Skip to content

Game 72: Nats at Rockies

Jun 26, 2012, 8:56 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
The Nats try to bounce back tonight in Game 2 of 4 at Coors Field.

They've lost seven of 10, during which time they've scored an average of 2.5 runs per game while posting a collective .558 OPS. (If they were one individual player, that would rank 163rd of 164 qualifying major-league hitters, ahead of only Kurt Suzuki.) Yet the Nationals arrive at Coors Field this evening still holding a 3 1/2-game lead in the NL East over both the Braves and Mets, the second-largest lead of any of baseball's six first-place clubs.

Make no mistake, though: The Nats need to start hitting. They know this, and they know they've been presented a great opportunity to start clicking offensively this week in the mile-high air of Denver, against a Rockies pitching staff that owns the majors' worst ERA (5.29) by leaps and bounds.

They couldn't make a dent into Jeff Francis or Josh Roenicke last night. They'll attempt to do it tonight against rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich (who has lost his last three starts) and whatever reliever Rockies manager Jim Tracy plucks from his bullpen around the fifth or sixth inning.

Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, seeks to accomplish what Stephen Strasburg could not last night: Earn his 10th win of the season. As you know, I'm not in Colorado for this series, but please continue the conversation below, and I'll even attempt to chime in with some of my own thoughts during the game…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at COLORADO ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 8:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 91 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS (41-30)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse

Read more »

323 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. baseballjones - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    I didnt know the temperatures ever reached the 90s in Colorado.Wonder what effect the thin air will have on Gio's curveball. Here's hoping none.

  2. JamesFan - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    They sure made a weak pitcher look terrific last night.

  3. fresh2death1997 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Brad Lidge is released.

  4. Kirbs - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    So is this Friedrich guy is the next cy young award winner, right?

  5. Kirbs - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    I just read that Zack Greinke is going to be on the block if he won't sign an extension….

  6. Old Wino - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Gio time. Bats come alive toight. Let's think positive.

  7. JamesFan - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Greinke is a head case and already turned down $100 million offered by the Nats. I wouldn't exchange any of our starters for him. We don't need pitching.

  8. Old Wino - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    toight = tonight (silly phones)

  9. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Go, GIO!! Go, NATS BATS!!Won't be watching again due to the late start, but hope to see a happy game results email in my in-box tomorrow morning.

  10. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    GO GIO! !! GO BATS!!I think Ian has a huge night tonight!GYFNG!

  11. peric - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Greinke is a head case and already turned down $100 million offered by the Nats.Last I read he refused the deal because the trade for him would have been so egregious it would have crippled the Nat's then just glimmering chances of making a winner. That doesn't sound like a head case?The guy is listed as one of the top pitchers … in fact Fangraphs hands him a higher WAR than Strasburg or Gio. A trade for Grienke would be extremely expensive. He is going to test the free agent waters which is something the Nats sought to avoid if they could by signing him long term in advance of the trade. Now, Grienke will get to test the free agent waters … as will Edwin Jackson, once again, if he is not signed to an extension.

  12. m20832 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Morse breakout game!GYFNG!!!

  13. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Njack,More interesting to me is this question. Is Eck an effective major league hitting coach….now what Davey feels…..you eye tell you what?I know first hand like you…..very smart, hard working like nobody else….Effective?

  14. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Looks like a young middling pitcher with potential:but it’s not fair to give up on any of the following young pitchers: Drew Pomeranz, Juan Nicasio, Alex White, Tyler Chatwood, ***Christian Friedrich***, and even the now somewhat controversial Jhoulys Chacin.

  15. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    who only gave up 4 runs against the Texas Rangers Saturday…Extrapolation assuming Nats offense is 50% of Texas (its a bigger state after all)…We should get 2 runs, maybe 2.5

  16. NatsNut - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    okay, ya'll. Here's your chance to dissect the lineup, change it into 10 other versions that are better, then tell us all about the trades, acquisitions, call-ups, DFAs that will make the lineup so much better and make us win tonight. I'm waiting with bated breath!

  17. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    NatsNutMake that 2 beers!

  18. Section 222 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Section 222 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    One of the MASN talking heads this morning (the white haired guy who sometimes has Feel's brother Phil on his show) made an interesting point this morning. He noted that the season can be divided into 9 18-game units. And the O's have just finished the fourth of those. (In this day and age, perhaps we'd call them "tranches."). He noted that in 3 of the 4 18 game stretches so far, the O's had gone 11-7. In the other, they were 8-10. He talked about the O's consistency, blah blah blah.So the Nats play their 72nd game tonight. If they win, their records in the 4 tranches will be as follows:Games 1-18 — 14-419-36 — 8-1037-54 — 10-855-72 — 10-8.A couple of things worth mentioning — obvious I know, but still:1. Our hot start is the gift that keeps on giving.2. If we can win tonight, and go just 10-8 in each 18 game set the rest of the way, we'll finish with 92 wins.3. But if we go 8-10, we finish with 82 wins.So the difference between the the playoff bound team we all hope for and mediocre result that mick and some others fear, if not expect, is just 2 missed opportunities every 18 games. I feel like we've had about four of those games in the two weeks (the 14 inning game vs. the Yanks, both Orioles losses, and last night). Let's hope our bats pick it up and we start to win a few of those opportunities.

  20. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Njack,Second Question please…..not sure if you get the channel but MASN has a baseball show with Phil Wood and Mel A. and ex o's soft tossing lefty Johnson…..huge apologists for O's and sometimes Nats.The discussion just turned to the failure of the off season to get the bats Johnson wanted off the bench. Listed all the failed off season moves…..Do you feel like Rizzo accomplished the bench Johnson asked for this past off season?

  21. JD - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    JayB, The issue isn't the bench. In fact Tracy, Lombo and even Nady have had some big game deciding hits in the 1st half and that's all you can expect from bench players. The issue is the regular lineup is not producing to expectations and this has been analyzed to death here. For whatever reason Zim, Morse and Espi are not doing as well as was expected and this is why we are having trouble scoring runs. You repeating the same line over and over but you still haven't said who the players you wanted that would get us the extra 10 wins. Once you do that we'll see the comparable WAR for these players vs. our bench and them will have an intelligent discussion rather than this parrot like repetition.

  22. JD - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Failed off season moves my A**. Last I checked we have Gio and EJax producing like crazy and BTW keeping us in 1st place by 3.5 games.

  23. NatsLady - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    The Rockies fired (er, reassigned) their pitching coach today.Rox vs. Natshttp://heavenandhelton.blogspot.com/2012/06/lineup-card-rockies-vs-nationals-6-26.html

  24. Section 135 - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Davey's inability to rest his hurt players and/or adjust his lineup so that there are not 4 automatic outs in a row is killing this team. You don't keep running guys out there hoping to get them going. We are half way through the season. Putting Zim out there every day when its clear he has no power only hurts him and the team. Laroche needs more rest, and Morse should bat lower until he adjusts. Moore needs to bat higher so he is not continually stranded by the bottom of the order.

  25. smurff - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Sec 135, great idea. Let's bench Zim and LaRoche. So, Morse goes to first ( and down in the lineup), DeRosa to Third, and your choice of Ankiel or Bernie in the OF.Your turn now– what's your batting order with that lineup?

  26. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    While it is hind sight to some extent I did also advocate signing Micheal Cuddyard and Juan Pierre as I recall…..My job is not to pick the players…that is Rizzo's job. You can easily find 10 bats that the Nats could have signed….Carlos Beltran for example….that other teams spent on and are paying off great. Carlos B in LF all year would have made this team 10 wins better. Harper still would be here because of injury but had Jason W and Morse not been hurt the worst case was Harper got more time to learn at AAA and the Development plan was not rushed. Work your WAR stats on that one.

  27. do1teach1 - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Uh oh.I checked the starters we'll face the next ten games:KoufaxCy YoungMathewsonSeaverVerlanderGibsonDenny McLain (Tigers Version)Big UnitVida BlueMarichalSo please, no surprise and no disappointment if our offense doesn't wake up. Nobody could hit these guys!

  28. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Adding JD to the list of buying a beverage of choice.. (dang that list is getting long)…

  29. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    MicheleS, we need someone with a Costco membership. That way, we could purchase our "payback" beverages in bulk. Of course, then we'd have to figure out a delivery method… :-)

  30. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    JayB.. serious question (no snark intended), when some of these offseason moves were happening.. Werth was healthy in OF (Either CF or RF), Morse was healthy and in LF (LaRoche being at 1B), and everyone knew Harper was coming up at some point this season whether is was April or in June. So my question is why would Carlos B come to the Nats when he could possibly be only a Part Time Player or Cudduyer as well? In the off season, No OF's were interested in coming here because they didn't think they could start. So which potential backup would come here? I think that would be a more an apppropriate question to ask.

  31. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    OOO 1A.. I have that Costco Membership!!!! Now the delivery method.. .hmmm.. Nats Insider Party would be a good place to do it at….. but how to bring beverages to an establishment, that might be the only issue…

  32. smurff - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Do1teach1,I nominate your latest post for Post of the Week. I'll have to do some research to see if I Should write you in for the All-Star posters game (25 votes online!)..

