Monday, August 27, 2012

Heated words, but no rift



Read as much (or as little) as you want into Davey Johnson's animated discussion with Mike Rizzo following yesterday's 4-1 loss in Philadelphia, but know this: There's no rift between the Nationals manager and general manager, not even close to one.

What happened? About five minutes after the game at Citizens Bank Park ended, the clubhouse was opened to reporters, and we made our way toward Johnson's office for his usual postgame session.

Before entering the room, though, we heard Johnson loudly exclaim to someone: "Why don't you come down here and manage this team!" At which point Nationals PR director John Dever asked all of us to head back outside the clubhouse.

About 10 minutes later, we were allowed back in, at which point Johnson answered questions in a manner not all that different after any other loss this season. Johnson also acknowledged it was Rizzo who was in his office.

It all sounds like juicy and salacious stuff, because it's the kind of outburst that rarely takes place within earshot of reporters. But that's the key point: This stuff rarely takes place within earshot of reporters. That doesn't mean it doesn't take place when reporters are nowhere in sight.

Do you honestly think Johnson and Rizzo have never gotten into an argument before? Do you know anything about these two men? Each is an emotional, competitive, baseball lifer with strong opinions and supreme confidence in how he performs his job. Frankly, it would be more concerning if they never raised their voice at each other.

Don't, however, mistake the occasional raised voice a sign of animosity between the two. The level of respect Rizzo has for Johnson and vice versa is as strong as you'll find between any manager and GM in baseball. They've each got opinions on a lot of matters, and they're not afraid to make those opinions known, but they're on the same page when it comes to the big picture.

Maybe it's because the Nationals have cruised along all season without any hint of adversity, occupying first place in the NL East for all but 10 days over the last five months, but we tend to forget a baseball season is full of emotional highs and lows. The Nats have done a remarkable job staying even-keeled through it all, not getting excited over winning streaks, not getting demoralized over losing streaks.

But that doesn't mean these guys don't have emotions. That doesn't mean they don't get upset when something bad happens, whether it's tossing over a bat rack after striking out or knocking over a clubhouse chair after giving up a run.

These aren't robots.

Blowing off a little steam at the right moment never hurt anyone. The only concern is when it happens too frequently or over insignificant matters.

What happened after yesterday's game falls under the first category. A GM frustrated by a lackluster performance that extended his team's losing streak to four games said something that set off his manager.

Ever been frustrated with your boss and raised your voice?

Davey Johnson certainly has. This is a guy who throughout his managerial career has been known to clash with superiors. He's also been known to win a whole lot of games. Johnson has taken five teams to the postseason. It's probably safe to say he got into an argument with his boss at least one in each of those five playoff runs.

The 2012 Nationals haven't made the playoffs yet. They've got 35 games remaining to protect their 4 1/2-game lead over the Braves for the NL East title and their 8 1/2-game lead for the NL's final wild-card berth.

It's still unlikely this team collapses and doesn't get there. But if that somehow happens, it won't be because its manager raised his voice to his GM after one late-August game in Philadelphia.

115 comments:

MicheleS said...

Hopefully the players heard and you know, start playing better!

Thankfully, Stras vs Miami on Tuesday.

blovy8 said...

If you heard it the players probably did too, wonder if that was the plan?

Hey that was nice you beat the Braves, but you stunk against the Phillies so what did it get you? They are still right there. On the other hand, you're no worse off than before that series either, and you won't be facing guys as great as Halladay and Lee most nights, so calm the hell down, and play smart baseball and things will still be ok, right? Plus, it's another week of the season and you're still up 4 1/2.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Rizzo is a terrific GM, and Davey a proven field manager. I am glad to see how much those 2 guys care about the team's performance on the field, and I think that a winning attitude starts at the top. Both of those guys have it.

I expect to see a well-rested and refocused team tomorrow against the Fish. Maybe the skid was good for them. Better now while they have plenty of time to recover than later, when they might not.

Winning teams learn from their own mistakes, and get better.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nicely written Mark. Its certainly not panic time. This is nothing close to July 20th and losing a 9-0 lead to the team behind you.

hiramhover said...

Stuff like this--the brain farts in Philly, the Rizzo-Davey meeting--happens.

I just wished it hadn't happened on the day before an off-day--no baseball to take our minds off it for another 32 hours.

I guess that's what work is for.

Tcostant said...

$2 Tuesday tickets are back:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/specials.jsp

JamesFan said...

The biggest mistake of the weekend might have been letting the media into the clubhouse too early. This story gives an image of panic that may or may not be there.

If there was a squabble, I hope it was over sloppy baserunning or pitchers unable to hold runners in place.

I hope it was not about pulling Harper. Harper need to get himself under control and stop the tantrums. He's obviously already burned himself with the umps and will not get a call the rest of the year.

