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Comeback kids establish their identity

Apr 7, 2012, 11:18 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Henry Rodriguez, Adam LaRoche and Chad Tracy all played key roles in today's win.

CHICAGO — Two games. Two tepid performances for seven innings that leave everyone scratching their heads and wondering how in the world this team is ever going to score enough runs to win. And then two stirring rallies that completely alter everyone's opinions and make them believe anything may be possible with this team.

Is it possible for a ballclub to establish an identity only two games into a 162-game season?

"I think it is too early," Danny Espinosa said. "I don't think that's going to be our identity all year — just come back, come back, come back. We don't want to be in that position every single game. We don't want to have to fight to try to get two runs. We want to jump out early and hopefully get a lead."

The young second baseman paused for a moment and added what surely others inside the jubilant visitors clubhouse at Wrigley Field wereRead more ยป

  1. NatsFanJim - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    So far, so good. Even on a day when Gio is off, we win. LaRoche with 4 hits — we hardly knew ya. HRod is awesome.

  2. yankish2 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    New year but still last year's version of Jason Werth.

  3. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Kudos to the Comeback Kids, and Davey for his quick hook of Nat Gio. He didn't have it, Davey recognized it and went with Plan B. And God bless Chad Tracy. He's to Davey Johnson what Rod Kanehl was to Casey Stengel. And you could look it up.

  4. Bueno Bryce - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    1a, I think you raise some really interesting questions in the previous post. I will wait until sober to more fully reply. I do think there are some fans out there new to baseball, but also think there is a small percentage of losers that have nothing better to do than antagonize folks on a fan blog.

  5. Wally - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Potential trouble in Potomac – twitterverse is saying Rendon got hurt rounding 3b. No idea if it's serious

  6. sm13 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Mark — you have it right — the rally could not have been possible had the bullpen not done an outstanding job. Craig Stammen put out the fire and held the Cubs down for 2+ solid innings of ground ball outs. Davey & Rizzo knew what they were doing when they added him to the roster.How glad are we that we don't have our own Carlos Marmol to make us crazy?Go Nats!

  7. Kirbs - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    What Matt stairs couldn't do, Chad Tracey does in a big big way!!!!

  8. sm13 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Sunshine — love the Rod Kanehl reference, brings back fond memories. Although Tracy reminds more of Ed Kranepool, especially running the bases!

  9. Wally - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    This is the most that I could find about Rendon3B Anthony Rendon, the Nationals No. 2 overall prospect, just helped off the field after slipping while making the turn at third.

  10. skidge - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Adam Kilgore said half an hour ago: "Anthony Rendon hit a double in the 4th inning with Potomac tonight, then was injured rounding 3rd, pulled from game. Status TBD for now."

  11. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    From the previous post, thanks Joeseamhead!Natsfan1a – I don't mind a fan criticizing our lads when they obviously have an idea of what they are saying, but (insert name) sucks! or (insert name) should be traded or (insert name) is werthless (oops, gave a name away) just is not intelligent conversation, its basically spewing garbage with no intent but to hate. If they hate, how can they truly be fans?? I might not agree with Peric or JayB on some things but I do respect their knowledge and they are fans. (although it is interesting that JayB never did answer the question of who he would fill his bench or CF with). Lots of Anons have been right on about keeping Gorzalony and others when people are calling for their heads. Its a great blog and most of the regulars make for outstanding reading. I have learned a lot from so many but the hate makes it difficult at times. Everyone has a right to put whatever they want in here but it amazes me how little thought there is from many and yes, most of those are anons. OK, my hat stays the same for the 4th day. I will take that the entire season!!Oh, sec 3 – those butterflys were fairly tough but we got through it.Go Nats!

  12. Mr. Doggett - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Kirbs: "What Matt stairs couldn't do, Chad Tracey does in a big big way!!!!"So true… have to admit I completely blocked Stairs out of my memory. Threw up in my mouth a litle bit upon reading his name.

  13. Cwj - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    I seriously think the Nats may have a top 3 (in all of MLB) bullpen.

  14. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    The Cubs bullpen imploded. Let's not get too carried away.

  15. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    @sm13: Ed Kranepool reference in a Nats blog! That's gotta be a first. Anybody up for a Jay Hook Fan Club?

  16. Arlington BigFish - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    What Yankish said. Werth looks like a Little-Leaguer at the plate.

  17. Cwj - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    I agree 100% with Natsfan, and the (all to few) others who have pointed that out.I sometimes even leave the computer when the negative/unintelligent posts start appearing.

  18. Cwj - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Sec 3- Did the Cubs bullpen implode, or did the Nats offense explode? :-)Anyway, the Nats Bullpen is incredibly good :)

  19. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Could it be that Nats fans are getting to be true baseball fans like those of the Phillies? You know, love the team, hate the players. Sure sounds like the ABFish, feels that way.

  20. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    When good things happen in life, smart folks relish and enjoy them. These are good days, my Nats fan friends. Let us enjoy, and hope this keeps up. I think it will!Corky

  21. sm13 - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    I'll see your Jay Hook and raise you a Jack Fisher! Jay Hook's book on the physics of a curve ball was a classic.

  22. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    I'm with Corky. Savor victories and be positive!

  23. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    I am savoring away!Have to think J Zimmnn will be dominating tomorrow and we will not have to worry about coming back.

  25. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Sheesh, what will we do if Maya figures it out??? #canyouhavetoomuchpitching?(BTW, I thought Lannan was supposed to start in Syracuse today. Anyone know if anything is happening?)I say Mattheus goes down (if he has options) rather than Stammen because Storen and Mattheus are both short-relievers. I gather Davey said he has an idea who will go down when Morse and Ankiel come back but he won't say because "things could change." Good. He's learning. :) :)Can someone who understands these things explain how Kerry Wood got a hold and lost the game? Looking at the box he pitched 2/3 of an inning.

  26. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Any word on Rendon besides "injured leg"??

  27. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    NatsLady: I heard Lannan was scheduled for Sunday.Maya was outstanding from what I can gather (58 strikes out of 74 pitches). Both Mattheus and Stammen have options but I believe you are correct that it will be Mattheus. This will give Davey his right and left long relievers. I hope when Storen gets back HRod will still get a shot at closing a game or two.

  28. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Just this from the P-Nats site:There was a scary moment in the stadium in the fourth inning. After he hit a double, Anthony Rendon was trying to score on a bloop single to center by Justin Bloxom. He went down with an injury after rounding third. As of now, there is no update on the extent of the injury that was suffered or where exactly Rendon was injured. As soon as we have an update, we will share it.

  29. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    Holds. One of the weird quirks of that is that because he came in in a save situation, got at least one out, and didn't actually give up the lead, he gets a hold, even though he put guys on who scored (inherited by Marmol, who imploded along with Wood, UH-gain) and thus got the loss.

  30. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    Also, I'm pretty sure holds are not an actual stat.

  31. Tom in AR - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    I think our "B" bullpen has several guys who would be "A" closers for a lot of teams. We have at least 5 guys on this team I would feel confident in walking out for the 9th with a 1 run lead – Storen, Clippard, Lidge, Mattheus and MPHRod.

  32. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Holds from Wikipedia

  33. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    I say Mattheus goes down (if he has options) rather than Stammen because Storen and Mattheus are both short-relievers. I gather Davey said he has an idea who will go down when Morse and Ankiel come back but he won't say because "things could change." Good. He's learning. :) :) Davey said he's holding open spots, especially for Michael Morse. I think that kind of says that Ankiel is still in competition with Bernadina, Carroll, Nady, Chad Tracy, et al.I think they will take their time with Storen. He has yet to make any rehab appearances. You might not see him until May … and injuries do occur … seems like they are doing fine without Drew … so they have the luxury of letting Storen completely recover from his arm injury.

  34. NatsFanTom - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    So far so Pretty Frickin' Bueno!! 2-0 and Jordan Zimmermann on tomorrow. Don't forget to set those DVRs if you have to miss the game on account of family stuff. I just set mine because we're having dinner at 3.

  35. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    lls45 said…Anon at 6:24 — Who was the unsung here of the day? Craig Stammen. Who stopped the Cubs' rally and kept them in check for two more innings so we could have a chance to come back? Craig Stammen. So I wouldn't be so quick to say that Stammen will be sent down when Storen returns. Mattheus had a great day too, and yet he also has options remaining.That's exactly the point they have options remaining, Stammen and Mattheus. The Nats and Davey want to keep them both … I'm sure Davey would like to have both in his bullpen but he can only have 7 relievers and he needs lefties as well. Releasing Gorzelanny would be insane, he wouldn't last long on the waiver wire even if it was just the NL East on the wire. To get nothing for him? He is far more valuable than Lannan right now … as is Detwiler … again not mentioning the fact they really have only two lefties in the bullpen and I'm not sure about relying exclusively on Sean Burnett are you?Why would you pick Stammen over Mattheus? Because Mattheus is a power arm. His velocity was over 95mph today. He can be a stopper. While Stammen is more a backend starter and long reliever. Gorzelanny could fill that role … clearly it might hurt John Lannan because Stammen would and should be the first guy called in the event of an injury to one of the starters. Personally, I'd rather see Stammen brought back as I believe he would be more effective than Lannan in a starting or relief role.

  36. Dwayne Yancey - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    I was at the game in Lynchburg, Va. where Anthony Rendon left the game with an injury. Here's what I saw:In the top of the fourth, Rendon was at second following a double. A subsequent Potomac Nationals batter dropped a hit into centerfield and Rendon took off — with what I thought was impressive speed — and appeared certain to score a run.Instead,as he rounded third on a wide turn, he appeared to slip in the grass and went face down — but then didn't get back up. In fact, I didn't see him move at all — he just laid there, motionless, near as I could tell from my vantage point from the first base seats. Nationals staff rushed out to his aid. Meanwhile, there was a bizarre scene on the field — where the play was still considered "live," I suppose. After some confusion, the Lynchburg Hillcats threw the ball to their third baseman, who went over and gently tagged Rendon out as he lay motionless on the ground. I'm not sure how long Rendon was down, but it seemed quite a long time; in reality, perhaps a few minutes. At first, he sat up with some help — it appeared his head was cocked to one side. Then, with two people helping him, he was moved into an upright position and left the field very slowly for the locker room. As he exited the field, it was quite clear that he wasn't putting any weight on his left leg — his left foot was off the ground entirely — at least during the time I could see him before he rounded a corner into the locker rooms.

  37. Steady Eddie - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Dwayne — thanks for the account. Scary stuff, especially as Rendon is an incredibly multi-tool guy who clearly plays all-out.

  38. Steady Eddie - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Meant "incredibly talented…".Just all holding our breath here in Natstown.

  39. whatsanattau - Apr 8, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    It sounds like the ankle gave out, but did he also hit his head as he went down? Do you think he not move from pain or from loss of consciousness?

  40. Dwayne Yancey - Apr 8, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    Whatsanattau — I couldn't tell from my vantage point on the other side of the field. When he went down, I fully expected him to get back up — and either continue on to home or back to third. It looked like a routine slip — until we realized he wasn't getting up, or moving. I was too far away to hear anything, if there was anything to be heard.

  41. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    We have now seen 2 starters and most of the Nats bullpen, and only Gio has had a bad outing. The new bench has been clutch. If Tracy had not made the team before, he has now.The top of the lineup has been producing, so far. Don't know what got into ALR, but he was a different player from the guy we saw Thursday. RZ has got only 1 bloop hit, Werth has not got a one, Morse and Ankiel are not even on the team, Storen hasn't thrown a pitch, and they are still finding ways to win. On the road.Great to be a Nats' fan these days.Hope its only a sprained ankle for Rendon. At least it's not the same foot he broke at Rice.Laddie_Blah_Blah

  42. Rabbit - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I am really encouraged by the Nationals this year!! Great effort by the team. Unfortunately we still have a huge rally-stopper in Jason Werth. I must admit that twice yesterday I was looking at when Werth was going to bat because I knew all good things would stop. He is so frustrating. Today Zimmermann is pitching!! Good things will continue to happen. GO NATIONALS!!

  43. Rabbit - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    To NatsLady……..Kerry Wood held onto the LOSS!!!! Yea!! GO NATIONALS!!!!!

  44. fast eddie - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    The grumbling around the league has already started: "Break up the Nationals"!

  45. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Rally stopper? He may not be hitting but let us now read from the good book of Werth.In the big inning: Saturday, 8th inning, drew a walk to load the bases and set the table for Tracy to drive in 2 runs.On Thursday, also in the 8th inning, drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game.

  46. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Which is not to say that I didn't also have some concerns when he came to the plate, but the man did keep the line moving. :-)

  47. ExposedinDC - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Right on 1a….great point on werth's patience at the plate, 2 hugr walks, without those at bats both games may have had a different outcome

  48. ExposedinDC - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Grrrrr…..huge

  49. ExposedinDC - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Any morning updates on Rendon ?

  50. ehay2k - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Is anyone else as happy with Espinosa's play, and the plate approaches of the team in general, as I am? I thought Espi's fake bunt in the eighth Thursday, with Desi on first, completely got into Wood's head. (I remember last year against a very wild Marmol, calling from my pre-PFB sofa for the same play. Instead, Desi and Espi struck out on pitches way away. I believe my first "fire the hitting coach" rant followed shortly thereafter.)Is this Davey's influence? Time will tell. But for now, I am PFP – pretty frickin' pleased – with how things are progressing. And I'm not talking about the record, which I view as a byproduct of the other improvements.

  51. fpcsteve - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    It is interesting that Werth is taking heat when Ryan Zimmerman has one hit in two games. It seems like we should treat them similarly (for good or bad). I prefer to think both of them will be fine in the long run.

  52. fast eddie - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    fpc:As the FOF, Zimm has proven himself here over several years. As a newcomer with the mega-bucks contract, everyone will be skeptical of Werth till he performs as advertised.I agree they'll both be fine in the long run.

  53. Kirbs - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Plus zim hit what would have been 2 homeruns in game 1 if it wasn't for the wind. And he is always clutch. The most we can hope for Werth is he gets a game saving walk……

  54. SayNoToClint - Apr 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    I'm optimistic on Werth. At least he's started swinging at first pitch strikes instead of letting them go by. Baby steps.

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