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Opening with a dud

Jun 16, 2012, 4:30 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Gio Gonzalez wasn't happy after getting pulled one batter into the seventh inning.

As much as Davey Johnson would like to count on baseball's best pitching staff to lead the way on a nightly basis, the Nationals manager knows it takes more than that to beat a high-powered opponent like the Yankees.

"Knowing you have good pitching is one thing," Johnson said. "But when you play the American League East division, you have to have offense. … You've got to score a lot to win."

Johnson said this Friday afternoon, about 2 1/2 hours before his Nationals took the field for the most-anticipated series in the team's brief history. And by night's end, after the Yankees had thumped the home club 7-2 before a sellout crowd of 41,406, the veteran skipper looked mighty prescient.

Sure, there were some pitching miscues along the way, from Gio Gonzalez racking up too many pitches early to relievers Brad Lidge and Michael Gonzalez giving up four runs in a span of three minutes andRead more »

  1. sjm308 - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Probably not the time to start thinking about roster moves but I am guessing that Mattheus will be ready soon and Storen not too far away after that. There is also HRod but I am hoping he takes his time.We have 7 in the pen right now. I just don't see how Lidge keeps a spot. Can someone make the case for keeping him over Mattheus? Also, when Storen comes back do we go with 8 in the pen or is Mike Gonzalez sent packing?On the position side, when is DeRosa going to be ready and who will be moved for him? I think it has to be Nady but I guess Moore has those wonderful options that make it easier to shuttle back and forth. Help me out here people.Go Nats!!

  2. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Sjm, much to ponder.

  3. natstradamus - Jun 16, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    I am amazed to admit to myself that I would have rather seen Hot Rod than Lidge in that situation.That said, we'll get them tomorrow.

  4. Unknown - Jun 16, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    People! After 6 in a row on the road! And a day off that included a party. They're definitely going to put up a few clunkers and this is one of them.Johnson challenges every player on the team and gives them opportunities to prove they are winners. He wanted an experienced pitcher in against the Yankees and knew that Lidge at his best has stuff to keep a game close (team was already flat and losing). If Lidge had done the job, we'd be singing his praises.But Lidge didn't step up — and this will be another one of those games on his career's downward spiral. Davey will store that one in his memory.I like the way Johnson gives players chances to redeem themselves. Sometimes they do, sometimes they fall on their faces. The was one of the latter.We're still in 1st place. Another game tomorrow. Nattydread

  5. rabbit34 - Jun 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Yes, it was a dud, but we don't have the quality of players, with one exception, as the Yankees. They are definately the best team in baseball. That lineup has no mercy. I expect every Yankee batter to hit the ball. In a RISP situation, they expect to drive in runs by hitting a ball. We don't. Yes, we hope to hit it and sometimes we do. But let's get batters in the lineup who can!! Wow, those Yankees are tough.

  6. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    One question? How many rookies or second year players are the Yankees starting? I think Nix may be a 2 year. think about how young our roster is? And how many of them have played in a high pressure situation (big fat 0). It was close until the 7th and as Mark points out we had our chances.After reading about Davey/Gio intereaction.. Davey was giving him a chance to win it in the 7th, and that's fine, I may not have agreed, but Davey does these things to force the guys to learn.I am back at the park today (hopefully traffic will be a bit better)

  7. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Oh and in defense of NatsLady, I think she saw that they were playing flat/sloppy and that is why she thought the game was lost even at 2-1. A good nights sleep can put some perspective on the entire evening.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I was at the game last night and it seemed as if Gio was working too quickly, almost as soon as he got the ball, he was winding up. He really seemed to be rushing.We found the Yankee fans to be generally friendly, informed, and respectful. Not at all like the fans of the last place team in the NL East.Desi has had a pretty productive year jumping on the first pitch fastball, but I wish that he would lay off the first pitch curves, especially when there are base runners.Brad Lidge is a Phillies conspiracy.Michael Morse had a very nice catch in RF that I don't think that anybody has mentioned. I'm doubtful that he would have made that catch two years ago when he played right field.Overall the team just looked flat.I really hope that they are up to the task at hand today.GYFNG!

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    MicheleS, guess what, 15 teams lost last night. Let's stop making excuses and act like we are following a 1st place team.Today is a new day. Final thought before I go back to sleep, even if it is flat/sloppy in a fans view, the game isn't over in the 7th behind by 1 run and the game wasn't over to Davey Johnson.

  10. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Ghost.. didn't say I agreed with it, just pointing out that may have been where she was coming from. 1 run games are the norm for us, see the previous threads for my opinion on that.And yes, we are a 1st place team. Isn't that sweet to write in mid June!

  11. sjm308 - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Seamhead – good observation on Gio, FP had the same thoughts on TV. I also loved Morse in RF and I think he had a nice smile after making that catch. He also seemed to make several throws with no difficulty, and two hits and an rbi are good signs as well. Something I had conveniently erased from my memory banks is how good the Yankees can hit. They were good last night. Lets hope Zimmnn shuts them down today.Go Nats!

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Oh, some off field news. Giolito's High School teammate and #7 pick Max Fried signed with the Padres.Also, the Phillies best hitter Chooch Ruiz strained his oblique.

  13. sjm308 - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Ghost, I said the exact same thing on a late post in response to the "know when to fold em" comment. No professional team "should" be folding in baseball where there is no clock. If they do you need new people running the show. I love Davey & please don't take this as me calling for his job, I just don't think they ever fold in my team's dugout.

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    MicheleS, don't lower yourself to making excuses for that. 2-1 and the games over? Losing cause? Davey knows when to fold 'em? Anyone who says Davey gave up on the game is right? Can't make excuses for those comments no matter who made them.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    SteveJMm, well said. If Bryce Harper read those quotes I think he may come up with a followup like Clown Comments, Sis.By the way, anyone notice who is in 1st place by 4 games in the NL East? WASHINGTON NATIONALS

  16. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Ghost.. Duly noted..At much as I hate the Phillies, sad about Chooch, seems like a really good guy. And what is up with the Jays.. another elbow pop last night. Hope they can withstand it.

  17. baseballswami - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    We have gotten so used to winning – losing a game, even a stinker to the yankees, it's going to happen. Once again – it was the offense. Easy to blame it on Gio, but he had 3 earned – should be able to out-score that against any team. Where I take exception is putting Lidge and Gonzalez in at that point. Everyone is rested – that's where I get the questioning about whether or not we were trying to win that game or save people for the next 2, or hang Gio with a loss as punishment for throwing too few strikes. Davey gets little temper fits where he gets annoyed at pitchers and yanks them right away after a single or walk. I think in most of those cases, the starter would have given up less than the relievers ultimately have. It has happened more than once. Not with Strassie usually, but Gio, Jordan, certainly. We'll see what happens today. The Evil Empire is a wealthy juggernaut. If the Nats fire on all cylinders they can handle it. If they are hit and miss, it won't happen. That was not fun. Big, loud crowds, though. Seeing lots of red. In the spotlight now for sure.

  18. Tim - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I think Lidge was right… we were flat. I think we were also star-struck. The Yankees came in here praising every facet of the Nationals team: pitching, yung stars, organization… did you see some of the marks from ARod about Bryce? "He was excited to be able to see Bryce." That sort of stuff gets in your head and you lose your edge. I think we got caught up in our own press clippings… and we got humbled.Let's come out today with a chip on our shoulder and kick some butt… errr… hack some gorse!

  19. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… I was at the game last night and it seemed as if Gio was working too quickly, almost as soon as he got the ball, he was winding up. He really seemed to be rushing.June 16, 2012 7:46 AM ______________________________My in-game comments said a few times that Gio was pitching "nervous". He was out of rhythm, nibbling and didn't get aggressive and attacking the batters until the 4th inning.My other comment to counter the 'mighty Yankees' portrayal was that there was only 1 batter in that lineup above .280 and that was Derek Jeter.Hard to believe beginning the night that the Nats had 2 batters above .280 (Harp & Lombo) and the Yankees only had 1.Can't pitch each batter like they are Matt Kemp.

  20. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Of note, Cano is batting .297 but he wasn't in the starting lineup.

  21. sm13 - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    We were there last night and you could feel the energy building when Gio struck out 2 of 3 in the first. But the air came out of the balloon when Adam and Morse struck out with men on base in the bottom of the inning. I'll be back today looking for some early runs..Overall, I was pleased with the proportion of red to blue in the stands. Our fans are starting to come out to the park in big numbers.

