Saturday, April 27, 2013

Haren, Harper lead Nats to third straight win

Photo by USA Today

In an overall inconsistent staff through the season’s first month, there was no question offseason acquisition Dan Haren was the weakest link. His ERA was over 7.00 entering Saturday’s game and he had yet to get an out in the sixth inning of a start. 

So after his strong outing in the Nats’ 6-3 win against the Reds, their third straight victory, Haren didn’t just feel relieved. He didn’t just feel happy to finally feel like himself again either. No, Haren went even further than that when describing his day.

I finally feel like part of the team,” he said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to have a good start. My confidence has been building ever since the first game, getting pounded in Cincinnati.” 

“From then on, my confidence has gotten better and better, more and more. Today, I know I’ll feel good coming into the next start. When I took the ball today, I felt like I was going to win.”

Haren had a good feeling about getting the victory despite feeling off before the game. It wasn’t like he took the mound knowing he would have his best stuff of the season so far.

“I actually felt terrible in the bullpen for the first time all year,” he said. “I got in a groove in the middle innings. I started feeling good in the second, third inning.”

“A lot of times, it’s like that for starting pitchers. When you don’t have your best stuff in the bullpen prior to the game, it kind of locks you in a little bit. It really makes you hit your spots.”

Haren went six full innings with two earned runs, six hits, five strikeouts, and zero walks. It was a solid outing on par with what the Nationals expected on a regular basis when they signed him to a one-year deal over the winter. 

That was more like him,” manager Davey Johnson said. “Just like what we were talking about before, he was still throwing with plenty of velocity, he just changes speeds, moves the ball around. Pitches. That’s what he did today, which was nice to see.”

Haren was working his fastball effectively in the high 80s, hitting 90 early on. But his best pitch on Saturday was his probably his splitter. Haren got two Reds to strike out swinging on the pitch plus a double play to end the second inning.

Haren also got the Nats started at the plate with the first RBI of the game in the second inning. He fouled off two Mike Leake splitters before poking a single to right field to score Ian Desmond from second.

“I was trying not to strike out, really,” Haren said. “Good things happen when you put the ball in play. So right there, I was just trying to fight, stay alive. In that situation with two strikes, I’m just trying to shorten up, put the ball in play.”

Haren drove in the first run, but his teammates picked up right after to give him a comfortable lead in the game’s early innings. One batter later Denard Span lined a single up the middle to score Anthony Rendon. The Nats scored two runs in the inning and would match that number in each of the next two frames.

In the third inning Bryce Harper led off with a single and was moved to second by Jayson Werth who barely beat Zack Cozart’s throw to first on an infield grounder. Desmond then singled home Harper and Werth scored on a Jack Hannahan throwing error to second with two outs. Through three innings Leake had thrown 71 pitches and shown enough to be hooked early by Dusty Baker.

The Nats added two more in the fourth inning off of Harper’s ninth home run of the season. On the one year anniversary of his call-up to the majors, Harper smoked a line drive off Alfredo Simon into the right field bullpen to bring home Danny Espinosa and give the Nats a 6-1 lead.

“The whole AB I saw three fastballs and he threw me I think it was a slider, I just tried to get the barrel on it and I was lucky enough to get it out of the ballpark,” he said.

After the game, Harper’s 23rd of the season, he is batting .373 with nine homers and 18 RBI on the season, the latter two team records for the month of April. He was called up one year ago and just played his 162nd game as a major league player. His numbers over that stretch are a cool 31 homers, 77 RBI, with a .284/.352/.518 slash. Not bad for a 20-year-old still learning the ways of professional baseball.

After the game Harper reflected on his first full year since being brought up from Triple-A Syracuse.

“It was pretty quick,” Harper said. “I had a fun year last year and I think being able to have a team and an organization that really brought me in with open arms and gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues last year, I was so fortunate. 

“Having a group of guys around me that really took me under their win and said ‘hey, you’re with us now and we’re ready to go.’ It’s been like that ever since then.”

Harper is playing on a young team overall, but some of his teammates have seen enough to know he is not your average big leaguer.

“It’s unbelievable,” Tyler Clippard said. “He doesn’t play like a 20-year-old that’s for sure and when he got here last year he didn’t play like a 19-year-old. His baseball IQ and what he has naturally mentally is far beyond his years. 

“He seems like he gets better daily and you can’t say that about a lot of guys. For a guy with his talent and his ability to get better every day, I’m glad he’s on my team.”

