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Flying high

Jun 17, 2011, 4:48 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Danny Espinosa heads for home as Bo Porter celebrates the game-winning homer.

As the ball sailed off Yadier Molina’s bat and Drew Storen pursed his lips in frustration on the mound, the air suddenly was sucked out of Nationals Park. Three outs from securing their sixth straight win, the Nationals instead were about to blow this game to the Cardinals in demoralizing fashion.

Inside the home dugout, though, the confidence level never wavered. Perhaps a couple of weeks ago, when the Nationals were finding new ways every night to lose close games, there would have been doubts. Not the way they’re playing these days.

“We were on the wrong side of a lot of 1-run games early on,” left fielder Laynce Nix said. “And then we won a few 2-1 games: 2-1 in San Diego, two in a row, coming back from behind. It’s been a good last week. So I think when we get into situations, we have confidence that we can come through and win these games.”

Sure enough, they found a way to do it again Thursday night. After watching Storen serve up the game-tying homer in the ninth, they watched as Danny Espinosa won it in the 10th with a three-run bomb into the right-field bullpen.

That 7-4, walk-off win was merely the sixth straight victory for what is suddenly one of baseball’s hottest teams. It’s the longest such streak
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  1. Grandstander - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:51 AM

    Danny doing his best "derp" face in that photo. I think he just told everyone what we in Natstown have known all season, he's not going anywhere, and he could be something special.New school cat with an old school feel.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Great game, great series! The team is having fun, and so are the fans.They have been so close all year. Look out if they keep running on all cylinders. Two years ago this team was just about un-watchable, but even then, once Mike Rizzo took over, things started looking hopeful. Now two years later, even when they weren't winning, they were watchable because they were so close. This fan's hat is off to Mr. Rizzo for assembling this more athletic, defensive team. They're still a work in progress, but it is progress, from the pitching staff, to catchers,IF, OF, all the way down to their low minor league teams.Forward Ho!

  3. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    I think fun is an appropriate word here after that win. My son and I just turned after the ball cleared the wall and after a high five just started laughing. It really is great to finally realize things aren't gloom and doom all the time. Not saying we will win the remaining 90+ games but it looks like we will not give up in too many of them. LannEn has been amazing in his last 5 starts. I don't think he has given up more than 2 runs in any of those starts. Not bad for our #4/5 starter don't you think?Go Nats!!

  4. UNTERP.NAT - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    The best thing to happen was Sean Burnett getting his mojo back…

  5. Natslifer - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Isn't this fun??!! The streak at the end of '09 was nice but didn't mean much. That I can remember, this is the first time we've done something like this when it mattered during the season since year 1. And it's interesting how perceptions can change… suddenly Werth-Espinosa-Zimmerman-Nix-Morse seems like as dangerous a group of hitters as anyone.Go Nats!

  6. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Doesn't it feel good to wake up in the morning, your team is winning, playing solid ball, and WE ARE NOT IN LAST PLACE!!!! The Marlins are imploding and the Mets will collapse.. We will see .500 soon!

  7. Anonymous - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Wow!! Not only are they winning. But it is entertaining. Let's go guys. Lets beat the Baltimorons!!!

  8. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    I am guessing that Riggs will keep Werth at leadoff certainly until we lose one but I am wondering, with Ankiel injured and Bernadina looking a little more comfortable, if he would flip-flop those two. I think with Zimm coming up 3rd and that much speed on the bases, its only a matter of time before 5+ runs is a norm for this team.There still needs to be a move made when TG returns for his start. Does this group think its Ankiel to the dl or Stairs to some sort of coaching position within the organization. Or is there another possibility? My guess is they keep Stairs through the next road trip where we need a dh and then thank him for his services. I honestly think we have better dh's in the dugout right now but this would give him one more chance to get his swing back. I guess the adage "if its not broke, don't fix it" might apply also so I am not pushing for anything. Just keep pitching well, fielding well and most important, they need to keep believing that they can achieve. (imo the mental aspect of the game is way underrated)go nats!!

  9. UNTERP.NAT - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    First I would like to thank the members of the Academy, the producers Ted, Annette, Mark, and of course Mike, a tear, Skip I owe it all to you, the cast, I mean, what can I say, Werth, you're the glue, Zim you're the stir, Desi, we're like brothers, Pudge, Beast, Bernie, Ank, all of you, Espi you rock, and last but not least, my wife Karen. Baby, this is for you…

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Way too clever,UNTERP! Made me almost choke on my coffee.

  11. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    UNTERP.. you forgot to mention Eck and McCatty, you know, them men behind the curtain! The men responsible for the Special Effects (Eck and the bats and that SUB horn) and the Writing (McCatty and the solid work of the Pitching staff and the Catchers for controlling the game in all aspects – We can forgive the Maya experment as lead, because that lead to the drama of the bullpen picking us up)

  12. Unkyd - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    The best part might be the Silencing of the Neganon… It made a plaintive plea for getting rid of My Boy, last night, but that's gotta be ringing hollow, even for it… Check out the BAs…in another week, the whole starting 8 will be over .250, with half of them flitting around .300Are we having Fun yet?

  13. Yogi - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    I want to thank you for making this day necessary.

  14. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Unkyd…So true…we may get grouchy at times and have our ups and downs, but there are some that will always be negative and it is good not to hear from them!GO NATS!!!

  15. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Just a note for those of you that are looking for and Espi Jersey.. I was at Wednesday's game and they had run out… so you may have to buy online or not at the stadium! Seems are ROY is getting popular!

  16. UNTERP.NAT - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    MicheleS said… "all of you", they told me 15 seconds…

  17. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Fun facts to enjoy while we're all on our morning coffee:- Arizona was baseball's hottest team, before the Nats got to them- S.F. was in first place in the west when the Nats got to them- Cards had the second base record in the NL before the Nats swept them- First time in Nats/Expos franchise history to feature both a leadoff homer and a walkoff homer- first first-inning home run of the year for the Nats- Lannan's had a 1.08 ERA in his last five starts- Nats starters have allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of last 16 games- last night: first error in 130-2/3 inningsand, not that I'm taking playoffs as a real possibility (given the anemic batting average), but, it's nice to at least think about the following as an indication of how far we've come since those back-to-back miserable 100+ loss seasons:- first time out of last place since 2007- only one game out of third place- only 5-1/2 games out of wild-card lead; Nats haven't been this close since 2005yeah, yeah, I know we're still sub-.500, but, still, we're light years ahead of those dark seasons a short while agoThose of us who were patient knew the hitting would come around — we were just hoping the good starting pitching would hold up. And, actually, we've gotten good starting pitching since the first week of the season.Now: we just can't let up. (A good crowd might help!) We need to beat the mediocre and bad teams. That's what good teams do.Somebody spilled some cereal at Nats stadium. Time to get that broom out and sweep those Toasty-O's (or "toasted O's? ) outta here!

  18. Anonymous - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Mark, why do you say in the CSN article that Zimmerman is the No. 2 hitter? Who is No. 1?

  19. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    UNTERP… find you inner Cuba Gooding JR! DC Wonk.. Love the info – Toasted O's sounds good to me!

  20. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    How old do you have to be to wonder whether we'll soon be singing the following about a Nats player?"He's feeling his Toasted O's."UNTERP: yeah, just ignore the music when they're trying to play you off.

  21. UNTERP.NAT - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    To all you Nats Insiders: Nats: Hello? Hello. I'm lookin' for my wife. Wait. Okay…okay…okay. If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen. I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that? This used to be my specialty. You know, I was good in a living room. They'd send me in there, and I'd do it alone. And now I just… But tonight, our little project, our company had a very big night — a very, very big night. But it wasn't complete, wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't hear your voice or laugh about it with you. I miss my — I miss my wife. We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You — complete me. And I just had — UNTERP: Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. You had me at hello.

  22. LoveDaNats - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    This is the most fun I've had as a Nats fan in some time. This team is a joy to watch. Wednesday night during the 10 run route I just kept thinking "who are these guys?".Keep it going guys. I'm loving every second!

  23. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    I just looked on the Nats website and I don't see ESPI jersey's for sale.. WHAT???? I think we need an investigation into this! We have smart people on this site.. I say we mount a campaign to get ESPI Jerseys' front and center on the website

  24. Gonat - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I want to give Props to the 3rd base coach Bo Porter. He does his homework and decided to exploit Lance Berkman if given the chance which he got on Espinosa's single to right field and Morse running from 2nd base.It worked and Morse scored and it was a big run when you consider each run for this team seems to be a matter of a 1 run win or a 1 run loss.That run was the only Nats run that wasn't decided by a HR.Also of note has been Bernadina who is still playing hurt with his hamstring injury and had to play earlier in the series due to Ankiel's injury.

  25. VP81955 - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    For those who thought 2011 was going to be a year in a holding pattern, waiting for Strasburg's return and Harper to learn the ropes, a surprise — the rest of this team is beginning to jell. Good pitching, solid hitting and timely hits will do that for a team. Will the Nationals contend for a wild-card berth? Probably not, and I wouldn't want to mortgage the future for something so illusory. But things are beginning to fall into place, and a .500 record and a finish other than last place are suddenly not so wild a dream.

  26. masnstinks - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    If this year is supposed to be in a holding pattern – someone forgot to tell the team. Winning or losing, this team grinds it out every single day and they battle.

  27. Knoxville Nat - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Gonat…..don't forget that the great effort given by LannEn last night came on 3 days rest and not the normal four days. Keep it going Nats!

  28. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    This is the most fun I've had as a Nats fan in some time. This team is a joy to watch.It occurs to me, that for us true fans, it's even more of a joy to watch, because we've been seeing the pieces get put into place, slowly, deliberately, with a couple of missteps here and there. . . . building blocks one at a time. We've seen guys like Lannan come up from the bigs, get some success, crash and burn, and then come up again better than ever (replacing guys like Simontacci, Bacsik, etc etc). We've seen Guzman, Gonzales, etc., as middling placeholders until Desi and Espi took over. We've seen huge upgrades from guys like Schnieder and Nieves to Pudge and Ramos. We've seen shrewd "trades for the future" — such as Capps (at probably the height of his marketability, when the whole world was overrating him) for Ramos. We've seen Rizzo go eyeball-to-eyeball with Boras, and signing Strasburg and Harper at the last minute — as well as rejecting demands from guys like Aaron Crowe (who turned into Drew Storen). We've seen JZimm come up starting with the Vermont Lake Monsters (if I recall). And we're still building. Harper looks like as much as a lock as we'll ever see, but he still had some learnin' to do. The 2011 draft class was jaw-droppingly good (best of 30 MLB teams) with Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin, and Purke.So, for fans like us — those victories will be ever so-much sweeter. (As opposed to say, Yankee fans, who think it was written into the Constitution that they will battle for playoffs every year forever; or Phillie fans who have grown used to finishing first; etc.)It takes longer. There's more ups and downs. But, all in all, much more rewarding. (And I speak from experience — I was a Mets fan in those early 1960's when they were worse — yes worse — than the Nats ever were).Rizzo's done a masterful job of assembling the pieces, looking for bargains, taking chances on injured players (some work out, some don't). And we've seen it all play out, in slow motion, right in front of us.Sports — the Ultimate "reality" show!This is, indeed, a helluva lotta fun!

  29. Drew8 - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    In the words of famed scouts Mick and Keith:"I was a pitcher down in a slump I was a fighter taken for a sucker punch Feeling bad, I guess I lost my spring I was the boxer who can't get in the ring But hey, hey you got me rocking now Hey, hey you got me rocking now Hey, hey there ain't no stopping me Hey, hey you got me rocking now…"

  30. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Another nice thing about the last few days.. Werth is relaxing and is hitting. I guess having RZimm back has taken the load off of him

  31. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    VP wrote: Will the Nationals contend for a wild-card berth? Probably not, and I wouldn't want to mortgage the future for something so illusory.You raise a terrific point. A number of the naysayers and other immature impatient folks around here and other boards have been screaming in the past to spend lots of money on this free agent or that. But it would have been a waste of money (with the potential to improve our recent 5th place finishes into 4th place finishes — big deal). The time to purchase those kinds of guys are when you are just a few pieces away from a playoff contending team. In the meantime, we see time after time after time after time, that the teams who have a long term vision in place, and don't panic, and hold to that plan, and build a team with youth, the draft, shrewd trades, etc., are the teams that do well. That Nats are building a team the right way. It takes longer, but it's more solid. Look at our infield: Zim/Ian/Desi — all are under 27! (Even Morse just turned 29). Ramos is still 23!!And pitchers! Stras, Storen, JZimm, Clippard, Lannan — all of them are 26 and younger.That's seven of our best players under the age of 27. This is a solid core that can last a long time — particularly when Bryce Harper joins them!(Yeah, yeah, I know: teams are never as good as they seem when they are on a winning streak — but those eight above I just named are not flashes in a pan — these guys ought to form a good solid nucleus for years).

  32. UNTERP.NAT - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Have any of you, and of course this is rhetorical, ever watched a feel good movie? And you watch it because you know how it ends and at the end you know you're going to feel good. That's what this season, specifically this season, is becoming. I know no one wants to leap to the end since the journey like riding a grand wave is splendid in itself. But there is a reserved anticipation none of us can deny and I am not going to spoil it by saying what that anticipation might be, but this; IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE…

  33. A DC Wonk - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    (correction: eight of our best players under 27, and that's not counting Harper)

  34. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    This winning streak HAS to be killing JayB and his quest for the dumping of Riggleman. Each win brings Riggs closer to the Nats picking up his option.

  35. Anonymous - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    By the way, after the next game or two, Mike the Beast should finally have enough plate appearances to qualify for the league leaders. To think he's got his 12 and 40 in under 200 ABs is amazing.

  36. Mark Zuckerman - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Anonymous said…Mark, why do you say in the CSN article that Zimmerman is the No. 2 hitter? Who is No. 1?Whoops, not sure why it came out that way but it was supposed to read "No. 3 hitter Ryan Zimmmerman," as in: He bats third in the lineup, and thus is their best hitter.

  37. Feel Wood - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    "I just looked on the Nats website and I don't see ESPI jersey's for sale.. WHAT????"You can buy an Espinosa jersey or T-shirt (or any other player currently on the roster for that matter) via the Shop link on nationals.com in the Personalized Jersey and Player/Custom T-shirt sections. And at least as of last year (haven't been in the Team Store much this year to notice if they're still doing it) you can order a customized jersey prior to a game and they'll have it ready for you by the end of that game. (Assuming they have the blank jersey in stock so they can customize it by putting the name/number on it.) If you're a season ticket holder it might be cheaper to buy in the team store using your Red Carpet discount, otherwise the price online and in the team store are about the same. Online you pay shipping, in the team store you pay tax.

  38. Doc - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    And another great thing about our resurgent offense—we're leaving the manager out of the game, like good teams do.

  39. Feel Wood - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Note on getting customized jerseys made at the Team Store: that's only at the one by the Center Field Gate, not at the one by the Home Plate Gate.

  40. N. Cognito - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "This winning streak HAS to be killing JayB and his quest for the dumping of Riggleman. Each win brings Riggs closer to the Nats picking up his option."He probably doesn't know what to do with himself. He probably has all his posts saved in a file for future use. It's sad. All those negative posts, ready to cut and paste, and nowhere to post them. I especially like the ones that respond to his own posts.

  41. N. Cognito - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Unkyd said… "Are we having Fun yet?"I am basking in a warm glow.

  42. Knoxville Nat - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    NatsJack…..I would suggest that with each win not only do the Nats get closer to picking up Riggleman's option but perhaps also an extension. The possibility of that must seem like slow torture to some.

  43. Feel Wood - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    "Gonat…..don't forget that the great effort given by LannEn last night came on 3 days rest and not the normal four days."Although Carpenter said this on-air last night, it's not true. Lannan pitched in SD on the 11th, and last night was the 16th. Four days rest. It's because of the off day last Monday that they were able to have him jump ahead in the rotation while Marquis finished off his five game suspension.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Feel Wood…. yes… I was baffled by that… Marquis gets and everyone else gets an extra days rest and LannEn pitched on normal rest.

  45. Steve M. - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Love the LannEn stuff. Ever since Riggles pulled that off against Philadelphia was kind of the time the tide had turned. Crazy, huh?

  46. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Sorry, Knoxville Nat but the Nats should pick up his option (with a raise) and extend the option for another year. There have been alot of successful managers that have worked year to year and Riggs is perfect for that scenario.

  47. m20832 - Jun 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Winning, Curly W's, our Nat heroes keep coming! The come from behind win with masterful pitching from our bullpen, the pitching excellence by shaving cream face Livo and the walk off win in the 10th of a tie game by the gatorade bath rookie!What a team! GO NATS!!!!

  48. Steve M. - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Rizzo's done a masterful job of assembling the pieces, looking for bargains, taking chances on injured players (some work out, some don't). And we've seen it all play out, in slow motion, right in front of us.A DC Wonk said… It takes longer, but it's more solid. Look at our infield: Zim/Ian/Desi — all are under 27! (Even Morse just turned 29). Ramos is still 23!!And pitchers! Stras, Storen, JZimm, Clippard, Lannan — all of them are 26 and younger.That's seven of our best players under the age of 27. This is a solid core that can last a long time — particularly when Bryce Harper joins them! DC Wonk – I share all of your enthusiasm but then reality sets in when you talk about Rizzo's done a masterful job of assembling the pieces. The only players that Rizzo brought in that you mentioned are Strasburg and Bryce Harper who were both "no brainers" and Ramos via the trade.3 of those names you mentioned wouldn't be here if Zach Greinke didn't veto a trade here. No JZim, No Storen, and No Espinosa. That will always sit in the back of my mind. I saw Greinke pitch against the Cubs yesterday and he got knocked around pretty good with that 5.10+ ERARizzo is an excellent scout but then he falls in love with his mistakes and he trades like a bad poker player some of the time. Ramos/Capps good. The fact he didn't trade Adam Dunn was good. Then he gives away Willingham, Alberto Gonzalez and Nyjer Morgan for unprovens when he would have gotten more if he held out. I don't know what the rush was except making roster moves for Ankiel, Stairs, Cora, and Hairston.This team still needs another lefty in the bullpen that can be a shutdown type of guy. Having Zim back is tremendous but this team still lacks a credible leadoff guy as Werth isn't the long-term solution (or is he?).

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Steve M….No one is ever 100% successful assembling a ML baseball team. Rizzo HAS done a masterful job in upgrading the bench and providing solid proffesionals through out the roster. Dumping Morgan and Gonzalez has helped in solidifying the locker room and while locating a lockdown lefhanded reliever (how many teams need one of those?) and a bonifide lead off man (again, an item not easily obtained)this roster (except for Ankiel and Stairs)ROCKS!

  50. masnstinks - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Even though Rizzo was not the gm, I believe he has been with the organization for a while and was not brought in from the outside. Mark, stat-type guys – can anyone verify this? Point being – he has had an effect on the organization before he was the gm. Building a team is a long process and there are never any guarantees.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    I meant to say "except for" in lieu of "and while". Another case of typing one thing and thinking another.

  52. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Although I am not totally drinking the Rizzo Koolaid,I agree he has done a great job.. Rebuilt the bullpen on the fly last year, solid trades, looked for character guys and vets to help with the young guys.And remember we could have Bowden and the likes of Willy Mo Pena and Elijah Dukes still around…

  53. Steve M. - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Here's another thing I found interesting about 3 weeks ago the Nats lost a tough one against the Phillies. That was on May 30th and the Nats dropped to 22-31. The next day Marquis went toe-to-toe with Cliff Lee and beat him and the day after that Lannan became LannEn.The sad part was all the venom spewed on the morning of May 31st and people vowing that the team sucks and fire everyone.Luckily the smart ones have seen a 'core' to build on and have said the future looks bright. I wish sometimes it was like a light switch you can turn on and off but it isn't. Its a long road to building a good team that can sustain a winning culture. I have been in Jim Riggleman's corner so my position on him hasn't changed. I still think this team has room to improve so I hope they can continue to positively evolve before our eyes!

  54. masnstinks - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Watch this team in the dugout – they seem to be tight with each other. During the celebrations after hr's and walk-offs there seems to be genuine support for one another. I actually saw not just hand slaps, but hugs last night. Makes you feel all warm and cozy inside, doesn't it? I just love winning. And I just love beating first place teams! Go Nats!

  55. Steve M. - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    NatsJack, I like Rizzo, a lot. I said a while ago he is a "work-in-progress". The agents love him which is a key and most GMs like him which is even bigger since many wouldn't deal with his predecessor.Rizzo has to improve in 3 areas. 1) When you make a mistake ( ie. Stares) deal with it 2) Trade from a position of strength and call the others bluff. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you DON'T make 3) If you are going to get rid of a player, have a reasonable plan in place to replace him (ie. Dukes and Nyjer). Rizzo made that mistake 2 years in a row.I totally agreed with getting rid of Nyjer. It was the timing that was poor. Nyjer Morgan for Cutter Dykstra? Are you kidding me? Nyjer should have been traded in the off-season so there wouldn't have been so many distractions and that would have given him more time to get a replacement.

  56. Steve M. - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    MicheleS said… Although I am not totally drinking the Rizzo Koolaid,I agree he has done a great job.. Rebuilt the bullpen on the fly last year, solid trades, looked for character guys and vets to help with the young guys.And remember we could have Bowden and the likes of Willy Mo Pena and Elijah Dukes still around… June 17, 2011 11:17 AM MicheleS, I am a total homer so I am usually drinking the Kool-Aid with one eye open and some of that Missouri "show me" attitude. Stan Kasten was the guy with the Kool-Aid but you know what, he had the plan which we are seeing evolve before our eyes. He pointed to what the Tampa Bay Rays had accomplished and he was right. Build it with youth and through the draft. This team isn't playoff bound yet but you can see a much brighter future.Its not about spending money, it is about spending money wisely. It is not that you can't lose during a 162 game season, it is about losing less than 71 games in a season and progressing. It isn't that you can't make mistakes and errors, rather make positive change and don't repeat the same mistakes and errors. Consistently winning is a culture built around success.So where am I going with this rant? It seems every time this team hits adversity, a select few like Phil Dunn immediately bash the owners, money not spent, culture of losing, fire the Manager, fire the pitching coach, etc. etc. This team has bent but it didn't break and while all isn't perfect, I am taking a big swig of my Kool-Aid and enjoying a winning streak!!!!

  57. Mark'd - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    SteveM, love the rant and pass the Kool-Aid. Talking about Kool-Aid, where is JD?

  58. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    SteveM.. I think the only thing I would quibble with is the Nyjer comments.. Do you really believe that they had interest in the offseason for a total head case with a low BA/OBP who was suspended for what 10 games for his antics? I think they held onto him to try to generate interest and when the only bite you got was the Dyskstra kid, you pull the trigger. He was a cancer and would have not fit in well with the team

  59. Mark'd - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Nyjer had options left and should have found Harrisburg a fitting home for a while.

  60. Slidell - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    I'm very happy with the current state of things. Keep in mind though that at any given time, about 25% of the teams stink, 25% are going great and the rest are just "holding". There will be ups and downs, and one needs to maintain perspective, realizing that there will continue to be down periods; even the Yanks, Red Sox and Phillies have experienced them this year.But, this team does seem to have a resilience that bodes well for the future.

  61. Steve M. - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    MicheleS, read my comment again. It wasn't what Rizzo got in return that was the issue. In my opinion and I said this before, Rizzo knew Nyjer was not part of this future, he should not have been a part of Spring Training as he should have been traded for a bag of balls before Spring Training started.

  62. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Steve M.. agree…I just like to give Rizzo a little length on the leash with Nyjer.. I don't think Nyjer's behavior helped the situation and I think they wanted to have him in Spring Training to see if they could get him some playing time to generate interest.

  63. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    On a funnier not.. Boz just did his US Open Chat on WaPo site and 75% of the questions were about the Nats!We have come a long way a a fan base

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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