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Davey’s "balk" comes back to haunt Nats

Aug 25, 2011, 4:07 AM EDT

As Wednesday night’s game was playing out before him, Davey Johnson made a mental note to pull Livan Hernandez after seven innings. The veteran right-hander had done everything in his power to give the Nationals a chance to win, allowing two early runs (aided in part by an error) and otherwise shutting down a first-place Diamondbacks lineup.

But as the eighth inning approached, Johnson had a change of heart. Hernandez had been cruising. His pitch count sat at only 83, and 62 of those pitches had been strikes. The Nationals trailed by two runs, but Hernandez seemed as likely as anyone out of the bullpen to toss another scoreless inning and give his teammates a chance to mount a rally.

By the end of the night, once the Diamondbacks had put the finishing touches on a 4-2 victory, Johnson was kicking himself for calling an audible at the line of scrimmage, one he felt helped cost his team the game.

“I take responsibility for that one,” the manager said. “He was really pitching a great game. And when he’s good, he’s pretty good. I had it in my mind: If he gives me seven, I’m getting him out of there. And I balked. He got in trouble and couldn’t get out of it. Like they say,
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117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. dale - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    This game was nothing more than a rewrite of the previous day's script– Davey leaves a pitcher in too long, the offense goes into a fetal position and the post game conference is laced with "should haves". Note to Davey: never, ever bring in Henry Rodrigues as your reliever with the bases loaded. What were you thinking??????

  2. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Dale, it's odd to say he left Livo in too long. 83 pitches, 1st pitch strike to nearly everyone, the 5th – 7th was 9 up 9 down plus that gentle HBP. Livo was cruising.But then DJ says, "He got in trouble and couldn't get out of it."No, he got in some trouble, Nix made it worse, and Davey Johnson wouldn't let Livo get himself out of it. It was only because of Nix that we had 3 guys on base instead of two, and having Livo try to get Montero to keep the ball on the ground makes a ton more sense than having HRod know that whatever he does, he has to throw strikes. Davey booted this one, but not by letting Livo go out for the 8th, but by bringing in Henry with the bases loaded and only one out.

  3. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Well – for those of you complaining that "Davey never admits he made a mistake" – there it is!

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    Davey… please disregard the post by Dale as he and alot of the people on this site think you should be managing this team as if it were playoff bound.Please continue to expand the discomfort zone of your young pitchers.

  5. Davey - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    No worries, NatsJack. I never read this stuff, anyway.

  6. TNealls - Aug 25, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Davey didn't need to share that he planned on taking out Livan after 7, so I appreciate the candor. It will give him more credibility to point out players and coaches mistakes without causing rifts. I am getting more comfortable, with what NatsJack pointed out, about how we are managing for development while not giving up on winning. Makes sense and I am encouraged by it. Enjoying the run to 81!

  7. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I am SO with you on this one, NatsJack. As I posted in the game thread:12.7% = Nats chance to win at beginning of the 7th (down 2-0).8.1% – Nats chance to win with bases loaded in 7th.3.9% – Nats chance to win at the end of the 7th (down 4-0).So, strictly by the percentages, Davey's hesitation cost more than Henry giving up a singe.Davey has been putting Henry in in more high leverage situations. He knew the chances were remote that Henry would leave with the score 2-0. Who doesn't? But at this stage, turning Henry into a better pitcher is more important than a few percentage points. (Also more important than Livo's ERA.)

  8. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Er, Henry giving up a single.

  9. Wally - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    I tried playing a game a little while ago with the Davey bashing, saying things like 'Wow, great move by Davey letting Zim hit there with the bases loaded …' It got a little boring even to me, but I was trying to say that while the manager can influence some things, the players are much more important. Switching topics, it feels like I just woke up today and realized how well the Brewers are doing. 10 game lead. 10 GAMES. Kudos to Melvin. He went for it this year in the last year of Prince, and it is paying off. He also didn't panic after a bad start. Offense is mostly carried by the usual suspects like Braun, Fielder, Weeks, but old friend Morgan is producing a robust 2.9 WAR in 320 ABs. And OBP at .352 and positive defense. I don't really regret the trade because both sides clearly needed a change of scenery, but it would have been nice to get a little more back than one of Lenny's IOUs.And favorite whipping boy Greinke? Leads the staff with 2.9 WAR. A little unsightly ERA at 4.22, but seems unlucky with a 3.01 FIP and a 2.42 xFIP, fueled by some crazy peripherals like 10.9 k/9 and 2.11 B/9. No, I still wouldn't have traded JZimm for him, but he is a good pitcher.

  10. Navy Nats Fan - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Actually, given the flame-sprays that MPHROD has endured, a singe might be an appropriate description!

  11. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    As usual, I'm with NatsJack. I think Davey is managing with an eye toward 2012. Toward that end, can he use H-Rod in a pressure situation? Wouldn't appear that way, but how are we to know without trying. He can't pitch Clip 162 games … although they're certainly trying. I wasn't aboard the fire-Riggs-hire-Davey train, but I do like the way he admits his screw-ups. Livo was pitching great; why not try and squeeze another inning. After all, his pitch count was still under 150.

  12. Anon-A-Troll - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    NatsJack, remove your nose from Davey's backside. For anyone that really things this is for some future lesson, you are losing something and its your mind.Davey since he took over has been making poor decisions on mananging the pen and removing his starters and that was happening when the team was 7 games out of the WILD CARD.

  13. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Yeah, I'm still not buying. There's 20+ other guys on the roster who don't need to feel that Davey is not playing to win. Obviously there's no need for a game 7 win at all cost attitude."Davey has been putting Henry in in more high leverage situations."Really?8/22 – Top of 7, down 4-0, man on 1st, one out. Nope.8/20 – Top of 8, down 5-0, clean slate. Nope.8/18 – Top of 7, up 3-0, clean slate. Moderate.8/17 – Top of 9, down 2-0, clean slate, after using Burnett, Coffey and Mattheus. Low8/13 – Bottom of 7, down 8-3, clean slate. NopeWhat do you see that makes you think Davey's trying to find Henry high leverage situations?Henry creates his own high leverage situtations plenty.

  14. baseballswami - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Ok – I get the managing for next year thing.I think almost every manager as to do that to some extent. But – what ever happened to stopping the culture of losing? I have read thoughts by very many posters about the importance of learning to win. Conceding a game early is not a good lesson. Livo is ancient, Nix and Gomes are at the end of their careers. We have no idea what HRod is going to be like and putting him in these situations is just crazy. It's like every lesson has to be learned today instead of development that is progressive. It's like the game plays Davey , not like he stays calm and thinks things through and makes reasoned decisions. Is that really good for young players? I don't see any aspect of the game that has improved under him as a manager.It's not about whether or not you "like" him or his personality or his style or his post-game interviews. He is just not very effective.

