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Game 126: Diamondbacks at Nats

Aug 22, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler and Joe Saunders meet tonight in a showdown of left-handers.

On the heels of an impressive series against the Phillies in which they twice rallied to win in walk-off fashion, the Nationals tonight open a four-game series against the NL West-leading Diamondbacks. There was plenty of bad blood between the two teams when they met in Arizona in June, with a flurry of batters plunked and the D'backs side not happy with Wilson Ramos as he took his time rounding the bases on a home run. We'll see if there's any carryover tonight.

Ross Detwiler starts for the Nationals, looking to build off his strong outing five nights ago against the Reds. He'll be up against Springfield, Va., native Joe Saunders, who surely will have family in attendance.

Davey Johnson has stacked his lineup with right-handed hitters, including Brian Bixler in center field and batting second. Ryan Zimmerman, holding down his usual No. 3 spot in the lineup, is riding a 12-for-24 homestand that earned him co-NL Player of the Week honors with San Diego's Nick Hundley.

I'm in Hagerstown for Stephen Strasburg's rehab start tonight, so check that game thread for updates. I'll leave all of you to carry on the conversation here; based on the 300-plus comments on yesterday's game thread, I think I can trust you fine people, right?…

DIAMONDBACKS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 11 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (61-64)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Brian Bixler
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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151 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    I'm in Hagerstown for Stephen Strasburg's rehab start tonight, so check that game thread for updates. I'll leave all of you to carry on the conversation here; based on the 300-plus comments on yesterday's game thread, I think I can trust you fine people, right?…FOOD FIGHT!

  2. NatStat - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    You got it Seamhead!Now that Mark is out of the room, let the spitballs fly!Geez Mark, you gotta know that kids will be kids!

  3. MicheleS - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    Hey Mark.. we are going to do some damage tonight – raid the liquor cabinet and order all the fancy food – Please tell Mr. Lerner that we are putting it on his tab! Get the Bourbon and Maalox out!

  4. Grandstander - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    I'll be returning to the park today so you guys won't have to put up with my nonsense, during the game anyway.Nice to be going to a home game again.

  5. Dawn - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Kids will be kids….tsk,tsk.

  6. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Lemme get this straight. The manager who hates small ball and likes big power hitting has Brian Bixler starting and batting second?Bixler is a great guy and capable of game-saving defense, as he has shown a couple of times recently, but — news flash — the kid has not yet demonstrated much ability to hit major league pitching.

  7. Will - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    I don't know what's more incomprehensible: that a guy with a .277 OBP is leading off or that the guy following him has a .254 OBP.What the hell is Johnson thinking??? The two batters with the lowest OBP on the entire team this season (Matt Stairs excluded) are batting #1 and 2. This is a total recipe for failure.

  8. sunderland - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    So, watching the 9th yesterday and as the ball off of Desmond's bat landed in the LF bleachers, I could see one Nats fan in a sea of Philly fans. The Nats fan was a guy wearing an unbuttoned Strasburg jersey,and he was yelling and gesturing at all his Philly friends. I looked at that replay a couple times and decided "that guy there? that's Joe Seamhead."Bless you Joe.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Oh stuff it Will!!!! They've been doing this for 125 games already. Why is that so difficult to grasp.Except for Morse and Z-man, everybody's OPS sucks.

  10. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Will said, "What the hell is Johnson thinking??? The two batters with the lowest OBP on the entire team this season (Matt Stairs excluded) are batting #1 and 2. This is a total recipe for failure."Hmm . . . Perhaps we are expected to be grateful that Davy doesn't have Detweiler (.125 OBP)leading off??As I said earlier, what gets me is that this is Davey Johnson's lineup, even though it compeltely contradicts what he clamis is his managerial approach.

  11. HHover - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    I can't quarrel much about batting Desi leadoff, but I don't get the choice of Bixler–either his place in the batting order or starting him in CF. Yes, Bixler is fast and he's a RH batter, but he's not really better vs LHP than the leftie Ankiel, and he has virtually no experience in CF. Maybe Ankiel just needs a day off? I fear we'll see Bixler take some interesting routes to balls tonight, so thank goodness he's fast.

  12. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    NatsJack, Will is not completely wrong. Werth is at .329, Gomes is at .336 Ramos at .315 and Espinosa at .313. I think that Bixler should hit 9th if he has to play.

  13. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    You guys still believe anything Davey Johnson says? Tsk, tsk.

  14. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Good point, NatsLady. I keep forgetting. Oh well, maybe this is the night where Bixler gets his first career home run. Make it a game winner wehile we're at it. Then I get to look (happily) foolish.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Well, I'm not sure what Davey is thinking, but Rick Ankiel has not done too well against lefthanders all year. Johnson seems to be inclined to leave Desi at the top of the order for now. Bixler may surprise us all with a chance to get 4 or 5 ab's in a game. He and Joe Saunders are around the same age. I wonder if maybe Bixler faced Saunders in the minors? Good grief, I can't remember the last time Danny Espinosa has batted from the right side. (Then again, I'm getting to a point where I suffer from CRS a lot these days. Maybe it hasn't been that long) anyway, I'm looking for it to be a laugher tonight, for the home team. 7-2 Nats sounds about right.

  16. Gonat - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    We have to accept the roster and the current depth in the Minors. The problem is that after Hairston was traded the team has been short a RH centerfielder who can hit. I hope Bixler has his bunting shoes on and makes Davey look good.After Davey does his Sept callups, this team is still RH deficient in CF which is why a switch hitter like Coco Crisp fits well and gives you a .330 OBP and clutch hitting.

  17. sunderland - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    I amcertain of this. The decision about where to bat Bixler had nothing to do with Bixler. It had to do with leaving the other guys in their normal spots. Just swap out Ankiel and pop in Bixler, and leave the rest of the guys alone.There are reasons why this makes sense…

  18. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Brian Bixler has played 8 innings of CF, 1 for the Pirates and 7 for the Nationals. There were 3 balls in his zone and he caught 2 of them for outs…

  19. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Bixler is a hustler. He gives 110% all the time. It's worth letting him play fairly often the rest of this year. I went back at looked at some BA's for good players at about his age, and an increase of 50+ points from year 2 to 3 is not unusual. And though he has played multiple positions, he has not made an error this year.

  20. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Go, Det! Go, NATS!!Don't worry, Mark, we'll be just fine. That said, I would like to make a few advance statements, just in case:I didn't do it. It was that way when I got here. S/he did it.Let's see, that should about cover it. Now, go ahead and have a nice night in Hagerstown and don't worry about us one bit. We'll leave the place just as we found it. TTYL, gotta go and text a few close friends to keep me company. ;-)

  21. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Joe, as a fellow CRS sufferer, I feel your pain. Now, where did I put my glasses? Oh, never mind. :-)

  22. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    and the reference to Stairs at this point is a cheap shot.

  23. Nats Outsider - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    I think I used to have CRS syndrome, but I can't remember.

  24. Gonat - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    natsfan1a, after you pulled Mike Stanton circa 2005 balk out of your memory, you are doing real well!

  25. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Thanks, Gonat. I can remember all kinds of baseball trivia at times. Where I put my glasses, not so much. :-)Also, my belated congrats to the Z-Man after rereading Mark's post.

  26. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Gonat, it's the short term "stuff" that we usually can't remember. And natsfan1a, you're probably looking for them while you're wearing them.Really, when/who was the last lefty starter that we faced?

  27. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Last lefty that I can find: Cole Hamels on August 12.

  28. HHover - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    SunderlandThat sounds right. The question is, why swap out Ankiel at all? He's not great vs LHP (.239 this year, .240 career) but Bixler in his limited PA is no better (.205 this year, .240 career), and he's certainly less reliable defensively. That's why I thought it might have to do with Ankiel needing a rest.

  29. sunderland - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    HHover – Ankiel, 8K's in his last 14 PA's.Yeah, Davey probably decided Ankiel needed a rest.

  30. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Exactly, Joe, and it's really sad when one is wearing them on the nose rather than atop the head while searching. Not saying that I've ever done that, mind you, but…dang…Also, Collin Cowgill is a funny name. That is all.Joe Seamhead said… Gonat, it's the short term "stuff" that we usually can't remember. And natsfan1a, you're probably looking for them while you're wearing them. Really, when/who was the last lefty starter that we faced? August 22, 2011 6:37 PM

  31. sunderland - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Ankiel and Gomes produce a run. That's good news on a bunch of levels.But Ramos, first pitch DP.

  32. The Great Unwashed - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Ramos swung at the first pitch. What a surprise.

  33. HabsProf - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    Where's the love for Ross D tonight? 40 pitches through 4 innings? No runs, 3K, 2 hits – that's awesome. Let's see if he can make a full seven innings!!!

  34. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    http://ht.ly/69WLoBaseball America Jim Calis today said Nats #1 in Draft.

  35. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Did anyone hear the radio pregame show today? Davey Johnson was asked (separately) about Wang and Detweiler. He declared that Wang's weekend game was the best he has pitched, and that in fact each of his games was better than the previous outing. Hmm. But for Detweiler, Johnson gave only the faintest praise. Stuff like, "he's young and he's learning." Not the pat-on-the-back I'd expect for today's starter.

  36. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Two on, none out for Werth. Let's do it JW.

  37. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    Thanks JW. That was very accommodating.

  38. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Detwiler has made some good pitches. We all know he is very good for 5 and want to/need to see him go a full 7.Nice seeing 3/4/5 causing damage before the 9th inning. Way to go JWerth!!!!

  39. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    Sunderland, maybe you should "talk" to more of our hitters.

  40. JaneB - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Goooooo Jayson! That was a great hit. We need Detwiler to stay on top of things so we get a clean hand off to the bull pen. GYFNG!

  41. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    The Dude abides!