“Special. No question he’s an unbelievable talent,” Span said. “I compare it to 2009 when I was teammates with Joe Mauer, watching him win the MVP. Every day he was doing something to help us win, whether it was calling a good game or coming through with a big hit. For the first month, that’s what I’ve seen out of Bryce.”

Span wasn’t only giving great quotes and driving in a run with his RBI single, the Nats center fielder in many ways saved the game. He had two spectacular catches to save runs and keep the Nats on top. Though they scored six early and held on for the win, there were several moments where the Reds were close to getting back into it.

That’s unbelievable. I’d rather do that any day of the week just to help my pitchers. I feel like I’m a defender first, and that usually picks me up offensively,” he said.

Span’s first run-saving grab was a leaping catch at the wall in left-center to save an extra base hit by Joey Votto. It was in the sixth inning and Cozart was on first, plus Haren had just surrendered a solo home run to Shin-Soo Choo.

“Votto, I was already playing deep,” Span said. “I was respecting his power. I’m not sure if the ball would have went over, but I was prepared to bring it back if it did go out.”

Span’s second catch ended the seventh inning and also came after the Reds had scored a run. With two outs and the bases loaded, Cozart belted a hard line drive into the gap in left-center field. Span was shading to the left as scouting reports and spray charts told him the lefty likes to go opposite field.

At first I wasn’t sure, but I got a good jump,” Span said. “That was my favorite out of the two today because I was shading him over to the opposite field. He lined it in the left-center gap and that’s just fun for me to go out there and run and show my speed and grab the ball like that in the gap.”

Haren was on the mound for the first catch and watched the second one from the dugout. 

“If the ball falls, it’s probably a tie game. He saved four or five runs today,” he said.

Harper ran towards both fly balls trying to back up his teammate and, as a young player learning his position, was amazed at Span’s defensive display.

“That’s just special,” Harper said. “There’s guys that can make those plays and there’s guys that can’t. I grew up being a catcher, a third baseman and a shortstop so I’m still learning how to do that.”

First base coach Tony Tarasco helps out coaching the outfielders and deflected all credit Span sent his way for pregame drills. 

“He’s so tenacious about his defense. He’s so sound, he’s not flashy, he’s so sound as an outfielder,” Tarasco said. “Once he gets in stride it’s like he skips after the baseball.”

“He just wanted the baseball today.”

The Nats won their third consecutive game after losing their previous four. They will now look for the four-game sweep on Sunday against the Reds before going on a road trip to play first place Atlanta. They were down and now they’re up, something Harper has already learned how to take in stride.

“That’s sports, sometimes you’re going to lose and sometimes you’re going to win. Fans are going to go crazy if you lose or if you win,” he said.

“I’m just happy that we’ve been in the win column the past three nights and I’m excited to get going tomorrow.”

90 comments:

natsfan1a said...

Fixed. :-)

“That’s sports, sometimes you’re going to lose and sometimes you’re going to win. Fans are [#&!@] crazy if you lose or if you win,” he said.

5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said...

Here's hoping The Danimal keeps it up. He is too expensive to get demoted to the pen, so get on for the ride everyone.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

loved Clip's QUOTE about how Harper is getting better every day.

baseballswami said...

Fun game to watch on a beautiful day at Nat's Park. Big crowd, lots of energy. Just close enough at times to feel exciting. Thanks to Span it did not get any closer.

peric said...

“It was pretty quick,” Harper said. “I had a fun year last year and I think being able to have a team and an organization that really brought me in with open arms and gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues last year, I was so fortunate.

Have to do that with all the prospects not just Harper and Stras.

skidge said...

What swami said, although judging from the game thread comments, this must have been less fun to watch on tv than it was in person. (But then I did happen to be directly in front of the rally monkey.) Great game!

Section 222 said...

peric, your obsession with our minor league players is truly amazing, but you never answered my question yesterday on how you tell if a prospect is ready to play in the big leagues. Or is every single one of our young AA and AAA players ready to come up and succeed right now as long as he is hitting or pitching well in the minors? You take any and every opportunity to remind us that that Karns, Rosenbaum, and Kobernus are playing well. You even mentioned Ryan Perry yesterday. (Ryan Perry? Really?) You seem to think that they should be on the 25 man now. What is it that you are seeing that Rizzo is not?

Nattering Nat said...

