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A productive lineup at last

Jul 1, 2012, 11:33 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Ryan Zimmerman rounds the bases following his fifth-inning homer.

ATLANTA — For three months, the Nationals insisted they could boast a potent lineup, if only they could get several injured players back healthy and get a few slumping regulars going at the plate.

Then Ryan Zimmerman received a cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder and Michael Morse started getting his timing back after missing eight weeks with a torn lat muscle, and the rest of the Nationals started reaping the benefits that came with the resurgence of those two stalwarts.

The end result is a lineup that suddenly is capable of carrying this first-place club, even on days when the pitching staff has a few hiccups, as was the case Sunday during an 8-4 victory over the Braves.

Over the final six games of this road trip through Colorado and Atlanta, the Nationals hit a collective .345, averaged 8.5 runs and 13.6 hits per game, mashing out 24 doubles and 13 homers in the process.Read more »

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    I love this team! The next 4 months (and YES I am including October) is going to be great to watch!!!!

  2. NatsFanChris - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Keep it rollin boys! LOVE THEM NATS!!! (A 95 mph fastball from Edwin in a couple days, and a start longer than 6 innings from Gio next week would make me feel even better)

  3. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    There are some patterns developing and we saw it today. Lombo gets on, Bryce in a truly selfless way moves him over. Then you have a choice of Zim, Morse or LaRoche to get the early run in. Then you have Desi to clean up any remaining rbi chances. Sometimes we have Tyler Moore's pop, both catchers can swing it from the 8 spot and even our pitchers can hit. Danny seems to be the only remaining iffy spot. I love it that they are taking more pitches now and doing smart things like moving runners and sacrificing. Home runs are nice, but a good old-fashioned manufactured run looks the same on the scoreboard.

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Glad the Nats bats have picked up the pitchers recently. Big test with SF Giants this week as these are CY quality pitchers.

  5. Doc - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    I hope Davey is reconsidering his statement to reporters about optioning Stammen. Long before Stammen gets the free trip to 'Cuse, guys like Wang, Mike Gozo, and Matteus need to walk the plank. And since we have only two guys that are coming back, let's keep Matteus too!It looked like the Wang reclammation project might work at some point, but Rizzo needs to face up to the fact that his career is over.There were some good pitching performances to-day for the Nats. Not the least of which was Craig Stammen's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. MicheleS - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Ghost.. But those SF pitchers have been pitching in cooler SF temps this past week.. Guess what we have been pitching in: HOT SWEATY MESSES. I really want our hitters to take to those SF pitchers!!!

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    so we will be facing Timmy, followed by Bum and then Cain. Toughest pitchers in a while we have seen. anyways, great win.

  8. Doc - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Basballswami me too on Espi. He's the only player that's not smacking the ball the way he should. I still believe in his potential. If Espi starts hitting, not even the Yanks or the Rangers could stop us!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Gonat said… Soul Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said… Thanks, Gonat; I was hoping for a number. July 01, 2012 7:36 PM _________________________430 feet, still VF

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    MicheleS, that's good if it stays hot.

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Gonat, VF?

  12. MicheleS - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Okay people, If you have power and an internet connection: It's time to Vote Bryce in!Ghost.. Not below 90 and MUGGY all week! (well it might be slightly cooler at the start of that 11:05 game)

  13. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Gonat, VF? July 01, 2012 8:02 PM _____________________________Very Far

  14. baseballswami - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    I just don't see how the team gets by without Stammen at this point.

  15. MicheleS - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Swami.. what about JFLo? He is our MVP.

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    MicheleS, I will hope the weather causes the Giants some discomfort.Gonat, that was VVFF. Very very frickin' far!

  17. baseballswami - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    MicheleS – absolutely – I was referring to someone suggesting that Stammen could get sent down. No chance of that for Flo. Solano as backup has been a pretty good fit, you think? I don't see them swapping him out for Maldonado – or Leon, if healthy. Giants/Reds almost came to blows today and Dusty Baker in some kind of a beef with LaRussa, also. A few weeks ago he got into a very inappropriate battle with Derek Lowe. Kind of glad we are done with the Reds. No drama, please.

  18. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Kershaw struggling against Mets.

  19. MicheleS - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Seriously. Why can't we face the marlins and the Dodgers when they suck? Really? Kershaw is even struggling.Of course I am watching this game and furiously keying in votes for Bryce…

  20. baseballswami - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    MicheleS – the Giants were also struggling and now they have chosen to get hot. Thanks for that.

