Sunday, June 2, 2013

Instant analysis: Braves 6, Nats 3

USA Today Sports Images
Paul Maholm held the Nationals to two earned runs over six innings.
Game in a nutshell: After a frustrating, 10-inning loss last night, the Nationals knew they needed to win the series finale to take two of three from the Braves, avoid falling below the .500 mark and 6 1/2 games behind their division rivals. But rookie Nate Karns couldn't complete five innings for the second time in as many starts, and Zach Duke poured more fuel on the fire in relief. The Nationals scored a couple of quick runs off Paul Maholm but then were completely silenced after that and limped their way to an uneventful loss. So, for the first time since April 30, Washington is under .500 (28-29) and now faces a season-high 6 1/2-game deficit to Atlanta.

Hitting lowlight: Just when you think the Nationals lineup might get something going, they revert back into their old habits. Despite an early outpouring against Maholm, they went nearly silent at the plate for the rest of the afternoon. Tyler Moore's RBI single in the top of the second tied the game 2-2. After that, the Nationals went a collective 1-for-26 against Atlanta pitching. The only hit during that span: Ian Desmond's solo homer in the sixth. This has been a disturbing trend all season (and really, dating back to last season). They'll score a bunch of runs early, then completely shut it down after that. On the bright side: Jayson Werth hit a pair of three-run homers today in his rehab finale at Class A Potomac. He's slated to come off the DL on Tuesday.

Pitching lowlight: Coming off an impressive (if brief) major-league debut on Tuesday, Karns was hoping to take a step forward this time, and put himself in line to earn a win. He couldn't quite do it. Despite offering glimpses of what he can be, the right-hander gave up some very hard-hit balls to the Braves, including Ramiro Pena's two-run homer in the first and B.J. Upton's solo blast in the second. That's four homers now allowed by Karns in only nine big-league innings, a somewhat disturbing trend. Also disturbing: Karns has really had to work to reach the middle innings. He needed 85 pitches to complete 4 1/3 innings in his debut and needed 88 to get through 4 2/3 innings today. Has the 25-year-old earned another start against the Twins? Perhaps, though he's going to need to show more next time to warrant a longer stay.

Key stat: Duke has now faced 101 batters this season and allowed 42 of them to safely reach base.

Up next: The Nationals have Monday off, then will open a six-game homestand against the Mets and Twins. Jayson Werth is expected to come off the DL for Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. game, with Jordan Zimmermann facing New York's Jeremy Hefner at Nationals Park.

95 comments:

Unknown said...

Espinosa's fake tough-guy act after getting hit by a pitch said it all. He didn't fool anyone -- there's no real fight in this team.

Things are getting ugly.

Almazar80 said...

Well, the Nats ought to be able to sweep those teams. After all, now that the Nats are down 6.5 games to Atlanta, the real season is about to begin.

David Proctor said...

They're obviously struggling now. If they continue to play like this, they're not making the playoffs. My point is that I think this team DOES have the personnel for the most part, it's just underperforming. There are holes. I think Duke will be DFA soon. I think Espinosa will be replaced by Rendon in a couple weeks.

My main point is: there have been comebacks much, much bigger than what we'd have to do. There's no point in dwelling about how hard it might be. I'm not going to say the season is lost until the season is actually lost.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

When will get 25 guys going the same direction?

We have way too much dead weight dragging the team down.

Joe Seamhead said...

Phil Woods says "Not a terrible start for Karns."

That was a very good start by Nathan Karns. I was pretty impressed.

David Proctor said...

In May:
Braves 16-13
Nationals 15-12

The Braves aren't that much better than us, folks. They just got off to a hot start.

Almazar80 said...

The thing is, the Nats have not been exceptional this year. They don't have the fire, the attitude, or the skill level that they displayed last year. It seems that the people who had banner years last year may be unable to do the same this year. And since the predicted success was based on that rather faulty assumption (and the front office did nothing to improve this team in the winter), it appears that mediocrity is the manifest destiny of the Nats in Davey's final season.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Todays lost doesnt bother me. Losses last night where in my opinion we gave the victory away do bother me. Been about 7-10 of those this year.

