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April: Encouraging/discouraging

Apr 30, 2012, 2:13 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez is one of four Nats starters with a sub-2.00 ERA.

After a rough trip out west that ended with four consecutive losses to the Padres and Dodgers, the Nationals are enjoying a much-needed day of rest. Here at the Insider, of course, there's no such thing as rest. (Those of you with children know what I'm talking about.)

So let's use this off-day, as well as the fact it's the final day of the month, to take a look at both the encouraging and discouraging developments of the season to date…

ENCOURAGING: The Nationals rotation has been, plain and simple, awesome. We're running out of superlatives to describe this group of starters, so let's just run through the stats. The rotation's collective ERA now stands at 1.78 (the Cardinals rank second in the majors at 2.57). Opponents are hitting .186 against Nationals starters. They rank second in the league with 129 strikeouts while issuing the second-fewest walks in the league (32). In 16 of 22 games to date, Nationals starters have surrendered zero or one earned run.

DISCOURAGING: Despite all those sparkling numbers, the Nationals' rotation has a collective record of 8-4. That's what happens whenRead more »

235 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - May 1, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    "Section 222 said… Michelle — Some of the $2 seats are actually in the Mezzanine section — like around 227 down the 1B line or 207 down the 3B line. And I remember them doing that promotion in August and September when the season was winding down, not at the beginning of the season. I could be wrong though."You would be wrong. Last year they had $2 Tuesday in May when the Pirates were here. That game got rained out (the one where they called the game early and then it didn't rain) and I parlayed that one $2 ticket into a seat for the makeup doubleheader in July. Good times.This time, if they offered $2 tickets for the mezzanine they went quickly. I checked last week and all that was available was 400 level.

  2. Candide - May 1, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said…If it were that easy — "just watch Bryce Harper and do what he does" — everyone could do it. I'd do it. You'd do it.Even if they don't have Harper's natural talent, they could certainly learn to hustle and keep their heads in the game like him. I LIKE seeing a guy run out a comebacker like his life depended on it. Make the other guy hurry his throw; you never know what might happen.Harper – the anti-Nyjer: http://www.natsenquirer.com/2010/05/nyjer-morgans-temper-tantrum.html

  3. baseballswami - May 1, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    The$2.00 tickets are usually pretty limited in number. No nats tonight. I hope they are getting rested up and rejuvenated for the Dbacks, who scare me.

  4. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Ouch, Tommy got shelled, 8 runs, 7 earned. Not his day, I guess. RSox leading 11-1, question is, can they hold it?More importantly, can the Pirates hold the 6-3 lead?

  5. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 1, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Damn–hustle and keep my head in the game…THAT's what keeps me from playing like Bryce! Thanks!!

  6. Candide - May 1, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    …that and probably the inability to hit a hanging curve…

  7. A DC Wonk - May 1, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    …Damn–hustle and keep my head in the game…THAT's what keeps me from playing like Bryce! Thanks!!You jest. . . but . . . it sure seems that way, sometimes, when, for example, you lead off the ninth, with a new pitcher, and you swing at the first pitch. Knowwhatimean?

  8. JaneB - May 1, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    I will sound like a sap. But I am happy we aren't 6 and 14, like we have been other years. I am glad that Storen will be back in July 2012 and not 2013. I am glad to good coaching and scouting, and too many good pitchers. I wish we knew for sure we'd see Zimm and Morse full strength this year. But I am glad for everything else, not the least of which is a team in Washington and a great sportswriter who has been covering the Nats from the beginning. From where I sit, it's all encouraging. I really mean it.

  9. peric - May 1, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. peric - May 1, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Peric, two days = small sample size, They are not sending him down when Zim gets back (G-d willing) this weekend. But even week is a small sample size. NatsLady, sample size isn't even under consideration. Davey Johnson wants to finish Bryce Harper's development. He does not want to trust that responsibility to the good Mr. Beasley and Doug Harris' organization. No one pays attention! Mark Lerner was surprised to here that Harper had been singled out to come up? Rizzo had made it sound like it would be Tyler Moore. Guess what? When Lerner asked Rizzo he told him he had broached that with Davey and Davey said its time … he wants Harper.Johnson did what the organization wanted … let him go and tried to use the veterans they had acquired for him. Right now Harper's job is to make Davey look like a genius … making it look as if they should have just let him join the 24-man up front. If he does that I bet Tyler Moore could ride his coat-tails. And why not? Why not bench Werth if he isn't hitting and let Morse, Harper and Moore play? If you don't believe this you haven't watched Davey Johnson manage a ball club.

  11. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Just saw this:Nationals’ Brad Lidge to have surgery to repair hernia

  12. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    You are preaching to the choir, peric. I said already several times that Harper would come up as early as possible and stay up. Other scenarios are possible (as I said, small sample size), but I vote for Harper "learning on the job" so to speak.

  13. Section 222 - May 1, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    So Davey got his way, and got Harper up as soon as possible after the witching hour of 21 days passed. Of course, his task was made a lot easier by the futility of those professional hitters like DeRosa, Tracy, and Nady, who turned out not to be as good as…. Davey Johnson said they were. (Remember, it was Davey who absolutely had to have DeRosa.) Anyway, I'm totally fine with Harper being here for awhile. It's going to be quite a ride. Can't wait to see how he does.

  14. peric - May 1, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Davey Johnson said they were. (Remember, it was Davey who absolutely had to have DeRosa.) True but at the same time he likely had to agree about having a veteran bench to go with so many young starters. It pretty much always started out like this for him when he managed other places. Alex Cora got his first job as the Dodger's shortstop because Johnson was the manager. Brought him up from the minors when the veteran in front of him wasn't working. It all has a very similar ring to it.

  15. NatsNut - May 1, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    I'll vouch for you NatsLady. You did indeed insist that Bryce SHOULD come up and/or WILL come up as early as April, if not out of spring training. I know because i (silently) thought you were out of your mind. haha. You totally got me on that one. =)

  16. Section 222 - May 1, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Yup, I remember NatsLady taking that position too. And I'm pretty sure I didn't just silently think she was wrong, I probably said so too (since I rarely keep quiet when I think someone is wrong.) So take a victory lap, you deserve it. To be fair, that was before Morse got hurt and the Goon Squad replacements had a BA under the Mendoza Line. Now I'm on the Harper bandwagon big time and happy to recognize that NatsLady has a seat right up front.

  17. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Actually, the hanging curve is my specialty. I can't hit a slider for [anything].

  18. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 1, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    I was arguing as late as last week there was no way Harper would come up. Worrrngg…I now renounce and abjure my error. And all its minions.

  19. Drew - May 1, 2012 at 5:27 AM

    Daniel Rosenbaum is unbelievable. On Monday night he threw 7 more scoreless innings without a walk, dropping his ERA to 0.76.Going into tonight's game he had a CAREER ERA of 2.24 in 62 starts — and it's going down again. Matt Purke has a major league deal and Meyers has a blazing fastball, but Danny Rosenbaum is going to pitch in the major leagues.

  20. carolync - May 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Wow! Mark's wonderful blog has been taken over by a few people who are flooding it with OT posts and private conversations. He took the time and effort to introduce an interesting topic and about 3 posts addressed it before the pontificating started. Too bad if anyone else wanted to comment on the topic. Get a life, people.I'm outta here.

  21. DHamm - May 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I am a STH and it does not bother me one bit that they offer $2 seats. In fact, I think it's great that they try to get bodies in the stadium to sell $8 beers. Good business move.

  22. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    carolync, one tough grader! Went back and I thought it was one of the more interesting and educational threads I've seen on an off-day. I admit, I read Mark's posts, but they rarely say much that I don't already know and his comments, once read, stay the same all day. I'm far more entertained by the ebb and flow of the discussion–as long as it doesn't turn nasty.Chewing over the weekend series, lots of stats, differing opinions on Henry as a closer and how Davey is managing Henry, excitement over Bryce Harper, spiced up with humor and zingers at the Fish, no personal attacks, in fact, support among "imaginary friends."I think Mark puts a topic out there to start off the day, but I personally never felt that was the sole topic of discussion, especially on a day when he only puts one up there.That's just me.

  23. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Here is Boz on Henry (from his chat):"Henry Rodriguez __way ahead of schedule. Mine anyway. I've watched every flamethrower from Mesa to Benitez to Gossage to I-don't-know-how-many. In an amazing game where he felt responsibility not to screw up Strasburg's win and Harper's debut, he got really nervous and lost control. So what? He needs all those steps (and failures). You're looking for pieces for an eventual October team. You want them stressed to the cracking point __many times__ so that their acceptable stress load becomes higher and higher."

  24. A DC Wonk - May 1, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Wow! Mark's wonderful blog has been taken over by a few people who are flooding it with OT posts and private conversations.Most of the comments have been on the Nationals — how is that off topic? HRod, Harper, Davey, bench, farm, etc. . . . seems pretty much on topic to me, no? Or am I missing something?A minority of posts seem to be about people getting to know each other . . . kinda like a community. I think that's a good thing.

  25. MicheleS - May 1, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    So I will add this to Discouraging:Lidge goes under the knife. Yuk! Hate to see that for anyone, but hope he gets better soon.Henry, it's your job until Drew comes back. So take your best shot and grab the opportunity! We (as fans) will grab the bourbon and the maalox, just in case! Barkeep Sunshine, time to stock up!

  26. natsfan1a - May 1, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    The bulk of the comments also struck me as on-topic, whether relating to specific points in Mark's post or to the Nats generally. I will also note that Mark's posts often say things that I didn't already know, him being a long-time baseball reporter with access to the team and all. In fact, much as I enjoy the commenter community that's developed around this blog (seriously, I do), it's our host's offerings that keep me coming back. I also don't mind his putting up just one post on an off day after a road trip. But that's just me. :-)

  27. Gonat - May 1, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    NatsLady said… Here is Boz on Henry (from his chat):"Henry Rodriguez __way ahead of schedule. Mine anyway. I've watched every flamethrower from Mesa to Benitez to Gossage to I-don't-know-how-many. In an amazing game where he felt responsibility not to screw up Strasburg's win and Harper's debut, he got really nervous and lost control. So what? He needs all those steps (and failures). You're looking for pieces for an eventual October team. You want them stressed to the cracking point __many times__ so that their acceptable stress load becomes higher and higher." May 01, 2012 8:49 AM _____________________________Thanks for sharing. This backs up a few comments and puts into question Coaches wisdom, I am sorry to say. Nats had 2 straight losses, the bottom of their order was coming up, like was written, Lett saw how poorly he was warming up, and a 2 run lead.Sounds like Stammen should have finished it up. Again, all closers don't need 95 heat, stuff worked for Chad Cordero and Brad Lidge (previously).

  28. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Tcostant - May 1, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    I saw some comments on $2 tickets. The link is removed, so I assume they are all sold out now, but mezzanine was one of the three section offered. I know for a fact that June 5th vs. the Mets will be another $2 ticket Tuesday.

  30. Section 215 Row A - May 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Numbers and Letters guy:Just wanted to jump on your band wagon…your comparison of Henry to Joel was spot on. I remember the Hanrahan melt-downs and the similarities between those and Henry's latest resonate with deja vu.

  31. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Here is Phillies announcers on Cahill (he features a curve, slider, change): "Unbelievable sinker, runs all over the place. Good breaking ball. Gives RH hitters a lot of trouble because of all the movement."

  32. A DC Wonk - May 1, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Sounds like Stammen should have finished it up. Again, all closers don't need 95 heat, stuff worked for Chad Cordero and Brad Lidge (previously)Funny . . . I come to the exact opposite conclusion. Let him learn how to pitch in high-pressure nervous situations now, even at the risk of a loss, so that when we really need him down the stretch, when we're in the middle of a pennant race (and Stras has been shut down), he'll be a veteran (so to speak, as much as anyone who is 25 can be a veteran).I remember the Hanrahan melt-downs and the similarities between those and Henry's latest resonate with deja vu. Let us all figure out whether HRod is going be a Hanrahan _now_ or not — so we know who we can depend on in the upcoming pennant race, with crucial games against the Braves, or Phils, or Fish, or whoever, (which I'm sure is in our future, just a few months from now).The pressure he faced last week is small potatoes to what's coming up in Sept. Let him learn it now.And that's obviously what Davey is thinking, too.

  33. UnkyD - May 1, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    carolync: Scroll, baby, scroll…we're all friends, here…Mick: love hearing from you, after a couple of deep breaths! Mix a few of those in with the Coronas, and the game threads will be awesome!!! peric: liking your work SO much more, since seeing your name at the top!! I may have misattributed others to you….. Just liking the general tone, since the routing of the anons….

  34. phiten - May 1, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Ramos almost becoming a liability behind the plate. Dropped throws from the outfield and pop ups to the infield not to mention the miserable performance the other night with the wild man throwing ( although can't place the entire melt down on him). Need some consistency here somewhere if it is even just average!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 66 9.5
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
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