  42. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Nats Outsider said… Did anyone hear the radio pregame show today? Davey Johnson was asked (separately) about Wang and Detweiler. He declared that Wang's weekend game was the best he has pitched, and that in fact each of his games was better than the previous outing. Hmm. But for Detweiler, Johnson gave only the faintest praise. Stuff like, "he's young and he's learning." Not the pat-on-the-back I'd expect for today's starter. August 22, 2011 8:03 PM ______________________________–I have no problem with that. If Detwiler shows with strength and endurance that he can consistenly go 6+ with a few 7 innings in there then you have a basis to judge as a starter otherwise he is a long reliever in Davey's mind.I would never want to see Detwiler as a long man as that wastes his talents to use him in mop up but Davey has said he wants TWO long men. When this team is built with a great offense that can comeback from a big early deficit then a shut down long man makes sense otherwise I agree with those that see Detwiler excelling in a Jonny Venters/O'Flaherty setup man role. BTW, I think Livan makes the perfect long man.

  43. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    It looks like the Phillies have decided to take out their revenge for the weekend losses here against the Mets. They are up 5-0 in the 4th.

  44. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Gonat–The trouble with Livo as a long reliever is that they always come in with the team in trouble. (Otherwise, the starter would not be out early.) I don't think Livo's pitch-to-contact style works for that. H-Rod, if he ever finds where the plate is, could be a great long reliever. But I think that all Livo could do is finish out games that are already lost.

  45. Mark'd - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    To much nibbling and long counts in the 5th after cruising.

  46. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    No disrespect intended, but you might argue that Detwiler is a kind of pyrite. Some folks are sure he is gold while others are sure he is pyrite. At first glance, they are hard to distinguish. Prospect or suspect?

  47. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Mark'd, I was just going to say the same thing. He went to 3 ball counts on each batter in the 5th and needs to get back to 12 pitch innings to get his full 7 innings.

  48. Unkyd - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    So…. I check in, and we're up 4-0…..in the 4th?! What kind of bold, crafty strategy is Davey playing at, here………. Scoring before the bottom of the 9th…?All I'm saying is, it flies in the face of local tradition…..

  49. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Yeah, anon 8:21, I am not sure myself whether Detweiler can establish himself here. But I would have expected Johnson to be more upbeat about the kid, since he was about to start the game.

  50. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Anon @8:21, we still don't know. I didn't like how he moved away from being aggressive and was nibbling on the outside and up in the zone. I liked him coming in on the righties.Into the 6th inning. Wonder if Davey has Balester up warming.

  51. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    Well, there you go. A hit to a LH opposing pitcher. Can't allow that to happen!3rd time through the order and Roberts smokes it and Jayson Werth made that look easy. One of his best reads and really on his game tongiht.

  52. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Two hits this inning, a grounder in the hole and a blooper into no man's land in LF. McCatty visiting. If Detwiler gets out of this clean, and has a 4 – 0 lead, and is under 80 pitches, I really hope he comes out for the 7th.

  53. MicheleS - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    HROD is up in the bullpen… not sure how I feel about that ….

  54. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    H-Rod with runners at the corners? Say it ain't so!

  55. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    Boy, Ross sure made that interesting.

  56. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    sunderland, luck works both ways. Roberts smoked his ball towards the RF gap and Werth got it. Next batter smokes it right at Morse. Only lucky one that fell in was the Upton's bloop. Walks the next guy. With bases loaded, good thing the newly called up Rookie Goldschmidt is in a mini-slump because that was scarey!!!!!!!!!!

  57. RickH - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    In the pregame, Davey said he wanted to rest Ankiel and get Bixler more ABs. Interestingly, he said Bixler was on a World Cup team he managed in Taiwan (as a shortstop).

  58. A Mostly White-Collar Fan - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    By the way, jd and N. Cognito, I heard some definitely some strong chants of "Let's Go Nats" in the top of the 6th there! This is a baseball town beginning to blossom!

  59. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Detweiler has now thrown 78 pitches but seems to have tired in the last two innings. I wonder if they will let him come out for one more. No way he goes through 7.On the other hand, I suppose it's better to bring out wild Rod at the top of the inning, with no one on base.

  60. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Hey Mayberry:Now we've got R.F.D. GYFNG!!!!

  61. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    I should have said, "no way he goes through 7 unless he gets at least one short out."

  62. Mark'd - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    I didn't like what I saw in the 6th. Very fortunate to get out of it. Can't let the opposing pitcher to get on.

  63. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Anon8, point taken.Disappointed that Detwiler did not trust his stuff enough to throw in to Chris Young at 2-2 or 3-2. Nibbled well off the plate.

  64. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Well, Jason Werth had finally gotten his BA out of the .220's before that groundout put him back. It had been a long time since he had been .230!

  65. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    I have so been meaning to ask what does GYFNG stand for …..if you please

  66. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    When Keith, Clyde and Emmett roll in the Just for Men van, who drives?

  67. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Sounds like an impressive game so far, especially from Detwiler. In the meantime, if you're interested for my take on Strasburg, here's my quick story on his start. I'll be updating it later this evening with quotes from both Strasburg and Rizzo (who was very pleased with what he saw)…http://www.natsinsider.com/2011/08/strasburg-returns-to-form.html

  68. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    CBGo You Freaking Nats Go!

  69. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    CB, it means Go You ["Freaking"] Nats Go

  70. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Nats Outsider said… Gonat–The trouble with Livo as a long reliever is that they always come in with the team in trouble. (Otherwise, the starter would not be out early.) I don't think Livo's pitch-to-contact style works for that. H-Rod, if he ever finds where the plate is, could be a great long reliever. But I think that all Livo could do is finish out games that are already lost. August 22, 2011 8:20 PM ___________________________Exactly!

  71. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    AHHH thank you both …of course I take it the freak part optional LOL

  72. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    Detwiler hasn't hit the target in 2 innings.

  73. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    I bet that guy threw the HR ball back and they are throwing him out now from the crowd reaction

  74. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    Carpy, about Detwiler's performance."…and this might be the best one ever, and this one's hit deep, Gomes back to the wall, and it's a home run".You could hear the jinx at "best one ever".BTW, nice to see Sean Burroughs fighting his way back to MLB. A lot of demons and troubles…http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=6712901

  75. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    Well, I hope the wheels aren't coming off. The good news is that the Mets are now officially losing badly. Phils 8, Mets 0 in the bottom of the 5th.

  76. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Amazing how just about every Nats starter runs out of gas in the 6th inning.

  77. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Look, H-Rod, here's the plate. Right here.

  78. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    If pitch track on MLB was accurate, Detwiler threw many pitches in the hot zone in the last 2 innings. Lucky the Diamonback hitters are stuggling after there time in Atlanta. Now its wild Henry time. Oh boy.

  79. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    Avada Kedavra!!

  80. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    Kardiac Kids got the heart out of normal rhythm. I am breathing out of a bag after that inning…..

  81. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    so, apparently Werth has a 3-run home run, and Detwiler is still in for the 7th? (No TV tonight. Actually watching Half-Blood Prince)

  82. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    Shades of Riggs! Davey, trying to emulate the doctorate of the double switch. Meanwhile, folks, with H-Rod in there, it is officially now bourbon and Maalox time. Or just bourbon time.

  83. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    "Bad" Henry was very fortunate that Kelly Johnson swung at a pitch that would have been ball four.

  84. MicheleS - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Good to see Det/HROD get out of that inning, that could have been a lot worse.. Now for our awesome bullpen to shut them down!Glad to see the Phillies are taking their disappointing weekend out on the Mets!!!

  85. NatinBeantown - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    CBinDC-Charlie and Dave say that's exactly what happened. A guy shows some Nats spirit and gets tossed.You know, I read both Hamilton and Boswell in the post today, who (mildly) put some of the onus for the Phils invasions on DC as a neophyte "baseball town." I'm not going to get hysterical, but the ushers tolerating boorish behavior from some Phils fans and then throwing out the home fan who threw back Blanco's homer is NOT the way to cultivate a boisterous fan base. It's one step toward telling people to sit on their hands and to wait for Clint to tell you to cheer.

  86. HabsProf - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    He may not have made it all the way through 7, but for Pete's sake – this was a quality start (in all meanings of the phrase) for Detwiler. Think positive, Nats fans. This guy is looking better. Still lacks a little confidence….

  87. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Sunshine – Decent double switch with the pitcher up 2nd and then you get in your best defense.

  88. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    HabsProf, definitely a good start. Is he good enough to make the rotation next year? Need to see him a few more times. Lets see if he has 7 inning stuff. I think he was extremely lucky by what I saw.

  89. A DC Wonk - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    From Bos' chat today — he thinks that Davey will play JZ 162 innings, so that JZ will qualify for the league leaders in ERA, etc.Pretty cool, imho

  90. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    I saw 4 very good innings. Past that he went too deep into counts and missed his spots. End result on the boxscore was a very good outing so do you rely on the boxscore or what you saw with your eyes?

  91. sunderland - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    A guy got tossed from the game for throwing the ball back? He did nothing else? WTHeck?

  92. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    Too bad that Bixler made out. One more hit, and he could have reached the Mendoza line. Now he will need at least two consecutive hits to get up to that storied level.

  93. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    A DC Wonk said… From Bos' chat today — he thinks that Davey will play JZ 162 innings, so that JZ will qualify for the league leaders in ERA, etc.Pretty cool, imho August 22, 2011 9:13 PM _____________________________Didn't see that but thanks for passing that along.

  94. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    NatinBeantown- I read both today but Boz's Q&A is better he posted a email a reader sent him that I thought was my email from last years OD …..go read that and also the discussion on Nats fans being told to sit down so they will not block the Filthy fans when cheering the Nats in the 8th 9th and 10th

  95. Mick - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    How bout Matheus for 9th inning and rest Storen?

  96. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    How huge is it that Mattheus came in to save Clip for tonight!

  97. A DC Wonk - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    I couldn't post all day, or earlier in the game. Can't figure out why. So, this post would have been fresh much earlier:==============As for the batting order — DJ isn't stupid. The guy who was doing sabermatics before the term was invented is certainly aware of OBP's of his players. Remember, Davey (with a Masters in math), back as a player, rented time on a mainframe for the purpose of trying to come up with an "optimized" batting order (which Weaver promptly tossed in the garbage).Why is he doing it this way? It's a good, and fair question to ask. But we have to remember that these are real live players that Davey is dealing with — not Strat-O-Matic players. Perhaps he sees something we don't see. Perhaps he wants to give a confidence boost (which, in my mind, is why he had Werth hitting yesterday, instead of bunting with two guys on in the 10th). But to assume that DJ is being stupid about it is, well, stupid.Quoting from a few days back.sjm308 said… I always try and look at something no one else has touched on. Tonight in a critical game Davey did NOT use a reliever for more than one inning. … I really do think Davey has the bullpen thing down and I am looking forward to these last 40 games.andCBinDC said……. and Davy is starting to win me over that maybe he could have a positive effect FWIW, it appears that he has won a number of players over.Seehttp://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110821&content_id=23529434&notebook_id=23529436&vkey=notebook_was&c_id=waswhich has some choice quotes such as:Clippard: "He is really laid back and he takes care of his pitchers….He has been doing a great job and communicates well.""Danny Espinosa said he has learned a lot from Johnson, especially on the art of playing second base. Johnson, who played the position for 13 years in the big leagues, often gives Espinosa tips before games."Lannan: "When a manager tells the truth, it's always good…. It's honesty that sometimes managers avoid. He is man enough to say how it was. He makes sure you realize things and it's always refreshing."Storen: "He is a good presence in the clubhouse. He is a well respected guy. I obviously want him to stick around. He knows how to win. … He gives us ownership of what we are doing. He sets you up for situations tosucceed. It's up to us…."======Note the "he gives us ownership" quote. It's stuff like that which pays of in the long run, even tho' in the short run it drive fans nuts, because this means: leaving in pitchers for what seems like too long, or keeping on putting in guys like Burnett, or things like batting Bixler second.

  98. JaneB - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Okay. I want a submarine pitcher of our very own one day. I just do.

  99. Mick - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:25 AM

    sunderland, they really tosssed the fan for tossing ball back, are you shit– me???thats what true fans do to aopposing teams HR's what a dumbass usher

  100. HabsProf - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    I'm not trying to be overly optimistic on the guy – he still has a lot to prove. But I just think that Nats fans have been a little harsh on him. We've had a history (going back to Expos days) where first round drafted pitchers have not worked out.99 Josh Girdley00 Justin Wayne01 Josh Karp02 Clint Everts06 Colton Willems08 Aaron Crow(Not sure if Crow counts, since we got Storen as compensation, but there was still a year delay for that).Throw in Strasburg's TJ and we've had to put up with a lot of disappointment from first round pitchers. Given that Ross is not looking to be a top of the rotation guy, we're disappointed and heap criticism on the guy. Given that he spent all of July pitching just an inning or two at a time from the bullpen, I'm not too upset that he tires around the 6th/7th inning.Here are his stats for his last two starts combined:12 2/3 INN2ER13H3BB10KThat's a 1.42 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Now it's only two starts, but given the rest of those numbers I won't complain about his not making it through 7.Sorry for the long post.

  101. HabsProf - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    And now that I've re read what I wrote – sorry for all the times I wrote "given"!!! :-)

  102. A DC Wonk - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Mick said: How huge is it that Mattheus came in to save Clip for tonight! That's terrific. Remember MarkZ posted in "who's cold" that Mattheus had an absolutely atrocious line of 6.35 ERA, 2.118 WHIP in the last 8 GThat's great that he got a good inning out of him. Huge for everybody.

  103. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    Umm, Mick? You in the cups tonight?

  104. JaneB - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Mick, they tossed the guy who threw back the first home run hit on a Strasburg pitch. I'd get it if it was a beer can or something. But it's a self-respecting thing for a fan to do. The ushers in Nats Town, some of 'em, could use some more latitude in dealing with fans. We have two wonderful people in 131. One has been known to hug fans when there is a walk-off win of any kind.

  105. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    In a funny way, this was an interesting game for its relative *lack* of real drama (except for the 7th inning). Just a nice, methodical win. You know, the kind that good teams get.

  106. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Fantastic! Jayson Werth the star of the game and a day of rest for Clip in a Nats win!

  107. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    A DC Wonk said… I couldn't post all day, or earlier in the game. Can't figure out why. So, this post would have been fresh much earlier:Thanks DC Wonk I enjoyed it ……Davy is now doing full radio interviews and they are getting refreshing each time he even did one on 980 and had them speechless so hard to stop that snark-o-rama

  108. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    I hope Stras will be as good as Detwiler when he returns.Strasburg in 2010 — 2.91 ERADetwiler in 2011 — 2.61 ERAWe blaspheme because we love.Woo hoo !!!

  109. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    I'm either at/watching/listening to pretty much every Nats game, and tonight was the first time I really heard the "Dreeeew" going loud for Storen. Have I not been hearing right, or is this somewhat new?

  110. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    BTW just an observation on the DC fan base ….I always have said that in DC we do not cheer process ….we know process in and out …we cheer results …..and will when faced with result that cheer with far greater intensity then anybody anywhere

  111. MicheleS - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Good win for us tonight! Lets get another one tomorrow! GYFNG!

  112. FS - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    JaneB, we tried to get a submarine pitcher with Meredith, Cla but it did not work out. Guy got injured without throwing a pitch for us I believe.Nice win, without much hassle. prefer resting drew also for rest of the series. let's win by scoring a lots of runs for rest of homestand.

  113. baseballswami - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Anon 9:43 — I have been hearing the Dreeeeew more and more recently. I think it's pretty cool. He now has 34 saves, very high up on the nl saves list. And he was pretty filthy tonight, with no drama. While the weekend was exciting, I kind of enjoyed tonight's game as a nice change of pace. I thought it might get crazy with MPHRod but that worked out.GYFNG!

  114. A DC Wonk - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    Let me just throw in more props for Detweiler. How many of us were completely convinced that "he couldn't go through the batting order more than once"? He's now pitched pretty decently in at least 3 of the past four games. And reached 6 innings twice in a row.Perhaps we've found a solid back-of-the rotation left-handed starter?Remember, despite this being his fifth season in the organization — he's only 25.Great win — great progress on Ross' part!gyfng (that still works after a game, right?)

  115. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    Anon 9:43: Thought that was for me.

  116. Lesatcsc - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Throw back the usher!

  117. Wally - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    I really enjoy Davey's post game media talks. It is refreshing to hear how straight forward he is, critiquing the game and the players. The Detwiler comments were great, yet not insulting. 'I was disappointed with the pitch to Upton. It was … I don't know what it was, but I know it was 86 mph'. And in response to a question about whether said the same thing to Detwiler that he did to JZimm (Don't make me come get you), he kind of laughed and said that 'no, he hasn't earned that yet'.I think that, as some have noted his reserve with praising Ross, Davey is not quite sold on him as a starter, and so he praises him but not ridiculously so. Davey doesn't want to say anything that would be inconsistent with him not going with him in the rotation next year. And I think players can handle the truth if it isn't a pot shot, especially from a guy with the cred of DaveyI find that I actually keep watching the games to hear him.

  118. baseballswami - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    One thing that I have noticed about RossD – I think he needs to bulk up his body a little bit. He is seriously thin. It seems like in a long season if he is going to be a starter then maybe he needs to build up a little bit. I haven't checked his stats but he is pretty tall – don't know what his weight is listed at, but he looks like he would blow away in a strong wind. Lannan seems to have gotten bigger and stronger this year. Maybe his stamina would be better if he was more muscular and stronger.

  119. ehay2k - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    Another great win. Wicked, filthy, nasty slider by Storen to end the game. Blanco just watched it turned back to his dugout before he was even rung up.I vote we keep the pitching coach.

  120. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Jim Callis of Baseball America says the Nats had the best draft in the Bigs:1. Nationals."With three of the first 34 selections, Washington got the best player in the draft at No. 6 (third baseman Anthony Rendon), as well as one of the most electric arms (righthander Alex Meyer) and one of the best athletes (outfielder Brian Goodwin)."The Nationals also figured out a way to sign lefthander Matt Purke, who entered 2011 as BA's third-rated draft prospect behind Rendon and Gerrit Cole, then fell to the third round after shoulder problems."Washington's draft was top-heavy, but lefthander Kylin Turnbull (fourth round) and righthander Taylor Hill (sixth) give them two more solid college arms."

  121. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Nice win. I hadn't noticed the "Drews" before, either, and it took me a while to figure that out.

  122. N. Cognito - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Mick said… "sunderland, they really tosssed the fan for tossing ball back, are you shit– me???"An inning later, he was back in his seat.They kept his kid.

  123. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Also, re. obtaining a submariner, I'd be on board with that, as it were. It occurs to me that we did once have a side-armer in Bill Bray, but I realize that's not the same thing. Wait. Does Navy Nats Fan count? :-)

  124. dryw - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Oh, but that was fun to watch!GYFNG!!

  125. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Oh and, Sunderland, the answer is Keith:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q80YF__M3A(Yeah, you made me look. Now I can go to sleep. :-))

  126. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    baseballswami said… One thing that I have noticed about RossD – I think he needs to bulk up his body a little bit. He is seriously thin. It seems like in a long season if he is going to be a starter then maybe he needs to build up a little bit. I haven't checked his stats but he is pretty tall – don't know what his weight is listed at, but he looks like he would blow away in a strong wind. Lannan seems to have gotten bigger and stronger this year. Maybe his stamina would be better if he was more muscular and stronger. August 22, 2011 10:15 PM ______________________________That has been what many of the experts have said too including Ray Knight several times.Ross really was unhit-able through 4 innings. Struggled some in the 5th and got through the 6th and couldn't escape his own mistakes in the 7th.Now I can tell you what the other side is saying about Ross, "We make a replacement pitcher look like Cy Young. The guy was all over the place and we didn't make him pay".

  127. Gonat - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    2 games under .500 now and slowly getting a larger lead in 3rd place.Werth with a very good game with the bat and glove.The middle of the order is starting to make teams pay with Zim/Morse/Werth/Espi

  128. Anonymous8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Greinke gave up 7 earned in 6 innings tonight against the Pirates.Thankful every day that Greinke is somewhere else and the Nats have JZim, Storen, and Espinosa still in DC.

  129. A DC Wonk - Aug 23, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Holy spaghetti-man, BatmanFangraphs lists Ross as . . . wait for it . . . Height 6'5"Weight 174

  130. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    174 with his clothes on and soaking wet. Those legs are twigs.

  131. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    MLB Network called Jonny Gomes RBI single a swing to left—ball goes to right…OUCH

  132. Grandstander - Aug 23, 2011 at 4:34 AM

    JaneB, as a 130 guy, I love all the ushers 129-131. Best sections in the park!I think they put the jerk ushers out in the CF seats because that's where the most people try to sneak down. After he threw the ball back I turned to my friends and said, "I bet he gets tossed". Sure enough. That would have never happened with our usher.Great game otherwise. Could've done without WTHRod's cameo but it didn't hurt anything but my blood pressure. Small but loud crowd during the last few innings, peeps were feeling it. Large cheers for Werth as well. DREEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWGYFNG!

  133. Navy Nats Fan - Aug 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    natsfan1a – ABSOLUTELY I count! But heaven help us if I ever end up on the mound – I did get to throw out the first pitch at a minor league game once. Wasn't pretty. Should stick to my day job…

  134. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    DC Wonk at 9:23 last night…. Great post. Somebody finally gets it.Theres a huge difference between Riggs and Davey and I'll take Davey any day. He knows how to coax the very best out of players, especially younger guys.He coached in the Florida Collegiate Summer League last season and really enjoyed his relationship with all the players. And they can't say enough about how much they learned from him. While most people scratch their head at some of his moves, there is always a well thought out purpose behind every move.

  135. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Am I sensing a love-fest starting here with DJ? About time.

  136. Big Cat - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    As a Detwiler basher in the past, I am thrilled with what we are seeing from him. Much better command, changing speeds with the breaking ball. And I love his fastball at 92…92…91….92….then BOOM! 95 for the K! This is like gambling with house money.This Gomes guy, when he first got here I thought "What the hell is this guy all about?" The mohawk…wired look all the time. But I'll tell ya, he's been a big boost for the team. He's about winning. i might get a mohawk todayJZimm…shut em out tonight and we win 1-0. Go boy!

  137. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Heck, even the bat boy's on board with the mohawk. ;-)

  138. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Hey Mark:Is there any more word on Rendon-Meyer-Goodwin coming to town for a presser? We haven't heard a peep out of Rendon.It would be fun to see the prospects' reax to a club that's already on the verge of .500.

  139. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    For those who didn't see last night's broadcast, before the game the batboy was standing next to Gomes in the dugout and showing off his mohawk.

  140. A DC Wonk - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… DC Wonk at 9:23 last night…. Great post. Somebody finally gets it. Theres a huge difference between Riggs and Davey and I'll take Davey any day. He knows how to coax the very best out of players, especially younger guys. He coached in the Florida Collegiate Summer League last season and really enjoyed his relationship with all the players. And they can't say enough about how much they learned from him. While most people scratch their head at some of his moves, there is always a well thought out purpose behind every move.Thanks, NatsJack. I've always been on-board with him, and a big fan of his — as I was a Mets fan from the '60's until the Nats came to town. I saw what he did with the Mets (granted, they had some great players — but many of them were young, too, and needed some hands-on help), and then saw him work great with the Dodgers and Orioles (where he, as manager of the year, got fired because he had the cojones to stand up to Angelos). (Oh, and he did great with the Reds, too — two first place finishes — until he ticked off crazy-owner Marge Schott because DJ lived with his then-fiance prior to getting married).I've been singing his praises here at NI since he got hired. Granted, it's always possible he'd lost some edge . . . and so I was very happy to read that article that the players are loving him and thinks that he helps the team.BTW, a couple of nights ago, someone else asked about the "losing edge" question, and said "he retired for a reason". I meant to respond to that: (1) he was indeed running down, but heart surgery literally got his blood flowing better and helped him; and (2) he had a step-son who was born blind and deaf which consumed a lot of time — the son passed away (at age 34) earlier this year, leaving Davey with more free time.Joe Seamhead said… Am I sensing a love-fest starting here with DJ? About time.Indeed. As I've written so often here, Davey is not scared of "short term pain for long term gain." But people often forget the "short term pain" part.More examples of that:I don't know who's idea it was to "force" Detwiler into a starting role (DJ or Rizzo), despite everyone else saying that he's a long-reliever, but that's something that just maybe might work out terrifically for the Nats. (Among starters, Ross has the best ERA on the Nats. Of course it's a too-small sample size, but it might be indicative of solid potential).And I suspect that DJ is going to keep using MPHRod for as long as he sees potential there. It may drive us to drink (that would be alcohol or Maalox ;-) ), but it'd be a huge payoff (for a guy making near or at the minimum). (He has the third lowest hits per inning allowed — behind Clip and Store; lowest HR/inning; second highest K/inning — but, unfortunately, highest BB/inning). If he can get some control, he might be a real diamond in the rough. Remember, MPHRod is only 24. But until he gets that control, there will be many Maalox and frustrating moments.Note, too, in the article I quoted, most of the quotes from players were from pitchers (in contradistinction to the experts here, who criticized Davey mostly for his handling of the bullpen).All in all, I love the direction of the team, and I think Davey is the perfect manager for a team like this: lots of young up-and-coming talent. I think Davey will also be great with Stras, Harper, and our #1 Draft Class when those guys come up.

  141. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    BTW, Mark's note about trusting us in his absence reminded me of a funny ballad by Fountains of Wayne called "Fire Island":Driving on the lawnSleeping on the roofDrinking all the alcoholAll the kids from schoolWill be naked in the poolWhile our parents are on Fire IslandCranking up the tunes'Til the windows breakFeeding chocolate to the dogJumping on the couch'Til the feathers all come outWhile our parents are on Fire IslandWe're old enough by nowTo take care of each otherWe don't need no babysitterWe don't need no father or motherWe're old enough by nowDon't worry 'bout a thingDon't you rememberLast DecemberWhen you went to Steamboat Springs?

  142. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Drew8 said…Hey Mark: Is there any more word on Rendon-Meyer-Goodwin coming to town for a presser? We haven't heard a peep out of Rendon. It would be fun to see the prospects' reax to a club that's already on the verge of .500.As a matter of fact, all three draft picks will be at Nationals Park tonight for a 6 p.m. press conference, then will be introduced to the crowd during the game.

  143. Drew8 - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Outstanding. Glad they'll be introduced to a Nats crowd.Thanks, Mark!

  144. N. Cognito - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Grandstander said… "JaneB, as a 130 guy, I love all the ushers 129-131. Best sections in the park!I think they put the jerk ushers out in the CF seats because that's where the most people try to sneak down. After he threw the ball back I turned to my friends and said, "I bet he gets tossed". Sure enough. That would have never happened with our usher."Don't believe there have been too many home runs hit into those sections. :)Maybe it has happened before but until last night, I have never seen someone not permanently removed from their seats for throwing back a home run ball.

  145. N. Cognito - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Drew8 said… "Outstanding. Glad they'll be introduced to a Nats crowd."In addition to tonight, I think it would be a great idea for the Nats to introduce them, Purke and Harper to the "crowd" at the next game in Orioles Park.

  146. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    When then Cubs fan first threw back an opposing team's HR it was pretty funny, but I honestly think that allowing someone in the crowd to throw anything on to the field has the potential to be dangerous.Also,Clint told us that he's not allowed to throw tee shirts anymore because of the Josh Hamilton disaster.

  147. CBinDC - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    So the fans start to respond to the Nationals FO created invasion and come up with elements of home town fan involvement and the Nationals FO response is to throw out or hassle the fans …… they should be ashamed …..really thought the sudden DREWWWWWW cheer was great ….BTW is it JD have you heard back from the powers that be …..seems yesterdays letter writer that Boz reprinted in his Q&A never got a response ….I have never been contacted about my emails and phone calls ……Has anybody out there ever been contacted back ??? If so how did you get their attention …I would reprint my email but lost it in a hard drive crash and thought it was backed up

  148. Nats Outsider - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Grandstander–I agree with you that Secs 129-131 are the best seats in the park: Fabulous view, a nice atmosphere, and right near the Nats dugout. Unfortunately, I can't afford to buy seats there very often. I could probably go two games a year down there, or a lot more up in my usual air-supply sections. I have picked quantity over quality. Sigh. But I figure that Mark Z sits about as high up as I do in the 400 level.

  149. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    CBinDC, I emailed them last year about the price of beer. At $8.00 per beer, for the likes of Miller Lite, that comes to $96 a twelve pack, which is just a bit rich for this hillbilly and his wife. Though they didn't get back to me, the Miller tent did start charging $5.00 per beer up until the first pitch. We almost always get there at least an hour before game time, so now we have a couple before the game and switch to water that we bring with us. That said, a business should respond to their customers correspondences.As to the ushers giving Nats fans crap for standing in the 9th, or 10th, after what we all put up with over the weekend is indefensible.

  150. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Eh, don't knock our cheap seats, Nats Outsider. I've sat beyond the dugout a couple of times, as well as in the club section a few times. However, I'm usually parked in the Upper Deckian, Veeckian reaches and I kinda like it that way.

  151. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Also, maybe I've been lucky but I can't recall anybody ever telling me to sit down or shut up when I was cheering on my Nats, so there's that. :-)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 53 --
ATLANTA 67 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 10.0
NEW YORK 60 68 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
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