Almazar80 said...

Well, it's June now. The Braves are 2-0 and the Nats are 0-2. Fortunately for the Nats, they are going to be playing teams that aren't better than them in the next week. If they continue to struggle against the Mets and the Twins, then mediocrity may not be an accurate descriptor.

Secret wasian man said...

Not terrible starts are not good enough. Not with this pathetic hitting team. And I can't believe people are still using the P word. PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS? Not a chance. We should do better tomorrow though.

Secret wasian man said...

Great point Almazarr80 . I'm counting on the next 6 to be won.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

One has to believe that things will get better.... Everyone is playing below their level... I see guys pressing and we seriously are missing some folks...

We should have won yesterdays game... I figured we would lose today when I saw Duke come in...

Definitely hope he and hrod are home soon.... Hope the DL Espi and I want to see kobernus is more than a pH role...

Bob Saget Nats Fan 101 said...

I believe the team has potential. They just have to play up to it and they are not. Like many of you, I think Duke needs to be DFA or released. Hrod needs go as well. Espi will go on the DL when worth returns. If he doesn't, then I will have lost all faith in Rizzo and Davey. jeff kobernus should get a chance to start at 2nd until rendon is ready. Keep Davis and Abad

David Proctor said...

The lineup on Tuesday BETTER be Span, Werth, Zimmerman, LaRoche, Desmond, Lombardozzi, Bernadina, Suzuki. If necessary, maybe Werth can be moved down and Lombo can hit 2nd. But it better be Werth in RF and Lombo at 2B.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Last 4.5 games Nats 22 for 144 or .157.

I love Eck.

Almazar80 said...

If your competition isn't playing well, there's no reason for you not to play well and catch up with them. Unfortunately for the Nats, they are further behind now than when the Braves were playing lights out baseball. So the success of last year seems illusory at the moment. Unless the Nats find a way to start winning again. So far, that has not happened. Too many holes, too many injuries, not enough talent and depth. Not a recipe for success this year.

Unknown said...

2013 is slipping away. Johnson is not managing the team to win games with the resources he has. Where was the suicide squeeze last night and why was Espinosa hitting with 2 out and men on 2nd and 3rd?) The team's situational hitting is atrocious. Johnson and Rizzo continue to hang into and (will go down with) Espinosa, Rodriguez, Henry, and Duke. Changes need to be made now. Get bodies off the waiver wire, AA, AAA, the Japan League ...people who will listen and play sound fundamental baseball.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Espi should have fought Moholm.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

David - I like

span
Werth
Lombo
Zimm
Adam
Desi
Shark/Moore
Suzuki
Sp

Another_Sam said...

Davy - shave or try the Grecian Formula.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Davey says half the team not performing, who is holding them accountable? No one is

MrsB loves the Nats said...

And Davey is becoming more and more bitter in his press conferences, I think...

David Proctor said...

Lombo should never be a #3 hitter. No way.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

MNF - that's the issue... On one hand I can see DJs hands are ties but on there other, you got guys sitting, use them...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

When Werth comes up who goes? My guess is Duke.

Secret wasian man said...

If Nats can't get 5 out of 6 from the Mets and the Twinkies then it is just not gonna be. Proctor excellent lineup.

Secret wasian man said...

How bout when WERTh comes up,Eck goes? Haha

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Lombo has been making good contact, that is why I have him there.... But either way, I just want only 1 automatic out in the line up ads opposed to 3/4....

Secret wasian man said...

Proctors lineup is excellent. Lets go with that. Although we're do you bat Danny? Hahahaha

SonnyG10 said...

There were a couple bright spots in today's game. Eric Davis really looked good and Fernando Abad also looked good. I'd like to see Davis replace HRod permanently in the bullpen. It was nice to see someone who has a strong arm and can throw strikes. I thought Karnes pitched pretty good except for the pitches up in the zone that were hit for home runs.

This is a dismal time for us but it will get better when we get our DLed guys back.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I wonder if Werth comes will Kobernus go back down... We haven't used him...

And I fear that we are keeping Espi around to be a back up SS for Desi....

