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Slumping Pudge tries to stay upbeat

Jul 20, 2010, 4:28 AM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ivan Rodriguez has fallen into a prolonged slump after his hot start to the season.

CINCINNATI — Over the course of 20 seasons in the big leagues, Ivan Rodriguez has experienced every possible scenario on the baseball field and in the clubhouse. He's won, he's lost, he's gone through hot streaks, he's gone through long slumps.

And in that time, Pudge knows one thing for certain about dealing with prolonged lows.

"You cannot be frustrated," he said. "If you're frustrated, things are going to be worse."

How can the Nationals, though, not be frustrated the way things have played out since the All-Star break? Four games, three losses, six total runs scored. That should cause anybody in uniform to pull out whatever remaining hair he has.

Rodriguez insists these Nationals haven't fallen into that trap. They remain upbeat, despite plenty of reason not to be.

"Absolutely," he said. "Absolutely. Of course. Nobody here gives up. I've never seen nobody here with their head down or giving up. Nobody. There's still a lot of games to go. This is a good team and aRead more ยป

  1. Witboy - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    Pop Quiz… How long has it been since any Nationals pitcher not named Stephen Strasburg has earned a win?If you guessed 13 days, you are correct!No pressure kid!

  2. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    There are just too many obvious holes, whether at the back end of the rotation, at second base, in the outfield, on the bench.And in the manager's office. A good manager would react to the situation by making some obvious changes, like Bernadina to center, Morse to left, and Pudge batting lower in the order so that his GIDPs don't end up killing so many potential rallies when the 3-4-5 guys do manage to get on base. But Riggleman clearly is not a good manager.

  3. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Pudge is the least of our worries, how about CF, RF, 2B, SS, 4 other starting pitchers, not to mention what the future holds for Dunn and Willingham! 100 losses here we come!!

  4. Bowdenball - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Anonymous 8:07-I don't like your priorities. Sure, Riggleman's decisions may not give the team the best chance of "winning," per se. But he got Willie Harris some at-bats yesterday! And they guys are trying really really super-duper hard to do their best. Isn't that what's most important?I also heard he took the whole team out for a pizza party at Shakey's after the game last night.

  5. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    What are we going to do about the catcher position next year? Will we rely on a 39 year old catcher? Flores may be finished. Nieves can't be the answer. No one seems ready in the Minors to step up.It seems to me that "The Plan" is not working and that we may be in for many more years of losses.

  6. Doc - Jul 20, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Mark, I agree its not Pudge's fault. He was not expected to be playing this much. The guy is a consumate pro, and the Nats are lucky to have his presence. If he were working more in tandem with another and younger quality receiver, you'd see a different Pudge.As it is, he is still up there in the stats of catchers throwing runners out! Way to go Pudge!!!

  7. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Yeah, Pudge's defense more than compensates for his offense even if he hits .216 the rest of the season (which is unlikely since he puts nearly every ball in play and hits a fair number of line drives). Unfortunately, everyone is also right that we don't really have anyone who can step up and replace him, especially if Harper does end up in RF. It's not like there are a lot of good free agent catchers either.

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