  15. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Wally, I'm glad to see the Brewers doing well. The D-Backs swapped 2nd basemen with the Blue Jays, and in the trade they also acquired the SS who did us damage last night (McDonald, an above-average fielder). They are missing their top-tier SS (Stephen Drew, out for the season). If McDonald doesn't make that play on Zimm's zinger, two runs score and the game is tied. So despite skepticism about the trade (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/is-acquiring-hill-wise-for-the-diamondbacks/you have to say it's working out so far. I will be curious to see how Nyjer does next year when the novelty of T-Plush has faded. I wish him the best, though, it will be fun to see him in the playoffs.Watched the Giants beat the Padres. Lincecum looks like he's put on a couple of pounds. A pleasure, a real pleasure to watch that man throw the ball.@Navy– yeah, I was thinking the same. MPH can singe 'em but he sure takes a lot of heat from us backseat drivers.

  16. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Sunshine_B_C (and others, not meaning to pick on anyone)How in any way was leaving Livo in there a screw up?Livo was cruising, frustrating the crap out of the D-Backs,on a low pitch count, and the only guy that had been on base the previous three innings was a floater that got away and hit Montero.If leaving Livo in to start the 8th was a screw up, then you think a manager should have pre-determined innings limits on veteran starters?

  17. BartCrashley - Aug 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Davey talks way too much in "I" and "me" terminology rather than "we" and "us". It drives me nuts when he says things like "Livan gave me seven". I would hope the team plays for the organization and not one person. Come on, Davey, check the ego at the door.

  18. Anon-A-Troll - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    "Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… I think Davey is managing with an eye toward 2012. Toward that end, can he use H-Rod in a pressure situation?"Are you for real? Burnett was the man in 2010 and can't do it consistently in 2011. Does that guarantee anything in 2012?Henry Rodriguez is the bullpen version of Matt Stairs. Each situation is there own unique event. Consistency is proven over time. If Henry suceeded, chances are he would fail next time. That's been the problem with Livan Hernandez all season.Davey has you fooled if you believe this is particular situation was for learning with an eye towards 2012. Just another loss.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Nyjer is strictly a platoon player with the Brew Crew, something he would have never tolerated here. The Brewers run has been pretty amazing but I see cracks in their defensive make up that is sure to hurt them in the play offs. But man, that lineup can hit.

  20. The Dude Abides - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Anybody want to read a funny blog, go over to Capitol Baseball. I think he and Anon-A-Troll are one and the same.

  21. N. Cognito - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Anon-A-Troll said… "NatsJack, remove your nose from Davey's backside. For anyone that really things this is for some future lesson, you are losing something and its your mind.Davey since he took over has been making poor decisions on mananging the pen and removing his starters and that was happening when the team was 7 games out of the WILD CARD."You made a poor decision when you decided to buy a computer.

  22. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Brewers – Braves shapes up like a great series. The 2 hottest teams in the NL will go head to head.

  23. Anon-A-Troll - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Sunderland @8:54 and Baseballswami @8:55, very interesting look at it. I agree with you. Many out there still see Davey as the star player and World Series manager. "Me" talks about his need for 2 long relievers and has a pitcher on an innings count and 100 pitches thrown but wants to show him a lesson? Poppycock. Davey blew it Tuesday night. Not sure if he blew it last night just that the decision to pull Livan for Henry Rodriguez was a mind blower. On point, 1st batter, 2 run single. Game over.

  24. Big Cat - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I liked the move to bring in HRod with the bases loaded and one out. We aren't going to the post season. Stick the guy in the kitchen when its hot and see what you get. Actually, he threw well. First pitch strike at 98mph. Then a change down low at 91 that the guy hit for a 2 run single. No further damage. It was a good pitch from HRod. If anything…I will put his change in the JZimm category, as too hard. Get it down to around 85 and you will see a lot better results. Also, throw the curve more HRod. Ok….I've said my piece, I'm off to work. I'm still in your corner NatsJack

  25. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    @sunderland– well, maybe my impression of higher leverage situations for Henry was incorrect, but I still feel he is one of Davey's July-August projects. There will be other projects after Sept 1 callups and with Stras coming back.And, yes, I do think it's not bad to have a game plan. If he had a plan to go 7 with Livo, what's wrong with that? @BartCrashley: that drives me crazy, too. I know it's nitpicking, but I really wish Davey would bring "we" and "us" into the conversation. People, can we hold off on the ad hominem attacks? I think we are all rooting for the same team here.

  26. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    N. Cognito, that was hilarious.

  27. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Frankly, I think Davey's taking too much on himself. Re-read the stats that sunderland noted:sunderland said… Dale, it's odd to say he left Livo in too long. 83 pitches, 1st pitch strike to nearly everyone, the 5th – 7th was 9 up 9 down plus that gentle HBP. Livo was cruising.Livo _was_ crusing. Let me add one more stat — his seventh inning was only seven pitches (!), six of them for strikes, and at the start of the 8th, I thought he would easily cruise to a complete game if the Nats could score.Livo got ripped off. I was at the game — and from my vantage point, Livo was incredible — easily the best pitched game I've seen from him in a long while. Almost of the hits off of him were seeing-eye grounders that were just past an outstretched glove (and one that was a perfectly placed bunt that a better throw from Ramos would have gotten him out).Furthermore — as MarkZ noted in the game log, the first run was because Gomes bobbled the ball in left field on a double (this was one of only 2 or 3 hard hit balls Livo let up the entire game). The second run was preventable, too. The following player hit a hard grounder to first that, despite what MarkZ noted, Morse didn't dive (not that I recall — I still haven't seen a replay). A better first baseman would have knocked it down, and I think LaRoche would have turned it into an out.Runs three and four were because HRod gave up the bases-loaded single to Montero — but I really question the pitch-sequence there. After 7+ innings of Livo's 82 mph fastballs and 60-something curves, HRod started off with a 97 mph fastball, that was fouled off by a clearly overmatched Montero. But the next pitch was 91mph changeup that he whacked into right for a two-run single. HRod needed to keep pounding the fastballs (or his low 80's slider). Sure enough, that 91 mph pitch was the only pitch that did damage — but it was two runs worth of damage. (Was it up in the zone? I couldn't see)And, finally, consider this: yes, HRod cost two runs, that doesn't necessarily mean the Nats would have caught up. Hudson (Ariz pitcher) batted in the ninth (with a man on). If the score had only been 2-0, Hudson could have been pinch hit for, and Putz probably would have started the 9th. If not, Putz might have come in after the first HR. And even if none of that had transpired, Hudson clearly would not have been throwing literally every pitch over the plate in the ninth (he threw *all* strikes — which is exactly what you're supposed to do with a four-run lead).Anyways — back to Livo for one more minute: the stats will show that he gave up 4 runs on 7 hits and a walk, but with just a couple of inches here and there, and with better fielding, it could have easily been zero runs on two hits and no walks (note: Livo's walk was intentional, after another outfield blunder left first open). His control was truly outstanding (in the first three innings he threw 29 pitches, 26 for strikes!), and the entire DBack lineup was off-balance the entire game. There were four — count 'em: four — defensive lapses/weaknesses that were not called errors in the game. (Two were lapses, the other two were not actually lapses, but a better fielder would have made the play)A truly truly outstanding effort by Livo that nobody would notice unless they actually saw the game.IMHO!