Harper's first anniversary in the bigs: whatever is written in NI about him, it cannot be enough. We are indeed privileged to have perhaps the best Nats player in over 90 years playing in front of us here in DC, and we get to see him virtually every home game, not just every five days.

The comment about his baseball IQ is among the most telling, to me. Speaking of which, as athletic, tenacious (to the point of stubbornness), mentally tough as Desi and Espi may be, as I watch them game after game, it's their baseball IQ I'm least sure about. If Haren can shorten up his swing with two strikes, to try to keep the ball in play, why oh why can't those two? I do think Espi is trying that on occasion this year, as his Ks are down. But Desi--is he regressing? Maybe they can learn something from Harper.

Candide said...

Section 222 said... peric, your obsession with our minor league players is truly amazing, but you never answered my question yesterday on how you tell if a prospect is ready to play in the big leagues. Or is every single one of our young AA and AAA players ready to come up and succeed right now as long as he is hitting or pitching well in the minors?

F.P.: "Bring him up, he's ready!"

I submit that peric is actually F.P. Santangelo's id.

Nattering Nat said...

Except FP says it tongue in cheek, as you undoubtedly know.

Joe Seamhead said...

Skidge, I enjoyed it on TV, though not as much as I enjoyed last night's game at the park. I really enjoyed Rendon getting a hit today, Dan Haren getting a win, Bryce getting a homer, Soriano's pitching the 9th, Werth's hustle to get down the line, but most of all Denard Span's two Web Gems.

Doc said...

Maybe Candide, excetpt that F.P. is kidding!

baseballswami said...

Not to mention Haren's hit and RBI!! Look out, Stras. He is coming after your Silver Slugger!

sjm308 said...

Here is just another example of Harper's influence on our fans. I am at the beer stand up by 309 and Harper comes up. I swear 3 people (including myself) left the line to watch him hit! He rewarded us with a solid single.

As I mentioned in the last post, I am through reading anything Peric posts and yet his name keeps coming up with others I do enjoy reading. I am telling you that his goal is to take the fun out of our Washington Nationals and I am not going to let him do that to me.

Those two catches by Span, not to mention the other plays that he just makes look so easy have convinced me that anyone who thinks he is a bench player probably also believed Alfonso Soriano played the same position.

sjm308 said...

I have noticed this earlier when Haren hit. Has anyone else thought that he is probably the worst baserunner we have. It just looks like every step is torture for him. I am sure part of this is the back and hip issues and he is just trying not to strain anything. So happy he was able to go 6 today and lets hope his next start is just as solid.

sjm308 said...

Nothing to do with today's game but how great is it to go over to the left and read NatsLady!

baseballswami said...

No question Span saved the day today. As for Harper-- physically, he is like some young Greek god. When you watch him in person, you just cannot believe he is 20. On the field, he is arresting to watch- you can't take your eyes off him. Add to that the fact that he is very charismatic and totally at ease in the public eye, he really is must see TV. I find myself wondering what he will do next.

Scott Margenau said...

Can't wait to watch highlights.

Joe Seamhead said...

308,I honestly can't ever remember a slower baserunner ever in MLB

ehay2k said...

Seamhead, Livo was slower. A lot slower. :-)

So, this is how this team is capable of playing when they are not pressing. Could be a great finish to April.

MicheleS said...

SJM/Joe S..

Haren Makes Strasburg look like the fastest runner on earth. :-)

SJM.. I scroll past more than 50% of the posts now. Sadly, it makes me wonder what the motive of those posters actually is. Somehow I wonder if they actually watch the team play.

Anywho.. I need to make it make it up the the 300s to vistit you and Joe S.

GYFNG and lets have DET get the SWEEP!

baseballswami said...

Michele- you wonder about motives . I wonder about sobriety.

Joe Seamhead said...

I'm not so sure ehay2k. I think Livan would beat him.

sjm308 said...

swami - it can't be that because I am hardly ever sober.

My money would be on Livo if there was a motive for him to run. He actually was a pretty good athlete and made some plays in the field look a lot easier than they should have been. Now, running was not his strong suit but I think he could take Haren.

Thanks Michelle, Kevin and I look for you at Justin's.

peric said...

You take any and every opportunity to remind us that that Karns, Rosenbaum, and Kobernus are playing well. You even mentioned Ryan Perry yesterday. (Ryan Perry? Really?) You seem to think that they should be on the 25 man now.

I think I mentioned them as depth dude. What's wrong with you 222 you must still be sour grapes because I've been right so often eh?