  33. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Tracy worked out well, the pitching worked out well. I agree that it's the regular position players that need to hit more consistently. Pinch hitters can have an impact, but not nearly like the position players. One thing that puzzles me, though — every other team in baseball gives you their sad DL story every other minute. I think we are third highest in lost time due to injuries, with major, major players on that list. We never seem to take that into account. Would Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos be making things any different right now? Unfortunately for all of us, they were both hitting well when they went down. Add to that some HRod problems that might not have happened if we had Drew. Then there was the missed time for Morse, LaRoche and Zim, plus catching up time — just read those names and see what a difference it could have made if all three were totally healthy from spring training up until now. It doesn't take much to make or break a game for us.Many times it's one key hit. We should have fallen apart at the seams with all of those losses – and did not. The guys in this line up have the capability to hit major league pitching.They are all slumping at the same time after coming out of the June gauntlet at better than . 500. Let's just give them a minute to re-group. By all rights we should have been dead in the water long before now. Obviously these guys have been grinding and hustling their hearts out. My money is on them to work it out.

  34. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Simple answer JayB….Yes…Davey wanted DeRosa…is the guy who watched Nady rake on the backfields after reporting and told Rizzo to put him on the 40 man, and loved Tracy as his big left handed bat.

  35. JD - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Cuddyer and Beltran are not bench players they are everyday corner outfielders and since Morse and Werth were slated to play these positions it made no sense to spend big bucks on redundant assets. Rizzo did spend big bucks on the pitching rotation which has paid off in spades. You can't sign everybody; now in hindsight knowing Werth and Morse will spend months on the DL and that Zim would be hurt and ineffective sure it would be nice to have Beltran or Cuddyer but unfortunately Rizzo does not have the benefit of hindsight and after all we are in 1st place through 71 games with all the injuries.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Benches are tough everywhere. Why would the Marlins buy a 30yo journeyman like Justin Ruggiano from the Astros AAA club to supplement Dobbs?

  37. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Swami.. it just depresses me to think about Wilson. I actually do think he would make a difference from a power perspective (albeit JFLO is our MVP right now for staying healthy, being decent at the plate, and handling the load). Well, no secret I like Werth (pitch count/leadership) so we don't need to go into that.

  38. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Wrong….Rizzo could have put and in fact said he wanted to put Jason W in CF….that would mean Morse in one corner and Beltran in the other……money sure…..WINS a 10 – 15 game lead at the all star break…..very likely.

  39. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Feel Wood, NatsJack, SJM 308 (always on the beer/beverage list), Thanks for the comments on the last thread. Always good to hear from you..Feel, you were cracking me up!

  40. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    JayB.. I thought Harper was slated for RF when he came up originally?

  41. Steady Eddie - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    peric@5:24–Thanks for correcting the record on why Grienke didn't come here the last time. Agree that a trade would not at all be worth it as our critical woes are offensive. Also think he's not affordable as a FA whereas notwithstanding Boras, EJax may be. He's clearly tired of the annual new uniforms and loves being part of this rotation. He wouldn'tbe cheap but if for those reasons he doesn't insist on Boras top dollar, he could be worth it for performance and character/chemistry. Grienke would be an unknown on the latter and would make getting both a JZimm and Strasburg extension unaffordable.

  42. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Lots of examples of part time players who have produced way above Nady, DeRosa, Roger B, and Mike Camaron. Yes starts like Zim are way under performing and Rizzo may not have known how badly that was going to happen again this year but he should have know that that bench was not going to help one bit.

  43. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    If there are lots, then name them.

  44. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    any your point is? Harper in OF pick your slot when he came up. How is that a problem for Nats…..even if nobody ever got hurt….not the trend in Nats town….you trade the none hurt Morse or Beltran if Harper pushes so hard he has to be brought up before Sept.

  45. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    JayB, so what are the examples? And why would they come to the Nats? I thought Tracy (until injured) was doing a fine job on the bench. Lombo too, until the recent trials.

  46. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    You can look them up too……Juan P is one….I will look up 20 that are out hitting DeRosa and Nady…do you think there are less?

  47. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    And all these examples have their respective teams 3.5 games up in their divisions?

  48. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Juan Pierre is starting fir the Phillies. How is he ever a bench guy in D.C.?

  49. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    I thought Juan P was playing more than just a Bench Player? Because of all of the Phillies injuries, he has 208 AB.. seems to be more than Bench

  50. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    JayB.. I agree that there are probably a bunch, but MOST of them want to start. Name one that saw the Nats situation and wanted to come. Most probably thought no chance of starting with Morse/Werth and the coming of Harper.

  51. Section 135 - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Getting washed up has beens like Derosa and Nady was the old Nats. Time to cut bait, bring up some kids and move on. Hopefully next year, when FA's actually want to come here we won't see any Nadys Derosas or Stairs.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    MicheleS….. that's exactly why Beltran wouldn't even listen to a Nats offer.

  53. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    One anniversary that we didn't mention this week.John McLaren was our Manager for 3 Glorious Games from 6/24-6/26 of 2011. Those were great games! The guys obviously loved him! And a Class Act for the way he handled himself in the eye of the storm!So everyone raise your glass and A Toast to John McLaren!

  54. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Section 135..I actually thinks some of the kids are gettting a shot.. TyMo is still here- thanks to,umm… wrist tendinitis… yup that one! Lombo is still here to. Now I am sure some would love Corey B to be here, and he might be soon, but it's more than what we got the previous years, since most times it was play the vets and development be darned for the kids.

  55. Unknown - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Let me add . . . wasn't Beltran a big gamble? I mean, sure, he looks great now — but this is how looked when he signed1. Only one out the last three years did he play in more than 81 games2. Recently had knee surgery3. He turned 35 in April4. Wanted multi-year $13MM perHindsight is 20/20, eh?

  56. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    From the Beats:Amanda Comak‏@acomakDavey vehemently defended HC Rick Eckstein today: "It's an individual responsibility. For a hitting coach to take blame is a cop out."Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPAs you would expect, Davey strongly supports Rick Eckstein in midst of a rough offensive stretch for the Nats. "Second to none," Davey said

  57. A DC Wonk - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    NatsNut said… okay, ya'll. Here's your chance to dissect the lineup, change it into 10 other versions that are better, then tell us all about the trades, acquisitions, call-ups, DFAs that will make the lineup so much better and make us win tonight. I'm waiting with bated breath!Hey — NatsNut — if you can't wait, you can just read any of the threads of yesterday or the day before ;-)

  58. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Adding Unknown@7:05 to beverage list… (Wonk you are always on the list…)

  59. SonnyG10 - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Well, we've had another 24 hrs to ajust to the altitude now, so I'm feeling hitterish. I think we're going to spank the Rocs tonight.

  60. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    I better go find my niece and make sure she didn't run away to DenverAmanda Comak‏@acomakI think we found "Harper's Hotties." A large group of teenage girls are asking him to sign their shirts right now… and squealing w/delight

  61. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Guys that we would want on our bench still think they are everyday players and won't touch you with a ten foot pole until they are sure no one else wants them. Then they come to your team and stew over their lack of playing time and remind everyone of their glory days. The trick is to find a veteran player who can help mentor young guys, who are versatile and smart, and who don't fight their new role in baseball. Tracy filled the bill really well until – yup, the old DL monster again. Nady seemed like he might, but might be finished, might be hurt. I am personally not in favor of young players on the bench who should be playing everyday. AL teams don't have to worry about it – they rarely need them. By the way , speaking of slumping hitters? Josh Hamilton is hitting .197 in June.

  62. SonnyG10 - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Davey vehemently defended HC Rick Eckstein today: "It's an individual responsibility. For a hitting coach to take blame is a cop out." MicheleS thanks for posting this. Makes me feel better.

  63. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    So that "crack" I mentioned this morning concerning Eck just got completely sealed by Davey. Sorry Eck bashers.

  64. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    It's so much watching the Fish implode. Two blown double play balls and Zambrano is pitching angry now.Tow hits, two errors and two runs and there is still only 1 out.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    so much fun

  66. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    I like the way you think, MicheleS. Also, great idea on the toast to McLaren. Cheers (clink).MicheleS said… OOO 1A.. I have that Costco Membership!!!! Now the delivery method.. .hmmm.. Nats Insider Party would be a good place to do it at….. but how to bring beverages to an establishment, that might be the only issue… June 26, 2012 6:29 PM

  67. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    And now a 3 run bomb by Molina in to the Clevlender. 5-0 and Zambrano has thrown 33 pitches with still 1 out.

  68. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Wow NJ.. that is totally an implosion. I wonder how long before BigZ throws a tantrum!!!

  69. Old Wino - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Johnson is still pumped/psyched relax and let it roll. Bats will come, tonight will be a good example. Enjoy every moment of the game. Cheers!

  70. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    They just got out of the inning and St. Claire and Big Z just went down the tunnel to view the tape and have a chat. Z did not take a bat with him thankfully for Randy.

