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Game 49: Nats at Brewers

May 25, 2011, 3:27 PM EST

US Presswire photo
The Nats need to win today to avoid a sweep at Miller Park.

After a blowout loss Monday night and a gut-wrenching loss last night, the Nationals are right back on the field at Miller Park this afternoon for their series finale with the Brewers. Milwaukee sends newly acquired ace Zack Greinke (who spurned an offer from the Nats over the winter) to the mound, making the challenge all the more daunting.

If there is a silver lining to things right now, it does appear several key members of the Nationals' lineup are getting hot at the plate. Jayson Werth is hitting .343 with a 1.010 OPS over his last nine games. Michael Morse is hitting .410 with an 1.128 OPS in 16 games this month. And Ian Desmond has nine hits (including four doubles) over his last five games.

All of this, of course, means nothing if the Nats don't get good pitching. So the onus today is on Jason Marquis, who labored through four innings Friday night in Baltimore and then got into it with Jim Riggleman after getting pulled before he was eligible for the win. A quality, bounce-back performance from Marquis today would appear to be critical.

You already know I'm not in Milwaukee, so enjoy the game among yourselves. I'll be back blogging live from Nationals Park Friday night for the start of the homestand…

NATIONALS at BREWERS
Where: Miller Park
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 183
Weather: Roof closed

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (21-27)
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix

Read more »

123 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Manassas Nats Fan - May 25, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Get'em boys.Play like you mean it.

  2. natsfan1a - May 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    What Manassas said. Let's go NATS!!

  3. Bowdenball - May 25, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Great to see Morse, Werth and Desmond hitting. Let's face it folks- we weren't going to the playoffs this year no matter what. With that in mind, the most troubling development this year other than Zimmerman's injury has been the lack of production from guys that we hope will be contributors to a contending club in a couple years. Now we're starting to really see those guys hit the way we hoped they would. It's been a rough week, but in my opinion that silver lining is pretty good consolation.

  4. SCNatsFan - May 25, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    I agree Bowdenball… we need to see some of these players we are pinning our hopes to start to be the players we all hope they can be

  5. Harper is Awesome - May 25, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Let's see how were gonna lose today? What do you guys think? Let up a first inning homerun? Clippard give up a moonshot? Greinke pitch a complete game shutout? I think that we will lose 5-2? ANy bets?

  6. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    It'll be over by the 3rd inning.

  7. UNTERP.NAT - May 25, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I thought I was supposed to be the negative one. I say they win 7 – 2…

  8. UNTERP.NAT - May 25, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    they (the Nats)

  9. Not Werth It - May 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    The Nats commit a costly error that cost them 2 runs and the lead in the 8th inning, tying the game and setting the stage for a gutwrenching end to a sweep.Then Morse comes through with his 3rd HR in 3 games to take the lead in the 9th, and Storen closes it out. Final score Nats 6, Brew Crew 4Other bold prediction: Matt Stairs gets on base.

  10. estoppel.08 - May 25, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    I agree with Bowdenball, too. In addition, I am getting comfortable with Desmond's defense. Nowadays, he is charging to ground balls rather than waiting with square foot. Go Nats! Beat Greinke!

  11. Harper is Awesome - May 25, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Im getting tired of losing every game..how bout you? and tyler clippard has been not very good lately.Need a very good start from Marquis today

  12. Ghost of Rob Dibble - May 25, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I think they (the Nats) are due for a 0-1 run performance. Since the beginning of May, they've scored 0 or 1 run roughly once every 3 or 4 games. They're due. Expect it.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - May 25, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Well at 2 – 0 already, I think I'll switch over to the Casey Anthony trial.

  14. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Two runs behind, already, at the end of the first inning. The way the Nots have been playing, they might as well be 20 runs behind. You can put this game in the Loss column and go back to your midday nap.

  15. Tim - May 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Anon 1:32… Troll alert.

  16. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 25, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    W.W. Top of the third–Did Marquis fail to get bunt down, or was he swinging away?

  17. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Hey Timmy. Don't get so excited about the game. It may keep you awake!

  18. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Matty Stairs … slow, sluggish, pudgy … and near sighted … I wonder if they'll let him out of the dugout with a right hander pitching … I'll be there waiting peering between white cap and trough … waiting …. he'll never see me coming … wonder if he tastes like chicken?

  19. Nattydread - May 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Little life, people. Its not over til its over.

  20. RickH - May 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Michael MORSE!!!

  21. Not Werth It - May 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    MORSE TIES IT! That one is GONE, GOODBYEwell, I at least called Morse's homer

  22. Knoxville Nat - May 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Michael Morse with another dinger!! Tie game folks!

  23. Nattydread - May 25, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    See? Morse gets us back in!!!!

  24. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Mikey Morse, Mikey Morse, Mikey …. Morse almost hit me in the eye with that thang …but Matty Stairs is lagging behind the dugout …. an easy snack for a hungry shark …

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    "Morst" is too a word!

  26. Grandstander - May 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    .- -. — – …. . .-. / -.. .. -. –. . .-. / ..-. — .-. / — — .-. … .!!!

  27. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Hmmm Pudge is looking a lot more "pudgy" lately … and a bit near sighted … if I can't devour a Stairs I wonder what a "Pudge' would taste like? Maybe Jamaican Jerk chicken?

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 25, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    so …Did Marquis fail to get bunt down, or was he swinging away?

  29. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Marquis? I heard he might go to Colorado soon to visit my relative the Wendigo?

  30. Debbie Taylor - May 25, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Hart – 9Morse – 8Who ends the series with more ribbies?

  31. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    I like ribbies … especially the kind with lots of meat on them.

  32. SCNatsFan - May 25, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    With Morse replacing LaRoche who was hitting squat we can really make some headway if we can get some solid production out of LF. We can't replace his glove at 1B – Desmond must be hating that – but we can become a better offensive team playing a 1B who has two functional shoulders.

  33. Tim the Enchanter - May 25, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Is Nick Johnson available?

  34. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Good job guys!

  35. Ron Swanson - May 25, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Time to go to the 'pen!

  36. WilliamTells - May 25, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Greinke rejects us and then hits the GW HR against us. You can't make this stuff up.

  37. NG - May 25, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Great work there by the 7-8-9 trio of Pudge-Hairston-Ankiel to give Greinke a 7 pitch 7th inning so he can get even deeper into the game.

  38. Dave - May 25, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    The strike-out totals for this team is just ridiculous. I had realistic hopes for this team to maybe creep up to .500 ball this year. This will be a dreadful year if the strikeouts continue and the inevitable regression towards the norm for the Nat's starting pitchers.

  39. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    dave jagler is losing his mind right now

  40. SCNatsFan - May 25, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    If the Nats were a college football team every team would want to schedule them for homecoming.

  41. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I caught a glimpse of slow, sluggish pudgy Matty Stairs … Coffey looks pudgy enough but Coffey tastes kind of bitter … bad for reflux.

  42. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    We can't replace his glove at 1B – Desmond must be hating that – but we can become a better offensive team playing a 1B who has two functional shoulders.Morse looks pretty comfortable there … he has plenty of athleticism for that position. I don't think you lose that much post-LaRoche. Honestly, it looks like a definite PLUS at this point given the injury? LaRoche could never really hit right out of ST so … But you know Riggleman loves to double-switch Morse so one minor issue and you'll see Cora (and now he's got Ankiel taking grounders at first?) Riggleman really and truly makes one wonder … they say he's average … I just don't see it … below average at best and his winning percentage matches his ability as a major league manager.

  43. Knoxville Nat - May 25, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Could Nationals Rapture Shark also be known as "Poopy McPoop"?

  44. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Ohhhh nasssty … I hate that nasty Inner Harbor water … Babe Ruth's diapers are still floating around down there … nassssty ….

  45. Poopy McPoop - May 25, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    I am Poopy McPoop, Natinals fan.

  46. nicefellow31 - May 25, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Oh no. How did Poopy find this site? Go back to WAPO please. No trolls please.

  47. Nationals Rapture Shark - May 25, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Yessss there he is … I spy between white cap and trough … in the dugout a shiny bald head its one pudgy, slow, sluggish happy meal: Matt Stairs !!!!

  48. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    This team is a bunch of turd farmers.

  49. Poopy McPoop - May 25, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Hey I resemble that remark!!!

  50. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Mark, will anyone in the media question Mr. Lerner on this team's consistently low payroll and it's annual May collapse? This is getting old.

  51. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    First Post this ThreadI am so glad I didn't watch this game. It's just more frustration.I have concluded that we are a mediocre team. When we lost Zimm, we played over our head for a little while. Now things are reverting to how we really should play with him out every day.A forgettable, mediocre team, nothing more.

  52. JayB - May 25, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Come on Mark can not even get an interview with the hitting coach….or travel to away games…he is not going to ask Lerner anything…..June 1st as I predicted…Riggs is fired and this team takes off.

  53. Les in NC - May 25, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    JayB,The 1st is right around the corner, who is gonna take Riggs' spot? Why/How is the next guy gonna make that much difference?

  54. dryw - May 25, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Michael Morse may be streaky….but the hot streaks sure are fun!! Now, let's come home to Nats Park and win a few.

  55. JayB - May 25, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Porter is the next interum guy and just like riggs before him change with walk up some gues and porter will put some fear into a team that has stopped hearing a thing riggs says

  56. phil dunn - May 25, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    JayB, Why does firing Riggleman change anything? Rizzo will just hire another loser manager who will work for the minimum wage. If they fire Eckstein, they will replace him with Will Nieves.

  57. JD - May 25, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    JayB, Were you one of the people who predicted the end of the world on May 21st?

  58. HHover - May 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    JayBThese predictions sound a bit like that guy who said the rapture would take place last Saturday. As I understand it, he proclaimed after the fact that Saturday really was Judgment day, but we just didn't notice–it was an invisible Judgment day. Will your prediction of Riggleman's firing on June 1 work the same way?

  59. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Werth is going wellMorse is confident and hot — good for him –Desmond is hitting, but still not a serious playerEspinosa needs two years seasoningHairston is … well … Hairston 'nuff saidPudge is a plusNix is aggressive but averageBernadina is struggling to make the transition to being a big leaguerWow, are we ever in trouble.

  60. Debbie Taylor - May 25, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    phil dunn said…"JayB, Why does firing Riggleman change anything? Rizzo will just hire another loser manager who will work for the minimum wage. If they fire Eckstein, they will replace him with Will Nieves"Who?

  61. masnstinks - May 25, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Have you notice that we have shifted away from making the move that would win the game and into the " testing out the roster" phase. We now are putting in Kimball and Rodriguez to see what they do in certain situations and to give them experience. So the rest of this year is just a marathon spring training / rehab for the 2012 season. Seriously, how do these guys get up for games at this point? Now, in Milwaukee , we are scoring runs and our previously solid solid pitching and bullpen is starting to fray.The trials and tribulations of a Nats fan.

  62. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    All this talk about Riggleman getting fired is ridiculous.Look what he has to work with — we're lucky to be only 5 games under .500I dont see anyone calling for Showalter's job in Baltimore.Grow up people. fire the team or Rizzo, but none of this is any of Riggleman's fault.

  63. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    to MasnStinks: Why not experiment — we need to see who can play major league baseball and who can't. If we're experimenting though, let's experiment with Harper — bring him up.

  64. josh f - May 25, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    This road trip reminds me of the series last year in Houston – painful reality check. We're just not that good right now. On the bright side, we have 3 of the first 34 picks in the draft in a few weeks. Mark, can you tell us anything new about who Rizzo and Co. are scouting?

  65. Constant Reader - May 25, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I know this never goes over well here, but I'll say it again anyway. Zim is one of the top 10 players in the NL, a two-time silver slugger winner. Given what is being asked of Ramos, Espi, Desi and Bernadina (rookies and sophs), having Zim’s bat in the lineup as opposed to Hairston obviously helps. And it is also pretty clear that LaRoche has played hurt all year. He can’t hit. His DL trip coinciding with Morse heating up is not a coincidence. When Zim comes back, I’m willing to wager we’ll see a 15 point improvement in our batting average and a 50 point improvement in OPS. Both would put us in the top half of the NL. Want some of this action?

  66. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    You can probably forget Zim having much of an impact this season. The after effects from the surgery and rustiness wiil negatively impact him. After he does a lengthy rehab assignment, the season will be more than half over.

  67. Bobby Knight - May 25, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    I tivoed the game don't tell me the score, I think we can still win

  68. masnstinks - May 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    The hole created by Ryan Zimmerman is just huge. In addition to the dry baseball-type stuff, he is just a joy to watch. Danny can be sparkling, Bernie occasionally – but Zim does it all – at the plate and in the field – he just makes the game entertaining to watch – and you never know when he might walk-off. I really miss walk-offs, and come-from-behind rallies. I don't "expect it" at all.

  69. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    The fire Riggs stuff seems to be too much, and the lack of anyone saying fire Rizzo seems to be too little. This is Rizzo's second complete stinker of a roster. He had more money than God to work with in the off-season in 2009 and the same again this year (only even more money available) and this is the best he could do? The MLB club is at best treading water in last verusus the NL East field, the farm is still middle of the pack at best. The club is in a new publicly financed park in a monster market, with top 10 ticket prices. This ownership and GM cannot assemble a roster that has a chance over a period of years in this environment? And still people in here call for patience and applaud the smallest improvement? E.g., Desmond makes a handful of the plays that he should make every day and it is some cause for celebration? Until the club feels the heat from the fans that it is not OK to stumble along in last place, they will do the same things they have been doing to stay in last place every year cinse the Lerners took control. As recenrtly as the other night Rizzo claimed the club was playing great baseball, just scuffling to score runs — what team is he watching?

  70. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Woe is us Zim got hurt – come on; every club deals with injuries to big time players. The problem is that the Nats have only two big time position players. That is management's fault.

  71. Anonymous - May 25, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Now we know why Stan Kasten quit and the fans are quitting too. There's no reason to go to the ballpark. There are cheaper forms of agony.

  72. Cwj - May 26, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    What # do the Nats draft in the 1st round this year?

  73. Cwj - May 26, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    I'm not quitting on this team!Even if they lose the rest of their games (well, maybe then).

  74. Get Some Players - May 26, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    This team needs to be shaken up. Time to call up some youngsters from the minors. They can't be any worse than some of these guys. Why does the ownership of this team do this to the fans every year?

  75. Cwj - May 26, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Staff ERAs (for those that don't feel like looking it up). Still doing ok, but the bullpen took a bit of a beating in Milwaukee.Starters (Really not too bad at all):Hernandez- 3.71 Marquis- 4.26Lannan- 5.03Gorzelanny- 3.56Zimmermann- 3.98Bullpen:Storen- 1.48Clippard- 2.28Coffey- 1.89Burnett- 5.60Rodriguez- 2.53Slaten- 2.31Kimball- 5.06

  76. Ernie - May 26, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Why would bringing up minor league players improve anything? Bringing up players who are still adjusting to AAA ball seems to serve little purpose beyond change for change's sake. If that's what you like, watch the Redskins. I still do not know what deal Rizzo passed up this winter that would have made the team better. Having money doesn't get you anything if the players aren't available or willing to sign. Again, cf. Redskins.Reading the blog this year is strange – It's like watching the same season as last year, only with stupider people.Of course, I'm not referring to everyone. I still appreciate the (increasingly rare) postings from 1a, NatsJack, JaneB, Wally, Wonk, SC, Cwj, Unkyd, Steve, Manassas, and the dozen or so others whose handles all escape me. I feel like there are others who we're lost along the way too.Someone else quoted T.S. Eliot the other day, but I'm starting to think of the anonymice as Hollow Men:We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats' feet over broken glass In our dry cellarThis is the way the blog ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.It was fun while it lasted I guess.

  77. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    I have visited and posted on dozens of blogs over the years. Never have I seen such hostility toward anonymous posters as on Nats Insider.There is something pathological about this. A forum which is anonymous by definition has "Men in Full" calling out Hollow Men as "anonymice."This is fascism, plain and simple. Men in their offices and basements, writing using anonymous pen-names, insulting others for not bothering to use fake names. The little fascists want to police (a verb) the anonymice, label them, and insult them.Mark: some newspapers require posters to use their real name. Either establish this as your policy, or take steps to address the fascistic insults of anonymous posters. My God, Ball Park Guys is more civil than this.

  78. Cwj - May 26, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    Ernie- Hope ya stay around. Actual Nats fans like yourself and the others you listed seem to be rare lately. Gotta stick together. But you are right. The blog has changed and been infiltrated by an amazing amount of not simply negative Anons (who are fine), but also down right abusive and stupid Anons.Yet no doubt they will vanish once the Nats begin winning again (and they will!).Go Nats!

  79. Cwj - May 26, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Anon 9:17- But how hard is it to pick some name and use it for all your posts?Doesn't have to be a real name if it's used consistently.It's very hard to discuss anything with 20+ people who use the same name of Anonymous.

  80. masnstinks - May 26, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Aren't we all anonymous? Kind of silly to call someone out over it. Yes, there does seem to be a nasty tone sometimes, especially toward the manager and hitting coach. I think Stairs should retire but have nothing personal against him or anyone who disagrees. I hate it when we lose – and, well, we lose a lot, but I will still watch and appreciate a good play or a nice at-bat. I am hoping for better results at some point, though. Just not desperately angry.

  81. Wally - May 26, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    I don't know what everyone is so upset about. I had two baseball experiences today. The Nats game and my 5 yr old son's T ball game, which I coach. The Nats game …. well, you all know how that turned out. My son's T ball game followed its usual path: He never listens, gets angry at his teammates when he doesn’t get to catch the ball, almost always wants to walk off the field and go to the playground that is just beyond the outfield, and at least once a game he will turn towards me and say (loudly) ‘this is boring’.  And he was one of the better behaved ones.I dunno, I am sticking with the Nats.

  82. Ernie - May 26, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Masnstinks -Point taken. My frustration isn't so much at the use of the handle "Anonymous" – we are all anonymous pretty much on here. That doesn't make it bad in itself. Cwj explained better my own frustration of having conversations with a crowd of identically named people.I think it's more the pointless anger, thoughtless demands, and sometimes simply stupid commentary that seems more intended to annoy than to really be interesting. I don't think that's what most readers come here for. It seems to be popular enough recently on here though that I might be wrong. Either my tastes have changed or the tone of the commentary has. It got a little testy during February/spring training as well, but settled down for a while. Apologies if I'm the obnoxious nag. I thought calling it out might help settle things down. But now I've pretty much been called a Nazi, so I guess that didn't work. I think of this as a place much like my seat at a ballpark. You talk with the fans around you about the game. Most people understand the unwritten rules and you end up making friends with "anonymous" people you will probably never see again. Isn't that part of what keeps us coming back to the park to watch a losing team?I don't think I have much more to add. Other than names I left off my too-short list of posters I enjoy reading.

  83. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    The solution here is simple, and Mark has the power to take the step. Just eliminate "Anonymous" from the options when someone posts.How about it Mark?

  84. Sec3MySofa - May 26, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    Please don't put this all on Mark. The guy has a job to do, and he does it pretty well. He's a beat writer on the Nationals, not somebody's third grade teacher.

  85. Sec3MySofa - May 26, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    Oh, and I'm calling Godwin on this thread.

  86. Scooter - May 26, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Sec3: he was trying to bunt. Fouled the first pitch straight down, then took a strike. Swung and missed for strike three.

  87. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    Um, wait, Sec3MySofa:-Mark stepped in when people wrote political content and he discouraged it.-Mark stepped in when people used language Mark thought was inappropriate on the site.He wasn't "somebody's third grade teacher" when he actively, personally did these things. And he won't be a third grade teacher when he either allows, or disallows, anonymous posts.How about it Mark?

  88. JaneB - May 26, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    For me, I don't care if people are anonymous. Just wish they would take their anger somewhere else. I liked it better I was learning from the comments of the commenters. But Mark's writing is still a reason to come here. And a bunch of you all, including some Anonomi, in fact.

  89. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    I have carefully reviewed all 89 posts on this thread. And I conclude that the Anonymous posts are utterly, completely, contextually, and virtually indistinguishable from the "nick-named" posts.In order to go forward, we need one of two things to happen:1. For Mark to stop the practice of having his Anonymous posters be insulted by his nick-named posters.2. For ALL posters to judge content strictly by the quality of the content, and not by the status of the commenter.What's it going to be?

  90. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    I'm a totally new "Anonymous" (for now) who just yesterday discovered this blog after becoming discouraged on NJ. No time to say much right now except that so far, and not knowing the history of this place and therefore why people think it's deteriorated, I like it better! (Also wanted to mention that "fascism" is a very specific term, referring to lawless regimes such as those of Hitler, Mussolini, and (I would argue) Stalin that could intimidate, torture, and "disappear" people in a truly physical sense and could cause whole societies to become misshapen for generations to come. I've had family lost to the real fascism and thus I think that the term really shouldn't be applied willy-nilly…) Anyway, Go Nats! Discouraged as I've been lately, I have hope for every single game!

  91. Mark Zuckerman - May 26, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    Disallowing anonymous comments would be an absolute last resort on my part, something I really don't want to have to do because it would require everyone to sign in via a Google, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, AIM or OpenID account. The vast majority of you aren't registered, you simply select "Name/URL" and type in your name. (FYI: For those who don't realize that, you can select a name for yourself without registering for an account through any of those other platforms. You don't have to refer to yourself as "Anonymous.) Unfortunately, it's not possible to keep the "Name/URL" feature while removing the Anonymous function. And I would hate to punish the vast majority of you who have never caused any problems just to address an issue caused by a handful of troublemakers.Unfortunately, those few troublemakers have overtaken this place in recent days, and it's both driving loyal readers away and causing me unnecessary headaches.So here's the deal: You guys have 24 hours to show me you can behave like civilized human beings. Use your real name, use a pseudonym, use the Anonymous tag. Whatever you choose. But keep your comments respectful and insightful. Use this space to discuss the Nationals, positively or negatively. But don't use it to hurl insults at each other, at me or anyone else (named or unnamed).One of the special things about this site is that for more than a year now, we've managed to maintain a high level of discourse (at least, a high level for a blog about a baseball team). I know from having heard from so many of you that this aspect of Nats Insider is one reason this place remains such a popular venue for Nats fans.The last thing I want to do is anything that is going to discourage loyal readers from coming back here and sharing their insights with all of us. But I suppose it's possible the status quo is going to drive many of those people away anyway.So, the ball's in your court. Show me you can behave like civilized people and maintain the high discourse we've enjoyed here for more than a year. Or force me to do something I don't want to do.I have faith that those of you who have helped make this site what it is are going to rally to the cause and not let a couple of trolls and other attention-seekers destroy what we've created here.

  92. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Welcome New Anonymous!Here is a good definition of "fascism" from Wikipedia:Fascists seek to purge forces and ideas deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration and produce their nation's rebirth based on commitment to the national community based on organic unity where individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.This is the type of fascism the earlier Anonymous is referring to. It is not (hint) the fascism that kills millions of people. It is the kind of fascism that says if you are deemed to be a force of decadence and degeneration (as many, many, Nats Insider nick-namers do when they refer to Anonymous posters) then your Anonymous ideas are deemed to be the CAUSE of this decadence and degeneration.Wouldn't we all be a lot better off if we we ALL welcomed the diversity of Anonymous and nick-named posters, and didn't try to single out Anonymous posters for criticism and elimination?

  93. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    I am sorry Mark. 100% of the negative stuff is directed AT anonymous posters, not BY them. Why are the anonymous posters the "troublemakers"?

  94. Manassas Nats Fan - May 26, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    I prefer sticking to baseball. I do know one person on the board as we went to high school together and we text during the game often. Because of the text, I figured out he was Big Cat, because we discussed the game on text, and he used the same term in his comment.However I do not like Anon us\\age because it is good to know the background of thought. the Anons can be 30 in number or 5, and it makes it hard to discuss things.However I see no reason to insult any poster.

  95. Sec3MySofa - May 26, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    Ahh, h-e-double toothpicks. I had a long, rational, well-reasoned post all typed out (take my word for it). But this is a blog about baseball. The singing lessons just aren't that interesting to me.And thank you Scooter–another of the bright spots, here and elsewhere.

  96. Sec3MySofa - May 26, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    But 11:17, that's … umm … factually inaccurate.

  97. Scooter - May 26, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    My pleasure, Sec3. I was haunted by images of you lying awake all night, staring up at the ceiling, muttering bunting or swinging … bunting or swinging … which WAS it? … bunting or swinging …

  98. Anonymous but Respectful of Non-Phillies Fans - May 26, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    The Phillies are in extra innings as I type this. Stadium is 3/4 empty. It's nice to see what that place might look like in a few more years when the lineup is all on Medicare.

  99. Sec3MySofa - May 26, 2011 at 3:58 AM

    I'm more resourceful than that–I could always go back and listen to Charlie and Dave's call. Now I'll just go stare at the ceiling replaying that ground ball I ole'd at third last weekend.

  100. Cwj - May 26, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    Mark Z- Thank you so much and that sounds very reasonable.I definitely plan on sticking around.Hope others do as well.Go Nats!

  101. Drew8 - May 26, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    We shouldn't get our blood up over the ephemeral, but I appreciate NI and its usual suspects.Thanks Mark, this is my favorite ephemeral artery.

  102. Sec3MySofa - May 26, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    actually sort of aproposwww.phrases.org.uk/meanings/beyond-the-pale.html

  103. Anonymous - May 26, 2011 at 4:40 AM

    Mark — less is more, leave it alone. Some people snipe, some people are petty, some are positive others not so much, some thin-skinned, etc. Most are neither troubled nor offended by the very few who trend into ad hominum jabs. Let's not make too much out of disagreement and some less than high road squabbling.

  104. DJ - May 26, 2011 at 5:15 AM

    Mark-How come the Nationals suck? Will the Lerners sell the team (please say yes)? What kind of changes do you expect before Friday night's game? Can Ryan Zimmerman hurry the hell up and return? Why not call up Chris Marrero and play Morse in LF (with some starts @ 1B/3B).

  105. natsfan1a - May 26, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Thanks for the shoutout, Ernie. I'm still here, but have been swamped with work lately. I also haven't seen the last few games (was away on Sunday, don't watch the ones that start at 8 or later, and was working through it yesterday afternoon). I don't feel that I can comment intelligently on what I didn't see, and I'll not see the next few, either. But I'm not quitting on 'em!—Of course, I'm not referring to everyone. I still appreciate the (increasingly rare) postings from 1a, NatsJack, JaneB, Wally, Wonk, SC, Cwj, Unkyd, Steve, Manassas, and the dozen or so others whose handles all escape me. I feel like there are others who we're lost along the way too.

  106. natsfan1a - May 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Oh, and thanks to Mark for his post at 11:11. Re. baseball, one thing for sure is that the Nats won't lose today.(And you're right on the Godwin, sec3.)

  107. masnstinks - May 26, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Thanks for stepping in with a sane voice, Mark. I also enjoy learning things from people who post. I am especially awed by those who spend time looking up stats to support their views. It seems like the nastier someone is, the less the really know. Passion is one thing that baseball people seem to have a lot of and that's great – but I do stop reading when things deteriorate into name-calling and pure spite. Let's keep up the lively and energetic discourse! I also enjoy having my "imaginary friends" on this post to commiserate with when times are bad. The 17 run game was not even a week ago – seems like a month.

  108. Manassas Nats Fan - May 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    I sure hope the day off gives the Nats a chance to get the ship headed the right direction again.

  109. djohncox - May 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    I think we all need a day off to ride out this roller coaster of a season. The Padres may be what this team need for a weekend feast before that team from Philly shows up on Monday.

  110. JD - May 26, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Manassas, Putting aside the current slump I think we need to be realistic about our team. At very best with everyone healthy this is still a sub .500 team and no it's not Riggleman's, Rizzo's or Lerner's fault. On a regular basis we send a pitcher to the mound who is a bottom of the rotation pitcher; this is true of Livo, Marquis, Lannan and Gorzelany. This will be alleviated by the return of Strasburg, the continued development of Zimmermann and the fact that Rizzo has been drafting pitchers over slot for a couple of years now. Can one of Meyers, Milone, Peacock slot in as a number 3? maybe but I doubt it; I think we are about to draft a pitcher who is more likely to be that guy in 10 days. As far as the lineup; with Zimmerman and Harper leading it can be decent enough; I think Morse, Ramos, Espinosa and Bernadina are decent intermediate term solutions; I think we will need to resolve the SS and left field/1st base positions and Werth is here for the foreseeable future (bad signing). The bullpen is tremendous with 3 guys with closer type stuff (Storen, Kimball and HRod) and Clip and Burnett as exceptional setup guys. The promised land is still a couple of years away and the key is to maintain the development focus rather than spend foolishly; look for Capps type of trades whenever possible and avoid unrealistic shortcuts.

  111. Wally - May 26, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Ernie – I liked your quote. Hang in there. I find that it is easy to skip over comments that you don't want to spend time with.Tough stretch here, to be sure, made worse because our expectations were higher with a weaker schedule. I agree with JD's premise, if not necessarily all of his player conclusions. The painful pill for all of us is that the team isn't good enough yet. Not enough talent. I know that I am stating the obvious, but it is worth reminding ourselves of that. We wish it were different, but it isn't. But on the positive side, there is progress in finding some pieces of the playoff puzzle. Espy is 3d in the NL in WAR amongst 2Bs. Think about that – the kid is hitting .200 and yet has added more value than all but 2 2Bs. Ramos is 4th. He has more WAR than Brian McCann, and hasn't been an everyday starter the whole season. JZimm is top 15 in FIP, top 20 in WAR. I think that all three of those guys are on their way to being stars. Controllable for many years, too. And I think Peacock has a chance to be a #3, since he developed a change up (my disagreement with JD's player evals). Granted, not too much more on the positive side than that. A few good relievers, but they are so fickle year to year that I can't put too much value there. If I could get another lineup piece for any of them, I would do it.

  112. natsfan1a - May 26, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Daggone post-gobbling gremlins. I liked the quote, too, and the scroll bar/wheel is your friend on the other front. :-)

  113. still waiting...... - May 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    JD, i dont see how you can exonerate the owner, GM and manager. where doesnt the blame lie?when you limit your spending to well below whatyour market size depicts, you have no room for error.when you trade for and sign players who have no options, you paint yourself in a corner. when you keep non productive one dimensional players on the bench because you want a veteran presence, it has to rub the other players the wrong way.maybe it is just me, but i think it is asking alot of the dwindling fan base to wait another year or so, when we are in our 7th year.last time i posted thoughts along these lines, i was attacked by a number of more positive posters who have since called for aggressive posters to be banned. i guess ifyou have an opinion that doesnt coinscide with theirs, your aggressive.we are in last place………again!

  114. JD - May 26, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Still waiting; 7 years? I've followed the Expos since 1969 so 7 years does not impress me that much. The owner screwed up big time when he was sold a bill of goods by that con artist Bowden and on this there is no argument. Rizzo took over a team in complete shambles with no farm system and no discernible plan for the future; I don't know if Rizzo is a good GM; he is definitely a good talent evaluator and he hired top notch people. Rizzo signed Werth in an effort to create credibility and to counter the cheap argument; this was universally considered a bad signing, by every single serious analyst. When you criticize Rizzo for Broderick and Stairs you have to give him credit for Capps and Nix; you can't have it both ways. When you sign people like that you won't hit a home run every time at bat. The failures of Stairs; in my opinion have had a marginal effect on the overall team performance; it's just something for fans to whine about; if everyone was healthy he would have been let go by now. Finally when you complain about low spending you are being short sighted; Zimmerman will soon cost $20 mil a year; Strasburg will be in 7 figures as soon as he has the service time. If Espinosa and Ramos are the real deal they will get expensive real soon and you are commited to Werth for $17 mil for the next 7 years; you can see how you get to $100 mil very easily.

  115. still waiting........ - May 26, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    JDi am a native Washingtonian. I followed some terrible Senator teams and waited 33 years for baseball's return. Dont tell me about the expos, please. theyve been here 7 years, in last place for 6 and the highwater payroll was when the team was owned by MLB.that says it all……..

  116. JD - May 26, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Still waiting, You can have a payroll of $145 mil like the Mets and still win Bopkes; so no that doesn't say it all.

  117. Water23 - May 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    JD,I agree. Rizzo has done yeoman's work rebuilding the minors and setting the table for the next few years. The Nats have been stuck in the Catch-22 of losing preventing top FAs wanting to sign which creates a dearth of real talent which makes losing more likely. Signing Werth was the first step in saying "We are here to win over the long run and we mean it." Now, Rizzo can point to the money spent and Vets players on the roster like Zimm, Werth; youngsters Stras, Zimmermann, Espy, Ramos and go to next years FAs (Reyes, Pujols or others) and say we are on the upswing sign with us. Also, for all those wanting to trade to make the team respectable there is a great article (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=6581022&campaign=rss&source=MLBHeadlines) Now, sometime it works but usually it has mixed results as we can all remember the worst trade in franchise history – Colon and junk for Lee, Sizemore and Phillips. Man, I would like to undo that trade.There was a good article yesterday on Bleacher report about the Indians-Mariners tra

  118. still waiting...... - May 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    you have to spend the money correctly, but you have to be willing to spend it. i am not buying all the phantom FA offers.the guy who spent all the money for the Mets is the same guy who traded Lee, Phillips and Sizemore for Colon. Nuff said.You think Rizzo has rebuilt the minors? where are all the postion players? we supposedly drafted pitching to stockpile and trade, that hasnt happened either.

  119. Jim in MD - May 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    It took the Reds seven years to recover from the damage done by Jim Bowden. We need to be patient.

  120. Water23 - May 26, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    still waiting,I do have a few concerns about the Rizzo Rebuilding plan (RRP). First, not a lot of fielders outside of the automatic Harper pick. You need to draft a few Canos for every good Pitching prospect. Second, for all the talk about wanting to spend money and building through the draft, it seems the are loathe to step into the international FA signing period. This is a great option for adding good talent at a low price. Finally, working from the data we have the Nats have made serious offers to top FAs but most have passed a la Grienke. I think that may be the norm until we shake off the perception of cheap mid/large market team. Signing Werth and hopefully extend Zim to a long term contract will do enough to make it possible for the Nats to be able to play with the big boys and sign someone like Pujols or CC in the off-season.

  121. still waiting......... - May 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    there is no one who would appreciate a winning or even respectable club more than me. the 20 or so days in June of 2005 when we got to and stayed briefly in first place was the highlite of my baseball experience that goes back to 1963. but allowing the FO to sell us on their "progress" when we are in last place and beaten continually head to head by other last place teams, including the one that was at the time barely ahead of us is sad and on some level, enabling.i dont want to hear about what Bowden left us, he was an employee, not ownership and to date i dont see the current GM doing any better. how many players that either drafted or traded for are on the big club and contributing?Ramos for Rizzo (his sole decent Trade)Storen, but i really dont recall whose regime that was under.Desmond, Espinosa and Bernadina are the only postion players other than RZim to make it up and the jury is still out on some aspect of each of their games.

  122. Unkyd - May 26, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Right with you, JD! Attempting to buy a championship, is a fools errand. Assembling expensive talent, locks management into decisions which may end up to be counterproductive, and most importantly, forfeits the fallback of depth, in two ways: You blow up your budget, meaning you can't afford to get out from under longterm deals with underperforming, or injured players. And secondly, you strip your farm bare, both through trading prospects for bigtime vets, and through the loss of compensatory picks, when signing bigtime FAs. If your plan necessitates buying 1-2 pitchers, and 2-3 position players, you might, with luck, enjoy a year or two of serious contention, before diminishing returns sink your chances, and you need to go shopping again…without as much cash on hand. Much more sensible to develop 90% of your team, and THEN go find the piece or two that puts you over the top.Regarding the tenor of this blog: I'm new here, and have never posted on any sports blog, prior to this years ST. Also, I have long been considered "relentlessly optimistic", by those who know me. I was born with this condition, and I realize it's very difficult to develop, otherwise. Consequently, I've never expected everyone else to be the same way. Virtually all of the naysayers here, make valid points: Seven years may have been a little long to reach this stage of mediocrity…ya gotta lay most of that at the Learners feet- the buck stops here, right…You are what your record is, so it's not unreasonable to suggest that Riggs may not have the ability to take this team, even improved through '12, to the championship level. Rizzo and the youngsters are open books… We just don't know about them, so no opinion is necessarily invalid. And so on… I hope the positive folk here, don't begrudge the opinions of the less positive.The frustrating part is the very small minority,  who beat a particular drum, on a more or less daily basis, pointing the finger of blame at this aspect of the organization, or some other, in such a way that it's easy to infer that the rest of us are to be considered ignorant, or stupid, for disagreeing. Whether or not the implication exists or not, is beside the point: when your tone dismisses dissent, that is the message you send. And even most of the less positive have positive observations… It really seems to be only 2 or 3 trolls who stir up the intra-thread animosity. Deal with them how you will. It's probably wisest to ignore them, but I prefer to gently tease, hopefully without offending, hoping to get them to chuckle at the mirror, once in a while. Thanks, Ernie, for putting me on your short list! It's nice to be singled out for being interesting and upbeat. I'm convinced that my late Mom smiled at that, which is something I strive for :) And I learned something new, here: Godwin! Googled it… Interesting observation…Please forgive me if I post this again, on another thread… I frequently seem to be close to the last post, and I'd like most of you to see this (yes…vanity! Forgive me, for I have sinned… :)…)

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