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Sending Mac out a winner

Jun 27, 2011, 12:02 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
John McLaren gets a hug from Danny Espinosa following his farewell victory.

CHICAGO — John McLaren stood in the bowels of U.S. Cellular Field, eyes welling as he tried to put into words what he had experienced over the last 72 hours.

“I feel bad about the situation, but the John McLaren era is over in Washington,” he said, before adding: “Is three games an era?”

Well, probably not. Though given all that happened during those 72 hours, it certainly felt like an era. Handed the reins of the hottest team in baseball after his close friend and colleague Jim Riggleman resigned in a huff, McLaren was asked to keep the Nationals together for the weekend until Davey Johnson could come on board.

He did more than keep them together. He kept them winning. Sunday’s 2-1 triumph gave the Nationals their fifth consecutive series victory, their 13th win in 15 games.

The fact the entire clubhouse gave McLaren a standing ovation before taking the field spoke volumes about the respect they had for a man
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  1. Cwj - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Outstanding article Mark.Farewell McLaren, you did great.The Nats are amazing at 40-38.Go Nats!

  2. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Mark.. great article as always.. glad we could send Mac out with a win!.. What a weekend!

  3. HHover - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    Great article, Mark, about a great bunch of guys. Glad they could send McLaren out a winner.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:39 AM

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  5. Joe Seamhead - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Class act! Smooth sailing, John.

  6. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    So this weekend represented something of an opportunity for McLaren to exorcise a few demons. He had already promised Riggleman last month he would walk if the skipper did, but he told GM Mike Rizzo he would serve as interim manager until a permanent replacement could be named."I'll do it as many games as you want me to," McLaren told Rizzo. "But when I'm done, I'm going to leave."_________________________________I wasn't aware of McLaren's position on his own future with the Nats. I respect that he was loyal to Riggleman but how's about when McLaren got let go by Seattle it was Riggleman who went from Bench Coach to Interim Manager as Riggleman didn't walk out the door with him and finished the entire season with Seattle.In any event, a 2 for 3 winning weekend is a good weekend for the Nats record and with Atlanta losing the Nats gained 1 game in the Wild Card.

  7. Ernie - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    [Reposting from the game thread because it seems more appropriate under this one. Apologies to anyone who has to read my dumb thoughts twice.]It's a shame that all of McLaren's wins were on the road. It would be classy if the Nats brought him out before Friday's game against the Pirates for some recognition. I know it's only 3 games, but he never got an ovation as manager.(Or maybe they'll just unveil his name as the newest member of the Ring of Honor or whatever they call those names over home plate. Winningest manager in franchise history.)

  8. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    I am not a Twitter guy but saw Mark's Twitter feeds in the upper right corner and see this #JuggerNats on there. I search that and come up with a bunch of comments from different people. Does anyone know what #JuggerNats is?http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23JuggerNats

  9. Doc - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    Way to give McLaren's situation some heat and sould Mark. As ususual you rose to the occasion.I'll alwyas remember Mac as Nats' winningest coach! I hope Davey appreciates the work that Cat, Bo,and Eck are doing.

  10. Doc - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    That should read heart, not heat. Mis-typed in the 'heat' of the momemt!

  11. Grandstander - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    @GonatI could be wrong about it, but I believe Adam Kilgore coined it as a twitter hashtag after the team got to .500. Pretty fitting, definitely love it.

  12. Grandstander - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Oh, and if it wasn't obvious, it's a play on "juggernaut".

  13. Cwj - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Grandstander- hahaha I think that is indeed obvious :)Not crazy about the term myself. Think I'll continue to call them the Nats :)

  14. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    Grandstander, so it seems they post there now rather than #Nats. I like reading all the headlines going across.

  15. Grandstander - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    It's better than the Nots, Gnats, Natinals and litany of other trash my friends have thrown in my face over the years.I'm glad that, in the record books at least, McLaren will go down as the winningest manager in the history of this club for its entire history. Hopefully he can stick with the organization past this year. He said he was interested in coaching in our Dominican academy. We could use someone like him down there.Let's keep it rolling all the way to LA. Not to sound too insensitive, but is Storen going on the bereavement list? We could really use an extra arm in the pen, especially considering how overworked Clipp has been. There's an open spot on the 40-man because LaRoche is still listed on the 15-day DL.

  16. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:25 AM

    Grandstander – Storen is flying to Indiana for the mid-day funeral and from what I understand then will fly mid-game to Anaheim as it is a late game on the West coast.

  17. Cwj - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Grandstander- Yeah the "Natinals" was the worst.I didn't think I'd ever live that one down as a Nats fan.

  18. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    Johnny Mac "retires" with a .667 lifetime winning percentage as Nationals manager. Talk about setting the bar high for Davey! Really, really nice story, Mark, you totally captured the moment and the emotion. I still will never forget the guy going absolutely bird-sheet bonkers Friday night on that blown tag play at first.So it's onto Anaheim and win the series for Davey. GYFNG!

  19. Unkyd - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    DAMMIT!!! You sure write pretty, Mark!!! So weird how things can work out… Last week could have precipitated a descent into chaos, and plunged the club into a tailspIn, but for the character of our gorse-hacking Boys of Summer, Rizzo's forethought, in having plenty of interim candidates in house, and Classy Papa John McLaren, to steer the ship on an even keel, while the ducks were being lined up. I finally caught the Epic Tantrum… And loved every second of it!!!Now, it's all part of Natinals Lore, to be retold to future generations of Nat Fans…The Angels….? They're MEAT!!!!GYFNGOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  20. natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Yeah, I think I'll just call them the Nats, too.Nice piece on McLaren. He seems like a standup guy.

  21. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    Only 3 teams ahead of the Nats in the Wild Card. Braves ahead by 3 1/2, DBacks by 2 1/2, and the Cardinals by a 1/2 game. The Nats are now ahead of the Reds by a 1/2 game.Truly amazing when you consider they are another winning streak from becoming the 4th to 6th best record in the NL. Now if the 2 highest paid players start showing us their clutchness, they may turn from the "Kardiac Kids" to the "JuggerNats".

  22. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Changing the subject for a minute. This kid Humber is turning into a pitching surprise and he went into White Sox Spring Training hoping to make the team as a reliever but then ends up as a starter and the reason for that was he added a new pitch in the off-season which started as a cutter and now is a hybrid cutter slider.He got beat by the Rookie today only because Humber's offense couldn't take advantage of their chances. I was very impressed with Humber.http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110310&content_id=16890142&notebook_id=16898468&vkey=notebook_cws&c_id=cws

  23. FS - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:47 AM

    Nice article, Mark.McLaren seems like a simple man who did not like what happened last few days and decided to keep himself away from the mess and honest to his friend. Gotta respect that! Like Ernie said, maybe fans could also get a chance to recognize him one time before he heads to West coast.On another note, I do not think I can never boo a player I start to root for, unless he turns out to be a user (steroids). Just like Ted Williams preferred, I like to stick with my players good or bad times. It is a shame to see Dunn get booed by Sox fans. I wanted Nationals to keep him. Anyways, I hope he picks up his game soon. Similarly Ryan is struggling since he has come off the DL. Personally I do not think he has to prove anything to anyone, but it will be better to have him back 100%.I also agree with Grandstander. We could use a reliever against LA from minors. Instead of putting Storen on any list, we could switch one of the starters (Gorzo, not sure if we can) to minors for a reliever until his turn.It will be interesting to see what Davey does with Stairs. I mean Riggleman kinda stopped using him too often this month.

  24. Drew8 - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    It's nice to have a John Mac who responds to adversity with class instead of shouting: "You cannot be serious!"Also: It may be a little thing, but I think it matters. Won't it be nice to have a skipper who smiles every once in a while?Davey Johnson's reputation precedes him and his legacy and his contract are secure. He also knows the game is supposed to be fun, which I think will benefit the Nats and their fans.I bear Riggs no ill will, but gee whiz, in his postgame interviews — win or lose — he acted like he'd emerged from 12 hours in a coal mine.

  25. FS - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    ugh, I meant 'ever'. I mean I can never boo my favorite players.

  26. N. Cognito - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Gonat said… "Only 3 teams ahead of the Nats in the Wild Card. Braves ahead by 3 1/2, DBacks by 2 1/2, and the Cardinals by a 1/2 game. The Nats are now ahead of the Reds by a 1/2 game."If we don't start scoring some runs, those numbers are going to get bigger. Only 24 earned runs in the last 9 games.