  22. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I think it was a VERY GOOD thing the Nationals lost last night, so there. It was good because(1) Gio is not going to be a Cy Young candidate unless he pitches better. Period. That is why Clip isn't a starter (he said so, in his interview, that he often pitches 20-25 pitches per inning and he wouldn't be the kind of starter teams want if he can only go 6 or 7 innings).(2) The guys were starting to take winning for granted, and they ran into a wall where "youth" and "enthusiasn" weren't enough. This needs to be a jolt for them not to go on cruise control, especially the HITTERS and DEFENSE. A few homers in Fenway and Toronto do not an offense make.Not only was there sloppy play on the field, guys were not positioned properly–either someone didn't do their homework or "someone" wasn't paying attention to signals.(3) You need to know what you have in Lidge and Mike Gonzalez. Lidge, yada, yada–this is the second time I've seen Mike Gonzalez come in and let a couple of inherited runners score. The first time, OK, he got ambushed. Yeah, and so–? Basically, the Yankees took advantage of every weakness the Nats have, and Davey DID NOT cover their butts by taking Gio out after 6 and wasting his "A" bullpen. Good for him.Now let's see if Rizzo was right–that Davey knows when to lose a ballgame so he wins the next five.Go ahead and blast away. A good night's sleep (and I had one!) haven't changed my opinion. Nope. P.S. Morse made two good catches in right. I'm impressed (and encouraged) because when he was playing LF last year he took some strange routes. Hope he can throw. This is the first time in a while that I've seen RZ not looking like he was playing through pain.

  23. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    "youth" and "enthusiasm."

  24. pRAA - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Michael Morse had a very nice catch in RF that I don't think that anybody has mentioned.For some reason, as that ball flew out into right field I was thinking it was Harper out there. So when he made the over-the-shoulder wide receiver catch, I thought it would be yet another one for the highlight reel. Then they showed Morse up on the big screen, and I thought Holy #$%^! That's a clown catch, bro!

  25. Joe Seamhead - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Swami, where do you get this "Davey gets little temper fits where he gets annoyed at pitchers from" ??? I think Johnson has been masterful with most of his pitching decisions all year, with very few exceptions. Johnson sees this as a long season, not just one game, and as such is constantly taking stock of where each of his players are overall. Gio kept us in the game last night inspite of not really pitching as effectively as we have come to expect him to. He had thrown 107 pitches, and only half of them were strikes,when DJ pulled him In the scope of it being a long season, I think pulling Gio was prudent. I didn't like Lidge coming in, especially with someone on base, but Johnson does have a bullpen system of using different guys when we are behind vs. when we have a lead. Brad Lidge is a good guy, has had a pretty good career, but the end is near.As to the game, we were flat, it happens, but move on. Let's carry on, and win the series.Regarding Chooch and the Phillies, it looks like he is headed for the DL. That's very,very bad for the Phillies, and Brian Schneider is now their catcher. Ruiz was having a career year and was deserving of being the All Star starter.

  26. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    The whole problem of the bull pen is solved if Storen comes back 100%

  27. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    NatsLady said… Go ahead and blast away. A good night's sleep (and I had one!) haven't changed my opinion. Nope. June 16, 2012 8:41 AM ____________________________You are entitled to your opinions. I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt last night as you wrote like those Neganons we all couldn't stand before Mark changed the format.You are becoming one of those ramblings that I just skip over.

  28. Steady Eddie - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Not only agree with Ghost on general principles (we're a first place team in a very tough division in mid-June and with the best pitching in the Show, you give up down by a run in the seventh????), but it's contrary to what we've lready seen THIS team do. Two examples : home opener vs. the Reds and the Friday night game of the Our Park series against the Phil's. So flat in the opener, it took a Nady PH fence-scraper just to score one run. So, no, no basis on which giving up is defensible or rational.Some other observations from being there:Yes, Gio was definitely rushing. I don't remember him ever throwing so many fastballs in the dirt.Too many guys who should know better swinging from their heels. Not just Espi who does that LH, but Morse and ALR. Striking that with all the Yanks' power, they did all their real damage on well-timed single sand doubles, not trying to o too much, letting the game come to them. We were starting to do that against the Braves and Mets but maybe learned the wrong lesson from all those AL road trip dingers.I also don't know why Davey didn't go to Stammen in the seventh, which is his usual L-R alternation. Two innings on Wednesday vs Jays was not too much to send Craig out there again. Too high leverage a situation to use the weakest links in the pen.If we can stay focused and take what's offered, we'll do fine. Hopefully a good learning experience.

  29. Doc - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Espi was swinging late on some 92-93mph fastballs over the plate, numerous times when a good hit would have put us in front. Smoltz said in the booth that Espi was probably guessing curve balls.Like any ball game this could have gone either way. Still not sure that relievers like Lidge and Mike Gonzo are what we want in our BP.

  30. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Sorry to hear that about Ruiz, liked him (for a Philly). Yes, Davey has a system of when he uses whom in his bullpen, and he does tend to use his "B" bullpen when the team is behind, even if it's only one run. He's done that before. If Gio, Lidge and Mike Gonzalez had done their jobs, and the offense didn't, so it was still 2-1 in the top of the 8th he might have gone to Burnett–close game and all–but it wasn't.

  31. Joe Seamhead - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Though I feel sorry for Ruiz, I don't feel bad for the Phillies, or their fans. I hope that every single team that they play steps on their necks. As many of you know, I really have a case of the *$$ when it comes to anything Philly.

  32. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Long term bullpen if all is healthy should be as follows for the rest of season:ClipStorenBurnettMatthuesGorzoDet

  33. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Gonat–just so you know. You became a skip over for me long ago, and one of the reasons I rarely post in the game thread.

  34. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Hrod, you make 2013 his waterloo

  35. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    It's just one game, and it's not like the Evil Empire rolled over the Nats – more like the Nats beat themselves. Gio's stuff was electric, but his command was not. Their bullpen was stellar, ours did not bother to hold a runner in a 1-run game in the 7th. ALR pins their guy to the CF wall 400 ft away, while big bad A-Rod hits a dying bleeder into RF for an RBI hit. Lombo hits a screamer right at Texeira, and they squeeze a 14 hop roller between Zim and Desi to start their big 4-run rally, the biggest play of which was Desi throwing the ball away for 2 of their runs.Games like that happen. Tip your hat to them for playing flawless baseball while our guys screwed up. Their guys out-played ours at 1b, 2b, SS, and in the pen. Not by much, but enough to win. They got the clutch hits, feeble as they were, and our guys did not, even though our guys hit the ball harder. That's baseball.Let's lace 'em up and do it, again.

  36. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    I forgot Stammen as part of bullpen

  37. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Natslady.. dont you know by now that ONLY Gonat can be critical of the Nats, if anyone else is he name calls and belittles them

  38. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Laddie blah blah… Yankees are the best team right now, no shame in losing to them

  39. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Though I feel sorry for Ruiz, I don't feel bad for the Phillies, or their fans. I hope that every single team that they play steps on their necks. As many of you know, I really have a case of the *$$ when it comes to anything Philly. June 16, 2012 8:55 AM ______________________________Sure, I feel sorry for the player himself. I think back at Werth breaking his wrist against the Phillies where he had to hear Phillies fans shouting negative comments at him after everyone knew he was seriously hurt.

  40. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Storen will heal all ills, just wait

  41. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I am sure most of you saw this, but I thought it could be good to look at again.Jayson Stark's Take on the Age of the PitcherI think the portion where he points out the hitters have not made adjustments is a key point and one some of our hitters also should take note of. Strike outs have become acceptable, but that needs to change.And good points on Morse – those were some really sweet snags! I would love to know how his arm is feeling today.

  42. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Laddie gets the comment of the day..Laddie Blah Blah said… It's just one game, and it's not like the Evil Empire rolled over the Nats – more like the Nats beat themselves.

  43. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    mick said… Natslady.. dont you know by now that ONLY Gonat can be critical of the Nats, if anyone else is he name calls and belittles them June 16, 2012 8:59 AM _____________________________How many times have I agreed with both of you? Many times. Just don't agree someone throwing in the towel in a 2-1 game.If you can't see the difference, sorry.

