Monday, May 28, 2012

Two bad pitches, one tough loss

US Presswire photo
Jordan Zimmermann gave up four runs, three in the bottom of the sixth.
MIAMI -- He threw 98 pitches for the afternoon, most of them quality pitches that held the Marlins' potent lineup in check. Jordan Zimmermann, though, couldn't get past those two wayward sliders he served up on a tee to Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton in the bottom of the sixth inning.

"I mean, two pitches is what it comes down to for me," Zimmermann said. "Two bad pitches, and it cost me the game."

Yes, the Nationals did have other opportunities to avoid a 5-3, Memorial Day loss to Miami. They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, the lone hit coming on Ryan Zimmerman's two-run double in the fifth off Carlos Zambrano. They went 0-for-8 against the Marlins bullpen. And they let Jose Reyes hustle his way to an insurance run in the seventh.

But those two sliders from Zimmermann in the sixth probably defined this game, and they certainly stuck in everyone's craw well after the fact.

"I mean, those cost him," manager Davey Johnson said. "I thought he threw the ball good, just made two mistakes to the wrong guys."

Forgive Johnson and anyone else in the Nationals' clubhouse for being a bit cranky at the end of the day. After playing on Sunday Night Baseball in Atlanta, then arriving in Miami at 3 a.m., they arrived at garish Marlins Park seven hours later and were tasked with taking the field against a tough division opponent.

The Nationals were careful not to blame their performance on the lack of sleep.

"I think we battled," left fielder Steve Lombardozzi said. "We played a great game. It's tough to come back after so late last night. But I thought we battled and played real well."

Besides, while the rest of his teammates were boarding a charter flight in Atlanta at 1 a.m., Zimmermann was sound asleep in his Miami hotel room, having been sent down early to ensure he was well-rested for his 10th start of the season.

The right-hander looked sharp early on, throwing a healthy 35 of 43 pitches for strikes through the third inning. And though he served up a solo homer to Logan Morrison in the fourth, a blast that ignited the Marlins' much-ridiculed, home-run sculpture into action, he wasn't upset with the inside fastball he threw in that situation.

Besides, Zimmermann was still beaming from the home run he clubbed one inning earlier, the first of his professional career. Even if he wasn't sure at first the ball had cleared the left-field fence and landed in the trendy Clevelander bar beyond the wall.

"It's hard to see," he said. "There's so many bright objects out there."

The Nationals were leading 3-1 when Zimmermann took the mound for the sixth, feeling good about their chances to win their fourth straight and maintain their 2 1/2-game lead in the NL East. But he immediately got into trouble, leaving that 2-2 slider to Ramirez up and over the plate, resulting in a leadoff single.

Moments later, Zimmermann tried to sneak that 3-1 slider past Stanton. The notion of using the breaking ball there wasn't a problem, but the execution of the pitch was.

"I can throw anything in any situation," Zimmermann said. "I just have to get it down a little more. That was right over the middle, and he's one of those guys that's trying to pull everything and, you know, he hits mistakes."

The ball soared to left, crashing off a lime green wall some 412 feet from the plate. It was Stanton's 12th homer of the season, his 11th this month.

"I mean, you can't throw a hanging a slider to him," Johnson said. "Anybody, really. He pitched him good the whole game. To get really beat on that pitch, that's tough. He was totally in control until that inning, still had a low pitch count and throwing the heck out of the ball. You just can't make mistakes with that part of the lineup."

The Nationals still had a chance to rally and seize control of the game. But a potential seventh-inning rally fizzled when Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen turned to his bullpen and watched that unit come up big.

Left-hander Dan Jennings was summoned to face Bryce Harper with two on and nobody out. Remembering a couple of encounters the two had during the Arizona Fall League, Jennings fed the 19-year-old a steady of stream of sliders, most of them well out of the zone. On his 3-2 offering, he got Harper to loft a flyball down the left-field line, then watched as Chris Coghlan came charging over to make a nice catch for the first out.

Right-hander Edward Mujica then entered to face Zimmerman (perhaps the Nationals' hottest hitter at the moment) and fired up a first-pitch fastball over the heart of the plate. Zimmerman couldn't turn down a cookie like that, so he swung and hoped he would hit the ball hard someplace. He did, except he hit it right at Reyes, who started an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.

"It's frustrating when you get a pitch you can hit and you're ready for it, and you just hit it right at somebody," the Nationals third baseman said.

That was the last shot the Nationals would get. Mujica retired the side in the eighth, and erratic closer Heath Bell did the same in the ninth.

Thus ended the Nationals' winning streak and thus sent them back to their downtown Miami hotel for a much-needed night of rest. They'll return Tuesday evening for their latest in a string of battles with tough division opponents, hoping once again to maintain their spot atop the NL East.

"I'll tell you what, I found out why they're in first place," Zambrano said. "Those kids can hit, and they have good pitching. They're good."


Anonymous said...

Harper's fly to left field was about one foot away from being a double....or since it was Harper, maybe a triple. That guy is going to be a HUGE difference maker.

Gonat said...

Cole Hamels gave up 2 two-run homers today on bad pitches. The difference was his team scored him 8 runs.

JZim pitched well enough to get a win if his offense came around. 5 very good inning and 1 inning that wasn't great.

Keep in mind that JZim's offense only got him 2 runs as Zim went solo for his own HR.

The Nats had their opportunities.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I have seen this kind of performance from JZ before, against Orioles last season where he made one bad pitch against Vlad with a runner on and he got a 2-1 loss.

peric said...

Harper's fly to left field was about one foot away from being a double....or since it was Harper, maybe a triple. That guy is going to be a HUGE difference maker.

He's replaced a mostly straight-line average to slightly below in the lineup and in right field in Jayson Werth. And suddenly the offense wakes up? Hullo Mike Rizzo ... Jayson Werth ---> bench.

peric said...

Harper is the X-factor they really needed to make what was a poor to pathetic offense to at least a major league average one ...

Now, hopefully Corey Brown will work his way into the lineup. He was mashing left-handed pitching as well as right-handed in AAA. Then we shall see what we shall see!

Faraz Shaikh said...

offense should not need to put up 8 runs every night. there will be some off-nights for them when pitching will need to pick it up which JZ did not do for few pitches and match was decided.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Enjoy this home run from Cincinnati:

Faraz Shaikh said...

you can hit a HR that way only in that park, Eugene.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Gonat, no, you didn't know Ankiel was going to start. Who knew that Werth would break his wrist and Morse would take this long to get back? Agree Brown should get his chance.

May 28, 2012 6:44 PM

Sure I did, it was Morse, Ankiel, Werth until Morse got hurt, then Ankiel got hurt which means if Ankiel didn't start off on the DL he would have been the Opening Day starting CF. Once Ank came off the DL, he's been the starter.

Tegwar said...

I like that Eugene. Every year I see something in baseball I haven't seen before that's why you have to love the game.

Gonat said...

The Mets with a bold move. They DFA'd their set-up man Manny Acosta after today's game. If Doug Slaten can find MLB employment again, I am sure Acosta will also.

Joe Seamhead said...

Wow, Daniel Rosenbaum got royally rocked today, giving up 6r's and 12 hits in 6 innings. First bad outing of the year, and it was bad.

mick said...

no harm, no foul, Mets lose so we lose no ground.

I am glad we did not trade Lombo or storen

Doc said...

If Zambrano is impressed, I'm impressed. I just sit and watch; he has to play against them.

Lack of sleep may have been part of it. Some of their fly balls, e.g. Harper's, could have made this a winner. As they say, baseball's a game of inches.

Get 'em tomorrow guys!!!!

peric said...

Once Ank came off the DL, he's been the starter.

When they decided to send Harper down to get the extra year. Not put Werth in CF ... followed by the Morse injury? Sure, then Ankiel became the starter.

He's still a bench player who should be batting eighth but Davey, puts the catcher at the traditional #8 spot as the slowest player ... followed by the pitcher.

It's time to try Brown while he's hot. NOW. Not a week from now. NOW.

peric said...

Wow, Daniel Rosenbaum got royally rocked today, giving up 6r's and 12 hits in 6 innings. First bad outing of the year, and it was bad.

Everybody putting out way extra oomph ... Davey might be right about "tired arms". Yunesky Maya got bombed again ... the Chief's staff has had some poor performances ...

Danny Rosenbaum knows he's very, very close. And as we've seen Davey has no compunction about pulling guys from AA (as with Sandy Leon) or even A as he did with the Mets if he believes he needs them.

Gonat said...

peric said...
Once Ank came off the DL, he's been the starter.

When they decided to send Harper down to get the extra year. Not put Werth in CF ... followed by the Morse injury? Sure, then Ankiel became the starter.

He's still a bench player who should be batting eighth but Davey, puts the catcher at the traditional #8 spot as the slowest player ... followed by the pitcher.

It's time to try Brown while he's hot. NOW. Not a week from now. NOW.

May 28, 2012 8:09 PM

Ride the hot hand as they say. Absolutely, play Brown now. Today would have been the perfect day to play Brown.

baseballswami said...

I would have liked to have seen a well-rested Corey Brown in the outfield today instead of Ankiel. Other than that - if you watched Jordan pitch, he looked very good. The guys who got to him in the sixth are good hitters. It just seems that Jordan has no margin for error when he is out there. The tired offense did not score for him. Take away his solo home run and it was back to anemic. At some point in the game, though, I was glad to see them put the mop up bullpen in and not go for broke. Had they tied it up, it might have had an effect on the next two games if not more. Put the one loss in perspective and move on. Hope the guys come out rested tomorrow. You know -- it's a marathon, etc,etc,etc.

Grandstander said...

How Davey plays Brown is the big question, I think. Lombo is settling into LF right now so Brown would figure to start in CF. But being a lefty and having Ankiel on the team, Davey would have to acquiesce to sitting a veteran to play a rookie there.

Personally, I don't see that happening unless Rizzo tells him specifically to do that, and I don't see that happening either. Unfortunately, I feel Brown, like Moore, will sit on the bench for a week until Morse comes back.