  27. Cwj - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Drew8- Agree about Riggs. Would have been nice to see him get excited or at the very least act happy after a win or two (or 8!)Anyway he's gone now and the Nats are 40-38, which is pretty awesome with Davey taking over.Johnson knows how to smile :)

  28. Cwj - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    N. Cognito- or those numbers will get smaller.The Nats have shown they can win big, or small.They are 7-2 over those 9 games

  29. Nats Outsider - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    N. Cognito, I agree completely. We have done well without hitting recently because we are in the soft part of the schedule. Without a big improvement at the plate, there is no way we are going to continue this kind of winning percentage when we start playing the really good teams again. All this talk of playoff possibilities makes me a little sad. It is inevitable that the Nats will hit a losing streak at some point. Heck, we already had one. It's baseball. I set my own goal of being at .500 at the All Star Break. I'll still be satisfied with that. If the team gets through August and is still above .500, then we can talk about things like playoffs. Right now, let's just enjoy the current ride. And wake up the hitting, someone!!Okay, just call me Gloomy Gus. ;-)

  30. Grandstander - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Grozo's out of options. So he's not going anywhere. Gaudin pitched again today and went an inning with 1 hit and 2k. Stairs seemed to me to be firmly on Team Rizzo, but McLaren's total non-use of him during this series makes me think otherwise. At this point, I just can't see any possible justification for keeping him on the roster besides protecting his pride.I'm hoping between now and tomorrow, we hear news of Stairs' retirement and Gaudin's activation.

  31. JaneB - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    What a lovely piece, Mark. I'm glad to know more about him, It adds a whole 'nother dimension to things to hear that Riggleman had this planned for a month, or at leastbin the works.I loved what Storen said about McLaren.

  32. Big Cat - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    this second half is gonna be very interesting.Still can't understand the negativity towards Rizzo. All he's done is build the foundation of a possible very successful team in the future. Another great move he made….not signing Donkey. God the Sox must be just shuddering at the thought of having to eat the 50 million they gave to Dunn. You could see it coming last year, as I'm sure Rizzo did.

  33. A DC Wonk - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    Still can't understand the negativity towards Rizzo. All he's done is build the foundation of a possible very successful team in the future.Agreed. Look at how many of our core players are not yet 27 years old (like, 3/4 of our infield, over half the relief corps, and a couple of starters) — and that's not even counting Strasburg, Harper, and the amazing draft class of 2011 (thanks to the non-signing of — and more importantly — non-trade of: Dunn)There are indeed some similarities between this team and the early 1980's Mets — which is why Davey Johnson may be the perfect person for this team right now.

  34. Unkyd - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    Hmmm mm Martis tearing up the Eastern league, in June… Could be an interesting Sept…..

  35. Exposremains - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    to GrandstanderIm not sure why you want Gaudin back with Nats. He was terrible in the beginning of the year and you want 4 man bench and 8 relievers? I understand Stairs needs to go but he would be replaced by a position player

  36. Anonymous8 - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    Big Cat, some say Kasten was the architect behind Atlanta and he certainly set the plan in place here. I was impatient for the wins but I can say that most of the credit goes Stan's way and while I don't like his personality, he knew that building a good team starts with the farm system.The problem I see without Stan around is Rizzo is on his own for trades and almost killed this team in that trade proposed for Greinke. If Greinke doesn't kill that deal, the Nats would have a 5+ ERA guy and wouldn't have 3 of the best players of this resurgence (JZim, Espy, and Store-n). That is hard to get out of my mind that Rizzo is dangerous if left un-checked. He can scout as we know but sure has a lot to learn.Other than Werth, Gorzelanny, Ankiel, Gaudin, Stairs, Cora, Nix, Henry Rodriguez and Hairston, all the other players were signed off by Kasten except Ryan Zimmerman who was from the prior adminstration. Desmond and Bernadina were in the system prior to Kasten but brought to the Majors under Kasten.

  37. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    The winning the last 1515 games all about the pitching. We have had a few games where the hitters have come through, but the pitchers for most part have come through every game. A few blown saves, but even then we won. The hitters need to settle down and do what is fundamentally correct. Look for breaking balls up of fast balls down (all over the plate). Not the reverse. In watching major league baseball 50 years, that has been the key to good hitting. Breaking balls up and fast balls down.