  28. Anon-A-Troll - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Oh yah, hilarious. How long before Werth starts questioning Davey like he did Riggleman? Players want to win. Livan for the first time looked ticked off. 2 days in a row. Lannan vs a callup tonight. GYFNG

  29. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Thanks for the report, Wonk. I was only able to listen. Livo did a great job, and I REALLY, REALLY hope there's room for him here next season. When all is said and done, he's a .500 pitcher but he's a workhorse.

  30. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Anon-a-Troll: Livo's been ticked off before at the hook. I wouldn't worry about that, he's a pro. Who knows what Werth thinks, but it would have been nice to have him in the game.

  31. NatinBeantown - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    The Nats have scored 2 runs since the third inning Monday. Those who blame the pitchers–or Johnson's decisions when to pull them–should start watching the bottom half of the innings, too. The lack of offense is magnifying the other aspects of the game, like it did early in the season (under a manager of a completely different style). It's also making for some cranky posters.Now come on Nats, a win today makes a winning homestand. Make it happen, and then head over to Great American and watch Morse/Zim put on a laser show.

  32. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    NatsLady writes:But at this stage, turning Henry into a better pitcher is more important than a few percentage points. (Also more important than Livo's ERA.) Yep.And Boswell, before the game btw, published the same kind of thoughts:In an article in WaPo published last night, called Davey Johnson should be manager of the Washington Nationals in 2012 he starts off with:On Monday, Washington Nationals Manager Davey Johnson left Ross Detwiler on the mound with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and Arizona’s cleanup hitter at the plate. That’s the spot where the young lefty has always been pulled. Johnson wanted to build confidence and grit. Detwiler escaped, pitched on and won.On Tuesday, Johnson left Jordan Zimmermann in a scoreless game in the seventh inning after a walk on his 107th pitch. He’s always been hooked then for a pitch limit or because only aces tough out such crises. Johnson wants Zimmermann to be that star. Next pitch: two-run homer; Nats lose, 2-0.Both decisions illustrate why Johnson will be the manager for the Nats next season. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/davey-johnson-should-be-manager-of-the-washington-nationals-in-2012/2011/08/24/gIQA3mLHcJ_story.htmlWhereas normally I don't respond to Trolls — I'll make an exception here because it's so easy:Anon-A-Troll said… Oh yah, hilarious. How long before Werth starts questioning Davey like he did Riggleman?Boswell pointed out that Davey played with Frank and Brooks, got the last hit off Koufax in the Series, beat Earl at gin, learned how to hit 43 homers from Aaron and managed Gooden, Strawberry, Raffy, Cal, Robby, Larkin and Sheffield. (BTW, Boswell neglected the many gold gloves Davey won)Because of all this:"The feel in the clubhouse is excellent. Players want to pick his brain and have a relationship with him," Rizzo said, naming several, including Werth.This tells me that both Davey and Werth are too smart for that to happen. Davey because he knows so much, and Werth because he knows that he can benefit from learning from Davey.

  33. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Nyjer is a platoon player, yes, but since he basically starts nearly every game against a RH pitcher, he plays a whole lot more often than he sits. He's got 288 AB's and he missed 3 weeks on the DL. I'm not saying he should be in DC.This was clearly a deal that benefitted both us and Nyjer. He also flashed some arm a few weeks ago, pegging a guy at 3B from short right to end a game. Well more arm than I would have given him credit for.http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=17743019&topic_id=11493214(He also was out of position prior to retrieving the ball and making the throw.)

  34. Anonymous8 - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    I am torn on both sides. I would rather see "learning" decisions when call-ups are here not with the Henry Rodriguez types. Still, down 2-0 with bases loaded and 1 out was probably going to yield at least one run unless you have a sinker ball reliever that could turn a double play and the Nats didn't have that type of pitcher in the bullpen.Tuesday was the more win-able game at 0-0 in the 7th and could have been a 3 game winning streak and momentum. I wasn't really upset about last night and would have left Livo in as the best option in a bad situation.

  35. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    So I read the Capitol Baseball entry, blah, blah, blah, nothing new here. there is one point, however, that @CraigMac has the same impression on how Henry is being used that I did, namely in more pressure situations. I disagree that you have to only let Henry "succeed" in low pressure, bases clean situations. He's already done that. Time to ramp it up.Here is the relevant quote:11 – What is with his man-crush on Henry Rodriguez?? Not only does he have a 4.34 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP, he is 2nd in all of baseball with 12 Wild Pitches; the leader (17) has pitched 108.1 more innings than Rodriguez has… I'm not saying that HRod shouldn't be used, but Davey is throwing him out there in some serious 7th and 8th inning, high-pressure situations. Let's give the guy a chance to succeed.

  36. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Sorry all for being so verbose this morning. As I mentioned, I was at the game (where I couldn't post) and when I got home I was too tired to post:NatinBeantown said… The Nats have scored 2 runs since the third inning Monday. Those who blame the pitchers–or Johnson's decisions when to pull them–should start watching the bottom half of the innings, too. Right on, Beanster. I was going to make that observation, too.For those who really want to point fingers for last nights' game — they might want to look at Ankiel and Zimmerman who both went 0-for-4, (RZim with two K's) and both left four men on base.Team RISP: 0-for-6.

  37. Wally - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Brewers not only have the hitting, but Greinke-Marcum-Gallardo isn't bad. Not Philly good, but not bad. The infield defense may hurt them some, but they are a fun team to watch.I guess Davey should have brought in Balestar. No, Burnett (I mean Valdemort – TM Drew8). No, wait, Coffey, or Gorzy, or … can we call up Severino again? OK, just bring in Clip, cause all those other guys have an equal amount of good and bad days. Henry, at least, has the kind of stuff that if you do get him straightened out, is a real force. He also is the highest non-Clippard chance of a strikeout there. Which, with bases loaded, 1 out, isn't a bad thing.

  38. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    The Brewers have handled Nyjer perfectly. They knew he could hit RH pitching and couldn't hit LH pitching. They created a good platoon for him while trying to find a place in the batting order for him. Mostly in the 2 hole. They tried him a few times at lead-off and he didn't do well. They also tried him early on in the 7th and 8th hole where he did well before using him almost exclusively in the 2 spot.Nyjer is still riding his "high" with the Brewers like he did with the Nats in 2009. The "T" is the man right now. At some point, Nyjer will cost them dearly because that is Nyjer being Nyjer.

