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Game 36: Nats at Braves

May 11, 2011, 6:57 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to make it two in a row tonight at Turner Field.

John Lannan was not very good the last time he stood on a mound facing a big-league opponent. His two-inning outing in Philadelphia was among the worst in his career, and it left the left-hander with a 2-4 record and 5.09 ERA. Tonight, Lannan has a chance to put that start behind him and get himself back on track. He'll be facing a Braves club he's performed quite well against in the past (6-4, 3.27 ERA in 11 career starts).

For the eighth straight game, Laynce Nix will be starting in left field. Clearly, Michael Morse's knee is not 100 percent. Nix has helped his cause by coming through with some big hits, including last night's three-run homer. Roger Bernadina also remains in center field and leading off.

As you know by now, I'm not in Atlanta for this series. As always, please keep the conversation lively and interesting…

NATIONALS at BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 87 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (17-18)
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

190 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Wow… no super soph Heyward. I guess we aren't the only one with hitters not reaching their expectations.And it looks like Nix has the platoon in left against right handed pitching. This could prove tough for Morse as I don't see a lefthander against us until maybe Pittsburgh.

  2. Grandstander - May 11, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    2011 Lannan has been too much like 2010 Lannan and not enough like 2008-09 Lannan. When you look at his stats, it's obvious. Quite simply, he's giving up too many hits.His BABIP is an astonishing .328. Normally that would mean that he's just getting unlucky, but for a contact pitcher like Lannan, it means he's leaving too many balls up and not hitting his spots. His BAA is .303, MLB average is .262. I want him to regain his form as much as anyone, but I have to start questioning how long his leash will be with Maya waiting in the wings.

  3. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Hmmmmm……. If we can get to Hudson….,We can get to Hanson, right?!?!?!GO NATS!!!!!!!

  4. erocks33 - May 11, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Lannan will be fine. So he got rocked in Philly. Who hasn't? I just don't get why most folks are so adamantly opposed to Lannan. I believe Mark wrote previously that if you take away all the starts against the Phillies, Lannan's career numbers are something like 30-32 with an ERA under 4.00. I'd take that every day! Yes, he needs to grow a pair when he's on the mound against the Phillies, but he's been fine and will continue to do fine against everyone else.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    As I've noted before, with Lannan, it's all about pitch count and his ability to get balls in play.If the Braves continually foul off his better pitches instead of putting them in play, he gets hit on his mistakes. And the more pitches he throws to a hitter, the more apt he is to make a mistake. And if he's walking people, forget it, he's toast.

  6. Tim the Enchanter - May 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I root for Lannan, one of the few bright spots of the late-Bowden era. However, not only has he maxed out, he has regressed. He's not the future. Hopefully, we can trade him for some desperate, pitching-short contending team at the trading deadline.

  7. Grandstander - May 11, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    His career ERA is actually 4.16 and he's 30-42. But those aren't the things that concern me. What concerns me is this:BAA2008 – .2522009 – .2662010 – .3022011 – .303BABIP2008 – .2722009 – .2772010 – .3222011 – .328

  8. Andrew - May 11, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    NatsJack, Atlanta reporting Heyward has a shoulder injury which is why he was pulled.

  9. Manassas Nats Fan - May 11, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    This is a rematch of the game April 2 which I was pelted with sleet as I was getting ready to watch Werth bat in the 4th. Lannon surprised me in that one coming back to pitch the fifth after the delay.We can take the series with a win tonight.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Yes. I realized after I posted that he got pulled last night. But he isn't exactly tearing up opposing pitching either.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Manassas Nats Fan…. I was at that game and really missed my Florida weather. That wind and sleet were awful. But the win made up for everything.

  12. Andrew - May 11, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    NatsJack, very true on the slumping Heyward and a LH pitcher tonight could be reason enough but the Atlanta press said he was pulled for shoulder pull that was causing sensation in his hand.Lannan needs to go 5 strong at least to keep the Nats in this one.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    By 5 strong I hope you mean shut out. I can't remember a time where we scored more that one run against Hanson.

  14. HHover - May 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    GrandstanderMay I ask why you're so obsessed with BABIP? Seems to me a better measure of what the pitcher is responsible for would be something like FIP, and Lannan has been pretty consistently in the 4.5-4.7 range every year since 2008.But statistics aside–could we at least wait a few more outings before we restart the John Lannan "countdown to doomsday" clock, so we can see if the Philly game was a trend or a blip?

  15. Grandstander - May 11, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    I'm "obsessed" with BABIP because it's a good measure of how well a contact pitcher is hitting his spots. FIP is perhaps the worst way to evaluate a contact pitcher because they shouldn't have a high BB:K rate. If you look at his WAR (which takes into account FIP), it tells you what you need to know.2008 – 3.02009 – 2.82010 – 12011 – -1I like Lannan a lot, I'm really rooting for him (fellow Long Islander). Hopefully he makes me look really stupid tonight against a team that he's been successful against. But I think if we see the same slide we saw year, it's time for him to figure it out again in the minors.

  16. natsfan1a - May 11, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    I was at the game, too. A sleet pellet bounced off my nose before I headed for the concourse and cover. Good times. :-)

  17. erocks33 - May 11, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    the other thing that most people need to take into account with Lannan is that, like Livo, if the ump doesn't give him the strike at the knees on the outside part of the plate (on the black), then he's toast for that game. Whenever Lannan gets rocked, it's usually because the ump has a small strike zone.

  18. gene - May 11, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    i'm posting under my real name for a change. well, the first one. i'm singing the anthem at friday's game, and hoping all you "insiders" enjoy it. the way i enjoy reading mark and you.