  71. MicheleS - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    A link to Mark's Game thread:1st game vs WHite Sox That was one wild night!

  72. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    I will not anger the baseball gods by making fun of the inning the Marlins are having.But perhaps St. Clair should bring a friend along. I agree on the toast to McLaren! What a great guy. I hope he still works for the Nats. Anyone know? That was some nice win streak last June, wasn't it?

  73. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    The only thing I'lll say about Nats hitters is ……BARREL UP THE FRIGGIN BALL"

  74. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    MicheleS – should we tell everyone who the opposing pitcher was?

  75. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    NatsJack – How about See ball, hit ball?

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Now they're saying Ozzie went with Randy and Z.

  77. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    swami….I'd prefer barrel the ball up. Hit it hard somewhere. But see ball hit ball would work. And no more looking at hittable pitches over the middle of the plate for stroke 1.

  78. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    strike 1

  79. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Gregg Dobbs is the one bench guy I would have liked and Rizzo went after him but he wanted to stay in Miami.

  80. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    I love it, NatsJack — FP always says when you make contact good things can happen. I am making a vow right now to watch the game and enjoy it. Baseball is fun gosh darn it.

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    I love the game, too swami. Love everything about it. Greatest form of entertainment for my buck.

  82. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    So it sounds like the Marlins game is on TV somewhere I can watch it?

  83. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    I've got the Ditectv package us the MLB.com package so I watch em all. Notorious channel flippet here.

  84. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    plus the MLB.com

  85. Section 222 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    You guys are being way too tough on JayB, upping the ante each time. First, it's name a free agent we should have gone after. Then it's name one who definitely would have (not even might have) signed here, then it's name one that would have signed here given the fact that our outfield was supposedly set. Then it's name one that would have signed here given that our outfield was supposedly set and Harper was on the way. Sheesh. With all these requirements, of course the answer is that Rizzo did a perfect job. But do you really believe that? The fact is there were free agents that Rizzo didn't go after, probably because they were too expensive — Beltran, Pierre, Dobbs, and I'll add Cody Ross to the list. Instead we picked up DeRosa, Tracy, Cameron, Carrol, Michaels, and Nady. Don't tell me you are really satisfied with that murderers' row. I'm sure not. Now, whether it's Rizzo's fault, or Davey's or the Lerners, I have no idea. But I would have really loved to have Cody Ross or Beltran on this team (Juan Pierre, not so much). Having said that, our bench is not why we're having this long and sour debate. It's the FoF, it's Morse, it's Espi, it's Werth being hurt. Our regulars aren't producing. It's as simple as that. When they start hitting, we'll start winning, and this "why isn't our bench stronger?" debate will be academic.

  86. Another_Sam - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    NatsJack, Swami — yes, this game is a blast. I too love the game; I love to watch these guys. BTW I like watching all the levels. I mean all.I also like reading the diverse opinions, differing approaches, all the silliness and seriousness here. Great fun.

  87. phil dunton - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    The regular lineup misses the clutch bat of one Wilson Ramos. Flores has been decent but he isn't the clutch hitter that Ramos is nor does he have the power. Ramos is one of the few Nats who knows how to pull the ball to take advantage of his power.

  88. djinFl. - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Atlanta up 5-0 in 2nd. Arizona pitcher out. Became lightheaded during his first 32 pitches in the second.

  89. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    222, that's a good point. I, for one, at the time, would have liked Cody Ross, although FWIW I was not optimistic about the chances. Anyway, he wears more eyeblack than Bam-Bam, so maybe it was an issue. Beltran would have been at least as bold a move as signing EJax, but intriguing, in that we all know he expected to start, and they could not honestly promise that back in the winter. Still, as it turned out, that would have been no impediment. Would he have bought that argument? Who knows?Would have been cool to have him here, though.

  90. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    BTW I like watching all the levels. I mean all.Well, if you mean that, I have a scorekeeping gig for you. We'll even cover your gas and lunch.

  91. phil dunton - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    One of the reasons the Nats lack good bench players is because they usually are in demand so they want some security in the form of a two year contract. Jerry Hairston would probably have come back after Rizzo gave him to the Brewers but he ended up signing with the Dodgers because they were willing to pay him.what he wanted. The only reason Ankiel came back is because no other team wanted him.

  92. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Swami.. The SP for the Sox. What a coincidence.

  93. Doc - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Last night Davey said that we made the Colorado retread look like Kofax.This night's retreaded pitching version has an ERA of 5.65 so I guess we can expect him to pitch like Drysdale against the Nats!!!

  94. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    222….JayB stated there where "lots" of guys and proceeded to name Juan Pierre. Not him or any of the three you named had any interest in being role players for the Nats. Guys thought to be better options like Eric Chavez were not interested either.What we are looking for are the names of better options that Rizzo "failed" (his favorite word when describing Rizzo)to get that were available and interested in being Nats.A winning season as a playoff team will garner better options in the future but to think that all you have to do is flash a contract in front off a guy and you can get anyone you want is failed thinking.

  95. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Cy Young's name tonight is Christian Friedrich. Come on guys treat him like Christian Friedrich not Cy Young

  96. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Yeah, MicheleS -the starting pitcher for the White Sox on the McLaren game was none other than — Edwin Jackson. That really is a coincidence.

  97. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    So, I see Davey very strongly defended Eck on the Nats pregame show. Good for Eck, good for Davey. However, not being privy to what goes on in the clubhouse, I can only continue to say that the product on the field does not indicate successful hitting instruction. Good instruction, no doubt according to DJ. But no one is going to defend the position that it's successful.

  98. Feel Wood - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Season almost half over. Nats in first place by 3-1/2 games. They've been in first place almost the whole way. JayB still complaining that they didn't win the Offseason Championship. Sad. Pathetic, really.And hey, who did win the Offseason Championship? I forget.

  99. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Got to give credit to Big Z. He's gone 4 scoreless after that 37 pitch 1st inning and is starting the 6th at 97 pitches.

  100. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Feel….AL was the Angels and NL was the Fish.

  101. Section 135 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Hopefully Davey is defending Eck the same way he defended Lannan.

  102. fresh2death1997 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    Come on Harper. 3-1 count, not supposed to swing.

  103. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Opponents average against Christian Friedrich is .308, Espi pulls a Desi and grounds out on first pitch. Harper gets a 3-1 count (good) then grounds out. Zim on an 0-1 count grounds out. they all are hitting above the ball. Need to hit square on the ball (despite a round ball and round bat).

  104. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    I had to do something that took 90 seconds and I missed our first inning. Whoops.

  105. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    I overheard F.P. lauding Zim's batting practice. I wish the Rockies would spot us those BP dingers.

  106. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Anyone reading between the lines on who said what? I hear Danny being thrown under the bus – lead off and made an out on the first pitch = but yet he is still leading off. More of the same in the first inning. At least Bryce took some pitches. If the approach is made clear and a player just doesn't listen, are there any consequences? This is puzzling stuff and it will be interesting to see if anything changes.

  107. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    I had no problem with Harper swinging with 3-1 and no one that is usually a good pitch to hit. I am more a problem of hitting the top of the baseball.

  108. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Matt Kemp says he won't pick Harper for the HR Derby.. I am not sure I like that….

  109. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Hudson just left the Braves game with Forearm tightness.. hmmm.. that doesn't sound good.

  110. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Our three guys …..weak grounders to the infield…their first 4 guys….all barreled up.

  111. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Arroyo is no-hitting Brewers through 7. This is what, sixth no-hitter this season? Awesome!runners on the corner with couple of singles by Cuddyer and CarGo with two outs against Nats.

  112. Section 135 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Espi should be benched for Lombo based on that at bat alone.

  113. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    About the Harper swing on 3 and 1 -it's my understanding that the hitters are given the take or green light sign on whether or not they can swing. It's not totally their decision. Correct? On Helton– Carp says – he's a tough out, he walks a lot, put the ball in play in this park and your are in business. Hello? Anyone listening? Another weak grounder. I am weakening on my vow to just watch the game and enjoy it.

  114. Section 222 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    So much for the theory that Morse gave up the cobra pose because that's how he got hurt.

  115. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Coors Field ain't gonna help if you can't elevate the ball or make contact.

  116. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    ADAM!!!! Yes!!!!

  117. fresh2death1997 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    okay, no one mention Laroche trade rumors please.

  118. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Case in point. Elevate the ball, and be rewarded. LaRoche gets it.

  119. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    MicheleS, not sure Harper deserves it over Kemp, Votto, Braun, etc.

  120. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Oh, thank you Adam. Desi used to be the main offender on the first pitch out, now he takes pitches and everyone else is free swinging. Kind of agree with sec 135 – if a young player won't listen, maybe some bench time.

  121. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    Faraz.. Kemp won't be ready until after the Allstar break.. And Don Mattingly will kill him if he plays.And Ian.. YEES!.. A double..

  122. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    great, we got the lead now. desmond doubles.

  123. fresh2death1997 - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    can we move this bottom of the line-up to the top?

  124. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    And the Reds' website announces the no-no in progress prominently. I guess it's like Macbeth–it only counts in the dugout.

  125. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    On MLB Network with the Arroyo game.

  126. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Unlucky baserunning break there.

  127. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Guh.

  128. RickH - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Davey On Eckstein bashers: "It just shows me how ignorant certain people are." Ouch.

  129. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Was just thinking we should start Moore to avoid a double play.

  130. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    well we lead at least. But again two more people hit the top of the ball. Hitting the top when a guy is on first and you are slow is almost a guarentee double play. They need to make solid contact on the middle of the ball.

  131. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Oh, no – not the dreaded double play! That should have been a huge inning for us. Drat.

  132. slidell2 - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Glad Zimm isn't up. Oops!

  133. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Sec 135 – I owe you a beer.

  134. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Hey.. The Pirates made a move today.. DOUG SLATEN got optioned to AAA

  135. Section 222 - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    MichelleS — That White Sox game thread is a trip. Thanks for posting it. Lots of coincidences and ironies there. It was the night Davey agreed to be our manager. And the night it was announced that CMW would finally start a rehab assignment. Brian Bruney gave up a homer to Morse. Mark Teahan hits a game tying homer for the Sox. (Is that why we signed him?) And of course, as you pointed out, the opposing pitcher was E-Jax. I loved this line from Mark's timeline: "So, Edwin Jackson has struck out six of the first 10 batters he'd faced tonight. Good thing the Nats don't have anyone like that in their rotation…" Awesome.

  136. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Brewers get a hit in the 8th

  137. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Rockies are really squaring Gio up.

  138. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    oh man, no no is broken.

  139. Oldguy - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Looks like Gio got teed off. Good for him!

  140. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    But again two more people hit the top of the ball. Hitting the top when a guy is on first and you are slow is almost a guarentee double play. They need to make solid contact on the middle of the ball.You know how to get six elephants into a Volkswagen Beetle?Three in the front and three in the back.

  141. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    MicheleS, I was soooo shocked to learn that Slaten was still in MLB this year! He's a good pickup for a AAA team.

  142. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Michele, I forgot that Kemp is on DL. Actually I would put Harper in HR Derby since he has famously hit some long balls in batting practice. But I understand if Kemp does not want to choose a rookie over some veterans.

  143. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Base hit up the middle. On the top of the ball, too. Go figure.

  144. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Faraz.. Kemp wants Ethier in the HR Derby.. picking a Dodger teammate over Bryce…

  145. fresh2death1997 - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Well okay Zim!

  146. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Well, that's encouraging. Nice double for Zim.

  147. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Zimmy with a hit!!

  148. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Shoulda sent Danny. Bo got skiddish.

  149. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    2 RBI double for the Beast, off the wall in RC.

  150. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    And a BEAST Sighting.. not quite Gorse Hacking, but still 2 RBIS (with 2 outs)!!!YEA!!!

  151. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Hmm.. I think Espi slowed down on his way to second on Zimm's hit, thinking the ball was caught. Not that it mattered, thank you Mr. Morse!

  152. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    BEAST

  153. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    finally!!!

  154. RickH - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Danny, Zim and the Beast!!!

  155. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    @Will, no way, Danny would have been out by ten feet easy, but mainly, the ball was coming in before he got to third.

  156. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    The Beats are in snark mode:Amanda Comak‏@acomakBoy Rick Eckstein must have had a hell of a BP today. #Nats up 3-0 early – back-to-back doubles by Zimmerman & MorseAdam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPRick Eckstein is coaching the hell out of this game. Nats up 3-0 after consecutive doubles by Zimmerman and Morse.

  157. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    I think Espi slowed down on his way to second on Zimm's hit, thinking the ball was caught.He did, and rightly so. At sea level that ball maybe gets caught.

  158. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    4 batters hit the ball in the middle or a little lower and with barrel of that and three got hits. That is what needs to happen much more. Lets not stop like we do most games once we score.If FP knows what meechanically Harper is doing, surely Eck knows, and should be instrucing him on what he is doing and fixing it. When I make a mistake, I listen and fix things. I am pretty sure Harper would fix it if he was told.

  159. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Funny stuff, thanks Michele. Hey Mark, sorry you're missing that party?

  160. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    LOL MicheleS – funny beat writers indeed.

  161. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Manassas.. If his back is sore, then I think Bryce maybe cheating on pitches. And do you really believe that Bryce doesn't know what he is doing wrong?

  162. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Tollion of the O's mssed on in the second tonight the same way Moore did. Mis judged the distance. that is what happens when infielders are not adapt at being outfielders. Hopefully only the 1 run will score.

  163. phil dunton - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    That is a price a team plays for playing a first baseman in LF.

  164. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Did this game move to Candlestick Park? Seriously what is with all the garbage on the field?

  165. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Gio had two outs with no one on. Needs to get that last guy. I feel like he too frequently has a problem getting the last out.

  166. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Strong winds, unusually hot weather, and oh yeah, it's a mile up. Having a first baseman playing left, a mile up, there's consequences.

  167. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    I feel like he too frequently has a problem getting the last out. Yeah, that's why he's been such a failure this season.

  168. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    And the ball was hit by CarGo. Now he walks one. Oh, Gio, let's get that third out before more damage is done.

  169. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Sofa, it's the reason he doesn't pitch later into games. No need to be snarky.

  170. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    Jam. Gulp.

  171. ehay2k - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Oh MY! that is NOT a good thing!

  172. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Moore and harper are killing us. First the inning is extended when it should have been over with no runs. What the hell was harper thinking there. All the talent in the world, but man he doesn't think like he has watched baseball at all in his life.

  173. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Verry ROOKIE Mistake.

  174. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Sorry, ehay.

  175. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Wow. That was bad news bears.

  176. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    Will.. well said..

  177. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    What sucks for Gio is currently all three of those runs are listed as earned, despite the third one being gifted via airmail by Harper.

  178. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Sure, blame the rookies playing positions that are new – Gio had absolutely nothing to do with it. when you have 3-2 and 2 outs and have already given up a run , you just have to finish.

  179. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Davey needs to give the Kid a seat tomorrow. He's playing outside of his mind, and not in the good way.

  180. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Also why on earth does Gio throw so many balls. having a 3-2 couny on Helton was unescusable, he was way ahead. That allowed the runners to move. the pitcher do need to avoid 3-2 counts too. So he gets ome of th blame. But the fielding was pathetic. Should have been 0 runs. Of course the third run was a walk (again Gio's falt)

  181. fresh2death1997 - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    I think harper held onto the ball too long. It happens, hopefully we can come back!

  182. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Swami – Gio got beat by a good hitter, but didn't give up a gapper. He should have escaped having given up 2 runs. I know we've been spoiled by historically good pitching, but to blame him entirely for that s–tshow last inning is really a reach.

  183. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Wow.. even the agents are getting into this..Brodie Van Wagenen‏@bvanwagenenLannan allowed 1ER for Syracuse for 5th time in last 6 GS. Quality MLB pitcher in AAA. How many AAA pitchers started in #MLB tonight? #Nats

  184. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    According to Gameday's "Scout", hitters go from .284 to .392 against Friedrich after 45 pitches. This is the time to strike before Tracy goes to the pen.

  185. djinFl. - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Could have sworn I saw folks screaming for more rookies to be brought up. This is what the learning process is like, and why you have the vets to teach how it should have been played.We are still in first.

  186. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    djinfl.. yup..see all of yesterday's posts about the kids playing..Would love to get some runs back so we can put this behind us.

  187. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    Classic Desmond.

  188. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    For someone who calls himself a leader, Desmond really has knucklehead instincts on the bases.

  189. RickH - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Nice hit by Flores.

  190. Major Jammage - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Would love a walk right here to Gio.

  191. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Knucklehead is a bit harsh. That was a good throw. These guys look tired to me.

  192. RickH - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    GIO!!!

  193. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    GIO! Nice save for getting the lead back.

  194. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    GIO!!! Way to pick yourself up with a base hit and the RBI!!!

  195. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Maybe McCatty should be the hitting coach?

  196. MicheleS - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    I have to turn in soon (work gets in the way of Everything) if someone can post the game action it would be much appreciated… :-)

  197. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Three more hits to produce 1 run. We don't capitalize on the hits , Thanks Jesus and Gioo.Now play defense this inning boys.

  198. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    If anyone's gonna blame Gio for the bottom of the 3rd, they better be thanking him profusely for the top of the 4th.

  199. Will - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Soul – I'm listening to Charlie and Dave…generally if they're surprised a runner goes, I assume it was a bad idea. They were very surprised when Desmond took off.

  200. baseballswami - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Actually I don't have a problem with Desi's attempted steal,the ball was in the dirt, the catcher was perfect. The results made it seem bad. How about our pitcher works the count and gets an rbi hit and then our leadoff hitter comes up and swings at the first pitch — again. Let's hold it this time. As far as Bryce getting a day off – I feel that all the position players should get regular days off to help them maintain stamina. Especially if they are dinged up, and they all are. It's good for their mental health and it's good for them to watch the game – good for perspective.

Archives

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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter