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Slaten’s continued struggles cost Nats

Apr 27, 2011, 4:15 AM EST

US Presswire photo
Doug Slaten allowed the tie-breaking double in tonight’s 6-4 loss to the Mets.

Relief pitchers already have precious little margin for error when they enter a game. That margin shrinks to microscopic levels for left-handed specialists, who get to face only one batter on any given night, typically with the entire game on the line.

Doug Slaten has always taken pride in his ability to come into a game in a jam, face a tough left-handed hitter and get out of the jam without sustaining any damage.

“That’s the No. 1 key to my job, probably,” he said. “Coming in and getting guys out with guys on base.”

If that’s the best measure of a lefty reliever’s success, Slaten isn’t performing up to standards so far this season. And on Tuesday night, his inability to get a big out with the game on the line helped send the Nationals to a 6-4 loss to the Mets.
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  1. Will - Apr 27, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    Riggleman needs to put more faith in his starters. If he keeps yanking them after 73 pitchers, he's going to destroy his bullpen by the All Star break.Zimmermann wasn't having his best outing of the season, but he only gave up two soft singles. Let him try to work through it, otherwise he'll never learn how to deal with situations like that. Situations where you're in your 3rd or 4th time through the order, and your stuff isn't as crisp as it was in the first. How do you get yourself out of a jam…Riggleman is looking like a one trick pony. It worked for him last year (overusing the bullpen), but this year it has been the opposite. It's the starters who have shined, while the bullpen has been unreliable. Yet Riggleman continues to insist upon yanking the starters at the first sign of trouble. It's frustrating.

  2. Big Cat - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Agree Will. What ever happened to letting a pitcher battle his way out of it. You don't always have to make a move just to make a move. Sometimes being a good manager is doing nothing. But The Sad Man doesn't know this. Him and Eckstein need to go

  3. J. - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Very surprised that they pulled JZim last night. Surely you'd want him, rather than one of the non Clip/Burnett/Storen crew pitching, if at all possible.

  4. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Another bomb from Harper last night. The train is starting to leave the station

  5. Anonymous8 - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    If Rizzo wants to improve the bullpen it is time to DFA Slaten and Gaudin and bring in HenRod and Detwiler.That will take the pressure off of the big 3.

  6. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    It is not even mentioning in a longer article that a good left fielder would have made that play and then nobody would talk about Slaten right now?

  7. masnstinks - Apr 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    I thought I would get this in early today — Matt Stairs — waste of a roster spot —- needs to man-up and retire. Time for Bernie in left?Even when MM hits, he doesn't play left very well, never came up as an outfielder. Time to start making moves?

  8. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Agree with masnstinks. I never understood Stairs, at 43, taking up a roster spot to begin with. But with him admitting he's an "embarrassment" and that his swing is all screwed up, let's cut the cord now. Give him a job in the organization as a coach, if that's what he wants. Let Morse/Nix/Bernie fight it out for LF and let's free up that roster spot.Too many wasted spots on 25-man: Cora, Hairston, Stairs, Slaten, Gaudin would not make any other team in the majors except the Pittsburgh-Kansas City-Seattle nation.

  9. Anonymous8 - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    Certainly agree with the last few posters but I would start off by going to a platoon of Bernie and Morse in LF. The only thing that may save Stairs is he had his 1st ball hit in the air to the OF this year to go with all those groundouts and strikeouts.Espinosa is now struggling at the plate too and missed that golden opportunity with Cora at 3rd and 1 out and couldn't make contact swinging at balls at his eyes. Only 1 hit with Runners in Scoring Position yesterday and that was the other Rookie Wilson Ramos who plated 3 runs.Rizzo needs to get Rick Eckstein some help as the Dept of Offense is in need of repair.

