Skip to content

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. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Got reposted. Mark, get some sleep!! Seriously, thanks for great work in LA. Sorry it took Harper's debut for you to get there…Ghost– I feel like you are my echo!! 100% on both of your major points, 14-8 is amazing for this team, especially under the circumstances, and you have to have a different strategy against Kershaw than against A,B or C. I said the exact same thing during the game as you said below!!!I was livid at the 4-pitch inning, and the first-pitch swings, and FP (idiot!) saying in the 6th inning, "he's going to get you on 0-2 so you might as well swing at the first pitch."——————————————–How do you beat Kershaw? You really don't as he has to beat himself or you have to beat his bullpen. The Nats didn't get to the bullpen soon enough. Too many 1st pitch swings and not working the count. That is having a plan. Players like DeRosa and Nady were 1st pitching swinging and of course many others were too.

  2. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Discouraging/Encouraging: Clip's slow start, control problems and simple bad luck. Seems to be turning around, and I didn't know he could hit 96/97 on his heater. Those extra 3-4 mph can make a difference. And if he brings out an accurate cutter–!

  3. fast eddie - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Why put Espi in the #3 slot yesterday? I thought that was reserved for your best hitter. Is that Davey's idea of a "confidence booster"??

  4. jcj5y - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I think we're being overly-critical of Ramos. I was surprised to see his caught stealing numbers, but I've also seen several steals that were entirely the fault of the pitcher. I bet that number returns to what it was last year.Also, I don't think anyone would have had much chance to stop those wild pitches from Rodriguez Saturday night. 99 in the dirt to the backhand side is a tough pitch to block.I have no excuse for the dropped throws from the outfield. He needs to fix that.I'm also not that concerned about Rodriguez. As bad as he looked Saturday, it was also clear that he was making adjustments on the mound. He's not going to give up three hits very often, and he was still one pitch away from getting out of the whole mess. I was just sorry he didn't get another chance yesterday.

  5. josh f - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Our great record belies the fact that we have no offense, and the excellence of the pitching staff is unsustainable over the long run. We've been helped by a soft schedule so far, but unless the hitting improves and Zim comes back on time, May could be rough.

  6. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    After taking several deep breathes over the weekend and drinking perhaps too may Coronas, overall the glass is still half full. As a coach myself, I have the tendency to see things my way too often. Overall Davey has done an excellent job, he is a players coach. My concerns with the Nats are I wish the organization would be more transparent with injuries. If Morse, Storen and even Zim need more than 2-3 months off to FULLY recover, that is fine.2012 should be the year to work out the final kinks before a decade of excellence. Bryce Harper is a SUPERSTAR, Moore will be very good as will Lombo and Rendon. I believe Brown will be too. Play these guys NOW, they may surprise is the way Fred Lynn and Jim Rice did the BoSox as rookies in 1975. As much as I dislike HRod, give him this year and thats it. This staff is fine without him once Storen is back.

  7. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    jcj5y, I agree with you on Ramos. Kind of surprised that Mark sees it like that. Also that throw from Harper to Ramos you could clearly see as Davey saw it that Hairston knocked the ball out of his glove. Can Ramos improve? Sure. Try to get that 2nd hand in to secure the ball.

  8. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I meant the Nats glass half full not by beer glass, lol

  9. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    not to change the subject but Stoglin is leaving MD, apparently he was going to be suspended for a year by Turgeon any away along with Michael Parker whom already has left. these young knuckle heads make me sick!

  10. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    josh F May does not have to rough if you go with the youngens now

  11. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    josh f, agree, and we knew that all along. I would have loved to take 2-3 from the Dodgers to further pad the April numbers. Honestly, I think the heartbreaker on Saturday night have gotten to the team just a little–because you want them to be professional, but you do want them to care. Sometimes it's easier to put a 13-1 blowout behind you than a game where you missed your chance–and I don't just mean Henry. Would have been outstanding to go into May with a 16-6 record. Well, now the Dodgers have that "luxury."We are in for the slog that we knew we were going to have. The D-backs and Phils are not what we expected, however, so let's just slog away this week and take it "one game at a time." I have to say, patting myself on the back, that I was one who thought we needed to bring Harper up ASAP and have him make whatever adjustments he needs to make in the majors. He's not really learning anything in AAA that he couldn't learn here, and the upside of having him here is tremendous. I expect Harper will be fine, but TyMo may have some setbacks.

  12. hiramhover - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Count me among those discouraged over the BP.Storen and Lidge are out. Stammen has been a pleasant surprise. HRod looked like a pleasant surprise at the outset, but less so lately. Clippard may be returning to form but has been a little rocky. In 2010, and to a lesser extent last year, the Nats had one of the better BPs in MLB–this year, I'm not so sure.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    mick said… As much as I dislike HRod, give him this year and thats it. This staff is fine without him once Storen is back. April 30, 2012 10:36 AM _____________________________mick, this isn't a throw away year. HRod started off in low stress appearances and had a rough outing in his 2nd appearance. Davey put him back in a low stress appearance and Henry went on a roll until Saturday night.Do you send Henry back to a low stress or high stress situation? 1) 1st save the Nats were ahead by 3. 2) 2nd game took the loss in tie game. Mets walk-off win after walk, throwing error by HRod, then a single3) Scoreless 9th Nats were ahead by 4 runs (no save)4) Scoreless 9th in tie game5) Scoreless 10th in tie game6) 2nd save the Nats were ahead by 37) 3rd save the Nats were ahead by 18) 4th save the Nats were ahead by 2, walked 2 batters9) 5th save the Nats were ahead by 210) blown save, the Nats were ahead by 2

  14. Doc - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Good overview MarkMeister!I have been thinking that Ramos' defense has been off-kilter so far this season, you just put some numbers to it.Not only has he been having trouble with throws from the OF, but he has missed more than his share of pop-ups. I think he's a little fatigued from catching in winter ball, added on to last season and this current campaign. He also took an additional beating on the weekend from foul tips to his catching shoulder and the stress of balls in the dirt.Echoing something that FP stated last season, Rizzo needs to be more contratually definite about Ramos catching in in winter ball. And although he seems to be getting some timely hits, his power seems to be down.Catching is the toughest job on the field (having caught high school ball)and we want Wilson to have a long and great career. This guy can be more than just another game catcher, if the Nats take care of him, and he takes care of himself.

  15. bowdenball - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    For the life of me I can't understand how people can say in the same breath that our hitting is terrible and while our great pitching is "unsustainable."The sample size is exactly the same. If you expect regression to the mean, you have to expect it on both sides of the ledger. That's how it works.

  16. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Ramos has always been a big guy, but this year he looks bigger. Perhaps a little too big. To use a football analogy, he used to look like a linebacker but now he looks more like a defensive lineman. Less athletic, more lumbering. And the areas where he's regressed – throwing out baserunners, blocking balls at the plate, making tags at the plate – are all places where raw athleticism comes to the core more so than finesse. Given what Ramos had to go through over the winter, it's understandable that he's put on some weight and may not be working on fitness as much as he used to. It's too bad Pudge and his superior work ethic and example aren't around to help motivate Ramos any more. Flores OTOH may have all the motivation he needs by trying to win the starting job back.

  17. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I do want to say this about working the count (not defending Eck here because the Kershaw game was terrible). It's not as easy as it looks.Pitchers want to throw that first pitch strike, often a fastball. (They are even rated on it). So, hitters know that, and they want to grab it if they can because they might not get another one.Then pitchers adjust, and try to get hitters to whiff by throwing first pitch off-speed or in the dirt or whatever. We (I know I did) criticized Werth last year for constantly taking the first pitch strike–yet for him it might work because his eye is very good and he is a GREAT 2-strike hitter (except last year). Davey convinced him to swing more often at first pitches, and I think that's key because not only was he giving up that first strike, he was predictably giving up the first strike. Now Desi is predicably swinging at the first pitch, and he needs to lay off. Just lay off a few times, especially leading off a game or an inning, layoff whatever it is, even if it's a good pitch, so pitchers can't predict. It's like poker, you not only have to bluff, you have to bluff and get caught bluffing so your opponents can't predict.Also, except for leadoff and bases loaded, a walk is not usually as good as a hit. A walk won't score a runner from second, or bring in two runs. I agree there needs to be way more strategy and in-game awareness, but just saying "work the count" is simplifying it a bit.

  18. CoverageisLacking - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Zimmerman would get "serious consideration" for a gold glove based on his April performance? Seriously?He has had a few sparkling plays for sure, but he has also had some horrible ones, including several on the home opener. And his throwing has reverted to wildly erratic once again. Every throw is bite-your-fingernails time. He simply cannot gun the ball across the diamond, and his lobbed throws are not very accurate, either.5 bucks says that Zimmerman is playing 1st base for the Nats by 2014 at the latest, probably sooner.

  19. MikeinDC - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    For the first month of the season, I couldn't be happier with this team. They could win every night. And are learning how to win close games and stay positive always. They don't beat themselves (Sat night withstanding)and wait for the other team to misstep.Name another team who can lose their 3 AND 4 hitters and still have a winning record. For me, every night is must-see.

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    hiramhover said… Count me among those discouraged over the BP.Storen and Lidge are out. Stammen has been a pleasant surprise. HRod looked like a pleasant surprise at the outset, but less so lately. Clippard may be returning to form but has been a little rocky. In 2010, and to a lesser extent last year, the Nats had one of the better BPs in MLB–this year, I'm not so sure. April 30, 2012 10:57 AM Burnett actually has some of the best metrics in the bullpen and Stammen has looked great with only 1 poor appearance.Tyler Clippard knows he is struggling and is working on adding a breaking pitch to go with his fastball and changeup to give him an out-pitch. You can tell he doesn't feel comfortable with it but it sure would help him while he is adjusting to have a 3rd pitch to go to.Sitting as an armchair quarterback, Clip shouldn't have faced Kotsay 2 games in a row. Burnett should have been brought in for that in a LOOGY situation.Henry still needs training wheels. His stats have been good but you know when Henry doesn't have it when he is warming in the bullpen. Should Lett have phoned back to McCatty? He was all over the place Saturday night. Very disappointed to see it slip away. Again, armchair QB, should Henry have been pulled once he put Ellis and Loney on base with no outs and already had a wild pitch?

  21. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    NatsLady, I don't get your logic re Harper but that's ok. In a perfect world you don't do your basic learning in the majors; it's not like he has completely mastered his trade in the minors yet. I understand they had no choice but to bring him up based on injuries but in the end I think Rizzo knows that this is not optimal development wise.

  22. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Steve M. You take your lumps with your closers; it happened to Storen a couple of times at least last year too. The thing about Henry is that the 1st 3 guys got hits; he didn't walk them and he came this close to getting out of it. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other team and move on. I don't think Ramos gets a pass on all the balls getting past him. it's not good enough to stick your glove and hope you get it. When catching a pitcher with nasty stuff or someone who buries a slider you have to shift your body so even if you don't catch the ball your body stops it; all the great catchers are masters at it. Ramos; not so much.

  23. Steady Eddie - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Mark, another thing your Encouraging/Discouraging mix brings out is "it never rains but it pours". The Nats have an unbelievably lights-out rotation — and will have to deal with Wang coming back in a few weeks with stuff that looks better than ever, and no good or appropriate place to put a sixth starter. Yet with the MLB injury rate in general and the Nats' injury plague in particular, it would be foolish to count on having the current starting five healthy until Stras gets shut down. And who would want to put even the best Lannan has been into this power, shutdown rotation?On the other hand, there's the offense. Or, "where's the offense?" On the DL. (That's not an excuse for the rest of the non ALR-Werth lineup's non-performance. But no way would, for example, the Dodgers be 16-6 without Kemp and Ethier at 3-4.)

  24. Steady Eddie - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Steve M. @ 11:08 — you are on fire, dude! Bulls-eyes on every one.

  25. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    The record is great but there is cause for concern. The Nats lineup is so so when everyone is healthy; missing Morse is huge. Missing Zimmerman and Morse is fatal; it better be for a very short time. The starters can't pitch with zero wiggle room every time out. I was a big proponent of the Desmond's 'new approach' but I'm beginning to wonder if he will ever get it. OBP is .284; swinging at everything, no plan at the plate; worst lead off hitter in baseball. Espinosa looks completely lost at the plate; with Desmond at 3rd and one out against Capuano in a scoreless game you have to have a plan. I may be wrong but I don't think Lombo is the answer either. It might be Rizzo's biggest project next year to rebuild the middle infield.

  26. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Ghost, I agree on your first points about Henry, that's obvious. You only trade him if (a) Storen is back, and back to form; (b) Morse doesn't come back, or if he does it's clear he's not the Beast any more; AND AND (c) you can get a good return. Otherwise, Henry stays.On the game, I'm not sure Lett could know, and even if he did, Henry was very rested–too rested–? He might have been overthrowing in the BP, he clearly was overthrowing in the game, but how do you solve the "rest" problem without having him actually pitch in the game. I would have waited a little longer than you to bring Gorzy in, see if Henry can get out of it, because he has in the past (not always, but he has).I hate to throw a reliever in there with the bases juiced, but that's when I might have done it. He ended up with Gorzy in there anyway, so I think you have to do it when it's 3-2 and you win the game if Gorzy gets one out instead of a tie game. Sorry Henry, maybe next time, Harper's debut, you have a good shot for it, etc.OTOH, I agree with him keeping Gorzy in for the 10th. He's a long reliever/starter and if he can't get Kemp, so be it. It's an uphill slog when you are in extras and you are the visiting team. Kemp saved the bullpen.

  27. Oldguy - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Suggestions:Let Nady go or move him back to SYR for emergencies. Keep Moore on the club and let him play LF as often as possible. How often does an outfield error lead to a run or a game loss? How much does a good bat offset that?Move Kobernus to SYR and get him on the 40. We have several pitchers at SYR taking up spots who are never going anywhere.Look hard also at Danny Rosenbaum for a move to SYR. His numbers at HAR are very impressive. Watched him in Florida–he looks to be near ready.Get Danny an eye exam. He has the tools but can't seem to see the ball.Don't pay any attention to old geezers who have been tracking the game only 60+ years.

  28. Tcostant - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    SI's Peter King has this tidbit today which needed to be shared:"Tremendous baseball point by Keith Olbermann. The baseball aficionado pointed out Saturday that for Mickey Mantle's big-league debut in 1951 and for Bryce Harper's in 2012, Vin Scully was in the broadcast booth both times."Amazing!

  29. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    JD, I understand you want to learn in the minors and that bringing him up early is not a perfect plan, and that, to some extent–maybe to a large extent–the Morse injury dictated bring him up early. Harper was going to come up any time after the 21 days, and, IMO, the earlier the better if Morse is not around. This way you have the added plus of saying to the Kid, yeah, it's not perfect, and yeah, you still have some stuff to learn, but how about bumping against a padded wall instead of a wooden fence? Think you can handle it? OK, let's do it. Remember, even his agent was OK with him going back down–I just don't think he will.(Unless the RZ injury is serious, I don't think that affected the early callup, it just meant there was room on the 25-man, and once the decision was made, Davey said, fine, give Ryan rest instead of cortizone shots and by the way, bring up Tyler Moore while you're at it.)

  30. Ron In Reston - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    It seems clear to me that you can tell whether it's "Good Henry" or "Bad Henry" by the time he's done with the second batter. It was painfully obvious Saturday night and no, he wasn't going to "figure it out". When "Bad Henry" is on the mound, he is horrible with only an occasional pitch or two that looks like "Good Henry" trying to come out. My suggestion is to start warming up someone as soon as Henry comes in. If it's "Good Henry" then someone gets some bullpen time, no biggie. But if it's "Bad Henry", then Davey doesn't have to wait to yank him and we have a better chance of winning the game. I understand all about not wanting to hurt his confidence by pulling him, but what does it do to his confidence by leaving him in there to get shelled?

  31. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    MikeinDC wrote:Name another team who can lose their 3 AND 4 hitters and still have a winning record.Aw, c'mon, that's too easy. Make the question harder, Mike! How about:Name another team who can lose their 3 AND 4 hitters, and their top closer, and still be in first place!

  32. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Ron in Reston, I understand your point, and Davey did that several times, namely had Lidge warming while Henry struggled, and Henry got out of it. (If I recall, last year someone else was almost always warming when Henry came in.)But there is a price to that warming up, namely, wear and tear on the BP unless you have Lidge to do the warming-up, and we don't. At what point do you take off the training wheels, that's the question. On the question of getting shelled, every reliever gets shelled and has to come back from it within a day or two (unlike starters). Every closer blows saves and, by definition, "gives away" a game that the team had won. And has to come back the next day and not do it again.

  33. bowdenball - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Tcostant-That's not quite right. The Yankees and Dodgers play in different leagues, after all, and interleague play is a relatively new phenomenon. I think Scully called some sort of preseason exhibition that Mantle played in.Not to undercut the main point, which is that Vin Scully is an American treasure and has been at it for 60+ years.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Steve M. @ 11:08 — you are on fire, dude! Bulls-eyes on every one. April 30, 2012 11:22 AM Thanks although it is easy for me to say as there are always other factors "we" don't know about. To NatsLady, I never suggested trading HenRod so not sure if that was directed at someone else or just a new comment. I'm just opening it up for discussion on HenRod's next appearance. Does he go back in low stress or high stress situation for his next appearance, that was my question.The bullpen was very rested and like you said NatsLady, maybe too rested. I probably would have on Thursday gone to more traditional Lefty roles on Kotsay and on Saturday at least when Kennedy came into pinch hit go with Burnett or Gorzo although Henry did get Kennedy on the comebacker to 1st but keep in mind the guy in the on-deck circle was also a lefty.My first thought was that Henry wasn't warming well. Do you sound the alarm button at that point? Maybe it wasn't doable. I don't know. Clippard was the only one who had pitched at that point. Again, whats done is done.

  35. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    It seems clear to me that you can tell whether it's "Good Henry" or "Bad Henry" by the time he's done with the second batter. It was painfully obvious Saturday night and no, he wasn't going to "figure it out".That may be the case (I'm not as sure as everybody else here) . . . but sometimes Bad Henry can get 'em out, too. Let's not forget he was one pitch from saving the came.This is not unexpected from a young power reliever (who just turned 25). In fact, it's par for the course. He's years ahead of last year, and it's quite possible Davey is trying to teach him how to get out of his own jams and/or how to get the side out when it's not a "Good Henry" evening. (Davye did that a lot with a young Mets team in the mid '80s — it paid off in spades).All in all, even with that disastrous outing, Henry still has the lowest Batting Average against (of any of the pitchers on the Nats), and the second lowest WHIP for the relievers.And a shoutout to bowdenball for best comment thus far this morning (imho): For the life of me I can't understand how people can say in the same breath that our hitting is terrible and while our great pitching is "unsustainable." The sample size is exactly the same. If you expect regression to the mean, you have to expect it on both sides of the ledger. That's how it works.

  36. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    I think Scully called some sort of preseason exhibition that Mantle played in.That's right. It was Mantle's first pro appearance — which was spring training that year.

  37. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Last thought on the Henry blown save: I agree with Davey leaving Henry in to get shelled until the game was 3-3 and he was in danger of giving up a walk-off.But, I would not have done it in THIS game. In this game, I would have pulled him when it was 3-2 because we are the visiting team, Kemp is due up in the 10th, it's Harper's debut, and we had lost the night before. In those circumstances, and given that Henry was clearly bad Henry, I would have waited as long as possible, but I would have pulled him when the score was 3-2. I know that's hindsight…

  38. Exposremains - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Tconstant: I dont know if you have MLb.tv but just before and during Harper 2nd AB on Saturday, Scully talked about Mantle 1st game.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Ron In Reston said… It seems clear to me that you can tell whether it's "Good Henry" or "Bad Henry" by the time he's done with the second batter. It was painfully obvious Saturday night and no, he wasn't going to "figure it out". When "Bad Henry" is on the mound, he is horrible with only an occasional pitch or two that looks like "Good Henry" trying to come out. My suggestion is to start warming up someone as soon as Henry comes in. If it's "Good Henry" then someone gets some bullpen time, no biggie. But if it's "Bad Henry", then Davey doesn't have to wait to yank him and we have a better chance of winning the game. I understand all about not wanting to hurt his confidence by pulling him, but what does it do to his confidence by leaving him in there to get shelled? April 30, 2012 11:36 AM Henry became the de facto closer whether or not Davey gives him the title and that happened as soon as Lidge went down.Managers never want another pitcher warming when they bring in the closer unless the bullpen coach saw an issue (as Lett should have). It was clear from the 1st batter in that inning right down to the 6th batter Henry faced in that inning. He just didn't have it. Certainly by the 2nd batter, you have to wonder what Davey was thinking, what he was seeing and what he was contemplating.My the smallest of margins, Henry almost got out of it.

  40. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Ghost, that was directed at the guy who said, give Henry one year–whom you had refuted with details of Henry's work. I was agreeing with you. We keep Henry unless there is some very good reason to trade him. And that reason will NOT be his performance as interim closer.

  41. JamesFan - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    The pitching is sustainable; winning may not be without offense. I'm ready to take some more risk in the outfield defense to keep Harper and Moore in the lineup until we see what we have. Espi should be hitting 8th. The early season bench has proven to be weak all around, and I would rather see Flores starting than Ramos. Ramos is 24 so he will fix his problems, but he has several. We will have to make-do until Morse and Zim are back.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    In the earlier post, its still really about the overall pitching and offense. In a whole, the pitching has been spectacular and scoring 1.67 runs a game over the weekend won't cut it unless you shut out each opponent and that wasn't in the cards.

  43. bowdenball - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Thanks DC Wonk! And even though I had a typo in my post, too.I really don't get it. Such comments are a case study in pessimism. The team's BABIP on the defensive side is .263, and on the offensive side it's .276. Both will likely go up a bit, although the very small disparity may simply be a reflection of the Nats' above-average defense. There's not really much indicating that the Nats have been particularly lucky on one side of the ball any more than they've been unlucky on the other.

  44. SonnyG10 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I've had concerns about Ramos's defense for a while now. I've noticed several dropped balls on throws from the outfield this year that he should have had. I also notice he has gotten into the habit of backhanding balls in the dirt instead of moving his body to block the ball. I notice he does catch most of the balls he backhands, but not all of them. I am not counting his performance catching wild Henry the other night as that was not Ramos's fault. I am just concerned we might lose Jesus Flores via trade or free agency before we find out if Wilson is going to get it together.

  45. jcj5y - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I completely disagree that Rodriguez was bound to fail from the first two batters on Saturday (i.e., that he was "bad Henry"). He didn't have the release point on his fastball in the first batters, leaving it high and to the arm side. But he fixed that problem relatively quickly. Then he threw at least one, maybe two change ups in the dirt to the glove side. That led to different release point problems.The key is that he was making adjustments. He didn't fix himself quickly enough this time, but the fact that he seems to have realized what was going wrong is a hugely encouraging sign to me.

  46. hiramhover - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Steve MYou're right about Burnett–I left him out, and he's looked excellent so far. OTOH, Gorzo, the other reliever I failed to mention, has looked pretty poor–certainly not on track to reproduce his strong BP #s from last year.

  47. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Ghost of steve:my major issue with HRod is that he has not changed his preparation for when he is called upon to pitch. Forget the walks and hits and just look at the wild pitches. One can accept this with a young a rookie pitcher. However, HRod did this in 3 games in 2011. This is a problem that he should have worked out heading into 2012. it is clear, he is one of those young men who simply will not change their mental approach.

  48. Steady Eddie - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Steve M. said Thanks although it is easy for me to say as there are always other factors "we" don't know about.Indeed. Every post and comment on this and every other blog (sports or not) is unavoidably written in the context of "factors 'we' don't know about". That's life among the non-omniscient. ;-)

  49. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I completely disagree that Rodriguez was bound to fail from the first two batters on Saturday (i.e., that he was "bad Henry").I'm with you on that jcj5y. I don't understand everyone who says it should have been noticed in the bullpen. (Were any of these commenters actually watching the bullpen session up close?).He clearly wasn't top-notch Henry, but he was throwing 101, and he also got off a couple of wickedly good sliders.It was an off-night for him (as opposed to "Bad Henry"), and at 25 he needs to learn, and needs the experience, on how to get out of a self-made jam when it's an off-night.NatsLady does have a point — it's tough to see that when you want to stop a losing streak and Harper's debut and all — but I trust Davey and McCatty. (And it's not like that WP was impossible to stop — I'm not putting that all on Ramos, but, again, he's stopped pitches like that before).

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    bowdenball said… Thanks DC Wonk! And even though I had a typo in my post, too.I really don't get it. Such comments are a case study in pessimism. The team's BABIP on the defensive side is .263, and on the offensive side it's .276. Both will likely go up a bit, although the very small disparity may simply be a reflection of the Nats' above-average defense. There's not really much indicating that the Nats have been particularly lucky on one side of the ball any more than they've been unlucky on the other. April 30, 2012 12:01 PM All good points and contrary to some posts last night, Gio Gonzalez was not going to go Orel Hersheiser with his scoreless streak, all streaks come to an end.This pitching staff has been nothing short of remarkable. They will make some mistakes. Cy Young made mistakes. Kershaw made some mistakes in his start.Stras, JZim, and Gio are 3 Aces. These guys have no-hit type of stuff and an arsenal to back it up. They actually pitch better statistically when they have a lack of run support so expect them to keep these low ERAs until they start receiving more run support then I would expect them to relax some more and their ERAs will rise slightly.ERAsStras 1.13 JZim 1.33Det 1.64Gio 1.82EJax 3.16WHIPJZim 0.704Stras 0.875Gio 0.944EJax 0.974Det 1.000If the top 4 were to do this all season, they would all be All Star, Cy Young and MVP candidates.

  51. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    proposed lineup by position not batting order without Morse, assuming Zim is back in 13 days:1b LaRouche2b Lombo3B Zimss DesmondC Ramos/Flores platoonRF C BrownCF HarperLF Moore

  52. peric - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Ramos has been pretty lackluster defensively … an artifact of not having Pudge in the house constantly pestering both of the two managers to put him in? Pudge might have been like having a catching coach … keeping them on their toes. Perhaps all they need to do is start playing Flores more … which I suspect will happen if it continues. Perhaps Ramos needs competition to play at the top of his game?Henry is not really a closer. He wasn't able to manage that in the minors how can you expect him to do it in the majors? He's best in the original scheme which alternated him in that spot. His makeup just doesn't appear to be able to handle it on a regular basis. Again, that really should be Mattheus who excelled at closer in the minors. But like Clippard, hasn't been pitching the way he was last year. There's no help in the minors this time as there was last year (Mattheus). Which is I guess why they brought up Ryan Perry as a replacement. It's pretty much sink or swim with what they've got unless a trade is made. And this would be the only area of concern where I can see them considering a trade … with no prospects ready to go. I'm not worried about the hitting. Its player development in progress with the prospects. Excepting veterans like LaRoche, Zimmerman, Werth, Morse, Nady, et al everyone is just going to have to patient. YES, you do continue development in the majors not exclusively in the minors. Ramos, Desmond, and Espinosa fit that bill last year. Certainly to some extent Bernadina. Now, there are more leading off with Harper. It took some time before Matt Kemp broke out in the majors. Might as well sit back and let them develop the prospects … its better than watching Willie Harris or Alex Cora come out to hit seemingly every night. Waaaaay better.

  53. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Keith O's Scully thing is a awesome and very cool, I had no idea. Scully must have been 21 or 22 then

  54. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    mick said… After taking several deep breathes over the weekend and drinking perhaps too may Coronas, overall the glass is still half full. mick — no offense meat here — I intend it as constructive: you are a lot more pleasant after taking several deep breaths. Seriously, you might want to consider doing that before you hit "publish" when you're posting in the heat of the moment during a game! (When you don't, sometimes it sounds like you hate half the players and staff on the team!)

  55. whatsanattau - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    One thing I thought we'd see a little bit more of is base stealing. I realize, you can't steal first base and that you risk taking the bat out of somebody's hands, but really – right now – unless LaRoche or Harper are batting, wouldn't you want to take the bat out of their hands?

  56. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    DC wonk it may be more the beer and other drinks than the deep breathes, lol

  57. Candide - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    NatsLady said…Just lay off a few times, especially leading off a game or an inning, layoff whatever it is, even if it's a good pitch, so pitchers can't predict. It's like poker, you not only have to bluff, you have to bluff and get caught bluffing so your opponents can't predict.I play a (too-friendly) game of poker with some friends. A few years ago, I bought a pot when everyone folded. I had a great hand and was betting the max every time it came around to me, and someone remarked, "I gotta fold; he never bluffs."Later that evening, during a hand of 7-card stud, it was obvious that another player had a strong hand going (I think he had two pair showing, plus whatever was in the hole, so he likely had a full house or better). I opened the betting in the last round, he kept seeing me, and finally he called me. I turned over my hole cards, which showed that I had nothing, pure doodly-squat.Nobody ever says "he never bluffs" about me any more.

  58. Exposremains - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Thats Kobernus guy in AA has some amazing stats for April.18SB. Those stats probably don't translate yet to MLB but he's the kind of guy this team needs at the top of the lineup. With a few more Walks he would be amazing.

  59. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    "When you don't, sometimes it sounds like you hate half the players and staff on the team!"Give the dude a break. That still puts him only halfway to being JayB.

  60. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    peric wrote:Henry is not really a closer. He wasn't able to manage that in the minors how can you expect him to do it in the majors?Because he'd older now! And, in any event, his last significant year in AAA, with Sacramento if 2010, he was a indeed a closer, and pretty good at it. In 20 games he had 11 saves and a WHIP of 0.891. As you wrote so wisely (I'm being serious) later in that same post regarding the other youngsters:everyone is just going to have to patient. YES, you do continue development in the majors not exclusively in the minors.So, too, with Henry. I think he's got tremendous upside. When he's on — which, is a lot more often than last year — he's unhittable.

  61. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    what's the deal cordero? is the rumor true and can he still pitch?

  62. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Mick, check your facts. Zim's DL stint was back-dated, he'll be back this weekend (Saturday or Sunday). If he's not back, THEN I'm worried!

  63. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    "When you don't, sometimes it sounds like you hate half the players and staff on the team!"Give the dude a break. That still puts him only halfway to being JayB. I was! I would never even attempt to say something constructive to JayB. Mick (after deep breaths, like today) sounds like a pleasant fellow. Not so with . . . umm . . . some others.

  64. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    SteveM, interesting to see the pitching stats laid out like that.The parallel to run support is interesting and you can only hope these starters continue to pitch this way regardless of how much run support they receive.These are truly nothing short of Cy Young numbers through 4 to 5 starts.

  65. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    mick said… what's the deal cordero? is the rumor true and can he still pitch?All I heard (from Carp and FP? or was it Dave & Charlie?) was that he lost a lot of weight, looks good, and wants to attempt a comeback. I'm not sure anyone actually said, or knows, if he can still pitch.Unless there more to it than I've heard.

  66. peric - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    I still like stats corner better SteveM … unbiased, park and defense neutral.Starter xIP tRA pRAAGonzalez, Gio 29.5 1.67 7.5Jackson, Edwin 26.9 1.50 7.3Strasburg, Stephen 31.1 2.15 6.2Detwiler, Ross 22.3 2.43 3.8Zimmermann, Jordan 24.6 3.23 2.0Reliever xIP tRA pRAAClippard, Tyler 12.4 1.30 3.8Burnett, Sean 7.3 0.40 3.0Stammen, Craig 10.3 3.10 1.1Rodriguez, Henry 9.1 3.25 0.8Mattheus, Ryan 9.7 4.27 -0.2Lidge, Brad 7.7 4.85 -0.7Gorzelanny, Tom 12.4 5.32 -1.7The starters are all above average as you can see … but even the worst of the relievers is still close to the median which is 0. They aren't all that bad in the grand scheme of things. All that's missing is a reliable closer with the makeup for the job. Mattheus should really be reaching out to grab it … that he isn't concerns me.

  67. Candide - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    A DC Wonk said…mick — no offense meat here — I intend it as constructive: you are a lot more pleasant after taking several deep breaths. Seriously, you might want to consider doing that before you hit "publish" when you're posting in the heat of the moment during a game! (When you don't, sometimes it sounds like you hate half the players and staff on the team!)Oh, good – I wasn't the only one who noticed…

  68. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    mick said… DC wonk it may be more the beer and other drinks than the deep breathes, lolActually, mick, I was thinking that (especially after you mentioned, recently, you had 13 coronas) — but I didn't mention it in case it was a sensitive subject.Be careful, guy!

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Gonat, yes, spectacular numbers and as you point out 4 to 5 starts. Until the offense picks up, we just need to hope the starters can replicate these types of starts over the next month.

  70. mick - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    DC wonk, lololothanks on the Cordero update

  71. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    WHIPJZim 0.704Stras 0.875Gio 0.944EJax 0.974Det 1.000Knock me over with a feather! (Or, as my friend's daughter might say "shut the front door!")Having five starters with WHIP of 1.0 or less — and we're already 1/8th into the season — is utterly ridiculously outstandingly awesomely good.Has that *ever* happened in the history of baseball?

  72. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    ps: Has that *ever* happened in the history of baseball? meaning: has it ever happened 22 games into the season . . . ?

  73. peric - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    With a few more Walks he would be amazing.And why everyone was so impressed with Rendon before he was injured. HE WAS doing it all and looking like a major league hitter with the best possible plate discipline. That actually was the killer injury for this season.Kobernus has two problems: plate discipline with the dearth of walks and fielding. He's an aggressive player albeit lately the EL has picked up on him and he has been caught stealing …

  74. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Whatsanattau–LOL on the base-stealing!I do trust Davey, and a I really trust McCatty, I think he is the 2nd best pitching coach in the majors next to the miracle-worker they have in Chicago. But, this synchophant thinks if you are the home team you play for the tie means, conversely, if you are the visiting team you play for the win in the 9th unless you have a very good reason not to. Nevertheless, Henry came +++++ close to winning it, I mean, that last wild pitch was a strike, after all, and I was screaming "YES!"

  75. SonnyG10 - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    @peric 12:21, good post. I'll try to keep in mind to be patient during our hitting woes.

  76. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Thanks, Candide. My father taught me to play poker. Also, ya gotta know when to fold 'em. Another thing I like about Davey, winning 102 games is enough, you just want to pick the right 60 to lose.

  77. Andrew L. - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    A DC Wonk said… mick said…what's the deal cordero? is the rumor true and can he still pitch?All I heard (from Carp and FP? or was it Dave & Charlie?) was that he lost a lot of weight, looks good, and wants to attempt a comeback. I'm not sure anyone actually said, or knows, if he can still pitch.Unless there more to it than I've heard.———Chad and I are doing a baseball camp this summer and we talk often.Chad has done a few interviews back in February and March and broke the news that he was not retired, just taking time off. When he was asked if that meant he would try for a comeback, he said that is what he was trying to do next year.He is currently coaching a High School team near his home in California and said he feels great and started throwing some BP and was really throwing well.If anyone deserves another shot at it, The Chief does. Also mark your calendars for July 20th as Chad is throwing out the 1st pitch at Nationals Park and if you want your kids to attend the camp this summer just do a Google search for Chad Cordero- Big Train camp in Bethesda Maryland.

  78. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    "Nevertheless, Henry came +++++ close to winning it, I mean, that last wild pitch was a strike, after all, and I was screaming "YES!" At that point the game was tied. Rodriguez had about as much chance as Charlie Sheen of winning it with that strikeout pitch.

  79. Kenz aFan - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    It was repeated all winter, including several times by Rizzo and Johnson, that the Nats "NEED" a big bad in the middle of the lineup (A healthy Michael Morse isn't a cleanup hitter) and they need that big bat to have a history of staying healthy. The Nats are scoring a half run less per game than they did last year, which had LaRoche out for most of the year and Zimmerman out for a good portion of it, so fans saying that the bats on the DL are hurting the team's numbers, doesn't wash.I'm starting to believe that the Nationals are a jinxed (or cursed) franchise, because to have as much bad luck, year in, year out, as this team has had, simply isn't normal.For what it's worth, I've been keeping tabs and if the officiating wasn't so embarrassingly bad at times, the Nats would have an 18-4 record. MLB needs to fix the umpiring problems, and they need to do it sooner than later. IMO, adding a 5th umpire up in the booth who not only has a bird's eye view, but access to replays on every close play, and who's capable of reversing a decision would be the first step. I say capable, because sadly, most umpires, if not all, will always support a fellow umpire's call, good or bad, and that's just not good for the game. That 5th umpire's decisions should be made for the betterment of the game, not to protect someone's ego.

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I found this article on January 24th on Chad where he was hinting:http://www.natsenquirer.com/2012/01/hail-to-the-chief-chad-cordero-returning-to-dc-area-this-summer.htmlThen this one where he "carved up" the kids throwing live to them:http://www.natsenquirer.com/2012/02/chad-cordero-will-throw-out-the-first-pitch-at-nats-park-on-friday-july-20.htmlThe with Jonathan Hacohen he said this on March 22nd:Thanks for having me. I haven’t officially retired, I’m just taking time off to be with my family. When I made the announcement I was retiring I wasn’t thinking clearly. I should have just said I was stepping away from the game for a bit. My wife and I had just lost our youngest daughter, Tehya, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome six months earlier. My heart wasn’t into baseball. I needed to be home with my wife and oldest daughter. It was hard enough to have to deal with Tehya passing away but to have to be away from my family made it much worse. I missed them. I had to be away from them for eight days at a time, every other week. I wasn’t ready for that. I would find myself crying in the bathroom stalls of the clubhouse and on bus trips. I tried to not let my teammates see but a couple of them saw me crying on a bus ride from Fresno to Sacramento. All of this made me realize that I needed to be with my family every day and the only way to do that would be to stop playing for the rest of the year. It was a hard decision to make but my family is my priority. Knowing that I would be able to see my wife and Riley every day made me feel at peace with my decision.

  81. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I read through these articles on Chad Cordero and -if- he can make a successful comeback to the Majors, it kind of reminds me of that circuitious route that Jim Morris made for Tampa Bay and they made that into a movie.Andrew, it sounds like for your part, you have really helped to put Chad back on the road just like Jim Morris went through as he got into working with a High School team and summer camps.His priorities are right, family first, then baseball. Can't wait to see him on July 20th and I will probably sneak in to watch the summer camp!

  82. bowdenball - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    The Nats are a "jinxed" franchise? After they just happened to have the worst record in baseball prior to the drafts where Strasburg and Harper were eligible? Puh-leeze. Have a little patience. This year was supposed to be the year the Nats turn the corner, with next year being the year they join baseball's upper tier. If they contend this year it's a bonus.I don't buy this logic about needing a Prince Fielder-type cleanup hitter. Last year Michael Morse had a higher slugging percentage than any player on the World Series champion Cardinals. Not one but TWO Nationals (Dunn and Zimmerman) had a higher slugging percentage in 2010 than any player on the World Series champion Giants. To build a winner you don't "need" anything, other than an offense and defense that, when taken together, are better than the average opponent you will face.

  83. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    "Nevertheless, Henry came +++++ close to winning it, I mean, that last wild pitch was a strike, after all, and I was screaming "YES!"At that point the game was tied.You mean the second game? I think the next-to-last wild pitch tied the game on what should have ended the game if it's blocked. The last one, to Gordon, moved the potential winning run to third. If memory serves. And speaking of blackouts–Mick, srsly. Be careful, man.

  84. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Right fielder Jayson Werth agreed Sunday to a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals, a huge deal announced even before the winter meetings officially began.The day I read this I thought it was GOOD news.

  85. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    I'm starting to believe that the Nationals are a jinxed (or cursed) franchise, because to have as much bad luck, year in, year out, as this team has had, simply isn't normal.As bowdenball, and others over the years, pointed out, NatsLuck isn't really out of the ordinary. Lots of teams get injuries.But that's sort of the whole point of "luck" as a concept–it's random, which means it is not distributed equally all the time. If everyone had exactly the same "luck" in the short term, it wouldn't be random. Life isn't supposed to be fair in the short term. It's fair in the long term–everybody's dead.

  86. Tcostant - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Bowdenball ball, of course your correct. It was a preseason game right before the start of season, kind of like the Red Soxs here this year. Here is the link with the info.http://keitholbermann.mlblogs.com/2012/04/28/mantle-and-harper-and-vin-scully/

  87. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    The fact they had back to back 1st overall draft picks when there were two clear cut "better than everbody else" players in the draft was a nice coincidence

  88. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    and while I'm at it:For what it's worth, I've been keeping tabs and if the officiating wasn't so embarrassingly bad at times, the Nats would have an 18-4 record. Just curious, you're counting blown calls both ways, right? Because the Nats have benefited from some doozies, too.

  89. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    For what it's worth, I've been keeping tabs and if the officiating wasn't so embarrassingly bad at times, the Nats would have an 18-4 record.I have them at 22-0

  90. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    "At that point the game was tied.You mean the second game? I think the next-to-last wild pitch tied the game on what should have ended the game if it's blocked. The last one, to Gordon, moved the potential winning run to third. If memory serves."Exactly. Saying that Rodriguez was only two consecutive wild pitches short of winning a game is like Bob Uecker saying a pitch is juuuuuuuuuuuuuust a bit outside.

  91. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    either he was pitching to dee gordon like he's george brett or he was missing his spots by over a foot…blow the little guy away

  92. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    And I would SO love to hear "Hail to the Chief" on the radio one more time. Random or not, I hope he has all the luck on his side. Andrew, if you talk to him, give him our best.

  93. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I think HRod was juuuuuuuuuuuuust a teensy bit overwhelmed by the situation. It looked like his fingerprints were impressed into the ball like a notary's stamp, he was gripping it so hard. On the job training can be a [bear], but I believe he will learn.

  94. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    the catcher could have helped him out…they were tough plays but definitely blockable pitches

  95. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    If he could have, he would have, I am sure. Don't forget that foul ball into the left shoulder early in that sequence, which may well have been affecting his ability to reach across and down at 100%, on basically 100 mph pitches. Easy to say "He should have had that."

  96. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    that shot to the sholder looked very painful…it's a tough position to play..i believe it was Harper's original position

  97. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Yes, Harper came up as a catcher, right up to draft day. The Nationals had/have no intention of him ever wearing The Tools again, I imagine.

  98. Positively Half St. - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    I am pleased to note that the hated Marlins, and the Nationals-rejecting Mark Buehrle, are losing 7-0 to Arizona right now. I hope the D-Backs score their weekly allotment of runs today in one orgy of destruction.+1/2St.

  99. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    And yes, it hurts like a mother.

  100. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Time to change the subject of discouraging news to encouraging news. The glass is much fuller than empty. Still in 1st place and 6 games above .500JZim will have his hands full tomorrow with a hot offensive team. As we speak the DBacks are crushing the Marlins 7-0 and its only 4 innings complete.

  101. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    everybody is freaking out about the lack of hitting, and rightfully so, but so far Harper has been an absolute joy to watch

  102. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Positively Half St. I was writing as you were posting. Buehrle hasn't been helped by his defense. 3 errors so far and 3 unearned runs. Buehrle will be over 100 pitches here in the 5th.The wheels are coming off that bus.

  103. whatsanattau - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    So by my reckoning we get Kendrick, Worley, and Hammels for the Philly series after Cahill, Saunders, and Kennedy with the dbacks. So,R, L, R, R, R, L over the next six games.It would be hard to justify more than 2 starts for Nady in that mix and if Werth is feeling better, it really could be limited to none. Moore should probably get the 2 starts against lefties. But, I think there must be another roster move coming this week. When Lombo is in the lineup, the only backup infielder on the team right now is Tracy. That can't be a good long term plan. Get Rizzo on the phone, I want to tell him to reassign Nady and bring up a middle infielder. (what, … oh … not even one … ummmm, nevermind)

  104. Candide - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Positively Half St. said… I hope the D-Backs score their weekly allotment of runs today in one orgy of destruction.Posts like this one are why this site needs to have a "like" button, so people can easily express their appreciation for a turn of phrase such as this.Maybe Mark can start a monthly "Language Award" for posters…

  105. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    For the Fish, Reyes batting .203 Kearns batting .167, Bonifacio batting .253, Hanley batting .215, Gaby Sanchez batting .208, Stanton at .239.

  106. Candide - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    whatsanattau said…It would be hard to justify more than 2 starts for Nady in that mix and if Werth is feeling better, it really could be limited to none.It would be hard to justify more than zero starts for Nady in that mix and if the Nats could sign my wife Cunegonde to a short-term contract, it really could be limited to even fewer.There. Fixed it for you. No need to thank me.

  107. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Sec 3, yes, THAT strike/WP. That would have won the game. After that I was not able to watch, and only heard the result later.

  108. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    "Sec 3, yes, THAT strike/WP. That would have won the game."If the first WP that Henry threw to Gordon was a strike, it couldn't have won the game because it would only have been strike two. The second WP to Gordon, after the game was tied by the run that scored on the first WP, was strike three – but only because Gordon swung at it.

  109. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    R, L, R, R, R, L over the next six games.Bodes well for Harper!

  110. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Good news, the Nats miss Halladay this weekend as he is pitching Wednesday against Atlanta

  111. jcj5y - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Not to look too far ahead, but we're setting up for Zimmermann-Cahill Tuesday, then Jackson-Saunders, Detwiler-Kennedy, Strasburg-Kendrick, Gonzalez-Worley and Zimmermann-Hammels.When you write it out like that, it's a nice reminder of how great the Nats' rotation advantage is.

  112. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Looks like the ESPN Sunday night game is JZim and Cole Hamels unless Cliff Lee comes back from the DL. Philly gets Strasburg on Friday and Gio on Saturday.

  113. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    "Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… I think HRod was juuuuuuuuuuuuust a teensy bit overwhelmed by the situation. It looked like his fingerprints were impressed into the ball like a notary's stamp, he was gripping it so hard. On the job training can be a [bear], but I believe he will learn."I haven't seen a save blown so clearly on account of nerves since Hanrahan blew two straight in that weekend series with the Fish in April 2009. With Hanrahan it was only a matter of time until he uncorked a wild pitch at the worst possible time. To steal a line from Bob Dole, you knew it, he knew it, and the American people knew it.Rodriguez seems headed down that same path. Hanrahan was eventually able to right his ship and become an effective closer, but it took the trade to Pittsburgh to do it. Let's hope Henry doesn't also need a change of scenery to get a positive outcome.

  114. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    jcj5y, looks like we were both projecting out Wonk's matchups. Any time you don't have to face Halladay and Cliff Lee in a series, that's a good thing.

  115. NatsFan2005 - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    112 comments posted to now, and not a single mention of the real problem with the team (can't win if you can't score): Eckstein.

  116. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    I haven't seen a save blown so clearly on account of nerves since…How do we know it was nerves? HRod's pitched in the 9th before, protecting a 1-run lead. All pitchers, particularly power pitchers, have off nights. Did I miss something? Did HRod of Davey say it was nerves?

  117. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    417, interesting point of view. So you think Henry had a case of nerves. Could be. Didn't think of that.National TV, Bryce Harper debut, Strasburg start, and 50,000 hostile Dodgers fans and a 2 run leadMakes sense since Henry doesn't perform as well it appears in high pressure games.What does Zim say in his commercial "if you can't handle the pressure you may be in the wrong business"

  118. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    'jcj5y, looks like we were both projecting out Wonk's matchups. Any time you don't have to face Halladay and Cliff Lee in a series, that's a good thing.' Right now every pitcher looks like Halladay and Lee when they face our lineup.

  119. bowdenball - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Not everybody is currently freaking out about the hitting, Scott from Burke. I freaked out when I heard about the Morse and Zimmerman DL trips. Once you account for those losses, the offense actually been slightly better than I thought it would be. I thought we were heading for an epic drought. But when you consider that we've actually outscored a handful of teams despite playing 9 games in incredibly pitcher-friendly parks and 13 games in neutral parks, it's actually not too terrible. We've been without our two best hitters. No team in baseball could absorb a loss like that without taking a huge hit, certainly not a team that wasn't expected to overpower teams at the plate to begin with.

  120. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    '112 comments posted to now, and not a single mention of the real problem with the team (can't win if you can't score): Eckstein' Did Eckstein cause Zim and Morse to go on the DL?

  121. jcj5y - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    I agree with DC Wonk. I don't think there's any reason to identfy nerves as the cause of Rodriguez's problems. He's a max-effort pitcher whose mechanics are sometimes erratic. Maybe he lost his release point Saturday because of nerves, but not necessarily.

  122. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Bowdenball, I agree with you in principal. The Loss of Morse and Zim is something most teams couldn't absorb. What's nagging at me is the fear that Desmond and Espinosa are who we we see they are; not players in a slump but mediocre players.

  123. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Wonk, speaking strictly for myself, it's an epistemological question. Yes, he's been wild before, but he hasn't closed in Dodger [AB] Stadium, in front of a nearly full house, the "playoff atmosphere" cranked up to at least 7.5. So yeah, I think it was nerves, but I could be wrong.Candide, there's a tradition of Post of the Day nominations, and I hereby second yours, of Halfstreet's excellent post.

  124. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    JD @3:10, funny.

  125. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Wild Henry, II: going just on my own memory here, but IIRC he was typically wild up, or away, but not low, before–and wild low is a common consequence of holding the ball too hard, and thus letting go a little late–nerves.

  126. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Eckstein didn't cause Morse's injury, Zimm's injury, Werth's migranes. He hasn't swung at one curve ball in the dirt all season.

  127. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Put it another way–if this is all Eckstein's fault, what did they need Prince Fielder for?

  128. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    "417, interesting point of view. So you think Henry had a case of nerves. Could be. Didn't think of that.National TV, Bryce Harper debut, Strasburg start, and 50,000 hostile Dodgers fans and a 2 run leadMakes sense since Henry doesn't perform as well it appears in high pressure games."FP pointed all that out on air shortly after they brought Henry in on Saturday night. This would be his first test trying to save a game in front of a sell-out hostile crowd, since the save he got in SD was in an empty stadium. Henry then proceeded to fail that test."How do we know it was nerves? HRod's pitched in the 9th before, protecting a 1-run lead. All pitchers, particularly power pitchers, have off nights. Did I miss something? Did HRod of Davey say it was nerves?"As FP also pointed out, he had the 100 mph heat on Saturday and the batters weren't getting around on it. He could have just thrown fastballs and powered his way through, but instead he kept going back to the pitches he couldn't command. He was clearly panicking.

  129. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    JD, I think Espi is streaky good and streaky awful and we haven't been treated this year to streaky good. Espi still has options. I would DFA Nady for Corey Brown and when Zim comes back send Espi to AAA.

  130. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Peric, Your comparison between Kemp and the Nats young players is not valid: Kemp is 27; Desmond is 26 and Espinosa is 24. Kemp was a 5.2 WAR player at the age of 24. The players you are touting in the minors are also not 'A' prospects: Kobernus is 23, is hitting well as AA but has 4 walks in 99 at bats, Rahl is 28 and is still in AA. The Hagerstown players are too many levels away to consider; you separate the real prospects from the suspects at AA. To me Harper and Rendon are the only real sure fire can't miss prospects; Goodwin may get there but he's no sure thing.

  131. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    417, I am buying what you are selling. If FP knew this, surely Lett, Davey, and McCatty knew this about Henry. Starting to think like some of the earlier posts that it was a Henry fail that the Coaches could have erred on the side of caution perhaps and pulled him quickly.

  132. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Well, my memory may have betrayed me, sorry, and I am at work, can't go back and check. It seemed like Henry had a chance to get out of it until that last WP, and it was a lost cause.

  133. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Of course, the real test of whether nerves were Henry's problem the other night will be what happens next time out. If it's in his head now like it was in Hanrahan's head, we'll know. That's why getting the last three outs is so hard. Even though it may be true that earlier situations carry higher leverage, the ninth inning is the only one where if you blow it there is absolutely nothing or no one who can come after you and save you. It's all on you, and it takes a different mentality to thrive in that situation night after night. Heat and stuff are not enough without that.

  134. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    "417, I am buying what you are selling. If FP knew this, surely Lett, Davey, and McCatty knew this about Henry. Starting to think like some of the earlier posts that it was a Henry fail that the Coaches could have erred on the side of caution perhaps and pulled him quickly."That might have stopped the game from being lost, but in the long run it would have been the wrong thing to do. Throwing in the towel on a closer the moment he starts getting in trouble is one way to guarantee that the pitcher is never going to succeed in that role.

  135. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Also, and again hard to judge psychology, but I don't know if the sight of Lidge warming in the BP would be a comfort factor or a challenge factor for Henry. I do think we will miss Lidge more that we thought after he blew two saves and people seemed glad to see him on the DL.

  136. whatsanattau - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    HROD has a history of periodic wildness followed by months of unhittable dominance. I think it is the hitters that should be nervous.

  137. bowdenball - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    JD-You're right about Desmond and Espi, but I guess I never thought they were very good offensively to begin with. I see them the same way I see Ramos: they're all incredibly talented up the middle defenders who you just hope can get on base at a .315-.320 rate while providing occasional pop to go with their great defense. I actually think Ramos' defensive woes are a bigger concern. We unfortunately have little choice but to put at least one of them near the top of the order at the moment, but hopefully they'll eventually be hitting 6-7-8 in a contender's lineup while providing vital up the middle defense.

  138. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Heath Bell dumping kerosene on the Fish comeback in Miami.

  139. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    As FP also pointed out, he had the 100 mph heat on Saturday and the batters weren't getting around on it. He could have just thrown fastballs and powered his way through, but instead he kept going back to the pitches he couldn't command. He was clearly panicking. Perhaps he was trusting in the more experienced Ramos who kept calling for those other pitches?I agree with hex-man's comment:That might have stopped the game from being lost, but in the long run it would have been the wrong thing to do. Throwing in the towel on a closer the moment he starts getting in trouble is one way to guarantee that the pitcher is never going to succeed in that role. This is something I can tell you with certitude: Davey both preaches and practices the above. I saw it with my own eyes in the 1980's with the Mets. Often times fans would go nuts because it seemed like he left pitchers in too long. In fact, we saw it last fall. Many here on NI were screaming "why did Davey let Detwiler pitch the 7th when everybody knows he can't last that long?"And the correct answer then was: if Det is always taken out after six, then for sure he'll never be able to pitch the seventh.Davey knows it's a marathon not a sprint. He's a great manager not only because he knows strategy so well, but because he knows how to manage players and get the most from them.Right now, we have no Storen. HRod has to learn that he's the closer for now, and if he gets into a jam he's gotta be able to work out of it; then when he's not "on", he still has to get the job done. I'm sure HRod has learned from the experience, and it will make him a better pitchers. Or, if not, I'm sure that's what Davey's thinking was. There are times we will need HRod "in a pennant race environment" in September when we're actually in a pennant race. Let him learn how to deal with that now.

  140. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    The ninth inning is the only one where if you blow it there is absolutely nothing or no one who can come after you and save you.This is an interesting statement. It's true, of course, that the hitters can't bail you out if you're the visiting team in a walkoff situation, but if managers' had a somewhat quicker hook with a closer who just doesn't have it that night, perhaps some blown saves could be avoided. Sometimes you have to stick with your closer because he's your last best hope, but in H-Rod's case on Saturday, since he is not our regular closer, and there were other rested options in the pen, it would have been a good idea to make a change before he WP'd in the tying run.

  141. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    417, Henry got pulled in the 9th as it was. Henry is not the permanent closer, he is a fill-in. Stammen, Matteus and Burnett could all fill-in if needed. If The Chief taught us anything, you don't need a big heater to close just enough "Stuff" and be able to handle the pressure.

  142. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Kearns takes called strike 3 to end the Fish 9-5 loss to the D-backs. Ozzie marches with pupose to the locker room. I have to watch the post game to see if he blows his top.

  143. peric - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    everybody is freaking out about the lack of hitting, and rightfully so, but so far Harper has been an absolute joy to watchAccording to everyone's favorite scatological troll, Poopy McP (who was at every game) Harper was overmatched … now HE is getting called out by the WaPo editors … Even if Poopster were right we might as well get it over with now as far as Harper, and yes Espinosa plus Moore, Desmond, etc. are concerned. At some point (hopefully) Rendon will be healthy again and able to compete for some of these jobs. Get it out of the way now and in a couple of years or less the Orioles and Kasten's Dodgers will be crying in their beer when they see the Nats come to town.Let them play and compete at both the major and minor league levels.

  144. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    According to everyone's favorite scatological troll, Poopy McP (who was at every game) Harper was overmatched … now HE is getting called out by the WaPo editors … Holy moley — that just proves he _is_ a total troll. Anyone who watched this weekend could see that Harper was so clearly not overmatched. And I've been one who was a bit skeptical about this call up, thinking it was too early. (But, then, I don't have Rizzo's eye, and I wasn't in Syracuse last week).Harper had more quality at bats than half the team did in the last two games.===========Tangent: peric, one of the advantages of the "no-more anonymous" rule, is that we can see who people are. I'd seen comments _about_ you, and I'd seed Anony comments that people _said_ were from you — but I had no clue (as I don't read comments on WaPo). Now that I can see what _you_ are writing, I see that you write some good stuff.Or, at least it looks good to me because I agree with it ;-)I appreciate that some (you, me, some others) appreciate the fact that we have a lot of guys who really are kinda young, and really are still learning, some of them on the job. And since our future looks so bright, we might as well, as you wrote, get these growing pains (HRod, Espi, etc.) out of the way now. I'm sure that's what Davey's thinking.I tell ya', this team is positioned well to be a dynasty for years to come, because we're so darn young and have so much _potential_ talent.

  145. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    OK. No post game comments by Ozzie. According to the Marlins broadcast team, the best part of the week end was the stadium roof keeping out 2 days of rain.

  146. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Ooops. Ozzie on camera now. Complaining about the lousy baseball and his players inability to make adjustments.

  147. peric - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Again, armchair QB, should Henry have been pulled once he put Ellis and Loney on base with no outs and already had a wild pitch?Maybe we should start hanging "Under Construction Signs", work in progress. Johnson wanted to see if Henry could handle it. Its still JUST April. Now is the time to find these things out NOT when September is here and Fall approaches.

  148. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Best part of Harper's 2 days in LA was him taking the walk in the top of the 9th when he wanted to hit one outta there and tie the game. Real discipline. I like it.If all our players played two positions in two days, had a great throw, a great catch (not sure about the route), a double and a single, and the discipline to take a walk–wouldn't we be happy?Re: Ozzie, oooooh, I wanna see, I wanna see! Hope they post the video.

  149. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Oh, and a sac fly.

  150. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Let me understand this. When would you have taken Henry out? The 1st guy got a single – not yet right? The 2nd guy got a single – Not yet right? The 3rd guy got a double, one run scored so now it's 3-2 men on 2nd and 3rd and none out – Henry is your best bet to get outs without letting the runners advance (strikeouts) – so not yet. Right? The 4th guy struck out – not yet right? The 5th guy hit a comebacker to the mound a no one scored – not yet right? Wild pitch; tie game – OK you can take him out now but no further damage was done anyway. My point is. When you were watching the game; when did you want him replaced? by who? do you think we would have won the game?

  151. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    'Best part of Harper's 2 days in LA was him taking the walk in the top of the 9th when he wanted to hit one outta there and tie the game. Real discipline. I like it'. I agree. When they got 2 strikes on him they were sure they can get him to chase garbage but he wouldn't bite. Paying attention Desi?

  152. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    NatsLady, He clearly wasn't over matched this weekend and I think he won't be going forward but when he reaches his potential he will dominate. I don't think learning at this level is fatal but I think it can potentially delay the development. I do think he goes back if/when Zim and Morse return just based on Rizzo's comments.

  153. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Best part of Harper's 2 days in LA was him taking the walk in the top of the 9th when he wanted to hit one outta there and tie the game. Real discipline. I like it.Yep — on a somewhat close pitch with two outs and a full count. Serious discipline.

  154. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    JD, could be. His agent, Scott Boras, also said something to that effect. I don't think he'll go down when Zim comes back, that would be this weekend, and I can't believe they wouldn't let him stay for the Philly series. IMO, if Morse comes back, and IF Morse is in good form, they might send him back down. Since Morse won't be back until June earliest, that is a good sample for us and for him of major-league life. He would know exactly what he needs to work on, if he doesn't already.

  155. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Plus it will be a lot warmer in Syracuse by then. :)

  156. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    'that would be this weekend'From your mouth to god's ears.

  157. peric - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    IMO, if Morse comes back, and IF Morse is in good form, they might send him back down. That's NOT going to happen after his performance this weekend. Rizzo has placed him in Davey's hands instead of Beasley's. And that where Davey wants him to stay. I expect you'd see Nady dropped for Morse first. Chad Tracy. its a long list of potentials who just aren't hitting.

  158. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    I agree, sending Harper back down now would be nuts, and Rizzo isn't nuts.

  159. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    The D-Backs must have a terrible TV contract. Today's game didn't have a TV feed from them. Am going back to watch Cahill's last start (April 25) and there is only a Philly feed (home game for the D-Backs).I know the Stros fans complained about no TV for a game with us. We complain about MASN but at least we get all the games.

  160. jcj5y - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    The walk was nice and all, but I'm still most impressed with the laser double to dead center. That was probably one of the 10 hardest hit balls by a Nat this season.

  161. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    My point is. When you were watching the game; when did you want him replaced? After the third straight hit (and quite a few pitches that were not close to the zone). I don't buy that H-Rod was our best bet to win the game at that point. But it's a judgment call, I agree. And he almost escaped. As for whether he could just power through with his 100 mph fastball, if I recall correctly, he didn't have good command with the fastball, that was the problem. Not sure about the route [on Harper's great catch] Check out the replay. He got a great jump, and the route looks pretty good to me.

  162. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    I thought the RBI sac fly was a nice piece of hitting.

  163. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I think Nady is living on borrowed time at this point. If Zim actually returns this coming weekend, he's the guy most likely to depart. By the time Morse comes back, Rizzo will have a decent sample size on Harper and Moore and be able to make a judgment.

  164. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    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. I say they keep him up for at least two months. But if he makes a bunch of errors, and can't hit lefties and breaking stuff, they might. I hope that doesn't happen–Harper will be busting a** to show that he stays along with both RZ and Morse.

  165. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    222, thanks, I was listening to the announcers and didn't see it at the time. Agree, they will DFA Nady before they send Harper down. He needs to play in DC even if the Philly games are all sold out.

  166. Candide - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Section 222 said…Check out the replay. He got a great jump, and the route looks pretty good to me. Can't say I agree. He initially headed pretty much straight out to dead center, then changed course about halfway, so that he was running almost directly towards right. He got a good jump, but I don't think he got a good read. It wasn't Chicago, and I didn't hear Carp or F.P talking about the wind blowing the ball around. Gutsy catch, though, and heads-up to throw back to first – sent a message to anyone else in the league who wants to challenge his arm. If he's "overmatched," I just wish he'd rub some of his overmatchedness off on the rest of the team.BTW, much as I'm pleased to see WaPo taking PmP out to the woodshed (I hope), the reason I'm here is because I got sick of seeing his garbage there all the time. So you can blame – or thank – him for my being here.

  167. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    'The walk was nice and all, but I'm still most impressed with the laser double to dead center. That was probably one of the 10 hardest hit balls by a Nat this season.' Desmond has hit laser doubles and so has Espi. All these guys can hit a ball hard but what was so impressive about the walk was that a 19 year old came up in a game situation and didn't get himself out. The pitcher always has a plan to get you out and if you don't have one to beat him you end up with a .284 OBP.

  168. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    "Section 222 said… My point is. When you were watching the game; when did you want him replaced? After the third straight hit (and quite a few pitches that were not close to the zone). I don't buy that H-Rod was our best bet to win the game at that point."In order to bring in another pitcher that soon, they would have had to have him warming up before Henry even left the bullpen. That's not how you instill confidence in your closer. The closer needs to know he's operating without a net, because he is.

  169. A DC Wonk - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    IMO, if Morse comes back, and IF Morse is in good form, they might send him back down.I don't see it, unless he starts looking lost at the plate, but I didn't see that at all. And if he's not lost now, I have to think that he's on a high enough level to do the rest of his learning in the bigs.I see Morse-Harper-Werth as LF/CF/RF . . . but if so, where's Tyler Moore?

  170. JD - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Sec 222, With no one out and men on 2nd and 3rd and a one run lead; do you think any one of our relievers retires 3 before at least one run scores? I don't. My point is that things unraveled quickly and at all times Henry was our best bet to escape which he almost did bu that's just my opinion.

  171. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Well, Clip maybe, but he had already pitched. And maybe not this year–YET.

  172. MicheleS - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    This is my post of the day!!!NatsJack in Florida said… Heath Bell dumping kerosene on the Fish comeback in Miami.

  173. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Couldn't find a video of Ozzie's postgame presser but I did find this quote:Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was asked about the fans booing the Marlins after the game.“Can you blame them?” Ozzie asked rhetorically. “I was booing too.”Honest, yes. Way to encourage your players–?

  174. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    The Fish Fry is great and I think the Nats sent them into their tail spin. Josh Johnson isn't the same and Buehrle is frustrated in the poor defense behind him.Heath Bell has been a disaster and Ozzie offended an entire community. Oh, and the REAL attendance is plummeting as even the paid tickets can't be given away.

  175. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Decent point on the other reliever getting loose. I don't know who else might already have been loose from throwing in earlier innings, and in any event, after the first or at least the second hit someone should be getting up in the bullpen. A trip to the mound by McCatty, maybe a Ramos visit, and someone could have been ready after that third hit. It simply can't be that a reliever who is getting hit and lacks command has to pitch nearly the entire inning before being replaced. Maybe your established closer gets that treatment, but not the stopgap guy. And if H-Rod is going to be miffed by seeing someone else up in the bullpen, Davey has to tell him to GET OVER IT. We're here to win ballgames not protect your feelings.

  176. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Oh, and the REAL attendance is plummeting as even the paid tickets can't be given away.Worth mentioning that the Nats are giving away tickets too — $2 Tuesdays in April? Really? Not really the right message to send your STHs I don't think.

  177. Exposremains - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Harper reminds me of V. Guerrero in the way that every time he comes to bat you expect something exciting happening.

  178. Gonat - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    Bryce was impressive this weekend. I'm a Kool-Aid drinker and not sure I am ready to get sucked into the Bryce Harper vortex.His double in Saturdays game was more impressive than any of his hits in Spring Training.What Harper does is really show how bad some of these veteran role players are. Maybe he will have a positive effect on some of them and elevate their play. Wishful thinking?

  179. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Stammen was up, and I think Burnett–it seems a long time ago, now–but from what I recall, he was still throwing after the third hit–not ready yet. If he's pitching to the next hitter, then he's finishing that hitter, which he actually did do, even if he did blow the save. Would Stammen have gotten them out of it? That was my thought at the time, but he only missed by one pitch. Davey is thinking long term.

  180. MicheleS - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    222, they have been doing those $2 promos for a couple of years. Way to get the casual fan in the park mid week. I don't think the seats awesome (I think in the 400 section – not that those are bad) and the number of tickets is limited.

  181. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    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.

  182. MicheleS - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    222.. thanks for that! on the nights I don't have the STH, I could buy those!!!!

  183. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Or you could buy some of our seats in 314, but they cost more than $2. :-)

  184. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    I'm in 315, but for $2, I could be convicted to switch…

  185. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    You could get those, sell your regular seats for $10, get better seats AND a free beer! I would think STHs would be all over that!

  186. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Re: the Fish attendance…….their TV guys said 130,000 fans were at the 4 game series against Arizona. If that's so, 60,000 went disguised as empty seats.

  187. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Plenty of empty seats in ATL.We won't see Cliff Lee in our series.From MLB.com:The Phillies plan to be cautious with Lee. There is no sense in rushing him back, aggravating the injury and forcing him to miss more time. So if Lee is not back Friday, but he returns sometime next week, they will be happy with that.

  188. Scott from Burke - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    Sean McDonogh doing Tex v. Blue Jays game on MLB…best announcer in sports..unfortunately stuck with Rick Sutcliffe

  189. NatsNut - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    1. The tickets are $2, but with fees, the total is $47. (only half kidding)2. Since ya'll are kinda still talking about it, I gotta repost this in the aftermath of that Rodriguez meltdown. I think I can laugh about it now, though.NatsNut said…Absolutely the most painful play last night was Dee Gordon reaching first on the wild pitch after he STRUCK OUT with 2 outs in the 9th. My stomach hurts.April 29, 2012 2:01 PM

  190. Section 222 - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    You could get those, sell your regular seats for $10, get better seats AND a free beer! I would think STHs would be all over that! Nifty plan Sec 3, except who's going to buy my seats for $10 when they can get better seats for $2?

  191. NatsLady - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Milone pitching against Tampa Bay, gave up a run, but K'd two so far.

  192. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    I believe that's the Red Sox, NatsLady.

  193. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Mcghee struck out on four strikes (3rd one wasn't close, I coulda called that one) but Bucs got two runs, so it's tied in ATL.Tommy at 52 pitches. "Scout" remarks that BA against Milone is .133 at 45 pitches or less, .214 when it's over. Now 4-1 Boston.

  194. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    NJ, right, sorry. Tommy still not out of the inning.

  195. NatsLady - May 1, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Ok, Milone out of the inning, still 4-1. Who wanted Coco Crisp and his .186 average?Pirates ahead now 4-2 and my student is here. Go BUCS!

  196. MicheleS - May 1, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Hmm Josh Redick may not be the leadoff hitter for the A's, but apparanlty the A's fans react the same way we do when Desi walks. I chuckled at this.From SB Nation A's game thread:LADIES AND GENTLEMEN ATTENTION PLEASEJOSH REDDICK HAS WALKED. THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR ALARM. REPEAT: DO NOT PANIC. JOSH REDDICK HAS WALKED.

  197. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Nifty plan Sec 3, except who's going to buy my seats for $10 when they can get better seats for $2? Scalpers who will sell them to the naive. Think marketing, man.

  198. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 1, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    What Harper does is really show how bad some of these veteran role players are. Maybe he will have a positive effect on some of them and elevate their play. Wishful thinking? Probably. MLB minimum is about half a million dollars a year. 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.

  199. SonnyG10 - May 1, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Excellent job ladies and gentlemen. Some good posts here. Think I'll take a break now and rewatch Bryce Harper's debut.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 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