  44. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    OK Gonat: PEACE!

  45. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    LaRoche and Morse fist ab really upset me

  46. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    MicheleS said… Laddie gets the comment of the day..Laddie Blah Blah said… It's just one game, and it's not like the Evil Empire rolled over the Nats – more like the Nats beat themselves. June 16, 2012 9:04 AM ______________________________There you go. One game in 162. The Nats bounced back from that pathetic Dodgers series and will bounce back from this.

  47. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    here is the $64,000 question, will Rizzo make any deals by tradind deadline and if so, what will it be?

  48. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Mick.. trade deadline deal….We get a closer (Storen) and a RF (Werth), plus a bench guy for the Goon Squad (Tracy)

  49. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Micheele… there you go, i agree. however is it possible to package something like:Lannan, Lidge, Corey Brown for a veteran player?

  50. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    mick, I like you. I like your fire. Your heart is in the right place. The same for NatsLady.When we debate issues, hopefully we have a moment to rethink. I'm not always right and I remember NatsLady changing my mind before.This game was far from over in the Top of the 7th in a 2-1 game. I now will always think back to last year to that 6/21/2011 game when the Nats were behind 5-1 in the 9th inning. A rookie named Wilson Ramos didn't think it was over. 6-5 walk-off winner.

  51. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    maybe for even a disgruntled 4th 5th starter or a big bat

  52. mick - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    fair enough Gonat, i like you too and your knowledge

  53. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Mick… Lannan is the disgruntled 4/5 starter and sadly no one has taken him off our hands. I think we have our big bat, he is going through Spring training now – Morse. And don't mention trading Brown or you might have a fight on your hands by a certain poster.OOO – Gonat.. Just got chills thinking about that 6/21 game. I miss Wilson.

  54. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Let me try this again, and then I'm gone.At the end of the 6th, when Davey let Gio stay in, the Nats had a 28.6% chance to win. After Andruw Jones singled, the Nats had a 25% chance to win the game (per fangraphs play log). So, 25%. That's a historical statistic, it doesn't factor in that you are playing the Yanks and your team has shown VERY little yet in the game. You have a flat team, a tough schedule ahead and limited resources. If you think Davey should have put in Stammen, etc. etc., to go all out for the win, you are thinking like a fan and not like Davey. Davey didn't "throw in the towel" (but as I said above, he probably wasn't that displeased to lose this one)–he just didn't blow his best resources into a losing cause. Davey has ahead of him 2 games vs. the Yanks and 3 vs. the Rays (who slaughtered the Fish), and then 3 against the O's (who like to walk-off in their house). And he's not mad at Gio, why should he be?

  55. Joe Seamhead - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I don't see the Nats making ang kind of a substantial trade this year.To get a rent-a-gun pitcher for the rest of the year doen't make sense if you give up prospects. We are log jammed at 1B, 2B, and now the OF, with Werth due back later in the summer.We're still in pretty good shape at catcher, short, and third. Our bullpen is getting crowded, and will get more so when Storen is ready. Several teams would give anything for our five starters. So, who would you go after, and what would you give up? The Phillies farm is near bankrupt from deals like they made to get Hunter Pence. Rizzo would have to be offered an awful lot to make any significant trade, IMO.

  56. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Joe, I agree. They should look around for a backup catcher with options, and maybe, maybe, a mid-level bat because Werth maybe slow with that wrist.

  57. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    NatsLady said… Gonat–just so you know. You became a skip over for me long ago, and one of the reasons I rarely post in the game thread. June 16, 2012 8:55 AM ______________________________I'm not sure what happened to you between yesterday and today and I still back you up in my comment at 9:19. If you have that much venom in your heart, I will pray for you. It saddens me to read some of your comments. Very sad.

  58. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    It's not venom, Gonat. It's just–limited time and patience. I feel peric in my soul!

  59. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    MicheleS said… OOO – Gonat.. Just got chills thinking about that 6/21 game. I miss Wilson. June 16, 2012 9:22 AM ________________________________The Nats had a 1% chance to win that game on 6/21/11 and had a 35-37 record. Yep, positive Natitude.

  60. sm13 - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    MichelleS – and we get DeRosa back, as well. If he can recover his spring training stroke that will be an excellent bench addition. Come to think of it, when Jason returns we'll have either Lombo or Espi on the bench each day. That will give Davey lots of options.I can't really see any trade option that will be worth giving up young talent like Cory Brown, as had been suggested by others. And it seems pretty clear that Lannen has very little trade value.

  61. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    If the Blue Jays won't take Lannan off our hands there's not a lot of hope for him. Kind of sad, because although I never liked him, he was there for a lot of games when there wasn't much else. I remember the time he got hit in the face with that comebacker, and he toughed it out for the next start. His problem is that he was an average starter on a very bad team, so he got the ML playing time and salary way over what he should have, and that's making him untradeable. Didn't help his own cause when he went to arbitration and emailed the beat reporters about his demotion.

  62. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    NatsLady said… It's not venom, Gonat. It's just–limited time and patience. I feel peric in my soul! June 16, 2012 9:32 AM ______________________________Noooooo. You are better than that which is why I thought maybe someone hijacked your account. You are one of the smarter people here to know the game wasn't over in the 7th. Bleak yes, over no.You were correct that at that point Davey wasn't going to Stammen. His only other choice for the right-hander was Lidge. The Nats only have 3 righties in the bullpen now with Clippard as his closer.Lidge comes in to face Martin batting .206 at the time. Lidge didn't get the job done.

  63. MicheleS - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Off to the park…I think we need a Natitude adjustment today.. I am guessing Bam Bam has a good day. If he studied Doc, he had Pettite on a perpetual loop in his house!GYFNG!!!

  64. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Charlie Manuel is saying Chooch has a "side strain" and out at least a few days.

  65. Gonat - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    "That whole team is under a microscope, they all have targets on them. They're the New York Yankees," Harper said. "For all of them to come in here and play their game, know how to play and not worry about anything else around them, is huge. That's what I'm trying to do also."

  66. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Gotta love our future Yankee! Love that kid!"That whole team is under a microscope, they all have targets on them. They're the New York Yankees," Harper said. "For all of them to come in here and play their game, know how to play and not worry about anything else around them, is huge. That's what I'm trying to do also."

  67. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    When I had youth and money, I took in foster children. People would say to me, "How can you do that, doesn't it break your heart when they leave?"Yes, yes, it does. But the time you have with them is blessed, like a diamond in the dark sky of your memory. Go to it, kid, beat 'em (and if you must, join 'em–but beat'em first.)

  68. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 16, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    The Nats have backup catchers w/ options — two of them, once Leon is healthy. No more needed.I didn't watch last night's game but looking at Mark's writeup and the box score I think this one is on Gio not Johnson. Too many pitches, too many baserunners.At the start of the seventh inning, one on and no outs, Johnson is behind and he still has two games in the series, neither of which is a shoo-in because (A) Petite is the Yankees' best pitcher right now and (B) Jackson is the box-of-chocolates guy — you never know what you're gonna get. In the 'pen right now there are only five guys that are at all reliable — Gorzo, Detwiler, Stammen, Burnett and Clippard; it looks like it won't be a setup and save situation — so no Burnett, no Clippard. And you don't want to burn Stammen because he might have to hold one for Zimmerman and/or Jackson. So exactly who should Johnson put in? I might argue w/ the order Johnson chose, but this was not the night to trot out the "A" bullpen.Gonzalez burned out after six innings; Strasburg and Zimmermann can't seem to go more than six; Wang isn't good for more than five at the moment. The Nats still have the same problem they've had for years — their starters don't go deep enough into games and the bullpen isn't nearly as deep as it appears.

  69. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 16, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Add to my previous comment that Gorzelanny gets a medal for working two innings, saving the remainder of the bullpen for the rest of the series. He gets the Good Soldier award for this and several similar appearances, and the Good Citizen award for not complaining (at least publicly).

  70. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    This is not on Gio. He left the game after 6+ down 2-1, with one of the best bullpens in baseball needing 9 outs and 2 runs. You might beat the Yankees holding them to 2 runs. You won't beat them scoring 1.