  39. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    We've had these offensive dry spells before and it's really frustrating (in RZim's defense, he did get robbed of a 2-RBI base hit). The defense scored 2 runs in the last 2.5 games, both on solo home runs.

  40. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Morse cooling off doesn't help either. He's at .235/.409/.204 for the last seven days, and the .409 OBP would be lower except he got HPB twice and intentionally walked once.

  41. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Wally, NatsLady and all, why is there debate about which reliever to bring in? Montero coming to bat. Livo got a GBDP against him earlier in the game. Also a pop-up (and the weak HBP). There was no one on the staff more likely to get out of that inning clean than Livo. You want Montero to put the ball on the ground. Livo was more likely to get that done than anyone else.I'll stop now.We're getting no where.We're on the same team.I love having this blog.Peace, Love, Happiness, blah, blah, blah (but for real).

  42. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    NatsLady said… We've had these offensive dry spells before and it's really frustrating (in RZim's defense, he did get robbed of a 2-RBI base hit). That's true. And Ankiel, just before him, really smoked a line drive — but it was right at Overbay.Re: HRod:Wally said…[Hrod] also is the highest non-Clippard chance of a strikeout there. Which, with bases loaded, 1 out, isn't a bad thing.That's exactly right. When a guy's on third with less than two out, you're only hope is a strike-out, pop-up, or double play. As HRod averages over a K per inning, that is the percentage play.CapitalBaseball, quoted by NatsLady:but Davey is throwing him out there in some serious 7th and 8th inning, high-pressure situations. Let's give the guy a chance to succeed. Well, duh, that's exactly what Davey's been doing! He's been giving him opportunities, both low pressure and high pressure. And, lately, HRod's been doing pretty well. Check this out:HRod's last four outings prior to last night:8/17, 1 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB8/18 1 IP, 0 H, 2 K, 0 BB8/20 1 IP, 0 H, 2 K, 1 BB8/22 .1 IP, 0 H, 0 K, 1 BBNow, that's pretty darn good.Given that, it looked like HRod has been getting more consistent, and the perfect time to throw him into a bases loaded situation to see what he can do.

  43. Meridian - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    NatinBeantown has it right. The real problem is offense and it is magnifying everything else, because the pitching needs to be perfect to win.As much fun as it may be to speculate about next year's starting rotation, nothing is more important than adding some offense to this team. Does that mean hitting is more important than pitching? No. But it means the decisions may be more important, and more difficult.Look at it this way: Three fifths of the Nationals rotation is already decided: Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Lannan, and Detwiler a likely fourth. So most of the decisionmaking is going to be about somebody who pitches every fifth game at the back of the rotation, and can probably be replaced by somebody else in the system if he stumbles: Peacock, Milone, Maya, etc. Maybe even Livo.But on a daily basis, not just every fifth game, this team isn't scoring enough runs to be a contender, and that HAS to be fixed, which in turn may mean some tough decisions: Bring up Marrero and trade LaRoche? Bring up Lombardozzi and eventually trade either Desmond or Espinosa? In either case, you first have to find out if they can hit major league pitching, and that means playing them in place of some established regulars. Or turn Desmond into a center fielder, taking advantage of his range and arm rather than blowing a lot of money on another free agent outfielder? (Memo to Ian — there's no shame in that switch. One guy who did it: Mickey Mantle.)To me, these are much tougher, and much more important questions than filling out the back end of the rotation. They will make the final month of the season interesting (presuming, of course, that Lombardozzi and Marrero are called up), as well as spring training.

  44. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    @Meridian, I like your thoughts except that LaRoche is pretty untradeable at this point. Might be able to trade him next summer at the July 31 deadline.

  45. Anonymous8 - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    @NatsLady said… "Morse cooling off doesn't help either. He's at .235/.409/.204 for the last seven days, and the .409 OBP would be lower except he got HPB twice and intentionally walked once. August 25, 2011 9:56 AM"I think since he switched from Beast Mode to Hammer Time after his big HR in Chicago, he has cooled off. You noticed Desmond is now wearing Beast Mode.

  46. Feel Wood - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    The Brewers run has been pretty amazing but I see cracks in their defensive make up that is sure to hurt them in the play offs.Haven't been paying close attention to the Brewers other than to note that they're really on a tear lately. Is their manager still using all those wacky defensive shifts, seemingly on every play, like he was back when they got swept at Nationals Park in April?

  47. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    NatsLady, I strongly agree with your premise that it is more important to teach and experience than it is to win at this stage of the team's year and of the team's development. Anon8, I was 100% behind the decision to keep JZimm in on Tuesday. Hliday, Lincecum, Lee would not have been taken out in a scoreless game at 108 pitches; JZimm wasn't losing velocity and the quality of his pitches was still high until he hung the pitch to Burroghs. If you want to complete the development of an ace level pitcher you have to let him experience these type of situations especially when the cost of losing is marginal.

  48. Anonymous8 - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    @Meridian said… "NatinBeantown has it right. The real problem is offense and it is magnifying everything else, because the pitching needs to be perfect to win."Yes, that was said yesterday by someone in the stress on Jordan Zimmermann in these games with NO offensive support that he has to be perfect and also gets frustrated when the umps or his defense lets him down. Case in point was Tuesday night. In a 0-0 game where his offense had numerous chances and the ump blows a call on a 3-2 pitch and the very next batter he serves up the difference maker, a 2 run HR. I have seen this too often in the latter innings with Jordan. It wasn't enough that McCatty came out to talk with him, he was at 104 pitches and mentally fatigued more than physically fatigued. Jordan Zimmerman now has the LOWEST run support in the Majors up till the inning before he is finished pitching. That is horrible. He can't escape it, but his Manager needs to look out for him. If nothing else, Jordan walks from Tuesday's game with a 0 ERA and a no decision.

  49. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    A8: How right you are! And Stras has me to thank for wearing his tee on Monday, and me to blame for not wearing one the he had his rough outing. Superstition rules!!! Gotta kidnap those D-backs to and get 'em batting practice today.Glad we are going to Cincy in time for Irene. Well, the Nats are, I'll still be here.

  50. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    A8: again on the money! It's all well and good for us to say JZimm needs to tough it out and learn to get out of jams. Livo gets undone by the same type of stuff– how about the other day (rain delay game) when the ump blew a call and Livo started pitching batting practice? Maybe Jordan has learned enough for one year? This season he learned to heal and pitch after TJ surgery. BTW, the unflappable one is Wang. But he's 31 and been through the meat grinder in NY. Jordan is what, 24?

  51. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    jd, I'm a little ambivalent on that one (leaving JZ in) because–1) He did the same thing in Chicago2) He knows he is getting shut down, and that puts more pressure on him than the guys you mention. In fact, with the shutdown in view, maybe he should just go 6 and then come out. Otherwise it gets to be a vicious cycle, where he thinks he has to pitch a CG shoutout every 5th day. I say, get him some offense and let him work out of jams next spring.

  52. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Case in point was Tuesday night. In a 0-0 game where his offense had numerous chances and the ump blows a call on a 3-2 pitch and the very next batter he serves up the difference maker, a 2 run HR. I have seen this too often in the latter innings with Jordan. It wasn't enough that McCatty came out to talk with him, he was at 104 pitches and mentally fatigued more than physically fatigued. He's gotta learn, then. The hard way.(Speaking to JZ): "Dude, it was just a bases empty walk! You gotta be able to get over that if you're going to be the ace that we all think you can be!"

  53. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Steve M. said… Jordan had plenty left in the tank last night. The issue was on Jordan and how he handles perfection and adversity.When you are in a 0-0 game, you pitch differently then 4-0 like Detwiler had the night before.Personally, I feel bad for Jordan Zimmermann as the point above about 2 pitchers with almost identical ERA and games played have a very different result on the W/L. Ian Kennedy won't be a Cy Young but will get some votes and could win 20 games. 16-4 versus 8-11 comes down in these 2 cases of run support. Some days it is sun in his fielder's eyes and some days it is just a fielding error and most of the season the run support has been a joke like against the Angels where Jordan went complete game and lost 1-0. You figure your team holds the opponent to 1 or 2 runs you have a great shot at a win. Jordan has taken 5 losses when giving up 2 earned runs or less. If all those were Wins, that record is 13-6.What a difference a few runs make. August 24, 2011 11:36 AM ____________________________NatsInBeantown/Meridian/Anon8, this sums it up well how Jordan Zimmermann could be 13-6 (or better) and I will take it a step further in games where he had no run support and had a mini-meltdown like vs the Cubs and Tuesday night because he finds himself always behind in the games. He also had 2 no decisions in games he left when they were ahead and took 2 losses when he left in tie games.April 26 he left in a tie game with 2 men on and both scored and he took the loss and his ERA took the hit for the inherited runners. May 12th Jordan got run support and left with a 4 run lead against Atlanta and they lost that game as Burnett came in with 2 on and walked the 1st man then served up a Grand Slam. Jordan ate 2 more inherited runners got a no decions and no win. June 12th against San Diego left in a 0-0 tie. I can go on and on.Jordan has never left a game with the Nats trailing by more than 3 runs and only left 2 games with the Nats trailing by 3 runs. With normal run support where he could pitch free and easy, Jordan Zimmermann could conceivably be the same record as Ian Kennedy at 16-4 with a mid 2.5 type of ERA without all the inherited runners scoring.

  54. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Wonk, I agree, he's gotta learn, and the hard way. I'm just not sure it needs to be right now.

  55. Anonymous8 - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    NatsLady, you rock!

  56. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Gonat, I think you put your finger on it. JZ has been burned so often by the lack of offense and the bullpen that he CAN'T just accept, "Oh, it's just a bases empty walk, you gotta get over it…". He's got a whole SEASON to "get over," and it builds up in your mind. I don't think putting MORE pressure on him to measure up as an ace is the answer right now. Here is where Davey has to measure pitchers as individuals. It might be exactly the thing to build pressure on MPH. It might not be the thing to do the same for JZ. IMO.

  57. N. Cognito - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    It's understandable that Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos and Flores are going to struggle at the plate from time to time and it's also still to be determined if they'll develop into quality, full time major league players, but one thing is certain, the Nats have got to get a better bench next year. You just can't win with pinch hitters and substitute players who hit in the low .200s and fall short of or barely break the .300 OBP mark.Some here keep citing the intangibles some of these guys bring to the clubhouse, or their defense or speed, but from my perspective most of these guys' offense is just too putrid to justify having a place on a 25-man roster of a team that wants to compete for a playoff spot.Bixler 28 yo; 2011 .194/.254/.242; career .182/.242/.238brings nothing to the plateCora 35 yo; 2011 .219/.280/.255; career .243/.310/.337brings nothing to the plateNix 30 yo; 2011 .250/.297/.459; career .244/.288/.431some pop after bulking up, but nothing elseAnkiel 32 yo; 2011 .236/.298/.356; career .246/.310/.425brings nothing to the plateGomes 30 yo; 2011 .210/.325/.402; career .243/.329/.454some increased OBPRodriguez 39 yo; 2011 .214/.276/.325; career .297/.333/.464love this guy but it might be time to hang 'em up

  58. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    N.Cog: what you say is very true. But good bench players are hard to find, especially good hitters, because, let's face it, if they were good players they wouldn't be on the bench. I don't think we are keeping Nix or Gomes. Nix is a free agent and we got the best out of him for half a season. Gomes could accept arbitration, but I would guess there is a "gentleman's" agreement that he won't and we would get the draft pick.Cora is like Willie Harris. Average for a bench player. Good D.Bixler would be okay if he could hit anything about the Mendoza line. Ankiel is not the solution in CF, we all know that. He's starting because we don't have a starting CF. If he were to be re-signed as a bench player you have to ask how many "late inning defensive subs" do you need? So he either needs to be the starting CF until we buy/develop a better one, or he needs to go. Sorry, Rick, I luv ya, but them's the facts. As for Pudge, I really hope he is not set on the 3,000 hits, because I don't think we can offer him the role as 1 in 3 backup catcher where he would get there. I'd like to see him as a coach.And the password is "dismo" and our bench is pretty dismo right now.

  59. Steve M. - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    NatsLady said… Gonat, I think you put your finger on it. JZ has been burned so often by the lack of offense and the bullpen that he CAN'T just accept, "Oh, it's just a bases empty walk, you gotta get over it…". He's got a whole SEASON to "get over," and it builds up in your mind. I don't think putting MORE pressure on him to measure up as an ace is the answer right now. Here is where Davey has to measure pitchers as individuals. It might be exactly the thing to build pressure on MPH. It might not be the thing to do the same for JZ. IMO. August 25, 2011 11:13 AM Very well said by both of you. We have a gem, an Ace in Jordan Zimmmermann who has been let down so many times. Watch game film because the boxscore doesn't tell the whole story. That pop up to Bernadina that fell between Bernie and Werth that scored 2 runs was an exclamation point on his season after what the bullpen did for him. Look, he isn't Roy Halladay but he is better than Ian Kennedy who has had excellent relief behind him and very good defense and a 16-4 record to go with it.In Livan's defense he went through several games with low run support also.

  60. Steve M. - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    There is a way a pitcher goes into the dugout behind and says to his guys, pick me up. That was Livan yesterday. Livan pitched good, not great but good teams pick up their pitchers and Livan wasn't picked up. In JZim's and Livan's season, they have to sometimes wonder what they did wrong to deserve their misfortune.I pointed out a couple months ago about the good fortune Jason Marquis enjoyed here. SI just rated Jordan Zimmmermann as one of the most under-rated pitchers in the MLB. I would agree.

