Skip to content

A ninth-inning implosion, a frustrating loss

Apr 28, 2011, 4:52 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Sean Burnett couldn’t make a clean play on Willie Harris’ ninth-inning bunt.

Jim Riggleman wandered into the Nationals’ clubhouse about 15 minutes after his team had completed a demoralizing, 6-3 loss to the Mets Wednesday night and saw at least a half-dozen players sitting at their lockers, heads down or staring off into space.

The manager made a point to walk past each guy, slap him on the back and offer one or two words of encouragement.

There wasn’t much consoling after this unsightly loss, though, not after the Nationals allowed five late runs, blowing leads in both the eighth and ninth innings. Washington’s third straight loss and sixth in seven games leaves this club in last place in the NL East only one week after it was threatening to challenge for the division lead.

Where to place the blame for this latest loss? Certainly, relievers Tyler Clippard (who served up a tying homer to Daniel Murphy in the eighth) and Sean Burnett (who gave up four runs in the ninth) played their part. The defense behind those guys, particularly behind Burnett in the ninth, wasn’t exactly crisp.

And Riggleman himself had a hand in this one, making a few late-game decisions that backfired and perhaps left him feeling like he needed to console some of his players afterward.
Read more

  1. JayB - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Team is not ready to play night after night. Defense is better yes be not when it counts and the game is one the line. It may not be Riggs' fault but someone is going to have to pay the price for the team's poor performance. They have to make moves or risk a complete free fall in fan attendance in 2011. One thing we know is true that change will shake up complacency. I see a steady progression of roster moves and coaching moves leading up to Riggs being replaced by Porter on June 1…..from there I see a run at .500 by en do Sept……Well of 30 years of baseball tells me that this is what we will see. Talent is fine to go .500….currently talent is way under performing and that is why change is needed.Stairs will be cut first….then Pull pen coach next week….We have seen this progression from Rizzo with Acta's staff. Time is now so by June they have make all the change and can salvage the summer.

  2. Andrew - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Clippard played his part? This isn't on him. Murphy battled him back and forth. Again, give the hitters credit some time. That only tied the game.After sleeping on it and watching Burnett stand up to the press, I gained a lot of respect for Burnett.This team can get better from this or implode or take JayB's advice and fire everyone.It is some bad luck as some players are heating up others are cooling off. Espinosa did nothing and couldn't even get a bunt down. He should be benched today if there was a suitable replacement for his bonehead play nobody wants to talk about—-the one where he popped up the bunt and took 5 steps out of the batters box to watch Dickey who should have dropped the ball and made what should have been an easy doubleplay.

  3. Big Cat - Apr 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Storen rested, been throwin the crap out of the ball lately. Oh Sad Man…..why oh why?This one is gonna haunt us for the rest of the year

  4. joemktg - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Riggs non-pitcher switch (Burnett to Storen) is indefensible. And it is baffling as he is one who continually looks at the matchups and makes decisions accordingly. What prompted him, in this game, not to make the switch? "Riggleman called it "just a manager's decision," saying he had confidence in Burnett to "get it done there." That's not a rationale. That's called an excuse.Hoping this is not a watershed game, but it's got that feeling to it.

  5. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Big Cat, you win today and put it behind you. I woke up this morning and the world was still here.I loved the move of pinch running for LaRoche then Riggleman under managed for Bay. Postgame he said Hairston wasn't supposed to field that bunt. Really Jim?

  6. dale - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    This one hurt. Riggleman had his head somewhere other than Nats Park last night. Flashing the bunt sign for Ramos? Really? Burnett has looked like the hitters have solved him now for the last two weeks and yet Riggleman keeps him on the mound for torture. I hope Riggleman was keeping notes on this game. (Hint: when your starting pitcher is mowing down the opposition you don't even consider putting Stairs in to pitch hit for him in a game that you are leading.)

  7. Anonymous8 - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    joemktg and Mark'd, I agree with you both and in 20/20 hindsight that all makes sense now but if it worked we wouldn't be having this discussion. Burnett, as a closer, should have been able to get 3 outs without giving up a run, right?Given Riggleman's "over managing" as some people call it, he under managed on this one. Storen pitches to Bay and gets him out and hands the ball over to Burnett.

