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Bailed out by baseball’s worst bunch

Aug 7, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Roger Bernadina scored on a disastrous play by the Astros in the 11th.

Imagine waking up this morning without having watched the Nationals defeat the Astros 5-4 in 11 innings last night and trying to decipher how the winning run scored simply by reading the official play-by-play account:

"Suzuki reached on bunt single to first, Bernadina to second. Bernadina to third, Suzuki to second on Pearce throwing error. Bernadina scored, Suzuki to third on Bogusevic throwing error."

And that description didn't even include the part where Matt Downs nearly dove into two teammates (who had just collided) for no logical reason.

Ladies and gentlemen: Your 2012 Houston Astros!

Words can't fully capture the absurdity of the moment. It really needs to be watched to be fully appreciated. Suffice it to say, even the Bad News Bears would have been embarrassed to botch one play in suchRead more »

169 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Mr. Doggett - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Love love love being on the good side of one of these games. So fun to poke fun at teams playing like the Old Nats.

  2. greg - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    with storen, it wasn't so much that they were breaking pitches. it was that he threw almost every single one low and away. over and over again, he threw low and away for balls. to the point where i was yelling at the screen "COME INSIDE DAMMIT!"

  3. terpman33 - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Man, that was a crazy game. That play by the Astros in the 11th was one of the worst I've ever seen. Definitely will be #1 on Sportcenter's Not Top 10. It looked liked a play from Charlie Sheen's old movie, Major League. Anyway, glad we got the win. Not worried about Storen struggling or Clip blowing the save. It happens! You know the Braves were PISSED!!! Lets keep 'em that way! GYFNG!!!

  4. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Every game it is something different and totally unpredictable. Can we please have boring once in a while and still win?

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Dozed off in the 9th but woke up in time to see that zany 11th inning fiasco. WOW. Brought back old Nats memories of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.On another note, those Pillies not only ended their sell out streak, they dropped their 60th game of the year, the same amount they lost ALL LAST REGULAR SEASON.Some things just feel right.

  6. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    One of the greatest plays in the annals of MLB. That one will be replayed for as long as the game lasts, or, at last, until some other team does something even more spectacularly goofy. Probably be a while before that happens.Destiny. Why fight it?

  7. Knoxville Nat - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    NatsJack…..no old memories of the 2009 Nationals, the team that only won 59 games all year?

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    I was in a total fog in 2009.

  9. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Seems like lately we are winning because others are making mistakes. Like Dunn with the routine pfp. While it's good to take advantage in that situation, that is also putting your destiny in the hands of another. I would like to see the Nats pull it back together. They are a bit out of sync right now. Luckily for us, and unfortunately for the makers of the mistakes, we are doing just enough to win it in the end. The better teams won't do that.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Two knee surgeries, shoulder surgery and back surgery.

  11. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Ouch. You didn't miss much on the field.

  12. pRAA - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    What were the Astros thinking?! What were they watching?! Where were they going?!

  13. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I am so tired.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Swami… but I discovered the beauty of Vicodin.

  15. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I got criticized for calling the Astros and AAA to AAAA-level team. Here is a knowledgable fan (seen many comments from this guy):They Astros are playing below replacement level at this point; they will have to scramble hard to get to 50 wins.Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow are so proud of the job they have done blowing up the roster so they can start over. I wonder why it never occurred that in between you should put a product on the field that is worth watching? Arguably four to five of the Astros belong in MLB; perhaps that number is high. I’m not even watching on television these days.Checked fangraphs, they aren't quite playing below replacement level, but pretty close. Feel bad for the guy…been there, etc….Can't take the Astros for granted, yes, they are professional baseball players–but, we should clobber this team. They need 14 wins to get to 50, and I don't want to contribute ANY.

  16. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    swami, we had a "routine" almost boring win on Sunday. I was there, I witnessed it. Everything worked just the way it should. I liked it, but I probably won't remember it.

  17. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    - Clip was very tentative until he gave up the lead; then he became aggressive and effective. It's a bit of a trend lately since he got hurt by the Rockies, Braves and the Mets; he needs to start going after the hitters again. – The at bats by Lombo and Tracy right after we took the lead in the 11th were some of the worst at bats of the year (1st pitch weak grounder each). – Suzuki is exactly what we needed; great defensively, take charge catcher.I don't think that Storen or Clippard get through their innings without further damage without Suzuki.

  18. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Possible excuses: (1) Arrival of Suzuki from the curve-happy AL; (2) Unfamiliarity of Suzuki w/ the pitching staff; (3) Misunderstanding of game plan (afterward, Johnson mentioned not throwing slop inside to right-handed power hitters (of whom the Astros have how many? In any event, didn't sound like he told them to throw slop to everybody); (4) Just plain stupidity — in two at bats, Jackson threw six and seven pitches to the opposing pitcher.Jackson's problem — more or less confirmed by some of Carp's/FP's comments — is that he is so in love with his "stuff" that he feels compelled to show it all off. Rather than establishing one pitch in the first trip through the order so he can feature something else the second time through, he seems to be trying to show every hitter everything in every at-bat. As a result, he's worn out his arm by the time he gets to the sixth. This is dumb! Neither Gorzellany or any other team's long guy has a half of Jackson's ability but is expected to come in and bail him out. Games like this make me doubt the ability of the pitching staff to withstand the pressure of the playoffs.

  19. karlkolchak - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Since no one else has commented on this, let me be the first: what is up with a game plan calling for not throwing fastballs to a team that is second to last in the NL in batting? A couple of solo home runs against a team like this won't kill us, but a bunch of walks leading to innings with a crooked number will.

  20. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    One more thing. Gorzo was terrible; he let the Astros back into the game when they were pretty much dead in the water. OK; that's enough negativity for one day. I am sure we'll play better tonight.

  21. karlkolchak - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Oops–I just saw that others commented on the lack of fastballs while I was typing my post.

  22. Bigfish - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    "Suzuki is exactly what we needed; great defensively, take charge catcher.I don't think that Storen or Clippard get through their innings without further damage without Suzuki."Um, just to play devil's advocate for a second: isn't it Suzuki who's calling for all those off-speed pitches? According to Mark, the off-speed stuff was part of the Nats' game plan (Davey's? Apparently not. Cat's?) But couldn't Suzuki see that the plan wasn't working? Who's responsible for adapting the plan on the run? Suzuki? Davey? Cat? The pitchers?

  23. karlkolchak - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    On the plus side, I just realized that with Henry on the DL, the Nats have no pitchers currently on the active roster with an ERA higher than Jackson at 3.56. That is amazing.

  24. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    JD, I am SO with you on Gorzy. After he gets written up for being underappreciated–well, he's underappreciated by me and for good reason. He throws three beautiful innings when it doesn't matter, but when it does??? Lets an inherited runner score and then contributes one of his own. That's why Davey doesn't trust him in close games or with the lead, and neither do I.

  25. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Jackson is who Jackson is. There's a reason he is not a top of the rotation pitcher even though he has top of the rotation stuff. His over all numbers this year resemble his career numbers. He is better than almost any teams no. 4 starter and the reason we can afford to pay a 4th starter 11 mil a year is that the top 3 starters have not entered their peak earning years yet. When Stras, JZim, Gio and even Det get into their peak earning years we will have to mix and match at the bottom like most other teams unless we get new blood like Meyer etc. into these roles.

  26. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    NatsLady, good info about replacement level teams. We should do well to remember however, that even a replacement team wins 50+ games per year. (The Astros are 4-31 in their last 35, but even the worst teams in the history of baseball can't keep playing at that poor a level. They did, e.g., beat the red hot Braves on Saturday)Here's hoping the Astros break out of their deep slump on Friday!

  27. Gonat - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Swift Eagle said… Good points Mick…Especially Tracy. His role is to be the veteran bat off the bench who provides a quality AB late in close games…It is THE reason Davey has him on the team… August 07, 2012 12:35 AM __________________________________________Tracy 1st pitch swinging? How close were the Astros from tying it up with Altuve up.Nats were not playing for add-on runs but we will take the W and go into kill mode tonight. I expected a flat Nats team. Another starter lost his W due to a variety of factors although I have read where many are blaming Clipppard. All I will say is 1 run saves are the toughest.

  28. JamesFan - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Why wouldn't opposing hitters wait on a change up? It's hittable and you know that it is coming in the sequence. That is the key to dealing with the Nats' pitching.

  29. sjm308 - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Good morning all!Have to wonder if we are not a team of destiny after last night. Like NatsJack, I napped just a bit and actually woke to find Johnny & Ray followed by FP & Bob – I quickly rewound (already knowing the results) and was amazed that a team could make so many errors on one play. Natslady – I was with you on the level of these guys and its no knock on them – They obviously earned their callups but I just did not know too many of them. I have read somewhere that they are getting ready for their move to the AL with pretty much a brand new group. We just have to take advantage of that for the next 3 games.SwiftEagle – how was your "legion of doom" team when we let them back into the game? Hope you kept everyone in line.Have to think that Detwiler will use his fastball more then what we saw last night. It's his best pitch and I can't see McCatty or Davey wanting him to change what has been working.Go Nats!!

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

    Y-a-w-n. Geez, I slept like a rock last night. S-t-r-e-t-c-h. Might as well check the old in-box and see how the Nats did. Yay, a happy game results email! I'll just check out the box score and have a nice cup of – what the heck?Imagine waking up this morning without having watched the Nationals defeat the Astros 5-4 in 11 innings last night and trying to decipher how the winning run scored simply by reading the official play-by-play account:hmmm, thanks for the video, Mark. It's a like a one-team blooper reel. Yikes. After he high-fives the kid, the one dude looks like he's turning around, scorecard in hand, to ask people what the heck just happened. How the heck do I score *that*? :-) Sounds like it wasn't all that pretty of a game on either side, but the good guys won.Obligatory quote of the day: "That is a bunt – B-U-N-T. The catcher is supposed to pick up the bunt and throw it to first base."

  31. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Bigfish, I am pretty sure that the game plan for the pitchers is developed by Mc.Catty and Davie. Suzuki hasn't been here long enough to know the pitcher's strengths and weaknesses. What impressed me about Suzuki was his receiving and his taking charge. Storen was getting squeezed badly by the umpire and was about to lose it but Suzuki kept going out there to help calm him down. Clip was on the verge of giving away the game but really changed his approach to the last 2 hitters going after them with fast balls.

  32. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    What's very curious about the terrible at bats by Lombo and DeRosa last night with a man on third, is that they (along with Werth, LaRoche) are among the best on the team at getting quality at bats on a fairly consistent basis. I'm thinking they both must have been fooled, big time. Or perhaps got the pitch they want but simply missed

  33. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    (I meant Tracy)

  34. MicheleS - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    NatsLady, not sure if you saw my comment in the Game Thread about Gorzo… but man, As soon as I heard that he was in the game and there was a runner on base, I thought, that one is going to score, I just hope he doesn't give up more and of course he did.

  35. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    'Why wouldn't opposing hitters wait on a change up? It's hittable and you know that it is coming in the sequence. That is the key to dealing with the Nats' pitching' because your brain tells you it's a fastball and mostly it's too late to adjust by the time you realize it's not. It's all about the motion. Trevor Hoffman made a pretty nice living off the changeup. His fastball barely ever topped 90.

  36. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Bigfish, I was impressed with Suzuki. But he's not that familiar with the pitchers or the league yet to be changing the game plan on the fly. I was going to say maybe they should have had a meeting of the minds along about the 7th to say this isn't working–except Mattheus was great in the 7th. I wonder if Clip is having shoulder problems again. The stumbles and the slow starts to innings suggest to me that he might be taking a dose of medication that either kicks in (or wears off) while he's on the mound. This is beyond needing an adrenalin boost or "being in love with his change-up." That was not a happy man in the dugout.

  37. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I think the "take charge" catcher is pretty much a myth. I can't think of one, except maybe Sciosia . . . or Crash Davis. Ultimately, the pitcher throws what he wants to throw. (Nats pitchers criticized Pudge for calling too many fastballs, to improve his CS percentage. Meaning, probably, that they fought his pitch selection.) According to Carp/FP, Jackson likes to shake off the catcher through his entire repertoire until he gets back to the original pitch, to make the hitter "guess?" Who's in control there? Suzuki puts down his fourth sign, for the Eephus pitch, and Jackson says, "Yeah, I haven't thrown that for a while." None of the Nats catchers, 1 through 6, Suzuki included, has enough experience and cache to "take charge." Some pitchers (Gio, Detwiler) are pretty passive. Ultimately, it boils down to the blockhead on the mound.

  38. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    That was an embarrassing win, but I will take them all.

  39. karlkolchak - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    @JD – good points about Jackson and our ability to afford him THIS YEAR (I highly doubt he'll be signed to a multiyear extension). The good news is that with Meyer, Giolito & Purke (and maybe Karns and Solis) we have no shortage of potential candidates to eventually join the big 4 as they start to get pricey.Just musing, but my guess is that they'll buy out J-Zimm (through 2017) and Stras's (through 2018) first two years of free agency with extensions. Pitchers are always in danger of sustaining that one career ending injury, so it is also in their best interest, whereas Harper will most likely be inclined to wait for his big payday when he turns 26.

  40. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    JD, agree. Clip has a magic motion that he works on constantly to make sure hitters can't tell what's coming. And for a long time he used the high heat as his out pitch. A lotta batters looked like Ankiel chasing it for a third strike. Haven't seen that in a while, which makes me wonder if he doesn't trust he can locate the fastball–and is that the result of shoulder tightness?

  41. pRAA - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Storen was getting squeezed badly by the umpire and was about to lose it but Suzuki kept going out there to help calm him down.Storen had one pitch that was right on the edge of the zone according to pitch track but got called a ball. Everything else he threw was way outside the zone. Not even close. That's not "getting squeezed badly by the umpire." That's not making your pitches. I'm sure that's what McCatty told him when he went out there. Make your pitches. Of course, there were several words of the four letter variety in there as well.

  42. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Karlochchak, Here is the scary part. If you look at Hammels contract as well as Cain and you consider our big 3 to be at least as good as either of them you realize that the cost of a from line pitcher in his prime is over $20 mil a year. You might sign JZimm at somewhat of a discount if you do it soon but I don't think Boras will leave 1 cent on the table when it comes to Stras.

  43. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    pRAA,There was more than one ball which could have been called a strike and the Astros announcers said so. One was obvious the other couple were more on the black.

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

    fwiw, Suzuki on game-calling (from Nats Journal):"Right now probably the first week I'll go with what they want to throw just because I'm still trying to learn what pitches they like to throw and what they can do in each situation," Suzuki said. "I'm not really going to come in and say 'You have to throw this.' I'm still learning what they like to do in certain situations."

  45. SCNatsFan - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Just looked up some of our old friends – Peacock had 2 good outings after getting tattooed most of the year, and ERA of almost 6 in AAA. Cole, while still at A ball, has an ERA in the mid 1's.Didn't see the game last night so hard to comment (not like that stops me most times!) but was distrubed to see the summary this morning on MLB.com and see once again Clippard gets beat by giving bases away. Disturbibg trend for sure.

  46. djinFl. - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    @JDThat is why getting the TV payments from MASN to where they need to be is so important.

  47. MikeinDC - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Can't be too hard on the 'Stros on that terrible play. 2 years ago that was the Nats in a nutshell. The diff in trusting your teammates and not is very apparent in that play and in the standings.

  48. bowdenball - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    JD said…Here is the scary part. If you look at Hammels contract as well as Cain and you consider our big 3 to be at least as good as either of them you realize that the cost of a from line pitcher in his prime is over $20 mil a year. You might sign JZimm at somewhat of a discount if you do it soon but I don't think Boras will leave 1 cent on the table when it comes to Stras.Question: How do I know the Nationals front office is doing a phenomenal job?Answer: It's August 2012 and their fans are worrying about what will happen in the winter of 2016-2017.

  49. Section 222 - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    What were the Astros thinking?! What were they watching?! Where were they going?! Anderson Hernandez.. never saw the ball!!

  50. Doc - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Sounds like Davey is talking out both sides of his mouth on this off-speed-fastball stuff.In other news, Rizzo's favorite take charge defensive catcher is now 0 for 6, over two games, in CS's. May have to revive the JFlo fanclub before the season is over.

  51. NG - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Certainly the Keystone Kops routine in the 11th was critical, but let's not forget that the 3-run 5th inning was keyed by Brett Wallace flat out dropping a routine pop up in foul ground from Jackson. Jackson crushed the next pitch off the wall for a single, and came around to score on the Zimmerman single.

  52. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Didn't Storen enter the game with a runner on third? I am pretty sure that runner didn't score. If he was being too careful with the other hitters, if he got squeezed on a pitch – the result was that the guy never scored. Might not have been the way it was drawn up or that we would like, but he ended up getting it done. He has had critical ab's with Wright, Reyes, a ninth inning and that crucial ab. He is being trusted in high -pressure spots. He is just about there. I also believe that our bullpen has been over-exposed and is wearing down. Davey's style of managing is starter with six – sometimes no matter how they are doing, if they look tired, etc – then bullpen 7,8,and 9. He has given reasons that sound plausible enough and it's his decision to make. I think at least Gio and EJax could easily throw 120 and it's time to let them stay out there, especially if they are going to be about the same as our bullpen. Det probably can do more, because he spent time in the pen. STras and JZim, valid reasons. When the pen was lights out and fresh, I can see it. But now, later in the season, maybe it's time for the starters to go longer.

  53. Sam - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Not that it matters much, but wasn't Matt Downs playing 3B by the time of the clown play? Wouldn't want to give Wallace undue credit for his attempt at an Olympic-esque synchronized dive.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Bigfish said… "Suzuki is exactly what we needed; great defensively, take charge catcher.I don't think that Storen or Clippard get through their innings without further damage without Suzuki."Um, just to play devil's advocate for a second: isn't it Suzuki who's calling for all those off-speed pitches? According to Mark, the off-speed stuff was part of the Nats' game plan (Davey's? Apparently not. Cat's?) But couldn't Suzuki see that the plan wasn't working? Who's responsible for adapting the plan on the run? Suzuki? Davey? Cat? The pitchers? August 07, 2012 9:04 AM I was thinking the same thing but why didn't Davey go to Cat during the game and ask the same question?Expect Detwiler to be throwing 4 seamers and 2 seamers tonight.Don't expect quick results from Suzuki with the pitchers. 2 starts doesn't get the comfort level established.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    I will stick up for Gorzo here. Not sure why he went in for that inning with Maxwell lurking on deck and Wallace up. It seemed that was a LOOGY spot or just a RH spot. A man on 3rd with 1 out. Keep the damage low. You have to know that this Houston team is hurting. Altuve and Maxwell are their hot hitters. Must neutralize them both. Jackson walks Altuve on 4 pitches and then let him steal. Mistake #1 and #2.I didn't have a problem with Gorzo. He hit his spots and threw the pitches his catcher called for. Suzuki called for a changeup and changeup he got and Maxwell was looking for it. It played into Maxwell's hands as if neither Gorzo or Suzuki never read his scouting report or Davey to make a change at that point.Again, I would have brought in Mattheus for the 6th as Wallace wasn't going to beat you. I'm not saying this in hindsight. I said this while the game was going on.

  56. Section 222 - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Good point Swami. I'm sure Davey didn't want to use his whole pen except for Gonzalez last night. He especially didn't want to use both Gorzo and Stammen in the same game. It will be very interesting to see what he does with the starters and bullpen for the rest of the series. If anyone can go 7, I'll bet he lets them do it.Also, after Davey swapped Gio and Znn in the rotation last weekend, the two lefties Det and Gio) go one after the other. I wonder if Davey will look for an opportunity to break them up because the current order interferes with the way he has been able to alternate his long men for most of the year.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Sam said… Not that it matters much, but wasn't Matt Downs playing 3B by the time of the clown play? Wouldn't want to give Wallace undue credit for his attempt at an Olympic-esque synchronized dive. August 07, 2012 10:12 AM Yes, it was perhaps the closest thing I have ever seen to Keystone Cops on a baseball diamond. Someone has to put it on black & white and speed it up a bit with some Keystone Cops music.I am sure Kevin Millar will have 5 minutes devoted to this today on his "Got Heeem" show.

  58. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I think Davey brought Gorzy in instead of Mattheus was he wanted more than one inning out of Gorzy so that he could directly to Burnett (who threw like 8 pitches yesterday) and Clipp (who had the day off). Davey is trying to get his bullpen towards something likeSP + Gorzy/Stammen 7 inningsBurnett/Clipp 8-9Mattheus or MGonzo/Storen 8-9In other words, alternating setup/closers. Gorzy is the weak link in this plan.

  59. SonnyG10 - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    JD @ 9:15 because your brain tells you it's a fastball and mostly it's too late to adjust by the time you realize it's not. It's all about the motion. Trevor Hoffman made a pretty nice living off the changeup. His fastball barely ever topped 90. FP pointed out that Trevor always estalished the fast ball first. At least a couple of batters Clip only threw one or two fastballs in the whole sequence. All the rest were change-ups. Even AAA guys are going to figure out all they need to is sit on a change-up. That's what Altuve did on his double or whatever it was.

  60. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Suzuki made some good throws. I think most of those steals were on the pitchers.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    NatsLady, I would have brought in Mattheus for the 6th, Gorzo or Storen for the 7th. Burnie or Storen for the 8th. Clip for the 9th. When Davey first took over the team last year, he had that problem looking ahead and knowing what he had in his bullpen. He was just off last night. It could have been worse than the results. He criticized the pitcher's game plan in his post-game, but had plenty of time to pull Cat, Suzuki, EJax aside and tell them to stop screwing around and throw fastballs.Very disappointing. Roger Bernadina was the star of the game. Offense and defense. Werth should be off today. Davey said tightness in his legs.

  62. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    This is a good plan, IMO. If the SP can go 7 or 8, you save Stammen (or Gorzy if you must), for extra innings on another night. But to get this working, and everyone in their roles, we need a couple of good (easy) wins in a row. Sunday was the first, but Monday didn't work out. Now the bullpen is showing signs of strain with nary an off-day in sight.The starters need to step up. The BP has stepped up for them many times. Det needs to go 7 and Gio needs to go 8 like he did last time. That should catch them up. Then with JZ and Stras, you hope that even if they can go only five or six you put the plan into effect.The key is Det needs to go seven. That means the offense needs to step up and give us a nice cushion so Gorzy and Gonzo can finish the game.

  63. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Ghost said,'I didn't have a problem with Gorzo. He hit his spots and threw the pitches his catcher called for. Suzuki called for a changeup and changeup he got and Maxwell was looking for it. It played into Maxwell's hands as if neither Gorzo or Suzuki never read his scouting report or Davey to make a change at that point.' Too simplistic. Just because you throw a changeup doesn't mean you have to throw a crap changeup. Maxwell is a dead red fastball hitter and you should throw him off speed pitches. After allowing the inherited runner to score (no no no. 1) he had 2 outs and none on and he allowed another run which he has been doing with regularity lately.

  64. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    No doubt Bernadina was the star, but Stammen a close second. He's got to be tired, and I said in the game thread he was walking slow/limping on the way to the mound. Bet his legs are aching.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Suzuki made some good throws. I think most of those steals were on the pitchers. Great throws. Until the Nats start throwing out baserunners or picking them off 1st. This is what you will have.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    NatsLady, Stammen's results were good, but how bad are the Astros. They are like a team in a slump except Altuve and Maxwell.Here's the relievers Pitch/strike counts from last night:Pitches-strikes: Gorzelanny 8-5, Mattheus 11-8, Burnett, S 8-5, Storen 16-5, Clippard 25-14, Stammen 33-22Storen, Stammen and Clip probably need a day off. I would close with Burnie tonight.

  67. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Ghost, I wan't all that impressed with Stammen either. Chris Snyder (he of the .176 average) came 'this' close to hitting it out and the walk to Bogusevic to bring up Houston's best player was also unnecessary. I thought that only Matttheus pitched well last night.

  68. JD - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    'Storen, Stammen and Clip probably need a day off. I would close with Burnie tonight.'Agreed or Mike Gonzalez. Or score a bunch of runs against this sorry pitching staff and let everyone have the night off.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    JD, totally agreed. Good results aren't necessarily because of good pitching, just ask Storen (whoa baby). Stammen was very good in the 10th. Very fortunate in the 11th.

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    JD, I am enjoying your posts today. I was just thinking that "Or score a bunch of runs against this sorry pitching staff and let everyone have the night off."

  71. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I was watching the MASN feed last night and they kept zooming in on the Houston hitters faces last night. Snyder, Wallace and Bogusevic come to mind. None of them looked too confident in extra innings.Not surprised they are 0-10 in extra innings games.

  72. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Ghost, no. You don't plan on using that many relievers when you are up 4-1 in the 6th. You expect Gorzelanny to do his job, namely finish the 6th and eat up the 7th. So after the inherited runner scored, what what his excuse then? As for not leaving Ejax in, there I agree with other posters, that was a pretty quick hook for a veteran pitcher who is plenty capable of getting out of jams and don't give me the "he was on the basepaths" stuff. However, you can see that Davey is going easy on the starters because he is about to have one less of them. Lannan is not their equal, so Davey needs them to be strong for September (and beyond) because if Lannan & co. make 5 starts you can expect to lose 3 of them.

  73. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Mattheus was fine. Stammen toughed it out for the 11th on a day when he was probably hurting and didn't have his best stuff. He gets my vote.

  74. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    NatsLady, Stammen definitely looked winded.

  75. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Ghost, exactly. Give him a couple days off, please!

  76. pRAA - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… I was watching the MASN feed last night and they kept zooming in on the Houston hitters faces last night. Snyder, Wallace and Bogusevic come to mind. None of them looked too confident in extra innings.Speaking of which, how confident does Clippard look pretty much every time MASN zooms in on him before a pitch? Not very.

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Section 222 said… Gonat, yes. Saw that this morning too. What was interesting was that Davey said that might have been the plan. According to Kristina, Davey was pretty happy that there was a decent backup SS available at this point in the season. Gonat said… Section 222, wouldn't be surprised if Ghost had already talked to Davey about that. August 06, 2012 9:07 PM I didn't hear it from Davey. I spoke to a player after the game on Sunday and asked him what Davey would have done if Espi couldn't continue. He said he thought Zim would go to Short and they would bring in a 3B. I assumed Tracey.

  78. JamesFan - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    JD, a change up is very more hittable than a fastball if you are sitting on it.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    pRAA said… Speaking of which, how confident does Clippard look pretty much every time MASN zooms in on him before a pitch? Not very. August 07, 2012 10:58 AM Agreed. You could see it was going to be a high blood pressure inning by his demeanor on the mound.Luckily Houston stinks because any normal team would have smelled blood in the water and it would have been a walk-off.He fell off the mound. Wiping sweat. Looking agitated.Clippard did pull a Houdini act to get out of it.I hope Clip develops another pitch as he just never feels comfortable with his first pitch. I'm thinking high fastball like he used to throw but doesn't like it any more after he got beat by Valdespin. Can't be afraid to throw your heater Clip on 1st pitch. Just make it good and know your scouting reports.

  80. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    They are going to have to send TyMo down, sorry to say. Can't afford to send Mattheus or Stamman down. If CMW comes back on the 11th, IMO, he will have maybe two chances (and they won't be starts), and if he doesn't show something he will be gone by the DFA route and they'll bring Corey Brown back up or Desi will be ready. Very thin ice.OTOH, if he does go 3-4 good innings in "long" relief twice in the last two weeks of August, he will stay for September and pick up some of the Stras starts. He has got to be motivated beyond belief to get on the playoff roster. If he doesn't make it, I will conclude it is physical and wish him a happy few years in Japan.

  81. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I chalk up a lot of what happened last night to the schedule maker. The Nats have played 8 games in 7 days, with no days off. The Stros had a day off as recently as last Thursday. Clip has pitched in 4 of the last 5 Nats' games.The BP is being tested, and, still, the Nats have won 5 of the last 6. Hope Detwiler can go at least 7 innings tonight. The schedule is more of a problem than the Stros, right now. They need for their starters to go deep into games against the Stros, because they have 6 against the DBacks and Giants coming right up, and no off days before then, either.And they need to sweep the Astros. The Reds got to the best record in baseball by beating up on the patsies. The Nats are a better team than the Reds. They can do the same.

  82. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    With Clip, you know the change up is coming 60% of the time and if he leaves one up, he gets crushed. He has to throw that slider as a third pitch because 1. it's at a different speed than the change up and 2. It gets them off his fastball and makes them think.And it's all moot if he can't command the fastball or the change. Walks kill everybody.

  83. pRAA - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Storen, Stammen and Clip probably need a day off. I would close with Burnie tonight.Clippard's the closer – a role he campaigned hard for and finally got. A closer needs to be able to go out there and do the job two or three nights in a row without regard to whatever happened the night before, be it good or bad. Clippard had Sunday off, so as of today he's only pitched one day in a row. If he can't go out there again tonight, then he's not cut out to be a closer.

  84. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    I hate it when people say " We have to sweep".The Nats have to win tonite period. Win tonite and I'll worry about tomorrow tmorrow.Not trying to jump on you Laddie, just sayin'.

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… With Clip, you know the change up is coming 60% of the time and if he leaves one up, he gets crushed. He has to throw that slider as a third pitch because 1. it's at a different speed than the change up and 2. It gets them off his fastball and makes them think.And it's all moot if he can't command the fastball or the change. Walks kill everybody. August 07, 2012 11:15 AM That's exactly right. He needs that slider as the 2 pitch routine has worked until he loses confidence in it like last night. He occassionally throws that cutter which doesn't cut much and isn't really a 3rd pitch.I've thought the same about Gio needing to add a slider to his arsenal as he doesn't throw one.

  86. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Sorry about that but same goes for "need to sweep". I mean one can say that before the final game of a series when appropriate.

  87. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    A Tigers fan reminded me that in a similar situation to Nats/Braves, the Tigers went 22-10. It wasn't good enough because the Orioles went 29-3. I like to say the team can "afford" to lose 23-24 and win the division with 95-96 wins. But there are NO guarantees.I like the plan of score a bunch of runs. We got a lot of hits, but all singles and too many LOB. ALR would have had a HR in most other parks, so the power is there, just aim better. :) :) :)If I'm reading right, Lyles has a 6 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP! He's a ground ball pitcher (53%) and we've seen the Astros defense. Lyles gave up nine runs — seven earned — on nine hits over five innings Wednesday in a loss to the Brewers.Our hitters need to go up there with confidence. No need to make this kid look like, y'know, Jarrod Weaver, because he's not.

  88. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    "Not trying to jump on you Laddie, just sayin'."There you go, hurting my feelings. I am very sensitive to criticism, you know. And I worry a lot. Well, not really. The only thing that really worries me is that the Nats will find ways to beat themselves, if they do not play their game, against the Astros.

  89. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Clip's cutter is not ready for primetime. He also has a slider that he hardly ever uses, and a curve that he uses even less (but not never. I saw a rare Clip curve a while back).

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    pRAA said… Clippard's the closer – a role he campaigned hard for and finally got. A closer needs to be able to go out there and do the job two or three nights in a row without regard to whatever happened the night before, be it good or bad. Clippard had Sunday off, so as of today he's only pitched one day in a row. If he can't go out there again tonight, then he's not cut out to be a closer. August 07, 2012 11:18 AM You might be right, but that's a lot of pitches that Clip threw last night and while he has had those 20 pitch innings too often, it has to be a concern in a long season.The Braves failed last year because of all the pitches that Kimbrell and Venters threw and Venters is now ruined as a pitcher because of that.

  91. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Just correcting a misstatement of fact from late in the game thread, on HBP. The hitter is supposed to try to get out of the way (which Corporan did try to do, sorta, btw).Official rule"Per baseball official rule 6.08(b), a batter becomes a baserunner and is awarded first base when he or his equipment (except for his bat): is touched by a pitched ball outside of the strike zone, and he attempts to avoid it (or had no opportunity to avoid it), and he did not swing at the pitch."If all these conditions are met, the ball is dead, and other baserunners advance if they are forced to vacate their base by the batter taking first. Rule 5.09(a) further clarifies that a hit by pitch is also called when a pitch touches a batter's clothing."In the case where a batter swings and the pitch hits him anyway, the ball is dead and a strike is called. If the batter does not attempt to avoid the pitch, he is not awarded first base, and the pitch is ruled either a strike if in the strike zone or a ball if out of the strike zone. In practice, umpires rarely make this call."

  92. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Thank you, Zofa. I thought that was the case, otherwise why would guys be dancing around so much rather than just take the sting and their base? (An article about this was posted I think yesterday but I'm too lazy to go back and get the link.) Personally, I don't think Corporan moved much at all, he sorta looked down and watched the ball hit his foot.

  93. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    For anyone who wants to see the 11th inning in black and white video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZBdxvego1ETotally a Keystone Cops replay.

  94. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    NatsLady, when you posted your protest that he didn't move, I rewound and looked, and he did scoot backwards with his feet a few inches.

  95. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    SteveM, can we add Yakkety Sax to that? Everything is funnier with Yakkety Sax…

  96. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Zofa, its still an umpire's discretion to a batter who doesn't try to avoid contact because of the clause "or had no opportunity to avoid it".

  97. MicheleS - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Some love for ALR in the embedded video and a nice piece on RZ and the NatsMLB-Justice

  98. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    What was up with Chad Tracy in the 11th? First pitch swinging and rolls over a grounder with 1 out and a man on 3rd.Need to keep our eyes on Chad as that was a rookie AB. I expected that out of Lombo, not out of Chad.

  99. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Ghost, the statement in question was "According to the rule book you do not have to get out of the way. it only sayd you cannot ,ove to get in the way. Says nothing about moving to get out of the way. One of those myths we always hear about."Of course, virtually everything that happens in a game is up to the perceptions of the umpires. There is no play the umpire can't possibly miss, and fail to see it. Happens all the time. It's still the rule, even if the ump is blind. The point was that the hitter is obliged by rule, even if the rule is not rigorously enforced, to make an attempt if he has a chance to do so.

  100. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    OK, Zofa, I'll defer on that. Didn't seem like it at the time…

  101. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Didn't notice it myself the first time, but your post got me curious, so I went back to look.

  102. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    A while back Clip said he wasn't a starter because he threw many pitches per inning. The problem is now, as closer, same. You can't throw 20-30 pitches every night or even 3/4 nights. When he was the setup/stopper and came in with the bases juiced, if it took a 12-pitch battle to get a guy to strike out or popout, fine. Then another battle, etc., and you are up to 25 pitches, but you are out of the inning. But as the closer, coming in with the bases clean, you have to be more efficient. Otherwise, the same flaw that kept him from being a starter will keep him from being a closer long term. He had a run there when he first started closing where he was quite efficient. If it's a mindset, he needs to get back to it, and forget about the adrenalin-boost, just get 'em out with as few pitches as possible. If it's physical–which is what I suspect, because Clipp is smart enough to know what he needs to do–then Storen will be closing more games. Nobody's ego needs to be involved, just get the wins.

  103. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    sorry, he threw TOO many pitches per inning…

  104. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    I hear as a result of last night's play, the Astros have just signed Nook Logan out of retirement.

  105. DoubleH - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:27 PM

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  106. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    We've often talked about team character, and how players pick up other players. What Bernadina did last night was pick the team up the way Bryce Harper used to. He scored from 1st base on a lousy "plop" up bunt after freezing and leaning back to 1st.Truly amazing how each night there are different 'stars' on this team and so many times its been role players like Bernadina or TyMo and other members of the Goon Squad doing the little things.

  107. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    pRAA said… What were the Astros thinking?! What were they watching?! Where were they going?! August 07, 2012 8:23 AM All they needed was Nook Logan for that play!

  108. alexva - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    "the way Bruce Harper used to" LOLI didn't realize you could be a 19 yr old has been in baseball.

  109. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    When I was in the car, 106.7 was doing a call in of the worst of " those moments" in Nats history. Nook was mentioned a lot, as was Nyjer's tantrum leading to a HR. They were all yukking it up about previous players that were not exactly stars. Funny, but a little smug. Opening day taken over by Phil's fans- was that 2010?-was a popular one.

  110. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Speaking of the Phoolies (and after watching the video), I enjoyed FP's comment about how they might need to take back their own park after the sellout streak ended yesterday.Honorable mentions: the rally kid and the camo kicks rocked by Harper.

  111. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    baseballswami, as NatsJack and I lamented on Saturday night, the fielding, errors, and lack of energy for the 1st few innings of that game, it was reminiscent of too many of the "worst moments" in Nats history.Last night in the 11th was hilarious for any fan outside of Houston, but a throwback reminder to 2010 with Nyjer or 2008 with Guzy or other horrific images of years passed.The baseball gods spoke last night. I just hope Davey goes for a few kill shots to give the Nats some big leads and some much needed "large margin" type of laughers.

  112. TheManBearPig - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    JD, NatsLady (and others), Your comments today regarding Gorzo sure seemed on the money while I was reading them, but looking back over his last few appearances, Gorzo has actually been able to control the damage and eat innings when needed. Before last night, he had three good outings in a row, back to that nightmare of a defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory game against the Braves on July 20, when he was on the wrong end of the decision. Let's not forget that he was the guy who saved the rest of the bullpen in the 8-0 loss to the Phillies at the end of July.

  113. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:28 PM

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  114. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Pretty funny tweeter stuff from Suzuki and his former teammate, as quoted over on the WaPo site:@kurtsuzuki 7 Aug 12Great win tonight. That was a mentally exhausting one. Haha. This is fun!!! #loveit@BMcCarthy32@kurtsuzuki Hi Kurt I sat at your old locker today and cried for the better part of an hour. hope things are well with you

  115. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    If this has already been mentioned, excuse me, but the Diamondbacks have added Wil Nieves to their 25-man roster, so the Nats are likely to see him for at least one game later this week. Mr. Nieves was never much of a hitter, but I'll always remember his totally unexpected walk-off homer vs. the Cubs during a totally out-of-character (for that particular team) 8-3 homestand early in the 2008 season. If I recall correctly, there was some chatter after that homestand that the season might somehow turn into a 'special' year, but … well, we all remember how that turned out.

  116. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Plus, he had awesome walk-up music. :-)

  117. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    TheManBearPig said… JD, NatsLady (and others), Your comments today regarding Gorzo sure seemed on the money while I was reading them, but looking back over his last few appearances, Gorzo has actually been able to control the damage and eat innings when needed. Before last night, he had three good outings in a row, back to that nightmare of a defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory game against the Braves on July 20, when he was on the wrong end of the decision. Let's not forget that he was the guy who saved the rest of the bullpen in the 8-0 loss to the Phillies at the end of July. I stuck up for Gorzo above. He came in and got the lefty to fly out for the Sac Fly. Justin Maxwell was on-deck and "EN FUEGO" recently and especially against LH pitching.It wasn't the right inning for Gorzo to pitch given the matchups after Wallace IMO. Should have been Mattheus as I stated above. Then the first pitch to Maxwell they call for a changeup and Maxwell was sitting changeup. Lucky it was placed outside, but again, that was the pitched that was called for and he threw it to his spot.Yes, he could have handled Pearce better but again, made the pitch that was called for.Best to turn the page and hope for better results next time out.

  118. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    I find all this worrisome.Friday, against the Marlins, they won the first game of the DH, but could easily have lost; they did not look like a playoff team. Then they lost the second game. They came back Saturday to win a wild one, another game they could have easily lost. They put together a good, crisp win on Sunday. So they took three of four from the now last-place Marlins, but could easily have lost three of four.Yesterday, they had the Astros beaten, then let them back in, and had to go into extra innings to win. Well, actually, the Astros just gave the game to them when they got confused in the 11th and thought they were playing dodge ball.So, yeah, they've won four of their last five against crappy teams. But three of those four were in spite of – not BECAUSE of – the way the Nats played. Good luck getting deep into the playoffs following that recipe.

  119. TheManBearPig - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Ghost, I agree that Mattheus would have been a good choice (especially with Maxwell coming up), but it looked like the original plan was for Gorzo to get the Nats through more than just an inning, getting them to the 8th rather than just into the 7th, which he's mostly been able to do lately. Gorzo's night wasn't as bad as Clipp's – I think there really is some reason for concern about him. As NatsLady suggested above, maybe he's having shoulder soreness again.

  120. TheManBearPig - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Candide, getting Ian Desmond back into the lineup should cure a lot of problems.

  121. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Not to nit-pick, but I believe that was leapfrog, or maybe Twister. :-)Well, actually, the Astros just gave the game to them when they got confused in the 11th and thought they were playing dodge ball.

  122. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    For all those Trout over Harpet people. Your 20 year old phenom is no more. Today he turned 21.In the mean time, Bryce will remain 19 on into October

  123. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Candide….think how the Braves fans feel. The Astros actually won a road game in Atlanta Saturday. Now that's bad.At least the Astros are respectable at home.

  124. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Still Trout is pretty awesome this season. don't care much for his offense but his catches are ones to watch over and over again.candide, complaining about not going deep into playoffs is a pretty huge step, don't you think?

  125. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    natsfan1a said…Not to nit-pick, but I believe that was leapfrog, or maybe Twister. :-)"I don't know what those boys are thinking about, but it sure ain't baseball." (pace Garland Bunting)

  126. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said…candide, complaining about not going deep into playoffs is a pretty huge step, don't you think?Maybe. Maybe not.

  127. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    As Nats Jack said yesterday, and maybe today for all I know, Desmond isn't close to coming back until he starts swinging a bat. My over-and-under on starting rehab assignment is three weeks, and I'm taking the over. Gets him back, conveniently, after the roster inflates, and he can replace the injured Izturis for the playoffs. Cross my fingers.

  128. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Candide wrote:So, yeah, they've won four of their last five against crappy teams. But three of those four were in spite of – not BECAUSE of – the way the Nats played. Good luck getting deep into the playoffs following that recipe.I think you're looking at it backwards.Every team, including teams that make the playoffs, have good stretches and bad stretches. The key to making it _to_ the playoffs is to scarf up a couple of wins during the _bad_ stretches. That's exactly what the Nats are doing — and this is one of the (many) differenes from prior seasons.

  129. Cameron - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    There is a debate on the Lavar Arrington show-If you had to chose one, would you watch Strasburgs debut or RGIIIs preseason debut?Easily Strasburg.

  130. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Somebody said, "Detwiler has to go seven." Agree he needs to go seven tonight. But why put the onus on Detwiler only? Every one of the starters needs to go seven. And none of the others have done it consistently in the past few times through the rotation. They're in a stretch of 16 games in fifteen days. They don't have enough quality relievers to keep sending them out there for four innings every night. Every starter needs to go deep. This won't change when rosters expand. None of their minor leaguers have the experience — or, probably, the skill — to pitch relief in a pennant race. Whoever starts — including Lannan and/or Wang — can't be running out of gas in the fifth or sixth inning. And they can't be blowing saves, because they can't afford to go extras.

  131. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Candide – I am in complete agreement. No wonder the Barves are frustrated – they are winning in a way where they in control, playing cleanly and then the Nats play awful teams sloppily and appear to get lucky. Neither things are sustainable for long. Yes, we miss Desi in the lineup and yes, on the field, even though the young'uns have done admirably well. But the Nats are out of sync – last week could have been very ugly. Each of those squeak it out games, I kept thinking – this will wake them up, they will tighten up now, but so far, things are still a bit shaky. Not – end of the world- shaky , just enough to make things not secure. I don't like it when they have to rely on someone else's mistakes. Although – we had tons of hits last night and maybe the constant pressure just finally caused them to snap. If you continue to press and press, sometimes you are actually forcing mistakes. I know this team has that "not too high or too low" mantra, but I would love to see a little going for the jugular action.

  132. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Not to mention there is a 16-game in 16 days stretch end of August/beginning of September and 15/15 to end the season.

  133. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Theo T.S — I actually posted about this earlier – most of our starters CAN go longer. It's Davey's style to keep them in for six. He pulls them for pinch hitting , or just because, even when they are doing well.We have seen this many, many times, where we are just – why did he take them out? There are reasons to pull STras or JZim, not the others. But it's usually not the starters who are responsible for that – it's the manager. Yes , there have been a few games where they were struggling, but maybe not as much as some of the pen are struggling lately. They WANT to go longer.

  134. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Who's RGIII? ;-)If you had to chose one, would you watch Strasburgs debut or RGIIIs preseason debut?

  135. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Swami – "Want," "Can" and "Should" are separate questions. Much depends on pitch count. Yes, Johnson should be careful w/ Strasburg and Z'mann, espec. when they throw 100+ pitches in six innings (and/or like Strasburg, seem to have problems pitching in extreme temperatures). "Can" is different; both Gonzalez and Jackson ought to be able to go 110-120 pitches if necessary, but not if their command is FUBAR, as it has been a couple of times recently. Detwiler, I'm afraid, hasn't been stretched out often enough to count on more than 6-7 every time out. (God help him if the "game plan" tonight is to feed the Astros more slop.) Johnson knows he's doing himself no favors if he babies his starters every time out and the time is coming where he may regret it.

  136. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    natsfan1a said…Who's RGIII? ;-)I think it's Mazda's new hybrid SUV.

  137. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    I actually posted about this earlier – most of our starters CAN go longer. It's Davey's style to keep them in for six. He pulls them for pinch hitting , or just because, even when they are doing well.We have seen this many, many times, where we are just – why did he take them out?I think the answer is that for the guys other than Gio and EJax, they've never pitched so much before, and he wants them as fresh as possible for the stretch, and the playoffs.The strong odds, because it happens most years (not all, but most), is that the playoffs will be won by the team with the best pitching. Without Stras, Davey needs to make sure the pitchers (particularly JZ and Det) are fresh.

  138. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Yes, you are correct. My point was that it's not the ability of the starter, it's the manager's style and choice. A few times command has been an issue but lots of times when he has taken the starters out we are all scratching our heads. Even Ray Knight, who worships Davey. Sometimes he just feels that the bullpen guys might be stronger at that point of the game. Maybe the first few months, not now. Davey has talked about wanting them to come out while they are still having success. Again, his reasons, his choices. I am just saying that it's time for MOST of them to be allowed to take responsibility for their own games if possible. A few times STras and Gio have had short starts where they were obviously in trouble. More times, though, he has pulled starters who were cruising.

  139. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Theo, I think the onus is on Det tonight because of heavy BP usage. In general that expectation of eat innings and pick up the BP has fallen on EJax. I wish Davey had left EJax in longer last night, I'm pretty sure he could have gotten out of the jam, but that's hindsight. Also, I'm not saying Gorzo is useless, he's done well many times. I'm saying he didn't do his job last night, and combined with a bunch of other stuff (shaky Burnett/Storen/Clipp and extra innings) Gorzo put the staff in a hole.

  140. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:35 PM

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  141. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Wonk, very good point. Like a pitcher who puts up a good result when he doesn't have his best stuff, you want the team to win they don't have everything working. When you can't work from strength, then exploit the other team's weakness.

  142. NCNatsie - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM

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  143. Mythical Monkey - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    As my wife said about the Astros in the 11th inning, "If the Three Stooges played baseball, that's what it would look like. You could practically hear their heads clonking together like empty cocoanuts!"Nyuck nyuck nyuck.But I'll take a win however I can get it.

  144. NatsLady - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Oh, on another topic. Apparently Mike Trout argued/showed up an umpired when he was called out at second base on what would have been a double (replay showed he was clearly safe). So Eric Karabell pointed out the yelling and screaming that would have gone on if Harper had done that. Also, I noticed on that great catch, Trout thumped his chest… nothing was made of that either.Double standard, anyone?

  145. alm - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    RGWho?I love winning – even winning ugly.We needed catching and middle infield help and Rizzo gets it. I really like what I see from Suzuki so far. That over the rail catch last night was, dare I say it, Gary Carterish! He moves around alot behing the plate and seems to get to most of the throws in the dirt. His defense was an important factor in winning that game. Didn't throw anyone out but didn't call for many fast balls either (going with the ill-advised game plan).

  146. baseballswami - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    They have been thoroughly embarrassed after last night. They are in their own park, they could have won that game. Hope the bear has not been poked too much. Young players with a chip on their shoulder can be interesting to deal with. Look at what Bryce did to Cole. I don't like it when a team is counted out – they handled us pretty darned well last night. The Nats better be ready to play a good game tonight.

  147. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Storen, at least, shook off signs quite a bit.

  148. Section 222 - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Every starter needs to go deep. This won't change when rosters expand. None of their minor leaguers have the experience — or, probably, the skill — to pitch relief in a pennant race.I hope that the expanded rosters will give Davey access to a few additional relievers or starters who can eat some innings and take the load off of our regular bullpen in mopup situations, even if he doesn't want to use them in tight games during the pennant race. By the way, thanks to Candide for the playoff probability site link. I just wasted a whole lot of time there. According to that site, the Nats have a 74% chance of winning the division (and 70% of being either the 1st or 2nd seed) and a 96% chance of making the playoffs. Chances of playing in the World Series: 26%.

  149. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    NCNatsie said…Perhaps, but I also like the old saying, "I'd rather be lucky than good."Then you're obviously not familiar with the Plexiglass Principle, AKA the Johnson Effect which states, essentially, that, over time, luck tends to even out. Give me the good player over the lucky one, every time.On June 19, 2010, the Nats played the White Sox. One of their players went 1 for 3, with a stolen base. Another player went 0 for 4, with four strikeouts – the dreaded Golden Sombrero.The 0-4 guy was Ryan Zimmerman (on Ryan Zimmerman bobblehead night, no less). The guy with the hit and the SB was Nyjer Morgan.Over time, both players reverted to their respective means.I'd rather have the good player – Zimm – than the lucky one – Nyjer.

  150. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Storen, at least, shook off signs quite a bit.

  151. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM

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  152. upperdeck4 - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    That play reminded me of us a few years ago when there was a bunt or dribbler between to the left side. Inexplicably, Zimmerman faked a throw to first, Colome picked the ball up and threw it to first, and our second baseman covering first, I believe it was Anderson Hernandez, jumped out of the way of the ball and it went into right field foul territory. It was awful. Better the Astros than us.

  153. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Oh, a wise guy. :-)Mythical Monkey said… As my wife said about the Astros in the 11th inning, "If the Three Stooges played baseball, that's what it would look like. You could practically hear their heads clonking together like empty cocoanuts!" Nyuck nyuck nyuck. But I'll take a win however I can get it. August 07, 2012 3:44 PM

  154. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Oof. I was at the game, vs. the Phils, if memory serves. Ugh. Not my happiest in-person memory. :-)upperdeck4 said…That play reminded me of us a few years ago when there was a bunt or dribbler between to the left side. Inexplicably, Zimmerman faked a throw to first, Colome picked the ball up and threw it to first, and our second baseman covering first, I believe it was Anderson Hernandez, jumped out of the way of the ball and it went into right field foul territory. It was awful. Better the Astros than us.August 07, 2012 4:02 PM

  155. A DC Wonk - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Chances of playing in the World Series: 26%. … which is the highest percentage of any NL team. (Red next at 25%, then the Braves and Pirates at 14%)

  156. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I want to see the video of that play, 1a or upperdeck4. do you know the season?

  157. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Section 222 said…By the way, thanks to Candide for the playoff probability site link…Saw something interesting in there. Both the Nats' opponents and the Braves' opponents for the rest of the season have a cumulative 50% winning percentage. Kinda puts the lie to the claim I saw elsewhere that the Braves have an easier schedule remaining.

  158. upperdeck4 - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    @Faraz Shaikh said…I want to see the video of that play, 1a or upperdeck4. do you know the season?_____May 17, 2009

  159. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Ugh. Yes, that would be the one (at about 1:05 on the video).

  160. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    NatsLady — At the cost of seeming to argue semantics, I agree that Detwiler needs to go long tonight because of bullpen overuse. My point was, in light of three extended every-day stretches between now and the end of the season, every starter needs to go long, every night. Continuing to use four (or more) relievers a night will cause their arms to fall off. Now is not the time to make excuses for starting pitchers who can't produce 18 outs — and hopefully more. No "relief" is in sight when rosters expand. The only relief pitcher in the high minors who looks like he might someday pitch in the majors is Garcia who has no experience in a pennant race. I don't count H. Rodriguez, who is disabled and I hope will stay that way.

  161. Candide - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said…thanks upperdeck4. http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=4612503&c_id=mlbSomething in that video I don't think I'd ever seen before:Adam Dunn sliding into second. Happens at about 0:50.

  162. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    For the record, also disagree Jackson would have gotten out of the sixth without harm/further damage. His command was shot (walked Altuve on four pitches; went to 3-2 on Gonzalez, total of eight pitches). LH batter coming up; had thrown 106 pitches. He was toast.

  163. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:16 PM

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  164. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Faraz: Thanks, er, sorta, for sharing that recap (can't really call them 'highlights'). Seems to have been one ugly game; much more than just the Zimmerman-Colome-Hernandez miscue. I was overseas at the time and lucky enough not to be there in person (or even watching on MLB.tv).On the question of starters going deep, relievers being overextended, etc: Every team is wearing down after 100-and-something games. Starters are tired, relievers are tired, positions players are tired; it's a grind. Every August you begin to see more high-scoring games, more bullpen meltdowns, more blown leads. But, to paraphrase someone above, the key to success is winning more games than you lose in which you make mistakes (bad pitches, errors, mental lapses). Sure, I'd love to see the Nats playing flawless baseball, but I'm happy enough with a 5-2 record so far in August. Enjoy the ride, even if some of what you see along the way isn't beautiful.

  165. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    (Nats pitchers criticized Pudge for calling too many fastballs, to improve his CS percentage. Meaning, probably, that they fought his pitch selection.) Theophilus, I would love to see that cite. I think you're remembering that wrong.

  166. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    I do recall seeing that assertion bandied about by fans on the web, but my memory is that it was attributed to former teammates. Well, not attributed to any team or individual specifically. More like one of those "there are some who say that [blah blah blah]" assertions. If memory serves. Which it does not always do all that well, particularly these days. But I digress.

  167. natsfan1a - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    By former teammates, I meant that the "attribution" was to pre-Nats teammates. IMS. WIDNADATW, PTD.

  168. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Yeah.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 6.5 --
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 0.5
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

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