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Great quote from ALR "We've played like crap."

Secret wasian man said...

Mrs b good thoughts. I did like Lombo 2nd. He was money sac flying Span the other day.

Secret wasian man said...

Pouring rain in Mount Airy. Hopefully Tuesday happier times. Enjoy the week everybody. Good temps coming for the park this week.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

You dont need to work harder we need work better.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Eed to get on a long winning string

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

At least we have a better situation than the Angels or Dodgers.

David Proctor said...

We need to win 5/6 of this upcoming homestand against the Mets and Twins. 4/6 would be disappointing but not awful. If we split or worse, that's going to be bad.

Does anyone know if we face Harvey?

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I actually think the story of the season is DJ and his loyalty....

DJ has lost about 9/10 games from poor in game mgmt but also becuz he chooses to keep trotting his guys out there..

Seriously hope HRod and Duke are gone from the team and hope Espi is DL'd soon...

EmDash said...

No, Harvey pitched today, so he'll miss the series. Got kind of roughed up by the Marlins weirdly enough.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Thought I heard we miss Harvey...

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Interestingly enough, Mets got swept by the marlins.... But they swept the yanks...

Gotta love baseball..

jeeves said...

I've heard, in both games he has pitched, how well Karns has done. Interesting, considering he has not made it to the fifth inning and has an era of 6.00.

David Proctor said...

He's made some bad pitches that have resulted in home runs. For the most part, he's done well I think. Also consider he's a AA pitcher making his second career start. And he made it into the 5th both times, he just couldn't finish it.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Harvey stunk up the joint in Miami.

David Proctor said...

Basically, Karns is giving us a chance. Giving up 3 runs in 5 innings is acceptable for a spot starter. Duke would have given up 8 runs.

slidell2 said...

Both Abad and Davis have looked good. Too bad Davey didn't try Eric last night in the 10th; it might have given us another shot.
It's almost a lead-pipe cinch that when Duke comes in, bad things will happen, even more so than Henry. If Rizzo has a shred of sanity, Duke will be given his walking papers when Jayson gets back.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Karns needs to work on his location... Its not like people are hitting all over the place on him though...

What I'm really happy about is Abad.. When he first can up, everything was up/high... Now he seems to be in the zone...

phil dunton said...

Davey Johnson cannot turn this team around because he is totally spent. In the post game interviews, he acts like a cadaver.

natsfan1a said...

Was going to post about Erik but, after scrolling, I see that Sonny and Slidell had it covered. Nice debut for the kid, and with his folks there.

Re. the P-Nats update, hope that Werth will be back soon. We could use him.

Also, I befuddled my cat again. It wasn't the kazoo charge music this time, though. It was the sad trombone that occasioned the "WTH" look.

SonnyG10 said...

There were a couple bright spots in today's game. Eric Davis really looked good and Fernando Abad also looked good. I'd like to see Davis replace HRod permanently in the bullpen. It was nice to see someone who has a strong arm and can throw strikes. I thought Karnes pitched pretty good except for the pitches up in the zone that were hit for home runs.

This is a dismal time for us but it will get better when we get our DLed guys back.
June 02, 2013 4:57 PM

Unknown said...

I agree with all: Johnson is faxing it in...resting on his laurels. He had some good teams in New York, Baltimore and Cincinnati. Granted, he's got his regulars hurt or on DL. But so does the rest of the league. Play small ball, emphasize the fundamentals. Make contact with runners on base; work the count and make the opposing pitcher throw strikes; hold the opposing runners; sacrifice bunt, hit and run; and sit down players that aren't or won't get the message. This is not rocket science. The season is slipping away. But changes can be made NOW to right the ship.

David Proctor said...

If any of you think Davey isn't trying, you're delusional. Has he made mistakes? Yes. But he's giving it his all. He's not "faxing it in", he's not "a cadaver."

Christopher Cohen said...

For the love of God, please stop blaming Davey Johnson for this mess!! If Justin Upton, F. Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, and Mike Minor were all injured Fredi Gonzalez wouldn't look so smart. And Braves fans would probably be calling for his head about the fact that B.J. Upton, Uggla, and whoever filled those roles kept getting ABs and innings.

That is pretty much the equivalent of our situation. There is no manager in baseball that could deal with this many key injuries.

That being said, it is time to give up on Espinosa, Duke, and possibly HRod (I only say possibly, because if we send him down he is in another teams farm system the next day).

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Who said that DJ was faxing/mailing the season in... Yes his hands are tied but he does deserve some blame... He has made some bad in game judgements/decisions and he keep trotting his guys out there when they don't deserve the PT or being on the field...

The issue is that last year, the bench was much better (maybe over-achieved) and this year they are playing below what they did last year... So having guys like Werth, Harp out affect the line up more since Moore, Shark aren't doing anything....

But to say DJ doesn't care.... Naw, you can tell he is as frustrated about the Nats as the fans are...

Eric said...

Davey is deflated. What, only the fans can feel dejected and frustrated by all this?

I was out car shopping and following on AtBat, but it looks like Abad and Davis did really well in their innings. If that's accurate, that's fantastic.

Also seems like Karns put in another respectable effort.

Go figure BJUp finally shows signs of life when playing against us. Seems like the story of the season so far: all of our catalytic energy flows out and we get precious little for ourselves.

Eric said...

Oh, it was nice to see Desi put one over again...seems like it's been awhile.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

And in other news.... I'm beginning to start walking to and joining the group of 'Fire Eckstein' folks....

What's interesting is that last year, the Nats weren't scoring many runs up to this point either... Really parallel but the pitching was excellent...

This year, it took a minute for the pitching (beside Jordan) to get their groove....

I just don't like that our situational hitting is so bad/terrible....

Secret wasian man said...

Its not Davey. Hes trying. You cant polish a turd. And there are a lot of turds on this team. Shark, Tyler, DANNY! Chad tracy, hrod, duke,. Did I miss anyone? Desi underachieving as is ZOOK.

paul brandt said...

Christopher, in my own opinion it is time to give up on Hrod and Duke...they have had their chances and have failed more often than not. Henry just can't find the strike-zone. Will he get better? maybe but let him be someone else's project, he has had enough rope here. Duke is not a situational lefty, he's a long reliever and one who does ok when the game is out of reach, kind of like Hrod.

btharner said...

Why is it that when we were on top last September, the month seemed to drag on forever. Now this year, with the team struggling, the season is flying towards the 60 game mark. It just seems like we will never get everybody back to try to make something of this season.

Candide said...

Mark wrote...Just when you think the Nationals lineup might get something going, they revert back into their old habits. Despite an early outpouring against Maholm, they went nearly silent at the plate for the rest of the afternoon. Tyler Moore's RBI single in the top of the second tied the game 2-2. After that, the Nationals went a collective 1-for-26 against Atlanta pitching.

Thinking back to Desmond's silly claim yesterday that you gotta stay with your plan, I'm wondering if the above isn't symptomatic of broader thinking up and down the lineup. "Hey, I got a hit off his first-pitch fastball in the second inning, so I'll just watch for first-pitch fastball the rest of the game."

Meanwhile, the opposing pitcher thinks, "SOB hit my first-pitch fastball in the second inning. Let's see if he adjusts." And he throws a slider that catches our boy flat-footed for strike one.

Our boy continues to look for first-pitch fastball the rest of the game and never sees it again.

Then after the game, he says he went up to the plate with a plan, and you gotta stick with the plan.

I'm not as scrupulous an observer of the pitch-by-pitch as some people here, but I wonder how often our guys go up the second and subsequent ABs looking for exactly the same thing they were successful with the first time.

Bill James once wrote about Pete Rose that average hitters adjust their approach at the plate each game. Good hitters adjust it each at-bat. Rose would adjust his approach with every pitch, because the situation, and accordingly, what he needed to do, was different with each pitch.

Then I watch Desmond, whose approach never seems to vary from one game to the next. Remarkable to me that he hits as well as he does.

David Proctor said...