  19. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 11, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    Interesting point, erox, but is there a stat for that? Seriously; there are data for everything else, pretty much, and somebody must be tracking that…

  20. Cwj - May 11, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    I like BABIP, not too crazy about FIP. I like ERA and K/BB ratios even better.ERA is a fact whereas FIP is essentially what "could be", if that makes any sense :)Anyway I like Lannan. He absolutely must reduce his walks though. All of his stats, especially ERA, would be so much better if he averaged under 3BB/9Go Nats!!

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 11, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Gene, way cool. We'll listen!

  22. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    the other thing that most people need to take into account with Lannan is that, like Livo, if the ump doesn't give him the strike at the knees on the outside part of the plate (on the black), then he's toast for that game. Whenever Lannan gets rocked, it's usually because the ump has a small strike zone.Let's cut to the chase? The reason Rizzo redesigned the lineup around athletic defensively superior players was just for pitchers like Lannan and apparently the main pitching mantra in the organization currently: pitch-to-contact?Of all the pitchers this should have benefitted Lannan the most. Instead he has benefitted from it the least. He doesn't really have the stuff to make it past 4 or 5 innings against a good club consistently. In the end no different from Martin, Chico, Martis, and Atilano?

  23. BinM - May 11, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Lannan has been scuffling so far this year. His peripheral numbers (as noted by others) have continued to slip, and he's done little to earn either McCatty's or Riggleman's confidence of late. Now, a couple of quality starts could quiet some of the rumblings – maybe getting ATL minus Heyward tonight can start getting him back in the good graces of the fan base.

  24. Manassas Nats Fan - May 11, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Gene, I hope you don't sing the NA as slow as molasses. It was written as an up beat song, and most performers sing it like a ballad. The melody itself is from an old Irish drinking song.WHich way do you go slow or fairly quick?

  25. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Lannan has been scuffling so far this year. His peripheral numbers (as noted by others) have continued to slip, and he's done little to earn either McCatty's or Riggleman's confidence of late. If Broderick has to come out and pitch again we'll know he's in trouble.

  26. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    A dream of mine, Gene!!! How'd you pull that gig? Tear it up, Bruh!!

  27. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    There's also been a definite and decided up-tick in the velocity of all of Lannan's pitches over last year … with a corresponding decrease in z-axis movement. In other words his pitches are a tad faster and hanging over the plate more often.

  28. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Kilgore also tweets (as does Harlan Chico still … ;) ) Sammy Solis, Nats 2010 2nd round pick, threw 3 IP in extended ST Monday, working back from groin strain. Should join Potomac by end of May.

  29. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    Ladson's back and he's swinging the gallows rope at Morse: (Still why in the bejeesus would they put Ankiel back out there? I just don't understand?)Ladson tweets:The Nats have not been happy with Michael Morse — offensively and defensively. He must step up his game — big time.When Nats CF Rick Ankiel comes off the DL, don't be surprised if Bernadina remains in left field and Michael Morse stays on the bench.

  30. Bowdenball - May 11, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    NatsJack-I think Hanson is gonna be a huge thorn in our side for many years to come, but you really shouldn't have that hard a time recalling the last time he gave up more than one run to us. He gave up 3 in 3 2/3 inn. last time he faced us, 3 (only one earned) in 6 inn. the time before that, and 4 in 6 inn. the time before that.It's Hudson and Lowe that I seem to remember owning us, at least until last night.

  31. Mark'd - May 11, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Take what Ladson said and do the opposite. Just hope Morse goes back to his 2010 stance. He just look comfortable in there.Watching Phil Wood who looks like Herman Munster minus the neck bolts when the camera is pulled back. His hair stylist should be fired.

  32. fpcsteve - May 11, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    It is possible that Morse has been exposed by his extended playing time. He may actually become more productive with fewer AB's in particular situations. The idea of a platoon featuring Nix and Morse might actually produce some solid, one-player type results. I'm not a big Morse fan, but I love the Ntas. If they can find a way to get him up to speed that would be great. Go Nats!

  33. natsfan1a - May 11, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Congrats, Gene.Speaking of the anthem, I thought that the young man who performed it before the May 1 game vs. SFO was excellent. I gave him a star on my scorecard. :-)

  34. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Oh guess I needed a tiny URL? My bad.http://preview.tinyurl.com/3gk5zo4http://tinyurl.com/3gk5zo4

  35. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Gotcher tweet: lol !!!!

  36. Grandstander - May 11, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    And unsurprisingly, Lannan is having trouble locating his fastball. He could be in for a long night if he can't start locating that 88 mph #1.

  37. Harper is Awesome - May 11, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Is Lannan quickly becoming the worst starting pitcher on the Nats.. at least were getting the bats going i like the Ramos and Nix combo

  38. Joe Seamhead - May 11, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Prince Oppo Boppo hit a grand slam a few minutes ago to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. He also committed an error earlier.

  39. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    Adrian Sanchez working on a cycle and needs a HR.BHarper going for a cycle too as he has the HR with a Grand Salami and a single with 5 RBIs!!!!http://hagerstown.suns.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t563&t=g_box&gid=2011_05_11_delafx_hagafx_1

  40. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    Yup,Oppo boppo Desmond Espinosa Ramos Not a bad start for 2011 heading into 2012.

  41. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    BHarper now 4 for 5. WOW!!!!

  42. phil dunn - May 12, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    If Espinosa doesn't start hitting, he's going to be on the Syracuse roster in another month.

  43. Ernie - May 12, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Phil – Even if batting average is driving decisions about our middle infielders, which I don't think is the case at the moment, do you really think we keep Cora over him? Why?

  44. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    Love the move with Bixler. Lannan isn't a sure thing bunter so like the move.

  45. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Another useless Mike Morse at bat! Who were the people who wanted this guy to play every day last year? Why the silence?

  46. Navy Nats Fan - May 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Well THAT was a TNM (Total Nyjer Move)…

  47. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Veteran Hairston just commited the Cardinal Sin of baseball on that caught stealing 3rd with 2 outs.

  48. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    OK, the only thing I want to hear about after this game, is why the F Hairston ran in that situation. Are you kidding me?!?!?

  49. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Just when I was jumping on the Riggleman bandwagon, he decides to get the third out at third base with 2 outs. BAD call Riggs

  50. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Another useless Mike Morse at bat! Who were the people who wanted this guy to play every day last year? Why the silence?Okay Bill Ladson,First, he isn't hitting Mendoza level, second gee have you seen Werth and LaRoche's batting average … have you seen Cora's and Hairston's? Its still early … he has a sprained knee. He's still hitting better than Ankiel.

  51. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Doubtful it was completely Hairston's fault. He could have been given the red light, but apparently wasn't

  52. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    CWJ – Why would you ass-ume Riggleman called for the steal? I could see Riggles taking it on his shoulders when he is asked about it but I don't see it.Also, how much longer to we need to see the LOOGY Slaten just give away another game?

  53. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    Vintage 2009 Nats! Bad baserunning, bad hitting, bad relief pitching! Keep walking back to Syracuse, Doug Slaten. Right handed pitchers can serve up walks and home runs as well as any LOOGY!

  54. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    A manager can tell a runner NOT to steal.Bye bye Slaten.

  55. Unkyd - May 12, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    …Slaten….

  56. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Seeing as Burnett has been pushed out of the CBC role, I don't see a reason to keep another LOOGY on who can't get lefties out.No one really to replace him though. If Gaudin looks ok in a couple rehab starts though, I don't really see him sticking around.

  57. WilliamTells - May 12, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Idiotic managerial decisions in the late innings of a one run ballgame? Expect it.

  58. Navy Nats Fan - May 12, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    You shouldn't have to tell a veteran major leaguer NOT to run in that condition. It will be very interesting to find out whose decision that was.

  59. ballstonnat - May 12, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    Slaten is a huge problem. Both the way he is throwing and the lefties we have behind him to challenge him. I have always hated the lefty/righty matchup mess. On the Hairston steal…any reason for a hit and run there? With a missed sign? Such a stupid momentum killing play. Perhaps masn's wired Bo Porter will give us some insight.

  60. phil dunn - May 12, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    Ernie, I am not saying Cora or Hairston provides a whole lot more offense than Espinosa but it is beginning to look like Espinosa is over his head facing ML pitching at this point in his career. If this continues, his confidence could be permanently destroyed. I'd give him another month to see if he can turn it around.

  61. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Good job Coffey. Grandstander- yeah, I'll never understand the LOOGY role. Why not have a ROOGY? The whole concept is silly, I think

  62. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Mark'd said… Actions speak louder than words and truthfully am surprised that Rizzo hasn't DFA'd anyone from the Opening Day roster yet which isn't making this team better. Stairs, Slaten and Gaudin have to go. May 11, 2011 3:30 PM ___________________________________Perfectly said and needs to be repeated. DFA DFA DFAYou have to question the veteran leadership also. Way to teach the youngsters how to run the bases. This happened earlier this year with Espinosa caught stealing 3rd. I think Riggles tried to take the blame and you know even Riggles isn't that brain dead.

  63. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    we need runs

  64. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    If this continues, his confidence could be permanently destroyed. I'd give him another month to see if he can turn it around.The same thing with Desmond last year … the difference? Espinosa is a switch hitter which is a lot harder in the majors. And look where he's at in his rookie year? He looks a whole heck of a lot better than Desmond at the plate.

  65. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    I sense a late inning comeback tonight :)

  66. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    now

  67. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    ouch

  68. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    For some reason tonight's game is very frustrating for me to watch. I'm still fuming on that caught stealing.

  69. phil dunn - May 12, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    I was a Morse booster. Last year, before our esteemed hitting coach started screwing around with his swing, Morse was a pull hitter who had good power and hit the ball with authority. Now, he is trying to hit everything to RF and he's a disaster. Worse yet, he's become a strikeout machine. If I was the GM, I would fire Rick Eckstein, who has no credentials to be a major league hitting coach.

  70. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    There is Venters, a lefty, just making quick work of the Nats. He got Desmond out quickly and pitched around Werth and makes LaRoche look silly and had Ramos off-balance. On to Kimbrell in the 9th.I will also jump on the bandwagon to get rid of Slaten and replace him with Detwiler.

  71. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - May 12, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Meekly. The word for tonight is meekly.

  72. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Can't wait til Bryce gets to Woodbridge so we can see some offense.

  73. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    I sense that if we can't put any runs up in our next at bat we are done for tonight

  74. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 12, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Line of the night for Sunshine Bobby (The announcer, not the blog commentator):"We don't have any inside information."Not yesterday. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Not a fleck.

  75. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Their closer, Kimbrel, has 2 blown saves already. Time to hand him his 3rd. Trying to stay optimistic :)

  76. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Wow! Coffey was awesome!!

  77. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    The time is now.LETS GO NATS!

  78. CBinDC - May 12, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    Rick Eckstein come on down your team has the worst batting average in the NL …..ohh if I hear one more the bats will come around they will get the Wille Mo Pena ball right at them.

  79. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Oh no not stairs

  80. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    oh yes Stairs?

  81. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Coooooooora!

  82. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    I called that blown save :)

  83. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    How does Desi strike out looking there? He's got to realize the game is on the line with the bench emptied. Inexcusable!

  84. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    Desmond and Werth had pathetic at bats.

  85. CBinDC - May 12, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    What is that all about Desmond just looking as if he was shopping for a nice car and Werth swings as if the night flys have gathered …….argh

  86. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Any other team is up by 2 runs right now. How many fastballs down the middle can you look at? Even though he technically swung on that pitch, Werth was taking all the way judging by how late he was on it.

  87. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    what is up with werth, geeze, they should have let marquis pinch hitSo frustrating

  88. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    NaterialGuy- Well, Werth did drive in 3 yesterday.

  89. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    How large is that Slaten relief appearance now….Agree on Desmond and Werth too. Great job of baserunning by Marquis to get to 3rd and set up perfectly for Desmond to get him in.

  90. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Burnett is looking vicious tonight

  91. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    CWJ – Is that his quota for the month?

  92. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    Burnett was so effective right there, he probably comes out to pitch the 10th if it's tied. Heart of the lineup coming up too.

  93. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    Espinosa is totally lost at the plate. Did making him the leadoff hitter ruin him? Maybe he should forget about switch hitting.

  94. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Anon- uh, sure why not.Grand- Agreed. But hope Clippard is ready as well

  95. Mark'd - May 12, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Espinosa looks lost. Can someone sow him his way home?

  96. FS - May 12, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    I think you guys forgot what we were getting from second base last year. Guzman and Kennedy? In comparison to them, a 23-year old who strikes out a lot and is not hitting well. However, has potential offensively and let us not forget his defense. I will not complain at all for the rest of the season about this guy.

  97. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Last post was for Anon 10:04 rather than Anon 10:17.You guys need names :)

  98. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Not sure why Storen is pitching now. May be desperately needed later tonight. I guess Broderick will be closing if the Nats get the lead :)

  99. phil dunn - May 12, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    With the bat, Adam Kennedy looked like Chase Utley compared to the way Espinosa is shrinking at the plate. Now, if we had a hitting coach, maybe he could get Espinosa straightened out at the plate. He does have a good glove.

  100. JaneB - May 12, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Mark'd …you just see Espi's catch? He is wide awake! and so is papa Desmond.Let's hear it Unkyd! Start the chant! And what's that about Werth, guys?We win the series!!,!,

  101. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Wow…

  102. RickH - May 12, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    How 'bout em!!!

  103. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 12, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Now, where did THAT come from?God bless the Nats!

  104. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    This is awesome way to go Nats!! You know everything is going good when even Laroche gets a hit =)

  105. Unkyd - May 12, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    Who's that clutch hitting SS, who steals whatever he wants?!

  106. NaterialGuy - May 12, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    Redemption all the way around

  107. Grandstander - May 12, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    BANG ZOOM!!!Truly unbelievable. I'll fully admit, I thought we were done heading into the 9th. That one felt GOOD. 2 series taken from the Marlins and Braves on the road, back to .500 coming back from a brutal divisional road trip. Awesome.

  108. CBinDC - May 12, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    well Happy to be wrong …realy happy to be wrong ……I mean was I ever wrong LOL

  109. A DC Wonk - May 12, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    Why is Clippard pitching with a four-run lead?

  110. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Are you kidding me? This is the Cardiac Nats!!!!How fortuitous was that Pudge HBP to give Riggleman something to work with on that Cora hit and run!!!! Then Ian Desmond and Werth atone!!!! Like I said, are you kidding me!!!!

  111. sjm308 - May 12, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    Well, just read 104 posts as we march towards a curly W – I realize its hindsight but man there some people crushing Espinosa and I guess that catch he made doesn't mean anything. That puts us at least at 4/5 for this road trip which is what I was hoping for and lets get that broom back out from the closet for tomorrow.Riggs will still get crushed but he used his entire bench tonight as well as Marquis as a pinch runner. The Bixler bunt didn't get results but that was a good move. He had the flexibility to move people around. Pudge catches the 11th inning and we WIN!!! The Braves had won 8 of 9 when we arrived and we have played well!!! Can't honestly believe people want Espinosa sent down. We have a 25 year old SS and 23 year old 2B a 23 year old Catcher and a bullpen that is one of the best in the league. OK, enough rambling. I just love when we play this well. How many games is this without an error??Go Nats!!

  112. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Sorry Anon- Yep. Werth got his quota Go Nats!!!!!

  113. Not Anon - May 12, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Hey Negative Anon — you told us that the Nats would return from the road trip in last place.

  114. Mark'd - May 12, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    JaneB, I am loving this like all Nats fans and Espi is Gold Glove calibre 2nd baseman but that doesn't change hoe bad he looks at the plate. I never said to replace him as he will get found soon.

  115. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    Not Anon- I think the negative Anon went back to Philly to boo Werth :)Awesome win!

  116. FS - May 12, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    Stop questioning everything. Why is this happening? Why is that happening? We are not the manager of this team. Riggs is hired to do the job and I say, he is doing a great job with our struggling offense, solid pitching, good baserunning, and decent defense. Let us chill for a minute and enjoy the win. And phil dunn, I am not sure if we were watching the same player last season. Kennedy was pretty crappy in the beginning of the season.

  117. fpcsteve - May 12, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Nix, Cora, and Hairston–not everyone loves the vets, but I do. Solid performances from those guys. The Nats are finding ways to win. In my experience that doesn't go away. 4/5 is a good road trip. 5/4 would be excellent. Go Nats!

  118. Unkyd - May 12, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Right with you, sjm…. It's frustrating, to be sure to follow a club that's just starting to compete…and easy to forget that, even the best hitters fail 6-7 times out of 10. Pleads tell me i don't have to adopt Espi, too! These kids keep the fridge empty…..Also….on a wholly unrelated note…. FEAR THE TURGEON!!!(wanted to be the first to say it……)

  119. natsfan1a - May 12, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    I love me some extra-inning baseball! Who'd a thunk after the Phillies series that we'd be 4-5 for the trip with one game to go?

  120. Drew8 - May 12, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    The Nats are .500 and Harper's hitting .396!Dunno which is more amazin'.WOO HOO!