  8. Big Cat - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Mark'd…..these guys are only human. They battle their butt off for 3 hours, have the game won, then watch as Commander Cody gives it away. Burnett is not a closer….period. He is a decent pitcher with average stuff. When you have a guy who is throwin 97 mph on the corner and has a wicked breakin ball AND is brimming with confidence, you give him the ball and say "close it out." You don't go with some wild hunch and throw a journeyman lefty out there and hope he can get an out. This one was a joke. If Storen gets hit….fine…you played your cards and lost. You regroup and as you said…..move on. Its one thing to lose and its another thing to just toss it away like we did

  9. joemktg - Apr 28, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Anon8: Just two quick points:1) It's not consistent with his past practices, and there was no sound justification for it. We moan and groan about the double-switches regarding the starting pitching (although there may be a pattern emerging where the starter is going longer), but he's consistent. On this one, the non-switch was totally out of character, and seemed to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decision.2)More importantly, it was the right move to go to Storen. Last night, Carpenter asked FP if FP was surprised that Storen was not in the game, and FP responded "very" (a setup question, for sure, but valid). At that point of the game, he needed to go to the pen. Point: it wasn't 20/20 hindsight as many of us were questioning this non-move during the game, not post-game.

  10. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    The only comment I have I do not agree with Mark's assessment that the defense behind Burnett wasn't exactly crisp. Batter 1 hits one up the middle Espinosa barely gets to it, and I seriously doubt he throws Bay out with his mo going to CF. No blame on defense there.Batter 2 Bernadina almost makes a great catch. Is that non crisp defense? No way.Batter 3. According to RIggleman Hairston isn't to make that play. If that is so I blame the coaching not the players. Burnett couldn't make the play where the ball was hit. Batter 4 Sacrafice fly to deep right as Werth was still going back toward the wall. Heads up running by man on first to get to second. How can that be blamed on the defenseBatter 5. Chopper up the middle. Bixler had to come to his left to field it, the chances of a play at home since it was not a force was slim and none. No blame there.Batter 6. Intentional walk. Batter 6 hit down the right field line. Reyes is fast, no blame on defense for him to score.So again I ask the question why was the defense even mentioned in the blog? Seems people want to blame everything on the defense with this club. The defense has enough problems without piling on.Once Hu was announced that is when I would have brought in Storen (actually I would have started him but once Burnett started that is when I would bring in Storen). There was really MoJo on the field, and it needed to be stopped, and the time was then not after 3 runs scored. Tonight a new night I assume we will win as I always assume.

  11. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Winning close games builds character. It builds a winning attitude. You expect to win in the late innings. The Nats have a losers mentality now. That can change, but I don't think it will ever happen with Riggleman. He is such a doom and gloom guy. He's like Norv with cleats on.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Anonymous said… He's like Norv with cleats on. Good.UNTERP

  13. Anonymous8 - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    joemtkg, my 20/20 hindsight point was if it works, nobody probably complains but it sure was a head scratcher and it backfired on him so everyone has the right to say Riggleman's decision absolutely had an impact on the game.Also, this hasn't been mentioned but the fact Riggles didn't use his Lefty specialist against Murphy in the 8th tells me that Slaten HAS TO BE GONE.Get Detwiler here and right this ship and ship out Slaten. I know people are crapping on Burnett and while he isn't a protypical closer, he has been great.

  14. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    "Batter 3. According to RIggleman Hairston isn't to make that play. If that is so I blame the coaching not the players. Burnett couldn't make the play where the ball was hit."You think Ryan Zimmerman would have let Burnett field that bunt, whether there was a play on or not? I don't.

  15. Stranded_in_Philly - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Its sad that the next day I'm still angered by this loss. A few nights ago, F.P talked about how Riggleman once stated that "He (Larussa) plays chess, I play checkers." If thats how good Riggleman thinks he is at his managing style, maybe Riggleman shouldn't play at all…Managers don't win the game. Players win the game. Riggleman… please… let your players play, and stay in the dugout unless absolutely necessary.

  16. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Anon8, Burnett has been great? You mean HAD been great and will be again. Real good point on Clip vs. Murphy. Did Riggleman address why Slaten wasn't used? I would guess he wouldn't say the truth that he obviously has no faith in him so agreed, pack his bags.

  17. Anonymous8 - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Anonymous said… "Batter 3. According to RIggleman Hairston isn't to make that play. If that is so I blame the coaching not the players. Burnett couldn't make the play where the ball was hit."You think Ryan Zimmerman would have let Burnett field that bunt, whether there was a play on or not? I don't. April 28, 2011 8:33 AM ______________________________________My opinion is that Riggleman is falling on the sword and taking the blame. Why was Bixler moving towards 3rd? Wasn't it a wheel play? Didn't Hairston break in? Did anyone else see it like this?