That's why they are there ... in case of injury or unacceptable performance at the major league level. Or are you some psychic alien type that can download new players from some mysterious dimension 222/ You seem the type that can create players from midair and make them major leaguers? Maybe you can heal LaRoche's back ... hey you could be the Messiah?

Moron.

sjm308 said...

Davey said after the game he was still not happy with how he has set the bullpen. He does not want Clip and Storen to pitch on the same day if possible and I think what I get from that is that he wants them both to pitch in the 8th on different days. Tomorrow, besides Ross - Stammen, Mattheus and Henry are all fresh and I think Duke can also go if needed. We should be good to go. Just hit the ball and catch the ball lads.

Candide said...

You want to see slow? Check out Willie Mays Aikens's career stolen bases and triples.

sjm308 said...

Whooooo Hooooo - skipped my first post!!!

peric said...

I am telling you that his goal is to take the fun out of our Washington Nationals and I am not going to let him do that to me.

Since when? Since I happen to prefer younger prospects to washed up over-the-hill has-beens that rip us off and break our hearts? Like Werth, LaRoche? DO YOU REALLY THINK WERTH IS WORTH <$16,000,000 sjm308?

If you do then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you in Brooklyn.

YOU TAKE THE FUN OUT OF MY ENJOYMENT DUDE!

When you claim Tyler Moore is not a major leaguer. When you say Morse is AAAA? When you say Rendon isn't ready ... when you say Zim won't play first base so that this great young hitter could get a chance?

And on and on. You rain on my parade sjm308 BIG TIME!

peric said...

Whooooo Hooooo - skipped my first post!!!

Hope you bend your fenders and lose your chain jerk.

peric said...

Justin Maxwell? The 29 yo AAAA player on the DL hitting .234? That Justin Maxwell?

I was looking at his defense in which he is ranked third among CF's Cracker Jack and sjm308 here's hoping you skid off into some nice thorny bushes dude.

I have seen this team maybe more than you have. And the AAA team in Syracuse. Have you ever seen them?

peric said...

As for Nationals Prospects folks are far more civilized there than here ... and do a far better job when it comes to critical thinking.

Joe Seamhead said...

To quote young Mr. Harper:

“I’m just happy that we’ve been in the win column the past three nights and I’m excited to get going tomorrow.”

peric said...

Henry are all fresh and I think Duke can also go if needed.

Henry is another guy I happen to like yet you sjm308 love to dump all over him ... never giving him a chance.

peric said...

SJM.. I scroll past more than 50% of the posts now. Sadly, it makes me wonder what the motive of those posters actually is. Somehow I wonder if they actually watch the team play.

Yeah I'm so inebriated dolt I manage to know that LaRoche and Zim were injured? But you can't see anything since you're likely plucking your eyebrows instead of watching ...

And certainly sjm308 must have fallen on his head a few times too many to miss obvious signs that somehow I alone pick up?

Morons.

JaneB said...

Justin's defense was always better than his production at the plate. I'm really glad that he found a place where he can play and make a true contribution. I always liked his hustle, and the way he treated the fans. That last day of his last season as a Nat, he stood in the dug out and took in the stadium, all the fans cheering. You cold tell he knew he wouldn't be a home town player after that day.

And Peric...we're paying these already-big-leaguers big bucks to play for us. ALR is in a bad spell, but he's great with the glove. No way the Baby Nats should be playing in their place. It's be a huge gamble and a waste of money.

Whatever opinions you have about this and any other post, seriously -- reign in the wishes for bad events and pain and suffering. There's no room for that here. If you have to type it, at least delete before you post.

baseballswami said...

Sigh.... And we actually won the last three games....

peric said...

Peric, I'm not the one that has said that Justin was a RF, though I'm sure he could, nor am I the one that said Jean Carlo Stanton is a LH hitter, nor am the guy that made the claim that Alphonso Soriano was the best center fielder in Nats history. You made all of those statements and you have the freaking audacity to say I'm usually wrong?

As I said and admitted my memory isn't always right and I don't always look things up. But I still knew about Lannan. Did any of you? Weren't you watching? I knew about Zim. I knew we'd see Rendon. I knew about Morse in AAA. What the hell are all of you watching? No one focuses on the game it seems. They're too busy making pinata's out of players they love to hate on and accuse me of that? Right. Like Henry, like Morse before he became "famous" y'all called him AAA and Seamhead Mr. "Rincon" will be at third base very soon dude. And I am calling you on that now.

