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Encouraging/discouraging

Jun 19, 2012, 1:57 PM EDT

As the Nationals prepare to open another tough interleague series against another tough AL East opponent (the Tampa Bay Rays come to town tonight), it's time for another look at both the encouraging and the discouraging developments surrounding this team…

ENCOURAGING: The pitching staff continues to excel. Sure, there have been a couple of bumps along the way, but the staff's 2.96 ERA so far in June is significantly improved from May's 3.56 ERA. In 14 games this month, Nationals starters have yet to surrender more than three earned runs.

DISCOURAGING: The lone hiccup in that rotation has been Chien-Ming Wang. The Nats have gotten a quality start in 12 of their last 16 games. One of those non-quality starts was pitched by Gio Gonzalez, who lasted only 4 2/3 innings against the Braves on June 3. The other three allRead more »

124 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    How about this as encouraging: IT'S MID JUNE AND WE ARE IN FIRST FRICKIN PLACE!!!GYFNG!!!!

  2. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I agree with all of Mark's points, but I don't think he accurately captured just how awful Wang has been. He's walked more guys than he's struck out. His pitches are getting absolutely murdered; despite making three of his four starts in below-average parks he's allowing more than 1.5 HRs per nine innings. His FIP is6.57. And you can't even make the normal arguments about a sinkerball pitcher defying the fielding-independent stats because he's getting ground balls at a career low rate a full 10% less often than he did back in his heyday with the Yankees.I've never understood why they gave him the #5 spot to begin with, but I really really hope that tonight is Wang's last chance to keep his spot. This team is in first place; it can't afford to put itself at such a decided disadvantage in 20% of its games.

  3. Doc - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Where has all the power gone???The power outage with Zim has become more obvious with every game. Those patented long shots to right center have all but disappeared.Letting the first pitch stike frequently float across the plate doesn't help either. This may be what Davey references when he talks about Zim taking a more aggressive approach.

  4. Tcostant - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I expect Wang to give us a QS tonight, three or less runs and six innings. I think he will do that.Add this to "ENCOURAGING":Home game attendance average: 29,597 through 31 home games.

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Tcosant, I hope you are right on Wang. His sinker hasn't been effective but worse is how he is tiring in the 4th inning. As I feared with the choice of Wang or Detwiler for the #5 is that they were going to wear out the bullpen. I'd rather go back to Detwiler and get the lefty starter.Chicago White Sox, Braves and Blue Jays all need starters.

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Zimmerman is turning into a Senators' moment. He's gone from the Face of the Franchise to Aurelio Rodriguez, a slick glove and a .230 BA. I don't think looking at an 0-2 count every AB is physical; it's in his head. Can't resist trying to pull stuff on the outside of the plate, either. Unless he snaps out of it I'm willing to get rid of him in the off-season, "no trade" wink-wink or not. $100MM players aren't allowed to have head problems.

  7. mick - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Lannan pitched very well his last outing. I actually think Wang has improved each outing. If he steps back tonight, Davey has to seriously consider Lannan as the fifth starter. maybe all Lannan needs is one more shot? Nats have nothing to lose if he fails because the 5th spot is not helping any way

  8. mick - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I'm not sold on Det, I think he lacks confidence out their as a starter. Wonder, if Rizzo pulls off a deal for a solid pitcher in July?

  9. mick - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Theo… Aureilo became a stud all star in Detroit and the Tigers won the AL east in 1972. This was after the famous dumb deal the Senators made too get druggy Denny McClain. He was also only 22 years old and in only his 3rd year in the big leagues, so that is not a fair comparison!!!

  10. Section 222 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Hey! I want to keep talking about Storen and Clippard! Kidding.It's too early to give up on Wang. He's only had 4 starts. We're 2-2 in games he's started, and one of those losses was the game we faced Dickey. So he's hardly killing the team. If he can build up his strength and give us a good 5 or 6 innings per start, he's a huge weapon. And Det is becoming a very valuable bullpen guy. Let's give Wang at least another month to get going. (But I would be fine with skipping his start tonight and going with Strasburg since he's already had five days rest. Heehee.)Glad to see Lidge go, and impressed that Rizzo pulled the trigger on that so quickly. I was never sold on him and didn't really buy that he was helping out our other relievers either. They've done just fine without him.

  11. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Tcosant — The one point on which I agree w/ Dibble is that 3 runs in six innings is not a quality start. Especially against the Rays, who have good pitchers, and especially for a team which can't hit its way out of a wet paper bag, 3 runs is gonna get you an L. Three runs in six is 4.50 per nine, meaning your guys have to score five runs to have a chance to win — which this team isn't doing. The inability to score more than three runs lost all three games in the Yankees series and will lose all three against the Rays. Don't complain about lack of run support; the pitcher's job is to keep the other team from scoring fewer runs than his team.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Most discouraging to me is Zim because he is an everyday player in the all-important 3 hole. He has become the guy you call the "rally killer" with those doubleplay balls and K's.Not only has Zim approached the batters box not looking confident, his postgame interviews are depressing.MASN should change that Zim radio commercial as it has become the same as Riggleman's Smart Ball commercial. Ironic. "If you're not that guy, maybe you are in the wrong line of work" I think that is something like what he says.

  13. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Mick — Rodriguez's lifetime BA was .237. No stud. I watched him for years and suffered through most of them.

  14. lls45 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    I'm with you on that, MicheleS! And who would have thought at the beginning of the season that on June 19 we would be 9 games ahead of the Phillies?!?

  15. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Thoephilus-Three runs in six innings actually doesn't mean 4.5 runs in nine innings. If your starter goes six innings, you can almost always get to the end of the game using only the quality arms in your bullpen. Every team in baseball has arms at the front of its bullpen that allow far less than 1.5 runs every three innings.On a per-inning basis, relievers are almost always better than starters. The problem, of course, is that you can't carry an unlimited number of relievers. That's why starters are important.

  16. mick - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Theo… true, but ARod was never hyped like R Zim and at least he contributed to getting his team into the playoffs after only two years with the Tigers. This is Zim's 8th season, he has help around him in terms of pitching and other bats and he is clearly letting the team down. With Arod back then, he did what he was suppose to do.

  17. terpman33 - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Yeah, Ryan Z. is definitely in a slump, but Im not giving up on my man. He did way too much for us in the past (as in, being the ONLY reason to come see this team in '08 and '09) for me to give up on him. I mentioned it before, and I'll mention it again….don't judge him based on the contract. See one of my older posts for the reasons why! Overall, this team has GOT to pick up the offense. Our pitching is way too stellar to waste. GYFNG!!!

  18. rmoore446 - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I love Zim and watching him this year is agony. Davey has to consider dropping him in the batting order as right now he is a rally killer in the 3 hole.

  19. mick - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    also, the Tigers were never accused of over paying for Aureilo

  20. hiramhover - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Bowdenball3 runs in 6 IP means an ERA for that starting pitcher of 4.50, which is a lousy ERA these days.Sec 222It may be too early to give up on Wang, but if he doesnt show substantial improvement in his next start or two, that day will have arrived. If anything, he's been lucky. While he hasn't given up that many earned runs, his WHIP is north of 2 in his 3 starts.

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    The good news is that Davey and Zim are FINALLY talking. If Zim doesn't go back to the DL, it will be a sign it is a slump.The Diamondbacks, their owner publicly commented on Justin Uptons struggles. Best to keep it in the clubhouse.

  22. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Zim can no longer hit a fastball. Just look at his ABs. He used to just kill them. And we are not talking about FBs away, either. He has not been able to catch up to any FB, even those over the middle of the plate.Maybe its the injuries still nagging him from earlier in the year. Who knows? But the opposing pitchers know they can get him out with heat.Remember how badly Adam Dunn played last year? It was not just bad, it was epic bad. And Alfonso Soriano has done nothing in recent years to justify what the Cubbies paid him as a FA, either.This year, Adam has been tearing up AL pitching. He has overtaken Josh Hamilton for the AL lead in HRs, last I looked. And Soriano has hit even more HRs than Dunn since Alfonso went to a lighter bat in mid-May. If those guys can do it, so can Zim. He is only 27.

  23. Tcostant - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I think everyone is being spoilled by the 4 stud starters. Wang was good late last year, lets give him time to get back there. He also looked great in the spring before he got injuried. This guy is a 5th starter, he is more than okay and should get better.

  24. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said…"Zim can no longer hit a fastball. Just look at his ABs. He used to just kill them. And we are not talking about FBs away, either. He has not been able to catch up to any FB, even those over the middle of the plate." That must be why he's striking out in 17.0% of his plate appearances, way up from his career average of striking out in 16.9% of his plate appearances.Nats fans need to take a deep breath. Zimmerman's ability to make contact is just fine. His contact rates both in and out of the zone are right on his career averages. His ground ball rate is up a little bit and his power is way down, but he's hardly the first star player to experience 100 plate appearances without decent power or line drive rates. There's a LONG way to go before this should be considered a real long-term concern. It warrants an eyebrow raise, but nothing more.

  25. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    hiramhover said…"3 runs in 6 IP means an ERA for that starting pitcher of 4.50, which is a lousy ERA these days."Only if you assume all three runs are earned.I agree that three earned runs every six innings would make for a mediocre starter. But there is value in getting to six innings every game, because the bullpen ERA for those last three innings will be far lower than 4.50. In fact it will probably be lower than 3.00 because if you only need your bullpen for three innings a game you can use your quality relievers. A team with five starters who went six innings and gave up three runs every time out would be one of the best teams in baseball when it comes to run prevention.

  26. hiramhover - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    BowdenballI competely agree that the hysteria over Zimm is unwarranted, but I also think you're painting an overly rosy picture of his season. Zim's contact rate is down from his career averages and–a rarity for him–is below MLB average (he's at 78.7% this year, vs a career average of 81.4% career and an MLB average of 80% this year). He's seeing more pitches out of the strike zone, and swinging at them more often. Again–no cause for hysteria, but they do suggest some problems that need correcting.

  27. pRAA - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    A team with five starters who went six innings and gave up three runs every time out would be one of the best teams in baseball when it comes to run prevention.That would be a team with five starters with ERAs of 4.50. Except in someplace like Texas or Yankee Stadium where the home team scores a LOT of runs, any team with a rotation like that is going to lose a lot more games than it wins.

  28. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    "The good news is that Davey and Zim are finally talking." And what does that tell you? After 200+ PA, there are one manager, six coaches and another half-dozen players in the dugout, and probably 4,000 season ticket holders in the stands, who can tell Zimmerman what he has been doing wrong — and probably have been telling him. And he's been a diva and hasn't been listening. He's not a great hitter. He's a good athlete who's been fortunate that his good streaks (33(?) games) have overshadowed his bad streaks. No matter how much money he's being paid, he doesn't know enough about hitting to work himself out of his slumps.

  29. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    You're right, hiramhover. There is a little bit of a dropoff. Not sure what I was looking at when I saw identical 2012 and career numbers, but I checked again and agree with you. It's not a big dropoff, and it's not impacting his K rate, but it is there. I agree with your conclusion too- like I said it warrants a raised eyebrow, but there's a long way to go before we can draw any conclusions in my opinion.

  30. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Colbert's fashion statement at Shane Victorino's charity show. (About half-way down). Really? Fashion Showhttp://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/06/19/hughe-dillon-shane-victorino-foundation-fashion-show-2/

  31. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    pRAA-There's a reason I said three runs, and not three earned runs. Three runs per 6 innings plus the ability to rely on only above-average relievers except in extra innings would probably allow that team to limit opponents to around 4 runs a game. Four runs allowed per game would be well below average.

  32. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    hiramhover said… I competely agree that the hysteria over Zimm is unwarranted, but I also think you're painting an overly rosy picture of his season. Zim's contact rate is down from his career averages and–a rarity for him–is below MLB average (he's at 78.7% this year, vs a career average of 81.4% career and an MLB average of 80% this year). He's seeing more pitches out of the strike zone, and swinging at them more often. Again–no cause for hysteria, but they do suggest some problems that need correcting. June 19, 2012 11:38 AM ________________________________Where is hysteria? I'm reading a good back and forth with a few comments that are best to be skipped over.Contact and K rates aren't necessarily the issue. It is the quality of the contact that is of issue, the mechanics, and plate coverage.Someone mentioned his contact has been like LaRoche's last year which could be the sign he hasn't come clean on being re-injured.I wouldn't be surpised if Zim is put back on the DL or takes a few days off.

  33. hiramhover - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    BowdenballWe were talking about the quality start stat, which refers to 3 earned (not unearned) runs per start of at least 6 IP, and so my answer was referring to that too.But to stick with all runs, not just earned runs:A starting rotation with an RA (not ERA) of 4.50 wouldn't rank as one of the best in baseball–it would rank 20th among starting rotations this year, about where Toronto does (and their pitchers are averaging 5.9 inn per start, which is pretty close too).

  34. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    bowdenball said… pRAA-There's a reason I said three runs, and not three earned runs. Three runs per 6 innings plus the ability to rely on only above-average relievers except in extra innings would probably allow that team to limit opponents to around 4 runs a game. Four runs allowed per game would be well below average. June 19, 2012 11:47 AM ______________________________For a team scoring 3.84 runs per game that isn't a good recipe for success that you have proposed with a starter giving up 3 runs over 6 innings. If you think a 4.50 ERA from a starter is acceptable with this team you will lose far more games than you will win statistically because you can't assume the bullpen to hold the opponents scoreless for 3 innings each time.This will be Wang's 4th start. Let's see how he does. He only lasted 5 innings last start and luckily only gave up 2 runs.

  35. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    NatsLady.. and my comment on Colbert.. is why is he wearing my niece's pants?Gonat.. I think the hysteria is Trade Zim, Dump Zim, Send Zim to Cuse. Now some of that could be snark, but depending on the poster one never knows.I actually find it fascinating that Davey is finally talking to Zim about this. Sometimes before the head honcho steps in, the person has to fall to rock bottom. Zim is a vet, he has figured this out before. Problem for Zim, he was on a giant suckitude of a team before, so he had the time to work thru it. Not any more. Time for the Head Honcho to step in and fix him. Hey.. Davey fixed Ian (so far) and we haven't been calling for Ian to be shipped off to Siberia this year (Danny took that place).Hi Davey! Go beat the Rays.