  61. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Oh, and speaking of bench players, here are Jerry Hairston's numbers with Milwaukee (20 games, 62PA):.241/.390/.310 with OPS of .601. Small sample, but he did better with us.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hairsje02.shtml

  62. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    SteveM, on August 11th against the Cubs JZim had a 1 run lead and a man on 1st in the 4th inning. Soriano hits a ball to Jayson Werth. Werth dives and the ball hits off his glove for a RBI triple and a 1-1 tie.Game goes into the 7th with a 1-1 lead. Jordan has to be perfect. He strikes out the 1st 2 and then on a 0-2 count Reed Johnson flips the ball into right field for a single. Davey didn't pull Jordan Zimmerman then and we all know what happened on the next pitch.It was deja vu all over again on Tuesday night.2 games, 2 more losses, more frustration. What learning experience did Jordan walk away with besides another frustrating loss.

  63. Mick - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    I love Boswell, but think he is off his rocker on his wanting Davey around in 2012. Once again, Davey lost the game with his decision to keep Livo in the 8th. He has lost at least 14 games on his decisions and say what you you want to you about Rigglemen, I guarantee you Riggs would never have lost an 8-0 lead to Cubs or made half the stupid moves Davey has.

  64. Mick - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    I go to the ball park to watch the team WIN, not Davey experiment for next year!!! His experiments are failures

  65. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Gonat, I think Steve M. is in agreement with you. JZimm is a good pitcher, deserving of a FAR better "record" than he has (W/L and ERA).

  66. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    NatsLady, N.Cognito, The bigger problem with Nix, Gomes and Ankiel is that we had to use them as every day players. As bench players they are OK; you don't get many teams with a Cecil Fielder or Strawberry level players sitting on the bench I do agree that Cora and Bixler are replacement level players and we definitively need to upgrade there.

  67. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    There is no learning. Just the same old mistakes. I do not blame Davey or Levan for this loss. Like I said before. If Zimm and Morse aren't hitting this team will lose. There is nobody picking up the slack. Too many strikeouts. And WAAAAAYYYYYYYY too many strikeouts looking.

  68. Steve M. - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Very pleased to see Coco Crisp have a career day. Not a walkoff HR because it was on the road but he literally took down the Yankees with the 4-4 day with 1 BB and 5 RBIs on 2 HRs.

  69. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Steve M. Your point on JZimm is well taken and this is why to me pitchers records mean very little. Any stat which influences a players number but where things outside a players control influence is at best a flawed stat. If I am not mistaken Felix Hernandez won the Cy young with a losing record and this to me indicates that writers at least are beginning to understand than W/L records tell a very small part of the story.

  70. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Mick, FWIW, I think Boswell went WAY overboard about Davey, and I'm much more "wait and see" and in particular, wait and see how his projects turn out. That said, I went to the ballpark when we lost 102 games and THAT is not happening this year. I go to the ballpark to enjoy the food and root for the team. I don't mind at all watching good players develop into stars, that's part of the fun for me.I love to win, but it ain't gonna happen every game, not even for the Fillies.

  71. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Hey Steve, does Coco Crisp play for the Nats? No he doesn't, so "WHO CARES"

  72. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    JD, good point on Jordan and Felix Hernandez. You still pitch differently with a 4-0 lead like Detwiler vs. a 0-0 game or behind 0-2 like Livan last night.The Nats are not getting it done for these guys and unfortunately the vast majority will always judge a pitcher by his W/L first and ERA second.

  73. Anonymous8 - Aug 25, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    hey Anonatroll at 11:56. It is called changing the subject and if you have read NatsInsider for any length of time, Coco Crisp is a Free Agent who possibly could fit into a great stop gap role for this team.BTW, get a life.

  74. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    We are monitoring Coco Crisp and Mark Buerhle as free agents for possible acquisitions. Besides, Coco Crisp is a great name, and who wouldn't want to type it a bunch of times?

  75. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    NatsLady said… Gonat, I think Steve M. is in agreement with you. JZimm is a good pitcher, deserving of a FAR better "record" than he has (W/L and ERA). August 25, 2011 11:49 AM _____________________In 2010, it was the frustration of lousy defense and mediocre starting pitching.This year, the defense and starting pitching is better and now the offense isn't clutch and the bullpen outside of Clip and Storen are the worst in the NL.The good news is that the areas to improve are an easier fix. This should be a further improved team next year, we just need to finish strong this year.

  76. Mick - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    natslady, I agree with you, however, this team has a chance to finish with a very good record for once. I think for moral and momentum into 2012, it is important to finish third in the East and well over 80 wins. there is plenty of time in the winter and in spring training to develop this this talent, and yes I also go for the food, lol

  77. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Mick said… I love Boswell, but think he is off his rocker on his wanting Davey around in 2012.Well, it's not only Boswell, but also Rizzo, Lerner, and, apparently, a whole lot of the Nats players, including their stars. How often are sportswriters, the FO, and the players on the same page?I guarantee you Riggs would never have … made half the stupid moves Davey has.Riggleman: 662-824 W/L; .445 pct, average finish 4.3 placeJohnson: 1170-916 W/L; .561 pct, av finish 2nd place; five division titles, 1 World Series Title; former manager of the year

  78. Steve M. - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    NatsLady said… We are monitoring Coco Crisp and Mark Buerhle as free agents for possible acquisitions. Besides, Coco Crisp is a great name, and who wouldn't want to type it a bunch of times? August 25, 2011 12:03 PM A friend of mine said the real prize is CJ Wilson or CC Sabathia and Jose Reyes. While I agree, we have all been disapointed with the results of going after the best available which is why the Buehrle and Crisp types are achieveable. With LaRoche and Stras coming back next year, Rizzo needs WAR improvements at leadoff and in the middle of the rotation. If anyone sees real players that can help and reasonably attainable, where are they besides hypothetical trades that will cost existing prospects.BTW, I would take Wandy Rodriguez but he will be 33 years old and would take prospects. Buehrle is better and only costs comp picks in the Draft.

  79. Mark'd - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    SteveM, this bullpen is really bad. I can't sugarcoat it. Sure leadoff and solid #3. Don't forget the bullpen.

  80. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Oh, rain!!!! Can we have a two hour rain delay so I can go to the game??? Pretty please? I will take my Nats gear to work with me… You know they are going to play this game however long it takes.

  81. Anon-A-Troll - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Sorry DC Wonk, you are describing Joe Gibbs there.Same euphoria. Same results. Bring in Shanahan.Riggleman left over .500 this year and that is what he "did for us lately".

  82. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Mick, I would love to see the Nats finish above .500 and in 3rd place. That would be a big boost for the fan base, but I don't think it affects the current players other than RZimm. It may make a small difference in attracting free agents, although looking at the 2012 roster probably makes more difference than the 2011 record.School has started now and football, so we are going to see some small crowds until Stras gets here.

