Skip to content

Thunder at the plate, thunder in the stands

Aug 18, 2012, 4:35 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Michael Morse’s four-run blast gave the Nationals the lead and ignited the crowd.

The crowd of 34,827 — which certainly looked and sounded more like a sellout crowd — began to rise as Michael Morse stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth Friday night.

The crescendo grew as Morse took a ball inside from Johan Santana, then broke his bat fouling another one off, then took a mighty hack at an 89 mph fastball at the letters.

As the ball sailed over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center, the first grand slam of the season by the Nationals, the roar turned deafening. And it didn’t let up until Morse was coaxed out of the dugout for a two-arms-raised-followed-by-a-twirling-fist-pump curtain call that brought the emotions out of even the most-hardened members of the Nationals.

“That was awesome,” Jayson Werth said. “From third base, I was probably just as excited as all the fans.”

Why shouldn’t they all be excited? Morse’s four-run blast put the Nationals on top and put them on course for a 6-4 victory over the Mets to start this homestand off in fine fashion and catapult the local ballclub to 29 games over the .500 mark.
Read more

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. peric - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    Morse is definitely hot and getting hotter.Yes, pRFooBar here come those ISO stats splits again:June .140 ISOJuly .181 ISOAug .250 ISO after tonight.

  2. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:52 AM

    Great wrapup, Mark. Werth's comment that he was "just as excited as all the fans" says it all. This team enjoys playing for each other, surprising everybody and, obviously, winning. This is Sweep City, and it's all just a warmup act for dissecting those Barves next week.GYFNG!!

  3. NatsNut - Aug 18, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Hey Mark, in light of the increase of just about everything fan related this year, I'm curious how much of an increase in page views you've noticed.

  4. sjm308 - Aug 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    I love Werth's quotes both in the beginning and end of this article. Great to hear a veteran admit he is excited and his quote at the end hit the nail on the head. This IS why you play the game. OK lads, win today and its another series. That is honestly all we need to do. Win each series and it will take care of business. Go Nats!! Go Playoffs!

  5. sjm308 - Aug 18, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Peric – again, for an old man. What exactly does ISO stand for and how is it calculated? Thanks in advance.

  6. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Isolated Power (ISO) is a measure of a hitter’s raw power. Or, to look at it another way, it measures how good a player is at hitting for extra bases. The simplest way to calculate ISO is to subtract a player’s Batting Average from their Slugging Percentage, which leaves us with a measure of just a player’s extra bases per at bat.http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/offense/iso/

  7. natsfan1a - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Yeah, this whole pennant race thing is all right. Looked like the place was really rocking. A few times it sounded like people were cheering obvious flyouts in anticipation of dingers, and I thought it must be the bandwagon fans, but then I thought maybe they were cheering the out-of-town scoreboard (btw, stupid Dodgers). I felt a little bad for Santana in the 4th and 5th, but I got over it pretty fast. Atta way, Nats. Will be out and about all day but plan to be at the park tomorrow. Have fun if you're there tonight!

  8. Darin H - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Seriously, why won't the Braves LOSE a friggin' game?!?!?

  9. RickH - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    A win tonight is another series win AND puts us THIRTY (!) games above .500. GYFNG!!!

  10. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Interesting thing about Santana. Older guy, but coming off of a surgery. Pitched the no hitter – went an enormous amount of pitches. Hasn't been the same since. Individual accolade – team collapse. Maybe he thinks it was worth it, maybe the Mets do – but it certainly hurt the team and their season. Food for thought? As for our pitcher, I was so glad to see that RossD could struggle a little bit and then pull himself together instead of meltdown totally. As for our closer, bend but don't break. Walking Valdespin wasn't the worst thing that could happen. I seem to remember Chief Chad scaring us to death. Seems to be a closer thing.

  11. bluejeener - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Doesn't it feel like it was just yesterday that we were breathlessly anticipating/celebrating being 20 games over .500? Now 30 games over seems like both a given, and an insignificant mark towards much loftier goals.