A pennant race is not a development program for one player. DJ, play the best players and use Harper when his skills warrant it. He should not be playing more than Bernie right now.

From here on out, it is a test of character. Don't panic. Don't back-peddle on the Stras decision. Leave the season to the veterans and DJ to play it out. I will take what they give me

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Just my opinion based on how things went down in the game, but I think the double switch for Harper in the inning following the Cliff Lee hit was more about Davey being upset about the Cliff Lee hit over Harp's head.

I don't know if the Coach moved Harp in or he did it on his own. As JD commented, Harp didn't take the best route to the ball and not even the best jump.

That play changed the game for sure.

Mac G said...

Crazy me for wanting to know what they were arguing about and maybe even a journalist at the game could help provide this insight. I am sure the Nationals PR enjoyed your "move along, nothing to see here" take.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JamesFan said...
A pennant race is not a development program for one player. DJ, play the best players and use Harper when his skills warrant it. He should not be playing more than Bernie right now.


With a healthy Morse, I think Harper wouldn't have been playing yesterday against the lefty as Werth would have probably played CF.

The problem with Bernadina is that he hasn't shown the ability to play better as a starter. He has however been great as a replacement player and pinch-hitter.

I think Harper has to sit more and Bernadina needs to prove he is better than Harper as a starter.

It has to be handled well as this is not a great situation to be contemplating at this point in the season. If it were any player other than Harper, I think the player would have been sent down to AAA a while ago.

JD said...


Ghost,

Right after the Lee hit I told my son that I don't like JZim's body English and that I thought Mc.Catty should come out to calm him down and before I knew it the score was 3 - 0. To me that's the key right there. 1 - 0 is no big deal but 3 - 0 against a veteran who is on his game is a tall order.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, totally agree. You knew it was coming. I saw it last year. Jordan kept his composure after the passed ball getting Kratz. After the Lee double, McCatty needed to walk to the hill.

Should have been a 0-0 pitcher's duel. Oh well, should/could/would.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

On the bright side, John Lannan was named pitcher of the week and Anthony Rendon had a much better week in AA smacking a bunch of doubles and taking some walks. Brian Goodwin has also picked it up recently.

NatsLady said...

Crazy me for wanting to know what they were arguing about...

Why?

If you know it, then the other teams know it. Let them wonder.

NatsLady said...

Said the same myself, and I feel if Desi were there, he would have nipped it right off. It could be that JZ doesn't have the personality where he likes or feels he needs "support" from his coach, catcher or teammates.

If so, he has to get past that. Everyone needs support. Maybe they see something he doesn't. All pitchers--well, most pitchers--are affected by bad calls, bad defense, muddy mounds, etc. Part of the maturity process is that everything is not going to be perfect, so you can execute your pitches perfectly.

JFlo should have gone out after the passed ball (if it even was a passed ball) and said, "My bad, but we got this."

Yada, yada, though... another "learning experience."

pRAA with the ISO said...

Heated words, but no rift

Would much rather have this than the heated rift but no words we had with Riggleman. Wouldn't you say?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, at least JFlo called a good game yesterday.

I expected JFlo to catch JZim and hope that continues as they were on the same page.

JD said...


NL and Ghost,

I don't think it was support he needed as much as a few minutes to re compose himself and concentrate on the next hitter. He was pitching to Rollins while still fuming about the pitch to Lee.

Mc.Catty is normally very good at managing the moment but I think he fell asleep at the wheel on Sunday.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

On Bernadina:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/roger-bernadina-the-nationals-muscle-man-in-the-midst-of-a-career-season/2012/08/27/7346a9a2-f053-11e1-adc6-87dfa8eff430_blog.html?wprss=rss_nationals-journal

Doc said...

Thanks for providing some 'bright side' Ghost. It's a long season, and almost anything can happen---all the probabilities are in place!

The worst part of the 3 game loss had to do with it being to the hated Philthies! You could almost see their smug mugs burning through my computer screen.

The call-ups, some of which you mentioned, will give us a bit of a motivational boost, I'm sure.

In other news, although I'm a big fan of Harps, I thought that he acted like a real brat over that double switch. Speaking of switches, Daddy Davey might consider taking one to his spoiled child Bryce.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, I re-watched the Phillies feed highlight of Lee's double. After re-watching it, it was Harper's poor route to the ball coupled with positioning more to LF that caused that to drop in.

It also looked to me that the pitch was right about where Flores was set up. The ball was supposed to be outside and looked to be outter/middle. Didn't look like a bad pitch.

rabbit34 said...

So, this whole article is about something that means nothing. If the reporters weren't in the clubhouse to hear the "outburst", then it would have been like a tree falling in the forest when you aren't around. Outside of this article, what was the point of going into the clubhouse? What story would have been written? Oh, I see. We got a little color. Go nats. Watch out for the Braves. And, the Phillies....