Grandstander said...

On a positive note, the Nats' run differential stands at a robust +29, 3rd best in the league behind only the Cardinals (+69) and Dodgers (+49). The next highest differential is less than half what the Nats have, the Braves at +14.

baseballswami said...

Games in atlanta we scored 7,8,7 - in May we were up to 5 runs per game. Look at today - 2 by the positions players. Strassie gave up four and won his game. 5 per game or the 22 in three games in ATL and that's a win today. Say what you will about Jordan's 2 pitches, as usual it's mostly a lack of offense. I am hoping it was just the tired-ness. Giancarlo has caused many a pitcher to hang his head.

NatsLady said...

I'm not happy with the outfield defensively. Lombo not an outfielder. Ankiel tired, possibly sick. Harper enthusiastic but not experienced. Brown an unknown quantity but I hope good. Bernie OK, but only in LF, can't really handle CF.

Looking forward to Chien-Ming Wang pitching so we can take advantage of the great infield.

Gonat said...

baseballswami said...
Games in atlanta we scored 7,8,7 - in May we were up to 5 runs per game. Look at today - 2 by the positions players. Strassie gave up four and won his game. 5 per game or the 22 in three games in ATL and that's a win today. Say what you will about Jordan's 2 pitches, as usual it's mostly a lack of offense. I am hoping it was just the tired-ness. Giancarlo has caused many a pitcher to hang his head.

May 28, 2012 8:49 PM

That's exactly correct. You can win games when your starter gives you a 4-3 deficit in the 7th inning.

The Nats had their chances a few times.

I posted this on Ankiel's lead-off at-bat in the 9th. Heath Bell is nervous and on the ropes. They are booing him. He throws 2 straight balls and then a get me over strike. I believe Ank had the 'take' sign until he saw a strike.

According to the Pitch FX, he saw 5 'balls' and only 1 'strike' yet he struck out.

Pitch FX confirms that the only ball that Bell threw in the strike zone against Ankiel was on the 2-0 pitch that Ankiel was taking.

5 balls thrown and 1 strike. Ankiel is killing this team in key situations at-bat.

Gonat said...

NatsLady, besides 2 errors by Harper and a ball lost in the twilight, he has been excellent. Ankiel didn't look right today, not sure if he is sick, tired or injured. Lombo has been fine with the glove, he just has a weak arm but much better than Nyjer and many other outfielders.

NatsLady said...

Gonat, true about Lombo--thinking of Juan Pierre. There are worse left-fielders, that's for sure.

NatsLady said...

No, sorry. Harper not "excellent" as a fielder.

fangraphs Harper Fielding

jeffwx said...

yes...Werth was a big loss. He provided much needed offense as compared to Ankiel and good defense this year. Thanks to Lombo for stepping in with the bat.
Looking forward to Morse/Werth/Harper outfield.
But the problem of the next day or so will be catcher. Can't afford to have both Maldanado and Ankiel in the lineup. Hope Brown plays over Ank.

Tcostant said...

Am I the only one who thinks that the fishes two sac flies to go ahead should have resulted in puts at home? This game reminds me so many that Jordan threw last year just a few bad pitches... Also henry should not pitch in any close game until right.

NatsLady said...

Tcostant, no, you are not the only one. Lombo doesn't have an outfield arm, and Ankiel--for whatever reason--couldn't get a grip on the ball to make a throw.

Henry didn't do bad, the game was already in the loss column. If you are going to use him, that was the right time.

Yes, Jordan only threw a few bad pitches; unfortunately, he threw them to good hitters. This would have been a really great day for him to pitch the 2-hitter that I know he is capable of.

Wendell said...

Boz has a new article up

Holden Baroque said...

TConstant, you might be. Lombardozzi just doesn't have that arm, and even Ankiel, had he come out with a clean throw, was probably not going to get Reyes.

Holden Baroque said...

I'm not sure I owe NL a coke on that one--we came to different conclusions... ; )

As for Znn's "two bad pitches", well, he was finding a lot of barrels that inning, along with those. Davey was too slow to get someone up, I'm afraid.

Gonat said...

NatsLady is being a downer. The game was not lost at the bottom of the 7th down 4-3. That's a real poor Natitude. [WINK]

NatsLady said...

Sofa, I think we came to the same conclusion by different routes. Both times, coulda/woulda/shoulda it was possible to get those outs, either with a better arm (Lombo) or a working arm (Ankiel). I think Ankiel at his best could have gotten Reyes...

NatsLady said...

Gonat--- Ha. Sometimes, ya gotta fold 'em and go for the next hand.

NatsLady said...

Boz sure has drunk the Kook-Aid. I'm glad he's happy. I am too. Even when the Nats lose, you gotta remember it's first place by 2.5 games and 10 over .500 at Memorial Day. A fun and quirky team, plenty to cheer, plenty to talk about.

JaneB said...

Get ' em tomorrow. I'm liking my Koolaid just finel the guys will sleep and come out hitting.

Gonat said...

