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Instant analysis: Pirates 4, Nats 2

May 10, 2012, 2:09 AM EST

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper tracks down Pedro Alvarez's deep drive in the first inning.

Game in a nutshell: Presented with a golden opportunity after Erik Bedard departed with back spasms only eight pitches into the game, the Nationals' woebegone lineup still foundered against the Pirates bullpen. Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy each drove in a run, but otherwise the lineup was shut down by five Pittsburgh relievers. Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, gave up three runs in the fourth, and that was enough damage to deal the young left-hander his second loss. Joel Hanrahan stranded the tying runner on base in the ninth, getting Bryce Harper to pop out and striking out Ryan Zimmerman to end the game. The result: The Nationals will lose only the second of 10 series they've played this year.

Hitting lowlight: Pretty easy to pick this one. Top of the eighth. Bases loaded. One out. Trailing by one run. All the Nats needed was a base hit. Or really, just a fly ball that would have scored the tying run. Instead, Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel each struck out hacking at fastballs from reliever Jason Grilli. Espinosa flailed away at a 3-2 pitch for his NL-leading 39th strikeout of the year. Ankiel then took a huge cut at a 1-2 fastball at his eyelids. Inning over. Rally killed.

Pitching lowlight: As well as he's pitched, Detwiler does have a tendency to let one mistake balloon into a bad inning. Such was the case in the bottom of the third, an inning that began with opposingRead more »

  1. terpman33 - May 10, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Well, we lost another one, but I will maintain that as long as we don’t lose 4 in a row or more, we will be alright. We are still in first place. On the bright side, the Caps won, so we will get a game 7!

  2. Clip&Store - May 10, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    absolutely pathetic and ridiculous. perfect shot to add to our lead in the division and we blow it to a well below .500 team in a 90% empty stadium.Godd F'in job rizzo. exactly what we needed was to add another starter this offseason instead of a bat. when your relying on a 19 year old for your offense your team is a f'in joke. absolutely pathetic and blew all the momentum from last weekend. losing a series to the pirates. absolutely embarassing. H*ll, we faced freakin relievers all night too. this whole offense should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. phil dunton - May 10, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    On the plus side, we didn't have to suffer through an appearance by the pathetic Henry Rodriguez tonight.

  4. sjm308 - May 10, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Yep, no other teams in major league baseball ever lose to sub .500 teams – clip & amp really has his hand on this, its all Rizzo's fault, no one else. Yes sir, sure am glad to read such expert analysis right after a tough loss. So our first place lads got that record, not because of Rizzo right? It's only when we lose that it's Rizzo's fault, who gets the credit when we win?

  5. Fear and Ignorance - May 10, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    If you took Strasburg and Gio off of this team…we are probably worse than the Pirates. Rizzo needed to get us more hitting (by his own admission) and failed to do so. I am so sick of hearing about potential. The only teams that use the words "upside" and "potential" are bad teams. Our record is very misleading and really doesn't matter one month into the season. The warning signs are all over the place. The Redskins started out 3-1 and we all know how that turned out.

  6. Joe Seamhead - May 10, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    sjm308, I am in total agreement with you.Rizzo's fault? Ok, sure, whatever.

  7. JT - May 10, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Tough loss to be sure. Just to many strikeouts in critical situations. I don't know the answers and I don't have to know them. The brains that run this team need to find some answers and find them pretty quick. Even I can see one glaring problem…Espinosa is just not getting it done, and not getting it done over a long period of time. Not sure what else the brain trust needs to see to make a change there.

  8. Clip&Store - May 10, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Ok sjm you sit there when we blow all these opportunities to expand a lead when our best pitcher will be shut down in august. guess what? games in may mean the same as games in september. and no i blame the whole offense (its so bad i cant even make exception..oh wait, except for laroche). yes teams lose to sub .500 teams but you need to have a sense of urgency. if there's one thing i will give philadelphia and boston and new york fans, as much as i absolutely hate them (esp phi), they get fired up. they need to get a fire lit under their a*s.

  9. Gonat - May 10, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Key stat: Espinosa's struggles extend far back. Over his last 92 games, he's totaled a scant 13 RBI.__________________How's about 0-16 with RISP this year. Missed opportunities by Espi, Harper, Ankiel, Zim, etc.

  10. John C. - May 10, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    First the strikeout/wild pitch, then the next hitter hits a ball up the middle that should have been a GIDP (Desi was behind the bag) … but it hits Detwiler's foot and caroms into right field to set up the rest of the circus. One of those games.The offense … offensive. Ankiel K'ing at the high fastball. Ramos does Hanrahan a HUGE favor – down by two, Hanrahan literally throws the first two pitches to the backstop. So Ramos swings at the third pitch, which may well have been ball three. What was he thinking? Why was he swinging? His run means nothing, his job is to get on base by any means necessary.I don't mind getting beat – but criminal stupidity is hard to take.

  11. Joe Seamhead - May 10, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    That's as close to pi$$ed off that Davey has been since he's been here. Changes will happen soon.

  12. Gonat - May 10, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    Joe – Its about time.

  13. Oldguy - May 10, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Went over to Chiefs-Bulls. Chiefs winning 15-8. Makes you feel a little better. Wang pitched 7 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs.

  14. jeffwx - May 10, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Until you come up with the answers, keep it simple.Go with the averages as Rizzo says and put Lombo (2b) and Tracey (lf) in the lineup in place of Espi and Nady.Of course, everyone is trying too hard. There is no confidence that the latter part of the lineup will be able to cobb out a hit…that puts more pressure on your 1-4 hitters who start to think the only way to win is to hit a hr rather than try to build a rally.

  15. Gonat - May 10, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    As much crap as Desmond takes, he goes 2-5 and was robbed of a HR. Offensively, a good night.

  16. howl31 - May 10, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Hey, we are 18-12 for a .600 winning percentage… that translates to a 97 win season… I don't expect us to even maintain that pace, not to mention the insane pace we were on before this current 3 game skid… if we did (again, I don't expect us to), then Rizzo would probably be executive of the year… But, we don't have to win 97 in order to be playoff contenders… 87 would put us in that range, that's a .537 winning percentage… to hit that, we'd have to go 69-63 the rest of the way… we can pull that off, right?The offense, though, is obviously a major concern… please consider Lombo in the top spot to see if he can maintain his high OBP and Desmond in the 5 hole to take advantage of his power… I love Espi and I hope he turns it around, but man he Ks like Adam Dunn without the home runs and walks…

  17. jeffwx - May 10, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    OK, old guy that's finebut can Wang hit ?That's what we need right now.

  18. jeffwx - May 10, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    18-12 is good4-8 for your last 12 games is now

  19. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    There were plenty of times in this game baseball IQ was shown to be less than rocket science.Originally I was ticked at HROd last night, but after thining two hours while I was trying to fall askeep I switch the blame to Rmos. his job is to knowk down balls in the dirt, not neccesarily catch them. Then tonight it happened again. Lincoln should have been out. Just knock the ball down. Then Det kncosk the ball into right when it was right at Espi. Then Desi decides to double pump (Why on eartj did he not just rhow home, McCutchen didn't even fake like he was stopping, a simnple toss home he is out by 25 feet.) Those three plays set the tone for the night.Not one error, all mental errors.) (Det's might be just to much trying). The other two for sure mental errors).As for the hitters. bases loaded after rwo walks, and Espi swings at one in the dirt. Then lets 3 in the dirt go (well he should have walked and the run would score). then he lets one on the black go, that was OK. Then he swings and misses at one right ion the middle of the plate because he swinging for the fences. What was that all about. Where is his coach to ride his rear to the bench> The coach is no one where in sight.Then Ankiel comes up and swing at three ptiches above his hands at least 2 were balls, and the last one was ball by a lot. Where is his coach riding his rear. no where to be found.The team swings at way to many balls, and swings and misses at way too many strikes. Maybe we need a new team eye doctor. Off my soap box. I hate wasting good starting pitching and this team is just doing that way too mcuh.Firing Eck might not help, but I sure know it wouldn't hurt.

  20. Fear and Ignorance - May 10, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    How many #5 outfielders does one team need. We already had 2 of them and signed about 5 more. Ankiel/Bernadina/DeRosa/Nady/Michaels/Cameron/Carroll and none are any good. It is like furnishing a new $1 million house with stuff from a yard sale. It is time for Rizzo to go out and get a legit hitter or this season is going to go down the drain in a hurry. All he really had to do was to keep Nix or Gomes. They have a combined .300 avg. with 7 HR and 24 RBI with 18 runs scored. That alone would have given us about 3-4 more wins compared to the trash they keep putting out there.

  21. Clip&Store - May 10, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    @Fear and Ignorance: apparently rizzo thinks we need all of the 5th outfielders in professional baseball so nobody else can have them.too bad nobosy else wants them in the first place.

  22. Joe Seamhead - May 10, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Okay, by the skin of our teeth, we're still in first. It wasn't just Espy not producing. Ramos, Harper, Ankiel, and Zimmerman all failed to come through. It's baseball. They must keep their heads up and move on and get 'em tomorrow. Though the Kid didn't do much at the plate, he made two more pretty nice catches, the long running one in center, the other,the shoestring in right, which he didn't misplay as alleged by Carpenter. Outfielders are taught to take a step back,and then adjust. Milledge, Byrd, and Nyjer all had the bad habit of habit of taking the first step in, only to have the ball go over their heads, at best playing routine outs into "sensational" catches, at worst playing routine outs into extra base hits. Harper is demonstrating the effects, and listening to fresh coaching.

  23. Eugene in Oregon - May 10, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    howl31 @ 10:37,LIke you, I'd like to believe that the Nats can generate a 69-63 record for the rest of the season and end up with 87 wins. But to do that, they're going to have to do a much better job of scoring runs. Their current 18-12 record is misleading. Going into tonight's game, based on their runs scored/runs allowed, their pythagorean record was 16-13. That's a .552 winning percentage, and it's going to continue going down each day that the team can't score even the — very low 4.05 — league average. I don't have the answer, but it almost certainly has to come from within, not via trade (at least until after the all-star break). LIke lots of posters here, I'm hoping to see more of Mr. Lombardozzi but realistically he's never going to generate a huge number of runs — he'll score some, because he seems to know how to get on base, but the Nats need more than just a higher OBP. I fear that until Mr. Morse returns, we're going to continue to see a lot of low-scoring games and we just have to hope that the pitching can make up for the low-production offense. Sigh.

  24. howl31 - May 10, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    The plan in the off season was to have Morse in left, Werth in right, and Ankiel in center until Bryce Harper was ready…If that plan worked out, Morse/Harper/Werth would be a pretty money OF… and Ankiel would be a pretty decent 4th OF…And all those guys that were brought in as insurance would rarely see the field… I don't see how Rizzo can be blamed for bringing in insurance, every team does it… and, considering what has happened to Morse and Werth, it certainly is better to have more options rather then less… I'm not saying any of those 5th OF types are good, just saying the plan was never to have these guys getting so much time on the field, and unfortunately bad luck has made it turn out otherwise…

  25. Joe Seamhead - May 10, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    Oh, yeah, GYFNG! And, how 'bout dem Caps!

  26. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    In the last 10 games Espinosa 34 at bats 5 hits 4 runs with 16 strike out 0 RBIs 4 walks. Why is a non powere hitter striking out nearly 50% of the time. The coach allows him to buy not teaching better. Adam Dunn's last 10 games 33 at bats 9 hits 8 runs 5 Home Runs 9 RBIs 9 WalksA home run hitter I can understand striking out. Espinose is not a home run hitters, why is he swinging so hard and out of control?

  27. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 10, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    The important thing is, somebody is to blame.

  28. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Desmond had a good night at the plate, and I bet if I look at his last t10 games he has been solid.He just had a brain fart. Not sure why the fake pump then run toward home than the throw. McCuthcen never thought about stopping so a simple toss home gets him by 25 feet, all the other things he did just wasted time and made sure he would be safe not out. As I said a real brain fart.

  29. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    I had to look it up In the lst 10 games Desmond has had 46 at bats 12 hits. however only 3 runs (that is a concern) 2 honmmers and 5 RBIs so only one other run, 1 walk and 11 strike outs. So he striking out about 25% of the time which is way too much for a non power guy.

  30. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Harper his last 10 games 34 At bats 9 hits 5 runs 0 homers 3 RBIs 4 strike outs 6 BB

  31. NatsLady - May 10, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    The Marlins' away uniforms look dreadful–especially on Heath Bell.

  32. DJB - May 10, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    O.K. This is not a good team. It's going to be a slow ride down given the fast start, but the Nat's will hover around 80 wins at best. You simply can't win with the hitting they have, no matter how good the pitching. Eventually, the pressure on the pitching staff will be too great. It was a big mistake not to focus more on bringing in hitters. Pujols would have been a great match – NL team with a developing fan base and a good hitter's park. Big mistake.

  33. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Harper is one of two players who have walked more than they struck out. The other Mark DeRosa. News flash walking is better than striking out.

  34. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    We can win 90 games easily. However there is absolutely no room for mental or physcial errors. I am assume every single game when I turn on the game they will win. I expect them to win. the pitching is too good to lose to often. I just would like the hitters to start swinging at strikes and not at balls. The chances of scoring more runs would go up a lot. They are coached to do that. (or at least that is what it appears like to me)

  35. Section 222 - May 10, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Desmond thought he was getting McCutcheon in a rundown when he really needed to throw him out. But I really think the Nats need some work on rundowns. Too many throws.

  36. JaneB - May 10, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    DJB, I take ALR over Albert for a fraction of the dough and better character.One good thing about baseball is we get another chance tomorrow.I am glad Espi got a double. But I'd like to see what Lombo does on second base.

  37. mikebenjaminschops - May 10, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    Love how after a hot start we can talk down on teams already like we've done shit. Remember we're still the f'n expos till we prove otherwise. If you ask me I'd say we ain't any better than the pirates. We've shown it this series. I know they've sucked the last 18 years but so have we. They have the best player on the field in mccutchen. Like us, they have one of the NL's best pitching staff through a month and a half. It's may 9th. Stop scoreboard watching. Stop ripping rizzo. We coulda easily won these two games. We didn't. Look to salvage the series tomorrow then on to another tough NLcentral matchup.

  38. DJB - May 10, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Doesn't Espi lead the NL in strikeouts? Once you get by the four hole, there's no one that scares opposing pitchers. You can throw long relievers at them and make them look like Cy Young winners. A good rotation keeps them in almost every game, but then wins become a coin toss. Lombo should be added to the lineup, but I'm afraid the problems go beyond that. Seriously hope I'm wrong, as I haven't been as involved as a fan since the Orioles of the early 80's.

  39. peric - May 10, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    Ok sjm you sit there when we blow all these opportunities to expand a lead when our best pitcher will be shut down in august.guess what? games in may mean the same as games in september. Go follow the Orioles. This franchise is building itself the right way, mostly through the prospects. Go follow a team that signs old geezers quasi AAAA types only to see them fail. This one isn't going to use your brainless options … and clip&store was invented here AND NOT BY YOU!

  40. Section 222 - May 10, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    What is it with you and the prospects Peric? Is there anyone in the minors that you think can help the Nats win ballgames right now? If so, why doesn't Rizzo call them up? Talk about brainless options. And your guy Tyler Moore is up, but he's not showing us alot so far is he? Maybe he needs more seasoning after all, eh? We have a couple of AAAA guys on this team already — or haven't you noticed? (Nady, Bernadina.) Don't put down other commenters who simply would like a better hitting team that can win. And please don't act like wanting to win this year is somehow going to mess up The Plan. With the start we had, we have a golden opportunity to make the playoffs. Are you really content to fall back to a .500 season and wait till next year? I'm not.

  41. peric - May 10, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    Pujols would have been a great match – NL team with a developing fan base and a good hitter's park. Big mistake.Fielder was better because he was A LOT younger and left-handed.The Nats aren't going to sign old geezers that's not in the plan. They are going to develop prospects from within and only trade/sign for starters who are young with very high ceilings. The only exception to that was Jayson Werth.Its a good plan, let them keep after it.

  42. whatsanattau - May 10, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    Cool, when you skip over all the ridiculously overblown negative comments you can breeze right through. Nice to read the balanced ones though. Let's review: Morse, Werth, Storen, Wang, Marerro, DeRosa, and Lidge on DL. Zimmerman, Laroche, Ankiel all missing significant time. Team playing .600 ball YTD. Yep the GM must suck. Now let's see the best offensive year in recent history we had Dunn, Willingham, Guzman, etc… But we finished last. Couldn't catch, throw, pitch, or run. If only we had a GM that could take us back to that …

  43. peric - May 10, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    And your guy Tyler Moore is up, but he's not showing us alot so far is he? Maybe he needs more seasoning after all, eh? We have a couple of AAAA guys on this team already — or haven't you noticed? (Nady, Bernadina.) Don't put down other commenters who simply would like a better hitting team that can win. Panicking and acting like stoopid dolts. 222 they said Morse was AAAA too, and I remember that VERY WELL. You weren't even around so don't lecture me. These are prospects who are developing. They aren't going to come out of the chute hitting … even Harper still has ceiling given what he's done up to this point. Bottom line: you and the others aren't giving Johnson and Rizzo their props. Look at their record. Look at their record last year. NOW SHUT UP and stop spewing fecal matter.

  44. peric - May 10, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    I am glad Espi got a double. But I'd like to see what Lombo does on second base.And convert Espinosa to the UTL? Espinosa would still end up starting. Think about it. Look at all the injuries already incurred. Lombardozzi is already a starter.

  45. Section 222 - May 10, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    Sorry Peric, but I've been around as long as you have (full STH since 2005), and I was as big of a Morse booster as you were, so don't lecture me, or tell me (or anyone else for that matter) to shut up. For as long as I've read your comments on this and other blogs you've been touting the prospects == Tyler Moore is Babe Ruth in the making, Chris Marerro is our 1B of the future. Destin Hood is tearing up Single A, he's the answer in RF, Aaron Thompson is the next Sandy Koufax. But now that Moore is up, and you make excuses for him. "He's still developing." Isn't that what the minor leagues are for? Whatever. From what we've seen so far, Harper is ready. Moore probably isn't. Is that so hard to admit? It certainly seems to be what Davey has concluded, or he wouldn't be playing Nady anymore.I give Davey and Rizzo plenty of credit when they deserve it. But I'm going to call them as I see them when the don't. And I'm going to keep defending people who don't toe the "Davey knows best" party line. This place would be boring if only one point of view were expressed.Fortunately, no matter how ugly, belligerent, insulting, or profane your language is you can't prevent people from commenting here or disagreeing with you. I'm going to keep calling you out when you say ridiculous things. If you can't handle that, feel free to ignore my comments.

  46. Fear and Ignorance - May 10, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    Why do Johnson and Rizzo deserve props??? Just wondering what either of them have done to deserve "props". Are we the only team in the league developing prospects??? We need major league hitters, not prospects who MIGHT be decent in 2 years. Good teams have at least 5 or 6 position players they can count on being productive year in and year out. We have one (Zimmerman-who is not even that good) and about 15 question marks. The Rangers have a great minor league system…do you think they harp on prospects every day???

  47. Scott from Burke - May 10, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    Why do Johnson and Rizzo deserve props??? They had to build a team from ground decimated the team..and bowden is a child playing rotisserie baseball…the have the best rotation in baseball with a weak offense but their best offensive player due to rejoin the team in about a month and their closer a month after that….rizzo's bizarre behavior is an embaressment for the organization but so far so good

  48. Clip&Store - May 10, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    Listne, Peric, sorry if i sounded strong right after i was in angry made after another tough loss, but your right in a way and wrong.Prospects are just that. Prospects. Remember big bad Dominic Brown? Yeah, he's struggling in AAA now. THERE IS NO SURE THING WITH PROSPECTS. You need to get proven guys. I realize the prices were high for some, but sometimes that happens.And please guys don't turn into philly fans complaining about injuries. First of all, as much as i love Morse, the dude gets injured almost every year, you need a contingency plan. Same with Zimm, hopefully this is his only stint of the year. Storen..well, he is a pitcher with a violent delivery, so i can't say I am shocked. But losing 1 or even 2 hitters shouldn't make us an offense THIS putrid!Dont get me wrong Rizzo has done a great job and if i saw him around sometime i would tell him that. I'm just saying that for what we gave up for Gio, you cannot tell me there were no hitters available for that hefty price.

  49. Clip&Store - May 10, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    *sorry for the grammar mistakes if there are some..its late haha..good night. see everyone tomorrow probably

  50. Jeff - May 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Help me guys (and gals) as I never played ball beyond high school. However when I continue to see bad approaches by batters I wonder if they're getting any signals from 3rd (Porter).Do MLBers not get 'hold' signals or the like? For example, our HS coach taught us that if the pitcher walked the guy ahead of you, don't swing at the first pitch he offers you.I just don't understand how these bad decisions can be made by the batters. What's the 3rd base coach for?

  51. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 10, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Someone asked if Espi led the majors in strike outs. he is tied for the NL lead with Ricky Weeks. Adam Dunn is the only AL guy with more. Espi has 39 Dunn 46. Espi 1 homer Dunn 10.

  52. Clip&Store - May 10, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    i honetly think he is the least productive/most counterproductive player in baseball right now

  53. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I just don't understand how these bad decisions can be made by the batters. What's the 3rd base coach for? Jeff, I never played MLB either, but as I understand it, the manager, depending on how he likes to work, might put on a take sign, relayed through the 3rd base coach like other signs, but MLB players generally have earned a lot more latitude in decision-making than high school players, depending on how micro- the manager tends to be. Davey doesn't tend to do that (yet), but others do.





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