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Confident Nats resemble ’05 club

May 8, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Adam Dunn gets hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, bringing home the winning run.

The Nationals are getting good starting pitching. They’re getting a couple of clutch hits late. And then they hand it over to their lights-out back of the bullpen to close things out.

The 2010 Nats sure are starting to look a lot like the 2005 Nats, aren’t they. Read all about it on CSNwashington.com.

  1. Aeoliano - May 8, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    One part of the move Ben Goessling inferred would happen during today's in-game thread chat:From Bill Ladson at the Gala:"I'm at the #Nats Gala and I just l learned that the team is calling up left-hander Doug Slaten from Triple-A Syracuse."He probably is the best left-handed reliever in Syracuse right now. Second to Joel Peralta as far as effectiveness perhaps? Storen hasn't been there long enough and Peralta has 7 saves already. 17 strikeouts against 1 walk for left hander Doug Slaten, WHIP: 0.76 ERA: 0.00 in 11 games and 17 innings of work. He is not on the 40-man roster so a more complicated move will have to be made. Someone is going to be released today or tomorrow?

  2. phil dunn - May 9, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    The pitching has improved but it still bothers me that the Nats don't have much offense. A team can't keep winning games with four or five or six hit per game.

  3. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    After checking out the overall team stats, I am not sure how the Nats are able to have the record they have. They are bottom 1/3 in team ERA, errors, walks allowed. Even the O's have better team ERA!! They are also barely in the middle of the pack in all the batting stats. Hopefully their record is not a mirage of sorts.

  4. DCDingo - May 9, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    I was at the game today and enjoyed the win, yet… I really think they should have tacked on another run or two in the eighth inning. Bases were loaded with just one out. They need that sort of killer instinct if they are to succeed over teams like the Phillies.

  5. Souldrummer - May 9, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    DCDingoI was at the game as well and I had a bad feeling about how the inning was going. We fail to send Desmond on the Guzman bunt error thing. When Morgan makes his hard out, that earns Zim an intentional BB and an at bat for Dunn with K written all over it. We were fortunate that the Marlins bailed us out with a B-team bullpen fail even more spectacular than some of the ones Bruney and co have delivered for the opposition this year. Would have liked to see Hammer deliver in that situation when we just needed a sac fly, but it was his HR that had turned around the game after Clippard finally had one of his flyballs hit the seats after an inexcusable walk to Cameron Maybin, a man with no pop who is trying to make outs. Still, you are respectable ballclub when you take advantage of these kinds of fortuitous happenings and when you have a professional closer, that covers a multitude of faults.

  6. natsfan1a - May 9, 2010 at 1:44 AM

    Thanks, Mark. Always nice to hear from a scribe who has background with the team. That was a fun ride in 2005, and it does seem that there's a similar buzz and enthusiasm developing.

  7. Anonymous8 - May 9, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    DCDingo said… I was at the game today and enjoyed the win, yet… I really think they should have tacked on another run or two in the eighth inning. Bases were loaded with just one out. They need that sort of killer instinct if they are to succeed over teams like the Phillies. Yep, well said. They have to find a way to pile on runs.

  8. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Mark,I'd say save your column and the replies and re-post it in September. Because there's going to be one big difference between 2005 and 2010. The '05 team got weaker after the All Star break, and the 2010 team will get stronger.We had no cavalry coming in '05. Now just look at the pitching that is on the way! I loved the '05 team of course, but they were WAY, WAY slower than the 2010 team, which meant they put little pressure on the other team in the late innings, and usually played station-to-station.Also VERY important: MLB screwed us out of any decent players when rosters expanded in '05, but that will not happen to the 2010 Nats.The offense of the 2005 Nats peaked in June 2005. I bet money the combined offensive production of Morgan, Guzman, Zimm, Dunn, Hammer, Desmond, and Pudge peaks in July-August.Finally: this franchise has never had a player of the stature or presence of Ivan Rodriguez. I think he has completely changed the thinking and confidence of this team, for the better.These factors, taken together, will move the 2010 Nats above .500 for the season and give us an even shot at the wild card.AnonOptimist

  9. natsfan1a - May 9, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Carlos Baerga chugging around the basepaths, anyone? (Loved the dude, but, dang…).Seriously, good points, AnonO.—I loved the '05 team of course, but they were WAY, WAY slower than the 2010 team, which meant they put little pressure on the other team in the late innings, and usually played station-to-station.

  10. Anonymous8 - May 9, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/WSN/2005.shtmlA trip down memory lane. IF the Nats of 2005 were allowed to compete, it would have been amazing to see what they could have done down the stretch run. The Braves won the East with 90 wins and the Nats had 81.For the Nats to have a sniff of the playoffs it will be as a Wild Card since I think this season the Phillies will probably win 95+ unless the Phillies run into some bad injuries. Speaking of injuries, DH Nick Johnson is back on the DL.

  11. Aeoliano - May 9, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Putting everything on Strasburg and Storen seems a bit like having a bullpen with just Clippard and Capps. There really are other guys down there who look pretty good. In '05 Chad Cordero and the current Minnesota Twins closer were both in that bullpen. The starting rotation had a different makeup. The 2010 Nats still feature a very weak starting rotation that could conceivably tank after the all-star game. Unless the rotation at least features Strasburg AND Zimmermann at #1, #2 you're going to continue to have problems propping up the pitching. That is made a lot easier through the improved defense … still … Bowden claims that the Nats are in for a fall for being "stubborn" about bringing up Strasburg (and Storen) and trading for a right fielder. That Pudge will tire, the bullpen will tank and the Nats will end up in the cellar by the end of May. I disagree … unless they somehow trade, say, for Cliff Lee plus get Jordan Zimmermann back way too early its not going to happen this year. The Phillies are pulling away but the other teams in the NL East are floundering … I suspect the Nats will be in mix with everyone else after the Phillies. Because this year they do have a lot of interesting relief pitching talent in Harrisburg and Syracuse. Management's patience is going to be a great deal more limited this year as we have seen with Mock and Marquis. Mike Rizzo is still working with his building blocks trying to put together what will hopefully be a consistent, winning roster and philosophy.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 49 --
ATLANTA 58 52 1.5
MIAMI 53 56 6.0
NEW YORK 52 57 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 49 61 10.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Braves 7:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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