  12. Lisa Fuller - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I was there. It was amazing.

  13. NCNatsie - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Morse and Harper deserve all the press they're getting for their homers last night, but let's not forget what Werth did.As Ray K said several times during the game, Santana was a different pitcher working from the stretch — his velocity lower, his command less sharp. The stts bear him out. Of the fifteen men he got out, fourteen came from the windup. Only his final out — a long fly to left by Morse to end the 5th — was from the stretch, and that came after a visit to the mound by the pitching coach.Okay, but to beat a guy having a night like that, somebody has to get a hit from him working from the windup to start the rally. That was Werth — twice. He's the guy who made Santana go to the stretch, and once he did, the hits didn't stop until someone cleared the bases and he could go back to the windup. The only other windup hit was Zimmerman's single in the 5th, at which point the pitching coach hustled to the mound to try and choke off another rally.

  14. NCNatsie - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Stats, not stts.

  15. NatsNut - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Haha. That's EXACTLY what my Braves fan brother keeps saying about the Nats!Darin H said…Seriously, why won't the Braves LOSE a friggin' game?!?!?

  16. JayB - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    That was fun….crowd was great….it is a worry that the Braves are clearly equal to the challenge. It looks like who wins these head to heads is going to bet the division….that going to be high pressure baseball games. I think we are up to it.

  17. MicheleS - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Responding from previous posts:Lisa Fuller, very jealous, I wish i was there last night as well. Luckily i will be there tonight.Swami, I was at my nephews BDay dinner and was checking scores (and posting), forget about being socially gauche. My family just rolls their eyes at me.ZRegime, I like your vote for the song by 10,000 Maniacs. One of my all time favorites.And for those of you that don't know the song here it is:10,000 Maniacs

  18. Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Let's draft Davey for president, he seems to have all the answers! Seriously though, the way Davey has kept every one on the roster involved, and contributing has been a thing of beauty to observe. He was a little peeved with Harper throwing home again when the situation said to hit the cutoff. So, he'll sit Harp today and give Moore a start. Desmond's return makes for a tough call to sit the very hot Lombardozzi, but Davey can only start nine guys, but made it clear that Lombo will start on Sunday. Bernadina? Though he may get an occasional start, he will probably continue to be called on to do what he does best; come in off the bench, the same with Chad Tracy.As to the crowd last night, it was lively, but in the middle of Michael's at bat it was more then just deafening. They "willed" the home run! Oh, and how sweet it was to see that big galoot hit his helmet as he rounded second! Morse seems to not only have regained his stroke, but also the kid-like, goofy smile that he had all of last summer. What a joy to watch a man have so much fun playing the game

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    For those wondering @7:37 why the Braves won't lose, what do you think the Braves are thinking about the Nats?Keep winning and don't let up Nats.

  20. NatsNut - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I wonder if the Lerners are still shopping the naming rights of the ballpark. I'm guessing with the success of the team, better offers might start coming in. I really, really hope not, though.

  21. TimDz - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    NatsNut…If they had a fair local broadcasting deal, they wouldn't need to worry about a naming rights deal…

  22. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Seems to me it's an advertisement every time you hear something like "Bit of a slow down on 295 near Nats Park." And you'll hear that all winter. So who knows if the Lerners want that free mention or a "sponsor" does.

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    NatsNut, I pondered those thoughts over the winter based on Sports Business Journal saying a Los Angeles football team naming rights are worth $20 million.While Washington DC isn't LA or NYC, the Nats have Strasburg and Harper and winning and a wealthy demographic.Any revenue streams that doesn't involve raising ticket prices can be good for the future of the team and fanbase although stadium naming rights usually isn't a positive to the fanbase in the short-term. It takes a while to set in.

  24. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Brian McNally ‏@bmcnally14I'm just gonna go ahead and assume the #Nats and #Braves will win all of their games for the rest of the season. This is getting out of hand

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Just want to say what a pleasure it was to meet Joe Seamhead and his lady last night. Also Steady Eddie and his daughter. Thanks for stopping by.It's always great to put faces with our NI companions.GO NATS!

  26. BigCat - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Braves won't go away. Series coming up is gonna be huge. Good to see The Kid backRendon 2-18 in AA. Scole 2-17 in Potomac

  27. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    There was a notice on the scoreboard that the Sept. 1 (Saturday) game has been chanced to a 4:05 start–which means I probably can't go. Anyone know why? TV?

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Guess who leads the Major Leagues in ERA today?

  29. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    There was a tweet last night by FP, who was not around for the game. It was something like – Braves keep winning and that's a good thing to keep the Nats sharp. If you run away and hide you can't ramp back up again. He referenced the October 2011 Phils. Good point. Michele at 7:41 – my family would have understood. Not these folks. I actually had to "get something from my car" once and made a few trips to the restroom early in the evening.All before Mikey's slam! I am sure they thought I had stomach "issues" – I just had Nats issues! One of them even commented that they were so impressed I was not obsessed with the Nats game. Only felt a little guilty. Sat in the driveway scanning info on my phone before I could leave! And Ghost – I'll bite — who?

  30. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Could it be — Jordan???

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Baseballswami, correct! Can you believe that?

  32. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Absolutely!!!! So awesome.

  33. 320R2S15 - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Anybody read the Wapo yet this morning? With all the good will and exitement about this team and the big win last night, the big story in the post was about the new quarterback beginning to understand his recievers…are you kidding me. Then, on a side bar to the front page of the sports section, there is a story about last nights Nats game. Ok, it's the post so I don't expect much, but the idiot who wrote the story, James Wagner, decides to call the hero from last year, and indeed last night, "the long haired and goofy hero". what an a$$. (sorry MicheleS)I'm kinda wondering what this guy looks like. Leave it to the post to take the joy out of a great win and story. they can call the Beast whatever they want, there is nothing in this world goofy about him.

  34. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    That attendance number can't be right. I was picking up my tickets (last minute decision to go) at about 5:40, and I overhead the next ticket window telling someone that all that was left was President's Club. (Luckily we had called in our order at 4:30.) Not to mention what the stadium looked and sounded like after the homers. Speaking of sound, will someone please tell management that "Everybody, clap your hands!" went out in elementary school. If we're smart enough to come to the ballpark to see the game, we're smart enough to know when to clap. {Soapbox mode off.}GYFNG!ArvaFan

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    This pitching staff is incredible. Detwiler wasn't even assured a starters job and continues to impress. After an ugly 1st inning and a failure of Nats batters to get hits for 3 innings, Detwiler and Zim's "D" and eventually the 1-4 batters got it done. The team is now 1-0 in Desi's post-DL stint.

  36. Whynat - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Just rewatched the Beast slam. Just before the curtain call Beast is standing next to Werth. Sure seems like Beast says should I go up? Werth approves it.

  37. mick - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    So exciting, all of this!!!Looking forward to watching Phil and Cue-ball head at 10AM, lol

  38. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Yeah, I don't believe 34K. It wasn't a sellout, there were empty seats in the far reaches, but I would have said 37-38K. I been at a fair number of games and I play a game with the ushers in my usual section where I guess the attendance and then look it up. I'm usually right on the money. Wasn't in my usual section, so maybe that was the problem…

  39. Whynat - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    in a prestigious, old school kind of way.

  40. mick - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    with 27 home games left, is it possible Nats will finish top 10 in attendance or higher, anyone want to guess?

  41. Traveler8 - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    One more thing that was fun last night – when Shark came out to pinch hit, some of the players in the dugout were doing shark arms also.

  42. mick - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Philly is number 1 in attn, there are 7 non playoff teams ahead of Nats in attendancewe are at 1.6 million, not bad at all. We have to become like these teams, even when things are tough. Say what you want to about philly, I cant stand them, but wow, they are loyal fans

  43. mick - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    It appears we should surpass 2.5 million in attendance

  44. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    So this is what a pennant race feels like.Looks like a pennant race also feels like the wave. Let's hope the postseason doesn't.

  45. mick - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    pRAA with the ISOI hear you.Nats park needs to sound like Yankee Stadium, I think it will as we go onlike RFK was to Redskins!