A DC Wonk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manassas Nats' Fan said...

JZ Mojo was lost on the pass ball. body language is part of Mojo

JamesFan said...

The real questions now are how to keep Reyes off base and Stanton in the park. Need to pick it up in Miami.

A DC Wonk said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, I re-watched the Phillies feed highlight of Lee's double. After re-watching it, it was Harper's poor route to the ball coupled with positioning more to LF that caused that to drop in.

Really? I thought that (poor route) initially, but after the replay it seemed like he wouldn't have gotten to it anyways. But I could be wrong.

(As far as positioning goes -- doesn't a CF almost always shade towards left against a left-handed weak batter? Even more so when the pitcher throws mid-90's fastballs?)

waddu eye no said...

ah, jeez mark. there you go with the calm rational facts crap again.

great read as always

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Statement by Stephen Strasburg regarding shutdown:

"After much deliberation, I have informed both Nationals management and my agent that I intend to play this season until its conclusion. Should either the Nationals or my agent contravene this decision, I will be seeking a new team for next year, as well as new representation.

I understand completely that the Nationals are only attempting to look out for my well being, but as a player, I have an obligation to the other 24 guys in the dugout who have striven for this all year. I am not a minor under a guardianship. I am a man and this decision is ultimately, mine to make, and mine alone."

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

William, where is that quote from

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

This is the quote that Strasburg will give in 2 weeks and it will be pure genius.

Strasburg will be seen by fans and the media as a legend who is willing to risk everything for his teammates, while the Nats will be seen as the overprotective but beneficent organization that now gets the best of both worlds.

It has been planned ever since the Nats started appearing to be a lock for the play-offs. It is pure genius, in a WWA sort of marketing sense....

pRAA with the ISO said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
William, where is that quote from


Clearly it's straight from his nether region. Strasburg can find a new agent if he wants to, but if he wants to find a new team for next season it will have to be one in that league that Roger Clemens is playing in now. And they're not going to pay him the money he'd be giving back to the Nats by walking away from his contract.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

William, well written.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

An unhappy player of exceptional talent does not, in fact, have to walk away from anything. I seem to recall John Elway refusing to play for the Colts many years back and lo and behold, Denver ended up with his rights. I can go either way on this, but it is not going to work in the current manner, which appears to be akin to parents grounding a teenager.

If he is not going to pitch, he will be required to state that he is not pitching and that it is his choice and his choice alone not to pitch. All this stuff about ripping the ball out of his hand is silly and demeaning.

Strasburg is not some petulant child. If he is going to be shut down, he will have to stand up and say that I choose not to pitch based upon the advice of my doctors, but ultimately, this is my decision and my decision alone.

The ripping the ball out of his hand metaphor is simply not going to wash, given that no other player that I can think of in the history of professional sports has simply stopped playing when uninjured. Horse racing is the only sport where something similar happens.

Strasburg is being treated like a thoroughbred horse, but of course, a horse is a horse, and cannot think for itself.

SCNatsFan said...

Lost in the conversation about SS are the words of Zimm who says only now does he realize how weak his arm was last year. You can debate pitch counts all you want, innings all you want, but clearly what matters is the state of SS arm right now in terms of strength and how tired his arm is getting. Seems like injuries to the arm occur not because of the amount used but the amount used once the arm is tired. I don't believe anyone in the media or on this board can answer how tired his arm is; and as far as letting him make the decision, that always works out just great. Ask the growing number of NFL players who played with concussions and told the coaches they were OK so they didn't let their teammates down. Just ask their families how happy they are with that decision now.

SonnyG10 said...

Good post SCNatsFan.

peric said...

No its.fantasy pure and simple. Are we trying to be A neg-anon Boz here? Stras will never say or write anything like that. Sheesh, there is already way more spotlight on Stras as it is. He abhors a y kind of spotlight but this would be exactly the kind he wants to avoid. And its not like the Vraves aren't doing the sane thing? C'MON! I find this to be
Far more upsetting than Needham's humor!

Look Stras purportedly cried like a baby when Ruzzo told him he was having TJ surgery. How would he feel if he list a shoulder or became AAAA at age 25?


Stop.

pRAA with the ISO said...

The ripping the ball out of his hand metaphor is simply not going to wash, given that no other player that I can think of in the history of professional sports has simply stopped playing when uninjured.

You clearly weren't paying attention when they shut Jordan Zimmermann down at almost exactly this time last year. No weeping, no wailing, no gnashing of teeth. He simply stopped playing.

JD said...


William,

Stras also wanted to pitch right after he ripped his elbow tendon. as SCNatsFan said in so many words: 'you don't let the animals run the zoo'.

