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Something special brewing

Jul 30, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Michael Morse is congratulated after hitting his game-tying homer in the ninth.

The images from the defining moment of Sunday's dramatic, 11-10 victory in Milwaukee were striking and memorable.

Michael Morse with left arm raised as he watched his game-tying home run in the ninth inning sneak over the right-field wall at Miller Park. Davey Johnson doing a little jig from the top dugout step as he watched the ball sail out. Ryan Mattheus, who had put the Nationals in that hole by serving up three homers in two innings of relief making sure he was the very first one to greet Morse and offer his teammate a bear hug.

That moment, perhaps as much as any other this season, revealed why the Nationals aren't just a good team in 2012 but why they may just be something special.

Sure, there's a boatload of talent on the roster, and of course that's the No. 1 reason this club now shares the best record in baseball with theRead more ยป

211 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Don't anybody dare wake me up. I'm having a dream that the Nats are in 1st place, 21 games above .500 with 61 to play.Oh, yeah and the pre-season favorite Phillies are 16 1/2 games behind them. No, please, I don't wanna wake up!

  2. MicheleS - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    This team is very special and after all the crummy years we have witnessed, this is a joy to watch. I am happy for us, the team, the FO, the owners. And hopefully they will start developing fan base that becomes just as rabid and crazy as those on this blog.

  3. D'Gourds - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Very special win yesterday. As I've said before, this team reminds me of the 85-86 Mets. It's no coincidence that Davey is at the helm. My respect for him keeps on growing. They take advantage of the opponent's weaknesses like the Brewers' bullpen. Savor this guys! This type of team doesn't come around often.

  4. Positively Half St. - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Some thoughts:1) All the Nats have to do for their first winning season is to go 21-40 the rest of the way. I think we can feel confident that this much at least will happen. Getting to 90 wins is already very likely.2)The Pirates are going to end their streak of losing seasons, too, but the Orioles are only 4 games above .500 in the AL East. May the O's bad streak continue as long as Angelos owns the team.3) We would have more reason to be comfortable if the Braves would start losing, but the chances to get into the playoffs would improve if some of the other wild card contenders would start losing. The Nats are only 3 games ahead of the Pirates, and 6 ahead of the Giants/Dodgers.4) Hunter Pence seems to be leaving Philadelphia for SF. The timing is as good as Greinke leaving just before the Nats might have opposed him. I hope they make several moves so that the Nats play them while they try to get their equilibrium back.5) I miss Jim Riggleman about as much as I miss Nyjer Morgan.+1/2St.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Positively Half St, we are in total agreement on this one!5) I miss Jim Riggleman about as much as I miss Nyjer Morgan.

  6. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    The winning is fun. I will not deny that. During spring training everyone said they would be pretty good this year,but maybe 2013. Then came the injuries, one after the other. This team is just fun to watch and exciting to be a fan of. They never , ever seem to panic or quit and they genuinely seem to care for their teammates. I feel like I need to pinch myself every day. What a treat.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Regarding Hunter Pence: He's 9 for his last 59,(.153), with 18 K's, and one extra base hit. The Phills traded three top ten picks to get him last year. It would be hard to to recoup that for him. They made what turned out to be a bad deal last year.

  8. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    And about Riggs. Go easy- he did everyone an enormous favor by calling Rizzo' s hand early enough so that they had half a season to adjust. We would not be where we are now had he hung around. He is teaching baseball in the minors now, very well as that us what he is suited for and not this. Everyone really landed where they belong. Maybe it's time to stop the Werth-Philly- like spite with him.

  9. Will - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    The stat-heads can debate this one for all eternity, arguing whether or not such nebulous concepts make any difference in a team's won-loss record.I don't think there would be much debate there either. The Nats have the third highest run differential in the majors (only the Cardinals and Rangers are better). Their pythagorean winning percentage suggests they're playing like only a 60-41 team.They have the 9th best offense according to WAR (17.0 WAR).They have the 4th best pitching staff according to WAR (13.8).All together, only the Rangers, Yankees and Cardinals have a higher team WAR. Given the Nats' 7.5 game advantage on the Cards, it's pretty safe to say the Nats are the best team in the National League, if not the best in MLB.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    My last words to Mike Rizzo in the 9th inning of the game in Miami a couple of Sundays ago was "Keep up the great work. The bar is alot higher these days." All he could do was smile and say "thanks".

  11. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Don't count on the Phils or Marlins being out of sorts after their fire sale. Sometimes a team that know it doesn't have much to play for bands together to "show 'em" what they are made of. This homestand is a chance to put stakes through their hearts. Let's do it!One program note for those of you coming to Nats Park — my barbershop group is singing the Anthem on Tuesday night. So plan to be there early, or intentionally late, depending on your predilections.

  12. Gonat - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    peric said… The Garret Mock saga played out longer, 4 or 5 years__________________________You twist the truth better than a politician using Mock's rehab and Minor League time. Mock appeared over 2 years and ONLY 1 game into a 3rd season for the Nats and only 55 games total. You bring this up a lot. He was a Rizzo boy from the DBacks days. He was low cost and had MiLB options. He was a starter with a power arm. The Nats were nowhere near 1st or 2nd place. Henry has already appeared in 93 games over 2 seasons and unfortunately the comparison brings up the wasted time that Mock was here.

  13. sjm308 - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    What a great story this team has been and is!!I have been preaching the importance of team chemistry for quite some time. It really is hard to put a number on something like that but Davey started last year and through spring training. It's what good coaches do. They read their players and make choices – sure talent & numbers play a role but we don't see what happens in the clubhouse before or after a game. We don't see what happens at dinner or on a day off. These guys like each other and the like Davey.I am convinced that they were hurting after letting Ankiel go and it affected them for 24 hours. I think the next two or three moves will also have some affect but the reality now is that they can see the end of the tunnel and at the end is the playoffs.Over 400 comments after the game and I can just imagine how many times people gave up. To be honest, I did as well. The game is just fascinating and always has been to me. Gio was obviously off or getting squeezed. Their rookie was dealing. Every time we made a run, they would answer. Last game of a road trip with a day off ahead, Guys wanting to get home, and yet "bang-zoom" Whoooo Hooooo!! GYFNG! Just as I was fearful of LannEn getting fried by various posters (and of course he took good care of that). I can't bear to think about what happens when Werth comes back. Mr. Peric would have him on the bench and maybe he should start out there to get his bearings but I think he adds a lot and can only be a plus for this group. We are 21 games over .500. The moves that the FO/Davey have made have all pretty much worked and its been fun. Go Nats!!

  14. sjm308 - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    222My son & I will be there (sec 311 thanks to red carpet!) – break a leg or whatever you are supposed to say. What is your record in games you have sung?Gonat – I am going to brag and pat myself on the back all at one time. Thanks for keeping Peric semi-honest but thanks to NatsJack and others I am now able to honestly skip over his posts!! It took a great deal of therapy but after several sessions I was helped to understand there are better ways to waste ones time. Of course I still get the gist of his rants with helpful insiders like you correcting him.Go Nats!

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    When the Nats stunk they were the spoiler. I don't expect the Marlins or Phillies will go easy.Unfortunately the Phillies didn't put up much of a fight with the Braves.

  16. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I think that about sums it up for me. :-)

  17. Positively Half St. - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    baseballswami-Oh, c'mon- we have to be reasonable grown-ups in the rest of our lives! You are of course right that it serves no purpose to get on Riggleman, or Morgan, or any number of people who were guilty of minor infractions against the Nats.Except that it is fun, and it is only sports. A team we are obsessing about, perhaps, but still only sports.Have fun with this amazing run, pal.+1/2St.

  18. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    This is something with which I can agree completely. Best thing that happened for this team last season, although it didn't feel like it at the time. So, thanks, Jim. Appreciate it. (See, that was positive. ;-))he did everyone an enormous favor by calling Rizzo' s hand early enough so that they had half a season to adjust.

  19. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    An article posted on the previous thread explains that big trades at the deadline rarely work (not never, but rarely), because(a) the race has to be close enough that a 2 or 3 WAR player puts you over;(b) the player you trade for has to actually produce 2 or 3 WAR.Not worth it in the Nats' situation and given what is out there. I looked at a prospect list (top 100 who have no ML games) and the Nats have only three (Giolito/Goodwin/Meyer). Given that there are 30 teams, that's about average… The Gio trade and bringing up every possible AA and AAA player have trimmed our list but still, this does not seem the moment to further deplete the farm.

  20. Gonat - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    sjm, thanks. His distortions usually are taken for fact. A shame it continues.

  21. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Yes, it was, nf1a – we can afford to be magnanimous at this point. Back to my fan love for my team — this actually is a very complete team. A friend that follows Atlanta had this to say — "The Nats have a different way they can beat you every single day". True? Some days starting pitching, some days offense, some days bullpen, some days veterans, some days rookies, some days home runs, some days pecking away with smaller ball. I personally have enjoyed the rookie contributions – just tickles me when a young guy is given an opportunity and runs with it.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    This experiment is getting very interesting. Wonder if he can make a spot start in September.Ryan Perry allowed no runs in six innings and two walks, striking out four. Since he converted to a starter, Perry has a 1.82 ERA in 39 2/3 innings with 30 strikeouts and 14 walks.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Swami…..agree on watching the "kids" having success. One has to acknowledge Davey and his uncanny ability to insert these kids when they are positioned to succeed. He provides them with confidence, then gives them opportunities. Ya gotta love it.

  24. hiramhover - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    NatsladyThanks for the info and analysis. But what top 100 list were you looking at – shouldn't Rendon be on there?

  25. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    hh, good question. Maybe his injury history knocked him off. I will see if I can find it again…

  26. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I hope every one of them is resting, relaxing, eating home cooking,( especially Detweiler),talking to family and friends, playing video games and taking a break. And I hope some of them have ice on their bodies for most of the day because they are beat up. Flores – human baseball target.

  27. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    So how many pitchers in Sept will be on the roster.. 4-5 and the rest out infield/outfield and c?

  28. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    swami… Flores is one tough mofo, lol

  29. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Here is the list of 100 prospects. This is mostly a fantasy site.mid-season-top-100http://bullpenbanter.com/2012-bullpen-banter-mid-season-top-100/

  30. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    And, sorry, yes, Rendon is on it.

  31. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    so Rendon, Giolotto, Goodwin and Meyer at 100

  32. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Rendon at 25

  33. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    davey is a terrible in game manager though

  34. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    IloveCheerleadingX said…davey is a terrible in game manager though?????

  35. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    IloveCheerleadingX said…davey is a terrible in game manager thoughNatsjack and dfinfl…. need you help here, lol

  36. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    look over the past few weeks,yesterday: left mattheus in when he was getting hit all over the placeBraves: Lost 9 run lead because he left strasburg in.Keeps bringing in H rodMade him a closer early in the season cost us 3 wins.Brought lidge in against the yankees, lost the game.Hes a terrible manager when it comes to the staaff

  37. LoveDaNats - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    I love this team! Since first jumping on the bandwagon in '05, I have been passionate about this group but never more than now. Yesterday I couldn't see how they could come back against the Crew yet again. Oh, me of little faith! What a treat! These guys are the real deal. I'm happy for all of them and maybe a little more so for Zim, who is getting to play on a winning team for the first time. I'm getting ready to put on my curly W shirt and power walk on the beach as I am at OBX with the fam this week. Did I mention I love this team?

  38. The Fox - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Yes these Nats are a special TEAM. I've never seen the player of the game interviewed where he did not give credit to one of his other teammates or sometimes the whole team.With at least 3 players coming back from the DL and maybe 4 (CMW), there are going to be some tough decisions. I don't think these changes will disrupt the chemistry because the team has played through them unfazed so far but a few players might get DFA'd and that might make it tougher. It will be interesting to see how many players the Nats bring up Sept. 1st. Soon the realization that the playoffs are nearing and the added attention they bring will add a little pressure to the picture. With a young team sometimes this makes things more difficult but I don't anticipate too many problems with Davey at the helm.

  39. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    i think a trade would ruin chemistry, worried werth coming back will disrupt the chemistry, because someone is going to have to leave, same with tracy, but after the 59 win seasons, we deserve this run

  40. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I have mixed feelings about Davey's in-game management yesterday. I was shocked when Burnett didn't come out for the bottom of the 8th, and when Mattheus continued to implode I was ready with my Davey-blasting post. However, some other NI people that I respect got there first with reasonable explanations for why Mattheus came in for the 8th–although not for why Davey left him in all the way to the double. Nevertheless, Mattheus did get two outs in the 8th, so despite the runner on base Stammen came in with a favorable set up (pitch around Weeks to get to Axford, who has never had a ML at-bat). Davey did juggle quite a few guys around when ALR suddenly had to leave the game, and Morse did extremely well as emergency 1B (Moore, not so much). Maybe with hindsight NI-ers could have managed the game better (also, who knows if Burnett's back was kicking up, and who wants Gorzo in there for the automatic walk-off?). But this was nothing close to the 9-0 game, not close.

  41. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Let me take a crack here while shaking my head in disbelief… a.IloveCheerleadingX said…look over the past few weeks,yup, 7-3 in last 10 games and 6-1 in recent road tripyesterday: left mattheus in when he was getting hit all over the placethere was only in reserve pinch hitter left and that was Leon who was also the only back up catcher so his moves could have been limited down the strectch… sure one can argue maybe Davey brings in Stammen earlier, but Davey like Casey Stengell and John McGraw and Tony LaRussa are not perfectBraves: Lost 9 run lead because he left strasburg in.and I too went off the handle and Davey did something after the game few managers do… he took 100% blame for itKeeps bringing in H rodthis is a mystery… but this why Davey is a players coach, I would only agree with you if Hrod does not improve in 2013, for now I understand the rationale and I do like the fact that Davey is like a father figure to many of these kidsMade him a closer early in the season cost us 3 wins.he also clossed 6 successfully and Storen was out, Lidge hurt and he did not wnat to over use ClipBrought lidge in against the yankees, lost the game.he was down to either Kidge or Perry at that point in the 13 14 inningHes a terrible manager when it comes to the staaffwhich staff pitching or coaches, in both cases I think you should re think this… the pitching staff has the lowest EAR of any team in mLBhis coaching staff is a class act, how any one can make such a statement about is staff is beyond me

  43. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    CheerleadingX, not to worry. Mattheus will go down (has options) and then either Brown or TyMo (hard to choose between them, but if I were Rizzo it would be TyMo to work on his D and continue to keep his bat "fresh.") They will all be back in September, or sooner if there is an injury.

  44. SCNatsFan - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Well, the chemistry certainly will change.When Werth returns, have to say Brown goes; he'll be back soon enough.With Tracy, have to think Moore gets the shaft. Just won't be enough ABs for him even if he deserves to be here.With Wang, if he returns – and I'm hoping for a DFA – then Mattheus spends a month down on the farm.And yeah, I loooooved Danny nailing Nyjer in the 11th. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Bet the Brewers fans were happy they double switched out Braun for Morgan in the top of the inning.

  45. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    mick, minor correction. 8-2 in last 10 games…

  46. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    i think when werth/ tracy come back, 1 reliever will go(trade dfa or sent down) and an outfielder, possibly derosa because of poor numbers, but may not want ot hurt the chemistry and send down brown

  47. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    TY nats lady

  48. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    the manager barely has an effect on the game, the nats are winning games because of their staff and good offense at this time, davey has nothing to do with it, made bad decisions all season, got away with it because weve overcome those decisions

  49. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    CheerleadingX, can't send DFA DeRosa, chemistry or no, because he is the only backup infielder with Desi out.

  50. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    good point, probably tyler moore, because brown is needed to be backup cf

  51. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    i hope in september we seee eury perez also

  52. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    natsfan1a– or to demand a little cheese with that whine.Convenient to leave out all the clearly foresighted moves or that some of those games still worked out. He can't claim bad judgment on leaving someone in who didn't work out and imply it was just luck by moves, or staying pat, that did.It's not foresight either way, just playing the odds with his own knowledge of his players in mind. (This is not aimed at you; I just generally don't engage directly with trolls and it's much nicer to chat with an imaginary friend!)

  53. #4 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    On July 13th, 2005 the Nats were 52-36 and 2 1/2 games ahead of the pack in the NL East. They had great chemistry and were performing over the heads. On that Jim Bowden traded for Preston Wilson, and FRobby inserted him into the clean-up spot in the order. The Nats went 29-45 from that point and finished last.I'm not saying the Nats are playing over their heads this year, but chemistry and the messages the GM sends about confidence in the current players matter.

  54. Wendell - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    I think some people fail to understand the importance of management style. Davey, like Bobby Cox, manages for the season, not just the game at hand. That means playing people (Desmond, Espinosa) when they need time to develop and using the bullpen and rotation wisely in order to produce the best chance to win the most games. Davey has done this brilliantly.Let's hope he fares better than Cox in the playoffs, where the value of every game increases.

  55. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Bet the Brewers fans were happy they double switched out Braun for Morgan in the top of the inning.Morgan didn't hit in place of Braun, Braun was the last out in the bottom of the 10th (K'd). Morgan hit in place of the pitcher (Veras). Also Braun (FWIW) misplayed/dogged the ball that let RZ score. I don't see what was wrong with the double-switch.

  56. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Eddie, not sure what that was in response to unless it was the post that I thought better of and deleted, in re. seeing new commenters come on board. If so, dang, you're fast. ;-)

  57. The Fox - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    NatsLady,Davey rarely does anything without thinking about it and he will not always tell you why he did it even when asked directly.Davey likes Mattheus because he can use him more than one inning and when he brought him in that was the plan. He still does not trust him as much as his other short relievers mostly because of his experience and leaving him in could have been a testing point for him. Remember Davey was a little upset with Stras when he pitched and would not go after hitters. Davey left Stras in and let him get into trouble on purpose. Davey also let JZim pitch out of trouble in one game 3 times and also has started to lean on Gio a little more when he has been more wild than usual. Davey is amping up the pressure on his starters while also watching their innings. As Ray Knight pointed out Mattheus has a great sinker and until yesterday was not prone to give up the long ball. Mattheus was throwing hard in fact probably too hard which flattened out his sinker. Overthrowing in those situations is typical for a young pitcher, if we are lucky Mattheus learned an important lesson and next time he will slow the game down and pitch like he can which is really, really good.

  58. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    davey isnt sign for next year yet is he? or does he have an option?

  59. djinFl. - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    @MickIt is to early to start dealing with idiots. We are still in first!!!I'm still retired!And it is a beautiful day.Life is good!Oh yeah, time to get to that "honey do" list.

  60. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    #4– absolutely right. Though part of the confidence this year comes from the knowledge that this is a carefully and thoughtfully assembled group of guys who are mostly on the front end of extremely promising MLB careers and are finding added synergy by playing up to that potential to build a sustainable winner. That 2005 bunch was, no offense to any of the individual players, a somewhat random grab bag of aging and low ceiling younger guys who were maxing out on their potential in the first half, and got chemistry largely from that shared experience (that was not sustainable based on talent).And what Davey gives in terms of added confidence, especially to the younger guys, is incalculable but shows up in the W-L record, big time.

  61. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Wait–CheerleadingX, you say in one post that the manager "barely" has an effect on the game and in another that Davey ("terrible in-game manager") is costing this team game after game. Which is it?Eury Perez one of my favs. If he got some plate discipline, he would be outstanding.

  62. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    djinfl, lolololo

  63. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    i mean when iit comes to winning the manager doesnt really have an effect, like if your winning, in the 7th, you bring in ur 7th 8th and 9th inning guys, ad you should win the game, anyone can do that. But a manager can have a big effect when they make the wrong decision, eg leaving gorzelanny to face matt kemp. Letting H rod in in a close game, leaving mattheus in yesterday.

  64. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    even ryan zimmerman said the manager barely does anything

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    IloveCheerleadingX said… the manager barely has an effect on the game, the nats are winning games because of their staff and good offense at this time, davey has nothing to do with it, made bad decisions all season, got away with it because weve overcome those decisions July 30, 2012 9:27 AM This team was a winner last year when Davey took over. They weren't a playoff team last year and the weaknesses by the end of the year were exposed.The reason the Nats are a playoff calibre team this year is an improved starting rotation and the maturation of Ian Desmond and much improved Adam LaRoche. The reason the Nats could be a great team is the winning attitude instilled in them by their Manager Davey Johnson.Besides the bench and additions of Gio and EJax, this is the same personnel.Davey held this team together when the injuries happened and most of Davey's contributions as Manager are not quantifiable and he rarely takes credit for behind the scenes mentoring and teaching. They are intangilbes found in winning teams instilled in them from Spring Training when Davey said he should be fired if they don't make the playoffs. He was convincing this team early on that they were the real deal.These guys believe because Davey has taught them to keep a positive mental attitude.I think many of Davey's mistakes are magnified as dumb moves and while some are, some are a by-product in a show of loyalty like keeping Henry in as closer, but we also don't know how much of these calls have been channeled through Mike Rizzo. Some players have to be played to traded. Rizzo has been known to showcase players and unfortunately at the expense of embarassing moments. The team eventually made the right moves with Ankiel and Nady and it will be decision time soon with Wang and Henry.

  66. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Natsfan1a — yeah, it was — when you deleted it I wondered what I was responding to! :-)Fox — excellent points. Davey's been around enough to know that experience teaches lessons far better than words from any manager or coach. He may have thought that even if it ended up losing the game it was worth more in what Mattheus would learn for later on.And I think most of the regulars would agree that the 9-0 Barves game has taught some very powerful and valuable lessons.

  67. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    So I see we have another "clown poster" to skip over.

  68. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Fox, I said the same about Mattheus yesterday. Davey needs to know if he can go more than one inning. Davey said a while back he doesn't like having a bunch of one-inning guys out there. So far, not so good, but there is plenty of time. We forget that Mattheus is (technically) a rookie because of the injuries. Davey is also trying to get MGonzo to go more than one or two batters. He wants maximum flexibility in the BP because he doesn't want to burn out the starters. He's changed his approach in that respect (if you go by his words.) Earlier he said he was going to expect "more efficiency" of of the rotation and 7-8 innings. Seems like he's dropped off on that, is pulling the starters for pinch-hitters in the 6th or 7th–even if they "have more in the tank"–and expecting every member of the BP to pull his weight (sometimes even Henry).

  69. Nattering Nat - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Not a lot I can add to the discussion this morning, but two comments.First, Mark, nice article! So true. I thought more folks would give you a thumbs up on it–maybe they are just used to your good writing by now!Second, I just did a quick check, and if my math is right, of the 61 games left to play in the regular season, the Nats only play 22 games vs. teams currently above .500. Yes, that includes the Phillies and Fish, but still, that is water running downhill, compared to the middle stretch of the season. They play the Braves only 6 more times, so how they fare is likely to rest more on how well they compete against spoiler teams and how to guard against letting their guard down. And so I'll ask, for the first time in my life, actually, and only in the hypothetical, so as not to anger the baseball Gods–when are announcements about playoff tickets made, just in case that becomes a matter of personal interest, lol!

  70. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Actually Davey's post season record is not bad at all and I will eat crow for saying a while back that it was a concern…When Davey took over Mets in 1984 he took them to a respectable 2nd place finish by 1985 and in 1986 won it allWith Reds who worked under a KOOK Marge Shott and he won the Central Division in 1994 and the strike ended the season. Schott fired Davey because in 1995 because she dd not approve of Davey living with his fiancee, OK..With the O's he took them to two consecutive ALCS, no shame in losing to World Champion Yankees in 1996 and lost in six to the Indians. In that series, the O's simply did not hit.Remember, Davey was fired by the number one jack ass in all of baseball Angelos for God only knows what reason, one hour after he was named MLB Manager of the year. With the Dodgers, he had one losing season and finished in 2nd the next year and was fired. This was probably because the Dodgers were going through their eventual down period financially. So, Davey's post season is not bad at at all

  71. smurff - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Nattering Nat, please retract your question about you-know-what….The baseball Gods are planning to check out NI in about 15 minutes….

  72. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    mick — all good points. Given the people who fired him, Davey should and does wear those firings as badges of honor!

  73. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Thanks, Eddie. :-)Steady Eddie said…Natsfan1a — yeah, it was — when you deleted it I wondered what I was responding to! :-)

  74. mick - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    TY eddie

  75. IloveCheerleadingX - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    davey is a great manager, his in game moves are terrible thats all im saying, great in the clubhouse, great for winning mentality but just his moves are too questionable when it comes to bullpen management and starting certain guys.like he always starts moore against lefties, but he has much better splits against righties.he brings h rod in in close games.he leaves in starters too long when they struggle, he needs to pull them out sooner. like gonzalez yesterday.And opposite of that he pulls the starters too early when they are doing well, eg gonzalez against the mets

  76. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… So I see we have another "clown poster" to skip over. July 30, 2012 9:54 AM Sadly, yes.

  77. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    smurff — Yes! Respect the streak and take nothing for granted (like a 9-0 lead going into the 6th with Stras on the bump is money in the bank).

  78. Nattering Nat - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    smurff, it was just a hypothetical. If/when the baseball Gods peruse NI, I should note for their benefit that I visit NYC a lot in September and October and just want to know how to plan on getting Yankees playoff tix….Don't know what else you may have thought I was possibly referring to….

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Nattering Nat said… And so I'll ask, for the first time in my life, actually, and only in the hypothetical, so as not to anger the baseball Gods–when are announcements about playoff tickets made, just in case that becomes a matter of personal interest, lol! I think they will wait for after the Yankees to announce playoff tickets. Certainly want the perrenial playoff teams to announce first.Another point on Davey is how he managed brilliantly in September last year with expanded rosters. I hope to see more of that in a push to the best record in the NL.I think at this point talking about the playoffs is fine but I think striving for the NL East title and best record in the NL is the goal right now and certainly doing this while the Dodgers and other teams are fortifying with trades makes it a tougher push especially with Strasburg's innings and post-season availability.The advantage in the new playoff system goes to the team with the best overall record if the Wild Card team has to use up their best pitcher in their playoff game. Without Strasburg, it evens the playing field in a way.

  80. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    The manager's job, plain and simple, is to put the players out there in the best way he can to maximize their talent–for the season. Let's look at the teams that are good/above average that have a good/above average manager.Davey outmanaged Bobby V and Joe Madden. He (roughly) tied with Buck Showalter. We have another series against Donnie Baseball, so the jury is out on that. He was out-managed by Girardi, and we haven't seen the Cards yet. He also out-managed Ozzie, if you consider him a good manager, at the time when Ozzie still had a team.If we see the Yanks again, we will be a very different team (with a lot of the same players) and credit will have to go to Davey for that.

  81. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    And, if Davey was outmanaged by Girardi, it wasn't by much. That was a great series. The Dodgers were in April, and a lot was going on. The team has stabilized, and I think that's the right word. Davey believes in roles, he doesn't tinker with the lineup much, and usually, usually, you can predict what he's going to do with the bullpen–and so can the relievers. Clearly Davey has both a temper and an ego, and I thought for a moment there might be a crack in the Davey/Rizzo relationship. Not so, apparently, and I give a lot of credit to Rizzo (and the Lerners) for butting out. Of course, easy to do when you are winning…

  82. rabbit34 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    And the world is still the same.

  83. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Yesterday was awesome but it came too quickly to allow me to fully savor what JZim did on Saturday night. When my kids were growing up, if some situation didn't exactly go as planned I would tell them " This is real life, not a Disney movie". Saturday night my son texted me after the game – "now THAT was a Disney Movie". I was very moved by seeing a lot of that tiny village in the stands, 200 people tailgating,waiting to watch him pitch, the hand-made signs. Seeing their home-town boy make good on a huge stage — priceless. Pretty nice weekend for this Nats fan, too.

  84. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Nattering Nat, Braves play exactly 16 games against contenders until end of season. Other teams include Padres, Astros, Mets, Brewers, Phillies, Marlins, and Rockies. Looks like their schedule is even easier than ours.

  85. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I left out Fredi Gonzalez. He has a good team. In the past, I would have trashed him as a manager, but people can learn. So we shall see.

  86. Nattering Nat - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Yes, fully agree the push is to win the division, and since we are still in July (though barely), it is still premature to start daydreaming too far ahead. But it's less premature than it used to be! The odds are really stacked against either wild card team with the new system, which I take it was intentional–add a team to excite interest in more cities, but place a greater premium and advantage on winning the division. I tend to take things a game/series at a time. In that respect, the Phillies know this series is absolutely make-or-break (if one can say that about a team 16-1/2 games out, right after being swept). The new order cannot be declared until the old order is dead and buried, and as DJ has reminded us all season (until recently), the Phillies are the class of the division until they are out of it. And so, this is a high-stakes series coming up, either a changing of the guard or the high and mighty rising up one last time. Part of the incremental character-building this team has gone through.I'm counting on their passing this test as well!

  87. sjm308 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Darn – just when I was getting good at skipping "you know who" I now have to reprogram for a 2nd poster. This is really getting complicated.Mick – you are in the national running for "most improved poster" going from knee jerk negative reactions to thought out posts. Very encouraging.Keep up the good work.Go Nats!!

  88. The Fox - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Nattering,I don't know the exact date but I do know as a person who has been part of a group that has been season ticket holders since 2005 that we had to purchase playoff tickets in 2005. I think it was the end of August but I'm not positive. Many teams who have a chance to make the playoffs make their season ticket holders purchase playoff tickets and than give you the "option" of applying the money to season tickets next year if it doesn't workout. If I remember correctly you had to put the money down for tickets all the way to the WS and it was a lot of money.I think the baseball gods understand that now and are more forgiving.

  89. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Yes, the Braves have an "easy" schedule, but not as many home games as the Nats. Also, some of those teams can hit, and the Braves' rotation is not as great as ours. Gonna be a fun month, could make a lot of people nervous if they go on a 15-5 run or something like that. Best thing the Nats can do is just play their own games.

  90. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    NL/SCNatsFan – -I thought that double switch was an odd move too but extra inning games make you do strange things. I guess the thinking was that Nyjer was going to pinch hit for the pitcher Loe, who would be the third to bat in the bottom of the inning, and if the Brewers were able to come back and tie the game, he wanted Loe to be able to stay in the game for the next inning (or two). Loe was already the Brewer's sixth pitcher of the game, so there wasn't much left in the bullpen for Roenicke to work with. I doubt defense had much to do with it. The horse had already left the barn on that one, and besides, Nyjer's candy arm isn't going to stop Zim from scoring on that play. I always have a problem with doubleswitching out your best batter. If the Brewers had succeeded in tying the Nats in the bottom of the inning, they wouldn't have had Braun coming to the plate in the 12th. But Morgan was going to bat in the 11th (and get thrown out by Espi) in any event.Fun fact: Usually, condensed games on MLB.com run anywhere from 12-18 minutes. The game yesterday is 28 minutes long! Now that's alot of action.

  91. sjm308 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I also know am starting to remember how well Davey did with the expanded roster. The one pitcher who benefited greatly was Detwiler. I remember posters here who were skeptical this year because he had done so well on 6 & 7 days rest but it certainly paid off for him.In the same mode of trying not to upset baseball gods. Can someone go over (once again) how the playoff rosters are set? I realize we can bring people up after Sept. 1 but are they then eligible for the playoffs when we have to cut to 25? I am positive this has been reported here before but I am old and need a refresher course. My big concern is if Strasburg is pitching in early Sept. how do we take him off the 25 man roster for the playoffs. Hope its a simple answer but thanks in advance.Go Nats!

  92. Nattering Nat - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    And Faraz, that's very interesting, the Braves schedule. That places more of a premium on our 6 games with them than I thought. On the theory that whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, the Braves may have learned from their swoon last season, while the Nats are still a young team learning how to win when it matters (see the Yankees series in June). So, while our expectations are high and growing, we have to steel ourselves against its still being a year too early. But that's also where Davey's experience may help immeasurably, getting them psychologically prepared for what's to come.Still, at this moment in time, I'd rather be the Nats than the Braves!

  93. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Hey. I just checked. It's not all bad for the Phillies. They are 2 games ahead of the Cubs and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Padres for the second wild card spot.

  94. Natslifer - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    The rule in my group is no one is allowed to mention the "P" word until at least September 1st and even then it might be premature.Our motto is "win the series, win the division" (repeat over and over and over again).Now let's take it to the Philthies.

  95. UnkyD - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I'm just SO grateful that I decided to start following this team (more closely than a casual glance at the Post sports page) 3-4 years ago, so I totally "get" how special this is. The bandwagon folks are welcome to enjoy this, but I wouldn't have a clue, if I hadn't seen why we were in a position to draft Stras and Harp, and felt the momentum building, 10 wins at a time, atthernd of the last couple of seasons. And thanks to you all, I've been intimate with the process, for the last 2 1/2 years… I come from a family of emotional men, and posts like this tend to cause me to become a little leaky… Go You Freaking HorseHacking

  96. UnkyD - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    …that'd be GorseHacking, 25 key-member playing Nats GoGoGo!!!!!!

  97. Nattering Nat - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    The Fox–I've been a full season's ticket holder since 2005, too, and despite a possibly failing memory about these things, I don't recall being asked to pony up funds for playoff tix in 2005. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just recall a notice about the possibility, but then they never asked me for money. Doesn't matter, as it's 2012 now–and we were talking about the Yankees anyway. I just mainly responded to get the marker down that I have been supporting the new Nats since an hour after the announcement was made in 2004 that we could get on a subscriber list for season's tix in case the Nats got the Expos!

  98. The Fox - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Here is a re-post from yesterdays thread, skip over it if you saw it before. I had a little time on my hands and went through the teams that have a chance to make the playoffs.I also looked at our record in July and against the East which are both very good.I added the A's on at the end because I don't think I've every seen a team that has a tougher September and it should keep anyone from complaining about the Nats schedule. ………I quickly went through the Nats remaining schedule and to quote Davey "it's not to daunting."The Nationals have 61 games left and only 22 of them are against teams that have a record of .500 or better.We are done with the Reds and the Bucs, yea that sounds strange in the same sentence.We have 7 games with the Cards, 6 with the Braves, 3 with the Dodgers and 3 with the Giants and 3 with the D'Backs. That's it we play the East a lot which we have done well against.The Braves also have a fairly easy schedule too but have a few more road games. Somehow they are done playing the Cards and we have not played them yet?Who ever made the schedule hated the A's. In September the get to play 2 series against the Angels, 2 series against Texas, and Detroit and the Yankees on the road. They start the month against Boston and have 3 games with the O's who might be competing for a WC. On the bright side if they get hot they'll waltz into the playoffs.

  99. Natslifer - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    I remember having to declare whether we wanted them and they had a credit card on file but no charges ever made.

  100. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I commented at length about the Mattheus mistake yesterday and won't repeat all my arguments here. Suffice it to say that Davey blew that one, and I'm not convinced by any of the rationalizations that have been trotted out in his defense. Certainly not by the idea that he had to see if Mattheus could go two innings. First of all, Mattheus has already pitched two innings twice this year, and he had pitched 1 2/3 three other times, as recently as July 21 in the first game of the doubleheader. Second, he has two long relievers already — Stammen and Gorzo. That's why Mattheus has pitched more than an inning in only 10 of his 36 appearances.I don't deny that Davey is a great manager and makes the right moves, even in hindsight, most of the time. But when you get to the 8th inning and the game is tied, you need to try to win the game, not experiment. I'm sure Davey was trying to win the game yesterday, he just made the wrong move. It happens. Similarly, I don't think Davey left in Stras on purpose to let him get beat up in that 9-0 game. That's silly. He would never "punish" any pitcher, much less his ace and the meal ticket of the franchise. I think he wanted to give Stras a chance to stretch out and possibly go 7, which he'd done only four times this year before that, and a 9-0 game seemed like as good a time as any to do it. It backfired, and Davey admitted he made a mistake.

  101. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    The Nats are a dominant team. It is long past time to recognize that. As long as their starting rotation stays intact, they will have an edge on every other team in every series they play. And if the starters falter, they have that BP to carry them through.They have gotten progressively better by replacing aging vets with younger, more talented players. There are plenty more where they came from in the Nats under-rated MiL talent pool. They will be even better next year than they are this year.For all the bashing that Rizzo has taken on this thread, he deserves the lion's share of credit for what the Nats have become, and that includes the team's culture. Rizzo has insisted that his draft picks and trade targets have character as a pre-condition for becoming a Nat. The Nats will never become what the Marlins were this year, as long as Rizzo is in charge.Davey can use a hands-off approach with this bunch because they are team and win oriented, and are less about individual stats and personal recognition. Ryan has always been the paradigm, and they all follow his lead.They do not have to have DeRosa on the roster to have him as a pseudo bench coach. Institutionalize his role by making him a coach, and use his roster spot for a more productive contributor for the home stretch and the post-season. His main contributions are on the bench, not on the field, so why not make it formal?

  102. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    This is meant as satire, right? Making fun of naysayers? Parodying posters who lack context and ignore logic?If not, all I can say is that it must be wonderful to have perfect 20/20 hindsight.==========================="[Davey Johnson] leaves in starters too long when they struggle, he needs to pull them out sooner. like gonzalez yesterday.And opposite of that he pulls the starters too early when they are doing well, eg gonzalez against the mets"===========================

  103. sm13 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    For those of us who've suffered through the lean times, this season is more than special. It seems worth mentioning that we are two wins away from mathematically eliminating a 100 loss season. It's not too long ago when that was the goal, now it is a mere footnote. It seems like 2005 is a lifetime ago, but my recollection matches that of Natslifer.

  104. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    IloveCheerleadingX said… davey is a terrible in game manager thoughHuh, what?Baseball players fail. The best hitter in baseball makes an out 65 percent of the time. Is that the manager's fault? Of course not.This team is on top because Davey has had their back from Day 1 of ST when he said he should be fired if they don't make the postseason. Nobody had ever said that before. And he's been consistent in that. And the players have responded in kind.Has he made a few bonehead moves? Sure. Has it cost them a game or two? Probably.But don't lose sight of the fact this team won 59 games three seasons ago. We're at 60-40 now. He's got so many fresh arms that when we shut down Jesus in early September, it's not going to mean a freaking thing. He's got LannEn fresh in SYR, got so many quality relievers that every game is basically a six-inning game and has Werth and Tracy just about ready to come off the DL.Davey has all the horses and he's got the lead at the eighth-of-a-mile mark. We're not backing up. The postseason is won on pitching and defense. What, exactly, are the strengths of this team?I thought so.See you in October, Cheerleading…

  105. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    NatsLady, I think some of Braves games are pretty easy like against astros, rockies, padres, etc. even if they are not home games, braves should not have too much difficulty.On the other hand, nats have two series against cards, 3 against marlins (still haven't dominated them), one against dodgers and giants among others.like nattering nat mentioned, 6 games against braves will be very significant.also does anyone know how danny has been doing from right side lately? I feel like he has kinda slowed down while he has picked up from left side. either way, his 2.4 OPS should help against Cliff Lee tomorrow. :D

  106. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    222, agree totally on the 9-0 game, Davey blew it, but not because he wasn't thinking or didn't have motives. I was at that game in the cold rain, and it wasn't him leaving Stras in that bothered me, it was the later moves. OK.Now, on yesterday's game. My approach is usually to try to understand what Davey is doing. I didn't understand why he brought Mattheus back for the 8th, and I certainly didn't understand why he left him in after the 1st HR. I still don't–but before I just say "he blew it," I try to grasp what he might be thinking, because his thinking is a LOT better than mine. Most of the time–after the fact–I can figure it out. Can't figure this one out. Mattheus had set down three straight after the dinger in the 7th and Davey thought it lined up well to give Mattheus a "good result," as he likes to put it. I don't think he left Mattheus in there to "teach him something," although it might have worked out that way, because at this point we pretty much need to be past the teaching stage.

  107. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Oh, and on Morse. Did anyone notice he pressed his side after a swing yesterday? That was worrying…But then he got the hit.

  108. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Re: DeRosa. Can't take him off the roster until Desi gets back, and maybe not even then. Have to get off now, and do other stuff, but I'm curious if Corey Brown has ever played infield. Could he play a little 2B in an emergency?

  109. Tcostant - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I've watched a lot of baseball in my life and I was watching this game on TV yesterday. I've never seem both managers aruge with two different umpire about two different issues (I've seem manager argure the same play with the same ump, but this was way different). Moreover, both managers were right: 1- Lombardozzi had the base and should have got an "out" call at first. 2 – The 3rd base umpirer, should have never granted time, as the play was still ongoing.Two managers, two umps and two bad calls. I think there is a movie in there somewhere.

  110. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Can we take a moment to recognize the incredible season that JZnn is having? 21 straight starts of 6 innings or more, 19 of them "quality" starts. 11 straight quality starts, and in all but one he gave up 2 runs or less. A 2.28 ERA (4th best in baseball) and a 1.065 WHIP (10th best in baseball). His Baseball Reference WAR for pitchers is 4.4, tied with Johnny Cueto and Chris Sale for 2nd in MLB, behind Verlander's 5.1. Because he can actually hit, he has the 5th best WAR overall behind only Trout, Wright, McCutcheon, and Verlander.He's 26, playing in only has fourth major league season (and two of those were shortned by injury) and, best of all, we have him for the whole season, including October.

  111. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    I'm curious if Corey Brown has ever played infield. Could he play a little 2B in an emergency?Don't think so. He throws left handed, which makes turning the DP a bit hard…

  112. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    222, thanks. Good point.

  113. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Davey has done great things with the prospects who are on the verge of being successful major league players — Moore and Brown. But as we head to the post season, I think it's pretty clear that regardless of their numbers so far this year, he wants the vets DeRosa and Tracy on his bench. If he goes with an 11 man pitching staff (4 starters, 7 relievers), Moore probably stays (though he may go down at some point this month until September), along with Bernadina. That would give him two RH PHs (DeRo, Moore), and two LH PHs (Bernie, Tracy), the switch hitting Lombo, and a backup catcher. Brown makes the post-season roster only if Davey wants a late inning defensive replacement for Morse and isn't comfortable with Bernadina in that role. I just don't see that happening.Going down to 11 pitchers is key for this balanced bench. How likely do folks think that is? If we keep an extra reliever, Moore probably has to go. I honestly think Bernadina has played plenty well enough that they aren't going to leave him off the post season roster.

  114. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    10 hitters have hit 3 or more home runs against Cliff Lee, with Konerko leading the bunch by 6 in 50 PA. On the other hand, Danny has 3 in 10 PA. I still could not find his right handed numbers of last 10-15 games but I believe he has not produced as well as he did early in the season.

  115. Tcostant - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    I think DeRosa is only still around because he can play the IF. Once post season rolls around, assume all the other IF including Desi are healthy, I just don't see DeRosa make any of the post season rosters.

  116. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Again, complaining in hindsight is easy. It all looks better with 20/20 super glasses.

  117. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    btw Braves have never won on Monday this season and they are facing mark buehrle, a left-hander today.

  118. Feel Wood - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I don't know the exact date but I do know as a person who has been part of a group that has been season ticket holders since 2005 that we had to purchase playoff tickets in 2005. I think it was the end of August but I'm not positive. 2005 would have been under the pre-Lerner ownership (i.e. MLB) and at a time when the STH base was at an all-time high. Had the team actually made the playoffs that year, it's likely they could have sold all the allotted tickets for playoff games to STH with no sale to the general public at all.When I became a STH in 2007 (20-game plan), the opportunity to purchase playoff tickets was listed as a STH benefit. Everybody laughed. But sometime between then and now playoff tickets came to be no longer listed under STH benefits. I'm not sure what year that happened. I do know, though, that as far as I'm concerned they had better be planning to force me to buy playoff tickets this year. They can do it now if they want, but they'll probably wait until September. If we're lucky, they'll even have a special presale for STH to buy extra playoff tickets, just like they did for Opening Day and the NYY series. If that happens, some of you may end up buying your playoff tickets from me. Oh, you'll be paying above face value too, so start saving your pennies now.

  119. SCNatsFan - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    222, I think the season JZim is having is why the Nats can't 'overuse' SS this season because right infront of them is the example of what happens when you follow the time table. People say that we need SS for the post season – and he's an ace, no doubt – but having Gio, JZim and EJax is OK by me with Det as needed if the science truly bears out the 160 innings limit.

  120. The Fox - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Section 222, I guess your post was directed at me and that's fair. I guess I poorly got my reasoning across. I don't think Davey was punishing or experimenting with Mattheus, I do think he was going to pitch him 2 innings because he said so in the interview after the game. Mattheus had only given up 4 HRs in 66+ innings over 2 years. They have worked at bringing his BB down and his K's up, SO/IP, SO/BB improving greatly and WHIP saying about the same. They have gotten the kid to challenge hitters and he has responded well.Now to start the 7th he gave up a lead off single to Hart who was 4/5 and having a great day, ask Clippard he gave up a lead off homer to him. Next he challenged Weeks who hit a 443 ft. HR to center off of a 94 mph fastball. OK he lost that battle. Then he proceeds to get 3 quick outs so maybe he settled down?8th inning Mattheus get a quick out and then in Davey's words "leaves a cookie over the plate" to Aoki who hits it 373 ft which surprised Davey, he said so and I bet it surprised Mattheus too. So now Davey has a choice does he go to the BP with his team behind and if he does he can't bring Gozo in because the next 2 hitters are Gomez a righty and Braun. So in hind site it looks like the correct choice was Stammen however he did pitch 2 days before against the Brewers and gave up a single to Braun and a HR to Ramirez. It is interesting that even after giving up 3 HRs Davey still wanted him to pitch to Braun instead of Stammen not sure what the match up numbers are but Davey still wanted that match up. He gets Braun out and gives up a double to Hart and Davey had seen enough. I think I agree with NatsLady, it was leaving him in to face Hart that was the most difficult for me to understand. This is just my observations and opinions, yours are just as valid and may be correct. I see it one way you see it another, that's baseball. As for Stras I don't in anyway think Davey was punishing him and probably not even teaching him a lesson but letting him do it his way and seeing what the result were. In the next game Stras pitched in which he was great, when a reporter asked him if he pitched more aggressively he sheepishly said yes. Only reason I answered is because I did a poor job before explaining my opinion and I didn't want people to think I thought Davey was experimenting or punishing his players.

  121. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Natslady"Re: DeRosa. Can't take him off the roster until Desi gets back, and maybe not even then."I see your point. And maybe Desi will not be back, at all. Those oblique problems clear up when they clear up, and not on the baseball season calendar.

  122. NatsNut - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Text from my Braves fan brother:"Wow! Michael Morse is a superstar! I wish you guys would just freakin' lose a little bit though. =)"

  123. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Section 222 said… Can we take a moment to recognize the incredible season that JZnn is having? 21 straight starts of 6 innings or more, 19 of them "quality" starts. 11 straight quality starts, and in all but one he gave up 2 runs or less. A 2.28 ERA (4th best in baseball) and a 1.065 WHIP (10th best in baseball). His Baseball Reference WAR for pitchers is 4.4, tied with Johnny Cueto and Chris Sale for 2nd in MLB, behind Verlander's 5.1. Because he can actually hit, he has the 5th best WAR overall behind only Trout, Wright, McCutcheon, and Verlander.He's 26, playing in only has fourth major league season (and two of those were shortned by injury) and, best of all, we have him for the whole season, including October. July 30, 2012 11:16 AM Great summary. The B/R WAR for pitchers is much better than the formula on FanGraphs in my opinion. ESPN uses a similar formula as B/R. On ESPN, JZim is tied with Cueto for WAR and only behind Verlander who has pitched far more innings this season.Comparing pitchers against pitchers on other teams is very difficult given defense, park dimensions, their bullpens, and the competition they face.You can compare pitchers on your own team. The most important factor is pitcher ERA on your own team followed by Innings per Start.JZim is leading the Nats in both ERA and IPs/G which gives the team their best opportunity to win games as the individual pitcher can't control the number of runs produced by their own offense.

  124. mayhemnsuz - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Anyone heard anything about how Jhonatan Solano's recovery is progressing? He'd been doing so well…

  125. The Fox - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Section 222,I agree with your comments on JZnn so maybe I'm not a complete idiot.JZnn is the best starter on the team and that's saying a lot. He has received very little run support and even with his stellar numbers it might be difficult for him to pull off a King Felix CY Young. He still has 2 months to go so he's still in the race.

  126. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    His Baseball Reference WAR for pitchers is 4.4, tied with Johnny Cueto and Chris Sale for 2nd in MLB, behind Verlander's 5.1. Because he can actually hit, he has the 5th best WAR overall behind only Trout, Wright, McCutcheon, and Verlander.I NEVER USE baseball reference for WAR. I recognize the inventors Fangraphs. By comparison those numbers hardly ever make as much as sense. Last year Tyler Clippard had the highest WAR over Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman or even Jordan Zimmermann. In this case Jordan Zimmermann has a 2.6 WAR NOT a 4.4 WAR and he is not tied with Johnny Cueto who has a 3.6 WAR. BUT Stephen Strasburg **IS**. Believe it or not Zach Grienke has the highest tied with Justin Verlander. You might ask why? Because of stats like K/9 and xFIP Strasburg has a 2.66 xFIP while Zimmermann has 3.58 xFIP. Grienke has a 2.77 xFIP. Strasburg leads the majors with an 11.58 K/9. Grienke has a 9.0 K/9 Verlander has an 8.44 K/9. Where Zimmermann excels is in the base on balls category. His BB/9 is minuscule at 1.61. Stras is at 2.45. Grienke at 2.01. Zimmermann's FIP is now at 3.40 while Stras is sub 3.00 at 2.52. For many this is the modern and true stat replacing the ERA. A more advanced stat is the tRA which attempts to exclude defense and park conditions from the equation. For Strasburg its 2.97. For Zimmermann its 3.91.That said, its likely that Zimmermann will lead this staff into the second half as the defacto workhorse / ace. He is doing the job Rizzo envisioned Buehrle doing. (Wonder if Buehrle is sorry he chose the Marlins … ~smiles~ … and we know the Nats are happy he did so).

  127. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Text from my Braves fan brother:"Wow! Michael Morse is a superstar! I wish you guys would just freakin' lose a little bit though. =)"Tell that to Natslady who prefers decent fielding Werth with NO BAT, kind of like Ankiel … :)

  128. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    The B/R WAR for pitchers is much better than the formula on FanGraphs in my opinion.Completely disagree.

  129. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    If Zimmermann wins 6-7 more games in the regular season he definitely becomes one of the CY award favorites. Apart from Cain and Daily, there aren't any NL pitchers I can think of who (A) are having great seasons and (B) voters will want to vote for. Greinke's out of the league and Cueto is his own worst PR agent. Halladay's slumping. By the end of the year I expect Dailey's balloon to have lost a lot of its levitation.

  130. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    peric said… The B/R WAR for pitchers is much better than the formula on FanGraphs in my opinion.Completely disagree. July 30, 2012 12:52 PM I'm glad we disagree. I have discussed this with others that feel for offensive players Fangraphs is better but B/R is much better for pitchers.I also think neither fairly rate relievers on WAR until they can come up with a better high to low leverage and weigh in the inherited runners by situation.Its also difficult to compare WAR of pitchers vs batters while factoring in defense. I think all 3 need to be factored seperately.As Juan Pierre says, Cryogenics doesn't fairly figure all of his intangibles and things he does to win ballgames and while that is funny, there's a lot of truth to it.

  131. Ron In Reston - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Theo, do you mean Dickey?

  132. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said… If Zimmermann wins 6-7 more games in the regular season he definitely becomes one of the CY award favorites. Apart from Cain and Daily, there aren't any NL pitchers I can think of who (A) are having great seasons and (B) voters will want to vote for. Greinke's out of the league and Cueto is his own worst PR agent. Halladay's slumping. By the end of the year I expect Dailey's balloon to have lost a lot of its levitation. July 30, 2012 12:54 PM Felix Hernandez won the Cy 2 years ago because the voters were smart enough to disregard W/L.

  133. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    I'm glad we disagree. I have discussed this with others that feel for offensive players Fangraphs is better but B/R is much better for pitchers.Fangraphs uses their variation of the pRAA and bRAA (pitched runs above average and batted runs above average) to calculate the WAR. That stat attempts to remove defense and the park from the equation. BR on the other hand attempts to throw in where the player finishes in MVP balloting? Which can be fairly qualitative? And AS selection and placement? Nope make mine Fangraphs. It may be discrete versus dynamic (which can be more accurate) but it seems to do a fairly good job at encapsulating a player's raw performance. And, If anything you might wish to remove some intangibles associated with a pennant run, etc. from the equation. More often than not the player's performance falls precipitously in the years following. In Ryan Zimmerman's case there has been steady and really dramatic improvement from his rookie year. Except for injury his stats never waver in that upward climb.

  134. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  135. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Felix Hernandez won the Cy 2 years ago because the voters were smart enough to disregard W/L.Were it not for the shutdown Strasburg looks like a lock. Even with the shutdown he might still carry it away.

  136. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    I have been harsh on JZ earlier int he season but have to say that JZ has clearly been our best pitcher this season and fangraphs giving SS a better WAR due to his K/9 and xFIP (I bet K/9 ties into this big time) is not the best idea.

  137. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Johnny Cueto and R.A Dickey should also be in the conversation. Cueto especially if you consider the park he's pitching in.

  138. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    fangraphs giving SS a better WAR due to his K/9 and xFIP (I bet K/9 ties into this big time) is not the best idea.So, using strike outs to get out jams instead of allowing extra base hits doesn't make sense Faraz? Are you watching the ShannySkins or something?

  139. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Johnny Cueto and R.A Dickey should also be in the conversation. Cueto especially if you consider the park he's pitching in.Absolutely. The thing about Stras it doesn't matter what park he is in. Or what defense is behind him. Or whether he is experimenting with his breaking stuff trying to go longer in games. He still basically dominates. He's that good.

  140. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Faraz, Overall for the whole year SS has been our best pitcher. JZim is really coming on strong and he clearly passed Gio and is really neck and neck with all the top pitchers in the NL. Because there is so little to choose between the top 5 or 6 (you can also include Kershaw and Cain in the conversation) the competition is still wide open.

  141. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    @KenRosenthal: Heard #Nationals liked #Marlins' Bonifacio. Told ain't happening.

  142. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    i don't think you need to K all the time to get out of jam. having that ability is plus, which JZ also does but does not need to rely on as often. anyways you are just sticking to one point. JZ has been the best pitcher on this staff based on how many chances he has provided this team to win games.

  143. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I have to agree with Peric that the strike out is still the best way to get hitters out. No one advances, no chance for an error or a bad run down play etc. Really when you allow the ball to be hit into play it's Russian roulette; I understand that there is such a thing as inducing weak contact but weak contact can produce hits as well.

  144. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Where would Bonifacio play?

  145. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Best way to express my agreement with 222 on JZimm (yeah, I know, it's hardly a controversial view) is to ask the question, "if you had to choose one starter for a win or go home game who could most dependably give you the best chance to win (which is the right way to ask it), who would it be?". Would anyone on this blog choose anyone other than JZimm? Stras or Gio give you a somewhat greater chance of a completely dominating, lights out performance, but also a slightly greater chance of a game when they just couldn't bring it. now maybe Stras will get to JZimm's level of dependability next year — HIS first full post-TJ year, like JZimm this year — but for 2012 at least, JZimm's the guy.

  146. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Gio wasn't hit hard at all yesterday but he still pitched a sloppy game. The home plate umpire wasn't calling the low strike which frustrated Gio to the point where he muffed an easy play and walked too many hitters.

  147. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… I have been harsh on JZ earlier int he season but have to say that JZ has clearly been our best pitcher this season and fangraphs giving SS a better WAR due to his K/9 and xFIP (I bet K/9 ties into this big time) is not the best idea. July 30, 2012 1:19 PM You are correct and that's why Fangraphs is wrong. On the same team with the same stadiums and defense and opponents, ERA is the most compelling number unless there was huge disparity with unearned runs which there isn't.ERA is not the most compelling number comparing to other pitchers on other teams because of the myriad of other factors like park differentials, defense, and opponents BAs, etc.The starting pitcher on their own staff that has the lowest ERA while doing it with highest innings has got to be your best pitcher at that moment and on the Nats its currently Jordan Zimmermann.That's not to say that JZim is better than Strasburg because this measures today. Strasburg is getting over TJ and should be the Nats ace next year.Peric lives in his fantasy picks and popularity world. He has to go back to his FIP and K/9 to prove his points which don't hold water when comparing starters on the same staff.K/9 is a great stat. It sells tickets as the high K/9 guys are exciting. JZim is the best pitcher on this staff right now. Just ask Steve McCatty.

  148. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    If I need one pitcher for the whole Enchilada? Give me Steven Strasburg (Unless it's 105 degrees). No slight to JZimm who is tremendous but SS is all world.

  149. bobfromalexandria - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Mark, I've been thinking about this article since I read it this morning. It's really a great piece, thoughtful and balanced and yet exciting without being a piece of boosterism. Really nice work.

  150. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Ghost, JZim's BABIP is .266; you have to admit that there's some luck involved in that ERA. SS is .320 which is more in line with what normally happens when balls are hit into play.

  151. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    JD said… I have to agree with Peric that the strike out is still the best way to get hitters out. No one advances, no chance for an error or a bad run down play etc. Really when you allow the ball to be hit into play it's Russian roulette; I understand that there is such a thing as inducing weak contact but weak contact can produce hits as well. July 30, 2012 1:31 PM You have stats like WHIP to adjust to men on base per inning. Double plays wipe out 2 men.Strikeouts are an out and so is a groundout. So long as runs aren't scoring, an out is an out and a Strikeout generally takes more pitches to achieve than a groundout as Steve McCatty will tell you.

  152. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Ghost, A groundout is an out as long as it doesn't find a hole and so is a bomb to the warning track but at the end of the day a pitcher attempts to miss bats.

  153. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    JD, bonifacio as a bench player I am sure. I believe he can play every position except 1B. He may not have the arm for any OF position but very good middle infield depth. Very good base stealing threat also off the bench. not sure how he is as a sub/ph. anyways i don't think we need him.steady eddie, while you are answer is correct, not sure the question is the right one. baseball is dominated by matchups. against cardinals, I wouldn't want to start JZ even with no Pujols in that lineup. but I get your point.agree with Steve M that SS might be not only our best pitcher but best pitcher in the whole league next season.

  154. ExposedinDC - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    To address an earlier assessment of Daveys in game management, he is not a poor game manager, he is however extremely loyal to his veterans and this sometimes gets him in trouble, especially with all of the wannabe managers.

  155. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    I'd rather Rizzo went for a guy he drafted: Stephen Drew a left-handed bat that Rizzo drafted in the first round. He's only 29 and can play all infield positions. He still has a year left on his contract and his agent is Boras.

  156. d0e81e8c-9f37-11e1-a165-000bcdcb471e - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    I actually think this week will dictate who gets sent down. If Brown continues to hit, his LH bat, and glove need to be on the bench. He's the one true Centerfielder we have, and gets great reads on batters, is fast, and has been consistent since Spring training. I really like what I saw this past weekend.

  157. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Peric lives in his fantasy picks and popularity world. He has to go back to his FIP and K/9 to prove his points which don't hold water when comparing starters on the same staff.Not at all Ghost I believe you are describing yourself. I live in a world of impartial mathematics and the "art" of computer science as Don Knuth would say. As such I can see patterns and why someone might choose certain stats as indicators.One can see a direct correlation between xFIP and K/9. The better the stuff the fewer the extra base hits. The more successful a starter is. However, a walk is a good as a hit and in that area Zimmermann is supreme on the Nats staff. Eventually, Strasburg will be the bulldog workhorse that he wants to be for this staff. But it isn't this year. This year its Zim. But, in the end he is the #2 guy to Stras down the road. Not to Gio but only to Stras. And its backed up by hard statistical data. Dem's the facts dude. Sorry to rain on your fantasy parade.

  158. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    JD said… Ghost,JZim's BABIP is .266; you have to admit that there's some luck involved in that ERA. SS is .320 which is more in line with what normally happens when balls are hit into play. July 30, 2012 1:41 PM Of course there is some luck to BABIP but over time some pitchers define what they are in BABIP because of the quality of their pitches and the movement on their pitches and of course their defense.Rizzo built a team with better defense to give his pitch to contact pitchers a better chance and JZim's fastball has more movement than Strasburgs which is the reason why. Where JZim is so good is he is 2nd in the Majors in BA w/ RISP. As soon as he gets a batter to 2nd or 3rd he goes to shutdown mode.That's why he is so good. He uses his strikeout pitch when needed and induces the 10th highest amount of doubleplays on ground balls in the Majors and is 25th in the league in opponent BA.JZim is clearly going deep into games and leads the Majors with 19 quality starts. I also like BB/K numbers as they are a telling ratio for attack pitchers vs. nibblers and this is where you can find your better pitchers. Strasburg is 4th and JZim is 12th in qualifying BB/K. JZ is 12th in the Majors in pitches per inning at 14.9 average compared to Gio at 16.5 at 68th in the Majors. That efficiency over the long season is a very large number.

  159. JaneB - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    I don't fault Davey for his loyalty. It maks them all less scared when they know he will stand by them. Otherwise, people start to pitch (or hit or throw) to "avoid disaster" and no one is any good that way. He's a manager, not a crystal ball reader. Sometimes he will be wrong. But overall, standing by guys he believes in is powerful energy. And I think it's at work in the overall makeup of this team.I hope we get through 26 more hours without making any moves. That's my view.Man this is a FUN RIDE!

  160. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    JZim is the best pitcher on this staff right now. Just ask Steve McCatty.McCatty would go with Stras to pitch that key game. There isn't any doubt about it. If they had gone for Grienke they would have acquired a pitcher who would have been the closest thing they could get to a plug in replacement for him.JZimmnn is more like a younger and definitely far better Mark Buehrle. There's a difference.

  161. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    stephen drew is a starting player, not bench material and a FA after this season.

  162. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Oh, yeah and the pre-season favorite Phillies are 16 1/2 games behind them.And doing the last minute fire sale! I wonder how many Philthie busses will be pulling up at Nats park this coming week … ~smiles~

  163. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    peric said… However, a walk is a good as a hit and in that area Zimmermann is supreme on the Nats staff. Eventually, Strasburg will be the bulldog workhorse that he wants to be for this staff. But it isn't this year. This year its Zim. But, in the end he is the #2 guy to Stras down the road. Not to Gio but only to Stras. And its backed up by hard statistical data. Dem's the facts dude. Sorry to rain on your fantasy parade. July 30, 2012 1:57 PM See, we do agree. That's what I said 100 times. Strasburg is a Verlandian pitcher and will be the best pitcher in the NL. This year is amazing what he is doing after TJ.The season isn't over but large enough sample sizes to see that JZim is this team's #1 and if Stras follows what JZim pulled off a year after TJ, Stras will be even better in 2013.Gio on the other hand is a work in progress. He has to develop a hard slider. Yesterday was another day that he nibbled and got burned. He has to be an attack pitcher which is why Rizzo got him. His curve wasn't working for him yesterday and doesn't have a slider to go to for a bailout and relied on his fastball and a curve with smaller break. If Gio continues to pitch like he is now, it will lead to more inconsistent starts as many umps won't give him the edges which Gio counts on to be effective.

  164. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    stephen drew is a starting player, not bench material and a FA after this season.WRONG Faraz. There's an option for another year and he isn't starting for the Diamondbacks he is a UTL. Please try to keep up.

  165. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    peric said… JZim is the best pitcher on this staff right now. Just ask Steve McCatty.McCatty would go with Stras to pitch that key game. There isn't any doubt about it. If they had gone for Grienke they would have acquired a pitcher who would have been the closest thing they could get to a plug in replacement for him.JZimmnn is more like a younger and definitely far better Mark Buehrle. There's a difference. July 30, 2012 2:07 PM Stras defines this staff. For 1 game, yes, I would do the same. This Strasburg circa 2012 has training wheels on though and can't go full throttle. He can't do all he wants to do. He has to pitch more fastballs and less curves and can't go deep into games.Next year will be the year and will be better than the remake of Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine. Gio better take the off-season to work with a mentor because he is better than what we have seen the last month and a 1/2. Yesterday was poor considering he didn't have to face Aramis Ramirez the Nats killer at all.

  166. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said… This comment has been removed by the author. July 30, 2012 1:11 PM What happened to your BREAKING NEWS comment that Jayson Werth was being converted back to a catcher?Did someone pull a joke on you?

  167. hiramhover - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    To add a little about pitchers WAR, without getting into all the name calling and calling out–Ks count heavily in a pitcher's fWAR because the pt of WAR is to assess the individual player's contribution to a win. The pitcher who gets the out by K doesn't have to rely on the defense behind him, period. Btw–fWAR uses FIP, not xFIP, for pitchers. The difference is that FIP relies on the pitcher's actual HR rate, while xFIP relies on a regressed estimate of what his HR rate should be.

  168. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    peric, missed the mutual option part. still doubtful it is exercised by either party.and utility player means playing at more than one position for multiple games and he has not done so. also he has been playing CG on and off because he is just back from an injury. that's the only reason.

  169. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are ready to scoop up Dempster on the cheap if the Dodgers can't get together with the Cubs. I just don't see how we match up with them.

  170. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    peric said This Strasburg circa 2012 has training wheels on though and can't go full throttle.There's that, but there's also the come-and-go command that's a symptom of first post-TJ season. JZimm had it last year. Little question that that's what was going on where Stras couldn't locate his fastball against the Braves, even when he was getting out of jams before the 6th. And that wasn't the only time this year. That's neither his fault nor a rap on his incredible abilities, just a consequence of where he is medically right now.Which is why I wrote it as "for 2012 at least, JZimm's the guy. All other things being equal, we can reasonably hope for SuperStras next year.

  171. Candide - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I don't have any stats to back me up on this, just observation: For that "must-win-or-the-season's-over" game, I want Zimmermann. He looks to me like the guy who isn't fazed by anything – the weather, bad umpires, bad-hop hits. He just has that same impassive, bulldog manner about him on the mound that tells me you are not going to get into his head without pinning him down to the mound and taking a Sawzall to him.That's who I want on the mound when death is on the line.

  172. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    hiramhover, I can appreciate xFIP and other metrics for evaluating other pitchers and I still prefer the B/R WAR. Last year I spent a lot of time evaluating other team's pitchers that could be available for trade or Free Agency. It is very difficult to do given all the team and stadium variables and the ages and progression/regression of pitchers.The beauty of a strikeout is how that shouldn't change much from team to team. BABIP can change greatly when a pitcher moves to a new team.For Nats pitchers, I use my eyes to evaluate and the stats fittingly back it up. We have excellent pitchers here. We are finally in a position to where the dream is a reality. The Nats have pitchers that can rival the Phillies 2011 "Dream Rotation" of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt.

  173. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Steady Eddie, no doubt on the command coming and going. It all has to be factored in that Stras is at 60% one day and 80% the next. We saw the same with JZim and the frustration factor. The great news is the "season after" for JZim which tells me that Stras should be the NLs most dominant pitcher in 2013 and JZim will probably be right next to him and if Gio works in a slider, he will be in there too. More to discuss later on with EJax and Detwiler.

  174. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    JD said… Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are ready to scoop up Dempster on the cheap if the Dodgers can't get together with the Cubs. I just don't see how we match up with them. July 30, 2012 2:32 PM As I wrote that a week ago, I'm glad Stark said it. I don't think it happens but how great is it that Dempster wants LA or Washington!

  175. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    ah actually we don't know whether Depmster would approve a trade to DC.

  176. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Wading into the JZim discussion ( completely in his camp as always ) Strike outs take a lot of pitches. Give me that one pitch out or a good double play any day of the week. That's how you get through 8 or 9 innings.

  177. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    In deck chair-rearranging news, the Brewers fired their bullpen coach.

  178. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    As I said before Swami, As long as that grounder doesn't sneak through for runners at 1st and 3rd. You must admit that a given pitch can easily produce either result.

  179. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I don't think Dempster is that in love with one location or another. I think he's trying to use his leverage to get an extension beyond this year which teams are reluctant to give him based on his age and the likelihood that he won't be this good going forward.

  180. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Ron in Reston — Yes I meant Dickey; shows what happens when one is trying to concentrate on work.

  181. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Well, Dempster wouldn't get an extension from us, so I don't see how the Nats are in play. I wouldn't mind Bonifacio, he is greatly improved since he was here last, but what would you be willing to give up? He would be like DeRosa–utility/PH/insurance–although better in the outfield than DeRosa, which is not exactly our greatest need. I would only want him if Rizzo is feeling like Desi's not coming back soon.

  182. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    I would take Bonifacio over Drew for the short term. Bonifacio has more flexibility and I would worry that Drew is not ready to play complete games.

  183. TheManBearPig - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    My two cents on the JZim or SS for the one big game: In 2012, JZim and it's not even close. The pitcher isn't going to win the game because pitching doesn't score runs, but the pitcher can give his team a chance to win and JZim does that with more frequency than anyone else, not just on the Nats staff but in the NL. You have to go back 10 starts to find a game in which he gave up more than 2 runs and he's finished at least 6 innings in each of his starts.

  184. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    NL, I think Bonifacio now considers himself an every day player and reasonably so. I don't know if he's into the DeRosa role at this stage of his career.

  185. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    JD – agreed on Bonifacio. Of course very recently we have had lots of posters who said that Lombardozzi would never be more than utility player off the bench – just isn't an everyday player. Really? That's not what I am seeing.The kid is blowing me away.

  186. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    By the way – remember Josh Wilkie ( banned substance – spice) – he is no longer associated with the Nats. Rizzo, true to form, won't keep someone like that.

  187. hiramhover - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    GhostI agree about the quality of the pitching staff. And as to the dueling (warring?) WARs–I'm agnostic about the merits of the 2 systems–I honestly haven't looked into the differences that closely.To respond to some others, who are trying to parse the differences bwn JZimm and Stras–actually, I'd turn it around and stress what they share. Neither issues a lot of walks–Stras at a somewhat higher rate this year than J Zimm, but I expect Stras to come down, as he fully recovers from TJ and gains more experience.Whether the outs are coming by K or otherwise, avoiding those extra baserunners is key to success–and to keeping pitch counts down.

  188. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Swami, I have been up and down on Lombo all year. I don't think he'l ever be a star. You can get him out consistently with high heat and his arm is really weak but he is a scrappy player who is not afraid of game situations and I don't mind when he comes up with the game on the line. BTW, Is Espinosa the most aggravating, free swinging strike out machine you have ever seen? I mean one day he can take a 98 MPH heater from Kimbrel and hit a game tying dinger in the 9th, the next day he can get 2 or 3 extra base hits and then he can strike out 4 times in a row.

  189. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    The question on Bonifacio is would he rather be a role-player on this team or stay in Miami. He's not a free-agent until 2015, so lots of team control. Maybe you could get him and flip him in the winter. Is it allowable to make an agreement like that with an agent?

  190. Feel Wood - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Is Espinosa the most aggravating, free swinging strike out machine you have ever seen? No, that would be Ankiel.

  191. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    ====================Is Espinosa the most aggravating, free swinging strike out machine you have ever seen? No, that would be Ankiel.====================Anyone remember Wily Mo Pena?

  192. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    JD – I agree that Lombo isn't going to be an all-star. Not many players are and he doesn't need to be.I do think he is going to have a nice career and can be an everyday player. I really regret that he is basically blocked here unless he, Danny or Desi is traded.He is a good old fashioned, get dirty, do anything, hustling, smart baseball player. And where is this sudden pop coming from this year? And yes, Danny does drive me completely insane with his strike outs. When he first moved over to short last week he seemed to be better with his hitting, now he is back to his old ways.

  193. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    FW–was about to post exactly the same. Hope Espy doesn't emulate him… at least, not in that respect.

  194. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    JD @ 3:20– I think Dempster's trying to get both. If you're a 35 year old pitcher who's been with the Cubs for so long and are suddenly in demand, wouldn't you want to try to get with a winner? He's just being unrealistic about why a contender is going to want a 35 year old contract year performer. Unless they got to be contenders despite persistent weakness at the bottom of their rotation, they're likely not to want more than a rental as a fill-in for injury or just to strengthen themselves for a stretch run. Either Dempster needs to be more flexible about where he goes or more realistic about his longer-term marketability. His best bet is to take a rental with the strongest interested contender, hope he does well and spotlights himself for offseason free-agentry. Staying put with the Cubs because he's seen as unrealistically demanding will be the worst thing for his present AND future. Right now that's looking more likely.JD @ 3:59 — re Espinosa, you could have said much the same thing about Desi last year, which was his second full year as a starter just as this is Danny's. His more recent performance says he'll learn.

  195. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Earlier we were discussing the possibility of a trade messing with team chemistry. The Pirates are having a fantastic season so far, they get Wandy, demote Correia , who , by the way, has a better record AND era than Wandy – just to the pen, not AAA, but not a starter. Now Correia wants a trade and I am hearing from friends in Pittsburgh that the fans are upset, people are taking sides, this is causing clubhouse problems. Let this be a lesson – will the Pirates recover or will this be enough to disturb their fragile balance at a critical point in the season? Their manager has stated publicly that they are hoping Correia will just be a team player and accept it because they aren't trading him. Detweiler accepted going back to the pen for wang – he was already a nat and det had been in the pen before. Trouble in paradise over a trade? Rizzo is not dumb and won't make a trade that could shake things up unless he is getting an all-star game changer and not giving up much. It's risky otherwise.

  196. JD - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Steady Eddie, I don't doubt he'l learn and he's still contributing this year but it is hard to watch.

  197. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Lombo is fun to watch. Showed some emotion when the ump made the bad call yesterday. "Plays the game the right way," is a phrase that was made for him. Shows you that Rizzo knows how to pick 'em; even with his pedigree he was way down in the draft because he's not a flashy, toolsy guy. (I'm assuming that in 2008 as assistant GM it was Rizzo giving draft advice but who knows.)

  198. sjm308 - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I have said pretty much all year, I like what we have and do not need to see us make any moves!I don't dislike Dempster or Bonafacio but who moves where if we sign either. I guess you could move DeRosa for Bonafacio and I certainly love speed guys who disrupt on the basepaths but my vote is to keep what we have. It's not broken, don't fix anything.On SS vs. JZ. this year its a moot point since SS will not be available, BUT, if he was, I would still chose Jordan for a one game playoff this year! Just a bulldog and I love his demeanor. I have seen Strasburg get rattled by either heat, rain or umpiring and I am not upset with that, the kid is just 23 or so. I just think Zimmermann has been a rock all year.

  199. Steady Eddie - Jul 30, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Just went back to their month-to-month records, and July has been their hottest by far this year:April 14-8May 15-13June 15-11July 17-8Of course we all remember the 14-4 start but then 4 straight losses to close the month. But they stayed solid and with that great pitching staff, not only avoided any extended skid through the toughest part of their schedule, but actually added games above .500. Now when they're supposed to start feasting, they are — not only against the Mets reverting to form, but the Giants as well.Something special indeed. Still not counting chickens, but THUS FAR, this is the way champions play. JD — Actually Danny has gotten a lot easier to watch this month, including from the left side. Hopefully just a reminder of how young he is that that loop in his swing seemed to come back yesterday.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.5
Through Tuesday's games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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

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