  71. realdealnats - Jun 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    1) Should not have put Lidge in. Stammen was the move. Games turn on single plays like Nady's catch. A stop in the 7th and a HR in the bottom of the inning jump starts a flat start. That said, this loss can be instructive. How? Bobby Knight once said he didn't worry about wins so much. What he wanted was his team to play the right way–meaning the talent on that particular team he had playing B-ball the way they needed to. Then he let the wins take care of themselves. We were flat, yes, but we were sloppy.2) The Yankees played better than they will on average and we played worse. But we are not a better team than the Yankees yet. We're not a juggernaut. You have to hit consistently with power to be that–except in super rare instances. But–3) Not wo worry b/c we have Morse getting ST on the job. He'll come around. LaRoche and Desi are for real and will remain so. And we have found Lombo, TMo, and to a lesser extent Solano. 4) What happens when DeRosa comes back? I don't know but I'd hate to get rid of TMo, and Lombo is here to stay as is Solano by necessity. At what point does the wisdom of the vets like Ankiel, DeRosa, and Nady give way to youth and athleticism and a higher upside?5) Mick: I'm with you on the Bullpen as long as you keep Stammen in there. But I must admit, I hate to part with Henry. I still think he could be one of those guys that given the right scenario could be lights out. But it involves conquering his confidence issue. And he can't stay on the DL forever. But Henry for spot relief in the middle innings would be killer I believe.6) Everyone talks like Werth will step right back in. I don't believe it. That wrist will take a while. So I would either ease him back in or rotate often. Same with Drew. When he returns, I'd rotate him as closer with Clip until Drew takes it back. That's a true win-win situation. 7) Tonight is a true gut-check game for Jordan. Can he reach down and deliver a masterful performance? Can he get through the 5th or 6th w/o giving up the HR, or giving back the lead. He needs to be in lock down mode. As for the pen–they are way better than last night. In fact two of them won't be here in 4 weeks. 8) Sorry for the long post. I'm rested and have a minute.9) NatsLady, Gonat, Mick, NJ, everyone really–even Peric whose brain I like but spleen is…his go to pitch–I'll say it again, you all have so many good things to say that totally outweigh the bickering. And so many of you guys are hilariously quick. It's all good. This is no 2005. We got pitching. And and defense. And a smart brain trust running the show who are all on the same page. And we got no clowns. We have a legit shot to steal a WS, last night was just a blip on the screen. We lose power when we think we are a juggernaut, and when we think we are entitled to first place. We ARE every other team's nightmare when we follow Bobby Knight's advice and play the game the way we need to play it–which is how Bryce plays it. 5) Mick: No one wants Lannan or Lidge, and we don't want to part with Cory Brown. He's a keeper.

  72. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 16, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    The amazing thing about Lannan is that he turns out to not be even a good AAA pitcher. (Or, that Zach Dukes is a better AAA pitcher than Lannan.) I hope he's invested his $5MM wisely because there is a good chance he won't have a job anywhere in the major leagues next season. No trade possibilities there unless Bowden gets a mid-season job too.

  73. Mr Baseball - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Mark Lerner better get smart and put the Nats in Dark Blue pin stripes next year, with the dk blue lettering outlined in red. If not Brice Harper and Stephen Strasburg will look great in the Yankee uniforms in the future.

  74. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Real, agree with everything you said (especially the "instructive" part) except putting Stammen. And yes, it's about time for JZ to DOMINATE. Eight innings of shutout three hit ball–no homers–would be nice…

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Ian Desmond nursing his own oblique injury.

  76. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Chooch Ruiz says his oblique strain was a cramp.

  77. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Ghost, how bad? Don't like to hear that–could explain a couple things, though.

  78. erocks33 - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Looks like I'm totally in the minority in thinking Lidge wasn't terrible last night. He had Martin down 0-2 (or 1-2), but Martin kept battling and fouling off some tough pitches and eventually worked a walk. Kudos to Martin. After the sacrifice, they had to walk Cano (would you want to pitch to him with RISP?!) to get to Jeter. Lidge made a pretty decent pitch that somehow slowly rolled past Zim (I really thought he was going to get that!). Desi did reach it, then didn't have enough on the throw to get him at first (I thought ALR was going to scoop it out for the second out of the inning, but it didn't bounce up into his glove, it kind of skidded underneath it, allowing two more to score).Lidge got the grounder he was looking for in that situation, it just found a hole. I even like'd Gio coming out for the 7th. He was cruising for the past couple of innings at that point and facing the Yanks' 6-7-8 hitters (Jones-Martin-Nix). If Jones' seeing eye single doesn't get past Zim, Davey would have kept Gio in to face Martin and Nix.Tough loss last night. But hey, losses happen. The trick is not to let it get to you the next day (today) and to come back out and start afresh! The Nats need to show that Pettitte can't take a year off and come back and dominate us. Let's show him the power of DC Baseball!!GYFNG!!!!

  79. realdealnats - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    NatsLady–How come no Stammen? He's not striking out the side these days. Do you think that power and control was a fluke? And who would you have in his stead?

  80. LoveDaNats - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I was at the game last night. When Davey took Gio out at the top of the 7th and brought in Brad Lidge I said to my husband, Brad is not ready for this. The walks will kill you. I thought of two ways Davey might have been thinking….1) Let's see how Brad does in a pressure situation so soon after coming off the DL…or…2) we will not win this game based on the offense I'm seeing tonight so save my resources. yeah, it crossed my mind that Davey was conceding as soon as Lidge ran out of the bullpen. Hopefully, his moves pay off.

  81. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. natsfan1a - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Thanks, that was beautiful, NatsLady.NatsLady said… When I had youth and money, I took in foster children. People would say to me, "How can you do that, doesn't it break your heart when they leave?" Yes, yes, it does. But the time you have with them is blessed, like a diamond in the dark sky of your memory. Go to it, kid, beat 'em (and if you must, join 'em–but beat'em first.) June 16, 2012 9:58 AM

  83. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    1A, thank you. Not totally original, see Rabindranath Tagore (Indian poet).

  84. NatsLady - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Real, just saving Stammen for another day, that's all, not saying he couldn't do the job. I'm fine with Davey putting Lidge in. You don't really need two innings of work from him because if Lidge takes care of the seventh, then you have choices for the eighth depending on the score.Stammen can go 2+ innings (he leads the league in that)–Lidge can't. I say save Stammen for when you need more than one inning.

  85. Another_Sam - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I saw Mark's thought. Those at the game last night — how did Morse's wing look to you?

  86. realdealnats - Jun 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    NatsLady–Ahhh. Gotcha. I thought you meant no Stammen in the BP at all. And as for Davey's decision–although I hated to see Lidge, being so fresh off DL–it felt like Davey giving Bad Henry one of those confidence boosts–I have absolutely no problem with Davey's decisions. As one of the posters so often says "In Davey We Trust." Me too. His loosey-goosey surface belies a masterful hand at working talent, egos, stats, hunches, and gambits into a team that really believes in itself. Even if they took at least a couple moments of last night off.

  87. realdealnats - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Question about our minor league pitching: Who, if anyone, do we see up here in 2013? I figure we re-sign Edwin Jackson. And it's too early to tell with Wang. And if Det figures out how to stay consistently masterful–maybe lower body work–the body fuels the mind–but I really don't see anyone from down below.And how about 2014? Purke? Alex Meyer? Are Solis, Ray, Rosenbaum ever going to crack this rotation? Or do we deal them like we did Milone and Peacock? Meaning draft power arms early and develop low round guys like the above to deal?Or do we go after any free agents?

  88. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Solis and Ray are not "low-round" guys. Solis was a 2 and Ray got paid real bonus-baby money to go pro rather than Joe College. Solis being injured he won't be dealt anytime soon. Long term, he, Ray, Purke, Meyer and maybe Rosenbaum are competing for one or two spots. Can't imagine the Nats will pay Jackson $11-$15MM indefinitely to be the #4 in the rotation when there are other, cheaper arms in the organization. Having said that, I guess I could see them signing Jackson for three years (not more) and trading him after two. Lots of trade bait under those scenarios.

  89. realdealnats - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Theophilus–Yeah, I misspoke about Solis and Ray. I started mixing what I was talking about between power arms v. lower velocity arms and higher plus picks v. lower round picks.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 45 --
ATLANTA 57 48 1.5
MIAMI 51 53 7.0
NEW YORK 50 55 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 59 12.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 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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