And no it's not his decision alone; the Nats have a huge investment in this player and they intend to benefit from that investment for more than 1 year; this team was built for an extended run.

Jim said...

Whatever it was that Rizzo said to Johnson in the manager's office sure hit a nerve. Did Rizzo imply that he could manage the team better than the current manager? This report is cause for all sorts of speculation since the media was only able to overhear what one person said to a statement made by the other person in the room. It's like publishing the second half of a story while the reader is left to guess the first half.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Strasburg has no choice in this matter, any more than Alphonso Soriano had about not playing left field. He's a player, under contract. If they say he sits, he sits. He can fire his agent, maybe, and file a grievance, maybe, but I don't see how. Talk about letting down your team--how welcome do you think that hissy fit will be in the clubhouse.

That was not the stupidest post I've ever read in here, WODL, but it's on the short list.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Let him pitch. He will be in San Diego or LA in 4 years anyways.

Steady Eddie said...

I'm with SCNatsFan, peric, and Sofa.

It's called thinking ahead, and considering future consequences of current actions based on the views of the most informed experts (here, medical) relevant to the situation. What grownups do.

Please stop.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Those in favor of letting him pitch: The entire baseball community

Those in favor of shutting him down: Rizzo/NY Times/Thomas Boswell/Rizzo slurpers/Scott Boras (big surprise there...that is his golden paycheck for 2017 in SD or LA)

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

I can think of in the history of professional sports has simply stopped playing when uninjured.

Does Ricky Williams (the first time) count?
Mussina?
Ooh, I know: Sidd Finch!

SonnyG10 said...

F&I, this is the Nats, not the Orioles.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

OTOH, in favor of shutting him down: all the doctors.

Steady Eddie said...

And as we know, F&I, the fearful and ignorant are infalliable.

JD said...


Fear,

You know what? I heard some of the 'baseball community' recently including: David Cone, Leo Mazzone and others (I won't even bother mentioning morons like Steven A. Smith) and they all have a couple of things in common:

1) None of them have successfully articulated why pitching him indefinitely does not constitute a severe risk to his future.

2) None of these analysts root for the Nationals.

The Nationals fans who are totally invested in the team's success appear to be close to unanimous in favor of the shutdown.

SCNatsFan said...

When SS goes to SD or LA I hope the trolls follow

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

F&I, I guess I'm a Rizzo slurper however I believe you watch like JZim's arm to tell you when his season is over.

I don't have the numbers of innings SS pitched in College or USA Baseball or the College Summer team Stras played in but I am sure he pitched more innings than JZim had during those same College years comparatively.

The key is throwing effective innings or its a moot point.



JD said...


Ghost,

Clearly the magic number is arbitrary but you have to come up with something which is logical based on previous history otherwise you are trusting something which is totally subjective.

Every time SS pitches an effective game you will be tempted to throw him out there one more time and when he damages his shoulder it will be too late.

I like that Rizzo has come up with a number; that he is head strong and that he is willing to put his career on the line doing what he believes in.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Once again, for the slow people in the crowd, there is NO, repeat NO scientific information to substantiate any efforts to reduce the risk of an injury to a pitcher. NONE!!! Every medical opinion from a professional on the matter has said the same thing. Rizzo can put together a 5000 page document and those facts will not change. The fact that Rizzo is putting Strasburg under this kind of pressure says a great deal about his inability to play the public relations game. Can you imagine someone telling Michael Jordan or Tom Brady he had to sit out of the playoffs when they are 100% healthy. Strasburg is just like them when it comes to competitive desire...good luck dealing with the catastrophe that is about to ensue. Anybody thinks that this is just going to happen quietly is out of their mind. Strasburg is going to demand to pitch, and if they don't let him, Rizzo will never be able to undo the damage done to his reputation and this organization.

JD said...


Fear,

Fortunately; Rizzo is prepared to take on the upcoming storm and not do the easy wishy washy thing you would like him to do.

Comparing young baseball pitcher's arms to basketball players or football players shows that you have no clue about which you speak.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

So when the doctors, including Andrews, recommend shutting him down, they're basing that on what, if not medical opinion that it reduces the risk.

We understand there are no guarantees either way, which is what makes "guarantee" the wrong standard to apply.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Most comments by F &I are classic second rate troll comments. They don't deserve any acknowledgement.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Drunk again NatsJack??? Or just praying that a hurricane will strike the GOP convention. That comment yesterday sums you up in a nutshell.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Some things are knowable, if not now, then eventually, maybe soon.

Will Strasburg insist on pitching this fall, yes or no? We will know this answer soon.

Will he blow out his shoulder or show other effects related to overuse, next year or the year after? We'll know, eventually, even if we don't know exactly what made that happen beyond any doubt.

Will he refuse to re-sign with the Nats when that time comes? We'll know, if that happens, but we may not know why.

But if he does/doesn't demand to pitch, and the Nats lose/win without him, and he leaves/stays on the team as a FA, then we will know whether all this sturm-und-drung was overblown, and the over-blowers were wrong. It's knowable, one way or the other. We can wait and see.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

But as long as we're on the subject of subjects we aren't on, it might be interesting to see whether the Shutdown tracks with other issues.

Does "Let him pitch" skew conservative, and "Trust Rizzo" skew liberal? My guess is they would not correlate, but it might be interesting.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

*sturm und drang

before 1a catches that...

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

there is NO, repeat NO scientific information to substantiate any efforts to reduce the risk of an injury to a pitcher. NONE!!! Every medical opinion from a professional on the matter has said the same thing.

Seriously, F&I, what then is the medical community, who seem to be on Rizzo's side here, basing their opinions on?

Unknown said...

I keep thinking about the Padres big late season fold in 2010, losing out by one game to the Giants after having a lot bigger division lead than the Nationals presently have. They did not have a losing streak of more than two games all season until they hit September. The Padres were another young and inexperienced team.

Doc said...

Fear,

If you can find an orthopedic medical type to say that there is no advantage to successively and progressively introducing SS's arm back to normal status, then I think that we might all listen.

We are all aware of the obvious baseball playoff macho of the 2012 season. That's why we follow the Nats' every AB and pitch. However, as Nats' fans we are probably even more interested in SS's long-term career.

Gonat said...

Doc said...
Fear,

If you can find an orthopedic medical type to say that there is no advantage to successively and progressively introducing SS's arm back to normal status, then I think that we might all listen.

We are all aware of the obvious baseball playoff macho of the 2012 season. That's why we follow the Nats' every AB and pitch. However, as Nats' fans we are probably even more interested in SS's long-term career.
_________________________________________

I am sure if you look around you can find plenty of orthopedic quacks that will tell you what you want to hear if you are paying their bill.

I believe part of the problem last year with JZim'nn was that he was constantly told 160 was his number and he appeared to immediately labour as he approached 160 innings.

JD said...


'there is NO, repeat NO scientific information to substantiate any efforts to reduce the risk of an injury to a pitcher. NONE!'

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of young pitchers who were overused at an early age and ended up with short careers due to shoulder issues.

SonnyG10 said...

Unknown said...
I keep thinking about the Padres big late season fold in 2010, losing out by one game to the Giants after having a lot bigger division lead than the Nationals presently have. They did not have a losing streak of more than two games all season until they hit September. The Padres were another young and inexperienced team.

August 27, 2012 3:50 PM


The odds probably do favor the Nats folding because of the inexperience, but they have been defying the odds all year, so maybe they will again. Either way, the experience for our young core will be invaluable.

JaneB said...

There are a bunch of Nats fans, and pure baseball fans, who want to see this once-a-generation pitcher PITCH for a good long career. The docs who know say there is an innings limit. Look what happened when they didn't take care of Kerry Wood!

You take care of the player and then you take care of the team. For this team to risk ruining his arm and career in pursuit of a win would be wrong, wrong wrong. John Feinstein just dropped in my book for his piece today. I'm almost wishing they'd sit Stras down next week just to stop the discussion. Sheesh.

The reference to Sidd Finch was brilliant, by the way.



natsfan1a said...

Lucky for you, I've been busy today. :-)

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

*sturm und drang

before 1a catches that...
August 27, 2012 3:38 PM

Gonat said...

Byron Kerr was on 106.7 talking about the Davey/Rizzo thingie from last night.

Pilchard said...

The Nats last win came with Strasburg on the mound. Wonder if the shutdown decision will be impacted if SS is clearly the sharpest pitcher in the rotation over the next two weeks. For about a month after the A-S Break, SS seemed to be off form, but he was dominant last time out. If SS continues to pitch at a clearly higher level than everyone else in the rotation, that will make it even tougher to sit him especially if the Nats are grasping to hang on to the Division lead (or a playoff spot).

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

And for every Kerry Wood, I can raise you a Tom Seaver or a Nolan Ryan. The whole idea of risk aversion is interesting here. The Nats can insure players and players can insure themselves. It is probably an inefficient market but it is possible, as far as I know. Maybe the Nats haven't gotten insurance here and maybe that is the issue.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

To me, JZ's 5th inning implosion was the most significant event of the game. I think it is now 3 games in a row where he has failed to complete 6 full innings. He said, after the game, that his arm is fine and that he felt strong right up until he was taken out of the game.

I also agree with Ghost that Flo handled him well up until the 5th inning. They were rolling. Maybe JZ did get upset with his support. Both the Nats offense and defense seem to wait until it is his turn in the rotation to commit their worst screw ups. I have to think that Zuke took note of how Flo handled JZ, and will do just as well should he be calling JZ's next game.

I don't know that a passed ball would upset JZ so much, after he has endured so much worse in so many other games going all the way back to last year. I noticed that JZ would often take his right arm and sort of stretch it out, away from his body. Maybe its just a personal tic, or maybe the shoulder was tightening up and he was trying to stretch it out, but he did it repeatedly.

I am anxious for his next start. Perhaps if the Nats give him some runs and play solid D his shoulder won't need to be stretched out. The guy is a talent, and the Nats need him to be healthy and focused for both their stretch run and the post-season.

He is the key guy going forward. Stras will not be there after mid-September, or earlier than mid-September. JZ will be the man. If both he and Gio pitch to form, the Nats can go head to head with anyone. Gio cannot do it alone. Both Det and EJax are solid, but the Nats need their two stoppers, and they need to provide them with enough support to beat the other team's best.

JZ's next 2 starts appear to be against the Cards and Cubs, at home. The Cards will be a stiff test.

FWIW, I think it is actually a good thing for Rizzo and Davey to get anything between them out in the open. Letting things fester is precisely what caused the Rizzo-Riggleman fiasco last year. When you put things on the table, they get resolved. Whatever their problem, Davey and Rizzo will work it. That head-to-head after yesterday's game is the last thing I would worry about.

JD said...


William,

Nolan Ryan is a bad example for your case. He did not pitch more than 152 innings until his 5th year when he was 25 years old.

and for every Tom Seaver I can give you a Mark Prior, Doc Gooden and raise you a Fernando Valenzuela and a Bobby Witt and that's without any research at all.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Laddie, I watched that inning again. I don't think the passed ball rattled him much. I think it was the Cliff Lee hit that was catchable if Bryce was deeper, playing straight up or taking a better path to the ball.

JD said...


There was nothing wrong with JZim's stuff before or after the runs scored what was missing was damage management and it's all about experience. Every pitchers makes a few mistakes a game; the pitch to Lee was a mistake but it shouldn't have been a tragedy. All the Nats young pitchers have allowed a little misfortune to translate into more damage than is necessary.

This is absolutely not a criticism of the pitchers; it is completely understandable that inexperience would produce these kind of results; it's growing pains and it will get better. It is another reason I prefer the veteran presence of Suzuki than that of Flores.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

And for every Kerry Wood, I can raise you a Tom Seaver or a Nolan Ryan.

Actually, no, you can't. Far more pitchers get hurt than don't. It's what pitchers do, pretty much. Whether a given case is because of overuse, bad luck, or the inherently unnatural stresses of pitching, it's hard to say. But they get hurt a lot.

Gonat said...

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/08/27/the-dodgers-are-gonna-get-big-media-money-soon-but-lets-not-go-crazy/

$425 million a year for TV rights in Los Angeles?

Nats talking $70 million. LA has 2 teams in their market and San Diego Padres not too far away.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

But the plural of "evidence" is not "anecdotes," for either case. But the best medical advice seems to be to shut him down early, and based on the team's best guesses, that's what they're doing. Might be right, might be wrong, we might never know for sure. But it's what will happen.

Everybody knows some story of so-and-so's great uncle who lived to be 100, and smoked. That doesn't mean smoking is good for you. Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a Volvo, but some of us choose to do it anyway. This is Rizzo's call, because he decides for the organization, and it's the club's call, not the player's. I think that's right, but there's an argument to be made against it. But it's a moot point.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, the 5 county LA area is 19 million in population vs a comparable DC area of 8 1/2 million in population.

This has to bode well for the Nats.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Laddie, I watched that inning again. I don't think the passed ball rattled him much. I think it was the Cliff Lee hit that was catchable if Bryce was deeper, playing straight up or taking a better path to the ball."

I also thought Bryce was playing a little shallow, but I only saw it in real time, and missed the replay. The same thing happened to him in an earlier game (can't remember the batter) when a ball was hit over his head in right center. I thought he was playing much too shallow. It was well-hit, but Bryce would have caught it if he were better-positioned.

I wondered if that played a part in Davey's double-switch yesterday. Harp is still learning the position, and mistakes like that this time of year can be costly.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"The same thing happened to him in an earlier game (can't remember the batter) when a ball was hit over his head in right center."

I remember now. It was Prado who hit a 2-strike FB over the outer part of the zone, up high, for a 2-run XBH against Det, as I recall. I thought Harp was going to catch it until I saw how shallow he was playing, especially against a RH hitter with power to right-center. That hit was a game-breaker, too.

JD said...


Ghost and Laddie,

I don't think he was playing shallow by accident. I think he played shallow to prevent a bloop single which against an opposing pitcher (even a good hitting pitcher) is reasonable. I think JZimm was mad at himself for leaving that pitch right where Lee could crush it.