  38. Grandstander - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    @exposremains My thinking was that since we pretty much have a 4 player bench with Stairs anyway and we might as well carry an extra reliever at least for the time being. Yes, Gaudin was terrible, and I'm not on his bandwagon or anything, but he's been solid in his rehab starts and is certainly more useful to this team than Stairs. If he gets bombed, we can always send him back to the Disgraceful List with "shoulder inflammation" or some such, but an extra bullpen arm would be more useful than whatever Stairs is giving us at present.As Mark said when interleague play started, if Stairs doesn't DH for you, what is his purpose? He didn't DH in even one of those games, nor did he PH. What is his contribution to this team?

  39. Drew8 - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    Speaking of timely, well-written pieces, Dave Sheinin has a compassionate and very revealing interview with Davey Johnson's wife, Susan. Seems the Johnsons have weathered a couple of family tragedies since DJ's last managerial stint in 2000. He also has rebounded well from a heart procedure. His bride — and Nats instructor Tony Tarasco — say Davey has a spring in his step and he's ready to be a skipper again.Tarasco, Rick Dempsey and Pat Gillick sing Davey's praises. You can find it at the Post, or here:http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/for-davey-johnson-the-time-was-right-to-manage-again/2011/06/26/AGAQWImH_story.html

  40. A DC Wonk - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:30 AM

    Anon8 wrote: Other than Werth, Gorzelanny, Ankiel, Gaudin, Stairs, Cora, Nix, Henry Rodriguez and Hairston, all the other players were signed off by KastenRizzo also executed Capps for Ramos, and demanding Seattle give up Morse, and not accepting anything else for Langerhans.And didn't Rizzo sign Jason Marquis as a free agent?Yes, the Grinke trade would have been awful. Nobody's perfect on trades . . . but Rizzo also needs to get credit, too, for not trading Dunn last year (when everybody was screaming to trade him at the height of his worth, in his walk-year) because he didn't think he was offered enough value for him. That worked out pretty well with two top draft picks.Rizzo also gets credit for making Boras blink when he signed Strasburg with less than 90 seconds left to the deadline. (And cleaning up the Dominican mess). Etc.

  41. Exposremains - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:52 AM

    At grandstander:for me you just switch Stairs for another right handed position player not sure who. I wouldnt mess with the pen seems to be working fine the way it is.I do think that Rizzo is keeping around Stairs as a player manage type thing, maybe with Johnson coming on board they won't need so many veteran leaders.Its possible that Stairs brings a lot to this team behind the scenes.

  42. Grandstander - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    Well, if it's a behind the scenes type deal, then sign him to a non-uniform coach role. How many teams in MLB have a guy on the 25-man roster who don't play?I assume you meant a left-handed position player, but there just isn't anyone who's begging to come up. It wouldn't be a "traditional" move to carry an extra reliever at this point, but Gaudin did make this team for a reason (unbeknownst to most of us) and he has been excelling in his rehab starts.It just seems silly to me to keep a guy on the bench you have no intention to use. You're playing a short bench with him there anyway, might as well grab anyone who can play in the majors until someone in the minors shows you they're ready.

  43. Anonymous - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:37 AM

    The problem I see without Stan around is Rizzo is on his own for trades and almost killed this team in that trade proposed for Greinke. If Greinke doesn't kill that deal, the Nats would have a 5+ ERA guy and wouldn't have 3 of the best players of this resurgence (JZim, Espy, and Store-n).You folks need to keep in mind that Ted Lerner is no wall flower when it comes to managing this team. He may like to do it out of the public and pundits' eyes but let's face it he is very much involved. As he most definitely was when both Strasburg and Harper were signed. Riggleman provided a sidelong glimpse into this dynamic when he asked Rizzo for a "conversation" as he put it. He also told him it would be fine if Ted were there. Think people. One can be certain that Ted was behind the intention to trade for Grienke … perhaps more than Mike Rizzo. Why? He wants to ramp up a winner as rapidly as possible. As with Texiera he saw this as an opportunity in the free agent market. He can't wait for the farm system which was decimated to produce a winner. He feels there isn't much time. He wants to see it for himself. He is 83.Use your heads for something other than hat rack please.

  44. Steve - Jun 27, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Nats Outsider is the voice of reason to counter the wildcard talk. Pythagorean standings say the Nats are 1 game behind where they should be based on their run differential. That level would be good enough for third in the NL East.There may come a day — perhaps even later this year if Davey has real magic in a bottle — where the playoffs are a real topic, but for now folks should try to enjoy a professional, competitive team that would be exceeding expectations by playing .500 ball this year. Playoff talk is just setting things up for disappointment when they're ahead of schedule.