  18. Anonymous8 - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    I should say didn't Hariston break in a few steps and see Burnett was going to get it and then I know he retreated to 3rd.

  19. carolync - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    I give a lot of credit to the Mets. The umpire made a bad call at third and Reyes threw a classic tantrum. I could see this fire up the Mets and the next batter pops a homer. Game lost.Mets had the emotion and attitude to win. Nats didn't.Last year, the team got off to a good start, the defense collapsed, and then the wheels came off.There are ominous signs that is happening again.The last 5 games of this road home stand are crucial.

  20. carolync - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Whoops! This may seem like a road home stand but I just meant "home stand".

  21. JD - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Get off the ledge everyone. Contrary to popular belief this team was never going to contend; if everything breaks correctly we may be a few games under .500. Look at the Syracuse and Harrisburg rosters; there is not much young close to the majors talent ready. In the big picture we should be in some sort of contention when Harper arrives in 2013; we absolutely need another stud (hopefully a position player) out of this June's draft as well as some key small trades (ala Ramos for Capps) and a couple of significant free agents. Loses such as yesterday's happen in a long season and they are not as devastating as they first appear and BTW most of the posters here who wanted Storen in the game have short memories; there was almost a unanimous call to demote him to the minors after spring training.

  22. JaneB - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    caroync, I said at the time that Jose's tantrum and the unfair call would turn the game around an it did…

  23. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    JD, you speak the truth on Storen and in all fairness he looked horrible in most of ST and pulled it together. Gaudin and Coffey have consistently sucked.

  24. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Carolync You bring a great point. When things go against the Nats like that they often just give up.Good job Mets.

  25. joemktg - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    JD: for me, it's not about contending (unrealistic) but improvements that result in a better on-field product. Didn't see that last night, and haven't seen it with an consistency in April.

  26. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    JaneB, so Karma or increased effort? If it was Karma the Nats would win 120 games as there isn't a team in the MLB that gets more bad calls against them. I remember that series in Houston last year where Capps strikes out Berkman only to be called a ball and the next pitch is a walk-off single. This was lost for a few reasons, the Mets EXECUTED with precision with the game on the line in the Top of the 9th. They got a crucial bunt down, big contact on a Sac Fly, they ran well, they made contact, etc. and the Nats didn't execute and went against the Coaches book.Anon8 writes…Also, this hasn't been mentioned but the fact Riggles didn't use his Lefty specialist against Murphy in the 8th tells me that Slaten HAS TO BE GONE.That was huge in the whole scheme of things. Baffling isn't it? Clippard was in for the 7th and 8th and when Murphy came in to PH, Riggleman should have countered with Slaten with bases empty especially after seeing the Reyes play right before it. I am going to re-watch the 9th inning again with a barf bag by my side.

  27. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Random Factoid: The Nats have yet to win a game scheduled to be played on a Wednesday.

  28. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    I just finished re-watching the 9th inning and no matter what Riggleman says on that Willie Harris bunt, you clearly see Hairston in on the grass and then take a step or 2 in and then retreats to 3rd base. Mixed up signals? Who knows. It was just plain ugly in the end-result.My 2 questions are:1) Why didn't you bring in your lefty specialist in the 8th to Murphy?2) Why didn't you have Storen at least pitch to Bay as the 1st batter in the 9th?

  29. erocks33 - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    I have had enough of Riggleman taking his starters out early. Can someone explain to me why Gorzy was taken out in the 7th? He was cruising along, got the leadoff guy out then let a single drop in to Ike Davis. At this point, he's at 85 pitches, there's one out and a runner on first. Why take him out now?The next batter due up was Scott Hairston (R), who's hitting a robust .167 for the season. Why not let Gorzy face him? Oh, is it because of the lefty-righty situation? If that's the reason Riggleman used, then he is an absolute idiot. Why take out the effective pitcher when he's facing ineffective batters (Hairston and then Mickeas)? Why bring in Clippard (or any other RHP) at this point? Everyone knows that once the Nats bring in a righty, the Mets will counter with a lefty (which they did with Wille Harris).Why burn out your bullpen when you don't need to? Leave Gorzy in to get those two batters out in the 7th. Then bring in Clippard (or Storen or whatever matchup works best) to start the 8th. It is known that Clippard is less effective when he comes out for his second inning of work, so why do it here? Oh yeah, and if you don't take Gorzy out during the 7th, then you don't have to double-switch out one of the hotter hitting guys on your team (Morse, no really look it up. He's been hitting around .300 for the past 9-10 games or so).The Nats need to find a manager that trusts his starters to go more than 85 pitches/6 innings. Until this happens, the Nats will never sniff .500.

  30. erocks33 - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Steve M. — when you re-watched the 9th, did you happen to pay attention to the Bixler play? Because I swore that he was about to throw the ball home, but he double-clutched because Burnett hadn't ducked/moved out of the way of the throw. I don't have the ability to re-watch right now, but I'd love for someone to look at that play again and let me know if I imagined that or not.

  31. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Here's my thing about bullpens. They aren't all perfect and bad bullpens make good teams mediocre and mediocre teams bad.The Nats are a mediocre team and I can say through 23 games the bullpen has cost them at least 3 games so instead of 10-13 they could be 13-10. For weeks people on here have seen how bad Gaudin and Slaten are and have suggested solutions.The only thing now that slightly worries me is if MLB suspends Livo in this Puerto Rican money case they will need Detwiler except I think those chances are remote that MLB would discipline Livo on the word of a convicted drug dealer.

  32. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    erocks33 said… Steve M. — when you re-watched the 9th, did you happen to pay attention to the Bixler play? Because I swore that he was about to throw the ball home, but he double-clutched because Burnett hadn't ducked/moved out of the way of the throw. April 28, 2011 10:41 AM You are in luck for this one because the NYM video is much better than the Nats video and has 3 angles. At the 4 second mark you have to wonder why he turned 360 degrees and didn't plant and come straight home. On the Nats feed from behind I see what you were thinking. Now check out this video and he turns around and looks at 3rd it appears from the 2nd angle, and then looks home and knew it was too close of a play and then goes to 1st.On the Nats feed, you see Burnett ducking way too late. Bizarre play.

  33. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    P2P, so true on bullpens.SteveM, thanks for the link. What was Burnett thinking? I guess he wasn't. Fielders are always taught to know where you are going with the ball when you get it. Maybe Bixlers momentum or a Jeter highlight reel got him to do that. Bizarre is right!

  34. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Remember John Bowker? He was the Pirates pinch hitter the Nats faced in the Saturday to Monday series. This season he was 4 for 17 with 2 RBIs and they dropped him to bring in Xavier Paul who was DFA'd by the Dodgers and he was 3 for 11 this season in LA. Last week the Pirates DFA'd infielder Josh Rodriguez and brought in Brandon Wood.I don't follow the Pirates close enough to know why Bowker was KO'd in favor of a lighter hitting Xavier Paul but that allows me to segue to my favorite point I have been trying to make for weeks which is replacement value and making obvious changes quicker.You saw last night how close Bernadina was on that Ike Davis hit in the 9th (so close) and add that to 2 hits he already has in 3 ABs and he already has 2 more hits than Stairs has had all season. Bernie should have been here on Opening Day (yes, I have said this before many times, sorry for repeating myself)When Desmond gets back Stairs has to go. When Zimmerman comes back, Bixler will most likely go.Gaudin should not return from the DL. Detwiler should be in Washington taking Slaten's place.Now like I have been saying, Stairs may eventually get a hit and it may be tonight and then again maybe not and then again, who cares. He is a net subtraction in replacement value and even if he hits 2 HRs this season, he has already failed too many times. No opposing team is going to walk him on purpose as they all have scouts and they all see him as an automatic out right now. My worst memory this year wasn't last night, it was the night Stairs whiffed on watching 3 straight strikes from Halladay with the tying run on 2nd and the winning run on 1st. Now how different would this season be if you could change that night!

  35. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    "Detwiler should be in Washington taking Slaten's place."Unless you're advocating that they give up on the idea of Detwiler ever being a starter it makes no sense to turn him into a LOOGY now. Even if he is one of the better LHP in the organization. LOOGYs are old guys who aren't good for anything else (prime example: 31 year old Slaten) not young pitchers with a future ahead of them.

  36. NaterialGuy - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    It seems to me for some reason that teh Nats have stopped working the count over the last vcouple of weeks. The mets last night seemed to be doing what we had been doing, and very effectively in the latter innings where the game is won. I think in the frustration that comes from cold hitting batters have been reluctant to show the patience. Does anybody else feel this way?

  37. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    I would say yes on Detwiler to the 'pen. I don't think he will be any better than a #4 and his arb clock is ticking. Riggleman needs him het like 4 weeks ago. BTW, JD Martin has totally lost it in Syracuse.

  38. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Hairston was not supposed to field the bunt, plain and simple. With runners on 1st and 2nd w/ no outs, the first priority is getting the force at 3rd. So the SS has to stay close to second to keep the runner close, the 3rd baseman covers the base and the pitcher is responsible for anything bunted towards 3rd base.It is the basic "Wheel play" that is used by any team from Babe Ruth league on up.You guys should know this.

  39. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Anon, that wasn't a wheel play and Burnett and Hairston may not have known the defensive alignment. The worst situation was realized which was NO outs so you better train the Nats of your model of the wheel play know-it-all.

  40. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Anon@12:51. You don't know what a Wheel Play is my friend. So your Babe Ruth team on up must have been doing it wrong.I google'd it to make sure I wasn't confused on what it was and I don't have to rewrite it because here is the link: re-watched that play too and as I wrote above at 10:32AM is how it went down. That is not a wheel play as Bixler headed to 2nd base and Espinosa towards 1st and Hairston came in a couple steps and retreated. If the wheel play was on Hairston would have charged and Bixler would have run to cover 3rd base.The reason we know it wasn't a wheel play is because Hairston and Bixler didn't react to a wheel. Could both of them not had the right play on? Who knows. Hairston wasn't charging full speed and Bixler ran to 2nd instead of 3rd.

  41. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Anonymous said… "Detwiler should be in Washington taking Slaten's place."Unless you're advocating that they give up on the idea of Detwiler ever being a starter it makes no sense to turn him into a LOOGY now. Even if he is one of the better LHP in the organization. LOOGYs are old guys who aren't good for anything else (prime example: 31 year old Slaten) not young pitchers with a future ahead of them. April 28, 2011 12:27 PM In Spring Training I suggested Detwiler take one for the team and be an Adam Wainwright. Next year is a clearer path to being a starter. I am not suggesting Detwiler become a LOOGY by definition because that wastes his talent. He is a lefty stopper in the same role as Burnett was and can stay in to face right handed batters if Riggleman thinks he will be effective.With the Phillies and Mets so loaded with lefties and now the Braves have a few more too, Slaten isn't doing the job. It isn't his ERA, it's that he isn't getting his one designated LOOGY out and worse than that giving up runs in the process. They all know his pitch. The looping curve on the outside corner they are all going opposite field with.Slaten's time is over which is why you didn't see him against Murphy in the 8th.

  42. The Great Unwashed - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    I'm joining the dicussion late, but JD, truer words were never spoken — especially about Storen during spring training. My sentiments exactly.Two other things: If the Nats had a payroll like the Yankees, we'd have the right to complain. But even with Werth's contract, they're still in the lower half of the league. Get used to games like this, everyone. The Nats won't be contending until 2013 (hopefully), and I sure hope I'm wrong about that and it happens sooner.Having said this, there are some short memories on this thread about Burnett. He's been pretty good overall. Why no comments about only scoring three runs agaonst the Mets? They don't exactly have the Phillies' rotation. Yes, the pitching imploded this time. But for the most part it's been the hitting.

  43. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    "In Spring Training I suggested Detwiler take one for the team and be an Adam Wainwright. Next year is a clearer path to being a starter. I am not suggesting Detwiler become a LOOGY by definition because that wastes his talent. He is a lefty stopper in the same role as Burnett was"The main thing keeping Detwiler out of the starting rotation now is lack of consistency and durability over the course of being able to pitch 6+ strong innings every fifth day. Making him into a reliever – even if only for one season – does nothing to get him over that hump. Nearly all relievers are failed starters, but rare is the starter who spends significant time as a reliever and comes back to be a starter again. If the Nats put Detwiler into the bullpen it will only be because they're ready to give up on him as a starter – which they're not.

  44. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    GreatUnwashed, I know you aren't necessarily saying payroll predicts success but if you haven't been following the money payroll game lately, its favoring the younger payrolls which many believe are developing from within. Teams like the Marlins, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Braves, Twins and Giants have all done well with payrolls under $100,000,000.Seems like that list reads like most of last years playoff teams and both World Series teams. Oh, the list is missing the Yankees.

  45. Steve M. - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Anon, what can I tell you. I don't see Detwiler as a future ace and right now the bullpen needs him. I have shown as Exhibit "A" Mr. Wainwright, what better example do you need?It doesn't mean anyone is giving up on him. I'm not. There is still Maya in the wings too as a starter and hopefully Strasburg in September.

  46. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    "Anon, what can I tell you. I don't see Detwiler as a future ace and right now the bullpen needs him. I have shown as Exhibit "A" Mr. Wainwright, what better example do you need?"Doesn't matter whether or not you think of Detwiler as a future ace. The Nats think of him as a starter, and unless and until they give up on that notion there's no way they're putting him in the bullpen. Even if it might help them now.Wrap your head around this: Slaten may well be the problem, but that doesn't make Detwiler the solution.

  47. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    I think Anon is giving the traditional scenario with regards to relief pitchers.The other example is Aroldis Chapman.

  48. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Detwiler is no Aroldis Chapman or Adam Wainwright. He's a pitcher who was drafted to be a starter but hasn't yet proven himself as one. His path to proving himself as a starter does not pass through the bullpen. If he goes to the bullpen, he stays there along with legions of other pitchers who couldn't prove themselves as starters. The Nats still think he can be a starter, and since he still has an option left they will have him start in AAA until they happen to need a starter in Washington. Is that so hard to understand?

  49. JD - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    What's wrong with allowing Detwiler to have some success at AAA? I don't know why we have this need to graduate players before they are ready? 2011 and probably 2012 are stepping stone years while Harper matures and Strasburg returns to health. We have many good young arms in the pipeline but they need to cook some and please don't give me the cr*p about Zimmerman not resigning unless we start to contend. If that was a criteria Werth wouldn't have signed here. 99 out of 100 players go where the best money is; simple as that.

  50. Cwj - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I really want to see HRod pitch soon. I wonder how he'll be used out of the 'pen. Anyone know if he can be a "long man"? I thought I read somewhere that he was once a starter.

  51. JayB - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    JD if that was true C Lee would be here as would Tex….hell just look at this past off season how many pitchers like Zack G who refused Nats who had the highest offer….99 out of 100 go for the highest dollar….what planet have you been on the past few years? This team is still losing in 2013 then Zim is gone for sure…he has said as much many times. Just in a way that makes it sound like he believes they will be winning by then…..but if not the unsaid is very clear.

  52. JD - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    JayB, Greinke was not a free agent; so there was no offer to refuse. Lee left nothing on the table and neither did Tex. This team should never conduct it's business worried about players leaving 2 years down the line. BTW, Have you looked at the the Rays lately? they lost: Crawford, Pena, Garza, Soriano, Belfour etc and after a shaky start they are right there; you know why because they have oodles of talent they developed and they have not rushed their top outfield prospect to the majors (Desmond Jennings) because of service time considerations. When Freedman et al. took over the Rays they were a bigger mess than the Nats in a worse stadium with more disgruntled fans. Don't tell me you can't build a team from within.

  53. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    "This team is still losing in 2013 then Zim is gone for sure…he has said as much many times."That's stoner talk if ever there was. Just because you hear the voices in your head JayB it doesn't mean anyone else hears them. You might want to adjust your dose.

  54. JayB - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    ABM….so nice to hear from you again…JD….Greinke did turn down a contract extension worth well over what he would have earned as a FA….LEE left money on TX table and Nats table as has been widely reported as did TEX….you are just wrong on the facts….Now what you are saying about building a team with draft pics and TB issues…..whole different thing….you can make a case either way…I say spend well over 100Million a year on the MLB product and Spend on draft as well….cover both bases…..Forbes has reported Lerners have the profit from running a shoe string operation for 5 years here.

  55. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    JayB, did your imaginary friend ABM go to Europe with you? And how did he enjoy the trip if he did?

  56. Anonymous - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    JayB and the facts are like oil and water. They just don't mix…

  57. Mark'd - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Anon @2:59. You speak like you are the GM. Laughable. You are probably the same idiot Anon explaining the wheel play incorrectly.

  58. SonnyG10 - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    I was furious at last night's loss. Its hard to take when you lose a game you should have won. I was dissapointed when Riggleman brought in Burnett for the nineth. I know Sean has done well this year, but I do not consider him a closer. He is a good relief pitcher and I'm glad he's on the Nationals, but I cringe when he is closing games. That being said, I think Burnett and Clippard are equally effective against both right handed batters and left handed, so I don't really have a problem with Burnett pitching to Jason Bay or Clippard pitching to Daniel Murphy.



x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0


WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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.


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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter