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Ready to take the next step

Sep 29, 2011, 1:21 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg was brilliant in his final start of the season.

What the Nationals have accomplished the last two seasons — improving from 59 wins in 2009 to 69 wins in 2010 to 80 wins in 2011 — is commendable.

Think about the state of this franchise just a few short years ago. The lack of talent on the big-league roster. The lack of prospects in the minor leagues. The lack of respect the organization got around baseball.

Now think about where this franchise stands right now, on the final day of the season. They’ve got talent up and down the roster, more impact players coming up the pipeline and the respect of people throughout the game who suddenly are talking about the Nationals as a team to watch in 2012.

And they have every reason to feel that way. This is a ballclub that made significant strides over the course of the season, finished on a high note by winning 14 of its last 18 games and has positioned itself to take another leap forward next year.

But for anyone who just assumes the Nats can make the jump from 80 wins to 90 (or whatever number is necessary to contend for a playoff
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  1. NatsGM - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    Fantastic piece Mark… well-done!

  2. SamEyeAm - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    What a great finish to the year. The way this team played the last month of the season should go a long way towards convincing free agents that this is not only a place where they can get paid quite nicely, but also a place where they can win. It's been a fun group of guys to root for, and I'm looking forward to many more elbow drops to the head in 2012.

  3. SamEyeAm - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Also, from someone who visits frequently and comments rarely, thanks, Mark, for another superb year of coverage. I hope you enjoy some well deserved time off with your wife and baby.

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    So that's a 2-seam fastball he's throwing there? Seems to be way over the top of it. Interesting.

  5. JaneB - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    THANK YOU Mark, for your great coverage, terrific writing, wry humor an calling things like they are. And also for hosting this gathering place for so many Imaginary Friends to bond over this team. I'm having withdrawal pangs already. What's the over-under on when they announce Davey gets the manager contract for the next two years at least? I think two weeks. It seems inevitable, even though I think it oughta be Bo.I want to vote for Bob C to come back. We need the "See! You! Later!" next year, for when we are producing better offense.

  6. baseballswami - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Thoughts — 80 wins this year and the great big jump to 90 looms ahead. 10 more wins over 6 months – 10 wins over 180 days – that's just another extra win every couple of weeks. I think I could look back on this year and identify a lot of games that we really could have won. This is blowing my mind. The other thing that is amazing to me is this — We got Tyler Clippard for Jonathan Albeledejo ( is he still playing?) and we got Morse for Langerhans ( out of baseball?) I know our scouts are smart as all get out, but this is ridiculous. Imagine next year – Morse, a healthy Zim, Werth up to speed and a healthy LaRoche – Desi, Espi, JZim, Ramos more mature – Strassie back – yikes. Peel me off the ceiling, please.

  7. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    having a great time watching mlb network Rays come back from 7-0 with 6 in the 8th and a pinch hit homerun with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 10th.Braves & Phillies going into the 12th at braves blow the lead in the 9thRed Sox up 3-2 as the tarp comes offCarpenter pitches a 2 hit complete game shut out as Cards will play at least one more game this seasonbaseball is pretty damn excitingoh, I won the hat, almost sorry about that knowing we lose our draft pick if we sign a big gun but I kinda like seeing us finish in the top 15 in the majors.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    SJM, I salute you and your new cap.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:43 AM

    and the baseball gods have turned their backs on Atlanta.

  10. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    oh, and I said months ago that the Braves would win 90 games. I was wrong.

  11. Gonat - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    Braves choked so bad. Hard to watch.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    no worse than the Red Sox. Loving that.

  13. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    What a night of baseball! Wow!

  14. Joe Seamhead - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    Wow! Bye-bye to the chop! I ain't sorry to see the Red Sox out of it either! Oh happy day!

  15. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:46 AM

    What a great evening/day of baseball. Nationals started it off and Longoria and the Rays ended it. Four great games and three were nail bitters with the fourth a complete game gem. How great is baseball. Sec. 3 you called the cap about 3 weeks ago, thanks for allowing to look at that with a little more optimism. Have to love Manny and his passive nature which had to help my cause.So, who do N. Insiders like in the playoffs??I would not like to play either the Rays or Cards even though they will not have home field. Just a lot of momentum for both teams. I actually like the Brewers starting rotation every bit as much as the Phillies and will pick the Brewers over the Rays in the World Series.

  16. rogieshan - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    With the Indians losing their final game tonight, the Nats finished .003 points ahead of them for 16th place in the reverse standing, meaning the team's 1st round draft pick next June will not be protected.

  17. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    I believe we finished in 15th but I could be wrong.

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:54 AM

    Tampa, down 7 runs, scored 6 in the 8th, and in the bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, nobody on, 2 strikes, and the game-tying home run hit the pole. That's the team you don't want to play now.

  19. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    Nats do finish with the 16th-worst record, so, no, their first-round pick is not protected.

  20. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:37 AM

    We should learn lessons from the other games. A couple of teams who are going home tried to fix things with big deals that bombed or didn't fill the right needs. I would hate to see us trade known assets for unknown problems. In April Boston had supposedly the best starting rotation in the AL. But it was their pitching that did them in. Their home-grown talent like Ellsbury & Pedroia couldn't save them. Their big investments in Lackey, Crawford and retreads like Bedard killed them. I hope Rizzo doesn't get carried away. I hope and think he's too smart for that.

  21. Golfersal - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:39 AM

    You know what is really funny about the Nats season, they won 80 games and easily blew between 7 to 10 games and should of won at least 12 games.So the next step is to continue winning ten more games a season, they did it last year and 11 more this year. Another 10 gets them at 90 wins and at least a shot at the wild card.Can't wait for next February to come around

  22. Grandstander - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:39 AM

    I'm fairly young around here, but I can't remember a more exciting night of non-postseason baseball in my lifetime. Add to the the Sox AND Braves being eliminated after epic collapses, just wow.

  23. Dave - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    I'm sorry I missed all that excitement last night. I had to go to bed before it was all over. Who do I like in the post-season? I don't know enough about the AL teams to pick a single winner, but I think the ALCS is Detroit vs. Tampa Bay, and the NLCS is Philly vs. Arizona. I'm feeling a bit dim, but I'm not 100% sure I understand the implications of Cleveland's losing last night. What exactly does it mean that our first-round pick is not protected? Something happens if we sign a type A free agent in the off-season, but I don't know exactly what. Help?

  24. baseballswami - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Dave – If we sign a top-tier free agent we lose our first round draft pick. This is a rule that we would have had no need for – EVER- before this year, which is the reason most people know nothing about it. Last night was the single most exciting night of non-playoff baseball that I can remember. There have been days where one game was exciting or we were waiting for a record to be broken – but last night where 3 out of the 4 games went down to the wire was just insane. The Rays come from being down 7-0 to the yankees in 12, the Sox lose to the orioles after a rain delay and the braves lose to philly in 13. I like the Brewers a lot for the post season but won't count out the DBacks. I also think that the Rays have gotten hot at just the right time, don't know much about the other al teams but Detroit seems like a solid team, yankees pitching is iffy. This should be very, very interesting. I was kind of hoping for a sudden-death day, though.

  25. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    I don't do predictions, even in the postseason, but I do know that I'll be rooting for the Rays again. Nice to see "Guns" Peralta on the bump for them last night. As for Ayala's Yanks, um, no, I won't be rooting for them. Not a fan of the Rangers, either (and, yeah, I know where they came from). I could root Leyland's Tigers in a pinch, and certainly when they're facing the Yanks.Now, the NL teams? Not really crazy about any of 'em. Gibson's plunktastic D'Backs? No thanks. The Phightin' Phils? Nah. Da Brew Crew? Meh. The Cards? Eh.

  26. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Eh. Draft pick, schmaft pick (holding breath and waiting to be struck by bolt of lightning hurled by baseball g*ds. You know what? I'm just glad to have a team that's in the position to face such a problem. And they'd still have to convince a top-tier FA to come here, which hasn't been a cakewalk in the past. As one of my colleagues would say, let's burn that bridge after get to it. Or something like that. :-)

  27. Natslifer - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I wanted to say thanks to Mark as well. I come here every day to feed my Nats craving and the group never disappoints.Eighty wins is a big milestone. Boz has pointed out for years that yes, teams do improve more than 10 runs a year but the odds are against it. Ninety wins gets us in the playoffs in '12 and that's totally within our reach now. And the Nats absolutely believe they can get there.I just can't wait.

  28. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Definitely can't wait for next season. For now, I'm still up for flying the Dodgers out to make up that game and possibly get the Nats to .500. Who's with me and FP on that? :-)I'll add my thanks to Mark as well, but no withdrawal pangs here, as he's stated that the Insider will continue in the offseason. Thanks to Mrs Z and Baby Z for sharing their husband/dad with us.

  29. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    p.s. If you didn't see the broadcast, when told that such a makeup game wouldn't happen, FP said that he'd call an imaginary ballgame at the park today. Well, then, I can certainly do some imaginary rooting, can't I? Heck, yes! :-)

  30. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    MarkGreat gamer and a great season! Can't wait until Viera!

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Going over to Disney tomorrow to watch the Nats/Braves FIL game and will report back Saturday morning.

  32. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Dave:found a decent explaination over on NJ of how the draft thing works – like Swami said, how would we have known?? Here's hoping we NEVER have to worry about finishing out of the top 15 again."If the Nationals finish in the top 15 overall, their first-round pick would not be protected if they sign a Type A free agent. In other words, the Nationals would lose their first round pick if they sign a top-tier free agent. But if the Nationals finished in the bottom 15, their first-round pick would be protected and they would lose only a second-round pick if they sign a Type A free agent.The unprotected first-round pick would not necessarily prevent the Nationals from signing a marquee free agent, but they would have to at least factor losing the pick into any decision they make in free agency.Not having a first-round pick would also enable the Nationals to take more risks in later rounds on players with “signability” issues, as they would not need to devote a large signing bonus to a first-round choice.The Nationals used the system to their advantage last year, selecting Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer with the 23rd overall pick, a choice that would have belonged to the Chicago White Sox had they not chosen Adam Dunn. The Nationals also received the No. 34 overall pick as compensation for losing Dunn in the “sandwich” round, and they chose outfielder Brian Goodwin."

  33. Dawn - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    I stayed up to watch it all unfold, now I am pooped. Thanks again for all the coverage Mr. Z, wish you and your wife a good six hours of uninterrupted sleep and a productive off-season. Will check in periodically (not the 3x a day), but that doesn't mean I am not dreaming baseball 2012. Thanks fellow posters for your intelligent (mostly) and entertaining (always) imput. Go Nats!

  34. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Thanks for a great site, Mark Z. Shana Tova.

  35. baseballswami - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Attention: The Braves were thought to be a lock for the wild card — we finished in third only 9, count them,9 games behind them. That is approximately the number of games made up by the cards and rays in September. Just think about that. A healthy Zim, a productive Werth and healthy La Roche — 9 games? And – I don't feel at all like our team played at its best all season, do you? Nats – wear your seat belt, no sky-diving, eat healthy, get a flu shot, if you have a slight injury take care of it now – come into ST healthy!

  36. Gonat - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    From Ryan Zimmerman after the game:“This was truly the first year where our talent was enough that we had a real legitimate chance to win every day. It’s definitely the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here.”Rizzo talked about progress. The numbers say the Nats pitching has made them upper tier.When you end up 8 1/2 games out of 2nd place and about 9 1/2 games out of the Playoffs and ALL KEY PLAYERS returning, this is finally possible.

  37. Dave - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Swami and sjm308, thanks for the explanations. That rundown from NJ was very helpful. What I did not understand was whether it was more complicated than that. I googled "Type A Free Agent" and saw an explanation, but it seemed that there was some additional complication having to do with the first team offering the FA arbitration and being turned down. Is that a complication that just doesn't exist in the real world?

  38. Theophilus - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    "Come into ST healthy …." I don't see anyone on the roster who'd be likely to allow his condition to slide into sloth. Happy that for now Storen has decided to put his degree pursuit on hold. Only concern is Ramos playing winter ball. I assume H. Rodriguez and Ramirez will play WB, also, hopefully avoiding injury though neither is a critical piece of the puzzle. I actually wish Marerro would play WB but don't know the protocols of getting him into the Dominican League. In my mind, he starts next season in Syracuse, anyway, so it's not like he won't get more experience before he's needed.

  39. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    One thing I love us how the entire organization from the top down – Rizzo, DJ, and the entire team – realize 3rd place is not enough and they want more and expect it! I can't wait for next year!

  40. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    1AI will be at the imaginary game with you!

  41. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    All right, MicheleS! (imaginary high five)

  42. Anonymous8 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Mark's article he wrote has also reinforced what we have been discussing for months here about getting to the next level. He also mentions getting a pitcher like Mark Buehrle or CJ Wilson.

  43. m20832 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Thanks for a Great season Mark! I've really enjoyed looking in every day. And I liked the way FP mentioned and thanked his resources like Mark and Nats Insider. Pretty cool!When does spring training start?GYFNG!!!!

  44. CBinDC - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Well that was a hell of a season I have never felt this good after a season ….great finish …Sundays game was the best game I have attended so far …..this blog or site has been great all season. Thank You Mark you do a great wonderful fantastic job. We may really be seeing the losing years in the rear view but no time to relax about it …..much still has to be addressed but the off field is now the greater issue, I think and hope the on field is in good/great shape. I do not know what the Nats FO can do but the media treatment from their outlets is still terrible. The game broadcasts on TV and radio are not the issue it is the treatment before and after that really sucks. They did not replay yesterdays game on MASN and the radio did not even run the game. Mark had more minutes of Nats coverage on WTEM yesterday then the whole flagship station on the same day. The game was on while the flagship station was running a Redskins press conference. I contacted the station but they just dismissed the fans who care at all. I do not know if anybody out there has also been in contact with THE FAN I would love to know what was their experience.So here is to the end of the Culture of Losing and I am looking forward to Spring Training already. And this morning I start to turn toward hockey but slowly and still wish another game was on tonight.

  45. N. Cognito - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    baseballswami said… "I think I could look back on this year and identify a lot of games that we really could have won."Golfersal said… "You know what is really funny about the Nats season, they won 80 games and easily blew between 7 to 10 games and should of won at least 12 games." It's all point of view. There are as many games the Nats shouldn't have won as there are games they shouldn't have lost. Same for every team, every year.They finished with the record they earned.

  46. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Quoted for truth, as the young 'uns say."It's all point of view. There are as many games the Nats shouldn't have won as there are games they shouldn't have lost. Same for every team, every year.They finished with the record they earned."

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

    Today is…National Coffey Day!!

  48. Joe Seamhead - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Man, we're pretty fuzzy headed this morning after staying up watching all three games after the Nats game last night. I about wore out the remote control going back and forth between the games. But, I detest the Braves' tomahawk chop, along with the worst winners that I've ever seen being the Red Sox fans, so I'm thrilled with the outcomes. I don't really have a team that I favor for the post-season, but I'm not wishing the Phills any good luck. As far as next year for us? I'm so high on the Rizzo-Johnson Kool-ade that I have to keep my expectations under control, but honestly? I think that the Washington Nationals are going to win the NL East next year.

  49. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Posting issue?Has anyone had problems with explorer 9 and posting to this sight?I can't post from my computer.

  50. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Absolutely. I can think, easy, of a dozen games the other team gave us (of course, we gave a couple back.) Don't hit me, but I'm wearing my Nyjer tee tomorrow to root for Milwaukee. Putting away all the rest of my jerseys, hanging my hats and game bags on their hooks, checking Clipp's card and photo on the refrig, eating my last bag of game peanuts…Cleaning house and starting a SERIOUS DIET and will have to restart the gym membership (I quit in a funk when they wouldn't put Nats games on their TV's. Hey, PR department, get with the Gold's Gym people, you advertised with them, now make 'em carry the Nats!!!).Don't have it in me to root for any of the other NL teams, and I love me some Prince Fielder. They are a fun team to watch. If the Brewers are out of it then I guess I'll have to root for BJ's brother.AL, guess it'll have to be the Amazin' Rays. Who are they playing against, I forgot. :)

  51. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Michele, not using Explorer but have also had some issues posting today. Also, the last day or so, was noticing "redirecting" messages after entering captcha.hmmmm…good point about Capt. Morgan, NatsLady.Speaking of FL teams (go, Rays!), I forgot to mention this in all the excitement of the last two series, but we need a volunteer to go to the new Marlins park in the offseason and bury a dead fish under it. DJ or NatsJack, how about it? If not you, maybe some of the Nats who live there in the offseason could do so. ;-)

  52. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    In the AL, the Tigers will start at the Yanks and the Rays will start at the Rangers. In the NL, it's the Cards at (phooey) Philly and the Diamondbacks at Milwaukee.

  53. N. Cognito - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    As long as the Yankees and Phillies lose, I'm okay, though my preference would be for either Texas, Milwaukee or Tampa to win the Series.

  54. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    I would love to see the Rays do well and not sure about the NL.. I don't like the Cards -LaRussa whines to much, Brewers – eh, Dbacks – not those plunkers, and I don't have to explain why I am not rooting for the Phoolies.

  55. N. Cognito - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Nats Insider:Content – ATechnology – D

  56. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Joe Seamhead, I, too, was wearing out the clicker and detest the tomahawk chop. That said, I was surprised to find myself feeling disappointed when Larry, uh, Chipper flied out against the "no-doubles defense" late in the game. Dude has kinda grown on me over the years. He seems like a stand-up guy.

  57. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    I felt bad for the Braves with their young bullpen, and for Hudson who pitched very well and deserved to win. Their pitching hid a lot of flaws in that team. Didn't feel at all bad for the Red Sox. I mean, they lost to, say, it again Baltimore?????

  58. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Theo:I am too excited about both the Nationals and baseball in general to be upset about a throw away comment but I humbly disagree with your statement about HRod not being a big piece of next year. IF and again this is one of those big IFS, HRod can cut down on his wildness I seriously think he is as close to unhittable as any relief pitcher in baseball. To have him in the 7th with Clip and Storen plus Davey has talked about having someone close when Storen has thrown 2 or 3 games in a row is crucial if we/I are going to dream about the playoffs next year.Teams that make big jumps like the diamondbacks get a critical lift from someone they are not expecting. Ian Kennedy alway had potential but he reached that potential this year and helped the Dbacks from last to first. HRod could be that piece for us.Again, this is a small nit on a glorious day but I have always been a big HRod fan and had to suffer as pitches went clear to the backstop and he walked thousands of batters. I think when Davey started holding him to just one inning and showed confidence in him it made a big difference. Remember, he is only 24 and this is just his 2nd season in the bigs.Go Nats!!

  59. Feel Wood - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    N. Cognito said… Nats Insider:Content – ATechnology – DYou clearly don't read the WaPo Nationals Journal. Or perhaps you've tried, and you're still waiting for the page to load. There the content is a true D (B for information averaged with an F for Kilgore's abominable writing) and the technology is an F. Here the content is A+ and the technology is at least a solid B. Any problems I've experienced technology-wise from Mark's site have been due to IE or other browser issues – mainly IE wich is what I use at work, can't really recall any issues with Mac/Safari at home – and you can't blame the Blogger software Mark uses for that.

  60. MIcheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Technology.. It's Explorer. I am on Firefox right now and not having any problems. (I talked my work IT guy into letting me load Firefox – No Computer bug is going to make me miss NI posts and you know… actually work!)

  61. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    sjm, I am with you on Henry, and always have been. You cannot just depend on Storen every game. Unless the Nats enter an alternate universe, they are still going to be playing a lot of tight games. Davey has got the right idea, if Storen has been over-used, let Henry close. If not, use Henry for an earlier inning. Also, I don't see Henry as a starter, at least not next year. He hasn't got to where he can pitch two consistent innings in a row, not to mention six. The pitchers seriously love McCatty. I know it's hard to judge by man-hugs, but I think he and Pudge won.

  62. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Feel wood – I like most of your posts and have honestly stopped reading comments over on NJ and you were one of the reasons why. Your constant harping on the editing issues just got old quick. I think we are blessed to have more then just one beat writer who each brings his/her own style. I for one, like Kilgore and also like his morning article with minor league coverage as well. I read Mark religiously but enjoy the ability to have so many sources to fill my baseball fix. Yes, there are typos on NJ but his actual writing was in my opinion easy to read and enjoyable. We will just disagree on this as I realize its a huge issue with you.

  63. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    NatsLady..I loved the fact that all the Man Hugs were going on while the Marlins were trying to set up for the closing ceremonies.I Second the Nomination for JD or NatsJack to bury the Dead Fish at the new stadium!

  64. N. Cognito - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    I'm not a fan of Microsoft, but if your web page has a problem with IE, the problem is your web page, not IE.I have IE8 at home and IE7 at work. I know there are issues with web pages designed for IE8 working on IE7, but I have different issues with both.There was no problem before the move to CSN.

  65. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    222, if you are still looking, let's talk. I am feeling optimistic. :)

  66. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    NatsLady, good point. I also felt sympathy for the young kids in the Braves 'pen. By the time I clicked over Hudson was out of the game, if memory serves. Also agree with you and sjm on H-Rod. As for NJ, the cumbersome interface was what led me to stop reading comments or posting there, though I do still read Kilgore's stuff.Last but not least, also enjoyed the fact that the Man Hugs were delaying the ceremony. It's kinda like trotting around the bases after a dinger, ya know? ;-)

  67. Feel Wood - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Kilgore's "editing issues" (as you call them) are a symptom, not the disease. They only serve to illuminate how bad a writer Kilgore is. He cannot turn a phrase, he cannot spin a narrative, he has no insight and he cannot even impart information without casting doubt on its veracity thanks to his "editing issues." He's nothing but a hack. With absolutely everything he writes about available elsewhere, for free, and presented better than he does, it absolutely amazes me that anyone comes to his defense whenever someone happens to point out one of his "editing issues."

  68. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    The only creature happy about the season being over is Lady Silver (my cat). She gets her spot on the side table back now that baseball stuff is cleared off.Am thinking of doing a blog (not to compete with Mark) with emphases on "Cats, Stats, and the Washington Nats." I've noticed that some of the blogs from previous years are not too active. All I could offer will be sporadic posts and controversy (e.g., what would happen if a hypothetical trade of Morse? Davey doesn't play every game to win…?).My father taught me to play poker. I'm pretty good at it. I've been thinking about Davey as a poker player, that might be the first post. What say you? Gotta do something for the winter, I mean, other than Farmville.

  69. Les in NC - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    I honestly don't think the Braves pen was used properly to shut the game down. I feel bad for them as well, but had they (braves manager) taken out Hudson before he let the 7th inning get out of control they might have been able to win the game without going into extra innings. The Braves, now with Medlin, have 4 RP's that are very nearly as close to "money" as you can get. Medlin, O'Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel. I know hindsight is 20/20 and all, but if they had only been warming the pen up before Hudson ever went out for the seventh, the game may very well have had a different outcome. (IMO) But, whatever. I could have rooted for the Braves a lot easier this post season, than any other team currently in the race.

  70. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Feel Wood, I hear you, but Kilgore's diligent and conscientious. I get tired–VERY EASILY–of Boz's "soaring prose." And if Tracee Hamilton writes another column stating the obvious two days late I am going shred a lot of pixels. Also disagree strongly with Boz that we need another wildcard. If this end of the season wasn't an absolute blast, I don't know what would be. The September collapse of the RSawks and Atlanta gives every team something to play for.

  71. What I don't like about Kilgore - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I can't believe how many times Kilgore has confused his left and right ("so-and-so dumped a single into left field and Jayson Werth had no play at the plate"). A minor point but one that calls the entire process into doubt. Maybe he's dyslexic?

  72. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Speaking of the Sox, was rolling my eyes at the broadcast team last night for the Yanks/Rays game. Seems like every other inning it was "If [insert Rays player name here] doesn't pull something off here, this game is over." or "If [insert Rays player name here] can't get out of the inning, the Rays are toast." Think maybe they were wishing for both the Yanks and Sox to be playing in October? uh, gentlemen, when the game is over, Messrs. Johnson and Longoria will let you it. ;-)

  73. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    "don't like," I do that all the time when I'm writing plays down on my scorecard. hmmm…can there be directional dyslexia? Also, maybe it's because I'm a lefty, but when riding in a car, the way I think we should turn is always the wrong way…NatsLady, I don't tend to read fan blogs myself but there are plenty who do. Whatever gets you through the dark days of no baseball…

  74. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Nats Lady – agree with you on both Boz and Tracee. I am amazed no one calls boz on flipping back and forth. At the beginning of the year he had the O's and their pitching far above us and weeks later wrote a column with the exact opposite tack.FeelW – I guess I am just not that demanding and like his dedication. I can let the other stuff go, so be amazed with me and guess what, his stuff is for free as well so I don't understand that part of your argument that you can get it for free elsewhere. Your argument on turning a phrase and spinning a narrative are valid as Mark pretty well nails that with each post. I am happy to have so much baseball to read and hope it continues through the winter.

  75. MicheleS - Sep 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Well, I like all the coverage of our Nats team, regardless – because it's better than reading about that Football team. Look, we all get Boz being a pollyanna and flip flopping on issues. But – Hello – As commentators we have done the same flip/flop thing. MPHRod??? Riggleman (Good or Bad). Davey?The sheer fact that we can actually get the Nats covered is a good thing. I read Kilgore when Mark can't go on the road – hey Comcast.. spend some of that money! Plus I love Dave Shenin.Now if we could just get the radio and TV coverage fixed and we will be good to go!

  76. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Also, maybe it's because I'm a lefty, but when riding in a car, the way I think we should turn is always the wrong way…1a, sorry, but I am totally RH, and I am so levorotarily reversed you could set your clock by me. Or something. I have trouble with cliches, too.

  77. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    As for orthography, I of quit caring. Its a loost cause.

  78. FS - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Forget CJ or Mark, I hope CC opts out of his last four years with Yanks after they lose the division series against Detroit and comes to DC to pitch ahead of JZ, SS, JL, and Wang in Nats rotation. :DLast night's Tampa game has got me really excited. I am very much rooting for them. That's the only team I care about right now in the postseason. Seriously last night, Crawford is to blame. That was a catchable hit by Andino. Wonder what he was dreaming about in LF?What about game of the season and series of the season?

  79. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    agreed, fs, crawford *had* to come up with that ball. How tight were they?

  80. Dave - Sep 29, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    @1a, I harumphed a bit when John Kruk (the color analyst on ESPN) said during the second inning of the Tampa-Yankees game that "the game is over" when the Yanks had a rather minor lead. (3-0?) Then when Tex hit that grand slam, I began to think Kruk's premature bloviations might have been on point. But no, it turns out Kruk was in fact something of a big-mouthed blowhard. They play nine innings of these games, and sometimes they even play extra ones. And sometimes the game is won in the 12th inning. I liked Steve Berthiaume's play-by-play just fine, but Kruk's analysis was a bit grating. I'm not understanding the vitriol against Kilgore, I must say. If he makes the odd error (in the NJ blog, I believe; not in the regular gamer), then maybe he's the Bob Carpenter of the WaPo. At least he seems to like baseball, which his immediate predecessor stated publicly he did not. What I can't stand about the NJ is the same thing I can't stand about all the WaPo blogs: the comment function is nearly impossible to navigate.

  81. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Dave, thanks for splitting out the ESPN broadcaster voices for me. I don't tend to watch games on there much but rather tend to opt for MLB Network broadcasts when there's not a Nats game to watch.Dang, sec3, you totally killed my alibi… :-)

  82. Big Cat - Sep 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    If I'm Rizzo, I get the ball rolling with Puhols. Opening offer….5 years at 175 million. Why not? Lets reach for the moon. You say we got Laroche and Marrero? Trade em. Lets get the big man in here. I figure he has 3-5 years left of productivity. Its only money man

  83. sjm308 - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Big Cat:first 175 million I spend is on R. Zimmerman. Then we go after the others, hell the Lerners have the money, its time we pounce.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies 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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