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Waiting for an opportunity to strike

Jul 24, 2012, 4:29 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Steve Lombardozzi, Mark DeRosa and Bryce Harper all scored in the 10th inning.

NEW YORK — As the night wore on and they helplessly flailed away at every 84 mph fastball Chris Young flung toward the plate, there was perhaps no sweeter sight for the Nationals than that of the Mets bullpen door swinging open for the top of the eighth and someone other than the 6-foot-10 right-hander trotting to the mound.

“When he came out of the game, some of the guys felt better,” left fielder Michael Morse said. “I know me, I felt better.”

It took two more innings of unproductive swings, but finally in the top of the 10th the Nationals took advantage of the worst bullpen in baseball, pounding Pedro Beato into submission during a six-run explosion that led to one of the odder line scores you’ll ever see: Nationals 8, Mets 2 (10).

“It’s kind of the makeup of our team,” Morse said. “We just never quit. … We just kept coming, kept pushing. Lately, it doesn’t matter how many runs you get, you just have to keep adding them and keep going.”
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  1. Unknown - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:47 AM

    Every time I think the Nationals have run out of smoke and broken all their mirrors, they show me how little I understand this team.They were just 1.5 games ahead of the Braves on Saturday and it looked like they could be in second place following Sunday's game. Suddenly, their lead is back up to 4.5 games, Bryan Harper is hitting again and all seems well in Natsland. I'm still unsure about trading for that veteran pitcher, though. If the Braves can complete that trade for Ryan Dempster, I think the Nats need to make a move. If the deal falls through, John Lannan should be able to fill the void left by Stephen Strasburg.Farid @ Idaho(can't get the system let me sign in)

  2. SonnyG10 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    All is well that ends well. Let's take Dickey tomorrow, err, later today! GYFNG!!!

  3. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    As Morse hinted, let's just get into that Mets bullpen and build on this lead.Dickey, Schmicky. It's time to beat this guy.GYFNG!!

  4. snopes1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Fear & Ignorance (from the last thread): "Serously doubt the Phillies sell. They are still only 9.5 back in the wild card race. Still a lot, but certainly not impossible. They still have a ton of talent if healthy and Howard and Utley are starting to get in a groove. I definitely could see them getting close at least and they are going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch."——————–Certainly, the Phillies have a lot of talent and can be a very good, even dominant, team the rest of the way. But don't underestimate the hole they're in. Through 97 games, they're 43/54. If they play .630 ball the rest of the way (the same as their MLB-best win percentage last year), they'll win only 84 games. That won't be enough, even with the expanded wild card team. For the Phillies to have a realistic shot at the playoffs, they'll need to go 44/21 the rest of the way — a .698 win percentage — which would get them to 87 wins. That's not an impossible win percentage, but it is very improbable. For 2013, subtract Hamels and Victorino … that torn Achilles tendon that Ryan Howard suffered (I mean that literally) in the 2011 NLCS might have been the high water mark of the Phillies dynasty.

  5. ehay2k - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    sjm – think I can solve your name problem: Willie O'Mo !My family hails from County Cork as well. EGB!

  6. rabbit34 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Can't wait to see how many Philly fans show up at Nationals Park. We won't even have to Not sell them tickets. Nope, not this time around. Now they have nothing to gloat about. So, only their real fans will show. The in-your-face guys will stay home.

  7. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Wheee! That was fun. Was regaling my hubby with the tale o' the tenth this a.m. Except that I forgot about the Morse contribution. I may have nodded off once or twice during that inning. Hey, it happens. Turns out that Mets fan we chatted with on Thursday was right about his 'pen. Ouch.

  8. Candide - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Shame on me. I went to bed after the 8th inning, telling Cunegonde they were going to lose: "They've only had one hit since the first and I can't stand it."

  9. ehay2k - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Careful Candide, down the road some troll will use that comment against you. ;-)

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Fsrid, Bryan Harper? He's Bryce's bro.

  11. Steady Eddie - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    ehay2k — except trolls are shameless.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I'm probably in the minority here but I liked Davey's move with the pitchers as the situational moves were great even though he got criticized for a lucky HR by Ike Davis. I liked Davey going double barrel in the bullpen.How good is JZim!?!

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Farid, sorry about the misspell on your name.

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Dodgers beat Mets pretty much the same way on Sunday I believe. Their bullpen has issues. So tonight's goal should be to knockout Dickey out of the game as early as possible any way you can. Bunt at him gazillion times if nothing else, have long at bats, and anything that tires him.Not sure what will be Gio's game plan against Wright and Ike.@ ehay2k, you mentioned Wright's numbers against JZ. Uggla has better numbers against SS I believe but they just love facing that competition so I doubt either would be willing to walk their nemesis.BTW has any insider seen Bourjos play on consistent basis? I know his numbers are not great right now but I wonder if he is an option for our lead-off spot next season. In other unrelated news, Ichiro is not wearing his usual number 51. Disaster!!

  15. alexva - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Ghost, no problem with Davey's move as it relates to working Storen in slowly. I do feel however that Gonzalez is a marginal player at best.

  16. Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Ghost, I agree about the situational pitching moves, (though I did read somewhere that Ike Davis has more career HR's against lefties).Man, everyday is a good day when it starts with looking at the standings and seeing our Washington Nationals in first place! GYFNG!!!

  17. Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    alexva, I would say that Mike Gonzalez is pitching over his head compared to how he has often pitched in the past, but he and Sean Burnett are our lefty specialists and Johnson has gotten a heck of a lot out of Mike G. Burnett has also given up a first batter HR on occasion.h

  18. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    "I did read somewhere that Ike Davis has more career HR's against lefties."Gorzo made mincemeat out of him next time he came up. Struck him out, and Davis could not so much as foul one off against him. Mike is just one of those guys who Davis sees well, like Dan Uggla seems to see Strasburg well. It was just a bad matchup in that situation, and probably cost JZ the win.

  19. Drew - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Don't chase that flutter ball. Make R.A. throw strike one and get into the Mets' weak pen.

  20. Gonat - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Agree with Ghost and Laddie. When you watch the replay of Davis HR he swung at the high pitch and pulled it to the shortest part of the field. Lucky squirrel.

  21. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I now think Dempster will be a Yankee next season.

  22. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    FP and Carp getting some ink, er, pixels over at the Times.

  23. Doc - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Davey's saving the ST's for the playoffs seems to be working out, even though there are some minor hiccups like MGonzo's HR to Davis last night.Over the years, he must have seen a lot of teams burn out their pitchers before they got to the playoffs.

  24. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Certainly, the Phillies have a lot of talent and can be a very good, even dominant, team the rest of the way. I don't think so. They may get better than they've been, but a large chunk of their remaining schedule is within the division. They aren't going to dominate the Braves. They certainly aren't going to dominate the Nats. They will be doing well to break even against whatever is left of the Marlins. They might beat up on the Mets. If everything goes their way, they might get back to .500 by the end of the season, but I doubt it. And that's if they keep Colbert. Which they might well not.

  25. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Why are so many counting the Marlins out, they played well against the Braves last night and hopefully they can help us out the next two nights. I don't know if Philly will make a run or not but they are running out of time. This is still a 2 team race for the East

  26. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Looking around the NL, the Pirates are an amazing story and I'm impressed. The Reds and Pirates are very good and I fear the Reds more than the Pirates . I do not think Dodgers or Giants are as formidable

  27. MicheleS - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Mick, the fire sale has started in Miami, rumors are that Hanley could be traded and so could Josh Johnson.

  28. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    MicheleS… amazing!

  29. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    "Over the years, he must have seen a lot of teams burn out their pitchers before they got to the playoffs."Davey seems to be especially careful with JZ. Probably counting on JZ as his post-season ace, and rightfully so. Once again, he was dominant last night, and seemed almost dismissive of the Mets. I loved watching him strut around the mound after putting each one of them away. I don't think he does it consciously. He just is so confident in his ability to win the duel with each and every batter, no matter who is coming up.A number of games with the NL East scheduled for August. By September 1, the race may be all but over. The Nats are so together it isn't even funny. The Marlins have already thrown in the towel, and the Phils are hoping to, maybe, get a wild card slot. The Mets have no chance with that BP, and the Braves are desperate. It is going to go down to the Braves and the Nats. As long as our staff stays healthy, it will be no contest. We are set, but the Braves are still angling to get a decent starting rotation, in late July.Sometimes I think the Nats faithful, even here, do not fully appreciate how dominant the Nats have become. When other NL teams have injuries to key players, the lost playing time becomes a reason for failure. The Nats have had as many injuries, if not more, to key players, but they always find a way to step up and keep on rollin'. They are actually stronger now than they were when the season began. They have gotten younger, stronger and more athletic. The pitching staff has been through the gauntlet of the AL and NL East, and still has one of the best ERAs in all of baseball, plus the experience of facing, and beating, the best.Ladies and Gentleman, I give you a champion in the making.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Stuck here in Charleston, SC, but did get to watch the Nats game on MLB.com (lots of pauses though). It's apparent Davey is going to stretch out JZimm and not take any chances with weather or pitch counts or anything else that might hinder him from pitching into October.At 25, he's just reached the "limitless' stage but having only pitched those 161 last year as his high mark they are probably thinking 200 max with morelike 185 his target.

  31. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    One can question some of Davey's moves with pitchers as one can do with any mananger… however, the one thing that makes Davey a players coach is that he always has his players back and looks out for their well being over wins, especially with pitchers.

  32. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    A few thoughts on last night's game:1. There were a panoply of reasons to pull JZim. First, as Davey pointed out they are still trying to conserve his innings, and it was raining. Additionally, he was about to face the 3-4-5 hitters for the third time, including Wright who had homered and two lefties. One thing that Davey has consistently shown is that he understands the value of a 25 man roster. He will show confidence in his guys to produce in their roles. He used Storen and Gonzalez in exactly the roles they are suited for at the moment. If you don't bring them in there, that's not good long-term management. Gonzalez missed his spot with his fastball on the first pitch to Davis by about 18 inches, something he did all night with his fastball until the last batter he faced. It looked like Davis was going to swing almost regardless of the pitch or location. He ran his bat into it and hit it out. It happens. He took the same tactic against Gorzo the next time up and flailed at a slider. 2. Some questioned using Tyler Moore to PH rather than Corey Brown. That early in the game, Moore was the choice. He is very limited considering that his only value as a bench player is as pinch hitter. Brown needs to be saved because he can pinch run, be a OF defensive replacement for Morse, and hits LH. I believe he was the only guy on the bench at that moment who does all three of those things. It would have been a waste to send him up there when you have the lead in a close game.3. I've been complaining about Porter's 3rd base coaching. I need to give him credit for his performance in the 10th inning. He showed good judgement on Lombo's hit. It would have been easy to get excited and send Leon there.

  33. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    #4… I think Bo will be the Nats manager after Davey retires

  34. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Should have added that he showed equally good judgement on Harper's hit as well.We'll see Mick. It'll either him or Knorr. Bench coach is generally the second in command, not the 3rd base coach. Knorr takes over if Davey gets ejected. Additionally a good 3rd base coach doesn't make a good manager. Porter could be a terrible base coach and be the next Bobby Cox. The two things don't correlate.

  35. UnkyD - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    I'm taking note that, Det and JZimnn are both guys who have never approached 200 innings, so I think Davey would be prudent to keep the innings as reasonably down as feasible, for them. EJax, Gio and LannEn are good to go….

  36. Feel Wood - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    "By September 1, the race may be all but over." So said Laddie Blah Blah, the 2011 Red Sox and the 2011 Braves."It ain't over til it's over." So said Yogi Berra.Let's hope the Nats listen to Yogi.

  37. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    There was an article on Bo Porter a couple of weeks ago. Certainly talks like he expects to manage in the near future.bo-porter-future-big-league-managerhttp://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-bo-porter-future-big-league-manager/

  38. pk24 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    NatsJackRe the pauses when watching games on MLB.com, try adjusting the high definition downwards a bit (this option is available at the bottom if the screen). I have found that this helps if you have a slow internet connection…

  39. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Feel WoodWe'll see soon enough. I touted the Nats to win the NL East before the season started, and see no reason to change that prediction. And I have been saying for about a month, ever since Zim got his swing back, that they are a dominant team and could wrap it up, early. See no reason to change that, either.Of course, I could be wrong, but I think Davey made a similar prediciton before the season started, and I think the Nats do listen to him, with all due respect to Yogi, who is not even in the organization.

  40. Tcostant - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Lets not start the Bo talk yet. I hope Davey is still the manager in 2014.

  41. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Unkyd"I'm taking note that, Det and JZimnn are both guys who have never approached 200 innings, so I think Davey would be prudent to keep the innings as reasonably down as feasible, for them. EJax, Gio and LannEn are good to go…."Agree, except about Detwiler. He only has 93 innings pitched this year, compared to JZ's 128 (most on the straff, by far) and Davey seems to want to stretch Detwiler out. Detwiler has stepped up his game, and I wonder if it will be him or EJax as the 3rd starter, after JZ and Gio, in the post-season.

  42. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Since I missed the game last night I have used my DVR to catch up a bit. The comments here tell me where to look without watching the entire game. I feel like Fri night was an important loss for the entire team and those lessons will stay around. Someone mentioned JZim' s mound demeanor- I think his presence out there has really grown up. We know he is a quiet , humble guy but he looks prett intimidating. Hope Gio pulls it together today- the Nats got lots of knuckles practice last week- see if they can square it up or at least make him work his tail off on a hot night. He is not young. By the way- thought Dempster went to the Barve-what happened?

  43. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    I was in my car for the Storen/Gonzalez/Mattheus innings, but it seems to me Davey did the right thing. You have to start putting Storen into games (or send him back down), and keep him on a short leash. So a batter or two seems about right. It's MGonzo's job to get lefties out–if he wants to keep his job, which you have to assume he does. Don't know what Gorzy was thinking in the bottom of the 10th, but McCatty's visit and the sight of Henry warming in the bullpen must've scared the bejeesus out of him, because he straightened right out. Good that Burnett and Clip got another night off.

  44. Steady Eddie - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Swami — Dempster has a veto and may use it. Rumor (from where?) has it he wanted the Dodgers or Nats.

  45. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    "the sight of Henry warming in the bullpen must've scared the bejeesus out of him"I don't know about Gorzo, but it sure scared the hell out of me.

  46. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Yes, on Dempster. The question to me is, they knew (or should have known) Dempster had 10/5 rights. Trades have been talked about for weeks and weeks. Didn't anyone ask him or his agent which teams were on his OK list? I mean, he can want the Dodgers or the Nats, but if they don't want him, then he needs to have other teams on his list or tell the Cubs if it's not Nats/Dodgers then he's staying and they will have to settle for the draft pick. This has to be on the Cubs, because it sounds like the Braves were negotiating in good faith.

  47. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    McCatty on the mound to relievers – " are you going to throw strikes or do I have to call Henry out here?" pitcher shudders, then throws strikes.

  48. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Crasnick just reported that dempster has given braves early indication that he will sign

  49. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    OTOH, maybe it is on the Braves. Who knows?Nationals 101 ‏@Nationals101Scuttlebutt here in Chicago is trade fell thru because #Barves leaked it before it was done. Dempster took exception. #BravesFail

  50. Grandstander - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Why does everyone assume Dempster is blocking the trade because he doesn't want to go to Atlanta? Maybe he's blocking the trade because he has a tremendous amount of leverage and is trying to force Atlanta's hand to sign him to a lucrative extension so he doesn't have to deal with an uncertain FA market.

  51. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Dempster did not block the trade he just did not accept it yesterday because he felt blindsided that he heard it from the media first not the cubs

  52. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    I'm not really sure why my posts are being polished under this crazy name

  53. SCNatsFan - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    NatsJack in Florida, stuck in Charleston is always an OK thing for me.I'm interested, like all of you, to see what we do with the roster this week. Constant refresh on my computer.

  54. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    "McCatty on the mound to relievers – ' are you going to throw strikes or do I have to call Henry out here?' pitcher shudders, then throws strikes."This reminds me of the story Jim Palmer tells about Earl Weaver. Palmer swears that when he would get into trouble, Weaver would call down to the bullpen and warm up the worst reliever. He would then call time, walk out to the mound, point down to the bullpen and say to Palmer, "Do you really want me to have to bring in that guy?".

  55. dabassguy1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    I get that same sort of name when I posted from my aol account. (Yes, I still have an AOL email addy). That's why I created a Google logon. How are you posting?

  56. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Longtime reader 1st time poster I post often in the espn game boards as wadlez I tried posting through my aol account only one I the options I had

  57. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I guess I should create a google account

  58. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Grandstander, I thought the same. Not temper or ego, just business.

  59. Cameron - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Wadlez, need to get more of the espn posters in here unless all they want to do is argue with the opposing team having it turn into personal attacks. I find it quite entertaining to read during game though!

  60. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Cameron, Yes, their are trolls for every team on the ESPN boards. However, there are also a few regular posters as well as I on the ESPN boards who post there consistently. I am sure some of them pay attention to this site. I have been reading this site all year, just barely have posted.

  61. JD - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    NatsLady, Dempster will never have more leverage than he has now. He is having a career year; a contender desperately wants him and he is a free agent after this year. If he was to go there as a rental and finish off the year with numbers similar to his career numbers he will have a hard time getting a 3 – 4 year contract at his current salary because he is 35. So because he has the 10/5 leverage he wants to get the next and possibly last contract done as well. It's just business,

  62. Snivius - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    "Harper's strategy in that situation?'Don't roll over and turn it into a double play," the 19-year-old said. "That was the only thing I was thinking up there. I was trying to get some backspin on something and just get it to the outfield, score the guy on third. In that situation, that's all you try to do.'"This 19-year-old professor could teach his elders a lesson or two on situational hitting. Even if Harper isn't quite Mike Trout (at least not yet), I love the guy.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
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