Skip to content

A new era begins

Apr 28, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Bryce Harper makes his big-league debut tonight in Los Angeles.

Everyone knew the day would come when Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg would take the field together as Nationals teammates for the first of many times. Nobody knew that day would come so soon.

It took an unusual alignment of stars for Strasburg and Harper's paths to intersect tonight in the city of stars. This wasn't supposed to happen for another month or two, but a rash of injuries to the heart of the Nationals lineup forced Mike Rizzo's hand, so tonight we will see this organization's two No. 1 draft picks together at last.

Nats-Dodgers. A couple of first-place clubs going head-to-head. Strasburg on the mound. Harper in the lineup.

Welcome to a new era of Nationals baseball.

Summoned from Class AAA Syracuse after only 20 games, Harper will make his major-league debut at Dodger Stadium, batting seventh and starting in left field for a Washington club that desperately needs anRead more ยป

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natsfan1a - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Thanks, Mark. Had to get up early for a volunteer commitment, but I think I'm gonna have to take a long nap later and try to watch the late game tonight. At least they'll be back to "normal" game times after this. Fastening my seat belt now for the ride (click). Go, Kid(s)! Go, NATS!!

  2. jeeves - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    All Bryce will have to hit is point 170 to do better than the other left fielders. The offensive has gone from poor to pathetic. How can so many major league players be so consistently impotent? Okay, I'm allowed this little burst of negativity. I still believe the Nats will be in the playoffs, but good grief…

  3. Unknown - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    "No matter what happens tonight, though, baseball in Washington will never be the same."Writing like this is why Mark Z. is the best Nats reporter in town. He gets how much it means to us to have baseball here, but how much we also ache for a good team to support. You get it, Mark! Thanks!Now, the Nats need to start hitting. Too many are trying to do too much. Desmond is back to hack-at-every-pitch-and-make-an-out-as-soon-as-possible. Espinosa is trying to hit 20 HR's on every at-bat, Ramos is way too impatient – all need to take lessons from LaRoce and Lombo. No secret that Nats 2 most patient hitters, along with Werth, are also performing the best.

  4. The Retired Journalist - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I don't think I'll watch this game; instead, at least at the start, I'll sit in my car and listen to the satellite radio. XM carries the home team's radio feed so I can listen to the best radio announcer in the history of baseball — Vin Scully — describe the game, Strasburg's pitching, and Harper's debut.

  5. MurrayTheRed - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    I'm up early to take my son to baseball practice. Bryce is only 8 years older. This is great for Bryce, the Nats, the fans, but especially all the little fans.

  6. MicheleS - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    I was looking on the MLB Network site to see if I could find the ClubHouse Confidential episode on Bryce, but no such luck. But I did find this StatsGlossary Link. For those of us who don't understand all the new stats (raises her hand), this could be helpful.Finally, on last nights game, besides 1 pitch to Either, we were in it. I thought all the guys battled hard against the CY winner. Espi's foul ball was about 3 inches off for the tying homer. Plus we got Matt Kemp out twice and he only hit ground balls for two hits. We can't win them all (but I wish we could), so I am just glad we didn't see them roll over and give up. We have seen that too many times in the past, and I am glad this team doesn't do that. I hope the Kid isn't overwhelmed. I hope Stas is dealing and schools the Dodgers in good pitching. And that the Nats Bats come alive. Anybody got a bucket of fried chicken we can sacrifice?GYFNG!

  7. MicheleS - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    and.. SUPER HAPPY our fearless leader is on a flight to LA. We need his commentary, so thanks CSN – I designate my monthly cable fee to Mark so that you send him on the road.

  8. dan roberts - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Bravo, Mark! Nice post.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    My official nickname for Ian Desmond is "The Big Tease". For every 10 days of good baseball he gives you, he follows with a month awful play.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    And how about this for a show of management support……Larry Beinfest, Pres. of Basesball Ops for the Marlins to team Pres. David Sampson before his 52 run for charity from Pompano Beach to the new Marlins Stadium….." You have a half-full stadium and a crappy team waiting on you". And this was on camera. Real classy, huh.

  11. Snivius - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I like the call-up only because our extant LF platoon has set the bar so miserably low. Amazingly sad that if Bryce comes out of the gate hitting .240 and a dinger once every dozen games, it would actually be an improvement.As for "damaging his psyche" if he doesn't do well, I'm not as concerned as with other players. Harper not only will NOT fade like a wilted flower if he embarrasses himself, I suspect that he will attain a very welcome dose of humility, and an appreciation for how incredibly difficult it is to hit the very best pitches and devious pitch sequences on the planet.

  12. sjm308 - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Retired Journalist – thank you, thank you. My spousal equivalent already realizes I am a bit strange but this could take it over the top. For some reason our xm on the computer does not get all the games but the car radio does. I will dvr the game, start with Vince and then after a couple innings come in and see what Vince has already painted in my mind.I have not seen Harper play the outfield but I just have to think, at 19 he will add more speed then Nady or DeRosa. If only Bernadina could have figured this out it would have been fun to have so many good baserunners in the game at one time. Werth runs smart, both Ian and Danny are better than ave. The Shark is also a plus and now you add Harper. Of course to run bases, you have to get to first and that obviously has been a problem.We have not lost 3 in a row this season and that certainly will happen at some point. I just hope its not tonight.I am back to the "give away" hat from 2011. Hate to wear an unfitted hat but its in the rotation so here we go.Go Nats!!

  13. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Just hoping it is a new "era" in a very positive mondo way!

  14. Candide - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Lost in all the Harpermania, I note that Moose Skowron has died. One of my heroes growing up in New York in the 1960s.http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/bill-moose-skowron-baseball-star-of-1950s-and-60s-dies-at-81/2012/04/27/gIQAP5JfmT_story.html?hpid=z3

  15. carolync - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    I think Harper has the confidence and bravado to handle this transition just fine. I believe Rizzo is bringing him up for the energy he brings to the team. Goodness knows they can use it. ALR is hitting well but no one else is. I anticipate Harper will be hyped tonight and "going for the downs." I expect strikeouts but it sure will be fun if he connects with one.I wish I didn't have this nagging fear that this call-up means that the injuries to Morse and/or Zimmerman are worse than we have been led to believe. Billingsley can be had! Go, Nats!

  16. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… My official nickname for Ian Desmond is "The Big Tease". For every 10 days of good baseball he gives you, he follows with a month awful play. April 28, 2012 7:49 AM _____________________________I his mini-slump is based on approach. He crushed one ball into the gap that was caught. He is seeing the ball fine. This time Desi has to change it up. The 1st pitch ambush isn't working. The pitchers know to not throw a get 'em over fastball on the 1st pitch of the game because he will crush it.

  17. sm13 - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    The fact that the "new era" will include mentoring by Davey gives me even more hope. His is the perfect manager to get the most out of Kid Harper. Mark, enjoy yourself and soak it all in. You'll have to remember every detail to tell the tale to Brian.

  18. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Ladson reporting Chad Tracy is day-to-day. The Nats can't afford day-to-day on Tracy to see if he can play in 4 days. Time to bring up either C Brown or T Moore and place Tracy on the DL.

  20. Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    My take on the Bryce Harper call up: I am surprised, but not shocked. I thought Brown would be our first move from the minors. Now, that said, Davey Johnson has stated before that he thinks that he is the best person to teach Bryce. Who can argue? Add in Randy Knorr and Bo Porter and you have Bryce working with the three best coaches in the Nat's organization. Is he ready? Probably not, but we need an impact bat in the line-up, and he can't do much worse then .070,[which I guess is even lower after last night]. and he may surprise us all. The times that I have seen The Kid swing the bat I saw hands that ranked as fast as almost any that I've ever seen. I put them in the same sentence as Griffey Jr, Rose, and Don Mattingly. The first time I saw Donny Ballgame was at Memorial Stadium. He wasn't even listed in the program. I saw this guy swing and said,"Who the hell is that?" I called in to Ken Beatrice the next night and asked what he thought of this young Yankee. Beatrice said that the "Yankees couldn't afford his bat at first base."So much for press experts. That was my first, and last, time that i ever called in to a sports call in show. My point is, Bryce has arguably the fastest hands I've seen since Griffey. Go west, young man, and light 'em up!

  21. JT - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    What a day this is gonna be. Heading out to Savannah to see my USCB gals take on SCAD Savannah this afternoon in Sun Conference action and then back home to watch the Nats future tonight on mlb.com. It can't get better than this….can it?

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Gonat…. I'm with you but it justs bugs me to no end that finding a level of consistant success escapes Desmond every time, hence "The Big Tease".7 years is a long time to develope and like I told numerous people during ST, this is the year. If he can't develope that level of consistency, then he won't with this organization and it's time to move on.

  23. NCNatsie - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Kudos to (fellow NU Wildcat) Mark Z. for all he does to create a genuinely great blog.And to Mike R. for a bold and brilliant move that has already pumped life into the team, and the fan base, at just the moment both could have gone flat.Beset with bad news on the injury front, coming off a disappointing loss to a bad team, about to face the best on-field competition of the new season, and back home also facing suddenly robust competition for media and fan attention from the other teams in the market (Caps beat defending champs to move on in SC Playoffs, Skins get RG3, Wiz on win streak, O's in first place) it looked for about 24 hours like downer city time for the Nats. So Rizzo did the one thing he could as a general manager to snap 'em out of it. He changed the atmosphere in an instant, and now all eyes are on the Nats again.Make no mistake, this wasn't just about finding someone who could hit better than .170 to play left field. This was about changing momentum.Will it work? You never know. A man who tries may fail. But a man who doesn't try has failed already. GYFNG

  24. Candide - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Joe Seamhead said……we need an impact bat in the line-up, and he can't do much worse then .070Hell, I couldn't do much worse than .070. That's seven hits per 100 AB. I figure I could get at least one hit per 100 AB just by accident…A lot is made of Harper's attitude – is he cocky, arrogant, confident, or what? Those traits all lie along the same continuum and I'm wondering what people think his true attitude is. On a scale of zero to 100, where zero is "curled-up-in-a-fetal-position-begging-your-girlfriend-to-stop-hitting-you-with-her-slipper" and 100 is "I'm like God, only bigger, smarter, stronger, and faster," where do people think Harper is? Figure "confident" = 60-70, "cocky" = 71-80, and "arrogant" = 80+.

  25. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Gonat…. I'm with you but it justs bugs me to no end that finding a level of consistant success escapes Desmond every time, hence "The Big Tease".7 years is a long time to develop and like I told numerous people during ST, this is the year. If he can't develop that level of consistency, then he won't be with this organization and it's time to move on. April 28, 2012 9:15 AM ______________________________I'm starting to agree with Steve's comment yesterday that Eckstein has to send these youngsters into the batting box with a plan and from what I saw last night, a few vets need a new approach (DeRosa & Nady).That 4 pitch 3rd inning last night with Det and Desi swinging at the 1st pitches and Lombo saw 2 pitches. This all played against how you get an Ace pitcher out of the game earlier which is taking pitches and working the count like LaRoche and Werth were doing.Then after LaRoche's HR, DeRosa followed up with a 1st pitch out and then Nady did the same thing.This is not good baseball strategy.

  26. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Between Desmond, Espinosa and, now, Harper, Johnson will assume the self-appointed role of personal batting coach to three naifs. Hardly going to leave enough time to fill out the line-up card. Eckstein might be a decent "swing coach" — no way for me to judge that but he's no Terry Crowley or Deacon Jones — but I'm now firmly on the side of those who think he's no "batting coach." Gotta get rid of him, let Johnson manage.

  27. ehay2k - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Hey, my ears were burning. Was someone calling out the hitting coach and our team's lack of an approach at the plate?

  28. LoveDaNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I was very surprised to see Harper coming up so soon, however after thinking about it, it's the right move. As NCNatsie said, it's about changing momentum and that has happened already. I never thought Strassie could live up to the hype when he debuted and he exceeded it. Here's to Harp doing the same.

  29. Dave - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I'm sort of hoping Harper's call-up injects some offensive life into the spirit of this team. The rest of the players know just as well as we do about the hype. When Didger Stadium is filled to its 56,000 capacity tonight, it'll be a different atmosphere than in any game they've played since EJax's complete game. I'm looking to a PFB (pretty frickin' Bryce-like) debut. GYFNG!

  30. Unknown - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Everyone has been saying Harper is going to get hit with Super 2 status if he sticks, which is true, making him arbitration eligible before the 2015 season. However, when he signed out of the draft, it was a five year major league contract, which takes him through the 2015 season. Unless I'm missing something, the Nats don't really lose anything as a result of him being a Super 2 and bringing him up this early (except potential developmental risks).

  31. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Funny to listen to podcasts from yesterday saying "No way Harper is brought up before Trout, Super 2, Nats don't need him, they are tearing up the track, etc." Hope he does ++ in his debut and then settles into some solid performances. Might want to make sure whoever is manning CF is very clear on who is in charge out there, Brycie-boy can be aggressive. Glad he had the time in Spring Training to get used to his teammates. Candide, I remember Moose Skowron with fondness. —from Chicago O'Hare

  32. BaseballDude - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Thinking about Harper's reaction to getting called up. According to AAA manager Beasley, Harper was speechless. He's gotta be in total shock in a way that he's never felt before. Think about it. Every level where Bryce has played since he was 10 has been a stepping stone to the next level. All the while, he's harbored dreams of playing in the bigs. And, now he's finally made it. No more stepping stones, just playing in the show. Kinda cool. Can't wait to watch him play and listen to Scully paint the picture.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    And another reason to totally disregard Keith Law and anything baseball out of ESPN not uttered by Tim K or Kruk…..per Law "Harper call up is a panic move by Nats".

  34. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… And another reason to totally disregard Keith Law and anything baseball out of ESPN not uttered by Tim K or Kruk…..per Law "Harper call up is a panic move by Nats". April 28, 2012 10:25 AM ______________________________Panic move? No, a panic move would be signing Bobby Abreu. This is simply bringing up a player to make an impact.Whether it will work or not is to be seen. If he isn't ready, then he goes back to AAA.

  35. Kenz aFan - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I don't expect miracles from Harper, and I have none of him becoming a superhero or savior. What I do hope, and half expect is for Bryce to play well enough to make the decision as to whether or not he should be sent back down more than extremely difficult.I wish Bryce the best of luck, and look forward to being able to watch Nats games without my needing to hold my breath game in, game out.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    And yesterday has to be a new watermark for NJ total posts……438 for the three threads.

  37. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    NJ, Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Klaw wouldn't know "bold" if it clobbered him in broad daylight. Who panics in first place in April?????? We been playing all season without Morse and just last night nearly beat Kershaw with our NUMBER 5 starter. Let the Fish panic. Let the Philthies panic. Rizzo ain't panicking, this the is same GM that sent a perfectly usable ML Lefty start down to rot (ok, freeze) in AAA because wanted to give Detwiler a real chance to grow up.—from Chicago O'Hare

  38. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    sjm308 said…"I have not seen Harper play the outfield but I just have to think, at 19 he will add more speed then Nady or DeRosa."The LA Times just reported that Nady finally reached first on that chopper at 4:15 this morning.

  39. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Candide, thanks for the Skowron link. I remember seeing hime as part of my grandfather's White Sox teams. As for "panic move"–well, it's not part of the plan, and .070 might count as desperation, if not panic. You might just as well call it a leap of faith.

  40. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Nady– faster than evolution (but not by much).I believe that was originally a quip about Paul Konerko but who's checking the copyright?—from Chicago O'Hare

  41. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    sjm308 said…"I have not seen Harper play the outfield but I just have to think, at 19 he will add more speed then Nady or DeRosa."________________________________Corey Brown would have offered more speed than them along with much better defense.At this point, a new infusion of youthful enthusiasm should work well in the short-term. It is a time will tell. This is the Majors. Real #1 pitchers throwing their best stuff and tonight a real #2.

  42. sjm308 - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Sad about Moose – got to see him play and those Yankee teams were just amazing.Excited about Harper but won't go crazy if he has an 0fer. I am hoping his parents will be there to enjoy every minute.I have read on this site for over a year about Eckstein and have gone from not thinking he was not that big of a problem to now seeing that we probably do need a change. If Davey is actually working with several of the youngsters, what the hell is he doing? Charting Pitches? Cheering? I could do those tasks. The comments on having a plan hit home with me and I think they are spot on. The Yankees are famous for being patient and seeing lots of pitches and we just go up flailing. Saw that for the first time we went ahead of the Phillies in that silly % probability that espn uses in their standings. I understand it means nothing but it was nice to see.Go Nats!

  43. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Yeah, I just don't see how this qualifies as a panic move. The team is winning, and after a month, it's pretty obvious that the NL East is up for grabs, and right now the Nats are in the drivers seat. What's to panic? Because they lost a game? Their two best hitters are hurt, so they call up their best prospect to give him a shot — maybe a little earlier than planned, but they're reacting to the baseball reality like a contending team. Not willing to settle for a couple weeks while the guys heal up. They've still got a pretty soft schedule for the next month, and every win now counts. It just seems to me like they've assessed the situation and decided that the future is now. Time to go all in.

  44. sjm308 - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Just reread my grammer on the paragraph on Eckstein. You guys can fail me right now. Meant to write I did not originally think he was a problem and have changed my stance. Just horrible english. I apologize.

  45. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Did Mark already use the headline 'A New Hope…' ?

  46. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Don't start the Star Wars analogies — you know what happens to The Chosen One. Maybe they should dress Harp up in a Darth Vader suit for rookie hazing.

  47. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Or make him grow a Jedi mullet.

  48. baseballswami - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    I think we accept the dl issues and use this time to season the young players that represent the future of the team. Use has -beens and never will be's only when we have to. Keep in the game now and fly after the All star.break. Play the kids and let them develop. Go nats. This will be an interesting ride.

  49. Section 215 Row A - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    A New Era? A new era of haste perhaps. This is too soon and Mr. Harper will struggle mightily. We have discussed this on this Blog before and I thought we concluded that only one 19-year old EVER has succeeded in any meaningful way. I would have preferred Harper stay in AAA all summer, hone his considerable skills and come up in September ready to succeed. Then and in 2013. I hope this premature move and subsequent failure on the large stage doesn't set him back too far.

  50. MicheleS - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I for one am going to enjoy this as long as it lasts. Whether it's a couple of weeks or the rest of the season, just want to watch this play out. Seriously, we are in first place, our pitching staff is other worldly, our hitting has been dreck (except ALR/WerthWHILE) and we now bring up our top prospect. Lets Enjoy!!!Could he have stayed in AAA, sure, but our current crop of LF, are at best atrocious (Candide, I could probably hit .070 as well, and I am slightly taller than Jose Altuve)

  51. MicheleS - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    SFNats.. when you said the Chosen One.. I thought Neo from the Matrix.

  52. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Good point, SF Nats.

  53. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    If he is a miserable failure now, it will only set him back the amount of time up here plus maybe a week or so to readjust to AAA. At any rate, he can't be worse than the production received from the left field spot thus far.

  54. sm13 - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Panic moves are not made by 14-6 teams. If there was a panic move yesterday, it was the last place Angels bringing up Trout to rescue a team with multi-million dollar under-achievers.

  55. UnkyD - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    How about this: if he has to go back down… The few weeks flailing up here might slow everything down, at AAA? Then he rakes, and knows better what to expect later on in the summer…This silver lining brought to you by the makers of KookAid!!

  56. Gonat - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… he can't be worse than the production received from the left field spot thus far. April 28, 2012 11:34 AM _________________________________I would take Edwin Jackson (if he could play LF) over the offensive production the -starting- left-fielders have shown. EJax is batting .222 vs. Nady at .141 and DeRosa at .081 and no XBH. Simply pathetic 20 games into the season.

  57. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I don't think I do "root for the laundry" but if you don't root at all, it doesn't matter. They have a series to win, starting tonight. Let's get two. GYFNG.

  58. Fear and Ignorance - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    If you can play…you can play. Age really isn't that much of a factor. Many of the 19 year olds that everybody seems to mention that struggled were also probably still gangly kids who had not grown into their frames yet. Jim Palmer was talking about Dylan Bundy the other night, and said he SHOULD be pitching for Baltimore this year and that age shouldn't matter. Harper, physically, is already there. He is built like a 25 year old. Yeah, he could still struggle, but he will only learn to hit major league pitching by getting the reps.

  59. David - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Corey Brown was hitting better than Harper… that said, I'm super excited for tonight! Stras and Harper in the lineup together for the first time. Time to buckle up. Who knows where this ride is taking us…

  60. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Edwin Jackson looked pretty pro pinch running yesterday, leaning own and swinging his arms. Didn't he make a couple of nice plays, also? Good athlete.—from Chicago O'Hare

  61. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Rizzo set Harper up for success. No Kershaw, but a RHP who throws plenty of fastballs. Now it's up to the kid.— from Chicago O'Hare

  62. Fear and Ignorance - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Davey- "I need Harper up here THIS weekend!!!"Rizzo- "He still needs more time."Davey- "I need Harper up here THIS weekend!!!"Rizzo- "He really needs about 300 AB's in Syracuse for me to feel comfortable about bringing him up."Davey- "Do you want to take this outside???"Rizzo- "Tony(Beasley)…go ahead and give the kid the news"

  63. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Wash small favorite on this one, lines range from -115 to -125. Don't know if Harper is factored in, hard for me to click around on tiny computer….—from Chicago O'Hare

  64. blovy8 - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I'm just glad is wasn't Teahen. This seems more like a what the hell it can't be worse than what we have now move. He's not ready, but that could be better than the he's not good enough guys we have playing left. Of course, a few atbats and defensive plays are going to be ugly. But, that's entertaining too. The message is that the FA wants to take advanatage of this good start and not just muddle along until the DL list gets shorter.

  65. blovy8 - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    front office, not free agents. No more of those likely showing up…

  66. mick - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    at this point, why not bring up Moore and Brown too. I mean in 1975 the Red Sox went with 2 rookies Lynn and Rice and both became AL players of the year and the Sox went to the WS

  67. Dave - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    @sm13 11:45: "Panic moves are not made by 14-6 teams. If there was a panic move yesterday, it was the last place Angels bringing up Trout to rescue a team with multi-million dollar under-achievers." This is exactly what I was thinking. Keith Law is all about Trout as the Golden Prospect of Baseball, but the Angels are in trouble. That's why they brought Trout up now. That's what I call a panic move.The Nationals, on the other hand, are trying to maintain an extremely strong start with a couple of their most important bats out for injuries. So they call up their own Golden Prospect to keep the train moving.Law likes to protest that he is never biased (since people who are smarter than everyone else are never biased), but he seems stuck in an ideology of the Nats as cellar-dwellers and bottom-feeders. Those days are past, and I think KLaw just hasn't caught up to the present yet.

  68. Dave - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    As Kilgore points out in a very nice piece located here, Ryan Zimmerman was 19 years when he came up in 2005. True, he would turn 20 on September 28th of that year, but he had not yet reached 20 when he joined the team that September and instantly replaced Vinny Castilla at third base.

  69. Adam - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Yeah… It's no secret there's a huge anti-Nats bias over at ESPN's Basballs Today podcast. (cue that stupid cat SFX)I like KLAW but his negativity is a bit over bearing at times

  70. MicheleS - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    From other Insiders, the comments about KLaw are HILARIOUS. I think that guys has some deep seated hatred of the Nats. Not sure if its the fact that we have scouts and do rely completely on stats (which I am sure they use, but have eyes on the ground as well).Some scout or FO type (probalby Rizzo) must have told KLaw to stuff it somewhere along the way and that is why he is continually lobbing shots at us.

  71. baseballswami - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    If he fails horribly then he will know first hand what he needs from aaa ball and he will go back and attack it with a vengeance. This kid does not seem to know the meaning of quit or doing anything halfway. His attitude may be contagious. I also think Werth will be good for him.

  72. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    NatsLady said…"Wash small favorite on this one, lines range from -115 to -125. Don't know if Harper is factored in, hard for me to click around on tiny computer…."My guess is that it's more due to Stras vs. Billingsley. Billingsley's off to a pretty good start, but he's hittable.

  73. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Nady and DeRosa have been basically 2 automatic outs. harper at least won't be an authomatic out. Booby Abreu was released. Is he better than deRosa and ndy at this point? Just wondering. Or is equivalent?Lidge to the shelf doesn't even get much airplay (nor should it).

  74. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    "I have read on this site for over a year about Eckstein and have gone from not thinking he was not that big of a problem to now seeing that we probably do need a change. If Davey is actually working with several of the youngsters, what the hell is he doing? Charting Pitches? Cheering? I could do those tasks. The comments on having a plan hit home with me and I think they are spot on."Eckstein works with hitters in the cages long before BP or games begin. He works with hitters on video at all hours of the day or night. As a former pitcher, he even throws full speed pitches, fastballs and curves, to them from 45 feet to give them the feel of real major league pitching instead of the normal BP lobs. So if you could do just as good if you took his place, are you signing up to do all that?People always complain about the hitting coach when the offense is struggling. They complained about Mitchell Page. When he had to step down due to alcoholism, they cheered the arrival of Lenny Harris. Then when he got fired because his approach was to play cards with the players in the clubhouse, they cheered the arrival of Eckstein. Now they want Eckstein gone, but he's not the problem.

  75. SonnyG10 - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Here, Here, Hexadecimal. You're right on re the hitting coach!

  76. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Manassas Nats' Fan said…"Nady and DeRosa have been basically 2 automatic outs. harper at least won't be an authomatic out. Booby Abreu was released. Is he better than deRosa and ndy at this point? Just wondering. Or is equivalent?"Abreu is so bad that the light-hitting Angels basically ate $9 million to release him so they could bring up their rookie phenom. I don;t think he's an upgrade over anything at this point.

  77. Section 222 - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Section 222 said…FP says it's easier to hit in the majors than in AAA. So bring Harper up. Why not? Oy. It's going to be a long night.April 26, 2012 10:22 PMI'm man enough to admit that FP got it right. Or he's more in tune with the brain of Rizzo at least. And my snark blew up in my face. Not the first time that has happened. This is going to be fun. Thanks for the nice setup piece Mark. Looking forward to your converage.

  78. DHamm - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Im with Hex and SonnyG.I'm sure he's not telling Danny to "keep swinging at that high fastball, I'm sure you will catch up to it sooner or later".

  79. Mr. Doggett - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Two security blankets that Rizzo has now that he wouldn't have had if he had waited longer. 1. Teams record/lack of hitting. There's a cushion of wins to ease the tension as well as a low set of expectations for the current lineup. 2. By proclaiming that he really isn't fully "ready" Rizzo has the option of sending him down. In the past, they always said "he isn't coming up till we say he's ready and once he's up, he is staying up." Now they arent bound to anything since they're admitting that they brought him up at an imperfect time.

  80. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    A lot gets made about the fact that Harper has struggled at each level initially, and then he gets it and busts out. But I wonder if this is a different situation. At every level so far, Harper has known that he was there until he could prove that he was ready to move on, with the ultimate goal of reaching the majors.But this time, he's reached the goal, and he knows he needs to prove that he should stay there. There's no more working to move up, it's proving you shouldn't be moved down. That's a whole new situations for him, and I wonder if it will make a difference in the way he goes about it.

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    #'s,letters, dashes followed by more #'s and letters…..re: Eckstein…….and he is a computer guru. Nobody works harder or is more of a favorite of Davey's than Eckstein

  82. Mr. Doggett - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    That's a really interesting point. I hope that doesn't lead to impatience or increased strikeouts…

  83. Section 222 - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    If he is a miserable failure now, it will only set him back the amount of time up here plus maybe a week or so to readjust to AAA. At any rate, he can't be worse than the production received from the left field spot thus far.Excellent point. There's really no downside to this move given how poorly the alternatives in LF are playing. And Harper just doesn't seem like the type to let initial failure bother him or hinder his development. Just as importantly, the Nats play only 7 games between now and May 6 when Zim is ready to return (knock on wood). It would be totally unfair to call him a miserable failure after such a short stint in the majors. I have a feeling that Rizzo will make another move to keep him around longer. Surely he needs to play more than 7 games before we figure out whether he can stick. But if he doesn't, unless he's 0 fer 25 and makes 3 errors in LF, it will be way to soon to make a judgment.

  84. SFNats - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Local news reported that there was a middling (4.1) earthquake in LA this morning. Probably Harp rolling out of bed.

  85. Get Some Players - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    If Nady, DeRosa et al don't produce soon, Brown and Moore and even Teahen should be given a chance.

  86. UnkyD - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Y'know… If we continue to get 0 production from some if these guys, I don't think I'd complain, too loudly, if kids who continue to rake get brought up…

  87. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Didn't Frank Robinson go something like 0-for-22 after his first game in the majors?

  88. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Which didn't keep him from being the unanimous (by no means anonymous) Rookie of the Year.

  89. ehay2k - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    I have never said Eckstein wasn't working hard, putting in the effort, etc. What I have said consistently is that the results are far below what we should have a right to expect. It's not lack of skill as much as it is poor discipline combined with no apparent plan by our hitters. Sorry, batters, because they can't collectively be called hitters to date.More evidence was provided in the four pitch inning last night. Epic fail.Perhaps Eckstein just needs to add some "Approach at the plate", and "Two Strike Approach" sections to his training. Because the Nats' hitters, with one or two exceptions, clearly need work there. But if he has already been working on those things, then the Nats really DO need to cut him loose now because his method of teaching is not working.

  90. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Alot of teaching anything depends on the raw ability of the individual being taught.Maybe the pupils aren't that good. I mean David Freese may have more ability than Ian Desmond.

  91. ehay2k - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Not disagreeing with you Natsjack. My issue isn't that Eck can't teach them to swing properly, or hit fastballs or breaking balls. They can, at times. But they just seem to have idea what they are going to do at the plate. They can't be that stupid.

  92. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    "My issue isn't that Eck can't teach them to swing properly, or hit fastballs or breaking balls. They can, at times. But they just seem to have idea what they are going to do at the plate. They can't be that stupid."No, but you can. You seem to think that having an approach at the plate is like printing out the Mapquest directions before you drive somewhere. So simple that even a caveman could do it. But the reality is about as far from that as you can get. Any approach – be it "see a lot of pitches", "go the other way", "swing at the first pitch", whatever – is only as good as the pitches that come at you. And there's no way to predict those. And there's also no time to change your approach on the fly, pitch by pitch, as your at bat unfolds. And just because an at bat doesn't result in success doesn't mean that the batter didn't have an approach or an idea when he stepped up there. It just means he failed to execute. Even the best hitters in the league fail 7 out of 10 times. Does that mean they are stupid?

  93. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    My official nickname for Ian Desmond is "The Big Tease".My official nickname is Dessie the Loch Nats Guzzie Monster in honor of the fact that Bill Ladson won't refer to Bernadina as "the shark" unless he does something to deserve it. Meanwhile, his new favorite player looks more and more like a reincarnated Cristian Guzman who swings at everything, never walks (even though he is lead off) and even when he hits ends up with a way too low OBP.

  94. Section 222 - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    I mean David Freese may have more ability than Ian Desmond.Ya think?

  95. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    And against aces like Kershaw, you actually try to get him early. Once you go down 0-2, 1-2, you're meat.

  96. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    I have not seen Harper play the outfield but I just have to think, at 19 he will add more speed then Nady or DeRosa.AND like Ankiel is arm is also a weapon. Albeit most of the plethora of errors in Syracuse were throwing errors but those were mostly from CF. This outfield now features what may be the best set of arms in major league baseball.Offensively, Harper will hit … just not initially for power. I suspect a part of that is he is thinking too much. There is far more strategy involved in planning an approach to the plate and at bats than in his previous forays. In AAA that was definitely the case given all the breaking ball artists he had to face. Now, perhaps its time to not think so much and as Morse says in his commercial "unleash the beast". As many here have pointed out, just on his sheer talent he will do better than all of the previous offerings in left-field. He can't lose from that perspective by "turning on the fan", a euphemism Davey Johnson ascribed to Frank Howard his hitting coach with the Mets.And batting seventh? That's what I'd suggest. Doubtless he may do better than Desmond and Espinosa when they did that more just because of his raw bat speed.

  97. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Official nicknames? Do you get a licensing fee for that?

  98. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    And against aces like Kershaw, you actually try to get him early. Once you go down 0-2, 1-2, you're meat.Particularly given the "strike zones" we've been seeing, in both halves of innings. There's no telling what's "too close to take" anymore, even.

  99. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Section 3……I did say it was MY official nickname. Feel free to call him what you wil.

  100. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    And as for coverage (and previously lack thereof) Kilgore grows on you. Yeah I can spell better than he can without the spell checker … but he gets the most excited (yes, even more than Ladson) about the Nats. I like his enthusiasm. He and Byron Kerr. And with Kerr you get superior farm system coverage that was lacking since Nats Farm Brian became a high school Math teacher and new father. And its hard to get anything from Doug 'Bill Belicheck" Harris … however, Mark Scialaba is another story and was very open with Brian. I am hopeful the same is beginning to be true for Byron Kerr.

  101. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Nats best newspaper beat writer is, hands down, Amanda Comak.

  102. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    I should say that I do very much enjoy NationalsProspects.com very much … but Luke doesn't have access to insider info from the "Nats farm authority". He is a scout and keeps tabs on all the transactions which is a feature and service no one else does.While Byron Kerr attempts to get Insider Farm info from the principles; minor league managers and coaches, the farm system director and assistants … They are two separate and vital services from the perspective of the consummate Nats fan.

  103. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Nats best newspaper beat writer is, hands down, Amanda Comak.Unfortunately, she is still down on the pecking order in terms of info and often has to retweet and ascribe news to the other journalists. Hopefully, that will change .. remember Kilgore does have Boz on his team. Along with Shenin. Amanda is pretty much on her own from the looks of it. I like her writing and I've followed her from the beginning … but she doesn't get as excited as do Kilgore and Kerr …

  104. waddu eye no - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    unknown – "Writing like this is why Mark Z. is the best Nats reporter in town. "ditto. or as the post might spell it, dito.

  105. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    As for "damaging his psyche" if he doesn't do well, I'm not as concerned as with other players. Harper not only will NOT fade like a wilted flower if he embarrasses himself … There are far too many "can't miss types" who have failed in baseball history … its not a fun thing to consider but it has to factor into this move. Rizzo has pinned a great deal of this franchise's self-esteem on this prospect. Not so much on "can't miss" Anthony Rendon who looked very much like a far better hitter until he was injured. And a part of that is Davey Johnson. Johnson is extremely good but he looks wrong about DeRosa and Nady … and now Johnson is turning back to Harper the guy he is perhaps the most enthusiastic about.IMHO I see a risk in that approach … it deviates from the mantra instilled in the organization upon Rizzo's hiring: develop or die and do it the right way. I see it as similar to signing a high end free agent like a Pujols or Fielder an pinning a great deal of the franchise's hopes on success on them. Instead, I think they should put Harper's development first. I'd like to see Harper hit .400 in the majors like Ted Williams did when he was around his age. I think its possible if Rizzo develops him the way he has planned. I do hope they continue to develop him as a "prospect" while he is in the major leagues and not expect miracles from him.

  106. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Nats best newspaper beat writer is, hands down, Amanda Comak.Agreed. I've followed her from the beginning.But she is still lower on the pecking order and gets her news second hand from the others (as does Mark). Kilgore has Boz and Shenin on his team. Amanda looks completely solo.

  107. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    The ramblings of self anointed geneouses always leave me laughing.

  108. natsfan1a - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    I'm with you, Michele! Just got back from my volunteer gig and haven't yet read the game thread or watched the replay. I, did, however, read a couple of earlier threads. Thanks for having the backs of your sister Nats fans. ;-) Hope I can stay up late enough to watch the game. Had a lot of coffee this a.m. but it might be wearing off now. So glad that our humble blog host decided to fly to LA on a whim. Hooray for Hollywood! (And thanks, Comcast.)MicheleS said… I for one am going to enjoy this as long as it lasts. Whether it's a couple of weeks or the rest of the season, just want to watch this play out. Seriously, we are in first place, our pitching staff is other worldly, our hitting has been dreck (except ALR/WerthWHILE) and we now bring up our top prospect. Lets Enjoy!!! Could he have stayed in AAA, sure, but our current crop of LF, are at best atrocious (Candide, I could probably hit .070 as well, and I am slightly taller than Jose Altuve) April 28, 2012 11:30 AM

  109. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    The ramblings of self anointed geneouses always leave me laughing.And the ignorant spew of sycophant's leaves me rolling …

  110. peric - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    In spite of brilliant major league scout NatsJack's opinions … gee maybe Rizzo should hire him he is so smart … decrepit creep .. shakes head ruefully ….Keep in mind that Johnson brought up and has wanted Harper because HE wants to finish Harper's development personally. As he himself as stated. So, of course other possibilities like Tyler Moore would be excluded … perhaps he feels it it is one of his last big tasks to complete before he returns to semi-retirement?

  111. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Playing golf at Interlachen here in Winter Park with the rest of us.

  112. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    NatsJack, thanks, but I was just wondering how you might monetize that. And by "you" I mean "me."

  113. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    And by "that" I meant the official nickname, several posts up.

  114. FS=Faraz Shaikh - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  115. Scott from Burke - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    peric said… And the ignorant spew of sycophant's leaves me rolling … Peric: you said Bobby Murcer was "average at best" You aint too smart

  116. FS=Faraz Shaikh - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    i dont like to be controversial.anyways, wondering where Harper hits in the lineup. 2 or 6? I will go with 2.

  117. Scott from Burke - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    7..already been announced

  118. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  119. Doc - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    I'm inclined to agree with you NatsJack. I always will put more onus on the aptitude of the player, than the teachings of the coach.The more a player is able to 'do', the more effective the hitting coach becomes.Given that Davey and Eckstein are reportedly on the same page, it has to be the players that are intent on hitting 1st pitches. Davey was in on OBP before sabermetrics was sabermetrics.

  120. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    With Tracy out, Lombardozzi probably gets third for a while? And with Harper in the 7, does Davey bring Ramos up in the order, something like this?Desmond SSLombardozzi 3bWerth RFLaRoche 1bAnkiel CFRamos CHarper LFEspinosa 2bStrasburg P

  121. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Doc, as a teacher, I hear you on that. Also, isn't one of the items that scouts look at in evaluating prospects in the minors somethng termed "coachability?"NJ, I hear you on getting to Kershaw on the first pitch or two (and they were doing that with Stras), but that is if you are trying to get a hit. What if your objective, in the 6th or 7th inning, is not to get a hit, but to get the pitcher to throw pitches, both to tire him out and to give your guy a rest? Especially after 1 or 2 outs. A 4-pitch inning achieves neither objective (and they didn't get a hit anyway.) What if your objective is to let the guys behind you have a look at what/how a reliever is doing when he first comes out, something that is difficult to prepare for in advance with pre-game videos or even in-game video as you can with the starter? I go back to Werth grounding out on the first pitch when Gorzy was on base and the Nats were up 7-1. Yes, he could have looked at pitches, fouled some off, etc., and maybe walked. But that was not his goal– his goal was to get his pitcher off the basepaths. That was a smart piece of hitting and all it results in is a tick against his batting average–AND Gorzy safely in the dugout.That's not the kind of thing you can necessarily teach young hitters, because it takes years of experience to react to game situations like that, plus the skill to do it. It is something, however, that you can say to young hitters as they go up for an at-bat.Bottom line, though I agree on the different skill levels and coachability levels of hitters, I'm not willing to give Eck (or Davey for that matter) a total pass on this.—Fargo, ND

  122. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Wow! Fargo…. Look for the wood chiper…..But great post….and no…when facing a great pitcher, pitch count doesn't count for alot late….early, yes.

  123. natsfan1a - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Yeah, those wood chippers can really do you in. :-)

  124. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    An anecdote: I went to see a student of mine in a show called "Once Upon a Mattress. The scene called for her to sing a solo while atop a 20 foot pile of matresses. She started to sing and you could not hear her for about 8 measures. Later she told me that the tech guy had positioned the mic differently than in rehearsal. I let her have it–yes, the tech guy make a mistake. But it's YOUR job to keep your brain in gear, and look around up there BEFORE you start singing and make the adjustment. You prepare and prepare, technique, etc., but you don't just let loose once the show starts. You have that little birdie, that little observing birdie in your head that is constantly assessing, reacting, and correcting.If Eck is telling these guys as they go up "relax and use your talent," nope sorry. He needs to be saying, OK, slow the game down, take a few, or whatever is the situation. And Nady and DeRosa should not have to be told.—Fargo, ND

  125. MicheleS - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Standing beside NatsJack as a sycophant!

  126. Oldguy - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Before everybody goes all wobbly, go over and take a look at Trout's stats so far today. And he is ranked above BH and has already had a cuppa coffee or two in the bigs.

  127. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Im a sycophant because I love.

  128. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    But look at the Angels record. They HAD to make the move. The Nats didn't.

  129. Doc - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Unfortunately, we don't know what Davey and Eck are telling the hitters. Mostly as commenters we can only speculate, and fill in the many blanks that we are left with. Kershaw was tiring in the later innings, and 1st pitch hitting would be counter intuitive to putting men on base, and getting his Dodger a** out of the game. I agree that vets like Nady and DeRosa should not have to have a coach tell them to take a pitcher deep into the count. Maybe it's time that Desi and Espi did their own thinking too!

  130. Doc - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Yeah, NatsLady watch out for guys with baggy eyes looking like Steve Buscemi, and avoid wood chippers in Fargo—they tend to be used for other purposes than cutting up tree limbs!Definitely forgo Fargo!!!!

  131. waddu eye no - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    peric said… And the ignorant spew of sycophant's leaves me rolling … Should be "sycophants." You don't use apostrophes with plurals; use them for posessives and contractions. Ask any sycophant. You got "ignorant" right.

  132. Kenz aFan - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    This may turnout to be more of a sneak preview than the dawn of a new era. Unless Harper performs above expectations, and even then, odds are he will be sent back to Syracuse. Just in case, fans can help keep Bryce in the show by simply FILLING NATIONALS PARK. That way, the Nats front office might be a little wary of sending him down. Besides, any home game is more fun when the house is packed with home town fans.

  133. 164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    None of us can know for sure whether the hitting would be any better with a different hitting coach.But what is the downside to finding out? Their hitting was dismal last year and remains so this year. Maybe a different hitting coach wouldn't help, but maybe it would.In a business, these results would be considered unacceptable and you would find someone else. Not to punish Eckstein, or to suggest he isn't working hard, or might not be more successful in a different situation. But because you simply need different results and can't accept the current results because they have gone on for too long to be a statistical aberration.

  134. Mr. Doggett - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Want to hear Vin Scully instead of C and D just once? Here: http://kropam.streamon.fm/

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter