Skip to content

Series preview: Nats at Braves

May 10, 2011, 2:07 PM EDT

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. — RHP Jason Marquis (3-1, 3.66) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (4-2, 2.86)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. — LHP John Lannan (2-4, 5.09) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (4-3, 2.63)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Thursday, 7:10 p.m. — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (2-4, 4.10) vs. RHP Derek Lowe (3-3, 3.22)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

BRAVES UPDATE
As if the first two legs of their road trip weren't tough enough, now the Nationals must take on an Atlanta squad firing on all cylinders at the moment. The Braves have won seven of eight, having allowed only 11 runs over their last seven games. Not exactly a match-up the offensively challenged Nats want to deal with right now.

Pitching has been at the forefront of Atlanta's strong start, with all five top starters boasting ERAs under 3.22. Tim Hudson, who has absolutely owned the Nationals over the years, is coming off perhaps the best outing of his career: a one-hit shutout of the Brewers. Tommy Hanson has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start this season. And Derek Lowe — scheduled to start Thursday as long as a blister on his foot heals in time — carried a no-hitter into the seventh over the weekend in Philadelphia.

The Braves haven't been hurt at all by the retirement of closer Billy Wagner. Young guns Craig Kimbrel (1.72 ERA, eight saves) and JonnyRead more ยป

  1. still waiting........ - May 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    the Nats wont compete in this divison until they are willing to spend more than the 60 million they seem to have earmarked for payroll, year after year.Attendence to justify the increase will come after the fact, not before. it appears they havent grasped that concept yet. the Marlins are an anomaly, in that they have a superb scouting dept. we arent there yet.

  2. softball girl - May 10, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    @still waitingSeems like the Nats tried to add talent this off season but were mostly rejected. Who, in your opinion, should the Nats have spent the money on?

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    That's the other part or the problem — the fans will come after they win, if then, but clearly not before they win; that is obvious by now. But neither will many of the premier players. Just throwing money, alone, does not work.

  4. Wally - May 10, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    I am worried about this series. Braves are blistering hot. Go Nats!

  5. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    *of the problem …

  6. Tim the Enchanter - May 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Josh Willingham has 22 RBIs with Oakland. The highest Nat, Danny Espinosa, has 18. Just sayin'.

  7. Pilchard - May 10, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Going with Ankiel and Morse as regular OFs has been a risk that has not paid off… yet. Got to believe the offense will significantly improve as only Ramos is perforimg equal to or above expectation. With the at said, the starting pitchers are exceeding expectation; so, the Nats will score more runs per game the rest of the way, but they will also give up more.

  8. NaterialGuy - May 10, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    The Nats need to dump Stairs now and replace him with an outfielder that can effectively bat leadoff. Thats it.That one change would make such a huge difference for the teams woes. They should spend whatever it takes to accomplish this as soon as possible. The lack of a consistent lead off player is the one thing that will keep us from competing this season.

  9. still waiting...... - May 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Werth is filling the 10mill "slot" that Dunn did before him, LaRoche the 8mill "slot" vacated by Guzman….i havent seen the effort to increase payroll….we didnt outbid for anyone else because they didnt fit the "slot"i cant think of another reason that payroll didnt increase over last year….in fact it is about the same as MLB spent in the first year and now we have a new facility and much larger TV revenueif there wasnt a "cap" on what we want to spend who is to say we wouldnt have signed another middle of the road FA instead of continuing to sign cast offs al Ankiel, Nix, Hairston , Cora, etca couple of guys like that are fine to fill out the bench, we have 4 or more of them and two or three starting….that is not how you compete with the Braves, Phillies and Marlins

  10. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    NaterialGuy…… I have no problem ridding ourselves of Matt Stairs, but please… name this "effective lead off outfielder" that's sitting there available to the Nats?

  11. still waiting......... - May 10, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    NatsJack…..this is an example of the unwillingness to spend moneyfor example: the Astros are terrible, they would like to get rid of some payroll, we could use Michael Bourne, but may have to take on a Wandy Gonzalez to do so….this is the kind of move you make to get to contention level play.we have way to many Journeymen players on this club to compete with anyone but the Mets and they dump a lot of payroll at the end of the year and will undoubtably be very active in the off season

  12. Unkyd - May 10, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    @Tim: my fav color is …..Green!!!@ Still: I actually applaud the patience the FO is taking in building this team. There are a few pieces in the system who can possibly be answers, by 2013, which is the earliest rational expectation of serious contention. Why sign 2-3 high dollar FAs to shoot for the wild card this year, only to have some of them get hurt before '13, anyway? Deals will be available, as the deadline nears, and there's another whole offseason, and another deadline before our "finished product" is due to produce. Some posters here would seem to prefer Danny-Style team building: throw silly money at the big-timers, just to say "Lookit Me"…

  13. still waiting...... - May 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    how patient do you want to be? the team has been owned for 6 years, so you want to add 2 or 3 more years of being patient? then we'll be in the Pirates/Orioles territorylets just keep getting strung along with carrots like Strasburg and Harper who may or may not ever contribute. we've lost 300 games in 3 years in a publically financed state of the art facility…that is Pirateque!we've been thru a 5 year plan with little or no improvement, time for another Tackmaybe we dont have the right FO personnel. we've made one good trade an zero impact FA signings.

  14. Hotdiggitydog - May 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Still waiting…which players should the Nats have tried to sign? What middle of the road FA would come here to sit on the bench? And, do you think it's a good long-term strategy to sign middle of the road FA's to multi-year contracts that would take playing time from younger, promising players? As for cast-offs in our starting 9, I only see one – Ankiel. Cora or Hairston are filling in for an injured Zimmerman.

  15. HHover - May 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    @Still waiting: this is the kind of move you make to get to contention level playAnd that's why the Nats aren't making such moves right now – they're not going to be a "contention level" team for at least two years. As for the specific move you suggestion – Bourn is making about $4.5M this year, is arb eligible next year, and will be a FA in 2013–just when the Nats would really need him as part of a contending team anyway. And, oh yeah–his agent? Scott Boras.

  16. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Ok…It's been less than five years since mid-2006, when the Lerners bought the team, and Bowden with it (but that's a different rant), and it was really half a team at that;Wandy Gonzales?? Did you mean Wandy RODRIGUEZ? Ok, which effective-so-far starter would you cut to fit in an overpaid, ineffective lefty?

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Oh, and "state of the art facility" ??Where? I thought they played at Nats Park.

  18. still waiting - May 10, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    our FO plays it so close to the vest, who knows who they may have negotiated with. and as for young promisiing players…..Espinosa and Desmond are young, promising? not sure yet.who else? Bernadina? kept in AAA by the likes of Matt Stairs? how promising is that? Norris?of the .137 BA?there might be 3 or 4 bright spots in the minors who could contribute in the next two years….filling the major league roster with Ankiel, Nix, Cora, Hairston, Morse, and most especially Stairs is an insult to thefanbase.if you are going to be bad , be young. lets have a prognosis of improvement on the major league roster not on the DL and in the low minors.

  19. Unkyd - May 10, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    "we've been thru a 5 year plan with little or no improvement, time for another Tack"….C'mon, man… Take off the blinders. Ramos, Espi, Zim, Werth-all at or gonna-be elite talent…I'm famously in Desi's corner, but I won't expect you to be. Add Prince Oppo Boppo, strong pitching……You're not paying attention, man.(now, go ahead and quote all the right-this-minnit-stats to prove that the sky has fallen)

  20. BinM - May 10, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Just when I thought the "Lerners are Cheap" contingent had finally quieted down, I see we are still waiting.

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Now I'm just piling on, I know. Sorry. But …Espinoza absolutely is young and very promising. Desmond isn't young anymore, and while he might yet come around, ok, I'll give that one. Storen is young and promising; so is Ramos, and so is Flores. Znn is. Burnett and Clippard are established stars. So is Zimnerman, and Werth. I think Gorzelanny will prove better than his rep so far, but that's me. Strasburg is 9-1 to be dominating again, relatively soon (2013). Harper is about as young and promising, on both counts, as anyone playing baseball today.

  22. still waiting... - May 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    keep drinking the kool aid…..wait until next year……sorry, doesnt work for me anymore. i am paying attention and not to promisesi dont understand how you all dont see that the bar for this team was set by a league owned team looking for a home and we havent come close to matching their results!or that payroll level for that matter.

  23. UNTERP.NAT - May 10, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    still waiting…… said… Werth is filling the 10mill "slot" that Dunn did before him, LaRoche the 8mill "slot" vacated by Guzman….i havent seen the effort to increase payroll….we didnt outbid for anyone else because they didnt fit the "slot"Maybe I'm a lot naive about this issue. I don't know what side of the ledger I'm on about this; i.e., whether the owners are willing to spend or not willing to spend, or are just prudent about when to spend. I don't know how to read this, what to believe. I don't if the lack of spending in the areas some believe need to be addressed is because they are cheap or because Rizzo is unable to sign the players or trade for players without giving up too much value for positions they urgently need like lead-off and CF. As fans we want instant success, but I understand that six years of futility will make one question an organization's intentions. On the one hand the Nationals have signed Strasburg and Harper (et al) to big contracts over the slot; but on the other they haven't exactly gone out of their way to go out of their budget to get anyone else. The question I have is, if they had gone out and say signed or traded for two over the slot players and the Nationals still had the same record and woes, how would we measure their plan? The one thing I keep looking at is that MLB 100% stripped this organization of any farm system. I like to think of the Nationals as a future Roman Empire and before the Roman Empire was the Roman Empire there was 100% rubble or nothing. And then, suddenly, pebble by pebble, stone by stone, brick by brick, the rubble and nothing emerged into a super power. What good would it had done if Alexander or Augustus had been signed before the Roman armies were ready for combat. What is my point? Every body knows where I am heading when I say this, "Rome wasn't built in a day."The Nats win today 4-3…

  24. Hotdiggitydog - May 10, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    still waiting…I think keeping Bernadina in the minors is good because he can play every day there. He's up now, because Ankiel is hurt and the Nats are giving him an extended look. Bernie isn't well-served by sitting on the bench. Nats need to find out what they have by letting him play every day."there might be 3 or 4 bright spots in the minors who could contribute in the next two years….filling the major league roster with Ankiel, Nix, Cora, Hairston, Morse, and most especially Stairs is an insult to thefanbase."Who should they have signed? Don't just bitch and moan about payroll and mythical free agent leadoff hitters. Play GM and give us a real FA you would have signed that would have improved this team?Otherwise, as another commenter noted, you sound a lot like Danny Snyder.

  25. softball girl - May 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Yeah, I think the most hopeful (though whether it's fruitful is TBD) sign is simply the Rizzo contract in terms of the type of ownership we have. Rizzo has control over the team and clearly has resources at his disposal. The six year length of his contract will either be enough time to prove his theory out or the necessary rope to hang himself. It's a trying time for a fan–especially if it doesn't work–but it looks like the FO has learned its lesson from the Bowden debacle. We won't go further down the Snyder/Angelos rabbit hole.

  26. Unkyd - May 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    I'll cop to being the Original Pollyanna, but it's SO exciting to me, to watch this thing happen! Watching Danny impatiently change course, over and over again, really helps me appreciate the Nats approach. We're 2 years into Rizzo's 5 years…. I think I'm gonna be Mighty Pleased, after another 3…..

  27. softball girl - May 10, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Oh, and @Still Waiting if you hold on one more year, I'm sure you'll see an epic push for Pujols.

  28. erocks33 - May 10, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    MarkZ wrote, "The one significant disappointment has been new second baseman Dan Uggla; the former Marlin is hitting only .207 with 11 RBI."Well, that will change once he faces the Nats this week. Just look what Ibanez did to us!As for the Nats needing to go and get Bourn (and taking Wandy as a throw-in) … I'd LOVE for them to do that. Unfortunately, it does take two to tango and I'm sure the Astros are asking for the moon to do this deal. Just because another team *MIGHT* have a piece of the puzzle the Nats need to compete doesn't mean that any deal will get done. For years, the Nats had absolutely NOTHING of value to trade. And now that they do have some "inventory" in the minors, I'm not sure now is the right time to get rid of this "inventory" for a player or two that might only be on this team for one or two years.Maybe I am just drinking the proverbial kool-aid, but I'm starting to see the forest through the trees …

  29. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    still waiting…. I'm not sure it ever worked for you. All you do is spew your hate of the Lerners for not signing the likes of a Javier Vasquez (ask the Fish how that's working out). You seem to get your enjoyment from pointing out the weakness of the role players (the exact same type of players that exist on EVERY TEAM in baseball)and slamming the ownership, General Manager and anyone who professe to enjoy the game of baseball in DC.And I hate to tell you but everyone who loves the game "waits till next year" including the fans of the Giants. We all love the novel that's written every season by all the teams, players, and experiences that make up this wonderfull game. Once a season ends, no matter how a team finishes, we all anxiously wait for next year!

  30. still waiting..... - May 10, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    i am not concerned about your piling it on. if i were thin skinned i couldnt have stayed a Washington Baseball follower through the expasnion Senators and now the current team. BTW, there has been 1 winning baseball team and two .500 teams in Washington, in my lifetime.that isnt here nor there. never said the owners are cheap, i said they are misguided to think that attendence and cashflow will increase to justify adding more payroll. in fact, it pretty much happens in reverse.and saying we are in year two of Rizzo's plan after 5 years of Stan's plan, and the 4 last place finishes, pretty much proves my point.you cant year after year accept what the FO feeds you and the propaganda that you get from MASN types.If we had such a promsising pool of young talent, we could have pulled off a Garza or Grienke trade without totally depleting the cupboard to the point that Grienke pretty much vetoed the trade becaue of that.we have some interesting young players, but most are suspect rather than prospects in my opinion and we have done little and/or nothing in the way of getting in their prime major league talent.

  31. sjm308 - May 10, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Nicely thought out by many of you. Besides the above slot signings of the two #1 picks, look at the other two young pitchers taken last year as well. They are both now in A ball and I think fans will be excited. I expect Rizzo to do the same thing this year. Not only with the 2 #1 picks but down the line. He has honestly done an amazing job getting our entire minor league system turned around. I realize Syr. is not playing that well at present but we still have talent and its only going to get better in my opinon. I would love to see us jump up to the 70-80 million dollar mark in payroll because its not my money. I think the only player who was available that could make an immediate impact for what we are dealing with now is Carl Crawford and look what the Red Sox paid him? Not sure who still waiting wanted us to sign and I appreciate him wanting better success but this fan will take a jump up to 75-78 wins this year and I will look to next year as our year to contend for the wild card.Go Nats

  32. Water23 - May 10, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Any update on CMW? If he can make it by mid/late May might give the team enough starts to see if he would replace Marquis in the second half. That would make Trading Marquis much more palatable.As to getting Bourn, he seems like the right player for the right position of need. Also, with few other places to upgrade we may need to say goodbye to one of these young players. It seems like Desmond is the most likely option. He has some value and including him with Marquis may provide a decent return.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Bryce was 2 for 5 with a great catch in RF today. Blake Kelso was 2 for 4 with a double and Chris Manno, a 6'3" lanky lefthander from Duke pitched a perfect 9th inning to maintain his 0.00 ERA through 12 appearances with 24 K's in 15.1 innings.

  34. softball girl - May 10, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Holy crow. I completely forgot we still had Wang. I think no news is bad news on that front though.

  35. Water23 - May 10, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    As to improving the team by trading, how about acquiring Jose Reyes? Intra-division trades are tough but he is the types of player we need. Top of the order bat with speed and power. Agree to the deal only if you can sign him to an extension and voila we are a better team. Granted he has had an injury bug for the last few years and his OBP could be better but he is a plus defender and far better hitter than Desmond. It would cost Desmond, + pitcher + minor leaguer but it builds our roster for the next few years right when many of these players are in their prime. As to getting Crawford, I think even at his high price, the Nats would have been better off with him than Werth. He would play LF and Harper could play RF. He is three + years younger than Werth and that would pay dividends on the back end of the deal.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Water23… I brought up the Reyes thing a couple of weeks ago…. The trouble is it would take Espinosa, Flores and a solid young arm for a probable rental.And as for Crawford, please quit bringing up names that would not come here. He's in the Texiera, Greineke, Lee category.

  37. The Michael - May 10, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Let's be honest, we knew this team wasn't going to be a contender, so I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. They are competitive just about every night at this point, and that's a signficant improvement from years past. All without their 2 best players (Z and Stras).Support the team, enjoy Nats Town. Better days ahead…

  38. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Hats off to The Michael…. Well said! I'm with you all the way.

  39. SonnyG10 - May 10, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Yes, well said Michael. I'll join NatsJack and you in enjoying the team now and knowing better days ARE ahead! Go Nats!!!!

  40. kcdubvdc - May 10, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    @still waiting….Agree with you that it is very frustrating with the teams/finishes we have had here…At this point in the year, to keep myself sane, I've just been really happy with how competitive every game has been and there have only been a few losses that we didn't have a decent chance to win…My advice -Just enjoy the season for what it is, follow some players in the Minors that you like and hope for a lot of our luck to start turning that we have endeared the last 5-6 years…-This year: Ramos' bat, Espi's glove, most of the pitching and lately Harp's numbers have kept me going- I've been going to college with a bunch of Yankees/Phillies fans for 4 years now – listening to my diehard Met's roommate bitch and complain everyday has definitely eased the pain…- Think how much sweeter its gonna be knowing you've been following this team for so many bad seasons when we're contending in a few years

  41. Tim the Enchanter - May 10, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Perhaps with Lannan's regression the Nats can work a deal with the Yankees- Lannan for Bret Gardner.

  42. masnstinks - May 10, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    I, for one, see a much better product on the field — it was not that long ago that we had people on parole, and a revolving door pitching staff ( reference Daniel Cabrera). Now there are pieces of this team that I can see being together for a number of years. The rental spots need to be cheap until we find just the right players to fill them. Our minor leaguers have been winning the last couple of years and they are on the way also.

  43. Water23 - May 10, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    NatsJack,Only commenting on the previous Crawford discussion. Not intimating that we would have been successful in our pursuit but merely he seemed a better fit than Werth.As to renting Reyes, that does us no good so that would be a pass. I would like to see how this team develops this year. Ramos looks like the real deal and will be behind the plate for the foreseeable future. Add to that the Strasburg recovery, Harper's development two more high draft picks and possibly some nice additions at the trading deadline by trading Marquis and/or Flores and this will be a very nice season indeed.

  44. phil dunn - May 10, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    This team may be harder to beat than the Phillies. Chipper Jones and Brian McCann are not only Nats killers but they are two of the best clutch hitters in baseball. It would not surprise me if the Braves ending up winning the NL East.

