Skip to content

Sigh of relief

May 22, 2012, 4:33 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Sean Burnett bailed out Henry Rodriguez by recording the game's final two outs.

PHILADELPHIA — For most relievers, the sight of a closer trotting out from the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning of a tight game brings with it a sense of calm.

"You bring in the closer and everybody's like: Whew," Craig Stammen said. "Take a little break."

These days, when Henry Rodriguez takes the mound for the ninth inning, the rest of the Nationals bullpen stands at the ready, knowing it may not be long before someone else's services are needed.

Monday night, it took only two wayward Rodriguez pitches before the phone rang inside the visitors pen at Citizens Bank Park. Sean Burnett immediately sprang into action.

"Once the phone rings," the left-hander said, "it's go time."

So for the second time in a week, Burnett was summoned to bail out Rodriguez. And for the second time in a week, he pulled it off, this time preserving a 2-1 victory over the Phillies.Read more »

135 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    Can you imagine how many wild pitches there would have been if you add the 2 Flores didn't handle when there was nobody on base?"I'm going to sleep on it," Johnson said. "But I'm looking at alternatives." Yah Davey, you do that, sleep on it. For the fanbase, heart palpitations and sour stomach.The closer by committee should be Stammen when it is a RH loaded 9th or Burnett when it is a LH loaded 9th.What is so bizarre is I can't remember the last time that Henry came in with the #1 or #2 hitter starting off the 9th. These are bottom of the order saves opportunities.It was Stammen who faced the heart of their order in the 8th.

  2. Jesse-Douglas Mathewson - May 22, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    Am I the only one who doesn't understand why Clippard isn't closing? He's our best reliever–and one of the best in baseball over the last two seasons–so he should be in the toughest situations.The fact that he's the "8th Inning Guy" isn't a good reason for him not to close until Storen returns.

  3. Bote Man - May 22, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    I don't understand Davey's absolute determination to use Henry Rodriguez to close tight games in the 9th inning. Why is this the only option open to him?Loyalty? To whom?? What about loyalty to the other players, the ownership, the fans who want to see a victory, but see that victory slipping away with each errant pitch from H-Rod? That's got to be deflating to the team when they see their hard work go down the drain on some misguided experiment.Henry needs another role, whatever it might be, but he has demonstrated quite convincingly that 9th inning closer just aint it.He needs to learn how to pitch, not just hurl bullets in the vicinity of home plate. Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson were wild fireballers early in their careers, so maybe Henry can figure it out. If this were 2009 with no hope in sight I could tolerate it, but this season has promise that I'd rather not squander.

  4. Dryw Loves the Nats - May 22, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    I love Ian's comments at the end! Partly because I like his empathy for his teammate, partly because I love the fact that he's come so far that he can talk about booting balls and we know it's largely in the past! While I was never a Desi-hater, I will say that some doubt had begun to creep in last year, and I'm happy to see the guy make it!!

  5. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Also loved Ian's comments.

  6. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Me too on Desmond. What a guy! I thought his comments were just terrific.Poor Henry. But once again Davey seems to be reading Nats Insider. How many of us have clamored for him to go to Plan B when it's obvious it's Bad Henry out there. He's done it twice now, and Burnett has produced two saves and preserved two victories.If you're reading this, Davey, don't give up on the Shark in left field either. Hope you're having a pleasant breakfast in Philly. Stay away from the Scrapple. It's bad for you.

  7. D'Gourds - May 22, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I love Davey but…the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. It would be one thing if he had no viable alternative, but he has Stamen, Burnett and Clippard to choose from.

  8. 320R2S15 - May 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Clip is overworked and Davy sees that if he goes the way of Riggs and burns up Clip, nobody wins.Thank the lord Davy did the team thing last night, I don't want to think about the damage that could have been done. If he had stuck with Henry he would have lost alot more than the game, he would have lost the team.Now Davy needs to suffer the pain of sending Danny down.what a great game last night!

  9. Unknown - May 22, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    No one of Henry Rodriguez's talent and potential should be given up on afer 1/4 of a season. He has the ability to become a supremely talented reliever and perhaps a Nolan Ryan like starter if he develops a thrid pitch he can throw with confidence. However, neither can the Nats let him ruin a promising season as he learns. They have a difficult decision, but, hey, that's why Davey and Rizzo get the big bucks.For perspective, here's a link to Sandy Koufax's pitching stats. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/koufasa01.shtmlCheck out the pre-1962 numbers. Henry will never be this good, but look how long it took one of baseball's all-time greats to figure it out. Don't give up on this guy. One day, he may throw a pitch that gives us Nats fans more joy than we could ever imagine!

  10. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Good perspective with Koufax/Ryan/Johnson.My opinion only: Davey sees Henry's potential and that's why he went back to him tonight (he did have a good inning over the weekend). Henry is just overflowing with talent and can't harness it just yet. Henry's role may not be closer right now, 7th inning guy might be good. Davey (hopefully) saw that last night. Pulled him and went for the win. The other 24 are just as if not more important right now than the 1. McCatty has his work cut out for him with Henry. I hope Henry can be developed because he is something to behold.

  11. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Ditto on Desmond! That's stand up to make the comment about him booting the ball all over the field – as we all watched and cried.On Espi – I am not ready to throw in the towel with him. Maybe AAA for awhile is the answer, but as we saw with Desi, sometimes these things take time (Oh, and Ian, just because you have had a good 2 months, please keep it up, or the commentators on this blog and the press will turn on you). Maybe Espi just hasn't found his place yet. Maybe the 20 homers last year made him think he should be a power 2b when he should be a high OBP guy? He had that plan at the beginning of the year and was having good at bats. I wonder what happened to that? I just wish he could fix that left handed swing. As we saw with Desi, Davey got him back on track, maybe he just needs to get with Espi and can do the same.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - May 22, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    In support of Ghosts commenting on Henry's penchant for tightening up in closer situations, in 12 innings in non-stress ST appearances Henry walked 2 and threw NO wild pitches. It was the command shown in ST that led the organization to see a future closer role for Henry.And as for Davey "embarrassing" Henry by taking him out after one pitch to a hitter, what was he supposed to do? Allow a couple of more pitches bounce to the backstop?

  13. alexva - May 22, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    They're called slumps and when your closer gets in one the consequences are dire. Not sure moving someone else out of their role, ex Clippard, helps as it creates another hole. Rather I'd expect multiple inning save attempts from Stammen, Clippard even Gorzelany until Davey gets his regulars back. Henry is out of options, you have to find a place in the bullpen until he pulls out of it or cut him loose. Maybe he will never develop the consistency needed but no one, especially we Nats Insiders, knows whether that will happen.

  14. jcj5y - May 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Another vote for Desmond's candid assessment at the end of the piece. Exactly what you want the team's attitude to be on Rodriguez–they all know he's the third option, and that Storen's coming back. And a great sign that Desmond is maturing into everything the Nats were hoping he'd be.

  15. NatsJack in Florida - May 22, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    That was a classy move by Ian and sheds light on the fact that it IS mental. Pressing in any situation creates errors and with Henry, it's total loss of command, of which he had little to begin with.

  16. UnkyD - May 22, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Love me some Desi…(but y'all knew dat) ;-)Can't understand how Davey could "lose the team" by sticking by Henry… The other guys want him to get it, as well. This group seems, to a man, to be in love with this manager, and part if that is knowing that he doesnt throw guys under the bus. Knock on wood-his faith in Desi seems to be panning out… I don't believe Davey, Desi, or anyone else believed he would become a classic .390 OBP lead off guy, but showing confidence and providing maximum opportunity has helped him find his own groove, and maybe he'll be in the mid-late of our lineup for years to come, now…

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 22, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I am SO glad I fell asleep and went to bed with the Nats ahead 2-0 in the eighth. Sounds like I saved myself about a quart of Maalox and I don't know how much bourbon.

  18. Unknown - May 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Hey, alexva, I kinda resent that especially-we-Nats-Insiders-don't-know comment. We know stuff. Okay, maybe we're no smarter than the average punter but "especially" not knowing stuff? Really?Anyway, good comment from Desi (who wouldn't say his teammates are "especially" prone to blow-ups and errors). You sense HRod's teammates pulling for him, as we do. Harness it, baby! Good sign for the team chemistry, I think.

  19. hiramhover - May 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I don't quite get these comments about "not giving up" on Henry. No one's proposing that he be DFA'ed, are they?The question is whether to keep him in the regular closer's role til Drew returns or to use him in some other capacity in the BP. Over the last 2-3 weeks, putting him him out there in high stress situations doesn't seem to be doing him or the team any good. So use him in lower stress set-up situations, or let him finish games that aren't save or high stress situations (thanks to NJ for those stats) and do a closer by committee for the next 5-6 weeks.

  20. baseballswami - May 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I just love Sean Burnett's attitude — get two outs before they get two runs — that is a classic!! That seems like a closer mentality to me. I think it reflects McCatty's simple approach – don't walk anybody, find a way to get outs. It seems to be in stark contrast to Eck's very complicated and academic approach to hitting. How about " see ball hit ball" to quote fp? Or maybe somewhere in between. Nice win — I missed the beginning of the game – were the boos for Bryce lusty? It's strange – I never expected him being an everyday part of the team to feel so boringly normal. It's been much more seamless than I thought it would be. Sure, he has outfield adventures, but everyone seems quite calm about it.

  21. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Talking about a sports psychiatrist to work with Henry, maybe they need to work with Davey to find out why he has been so hellbent to go back to Henry and walk that tightrope of danger.

  22. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    @Swami: Yeah, the Philthy Phathful let Bryce have it pretty good when he stepped to the plate. They started booing before he was even announced. Then when he bounced two singles his first two at-bats, they REALLY unloaded. But no Duracell D's were tossed that I could see.

  23. Joe Seamhead - May 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    As far as pulling him in the middle of an at bat, it's been done before, and I think Henry would've gladly handed the ball to Sean himself at that point. He knew that he didn't have it, and wasn't going to get it last night.The personal mortification was bad enough having to leave when he did. It would have been worse if they had lost the game because of his performance.

  24. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Jesse-Douglas Mathewson said… Am I the only one who doesn't understand why Clippard isn't closing? He's our best reliever–and one of the best in baseball over the last two seasons–so he should be in the toughest situations.Do you realize you answered your own question?Pitching a clean ninth inning is _not_ the toughest situation. A tougher situation is coming in the middle of an inning with guys on base.And, fwiw, that's what Stammen and Burnett have been doing.

  25. Joe Seamhead - May 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Also, when Harper stole second,in spite of a great throw by Ruiz, it visibly upset Kendrick, who then issued a walk, before giving up Desi's RBI hit. Bryce is providing a lot of sparks, small and large, to this team. He still should have hit the cutoff rather then trying to make the throw home.

  26. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    The last thing Henry wants to live with is a loss caused by his blow-up.Still a head scratcher why Davey waited so long to bring in Burnie.The new complications is no Mattheus and the fact you don't want to over-use Clip.

  27. jcj5y - May 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    It's true that the 9th inning isn't necessarily the highest-leverage situation in a game, but it's often the most fraught. Rodriguez's performances over the past few weeks are proof that there is a significant mental aspect to closing.So I'm happy to keep Clippard doing what he does, getting tough outs in risky situations. I'd imagine that Burnett and Stammen will get most of the save opportunities. We'll have to wait and see how they handle it.

  28. Avar - May 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Davey is a great manager, he understands that helping these guys keep (or regain) their confidence is very important. That's why he wants to stick w/ Henry. But, Henry needs to stop closing for a while. It's hurting the team. But, I admire Davey for sticking with him.Loved Desmond's comments, extremely classy. And I'm thrilled he's had a good week, I've been pulling for him all along. But facts are stubborn things and the fact is his OBP is still 301 and that isn't good. Hopefully, he stays on his tear and keeps improving. If he could learn to take walks, he'd be a really solid shortstop. But, if I had wings, I could fly.

  29. mick - May 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    kudos to Sean Burnett, that was a high quality bailout!Gang, let's be for real, HRod needs to either be dumped or sent down to Syracuse or Potomac. This head case has cost us 3 games this season by my count and he almost cost us a 4th.

  30. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Hello? Do we have that short a memory?Henry _was_ used in high stress situations earlier in the season, and did fine.April 13, he came in the 9th inning of a tie game, and retired the side in order on 8 pitches. (No save, as it went into extra innings).April 18, he came in the 9th with a one run lead, retired the side in order on 7 pitches. Got the save.April 20, he came in the 9th with a two run lead, had a bit of a shaky time, allowing two walks, but no hits, and got the save.I could go on (there are more), but you can see for yourself at http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=rodrihe03&t=p&year=The point is that this "cracking under pressure" didn't start till that Dodger blow up, and, even since then, has been intermittent.Why did Davey use him last night, I think it's obvious: he thought with a _two_ run lead, he could handle it. He couldn't, and with the inglorious exit, probably Davey will start to use other options. HRod will probably be used in lower stress situations, until he can get his confidence up again.As said by others above: there's no way you completely give up on a 25-yo fireballer after 1/4 season, and after a four-week slump.

  31. mick - May 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    if Davey had stuck with HRod and after the loss (NO DOUBT THAT WOULD HAVE HAPPEN) Gio and the club may have lost some respect for Davey. Davey made the right move.

  32. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    My only word of caution on Sean Burnett is last year he was a bit of a head case which I like Craig Stammen in that role.

  33. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    mick wrote:HRod needs to either be dumped or sent down to Syracuse or Potomac. This head case has cost us 3 gamesHe's also saved a number of games. You can't only look at the bad.And, as per my comment above, dumping him would be an incredibly stupid move for the organization. 25 year olds who can throw 100 mph don't grow on trees.

  34. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    In other news: what do the following four teams have in common?Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and AngelsActually, they have two things in common:1) four highest payrolls in baseballand (drum roll please)2) all of them are in last place in their divisions

  35. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    A DC I respectfully disagree with you…. the ratio of saves to blown saves with HRod is unacceptable by any MLB standards. For example, look at Drew Storen, in 48 appearances he had only 4 blown saves, HRod has 4 in only 15. Not only that, the wild pitches he throws are unprecedented. Show me any other MLB reliever that has that many wild pitches?I also said move him down or dump him

  36. whatsanattau - May 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Seems to me Davey waited exactly long enough, and not too long to remove HRod. Give the man a chance, then take him out of the situation when needed. They probably can't trade Henry for .50 on the dollar right now. But, if I were running a team like Pittsburg or Houston, I would pick up the phone to call Mike and see if I could get Henry for a pricy veteran or c-level prospect. If I were Rizzo, I might be tempted.

  37. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    also, he is 25, how much longer do you wait. Storen is 22, Rivera was 21/22 when he was a star.I will be nice and say, maybe middle relief with HRod, never a closer, he has failed

  38. whatsanattau - May 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    My only word of caution on Sean Burnett is last year he was a bit of a head case which I like Craig Stammen in that role. —You want Stammen to be a head case?

  39. The Natidude - May 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Still too soon to know what we have with Henry. Desmond's quote about him was telling–remember how awful Desi himself looked, and for how long. Patience is now paying off.I think Henry just needs more low-pressure (i.e., not the 9th inning) appearances to get his head straight again. I'm still optimistic about him.

  40. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    mick said… A DC I respectfully disagree with you…. the ratio of saves to blown saves with HRod is unacceptable by any MLB standards. For example, look at Drew Storen, in 48 appearances he had only 4 blown saves, HRod has 4 in only 15. Not only that, the wild pitches he throws are unprecedented. Show me any other MLB reliever that has that many wild pitches?I also said move him down or dump him May 22, 2012 9:03 AM ___________________________________The stats are worse than what you will read on the stat sheets and thats because you don't get a blown save when you get pulled and someone else saves the game and in fact he got a Hold. You also don't get wild pitches when you bury a ball in the dirt and a runner doesn't advance.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    NatsInsiders, its a new day. I'm hoping that good nights sleep for Davey gave him more clarity.

  42. hiramhover - May 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    this "cracking under pressure" didn't start till that Dodger blow up, and, even since then, has been intermittent.If by "intermittent" you mean every other appearance, yes. Since that Dodgers crackup, he's had 4 saves, 2 BS, and 2 save opportunities in which he was pulled before he could blow it. Also, 7 BB and 4 WP in 9 IP.HRod is better than he's been these past three weeks, but not as good as he was those first four. It's time to hit the re-set button, and give him a break from these high stress situations.

  43. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I didn't take that to mean that Insiders aren't smart, but that they aren't oracles/prophesiers/procogs/[your choice of synonyms here].Hey, alexva, I kinda resent that especially-we-Nats-Insiders-don't-know comment. We know stuff. Okay, maybe we're no smarter than the average punter but "especially" not knowing stuff? Really?

  44. Great PFB Balls of Fire - May 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    HRod can't be sent down, he's out of options. Also, keep in mind that Storen and Lidge are both on the DL. If our bullpen is at full-strength, I'm guessing most of Hrod's appearances come in the 7th.

  45. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Henry this and Henry that, but here is another troubling issue:The Nats are 7-7 when scoring 2 runs or less. To reiterate: this simply isn’t done over a full season. They were the best team in the majors last year at winning with 2 runs or less — but with a record of 13-40 (.245). Other MLB teams this year are 33-128 with 2 runs, 9-125 with 1 run. Washington is 6-2 with 2 runs, 1-4 with 1 run — both winning percentages about triple the league average. –courtesy HighHeatStats

  46. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… NatsInsiders, its a new day. I'm hoping that good nights sleep for Davey gave him more clarity. May 22, 2012 9:15 AM _________________________Good advice. Time to new post to change the subject.

  47. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I didn't see that but did see something (trash?) that appeared to have been thrown in his direction when he was getting ready to field a fly ball.But no Duracell D's were tossed that I could see.

  48. Avar - May 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Mick – I won't argue that Henry is ineffective and shouldn't close games anymore. But, they can't send him down, he's out of options. So, they either release him (give up on him permanently) or keep letting him pitch but he can't go to the minors. Too soon to DFA him but he can't keep closing. The WPs alone are enough to warrant that.Also, just for clarity, he has appeared in 21 games this year (all very late in the game) and failed to do his job 6 times. (tough to use one stat for failed to do his job but negative WPA is pretty solid for a closer). That's a really bad ratio, only 71% success rate. You can't have a closer who fails 30% of the time.

  49. Theophilus T. S. - May 22, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    "there's no way you completely give up on a 25-yo fireballer after 1/4 season, and after a four-week slump" –It's not 1/4 of a season. This is his seventh professional season and he's sprayed backstops all over organized baseball. Some pitchers with similar problems have converted to the outfield. I wouldn't release him . . . yet. Give him the Miss Iowa job, pitching once a week (maybe) in hopeless situations, two-three innings each outing, until he learns he has to do more than light the fuse on the rocket. ("Once the rocket goes up, who cares where it comes down, that's not my department," said Werner von Braun.) And if he hasn't learned something by the end of the season, make him somebody else's headache.Actually, 100 mph flame-throwers are a fairly common commodity. Most teams have at least one. It's just that relatively few of them are reliable pitchers.

  50. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Thanks nats lady… did not know HRod was out of options. so… it seems like middle relief or trade him. Maybe middle relied could be his calling in 2012. To be fair, you give him Spring training in 2013 and if there is no improvement, then dump him and accept that he was a bust.

  51. fast eddie - May 22, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    We lead the NL in wild pitches with 15 (thank you, Hank–8 are yours).On the plus side, we also lead the league in ERA, second fewest HRs allowed and most Ks.

  52. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Henry has less than 120 innings pitched in the majors, you can't throw him on the trash heap yet. The fact that he is out of options tells me that the A's were jerking him in and out of the minors and never developed him properly.Plus Storen was groomed as a closer in college, so that's apples to oranges.

  53. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    After we play the Braves, we should have a fairly good assessment of how the NL East could play out. June schedule could be brutal or a break out for the Nats. Assuming Morse is back and plays at his level of 2011, there is no reason why we can not be 1st or 2nd (Wild Card) heading into July. Maybe I'm wrong, but even after the Phillies get healthy, they do not impress me. i am more worried about the Braves and Marlins

  54. Squiffy - May 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Here is a roster quandry.If Mattheus goes on the DL and Storen takes his spot, what move do they make to put Lidge back on the 25-man?Obviously won't be Stammen, Clippard, Burnett, Gorzellany; and HRod has no options. Only Stammen has options, I think. Maybe HRod to the DL for a phantom injury?

  55. NCNatsie - May 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Maybe Henry should be converted into an outfielder. The pitcher he most reminds me of right now is a guy named Rick Ankiel, who threw 5 wild pitches in the third inning of Game One of the playoffs in 2000. Even if Henry can't hit, he could be used as a late-inning defensive replacement, cause we know he's got a cannon…Just kidding of course, but it shows what can happen.

  56. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    squiffy… to add what about whhen Wang is back, who goes where??

  57. Squiffy - May 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    On Danny Espinosa…The big difference I see in Danny is how he is handling the inside pitch when batting LH.Last year he had a short swing that would turn on those high, inside pitches and put them out of the park.This year he is turning his back to them and they are crossing the edge of the plate for strikes.If he can fix that hole in his swing/batting eye then I think we see the Danny of old come back to us.

  58. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Interesting.The Phillies sent 36 men to the plate. Gio didn't give up three hard-hit balls all night, Stammen was lights out for two innings, and Burnett pulled some serious bacon out of the fire, and yet most of the commentary is about Rodriguez. Who really was all over the place, but still. That said, I wonder if he's so uncomfortable in the closer job that he is (more or less subconsciously) sabotaging himself just to GTFO. I've seen people do that. Painful to watch. But how about that Burnett??!! Maybe they can trade Henry for another one like Sean. Worked last time, for both teams.

  59. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Squiffy.. Storen isn't coming back until the All Star break. Mattheus goes on the DL, Wang gets activated. Don't forget Perry, he has an option and he can go back to AAA. Also, not sure, but does Mattheus have options?

  60. Faraz Shaikh - May 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    a win is a win, glad to see it. Ankiel saved the game in 6th. Today we might be a in trouble since it is Roy against us and JZ has been hit around by Pence and Ruiz, etc. I am kinda worried.

  61. Squiffy - May 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I think I answered my own question.Ryan Perry still has an option (exactly why we traded Ballystar for him)

  62. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Barring a DL stint for Mattheus, when Wang comes back, Perry goes down, that's his job.Even if Mattheus has to have (minor) surgery and goes on the DL he could be back before Storen and Lidge, because they are projected back mid-June or the All-Star break.

  63. Squiffy - May 22, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    And MicheleS answered it as well ;)

  64. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    speaking of Perry, I really am not a fan of. I hope he is gone by July

  65. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Sec 3, I think that's because Gio, Stammen and Burnett are not problems–at the moment! They are heroes, and kudos to them, but what's the fun in analyzing success?

  66. Squiffy - May 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Mattheus was called up in 2011 and 2012, so I believe that means he still has options, right?

  67. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Henry this and Henry that, but here is another troubling issue: The Nats are 7-7 when scoring 2 runs or less. To reiterate: this simply isn’t done over a full season. They were the best team in the majors last year at winning with 2 runs or less — but with a record of 13-40 (.245). Other MLB teams this year are 33-128 with 2 runs, 9-125 with 1 run. Washington is 6-2 with 2 runs, 1-4 with 1 run — both winning percentages about triple the league average. –courtesy HighHeatStatsGood point NL, tho I wonder if league average is the best benchmark. Teams with better-than-average pitching would be expected to beat the average, I'd be interested to see that the tail looks like–how do teams with really good pitching do, over the course of a season? I'm guessing it's not .500. I'm also far too lazy to look it up, but that's not news.

  68. mick - May 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Gio and Stammen are beasts! Burnett's save was very under rated, that was spectacular pitching!

  69. bobfromalexandria - May 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    What happens to Henry when Chen Ming-Wang comes back? Could Henry sit for a while Chen gets back in starter shape? He has said he would go to the bullpen if asked.Also think Desi's remarks were classy and supportive.And I really liked the crowd response on Sunday after Stras hit his first homer. The smiles and grins from the fans were fabulous. Like the young kid in the family who really pulled it off. There's a real nice feeling developing between fans and team, whether it's Stras or Harp or the appreciation for the efforts that Werth made before He broke his wrist.

  70. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    FS, I am always worried about Doc Halladay, but you just hope to get him on an off-night as Atlanta did…I'm waiting for Wednesday– wanna smash that lying [expletive deleted][expletive deleted][expletive deleted][expletive deleted][expletive deleted][expletive deleted][expletive deleted][expletive deleted] COLBERT to smithereens.

  71. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I respectfully disagree with you…. the ratio of saves to blown saves with HRod is unacceptable by any MLB standards.All that means is that HRod shouldn't be the closer now. That doesn't mean he never can be, and that doesn't mean he has tremendous upside — possibly.I'll say again, 25 is young for a fireballer, in terms of not knowing yet if he'll be able to harness it.As has been said ad nausuem, it doesn't matter if it's his seventh professional season — he's still 25. The same age that some lanky too-tall kid named Randy Johnson was stinking it up so badly for the Expos (0-4, 6.67) that they were happy to trade him away to the Mariners. (Where he promptly led the AL in walks three straight years, and then in HPB for two years).If Rizzo had your (lack of patience) we'd have gotten rid of Desmond last year, no?And would you have gotten rid of Clip the year before?(Hey, just for kicks, anyone remember 2010, when Clip was 25, when has a streak of six games, where he blew two saves and lost two others? A season in which he had, total, _ten_ blown saves *and* eight losses?)

  72. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Squiffy, yes. Mattheus, Stammen, and Perry have options.

  73. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Ankiel saved the game in 6th. Ankiel totally saved the game with that catch, and the threat of his arm, and some timorous Philly baserunning. I always did like that signing.

  74. bobfromalexandria - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Sorry about the capitalized H in my last post. Something weird happened and I couldn't change it. Did not mean to offend anyone.

  75. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    The Nats are 7-7 when scoring 2 runs or less. To reiterate: this simply isn’t done over a full season. They were the best team in the majors last year at winning with 2 runs or less — but with a record of 13-40 (.245). Other MLB teams this year are 33-128 with 2 runs, 9-125 with 1 run. Washington is 6-2 with 2 runs, 1-4 with 1 run — both winning percentages about triple the league average.I don't know if that's so troubling, frankly.What it means is that the Nats hitting has been poor, and the pitching has been extraordinary.While the pitching is regressing slowly to a mean of sorts (and still a good one), the hitting is also picking up. (If that run hadn't scored last night in the ninth, the Nats would be tied for league lead in pitching-shutouts).

  76. fast eddie - May 22, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Mick:I think the Braves are best in our division. The pitching staff can equal ours and their lineup has no automatic outs: Prado, Bourn, Jones, Diaz, Freeman, Uggla, McCann. 2nd best team BA in the league. Scary. The Phils, without Utley and Howard, don't scare anybody. Pence is their best hitter and Ruiz is hitting 90 points above his career average.Miami's BA is even worse than ours.

  77. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Sofa, Ankiel fan here. (Just put him in the starters' competition for offense. You're glad when he has it, but don't count on it.) He's especially needed with inexperience in the corners. Not sure why the runner didn't take his base when Harper threw home. I know Bam-Bam has the arm, but he has to learn when not to use it.

  78. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Could Henry sit for a while Chen gets back in starter shape?Wang is ready to start as of last week, they just didn't have a spot for him. With Mattheus on the D/L, they'll have a bullpen spot open, which Stammen could slide up to, and Wang (or Detwiler) could be the long guy in the bullpen. Except Wang is a starter, so that leaves Henry as the RH long guy, which might be the best option at this point, and Wang (or Detwiler) sitting, four days out of five anyway, coming in for innings once a week or so just to keep them from rotting on the vine. Of course, if they moved Strasburg to left field, they'd save his innings for later in the year, and have a spot for another starter. Problem solved!

  79. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Wonk, I think it's troubling because of the exact situation we're in–no solid guy who can consistently close out those 1 and 2-run games. I don't think it stresses the starters. It's been suggested they worry that if they give up a run or two the game is lost, but I don't see it. They are pitching just fine (except Detwiler, and that's a different issue).Rather, it stresses the 7-8-9 innings (the bullpen). You are basically saying that a bullpen without Storen, Lidge, and possibly Mattheus and with Henry has to be just about perfect. And they have been, let's face it. In the last 14 innings of work they have given up 2 runs (Mattheus HR and Burnett sac fly).

  80. D'Gourds - May 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    NCNatsie brings up an interesting point. Ankiel got the yips in 2000. You really don't recover from that. His stuff was as electric as HRod's. But the yips usually come from out of nowhere. Ankiel had been a very effective pitcher up until that playoff series. Same with Bill Blass and the catcher Macky Sasser. HRod has had control issues since the beginning which leads me to think (hope) there is a mechanical issue that can be remedied. People bring up Kofax as an example. He learned how "easy you can throw hard". Max effort guys often have control issues. Hopefully HRod will figure it out. But one thing is definitely for sure–he shouldn't be figuring it out while saving a major league game. That is for winter ball. In the meantime he's got to be used more sparingly in low pressure situations. I think he needs a lot of time to recover between appearances. His mechanics are actually not so great (IMHO). He's a total arm thrower. That leads to a lot of fatigue and requires time to recover. Stammen, on the other hand, has absolutely beautiful mechanics using his legs and core. That's why I think we should use him more and give him a try at closer. Just my $0.02.

  81. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I know Bam-Bam has the arm, but he has to learn when not to use it. It's nice to see the Phillies afraid to run our our guys' arms for a change, but that really was bad baserunning on their part. Aside from throwing to the wrong base, which is bad enough, both times he's done that, the throws weren't even very good. I'd feel better about it if he actually had a play.

  82. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Yeah, Stras in LF. Every single would be a triple…. LOL.

  83. Doc - May 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Davey told reporters a few weeks ago, that he presumed that Stammen would be sent down when all the 'walking wounded' in the pen returned.Stammen now ranks behind Reds' Chapman in relievers' ratings.If I were Stammen I'd follow Lefty's example and sneak into Davey's office with a bag of sunflower seeds:S T A M M E N = C L O S E R

  84. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Stras actually prefers CF and uses a catchers mitt. He is channeling his inner Babe Ruth.

  85. Theophilus T. S. - May 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Mattheus goes on the DL so that Wang can be brought up. If it's a real plantar fasciitis injury, no way he's back in even two weeks. Mark Price, the Wizards' guard, missed most of the season. As to Lidge coming off the DL, Perry is here only for the meal money. The real issue is who goes when Storen comes off. It seems to me that Stammen has done too well, and Gorzellany has taken too many bullets for the team, to send either down/release them. So, at that point, Rodriguez is in serious jeopardy. To be truthful, Ankiel was in worse shape than Rodriguez. He was to home plate what Chuck Knoblauch was to 1B.

  86. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Stras actually prefers CF and uses a catchers mitt.And a mask and chest protector, too, I hope.

  87. JD - May 22, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    NatsLady, Ankiel's defense not withstanding I still don't like having an almost automatic out somewhere near the middle of our lineup. I am not sold on Lombo as the long term answer at lead off so I think that the Corey Brown experiment makes sense for all perspectives.

  88. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    All plantar injuries are not the same, obviously, and it might be hard to find a more different pair of skill sets than point guard and relief pitcher, but still, two weeks after surgery?? I'm not the doctor, and have no medical expertise whatsoever, but that seems counter-intuitive.

  89. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Sec, he doesn't. If you have a chance on the road to watch Stras do BP then play CF its a real treat. He hasn't risen to the level of Smoltz yet with going over the wall to rob BP homers but he is fun to watch.Hard to believe Stras never hit a High School home run

  90. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Davey's right about this: Gio did great but he only went 6. Starters (except Stras) must go longer into games. I'm looking at you, JZ (4/8 starts he only went 6 and the most he's gone is 7).That is why I would use CMW instead of Det. Even when healthy and pitching well, Det doesn't go deep into games.

  91. Section 222 - May 22, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    I don't think there's a surgery for plantar fasciitis. Sounds like a few weeks minimum for Mattheus, but probably more. That solves the roster issue for now –Wang replaces Mattheus (perhaps someone comes up for a few games until Wang is needed), Lidge replaces Perry. When Storen is ready to come back, a tougher decision will have to be made.

  92. JD - May 22, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    At this point I would move Clippard into the closer's role; he won't mind because that will get him a boost in salary. Stammen and Burnett move to the set up roles and Henry pitches in situations which can't harm the team. You can't have a team put it out there for 3 hours only to have Henry throw it away in 10 minutes; lately you know it's coming, it's not even in question.

  93. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    JD, I don't either, and that's why Ankiel belongs on the bench–very soon, hopefully. But if we aren't producing runs, then at least you have to prevent them.

  94. JD - May 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Every one is worried about roster spots and who goes when the next person comes off the DL. So far all we have are players going on the DL. Let's get some people healthy and then we'll worry about roster spots.

  95. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Sec, he doesn't. If you have a chance on the road to watch Stras do BP then play CF its a real treat. He hasn't risen to the level of Smoltz yet with going over the wall to rob BP homers but he is fun to watch.I was kidding, of course, but seriously, I have not had that opportunity. Maybe sometime I will. Thanks for the tip!

  96. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    JD said… NatsLady, Ankiel's defense not withstanding I still don't like having an almost automatic out somewhere near the middle of our lineup.My daughter and I were both thinking last night: why isn't he batting eighth? (Particularly because he's in a 1-for-19 slump)?(And, in the meantime, Flores is .357 in his last four games)

  97. JD - May 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    NatsLady, Most of our starters are strike out pitchers which inherently means a high pitch count. Yes they mostly can't go more than 6 or 7 but at the same time we don't have Atilano et al going 2 or 3 innings. It's easier to ask the bullpen to give you 2 – 3 innings nightly than 6 or 7 innings every other day.

  98. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  99. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    (I forgot his last at bat. Make that: a 1-for-20 slump. With 9 K's).

  100. ChiefWJ - May 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I'd guess there's zero chance that Henry would be sent down. He's out of options and would be snapped up by someone in a second if the Nats tried to slip him through waivers. Chances are that when Lidge & Storen come back, someone will be ready for the DL, even if its for a two-week vacation to let this stuff sort out. Gorzo would be more likely to go than Henry–his salary might discourage a waiver claim. [Assuming he's out of options--he went to the minors 3 times after his MLB debut] Plus I don't think they're invested in Lidge as some think–he's not under contract for next year and may be the last man in the bullpen in terms of future value.

  101. JD - May 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Wonk, To keep Flores numbers in perspective; his OBP is still .274 which is abysmal. Let's see him maintain his current streak for a while and maybe take a walk or three before we consider moving him up.

  102. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Until Henry last night it was a game of great pitching and defense. The Philthies are really lathered up this morning.By the way, they clearly emptied debris behind Harper onto the warning track last night. I think the bad weather kept the crowd a little sparser and mellower so no batteries chucked.

  103. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    And while I'm doing selective splits, here's another one:Bryce Harper, last nine games: .314/.385/.600

  104. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Gorzelanny has also been in the majors for five years (ten, actually), so he can't be sent down without his agreement.

  105. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    The only way Henry leaves is on the DL and you never know, it could be for treatment of anxiety disorder.

  106. Steady Eddie - May 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Making room for the returning pitchers is NOT that complicated. First, as Squiffy said, the whole point of getting Perry (apart from his being a third Ryan towards the all-Ryan team ;-)) was for his option, so that's a no-brainer. But in the early part of the season, before Perry was brought up for Lidge, the expectation was that Mattheus would go down when Lidge came back. There was a good reason for that in that he has potential closer stuff — and in the long run could be a supplement to Storen to avoid burning him out — but needs more seasoning in occupying that role full time, which obviously is what he could get in Syracuse. That makes all the sense in the world, as we've all seen Mattheus' potential AND his rough edges.Also, for all his great stuff — and it is almost unbelievable how good it is — Stammen is really irreplaceable as the RH long reliever, especially for Gio and Det — unless they put Wang into the pen and he works out as the RH long reliever/spot starter until Stras gets shut down. Stammen has done what he did yesterday several times this year, and the ability to be confident that you can get two solid innings out of him when the starter can't get past 5 or 6 is a golden asset to preserve the pen.

  107. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Wonk,To keep Flores numbers in perspective; his OBP is still .274 which is abysmal. Let's see him maintain his current streak for a while and maybe take a walk or three before we consider moving him up. True — he doesn't walk much. But if you're batting 8th, usually a hit is much more desirable than a walk, if the guy behind you is hitting under .200I'm only suggesting that he bat 7th, with Ankiel 8th.

  108. JD - May 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I worry about our catchers long term. I would love to add a veteran like Kelly Shopach so Flores doesn't have to play so many games in a row. Lannan for Shopach? What do you guys think?

  109. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    JD, on Clip, I think Davey might go to Clip as closer. I was reluctant, because, as noted, it creates a hole elsewhere and you really like Clip's ability to come in with runners on base and shut 'em down.But Clip's only been pitching one inning recently, and Stammen's been taking the 2 inning stints. Burnett (obviously), Gorzy, and Stammen have all shown they have the intestinal fortitude to come in with inherited runners. My only proviso would be no matter how well Clip does Storen comes back as closer. Both pitchers have to be ok with that–and I assume they would be–or you are stirring up problems.

  110. T-Rex - May 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Sunshine, you are truly delusional if you think Davey is reading this blog for ideas on how to manage his team. HA!I've seen the same thing on the Caps blogs, delusional fans think the coach is reading their comments regarding possible line combinations.This is how it works: if you guys mull over and discuss LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE POSSIBILITY, the manager will necessarily have to go with one of "your approaches."But, trust me, it is not yours.

  111. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    There was plenty of trash behind and around Harper in the ninth–but as you say, the weather and the UTTER DOMINANCE left the Phillies fans with very little in the way of lunch money to chuck. Bwaa-haa-haaa.

  112. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    T-Rex, it's a long-running joke in here. You can stand down.

  113. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    T-Rex—second that! Sheesh, I hope Davey's not reading this blog for ideas, because there sure are some crazy ones. If he's reading it at all he's getting a good laugh.

  114. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Good golly, I guess the snarkdar fail is going viral.

  115. NatsJack in Florida - May 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Ghost…. good call on the DL for Henry. It's exactly what I was thinking.

  116. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Sec3.. I got the joke. Which is why I sometimes add the Hi Davey to my comments. He probably reads us more for humor. Seriously, the second we saw Henry warming up in the bullpen we went into hilarity mode yesterday. He probable chuckles as that.

  117. Steady Eddie - May 22, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Michele — with you except on the "hilarity mode"… I was feeling a lot like Clip sitting there chewing on his towel.

  118. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    JD, on the strikeouts, true. Davey said he wished pitchers would strike out fewer and go longer, but on the other hand, as several have pointed out, more strikeouts is less stress on the infield. Also agree on the catching situation. Apparently the guy who caught CMW's last start was a novice who gave up 5 stolen bases. Solano is still on the "7-day DL" according to the Chief's roster. Sandy Leon will be back, but we have no idea how he will do at the ML level, at least in the short term.

  119. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Eddie, that's what I meant by hilarity mode, There was enough Bourbon/Maalox comments that our stomach linings and livers will never be the same.

  120. Unknown - May 22, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    The Nats are 7-7 when scoring 2 runs or less. To reiterate: this simply isn’t done over a full season. They were the best team in the majors last year at winning with 2 runs or less — but with a record of 13-40 (.245). Other MLB teams this year are 33-128 with 2 runs, 9-125 with 1 run. Washington is 6-2 with 2 runs, 1-4 with 1 run — both winning percentages about triple the league average.—-This is true. But SI Power Rankings — based on Fangraphs WAR !!! — has the Nationals at number 2 in MLB. Nattydread

  121. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Nattydread: Nice. Puts all the drama in perspective. Go NATS!!!!!

  122. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Some additional info from Amanda on the catcher situation

  123. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 22, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Ankiel's hitting would improve so much if he just would cut the stroke down about 10%, But again the adviser probably wasn't asked about it.Though I love Gio, but wish he could cut down his pitch count some so he could go regularly 7 innings. Then Stammen can come get a 2 inning save on those games.Last thing remember I am the one that says if you only score two you can only give up 1, and they did it again last night. All of us would prefer a 9-3 win I know. Would love to see JZim get 7 IP 4 Hits, 1 run, 1 BB and 5 K, with 89 pitches tonight. GYFNG

  124. Section 222 - May 22, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    This seems like a good time to take a victory lap for this comment, which came after Henry's first debacle in LA and before even the Barajas homer, much less the Votto homer:Section 222 said…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.April 30, 2012 6:13 PM[Snark alert] If only Davey had been reading this blog back then. We might be 27-15 instead of 25-17. Glad he is now. Hi Davey!

  125. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    NatsJack, anxiety disorder has become a legitimate DL reason and the only other viable option is a trade for a mid-level prospect as DFA is not a viable option.With Mattheus going down, this Wang/Det thing becomes a little more urgent. Wang would have replaced Perry but now Wang takes Mattheus place and then Rizzo will decide if Wang goes to the bullpen, but that could be a Friday night decision to see how Detwiler does in Atlanta. Det gets an extra days rest and my guess is he will do well. Atlanta's 4 hottest hitters are lefties (Bourn, Freeman, Heyward and McCann). Both Det and Gio pitch in the weekend series which is perfect timing.I think the Nats have to keep the 2 lefties for balance and unfortunately Wang is going to find himself in unfamiliar surroundings in the bullpen.

  126. 320R2S15 - May 22, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    JZ will be fine..I bet Lombo starts at second too. We need a center fielder.

  127. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    JD, on the strikeouts, true. Davey said he wished pitchers would strike out fewer and go longer, but on the other hand, as several have pointed out, more strikeouts is less stress on the infield. Plus, it's not nearly so much the strikeouts as the walks. Gio walked three and gave up three hits which got his pitch count up. Further, he was only throwing 60% strikes. Way too many balls.What this tells me is that Gio did *not* have his good stuff in the last couple of innings. The fact that he gutted it out, particularly in the 6th, shows what a tough pitcher he is.More evidence: in his second and third starts, he had nearly as many K's, yet pitched 7 innings, and threw 97 and 91 pitches, respectively (last night he threw 108).Gio is one tough pitcher! When he's on, he's great. When he's a bit off, he's still great.

  128. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 22, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Wonk, add to that the story from Chase's article“I was telling him today, ‘I’m going to need you out there, I’m a little under the weather. I need you to go out there and keep me lifted right now,’” Gonzalez said.

  129. dan roberts - May 22, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Jesse-Douglas Mathewson said…Am I the only one who doesn't understand why Clippard isn't closing? He's our best reliever–and one of the best in baseball over the last two seasons–so he should be in the toughest situations.The fact that he's the "8th Inning Guy" isn't a good reason for him not to close until Storen returns.Jesse, you're not alone, I'm with you 100%! I for one would much prefer to see my man Clip take the mound in the 9th in a tight game.

  130. NatsLady - May 22, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    dan and others—I think Clip had to be in the fireman role/2 inning guy until Stammen stepped up and showed he could do it. You don't make your best reliever the closer because he is more valuable elsewhere. However, this might be the exception. I had thought Davey might alternate Burnett/Mattheus, but now with Mattheus down that won't work, and as a general rule you don't want a LH closer because of the predominance of RH hitters.Clip did not succeed as closer a couple of years ago and same for Burnett last year but both are definitely ready now. So, understanding that you do NOT want to overuse either one, that could work.

  131. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Thanks for the link, sec3. I learned a new term: "daddy strength." I like it. You got your man pitches, and you got your daddy strength. :-)

  132. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 22, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Thanks, Section3 and Michele, for the backup on T-Rex. Yes, I was just kidding. No, Davey doesn't actually read this blog and make up the lineup card. He makes up the lineup card, THEN reads this blog.BTW, Davey, hope you're having a nice lunch in Philly. Stay away from the Scrapple, it's bad for you.

  133. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 22, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Section 222, you deserve the victory lap. You were the first to call for the quick hook when Bad Henry rears his head. I believe it was after that L.A. debacle. Good call. Thanks for bringing it to Davey's attention. Hi, Davey. Hope you're having a nice post-lunch walk around Philly. Go see the Liberty Bell. It'll kill some time before visitors batting practice.

  134. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Speaking of errors (as Desi did), kinda funny older piece about MLB error faces. Hey, kids, can you spot the Nats players? :-)

  135. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    hmmm, let's try that again, without coding:http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14695

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 85 63 -- 4
ATLANTA 75 74 10.5
MIAMI 72 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 78 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 80 16.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 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