  83. Anon-A-Troll - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    On Coco Crisp and Burle, very solid and acheivable if Rizzo isn't going for the Top guys again.Steve, add Prince Fielder to your list of Jose Reyes, CC Sabbathia and CJ Wilson. I hope Rizzo goes good fit for short term instead of top guys like Werth that will not work.

  84. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Here is where Davey has to measure pitchers as individuals. It might be exactly the thing to build pressure on MPH. It might not be the thing to do the same for JZ. IMO. Of course! But Davey knows these guys, and we don't! Certainly he's taking their mental makeup into account.Further, consider the alternative: A quick hook there and JZ spends his offseason knowing that Davey didn't have confidence in him — an offseason of not knowing whether he _can_ go seven innings or not.This is Davey's style, and why it works with good players — he lets the players take ownership. He let Detwiler stay in with the bases loaded 6th inning scoreless game last week, and Detwiler came through with flying colors. He will grow a lot from that — what a huge confidence boost. Next time Detwiler faces bases loaded, he'll know that he's capable of dealing with it.Davey did the same thing with JZ — 7th inning, scoreless game (and bases weren't even loaded). I think it was a good decision. One can't always base the wisdom of a decision on a single short term result. For all we know, now JZ will spend his offseason focusing on what might be his most glaring weakness: mental toughness in the late innings; rather than: why didn't they let me go more than six innings.We lost a game in the short run. In the long run, we got JZ to really focus on _exactly_ what he needs to do in order to be a top-notch front line starter. He's 25. He'll learn from this. He'll have all winter to think about it. And if he's a great a pitcher as we all think he is, he's going to be an ace next year who can go past six innings.

  85. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Hey, folks, alert. Riggs is not coming back. So if you want to discuss managers, I would prefer to hear who is possible and that person's merits compared to Davey.

  86. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  87. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Wonk, I'm not sure what you are saying. Detwiler learned he could deal with the bases loaded situation. By that reasoning, JZ learned he was not tough enough to deal with a walk in a tie game????If he had been pulled after 6 he would have learned exactly the same lesson, because he already knew it from Chicago–namely, you are going to get pulled after six unless you can be trusted to get out of jams.

  88. Steve M. - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Mark'd said… SteveM, this bullpen is really bad. I can't sugarcoat it. Sure leadoff and solid #3. Don't forget the bullpen. August 25, 2011 12:15 PMThe bullpen and bench are much easier fixes. I agree they have to be fixed and have said it before. All in all, Rizzo constructed a good bench if he didn't stick with Stairs as long as he did. Sean Burnett was a key to the bullpen as was Doug Slaten and they both were big disapointments.

  89. Steve M. - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    NatsLady said… Wonk, I'm not sure what you are saying. Detwiler learned he could deal with the bases loaded situation. By that reasoning, JZ learned he was not tough enough to deal with a walk in a tie game????If he had been pulled after 6 he would have learned exactly the same lesson, because he already knew it from Chicago–namely, you are going to get pulled after six unless you can be trusted to get out of jams. August 25, 2011 12:28 PM Good points. We are all speculating on what Davey thinks. I don't know what he was thinking because he didn't tell us. The only obvious to me is he knows he has a lousy bullpen which is why in critical games he brings in Clip for more than an inning.

  90. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Steve M., yep. When Davey wants to win a game, he brings in Clip. When he can't use Clip for whatever reason, he works on his projects. So you either have Clip available or 8 innings by the starter. After that, prepare not to win the game.We are speculating from afar not only on Davey's ideas but also on the pitchers' mental makeup and how good a psychologist Davey is. JZ doesn't show a lot. Livo shows plenty, he gets hot, but he cools off and does his job the next time out.

  91. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    If he had been pulled after 6 he would have learned exactly the same lesson, because he already knew it from Chicago–namely, you are going to get pulled after six unless you can be trusted to get out of jams. Sorry — I don't follow your logic here. How would anyone know if he can "be trusted to get out of jams" until he gets into one and Davey lets him see if he can get out of it?

  92. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Steve M. I don't get why it's a problem pitching Clippard for more than one inning. He's a young guy, former starter who has only amassed 70 innings so far this year. When Torre managed the Yankees he very often used Rivera to get the last 4 or 5 outs and he was in his mid 30's.

  93. sec3mysofa - Aug 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    NatsLady, I'm looking at radar and I like your chances of a significant delay.

  94. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Davey did let him–twice recently, maybe more other times if I had the energy to go back and look. He didn't get out of the jam. So what is he now–a failure? I sincerely hope he doesn't think of himself that way!Bottom line, it's hard to figure what to do with baby pitchers. I'm glad I don't have that job.

  95. Mark'd - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Jd, critical games he brings in TClip for more than an inning is only bad if you can't use him the next game.The bullpen is bad. Who else can you call on besides TClip and Storen?

  96. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    jd, Clip pitches for more than one inning lots of time. Typically he comes in to get out of a jam and pitches another inning (unless it's the 9th inning). But he clearly either gets tired or loses–not sure which–and makes mistakes if he's used too many nights in a row or too many innings. Maybe it's cumulative. Another reason I feel for not overusing Clip is his unusual delivery. You would not want hitters to get accustomed to it. Basically (and this is more for next year), you want to pick the crucial spots where where you use him, and the rest of the time use him just enough to keep him sharp.We are not under-using Clip. He is near to the top in innings pitched by a reliever.

  97. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    That should be "gets tired or loses focus", sorry. Earlier in the year he would come in and walk the first batter and then get the side out. It happened so often I could have sworn he was doing it to challenge himself. Guess someone told him to knock it off.

  98. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    I think we're over thinking the JZimm thing. IMO if your ace pitcher is throwing a shutout has a man on with one out and has thrown under 120 pitches you leave him in. If he's showing signs of fatigue such as decreased velocity, hanging sliders etc you go get him otherwise he's more likely to succeed than the guy replacing him.

  99. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    jd, yep. Over thinking is our specialty here at NI. Maybe someone could look up how many times JZ has gon over 100 pitches and what the result has been.

  100. Feel Wood - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    2 games, 2 more losses, more frustration. What learning experience did Jordan walk away with besides another frustrating loss.It's often said that we learn from our mistakes. The reason that's often said is because it's the truth. But what's left unsaid there is that many times we have to make a mistake more than once in order to learn how not to keep making it.Some people say Davey Johnson made a mistake by leaving Zimmermann in too long in the DBacks game after what happened against the Cubs. Maybe so. Maybe Davey was mistaken in not realizing that Zimmermann had not yet learned from the mistakes he made against the Cubs, and he shouldn't have left him in to repeat the performance against the DBacks. Those people accuse Davey of not learning from his mistakes. But what's more important in the long term, that Davey learns from his mistakes or that Zimmermann learns from his? Zimmermann, obviously. He'll still be pitching long after Davey is retired or fired. And since Davey learning from his mistake means that Zimmermann would never again get left in long enough to keep making his mistake enough times to learn how not to, that only compounds the problem. That's why Davey is such a good manager – he knows that it's his job to keep making his mistakes long enough for the players to learn not to keep making theirs.

