Monday, July 22, 2013

State of the Nats - 7/22

Photo by the Associated Press
Team Record: 48-50 (17-20)

N.L. East Standings



Wild Card Standings



Offensive Game of the Week: Jayson Werth 7/21 vs. Dodgers - 2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB

Pitching Line of the Week: Gio Gonzalez 7/20 vs. Dodgers - 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, 98 pitches (61 strikes)

Top Storylines

Will they make a trade? - The July 31 trade deadline is just over a week away and the Nationals have obvious needs. The most likely target would be a starting pitcher given the struggles of Dan Haren and Ross Detwiler's continued rehab from a lower back strain. There are also - as there are every year around this time - plenty of options at starting pitcher. Would Matt Garza or Yovani Gallardo be a fit? What about Jake Peavy? The time to wait-and-see has seemingly passed so if the Nats are going to make a deal, the first phone call has probably already been made. The question is how much do they want to give up and whether they want a one-year rental or a two-year option. With the way their pitching depth is currently, it may not be the worst thing to have a guy who is under team control next year as well. Either way they will have to replace Haren over the offseason.

Offensive woes - Just when you think the Nats' offense is struggling, they seem to get worse. Over their last ten games they have scored more than two runs just three times. Going even further back, they have scored over two runs just once in their last 12 losses. Some of the individual numbers lately have been even uglier. Bryce Harper over the 17 games since he returned on July 1 is hitting .206 with 21 strikeouts. Anthony Rendon over the last 30 days is hitting .234, a 24 game stretch. His on-base percentage during that time has been .280 and he's hitting second in the lineup. The only player who's really hitting right now is Jayson Werth so Davey Johnson has him hitting cleanup. He hit two home runs in Sunday's loss to the Dodgers, but the three hitters in front of him (Harper, Rendon, & Ryan Zimmerman) went 0-for-12 with 4 strikeouts.

Ross Detwiler's recovery - Detwiler remains the Nationals' biggest injury at the moment as he continues to see minor setbacks from his recovery from a lower back strain. Detwiler hasn't pitched since July 3 and now has no specific timetable for a return. He keeps testing the back only to feel pain and soreness the following day and the Nats don't seem to have a firm grasp on how long it will take for him to get better. Detwiler hasn't had the greatest season, but getting him back healthy (whenever that is) could certainly help stabilize their staff. Last season he was a major asset pitching in the back of their rotation.

Quote of the Week

Ryan Zimmerman after Sunday's loss to the Dodgers, on the idea of a team meeting:

"Pep talks don’t work for grownups.

If you have a meeting and you win then it’s the best meeting in the world and the truth is you go out and play the game the same way you do every night.

There’s nobody to blame besides us, no coaches or anything like that. The bottom line is all of us, myself included, haven’t been producing like we should. That’s what happens."

Tweet of the Week

It happens to the best of us...

Road Ahead

Mon. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Haren)
Tue. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Jordan)
Wed. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Strasburg)
Thu. – 12:35 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Gonzalez)
Fri. – 1:35 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Zimmermann)
         7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Ohlendorf)
Sat. – 3:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Haren)
Sun. – 1:35 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Jordan)

55 comments:

MrsB loves the Nats said...

On to the next series, for me... Beat the Pirates, I think I will be at Tuesday and Wednesday's games...

Anyone else going?

sjm308 said...

I'm going Thursday Mrs.B - nothing says retirement like a 12:30 game on a weekday!! Hope we are shooting for a sweep when I get there.

Go Nats!!

Question - this is really dreaming and will be scoffed at by many. What if (remember its my dream!), what if Haren turns it around in his next 10 starts. Continues what he did the last time out. Starts to eat innings, keeps the homerun ball to a minimum and proves to be a valuable asset. I have always liked his attitude in the clubhouse. He is a standup guy. If he gets back to 10-10 for the season, which is all you can really ask for a #5 starter. Would you look at an extension for waaaaay less money then you paid him this year. Again, I am not predicting this type of success or anything. Just wondering if the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush if he does improve. I would also have to say that for us to make any kind of playoff push, Haren will be playing a big role. Just my thoughts - fire away.

greg said...

honestly, i'm waiting for them to get mad. presumably at themselves, but i'm a bit tired of the "we're a good team, we just need to stay patient and work hard" mantra. i think late july is too late to wait to stop being patient.

NatsLady said...

I would have no problem renewing Haren (for substantially less dollars) if he comes around and proves himself healthy. I like his attitude and his approach, and I feel he may have underestimated how much it takes to get into "game shape." It takes longer every year, believve me.

Unfortunately, if he becomes a viable 4-5 starter, other teams might be in competition. I was very surprised E-Jax got his deal after his inconsistency here. Of course, he is younger with no recent health issues, but still...

NatsLady said...

greg, I'm not sure what "getting mad" means, but if it means blasting Ricky Nolasco to smithereens when he's on the proverbial ropes, then I'm for it.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Davey and Eric Cooper.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

I loved the Haren signing when it happened and I've liked the NON-pitching aspects I've seen since he's been here. If he can turn his season around, I'd be interested in seeing him come back at a lower cost next season. And I REALLY hope it will become a real question....

mikelayne86 said...

Would it make more sense to be sellers at the deadline this year? After all, we'd have to go 42-22 from here on out to get to 90 wins.

phil dunton said...

The Mets are only one game behind the Nats in the loss column. At the rate the Nats are sinking, 4th place could happen soon.

Don said...

Harper's gotta bat 6th.
Rizzo's gotta add a starter, there are lots of way he can go. Rental, take on salary, go for a longer term control guy, a guy just coming off injury, a buy low guy (Josh Johnson type), whatever. But this club needs another arm or it has no real chance.

SCNatsFan said...

For all the grief Mattheus got for smashing his hand, I for one was glad to see a player vent about this underachieving team. And while I don't advocate breaking your hand I am all for gatorade cooler smashing and the like.

mick said...

no trades please, except for prospects...please Rizzo, I'm begging ya!

mick said...

SCNatsFan

agreed

mick said...

Thinking that Mark and Ted Lerner will bee like Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche in "Trading Places" yelling Sell, sell, sell!!!

lol

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

Thomas Boswell :

Fans get angry. That's natural. It's their job. You hope to get your frustrations OUT by following sports, not increase them.

The easiest person to criticize is the manager, especially if you don't really know that much about baseball. Also, people who are simply mean by nature or angry from their own disappointments seem to ENJOY screaming at baseball managers. The implication is always: "Any idiot could do better than that, including an idiot like me."


Didn't realize Boswell had met JayB and Ghost of Steve M. But it seems he knows them well.

mick said...

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes.

ridiculous and baseless post my friend

Ghost has better analysis than most in here and is more positive than negative. same for JayB. I rather read analysis with facts than read some yes man or woman foolishly blind and obedient any time

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

Seems Boswell has mick pegged as well.

greg said...

==NatsLady said...
greg, I'm not sure what "getting mad" means, but if it means blasting Ricky Nolasco to smithereens when he's on the proverbial ropes, then I'm for it. ==

i would just like to see them get beyond counseling for "patience" and pretending they're playing well, but just not getting the results. that was the attitude to have in late may, maybe early june. but we're in late july and it's now or never. and rolling over like submissive dogs offensively against the dodgers inspires little confidence that it's going to be "now."

phil dunton said...

Boswell writes like he works for the Nationals PR dept.

Tcostant said...

I was for trading for a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Now, I think the better move is stand pat, do the best you can for 2013 and then in the offseason make 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...

Off topic today's tidbits:

- Marlins haven't scored in their last 37 innings.

- Tampa is 18-2 (!!) since last weekend in June. (How are they still only in 2d place). Both losses have come to the Astros.

- John Lackey has an ERA of 2.95. He pitches for the Red Sox (60-40). How is he only 7-7?

- Erik Bedard was relieved in the 7th inning of a no-hitter. His final line was 6.1 IP, 0 H, 3 R/1 ER, 5 BB, 10 K. The Mariners eventually got one hit (a double) -- all told, over 9 innings, they got four runs and one hit. Bedard got the loss.

- Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey: leads his team in strikeouts, has thrown a no-hitter and also leads the team's starters with highest ERA

- Giants had a streak of 5-19, followed by their current streak of 5-2.

James Joyce said...

Pep talks don't work for grownups? As if the Nats were made up of grownups, please. Bunch of 20-somethings doing a lot of thinking about their next tattoo, munching sunflower seeds and working on their gimmicky high-five routines for the dugout cameras. I'd think that some rah rah might work on that crowd.

Whack-a-Mule said...

Mule has come to praise Rizzo, not to bury him.

'Tis true that the 2013 season has not gone as expected. However, the current team and its current record remain vastly superior to the mess and mediocrity effected by his bumbling predecessor, the late (of the Nationals)and unlamented Jim Bowden (May 1, 2009 - R.I.P.). Bowden was dismissed ("allowed to resign") more for his incompetence than his corruption.

"The evil that men do lives after them."

It was not Bowden who first destroyed the franchise, however. That honor goes to Omar Minaya. What little that Omar left behind him, "a thing of shreds and patches", came to Washington in 2005 as an 81-81 club. Bowden delivered the coup de grace. (Mule is appalled and disgusted to learn that said Bowden employs the possessive pronoun "we" when bloviating about the Nats on-air.)

Omar Minaya gutted the minor league system. Bowden eliminated what remained.

Everything currently in place, major and minor league alike, is on Rizzo. It is his to name and claim, win, lose or draw.

Are we better off than 4 years ago (when Bowden was sacked) ? Better off than 2 years 9 months ago (when Rizzo named G.M./ Head of Baseball Operations) ?

Mule, for one, certainly thinks so.
"In for a penny; in for a pound."

greg said...

i don't think rizzo is what ails this club. as of right now, the onus lies purely on the heads of the players. they are, as a team, not performing up to reasonable expectations (particularly offensively and in the bullpen).

davey and rizzo can shuffle the deck chairs on the titanic, but it's still headed for the iceberg (yes, i'm overboard in my metaphor, but sorry, i like it). the players themselves have to fix what's wrong with this team. they need to play up to reasonable expectations.

Nats106 said...

sjm, you're dreaming, but it could happen. It's why we love baseball. That's the dreamer side. Reality: Pitssburgh is almost as inept offensively as we are. If Haren pitches around Mccutcheon and keep Marte off the bases it could be the start of something good.

James Joyce said...

Rizzo has been GM since August, 2009.

A DC Wonk said...

Whack-a-Mule -- nice historical perspective you got there!

Well done!

sjm308 said...

Hey Feel - nobody can pick on Mick except me! For what its worth, I also enjoy Ghost and while I disagree with JayB most of the time, its always thought provoking.

Mule is right on about Rizzo and what he has brought to this organization. If you honestly did not see what MLB and Lauria (Expo owner) did to that franchise you can't possibly imagine the state of things especially in our minor league system. I will give Bowden credit for hiring Rizzo to head his player development.

Mick - you might want to reread JayB before you start saying he is more positive than negative. There are not a lot of warm fuzzies coming from him but I will agree that the Nationals have earned the right to be criticized at this point.
What I have learned about Feel is that he knows his baseball but takes greater glee in posting hurtful statements about others or correcting someone else when they have misspoke or written something poorly phrased. You won't ever see much in the way of "happy happy joy joy" from him.

Tcostant said...

Hitting coach was just fired according to ESPN 980

greg said...

just got that bleacher report alert, too, tcostant.

rick schu promoted to replace him.

RaleighNat said...

This....

Tcostant said...

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

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

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

sjm308, it wasn't me who penned that description of angry fans who blame the manager. It was Boswell. But would you not agree that Ghost of Steve M., JayB and Mick fit it pretty well?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just got it, too. Rick Schu new hitting coach. The runs will start coming now.

RaleighNat said...

Come on guys. Let's start turning it around tonight. Refocus, rededicate, get mad....time to fight like hell and get back in this thing.

slidell2 said...

Well; SOMEBODY had to be fired. Sure wasn't going to be Davey.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I will be there tonight.

Nats 10
Bucs 3

Section 222 said...

Eckstein fired. Wow. Just wow. State of the Nats 7/22: Panicking.

Tcostant said...

Trying to cheer everyone up here, this from Phil Mushnick’s Equal Time in the NY Post:

A piece in Sunday’s Hartford Courant: Miguel Sano, a top Twins prospect playing for New Britain of the Eastern League, claims Robinson Cano has become his mentor: “He tells me you have to hustle all the time.”

Good advice, even if it apparently came from a guy claiming to be Robinson Cano.

Of course, no one has even suggested the real Cano hustle. Just running to first would be a vast and obvious improvement.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Yep Sec222

natsfan1a said...

Indeed.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Release the hounds . The east is ours now.

Steady Eddie said...

Panicking? Hardly -- more a ritual sacrifice. Something to try to shake the players' heads out of where they've been, when the management has no clue about what to say substantively about technique, mindset, etc.

James Joyce said...

Mike Rizzo has done a nice job overall, but the future might not be so rosy given Mike's spending track record. $126M for Werth was bad. $100M extension for Zim might be bad too (if Zim cannot play D and if his production is 20/85/.280 kind of stuff, IF he can stay healthy). Haren's $13M not spent wisely to date. LaRoche contract at $24M for a decent 1B looks like another over-pay. $28M for Soriano looks like it could not be a value deal either. We had Maya and Wang (more than once) and Lannan's 2012 $5M in Cuse. Rizzo's done well in the draft and the Gio trade looks great too, but almost every existing contract Rizzo has put in play looks like it could show bad value, none look like true winners right now. Rizzo needs to get this club winning again and soon or people are going to start following the money trail of this underperforming club back to his desk.

natsfan1a said...

I would pop some corn and settle in front of the monitor with it, but I have a doctor's appointment in a little bit. Later, folks. (Wait, what's that barking sound?)

SCNatsFan said...

Might be a message to Johnson... know he had to be at odds with Rizzo about this

Nats106 said...

Manassas, have a good time-hope the weather holds out. Any predictions?

Don said...

I have been predicting/begging for the scapegoating of Eckstein to happen for some time. There had to be blood, whether or not he deserved to go is not the question. Davey can't be fired, Rizzo can't fire himself, the roster cannot be radically adjusted, but the hitting coach can be replaced. The proverbial grenade has been tossed into the clubhouse. Let's see if the players respond.

Good luck Eck, my guess is we'll be seeing you on the MLB Network sooner than later.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

One of the moves that it cant hurt and might not help.


Well over due though.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

10-3 good guys. You going?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

This might do nothing, but how is tgat any worse than what the hitter's have been doing.

sjm308 said...

Feel - actually, when you put it in terms that are not witty or hurtful, I do see your point. I think JayB has been upset with Davey for years and Mick just needed to vent about the disappointing season. I do think Ghost brings decent ideas to the table, as do you. I have lost a lot of faith in Davey in the past months but am not crying for his head. I want very much to see him leave after this season with some semblance of pride in his work. His in game decisions lately have me shaking my head.

Nats106 said...

No I share season tix with a friend of mine and he has tonight's game. I went to all 3 games this weekend, so I did my penance.

I don't think we come up with 10 against Charlie Morton, but I like our odds if Haren can hold the Bucs to 3. I call 5-4 us. Sorry-no wings for you.

sjm308 said...

Mannasas: hope your game is a good one!

Sec. 1 D, 10 T, My Sofa said...

The only proverb about grenades I know of is "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."

Maybe it's like "Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes"?

"Roll a grenade in and see if anyone falls on it"?

mick said...

sjm308 said...
Hey Feel - nobody can pick on Mick except me!


lolololo

Post a Comment