Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Game 100: Pirates at Nats

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
New hitting coach Rick Schu will be on hand for his first game as a member of the Nationals coaching staff as the Nats take on the Pirates Tuesday night. We'll see what help, if any, he can provide for a Washington team coming off four straight losses to begin the season's second half, including a tough one-run defeat on Monday.

The Nats will try to get things going at the plate against one of the most talented young arms in the game. Former 2011 first overall pick Gerrit Cole (4-3, 3.89 ERA) will take the ball for Pittsburgh, providing an intriguing matchup between he and the 2010 first overall selection in Bryce Harper. Cole was also selected ahead of Anthony Rendon in 2011, another player considered at the time to be in the mix for the first pick.

Cole will be making his eighth major league start while fellow rookie Taylor Jordan (0-2, 3.32) is making his fifth career start for Washington. The Nationals are continuing with Harper in the leadoff spot and Span back in the seven hole.

Updates to come...

PITTSBURGH PIRATES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 188
Weather: Mostly clear, 83 degrees, Wind 12 mph LF to RF
NATIONALS (48-51)
LF Bryce Harper
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
CF Denard Span
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Taylor Jordan

PIRATES (58-39)
LF Starling Marte
RF Jose Tabata
CF Andrew McCutchen
3B Pedro Alvarez
C Russell Martin
1B Garrett Jones
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
RHP Gerrit Cole

UMPIRES
HP Tim Timmons
1B Mike Estabrook
2B Mike Winters (cc)
3B Laz Diaz

7:05 p.m. — We are underway with a strike from Taylor Jordan to Starling Marte. It's a beautiful evening here, 83 degrees, blue skies and minimal humidity for a refreshing change.

7:10 p.m. — A nice and tidy, 9-pitch top of the first for Jordan, who got Marte to ground out, got Jose Tabata to strike out and then got Andrew McCutchen to do what few Nats pitchers over the years have gotten him to do: make an out.

7:18 p.m. — And the first batter of the Rick Schu Era, Bryce Harper, singles to center field. Quite a start for the new hitting coach. Except it didn't last. Harper was thrown out trying to steal second. Anthony Rendon struck out looking at a 95 mph fastball from Gerrit Cole. And Ryan Zimmerman grounded out weakly the third base to complete an 11-pitch bottom of the first. Scoreless here as we move to the second.

7:35 p.m. — Man, talk about a frustrating inning for the Nationals. The Pirates just nickel-and-dimed Jordan to death in the top of the second, using three groundball singles, a walk and some shaky defense to score three runs. Rendon was in the middle of it all, and for the most part not in a good way. He over-dove a grounder to his right. He dropped a potential inning-ending 5-4-3 double play feed from Zimmerman. He did, however, make a nice catch of a line drive to start an inning-ending double play, but before that happened, the Nats already put themselves in a 3-0 hole.

7:53 p.m. — On the bright side, Jordan is battling through the mistakes behind him and doing his best to keep this thing close. He just retired the heart of the Pirates lineup in order in the top of the third, keeping this a 3-0 game as we go to the bottom of the inning.

7:59 p.m. — Wilson Ramos gets the Nats on the board with a solo blast to left-center, though McCutchen very nearly robbed him with a spectacular effort at the fence. It took the crowd a couple of seconds to determine whether the ball had cleared or whether McCutchen had hauled it in. He missed it by a couple of inches, so Ramos has his fifth homer of the year, and the Nats have trimmed the lead to 3-1 after three.

8:14 p.m. — I was about to say I hadn't been blown away by Gerrit Cole's stuff so far tonight. Then he dialed it up to 97 mph to strike out Zimmerman and 98 mph to strike out LaRoche. So I stand corrected. The Nats have two hits through four innings and still trail 3-1.

8:29 p.m. — Eight of the last 10 outs Denard Span has made — and eight of the last 14 balls he's put into play — have been groundballs to the right side of the infield. This has been a recurring theme way too much. Still 3-1 after five.

8:43 p.m. — For the first time in his big-league career, Jordan will pitch the seventh inning. He's earned the right, having pitched very well since the second inning (which wasn't all that much his fault anyway). Still 3-1.

8:54 p.m. — And Jordan gets out of a jam in the seventh. He's at only 88 pitches, and there's nobody warming in the pen. We might just see him back out there for the eighth.

9:05 p.m. — And indeed we are going to see him in the eighth.

9:18 p.m. — But Jordan can't quite finish it. After two quick outs, he was given the chance to face Pedro Alvarez, a move that backfired. Alvarez took Jordan's 1-2 changeup the opposite way for his 25th homer. A base hit by Russell Martin ended Jordan's night. He departed to a standing ovation, though his final line won't look as good as it might have after Krol let the inherited runner score. Jordan's line: 7.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. It's now 5-1.

9:30 p.m. — And now the Nats are down to their last three outs. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

9:47 p.m. — It's over. The Nats lose 5-1, their fifth straight loss and 10th in 12 games. They're four games under the .500 mark and sinking fast.

229 comments:

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Secret wasian man said...

Been 9 days since the last win. Lets go guys

Nats106 said...

Jordan's numbers look good so far and there's no reason to think that they won't be good tonight. Follow the big cat's suggestion and go inside on him. Giving him the base is OK, but not the dinger.

100 is a nice, round, lucky number.

Nats106 said...

Oh, I meant to say go inside on McCutcheon, but that should be obvious. I say just pitch around him.

baseballswami said...

Does anyone really think this guy can walk in and make it better the first day ? He may be able to help over time, but not in one day. Hope these guys have an open mind- they should be wide open to any advice at this point. There should be expressions of support today immediately for the new coach. Especially from Davey. United front is a must. We may not be beating these teams, but we sure are breaking their players. Kemp, then Grilli. Be very afraid.

Joe Seamhead said...

Arggghhh! I don't like this lineup, especially against RHP Gerrit Cole. Whatever. GYFNG!!!

joemktg said...

Looking more and more like 2011. At this point in the 2011 season, Nats were 49-50, 12th in runs scored (vs. 14th today), 6th in ERA (same), 9th in fielding % (vs. 13th today). Werth is today's Michael Morse from 2011.

baseballswami said...

Davey using a dartboard now for his lineup? I am sorry to say this, but it does seem like he has checked out and is dreaming of Bora Bora.

sjm308 said...

Doubt if I will be first by the time I finish writing. I just got through 4 different articles and comments. Whew!

1. I truly enjoy certain posts and posters and would probably be leaving some people out so I won't name names. I enjoy those of you who do battle with those who just ramble on and on about our deficiencies - Thank You! I think the best was when a certain comment was made about Span getting worse every year and then two or three posts later his stats were published and lo and behold - he actually had gotten better.

2. I also enjoy the passion that is presented here post after post - it doesn't always have to be milk and honey - this club has disappointed and that needs to be recognized. So many of us have been through so many disappointments already that we really do just like having Major League Baseball in our city. Would we like to be World Champs? Of Course. But its a great game, its a game of great skill and it still amazes me to watch simple plays and how one brief mis-step leads to a baserunner being safe. I might be wrong but I think Baseball is the game that needs the most skill of the big 3. You might not have the best athletes, but the eye-hand coordination needed to hit, catch, throw etc is always impressive to me.

3. To those of you way back who mentioned concerts. Yes, I blew it by not going to the Beatles in my freshman year at Maryland. I will stand by my statement that Mr. Plant brought more energy and talent to the stage than any other rock guy I have seen in person so that includes The Who, The Doors, Neil Young, and many many more. My second choice might surprise you but its James Brown performing at the Howard Theater in 1965! I just wouldn't pay the prices the Rolling Stones were asking so I have to hold off judgement on them and yes, I would have loved to have seen McCartney at our stadium but could not work that out.

OK - its a baseball blog - I have hopes we turn it around, not to make the playoffs but just to start winning more than we are losing and play clean hard ball. Run out everything, catch the ball, play smart.

Go Nats!!

sorry this is so long but that is what happens when your day is filled with obligations

Joe Seamhead said...

I still support our GM, manager, bat boys,and ball girls. And our players.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I liked the finish to last nights game and expect some good carryover. Go get 'em!

Section 222 said...

JoeS -- This is the same lineup that Davey used last night, and the last game of the Marlins series before the break. He thinks the players like it: "they feed off each other" he said to Charlie before yesterday's game. He couldn't use it when ALR had the flu, but he wants to try it.

The way Bryce and Werth are hitting right now (singles and walks for BH, bombs for JW), it seems fine to me.

natsfan1a said...

Me, too (plus everybody else behind the scenes).

Go, NATS!!

Joe Seamhead said...

I still support our GM, manager, bat boys,and ball girls. And our players.
July 23, 2013 4:07 PM

baseballswami said...

I really don't have a problem with this particular lineup. I was just funnin' with the dartboard comment. It does seem like we have used lots of different ones this year, though. Gotta' stay on your toes with that scorebook..

bowdenball said...

If you haven't seen Cole pitch yet, he is not the typical #1 overall starter who blows you away with stuff. He hasn't shown swing and miss ability at the big league level yet. In my opinion he's a lesser version of Jordan Zimmermann. His one elite skill so far seems to be preventing HRs, which he also did in the minors. He's an average starter at this point, no more. This lineup can definitely get to him.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I think this is the best possible lineup we have in 2013. Isn't this the lineup (excepting Rendon, who is a major upgrade over Wally Pipp II) everybody was drooling over in April-May when we had injuries?

I think we give Mr. Cole a rude welcome tonight.

GYFNG!!

A DC Wonk said...

Any event tge point is at work I learn expect near perfection from me, and I expect. The same as others at their job.

What does that mean for a baseball player? Bat and field 1.000? Do we expect our kids to get 800's on the SAT's?

What I expect is 100% effort. But, sheesh, even Babe Ruth led the AL in striking out five different seasons.

With a few blips here and there, I've seen the Nats give 100% effort. They may be messing up, but it's not because they're not trying their hardest.

Doc said...

I guess every game like this suggests that I should start all over again and be a Nats'fan once more.

I'm gonna try and ignore all the goofy things that have been said about batting coaches here over the past few days, and wish these guys and coach Schu the best.

This is not the way the season was supposed to go---dang namit!!!!!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

As Al Davis woukd say Just win Baby.

A DC Wonk said...

JD said...

...I think Davie thought that this year would be at least as good as last year and the Nats would easily march to 95 wins and win the division in a cake walk. I think the poor start took him by surprise and I don't think he has the energy any longer to deal with a maintenance situation he did not anticipate.


With all due respect, I don't see that. He wasn't demonstrable with energy last year either -- he's not that kind of guy. Yes, he smiled more last year, and he's probably a bit stressed more this year, but that's to be expected.

I think Davey is just genuinely mystified at the performances of many of our hitters.

Who ever thought any of the following would happen:

- Span would be hitting .140 lower than his lifetime BA against lefties

- Bryce Harper, as we enter game 100, hitting .169 against lefties (that's an astounding disappointment)

- Tyler Moore having to go back to AAA to figure out how to bat again

- Danny hitting almost .100 _lower_ than last year

- The Shark hitting .100 lower than last year

- ALR and RZim are also hitting lower than last year

Davey -- like every other person in the world -- is looking at these guys and thinking: what's wrong? These guys are good hitters!

Look, we have pretty much the same hitters as last year (a net loss of Morse for Span, a net gain of Rendon over Danny) and yet the nearly same team that was hitting the ball all over the place, and nearly tops in NL -- and did better in the second half, is now scraping the bottom in the NL.

Young hitters are supposed to keep getting better until their late 20's. And yet we're seeing them go in the opposite direction. We expected Bryce to have close to MVP or Triple Crown numbers (and, btw, most players who had the season he had at age 19, did have Mike Trout-like numbers at age 20).

What happened? These guys have talent, but what's going on? They had the same hitting coach, same manager, mostly the same team -- what's going on?

So, Davey's flummoxed with this.

But that's no reflection on him -- it's just the state of affairs with our hitters. Even the smartest guys in baseball can't figure it out.

Davey _has_ had some good ideas -- to swing more and not take so many darn strikes. Verducci's numbers showed Davey was correct -- but the hitters still aren't doing it.

Davey's a tremendously smart guy -- in terms of numbers, and in terms of how to manage a 25-headed personality of a team. He's straight with his players and treats them as grown ups. He has the respect of his players (helped by the fact that Davey already has some rings, and a gold glove, and etc.).

He's flummoxed, just like everybody else in the world is, over this team.

baseballswami said...

Almost game time- all hands on deck, focused. This whole hitting coach thing needs to stop being about Davey's feelings. He needs to be about his TEAM! Hoping to see some good solid baseball tonight. Jayson!!!!

A DC Wonk said...

Nats are, actually, slightly overperforming in situational hitting.

Consider: they are 4th to last in hitting
But they are 7th to last in RISP
5th to last in RISP with two out

My point: it's not situational hitting that's bad -- it's just overall hitting that's bad.

David Proctor said...

Sounds like Det is going to be out for a long time...

James Joyce said...

Harper at lead-off again? It's just such a bad idea.

bowdenball said...

A DC Wonk said...

"We expected Bryce to have close to MVP or Triple Crown numbers (and, btw, most players who had the season he had at age 19, did have Mike Trout-like numbers at age 20).

What happened?"

Harper is 11th in OPS among NL batters with at least 250 appearances . I don't think it's fair to refer to that as some sort of significant disappointment. His peers include Matt Carpenter, Andrew McCutcheon, Ryan Braun and our own Jayson Werth. He's a tick below MVP level performance. He just got hurt is all.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David, yes, Det will be out for a while. Better get it fixed while the team has inning left for TJord.

Like I said in the last post, I'm still concerned about Gio and any stink from what Tony Bosch is squealing like a Parrot.

The health of Det and future of Gio and Haren's woes could spell the perfect time to "sell" some arms in the bullpen for top prospects and maybe even move LaRoche + some cash.

The young core here still gets the Nats looking good for 2014.

Faraz Shaikh said...

"if you hit it, runs will come" - Wonk/Jeff

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

So let me get this straight...Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman make $4 million a year MORE than Dustin Pedroia. Are you freakin' kidding me???

baseballswami said...

I am worried about Det's back and also JZ 's neck. Anytime you start dealing with spines, discs and the like, it's a tricky thing.

hiramhover said...

Bowndeball

I'm with Wonk in being concerned about Bryce.

Those season stats are entirely due to his red-hot April, but he hasn't been the same since running into those walls. Not in May, before the DL; not in July, since he's been back.

May - .193/.319/.368, 90 wRC+, 19.2% K
July - .212/.333/.333, 89 wRC+, 27.2% K

That's not near MVP performance, that's below MLB average.

hiramhover said...

Ghost

You really think anyone would take ALR? 1B/DH types are not that hard to find. I think Seattle has 6 or 7 in their line up every night.

Faraz Shaikh said...

ASE, Zimm is better than Pedroia, no doubt. He may be outperforming him now but check career numbers, RZ is better and younger.

James Joyce said...

Harper had a hot month in April. He's been very human since. Let's not try hard to find some stat line that makes him look better than he is. The kid has had 66 ABs in July and he's hitting .212 with 5 XBH.

McCutcheon is a legit star, Harper's a guy with loads of talent -- there's a big difference. If Harper is a tick below MVP performance, then it one seriously big, bloated tick.

bowdenball said...

hiramhover-

The question "what happened" suggests something went wrong overall this season, not that something is going wrong now. Regardless of his July, his numbers for the season are his numbers for the season. And his numbers for the season are just fine.

I share your concern about his current level of play, but I'm willing to give him some slack. A .353 OBP for the last week is fine. The power hasn't been there, and I do share your concern about that. But power numbers can fluctuate a lot from week to week and month to month. Ask Jayson Werth. A couple HRs over a stretch of a few days and everything looks quite different.

Another_Sam said...

Glad to read the posts of you regulars known to me -- I won't mention your handles because I'd forget someone. And all you posters that I don't know too.

And yes. Let's play ball; get on with it. This is baseball.

Oh. Almost forgot -- someone tell Carpenter and FP to stop reporting on the out of town scoreboard and Braves scores. Like they did last night.

Another_Sam said...

BTW, I was as guilty as anyone in thinking they'd win at least 125 games this year. haha.

A DC Wonk said...

And his numbers for the season are just fine.

He's hitting .169 against lefties! That's a pretty big hole for an all star.

I presume he'll figure it out -- but I wouldn't call that "just fine."

bowdenball said...

James Joyce said...

"Harper had a hot month in April. He's been very human since. Let's not try hard to find some stat line that makes him look better than he is. The kid has had 66 ABs in July and he's hitting .212 with 5 XBH"

You should have stopped at 66 ABs. That is essentially meaningless. Prince Fielder is hitting .244 with 6 XBH over his last 90 ABs, 24 more than you thought was enough to judge Harper. Apparently Fielder sucks too?

James Joyce said...

Harper's numbers for the season are pretty pedestrian. Something may not be wrong, every guy has a slump, but Harper's not producing. And throwing him out at leadoff is just wacked. Span is having great ABs, Harper can hit the long ball, swap the guys and have Harper get ahold of one for a 2-3 RBI moment. Let's score some freaking runs already.

Section 222 said...

Haren crushed again last night (we've lost 11 straight games with him starting...), Det out for several more weeks. I'm afraid my bet with bowdenball that they will make no more than 15 starts combined for the rest of the season is looking pretty good already.

James Joyce said...

This from the guy who quoted Harper's OBP for a three game series?

David Proctor said...

His numbers against lefties concern me more than his overall numbers. I suspect that's part of the reason for his overall numbers being low as well. He's faced a lot of lefty starters and managers are bringing in lefty specialists to face him much more than they ever did before. It will be up to him to adjust.

baseballswami said...

About Bryce- I watched how he conducted himself last week. What do you think those days were like for him? I actually felt protective-- like, leave him alone for one minute. The kid just gives and gives. It must have taken an enormous amount of energy to represent us and MLB in that derby. It has flattened veterans. Add to that the energy it takes to be " Bryce Harper" to the media and fans every minute. I know he loves the game and he takes his responsibilities very much to heart, and he loves the fans, but sometimes I wonder if it drains him . I don't see the sheer joy in him already at 20. He has aged- look at pictures. What a great kid, caught up in this mess of a season, with his sense of duty. He looks so burdened.

A DC Wonk said...

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

So let me get this straight...Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman make $4 million a year MORE than Dustin Pedroia.


What's your point? That you can cherry pick?

So can I.

Bobby Bonilla (yes, the one that retired years ago) is making more money that Mike Trout.

Or, how's this: Edwin Jackson is making *twice* as much as Gio.

Or: EJax is making more money than Jordan Z, Ian, and Rendon put together.

A DC Wonk said...

BTW, I'm not being critical of Harper. He's my son's age! I'm sure he'll adjust.

But, continuing on the point above: nobody predicted this kind of season from him. (Or, from a number of other players)

James Joyce said...

swami - -I agree, they should take some of the pressure off the kid and bat him 6th. Having the guy hope to take a walk when he has that kind of monster power and when Span is raking is a headscratcher.

bowdenball said...


A DC Wonk said...

"He's hitting .169 against lefties! That's a pretty big hole for an all star.

I presume he'll figure it out -- but I wouldn't call that 'just fine.'"

I didn't. I said his overall numbers for the season are just fine.

Again, the question was about why the Nats have underwhelmed to date. Harper's splits are meaningless in that calculation, all that matters is his overall contribution. You don't get fewer runs if you hit against righties than you do if you hit against lefties.

His injury is part of the reason the Nats have underwhelmed thus far, but his production when healthy is not.

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

Faraz-You should be a comedian. In what universe is Ryan Zimmerman a better player than Dustin Pedroia? His own family wouldn't even agree with that. Pedroia has a ROY, MVP, 2 Gold Gloves, 4 All-Star appearances, a World Series ring and a 17.3 WAR over the past 3 years. Zimmerman's WAR is 8 over that same time period. Pedroia is also the 2nd best at his position in all of baseball. Zimmerman is probably not even in the top 10 anymore.

NatsFanSinceStart said...

Off and on my way to the "game." Four rows behind Pirate Dugout -- all friends and especially my naysayers, come and say 'Hello." Looking forward to meeting the drips that live here!! Go Nats (lol)

do1teach1 said...

RAND CORPORATION LEADERSHIP ANALYSIS: WASHINGTON NATIONALS BASEBALL CLUB

(Sensitive—PART ONE OF TWO)

Overview: In response to the lethargic, pathetic play of the Washington Nationals in the 2013 season, the Rand Corporation Leadership Analysis Team conducted an emergency review of the team’s leadership, in response to the request of 41,000 Nationals fans after a recent, anemic loss to the Dodgers.

Central Issue: Media analysts, in particular those who are employees of the team, have pooh-poohed (to use the management term) the importance of leadership in the team’s performance. These analysts often state that coaches (such as hitting coaches, managers, or GMs) are not “on the field” and therefore really don’t influence performance very much.

- The Rand position is that, in every human endeavor in history, from the building of the Pyramids, to the invasion on D-Day, to the sustained excellence of the St Louis Cardinals, leadership is absolutely VITAL to the performance of human organizations—including the Washington Nationals.

Due to blog space limitations, Rand’s findings and conclusions will appear on a post to follow immediately, in Part Two of Two.

James Joyce said...

bowdenball -- Rube Goldberg called -- he wants his Make Bryce Harper's 2013 Stats Look Amazing Machine back, says it's busted anyway.

David Proctor said...

Nobody said Ryan was better than pedroia...

sjm308 said...

Hard to take pressure off when he thrives on it. He is the one who asked to bat first. I think he loves pressure.

bowdenball said...

James Joyce-

I'm the only one here NOT manipulating Harper's numbers using split and smaller samples His numbers on the season: .264/.370/.509. If that's not enough for you, I think the problem is with your expectations, not with Harper.

David Proctor said...

Come on Bowdenball. Yes, his overall numbers are still good, but nobody is wrong for looking deeper into them.

sjm308 said...

DP - actually, Faraz did say that. I sort of winced as I read it.

David Proctor said...

Oh I must have missed it. I apologize. Yikes. I'm as big a RZim defender as anyone, but Pedroia is better. Zim is younger but still...

bowdenball said...

Sure, David. I love looking deeper at the numbers. Except that looking at splits isn't relevant in the context of "what's happened to the Nats' season so far"? It's fine if you want to look for troubling trends and concerns, and I agree with some of those concerns. But in terms of what's already happened, the numbers don't lie. .370 OBP, .509 slugging. That's what he's given the 2013 Nats when healthy.

Section 222 said...

NFSS -- Have a great time at the game. Doubt you'll be missed here. But I did go back and check, and you did predict a .500 season (18 fewer wins than last year) on May 18.

You also predicted that the Nats would spend July and August in a deep swoon that will take them to 5-8 games below .500 or worse. That remains to be seen, but it's probably more likely at this point than making the playoffs.

Well done, so far. Are you happy?

do1teach1 said...

The staff here at Rand has run into the character limit for posts, in our blockbuster analysis of the Nationals' leadership. Our all-Ph.D staff is truncating our findings for your enjoyment. Analysis to follow shortly.

do1teach1 said...

(Sensitive—PART TWO OF TWO)

Rand Corporation Leadership Study of the Nationals—Official Findings:

- The team squandered the opportunity to work on key skills in spring training 2013. Although the team’s inability to hold runners was a glaring failure in 2012—including Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs—team management elected not to fix this issue in a training environment. This lack of leadership has led to catastrophic failure in terms of the team’s ability to keep opponents from stealing bases. The team also failed to prepare the defense, resulting in a rusty, lackluster, error-prone April, May, and June. New team members noted publicly that they had never seen such a lax, unfocused spring training environment. (Leadership Grade: F)
- The Nationals paid no attention to the importance of organizational culture in several key areas. They ruined a happy, productive outfield anchored by an outstanding centerfielder with the best arm in baseball, shipping the team’s charismatic and productive left fielder to Seattle. They embarrassed and then released John Lannan, a bulldog of a competitor who routinely pitched well against the Atlanta Braves and ate innings through the years without injury, replacing him with consecutive mediocrities in Jackson and Haren. (Leadership Grade: F)
- The team resolutely refused to get rid of dead wood—a sure indicator of a failing leadership team. A hapless second baseman (Espinosa) was kept on board 12 months after becoming an offensive laughingstock in the National League. The comical Henry Rodriguez was retained in the bullpen for a full year after it was evident he could never be a pitcher in the major leagues. Bench players, better-termed the “Mendoza Squad” than the “Goon Squad” and unfit for AA-level teams, were kept on board. A “hitting” (emphasis added) coach was retained long after it became clear he was a member of the roundly-repudiated Pitches-Per-At Bat Cult. (Leadership Grade: F)
- Operational decisions lacked focus, and showed evidence of chasing phantoms. The leadership climate deferred to the GM and did not allow for his assumptions to be challenged. This individual proclaimed he had secured a “prototypical leadoff hitter,” and replaced .300-hitting (2012) Jason Werth in the leadoff spot. The results were disastrous, as the “prototypical leadoff hitter” soon became a “prototypical 7-hole hitter.” This player, Span, is now tied for 44th in stolen bases in the major leagues. (Leadership Grade: F)
- The Nationals’ scouting program enjoyed tremendous success in the realm of their own PR, but very little success in terms of results. The team stifled Anthony Rendon for a year beyond the point when he should’ve taken over the 2nd base role. While boasting and puffing their chests over their “best-scouting team in MLB” hype, they skipped over Mike Trout to draft “Little Henry” Storen. Luxuriating in reading their own press clippings from the team’s PR shop, the team spent a winter praising their efforts to re-sign LaRoche (dooming Morse) and COMPLETELY missing Chris Davis, whom the stronger scouts in Baltimore secured for the Orioles, for almost nothing in return. (Leadership Grade: F)
- The team showed absolutely no imagination on offense. Hostile to the bunt, they squandered hundreds of opportunities when third basemen played 20 feet behind the bag—or even played in the shortstop position against LaRoche—to accept the “gift” of first base. This lack of imagination, especially as it pertains to unexpected bunts-for-hits, never making the opposition pay a price for the shift, safety squeezes and suicide squeezes, cost the Nationals very heavily in 2013. (Leadership Grade: F)
- Conclusion: Rand concludes that repeated leadership failures are to blame for the nightly embarrassment of the Washington Nationals.

(Sensitive)

James Joyce said...

bowdenball -- I seem to remember that you used a smaller (much smaller) sample of a .353 OBP for half a week to make your point that we should give him some slack. No?

Look, no one is saying that it is Harper's fault that the club is not performing well, or that he sucks. (At least I am not.) But he has struggled. He just has.

The Nats trotted the guy out to bat 3rd; they had expectations of him having a big, big season. Making the big step up. Since the first 4 weeks of the season, when he was on fire, mashing the ball to a Cabrera level, he has not had a one multi HR week, he has had only one week with an OPS over .900, he has 11 RBI since April and only 1 RBI since coming back (the first AB HR) in July. He hit .344 in April, something like .200 since.

The league has adjusted to Bryce. I have no doubt that he is capable in making his own adjustments, but having him struggle at the top of the order is a bad move for the team. He should be in the middle of the order where he can knock in some runs when he connects. Even if he breaks out and has a nice night, goes on his own Werthian tear maybe, doing it at leadoff has opportunity costs for this club that cannot afford them. Especially with Span hitting and getting on well himself.

natsfan1a said...

Is it game time yet? No, okay. Just checking.

baseballswami said...

Bryce asked or volunteered? He would volunteer to run into a wall for his team, oh, wait.....

JaneB said...

I'm starting my bourbon now.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

do1teach1, don't quit your day job. We don't even have to read it to know it's not funny.

joemktg said...

Curious to see how Harper adjusts to the leadoff position, as you can't be as aggressive in the 1 spot as you can at 3 or 4. When DJ penciled him in there, I wondered if this was a way to temper his aggressiveness. Regardless, it all goes into the crapper if he doesn't get his hands going to prevent that front should from pulling out (he can bite on his sleeve all he wants).

Rendon at the 2 spot is troubling right now, as he's hitting sub .200 as of late. The kid has never played this many games in this short of a time span, and I wonder if that + the NL teams getting film on him is leading to the struggles. Rather see Desmond getting the extra ABs from the 2 spot.

David Proctor said...

"When DJ penciled him in there, I wondered if this was a way to temper his aggressiveness."

If there's one thing I feel completely confident in saying, it's that Davey does not want someone to be LESS aggressive.

joemktg said...

In the leadoff spot?

A DC Wonk said...

bowdenball wrote to JJ:

I'm the only one here NOT manipulating Harper's numbers using split and smaller samples His numbers on the season: .264/.370/.509. If that's not enough for you, I think the problem is with your expectations, not with Harper.

I'll plead guilty to having high expectations -- but I think many did.

Historically -- very few 19 year olds hit 22 HR and bat .270. But almost every one who did is Hall of Fame worthy, and almost every one took a rather large jump -- to at least 30 HR and .310+ age age 20.

So, yeah, I expected Bryce to be at that level this year. He batted .240 against lefties last year, and I expected it to improve. If it have, he'd be having a stellar year instead of a pretty decent one.

The bar was set, not by me, but by his own play last year. He batted .330 in Sept/Oct, and many thought that that was a sign of things to come for this year.

A DC Wonk said...

do1teach -- nice piece of fiction . . . but it was fiction, not reality.

Just one example:

"The team stifled Anthony Rendon for a year beyond the point when he should’ve taken over the 2nd "

At the beginning of 2013, Rendon had a grand total of 43 games under his belt, all at the AA level or less.

Harper had about three times as many minor league games (134) and some people thought that _he_ was rushed.

Oh, and you might remember that Rendon _was_ brought up for a cup of coffee in April. In eight games he got 6 hits and had 7 K's. And three errors in the field. Most everybody thought that he wasn't quite ready.

But the Nats tried.

So, blaming anybody for stifling Rendon by not promoting him fast enough is laughably ridiculous.

David Proctor said...

It's hard to say how the injury affected Bryce's performance. Remember, he was hurt originally after crashing into the wall in Atlanta, not LA. So he spent a month playing hurt and then was rusty after 31 dayson the DL. It's time for him to start playing up to his capabilities now because he's healthy.

He does still get on base a lot at least.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Did you all see that slider K by TJord?!!! Credit to McCatty on that side session work. As I said in his last start his slider had more vertical drop then his previous starts. That last slider had big vertical and horizontal movement.

sm13 said...

222 - meant to post this earlier. I was at Saturday's game and thought the anthem performance was great. Truly among the best I've heard. Well done

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Bah..... How did Bryce get on base...

Sup folks...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Scue actually was coaching today. Imagine that. What I want go over situations.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Schu's focus will be on approach & plan. This will need to be discussed at more length in an early morning post.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

So becuz it's Bryce... I guess there will be no outrage, right...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Harper out by several feet. That changes the whole inning. I like Bryce causing havoc but the Nats OBP is so poor they can't afford to take themselves off the basepaths.

David Proctor said...

I don't mind when Span gets caught stealing necessarily, I mind when he gets picked off. I like the aggressiveness, whether it's Span or Harper. Harper got 3 good jumps and then the one time it wasn't fouled, he got a poor jump.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MrsB, look what I just posted. I wouldn't call it outrage but that's just what Span was doing in getting on base and taking himself off the basepaths.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

That was terrible... It wasnt close or nothing... Harper was out by a mile...

And then Rendon... Unh...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Had good jumps on the first two, then when he needed Rendon's help with a tap foul no help given.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Ghost - I get that (your 713 post) but when Span was doing it... There was outrage... But Harp doing it... Well it's crickets...

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Cole is hitable... I hope we beat the breaks off him...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David Proctor said...
I don't mind when Span gets caught stealing necessarily


Span's baserunning record is rated as poor so not sure what your point is. 3 pickoffs and 10 out of 14 in SBs isn't good.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

That looked like a terrible angle Rendon took...

Amr Khani said...

It's just a bad play. They are trying to "make something happen", but the risk/reward on a stolen base just isn't there. Run yourself out of an inning, help the opposing pitcher's pitch count, etc. All to try to get one base.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Amr Khani said...
It's just a bad play. They are trying to "make something happen", but the risk/reward on a stolen base just isn't there. Run yourself out of an inning, help the opposing pitcher's pitch count, etc. All to try to get one base.


That's it. There's a time to steal and a time to get aggressive. Probably not there.

Amr Khani said...

Why are you blaming Rendon? It was a ball. He needs to take it. Good hitters swing at strikes and take balls. Another reason why trying to steal in that situation is a poor play.

David Proctor said...

Wow Anthony.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

How does Rendon miss it.... Come on guys....

Amr Khani said...

Ouch

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Oh Rendon. That was tailor made 5-4-3. Just cost a run.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Now the defense screws up. Inning should be over. This has been the problem in TJord starts that poor defense has screwed him.

David Proctor said...

We're just playing losing ball. Simple as that. A wild pitch yesterday. Errors like that one on Rendon. The talent is there, but the fundamentals are not (which we had last year so...baffling).

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Wow.... Unbelievable...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Now 2 free runs because of the error.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Terrible, terrible D.... Cost us 2 runs... Come on guys... Lets score this inning...

Shake it off... Play some good fundamental baseball becuz that wasnt it...

ExposedinDC said...

Goodness this team is really bad right now

MrsB loves the Nats said...

*golf clap for Marte*

He didnt get it all....

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Are you kidding me. LaRoche robbed.

mick said...

This team has forgotten how to win in 2013. Nothing is clicking at all. Team needs an overhaul in philosophy in 2014, from hitting, to base running, etc..

It is very sad right now, hopefully we will get see some of the players in the minors the rest of the season. Rizzo should be given the green light to sell for prospects and save money for next season.

Davey really should step aside to begin the process

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Desi swings at ball 4

mick said...

Werth is playing like an all Star...take note Ian Desmond

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Desi swings at ball 4.... Damn ball was so far out of the SZ... *sigh*

Great jump by Werth...

mick said...

Desi is an above average player, which is fine...but he is no All star

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Swinging at a slider outside to K when you have a walk, is what we call bad approach, Schu has a lot of work to as there is a lot of bad habits here

Amr Khani said...

How many times does this team swing at ball 4?

mick said...

Span hits to 2nd it seems 90% of the time...

I really hope this is his only season in DC

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Span swings at one low ball 4 too.

,6 for 76 RISP.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Span swung at ball 4 too.... Ugh... Come on guys...

mick said...

MNF

Schu will not be able to address this until next spring training... For the rest of the season, the team and fans will have to live with this nightmare

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

mick said...
Desi is an above average player, which is fine...but he is no All star


Desi is not playing well since the All Star break. 5 games doesn't change the fact that his OPS is Top 3 of all NL Shortstops and after Peralta is suspended Desi will be Top 3 in the Majors.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Uhm.... Has McCatty been working with Taylor...his slider is kinda pretty tonight....

Amr Khani said...

Obviously this is all speculation, but when Davey started whining about his team taking strike three a lot, this overemphasis on aggressiveness and not striking out looking was bound to happen. Those were two perfect examples where being aggressive killed the team - but for some reason, that's not vilified nearly as much as taking strike three.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MrsB, see my post at 7:11

mick said...

Ghost...I think OPS and other stats are very misleading, even before the break, Desi was not coming thru in key situations, the other point everyone seems to not be concerned with is his throws to first. For all the grief ALR gets, he has saved Desi's ass from total embarrassement this season. All fans see is that the opposing player is out at first and they ignore the fact that ALR makes great scoop most of the time when Desi throws..

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Sugar
Honey
Iced
Tea

Ghost... Stop saying what I am thinking man.... This ESP thing is kinda scary, lol....

But it's looking better...

Candide said...

Jeeze, even the park looks tired. Grass in CF is full of yellow patches.

mick said...

allright wilson!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Ramos we needed that last night in tge 9th, but we will take it.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Whew... I thought McCutchen caught that...

Yes, buffalo!!!! Yessszzzzzz!!!!

David Proctor said...

"Desi was not coming thru in key situation"

He leads the team in game winning RBI. Yes, he has.

mick said...

I just have a feeling Bryce has not been even close to 80% healthy since that wall run in...we will hear the truth about that at seasons end

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I guess it my football and basketball thinking. Work every day on something, not just spring traning

mick said...

David... really... that stat means nothing and your defense of any critique about any player is getting ridiculous...I said he was an above average player and I am including his defense too.. Without ALR at 1st, Desi would be leading MLB in throwing errors, no doubt

Candide said...

Why is Schu talking with Davey? Shouldn't he be talking with the batters?

ExposedinDC said...

Maybe time for Wilson to hit somewhere other than 8th

mick said...

MNF

I agree, but during the MLB season its tough to really get your at bats in.

David Proctor said...

So him leading the team in game winning RBI means nothing when it comes to him coming up in big spots? He's also among the NL lead, just so ya know.

mick said...

David... the past week, his at bats have been awful and once again, his defense is part of my evaluation as well or maybe you don't consider that? I guarantee, when ALR is no longer playing first, you will see Desi in a different light, unless he improves his throws not to mention R Zim

David Proctor said...

You said that Desmond does not come up in big spots. That's wrong. One week does not offset that he leads the team in that category and is among the NL lead in that category.

Yes, ALR saves Zim and Desi some errors. But Desi's throws have gotten much better. Zim's...TBD.

A DC Wonk said...

Not that I want him back or anything. . . .

But how many other folks think we get out of the 2d inning with no runs if Danny were at 2b?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

At least Schu is engaged. I never saw Eck talk to anyone.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I like T Jordan a lot... He has shown improvements and is impressive... Bats and D are his enemy right now... But I look forward to him being in the SP rotation next year...

Wonder if Det just needs to be in the BP...

mick said...

to add David..Desi's at bat sat night verse Dodgers could not have come at a worse time, he had a chance to put the Nats ahead and a win might have helped the team's mind set. even FP noted that Grienke's slider was off the entire night...on 2 pitches in the count, Grienke's slider hit the dirt and Desi swung , including on 3--2 where he reached about a foot outside. Sure Desi has been a bright spot on a dismal team, but All Stars come through in those situation..If you have a problem with me saying he is only above average and not All star, well so be it.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Maybe tough but you got to do it. Dont waste a single game.

A DC Wonk said...

David Proctor said...

So him leading the team in game winning RBI means nothing when it comes to him coming up in big spots? He's also among the NL lead, just so ya know.

Proving once again:

A team is never as bad as they look during a losing streak, and never as good as they appear during a winning streak.

David Proctor said...

We do, Wonk. It's no surprise that Rendon's D is going to cause trouble at times. The issue is that his hitting right now isn't really offsetting it like it was early on.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hitting 101.

See ball hit ball.

mick said...

Rendon is the guy long term at 2b, I have no problems with Anthony...I frankly hope to never see Espi again in a Nats uniform

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Ump seems to be a little confused on that outside/corner pitch...

1 minute it's a K, the next it's a ball...

mick said...

MrsB

just block out the umpires, if you don't it will give you ulcers...they are across the board terrible

mick said...

funny thing is there are many very good umpires doing high school ball and D-III in this area...those are the guys that should be doing MLB

MrsB loves the Nats said...

But the issue, Mick, is that it alters the at bat... See Adam LaRoche's last one...

But yeah, it's getting harder and harder to defend blues behind the plate...

mick said...

agreed MrsB

David Proctor said...

I don't know--the replacements refs in the NFL have scared me from saying replacements would do better. But who knows.

mick said...

have to admit, Pirates are a very good team

mick said...

David

totally agree with you on that

Joe Seamhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mick said...

David

remember, baseball umpires work more games that a football official, perhaps 2-3 times more so they are getting much more experience

mick said...

it also appears that the Dodgers are now living up to their pre season hype

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Nats should have signed prince feilder

mick said...

MrsB

forgot all about Prince!

good point... but ALR had an all star season so not going after Prince made sense

mick said...

in 2012

David Proctor said...

I thought the Nats did go after Prince, but Prince wanted to go "to a winner."

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Please note - that wasnt me... That was my brother - the Chad Tracy fan....

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

6 for 77.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

6 for 78

MrsB loves the Nats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ExposedinDC said...

It's like watching Groundhogs day with this team....

A DC Wonk said...

mick said...

Rendon is the guy long term at 2b, I have no problems with Anthony..


Me neither. There will be growing pains with him. I'm just sayin....

mick said...

agreed Wonk

mick said...

Expose...good post and movie

A DC Wonk said...

Prince Fielder?!?!

He's (yet another) Boras client, and he still has 7 years at $24/year left on his contract!! Seven years! (Might 1B be a place for RZim before then?)

His WAR is only 0.7 this year. ALR's is just behind at 0.5

David Proctor said...

Prince is having a down year. He's only hitting around .260 with 17 homers.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Sweet pitch....

joemktg said...

Carp speaks the truth!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

We are scouted well most things we hit in the ibfield is really close to the hitters.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Would be nice to quit hitting the top of the ball.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Hitting them right where the Pirates players are...

I wonder what do our scouts do???

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nats hit 3 balls directly to the Pirates fielders. Ugh

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

At least zim hit the middle of the ball. That is improvement.

SCNatsFan said...

This is so frustrating to watch night after night. Can't imagine he management feels.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

The score should be 1-1 right now... Unh... Errors/dumb mistakes hurt...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

You realize without the Rendon error and properly turned 5-4-3 doubleplay it's a 1-1 game.

Frustrating. Nats need a big comeback.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Anyone know how many innings TJ has pitched so far? Had a limit been decided?

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Ghost - at this point, you and I will never owe each other a drink... Lol...

David Proctor said...

7 innings, 1 earned run. Jordan's defense really let him down AGAIN. It should be a 1-1 game.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I swear we struggle with getting opposing pitchers out...

David Proctor said...

LaRoche has come so close twice.

David Proctor said...

When things go bad, that happens to you.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Good Lord... We have no luck at all...

MrsB loves the Nats said...

And Desi has yet another pathetic at bat... Guys, AS break is over... Come on back!!!

Joe Seamhead said...

At the park. Feel like I've seen this game before.

SCNatsFan said...

Other teams are making the plays and making the pitches we are not. It isn't luck.

ExposedinDC said...

The Nats have as many hits as the opposing pitcher...really feel bad for TJ

BigCat said...

This jordon kid is special

Candide said...

Good outing wasted.

mick said...

regardless...Taylor Jordan is good.. homer or not, nats were not coming back this game, there s something seriously wrong with the offense

Davey once again not aggressive in his managing...Don Mattingly would have either puled Jordan in 8th or after the 1st out. Davey is simply burned out and i think most would agree

ExposedinDC said...

Once again Davey managing with his heart and not his head...had the lefty up for a reason....I guess with only 2 hits it doesn't really matter

David Proctor said...

This is nauseating.

mick said...

I mentioned Mattingly as a comparison and contrast to Davey in terms of match ups and being aggressive...Davey seems not to care

This team is just not good at all and not fun to watch

mick said...

Taylor Jordan should remain the duration of the season, i would like to see Cole and others brought up at some point

mick said...

Nats i am afraid are headed for along losing streak, beyond the 8 I predicted a month ago...90 losses is a strong possibility

David Proctor said...

Cole is still way too young and raw, even for a September callup. He just got called up to AA. Jordan is going to be shutdown here somewhat soon.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Just win Baby. No excuse just do it.

mick said...

David..your probably right, but would it really hurt to have him pitch a few?

David Proctor said...

I mean I guess it wouldn't hurt, but it wouldn't really help either (neither us nor him). I expect guys like Karns to get called back up though.

ExposedinDC said...

I do find it funny that Carp still updates us on the Braves....we are close to Marlin and Met updates being more appropriate.

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