  121. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    Harper went 4-5 with a grand slam and 5 RBI. Yep, .396 BA!

  122. masnstinks - May 12, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Very clutchy tonight! Love the extra innings win!

  123. josh f - May 12, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Great win! Nice to see Nix staying hot, Cora contributing off the bench like a pro, and Desi and Werth getting some sweet redemption in the 11th. Goodnight, everybody.

  124. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    fpcsteve said… Nix, Cora, and Hairston–not everyone loves the vets, but I do._____________________________Let's be fair on this, easy to love the Vets after what Cora did tonight and hard to forgive that caught stealing at 3rd by Hairston.This game was pushed into extras by Slaten's relief HR to the 1st batter he saw and who knows what Desmond does facing the lefty Eric O'Flaherty in the 7th with Hairston on 2nd if he doesn't get caught stealing versus Venters in the 8th to start the inning.Gotta take the W and also happy about it.

  125. Unkyd - May 12, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    Paging Dr. NegAnon…. Dr. NegAnon?….

  126. dryw - May 12, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Unkyd, you can send the boys over to my house when your provisions run low. I've been wanting to bake 'em some cookies anyway!

  127. Unkyd - May 12, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    Heh heh….. Gnite, all….

  128. Manassas Nats Fan - May 12, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Did anyone else notice besides Big Cat and I that in the 11 th inning the hits all came on the first strike? That is what I have been calling for all season.

  129. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Unkyd said…Also….on a wholly unrelated note…. FEAR THE TURGEON!!!_________________________As a Terp alum, Terp dad, I am loving it and the Turgeon red tie!

  130. SonnyG10 - May 12, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    I was planning on gripeing about Hairston's attempted steal of 3rd with 2 outs and Slaten's gofer ball, and Morse's pathetic at bat, but looks like this was very well covered here already. So I'll just say UNBLEVEABLE win. I had considered this game lost. We really snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. Awesome! Go Nats!!!!!!

  131. Veteran's Win It For Nats - May 12, 2011 at 3:46 AM

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14714819SonnyG10, just in case you want to listen to the Braves announcers calling the Hairston caught stealing.

  132. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Anonymous8 said… CWJ – Why would you ass-ume Riggleman called for the steal? I could see Riggles taking it on his shoulders when he is asked about it but I don't see it.May 11, 2011 9:19 PM ___________________________________ "Jerry thought he saw something there that he could get a break and that's on me. If he had it to do over, he wouldn't go and if I had it to do over, I would have anticipated that he might and put the hold on. You don't have a crystal ball. You don't know if we would have gotten a hit there to score the run. It was an aggressive mistake but Jerry's a pro. He was the first one over there saying Hey, Skip, I'm sorry about that, I screwed up, but I told him, We both did. I should have thought that you might go and held you. It's on both of us."I called this one right. Hairston steals on his own and Riggleman tried to deflect the blame on himself. Luckily it didn't cost the Nats the W, but you have to wonder how tight Hairston's brain is screwed in for one of those moments of "What were you thinking"?….oh that's right, you weren't….

  133. natsfan1a - May 12, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Oops, my math was off on the road trip last night. 4-4 with one game to go. I swear I lose brain cells every time they play at Turner and I have to watch the fans feebly flailing their flaccid foam hatchets. I miss some in-game commentary as well, because I tend to hit the mute button when the chants start up. Ick. In other news, I had trouble getting to sleep last night because I was so pumped about the comeback and extra-inning win. It's a nice problem to have! :-)

  134. natsfan1a - May 12, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Oh, and it seems that cwj has called a few wins lately. Might be time to buy a lottery ticket…

  135. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Just finished reading through the entire thread and cemented my resolve to NOT COMMENT on in game situations in real time. People, you can't judge this game snapshot by snapshot! I guess this comes from not having Mark on site to do this.At any rate, hats off to Riggs on another well managed game, using all the tools at hand, whether they executed or not.

  136. Rabbit - May 12, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    See what Werth can do when he doesn't stand there like a light pole on the first pitch!

  137. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    NatsJack, I think the point is not jumping to conclusions and accusations until all the facts are in as in the Hairston "caught stealing".The Bixler move to bunt, the Marquis move to pinch run were both good maneuvers by Riggles that didn't result in runs but were set up very well.

  138. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    It's now all Espinosa's fault?

  139. Ernie - May 12, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Is it just me, or is our road record better this year than last year at this point? And shouldn't Riggleman be getting credit for the improvement in our record in extra-inning games? Then again, wasn't this about the point last year where the wheels fell off?

  140. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Ernie said… Then again, wasn't this about the point last year where the wheels fell off? Are you inferring that the wheels are about to fall off? If anything the Nationals just might be about to take off. The only thing, howbeit a big thing, holding them back had been their bats. And unlike a few who believe that their pitching will regress, I expect it will get better as the bats liven up which will relax pitchers and enable them to throw freely. Look for the Nationals including the last five games to go 15 – 5 and get several games above .500…

  141. JD - May 12, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    NatsJack, I think it's the nature of baseball fans to 'manage' every single situation. A key point to remember is that a decision is not necessarily wrong when the results fail and it's not necessarily right when the results are good. When you are a manager you don't have the luxury of second guessing. With few exceptions Riggleman has used the weapons at his disposal brilliantly this year and I for one am happy to admit that I underestimated him. Just as people were crazy about Espinosa at the start of the year; they are now panicking about his recent struggles. The reality as usual is somewhere in the middle. He will find his level of competence and we will all see if that is good enough; truth is we don't know yet.

  142. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    I like the way you think, UNTERP.NAT. And people need to understand, this team is NOTHING like last years team, inspite of what the usual suspects think.

  143. sjm308 - May 12, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Not really having anything to do with the game, since that has been covered. We went 5-0 yesterday which I can't remember happening this season. Serious question to our experts. What would be the harm in jumping Harper to AA and missing Potomac (beside the grief it would cause our local season ticket holders). Is it just good form that all FO's follow or is there a method. I have to admit, I am local and have not seen a minor league game since driving to Frederick years ago. What does Potomac do for Bryce that AA can't.Broom is lying in wait.Go Nats !!

  144. JD - May 12, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    NatsJack, I posted many times about the need to avoid rushing Harper through the minors as I am a believer in the step by step approach but I really don't see the benefit of keeping him in Hagerstown any longer; he is clearly way too good for that league. I think it's time to move up one level; let it it play through the summer and take it from there.

  145. Ernie - May 12, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    Unterp -I'm really just mulling things over more than anything else. It seems like this is the time of the season when you find out what a team is "really" like. I'm excited – I agree it looks like we on an upswing at the moment. Between now and the beginning of interleague play (which I'm still not used to and seems to slow down the season and my own enthusiasm) I think we'll find out what we really have.

  146. Knoxville Nat - May 12, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Pretty classy move by Riggleman for trying to take the heat off of Hairston on that ill fated steal attempt. But then Riggs is a very classy guy.

  147. Andrew - May 12, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    The Nats were 3-10 last year in extra innings games. It was a point of emphasis to turn that around in 2011. This year so far in extra innings games, 5-1.That is a dramatic turnaround how this team gets up for these "free baseball" innings. This is probably where the veteran prescence has had the greatest impact as Riggleman clears the bench.Amazing….

  148. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    JD….I totally agree with your take on "in game" comments as well as Espinosa.My approach to in game comments while at the game are completely different from my approach to posting on a blog. At the game, shear emotion rules the day and instant judgement flies out of my mouth non-stop, but watching on TV, rushing to my computer to post my anger/glee at a current situation takes away from my ability to process the total game experience.Oh, I'll spew venom/accolades instantly while watching but taking the time to post them seems moot by the time the next pitch takes place.I guess what I'm saying is, I wouldn't post my in game experiences instantly while at the game, so why would I do it at home. We all have too much emotion attached to these Nats to be judging them pitch by pitch, at bat by at bat, and in alot of cases, inning by inning, especially when some of us are prone to want/expect them to repeat past years performances.And as for Espinosa, his swing is still way too long from the left side and it's something he and Eckstine work on ever day.

  149. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… And as for Espinosa, his swing is still way too long from the left side and it's something he and Eckstine work on ever day. I think Espi thinks he's Mickey Mantle…

  150. JD - May 12, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    SJM, It's not a question of harm; it's about graduating a level before you move up; each promotion can be accelerated based on achievements but there is no upside to skipping 'grades'. There is no rush to get Harper to DC quickly; the team is still a couple of years away from having it's young pitchers fully developed; Harper still has some maturity issues to overcome and he's still only 18 years old. Patience everyone.

  151. A DC Wonk - May 12, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Repeating a question I asked earlier: why did Riggs use Clippard in a situation where he was four runs up?As for HArper: I agree, no need to rush, and definitely no need to skip Potomac. There are a lot of brilliant prospects (throughout the league) in AA. Let Harper do well at Potomac first.As for how he's doing — I love compiling stats like this:He leads the Sally League in BA, SLG and RBI's, 2nd in OBP, 3rd in hits. One off the lead in HR's and doubles.And the only guys close to him in those departments are all four years older (22) than Harper (18).

  152. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Harper will be promoted to Potomac but it won't happen until there are coinciding moves to be made. That probably won't happen for another couple of weeks and I really believe the organization would like to see him play in the Sally League All-Star game in mid June. As I stated yesterday, this would work with the upcoming draft and Jackie Bradley is an out fielder projected to be available and coveted by the Nats as a sandwich pick who could replace Bryce in Hagerstown while someone in Potomac could advance to AA.

  153. JD - May 12, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    DC Wonk, I think that yours is a relevant question. Deep down Riggleman only trusts the big 3 not to blow a game regardless of the lead and last night was too great a comeback to risk. I think he was afraid that HRod would start walking people and bring the Braves back into the game. My position is that if you can't trust a reliever to get 3 outs before he gives up 4 runs they shouldn't be on the team; you can't use Clippard every day. I think that the big 3 should be off limits tonight even at the cost of the game.

  154. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Repeating a question I asked earlier: why did Riggs use Clippard in a situation where he was four runs up?I'm not really trying to be a smart ass. You can't get caught up in the numbers, 4 as opposed to 3. Why did he use Clippard? Because he wanted to win the game. Who left in the bullpen would give them the best chance not to screw it up? Clippard. Not that I'm anything, I would have done the exact same thing. "You play to win the game." Herman Edwards… ..

  155. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    JD said… I think that the big 3 should be off limits tonight even at the cost of the game. I love these last two juxtaposed opposite opinion posts…

  156. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Put me in the Tyler Clippard camp. Give me Clippard everytime when you've fought that hard to come back against a division rival.

  157. Steve M. - May 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Absolutely, Tyler Clippard as the Nats were going into the heart of the Braves order with Chipper than McCann.

  158. Jeeves - May 12, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Love the alliteration, natsfan1. Not to mention the innuendo.(which I might be imagining).

  159. Steve M. - May 12, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    JD said… Deep down Riggleman only trusts the big 3 not to blow a game regardless of the lead and last night was too great a comeback to risk. I think he was afraid that HRod would start walking people and bring the Braves back into the game.My position is that if you can't trust a reliever to get 3 outs before he gives up 4 runs they shouldn't be on the team; you can't use Clippard every day. May 12, 2011 9:33 AM JD – I agree with you 100% which is why I have a problem here. Riggleman can't trust Slaten, HenRod or Broderick unless the team is behind or it is mop up duty. Probably wouldn't trust Balester if he was here too. Let's repeat, the #1 strength of the team last year was the bullpen when you had the big 4 of Burnett, Clip-Store-n-Save (Capps). You need to add a 4th to this list, and I don't think Coffey is the 4th although he looked great last night.I am not a win now at all expense person, but you have to get rid of Slaten and replace him with a quality lefty. McCatty has to put in overtime with HenRod. Broderick either earns his way or send him back to St. Louis.

  160. Big Cat - May 12, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Great great win for this young ballclub. I had pretty much conceded a well played 3-1 loss. Then Hairston and Cora come thru against one of the best relievers in the league……are you kiddin me!I too am getting worried about Espinosa at the plate. He looks totally overmatched. Not good.

  161. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Big Cat said…I too am getting worried about Espinosa at the plate. He looks totally overmatched. Not good. He's only a rookie. It may take him two years to get fully acclimated. Espi is a smart guy. He'll make the adjustments…

  162. Steve M. - May 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    I will give you a strange parallel to Saturday's game in Durham where the Syracuse Chiefs went into extra innings and in the top of the 11th Corey Brown steps in for his 1st at-bat of the game and smashes a huge 2 run HR and the Chiefs added 1 more for a 3 run lead.JD Martin comes in to close out the bottom of the 11th and gives up a HR to the 1st batter and walks the 2nd batter. Adam Carr gives up the walk-off winner and the Chiefs lose. How quickly they gave up 4 runs.Riggleman was very aware of that game and after using Burnett and Storen was only going to use Clippard.

  163. fpcsteve - May 12, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Just a question based on some of yesterday's comments and this morning's relection on the BP. Just say for the sake of discussion Slaten isn't dependable. OK, who is? You need a lefthander. Some say Detwiler is the man for that spot (as opposed to being a starter). Do you bring him up, put him in the bullpen, and do on-the-job training in DC? Let's say that happens and it works. Who is the lefthanded SP the Nats have in the farm system that isn't more than a year away? Just a question to which I don't have answers. Just wondering what everyone else thinks…

  164. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    JD is right though…

  165. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I suppose the Nats are the only team with guys in the bull pen not trusted to close out an important win. Both Broderick and Rodriguez have not been part of the mix long enough to gain the trust of the coaching staff to be placed in last nights situation.JD and Steve M., you guys are too saavy to think you trust that game to anyone else other than Clippard. And Clippard, when on his game, is equally effective against both lefties and righties.It won't be long and you will see both Balester and Kimball in the mix. And we do not need a LOOGY, inspite of popular thinking.

  166. Steve M. - May 12, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    fpcsteve, you have Gorzelanny and Lannan as your lefties now and some teams only have 1 lefty starter. Solis is the lefty I am watching for the future though he won't be here for a while.

  167. NatsJack in Florida - May 12, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Sorry Steve M… I saw your post on not trusting and inadvertenly lumped that in with not wanting Clip in there. My Bad.

  168. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    fpcsteve said… About Detwiler you got to remember he had been injured (and surgery) the last couple of seasons. No farm system for several years, rushed to the majors, lefty who throws 92 – 93. Got to give him more time to develop as a starter IMO, but aint against him in the bullpen. I think Riggleman would trust him for two or three innings if called upon and for situational moments against lefties. Don't know what they have lefty wise down under other than Detwiler…

  169. Steve M. - May 12, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    NatsJack, agreed that the Nats don't need a LOOGY and I have never suggested that once. I don't like one-dimensional relievers and I don't like one-dimensional bench players. Stairs is a LOHGY (Lefty One Hit Guy) or maybe he is a LOOGY (wink). I want another lefty like Burnett to come in and shut down a Ryan Howard or a Ike Davis or a Brian McCann and stay in the game to get out whoever follows in the inning.

  170. Feel Wood - May 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Riggleman brought Clippard in with them up by four for the plain and simple reason that when he started throwing in the bullpen (i.e. when Pudge pinch hit for Storen guaranteeing there would need to be a pitcher change) the score was still tied. There was no way of knowing they'd lay a four spot on the Braves in the top of that inning. And with Clippard already warmed up, it would have been stupid not to bring him in to finish it off.

  171. fpcsteve - May 12, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    If Detwiler needs another pitch (as suggested here yesterday), and if the Nats trade a starter in July, and if they bring up Maya (who is curently pitching well), then Detwiler can stay in Syracuse until September and compete for a starting job next spring. I like that scenario for the reason UNTERP.Nat suggests–develop players as opposed to rushing them up. If that happens, the Nats should have a good read on Detwiler. They will know that he will help them in DC or help in acquiring other players in a trade. On an unrelated note, I wonder how Greinke is liking Milwaukee about now? A little unpastoral snark from the preacher…

  172. PAY TO PLAY - May 12, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    http://centralny.ynn.com/content/sports/542654/chiefs-lose-in-11th/Here is video to the Saturday meltdown by the Chiefs.Also of note, Corey Brown made some adjustments to his swing and is raking now and since May 2nd hitting over .315

  173. Doc - May 12, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    By my estimation, Clip has thrown about 35 pitches the last 2 games in the land of phoney tomahawks. He should be off limits tonight as JD has suggested.Burnett was like his old self last night, and his lately pitch-count is much less than Clip and probably should be available for some brief action tonight.Storen should be available, but with the Fish coming to NatsLand on the weekend, I'd be inclined to hold him back like Clip.Coffey did well last night (4Ks) but he should probably not come back until the Fish get to town.It's time Riggleman bit the bullet and put Broderick and HRod to work; either they develop or they don't. BallyStar and Kimball probably could offer more to the team than some of the other spare parts currently hanging around the dugout and BP.Overusing relievers is too easy for managers; developing other talent is harder—but it has to be done. Having Stor and Cip develop arm problems will be laid at Riggleman's office door.

  174. Mark'd - May 12, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Feelwood, you are correct that Clippard was warming but he could have sat him down with men on 1st and 3rd. You are making an assumption which Riggleman didn't address either way. He easily could have had HRod or Broderick get up and didn't.

  175. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Solis is the lefty I am watching for the future though he won't be here for a while.Cory Van Allen is pitching well (another power pitcher from the left side), as is Josh Smoker. These are former starters and former high end prospects who appear to be dong well pitching in relief. They are also older prospects so one could and should expect them to move quickly through the system. The first is in Harrisburg, the other in Potomac.Sammy Solis is projected as a STARTER not a LOGY or LOOGY ;) at this point.

  176. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Followup to the last note: Its likely why 40-man roster player and left-handed reliever Atahualpo Severino is still in X-ST and not pitching in Syracuse? The only lefty reliever in Syracuse is newer acquisition Lee Hyde who is no longer on the 40-man.There's a conundrum for you? Anyone have a take on what happened to Attie Severino?

  177. Steve M. - May 12, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Steve M. said… fpcsteve, you have Gorzelanny and Lannan as your lefties now and some teams only have 1 lefty starter. Solis is the lefty I am watching for the future though he won't be here for a while. May 12, 2011 10:36 AM To add to this, I believe Solis has officially been assigned to Potomac A+

  178. erocks33 - May 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    For me, the question isn't why was Clippard in last night's game (I agree with Feel Wood) but rather why was he or Burnett used in Tuesday's game? There, the Nats were up 7-2 in the 8th when Riggs decided to pull Marquis. At that point, he should have trotted Slaten or Coffey or HRod and not Burnett.As for Espi … he needs to choke up on the bat a little, especially when he bats left-handed. Eckstein needs to instill in him that he shouldn't be swinging for the fences every time and that his first thought should simply be to make good contact. And to do that, you need to choke up on the bat. Slide your hands up as little as one-inch and you'd be surprised how much more contact you could make with the bat.Finally, as for Slaten … he just needs to go. If he has options, send him down to SYR to straighten out whatever it is that's not working. Bring up Balester, he can help out in the 7th/8th inning, thus freeing up Burnett to be the one to get lefties out (heck, he can even stay in to get righties out as well).

  179. PAY TO PLAY - May 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Anonymous said… Cory Van Allen is pitching well (another power pitcher from the left side), as is Josh Smoker. These are former starters and former high end prospects who appear to be dong well pitching in relief. They are also older prospects so one could and should expect them to move quickly through the system. The first is in Harrisburg, the other in Potomac.May 12, 2011 11:20 AM Good info! Josh Smoker has been doing well as a reliever. Keep in mind that he came back from shoulder surgery back in 2008. That would be a great story if he makes it to Washington to pitch.

  180. JD - May 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    NatsJack, The fan in me was ecstatic that Clippard came in to close out a great win but the idea that you have players on the roster that can't be trusted to retire 3 hitters before giving up 4 runs is disturbing. I have very vivid recollections of a very mediocre Tyler Clippard during the last half of last year and I can't help thinking that this was a by-product of heavy overuse in the 1st half. Sometimes a win in May can cost you a bunch of loses in July and August. I am not claiming to be an expert on bullpen management by this is my observation.

  181. Big Cat - May 12, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Detwiler is currently 2-2 with a 4.46 era giving up 43 hits in 33 innings. Fair. I watched him get hammered for two years at Potomac as a starter. It seems like that second and third time through the line up he runs into problems. He has a loose, live arm which could probably handle throwing 2-3 days in a row. I think his future in the majors will be a situational lefty or long reliefBurnette was much more effective last night, his 2nd night in a row. My man Coffey had very good stuff. Need to see HRod more, but agree, he's a little bit wild to bring into close games. But I'll tell ya, our pitching has been tremendous all year

  182. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    UNTERP.NAT said… It's now all Espinosa's fault? So does that mean that Espinosa needs to have a baby?

  183. Big Cat - May 12, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    AND….We have Strasburg waiting in the wings. Also Cole Kimball still hasn't allowed a run in 13 innings and 8 games in short relief. He also is a mid 90's guy. And what about free agency. I'm sure Rizzo will be shopping hard this off season. Things are looking very good.

  184. UNTERP.NAT - May 12, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Anonymous said… UNTERP.NAT said… It's now all Espinosa's fault? So does that mean that Espinosa needs to have a baby?Well, yes. Unkyd started this. Didn't want to steal his schtick. But damn, you read my mind but I'm ridiculous anyway. I was going to write something like him starting a family so if he got started on it he would be good for next year. LOL…

  185. Feel Wood - May 12, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    "The fan in me was ecstatic that Clippard came in to close out a great win but the idea that you have players on the roster that can't be trusted to retire 3 hitters before giving up 4 runs is disturbing."If you think of Clippard as a can of propane that has to last the entire grilling season, remember that every time you start to warm up the grill you're burning some of that gas. If you're going to make the decision to turn the grill on last night, then it makes total sense to go ahead and cook dinner on the grill even though you ate too many cocktail peanuts while it was warming up and you're not hungry enough to eat that whole steak any more. If you switch to a cup of soup instead, you're not getting back that gas you used up warming the grill.

  186. Anonymous - May 12, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Translate

  187. Unkyd - May 12, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    We should all agree to share the schtick…for the greater good!It worked with the pancakes…..And, the next time a couple of errors cost us a game (which he would claim we had no business winning, anyway, lol)…. We can schtick it to NegAnon!

  188. Cwj - May 12, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    As for in game comments, I enjoy talking to you guys during the game. It's interesting to speculate on what might happen later in the game, mention good/bad plays, etc.I do miss Mark's in-game commentary though.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 67 10.0
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 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.

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