I don't think Desi is really overachieving. I never thought he would perform QUITE to last year's levels, but I did think he would come close. He's on pace for 21 HR, he had 25 last year. That's about what I'd expect. He also has a butt-ton of doubles. He's just been slumping lately.

No argument on Shark, Tyler, Danny, Chad, H-Rod and Duke sucking. I don't think Duke is on the team much longer. Shark is safe because of his defense and he's been marginally better lately (despite the average below .200). Tyler needs to go to AAA, but I don't know if he does. Tracy should be gone.

Secret wasian man said...

Unknown from 4:35. You are so right. Like Ray said if Danny really thinks he is purposely being beaned while batting .160 he is truly delusional. Tough guy act was embarrassing. Grow up Danny and go away

David Proctor said...

I wonder if Danny and Maholm have some beef. Maholm has hit Danny twice this year--the first time he broke his wrist. Seems odd.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I love Roger... Hence my SN but he is slumming at the plate... As is the rest of the goodness squad... Either our bench isn't as good as we think/thought or they are in a serious funk....

I personally believe they over achieved last year but not as bad as they are right now...

And when we resigned C Tracy last year, I almost cried screaming as I was so against it... I wanted to keep DeRosa....

paul brandt said...

Perhaps an old NHL brawl would have awaken the team and Danny after the HBP. Not advocating for one but it frequently turns the momentum in a hockey game...at this point, i am reaching for anything to give this team a spark and agree Espi's stare down was embarrassing - why would anyone give him a free pass?

Theophilus T. S. said...

Don't wait for Werth; leave Rodriguez and Duke in Atlanta tonight. Let their next teams pick up the cost of their transportation. No accountability on this team. Maybe the only thing that will get their attention is if someone is publicly eviscerated for poor performance.

I'm wondering when this boils down to a confrontaion between Johnson and Rizzo: "You gave me sh__ for players; I can't manage sh__."

MrsB loves the Nats said...

David P said: No argument on Shark, Tyler, Danny, Chad, H-Rod and Duke sucking. I don't think Duke is on the team much longer. Shark is safe because of his defense and he's been marginally better lately (despite the average below .200). Tyler needs to go to AAA, but I don't know if he does. Tracy should be gone.

=====

Herein lies problem.... 5/6 are DJ's guys, so he stays true and loyal to them instead of cutting his losses (to an effect) and putting in folks who are doing something.... Why HRod is with us, I don't care about his 100+ mph FB, if dude can't find the SZ, it's pointless....

original Nats Fan said...

isn't Maholm the pitcher who hit Danny in the wrist and did all the damage to it? I'd be a little upset, too, if the same guy kept plunking me

David Proctor said...

I still maintain that H-Rod only made the team because Christian Garcia got injured.

David Proctor said...

Although now they're back to converting him to a starter. Probably because of our starting pitching depth.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Davey loves HRod... If he could get his control together, he would be unstoppable.... But nothing has shown us that he will get it together.... He has flashes...

Davey loves Danny... If he can contribute on both offense and defense, he would be unstoppable... But nothing has shown us that he will get it together... He has flashes...

Davey loves Duke.... He is the perfect set-up/long innings reliever lefty available although he bombs here and there... But nothing has shown us that he will get it together... He has flashes...

See the recurring theme.... Davey is in love with folks their _____ (can't think of the word). This is why he deserves some blame...

He may need to take a page out of the yanks play book... I mean half their roster is on the DL and look what they have done....

Theophilus T. S. said...

The problem w/ shedding either Moore or Bernadina is, who fills their spots? Couldn't trade either of them for more than a low-A relief pitcher at the moment. Demoting/DFA'ing either of them requires a call-up of a minor leaguer who bats from the same side of the plate. You can demote Moore when Rendon comes up, and make Lombardozzi a singles-hitting RH spare outfielder (if Harper is back) and PH. If you trade/DFA Bernadina, are you ready to give his job to Chris Brown?

What to do w/ Tracy? Pry Jason Giambi (.203, 5 HR) from the Indians?

David Proctor said...