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Hiram, and where is Toronto in the standings? 4th place, 1 game over .500

  37. ehay2k - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Natslady, thanks for that link. Hamels seems to be channeling Ace Ventura, in a very prestigious, old school clown way. I liked your blog, btw. Keep it up.Tcostant, you are right on the money, and Mark Z. I hate to say you totally missed it missed it – attendance is very encouraging, especially since schools are only just now starting to close for the summer. If they continue to come to the park at this rate, they will draw well over 2 million fans. That is what we need to start and keep baseball fever in DC!

  38. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    ehay2k.. on attendance.. total so far this season is 917K and we have 50 home games left. How great is that!Oh and Rizzo will be on ESPN 980 at 12:30

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    MicheleS, I agree with you on Zim. Tonight's lineup card will tell the story as to if he is in the lineup, on the bench resting, or on the DL.I think Davey will say to him I can't have you playing injured and get the honest assessment and go from there.

  40. ehay2k - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    My thinking on Zim is that he will not go on the DL because it takes away too many AB's and he needs AB's. However, if he got a rest for at least part of the last series before the ASB, that would give him time off to rest and heal without costing him 15 days worth of games and dozens of AB's.

  41. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Bowdenball"That must be why he's striking out in 17.0% of his plate appearances, way up from his career average of striking out in 16.9% of his plate appearances."No, his inability to hit the FB is why he is hitting .230, more than 50 points below his career average. Rather than just look at the stats, look at his ABs. He is consistently late to the FB. Don't take my word for it, watch him try to catch up to them, and fail, time after time. Pitchers used to avoid giving Zim a FB because he used to be a FB hitter. No longer. They give him a steady diet of FBs because he is not hitting them with any authority. He usually misses or just fouls them off with a late swing. Its a no-brainer for pitchers. If you lose an edge, even a little, at that level of competition, it can be like going over a cliff. Happened to Dunn last year. Zim is being fed a steady diet of FBs because it is the easy way to get him out. The opposing pitchers know it, even if you do not.Next time, watch how they attack him. It is with the fast ball. Until he starts hitting it, again, he will be getting a steady diet of them.

  42. bowdenball - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Gonat-You're putting words in my mouth. I was talking only about runs, not earned runs, and about the average MLB team, not the Nats who obviously are below average offensively. You and I are on the same side when it comes to Wang, look at my first post here.hiramhover-There's a difference between going 5.9 innings on average and going 6 innings every time. 6 inning starts every time out means you only have to use your best relievers except in extra inning games, which means you'd have an incredibly high level of performance from your bullpen. Pick almost any team in baseball, and imagine it's numbers if it only had to use its four best relievers.

  43. hiramhover - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    GhostThanks for adding the punch line!GonatI didn't say *you* were hysterical, but some commenters clearly are–my comment was in a chain of responses to one of them. As to how the contact rate figures in Zimm's current woes–honestly, I dunno. It does seem like it could tie back to his trouble with outside pitches, which could go back to the shoulder, as you say.

  44. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    ehay2k, sometimes you will play a man short for 4 or 5 games. Doubt Davey wants to play a man short any longer than that. Right now we know nothing. Like Steve said, we will know when the lineup card comes out.Maybe Davey will say something in his pre-game press briefing. I am sure it will be asked and see what Davey says.It doesn't take a baseball genius to see the quality of the most recent atbats have been poor. Lots of players have a 0-10 or 1-15 type of weekend, but it goes beyond the statistics to how was the contact and swing of bat on ball.

  45. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    bowdenball, thanks for the explanation.

  46. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Zim's not hitting because he isn't keeping his head in till making contact which doesn't allow his hands to stay inside the ball. He knows it, Eck, knows it, Davey knows it and anybody else who has observed baseball for over 20 years knows it.It sounds easy but it isn't. Ask Albert Pujols who went through the same thing earlier this year.

  47. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Encouraging: The Nats are 15-11 (with 6 to play) in the dreaded NL/AL East stretch where, if memory serves, playing at .500 had been noted as a desirable goal.How about that? (Digression alert: What's up with TWIB not being aired this season? Sorry, but that player poll thing just isn't the same.)

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    NatsJack, that is certainly part of the problem which is the mechanics issue and may explain the poor contact. H still is not covering the outer part of the plate and making good pitch selection.

  49. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Speaking of MASN, discouraging: the fact that MLB keeps dragging its feet on resolution of the contract negotiations (last I heard is that it's been put off until July 1).

  50. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Yasel Puig is the latest Cuban that has fleed to another country. Puig is higher rated than Soler.What some of you will find interesting is the new CBA on international signings goes into effect on July 2nd. Major League clubs after July 2 will be subject to new CBA guidelines that will limit spending on international prospects to $2.9 million per team without penalty.

