. Huge difference in reaction time.

TheManBearPig said...

Without another MI sub (De Rosa's out), I don't think we're going to see Lombo in the outfield.

TheManBearPig said...

Ghost, ditto. There are a lot of HS pitchers with better command than Henry. If he's throwing to the wall behind the plate, or hitting the bull, or whatever, he's not giving his team a chance to win.

Gonat said...

alm said...
I am not an ex-catcher but when was the last time he caught a throw from the outfield?

May 09, 2012 5:18 PM
___________________________

You either have a short memory or don't watch the games. Bryce Harper's 1st home game last Tuesday. Harper throws on a fly to Ramos and he put the tag on the runner. Called safe.

He has had 3 throws to him at home in bang bang plays and one ball was thrown into the path of the runner, one was caught for the tag, and the other in the Dodgers Hairston play was dislodged from his mitt.

I don't see a problem there. This is an issue league wide.

Section 222 said...

Without another MI sub (De Rosa's out), I don't think we're going to see Lombo in the outfield.

Why not? If he's needed in the infield, he can move there and a replacement outfielder comes in. I'd actually much rather see Lombo at 2nd than in the outfield (because Roger is a better hitter than Espi, and a better LF than Lombo), but a utility guy can move around during the game if needed.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, thanks for the play by play on the Reds pulling Marshall.

natsfan1a said...

I sent a note this a.m. via USPS but thanks for this, swami.

baseballswami said...

FP Santangelo tweets -- to send well wishes to Jayson Werth by email write Jayson Werth on the subject line and email to Community.relations@nationals.com
May 09, 2012 5:04 PM

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
The wild pitch talk with trying to pin it on the catcher is bunk. It's on Henry. Make the pitches without burying them in the dirt. We tolerated last year when this wasn't a potential playoff team. Facing a bunch of .170 hitters in the bottom of the lineup, NO EXCUSE

Average knuckleball is 25% slower than Henrys fastballs. Huge difference in reaction time.

May 09, 2012 5:19 PM
___________________________

Whoa, bunk? You must be pissed!

Seriously, you are correct. Its 60'6", not 55'6".

A DC Wonk said...

With all the talk above about other teams removing relievers in the ninth -- and asserting that removal of same is not sacrosanct . . . with all due respect, I don't think you get what Davey is trying to do.

Davey thinks that HRod is benefiting from this, and that the Nats will benefit in the long run from this. Will it cost s couple of games in the short run? Obviously. It already has.

But Davey's not afraid of "short term pain for long term gain." That's the way he managed the Mets in the early 1980's (when he had a slew of young pitchers, and when he left them in sometimes a fan could tear his hair out) . . . and he ain't going to change now.

HRod's a young 25. He's got some learnin' to do and experience to accrue, and Davey's letting him do that learning.

Explaining how 30-year old Joel Hanrahan got relieved last night . . . that's just irrelevant.

jeffwx said...

Why are Espi and Nady both in the lineup tonight.
Lombo has one of the team's highest OBP.

whatsanattau said...

... I sent a note this a.m. via USPS but thanks for this ...

Proving once again that you might be the nicest, most thoughtful person that ever blogged.

(if your real. you could be a fictional character devised by some romantic living in the attic)

jeffwx said...

What is best for the player...to continue putting Espi in losing situation night after night. Maybe he should be checked out...Is he hiding an injury....c'mon Davey do what's best for the player for a change.

sm13 said...

222 -- I agree that it is one thing to give Henry the ball in the 9th inning and another to leave him out there when he clearly doesn't have his good stuff. Henry is still young and still learning, but DJ must have seen what we all saw that Henry had no command of his breaking stuff. With a fastball hitter coming to the plate, he should have had Stammen or Burnett ready to take the ball and preserve the win. I'm hoping this will be his approach going forward. We're gonna have to survive with Henry until Druuu is back, but that doesn't mean he isn't going to need help sometimes.