I defend the players I believe deserve better starting with Espinosa your favorite punching bag ...

MicheleS said...

SJM.. Next game.. Kevin& You at Justin's!!!! Can't wait so see pictures of CHAINSAW!!!!

peric said...

ALR is in a bad spell, but he's great with the glove.

He's injured and its pretty clear to me if not to you. And that is why I wonder who here (sjm308) watches these games? Sparse few I deem.

Candide said...

peric said...As for Nationals Prospects folks are far more civilized there than here

I'll bet nobody there goes around calling people morons and dolts.

peric said...

No way the Baby Nats should be playing in their place. It's be a huge gamble and a waste of money.

And neither was Harper ... not even close but look at him now.

peric said...

I'll bet nobody there goes around calling people morons and dolts.

Mostly, they actually watch the games and make very astute observations.

Here too many are too busy looking at something else who knows what.

peric said...

-- reign in the wishes for bad events and pain and suffering.

Maybe you should be telling sjm308 about his ad hominem attacks just back from the game. Why attack someone if he is so glad about the win?

Why don't you question that JaneB?

Joe Seamhead said...

It isn't just your memory that isn't quite right.

Gonat said...

“Votto, I was already playing deep,” Span said. “I was respecting his power. I’m not sure if the ball would have went over, but I was prepared to bring it back if it did go out.”
___________________________

How great is that quote by Span. It shows the problems from the Cardinals and Braves series weren't to be repeated where balls were not being caught at the walls.

Nyjer had that problem but never fixed it. Whatever the process was today, it saved the game.

Gonat said...

We just got back from a beautiful night in Bowie, MD. Ramos 2 for 3 with a double and put in 6 innings.

I really think Suzuki's numbers will go back up playing 3 to 4 games a week instead of 7.

Joe Seamhead said...

Last night Span adjusted his depth from batter to batter. He is adjusting to not only a new park, but also a whole new league for him. His presence in CF is allowing Jayson to play further over to the line.

baseballswami said...

I must say that I strongly believe something is physically wrong with ALR. He is not stretching and ranging in the same way. Also not running. When you see him off camera on the field he appears to be stiff and holding himself awkwardly. I was hoping that today's warm weather would loosen him up. Hope it 's something like stiffness that will resolve itself. Also hope I am wrong and he flips a switch soon. It won 't be April anymore in a few days.

Joe Seamhead said...

Zook's bat has cooled, but his overall defense has been great. I still think he gets the lion's share of starts next week.

Gonat said...

Joe, the fact that every outfielder is covering more ground is a benefit to all the pitchers and it probably has been most evident in this Reds series.

We had that discussion earlier this week about Tarasco early in the season was only adjusting Bryce and now they have adjusted Span to which Span has acknowledged in his quote.

Joe Seamhead said...

Chase and/or Mark, has anybody asked Davey directly as to ALR's status regarding being injured? Have you guys heard anything as to the status of his back tightness?

JaneB said...

I agree that ALR looks injured. His batting stance has changed, too. There's a reason Davey is still playing him, and it's not up to me to decide.

Gonat said...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/nationals-watch/2013/apr/27/denard-spans-dual-web-gems-defensive-highlight-nat/

This is a good read by Mark Lancaster. The first part of getting better is admitting you need to improve and then the dedication and practice to get better. In the article it says Span didn't make plays in the Cardinals series and Tarasco was knocking balls out to him against the wall.

I'm even more impressed with Span.

Joe Seamhead said...

Well,Jane,I was misinformed! I thought the ALR thing was all your doing.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Good outing from Haren. No walks I believe and some Ks while giving up just 2 runs. Just hope he can go deeper into games. as a veteran, he should be the leader in that category. if he could give me 7 or 8 innings with 3-4 runs, that is fine. 6 innings relies on the bullpen a bit more than I like.

EmDash said...

Haren is indeed the slowest runner I've ever seen in my life. The one hard-hit ball to the first baseman that Votto boggled, the announcers got excited like it was going to be a close play - and Haren wasn't even in the shot with whoever was covering first when the ball got there. I laughed pretty hard.

I then amused myself a bit by imagining what it would take for Haren to get an inside-the-park home run - I imagine all three outfielders would have to fall down a few times, crash into each other, and maybe two more throwing errors. At least. I would love to see it happen one day; it's the only thing I can imagine that would beat that Astros play from last year.