  45. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Repost:2012 lineup probably somewhere beyond July …1. TBD CF (Maybe Rizzo gets BJ Upton or someone better).2. Jayson Werth LF3. Albert Pujols (have to know they will go big just like with Texiera) 1B4. Ryan Zimmerman 3B5. Bryce Harper RF6. Wilson Ramos C7. Danny Espinosa 2B/SS8. Ian Desmond SS (maybe Reyes?)9. Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Tom Gorzelanny, and ?If Rizzo plays the free agent market right he should end up a winner … even if Riggleman still tries to play ancient, decrepit bench players.

  46. HHover - May 10, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    @ Tim – "Lannan's regression"?Let's maintain some sense of proportion. Lannan had a really bad game vs Philly, but it was one game. Could we wait for at least one more data point before blowing this up into a "regression"?

  47. Natman - May 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Correction to all: The Lerners WERE cheap. That's pretty undisputed, except for the Lerner sycophants. We don't know whether they still are because although it seemed like they wanted to spend money, nobody wanted it other than Werth. Close enough does not remove a label that they brought on themselves.

  48. Elagabalus - May 10, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    In 2008 and 2009, Lannan looked to be progressing to becoming a reliable sub-4 ERA starting pitcher. He has slid since. ERA of 4.65 last year; a little over 5.00 right now. He's not the future. The future is in the minors- Solis, Ray, Selik, Rosenbaum, Peacock, Meyers, Jordan, Davis, Cole and Demny. Getting Gardner for Lannan would be a steal for the franchise.

  49. UNTERP.NAT - May 10, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Elagabalus said… He's not the future. The future is in the minors- Solis, Ray, Selik, Rosenbaum, Peacock, Meyers, Jordan, Davis, Cole and Demny.And Robbie Ray: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/a-dazzling-debut-for-hagerstowns-robbie-ray/2011/05/10/AF5mjyhG_blog.html#comments

  50. Will - May 10, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Agreed. The Lerners were cheap. They seem to have changed, but I'm hesitant to remove that tag after just one offseason, while they had 4 previous offseasons to prove the cheapness. However, I love the direction they have taken in the past year (particularly in the draft).But please don't forget the Aaron Crow debacle (over $400,000), or going under slot for consensus garbage like Trevor Holder (to save $300,000), or not signing anyone notable (besides Dunn) from 2006-2010.

  51. Knoxville Nat - May 10, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Some random thoughts…1. Can't see Pujols coming to Nats town, no how, no way. I think he eventually works out a deal with the Cards.2. Reyes would be nice but as NatsJack says, at what price? Can we also get him to extend his contract for 4-5 years? If not than I wouldn't make the deal. 3. The Michael is spot on! This team is much better prepared and plays much better than Nats teams of the recent past. We are no contender that is for sure, but unlike a couple of years ago we certainly can't be taken for granted as an automatic W by the opposition, despite what it looked like in Philly last week. 4. Re: B.J. Upton…..hope not. The more I see and read about him the more I want to stay away from him. Now his brother Justin might make a good addition to the Nats but I'm not buying on B.J. at this time.5. Lastly, let me tell you good folks in the DC, MD and NOVA area how lucky you are to be able to go see our future Nats in Hagerstown and Potomac in a relatively short trip. Being down here in SEC area all I can do is rely on what I read here, Nats Journal and other blogs. The closest minor league city to see Oppo Boppo for instance is a good 2 hour drive and the schedule isn't very favorable. So even if the Nats stink it up on the big league level, have faith, enjoy what tomorrow brings, and look to the future because the past is all behind us.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    And we slowly slip back to the memories of leatherpants himself. Please don't dredge up that history again. Just let it go.

  53. HHover - May 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Elagabalus – More accurately, Lannan hasn't "regressed" but his ERA has been up-and-down for the last year and a half. He had a terrible first half last year, but a strong Aug-Sept after a stint in the minors. He's been ok this year–ERA of 3.50-4 over his first 6 starts–until that one bad game ballooned his ERA to 5+. Whether that bad start in Philly was a blip or a trend remains to be seen, which is what I meant before.FWIW, I've never thought Lannan was as good as he looked at his best in 2008-09, nor as bad he looked last week. He's a #4 starter on a decent team, which is pretty much what the advanced metrics have shown him to be all along, with a ~4.5-4.7 FIP every season since 2008.

  54. Anonymous8 - May 10, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    That guy who the Nats didn't take Chris Young who went to the Mets is out for the season.

  55. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    And we slowly slip back to the memories of leatherpants himself. Please don't dredge up that history again. Just let it go.Yet I suspect it is important to remember that it is likely good ol' Joy Boy who sold the Lerner's some pretty nasty snake oil. It had a nice shiny label and a great price … an all star or in jail 50/50 Elijah Dukes for almost nothing (he admitted on his GM show that's how he sold Dukes to the Lerners SOOO there is evidence!).JImBo sold the Lerner's on the idea of putting together a Cincinnati-like cheap team built upon guys with talent who have had adversities, bad years finding some way to make their careers nascent … with the Nationals. And yeah it can work. It worked with guys like daMeat, Guillen, and even Soriano. In a sense a synchronicity of that occurrence among multiple players got them to .500 in 2005. The Lerner's did not understand the business, can be patient and saw some early results.But that isn't the way to build a winner. You do it by building a great farm system and supplementing it with top-notch free agents. Preferably high character, great "makeup" types. (Not AAAA or below antiques who are too old to hit but still have great character.)Rizzo seems to have changed their mind. And at this point they look very much like a team that really only needs a couple of pieces/assets/players beyond the return of Strasburg and Zimmerman to become a serious contender. The big problem is Riggleman, his penchant for desiring washed up veterans that he like to make into starting utility players. His bizarre lineups and his even more bizarre double-switches.

  56. Mark'd - May 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    The Mets lost Mejia to TJ surgery too. Losing Young as one of their best starters is a huge loss and big luck that the Nats didnt sign him.

  57. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    But please don't forget the Aaron Crow debacle (over $400,000), or going under slot for consensus garbage like Trevor Holder (to save $300,000), or not signing anyone notable (besides Dunn) from 2006-2010.The two best pitchers in their system right now, Bradley Meyers and Brad Peacock weren't even close to that round and were drafted later. Holder has progressed to A+ ball and will likely make it to AA. There are first round picks like Smoker, picks like McGreary, and then there's HS arm Colton Williems. Where are they? Right …. Holder is the #2 starter in Potomac if Rosenbaum is #1.

  58. masnstinks - May 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    Well – we narrowly escaped the dreaded zeroes across the board on Sunday. Tonight? Pray for a couple of early hits or it's going to be a long night. Of course, on paper, Hudson and the Braves kill us. But, I just love a good upset, don't you?Wake up bats!!!!! It's May!!!!

  59. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Syracuse is in even more desperate straits. Last night three catchers in the lineup. Jhonatan Solano played 2nd base, Flores DH'ed and Maldonado caught. All three are hitting. Guess what? It worked. They gave up a couple of triples that should have been doubles … maybe outs. But, hey they won on a Flores grand slam. And yes Phil Wood (Sometimes I wonder about this guy?) Gregor is truly there to help the hapless Chiefs. The same kid of guy Jorge Padilla was? And its why he brought Morse in from Seattle initially … to make the Chiefs a bit more competitive? They've already lost 20+ games.

  60. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    I'm thinking these bats are rip van winkled. Not sure they will awaken this season. Hope I'm wrong, but I keep lookin in the tunnel for a light and I can't find it.

  61. Espy Buzzin' - May 10, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Disagree with the Michael…Would assume he's a redskins fan too and always making excuses for mediocracy. Indians seem to be doing just fine.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 83 18.5
x-Clinched NL East title

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
LOS ANGELES 87 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 85 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 68 4.0 +2.0
PITTSBURGH 82 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 74 9.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter