Monday, July 22, 2013

Ohlendorf earns a shot

USA Today Sports Images
There are no silver linings in a 9-2 loss that completed a three-game sweep over a miserable weekend of baseball. But what Ross Ohlendorf managed to do yesterday for the Nationals at least bodes well for the right-hander, and perhaps the club moving forward.

Pressed into long relief duties after Jordan Zimmermann lasted only two innings, Ohlendorf churned out one of the best (and longest) bullpen appearances you'll ever see: six innings of two-run ball, the equivalent of a quality start even though he didn't start the game.

"I was really glad I was able to pitch so long," the 30-year-old said. "Obviously, it was a tough game for us, but that's my job as the long man: To be able to save the bullpen. I was glad I was able to do it again."

It wasn't just the results Ohlendorf posted over an 88-pitch relief appearance. It was the way he pitched, offering even more encouragement.

The right-hander dialed up his fastball to 97 mph, a radar gun reading that even surprised him.

"I think it's been four years since I hit 97, which was nice," he said. "I feel like I pitched better when I backed off a little bit in the last few innings, but it was nice to know I have that arm strength right now."

Full healthy after several years of shoulder trouble, Ohlendorf has been brilliant for the Nationals since joining the pitching staff last month. In eight appearances (one start) spanning 26 2/3 innings, he sports a 2.03 ERA and a .198 opponents' batting average.

Because of all that, Ohlendorf has earned a chance to take on a more significant role, at least in the short term. Davey Johnson said he'll start one game of Friday's doubleheader against the Mets, a start for which he'll be well-prepared after throwing so many pitches yesterday.

"I mean, he saved the bullpen," Johnson said. "That was an outstanding effort. That was a good tune-up. He's going to have to start Friday."

"I think it will help," Ohlendorf said of his heavy workload in advance of his upcoming start. "I hadn't pitched a lot before. It will be nice. It will be nice to have a full five days."

What happens after Friday's fill-in start? Well, if he again pitches well, a case could be made for Ohlendorf to remain in the Nationals' rotation, especially with Ross Detwiler still slow to recover from a back injury that is expected to sideline him until at least August 1.

Ohlendorf, owner of a career 4.92 ERA in 116 big-league appearances, wouldn't have seemed like a viable rotation candidate for the Nationals as recently as a week ago. But the combination of Detwiler's lingering injury, Dan Haren's season-long struggles and Ohlendorf's newfound velocity could work in his favor.

"I'll do whatever Davey wants me to," he said. "It's nice to be here and have the opportunity to pitch however he needs me."

106 comments:

alexva said...

because we need the bullpen fresh to hold the deficits to 1-0

baseballswami said...

But can he hit? Because that's what we really need. Love this guy!! I know losing sucks, but because of the problems, we now have him, Krohl, Abad, Rendon- instead of HRod and Espi. We know what Taylor Jordan and even Karns can do. Moore's career is back on track. Many things have happened that will eventually make this a better team. Changes don't get made, though, unless they are forced. Step back taken by the organization-- maybe will help them take the needed steps forward. It's a shame the results are so bad right now, because I really feel that, when healthy, this is truly a better 25 than we started the season with. Results just have to kick in at some point. I mean, how many times can you load the bases with no outs and not score? Eventually the other team will make a mistake or a ball will get through or out.

sjm308 said...

This has turned into a nice story and I hope he does well on Friday. Good news for him is he would still end up the long reliever in the pen. I personally would like to see him succeed and not have rumors about Garza or Norris for the next two weeks. Swami is correct, if we need anything, its hitting. I just don't see Rizzo making any deals. We probably ride this out and hope we somehow start to perform. I read article after article from people who know baseball (Cal Ripken being one example), and all of them praise what is here.

Go Nats!!

natsfan1a said...

That was a kinda sorta silver lining out of yesterday's game. That, and Werth's dingers. I rolled out a "Let's go, solo" chant when he came up in the 9th, but to no effect. Other than that, er, the throw and putout? Eh, I got nothing. Oh, and it didn't rain on us and nobody was struck by lightning. That I'm aware of, anyway. Heh.

JayB said...

Did you read Boz today? Nailed the problem in my view. It is the organizational leadership who of Rizzo and Davey. While I give thanks for both over the Jimbo Kasten Acta days that is not a reason to let them run the good work into the ground.

I loved Boz's zing of Rizzo......Danny Who? Says it all about just how dysfunctional this team has gotten. Lead by the egomaniac that is Davey and the over compensating Rizzo.

JayB said...

I was amazing to watch with this weekend with a bunch of long time season ticket holders. We had seen it all since 2005 and when Davey refused to play to win and brought in Storen and then refused to admit he blew it by leaving him in with a lefty up........we all felt the crushing feeling we had felt before...the days of Jimbo and Acta...the days of Dukes and Robert Fick....the days of no matter what we are going with who we tell you are good enough for you. We run the team and we will run it into the ground if we dam well please....it was 2008 all over again.

JayB said...

Werth is just like Rizzo and Davey....I am the king maker and I an not accountable to fans or media or anyone. I say what is real and what is not....I determine what you ask and how you think.....No wonder this team is so f'ed up.

Traveler8 said...

We never leave a game early, but had resolved that if the Nats had left six runners on base by the end of the third inning on Sunday that we would ditch the game - well, be careful what you wish for, because that certainly did not happen - found out that things could get worse.
I have not read all the weekend comments and I expect this has already been mentioned, but one other bright spot of the weekend was hearing Section 222's barbershop quartet do the SSB on Saturday - always a pleasure, and while the crowd appreciates it, I think this may have been the best reception ever. It's nice to be building some traditions like this, and we look forward to hearing you again.

baseballswami said...

