Skip to content

All they do is win

Aug 8, 2012, 11:00 AM EST

Getty Images
Roger Bernadina's spectacular catch sealed the Nationals' win last night.

Their closer has blown three saves and put at least two men on base in eight of his last 13 appearances. Their rookie phenom is mired in the first prolonged slump of his life, one that has lasted nearly two months. Their catchers have thrown out exactly one of the last 43 opponents who have tried to steal a base against them.

Their All-Star shortstop is out until September. Their highest-paid player just returned from a three-month stint on the disabled list and already had to miss a game because his legs were tired. And their staff ace is going to be shut down for the remainder of the season in about a month.

Oh, did we mention the Nationals have baseball's best record and are now on pace to win 99 games in 2012?

If you prevented yourself from checking the standings over the past few weeks, you might very well have come away convinced the Nationals are in trouble. They haven't exactly played like the best team in the majors.Read more »

224 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Mark said: "This just in: The Nationals are the best team in baseball at this moment. And there's nothing fluky about it."I went to sleep thinking we were in first, 24 games over .500, four games over the Braves, and had the best record in baseball. Woke up, got outta a bed… and it was still true. I'm a giddy kid!

  2. Mr. Doggett - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    You've been having as much fun as anybody with this run, haven't you Mark? It really comes through in your writing. Great piece!

  3. karlkolchak - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    It's probably a cliche, but the mark of a good team is its ability to win even when it isn't playing its best baseball. That said, how about we score a bunch of runs for J-Zimm tonight and put this next one to bed early?

  4. alexva - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Through it all, the backbone has been pitching and defense, just as Rizzo designed it. If they are to win in the playoffs (PLAYOFFS!!!) the offense will have to perform better.

  5. MicheleS - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    I can't handle these 4 hour games. That being said, Det pitched really well. After that 1st inning bomb he gave up, he beared down and pitched through 7. Our Bullpen must be shot (I love the picture with Stammen cheering the background). And how about Danny and Shark? As Mark said, even when the big boys aren't hitting, somehow this team finds a way to win.Ehay2k.. your recap of the game was hilarious.Now off to get a gallon of coffee…

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    karlkolchak…. you're spot on. I've always said, it's not who you're playing, it's how you're playing and the Nats are not playing thier best baseball right now, yet keep on winning.Previous National teams would have found a way to lose both these games to an inferior team. Let's hope the tean starts playing better baseball beginning tonite.

  7. The Fox - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Mark,Nice column and a lot of info to digest. I like the way you breakout the season's wins. This TEAM is getting better regardless of the obstacles placed in front of it. Davey has created a team that is confident that it can win and never gives up and at the same time humble because not one pitcher or hitter is carrying this team. Yes there are a few having very good years but ALR is so humble you could double his numbers and all you'd get from him is an awe shucks comment. I really like this team and I'm enjoying the ride even if they won't let me sleep.

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    best part of last game was Detwiler's outing. When our number five pitcher is pitching like him, you gotta love it.What to say on Bernie's play? Clippard's reaction says it all.

  9. FantasyIRAdmin2 - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Godalmighty, we could be a 100-win team? *pinches self*Right now, we HAVE to be focused on winning the division. If we can do that – and even better if we come out with a better record in the end than Cincy – then we can face whoever had to play the one-game playoff with a built-in rotation advantage. So while the win projections are great, even more important is that four game lead over the Braves.

  10. PFB Balls of Fire - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    You realize it's going to be like this for years, right?

  11. djinFl. - Aug 8, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    We only need to be focused on winning the game we are playing that day. We are in a position that requires we only do that days job and we will reap the rewards. If they start worrying about September now, well lets not even go there.

  12. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Post of the night, er, morning, ehay.On a game note (after watching video of the final out) – nice catch! How about these Nats!On a season note, was just telling my hubby that the Nats have a .609 winning percentage. He's like: Uh-huh, that's nice, honey. I'm like: No, you don't understand. Remember where they were? This is teh awesomez!1 Eh, I give up. Pass the cornflakes.Isn't it Gio tonight rather than Jordan?ehay2k said… Instant bipolar analysis: Detwiler gives up walk and 2 run HR in first, send him down, he stinks. Espinosa at bat with a man on, count the out already, the Nats will lose. ESPI WITH THE TATER!! GYFNG!! Gaahh!! Gorzy coming in with game tied!?! We will LOSE! Fire Davey! Good job by Gorzy! GYFNG!!! Nats hitting STINKS! Fire Rizzo for the weak bench. Tracy with a knock! Gaah! Izzy in to pitch run!?! Terrible idea. Izzy scores!! Rizzo and Davey are the best! Clippard is struggling, stupid Davey, can we bring in Storen already!?! Bernie is the best defensive CF in history! GYFNG!!! August 08, 2012 12:19 A

  13. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    While I stopped posting sometime after midnight I was still thinking about our lads as I tried to sleep. I started thinking about all the diversity we have with this group of position players.We had a poster, early in the spring, ranting about our bench or lack of it. While the players he wanted on our bench did not want to be bench players or were not available, Davey & Rizzo worked things out. Just look at what we have now.Lombo – is now starting but can play both infield and outfieldBernadina – can play all 3 outfield spotsTracy – Can play corner infield and is a tremendous pinch hitterMoore – can play corner outfield and firstbaseIzturis – can play middle infield and probably 3rdThis my friends is a bench. Not only that, Morse can move from outfield to first, Harper & Werth rotate almost on a daily basis, Espinosa moved from 2nd to SS and did not miss a beat. Davey has flexibility that I don't believe any other manager in the league has. Maybe in the AL that is not a huge deal but with double switches occuring regularly in the NL he has a huge advantage and he uses it. Just random thoughts from an old fan who could not sleep last night.Go Nats!!

  14. baseballswami - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    First of all let me apologize to all my imaginary friends for having the audacity to wish for a boring game. I was punished for only setting my dvr to record one extra hour. Missed" the catch" by minutes. However – it is all over the tv and internet,so no worries. No one else, Harper, WErth, makes that catch on our team. Heading to Philly today on business – wearing my nats gear to travel. My new motto – Any win is a good win.

  15. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Swami – wear that curly W proudly and I will be interested to hear how those dear people up North react.

  16. hiramhover - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Great outing for Det.And winning is good–winning like this, well, it's still better than losing. But it really taxes the bullpen at a point in the season when every team's BP is tired already. They don't need 5 extra innings in 2 days–against the worst team in baseball, to boot.

  17. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    ESPN always does a "contender" / "pretender" thing and they have had the Nats as a Contender and real deal all year. Everyone at the MLB Network except for Billy Ripken until last week have been on the Nats bandwagon.This team from the start led by Jayson Werth's clubhouse presence last year was believing even last year. The Nats needed a Manager who could foster that winning belief and they got it in Davey Johnson. Then, they needed JZim and Strasburg pitching healthy together for the season and they got that. It was icing on the cake to get Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson. The glaring hole that wasn't filled in the off-season was Centerfield and it was still a question mark what LaRoche could do. Game #1 in Chicago the neganons were jumping on LaRoche and of course there were the constant neganons who pleaded to rid the team of Desmond and throw him in as a freebie in a trade for a CF. This team on paper looked like a +7 or +8 improvement from last year due to those improvements. There are many additional wins which are attributed to the All Star level play of Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche and the different stars that shine on different days of the week.It really is positive Natitude!

  18. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Here is part of an interview Ladson did with Bryce Harper. If you ever questioned Werth's contributions, you could see him hugging Bernadina last night, but you never see what he does when the clubhouse door close!MLB.com: After missing more than three months of action because of a wrist injury, Jayson Werth is back on the team. You said many times that he was your mentor. How good is it to have him back? Harper: It’s a lot of fun to have him back in the clubhouse and on the field. He is captain on this team. He is one of the guys you try to emulate and look after. You look at things that he does and work off that.

  19. BigCat - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    As I said the other day. I like Werth and Harp in center…..but there is only one Shark and he is playing center as well as anyone in MLB right now. Agree with some of the posters about these gimicky parks. A player should never go out of sight on a baseball field.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Gonat…..surely you are not talking about the same Jason Werth that is going to have to become a 35 or 36 year old, 6'6" tall back up catcher, are you?

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Forgotten was Michael Morse's smoked double to begin the 11th and Bernadina's bunt. Espi did the thing he has to keep doing which is make contact!

  22. karlkolchak - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    @hiramhover – "They don't need 5 extra innings in 2 days–against the worst team in baseball, to boot."Yeah, but what are you gonna do? That's baseball. Any given day, and all that stuff. Fact is, they proved themselves mentally tough enough to win both games even when it could have been a huge let down that they didn't go up big early as they might have been expected to. Just like in football when a heavily favored team is down at the half and rallies late to win.

  23. karlkolchak - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    @BigCat – regarding gimmicky parks, my pet peeve is stadiums where a line painted on the outfield wall indicates a home run. A home run should be hit OVER the wall.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Huge test for National Det last night. Solid start after normal rest. Three weeks ago I mentioned this was a different Det. He sponged off of the Aces and became a better student if the game and changed his approach. He really went into attack mode. More 4 seamers and attacking the zone and trusting your stuff.Strikeouts are down but effectiveness is up.

  25. alm - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    2 nights ago I went to bed just before midnight, setting the DVR to record the end of the game. My wife put the radio on at 2:41 am to get the results from WTOP.Last night, no way I was going to bed before we pulled out the win.Great ending. Morse continues his hitting streak with the bomb to center. Danny's squibber puts us ahead and Clip, who had warmed-up in the 9th, 10th and 11th, comes in, looking not-to-confident, and gets bailed out by the Shark's catch of the year.Love this team, first place, best record in the majors!!!It's going to be an expense post-season, but worth every penny.GO NATS!

  26. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I now proclaim the Astros jinx from that horrible 2010 series expunged. Heck, Morse even got a check swing call in his second to last at bat (he struck out on the next one, but whatever). And our closer, rather than blow two saves like Matt Capps, managed to save one and get a no decision in the other. I told myself I'd be happy with a split, and now we've got it. Now we have Gio tonight and JZnn tomorrow to ice this cake. Our bullpen is fried, but I can see each of those guys going 7 or even 8. If Det can do it, they can.

  27. joemktg - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    "Their catchers have thrown out exactly one of the last 43 opponents who have tried to steal a base against them."I hate this metric, as it proves nothing. Throwing accuracy down to second is qualitative, but it would be a more informative metric of the catcher's skill set. But base stealing percentage is a comparison between (lead distance + basepath time) vs. (pitcher's time to plate + catcher's pop time).Nat's pop times may be a bit too high, but it seems to me that the Nats' pitchers do not significantly change their delivery to the plate. This may very well be by design, as their stuff is so damn good that it just doesn't matter, i.e., not a big emphasis for McCatty.

  28. MicheleS - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Gonat.. I asked Ladson on twitter if it was his impression that Werth was the captain (not just coming from Bryce, but others) and he said it was. So obviously, there is more that goes on behind closed doors that we are not privy too.

  29. Jon Granlund - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:28 PM

  30. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    MicheleS said… Gonat.. I asked Ladson on twitter if it was his impression that Werth was the captain (not just coming from Bryce, but others) and he said it was. So obviously, there is more that goes on behind closed doors that we are not privy too. ____________________________Yep, I remember last year when SteveM was telling us that he was the team leader as people were calling him Worthless. Calling him "Captain" is a name I hadn't heard before. That is "Jeter-esque".Sure, he didn't do it on the field last year but he sure did change the culture here from Day 1. Getting rid of Nyjer is all thanks to Werth in his shaping the clubhouse from malcontents and players with loser attitudes.

  31. Doc - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Interesting discussion points joemktg.Holding a runner on may be an important stat, but possibly less important than some other pitching stats.One thing for sure, holding the catcher responsible for CS's obviously has a large portion of invalidity. Seemingly ubeknownst to Rizzo & Co., CS's is more the responsibility of McCatty and his pitchers than JFlo and KSusuk. In other news, I thought that JFlo had some better AB's last night and Sunday past. Maybe Davey is more concerned about his hitting than his defensive stuff. Potentially, I still think that Flo is a better hitter than Suzuki.

  32. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    I am as excited as anyone to have the best record in baseball; still I have some concerns stemming from the last week (record not withstanding). 1) Clip has been shaky for at least a month. 2) Zim looked really bad in the last few games (injured again?) 3) Harper looks overmatched at the plate. 4) Lombos at bats are not great. Maybe I worry too much but some of these things will bite us in the ass if they persist.

  33. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    How 'bout we agree on "K-Suz?"

  34. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Gonat…..surely you are not talking about the same Jason Werth that is going to have to become a 35 or 36 year old, 6'6" tall back up catcher, are you? August 08, 2012 8:54 AM ______________________________NatsJack, luckily in the transformation over the last 2+ years you have been one of the few constants here that as really gotten it. Most didn't get spending the money on Werth and his impact off the field. It was a lot to pay but it has been paying dividends. Look at it this way, the Nats could have spent that money on Carl Crawford!

  35. NCNatsie - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Maybe it's time for Zim's 2nd cortisone shot?

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    JD, did you read my comments on Ryan Z a few days ago?

  37. blovy8 - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I guess this issue will be, since the Nats have not demonstrated they can stop stolen bases at all, will it affect the opposing teams' approach against us in the playoffs in the late innings where a manufactured run like that becomes even more important? The danger would be any reasonably decent runner leading off an inning by getting on base somehow could turn into a run, even if the starter is dominating since they're virtually guaranteed of making it to second, and a couple of productive outs gets the run. The trick will be not allowing those productive outs, since I think it's too late to do much about holding runners or getting quicker to the plate.

  38. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. realdealnats - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Haven't been posting much lately, but am watching every night. Said all along the way this feels like a special and lucky season to "steal" a World Series. Don't mortgage the future, just trust these great chemistry character guys in this perfect storm. And when I say "steal" I mean we're doing it a year earlier than anticipated–not that we haven't earned it the whole way. I really don't think they'll fold. Warner Wolfe once said about the old Senators: "They might be bums, but they're my bums." These guys certainly ain't bums, but I think it is a sentiment and a closeness we all truly feel about these guys.Question: Whey do we say we are 24 games or whatever above 500 when it really seems to refer to the number of wins over the number of losses?

  40. mick - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    All have to post about the catch… Shark as earned this too..SAY HEY!!!!

  41. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Lots of positives last night. Detwiler's continuing maturity into a solid middle of the order starter has excellent long-term implications for the Nats. He has been dominating most of the games he has started recently, and not just against doormats like the Stros, either. And Danny was the hitting star. If the game had been played in Nats' park, he would have had 2 monster HRs from the left side. He has regained his plate presence and is waiting for his pitch, again, rather than flailing away at whatever the pitcher feels like dishing up. And the loop is, once again, gone from his swing. Danny is turning into a ML hitter this year. He has emerged from his most recent slump much earlier than he has in the past – i.e. he is learning to recognize and correct his approach at the plate and to level his swing, when the need arises.I thought this year might be Danny's breakout year, but it looks like it is his year of growing into the potential the Nats see in him, a little like Detwiler started to grow, last year, into the budding pitching force we have seen since he replaced CMW as the 5th starter, once and for all. Danny could be next year's Ian Desmond at the plate. The signs are there.The BP has been yeoman, especially Clip. They need a laugher tonight. Davey was able to hold out both Stammen and Burnie last night. If JZ can go his usual 7 innings, and the Nats get him some runs, Davey could close out the game with Stammen and Burnie, giving the rest of the guys a much-needed breather.Davey has managed the BP very well, under the circumstances, and has them winning these nail-biters while his offense continues to under-perform.Finally, after all these years of waiting and watching, we have seen the Shark finally find his niche. For whatever reason, he has evolved into an excellent bench player and occasional spot starter. He seems to relish the role. Maybe it's Tracy's influence, maybe it suits his make-up better. But Davey's bench is now much stronger for it.Having said all of that, I could not watch after the end of the 10th. The lack of offense was driving me nuts. For the sake of the fans, they need to snap out of it.

  42. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Zimmerman is not getting to the stuff on the outside of the plate — again. Because the "reach" to the outside starts from the right shoulder I suspect it might be time for another shot. I am not a doctor and have not stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in years but I would like to see someone in authority address this question. Harper's batting eye seems sharp — last night it was better than the umpire's. In fact, I think that's part of his problem; zebras are (deliberately, in the name of dues paying?) expanding the zone on him and he's getting cheated on a lot of called strikes.

  43. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Ghost, I did. I hope it's just fatigue but he looked almost foolish against a series of pitchers he should have feasted on. He was missing 90 mph fastballs, he missed a couple of outside change ups by a foot and then he took a batting practice 89 MPH fastball right over the middle. There has to be something wrong with Zim. Unfortunately there is no one to spell him for a couple of days. On the other hand I think it would be a great idea to sit Harper for a couple of days.

  44. realdealnats - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Mick, just posted, then looked down at my plate to eat a bite, thought of how I'm showing my relatives up here on Cape Cod each morning a different way we win–Keystone Kops one night, Say Hey the next. Then I look up and see your post about "Say Hey." Sharks in the ocean, Sharks in the outfield. Sharks everywhere this summer! GYFNG!

  45. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… JD, did you read my comments on Ryan Z a few days ago? August 08, 2012 9:37 AM ______________________________Did you expect anyone to comment days ago? Now people react because he had a horrible 0-5 with 4 K's.They didn't say anything days ago because in the box score he had hits albeit they were infield hits and that chop yesterday that went over the 3rd baseman's head.

  46. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    "did you read my comments on Ryan Z a few days ago?"Didn't see them, but it was troubling to see Ryan K 4 times last night. That was not Nolan Ryan out there. They need RZ to be clicking in order for the offense to be effective. RZ could not reach the FB over the outer half of the plate. Not a good sign.

  47. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Theo, I agree but the balls he is hitting fair are unusually soft. He hit a couple of shots foul but has not driven the ball with authority for over a month.

  48. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    The Zim of a couple of weeks ago would have had multiple extra base hits in both games and both of these games would have been laughers. I don't know what the deal is with the cortisone shots but I know for sure we can't afford Zim to go back into the funk he was in before the last shot.

  49. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Clippard has now pitched in 53 games, nearly half of the team's games. Since becoming the "closer," he pitched any number of times that were not "save" situations, only because Johnson needed four guys from the pen that night and he ran out of pitchers he could trust. I'm surprised his arm isn't already shredded with that workload. So his struggles are no shock. At the very least, his stuff, patterns are being over-exposed. Starters, espec. Strasburg and Jackson, need to go longer, and the offense has got to pick it up and give the pitchers some breathing room.

  50. bowdenball - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    joemktg said…"Their catchers have thrown out exactly one of the last 43 opponents who have tried to steal a base against them."I hate this metric, as it proves nothing. True, it doesn't prove much about the catchers. But it clearly proves something about the team, which was the subject of Mark's post. The Nats are winning despite a vulnerability to stolen bases. The cause of that vulnerability isn't really important to his argument.I do agree with you that this is more a pitching problem than a catching problem. I think many observers, including the MASN crew and the beat writers, are coming to the same conclusion.

  51. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I am actually most concerned about Clippard; if he was a boxer he would have been counted out on a TKO. He is so wobbly lately it's ridiculous. No lineup is too weak to relax about when Clip is trying to close; I hope he is healthy and it might be time to start easing Storen back into the closer's role. For tonight Clip and Storen shouldn't even put a uniform on; Davie should not even think about using either one of them even if it costs us the game.

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

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… An observation on Ryan Zimmerman at the plate this weekend. He seemed to be back off the plate the last 2 days with the front foot inches from pointing near the outside chalk of the righties batters box. Today was 1 for 5 with a infield hit and 2 outs with bases loaded and left 8 men on base.It could be nothing but he was pulling off the outside pitches again. Something to watch for. August 05, 2012 4:38 PM _______________________________Ghost, I found your post from the weekend. It looked to me that Houston saw something on Monday and pounded him outside and Zim wasn't covering the plate.This is what he was doing when he came back from his DL.

  53. karlkolchak - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Regarding Werth being The Captain–every time you see him interviewed he seems like one VERY intense dude. It doesn't seem like an accident that the fire sort of went out of the Phillies after he left town. Witness the way they wilted at the end of the season last year after piling up over 100 wins.

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

    From Ladson:MLB.com: You have been in a slump lately. What are you doing to make things better at the plate? Harper: I don’t think I’m in a slump. You just go there and have good ABs and not worry about anything else. We are winning. That’s the biggest thing. I’m not too worried about my numbers or anything like that. I could care less really. As long as we are winning, getting hits in good situations — try to get that runner from third or Ryan Zimmerman or somebody else driving them in — that’s the biggest thing.

  55. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Sometimes Detwiler seems unnecessarily agitated on the mound. It was very noticeable last night but I'm pretty sure he was just talking to himself. All in all, he's probably pitching smarter right now than any of the other starters with the possible exception of Zimmermann. That power sinker (93-95 mph) might be the most difficult pitch in the whole league to get a hit on. (Great defense — Espinosa deep in the hole last night, for excample, with an RPG arm — helps.)

  56. mick - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    realdealnats… excellent post!Let me add this, in 1969, the Mets outfielders made plays like the one the shark has been making all season. The Nats are doing things that championship teams do. Any doubt of Davey playing Shark late in the game I hope is gone. I have been saying since June, that the Shark's defense needs to be used late in games.I hope Tyler Clip treats the Shark to any rest. he wants to to go to, lol

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

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    BTW, Nothing that has happened over the past week has changed my opinion that Werth would be excellent leading off. Also, Espinosa has made a noticeable effort to lay off the junk people have been getting him with all year but his swing is still way too long. I think Espi still fancies himself as a power hitter where he would be much better off leveling his swing. He should really pattern himself after Chase Utley.

  59. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Clip looked a lot better last night. Izturis didn't make the play on the 1st batter. Then he struck out the 4th batter but Flores couldn't hold onto the foul tip.That doesn't start off things well. Like NatsJack has been saying, he needs a slider. He needs it bad.

  60. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Werth should be leading off. Maybe Davey wanted his legs to catch up.

  61. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Right Gonat…..even I could go up looking change up and all he has to do is leave one up and I could bang out a hit.

  62. mick - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Kolchak… Werth coming back is another interesting benh mark for this team and w should all remember the date he came back, here is why… I felt the Nats the 2 games prior to Werth's return were mentally and physically drained and more so mentally. The timing of Werth coming back wa sperfect… it gave the young guys a lift and re engerized them. Davey's moves are looking good.Let me make another analogy to Dick Motta in 1978. Back then, every move Motta made seemed perfect and the Bullets won a title. I am not saying the young Nats will win it all, but every move Davey and Rizzo have made have been timely and almost perfect like it was in 1978 when we hada basketball team in town, lol

  63. mick - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Gonat and JD… werth leading off is interesting and that could be the final on field move to get the Nat rolling to the best record in all of MLBB!

  64. bowdenball - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    karlkolchak said…"Regarding Werth being The Captain–every time you see him interviewed he seems like one VERY intense dude. It doesn't seem like an accident that the fire sort of went out of the Phillies after he left town. Witness the way they wilted at the end of the season last year after piling up over 100 wins."I hate the Phillies but this is some serious Monday morning quarterbacking here. The Phillies lost the an NLDS series that went the full five games to a suddenly hot Cardinals team that went on to win the Series. The Phillies actually outscored the Cardinals in the series, with the Cards winning two one-run games and one two-run game.The Phils were the best team in baseball last year, they just got unlucky. It wasn't a matter of losing their fire, it's just the way baseball playoffs work. When you put a bunch of winning teams in short 5 or 7 game series, the results are almost random. I think us Nats fans will come to understand this over the next several years. Hopefully the luck is on our side.

  65. Gonat - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Right Gonat…..even I could go up looking change up and all he has to do is leave one up and I could bang out a hit. August 08, 2012 10:01 AM _____________________________Again, guys like you and SteveM see things that others only react to. I think you have been saying most of the year that both Clippard and Gio would benefit from adding a slider to their arsenals.Its probably the easiest pitch to learn for fastball pitchers and most likely Clippard threw it when he was a starter.These guys go into the bullpen like Clip and Stammen and think they can be great with 2 'plus' pitches.

  66. mick - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Having said all the positives…. gang, I am concerned about Clip… Shark saved him. what do you all think?

  67. MikeinDC - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Shark made a tremendous catch. But it overshadows a growing concern with Clip. If that ball is 10ft either way, we are talking about what a devastating loss this is to the lowly 'Stros.Clip LOVES his change up. Used early in the count when it doesn't have to be, it takes away flexibility and he gets hammered. Killed him in the Mets series a few weeks ago and a rookie callup tattooed again him last night. 2 changeups back to back for two strikes, but then what? Can't throw 3 in a row to ANY major league hitter, even a rookie, which left him with only the fastball (94mph) which the kid tattooed foul and then tattooed 404 ft fair which would have won the game if not for the Shark.It's fun to see who will make a great play every night. But I'd rather be bored than watch Clip work like this. Last night will be a loss to the Braves, Cards, or Giants come late Sept.

  68. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Clip got 5 outs last night.

  70. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Ok fine, Clipp would be better if he had a third pitch. So would alot of relievers. But it's not going to happen this year that's for sure. He is what he is, which is one of the best bullpen guys in the majors over the last three years. Thanks to the Shark he got the save last night even when he wasn't at his best. Top 10 reasons I have confidence whenever we go to extras:10. We have the deepest bullpen in the majors. Now that H-Rod is gone, and before CMW rejoins, there's not a single weak link. Gone are the days of Colin Ballester having to pitch till he drops and losing the game in his third inning out there.9. We have two relievers who can go multiple innings if necessary.8. We have two closers, both of whom are strikeout pitchers.7. We have one of the best defensive first basemen in the game who also delivers in the clutch. 6. We have two starting pitchers (E-Jax and JZnn) who are great athletes and can be used for pinch running, bunting, and maybe even playing a position if needed.5. We have versatile bench players like Lombo, Bernadina, Tracy, and now Izturis.4. Harper and Werth live to manufacture runs.3. Michael Morse (as long as he's still in the game.)2. Ryan "Mr. Walkoff" Zimmerman1. Davey is a master tactician, who will out manage his opponent 9 out of 10 times.

  71. #4 - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I posted this a couple of days ago. Stolen bases are the most overrated stat in baseball. There is very little correlation between the effectiveness of a pitcher and how many SBs he gives up. Go look at Greg Maddux.

  72. alm - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Clip went from lights out to shakey the day Storen was activated. He knows the natural order is Storen closing and him setting up. So much of closing is karma or attitude and Clip just doesn't have that killer mentality. Davey knows this, that's why he went to Lidge, Henry and even Burnett before he turned to Clip. He doesn't want to crush Clip's morale so he is easing into it but before we get to the post season, Drew will be closing

  73. karlkolchak - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    @bowdenball – so the Phillies lost a bunch of important games close last year, whereas now the Nats are winning a bunch of important games close this year. And the common denominator is, Werth versus no Werth.Sorry, but Werth just strikes me as the kind of teammate whose disapproving glare you never want to see aimed in your direction.

  74. Joe Seamhead - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Gonat said…Sure, he didn't do it on the field last year but he sure did change the culture here from Day 1. Getting rid of Nyjer is all thanks to Werth in his shaping the clubhouse from malcontents and players with loser attitudes.August 08, 2012 9:29 AM____________________________________Gonat, I think Werth was also a major pain in Riggleman's tookus, too.Werth's greatest asset is the not abiding in losing attitude. This next part of this post is directed to Gonat. Sorry to the board to do post it here, but I don't know a wqay to contact Gonat privately. Gonat, I thought it very curious that the poster the other day that said his son played for the Maryland Patriots when Maxwell was playing for them seems to have gone MIA after I said that my son played on that team also. He hasn't made a post since. I can't help but to wonder who his son is.Anyway, Justin's dad is a great guy. BTW, at least at that time, MCBA was not a travel team/league. It was a select level league of Montgomery County teams playing each other in Montgomery County. The Patriots was basically formed of all-stars from MCBA teams, though the Patriots were not actually affiliated with MCBA.

  75. blovy8 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Clippard DOES have a breaking ball. He just rarely uses it.

  76. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    So much of closing is karma or attitude and Clip just doesn't have that killer mentality. Davey knows this, that's why he went to Lidge, Henry and even Burnett before he turned to Clip.Couldn't disagree more. Davey waited before going to Clipp because he knows that "closer" is an overrated position and Clipp, as the best reliever on the team, was more valuable as a setup guy, pitching in the highest leverage situations against the most fearsome part of the opponents' lineup. He's also capable of going more than an inning, which a closer almost never has to do.But now that Clipp is in the position and has excelled, and wants to continue as closer for obvious reasons, he's not going anywhere unless (1) he loses the job through poor performance; AND (2) there's somebody better to replace him. On (1), he might be close, but he's not there yet. His performance has been shaky recently, but it's nowhere near bad enough to justify losing the job. On (2), no way is Storen ready to take back the job. Two nights ago made that abundantly clear.

  77. blovy8 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    If there were going to be a series to give Zim a day off it ought to be this one. You can live with Izturis being in the lineup or Tracy at third for one game. I suppose it doesn't change the fear he's got pain he's hiding again. Probably time for acupuncture or a reverse-voodoo doll. Actually, that's being the voodoo doll yourself, perhaps.

  78. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    NatsJack, Clippard has been wildly successful for the most part of 3 years by using a variation of 2 pitches; I don't think he needs another pitch. What Clip does when he's on is combine the change up with a fast ball which climbs the ladder; he is not doing it now. The fast ball and the changeup are relatively on the same plane. I am sure Clip is smart enough to know what he needs to do to succeed. Sometimes it just doesn't work. I also think you over simplify your comments re the change up. Trevor Hoffman had a border line hall of fame career living almost exclusively on the change up. If the delivery is working properly it registers 'fast ball' in the hitters brain who has a nano second to change his reaction.

  79. Joe Seamhead - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Re; Shark's catch vs. Trout's earlier, this is worth checking out:http://curlyw.mlblogs.com/2012/08/08/the-case-for-catch-of-the-year/?partnerId=aw-6782894412071911747-1067

  80. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Seamhead – anyone who can quiet that Phillie fan like you did last week can post a private note now and then!!My next question involves Wang – he had a stinker last night. How can we bring him up? It forces Davey/Rizzo to use an option on Moore. I can't see either Stammen or Matheus going down with the way the bullpen has been stretched the past few weeks. We need every arm out there. It just makes no sense. If he was blowing people away, I might understand. I also understand that LannEn is 2-0 in the majors and has not performed in the minors but Wang has shown so little. What do you think happens??Go Nats!! ps: RZ has had enough time that a 2nd cortizone shot would be acceptable but it's still hit or miss that they find that spot again.

  81. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Joe, not to jump into your discussion with Gonat, but I also read your guys little discussion on Justin and MCBA. I am sure anyone can Google anyone's affiliations to teams and geography and concoct a story. How many guys in the old days used to say they played College Football? Now you can check almost anything on Google unless you have a very common name.Its very 'suspect' when someone quotes a .156 batting average for someone elses kid on a 14u team that took place 14 or 15 years ago. Most can't even remember their own kids stats.I can't even remember what I hit in High School.

  82. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Ghost, Are you saying that Izturis should have caught that line drive by Pearce when you say he got 5 outs? I disagree; that was a hard line drive which Izturis could have only caught if he was 6 inches taller; that coupled with the unnecessary walk of Corporan and the absolute bomb Wallace hit which Bernie caught miraculously translates to a subpar performance by Clip last night which ended well based more on luck than anything else.

  83. rogieshan - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    If the season were to end today, the Nats would be playing either the Pirates (if they beat the Braves in the wildcard one-off) or the Giants. The pitching has spoiled us from day one and the team's postseason success will be contingent on it maintaining its dominance. I hope Clippard finds his game down the stretch because it's taking him a lot of pitches to retire the side these days. I wonder if Davey would consider reinserting Storen as the closer at some point, or whether he will stay the course until the end. It is also a little bit frustrating as a fan to see the offense getting neutralized many times by starters with average-to-mediocre records that most teams seem to pound against (Lyle, Francis, Guthrie, Bass, Young, etc.). I guess it's not uncommon, but I would still like to see the bats to show more consistency. And to Lombo & Espi: please learn to bunt properly!

  84. blovy8 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    JD, that is an excellent observation about Clip's fastball location. I always figured he was living dangerously up there, but they would swing, and it made it easier to drop a change up off the edges with the movement he gets.

  85. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Sec 222. It's not just last night. When is the last time Clip got a 'clean' save in the past month? it feels like he is teetering every time out. Don't get me wrong; I am a big Clip fan but I just think there is something wrong him at this time.

  86. djinFl. - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    @ section222If we have to go extra, it is also best to do it vs. the Astros. Their announcers said they have yet to score in extra innings this year.

  87. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Clippard's reaction to the catch was the whole story–exultation, then looking around at the other players as if to check they weren't looking at him, and then sagging, hands on knees, relieved his bacon was saved by a miracle catch, but deflated that it took a miracle to get him out of that.

  88. NCNatsie - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    JD, I'm with you on the Izturis play. He should not be blamed for not catching that hard liner. It may be that Espinosa would have caught it (if he had been positioned in the same place Izturis was), but only because he's 3 inches taller.

  89. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    JD…. You are correct in that Tyler has been highly successful in the past but he used his slider alot more in previous seasons. He's totally abandoned it this year for some reason, most probably lack of confidence. However, if you limit yourself to just two pitches and you have even a slight loss of command with either, major league hitters are going to kill you.Clip has been throwing 20 or more pitches every outing which tells you his command is off and he's having trouble missing bats. That needs to change if he's going to remain successful and mixing in a breaking ball will go a long way towards acheiving that.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    JD said… Ghost,Are you saying that Izturis should have caught that line drive by Pearce when you say he got 5 outs?I disagree; that was a hard line drive which Izturis could have only caught if he was 6 inches taller; that coupled with the unnecessary walk of Corporan and the absolute bomb Wallace hit which Bernie caught miraculously translates to a subpar performance by Clip last night which ended well based more on luck than anything else. August 08, 2012 11:16 AM It was a tough chance, but the ball went into Izturis glove. It was an easier chance then the ball RZim caught earlier.It was ruled a single but Izturis is here as a defensive guy not a offensive guy. It was catchable.

  91. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    that was a hard line drive which Izturis could have only caught if he was 6 inches tallerThe ball did hit in his glove, but as a general rule, if the catch could have made Webgems, it's harsh to bust a guy for not quite coming down with it. IMO.

  92. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    And our closer, rather than blow two saves like Matt Capps, managed to save one and get a no decision in the other.What are you talking about? Clippard blew the save on Monday night. Check the box score and look for the BS next to his name if you don't believe me. And if not for the Shark's great catch, he would have blown the save last night too.But now that Clipp is in the position and has excelled, and wants to continue as closer for obvious reasons, he's not going anywhere unless (1) he loses the job through poor performance; AND (2) there's somebody better to replace him.But he hasn't excelled in the position at all since the ASB. And there is somebody better to replace him. Look for this road trip to be marked by Storen's transition back into the role of primary closer.

  93. bowdenball - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    karlkolchak-I don't think you understood my post. Baseball's playoffs are mostly luck. The results have nothing to do with how much "fire" your team has. I think it's safe to say that all 250 of the players lucky enough to be on 25 man rosters for the 10 playoff teams this year will have plenty of fire when the time comes. When is the last time you saw a lack of effort in a playoff game?

  94. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I do agree, Zim's catch was harder.

  95. hiramhover - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    sjm308There is no option issue with T-Mo. Within a season, a player uses only one option, no matter how many different times he's sent down. And T-Mo already was sent down once this year.As for Wang–no way he comes back up before Sept 1, if at all. Maybe back to the DL?

  96. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    That is pretty amazing that the Astro's have not scored a single run in extra innings! Also impressed that the O's have not lost an extra inning game this season. Not a huge fan of anything that Angelos touches but they have certainly over achieved so far. Great chance that both Managers of the Year come from our area if this keeps up.Go Nats!!

  97. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Hiram – I know the option rule, I just don't want anyone from the bench going down in place of Wang.

  98. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Hiram – not jumping on you but we HAVE to do something with Wang on Aug. 11th as he WAS rehabbing from his latest dl – you can't just keep dling him, against the rules. So on Aug 11th his time runs out and we either have to bring him up or dfa him – that is what I was talking about, and if we bring him up we lose someone who is actually contributing to our success be it a bench player or a reliever. I think its a done deal that he is gone.

  99. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    NatsJack, I don't disagree with you that a breaking ball would help but where is that high fast ball that keeps climbing up? I think he stopped doing that when the Mets hit 3 bombs off him last time we played them.

  100. hiramhover - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    sjm308My bad if I misread your comment – you referred to Davey/Rizzo being forced to use an option on Moore.Anyway–the way Wang is pitching now, no way they sacrifice a bench player to call him.

  101. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Ghost, I dunno; he jumped as high as he could and the ball hit the tip of his glove and then he tried to catch it bare handed. I don't think that was a make able play unless you are taller.

  102. hiramhover - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I don't know the rules about sending a player back to the DL once he's begun a rehab assignment in the minors. But if that's not a possibility–yeah, he gets DFA'd. Hard to see it as a huge loss, except of the Lerners' money (and for them $3M–or whatever–isn't that huge).

  103. realdealnats - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    1) SJM–You've gotta believe Davey and Rizzo know to leave Wang well enough alone at this point of the season, with about half a BP of what at least should be tired arms by now. If he's dying in rehab no way do you bring him up for any reason at all–effectiveness, chemistry, development etc…2) Re: everyone's worry that if we aren't hitting mediocre pitchers now, we'll be dead in the water by October. I think this team and many teams rise to the occasion. Not worried too much about this. Our guys arms are as strong relatively as anyone's. And our team as healthy–especially with Desi back in September working himself back into playing shape. 3) Must stop now to go body surf with the great whites. I keep telling them I know Roger…

  104. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    For the record, the ball hit right in the webbing, not the tip. Still, a hit all the way.

  105. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Question: Whey do we say we are 24 games or whatever above 500 when it really seems to refer to the number of wins over the number of losses?Because that's the definition of "games over/under .500" from time immemorial. If you're X games over .500 and you subtract X wins, you're at .500. If you're Y games under and you add Y wins, you're at .500. Next question. Why does the sun come up in the east? Because it does.

  106. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I would be surprised if CMW doesn't go the way of Ankiel,Lidge and Nady. I don't see anyone on the roster whose spot he could take without hurting the team. The last remaining roster move before Sept. 1st is to replace Izturis with Desmond (if he's healthy).

  107. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  108. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Zofa, And also; even if he catches the ball it's a bullet given up by Clip; an out would have been pure luck just like the ball Wallace hit.

  109. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Agreed, JD.

  110. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    JD, Corporan foul tipped what could have been strike 3 and Flores didn't get it. I'm going to defend Clip from the perspective that he he had a great outing but he got the job done. What does concern me is that he still hasn't recovered from that day Valdespin pinch hit HR off of him.He isn't at top form. I have my concerns of course. The fastball isn't as good and sometimes he has a great change-up and a change-up that isn't good.This may surprise NatsJack. When Clippard was a starter for the Yankees, he threw only 3 pitches. Fastball mostly, a few changeups and even less curveballs. He was never a slider pitcher. Kind of shocking coming through the Yankees system.

  111. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Sec 222, we agree. Not bad but not up to his standards by a long shot and very wobbly.

  112. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    JD, you'll get no argument from me that Clipp's been uneven recently. But he faced only three batters in saves on July 24, 25, 28, and Aug. 3. In the last month (July 7-Aug 7, including the ASG!), which has clearly been his worst stretch this year, he's pitched 17 times. He gave up no earned runs in 10 of those appearances. In the other seven, only four were blown saves or losses. In the month before that (June 6-July 6), he pitched only 12 times and didn't give up a single earned run. Maybe Davey needs to figure out how to give him more rest (scoring some runs would help), but I don't think he's pitched that badly considering the workload. Certainly not badly enough to lose the job. And again, sorry pRAA, but Storen isn't ready.

  113. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    JD said… Zofa,And also; even if he catches the ball it's a bullet given up by Clip; an out would have been pure luck just like the ball Wallace hit. August 08, 2012 11:43 AM The baseball gods giveth and taketh. It works both ways. Its a game of inches and milimeters.As Michael Morse says, the HR swing is an imperfect swing.

  114. alm - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Section 222 said"as the best reliever on the team, was more valuable as a setup guy, pitching in the highest leverage situations against the most fearsome part of the opponents' lineup."This is a unsubstantiated myth stated by the FP and Carpenter and apparently believed by some. The reality is there is no predicting when the heart of the order will come up. It could be either the 8th, 9th or even the 7th. Our bullpen, every bullpen is NOT set up not to ensure that the best reliever pitches in the 8th. Storen will be our closer in the post season this year.

  115. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    JD said… Ghost,I dunno; he jumped as high as he could and the ball hit the tip of his glove and then he tried to catch it bare handed. I don't think that was a make able play unless you are taller. August 08, 2012 11:37 AM It looked to me like the ball went into the glove and he didn't squeeze it and the force caused it to roll right up and out of his glove.Still a tough catch but I'm sure Izturis would tell you he should have caught it.Getting saves is a lot of mental challenge. I hope this helps Clip get back on track.

  116. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Baseball's playoffs are mostly luck. The results have nothing to do with how much "fire" your team has.Starting pitching, maybe; composure under stress, sometimes; catastrophically bad managing, occasionally; but not ganas, as they say in Spanish. Some people like to put all undesired outcomes down to some moral failing, but you can make no mistakes, and still lose.

  117. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    JD – agreed on Desmond but wouldn't it make more sense to wait on Desmond until he is ready and try and keep Izturis until after Sept 1. Desmond could still be on the playoff roster since he was on the dl and you could then use Izturis as a solid bench player in late innings if needed. I would hate to let him go as I thought he was a huge upgrade over DeRosa.

  118. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    OK – you guys have cut into my gym timewhile realdealnats goes to play with sharks, I am going to work on my obliques so they don't get strained.Go Nats!!

  119. SCNatsFan - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    For new Nats fans, enjoy this. Long suffering fans like myself waited a long time to be able to say I am a fan of the best team is baseball.

  120. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Clip has been throwing 20 or more pitches every outing which tells you his command is off and he's having trouble missing bats.For the record, in his 15 appearances since the ASG, again, his worst stretch of the season by far, he threw 20 or more pitches just 8 times. Not saying that's good, but the folks who are down on Clipp seem to forget that after that blown save against the Braves in the meltdown game, he's had several good appearances.

  121. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… JD…. You are correct in that Tyler has been highly successful in the past but he used his slider alot more in previous seasons. He's totally abandoned it this year for some reason, most probably lack of confidence. August 08, 2012 11:28 AM http://brooksbaseball.net/player_cards/player_card.php?player=461325I could only find instances like May 30 2010 where Clippard threw 1 slider. Sometimes they classify them incorrectly. It appears Clip doesn't and hasn't really thrown a slider. Maybe its the cutter you are thinking of.Brooks doesn't even compute a slider as a pitch that Clip has ever thrown.Fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball.Its strange that he doesn't throw a slider. He does need something else with different movement that he can throw for strikes.

  122. alm - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    I love Clip, his funky delivery, disappearing change-up and rising fastball.Isn't it fun debating which reliever should close instead of wishing we had someone, anyone in the BP that was any good.Love these Nats.

  123. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    sjm308 said… JD – agreed on Desmond but wouldn't it make more sense to wait on Desmond until he is ready and try and keep Izturis until after Sept 1. Desmond could still be on the playoff roster since he was on the dl and you could then use Izturis as a solid bench player in late innings if needed. I would hate to let him go as I thought he was a huge upgrade over DeRosa. August 08, 2012 11:51 AM No reason not to keep Izturis unless Desi is truly ready before Sept 1st. He is here as insurance for shortstop.

  124. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Of bigger concern to me is the letdown in the 1 to 5 spots.Zim is back to pulling off balls and is far off the plate again where he isn't getting coverage on the outside of the plate. By pulling off the ball he is back to topping grounders. Of course he can be fixed.Lombo is a BABIP guy and some days luckier than others. He's a contact guy and I don't see him as being more than a slap hitter. Werth needs to be leadoff.Harper is in a funk. Maybe its his back, maybe its his head. Davey will fix him. He is not centering those fastballs which is his bread and butter.LaRoche had an off day. It happens.Back at it today.

  125. NCNatsie - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    222 said: Maybe Davey needs to figure out how to give him more rest (scoring some runs would help)True, but losing games before the 9th inning would also help, and no one would recommend that. The fact is that our starters are outstanding at keeping us in games, and while our lineup is pretty darn good, we're not Texas or the Yankees, and so we're going to be in a lot of save situations. The only answer to a heavy usage of the BP is to leave the starters in longer, something Davey seems disposed against, and since his team has the best record in baseball, I'm not going to second guess him.

  126. Frediemac - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Nats are now just 15 Wins away from the first winning season since 1969.

  127. SCNatsFan - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Frediemac that is amazing

  128. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    And again, sorry pRAA, but Storen isn't ready.He's more ready than Clippard at this point.You seem to be basing your "not ready" evaluation on Monday night. But on Monday night, Storen worked himself into a jam and got out of the inning unscored on. Then the next night he went back out there and had a better outing. Clippard worked himself into a jam on Monday and blew the save. Then he went out the next night and nearly blew another one.Two big tests for "what makes a closer" are the ability to work your way out of any jams you create yourself, and the ability to bounce back strong after a bad night. Storen passed both of those tests, Clippard failed both of them.Never been sold on Clippard as a closer. The events of the past few weeks just bear that out.

  129. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I always thought Clippard had a slider — and rarely used it. He has some sort of breaking pitch I've seen once or twice this season — looked like some kind of curve, in the upper 70s. Anyway, a slider isn't the answer. A slider that doesn't slide is also known as a base hit. He would be better off with a cutter that broke away from LH hitters, or if it was really good broke and then sank. His four-seam/rising FB is 92-93, rarely 94, and succeeds only because of the hitch in his motion before the release that throws off the hitter's timing — and the fact that it is set up by the change. This is what I meant earlier when I said he is getting over-exposed. By the end of this series, the Astros will have seen 90 or so pitches in this series alone, not counting earlier this year (when so many of them were in the Rookie League). Sum: I agree he needs another pitch, just disagree on what it should be. And Johnson should try really, really hard to use him less.

  130. NCNatsie - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Who's got an opinion on this:We've got the best record in baseball, and by quite a margin, the best road record, but we're only 6th best at home, by my reckoning.Random or reason?

  131. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Maybe Davey needs to figure out how to give him more rest (scoring some runs would help), but I don't think he's pitched that badly considering the workload. Certainly not badly enough to lose the job.See, that's the thing about having the closer job. Your manager isn't supposed to have to figure out how to get you more rest, he's supposed to have to figure out who can close in place of you on those occasions when you've been overworked. That's because you can't schedule save situations in advance. They happen when they happen. Sometimes in bunches, other times with gaps between them. Your closer is the guy you expect to be ready to post for them, no matter the situation.

  132. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    pRAA — Clippard would be OK as a closer if he carried a normal closer's load. He hasn't. Storen is not ready. His command of the strike zone — which was never his strongest quality — is still off. Saying he "worked his way out of" something is tempting the gods of probability.

  133. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Totally random.

  134. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    We've got the best record in baseball, and by quite a margin, the best road record, but we're only 6th best at home, by my reckoning.Random or reason?Too many idiot fans doing the wave at home.

  135. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Well, random in the sense that it's dependent on what other teams are doing or not doing. It's not random in the sense that they both point to a good team.

  136. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    … a good team with too many idiot fans and NatsPack cheerleaders doing the wave.

  137. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    And monkeys. We don't have monkeys.

  138. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    The Angels have the Rally Monkey. Houston has a resident troop, or at least a bachelor pod, of howlers. We've got guerreros, but no gorillas.

  139. JT - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I love the record and the thrilling ways this team continues to post curly w's. My concern as they go forward is the bullpen. It might be getting a bit overworked and thats what spelled doom for the Braves last season. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that just such a meltdown won't happen to the DC9+16.

  140. NCNatsie - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Very funny, guys. I was thinking more of why we're so good on the road, not why we're not so good at home. I mean, we may not have a rally monkey, but we've got Teddy!

  141. tayo - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    More than his lack of a slider, I am more worried that Clippard seems to have abandoned his Eleveted fast ball that he used and was so effective in getting batters to swing and miss in the past. All he does now with his fastball is to try and paint corners with it and then he goes back to his change.

  142. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Here's a complicated theory on the home/away differential: Visiting teams play better in Nats Park than in other away parks, and in some cases their home parks. So many stadiums in the NL are tricked out — Citizens Band Box, Cincinnati (another band box), Citi Field (huge CF), Houston (all kinds of craziness), Coors Field (altitude), Petco (impossible to hit it out), Miller Field and Wrigley (not band boxes but definitely HR-conducive, PacBell (built for Barry Bonds and to discourage anyone else). These places really mess with hitters, tempting them and punishing them in a variety of ways. Nationals Park, on the other hand, is one of the fairest parks in the NL. Visiting teams, therefore, perform better there — and might actually be more skilled than their records from others parks show. The Nats, more than any other team in the league, are dependent on pitching and defense, parts of the game that tend to negate the screwiness of some of the road parks. So, relative to other teams, they play better on the road.Except for that possibility, it's totally random.

  143. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    TEDDY!! OF COURSE1!! That's why they're only 6th best at home. Losing is a disease, and Teddy is the carrier.

  144. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Either that, or it's because they don't let you throw opposition home run balls back onto the field.

  145. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    I didn't read through each comment. Here is the link to vote this as the top catch Right now he is tied with Trouthttp://espn.go.com/mlb/baseballtonight

  146. ehay2k - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    What is the combined record of teams we have played at home vs. on the road? Might have something to do with it. But probably totally random, or just due to the wave.

  147. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I have noticed in Houston Zim is much farther from the plate than he was when he was hitting well. Is it time for another shot?

  148. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    ehay2k, we should look at their records at the time we faced them, not just combined record if we want to look at teams we have faced at home and away.anyways, just looking at our record and braves. braves have exactly four more road games than us for rest of the season and obv four less home games than us.

  149. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    tayo said… More than his lack of a slider, I am more worried that Clippard seems to have abandoned his Eleveted fast ball that he used and was so effective in getting batters to swing and miss in the past. All he does now with his fastball is to try and paint corners with it and then he goes back to his change. August 08, 2012 1:03 PM This isn't like fixing Henry. Clip can throw strikes. That's not the issue. For Clip to be super effective is going back to what has worked. His disappearing changeup has to disappear and his fastball that seemingly rises has been abandoned and that's his best pitches.I think he needs to watch his own highlight reel, but I do think a 3rd pitch would help if its a 'plus' pitch like a good cutter or curveball.

  150. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Trout is now up 51 to 49. We need votes.

  151. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    You seem to be basing your "not ready" evaluation on Monday night. But on Monday night, Storen worked himself into a jam and got out of the inning unscored on. Then the next night he went back out there and had a better outing. Clippard worked himself into a jam on Monday and blew the save. Then he went out the next night and nearly blew another one.This is funny. On Monday, with two outs the Astros' batter hit a Storen pitch right on the screws, a line shot that was pretty much right at Bernadina. On Tuesday, with two outs the Astros' batter hit a towering fly on a Clippard pitch and Bernadina had to make a spectacular catch. Neither of them was scored on. How can you say that one shows the that Storen is ready and the other shows the Clipp should lose his job? Just because two nights ago Clipp blew the save (but also stopped the bleeding so we could get into extras) and yesterday Storen got two straight outs against Ben Francisco and the fearsome Justin Maxwell?You admit you've never been sold on Clipp as closer, and that's fine. But that's what you're basing your current assessment on, just as it was the basis of your vehemently argued but incorrect prediction that Storen would take over as closer as soon as he returned. So far, Storen has pitched a full inning only 4 times in 11 appearances. He's getting better, and I truly hope he's all the way back by the stretch run and the playoffs, but he's not ready.

  152. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Manassas Nats' Fan said… I have noticed in Houston Zim is much farther from the plate than he was when he was hitting well. Is it time for another shot? August 08, 2012 1:37 PM Read the post at 9:53 this morning which was copied from my post 3 days ago. Do you really think a cortisone shot will shift him closer to the plate? Are the 2 related? I don't know why he does it but smart teams will exploit your weaknesses. They will pepper him again outside like they did yesterday and he looked horrible. This goes back to even over the weekend. He is getting hits on the inside but most of his hits are from ground balls lately.Something is going on. Certainly reason to be concerned but again what ticks me off is the kneejerk reaction after a 4 strikeout day instead of why not one person commented when I wrote that post 3 days ago.

  153. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Something is going on. Certainly reason to be concerned but again what ticks me off is the kneejerk reaction after a 4 strikeout day instead of why not one person commented when I wrote that post 3 days ago.Could be that you have a more inflated sense of importance about your comments than the rest of us. Contrary to popular belief, most of us are not hanging on your every word. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  154. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Zection 3, My Zofa said…"…We've got guerreros…"———————–Vladimir? Pedro (boy, he was good in the '80s)? Another international signing?

  155. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Ghost, Because when you commented 3 days ago Zim wasn't mired in a slump and the thinking was that it was just one bad day. Your observation proved to be correct but you shouldn't take these things so personally. It ain't that important to be right.

  156. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Just voted for Bernadina's catch over Trout. Much longer run at a higher speed, more crucial situation. It's 52-48 Trout now, but only 1,293 votes. Come on folks, let's push the Shark over the top!

  157. A DC Wonk - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    "when was the last time Clippard had a clean save"Ok. I'm going to answer this for the fourth time this weekHe had a 1-2-3 clean ninth inning for a save just last Friday. He also had one on July 24, 25, and 28That would be four times in the last two weeks.

  158. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Geez Ghost, lighten up. Gonat was giving you props when he quoted from your post.

  159. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Can the Nats win several blow-outs in a row so we don't have to have a closer debate?Davey said it before yesterday's game. Clip is his closer. It doesn't mean that Davey won't bring in Storen from time to time.Have you watched the previous most dominating closer Chris Perez from Cleveland blow 2 this week?It happens. Toughest job in baseball is closing out a 1 run lead. Remember, on average, teams are scoring in the NL 4.218 runs per game which means on average a team will score just under 1 run every 2 innings. That is why these 1 run wins are also a large factor of luck. You want to win more, score more.

  160. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    So far, Storen has pitched a full inning only 4 times in 11 appearances. He's getting better, and I truly hope he's all the way back by the stretch run and the playoffs, but he's not ready.As I said earlier, he may not be completely ready yet but he's still more ready than Clippard ever was. "Proving your worth" as a closer does not depend on what you did in your last 11 appearances. It depends on what you've done over the total arc of your season and your career. HRod looked for a brief while like he might be closer material. Then he crashed and burned. Clippard looked for a month or so like he might be closer material, but he's been proving over the past three weeks that he's not. He's had a softer landing than Henry did, but he's still coming back to earth in a big way. Storen OTOH has proved that he's closer material over the course of almost two whole seasons. His pitching right now might not yet be perfect, but if he's good enough to be sent out there night after night, he's your closer.

  161. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    wonk, And in these games what lead did he protect? because it's also true that he got a save protecting a 3 run lead against the Mets even though he gave up 2 solo shots to Wright and Bay of all people and he also got a save protecting a 2 run lead against Milwaukee even though he gave up a solo shot to Hart. I don't feel like researching but you must admit that what we are seeing in the past month is not the Clip we are used to over the past 2.5 years.

  162. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Section 222 said… Geez Ghost, lighten up. Gonat was giving you props when he quoted from your post. August 08, 2012 1:56 PM Sorry, I shouldn't have pounced. Its annoying when comments are brushed aside and then see people days later act like they just discovered there's a problem because a player K'd 4 times and looked bad. A couple of days ago Zim had 2 bases loaded situations with less than 2 outs and did nothing while leaving 8 men on base that game.I was hoping it was temporary and still hope it is. When he moves off the plate its a bad sign of a slump coming and not sure why he does it. Like I said the other teams aren't stupid as they can see what I see, I just saw it sooner this time. He will get a steady diet of outside pitches and sliders away until he adjusts.Not sure the Nats can go through another long period of Zim in the 3 hole whiffing at pitches 4 times at the dish.

  163. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Good points on the closer debate Ghost, and JD, and Wonk. I've said my piece. In addition to voting in the ESPN Trout vs. Shark poll, check out the state by state breakdown. Arizona has nearly 400 votes, and all for Trout. (Fans from the AFL?). MD, VA, and DC fans are pouring in now in favor of the Shark, and the tally is 52-48 Shark, with nearly 1,700 votes in.

  164. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    There's one guy in Montana who voted, and he's for Shark!!

  165. A DC Wonk - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    JD, I just tend to think that Clippard, like all pitchers, like all batters, go through hot periods and sometimes have slumps. I think he's just going through a rough patch. Of course, none of us will know for certain until another week or two. Which is, in part, what makes the sport interesting. But I try to resist the intense "what have you done lately" syndrome which affects too many here. (e.g., the day after many said Bryce needed a rest he got two hits)

  166. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Hence the better record on the road. Teddy = loser. Just ask Werth. :-PNCNatsie said… Very funny, guys. I was thinking more of why we're so good on the road, not why we're not so good at home. I mean, we may not have a rally monkey, but we've got Teddy! August 08, 2012 1:02 PM

  167. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Oh, wait. sec3 beat me to it. As usual. :-)

  168. natsfan1a - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Or first, for that matter. :-)It ain't that important to be right.

  169. NatsLady - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Clip always threw too many pitches per inning, even when he was a setup man/fireman. He had long battles with bunches of foul-outs. He knows it (as I've said before). That's why he's not a starter, and why he may not be successful long-term as a closer. He's working on a cutter, because his idol is Mariano Rivera. Sometimes pitch track can't even tell the difference between the cutter and the slider, so, obviously, it's not there yet. BTW, Davey said the HBP on Monday was a Clip curve. And I agree, he got 5 outs yesterday. Izturis showed from his body language that he thought he should have caught it (actually, kept it). If Danny had been at 2B and Suzuki had been catching it would have been an "easy" inning and we would not be having this discussion. Of course Clip was happy Bernadina "saved his bacon," just like Mattheus was happy and on and on. That is why this is a team. Davey promised he would not overuse Clip the way he had been overused in the past, and he pretty much stuck to that promise early on, but times got tough and Clip is being overused. The best laid plans, etc….

  170. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    NL raises an interesting point about our the late inning position assignments. Should Izuris play short and Espi go back to 2B in that situation in the future? Thoughts?

  171. NatsLady - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    You all have forgotten that Clip went through a rough patch this spring, and he went through a rough patch last August, etc. And similarly the year before that. So anyone who says "this is not the Clippard we have seen for the last 2.5 years" or the like (not picking on anyone in particular) just doesn't remember. Clip is good, I am the most rabid supporter on earth, but he is not a machine. No one is.

  172. JD - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    NL, All I'm saying is that Clippard hasn't been himself for a month; that's it. Rivera is pretty much a machine.

  173. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    NatsLady at 2:28 bringing it! Well written. One of your best. I didn't know it was a curve that got the HBP on Monday so thanks for the info.I probably know more today about Clip than I ever knew before. As a Yankees starter he was a 3 pitch guy only throwing a 4 seam, and occasionally a changeup and a curveball.Clip came to the Nats as a starter in 2008 and then was converted to a reliever. Whoever did it, genius. My hope is Clip goes back to trusting his stuff and pitching like he did prior to that Mets series. He has to get back to throwing that seemingly rising fastball.

  174. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Clip is good, I am the most rabid supporter on earth, but he is not a machine.He is also not a closer. Good, perhaps great relief pitcher, yes. Closer, no.

  175. fast eddie - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I agree with JD/Ghost/tayo on Clip: he's in love with his change-up and needs to rely on his fastball more. As far as who should close, he and Storen have both looked shaky.I'm more concerned with the hitting. 1 for 24 last night from the first five hitters, against a 2-8 rookie who lowered his ERA to 5.69.Zim and Morse fouled off several fastballs in the zone (you could hear Carp and FP groaning). I don't have the stats, but I seem to recall they're classic streak hitters, as well as ALR and possibly Harper. I hope I'm wrong.

  176. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    One last data point on Clipp in response to the argument that Storen is more ready to be closer than Clipp ever was. Clipp has 23 saves, 7th in the National League, even though his first save didn't come until May 22!! The league leader in saves is Hanranhan with just 9 more than Clipp. Before he became the closer, Clipp had 10 holds and 15 one-inning appearances where he didn't give up a run. Do the math. He's going through a rough patch, but he's been one of the best relievers in the league this year.

  177. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  178. NatsLady - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    JD, with that I agree. But the sky.is.not.falling on Clipp as a reliever. He hasn't spent one day on the DL in what, three years, maybe more? Unfortunately, there is no easy way to cut him a break until (a) Storen is ready; (b) we get a few games in a row with big leads and long starts; and (c) it's November.

  179. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    By the way, I know the save is a stupid statistic and one of the reasons Clipp has so many is that the Nats are really good, but don't put games away like they should. Still, those stats are pretty darn impressive.The Shark is now leading 53%-47% with 1,872 votes in. DC/MD/VA votes still accumulating. AZ and CA seem to have slowed down.

  180. Eric - Aug 8, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Note that you can vote from more than one device (e.g. smart phone & computer). Go Shark!!Here's the link again:http://espn.go.com/mlb/baseballtonight

  181. alm - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Second vote in – smart phone

  182. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    As they say, vote early and often.

  183. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    fast eddie said… I'm more concerned with the hitting. 1 for 24 last night from the first five hitters, against a 2-8 rookie who lowered his ERA to 5.69. August 08, 2012 2:45 PM Exactly my point made somewhere above. The game should have been a Nats blow-out if the bats showed up.Everyone's going to have an o-fer now and then. Harper has been in a long funk in the 2 hole. The Nats can't afford for Zim in the 3 hole to go to into a deep slump this time. That was the kill-shot during June when Zim was struggling when the Nats were getting no production in the 3 spot.I don't understand the inner workings of Zim. Why would he slowly start moving off of the plate? The advanced scouts certainly have made their notes. Zim will only see a steady diet of outside pitches until he can cover the outside of the plate. I've seen that show before and it ain't pretty.

  184. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    I hear there's an article on espn.com saying that the Braves are poised to catch the Nats. Anyone seen it and care to summarize for those of us too cheap to be ESPN Insiders?

  185. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    If I'm reading it correctly, the Nats are #1 in team Web Gem points.The way Bernadina leaped in the air and caught the ball over his back shoulder is amazing.Davey has believed in Roger and its good to see Roger rewarding his Manager on the confidence he has had in him. Bench role players are usually the unsung heros and it was fitting to get that bear hug by Werth in the dugout after the game on a job well done.

  186. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Section 222 said… I hear there's an article on espn.com saying that the Braves are poised to catch the Nats. Anyone seen it and care to summarize for those of us too cheap to be ESPN Insiders? August 08, 2012 3:21 PM Can't be much different from what the Braves fans are writing about that the Braves improved their pitching with Sheets and Maholm and the Nats will not have Strasburg for all of September. Of note is the Braves weaker bullpen and inconsistency of all their starters.The Nats can't worry about the Braves except in head-to-head matchups. If the Nats take care of business with a 4 game lead, it won't matter what the Braves do.Davey played too loose on Monday and it almost cost him. He took no chances yesterday. I hope to see that intensity the rest of the season from Davey.

  187. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    re: Espn article from a comment on the blogger Harper's blog:"The article seemed to boil down a lot to that the Braves have been really hot and their pitching is somehow good despite underperformance and injury, while the Nats starters are falling off (Gio) and Stras will be shut down. He also forecasts that the 'pen will continue to struggle, so he says the Braves will gain an advantage in pitching down the stretch. Meanwhile, offense is no contest as the Braves simply put up more runs, particularly from the Catcher spot. I think at some point he also mentions concerns that whenever Desmond returns, he won't have nearly the same production."Sounds like a lot of wishful thinking by someone who probably predicted the Braves would win the division and the Nats would be 3rd, at best.

  188. Don - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Nothing fluky about it sure, but lots fragile about it. It's a race and the Nats can't be satisfied to be where they are, getting the timely hit or break has been great but they need to play great baseball down the stretch and run away with this thing. Projecting to win 99 games is nice, but it's also complete BS. The predictions mean zilch (I wonder how many games the Red Sox were predictied to win at this point last year?). The Nats can hit some ice on the road to Divisioncrowntown and lose 10 of 12 or the like (Yanks are 6-16 since the break, I think) and be settling for a WC spot. The Braves are legit. The Nats need to play the games and win them. Time to pour it on. I don't want to be talking about how great it was to have the best record in the bigs in early August this winter, I want to be talking Nats 2012 playoff glory.dfh21

  189. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    what time does the poll closes?anyways as soon as I get home, i am gonna vote like 300 times if possible.vote, delete history, vote, delete history, …hopefully it will work.

  190. pRAA - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Anyone seen it and care to summarize for those of us too cheap to be ESPN Insiders?I prefer to think of myself as being too smart to be an ESPN Insider.

  191. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    A friend informed me that Channel 9 ran a promo on the Chad Cordero story. Looks like it will run in the 5:30 show towards the end.Set your recording device!

  192. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Insider doesn't cost anything if you have a magazine subscription – Their baseball page is actually pretty good – that article was a joke and I actually wrote a rebuttal – Everyone and anyone that can get the SS shutdown idea into an article has done so – It talked about the Braves adding two quality starters and their pen being stronger than ours as well as their offense. I have not seen one "expert" support the SS shutdown and that is just dandy. When we win the WS without SS just think what that will do for our psyche the following year. Last time I checked, the Cardinals lost their #1 guy last year in Wainright. How did that workout for them?Thanks for that link to the vote for Shark. I am headed back to vote again.Go Nats!!

  193. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/the-nationals-have-won-no-matter-what/2012/08/08/e5792534-e187-11e1-98e7-89d659f9c106_blog.htmlKilgore has been bringing it all day. Some good stats have gone into this article.The Nats haven't done well without Ryan Zimmerman. When he was on the DL, the Nats were 8-7. Sure, small sample size and it stretched the Nats thin.All I can say is a healthy 'en fuego' Ryan Zimmerman is a good thing!

  194. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    with 2135 votes in now Trout back ahead 51 49. I can't vote again. we need voters. that 2 percent is like 40 votes. Come on.

  195. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Just voted (again) and Shark is now trailing but its closeBack over to see if I can make it even closer

  196. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Damn, they won't let me vote again – I used the ipad and the computer and I guess they have a way of preventing someone from sitting in front of a screen and voting all day. OK, off to read Kilgore (who I like almost as much as Mark no matter what feelwood says)

  197. TheManBearPig - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Jumping in a little late on the Clipp/Storen discussion, but here's my two cents: three consecutive days on the mound – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with his best outing on the third day, suggests that Storen is back, or almost back. Hopefully Drew can help Davey lighten Clipp's load over the next month so he has something left for the home stretch.

  198. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Love the fact that we are 24-9 when Werth plays. Pretty good for a "bench bat" and 3rd string catcher if I do say so.Go Nats!

  199. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    2362 botes and we are up 4. Arizona is making the difference. Most votes easily by a state 99% Trout tell me that isn't a hack job.

  200. NatsLady - Aug 8, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    One final note on Clipp. I don't think he is "in love" with his changeup (at least no more than any pitcher is "in love" with a pitch that he's worked on a lot and that has been effective to the point of magical). Rather, I think he may be using it too much. Why? Because he fears for the effectiveness of the fastball, which for him is harder (more effort) to throw and locate. That high heat has to be precisely placed–drop it only an inch or so, and you see what happens.That is why I think it may be physical rather than mental. He is tired and perhaps fearful of blowing out his arm. So he is throwing the less stressful pitches.

Archives

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.

Follow us on Twitter