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One run won’t cut it for Nats

Jun 24, 2012, 10:52 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Sean Burnett gave up the game-changing, two-run homer to Matt Wieters in the eighth.

BALTIMORE — As consistent and as dominant as their pitching staff has been since Opening Day, the Nationals have known all along there will be days when they simply need to score a few more runs and take some of the pressure off those electric arms who take the mound in succession inning after inning, day after day.

That's why Ryan Zimmerman is attempting to play through a nagging shoulder injury, why the veteran third baseman received a pain-killing shot one hour before Sunday's game in what could become a recurring theme for the rest of the season.

Zimmerman knows the Nationals' lineup needs all the help it can get right now, and who better to provide that spark than a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner?

"We need to score more," he said. "That's not in question."

True, Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Orioles was a direct result of SeanRead more »

  1. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Derek Norris just hit a 3 run walkoff HR to win 4-2

  2. peric - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Derek Norris just hit a 3 run walkoff HR to win 4-2There's still Freitas.

  3. peric - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    And bringing DeRosa back, not playing Tyler Moore more, will make them that much more pathetic offensively.Davey is thinking like Riggleman … it must be a disease.

  4. Gonat - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Derek Norris will be interviewed on MLB Network right before 7:15 EST

  5. Drew - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    News and notes:Congrats to Derek Norris on his three-run (non-Nats) jack.On the farm, two promising pitchers had off days. Danny Rosenbaum and Alex Meyer took losses, each giving up four earned runs.Meyer surrendered a three-run homer in the first, but was dominant thereafter, walking two and striking out 11. His ERA is 3.51.Rosenbaum's ERA jumped to 2.76. Getting a bit concerned about Danny.In good news: Nathan Karns, a pitcher promoted recently from Hagerstown, struck out 11 today for Potomac. He's one to watch. And this: Matt Skole had the day off at Hagerstown. He pinch hit in the 9th — and swatted his 17th home run. Isn't it time Skole got his promotion to Potomac?

  6. baseballswami - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Boy, Oakland must love us right about now. You know, I am still very happy with the trade. I am proud of the good products our farm system has turned out. If other teams see that when they trade with us they get high-quality prospects, then maybe they will want to trade with us. It's a great trade when both sides win. These guys sure do make themselves at home quickly in Oakland, don't they?

  7. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Hey, fellas: who would you rather have? Derek Norris and his major league total of one home run and soft-tossing Tommy Milone (whom the AL will adjust to, IMHO), or Gio with his nine wins and more than 100 strikeouts?Give me Gio eight days to Sunday. No question. Rizzo's second-best deal ever (after getting Mickey Morse for Ryan Langershlang).

  8. baseballswami - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Oh, definitely Gio – just proud of our former kids and happy for them.

  9. Gonat - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Sunshine, the Gio trade was a matter of now vs the future. Working out for both teams. Won't know for years how the whole trade works over time. Nats got an ace now. Milone has worked out great for them. Much credit on the Morse trade was from Riggleman who was the bench coach and manager in Seattle.

  10. Drew - Jun 24, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    I'm glad to have Gio. He's been great.Still, it will be years before we can make a good assessment of the deal. Norris just came up and A.J. Cole is a 20-year-old trying to figure it out in Low-A ball.

  11. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    More fan dilemmas — the Mets losing is a good thing for us. But if the yankees beat them with radickey on the mound they will be even more obnoxious and pompous. I will be so glad when baseball is back to normal. Hope our pitchers aren't rusty with their hitting. Real baseball is back!! Designated who????

  12. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    I would still like to know the overall team avg, runs per game, hits, rbi, etc.. now compared to the 2007-2009 teams. My theory is that this club statistically may be the worst since 2005. This also proves winning teams all have great pitching. with that said this team may make post season, but will be out quickly if they don't get some bats. I think those bats are in their farm system and that is a good sign.

  14. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    I am so tired Zim and Morse being the weak part of the order and i am done with watching Espi bat left handed. That KO double play was TERRIBLE!!!

  15. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Burnett gets a mulligan from me today, he is not HRod, he simply got beat, but he wins more than loses

  16. terpman33 - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    I don't see why Ryan Z. just wont do this surgery that will have his shoulder right. The estimate is 4 to 6 weeks. If he were to have the surgery now, 6 weeks from now would be the first week of August. If you figure two weeks for rehab, he would still have half of August and all of September to help the team. I'd rather have him at 100% than 50%….but I digress. Maybe these cortisone shots will do the trick, but I'd rather he just do the surgery now and be fully ready for the stretch run. Anyhow, lets take 3 out of 4 from the Rockies, and as usual, GYFNG!!!!

  17. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    I hope they know what they are doing with Zim. The painkillers obviously worked today, especially on that RBI single he drove to left-center. He looked very close to the old Zim on that one.Jack Nicklaus took regular cortisone shots, for years, to overcome hip pain. He eventually had to have hip replacement surgery.The Nats' pitching staff deserved 3 wins in Baltimore, and the NATS' offense deserved to lose 3. Only 5 runs in 3 games for the offense. It's got to get better than that.

  18. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Praying for Zim's shoulder. That's not the worst body part we have ever prayed for, is it?

  19. Gonat - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    RA Dickey is human. Just gave up a 3 run dinger to Swisher!

  20. Section 135 - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Why is Lombo in over Moore. And why not use Corey Brown in LF instead of Lombo. At least he is a natural outfielder. Lombo's a good player, and may end up being a more valuable 2nd baseman than Espi, but you can't tell me he has much value in the OF with his extreme lack of power. And he hasn't even been getting on base much lately. I say get rid of Nand and DeRosa, use Lombo to spell Espi or Zim, and put Moore or Brown in LF.

  21. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    Tyler Moore has a hot bat, but he looks very uncomfortable in the OF. It's a tough juggling act to compromise the defense in order to bring in the bat.

  22. Feel Wood - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    baseballswami said… Praying for Zim's shoulder. That's not the worst body part we have ever prayed for, is it?We should all pray for Detwiler's buttocks. Specifically, that he develops some.

  23. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    All three rookies are playing out of their natural positions. Bryce has had a lot more time and training and looks the part now. Lombo is next in experience and looking better every game. Moore is a good athlete – he will probably follow the Morse -mode and learn enough to not hurt the team. I love his approach – he actually takes pitches and walks, so does Lombo. We need those things in the game instead of giant swings that are intended to hit the ball out of state but end up in the catcher's mitt.

  24. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Feel Wood – cookies, lots of cookies.

  25. Doc - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Lefty has been consistently good for the Nats, which is more than we can say about the offense.Have to agree with peric—Davey and his favoring of vets, is starting to revive memories of Uncle Jimmy.Before we blame Zim for our offensive woes, or worry about Werth's lack of presence, I think that there are about 6 other guys who need to bring a few runs home. I don't see DeRosa contributing more than Cory Brown or our guy Tyler Moore.

  26. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    In the second Ray-Phills game the Phills have just walked five guys in the eighth. 6-3 Rays.

  27. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    You guys keep second guessing Davey. We have now lost fewer games then any team in the entire National League.I sure hope Davey keeps screwing up at the same rate for the rest of the season.

  28. realdealnats - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Harper, Lombo, and Moore for the most part are as good or better than any of the vets on the team at looking pitches over and working the count for their pitch. Is this a case of someone schooling them well in the minors, or a case of someone in the majors not having time to mess them up yet. Davey knows everything and I know nothing, but I do find this situation interesting. Anyone else?

  29. realdealnats - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Re-posting from the Instant Analysis thread:I'm not saying I even want to do it, BUT if we were to go outside the organization for a BAT, and an extra quality STARTER to replace Stras in September, and putting on hold who we'd have to give up:1) who would be that BAT? (and at what position)2) who would be that STARTER?

  30. rogieshan - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Could we please instill into the player the idea that a walk is as good as a hit? Davey Johnson needs to redefine the meaning of being "selective aggressive" to his players, because clearly the message is lost in translation.

  31. rogieshan - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    realdealnats asked, "who would be that BAT?"Well, a Kevin Youkilis-type hitter that knows how to work a pitcher and grind out at-bats would be nice. Interesting how the White Sox only paid a dime and a song to acquire him.

  32. Tcostant - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Ever time I see Harper gO for a double with less than two out, I know he just doesn't want another Zimm double play! And Zimm has to get Harper to 3G there…

  33. Gonat - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Another loss for Cliff Lee

  34. sjm308 - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    If you looked at Youkilis' numbers not just this year but also toward the end of last, you would figure out why they paid a dime and a song. Hope the song is a good one but Youkilis is not what this team needs. We are young and need to stay young. I am for bringing Brown up and moving Nady. That would make us even younger. I will be ok with Tracy coming back and Werth will also be a plus but we don't need the Juan Pierre's, Kevin Youkilis that were good to very good 5 years ago. Like Seamhead pointed out. We are 12 games over .500, it looks like losing 2 of 3 to the O's did not cost us in the standings and we are now headed to one of the weaker teams in the league. Just hope our pitchers remember how to hit.Go Nats! on the bet situation, it appears I will be wearing a Jay Gibbons jersey to a game next year with my nephew. Please have pity on me that night. (hoping I can keep a nationals hat on & even if he says no, I plan to bring it and there is no way he will stop his favorite uncle once its on my head).

  35. sjm308 - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    A few more things.1. How many of you are already watching the wild-card situation? I was honestly rooting for just about every American League team this week-end.2. If the Yankee hold on we will be up 3.5 on the Mets and 4 on the Braves. Does anyone else here worry that the Marlins could get hot again like they did in May? With the Braves losing their best pitcher I feel like the Marlins have the most talent in the division (besides the home town hero's of course). Its going to be an exciting 3 months!!Go Nats!!

  36. NatsNut - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    AMEN!baseballswami said……I will be so glad when baseball is back to normal. Hope our pitchers aren't rusty with their hitting. Real baseball is back!! Designated who????

  37. peric - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Uh Drew I read NationalsProspects.com religiously and the Nationals Farm Authority. Not sure I need any additional news and notes …and as for Nate Karns … I've been talking him up since the Nats drafted him. He is an older prospect (due to a year off due to injury) at age 24 so he is an older prospect. Still, it says a lot that an older prospect was added to the watch list over at NationalsProspects and for that matter the Nats Farm Authority.

  38. Gonat - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    HenRod threw another scoreless inning for Syracuse tonight and again walked the tightrope. 2 more walks in his inning of work.

  39. peric - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Harper, Lombo, and Moore for the most part are as good or better than any of the vets on the team at looking pitches over and working the count for their pitch.Its not at all Davey Johnson like to prefer an 0 – 4 in Potomac Mark DeRosa over any of these and even Chris Marerro? But, he may have promised him something I don't know … it makes little to no sense to bring him back at this point.Yep Tyler Moore has a mature bat but he doesn't have a position. Unfortunately, the Nats made the mistake of paying out both $$$ and years to Jayson Werth. Werth has become an enormous volcanic lava plug blocking younger players who are in fact better! But that is a hindsight … nevertheless most in baseball considered it very poor move on the part of the Nats just for that reason.And that is why just Harper is really given access to a starting slot at this point. I think it may make sense to trade LaRoche to open up another, however, one must seriously consider moving Ryan Zimmerman to first base. NOW and not next year. This is the second year he has been injured for an extended period of time and he isn't getting any younger. So, without injuries its going to be a problem working young fast developing prospects into the Nat's lineup. A really hard nut to crack unless Werth gets benched. That is a possibility. And Zim could end up on the DL. And there are trade possibilities as well.

  40. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    The thought of him coming back gives me nightmares. Is he really better than someone else who would lose their job because of him? Can't think of one of those guys I would trust less than him. He is a puzzle – Wang is a puzzle. Good luck with that.

  41. peric - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    The Chiefs have come all the way back from way under .500 to over now. The lineup they currently feature appears to be raking. Pitching has settled down. H-Rod, Gonat, is better than what they had (Hassan Pena, Corey Van Allen) waaaaaaaay better. Believe it.

  42. peric - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    The thought of him coming back gives me nightmares. Is he really better than someone else who would lose their job because of him?Likely why you don't see Corey Brown and instead get Roger Bernadina. Likely why Tyler Moore gets one game in inter league when he should be in every single one. Lombo isn't in left field too often. Because what happens when Werth, the enormous volcanic lava plug, comes back? Claims he is chomping at the bit to hit .230 again. That was a HUGE mistake on the part of ownership and Mike Rizzo, I suspect the former more than the latter. Still … No one's is perfect they will make mistakes, the Yankees have made plenty … SF appears to finally be getting something from theirs this season. The issue I have is well, why not do what the Yankees do, call it a mistake and bench the guy or run him through waivers to get him to AAA. Instead the Nats juxtapose guys like Werth in the starting lineup because of what they are paid. I see no reason for that.

  43. realdealnats - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Rogieshan, I agree with SJM in thinking Youkilis is not the answer. I'm asking about a real heavy duty bat–like a Victorino but not necessarily him at his age and batting .256 or thereabouts–and there may not be one available who fits our mold from any of the teams looking to deal or dump come deadline time. Dempster might be a pitcher to go after. I'm guessing the bidding will be too high for Hamels and Garza.For some reason I believe Det will come around consistency-wise and be a good #5 who will b/c a good #4 come mid-September. We could limp in with Wang or Stammen at #5 if we don't trade. Drew back will help the BP a lot and maybe a guy like Kimball will actually make it back whole. Or Henry for the 6th or 7th inning.But how do you keep Moore in the game when Werth is back? How often can you rotate him with LaRoche? And I imagine Werth comes back in right field moving Morse to left and if Morse isn't hitting in left–the only reason to rotate Moore there–then we are probably sunk anyway IMO. So do we start rotating Moore in right to ease Werth back in–making him learn still another position? And speaking of LF–much the same applies to Lombo unless he is holding down the fort with DeRosa at 3B in case of a Zim surgery. Or do Moore and Lombo ride the bench more than ever in order to PH? B/c I don't think trading LaRoche is the way to go. In fact I'd pick up Adam's option for 2013 and try to resign Edwin Jackson for another 2-3 years. Given some luck I think we could steal a WS with what we have, but it would require a move or two to strategically better those odds–but how is a complicated answer. Rizzo will have to make some tough (non-)decisions.

  44. peric - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    I would still like to know the overall team avg, runs per game, hits, rbi, etc.. now compared to the 2007-2009 teams. Dunn and Willigham weren't as good as you think.2012 0.311 wOBA -25.1 bRAA2011 0.312 wOBA -40.1 bRAA2010 0.318 wOBA -31.8 bRAA2009 0.333 wOBA 8.1 bRAAWhat this should tell you is that Dunn, Willingham, and Werth weren't and aren't much of an improvement. The bRAA (and yes the R stands for runs) is best when its a big positive number. A lot was lost when Nick Johnson was traded hitting wise and Zim had a great year in 2009 as did Dunn. The 2012 vs 2011 bRAA should also indicate that Harper is far better than that numbskull Dave Nicols thinks he is. But then Dave is a pretty dim bulb where Nats bloggers are concerned. Yes Dave he is holding the Nats up right now offensively. Yes, Davey, Harper should be an All Star.

  45. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Peric… thank you for the stats, very interesting.

  46. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    peric… totally agree on Harper, but looking at stats can one state that Nats offense has not improved significantly at all in the 8 years here?In other words, is it all pitching and if that is the case, then there is no such thing as too many pitchers?

  47. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I am actually rooting for the Yankees at this hour, they are up on Mets 6-5, 2 outs bottom of 9th with one one. ….. please forgive me… Go yanks, ugh, lol

  48. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    Yes, 6-5 final, I think we are up 3 1/2 on Mets going into Colorado.good night all!

  49. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Holy Moley — I know Coors field is a hitters fantasy, but . . . I was just looking at the stats — and the Rockies do not have a single starter (6 starts or more) with an ERA lower than 5.25A very rough calculation (looking at team splits) would seem that playing at Coors adds 0.55 to the overall ERA. So, perhaps a normalized ERA for these guys makes their best starter at 4.70?Perhaps even the Nats can do some hitting this week?

  50. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    Just saw on twitter that the Nats team plane had to divert to another city due to bad storms. Seems like they will be taking a bus to Denver.Bad start to the trip? Rockies pitching staff is in disarray. Four guys starting every four days and getting 75 pitches or some such thing. I sincerely and truly hope the Nats don't look at this and laugh about how these games will be batting practice. You know all these guys turn into cy young when the Nats arrive. Now if we can't score some runs in this series, then I will start to worry. If you had told me a month ago that we would be in first by three and a half after this last stretch I would have jumped for joy. So I guess I better start jumping. Go Nats!

  51. Drew - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    Uh Peric, I don't care what you read.Not sure why you continue to be an arrogant prat.

  52. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    From Twitter:Nationals land safe/sound at Denver Airport. Now all's left is bus to hotel. 4 hot days (arid temps push 100 on Mon.) at Coors Field await!

  53. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 5:39 AM

    Re: saves. Yes, I admit it would have been nice to see Clip in the 8th pitching to the heart of the O’s lineup. But Burnett’s been excellent–just not perfect.The real problem is that in three games in a “hitter’s park” the Nats managed exactly five (count ‘em, FIVE) runs in three games. Against Arrieta (ERA 5.55), one measly run in seven innings.Harper hit and hustled. Ryan Zimmerman got injected with a painkiller, and hit the RBI single (and another hit, finally defeating the BAPIP gods). Where was everyone else? I’m tired of hearing that it’s still “spring training” for Morse.*Camden Yards ==>This is an extreme hitter’s park. For every 100 runs scored in the average park, 111 are scored here. For every 100 home runs hit in the average park, 126 are hit here. This equates to a mean park factor of 118.

  54. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    The Mets and Braves lost, the Phills lost two. Somehow we lead the East by 3 1/2 games and the defending NL East champs are NINE, count 'em, nine games behind your Washington Nationals! It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood!Have I ever told you all that I really don't like the Phillies, or their phans?

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Man….the Nats organization sure is lucky considering all the HUGE mistakes they make.

  56. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Yep, Jack, we sure are lucky that we've lost fewer games then anybody else in the NL when our skipper doesn't play the right guys? Why just imagine how good our record would be if Davey just took tweets from the Nats Insiders so he'd know which guys to play!

  57. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Comment by Zim: "Everyone in this game plays banged up; there's nobody in any locker room that's close to 100 percent, I would say."When we get Werth back not only will it be like a trade without losing a player, but he will be all healed and hopefully "close" to 100 percent.

  58. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Joe…Davey only needs to listen to our self anointed resident genius. That way Rizzo can spend all his time dreamng up more HUGE mistakes.

  59. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    How about this line: 11 starts, 3.72 ERA , and not one win in those 11 starts. That would be the line for Cliff Lee. Wow!

  60. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Speaking of pitching, Bos is serving up that refreshing red beverage again.

  61. alexva - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    @JSh & NJ in FLA, here here! what is wrong with some fans. we were expecting to compete for a wild card berth, not best record in the league. enjoy the ride people.as for Zimm, if surgery is the answer do it now. there is no way he can make it through the season on pain shots without doing further damage.

  62. Feel Wood - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    The real problem is that in three games in a “hitter’s park” the Nats managed exactly five (count ‘em, FIVE) runs in three games.And how many runs did the Orioles manage in three games in this extreme hitter's park? Exactly five. Count 'em, FIVE. Your point?

  63. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    And a note to Rizzo….. while in Colorado, why not ask about Cargo? It can't hurt to ask.

  64. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Goooood morning Vietnam, lol!

  65. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Feel Wood, I'm not an O's fan. I don't care that they can't hit in their own house, that's their problem. Kudos to our pitching staff. I'm worried about our problems.