He just made a bad pitch; it's not the end of the world.Falling behind Rollins 3 - 0 and leaving him a pitch to crush for a 3 - 0 lead was; I think avoidable.

rabbit34 said...

"After much deliberation, I have informed both Nationals management and my agent that I intend to play this season until its conclusion. Should either the Nationals or my agent contravene this decision, I will be seeking a new team for next year, as well as new representation.

I understand completely that the Nationals are only attempting to look out for my well being, but as a player, I have an obligation to the other 24 guys in the dugout who have striven for this all year. I am not a minor under a guardianship. I am a man and this decision is ultimately, mine to make, and mine alone."
Strasburg can do anything he wants...AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T BREACH HIS CONTRACT.

Steady Eddie said...

Strasburg can do anything he wants...AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T BREACH HIS CONTRACT.

Except he can't write his own name on the starting lineup card. Davey needs to do that. And won't, once Rizzo gives the word.

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...

I think that Rizzo feels the pressure. Johnson has been here before, he's managed in tight races many times. Rizzo's in new territory and if this club falters, we'll look back at Mike and ask why not this, why not that, it won’t be Davey's neck on the line. Rizzo’s club is very good, best record in the bigs, but the league is tightening the lead. The Braves are legit and are not fading away. Almost every other NL contending club made some significant deadline move, not to mention LA's bombshell, and Rizzo pretty much stood pat, Suzuki's add notwithstanding. He thought the add of a SP too pricey and he did not see the need to add a significant bat. Now Stras is close to being the Mayor of Shutdown City, the offense is yet again stalled and the club is making stupid mistakes as they’ve lost a few. Should Mike have added some pieces? Made a more significant move or two? Who knows. But, I think Rizzo should feel confident in his club and the decisions he has made. Davey knows what he is doing, he knows what he needs to win, which is why Rizzo hired him in the first place.

NatsFanJim said...

I suggest the lot of you to get a couple of hobbies and new interests and stop obessessing about a pitcher who doesn't and will never know your name or even know you alive.

I love the Nats, but I save the type of passion I hear above to family and self -- and real life things. For you own sakes: Get a Life.

NatsFanJim said...

With the extreme torque that Stras' puts on his arm with his Suicidal Reverse W deliver, he'll be out of league by the time he's a free agent.

natsfan1a said...

natsfan1a said...

Seriously? I'm not going to repeat the bogus statement here but imho it was quite irresponsible to have posted it, complete with a bogus attribution, the first time. It's bad enough that out-of-context quotes get picked up and spread all over the interwebz. Do we really need to add bogus statements and attributions into the mix? Sigh. (And get off my lawn you kids!!)

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

blah blah @ 1:16
August 27, 2012 6:16 PM

ehay2k said...

I thought the fake Stras quote was infantile and demonstrates a compete ignorance of professional sports, Strasburg's demonstrated professionalism, and the Nats organization. It was also a breach of protocol and common decency to post that without proper attribution, in a manner in which it appeared the quote came from Strasburg himself. The comment should be deleted.

natscan reduxit said...

... responding to Mac G, who said, "Crazy me for wanting to know what they were arguing about and maybe even a journalist at the game could help provide this ..."

... it's not the fans' right to know this kind of thing. The brutal reality is that sometimes, some things are beyond the purview of the fans and ought to stay there.

Go Nats ... anyway!

jesse campion said...

Why not shut Strasburg down now? It would obviously reduce his current and future odds of getting injured. The medical community agrees 100% on this. Moral is that although it will obviously reduce the risk, realistically you have to weigh the risk of injury vs the upside and make a decision based on that.

mick said...

Sec.3, My Sofa said...
But as long as we're on the subject of subjects we aren't on, it might be interesting to see whether the Shutdown tracks with other issues.

Does "Let him pitch" skew conservative, and "Trust Rizzo" skew liberal? My guess is they would not correlate, but it might be interesting.


Not sure if it is a liberal verse conservative thing as much as it is a macho/insecure male thing. In other words, all the macho men who think Strass should pitch are the kinda guys who when they are in the men's room, one of them feels compelled to say aloud, "my that water is cold" and of course the other responds with "and its deep too"

lol

NatsLady said...

As regards the insurance. Yes, Stras is insured. And if you go against medical advice and he's (re)-injured, good luck collecting.

As regards medical advice. Here is a podcast where Stephania Bell (sports doctor) explains. At about 12 minutes in.

podcast with Stephania Bell

http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=8295470

SonnyG10 said...

jesse campion said...
Why not shut Strasburg down now? It would obviously reduce his current and future odds of getting injured. The medical community agrees 100% on this. Moral is that although it will obviously reduce the risk, realistically you have to weigh the risk of injury vs the upside and make a decision based on that.

August 27, 2012 8:25 PM


Can't shut him down now. He needs to go the 160 - 180 pitch count so he can go longer next year. Can't have too big a jump from one year to the next.

NatsLady said...

Exactly. The program for Stras is designed for his progress and not based on the team's standings. Davey can manipulate the program, but really, only around the edges.

realdealnats said...

Loeffler @ 1:16--

Regarding Strasburg, you make the most prudent decision that can be made, and you make it from a position of strength. In this case, medical experts say this is the safest decision that can be made given current knowledge. A position of strength means you do what is right for the individual and the team in the big picture, and you do not cave in to desperation that we will never be in this position again. There are many possible outcomes, yes. One being Stras could continue pitching and we could make a poor showing in the playoffs and blow his shoulder for good. No one talks about this possibility. Or we could win and he could blow his arm. Do not delude yourself that Stras continuing his season= your fantasy outcome. Maybe yes maybe no. But if you err on the side of safety and health and the future, even if we do never return to have such a magical season, at least we know we did what we did for the right reasons. Personally I think we could very well go far w/o him this fall, being lucky. And no matter what this year's outcome, I think we find ourselves in the thick of things for the next 5 or 6 years at least. Decisions made from desperation and weakness rarely work out.

SonnyG10 said...

If we hit, it doesn't matter whether Stras is in there or not...

If we don't hit, it doesn't matter whether Stras is in there or not!!!

Eugene in Oregon said...

SonnyG10: Well said at both 10:24 and 11:56.

Padres: Well played.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Magic number reduction. Playoffs 26. Division 30

Drew said...

Thank you, Friars and Mighty Casey!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Wow, just read this thread backwards and there's some -- how to put this? -- 'creative illogic' being bandied about. Here's hoping tomorrow's will skew closer to reality.

peric said...

And for every Kerry Wood, I can raise you a Tom Seaver or a Nolan Ryan. The whole idea of risk aversion is interesting here. The Nats can insure players and players can insure themselves. It is probably an inefficient market but it is possible, as far as I know. Maybe the Nats haven't gotten insurance here and maybe that is the issue.

All you have to do is look at Tom Gorzelanny who isn't the same pitcher and almost out of baseball after 2007 and pitching way too many games over 120 pitches, plus 200+ innings. JIm Tracy burned his arm out. Do you think he's the same pitcher that he was in 2007?

Please stop you really don't know what you are talking about when it comes to medical issues related to surgeries and major league pitching.

peric said...

Once again, for the slow people in the crowd, there is NO, repeat NO scientific information to substantiate any efforts to reduce the risk of an injury to a pitcher. NONE!!!

WRONG!

There is in fact lots of statistical data to back up this approach. And Fear if you learned to read carefully you might have seen it. Lots and lots a large population of teen aged boys who pitch and end their seasons with TJ surgery. Butttttt that's not an adult pitcher like Strasburg? And they don't pitch 200 innings at around a 100 pitch pitch count either. DoH! Homer take the radioactive isotope out of your back pocket and use your head for something other than a hat rack.

Stras isn't old enough to be an outlier he probably is within 3 standard deviations of the mean age wise. An outlier like Jamie Moyer might be different but I suspect not.

Numbskulls who have suddenly attended medical school and specialized in sports medicine and orthopedics in the form of the usual cast of neg-anons!

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"I think JZimm was mad at himself for leaving that pitch right where Lee could crush it."

Could be. Werth also likes to play a shallow RF against RH hitters, and Harp may just be following his example. He did give Lee a cookie, right over the middle, and then another, to Rollins. How and why he lost his command so quickly is the question: was it because he lost focus or because he was already tiring?

Wish I knew the answer. He said after the game that he still felt strong. I'll take him at his word, but his next start against the Cards will be interesting. If he implodes again, and does it at around 75-80 pitches, again, then there would be too many such instances for it to be just coincidence.

Scooter said...

Well, I finished watching the game in San Diego. Attaboys, Padres.

That is all.

NatsJack in Florida said...

As I said earlier, F & I is a second class troll that deserves no acknowledgement.

rabbit34 said...

It's amazing how many of you guys can be lead around by a thread.

Steady Eddie said...

... You guys can be lead around....

Admitting your purpose here has nothing to do with baseball.

Another ignore.

natsfan1a said...

Exactly.

natsfan1a said...

In other news: atta way, Friars!

natsfan1a said...

On topic (and late to the party, obviously), heck, we're used to heated words after losses. After all, we're blog commenters. :-)

NatsLady said...

It's amazing how many of you guys can be lead around by a thread.

I have no idea what this means. Oh, well. I guess it means rabbit was posting.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

It's got something to do with plumb bobs, I think.

natsfan1a said...

This thread is plum tuckered out.

Post a Comment