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LaRoche learns to take the bad with the good

May 31, 2012, 2:54 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche's average has slipped from .336 to .287 in the last two weeks.

MIAMI — There were times earlier in his career when Adam LaRoche would agonize over a prolonged rough stretch at the plate, feel like he needed to add 50 points to his batting average with every swing he took.

Times like the two-week stretch he's currently in, during which the Nationals first baseman has seen his batting average drop … 49 points.

LaRoche insists he doesn't feel that way anymore.

"It's not the end of the world," he said yesterday afternoon at Marlins Park. "It won't be the last time it happens. But in no way do I feel lost, which I have in the past, where you're really searching for it. I'm still comfortable up there. I just need to find some holes."

Perhaps LaRoche took the first step toward getting over this mini-slump last night when he twice doubled during the Nationals' 5-3 loss to theRead more »

104 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. SCNatsFan - May 31, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I think it might also be due to the fact that pitchers can pitch around LaRoche a little more with Morse and Werth, and realistically Zimm, not being in the middle of the lineup.

  2. baseballjones - May 31, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    If someone had asked me before this morning how long Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton had been in the majors, I'd have said 5+ years. I thought he was practically a grizzled veteran. So how surprised am I to learn he's barely 3 years older than Bryce!Sheesh, we have to deal with him for the next decade? The difference b/w Zimm and either Stanton or Ramirez was striking, at least this past series. I was as certain those guys would get hits in key situations as I was that Zimm would do nothing in his key ABs.And how much longer is he going to be considered the face of the franchise. Folks realize that SportsCenter now opens with "Bryce Harper and the Nationals …."

  3. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    SC..agree.. Hopefully Beast will provide that protection starting this weekend. I also think that Ian's agressiveness can contribute to the pitch around as well.ALR contributes in other ways as well, his defense for one – which I love.

  4. baseballjones - May 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    If Morse AND Werth were coming back tomorrow (yes, this is a hypothetical), what do you think should be done with Lombo?

  5. erocks33 - May 31, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    A 5-4 road trip against the best of the NL East??? I'd take that just about every single time. Sure, the last three games stunk (especially since we were ahead in all three) and we should have/could have won at least one of those, but conversely we could have lost some in ATL and PHI as well. It's a roller coaster ride, with lots of ups and downs and some loopty loops.Now, onto June and July. We just need Morse to be healthy enough to contribute some offense and maybe, just maybe, Davey will see to it that Ankiel just isn't the answer in CF and that Brown deserves a shot to play everyday (or at least everyday vs RHP).

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    In Spring Training I made a bold point that I thought Lombo should get some time in LF. Even my buddy NatsJack thought I had lost it. About 2 days later in Spring Training and a few times since Lombo got some time there.Now I hear chatter that Davey wants Lombo to be the LF starter? I didn't see that coming. He has a minus arm and developing range skills and Davey is willing to trade that for his BA.What I think is a mistake is going back to the past of days of having guys like Dunn and Willingham in the same outfield.Morse can play LF and he can also play RF but his RF metrics in 2010 was a -7.1 that probably has declined further. He was a -7.9 last year in LF. I just think Morse hurts you less in LF given the degree of difficulty and an outfield of young Bryce manning CF flanked by BOTH Morse and Lombo scares the bejeebers out of me.

  7. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Someone said it took Nats eight weeks to get swept. How quickly we forget!! (That's a good thing, right?) Nats got swept by LA one month ago, April 26, 27, 29. It wasn't the end of the world– or the season,

  8. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    baseballjones said… If Morse AND Werth were coming back tomorrow (yes, this is a hypothetical), what do you think should be done with Lombo? May 31, 2012 11:19 AM ___________________________I think Lombo is best at 2nd base and has earned the starting 2nd base job against RH pitching.

  9. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    I also think (see previous thread), Lombo in LF full-time is a mistake. However, his bat will cool and Morse will return, so not a long term problem.

  10. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… What I think is a mistake is going back to the past of days of having guys like Dunn and Willingham in the same outfield.May 31, 2012 11:30 AM _____________________________I think Davey is trying to figure out the right balance.As we have seen, Lombo's arm and range has been exposed and while his arm won't get better his range will.I think Brown has to get starts and see what he can do. The good news is that it looks like Davey has benched Ankiel. The bad news like last night was Ankiel had to pinch hit. No Tracy is a huge loss.

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    In Spring Training I made a bold point that I thought Lombo should get some time in LF. Even my buddy NatsJack thought I had lost it. About 2 days later in Spring Training and a few times since Lombo got some time there.Now I hear chatter that Davey wants Lombo to be the LF starter? I didn't see that coming. He has a minus arm and developing range skills and Davey is willing to trade that for his BA.What I think is a mistake is going back to the past of days of having guys like Dunn and Willingham in the same outfield.Morse can play LF and he can also play RF but his RF metrics in 2010 was a -7.1 that probably has declined further. He was a -7.9 last year in LF. I just think Morse hurts you less in LF given the degree of difficulty and an outfield of young Bryce manning CF flanked by BOTH Morse and Lombo scares the bejeebers out of me.

  12. peric - May 31, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I think it might also be due to the fact that pitchers can pitch around LaRoche a little more with Morse and Werth, and realistically Zimm, not being in the middle of the lineup.They appear happy to pitch to Zim. He bats after Harper remember? I sometimes wonder if anyone really watches these games? Harper is clearly the one they fear. Of everyone else in the lineup including LaRoche.If they bat Morse third LaRoche will see better pitching. If they can get Brown in there I'd bat him fifth followed by Desmond. That might do the trick.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    BTW, in a small sample size, Lombo has a 1.1 UZR in leftfield.

  14. Great PFB Balls of Fire - May 31, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Keep in mind on the whole 'Where does Lombo play when Morse comes back' question, we are about to get an extra batter for a bunch of games (DH).From previous post, I agree with MicheleS, I suspect Zim gets a bit more time off, he is playing hurt IMO.

  15. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… BTW, in a small sample size, Lombo has a 1.1 UZR in leftfield. May 31, 2012 11:50 AM _____________________________See, this is where I don't buy UZR. My eyes tell me he has average range and doesn't get the best reads on balls. With experience, I am sure he will get better. He has about 6 full games under his belt in LF so far. Not a lot of time there which I would say he is doing a decent job.MLB Network highlighted that Josh Johnson bloop to Lombo. Now of course Lombo isn't responsible for positioning himself so I do give him a pass on that.

  16. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Zim is the veteran face of the franchise – the player that connects the beginning to the transition to,hopefully the future. I think right now Harper is the new face of the franchise – a result of the bad times and a sign of the future.

  17. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    From previous discussion – Lombo should be giving Zim regular rest so that he can get stronger, not weaker as the season progresses. IF Detweiler stays in the bullpen he can provide backup for the very inconsistent Wang – a couple of innings on the #5 night and he could also provide back up to Stras the next night – #1 night, then have a couple of days off when Gio and ZNN pitch. If Strass went only five innings per start, he would last well into September – it would preserve innings. Detweiler is stretched out and I think they should keep him stretched out so that he can slot in if another pitcher can't go.

  18. Section 222 - May 31, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    There's nothing contradictory about being satisfied with 5-4 road trip against the three best teams (other than us) in our division, and being very disappointed that we couldn't pull out at least one win against the Fish. In all three games, the difference between a win and a two-run loss was just a few plays on offense or defense or a few bad pitches. I really want to see Lombo's bat in the lineup, but I've been leery from the start of his outfield play. And last night certainly confirmed the concerns. Too bad Davey is so dedicated to Espi at 2B. In addition, while Desi has had some productive games in the No. 5 hole, I'll be happy when Morse's return drops him down a spot. Here's hoping that day of rest, a return to the friendly confines of Nats Park, and Stras, Gio, and JZnn on the mound gives us our mojo back against the Braves.

  19. peric - May 31, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    while Desi has had some productive games in the No. 5 hole, I'll be happy when Morse's return drops him down a spot. Given the shoulder and what appears to be an off year in the offing Zimmerman should bat fifth.

  20. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Apparantly the Fish were messing with us on the video boardKiss Cam

  21. peric - May 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Someone said it took Nats eight weeks to get swept. How quickly we forget!! (That's a good thing, right?) Nats got swept by LA one month ago, April 26, 27, 29. It wasn't the end of the world– or the season,Might be different now that the Dodgers are without Kemp. Again, its about progress not perfection. Developing prospects … not letting them languish on the bench Davey!!! Wang won't be with this team next year but Detwiler just might. And yes I do know the word is drivel … not dribble … :)

  22. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    A DC Wonk said… (FWIW, Bernadina was .289/.365/.511 in May.) May 31, 2012 12:55 PM __________________________That is quite impressive as was that SF Bernie smashed yesterday which actually decreases your OBP.Again, there is an issue of Davey using the tools he has. Ankiel and Espi and Henry have cost this team dearly.Henry's WAR is -.20Espi's WAR is .10Ankiel's WAR is .20Lombo's in minimum appearances is .70

  23. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Should have said Lombo's WAR in limited appearances is .70

  24. Unknown - May 31, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    One of the problems with the Nats deficient offense is that the roster contains very few if any consistent hitters. There are a long list of streaky hitters in this lineup and with them it is either feast or famine. Ryan Zimmerman (Mr. Clutch–not!) leads the pack but you add Laroche, Desmond, Espinosa and many others to the list.

  25. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Unknown, there are not many consistent hitters in all of baseball. By theory, the best hitters fail 70% of the time. You increase your chances by having a good plan stepping into the batters box. Young Bryce seems to have a plan most of the times and even he failed in late innings Tuesday and Wednesday. It will happen. Its giving yourself the edge while also playing at peak performance.LaRoche was going into a slump about 3 weeks ago and when posters here see it unfolding, the Nats did nothing. These guys are real people and they will be less consistent when they are tired and nicked up.Today's day off will hopefully recharge both Zim and LaRoche.

  26. TheManBearPig - May 31, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Unknown, the Nats' offense isn't deficient. It has scored enough runs to put them in 1st place in the NL East. During May, they've been in the middle of the pack in the NL in runs scored, even without Morse, Werth and Ramos (all about .360 OBP hitters) and with Zim starting slowly after coming back from the AC joint injury. If they can get reasonably healthy, the run production will improve.

  27. JB - May 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Wow, that comment from LaRoche on seeing 15 fielders or "one big hole" is really backed up by the stats:2012 BABIP: .342BABIP last 14 days: .167NatinBeantown

  28. JD - May 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Gonat, If you look at the stats JB is displaying you will see quite clearly that LaRoche has been ridiculously unlucky over the past 2 weeks after being very lucky during April. How did you conclude that he's tired?

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    JB, good stats. Part is unlucky but part is the velo of the ball off of the bat which gives more reaction time.Probably backs up Gonats observation. Tired bat and when I say that miliseconds can loom large in balls getting through holes. I think of when John Mayberry robbed ALR at 1st base and balls in Cincy that were caught at the wall.Bat speed is one reason Harper will get those GB hits that others don't.

  30. JD - May 31, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Steve, I respectfully disagree. When your BABIP drops to under .200 it has to be mostly luck especially since the recent slump has brought ALR's numbers back to where his career numbers indicate he should be. I don't get tired in May. Not when you play a position which does not require a lot of running, not when the whether is cool and not after you've had 4 – 5 days off (injury).

  31. JD - May 31, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Swaami, I agree. I recommend that we simply choose not engage Peric in any back and forth until he demonstrates the ability to partake in a civil discussion. I think most of us are smart enough to understand that what we are bringing to the table are our opinions not gospel.Peric is unable to make that leap.

  32. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    It's my understanding that UZR is not reliable unless you have 2-3 seasons of data. As for positioning, you have to remember that not only were they in an unfamiliar park, but both Lombo and Harper are rookies with limited experience of the Marlins hitters. Harper has all he can do to get himself in a good position in CF without also giving advice to Lombo. This is where you need Werth or even Ankiel.

  33. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    My eyes told me LaRoche was tired or maybe a little hurting. My eyes told me Ankiel is/was sick. You watch the same guys 2-3 hours a day, you see their little motions and mannerisms, sometimes that tells you more than stats. Even before Tracy went down, not sure what choice Davey had except to play ALR every day. I kept thinking he would put Moore in there to give LaRoche a day off and Moore some playing time/at-bats but he didn't. It's not a case, like the OF, of having too much inexperience in the infield. So, if anyone has knowlege or stats (I'm not at a good computer), how is Moore's fielding?

  34. #4 - May 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    My two cents on Laroche…..he's stopped using whole field the last two weeks. He's pulling everything.

  35. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    BABIP last 14 days: .167JB, nice find. Some thought the slump was tiredness. Davey, presumably, thought it was a bad streak of luck.So he plays him again last night. And ends up with two doubles.

  36. #4 - May 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    My two cents on Laroche…..he's stopped using whole field the last two weeks. He's pulling everything.

  37. peric - May 31, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Add JD. Into the completely worthless, hypocritical pandering.

  38. rabbit34 - May 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    As LaRoche says, "he's seeing the ball fine." If he is seeing the ball fine, he's got a big problem.

  39. NCNatsie - May 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    LaRouche has been prone to slumps in the past — the good news is they don't last fsorever. E.g. in 2009, he hit .344 in June, .169 in July, and .365 in August. His slow start reputation seems not actually to be the case, except in 2008, when he had his slimp in April (.163). He was more consistent in 2010, with his poorest month being September (.214).I know you saber people will have better stats than my simple batting average numbers, but I'd be surprised if they don't show the same pattern.The point is, he'll come out of this and probably wind up the year with 20-something home runs and s solid though probably not spectacular b.a. And steller defense, of course.

  40. jcj5y - May 31, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Good point on LaRoche from #4–he was having a lot of success going to left early in the season. Seems to have gotten away from that. Maybe teams are pitching him inside more. Now it's his turn to make an adjustment.

  41. NCNatsie - May 31, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Forever, not fsorever. Slump, not slimp. Apologies.

  42. peric - May 31, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    if anyone has knowlege or stats (I'm not at a good computer), how is Moore's fielding?Improved significantly from A+/AA ball. But not really completely major league ready. I guess you noticed that Davey really didn't trust Moore in left field. He's improved but work at both positions is still needed.

  43. peric - May 31, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    My eyes told me LaRoche was tired or maybe a little hurting. My eyes told me Ankiel is/was sick.And so too are Zim and Espinosa. A lot went into the fast start. Maybe too much.

  44. peric - May 31, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    With LaRoche the big thing is strike outs and walks. The number of strike outs has definitely increases it now stands at 45 versus the 27 walks. The OBP is still .381 over all which is unlike Adam LaRoche's historically except 2009 with Atlanta. But that year he only had 242 at bats. 23 extra bases out of a tool of 48 hits isn't bad … its close to 50%. LaRoche is definitely not a player you rest at this point.

  45. Mark Zuckerman - May 31, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Just arrived back home from Miami. You'll notice I've deleted several comments (posted by several different people) both from this and the previous thread that were either offensive or otherwise inappropriate.Here's the deal, folks: The following will not be tolerated on this site…– Personal insults directed at other posters or myself.– Offensive or inappropriate words or phrases that you would not find on network TV or in a mainstream daily newspaper.– Creating new handles or avatars that mimic, mention or disparage other posters or myself.This applies to everyone and is not directed at any one poster. As I said, I deleted comments posted by several different people over the last two threads.To reiterate: Healthy debate is encouraged here. Feel free to disagree with others (including myself), and to tell others why you disagree with them. But words and actions disrespectful of others will not be tolerated. If someone posts something you take offense to, don't respond. Ignore it, send me an email and I'll delete it.To the overwhelming majority for whom this has never been an issue, thank you for your understanding.

  46. SCNatsFan - May 31, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Mark I always say you run an amazing board that costs people nothing to be part of good debates about the team we are fans of, and if not said enough I appreciate your efforts, as I'm sure many posters do. It's too bad some posters try to turn this into the WaPo board… I notice above you didn't say we couldn't disparage them! Thanks again.

  47. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Thanks for keeping things informative, fun and civil.

  48. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 31, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    You're welcome.

  49. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Thanks for your comments and support, Mark. I find that when I get mad, I use the 10-minute rule (10 minute timeout before posting). If that doesn't work, I use the delete button… If that still doesn't work, I take a long, long walk. Baseball is a game and we are not even playing, just watching.Just noticed this story about our old friend Laz Diaz. Klaw doesn't have a lot of sympathy for Martin but says if true Diaz should be disciplined and this sort of thing should be a firing offense.Yankees' Martin takes issue with umpire Diazhttp://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120531&content_id=32544482&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  50. Giostras - May 31, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I'm glad that nobody has mentioned that Dunn is on pace for a 48 HR season, because I'd rather have LaRoche at 1B. His play at 1B is quietly sensational. He has handled balls that Dunn couldn't have gone for. He has saved the other IFs from countless throwing errors that would have been charged against them with Dunn at First. There is no way to calculate the value that adds to their confidence. LR's hitting will turn around, especially if Lombo and Des continue to produce, and Zim and Morse begin to protect him in the line-up. Just call me Sunshine Bobby Carpenter.

  51. erocks33 - May 31, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Thanks Mark. And welcome back. What were your thoughts on the new stadium down in Miami? What were the crowds like? At times, it looked/sounded like they were a good number of people in the seats and that they were really into the game, which probably confused most of the Marlins players since they're not used to playing in front of so many people in their home ballpark.

  52. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    End of May stats roundup (which, I guess isn't complete, because some teams are playing today);Hitting:Nats are 12th in BA, 13th in Runs (but 6th in doubles), 2nd in most K's (oy!), 2nd in fewest GIDP's. 3rd youngest in age.Pitching:1st in ERA, fewest R, ER, best WHIP, most K's, 5th best in BB's, fewest hits per 9 innFielding:4th fewest Errors; 7th in Fielding PCTNats League Leaders:Gio – 10th best WAR, 4th highest Sac Hits, Ian – 8th total basesIan, LaRoche – 8th in doubles, 8th XBH'sHarper – 8-way tied for 3rd in triplesLaroche – 6th in RBI's, 6th in BB's, 4th Sac FliesEspi – 2nd K'sRZim – 4th GIDPPitching:Gio: 1st pitching WAR, 2d ERA, 3rd wins, 3rd WHIP, 1st H/9IP, 1st K/9IP, 1st K's, 2d fewest HR/IP, 4th WP'sJZ: 10th pitching WAR, 5th BB/9IP, 8th K/BB, 5th in losses (!)EJax: 9th in WHIP, 9th H/9IPStrasburg: many-way tie for 7th in wins, 2nd K/9IP, 3rd K's, 7th K/BB, 5th HBPHenry: 9th Saves, 1st WP'sAnd I guess it'll all be out of date in a few hours . . .

  53. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    (and, youngest, by a considerable margin, in pitching staff age — which may be one of the best stats of all, given the ERA, WHIP, K's, etc.!)

  54. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    DCWonk – the stats shouldn't get too far out of whack. I think there are only 3 games today. Isn't that odd? Any draft news coming? Isn't that on Monday?

  55. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Thank you Mark..Would also like to know your impressions of the new stadium.NatsJack.. yours would be appreciated as well (you gave some about the accesibility issues – which is good to know for some of us).

  56. peric - May 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Someone mentioned Adam Dunn in the earlier post …He's got 26 XBH out of 41 hits which is excellent. There are the 16 homers and 57 RBI and a close to .400 OBP along with a .306 ISO. But you can DH Dunn in the AL. LaRoche has more hits with 48 and 23 XBH. 35 RBI versus 57 RBI may be the biggest disparity between he and Dunn. LaRoche is still on pace to get around 100 if he can stay healthy. And the home runs may pick up if they sandwich Morse between Harper and LaRoche … as well as the RBI total. The caveat being: if LaRoche can remain healthy and more Nats hitters get and stay healthy.Next would be LaRoche's ISO which currently sits at .240 versus Dunn's .308. I sincerely doubt that Dunn will be able to keep that up throughout the season.And then there's the fielding … the main reason why Dunn is in Chicago and not still in Cincinnati with Joey Votto and crew.

  57. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    SJM308.. if you are back from your wonderful vacation.. our favorite spot it getting some really good Pub from WaPo…Justin's Cafe Review

  58. peric - May 31, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    (and, youngest, by a considerable margin, in pitching staff age — which may be one of the best stats of all, given the ERA, WHIP, K's, etc.!)Probably the biggest reason "Moneyball" actually works as well as it does for small market teams like Tampa Bay. Young starting pitching is more often relatively better. The talent being equal and not a factor.

  59. TheManBearPig - May 31, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. TheManBearPig - May 31, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    During the month of May, that is, post-Harper call up, the Nats were 8th in runs scored, scoring 4.25 rpg. Middle of the pack with Morse, Werth and Ramos on the DL – that's not bad. Getting Morse back will help sooner and Werth's return in August will give them another boost. Hopefully Zim returns to 2nd half of 2011 form and Espinosa continues to improve.

  61. peric - May 31, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    During the month of May, that is, Nats post-Harper call-up, the Nats were 8th in the NL in runs scored, scoring 4.25 rpg. Middle of the pack, with Morse, Werth and Ramos on the DL isn't bad. Getting them back should be worth about .5 rpg.Ramos won't be back. I think Werth loses his starting job sooner because of this injury. As both Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo stated its an opportunity for young players that should be taken advantage of. That means Roger Bernadina, Steve Lombardozzi, Corey Brown, and Bryce Harper. Flores can hit and was always considered an offensive catcher. Solano just may surprise you. Morse could be a key, perhaps vital run producer again … and he is what they want back as quickly as possible.

  62. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Speaking of stats, Kilgore notes that the Nats pitching staff lead the National League in hitting (.198), on-base percentage (.220) and slugging (.302)….Their contribution through 50 games, according to FanGraphs.com’s wins above replacement formula, has been worth roughly one win in the standings. Well, that's enough for the difference of first place or not, no? (And, if it keeps it up, that means 3 extra wins?)Strasburg: 7 for 18 with three doubles, a home run and a hit by pitch, a ridiculous .389/.421/.722 batting line. (He was 1-for-26 in 2010)

  63. NatsJack in Florida - May 31, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    As with any new venue the Marlins have alot of bugs to work out.One big problem I saw was placing the Bobblehead Museum display adjacent the only single access rest room locations in the stadium. This creates a massive traffic jam blocking access plus creating a waiting line for both men and women. Not very well rhought out.The concessions seemed to be at least 10% higher on similar items compared to Nats Park. And all staffs, while friendly, were in obvious training mode.The stadium itself offers great sight lines but then again, anything is an improvement over Sunlife or whatever they call it these days. And it gets loud with the roof closed.I was only there for Monday but am going back for 3 games after the All Star break.

  64. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Wonk.. those numbers made me giddy! I am so glad they take their batting seriously. The only thing that I hope is that CMW just stands in the box and doesn't swing at all. I just don't want to see him get injured again. Mitch Williams said yesterday as long as CMW stays on the dirt on the mound and no where else on the field, he will be okay.

  65. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    young players that should be taken advantage of. That means Roger Bernadina, Steve Lombardozzi, Corey Brown, and Bryce Harper. Bernadina? He's 28 (in two weeks). I'm not sure he belongs on that list.I noted(and, youngest, by a considerable margin, in pitching staff age — which may be one of the best stats of all, given the ERA, WHIP, K's, etc.!)peric responded:Probably the biggest reason "Moneyball" actually works as well as it does for small market teams like Tampa Bay. Young starting pitching is more often relatively better. The talent being equal and not a factor. My comment was more directed at the fact that this incredible pitching staff, at least the starters (most), are under Nats control for a while. The Nats ought to be able to ride this crew for a couple of dominant years, no?Gio's under control for up to seven years (!!). Earliest free agency for JZ and Clippard is 2016, and for Strasburg and Storen is 2017.That's a mighty pitching staff for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015!!

  66. #4 - May 31, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Two things I don't see happening this year barring a major change in the franchise's direction:1. Zimmerman moving out of the 3 hole. 2. Werth not starting when he returns. They are committed to those two guys as veteran ball players with proven track records. They've paid them a bunch of money. They will ride them out in their spots until the end of the year.

  67. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Someone had mentioned "regression to the mean" for hitting and pitching. The links are interesting.April Hitting 847PA/747AB .226/.304/.328May Hitting 1056PA/944AB .257/.320/.447Hitting splitsApril Pitching ERA 2.33 WHIP 1.075May Pitching ERA 3.60 WHIP 1.198Pitching splits

  68. natsfan1a - May 31, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Adding my thanks and a welcome back to Mark.In random P-Nats news, on June 23 Rollie Fingers will be signing autographs, and throwing out the first pitch. (Wait – I thought he was a reliever? Oh, never mind.)

  69. waddu eye no - May 31, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    mark – u da real Zman

  70. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    So if I am interpreting the stats correctly – our hitting has gotten better and our pitching has gotten worse? Both numbers for May look ok to me. Do you know what league average is or some kind of norm?

  71. Section 222 - May 31, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Thanks Mark. And to the extent I ever encouraged anyone to tred close to the line or cross it, I apologize. NL's 10 minute rule (or at least count to 10 before publishing) is probably a good idea. Agree with Peric that Bernadina is not a "young player" anymore. Nor is Desmond. I think they both continue to seem young because they seem to have unrealized potential. At least in Bernie's case, since he is out of options and Morse and DeRosa are returning soon, he may be living on borrowed time at this point. I hope he stays hot though because as its important to have real outfielders playing the outfield, as we saw last night.

  72. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    And for those who might have thought the organization was being overly cautious with Morse – Matt Kemp came back for 2 games with the Dodgers and reinjured his hammy. Watching it gave me nightmares. I hope they are not letting the beast return before they are sure. These guys get so overanxious and want to help so much that they assure the team they are perfectly fine. Anyone heard anything about Storen lately?

  73. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  74. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Anyone heard anything about Storen lately?In XST in Florida rehabbing the elbow. It'll be a while yet before he is ready to pitch and when he is doubtless they will be needing him.

  75. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    swami, fool around with this page for league-wide stats.MLB sortable stats

  76. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Michael Morse posted on his Facebook (does not have Twitter) that he will see everyone in DC for his Opening Day tomorrow night!@MLBeastMode38

  77. NatsJack in Florida - May 31, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    You are wise beyond your years #4. Correct on both accounts.And I stand corrected on my "swept" comment from an earlier thread. Completely blocked out the Zimless-LaRocheless Hrod meltdown series in LA.

  78. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Off topic: a couple of days ago somebody posted a link to a video of an amazing catch by somebody. Anyone remember? Can anyone point me to it?

  79. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    First Michael posted on Facebook regarding this new Twitter:Washington Nationals – Michael Morse no actually its notand a few minutes ago posted:Washington Nationals – Michael Morse JK it is me on twitter…actually surprised the name wasn't taken already.

  80. baseballswami - May 31, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    DCWonk – I don't have a link but it was in the college world series. I think they also showed it on Intentional Talk and MLB so you might find it on their sites. Guy went over the fence and jumped back over if that's the one you mean.

  81. Mark Zuckerman - May 31, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    My impressions of Marlins Park…– It's huge. By that, I mean the outfield is massive. The walls are tall. And the home run thingamajig is gigantic in person.– It's loud. Even when there were only 25,000 or so at last night's game, the sound reverberates off the walls and roof. If they pack the place for a big game this fall, it's going to be a tough place to play. Kind of like the Metrodome when the Twins were good.– The grass needs some serious work. They've had trouble finding the right balance of sun, water and shade. But it sounds like it's gotten better from the beginning of the season.– The lime green wall is odd. Not enough contrast with the field. Throw in the advertisements and the out-of-town scoreboard, and several Nats players said they had a tough time seeing the ball as it neared the fence.– Overall, I actually kind of liked the place. It's definitely different than any other ballpark in the majors, but I'm glad the Marlins did that. Too many newer parks are starting to look the same. Credit to the Marlins for trying something different and building something distinctive to their market. It wouldn't work anywhere else, but I think it works there.

  82. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Here is the link to Michael's posts. http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10150978837708891&id=209626983890

  83. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    You are wise beyond your years #4. Correct on both accounts.We'll just wait and see what happens. Right now Zim is floundering in the #3 spot. And Werth looked more like a decent #2 hitter. Then he hurt the same wrist he hurt that almost ruined his career. As Nick Johnson and Mark DeRosa will tell you such injuries aren't that easy to over come. Hate to have to say I told you so … yet again.

  84. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Mark, glad to hear your impressions on the Marlins new stadium. My only criticism is the HR feature in personal opinion as I don't like it. I saw many photos of the concourse and stadium areas that look nice. Having an enclosed stadium is a plus. No more rainouts if the equipment is working.

  85. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    More on the Morse Twitter Saga:Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPMichael Morse, through a Nats spokesman, says he is not on Twitter. That @MLBeastMode38 account is not him, not affiliated with him.

  86. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    I saw many photos of the concourse and stadium areas that look nice. Having an enclosed stadium is a plus. No more rainouts if the equipment is working.Killing the grass though … which is why they invented Astro Turf … you'd think Florida would be one place where solutions to grass problems like that might be had?

  87. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Michael Morse, through a Nats spokesman, says he is not on Twitter. That @MLBeastMode38 account is not him, not affiliated with him.Kilgore has an audio delay … as usual.

  88. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Then there's Bryce: TweeterlessLoLin.

  89. #4 - May 31, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Peric ,I respect the stat work you do and your knowledge of the farm system is strong. However, your feel for the game and how MLB franchises handle players is sometimes spotty. I'm not saying that eventually the moves you suggest won't happen. They could. My point is that MLB teams rarely change horses in mid stream. These are the kind of changes that happen in the off season if at all. I also don't completely agree that Zim is floundering.

  90. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Michael Morse speaks pre-game

  91. peric - May 31, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    I also don't completely agree that Zim is floundering.Many experts in the both have noticed that pitchers are pitching him on the outside corner because he is having problems reaching it … the shoulder.Zim's ISO currently sits at .106 compared to LaRoche's .240. Sparse and few XBH's. 11 XBH for 35 total hits. That's less than 1/3 of his hits; compared to LaRoche who is just under 1/2. 29 K's versus 17 walks.Zim does not look like a #3 hitter. Right now, he probably fits in at #6 until he gets past the shoulder … if he ever does … he is a slow healer.

  92. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    NEW POST.. Nats Insider Party!

  93. #4 - May 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    It's one month of mediocre stats compared to 6 years or so of strong production. MLB teams don't sit players because of one so-so month. If he's truly hurt he'll go to the DL

  94. peric - May 31, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    It's one month of mediocre stats compared to 6 years or so of strong production. MLB teams don't sit players because of one so-so month. If he's truly hurt he'll go to the DL.Not unless its absolutely necessary … and Zim himself admits he isn't getting better. He's the last guy you want to lose given all the injuries. People talk about Werth and what they lose in him. When Zim came back from injury last season and was healthy he managed to hit well enough to be the second best hitter after Morse … even with the shortened season. He was raking. And it had to be one of the main reason they almost finished out at .500. Remember, they didn't have the pitching they have now.Zimmerman isn't even close to that right now.Zim is a level or two or three above Werth. Its why they'll wait on him. But their patience won't be unlimited.

  95. Andrew L. - May 31, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    On the Michael Morse Twitter conflicting info, I can 100% confirm that thru my conversation with his brother TK that the new Twitter & his Facebook are real.

  96. MicheleS - May 31, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Thank you Andrew.. I would hate to see an imposter posing as our Beast!NatsLady… Hmmm. Not sure there is anything there to get!

  97. Gonat - May 31, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    It didn't help that Kilgore made his Tweet without getting confirmation from Michael or his agent or his brother who handles a lot of his day to day business.I was confused also by the 2 Facebook posts by Michael as maybe his account was hacked.

  98. Andrew L. - May 31, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Michele, you are welcome. I was as concerned as many of you. Simple call to Michael's brother as Michael's phone is off as he is playing at 7:05 in Woodbridge VA for the PNats tonight.

  99. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    The Cubs players must love the "fire sale." Really makes you feel loved and valued by your GM…

  100. NatsLady - May 31, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Here is a link to the "mock" draft on MLB.com. You can see their thoughts on the Nats (who pick at No. 16).Mock drafthttp://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120531&content_id=32543884&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  101. peric - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Hmmm, I don't know. The Nat's drafting Chris Marerro's cousin? I think they go for bats and catchers. They'll likely be looking for a pitcher[s] to replace AJ Cole in their system. Weak spot right now is still power hitting left handed bats. Power pitchers especially lefties always welcome.

  102. MicheleS - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Giving Kilgore some credit.. He was trying to confirm with Nats PR who usually sends out the official "Welcome" to twitter message for the players.. Like they did with Ian and others.

  103. Section 222 - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Peric — Thanks for posting the Morse interview link. Great stuff. The interviewer was pretty good, I must say.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 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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