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Desmond erases doubts with hot start

Apr 23, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond is hitting .294 with six extra-base hits so far this season.

There are any number of impressive and surprising aspects to the Nationals' red-hot start to the season. A major league best 2.34 ERA and 144 strikeouts. A National League best 12 wins. Six one-run victories. Five consecutive series wins.

And then there's Ian Desmond, whose strong start might be among the most pleasant developments for the Nationals. Chided by many last season when he got off to a sluggish start, the young shortstop is enjoying the good vibes and positive press that comes with the best opening two weeks of his career.

"What a difference a year makes," he said. "Last year, this time of the year, it was a huge struggle. I had eight errors. I was hitting about .200. We weren't really winning. This year, it's a new year. It's a fresh start, which is nice. Obviously, this is best start I've had in the big leagues. I'm feeling good about it."

Desmond has every right to feel good about it, as do his Nationals teammates and coaches. Entrusted with the leadoff spot despite his atypical hitting approach for that job, he's hitting .294 with sixRead more »

298 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. 149520a8-8d36-11e1-b943-000bcdcb5194 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    This story may be analogous to what we will see with Espinosa over time. The athleticism is abundant, the range is stellar, the drive is palpable…..just lacking more "time". This game takes a while to figure out at the major league (or any) level. Good things to come…..

  2. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Desmond is 26, Espinosa is 24(?) I am guessing Lombardozzi is even younger and Zimm is just 27. Our pitching staff is maybe the youngest in the NL and we finally have people in the minors who look like they will be coming through in the next few years as well. Oh, this is how a major league team is run? Why were so many people screaming at Rizzo? I forget? Just think if we get the TV money from MASN we deserve, the attendance increases and we are able to actually spend a little money. It's exciting already but it only looks like it is going to get better. I know, I know, its early but you know what? We are in first place EARLY and that beats the heck out of where we have been the last 7 years EARLY so I am just going to crow and enjoy it.Go Nats!!!

  3. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    And anons complain about how long it takes to write in an avatar. Wondering what all those #s and letters mean?Go Nats11

  4. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I really hope this continues for Desi, because it's nice to hear good things about him instead of the usual criticism.Lets sweep the Padres and figure out how to cool off Kemp!GO DESI! GYFNG!

  5. Joe Seamhead - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    At this point, Desi is the most deserving position player on the Nats for an All Star vote,imho.I've never been on the Desi-hater bandwagon, but I did say this was his make, or break, year. He's making it, so far.Go West, young men, and just keep winng each series!BTW-On the Phillies blogs they are really in a panic. Not one positve comment on nine pages yesterday.Tick-Tock indeed.We're going to two of the Phillies games, the Friday night game we'll be sitting in our regular seats in sec. 311. On Sunday night's ESPN game I bought four tickets in the RF Outfield Sec 140. We'll all be wearing Werth jerseys.It's our park, damnit, and if they don't like it they can blow it out their whatevers.GYFNG!!!

  6. NatsBrat - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    For those of us who always felt that Desi, would set it straight, we are feeling real good. I always said that he was the heart and soul of this team, and now he's putting some real numbers up.Now maybe the unnamed FO sources who whispered that Desi was only a utility player can find some other players to diss. Bet some of them never even played in the Bigs!Goooooooooo Desi!!! Gooooooooooo Nats!!!!!

  7. Gonat - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    A very enjoyable read Mark. For the few of us who have supported Desi, it is nice to see that he has started to put together what we saw the last 45 days of last season.Desi, Werth and LaRoche are contributing almost daily for this team.

  8. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    sjm, that string of hexadecimal numbers comes out when the software doesn't talk to your (probably phone) computer very well. They probably have a more normal name that didn't come through.

  9. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Paging Unkyd. Have we got a post for you. :-)As NatsBrat said. Goooooooooo Desi! Gooooooooooooo NATS!!

  10. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    So if I had a smart phone and posted from it, I might be natsfan149520a8-8d36-11e1-b943-000bcdcb5194?

  11. Sunderland - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I'd lob some credit the way of LaRoche. He's been a big asset this year defensively, helping out both Desmond and Zimmerman numerable times.

  12. Gonat - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Joe Seamhead, not too early to vote for Desi for All Star. Way too early to annoint Desi as the All Star because very doubtful he will be voted in which will mean Desi will have to perform at this level and slightly higher thru early July to be the All Star.

  13. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Nats TV broadcast team ranked 14 of 32 by Bleacherreport. Here is their commentary.TV Announcershttp://bleacherreport.com/articles/1146624-mlb-tv-power-rankings-ranking-every-mlb-teams-announcers-heading-into-2012/page/14

  14. baseballswami - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    So — this massive amount of hours without the Nats playing baseball on the field – is this a good thing because the players will be rested and rejuvenated? Or will this kill the momentum and cause rust? What say ye?

  15. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Agreed re. credit for LaRoche's defense, and he's been silencing some critics with his bat as well.Ex-Nats news: Pudge will have his retirement presser in Arlington, TX, at 2 PM today (3 PM our time, I think). I believe he's also to throw out the first pitch for the Rangers. In a twist on the usual ceremonial offering, he'll be squatting at the dish and throwing to second base. (Okay, I made the last part up, but it would be awesome if he did. :-)). I expect that MLB Network will have coverage.

  16. Gonat - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    NatsLady, unfortunately, wrong direction. They are rated the 18th. No mention of Kristina Akra?

  17. Steady Eddie - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Interesting thing about Desi is, he's shown before that he could do the pieces of his job. Solid enough hitting in 2010 but competing for most errors — both fielding and throwing alike — in MLB. Then in 2011 he fielded OK after his 7 errors in the first three weeks, but his bat was putrid. This year — at least so far — he's shown he can not only put them together at the same time, but do it with occasional highlight reel flair, which the best players do and which he didn't reach even the last 6 weeks of last season.Now in retrospect it looks like Davey really did help him lay the foundation for Desi to show what he is capable of now. He's shown he CAN sustain it. Now the only question, will he sustain it (with the usual peaks and slumps), is the same one that applies to almost every good ball player. Reaching that point is a big achievement.

  18. Steady Eddie - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Sunderland –Yeah you right. A Gold Glove first baseman makes the whole infield better.

  19. Gonat - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Steady Eddie, good points on Desi. Desi did run into that mini-slump where I think he was 1-14 and Davey gave him his "mental break" off. Hoping he gets back on another hot streak to get that BA back above .300

  20. Joe Seamhead - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Steady Eddie, and by making the infield better, he makes the pitching staff better, as they only have to get three outs per inning. There's a reason that Adam Dunn doesn't play much 1B in Chicago.

  21. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    NatsLady, thanks for the link. The second thing that struck me about that was how poorly it was written–like a fairly literate high school student was doing a homework assignment at breakfast that was due that day. And 1a, yes, Pudge throwing the first pitch down to second would be perfect! Any way we can suggest it?

  22. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Gonat, right. Yes, they didn't mention her or the Gatorade showers.

  23. LoveDaNats - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Good for Desi. It was hard to watch last year when it was clear he was trying so hard. I wonder how much Davey's attitude is affecting the whole team? He seems to exude confidence in his players and they seem to be rising to the occasion. Whatever it is, I am thoroughly enjoying the show.GYFNG!

  24. Rabbit - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    The big difference in Desmond this year is he is hitting the ball more. Striking out doesn't give you a chance to get on base or drive in a run. Unfortunately our run production is still down because we still strike out a lot, as a team, and there is no one on base to drive in; or if there is, they are left there. Keep it up Desi. Try to have something rub off on Werth, no matter what it is. Pitching, of course, is great. GO NATIONALS!!

  25. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Hey Sec3, quit insulting high school students!

  26. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Gonat, can't comment on the O's (don't listen, can't watch due to stupid blackout) but the Tigers broadcast team is excellent, that's for sure. I can't listen to Vin Scully, just can't do it. I do try every once in a while.

  27. Rabbit - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    NatsLady, I am really suprised our TV game commentators are ranked so high. They are terrible, especially Bob Carpenter. If we played in the sun Every day, he would talk about shadows every day. Every non-hit shudda bin, cudda bin, except for the wind, sun, moon, cut of the grass. Every out is "he had a hit taken away". Yes people, I am glad I have a volume control on my TV. It is so nice when listening to the Brave, Mets, Phillies, and Marlins broadcasters on MLB, when they are not playing the Nats.

  28. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Michale Jordan was one heck of an athlete too, but baseball player not so much. Ian's playing very well, but he still needs a lot of work.

  29. Laddie_Blah_Blah - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Desi has vindicated his supporters, especially in the field, where he has been spectacular, at times, and he has become a clutch guy at the plate. Still, a .319 OBP is nothing to crow about, and is certainly not All-Star caliber for a lead-off guy.ALR has been the most valuable position player, when both offense and defense are taken into account. He leads the team in RBIs and is tied for the team lead in HRs, and his OBP of .382 is fully 63 points higher than Desi's. He is quiet, while Desi is an extrovert, but he has been the more effective performer. He has saved RZ and Desi from some errors, including the missed call at 1B against Cincy, which led to those 4 unearned runs they put up on Detwiler. That missed call probably cost the Nats that game, but you can't blame ALR. If the 1B ump makes the right call on that one, ALR's play at first saves the game for the Nats.

  30. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    I hope Desi blossoms into a great SS, with excellant defense and above average hitting/OBP. DJ certainly thinks he has the tools. However, Mark hit it on the head with these words: "It's early."

  31. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Rabbit, I think the ranking speaks more to how terrible some other teams' TV guys are, and some are REALLY bad. When I was traveling last summer I sampled some of the worst, stupid jokes and endless commentary on whatever they were eating in the booth, and I don't mean just a mention but 15-minute-long chunks of chewing–while the game was going on! On MLB Intentional Talk they have a segment called "Broadcasters Filling Air" or something like that, and really strange stuff gets said.

  32. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Rabbit said… "I am really suprised our TV game commentators are ranked so high. They are terrible, especially Bob Carpenter."I agree but you have to remember blabbering is the norm. FP and Bob were actually somewhat decent last year (a major step up from all previous Bob years), but this year it sounds as if FP has caught Carpenteritis – blab, blab, blab – over analysis about every little irrelevant thing.Mute is my friend.

  33. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I like FP and think that he and Bob work well together, but that's just me. I don't particularly care what the guy who penned that piece thinks about them, so no worries on that front. I also like that they don't ever disrespect the game or the other team, which isn't always the case with other broadcasters.sec3, not sure how one would go about making such a suggestion.

  34. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Another thing that drives me crazy–and the Yanks seem to be the most guilty on this–is extended interviews with players, former players, former managers, movie stars, former movie stars, politicians, former politicians, stadium architects, the "man in the street"…all while NOT SHOWING THE GAME. It was sort of forgivable during spring training, OK, but they still do it!

  35. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Also, it's not like the dude is a big leaguer as far as his own journalistic chops go, although he does say that his career was derailed due to family illness.

  36. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    NatsLady, agreed, which is why I'm not a fan of sideline reporters generally.

  37. whatsanattau - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    I really do like Carpenter and Santangelo. I know there are some outspoken critics here, but I appreciate the tone Carpenter sets and the on-point analysis FP offers. I'm not a big fan of sideline reporting, but Akra is a definate upgrade over Taylor.

  38. SFNats - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    NatsLady said…"Gonat, can't comment on the O's (don't listen, can't watch due to stupid blackout) but the Tigers broadcast team is excellent, that's for sure. I can't listen to Vin Scully, just can't do it. I do try every once in a while."Heh. That's interesting. I lived in LA for a couple years, and the only thing I liked about it (other than the weather) was that I could come home every evening and listen to Vin Scully call the Dodgers games. Except when the Nats were in town, when I was at Dodger Stadium!

  39. Sunderland - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Rabbit, I tend to agree about Carpenter. To much of a fan-like bias in his commentary.Laddie_Blah_Blah, yeah, the OBP is troubling. Desi could easily cool off just a little, be hitting a very respectable .275, and we'd have a lead off guy with a .295 OBP. 3.7 strikouts for each walk. Not healthy from a top of the order hitter.

  40. bups - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Granted Desmond has impressed so far but it is only 16 games. Let's wait and see what he does over the entire season. I am much more concerned about Espinosa. I have yet to be convinced that he can hit major league pitching on a consistent basis.

  41. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Have we heard if our fearless leader is making the West Coast trip?

  42. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    This is very true I think, "Scully weaves a colorful web of statistics and personal anecdotes, all while not missing a beat with the play-by-play. He does this all without any assistance in the booth."

  43. SonnyG10 - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    I happen to like Carpenter and Santangelo together. Different strokes for different folks I guess. I am warming up to Kristina Akras, so I think she will be ok. I also liked Debbie Taylor, but she needed to change her question style. I tried to think how she could rephrase her questions, but it was not easy for me to figure out a better solution. Really, the important thing the sideline people provide is a little glimpse into the player's personalities.

  44. ouij - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Fangraphs readers ranked the Nats TV crew no. 23 of 30 in MLB:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/broadcaster-rankings-tv-30-21/Said one reader: “If they were a Nationals player they would be John Lannan.” Yikes. Damned by faint praise! Carp is Carp; but FP has improved TREMENDOUSLY this season. I find myself tuning into MASN just to listen to FP, actually. He's pretty much nailed the affable tone that I've come to expect from a Nats broadcast (probably because Charlie & Dave are so affable on the radio).

  45. greg - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    desi's defense has been a *lot* better so far. he had a *very* hot start at the plate, but has cooled over the past week. his overall numbers offensively are ok now, but not exactly sparkling. as mark mentioned, 319 OBP. that's not great. 761 OPS is good, but not all-star caliber. the main improvement offensively is (so far) the cut down on strikeouts, along with a little more extra base power. but the lack of walks still concerns me. it's a small sample, but if you give him credit for cutting down the Ks, you have to also downgrade him for taking even less walks per AB so far this year. and less pitches per AB as well (3.65 to 3.44). i don't think he has to be at a 380 OBP to be successful, but i *do* think he has to walk more and take more pitches (i.e., swing less at the first pitch every time) to be able to be consistent.

  46. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I'm definitely the type who loves human interest stories and getting insights into player personalities. Just don't make me watch an interview while I could be watching play on the field. ;-)Really, the important thing the sideline people provide is a little glimpse into the player's personalities.

  47. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    After making 9 errors in their first 10 games (should probably have been more), the Nats have made NO errors in their last 6 games. In the NL, only the Cards have committed fewer (8).

  48. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    I have never been a big Carpenter fan. I am always amazed that he can't seem to figure out that every ball hit to the outfield is not going to be a homerun. I do like FP but I have to admit that the mute button and I are now close friends. I have tried to snyc the radio and I have dvr with pause and 30 sec back & forward buttons but I just can't get it right. I will say that there are probably lots worse announcers and at least he has been a constant for the past few years and does know our team. I could not stand Debbie Taylor and her softball questions (probably a very nice person). This young lady seems to have a little more journalistic approach but the sideline reporting is really a waste in almost all sports unless they can get us an instant report on an injury.Will have some late nights now for the 10 days.Go Nats!!

  49. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    I've already said I think the team can be successful, i.e., playoffs, with Desmond being just good enough. They don't need him to be an all-star, or even MLB average, leading off. Which is good, because I don't think he'll ever turn in a .330 OBP for the season. OTOH, they are already without Morse, Zim is hurt, Werth is who he always was, and LaRoche can't carry them for six months. They need most of the lineup to be there, and they need the bench to be there. The stars are on the mound, they need decent (merely) production from the hitters.Vin Scully is the Louis Armstrong of baseball announcers. You don't rate him. You rate everybody else, compared to him. He still brings better information on the visiting team's players than their own announcers do. I like Jon Miller and Krukow/Kuiper, and Carp and FP are OK. I do break with the group on Charlie and Dave–they're good, but too self-indulgent.

  50. Wally - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Desi's biggest improvement, to me, is defense. I no longer fear the easy grounder.Offensively, the good thing about Desi's start is, that as far as I can tell from looking at his underlying stats, there is no reason that he can't continue this. His BABIP is .320, reasonable for a guy with speed and a good contact rate. The key for him is swinging at good pitches, or more specifically, avoid swinging at bad ones. He is doing much better this year at that, leading to a lower K% and higher Slugging %. This should be sustainable, if he keeps swinging at good pitches. He will never walk much. It isn't in his DNA, plus he has a good contact rate so if he swings at good pitches, odds are that he will put the ball in play before Ball 4 arrives. Meaning his OBP and average will never be elite, unless he has a crazy year with BABIP. So Desi's offensive improvement has to come from slugging. That is really what is happening so far this year. .280/.320/.450, with good D, at SS is a productive major league player. That would have been Top 10 OPS last year. He just has to keep laying off those low and away pitches (and the occasional high hard one up at his eyes).

  51. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    On Desmond, I am also happy for unkd, but I don't think for one minute he has reached all-star status. I don't need him to reach that. Just be above average in the field, hit .260+ and cut down on the strikeouts and we will be fine.Funny how Rabbit managed to get a shot in about Werth even though he had two hits his last game and is still above .300. I wonder what Werth will have to do to get people off his back? One other note. I see Nyjer is down around .133 now. It won't be long Milwaukee, gear up, its coming!! Explosion time!!

  52. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I still like Charlie and Dave, but you are right, Sec 3, they got giggly toward the end of last year and have continued this spring. Charlie always had that tendency, but Dave seems to be buying into it more than he used to. Carp is professional, and I like FP's analyses although sometimes repetitive (I do understand shifts and no-doubles defense). I think they are good for people who don't watch every game every day. I haven't solved the sync problem either, and if I use my iPhone, the audio is sometimes more than two batters behind the video, so that's mostly when I listen to Carp and FP.

  53. Scott from Burke - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Nats Lady said: After making 9 errors in their first 10 games (should probably have been more)..absolutely correct…it was absurd Zim only got one error in that Reds game..he was a mess..as for Zim and Desi being helped by laroche. no question, but let's give Morse credit for doing very good job last year at 1B..Dunn? he was pretty awful

  54. Waddu eye no - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    "This is very true I think, "Scully weaves a colorful web of statistics and personal anecdotes, all while not missing a beat with the play-by-play. He does this all without any assistance in the booth."Which is why i love the the tivo pause and mlb at bay combo. Lose carp, add vin. Double bonus

  55. ouij - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Kristina Akra (new sideline reporter) is a definite upgrade from Debbi. Debbi's voice was nearly as irritating to me as her questioning style. Kristina's got a voice good enough for radio. I appreciate that in a broadcaster.Vin Scully is a different class of broadcaster altogether. The thing that impresses me most about him is his mastery of the pace of the baseball game. It's amazing.As for Ian Desmond? I only hope he keeps up at this pace. I'm not sure that he will, though.

  56. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. Theophilus - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Happy w/ Carpenter and Santangelo. Chemistry in the booth is very important. Nobody jumps on the other guy's lines. Nobody is repeating what the other guy just said. Every announcer in the game pales beside Scully and Jon Miller. (And I rank Scully w/ Miller only out of respect for longevity.) Hometown bias is fine; it's expected. If you want really obnoxious hometown bias, watch a White Sox broadcast. Santangelo, this season in particular, has been harping on his passion for "aggressive" play. I think its a reflection of his career as a scrubini, advocating an approach he wishes he'd had the skills to implement. Or maybe it's just because this year's team has the tools to do it. I think he should tone it down as that just isn't the way Johnson manages the game. Not a great fan of sideline reporters, either, unless they are genuine experts. Akra seems to have promise. Hopefully they allow her to aspire to be more than eye candy.This year, Sloes and Jagler seem to have really put it together. Originally, Jagler added nothing. He's really grown. And Sloes is now a baseball announcer, not a basketball guy doing baseball.The Orioles, bad as they are, are very hard to watch or listen to. On the TV side, the rotation of announcers destroys continuity and reduces the role of Jim Palmer, their most valuable commodity. On the radio side, Joe Angell is almost as good as Miller; too bad the team is so crummy (yes, I know they've been passable this year but no team that platoons Mark Reynolds and Wilson Betemit could ever play .500 ball over a full season).

  58. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Nyjer had an 0-fer on Sunday and is now at .119 with 0 RBI and 2 runs (one questionable) in 44 PA's (15 games).Werth, on the other hand (whom Nyjer slammed) is .322 with 7 RBI and 5 runs in 68 PA's(16 games).Nyjer has 1 stolen base and 1 caught stealing. Werth has 2 SB.Comment from the HighHeat site:Tony Plush is the last regular player with neither a walk nor an extra-base hit. At 5 for 42, his BA, OBP and SLG are all .119. Still looking for his first RBI, too; he’s 0-10 with men on base.Highheatstats.comhttp://www.highheatstats.com/2012/04/sunday-recap/Another site that I like to look at for fun stuff isyoucantpredictbaseballhttp://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com/

  59. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I don't see the O's broadcasters except for the annual "tag team" work during Nats/O's series (yuck), so I can't evaluate them. I always enjoyed Slowes and Jageler. I listened to most games on the radio before we got cable a few seasons back; now I watch them all on tv unless I'm away from the set.Speaking of FP and aggressiveness, I was rather taken aback by recent anecdotes where he yukked it up while talking about (a) weaving in and out of traffic and almost t-boning Flores while both were driving to a recent luncheon and (b) chatting on the phone while driving home after a recent game. I like you and all, FP, but if you injure one of "my" young catchers, you're gonna make my 25-man fecal roster. As the guy used to say on Hill Street Blues, let's be careful out there. ;-)

  60. UnkyD - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Yep… Happy to see Desi getting it together. I think my whole point with him, wasnt that my crystal ball saw him in multiple all star games, but that last year was too early to close the door on that much ability. Hope he keeps it up, and I hope Espi gets his groove on, from the left side. He's showing better patience, seeing more pitches, and the folks here, calling for him to give up on the pinch hitting…. Be patient… there's no rush, and Davey's not retard his growth, by expecting him to perform like a 5 year vet. Lombo is right there, and Espi knows it….that's all the pressure that's nessecary. Don't forget Rendon… MI is under control… Let's just sit back and let it wash itself out….GYFNG!!!!!!!

  61. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    FYI.. Rizzo is supposed to be on ESPN980 at 12:45.

  62. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    May 4th seems to be almost sold out. Online, Diamond Club seats are the only ones available. That just leaves the $5 seats, MLB's seats and seats still being held for potential season ticket sales.

  63. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    NatsLady, THANK YOU for youcantpredictbaseball.com. Where has that been all my life?

  64. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    I think that would be May 5 (the day for which I have tix), Anon @ 11:03?

  65. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    This story may be analogous to what we will see with Espinosa over time.Indeed. I was a Desi defender last year, on the simply grounds that you can't pronounce that a guy will "never" get it together, when he's only 25. I see unkyd said sorta the same thing:I think my whole point with him, wasnt that my crystal ball saw him in multiple all star games, but that last year was too early to close the door on that much ability.Absolutely. And that's why I also kept defending MPHRod and a number of other players. Folks, we have a really young team!As sjm308 wrote above:Desmond is 26, Espinosa is 24(?) I am guessing Lombardozzi is even younger and Zimm is just 27. Our pitching staff is maybe the youngest in the NL and we finally have people in the minors who look like they will be coming through in the next few years as well. Oh, this is how a major league team is run? Why were so many people screaming at Rizzo? I forget? Yep. As I wrote so many times last year:Ramos, 24 (Flores 27)Espi, 25Ian, 26RZ, 27Lombo, 23and even better is our pitching:Stras, 23JZ, 25Gio, 26Ross D, 26HRod, 25Clip, 27Storen, 24(and, of course, a coupla young 'uns down on the farm).We have a team of young horses who we can ride for years to come. The pitching talent combined with youthful age is astoundingly outstanding.

  66. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Can't say, Sec 3. It's great, I've read it daily for a long time. Just discovered the Highheat site, and thought as long as I was posting sites I would throw Can't-Predict in there. The guy is really funny, go back and look at previous stuff.

  67. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    May 4th seems to be almost sold out. Online, Diamond Club seats are the only ones available. That just leaves the $5 seats, MLB's seats and seats still being held for potential season ticket sales.I see over 2900 tickets available on stubhub.

  68. Wally - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Section 3, My PFB Sofa said… NatsLady, THANK YOU for youcantpredictbaseball.com. Where has that been all my life?Ditto, thanks for the tip on the site, NatsLady.

  69. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Wow — Natslady — what a site! (You earn 15 more free posts today ;-)How's this from today's entryAlso in last place? The Red Sox.-Who have a bullpen ERA of 8.44. The pen has allowed 40 earned runs. The starting staff, which has pitched roughly twice the innings, has allowed 52 earned runs.–In save situations, Boston pitchers have a 20.25 ERA and 3.00 WHIP.Tough to win that way, eh? ;-)

  70. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Grantland ranking Nats #4. Can't argue with that!Still waiting for the rest of the Monday-morning power rankings to trickle in.the-rangers-remain-first-cardinals-tigers-lurking-shadowshttp://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7844692/the-rangers-remain-first-cardinals-tigers-lurking-shadows

  71. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Maybe its me but I find this far more interesting than worrying about AOL generated cookies and Desmond bluster. Desmond has a .318 OBP … he doesn't walk. He is certainly better than Cristian Guzman both in the field and because of his power. But that typically indicates a big slump on the horizon as pitchers rapidly adjust to his first strike swing. Espinosa is taking the longer road but the right one. Pitcher Ryan Tatusko in XSTAnd you can't predict baseball? Please you can't precisely predict anything. Most statisticians are ecstatic with a p-value or level of significances of .05. "Perfect parabolas" do not exist in nature even if DC Wonk wants them to to make his daughter happy.

  72. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Just wanted you all who are following along to enjoy the Nats section from Grantland.• Since returning from TJ last September, Stephen Strasburg has struck out 49, walked 8, and allowed 2 extra-base over 49 innings.• Of the top 15 pitchers in Major League Baseball ranked by xFIP this year, four start for the Nats.• You can run this exercise with nearly every team (and we will, soon), but it warrants mentioning that the Nats have already lost two games that arguably turned on terrible umpiring: April 9 against the Mets on a blown call at second base, and the Laz Diaz Game of Death April 15 versus the Reds (hat-tip to @willbhenline).All of which is to say, the Nationals are pretty damn good, and they've got a chance to win this thing. (Warning: This offer may not be valid if Ryan Zimmerman's shoulder injury proves worse than they're letting on.)

  73. whatsanattau - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I have to say, I like all our players, but am eager to see DeRosa, Nady, and Bernadina take it up a notch. It's going to be hard for DeRosa since he will not be playing much, but LF really needs to produce. Nady has the batting skills (or at least the resume) to be helpful and is probably suffering from a short spring training. With 6-8 more weeks of no Morse (or more), I am not sure Davey can afford to be as patient as he projects to the public. In fact, I'd be willing to bet its bothering him quite a bit.

  74. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Wonk.. only 2900 left on Stub Hub.. That is actually pretty good.

  75. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Anon@11:24 (using one of my free posts here)–Did you go to the site or just judge by its name?—————————————————-And you can't predict baseball? Please you can't precisely predict anything. Most statisticians are ecstatic with a p-value or level of significances of .05.

  76. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Only 1650 on StubHub for Saturday's game.

  77. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    If we draw 35,000+ for those 3 games and 75% are Nationals fans I think the comments about attendance will soon find the same path as those about Rizzo, Lannan over Detwiller, Morse to first base over LaRoche, Desmond to the minors etc etc. But never fear, an anon will rise up with something else to complain about. Its just the facts maam.

  78. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    thanks for both links NatsLady. I have been getting some good baseball sites from this blog, thanks to you all. Keep it up!

  79. Nattydread - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Nice article, Mark, for an off-day.Too many "pundits" put Desmond down — it got to be tiring.He's an unconventional lead-off — better than any of the deals Rizzo didn't make. Won't be a 2012 all-star, but steady progress is what we want. We've already heard that the Nats have a top rotation and bullpen. It won't be too long before our infield gets mentioned in the "top ten infield conversation". GYFNG

  80. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Did you go to the site or just judge by its name?I went to the site and honestly I found Ryan Tatusko's blog post far more interesting and enlightening … but, again, that's me.I guess he's in a bit of funk from being left behind and watching from Florida he hasn't been posting to his blog as much.As for stats. Right now the Nats are neck-and-neck as the top pitching team with the Texas Rangers. Both have a WAR of 4.1 but I look at the pRAA stat and its make up is interesting in that the Rangers lead with a 37.6 while the Nats have a 33.8. The splits appear to give the Rangers the edge because their relief pitching has been far better. But Nats starters currently are at the top of all of major league baseball with a 27.3 pRAA. That's a huge improvement if it can be maintained.But we won't know until 40 plus games are passed and the mean becomes more stable and less sensitive to daily changes.Batting is close to the bottom with a -6.6 bRAA and 1.2 WAR overall as the fielding factors in …

  81. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    on gameday, when does ticket booths open at Nationals Park?

  82. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    It depends on what time the game starts, I think. If you're thinking about the same-day Grandstand seats, here's a relevant snippet from the A to Z fan guide on the team site:Grandstand SeatingSituated in sections 401 and 402, and offering a great value at $5 per ticket, Grandstand seats go on sale at Nationals Park each game day 2 1/2 hours prior to first pitch. Grandstand seats are limited to one (1) ticket per customer and the customer must be present at time of purchase. Upon purchasing Grandstand seating, fans must immediately enter Nationals Park.

  83. HHover - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    PericI'm curious – where are you getting the praa and braa #s? I thought those were baseball prospectus stats, and that they had retired them.

  84. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    General game day box office info from the same source (note, I think that some box office windows are closed during team store renovations):Box OfficeThe Nationals Park Main Box Office is located at Center Field Gate. Guests can also purchase tickets on game days at four satellite ticket windows located at: Center Field Gate outside of the Majestic Team Store Adjacent to the Team Store located near Home Plate Gate Corner of First and N Streets First Base Gate (open only on game dates when longer lines are anticipated)Hours of Operation (March – September)Game Days: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 30 minutes after the end of the game. Sunday, 9 a.m. until 30 minutes after the end of the game. For all games with a start time of 2 p.m. or earlier, the box office opens at 9 a.m. and closes the later of either 30 minutes after the end of the game or 5 p.m.

  85. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    thanks 1a. I am thinking of buying college ID tickets, half-off of any tickets that are priced at $10 or more. I am trying to get LF (section 103-105 seats) at $13 for college students. Last time I got there about two hours before the game started (jackson against Reds, Saturday and a bobblehead day) but was only able to secure RF (sec 141, row x seats; very bad seats btw). buying the same tickets online costs at least 60 bucks (for two) as compared to 26 bucks when I buy in person. That's why I want to know the earliest time they open so I can be there and get my favorite seats.

  86. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    I'm curious – where are you getting the praa and braa #s? Perhaps Baseball Prospectus did … but I use Fangraphs. Fangraphs has and will continue to use them to calculate the WAR and continues to do so. This can be seen by selecting the VALUE panel. Fangraph's does use different names for them but they are the same statistics. I prefer the p and b because they indicate that one is for batting and the other pitching when used together. Fangraph's separates them into different "dashboards" so that in a sense never the twain shall meet.Its really why their WAR calculations are different and more accurate than those done by Baseball Reference. Tyler Clippard having the highest WAR last year? Over Morse and Zim who play every day? Clippard had a great year but …

  87. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Mark's use of "erases" was probably a bit too strong of a word. "Eases" is probably better.

  88. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    awesome. thank you 1a. I will be there, sharp at 10 AM to buy my SS game tickets.

  89. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    You're welcome, FS, and good luck at the ticket window.

  90. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Courtesy of Byron Kerr:Harrisburg is getting some great pitching and hitting from a guy who's approach to the game is much like Ian Desmond's.Double-A Harrisburg Senators starter Jeff Mandel has added a breaking ball to his repertoire. The breaking pitch has more depth and is "coming along," according to a team source. Mandel is 1-1 with a 0.96 ERA in three starts, striking out 10 and walking four.Teammate Danny Rosenbaum also starting off well at Double-A with a 2-0 record and 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. Rosenbaum has an amazing 16 strikeouts and no walks through three starts.Offensively, second baseman Jeff Kobernus is hitting .365 with five doubles, 11 stolen bases and five RBIs in 17 games.In spite of what Natsjack might say I expect Rosenbaum to be competing for the #5 starters slot next season after EJax is gone (and perhaps Wang). Detwiler, if he continues to pitch like he has, will move up to #4.I'm sure Johnson wouldn't mind having 3 left-handed starters in the rotation … Purke and Solis are now probably 2 years away given their injury problems …

  91. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    SJM, I'm fascinated by your fascination with anons. A high percentage of your posts call anons out. you're like don quixote flailing at windmills. very enjoyable.

  92. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    FS said… "awesome. thank you 1a. I will be there, sharp at 10 AM to buy my SS game tickets."When is this? Will there be Colombian prostitutes there? Or Nazis?

  93. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    No problem, anon@11:43, just a matter of taste…I've read his blog before and I'm glad he's posting.I agree on the small sample size, and even with a larger sample size, there is always 50-31 to remember. Noticed long ago the difference in WAR calculation between Fangraphs/BaseballReference so I usually say which one I'm using in posts. I may have extra tickets for the May 4 and May 5 games. I'm checking with friends but if it doesn't work out, I will let those on this blog have a shot before I go to Stubhub. (No extras for May 6).

  94. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    ""When he gets angry, he pitches even better," injured Nationals closer Drew Storen said. "Against the Mets [in Detwiler's second start], he got mad in a tough spot and got some big outs. He showed some moxie."" Cool, our very own Bruce Banner.

  95. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    I'm sure Johnson wouldn't mind having 3 left-handed starters in the rotation … Purke and Solis are now probably 2 years away given their injury problems … And given Meyer's performance in Hagerstown, the jury is still out, but he is beginning to look like a future closer not a starter. Unless he learns to adjust to his height as he continues to grow … but its still very early and you never know.

  96. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    SJM, I'm fascinated by your fascination with anons. A high percentage of your posts call anons out. you're like don quixote flailing at windmills. very enjoyable.Its fun isn't in anon? Of course SJM is really just another anon of a different color.

  97. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    He's not anonymous at all. We know who he is. We've sat with him at games. Unless he was wearing one of those Mission Impossible rubber masks…

  98. Avar - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I'm late to the party but wanted to say I'm happy for Desi. I have been solidly among his critics based purely on his lack of performance. His D has been improved. However, I have to disagaree w/ Mark's headline. For me, two weeks can not erase three years of lousy performance. As for this year's offense. His OBP of .319 is still well below average for a starter. But his wOBA (which I think is a better measure) is .333 this year which is very nearly average for starters. If he can keep that up, and play solid D, I will retire from the Desmond critic club. But two weeks is a blip in a baseball season. Let's revisit in October, or at least August and see how he is holding up. And of course, I'm rooting for him, just far from sold.

  99. Doc - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Love the great article by Kurkijan on our Nats' pitchers!Thanks FS for the thread!!

  100. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    "Perfect parabolas" do not exist in nature even if DC Wonk wants them to to make his daughter happy. Oh, you think the flight of a baseball is closer to that of a perfect 3-4-5 right triangle?

  101. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    They are going to ask Rizzo whether Strasburg will be allowed to pitch in the All-Star game. This should be interesting. Radio 980 or the ESPN Radio app if you have it.

  102. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I see over 2900 tickets available on stubhub. Lots seem to be inflated in price. So if there are lots of Phans in attendance, at least they paid top dollar.NatsLady and SJM, on syncing, as far as I know you can't sync the radio and MASN because the radio is ahead of the TV broadcast and can't be paused. But the MLB app on the iPhone seems to be at least 30-45 seconds behind the TV feed (the Gameday Audio on the computer may be as well), which means if you pause MASN on your DVR, you can sync them. It's not easy, but I find it's very possible to do if you use the crack of the bat as the sync moment. Just pause the DVR just as someone is swinging, then listen for the crack of the bat and press play. Voila!I still like listening to Charlie and Dave over Bob and FP. FP is particularly annoying because he tends to beat his points into the ground. He says something, then says it another way, then repeats it a third time. I also think he tends to come up with excuses or justifications for the players' shortcomings way too often. In particular, at the beginning of every game it seems the Nats can do no wrong. Every pitcher is fantastic, every batter is swinging the bat as good as they've ever seen. They also say way too much "we've talked about this before." Even when true, it's tedious. Things could be worse though. We could still have Dibble.All the being said, I wouldn't give the "rankings" in the Bleacher Report much credence.

  103. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    But two weeks is a blip in a baseball season. Let's revisit in October, or at least August and see how he is holding up. And of course, I'm rooting for him, just far from sold.Exactly right. I'd even be happy with waiting until the end of May. It's just way too early to proclaim that Desi has erased the doubts. Certainly his OBP is still a reason for concern. I'll be very happy to say I was wrong to doubt him if come June 15 he's still playing this well. Will the Desi-boosters be willing to say they were wrong if at that point he has regressed to his mean?

  104. Sue Dominus - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Section 3, My PFB Sofa said… He's not anonymous at all. We know who he is. We've sat with him at games. Unless he was wearing one of those Mission Impossible rubber masks… Just because pseudonymous people hang out together doesn't make them any less anonymous. The pseudonymous posters here like to think that their false, fictitious, even cutesy names are like the noms de plume or aliases used by some of the great figures of history. But they flatter themselves, for there is one critical difference. The great noms de plumes and aliases of history all have had a real person associated with them. Everyone knew that Mark Twain was really Samuel Clemens, that AE was really George Russell, that Kareem Abdul Jabbar is really Lew Alcindor, that Muhammad Ali is really Cassius Clay. No one but no one knows who the hell this NatsLady, Sofa dude, Periculum et al are. (Nor do we care, to be frank about it.) The pseudonymous here are every bit as anonymous as the rest of us.

  105. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    According to Rizzo, SS is allowed to play in ASG if he gets selected and he is on regular rest.

  106. HHover - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    PericThanks – I see where you're getting them now.I don't think it matters much now that BP has discontinued its version of the stats, but I do think they calculated them somewhat differently–or pRAA, at least. For example, if you look at Lannan's fangraphs page, I don't think it shows anything that resembles the negative pRAA #s that you used to cite for him. (I don't raise this to have an argument about Lannan – no need for that anymore. Just making a pt about the difference in the stats.)

  107. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Doc said… Love the great article by Kurkijan on our Nats' pitchers!Indeed! Love this quote (from Kurkjian's article) — which is really the bottom line on why the Nats are so good:"There is so much to like about the Nationals' pitching. Every night, they will send out a starting pitcher, under the age of 29, who throws in the 90s. Every night, they can bring several power arms out of the bullpen as well. Every night, with the game's best pitching, they have a chance to win."

  108. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    The pseudonymous here are every bit as anonymous as the rest of us. No they are not. If someone used a real name (say, Nathaniel Wright) would that help you know the person any better?The point is when NatsLady, or sjm308, or, whoever posts, we have a sense of who s/he is from his/her prior posts, because she's been posting for years (_and_ because some folks have met her). When "Anonymous" posts, it could be any number of people.

  109. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Well, if someone really wanted to know who I am, such as for a ticket exchange or a meetup, revealing my identity would not be a problem. And it wouldn't be that hard to find me on google anyway. It's just simpler and safer to use the screen name. I have a long, unspellable and unpronounceable last name. But you are welcome to call me "Rose" or "Miss Rose" (for those under 18) if that makes you feel better than "NatsLady."

  110. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Everyone knew … that Kareem Abdul Jabbar is really Lew Alcindor, that Muhammad Ali is really Cassius Clay.Pretty impressive that you could manage to insult two of the greatest athletes in history to make a dubious point. None of us are important enough for people to know or care what our real names are. The point is that we use our pseudonyms consistently (unlike the clever, but one shot "Sue Dominus") and have recognizable personalities and positions. And we can be held accountable, at least in here, for what we say or the predictions we make. For example, I've been a Desi skeptic. I can't run away from that and all of a sudden claim that I was a Desi promoter all along when he starts to hit. Some anons are recognizable because of their boldness or rapiers but complete anonymity makes it tough to have a civil and respectful conversation. But I guess that's intentional.

  111. jd - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Long term you can't have 3 walks in 16 games and be considered a good leadoff hitter.

  112. Sunderland - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    "The pseudonymous posters here like to think that their false, fictitious, even cutesy names are like the noms de plume or aliases used by some of the great figures of history."This is inane. And wrong. With a dash of arrogance.

  113. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Actually, Michele is my first name and since my Last name is horrific to spell and pronounce, then I just use the S to spare people the trouble of trying to figure it out.

  114. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    I don't think it shows anything that resembles the negative pRAA #s that you used to cite for him. (I don't raise this to have an argument about Lannan – no need for that anymore. Just making a pt about the difference in the stats.)I used Statscorner (who Fangraphs uses) for that. Statscorner gets down to the nitty gritty of unbiased, park and defense neutral stats. Foregoes all the other attempts while Fangraphs displays them all.I see your point but if you look the tERA listed (defense / park neutral) is the same. I suspect the RAR has been converted to be a "right-tailed" only statistical distribution as opposed to a "two tailed" statistical distribution. I would have to look.I prefer the Statscorner approach which allows the distribution curve to span both the positive and negative horizontal axis.

  115. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Last 10 games for the NatsDesmond – .244/.256/.366/.622Arrived, indeed.

  116. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Long term you can't have 3 walks in 16 games and be considered a good leadoff hitter. OTOH, if you're leading the team in hits, it's not a bad choice, either.

  117. FS - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Has anyone read Civil War saga of Marvel comics?

  118. Rene Descartes - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    "The pseudonymous posters here like to think that their false, fictitious, even cutesy names are like the noms de plume or aliases used by some of the great figures of history."Caught me.

  119. JaneB - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    What a great post! I have to figure out how to post the video of my dog going through the list of Nats players and going bonkers for Ian Desmond. I'm a luddite when it comes to that. But I'm going to work on it!

  120. JaneB - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    NatsLady, the other night, at the stadium, I chased down someone who looked like your picture, to ask if she was you. As you already know, she wasn't.

  121. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    So, I guess I should be consistent then eh HHover?Looking at Statscorner we see that Nats pitching has:rotation: 96.0 xIP. 2.12 tRA, 20.0 pRAA.relief: 54.7 xIP, 3.02 tRA, 5.8 pRAAThis will surprise some people but when Park and defense are neutralEdwin Jackson leads the staff:19.9 xIP, 1.06 tRA, 6.5 pRAAGio and Stras follow with a 4.8 and 4.7 pRAA.In the bullpen Henry Rodriguez leads with a 3.68 pRAATexas Rangers:rotation: 99.5 xIP, 3.25 tRA, 14.9 pRAArelief : 35.5 xIP, 2.33 tRA, 8.2 pRAABest starter is Matt Harrison with 21.7 xIP, 2.40 tRA, and 5.3 pRAAAs expected Yu Darvish is the worst and the reason why Texas fallsbehind the Nats … So, at Statcorner the Nats slightly lead with a 25.8 pRAA as opposed to a 23.1 pRAA for Texas.

  122. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    OTOH, if you're leading the team in hits, it's not a bad choice, either.Only if you believe Cristian Guzman was an AllStar hitter.

  123. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Oh Jane! I am so jealous about the Pups in the Park. My two pooches went last year in September, but it took way to much out of them (they were sick/stressed out for 3 days after). I would love to bring them and have them go through the line, they are lovable and would lick the guys to death.

  124. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Funny but my given first name is John but everybody knows me as Jack. Guess I could have always gone by Anonymous and it would have been the same.

  125. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    So Ann something is a better name …… Ann what?… Ann Onymous …(or was it Abby something?)

  126. D C Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    The point is when NatsLady, or sjm308, or, whoever posts, we have a sense of who s/he is from his/her prior posts, because she's been posting for years (_and_ because some folks have met her). When "Anonymous" posts, it could be any number of people.Oh I don't know its pretty easy to counterfeit on the Internet … I'm still scratching my head about the Central Limit Theorem. ANOVA? What's that?

  127. Sad Observation - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I have always been astonished at how much time people on this site spend on the issue of anonymous contributors.What a waste of time. Really, get a life everyone.

  128. Poopy_McPoop - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    D C Wonk should be an Oriole fan. Only Orioles fans know what a parabola is!

  129. WhatsanattaU - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Some us are named after our alma mater …

  130. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    NatsJack could eat no fat his wife could eat no lean.

  131. whatsanattau - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Wait, I don't have a life?

  132. Rene Descartes - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I post, therefore I am.

  133. A D C Wonk said - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    HEY, someone stole my handle!! Or was it my parabola? And they got it wrong? But, then no parabola is perfect.

  134. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    A D C Wonk said said… HEY, someone stole my handle!! Or was it my parabola? And they got it wrong? But, then no parabola is perfect.Yes, someone can always steal somebody else's handle. But then if one were posting with a real name, somebody could steal that, too, no?In the meantime, using my handle is really bush-league. You must be so proud of yourself.

  135. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    So, at Statcorner the Nats slightly lead with a 25.8 pRAA as opposed to a 23.1 pRAA for Texas.Scratch that HHover … you have to take into account the dearth of xIP for relievers as opposed to starters … Math error on my part.The figures do end up being pretty close to those you see on Fangraphs.

  136. A D C Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    In the meantime, using my handle is really bush-league. You must be so proud of yourself.George Bush is my pappy and he is planted in Texas.

  137. FS=Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I was afraid that sooner or later people will resort to stealing identities. Even though we can easily tell whether the person is the same or not, I think it is time for me to switch to my google account.For future reference, I prefer Faraz (instead of FS).

  138. A poster by any other name - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Anonymous people usually make the greater donations.NatsInsider debunks that myth.

  139. Said - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    A DC Wonk Said Said … is a dead giveaway. Poor forgery.

  140. Roger Sharkespeare - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    To hit or not to hit that is the question?

  141. Handl Patter Noster - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Have you ever tried to use love handles as, y'know, handles? It's really not very convenient. Just sayin.

  142. Muhammad Ali - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    "Muhammad Ali is really Cassius Clay"What's my name?

  143. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Hey, how 'bout them Nats?

  144. IP Freely - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I am visiting the Yellow River or Huang He … or is it Dang me, dang me ought to get a rope and hang me up from the highest treeeeeee diddle diddle deeeee

  145. Tom in AR - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    His momma called him Cassius Clay, I'm gonna call him Cassius Clay.

  146. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    We need a ball game. Failing that, a new post.

  147. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Section 3, My PFB Sofa said… "We need a ball game. Failing that, a new post."That does not scare me.

  148. Never, EVER, feed the trolls. Not even a little bit, just for fun. - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Do not call up that which you cannot put down.

  149. Gaseous Eau Clay - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Art by any other name?

  150. Nick Fury sez: "Avengers Assemble" - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Do not call up that which you cannot put down.Captain Sofa I need you to save the world!

  151. Joe Seamhead - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Well, I'll throw my hat in the ring,too. My first name is Joseph, but I go by "Joe".On the subject of Desi, I feel like he has been bringing a bit more to the table than what gets measured in BA and OBP. Unlike a few others, I truly believe that team chemistry is an unmeasurable intangable that makes and breaks teams. Desmond has seemingly taken on a big dose of the good ju-ju that Jayson Werth brings to this team, i.e. an aggression and a Natitude, if you will. The Phillies seem to be seriously lacking in attitude this year, and their club seems on the verge of an implosion. Like all of us, I have been frustrated numerous times by Werth's shortcomings, but I do believe that he brought a case of the ass to this team that was sorely needed, and Ian Desmond oozes the Werth influence, while our friends up north of here are missing it.

  152. Poopy__McPoop - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Hey we could use a Sofa on the Orioles sites?

  153. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Unlike a few others, I truly believe that team chemistry is an unmeasurable intangable that makes and breaks teams. Desmond has seemingly taken on a big dose of the good ju-ju that Jayson Werth brings to this teamI agree with that … I'll go further and say I BELIEVE that if this part of Dessie had risen sooner there would be no need for a Jayson Werth signing! I'm not sure Werth is all he's cracked up to be … BUT, Desmond still has to learn plate discipline. He is going to slump with this approach and the fans will be all over him.One of the most aggressive hitters in the game was Ted Williams. Look at his stats at age 40? This is the kind of hitter Desmond should be attempting to make himself into … not a younger more athletic Cristian Guzman.

  154. Candide - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    sjm308 said……but the sideline reporting is really a waste in almost all sports unless they can get us an instant report on an injury.…or get the hero of the game in front of a camera long enough to be distracted for a Gatorade bath…

  155. Erik - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Guys I project to be on the 25 man roster from 2013-2017:1. Stephen Strasburg2. Jordan Zimmermann3. Gio Gonzalez4. Ross Detwiler5. Ryan Zimmerman6. Jayson Werth7. Bryce Harper8. Drew Storen9. Henry Rodriguez10. Ian Desmond11. Danny Espinosa12. Craig Stammen13. Michael Morse14. Steve Lombardozzi15. Tyler Clippard16. Wilson Ramos17. Jesus Flores18. Ryan Mattheus19. Sean Burnett20. Anthony RendonThose 20 seem pretty sure bets (albeit certainly not guaranteed in some cases) so my question to Nats Nations is do we make another Gio Gonzalez-like trade to get a stud hitter from a rebuilding team? If the 20 guys listed above are indeed on this team for the next 5 years it seems to me that the 5 spots missing are:1B or LF-Assuming Morse at one of the two positionsSPRPOFOFThat leaves very few spots for prospects like Matt Purke, Alex Meyer, Sammy Solis, Danny Rosenbaum, Jeff Kobernus, Robbie Ray, Tyler Moore, Corey Brown, Michael Taylor, Destin Hood, Brian Goodwin, Chris Marrero…not to mention, Wang, Lannan or FA signings. So, should the Nats look for that 1 big bat to play 1B or OF via trade. It just seems to me that with so many young guys on the Major League roster, the value of a loaded minor league system is diminished a little bit. I know injuries happen, etc., but even if we traded 3 of those prospects along with a Lannan or a Wang (obviously not if we need them at the end of the year) we would still have backup options at most positions. Sorry for the long post, but just love playing GM. I am certainly not pushing for a trade right now, just interested to hear ideas from others.

  156. Nick "the Orioles stick" Johnson - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Yeah you right. A Gold Glove first baseman makes the whole infield better.He's good but he's not gold glove.

  157. The Nats going for the Wet "T"-shirt model Kristina. - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    …or get the hero of the game in front of a camera long enough to be distracted for a Gatorade bath…

  158. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    "For me, two weeks can not erase three years of lousy performance."That's only true if you ignore the 2nd half of 2011.The last 5 games in which he's played (the Houston and Miami series), might be the best short-term evidence that he's turned the corner. A 3 for 20 stretch for Desi in early 2011 undoubtedly would have included at least 9 or 10 strikeouts. Not this time – only 3 strikouts in those 20 AB. Desi's approach at the plate has been much different since mid 2011. A few more BBs would be nice, but he's swinging the bat well even when he's not getting base hits.

  159. Sigmund Freud - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Poopy__McPoop said… "Hey we could use a Sofa on the Orioles sites?"I have one that O's fans would find very useful.

  160. Sigmund Freud - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Poopy__McPoop said… "Hey we could use a Sofa on the Orioles sites?"You should come see me. You have a very unhealthy attraction to bodily functions…the motorized movements of the lower extremities that propels you to Orioles games.And that poop thing you've got going needs some work, too.

  161. Nostradamus - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Erik said… "Guys I project to be on the 25 man roster from 2013-2017"Give it up, rookie.

  162. Sunderland - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Erik:Intersting post, obvious effort there. Thanks.I'll disagree on Flores, free agent after the 2013 season. It just seems too likely he'll go somewhere to be someone #1 catcher.Morse is also a free agent after 2013. Nothing here would surprise me, including an AL team making an offer we won't match. I'd call him only 50 – 50 to be here in 2014.And then a bunch seem like not sure bets beyond 2015:Clipard, Zimmermann and Desmond FA after 2015.Espinosa, Storen, Henry, Lombardozzi, Stammen, Ramos all free agents after 2016.And in general, why have Espinosa, Desmond, Lombardozzi, Zimmerman and Rendon all on the same 25 man roster? One or two are gonna have to go.Projecting out 3 years is tough enough. Going out 5 years is darn near impossible.

  163. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Well, you've all left me with no choice. Beginning immediately, anonymous comments are no longer available on this site. Unfortunately, that also means the "Name/URL" function no longer works, either. In order to comment from now own, you must have a registered gmail, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, AIM or OpenID account.My sincere apologies to the vast majority of you who have never caused a problem. Sadly, the few troublemakers have outweighed the majority.If anyone has a problem with this, feel free to thank Peric and anyone else who has abused the anonymous function over here for months.

  164. Candide - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I think everyone here should be anonymous. Makes things less confusing[begin_monty_python]Voice Over: Number eight. The kneecap.Pull back to reveal the knee belongs to First Bruce, an Australian in full Australian outback gear. We briefly hear a record of 'Waltzing Mathilda'. He is sitting in a very hot, slightly dusty room with low wicker chairs, a table in the middle, big centre fan, and old fridge.Second Bruce: Goodday, Bruce!First Bruce: Oh, Hello Bruce!Third Bruce: How are yer Bruce?First Bruce: Bit crook, Bruce.Second Bruce: Where's Bruce?First Bruce: He's not here, Bruce.Third Bruce: Blimey, s'hot in here, Bruce.First Bruce: S'hot enough to boil a monkey's bum!Second Bruce: That's a strange expression, Bruce.First Bruce: Well Bruce, I heard the Prime Minister use it. S'hot enough to boil a monkey's bum in 'ere, your Majesty,' he said and she smiled quietly to herself.Third Bruce: She's a good Sheila, Bruce and not at all stuck up.Second Bruce: Ah, here comes the Bossfella now! – how are you, Bruce?Enter fourth Bruce with English person, MichaelFourth Bruce: Goodday, Bruce, Hello Bruce, how are you, Bruce? Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce a chap from pommie land… who'll be joining us this year here in the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolamaloo.All: Goodday.Fourth Bruce: Michael Baldwin – this is Bruce. Michael Baldwin – this is Bruce. Michael Baldwin – this is Bruce.First Bruce: Is your name not Bruce, then?Michael: No, it's Michael.Second Bruce: That's going to cause a little confusion.Third Bruce: Mind if we call you 'Bruce' to keep it clear?[end_monty_python]http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode22.htm

  165. smurff - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  166. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  167. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Cool, now I can delete my fat finger posts!!!

  168. Steady Eddie - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Thank you, Mark. You put a lot of effort into making this a really good site for ardent Nats fans, and we appreciate it.Your house, your rules.The poster formerly known as Steady Eddie

  169. Steady Eddie - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Hmmmm. So now Blogger allowing me to use a different screen name than my Google account has taken my last post into a meta zone. Kind of fitting to be preceded by a Monty Python quote…Mark — I promise to write my next post about baseball.

  170. hiramhover - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Dunno what will happen with Peric now that anon posting is banned, but I did think his comment above, re the advanced metrics, worth replying to:Interesting that Statcorner (using praa) ranks the Nats' 1-2-3 best pitchers as EJax, Gio, and SS , while fangraphs (using RAR) has it SS, Gio, EJax. Also interesting that statcorner has JZim as the worst of the lot, barely above average and well below Det, while fangraphs has JZim as essentially tied with EJax and well above Det.It's too early to put too much basis in these #s, and perhaps they'll converge with more data to plug in over the season. But without knowing much about the underlying methodologies, I've gotta say that fangraphs' look much more sensible at the moment.– The commenter who previously posted as HHover

  171. smurff - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Mark, agree with Steady Eddie. Your house, your rules.This is by far the friendliest blog on baseball that I have seen. Thanks for doing what you can to keep it that way.May need to have a post on this change so that other regulars will know the new rules.

  172. peric - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Dunno what will happen with Peric now that anon posting is banned, but I did think his comment above, re the advanced metrics, worth replying to:I do he'll just block me. Last time I posted with an "identity" Mark called me out for posting too much.One thing is certain. Life is not fair. And certainly Mark blaming me for every anonymous poster certainly is.I disagree with far too many of Mark's **opinions** when it comes to the Nats … he fails to look at the team objectively as a good reporter should. But nobody is perfect.You may not have much respect for me Mark, doubtless its mutual … ~smiles~

  173. Joe Seamhead - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  174. bowdenball - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Thanks, Mark. This semi-regular non-anonymous poster is excited about Desmond's hot start but very wary about his continued inability to draw walks.

  175. Joe Seamhead - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Well, folks, it's Mark's sandbox so you play by his rules or you don't play at all. Personally, I think it will improve an already great sight. Thanks, Mark. GYFNG!Mark, or anybody else, do you know where we can get an update on Goodwin and Rendon?

  176. Traveler8 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Off subject, just trying to see if this works.

  177. Exposremains - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  178. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Sorry to see the Name/URL go. My browser at work doesn't much like Google blogger. But this one worked, so I'll survive. I'll also miss some of the creative pseudonyms that provide comic relief occasionally. It's important not to take ourselves too seriously. I come here at least in part to be entertained.But it's Mark's party and I'm willing to play by his rules.

  179. 995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Sunderland-Agree on Flores. I think it will be hard to keep him. The Morse situation will work itself out, but he seems to be happy here, so I think if he produces he will stay. I also think J Zimm and Clippard are happy here and not going anywhere. My main point about the depth concerned the MI and pitching. We have some potentially good players in the system that just won't have a spot. I would rather take a gamble and trade a couple of them for a known quantity at a position of need. I would guess that Matt Purke is who they are hoping is that 5th starter, but who knows. Defintely lots of possibilities.Erik

  180. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Sorry to see the Name/URL go….I'll also miss some of the creative pseudonyms that provide comic relief occasionally.Me, too. However, there were a number of posts above that someone forged my name. And so, mostly I'm sorry that some cowardly anony's ruined this aspect of the site for the rest of us.I'm not sure MarkZ had a choice on this if he wanted to keep the comment section decent.

  181. 995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Test

  182. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    I for one am extremely happy – I expect that the number of posts will drop, and the quality of the remaining ones will rise, making reading this blog much more enjoyable (and less time scrolling through drivel). This post is an exception to the above forecast, of course.Well done Mark!

  183. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Wow -I go to the gym and a firestorm breaks out. I changed to a google account sometime ago when someone posted using sjm308 – not that anyone cares but those are my initials & also my season ticket section.Peric, I really liked looking at those advanced stats. Thanks for those.Hope this site continues to be smart funny and less mean spirited.Looking for a 6th start series win and will start taking naps tomorrow.Go Nats!!

  184. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    And NatsLady – I have a bobblehead for your friend who gave me the ticket from the Red Sox exhibition game – I think I will next be at the park on May 2nd – will you be there?

  185. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Erik – thanks for taking the time to list that projection. As much as I would like to see us carry two strong catchers I think it's going to end after this year, so Flores will probably be traded. I don't want that to happen, just my guess.I also think Rizzo will add Upton next year so that is my addition to your roster.

  186. sjm308 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    As for creative pseudonyms, Sofa seems to do just fine with his. I, of course have no idea how he does that. I had to have my son set up my google account and am lucky to get the computer turned on in the morning.

  187. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Test, test.

  188. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Thanks, Mark. I have no problem with this.

  189. FS=Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Thanks Mark.

  190. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Test, test.

  191. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Test, test.

  192. Sunderland - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Erik: Happy to debate this a bit.Morse may be happy here, but as old as he is, 2014 is his one shot at free agency in his prime. He will (and should) go for the money. And as we have seen over and over and over again, guys like Morse are always offered better deals from AL teams. AL teams have less risk, since they have the DH, and so they will offer that guaranteed extra year or two that NL teams decide is just too risky. It's too likley that an AL team will make him an offer that Rizzo just won't match.And knowing this, if Morse has a strong 2nd half, a Morse trade this offseason would not surprise me.

  193. d8bdd60c-8d7f-11e1-a0b1-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Testing…

  194. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    The question on everyone's mind is whether NatsJack will set up a new google account for all of his locations (e.g., NatsJack at Tune Inn) next time he visits DC?

  195. d8bdd60c-8d7f-11e1-a0b1-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Shoot. Trying to do this with AIM, not sure how to fix it. :(skidge

  196. FS=Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    He just has to edit his profile, not set up different accounts.

  197. smurff - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    I think I agree that Morse will likely head to the AL when he gets the chance. Hopefully some of the young guns in AAA/AA are ready to come up by then. Flores likely gone (hopefully via trade) when the catcher at Syracuse is ready. doubt that Burnett will be here for the long haul. One of Desmond/Espinosa/Lombardozzi likely traded as well.Can someone refresh my memory on when Rule 5 kicks in?

  198. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Testing from phone

  199. smurff - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Nevermind, found it:Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization's 40-man roster and:– were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years; or– were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 18.0
Through Thursday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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