Friday, May 11, 2012

The stopper delivers

Associated Press photo
Stephen Strasburg improved to 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA.
PITTSBURGH -- The sheer numbers blow you away. Thirteen strikeouts in only six innings. Seven in a row. A 1.64 ERA in seven starts this season. A 1.59 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 12 total starts since returning from Tommy John surgery.

At some point, the Nationals stop being amazed by Stephen Strasburg. Because it seems he never fails to deliver.

"You get used to seeing it," first baseman Adam LaRoche said following Thursday night's command performance in a 4-2 win over the Pirates. "You've got a guy that goes out there and throws the way he does every single fifth day, you kind of start to expect it. That's a good thing."

It's an even better thing when the Nationals are able to send Strasburg to the mound in an attempt to stop a losing streak dead in its tracks. Having dropped three straight and in danger both of being swept by Pittsburgh and falling out of first place in the NL East for the first time in 30 days, the Nationals desperately needed Strasburg to come up big.

Which is exactly what the 23-year-old ace did. Even if he still shies away from the label.

"You guys can put me in that role all you want," he said. "But I'm going to sit here and say that there's four other guys in this rotation that can do it, too."

True, fellow starters Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler all are capable of ending a losing streak. But make no mistake, they can't do what Strasburg did Thursday night at PNC Park. Few in baseball right now can.

Facing the Pirates for the first time since mowing them down during his 14-strikeout, major-league debut 23 months ago, Strasburg again made mincemeat of Pittsburgh's lineup. He struck out seven consecutive batters from the bottom of the first through the bottom of the third, then added six more before finally taking a seat after the sixth.

And this, remember, is the "new" Strasburg who since returning from elbow surgery has made a concerted effort to strike out fewer opposing batters while trying to induce contact earlier in the count.

Did the right-hander surprise even himself with his baker's dozen worth of Ks in this outing?

"Maybe a little bit," he said. "But when the stuff's working like tonight, I'm just going to go out there and just throw it, and it doesn't really matter what you throw."

It didn't seem to matter to the Pirates, who flailed away at everything Strasburg fired in their direction. Of his 13 strikeouts, 11 came on swings-and-misses. Seven came on fastballs. Three apiece came on curveballs and changeups.

"That's a good arm," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said in the understatement of the night. "The arm's fresh, it's legit. And he's got a good head to work with it. The progress he's made in a short period of time at this level is really something."

For a while, though, Strasburg's dominance was in danger of being wasted. Unable yet again to get anything going at the plate, the Nationals entered the top of the sixth trailing 2-0 and having squandered whatever opportunities they had to score against veteran Kevin Correia.

And then with one titanic blast off the bat of Roger Bernadina -- a 430-foot home run into the back bullpen in deep left-center field -- the entire visitors dugout was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

"To get us back to within one, I think it did," LaRoche said. "I think that was kind of the blow we needed to get guys pumped up a little bit."

Two batters later, LaRoche stepped to the plate and nearly duplicated Bernadina's feat, crushing another Correia pitch into the front bullpen to give the Nationals a 3-2 and put Strasburg in line for the win.

"You don't have room for error when you're facing a guy like Strasburg," Correia said.

No, but Strasburg did make things interesting when he retook the mound with that one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. After recording two quick outs, he proceeded to load the bases on three consecutive walks.

"Just started to nibble a little bit," he said, "trying to throw the perfect pitch."

Strasburg took a deep breath and reminded himself to trust his stuff and not feel the need to try to overpower the next hitter. Which he did in blowing a 96 mph fastball past Garrett Jones to snuff out the rally and end his night on a high note.

"I was going to challenge him," Strasburg said of Jones, who is now 0-for-6 with five strikeouts in his career against him. "I wasn't going to walk him and walk in a run to tie it up. I was going to make him beat me."

Victory was not yet in hand for the Nationals, though. They needed a scoreless seventh inning from Ryan Mattheus and a scoreless eighth from Tyler Clippard. Rick Ankiel's moonshot into the right-field bleachers in the top of the ninth provided a little extra cushion for Henry Rodriguez, who rebounded from his blown save Tuesday night to close out the Pirates and secure this much-needed win.

Not to mention ensure the Nationals didn't waste another dominant performance by the young ace of a supremely talented pitching staff.

"You get down a couple runs, and I think that starts to creep in: Don't let this be another night where you miss some opportunities," LaRoche said. "You get a guy like that out there -- and we've got a lot of them -- you don't have to score too many runs. It's bailed us out more than once."

95 comments:

SpingfieldNatsFan1 said...

Nice win by Stras and the Nats last night. Let's hope they can get off to a quick start in the Queen City tonight and string together 2 or 3 wins in a row. Cincinnati has a pretty good pitching staff and bullpen so it won't be easy.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Lets get back to winning series. Let's beat the Reds. GO Gio, Zim, and EJax.

Go hitters

GO Nats

Doc said...

Great win and great write up Mark. Thanks!

I hope Bernadina can keep proving disbelivers like me wrong---gooooooooooo Shark!!!

NatsLady said...

Ex-Nats: Laynce Nix could be headed to the disabled list with a calf strain.

m20832 said...

Great win last night! Finally scored some runs.
Let's do the Reds in!

GYFNG!!!

Gonat said...

NatsLady, thats about the right time. Goes red hot, they play him everyday then he hurts his achilles or calf

Gonat said...

Bourjos slash is worse than Bernadina .192 .259 .288 .547

#4 said...

The catching thing is becoming a problem. Besides his obvious 9th inning issue, Flores was also at least 50% responsible for the Pirates second run. Yes, Harper's throw was ill-advised, but it was on a low enough trajectory that McCutchen was not going to advance for fear of the throw being cut-off. Flores HAS to block Harper's throw there. If he does, McCutchen does not go to second.

Davey continues to take a lot of heat for "showing confidence" in guys. I support what he is doing. Athletes do NOT respond when they are being yanked around. They cannot have the mind set that physical mistakes will lead to an immediate benching. Baseball is too hard a sport with too much failure for a manager to treat players that way. A manger and GM need to judge who their best players are and go with them.

If there is a criticism to make, it's that Espinosa wasn't that good in the first place. His minor league stats are rather ordinary - except maybe for the power numbers (for a 2B especially). Perhaps Rizzo, and Johnson to a lesser extent, made a mistake on this evaluation. Nonetheless, once you've decided to go with him, you need to stick with it.

ehay2k said...

Nix - I seem to recall he was injured as a Nat as well, and maybe at about the same time in the season, and also with a leg injury. Sad for him, but also another reason why he is not here.

Mark Z., at first I thought you'd plagiarized a blog headline from the Red Sox Nation site. But I re-read it, and it was "Valentine tries to boost meetings with spirits." Sorry I could have ever thought otherwise. :-)

Gonat said...

Doc said...
Great win and great write up Mark. Thanks!

I hope Bernadina can keep proving disbelivers like me wrong---gooooooooooo Shark!!!

May 11, 2012 7:43 AM
____________________________

The kid needs playing time.

Drew said...

Jesus saves (the day).

Interesting rumbling on MLBTR that the Nats are nosing around again on Peter Bourjos, who is riding the pine with Trout in the bigs.

Bourjos can fly and showed extra base power last year but, with sporadic playing time, his career on base percentage has dropped to .300, which is even worse than that of He Who Shall Not Be The Leadoff Hitter.

Sounds like the Halos want relief help. If my stomach lining could vote, guess who'd be packing?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'm with you on Bernadina, Gonat. He's been jerked around more than any other Nat ever since returning from the broken ankle.

And I saw a glimmer of hope for Danny. He didn't go after any pitches high in the zone and went up the middle or oppo with pitches not in on his hands.

whatsanattau said...

The stars are aligning for a little more offense as they head into Cinncinatti's Little League Park. Off the wall or over it, they just need to make contact. Leake, Latos, and Arroyo (R, R, R) so Bernadina and Ankiel seem likely to get the starts. Next week all righties as well - at least through thursday - so in terms of starting lineups anyone hoping for a lefty has a long wait.

TimDz said...

NatsJack...In his final at bat, I believe Espi rolled over an outside pitch to the second baseman. He went opposite field earlier in the game. If he would start serving the baseballs into left field when batting right handed, he may get a the occasional inside pitch that he could pull. At least he didn't look as lost at the plate yesterday.

Gonat said...

NatsJack - On Espi, yes baby steps. Let's not get sucked in by 1 or 2 decent games. He actually had decent games on Friday and Saturday and was horrible on Sunday, Tuesday, and choked in 2 critical spots on Wednesday.

Until Espi can do something clutch, 0-17 with RISP makes him really worse than a pitcher as he can't move players over in critical spots and he is batting in premium spots in the batting order. Its actually worse than the slash shows.

All joking aside, EJax could be a Pinch Hitter much in the same way as Marquis. I wouldn't be surprised to see EJax at some point PHing.

Tcostant said...

Hopefully the price went down from the offseason. He's a true lead off hitter.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/11/angels-nationals-reportedly-discussing-peter-bourjos-trade/

hiramhover said...

One other thing to remember with Bourjos

He's had problems with his right hip, and said during ST that he would have had surgery on it this off-season, but that he waited too late, and thus expects to have surgery on it next off season.

Whether that's partly responsible for his bad performance at the plate this year, who knows?

NatsNut said...

Ho hum. Another win. What else did we expect? =)

Gonat said...

Bourjos is that right handed OF the Nats could use except his overall #'s stink. His clutch numbers are excellent. His #'s are better vs. LH pitching.

Keep in mind he is 25 years old and never really has done anything except get hype. When you consider that he has a hip problem, is this just another former top prospect who flames out?

Are you buying low, just to take him for next year? The price on him has come down. Trout is killing the ball and the Angels have holes they need to fill so it makes sense they are dangling Bourjos. Seems like Bourjos is a AAA candidate to right himself.

To me, its who you have to give up to get him.

NatsNut said...

Aren't they the same thing?

rimshot

Manassas Nats' Fan said...
...Let's beat the Reds. GO Gio, Zim, and EJax. Go hitters

natsfan1a said...

My husband usually watches some of the game, then heads upstairs. I tend to watch to the end if it's not too late (zzzz). When I come upstairs after it's over, he always asks me what happened. This year, there's a lot of "What do you think happened? The Nats won. Again." :-)

natsfan1a said...

One of my fave links, NatsNut. Just noticed that they have crickets, which could be useful as well.

NCNatsie said...

Before giving up on Espi, I suggest an experiment. Send him down to Syracuse or Harrisburg with the specific instruction that he bat right handed against all pitchers. We have Lombo who can fill in very adequately, and potentially take over if the experiment fails.

Switch hitting is a marginal advantage. Anybody can do it, you just have to get into the other batter's box. But only a few can do it effectively. Maybe Espinosa is one of those just below the margin.

NatsNut said...

1a, yes I got the rimshot link from you. I should have credited the source.
;)

ejs1111 said...

@ Gonat... I disagree about Bourjos- I think he has done a little more than hype only. Last season he put up pretty solid numbers, and played stellar defense.

147 G, 552 PA, .271 BA, .327 OBP, .765 OPS
12 HR, 22 SB... 7.5 UZR and 4.3 WAR

Granted, that was his first full season in MLB, and he is still young- so he could improve or regress from those numbers...

... but, compared to the hitters we have been tossing into the leadoff spot... I would take those numbers in a heartbeat!

Ann Ominous said...

"Switch hitting is a marginal advantage. Anybody can do it, you just have to get into the other batter's box."

Likewise, anybody can become a millionaire. You just have to get a million dollars.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Hey Gonat......apparently the posters on this site don't pay any attention to Davey when it comes to lead off hitters. He likes Desmond in that role and OPS be damned.

Unless the price for Bourjous is extremely discounted for the hip thing, I wouldn't go there.

Exposremains said...

Bernadina doesn't belong in the same sentence as Bourjos.

NatsLady said...

This is funny, but sad. The NY Daily News Power Rankings only listed 29 teams. They forgot the Twins. The Twins probably wish they could forget the Twins, too.

Power rankings - page 2

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mlb-power-rankings-baltimore-orioles-climb-1-spot-yankees-ny-mets-boston-red-sox-slip-article-1.1073825?pgno=1

JD said...

NatsJack,

I agree about Bourjos but about Desmond:

0 for 5 and in 5 plate appearances he saw 9 pitches - OBP now .284. So I wonder; does Davey really like him in that role (why?) or does he not have any other choices. I am telling you that if the Nats had someone who got on base like 33% of the time at leadoff the offense could be semi functional.

NatsLady said...

The Bourjos hip thing worries me more than the offensive stats. That could impact this year and next year. But it is really fun to watch him in the outfield.

Really, really depends on the price. We have clear needs but are not desperate.

Exposremains said...

Let's say you trade Flores and one reliever from the MLB roster and a prospect for Bourjos. Which reliever on the team apart from Storen would you not trade? I'd be ready to trade any reliever except Clippard but that could be a mistake because its possible we've already seen the best years of Clippard.

NatsLady said...

They're not going to trade Clip, even if this might not be his best year. Stats said last year was partly luck, anyway. He's working on a cutter and wants to be the next Mariano Rivera, and I wouldn't put it past him.

Can't trade Henry right now. They wouldn't take Gorzy or Ryan Perry. I wouldn't want to let go of Stammen (who is doing great and has options).

That leaves Burnett and Mattheus. Would hate to part with either, but can't say they are untouchable.

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Hey Gonat......apparently the posters on this site don't pay any attention to Davey when it comes to lead off hitters. He likes Desmond in that role and OPS be damned.

Unless the price for Bourjous is extremely discounted for the hip thing, I wouldn't go there.

May 11, 2012 10:20 AM
____________________________

Leadoff has been a doomed role on this team except for 2006. I'm not sure I would mess with Bryce Harper at leadoff.

I was never "high" on Bourjos when other people were but that isn't say I wouldn't take him for a fair deal. He just doesn't have good numbers. Potential is something we throw around all the time.

JD said...

Originally we all thought that next year LaRoche Leaves and Morse moves to 1st leaving only Harper and Werth as regular outfielders and making the acquisition of a center fielder necessary. Now I think it is more than likely that LaRoche is retained leaving Morse, Harper and Werth in the outfield (all things being equal).

In this scenario I would not make a big play for someone like Bourjos who is not significantly better than what we have. I think that the leadoff spot should come from one of the middle infield positions (I think that only one of Desi or Espi should still be in the lineup).

sjm308 said...

expo - is Bourjos really worth all that when he is just sitting most of the time in LA? Seems a little steep to me, especially since he might be damaged goods. I would give Bernadina this one last chance and if after another month, we are still looking at difficult times concerning Morse, then I might make that trade.

I like that Davey gives everyone all kinds of chances but Desmond is truly not getting it done as a leadoff hitter and I think Lombo could fill that role. Move Desmond into that 6 spot and you still have his power in a spot that might actually help.

TimDz said...

Exposremains said...
Let's say you trade Flores and one reliever from the MLB roster and a prospect for Bourjos....
___________________________

Let's say we don't...that would be a huge overpay. ESPECIALLY if there are hip issues. A prospect and one of the major league relievers, maaaaaybe. I think if we get Bourjos, it will be the Halo's selling low. Rizzo needs to wait this one out.

NatsLady said...

Ready for another Mayan Adventure?

ERA 2.98 WHIP 1.09

Pitched 7 innings yesterday, no earned runs, 1 BB, 4 K.

Box Score

http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t552&t=g_box&gid=2012_05_10_dubaaa_syraaa_1

NatsLady said...

TimDZ, I'm pretty much with you and the "naysayers" on this one unless the price is fairly low. Pitching has been our strength this year, but we don't have that much to spare in the bullpen with Lidge and Storen out and Henry being, well, Henry.

The bullpen's not untouchable as I said above, but I'm also not ready to throw Flores into the deal.

Ramos has just not been steady. I hate to say this but he needs to lose a few pounds and get back to basics.

joemktg said...

Team ERA is almost 1/2 run better than the #2 team in the majors. Tremendous differential.

Maybe I missed it, but waiting to see who from the SPs will be the first one used by Davey as a PH (and not just to bunt).

Exposremains said...

I;m just being realistic of what the Angels would ask for? Its a guy a few months ago that they wouldn't even discuss.

NatsNut said...

Off topic a bit, but I have to confess, I am pretty impressed with Harper so far. Even with his highlights, Colegate (ha!), and even his mistakes, he seems to be blending in and not trying to draw too much attention on himself. I actually like that he's not hitting over .300 because it seems like he's learning, but not choking either.

As Boz pointed out, he has already played all outfield positions and taken a spin throughout the lineup in just a couple weeks. Not perfectly, (see learning-not-choking above), but he's keeping up quite well.

Before this, I was absolutely a doubter, turned off by some of the coverage about him, thinking he was just a punk. But he's turning my opinion around.

Exposremains said...

I dont know why I put a ? there.

NatsLady said...

I'm glad I'm not Rizzo on this one. It would only take a small injury to Bernadina or Ankiel to put us in a REALLY deep hole, especially with DeRosa's return apparently delayed. Agree it would be nice to wait a month and see how Morse fares, but might not have that luxury.

joemktg, time to start a pool on the starters' hitting...

Drew said...

NatsJack: We can agree that Desmond has some pop for a shortstop. Fine, hit him sixth and let him drive in some runs.

Giving a guy with his on base percentage the most at bats on the club, hitting him -- of all people -- in front of Harper, Zim, LaRoche, is insane.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, well said on next year. That's exactly how I see it although the bench could always be stronger.

DeRosa was my Xfactor guy from the right side. Could Bourjos be that RH outfielder the club needs? Sure doesn't look like it. I would say ex-prospect flameout unless he has a fixable injury.

Good point by Gonat, he's 25 years old and time is ticking.

NatsNut said...

Also, I wanted to save this for when Henry tanks again, just to balance out the hate, but Mark has a new post on him, so here goes.

I'm thinking (hoping) that Henry could be one of those who thrives under the confidence placed in him. It might take another year, but he could easily end up a complete dominator and we'll remember fondly the heartburn he used to give us.

The current versions of Clippard, Stammen, and even Detwiler are good results of sticking-with-them while they worked out some major inconsistencies. I hardly recognize any of them from their first years. Henry could very well be in the same category. We just gotta make it through this hard part alive.

Exposremains said...

Desmond is becoming a great defender at SS but his offensive numbers are really for the 7th or 8th spot. On a good offensive team that's where he would hit. They don't have anybody that can hit leadoff, DJ is not gonna say that and ruined Desmond confidence. I think he is Adam Everett with a bit more pop.

NatsLady said...

I doubt Davey likes Desmond in the leadoff role. He can read stats as well as we can. Desi likes Desi in the leadoff role, and Davey isn't going to argue about small potatoes if it will affect morale.

Gonat said...

Drew said...
NatsJack: We can agree that Desmond has some pop for a shortstop. Fine, hit him sixth and let him drive in some runs.

Giving a guy with his on base percentage the most at bats on the club, hitting him -- of all people -- in front of Harper, Zim, LaRoche, is insane.

May 11, 2012 11:05 AM
_____________________________

Classic case of Desi trying to do too much to start the game. Davey has to make him his special project again and its really Desi's 1st AB of the game thats poor. He has NO walks as a leadoff man this season.

At the 4th inning to 6th, his numbers are great: .389/.450/.694/1.144 and he's the BEST batter in the Majors in the 9th inning .556/.556/1.000/1.556

He's like 2 different guys. Its almost like get the 1st inning out of the way and go back to the bench. He has to take that September "patient" approach.

I definitely don't move Desi. I re-tool him. He has to take the 1st pitch for a while. The 1st pitch ambush isn't working anymore. As Steve says, scouts aren't stupid. Desi has to find any way he can to get on base in the 1st inning.

A DC Wonk said...

JD said...

0 for 5 and in 5 plate appearances he saw 9 pitches - OBP now .284. So I wonder; does Davey really like him in that role (why?)


No.

NatsJack in Florida said...
Hey Gonat......apparently the posters on this site don't pay any attention to Davey when it comes to lead off hitters. He likes Desmond in that role and OPS be damned.


And no.

Really, now. Davey has said, more than once, that Desi is not his ideal leadoff hitter, but that of the guys he wants to play, he fits the role better than the other eight starters.

No need to trash Davey because the Nats lack a true leadoff hitter.

A DC Wonk said...

I'm thinking (hoping) that Henry could be one of those who thrives under the confidence placed in him. It might take another year, but he could easily end up a complete dominator and we'll remember fondly the heartburn he used to give us.

Exactly. Or, at least, that's exactly what Davey's thinking. It's pretty obvious.

And I've been saying the same, ad nauseum, every time somebody writes: "what the h@ck is HRod still pitching the ninth for?" or "why didn't Davey pull him after walking a guy/WP?" or "what's Davey thinking?"

It's obvious what Davey's thinking -- and you just stated it.

This is the way Davey rolls. He's been doing it since his first manager job -- and he's been doing it pretty darn well.

peric said...

I doubt Davey likes Desmond in the leadoff role. He can read stats as well as we can.

He has actually said he sees Desmond as a future #3 hitter. He is doing with Desmond as was done with many of the better athletes with power like the Bonds, etc. put them at lead off. It lets them see a lot of pitches.

They don't have a classic lead-off guy yet. They are trying to see if Corey Brown can do it. When he returns from injury perhaps they'll see what Brian Goodwin does ... but he may spec out lower in the lineup. There's Kobernus in Harrisburg who is unbelievable right now.

The ***REAL*** plan is working. They are managing to both win and develop the more promising prospects both in the majors and minors.

Stop bellyaching or you'll end up on Giggleman's Isle.

NatsLady said...

Gonat, agree. Desi has this image of himself starting off the game with a first pitch double (or single). It would have to bounce 30 feet in front of him for him not to swing.

Mattheus threw two crazy pitches, Clip threw one. But they weren't wild pitches because no one was on base. Do they do that to "scare hitters" or is the control off?

Nice article on Henry. Boy, when that strikeout/WP happened, I could see Henry getting nervous, and starting to rush things, and I'm shouting (in my head, because I'm at the gym), SLOW DOWN, HENRY, SLOW DOWN. And he did.

NatsLady said...

Peric, I kind of agree, that may be in Davey's mind, and there is no other clear choice for leadoff--BUT, to see more pitches Desi would have to look at them.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, you beat me to it. Did Desi's 1st inning and he has numbers that would be very good overall. He is also on pace to score 80 runs which is good.

I also think he is trying to do too much. The team issues are the 3 hole batting .197 which Zim will fix and the 6 hole slashing .144/.198/.186/.385 where the loss of Morse and Werth's absence have pushed 7 hitters into the 6.

The 6 hole numbers are worse than the pitchers spot. Go figure!

Theophilus T. S. said...

If there was a leak on Bourjos, where did it come from? Certainly not Rizzo. (Somebody said "a true lead off hitter." Batting .192. What time zone are you in where the sun is over the yard arm?)

The back story on this is that the Angels have assured Bourjos's agent that he is being shopped, not to worry. And the agent is spreading the news about all the teams to which his client would like to be traded.

Don't think we need to worry.

MicheleS said...

For all our interwebs guru's out there: Where do you find the win/loss records that tell you the following:

When did we win our 19th game in previous years? Is there an easy place to find it or am I going to have to tax my brain by counting?

Exposremains said...

Surprising Stat: Clippard has 1 more walk than HRod

Gonat said...

NatsLady, agree at the leadoff but then Desi changes in the later innings to seeing more pitches.

My feeling is, he is a .167 hitter to leadoff the game so its not working in the 1st inning, clearly. Sit him down and say you are doing great in every inning but the 1st. You have to lay off the first pitch for a while and I want you to get to more hitters counts in the 1st inning like a 2-1 or 3-1 then PARTY.

Can they change his mindset? Yes, Davey did it last year. I think Davey is so preoccupied with Espi and Bryce and other special projects right now.

Like Steve showed, the 3 hole and 6 hole have been the weakest spots. You get Morse and Werth back and on July 31st you have:

Desi
Bryce
Zim
LaRoche
Morse
Werth
Lombo
Ramos

That there is an offense that will score over 4 runs per game. Just need everyone healthy for the stretch run.

Marty said...

@Ghost Of Steve M. - Could Bourjos be that RH outfielder the club needs? Sure doesn't look like it. I would say ex-prospect flameout unless he has a fixable injury

Yikes. In what world is Bourjos a flameout? The Nats should be so lucky as to have anyone on the team who could flameout to the tune of 4.8WAR...

His hip is cause for concern, but the Nats would be silly not to try and pick him up if the Angels are willing to give him up for a reliever.

MicheleS said...

For those who watched the Mets in 84-86: Didn't Davey do stuff like this? Leave pitchers in too long so they could learn how to work out of a jam? I am sure he did stuff with the hitters/fielders as well.

The thing I think that is funny is that with Harper, Davey just puts him where ever and for the most part he seems to thrive.

MLB Tonight (I love MLB network) did a break down last night of Harper's throw/error. They actually pointed out that the infielders didn't help Harper out. Saying they could have been positioned better to intercept the throw (He still shouldn't have thrown to Flores). It was Ripken of course. It's not up yet, but be on the look out for it.

JaneB said...

The thing is, if Desi isn't the lead off guy, who ON THE PRESENT TEAM would be? I apologize to Mrs. Dalton, my sixth grade teacher, for the lousy sentence construction. Also for using "lousy" as a legitimate word. But I digress.

I don't see anyone else who can take the role. And I don't think we should trade away for ailing players rumored to be on the market at this point. Wait two weeks, see how Morse is doing.

But seriously. Complai. All you want about Desi. Who else bats there? He is the best option for that role now. And the role is a one inning role.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Marty, Bourjos WAR is elevated by his defense. The Nats have Ankiel as their late inning defensive replacement.

The Nats need a CF with offense and defense. If Bourjos was so great he would be starting in front of Torii Hunter.

Spare me the WAR comparisons for this year. As they say with Pujols, it ain't 2011 anymore. BOOOOO

JaneB said...

I did watch Davey in those years, and screamed at the TV often. But! I also remember the real feeling that he loved those guys, and it was the first time I recalled seeing a manager act like something other than combined school principal/cop. He smiled at them. Laughed wth them. Said good things about them in the paper(back in the days when you has to read the actual paper, so I subscribed for the NYTimes for sports coverage, not the puzzle).
I think believing in tne guys makes a difference.

MicheleS said...

Davey vs Charlie Manual.

Charlie rips into his guys in a team meeting and it gets out to the public.

Daveyhas a team meeting and what gets told to the press? That he just wanted everyone to know how much confidence he has in them, etc. (now that may not have been what was said, but it is what we were told).

BTW.. Olney and others are reporting that if things don't turn around quickly for the Phils, Amaro (GM) is going to raise the white flag and shop Hamels and Victorino.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA..

JamesFan said...

I doubt that Rizzo is going to trade anything significant to get a .192 hitter with a bad hip. I would not give up Flores (they need a catcher) or any significant piece of the pen (one of our strengths). One of Lannan, Bernie, Maya, Gorzy, Burnett and maybe plus a midling prospect.

Ron In Reston said...

Michele, I saw that breakdown and as a first baseman, I completely agree. LaRoche should have been between home and first and between the line and the mound. Flores yells for him to cut the throw, thereby either holding McCutcheon at first or gunning him down trying for second. Espi should have been at the very least heading to cover first since Desi was covering second.

NatsLady said...

MicheleS, Davey said the same. Completely threw LaRoche under the bus, and Flores along with him. Wonder if he got with ALR later and said, "Sorry about that, bud." ALR big Henry supporter, gotta like that.

NatsLady said...

MicheleS, Victorino? Really? Hamels I get. Cholly has no use for him, that's pretty clear. And, reading up on him since The Plunking, I can't believe Hamels said, in the middle of the WS after his turn was over, "Can't wait for the season to end."

MicheleS said...

NatsLady.. I think Victorino is a FA after the season. Apparantly Blue Jays may be interested.

Marty said...

@Ghost Of Steve M. - The Nats need a CF with offense and defense.
I didn't say I thought Bourjos was some amazing offensive player, just that the Nats would be silly not to trade for him if the Angels would seriously consider trading him for a reliever.

If Bourjos was so great he would be starting in front of Torii Hunter.
I'm sure the fact that Hunter is making $18 million this year has nothing to do with that situation.

Spare me the WAR comparisons for this year.
Spare me your dismissiveness. Though I suppose it is good to know that you can't reference past performance when evaulating players...

TheManBearPig said...

Getting healthy will cure a lot of the Nats offensive problems and they're on their way, with Zim back and Morse's return only about a month away. The Nats team OBP is about 40 points higher with runners on than with bases empty. Plugging holes in the lineup with hitters that get on base a lot will improve the rest of the lineup. Patience.

natsfan1a said...

Nah, that's okay. I'm not the source, just another user of that site. :-)

NatsNut said...

1a, yes I got the rimshot link from you. I should have credited the source.
;)
May 11, 2012 9:47 AM

NatsLady said...

MicheleS, yes, and so is Hamels. They would be really giving up on the season pretty early if they start the fire sale now.

Ron In Reston said...

Ok, Michele, since I am bored at work:

Year Date Record Win Loss Save
2005 5/14 19-17 Livo Zambrano Cordero

2006 5/25 19-29 Armas Pettitte Cordero

2007 5/24 19-29 Bacsik(!) Belisle Cordero

2008 5/18 19/26 Lannan Guthrie Rauch

2009 6/18 19-46(!) Stammen Joba C. MacDougal

2010 5/12 19-15 Clippard Rodriguez Capps

2011 5/15 19-21 Marquis Vazquez None

2012 5/10 19-12 Strasburg Correia HRod

There you have it, hoping when it posts this all lines up

Ann Ominous said...

"When did we win our 19th game in previous years? Is there an easy place to find it or am I going to have to tax my brain by counting?"

It's not hard to look at pages like this at baseball-reference.com and figure that out.

natsfan1a said...

MicheleS, here's one place:

Scroll down for the game-by-game schedule and results (19th win in 2010 was May 12).

I'm one who collects and squirrels away media guides (when I can find them; still hunting 2012 at the park), so I sometimes look things up in them.

MicheleS said...

For all our interwebs guru's out there: Where do you find the win/loss records that tell you the following:

When did we win our 19th game in previous years? Is there an easy place to find it or am I going to have to tax my brain by counting?
May 11, 2012 11:37 AM

MicheleS said...

Thanks Ron/AmnO/1A.. Now I can gleefully look at this for the rest of the season!!!!

natsfan1a said...

ohnevermind :-)

Ron In Reston said...

Ok, Michele, since I am bored at work:

Ann Ominous said...

It's not hard to look at pages like this at baseball-reference.com and figure that out.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Marty-I am in 100% agreement with you. Bourjos was a very good player last year on both offense and defense and he is young, under team control and makes no money. He is absolutely worth a shot. We are about to have 10 capable relief pitchers for 7 spots:

HROD
Clippard
Lidge
Mattheus
Burnett
Stammen
Gorzo
Detwiler/Jackson
Storen
Perry

We can definitely afford to trade 1 or 2 for the chance at a really good CF who is making no money. This is a no brainer if the scouting department thinks he is capable of last year's numbers or better. Most of the fans on this site are like mothers of little leaguers and think anybody in a Nationals uniform is better than any of the other 700 players in major league baseball. We are DESPERATE for some offense, and this guy could really help.

natsfan1a said...

You're welcome.

MicheleS said...

F&I and others. Until we know what is going on with that Hip, I would be reluctant to trade anything than a bag a balls and a minor prospect for him. No need to get fleeced.

Ron In Reston said...

You are quite welcome, Michele

A DC Wonk said...

thinking he was just a punk.

And, instead, it turned out he was just a teenager, thinking (correctly, as it turned out) that he was a once-in-a-generation baseball player. ;-)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

For young players, WAR moves greatly. If last years WAR determines this years than Danny Espinosa is a superstar.

Sports has always been, what have you done for me lately.

I like Bourjos, tread with caution.

Theophilus T. S. said...

"if the scouting department thinks he is capable of last year's numbers or better." Monster, gargantuan, Gulliver-sized "IF."

I don't get the passion for marginal, incomplete players that other teams are trying to get rid of faster than last week's bananas. Why are people so needy they want to DFA Bernadina, Nady, DeRosa, Tracy, etc., etc., and then give up ANYTHING for somebody else's over-ripe fruit?

TheManBearPig said...

F&I, With Strasburg being inning-limited this season, I don't think Detweiler/Jackson should be on the list. If that's right, there are 9 capable relievers, not 10, making it a bit harder to give up 2. So, who should the Nats be willing to give up to get Bourjos?

Marty said...

@Theophilus T. S. - I don't get the passion for marginal, incomplete players that other teams are trying to get rid of faster than last week's bananas. Why are people so needy they want to DFA Bernadina, Nady, DeRosa, Tracy, etc., etc., and then give up ANYTHING for somebody else's over-ripe fruit?

Might as well finish this horse off if it isn't dead already.

Bernadina, Nady, DeRosa, Tracy, Bourjos. One of these things is not like the others. If you think Bourjos belongs in this group then, well...
I think it is fair to say that his hip should be a big red flag and it's probably more than fair to say this whole conversation is moot b/c the Angels aren't trading Bourjos for a reliever. But acting like Bourjos sucks or is a flamed out prospect is silly.

Drew said...

JaneB asked else on the present club could be a credible leadoff hitter. Seems to me there's a readily available solution.

Send Danny Espinosa down (as they once did when Lannan lost his way.) Start Lombo at second base. Have him lead off. Move Desmond down in the order.

You give the offense a shot in the arm and you give Lombo a look now, before the decisions on FA Speedy McLeadoff, Perez, Goodwin, Rendon.

Tcostant said...

MicheleS said...
For those who watched the Mets in 84-86: Didn't Davey do stuff like this? Leave pitchers in too long so they could learn how to work out of a jam? I am sure he did stuff with the hitters/fielders as well.

Me --> I watched those teams a lot. He did do that and they learned a lot. But he always seemed to leave Sid Fernesdez in to long. [As a fan I could see he needed to come out, but DJ would leave him in there]

peric said...

I didn't say I thought Bourjos was some amazing offensive player, just that the Nats would be silly not to trade for him if the Angels would seriously consider trading him for a reliever.

Makes sense but The Ghost is right. He would be another high ceiling prospect still requiring a good bit of development. He's far from a finished product at this point. (see Espinosa, Danny); and you folks are all going to have to put up with his starts and sputters. Y'all think these prospects should all be Ted Williams right out of the box. Sheesh the lack of baseball knowledge is appalling.

Upton would be further along development wise. And they might be able to wrangle him ask FA next year ... or perhaps he has already said no or is working on an extension with the Rays ... no one knows for sure.

It doesn't say much for Corey Brown or Brian Goodwin ... both players have suffered from injuries that have affected their development. And then there's Rendon, Marerro, and even Kobernus got a late start because of knee issues.

peric said...

You give the offense a shot in the arm and you give Lombo a look now, before the decisions on FA Speedy McLeadoff, Perez, Goodwin, Rendon.

Rendon does not project as a lead-off hitter. And Lombo at second would block Rendon's entrance to the majors. Lombo is fine. He is the starting UTL. And he has been more than competent at that position. If it works don't fix it. Right? Stop with the Lombo replacing Espinosa. If anyone is going to replace Espinosa it likely is Rendon.

The problem the Nats really have is deciding who would be better at shortstop Desmond or Espinosa.

Finally, if Espinosa isn't given the time to make himself more valuable ... then trading him becomes as hard an exercise as it currently is with Lannan. Espinosa is potentially a far more valuable trade chip than is AAAA pitcher John Lannan.

Espinosa is a JMAX, a Morgan, a Kearns, a FLop, etc. This player has superstar potential written everywhere. So, all this whining about Espinosa in the lineup is nonsensical for way too many reasons to count.

peric said...

So, who should the Nats be willing to give up to get Bourjos?

Wang, perhaps Stammen or Gorzo, and Rafael Martin.

Drew said...

Peric

No one expects prospects to play like Teddy Ballgame.

That would be unrealistic -- like our vain hope that you'll stop acting like a jerk.

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