I think we need to stop thinking of this as a post season year and start thinking of it as a re- grouping year I don't think we were quite World Series ready, despite the 98 wins. Again- look at the changes that have been made- for the better. Sori or Storen? Zach Duke or Ohly? HRod or Krohl? Espi or Rendon? Which ones are going to make the team better ? The thing is, this group has not gelled, there has been a new lineup daily, I don't know what the heck Davey is doing in his lame duck season. This improved roster, new manager, effective spring training- maybe better results. And maybe this year of nothing going right will make them tougher and more resilient- they just were not mentally tough enough last fall. Everything from here forward should be about making the team stronger.

Oldguy said...

As a Red Sox fan since the 1940s I have always measured the Nats' progress by comparing it with those painful 60+ years until 2004. For all those people screaming and swearing in here over the past few days, let me point to one thing. Last year the Red Sox had one of their worst seasons in years. But where are they now? First team in MLB to reach 60 wins.

If you want to know how they did it, go back and listen to the ESPN broadcast from last night--an interesting discussion from about inning 3-5, especially about the kind of players they added. Compare John Lackey and Dan Haren and you'll see some good omens. Keeping their core--Ells, Pedey, Lester, Papi and adding few key components put them where they are. Great hitting, mediocre pitching (only one pitcher in MLB top 40--Lackey, who was booed off the field two years ago), good defense and maybe the best leadoff man in BB.

They made some bad mistakes up there. Read Terry Francona's book as a cautionary tale. The key to the Sox was good ownership, starting when John Henry bought the team. And their blowup also came from the top down.

What's all this mean? Not much, except that some very good franchises have gone into the dumps and rebounded. We will, too. If you don't believe that, take up bowling.

hiramhover said...

JayB

I think Boz missed the point. Rizzo was asked about Danny on the eve of the Dodgers series, when the team was coming out of the All Star break needing to get on a roll if it's going to make a play off run.

Danny hasn't been a part of the team for 7 weeks. He isn't the problem, and he isn't the solution. So why talk about him?

It's a question that could be asked of Boz, and of a lot of commenters around here.

Section 222 said...

Thanks to Traveler and all my other virtual and actual friends for saying such nice things about the anthem on Saturday. We had a blast, in spite of the disappointing game. It's always great when you have friends in the audience, so thanks all for taking the time to give me a shout out here, or via email.

One of the highlights is getting to watch batting practice on the field. It's an interesting combination of choreographed and carefree. Zim made lots and lots of throws from third, Ross O took batting practice with the starters. Bryce used three different colorful and decorated bats, perhaps for later auction? Werth is very tall. Desmond is ripped.

Cal Ripkin was down on the field (broadcasting for TBS I think), and seeing him and many other notables interact with the Nats and Dodgers was really fun. I had brief chit chats with Ray Knight and Julie Alexandria. Both were gracious.

Finally, I noticed that Chad Tracy was really crushing the ball in his third go round. I guess his aggressive batting practice carried through to the game. The others, not so much.

Section 222 said...

I got the following this morning from our friend and NI Chorus leader waddu eye no. I wish we could feel bad for him for missing a lot of great baseball. Instead, it seems like he escaped the heat and the bad baseball just in time:

"Greetings from my two week gig on the amalfi coast of italy. Directing young American singers in opera scenes at a music festival (not ravello, but just down the hill).
Couldn’t bring fam, but next to them I think I miss baseball most. So listen… bedtime here is about the end of the first inning so I listen to Charlie and dave on my phone. Then I wake up and read bad news in the morning. Can’t you guys do something to make them win?
But seriously, best to all my imaginary friends. and thanks, 222 for posting this. can't seem to get on from over here.
(other than that, its quite civilized)

ciao & gyfng

waddu eye no"

realdealnats said...

Continuity Continuity Continuity. Don't blow everything up. Replacing a manager--whether you like Davey or not--whether the replacement comes from in-house or no--will be difficult enough. Continuity...

Joe Seamhead said...

hiramhover, not to mention that Scott Boras is demanding an answer to what Rizzo's intentions are regarding Espinosa. For all anyone knows, Rizzo might have just got off the phone with Boras right before the press' questions on Espy.I don't think what to do about Danny Espinosa is at the top of Rizzo's list of concerns right now.

JayB said...

Because they can not score runs and they need bats?

Because the issues of denial that still exist are show in the microcosmme of Danny.

Because the mind set of Danny and Davey and Rizzo are exactly the same. We tell you what you see. Data tells you nothing....we are smarter than Data and we tell you all is great.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

From what I gathered from Rizzo making the comments was that he was kinda irritated to be asked about Danny E... And I can understand why... Danny is the least of our worries right now..

The bats are the major concern right now...

hiramhover said...

JayB -

So you're suggesting Danny should be brought back because he will fix the Nats offense?

MrsB loves the Nats said...

But Ross O has been superb this year... If Rendon had fielded the ball cleanly, I dont think he would have had any earned runs yesterday...

Question begs - and I wish someone would have asked DJ this yesterday when he was actually getting a lot of honest/tough questions - why didnt Ross O get a chance to start when Haren was sucking the life out of the club?

Kirbs said...

Im am really starting to be ANTI DAVEY...I was a blind supporter until that 8th inning in Miami when Harper got kicked out of the game for arguing the strike zone (now he did deserve to get kicked out) BUT Davey has to go and there and yell and scream and get kicked out with him. YOU DO NOT JUST GRAB YOUR STAR PLAYER AND WALK AWAY...and two games ago, when Span was barely out and he came out all huffy puffy, said a few words and walked away. You need to get kicked out of a game....I have seen more teams get fired up and put on a roll from managers getting tossed then little BS pep talks.

I think the downfall of this offense goes back to the Mike Morse trade. I know he is hurt, but that man was a leader and loved in the club house. It can not do much for moral when one of the favorites is just shipped across the country.

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

hiramhover said...

JayB

I think Boz missed the point.


No. JayB's reading comprehension skills are as bad as his writing skills. No surprise there.

