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Game 111: Nats at Rockies

Aug 4, 2011, 9:15 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.

Though they lost yesterday's series finale to the Braves, the Nationals played much better baseball over the second half of their homestand (once the trade deadline passed) than they did over the first half. Now, they begin their final three-city road trip of the season, one that winds up in Chicago and Philadelphia but starts tonight in Colorado with the first of four games against the Rockies.

Davey Johnson is sticking with the lineup that has begun to produce for him. Leadoff hitter Rick Ankiel has a .368 on-base percentage and .963 OPS since July 1. No. 3 hitter Ryan Zimmerman is on a 12-game hitting streak, during which time he's hitting .423. Cleanup man Michael Morse has actually been more productive since the All-Star break (.347/.413/.597) than he was before it (.306/.351/.535). And Jayson Werth has finally found his groove, posting a .900 OPS since the All-Star break.

Ross Detwiler starts tonight, making his return to the rotation after a short stint in the bullpen. If the former first-round pick is going to establish once and for all he can be a reliable starter in the big leagues, now's the time to show it.

I'm not in Denver for this series, but I will be covering the rest of the road trip next week. Enjoy tonight's game…

NATIONALS at ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 8:40 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Chance of storms, 76 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (53-57)
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

Read more »

140 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Huh, how about that. I was surprised by "Michael Morse has actually been more productive since the All-Star break (.347/.413/.597) than he was before it (.306/.351/.535)."That's terrific. Here's hoping he, and RZim, and Werth (and Ankiel) keep it up!GYFNG!

  2. Doc - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Good stuff on Morse, Mark. Seems that Espi should be in an optimum batting order position to start getting on base. He's the last cog to start grinding out some hits.Looks like the team batting average is finally going to get a few miles ahead of some of the other cellar dwellers.Davey must be doing some talkin'!

  3. HHover - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Thanks, Mark, for the info re: Morse's splits before and after the ASB.Danny's, by contrast, look pretty dismal. He was starting to get things together in the last weeks before the ASB, and ended the first half at .242/.332/.460. Since then, he's .153/.228/.236.Ouch.

  4. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Huh, how about that. I was surprised by "Michael Morse has actually been more productive since the All-Star break (.347/.413/.597) than he was before it (.306/.351/.535)."GYFNG! August 4, 2011 5:23 PM Wonk, Morse had that dreadful April .211/.253/.268 and the blazing May .403/.422/.774 and down some in June in BA but the HRs in June were 8 and more than April and May combined.Still deserved the All Star bid. Beast!

  5. Get Some Players - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Any word on how Strasburg's bullpen session went?

  6. baseballswami - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Don't have any stats to back this up but it seems like MM is hitting more for average now and less HR's? Love to watch him hit, run and hit himself in the head!

  7. NatsLady somewhere in Ohio - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    Go Nats!!! Plan on stopping about 8:30 to watch the game on MLB.tv. Go Nats!!!

  8. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Baseballswami, more doubles, less HRs. They play him so deep now that he is getting those bleeder singles also.

  9. yet another Steve - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    No Mark, and a late-ish game–anybody doing in-game updates tonight would be welcome tomorrow.

  10. Grandstander - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Cleanup man Michael Morse has actually been more productive since the All-Star break (.347/.413/.597) than he was before it (.306/.351/.535).That's a little unfair given his horrid start to the season. If you start counting from when he became the everyday 1B, he slashed .333/.387/.638 up until the ASB.Don't have any stats to back this up but it seems like MM is hitting more for average now and less HR's? Love to watch him hit, run and hit himself in the head!As you can see above, his AVG and OBP are higher after the ASB, with his SLG lower. Before the ASB (again, starting from when he became the everyday 1B), his HR% was 7.5%. After the ASB, it's 4.2%. Your intuition is fully accurate, sir.

  11. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    So, remove April, and we have .333 before ASB, and .347 after the ASB.For Aug and Sept — I'll take either of those!

  12. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    OK, so while the stats guys are checking out numbers before the game — does anyone want to check: which guys have the best WAR on the Nats thus far? Morse must be #1 — but then, who else? Might Espi be #2? Then . . . ??? (I would put pitchers in their own list)Anyone?

  13. Wally - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    DC – you'll be surprised.JZimm – 3.4Espy – 3.1Morse – 2.5Ramos – 2.0Livo – 1.8

  14. Wally - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Some other tidbits – Clip is 5th amongst pitchers at .8. Just goes to show the relievers v starters argument (at least as perceived by Fangraphs. My guy HRod is tied with Storen at .2Werth and Zim follow Ramos at 1.4 and1.1, but then comes … wait for it, Rick Ankiel!

  15. phil dunn - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    The amazing thing about The Beast is that most of his hits have come when he is down in the count, either 0-2 or 1-2. Now, if he could only lay off that low outside sucker pitch, he would be leading the league in hitting. Zim used to be a sucker for that pitch too but he has finally learned to lay off it.

  16. JaneB - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    I've also noticed that, behind in the count, Morse IS in beast mode. Just one of the MANY things I love about him (including, swami, the helmet hit as he rounds the bases). It's only Thursday. At the rate Alternate Universe Ankiel is going, his WAR could go up remarkably by SUnday.I'm thrilled we get mark back in the next part of the away games. Looking forward to reading Sofa or whomever else steps up to blog the game for us tonight. GYFNG!

  17. Get Some Players - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Strasburg officially on for Sunday at Hagerstown! Game is at 4:00.

  18. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    I knew I could count on you guys. I'm going to leave pitchers out, and comment on the hitters: Espy – 3.1 Morse – 2.5 Ramos – 2.0 Werth – 1.4 RZim – 1.1 Ankeil – ??What this tells me:First off, I guess Espy really just hits in the clutch. Even more — I'm amazed that Ramos is third. I'm thinking this must show how anemic our offense is — if he's third and Werth is fourth. RZim being fifth is impressive since WAR is cumulative, and he missed so many games.And Ankiel 6th? Over guys like Bernadina and Desmond. Wow . . . Eye-opening.

  19. A DC Wonk - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:30 PM

    Some other tidbits – Clip is 5th amongst pitchers at .8. Just goes to show the relievers v starters argument (at least as perceived by Fangraphs. My guy HRod is tied with Storen at .2FWIW, I still need to be convinced that WAR is a decent measure for relievers. When you're up 3-2 in the 7th, and the other team has guys on second and third and one out — and a guy comes in and gets a strike out and flyout — that's _huge_. (This is a so-called "high leverage" situation). How much does WAR take into account "leverage"? (Perhaps it does — I just don't know — I only know about WAR regarding hitting and fielding, not for pitching)

  20. natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Time to get back on that curly w horse, boys! Let's go, NATS!! (I'll be looking for a happy win email in my in-box tomorrow morning, 'cause no way I'm staying up to watch the whole thing.)Also glad to hear that Mark will be on the later legs of the trip.

  21. Grandstander - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    The amazing thing about The Beast is that most of his hits have come when he is down in the count, either 0-2 or 1-2.Morse is slashing .244/.260/.431 while behind in the count with 46 Ks and no BBs in 123 ABs. Not stellar, but way above what anyone else on the team is doing. The majority of his hits have come when he was even in the count, but his average is highest when he's ahead, as is it with nearly every hitter.Clip is 5th amongst pitchers at .8. Just goes to show the relievers v starters argument (at least as perceived by Fangraphs. My guy HRod is tied with Storen at .2WAR is also a very poor metric when it comes to relievers because of their low workload. However they come in under high stress situations and prevail (hopefully). If you take the spirit of the stat (Wins Above Replacement) and apply it to a guy like Storen, I think we could all agree if Storen was replaced with a random AAAA reliever, it would cost us more than .2 games. In general, I think it pays to look at the bullpen as a whole when evaluating WAR for relievers, as they pitch as a unit. If you do that, the Braves absolutely dominate the league with a 5.6 WAR bullpen. The Giants stand alone in second at 4.0 and the Padres follow at 3.1 (though that will likely decrease without Adams). The Nats stand at .6, 4th from last, ahead of the Mets, Cards and Astros. Though that is mainly due to Burnett, Slaten, Gaudin and Balester, who combine for a pathetic -1.2 WAR.

  22. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    Wally said… DC – you'll be surprised.JZimm – 3.4Espy – 3.1Morse – 2.5Ramos – 2.0Livo – 1.8 August 4, 2011 7:04 PM Amazing but not surprised on JZim, the pitcher with the losing record and the #10 ERA in the NL is the team's top WAR. That I would guess at.Surprised to have Espi with the current slump and low BA ahead of Morse. Ramos there at 4th again with a .250 BA and so great behind the plate. RZim's WAR will climb as WAR is cumulative I believe.The YOUNG core here is at the top of the list:JZim #1 pitcherEspiMorseZimRamosRizzo better get moving on extensions for Morse and RZim as they are both out of contract after 2013.KARDIAC KIDS

  23. Grandstander - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    How much does WAR take into account "leverage"?It factors into Fangraphs calculations, I'm not sure about BR though.

  24. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Grandstander said… In general, I think it pays to look at the bullpen as a whole when evaluating WAR for relievers, as they pitch as a unit. If you do that, the Braves absolutely dominate the league with a 5.6 WAR bullpen. The Giants stand alone in second at 4.0 and the Padres follow at 3.1 (though that will likely decrease without Adams). The Nats stand at .6, 4th from last, ahead of the Mets, Cards and Astros. Though that is mainly due to Burnett, Slaten, Gaudin and Balester, who combine for a pathetic -1.2 WAR. August 4, 2011 7:39 PM Thanks for that work on the bullpen which made Keith Law's comments about the excess in the bullpen such a joke. 2 studs and many duds. Still can't imagine losing Storen.The good news for 2012 is Rizzo will know where his emphasis needs to be.

  25. Grandstander - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Espy's WAR is a product of his insanely high (compared to the rest of the team) UZR. He stands at 5.4. Next is Laroche at 3.3 and Cora at 2.4. The next highest players with anything close to his production is Werth (lately he's been his old self) at -0.9 and Morse at -1.4.

  26. Wally - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    I think that the commentary on reliever WAR not being a great individual stat is probably right. Although it is still interesting to me that Clip is 4X Storen, and that HRod is equal to him, since they are all being measured the same way. I think that Drew's HR/FB rate of 13% hurt him quite a bit in these calculations. I am not sure what other conclusion there is other than saves may truly be an overvalued stat (or the people preparing WAR discount it, which I am sure is true).DC – WAR also takes into account defense and position, meaning that Ramos scores this high because he is producing those offensive numbers from the catchers spot, and he is good defensively there.I was mostly surprised that Ankiel (.9) performed so much better than Nix (.6). Nix's OPS is over 100 points higher than Ankiel in a similar number of ABs. I am pretty sure it is all defense, since Ankiel has positive UZR at CF, where Nix is negative UZR at LF (the easier position).

  27. sunderland - Aug 4, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Maybe what the WAR numbers show is that WAR is not that effective at measuring performance? It's never done it for me. Same with the UZR's.

  28. HHover - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    GrandstanderFangraphs WAR doesn't take leverage into acct – the offensive component is based off WOBA (weighted on base average) which:"is context-neutral, meaning it does not take into account if there were runners on base for a player’s hit or if it was a close game at the time."http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/offense/woba/

  29. Wally - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Steve M. said…Rizzo better get moving on extensions for Morse and RZim as they are both out of contract after 2013.I am with you. I would add JZimm, Espy and Ramos (potentially). It won't work for R. Zim, but the others would probably go for those contracts that are vogue right now where a team gives them a contract through the arb years and gets team options for the first couple years of FA.

  30. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    HHoverIt takes it into account for pitching, not batting. I should have been clearer.

  31. Natty Bo - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Baseball prospectus has similar numbers, but slightly different: JZimm, Espi, Morse, than big drop off to Marquis and Livan.

  32. HHover - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    GrandstanderRight, my bad – you guys were talking about pitching.But, actually, I'm not sure that's true about pitching WAR either–I believe that like batter WAR, it doesn't take context into account (http://tinyurl.com/6tkkef).Part of the rationale for this is that players don't control the context, and thus shouldn't be measured by it. The sabermetricians who have crunched the numbers find that situational–aka clutch–hitting ability is largely, tho not entirely, a myth.Still, there are statistics that take leverage into account, like WPA (win probability added)and–for the truly hardy–WPA/LI (win probability added/leverage index). I know they exist, but can't really tell you much more about them.

  33. Nats Outsider - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Okay, the Nats just took a one-run lead. Morse singled Ankiel home. Morse on first, Zim on second, and Werth at the plate with one out.

  34. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Lead off walks usually bite you in the butt until you get the Pitchers best friend, the Detwiler double play ball.

  35. FS - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    shortstop-to-second base-to-first base (Ian to Danny to Mikey). I would love for this combo to stick together for few more years while staying hot at the plate.Nats still lead 1-0 after one inning. Detwiler walked Young Jr, but Fowler erased the runner by grounding out into DP. Earlier Werth and Nix came up short with couple of runners on.

  36. Nats Outsider - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Easy first inning for Detweiler. Young walked and was erased in a double play. He then got Helton to ground out to end the inning

  37. Nats Outsider - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    It looks like other insiders have the play-by-play now, which is good, because I need to be in and out during the game.

  38. JaneB - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    love the play-by-play! thanks…all!

  39. FS - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Actually I am going to be out in a bit for good. Where is sec 3? He is good at it.Couple of first pitch flyouts and in between a single by Ramos and sac bunt by Detwiler.

  40. sunderland - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    While I'm okay with the notion that there is no such thing as a clutch hitter, there are definitely jitters that do better in high leverage situations, and jitters that are worse. Hitters who have poor splits between RHP and LHP tend to be poor "clutch" hitters because in high leverage situations they are almost always facing the pitcher they struggle with (Adam Dunn v LHP, Nix v LHP, Gomes v RHP). This is the one of the two reasons I was happy to see Dunn leave DC. In a high leverage situation, the opponents bring in a lefty and Dunn becomes the equivalent of Willie Harris. Your high dollar bats need reasonably balanced splits between LHP and RHP or they will fail abnormally often in high leverage situations.

  41. FS - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    21 out of 24 pitches are sinkers so far. Two changeups and one curve.Two innings in the book with one walk for Ross.Danny strikes out to begin the third.

  42. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    sunderland, nah, jitters with hitters aren't good. ;-)

  43. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Detwiler can't keep walking the lead-off man.

  44. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    My bad, that was the 2nd batter he walked.

  45. Nats Insider - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    True Steve M, but he has only thrown 35 pitches in 3 innings.

  46. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    NI, yep, pitch count is fine.

  47. sunderland - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    Nix is frustrating, huh? Ended both the first and third, both times with 2 runners on. He battles and swings hard and fouls stuff off and then both times flails at a curve inside and in the dirt, missing the pitch by a foot or more.

  48. Nats Outsider - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Pudge update. Ouch!! I was hoping he would catch Strasburg this weekend.

  49. Scott from Burke - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    Question for posters (and Mr. Zuckerman): Who do you think will be the Nationals manager opening day 2012? My guess is Tim Wallach.

  50. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    7-8-9 go down as quick as the vodka I'm drinking. Still 1-0 heading into the bottom of the 4th.

  51. Big Oil - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    D.C. Wonk, Grandstander – keep the good stats coming. I'm a regular at FG and am glad to see different evaluative metrics penetrating here.

  52. baseballswami - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Scott from Burke – I was thinking Jerry Manuel – I think he would be a good match for our style and he knows the NL East really well. Would love to see Bo Porter get a shot, but they will probably have him manager in the minors first.

  53. Anonymous - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    The Rox get their first hit — but after having been given 3 walks in the game. Let's see that Detweiler Double, please. Nerves, Ross?

  54. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Detwiler getting into problems 2nd time through the order. Walked Helton and an oppo field single by Tulowitzki.

  55. Big Oil - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Fun fact: Jordan Zimmermann and Alex Cora are tied at .2 offensive WAR. Cora has 143 PA; Zimmermann has 44.Nice job Ramos.

  56. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Detwiler melt down, here we go, 3 straight hits. Werth to Ramos to cut down Tulo at home.

  57. JaneB - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    yank him! second time through the order is hard for him.

  58. sunderland - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    Feels lucky to have only given up one run.

  59. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Detweiler works into some trouble in the bottom of the 4th. Walks Helton, then gives up 3 singles. Tulo out at the plate with a great throw from Werth, but a better block of the plate by Ramos. Gets the last out on a hard hit ball to Desi.It's seems we have 3 pitchers right now who can each pitch 3 innings. Maybe every 5th day, we'll just have Wang, Detweiler and Maya pitch 3 innings with Wang pitching a simulated first inning before the game.

  60. dryw - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Detwiler losing it in the fourth. Who would've guessed that? Last I checked, even in these days of the multiple-relief-pitchers, starters need to be able to go a bit deeper than that. Can we accept that Ross should be a bullpan guy?Fortunately he got some good fielding behind him and the damage was limited, but I'm a little concerned for the fifth….

  61. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Minimum damage thanks to the defense but Detwiler looks gassed. I think Davey will give him the bottom of the order to get him through 5 and hope for the best.Part of this is conditioning as it has been 4 weeks since he pitched this much plus the Rocky Mountain air.

  62. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    FP Quote of the Night: "This might be my favorite ballpark trip of the season. Coors Park, Wrigley Field… [5 good seconds]. This is going to be great."

  63. Unkyd - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Leave him in…. Either he settles down, or makes the case for a spot in the 'pen

  64. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    dryw, I accept it as I haven't changed my opinion on him. He is an asset to this team when put in the proper situations and that is key bullpen work. Think Venters with nasty 95mph.

  65. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    He's only at 57 pitches through 4. How could you even suggest pulling him?

  66. sunderland - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    "…with Wang pitching a simulated first inning before the game".Brilliant Grandstander. Brilliant.

  67. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Zim and Morse single putting runners at the corners for Werth with 2 outs. Strikes out. Nats now 1-7 with RiSP stranding 7. 1-1 heading to the bottom of the 5th.

  68. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    sunderland said… "…with Wang pitching a simulated first inning before the game".Brilliant Grandstander. Brilliant. August 4, 2011 10:05 PM Yep, they used to have JZim do that in 2009. Only problem is Wang seems to run out of arm in the 4th so if he throws a simulated bullpen inning, he may be done in the 3rd. My suggestion may not be popular, but I think Wang needs to work out of the bullpen as this audition is for other teams and doing nothing for the Nats.

  69. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Werth strikes out to finish the 5th and can't follow Zim's and Morse's nice hits.Iannetta opens the 5th with a double. Bunted to 3rd.All I can say is Ross Detwiler is one of the best 1st 3 inning pitchers I have seen.

  70. Unkyd - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Ross is gonna be a KILLER lefty, from the pen… Two innings, no problem…. It's a good thing!!

  71. Scott from Burke - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Grandstander: You're (sorta) yelling at a woman about baseball…cmon now.

  72. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    Steve M.If you read the rest of my post, it also involves Wang, Det and Maya pitching 3 innings each.Det is not looking sharp out there. 2 well-hit balls resulting in a run. Only 1 out due to the sac bunt by the pitcher. Could really use one of those vintage DPs with EY2 on first.

  73. Exposremains - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    Well, at least Detwiler is consistent throws well for a few innings and then the hit parade.

  74. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Grandstander: You're (sorta) yelling at a woman about baseball…cmon now.I didn't intend it to be hostile, just emphatic. But I don't think one should react differently to opinions suggested in the public realm based on the gender of the poster/speaker. (I didn't know she was a woman and I don't think women are inherently less knowledgeable than men who are posting on a baseball blog at 10:15 pm about a team with no playoff chance.)Either way, GYFNG! Need our bats to wake up here.

  75. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    Det's done after 5 innings. 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Brilliant through 3, then totally fell apart. Cora is a really underrated bench player. Awesome defense, comes in and rips a ball to RF sending Desi to 3B and Esmil Rogers out of the game.

  76. Big Oil - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    No sooner than I call him out does Cora contribute. Nice!

  77. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    Detwiler and the defense kept the Nats in the game. 2 runs over 5 isn't bad although for those of us who watched, it wasn't pretty in the 4th and 5th.

  78. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Ankiel Ks. Nats are 1-8 with RiSP, 9 LOB. Rox are 3-5 with RiSP with 4 LOB. I could write the gamer already. Balester coming in to "mop up".

  79. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Huge play was the "no balk" which would have pushed Desi to 2nd and scoring on the Cora single.

  80. Exposremains - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    If they were playing at home the Nats would be winning this game at least 6-2

  81. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Why is Balester here? Can someone remind me?

  82. Exposremains - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Not sure why they want Balester back. Sometimes I feel that D. Johnson hasn't been really following this team the past few years. He gives chances to guys that everybody knows here have already been given too many chances.(Detwiler, Balester..) Its like he doesn't believe what others are telling him he wants to see it himself.

  83. Anonymous - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    I said as much. Kind of knew Davey would do this. Show that Balester just won't do. Then swap someone onto the 40-man who can. Honestly, I have no idea why they chose this guy over Stammen he is having a terrible year both in the majors and down at Syracuse. Put him on the Mock, Chico list.

  84. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Zim with a nice line drive double play.By the way, I can't blame Davey for the configuration as Balester is a mop-up not a reliever you can rely on. Maya would be a better choice if you need a guy to give you 3 to 4 innings after Detwiler gives you 3 to 5.Davey must be thinking to himself, why did I take this job?

  85. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Well, Zim just reminded you why he's here. That's called flashing the leather. Bailed Balester out with only the solo homer that Tulo rocked to left center on a low fastball. 3-1 in the top of the 7th. This is when the vintage Nats show up. Let's see if these road trip Nats can take just a little bit of fire from the home stand Nats.

  86. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Time to stretch as the heart of our order goes down in about 5 minutes flat, if that. If it's going to get done, it needs to get done with the bottom of the order.

  87. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    Pirates lost again tonight to the Cubs. They are now 2 games under .500The Cleveland Indians won tonight to go 1 game over .500How quickly things change.

  88. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    My feeling is this is not a great Rockies team and the Nats made this Esmil Rogers on the boxscore look good.

  89. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    EY2 rips second on a pitch out. Clean call, kid is fast.

  90. Walter Johnson - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    My feeling is this is not a great Rockies team and the Nats made this Esmil Rogers on the boxscore look good.Well, he's no Cy Young, I can tell you that.

  91. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    Fowler Ks. Need 2 with Werth, Nix and Desi coming up. With Huston Street lurking, it's now or never.

  92. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Nats offense not taking advantage:Espi 0-4 with 2 K'sNix 0-3 with 2 K's and 4 LOBAnkiel 1-4 with 3 LOBWerth 0-2 with 4 LOB1 for 8 with RISP

  93. SCNatsFan - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    C'mon Nats, 1 run in Coors?

  94. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    And the Nats are going gently into that good night. Have totally died since the 3rd, prospects are dim with Street due to face 8-9-1 in the top of the 9th. Meanwhile, Mattheus comes on to face the Rox who are leading 3-1 still in the bottom of the 8th

  95. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    SCNatsFan said… C'mon Nats, 1 run in Coors? August 4, 2011 11:02 PM Worse than that, 1 run off of some hack named Esmil Rogers. So many opportunities. The stats above tell the tale. Espi is struggling and Nix with a real off-day.

  96. CBinDC - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    So we let another easy target get away so far …..really is everybody out there Cy Young

  97. CBinDC - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    really what will it take to shake this pattern ….one that does not seem to matter the players …it is year after year

  98. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Thanks to Mattheus, this is just about out of reach. Colorado has been clutch and the Nats not so much.

  99. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    Mattheus has had a quick decline. Basically puts this one out of reach with a walk to Helton, double to Tulo, iBB to Wiggington and ultimately RBI single to Nelson(?).He's now given up 13 Hs and 4 BBs in 9.2 IPs since the ASB with only 1 K. Make that 2 Ks with Seth Smith swinging and missing on high heater.

  100. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    5-1 after Mattheus almost killed Ianneta with a heater to the head. Luckily his forearm caught it before his skull did. This is the worst Mattheus has looked all year but no help is on the way.

  101. Carpe Diem - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    Last night and tonight seems like a time warp to Spring Training. Does Rizzo want to win 80 or play to 70.

  102. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    6-1 on a walk to EY2. Coffey warming up.

  103. Anonymous - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    This ump has squeezed both ballester and Matheus.

  104. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    Finally a nice flip from Espy to Desi ends it on a ball up the middle from Fowler. At least our bullpen wasn't too taxed on this Detweiler start. As I said before, I would've rather faced Ubaldo. We also hit like poop against these AAAA guys. Unfortunately, I think that's all the Rox have left. Could be a long series against a mediocre team. Got to find a way to break this trend.

  105. Carpe Diem - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    According to the MASN post game show a couple nights ago Matthews is who was going to replace Storen if he was traded. He pitched Young like he was Carlos Beltran. This isnt good baseball from the pitching staff and the way Rizzo is approaching this. Can't put this on Davey Johnson.