  21. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    VVFF indeed, thanks Gonat.———–"Find that discussion."Crap. I knew somebody would ask that. OK, but this this going to take a while. I actually don't care about predictions much, they're all BS. I just like seeing the Phillies fans take it and like it.

  22. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said… VVFF indeed, thanks Gonat.__________________________________You are welcome. That was the Braves measurement. HR Tracker will be up tomorrow morning with the official distance. Figure + or – 5 feet.

  23. MicheleS - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Stick a fork in the Dodgers.. GEESH.. field the ball people.

  24. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    17 errors for Dee Gordon and the season isn't even 1/2 over. 2 errors in this game.

  25. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Me, too, Bogie, er, sec3. I just like seeing the Phillies fans take it and like it.

  26. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=461829&game=gid_2012_07_01_wasmlb_atlmlb_1&batterX=0&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gifIn the discussion of whether or not Gio was squeezed by the ump, the official PitchF/X says 4 strikes were called balls and 1 was an obvious strike. 3 were borderline. 1 obvious ball was called a strike. Margin of error was -2.8%.

  27. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=218596&game=gid_2012_07_01_wasmlb_atlmlb_1&batterX=0&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gifCompare to Tim Hudson and he had 2 obvious strikes called balls and 2 obvious balls called strikes and 2 borderline balls called strikes.I would say the ump mistakes favored Hudson.

  28. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Fillies fans want to trade Cholly for Jamie Moyer (on MLB site). LOL. Mets going to Filly after they leave LA. Hate to say it but I wish the Fils would get their act together…

  29. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Would this one work or not old enough?Section 3, My PFB Sofa said… I am SO tempted to bite on the Phillies getting old again this season … we need to start chanting "TICK TOCK" at the Phillies games … but the champ is the champ until somebody beats them. They will struggle to win 95 games, but they will win 95 games, and the division one last time. The Braves are going to miss Bobby Cox again this season, but not as much as they'll miss Chipper, who won't finish on the active roster. Still, all that pitching. 87-75, but neither wild card. Nats will give them a run, but the mid-season losing spell, and the late fade will not make up for the rest of a fine season. Strasburg will lead the league in losses-while-pitching-without-run-support, but Znn will be right behind him. Jackson, of all people, will lead the staff in wins, because he will get the run support–go figure. Zimm will pull something else this time, for at least 1 15-day DL stint. Davey will still manage better than Bobby Valentine, and get significant votes (but no award) for MOTY. Desmond will figure it out. Espinosa won't. Ramos already has–MVP votes, All Star selection. 83-78 (another rainout lost), third place, just. Marlins will be a circus, which is always fun when it's not you being shot out of the cannon. Late push gets them to 82-80. Hanley gone by August. Mets — won't finish in sixth. 61-101. Is there anything else you'd like to know about your future, Mr. Barney? April 04, 2012 3:59 PM "Find that discussion."Crap. I knew somebody would ask that.OK, but this this going to take a while. I actually don't care about predictions much, they're all BS.

  30. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Another round of storms coming.stormsMy boss (Chevy Chase, MD), still no power and has to get a new roof.

  31. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Desmond will figure it out.Well, you were sure right on this one!!!

  32. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    natsfan1a, thats interesting and hope those predictions don't come true. I do remember some dire predictions on the aging Phillies infield and outfield. Chooch is an oldie but a goodie. Other than that, they are bad right now. Just won't be laughing at them until the season is over. Ryan Howard will be back in 2 weeks. As the Braves learned last year, September games still count.Long way to go in this one. I want to start seeing the Nats names attached to some of these stud pitchers. If nothing else you have to cause the Mets and Braves as much discomfort as you can if they think of picking up a star pitcher like Hamels, Wandy, Dempster, Garza, Greinke, etc.

  33. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    Mets are giving this game back to the Dodgers.

  34. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Still don't like Colbert even if the Kid does. The others all ok with me, but I favor Greinke. I know people are worried he is a head case but this is not the Boston (or NY) media. He will be fine with the support of Gio and the rest of the starters plus you have McCatty who really, really knows how to handle the staff.

  35. Candide - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Anyone know offhand how often the team with the best record in the league at the All-Star break does NOT make the playoffs?

  36. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Gonat said… Figured I would stir things up a little bit. Where are all the Ian Desmond haters? Are they hibernating? After a 4-4 day, comments started with someone commenting that his leadoff single was seeing eye. Yah, that's it, he is just overly lucky. March 28, 2012 7:06 PM _______________________________I am one of the Dirty Dozen that has been in Desi's corner for years and have defended him after people have lobbed a salvo of derogatory comments about him.Where are all those people that wanted to trade Desi in the package with Lannan, Flores and Lombo for BJ Upton?They make these ridiculous comments and then disappear when Desi performs and as soon as Desi has a fielding blunder they come back here to remind us that Desi has errors. Are you watching the Dodgers game tonight?

  37. Section 222 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Ok fine. I was one of the Desi skeptics. I was never a hater, and I never called for him to be traded. I mostly thought he was not going to be a good leadoff hitter, and it turns out that after a while Davey agreed with me. But I will confess error in that I never expected him to be such a productive hitter, or have so many clutch at bats with men on base. Today seems like a good day to take my lumps, since he's been selected to the ASG. Congrats to Ian. And keep it up so I don't get to say "I told you so" at the end of the season.

  38. peric - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Hmm, as I recall I told Mark they would win the division on the strength of their superior bullpen … given the upgrade to the starting rotation.Looks like another one right on the nose if they continue as during the first half. Natslady was big on the bullpen as well as I recall but I don't think she said they'd win the division.

  39. peric - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Where are all those people that wanted to trade Desi in the package with Lannan, Flores and Lombo for BJ Upton?I'm still here Gonat and I never felt Desmond was that bad … I mean honestly compared to Cristian Guzman? But the Nats were rich with shortstops and honestly I STILL BELIEVE Espinosa is all around better … even if he doesn't have the same range … because he is the better overall athlete. And a switch hitter.And the Nats had some glaring needs then right? And most all the important ones were dealt with the with the trade for Gonzalez and the very painful loss of prospects. Plus Edwin Jackson's propitious signing toward the end. Desmond may become a great shortstop. He's achieve one hurdle, he's an all-star albeit a back up selected by the ASG NL manager. Espinosa is a potential superstar … his ceiling exceeds Bryce Harper's. And that is why if you had to choose between the two you would pick Desmond to trade. That's just the way it is. Espinosa's ceiling hasn't translated into performance this season as much as it did in the first half last year. But he is a hard worker I have faith he will prove himself one of the best in baseball soon enough.

  40. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    Would this one work or not old enough?Ummm, no, 1a, that's not the one. That's the one that shows how wrong I was. I was looking for the other one. Now we have to listen to people take credit for anonymous posts, that no one will ever find, either. Thanks a lot. I just got distracted for a while, looking at all the other stuff. Dang, there was some funny stuff over the off-season.

  41. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    No, I didn't say they would win the division. Didn't make any predictions at all, stayed out of that. Certainly would not have predicted what the Mets are doing, that is fer shore. I would like to see us continue just what we are doing, be a few games over .500 every month… Keep winning series, don't need to sweep– actually sort of prefer not having long streaks that get the team overconfident. Steady as she goes.

  42. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    Oh, and that reminds me: here's to the Nats crack medical team, who got Zimmerman back with one shot, once they finally convinced him to get it. We certainly criticize them enough when people get hurt.

  43. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Steve M. said… NatsJack in Florida said… Thoughts on the past five weeks…..Bryce is clearly not ready for a steady diet of ML pitching. It was great to see him finally barrel up a ball in the 9th today but has been woefully over matched in most of his at bats.He will be fine as a center fielder as he has shown a natural ability to read balls off the bat and the ability to track them. And his arm is terrific.Rendon will advance quickly through the system and should be in Syracuse well before most people expect. His arm is not a problem and he could even spend time at shortstop.My favorite is Tyler Moore. He just might be that big gorilla Davey wants coming off the bench. Jis swing plane is short, powerful and quick to the ball. And he actually handles himself well around firstbase.And for any yeahoo who thinks scores of ST games mean anything, I just shake my head in shear disbelief.More on Matt Purke later. March 18, 2012 7:08 PM ____________________________Great stuff on TyMo by NatsJack and all said in pre-season.

  44. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    Steve M. said….NatsJack, great stuff. I'm with you on your analysis. My biggest surprise this Spring was Eury Perez. He went from a great Dominican Winter ball season in 2010/2011 to a disappointing 2011 Minor League season and fell back in prospect status. The kid added muscle this winter and was the one hitting the line drives this Spring. Glad he will be starting in AA and hoping his good Spring will just continue into AA. Worried about him swinging at balls out of the strike zone as he will need to work on taking walks and cutting down on the K's to succeed. The kid has speed and a surprisingly good arm.Purke, like I said before. Great looking pitcher and love his attitude on the mound. Took good direction after his start against Georgetown where he had an inconsistent release point which cost him in his 2nd start as the veterans pick up on telegraphing pitches. He improved the next start and will continue to improve. A top prospect from what I am seeing. Top of the rotation lefty stuff.Corey Brown with a nice comeback to show what he has. Personally, he is the guy I would have kept longer in ST. The kid showed top defense and arm and power but needs better jumps on balls from RH hitters. He also has plus speed. If he can hit for average in Syracuse, he could be back in DC if Ankiel can't get the job done (not on 40 man).Lombardozzi certainly is showing he wants to compete for playing time. His 3 hit game against the Yankees really got me to take notice. I've had him in my roster for a while now anyway and he will be the guy in the wings if Desi and Espi hit some slumps. March 19, 2012 2:03 PM _________________________________Great stuff on Corey Brown and Lombo by SteveM and all said in pre-season.

  45. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    peric said… I'm still here Gonat and I never felt Desmond was that bad … I mean honestly compared to Cristian Guzman? But the Nats were rich with shortstops and honestly I STILL BELIEVE Espinosa is all around better … even if he doesn't have the same range … because he is the better overall athlete. And a switch hitter.July 01, 2012 10:13 PM __________________________________At least you admit to it. Most have slithered under rocks. I remember a few that wanted to throw-in Desi in a trade as a freebie just to "get rid of him".

  46. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    Lannan with a so-called "quality" start in 'Cuse. 3ER (Pena let one an inherited runner score), 9 hits, 95 pitches, 4 K, 2BB, etc.Chiefs box scorehttp://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t552&t=g_box&gid=2012_07_01_syraaa_noraaa_1

  47. NCNatsie - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Last winter, pre Spring Training, there were basically two kinds of comments re Desmond. The anti-D faction wanted him gone. The pro-D faction (following Ladson's lead) said he would make it as a leadoff hitter because he had hit something like .281 leading off last year. I crunched a few numbers and sucked up the courage to make my first post, which was that Desi would be fine and it had nothing to do with leading off — that he had learned to hit sometime in August last year. As Elvis would say, "Thank yew, thankyew v'ry much."

  48. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Oh, terrible. I think that was on the catcher. Miss Iowa's throw was not bad. Mets giving it away. I hope they bring that D back to the East Coast!

  49. peric - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:37 AM

    Lannan with a so-called "quality" start in 'Cuse. 3ER (Pena let one an inherited runner score), 9 hits, 95 pitches, 4 K, 2BB, etc.The real news is Corey Brown's hitting streak ended at 18 games. His average drops back to .300. Darned.

  50. peric - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    I do hope Bryce Harper wins … as Amanda Comak reports … the players believe he deserves it. He does … he picked up a flat, no pulse offense until the big hitters could get shots, recover from muscle tears, or get called up from AAA and finally come around. He did a lot more than any 19 year old could possibly ever be expected to. And not just any team but a first place team that actually kept improving its record.Teen Age mall and movie goers notwithstanding. Harper deserves to go period.

  51. Drew - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    Candide, I don't know the answer to your question, but we all remember the 2005 Nats were cruising at 51-32 on July 5.We'll have a dramatic two weeks ahead. After the July 10 All-Star game, we have the Giolito countdown. The signing deadline is July 13.

  52. peric - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    Yes, Natslady, Grienke seems like the most logical move and replacement for Strasburg with the innings limit in place and the dismal returns from CM Wang. The million dollar question is what will the Brewers accept?Today they showed Rizzo fidgeting around in his booth with a furled brow. Have to wonder what he was thinking about? Giolito or trade[s].

  53. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    The furrowed brow on Rizzo is probably from realizing how much the cost will be to get Greineke now that Wren confirmed the Braves were all in for him.Losing out on Greineke is one thing. Losing him to a Division rival is a totally larger problem.

  54. Another_Sam - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Another nice piece, MZ. Cool heads have prevailed. Play ball.

  55. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Uh, sorry. I thought you'd been in search of an aging Phillies post, which is what that was.Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said… Would this one work or not old enough? Ummm, no, 1a, that's not the one. That's the one that shows how wrong I was. I was looking for the other one. Now we have to listen to people take credit for anonymous posts, that no one will ever find, either. Thanks a lot. I just got distracted for a while, looking at all the other stuff. Dang, there was some funny stuff over the off-season. July 01, 2012 10:14 PM

  56. Section 215 Row A - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Peric I must beg to differ. If anyone deserves to go…in his final season…it's Chipper Jones. An automatic first-ballot HOF, one of the great switch hitters of all time..Chipper deserves to be there for his victory lap. Bryce will have many many opportunities and ones not based on how "exciting" (let's not forget his exciting 4 outfield errors in 2 months) his play is. He will go on his merits not his novelty. Even Bam Bam, to his great credit, said if he had a vote, he would vote for for "Chip."

  57. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    In the discussion of whether or not Gio was squeezed by the ump, the official PitchF/X says 4 strikes were called balls and 1 was an obvious strike. 3 were borderline. 1 obvious ball was called a strike. Margin of error was -2.8%.Noting without judgement, but PitchF/X does not make allowances for individual umpires' consistent strike zones–that's sorta the whole point behind PitchF/X, as I understand it–no adjustments for "that's been a strike all day." Which matters, when you're considering what the hitter thinks he should swing at.

  58. natscan reduxit - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    … I should have posted this a few days ago, but better late than never. For all of you in the DC area who can still get this access, I simply want you to know that I am thinking of you and am concerned for you, your health and your families in this desperate time. I believe in my heart that you will get back to normal very soon, and it won't be a moment too soon.Go Washington! Go DC!

  59. Feel Wood - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Candide said… Anyone know offhand how often the team with the best record in the league at the All-Star break does NOT make the playoffs?I don't know. But there was a team in 2005 that had the second best record in the league at the ASB, and not only did they not make the playoffs, they finished in last place. Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

  60. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    I had an idea this weekend that certainly will never be accepted by the Umpires Union but could work as a training/calibration mechanism and that would be to provide an earpiece to the home plate umpire that would beep whenever PitchF/X indicated a strike. At least he'd have some idea about how he was seeing the zone and how he may grade out after the game.

  61. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    If history is any guide, ALR will have his best days at the plate after the AS break. How about a power-hitting Zim, a late-blooming ALR, and a resurgent Beast as the 3-4-5 hitters, with Desi in the hole to clean-up after those 4?If the guys at the top of the order get on, Zim-Morse-ALR-Desi will get them in. The Nats are going to score more runs, hit more HRs, and have a higher OBP in the 2nd half. Flo is a sleeper in the 8-hole, and Strasburg adds yet another potent bat when he is in the lineup.They still need a reliable OBP guy to leadoff, but even with Spinner hitting .230 all year, I would not want to have to pitch to those guys. Nor hit against our starting rotation or most of our BP.With the offense on the rampage, they are a dominant team now.

  62. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Padres' Kip Wells tops Rockies for first win since '09Kip Wells?? THAT Kip Wells? Manny Acta's closer (along with Mr. Beer Goggles, Julian Tavares)?Good for him.

  63. Another_Sam - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Jack – were you thinking that he'd get the beep only after he made the call?

  64. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    And two other items…. On Chipper Jones… while I certainly apprciate his accomplishments during his career and see him as a first ballot HOF'er primarily due to his switch hitting, making the All Star team twice in the last decade does not annoint you as a "perenial" All Star.If he was selected to represent the National League as a Captain or some such ceremonial role, I'd have no problem but I'm all for voting Bryce in ahead of Chipper.And Ian Desmond…. I'll be the first to admit that I was highly skeptical of his ability to shake the "inconsistencies" that have dogged him up until this year. During Spring Training I referred to Ian as "The Big Tease" and stated that this would be the last season I would allow for his developement.Well… I'm happy to say he has passed with flying colors. I've seen enough MAJOR improvement to expect an even better player going forward. Hats off to Ian Desmond and here's to an even better second half and the forseeable future.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Sam…. he'd get it immediately. He could call it as he sees it but know that it was registered differently.

  66. baseballswami - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I am surprised the umpires could even see at all this weekend. I saw one of them being attended to by our training staff . If you think it was hot for the pitchers, those umps are older guys and are wearing a lot of gear. The catchers are back there the whole game too. I took my trash out last evening and wilted in five minutes. I did not see much that was really awful in terms of calls. Truly terrible conditions. I noticed the players are drinking pedialyte, which is generally for sick children. Whatever works. I still think if you need iv fluids before or after then the conditions are extreme.

  67. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    For every strike, or just the ones he missed (if the latter case, maybe an eensy-weensy shock as well – just kidding ;-))? Could be really distracting if for every strike.NatsJack in Florida said… I had an idea this weekend that certainly will never be accepted by the Umpires Union but could work as a training/calibration mechanism and that would be to provide an earpiece to the home plate umpire that would beep whenever PitchF/X indicated a strike. At least he'd have some idea about how he was seeing the zone and how he may grade out after the game. July 02, 2012 8:07 AM

  68. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I'll second the "good for Wells." He's had his share of injury issues, I believe.

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Actually 1a… I'd prefer the shock. Then when he twitched, we'd all know.

  70. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Actually… now I'm leaning more to a shock collar.

  71. Steady Eddie - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Nats Lady @10:39 pm –The Mets have already shown that "defense" back east. Remember the Harper 11th inning walk-off game they gifted us?Whenever I get worried that the Mets'' run will last, I think about that defense and recognize that that is not the mark of a playoff team.

  72. fast eddie - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Great for Desmond that he made the ASG, but his stats aren't that great: .276 BA/.308 OBP (less than the MLB average). He has 11 errors but leads all SS in extra-base hits. He's perfect in the six hole but we still need a lead-off hitter next year. It could be Lombo if Davey would give up his blind loyalty to Espi.

  73. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    ;-) In other (non)news, the MASN decision was put off until early July, and I'm shocked, shocked to hear…crickets…I did turn up a June 25 recap piece. Did we already post this?NatsJack in Florida said… Actually… now I'm leaning more to a shock collar. July 02, 2012 8:31 AM

  74. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Geez, Eddie. Grow up. You're nitpicking a SS who's on pace to drive in 80+, hits w/ RISP like nobody else and reaches ground balls that anyone else would need a StreetVac. If Guzman wasn't enough to make you grateful, maybe someday someone will give you Chico Fernandez for a SS.

  75. natscan reduxit - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    … I want to use this fan forum to make my confession. I'm not seeking absolution so much as a bit of sympathic understanding.… I have never accepted the Designated Hitter as a valid part of the game. And for decades, I have made a virtue of claiming I NEVER will!… but, dear colleagues, I have slipped. Last week, I wrote to my Yankees fan friend and made the previously unthinkable suggestion that maybe it's time for the NL to go that route. This turn-about has come due entirely to the success of the Nats. As Davey says, "… Nine hits a ballgame, that should be our low with the talent on this ballclub."… when I look at the roster as it will be when all the pieces are back from the DL and in top form, I have to wonder what are we ever going to do with all those bats?… then again, the Nats DO have the best hitting rotation in baseball, so there's that.Go Nats! and keep slamming!

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    natscan……DH in the NL?…….NEVER!…..Just remember…..game 6 of last years World Series would have never happened in one of those Sunday afternoon softball parks.

  77. JaneB - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Eddie, Davey's loyalty and EYE is what made him stick by Desi, who, as we ALL see, turned into an AllStar. If Davey is sticking by Danny, so am I. And Theo is right….Ian's defense is stellar. He is so much more impactful than the numbers you cite would indicate. He has had great, impact hits, too.I'm missing a lot here, with spotty rural NC Internet access. Are we really going after Greinke? Who do we give up to get him? I though the reason we were holding into LannEn was he would come back up when Stras is done?

  78. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM

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  79. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

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  80. JaneB - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Natscan, I'm going to pretend this DH post was made by an anonimi, and forget I ever read it. For the DH is a cheater way to play. As Gio said, is paraphrase, when you grow up playing baseball, you don't think about what position you play as much as you dream of really hitting the ball. Plus, as NatsJack says, our pitchers can hit! I think that we should consider keeping Stras on the bench as a pinch hitter when we go to October ball.

  81. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

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  82. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Dang. I posted the old one rather than the correction: eeew, no DH, ick. JaneB, I have Internet access, but have no idea what the deal is with Greinke, if any.

  83. Section 215 Row A - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    NatsJack: You make a reasonable point re: Chipper. Regardless, I believe Bam Bam has it right. The Chip should go. On another All-Star front: From the NI posting April 5, 2012:Who will represent the Nats at the All-Star Game?Mark Zuckerman (CSNwashington.com) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan ZimmermannAdam Kilgore (Washington Post) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jayson WerthDave Sheinin (Washington Post) — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan ZimmermannAmanda Comak (Washington Times) — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan ZimmermannBill Ladson (MLB.com) — Ryan Zimmermann, Jordan Zimmermann, Ian DesmondDan Kolko (MASNsports.com) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen StrasburgPete Kerzel (MASNsports.com) — Ryan Zimmerman, Gio GonzalezBrian McNally (Washington Examiner) — Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen StrasburgCraig Heist (WTOP) — Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan ZimmermannProps to Ladson! He was the only one that had Ian! And only Kerzel had Gio!

  84. Gonat - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said… Gonat said…In the discussion of whether or not Gio was squeezed by the ump, the official PitchF/X says 4 strikes were called balls and 1 was an obvious strike. 3 were borderline. 1 obvious ball was called a strike. Margin of error was -2.8%.Noting without judgement, but PitchF/X does not make allowances for individual umpires' consistent strike zones–that's sorta the whole point behind PitchF/X, as I understand it–no adjustments for "that's been a strike all day." Which matters, when you're considering what the hitter thinks he should swing at. July 02, 2012 7:58 AM _____________________________________That's a good point but the bigger point is that Gio was not being squeezed. He was not getting his curveball over and was nibbling. Sure, he isn't getting the Greg Maddux treatment but neither was Hudson. His killer curveball that was his strikeout pitch the whole month of April that wow'd all of NatsTown isn't getting in for strikes with the consistency and break that it had before.That seems to be the bigger problem.

  85. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I hope all of this vaunted "consistency" is the real deal. Under the heading, "Amateurs the Nats Have Made Look Like Hall of Famers," add Xavier Avery, optioned to the minors by the Orioles while hitting .222, about .200 of which was in that series with the Nationals. [Sound of teeth grinding.]

  86. natscan reduxit - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    … thank you NatsJack and JaneB. I needed that; I truly did. Living up here in the land of the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays, I never get any support for my, now proven, correct stance. You have both shown me the error of my ways, and provided me with the support and encouragement to know I was always on the right trac all along…. I will NEVER admit the DH is anything but an aberration, one intended to deceive the unsuspecting weekend fan who doesn't know any better…. thank you again, and oh yeah,Go You Great Nats, Go!!

  87. MJR - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Way-way-late "thank you" to Swami for the Friday night 9th inning update after the lights went out. They're still out in my 'hood and mobile phone/internet coverage was spotty at best over the weekend – when I could get the phone charged. This is one of those days when I'm actually glad to be in the office so I can get caught up on the really important stuff :-) Stay cool, everyone.

  88. JD - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    NatsLady, I don't buy this rumor at all. I don't think that Rizzo thinks that we have a shortage in the outfield at all. I think that both he and Davie see our outfield for this year as: Werth, Harper and Morse with ALR at 1st and Moore and Lombo as able fill ins and super subs once Werth returns. This IMO is why he is not so anxious to bring up Brown who is clearly deserving of the call up and this is why I don't buy the Span rumors either. Now; next year if we decide not to extend LaRoche there may be a spot open (with Morse moving to 1st) in the outfield and since I think the Braves will hold onto Bourne the more practical answer may be Upton although I would give Brown a real full look before spending mega bucks on an outfield FA.

  89. JD - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I think that the Greinke talk is also a complete non starter because we don't have the requisite pieces to bring him here unless we are willing to include someone like JZim in the package which to me makes no sense; unfortunately I think Atlanta can put together a package around Tehran or Delgado which would not hurt their current rotation that much. I think if we put enough distance between us and the Braves I would feel less concerned about their moves.

  90. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    JD…..see my post earlier about Rizzo's furrowed brow. I'd bet he realized what it would take to top Wren and that would bring a frown to alot of our faces.

  91. A DC Wonk - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    NCNatsie said… Last winter, pre Spring Training, there were basically two kinds of comments re Desmond. The anti-D faction wanted him gone. The pro-D faction (following Ladson's lead) said he would make it as a leadoff hitter because he had hit something like .281That's not accurate, actually. There were a number of pro-D folks (including me) that supported D but realized he wasn't a leadoff hitter. Heck, Davey himself said that Ian wasn't a leadoff hitter — but, at the time, there wasn't anyone on the 25-man that was better suited for leadoff.

  92. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I always supported Desi, but that was mostly for his D–love those leaps! The hitting is a great and pleasant bonus.

  93. A DC Wonk - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    fast eddieGreat for Desmond that he made the ASG, but his stats aren't that great:.276 BA/.308 OBP (less than the MLB average). He has 11 errors but leads all SS in extra-base hits.He's perfect in the six hole but we still need a lead-off hitter next year. It could be Lombo if Davey would give up his blind loyalty to Espi.eddie, really? Do you see how ironic your statement is?It was Davey's "blind loyalty", and sticking with Ian that led Ian to where he is right now. Davey's judgement has certainly earned the right that he can stick with Espi if Davey sees the same thing.As for Ian's stats, if you compare him to other NL shortstops, which is the appropriate comparison (using Fangraphs): He's 2nd in HR's, 2nd in wRC+, 1st in SLG, 1st in WPA, 1st in RE24, and 1st in WAR. What more do you want in an all star position player?Thanks for making me look that up. He's even more deserving than I thought previously!

  94. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    I don't believe the Scotty Pods rumor either. On Greinke, there are just too many teams that want/need him.

  95. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    It could be Lombo if Davey would give up his blind loyalty to Espi. Nope, sorry. Not 1/2 the athlete Espi is. Nice, useful player, happy he's here, but suspect he won't be next season, or maybe even at the trade deadline if Rizzo's serious about a starting pitcher.

  96. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    A.J. Cole yesterday in Low A, 6 IP, 3 H, no runs, 9K, no walks.

  97. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

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  98. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    NatsLady said… A.J. Cole yesterday in Low A, 6 IP, 3 H, no runs, 9K, no walks. July 02, 2012 11:17 AM Great kid and he posseses "the stuff" if he can hit his spots which has been his issue. Making him from a thrower to a pitcher is a key. He has already fallen behind as his progress from High School to A ball has been slow.If Cole can have those kind of starts consistently going forward, then get a promotion and keep doing it, he will be the future Ace that got the Nats to spend all of that money in the Draft and make the Gio trade looking backwards really interesting.

  99. JD - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Ghost, A.Cole was the Jewel in that trade. With all due respect to Peacock and Milone they both project as bottom of the rotation guys or relievers. Norris IMO will also be a very solid major league regular. This may be a trade where both sides win in the long run. The Nats couldn't wait for Cole to develop because they are ready to compete now while the A's got a couple of real nice pieces to build for the future.

  100. JD - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Giolito is our next A.J Cole with perhaps even higher upside. We just need to sign him (we will).

  101. peric - Jul 3, 2012 at 6:36 AM

    Giolito is our next A.J Cole with perhaps even higher upside. We just need to sign him (we will).I hope you're right … but … the MASN crew (perhaps intentionally) caught Rizzo in a moment of premature disclosure if you will … generally he exudes and upbeat, professional confidence of a tried and true baseball guy. But the MASN guys caught him pacing and fidgeting in his booth Atlanta with a worried or unhappy frown on his face … he wasn't down near the backstop as he usually prefers during important games … watching his and the opponents pitchers … Its either Giolito or the news that came out that the Braves are after Grienke. With Grienke in Atlanta combined with the Strasburg shutdown? You have to think the Braves might have the better starting rotation in the 2nd half … IMO the Nats have to go for Grienke just as they did in July 2010. He doesn't have to be their ace, they already have two plus one. Eventually, Jordan Zimmermann will reach that plateau along with Stras and Gio. No doubt about it. Grienke would make four if they can get him to sign an extension. Would he be better than EJax? The question is who is better after Stras is shutdown? EJax or Grienke? And if the Braves add Grienke? Who ends up helping their team get the division title?

  102. peric - Jul 3, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Milone they both project as bottom of the rotation guys or relieversActually, Milone was the jewel. And that's why canny and cagey Moneyball Billy Bean refused to make the deal without him. AJ Cole was the future gem that still needed to be cut and polished. Milone was what they needed now. And he is doing just as good a job for the A's as Mssr. Mark Buehrle of the Marlins if not better. Which may be why Rizzo made a play for Buehrle knowing he was going to end up losing Milone. Milone is good enough to be a #3 in the rotation reliable workhorse.

  103. peric - Jul 3, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    On Greinke, there are just too many teams that want/need him.But the Braves? That would not be good with the Strasburg innings cut-off looming.

  104. peric - Jul 3, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    Peric I must beg to differ. If anyone deserves to go…in his final season…it's Chipper Jones. An automatic first-ballot HOF, one of the great switch hitters of all time..Chipper deserves to be there for his victory lapI agree and you know Harper said it best …But, if I'm Tony LaRussa and I really want to win that All Star game? (He now has much less vested interest than he did … ) I am wanting Harper! Harper over Chipper Jones at this point of his career. And I'd play Harper as many innings as possible. Because that's who will win the game for you.

  105. peric - Jul 3, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Hmmm I see Natsjack already said what I was thinking in an earlier post. I still believe they might be able to get Grienke … but it won't fly unless he comes and agrees to an extension again negotiated by Ted Lerner. Not sure the Braves care. They're in it for this year perhaps … but the Nats need to stay with their mantra of improving their team and destiny this year and in the years hence. They aren't the Braves … not quite yet. And as Natsjack so aptly put it … the Nats FO knows it.

  106. fast eddie - Jul 3, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Wonk:Not sure I follow your logic re: Davey's judgment of Desmond and Espi. Just because he was right to stick with Ian, does that mean Espi will be a future All-Star?? Everyone talks about Espi's athleticism and "potential" to be great. His fielding is unquestioned–let's start to see production at the plate.The best talent scout will only be right on about 60-70% of his picks.

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