Gonat said...

jeffwx said...
What is best for the player...to continue putting Espi in losing situation night after night. Maybe he should be checked out...Is he hiding an injury....c'mon Davey do what's best for the player for a change.

May 09, 2012 5:41 PM
_____________________________

He could be hiding an injury but that doesn't change his bad "eye" and poor mechanics

jeffwx said...

I thought Davey was thinking closer A and B and not to put the pressure on one guy. I think that makes sense...now that Lidge is down, he can make a choice on who is new closer B is, and to reduce the pressure on Henry a bit.

jeffwx said...

Could be he needs to see an eye doctor. It helped Harper a year ago.
It's time for the adult to step in and get him checked out regardless of what he says.

Gonat said...

sm13,

McGhee .246
Pressley was .241 prior to his hit
Navarro .192
Barajas .128 before his HR

is not exactly Murderer's Row. I said it after the Dodgers meltdown. Lett has to let McCatty know immediately how Henry is warming but the bigger issue is Henry is not a closer "yet".

jeffwx said...

Seriously, you are correct. Its 60'6", not 55'6".
------------------------------------

Maybe Henry's playing real old school.
Before 1891, the pitcher's "box" was five feet closer and the pitcher could get a running start within the rectangle before tossing the ball (underhanded however).

But then again, any ball hit in fair territory was fair, and a ball caught on one bounce in foul territory was an out.
Hamels should really think about bringing back some of these old school rules too.

JD said...

Even after you throw 2 wild pitches you can't give in and throw anything but your best pitches. I think that a veteran catcher would have reminded him that Barajas can't hit anything but a room service fast ball and if you throw half decent off speed pitches he will get himself out; you don't have to make perfect pitches to Barajas he's not Matt Kemp.

jeffwx said...

And Gonat, even after last night's brilliant performance by A.J., his E.R.A. is still above 6. Not exactly Cy Young out there.

Gonat said...

jeffwx, LOL on that one!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, as I pointed out earlier, Henry didn't throw his best pitch to Barajas, it was in between his hottest fastballs and changeups at 95.7. Strange.

Section 222 said...

DC Wonk, with all due respect, the same could be said to people who think that Espi should be sent down, or Nady should never see another start. Pulling the "Davey knows best" card just isn't an answer. If that's what Davey is trying to do, then I get it, and I think it's dumb. The game last night was eminently winnable, as was the game in LA. All we needed was one more out against a very weak hitter, and H-Rod didn't have the tools, nor was he in the right frame of mind, to deliver. The all-knowing Davey should have figured that out and replaced him.

And if anything, it's the older, more established closer like Hanrahan or Marmol who should get more rope, not the guy who has closed 10 games in his life, or whatever it is.

JD said...

Steve,

I agree. I think that both he and Ramos panicked.

Gonat said...

Steve & JD, here's the speed chart from Henry last night. His speed was a little lower anyway but clearly he went 2 to 3% below to Barajas and allowed him to go to the shortest porch. Its a game of inches.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/speed2.php-pitchSel=469159&game=gid_2012_05_08_wasmlb_pitmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

jeffwx said...

A veteran catcher should have reminded him the proper distance from the mound to the plate. Catchers these days....

NatsFanJim said...

Nady? Another start? Hey Davey: there was a reason why the X-man was sitting home watching the t.v. when the Nats called: he is, regrettably, washed up.

Hey Davey: When do you grow tired of the Mega-Disaster called Espinosa and start playing Lombo?

NatsNut said...

Why is nobody else cracking up at this? Well, for my part, Drew, I think it qualifies as post of the day. :D

Drew said...
Nice bathroom break between LaRoche and Moore.
May 09, 2012 4:05 PM

NatsNut said...

I can confirm that she is real and is just as nice, and consistent, as she is on the blog. Funny as hell, too.

whatsanattau said...

Proving once again that you might be the nicest, most thoughtful person that ever blogged.

(if your real. you could be a fictional character devised by some romantic living in the attic)
May 09, 2012 5:41 PM

NatsFanJim said...

If memory serves me right -- no one (meaning McCatty) ever came out of the dugout to visit and calm Petrified HRod down during this meltdown.

Henry's got some of the best stuff in the big leagues, but unfortunately, he's not ready for closer role yet. And why did Ramos stick with the two fingers and realize his breaking ball wasn't happening? Stupidity/

Gonat said...

Section222, well said on Davey. He's not God. Hate to say, in a different media market (like NY) they would ride him on the Espi and Henry issues.

It isn't like he doesn't have Lombo who could step in at 2nd and Burnett/Matteus/Stammen to try to close. If you don't try something different, you may keep getting the same lousy results. I respect his loyalty but at a point it becomes stupidity (Ref: See Matt Stairs circa 2011)

Good points earlier that compounded the situation, he had Espi in the 5 hole who left 3 men on base.

Worse than that, ESPI IS NOW 0-14 WITH RISP. YES, THAT IS A .000 BATTING AVERAGE

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat is on a stat roll, go get 'em!

phil dunton said...

Not Nady and Espinosa. Johnson has a death wish.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Weather report: storms south and east of DC are much worse, but they'll get some rain in Pittsburgh. Should be able to play.

NatsNut said...

NatsFanJim, you reminded me, why DIDN'T McCatty come out to calm Henry down last night? It sure worked on Friday night.

When Henry came out Friday I said to my buddy, "we'll know in about 3-4 pitches whether we got Good Henry or Bad Henry." I was right, we had Bad Henry in 3-4 pitches. But McCatty came out, talked to him, and I'll be darned if we didn't get Good Henry back again.

What DID McCatty say to him, anyway? I'm dying to know. And I'm dying for him to KEEP saying it.

baseballswami said...

HRod has some stuff, agreed. His problem appears to be between his ears. The whole organization needs to come up with some strategies and coping skills to use just as soon as he starts to fall apart. The catchers speak his language, McCatty needs to come out sooner rather than later, even the infielders should know if maybe they should throw the ball around to try to slow things down. He's going to need some help out there.

Theophilus T. S. said...

NatsJack -- going way back in this thread, I agree Ramos deserves some indulgence on the balls in the dirt -- up to a point. Some folks say Ramos MUST be able to block balls in the dirt, so that HRodriguez can throw his "out pitch." Once the ball is in the dirt, the outcome is essentially random. It has a mind of its own and will go wherever it wants. I.e., no outcome can be guaranteed. The conclusion is, Rodriguez needs to learn to control his "out pitch."

Having said that, however, the second "wild pitch" was eminently blockable. It bounce directly between Ramos's legs and bounced up, well, directly between his legs. And he still couldn't control it.

His defense this year is immensely disappointing. I don't think he's anywhere close to his appointed 250#. Closer to Carlos Maldonado's 290# -- and I don't want Maldonado anywhere near my home plate. In addition to other advanced metrics I think the SABRE people should publish BMIs.

mick said...

hey gang, Pudge would not have stopped any of HRod's wild pitches last night

Gonat said...

Theo, well said----its exactly what Joel Hanrahan did as the Nats closer with the sliders in the dirt that became Wild Pitches at a pace of 6 WPs in 32 innings in 2009 for the Nats and Henry is well ahead of that pace.

UGH-LEE

natsfan1a said...

Aw, shucks. I'll try not to let this go to my head, y'all. :-)

NatsNut said...

I can confirm that she is real and is just as nice, and consistent, as she is on the blog. Funny as hell, too.

whatsanattau said...

Proving once again that you might be the nicest, most thoughtful person that ever blogged.

(if your real. you could be a fictional character devised by some romantic living in the attic)
May 09, 2012 5:41 PM
May 09, 2012 6:15 PM

natsfan1a said...

We totally need him to do Wired Wednesday. hmmm...probably gonna need a tape delay on that. :-)

NatsNut said...

NatsFanJim, you reminded me, why DIDN'T McCatty come out to calm Henry down last night? It sure worked on Friday night.

When Henry came out Friday I said to my buddy, "we'll know in about 3-4 pitches whether we got Good Henry or Bad Henry." I was right, we had Bad Henry in 3-4 pitches. But McCatty came out, talked to him, and I'll be darned if we didn't get Good Henry back again.

What DID McCatty say to him, anyway? I'm dying to know. And I'm dying for him to KEEP saying it.
May 09, 2012 6:25 PM

MicheleS said...

SJM308.. Justin's owes you a commission! I have been over there a few times since I saw you and Everyone I take over there says "This place is great!"

Fear and Ignorance said...

Rodriguez will be fine and needs to remain the closer. I would rather have him work through these issues now rather than later in the summer. His ERA is still 2.84 and he has only given up 2 HR in 80 innings as a National. The problem is the offense. They desperately need somebody to get hot. Ryan Zimmerman needs to step up and show us something. Josh Hamilton hit more HR's last night than Zimmerman has in his last 202 AB's and has more in 1 month than Zimmerman has in his last 160 games. Where is the production???

Gonat said...

What a play by Bryce Harper. Simply amazing. That ball was Tatoo'd!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Defensively, Bryce reminds me of Hunter Pence except ALOT faster and with a stronger arm.

MicheleS said...

Hmmm. Bedard has a back issue. Lets feast on that pen!

Gonat said...

So long to Bedard. Get well 2 weeks

MicheleS said...

NJ.. and a lot less goofy, not that I don't like Pence, He just seem like a big goof (albeit, one that can hit too).

baseballswami said...

Yes, Micheles - but our lineup was constructed for a lefty and now it's a righty. Although, I personally feel that major league hitters should be able to hit both. Watch this guy come in and channel his inner Cy Young.

A DC Wonk said...

Hey -- did anybody think that Bryce kinda "showed" the ball he caught to some Pittsburgh outfield fans? Just for about a second.

MicheleS said...

Swami, i thought the same thing when he walked off the mound. Now I am like DANG IT.. Get Ankiel in there and get Nady out of there and Crud, Espi is going to batting left handed now.

NatsJack in Florida said...

That's what I meant. Bryce can look goofy chasing balls in the outfield but he makes the play. He'll get better but Pence will always be the same.

Bottom line.....they are both ball players.

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Defensively, Bryce reminds me of Hunter Pence except ALOT faster and with a stronger arm.

May 09, 2012 7:22 PM
___________________________

LMAO, yep, besides that. A lot alike

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

hilarious comment Swami. haha, inner Cy Young!

Gonat said...

Nady can't hit and he is slow as Livan, ok, not that slow. Pathetic

Gonat said...

Espinosa. Same result. Swing & miss. I can't watch

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. Livan could at least hit

MicheleS said...

NJ.. I meant goofy off the field.

Gonat said...

and gone on 3 pitches. Off speed and breaking pitches. Shorten up your swing and try to make contact. Sheesh.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Gonat.. Livan could at least hit

May 09, 2012 7:32 PM
___________________________

Good point, and so can EJax

Scott from Burke said...

gonat...they finally let you out?

Gonat said...

Look at that, Ross holds the runner close and Ramos nails the runner

NatsJack in Florida said...

Wilson on the money!

baseballswami said...

So last night the Buc's hitter with Danny's batting average hit a walk off home run. Tonight their lefty goes down early and a flame-throwing righty comes in and stymies our carefully constructed line up. Talk about falling in sh$% and coming out smelling like a rose. Are we offending the baseball gods in some way?

MicheleS said...

Sure enough, some (me) complain about Ramos and he nailed that guy.

MicheleS said...

Caps up 1-0

NatsJack in Florida said...

If Detwiler puts the ball in play, Danny needs to bat 9th.

baseballswami said...

MicheleS - I think you should just randomly start complaining about everyone on the team. Seems like it might be a bit out of character and way too stressful for you - but, hey, if it will help the team?

MicheleS said...

Swami, last night I took the dogs for a walk and we got 2 runs, I walked back in the house, and Ejax gave of the 2 hrs. I am starting to develop a complex. But then I have grumbled about Espi and that hasn't helped.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

has there ever been a combined, team perfect game before? :P

NatsJack in Florida said...

FS...Was thinking the same thing.

jeffwx said...

What...a team has an offensive game plan...
I like the randomness of our offensive swings.
esp. against that tough pirates pen....

Gonat said...

FS, don't worry, won't be happening tonight.

Gonat said...

Huge play by the Zim.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Washington Nationals-Little League Baseball at its best. Desmond should be benched in the middle of the inning for a play like that. Once again, no baseball sense.

Gonat said...

This reminds me of Ross against the Reds. He doesn't get a call and lets the inning go on and melted down.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Gerry Davis...our best catcher!!!

jeffwx said...

I long for the 14-4 Nationals...Not the 4-7 ones...

Harvey Haddix in 1959 pitched 1 1/3 perfect games (12 innings) but lost the game.

Gonat said...

Oh boy.....

jeffwx said...

Pirates have the Mojo Karma thing Sunshine

baseballswami said...

What the heck? That was a trainwreck!The offensive players return and the pitchers blink. That reminds me of JZim having one goofy inning. Ross lost it after the strikeout/ hit by the pitcher and then all kinds of crazy things happened.Seems like the Buc's have some kind of baseball kharma going right now. Have you ever seen so many silly little things happen in a short time? We really need to hit the ball.

baseballswami said...

Have we ever had a review before?

Grandstander said...

Not a perfect game, but on June 11, 2003, 6 Astros pitchers combined to throw for a no-hitter against the Yankees after Roy Oswalt left with an injury in the second inning. It was the first interleague no-hitter thrown by away team. First no-hitter thrown by an NL team against an AL team. First official no-hitter against the Yankees in 44 years.

Also, future National Brad Lidge would throw two innings worth of no-hit ball in that game.

jeffwx said...

Lincoln...the great emancipater...of Nats bats

Scott from Burke said...

i think it was 89 the O's didnt have a starter available so Frank Robinson used 3 relievers going 3 innings each..they got a shutout

Scott from Burke said...

and: Jul 13, 1991 - The Orioles defeat the A's 2-0 on a combined no-hitter by pitchers Bob Milacki‚ Mike Flanagan‚ Mark Williamson‚ and Gregg Olson. It is only the second time in history that 4 pitchers have combined to throw a no-hitter. On September 28‚ 1975‚ Vida Blue‚ Glenn Abbott‚ Paul Lindblad‚ and Rollie Fingers turned the trick for Oakland against the California Angels. Starter Bob Milacki is lifted in the 6th after Willie Wilson smashes a ball off the pitcher's index finger.

jeffwx said...

Yes!!!!! The table is set for our number 5 guy

Gonat said...

Nady needs to make this hurt on the Pirates.

MicheleS said...

HMMM maybe the Nady bashing is working.

Gonat said...

There you go! #5 hitter! Now we don't need to talk about No Hitters. Uh oh, look who is up now.

Gonat said...

OMG, swing & miss on strike 1. BUNT THE BALL

jeffwx said...

Yes Nady....bat cleanup tomorrow.

Gonat said...

Espi didn't strike out but barely made contact. Weak grounder to 2nd. He had Alvarez back at 3rd. Doesn't he know a bunt would work?

Scott from Burke said...

new bacon mcdouble at mcdonalds..that don't look right

mick said...

I was being serious last night when I said Davey should have let Ejack hit after he already had 2 solid hits and then move him to 2b. Why Espinozo has not been sent down to Cuse is a mystery to me. I also said that last night's loss was going to linger for a long time... we are seeing it now. i hope I'm wrong, but I think last night's loss will be like last year's loss to the Cubs at home after we had a 7-0 lead in the 7th inning. We were right at 500 and then went into the tank after that. I hope we are not headed for disaster, losing a series to the Pirates is a panic situation in my view

jeffwx said...

You can't send Espinosa down while he's moving up in the lineup

baseballswami said...

Espi is just an automatic out.He has got to be feeling so much pressure. Is this really fair to him or the team? Heyward had a year like this last year. MicheleS - I have really been ragging on Nady.Who should we complain about next? Pittsburgh plays a really extreme shift, almost like the Brewers do.

Gonat said...

Espi now 0-15 with RISP. That's still a .000 BA

LoveDaNats said...

Amazing how every opposing pitcher has the game of their career against the Nats.

Gonat said...

baseballswami - Heyward was well over Mendoza and at .319 OBP and played injured a good part of last year. What's Danny's excuse?

baseballswami said...

Allright! A new pitcher, Cy, Jr! Seriously - the nats look so bad offensively. One could say they are offensive, offensively.Did someone tell them that Pittsburgh is a bad team and will be easy to beat? And about Nady - I know he got a hit and and rbi, but he is the anti-Bryce - that guy has absolutely no hustle in him at all. He probably could have had another hit had he tried to run to first. He also does not charge in from right. Lead in his shoes.

Gonat said...

Danny has to sit breaking pitch. Until he can hit one, he won't see another fastball. These advanced scouts have his number.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

The advanced scouts had his number last year. The soccer fan in the third deck has his number by now. He has the talent, but this is approaching mulishness.

jeffwx said...

run Forest run

jeffwx said...

Keep going Forest

Fear and Ignorance said...

Is there a worse #3 hitter in the league? I can't think of one. Zimmerman is a #6 hitter, not a #3.

jeffwx said...

What they're going to work around LaRoche and Nady to get to Danny...This is not old school

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Caps up 2-0, about 8 mins. left in the second period.

baseballswami said...

But a long power play coming, section 3 - this reminds me of the last game...... And about the NATS -- this one run crap is for the birds. So frustrating to watch. Our pitchers must be having nightmares.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

what? Zimmerman is not a #3 hitter? LOL

Anyways, glad no one is throwing a perfect game or no-hitter against us.

RickH said...

DANNY!

Gonat said...

Danny just got a mistake pitch! Nice!

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

BTW I was also wondering about Nationals running game. Last season Desmond had lot of steals by this time, now he has only two. Espi just does not get enough to steal any. point is as a team we have too few SB. Is that something new under Davey?

Espi gets a hit! Go Danny!

Gonat said...

Cruz must have been asleep during the pitchers meeting

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

end of 2, still 2-0, CAPS

MicheleS said...

Danny is thinking.. Wow,this is 3rd Base!!!

Eugene in Oregon said...

It just appeared that Mr. Espinosa had to introduce himself to the third base coach.

MicheleS said...

Mets are beating the Filthies 5-4

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

FP: "It's a chess match. As a manager, all you can ask for it to have the right guy up in the right situation."

Ummm, that's not how chess works. As Kirk would say, "Not chess, Mr. Spock--poker!"

Gonat said...

Chad Tracy with a nice PH RBI. #6 on the season as a pinch-hitter. Impressive

ehay2k said...

Good for Espi. He needed that. 90% of his hitting problems are half mental, or something like that.

I already posted my game-day FTHC rant in the next post by Mark, so I will spare everyone on this comment thread.

R.E.: "Wait - so the pitches can CURVE?"

baseballswami said...

So - did Danny hit a breaking pitch or was it somehow a fastball? Let's hope this breaks the curse on his bat. And let's hope the nats get some more hits before I break out some more curses. A one-run game - shocker!

ehay2k said...

Harper! What a catch! Especially for a converted catcher!

Gonat said...

FP wondering if Craig Stammen will close some games. I know the dude is reading NatsInsider

RickH said...

Bases loaded. Danny up. Holding my breath.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

no way

Scott from Burke said...

2 rbi's all year? oh my god that is awful

ehay2k said...

At the rate the pitches are coming: It was nice knowing you RickH!

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Danny Espinosa, OTOH, doesn't seem to be reading.

FS=Faraz Shaikh said...

Mark you certainly know how to take a fan's confidence from a player.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Yeah...Espinosa is up with RISP and 1 out. I would rather have John Lannan hitting. Why no Lombardozzi??? This is really upsetting.

RickH said...

The bad news, Danny strikes out. The good news, no double play.

ehay2k said...

Espi was robbed there.

Scott from Burke said...

by keeping espi in there johnson is trying to show cinfidence..but it might be having opposite effect

Section 222 said...

This is turning into the story of the Nats' season (other than the amazing starting pitching)-- bases loaded, 1 out, 2 guys strike out. Ugh.

ehay2k said...

I remember when Ankiel was first signed, and one of the comments was that he really swung the bat well when previous teamed with Rick E. as his hitting coach. Why I ever bought into that line of malarkey is beyond me.

R.E.: "You'll catch up to that high fastball, just keep swinging."

Fear and Ignorance said...

Seen enough yet Davey??? It is pretty bad when the fans know more than the manager.

Section 222 said...

Wonder if Harper's catch will be a web gem or a Capitol One Premier Play? Probably yes. Wonder if either will show or mention that he broke back before charging in? Probably no.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

John Lannan hitting?? Right now, Yoko Ono would have a better shot.

mick said...

Danny you simply SUCK, enough said. Davey, get him the hell outta here!!

baseballswami said...

Really? Bases loaded one out? And everybody swings for the fences. Sheesh.

Section 222 said...

Nats have struck out 10 or more times in a game a total of 9 times in 30 games. Shocking.

ehay2k said...

R.E.: "With the bases loaded, the important thing is to swing really hard. A base hit will not make ESPN, but a grand slam will."

ehay2k said...

Section 222 - look and see what they have done over the last two years with different lineups but the same hitting coach. Just sayin'...

ehay2k said...

I miss Livo, who would have bunted a run home.

jeffwx said...

If your team is not scoring runs....and in danger of going 4-8 of your last 12, you must use your strengths on the bench....it makes no sense to keep sitting lombo esp. after having TWO 3 hit games in a row this weekend. Davey every batter in the lineup counts. lombo gives you one less hole.
You can't have your 3 worst hitters in the lineup at the same time....need to split em up one day to the next. No more wasting the greatest starting rotation in a generation.
No more Nady,Espi in the lineup together.
Try lombo, Moore/Tracey instead. every at bat counts.

jeffwx said...

Sect. 222, that stat is simply amazin....
And yes the hitting coach gets some of the blame when there is little patience at the plate by so many of your starters.

whatsanattau said...

I've gone from wanting to show my support for Danny by keeping him in the lineup to showing my support for Danny by giving him an opportunity to go down to the minors for 30 days. The programmatic temporary minors assignment has worked before. Be kind, let him break it down and build it back up in the minors.

baseballswami said...

Have you noticed that our pitchers are starting to have little episodes -- a bad inning here and there, a home run given up. It's not even really that bad - I mean, maybe 3 runs, a couple of homers. They are all still amazing - just not perfect. It's still the offense that is the elephant in the room. Every pitcher knows that they get Danny and the pitcher. Even I would know that. They also know that with runners on everyone will swing up out of their shoes.

RickH said...

Atta boy, Ian!!!

whatsanattau said...

...Every pitcher knows that they get Danny and the pitcher.

---

I don't know. I think the pitcher stands a chance.

Scott from Burke said...

what a time for the kids first tater

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