  106. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Anonymous said… This ump has squeezed both ballester and Matheus. August 4, 2011 11:23 PM I have on pitch track and if it is accurate, if anything the ump helped Mattheus.

  107. Don - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    Sigh. The pitching might have failed in the end, but you can't strand 9 and expect to win. Overall good hitting except when runners are on base. At least they are starting to make some regular contact.I was really hoping to take this one after they beat up Rogers in the first.

  108. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    This team is simply incapable of winning on the road. I don't know what it is. Add in a crappy pitcher, and it was just insurmountable. Zim tries to rally doubling in Bixler and Ankiel, 6-3 with Morse coming up.

  109. Mark'd - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    Up until Mattheus hit the self-destruct button, I thought the Kardiac Kids would claw back into hit. A lot of heart with these kids to make it a fun top of 9.I am also losing patience with Rizzo.

  110. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    Ballgame. No 6-1, 2 out rally tonight as Morse flies out to right. Going to need some better bats and pitching tomorrow. Had no chance tonight with out pathetic hitting with RiSP and late inning bullpen work.

  111. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    Well that was frustrating. Nice rally though.

  112. JaneB - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:37 AM

    The Zim hit was fun at least. And the hope of Morse.Try again tomorrow. 'Nite, all.

  113. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:43 AM

    Mark'd said… I am also losing patience with Rizzo. August 4, 2011 11:36 PM This is about momentum. 4 game win streak comes to a halt yesterday with Wang. Tonight was more about the lack of clutch by Espi and Werth and Nix tonight when it counted.Again, Detwiler had a nice boxscore. Maybe you give him another outing. Just not sure if you can try this Wang to Detwiler in consecutive games.

  114. Mark'd - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    SteveM, dream on. Wang to Detwiler. Expect it!

  115. m20832 - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    Not enough in the ninth. Too little, too late. And as far as the pitching, I guess Rizzo and Johnson are seeing who will be here next year. Oh well there's another game at 8:40 tomorrow night.GYFNG!!Was anybody having issues with masn2? My tv screen kept refreshing every 10 seconds. Yet when I went to mlb tv (fios 586), there was an excellent picture.

  116. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    Zim batting .295 and Morse at .316 and Ramos at .253. The real surprise is Ankiel up to .243 He has quickly gotten back to respectibility. On the wrong side of the sheet is Espi dropping back under .225

  117. NatsLady from somewhere in Indiana - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    Lousy internet here, only saw the 9th inning. We are blaming Rizzo for this one? Shows lack of imagination, there must be a way to blame Wang…Danny looked hopeless at the plate. What happened to Mattheus?

  118. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    m20832 said… I guess Rizzo and Johnson are seeing who will be here next year. August 4, 2011 11:49 PM Sorry, that is what September is for when you can have 5 more in the bullpen and afford to give Wang 3 innings and Detwiler.This isn't Spring Training. The Nats finally for the first time since 2005 have a chance for respectibility. Their record isn't much different than the Pirates and the Indians and those teams are going for it.

  119. Carpe Diem - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:06 AM

    @NatsLady, the score was 3-1 when Mattheus came in. Walked Helton and then served a double to Tulo and just ugly from there. It could have been way worse than a 3 run inning. Kind of looked like Wang's 1st inning last week. The dilemna here is Davey counting on Mattheus as his 7th inning guy. Hope Matthews can bounce back.

  120. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    Those teams are in different divisions. They have no chance at the wild card, either. Fooey on "respectability." You can't buy a cup of coffee (or a free agent) with "respectability."You are either in it, or you are working for next year. Steve M. said…The Nats finally for the first time since 2005 have a chance for respectibility. Their record isn't much different than the Pirates and the Indians and those teams are going for it.

  121. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    Seems like Mattheus has been pretty good up til now (not counting a couple of situations when he basically took one for the team). I wonder what happened? I personally figured him for closer if Storen went.

  122. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    Sorry if I wasn't clear. The Indians and Pirates are in divisions where they have a shot of getting to the playoffs by winning their division. They have basically no shot at the wildcard since either the Yanks or Red Sox win the AL wildcard (Indians) or the Giants/Diamondbacks/Braves will win the NL wildcard.The Nats are out of both the divisional race and the wild card race– unless they were to suddenly win 17 in a row or something.

  123. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:31 AM

    I disagree NatsLady. I think FAs look at the direction a club is heading in. I don't think anyone expected us to contend for the WC this year. But I think people were looking for an improvement. And barring some epic collapse, we will have that improvement.This is a team that has overcome massive adversity, losing the FotF for half the season, losing your big FA 1B, basically losing your HUGE RF acquisition for 4 months til he decided to show up, and obviously not having your 1st overall ace pitcher. On paper, this team might be worse than last year's, but they've absolutely outperformed them. Next year, if we can get a leadoff man CF, a back end starter, and a couple more arms in the pen, this team could absolutely contend for a WC no question. And most importantly, this season has shown we're not far off from that. The storyline moves from the inept franchise that can't do anything right to the franchise on the way up in the highly visible NL East, the sudden new kids on the block.There's still a lot to play for these final months, not to mention getting a look at some of our youngsters. There's a couple young arms I'd love to see under the bright lights of Nats Park in 3 weeks.

  124. NatsLady from somewhere in Indiana - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:47 AM

    Grandstander, I think my remarks were misinterpreted. I think there's a lot to play for this season, just not the wild card or even a +.500 record. The Indians went "all out" for Ubaldo, and that's maybe OK for them, but not for our situation. The Pirates, too, have something to prove if they stay over .500 (which might not happen).With Rizzo, I think our franchise is FAR from inept, and I think other GM's know that. So instead of phantom goals, we should be doing EXACTLY what we are doing, trying out Wang, trying out Detwiler, seeing what the shape of the bullpen will be, looking for help in the outfield, etc. The Nats' hand was forced with Wang. I'm not sure why we're trying out Detwiler in August, but it's not the worst thing. In September our hands will be full with Stras coming back (and certainly on an innings limit) and new callups. They still, in September, play 9 inning games, and there are going to be a bunch of pitchers who aren't going to be pitching complete game shutouts.What I'm seeing is that Rizzo (and Davey) have some things they want to do in August, and probably another list of things they want to do in September. So maybe August is for Wang and Detwiler and September is for Peacock and Millone and whoever…

  125. NatsLady from somewhere in Indiana - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:50 AM

    Oh, I think that should be "whomever".

  126. Grandstander - Aug 5, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    I don't think it's time to close the door on .500, With some young arms like Milone and Peacock coming up and Werth and Zim getting hot, I think we can win a couple more than we lose going forward. I also agree with seeing what we've got we've got with the "scraps". We need 5 starting pitchers next year, only 2 are guaranteed spots (probably 3 with Lannan). I think we can try out what we have in the minors and still win games. I'm glad we have Det, Balester and Mattheus out there, and not Coffey. Let's see who can get it done and factor it into off-season evaluations.

  127. flynnie - Aug 5, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Thanks to Grandstander for the "you are there" "at the park" summaries. I fell asleep, it's nice to know what I missed. Very interesting discussion between NatsLady and Grandstander, summed up by Carpe Diem:Carpe Diem said…Last night and tonight seems like a time warp to Spring Training. Does Rizzo want to win 80 or play to 70.August 4, 2011 11:18 PMI want wins. They have been too few since NatsPark opened. They are exhilerating. They produce 127 fan comments on a late Thursday night game against the Rockies. But I know Rizzo wants wins, too. And that's why I don't get leaving CMW in until there's 6 runs, but, looking at Davey, he genuinely felt that CMW could work out of it, with all the grounders produced, and didn't see Dann Ugg's HR coming. Tonight, the team looked young and sparkly behind Detwiler. It was close until Matheus came in, and he's been money. But Balestar serving up a tater to the first hitter he faced – Tulo -and Matheus' outing can be chalked up to young pitchers in Coors Field. Remember Chief's blown 5-1 lead on August 24, 2007? The painful recount is here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/COL/COL200708240.shtml. Balls don't move in that thin, cold mountain air, and Chief needed late movement on his not-so-fast 91 mph fast ball. He had to be pulled for Rauch. The Rockie's 6+ ERA Esmil Rogers holding the Nats to one run is more problematic. He's been pitching in thin air for a longer time? I can't figure out all the stranded runners, and all the strike-outs with RISP. Nix, Espi, Werth, Ankiel. Oh, and I loved that it wasn't Blue's fault, and loved this post:Steve M. said…Anonymous said… This ump has squeezed both ballester and Matheus. August 4, 2011 11:23 PM I have on pitch track and if it is accurate, if anything the ump helped Mattheus.August 4, 2011 11:26 PM

  128. FS - Aug 5, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    Forget Milone and Peacock, Strasburg will be up in September. We better get that .500.

  129. natsfan1a - Aug 5, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Grandstander, well done on the explanation (from another gal).Grandstander said… Grandstander: You're (sorta) yelling at a woman about baseball…cmon now. I didn't intend it to be hostile, just emphatic. But I don't think one should react differently to opinions suggested in the public realm based on the gender of the poster/speaker. (I didn't know she was a woman and I don't think women are inherently less knowledgeable than men who are posting on a baseball blog at 10:15 pm about a team with no playoff chance.) Either way, GYFNG! Need our bats to wake up here. August 4, 2011 10:18 PM

  130. natsfan1a - Aug 5, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    My quote of the night (but it's all Selig's fault). :-)NatsLady from somewhere in Indiana said… Lousy internet here, only saw the 9th inning. We are blaming Rizzo for this one? Shows lack of imagination, there must be a way to blame Wang… Danny looked hopeless at the plate. What happened to Mattheus? August 4, 2011 11:56 PM

  131. baseballswami - Aug 5, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Just reviewing what I slept through – glad I did. It looks like the whole RISP monster reared it's ugly head again and Mattheus had a bad night. The Rockies had lost 4 in a row at home for the first time, we helped them turn their momentum around. Espi is surely struggling – playing in front of his mentor he is probably pressing even more. Glad to see that Zim is hitting like crazy and tried to ignite another 9th inning rally. They just start their rallies too late.

  132. NatsLady from somewhere in Indiana - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    1A, thanks, in reviewing the posts, I see someone DID blame Wang for this one because the Nats "lost momentum." So, there ya are, creativity.Whose in charge here? Obama, AT&T, you better get on the stick and get some internet in this country. I thought it was better as I was driving along the National Freeway in Maryland, but boy did it drop way off in Ohio and Indiana. Sheesh.Took 68 instead of the Penn. Turnpike because a) it's pretty and no tunnels; b) it's in Maryland so no road repair; c) it's free and d) it drove the GPS navigation lady CRAZY– every exit she tells me to "get ready" etc., trying with all her might to get me over to the turnpike. Then after I didn't make the exit and subsequent turns she sulks and "recalculates."Might not watch to much of the game tonight. After driving 1100 miles to see my family in Minneapolis, I might want to, y'know, see them.

  133. NatsLady from somewhere in Indiana - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Sorry, "too" much of the game. Gotta run before it gets warm, kitties are sleeping in the car to save time (chasing them around a motel room, believe me, could take a half hour). Enjoy.

  134. Steve M. - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Grandstander said… I disagree NatsLady. I think FAs look at the direction a club is heading in. I don't think anyone expected us to contend for the WC this year. But I think people were looking for an improvement. And barring some epic collapse, we will have that improvement.This is a team that has overcome massive adversity, losing the FotF for half the season, losing your big FA 1B, basically losing your HUGE RF acquisition for 4 months til he decided to show up, and obviously not having your 1st overall ace pitcher. On paper, this team might be worse than last year's, but they've absolutely outperformed them. Next year, if we can get a leadoff man CF, a back end starter, and a couple more arms in the pen, this team could absolutely contend for a WC no question. And most importantly, this season has shown The storyline moves from the inept franchise that can't do anything right to the franchise on the way up in the highly visible NL East, the sudden new kids on the block.we're not far off from that. There's still a lot to play for these final months, not to mention getting a look at some of our youngsters. There's a couple young arms I'd love to see under the bright lights of Nats Park in 3 weeks. August 5, 2011 12:31 AM Glad you backed up the importance of winning. This line is great "The storyline moves from the inept franchise that can't do anything right to the franchise on the way up in the highly visible NL East, the sudden new kids on the block".Free Agents watch ESPN and MLB Network also. The public perception fed to us by the national media and the local press is swayed by winning and winning streaks and top plays, etc. The Indians and Pirates are getting much buzz. The Nats have a chance to beat their records. How impressive would that be. The Pirates are 2 games under .500 and the Indians are 1 game over .500. It would be nice to see the Nats be the most improved team. The players I am thinking the Nats need in Free Agency is Mark Buehrle and Coco Crisp. Buehrle is a #2 or #3 on most teams and brings the veteran presence you need if he has more years like 2011. He had a bad 2010 and will be 33. He is a hard throwing lefty which is great for games against the Phillies and Braves. His ERA this season is 3.21 and could benefit from facing the NL with no DH.As a stop-gap for a few years, I get switch hitter Coco Crisp for CF and leadoff. He is a .330 OBP guy but here is where he is a hidden gem. In 87 ABs this year he has 29 RBIs and a .310 BA and .357 OBP with RISP. Crisp will be 32 years old and the speed is still there. 33 stolen bases on 42 attempts. 29.2% of Crisp's hits are XBH and with his steals he is giving the hitters plenty of opportunities when he is a RISP.

  135. FS - Aug 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    since 2005 to 2010 season, Crisp has lost 337 days to injuries, that is about two seasons of playing time.

  136. FS - Aug 5, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I think Buehrle has said that he likes to either stay with CWS or go to a contending team. He has also thought about retiring for some reason (like Zambrano, must be Chicago's air).Anyways, I would love to see an establish left-hander like Mark to join our rotation. That gives us a solid rotation of SS, JZ, Mark, John, and Livo (not sure if any youngsters such as Milone or Peacock are ready yet). Crisp can also be a good addition if he avoids any injuries. Not a great OBP guy, but will be an improvement over what we have.

  137. Mark'd - Aug 5, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    SteveM/FS, they aren't necessarily the best on the market but those 2 would fit in well. They are both Free Agents and Crisp should be affordable. Crisp is clutch and makes the most of his time on base. The fact he is a Free Agent just means comp picks.

  138. JaneB - Aug 5, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    I could be dead wrong about this, but I thought Coco comes with baggage in attitude and temper. AM I wrong? If I am, I apologize. If I'm not, that's what they have been weeding out of the clubhouse for a few years now. Why would we buy some more?

  139. Mark'd - Aug 5, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Jane, a little attitude is fine so long as he is a good teammate which I heard he was. The issue is bad attitude, trouble maker, and loafer which was the rumor on BJ Upton. Remember, BHarper has an attitude and his teammates love him.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 86 63 -- 2
ATLANTA 75 75 11.5
MIAMI 73 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 17.5
Through Monday's games

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TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
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