  46. mick - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    like Cole Field House to TERPS

  47. Grandstander - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    For those wondering about the attendance, my better half and I frequently go to games and we always bet on attendance when there. We're usually spot on. Last night we put the over/under at 34,500, so I think that was about right (luckily I had the over, BAM!). I think that they're spreading people out more though, which gives the illusion of a fuller park. From where I was sitting, in the upper reaches of 419, you could clearly see lots of empty seats in the 400 level and a bunch in the terrace as well.they can call the Beast whatever they want, there is nothing in this world goofy about him.au contraire

  48. Andrew L. - Aug 18, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    NatsJack, didn't know you were in town. I will be with that same group you met during Spring Training for part of the game.Sitting part of the game with Corey Brown's agents who also happen to rep Jon Niese. Unfortunately no Corey Brown this trip. Probably will sit with them after Niese is pulled from the game.I will send you my cell through your Facebook message so we can meet up.

  49. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    I liked Morse when he was more goofy and played Take On Me for every AB, not just the last one.

  50. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    I like Phil and whatever that ex-pitcher's name is. It's like a radio call-in show except it's on TV. No videos, no charts, just Nats talk.

  51. MicheleS - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. MicheleS - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    320R2S15 the 'Goofy' comment on Morse sort of has been long running. If you read the Journal, about a month back there was a storry about Morse being the practical joker. He dumped 2 bottles of baby powder on Danny when Danny was sitting on the toilet.And YES it is pathetic that a preseason game takes over the front page , but the Nats are going to have to build a solid winning team to get progress in this town, It took the Rangers 40 years to make progress in Dallas over the football team (My Sister lives there and she complained about it forever)

  53. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Yeah, those upper deck seats are filled by families a lot of times. Hard to get families on a Friday night in August if the kids have been at camp all week, even if in town. Those camps wear the kids out.

  54. Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I agree with the Grandstanders "au contraire" [love that pic on the link!]. Anyway, I don't think referring to Morse as "goofy" is insulting. The big galoot is is terrifically goofy in my opinion, and wouldn't want him any other way.NatsJack, it was great to meet you and SteadyEddie, too. I wouldn't mind meeting a few others on the board.I think I might see Nats Lady sometimes. Do you park over by the concrete plant, NL?

  55. MicheleS - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    JoeS.. I always park by the concrete plant! And i will be there tomorrow, so let me know where you are sitting (I cashed in my red carpet rewards seats).NatsLady, not sure if you ever got one of the old time scorecards, but I have one if you want it.

  56. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Seamhead, yes, I do park over there. The parking is free, y'know, and I've never had a problem. Yesterday I wanted the hat so in order to get there early enough I took Metro.

  57. Steady Eddie - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Joe S., great connecting with you and partner last night, and reconnecting with Nats Jack who I met in ST — didn't realize how near a neighbor of Davey's you are! I actually a little competition between my 11 year old and my 28 year old daughters for Nats tix –tho the older one is understandably a little more tuned into some of the game nuances, the younger is an increasingly attentive student, though I need to jog her out of her pre-teen mode periodically. Got a priceless moment with that at the game last night, when after the Beast's granny she seemed to feel the natural order had been reestablished and she could take a little time with her iPod (she is 11, after all). When Werth came up in the fifth, I told her "all we need is a walk and a dinger from Harper to get wings!", but even after JW's single she was back to her iPod. 0-1 count, I took her iPod and said, "now pay attention, Harp can hit one out here and then it's wings!". Y'all know what happened next, which gives me an edge to keep her focused on the finer points of the game….Also one nice moment on our recent vacation, driving back into Maine from Canada, I had put a Nats magnet on the back of our rental car, which was fortunate as the car had New York plates and we were of course driving in deep Red Sox country. The US border guard goes back to look in our trunk, comes back and asks, "I've got a serious question for you: you're from New York but you have a Nationals sticker on your car???" my explanation got a big grin and a wish that the Nats beat the Yanks if they end up in the WS together.

  58. Steady Eddie - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Nats Lady — re your earlier question, yeah, the September 1 game was rescheduled for 4:05 as Fox's national TV game for that Saturday.Which I love as it now lets me get back home in time to catch most of my Wolverines in their opener vs Bama. (M is my one lifelong foray into fanaticism for that pointy-ball game. The pro version doesn't do much for me.)

  59. 320R2S15 - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Ok, maybe a little goofy, but there was nothin goofy about the opo bopo 4… I do not think of Beast as a long haired goof, rather a MLB player who given a chance hits 300 or better. Seems degrading, but perhaps I've missed some of the dialog. Thanks Insiders.

  60. LoveDaNats - Aug 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I had so much fun at the game last night! Morse and his blast put most everyone in my section into hysteria and yeah, we weren't gonna stop till he came out and acknowledged. Gotta admit I also did "shark arms" for Bernadina. It is shark week after all. I think my husband wanted to move several seats away from me, but he was a trooper and stuck with me. I love these Nats! I love these Nats! Finish off the Mets. Get ready for the Barves.

  61. Gonat - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann's MLB rankings: #1 in ERA, #1 in QS, #12 in WinP, #2 in DIP%, #7 in WAR, #6 in BB/K, #5 in BB/9, #15 in FIP, #16 in P/IP, #2 in LOB%, #10 in WHIP, #7 in Velo and a pitcher on the #1 pitching staff in the Majors.As I went through stats, the Nats pitchers were all near the top in different stat categories. Gio is in top 10 in Velo as well as pitch movement giving him great swing and miss.All Nats starters are in the Top 10 in the Majors in average Velo based on 4 seam velocity.When you put Velo, control and movement together with + defense, you have a great pitching staff.

  62. peric - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Peric – again, for an old man. What exactly does ISO stand for and how is it calculated? Thanks in advance.LOL What Natslady said. Given how his sudden power surge happened last year his ISO could continue to increase and then maintain fairly high throughout the playoffs. His hitting crescendo is peaking just at the right time.

  63. Gonat - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Last night was fun and looking forward to tonight. Please, no wave. Next I expect the guy with the red horn blowing it to Lets Go Nats. You can tell the frontrunner fans are now in the house. I guess its good for stadium energy and as Bryce Harper says, he likes playing in front of a loud and energetic home crowd.

  64. Doc - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    So Mark, those writers that picked the Philthies to win the division, are they still working?I thought I saw Keith Law behind the counter at my local 7-11.

  65. Cwj - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Thanks for those stats Gonat!You did my morning's homework for me :-)

  66. Section 222 - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Day trip to the land of the Phans today to visit my aging Mom. But will be checking here and listening to Charlie and Dave tonight on the drive back thanks to the MLB iPhone app. Hope to be in the park tomorrow for the sweep!Enjoy these days everyone. We've earned them.

  67. Gonat - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Cwj said… Thanks for those stats Gonat!You did my morning's homework for me :-)August 18, 2012 11:27 AM ____________________________________Any time. After reviewing the stats, I believe Gio has the best "stuff", Stras has the most overpowering stuff, JZim attacks the zone the best, and Detwiler has tremendous potential.EJax possesses the velocity and pitches but I don't know if he believes in himself. He has to get thru the 1st inning with a low pitch count and no runs to be most effective. All these guys have no-pitch stuff and EJax has already in the no-hit club.