  10. Ernie - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Careful there Anonymous8…bring up the idea of platooning Morse and the (currently silent) Michael Morse Man-Boy Love Association will take over the site like it did all last year. I think that was supposed to be the #1 sign of how little Riggleman knew about baseball last year – the fact that he wouldn't play Morse regularly. I think that argument has been exposed for what it is finally. Morse has consistently looked bad in the outfield for 2 years. The only reason for him to play regularly is his bat, which seems to have some holes in it.

  11. NatsJack in Florida (but DC for the next 4 days) - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    So I'm in D.C., watching the games as a guest of the NY Mets and trying to remain objective. But I do have a few comments to add….1. The Mets are a hot hitting team right now but it's time to stop annointing J. Zimm as anything but a prospect. He's shown an OCCAISIONAL solid outing but for the most part, has been a below average starter. Let's see him string a couple of WINS (not quality starts) before elevating him to a top of the rotation guy.2. This is an extremely weak hitting team. There are no consistent on base guys, no consistent contact guys, and certainly no consistant clutch guys anywhere in the lineup. Granted, missing Ryan Zimm has an impact but it certainly isn't enough to make a major difference.3. Let's stop all this nonsense about our starters going 5 innings. When they consistenly go 7-8 innings, call me. This one may be on Riggs but a loss is a loss, whether you pitch 5 or you pitch 7 innings.4. On the bench, I agree that either Hairston or Cora must go. If Bixler stays, it's Cora and if Roger gets to stick, it's Hairston, but in any case one HAS to go. Later this season, we can jettison the other one.5. Detwiler is starter. I know everyone wants to compare him to the Wainright situation of a few years ago but Wainright was used as a bonifide reliever and Detwiler would be a LOOGY and that is unacceptable. Detwiler needs to build his confidence as a starter and he seems to be doing this very well in Syracuse.5. Finally, this club can reach .500 this season (yes JayB, even with Riggs as the manager) but attention to detail needs to be a minute by minute approach by each and every player. This can't happen with Desmond as shortstop (or CF for that matter). This is the biggest element that needs to be adressed by management.I am willing to give him 15 more games after the birth of his son but anything more than 2 errors in that span will make me scream for a complete change starting with Rizzo's whole approach to DEFENSIVE baseball.

  12. Anonymous8 - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Ernie, I am a card carrying member of the Michael Morse Fan Club but this team has to start winning consistently and Rizzo has to shake it up. A platoon creates a competition which Morse needs.When Desmond comes back, the weakest link has to be optioned back to AAA or DFA'd. So Stairs has a few more days to show he can hit. Last night was his best attempt at hitting and far from good. So Bixler, Cora or Stairs has to go.

  13. Anonymous8 - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    NatsJack in Florida (but DC for the next 4 days) said…Can we agree to disagree. Yes, consistency is a big problem with JZim and just have to realize he is going to have a few bumps in the road. His line would have looked a lot better if Slaten did his darn job. 3 runs would have looked fine in the boxscore against a hot hitting team.On Detwiler, I come from the school of thought that says winning at the big league level is most important. You don't hold back Detwiler's progress if you put him in the bullpen and Wainwright and others are proof of that. This team needs stoppers and Detwiler would throttle it up in the bullpen that needs more than 3 guys. The Marlins have the best bullpen and the Nats could be better. When you can't depend on offense, you better count on pitching and I am sure if you asked Detwiler he would embrace that option of being in Washington in that capacity vs being in AAA.

  14. Knoxville Nat - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    I had no problem with Riggleman pulling Z-mann last night when he did. The situation called for a LH relief pitcher and Slaten is on the roster solely for situations just like this one. In this instance Slaten simply failed to do his job. If the pattern continues than it would be up to Rizzo to find a new piece for the puzzle.Also agree with NatsJack, at this time Jordan Zimmermann has to be considered no more than a prospect and he certainly needs to become more consistent when he takes the mound.

  15. natsfan1a - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    For JaneB and other interested All-Star voters: down for the write-in box. I believe one can also pick up ballots at the park starting this week. Vote early and vote often, as they say!

  16. Cwj - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    JZimm is more than a prospect. Wow what short term memories some fans have. The sky is falling!

  17. phil dunn - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Isn't Slaten another dud that Rizzo brought in from his days with the Diamondbacks? Rizzo was hired as a genius who got credit for building a fantastic farm system in Arizona. That farm system has given the Diamondbacks several last place finishes. Rizzo has been around here for five years now and he has yet to show a hint of positive results. Of course, the dumb Lerners now have him locked into a long term contract so no other team will steal him! Dream on. This franchise desperately needs a real GM and a real manager.

  18. Big Cat - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    I also mentioned my doubts about Morse in the off season and got pummeled to the ground by the MM Fan Club. I said that there was a reason why the guy was a career minor leaguer and that maybe last year was "fools gold" I like Morse and hope he improves, but lets face it. if we don't start hitting we are gonna get hammered the next two weeks

  19. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Cwj said… JZimm is more than a prospect. Wow what short term memories some fans have. The sky is falling! April 27, 2011 9:13 AM ____________________________Yah, no kidding. Even though last night wasn't perfection, look at what he gave up. A opposite field flare hit to Ike Davis and that golf swing of Beltran's that went over Werth's head and 3 hits up the middle out of the reach of the middle infielders which added to the hit total. If Slaten is a "true" lefty specialist then JZim's boxscore looks fine. He leaves the game 3-3 with a no decision.People are reactionary and frustrated as I am too. JZim is one of the strong points about this 2011 team. That's not saying he is an ace, just saying he is a positive and will continue to improve and also have a few bumps in the road.Rizzo is still sitting on his hands and has some tough decisions to make. I would have preferred some changes just to shake it up.

  20. NatinBeantown - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    WRITE IN RAMOS!I should note that the MLB voting is much cleaner this year in terms of submitting multiple votes. I got my 25 votes submitted in less than 2 minutes.

  21. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:06 PM posting on Nats pitching recruits and how they have done in '11. Garza was a costly acquisition and he has stunk up Wrigley so far. The Brewers are rolling and I expect Greinke at some point will help them win the NL Central and probably bow out in the 1st round of the playoffs.

  22. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    I don't want to ride a bandwagon but Wilson Ramos had been a hard luck guy on that road trip as he hit some balls hard and right at people and that mid .400's average dropped to the mid .300's but his clutch hit in the 9th inning on Monday night vs Hanrahan was a great sign. It was one of his best hits to left field all season.Last night, Riggleman wrote him into the lineup even though Pudge had good numbers against Young. Sensing the Nats needed some offense, it paid off big as Ramos just turned on each of those inside and center cut pitches and got all 3 hits to the left side of the field. He crushed the 2nd of his 2 HRs. He has shown what he can do with outside pitches and most pitchers haven't challenged him inside or over the plate.I commented on this in Spring Training after watching Bryce Harper. There are a few players that center the ball on the barrel of their bat so well and hit it with such great force at impact that the sound is a thing of beauty. Harper does it, Ramos does it, and I remember when Alfonso Soriano was doing it in DC. Just hoping for some offensive consistency and Wilson Ramos was a bright spot last night.

  23. Will - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    phil dunn,You can't fault Rizzo for the Diamondbacks current situation. If Byrnes (the former AZ GM) wasn't such an idiot, you might see the current Diamondbacks team feature names like Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Dan Uggla, Carlos Quentin, Max Scherzer, Matt Chico and Garrett Mock!Byrnes gutted the farm system to make a run in the playoffs, which never materialized.

  24. A DC Wonk - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    funniest comment of the day so far:"Rizzo has been around here for five years now and he has yet to show a hint of positive results."Riiiggght. Compare the roster this year to 2006. The four main starters then were (in order of game starts): Ortiz, Armas, O'Conner and Astacio. The Nats were 12th in hitting, and dead last in ERA (over 5.00!). Most importantly, there was approximately zero true prospects in the farm system (thanks to its destruction by MLB).In the meantime Rizzo cleaned up the Dominican Republic mess, signed Strasberg and Harper, has been dumping dead wood, getting prospects in return (Ramos, anyone?), making other key finds (Flores as Rule 5), having the strongest farm system its had in years and years, etc.Further, Rizzo didn't have a whole lot of power until mid-2009 — we saw a 10+ game improvement last year, and, perhaps, another 10 games this year. That's a bit more than a "hint" of positive results.

  25. Will - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Steve M and everyone else,Please do not pay much attention to Pudge's career numbers vs. various pitchers. He accumulated most of those stats back in the days he could still hit a baseball out of the infield.The fact that Pudge got some hits off Young (or any other pitcher) in 2005 has no bearing on his ability to get a hit off that same pitcher 6 years later. So please do not put much importance on Mark's pitcher-batter match ups. They're interesting to look at, but they don't really say much of anything at all.

  26. NatinBeantown - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Steve M.-I haven't looked closely, but isn't Garza having a strange April? The Cubs had 4 errors his last start (tough to pitch around, I would think!). His K/9 rates have close to doubled. Does anyone have any insight on what's going on with him, or is this just small sample size noise?

  27. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Wilson Ramos is certainly the best thing about this team at the moment. In fact the young players are a source of some excitement for all the disappointment. Drew Storen has been un-hittable since the season began. Desmond has made some dumb plays, but look at Starling Castro's line from last night. Young players take time to reach their potential. There is someone in management that wants to have a "veteran" presence. I suspect it is Riggleman, and up to a point it makes sense. Of course Matt Stairs is on the roster purely because he be-friended Bryce Harper at some recent point. The real problem is not Hairston and Cora, it is Ankiel hitting in the 2-hole. I respect him and he plays great defense and plays the game right, but he does not belong at the top of the order and can only be the starting center fielder in a lineup that is hammering the ball. Not exactly the case at the moment.Riggleman and company do not want to watch Henry Rodriguez and Cole Kimball throw 100 mph fastballs to the backstop and walk two or three guys per inning. That is understandable. But fans don't want to watch journeymen relievers cough up runs every time they hit the mound either. Watching the game last night you had to conclude that as it stands, this is a stinko team. It has gotten beat by two of the worst teams in the NL and looked bad doing it. So roll the whole mess up–Gaudin, Slaten, Coffey, and Stairs and clean house. Bring in Rodriguez for Gaudin. Leave Bernadina and cut Stairs when Desmond comes back and cut someone else when Zim comes off the DL–cut Slaten.Bring in Detwiler and let him be long man out of the bullpen for those fifth and sixth inning stints where you need someone to throw two innings. He can build confidence there as well as in Syracuse. Let the young guys struggle a little. It may drive Riggleman nuts, but that is what he is paid for.Bullpen: Storen, Burnett, Rodriguez, Clippard, Coffey, Detwiler, Broderick.Bench: Bernadina, Cora, Pudge, Hairston, Nix.

  28. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Will said… Steve M and everyone else,Please do not pay much attention to Pudge's career numbers vs. various pitchers. He accumulated most of those stats back in the days he could still hit a baseball out of the infield. Will – I have no illusions of grandeur in regards to Pudge as he is not the same man he was when he was achieving most of his glory and the same goes for Stairs.Mark puts up those numbers of head-to-head stats in his preview, and some of it makes good sense but please don't put words in my mouth as I wrote "Riggleman wrote him into the lineup even though Pudge HAD good numbers against Young." HAD as in past tense. I didn't say HAS. It was a compliment to Riggleman to go with the Ramos and ignore Pudge's past history.

  29. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    NatinBeantown, Garza has been helped and hurt by the bad weather and helped and hurt by his fielders. No HRs and great K rate. Just getting hurt by too many hits with men on base. He is 0-3 and also has 2 no decisions. Plenty of time for him to turn it around but expect the HRs to get hit when the weather is warmer in Wrigley too.

  30. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    The problem with Zimmerman is that his delivery has no deception. Even if he's throwing in the 90's, the hitters can really see and anticipate the ball very well. That's why even with supposedly good stuff, he can't strike anybody out. Realistically he is a #4 or #5 at best. Strasburg too should work on a little delivery deception during his recovery. That would make him really unhittable. I was surprised to see players timing that 100 mph heater last year. These guys should take a lesson from Clippard whose herky jerk motion gets an amazing number of swing and misses and strikeouts. Speaking of which, Espinosa should stop trying to kill the ball on every swing. He's missing it altogether at an alarming rate.

  31. N. Cognito - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    There are certainly some chicken little factors affecting emotions – after the last 3 years, how can there not be – but even if you assume Werth, Zimm and LaRoche will have decent seasons, there are still a lot of problems/question marks with this offense.Ramos, Espinosa and Desmond are still young and unproven, so they might pan out (I have my doubts about Desmond), but when you look at the rest of the guys: Hairston, Cora, Nix, Pudge, Ankiel and Stairs, you're looking at guys on the downhill side of their careers. Except for Pudge, they're on the downhill side of very mediocre careers. There is NO REASON to expect significant offensive production from these six.

  32. josh f - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Posted this elsewhere already, but apparently pitchers coming back from TJ surgery get their velocity back much earlier than the control. I wonder if this is the problem JZ is having to date, where he can throw it hard but not exactly where he wants? I still expect him to develop into a great front-line starter, and sooner rather than later.

  33. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Anon @10:44, I wish you put a name on your post so we can identify you. You make a lot of good points. Not sure where you think Stairs be-friending Bryce Harper got him on the roster but I have no problem calling Stairs COACH.Bring in Detwiler and let him be long man out of the bullpen for those fifth and sixth inning stints where you need someone to throw two innings. He can build confidence there as well as in Syracuse. Let the young guys struggle a little. It may drive Riggleman nuts, but that is what he is paid for.Bullpen: Storen, Burnett, Rodriguez, Clippard, Coffey, Detwiler, Broderick.Bench: Bernadina, Cora, Pudge, Hairston, Nix.We are in total agreement with that bench/bullpen as well as your point about taking Ankiel out of the 2 hole. For some strange reason, I like Desmond in the 2 hole.The team still needs a RH centerfielder not named BJ Upton. Rizzo has the ability to find a AAA player who hits lefties well since this would be a platoon spot with Ankiel.

  34. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Anonymous said… The problem with Zimmerman is that his delivery has no deception. Even if he's throwing in the 90's, April 27, 2011 11:08 AM ______________________You know what they say about opinions. How many pitchers have deceptive deliveries? Not many and most are relievers. It is pitch selection and location and ball movement that most pitchers rely on for deception. Just ask Cliff Lee.JZ gave up 9 hits and no walks last night. A bunch of those hits found the holes. He gave up no HRs and if you ask David Wright, there was plenty of deception.

  35. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    How about Manny Acta and the Indians? Apparently a good roster makes all of the difference in a manager's record. And how about our vets last night? Great job by them. Save Ramos, too bad the kids didn't do their part.

  36. Peyton Dowdy - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Pay to Play, yes he gave up 9 hits and some were bleeders but he also gave up several very hard hit balls that Werth and Ankiel tracked down in the outfield. He wasn't wild last night but his fastball has been flat the last 2 starts and he has been smacked around HARD. Zimmermann is not an elite starter and is still a prospect like Natsjack said. He may turn into the elite starter but he is going to be up and down for the majority of the season I have a feeling. He realisticly slots in as a really good number 3 starter in the future and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that but people need to stop thinking his magically going to turn into an ace.

  37. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Peyton, right now JZ is the #3 starter on the team. Elite? Huh? Some of you guys want to beat the Nats players up. He pitched well enough to win as Riggleman said. The bullpen contributed to 3 runs last night. I have seen pitchers give up 7 runs in a start and get a win if their offense scores more, it doesn't make them elite.You make no point. He threw a few bad fastballs. So what.

  38. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Pay to Play… how about this opinion?… I'm tired of seeing our batters strike out against very mediocre pitchers all the time, while our hard throwing ace simply cannot strike anybody out. Rizzo wanted power pitchers who miss bats, but Zimmerman is not that guy and i don't think he ever will be. Unless he develops a new pitch, he is what he is. A contact pitcher. Which is okay, he's decent but he's no superstar in the making. He throws with same heat or better than Clippard, but Clip makes guys whiff. Meanwhile, Storen looks fantastic out there too.

  39. Gonats - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    This is a tough crowd. 1 season removed from Tommy John surgery and you all expect too much. Temper your expectations and appreciate what you have sometimes. Jordan Zimmermann isn't this teams problem, more like Ryan Zimmerman who hasn't shown up to play is the big issue for this team. Depth is so thin and when you lose your best player, thats the problem. Ryan is out at Stanley Cup Playoff games in the middle of a Saturday and running around with his girlfriend at DC night spots while his team is playing and hanging out with Charlie Sheen in the Nats clubhouse. Sorry, but I don't find picking on guys who have gutted it out as fun. I applaud guys like Jordan who have worked their butt off to get back so quickly and doing everything they can do to help this team. Team depth is horrific and it shows any time you have an injury or a starter is in a slump. This isn't the Yankees, this is the Nationals.

  40. raymitten - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Michael Morse should have had that ball last night. It was a routine fly ball for a major league outfielder. No one should be talking about Slaten's 'struggles' in my opinion. The headline should be "Even without Ian Desmond, Many on This Team Struggle to Make Routine Plays"

  41. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Ray, good point. The last 2 outings that has happened to Slaten and both were flares to LF. Maybe some of that is on the coaching to position the LF when Slaten pitches closer to the line and in a few steps for LH batters.

  42. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Yeah, Mickey Morse ain't all that, not by a long shot.

  43. Big Cat - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Zimmerman is a bulldog. He rarely gives in to a hitter. Personally, I think he throws too many strikes, if there is such a thing. He got by with this in the minors, but I think he is finding out that those 93-95 mph fastballs left out over the plate get deposited very quickly into the bleachers. He has bad luck also. Seems like every bat he breaks the ball finds a hole. This kid is a stud. There is nothing wrong with him. Just keep sending him out there……and Sad Man…let him pitch a little. You don't always have to make a move. I know you are jittery and scared to death in that dugout corner, but take some deep breaths and learn to have a little faith in Zim

  44. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    raymitten said… "Michael Morse should have had that ball last night. It was a routine fly ball for a major league outfielder."What game were you watching? That wasn't anything close to a routine fly ball. It was much more a line drive (not the screaming variety) that hit about 15-20 feet from the line. Morse was playing over towards the line.Quicker leftfielders, playing where Morse was, could have gotten to it, but leftfield is where most teams put their least nimble outfielders.

  45. Mark'd - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Was this Blog taken over by haters today? Who at this point has anointed Jordan Z. an Ace? When Jordan has his curveball working he will have 4 plus pitches. Right now he is working too many fastballs with his slider and changeup while he works back from TJ to get his breakers going.Agreed, appreciate what you have instead of tearing it apart. His WHIP of 1.250 and K Ratio are the best of the Nats starters

  46. masnstinks - Apr 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Losing really brings out the whine in the bloggers -eh?

  47. A DC Wonk - Apr 27, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Mark'd noted "His WHIP of 1.250 and K Ratio are the best of the Nats starters"Thanks for a dose of perspective, Mark'd. Here's another dose: a 1.25 WHIP is better than any starting pitcher on the Nats last year (except Strasburg). Not bad for a guy who, 12 months ago, was surprising everybody because he was able to throw live batting practice.

  48. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Wow, you go out to lunch and refresh your computer to see people attacking Jordan Zimmermann. Seriously, what is wrong with you people. Did you watch the game or decipher something from the boxscore? I saw a decent outing. Decent. Not great, not horrible. I saw JZim biting the bottom of the strike zone where he wasnt getting many strike calls but did induce many ground balls and some found holes for hits. It happens.I wish I could hear what the Mets batters thought of his pitching. I saw 3 mistake pitches in at-bats to Murphy, Beltran and Davis and the ones to Beltran and Davis weren't the ones they got hits off of. Give credit to the Mets batters too. They made nice contact.Mark'd makes a great point on JZim's curveball which is a really nice knee buckler when he is on. He is still only working with 1/2 his arsenal as he recovers and he will improve in time. That game was still totally win-able at 3-3!Again, Mr. Rizzo, bolster the darn bullpen as that is the one area you can fix. You have no offensive help in Syracuse. I don't even think you have defensive help. When that bats aren't hitting, it is up to the pitching and defense.

  49. Mark'd - Apr 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Thank you DC Wonk. I wonder what they will say about Strasburg when he comes back!

  50. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 27, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Zimmermann is not the problem. With better batting support he could survive some games that he has a bad inning or two.

  51. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Manassas, funny you say that. When you read through the NY papers, it centers on Young struggling on his comeback game and Thole's hit off of Slaten and on Iragashi striking out Werth on 4 pitches with 2 runners in scoring position. Only Ramos got a hit with RISP yesterday.The Nats hitters should have been all over Young early in the game.

  52. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    I wasn't hating on Zimmerman. just stating the facts. He doesn't strike people out at a rate you'd expect from a young stud 94 mph fastball. I'm glad to have him and he seems like a nice kid. I'm just saying these pitchers should all take a lesson from Clippard who has that really valuable skill of striking people out! And he does it with a delivery that is apparently hard for the hitters to pick up the ball because that high cheese is no secret that it's coming. that might be a happy accident but other power pitchers who don't get K's should experiment a little to see if they can find some of that magic. Also he should be well recovered from TJS as far as his current stuff is concerned. He's not going to throw it any harder next year. He needs to learn a good changeup to keep hitters off his fastball. Too many people here have too much patience and make too many excuses for Big Leaguers. The same group who last year said just give Desmond time and a good first baseman. How'd that turn out?

  53. A DC Wonk - Apr 27, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Mark'd said…"Thank you DC Wonk. I wonder what they will say about Strasburg when he comes back!"For every game where he doesn't strike out 14, they'll say that "oh, he'll never be the same…"

  54. JD - Apr 27, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Anon @ 2:31 said:'Also he should be well recovered from TJS as far as his current stuff is concerned.' You are incorrect; 90% of pitchers returning from TJS recover their velocity very quickly but it takes them 2 full years to regain their full command. You may be impatient with JZimm but to me he has the best chance to become an ace. I have seen enough glimpses here and there to feel that I really like this guy's future and am willing to live with the growing pains. Desmond is something else; his body of work in the minors suggested to me that he is not quite the prospect we hoped both in the field and at the plate.

  55. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Like Ray Knight said………."Why is it that we are facing Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax every night?" Those Met starters were horrible. I could of lined one up the middle and I haven't picked up a bat in 15 years. Gimme a break!

  56. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    I think a real bullpen story is forming in Kansas City with the TWO that got away from the Nats…..Crow and ColemanCrow has not let up an earned run in 11 innings AND Coleman has posted a 2.45 ERA in 3 appearances. These are guys who could have really helped but instead of putting our noses to the grind stone and paying out of pocket we went for a series of cheap refugees in the bullpen and next thing you know our bullpen stinks! Just sayin'

  57. Unkyd - Apr 27, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Somebody better be thickening Stras' skin-starting now, because this crew will hang his ass in effigy, if he doesn't start the all-star game, next year!!!





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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