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A turning point for this franchise?

Sep 23, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ryan Zimmerman congratulates Michael Morse following his eighth-inning homer.

By any measure, what the Nationals just accomplished in Philadelphia was nothing short of remarkable.

A four-game sweep of the five-time NL East champs, on the road, with their four starting pitchers combining to allow three runs? Nobody saw that coming.

Nor did anyone see the Nationals' season-long handling of the Phillies coming. Folks, the Nats just won the season series from the best team in baseball, winning nine of their last 11 to finish 10-8. Yes, they won 10 games against Philadelphia, four more than anyone else in the sport. The only other opponents to post winning records against the Phillies this year? The Cardinals (6-3) and Mariners (2-1).

So a round of applause is in order for Davey Johnson's squad, which suddenly sits at 76-79 and still has visions of finishing above .500 for the first time since the franchise arrived in Washington.

Of course, there is a caveat to all this: The Phillies weren't exactly a motivated bunch this week. Having already clinched the division title, they rested plenty of regulars. And those who did play probably were more concerned with staying healthy than padding their statsRead more »

159 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Gus in FFX - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Mark,Great article to start my day with…the energy and optimism is persuasive.

  2. Constant Reader - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Absolutely love the comparison between 2007 and 2011. Light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    –straight from the MLB board:Fillies fan to a worried Braves fan: Eh. We exposed all [the Nats'] weaknesses for you by not exploiting them (yeah, we'll go with that). Now you just have to not do what we did, and you'll be cool.

  4. Jim Webster - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Watching Milone and Peacock this week tempts one to think that we may be seeing the reincarnation of the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz rotation that carried the Bravos into the post-season through the '90s. Combine them with Stras and Zimm'n and have Morse, Zimm, Werth, Harper and Ramos at the plate and we could become dominant sooner rather than later. Such a nice fall fantasy – but maybe not.

  5. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Regardless of how motivated they were or were not; regardless of whether or not they put out their best lineup; regardless of the fact the Nats did not face their best pitcher (Halladay); the Phils were completely shut down by three pitchers who spent most or all of the season in AAA and AA.And regardless of the Phils fans posturing and rationalizing, you know they're preparing to jump off the Whitman and Franklin bridges.

  6. Dawn - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    A win, is a win, is a win. In the end they count whether they come on June 23rd or September 23rd. However, they count more in the Playoffs, prospects looking bright for 2012. Playing spoiler is at least something to forward to these last few games of the season.

  7. baseballswami - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I am kind of tired of hearing that the Phils weren't motivated(wah, wah, wah), they had people hurt, they are just getting ready for the post-season. Justifications and excuses – all.They are supposed to be pros and champions. They just played their last 4 home games of the season, with a full house of their rabid and judgemental fans, against mostly AAA pitchers and their top offensive guys did squat. Not motivated by being embarassed at cbp? Their offense has at times been an achilles heel – that has not shown up as much because of their stellar pitching. They will need both in the post season. I think we exposed their weaknesses for the other playoff teams- not the other way around. I am just waiting to see if we can hold momentum against the Braves – they are definitely motivated, but also limping.Then the big Fish test. Interesting stuff – I don't care if anyone else finds this meaningless – I find it fascinating.

  8. Stew Magnuson - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I was at a Norfolk Tides game a few weeks ago sitting next to a bunch of old retired Navy guys who were Phillies fans. They were grumbling about how the Nats gave their Phils the fits. That was very satisfying.That being said, the one thing I wanted to see in 2011 — and I think I wrote here back in April — was a better record against the damn Marlins. It was torture watching the Nats lose to the fish over and over again this year. I don't think I will even watch the last three games next week.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    In addition to the sweep in their house of the season's final home stand, how many times did we send them, and their fans, back up Interstate 95 from Natstown with their tails between their legs? Those games weren't meaningless. In addition to the players that Jim W mentions, and the likes of Det and HRod, we have a boatload more young talent working their way through an emerging very formidable minor league system. Meanwhile, the Phills have parted with much of theirs to make the present run, and the rockin' chair is sneaking up on them.Next year's division race, and for the next few years, will be between the Nats and the Braves.It all starts now. {Well, next March].

  10. A DC Wonk - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    Agreed. The Phils didn't field their top team, but they still had a bunch of very good players playing.And, no matter how you slice it, against our pitchers, Rollins, Victorino, and Utley each went 0-for-the-entire-series. Those guys aren't chopped liver.

  11. Tim - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I read Desmond's remarks and I disagree somewhat. Yes, the Phillies were banged-up, but most teams are right now. Injuries are part of a long season. The Braves have injuries and are limping home.Winning 4 straight in NY and then 4 straight in Philly means 1) we are FINALLY learning to win on the road, 2) we are beating good clubs in a hostile environment.Don't tell me Philly doesn't want to win in front of their fans. Their fans booed them loudly last night. You want to enter the playoffs hot, not losing 8 out of 10 or something similar.The Nats could've packed it in a long time ago, like previous teams, but they haven't. They're learning to win under Davey and for the youngsters, it will be something to springboard off of next year.We know we can beat the Braves. We've done it.We need to go down to Florida and sweep them in that echo chamber!GYFNY!

  12. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    baseballswami said… "I am kind of tired of hearing that the Phils weren't motivated(wah, wah, wah), they had people hurt, they are just getting ready for the post-season. Justifications and excuses – all."They don't seem to realize that the Nats also played a lot of 2nd-stringers and call-ups during the series.

  13. Anonymous8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Mark says Detwiler pitching on Sunday which is normal 5 day rest which he hasn't performed well under going 6 and 8 days rest in his last 2 starts.Peacock continues to be impressive and FP loves his knucklecurve that he compares to Mike Mussina. As I watched the game on TiVo, anyone else notice in the 3rd inning Mrs. Peacock took off her Nats jersey and was wearing a "P" tank top? That sure looked like a Phillies style P. Maybe Debbi Taylor can interview her on that.

  14. Anonymous8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    N. Cognito said… baseballswami said… "I am kind of tired of hearing that the Phils weren't motivated(wah, wah, wah), they had people hurt, they are just getting ready for the post-season. Justifications and excuses – all."They don't seem to realize that the Nats also played a lot of 2nd-stringers and call-ups during the series. September 23, 2011 8:37 AM How's about the Nats playing their #1 Free Agent JAYSON WERTH and replacing him with a backup! LOL

  15. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Enough for me to go on the limb to say 2012:Nationals 87 wins 75 loses

  16. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    A8: Let's just say it was a "P" for Peacock and leave it at that.

  17. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    "As I watched the game on TiVo, anyone else notice in the 3rd inning Mrs. Peacock took off her Nats jersey and was wearing a "P" tank top? That sure looked like a Phillies style P. Maybe Debbi Taylor can interview her on that."A good and loyal Philly fan probably threw up on her and she had to take off her Nats jersey. The "P" on the tank top stands for "Peacock."

  18. MicheleS - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Anon8.. I don't think tha was his mom, unless she completely changed her hair style in a week. I am a girl, I notice these things. Could have been an aunt or something, but I don't think that was Mom.

  19. Swede - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Great Article Mark…..I'm impressed with the progress the Nats madde this year, especially on defense. There is still room for improvement but they are much better than the last few years. I hear a lot about signing a free agent pitcher to help the rotation. I think the pitching is improving and is better than we all anticipated. (By the way, I think McCatty is doing a great job handling these guys…..kudos to him!) Overall I think that a big stick to bolster the batting order would help this team more than pitching right now…..they've got to find a way to do away with those offensive lulls. Thanks for your coverage this year. If they finish strong this coming week it's going to be hard to wait for pitchers and catchers to report to Viera in February. Go Nats!

  20. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Agree with Joe Seamhead and DC Wonk. And, despite any PHI lineup circumstances in this series, I love the fact that the Nats won the season series. Speaking of the rocking chair looming, I noticed a kinda funny comment on one of the Phillies blogs from last night. The person opined that Chase Utley would have more range if he obtained a hoveround. My husband thinks that's mean but I thought it was kinda funny. I guess I'm more warped than he is. :-)

  21. Nattydread - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    There was a lot of talk about how good the Phils are this year, their "historic" 100th win, that only yada yada yada teams have reached that level since yada yada yada.What you saw over the last three days was a Nats-erected roadblock in front of that milestone.

  22. Anonymous8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    The Phillies played without Ryan Howard and the Nats without Jayson Werth.The Phillies didn't play 3 games with Hunter Pence and so what, Pence didn't join there team until August 1st. The Nats beat them with and without Pence. Earlier in the season, Polanco was out and Utley was out, should they not have won then?The Phoolies will always be looking for excuses. They were flat out dominated. Ibanez after game 1 was dominated. JRoll, Utley, Polanco were all dominated the entire series.Desmond and the Nats shouldn't think any less of what they did as it wasn't much different than their last series where the Nats dominated, and that certainly meant something….Zim Walk Off Grand Slam, remember????

  23. MicheleS - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    I also have to agree with the other posters.. The Phillies excuses were lame about not putting in their best players.. yada yada yada…Let's see, we had Gomes/Nix/Bernadina/Ankiel/Bixler rotating in the OF – and Bix/Bern did their best to get on the blooper highlights. We had ROOKIES at 2b and 1b for most of the games (although our 2b loves the PhilPitchers).AND WE TROTTED out MINOR LEAGUE PITCHERS against some of there best. Cliff Lee is no scrub and neither are Oswalt and Worley. So we didn't face Halliday, we beat him the last time we faced him.

  24. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Gonna be a challenge to get these games in. I foresee…… mega rain delays or a double-header tomorrow. http://www.bing.com/weather/today?q=weather+forecast+washington+dc&unit=F&FORM=DTPWEO&qpvt=weather+forecast+washington+dc

  25. Wagner - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Reading this made me feel better this morning. Great read.

  26. MicheleS - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    I don't have a problem with what Desi said, I am actually glad that he said it. I think the team realizes -that yes this is great and we are making strides for the future – but the bottom line is to win and play in October, not just play spoiler in September.

  27. Stew Magnuson - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    A four game sweep is tough, against any team, no matter how bad they are, no matter if it is home or away. Two four game sweeps away from home two weeks in a row is a great feat.

  28. September Dreams - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Looking around the league, what teams need a first baseman and a pitcher? We have too many guys who play first, and a bunch of good young arms. Where could we send one of each for a 4-star batter, preferably one who can play center?

  29. Anonymous8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    NatsLady said… A8: Let's just say it was a "P" for Peacock and leave it at that. September 23, 2011 8:44 AM P for Peacock. Love it. The game before the little kid with Mr. Peacock was digging for gold while he was being interviewed. Have to love when Debbi is lurking and the camera is on. You never know what you will see.They had Lannan's parents going through the emotional rollercoaster the night before with the camera on them several times. Luckily no "P" and no nosepicking.

  30. m20832 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    I'm just wondering, if call ups could have been made in July (and I know it can't happen), would the Nats have played (and won) like they are in September?Just Luv Winning!GYFNG!!

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Heading over to Viera to get a glimpse of the future this morning. I'll check back later.

  32. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    NatsEnquirer on the P shirthttp://www.natsenquirer.com/2011/09/was-that-brad-peacocks-mom-wearing-a-philies-tank-top-under-a-nats-jersey.html

  33. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Hey AnonymousMaybe Mrs. Peacock tank top, with the letter P. stands, for Peacock to her.. Stop trying to read things into it and trying to make bad judgements.

  34. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Anon8 (if I get your drift), meh. I see players do that in the dugout all the time. (Maybe that's why they call it the dugout? ewwwww…)The game before the little kid with Mr. Peacock was digging for gold while he was being interviewed. Have to love when Debbi is lurking and the camera is on. You never know what you will see.

  35. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Decision time. Gameday plan:1. Check the weather forecast.Yep, it's bad, so I'm thinking I'll wander over to the box office and get a ticket for tonight/tomorrow night. Two hour rain delay and I can make the game tonight… or double header tomorrow I can make the night cap. That's a $10 risk I'll take to see my Nats an extra game!

  36. natsfan1a, after reading further - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Oh, that *is* what you meant.

  37. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Not going tonight but will be at the Saturday and Sunday games.

  38. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Hey, the whole Citizens Bank Park was rooting for our baby pitcher. I mean, man, that place was filled with Peacock fans wearing their Peacock logos!!

  39. A DC Wonk - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Ian was being properly respectful, imho. Bottom line is that the Phils have the best record in the NL, and even the best teams have losing streaks. And they have over 200+ consecutive sell-outs.There's an old saying in show-biz that applies to life in general: be careful who you kick when you are on the way up, because you're going to meet them again when you're on the way down. Erring on the side of being polite is a good policy.

  40. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    So awesome of them to make the kid feel at home. I may have to rethink my stance on Phillies Phans. Or not. Have fun, NatsJack, and will look forward to your report.

  41. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    OTOH, DC Wonk. I kinda liked it when Espi mentioned how he liked making the Phillies Phans be quiet. No wonder they hate him. Last night when I told my husband some of the negative comments that Phillies Phans were making about Espi, he said "It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to hear that." I know exactly how he feels. :-)

  42. Joe Seamhead - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Speaking of playing without some of the stars…I can't help but wonder "what if?" as in what if SS had not missed most of the season? What do youse all think that our record would have been?

  43. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    NatsLady Said…Hey, the whole Citizens Bank Park was rooting for our baby pitcher. I mean, man, that place was filled with Peacock fans wearing their Peacock logos!! I think it's wonderful to get so much support on the road like that. They have adopted him and he has shone…

  44. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Which is not to say that we agree with those Phans. Rather, it's enjoyable to have a player who makes opposing Phans feel that way. (humming)Phillies Killer / Qu'est-ce que c'est?/ fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better / Run run run run run run run away /

  45. Nats Outsider - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Seamhead, I've thought along the same lines. The problem with guesstimating how many more wins the Nats would have is that we wound up winning some of those games anyway. Given that the Nats' are about .500 for the season, the difference would be winning half vs. maybe 75 percent. By that theory, if Stras would have had 20 more starts, we would have won 15 games. Instead, we won only half, or 10 games. That makes the potential difference 5 wins. It would have put us over .500, but it would not have meant making the playoffs.But in the end, this is just one more imponderable. What if Zim had been healthy all year? How many wins would that have added? What if Morse didn't get red hot, and was mostly benched (or traded) because of the way he played in April? None of this is knowable.

  46. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    What if Riggleman hadn't quit? (Never mind. Talk about a buzz kill.)

  47. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Hey, what do you think about the Washington Post? We sweep the Mets and Phillies and the Nats get very little ink. I don't care if its spring, summer, fall or winter. It's always large pitcturs of everything else, expecially Redskins, but not the Nationals. The Nationals are always on pages 5 or 6. Between Masn, The Post and the limited radio broadcasts, how do the Nats build a large fan base. I live in Winchester and can't get their radio broadcast clear at night. I get tired at hearing Bob Carpenter build houses. (Front door, back door, ceiling, swing back, side door, etc.) Wish he would have gone into his chosen profession, A CARPENTER!

  48. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    A DC Wonk said… "And they have over 200+ consecutive sell-outs."WHAT!!That's only 2-1/2 years.The way the Phils fans brag, flaunt and make fun of Nats fans' turnout at games, I would have thought they had been selling out for at least 15 years.Their sellout streak will end by 2013. Like rats abandoning a sinking ship.natsfan1a said… "What if Riggleman hadn't quit? (Never mind. Talk about a buzz kill.)"Their record would be about the same.

  49. A DC Wonk - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Anonymous said… Hey, what do you think about the Washington Post? We sweep the Mets and Phillies and the Nats get very little ink. I don't care if its spring, summer, fall or winter. It's always large pitcturs of everything else, expecially Redskins, but not the Nationals. The Nationals are always on pages 5 or 6. Uggh. I really hate that. A Redskins _practice_ is more important than a Nats sweep.Between Masn, The Post and the limited radio broadcasts, how do the Nats build a large fan base.There is only one way — be in the hunt for the playoffs — be near or around first place in July — then things will be cranking. Until then, second class status.I get tired at hearing Bob Carpenter build houses. (Front door, back door, ceiling, swing back, side door, etc.) Wish he would have gone into his chosen profession, A CARPENTER! You know, that's pretty funny!

  50. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    "I get tired at hearing Bob Carpenter build houses. (Front door, back door, ceiling, swing back, side door, etc.) Wish he would have gone into his chosen profession, A CARPENTER!"Can't stand Bob Carpenter. If he'd just shut up, he wouldn't say so much stupid sh*t! The thing I hate the most – "jammage." I was ready to get in my car, drive to Philthy, head to the broadcast booth and….

  51. Mr. Donkey - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    For it to be a turning point they need to win against the marlins next week. They can play in the big games, but can they grind it out day to day against the small fish (ha).Also, bush league move to sub in coffee last night. WTF. 2 outs. No one on. Other than that, AWESOME!

  52. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Speaking of Phillies attendance, history, anyone?

  53. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Donkey– not a bush league move. Slaten has been terrible since his return, he finally was able to get two lefties. Why push his luck? Why blow any little confidence the man has? Davey is looking to see if Slaten can be a lefty-specialist in the bullpen next year. Big Pot o' Coffee in to get one out, that's all.

  54. Drew8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Thanks Mark. I'm enjoying the reads and the ride.Aside from the jockeying among 7 talented starters, with another big wave to come — Purke, Solis, Cole, Ray, Meyer — I'm fascinated by how the infield will work out.Post All Star, Ian Desmond certainly has improved, with a .285 average, .333 on base percentage, .417 slugging and .750 OPS.Could that guy be your leadoff hitter? Sure. The question is whether Ian can sustain that level of production, or whether his 2011 on base percentage of .294 is the real Ian. For the record, I hope post-All Star Ian is the real deal.Either way, I still don't see how Ian and Espy both are in the "core group."With Zim at 3rd, LaRoche/Morse/Marrero at first, it still seems Rendon winds up at second base, with Espy moving back to short.This is why it wouldn't surprise me to see Ian shipped to Tampa in an Upton deal.Don't be swayed by Rendon playing 3b in the minors. Espy played short throughout his minor league career and moved to 2b at the very end.

  55. LoveDaNats - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    I am away from home this weekend and must be sociable with other people instead of watching my Nats take the Braves. I will be furtively sneaking off to check scores all weekend. Consider this series to be our playoffs. Braves desperately need wins and will be bringing it. The only hiccup could be this rain. So, GYFNG!

  56. Nats Outsider - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Does anyone here know what the normal response would be if there are major rainouts this weekend? Obviously, the Atlanta series has huge playoff implications. If rain cancels tonight's game, they could double up tomorrow, but what if another game has to be cancelled? Does MLB extend the season to allow the games to be made up? Do they wait for the outcomes of the Cardinals and Brewers games to see if the Braves games mean anything after all? Are there any other options?

  57. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Eh, Carpenter is ok. I thought the remark about the towels (it's hard to breathe around them because they are never washed) was funny. "vinape" — I'm picturing a bonobo with a merlot.

  58. Nats Outsider - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Sec 3–my image of a bonobo with a merlot is a yuppie, ca. 1998. :-)

  59. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Carpenter is professional. There are better but I have MLB.tv, and some of the other TV announcers are truly AWFUL.

  60. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Why complain about the Post? Until the Nats really win or are in the playoffs when NFL kicks off the Nats will be relegated to the back pages. That's just the way it is…

  61. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Bob's a-okay in my book. FP, too. And, of course, Charlie and Dave are teh awesome. (What a homer I am.) :-)

  62. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Eh, newspapers are a dying breed anyway.

  63. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Charlie and Dave– I almost had a car accident last night when they were riffing on the swimming trunks hung to dry in the radio booth.

  64. A DC Wonk - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Nats Outsider said… Does anyone here know what the normal response would be if there are major rainouts this weekend? Obviously, the Atlanta series has huge playoff implications. If rain cancels tonight's game, they could double up tomorrow, but what if another game has to be cancelled? Does MLB extend the season to allow the games to be made up? Do they wait for the outcomes of the Cardinals and Brewers games to see if the Braves games mean anything after all? Are there any other options?If I recall correctly from past years, if they have to, they will extend the season, but then end up cancelling them if they don't have playoff implications.E.g., if Sunday's game with the Braves gets rained out, they will reschedule it for the day after the season — then cancel it if they don't need to play it.Again, if I remember correctly

  65. Drew8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Is it true that when the announcers eat on the road they get a Carpy diem?And when do the Nats start trading the draft picks?(ducking.)

  66. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    "Does anyone here know what the normal response would be if there are major rainouts this weekend?"If any Braves games are postponned, they will be made up during the series. A Friday night postponement would probably be made up on Saturday night as a separate admission. If the Saturday afternoon game is also postponned, but the Friday game is played Saturday night, they will play a regular doubleheader on Sunday. If Friday and Saturday games are postponned, they will play a regular doubleheader on Sunday and they will play here Thursday, but only if it is necessary. If all 3 games are postponned, they would play them at the end of the season, if necessary, but only the games that are necessary.

  67. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Big gorilla at the L.A. ZooSnatched the glasses right off my faceTook the keys to my BMWLeft me here to take his placeI wish the ape a lot of successI'm sorry my apartments a messMost of all, I'm sorry if I made you blueI'm betting the gorilla will tooThey say Jesus will find you whereever you goBut when He'll come looking for you, they don't knowIn the meantime keep your profile lowGorilla, you're a desperadoHe built a house on an acre of landHe called it Villa GorillaNow I hear he's getting divorcedLaying low at L'Ermitage, of courseThen the ape grew very depressedWent through transactional analysisHe plays racquetball and runs in the rainStill he's shackled to a platinum chainBig gorilla at the L.A. ZooSnatched the glasses right off my faceTook the keys to my BMWLeft me here to take his place

  68. Knoxville Nat - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Joe Seamhead…we can also speculate as to what our record would be if Ryan Zimmerman hadn't missed 9 weeks of the season.And natsfan1a, like him or not when Riggleman quit the team was a game over .500 after about 75 games into the season. Not a small sampling out of a 161 game season so the likelihood is the record would have been about the same this year if he had stayed or not.

  69. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    It was pretty funny, NatsLady. I was a little disappointed that they didn't do a riff on airing one's dirty laundry.NCog and Natsville, it was more a spur of the moment riff on the prior post than a serious question. I was always ambivalent about the dude, and I'm also one who tends to think that the manager makes all that much difference. Also, I don't much see the point of speculating about what if's.

  70. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    um, Knoxville, rather. Didn't really mean to rename you. :-)

  71. Drew8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    "Eh, newspapers are a dying breed anyway."Ahem. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLgQMtquS6Y

  72. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    um redux: ^ insert "not" before "one." I'm also not one who tends to … (heading for the coffee pot now)

  73. TimDz - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    I have a question for you all…I have tickets to the Saturday afternoon game. Wang is scheduled to pitch, but what happens if tonights game is rained out (seems to be a distinct possibility)?Will SS be bumped to the afternooon game or will he start the evening game (assuming they do a Saturday day/night double header)?This is a surprise birthday present for my son and it would be a nice bonus to see SS pitch that game.

  74. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    I've always enjoyed reading the (dead tree) newspaper with my morning cup of java, so it saddens me to say it, but they are in decline, imho.

  75. NatStat - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Hey Nats Guys & Gals don't worry so much about the Fish next week.Leo Nunez has gone back to the DR to try and get his old name back, and figure out a new birth date! Probably won't be able to get a visa to come back next season. LOL

  76. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    TimDz, hope your son doesn't read this blog. Nice gift! :-)

  77. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Mark Z speculated that SS would pitch in the night game, since that would be the makeup of the Friday game – the game people bought tickets to to see Strasburg.

  78. TimDz - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    1a..he is 12…If the website doesn't have bodily secretions or things blowing up, he isn't interested…But thanks for your concern :)They are the PNC section, third base side…sat there once before…we will be undercover if it rains…

  79. JaneB - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    What a fun read. And it will be even more fun to live this next year, and not just dream about it.Looking forward to your scouting report, NatsJack. And to no rain out tonight. If tomorrow is a doubleheader, we are kinda screwed because we will be there with our dog. And, unless they let us all stay, we won't be able to see the second game.

  80. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    If tonight does get rained out, and they play 2 tomorrow, they might make it a true doubleheader and let you in for both games. The fact that SS is starting one of them reduces those odds, I suppose, but I have no idea what the advance sales are so far, and that might tip the decision. Also, walkups tonight are probably going to be diminished by the forecast.

  81. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Oh, mercy. I just looked at the radar–this game ain't happening tonight. There's another train a-coming. Batten down.

  82. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    i can understand the comments about not pitching to their best hitters as they rest them heading into the playoffs. but let's look at the other side of the coin. sure, we didn't face halladay, but we put up 6 on oswalt, 4 on worley, and 3 on lee (11 hits). all above their ERAs. and while sitting some of OUR regulars.

  83. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    you folks in woodbridge should be getting storms in 3 … 2… 1…

  84. Stuart - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    A question this morning for Mark and readers: I recall the 1969 Senators getting a share of playoff money by virtue of finishing in the first division (6th of 12 teams). Nats are currently 8th of 16, and could pass the Dodgers for 7th place overall in the NL. Would they be in line for a share of playoff monies? Granted it would be a small ammount.Stuart

  85. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    oh, and i have to wonder how the "pups in the park" day on saturday will affect any double header decisions for that day. there's a little part of me hoping that tonight will get rained out and i'll get to see stras in the opener tomorrow. even though bringing a 140# dog to the game with me can distract me from watching as closely as i usually do.

  86. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    @UNTERP.NAT said… Why complain about the Post? Until the Nats really win or are in the playoffs when NFL kicks off the Nats will be relegated to the back pages. That's just the way it is… September 23, 2011 10:01 AM That is true and it is serving what the readership wants. 24/7 Redskins. The Nats were relevant during that winning streak in June when there was no football. The Nats were also relevant on June 8, 2010. Other news on the Nats was the Philthies invasion of Nats Park, Bryce Harper blowing kisses, Strasburg's return, and signing Draft Picks. Other than that, crickets.As I was listening to the Sports Junkies, one of them is a Bosox fan and talked about driving to Bal'more to see the Saux play. The Nats got a mention for a ticket contest they were doing and that was it.Quite a few Redskins have radio shows. Rizzo does a call-in type of show. I would think Feffer would want to promote Michael Morse as the guy to do a show as he is great in interviews. I think Drew Storen is another good one for a radio show. Its about time the Nats start promoting the product in a positive light because it is finally a GOOD PRODUCT!

  87. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    I take your point re. the site's lack of appeal for young 'uns, TimDz. Sounds like you'll have great seats.On another note, I have nothing against dogs (in fact, I have a very awesome nephew pup), but I'm imagining the smell of a ballpark filled with the odor of wet pooches and…dang… :-)

  88. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    greg said… i can understand the comments about not pitching to their best hitters as they rest them heading into the playoffs. but let's look at the other side of the coin. sure, we didn't face halladay, but we put up 6 on oswalt, 4 on worley, and 3 on lee (11 hits). all above their ERAs. and while sitting some of OUR regulars. September 23, 2011 10:34 AM Thank you thank you for speaking the truth. Based on ERA calculations, way above their season ERA.I agree our pitchers didn't have a true test and so what, the Nats have whooped a** on the Philthies when they brought the A game.They fielded their best team they could yesterday. It wasn't like they were resting Ryan Howard and Pence, they were injured just like the Nats 6th best player JWerth!

  89. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    winning creates relevance. the skins have had relevance for decades (particularly because for much of the last 80 years, DC has been a one-team-show). the nats need to make the playoffs before they can complain too vociferously about the coverage. it's hard to make the point that these games are relevant to people who aren't serious nats fans when the team is 20+ games back with 6 to play. especially when this is really the best position they've been in at this point of the season. ever.

  90. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    btw, to elaborate on that point, look at what's happened with the caps over the past 2-3 years. their coverage has increased significantly, and this is in a sport that isn't as overall popular as baseball. if the nats make a run the way the caps have the past few years, we'll see more coverage and media relevance.

  91. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Great article, Mark, and terrific comments, all.I am in the camp that says the Phillies were/are embarrassed by this. Maybe the first couple games they were coasting. But anyone watching Oswalt's facial expressions last night knows he was trying, and trying damn hard. We just beat him.And the fact the Phils were playing before four sellout, angry crowds adds fuel to this argument. They might not have been playing their absolute best, but their best ain't what it used to be. Rollins is over-the-hill. Utley is hurting, to be sure. But their pitchers are still their pitchers. This is the kind of embarrassment that lingers into 2012. True, they didn't pitch Halladay. And we didn't pitch Jesus. We're even on that. The kids, and Davey, showed me they've got some heart, won't quit and will be a factor in the 2012 races. Especially if they add another wild card. If I were the Braves, I'd be worried. They're gassing already; we're just going to give them a longer hose. GYFNG!!!

  92. Dave - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Glad to read Mark's piece and the comments here. Sad that the old version of IE at my school won't let me comment or subscribe. Thanks to my iPhone.

  93. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    their best is *different* than it used to be. yes, rollins and utley aren't what they were 2-3 years ago, but the rotation they have this year is head and shoulders above what they had 2-3 years ago. one might argue they're *better* this year than they were in the past few years. they've already won more games (with 6 still to play) than they have in the past 5 years. they used to be a team built like an AL East team (8-5 wins). now they're closer to an NL team that wins 5-3.

  94. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    I hate to get on anyone on this board and that includes getting on me, but why do we sound so aplogetic for beating down the Phillies? ____ the Phillies…

  95. Big Cat - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    NatsJack. I am assuming the Nats instructional league is starting today. You got a link for the roster?

  96. Nats Outsider - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Dave, since you read NI on your iPhone, maybe you can help me figure something out. When the thread is long, it can take forever to scroll down to the latest posts on my iPod Touch. Getting to the top is one touch, but getting to the bottom is a pain. Is there an easier way? Thanks.

  97. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    The Phillies franchise record for wins in a season is 101. The Philly sports writers had been confident for weeks that they would top that number easily. As of this morning, they are not so sure. Given the Phils' lack of run production over their last 10 games, they have reason to worry.

  98. Big Cat - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Never mind the roster NatsJack, I found one. Especially interested in all the top picks as well as AJ Cole and Robbie Ray.

  99. Chase U - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    I am very humbled… and afraid for next year.

  100. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Stuart said… A question this morning for Mark and readers: I recall the 1969 Senators getting a share of playoff money by virtue of finishing in the first division (6th of 12 teams). Nats are currently 8th of 16, and could pass the Dodgers for 7th place overall in the NL. Would they be in line for a share of playoff monies? Granted it would be a small ammount.I believe teams that finish second, but are not wild cards, get a share, but that's it. Nothing for third place.

  101. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    The Phillies franchise record for wins in a season is 101. The Philly sports writers had been confident for weeks that they would top that number easily. As of this morning, they are not so sure. Given the Phils' lack of run production over their last 10 games, they have reason to worry. They need what, four of six? They should be worried. They should be more worried about the first round, whoever they play.

  102. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Just waking up (well, just turning on the computer) on the west coast and enjoying this sweeping thread — and Mark Z's original post, of course. Two quick comments:– I second the sentiment that the Nats needn't apologize for (or justify or explain away – you can pick your own verb, but you get the idea) beating the Phillies. The Phils started three of their best pitchers (Worley was 11-2 with an ERA around 3.00 going into his game) and they lost, lost, and lost again. The only game in which they truly started a B-team was the afternoon opener and — guess what? — we also used what was essentially a split-squad line-up.– Whatever momentum this end-of-the-season run generates should not be taken as some sort of sign that the Nats can stand pat over the offseason and go with the line-up we've used much of the year (and for which there seems to be sentimental support). Yes, some of these players have really stepped forward in the last few weeks, but both the offense and the pitching staff have to be improved for next season. And that may well mean (a) letting some well-liked and respected veterans go (e.g., Livo, Pudge), (b) using some of our prospects or current starters in positions where we have a surplus (e.g., middle infield, pitcher, maybe catcher) to acquire that ever elusive lead-off hitter/center fielder (or some variation thereof) and at least one additional solid middle of the order slugger or quasi-slugger, and (c) spending some money on a solid free agent pitcher, which might leave one or two of our baby pitchers in AAA for a chunk (or more) of next season. On the latter point, the potential permutations for achieving this are nearly infinite, so I won't speculate on specific names, but I'm actually fairly confident that Mr. Rizzo and company know what they're doing. Thus, my one prediction for the offseason is that the Nats will make a totally unpredictable move that will catch all of us by surprise and have us posting 'why didn't I think of that?'Now, please beat the Braves tonight (weather allowing).

  103. Drew8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    NatsJack:Looking forward to reading your reports on Rendon. Hope he's ship shape.I know a few on here have suggested dealing Rendon — when he's eligible — but I just can't see it. He was drafted at 6 because he projects as an on-base machine with a high batting average and at least gap power.What if he's George Brett, or Craig Biggio? You want to know, don't you? You don't want to decide too soon and be on the wrong side of the Broglio-Brock deal.That means he's got to play. Which raises the tantalizing question. Where is he going to play for the Nats?

  104. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    The Padres had a pretty good run last year, and it didn't help them much this season. It isn't a direct progression.

  105. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Look at the relative ages and health of the key players of the Phillies and the Braves and some of the Free Agent/Option statuses.Derek Lowe is 38 years old and declining in production, Chipper Jones is 39 years old and declining in production. Tim Hudson who will be 37 years old next season is as good as he has ever been and will be a Free Agent after next season. Brian McCann is under team options for 2012 and 2013. Michael Bourn is a Free Agent after 2012.Roy Oswalt Option/FA, Brad Lidge Free Agent, Roy Halladay is 35 years old next year. Jimmy Rollins Free Agent. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard declining production and both 33 years old. Raul Ibanez is 39 years old and he is a Free Agent. Cole Hamels is a Free Agent after the 2012 season. Hunter Pence is a Free Agent after 2013.The teams above the Nats aren't getting younger and the Nats continue to get younger. If the Nats tie up Zimmmerman and Morse for at least 4 more years, the current key Nats are all under team control through at least 2015.Add to that Mark's points: More importantly, the Nationals themselves will enter the offseason with confidence soaring. They'll see a core group of Zimmerman, Morse, Espinosa, Desmond and Ramos about to be bolstered by the return of Adam LaRoche from injury, the (hopeful) return of Jayson Werth to a higher level of production and the arrival of Bryce Harper in the not-to-distant future.They'll see a rotation that will have Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann together at last, not to mention a bevy of exciting young arms ready to join that group.They'll see a bullpen anchored by one of the best 1-2 punches in the sport: Storen and Tyler Clippard.

  106. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    strasburg is now penciled in for the season finale in florida. tonight won't be his last start, unless that game's rained out (according to ladson).

  107. Steady Eddie - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby @ 11:02 – True, they didn't pitch Halladay. And we didn't pitch Jesus. We're even on that.Definitely. More even than that, too — they didn't pitch Hamels, we didn't pitch JZimm. Or Wang. Prettyremarkable what that says about the Nats' future when you think about it. Also true about Oswalt's effort. If he didn't care, he wouldn't have fought Manuel to stay in. And we'd have been less likely to get Morse's dinger. Eugene @ 12:25 — we already have a "new" middle of the order quasi-slugger next year — Laroche. Carries a Gold Glove, too, from what I hear. ;-)

  108. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Have you all seen the "Miami Marlins" new logo. Throw it back. It is ugly, tacky, I dunno. Art deco? 70's disco? Yuck. http://www.thenatsblog.com/2011-articles/september/nl-east-update-the-one-where-the-marlins-move-to-miami.html

  109. Drew8 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Rendon P.S.Two cautionary tales about dealing minor leaguers. In 1966 the Phillies sent a young pitcher to the Cubs — Fergie Jenkins. Whoops.In January 1982 the Phils traded Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The Phils sealed the deal by throwing in some kid… named Ryne Sandberg.DOH!

  110. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    greg said… "strasburg is now penciled in for the season finale in florida. tonight won't be his last start, unless that game's rained out (according to ladson)."Maybe he'll start Thursday, at home, against the Braves.

  111. NatsFly - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Re WaPo coverage: yes, the Skins still rule and will until Nats are contending. Next year, imo. That said, my edition of WaPo had the Nats sweep on the front page of the Sports section, above the fold. Not too shabby. Also like Carpenter and FP–they are both pros (like some others, I watch on MLB sometimes and have seen really AWFUL commentators) and are working well together. Hope both are back next year. This sweep was big. I am excited for next year, for the first time with real cause not just unbridled optimism. Already have made my spring training plans. Have five tix for tonight but we can't make a Sat night reschedule. Bummer.

  112. Mark'd - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Drew8 said…I know a few on here have suggested dealing Rendon –when he's eligible –but I just can't see it. He was drafted at 6 because he projects as an on-base machine with a high batting average and at least gap power. What if he's George Brett, or Craig Biggio? You want to know, don't you? You don't want to decide too soon and be on the wrong side of the Broglio-Brock deal.————————–I like what you said and agree. People who said to trade him don't have a clue. Until Ryan Zimmerman's future is determined, Rendon may be the 3rd baseman in 2014.

  113. NatsFly - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Mark'd said: Until Ryan Zimmerman's future is determined, Rendon may be the 3rd baseman in 2014. Not to disparage Rendon, but you just gave many fans a heart attack!

  114. Big Cat - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    NatsJack……how is Rendon throwing?

  115. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Before I found the link to natsenquirer with the picture of Peacock's mom in the Phillies shirt, I googled "brad's mom shirt" and got an interesting link to urban dictionary at the very top. Amazing thing, that internet….

  116. baseballswami - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    106.7 and the WaPo both have the same problem – their editors/ talking heads are interested in the nfl themselves and so they just assume everyone else is. I have the same issue at work where there are a few people who have lived here forever who think that the entire dc metro area cares about the nfl and the washington team (whose nickname I refuse to use). Most of the people here are interested in a variety of sports and represent a lot of different parts of the country. The WA fans always think we know everything that is going on with their team and don't understand the blank stares they get. That era is over, but the editors haven't caught on yet – another reason why readership is down.

  117. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    The Nationals will win consecutive World Series starting in 2013 and continuing through 2019. That's 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.I think by 2017 The Washington Post will have the Nationals on page 1 of the sports page…

  118. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    swami– you refuse to call the NFL team the potatoes?

  119. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    I thought the Washington team was the Huskies

  120. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Natslady..I'm not sold on Laroche. First of all I think he screwed the team by signing his big contract already injured. No way did that just suddenly appear after two days of Spring Training. Keeping him in the lineup killed the first third of our season along with Morse opening in a long slump and Zimm's injury. (And of course the disaster known as Jason Werth)Since Laroche is a noted slow starter, I hope he doesn't kill all our rallies to start out next season too. That's IF he totally recovers from this injury at all. I would bat him low in the lineup to start the year until he proves he's got his stroke. No way do i trust him in the middle of our lineup just because he has a big contract. He needs to prove it to me with the bat.

  121. JaneB - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    NCog, at home against the Braves next Thursday would be PERFECT! And, as it happens, I am free that night!

  122. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    JaneB said… "NCog, at home against the Braves next Thursday would be PERFECT! And, as it happens, I am free that night!"It would probably be a day game.Anonymous said… "I'm not sold on Laroche."I'm not either, but because I believe he was signed as a decent gap filler.

  123. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    My campaign for next season:TAKE BACK OUR PARKI encourage everyone to attend as many of the games against the Philthies as they can go to and/or afford. Encourage folks in your season ticket group to buy extra tickets to those games. Use your RCR points (while you still can – who knows what 2013 might bring) for those games that aren't blacked out. Organize groups at work to go to games against the Philthies. Buy tickets early.And when you go, be loud and proud!TAKE BACK OUR PARK

  124. MicheleS - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Lack of Radio/Newspaper Coverage:It just makes me appreciate Nats Insider and Mark's Great Coverage. Plus I get imaginary friends!

  125. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Anon @1:53, not sure where that came from on LaRoche. Don't recall making any comments on him recently, but I will respond.A magician in the field. Really.Yes, a known slow-starter, and I agree with putting him down in the order until later in the season.You can trade him at the July 31 deadline, and, depending on where we stand/what we need/what other teams need, we easily could, just like we did with Marquis.As for when he got injured, we can only speculate. RZimm got injured, and no one is saying that he did the team any sort of disservice. The team doctors apparently didn't do their job until LaRoche insisted something was wrong physically, it wasn't just a slump or a slow start.There is a tremendous attitude of "play through the pain" by players, and it wasn't affecting his fielding, only his batting, so hard to diagnose. As a slow-starter as the plate, he might not have realized right away something serious was wrong.Also, you have to recall that at the time LaRoche was signed there were a couple of other candidates but they signed with other teams. LaRoche was never intended to be a long-term solution, just a replacement because Dunn had gone and we needed at bat and a glove at 1B.

  126. baseballswami - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    n.cognito — problem with that – I have run into it the past 2 years. The organization sells the tickets to the philadelphia charter event companies BEFORE tickets go on sale here. I have been shut out for tickets the day ticket sales open because they have been PRE-sold. There are some tickets available – but they are way too expensive for me. I care about the team, but I am not well off financially and can't afford to throw money at tickets I can't afford or can't use. Also am not a sth. I would love to see us take back our park– unfortunately the organization also needs to start removing people who are behaving very badly – we have heard stories on this blog. People with families just do not want to expose their children to what they are seeing. The FO needs to care about this as much as the fans do.

  127. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    For you folks not in the DC area: Rain all the way to West Virginia. The current bag is putting down steady liquid, then maybe an hour break, then another chain of storms on the radar. Going to be tough to get this one in tonight, even if they can get the field in decent shape. Last time it was like this and Stras was scheduled, there was a break and he did pitch. So don't give up hope yet.

  128. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Steady Eddie said: Eugene @ 12:25 — we already have a "new" middle of the order quasi-slugger next year — Laroche. Carries a Gold Glove, too, from what I hear. ;-)———————-While I agree that a healthy LaRoche has the potential to be the sort of quasi-slugger to which I was referring, I have real doubts about whether we can expect much from him next year. But — for 2012, at least — maybe he'll have to do.

  129. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Drew8, talking about trades, 2 1/2 years before the Nationals were born, the Expos made 2 trades that would decimate the team of young talent. The Expos traded away Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore essentially for Bartolo Colon in June 2002. Colon pitched a total of 17 games for the Expos and then after that same season traded Bartolo Colon away on January 15, 2003 to the Chicago White Sox for Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez, and Jeff Liefer.The reprecussions from that Colon trade may be the worst in the Nats history when you consider what it did to the young talent.Jeff Liefer did bat .193 in 2003, Rocky Biddle would be DFA'd by the Nats to never play again in MLB as the troubled closer had a 6.92 ERA and Orlando Hernandez would never pitch for the Expos and went away in Free Agency.Oh yah, Cliff Lee would win a Cy Young for the Cleveland Indians and Grady Sizemore went to 3 All Star games and 2 Gold Gloves and Brandon Phillips would become a Gold Glove All Star 2nd baseman.So the cautionary tale is trades are many times one-sided. I won't bore you with the mediocre players the Phillies sent to Cleveland for Cliff Lee. Actually the Phillies seem to trade well as the players that were so heavily touted in the Roy Halladay deal to Toronto don't seem to be working out too well. I hear the Halladay guy has done fairly well in Philly.

  130. Steady Eddie - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Eugene — Just personally, Idon't have a whole lot of concern that LaRoche won't come back from his injury atbasically his career means, Marquis did this year. The problem, as others have pointed out, is that those career means are of a slow starter. Much rather have what Marquis was (and Livo has become) –a mid-season fader. That way you can deal them off once yove gotten the best of their season, and replace them with ripening prospects. Problem with LaRoche is that the opposite doesn't work as well. He'sbad at the point of the season where you don't have a ready replacement, and heats up when maybe Harper and/or Rendon (seasoned college vet) will be ready. OTOH, maybe he'll heat up when the Nats hit their wild card contention drive.Agree with posters who say put him maybe at 6 or 7 until he shows enough pop or RISP average to move up.

  131. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    We've had our share of one-sided trades…Ramos for Matt Capps.Clippard for who?Flores we got as a Rule 5 from the Mets.

  132. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Overall for this young team: A

  133. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    On the other hand, if you don't trade LaRoche and he heats up in the second half, together with Werth (another second half guy), wouldn't that be great if we were in contention?

  134. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Ruben Amaro who is the Phillies GM and his staff really pulled off quite the trades to assemble Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. Now Cliff Lee was brought back as a Free Agent but they traded to Houston for Roy Oswalt in exchange for Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar, and J.A. Happ.I brought up Wandy Rodriguez who isn't anywhere near where Roy Oswalt was and the Phillies gave up 1 established pitcher. Some on here said it would take a lot more to get Wandy Rodriguez. I doubt it.Ed Wade was the GM of the Astros then and still is. Ruben Amaro goes back again and this time for Hunter Pence and trades him for Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid and Domingo Santana.Not sure if any of those players will amount to anything but Rizzo needs to follow Ruben Amaro's book of trades and go to Ed Wade and the Astros for Wandy Rodriguez in trade for JD Martin, Josh Wilkie, and Matt Antonelli.

  135. September Dreams - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    NatsLady–do you understand what happened to Matt Capps that made him crash and burn the way he has? Last year, he was nearly untouchable, not to mention the Nats' All Star.

  136. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    September, no. I didn't follow him after he left. Was it over-use, like the Chief?

  137. September Dreams - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    I don't think it was overuse, but I dunno. Like Adam Dunn, he just seems to have lost the touch when he went to a new team.

  138. Scooter - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Cliff Lee Brandon Phillips Ryne Sandberg John Smoltz. Clearly, no team should ever trade away any player under the age of 30.

  139. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    NatsLady said… We've had our share of one-sided trades…Ramos for Matt Capps.Clippard for who?Flores we got as a Rule 5 from the Mets. September 23, 2011 2:59 PM Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps still was mutually beneficial and keep in mind the Twins will still get Type A compensation picks for Matt Capps and the Twins still got a top All Star closer for 2010 even though he wasn't as sharp in 2011. The Twins considered Ramos to be logjammed behind Joe Mauer at catcher so it was a chance on their part.The Nats for the first time have 2 small logjams with Chris Marrero and Steve Lombardozzi. I am sure they will be dangled as trade bait for the right type of player.

  140. Scooter - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Todd Van Poppel Rick Ankiel Billy Beane (<– topical!!) Lastings Milledge Corey Patterson Felix Pie. Clearly, every team should trade away its prospects RIGHT NOW because they'll never amount to anything.

  141. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Listening to Baseball Today, Adam Dunn has more strikeouts (168) than his batting average (.164). He has had a few hits this week, so maybe it will get better for him next year.

  142. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    September Dreams said… NatsLady–do you understand what happened to Matt Capps that made him crash and burn the way he has? Last year, he was nearly untouchable, not to mention the Nats' All Star. September 23, 2011 3:07 PM Capps regressed to what he was in Pittsburgh. Still, there will be teams pursuing him in Free Agency this year.

  143. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    N. Cognito said… My campaign for next season:TAKE BACK OUR PARKI encourage everyone to attend as many of the games against the Philthies as they can go to and/or afford. Encourage folks in your season ticket group to buy extra tickets to those games. Use your RCR points (while you still can – who knows what 2013 might bring) for those games that aren't blacked out. Organize groups at work to go to games against the Philthies. Buy tickets early.And when you go, be loud and proud!TAKE BACK OUR PARK September 23, 2011 2:12 PM If the Nats were smart, they should really go after the opportunity here to fill the stadium with locals only. Plenty of creative ways to sellout the lower bowl and 2nd deck with Nats fans. It may just take more work & marketing for them to do it. I would require a valid DC/MD/VA Driver's license to buy up to 8 tickets to any Nats/Phillies game in 2012 or a local mailing address to ship them to. Do all of this before you open it to Group sales. Promote through interviews with the media and messages from the players to turn back Nats Park to the real fans!

  144. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Steve M., right. At the time the trade was fine for both teams, given that the Twins were in the race, we had Storen coming to form, and Flores was injured. Just, in retrospect, some trades end up one-sided. Ramos is very likely going to be a star, and I'd rather have him than a pick.

  145. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    relief pitchers are notoriously inconsistent. remember, the reason we *got* capps was because the pirates DFAd him because of his poor performance the year before. and clippard was traded for albaladejo (i had to look it up to verify and to check spelling).

  146. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Hey baseballSwami. Its REDSKINS> REDSKINS. Say it. RED SKINS RED SKINS. SAY IT you politically correct bafoon. "Its just a name" RED SKINS!!

  147. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Remember the Colby Rasmus trade that was ranked as the worst trade ever by the "experts"? Read a review of that trade today, and turns out that the pitchers they traded for are keeping the Cardinals in the race. So you never know.

  148. NatsLady - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    greg, yes (sigh). So all talk of what our bullpen will be like next year is pretty speculative.

  149. Not a football fan - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Wow, an anon football-troll who can't type, spell or discern "it's" from "its". Who'd a thunk it?

  150. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Are we playing 30-Plus Pitcher Van Lingle Mungo? Um, Livan Hernandez, Tim Wakefield? (What do I win? :-))

  151. natsfan1a, after rereading - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Crud, it's under the age of 30. Back to the drawing board.

  152. Not a football fan that's why I'm on a baseball site - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Last time I noticed the Washington area football team was called DC United. What am I missing here?

  153. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    NatsLady said… Steve M., right. At the time the trade was fine for both teams, given that the Twins were in the race, we had Storen coming to form, and Flores was injured. Just, in retrospect, some trades end up one-sided. Ramos is very likely going to be a star, and I'd rather have him than a pick. September 23, 2011 3:24 PM Loved the trade then, love it even more now. Ramos had a few weaknesses and has addressed them well in take throws from the outfield, calling a game, and getting closer to the plate as a batter. Scouts talk about him as a future All Star. Hard to believe that he and Espinosa are Rookies.RAM-MOOSE

  154. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Wait. Isn't that the game where they throw a pointy ball around and collide with each other? And they only play, like, 16 games a season?

  155. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Oops. New posted by Brian's dad.

  156. greg - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    you're missing what country you live in. ;)

  157. Tim - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Prediction: according to the weather radar predictions, rain will stop around 7pm. Therefore 40 minute rain delay. Then the winning ways continue!GYFNG!p.s. There is another band of weather that may hit DC around 9pm but it won't last too long, but enough to halt play for a half hour or so. SS should be able to get his work in.I'm not a meteorologist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

  158. Dawn - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Since Oswalt joined the Phillies (a good team) he has re-gained his mojo, didn't seem to be very inspired his last couple of years with the Astros (not a good team). Wandy may be worth a few prospects, he has talent and could be "inspired" by joining a talented staff that includes Strasburg & J.Zimmermann. Then again,the Nats already have a similar pitcher who is 6 years younger in John Lannan.

  159. A DC Wonk - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    September Dreams said… NatsLady–do you understand what happened to Matt Capps that made him crash and burn the way he has? Last year, he was nearly untouchable, not to mention the Nats' All Star.I don't have time to check the stats, but I do recall thinking he was a bit overrated (and touchable) when he made the all-star team — he had a number of excuse-me wins and/or saves. I think.As for bad Expos trades — I don't know if they were good trades or not, but I do recall that they traded away Pedro Martinez.NatsLady said… Listening to Baseball Today, Adam Dunn has more strikeouts (168) than his batting average (.164). Yikes — has anyone in the history of the game (with, say, over 200 AB's) done that before?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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