Boz laid out various quotes from Rizzo, Davey, Werth et al which could be summarized as "Eff you. Get out of our face. We'll figure this out ourselves." Then what is Boz's conclusion, the point of his column? What is Boz saying the Nats need to do here? "The Nats need to close ranks, not beg for reinforcements, because the core of this team will be together for one to four more years." All of those quotes that Boz got yesterday in his weekly Sunday afternoon jaunt to Nats Park point to the entire team from GM down to 25th man closing ranks. Perhaps this is what they should have done from day one, and probably what they'll be doing from day one next season and every season after that. That's how good teams are made.

Kirbs said...

BTW, 2 under, 3rd placed, 7 behind and 2-8 in the last 10....The deadline is 9 days away. If we don't go 4-2, 5-1 in the next week I think it's time to seriously consider moving Soriano.

Span has no value at the moment, and im sure we could snatch something decent for Roach, but that would never happen.

Kirbs said...

MLBTR....•The Nationals shouldn't be buyers at the trade deadline, the Washington Post's Thomas Boswell writes. The Nats are now 48-50, and are now seven games back of the Braves in the NL East, as well as seven games back of the Reds for the second Wild Card. Boswell points out that their chance of making the playoffs is less than 20 percent, and for a team in that position, the value of a rental player like Matt Garza or Ervin Santana is questionable. Boswell argues that even if the Nats acquire a player who is also under contract for 2014, like Jake Peavy or Yovani Gallardo, they need to do so mostly because those players can help next year, not because they can help down the stretch this season.

AKA, Do not give away prospects! please Rizzo.

Tcostant said...

This weekend was tuff. I noted on the "power ranking" post that I thought it was odd that the Dodgers were ranked a spot below us while being much hoter and a nearlythe same record, we know that won't be the cast next week.

The Friday and Saturday game where so much like games we would have won last year.

Sunday (and I was there) was classic baseball gods being upset that Zimmermann begged out of an All-Star game, yet basicly missed no time with his team. This upsets the baseball gods (see Desi last year). Maybe Zimmermann would have pitched a little better yesterday if he could have just pitched an inning in NY on Tuesday?

hiramhover said...

The Nats are unlikely to be major sellers at the deadline. For teams looking for closers, there are better and/or cheaper options than Soriano. Same applies to ALR and teams looking for 1B/DH types.

Sorry, folks. Barring injury, the cast isn't going to change dramatically in the short term.

Nats106 said...

While I read it quickly and may have missed some items, the Boswell article was interesting in several ways, but one item obvious and interesting, is that he only mentions don't trade for starting pitchers. Never mentions not trading for hitters.

Separately, I thought the "fast" top of the order of Span, Desmond and Harper somehow worked out quite well in the Brewers and Padres series.

Didn't see that at all this weekend. Was it a mirage that they were winning some of those games. Probably so.

This last weekend was tough at Nats Park. Average temp 93, average game time 3.65 hours and average wins -0-.

I made up the first 2 stats, but they have to be close.

Tcostant said...

I also noted before the break that the Nats need to improve to atleast league average (and that a lot) in getting runners in from third base with less than two outs.

They failed at this Friday and Saturday and on Sunday I watch the Kershaw get a run in from 3B with less than two out. A pitcher hitting on the other team is better at this than the Nats?

End of rant/

Nats106 said...

Tcostant-got a new stat the Nats can lead the league in: The reverse cycle. Team loads bases with -0-, 1 out and 2 outs. Score -0- runs.

I'm sure this was probably mentioned during Friday's game, but we're watching bases loaded with Harper on 3rd and Desmond up. We all thought with that speed at the plate and 3rd perfect spot to execute a squeeze. Rattle Nolasco but get at least 1 run on the board. Oh well-probably wouldn't have worked if they did.

JayB said...

No Danny is a head case who will never change his approach and end up out of baseball soon.

BUT...that is not what Davey and Rizo tell us....they tell us that he is a star and that he is just needing a bit of time to "get his timing"....so BOZ question given the offensive wasteland was what Rizzo should have been asked....he is a good baseball man but over his head in the GM job.

Knoxville Nat said...

From a previous thread:

NatsLady said...
MNF---yuck, no on BV! Egotistical showboater, not even that smart. Werth tolerates the old man. He would chew up BV and spit him out. You would have worse problems than with Riggleman.
July 21, 2013 10:07 PM

And to me right there is a lot of the problem with the Nats, "...Werth tolerates the old man.....He would chew up...and spit him out..."

A friend of mine with Phillie connections told me there was more to JW's leaving the Phils, and the Philly FO not actively trying to retain him, than his quest for big bucks. There was also the label of "coach killer" that was put on him by some of the Philly coaching staff for his tendency to want to stick his nose in places where it didn't belong.

I don't know exactly what NL means by saying "he tolerates the old man" and I have no idea what Werth's problems were with Riggleman, but it seems to me that any player who thinks he is better suited to running the club (if in fact that is the case)than the manager is a player likely to cause problems. And by that I mean problems for the coaching staff more so than problems in the clubhouse with other players. Unfortunately players with long term, guaranteed, no trade contracts are often times not willing to listen to managers who have a year or less remaining on their own contract. Unfortunately other players see it too and think they can get away with it as well.

blovy8 said...

Sounds about right to me Nats106.

It could get worse if they get smart and sit Zimmermann for a while with his neck problem. It's certainly consistent with the philosophy of babying starting pitchers, but starting injured position players.

Then you go Stras/Gio/Haren/Jordan/Ohlendorf with the middle innings guys likely getting toasted, since there's no one to go even 7 innings much among them. Probably a complete-game beatdown of Haren in that stretch to save the pen one game. But there's precious little left of the season to save them for anyway.

Nats106 said...

blovy8-you are right. I still am mystified by the throwing of Harper right back into the lineup after the wall collision. When you watch that replay you've got to wonder how he was even able to walk on his own feet. Harper is so important to this franchise. If they don't turn this around and start building a winning culture, he'll definitely be gone-Yankees will be beckoning with big money and big tradition.

I'm not so worried about this year anymore-I'm back to just enjoying baseball in DC and understanding that I'm going to have to share the park with other team's fans. (I'm a St Louis fan, so I'm not used to that)

NatsLady said...

Knoxville, I 100% agree that Werth sticks his nose in. (I remember him reporting on a players' possible injury to the medical staff, and wondering how the other player felt about that). Also there were the incidents of Werth questioning the nutrition, etc. Whether Werth's nose "belongs" is a different issue.

You can't have both. A bunch of people were saying yesterday you need a manager who will come in and kick a@@. I don't agree that kicking a@@ will solve the problems, because I don't see the problems as lack of effort, but if there are players who are not giving full effort, then maybe you do need a guy like Werth to get in there.

Werth has the killer instinct, the "do whatever it takes to win" instinct, and that includes coaches, and it probably includes underperforming teammates. Yesterday he showed them you don't have to lay down and play dead when Kershaw is pitching with a big lead. Maybe it was symbolic, maybe you wish 1000% he could have got those HRs on Saturday or Friday, but you have to take hits when you can get them. Kershaw let his attention slip and Werth took advantage, he didn't just say, Oh, it's a hot day, we ain't winning this one, why bother?

If coaches are intimidated by Werth--get better coaches.

mick said...

Boswell is probably correct in his oped. Let me add that as a coach, it is impossible to make major adjustments during the season, some players can improve, but that improvement is not very significant. What i am getting at is the hitting approach...that can not change until spring training. I would get rid of Eck when Davey retires without question. a new manager and hitting coach as well as team psychologist is what these guys need. But, the results will not take place until 2014. A culture of losing ha set in, lack of accountability and status quo of failure surrounds this team. there is nothing that can be done this season with less than 60 plus games left to improve a batters approach. When the vets say they can work it out, that is what they mean, they are talking about 2014, not now.

baseballswami said...

This is the Nats- what? 8th, 9th season?? How old is the Cubs franchise? Sox? Dodgers?? I think it would be helpful to look at where this organization started, how much progress has been made, and what still needs to happen. Last year was fun- young team, everything went right. Now it's adolescence, in all it's supreme ugliness. We have just got to look at the long view- are the things that are being done going to lead to a mature franchise? I think yes. We need to just get over ourselves. Ask a Sox or Cubs fan about patience. National coverage is taking gleeful pleasure in the Nats woes, bandwagon fans are feeling like someone took away their birthday and they have the right to a championship team. Even Boz is enjoying this way too much. I have been a fan of a few teams, having lived all over the country and I will tell you now that I do not remember one record of any year. I remember being a fan, taking my kids to games, following the team and favorite players. I do not remember the score of one game I ever attended, even last year. It's about who I was with, having a team, being a day to day fan. Stuff happens. But I will not be piling on with more negative crap.

mick said...

good example of a hitting approach failure is Desmond on Sat night...

Grienke's slider was not breaking on Sat...that was clear by inning number 3 and FP made note of that 3-4 times, late in the game when Desi had a chance to make contact and give the Nats the lead, on 2 occasions during the count, Grienke threw 2 sliders that almost got by the catcher...on 3-2, Grienke throws his worst slider of the game...what does Desi do? ..he extend his bat and steps with his front foot to try to hit ball in the dirt. That is a poor approach as a result of poor preparation on both Desi 's part and Eck...plain and simple. What is Eck doing in terms of scouting pitchers not only during the game but before and if Davey is making the call, then why the hell have a batting coach?

RaleighNat said...

Something is missing from this team and interestingly I think it was the same thing that was missing last year - some toughness intangible. We have great guys - first class people, but we seem to be missing guys that will get p*ssed off at the way we are playing. We seem more despondent than resilient. Harper is an exception but he's so young. Maybe its Werth's job to huddle everyone up and say today we are going to win. We are going to concentrate, grind, and bust our cans. In the NL, the Giants and the Cards seem to have that professional grittiness to them while we kind of roll over when faced with adversity.

NatsLady said...

At any rate, Rizzo knew what he was getting when he signed Werth. He wanted a "culture change" on the team (among other things).

Most things in the athletic world are performance-based, merit-based, and by his own admission, Davey is not having a good year (BTW, that's more honesty--if indeed it was "honesty" than I like in a manager. NEVER admit weakness. Just don't do it. Wait for the biography.)

I don't think players disrespect Davey because he only has one year left. If there is any disrespect (and it's not clear that here is, how can we outsiders know?) it would be because players see questionable decisions. And I would HIGHLY doubt that if LaRoche, Werth and RZimm see questionable decisions by Davey that they are passing their insights along to the younger players.

At best, they might say, as I might say to a disgruntled co-worker, bosses come and go. Sometimes you get good ones, sometimes you get bad ones. All you can do is do your job and out wait the bad ones. In general, even if he makes bad decision, the manager will cost you only a few games a season, no more than your Ace pitcher(s) having bad games. If you want to win, DO YOUR JOB.

Nats106 said...

Mick, I saw that, but the other side of the coin is that Greinke is really, really good and good pitching will beat good hitting almost every time.

General comments about Greinke-the guy is just an athlete plain and simple (Doubled and singled off Gio and it wasn't a fluke). I guess I'm not surprised he decided to take on a beast like Quentin. Other observation is that he looks like he's a teenager. I think he looked like he was the batboy's age when he was warming up in left field Saturday night.

mick said...

RaleighNat

excellent post...one of the things I learned before I became head coach from my mentors was that at a certain point, you tell the team if they are failing ..."huddle up, work it out among yourselves, and come back ready to practice hard afterwards" The players would get together and regardless of the personalities of the players, 1-2 guys would always step up and get the entire team to air it all out. This was always positive and practices were crisp and enthusiastic after wards and games were always better played.

NatsLady said...

I don't read Boz any more. I can't remember the last time he was right about anything Nats-related. His observations are superficial and they blow with the prevailing wind.

Yes, we have had a miserable time since the sweep of the Padres. But there were only a couple of games that we had very low probability of winning. Most of the games were either in our favor at some point or 50-50. Find a way to win those games, get the killer instinct when a pitcher is on the ropes so you can have a couple of blowouts to relax.

You all who are planning for 2014---Fooey on you!

mick said...

nats106...I know Grienke is a player, your correct

A DC Wonk said...

NatsLady said...

I don't read Boz any more. I can't remember the last time he was right about anything Nats-related. His observations are superficial and they blow with the prevailing wind.


I think in this case, NL, Boz might be onto something. JB's summary of what Boz wrote is JB's fantasy, and bears no relation to what Boz actually wrote.

I think Boz was saying essentially what some of us have been saying, and what Davey's been saying: we have the players, they're young, and getting outside help isn't going change much. The players we already have, have to screw their heads back on right and start producing.

Joe Seamhead said...

NatsLady said...
You all who are planning for 2014---Fooey on you!
----:///---

Here,Here!!!

A DC Wonk said...

"...the mind set of Danny and Davey and Rizzo are exactly the same."

Riiigght.

I didn't know that the three of them saw the same sports psychologist. And that the psychologist violated confidentiality to tell you that.

One learns amazing things here!

NatsLady said...

RaleighNat--I have noticed that roll-over approach, and, honestly, I think that comes from Davey. He reads too many stats! Seriously.

Last year, the pattern seemed to be, get a 4-5 run lead early and cling to it for dear life (obviously, that didn't work in Game 5). Davey has an approach of working the probabilities--if a game doesn't seem winnable early, conserve your resources for a games that you have a better chance. In other words, set priorities.

But that only works when you get substantial early leads, which the Nats have not been doing. If you are down 3-0 in the first inning, you don't have a high probability of winning the game--but the game ISN'T over, and you can't manage like it is. That does mean using your best relievers in what might be a losing cause...And he has started to do that. (Of course, his best relievers have let him down recently, so there's that).

More importantly, it means the hitters HAVE to have an image in their heads of coming back from a 3-0 or 4-0 deficit, or a 7-3 deficit (as the Yanks did last night). Play the whole nine innings.

A DC Wonk said...

No Danny is a head case who will never change his approach and end up out of baseball soon.

BUT...that is not what Davey and Rizo tell us....they tell us that he is a star and that he is just needing a bit of time to "get his timing".


Having Davey and Rizzo publicly throw Danny under the bus is better?

In what reality does _that_ work?

James Joyce said...

The club is talented and pretty young, as Boz calls out, but they are short some big pieces if they want to really be WS contenders. Biggest one being a top 20 in MLB kind of offensive player.

NatsLady said...

Right now, coolstandings.com estimates the Nats have about a 10% chance of making the playoffs. A couple of weeks ago it was 30%. These are the SAME players!!!!

Wonk, if that's what Boz is saying, then I would tend to agree. We've been saying, the team's been saying, the talent is there. So--beat the Pirates. And Bryce Harper isn't any better at leading off than Span, but he may be better at hitting HRs and driving in runs. Anyone but Span leading off is silly. Span just needs to do his job.

JamesFan said...

Boz is correct in that we need to raise our sights from day-to-day failures and hoping that one player could fix the problem with the Nats. It is leadership and experience.

I favor sacking Eck just for the sake of accountability if offense does not clear up immediately. DJ is too much of an icon to fire now and it is too late to make a serious run (I expect a minor run after it is too late).

We should play out this season and make no major moves at the deadline. That would be panic. I'm a long-term fan and want the Nats to build an organization with depth like the Cardinals and old O's. I want them to build around a core of players (the Zims, Stras, Gio Harper, Rendon, Ramos and Desi). All the rest of the current roster are expendable for the right deal.

I like Span and think he will work out his problems. I would like them to move LaRoche over the winter. If the Nats are out of it in September, I want to see a huge call up.

Finally, we need a manager next year with stature as a former player and toughness. One that will demand they execute the basics and who runs a tight ship. Porter would also be a prime candidate. I'm not in favor of a high profile retread.

Nats106 said...

I think the percentages from coolstandings are based pretty much on games left, games behind and maybe a few other variables like strength of schedul, but not the personnel, so with the reduction in games available to win, the percentages drop quite a bit. Since we are down to 64 games and 7 games back, I guess I can see that.

Now's a good opportunity for the Nats to prove them wrong.

baseballswami said...

You are correct that this club lacks mental toughness. How do you get tough? By failing and picking yourself up. Will they or won't they? If they do, they will be tough as nails. I have not given up on this year being a good season- the very same Dodgers went from awful to hot. I just think that whatever we do this year has to also make the team better for next year. No cheapie short term stuff that handcuffs us later. Task number one - new manager and some of his own coaching staff. Might keep McCatty. Salvage this season by playing a good brand of baseball and improving all areas of play- play consistently, then let the chips fall where they will.

James Joyce said...

Rizzo needs to make some moves. Talk of next year is wildly premature. The club is very good and having a very good club that is underperforming is hard to take (ask the Dodgers fans that just left town). The Nats can and should be better, they are far from out of it and adding another SP of substance, pen help and a bench bat can all be done without mortgaging the future to High Heaven.

NatsLady said...

Not being in the clubhouse, all I can do is speculate. But players are human, and I think the Harper, Ramos and Stras (especially Harper) created a hole, and players went through a mini "stages of mourning." Finally they came to an acceptance that Harper wasn't coming back and they'd have to win games without him--and they did.

Then both Harper and Ramos came back (and Stras came off the DL), and there was a jolt of optimism combined with playing bad teams. But a couple of bad things happened, a couple of close losses, lefty-pitchers, Stras melted down and Harper/Ramos/Stras weren't the "solution" and expectations were not met.

Then, it's only human to say, "Wait, we finally got everybody and we're STILL not winning? What's wrong with us?" But that's too short term a vision. There has to be a period of adjustment, when they adjust the team with Harper and Ramos, just like they adjusted without them. Also, I think Davey should go back to 50-50 or maybe 60-40 with Ramos/Suzuki.

JayB said...

Cubs is not the bar here!

NatsLady said...

JJ, I agree with you, Rizzo should make moves. The time you are a buyer is when you are close enough to get there, but not there! That is our situation. I agree we need a hitter, but I still think we need to rent a starting pitcher. Not an expensive one, not Garza, but a veteran body who knows how to give innings. I am very dubious of Detwiler/Jordan/Ohlendorf lasting 1.5 months with any kind of decent result, and I don't think we know the full story on either JZ or Stras.

A DC Wonk said...

baseballswami said...

You are correct that this club lacks mental toughness. How do you get tough? By failing and picking yourself up. Will they or won't they?


Exactly. And Davey can't do it for them.

Boz's other point is actually a rebuttal to the following:

James Joyce said...

Rizzo needs to make some moves.


Boz's point is that the Nats have one of the youngest teams in MLB. So, for Rizzo to make a move would mean giving up some young talent. That's short sighted.

As swami says: these young guys need to learn to play through the bad stuff and pick themselves up.

Some can't do it (see, e.g., Danny E). Some can (see, e.g., Werth. And Stras seems to have learned it for the first time this year).

On most of the other guys: the jury's out.

The high ceilings are there. The youth is there. Will they put it together? No idea. That's what makes this fun and frustrating all at once.

hiramhover said...

adding another SP of substance, pen help and a bench bat can all be done without mortgaging the future to High Heaven

You just named most of the hottest commodities on the market. But the Nats can pick them up for peanuts against teams that have deeper farm systems and more motivation to go all in (because they much better chances of making the playoffs)?

Was that satire?

NatsLady said...

And even if Detwiler/Jordan/Ohlendorf last through August, I don't see what we could bring up in September (Karns again? Robbie Ray?) that could help us if we are contending.

sjm308 said...

Just to be clear, add me to the group that does not want Rizzo to give up any prospects that might even be close to helping us in the next few years.

It has taken me lots of losses to realize that Davey Johnson is not one of my favorite managers right now. I understand sticking with your routines at 70 but I am tired of him not matching up when he has two decent lefties in the pen. I was tired of him running Espinosa out there when he was a black hole on offense. I am tired of seeing Span leading off vs. left handed starters even though I love his defense. I know he will finish out the year and I hope it becomes one of the great stories in baseball that we turn this around but I will just enjoy my team and games with my son and let this ache in the pit of my stomach just sort of settle.

A DC Wonk said...

NatsLady said...
MNF---yuck, no on BV! Egotistical showboater, not even that smart.


The reason I still think the world of Davey is that I am a former die-hard Mets fan (from mid '60's to 2004), and have followed his career.

The reason I think BV would be a complete and utter disaster (that's the nicest way I could put it) is that I am a former die-hard Mets fan (from mid '60's to 2004), and have followed his career.

Nats106 said...

So sjm308, does that mean you don't want the Davey Johnson bobblehead?

NatsLady said...

No, I wouldn't pay for a starting pitcher of "substance," and I wouldn't pay for a big bat at this point--where would he play? And I don't think the bullpen needs help, in fact, with Mattheus coming back and Garcia's phantom injury, we actually have excess there.

I would get a journeyman-type SP for the reasons mentioned above, and bench-type bats that hit .240-.250. If Hairston doesn't perform, cut him quickly, there are other guys like him out there that teams will start shedding soon. If Tracy hasn't turned it around, replace him. You don't need your bench to hit .300 but you can't live with it hitting under .200 either.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I dont think any of us want Rizzo to give up any prospects for a rental SP...

But we do need another one for this year becuz the back end of our rotation is shaky...

Same with a bat...

This wknd hurt... damned if it didnt... But we could have won the first 2 games had our manager played chess right back with Mattingly...

NatsLady said...

There is exactly one time when I recommended Davey pull a pitcher and he was right and I was wrong, and that was Taylor Jordan in his last start. Otherwise, Davey leaves them in TOO long, especially relievers. He has his two lefties, now use them!

A DC Wonk said...

It has taken me lots of losses to realize that Davey Johnson is not one of my favorite managers right now. I understand sticking with your routines at 70 but I am tired of him not matching up when he has two decent lefties in the pen. I was tired of him running Espinosa out there when he was a black hole on offense. I am tired of seeing Span leading off vs. left handed starters even though I love his defense.

sjm, I appreciate what you're saying, but I think that's a little bit of Mon Morn QB'ing.

Here's what I mean:

Sometimes, when you see a high ceiling, you keep playing the guy until he gets it. Davey kept putting ALR out there through a historically disastrous April, and it paid off.

Other times, it hasn't paid off. Let's take Span for example:

Span has a lifetime .275 average against lefties. This year, he's .140. That's an astounding drop off. I don't blame anyone for thinking: he's way better than .140, and he'll eventually get it together.

Managers with good eyes and knowledge can, most of the time, see when patience is a virtue.

But, that only works most of the time. Nobody's perfect. Sometimes, it doesn't work out (e.g., Danny). Is Span having trouble adjusting to NL pitchers? Or a slightly different strike zone? Who knows . . but he's not _that_ bad against lefties, is he?

As for why it took so long to replace Danny -- we all know the answers: First, we didn't think Danny could regress as bad as he did; Lombo bought you a bit more on offense, but at the sake of defense, and Rendon just wasn't ready to replace him yet.

You make the judgement that gives you the best chance. But it doesn't always pan out. That's not always the fault of the manager.

A DC Wonk said...

But we could have won the first 2 games had our manager played chess right back with Mattingly...

Again, I don't think it was the manager. It was not being able to get hits with guys on base.

baseballswami said...

Only moves that don't weaken the organization long term. I am a teacher-- what I see is that these guys need to fix their process instead if worrying about the results for a while. You have a good at bat- out or hit- and for a while, that has to be seen as a success. One pitch, one at bat, one out, one play. Control each small thing and let the larger thing come as a result of all the small things done correctly.

JayB said...

Davey is too old.....he has let game pass him by....he is already at Bora Bora...this weekend was a disgrace of managing....he was beat at every aspect of the job by a guy who is just learning the job.

hiramhover said...

The trade deadline is now 9 days away, and the Nats are 7 games behind both ATL and Cincy (for the 2d wild card slot, with 2 other teams in front of us).

I think that gap would have to close substantially before it makes sense for Rizzo to trade for a SP before the 7/31 deadline. If the Nats aren't going to contend, they'll make do with Jordan, Karns, Rosenbaum, Ohlendorf, etc. for the rest of this year, and restock the rotation this winter, when they can pick among FAs and trade prices will be lower.

sjm308 said...

Actually 106 - I was at that game and chose to head for Justin's and a nice craft beer rather then fight that early mob and drink $5 Coors lite until first pitch. I have Werth, Gio, Pudge and Teddy and they are all happy not to have Davey join them. I am not going to rant about his work, and I certainly don't want him gone during the season. If he had not announced this was his last year, do you honestly think they would want him back?? Again, he is a Hall of Famer, he made Wonk extremely happy so I give him a plus for that but I am just tired of not seeing things I think are exciting in baseball. You were not the only one thinking about a squeeze with Harper on 3rd and after I said it, I clarified that Davey would never do it.

Again, I want this team to succeed and I will not stop rooting!!

Go Nats!

mick said...

JayB...that is it in nutshell yet so many are in denial over this. My feeling is the Lerners and Rizzo are just playing out the season out of respect to Davey who was a great manager in his day. Davey really is one of worst bench coaches in 2013, I feel bad for him. Rizzo will be given next season to hire a new manager, staff and make the right moves. I think the Lerners will give him next season, if his moves are like this season, he will be gone quickly and should be

NatsLady said...

I think, in looking at a manager, you have to put the decisions into three categories.

(1) Team morale and clubhouse management. About this we can know very little, except that the players almost universally say they would go to the wall for Davey.
(2) Personnel decisions. About these, there are many factors, some noted by Wonk above.

Fans are quick to say, demote this one, trade that one, DFA the next one--but you have to have replacements, and you have to be pretty darn sure the player won't turn it around. Also, these are not totally under the manager's control. The GM has the final say, and he is considering payroll, contract length, and many other issues beyond the game-to-game performance.

However, it may also be that Davey overestimates his ability to coach players and "turn them around."

(3) In-game/line-up decisions. About these the manager has his most control, and IMO, Davey has fallen short. Maybe he was never that good of an in-game manager--and maybe he wasn't last year, but it was masked by good luck and good play. Maybe the extra year has taken its toll. All I know is that time and again, especially late in games, he is not quick and flexible.

sjm308 said...

Jay B - you are now right in the drivers seat with so many negative things occuring. What bothers me is that when things go right, you tend to disappear. I realize you are a huge fan and have a tendency to just point out the negatives in life. If there is some sort of miracle turn around, please don't be a stranger to this blog.

Love & Kisses

Go Nats!!

SCNatsFan said...

Ah another day, another day you hope this team figures things out

SCNatsFan said...

And mick I agree, this seems an awful lot like a team just playing out the season

JayB said...

Mick....It is so ironic that Rizzo's favorite line is this is a performance based league....except for Manager, Coach or GM it seems.

RaleighNat said...

I am totally opposed to trading away the future. The way I see baseball, which granted could be in error, is there are those that have a chance at the beginning of the year because they have talent and those that don't. Of those with a shot, it is a roll of the dice - injuries, hotstreaks, etc. The key is to be good every year and eventually the baseball Gods will shine on you. But you have to be in the "has a chance" pool to play. We are finally in that pool and need to stay in that pool year after year. Trading away the future just to incrementally increase our odds for this particular year seems short sighted.

All you can ask for is to be at the table. Rizzo gave us a chance this year and we seem to be rolling snake eyes. I would much rather have a chance at a new roll next year than doubling down on a losing bet. The key to this year is the team assembled to simply play better - that dwarfs any small improvement a rental could provide.

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


typos, try again

Unless the Nats win 3 of 4 verse Pirates and sweep the Mets...you have to sell. I think Soriano would make sense because Nats could get a good prospects. at this point, all trades should be for prospects only. You deal with free agency after the season. I was thinking about ALR too, but I realize, his glove has probably saved Desmond from a dozen more throwing errors. This is what should wake up Nats fans about Desmond...any other team with an average 1st baseman and Desi would be the all time short stop in throwing errors. That is why he is not an all star.

back to selling...it should deal with getting prospects and down szing the payroll to sign 1-2 free agents in 2014, if possible

JayB said...

When things were right I was there. I pointed out tons of positives with Harper, Ian and others last year. This year I have decided to only post when it gets so bad that that things need to be said that most of you with your rose colored...it is still early glasses can not see for yourselves. What I said in Spring training about Davey's approach to the season and earning jobs vs teacher pet projects is now proven...that is the only difference.

NatsLady said...

hh, I agree with you in part, but I think a SP of medium quality could be had for a contract buyout or something like that. My concern is always the pitching.

As for closing the gap, I dunno. I think you have to make the decision based on your best estimate of whether the team you have is capable of winning enough to play "meaningful games in September" not on what their record is over the next nine days (assuming it's not substantially WORSE than it is now).

Nats106 said...

sjm308, got it-let me know if you change your mind, since, as you say he is a hall of famer.

I echo your sentiment-go Nats. I can only hope they show up at the park (bringing their bats)when I do.

mick said...

Red Sox 2012 verse Red Sox 2013 is all one needs to know that the Nats can fix this quickly next season...remember, the Red Sox's problems last season were much more deeper than our Nats.

mick said...

I wish Mark would start his count down clock to 2014 when pitchers and catchers report and spring training, lol

Nats106 said...

Question-yesterday on WFAN they were talking about whether or not anyone would want to pick up Soriano's contract for next year. I thought it was a one year deal with an option for Soriano to accept only if he appeared in a specific number of games. Does anyone remember? And if so, does the 2nd year automatically kick in if he's traded?

mick said...

nats106...great question, have no idea

wonder if any AL East teams, Yankees included would do this?

mick said...

package Espi with Soriano if possible

hiramhover said...

NL

If Rizzo can find such a SP for a reasonable deal, absolutely. I'm just skeptical he can do it when there are other more motivated buyers out there.

As for closing the gap - if the Nats fall even further behind, as you say, fuggadaboutit. Even if they hold steady at 7 games back, they'll have lost that many more chances to catch up--if their playoff odds are 10% now, they'll be even lower then, and a gamble for a big 2013 push is even less likely to pay off. That's what I meant about the next 9 days.

SCNatsFan said...

No reason to trade Espi; he's young, under control and at his lowest value. Too bad if it upsets him.

hiramhover said...

JayB

Right, because if you didn't speak up, we'd never hear an ill word around here about Rizzo and Danny E.

sjm308 said...

106'- let me clear that if someone was giving away their bobble head, I would gladly give it a loving home. He would be in a back row though.

JayB said...

Red Sox and many other examples are there for Nats to learn from....Except Rizzo is never wrong about anything in his mind so those examples do not apply. Everyone he ever drafted is gold...Chico, to latest Example of under .180 and has about the slowest bat I have every seen ex Rizzo draftees (Hairston).

Rizzo is not able to see his own mistakes and that is what it takes to do the Red Sox turn around thing.

hiramhover said...

106

Soriano is on a 2 year deal (13-14) with an option for 2015.

Baseballreference.com is a great source for such info:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/soriara01.shtml

mick said...

JayB

that is what scares me...and maybe that is why the Lerners did not extend his contract after 98 wins last season...maybe they see something in his arrogance that is troublesome.

MrsB loves the Nats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nats106 said...

haha sjm-fine with me. The only certain game I'm going to this week is this coming Saturday. If you are going let me know and I'll bring it.

I'll make sure I don't cut off the head and tape it to his derriere even though it would be an appropriate (or inappropriate) symbolic gesture to summarize the season.

JayB said...

Rizzo (and many here) will still try to tell you that Maya and Martin were a better option then Chapman. That Nats International Scouting is smarter than those who keep picking up Cuban studs who transform the league A's Reds and Dodger examples).

Rizzo is a great baseball guy but he needs a GM boss to slap him back into place every few months.

Nats106 said...

Thanks Hiram. Tcostant believes I am thinking about Suzuki's deal with an option for 2014.

sjm308 said...

Nats 106 - see you Saturday!! and thank you, very kind gesture. we will talk later about a meetup but I actually did meet ArVaFan last Saturday at the picnic tables so that insider group does exist.

Go Nats!!

Nats106 said...

sjm, will do. My kids are going to the STH fan appreciation, so I will be hanging out in the bullpen before game time. We'll touch base later in the week. What is the ArVaFan group?

A DC Wonk said...

Those bashing Rizzo are guilty of a severe "what have you done for me lately" problem.

JayB, if you're going to keep singing that song, then so will I. I'll just repeat what I wrote a week or two ago:

This is what it was like _before_ Rizzo:

==========
I saw a franchise that was dismal and a farm system that was in shambles -- and a guy like Jimbo alienating players (anyone remember the Cordero incident), getting involved with (or at least negligence that allowed) massive fraud with the Dominican league, and (Jimbo again) signing players like Millege, Elija Dukes, and falling in love with guys like Austin Kearns (who hit a combined .205, approx, in his last two seasons with the Nats) -- all leading to a team so bad it held open-tryout for starting pitches in spring training (Mike Bascik anybody?), and two consecutive 100+ loss seasons.

Then I saw a team increase by 10+ wins per season three years in a row, and win 98 games (how many other teams have done that?), and saw Rizzo win Executive of the Year.
=============

mick said...

Then I saw a team increase by 10+ wins per season three years in a row, and win 98 games (how many other teams have done that?), and saw Rizzo win Executive of the Year.

wonder if a team went from 98 wins to 85-90 losses with the same team the next year as well as adding players aka Haren, Span Soriano they thought would make them better....just asking?

I think their are several flaws in the defense of Rizzo, which have been posted before..

I think JayB is more reality based period

Tcostant said...

I was for trading for a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Now, I think the better more is stand pat, do the best you can for 2013 and then in the offseason any moves that need to made.

It just might not be our year, but I still beleive in this team long term.

A DC Wonk said...

Then I saw a team increase by 10+ wins per season three years in a row, and win 98 games (how many other teams have done that?), and saw Rizzo win Executive of the Year.

wonder if a team went from 98 wins to 85-90 losses with the same team the next year as well as adding players aka Haren, Span Soriano they thought would make them better....just asking?


My point is this: three years of increase and one year of decrease makes the GM a bum? It's suddenly supposed to prove that he's over his head? Of course not. There's 29 other teams paying zillions of dollars to improve, too.

A DC Wonk said...

This year I have decided to only post when it gets so bad that that things need to be said that most of you with your rose colored...it is still early glasses can not see for yourselves

Thank you, all knowing one.

But I have a mess to clean up here . . . my BS-meter just exploded

Post a Comment