  66. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Record setting heat in Denver this week and some altitude to deal with. Did anyone think it might get easier now? Not so much. On another note – I watch baseball that is not Nats-related. I think it's really easy to like the guys on our team. Not a bad-character guy in the bunch that I can see. Interesting thing , though – you often see guys on other teams with these little dances and patty -cake things or group jump- and-bumps. Our guys are pretty low key with their celebrating – you see them chatting and laughing, but they are pretty tame. Glad they are focused on the game. Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in the bullpen sometime, though?

  67. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    alexva==> doesn't sound like Zim's going to have the surgery during the season. He said he's going to have sporadic shots (next one after the ASG) and play through it. That could cause bone chips which they will clean up in postseason surgery, if needed.Somewhere there was an estimate of 4-6 weeks recovery time (plus rehab) from that type of shoulder surgery and he could be back mid-August. I dunno. Seems optimistic to me, and even with the optimism, that's a lot of games to miss. I guess RZ is saying, I'll play the full season at 80%, rather than miss 50 games and hope for 100%.

  68. NCNatsie - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    NatsJack, your comment ("Man….the Nats organization sure is lucky considering all the HUGE mistakes they make.")begs the following question to Peric:How many games ahead of the NL East field would the Nats be right now if you had been making all the decisions since Spring Training and had no more or less "luck" than Davy?

  69. Steady Eddie - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM

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  70. Steady Eddie - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    NatsLady — along with everything else in Zim's calculus you described, there's the point that even if he did come back 100% in 4-6 weeks, how long would it take him to get into a rhythm? Your "full 80% rather than some and hope for 100%" is on target, and still only applies to his bat.And there's his fielding, which despite the whiners here remains at an elite level. In all the talk about "moves that have to be made" in the infield (talk that thankfully is mostly with the armchair GMs here and at similar sites — no, I know there ARE no other Nats sites anywhere near this level, seriously), the Nats organization itself — Rizzo and Davey — are sending out no such signals. That's fortunate because in all the whining, there seems to be a massive taking for granted that anyone could produce the defense this infield is producing if we just traded ALR or moved Zim to first. Lombo's arm is OK as a backup at 3d but is no replacement and ALR has made savings digs on bouncing throws beyond count this year, not to mention his own multiple game-saving grabs. The infield defense has not only been great in its own right, it's been a crucial factor in the greatness of our pitching, pen as well as rotation. Our pitchers are phenomenal themselves but they've been freed to be as effectively aggressive as they've been because they know they have a defense that will back them up and take care of the contact that they've been instructed to pitch to. Weaken the defense on the rash assumption that a replacement would be just as good and the pitching will reflect the poorer results.This is a whole integrated concept that Rizzo has been building and Davey carrying out with great skill. That's not to say the offense doesn't need to improve substantially because it obviously does. But not with infield tinkering that takes for granted how important our infield defense has been to our pitching.

  71. Major Jammage - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Long time lurker, first time poster.Pitching has been lights out and we shouldn't expect to continue on this historical pace for the year, but then again our hitting should pick up a bit.When I look at the potential options for trades, signings to help our hitting, I just don't see where the room is. The outfield is spoken for (Werth, Harper, Morse), the infield is as well, catcher is locked up longer term (Ramos, Flores). The only position player that doesn't seem to have a lock is Espinosa, and he's actually been improving as of late.So long story short, we've got a young team that hopefully can improve its hitting as it matures. Desmond is a positive example of that hopefully.

  72. ehay2k - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    OK, first off, I totally agree with Swami – this is such a good group of guys. So easy to root for the team (and winning certainly helps.) Second, I did not post during the game – which I listened to on the radio so I could hear the groans from Charlie and Dave during every Nationals at bat. After the loss, which I certainly don't blame on Burnett, I wanted to let time temper my feelings. However, after sleeping on it, I still feel it is time to get back on my soapbox and say FIRE RICK ECKSTEIN!!! (Or at least get him some help.)Our players clearly have NO PLAN for the opposing pitcher. "Swing at a pitch that looks good" is Eckstein's only apparent instruction. Then he ruins their batting eyes with his BP techniques. Lombo was patiently killing it, now he swings and misses. Didn't Lombo, Zimm, and Harper treat us to a 7 or 8 pitch inning? Really? This is Jake Arrieta, not Nolan Ryan. Those guys used to know how to take pitches. Now it's "Let's swing and hope we hit one. " Getting one run off of Arrieta, at OPCY, is a an embarrassment. He is just not that good of a pitcher (I believe 5.83 ERA going into the game.) We just swung at bad pitches, and couldn't hit good ones. That is NOT the mark of a good hitting instructor.So please Please PLEASE Rizzo and Davey, make a change at hitting instructor. If Eck is just too nice a guy to fire, get him some help. But don't leave things as they are. The status quo stinks. We could very well have won 50 games by now if we could just hit to the NL average.

  73. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Actually, Arrieta can be a good pitcher–just not very often. His ERA comes from games where he gave up 9, 7, 6 ER etc. A few games he went 7 or 8 with 0 or 1. Streaky, not the guy who goes out and gives a "quality start" every fifth day. Here is his game log from baseball reference (h/t CitizensofNatsTown).Arrieta game log http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=arrieja01&t=p&year=

  74. Steady Eddie - Jun 25, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Major — please feel free to post more, we can always use a calm and bigger picture perspective around these passionate but sometimes a little overheated precincts (a bit much of the "what have you done for me in the last five minutes?" view can dominate, especially in the game threads, win or lose).

  75. NCNatsie - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Major J, I second Steady Eddie's motion of welcome, and hope you will bring your brother Serious and your buddy Comesup Whacking in, too.

  76. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Our pitchers' one of tougher tests will come in Coors Field. We have managed pretty well in GABP, Fenway, and Rogers so far. Should be interesting.

  77. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    FS, pitchers did fine in CY, also.

  78. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Major, another second to Steady Eddie, and one point: the position you're overlooking, Bench, is the critical one for good teams trying to get better. The Big Hairy-Chested Guys.

  79. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    when does tracy get back?

  80. rogieshan - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    The east division is ours to lose.Yes, we should be happy that it's a late June and the team is sitting in first place. But, it's still a shame given the way the pitching staff has performed to date that we're not running away from the pack by a wide margin. And even though the team looks poised to reach post-season, I'd hate to see it done solely on the back of the arms that will be minus its ace Strasburg come playoff time. I don't know if Eckstein is the main reason for the anemic offense, since he appears to have full support of Davey Johnson and the players, and looks to be only doing exactly what he was assigned to do, that is, faithfully and meticulously preaching the manager's own "selective aggressive" hitting philosophy.One of Rizzo's biggest tasks in the off-season was to upgrade the bench. Has he? I know Lombardozzi is a key piece of the puzzle, and Chad Tracy was proving his value before he got hurt. But really, how can the GM defend what DeRosa, Nady, Ankiel and Bernadina have delivered thus far?

  81. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Bryce Harper clearly is killing the ball on the road. Not sure why he doesn't do as well in Nats Park. His road splits are .313/.373/.525/.898 Yesterday was a good sign for Bryce with 2 hits including that hustle double.Bryce hits for more power in day games but his BA is almost identical between day and night games .283 vs .287This is what I found interesting about Bryce. He is "Mr. Sunday" and this isn't a small sample size as he has played about 9 weeks now and 9 Sundays and has started 8 games as he sat on June 10th and had that memorable pinch-hit walk and scored the winning run from 1st on Bernadina's double.Every Sunday he has started he has 2 hits except that 1st Sunday in LA where he went 1 for 3 with a walk.His Sunday Batting Average is exactly .500 and his OBP is .583Most Sunday games have been day games and he isn't hitting better in day games overall. Whatever Bryce is doing on Sunday and on road games he needs to try to replicate to all other days of the week and games at Nats Park.

  82. alexva - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    NatsLady, I'm afraid you're right but what worries me is a playing on pain killers and doing more serious damage. Both to his body and his hitting and fielding techniques. I realize he still has value at 80% and we will miss what he provides in the short term but my preference is to get him right. Even if it takes longer that 4-6 weeks.

  83. alexva - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    @Ghost, thankfully he is not "Mr. Transit of Venus"

  84. ehay2k - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    alexva – why must you bring up Matt Stairs? ;-)

  85. sjm308 - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    SteadyE – so glad to see someone else treasures defense & its a great post. This is why I am ok with LaRoche hitting just .250 and even Zimm struggling. We just don't give the other team many extra runs and our range at all 4 positions has to be one of the best in baseball.I realize we are not hitting but look where we are with great pitching and very good defense. Even Harper is getting better as he learns the outfield and when Werth comes back that gives us plus defenders just about everywhere but leftfield. Soul might be right about the bench, but I feel comfortable with Ankiel or Bernadina entering in the 8th for defense, I like Lombo and what he brings and I think Moore will be a fine replacement for ALR when he needs a break. Tracy certainly proved a valuable piece before his injury and if he comes back strong, I think we will be fine. No trades for aging vets, lets just stay in first place with what so far is not really broken. Can we hit better? Of course we can, but will we? Have to think so.Go Nats!

  86. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    rogieshan said…The east division is ours to lose.that is the bottom line and best post of the day so far

  87. mick - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    To add to sjm 308's point, I would not add any free agent unless there is a devastating injury of some sorts. I think you use 2012 as a stepping stone in that, yes, we can make post season but not at all costs, let us remember that Strass will be shut down so 2012 really was never suppose to be the year we go to a World Series. In other words, if you are going to spend money on a high price free agent or make a blockbuster trade, why not do this in early 2013 when we will know exactly what holes are left to fill?

  88. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    If you are going to spend money on a high price free agent or make a blockbuster trade, why not do this in early 2013 when we will know exactly what holes are left to fill? Because you never know what tomorrow brings. There is no "supposed to win" year. The year you win is the year you win. If anyone could control it, it would be the Yankees, and they can't. You take your chances when they come, because they don't come often.

  89. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    That said, they already spent a good chunk of the farm, and well IMO, on Gio, and a fair chunk of cash on EJax, not to mention extending several players. So they are not exactly sitting out this hand, or mortgaging the future. Should they get some expensive whatnot? Depends on who it is, and the price. Maybe DeRosa will come back as the guy Davey wanted in the first place–it could happen. Maybe Solano and Tyler Moore really are the hitters they need–they haven't proved otherwise yet. Maybe Michael Morse will finish his Own Private Spring Training soon–we can but hope. Maybe Werth coming back will light a fire under somebody. FWIW, I'm concerned about Zim long-term, if he keeps trying to play hurt now, because he thinks this may be the year they get a shot. He's still too young to risk blowing out something permanently.They don't actually need all that much help, with this pitching, just a run or two here and there might be enough. Which is good, because that's about all this roster will get, this year.

  90. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Just adding another welcome to "Major Jammage" (nice moniker, btw). Hope to see more lurkers become posters. :-)

  91. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 25, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Indeed, 1a. Because goodness knows we need some new talent in here.

  92. realdealnats - Jun 25, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Agree with Major Jammage in all but one thing. If the Cubs are really trying to dump Demptster's salary and it's mostly a case of money and only minor talent, then I say do it b/c this could be the year. Basically I agree to stay the course and go with youth and let them work things out like Desi has done this year and I believe Espi will do/is doing. But man, folks, we gotta a real chance this year and if possible grab a good starter. Plus, DC is now a place players want to come. Like Jackson. Sign Jackson for 2-3 years and maybe Dempster for a couple, and then be patient with Purke, Meyer, and Giolito if we sign him. This core of young players is great skillwise and character wise. And I love how they talk about the game with each other all game long too. GYFNGoGo

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 57 --
ATLANTA 71 65 7.0
MIAMI 68 68 11.0
NEW YORK 63 73 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 73 15.5
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 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

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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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