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Flawed, but still winning

May 24, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT

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Danny Espinosa has struggled all season, but Ian Desmond has come up big.

Look up and down the Nationals' team stats page — ignoring their 26-18 record — and try to come away convinced this is a first-place club. It's not easy.

Yes, the starting rotation continues to excel, with a 2.71 ERA and ridiculously good 3.68-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. But that pitching dominance has overshadowed some other obvious flaws on this roster.

The starting second baseman has an embarrassingly low .649 OPS, and the starting center fielder isn't much better at .673. Yet the numbers at those positions look All-Star worthy when compared to the stats Nationals left fielders have collectively put up this season: a .153 batting average, .240 on-base percentage and .245 slugging percentage that adds up to a .485 OPS.

Meanwhile, the Face of the Franchise and star third baseman has only eight extra-base hits while hitting .167 with runners in scoring position. The shortstop has a .299 on-base percentage. And the new startingRead more »

206 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. David - May 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    man I want to lose my breakfast when I see those LF stats. seriously, where is Corey Brown? FREE Corey Brown! :-)

  2. joe9 - May 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Getting each of the missing pieces back will be like signing a free agent or making a trade. Except they're already paid and no players will be lost in return (other than roster moves). Dave Johnson said it succinctly on MASN when talking about Brian Roberts returning to the Orioles and walking through the clubhouse door. "Hi! Do you need an all-star second baseman? Oh, by the way, you're already paying me."

  3. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    It's amazing how the Nats paper over the injury holes and play the next game. Have to give credit to Davey, but also to Jayson and Desi. Desi is 100% class act for his comments on Henry, and keeping him on track last night (more or less). No whining for these guys!! Also have to remember that for most of these guys this is their first prolonged experience on the national stage. Who on ESPN is picking apart every move the KC Royals make, after all? Can't believe not even Memorial Day.

  4. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Yup.. those LF stats are god awful, but thankfully, sometime on or before 6/8 we will be getting a very good LF by the name for Michael Morse!

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Its time to swap out Tyler Moore for Corey Brown and glue Ankiel to the bench until the 8th inning when the Nats have a lead.When Morse comes back, Nady will have to go.Starting outfield until Werth comes back should be Morse, Brown, Harper and see how it does. You still have Bernadina, Ankiel in reserve.You keep DeRosa on a rehab in AAA until you see what Corey Brown can do. There is no telling what Brown can do until you give him a try, but I am fairly certain that he will fare no worse than Ankiel.

  6. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Mark.. thanks for the perspective, because we live and die with every pitch, we sometimes forget where we are in the standings.

  7. Section 222 - May 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Let's pray for Morse's lat. I'm eagerly awaiting word from Vierra on his rehab. Please let him be able to throw at least as well as Juan Pierre.

  8. peric - May 24, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    And the CF CAN'T hit. He is a strike out machine. Always was. Always will be: an ex pitcher with a bat but a great arm and a decent glove that belongs on the bench.Free Corey Brown Indeed!

  9. jcj5y - May 24, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Sometimes, the timing of things just works out.The Nats have had dominant pitching and unexpected production from LaRoche and Desmond when the guys they thought they could count on (Morse, Zim and Werth) have been unproductive.Now, even if Desmond and LaRoche fall off, I'm fairly confident that Zim and Morse will be productive.I think this is what baseball is like when you ahve a lot of talent around, and especially when you have talented starting pitching.

  10. Section 222 - May 24, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    I assume the LF stats Mark cited include both Harper and Lombo, when they've started in LF. That makes the stats all the more depressing.

  11. David - May 24, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Totally agree that it should be Morse – Brown – Harper until Werth gets back. Keep DeRosa on on the DL or…. DFA Bernadina.

  12. NatsFanGino - May 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    If you ask the question, Will Laroche and Desmond remain this hot, you also have to ask is Zimmerman and Espinosa will remain this cold.

  13. peric - May 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    It seems like this is the 4th or 5th time we've seen Danny Espinosa stretch to get an extra base and get caught. He looks a tad slower than he did last season? Anyone else notice anything?

  14. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Peric.. last night they showed Espi sitting on the bench at one point with pant rolled up with bandagaes on knee, not sure if it was before or after the slide into home. But after the slide into home, he was limping, too. So who knows if he is injured or not.

  15. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Let's pray for Morse's lat.And his family.

  16. peric - May 24, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Totally agree that it should be Morse – Brown – Harper until Werth gets back. Keep DeRosa on on the DL or…. DFA Bernadina.I like Bernadina on the bench more than Ankiel. He doesn't strike out as much and still has some potential to get better. And he too can play CF. Ankiel's one and only selling point is the ++arm. His range and fielding aren't better than Brown that's for sure. Bernadina isn't bad in CF either. If you put Harper out in CF he too has an arm? They bring him back and Anikel ends up starting because of his work ethic and his demeanor in the clubhouse. WHAT WORK ETHIC? Espinosa is literally killing himself trying to get his mojo back at the plate? Meanwhile, Ankiel never changes … never tries to change? Last season toward the end it looked like he was trying to take a different approach … to finally "get it" and he was hitting! Now, he has reverted completely back to bad Ankiel the pathetic hitting pitcher who can hit a home run every blue moon.

  17. peric - May 24, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    So who knows if he is injured or not.That's what I've been thinking watching him for the past 30 or so games. He doesn't look like "the Flash" … as he did last season?

  18. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Danny's slide into home was awkward, and that's how he hurt his knee. He started a little late, and pegged his knee into the ground and bounced a little, rather than land on his butt and sliding. Maybe that's what kept him up so high, to get tagged on the arm, going in. Easier to do that on wet ground, but I think it was dry last night.Yes, I wonder if he hasn't misplaced a half-step or two. Stopwatch times to first might be interesting.

  19. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Is Mikey dealing with family issues? I know DeRosa's father is ill, up in New Jersey. Gotta be tough.

  20. peric - May 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    They need to either bring Brown up and try him out in CF … or this winter send Harper to winter ball to learn how to play CF as a regular.

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 24, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    David said… Totally agree that it should be Morse – Brown – Harper until Werth gets back. Keep DeRosa on on the DL or…. DFA Bernadina. May 24, 2012 11:52 AM Glad you like my outfield alignment only it WON'T happen. Rizzo won't bring up Brown because then he has a dilemna when DeRosa is ready to come off of the DL.Bernadina becomes the toolsy guy who can come off of the bench and the team still controls him for 3 years so I would try to hold onto him. Keep in mind that Moore, Lombo and Bernie and Maldanado are the only bench guys that are under team control long-term. Ankiel, DeRosa, Tracy, and Nady are all on 1 year deals.I would hold DeRosa in AAA as long as I could to see what you have in Brown, but thats just me.

  22. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Don't agree on Bernie vs. Ankiel. Bernie takes some strange routes… Ankiel hardly ever does. If anything, Rick is too polite, he needed to take charge more in that Stras first inning, and a couple of other times with Harper. As for Ankiel not working on his hitting, he worked on it plenty, and there were multiple stories during ST and April about how much better he was, more relaxed at the plate, etc. etc. I've been disappointed in both Bernadina and Ankiel more times than I can count, so it's just a matter of waiting it out until Morse and Werth get back.Re: Corey Brown, Tyler Moore, etc. A lot of guys' stats look great in AA and AAA. We'll see Brown in September, he'll be needed then, I sincerely hope!

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 24, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    What's wrong with Morse's family? I know DeRosa's dad is ill but what's going on with Morse's family?

  24. JD - May 24, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Steve, I agree 100% that it's time to bring up Brown and plant him in CF (and leadoff). I don't think they'l swap him for Moore because of the left/right thing. I kind of agree with Peric about Ankiel but I don't agree that Bernie is OK in center. He makes circus catches but he gets the worst reads on balls of any of our outfielders necessitating these circus catches.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 24, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    JD, Bernie is much better in LF but can play all 3 outfield positions if he needs to.

