Saturday, October 13, 2012

Inside Storen's collapse

Drew Storen walks into the dugout after the ninth inning of Game 5. (Photo by AP)
The protective plastic over the lockers, the cart of champagne bottles, all of it was in place.

All Drew Storen had to do was get one strike.

Twice the Nationals had the Cardinals where they wanted them: two strikes and two outs, a two-run lead.

Full count, two outs on Yadier Molina. He walks. Full count, two outs on David Freese. He walks.

Then, with one 94 mile per hour sinker, the Nationals 2012 season began to unravel before the eyes of the largest crowd in stadium history. Daniel Descalso pelted a ground ball off the glove of Ian Desmond, ricocheting into the outfield and scoring two runs to tie the game at seven.

The next batter, rookie Pete Kozma, then made contact with another hard sinker, this time a line drive single into right field. Two runners scored as the Cardinals took their first lead after trailing for three and a half hours and 26 outs.

What had all night seemed so certain, all of a sudden slipped away.

“We had it right there. Most disappointing honestly, is just to let these guys down,” Storen said after collecting himself in the Nationals’ clubhouse.

“With the amount of adversity we dealt with this year, for it to come down to that is pretty tough.”

The 25-year-old Storen was drafted and groomed by the Nationals for this very situation. He was the best closer in college when they took him in 2009 and saved 43 games in 2011. But Friday night was not meant to be, what could have been the most gratifying moment of his career is now something that will carry with him until next season and perhaps beyond.

“It’s part of the job,” he said. “It’s the best job when you’re good at it and it’s the worst job when you fail.”

“There’s a bad taste in my mouth that’s gonna stay there for a couple of months and it’s probably never going to leave.”

Storen sat at his locker for minutes at a time after the Game 5 loss. First in his game worn under shirt, second washed and fully dressed.

Teammates and coaches took turns walking up to console him, but what could be said? Nothing can take away the time he will spend going over those at-bats, those moments, what could have been.

For Storen’s teammates, they chose to focus on the collective feeling of loss. They were devastated just as he was and, after all, no game is really decided on one pitch.

“I don’t know, I don’t know what to tell the guy,” Kurt Suzuki said. "We’re both feeling the same thing.”

“I really don’t know what we would have done differently, to tell you the truth.”

Storen’s roommate and good friend Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth inning and also let Descalso cut the deficit with a solo home run. Clippard stood up for Storen and took ownership himself.

“Obviously Drew feels bad, I feel bad, we’re all pretty devastated right now,” he said. “I don't think it has any difference who did what in the game, we’re all in the same boat.”

Adam LaRoche, perhaps the team’s 2012 most valuable player, still reveres Storen and his future as a closer.

"He's one of the best in the game. We all know it. And I hope he knows that," he said.

"I think the last three outs are the hardest in baseball, and I don't know why it's so much harder than the other eight innings. But something about it. Crazy stuff happens in that ninth inning.”

Ryan Zimmerman affirmed his confidence in Storen as if he were speaking for the franchise as he’s often asked to do.

“Drew will be fine. Drew went through a lot this year,” he said, referring to Storen’s time on the disabled list after elbow surgery.

“I think Drew is going to be a great closer for a long time. He's going to be our guy."

General manager Mike Rizzo ultimately makes those decisions, but says he's seen enough success from Storen to remain in his corner.

“He’s a terrific young player with a bright future as a closer. He’s already proven he can handle the load,” he said.

On what he hopes Storen can take away from this experience, Rizzo was honest and said probably the only thing the young closer really can do to move on.

“Remember how this feels so it doesn’t happen again.”

Storen remembering what happened is probably the last thing he has to worry about.


Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I am still in shock. But it was an amazing season. Thank you, fellas.

natsfan1a said...

Agreed. Thanks, Nats; thanks, Mark; and thanks, Insiders.

mick said...

Here is the bottom line... Drew will get that 3 third strike next season and many more seasons. the Drew bashing is turning my stomach!!!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

We all saw what happened. I don't feel bad for Drew he was in the position he dreamed of and could not execute.

Motte pitched the bottom of the 9th exactly in the same position. He did exactly what he was asked to do.

Great regular season. Not very good pitching in the playoffs.

I expect 105 wins next year.

natsfan1a said...

Bos take. Put me in the incurably fanatic category. :-)

mick said...

I don't care about 105 wins, MLb best record means NOTHING and neither does home field, Tigers, Reds and Cards all won game 5 on road, just get in playoffs!!

waddu eye no said...

great season for the team and the insiders. think about it - read some of the "great, fun season) comments from even the most habitually and formerly negative posters. see above, for example. despite lots of disappointment ( and still some of the overdone criticism and harping and bashing), lot of love here for the nats. and especially for mark.

mark - looking forward to reading every one of your posts til spring, and after.

meanwhile - to paraphrase drew:


UnkyD said...

Late in the previous post...want to make sure everyone feels me...:

Swift, Ghost, DI, DWS, Squeaky , Swami, Steady, JB, Mick, Mac Guire, Faraz, Roggie, Jonny, KC21, JaneB, WODL, Dave, NatsLady, sm13,  unknown 2:55, John C, snivious, Shumatrix, cwj, 1A, Laddie, sjm..... All balanced, in their posting, last night. Also, Michele, sofa, NatsJack, Peric, and many others, all year long- Thanks... 

I've been saying, to friends, for a month or so, the these Boys CAN'T disappoint me, at this point. In April, we all wanted this crew to play meaningful games... In September! some allowed for the possibility for more, but... 98 Wins?! Taking the defending Champs to game 5?!?! Nobody can raise their hands, on those....

I popped into the gamer, after it was over, last night, at about comment# 200, just to test the water.... unfortunately, as I suspected.... Stay classy, JayB, et al...

At that point, I wondered: Do I want to keep looking at this page? Are the clowns killing me, slowly, through elevating my blood pressure? Compiling the list above, reminded me that, with my true "imaginary friends", we have the clowns handily out numbered. My posting has slowed to a crawl (for a # of reasons, some non-Nats related... Helped host a benefit, last weekend, that raised more than $10,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Network!!!), but I lurk, constantly, even if have to skim, sometimes.

For me, absolutely nobody in the organization deserves a single boo, because from the Learners on down to the bays on the bench, I never saw less than 100% effort from anybody... The Learners gave Rizzo everything he needed to build it. Rizzo has brought in TONS of young talent, a sprinkling of savvy vets.... Really, when you think about it, who, on this squad, are you NOT in love with, as a fan? There will be a small number of new faces next year, but for most of us, there's nobody we'll be glad to see gone. I love everyone on this roster, and I'm confident that Rizzo will find more lovers for me, next year.

And Davey? Oboy.... The benefits of having Davey at the con this year, will be felt year after year, Desi would be somebody else's all-star, if some of of us had our way... Spinner will prove Davey's good judgement next year...just watch! 

These youngsters will never forget the lessons of this series: Be aggressive and throw strikes, work the count-take what's offered. Harper will join Werth, Zim, AL, and Morse, in providing many more judicious at-bats. Desi will always jump on the 1st pitch, but he'll hit lots of them right on the nose, providing pop, late in the order...and maybe Espi will shorten that swing, and bat .310 next year... He's smart enough... They all are! 

The sky's the limit, with these guys, and 5 years from now, it's very possible we all look at last nights result as the most valuable lesson of all. 

I love you all, but I'm CRAZY about the girls, here!!! Not everyone has a girl in their life, who gives a rats bobo about baseball, and your perspective is so valuable... And FUN!!!! Thanks, everyone for being so much fun, all year!!!

(now......time to clean the cobwebs out of this propane stove, so it will burn HOT, in a few weeks!!!!!)


UnkyD said...
Should read Pancreatic Cancer ACTION Network... A terrific organization! And "bats on the bench" not bays.....
October 13, 2012 10:38 AM  

UnkyD said...

Mark!!!! Fearless Leader!! Your blog has increased, exponentially, my enjoyment of my team.... Enjoy yourself, and keep up the good work.. Thanks, SO much...
October 13, 2012 10:42 AM  

mick said...


Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Here is the deal in the 9th Storen' sliders too often not getting called strikes and he was way to reluncted to throw fsstball.

Funny how the last few weeks to many our pitchers immitaded bad HENRY.

Henry was butchered here. but we saw way to much bad Henry once he was long gone.

As the immortal Al Davis said "Just win baby."

mick said...

The one thing looking forward that I am little confused about and even Phil Wood did not seem sure is 1b. If we resign Adam (I hope we do)and there is talk of Zim playing 1b, and Tyler Moore is considered long term.... how does this all work?

mick said...

UnkyD the only player who will not be back is Ejax, I was glad to see him finish respectably, but, his salary demand and the fact that David Price may want to sign with Nats makes it all but certain Ejax will not be back. Also, other young arms in our minor leagues makes it almost certain as well

NatsFanSinceStart said...

The walks -- Storen looked okay, but the walks show nerves: Gio, Jackson, and Storen showed an excruciating case of nerves. You can fiddle with mechanics, but can you cure a case of high-pressure nerves, high pressure choking? Maybe, maybe not.

Storen should have been outta there after his first walk -- certainly after his 2nd walk. Meanwhile, sinker baller, Matheus sat on the bench.

Jackson, a notorious slow-to-warm-up pitcher, with a nose-bleedingly high first inning e.r.a., was brought it in the wrong situation. Jackson was a run waiting to score -- and a run did indeed score.

Storen -- should have come out of there for his extreme case of nerves as his two walks demonstrated he had.

Mattheus in -- maybe someone should have been on the phone asking JZim, "Can you go another?" Answer probably would have been: "Absolutely, let me in there." Of all of our pitchers, Zimmermann showed Ice Water in his veins. Get loose, Kid; you're going another. Win the game you're in. Earth to Davey: "Win the game you're in."

Post-mortem: Mismanagement of pitching -- blame: management, Davey Johnson. Poor Judgement, slow to react, management let his team down tonight. Pitchers will have good days and bad, management must always manage 'good." Tonight, Management failed.

alexva said...

If you watch sports long enough your hopes and dreams will be crushed in moments like last night. Hopefully time will present better outcomes but there are no guarantees. For every one of us suffering there is a Cards fan riding the wave of happiness. Good for them just like it will be good for us one day. Of that I am very hopeful.

Thanks for all the posts and comments. Next we'll have to get around the hot stove and start all over again. But for this poster that will take a while.

Calatito2 said...

Can we get a Magic number counter ?, reset to 95 :)

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

I was standing on the upper level behind home plate hunched in the coiled position waiting to spring into the air to celebrate the third strike that never came. Like everyone else, I wandered out of the ballpark stunned and woke up this morning wishing it was all a dream.

Then I began to think - how many of us would've sold our first born son before the season (well maybe 3rd born son - or at least our goldfish) if the Nats finished 5 games above .500 and 2 games back from the final wildcard spot. This team had the best record in Major League Baseball and battled the defending World Champions for 5 games in as exciting of a series as you'll ever see.

Despite the unpoetic ending to the season, we have our wish. We have an exciting, competitive team for years to come. We can wear our Nats caps with pride whether we're in DC, NY, or SF.

Unless the Nats won the World Series, we would've felt this moment sooner or later (and been very poor from all the money we spent attending games). We made it. We have an exciting young team that garners respect. Regardless of how far we make it next year, we'll have fun (and hope) along the way, which was nothing more than a pipe dream a few short years ago.

baseballswami said...

Last night there was just some terrible, terrible stuff being said about Drew. He was not the one that gave up the first 5. He was facing the toughest, hottest hitters on the planet right now, he was not getting calls, it was game five with 46 thousand screaming fans, he is 25 , has played less than half a season and has relatively little experience, none in the playoffs and it was his third day in a row in that atmosphere. Most of our players were not very good this last week, some the last month or so. Drew was awesome the night before in that pressure cooker that ended well. If Desi fields that ball, if it's two inches closer to him, we tie and maybe come back. It's just not fair to pin the five game series on him. Other pitchers failed, Gio was bad twice. Hitters failed miserably. Danny - really? The lack of experience was absolutely a factor. If you had asked us in March - how would you like the team to win 98 games, take the division, go five games into the playoffs against the defending World Series champs and take it right down to the end? You would have taken that in a heartbeat. Honestly - the way this team has been pitching and hitting, I am not sure what shape we would have been in to go into another series. I don't know if I could watch Gio start another game right now. These guys need to have their surgeries, get married, heal up and hit the re-set button.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Good post Unkyd.

The loss still hurts and it will for some time. WOW, I really feel bad for Storen. He did his best. All closers have gone through this kind of rite of passage. Kimbrel blew game 162 for Braves last season. Rivera blew game 4 of ALCS against hated Red Sox. Hoffman has blown quite a few over his career. Like Rizzo said, ' it does not happen again'. Good luck to my Nats.

Let's talk our off-season now. I am eager to see how Rizzo improves Nats over the next few months.

baseballswami said...

Faraz - good plan. Only so long you can talk post-mortem. Have any idea if any Nats will win individual awards? I think Desi will get the Silver Slugger. When do they come out?

Joe Seamhead said...

Part One from Joe Seamhead. [This will long, and in two parts. Sorry]
This was a once in a lifetime, magical season. No, I'm not saying that we won't soon have more winning seasons, but that it was the first winning season of DC baseball in this Grumpy Old Man of Baseball's life, and not the loss last night, nor the vile from the national media, or the Legion of Doom on this board can take it away from me.
Look back at this year, I'll share some highlights of what was magical for me:

1: We turned the page as far as being the doormats of the National League East. We're not going back there any time soon, maybe not in my life time.

2: We not only knocked the Phillies off of their perch, but we made it clear that Nationals Park is no longer CBP South. No longer do many of our fans feel like they can't attend games in their own park because of the hooligans that came down here in convoys of buses.

3: The dawning of what might be one of the greatest players to ever play quite possibly came about before our eyes. What a bundle of joy it was to watch Bryce Harper steal home,hit home runs, set some records, and improve beyond anybody's expectations in the outfield. Not to mention the the way he dispelled the bull about how crappy his attitude was. The young man is a National treasure, and he's ours. Thank you for working around Scott Boras and getting him signed Mike Rizzo, and thank you Davey Johnson for bringing him up early and helping him to adjust to MLB.

4:Three absolutely crazy at bats, starting with:
Jayson Werth's colossal 13 pitch classic to get us to game 5.
Michael Morse's phantom grand slam, and Bob Carpenter's call of "See You Later" on the phantom ball will be the stuff of lore forever.
Jayson Werth's base hit in Philly after the taunting by the Philthies was one of the most satisfying hits that I ever saw.

5: Clinching the playoff spot at home, then the winning the NL East title even as Philly was winning the game. I saw grown men with what must have been dust in the eyes, as they couldn't have been tears could they?

Joe Seamhead said...

part two

6: Though Gio Gonzalez faltered at the end, the smile and joy that was ours to witness was like nothing ever before seen in pro sports around here. What scares me is that he might get too serious and lose some of that charming aura after what he went through in the playoffs. I really hope to see the infectious smile on the winning Gio for years to come.

7: What can you say about Adam LaRoche's comeback? Whether we re-sign him or not, I will credit, and remember, ALR for a huge amount of the success of this team, both with his glove, and his bat.

8 I guess I gotta touch on Stephen Strasburg. No,not on the shutdown, that decision was made by people that were looking out for Strasburg's well being, and I hope to be thanking Rizzo for years for it.No, but I think as formidable as Strasburg has shown us that he can be, he was still basically a rookie out there with a lot of growing to do. He showed signs of brilliance,and a peek of what's to come. He led the league in strikeouts for a good bit of the year, and amazingly, showed us he can hit, too. He's going to be somewhat more weathered after everything that he's been through since the day he got drafted.

8: John Lannan's spot starts were the cat's meow. He came through when we really needed him, and I'm sure that he feels more then a little bit of self-satisfaction for his contributions to an organization that he feels didn't do right by him. [I'm not saying that they didn't do right, but he understandably feels that way].

9: Ian Desmond. What a year from a guy that many fans had given up on. Again, we should have him for a pretty long time,

10: Wilson Ramos' kidnapping and return to safety. What a rough start for what would be a very tough year, but at least his mama can still watch him enjoy her cooking.

11: The whole relief staff! Wow! From Stammen striking out the side on 9 pitches early in the season to Mattheus getting 3 outs on 2 pitches. Drew Storen will smile and strut his stuff again. Those guys all played a huge part in getting us to the playoffs, not to mention they drove the sales of Maalox to record numbers.
12 These weren't in any particular order, and they were just a few things that made this a once in a lifetime season. "Once" because becoming a winner for the first time only happens once.I couldn't finish this without giving a huge expression of thanks to who I think deserves the NL Manager of the Year, Davey Johnson. For those that can only criticize his decisions, I say: two things everybody thinks that they can do better is run a restaurant, and manage a baseball team. Doubtful you'd be very good at running a restaurant, either.

Just Another Joe Seamhead Editorial.

Peace & Harmony, Everybody!

p.s Special thanks to Mark Zuckerman, Charlie and Dave, FP and Bob, and to Kristina Akra

BigCat said...

Yes Manassas.....lets not forget about HRod. I haven't given up on Henry, as most of the chatters here have.

DJB said...

We need help in the back end of the bullpen. I don't think this teams makes 500 unless we get experienced bats and bullpen help. Rizzo will also need to be moved out of his position for the Stras decision. Things went downhill fast when that happened. This is not, I repeat not, a learning experience. That's a losing organization's attitude. This is an "oh ^&*%, let's fix this now" experience.

BigCat said...

I was very impressed with the Cards pen. All smoke. 95+ all of them. And then that rookie with a nasty hook.

rogieshan said...

I look eagerly to the possibilities this offseason will bring. The Nats are now legit and among the Big Boys. No longer will free agents (Are you listening, Greinke & Hamilton?) spurn this organization because of its losing ways. Yes, there are moves to be made to the roster and I think this series confirmed who some of the real keepers and suspects are. The future remains bright.

(Thank you for shoutout, UnkyD, and cheers to everyone here on the Inside.)

mick said...

Joe Seam pretty much sums it perfectly! Not much to add as I think most NI are all on the same page. Let me re post my question for Joe, peric or anyone

mick said...
The one thing looking forward that I am little confused about and even Phil Wood did not seem sure is 1b. If we resign Adam (I hope we do)and there is talk of Zim playing 1b, and Tyler Moore is considered long term.... how does this all work?

Drew said...

Lift up thine eyes, menagerie of the imaginary.

