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Game 161: Nats at Marlins

Sep 28, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Sun Life Stadium hosts its final baseball game this afternoon.

And so the end has arrived. The 2011 season closes today for the Nationals, who also get the honor of closing down Sun Life Stadium (and not a moment too soon). The Marlins expect a large crowd today, and there will be plenty of familiar faces in attendance for their fans, including former Florida World Series heroes Livan Hernandez and Ivan Rodriguez.

Pudge, in fact, will be in the lineup for what is likely his final game with the Nationals. Whatever the future holds for him, I'd just like to say what an absolute pleasure it was covering him these last two seasons. I've dealt with big-name players near the end of their careers who grumbled about playing time and clearly were interested more in their own personal situation than their team. That was never the case with Pudge, who was a consummate professional and a fantastic teammate through it all. If this is it for him in D.C., he will be missed.

It's perhaps filling that Rodriguez will be behind the plate on last time with Stephen Strasburg on the mound. The two have paired up plenty of times over the last two years, even in the minors, and Pudge has been a great mentor for the young right-hander.

Two noticeable voids in the Nats' lineup today: Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse. Zimmerman is dealing with a minor hamstring strain, and Davey Johnson felt it just wasn't worth risking anything worse happening. Morse has dealt with nagging stuff himself, but I have a feeling this is Davey just wanting to ensure Michael ends the season with a .303 batting average (not to mention 31 homers and 95 RBI).

As you know, I'm not in Florida for this one. But stick around here after the game, because we're actually going to have a live episode of Beltway Baseball, talking about today's finale, handing out season awards, looking ahead to the offseason and, of course, taking your questions. You can find the live stream of the show on the homepage shortly after today's game ends…

NATIONALS at MARLINS
Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 4:10 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 189
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (79-81)
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chris Marrero

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159 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. waddu eye no - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    sigh……

  2. NatsLady - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Re: Morse and his batting average–note this.Terry Collins pulled Reyes from the Mets game after he hit a bunt single in his first AB. Braun will have to 3 for 4 tonight to beat Reyes for the batting title. The announcers did not approve, said Reyes should at least have gone to the field to give a tip of his hat. Also, the announcer (sorry I don't know their names) asked the color guy what is the feeling of a team on the last game with a team not in contention. He said, they take their at-bats but they are hoping for a two-hour game. Go Nats! Go Stras! Love ya, Pudge and Livo!!!!Gonna miss you guys.

  3. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Go, SS! Go, Pudge! Go, NATS!!(And classy comments re. Pudge, Mark.)

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Morse could go 0 for 4 and finish right at .300, but 0 for 5 would hurt.

  5. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    I second that emotion.NatsLady said:Love ya, Pudge and Livo!!!!

  6. Bowdenball - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    If Mark is right, I think that's a pretty weak move. According to my math would have to go 0 for 5 to get his average below .300, and even then it would be .2998, which they apparently round up if they're calling his current average .303, since he's actually hitting .3026.And anyways, if the Nats are winning by that point a defensive substitution before his 5th AB would be not only reasonable but probably prudent. If they're losing big, nobody will care if he's pulled. And if they're in a close game, I'd rather they give themselves the best chance to win than protect a .300 hitter, and I'd hope the club would feel the same way. That's just me. In any event, given the season Morse has had it's pretty unlikely he'd go 0 for 4 without getting on base in his first four plate appearances anyway.And if we're showing concern about meaningless benchmarks, how about giving Strasburg the best possible team behind him to get him a win in 2011? It's crazy that he doesn't have a win considering how he's pitched.

  7. Bowdenball - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    With that said, thanks to Mark, you guys and most of all the Nats for a great season!

  8. Uncle Atom - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Pudge is a class act all the way – go Nats!

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    because we're actually going to have a live episode of Beltway Baseball, … handing out season awards, Awards? Was I nominated? Or do I just get a nice "parting (hint hint)" gift?

  10. N. Cognito - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Morse is ONLY 28 stolen bases away from the 30-30 club.

  11. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    because we're actually going to have a live episode of Beltway Baseball, … handing out season awards,Do we need to be present to win?BTW, captcha = indians. Does that portend an award for Manny Acta? The Cross of JayB, perhaps?

  12. Natsin2012 - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Bummer it's almost over. Maybe it would better to lose today and not finish in the top 15 to protect our pick because you can't count on the Indians and Blue Jays to win.

  13. N. Cognito - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Bowdenball said… "With that said, thanks to Mark, you guys and most of all the Nats for a great season!"Which of the Nats are you not thanking?

  14. Bowdenball - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    N. Cognito:I'll keep that to myself :)Seriously, it's impossible to have any negative feelings about the 2011 season. The team exceeded virtually every preseason win total prediction, and it did so mostly by getting better than expected production from guys under 30 who are under club control for at least another couple years. What's not to love?

  15. MicheleS - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    For the last time :GYFNG!!!!Sigh… sniffle

  16. JaneB - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    I agree with Bowdenball. I am really proud of these guys, making so much more hay than they have in the past. And I hope the camera shows lots of Livan on the rail. Meanwhile, GYFNG!

  17. gocentr - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I find sitting Morse simply to preserve his .300 average more than a bit insulting to Morse. If that is really the reason, let him bat and sit if he goes 0-4. Geez. Its not like DJ is playing prospects instead of the Beast. I'd bet more than a small amount of money that Morse wants to play unless he really is hurt. To me, sitting your best hitter on the last game of the season is insulting to the fans.

  18. rogieshan - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Well said on all counts, Bowdenball. I have to say Jayson Werth was my only disappointment. I really thought he would prove all the critics wrong and be more productive than he showed. He brought some intangibles, but was he a big reason why this team improved by 10 games this year? I'm not so sure…

  19. Scooter - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    The Intrepid Blogger said …I have a feeling this is Davey just wanting to ensure Michael ends the season with a .303 batting averagebuc-buc-buc-buc-BRAWWWWWKK!

  20. Ted Williams - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    "I have a feeling this is Davey just wanting to ensure Michael ends the season with a .303 batting average."Don't make me come back down there and smack somebody.

  21. baseballswami - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    I hope MM pinch hits and gets number 32!!! I also want to see Drew get number 43, and Espi get whatever number it takes to tie Uggla – 22? GYFNG!!!!!!! I really think they should have stacked up the regulars and tried to get SS a nice win to think about in the off season. Can the Marlins please bench mister nice-face? Is it going to rain again? More questions than answers today. Mark — I certainly hope that the awards will include NI post person of the season and post of the season!

  22. Les in NC - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    I know this season has been quite the roller coaster, but overall it seems our team and our personal beat reporter has met (or in some cases) exceeded our expectations. For that, I am well pleased! For me, this is probably going to be the longest off season yet, because the light is getting so close now… Congrats on a great season Nats! And great job Insiders for a season well posted! Kudos to the Zuckermans for a tremendous all out effort in support of our newest Nats fan! Keep up the good work!

  23. Scooter - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Swami, Espi needs 27 to tie Uggi. So, we might need extras.

  24. Scooter - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Oh, and who's the Marlins' nice (or good — I think you've done it both ways) face you're referring to? Stanton?

  25. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Thank you Mark and congrats to our Nationals for a very nice season.

  26. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    How nice would it be to finish with a win and 16th overall place in MLB Standings? It would feel sweet!. I spot away from losing our #1. That would be the biggest reason to go out and take advantage of the situation and grad a Star FA…Albert Pujols.

  27. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Just kidding about grabbing Pujols :)

  28. baseballswami - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Scooter – bonifacio — nice/good – face — loses a bit in translation, but close. He is just a pest. I just watched the tv crew's top ten of the season – almost bawled like a baby. Good stuff.

  29. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    To all the volunteers on here who participate and help with research, , thoughtful posts, good banter, friendship, and some laughs, I want to thank you. It takes hours sometimes for you all to add to the space Mark Zuckerman has provided for us.I may not always agree although that's what makes it interesting.THANKS

  30. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    If nominated, I will not run.Sec 3, My Sofa said… because we're actually going to have a live episode of Beltway Baseball, … handing out season awards, Awards? Was I nominated? Or do I just get a nice "parting (hint hint)" gift? September 28, 2011 2:26 PM

  31. A DC Wonk - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    The team exceeded virtually every preseason win total prediction, and it did so mostly by getting better than expected production from guys under 30 who are under club control for at least another couple years.Can I modify that to: "mostly … from guys who are age 26 or under" ?!

  32. Ted Williams - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    And I'm not tipping my cap, either.

  33. JaneB - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    I liked the MASN top ten moments…the only one I wanted to have called out by itself, and it wasn't, was the 14 walk-off win against the D-Backs AT the D-Backs. That was my most satisfying win of the year. Unless I think about the Werth steals third then home on a wild pitch win. In that case, THAT would be my favorite. But when I can forget about that, the D-Backs victory was best. Though Livan's 50's complete game shut out was also wonderful, in it's own ways. Hmmmmm….maybe I don't actually HAVE a favorite, afterall.GYFNG!GYFNG!

  34. Scooter - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Okay, Swami, I gotcha. I thought you were talking about an actual good-looking fella, like the scouts look for.

  35. baseballswami - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Scooter — as long as the players don't have ugly girlfriends ( those of you who have not seen it, please excuse the Moneyball reference).

  36. Slidell - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Desi works a walk.

  37. N. Cognito - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Mark'd said… "To all the volunteers on here who participate and help with research, , thoughtful posts, good banter, friendship, and some laughs, I want to thank you."What about the rest of us?

  38. Dawn - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Enjoy the game everyone, cheers to Livo and Pudge and all their loyal fans. Heck, cheers to the Marlins who have a beautiful ballpark to look forward to. Now lets put this season to bed with a win for Strasburg.

  39. MicheleS - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    What a sad crowd. At least they cheered Pudge!

  40. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    I don't post on other blogs. (ok, maybe I did once). The only time I read other people's comments are when I see them posted on WaPo or when I went on a Phillies blog after the sweep. (I couldn't resist). Some of the most mean, vile disrespectful posts I'd ever seen. I couldn't believe a human being would communicate to another person that way.It made me see how unique this blog is. For the most part, people here are not mean, and when they are, they're called on it. It's been mostly intelligent discourse where commentators take the high road……most likely due to the example of our esteemed host, Mr. Zuckerman. And always with a sense of humor.I guess I'm trying to say I'll miss you all. I'll miss the games, the guys, the Maalox, the Brunello di Montalcino (maybe not the Brunello, I'll keep that around)I look forward to next season with all my "imaginary friends".Kathy

  41. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Here here, Kathy. I love reading the comments on Insider, the intelligent discussion — after the excellent articles.Whats up with 2 walks from Strasberg?

  42. Steady Eddie - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    If any of you Insidrrs/imaginary friends/partners in Natsdom are watching the game, is Strassie's strike zone getting squeezed as badly as it looks on Gameday? Some of the "balls" to Morrison and Stanton were not even marginal, they looked well within the zone.

  43. Bowdenball - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    DC Wonk:That would have excluded Morse, which I didn't want to to do. But otherwise you're right, they're all under 26 and will either be Nats for a long time or will bring a huge return if the organization moves them. The leap for young talent in the organization from just 24 months ago has been tremendous without even mentioning Strasburg and Harper.

  44. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Why isnt Strasburg throwing more fastballs over more of the plate to the weaker hitters. He seems to be going after corners so higher pitch counts, more K's, and some walks.

  45. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Note to Rizzo for 2012: Turn down the K's from the Nats hitters.

  46. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Let me add my thanks to Mark Z. and all the Nats Insiders. I'm a recent convert to baseball fandom … my fourth season as a fulltime fan. (Yes, that means my first two were 102 loss seasons. I'm no fair weather fan.)I'm a charter member of Nats Insider, having contributed to Mark's first plea for funds to go to Spring Training.I've learned a lot from Mark AND from the comments. Of course, when people are disagreeing I'm not always sure which side to take, but it has helped raise my baseball IQ significantly. I'm still kind of a rookie, but I'm enjoying it a lot.Definitely looking forward to next season!GYFNG!!!

  47. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Can the Nats score a few runs so Strasburgs dominance isn't wasted like we saw too many times with JZim.

  48. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    There ya go Mark'd!

  49. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    Mark'd,They were listening.

  50. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Wow, I should ask for that more often. Key was Strasburg helping himself with the Sac Bunt.

  51. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Captcha was "taterse". Let's hit some.

  52. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    @happy hour. Plenty of good seats available

  53. dj in Fl. - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    For those not watching, yes that was a five pitch, 2 runs scored, inning. Lombardozi read Desmonds' hit perfectly and was in high gear before the ball cleared the infield, which is how he scored.

  54. A DC Wonk - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Steady Eddie said… If any of you Insidrrs/imaginary friends/partners in Natsdom are watching the game, is Strassie's strike zone getting squeezed as badly as it looks on Gameday?Yes — on TV it looks like a somewhat small-ish zone.And the following is such an optimistic (but accurate) post, I just had to repeat it:Bowdenball said… DC Wonk: That would have excluded Morse, which I didn't want to to do. But otherwise you're right, they're all under 26 and will either be Nats for a long time or will bring a huge return if the organization moves them. The leap for young talent in the organization from just 24 months ago has been tremendous without even mentioning Strasburg and Harper.Yep — in fact, I was going to say "all under 26, except for Morse" ;-)========So, sheesh, can you believe Ian. Two guys on, and he swings at the first pitch! What kinda leadoff batter is that.Oh. Wait. He got a 2-RBI single on that?Nevermind. ;-)Let's complete the shutout! HRod, Clip, Store for 7-8-9 if we need?

  55. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    K, K, K, K, K, K, K, K!

  56. n - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Storen's off today. Maybe Johnson lets Strasberg have a complete game.

  57. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Nattydread, add another!

  58. Wally - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I have only watched the last three innings, but Stras is absolutely dealing out there. His velo seems to have bounced around, but the Ks just keep piling up. Hard to think of a better send off to the season and promise for next year than to see Stras like this.What a great season. But why are people saying goodbye? I am sure that we will keep blogging through the offseason; maybe not 200 comments though.

  59. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Ok.K K K K K K K K K. (Cant do backwards Ks on this keyboard)

  60. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    I guess we're saying goodbye to our Nats and their games. Trust me, I will be weighing in on the moves of the FO this winter.

  61. Slidell - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    What's Stras's pitch limit today?

  62. Les in NC - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Natty, your not talkin' about Werth's K's are you?I kid because it's the last game… :)

  63. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Here's my thoughts on that 2 run inning by the Nats. If Strasburg isn't successful with the bunt and runners remain on 1st and 2nd, the infielders cheat in towards 2nd base for a doubleplay and possibly scoop up Desi's grounder single instead as a double play. That is how a pitcher helps his own cause by laying down good bunts.

  64. dj in Fl. - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    @SlidellDavey said there was no pitch limit. We will find out what the limit is when Rizzo is seen heading for dugout.

  65. CN - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    damn, what a way to finish the season, stras!!

  66. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    K K K K K K K K K K!My friends, our ace is back.

  67. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    10 K's WOW

  68. Wally - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    I would pull him here. 1 hit, 10ks in 6 innings. Also hit 100.Hallelujah and looking forward to April.

  69. sjm308 - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    This Strasburg kid is pretty good – think we should think about keeping him in the rotation next year.NCog – you mean you are not getting the monthly check from Comcast?? oops, sorry Mark, didn't want to let that out.Seriously, what I fun, educational, emotional season and how much are we all looking forward to not just spring training but the hot stove season as well. I love that these young kids have continued to win. No Zimm, no Morse but they just keep on throwing the ball and catching the ball which is what Rizzo wanted. Neat to see SS thrown 100 mph with what looks like little effort – he is dealing with 10 ks as I send this!!Go NatsSec 3 – with the Tigers fighting for the #2 seed in the playoffs and starting Porcello, I am feeling the hat with 9 outs to go!!

  70. Les in NC - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Very nice "quality start" from next years rotation keystone. I would guess that will be the end of Strasburgs' night though.

  71. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Would be great to let Livo pinch bunt.

  72. sjm308 - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Looks like they are pulling the "kid", lets get to the fish bullpen – SS retired the last 13 he faced, totally dominant – think this is another good move by Davey. SS can go 7 or more next year but no need for it on the last day of the season. Hate to say it but Carp is actually pretty good today and his thought about pulling Pudge if he gets on base is a good one. FP as usual is terrific.

  73. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    I would miss Carp. Anyone hear if he's coming back?the captcha was "noper"

  74. A DC Wonk - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    This is as good a time as any to appreciate just how special/absurdly good SS is/can be. I mean, he still has rust on him — and yet is throwing 79 mph curves, 100 mph fastballs, and gets 10K's in 6 IP, 1H. Just eye-popping if one steps back and thinks about it.

  75. CN - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Why not go w/ a preview of the HRod/Clip/Storen murderers' row…

  76. sjm308 - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    They are now saying that Storen might not be available today – FP thinks its Mattheus, Clip and HRod. No problems with that as long as its the good HRod – how good does Lombardozzi look so far at 3rd? I realize we have a pretty decent fielder there already but he is doing a decent job of earning that utility spot on the big club next year (in my opinion) ps: you can tell I am an old guy because I will never type imo ooops just did that, oh well.

  77. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Finally home with Carp and FP on the tube. (Now theresan anachronism for you.) Glad to see Strasburg dealing today. I hope we'll keep posting through the playoffs and off-season. All we need is fir Mark Z to toss a little blog post up every day or two. Hope Mattheus gets out of this little jamette.

  78. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Gonat @5:39, something Lannan needs to work on BUNTING.

  79. dj in Fl. - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    @CNNo Storen today.He has a few aches. Amazing his arm is still attached.

  80. NatsLady - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Am at work feeling sad because it's the last game and I can't watch… Heard Pudge got a standing O, which is pretty cool. oooooooooooooooooo, Werth and Ankiel—NO!

  81. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    "There's an anachronism…"So Mattheus did NOT get out of the jamette. Whoops.

  82. CN - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    thanks for the update. still at work watching strasburg's dots plaster the strike zone… it's now 2-1 Nats, as sanchez drives in lo-mo

  83. NatsLady - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Charlie and Dave say neither one saw the ball. Why do they start ballgames at 4:10??

  84. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    That fly to CF was reminiscent of one like that on a day game that cost JZim 2 runs.

  85. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Strasburg comes out of the game and people score. Surprise, surprise. Come on guys, let's give Stephen his first W of the year.

  86. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Glad Davey went with a lefty other than Slaten.

  87. dj in Fl. - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    You could tell by both players reactions, neither saw the ball. @ NatsLadyThey started at this hour because of all the post game stuff.

  88. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Why not make the last game a KardiaK Kids ending.

  89. sjm308 - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Honestly, for those of you not watching, FP did a good job showing how the sun is directly behind home plate. Who builds a stadium with that in mind?Tough play but it really was no ones fault.OK, guys 6 more outs. Here comes Clippard!!!

  90. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Werth and Ankiel need to get that run that!

  91. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Nice ending for Cora

  92. Anonymous8 - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Nice stroke by Bernadina. That always helps a part-time players stats.

  93. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Very nice to see Cora's triple not go to waste. Six more outs to go for an 80- win season. Didn't think we'd be there back in April.

  94. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Nice play by Lombardozzi. He's been watching Zim! Could definitely take the Cora role next year.

  95. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Please get Bonifacio out. I'm tired of looking at him.

  96. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Man, the Future is bright for the Nationals.

  97. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Amen, Dave.

  98. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Clippard's last outing is effective. Nice.

  99. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    I'm putting in one last word for Carpenter. He's much improved, and I hope he stays.I said it and I'm not sorry.

  100. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Storen talked his way into the game.

  101. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Dave, funny you mention Bonifacio as he will be Arbitration eligible and I have to wonder if the Marlins will look to trade him to save some Ca$h.

  102. dj in Fl. - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Storen up in the pen?Our medical staff did well on this injury.

  103. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Hey! We just got a vicarious shout-out from FP on the air! (Well, Mark Z got the shout-out, but we're all Zuckerman people.)

  104. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Anyone know the attendance for the Marlins today?

  105. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    C'mon, Drew!!!

  106. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Carp getting a little of the Harry Carey for the last game?

  107. Gonat - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    N said… Storens off today. Maybe Johnson lets Strasberg have a complete game.___________________________I see Storen!

  108. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    EIGHTY!!!

  109. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Droooo goes 1-2-3 to give the Nats 80 wins. Strassy gets his first win if the year. A good day in Nats Town.

  110. dryw - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    The boys are all hugging! Perfect end to the season. Wish I could hug them all and thank them for all the fun. Next season can't start soon enough for me!

  111. Nattydread - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    80 – 81. Nice close by Storen for Strasberg!I'm a happy fan. Nice game by Pudge.

  112. RickH - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    [virtual hug]

  113. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Wild card next year! All these hugs are bringing a tear to the eye.

  114. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    wow, a lot of red shirts in that crowd

  115. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    "Of the year ."Damn iPhone.

  116. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Hey folks, thanks for following along as always on here. Stick around, because Chase and I will have a live edition of Beltway Baseball at 7 p.m. You can access the live stream on the homepage.

  117. A DC Wonk - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    How nice that they finish right before Rosh HaShanah starts ;-)Kudos to the Nats: players, FO, everybody.And to MZ and all y'all fellow Insiders. It's been a great year. The future indeed looks bright!I'll be off-line till Sat night . . . be well everybody! What a great finish (what, something like 14 of the last 18?)

  118. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    MASN! Put that ending montage on youtube. Please!

  119. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Mark, thanks for a great year. You finished way above .500.

  120. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    That's the way to finish the season. Taking 2 out of 3 from the Fish was great 80-81 makes those aggressive guesses look good! Strasburg looked Greattttt!

  121. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    oh, and Shana Tova

  122. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    That's a happy-looking team. They aren't the World Series team, but I can't help thinking they've got an exceptional chemistry. I too got a bit misty during that MASN retrospective montage. And you boys and girls are sone smart baseball people. Thanks for being my imaginary friends.

  123. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Did Johnny just let the cat out of the bag?

  124. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    In the post-game, sound like Carp is coming back!

  125. Dave - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    @LoveDaNats, not sure. What did he say that made you think that? I didn't notice.

  126. LoveDaNats - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    I thought there was an awkward silence after Johnny said "we'll watch you (carp) on tv wherever you may be"

  127. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Missed the retrospective, but got misty when the guys were all hugging after the game. I hope Carp stays, too. Maybe we could try not to read the tea leaves but just wait to see what happens?So, who's with FP and me on flying the Dodgers in for a makeup game tomorrow? If we all chipped in like we did for Mark's ST trip back in the day, we might just pull together enough for a budget red-eye flight. :-)

  128. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    LoveDaNats, I believe that Johnny was referring to games played in the offseason, whether football, baseball, or whatever.

  129. dj in Fl. - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Conine just took their championship flags down, and is going to take them by copter to the new stadium, so they can be raised on their new poles.One of the reasons for the early start.They are introducing the players from the 1993 team right now, this show may run a bit long.Way to go Nats. We have come a long way in the "plan" and I expect Rizzo and his crew to get us to the next level, next year. They have drafted well for the success I see on the horizon.A special thanks to Mark and Mrs. Z for another great year. Everybody be safe.david

  130. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    And he addressed the comment to *both* FP and Carpenter.

  131. Navy Nats Fan - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    So there is still very important baseball to be played tonight – no, I'm not talking about Orioles-Red Sox, Yankees-Rays, Cards-Lastros, or Phils-Braves.As of right now, Nats are in 16th place in MLB and can sign a Free Agent without sacrificing a 1st round pick. But if Cleveland loses tonight (to the Tigers) then they will drop behind us at 80-82 and we move to 15th, and lose the pick if we sign a quality FA. If they win, they finish 81-81 and stay in front. And someone on this board loses a hat.Go Manny! GYFIG!!!!

  132. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    so, sjm, you have to decide: are you willing to give up your cap for an improved chance at signing a Type A? Tough call, I don't envy you.

  133. Anonymous - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    That's a happy-looking team. They aren't the World Series team, but I can't help thinking they've got an exceptional chemistry. But they're very close and they know it. And that is what their manager is telling them. I'm sure Johnson has his own ideas about the roster make up. Given how miraculously well this season ended with all of the preliminary turmoil doubtless Davey will mostly get what he wants. Be interesting to see the differences with Davey and Rizzo instead of Riggleman and Rizzo.

  134. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    That *was* a nice montage. They showed it again on the postgame show.Off to check on discount fares from LA to DC now…

  135. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    Carp's SEE YOU LATER on those HRs is the one thing I would miss if Carp left. He and FP make a good couple and while I started to synch my radio and TV to where both are on. Dave and Charlie are great, but I have to say FPs insight is worth the listen!You know what else is great? WINNING!!!!

  136. dryw - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Mark'd, winning is even more fun than I'd dreamed it would be. Can't wait to see some more of it next year!!And one last time for the season for me, GYFNG!!!!!

  137. Mark'd - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    You end up with 80 wins and you see that if you flip-flopped 11 of those losses into W's, the Nats would be post-season bound. When you are that close, time for StanK Phase II.Time to get your #3 pitcher to join this party!

  138. Joe Seamhead - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Wow! what a season, eh? I didn't want to say anything about a foolish bet that I made two years ago until this was all over, but… Two years ago, after the Nats won 59 games I was catching a lot of grief from several of my friends, including Walter Johnson's grandson, about how awful the Nats were, how cheap the Lerners were, and generally how the future was going nowhere for them. I strongly disagreed and in doing so, I predicted that in 2 years the Nats would finish .500, or better. I said that I had a $100.00 to back up my prediction and one of the guys took me up on my bet. Well, it's been a fun, [though an ultimately disappointing end], season, with a tremendous last 3 weeks! I'll pay the c-note, but I sure feel trashed by the weather gods for the Dodger's cancelation. 80-81 is pretty much a photo finish, don't you think? Oh,yeah… Doug Slaten, you owe me.

  139. baseballswami - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    I am glad that we ended our season with a very typical nats win. Great starting pitching ( he is really, really, really back!) , not a lot of offense but timely hitting, good, clean defense, the bullpen bending but not breaking and another shut down 8 and 9 by Tyler and Drew. My imaginary friends – we have been through a lot this year, haven't we? My shout outs go to Flynnie for always talking me down from the ledge and NatsLady for her absolute passion for the Nats, and all of you regulars who have been smart and funny and respectful of the game and the other posters. I absolutely can't wait until Spring Training!

  140. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    I remember someone on here in April or May when the Nats had a lead and lost it in a 9th inning disaster and the poster swore away the Nats forever. Boy did he miss some great baseball.

  141. Navy Nats Fan - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    Cleveland up 3-0 in the middle of the 4th! Could have been more but for a GIDP with the bases loaded to retire the side…GYFIG!!!

  142. ehay2k - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Great season, with so much promise for next year. I realize it's September, but keep in mind we just won or swept a series from *each* of our division rivals. They know we are coming. Mark, great writing, excellent insights, just a thoroughly enjoyable blog.Thanks for the hard work.I really enjoyed my imaginary friends here. Thanks for the good posts. This really is a group that, as Sec3 would say, can only be called SofaKing awesome. (One of the best frigging posts this year by Sec3 IMO.)

  143. Starbud - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Go Indians! For the Love of God….Go Indians!

  144. baseballswami - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    The wild cards teams are all playing with desperation tonight. There is sooo much drama and I will be following it all night. I was going to say that next year that will be us — but, I think we will have clinched the division already and will only have to worry about lining up our starting pitchers :)

  145. September Dreams of April - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Holy moly! The Cards scored 5 runs in the top of the first!

  146. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Just to make sure everyone is clear on my stance – I will gladly buy the hat if it means we can keep our draft pick – its my $30 contribution to the playoffs for years to come – thanks for those that actually followed my silly bet but I was so proud of how we came back – when I made the bet, Cleveland was in first and we were in last so it was fun but the draft pick is way more important.What a great day and its still fun to switch from MLB channel to MASN to TBS and hear all the different announcers. Next year I hope we are in this same mix.Go tribe (can't believe I am saying that)

  147. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    SJM, you're a mensch, but consider that signing a Type A won't necessarily help. Free agents don't come with a guarantee. Go for the cap. [helical incline fasterer] the draft picks.

  148. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Sec 3:as nice as everyone is on this board, can you explain mench to an old irishman

  149. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    A mensch is an all-around good guy.

  150. September Dreams of April - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    sjm308, "mensch" literally means "man." But it is used in the sense of "stand up guy." The Marines are looking for a few good mensches (actually, menschen)/

  151. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    have to show that to the lady I have lived with for the last 11 years!!

  152. September Dreams of April - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    She already knows you are a mensch, or she wouldn't have hung around this long.

  153. September Dreams of April - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    St. Louis is all over Houston (7-0 in the 5th). Tampa Bay is losing to the Yankees by the same score. But both Boston and Atlanta are in tight games (leading 3-2 late in the game for each).

  154. Gonat - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    My numbers for 2011:80 is the number of wins achieved by the 2011 Nats74 was the number of walks Jayson Werth drew in 201168 is the positive run differential for the Nats improvement from 2010 to 2011. 31 fewer runs scored. 99 fewer runs given up by the Nats.60 is the number of games Ryan Zimmerman missed in 201144 is the number of Home wins the Nats had this season going 44-3643 is the number of saves Drew Storen had43 is the number of games Adam LaRoche appeared in 201140 is the number of runners thrown out attempting to steal by Ramos (23) Pudge (13) and JFlo (4). The Nats have the best Caught Stealing percentage by their catchers36 is the amount wins & the amount of losses the Nats had against the NL East opponents including winning records against the Phillies31 is the # of HRs the Nats offensive MVP (according to FP & Bob) hit this year. Morse would hit 31 HRs and drive in 98 RBIs. 21 is the number of HRs that Danny Espinosa hit to tie for the Rookie HR lead21 is the number of HRs that Beast Mode hit that were over 400 ft. which was 68% of all of his HRs at least that distance. 466 feet was his longest at Wrigley. Total HR distance was 12,788 feet or 2.42 miles.19 is the times Danny Espinosa was HBP15 is the number of HRs Wilson Ramos hit this year to tie the all-time catcher's record for Washington baseball teams15 is the number of sacrifice bunts Livan Hernandez had in 201114 was the number of wild wild pitches by MPHrod14 I believe was the number of walk-off wins in 2011 which is tied for the MLB lead. Of course none more exciting than the Walk-off HR delivered by Zim, Ramos, Morse and Espinosa12 is the number of wins this season in extra innings which was a dramatic turnaround from the prior season where the Nats were 3-1011 is the improvement year over year in wins going from 69 to 80 from 2010 to 201111 is the error improvement by Ian Desmond going from 34 last season to 23 this year.11 is the place the Nats ended up in the NL for average runs scored for the season just ahead of the Marlins by the smallest of percentages11 is the jersey number of the Face of the Franchise who we hope signs a contract extension10 is the number of wins against the Phillies this season going 10-810 is the number of shutouts the Nats pitchers combined for10 was the consecutive wins in the Nats road winning streak10 was the tops in wins by a starter by John Lannan9 outfield assists by Rick Ankiel and they were all amazing8 was the number of games in the Nats winning streak 6/10 – 6/188 was the place Jordan Zimmermann ended up as tops in the NL for WHIP at 1.1477 RBIs by Livan Hernandez to lead the pitchers 6 is where the Nats pitching ended amongst all the teams in the National League and 5th fewest in HRs given up5 is the XBH by Nats pitchers. 3 doubles and 2 HRs4 wins for comeback player Chien-Ming Wang as well as 4 for Ross Detwiler3 the number of managers the Nats had this season2 is the number of wins interim manager John McLaren had in 2011 with a 2-1 record1.83 was Tyler Clippard's final ERA1 pitch 1 HR for Tom Milone on the 1st pitch he saw in the Majors. It was 1 more HR than Matt Stairs hit1 hit for Chien-Ming Wang which was the 1st of his career0.982 is the field percentage of Danny Espinosa who flashed Gold Glove quality at 2nd base0.309 is the team OBP and is the one area the Nats really need to improve0 is the number of losses incurred by Tyler Clippard who was the Nats All Star as he finished with a 3-0 record

  155. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    It looks like the Boston/Baltimore game is in a rain delay, middle of the 7th inning. Would the umps ever consider calling the game in a situation like this, with Boston leading by one run in a critical game?

  156. September Dreams of April - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Very interesting list, GoNat. I was surprised to see that the Nats run production actually declined by 31 this year. An optimist would take that as proof of the greatly improved pitching and defense.

  157. baseballswami - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    Gonat – awesome, awesome post – thanks so much!!!

  158. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    23 is the number of last at-bat wins by the Nationals (3ed in MLB, I think). Kardiac Kids.

  159. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Nope, and how about those Rays?? (And how about "Guns" Peralta on the mound for them?)Anonymous said… It looks like the Boston/Baltimore game is in a rain delay, middle of the 7th inning. Would the umps ever consider calling the game in a situation like this, with Boston leading by one run in a critical game? September 28, 2011 9:52 PM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 49 1.0
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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.
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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