  68. peric - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Looking at adjusted stats taking park and defense into account:Stephen Strasburg 3.24 TRA 17.7 RAAGio Gonzalez 3.40 TRA 16.0 RAARoss Detwiler 3.51 TRA 10.7 RAAJordan Zimmerman 3.78 TRA 10.0 RAAEdwin Jackson 4.34 TRA 0.7 RAAJohn Lannan 4.28 TRA 0.1 RAACM Wang 7.43 TRA -6.4 RAANeedless to say this is extremely good … Total team stats are close to championship caliber but still lag behind what the Philthies managed last year.TEAM : 3.76 TRA 49.0 RAABut, its actually better than what the Philthies did because the Nats pitching staff is so much younger and as we keep hearing out of Strasgate Mike Rizzo's plan ensures continuous improvement on a kind of Star Trek 5 year mission. They are still very young but will eventually gain experience and will hopefully be continuously replenished with top young talent from below. Noting the vast improvement in Ross Detwiler's pitching. According to these stats he is slightly more effective than Jordan Zimmermann. Andimproving. That's actually really huge for the Nats. Instead of a potential #5 starter he now looks like a #3 and should be considered the guy whowill be "eating" Stras' innings after shutdown. He's earned it.Another side note to the Stras shutdown I guess we now know why EJax switched agents. He probably was never very happy about being sold to Nats ownership as the Stras post shutdown innings eater. He definitely looks like a #5 starter right now. I really don't expect EJax back but there's still time and you just never know.Best four relief pitchers? Only 1 surprise for most of you:Tyler Clippard 2.29 TRA 12.6 RAASean Burnett 2.48 TRA 9.2 RAACraig Stammen 3.61 TRA 4.9 RAAMichael Gonzalez 2.68 TRA 4.3 RAAAfter these four everyone else is well blow average with Tom Gorzelannyslightly below.Relief Pitching Team 3.93 TRA 13.4 RAAImprovement needed here before any playoff run. Thus, Davey continues to work on rehabbing Storen. Mattheus needs to start pitching as he did at the end of last season and the beginning of this season. I'm afraid this is likely going to be critical given the strength of the Braves and Reds bullpens.

  69. Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    MicheleS, we won't be in our normal seats tomorrow, but in 318. I'll be with my wife and grandson.I plan on wearing a grey Johnson jersey. This will be his 8th birthday present, first MLB game, and we plan to get there pretty early, do the kid's area thing, treat him to a jersey, or whatever he wants. I really would like to make this as memorable for him as I can, both as a special day with the grand-grups, and as memory as having gone to a game during the Nats very special season.

  70. Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Also, does anyone know the procedure is as far as what hoops you have to jump through for the kids to run the bases after the game?

  71. WA2CHI - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    To run the bases, you just have to go out the right field gate and get in line. And wait. And bring your ticket

  72. Gonat - Aug 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    peric said…Another side note to the Stras shutdown I guess we now know why EJax switched agents. He probably was never very happy about being sold to Nats ownership as the Stras post shutdown innings eater. He definitely looks like a #5 starter right now. I really don't expect EJax back but there's still time and you just never know._______________________________EJax got coaching from Dave Duncan last year and Steve McCatty this year. I don't think its the teacher if you know what I mean.Again, he possesses the ability, but lacks consistency particularly in the 1st inning.Listen to his interview yesterday on 106.7. I didn't come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling about him. Finish strong my friend! 9 more regular season starts to go!

  73. Gonat - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    2 rarities from yesterday was the #1, #2, #3 batters all getting on base with hits and the cleanup #4 hitter driving them all in with a Grand Slam.Also, in all 3 of Michael Morse's career Grand Slams, Jayson Werth was on base.

  74. TheManBearPig - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    On the Washington Post's mobile site, the top sports section headline is, inexplicably, about college football rankings but the next two are nats. An historic first, Bob Griffin is nowhere to be found on the front page, but is undoubtedly occupying the airwaves.

  75. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    OK, I listened to the interview on 106.7. Is this the one? I didn't get bad vibes at all. EJax was funny, seemed happy, said he thought the team could win for years to come as guys played with the same guys, and he "wouldn't mind being a part of it." Said he wanted to eat innings, said he wanted to go deep in games no matter what happened the day before–got the feeling he was referring either to a tired bullpen or the Stras shutdown, but it was his job to focus on his job. He said he had other deals on the table but got "the most money" and the "best situation" here. I still don't know why he left Boras, he didn't say. What am I missing?Here is the link I listened to.audiohttp://washington.cbslocal.com/audio/

  76. Cwj - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I like EJax. He's not the most consistent pitcher by any means, but his numbers are good and he's a very solid number 4.I hope to see the exact same rotation (including Jackson, hope he re-signs) next year.

  77. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    I cracked up when EJax joked about the number of mortgages he'd have if he'd bought instead of renting.

  78. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    NatsLady, not sure if you ever got one of the old time scorecards, but I have one if you want it.MicheleS–Not sure what this is (I use the Bob Carpenter book) but I'd be glad to have one. :) I miss a lot of the giveaways because of my work schedule. I will be in 304, in the ADA section tonight.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I liked where Mike Wise said to EJax "you're like a Karma guy" in talking about where he goes the team wins.

  80. MicheleS - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    NatsLady, It was the giveaway at the throwback game from the Giants game awhile back.

  81. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Ghost, yeah, that was cool, too. Am trying to sneak a look at the CIN game. Small crowd for a fine Saturday afternoon with a first-place team. It's a makeup for a double-header, but, still. They just posted a stat that Samardija's ERA is 5+ for day games and less than half that for night games. Makes you wonder.

  82. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    MicheleS, thanks. I wasn't at that game. Wish I could have been, it looked fantastic on TV.

  83. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I especially liked the throwback uni's they wore in Milwaukee. Very sharp looking! Our lads do old school very well. They all seem to "Harper" on the basepaths, the defense is always backing up plays,they don't hot dog it up out there. No admiring of HR's, no little dances, no "look at me" little hands to the eyes thing ( ala the Fish). They put their heads down and play the game the way God intended it to be played. Amen.

  84. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Interesting….Batting Stance Guy ‏@BattingStanceGWeird. Earlier today, all 6 1st place MLB teams were in 1st when 1994 strike hit.

  85. BigCat - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Can't say I'm a huge Mike Wise fan, but I thought his article this morning on Boras was very insightful. It is a shame agents have gotten this big.

  86. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Victor Conte on Melky Cabrera's steroid suspension, says he knew Melky was cheating, and estimates half of all ML players are cheating. He explains how they avoid detection:http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/story/2012-08-15/Victor-Conte-Melky-Cabrera/57076430/1This is not going to stop until they improve testing and detection methods, and start banning guys for life. You wonder what Melky's numbers would have been had he been playing the game, straight up. I hope they catch 'em all, including any Nats who are cheaters, if any.

  87. BigCat - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Yes, a new milder synthetic testosterone they put on after a game, in a cream or gel. It is absorbed in the blood stream and is gone in 8 hours……so he says.

  88. peric - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Can't say I'm a huge Mike Wise fan, but I thought his article this morning on Boras was very insightful. It is a shame agents have gotten this big.Why is Boras so big? He explained it again, he bypassed the GM and went straight to Ted Lerner, the money, and sold him on EJax. One can see why Bowden hated dealing with him when he was negotiating Danny Espinosa's bonus. Went right over his head.The difference I suspect is that Rizzo is light-years better prepared than Bowden. He can always justify his strategies down to minute details for Ted Lerner. So, he's not going to feel threatened by Boras. Now JimBo Joy rider Leatherpants? Probably not.

  89. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Laddie, I agree whole heartedly. But what "improved" methods, if they are already testing daily and randomly? Spot checks of guys' lockers–is that even legal?Also, it begs the question, if a player can do so much better than expected, is it suspicious if a team does that? OTOH, would that team shutdown a starting pitcher in the playoff run and playoffs?And if it's so rampant, what happened to the Fillies? Do they figure since they're in last place it's not worth the risk, even though their top guys who were injured have come back? This is a depressing topic…

  90. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Why is Boras so big? He explained it again, he bypassed the GM and went straight to Ted Lerner, the money, and sold him on EJax.No, before he went to Lerner he had the deal all worked out with Rizzo. It's Lerner's money, Rizzo can't spend it without Lerner being on board. Rizzo no doubt thought that Boras could make the case better to Lerner directly than he could doing it second hand.This is what Boswell derides as the "board of directors" approach, but frankly it's how all owner-GM relationships operate. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  91. peric - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Laddie, I agree whole heartedly. But what "improved" methods, if they are already testing daily and randomly? Spot checks of guys' lockers–is that even legal?The only way it could be improved would be through the use of hair follicles and/or an actual blood test. If a player protests that might be the first thing they would ask the to do to prove their case?It generally takes about 2 weeks to completely leave your system blood-wise when taken regularly. With hair you might be able to detect usage over longer periods of time.

  92. peric - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    No, before he went to Lerner he had the deal all worked out with Rizzo.It didn't seem to work as well with Bowden … I think you're right. Boras knows Rizzo is well prepared, he accepts that … but there have been documented cases of Boras bypassing the GM and making proposals to ownership. I agree very unlikely in the case of Rizzo and the Nats. Still, it makes me wonder.

  93. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    To amplify, the Jackson signing or any other deals have not happened without Rizzo being on board with them. Same with any deals that occurred during the Bowden/Kasten regime. The Lerners aren't meddlesome owners. The same, of course, cannot be said about all franchises. See the Boston Red Sox for example.

  94. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    "Laddie, I agree whole heartedly. But what "improved" methods, if they are already testing daily and randomly? Spot checks of guys' lockers–is that even legal?"I don't know, and it is a depressing subject. Maybe they could do random tests of a more thorough nature. You could not do it to every player after every game, but if your number came up, they might catch you. The guy to ask that question is Conte, really.But if the Giants had won their division with a guy who led the league in hits, and had a chance at the NL batting title, their title would have been tainted. As it is, their record this year, up to now, is tainted, because Cabrera has had so much to do with their success this season. It makes every outstanding performance suspect, if the cheaters cannot be detected by the standard testing protocol. But they did catch Cabrera, and Ryan Braun, also.The cheaters are cheating the game and the guys who are playing it straight, and the fans who cheer for honest effort and achievement. I am just not willing to accept it. If Ruth could hit 60, Aaron hit 755, Williams hit .406, and Mantle (RH), hit .434 at age 34, without any help, then great players do not need PEDs, and never have.

  95. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    "Also, it begs the question, if a player can do so much better than expected, is it suspicious if a team does that?"That's a problem, isn't it? FWIW, I think Rizzo has traded for and drafted guys who have enough character and talent to play it straight and still win, and I would be very disappointed if that turned out not to be true."And if it's so rampant, what happened to the Fillies?"They got old and they lost key players to injury, and the Nats got better while they were pruning themselves over past successes and scrambling to preserve the status quo. Poor management. Any time there is an organizational failure, that is usually the answer, and whenever there is organizational success, it is almost always primarily attributable to good management. That's why I give Rizzo so much credit here. He deserves it.Assuming cheating by multiple players on multiple teams, the cheating factor tends to cancel itself out regarding competitive advantage on the field. If your players are good enough, they do not need to cheat, and may still win out, all other things being equal. That leaves management as the differentiating factor. The Nats still beat the Giants like a dirty old rug, in spite of Melky's deceit. It's the losers who tend to resort to cheating.

  96. BigCat - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    The article implies that Boras would seek legal action if the Nats don't shut Stra down. Agents get contracts drawn up….it should stop there. It also implies that Boras would take his players elsewhere if things aren't done his way. why not make him GM? Maybe have him do some scouting also.

  97. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    All the big agents have scouts, and excellent training facilities also. I'm not quite sure what your objection is.

  98. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    And, yes, the article implies Boras would take his clients elsewhere, and on the radio, Wise said as much in even stronger terms. If you are representing someone you place them with the best possible "employer" for their best chance at success (financial, health, etc.)–based on your (the agent's) evaluation. If the employer screws with your clients, why would you place future clients with that employer? Nothing in this strikes me as unethical.

  99. natsfan1a - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Seems like just yesterday that I was ecstatic about going over .500 in midseason. (Then the rug was yanked out from under me during the postgame show, but never mind about that part). This is way more fun. :-)bluejeener said… Doesn't it feel like it was just yesterday that we were breathlessly anticipating/celebrating being 20 games over .500? Now 30 games over seems like both a given, and an insignificant mark towards much loftier goals. August 18, 2012 7:19 AM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 17.5
Through Wednesday's games
x-Clinched division title

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

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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

Follow us on Twitter