  101. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Sofa– checked my schedule, should be in my car about 7:45. If there is a nice delay, I'll point it toward the park. Otherwise, it goes to the gym.

  102. Section 222 - Aug 25, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Good points on both sides of the "did Davey balk" debate. My view is that Davey should have lifted Livo after 7, or let him try to get out of the jam. If he really thought he had to be replaced, then anyone but HRod. HRod was so nervous about walking in a run that he grooved his pitches. That was just a bad situation to bring him into. And no, I don't think he was doing it looking toward 2012. That would totally be the wrong message to send the team and I don't think he was sending it.So the rain is coming down, and we all hope it stops before 7 pm tonight. But in the meantime, for all you armchair GMs out there, go to his link for a great way to pass the time and express your educated opinions on our players. Very few Nats fans have participated so go to it. http://www.tangotiger.net/scout/h/t Chris Needham

  103. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Sec222, thanks for the link.

  104. Wally - Aug 25, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    sunderland said… Wally, NatsLady and all, why is there debate about which reliever to bring in? Montero coming to bat. Livo got a GBDP against him earlier in the game….Sunderland – I was actually trying to make a different point, which is that the extent of the criticism of Davey's in game decisions leads me to believe that people are overstating (a) the impact generally that a manager can have on the game, and (b) the marginal impact of a bullpen decision on our 2011 Washington Nationals. I am not saying that you are wrong that Livo should have remained in (I don't think that there was a clear decision to be made), just that the WPA (Win Probability Added) of Livo staying in v. bringing in HRod, Burnett, or the host of others in that situation was so similar to each other as to make the decision virtually a toss up. I know after the fact, we can feel more confident in one as opposed to the other, but really, was it appreciably higher? I don't believe so, any way. Give him two more good relief pitchers and I don't think that we are having this discussion so often.As for the general impact a manager can have? I think that they fall in three categories.1) – play the best players. This happens less than you might think (anyone remember 'I need to find ABs for Adam Kennedy?'). I think that Davey does a pretty good job here; we aren't having a lot of conversations about why he is playing Alex Cora over Danny.2) Have the respect of the clubhouse and motivate the players to focus on the games. Davey seems to score well here, but I don't think any of us outsiders truly know.3) Some game time decisions. I agree that there are some areas where a manager can influence a game (which includes the bullpen), but probably less than the majority of you do. And if the manager stays true to #1, this will take care of itself.

  105. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Here is an article ranking closers. Our boy Drew is #7.http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110825&content_id=23728420&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  106. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    NatsLady, they updated the chart, Putz moved up and Drew is back to #8. Still very good as that chart moves a lot.

  107. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Perhaps someone has already said this, but when an organization knows from the start of a season that a pitcher like Strasburg next year or Zimmerman this year is only going to pitch 160 innings, is any thought given to delaying the pitcher's spring training by the month or two that would be required to permit the pitcher's 160th inning to come at the end of September rather than at the beginning?

  108. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Werth is back!1. Ian Desmond, SS 2. Brian Bixler, CF 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4. Michael Morse, 1B 5. Jayson Werth, RF 6. Danny Espinosa, 2B 7. Jonny Gomes, LF 8. Jesus Flores, C9. John LannEn, SP

  109. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Gonat said… Werth is back! 1. Ian Desmond, SS 2. Brian Bixler, CF 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4. Michael Morse, 1B 5. Jayson Werth, RF Now _here's_ an sentence that would have sounded quite odd a month ago:We could have used hit bat last night!

  110. Gonat - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    DC Wonk, isn't that the truth! Hope its werth it!

  111. Dale - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Just to clarify my original post, that got arguments against it in rapid fashion….Davey was thinking about pulling Livo after 7. He had Rodrigues warmed up and ready to go at the start of the eighth. I still think Livan should have been pulled: 1. Livan has a tendency to give up a big inning, a really big inning. You are never sure at what point in the game it is going to happen. 2. There is nothing that Livan needs to learn that leaving him in would accomplish after 400+ starts in the major leagues. Livan is not a pitcher that you are trying to build up for 2012. 3. If Rodrigues is the pitcher you have designated to relieve Livan you do not intentionally walk a batter to load the bases ahead of him. Rogrigues is not in to get a GIDP, he is a strike out pitcher. Let him be creatively wild enough to have the buffer of an open base in case he can not get a strike out. 4. We have all seen HRod throw way too many wild pitches to want him to come in with a runner on third base. He is most effective with a clean start at the beginning of an inning. 5. Once you do have Livan load the bases, leaving Livan in the game seems to me a better chance of inducing a ground ball than HRod. Davey basically dug a hole for himself with Livan starting the eighth and only Rodrigues ready in the pen. There were three decisions that Davey made that came back to haunt him.

  112. Scooter - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Those are some fine points right there, Dale. If I might be permitted one nit:He is most effective with a clean start at the beginning of an inning.Numerous commenters have said this about numerous relievers. May I please point out that this is true of EVERY relief pitcher who was ever born? There is not one reliever who does better when given another pitcher's runners to strand. (If he needs men on base to succeed, he can put 'em there himself.)It's one minor sub-point among your 5, so this isn't a big thing. Just a general thing I wanted to weigh in on. Thanks for expanding on your earlier post.

  113. NatsLady - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    This is an excellent point that I had not thought of:3. If Rodrigues is the pitcher you have designated to relieve Livan you do not intentionally walk a batter to load the bases ahead of him. Rogrigues is not in to get a GIDP, he is a strike out pitcher. Let him be creatively wild enough to have the buffer of an open base in case he can not get a strike out.

  114. A DC Wonk - Aug 25, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Davey basically dug a hole for himself with Livan starting the eighth and only Rodrigues ready in the pen.Perhaps. But warming up guys has a small cost, too.And, remember, Livo had only thrown 83 pitches at that point. He had retired nine of his last ten, and, further, as I noted above, his seventh inning was only seven pitches, six of them for strikes.

  115. jd - Aug 25, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    DC Wonk, I agree. There was zero reason to take Livo out after 7. Not without the benefit of hindsight. On the other hand I,m not sure if I'd bring HRod into a mess except for (per NatsLady) experience sake.

  116. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Wally @ 2:33, throughtful post & thanks for clarifying.

  117. sunderland - Aug 25, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Dale @ 3:33 – Amen!3. If Rodrigues is the pitcher you have designated to relieve Livan you do not intentionally walk a batter to load the bases ahead of him. Rogrigues is not in to get a GIDP, he is a strike out pitcher. Let him be creatively wild enough to have the buffer of an open base in case he can not get a strike out.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

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