I brought up Lombo's arm immediately after that Sac Fly and caught a little grief. Glad you all agree with me now, but those Sac Flys and HRs weren't the reason the Nats lost.

The Nats position players only scored 2 runs and that's a recipe for losing almost any night.

Gonat said...

Nyjer Morgan is now batting 8th with a .219 BA

jeffwx said...

it's a very weak lineup with today's 6 thru 8 (Espi batting lefty, Ank, Mald).
By the weekend, this should be corrected with Morse and Flores back. Not sure what Davey could do in the meantime except try our Brown

rogieshan said...

Espinosa went deep into the count on a few at-bats today, but I'm still not convinced he's turned the corner. I hope Johnson would consider platooning him with Lombardozzi at 2nd base when Morse returns. Please Davey, Junior could be your next Wally Backman!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

FYI TO me the slider is both the best pitch and worse pitch in baseball for a pitcher. Pitches well it is beaten into the ground like a drum. Ifhung is tatooed often for homers. You cannot afford a mistake on a slider. Pitch it down it is great. He actually hung three that innings, as Morrison's double was on a hanger slider.

Mark you pulled the same error that Carp did once, and Charlie did on the radio once. The double play by RZim 6-4-3, was not started by Ramerez, rather by Rayes. Both Capr and Charlie said Ramerez too.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I was feeling bad about Jordan's 3 hanging sliders, until I started watching the Yankees @ Angels game. The pitching there is pathetic.

Drew said...

While Rosenbaum was getting rocked by Reading, there was a lot of good news in Hagerstown.

Brian Goodwin reached with a hit and a walk. His on base percentage is .406.

Left fielder Billy Burns had two hits and three RBIs. He's reaching base at a .427 clip.

Matt Skole homered and drove in two. He has 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 49 games.

Big Alex Meyer had another good start, giving up one earned over five. His ERA remains above 4, but it's skewed by an awful early April start in which he gave up five earned and only recorded two outs.

Alex is making strides, LOOONNNGGG strides.

peric said...

Buy the PNats have an SP problem ... mebbe Meyers and Karns will solve that for the PNats at the 1/2 season mark if they get promoted along with Skole, Goodwin, Burns ... etc?

Nate Karns looks like the sleeper that he was projected to be when he was drafted in the 12th round but then had to have surgery.

baseballswami said...

I have been wondering how much the catcher situation is affecting the pitchers. For one thing - they have really good relationships and these injuries just have to throw them a little. Add to that the revolving door of catchers to get used to. They are pros and have handled it really well, but I have to think it's had some affect on them. A coincidence that they have had more struggles lately? They are also very close with Detweiler - he has been one of the five studs - and have just had a major upheaval in the rotation - I noticed that Wang sits off by himself. Is the dynamic thrown off? I think that with this young rotation, so much has been made of the chemistry among them and with their catchers - are these things in their heads even a little? I love our rotation but sometimes it doesn't take very much to interrupt momentum, especially pitchers - and really young ones.

peric said...

No, sorry. Harper not "excellent" as a fielder.

From the looks of Harper he has a very long way to go where that is concerned ... but like Ankiel when he decided to become a position player, he does have a start he has an arm.

peric said...

Brown an unknown quantity but I hope good.

Brown is an excellent fielder by all accounts ... probably the best outfielder in the system if Curran isn't. And he does have a plus arm. So, its probably a plus putting him in center defensively over Ankiel.

According to Jason Bennetti's podcast on Brown apparently he feels his main problem was lack of confidence, getting down on himself. I believe Danny Espinosa is exhibiting the exact same problem at this point in time. Desmond all of last year.

Brown needs to play and get his feet wet then we'll see.

A DC Wonk said...

Hey all, I'm back. Did I miss anything? ;-)

For kicks, I went to b-r, and compiled this:

Memorial Day
2012: 20-19 1st +2.5 G
2011: 22-31 5th 11.5 GB
2010: 26-26 T3rd 3.5 GB
2009: 14-31 5th 11.0 GB
2008: 22-30 5th 9.0 GB
2007: 21-30 5th 12.0 GB
2006: 21-31 4th 11.0 GB
2005: 26-25 3rd 2.5 GB

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

Memorial Day
2012: 20-19 1st +2.5 G

Make that 29-19.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

May 29, 29-19, still in soul possession of first place.

What, exactly, is everybody complaining about?

The sun is shining, the fish are biting, the steaks are rare, the women are gorgeous, the income tax refund is in the mailbox, the pay raise is coming, the kids are graduating with honors, the world is coming up absolutely roses.

I don't know about you, ladies and gents, but I don't have a care in the world.


sjm308 said...


It's 5 am but on my clock its really 11 in the morning in Eastern Europe. Hi everyone!

Candide was correct, internet was awful until we reached Bratislava. We had people on the trip who were O's fans and actually called home for results so I got grief early but I am happy with what I have read and who wouldn't be. First place and ten games over .500. I watched yesterday and then caught up on video of highlights on the official site.

So impressed with Lombo, Harper and our pitching. When Morse comes back will Davey move Lombo to 2nd? Upset and worried about our catching. Is Solano a decent choice for backup if Flores is OK?

Like NatsLady, I am excited to see Wang. If he can return to his Sept. form and Detwiler can handle his new role this will only solidify us for September when games become even more critical.

OK, I am off to start working on the 886 pictures I took. Going to be hard to pay $9 for a beer on Saturday after paying under $2 for great beer in Prague. By my account I had 12 different beers in 4 countries.

Go Nats!!!

NatsLady said...

Swami--I wouldn't read too much into where CMW sits, or if he kids around with Gio. Right now I'd say he's very focused on getting his game back. Of course the SP's were close to Det, but he'll get into the bullpen routine, he's not going to a one-man weather station in Antarctica.

Other than that, your point is good. This is where Davey and the coaching staff come in, keeping the boys steady. If we win the division (or WC), Davey should be up for manager of the year. Yes, the team has talent, but he's had to use all his creativity--and a lot of the farm system--to keep the ship afloat.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

sjm308 asked: "Is Solano a decent choice for backup if Flores is OK?"

Who knows? But he's the only choice. Rizzo lost Pudge's cell phone number and so far has been unable to talk Carlton Fisk out of retirement. So it's Solano. Apparently good field, no hit. So he'll fit right in with cruiserweight Maldonado, who has a great future in WWF if this baseball thing doesn't work out.

Welcome back to the land of watered-down $9 beers. As you know, I'm a bourbon and Maalox man myself. But it's 7:10 in the morning ... WAYYYY too early to start on the Maalox.

mick said...

Thanks DC wonk for the stats.... the other important thing is tat there s now an extra wild card team. Nats have a ggod chance of playing post season, even if its just one extra game. I think 3 playoff teams will come out of the East, Nats, Marlins and Braves. Mets will fade and I think Phillies will battle it out and just miss

mick said...

I am really thinking 2013 Nats are in NL championship. 2012, i see 90 wins, but coming up short in Divisional playoffs. These young lads have to learn what playoff baseball is about, one year will suffice.

sjm308 said...

Mick - as someone who has NEVER seen a baseball team from Washington in ANY kind of playoff(and I started watching in 1950), I am just thrilled to see us where we are now. I thought 86 wins would be great but I am just going to enjoy this ride and see what happens. This team continues to amaze me and that is a good thing.

Sunshine, the good thing about this 6 hour time difference is that at 11:00am it will be time for happy hour!!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

SteveJM, enjoy the rest of your trip. The Nats sweeping the Braves over the weekend was great to see. Yesterday, not so much. The offense was back to JZim mode as he had to hit a HR to start the offense.

Need EJax to get it going tonight and lots of Nats offense.

NatsLady said...

So, just read through the MLB power rankings at various sites. Nats ranked as high as 2 (too high) and as low as 6 (too low). Four is about right, IMO.

What amazed me was the number of typos, arithmetic mistakes, grammatical errors, and sheer carelessness (Reds logo and headline appeared twice, once for the real Reds and once for the phantom Reds--who seem to be the Brewers). So Kilgore is not alone.

mick said...

I hear you coach, I'm enjoying this too

alexva said...

Atlanta was beat up and limping but the Marlins are hot. If we take one of the next two and come home to a returning Morse in the lineup all will be good in my world. I have a feeling that Morse in left means more Lombo at 2nd. Who knows maybe Brown is the real deal and all of a sudden we have this:


I'd take my chances with that group.

ehay2k said...

Was sailing on the Bay yesterday, so baseball took a back seat. (And that will always be the case unless there is a WS game with the Nats in it!)

Reading the blogs and WaPo, it was just one of those games. The fish are pretty athletic, so they get to some balls that perhaps other teams would not. It certainly seems like there were some well-hit balls that produced nothing. Guillen also used three relievers, so that may show up tonight and tomorrow.

Gawd, is that the UGLIEST ballpark ever built? People will show up for the novelty, but they will lose fans due to eye-fatigue!

Time to show the fish how we win series.


Gonat said...

alexva, I wouldn't put the pressure right away on CBrown in the 2 hole. I hope he gets his hacks in tonight as a starter.

alexva said...

good point, Harper could stay there for now and bat Brown 6th or 7th.

A DC Wonk said...

good point, Harper could stay there for now and bat Brown 6th or 7th.

I'd go further -- I like Harper in the #2 slot. He's close to the top OBP for the Nats, and yet also has power (2d best SLG) and speed. I want him batting in the first inning of every game.

D'Gourds said...

You know, there has never been a game pitched without a mistake thrown. Zim pitched a really good game. You just have to tip your hat to Stanton--hhe took advantage of the mistake. I really don't feel too bad about that loss. Coglin made an outstanding catch to preserve the win. Tonight the breaks might go the other way. I'm still very encuraged with this team. I hope Cory starts and wont let us put him back down in the minors.

Theophilus T. S. said...

If Morse comes back Friday, he starts -- somewhere -- so, for you folks w/ a crush on Brown, he has exactly two days to make a big impression. Fish start two RHs so it's probably a good opportunity. Especially if, as people are saying (I didn't see any games over the weekend), Ankiel is looking wrung out. Then, if Brown looks like he belongs, he can start while Morse DHs in Boston.

I sort of hate the idea of novice OFs (Harper, Brown and/or Lombardozzi) playing the Wall or CF in Fenway Park. (Though maybe Lombardozzi's arm doesn't matter so much there.)

#4 said...

I chalk up yesterday's game to why you play 162. By my count they scalded three balls with men on base right at people - Maldonado to 3B, Desmond to CF, and Zimmerman to SS. Also Coghlan made a great play on Harper. Those things happen sometimes.

The only frustrating AB to me - pointed out by others - was Ankiel's to lead off the 9th. His strike zone judgment is just pathetic.

Go get 'em today

D'Gourds said...

Theophilus T. S., yeah, I was surprised how weak Lombardozzi's arm was out there. More reason to play him at 2b in my opinion or at the very least platoon him at 2b w/ Espinosa.

UnkyD said...


I'd give Brown til Werth gets back, to find his groove...
Repost, from a couple days ago:

 UnkyD said...
'Morning, all!! I'm hoping Brown is on his way, to play CF every day, for the next couple of months. If he can hit reasonably well (make that a little better than Nady/Ankiel/Bernadina), what would we think of him getting 2 starts a week (after Werth comes back),in relief of each of Morse/Harper/Werth, and Lombo doing the same with Espy/Desi/Face? Get the rotation right, and one of those two can lead off, most days, and we'd have one of the regulars available for Hairy Chest Duty, most days, as well as what ever other bench options, for late game double switch situations. It just seems like, absent Browns potential contributions, Rizzo will have go shopping, at the deadline, and that could be avoided, if possible...

Hi Davey........

I'm thinking "If not now, when?". He'll be 27, next year... He's raking, and if he comes up now, he can play every day, until Werth comes back. Somebody tell me when a better opportunity will come along... Anybody? If he doesn't come up now...we'll never know. We'll stick with the weaky-streaky bench outfielders, and hope their streaks time out efficiently, and next year, he turns into a pumpkin....

mick said...

so is Brown the CF of the future? If everyone were healthy... would a line up look something like this in 2013 with the ability to platoon certain positions:

Lombo/Espinoza 2b
Harper RF
Werth/Brown CF
Morse LF
Zim 3rd
LaRoche 1b
Desmond/Rendon ss
Ramo/Flores c

significant bench: Tracy, Ankiel, Derosa, kid at Potomac playing now





any thoughts..
In other words, it seems to me Rizzo does not need to go outside the organization or sign a free agent, we have the talent to win

mick said...

I would assume, Bernadina and Nady would be long gone and Perry and Henry out as well

Anonymous said...


This may be an unpopular opinion, but the team probably needs to plan on finding replacements for Morse and/or LaRoche after 2013, and they'll need to start doing it soon. If they think the free agent crop after this season is better than the one after next season (and I think it is), they should probably make a move this offseason. If they can get Bourn to play leadoff/CF, they can choose between LaRoche or Morse at first and also set the lineup for years to come instead of postponing the roster hole until after the 2013 season. They'd also get a much better outfield from a defensive standpoint, with Harper in right, Werth in left, Bourn in center and Brown as a fourth OF.

mick said...

bowdenball... good points, I forgot that LaRoche contract is up, I think next season. I disagree about Morse if he is healthy. I could envision Nats, letting LaRoche go and signing Morse and perhaps Morse is the 1b for the future. Getting Bourn makes sense and I would think the Nats are now a very popular place for any sarr free agent to go to and in fact, maybe DC is now number one for free agents

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

#4, its beyond pathetic. Look at Gonat's link at 8:58PM. Ankiel lacks pitch recognition and Espi's is only slightly better. Pitchers don't want to throw strikes to them as both will chase except Heath Bell couldn't find the strike zone against Ankiel yesterday.

Again, we were led to believe Espi's hamate bone was the problem, then it was the batter's eye in Viera and I have to believe in Espi's and Ank's cases it is the batter's -eyes- as in you can't hit what you don't see.

Rizzo and Davey need to really consider working out Corey Brown as much as they can this week. I also think that Brown could be a major upgrade over Ankiel. When Morse comes back would love to see an outfield of Beast, Brown, BHarp and lomBo at 2nd base against RH pitchers.

lomBo 2B
BHarp RF
RZim 3B
LaRoche 1B
Beast LF
Desi SS
Brown CF
JFlo C

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Mick, the Nats have an option for LaRoche for the 2013 season and Morse is already under contract for 2013. Beyond that, there's only Chris Marrero and Tyler Moore on the depth charts for 1st base.

mick said...

thanks Ghost

Anonymous said...


The team has an option on LaRoche for next season. Both guys will be free agents after 2013 if a deal isn't in place.

Morse loves it here by all accounts, but that will probably represent his only shot at free agency and an AL team may value him a lot more than we do. The Nats probably need to plan to move forward after 2013 without at least one of them, possibly without both of them.

The good news is that we are talking about a possible hole in only one key spot in the lineup, and it comes two years from now. A lot of things can go wrong but the future for the next 5 years at least is very bright.

Will said...

It seems like Espinosa and Lombardozzi would make an ideal platoon, and I'm not completely sure why Davey Johnson is so opposed to benching Danny one a week, especially against a RHP. It would be better for both players and the team.

fast eddie said...

Lombo belongs at 2B and leading off. Give Brown a shot in CF. If he performs, he becomes the 4th OF after Morse and Werth return.
Why is Davey so stubbornly supportive of both Desi and Ank?

peric said...

There are some assumptions I think we can make.

One is that the Nats will carry three catchers here on out. Solano can potentially play other positions and he has finally proven he can hit. Leon had just started to figure that out in AA when he was called up.

[The guess here is that Leon gets optioned to the minors to continue working when he is again healthy. Probably to Harrisburg where the Nats
better minor league SP's still lurk. ]

Flores may not be completely healthy. He hasn't played for a good long while and has just gotten back to major league ready defensively and offensively this season perhaps because he continued on and played
winter ball this past season.

[But, then Ryan Tatusko also played winter ball in the same league with
Flores and Ramos. He probably shouldn't have given how he is pitching
right now.]

In the outfield there are currently 4 left-handed hitters and 1 right-handed hitter. If you include Lombo the SuperUTL switch hitter then you have 2. When Morse comes back, then there's three. But one of them has to go.

Right now it looks like Nady could use some time in the minors. They tried that with 15 year vet Jason Michaels ... and after his latest injury I think Michael's may have decided to hang up the cletes, I doubt that anyone would pick up Nady given the way he is hitting and like Willie Harris this season it appears as if he would end up getting assigned to AAA. In other words he is the best case scenario as it seems unlikely they would lose him and Syracuse could use a right-handed outfielder to replace Jason Michaels.

The only other option appears to be a trade. And one would think it would end up with the Shark traded ... Ankiel looks like a solid late inning defensive replacement but not much in the way of a pinch hitter.

If its me I would trade him as well as Bernadina while DFA'ing Nady. Bring back Carroll and Teahen. Teahen is having a tremendous year in Syracuse. He currently leads the Chiefs with 37 RBI.

Teahen might preclude a return of DeRosa ... but Davey has to face hard facts. DeRosa looks done. Teahen brings a left-handed bat to go with Lombo and Espinosa's switch hitting ... and Espy is a better right handed hitter. At this point Espy is shy 1 for 60 strikeouts. He is having a Dunn like year and confidence issues. Its either AAA or the bench for him. I'd favor platooning him with Lombo at second until he can get himself together.

Xavier Paul is also having a short but pretty good year in Syracuse after a slow start and some time taking care of personal business. Yet another left-handed bat.

But no one compared to Corey Brown who is now on the roster. Not even Tyler Moore while he was still there.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Beyond 2013 will depend a lot on Anthony Rendon. Losing him to injury pushes back his progress another year. Some have thought Zim would eventually move to 1st base and Rendon would take over at 3rd base. That probably wouldn't happen before 2014 which leaves a hole at 1st base and a corner outfield spot for the 2014 season.

The team also has a 3rd choice which I mentioned before which is Jayson Werth being the 2014 1st baseman. He is as tall as Morse and probably would develop into a very good defensive 1st baseman which would free up RF to be anchored by Bryce Harper with a coveted spot for a top Free Agent for centerfield if Rizzo could get that done. With any luck, the Nats could develop Corey Brown or Brian Goodwin to fill it internally.

Just a few of the options. I was a little disappointed when Morse signed his 2 year deal that it didn't include an option year. Still time to see how things work out since the team controls the fate into 2013 on both Morse and LaRoche.

Tcostant said...

I think LaRoche's option is around $12M for 2013; that is looking like great value if he stays healthy. I see LaRoche back next year with Rendon and the FO already having seprate time tables for his return (He says shut me down and FO wants August return).

Without Rendon to make a puch, their is no reason not to have LaRoche on this team next year...

peric said...

It seems like Espinosa and Lombardozzi would make an ideal platoon, and I'm not completely sure why Davey Johnson is so opposed to benching Danny one a week, especially against a RHP. It would be better for both players and the team.

That probably happens when Morse gets back.

Espinosa can already play short and I bet he can handle third base with aplomb. Unlike Lombo Espy had the requisite arm. A better arm than Zimmerman. And the outfield. I expect that's what you'll see. And given the injuries doubtless Espinosa will see plenty of playing time. But just one shy of 60 K's versus 1 shy of 20 walks just isn't going to cut it. A .302 OBP and a .651 OPS in 169 at bats. Seems like Espy is still struggling with confidence mostly ... the plate discipline he started the season with has now become Ankiel-like. So, it sure seems like Espy would make the better UTL over Lombardozzi defensively speaking. So, I guess for now that's what they are going to try with him.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

fast eddie said...
Lombo belongs at 2B and leading off. Give Brown a shot in CF. If he performs, he becomes the 4th OF after Morse and Werth return.
Why is Davey so stubbornly supportive of both Desi and Ank?

May 29, 2012 10:26 AM

I agree with what you are saying but keep in mind that Werth won't be ready till the end of July at the earliest.

Still a big -IF- on Corey Brown being able to handle the bat but if he can, it is a huge win. This could be an important step forward for this team -IF- Rizzo/Davey give him a few weeks to show what he can do. Corey Brown has finally shown what the A's saw when they chose him with their 2nd overall pick in the Draft.

peric said...

Without Rendon to make a puch, their is no reason not to have LaRoche on this team next year...

Rendon? What about Moore and Marerro? The thing is all three are right handed. Fortunately, Rendon (if the ankle[s] heal properly) can play second, short, and third base. Moore and Marerro cannot.

But all three are right handed!

LaRoche is a left-handed bat. But that bat has cooled significantly after a fast start. I would **WAIT** until the end of the season before making that call.

Matt Skole, a left-handed power bat, has 11 home runs and over 50 RBI already in Hagerstown. Doubtless, a promotion to Potomac is in the offing in the 2nd half. Next year he could be in Harrisburg. I suspect they were looking at Skole as their first baseman because of the left-handed bat. But, some project him as a major league bench player.

A lot depends on what Corey Brown does. If he proves out as the top five tool prospect he was drafted as and a five tool major league starter then you have TWO left-handed power, and potential impact bats in the lineup already in Harper and Brown. You may wish to move Morse to first base at that point leaving left or right field open to Jayson Werth (although IMO he has regressed to a bench bat and is now the Nat's Barry Zito). Still, another left-handed impact bat wouldn't be a bad thing to have if Skole pans out.

Would they risk supplanting both Morse and LaRoche? It all depends on how Skole performs in AA and AAA because it looks like he will get full experience with both before they make a decision.

Kirbs said...

A 5 yr deal to Michael borne sounds about right. I think he's 27-28.

peric said...

Corey Brown has finally shown what the A's saw when they chose him with their 2nd overall pick in the Draft.

Basically, an older far better fielding version of Bryce Harper ... but with a lot less confidence. That was his problem according to his podcast and the many supportive tweets from his friends in both the A's and Nat's organizations. That seems to be a "virus" that has spread among many Nats prospects ... starting with Desmond last year, now Espinosa, Brown. Ramos and Flores. Bernadina and Detwiler. The curse of JMax!

Seems like Harper and Lombardozzi are immune to that virus?

peric said...

A 5 yr deal to Michael borne sounds about right. I think he's 27-28.

They might kick the tires ... but there's no room.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

peric, not true, its about talent and bringing out that talent with positive reinforcement and that is where Davey thrives as the "positive" supportive guy and a teacher. The rest is all about true MLB talent and not AAAA type of stuff. Bryce Harper has talent, clearly.

Each player you mention has their own strengths and weaknesses and we could discuss and debate each players merits and weaknesses ad nauseum.

Espi came here in Sept 2010 on a mission and started 2011 like a ROY. Unfortunately he lacks the eye and mechanics to be more than what we see. What's interesting is that Espi can overcome bad mechanics with better pitch recognition which is why he raked the beginning of last year.

UnkyD said...

I've noticed the Bourns of the world don't sign 5 year deals... The thing to keep in mind is that, no matter how attractive the Nats become, 27-28 year old Über FAs get 10 year deals. That's why you make sure Brown, et al WON'T suffice, before you pony up to the FA market...

Theophilus T. S. said...

Someone who still wants Bourne needs to go sit in the hall w/ a dunce cap. In the organization, the Nats seem to have at least five (potential) CFs of the future, starting w/ Harper and continuing down through Brown, Perez (skeptical), Taylor and, recently, Burns.

If the Braves -- who don't have any CF heir apparent -- go after Bourne then he won't be on the market, and if they don't go after Bourne that tells you, "Don't spend over-priced FA dollars" on him.

Especially w/ all of the low-priced talent coming through the system.

Makes absolutely no sense.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Peric, you bring up JMax who is batting .203 with a .297 OBP this season. This kid is a platoon OF to bat only against LH pitching where he is slashing .267/.378/.433/.812 this year against LH pitching and those are stealth numbers.

Houston refuses to understand that just like the Nats wouldn't. Sure, its hard to sit a player 5 days a week but if you can platoon him with a lefty CF then you create a super hybrid. Jason Bourgeois and Lorenzo Cain are other examples of the RH specialist and they are both back in the Minors because most teams refuse to accept them for what they are. The Yankees learned that quickly with JMax because they clearly couldn't set aside a spot for a player to be a defensive replacement and start twice a week.

This game has become more specialized and if a GM can get that RH bat to platoon with a LH bat, and get All Star type of hybrid results, then its a win/win.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

A healthy Nats team for 2013 should just need bench help and 1 or 2 more starters to go with Stras, Gio and JZim.

Can't see Bourn being a priority for Rizzo and bidding against the many teams that will overpay for his services.

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