Skip to content

Game 110: Braves at Nats

Aug 3, 2011, 2:53 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Winners of four straight, the Nationals attempt to sweep the Braves today.

When Chien-Ming Wang took the mound at Nationals Park five days ago, there was no expectation for how he might perform in his first big-league appearance in more than two years. In the end, the clearly nervous right-hander allowed the night's first five batters to reach, then settled down to toss three more innings without allowing an earned run.

Today, Wang takes the mound for his second start, and this time there will be some expectation that he show improvement from his Nationals debut. Davey Johnson isn't suddenly looking for six shutout innings from the Taiwanese hurler, but he would like to see a more consistent sinker and better command of his breaking balls.

If Wang can keep his team in the game, the Nats will have a chance to sweep the Braves and win their fifth straight, moving back to within two games of the .500 mark. It's currently raining at Nationals Park, and the grounds crew just put the tarp over the infield, but the forecast calls for things to be clear from 12-5 p.m., so they should be able to get this one in.

Check back for updates…

BRAVES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Chance of storms, 87 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (53-56)
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

Read more »

128 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Go, Wang! Go, NATS!!

  2. Tcostant - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    I want six shutout innings from Wang.

  3. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    If the Nats win today, I'll be a monkey's uncle.

  4. Feel Wood - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    In the end, the clearly nervous right-hander allowed the night's first five batters to reach, then settled down to toss three scoreless innings after that.No he didn't, Mark. He gave up two unearned runs in the fourth inning in addition to the four earned runs in the first.

  5. SCNatsFan - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Huge game for Wang. Figure he tosses 5 and Gorzo tosses 4.As an aside, Braves haven't been swept in a three game series this year yet (or Phils). Wouldn't it be sweet if we knocked them from thier perch today!

  6. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    The Nats sit at 1,235,123 for paid attendence through the home schedule. It appears they get 0 for 2 games this year for the old-style doubleheaders.Even with those 2 games, the team to the North with 1 more home game sits at 1,184,268 and they are the home away from home for the NYY and Bostonians.Besides a few games with Philthy fans infiltrating DC, I think the Nats are taking over many fringe fans in the region that want to see "better" baseball.Sure, overall 23,000 in attendence for a MLB game is nothing to brag about, but with consistent winning and some more marquee players, this will be a HOT TICKET!

  7. Not Werth It - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Speaking of hot tickets, just bought mine to see the first day of Strasmas. 11 bucks for front row seats, not bad. Get em while they're hot nats insider readers.

  8. Feel Wood - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Sure, overall 23,000 in attendence for a MLB game is nothing to brag aboutThe difference between an attendance of 23,000 this year and an attendance of 23,000 in previous years is that this year those 23,000 people are actually at the game. In past years half or more of an announced attendance of 23,000 would have been empty seats of season ticket holders who did not post for the game. With the STH base drastically down now, a much larger portion of the gate consists of single game sales, which leads to a more crowded ballpark and a much better atmosphere at the games.

  9. Nats Outsider - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Steve M. said, "I think the Nats are taking over many fringe fans in the region that want to see "better" baseball." You are right. Baltimore is a l-o-n-g way to drive for such a poor on-field product. I have a NYC refugee friend who goes up there when the Yankees are playing, but otherwise likes to be able to hop on the Metro after work to catch an occasional Nats game. Camden Yards beats Nationals Park as a facility, but the Orioles are playing mediocre to lousy baseball there. The O's are 2 games below .500 at home, while the Nats are 10 games above. Besides, they play that *other* game up there, called American League Baseball."

  10. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Camden Yards is not a better park then the Nats. Maybe there is more to do around the park but Camden has gotten a little run down and dingy I think. I can get to Camden in 35 minutes from my home. But I prefer to travel the 75 – 80 minutes (this includes metro) to go see the Nats. The employees are much nicer. I have often wished the employees at Nats park worked at Fed Ex Field. (where rudeness runs rampant)

  11. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/pitching/_/league/nl/order/falseHere is the updates on the ERA charts to give you an idea of where the Nats starters are for the top 25 NL pitchers.#10 Jordan Zimmermann 3.12#24 John Lannen 3.65If you use ERA as the top predictor of pitcher dominance, then Lannen is a #2 behind JZim being a #1. Strasburg will be back soon and most likely will have the 160 inning limit in 2012. The good news for this team is that if they can find a veteran Free Agent who can be a solid #3 like a Mark Buehrle, this team could compete in 2012.Nobody on the Nats staff has benefited more from the improved defense then high BABIP pitcher Lannen. The good news for Lannen is going to be the big pay raise he gets in 2012. The good news for the Nats is Stras/JZim/Lannen makes a great young core of pitchers.

  12. NatStat - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    @ Anon. 11:10Actually, in evolutionary terms the monkey is your uncle, as it were…whether the Nats win or not. If the Nats do win, all phoney tomahawk choppers should be arrested for attempted assult.Goooooooooooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!!

  13. LoveDaNats - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Just hoping for some good, clean baseball……by the Nats.

  14. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    NatStat, on occasion I've had an impulse to tell visiting Braves fans that the tomahawk chop has been outlawed in DC (and I'd also tell them that I was informing them in order to save them a trip to the hoosegow). I've not yet given in to the impulse, though. :-)

  15. LoveDaNats - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    To all the wise baseball commenters:Will Strasburg's rehab start be televised anywhere?

  16. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    btw, if they asked for more details, I'd say that it had been outlawed for PC reasons. On a related note, our fans (and our players) seem to be doing a good job of counteracting chops. Let's keep in going!

  17. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    keep *it* going, ratherOff to watch the broadcast – seee you later!! (Also, Save Bob Carpenter!!)

  18. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    SteveM – I mainly agree with your conclusion that Lannan has both performed very well since last year's demotion, and also that he projects to hold to a #4 level going forward. To me, he has seemed a touch faster than previous years (FB velo up 1 mph), is getting more movement on his breaking pitches (that is just my guess), (the combination of which is leading to more Ks) and he is throwing more GBs. All great stuff. He actually appears to be throwing his FB less than the past, and his slider almost twice as much.That being said, I'll quibble at some of the peripheral stuff. His BABIP is actually low at .287 (although in line with his career numbers, this was always the thing sabr types couldn't understand about Lannan and therefore why they always discounted him). But he continues to put a lot of guys on base, and especially his walks are what troubles me. He doesn't have a large margin for error, so the walks can really tip the balance.Anyhow, that is a long winded way of saying that Lannan has been great, and if stays like this, he is a solid 4/5, but if he holds this increased velo and GB%, plus improves his walks to 2.25BB/9, that is a solid 3.

  19. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    2 days off for Heyward or did I miss something.

  20. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Not sure if Heywerd hurt something but Hinske has a history with Wang is what I was thinking and Heywerd is in a slump.

  21. SCNatsFan - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Are we going to blame butterflies again?

  22. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    If improvement is 2 earned in the 1st vs 4, then great.

  23. SCNatsFan - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Couple of more stars Steve and Wang will get his BA against below .400

  24. SCNatsFan - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Oh and c'mon Nats… Ankiel is due he hasn't hit a HR in almost 18 hours

  25. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    SCNatsFan said… Are we going to blame butterflies again? August 3, 2011 1:20 PM Yah, that doesn't work for the 2nd game. Wang is lucky Ross didn't connect with the 1st pitch that Wang threw him that he fouled straight back.

  26. Theophilus - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Someone noted in an earlier post that Lannan is "bigger" than in previous years, which I think is true. He's only 25 (26?) and has obviously been filling out. On the radar last night he was doing 91-92 at times, which is a huge hike from last year's 88. With the slider and change, he now has swing-and-miss stuff. Yes, he's going to make a nice chunk of change next year. The improvement makes me much more content about holding on to him.

  27. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Wally said… SteveMAnyhow, that is a long winded way of saying that Lannan has been great, and if stays like this, he is a solid 4/5, but if he holds this increased velo and GB%, plus improves his walks to 2.25BB/9, that is a solid 3. August 3, 2011 1:08 PM Great point. 1 walk last night was great compared to averaging 4 walks in each of the previous 3 starts. His strikeouts were huge yesterday with 8.

  28. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    It would be awesome if Pudge could catch SS on Sunday!!

  29. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Wang follows almost his script from his 1st start. Horrible 1st inning and clean 2nd inning with the bottom of the order.

  30. Oldguy - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Come on, people. everything was hit on the ground. And yeah, he's been out for two years–he's not going to come back in two or three outings. This is an experiment. If it works out, we have another nice piece. If it doesn't, it was worth a shot. A couple of years ago the Red Sox did the same with Billy Wagner and John Smoltz. One worked out, one didn't. The Nats will win for staying with him and giving him a chance. That stuff matters.

  31. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    baseballswami said… It would be awesome if Pudge could catch SS on Sunday!! August 3, 2011 1:36 PM I think it is setting up that way and that would get you a sold out Hagerstown and hopefully the following week BHarper/Stras in the same Harpersburg lineup.

  32. SCNatsFan - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Oldguy, I don't really agree. Wang is here, as I understand it, on a one year deal; can't he just leave if he becomes who he "was"? In that case the Nats are showcasing him for MLB while letting him rehab at the major league level with their upside of him pitching 1/6 of the time he was being paid for. If he can't cut it I hope they jettison him sooner then later, but obviously I hope he gets things together.

  33. 王的男人 - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    @Oldguy said… Come on, people. everything was hit on the ground.__________________David Ross lined out to Werth to end the 1st. Prado popped up to Ankiel.The problem is the hard hit grounders. The double plays help to.

  34. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    SCNatsFan said… Oldguy, I don't really agree. Wang is here, as I understand it, on a one year deal; can't he just leave if he becomes who he "was"? In that case the Nats are showcasing him for MLB while letting him rehab at the major league level with their upside of him pitching 1/6 of the time he was being paid for. If he can't cut it I hope they jettison him sooner then later, but obviously I hope he gets things together. August 3, 2011 1:49 PM This was debated and argued in great detail after his 1st start. I happen to totally agree with you but some others think his loyalty will prevail and he will stay here.

  35. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    I am mostly in this camp too: players will go for the best deal. I think Wang showed that last offseason, actually, when he shopped around for a while before taking Rizzo's $1m offer. Ties go to loyalty or emotion. I don't fault them at all, actually. Most of the chips are stacked in favor of the teams, anyway. But they should still pitch him, if for no better reason then they will have a better sense of evaluating him up close then other teams will from watching video. I missed the first inning, but he has looked pretty good the last 3 innings. Mostly 90-91 on the TV gun, and his pitches look like they have a lot of movement.

  36. FS - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    WOW Mark Z, nice stats to back up Lannan. Even I am not a huge fan of Lannan anymore, but like those stats.If Wang continues to progress, I hope he shows some loyalty to Nats who paid him for almost two years of nothing.

  37. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Davey Johnson quote on the often poorly used bullpen:"I've really had to use the bullpen since I've been here not enough according to their strengths, and how I want to use a bullpen. I've obviously had to use some guys early when I wanted to use them late. I've had to use them for two innings when I only wanted to use them for one. Some I've had to stretch to three. That's not where I want to be."

  38. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Is this the part where he CMW loses it? What do you think – Gorzelanny today? He hasn't pitched in about forever.

  39. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Steve M – about like any other Davey Johnson quote – it leaves you scratching your head and saying "huh?". Somewhere in there is the exact thing he meant to say. He quite seems to enjoy being a colorful character.

  40. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Wally said…. But they should still pitch him, if for no better reason then they will have a better sense of evaluating him up close then other teams will from watching video.Your "if for no better reason" is, I think, the best reason. They absolutely should pitch him because after putting all this money into him, they must evaluate him and see what they got. How would would the Nats know how much he's worth and what to offer him for next year?As for his shakiness right now — he's got a lot of rust to shake off — just like any other pitcher that's been away that long.For everybody with short memories: when JZimm came back last year in Sept, he pitched only 31 innings, but allowed 8 HR's, and had an ERA of 4.94. (!!)

  41. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Feeling like Davey should go get CMW here. Think Henry has one more batter in him? Just kidding

  42. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Aw shat

  43. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Why, why, why didn't Davey take Wang out after Bourn scored???????????

  44. rmoore446 - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    They let him stay out there too long. His pitches were getting higher and that spells trouble.

  45. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    C'mon, rain!!!

  46. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    baseballswami said… Is this the part where he CMW loses it?Wow — the swami is uncanny with _that_ prediction.Can we blame that Ugg HR on you? ;-)

  47. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Well, still a decent outing for CMW. He was close to getting out of that inning, what with his error. Anyone think if Zim tried for two on the play at the plate, they turn it and inning over?

  48. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Well that Wang inning got real ugly. That darn error complicated x 4

  49. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    @Wally: agree. Obviously Wang has not had time to work on fielding (or bunting, previous game). Cannot understand why Davey didn't pull him when it was 3-0 and his pitches were up. Don't tell me Gorzy wasn't ready, Gorzy should have been ready from inning no. 4 on.Charlie and Dave said Zimm made the right play, would not have gotten the doubleplay, the ball just hit too slowly.

  50. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Wally, shoulda coulda woulda. I think the ball hit to Zim was hit too slowly. Still Wang imploded there with that gift from Beachy running poorly. Not sure how you can call it a decent outing?

  51. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Wish I could use my uncanny powers for good and not evil. It didn't take a genius or a swami to see that one coming — the meltdown or the Uggla HR. Please feel free to describe what's happening -only gameday on my work computer today. Guess it's a good thing I couldn't actually witness that inning. Now for some offense! There is still plenty of time left for some hitterishness.I will let you know if any other vibes come my way.

  52. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Mark Z., 2:00 p.m. — By the way, I know some of you have been engaged in an interesting John Lannan discussion. I forgot to include this in last night's game thread, but it's been exactly one year since Lannan was recalled from the minors. During that time, he's made 34 starts, totaling 201 1/3 innings. He's 14-10 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. That, folks, is a solid No. 3 starter in the big leagues. Thanks for those Lannen stats. I said yesterday he was a #4 thinking he was legit there behind a Mark Buehrle type and earlier the rankings I posted shows his ERA that he is definitely a #3 and possibly a #2 on some teams and if the Nats don't get a veteran #3, Lannen is the #3 going into next year. Stras/JZim/Lannen.

  53. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    So, thinking of better thoughts . . . Dreaming about Stras/JZim/Lannen — LaRoche in 1B, Zim for a whole season, Werth reverting more to form . . . that's a decent improvement for the Nats without even having to make any deals or making wishes about who might get brought up.And, if we want to make wishes, I suppose the first would be Peacock becoming a regular in the rotation, too?

  54. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    I have on my rosey glasses and still can't get myself to calk it a decent outing. That is like settling for mediocrity. Wang caused his own problems and dig himself out which is on him.Agree with NatsLady, where was the bullpen help for Freeman or Ugla?

  55. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    I think it's obvious that if the Nats were in a pennant race Wang wouldn't be pitching for the Nats. They probably left him in there to see if he could finish 5 innings and have a high pitch count. I think that DJ and Rizzo know that having Wang pitch could result in 7-8 losses for this team but if he does turn it around he could be a great find.

  56. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    I call it a decent outing because Wang pitched three good innings (2,3,4), and he worked out of the 1st inning. That is way better than his first start. He had one bad inning, but it was his 5th inning, and he should have been pulled earlier in the inning. That's my take.

  57. Knoxville Nat - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Wonk,Would Peacock be the first choice over Milone? I think that scenario gets played out next March in spring training.

  58. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    SteveM – DCWonk – Let's make that JZIMM, SS and LannEn — SS will be in his first full season, tons of pressure — do you really think it's a good idea for him to be the #1? He will have a huge target on his back and have an innings limit. After next year – they can just battle it out – doesn't that just sound great? I am thinking co-aces ala Halladay/Lee – wait a minute, I am starting to hyperventilate – need to breath, getting way too excited!

  59. flynnie321 - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Tcostant said… I want six shutout innings from Wang. August 3, 2011 10:56 AM Well, we got six of something – six runs; ERA 6.0"It was a great outing. I was very happy with what I saw. Did you see him wing that throw to first all the way against the stands? Arm's really coming along. No, when he pitches the curly W doesn't stand for wins, it stands for Wanged."

  60. Knoxville Nat - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    ……and let's not forget Detwiler.

  61. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Somebody please tell me how we can pound Juergens the last two times we've faced him and can't put 3 solid at bats in a row against this guy?

  62. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Mark Z. just read your 2:26 recap on Wang. Good to see your take on it.

  63. flynnie321 - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    "The sale of Nats merchandise in Taiwan has been off the charts. Great outing."

  64. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Uh, game is not over yet, folks. : ))) Ya never know.

  65. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    DC Wonk, you didn't compare JZim last year to Wang, did you? You don't get the whole crux of this. Wang isn't under team control for the next 4 years and JZim threw 6 innings of shutout in his 2nd start back last year.NatsJack got his 3 in a row BTW.

  66. flynnie321 - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Michael Morse with a club-leading 61st RBI! Werth homers! Unbelievable! And if Davey pulls Wang when it's 4-2! As it stands, the home team has to climb Quixing Mountain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qixing_Mountain_(Taipei)

  67. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Wow, can't believe I posted that 3 runs ago. Off to work, GO NATS!!!!!

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    OK… there's 3 solid at bats. Maybe we can get a few more before they bring in those two guys that "can't be scored upon."

  69. Grandstander - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    JAYSON WERTHLESS **clap clap clap clap clap clap** JAYSON WERTHLESS **clap clap clap clap clap clap**

  70. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    NatsJackYou should ask that question more often….

  71. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Jason Werth is the baseball equivalent of the Great Lebowski! We just call him "The Dude" in this bar!

  72. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Steve M. said… Wally, shoulda coulda woulda. I think the ball hit to Zim was hit too slowly. Still Wang imploded there with that gift from Beachy running poorly. Not sure how you can call it a decent outing?Just because of the error on an easy play. Even without Beachy's bonehead baserunning, if Wang makes that play, that is 3 ERs in 5 IPs, with a lot of grounders. I call that decent for a guy out multiple years getting a new shoulder. But if I can't have any 'coulda, shoulda, wouldas', then yeah, pretty crappy outing.Speaking of not getting a pitcher at the right time, man, Werth tagged that one

  73. flynnie321 - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Natsjack – Ask it again, dammit! And NOW we have a rain delay! I was screaming at the radio, "Take him out, Davey! Pleeeeeez take him out!"

  74. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    baseballswami said… SteveM – DCWonk – Let's make that JZIMM, SS and LannEn — SS will be in his first full season, tons of pressure — do you really think it's a good idea for him to be the #1? He will have a huge target on his back and have an innings limit. After next year – they can just battle it out – doesn't that just sound great? I am thinking co-aces ala Halladay/Lee – wait a minute, I am starting to hyperventilate – need to breath, getting way too excited! August 3, 2011 2:49 PM My bad disrespecting the DC's JZ. How nice is thoughts of that 1,2 and 3. I would love Mark Buehrle here getting to face 8 hitters and a pitcher with as good as he is to set a true playoff rotation better than Atlanta's and overall as good as any team not named Philthy.I don't think Rizzo has to do anything else except rebuild the bullpen and the bench.

  75. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    While we are in the rain delay, let me say that the things I see in Wang are all fixable. Granted, his command isn't anywhere near what it needs to be and he tends to get on the side of his sinker more that on top of it but these can be fixed with a little work. He needs to do the same thing that LannEn has done and attack the hitters with his fastball, and he'll have to figure out a way to miss a few bats every now and then with his off speed stuff but all in all, he looks like he can make it back.

  76. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    You know what also stinks. How much this team tensed up a week before the trade deadline. I think too many guys on the bubble fell into a funk.Can't wait for this team to be known as buyers.

  77. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Wow – You step away from the desk for 20 minutes and look at what happened!! I am kind of in shock right now – perhaps I will recover during the rain delay – actually, perhaps I should finish my work instead. Does it look like this will be a short one? I love the way this team fights back.And – even when times are tough and we aren't playing well, I think the guys on this team are a good bunch of people — good role models for the kids in the community. I do find it strange, though that in a city like DC our team is so very white. Now that Hairston and Bernie are gone, especially. I know it's just a coincidence – just seems a little weird. I have been watching baseball for a long time and the teams are usually very racially mixed. Way off topic , I know, but I just noticed….

  78. Nats Outsider - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Mark (or anyone)–Can someone point to anything that explains how Werth's bat has suddenly come alive? A different stance? A different swing? A new bat? His huge improvement might still be written off as a streak rather than anything long-lasting, but the fact is that he hasn't had anything like this streak all year. Maybe we should plan a bobble head night for him about once every 6 week?

  79. SCNatsFan - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Nice way to keep a rally going by two guys staring at strike 3.Flores reminds me of Wang… great story, courageous comeback but not ready to play MLB.

  80. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    So the Braves have their own Henry – Varvaro: 2 walks, 2 Ks. No solid contact (and no longer in the game)

  81. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    There is a guy in a green shirt and sunglasses sitting right behind home plate that looks exactly like Drew Storen – is he a twin?

  82. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Anonymous said… There is a guy in a green shirt and sunglasses sitting right behind home plate that looks exactly like Drew Storen – is he a twin?No, didn't you hear? Rizzo didn't make the trade.

  83. Bowdenball - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    SCNatsFan:Called strike 3s drive us all crazy, but in this case those strike 3 calls were borderline. Pitchtrak showed one of them right on the line, but they both looked clearly low to the naked eye. I was surprised by both calls. And both pitches could easily have been hit into double plays considering their placement. Some times you just have to give the pitcher his due for hitting the black … or getting close enough and getting the call.

  84. flynnie321 - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Phil Wood compared Werth's stance slump and post-slump. No difference. Hands in the exact same place. Boz sain in his July 11 chat that it will end and no one will know why.

  85. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    The Nats will have to do what few teams have done and that is get runs off of OFlaherty, Venters and Kimbrel.

  86. JaneB - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Sitting in front of ny tv for the last part of the game. The guy behind home plate in the green IS a dead ringer for Storen! I think Werth got better around the time people were saying Stairs was a DFA…and he was.

  87. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Mark'd said… DC Wonk, you didn't compare JZim last year to Wang, did you? You don't get the whole crux of this. Wang isn't under team control for the next 4 years and JZim threw 6 innings of shutout in his 2nd start back last year.My point is that even JZim had an ERA of close to 5 last year. So, even if Wang has recovered, we shouldn't necessarily expect an ERA of better than what JZim could do last year.

  88. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Wang gets tired at around 50-60 pitches and his sinker comes up. He has problems getting started it takes around 5-10 to get the sinker going when he initially starts.Not really a good outing NatsLady. They need guys who can go more than 50 or 60 pitches. He isn't ready. Otherwise, they have to carry too many relievers and just as happened 2 years ago you burn out the bullpen because the starters aren't up to snuff.Wang is like JD Martin, Matt Chico, Garret Mock, etc. were at this point. And that is not good.

  89. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    O'Flaherty with a 0.90 ERA, Venters 1.28 and Kimbrel 2.04 ERA.That is what you want for the 7th, 8th and 9th. Maybe Matteus, Clippard and Storen or Detwiler, Clippard and Storen can be close to that.

  90. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    It's called command "oh poster of no name". And when sinker ball pitchers get tired, they get better. And he's nothing like those AA guys you mention. See my previous post of 3:13 pm.

  91. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Exposremains said… I think it's obvious that if the Nats were in a pennant race Wang wouldn't be pitching for the Nats. They probably left him in there to see if he could finish 5 innings and have a high pitch count. I think that DJ and Rizzo know that having Wang pitch could result in 7-8 losses for this team but if he does turn it around he could be a great find.Well put. Exactly. Watching Davey with the Mets back in the 1980's — he did the same thing. He's willing to endure short term pain for long term gain. And it drives fans nuts (who almost always think short term). So many times he left pitchers in for (what fans thought) were too long: in order to extend them, in order to give them confidence, and so forth. It paid off in the end.Another example: he keeps trying to extend HRod to two innings, while we all moan and groan every time he starts a second inning, and start complaining that Davey "doesn't know his bullpen", etc. Clearly, what's going on here is that Davey thinks that HRod _can_ go two innings — eventually — if he works at it. (And perhaps last night was the payoff).

  92. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Anon @3:59, this is why you have Gorzo backing up Wang and Balester backing up Detwiler and running a man short on the bench.Look, I don't agree with Rizzo's decision to re-sign Wang for this season without a option year behind it. I have said my thoughts on it before but he is here so you have to deal with it.What complicated the issue was trading Marquis and putting in a relief pitcher [Detwiler] who hasn't thrown more than 2.2 innings in the last 4 weeks.

  93. JaneB - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Thanks NatsJack and Wonk. Useful insights. Just today I was wondering what people who really know this stuff see in the players that most of don't. Sunday, I'm going to watch a few sessions of batting coaching for a UMd player, just to hear they talk about it, and learn more about what the heck I am seeing when I see it. There is so much to know in this game, even if you aren't playing it.And HURRAH SEAN! Welcome back.

  94. Carpe Diem - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    @A DC Wonk said… Well put. Exactly. Watching Davey with the Mets back in the 1980's — he did the same thing. He's willing to endure short term pain for long term gain.__________________Please enlighten me, where is the long-term gain? Wang is a Free Agent as of right now. He is Free to go anywhere he wants to go. Do you understand that?

  95. David - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    @Anon. Wang is building up his conditioning. The only problem is that due to his contract, he has to do it at the major league level. Not the minors. These first few starts were like Spring Training games for him.

  96. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Wally — Nice one ;)

  97. JaneB - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    I don't mean to be a jerk, but it's soooo much nicer to have Byron than Johnny. C'mon Jonny with no H! GYFNG

  98. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Carp, no they don't get it. Agree with SteveM, Wang is here so deal with it. Davey let him to long. The bullpen shut down the Braves again. Now then, Wonk, what long term gain are you referring to?

  99. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    That strike zone that Gomes had to face from the ump was nothing but bunk.

  100. JaneB - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    What I took from Wonk's post is that sometimes Davey is managing for the longer term gain, rather than the game….for now. If you believe Wang and his agent feel allegiance to the Nats for the incredible investment in his rehab, that's an example of long term gain, potentially. You don't believe that's the deal withWang….others do. I read a larger point than just about Wang in what Wonk wrote.It would be GREAT if Wang pitched well enough that ANYONE wants to sign him for next year. BUT I guarantee you that we'd hear more kvetching about him….LOTS MORE…if Rizzo was sitting on a two year deal with him, the way Wang is pitching now.We took the series against the Braves. I'm focused there, and glad about it. And both of those pitchers contributed to their wins offensively. Good stuff.

  101. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    Mark'd said… Carp, no they don't get it. Agree with SteveM, Wang is here so deal with it. Davey let him to long. The bullpen shut down the Braves again. Now then, Wonk, what long term gain are you referring to?Being in the best position to evaluate Wang, and see if he's worth offering a contract, and how much.

  102. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Wang has had TWO YEARS to build up his conditioning in Florida? Plus a month of rehab starts? Don't listen to me then. How about Keith Law?Chien-Ming Wang coming back is a nice story and all, but he just faced 23 Atlanta batters and struck out none.Not an EPIC fail but still yet another FAIL. See JD Martin, Matt Chico.

  103. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    JaneB said… What I took from Wonk's post is that sometimes Davey is managing for the longer term gain, rather than the game….for now…. I read a larger point than just about Wang in what Wonk wrote.Thanks, JaneB. You are among those who are able to grasp "long term" and "larger point" (Even when they are in the same post! ;-) )

  104. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    It's called command "oh poster of no name". And when sinker ball pitchers get tired, they get better. And he's nothing like those AA guys you mention. See my previous post of 3:13 pm.Hmmm, well **real expert** Keith Law appears to disagree. I think you would find that most of the beat writers would also lean that way as well. Oh expert from the Cracker Jack Box.

  105. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Keith Law: A "high sinker" is not a sinker. It's a BP fastball.

  106. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Thanks Wonk except that is why you have scouts. You could do that if he played for the Yankees.

  107. Carpe Diem - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    @A DC WONK, no way and who cares. Wang is a Free Agent and will do what he did last year in having his agent find the best offer for him and Rizzo was it. Rizzo messed up. You don't take a reclamation project without a parachute and the parachute is known as an "option" so you take control. There is no control here except what someone said is loyalty. Time will tell as will 0-2.

  108. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Mark'd said… Thanks Wonk except that is why you have scouts. You could do that if he played for the Yankees.You could — but not as well. That's why teams send scouts to games — seeing in person is a whole lot better than film.Who would have thought folks here would be so cranky after taking 2-of-3 from the Braves?

  109. baseballswami - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    So – speaking of pitchers ( which I think we were), is Garrett Mock still on the 40 man? And if he is —-WHY??? Talking about epic failures got me wondering about him. Mark – if you're bored one day ( yeah , right) and need something to write about – how about an update on pitchers who have had a cup of coffee up here at some point? Stammen, Martis, Martin , to name a few. Are they stuck in Syracuse forever to pitch to people who are passing through? Seems like the newer models are passing them right by. Looking forward to seeing RossD tomorrow – he is looking more mature this year and even though he hasn't thrown a lot here in DC, I think he was a starter in the 'cuse. Yes? He seems to fit the mold of JZimm, Livo, Lannan,Marquis with that bulldog mentality and mental toughness. Don't need any head cases ( see Mock, Garrett).

  110. Bowdenball - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Keith Law was hilarious and accurate in his assessment of Wang today. I see others already quoted him on the lack of strikeouts and the BP fastball. To me the most damning was the fact, noted by Law, that he recorded two swinging strikes in 86 pitches. You almost have to be trying to hit the barrel of the bat to do that. 2 swinging strikes out of 86 pitches wouldn't even be acceptable in slow pitch softball.

  111. Steve M. - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Carpe Diem said… @A DC WONK, no way and who cares. Wang is a Free Agent and will do what he did last year in having his agent find the best offer for him and Rizzo was it. Rizzo messed up. You don't take a reclamation project without a parachute and the parachute is known as an "option" so you take control. There is no control here except what someone said is loyalty. Time will tell as will 0-2. August 3, 2011 4:41 PM FP Santangelo spoke his mind in the post-game and didn't tow the company line on Wang. On the other hand, Ray is singing the tune! 2 swing and miss strikes and most hits and outs were hard hit so the batters weren't being fooled.Carpe Diem, I would have no problem if there was an option year behind him. Once Rizzo signed him, he wasn't going to DFA him if he could pitch. Yep, an 0-2 record. He has to show improvement next start or you have to consider putting him in the bullpen.

  112. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    I detest Keith Law, but, FWIW, he thinks Rizzo is a good GM.

  113. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    Wonk, there are all kinds of crankiness: situational, chronic, random. I'll let you to figure out which is in play here (if you think it's worth pondering, which it probably isn't). I did like taking two each from the Bravos and the Mets. Throw out the Marlins (if only we could) and you'd have a decent homestand.Bummer that the good guys were put in a big hole today. On the plus side, the 'pen did well. The defense was clean (except for Wang – I always felt that if runs occurred because of an error by the pitcher, the runs ought to be earned – dopey rule – but I digress). To continue the plus paw musings: the hitters didn't roll over when they were down big but worked at battling back. Unfortunately, the rain delay put the kibosh on that, imho.Hope the bats can keep it going in Colorado.

  114. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    How is it only Law knew that there were only 2 recorded swinging strikes? Oh… that's right, most of us saw this and marked it down as an item to correct, much like John LannEn last season. And Kieth Law never mentioned his arm slot or his hand position which determine the amount of movement that Wang is able to get on his sinker. Yet his 91 MPH BP fastball sucks compared to Jarier Juergens 89 MPH fastball that he was dishing up there Monday night and getting laced all over the park.But you are right…. Kieth Law is hilarious….

  115. Carpe Diem - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    From my vantage point people thought they would see much improvement with this start. The long-term gain would be if this guy helps the Nats win games unfortunately, he has helped the team lose 2 games.The only winner here is those that love the classic underdog story and Wang and his agent who are getting paid to rehabilitate using Lerner $$$$$$$$$.

  116. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    I wonder if the Braves would HAVE traded Kimbrel or Venters for Span. Probably not because they are in a pennant race but let's say they weren't would they do it? When I see Kimbrel, to me he looks better than Storen. Maybe that's why Rizzo considered trading Storen because they're even better closers out there.

  117. gonatsgo - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Just saw Marquis pitching on MLB – he is getting shelled by the Giants. They also happened to mention on the broadcast that Livan leads the league in successful bunts, followed by Halladay — also high on the list – our own Jordan Zimmermann!

  118. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    I was going to take the family to game today. Then I saw who was pitching. I went to work. Whats a shame is that the Nats will never have more than a 4 game win streak. Because on the 5th day CMW pitches.

  119. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    The Nats have gotten rid of one of their 1 dollar nights. They have replaced it with CMW night. The first 10,000 fans will receive free tickets to any Potomac game of choice.

  120. JaneB - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Livan! How I love you!

  121. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Marquis has pitched worst today than the guy(Wang) who replaced him so…

  122. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    OUTSTANDING!!!!!! Wang's ERA is definitely heading in the right direction, and Werth is RAKING!!

  123. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    Yup, looks like Marquis gave up 7 earned runs (8 runs altogether) in 4 innings of work. Guess Arizona should give up on him or put him in the bullpen.

  124. A DC Wonk - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    NatsLady said… Yup, looks like Marquis gave up 7 earned runs (8 runs altogether) in 4 innings of work. Guess Arizona should give up on him or put him in the bullpen.And I bet you those fans are calling their GM a complete idiot for making the trade. ("Why did we give up prospects for a short term rental who's mediocre at best?!!")

  125. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    J.D. Martin dealt seven shutout innings in his longest start of the season to lead the Syracuse Chiefs (47-58), the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, to a 3-0 win over the Columbus Clippers (65-42) Friday at Alliance Bank Stadium.

  126. Carpe Diem - Aug 4, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    @NatsLady said… Yup, looks like Marquis gave up 7 earned runs (8 runs altogether) in 4 innings of work. Guess Arizona should give up on him or put him in the bullpen. August 3, 2011 6:52 PM _________________________His stats aren't great after August 1 till the end of the season so yah, their GM has already taken heat.

  127. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Carpe Diem said… His stats aren't great after August 1 till the end of the season so yah, their GM has already taken heat.Awesome. Perfect. The fans in both cities think that the other city got the better end of the deal!

  128. natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Or at least those fans who post about it on the interwebz. (Small sample size and all that.) ;-)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (3) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.0
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
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.

Follow us on Twitter