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

If Storen is sulking about not being the closer (as someone speculated earlier) he better get past it. The situation in Detroit shows how necessary it is to have that reliable 9th inning guy--so that you can play matchups in the other innings. Storen is not back to his pre-injury form. Clip could close, but not only would that drive everyone nuts, but mainly, with no lefty in the pen to use for matchups, Clip is it. Storen is just not that great against lefties.

Detroit was using closer-by-committee, which was destroying Phil Coke (who is, really, a LOOGY). They bring Valverde back (one of the STRANGEST things I've seen in baseball), he promptly closes out his first two chances and the bullpen is back in order. You can be a hero in any inning, not just the 9th.

natsfan1a said...

No love for Carlos Baerga?

ehay2k said...

Seamhead, Livo was slower. A lot slower. :-)

Rabbit34 said...

Lots of Peric posts. Wonder what they said?? Lots of people have opinions. They all mean something. At least to themselves. It is hard to believe we are winning again with three starters in the low to mid .100s. Harper, the best player in baseball, makes even watching losses enjoyable (well almost).

Whynat said...

In person, Span is one of the smoothest center fielders I've seen play. Builds confidence in everybody. Harper looks like he is playing a different sport than the rest of em.

sjm308 said...

Rabbit: I am so with you and surprised myself by how easy it was to scroll. I can only imagine what the young lad screamed to me.

I watched LaRoche carefully (although 308 is pretty far from 1st base) and you Insiders might be right. He just does not look as nimble as last year. He still have the great eye-hand work with the glove and there are few that can dig a ball out of the dirt like him.

EmDash - our group talked about that play at first and we figured that Harper would have been at 2nd base (just joking of course). His running is even more pronounced (read slower) when he is on base. If he is on first, it appears it will take 3 singles to drive him home.

Go Nats!!

baseballswami said...

Whynat--- exactly!!!!!!!!

sjm308 said...

Whynat - could not agree more and your use of smooth is the perfect word. He literally glides after every ball. Harper's hustle is amazing to watch but Span just makes it seem easy. The game saving catch, to me, was the 2nd with the bases loaded. I never thought he was going to get to it when it left the bat. On the first catch, I had two thoughts. 1. I believe it was Votto up and definitely a lefthander and yet the entire outfield was not playing him to pull. I thought that was strange since Haren was rarely hitting 90. And yet Span was positioned so that he could make that catch. 2. I first thought he had not robbed him of a homerun but after looking at the catch on the jumbo screen that ball might have gone out. Was I wrong? (will not be the first time and unlike another person on here I will admit it)

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Whatever is wrong with ALR, Davey should just sit him for a couple of games. No batting practice, either. Maybe his muscle memory will revert to what it was before his slump, or, if he is hurt, a couple of days rest would not do him any harm. Resting a slumping hitter is old school. What Davey is doing is not. If Riggleman were still here, doing the same thing as Davey is now, he would be roasted on this thread.

The guy who we know has an injury, Danny Espinoza, has hit below .150 ever since he tore that rotator cuff last September. It's impossible for the rest of us to know if that is what has caused his collapse at the plate.

Regardless, there may not be another ML manager in baseball who would continue to send guys out there who can't even hit their own weight, especially when he has Tyler Moore to spell ALR at 1b, and either Lombo, or Rendon, to spell Danny at 2nd.

You play the guys who give you the best chance to win. Danny almost cost them the game yesterday. Span bailed him out.

NatsLady said...

Harper is doing fine in LF. Getting good reads and of course his speed is great, and he's very energetically backing up Span. Right now, Span's WAR is the same as Bourn's (and he is a lot cheaper). Revere, despite that incredible catch, is below replacement level (-0.5 WAR).

baseballswami said...

Span bailed out Danny, ALR, and the relievers. Maybe at some point they will begin to return the favor? Yes. I know Danny had the one great offensive game this week. Yesterday his defense was almost lazy looking. Puzzling, as that is usually what keeps him in the line up.

Section 222 said...

Span's catch of Votto was the Capital One Premier Play on MLB Net last night.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Had to scroll through about 100 comments to be sure I wasn't repeating what someone else had said -- this is the first time I ever heard about Harper playing 3B or SS. Not that he's a SS anymore but it made me fantasize about a short-term answer to Z'man's throwing issues. Rosenthal on Fox yesterday waxing at length about Z'man "excited" (or was it, "enthusiastic?") about the condition of his shoulder and, in a total non sequitor, ergo, "He'll be all right." I wish I believed that. If Z'man is "enthusiastic," it can only be that he is measuring it against his condition 13+ months ago, when it was awful -- and so has remained.

Gonat said...

sjm308 said...
I watched LaRoche carefully (although 308 is pretty far from 1st base) and you Insiders might be right. He just does not look as nimble as last year.
________________________________

Glad you saw it too. Too many people feel like when you are pointing out an issue with a player they like it becomes an arguement.

When Desi threw the low throw to him last week that required a stretch to his right he couldn't do it and it clanked off of his glove. You know a healthy LaRoche makes that play.

All this garbage about slow starts is about his offense, not his defense. BTW, I'm not buying the slow start stuff on offense either. Prior to this year he was averaging .228 for his career in the month of April and that even includes 2011 when he played with the shoulder injury. His K rate is 32.5% which means he's striking out at a rate of 1 out of every 3 at-bats.

There were posters here yesterday with 2 runners on base and no outs that were just glad he popped out instead of GIDP. Davey is then putting either a double steal or hit & run on with the same situation in his next at-bat and that was disasterous as Bryce was caught stealing.

The whole situation is sad. ALR probably sits today versus the lefty.

Gonat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gonat said...

Yes. I know Danny had the one great offensive game this week. Yesterday his defense was almost lazy looking. Puzzling, as that is usually what keeps him in the line up.

April 28, 2013 8:47 AM
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It would be wild speculation who that was batting 2nd yesterday and playing 2nd.

As much as I find Danny Espinosa way over rated, he had a great game Thursday in support of Gio and one solid hit and great defense Friday.

In typical Espi fashion, once you think he turned a corner he breaks your heart. He had 2 at-bats that were so void of a plan stepping into the batter's box given the situation and then his 3 mis-plays in the field that resulted in only 1 error given that Zuk backed up his poor throw and the other was on a doubleplay and wouldn't be an error even if ALR didn't scoop it.

smh.......

Gonat said...

Not to be lost in the Bryce Harper baseball IQ, on that smash to the wall by Votto, Bryce gets there quickly and sees Span and sets up for any rebound and after Span catches it becomes a cheering teammate!

http://atmlb.com/10LgRul

Joe Seamhead said...

Like many here, I hadn't seen Span play very much before he came here. All I knew was what I read about him, and his various stats on sights like Baseball Reference. The first time I saw him glide to a ball in Spring Training I thought "Wow! A real centerfielder!" Now it's great to see so many of us united on the Spanwagon! But, that said, it's a lesson reinforced that computer stats and sports writers accountings, though useful, are limited.

I am going to try to follow sjm308's advice and scroll past the young lad's "contributions" to this board, much like I would walk around a pile of dog poop.Responding to his personal attacks is akin to stepping in it.

Speaking of Joey Votto, how many players get away with slamming their bat and throwing their helmet the way he did in the first game of this series without getting tossed? He should have been ejected. If he had of been, Gio may have had a no-no.

Justin Maxwell is out for 4-6 weeks with another broken bone in his left wrist after getting HBP the other night. Max has a continuous history of broken bones in his wrists going back to his days at University of MD and later in the Cape Cod League and then in the pros. He and my son played against each other, and on the same travel teams growing up. It's a shame, though he wasn't setting the world on fire, he did seem to have found a home in Houston. Good luck to him.

Gonat said...

Joe, talking about HBPs to the hand and old friends, Mikey Morse hasn't hit a HR since April 9 and is now slashing .221/.272/.453/.725

Candide said...

sjm308 said...

Here is just another example of Harper's influence on our fans. I am at the beer stand up by 309 and Harper comes up. I swear 3 people (including myself) left the line to watch him hit! He rewarded us with a solid single.


Sjm*, I've been saying that about Harper since last year - "The beer vendors must hate Harper to death, because when he's at the plate, nobody is going to take their eyes off him just to get a beer."

* Hey, what's the rule for capitalization at the beginning of a sentence when someone's nom de blog is all lower-case. Do I type:
"Sjm308 makes a good point when he says..." or
"SJM308 makes a good point when he says..." or
"sjm308 makes a good point when he says..."?

This is at least as important a question as "Are the Nats better off with Span and without Morse?"

And, BTW (getting back to last night), I'm fully aware that F.P. is kidding when he says "Bring him up, he's ready!"

Joe Seamhead said...

Go, I only wish for the best for Mikey, too. Though I've turned the page, I'll always remember that chapter of the Nationals fondly.

Eric said...

"Responding to his personal attacks is akin to stepping in it."

Speaking from experience, fwiw, ymmv, etc, even mentioning the intention to ignore is the same as a direct response. If you're gonna ignore, you gotta go all in.

Eric said...

PS, I've been a huge span fan since the beginning of the season. It took my dad and I quite awhile to convince my mom that he is a huge asset. Really glad he's on our team.

Gonat said...

Further on the maturity of Bryce Harper was his decision not to attend one of the hottest events in Washington which is the White House Correspondent's Dinner that 3 of his teammates attended in Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Tyler Clippard.

We can assume that Ryan Zimmerman wouldn't have attended if he wasn't on the DL, right?

According to the Washington Post, Bryce Harper received an invite (from the Washington Times), but declined:


"The way we’re playing right now and stuff, I just want to focus on one thing. I want to be able to get some rest, things like that."
(Bryce Harper, via Washington Post, 4/28/2013)


http://www.natsenquirer.com/2013/04/washington-nationals-players-at-the-white-house-correspondents-dinner.html

sjm308 said...

Candide: since its rare that I make a good point, I think you are safe in using whatever you wish but thank you very much!

Still waiting to see if you can go with Candide and Cunegonde on your rewards cards for that season package you will soon be buying.

MicheleS - May 8th for me at Justin's but Kevin work doesn''t get him to night games on time for a happy hour pour. Hope to see you there and remember, I am old and forgetful so you will have to make contact! (hopefully, that is a joke).

sjm308 said...

Gonat: just came in from the porch where I read the same quote about Harper. How great is it that a 20 year old would give up that opportunity to focus on the task at hand.

Love our lads!!

Go Nats

Seamhead, keep scrolling!!

natsfan1a said...

Joe Seamhead said...

"Now it's great to see so many of us united on the Spanwagon!"

I like Spanwagon. Plus one.

Eric said...

"Speaking from experience, fwiw, ymmv, etc, even mentioning the intention to ignore is the same as a direct response. If you're gonna ignore, you gotta go all in."

True that.

Candide said...

* Hey, what's the rule for capitalization at the beginning of a sentence when someone's nom de blog is all lower-case. Do I type:
"Sjm308 makes a good point when he says..." or
"SJM308 makes a good point when he says..." or
"sjm308 makes a good point when he says..."?

This is at least as important a question as "Are the Nats better off with Span and without Morse?"

I'd be inclined to go with door number 1.

Section 222 said...

* Hey, what's the rule for capitalization at the beginning of a sentence when someone's nom de blog is all lower-case. Do I type:
"Sjm308 makes a good point when he says..." or
"SJM308 makes a good point when he says..." or
"sjm308 makes a good point when he says..."?


In this case, there's a creative solution: avoid the issue altogether by calling him "308". ;-)

Candide said...

Well, Harper's already been to the White House - was there a couple of weeks ago for a pre-release screening of "42."

So, been there, done that...

Tim said...

Its not even May yet. If player are truly injured then should be on DL. But management is not going to force the issue / make a long term change to line up based on poor performance until they have more data, midmay - june.

Candide said...

sjm308 said...

Candide: since its rare that I make a good point...


That's because you're a moron. Or so we've all been repeatedly informed...

(...ducks, runs...)


Still waiting to see if you can go with Candide and Cunegonde on your rewards cards for that season package you will soon be buying.

Don't know how the rewards card thingie works, since we've never been STHs. I somehow don't think it's going to happen soon, since Cunegonde unfortunately still has to work a full-time job to keep me in the retired lifestyle I've become accustomed to. We're on track to go to about 15 games this season. The games we got a part of our slice of a STH's syndicate cost us essentially the STH price. The rest of the games, I've been finding I can get them significantly less expensively than STH price. Friday night (JZimm's gem), we got great day-of-game seats in 116 EE and the pair of tickets cost us only $77, including all the surcharges. Are the Red Carpet Rewards worth it (that is NOT a rhetorical question)?

Gonat said...

Spanwagon +2 I was on it with his great offensive approach but his baserunning and defense by the wall weren't great. As of yesterday he showed game changing defense. Now we just need to see him wreaking havoc on the basepaths. He needs to be that guy on the basepaths driving pitchers crazy. There's an art to it and he can watch some old film of Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins.

natsfan1a said...

Even better.

Section 222 said...

In this case, there's a creative solution: avoid the issue altogether by calling him "308". ;-)
April 28, 2013 10:50 AM

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