  26. JD - May 24, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    'Re: Corey Brown, Tyler Moore, etc. A lot of guys' stats look great in AA and AAA. We'll see Brown in September, he'll be needed then, I sincerely hope!' Fair enough but it's time to find out, you are replacing out machines not all stars. In fairness to Moore he never got a full shot because he is not ready to play the outfield full time and LaRoche has been great at 1st.

  27. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    When Jesus Colome had a boil on his ass, Bowden famously (I thought) was quoted as saying, "We pray for his buttocks, and his family."I figured Morse deserved at least that much.

  28. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Agreed. Y'all can call me a big softie but I teared up a bit watching Desi and Flores talking to H-Rod on the mound last night. I was so nervous for Henry to begin with and seeing that, plus recalling Desi's previous comments about Henry resulted in an emotional reaction that caught me by surprise. (Let the mocking commence. :-))NatsLady said…Desi is 100% class act for his comments on Henry, and keeping him on track last night (more or less).

  29. jcj5y - May 24, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    I agree with NatsLady on Bernie vs. Ankiel (assuming that someday Brown is going to take a roster spot from one of them).Bernadina is a significantly worse defender than Ankiel in center (I don't think he's even played there since Harper came up), and I see no evidence that he's going to improve significantly at age 27. And it's not as though Bernadina makes a lot of contact–his career K% is 20% (25% this year).Yes, it's incredibly frustrating to watch Ankiel swing at 5 eye-level fastballs in a row (as he did against Hamels last night). But I'd still take him on the bench over Bernadina, largely because he provides far superior defense.

  30. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    (btw, I also cry at that Chicago Cubs World Series win MLB 2K12 commercial. :-})

  31. Clip&Store - May 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Does Zimmerman know he can start hitting anyday now? So much for a 100 million dollar man(sorry i love zimm…but im just really frustrated with him)

  32. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Y'all can call me a big softie You're not that big. And I had to change my pic for post-Phils anyway.

  33. JD - May 24, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    natsfan1a and NatsLady, Davey put Henry in pretty much a no stress situation last night and he still walked the 1st guy (nothing close)and after the Phills generously and stupidly gave him 2 outs by trying to steal and chasing out of the strike zone he managed to give up a home run. Contrary to what McCatty said; I don't see Henry anywhere close to closing anytime soon. And yes Desi is a class act.

  34. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    I'm one of those dorks who checks the standings every day.fwiw, I got the Colome reference, sec3.Mark.. thanks for the perspective, because we live and die with every pitch, we sometimes forget where we are in the standings.

  35. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I think there's no such thing as a "low-stress" situation for Henry anymore. A shame. I hope Davey didn't break him.

  36. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    I'm one of those dorks who checks the standings every day.What, only once a day?

  37. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    ooooh, now I want one, sec3.JD, thanks for the explanation, but I understood what the situation on the field was when Henry entered, and I saw for myself what happened. I also made no prediction of whether or not he would be closing. I simply felt, and feel, for the guy, which was my point.And I had to change my pic for post-Phils anyway.

  38. Steve J, Alexandria - May 24, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I think the Nats are fine. Lombo hitting leadoff is a key facor — espinosa was getting better in the 6 hole.Getting Morse back will change everything — teams will have no idea who to pitch to. Don't seem to miss Werth's below average stats, but still will be nice to get him back and 'playing.' Flores is settling in — seems a better receiver than Ramos; i liked how he threw out the baserunner last night on an up and in pitch AND after the runner got a huge jump. His bat will come around.Henry is another story. I don't like "in season' therapy sessions that put him on the mound risking wins, just to get this headcase's head straight.See Henry. Learn to throw strikes at the AAA level. Come back when you're cured.

  39. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Exactly, sec3.I think there's no such thing as a "low-stress" situation for Henry anymore. A shame.Well, it depends on game times around the league. :-)What, only once a day?

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 24, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Clip&Store said… Does Zimmerman know he can start hitting anyday now? So much for a 100 million dollar man(sorry i love zimm…but im just really frustrated with him) May 24, 2012 12:27 PM Its never popular to bash the Face Of The Franchise which I have done before myself to the echos of discontent from many.Sometimes you have to call 'em as you see 'em. He just can't stay healthy for a full season. Hoping he can work himself back into All Star form with some clutch hits in the 3 hole.

  41. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    JD, agree on Henry. Not close to "figuring it out." Has to stay on the roster, no options, has to be used in whatever situations won't cost the club. Looking back, the co-closers with Lidge was an excellent idea, give Henry some stress and some experience but not the total weight of the official "closer," every time, rain or shine, national TV, etc. Davey was never as "confident" in Henry as he said publicly, he had Lidge warming a lot when it was Henry's turn.Lidge going down put the kybosh on Davey's plan, and fer sure Henry wasn't ready to take off the training wheels. Don't give up on Henry (IMO), but maybe over the winter see if he can be stretched out to starting.

  42. Mr. Whatnot - May 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… What's wrong with Morse's family? I know DeRosa's dad is ill but what's going on with Morse's family?Who knows. Just be glad there's nothing wrong with his buttocks.

  43. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Steve J–we all wish that Henry could go to AAA. But he has no options, and wouldn't clear waivers.

  44. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Ghost– no, he can't. Which is why I'm not worried about Lombo's playing time. RZ's a sight to behold when he's healthy, in the field and at the plate. BUT. Henry's a sight to behold when he's got that curve working and the he hits the catcher's mitt. BUT.Davey's got a fistful of less than perfect situations to manage.

  45. baseballswami - May 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    I think this is quite odd – I am hoping that Bryce Harper influences the rest of the team in a positive way. Shouldn't that be the other way around? His at bats are very productive and professional. Hello? Veterans – you watching? This has just been an interesting time for the Nats and in mlb in general. On any given day — truly, anyone can beat any other team. Should be fun! And stressful :(

  46. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    "Flores is settling in — seems a better receiver than Ramos; i liked how he threw out the baserunner last night on an up and in pitch AND after the runner got a huge jump. His bat will come around."You hit the nail on the head, Steve J. I see a huge difference in the catching of Flores as compared to Ramos. For one thing, he's lighter and is more athletic behind the plate. I wish Wilson hadn't gotten hurt, but Jesus is just plain outplaying him in his absence. Carp (or maybe it was F.P.) said the same thing during a recent game, something to the effect of how Jesus was putting on a clinic on how to block balls in the dirt. They didn't say the same thing about Wilson. But to be fair, when Bad Henry is out there, ain't nobody stopping those wild pitches.As far as hitting goes, Jesus usually hits in the 8 hole. You're not going to get a lot of offense from there anyway.

  47. Mr. Whatnot - May 24, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Sometimes you have to call 'em as you see 'em. He just can't stay healthy for a full season.Name a 27 year old with 7+ years of MLB experience who can.

  48. Mr. Whatnot - May 24, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    we all wish that Henry could go to AAA. But he has no options, and wouldn't clear waivers.Don't be so sure about that. If he's claimed on waivers he has to go on that team's 25 man roster. How many other teams in MLB are currently in need of a wild pitch machine in their bullpen?

  49. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Wonk, you've mentioned in previous threads that your 17 year old daughter has really taken to the Nats of late. Well, my 15 year old son is doing the same thing. I've been a fan of the team since they've gotten here and read this blog a lot, etc., but mostly my family has just put up with it. They don't have the same passion about the Nats that I do. Until this year. Now my son watches every game.Just yesterday, we were heading home and he looked at the clock and said he was glad we'd be home in time to catch the start of the game because "these games have become must-see events." I smiled knowingly.

  50. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I think this is quite odd – I am hoping that Bryce Harper influences the rest of the team in a positive way. Shouldn't that be the other way around?Good point, Swami. One more reason to believe this kid just is not normal; one of those exceptional stars in a class almost by himself.

  51. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Mr. Whatnot==> who would take a wild-pitch machine? I'd say maybe the Cubs (but they already have one!). Seriously, some team that is already out of it would take Henry, he's young, he's strong, he's talented and he's cheap. Put him with a good hitting coach (that's not a slam on McCatty) and a last-place team…The Indians got two runs (so far) against Verlander, and the Fillies are 0-17 in games when they trail after seven.Philadelphia-Phillies-decline-phase-rocked-by-injuries-can-they-recoverhttp://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Philadelphia-Phillies-decline-phase-rocked-by-injuries-can-they-recover-052412

  52. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    How many other teams in MLB are currently in need of a wild pitch machine in their bullpen? I'm guessing four or five–teams going nowhere this year, who can afford to wait and see if he figures it out two years from now. Sorta like the Nats were in 2009 or so.

  53. bowdenball - May 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Mr. Whatnot-Prince Fielder. Miguel Cabrera. C.C. Sabathia. Apparently the key is to be a big fat guy.Actually there are a couple of other examples. Cano has been a picture of health and elite performance since 2005 with only one minor and long-ago injury. Halladay's working on his seventh straight year of 220+ innings. But your point is a good one. Baseball players get hurt.

  54. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Damn, I owe NatsLady a softee.

  55. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    So what Mark is basically saying is that the Nats line up stinks on ice.I just don't get why Espi gets chance after chance after chance. He's been in a nosedive at the plate since the ASB of LAST YEAR. What more needs to be proven to Davey and Rizzo? Bernadina hasn't gotten that many continuous plate appearances to play his way out of the line up. Lomardozzi isn't getting the long look he probably deserves. If you're gonna give Espi repeated chances to fail, why aren't other players afforded that luxury?When Henry was struggling but Davey kept putting him out there, the explanation was he didn't want to destroy his confidence. Eventually, Henry used up his chances and he was appropriately demoted. I think the same should go for Espi. Look, he's a great guy, good glove work, plays hard, etc. But he's an automatic out almost every time. He's usually 0-2 after two pitches even. Some people will point out that he's hit the ball better in he past seven games. True, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. See Ankiel, Rick.

  56. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    oooo, fun in the Cleveland game. Ump's didn't call a balk. I didn't know this, the pitcher has to stop before throwing to the plate ("for the baserunner"). So the first-base coach and Leyland have been ejected for arguing a non-balk…

  57. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Re: Danny. For the last 14 days, per baseballreference.com, he has slashed.295/.367/.591. That's not an "automatic out."

  58. Section 215 Row A - May 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Not to float a Baby Ruth in the punch bowl, but the return of the beast in genuine beast mode may take awhile. He got off to a horrible start last year. On the other hand, Adam LaRoche was called "Oh for April" LaRoche when he was in Pittsburgh. With Washington Adam has been "Oh! What an April!" LaRoche. Perhaps the past is preface to nothing. Let's hope that beast can come out of the cave breathing fire.

  59. Steady Eddie - May 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Unwashed, Wonk — like you all and JaneB, it's been a real delight getting family into the Nats. My wife always liked to go to a couple games a month with me but now she knits less and watches more. My 28-year old daughter is frequently pestering me to go (sadly but understandably, her fiance is a BoSox fan from Boston), and best of all is my 11 year old daughter, whose favorite expression has become "I LOVE this team!" at any good play by a favored player (which includes just about every regular position and rotation starter, even in a losing cause).

  60. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Speaking of Halladay, I heard an interview with him on XM's Mad Dog Radio the morning after he lost to the Nats. He was asked what other pitcher in the league had stuff that made him envious of their ability. His answer was Gio Gonzalez. He said something along the lines of, "The stuff he throws as a lefty; I wish I had that that stuff."

  61. Fear and Ignorance - May 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Mr. Whatnot-The list is long my friend. Cano, Markakis, Fielder, Cabrera, Teixeira, Verlander, Matt Cain, Francoeur, Adrian Gonzalez, Hamels, Halladay, C.C., Jeter, and that is just off the top of my head. Why sign Zimmerman to a long-term deal 2 years before necessary when he has yet to prove he can stay healthy??? He isn't even that good when he is healthy.

  62. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Natslady, your answer belongs in the blind squirrel category. My point was about Espi's body of work over the last year almost. And after that good run of the last 14 days, he's now hitting, what .221? Sure, he's drawn some walks too, but with an OBP of .305, that's not exactly a torrid stretch.Also, keep that in perspective with the repeated chances to fail — and Davey batting him a leadoff of all places.

  63. bowdenball - May 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    The Great Unwashed-Granted, at this point there is about 3/4 of a season that tells us that Espi might not deserve the opportunity to play every day. But there are years and years that tell us that he does.Remember, all we see is how these guys do in the 4-5 plate appearances a game they get and the few chances they get in the field. We don't see the power they show in batting practice, or how they handle their many defensive chances in warmups or spring training. And unless we don't look, we don't see their stats in many years of minor league baseball, where Espinosa was better than Lombardozzi across the board at the plate while also playing what was generally considered far superior defense.Maybe the fans screaming for his head are right and Espinosa shouldn't be an every day player in the majors. But considering what he showed at the plate and more importantly in the field for many many years, it's in the team's best interests to see if he can reach his potential. Because his potential is a LOT better than most middle infielders, and certainly better than any other middle infield options the Nats have now or in the near future.

  64. bowdenball - May 24, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Sound say "unless we look."

  65. bowdenball - May 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Should say "should."Guess it's just not my day.

  66. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    F&I, don't forget our former-boy, Livan Hernandez. Did he ever miss a start?As for why sign RZ==> other factors were key. Local boy gave a clear hometown discount, fan fave, all around good guy, etc. Yes, there were questions about whether he could stay healthy. He plays hard, and said he wouldn't change. There was a lot of national disapproval about the signing, but very little in DC. And in the end, it's the Nats fans (and the Lerners) who are paying RZ's tab, not the national yakkers. Not saying it should be a frequent thing when you sign players, but face it, in the end, baseball is just entertainment. And Mr. Walkoff/Nail 'em At The Plate/Touchdown Leap is very entertaining.

  67. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Unwashed, agree, it's a small sample. But Espi isn't Ankiel, IMO. Any more than Desi was last year. This is our year for finding out about Espinosa (among others), and if we make it to the playoffs, that's gravy. Hitting at the AAA-level will not help Espi, unless you are saying he should only hit righty–and that's a change you want to make in the off-season.

  68. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I think the ESPI debate means we need to have patience (something we don't have). We were all calling for Desi's head at various times, and that seems to be turning around (so far). Davey/Rizzo see something in him that we don't (or don't want to wait for).

  69. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Fair points on Espi, bowdenball, but if his performance in practice is good, it's not showing up on the field. That's what matters.I hear what you're saying about his defense. I agree on that and said as much in my first post (rant). However, given that there are so many line up fails in the batting order, don't you try other players when you have options? They don't have another option for Ankiel. They don't have other options for left field. But they have Lombardozzi as another option for second base. I think he deserves an extended tryout, maybe 40 games. You can make the argument that Espi's been given that long a leash and then some. Then if Lombo doesn't deliver, you sit him down and say he's gotten his chance.As far as potential, maybe you're right, but that's a hard sell on me. There are plenty of good glove, no hit players in MLB. They're called bench players.

  70. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    The Great Unwashed said… Wonk, you've mentioned in previous threads that your 17 year old daughter has really taken to the Nats of late. Well, my 15 year old son is doing the same thing.Indeed, it sure is fun. (Perhaps she can turn her 19-yr old brother on to it?)It's funny — she can recognize the players with their faces, knows who's good and who isn't — she even knows that Ankiel strikes out on high fastballs (I'm not kidding!) — but she's still so new at it that she doesn't know what a batting average is, and gets confused about which is a "double" and which is a "double play", and is confused about the force-out rule when is guy is scoring.She was totally confused when a guy had to be thrown out at first after a swinging strike three. (After I explained her that rule, she looked at me and asked, "how do all the players know all those rules?!")But, two nights ago, she watched every inning, and was blown away by LaRoche's pick-up-and-throw-home. I had to run an errand, and it was fun getting breathless texts from her saying things like "Ian just hit a double!"And she knows Ankiel and Espi strike out a lot ;-)And that Bryce Harper is cute and is about her age!

  71. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    The Rangers (er, first place team) just claimed this 27 year old lefty with a 6.75 ERA off waivers. Can't imagine Henry lasting very long.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gaubjo01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker

  72. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Maybe you're right, Natslady.And MicheleS, the reason my patience has worn thin is because this team is showing something special this year. Will they win the World Series in 2012? No. In fact, they might not even make the playoffs. At this point, I'll take a winning record (at the end of the year, I mean).I also don't want to wear the pitchers down. They have to walk a tightrope every night because the line up can't support them. Yes, Hamels is a good pitcher and he was dominating them. He's a good pitcher; that's to be expected. But when Mike Leake does that too? You get my point.And finally, watching 2-1 games is… well, boring. I mean, I love baseball, but I want to see scoring too. Thank God the Rangers aren't in the NL East.

  73. Tcostant - May 24, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I wanted to share this with all my “blogger” friends. I get USA Today’s Baseball Weekly and at lunch I took my first look at this week’s edition. In the first 10 pages, there were three separate stories that included the Nationals. One six surprise teams, a one pager on Lombo (I now know his best friend on the team) and one on Strasburg’s innings limits. I think this issue is a must read for all Nationals fans; it’s nice to get some national press.

  74. phil dunton - May 24, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    As far as Espi goes, the last 14 days is not a meanngful yardstick. Over the last half of last season plus this season to date, he' batting barely above the Mendoza Line (.200) with no power. That is very troublesome, especially when a .315 hitting rookie with an ability to get on base is riding the bench.

  75. Fear and Ignorance - May 24, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Bowdenball-You should really look at the numbers before saying Espinosa had better stats across the board. Not even close to being true!!! Lombardozzi hit 30 points higher, had a higher OBP, had just as many steals, almost as many RBI per game and played better defense… .987% vs. .964% fielding percentage. Espinosa has now hit .230 over 850 AB's in the big leagues…Lombardozzi deserves a shot.

  76. bowdenball - May 24, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Great Unwashed-I was to some extent taking the devil's advocate position. I'm pretty concerned about Espi too and would like to see Lombardozzi get some more time in the middle infield. But I think fans are overestimating how much he could help and how much we have a problem. Guys who can be an elite middle infielder and also hit 20+ HRs are few and far between. Espi clearly is one of these. Lombardozzi, as much as I like him as a utility/bench guy for the Nats for many years to come, is not. He just doesn't have that kind of ability. And when you have a guy who does have that kind of ability, you want to give him every chance you can to get there.

  77. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Mike Leake? Huh? We shelled Mike Leake, he was out of the game in the 4th inning.game loghttp://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/gameTrax?gameId=320511117

  78. bowdenball - May 24, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    F & I:I'm seeing their OBP as almost equal (Espi .365, Lombardozzi .369), with Espi showing a lot more power (.455 vs. 411, more than twice as many HRs in 800 fewer PAs). Fielding percentage is a stupid stat because it doesn't account for range; any scout who saw them both would tell you Espi was the better defensive prospect. Also, Lombardozzi's minor league stats include time in rookie ball and almost three full seasons before reaching AA. Espi only feasted on the lower levels for about one season.Maybe I shouldn't have said "across the board" because there are a couple places you could pick nits, but it's pretty obvious who was the better minor league ballplayer, it's really not close at all.

  79. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    The thing with Espi:Agree with bowdenball on this. Guys who have a whole lot more experience at judging the talent of ballplayers (Rizzo and Johnson) are obviously giving him lots and lots of leeway specifically because they see huge upside with him, huge potential.Natslady noted that in the last two weeks, Espi has .295/.367/.591.Of course, the question that this always begs is: (a) is this the beginning of his getting out of a way-too-long slump; or (b) discount it because of small sample size?Beats me, but I trust Rizzo/Davey on questions like that.

  80. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Espi has a higher ceiling than Lombo, as I see it. Lombo is a good player, he'll be a pro's pro, but I don't see him as a star. If you don't think we are going to the WS this year, then this is the year you develop your star(s). Lombo can wait a year, really. If by some chance he is a star and Espi isn't, the year isn't costing that much. He's still getting at-bats and playing time at the major-league level.

  81. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    One other funny thing, actually related to Mark's original post here:Last night I was mentioned how the Phillies were kinda banged up, and when they get their good players back, they'll be better.And then I added: but we'll be better when we get Morse and Storen back.She asked: who are those guys? I never heard of them.Yep — she's totally dedicated — but has been a fan for only about 2-1/2 weeks now. Anything that's happened before that (other than: the Nats used to stink) is pretty much off her radar.Needless to say, I'm catching her up. When I told her Morse was the best hitter on the team last year, and Storen the best closer, her eyes almost popped out of her head!

  82. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Unwashed.. Ditto on the Rangers (My sister gets to watch them in Dallas every night). I think one thing on the 2-1 scores, I hate to say this, but in the post steroids/greeny era, I have a feeling this is what we are going to see. Although the Rangers are stacked, most teams are not. Heck even the Yankees are starting to look old. And the biggest complaint in Philly is lack of offense.I predicted an 86 win year for us. That could get us the 2nd wild card. I am still hopeful. (saying that, The team needs to start winning on the National spot light – yes, I am being greedy). We have the Sunday night game vs Braves. Good shot with Gio on the mound. And then the Yanks on fathers day

  83. Fear and Ignorance - May 24, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    NatsLady-If you are going to go by the whole "ceiling" argument, then you must think Henry should be closing. The fact is, they DO have a chance to go to the World Series and need to play the guys that are producing. Espi may have a higher ceiling, but he has a lower floor as well. Lombardozzi is hitting 96 points higher and deserves a shot to see what he can do, especially against RHP.

  84. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    "Espi has a higher ceiling than Lombo, as I see it. Lombo is a good player, he'll be a pro's pro, but I don't see him as a star. "I totally agree. The kinda guy who scrapes and gets 120% of his potential. Constant over achiever.But, sheesh, the way that the bottom of our lineup has been stinking up the joint, we can use a 97-pound scrwany over-achiever who somehow manages an OBP of .385, and who somehow manages to be third on the team (in active players) in OPS+Just gotta find a way to get him in the lineup, as far as I am concerned

  85. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Wonk.. LOMBO in LF.. that's the chant we should start!Also, just a plug for our fealess leader Mark, Nice link to CSNWashington at the top on the Status Updates: Stras, Lidge, Morse.

  86. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    F&I wrote "NatsLady-If you are going to go by the whole "ceiling" argument, then you must think Henry should be closing."No. Apples and Oranges.If Henry has a single bad inning, the whole game is shot. Which is not necessarily true with a batter (proof: RZ and best-hitter-LaRoche went 2-for-20 against Philly, yes Nats won two out of three, and both hits came in the less). Espi's been great in the field, and, as noted, is hitting close to .300 the past two weeks.

  87. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    MicheleS said… Wonk.. LOMBO in LF.. I am so with you on that!

  88. The Great Unwashed - May 24, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Sorry, Natslady. I got the pitcher wrong. But you get my point. Put just about any no-name, soft-tosser against the Nats line up and he'll have a no no going into the seventh. That was my point. And I think Mike Leake has done that before, but you're right, not last time.Anyway, MicheleS is right about showing up for national prime time games. Just as ESPN and FOX is willing to put them on, they can take them off too. Kinda goes hand in hand with not being able to sweep.

  89. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Idle musings on a hot afternoon: I'd much rather be going for the sweep than trying to salvage a game and avoid the sweep (been there, done that).On a related note, loved the stat last night about how the Nats didn't win their 6th road series until mid-September last year. They're a *teensy* bit ahead of that this year, as they've just won their 5th road series of the year. Me likey.Now, if only I had a softie.

  90. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    1A.. saw that stat too.. Love it! Occasionally, i take a look at the standings from prior year and see when we won game XX. Like we have won 26 games through 44 games. Last year we won game 26 at the 60 game mark. If I really want to giggle, then I go to 08/09/10 and see where those stinky teams were.I think I will head to Effie's near Gainesville/New Baltimore for the Softie. Just is too good to pass up.

  91. natsfan1a - May 24, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I like to do that as well, Michele. Nice pull from last year's standings.In other news, Bos has a new piece about the Old Guard in NL and AL East. Executive summary: Tick Tock.

  92. Drew - May 24, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    I agree with Steve J. in Alex, who said that getting Morse back changes everything.With Morse hitting cleanup, Harper and Zim don't see as much off speed junk because you can't walk them ahead of The Beast.Those anemic LF stats will improve in a hurry. Of course, you lose the LF option for Lombo in NL games, which will turn up the spotlight on how Danny's doing2b, or not 2b…

  93. MicheleS - May 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    The indians swept the Tigers this week (Verlander was on the mound today). Did anyone see that happening?1A.. Love the Boz Piece. TICK TOCK is right. He must have been reading us the last few days with all our references to the age of the Phillie. Hi Boz ;-)

  94. Brother Juniper - May 24, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    "if the Nationals could play .600 baseball while dealing with so many injuries"Baseball is such a streaky sport. The Nats started 14-4 and have gone 12-14 since. We need another hot streak before too long."I think one thing on the 2-1 scores, I hate to say this, but in the post steroids/greeny era, I have a feeling this is what we are going to see."2-1 is fine with me. I always thought 1-0 was the perfect score for a baseball game anyway.So, we have a day off. I wonder what to do tonight?

  95. baseballswami - May 24, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Talking about new, young, female fans. My niece, who is in the twenty -somethings loves the nats because so many of them are "hot". She especially thinks the nats have the market cornered on "baby blue" eyes. Her favorites – JZim! She calls them the baby blue laser beams when he is on the mound!She calls Bryce the team's "baby brother". She's definitely watching games a lot and starting to follow the players on twitter. You gotta start somewhere.

  96. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    That SI article about our boy is great, brought tears to my eyes. 1a, get your hankie ready!Giving you the last three paragraphs in case you can't do links.Rizzo scouted Harper and said, "he was taking pitches great, squaring the ball up, hitting the ball extremely hard. To me, the numbers in the minor leagues didn't mean anything." Rizzo thought Harper would succeed in the majors, but more importantly, he knew Harper would survive failure."He is so confident in his abilities," Rizzo said. "Even if he were to struggle, it wouldn't beat him up mentally."Harper has not struggled. It's early, but his .267/.350/.467 line is very good for a rookie. His play has been another reminder that we can reach our conclusions about Bryce Harper, but his team knows him better than we do. Cole Hamels and the public can hit him. That's not the same as knocking him down._______________________________________________So, we have a day off. I wonder what to do tonight?Well, I'm gonna go to the gym after work and hope like heck that the Red and Barves play 19 innings…

  97. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Er, Reds and Barves. Be nice if the Barves lost, too…

  98. Mr. Whatnot - May 24, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    So, we have a day off. I wonder what to do tonight?Go online and cast multiple All Star ballots. Vote Nats and write in Bryce Harper. I know I've been doing that on a daily basis for over a week.

  99. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Juniper, I think we're going to have to wait a while for that hot streak. .500 ball for a while, get Morse&Co back, get some guys a little rest, and get hot after the All-Star Break.That would be my plan, go into the ASB at 8 or 10 over .500 and tear it up from there. Jim Bowden had an excellent point on Baseball Today–yesterday's podcast–on why the ninth inning is not like other innings. You may not agree, but, having just been through the Henry experience, you have to consider it.

  100. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I also don't want to wear the pitchers down. They have to walk a tightrope every night because the line up can't support them.Here is where McCatty comes in, reminding them they can't control what they can't control. Get out there and pitch.

  101. peric - May 24, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Corey Brown, Tyler Moore, etc. A lot of guys' stats look great in AA and AAA.Moore is just a player without a position and needs to be sent back to AAA where he can play every day.In Brown's case this is his second round of AAA. Last year he was injured. This year he made an adjustment to his eyesight, has been given the job of learning to lead-off and has done well.Brown has graduated. Time for the show. The Nats need his power left-handed bat in the lineup if they can't find a spot for Tyler Moore's.

  102. baseballswami - May 24, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Very nice SI article – more like the Bryce we see every day. Winning series' at home and .500 on the road would tickle me pink. The guys need to tread water as along as they can. Slumps happen but so do hot streaks! Zim, Zim, Zim – he was really heating up before he got hurt ( again). I think he is not all the way well. No power. If ALR goes ice cold I will be depressed.

  103. JD - May 24, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Peric, I agree 100% and when Morse comes back I would send Nady on his way.

  104. peric - May 24, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    .500 ball for a while, get Morse&Co back, get some guys a little rest, and get hot after the All-Star Break.Last season's stats spoke volumes about this. The heart of the lineup was bereft last season with only Zim and Morse producing. You can't rely on LaRoche's bat hitting way above his mean. It would be awesome if it did but you can't rely on it. The true wildcard is Harper in that lineup. He gets better and better just as the scouts said he would. And then there's Desmond who appears better suited to a power hitting slot in the lineup since he is the right-handed clone of Ankiel. He'll swing before walking but a lot of that is because of what Johnson and Eckstein wanted from him. When he attempted to do the classic lead-off thing he was a pathetic hitter as we saw in ST 2012. That's what the offense relies on right now. That's why I'd like to see Brown ensconced in CF. With Lombardozzi alternating around the field batting second. You would at least have 2 table setters for Zim and Morse … then throw Harper in between them? Followed by Desmond. That ***might*** be enough to get them to the major league mean hitting-wise as opposed to the bottom dweller they've been for a good while now.

  105. peric - May 24, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    And NatsLady if Ankiel where "working so hard" as everyone said … why is he swinging at ball 4 in the dirt? That is complete lack of focus and concentration. Its complete regression. Its just plain laziness.

  106. rabbit34 - May 24, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    HARPER will save this team – this year.

  107. peric - May 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    They're not going to DFA Henry. Might as well get that out of your heads in as much as they aren't going to option Espinosa and promote Lombo over him. I think Espy is injured … a more likely scenario might be a stint on the DL followed by some rehab outings in the minors.Both of these players represent two of their best prospects. They aren't going to give up easy if the fans are uneasy about them. Get over it.

  108. peric - May 24, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Wonk.. LOMBO in LF.. that's the chant we should start!Lombo is right where he belongs … as the super utility guy. Looking at Zim's shoulder, given his problems reaching for outside pitches, you have to wonder if he might visit the DL again? And Espy doesn't look exactly 100%. Its a long season. They will need Lombo fresh and ready to go. In left field, at second base, at third base and shortstop. Perhaps even as emergency catcher.

  109. Doc - May 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Espi and The Face really need to pick it up. Not sure what The Beast will contribute, hopefully lots, but those first two need to get it in gear. Given his great ST, I thought that The Face would get going, even with the DL trip. So far his season numbers are shaping up to be less than mediocre.

  110. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    You can't give up on MPH Rod because of two words:Joel Gascanrahan

  111. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Ankiel: Laziness, no. He runs everything out, takes the extra base, etc. Lack of focus–on hitting–possibly.

  112. baseballswami - May 24, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    We had a fantastic hot streak last June, with last year's team and Riggs ( who everyone now considers to be the devil's spawn). You just never know when things will click, someone else will have a bad day, a hitter will get hot. Sounds to me like lots of teams that should be good on paper are very worried about their teams. Are there stats to back up runs being down this season so far? Seems like the complaint I hear the most is lack of offense. maybe pitching is just super good?

  113. JD - May 24, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    You don't need to DFA Henry just don't put him in positions to lose games all by himself until he establishes some semblance of command and maintains the same over an extended period of time.

  114. NCNatsie - May 24, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Last winter, we heard over and over again that Desmond was being moved to leadoff because he had done so much better there than farther down in the lineup in 2011. Now the word is that he's doing much better after being moved back down again than he was at leadoff.How to explain this? Well, I did it myself last winter, in what I think was my first post ever. It wasn't the move to leadoff that made Desi a much more productive hitter late in the season than he had been. It was that he had finally learned how to hit — probably helped by Davy, maybe also be maturity from becoming a father, who knows. Whatever, he's not the same guy he was a year ago, and I'm betting he'll be a productive force wherever in the lineup he hits for the rest of his career.

  115. baseballswami - May 24, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    I don't care how Desi did it, maturity, fatherhood, place in the line-up, all of the above. I just hope: a). he keeps it up and b)it's contagious!

  116. peric - May 24, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    You can't give up on MPH Rod because of two words:Joel GascanrahanJoel needed a change of scenery Sunshine. That was clear to Rizzo if not to Bowden. He had lost all of his confidence and probably wouldn't recover it if he had stayed.That's also a risk with Henry. Hopefully the rabid fans won't beat the living daylights out of him as they did Joel.

  117. peric - May 24, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    You don't need to DFA Henry just don't put him in positions to lose games all by himself until he establishes some semblance of command and maintains the same over an extended period of time.I believe Davey is doing that. Certainly, getting Lidge back might help to stabilize things emotionally in the bullpen. One of the main reasons he is there to provide veteran stability and leadership and a mentor for young and coming closers.

  118. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 24, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Peric, I agree. The point is there aren't many guys throwing 97-98 heat, even if they occasionally don't know where it's going.Personally, I think the ideal spot for MPH Rod is as our seventh inning guy. And that probably was the plan before All Those Injuries. When Storen and Lidge come back, I would think MPH Rod gets the seventh inning role, which might just be perfect for our September-October run.

  119. mick - May 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Braves series will tell us a lot. The 14-16 since 14-4 is revealing about the Nats in terms of the injuries. They have hung in and found players in Lombo and of a course a star in Harper. We need Morse back, we need Storen back.Last night, I would have felt better if it was the bottom of the line up that could not get Flores in. Bo Porter gets a pass from e and that was only one bad night out of 40 some odd games.

  120. peric - May 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    When Storen and Lidge come back, I would think MPH Rod gets the seventh inning role, which might just be perfect for our September-October run.Yep he'd make the perfect "fireman" setup guy. But he's got to be able to come in with men on, tying run at the plate and on base and shut the other team down. In this scenario he doesn't have to do it every night. Which I believe, at this point, might suit him better. Less exposure than a closer's role.

  121. mick - May 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    I feel Wang should be 5th starter, put Det at long relief. with Lidge back, please cut HRod! what a mistake it would be to waste a spot on this roster with a head case

  122. mick - May 24, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    if HRod can go middle relief, I can accept it, I just think his down side is bigger than his up side. The wild pitches are something i have not seen in as either a player, fan or coach in over 45 years of baseball!!

  123. peric - May 24, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I feel Wang should be 5th starter, put Det at long relief. with Lidge back, please cut HRod! what a mistake it would be to waste a spot on this roster with a head caseAnd Wang was getting hammered in Syracuse … he couldn't out pitch Yunesky Maya!!!!! What team are you watching? The Mets? Wang is topping out at 89 on his sinker. He's a sitting duck if he can't get it up to 93+. He will get shelled!Only an idiot would want to swap out Detwiler's 96 mph fb for Wang at this point.

  124. mick - May 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    pericWhy not give Wang a shot. Det has been terrible his last 2 starts. I guess you think Davey is an idiot for bringing him up?I think only an idiot thinks HRod is an asset on this team after losing 5 games himself!

  125. mick - May 24, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    has anyone though about Lannan? Could he havea significant role in the late summer, just a thought?

  126. NatsLady - May 24, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Well, guess who we won't have to see for a while:#Marlins CF Emilio Bonifacio will have left thumb surgery tomorrow and will miss 4 to 6 weeks.Apparently Rizzo had a long talk with Lannan when he was in Syracuse to pick up Harper and Moore. Lannan "reconciled" to his situation (namely there are 5 guys in the rotation in DC) and going to pitch better.

  127. A DC Wonk - May 24, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Wonk.. LOMBO in LF.. that's the chant we should start!Lombo is right where he belongs … as the super utility guy.Then Brown — except he's in AAA.The point is, as somebody pointed out, our left fielders have a lowing batting average collectively than our pitchers! That can't stand. Lombo, Brown, somebody, for crying out loud.

  128. A DC Wonk - May 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM

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  129. A DC Wonk - May 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    mick: I think only an idiot thinks HRod is an asset on this team after losing 5 games himself!You're calling a awful lot of people idiots. Further, he's a potential asset.Question: were you following the Nats in 2010 when some goofy looking reliever — who was the same age that HRod is now, btw — actually lost eight games, in addition to his ten blown saves? (Which was pretty amazing, and an awful lot, considering that for most of the year, he wasn't even the closer!)Then he made the all star team the following year.What was his name, what was his . . . wait . . . I got it:Tyler Clippard.

  130. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    I'm looking for when Wang got "shelled" in Syracuse, but I'm not finding it. If you mean his most recent start, when he gave up 4 earned in 5.1 innings, that was when he some catcher who allowed 5 stolen bases and a "wild pitch" and heaven knows what else. He struck out 6, hit a batter, walked 2 and actually won the game. Looks like he was the victim of some bad fielding also, and came out in the 6th after 88 pitches, 53 strikes. Where are you getting the report on his velocity?

  131. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Yeah, a bunch of those blown saves turned into vulture wins and Clip was the first pitcher to get to 7 wins that year. It was something else.

  132. NatsJack in Florida - May 25, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    It's about now that I have to say that this new venue for being a baseball fan gets ridiculous.Off season, I can see but the options during seasson are somewhat limoted.Me?..I'll go see if Morse actually plays left field tomorow and maybe see if Storen actually throws an inning.In the mean time, banter among yourselves.

  133. A DC Wonk - May 25, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Yeah, a bunch of those blown saves turned into vulture wins and Clip was the first pitcher to get to 7 wins that year. It was something else. Indeed. The bottom line was: it was something else than (or rather, it was something other than) a display of good relief pitching. ;-)

  134. A DC Wonk - May 25, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… It's about now that I have to say that this new venue for being a baseball fan gets ridiculous.Just now you're getting that? Sheesh, NJ, where have you been? ;-) It always has, always will be . . . an eclectic mix of interesting, humorous, informative, misleading, and ridiculous. But far better than most cyber-hang-outs!

  135. Oldguy - May 25, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Reds lead Atlanta 5-2 on grand slam by rookie.

  136. sjb - May 25, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Atlanta just gave up a grand slam to Devin Mesoraco (!) and te Reds lead 5-2 end of 6. Looks like the Nats may have a full game lead going into the showdown…

  137. Steady Eddie - May 25, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    But the GOOD news of the night so far is that the Braves take out Randall Delgado after 5 1/3 with the bases loaded and up 2-1, and bring in Kris Medlen to pitch to Reds rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco — who hits a grand slam down the left field line to put the Reds up, 5-2.And for the moment, give the Nats a chance at a one-game lead going into the big series tomorrow.