Brian Goodwin leads the Arizona Fall League with 2 home runs.

(Just sayin'...)

mick said...

rogieshan agreed. Peric mention David Price coming here and ejax not resigning... add that with another left closer and honestly, who beats the Nats next year?

mick said...

If I were to predict next series, I think Yankees beat Tigers in 5 or 6 and Cards-Giants will go 7 and your guess is as good as mine on who wins, lol

In WS, we will have to suffer through all the New York drama garbage, A-Rod, Jeter some BS controversy but in the end Darth Vaders boys will be WS Champions.... ughhhhhh!

baseballswami said...

Joe Seamhead - Bravo. The perfect post for today. I maybe have to go back and read it often.

mick said...

Yankees are the Kardashians of pro sports... I think that is why i can not stand them, lol

Steady Eddie said...

Thanks, Unkyd, well said. The vast majority of posters here (though annoyingly at a few times, not always the majority of posts on a thread) really want to make this a neighborly community,

Unkyd, "clowns" is too generous for the bile sewers, because (notwithstanding their self-justifying clins to be anything other than nasty cynics) they feed off of and take pleasure in negative emotions and general nastiness. Parasites for negative attention.

I hope we can press a mental"ignore" button for those few. They DO go away after a while if they're ignored.

Mark, a thousand THANK YOUs for creating and continually engaging, stimulating, provoking and entertaining this community.

Finally, thanks to the Nats organization and most of all the players for their class and outstanding performance this season.

baseballswami said...

Agreed , mick - they are always posing and making things way more dramatic than they need to be. They are just nauseating and exhausting to watch.I hope Detroit deals them a mighty blow. If the O's almost did it, then the Tigers should be up to it. Giants/Cards? Don't know how to handicap this one. Both teams peaking at the right time. 2010 WS against 2011 WS. Go National League!

mick said...

baseballswami lol

baseballswami said...

I also thank Mark for this site. I live alone, kids out of the house and this is a fun place for me to "talk" baseball. My coworkers tolerate it but they are just being polite. I especially thank Mark for keeping things civil. I know there were a few times he stepped in decisively and shut down some unhealthy exchanges that were going on. One of the reasons I read and post here is that there is a level of civility. Not to mention smart baseball talk and lots of humor. Now we just have to help each other through the off season. Thankfully , it's a little shorter this year!

mick said...

question... will Mark post updates year round, or sadly... is this it until when in 2013??

mick said...

Amen baseballswami!!!!!

hmm... said...

Steady -

I think you meant "spewers," but "sewers" works, too.

Steel36 said...

I still prefer last night to back to back 100 loss seasons and the tornado that was Elijah Dukes.

Nothing is guaranteed but "the plan worked and there is much hope for this bunch.

Joe Seamhead said...

Thanks, swami,I consider that a great compliment, And to UnkyD for the terrific post.

Mick, I have no idea what happens at first base next year. I doubt very seriously that it will be Ryan Zimmerman though! And Mark kept the blog going all winter last year. Some people say that the baseball season is long. To me, the off season is excruciating.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Repeat after me, Inner Peace .

Some of us are master at it, some have experienced it, and some have a long way to get it.

Steady Eddie said...

Great post Joe -- thanks!

mick, re your 1st base question, I know I've been a broken record on this (and just realized how that expression dates me!) but I think we have to resign him for at least two and maybe three years (option +2). At bat, he had a year up to but not much exceeding his career highs, which strongly suggests he can keep it up for most if not all of that period. He'll still be 35 at the end of the three years, which is a pretty realistic career span to sustain it.

I do think we could get that kind of bat from other places by the second or third year but the key has always been ALR's defense. Without him, the infield would have twice as many errors (throwing, plus his own gret glove work), and that has been the key to he confidence of our still young and green but growing pitching staff -- that can infielders would catch anything that's remotely catchable, and that ALR would snag any throw as well as anyone else in MLB.

It's his glove that's indispensable to the success of THIS team, and boy would we miss it if it/he goes.

Plus his leadership in the clubhouse, along with JDub and DeRosa (3d base coach?).

On the other hand --while I've loved him since the moment I first asked "who's that big galoot #28 in the on-deck circle -- I'm starting to think that the Beast may be more valuable to an AL team who can use him to DH. He's been looking like more of a liability in the OF as the season wore on. Have to wonder if a Corey Brown/TMo platoon might not net more WAR, especially as Brown's glove and arm is plus and with him playing most of the time against RHPs, we'd also get TMo's hairy chested bat off the bench, with more ABs for him as a starter against LHPs.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Unkyd, thanks and well said. I am still so happy and this team will be the team built to win it all next year.

As we saw on July 20th, a 9-0 lead wasn't large enough and Davey let Strasburg in 1 too many innings and he did that here. People can blame Storen but it all changed letting the Cards back in with the 2 run 5th with 8 Relievers available plus EJax.

There was a reason you carry 8 relievers and in a Game #5, use them because you can't bring those forward as a credit to next season.

Poorly handled and I dont say that in hindsight, I said it at the time the 5th inning started. Gio didn't have it. That was clear. At 6-1, the Nats were in control. At 6-3, the Cards were let back into the game.

This game had the makings to be a laugher and unfortunately the final joke was laughing at the Nats.

NatsFanSinceStart said...

Anyway, so Long Nats fans - it was a magical year.
This forum marked the time of a long baseball season and mirrored what happens in a clubhouse: some squabbles, some upset, great euphoria. But throughout it all: we are all Nats fans who wanted them to succeed. If anything was a little over the top here, was the resistance to criticism some had even when criticims was due. Honest analysis does not equal disloyalty to the Brand.

Have a great off season, everyone. And maybe I'll even get around to watching a minute or two of the Redskins -- maybe, maybe not.

How many days till Pitchers and Catchers report?

mick said...

Eddie... excellent view point... so, basically we are saying Adam is back which is what I hope happens. I hear you on Morse better suited with an AL team and as much as I would miss him, the Nats are now in a position that they can dictate a trade and get something like lefty closer, etc..

What is not clear is if the long term plan is to have Zim play first, Rendon at 3rd, again, where does Tyler Moore fit in? I think this young man is special.

This is now what makes the Nats exciting as all the so called problems are fun ones

mick said...

Any way, it appears that January 2013 we will all be back. It is time for me to say farewell to my NI family.. I will miss you all and I wish Mark, the team and all of you a blessed rest of 2012, good health and good luck.

DJB said...

keepers: Stras, Gio (I'm torn with him as he does not seem to be made for October), JZimm (only if he learns an off-speed pitch), Det, Harper, Lombo, RZimm, Werth, Moore, and Desmond. No one else is off-limits. I would even consider trading Gio if we could get a couple of good arms. Goners: Rizzo, EJax for sure, Espi (how many times must you beat your head before you realize it hurts), Morse (should be DH), and LaRoche (need a better OPS at first - they're out there).

UnkyD said...

Mick. This is a 365 day a year membership you've becom obligated to, here ;-)

As for LaRoche, I don't know doodly, but with a small handful of outfielders chomping at the bit, TyMo and Marrero waiting in line (ok...Marrero,s time may have passed), RZim signed, long term, and Rendon possibly ready to come up next summer.... I think our farm will be restocked, by this time next year. Question is, who goes? To me, Rendon&TyMo are for real (yep...jumping the gun on Rendon, but it doesn't cost me anything to stick my neck out, does it?), and Goodwin orBrown

BigCat said...

Any word on how Rendon is doing in winter ball?
Bet he pulled a hamstring or something. No, no ,no...better yet.....he has a hang nail and has missed a week and a half. Getting whirlpool treatment every morning and is day to day

UnkyD said...

...each having a decent shot of being real OFs, I would think between Morse (though I LOVE him!!!) and Laroche would have the most trade value. You have to sign AL first, and a) it would be dirty to move him, after signing him, and b) he may command a bigger, longer contract than what is practically tradeable...

So, Mick? I have no clue....

Drew said...

2014 could look something like this, but they would sacrifice defense in three spots. It might be more likely that Morse or Moore stays and the other is dealt. (This presumes that LaRoche has found a 3-year deal elsewhere.)

Cf Goodwin
2b Rendon
Rf Harper
3b Zim.
1b Morse
ss Desmond
Lf Moore
C Ramos/Zuke

Joe Seamhead said...

There will be a couple of players gone next year. I could only hope that we could cut a couple of the bloggers.

Drew said...

Moore might have to play left field as well as first base. In a couple of years Matt Skole could be in the mix, too.

Faraz Shaikh said...

first I was thinking that I may not watch rest of postseason, but heck Ichiro is still in it and believe it or not, I am going to root for Evil Yankees so Ichiro gets his ring. I hope he gets to be WS MVP also. That guy is the greatest hitter/player I have seen played and hope to see him achieve more.

sm13 said...

Great editorial Seamhead. You captured the story lines of this season. We now have more than faint hope, we have real, viable expectations for this team for years to come. No great shakeup is needed. No plan for tearing down and rebuilding needs to be drawn up. Rizzo needs to make a tweak or two and his talks with Adam L. show that he's already on the case. Nats do not be making off-season headlines, which is good news (those headlines worked out real well for the Marlins).

It's been a great ride and I'm pleased to be a relative newbie Insider.

Thanks Mark, your reporting is second to none in this town. I'm looking forward to your Hot Stove posts and will start counting the days until your first post from Viera.

Dave said...

UnkyD, I nominate you for captain of the Nats Insider team, at least for this weekend series. Well said, and thanks for the shout-out.

I have not yet mentioned how nice it was to meet several Imaginary Friends last night behind sec. 312 before the game. That was quite a nice get-together.

I got to shake hands with Scooter, Traveler8, Steady Eddie, Joe Seamhead (again), natsfan1a, MicheleS, RickH and have a nice extended conversation with Sunshine Bobby. I know I am leaving out some folks I met, so please forgive me, but it was wonderful seeing all you thoughtful and loyal fellow Insiders.

Thanks also to Mark for this great site. Baseballswami speaks as a true swami when he gives props to Mark for keeping it civil. I personally saw a couple of my posts deleted one time a few weeks ago when I stupidly stepped into an ugly exchange, and I was immediately grateful to Mark for deleting that entire sub-thread. (I don't even remember what it was about now, so there you go...)

Anybody who "knows" that Strasburg is "angry" or that Harper is frustrated because he "wants to win" is probably about as prescient at the person who posted a couple weeks that the Braves would end the season 8-1 and knock the Nats out of the picture.

I don't remember, but those comments might have come from the same poster, in fact.

The Nats DID win this year. I don't really understand how some folks can forget that so quickly.

Unknown said...

Great season nats. I admit, i wasnt "into" the nats until June (i looked at scores but didnt watch games). I am will and will always be a nationals fan.

The loss sucks. We had a great run and will have many more to come.

There is a few things that I question about the game yesterday. Why didnt Davey or at least some of the fielders come and take to Drew after he walked the two batters.

I know some ball players think its bad luck but maybe Drew needed some reassurance. Someone needed to tell him to attack the batters and not go for the outside of the plate.

I think we all know E jax is done with the nats. We could sign someone who can be ok with being the number 4 or 5 starter, who is clutch, and who can win some games for us.

I hope we re sign Laroche. But he might be like all other players and shop around for the best deal for him. If we happen to not re sign him, we could move Morse to first then sign a outfielder to replace Laroche's power and Morse in the outfield.

My dad says maybe Burnett is done. We should sign someone who is can contribute to the team and be clutch when needed.

Dave said...

Oh yeah, I also wanted to give a big +1 to Joe Seamhead for that great two-part editorial screed.

What he said.

Anonymous said...

The Nats were a team that overachieved despite the adversity and injury. I was only expecting an 86 win season and that 2013 was going to be their year to start to contend for a long time with a very young team. We now have a team that will have an additional 85 games of playoff experience and a healthy Strass. If the starting lineup stays realitively healthy, next year is going to be a fun year.

Keep your heads up high, you should be proud of what you accomplished. This team lost to the defending WS champions and expect that the Cards are now favored to repeat.

BigCat said...

While I am hard on Esp's hitting, I do see his unlimited athletic ability. We desperately need to get him a professional hitting coach. Espi should be a .285 15-20 hr 75 ribbie guy. Not the mess he is now. 195 K's in a season is not tolerable. He has to improve or start punching the 9 to 5 clock

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Rizzo can't trade Morse for a trade like he did with Willingham, and to even consider a trade would be somewhat contingent on getting a new CF or corner outfielder and seeing what the Nats do with Adam LaRoche. A key is Morse has to stay healthy.

I don't think the Danny Espinosa situation has to be addressed right away and Rendon could be the answer there.

EJax is gone and failed at exactly what he was brought here for which was to be a top of the rotation starter and postseason leader.

SCNatsFan said...

This is going to sting for awhile, but when that stings wears off we will be left with a team that went from a laughing stock to a team that will compete for the near future.

Loved the season as much as I hated the last inning.

SCNatsFan said...

Oh, and one thing Mark - Thanks so much for what you do with this blog. One suggestion please... can we just start the season with a magic number of 162 in the corner since we know we are going back to the post season ;)

peric said...

but, his salary demand and the fact that David Price may want to sign with Nats makes it all but certain Ejax will not be back.

They'd have to trade for price Mick but his arbitration salary will be huge and possibly more than the TBR owner wants to manage. It might make sense for Rizzo to attempt to acquire another lefty in addition to Gio and Detwiler.

Steady Eddie said...

Mick -- infield is an interesting question apart obviously from Desi.

While most of us have resisted the "dump Danny" hysteria, recognizing his stratospheric ceiling and current glove magic, a perennial championship contender as we now are can't afford to wait endlessly for him to discipline his bat. I was among several at the beginning of this season who said this was Desi's make-or-break year and he made it bigger time than almost any of us ever predicted. (I readily acknowledge I never tried to predict one way or the other.).

Danny should be facing a similar fish or cut bait year in 2013. His midsummer performance at bat certainly shows he can focus, shorten his swing and take what the pitchers make available, but his slipping back from that in September shows he's got a ways to go in mastering his stubbornness. There are plenty of players In any sport who never come close to their ceilings because their temperaments stand in the way, Next year, Danny needs to show that he's not one of those "plenty". (of course, Davey will never say that out loud, nor should he, because to do so would be counter to how he gives players confidence. But the test won't be perpetuated past next season if he doesn't start to get straight at the plate.

Rendon? Tremendous potential, but indisputably much too early yo know what we'll have there, -- and if and when we get it, where the greatest need will be. As we both well know at our ages, mick, much of life is waiting to see what develops on things you can't control or influence. Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

Zim? Let's see what happens with his throwing once he gets those bone chips cleaned out of his shoulder. And with HRod and his elbow.

And though I like him, I suspect Sean may be gone next year. Anyone who repeatedly doesn't tell the staff about ailments that will make them go out and perform badly, and confessed to refusing to take an MRI for fear of what it might show, has neither the team's nor their own best interests at heart.

NatsLady said...

Burnett probably needs another TJ, so yes, he's gone for at least a year. He said a while back he didn't want to have an MRI because he pretty much knew it was a mess in there (I believe he had TJ once already, so he knows).

Whoever said Davey should have gone out to "settle" Storen doesn't understand how it works. (Methany operates differently). McCatty is the one who settles down pitchers. If Davey came out, it would have scared Storen to death (well even more than he was already scared) because Davey only comes out to change pitchers.

If you have a good rapport with your boss, he helps you. When you see your boss's boss heading your way you figure you're getting the pink slip.

Drew said...

Oops. My prospective 2014 lineup left out Jayson Werth.

With the Nats' logjams at 1b (LaRoche, Morse, Moore, Skole, Marrero) at 2b (Espinosa, Rendon, Lombo) and at catcher (Ramos, Suzuki, Flores, Leon, Solano) I would not be surprised to see Rizzo try another blockbuster for a starting pitcher.

David Price is not close to free agency. I threw his name out because Busterr Olney said the Rays can't afford to keep him long-term and will have to deal him eventually.

He would cost a ton, but I'd give it a shot.

Calatito2 said...

After losing four starters (Liván Hernández, Tony Armas, Ramon Ortiz and Pedro Astacio) from the prior year, the Nationals invited an extraordinary 36 pitchers to spring training.

How quick we forget .......

peric said...

We need help in the back end of the bullpen. I don't think this teams makes 500 unless we get experienced bats and bullpen help. Rizzo will also need to be moved out of his position for the Stras decision. Things went downhill fast when that happened. This is not, I repeat not, a learning experience. That's a losing organization's attitude. This is an "oh ^&*%, let's fix this now" experience.z

Another totally moronic post that seems to come from Charm City. You're an idiot DJB. Plain and simple. I don't know if you were born that way but I suspect it may be so. So, you have my sympathy.

First, Rizzo is redefining the way baseball pitchers are managed perhaps. And he's not doing it in a vacuum. It wasn't all that long ago that the better work horse starters through over 300 innings a season. Now, they're down to around 200. So, baseball does change. I'm sorry you don't like it but you are an anachronism who can't adapt, can't change I suppose.

And JayB, sure Rizzo, Clark, Johnson et al are doing it there way. But, you won't know if they're right until a few seasons have passed. Perhaps they end up changing the game, the way things are done. Who knows?

All I know is an 18 game improvement over last season plus playoffs? That's almost unheard of in baseball. And its likely they will be able to get to 90 wins again next season. They aren't one-and-done.

They still have a lot of young talent in the pipeline ... so its not like they don't have a future unlike the Orioles. There is some concern about ensuring that continues to be the case so it is possible some trades could occur where prospects are acquired for seasoned players. They need to get more into International signings. The draft, particularly given where they will be positioned, may no longer suffice.

So, there's a lot of work to be done yet but huge progress has been made.

baseballswami said...

I am so happy to be reading thoughtful, positive posts today. I already miss knowing that I will see a nats game in the near future. I hope the guys all have happy, healthy off -seasons. As I remember, this site stays pretty active in the "dark times". Before you know it there will be awards, trades, contracts, and then spring training to talk about. I am in this for the long haul.

Another_Sam said...

Dave - right on about those who claim to know that a player is annoyed or angry or amenable to a hometown discount or . . . On and on. It's all nonsense. IMHO.

peric said...

Moore might have to play left field as well as first base. In a couple of years Matt Skole could be in the mix, too.

Skole will be in AA next season given how he is doing in the AFL. He has a left-handed bat and it looks like they moved him to first base. I think Moore is better but he is another right-handed bat. I think they need to find a spot for him ... or consider trading him. They won't get top value though. Same is true for Morse because of the injuries.

BUT, in a package deal for a top starter like David Price? Perhaps. We'll have to see ...

NatsLady said...

Rizzo is not losing his job. Who fires a guy that has brought his team this far, and whose only "sin" and I don't think it is a "sin," is protecting the arm of the team's greatest (pitching) asset. No businessman fires Mike Rizzo, puh-leese.

peric said...

Thank you Natsjack.

I guess we end up following the AFL again after all it seems ...

Anonymous said...

Storen, don't worry. The Nationals achieved far more that anyone could think possible. The club played way over their heads. No way is there currently enough talent to take the short playoff series. The Nationals can now build on what they have. Next year should be great. The team couldn't have asked for anything more. The team maxed out. It was fun. Rest up for next year.

natsfan1a said...

Carrying forward (and I think I speak for the other gals when I saw right back at you, Unk).

natsfan1a said...

Haven't yet read posts or comments, as we got home very late, er, early.

It was a disappointing end, but I was telling my husband after the game that I was also grateful to have had the postseason baseball experience. Those were some peak baseball moments, my friends, and it was nice to share them with you thanks to our humble host. I also feel like we showed the pundits what a baseball town DC is (not that I give a rat's patoot what the pundits think, but still).

Now both we fans and the team have some postseason experience under our belt (at least, those of us who haven't been there before), and we'll have to wait to see what next season brings. One thing I know, there will be a new pennant flying over the scoreboard at Nats park. Before the season started, I never imagined that they'd win the division and be in the playoffs. I figured there might be a shot at the wild card, but that's about it.

Actually, our most depressing experiences last night were upon exiting the Metro in VA. First we watched two Nats fans call each other names and nearly come to blows over a cab. Then some young, jock-looking punk was harassing my husband and me as we crossed the street to the lot where we'd parked. First he was on the other side of the street, then he came right up next so us. "Come on, old man. Cross the street. That's right. Step it up. Go to your car, old man. Go to your car - NOW!!" Really? A bit of perspective, maybe? There are worse things in life than losing a baseball game. Trust me. But thanks for the preview of youth-senior relations in my golden years. Now get off my lawn. >:-{

In closing, all I can say is go, GIANTS!!

October 13, 2012 8:07 AM

natsfan1a said...

saw = say

natsfan1a said...

Letter to the Editors: Dear sirs, I wish to commend you on publishing the most excellent 10/13/12 editorial by Mr. Joe Seamhead. Well done.

LoveDaNats said...

Thank you, Joe Seamhead. I am still unable to read the articles or game analyses. Still too traumatized. Just thanks for the reminders of why I love this team so much.

NatsLady said...

Look, Morse is either (a) injured; (b) not hustling; or (c) simply a terrible left-fielder. If we are going to contend next year, that is a hole that must be filled. He would have to prove to any (AL) team that he is healthy--or will be by spring. If he can't, we are stuck with him, like it or not.

Steady Eddie said...

Nats Lady -- anyone who asserts that Rizzo is losing his job is an archetypal candidate for the virtual"ignore" button.... As they say, what a maroon.

And it' seems we've reached an unprecedentedly level in the direction of "dogs and cats, living together" Natpocalypse when peric and NatsJack can be in such whole hearted, genuine, and thoroughly justified agreement like that. Love it!


(Although much as I enjoyed them this past March, I do NOT think I want to attend any ST games against the Cards next year. Just a sweep of them at home!)

NatsForever said...

Thanks Nat's for an awesome season, it was fun to watch our first-ever Division title! It is going to be real tough not going to the park tomorrow to watch the game, but next year is going to be just as special and I'll be there for the full-ride to the end!

peric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Candide said...

mick said...Yankees are the Kardashians of pro sports...

Sorry, mick - the Yanks have a genuine record of excellence and accomplishment that dates back to the Woodrow Wilson administration - almost 100 years. Name one other business entity that has been so successful for so long.

The Kardashians are proof that pop culture is filth. Nothing more, nothing less.

natsfan1a said...

What Unk said. If the past is indicative, Mark will keep the hot stove burning. Stop on by from time to time and warm your hands.

UnkyD said...

Mick. This is a 365 day a year membership you've becom obligated to, here ;-)

peric said...

David Price is not close to free agency. I threw his name out because Busterr Olney said the Rays can't afford to keep him long-term and will have to deal him eventually.

Since the deal to trade Adam Dunn for Matt Moore fell through there hasn't been much traction with the Rays. It may be because of that deal ... kind of the whole White Sox bitterness over not acquiring Dunn from the Nats for EJax.

Its a deal that makes sense for the Nats, not sure how the Rays would feel about it.

As for all the talk about Bourn. That's a Riggleman style player for a Riggleman lineup. If Johnson is given a preference he generally prefers big hits to steals, and isn't a fan of regular bunts and sacrifices. He would go for BJ Upton over Bourn who is a slap hitting, speed guy.

Johnson likes power. I can't see them swapping Werth out now that they've finally found the perfect slot for him in front of Harper. If I were to guess I would think they would want to see how that plays out over an entire season before making a change.

I think these connections that Ladson has in the Nats organization must be remnants left behind from the Riggleman years.

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

Why didnt Davey or at least some of the fielders come and take to Drew after he walked the two batters.

Suzuki was out there several times. McCatty came out once, which was the most he and Davey were allowed without having to take Storen out.

baseballswami said...

Even though I have seriously neglected a lot of things in the last weeks ( man, those leaves are coming down already!), I already feel a hole where the nats usually are.I find myself waiting for line ups. Baseball doesn't have much downtime. Now we start hearing about the surgeries. Sean Burnett, who probably won't return, Zim's shoulder - I hope they don't find a lot of damage. Who knows who else is having a procedure? Lots of people playing hurt and tired - mostly mentally. This season has been a grind, with nothing coming easy. There will be players who leave us, new players ( I always have trouble with that), situations to work out - who is our catcher? For now I have discovered that one of the hardest things about the post season is that you don't know on which day it will end - and when it does it is like falling off a cliff. We had an extra five games this season, though , and made some history.

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

BigCat said...

While I am hard on Esp's hitting, I do see his unlimited athletic ability. We desperately need to get him a professional hitting coach. Espi should be a .285 15-20 hr 75 ribbie guy. Not the mess he is now. 195 K's in a season is not tolerable.

Espi should be made to watch the Frank Howard interview with Phil Wood that was played on the big screen before yesterday's game. Fast forward to the part where Ted Williams asks Frank "Can you take a strike?"

baseballswami said...

wow - new post. Mark is awake and on the job today!

peric said...

Look, Morse is either (a) injured; (b) not hustling; or (c) simply a terrible left-fielder. If we are going to contend next year, that is a hole that must be filled.

Unless Tyler Moore plays winter ball and makes dramatic improvement there is no answer. Moore is worse than Morse in the outfield. The other possibility is Roger Benadina. He could again compete and perhaps win the job but Davey likes big hits ... last I looked Natslady someone hit a 2-run homer last night ... and it wasn't Rick Ankiel.

Next year Brian Goodwin should be in at a place where it will be time to start thinking about adding him to the mix. But that would be for the 2014 season at the earliest.

Meanwhile? I think you could do a lot worse with Morse, Moore, Bernadina, and Lombardozzi manning left field.

Its NOT JUST about fielding Natslady as the Cardinials demonstrated before your very eyes. Its about offense. Believe me when they trot Berkmann out there in the outfield they were a lot worst off than the Nats are with Morse.

In other words I still don't get why you keep complaining about Morse or anyone else who isn't the best fielder ...

Steady Eddie said...

Nats Lady -- I don't really see the "stuck with him" scenario being all that likely with Morse. The problem is that he's not an outfielder given his what we've seen over the past four years of his relatively limited mobility, so the most he could be in the field is maybe a replacement level (fielding) first baseman, platooning as a DH. His injury-based fielding problems this year were never with his running, and one of his throws last night showed he c.ould peg one on occasion.

Unless there's a lot more than we have reason to think, especially with his intermittent bursts of power lately, his hands should get better with a winter's rest.

It's just that we really can't afford him in the outfield and he'll never be more than an OK first baseman -- where we have better alternatives in either ALR or TMo. As I wrote above, my preference, for what very little it's worth, would be to platoon Corey Brown and TMo in left, and letting TMo give ALR a blow from time to time when he's in a slump.

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

NatsLady said...

Look, Morse is either (a) injured; (b) not hustling; or (c) simply a terrible left-fielder.

In addition to the injuries that had him on the DL the first half of the season, Morse was dealing with wrist, thumb and hamstring injuries for the last month or so. That would explain any perceived non-hustle on his part. Had it not been a pennant race or playoffs he probably would have gone back on the DL or at least had multiple days off.

As for being a terrible left fielder, he's not - or they wouldn't have signed him to a two year deal after last season to play left field. He was never even in their plans as a backup 1B this year. It was left field all the way.

They're not going to trade Morse now just for the sake of trading him. Unless they need to include him in a package deal to get another top-flight pitcher, he's going to be in the lineup here next year.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Price for Morse, Goodwin and Moore. Is that a.fair trade?

Anonymous said...

Wow, at least first place next year! Everyone knows what's wrong and how to fix it. One thing for sure, a lot needs fixing. Hey, but it was fun!!

Dave said...

@rabbit34, in a strange way, I think yours might be the Post Of The Day. Sums up everything in a positive way, in four sentences.

JaneB said...

I've been staying off Twitter and sports news and even this site all day. But it as so heartening to read this thread, and especially UnkyD and Joe Seamhead's contributions today.

I also feel a hole where the Nats used to be. And if WE feel it, imagine how enormous the gulf is for the guys. To think, I was just waiting in line to get into the stadium 24 hours ago. Sigh.

I truly have never known so much about, or cared as much about, the individuals on a team before. I want to send them a CARE package or do something to show them how much we appreciate them, how proud we are of their accomplishments, and how we stand by them. I wish there was some way to do that.

SO grateful for all of you, too, Imaginaries.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Loved, loved, loved both UnkyD and Joe Seamhead's editorials. Well done and well said. There will be far, far better days ahead -- and not that far ahead. I can see the World Series from here. We'll be back. Thanks to all Mark's Insiders and Mark himself. The highlight of my season was the joy of getting to meet some of you in person the last few days. What a wild ride. Thanks from Sunshine Bobby.

bobfromalexandria said...

Thanks to the Nats for a great year and reminding me why I loved baseball as a kid. And now that I can share it with my son and wife we have a great sense of completeness. And thanks too to all the Insiders and Mark for great comments and baseball lore. The baseball announcer of my youth, Mel Allen, the TV guy for the Yankees, used to say, "Baseball is only a matter of inches." and we've seen that in the close calls and the ball of Desi's glove and long fly balls that might be homers or doubles or outs. Something else I remember from my youth -- my fourth grade math teacher used to say when giving us tests involving division, "not everything comes out even." Like life itself.

Thanks everyone. GO NATS'!!!!!!!!!!

NatsFanSinceStart said...

So many people are down on the Beast Mike Morse for his lousy fielding. Yes, Morse did not shine in Left -- no doubt about it.

But Morse made it to the Bigs as an infielder, shortstop to be exact.

For Everyone's Information: In the 85 games that Morse played at 1B last year, his Fielding Avg. was a sterling .992 Repeat: .992. Not too shabby. So enough from these Morse haters who rule out his play at 1b -- you are simply wrong. Can't you detractors remember '11 when Morse's play was being lauded. Now, we all know he's no ALR -- that's a given. But enough of the canards that he can't play defense anywhere. He's already proven his worth at 1B. And for all those who want him traded (same people here who wanted him traded last year), where do you find a .300 hitter that hits for power?

As for signing Bourne. I dont think it'll happen. Too, Too, Too many K's. We already have enough k's in the lineup (Espi??), we don't need another one. Bourne is not the answer.

NatsFanSinceStart said...

Perhaps we should let Laroche go --- put Morse at 1b, platoon Moore and Brown in Left. Harper and Werth remain in Cf and Rf respectively. Bring up Rendon -- trade Espinosa -- work in Rendon at 2b battling it out with Lombo. Let Jax go, pick up another starter -- free agent?? strengthen the bullpen although Mattheus, Storen, Stammen, Clip, and Garcia are definite keepers. Look to move Gorzo, undecided about Burnett, and give up on henry. What else do we need?

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