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Bouncing up off the mat

Jul 22, 2012, 11:27 PM EST

Associated Press photo
Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers staked the Nationals to an early lead.

There was a point early Saturday evening in which the Nationals’ season appeared to be at a potential breaking point. Having already lost the first two games of a showdown series with the Braves — blowing a nine-run lead in one of them — they now put themselves in an early 2-0 hole in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

At that moment, the idea of the Nationals finding themselves in second place by Sunday evening was terrifyingly possible.

But then John Lannan pitched the game of his life to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory. And then Ryan Zimmerman led an early offensive onslaught against Atlanta right-hander Jair Jurrjens Sunday afternoon. And then Ross Detwiler slammed the door on any possibility of another meltdown with seven strong innings.

And by the end of the day, the Nationals not only had themselves a 9-2 win but a split of this key series and a 3 1/2-game lead once again over their chief competition in the NL East.
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101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Arguably the two biggest wins of the season — from our fifth (Det) and sixth (LannEn) starters, of all people.This team is built around pitching and defense. Pennants are won on pitching and defense.It's nice to get 18 hits, but that's a fluke.This team will go as far as its pitching and defense. Which, in my way of thinking, is very, very far. Sweep those Metsies!Get well, Desi.

  2. Constant Reader - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Coming back from the precipice after falling behind last night, winning the last two games of this series with our #7 (Wang was arguably our #6 starter) and #5 starters, I feel very comfortable with the character of this club to battle through anything. Get well soon Desi.

  3. sjm308 - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    So excited to see this rotation achieve what it has this year. I believed at the beginning of this year that Jordan deserved to be the opening day starter and it's still some time before the playoffs but if we make it, I believe he should be the starter for us no matter where our first game is. I hate to think we would be in that wildcard one game situation but tell me who you would rather have on the mound? I think what Ejax and Det have added makes the rest of this season set up well for us but there are lots of games/drama/injures and negative posts left for Nats Insider.Go Nats!!Still waiting on analysis on DeRosa as the backup SS/2nd baseman.

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Sjm, +2 on Jordan Z. Still haven't changed my opinion that JZim deserves better than what he has received. Once people stop their fascination of the K and start respecting the pitchers who give you the best opportunity to W, then you will show due respect to JZim at the top of the starters list.

  5. JaneB - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Great piece. And observations above, too. I keep thinking about what Davey said about Det the other night, "He knows who he is." He seems so different out there on the mound than he did in the spring, or even late spring. I have great confidence in him, no matter what day of the week or month of the year we happen to be talking about. We ended this home stand up winning more than we didn't win. They gutted it out and took it home today. I know it's got to be a happy train ride. And that no one with any oblique tenderness has to do more than carry his own cell phone.

  6. MicheleS - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    COOKIES FOR DET!Good job today (and in the last start). Keep it up!!!

  7. Snivius - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    I know the season is a long grind, and we're not supposed to over-read the impact of small clusters of games, but when Lannan got knocked around the first inning last night, setting up a third straight loss, I got the same feeling I got in my gut back in 2003 when I watched the Cubs suffer the Bartman ball (followed by a botched double play)– that the wheels were coming off.I'm better now…

  8. Michael - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Mark, I know you meant it as a compliment, but I don't think that Lannon really pitched the game of his life Saturday. Maybe it was the most important game, but he's pitched many games as well or better of the years. I bet a quarter of his starts were as good or better. He was the most consistent pitcher for the Nats for several years. I also agree that Zimmnn is underappreciated and should ahve gotten the opening day nod. No one on the staff was better than Zimmnn last year.

  9. Nattering Nat - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    What I liked about Lannan's start was that he called it the most meaningful start he's ever had, because he had never pitched for a first-place club before. Plus, this was a key game. In that sense, in Lannan's mind it was probably the game of his life.Today was another whodathunkit, following yesterday's whodathunkit. I think Bernadina's hit to allow the Nats to take the lead 3-2, as I recall, yesterday, was one of the most important hits of the season to date. This team is resilient beyond belief, they sertianly bounced back from Friday's punch in the gut faster than I did!

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Snivius, this team has character which is why I made no comment on Friday at all until this post. I will comment now since the pain went away. It is just one of those painful losses all teams have. Bad teams have many more of them. Let's make it a distant memory.I commend Davey for taking the blame for Friday. I just hope Davey has a more conservative hook with Stras the rest of the season. Get 5 good innings from Stras and don't let him come out if his pitch count is high.Innings saved now might be innings you may have in September.

  11. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Nattering – my son called from the outer banks and asked me what one word came to mind after today's win – I of course reversed the question & asked him and he spelled r-e-s-i-l-i-e-n-t. Not sure it is spelled correctly but he was just so excited about our back to back wins. 32 years old and a huge fan, what more could a father ask for?? (oh, first grandchild is coming in Nov. and, like Mark, he will not name it Willie Mo either)Go Nats!!

  12. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Michael said… Mark, I know you meant it as a compliment, but I don't think that Lannon really pitched the game of his life Saturday. Maybe it was the most important game, but he's pitched many games as well or better of the years. I bet a quarter of his starts were as good or better. He was the most consistent pitcher for the Nats for several years. I also agree that Zimmnn is underappreciated and should ahve gotten the opening day nod. No one on the staff was better than Zimmnn last year______________________________I think given the importance of that start Mark is correct. After the Friday meltdown and the Saturday afternoon shutout, the Lannan Saturday night start was like a post-season elimination game.Michael, I am with many here on JZim's importance to this team and I said that before the season started. An informed fanbase has to know who their horses are and that is now JZim. He also deserved to be an All Star but so did Cueto and so did McDonald. Snubs happen. It all starts with pitching and timely hitting and that's the formula for winning.

  13. NCNatsie - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    On Friday, June 1, the game between the Braves and Nats was postponed due to weather. At about that time, there was a lively discussion on this blog about what constituted a “series.It was stoutly maintained and weakly objected to (by me) that a makeup game was part of the original series, no matter when it was made up. The game in question was made up on Sunday, in the afternoon game won by the Braves. If that is true, then the Braves won the series that should have started on June 1 – and eventually finished on July 21 – by two games to one. (The two teams split the games played on June 2 and 3.) And it would also be the case that the Nats won the series played over this past weekend, again two games to one.But no one, no one, on either team nor in any media outlet is saying anything other than that the “four-game” series played this weekend was split.I would like to reiterate my position that a “series” is any set of games played between the same two teams at the same site, regardless of how the games were originally scheduled.

  14. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Nattering Nat, good point on Bernadina. On good teams, its everyone chipping in. Zim is again playing like a star and Morse is at the .300 mark and getting close to en fuego like last year.We need Bryce Harper to get back to making the type of impact he did in May. I hope with Corey Brown coming back that Davey gives Harp a day off this week.

  15. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    I guess they are going with DeRosa as the backup infielder. No reason to put him in the outfield with Brown, Bernadina, Morse, Moore, and Harper there. Yep, Rivero is the backup infielder should something else go awry after him I guess it would have to be Zach Walters if Danny goes down. For the other positions its Mark Teahen.

  16. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    An informed fanbase has to know who their horses are and that is now JZim.Yup, exactly. He''l be their top guy going into the 2nd half.

  17. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Missed everything today and forgot to set the dvr. I feel so cheated. Highlights will have to do for me. Such a nice rebound — poise and mental toughness. I love it.

  18. JaneB - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Oh Swami! It was a fun fun game. It never (for me, at least) got to that, "We have this SO in hand!" point that I went to (for a while) Friday. It was, "Okay! Good Inning! Sit them down again!" Which is more fun. Note to self: Smug game viewing tends to bite back.

  19. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Great piece. sjm, I started to read your comment, but got distracted before I finished. Before I came back to the computer, I thought of what word I might use. Then I read the rest of your comment, and your son's word was the same I picked – resilient. This team has been resilient and resourceful, what with all the injuries this season. Fun game today. After the Nats scored their first four, I turned to my husband and said, "Looks like these guys came to play today, and they're ready to kick some [patootie]." Well, the results are in, and I do believe that was indeed the case. :-)

  20. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    JaneB – I am betting that the team felt the same way you did – I am not saying they coasted on Friday but you can bet they had that in the back of their minds today – the double steal with a big lead showed me a lot – probably mentioned in the game post but that is off limits to my fragile psychego Nats!!!

  21. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Ghost, I think Davey made that statement about JZim's status in the rotation when he made him #1 after the ASB. And sjm, you're exactly right: at this point, if you need to choose one starter who gives you the best chance to win every game he pitches, I doubt anyone on this blog (other than a pure contrarian for the sake of argument) would pick anyone other than JZimm. Which is what Davey's action states.Swami, if you have the AtBat app, you can get a condensed game (generally ~12-15 minutes) with key plays from every inning.

  22. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Natsfan1a -Thanks! can you now talk my son into naming his kid "willie mo"?? It just rolls off the tongue and will look great in the game day program!

  23. Section 222 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    Innings saved now might be innings you may have in September.I agree completely. But I assume NJ will say that it will interfere with his development to limit Stras to 5 innings per start from here on in… Or have we passed some mythical point in the season where it's ok to start looking at his overall innings and planning according? Or maybe they shed one of their 8 BP guys. Davey said during ST that he would prefer to have 6 guys in the BP, not the usual 7, and now he's got 8 of them.This is from the last thread in response to my statement that either Brown or Moore will go back to Syracuse when Werth returns. Laddie, you're absolutely right that the 8 man bullpen won't last too long. I just don't think they keep a 6th OF when Werth comes back. But when Tracy is ready to come back, one of those BP guys will have to go. The timing of Werth's and Tracy's returns, and who will be first, is still uncertain.As for a 6 man BP, I know Davey has said he'd like it to be that size, but you need your starters to go deeper than ours do for that to work. And I doubt we'll go with fewer relievers in the playoffs. You need your full group for late inning matchups as the games are more likely to be closely contested at that point. Pray for Danny's health. I really don't want to see an up the middle combo of Lombo and DeRosa.

  24. Section 222 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Swami/Steady — The condensed games are actually available on your computer too. Go the MLB Media Center. No app required. Much more fun to watch them a bigger screen than your phone.

  25. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Actually, Ghost, about Friday, I would agree with a commenter (can't remember who it was) from maybe last night, who wrote that at least for the team, Friday was a good thing for the long haul this season: take nothing for granted, never let up for a minute and don't celebrate until the last out. While every player on the team has had that drilled into their heads for years, that game teaches them the difference between knowing something in your head and being able to live by it in your gut.This was a gut check weekend for the team, and they came out much stronger for it than if they had swept. (Except of course for Desi — ugh.)

  26. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    222 – Thanks for the site cite, agree, computer screen is much better (though iPad ain't bad). They just don't make it easy to find, at least scouting around the Nats official site.

  27. fast eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    We're in the driver's seat for making the playoffs. How about trading Morse (hot bat but bad D) and/or Bernie at the deadline while they're at their peak value?What do we need? Back-up catcher? (Jesus is throwing out 13% of base-stealers). Lead-off hitter? Or do you stand pat and and count on existing "team chemistry"?

  28. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Not sure I can help on that one, sjm. Maybe split the difference and go with "willie"? :-)sjm308 said… Natsfan1a -Thanks! can you now talk my son into naming his kid "willie mo"?? It just rolls off the tongue and will look great in the game day program! July 22, 2012 9:41 PM

  29. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Eddie – count me in for "chemistry" and the way Morse is hitting right now, I would hate to lose him with Desmond already gone. Bernadina has had a week to remember but I am thinking he will revert back. Still, he is a valuable 4th outfielder and with Lombo now our 2nd baseman, we can't trust that Brown will jump right in. I think Davey plays the hot hand and goes with Morse/Harper/Bernadina. I want Brown to do well and I want Harper to get some rest as well so we now have the ability to do all that. I concur that one of the most important points right now is a healthy Espinosa for the next four weeks!!Go Nats

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Sect222,.I think it's getting him at least 5 innings and watching the pitch count. JZim went thru this last year as 5 to 6 innings was hitting the wall in August and September.

  31. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Was just reading Mark's in-game updates. Maybe I need to get out more, but it was funny how often Mark's updates mirrored comments I was making to my husband at the game. Is that how one knows that they're spending too much time reading NI? Nah, there is no such thing. :-)btw, Michele, I thought of you before today's game, when they were showing a clip about the HOF inductees. Hope you had a great time up there!

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Steady Eddie at 9:46, really good point. Don't let up until the 27th out.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Time for Davey to have some one on ones with his players and ask the Zim question to each player "how's your health? Do you need a break?"If Zim had that Cortisone Shot earlier, who knows?!?

  34. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    Ghost, agree re Stras. His problem Friday night — apart from Davey leaving him in after the first hit in the 6th — was that by the third inning, Stras couldn't locate his fastball to save his life. He was throwing all kinds of off-speed stuff because of that, and it was plenty noticeable from the stands, even without Pitch Track.Which lack of command was exactly what JZimm described as happening on some of his first-year-post-TJ starts last season. So it's not a reason to worry particularly about Stras, but it is to keep a close eye on how and what he's doing while he's pitching, basically as you suggested.

  35. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    I would like to reiterate my position that a “series” is any set of games played between the same two teams at the same site, regardless of how the games were originally scheduled. NCNatsie, for what it's worth, I concede the point.

  36. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    fast eddie said… We're in the driver's seat for making the playoffs. How about trading Morse (hot bat but bad D) and/or Bernie at the deadline while they're at their peak value?What do we need? Back-up catcher? (Jesus is throwing out 13% of base-stealers). Lead-off hitter? Or do you stand pat and and count on existing "team chemistry"? July 22, 2012 9:51 PM _________________________________Have you been following? Morse in the middle of the lineup gives this team that HR threat any time he steps in. It gives Zim a comfort level.Yes, he shouldn't be in RF. Not great in LF but serviceable.

  37. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    As if it was needed, here's some documentation for the JZimm love, from Baseball Reference:1 Justin Verlander DET 5.12 Chris Sale CHW 4.53 Johnny Cueto CIN 4.1 Matt Harrison TEX 4.15 Jordan Zimmermann WSH 4.06 Jake Peavy CHW 3.87 David Price TB 3.48 R.A. Dickey NYM 3.19 Ryan Dempster CHC 3.0 Kyle Lohse STL 3.0Even his name stands out!

  38. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    That was WAR for pitchers.

  39. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Not sure I can help on that one, sjm. Maybe split the difference and go with "willie"? :-)OOOh, can I be "Chili Mo"??

  40. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    Maybe I need to get out more, but it was funny how often Mark's updates mirrored comments I was making to my husband at the game. Is that how one knows that they're spending too much time reading NI? Nah, there is no such thing. :-)I have the same thing going with FP. It's getting a little creepy, actually. Happens way too often, and he's always just a few seconds after me.

  41. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Thanks so much for the mlb media center tip! 14 minutes, entire game, no announcing, just plays. Pretty darn cool. It seemed like Det not only pitched well, but hit the ball and fielded his position well. One of his pitches was showed in slo-mo and it has some crazy spin. The last few days I have also seen Ryan Zimmerman hustle out some hits that could have been outs. For those of you who were concerned about Lombo because of one semi-tardy throw the other night, I think he will be fine once he is back at second playing every day. He has turned some nice double plays and is showing range. Espi has a cannon from short. If they can keep things going up the middle and replace Desi's clutch hitting ( probably take 3 hitters to replace his production) then once again, I think they adjust and keep on trucking.

  42. ehay2k - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    OK, we but clawed our way back, but only because Lannan sucksthe life out of over-confident Barves hitters who thought they could blast every fastball or 90mph change up out of the park, and instead got a diet of slow sinkers they were happy to get a bat on. :-) I think there is something to be said for a diversity of pitching arms. If the whole staff is composed of power arms, there is less for opposing hitters to have to adjust to. Lannan forces a bigger adjustment, just as Wang did, only from the other side.And, unless I am mistaken, the Nats are now in first place in the entire NL. So much for doom and gloom. :-)

  43. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Steady Eddie, after Harrison's start against the Rangers tonight, he probably falls a little in the B/R WAR calc.

  44. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    against the Angels tonight

  45. ehay2k - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    My last post was for you, Sjm- :-)

  46. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    WAYYYYYYYYYY off-topic for MicheleS:Don't know if you're near a TV, but if you are, WGN is running a live half-hour special on "Celebrating Santo," the reason for your trip to upstate New York. Hope you might get a chance to see it. Well done. Travel safely.

  47. ehay2k - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Bazinga!!!

  48. SonnyG10 - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    For those who are thinking Bernie will revert back to his norm, maybe not. From previous post: SonnyG10 said… One thing on the shark's hot streak. It seems to have started when DeRosa suggested he go to a smaller bat (i.e. lighter in weight and I think, shorter also. FP mentioned this during the broadcast the other day. Maybe this has something to do with Bernie's success. July 22, 2012 10:02 PM Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… Sonny, as I recall, FP said DeRosa recommended a lighter bat, but I don't recall shorter. July 22, 2012 10:42 PM

  49. Section 222 - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Swami — Glad you're enjoying the condensed games. During the off season, I watched the entire 2011 season from start to finish. It was fascinating seeing the team evolve and was a great way to fill the no-baseball void. This off season is going to be even more fun I have a feeling.

  50. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    SonnyG10, before Bernie's bat was mentioned by FP, I believe it was mentioned here or on Twitter by a poster here. Very cool story. As Bernie calls DeRosa "D-Row" suggested it.Truly amazing how something like that can change you. Barry Bonds always had 2 different bats depending on the pitcher he was facing with 2 different weights on the bats.I always thought that Wilson Ramos needed a larger bat with a thicker handle as he breaks too many in the handle.

  51. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Sonny — good point. Also in that, remember when Shark showed up in ST 2011 with the huge biceps and visions of being a power hitter? Along maybe with the heavier bat, made his BA go straight into the toilet. The lighter bat does suggest he's realized where his big league future lies. Now the next step is to learn to take the outside pitches to the opposite field and become a spray hitter. Learn that and a little more discipline on the base paths (though it seems that Davey or Bo or someone is already helping with that), and he could really get his game together. Though this team is already so stocked in the OF (looking also at the MiLB pipeline) that he'll likely either be a super sub or trade bait.

  52. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    I also heard Davey talk about how they were helping Bernie learn how to hit for base hits without thinking he had to hit home runs. Seems they have been working on his approach. Maybe it'll stick. He has got to be one relieved dude after watching 2 other outfielders get the boot. In my catching up, I just figured out that they walked Bernie to get to Leon and then Leon almost hit it out. I just love it when stuff like that happens.

  53. Scott Margenau - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    I for one feel very happy with the catching platoon. Solano is mr excitement and hits well, Leon I LOVE and Flores is solid. Who would u get better? And at what cost? I think catchers are not a big need for us.Am I the only nat fan that doesn't want to see Tyler Moore play daily? His bat is silly and def is much better of late.

  54. whatsanattau - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    I've been mighty busy this summer without much time to post. Using all my baseball minutes just to watch or listen. But I scan through when I can. I' hope Desi can be back in two, but would not be surprised at 3-5 based on observation of other oblique recoveries. Looking forward to Werth returning. Hope it will be on the next home stand when I can stand and cheer for him. I keep reading these Dempster rumors, but doubt their veracity. Can't see Rizzo going Dempster diving unless the cubbies will take Rosenbaum as the lead.

  55. whatsanattau - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    About time for ALR to get hot again. He is historically streaky with late July/early August surges. If Flores needs to go on the DL, they Might be able to get by with koyie Hill, but a trade for defensive catcher would be good. (still wish Pudge was an option but know he is not. With Brown in DC, Perez in SYR, and Goodwin in HBG it sure seems the team has a basis for not going after a free agent CF.

  56. John C. - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:11 AM

    I said it many times and on many different blogs after Friday and Game 1 Saturday: This team is much, much mentally tougher than many of its fans. GYFNG!

  57. John C. - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Brown is going to be up for a couple of weeks at the very least. Right now the team only has a four man bench. Keeping a four man bench assumes that the team stays with eight in the bullpen, but they only added the extra bullpen guy for the short term.My assumption is that when the next position player (Werth or Tracy) is activated, the person to go will be a bullpen spot. That will give the team a five man bench again. That’s why there has been so much intrigue about whether they will send down an effective reliever (Mattheus or Stammen) or DFA an ineffective one (HRod), who is out of options, or lose the third lefty (Mike Gonzalez).So, if Desmond goes on the DL and Corey Brown is called up (and that's not noted on the team's web site yet), then the bench (for now) is two right handed bats (DeRosa and Moore), one left handed bat (Brown) and the backup catcher (Leon). When the first of Tracy or Werth is ready, it’s probably a pitcher who goes. If it's Werth, Bernadina joins Brown as the second LH bat on the bench. If Tracy comes back, then he IS the second LH bat on the bench. It’s when Desmond comes back that Brown goes back down.

  58. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    Given Flores issues I have to wonder if Koyie Hill might not be the next player with a ticket from Syracuse?

  59. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:33 AM

    but a trade for defensive catcher would be good. Hill is a defensive catcher. What they really need is an offensive catcher. Watch out if a Ramos-like deal opens up …

  60. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:36 AM

    That was WAR for pitchers.Fangraphs is typically more accurate. Hard to take Baseball Reference seriously.

  61. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    If Zim had that Cortisone Shot earlier, who knows?!?Its a pretty high risk deal. Its why they waited. Morbidity could result leading to surgery.

  62. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    "As for a 6 man BP, I know Davey has said he'd like it to be that size, but you need your starters to go deeper than ours do for that to work."But you do not need 5 starters, either, 4 are plenty, with the 5th guy maybe relegated to long duty out of the pen. You may have 7 relievers, but one of them is really a starter culled from the starting rotation for the post-season. You still end up with one less pitcher, no matter how you count them. I think it likely that Davey opts for a 4-man rotation, max, with 7, max, in the pen, giving him an extra "hairy-chested guy to come in off the bench."We'll know how Davey plans to compose his post-season roster soon enough. There is no way to predict exactly what it will look like, now. There is no guarantee that Werth will come back and just pick up where he left off, or that Bernie will continue to hit .400 or go back to being a .200 hitter, or that Morse or Bernie will not be moved by the trade deadline, etc., etc. etc.About a month ago there were a couple of Nats insiders who were insisting that Corey Brown would not be called up before September. At the risk of being obvious, I pointed out that you never know who might be injured and what the consequences of that might be.Same goes for your assertion that either Brown or TyMo will be sent down. Maybe, maybe not. If Brown hits .400, covers the OF like the 2nd coming of Ankiel, and hits HRs at the same rate in the bigs as he did in AAA, why would anyone in their right mind send him back down? Ditto for TyMo.

  63. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Yes, but keep the bicarbonate handy. :-)Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… Not sure I can help on that one, sjm. Maybe split the difference and go with "willie"? :-) OOOh, can I be "Chili Mo"?? July 22, 2012 10:21 PM

  64. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVSRm80WzZkSection 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said…Maybe I need to get out more, but it was funny how often Mark's updates mirrored comments I was making to my husband at the game. Is that how one knows that they're spending too much time reading NI? Nah, there is no such thing. :-)I have the same thing going with FP. It's getting a little creepy, actually. Happens way too often, and he's always just a few seconds after me. July 22, 2012 10:24 PM

  65. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    swami, I told my husband afterwards that it was my fave part of the game. As they did the IBB, I was saying, "They're dissing you Sandy. Make 'em pay." and he did. Niiiice. baseballswami said…In my catching up, I just figured out that they walked Bernie to get to Leon and then Leon almost hit it out. I just love it when stuff like that happens. July 22, 2012 11:16 PM

  66. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Nice to "see" you, whatsa. Have missed your posts.

  67. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Unbelievable weekend, am exhausted from the lows and highs. Funny thing was watching Jim Lett at the bullpen phone waiting for Davey's call to see whether Henry or Storen would pitch the ninth with a 9-2 lead. Davey decided to give us all a mental break…The Mets are in complete disarray, having gone 1-9 (we were the "1" last week). Their bullpen has an ERA of 5.05. They are still a major league team, though. Don't let your foot off the pedal, boys!It seems like just yesterday we were laughing at the M's and A's playing meaningless 1-0 games… Ain't so meaningless any more, Tommy Milone's team is doing OK for itself on pitching and D and luck.

  68. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I am always concerned about the nats when they play sub .500 teams. They do all seem to be adrenaline junkies. Maybe Friday night taught them something about assuming things. Very proud of Lombardozzi – his very first appearance on Plays of the Week! Also , Davey must be very pleased at the way his bullpen was spared in the double header and Sunday. Did EJax, Lannan and Det all go 7?

  69. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Hey, sjm, Boz used your son's word. :-)In other news, just realized that the 18 Nats hits yesterday were a record at Nats Park. After about 17 or so, I was saying to my husband, "Have they ever gotten this many here before?" I was ready to start chanting for "20 hits" but decided to settle for what they did. :-)

  70. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    NatsLady, the Mets pitching and bullpen has imploded and if they get RA Dickey throwing well they can W.Otherwise the Mets are hoping their offense can put together a bunch of runs. Somehow the Dodgers were able to take the red hot David Wright and hold him to a 3-12 weekend with no extra base hits and a bunch of Ks. McCatty et al need to be watching the film on how the Dodgers did that!!!

  71. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    swami, yes, they each went 7.

  72. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    The Mets fan who was sitting by us on Thursday afternoon was bemoaning his bullpen as he wondered aloud why a Mets runner had been held at third (we thought it was because of the big lead his team had at that point). He said that 8 runs wasn't enough with his 'pen. Turned out he was almost right. :-)

  73. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Another piece on the MASN situation. Note that the author is a Baltimore guy.

  74. Jim Webster - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Peric, why is a cortisone shot a "high risk deal?" I've had 3 or 4 in the last 10 years to alleviate right shoulder impingement. One of these next years may require arthroscopic surgery, but I don't see the risk as high.

  75. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Jim, IANAD–I'm not even Periculum–but the risk is greater for people who throw a ball for a living (relatively small, but major if it's you).for instance:Tendon RuptureCortisone can also cause weakening of tendons. This is one reason your doctor may limit the number of cortisone injections administered. Cortisone can also lead to tendon rupture, as is the case when cortisone is injected for Achilles tendonitis.

  76. Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Ian Desmond going down is another blow in a long list of injury blows that this team has endured this year. It has reached the point of absurd. Absurd, that is, that in spite of them we are still in first place. Before the season started virtually nobody picked the Nats to be contenders this year. If they had known that we'd be playing without Storen, Werth, Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman,and Michael Morse, for the extended periods of time that all of them missed, plus Solano, Tracy, Leon, DeRosa, LIdge, Matheus and now Desmond they would have picked us to finish in last place. This is an incredible testament to the job that Davey Johnson has done. I hear some say that we don't have the horses to win the race this year, and that we are just setting the table for next year, and the hair raises on the back of my neck. Johnson may have managed us out of winning a game or two, but he has managed us to still be in first place, in spite of all of the injuries. It defies logic! This is our year,folks. Davey is having fun, but I also think that this is wearing on him pretty hard.I feel that we are so fortunate to have him for however long he decides to guide this team. As to the posters the other night that questioned Rizzo's competence, I ask: when did ignorance become a point of view? Just look at the wins and losses from the day Mike took over to the wins and losses now. I won''t argue about it, simply because it never pays to argue over a stupid point with a fool. Like Davey, we are very fortunate to have Mike Rizzo.As to Corey Brown, I don't see him as the next great thing, but I do see him as a guy who has paid his dues and deserves a shot. He is, by all accounts, a good defensive outfielder with great instincts, a good arm,and good range. He's not really a lead off type, though he has good speed, pop in his bat, can bunt very well, and is a decent baserunner. He has one bad thing in common With Tyler Moore and that is they both strike out a lot.As to Tyler Moore, I don't see where he fits in until the rosters get extended. He has no position until then. He, and Lombardozzi filled in better then expected in LF, but neither of them are ML outfielders. Which brings me to Michael Morse and the folks that think he should be considered as tradeable: Are you nuts? I want MM's bat in my lineup now, and even more so come crunch time.I also don't want the dark hole that would be in the locker room if Michael suddenly wasn't there in the middle of a division title race. Perish the thought!Just another Joe Seamhead editorial. GYFNG!!!

  77. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Natsfan1a said… Yes, but keep the bicarbonate handy. :-)Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said…can I be "Chili Mo"??———————–All right! Chili Mo it is! I am! We are!

  78. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Great Editorial, Joe…and I agree on Michael Morse for now…. but the off season is a different story. I'm not saying he gets traded but it will be interesting to hear what others may offer and what Mike wants in return.Off to my problem job in Charleston, S.C. for 3 days so I'll be watching on my Galaxy III android or my laptop when available.GYFNG

  79. Candide - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Proof of lesson learned from Friday: with a 6-0 lead, Davey called a double steal. The Braves are a good team; you can't let them back in the game.

  80. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Agree on Morse, need that bopper for this season and hope his hits will continue to outweigh his fielding. He's trying his best out there, that's for sure, it's not lack of hustle, and he's made a couple of excellent catches both in right and in left. His routes are chancy and he doesn't have the speed to overcome it, as Bernie does. His arm, though not as weak as Lombo's, is not accurate. I still think–though he doesn't–that Morse belongs in the AL if Corey Brown shows good stuff. That will be a discussion for the offseason.

  81. bowdenball - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Who is this fictional person who is not giving Zimmermann his due? Nats fans all love him.Fact is, until two weeks ago Gio and Strasburg were having better seasons, so they got more attention. Now things have changed, so Zimm is getting the attention. There's no slight or injustice in any of this, no irrational love of the strikeout. Each player is getting exactly what he is earning. And let's not forget- they're all great, and we're fortunate to have all three (five? six?) of them.

  82. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I wish there was a way we could look at BABIP trend for a particular player over a season. I am just wondering since Shark has no XBH in his hot stretch, has he been lucky lately or just being better hitter than earlier months?

  83. JeffDC2004 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    When was the last time that Morse played shortstop?

  84. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Another possibility, besides the two you mention, FS, is that, having gone to a lighter bat, he's also changed how he hits, and is producing more ground balls and low line drives, instead of fly balls, but he's making better contact.

  85. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    We have talked a lot about the injuries and we have also talked a lot about how we want this team to be good for the next five years. In a weird way, I think this year's dl situation has actually accelerated our team's development. Some of these guys are getting to the bigs much earlier and getting tons more playing time. Harper, Lombo, Moore, Solano, Leon,Brown. Just like the rain out and subsequent double header gave us a chance to test out Lannan and feel like it's going to be ok, we don't need to rent an expensive pitcher. The adversity, the ups and downs, the opportunities, have been making this a tough, resilient team. Even Friday night could be an important lesson that shows results in September when the guys are ahead by a lot and they don't let it get away. Winning and being in first place is fun and sexy, but watching these guys grow and develop into a good team is gratifying to me as a fan.

  86. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    "Which brings me to Michael Morse and the folks that think he should be considered as tradeable: Are you nuts?"Anybody is tradable for the right deal. What makes him more likely to be traded than others is his value in the market, his redundancy on the roster, both at 1b and in LF, his age, and his lack of defensive skills in the OF.Am I nuts? Others have suggested that long before you did. I was also nuts for saying that Zim could not catch up to the FB long before any of the sane posters thought so, and that Corey Brown would be called up sometime during the summer. Boy, was I ever nuts for suggesting that. I guess I was nuts when I predicted the Nats would win the NL East before the season started or when I said the Nats were a dominant team the day after Zim got his cortisone shot and started swinging the bat, again.I do not know what Rizzo or Davey will do, as so many of the sane posters, who also seem to be clairvoyant, seem to know. I only know what Davey and Rizzo have said they would do, and what they have actually done. I assume nothing. You can always hope for the best, but you better be prepared for everything and anything else, because that is what you are most likely to get. I think it was Patton who said battle plans are great, right up until the first shot is fired.Of course Morse is tradable.

  87. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    http://www.csnwashington.com/baseball-washington-nationals/nationals-talk/Jackson-changes-agents-wants-long-term-d?blockID=744531&feedID=6358Good conversation starter on Edwin Jackson and the curious move to fire Boras now. Do the Nats even want him back -and- does Edwin want to come back. I'm sure he is feeling like a rental himself right now with a lot to prove. His Saturday start was very good even though he took the loss.Interesting that he chose Greg Genske as his agent. Greg reps Adam Dunn and Livo.My source tells me that Boras does not want to negotiate until after the season and EJax would like to get an extension with the Nats.Its a gamble on both sides to be negotiating during the season based on the results. Could Rizzo do a 3 year $40 million extension now? I still think you have to tie up JZim first.

  88. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    but look at his BABIP trend, it has crossed .350 line. I think if we divide his stats by his BABIP intervals (where it is average, poor, and good), we can see how lucky he has been.however, you are right about decrease in FB% and increase in LD% and i think LD hitters tend to have better than average BABIP.I just hope he continues his recent success.

  89. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    As do I, FS.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… I was also nuts for saying that Zim could not catch up to the FB long before any of the sane posters thought soIs that right. Which name did you post that under? I gave my observations on Zim's swing. He wasn't covering the outside of the plate. He wasn't catching up to heat. Zim and the Nats were fortunate on the results of the cortisone shot. The NL Player of the Month could be Zim or McCutcheon. Zim is red hot and the Nats needed that.On Morse, its the same old story. What can you get for him in a trade and what do you give up? If someone blew you away on a trade than sure but I don't see redundancy as Morse is still a premier cleanup hitter who still isn't at May/June 2011 form.If the Nats didn't have a Michael Morse I would think that would be the Nats biggest need. I still go back to the over-kill on the outfield I was hoping for in the off-season when I suggested Carlos Beltran and Coco Crisp instead of the money spent on EJax. It seems to me the offense is doing better and September could be real interesting with healthy players like Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth.The other player I am concerned about is Bryce Harper. He's not getting the XBHs like he was. I think his back is really barking and that ankle has to be hurting too.

  91. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    For this year and next, I don't see trading Morse. Unless maybe Brown turns out to be the next Victorino. (We'll wait and see on that.) Because there's nobody who clearly brings more to the table. Moore may be a future everyday slugging 1B but is not, I think, ready to be an everyday player now, either at 1B or the OF. Reserve judgment, also, on Bernadina. My sense is he may have turned the corner — finally — and may continue this trend through the end of the season. (The best evidence for this hope being his high OBP and fewer Ks.) But who would want to gamble another winning season by assuming that he would equal Morse's production next season? If Morse has his short-comings, so what? An injury-normal 2014 — not this daily battlefield triage — will cover a lot of sins. This may be a 95-win team this year, but 100 wins next year is a reasonable objective.

  92. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Bryce seems to be hitting more groundballs which don't tend to go for hits as often as LD, let alone XBHs. His LD% is going down, slugging is rapidly trending down,and I think the guy needs a break. If corey brown is being called up, I think Harper should be rested for a week or so as well. It is not like he is carrying the offense right now anyways.

  93. waddu eye no - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. fast eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    I agree with Laddie–Morse is tradable for the right deal. He has much more value as a DH in the other league. For those who want to move him to first, what about Tyler Moore who's a natural 1B, not LF? He really hasn't had much chance to prove himself after posting big numbers at Syracuse.ALR is hitting .250 after carrying us in April. Rizzo should wait till this winter before deciding to re-sign him.

  95. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    "Is that right."Yes, and on several occasions. It was obvious to anyone who was actually paying attention. Opposing pitchers were throwing FBs right down the middle of the plate with no concern that Zim could catch up to them, because he couldn't."Which name did you post that under?"Laddie Blah Blah, same as always."On Morse, its the same old story. What can you get for him in a trade and what do you give up?"That's Rizzo's job. If he goes into the trade mart, for whatever reason, Morse is his most tradable, valuable and most expendable chip. We were winning consistently long before Morse returned from injury. His return has not appreciably affected our win rate. That is a fact. If you are Rizzo and you want to add a big piece, either now or in the off-season, who is the most likely chip to play, if not Morse?The Nats are deep in the OF, where he is a liability, and they have ALR at first base, with TyMo as the probable long-term replacement. Of course, if they let ALR go, then they would probably keep Morse.Assume nothing. Unless you are Rizzo, you don't know what he will do, and I don't claim to know, either.

  96. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    "If Morse has his short-comings, so what? An injury-normal 2014 — not this daily battlefield triage — will cover a lot of sins."Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, none of that is relevant. The only things that are relevant are his value on the trade mart and what he can bring back, and if Rizzo thinks the deal is worth it for the Nats. If Rizzo thinks he has a good deal, he makes it. If he does not, he doesn't.Everything else is academic.

  97. NatsNut - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    ncnatsie,Actually, Saturday's early game was the makeup game for June 1, so technically, Atlanta won that earlier series.

  98. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  99. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Your new post …Courtesy of @needham_chris on twitter.

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