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On Harper’s prolonged slump

Aug 1, 2012, 4:42 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper is hitting just .214 over his last 41 games.

When Bryce Harper, following last night's 8-0 trouncing at the hands of the Phillies, described himself as "all over the place right now," he might have been referring to the 0-for-11, five-strikeout skid in which he's currently mired. He might also have been thinking farther back, recognizing his struggles at the plate have been going on much longer than many may realize.

On June 12, Harper went 3-for-4 with a home run in Toronto, a game best remembered for the "clown question" that was asked of the rookie, setting off a worldwide sensation.

Harper has played in 41 games since then, starting all but one, and his offensive numbers are anything but spectacular: He's hitting .214 with two homers, 10 RBI, 42 strikeouts, a .283 on-base percentage and a .592 OPS that if extrapolated out over the full season would rank 148th out of 151 qualifying major-league hitters.

"I'm trying to find some mellowness in the plate and in the box," Harper said last night in his latest attempt to usher a funny-sounding phraseRead more »

  1. aneedell - Aug 1, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Mark, Has anyone suggested to Harp that he try Shark's bat, or at least come down a few ounces from the monster he was unsing in ST.

  2. Drew - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Sean: "Stayed up all night thinking about it. Then something occurred to me and I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep and I haven't thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?"Will Hunting: "No."Sean: "You're just a kid."Mike Trout OPS at 19 — .671Bryce Harper OPS at 19 — .759

  3. d0e81e8c-9f37-11e1-a165-000bcdcb471e - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Maybe he should just go down to AAA, relax, decompress, and get some hits.

  4. Pilchard - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    When Werth comes back, think the Nats may send Harper to Cuse to get him back in the groove. The fact is that, for the moment, Bernadina against righties and Moore against lefties is a better option right now than Harper when Werth is playing everyday again. Once Harper start raking in AAA, bring him back up to play everyday.

  5. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Pilchard. That ship has sailed. He's not going back to AAA.

  6. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Turn on ESPN 980, JZim on in a few minutesthom loverro ‏@thomloverro #Nationals SP Jordan Zimmermann joins "The Sports Fix" at 1:15 @ESPNRadio980 and http://espn980.com

  7. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    MicheleS said… Rizzo just said on 106.7 that Henry has been dealing with a back issue too. GUESS WHO GOES ON THE DL NEXT??? August 01, 2012 11:54 AM ________________________________Sound-ing unfortunate ;)

  8. Section 222 - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Thank goodness for Henry's bad back.

  9. Doc - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Drew, I too was thinking of Mike Trout last season when he came and went between the Angles and AAA.Also, Harps outhit Trout last fall in the AFL.A little break, now and then, might help him out. Don't think that he needs to figure it out in the minors.

  10. realdealnats - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    I've been meaning to post that Bad Henry's back has looked especially tight to me recently. A lot tighter than Good Henry's. Time to rest it.

  11. Sam - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    That's a clown blog post, bro.Sorry, someone had to say it. Let's hope Harper gets his bat going quickly because he'll be key if he's going to be hitting #2 for the rest of the year.

  12. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Bryce is nineteen and should not have to be the "key" to anything. This year should be about learning to be a professional baseball player for a full season. He is doing a fantastic job, but the single-minded focus on being in first place and winning the division should not be on his shoulders. In fact, in my opinion, it shouldn't even be a factor at all in the way he is being taught. As nice as it's been to be a fan of a wildly successful team this year, I don't think it has been developmentally healthy for Bryce or for Strassie. The injuries have put even more pressure on Bryce. I hope the coaches and the veterans are allowing him to figure things out in such a way that is the right way and not rushing things because everyone wants to go to the post season. I think he looks thin and tired and overwhelmed. Maybe his mentor Jayson can take him under his wing. He doesn't have Jayson or Ankiel anymore – both seemed to be sounding boards and mentors for him. He's just a kid – let the responsibility be shared over 25 people. Let him figure it out.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    In Jim Callis's words,'No. They're still the best team in the NL East, and they're 2.5 games up on the only team that can catch them, the Braves.'

  14. MicheleS - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Gonat.. Didn't catch JZ, will have to get it on the pod cast.but GIO is on the SVP show on ESPN.com at 3:30.

  15. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    that was response to whether nats needed to make any dramatic moves this trade deadline.dont know how much his opinion matters around here or anyone but guess what he has a baseball related job and we don't.

  16. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    wow lot of nats being interviewed it seems.

  17. d0e81e8c-9f37-11e1-a165-000bcdcb471e - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I just think because he's a kid, he needs sometime to shine in Syracuse, and get his self esteem back. He's thinking too much, and he's putting pressure on himself to always perform.

  18. ExposedinDC - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Espi should be our 2 hole hitter, let Harp see some pitches at 6 or 7

  19. joemktg - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Let's see…-he's 19-playing at the MLB level-a starter-on a competitive team-has only one full season under his belt (no higher than AA level)All hitters go through a slump: that's baseball. Combine that with aforementioned, and we shouldn't be surprised.

  20. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Wil Nieves just DFA'd by the Rox.

  21. SCNatsFan - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    No way Espi should be #2; he doesn't make enough contact and his average is still too low. If the argument is to move Harper out of #2 and put whoever is left there so make it easier for Bryce that's one thing but Espi has done nothing to show he can hit in the #2 spot.

  22. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    JZ much more into the cliches than some other Nats who have been interviewed. Said pretty much what you could guess, though he did admit it would have been tough for him to be shutdown if the Nats had been contending last year (but it was tough for him anyway.)However, one cool moment. Thommy boy asks him about winning the Cy Young. JZ not at all surprised by the question and none of this "Well, there are a lot of good pitchers in the league…" stuff for our JZ. Nope: "I pitch, they vote." He said he feels strong every time out and he expects to feel exactly the same way the rest of the season.

  23. rabbit34 - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    The season is too long for the team we have now. Everyone is trying to figure out: what, why, how about, if, maybe. The fact is this is not yet a pennant winning team. They are good, but still have so far (well, a little way) to go. Give it a year or two. In the mean time, I wish the Braves and Chipper well. Look out. Here they come!!

  24. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Lombo is actually performing the best of all the rookies at this point, in my opinion. Older, more time in the minors, major league father, playing at his natural position. With the exception of last night's tumble, I think Bryce has looked better and better in the outfield. One more thing he has had to contend with – learning the outfield.I think having Jayson back around every day will be helpful to him. Is there anything in baseball that guy hasn't been through? Including prolonged slumps. I am not sure that sending him to AAA is the answer. So – Nats have any interest in Wil Nieves? Who?

  25. alexva - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    just curious Mark, which five 19 yr. olds are ranked ahed of him?

  26. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Went back and looked at the Lombo leap. FP said he timed it right, just wasn't high enough. So Espi would have made it (or Desi, if it was in his direction at short). I don't think you can fault Lombo for not making what would have been a Web gem. He's made quite a few outstanding plays.

  27. Bill Lage - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Christian Garcia…in Syracuse…what can anyone tell me about him?Got spectacular numbers, good size, still pretty young, not a lot of innings in recent years…injuries?Looks like ho could be Henry…but with control.Have you seen him?

  28. Wendell - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    I'm surprised they haven't rested Harper more. I don't understand why teams let someone with the flu even in the clubhouse, much less on the field.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    MicheleS or anyone who is tech saavy, can you post links of the JZim interview and Gio. Thanks

  30. pRAA - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… Wil Nieves just DFA'd by the Rox.Charlie and Dave spotted practicing the dance. Tony Vega spotted getting the band back together.

  31. MicheleS - Aug 1, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Ghost.. I will try. Sounds like Gio maybe delayed and will only be on the podcast. So I will hunt for them tomorrow. (ESPN delay's podcasts by a day)

  32. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Ghost – I am not good at it either – I went to the 980 site that someone posted above, clicked on "all audio" and it gave me the choices. This is the first time I have ever found one. Maybe someone will be kind and do the little blue link. The interview was good – they actually got Jordan to chat for 9 minutes.He is really coming out of his shell. Kristina did some interviews with him in Milwaukee that were good. He said something personal about never having anything handed to him and having always had to work so hard. First time I have ever heard some of this stuff. We are so lucky to have him and it sounds like he will be a great help to Stephen even though he is only 2 years older – way more calm, though.

  33. MicheleS - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    UPDATE. Gio will be on.I will try for the little blue links when they are up.

  34. Tcostant - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Michele while 980 delays shows 24 hours, it usually post interviews right away. Zimmermann's is up already from this 1:15pm

  35. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Who? (Well, someone had to say it. :-))Laddie Blah Blah said… Wil Nieves just DFA'd by the Rox. August 01, 2012 2:11 PM

  36. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Oh, swami beat me to it. Never mind. :-)

  37. Cameron - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Fontenot was DFA'd by the Phils. Could serve the same role as Derosa but much better.

  38. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Radio link for audio vault. Click on "play now" to hear the Z'nn recording.

  39. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    While we are talking about interviews – does anybody see any signs of the guys starting to be dazzled by the recognition and fame? The fan cave thing last week really got a lot of air time for the bullpen guys. Was it a coincidence that those same guys had a tough weekend? Did it go to their heads or did they lose focus for a bit? It must be harder to concentrate when you start getting more attention. Not faulting them at all, just wondering, since it's another new thing. Nobody knew who some of these guys were before that. Maybe Clip or Burnett, but Mattheus and Stammen? Doubt it. Not household names.

  40. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Geez, they left off the final "n" for Z'nn. :eyeroll:

  41. MicheleS - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    As always.. 1A is a ROCK STAR!!!Thansk for finding that.

  42. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    aw, shucks, MicheleS. You're welcome. :-)

  43. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    You can also listen to espn.com live on your computer right now. I have it on waiting for gio, minimized, while I am following here. espn.com – click on the radio logo on the right. I hope Gio is on time, he was really late when he was supposed to be on IT – showed up right as the show was ending. By the way – has anybody seen DJ interviewed anywhere by any national baseball media? It seems like he steers clear.

  44. MicheleS - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Swami,Davey was on the Ripken radio show last week. WaPo Sportsbog had a transcriptDavey on Ripken Radio Also, on MLBNetwork.com you can search on videos for Davey. A lot are his post game pressers, but there are some interviews mixed in.

  45. peric - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    All I know is Davey made it a point to say more than once that he hoped Harper would not get picked for the AS team because he needed to rest and decompress. What HAS changed? He's played in even more high pressure games without getting that rest Davey was hoping he'd get.Its time for Davey to force him to rest by putting Harper on the 15-day DL to decompress, slow things down and get his mojo back.

  46. MicheleS - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Gio is a RIOT!

  47. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    NatsLady said… JZ much more into the cliches than some other Nats who have been interviewed. Said pretty much what you could guess, though he did admit it would have been tough for him to be shutdown if the Nats had been contending last year (but it was tough for him anyway.)However, one cool moment. Thommy boy asks him about winning the Cy Young. JZ not at all surprised by the question and none of this "Well, there are a lot of good pitchers in the league…" stuff for our JZ. Nope: "I pitch, they vote." He said he feels strong every time out and he expects to feel exactly the same way the rest of the season. August 01, 2012 2:39 PM ________________________________I for one was critical of our host here to snub JZim from his Nats All Star Poll that was posted here.By July 1st, JZim had key metrics that were better than Gio.Now I hear Thom Loverro saying he picked him to be Cy Young before the season started. There are some of us that saw someone very special on April 20th 2009. He didn't get anywhere near the national attention that Stras got. Many thought JZim earned the Opening Day start. I agreed. Certainly under-rated and the only reason people are noticing now is because he is at the tops of pitcher WAR, ERA, WHIP, and BB/K in the entire Majors.

  48. peric - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Christian Garcia…in Syracuse…what can anyone tell me about him?Got spectacular numbers, good size, still pretty young, not a lot of innings in recent years…injuries?Mid nineties max he's more like another Ryan Mattheus. I seem to recall that older prospect Garcia also had to recover from TJ surgery. Hassan Pena is more like the "other" Henry and like Mattheus vs. H-Rod, Garcia appears to be doing better than Pena. Especially when it comes to control.But the top "sleeper" coming from out of nowhere candidate absolutely has to be Jeff F. Mandel with a break out season as a starter in both AA and AAA at age 27.

  49. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Agreed Gonat – I was one of those who wanted JZim to start opening day. I have been a follower of his since he was drafted. I wanted to sit down and cry when we heard he needed TJ and I attended his first start back at Potomac. The situation is kind of Tortoise and Hare – Strassie came out with a flash, JZ is the steady one. Great kid and kudos to Rizzo for finding him and fighting to have him – he has that eye for talent. Everyone keeps saying STras is our ace, our number one – isn't he our number three now? I think it's better for Stras – he doesn't need that "stopper" pressure in the same way that Bryce doesn't need to be the "key" to our offense. Gio was hilarious, if you didn't hear it. He pretty much told the guy to slow his roll when he started talking post season. I like that.By the way, Verlander thanking everyone on twitter for following his streak – didn't mention at all who currently owns it. Typical.

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Gonat, I don't know who posted that poll at CSN as it may nit have been Mark and JZim wasn't an All Star lock but was an All Star snub once replacements were picked.Today, JZim is 3rd in the Majors in ERA, 1st in quality starts, 10th in WHIP, 12th in K/BB9, and 1st in WAR/9, and 2nd in WAR behind Verlander, 11th in GIDP, and unfortunately 2nd in Tough Loss with 4.I would say Thom Loverro is right.

  51. peric - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I thought this to be a pretty good analysis of Zimmnn's approach via comparison with Gio Gonzalez.Jordan contrasted with Gio

  52. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Unproductive afternoon – listening to all these Nats being interviewed. Not used to it! Fun, though. So I heard that Ross Detweiler had a good radio interview somewhere on Monday. Anyone know anything about that?

  53. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    baseballswami said… Agreed Gonat – I was one of those who wanted JZim to start opening day. I have been a follower of his since he was drafted. I wanted to sit down and cry when we heard he needed TJ and I attended his first start back at Potomac. The situation is kind of Tortoise and Hare – Strassie came out with a flash, JZ is the steady one. Great kid and kudos to Rizzo for finding him and fighting to have him – he has that eye for talent. Everyone keeps saying STras is our ace, our number one – isn't he our number three now? I think it's better for Stras – he doesn't need that "stopper" pressure in the same way that Bryce doesn't need to be the "key" to our offense. Gio was hilarious, if you didn't hear it. He pretty much told the guy to slow his roll when he started talking post season. I like that.By the way, Verlander thanking everyone on twitter for following his streak – didn't mention at all who currently owns it. Typical. August 01, 2012 3:51 PM ________________________________Great post and you have always been a JZ supporter. I just can't believe how blind most of NatsTown is about one of their own.I don't think it bothers Jordan not getting the noteriety because stats speak. That's how Verlander went from an unknown to a super stud. You can see the JZim coverage is building.60 games to go and probably 12 more starts for JZim to finish the regular season.

  54. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    peric – fantastic article , thanks so much for sharing it. I recommend you read it – lots of interesting pitching stuff about 2 of our favorite starters whose initial are not SS.

  55. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    I was a little worried because the day Stammen gave his interview (which was excellent), he had a bad outing. Guess the boys will have to learn to do both–be famous AND play good.Znn wouldn't tell any Davey or McCatty stories out of school, but I still got a kick out of his interview because he just takes everything in stride–being the best pitcher, being on a contending team, being a Cy Young candidate…I think Rizzo not making a big splash to get another SP at the trade deadline says he's playing for next year, given the youth and inexperience of the team and the Stras rehab. Not that he would mind having a big lead. (Of course all the sports jocks care about is Rizzo saying h**l on air.)BTW, they are advertising 2013 season tickets with the playoff ticket offer… so I guess they don't believe in jinxes.

  56. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Gonat, I don't know who posted that poll at CSN as it may nit have been Mark and JZim wasn't an All Star lock but was an All Star snub once replacements were picked.Today, JZim is 3rd in the Majors in ERA, 1st in quality starts, 10th in WHIP, 12th in K/BB9, and 1st in WAR/9, and 2nd in WAR behind Verlander, 11th in GIDP, and unfortunately 2nd in Tough Loss with 4.I would say Thom Loverro is right. August 01, 2012 3:55 PM _____________________________Good number rankings. I think the media buzz is coming because of the egg Stras laid last night that it almost forces the media to give JZim some credit and airtime.

  57. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    I called it No Zim in the lineup. Unreal.8/1 Lineup: Lombo 2B, Harper RF, Tracy 3B, Morse LF, LaRoche 1B, Espinosa SS, Bernadina CF, Flores C, Jackson RHP

  58. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I think the regulars should get days off even if they aren't hurt. Pushing them now just causes more problems later. We have also seen that the bench players keep their stroke better when they play in a whole game now and then. We just can't run them all out there every day. The Phillies destroyed both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley last year by running them physically into the ground. Winning at all costs today could cost a lot later.Zim says he is fine. We know Davey Johnson is extremely careful. With all of our dl days, who can blame him? By the way – is there a stat for dl days per club? We have also had lots of these "sit out" day to day situations this year. It's got to be a large number.

  59. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    FYI – Detweiler interview was Holden and Danny, 106.7 on Monday , July 30th. I have not been able to get it , but maybe someone else can. Heard it was good and he was very funny.

  60. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    baseballswami, its getting the real story. I am saying this with regard to Zim. He is fragile. He slides into a base and the next game is hurt. Then says he is fine and will play tomorrow. Then its the next day. Then he says he could have played if he needed to.27 years old and when he's healthy he's great and unfortunately is healthy much less than 70% of each season.

  61. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    gonat – I hear you, but when he is in there he just plays full out. His July was ridiculous. He was one of four guys in the running for that Mane Man award for July and he was player of the week. I think he has been hustling even more this season because he can smell the prize. It's all part of Zim being Zim. He gets to things nobody else does, he has been hitting like crazy. I think if Davey wasn't so cautious Zim would be playing through it. I understand where you are coming from, though – we heard this about the shoulder and last year about the stomach. Is Davey over cautious or does Zim play it down? Maybe a cortisone body treatment?

  62. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Gonat, What exactly is your complaint? if he's hurt he's hurt.

  63. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    ok – trying not to panic. Rotation change for this weekend. JZim getting an extra day and pitching Saturday. Please tell me it's just about match ups and not the shoulder? Please, please. I need to breathe.

  64. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Sometimes I just hate twitter.

  65. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Zim has played in 87 of 102 games this year; not exactly Nick Johnson numbers.

  66. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Swami, If it was anything serious they'd push him out more than a day. Because of the off day on Monday they have an opportunity to give JZim an extra day off. Everyone assumes that JZim is now totally unlimited but the 160 innings he pitched last year were a career high and they are still protective of him this year.

  67. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    For those of you not on Twitter:Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolkoDavey will swap Gio and J.Zim in the rotation to give Zimmermann (shoulder inflammation) an extra day. Shoulder not a concern, though.

  68. Section 222 - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    I think Rizzo not making a big splash to get another SP at the trade deadline says he's playing for next year, given the youth and inexperience of the team and the Stras rehab.I sure hope you're wrong about that, as I said yesterday. How can you have the best record in the NL as of July 31 and play for next year? That's crazy. Who knows what might happen next year. There are never guarantees, either injury-wise, or performance-wise that what has happened this year can be duplicated. Say it ain't so Rizzo.

  69. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  70. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    JD said… Gonat,What exactly is your complaint? if he's hurt he's hurt. August 01, 2012 4:34 PM ____________________________Do you really need me to explain? Its the honesty issue. He says he is fine and isn't. If he fessed up about the shoulder this year he could have received the cortisone earlier.The year before, it was the abdominal injury which he knew was a problem. If he did what Markakis did, he had the surgery off-season.The Zim apologists keep saying you try the non-surgical procedure first. Of course but when you are honest with the situation, surgery may be the best or only option. And JD, too many of those 87 games played were while he was injured. The production was after he came clean to Davey and he got the cortisone.

  71. peric - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    masnKolko: Davey has talked with Werth about possibly leading off. Werth's very open to the idea. Davey: "A 6'6 donkey wants to lead off?"

  72. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Gonat, You know what; I comment on a lot of things I think I understand. Sports medicine is not one of these topics; if you are an expert I yield to your better judgment. Many, many athletes think they can play through injuries; few are ever completely pain free. I don't think he's trying to trick you or anyone else just as I didn't question when ALR tried to play through his shoulder injury last year. BTW; he did receive the cortisone earlier and it didn't work; the 2ns shot did the trick. This too happens in sports.

  73. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Peric, it makes great sense for Werth to leadoff this season (it didn't last year). High OBP and not necessarily a top clutch RBI guy.

  74. peric - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Please tell me it's just about match ups and not the shoulder? Please, please. I need to breathe.Kind of normal Swami. They just never used to say anything now they are told to speak up so that they don't do severe irreparable damage (see Kimball, Cole). Zimmn may still be restricted to pitching around 190 or so which I guess is 25% increase. This is why I was hoping they could pick up another starter like Grienke then there would be less hyperventilating. They still might pick up Grienke in the offseason who knows?

  75. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Gonat, I think Werth is the ideal leadoff man at this time with Lombo hitting 2nd.

  76. Gonat - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    JD, I know very little about Sports Medicine myself. I do see patterns with RZ. His back ailment is a new one. Who knows. Its just frustrating. His track record just says that whenever he has said its "nothing" and "I can play through it", it hasn't been the case and he unfortunately has a long history.

  77. peric - Aug 1, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Under the heading of "Dear Ted,"An usher at Wrigley shut down the wave. Thank the lord.

  78. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Peric, Milwaukee eventually got 3 'B' prospects for Greinke which I guess to translate into Nats personel would be : Perez, Rosenbaum and Karns but they were really desperate for a short stop which gave the Angels the edge. I thought Greinke would yield more.

  79. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    222, I think Rizzo would be very happy to have a big lead and win the division (he said so). I just don' think he expects it, and he's not selling the farm to do it. To me that says, as a lot of people have said, that The Plan is for 2013, when Harper is not a rookie and Strasburg is at full strength. The Nats have done way better than expected, and maybe that will continue. We all hope it will continue. But, why, with the youth and talent of this team, would anyone assume that 2012 is the only year we'll have a chance?

  80. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Gonat, I think what's frustrating to us fans is the absence of our best hitter from the lineup. I feel the same frustration.

  81. JD - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    NL, I hear your point but when you have gotten yourself into such a great position in 2012 it would still be heart breaking if we don't get it to the finish line.

  82. Section 222 - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    NL, I don't want him to sell the farm, or ruin Stras trying to go for the gold this year. But the fact that he didn't and won't does not to me say he's playing for next year. And my question for you is why, with the brass ring in reach, and 29 other teams trying to improve and challenge, would you ease up on the gas pedal because The Plan, drafted a year ago says that 2013 is the year we'll be able to go for it? I'm not assuming that 2012 is the only year we'll have a chance, but I'm sure not assuming we'll have a better chance to win next year than we do right now. Playoff ticket purchase info for STHs just arrived. I'm trying to figure it out.

  83. pRAA - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Playoff ticket purchase info for STHs just arrived. I'm trying to figure it out.I haven't read beyond the email, but it seems fairly straightforward. If you're a current STH and you want your seat(s) for the entirety of the playoffs, whatever that ends up being, you have to pay up in full by Aug 31. If you don't want to do that but still want priority over others in buying playoff tickets a la carte, you've got to renew for 2013 (and presumably make a deposit) before Aug 31st. I would assume full season plans are guaranteed their same seats if they buy the full playoff package, but partial plans like myself might get our seats relocated like they did on Opening Day. Obviously if you buy tix and they don't end up playing all the games you bought, you get that money credited to your account – which of course can be applied to next year's tickets. Works for me.

  84. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Ok – I am down off the ledge after the JZim news. Probably to be expected since he will be going into uncharted waters before long. If he can have trouble getting loose and then pitch like that, he is probably fine.They just need him to stay fine. I don't think gio went very deep into his last game,and we know Stras didn't, so they should be well rested. Last night was Gorzelanny, HRod and Storen? Would like to see the team play some good baseball tonight. What's with all the talk of Werth leading off? Lombo has done a really fine job – is it to move Harper down? Werth could hit # 2?

  85. pRAA - Aug 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Aha. There's one small detail they left out of the email summary. Looks like you need to renew your plan for 2013 before you can buy any postseason tickets at all.

  86. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Another point re. Zimm, in addition to those made by JD and swami, maybe he feels pressure to play given the new contract. He strikes me as a very conscientious, responsible type, perhaps due to dealing with his mother's health condition from an early age.

Archives

NLDS: NATIONALS VS. GIANTS

FRI: Game 1 at Washington, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2 at Washington, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3 at San Francisco, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4 at San Francisco, TBA (FS1)*
THU: Game 5 at Washington, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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