I don't think Davey really loves Duke. I've never got the impression Duke is "one of his guys." I think he wanted a mop up man who could go multiple innings. Stammen is too valuable for that. We thought Duke would be able to, he hasn't been able to. I really think Duke's days are numbered.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I'm actually not upset about the loss today... Yesterday's loss really ticked me off.... I figured Karns would get hit and hit often and then Duke was gonna come in and bomb things...

We need to go on a good stretch of baseball... Win like 7 in a row... Seriously hoping we sweep the Mets....

Theophilus T. S. said...

Back in the Spring I couldn't foresee any way Micah Owings made it to the majors this season. Now he's looking pretty good if the Nats can't wait until Rendon is "ready."

MrsB loves the Nats said...

What in the world would possess someone to pick Duke over Burnett... Or Gorzo... Or even M Gonzalez....

I hope both Duke and HRod's days are numbered... With Davis, Abad and Karns showing us something, those 2 are expendable....

And the jury is still out on Matheus for me... I'm still trying to figure out how someone can be so incredibly stupid....

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Bernadina stays just becuz of his D... Moore needs to go back down, get some seasoning and get on... Kobernus needed to be given a real shot....

David Proctor said...

"What in the world would possess someone to pick Duke over Burnett... Or Gorzo... Or even M Gonzalez...."

Burnett has missed over half the season so far due to injury. Gonzales is a lefty specialist. Gorzo has been decent. Maybe we should've kept Gorzo, but I don't think anyone thought we would miss Tom Gorzelanny. We were wrong.

b29d68ba-a878-11e2-8215-000bcdcb5194 said...

Right on needing a good stretch of baseball. I can't wait to sing along with Werth's walk-up music on Tuesday. I just hope he saved some hits for Nats Park.

And enough with the "can't polish a turd". The Mythbuster guys did it a few years ago. Myth busted. Maybe there's hope here as well.

ArVAFan

paul brandt said...

wonder if Davey would just step down? doubt it but right now, nothing will surprise me.

David Proctor said...

Davey will not and should not step down.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Dave's should see it through until the end... Once the regular line up comes back, and folks are healthy, it will be a different team.. We are just going thru the worst case scenario stuff right now....

paul brandt said...

Dave, tend to agree but he does look tired and some of his in-game decisions have been puzzling to say the least. I like him and still think he will right the ship but something doesn't seem right with him.

David Proctor said...

He's over 70 years old and he's had health issues before. It's easy to manage a winner, it's more taxing to coach a team that's struggling. I'm sure it's wearing on him, but he'll see it through.

DWS said...

Excuse me if it's been mentioned. PLAYOFFS?

paul brandt said...

David, good points...have also wondered if there is an internal struggle between him & Rizzo lately re. personnel but am sure that goes on every day throughout the MLB...no question they are two strong willed individuals and losing brings things to a head and sometimes decisions are made on emotion...hope they all take a deep breath on this off day and re-group on Tuesday...they need a sweep of the Mets.

DWS said...

Oh and watch the team when they're healthy. Show me any team that can lose #2 and 3 hitters.

PLAYOFFS? oops the Dennis Green thing.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

So our OBP is worst than the Fish... I'm not sure how I feel right now....

Doc said...

The rest of professional baseball scores at a 5.00 ERA against this 38 yr. old pitcher.

Not the Nats, though. They make Hudson look like an All Star hero!

paul brandt said...

dws, do you mean jim mora?

paul brandt said...

Dennis Green was..."they are who we thought they were and we let em off the damn hook..." or something like that after a game vs the Bears.

biggoose said...

Lombo playing hard. Give the kid a shot at 2base .

Scott Margenau said...

I also see lots of positive t,akeawayscfrom this game. Karns was better than Mark alluded. Sure he left some up, but every pitcher has a few of those. He also had some nasty breaking balls and impressive strike outs. He has that JZim calm to him. If he stayed in, we may have won. Davis and Abad have me stoked as does the prospect of Rendon starting soon.

My concern is Davey and his horrific decisions and blind loyalty, but if espi, duke, hrod, Tracy are all gone ill be a bigger fan.

Scott Margenau said...

Of Davey that is ;)

Always a nats fan.

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