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Game 12: Astros at Nats

Apr 17, 2012, 7:38 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez takes the mound tonight against the Astros at Nationals Park.

The Nationals faced only one left-handed starter in their first 11 games, Mets ace Johan Santana, so Davey Johnson hasn't had much reason to consider platoons and lefty-righty matchups. Tonight, though, the Astros send Wandy Rodriguez to the hill, so Johnson had some decisions to make before filling out his lineup card.

As planned, Jayson Werth will slide over from right field to center field, sending Rick Ankiel to the bench. Werth also will hit cleanup. Xavier Nady and Mark DeRosa take over the two corner outfield positions. Johnson had planned to sit Adam LaRoche against lefties and use DeRosa at first base, but LaRoche has been so productive at the plate (and has stayed healthy) that Johnson doesn't feel like he needs a breather.

Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, makes his third start of the season (his second at home) and will look to pitch the first-place Nationals to their seventh win in eight days. Plenty of updates and analysis to come…

HOUSTON ASTROS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Mostly clear, 69 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF

NATIONALS (8-3)
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Jayson Werth

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157 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. rogieshan - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Would rather see Flores and DeRosa switch places in the batting order.

  2. Anonymous8 - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    rogieshan, If you went off of 2012 stats you would be correct and maybe bat DeRosa 9th. Davey is going by his stat book and using larger sample sizes I believe. DeRosa lifetime on Wandy is .321/.441/.679/1.120 in 38 plate apprearances is a large sample vs JFlo who is 2 for 4 in 1 game.In the early morning post, P2P points out LaRoche bats .350 in 20 ABs vs. Wandy.

  3. Anonymous8 - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Mark Zuckerman writes Johnson had planned to sit Adam LaRoche against lefties and use DeRosa at first base, but LaRoche has been so productive at the plate (and has stayed healthy) that Johnson doesn't feel like he needs a breather.————–Seems history plays into it also. .350 BA in 20 ABs vs. Wandy has to have helped the decision. I'm sure Davey sits him if he was batting .100 vs. Wandy.

  4. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Leadoff for the Astros…wow.

  5. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    JMax finally made it the majors … with another last place team …

  6. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    I'd like to see Lombo get his cuts in left field over DeRosa and Nady. Could be an exceptional eight hitter, bumping the catcher (Ramos/Flores) up to seventh or sixth (Ankiel in other)on the usual line-up. If Lombo gets on base, pitcher can sac, leaving runner in scoring for Desmond, Espi

  7. TimDz - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Was listening to XM MLB Radio late this morning/early afternoon…the hosts (can't remember the names…One was Duquette…not the current O's GM) and they were ranting about the low turnout at last nights game. It seems that since the team is in first place (be it only 11 games in mind you), these guys (at least the one guy was) were slamming the DC area for not supporting the team…They DID acknowlege that the Caps were playing a playoff hockey game and that this may have caused some to stay away…they also acknoweleged it was a school night. They made no mention that it was the Astros we were playing (such teams are not a good draw) and they also made no mention of the pretty nice crowds for the series with the Reds.Mostly, I am hacked off that they are making these comments only ELEVEN games into the season.

  8. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    i think Lombo should be starting…lots of pressure on Espi to perform. the radio guys were right to rip on the crowds, and i was surprised the sunday reds game was a pretty light draw, but the fact is dc is not a great sports town..i wonder what we would have drawn on sunday if the stadium was located where springfield mall is now…

  9. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    i meanat baseball town, but the comment is still pretty correct..the skins are down (although the owner s so distasteful it's not hard to figur eout why) and wizards/bullets tix are plentiful (again, team stinks)..caps dwraw very well…its not a town where people show up for a losing team..of course not many are…

  10. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Uh Nattydread? You are LOOKING IN THE WRONG place for the Nats WAR … it is now 1.9 from 1.2 after the latest victory?THE real Fangraph's team WAR Noting that they did move up to fifth from 19th. Why the huge jump? This statistic and particularly those its based on is very sensitive to sample size. But once the sample size grows beyond 30-40 games we can make some predictions. The problem of course is that it's hard to take injuries into account … but with Wang in the wings, Gorzelanny and Stammen pitching well a hit to the starting rotation should be manageable. Bullpen wise the depth so far has been manageable. A lot of that is due to Gorzelanny and Stammen's ability to bridge the gap when Burnett and Clippard have been down. However, at 30 games or so we should be able to get a good idea of how effective the pitching staff is compared to the mean across baseball using the pRAA.

  11. Section 222 - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Can't wait to see if Gio can keep it going. He has one bad start and one good one so far. If this rotation is for real, we are in for some great baseball. The Nats are in the middle of the pack in most batting categories (though No. 2 in OBP), but in pitching we are off the charts at the top. Team ERA is 2.08, No. 2 are the Mets at 2.43, and only four teams in the NL are under 3.00. Astounding. We really need to beat up on the bad teams while we can. Can we hope to be 11-3 or 10-4 after this series? Wow.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    I'd like to see Lombo get his cuts in left field over DeRosa and Nady.I can see why Johnson is doing this much to fans' chagrin. Unlike Riggleman who drove us nuts by double switching in his weak hitting veterans in the fifth inning … Johnson has a bench he thinks can produce offensively … not just in April but later on in the season. He's trying to get Nady past spring training and DeRosa's bat back up … I don't think he's quit on Bernadina who should be starting in left field … still the sudden impetus to move Tyler Moore to left field should give folks an indication that offense/hitting is a concern to management … Probably making Michael Morse a tad nervous he doesn't feel that secure … let's face it Morse should have Werth's contract instead of Werth at this point … but the injuries do hurt his chances of getting a full-time gig with anyone not just the Nats. Still Morse is their very best hitter and a batter who is on the cusp of becoming an elite hitter. However, he needs to play to prove it.

  13. blovy8 - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Lombo didn't look great in the OF though in ST. I think if he had the four-hit game and the Nats had a losing record, you might see it to jump up the offense, but not right now. He'll get an atbat or two tonight somehow I'd imagine.

  14. RPrecupjr - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Finally got to see the video of Ankiel's throw….you gotta be kidding me. That was unreal….and kept a speedster like Schafer on third? Wow.Of course I didn't get to see it because I was out, but I didn't even get to HEAR it, because as I was listening to 106.7 in the bottom of the 5th, in the middle of an at-bat, my radio says to me, "we now join the Wizards and the Bulls"…I almost drove into a tree I was so blinded by rage. How the &^*%&%^&&^ can 106.7 call itself the Nats "Flagship" station and then leave the game to cover a team whose season is long over. Un&*^%*&^%*&^believable. We have to be the only major league team that has such absurd bush league coverage. It's just absolutely pathetic.In the meantime, GYFNG!!!!

  15. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    the radio guys were right to rip on the crowds, Bulldinky.Hello? A Caps playoff game was going on just 20 blocks away! Where there was official attendance of 18,506. Furthermore, Houston stinks.Last night:Hous at Wash, Att: 16,245.Mets at Atl, Att: 16,161.SD at Col, Att: 21,547.Pit at Ariz, Att: 17,366.Phil at S.F., Att: 41,136.The way I see it is: with 1200 more folks, it would have been the third highest attended NL game last night. Which is not so far-fetched given the competing NHL Playoff game.Or, even bigger picture: the Nats had about the same attendance as everybody else, except for the defending world champs playing the former world champs with a Halliday-Lincecum matchup.Nats attendence, given all that, was fine last night. That's just the way it is on April school nights _all_ over.Those XM guys don't know what they're talking about.

  16. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    RPrecupjr: It is enraging. If you have satellite all games are on, and it is on AM, but putting the Wizards on is sad…especially considering the 106.7 presence at the games…i wonder how many people listen to the wizards games on radio..it's get to be a very small #

  17. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    The XM guys have to blabber on about something but Strasburg is a star..cover of SI two years ago…don't hate on the messenger, attendance is poor..as for comparing to other towns you might be right but that just means baseball attendance is not strong in almost every city except St L, Boston, NY, and ?

  18. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    You can keep saying "attendance is poor", but the correct question is: compared to what?I think the correct context is: compared to other NL games going on last night — and, in that respect, other than the defending champs, attendance was average. Given a competing NHL playoff game a short distance away, I don't think it warrants criticism. At all.

  19. Bowdenball - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Scott from Burke-Nats have averaged over 29,000 a game in their five home dates. How in God's name is that poor? It's outstanding. It's what they averaged in the first season in the new stadium.And don't tell me that includes opening day and Strasburg bobble head day. Either you consider aggravating and mitigating factors for ALL the games, or you don't.

  20. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    WTEM was better than the FAN. Its sad they are stuck with CBS … and Angelos. Hopefully, the Lerners are working on that … Meanwhile, you get better coverage on MLB.com!! Amazing … if the MASN feed fails you can always switch to the other team's feed which is consistently better … (I know everyone finds that unbelievable he says sarcastically.) The same is often true for radio coverage sadly enough …

  21. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    and there IS a recession on… or ain't you hoid?

  22. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Wonk, forget about last night and look at the last few years. I have been going to games since the stadium was built. i buy a $5 ticket and sit almost anaywhere I want, except for the Lexus seats which looked half empty on opening day. You can argue the Nats have slightly worse than average attendance best-case scenario…you can argue it's gonna change now that there winning (we'll see) or people usually come when Strasburg pitches…well they did the first few times he threw, but since then, not so much.

  23. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Bowden if you feel like doing math get the average attendance for each team minus their home opener and comapre to Nats…Sunday afternoon, warm day, red hot team going for sweep, and it was a small crowd in my opinion…the areas from first to third were filled up nicely but the rest was scrawny..personally it's more fun coming to a game with small attendance..shorter lines and easy to move around but i woudl like ot see this team win long-term, and for that they need to make $$, and that means people in seats

  24. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Sooul posession: great picture, Sinatra's mug shot…one of my favorites

  25. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    One comment on the draw of the Nats vs the Caps Playoff game. Last night the guy that I have the season tickets with came with me, but was really antsy about the Caps game the entire time. So much so, that he has now bailed on me for the next 2 games so he can watch his beloved Caps tank in the playoffs. I think we may have had more at the game if it wasn't for the Caps.

  26. Section 222 - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    don't hate on the messenger, attendance is poor..Oh baloney. They just had the biggest attendance for the first four games of a season ever (including the first season at Nats Park). It's ridiculous to draw this conclusion from one Monday night game against the 'Stros. Dan Steinberg lays it all out on this question. And by the way, the point about the Caps game is not that thousands of people who would have come to see the Nats went to the Verizon Center instead, though I'm sure there are some super fans who fall into that category. It's that at least people who might have come on a comfy spring night to watch baseball stayed home to watch the Caps on TV.

  27. JamesFan - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Just a little pressure on Espi tonight. Glad to see the Nats are playing Flores and Lombo. Lombo in the outfield is too much to ask. He's an infielder by trade and experience. Why not put some pressure on Danny?

  28. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Alright, I looked it up..we are 20th in MLB right now…last year we finished 20th…that's below average, not terrible but not good….and the weather has been favorable

  29. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Aw, no Arm tonight? Oh well.Go, Gio! Go, NATS!!(Also liking the Francis Albert here.)

  30. Bowdenball - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Scott from Burke-That's kind of the point. You can't explain away the other games with great attendance by citing factors that encourage attendance, and then disregard the factors last night that discourage attendance and conclude that attendance is poor. Either the other factors count, or they don't. You can't pick and choose from one game to the next. The bottom line is that they're drawing ahead of schedule from all of their previous seasons except the opening of the park. If they keep winning I see no reason to expect that to stop.

  31. Section 222 - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Sunday afternoon, warm day, red hot team going for sweep, and it was a small crowd in my opinionThe paid attendance was 25,679 — perfectly respectable for a Sunday afternoon in April. Give the team's "red hot"ness a week or two to have an effect on attendance. If the Nats continue to win, they'll do just fine attendance-wise.

  32. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Scott from Burke said… Wonk, forget about last night and look at the last few years. Now you're switching attacks. But, OK, this one is easily defended, too:The Nats were one of the worst teams over the past couple of years — in fact they were the worst team in all of MLB for two straight years — at the same time that there was a severe recession.So, yeah, whaddya expect?Wanna compare attendance with other teams that were that bad on the field?

  33. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Wonk…The nats are 20th in MLB this year in average attendance. This year..20th. Same as last year. We're on the same side here..i want the team to win (except when they play the Dodgers)…and if they're in it in September the place will fill up, but don't argue the team draws well because you want it to be so.

  34. Bowdenball - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    In my opinion, 20th in attendance for a team that's never even been in a playoff race in September let alone made the playoffs, and has only been in town for seven years, is outstanding.Season ticket base is a big part of attendance. A week of outstanding play and nice weather won't bump season tickets. You get some walkups, but ultimately it takes years, not days, to make a meaningful change in the fan base.Instead of sweating every peak and valley in attendance, how about we all sit back and appreciate the fact that the club is finally doing the kind of things that might raise attendance for years to come.

  35. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    20th is "OUTSTANDING" Here's adefinition" Superior to others of its kind; distinguished.no sir, not correct

  36. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Instead of sweating every peak and valley in attendance, how about we all sit back and appreciate the fact that the club is finally doing the kind of things that might raise attendance for years to come. you want to argue attendance and when you think you're wrong you throw in this nugget…i think the words you were looking for are "I'm wrong" But that's ok, noone likes admitting it

  37. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    What am I wrong about — last night's attendance was average given the circumstances.The original comment was they were ranting about the low turnout at last nights gameI think ranting about last night's turnout is incorrect and bush. I still think so.20th in attendance is not great, but it's not bad considering the circumstances (lousy teams in prior years), but that's not what I was responding to!(Furthermore, 20th is based on how many games? Against how many rivalries? (zero) . . . it's an awfully small sample size to compare to last year)

  38. Dave - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Would have been there last night to see Stras for the first time but being a professional procrastinator, I had to do taxes last night.

  39. Mark'd - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    DC Wonk is on a roll. Good comparison.

  40. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    How odd is it to see JMax leading off ??? Did we ever do that with him?

  41. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Rivalry games draw well, but that has soemthing to do with Phillies fans filling the bowl..not so many Mets fans this year unless they keep winning, which I don't see…but if the Nats keep winning they will do better than last year, certainly. A long postseason run wouold bring smiles to the Lerner's lips I'm sure. Lets watch the game tonight. Enjoy.

  42. Mark'd - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Yes, MicheleS, we led him out of town.

  43. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Would have been there last night to see Stras for the first time but being a professional procrastinator, I had to do taxes last night.That's funny. Since I had already purchased tickets thinking Apr 16 was the deadline (and estimating that Stras was pitching), I had no choice but to do them "early." I ended up finishing my taxes yesterday morning (which is pretty good for me!)

  44. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Mark'd.. Good one!Also, one more link: SB Nations take on the The ARM

  45. Whatsanattau - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Knock it off – enough already. I'll be there tonight so attendance is good enough.

  46. Whatsanattau - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Gio was awesome on opening day. I'm looking forward to seeing another strong effort.

  47. Mark'd - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    I have been watching closely Wandy Rodriguez, Joe Saunders and Mark Buehrle as they were 3 Lefties debated here for 6 months. With that said, Hoping the Nats score at least 8 runs tonight.

  48. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    God we are even getting hammered on Intentional Talk about the attendance…

  49. NatsBrat - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Davey needs to check his 'up-to-date' sabermetrics and put Lombo in LF. Good to see JFlo grabbing some plate time–he deserves it!

  50. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    According to Kilgore, Ramos'index finger is NUMB from catching all those heaters!! Maybe that is why he is out tonight ;-)

  51. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    (Also liking the Francis Albert here.) I was going to use Duke Ellington, but I got distracted. Maybe next time. Altho personally, I'm partial to Pops.

  52. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Well, I favor Dylan over all, but to me Sinatra's Summer Wind is unequaled

  53. Steady Eddie - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    NatsJack, are you back in 233 tonight?

  54. Stan Kasten - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    We'll get the attendance we deserve.

  55. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Scott as soon as I saw Summer Wind…my mind drifted off too a really good place.. that is the best song ever. You are okay in my book.

  56. NatsJack section 235 - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Lombo was a butcher in LF during ST. Davey WILL NOT put any player in position to fail.Lombo plays second base. Why is Davey setting up Tracy to play third in order to give Zim a rest? Because Lombo struggled at third.

  57. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Scott, I prefer the mid- to late-fifties, before smoking got to him, but there is no bad Frank, not even Joe Piscopo's.

  58. erocks33 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Yeesh. People complaining about attendance on the 5th home game of the season. While this team is playing well right now, everyone needs to keep in mind that this hot start will not immediately change everyone's mind about goin to games. It will take more than 2 weeks to change 7 years of futility. Give it time. Also, there were A TON of empty seats in the Bronx durin the mid-80's thru early 90's. It wasn't until they started to win on a consistent basis before Yankee Stadium was filled night in and night out.

  59. NatsJack section 235 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Eddie….. Section 235

  60. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    but here you go anyway. Summer Wind is not a good omen for us, to be honest.Ol' Blue Eyes

  61. What Would Frank Do? - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Out of the tree of life, I just picked me a plumYou came along and everything starting to humStill it's a real good bet, the best is yet to comeThe best is yet to come, and babe, won't that be fineYou think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shineWait till the warm-up's underwayWait till our lips have metWait till you see that sunshine dayYou ain't seen nothin' yetThe best is yet to come, and babe, won't it be fineThe best is yet to come, come the day you're mineCome the day you're mineI'm gonna teach you to flyWe've only tasted the wineWe're gonna drain that cup dryWait till your charms are right, for these arms to surroundYou think you've flown before, but baby you ain't left the groundWait till you're locked in my embraceWait till I draw you nearWait till you see that sunshine placeain't nothin' like it hereThe best is yet to come, and babe won't it be fineThe best is yet to come, come the day you're mineCome the day you're mine

  62. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    It is an evocative song (I'm partial to the Nelson Riddle collaborations, but it's all good). May the summer wind blow out at Nats Park, but only in the bottom of the innings. :-)

  63. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Might want to check out the movie Pope of Greenwich Village..great character study with some amazing acting..and Summer Wind plays throughout

  64. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    People complaining about attendance on the 5th home game of the season.Yep — that's 'cuz they couldn't complain about the overall 8-3 performance . . .

  65. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    the proverbial 'they'..wonk you are a true renaissance man

  66. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    So.. Got Dinner (Sushi) and A nice glass (or bottle depending on how the night goes) of a California Sauvignon Blanc. Plus fruit and Chocolate Ice Cream! I am ready for a good night of baseball!

  67. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Going with comfort food here. Homemade mac and cheese and veggies. Double chocolate ice cream for dessert. Go, NATS!!

  68. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    MicheleS: the hot fudge sold in grocery stores that you heat in the microwave is exceptional..turns a bowl of ice cream into a hot fudge sundae

  69. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    For those of you with Children in the game, some suggested reading. All I can say is that the Cardinals are obviously in good hands.Mike Matheny Little League Coach's Letter

  70. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Larry Bowa is Drinking the Ian Desmond Koolaid

  71. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    I know that Flores played with JMax. Doesn't he know that JMax can hit fastballs from lefties?

  72. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    how many right handed batters can't hit fastballs from lefties?

  73. sjm308 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Settling several things from previous posts-Michelle – yes Teddy planSec222 – THANK YOU! That is the play I remember.Jesus cuts down Maxwell! How great is it to have two catchers.

  74. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Tonight's start is already different than Gio's last start. Walks the 3rd batter.

  75. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    NatsJack, I agree with you about Lombo at 3rd but Lombo has already subbed in at LF and was fine. I thought even in ST he was fine in LF.Davey is full of surprises. My bet for a beer is that we see Lombo in LF. Nobody else is hitting there.

  76. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Look how good Danny hits from the right-side.

  77. sjm308 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Sofa – we will be going to the Kennedy Center for Come Fly Away, a combination of Frank's singing & Twyla Tharp' dancing. Scot, that is a definition of a Renaisance man.

  78. natscan reduxit - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    … is it just me, or does anyone else feel that RZimm hits into a lot of DPs? Maybe more than what might be expected? That he has done so throughout his career?… but of course, the other side of that coin is that someone has to get on ahead of him, so that's a plus.Go Nats!!

  79. dj in Fl. - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    An interesting must read on SI.comBaseball killing the bullpen pitchers.

  80. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    sjm: Twyla Tharp? That's the definition of bad taste..go uo to New York and see Death of a Salesman with Philip Seymour Hoffman, then go out and watch some puk band until 3 am…then get back to me

  81. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Holy Shmoly! That was wicked pitching by Gio! Note to self,, if the main store ever opens up, get Gio Shirt

  82. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Gio is back on track. Nobody can hit that curveball. What did Stargell say about Koufax, trying to hit his curve was like drinking coffee with a fork.

  83. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    lots of double plays means not striking out and being a little slow afoot…of course if he elevated the ball that would be good too

  84. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Miserable attendance tonight..

  85. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    werth blasted that thing

  86. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Hmmm..Twyla/Frank at the Kennedy Center (which includes I am sure a nice dinner at a really good restaurant) or NY Play with Phillip Seymour Hoffman/Punk band.I could do both and would consider either date a Renaisance man :-)

  87. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Twyla Therp's dylan show closed after a couple of weeks..awfulness…the beatles thing was a mess..i'd rather go see Dwight Yoakam or justin Townes Earle..good country

  88. MIcheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Well Scott.. you can see Dirks Bently in about a month at Nats Park

  89. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Dierks Bently is pretty bad..i like the good stuff…steve earle, gary allan, lucinda williams, tift merrit, ryan adams, Wilco, Son Volt..not the pop garbage

  90. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Wasn't joking earlier about Gio should bat 8th and DeRosa batting 9th

  91. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    How great would it be if Gio hit a homer? I bet he would be doing cartwheels around the bases!

  92. sjm308 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Scott, I have seen Justin but have seen his dad about 6 times!! This show only lasted about 6 months on broadway but they have cut it down to 90 min. So it should be ok. Last time I stayed up till 3 has been erased from my memory.Michelle, nice dinner is a must. New DC Commons has worked well for us.Double,plays – Cal Ripken hit into more double plays then anyone in baseball so Ryan might be in good company.

  93. MicheleS - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    WOW we got a run on that?

  94. Wally - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Wow, two gift hits for a run. How often would that kind of thing happen to us in the past?It smells like this is the year!

  95. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Scott, I realize this is a baseball blog and will get booed off here but you must go to the Birchmere. If I lived in Va. I would spend soooo much time there (not during baseball season of course)

  96. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    A little good luck is good every once in a while!

  97. Eugene in Oregon - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    natscan reduxit said…… is it just me, or does anyone else feel that RZimm hits into a lot of DPs? Maybe more than what might be expected? That he has done so throughout his career?———————–You can always look it up. Let's compare RZ to several players I think of as roughly comparable in value in a given season: Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, and Pablo Sandoval.Here's their career numbers:ABs/GDPsRZ = 3326/108TT = 2670/85EL = 2126/62DW = 4185/101AB = 7399/192PS = 1746/54That means that have the following % of GDP per AB:RZ = 0.032TT = 0.032EL = 0.029DW = 0.024AB = 0.026PS = 0.031There may be a better way to compare GDP rates, but Zimmerman's GDP numbers don't strike me as markedly outside the norm for that small group of roughly comparable players, albeit fractionally on the higher side (along with Tulowitzki).

  98. Naturalist - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    As a Nats fan in Toronto, I picked up my tickets today for the June 11/12/13 series with the Blue Jays. If my luck holds, we'll see Stras, Gio & Zimmermann up here. Would be even sweeter if we had a 4 or 5 game lead over the NL East at that point.

  99. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    This game is flying by it seems.

  100. NatsJack in section 235 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    I'm glad I'm at a baseball game and not involved in this arts and entertainment blog.

  101. SayNoToClint - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    For those of you that don't keep an eye on the "Other Nats Blogs" on the left hand side, the Nats Enquirer one with the Ankiel video is worth a look. Never has something so cheesy as editing laser sounds into a video made me snarf so much Coke out of my nose.

  102. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    NatsJack.. just trying to class the joint up a bit…Awww.. who am I kidding!

  103. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    I went on a Nats blog and a Frank Sinatra concert broke out…These little town blues aren't going away…

  104. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Anyone still complaining about the Gio trade?

  105. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Thanks for those stats Eugene!Another thing about GDPs, a lot of elite hitters do it frequently. For example Pujols has lead the league twice in grounding into double plays (including 29 last year.)Not sure what that means exactly though. Maybe GDPs are a sign of a good hitter? :-)I have a feeling "bad luck" plays a big part in GDPs.

  106. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Really? Gio is done after 91?

  107. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Awesome! Always good to have Canadian Nats fans :-)It would definitely be cool to see Stras-Gio-Zimm. Naturalist said…"As a Nats fan in Toronto, I picked up my tickets today for the June 11/12/13 series with the Blue Jays. If my luck holds, we'll see Stras, Gio & Zimmermann up here."

  108. Erik - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Why??? Why??? Why??? Gio has a 2 hit shutout and is taken out of the game. I just don't get it.

  109. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    there are a lot of variable at play here MicheleS..health of the bullpen, how Gio feels, what teh catcher said when Davey asked how he was doing..but probably the most important is the score…have to play it safe with a one run lead, and managers hate it when a pitcher pitches well and takes the loss…well after 2 batters that could happen, so gio is out

  110. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Nady, DeRosa, Ankiel, Bernadina….The A team of offensive outfielders (194, 080, 167, 143).At least the infield can hit.

  111. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    MicheleS- Yeah I've noticed Davey is trying hard to keep the starters just under or at 100 pitches for their April starts.He admitted last night that he kept Strasburg in too long against the Mets (108 pitches I think).Possibly a wise thing to do this early in the season. Still though, don't want to over-use the bullpen either.

  112. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    I'm not complaining….Gio's hittin better than 4/5 of our outfield.

  113. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    I can feel NatsLady with a big smile on her pupil Tyler Clippard.

  114. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    I think Davey is handling the pitching staff flawlessly. Pitching is not the problem of course..A little more run production will allow the pitchers to make a couple of mistakes.Lombo in Left. DeRosa DFA

  115. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Wandy Rodriguez pitched a gem also. Horrible fielding did him in.

  116. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    So I'm guessing Clippard is not injured at all?Yesterday the MLB Network kept saying he was.Weird…but glad he's ok!Go Clip and the Nats!!

  117. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    I went to a Phillies game at the Vet years ago that finished 1-0. Read the story the next day. The reporter said to the losing pitcher, Terry Mulholland, "You really looked good out there?" He said "It's not a beauty contest, it's a baseball game. You win or you lose." Right now Rodriguez is due to pick up a loss. Not a beauty contest. I liked that.

  118. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Scott…Better wait til the Fat umpire calls it

  119. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_me - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Ladies and gentlemen, the bourbon and Maalox has broken its five-game scoreless streak. Bottoms up!

  120. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    I would bring in Henry right now.He never gives up hits and could asfford to walk someone while maybe striking out the side…

  121. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    if ankiel dropped it on purpose i wonder if they could have turned 2..they could have at least gotten a fast runner off of 2nd..it would have been a disgrace to the game but still…

  122. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    In da Bronx, The show aint over until Frank Sinatra sings (NY, NY)…my hometown.

  123. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Dang.. Sunshine, I was wondering when we were going to have to break out the Maalox! Good lord Lidge is making my stomach ache!

  124. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    I'm from Flushing

  125. Eugene in Oregon - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Can you Fedex (fax?) some of that bourbon and maalox to Oregon?

  126. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    I think Rodriguez should be named the closer.I like Lidge and he'll be great as a setup man, but I have much more confidence in Henry.I'm officially endorsing Henry as the closer :D

  127. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Thing about Lidge is he has been through the fire…no emotional letdowns

  128. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    WOOOO HOOOO!!!! GIO Gets his first Nats WIN!!!

  129. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_me - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    WOOO-HOOO!!9-3.Gio for President.

  130. SayNoToClint - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Wow. I'm not going to lie, my palms were sweating. Way to go Gio!

  131. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Wow….I need a mental day off from this teamMaybe they could lose big to give the guys a break.

  132. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    OK, I'm back. Did I miss anything?

  133. Grandstander - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    Yeah, I think the Lidge experiment is over. He's literally the weakest pitcher we have and Davey sees fit to have him close.He's gotten out of jams, but he should never be in them in the first place. Rizzo has said it's an organizational philosophy to have hard-throwing guys with swing-and-miss stuff and I just don't see where Lidge fits in with that when you have HRod in the 'pen.Yeah, I'm complaining after a win, but another bunch of games like this and I'm going to have a heart attack.

  134. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Flushing…I'm sorry to say I'm a Yankee fan…but will root for the Nats when they come to town.

  135. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    You win or you lose.Wandy R. 0-2 with a 1.96 ERAHe'll be awesome in the AL.

  136. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Lidge just got a save without giving up a run and the Lidge experiement is over? Dude, it's just getting started..he makes hitters reach and stab..it's not pretty but unless he blows a couple of saves expect to see him on the bump

  137. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Kardiac Kids do it again! Good Natitudes

  138. UnkyD - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Sad news, for this entertainment blog- Levon Helm is apparently succumbing to cancer, as we speak. An enormous influence, on me… I'll miss him…

  139. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    this wheels on fire

  140. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Gonat said… This game is flying by it seems. April 17, 2012 8:26 PM __________________________I wasn't kidding. 2 hours 12 minutes

  141. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Scott- Not at all. Lidge is great.I just happen to think that Rodriguez should get most of the save opps. Lidge is very good as a dual closer as well.No problem with the two sharing the role. But I personally would have Henry close out the close wins.

  142. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Davey seems worn. I can barely hear him now on the postgame…He needs to take a day off and let Espy manage one. We need you Davey for the pennant race

  143. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Davey said he would rotate them and so far, that is what he is doing. HRod totally fresh for tomorrow as are most of the pen. I really really like what he is doing with this staff. My guess is we don't see Clip tomorrow (or Lidge) but look who we can throw out there? Of course JZimm will go 8 giving up less then 2 runs and we will cruise to winning our 4th straight series. This is how you make the playoffs. One series at a time.Wooo – Hooo (not sure I got enough ooo's in there)Go Nats!!

  144. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_me - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Grandpa sez, "Good teams win close games."And he used the words "pennant race."When you're 68, there's no five-year plan.I love it.

  145. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    sjm: good stuff..i think J Zim is our best starter

  146. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Thanks Sunshine, I couldn't make out what he was saying or what he was staring blankly at.Maybe, thinking he bring the Silver Fox back.

  147. SpingfieldNatsFan1 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Has anyone noticed how bad Davey Johnson has sounded in his last few post game conferences??? I'm not sure if he's going to survive these last minute finishes!

  148. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    If you're craving some offense…Texas vs Boston on the MLB channel 14-2

  149. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_me - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    No problem, jeffwx. And SpringfieldNatsFan1, don't worry about Grandpa. He's hoarse from riding this big horse. He can rest all winter. He's fine. 9-3 fixes a lot of throat problems.AARP oughtta sign this guy up to be its national spokesman. That is, if anybody could understand him!You gotta get out your English-to-Davey dictionary and it's all plain as day.All the way with Grandpa! You're only as young as you feel. I'm 62, and feel like I'm 23. I'm sure it's the same with Grandpa!

  150. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    watched the NY Rangers/Ottawa game yesterday…ended 1-0..it was SO INTENSE..loved it…good pitching, quick games, no dh…good stuff

  151. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    I need to change my lifestyle. I'm 50 and feel like 83…Maybe a change in natitude.

  152. natsfan1a - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    He's seen fire and he's seen rain. Wait, isn't this the James Taylor chat? Never mind. :-)Scott from Burke said… Thing about Lidge is he has been through the fire…no emotional letdowns

  153. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_me - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Here's something to make you feel younger, Jeffwx:Braves beat Mets 9-3. That means whatever happens Wednesday, Nats will retain "soul possession" of first place.Pretty freakin' bueno

  154. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Soothin….and Nats and Dodgers with 9 wins. You can understand how special the Nats are and how they are 9-3 with starters and relievers that generally outmatch the opposition. Now 18-3 in Boston

  155. jeffwx - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Sox down 18-3 in the bottom of the ninth…looks like nobody has left and cheers of lets go Red Sox are running thru the stands now. The epitomy of Baseball fandom.

  156. Joe Seamhead - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Just got home from Natstown.Man, oh, man,I love it! These one run games are some of the best that baseball has to offer, but I'm not sure how much of this my system can take. Gio was fantastic,and again the hat's off for Davey's handleing of the club. ( I haven't had a chance to catch up of the posts yet).BTW, for anyone still awake that has Comcast the Phillies and Giants are on. Giants are winning 2-0.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 92 64 --
ATLANTA 76 81 16.5
NEW YORK 76 81 16.5
MIAMI 75 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 86 21.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Tuesday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (2) 92 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.5
-------------------------
y-PITTSBURGH 86 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 0.5
MILWAUKEE 80 77 6.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
TUE: OFF
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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