  51. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Thanks for the sartorial link, NatsLady. IMO, Pence's pants are nearly as egregious as Hamels'.

  52. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    natsfan1a said… Speaking of MASN, discouraging: the fact that MLB keeps dragging its feet on resolution of the contract negotiations (last I heard is that it's been put off until July 1). June 19, 2012 12:26 PM _____________________________Bowsell said the delay is encouraging as the Nats demographics are only getting better this season and will mean a better deal for the Nats.

  53. Unknown - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    DISCOURAGING–That Mike Rizzo doesn't have the guts to fire Rick Eckstein and hire a qualified hitting instructor.

  54. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Unknown @ 12:32.. Read Boz's chat yesterday about Eckstein. IF Davey didn't want Eck he would be gone and Davey would have his pick of whoever he wanted as the hitting coach. Obviously, Davey wants Eck.

  55. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    1A.. MASN.. My hope is the delay means that MASN blows up and the Nats can get on CSN. One can dream…

  56. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Listening to Rizzo's radio show on 980. 1st question was about Zim. Sounds like there is no DL in the future. Sounds like a slump. As Mike said "They call it averages for a reason."Expect Zim in the 3rd spot in the lineup tonight!

  57. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Rizzo, "Davey and Eck will work on the consistency of the offense….fundamentals….men on 3rd with less than 2 outs."

  58. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Newsflash…..Should Rizzo fire Eck as proposed by others, he'd have to find a new Manager as Davey would walk out, too.

  59. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Oh, the Fire Eck crowd is back. And so many people throwing Zim under the bus. Relax, people.First place and all that…

  60. Section 222 - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    While it's kind of interesting to debate whether a starting rotation with an ERA of 4.50 is any good, that's not what we have. We have a 5th starter with that ERA. Lots of teams would kill to have a No. 5 starter with those numbers, especially if he came with Nos. 1-4 with 2.45, 2.52, 2.92, and 3.02 ERAs respectively. While it wouldn't surprise me if Wang were traded before the deadline, I'll be very surprised if he's on a short leash. Certainly, he'll get, and should get, more than one more start before Rizzo/DJ pulls the trigger to demote him to the bullpen or release him. And no, John Lannan is not pitching well enough in 'Cuse to force the issue. Not even close.

  61. Section 222 - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Newsflash…..Should Rizzo fire Eck as proposed by others, he'd have to find a new Manager as Davey would walk out, too.And you know this how?A better way to put it might be that Rizzo isn't going to fire Eck without DJ's concurrence. Like you, I doubt very much that that in the cards.

  62. Gonat - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/walgreen-alliance-boots_n_1608738.htmlThe Walgreens Curly "W" is going global!

  63. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Thanks, ehay2k.I liked your blog, btw. Keep it up.It was my first try, and the software is primitive, it kept wiping out my corrections, and I still ended up with a typo that I had fixed about ten times. If I do another I'll type it and edit it on Word and then upload it.It was time-consuming (I would say about twelve hours), and that doesn't include the tiny bit of research I did for the stats.Also DC Wonk made a comment that was exactly on point, so I almost took the blog down, because I didn't mean to suggest in any way that Zim is a selfish or self-centered player, and maybe it was disrespectful to dissect his psyche in that way. Luckily he will never hear of it–and I'm sure he's heard worse.I'd like to put up "Series Previews" like Mark used to do, but I don't know where I would find the time on a regular basis.

  64. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Section 222…..How about personal conversations with the parties involved.

  65. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    I wish the ESPN guys had discussed Amanda's article (see left) on the Nationals' possibilities at the trade deadline with Rizzo, but they didn't. Not that he would have answered, of course…Amanda thinks there is no big surprise coming.

  66. alm - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Encouraging – the impressive showing by Nats fans defending home turf against the invading hords of Yankee fans.I was at the park Friday and Saturday and was very happy that we outnumbered the Yankee fans on Friday (65/35 is my estimate) and were 50/50 on Saturday. Even better, whenever they tried their "lets go yankees' cheer we booed them down.Great atmosphere at the park. In 06, Yankee fans greatly outnumbered us on Saturday and Sunday and we were 50/50 on Friday, and in a much bigger sold out park. So good work buying and STH not selling to them.

  67. 320R2S15 - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Adam has been tearing up AL pitchingThe man is hitting 227, bla,bla,bla..

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    NatsLady, I need a link to your Blog. Is this a regular thing? Mark may want to add you to the Blog Roll.

  69. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    You have to look past "batting average" and see what Dunn is contributing to the offense. His wOPA (weighted on-base-percentage) is .395 (6th in the AL). His WRC+ (weighted positive runs created) is 149 (8th in the AL). Basically, when he doesn't strike out he walks or creates runs. His walk rate is 18.3% HIGHEST in the AL. Of his 53 hits, 33 have been for extra bases (23 HR, 10 doubles).He has 42 runs and 42 RBI. The man is a run-machine.

  70. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Ghost, here is the link. I don't know if it will be a regular thing. I need both ideas and TIME!! http://natsratstats.blogspot.com/

  71. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    One would hope so, all things being equal. Then again, it's Bud at the helm. :-)Gonat said..Bowsell said the delay is encouraging as the Nats demographics are only getting better this season and will mean a better deal for the Nats. That would be great, MicheleS. I hear that CSN has an awesome beat writer…MicheleS said… 1A.. MASN.. My hope is the delay means that MASN blows up and the Nats can get on CSN. One can dream… June 19, 2012 12:35 PM

  72. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Sorry, 42 runs and 52 RBI!!! For Adam Dunn.

  73. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    And when Dunn strikes out, he doesn't hit in to a DP.

  74. baseballjones - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Encouraging: The bats oughta get untrack soon, I mean unless we happen to be facing a 6'6" LH who was 2nd in the Cy Young voting in 2010, but what are the odds of that?Actually encouraging: Price's ERA went up more than half a run after his last start, so maybe we've caught him in a mini-slump.

  75. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:26 PM

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  76. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:27 PM

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  77. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM

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  78. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:30 PM

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  79. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Alm, I was at the park on Sunday and also felt that Nats fans did a good job of shouting down Yankees fans. btw, did I mention that after the game we saw a number of fans in Yankees attire who were toting bags with red Nats gear from the team store, and standing in line for tickets at the box office? Must really want to see their team the next time that they're in town. Oh, wait… I also saw Yankees fans driving cars with local plates, and wearing Va Tech hats with their NYY gear. Wait, what?

  80. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    (Disclaimer: If you were born and/or raised there, and were brought up as a NYY fan, I won't judge. :-))

  81. Steady Eddie - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    natsfan1a — On Saturday, my daughter and I sat next to a couple of guys wearing Yanks t-shirts who were pretty complimentary about the Nats. They disappeared for a couple of innings and when they returned, the buddy of the guy I talked to was wearing a white Harp jersey over his Yanks tee.Of course, that was Saturday so it may have been a jinx, but still…. another data point for what you were saying.

  82. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Ghost, so true. Dunn doesn't hit a lot of ground balls, period, his GB/FB is .57, the LOWEST in the AL. That means the worst he's going to do with runners on base is strike out or pop out.

  83. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    That's cool, Eddie. We have plenty of room on the Nats bandwagon. :-)

  84. sjb - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    @Section 222–Agree on Lannan; actually, Duke and Maya are pitching much better at Syracuse right now than Lannan is, and if an emergency happened, one of them would get the call (Maya has slightly better stats, but Duke has a longer and better ML track record). Neither is pitching well enough to force the issue unless Wang really goes south.

  85. JD - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Here is something else to consider in the Wang/Detwiler debate. If we contend and make the playoffs we will need both Detwiler and CMW so it's not simply a matter of dealing with a so so 5th starter but a 4th starter as well. Sorry but non of the guys at Syracuse do anything for me. Is it a crazy idea to acquire a big time pitcher at the deadline? even if it's just a rental? Dempster?

  86. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    bbjones==> I watched his Price's last start on MLB.tv yesterday and posted my comments. He was fine in through the 4th inning, but high pitch counts in the first two innings (20,21). He got tired in the 5th (sweating, breathing heavy) and gave up 3 runs. Maddon left him in too long in the 6th (Davey would have taken him out after the first single), gave up more hits, loaded the bases and the middle reliever let inherited runners score, and lo, it was 7-0.That was in his own, air-conditioned house. Now he will be here where it will be warm and humid (though not as hot as tomorrow and Thursday). This might be the type of pitcher you can get to with patience and fouling off pitches rather than aggression. Middle relievers are usually the weakest part of a teams bullpen, so you want to get to them, as discussed above. If the starter stays in for 7 (or even 6), you are into the setup and closer types.Our bullpen is the exception in that we have Stammen/Detwiler and even Gorzy so our middle-relief is definitely NOT weak.

  87. NatsLady - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Also, Price will have to hit, which he is not used to–another factor that might lead to fatigue.

  88. sjm308 - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    So great to see kinder &gentler disagreements today.My thoughts, Zimmerman stays in the 3 spot, Wang stays as our #5 starter for several more starts, and Det stays in the pen until SS is shut down.Question completely off topic. If we don't sign our #1 pick, do we get an additional pick the following year like we did in getting Storen. I know there has been a new CBA since then and was not sure how it works.

  89. sjm308 - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Natslady – that was just what I was saying at the gym. I think having to bat will take at least one inning away from Price, at least I am hoping for that.Go Nats!!

  90. Steady Eddie - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    JD — generally the thinking is that you only need, and only want to go to your three top starters in the postseason. With all the off days, three starters can get enough rest to keep on their "normal" schedule. So unless you really want to replace one of your top three starters, there's not a lot of value in getting another, except as insurance.I very much doubt we could get or would feel it's worth trying to get another starter beyond Gio, JZimm, and EJax, who will be our three once Stras shuts down. We already have enough insurance with the long relievers/former starters in our pen.

  91. JaneB - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    When the human body is injured (or tired), it recruits other muscles to do the work that causes the pain, or that's done in by fatigue. My bet is Zimm's head position and change in his stance is due to an unconscious, and probably non-negotiable, shift meant to protect him, do the job and cause the least pain to an injured area. He didn't just suddenly forget what to do. At this point, he can't do what he is used to doing, and what WE are used to him doing, sounds like he either needs a long DL stint or the offseason to arrive early (not wha anyone wants…we want the season to EXTEND). So he mends in November and does what he can till then.

  92. Tcostant - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

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  93. Tcostant - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Sjm on draft pick question. Yes we get a #1 pick one spot after the pick this year (so #17 I think) if we don't sign him. The thing is, you must sign that pick next year because if you don't sign that one then you don't get one of the following year. It's for a year only. BTW – Amanda wrote an article in the Washington Times stating that Nats Insiders have told her that the Nationals will no go above the amount (so about $3M) that would cost them draft picks under the new rules.

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Like it NatsLady!

  95. rabbit34 - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I'm tellin' ya, let Zimmerman go to Syracuse. If you have a broken leg, you use crutches. If you bat like Zimmerman, you go to Syracuse….or… Forget about his "face"!

  96. rabbit34 - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    How is that, MicheleS? Someone opened the door!!

  97. John C. - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    When I ponder Ryan Zimmerman's woes, two words spring to mind: David Wright.Wright is two years older than Zimmerman, and the two of them have been swapping the NL 3b Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards for the past few years. Last year Wright struggled to barely hit over .250, and his power (aided and abetted by Citi Field) was a memory. From a high of 8.1 bWAR at his peak, Wright put up consecutive seasons of 2.9, 2.5 and 1.9 bWAR over the last three seasons. Met fans weren’t booing him, but they lamented that, at age 28, he was never going to be the player they thought they had when he was putting up big seasons from age 22-25. Suddenly his contract was an albatross, and everyone agreed the Mets were going to cut ties with him as soon as they could.Now? Wright, at the age of 29, is a legit MVP candidate, well on his way to a 7+ WAR season. It’s not a contract year phenomenon – the Mets have an option on him for 2013. Zim is 27. I certainly think the injury may have gotten him off on the wrong foot, but as time goes by I am coming around to the idea that he’s just having a lousy season. He may snap out of it tomorrow, he may not snap out of it until March. But he will snap out of it, and anyone who panics and laments his status on the team at this point is being premature at best and borderline foolish.IMNSHO :-)

  98. pRAA - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    JD said… Here is something else to consider in the Wang/Detwiler debate. If we contend and make the playoffs we will need both Detwiler and CMW so it's not simply a matter of dealing with a so so 5th starter but a 4th starter as well.Nope. In the playoffs, given the scheduling only four starters (at most) are needed. And depending on how each series plays out, even the fourth starter is often not used. Was it the Yankees a few years ago who made it all the way through winning the WS on only three starters?So with Strasburg shut down, if the Nats make the playoffs and avoid injury they will have Gio, JZimm and Jackson as the first three starters – meaning they would need either Detwiler or Wang as #4. But they wouldn't need both. And since playoff rosters are reset for each series, they might be able to get away with only three starters for one of the series and add annextra reliever instead.

  99. TimDz - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Regarding Giolito:If the Nats are going to offer 3 milion, he'd be NUTS not to take it. Forget the agent…If I am his PARENT, I tell him to sign. If he flames out and has to go to college later in life, he'd STILL make more money than most of us (how many of us can say we could make anywhere NEAR three million dollars in our lifetime.If he IS as good as advertised, he can make a killer contract within ten year…

  100. 164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    I think Zim is hurt. I really do believe it is that simple. His swing is labored, no bat speed, no power, no ability to hit the fastball, and no confidence. This sort of thing generally doesn't happen overnight unless there is a physical issue at the root of it. My inclination would be to force him onto the DL, put Lombardozzi at third, put Tyler Moore in the outfield, and hope Morse (who still seems to be hitting the ball hard when he barrels it up) gets his timing back soon.If none of that works, we're in trouble.Is it just me, or is no one really missing Werth?

  101. Steady Eddie - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Letters and numbers guy — it's not "just" you, but it's close. With our offensive performance now, we could use a bat doing what his did at 6, or 7 if Desi stays as solid as he's mostly been.Or higher in the lineup if RZim has to rest a wee.

  102. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Rabbit.. Am i going to have to ground you? ;-)

  103. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Letters & Numbers…I miss Werth.. I miss him taking pitches and driving up the pitch count. I realize I am probably the only one, but still….

  104. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Some news.. We signed Koy Hill Catcher that used to play for the Cubs, He is going to Cuse. Henry is going to Cuse for Rehab (And hopefully Spin can fix him). And Cole Kimball is going to start rehab at GCL Nats

  105. Scooter - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Koi [sic] Hill! Yeah, toss him in the pond.(Koyie, actually)

  106. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Scooter.. this is what happens when I try to work. It's such a distraction (but after Mark tweeted his OBP and BA, we may want to throw him in the pond)

  107. Scooter - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Not mocking you; mocking the man's name.

  108. JD - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Steady and pRAA,You are presupposing that we make the playoffs and can do this without SS for the last month of the season.I think that this is possible but it's also not guaranteed and I also believe that you do need 4 starters in the playoffs.I think Dempster is just a question of money and relatively minor prospects.

  109. JD - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Hill makes a lot of sense for a backup catcher.

  110. JD - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    MichelleS,You aren't getting him for offense.

  111. pRAA - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    JD, you are the one who presupposed making the playoffs. You said "If we contend and make the playoffs we will need both Detwiler and CMW." No argument from me that Wang, Detwiler and/or someone else will be needed in September once Strasburg is shut down, but once they're in the playoffs they can get by with three starters plus an occasional spot start from a fourth guy.

  112. JD - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    pRAA, So my question stands. Do we acquire someone for the September run or do we have faith in both Wang and Detwiler?

  113. NCNatsie - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Isn't it great to be discussing whether we need pitchers in case we go deep into the playoffs?

  114. Steady Eddie - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    JD – I wasn't assuming anything, but simply picking up on your assumption that "If we contend and make the playoffs we will need both Detwiler and CMW so it's not simply a matter of dealing with a so so 5th starter but a 4th starter as well."I was only responding to your italicized comment above, because the way you framed the whole thing was kind of a non-sequitur, because it assumes that both CMW and Det continue to be "so-so" for most of the rest of the season. On the contrary, if CMW continues at his current level for the next month and doesn't reach the level we saw last September and in the ST game he was injured, I can't imagine the Nats will continue to rely on him as #5 for the rest of the season. But the Nats' assumption and expectation all along has been that he can return to those levels. If he consistently stays so-so for the next 2-4 starts, and doesn't build as he did last year and this ST, then (a) we might see Det as #5 by mid-July and/or (b) we could be a buyer at the deadline.On the other hand, if CMW washes out and Det looks like he did in April, no need for (b). We could get a spot start if we need one from Stammen and/or Gorzy (likely both in one game for ~4 innings each), and unless we've unloaded him first, will bring Lannan and maybe Rosenbaum up in September.In other words, we won't get to September with both CMW and Det being at their current "so-so" level as starters.

  115. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    ScooterDidn't think you were mocking Just explaining my sp error

  116. MicheleS - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Praa.i know just busting on the guys stats

  117. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    It's not just you. I miss him, too. :-)MicheleS said… Letters & Numbers… I miss Werth.. I miss him taking pitches and driving up the pitch count. I realize I am probably the only one, but still…. June 19, 2012 2:57 PM

  118. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    I also hate when work gets in the way of baseball. grrr… :-)

  119. pRAA - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    JD said… pRAA,So my question stands. Do we acquire someone for the September run or do we have faith in both Wang and Detwiler?Ask Rizzo. His vote is the only one that matters.

  120. Section 222 - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Section 222…..How about personal conversations with the parties involved.Really? Do tell. Did you speak to DJ, maybe when you went out to dinner with him as I'm sure you do regularly –Jack: Is Rizzo going to fire Eck?DJ: No way Jack. I'd quit if he did that.Or maybe you were chitchatting with Eck –Jack: So do you think you'l be fired for the Nats' lousy performance.Eck: Nah, DJ would walk, so Rizzo will never fire me.Or maybe you had a heart to heart with Rizzo –Jack: Mike, when are you going to fire Eck?Rizzo: Never Jack. Can't do it. DJ would quit.And these conversations happened in Florida during ST right? Or does one of these guys call you to get your sage advice? Yeah right.

  121. Steady Eddie - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Aw c'mon, 222 — just when Michele got rabbit under control, you couldn't resist….Isn't there a game thread that needs to be posted about now, Mark?

  122. Steady Eddie - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Shows what happens when work gets in the way of NI — Mark did it a half hour ago, and all the cool kids have already left for the new action….

  123. natsfan1a - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Hey, now, let's not sell ourselves short, Eddie. Last one in the new thread is a rotten egg! :-) all the cool kids have already left for the new action….

  124. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 19, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    If the Nats make the playoffs, they won't need a 4th OR 5th starter, especially for a 5-game set. Gio-Znn-Jackson, repeat until they send you home.

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