  138. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 25, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Looks like we might be in soul possession for awhile longer: Reds up on the Braves 5-3 in the seventh.GO, DUSTY!

  139. Oldguy - May 25, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Reds up 6-3. Livo just shut Cincy down cold in the 8th. We'll probably see him this weekend.

  140. Oldguy - May 25, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Reds win.

  141. baseballswami - May 25, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    I forgot about seeing Livo – so glad he is still in the game, so hoping he doesn't toy with our hitters. Does anyone just feel strange without a game? It's kind of nice to give my nerves a break – but it's strange. I hope all the guys got a nice rest and a mental health break.

  142. Oldguy - May 25, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    Pondering what it means that Atlanta just got swept in 4 by Cincinnati. Cincy announcers pointed out it's good to catch teams when they're not hot. We got Cincy before they got hot, and Atlanta is cold right now. We'll see.

  143. NatsJack in Florida - May 25, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    DC Wonk…it's only on "off days" that I get pissed.Watching real basenall is what I enjoy.See, I could tell you about Danny Goodwin or Matt Purke but against the competition they face, it doesn't matter.

  144. peric - May 25, 2012 at 1:51 AM

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  145. peric - May 25, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Where are you getting the report on his velocity?Ask Natsjack Natslady if you don't believe me. I also follow the Syracuse Inside the Chiefs blog and the podcasts.Believe me Wang was shelled. They pulled Wang and rescued him with Arneson usually … Arneson and Mandel (now in Harrisburg) have both been having superb seasons.Compare Wang's stats to a guy I KNOW YOU SAW GET SHELLED in DC last season? Yunesky Maya in Syracuse 2012 versus Wang? Go ahead tell me do you believe Wang is better than Detwiler right now. NO WAY JOSE'.

  146. peric - May 25, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Lombo, Brown, somebody, for crying out loud.Absent Morse or Brown? I agree Lombo should be in left field every game. Not sure why Davey keeps going back to Nady … I can understand Bernadina because he is still a pseudo prospect, has tools. But Nady? Over Lombardozzi? No.

  147. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    peric, if you say so. I looked at the box and the play-by-play, and I thought the Emperor came in for CMW. Maybe I will watch the game on the archive tomorrow. Not sure who Arneson is.But, to answer your "go ahead." Yes, I believe CMW–healthy–is better than Detwiler. However, Wang is a short-termer, and Detwiler is under team control for some years, so I can't blame Rizzo for giving Det every chance to fail (or shine).

  148. TimDz - May 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Everyone should read Amanda Comak's piece on Moose's rehab road…she got some perspective from former catcher Chad Moeller …

  149. peric - May 25, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    In Wang's game with six strikeouts? He also issued 3 WALKS!!! In 5 2/3 along with seven hits!!! That's shelled from my perspective.

  150. peric - May 25, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Yes, I believe CMW–healthy–is better than Detwiler.89 mph IS NOT the Wang of 2007 … its JD Martin or if you like Yunesky Maya from last year … that's what Wang is. Detwiler is better period.

  151. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    If Wang shows up with a consistent 93 mph sinker I would reconsider given his playoff experience and close to CY Young. Which is why I thought he might make a good reliever. Maybe he can't throw 93 for 5-8 innings? But for 1,2 or 3? Perhaps. Wang I think is well suited to a relief role at this point. Not starting.

  152. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    I have a sinking feeling Wang as a starting pitcher could end up as a monster gambling loss for Davey Johnson. That's one golf game he might just lose … tarnishing his genius hat.

  153. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    BTW, NatsLady, among those seven hits and 3 walks? Was a home run. SHELLED in 5 2/3.

  154. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    TimDZ, that's a very good article, many interesting nuggets to ponder. One thing I noticed is the comment about guys going off the Nationals training program because they are young and can get away with stuff (though careful to deny that contributed to Ramos' injury). Not a lot of overweight players on the Nats, not even the older veterans or the pitchers.

  155. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    peric, yes, a homerun and a triple, if I recall… We shall see. Wang will be in the bullpen if Det has good, or even reasonably good, starts. If not…Here is why I think CMW is better than Det. Two words. Mental toughness. And one more. Smarter.

  156. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Yes, Nady over Lombo in LF is a puzzlement to me also. I understand Lombo is inexperienced in the outfield, but he hasn't made a lot of mistakes, and Nady's got a pretty bad UZR and UZR/150. (Looking at fangraphs, Nady hasn't had a positive UZR since 2003).

  157. NCNatsie - May 25, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Phillies blow 6 – 0 lead — now tied 7 – 7 in St Louis. We could wind up gaining half a game on everyone in the division while taking a day off.

  158. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Speaking of getting shelled, it's now 10-3 SF over the Fish (SMILE). ATL has been hit with the flu bug and Chipper's injured again, which could (partly) explain the Reds sweeping them.

  159. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Sorry, 12-3 now in Miami. Ooops, more craziness in STL, Fillies came back and it's 9-7. I guess pitchers are all taking the day off, too.

  160. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Here is why I think CMW is better than Det. Two words. Mental toughness. And one more. Smarter.No, not smarter. But tougher? Given what he had to do to come back from that injury? Hell yes he's tougher. Any wonder why Davey really likes him and believes in him? However, his 89 mph sinker is just what the doctor ordered for hitters like Rick Ankiel who must often think they are out golfing. Its going to land over the fence before 5 are done. Throwing that pitch to those kind of hitters just isn't smart and that's what happened in Syracuse.

  161. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    NatsJack ……My hero. Report back from Viera on Storen and the Beast. Please! We all get bored on off days and need to pass the time. I hate off days!

  162. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    Not going to argue, peric, since it's something that we'll both see over the next few weeks.

  163. mick - May 25, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    how about Lannan coming back filling the 5th spot?btw… comparing Clippard in 2010 to HRod now is ABSURD!! In 2010, Clip pitched when the Nats were, 20 plus under 500 and long out if it. We are now contending and also, HRod is 25 years old, how long do you think we should wait. Clip was younger than 25 back in 2010 and I do not remember wild pitches like we see from Henry.

  164. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Anyone else think CMW was doing the least level if effort in AAA? why waste your bullets in the minors. Do enough to get by and save your best when it means the most $$$$$$%%

  165. mick - May 25, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    It seems like you Hrod fans don't mind watching Henry destroy a game after the team plays 8 solid innings. Think of how those players feel.

  166. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Glad you like my outfield alignment only it WON'T happen. Rizzo won't bring up Brown because then he has a dilemna when DeRosa is ready to come off of the DL.DeRosa is more of an infield / outfield UTL just like Lombardozzi. Typically you have two. Last year it was Hairston and Cora. Then they traded Hairston and brought Lombo up for a look see. Same deal this year I guess.The outfield is all about Nady, Moore, Morse, Bernadina, Harper, Ankiel, and Werth when he comes back. 1. Moore needs to return to AAA so that he can actually get some AB's along with reps in the outfield. I assume they are waiting for Morse before they do that.2. Ankiel and Bernadina are both tradable. You won't get much but you might get a sleeper prospect or two. Both have left-handed bats and that's the only likely current scenario where Brown is freed. Or an injury to one of those two.3. Nady is a right handed bat. When Morse gets back that would leave the Nats with two. Is Lombo a better choice? Sure looks that way but he has proven invaluable in the infield if one of the starters to the right of LaRoche go down. Not sure you would start DeRosa regularly when you've got Lombo who is a lot younger and hitting. So, yes, Nady stays. He beat out Brett Carroll for that slot even though Carroll is the better fielder.4. Werth comes back after the All Star break. At that point the roster could look significantly different due to injuries and trade possibilities. That's a long way off.

  167. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    "Naked streaker" in STL, to liven up the proceedings.(a) isn't a streaker naked by definition? Otherwise it's just some guy (or gal) running on the field(b) how much livening up do you need in a 9-7 game?

  168. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    It seems like you Hrod fans don't mind watching Henry destroy a game after the team plays 8 solid innings. Think of how those players feel.Desmond was pretty open about it. They all want HRod to succeed. They all know what that kind of pitcher with that kind of stuff could mean to a team when the rubber hits the road in August and September. He could be the difference between the playoffs and going home!OF COURSE THEY want to do anything to help get him into the right mind set to pitch lights out the way he is capable!

  169. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    MicheleS–took the words right out of my mouth (er, keyboard). Hard to figure CMW was putting in max effort with amateur catcher, lots of run support, and his call-up a couple of days away. In his previous start he went 8+ with 105 pitches and wanted to stay in the game.P.S., velocity ain't everything.

  170. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Anyone else think CMW was doing the least level if effort in AAA? why waste your bullets in the minors. Do enough to get by and save your best when it means the most $$$$$$%%Ah Michelle? He hasn't really pitched regularly in a rotation SINCE 2007!!! The year Gorzelanny was the Pirate's ace! Can you count how many years that is? He has to prove he is capable of starting in a rotation every five days and that he is still viable and effective. YOU DO THAT after yet another injury in the minors starting in AAA for Syracuse.

  171. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Now Wang did pitch with diminishing returns in 2008 and 2009. 95 innings was the most he could muster in 2008 because of his shoulder issue. After that he wasn't really effective at all.

  172. peric - May 25, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    P.S., velocity ain't everything.Wang IS NOT Tommy Milone. In his case velocity on the killer sinker is everything. That is who he is. The curve he developed isn't wonderful after that he has a change.

  173. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Excuse me? Nobody, and I mean NO GM–including Rizzo–cares what a pitcher does in AAA on a rehab assignment, other than get healthy.

  174. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Excuse me? Nobody, and I mean NO GM–including Rizzo–cares what a pitcher does in AAA on a rehab assignment, other than get healthy.Excuse me what alien baseball planet are you watching?Actually, they do. And I can tell you that's why he is in the bullpen and not starting over Detwiler right now. Because if he had been lights out in Syracuse I'd bet he would be in the rotation right NOW!Wang **HAS NOT** pitched injury free since 2007. That's almost SIX years ago! SIX!!! SIX!!! What baseball planet are you from again?Heck yes he has to prove he is past that injury and can throw with major league stuff to be competitive. And you do that in AAA, AA and single A.

  175. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    Hmmmm i believe that CMW proves last year he could pitch every days Det is on notice starting on Friday.BTW… Eddie, Wonk,Sofa,ghost, 1a,222 NatsLady, JaneB, lovedanats and many good others are my heroes as well.

  176. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    So i you are care about tonight AAA stats why bring up a Bryce?

  177. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    That would be IF you care about tonight stats

  178. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Hmmmm i believe that CMW proves last year he could pitch every days Det is on notice starting on Friday.His velocity was down. Davey convinced Rizzo that Wang could work out i the offseason and bring that up. Otherwise they would not have resigned him. Davey is the onus for that.Wang hasn't prove anything. And he is a tradable commodity that many clubs have expressed interest in. It may be better to trade him after June 15th then to risk further exposure to another possible injury.

  179. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    So i you are care about tonight AAA stats why bring up a Bryce?Because Bryce had more extra base hits than hits IN AAA just before the call up. He looked like he had found "his groove". He was getting hot.

  180. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Yes, Peric, and sadly, all players are assets at this point. You MUST showcase those assets to get the most value for them. And again.. Why waste your bullets in AAA when you know that the most value ($$$$$) comes in the Majors.

  181. baseballswami - May 25, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Things are sure crazy in STL. For one thing, both teams are scoring a lot of runs. You see it's this new thing in baseball – the guys at the plate actually hit the ball – then the other guys run around the bases, cross home plate and get points for it. The Nats should try it some time, it might be fun :)

  182. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    NatsLady, That is picture is tooo funny!!!!

  183. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Swammi.. also my hero.. SEE THE BALL, HIT THE BALL.

  184. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Why waste your bullets in AAA when you know that the most value ($$$$$) comes in the Majors.Maybe a comparison would MicheleS to prove my point. The Nats offered Lannan, teams asked about Wang. Both are in AAA. Wang isn't doing as well as Maya, not even close in AAA … but he does have the experience as a close-to-Cy-Young starter, a 19 game playoff pitcher. While John Lannan? Absolutely dismal stats in AAA. Worst on staff.AAA counts. Believe it MichelleS and NatsLady.

  185. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    And for those of you wondering why I am bothering to poke… because it's an off day.. and I am bored…SJM308 I hope you are enjoying your trip in Germany, I sincerely hope you are enjoying the food and beverages.

  186. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    TimDZ (also a hero).. Thanks for the Amanda Link.. Makes me realize how lucky we are with our Beat Reporters.From the SI Rosenburg article…Harper's ascent was not quite as clear. In 82 plate appearances at Triple-A Syracuse this year, his numbers were nothing special: .250/.333/.375. He hit one home run. I looked at the numbers when Harper came up, and I thought: He isn't ready. But the Nationals know him better than I do.

  187. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  188. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Just to stoke the "AAA fire" with some more fuel.Tonight the Chiefs had a laugher in which they scored 13 runs led by Corey Brown who went 3 for 5 with his 11th home run and his third triple. He is now batting .294 and is so red hot at the plate he must be smokin'.

  189. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    From Twitter. (It is now 10-9 in STL).Some Cardinals relievers have struggled recently due to overuse. Others, it seems, simply due to use.

  190. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    MichelleS most of Harper's 4 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run came just before he got called up. Bryce was starting to do what Corey Brown is doing to the IL today. Batting averages aren't good indicators on performance. Upward trending with a sharply inclining line upward. OBP-wise and ISO-wise. That was Bryce Harper and is Bryce Harper in the majors.

  191. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Corey Brown has a .399 OBP and a .960 OPS. It took at bats through April and May to get there. He is pretty hot now. Can he maintain it?

  192. peric - May 25, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Almost 1/2 of Corey Brown's hits are of the Xtra base hit variety. That's pretty good.

  193. Drew - May 25, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Peric: Gotta say I was startled tonight when I glanced at the Syracuse box and saw that Corey Brown's on base percentage is up to .399.That's not an empty .399, either. With tonight's homer, Brown has 11, one more than Matt Skole has down in Hagerstown.For comparison, Brown's on base percentage is now 110 points higher than that of prototypical lead off man Eury Perez in AA.Seems Brown has earned himself a look in cf.

  194. Faraz Shaikh - May 25, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    Mark, any particular reason you stopped doing series previews? Just wondering!

  195. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Drew.. agree.Seems Brown has earned himself a look in cfBut the problem is we are Arm Chair GMs.. sadly the real GM has his reasons, non of which we are privy too. We really need to text in to get that lunch with Rizzo. Maybe we could get some answers.. ;-)

  196. MicheleS - May 25, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    NatsLady.. and that is why you win in the Bullpens. thankfully, ours is good.

  197. A DC Wonk - May 25, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    It seems like you Hrod fans don't mind watching Henry destroy a game after the team plays 8 solid innings.I think your deductive powers are failing you, mick.

  198. NatsLady - May 25, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    I'm sorry, but I still pinch myself when I read paragraphs like this:The Braves have lost five out of six and seven out of 11 going into their much-anticipated weekend series with NL East leader Washington at Turner Field.Is this a dream? "much anticipated…" "NL East leader Washington…"

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 17.5
Through Wednesday's games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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