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Encouraging/discouraging

Aug 10, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper, slumping since the All-Star break, sat out last night's win.

PHOENIX — It's been a while since we compiled one of these things, looking alternatively at some of the more encouraging and discouraging developments involving the Nationals.

So as the Nats head west following a four-game sweep of the Astros and prepare for a weekend series with the Diamondbacks in advance of a big, three-game showdown with the Giants, let's take a look where certain players on this roster currently stand.

ENCOURAGING: Jordan Zimmermann continues to develop not only into a front-line pitcher for the Nationals but into one of the best pitchers in the National League. With last night's demolition of Houston's lineup — six scoreless innings, 11 strikeouts — Zimmermann improved to 9-6 with a 2.35 ERA (second-best in the NL). Most impressively, he's getting better as the season progresses. Yes, there was a little hiccup last weekend against the Marlins. But even with that one included, Zimmermann is now 6-0 with a 1.47 ERA over his last nine starts. During that span, he's walked only eight batters whileRead more »

203 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. karlkolchak - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    The most impressive and perhaps most overlooked part of Shark's game is his baserunning SKILLS. After last night he has a lifetime 51-10 stolen base-caught stealing ratio. That means he is not only quick, but SMART on the base paths (maybe even smarter than Bo Porter, as he showed the other night on Suzuki's crazy three base bunt). Also, if you have to reach all the way down to a non-factor like Wang as one of your "discouraging" citations, that is in fact, quite encouraging.

  2. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Encouraging is the entire pitching staff.

  3. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Gonat.. Amen on the entire pitching staff.Kilgore had a nice article on Bryce's plate discipline and how he is getting squeezed by some umps – Gee Angel Hernandez perhaps? Bryce will figure it out eventually or the umps will finally start calling an actual strike on him.

  4. Positively Half St. - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    karlkolchak-Excellent point about Wang. You can offset discouraging news about people not really on the roster with news about Matt Skole, or Anthony Rendon back to playing and hitting well. How about Eury Perez? He'll be up in September as well.+1/2St.

  5. joemktg - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    You have to temper the level of discouragement with the 2-3 Division Series format inasmuch as the wild card teams will be burning their #1 the day before.

  6. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Also for those of you that want to listen, Gio will be on Scott Van Pelt today (ESPNRadio.com). Haven't put up a time yet, but you know it will be hilarious!

  7. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    MicheleS said… Also for those of you that want to listen, Gio will be on Scott Van Pelt today (ESPNRadio.com). Haven't put up a time yet, but you know it will be hilarious! August 10, 2012 7:38 AM ________________________________SVP is going to have a long day as he is co-hosting Mike & Mike this morning. Probably woke up at 4AM this morning.

  8. pRAA - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Also, if you have to reach all the way down to a non-factor like Wang as one of your "discouraging" citations, that is in fact, quite encouraging.Any time a guy's Wang ain't right, it's always discouraging.

  9. hiramhover - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    We may not be feeling discouraged about our broken Wang right now, but wait til mid-Sept.If we're in a tight playoff race and Lannan has a lousy start or two, then we'll indeed be discouraged about not having back the CMW we saw a glimpse of late last season.

  10. karlkolchak - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Regarding the playoff format, I'll just say that given how far they have come, as long as the Nats win the division EVERYTHING else from there will be gravy. Not only would it be the first 1st place finish by a DC team since 1933, but the Expos-Nationals franchise has never won a division title in a non-strike year.

  11. karlkolchak - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    @hiramhover – "If we're in a tight playoff race and Lannan has a lousy start or two,"There is a good chance that won't be a factor. It seems likely that Strasburg's innings limit is going to be closer to 180 than 160. If so and they limit him to about 6 IP per start, that would give him about eight more starts after tonight, taking the Nats to around game No. 155. In other words, he may well end up missing only one or two starts maximum at the end of the season.

  12. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Karl, I agree with you on the playoffs. Let's not gripe about format! Also,thanks for Bernadina's stealing stats.Personally, I can't get exercised about Wang and his few swell starts last year. Just like I don't pine for Shairon Martis — I reckon those "great pitchers" never really existed, but just shimmered into our perception for a few weeks, only to return whence they came.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Encouraged by Zim the past 2 games.

  14. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Bryce is a little discouraging considering his fast start but I think he is pressing because of age and wanting to keep up with Trout (who is having a better rookie year than Fred Lynn's rookie MVP) and because he is not used to playing this many games and maybe the pressure.Davey loves the kid, knows he's a spark-plug and knows the other players really like him. Tough choice but I think he should rest him more and maybe move him down in the line-up but you have to think how that might also effect him and maybe the team. If CMW has to be listed to to balance the Encouraging from the Discouraging than we are having one GREAT year. The Nationals give every player multiple chances to fail we have not heard any sour grapes from any player they have released and all current players when asked would like to play for them next year which is a very good sign. MLB executives have been trying for years to figure out how to ruin this great game but so far they have only been able to damage it. The WS in November is ludicrous.

  15. hiramhover - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    karlkolchakIf they extend SS, yes. But Ladson's tweet, based on an anonymous source, is the only authority for that 180 IP limit, right? I'd take that with a grain or twelve of salt.

  16. baseballswami - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Encouraging- it's pretty normal to stink at 19. Some pretty big name players did. Trout stunk last year. He'll be fine but we can't put this year's success or failure on his shoulders.

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    When Rizzo got Wang 3 years ago it was part of the old strategy of trying to get fine wine from bruised grapes. To repeat it over again for 2 additional years? Shame on you Mike.Can Mike learn a similar lesson with his other pitching disaster Henry Rodriguez?The Yankees had a situation called AJ Burnett. It wasn't working for them. They traded him. He shined somewhere else. So what. It happens.

  18. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Fox, well, there were sour grapes from Brad Lidge. Didn't bother me in the least.

  19. JaneB - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I'm not worried about Bryce. I am glad people are seeing the writing on the wall with Wang (and proud that they gave him a genuine shot),and I hope that vision extends into the GM's office.Encouraging: LannEn still has it, and will be useful when we need him.Encouraging: the way the guys treat each other in the dugout, having fun, talking, engaged in a way they haven't seemed to be in the past.Encouraging: Morse is hacking again. Encouraging: No shortage of cortisone for Zimm's shoulder, should he need it again.Encouraging but frustrating: you have to arrive A LOT EARLIER to be able to park anywhere near the stadium these days. Discouraging: The Braves schedule is about to get a whole lot easier, while we will be seeing teams on a roll. Maybe we can stop those rolls.Encouraging: So many new Imaginary Friends here. Mark is in Phoenix. And the number one team in the NL and baseball is OUR NATIONALS, not some other team. GYFNG!

  20. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    hh-no, Ladson not the source. EJax said "180 or something" the other day on a radio interview. He backtracked when pressed, to "It's not in my hands," or the like.

  21. fast eddie - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Fox:Totally agree on Harper. He needs a day off now and then to work Bernie into the OF mix.Davey's reluctant to even move him down in the order for fear of damaging his confidence.

  22. hiramhover - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Thanks, NL – but Ladson's tweet came first (7/24), and got picked up by bleacherreport etc and then EJax said something similar. Maybe based on something he knew himself, maybe just echoing the twit-o-sphere. Who knows?

  23. NCNatsie - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Last year, when did we know that Zimm's limit would be 160? Seems to me they gave that number out early on, whereas this year, they've been clear that there would be a shutdown but never about the number. Or do I misremember?

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    fast eddie, with TyMo and Bernie and new acquisition Izturis, Davey has the ability to give rest to every starter.

  25. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    JaneB–I'm not sure Atlanta has a cakewalk for the rest of August. Yes, they have the Mets, and they do have the Padres for 7. If it rains (and it's very likely to) they will have to add a doubleheader or a long delays into their schedule. They also have the Dodgers and Giants and us, away from home, and they have 20 (yes, twenty) games without an off-day (including a 10-day road trip, with 7 on the West Coast). The Padres are close to .500 at home (27-30) and the Barves offense might not thrive in Petco. September might be easier, but they will have to get through August first.

  26. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Sorry, they have the Dodgers in their house, the have the Nats, Gints and Pads on their road trip.

  27. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    No possible way does Rizzo allow Stras to pitch into the post-season this year which is why shutting Stras down in September won't be as big of a deal. Could Stras finish at 160.0 or 169.2?

  28. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Danny has been stroking the ball well from the left side, and Davey has finally, finally moved him back to the 7 slot where he has always been most comfortable, ever since his rookie year. Leave him there, Davey, please.And Werth was always most comfortable in Philly hitting out of the 5 or 6 hole, and is now performing in the 6-slot in spectacular fashion.Both of those are very encouraging developments for the offense. I don't know where Davey puts Ian when he returns, as long as it is not leadoff, but that is a nice problem to have. The 3-7 slots are now clicking on offense, and the Shark set the table from the 2-hole last night, with an assist from Lombo at leadoff. Ryan is still squaring them up, so his shoulder still looks to be OK.The offense is looking good. Desi will make it even better when he comes back. The Nats are scary good on D and with that staff. If they hit, they will be tough to beat.

  29. Centerville 62 - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Harder did the same thing last year. He dropped off after the All Star games.

  30. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Nice list JaneB. Atlanta falls under the don't worry what you cannot control category. We have 6 games left with them and we are 8-4 against them so the pressure is on them not us. The Nat are ahead of any pace that anyone would have imagined. If they win 99 games the Brave's won't catch them. The Braves can not win at a 70% clip for 3 months. If I'm wrong I'll buy you a drink of your choice. The Braves choked big time last year and they all remember it. Their management mishandled their players I like our management better. The pitching match up when we play the Braves in 10 games looks good if it stays on schedule, did this happen by accident? Why did we rest JZNN for an extra game again?

  31. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Steve, I must be missing your point on AJ Burnett. Cuz it looks to me like he Yankees used him for three entire seasons, at the major-league level no less. Hardly makes the Nats' GM look indecisive and slow to act by comparison.

  32. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    In September, ATL has 4 vs. the Rox, but we have 4 vs. the Cubs, so let's call that even. Both teams have the Brewers, but we have the Cards for two series, while they have divisional matches (and, not anticipated by the schedulers) the Fish, Fils and Mets are not, um, playing "meaningful games in September." So, I would say, we have to beat the Cards. Well, we knew that.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Too much discussion of what the Braves are doing which the Nats can't control except head-to-head Matchups. If the Nats go 32-18 the rest of the way and .500 vs Braves, it won't matter. Continue to win series and the Division winner will be the Nats.When you are the "chaser" like the Braves then you have to hope other teams can do it for you.

  34. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    I agree, we can't control ATL (or their schedule) except in the head-to-head games. But it will be very hard for them to play .700 in August-September, so we should not think they have it easy–they don't.

  35. fast eddie - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    September call-ups has been mentioned several times here. This may be a naive question, but I never paid attention before since we've never been in contention till now.Since we'll be in the midst of a pennant race, how does Davey realistically give everyone playing time? Or are they in the dugout just to watch, listen and learn?

  36. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Natslady,The Braves on 8/22 play a night game with the Nats here and then on 8/23 they play the Giants in San Fran. Not sure why the Nat's don't play an afternoon get away game with the Braves that day we even have the next day off? It sure would be nice to beat them in extra innings that game as we wish them a nice long flight to SF.

  37. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    SS must be shut down at 160. JZ is the obvious example and SS has switched between good and bad last four starts.

  38. NCNatsie - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Kilgore's stats on the expanded strike zone for Harper point to a deeper problem. It's one thing for Davey to counsel the kid about his reaction, etc, but who is going to step in and say to the umps that the strike zone is supposed to be the stike zone, period? A clown ump like Hernandez may be doing the sport a backhand favor by his dramatic exposure of the corruption of umpires, but the stats show he's not the only one.Power corrupts, to be sure, and umps are like dictators, forcing the peasant players and managers to bow their heads and take it for fear of making it worse, while news media become enablers by spouting phrases like saying that pitchers, "have to earn a strike call like that…" Really? Why? I'm old, and old-school on most things, but since I first heard that explanation many decades ago, it has been offensive to me. Don't say it's just the way it is, lots of things used to be just the way it was, like slavery, until people got fed up and changed it. The media need to jump on umps for calls that are dependent on their opinion of the players involved. A guy like Hernandez is the Cole Hamels of umpires — the kid needs to learn his place. No. He needs to learn that the sport has integrity and the rules and their enforcement are fair.If the umpires can't call 'em as they see 'em, and quit trying to use their power to implement some bigoted notion of morality in their calls, then I believe we ought to seriously consider, now that we have the technology to do so, calling balls and strikes electronically.If Baseball doesn't have the guts to do that, at least they ought to undeertake another general firing of the worst umpire proponents of the theory of selective calls.

  39. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Ghost—LOL. We fans don't control anything! As if what we discuss matters! I kind of think it's fun to compare schedules. Imagine if the division had been competitive into September, as all the analysts predicted it would be in May and June. I went back and looked at the opening odds for 2012–this year has been a shocker in the NL East.

  40. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I think I am in SF when Braves are playing Giants.

  41. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    NatsLady said… I agree, we can't control ATL (or their schedule) except in the head-to-head games. But it will be very hard for them to play .700 in August-September, so we should not think they have it easy–they don't. August 10, 2012 9:32 AM __________________________________Exactly. They have to win 5 more games than the Nats the rest of the way. In a 50 game sprint, that's a lot of games.I expect their over-use of Kimbrel to implode on them and Sheets won't stay at the high level he has been at.

  42. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    fast eddie, I think of the September call-ups as extra players. They're not being added so they can get regular playing time; they're here in case the honest-to-goodness major-leaguers need a spot of help from time to time.If Eury Perez comes up and never sees action, that's fine with me — and it should be fine with him. Remember, the minor-league season is over, so it's not like they're missing out on anything by riding the pine in the bigs.

  43. natsfan1a - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Agree with KK re. the encouraging discouraging item. (Wait, what?)On another note, in your morning Shark Report, he prevailed in yesterday's poll but is now up against the Royals infield in a new poll. (Wait, what?) Anyway, you know the drill: vote early and vote often.

  44. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    In football, they calling it backing into the playoffs and that would be the problem for the Cardinals and Dodgers. The Nats just have to keep winning series to punch their ticket. The Braves are in a decent position as they are in the top Wild Card as of now.

  45. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Faraz,If you are in SF go south of the ball park across the bridge where the big parking lots are you will find a lot of people who will sell you tickets and it is a "safe" area to buy. Tickets at box office will be hard to come by most games are sold out.

  46. karlkolchak - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    @fast eddie – I doubt the call ups will get much playing time except as defensive replacements (Eury Perez), pinch hitters (Corey Brown), 3rd catchers (Leon or Solano) or extra relief pitchers.

  47. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    NCNatsie, I too welcome our new robot umpire overlords. I don't think the reason needs to be so evil, though. Umpires, being human, see partly what they expect to see. They expected Maddux to hit his spots; they expected Williams to only swing at good pitches.How many times have you thought a Nat was absolutely, totally safe, and then the replay clearly shows he was out? On a close call, your eyes saw what you expected — the Nats are the best team ever, so obviously their guy was safe!I know there's been some hazing. Thats true. But it doesn't have to explain all of the umpires' errors.

  48. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    fast eddie said… September call-ups has been mentioned several times here. This may be a naive question, but I never paid attention before since we've never been in contention till now.Since we'll be in the midst of a pennant race, how does Davey realistically give everyone playing time? Or are they in the dugout just to watch, listen and learn? August 10, 2012 9:33 AM ___________________________________This is different as there won't be all out showcasing and auditioning. Lannan will be the exception as he is the heir apparent to Stras after the shutdown.Players like Perry and Maya will probably sit on the pine until the division is sewn up but I agree that Davey may rest some of his starters like he did last September by doing some 6 man rotations the last 2 weeks.Eury Perez will be a pinch bunter and pinch runner in a specialty role.

  49. JD - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I think someone brought out an interesting point (I am not sure who). When Desmond returns Lombo goes to the bench; we all agree that neither Desmond nor Espinosa make good leadoff hitters and they hit better down in the order (preferably 6 and 7). I think that only leaves 1 option for leadoff; Jayson Werth. I think Davie is not in love with the idea of batting Werth leadoff or he would have done so by now (Lombo should not be hitting leadoff). I have a feeling he will install Espinosa back at leadoff.

  50. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Oh and — right after the second strikeout that [ticked] off Harper, Gonzalez got a strike call below the batter's knee.

  51. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    peric said…Looks like Michael Morse is starting to break outWhat do you mean "starting to" ?His splits in July were .305/.345/.486/.831 — which, actually, are similar to his August numbers.He was "starting to" break out in late June even.

  52. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Hernandez is one thing. His cohort Carlson is another. One is a despot, the other an incompetent who has no idea where the K zone is. I would venture the Nats have seen a dozen umps this season who know a strike only through hearsay. If the league isn't going to fire at least the bottom five percent of its umpires every year, it's not going to improve and the game is going to suffer. (Five percent replacement per year is the business school expectation — employees who are old and whose skills have eroded or not kept pace, employees who are slackers and don't do their jobs, and employees who are just plain incompetent.)If Selig does nothing else, baseball ought to mandate that umpires call balls and strikes from a single position — either over the catcher's head or from the shoulder on the batter's side of the plate. Then they might at least be consistent in their incompetency.

  53. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    It's one thing for Davey to counsel the kid about his reaction, etc, but who is going to step in and say to the umps that the strike zone is supposed to be the stike zone, period? You can be sure of one thing: if it's happening (and I suspect it is) it will be far out of sight of the public. I'd not be surprised if Rizzo sent tapes of Harper's AB's to Torre's office.

  54. Nats In Athens - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    JZimm showed once again last night why we need to shut down Strasburg. It may not be scientific but it is right. Firstly, the Nats have pursued a pitching first for the past seven years (ok not all that great for the first few of those years), and it is paying off, Our top two starters are All Stars, our number three starter is mentioned in the Cy Young conversation and our fifth is really a rookie with a sub 3.00 ERA. (I leave EJax out as he is a FA at the end of the year). So we have a great rotation for years to come. Let's not endanger it now.Secondly, shutting him down might mean two more losses in September. Might. Because Lannan has played well when needed and if he fails there are a couple of other options in Syracuse that could be called upon. That's it. Two losses with the prospect of seeing another JZimm type of improvement next year.Thirdly, the 160 limit is based not only on post TJ recovery but on a theory that a pitcher should only increase his innings gradually. Makes sense to me…Fourth, Stras is good right now but not great. His velocity is (a little down) he is not always as assured on the mound as he was early this year. This shows (to me at least) he is getting a little worn out.It is interesting that all of baseball wants Strasburg to play a full season but most Nat fans seem fine with the decision to shut down.

  55. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Wonk — last night was Morse's first HR to left all season. He's breaking out. Even Johnson said he was finally starting to attack the fastball.Having said that, the HR to right was an illustration how Morse is a much better/smarter hitter than people give him credit for. Inside/out swing, aiming to go to right, short and violent.

  56. Section 222 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Thanks for the morning Shark report 1a. I swear I will start remembering on my own at some point. Roger has a healthy 82%-19% with all of 36 votes in. Don't think we'll see another battle like he had with Trout for quite awhile. If everyone who reads or comments here takes 10 seconds to vote every day we should be able to keep him on top for quite awhile. I'm away for the weekend, but will be enjoying your comments when I can. Thanks for making this magical season even more entertaining.

  57. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    JD,Regarding lead-off I think you are correct except that Werth is batting 6th which was his productive spot in Phillie and Desmond was also batting mostly 6th if I remember correctly and he was doing very well there. If Werth's power stroke has not returned he might end up batting first with Espinosa getting a few depending on match ups.

  58. slidell2 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Bryce looks so forlorn in that photo. I wonder if it was taken yesterday?

  59. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… When Rizzo got Wang 3 years ago it was part of the old strategy of trying to get fine wine from bruised grapes. To repeat it over again for 2 additional years? Shame on you Mike.I disagree. No shame at all. In fact I'm thrilled that Rizzo takes some gambles. (It only cost some dollars, right? The team didn't lose anything). As someone wrote yesterday (or the day before) I think: if these kinds of transactions were sure bets, they wouldn't be called gambles. Fact is: SMW showed flashes of solid pitching at the end of last year .He had a game where he pitched six innings of one-hit-shutout ball; and his last start of the year he pitched six innings allowing 4 hits, no walks, and one run.So, what was the harm? It's not like Lerner's money would have been spent somewhere else instead.No shame at all — some gambles work, some don't. Gambles where you trade away prospects hurt. But gambles that are free agents don't really hurt.

  60. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Theophilus,I agree but we should also give Morse credit for the "double" he hit 430 feet to dead center field when everyone knew he would be going up there mashing. It's hard to hit a ball harder than that. Other things in that game overshadowed that hit but it put a big smile on my face.

  61. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Theo, I would say Morse's power stroke broke out last night. Michael himself once said the HR is an imperfect swing. He's been hitting line drives for weeks for singles and doubles and yesterday he got under two for imperfect swings.In a contrast of batters box real estate, Michael is almost on top of the plate and Zim stands in the middle of the batters box.I'm surprised that Morse doesn't back off an inch or 2 which may help him stay off those outside the zone pitches and Zim could move in an inch or 2 to get better coverage and wood on the outside strike.

  62. NCNatsie - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Athens, I agree with everything you said. My question was different. If my memory from last year is correct that the Nats FO said specifically, early on, that Zimm would only pitch 160 innings, why have they declined to give a number (160 or some other)for Stras? That he will be shut down is clear, and I'm fine with that. I'm also fine if they don't want to tell us when, because they no doubt have a good reason for not doing it. But it does make me curious as to what the reason could be.

  63. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    thanks for the info Fox, but already bought the tickets for one game. Next time I will keep it in mind.

  64. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    It is interesting that all of baseball wants Strasburg to play a full season but most Nat fans seem fine with the decision to shut down.What is even more disturbing to me is that so many former pitchers, and smart ones, are criticizing it, too.And they keep criticizing it with the same stupid, really stupid comments, "yes, they should watch carefully, and shut him down at the first sign of trouble, etc etc etc." without taking into account that Stras might be able to pitch fine all year, even into the WS this year, but it could ruin his arm next year. What a bunch of idiots.Nats in Athens — you make a good point. Our Nats team is built on pitching. Without good pitching we're a .500 team. So, all the more so we need to be over-protective of our pitchers.

  65. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Steve Berthiaume@SBerthiaumeESPNLowest MLB BA's since All Star Break: Hunter Pence .175, Bryce Harper .176, Carlos Pena .176, Gordon Beckham .179.Harper's not the only one. Some experienced hitters on that list. It's clear what disturbed Davey was he took it to the outfield. With this offense it's fine if you help the team by preventing runs. No need to be a hero. Let Gio be the hero. :)Can we have the Gio/Z'nn discussion again? It's really fun! For the one-gamer (heaven forfend), I go Gio. I was in the minority before. I'm sticking with my choice, especially now that Suzuki is on-board.For the five-game division series, I go Z'nn for the first game. That's because I think you if you use a pitcher twice in the series you want it to be Z'nn. But a lot could depend on the type of lineup you face.

  66. JD - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Buster Olney wrote in his blog yesterday that the Hernandez behavior re Harper felt like an older sibling wrestling a younger one down and shoving snow in his face. it was despicable, it showed Hernandez to be a very small human being and He should be disciplined by the league. Aside from that Harper is showing why this game is not that easy and that no matter how talented you are they will be growing pains.

  67. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Question: for those who said Clippard needed a second pitch — what do you make of the fact that JZ threw 87 pitches last night, and that 85 of them were fastballs or sliders?

  68. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Ghost Of Steve M. said…When Rizzo got Wang 3 years ago it was part of the old strategy of trying to get fine wine from bruised grapes. To repeat it over again for 2 additional years? Shame on you Mike.I disagree. No shame at all. In fact I'm thrilled that Rizzo takes some gambles. (It only cost some dollars, right? The team didn't lose anything). As someone wrote yesterday (or the day before) I think: if these kinds of transactions were sure bets, they wouldn't be called gambles. Fact is: SMW showed flashes of solid pitching at the end of last year .He had a game where he pitched six innings of one-hit-shutout ball; and his last start of the year he pitched six innings allowing 4 hits, no walks, and one run.So, what was the harm? It's not like Lerner's money would have been spent somewhere else instead.No shame at all — some gambles work, some don't. Gambles where you trade away prospects hurt. But gambles that are free agents don't really hurt. August 10, 2012 10:08 AM ________________________________I totally disagree with you Wonk. Wang took up very valuable time and training and resources as Mark eluded to: "It's a shame how much time and energy and money they've invested in Wang over three seasons. But at some point, the Nationals just need to admit it ain't gonna happen with this guy."The resources put into Wang could have been used on other players. There is a finite amount of time expended in the system and that's the biggest loss to the team.

  69. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Encouraging: The Nats have accomplished all this while regularly starting two rookies, with a third rookie getting significant MLB exposure (Tyler Moore has appeared in 50 games).Encouraging: The Nats have accomplished all this using six (count 'em six!) different catchers.Encouraging: The Nats have used only seven starting pitchers. The opening-day rotation has made all but six of the team's starts. Of those six, two were made because of double headers. (By contrast, the Braves had used 10 starters. Interestingly, the Reds have used only five – wow.)

  70. NCNatsie - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Spot on, Nats Lady, re Zimm/Gio. Zimm should pitch the first playoff game because — perhaps because he only pitched 160 games last year??? — he is the more durable.

  71. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Question: for those who said Clippard needed a second pitch — what do you make of the fact that JZ threw 87 pitches last night, and that 85 of them were fastballs or sliders? _______________________________________Clip has 2 plus pitches so he already has a second pitch.JZim was "on" last night moving around the baseball with pinpoint accuracy.Reminds me of Stammen early in the season with his fastball and slider only JZim did it for 6 innings.

  72. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    At the Fan Appreciation Day, Davey had a Q&A with the fans. When asked about SS he was very clear that this wasn't his, or Mike Rizzo's call, but that it was a medical decision, and as such the doctors will make the call.As he and Rizzo have said all along, they don't want to do anything to jeopardize SS's career.I think Johnson did exactly the right thing sitting Bryce last night. As Davey said after Tuesday's game, he can't be making throws that allow the winning run to get to second during a pennant race. Regardless of what the kid said, he was wound up over his performance, and got more wound up over the umpire's calls. He needed to sit out a game to collect himself.

  73. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I disagree, too, on CMW. Look at Ben Sheets or A.J. Burnett, or even Bartolo Colon. Pitchers come back all the time–you just don't know which ones, or when. Every other day we hear that Maya has finally found gold–I'll believe it when I see it. CMW was coming back to form last year, and in the spring was really there until he got injured. I wouldn't be surprised if he went to Japan for a year and came back at age 34 for some West Coast team. If we were the M's (or even the O's) he'd be out there every fifth day. You can see from Rizzo's drafting style that he is a high risk/high reward type guy. He likes talent, even if it's "injured" talent that other GM's don't want to chance. That's going to lead to failures. But even the failures are fun to watch. At least for me. Scary, but fun.

  74. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Natslady you might be right with Gio, I heard somewhere, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Is Gio Sicilian?

  75. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Heck, if we were the Rangers CMW would be pitching every 5th day. We are very blessed in our rotation–healthy and productive!

  76. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    One other point on the Sept. 1 callups–the full 40-man roster is eligible, but teams generally do not bring up all 15 guys; they call up the ones they think can help, especially if they're in a race.

  77. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    The resources put into Wang could have been used on other players. There is a finite amount of time expended in the system and that's the biggest loss to the team. OK, fine, so there wasn't _no_ loss to the organization.But I strongly disagree with the "shame on Mike" comment. I'll stress again that it's not like we lost any players — and that CMW _did_ show flashes of solid pitching last year — and that gambles don't work 100% of the time. There's no shame that this one didn't work out.

  78. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I think Angel Hernandez has credible deniability on his strike zone for Harper–his strike zone is lousy for most players, as someone alluded to earlier.

  79. Water23 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    So, what is the chance the Nats go 13-6 for the rest of August? If they can pull that off they would end up with a winning season on the last day of August.

  80. karlkolchak - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    @Ghost Of Steve M. – "When Rizzo got Wang 3 years ago it was part of the old strategy of trying to get fine wine from bruised grapes. To repeat it over again for 2 additional years? Shame on you Mike."First of all, Rizzo has NOTHING to be ashamed of and saying he does is just plain stupid. Not every move works out, but Rizzo has obviously been right MANY MORE times than he's been wrong. The proof is right on the field in front of us.Secondly, this wasn't Bowden dumpster diving for head cases like Dukes and Milledge, or bringing in his Reds retreads like Lopez, Pena and Kearns, or heck, not noticing that the "17 year old" infielder he thought he was signing could legally drink. Wang was a worthwhile gamble given the money spent and the potential upside had he been able to fully recover.

  81. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Many of us agree. Rizzo: right on Wang.Of course, I'm done with Wang, myself. There was a stretch where every game I went to, Wang was pitching. I started to feel cheated. It felt like the former Nats, in that he was bad, and he was old, so he wasn't going to stop being bad.They're not done with him yet, which is fine, because they do this for a living, not for fun. But I'm done.

  82. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Re Wang, I'm with Wonk. (Try saying that five times fast, in an Elmer Fudd voice.)Through last season, it still looked like it might pay off, and by some measures, it did pay off. This season, not so much, but the contract was signed, the guy is apparently working hard, and by May or so, when it became evident that this was probably not going to work, they were already in. So the money, which wasn't that much in baseball terms, isn't an issue, and he really doesn't seem to be blocking anybody's development, so the roster isn't a problem.

  83. Scooter - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Sorry, by "former Nats," I meant like the 2007 version. No present, and no hope for the future. At least the later teams had some gambles that might have paid off.

  84. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    karlkolchak, yah shame on me and I'm plain stupid. Mark said it more eloquently.Stupid is as stupid does.

  85. hiramhover - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    WonkClip's problem has been over-reliance on his change-up at the expense of his FB. Last night, JZimm used his secondary pitch–the slider–in textbook fashion: just often enough to make both it and the FB deadly.So in that sense, there's no comparison at all.

  86. Gonat - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    hiramhover, JZim also changed the speed on his fastball from 92 to 96 and was getting that rise on the ball.

  87. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    what's the site where we check playoff chances? thanks.

  88. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    HH, I'm not disagreeing with what _you're_ writing (i.e., we agree that his pitch selection and strategy was lacking). I'm disagreeing with those who said that Clip's solution is to get a third pitch.

  89. hiramhover - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Check espn, which uses the playoff odds calculated by coolstandings. Nats currently at 96.6%.

  90. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    His splits in July were .305/.345/.486/.831 — which, actually, are similar to his August numbers.He was "starting to" break out in late June even.Morse's ISO was .150, compare that to both Zimmerman who **IS** also injured and LaRoche coming off of the shoulder? Adam LaRoche .242Ryan Zimmerman .180Michael Morse now .167 after last night's game.I have to keep repeating myself for non-math stat types like Wonk et al? I don't know why?MORSE is a power hitter. He is in the lineup to hit xtra base hits preferably with men on base. MORSE is NOT a singles hitter although a good distribution of walks helps. I'll go one step further … for this club MORSE is THE power hitter as everyone saw with his bombs last night. And productivity relative to extra base hits is reflected in the ISO stat. Morse should have the highest ISO on this club. Don't expect Jayson Werth to be that after two surgeries on the same wrist. The Nats might be stuck with a singles hitter for another four years. He is going to end up as a bench bat sooner rather than later and given the Nats cornucopia of outfield prospects ready for the majors that might not be a bad thing at all when all is said and done.But as for Morse is main staple is hitting doubles and homers and the odd triple when he gets lucky.

  91. natsfan1a - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    You're welcome on the ESPN vote, sec 222. In other news, Gio had a 24.67 on the Tater Trot Tracker the other night. :-)Try this one, Faraz.

  92. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I'll go one step further … for this club MORSE is THE power hitter as everyone saw with his bombs last night.Adam LaRoche would like to have a word with you…

  93. natsfan1a - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    btw, that link had the matchups if the season ended today, but the overall regular standings there feature a percentage for chance of making the playoffs (POFF) figure in the last column.

  94. JamesFan - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    A note on Harper. This season is about the Nats and going as far into the playoffs as possible. It is not about Bryce Harper. The lad has vast potential and a great future ahead, but frankly I want to win baseball games and right now, Roger Bernadina is playing better in all aspects of the game. I get it that DJ doesn't want to damage Harper's confidence, but I do not think it hurts him to sit out some games. I also believe that he should be hitting beyond sixth until he turns it around. The stakes are too high to just use this year to season a young player at the expense of the team.

  95. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Morse is just starting to "break out" relative to the ISO stat and relative the reason he is in the starting lineup. I expect he'll have a tremendous end of August and September. And as I said it is almost perfect timing. They will need that extra boost to stay ahead of the Braves. As Mark has shown above, Harper's bat has become pathetic. He's running out of gas mentally. The grind has gotten to him he needs a rest.Werth after two wrist surgeries can't be relied on. LaRoche's history shows that he is a monster after the All Star break if he can maintain at between a .240 and a .260 ISO he'll do some damage. I am wondering if perhaps Zimmerman needs another cortisone shot. But given the morbidity risk he could end up on the DL. So, as far as the heart of the lineup its Morse and LaRoche unless they decide to swap in Tyler Moore and/or Corey Brown giving them enough regular playing time to develop their power numbers.

  96. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    This season is about the Nats and going as far into the playoffs as possible. It is not about Bryce Harper. The lad has vast potential and a great future ahead, Uhmmm wrong. This season WAS ABOUT Bryce Harper and the deveoping prospects. Look how many are in this lineup? Its not like Espinosa, Desmond, Lombardozzi, Flores, Moore and injured players like Ramos have been in the majors all that long? The Nats did not expect to go this far this year … no one did. The point is this is the way Davey rolls. He wins while finishing the development of young prospects. That is how he has always done it going back to the Mets. Would you prefer Riggleman with washed up over 30 types who can field, have speed but can't hit worth a darned. Would you prefer veterans like Joe Beimel in the bullpen or even Chad Gaudin? Because believe me Riggleman would not have risked his season on having this many young pitchers front and center. Johnson manages to win and finish player development. Its how he does things. Its how we roll as someone liked to say about Giggleman. If you don't like it there's always an Orioles blog where they are doing precisely what you want and LOSING.

  97. A DC Wonk - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    peric said… Morse's ISO was .150, compare that to both Zimmerman who **IS** also injured and LaRoche coming off of the shoulder?… I have to keep repeating myself for non-math stat types like Wonk et al? I don't know why?peric, stop with the insults, will ya'? I happen to have a degree in math.Tell me this: what was Morse's ISO _in_ July. Not _at_ the end of July, but _for_ the month of July.

  98. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    1a, that first one was an excellent link. Shows matchups, strength of schedule, etc. Thanks.

  99. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Who cares? Much as it pains me, I agree w/ Peric on this: Morse is breaking out, and a great August-September looms.

  100. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    the overall regular standings there feature a percentage for chance of making the playoffs (POFF) figure in the last column.So 11 teams have a better-than-50% chance of making the playoffs when there are only 10 slots. Things that make you go "Hmmmmmm…"

  101. pRAA - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    The Nats have used only seven starting pitchers. The opening-day rotation has made all but six of the team's starts. Of those six, two were made because of double headers.And the other four were nothing but superfluous playing around with their Wang. But hey, boys will be boys. Right?

  102. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Sorry Wonk … In July his ISO was .181. In June it was .140. So far in August its a burgeoning .205! As I said Morse is breaking out … he is a notorious slow healer as many a fan who have been following the past 3 years will attest to but once he breaks out … he BREAKS OUT and that I think is happening this month.Let's again compare to Zimmerman. In June Zimmerman his ISO stood at .118 in July .386. Now, that's breaking out and that is what we witnessed. In August Zim stands at .086. It may be time for the DL or another cortisone shot for Zim. He is standing at the plate watching pitches he should be hitting fly by again … he is in pain. Now LaRoche?.284, .174 and .310 for June, July and August.

  103. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    peric, slow down. No one is criticizing Davey. No one is even criticizing the way Davey is handling Harper or the other rookies, which has been exemplary. You don't have to bring out your screed, we all know it by heart.A suggestion was made that Harper could sit for some games–not all games, not most games, just "some" games. Everyone thought that would happen when he first came up–that he'd go into a slump and have to sit (or worse, go back down).The thing is, with Espy's slump, it didn't affect his fielding and he didn't go off on the umps. Harper's got to learn that.

  104. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    pr– back in the gutter after a couple of days of semi-useful posts. Was tempted to read them, maybe even reply. Sorry, won't happen again.

  105. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Sure didn't look that way from JamesFan Natslady. Either way you look at it. Why mess with success? Harper understands its not about his personal stats its about not letting down the other 24 guys on his team. He is right on point, has the right focus. I was thinking he would adapt and break out after the AS break. It looks like its going to take a bit longer for him. But I expect he'll adjust as he always has. Perhaps we won't see the results until next season but if that is what happens you can be sure the person most upset will be Harper feeling he let everyone who believed in him down. And I believe all 24 of his teammates believe in him. So, its one thing to keep trotting out a 33+ year old player like Werth. Think about Booby Abreu at 37 or 38 is back in AAA? He was one of the most dangerous hitters in the Angels lineup not long ago. Polanco? Werth is the guy to worry about. Harper has more than 10 years before he'll even get to close to where Werth is now. Worry about singles hitter Werth not Harper.

  106. TheManBearPig - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    peric, I agree that Morse is only recently starting to get extra base hits like he did in 2011, but I'm pretty sure Werth's latest wrist injury didn't involve ligament damage, so it shouldn't affect his ability to hit for power. He gave a ball a pretty long ride to the center field hill in MM Park — let's see what his power numbers look like in a month before calling him a singles hitter.

  107. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    I tell you who I don't want to face in the NL playoffs–Pittsburgh.

  108. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  109. TheManBearPig - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Let's hope the Bucs don't get past the Braves in the play-in game.

  110. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    pr– back in the gutter after a couple of days of semi-useful posts.Someone is a fake pRAA … who was from the start a troll? Using that handle to mock my posts goes against Mark's rules he set forth. But whatever. I think I know the original and I suspect what his original handle is. This doesn't sound like him at all.

  111. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I'll say this on JimFan's comments. I agree on judiciously sitting Harper. Not sure I would agree on moving him down in the lineup. He's not showing any power right now, and he wouldn't drive in runs. Let him stay in the 2-hole and take walks and hit singles and use his speed to beat out the occasional double or steal a base. Keep a fast runner ahead of him so Davey can pull a double-steal and keep RZ from GIDP. That's what I would do, me not being Davey, of course. Not for Harper's "confidence" but because I think that's a good way to line 'em up.

  112. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I fully expect Harp to be in the starting lineup tonight. Davey will work his magic behind the scenes. Will Davey drop Harp in the order? I don't think he will. Not yet anyway.

  113. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I tell you who I don't want to face in the NL playoffs–Pittsburgh.They can't get McCutchen out. No matter how hard they try. Pirate fans are long suffering and deserve respect ala the Cubbie's fans. It would be a good series.

  114. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Harper played 109 games in the minors last year, 110 between Syracuse and Washington this year. He is 19 years old. He is not physically worn down. He is, probably, tired of pitchers and umpires playing mind games with him. He has, probably, the best eye for the strike zone on the team (shown by the BB he's getting even though he's not hitting) but can't decide between swinging at the stuff he's been told to lay off of all his life or getting rung up. He's smart enough to figure it out, and a couple of days off will help. He can't be taking Carlson and Hernandez home w/ him at night. Within the next couple of weeks he'll start breaking out, too, and return to at least .275-.280 form.

  115. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    yea 1a great link thanks!

  116. peric - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Not for Harper's "confidence" but because I think that's a good way to line 'em up.I suspect Davey is way ahead of us on that. Its why he talked to Werth about leading off. If there is one thing he is still good at its OBP. But then who do you put in the #2 slot? Right now the best looks like Bernadina. But looking at Zim's drop off in August? Davey has bigger fish to fry. Before Harper gets moved I would move Zim down (he must be hurting) and LaRoche and Morse up. And again, find a way to get Tyler Moore regular at bats. Or bring up Corey Brown. Let's hope Espinosa follows Morse and gets hot in August and September and makes up for leading the league in strikeouts. When Desmond gets back they'll have another run producer to slot in between #3 – #6. Given Zim's struggles with that shoulder I would put him at #3.

  117. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Wang has never been particularly good. He went 38-13 with pedestrian whips and era+'s for the Yankees over two years and 54-20 over four good seasons with them. But the won/loss record definitely implied far better underlying stats.As recently as 2008, Wang went 8-2 for the Yankees but had an era+ of only 108. Last year for the Nats, his era of four runs or so seemed decent but he only had an era+ of 95. Bryce Harper is fine. Yes, he has made a couple of bad throws, but he also has made several great ones. Nobody else is throwing people out from the outfield. I think they just need to tell him to stop trying to worry about getting hits and to just get on base, and I think that is what they have told him.I seem to recall Willie Mays begging to be sent back to the minors and Leo Durocher asked him if he could at least hit .250 for him. Harper is hitting .250 but he is still, after this horrible slump, the team's third highest in OBP, and has the highest differential between batting average and OBP on the team. Harper is second on the team in runs scored, which is an important and generally overlooked stat by announcers, who still harp on RBI's.Harper's OPS is well above Espinosa, Flores and Lombardozzi, and this is after a fairly prolonged hitting slump. His home run totals for a teenager are pretty impressive, as he still projects to hit 15 or so in a five month season. Overall, his results still compare favorably to those of the 20 year old Mays, back in 1951. I happen to agree with his statements about chasing outside pitches. Some minute adjustments and a bit more respect from the umpires will solve this. Harper also appears to be going through a very unlucky period in terms of BABIP and I expect to see his average begin to rise back towards a baseline of .300.I think the Nats are aware of all these things, so I really don't expect to see on the bench. There is no reason to expect him to play worse and he is pretty clearly the most talented field player they have. He just needs innings.

  118. pRAA - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    More ISO from peric. That's Incredibly Stupid Observations.

  119. JD - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    NatsLady, To me the playoffs are more or less a crap shoot. The goal is making the playoffs year in and year out. I'm not saying I wouldn't be disappointed if we lose in the 1st round but it won't take away from the superb year we are having. Also, to me Pittsburgh is the weakest team currently in a playoff position and by quite a margin. I am not overly impressed with any of their starting pitchers and you can manage their lineup by pitching around Mc.Cutchen.

  120. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler, the won/loss for Wang like most pitchers on excellent offensive teams comes down to run support when you most need it and the Yankees do it better than most teams when the W is there. He was also backed up by an excellent relief corp and good groundball defense.Wang also rose to the occasion in many Ace Matchups in 2006 and 2007 and when he was on he was on and when he wasn't, the Yankees offense many times picked him up. Wishing and hoping he was circa 2006 just was not meant to be even though we all hoped it would. When you look at replacement value and opportunity cost and personnel time, it was costly.Consider that Wang was going to be the #5 to begin 2012 and Detwiler to the bullpen and Stammen to AAA to start the season if Wang wasn't injured. Do you recall that?

  121. NatsFanSinceStart - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Peric: For the record, what you just said about the management style of Riggleman is patently absurd. A silly statement on your part.Riggleman did a good job last year. While not a magician like davey, Riggleman did the most with what he had last year and earned my respect for him as a manager.Quit trashing the guy.

  122. Drew - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Encouraging: the Nats will win at least 95 games while the following players have lost significant time to injuries: Ramos, LaRoche, Desmond, Zimmerman, Morse, Werth, Strasburg, Wang, Storen, Tracy, DeRosa, Leon, Solano, Marrero.Encouraging: The Nats have done this while the Kid has apprenticed at the major league level. He will soon get much, much better. (See Mantle, Kaline, Yount, Griffey, Arod, Trout et al.)Encouraging: Lombo, Moore, Harper, Brown, Solano, Leon and Lannan have filled in capably — a tribute to the team's scouting, player development and vision.Encouraging: Three more blue chippers are coming — Rendon, Meyer and Goodwin.Encouraging: In his chat this week on MLBTR, someone asked Ben Nicholson-Smith to predict the best player to emerge from the 2012 MLB draft.He offered two guesses: Byron Buxton, the Georgia high school outfielder picked by the Twins, and the Nats' Lucas Giolito.As Ol' Blue Eyes used to say, "It was a very good year."

  123. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Self-serving but absolutely true statement about the post-season by Billy Beane:"My sh*t doesn't work in the playoffs."The basic premise of MLB is that it takes 162 games to separate the wheat from the chaff. Until 1968, the leagues had no divisions and you were guaranteed a match-up of the top two teams. The institution of the play-offs weakened this, but it still was fairly common to have match-ups of the top teams, or what were arguably the top teams in the World Series, although there were some glaring exceptions like 1973, which were slightly ameliorated by adding two more games to the format.By the time they put the second layer of the play-offs in, MLB had basically blown their model up. While this should have been clear from the beginning, it wasn't because the Yankees had amazing success in the early years of new format. Still, there have been far too many wildcard teams advancing and winning it all. I do think the play-in game will go a long way towards remedying this.

  124. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Have to agree completely with JD's post at 12:18. Also I like the Buc's and McCutchen. As for Harper as I posted at 8:50 its a tough choice but I would rest him more right now. Harper has never played this many games before. I don't care if he is 19 and a ball of fire a 162 game season is both mentally and physically tough. Harper may think he is fine but he is not the best person to make that assessment.As for Zimmerman many of you have made very good observations about him and he may be hurting but I'm still not sure he is just coming out of his almost routine hot streak that he normally has in July. Almost all hitters especially power bats are streak hitters, yes there are a few HOF'er that you can point to that aren't but as rule this is true. Only Zimmerman might know if he is hurt and he is not going to make it public unless they put him on the DL.

  125. hiramhover - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    GhostBut remember, Wang was signed early Nov., before EJax (who didn't sign til Feb) and before the trade for Gio (Dec). So the rotation at the time consisted of JZimm, SS, Lannan, and Detwiler.

  126. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    JD, I thought the 2011 Phoolies were the best team and they were quickly ousted.They also had the best MLB record. The 1st round of the playoffs is my 3 best against your 3 best in terms of pitching.I would say the Nats will still stack up well.

  127. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Consider that Wang was going to be the #5 to begin 2012 and Detwiler to the bullpen and Stammen to AAA to start the season if Wang wasn't injured. Do you recall that?Revisionist history. At the start of ST, Wang, Det and Lannan were competing for the #5 starter slot. None of them was a "given". Depending on how that competition played out, bullpen moves might have been required that might have impacted Stammen. But again, none of that was pre-ordained.As it happened, Detwiler won that competition with an assist from Wang getting hurt. No bullpen move was needed since Wang went to the DL and Lannan to AAA.

  128. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    "When Desmond returns Lombo goes to the bench; we all agree that neither Desmond nor Espinosa make good leadoff hitters and they hit better down in the order (preferably 6 and 7). I think that only leaves 1 option for leadoff; Jayson Werth."Davey does not have an ideal solution, but he does have options. Werth, Harp and Bernie all can get on base. It's a given that Werth will be in the lineup, and that either Harp or Bernie will be starting, as well, with Lombo back on the bench when Desi returns. Harp and Bernie have the speed and proven base-stealing ability, but Werth is plenty fast enough and may be the best base runner of them all.But Werth is the proven situational hitter who can move runners along. Harp needs to start slapping those outside pitches to LF as he was doing earlier in the season. The kid is a team player who, above all, wants to win. It might make sense for Davey to put him in the leadoff slot to encourage him to start looking opposite field, again. He has had that mind set, all along, but the execution has not been there, of late.If Harp flops at leadoff, Bernie can give it another try, at least on a trial basis. But Desi and Danny have a proven history of being most productive in the 6-7 slots. The experiment to move them to the top of the order has come and gone, IMO. It was a failure. They are free swingers with relatively low OBPs. Harp, Werth and Bernie can all work the count and draw BBs, are all proven base runners with plenty of speed and base running smarts.I don't know the players as well as Davey does, but the skill sets show that Werth is a better situational hitter, and would be best utilized in the 2-hole. Harp is not a power hitter, yet. He will be, maybe by next year. But he has not been knocking 'em out of the park this year. He was a much better hitter when he was looking to slap those outside pitches to left, and he even has enough power to knock 'em over the wall, once in a while.Harp and Bernie are the 2 most likely hitters the Nats have who could be productive leadoff guys – high OBPs and plus base runners, with their lack of consistent power numbers not an issue, as long as they can get on, get over, and get in. All 3 have proven they can do that, but Werth, as the best situational hitter, is the logical 2-hole guy.

  129. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    hiram, yes I remember and once EJax was signed Wang needed to be traded.

  130. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Laddie,I had a conversation with Phil Wood after a game and he had the same suggestion you do about using Harper as a lead-off hitter. I was kind of surprised and suggested Werth instead but Phil knows a lot about baseball and he knows the Nats pretty well so I can't completely discount it as not a good idea.Hopefully Desmond gets well soon so we can see how Davey handles this "problem".

  131. JD - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Ghost, I don't think CMW is that big of a deal. It was a gamble that looked like it might work for a time and then it didn't. I think he was signed because Rizzo didn't want Lannan in the rotation and he didn't fully trust Detwiler at the time. I agree with NL that he will still end up in someone's rotation even next year; there are so many lousy starters out there. He won't get a guaranteed contract but he'l be ok. I predict that none of: Lannan, Jackson or CMW will be with the Nats next year and if they don't go after Bourne (they shouldn't) the can afford to bring someone pricey like EJax in especially if they don't bring ALR back.

  132. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Oh and an update: Gio will be on SVP show at 3:30

  133. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    JD, your 2nd paragraph is why I wonder why Riz just didn't trade him in February as teams would have taken him for a #20 type prospect.

  134. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    JD, we didn't succeed the first go-round with the Pirates. Some other guys besides McCutch have started to produce offensively. We succeeded with the Reds because Scott Rolen behind him was hitting like .150 at the time and we could pitch around Votto–and we did. The Pirates also have some good pitching (team ERA 3.60), their bullpen is at 2.99 ERA. Bullpen is key in playoffs where teams are only using their three (or four) best starters. So if they have a below average starter, we won't see him. I would not take them lightly.

  135. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    JD,I agree Lannan and CMW are gone and most likely EJax unless he'll take fewer years to try and get a ring. In fact a few of the moves the Nationals make will change if they, by good fortune, happen to win the WS. I look forward to the day that this board has a Bourne discussion I'm on the fence with his signing. I see the negatives and the positives but taking him from the Braves gives them a big hole to fill.

  136. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Ghost, one thing that I always thought was CMW was going to be the #5 after Ejax/Gio came on board. I thought Det/Lannan were going to be the insurance. Det fits Rizzo's pitcher mode and although Lannan doesn fit that mode, he is a good #5. Was it money down the toilet – for this year – yes. But like NatsLady said you never know who will be the next Ben Sheets (and for that matter, Ben Sheets could be CMW next year). Worth a shot, didnt' seem to be blocking anyone, and hey we love spending the Lerner's money :-)

  137. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Fox, bourn, I am on the fence as well, and when the off season starts and the domino's start to fall – starting with what happens with ALR -this board will go nuts.

  138. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    2/3 of the old CMW is better then most 5th starters in baseball. It was risk reward the risk of the pick-up was worth the possible reward. No reason to ever trade him again 2/3 of him better than anything you could ever get and it was sunk money at that point. Here's a nice pick up that cost nothing and any team could of had him in 2011, Ryan Vogelsong.

  139. JD - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    NL, They have had success of course but they have only outscored their opposition by 32 runs all year. If I played them I would take my chances with Neil Walker, Gaby Sanchez, Travis Snyder and Pedro Alvarez. No matter what I would tell my pitchers: 'don't get beat by Andrew McCutchen. I am not taking any one lightly but in a matchup between Gio,JZim,Jackson against Burnett,Mc.Donald, Bedard, Rodriguez we should come out ahead.

  140. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Michele,I agree it a discussion better left for another day. ALR also is an interesting topic which I think changes drastically if the Nat's have a very fortunate year.

  141. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    MicheleS, the season isn't over. I don't think Ben Sheets will be dominant in every start.

  142. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    No team in baseball would pick the Nats as the team they want to face in the playoffs because of our pitching staff. None of the NL teams scare me. If I had my choice we'd face the Rangers and we would have perfect karma.

  143. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  144. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Listening to Atl fans, they can't afford to keep him (bad TV contract, poor attendance, corporate owners who won't spend), especially if they don't get a financial boost from the playoffs–they need to get more than the one-gamer.So they'll have the hole, Bourn will go somewhere, the question is, is our team a fit?

  145. ChiefWJ - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Under the CBA, a newly-signed free agent cannot be traded until June 15 without the player's consent. Even then, I think it has to be a trade for another player under MLB contract, not a prospect. Since Wang was a free agent when signed for 2012, the rule would apply to him.—-"once EJax was signed Wang needed to be traded"

  146. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    NatsLady,He fits just fine the question I think is for how long and how much.

  147. karlkolchak - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Yikes! Bourn = No WAY, Jose (or Jorge, if you prefer).That dude is another Carl Crawford-type having a huge walk year season waiting to happen. Two reasons the Nats should not sign him:1). At some point they will have to start budgeting for the huge salary increases that will be due J-Zimm, Storen, Detwiler, Strasburg, Espinosa, Desmond, Ramos and Clippard as they hit arbitration eligibility in the next year or two.2). They have a top CF prospect in Goodwin at Harrisburg already. Goodwin likely will not be ready by the start of next year, but I could easily see him getting a midseason call up and working his way into the lineup permanently after that.Blowing $100+ million on Bourn makes no sense.

  148. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    ChiefWJ, you are correct. CMW signed exactly at the point he could not be traded. I remember thinking at the time it was a smart move.

  149. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Re: EJax. This covers his situation.Teams that offer a contract with an annual average value of more than $12.4 million to a free agent from their team will receive a first-round draft pick as compensation if that free agent signs elsewhere. The $12.4 million figure is the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in the league. That figure will rise yearly as salaries rise.

  150. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    NatsLady said… Re: EJax. This covers his situation.Also covers LaRoche if the mutual option is not picked up.

  151. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    I believe this covers LaRoche, if his contract is not renewed (because he would return to free agent status). So, in order to get the compensatory pick, the Nats would have to make him the offer.In order to receive a compensatory draft pick for the loss of a free agent to another team, a player must have been on a team for the entire season preceding his free agency. He must also decline an offer by his team of one guaranteed year at a salary greater than or equal to the average salary of the top 125 salaried players for the year in which he becomes a free agent. Had the system been in place this year, that amount would have been approximately $12.4 million. If those requirements are met, the team losing such a player would receive compensation in the draft the following year.

  152. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    That's as much research as I have time for right now. I bet it's higher than $12.4 million this year, someone with a spreadsheet can maybe do that math.

  153. Drew - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Karlkolchak:I don't know that Bourn would be the wreck of the Carl Crawford — or if the Edmund Fitzgerald, for that matter.That said, I wouldn't go get him, given that Goodwin likely will be our SpeedyMcLeadoff in 2014.Ideally, LaRoche would return for one more year, then give way to Morse, opening cf for Goodwin. But I certainly understand if LaRoche wants to take his 30 homers, 100 RBIs and good glove to the open market.

  154. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 10, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    NatsLady,Don't need a spreadsheet; others have done the work. According to MLBTradeRumors.com, the number for a 'qualifying offer' is now expected to be in the $13.3 to $13.4 million range.

  155. JaneB - Aug 10, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I for one hope they make an offer to ALR and that he accepts.

  156. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    This funny. Headlines you would read if the season started in July. albert-pujols-good-bryce-harper-badhttp://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/8/10/3233654/albert-pujols-good-bryce-harper-bad

  157. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 10, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Goodwin has not produced since moving up to AA after tearing up low A competition. He has the pedigree, but he has to produce at the high minors before he will be moved up. It appears he needs 2 more years, since his lackluster production at AA this year probably means a repeat of AA next year.The Nats are loaded in the OF now, with Werth, Harp, the Beast, and the Shark in the bigs, and Corey Brown and Eury Perez both performing well at AAA. Perez will see the bigs before Goodwin, and Brown already has. Both will be called up next month, and both will get a close look in ST next year. I think Brown makes the team, and could be the starter, depending on who is, or is not, traded, over the winter. He is ready.Any one of Morse, the Shark, Brown or Perez could be trade bait this winter. Goodwin will not be traded, IMO. He has the best profile for a leadoff guy of all of them. But it does not appear that he will be ready by 2014, based on his performance in AA, thus far. They may have rushed him a bit.They need Bourne like they need an extra pinky. And they can use the money much more productively on other players, like their stellar starting rotation, or extending the contracts of other players already on the team.If past is prologue, Rizzo will not blow the bank on a FA this winter. Werth was an exception. Rizzo needed to make a statement, and he did. He doesn't need to do that, again, and he won't. Ask CJ Wilson, Mark Buerhle, or Prince Fielder.Instead of Wilson or Buerhle, Rizzo got a younger, better, and cheaper Gio Gonzalez, and then made a 1-year commitment to EJax. He saved money and retained his managerial flexibility, while getting better players than were otherwise available in the over-heated FA market. He chose to go with ALR rather than break the bank for Fielder. ALR has more HRs than Fielder and is orders of magnitude better with the glove than Prince.He made all the right moves, and none of the wrong moves. Anyone who thinks they know what Rizzo will do should remember that someone told Mark the Nats were not in the hunt for a backup catcher or a middle infielder just days before Rizzo traded for a catcher and signed a middle infielder.All I know is what Rizzo will not do, based on his history and his stated goal of building a team for the long haul, preferably from within. He will not go for quick fixes by throwing money away on FAs, especially when he has built an inventory of talent already under contract, both in the bigs and in the minors.Hey! It worked! Why would he change a winning formula now?

  158. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    ghost, agree, Sheets could fall back to earth, but right now he hasn't. We thought CMW showed promise at the end of last season which is why he was brought back this year and it didn't work out this year.. Sheets may do the same thing next year

  159. smurff - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    The comment board is exploding on Stark's ESPN article about shutting down Strasburg….

  160. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  161. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    That would be this article:Call it the never-ending debate

  162. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I think we get BJ this off-season for couple of seasons at least, let ALR go, and move Morse to first.I don't see point in trading Morse right now. He is a better offensive player than ALR. I think he can handle himself at 1B, so we might be OK infield defense-wise too.

  163. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Some scout is supposed to have said of Bourn, he strikes out too much, isn't a high OBP guy, and he's 30 and won't get any faster. That's three good reasons the Nats shouldn't waste money on him. He might make sense for some team that thinks they need him in order to contend — in fact, like the Braves, who will be losing CJones and who knows who else, and don't have a SS. Lots of holes. The Nats can contend w/out Bourne and may be the odds-on favorite to win it. The fact the Braves don't seem anxious to keep him is another sign the Nats should steer away.

  164. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Faraz — Why are you anxious to recycle someone else's trash they're anxious to get rid of?

  165. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    LOL I am guessing you are referring to BJ. I honestly don't think he is all that bad. Yes, he shares some bad traits that our offense already has, high SO, average OBP. But I like his potential and he is definitely better than any other CF available out there. Also he improves our OF defensively, puts Harper and Werth in their places (corner OFs), gives our minor league CF options time to develop. Anyways, all 3 statements were assumptions on my part. I am not hoping Nats make these moves or against it but I think they are likely.

  166. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Hope you're wrong.

  167. phil dunton - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Discouraging: That Henry Rodriguez has not been DFA'd!

  168. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Phil, with DL creativity they wont need to DFA Henry.

  169. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Fox"I had a conversation with Phil Wood after a game and he had the same suggestion you do about using Harper as a lead-off hitter."I would not even think about it with any other 19-year-old besides Harp. If Davey sat him down and explained that the team had everything it needed, except for a productive leadoff man, I think Harp would put all of his considerable energy and baseball smarts into figuring out how to be the best leadoff guy Davey has ever seen.Some guys put pressure on themselves to perform, like Danny, who was, IMO, hurt by the switch to leadoff. But Harp relishes challenges. He would not put pressure on himself, but would, instead, concentrate his efforts on managing his game to help the team. Harp's approach would be to treat it more as a mental and physical challenge than as an emotional test of his mettle. If he is given a baseball problem to give focus to his talents, his baseball smarts, and all that energy, my guess is that he does the job, or dies trying.He would further gain the respect and support of the entire clubhouse if he pulled it off. And even if he didn't, they would appreciate his effort to play his game to help the team win. He would be at least as productive as Lombo has been, IMO, and probably a lot better.

  170. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    MicheleS, less than 12 starts for a pitcher is a small sample size. I give Sheets credit for his comeback so far but it's too soon to annoint him a success much like Wang last year in Wrigley.

  171. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Ghost, not annointing Sheets, again, he could be CMW next year. I think give Sheets a few more starts and other teams may be able to develop more of a book on him. I would see how he does in the last few starts of September.

  172. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    MicheleS, that's my point, let's see what he does the next month and so on.

  173. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Outside of Beachy and overthrowing Venters last year, the Braves are now fairly healthy. Will Chippers knee make it and Heywards legs and Kimbrels arm and Sheets arm.

  174. Swift Eagle - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I don't think it really matters who bats lead off, now, or down the road. Many MLB mangers say batting order doesn't really matter very much…The lead off hitter is only guaranteed to bat 1st once a game…Besides, the way the Nats pitchers are batting, they almost never make the last out of an inning anyway!

  175. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Ben Sheets, always liked him and though he was underrated but he can't stay healthy. He threw his first minor league game on July 4th this year after a 2 year break from pitching. He has done very well in the 32 innings he has pitched but I would not put the rent money on him to finish the season.

  176. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Eagle, I've been trying to say that for—FOREVER. I think it matters some that you have a couple of fast get-on-base types ahead of the (slower) power types, but beyond that, not much. Maybe .5/game per season, and that's less important than how a player sees himself, in other words his preference. I think I posted the references once to the stats on lineup order, a guy did a heavy statistical study on the subject, and I have it somewhere.

  177. smurff - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Alright, who's been over on the ESPN site with me commenting on the Strasburg thing? A bunch of Nats fans over there defending our honor….

  178. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Hey folks.. Remember.. NATS50 is good on Papajohns.com today.. Just fed the Family for at least 2 days cheaply! God, I love freebies.Anywho.. Natslady/Eagle, heard Joe Maddon (weirdwuss) on the radio and he said the exact same thing about lead off.

  179. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    NatLady and Eagle,I've seen the study before and one of the things which is left out is the number of AB the lead-off hitter gets in a season compared the bats hitting 4th or later. Really good and healthy lead-off hitters get over 700 AB's a season. These extra AB's are worth more than .5/game a year. This year Espinosa leads the team in AB's and may cross 600 which for the National's will be the best in 3 years.The last rating I saw of the lead-off position by each team not the individual player but position the Nationals ranked 19th and I don't think any competitive team ranked worse. This is a week spot for the team which does not have a lot of week spots so it is one of the easier weakness to improve.

  180. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Smurff.. Looks like there are plenty of knowledgable Nats Fans passing on some great knowledge and sound reasoning on ESPN article. It's great.

  181. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    BREAKING: Yahoo reporting Rizzo says Strasburg won't, exceed 180 innings.

  182. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Ghost, yup.. That means if he goes 6 innings per game, we got just under 9 starts left. He could make it to the end of the season on that. Plus he is bound to have one pooper where he gets pulled early.

  183. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Or maybe he skips a start or 2 and gets to pitch Post-season

  184. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Correction PA instead of AB. AB's would run around 680 or so. PA is the correct stat.

  185. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Ghost, don't even want to think about that possibility.. don't even want to mention the "P" word until we actually are there (even though my credit card just got a BIG FAT HIT for tickets).

  186. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    smurff, went over and did my best. So tired of the Stras topic.

  187. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    MicheleS, pa, pah, p, P-word

  188. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    I think Rizzo got sick of the Braves fans counting Nats games in September.This just ratcheted the debate to a new level.

  189. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Fox, that's a different issue. There is a case to be made for having your best hitter lead off because of the extra AB's, and I'm not sure why it's not done. Why don't Votto and McCutchen lead off? But people who say we need a "prototypical" lead-off guy usually mean a speedy guy who hits singles, takes walks (high OBP), looks at a lot of pitches, and if he can steal a base or two, extra credit. That guy is not (usually) the best hitter for average and power on the team.

  190. baseballswami - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Did you see what the Phillies did to Mike Morse? – They challenged a scoring decision from 8/2 – a hit was changed to an error and now his hit streak is only 7. They are just evil.

  191. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Did anyone from the Stros challenge Espy's error? They should want their guy to have a hit, right?

  192. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    baseballswami, no kidding. 8 days later.

  193. tayo - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    really Phillies? I mean what possibly could be their motivation for doing this?

  194. smurff - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    Yea, NatsLady, I thought I recognized you over there. The "Strauss" comment was you, right?

  195. The Fox - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    NatsLady,The reason most people don't have their best hitter lead-off, and some people advocate for this, is the run generating power numbers. But it is why almost ever teams best hitter bats 3rd and not 4th. You always get to come up in the first inning if you bat 3rd. Players who bat 3rd have a lot more PA then those who bat 4th that where the drop off occurs. In fact the numbers drop off rather quickly as you move down the line up, that is why LaRussa could do his little trick of batting the pitcher 8th because it really did not make any real difference at that point.If you have an excellent lead-off man your best power bat the guy hitting 4th gets 30 or 40 more time up to the plate and if he is good that can change a few games.

  196. baseballswami - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    I honestly don't know why you would want your own defense to have another error. It's popping on twitter now so maybe Mark will explain at some point.

  197. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Swami, makes Hamels have fewer earned runs. Yet another reason to hate COLBERT

  198. tayo - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    So did Morse score on that error/run cause thats the only reason I see. even then it's not like that single run greatly affects that pitchers era. They have no pitcher in Cy Young talks this year so why?

  199. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    baseballswami, i agréé that. it lowered Hamels ERA about 9 points.

  200. Zection 3, My Zofa - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    I thought a scorer's decision had to be changed within a fairly short time, like 48 hours? Apparently not.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

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WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
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SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
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