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Blown game tonight, important one tomorrow

Jul 8, 2011, 5:14 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Livan Hernandez is pulled after allowing a three-run homer to Blake DeWitt.

After a loss like this — when you blow the biggest lead in franchise history, come back to tie the game and then still lose — the first inclination is to place blame. Someone has to be the primary culprit responsible for the Nationals’ 10-9 loss to the Cubs Thursday night.

Maybe Livan Hernandez, who was handed an 8-0 lead in the sixth inning and then gave six runs back in a span of minutes, capped by a three-run, Blake DeWitt homer.

“I don’t do a good job today,” the right-hander said. “It’s 8-0. I’m supposed to hold it.”

Maybe Sean Burnett, who entered in the seventh with a chance to protect a two-run lead and immediately served up the tying home run to Carlos Pena, in the process raising his ERA to 5.76 while suffering his sixth blown save.

“I just need to pick up my slack,” the lefty said. “I’ve been pretty bad all year.”

Maybe the lineup that exploded for seven runs off Matt Garza in the third inning, then was held mostly in check the rest of the night
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  1. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    The evaluation continues … wondering if both Livo and Marquis the oldest starters are about to run out of gas for the 2nd half?Guess Pudge may be too, hopefully Jhonatan Solano can come up and help out enough to prove he's a keeper as a backup catcher and bat on the bench.

  2. dale - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    In the end Davey has to learn some things about this team:Burnett will give up a run every other inning.Trusting Matt Stairs to come up big will fail 85% of the time.Once Livo starts leaving balls high in the zone it's over for him, period.Jason Werth batting sixth is still about two spots too high in the order, even Desmond is hitting the ball better.Don't listen to Johnny Holliday as a talent evaluator of this team.The construction of this year's 40 man roster is seriously flawed–better luck next year.

  3. natsfan1a - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Haven't read through the game thread comments, but I'm not quitting on them after one laugher-turned-groaner. Who thought the team would have this record the week before the break? (Liars. ;-))Take two from the Rockies and finish with a winning record before the AS break. Get some rest (even if you're an All-Star) and be ready to pick up where you left off when the bell rings. I'll be waiting for you when you get back.

  4. Tim - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    I really thought the Cubs had packed it in. Their body language, their lack of hustle… We gave them a gift. In the back of my mind, I thought, "Livo's gonna need all those runs tonight", although I had no reason to believe that.I was disgusted after Burnett gave up the tying HR on his first pitch, but I was proud of the way we tied it up and then fought to the very end. I actually thought Bernie got ahold of one in that last at bat.Funny… biggest blown loss in franchise history and I'm not that upset. GYFNG!

  5. I was there and I was not happy - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    The first single in the sixth to the left side of the infield looked fieldable by Desmond. I think he dogged it, knowing that the game was "over." It opened the floodgates. The rally is not his fault, but it was the first play ina while from this team that loked like the old Nats – lack of effort/concern. And what was up with having Espinosa bunt late in the game? And Ramos? Why?

  6. Bzl. - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Tim has it right. I can't get too worked up about this loss, given the way they responded in the bottom of the 8th *and* bottom of the 9th. We almost, almost pulled this out. This team doesn't know Boring, and has NO quit. We'll take 2 of 3 against the Rockies and noone will remember this game.

  7. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Scapegoat is MATT STAIRS and Jason Werthless.

  8. JayB - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    This is not a big deal…just baseball and Davey knows it made some big mistakes with pitchers….I would hope he tells Rizzo that his flawed 25 man roster could really use some reworking to get another pitcher instead of Stairs or Bix or Cora.Has Mark commented or others on the dumping of the post game formalities that Riggs was putting us through? No more Media Room and desk mic….if yo want to talk with Davey you have to find him……Interesting Vet move….So many bad memories from that formal teeth pulling sessions with Acta and Riggs.

  9. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Good, I hated that Riggleman post-game the-guys-are-playing-hard-it-will-come-around "press conference". As far as the game, you remember what Willie Harris said when asked if he slept ok after a particularly hard loss (paraphrasing here): It's a baseball game. I worry about whether my mother's ok.Words of wisdom. Miss ya, Willie (and condolences on the loss of your baby, that also).

  10. natsfan1a - Jul 8, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    D'oh! For some reason I was thinking the Rockies was a four-game series. I guess because we've had two of those this homestand.(And the captcha guru knows my secret shame – the word was pringl.)

  11. SCNatsFan - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    If we don't DFA Stairs for repeatedly not doing what he was signed for then it sends a terrible message to the team; we signed you so you are here no matter what you do.

  12. natsfan1a - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    So did Bob Carpenter. Before the floodgates opened, he said something like, "I'm going to be brutally frank here" and went on to say pretty much the same thing about the Cubbies. Maybe somebody was watching in the visitors' club house…Tim said… I really thought the Cubs had packed it in. Their body language, their lack of hustle… We gave them a gift.

  13. George Brett - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Oh what a beautiful morning . Oh wait I just looked at the roster, and some is still there. Never mind.

  14. Dave - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Glad to see JayB chime in with a voice of reason this morning. The game thread took on a desperate tone after the game.The much-maligned Jayson Werth said it best: "It's just baseball. You play crazy games. You win crazy games. You lose crazy games … It's a long season, and we've got a long way to go. Obviously, I can see how this one's tough to swallow. But big picture, I think we've got a lot to look forward to."Hey, if you were at this game last night, you attended a historical event. Save your ticket stub. It'll remind you about the pitfalls of baseball later on, when the Nats are in the wild-card hunt.

  15. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Red Flag warning. 2 games in the last 5 the pitchers have given up 10 runs. Are the pitchers wearing out? (If so they need to get in better shape).

  16. Dave - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Oh, and I'm with you folks on the manager's press conference. Good riddance to that silly-looking podium and backdrop. It always looked to me like the Beatles had come to town, or the president of Latvia or something.(I note that Buck Showalter does sit at the podium both before and after the Orioles' games.)DJ's post-game interviews look like a baseball manager talking to the reporters.

  17. arcorcoran - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Where was Clippard? Why did we stick with H Rod in the 8th inning?

  18. natsfan1a - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Yeah, I figured it would have, though I didn't read it. Plus, I have to make up some work time after yesterday's voting escapades. :-)Dave said… Glad to see JayB chime in with a voice of reason this morning. The game thread took on a desperate tone after the game.

  19. sjm308 - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Agreed about the press conference thing and Riggs was always tossed the softball questions by Debbie first and then dodged any tough ones. Never heard him say anything of consequence. Hate to pile on but why does Debbie get to ask the first question? Is it because MASN is running the show. At least after the game,we don't get to see her squinch her little face up as she talks. Stairs might be barely helping this team but she is the one true negative to my baseball enjoyment.Go Nats

  20. JayB - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    Davey said it…..he was wrong….this was on him…he wanted to use the B team to win a game and get set up for the weekend against Rox….He made a big mistake not making the switch from Blow out to 1 run game fast enough. I think he will learn that this team needs to get every win it can this summer to shed the loser tag….this was a Johnson error in know knowing this team well enough….He learned first hand what they still have lurking in there not too distant past.

  21. JayB - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    "not knowing the team"

  22. JayB - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    agree on Debbie….last year I hope…..there are eyes on the sets now…MASN will step up the product I hope.

  23. raymitten - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Riggleman wins that game. Period. He doesn't let Livo in until six runs are given up. He didn't use Stairs every night in every key situation. Clippard would not have been left throwing in the bullpen for a 10th inning that didn't come. To me that all is much more important than where the post game press conference is held.

  24. Dave - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Aw, jeez, raymitten, are you on here about Riggleman again?Yeah, maybe Riggleman wins that game.But we'll never know, because he quit.

  25. MicheleS - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    As soon as the game was over, I shut everything off, I knew there was going to be a major bashing session on NI. And I refuse to jump into that muck! It was one game and they didn't quit. I am glad to see Davey take the blame, that's what good manager's do. Losses are their fault, wins are because of the players. And finally, Debbie has got to go! Or at least ask better questions. Soft tosses and inane questions are just dumb!

  26. raymitten - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Funny thing, I thought that a manager was judged by how he utilized his personnel to win games. I guess its better to lose the game with a flurry of bad moves and answer a post game question properly than to make the right moves with your personnel to win the game. My mistake.

  27. A DC Wonk - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    JayB said…Davey said it…..he was wrong….this was on him…he wanted to use the B team to win a game and get set up for the weekend against Rox….He made a big mistake not making the switch from Blow out to 1 run game fast enough. I think he will learn that this team needs to get every win it can this summer to shed the loser tag….this was a Johnson error in know knowing this team well enoughI agree with the first part of that, but I don't think it was necessarily that Johnson didn't know the team.Look, he thought Livo could get one more guy out. And, after all, the 3-run HR hit the foul pole. Johnson gambled, and he lost. It happens sometimes.As for using Burnett — he was hoping to get something decent out of him, because, as you said, he wanted to give his front-line relievers a rest.As for HRod — if I recall correctly, his first inning was very few pitches, so he hoped that HRod could pitch a second inning — again: because he wanted to give his front-line relievers a rest.Remember, the Nats are in the midst of playing 11 games over 10 consecutive days — and almost all of the games, thus far, a number of relievers have had to pitch in high pressure situations, over and over again.Johnson can see the big picture. He understands short term pain for long term gain. He knows there's still three more games left to play before the break. He knows the big danger of completely burning out Cipp and Store before the season ends (which could happen at the same time that JZimm has been shut down, and we'll have even greater relief pitching demands).It's a marathon, not a sprint. Even choices which have a higher than 50% probability of succeeding still blow up an appreciable amount of time.

  28. A DC Wonk - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    raymitten, who perhaps is Riggs' agent, wrote: Funny thing, I thought that a manager was judged by how he utilized his personnel to win games.That would be, as you wrote, games — in the plural. Even the 1927 Yankees lost well over 1/3 of their games. Even if you create a situation that has a 90% chance of succeding, it will still fail 10% of the time. You'd still blame the manager, even if he made right right call?You can't isolate a single game as if the other 10 games during these 10 days don't exist.

  29. baseballswami - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Lots of mistakes made last night. I am never frustrated by this team when they battle. I am very frustrated by a few really bone-headed things like running stairs out there at a critical time.He is not that guy anymore! I worry about the message being sent to Desi – his batting average is higher than Stairs, by the way. I also am confused by the Ramos bunt( probably trying to stay out of the dp) and the Espi awful bunt attempt.Both of those guys had the ability to win that game with one swing and were handicapped. Why are the very talented and capable rookies being treated like idiots and the done-for veterans being treated like they can do anything? I hate to see our rookies mis-handled.They seem to have great attitudes, but our players need to be judged on what they bring to the game not their service time and previous reputations. Again – both Ramos and Espi had the capability to win that game( and have done it before) and had the bats taken out of their hands.

  30. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Going into last night RISPStairs 2 for 26 2 RBIs 7 KsCora 3 got 18 3 3KsNix 11 for 53 22 RBIs 17 KsWho should have been up with a man on third 1 out. In that situation by the way Nix has been up 12 times and had 9 RBIs,

  31. FS - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    raymitten, Dave has a solid point. Yes, Riggs might have won last night because he knows this team better probably. But we will never know because he decided to part ways. And Davey said that this one is on him.I still have faith in this team after last night's blowup. Why? Before that West Coast road trip, everyone said how tough that will be and a true test of this team. We still won 6-5. Then came home for a 8 game win streak. Lost to Orioles and everyone was saying that it will be interesting how they respond. We got a ninth inning win on Ramos' walk-off shot. Then Riggs resigned after another win. We thought all momentum will be gone and team will start losing it. Guess what? we won that epic match against White Sox in 14 innings. Now what should we expect after last night's loss?

  32. Steady Eddie - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Agree completely with JayB — when any offense– but especially THIS offense — gets 9 runs, the onus for a loss is on mismanagement of pitching. I couldn't believe that Davey had no one up in the pen until AFTER Livo ran out of gas so completely he made DeWitt — with what, one dinger this year? — look like Nix. And how could he bring in Burnett after watching him single-handedly torch the Saturday afternoon game? And bring back HRod for the 9th (to "make up" for using Storen Wednesday?) when it was clear from the 8th that HRod did not have his best stuff? I wonder if Davey wasn't thinking more about his pitchers' feelings if he yanked them than about the rest of the team's morale when his poor pitching choices wasted the biggest offensive output in 3 weeks? It's only one game, but I can't help think that, several weeks from now, this will look like at best a missed opportunity for this team to take a leap forward.( BTW, Manassas Nats Fan, re your "comp ticket" question on Monday, "comp"=complimentary=free. As I wrote then, I used Red Carpet credits like every STH can. The price on those tickets is $0, which means they don't count as paid admission, that's all.)

  33. masnstinks - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Raymitten is not wrong, guys. Some of you are doing the same thing with Johnson that he is doing with Stairs. Just because he has a name and a reputation does not mean that he is "the guy" now. Some of you actually like him and think he's colorful – fine , maybe he is. That does not mean he was up to this at the present time. You think he is a good manager because you like his chats at the end of the game better than you liked the little press conferences? Really?That's what you are looking at? I do not see a lot of evidence that he is up to speed. Please take your feelings about the Riggleman incident out of the equation.This guy looked like a quick, convenient fix. I think he is the equivalent of Matt Stairs. Rizzo seems to have a soft spot for people with names and reputations. I don't think Rizzo thought this one through. I hope Johnson will get better in the second half – he has some homework to do.

  34. JaneB - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I agree with you all who are saying this is one game, get over it. The bigger thing is the guys stayed IN it, till the last pitch. Davey made a bad choice to put in Matt Stairs where he did. I hope he sees it now. Whomever said Livo is toast when you see a handful of pitches left up…got it Davey? Love Sean and I hope he finds his groove soon, whatever team he plays for. We go on. These guys are made of some pretty stern stuff — they didn't give up on themselves. Tonight we launch the winning series against the Rockies. GYFNG!

  35. JD - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    DC Wonk, I totally agree with you. It was not unreasonable to expect Livo to get through the 6th inning without blowing up; it's easy to criticize after the fact. JayB and Raymitten, Look up Clippard's 2nd half numbers last year and you will see why you can win a game in early July and lose 10 in August and September by completely overusing your big 2 which is exactly what Riggleman did last year.

  36. Feel Wood - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Yeah sure, Riggleman would have won that game. But then he would have quit right after because Rizzo wouldn't give him a lifetime contract for winning one game. Get over it. Riggleman was ultimately a loser, and then a quitter. He's gone. Good riddance.

  37. JD - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    JayB, Baseball people in the know understand that the Nationals are on the cusp of being a very good team; not so much because their record this year and certainly not because of Jayson Werth but because of: JZimm, RZim,Espinosa,Strassburg,Harper, Ramos. I don't think we need to operate in an effort to prove respectability any more. All decisions need to be baseball decisions designed to improve the club.

  38. Drew8 - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    In case anybody's heading to Richmond, hoping to see Harper tonight, don't.MLB asked that he fly out Friday instead of Saturday to attend Sunday's Futures Game in Phoenix.Many who who bought their tix this week are not pleased.

  39. A DC Wonk - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    JD, thanks for the comments. Perhaps I was too abstract for the criticizers to grasp what I was saying, and so thanks for distilling it to a very simple bottom line. It's so good, I want to quote it again:Look up Clippard's 2nd half numbers last year and you will see why you can win a game in early July and lose 10 in August and September by completely overusing your big 2 which is exactly what Riggleman did last year.And I'll even quote myself again: we are in the midst of a 11-game, 10-day stretch, and the relief pitchers are worn out!. Given all that, it's understandable to try to squeeze just one more out from Livo, or one more inning from HRod.

  40. Dave - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    @masnstinks, I think you are missing my point. (Maybe also others' points, but I'll stick to mine.)raymitten seems angry that Riggleman has been replaced with Johnson. He thinks/thought Riggleman was doing a decent job. My side of this discourse does not get into whether or not Riggleman was doing a decent job, or whether he would be doing a decent job if he were here now.No less than JayB himself, who never had much good to say about Riggleman, posted on this very blog, on the very day that Riggleman quit:"Having too much fun to post….I was wrong about Riggs I guess….He has made all the right moves lately…"But later on that very day, in a move so bizarre that Riggleman's own agent had trouble talking about it on the MASN Sports Report, Riggleman up and quit on everybody.Davey Johnson did not send in a managerial resume to Mike Rizzo and ask to please take over this team. He agreed to because he was in place in the front office. He seemed to be happy to take it on, but he didn't seek it out.So if you're going to be angry at somebody about Riggleman being gone, please do the right thing and take it out on Riggleman. Call into his radio talk show in Chicago, or whatever he's doing now. Don't blame Davey Johnson for Riggleman's not being here, because it's not Davey's fault.You can blame Davey for leaving Livo in to long, or bringing in Stairs in the 9th (two very bad moves, obviously), but don't blame him for the absence of Riggleman.

  41. gonatsgo - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    This is not about Riggleman anymore. This is about this team, right now. Yes, it was one game — the offense finally clicks and — well, you know. This pitching staff carried us the first half and some of our bullpen guys were toast – I think if they had been available it would have been different – maybe. We have some glaring issues right now – a new manager, who I hope will eventually start living up to his reputation but is not yet, the Werth situation , the Stairs situation, the Burnett situation. We some dinged up guys, JZinn's innings limit. But we also have Wang heating up, maybe Detweiler will work out, Milone in the wings, maybe Strassie back this year. In the meantime – who will be the backup catcher for this series?

  42. Knoxville Nat - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Could somebody explain to me why Johnson had Espinosa bunting with Bernadina on first and no outs, only to see Danny fail to advance the runner (and look bad at attempting to bunt), and then have Bernie stael with RZ at the plate? Why not have Bernie steal second with Espi at the plate and take a couple of shots at getting him home with a base hit? I couldn't believe Johnson was asking the leading RBI guy on the team to sacrifice in that situation when clearly an attempted steal of second would seem to make more sense with no outs rather than wait until there was one out in the inning.

  43. A DC Wonk - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Wow, JD, another nice comment of yours:I don't think we need to operate in an effort to prove respectability any more. All decisions need to be baseball decisions designed to improve the club.Exactly. The goal on any given night is not: "we have to win tonight's game at all cost." The goal is, more properly, "let's put the team in a position to gave a good season", or, even more importantly, "let's put the entire organization in position to challenge for a playoff spot — if not this year, then next."And that's why we don't call up certain players for short term gain. Better that they develop properly, so they can helps us even more next year. Etc.JD, you're one of the rare folks around here who understand that the season's a marathon, and you seem to show a distinct lack of impatience ;-)

  44. Knoxville Nat - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    "have Bernie steal" not "stael"I need more coffee.

  45. Bowdenball - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Did the people trashing Davey Johnson miss the three one-run victories in a row he managed the team to prior to this loss?You can't win 'em all, folks. Sometimes these things happen. It's part of why we love baseball. I don't remember people attributing the Ramos walkoff game last month, or the July 4th weekend comeback last year, to poor managerial decisions by the Mariners and Mets. In the wise words of Sam Elliott: Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.

  46. baseballswami - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Interesting question about catchers – don't teams always operate with a backup catcher? Does that mean someone gets called up for this series? If Pudge truly can't play, we have to have a backup. Can this mean that Stairs can go now? Perhaps Burnett needs a trip to the minors for some tweaking ala Lanna circa 2010?

  47. JD - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Knoxville Nat, I do agree with you on these points. I hate giving up outs when out top hitters are up. Let Espi and Ramos swing away and see what happens.

  48. masnstinks - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Knoxville nat – good point about the Espi at bat. I agree completely. and — not "trashing" Davey Johnson, QUESTIONING his decisions. You know, one of the things bloggers like to do best? I get really tired of the "trashing" and "neganon" labels just because someone has an opinion or disagrees. Trashing would be a personal attack on the person. Plenty of that to go around on a certain other blog. By the way – very disgusted with our Washington DC premiere newspaper today — when we win, we get a small paragraph at the bottom of the page. When we lost we get a full page spread with a huge picture of our best hitter looking dejected, even though he played well.

  49. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    GYFNG!!! Livo has pitched his way out of more jams then the rest of the staff combined. We have pushed the bullpen pretty hard. Davey played the card that Livo would survive the inning. [Bad Davey!] Why ? For the reasons already stated.[Bad Davey!] Some of you must think that Clippard has a rubber arm, but he doesn't. [Bad Davey!] Coffey couldn't do his job.[Bad Davey] Sean Burnett threw a first pitch, belt high curve to Pena that just killed us. [Bad Davey!]H-Rod was not effective. [Bad Davey!] But! Clip and Storen will be slightly rested and available for the Rockies, and hopefully for the second half of the season. Hey, folks, we just took 3 out of 4. Now I'm sure if one of you guys were the manager, we surely would have swept them, but, well too bad for the Nats, and us fans, but you're not the skipper. Again, i say, GYFNG!!!

  50. Cwj - Jul 8, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Man I'm so glad I was busy with life events and didn't watch the game last night. Even more thankful I didn't (and still haven't) read the NI in-game comments. I'm sure it wasn't pretty.Nevertheless, 45-44 is well above my expectations and now they can take the Rockies series before a much deserved rest.Go NATS!

  51. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    GJSG (Go, Joe Seamhead, Go).

  52. Luqman - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Davey Johnson is an old school coach. He is giving people respect. The NL East is a tough division, the Phillies, Braves, Mets, and Nationals are a good teams. They compete every night. They have things that the Marlins needs, good pitching, good bullpen, and a lineup that can field and hit. The Nationals with Strasburg, Harper, they have a good future. I guarantee that the Nationals will make the playoffs next year.

  53. Steve M. - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    This team really was impressive with the bats with the players that are the core and the defense was stellar. Should have been a feel good win instead of a pissed off loss.Unfortunately Stairs shouldn't be here. He has come through in 1 key situation after getting several days of playing time. This team can't afford to give him starts. He is a bench role player and can't handle it—CLEARLY.I was also hoping Ramos would swing away like June 21st. As mentioned by someone in the in-game thread, Davey is still learning his players. The bullpen is thin and I understand Detwiler will be available tonight in relief. I also agree Burnett to the DL and bring back Balester to sit in long relief and Detwiler to take some pressure off of Clippard as key help in set-up.Henry Rodriguez throwing 2 innings hasn't been a recipe for success either. He is pitching much better but I think Davey got lost last night with the bullpen and handling Livan.Bounce back tonight by the Nats.

  54. Pete - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Silver Lining: FREE WINGS! Also, no canned interview questions from Debbi Taylor: "How does it FEEL to blow an 8 run lead? What does it say about the character of the team that you came back and tied it?"Does anyone know where to find a Danny Espinosa T-shirt? I can't find one anywhere. It doesn't help that the official team store online sells only Werth and Strasburg jerseys. One sucks and the other isn't playing.

  55. Doc - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    While DJ took all the blame for leaving Livo in when he started throwing high, where was McCatty?McCatty has been watching Livo for a few seasons now,unlike Davey; shouldn't he know when Livo is starting to show signs of losing it, and be able to communicate that to Johnson?

  56. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    A couple of things. I'm glad they lost this game. The Cubs had much fight in them and I admire them for their comeback. The other thing, to every player, coach, and manager of the Nationals, never take your opponent for granted. Take what you learned from your whipping and apply it to the rest of this season and future ones…

  57. erocks33 - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Always look on the bright side of life (whistle, whistle) …Look, the teams lost a heartbreaker last night. It sucks. Could have/should have swept the Cubs this series. BUT, the Nats were indeed lucky in the first three games of the series and could have/should have BEEN swept by the Cubs.I'll take a 3-1 series win just about every time. Now, let's work on winning tonight (weather permitting). We've got LannEn on the mound, our bats seem to be waking up a little and we've got a struggling Rockies team in town.

  58. Steve M. - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Doc said… While DJ took all the blame for leaving Livo in when he started throwing high, where was McCatty?McCatty has been watching Livo for a few seasons now,unlike Davey; shouldn't he know when Livo is starting to show signs of losing it, and be able to communicate that to Johnson? July 8, 2011 10:42 AMI totally agree with you. McCatty and Eckstein who have been here should have been whistling in Davey's ear with advice. He doesn't know these guys yet and just getting a handle on the bullpen.By the way, how clutch was Michael Morse with the bat last night?Could Wilson Ramos have done the same if given the chance in the 9th? He made a nice bunt but a 2 run HR Walk-off is what was needed against the wild Marmol instead of HANDING HIM AN OUT! I was concerned that the bottom of the order coming up and even if you sacrifice Ankiel to 2nd, who is going to knock him in with 1st and 2nd base open?Marmol knew he could pitch to Stairs in that situation. If Nix came up with 1 out, I think he walks him. Then you pinch run for Nix with a pitcher and get Cora in there to tie the game.

  59. Steve M. - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    erocks33 – I think Marquis is the starter tonight. Back to winning!

  60. raymitten - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    You can get an Espinosa T shirt at the main team store by the center field gate. They have a large selection of players. You also can get one customized online at the website.

  61. HHover - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    On the bright side – In football, they play once a week, so this rehashing of the last game drags on for 7 days. In baseball, they play virtually every day, so we'll have a new game to talk about in a few hours.

  62. Steve M. - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    JD said… Baseball people in the know understand that the Nationals are on the cusp of being a very good team; not so much because their record this year and certainly not because of Jayson Werth but because of: JZimRZimEspinosaStrasburgHarper RamosI don't think we need to operate in an effort to prove respectability any more. All decisions need to be baseball decisions designed to improve the club. July 8, 2011 9:23 AM Great points there JD. The core is there and you can hopefully add Rendon to it. The Nats have the ability of keeping Morse in the core if you believe you have a BEAST there that will be this type of player going forward. He is under team control for 2 more years just like Ryan Zimmerman.

  63. Steve M. - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Another observation was Jayson Werth moved back down to the 5 hole. His one hit was a bleeder with overspin that hit the infield dirt that Barney couldn't get.I would probably bat Werth 9th as the pitchers are all hitting better than him except for Lannan.

  64. N. Cognito - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    Nats would have won last night if they hadn't traded Wilkerson for Soriano. It was the move that started everything. And that is the fault of:LernersBowdenRizzoF RobbyActaRigglemanJohnsonAny coach on the coaching staffMASNDibbleCarpenterFPJohnny HolidayRay KnightPhil WoodDon SuttonNats320Other(you may pick more than one)

  65. none of the above - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    it's a blogger conspiracy

  66. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Phil Wood on in the post game show on 106.7 last night was telling callers (more than one) that Werth is a complimentary player, that he was not meant to be a star, impact type guy for the Nats. If that is true, then Rizzo should be fired today. $126M/7 yr deal to a 30-something complimentary guy?? Also, note that Angels called up all-world 19 year old prospect Mike Trout so that they can try to stay in the playoff hunt in a tight Al West. Meanwhile, the Nats are desperados for offense every night but Rizzo won't even consider sending Harper to the bigs, no matter how much the kid rakes through the minors. Is his free agent clock more important to this club than competing for the first time in 6 years? dfh21

  67. Knoxville Nat - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Trout was drafted in 2009 and has played almost two full years in the minors now. He has over 1,100 plate appearances, has probably shown more maturity than Harper and he has much more experience in the outfield than Harper has. Leave Harper where he is for now. The experience gained in AA ball will be good for him and the Nationals in the long run.

  68. JD - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    And Trout is an emergency callup because Bourjos is hurt and is likely going right back to the minors.

  69. A DC Wonk - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    JD said… And Trout is an emergency callup because Bourjos is hurt and is likely going right back to the minors.And also the Angels are one game out of first place. That's not exactly the same position that the Nats are in. This year.

  70. A DC Wonk - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Phil Wood on in the post game show on 106.7 last night was telling callersAnd we all know that whatever PW says is gospel, right?

  71. natsfan1a - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    In other news, the Phillies say that there's no truth to the rumor that Shane Victorino sprained his thumb while repeatedly texting All-Star votes for himself (yeah, I know that he already had the injury – work with me here, will ya?). :-)

  72. Slidell - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    I was there. I place a great deal of responsibility on the management of the bullpen. Garza suddenly running out of gas 2 innings earlier should have set a warning bell ringing in Davey's head. No, 5 straight hits off Livo and nobody even stretching in the BP. The 1st visit out to Livo should have been the last, but nobody was warm, so . . . Then pulling Coffey to get the L- R match-up with Burnett; we know how that worked out. Then, the crowning touch was LEAVING Rodriquez in for the ninth after we clawed back in the 8th to re-tie it! I said to my seatmate on at least three occasions– "This is not a good idea", and I was proved right each time, not because I'm so smart, it was just common sense.If we're going to blame Werth for not performing after paying him big bucks, then Davey's fair game too.This will test the character of the team; will they be mad or flat against the Rockies?Let's go Nats!

  73. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Sure the Angels are looking to win a Division, but the Nats are something like 8 games out of the wild card behind the Braves (whom they play 8 times before the trade deadline and with 70 games left to go); is it throw in the towel time for the Nats? No need to simply promote a guy they have in the system to inject some life into the offensively challenged club? Trout is not exactly light years ahead developmentally at 19 years old, so what if he has an extra year and change in the minors; ready to contribute is ready to contribute and Harper is as ready to contribute as any player they have in the system right now (note that Harper is the best prospect in baseball right now and Trout sits a spot behind him according to Baseball America). And the diea that some serious seasoning is required for Harper defensively as a corner OF is a bit much, it is the easiest postion in the game to learn, and especially in light of the fact that Nix cannot play worth a damn out there and Stairs looks like me playing LF. Harper runs and throws better then either right now.At the end of the day, Kid gloves are not needed for this kid; he will not be damaged by playing in the bigs; and he offers what they need without having to change course with a trade of prospects or taking on salary. The Nats should do what they can to stay in the hunt and they have a relatively easy option right in front of them in Harper. dfh21

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.

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