  45. natsfan1a - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Liking the way this road trip has gone so far. On to SoCal and the start of the Johnson era.

  46. Big Cat - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    NatsJack. Was unaware that Johnson brought Eck in here. Still, something has to be done about our putrid hitting. I know I know….Eck is workin hard. Well, it ain't workin out here for Eck. Even the novice can see that Ramos can't reach the outside corner with a boat ore. Same with Espy. Why don't they try and move closer? Couldn't hurt. There is no adjusting done…..nothing. Been that way all year. Ripken used to change his stance 2-3 times a year. Sometimes drastically. Also, you cannot expand the strike zone. You just can't. These MLB pitchers are just too good to be chasing balls in the dirt and 6 inches outside. Yet, this has been going on ALL year and is at its worst right now. If this team could get even a little hitting we could be very dangerous.

  47. Gonat - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I didn't realize Jordan Zimmermann reached 10 straight quality starts in a row and no more than 2 Earned Runs in any of those starts. Wins are still hard to come by at 5-6 but the Nats have found a way to blow his wins like they did on Friday night.Jordan's ERA is 2.85 and WHIP is 1.10 and is ranked in Top 10 in the NL now in both categories.It was last month that NatsJack was calling him a "prospect" while others are calling him an All Star with little chance based on that W/L record. Regardless, his numbers are great.

  48. Big Cat - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    I meant Desmond……not Espy. Espy reaches the outside corner and 6 inches beyond just fine

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    That was 6 starts ago. Jordan HAS strung together the CONSISTENT outings that I was waiting to see. Prior to that it was 1 good 2 bad, 1 good again. He's definitely our #1 starter till Strasburg gets in the rotation.

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Big Cat… Heck, it took Desmond 5 1/2 years to finally start showing some consistent defense. One thing at a time.Davey Johnson is one of Desmonds biggest promoters, convincing the staff to make him the everyday shortstop last season. Let's see how this works out.

  51. Anonymous - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Maybe they could bring in Ray Knight as kind of a "consultant" to oversee what Eck is doing. You know, like Snyder does

  52. JaneB - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Not making that Grienke trade is one of the best things that evert happened dor our Nats.I will have to get a good nap in to watch us singe some Angel wings tonight.NatsJack, I'm glad to know that Johnson is pro Desmond, Eck and Porter. All good things in my book.Welcome Davey. It would be nice ti start your tenure with another series victory. GYFNG!

  53. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    The last 2 weeks have been insane in natstown, folks. I am a little bit apprehensive to see what's going to happen next.After all – this is the team where absolutely nothing is ever easy.If you go back to April — would you ever have believed any of this? Leadership cannot be given to someone – it just happens. It's so nice to see Morse and Espi, with their hunger to win and intensity, right in the middle of every rally. Our free agents, and our face of the franchise – silent for now. I never expected this team to be so "must see tv" this season.I hate it that the games are so late for a couple of days – no chance I can watch Davey's debut. I hope they keep up the gritty play and finish the first half strong!

  54. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    You sure can tell that we have alot of people that just can't be comfortable being in the Center of the Baseball Universe. I'm enjoying every second of it.One last thing… 5/12/11 Jordan Zimmermann goes 6 1/3 innings giving up 3 runs on 103 pitches against Atlanta and we lose. It was after that outing that I stated that I needed to see more consistency out of him before annointing him our ace. Well, I've seen it.

  55. Navy Nats Fan - Jun 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    For all of those out there who are worried about Davey Johnson not being able to keep up with the kids and their interwebs, please read this post which quotes a Lesley Visser article from (gulp) 1985 (!) on Johnson's use of computers and what we now call sabremetrics. It should give you some comfort!

  56. N. Cognito - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    "Use your heads for something other than hat rack please."You first.

  57. N. Cognito - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    "I do think that Rizzo is keeping around Stairs as a player manage type thing"Where does everybody keep coming up with this Stairs as a coach stuff? How do you know he'll be any good?

  58. PAY TO PLAY - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    NatsJack, I am just glad 2 months ago when we were discussing Jordan Zimmermann that I did end up being right and you were wrong. It could have gone the other way with Tommy John guys. I just see him as an under-rated pitcher and good to know he is up there in the Top 10 of pitchers. He and Karstens are the 2 that have the great metrics but probably won't make the All Star team. If JZim got that win on Friday to go 6-6, that would have put him in the discussion with 1 more start before July 3rd's All Star selections.His fastball obviously was back immediately, it was the control and movement on his pitches and getting his full arsenal back where he could use that killer breaking pitch of his.The only issue we will have with JZim is his 2011 innings count now at that 160 to 180 range.

  59. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Pay to Play…. My only concern with Jordan Zimmermann was his lack of consistency. I became convinced of his "stuff" 3 springs ago but had not seen the command that he needed to use that "stuff". You are right… he sure has it now and everything indicates that his confidence now matches his stuff.As for the innings limit, I'm hoping for more towards the 180 number but we'll see.

  60. HHover - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    NCog -I think the reasoning is, that as PH'ers go, Stairs makes a great coach. (Those who can do, do. Those who can't do….)To reply to a couple of the comments above re: Greinke – while I think Rizzo was offering too much, and I'm glad the deal fell thru, anyone who thinks he's just some pitcher with a 5+ ERA needs to look closer. It's true his ERA is 4.77, but he's been victimized by bad luck in a low LOB and a high BABIP. His peripherals are amazing almost 12K/9, 1.5BB/9, and a FIP that's half his ERA.

  61. Steve M. - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    It is great that Jordan Zimmermann gets some "love" here as he doesn't get it really anywhere else because of that 5-6 record. His last 5 starts in June have all tallied to Nats WINS so while he doesn't have a good W/L record, he has had too many blown saves and holds behind him to count. I was there in Chicago to see him pitch Friday. They only got 2 decent hits off of him and the rest were dinks, doinks and tweeners and 1 out on a great Bernadina catch that could have soured his outing. He escaped that 1st inning and pitched 7 scoreless and got no mention on ESPN or MLB Network because of the craziness of the game. He starts Wednesday in Anaheim and then will have 1 to 2 more starts before the All Star break. He is at 94 innings now and will end up with 108 to 115 by the All Star break. They need to stretch him to Sept 1st if they can and can probably do that if they readjust him to his first start after the All Star game on July 19th in Houston.P2P, good comparison with Karstens with the Pirates although I believe JZim is a better pitcher and probably closer to a Tommy Hanson. Still a lot of baseball to be played and by the way, the Nats are in 5th in ERA for the NL.

  62. FS - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Brewers infield defense is supposed to be really bad, right? That could be hurting Greinke. Maybe he can sign with us as a free agent next season?

  63. Steve M. - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    On Rizzo, Kasten, Riggleman, Lerner, DJohnson, and any others, all you have to do is look at winning to decide their legacys when you look back and outside of Davey Johnson who has plenty of rings and Kasten who has plenty of assorted rings, the Lerner/Rizzo marriage is still sort of in their newlywed stage. A long way to go to decide how they are doing.Too soon to tell although I agree with Gonat that I am concerned that there is no more check & balance without Stan Kasten. I'm not concerned with the Draft Picks but I am concerned with what he has done since Kasten left in trades and Free Agency. The Capps/Ramos trade was done under Stan's watch. All the ones since then are on Rizzo that being Nyjer, AGonzalez, and Willingham and that HORRIBLE propopsed Greinke deal.Rizzo's 1st big Free Agent deal was Jayson Werth. Enough said.

  64. FS - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    WOW nice work there Steve M. Also some Insiders had mentioned that having a team president, we could have avoided what happened last Thursday. I do not care about trades so much, but that non-trade and Werth signing were huge decisions. In both cases, Rizzo was willing to overpay.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Anybody posting here that thinks Stan Kasten has ANY knowledge of player developement or player value is GREATLY mistaken. He's the one that wanted to sign Adam Dunn to an extension!All he cares about is fans in the seats. Ask the Atlanta Hawks or the Atlanta NHL franchise that was under his watch how their franchises were run.Stan Kasten was TOTALLY dependent on the baseball savvy of John Schuerhoz and Bobby Cox…. Please!

  66. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Steve M…. Stan Kasten didn't know the difference between Wilson Ramos and Pedro Ramos for crying out loud!

  67. HHover - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Steve MI wouldn't give Rizzo that high a grade as a GM–the Greinke deal looked bad at the time, and worse in retrospect. He overpaid for Werth, tho even he knew that at the time.Some of the other deals, you cite, tho, don't look that bad. * Gonzalez – The Nats aren't suffering really for the loss of Alberto's defense or his (virtually non-existent) offense, and there's only so much they could have gotten for a light-hitting backup infielder. * Willingham – Not a bad deal, in my book, given Willingham's price, his fragility, and the production the Nats have gotten out of Nix. Willingham's course with the As was perfectly forseeable–he put up good numbers til he got DL'ed. Corey Brown looks like a dud, HRod right now looks like a keeper. * Nyjer – is having a resurgence with the Brewers, but he's such a head case that I don't think he'd have put up the same numbers if he'd stayed with the Nats, nor do I expect him to keep it up in Milwaukee. And, btw, among deals Rizzo didn't make – not making a serious effort to re-sign Dunn looks like a great move right now, tho I expect Adam would be doing better if he'd stayed here than with his move.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    HHover….you forgot to mention Albertos whinning….. and it's only a matter of time for the Nyjer Morgan implosion…. he pulled out the "Tony Plush" character after his RBI producing hit Friday night. Then Saturday, his great defensive skills were on display as he played a fly ball to right center into a 3 base error.

  69. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Davey Johnson is loved by Ray Knight. Right Big Cat. I can see Knight joining the staff working on hitting.

  70. Anonymous - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Did I miss something? Did the Nats trade for Greinke this winter? NO, THEY DIDN'T! You can't blame Rizzo for making a trade that he didn't make! Nobody from Mark to Adam ever said names were exchanged in a deal. Greinke vetoed the deal BEFORE they ever specifically talked about a single name!Hopefully Mark will replay how the Greinke trade DIDN'T go down for all of those willing to make stuff up now.Ray Knight was Davey Johnson's hitting coach in Cincinnati.

  71. SayNoToClint - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    NavyNatsFan,Thanks for the great post about Davey Johnson and his early sabremetrics. As both a baseball geek and a computer geek, I thought it was an interesting read.Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but did Davey Johnson invent the on-base percentage stat? I'm assuming (perhaps falsely) that the "on-base average" referred to in the article has now become on-base percentage.

  72. Joe Seamhead - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Just about one year ago there was a lot of dissent on this board regarding the manager.Many were befuddled by watching Morse getting double switched out of game after game when he had gone 3- 3, 3-4 etc. I was seriously derided for suggesting that if Riggs wasn't kept that we had a perfect replacement on the payroll in the person of Johnson. Actually one frequent poster said that anyone calling for Davey Johnson to be the manager should be permanently thrown off of this blog. Now, I'm not going to call anyone out, but I feel a little bit vindicated. I'm excited by the developments of the past few days and really hope that they work out beyond our expectations. GO NATS!

  73. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    GYFNG

  74. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Joe Seamhead…. Davey Johnsons personal situation last year at this time was extremely different than it is this year. Just read Sheinin's article in today's WaPo and you see that there was no way Davey would have even considered the position last year. Now I may have stated that there was no way Davey would become manager last year but I cetainly wouldn't have banned you or anyone else from this site. Heck, I even agreed with Peric on another Blog this morning.

  75. Joe Seamhead - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    NatsJack, it wasn't you. Actually last year I had read an interview with Johnson in that he said that he wasn't interested in managing again, at a ML level, unless "the perfect situation" came about. Hey, Jack, I've got pretty, gnarly , thick skin. I never confronted the poster, just took the comment with the proverbial grain of salt. I honestly thought that when Davey Johnson was hired that he was effectively a possible manager in waiting, if the perfect situation arose, which it evidently did..

  76. Scooter - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    SayNoToClint: yes, it's the same stat, but Johnson did not invent it. Branch Rickey was very fond of the stat, and I'll bet you a dollar he wasn't the first to come up with it, either.

  77. Anonymous - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Such melodrama: kiss kiss hug hug — are these men or softened up wusses?Good bye old man, your "era" is over. Oh, and don't let the door hit your old arse on your way out.Go O's

  78. Anonymous - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Davey J is the best; he will do well.

  79. Anonymous - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Like this?

  80. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  81. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. N. Cognito - Jun 27, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    "Actually one frequent poster said that anyone calling for Davey Johnson to be the manager should be permanently thrown off of this blog."Might have been me. And if it wasn't, it might well have been, but "permanently thrown off" would have been only to demonstrate emphasis.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 56 44 --
ATLANTA 55 48 2.5
MIAMI 49 53 8.0
NEW YORK 49 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 45 58 12.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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