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More thoughts from last night

Aug 21, 2012, 4:19 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Chad Tracy and Jayson Werth were all smiles at night's end.

Some leftover thoughts from last night's remarkable ballgame, now that I've had a chance to get some rest and come back with a clear mind…

– Everyone's been trying to figure out what Dan Uggla's thought process was on the final play of the game, and what he should have done differently. It was a big topic of discussion inside the Nationals' clubhouse as well.

Did the Braves second baseman have a shot at an inning-ending double play? And if so, was his best chance to tag Kurt Suzuki and then throw to first or throw to second base and have Paul Janish complete the standard 4-6-3 twin-killing? Or should he have simply given up on the idea and just thrown to the plate to get Danny Espinosa?

Here's what Espinosa (a second baseman himself, obviously) said when I asked him if he empathized with Uggla on a play like that: "Yeah, I do. Because when you're playing infield in like that and it's a hot shot and you maybe don't field it cleanly or whatever, then you're immediately thinking the ball got to you so quick you might have a chance for aRead more »

  1. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    The picture is awesome. That is all. :-)

  2. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Everyone's been trying to figure out what Dan Uggla's thought process was on the final play of the gamePicture Homer Simpson. Mmmmm…going home.

  3. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Boz's remarks on attendance (from his chat). Insightful about the Fri-Sat-Sun type town.Was thinking about last night. Because of the weather and schools, you were missing the walk-ups (college and 20-somethings who might go on impulse) and a lot of people who take Metro. Families (especially in VA, where it was really storming) see the rain delay and the long drive home on a school night–OK, TV for us tonight. We haven't gotten to the point yet where people in this ambitious town are willing to take a Tuesday off work and school for the sake of a Monday night baseball game. Boz–This will be interesting. We already pretty much know the answer. The Mets series drew just over 110K for three games. That's quite high for a series against a poor losing team with a pennant-race series on tap. But what it really reflects is traditional D.C. baseball-viewing habits. It's a Fri-Sat-Sun town __entertainment, not thrills and chills.The Nats, depending on walk-up crowds, which depends on weather to a degree, expect maybe 85-to-90K for the three games. "Good tickets still available for all games," as they say. They'd like more. They wonder why such a series isn't selling as much as the Mets. So, the six-game homestand will probably draw about 200K or 33K-a-game which is nice. But it's weird: Atlanta merited the 110K and the mets the ~88K.I've got to admit that it is also "only August." The Braves "only" drew 102K for three games with the 1st-place Dodgers, a better draw than Mets.Nats are 14th in attendance __right at 30K-a-game and virtually certain to jump again next year, but not 30% like this year.The Nats attendance this year is ahead of all the other N.L. East team, except the (once) "Mighty Phils." The Mets are 15th in MLB, the Braves 17th and the Marlins a dismal 18th (and falling) in their new ballpark that was supposed to be a mega-draw.

  4. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Ok, just savoring this — 30 games over .500 on August 21. If we go .500 the rest of the way, and why would we, we're the best team in baseball after all — We finish 96-66! That's way better than anyone predicted at the beginning of the season, even Davey who said he should be fired if we don't make the playoffs. To win 100 games, we just have to go 24-16 (.600) the rest of the way. Very doable the way this team has been playing. Pinch me.

  5. MicheleS - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Mark's Awake! Really appreciate you posting so late last night, today, and well everyday!I hope you got Kolko back last night for that kick me sign!

  6. NCNatsie - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    I was just listening to MLB Radio in my car and they were trying to decide which AL team would be the best matchup for the Nats. How cool is that?Some guy had called in touting a Yankees-Dodgers series and they pretty much dissed him and went right to the Nationals as the most interesting team and it went from there.

  7. MicheleS - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Anybody notice what big hugger Jayson is? He put Espi in a head lock and looked like he was giving him noogies, then he practically bear hugs and tries to lift Chad up. Who knew!

  8. BigCat - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Read Boz's column this morning and it was just as Manassas Nats Fan and I had suspected. Eck was killing out hitters with his techniques…..or lack of. Davey came in here and got it straightened out

  9. Doc - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    So much for all the neganons ripping Eck over the past year. According to Davey, it was Uncle Jimmy who over-ruled Eck who was trying to get the hitters to hit the ball where it was pitched, as opposed Riggleman who wanted them to hit everything to the other side. I guess we're always the last to know!In other news, you have to be impressed with how Davey has organized the pen. They may not have the best arms in baseball, but the way the bullpen crew has delegated roles, each member with a gameplan, frequently works well like last night.Let's put the Braveless a big 7 games behind tonight!!!!GooooooooooooooooooooNats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. fast eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I have the MLB package but am forced to watch the Braves network when we play them since MASN is blacked out in my coverage area (SC).Their announcers were very complimentary of our lineup, youth, and starting pitching. They compared us to the Filthies of 2007 when they were young and had everyone under team control for several years.They see us as the team to beat for years to come. It's a great feeling!

  11. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Question: I know if you send a guy down, he has to stay down for a minimum of ten days (barring injury , I believe). So, hypothetical, it's August 27th and Stammen does pitch 7 innings in a 19-inning game? Can they "send him down," bring up a another reliever for four days, and bring Craig back when rosters expand and he's rested? What are the rules when you get this close to roster expansion and the minor-league season is over?

  12. Ron In Reston - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Got new posted:Ron In Reston said… I read the comments on the AJC as well, most were brutal, I saw our own esteemed Cadide trying to talk them in off the ledge to no avail. Thought this was a funny comment though:If they have a special night for Dan Uggla, they should give away Dan Uggla BobbleHAND toys.Also:NatsLady said… Yeah, that was funny him ignoring Carp about three times on the "But do you like it—?" Forgot what it was, but clearly Knight didn't want to give his opinion. Actually, it was the opposite. Knight asked Carp like three times whether he liked the new one-game "playoff" between the wild card teams. After no response (seemed very awkward) Carpenter started TALKING about the one-game playoff as if knight has never said anything, then KNight asked again, Carp said he didn't like it, Knight concurred and the broadcast went on. It was very strange….I thought maybe I was falling asleep and hearing things.One final thing, I was watching the game in a DVR-delayed mode as my daughter and I were making cookies at the same time. The nice thing about that is you can skip the insipid commercials, but you can't post about the game when you're three innings behind. But I saw where Heyward was in the batter's box (far from the plate) and then saw where Suzuki set up (inside – essentially a meatball pitch) and said to her, "Oh no, that's not right" and in a blink it was gone.She is showing more interest now not only in the games, but in what the announcers are talking about. She already knows that "serious jammage" should be banned from the baseball lexicon and the other day asked me to explain what an opposite field hit was following Morse's grand slam (we were in the car listening so she didn't see it).Man, this is fun. And I concur with the poster (sorry, don't remember who) who said he/she thought we were done with the late night games. As long as they end like this one did, I'll take em every time. August 21, 2012 12:50 PM

  13. Ron In Reston - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Also worth noting that BigCat and Doc can read the same article and hove two completely different takes on it.

  14. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    BigCat said… Read Boz's column this morning and it was just as Manassas Nats Fan and I had suspected. Eck was killing out hitters with his techniques…..or lack of. Davey came in here and got it straightened outIt wasn't Eck's techniques that were killing the hitters. It was the "previous regime's" techniques. No specifics on who this previous regime was, but we can all speculate. But one thing we do know is that Eck was only doing what he was told to by the previous regime. Eck is just the messenger, the teacher. If his ideas were the same as the previous regime's ideas, Eck would be gone. But he's not. He's still here, and both Davey and Rizzo are singing his praises.

  15. Fear and Ignorance - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    What is even more amazing about this season is that if you look at the team roster (and this obviously includes injuries), very few players on this team have really exceeded expectations. Hopefully a good sign for the future. In terms of production only:Catcher-Below expectations1B-Maybe above what people thought from LaRoche, but right on his averages2B-About what was expected…maybe a little above3B-About what was expectedSS-Way above expectationsRF-Below expectationsCF-At expectationsLF-Below expectationsBench-Above expectationsStrasburg-About what most expected…maybe slightly aboveGio-About what most expectedZimmermann-Slighly above expectationsEJAX-About what most expectedDetwiler-About what most expectedStoren-Well below expectationsClippard-About what was expectedMiddle Relief-About what was expectedRemember, this is not so much about the specific player, and injuries are included. I think this is a testament to what Davey said in ST that if they don't make the playoffs that he should be fired. To go even further, if you take away HROD's blown saves, this team would be close to 40 games over .500. This really is a true TEAM!!! To have the best record in baseball without any one player having a career year is pretty remarkable.

  16. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Ron, sorry. That was it, about the one-game play in. I can't imagine any player likes it, but I would assume it brings in fans. I read today that the M's — yes, the M's — are on the "fringes of contention" because the Angels are fading fast and the M's are having a great second half. If the Mariners come anywhere close that would dwarf what the Cards did last year.Nats have the right idea. Win the division. Have the best record in baseball.

  17. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Yes, it's amazing that there is no 5+ WAR player on the team (Gio is closest), no McCutchen, Votto, etc. Very rare–there was a discussion about that on Baseball Today a while back and something like two teams in the last forty years won the WS without a 5 WAR player.

  18. Ron In Reston - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    I agree, NL, except for the fact that you win the division and then have to play your first two playoff games ON THE ROAD. What the heck kind of reward for winning the division is that?? I'm glad that's only for this year, and given our road record, hopefully not an issue.

  19. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Re Uggla's thought processes, his problem was that he had them. What that play ultimately came down to is baseball instincts. As Fredi and NL and others here said, the only only only play is to home. Why? Because once the ball is in play, the runner at third is the only guy on the field who can beat you. The others don't matter on that play. Agree that KSuz's smart baserunning helped to throw Uggla off. But it was when Uggla didn't follow baseball instincts and started thinking that he was lost.

  20. JaneB - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I agree, Ron. If you win the division, you should get first crack at the momentum for that set of playoffs. In other news, last night I was even more glad we have the guys we have and not, say, Michael Bourn. I'm just saying. Interesting to get Espi's take on the Uggla play, Mark. Thanks.

  21. MicheleS - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Looks like our Series in Atlanta will be primetime for Fox on Saturday and ESPN on that Sunday.

  22. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Hey Jane! Saw you from a distance in the Stars and Stripes before the game (burned two of my passes thinking it would be a longer rain delay) but couldn't come over to tell you our news as I was in a concession line. Our news: Diana (our older daughter, for NI imaginary friends) got married yesterday! Just the courthouse thing to get on her (now-) husband's health insurance — the real, expensive party is next month.Are you coming to the game tonight? I'm coming with Di and we'll drop by if you are.

  23. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Keep it simple. If Uggla had made a good throw to home and Espinosa had beaten it out, who–honestly–would have been mapping out the double play that coulda/shoulda been? No one, probably. And if he gets Espinosa then Kimbrell comes in for the K, and Davey ends up using Jackson…etc….

  24. The Z-Mantis! - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    It's not instinct. Like playing the infield in, for instance, is not instinct, it's a decision. You have to know before the ball is pitched what you're going to do. If you have to assess in the moment, well, this is what happens as often as not. Uggla said he was figuring, on a hard-hit ball right at him, he could get the GIDP and end the inning, but he didn't execute it. But the play was still at the plate, because they were already playing in, and if he comes up with the ball cleanly and makes a decent throw, he gets Espinosa at home (I looked at it a couple of times, and I am convinced he does get that out with a clean play).

  25. The Z-Mantis! - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    What's food like in the Red Porch? I've never eaten there.

  26. Scooter - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    natsfan1a said…The picture is awesome. That is all. :-) Leprechaun chasing a Troll. Love it.

  27. The Z-Mantis! - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    If Uggla had made a good throw to home and Espinosa had beaten it out, who–honestly–would have been mapping out the double play that coulda/shoulda been?Oooh, I know, I know!! These people!

  28. The Z-Mantis! - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Steady Eddie, congrats to her!

  29. fast eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    As a follow-on to NatsLady and F&I's comments:We have NO top-ten leaders in any batting category except LaRoche (HR and rbi's). However, the TEAM is 5th in BA and 1st in pitching with 3.25 ERA. Also second in fewest errors (Braves are first).So, no easy outs in the lineup except maybe catcher, and we can live with that if they manage the game and throw out an occasional runner.

  30. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Z-Mantis — it's instinct informed by thinking that has to take place before the play. In a situation where the ball is hit that hard — which you have to anticipate is a possibility before the play — ou have to have decided already what you will do in that situation. You don't have time to make a conscious decision. A cleanly fielded pickup and on-target throw home could well have gotten Danny. Add in any time spent deciding, not likely.

  31. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I agree that it makes no sense that the top-seeded team has to play its first two NLDS games on the road. And so does MLB. That schedule is for this year only. Since the WC play-in was agreed to after the playoff schedule was set with the networks etc.,, they couldn't build in another travel day to do the standard 2-2-1 playoff for the NLDS. It does set up an interesting quaundry for the number 2 and 3 seeded division winners — would you rather play your first two games at home, or a possible Gave 5 at home? Not an easy decision, but it could lead to some gamesmanship (or alleged gamesmanship) on the last days of the regular season. (Good thing baseball isn't badminton.)I love the new WC format and really don't understand why people would rather have retained a system where:1. There was no incentive to win your division if you have a lock on the WC, often making September baseball pretty much meaningless.2. A division winner with the best record in the league gets nothing for its efforts other than home field advantage and might not even play the team with the fourth best record in the league if that WC team comes from its own division. Now, just think about this. If the season ended today, the Nats would face the Braves again in the NLDS, as long the Braves survive the WC game having used their best available starter to win that game. I like that advantage.

  32. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Z-Mantis. thanks on the congrats. I did pay for the brunch afterwards, the tiniest foretaste of bills to come (or already paid, for that matter….).Re "who would complain", had the situation been reversed, we know the answer on this site!

  33. The Z-Mantis! - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    OK. I wouldn't call that "instinct" myself, but I agree with that assessment.

  34. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    One of the Brave fan commenters on the AJC site makes a good point. Shouldn't Fredi have brought in Kimbrell to face Tracy and then get them out of the inning? No sense saving him for the save when the winning run is on 3rd with one out.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Where are all the Werth haters? Since he came back:.390 BA .478 OBP .525 SLG 1.004 OPS

  36. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Students are trickling back from vacation, so won't see much of the game tonight. Sigh. Depending on you guys and Mark for good (SANE!!) comments…222, agree the 2 WC is good for fan interest, and probably for MLB overall. Also for teams on the bubble (like the Pirates and O's) who have a better chance at contending after long droughts. But, as we saw, you could run up a Bumgarner on a good day and your postseason is gone in a flash. At least if we win the Division we get 3/5… I think players/managers/coaches like those odds better, especially if the team you are meeting–albeit away from home–has used its Ace to get there.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Section 222 said… One of the Brave fan commenters on the AJC site makes a good point. Shouldn't Fredi have brought in Kimbrell to face Tracy and then get them out of the inning? No sense saving him for the save when the winning run is on 3rd with one out.Hindsight being 20/40? Its still not a given. Kimbrel is RHP. Are you saying a K was a guarantee? I remember Espi hitting a oppo HR off of Kimbrel in the last homestand.

  38. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    222, yes, he should have (Kimbrall vs. Tracy). Really, can't Kimbrall go 1 and 2/3 innings if needed?

  39. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Ghost, yes, but your odds are surely better with Kimbrall than a tired mediocre middle reliever.

  40. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    NL, right. I just don't have a problem with a team that didn't win its division risking having its season being "gone in a flash." Finally, you can say that play 162 games (and 18 head to head) for a reason.

  41. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    The Z-Mantis! said… What's food like in the Red Porch? I've never eaten there.Let me guess. Based on the rest of the park, overpriced. And probably more so.

  43. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Are you saying a K was a guarantee?Of course not. And of course Kimbrell has given up big hits on occasion. But surely you don't think the Braves chances of getting out of that inning wouldn't have been much better with Kimbrell taking over. I'd have brought him in and taken my chances with someone else (even a starter) for the save if they got that far. I guess that comes from not being a huge fan of the "closer" protocol. It just seems really bizarre that the Braves lost a one-run 13 inning game to the team they are chasing in the pennant race and their best reliever (maybe best pitcher) never made an appearance.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Please look at the stats. Here's Craig Kimbrel's stats when he has less than 2 outs and the runner on 3rd and 53% of the time the runner from 3rd has scored on him and since he is so good there isn't a huge sample size, but clearly he isn't close to perfect.17 times in that situation and 9 times the runner has scored. 7 of the 17 have been strikeouts.In those situations, batters have a .231 BA against.Again, not a given.

  45. MicheleS - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    ZMantis. Yes, it's pricey, but the Tater Tots they have in there are good. The Steak salad is not – do not waste you money on that. Better beer selection.Also recommend the Shwarma at the Kosher stand in center field. That is yummy!

  46. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    I love the new WC format and really don't understand why people would rather have retained a system where:My only problem with the new WC format is the one-and-done WC game. A one game winner-take-all is fine when you have two teams that have battled to a dead heat after 162 games, as in a tie for the division lead. But there could easily be a situation where the first and second wild card teams have records that are several games apart. Since any kind of fluky thing can happen in a one game playoff, it seems unfair to have a team with a much better record than its opponent lose out on account of that. It would be better to have a short series, like three games. Consider this current series with the Braves as if it was a wild card playoff. The Nats come in with a five game lead over the Braves. If the results of last night's game had gone to the Braves in a similar fashion as the Nats ended up winning, would you really feel that the more worthy team got the division series berth? Or would you be more comfortable with this whole series being a best-2-of-3 test of who is more worthy to move on?

  47. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Interesting stats Ghost. And doesn't change my analysis one bit, unless there are similar stats showing that Martinez has a better chance of keeping the run from scoring in that situation. (And remember, he was in his second inning of work, which Kimbrell would be fresh.) Somehow I doubt that's the case. In fact, what are the chances MLB-wide of a runner scoring from third when there are less than 2 outs? Can't be much worse than Kimbrell's numbers can it?Do you agree with the idea of keeping your closer out of an extra-inning game on the road unless he's the last man standing or you take the lead? I sure hope Davey doesn't.In any event, you're right, not a given. Never said it was. By the way, I'd love to know how you did that research. (If you included a link, I can't see it.) I'm not ashamed to admit that it's beyond meager SABR capabilities.

  48. baseballswami - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I heard Boz on 106.7 this morning while I was driving. They had previously agreed on 90 seconds for STras and no more – I thought that was great. Boz did a very reasonable 96 seconds, talked about the signs of fatigue that Stras is showing, the rest of the team, very matter of fact. Short and sweet. It was great. The rest of the day they are harping about the attendance. If I had been home I might have actually called in. They don't seem to get that there are 81, count them, 81 home games – spring, summer, fall, every weeknight in all kinds of weather. Pointy ball has – wait for it — EIGHT! They have no clue. I truly believe that had this been a month later, it would have been different no matter what. Metro and the Nats need to start talking about the end of the season, though. A real mess. I posted earlier that when I lived in Washington state we had the same problem with the ferries. Half the fans in the Kingdome would exit en masse to catch the last ferry – it would be up on the scoreboard. They probably still have issues. When I get to games I usually drive in because I live pretty far out and can get home more effectively in the car.

  49. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    pRAA — If all of MLB played in Southern California, I'd prefer a best of 3 series, but baseball in November is just not an appealing thing. I agree that the fluky things that can happen in a one game playoff are unfortunate, but these are both teams that failed to win their divisions so I guess I just don't feel that bad for them, regardless of a disparity in their records. If you want to avoid a one and done game, win your division, dammit! :-)

  50. Kevin Rusch - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    "Ron, sorry. That was it, about the one-game play in. I can't imagine any player likes it, but I would assume it brings in fans" — another thing that I think is valuable here is that it restores the value of winning the division. If the nats hold on to win the division, the Braves and Pirates (which at the moment one team looks drastically better than the other) get a 50-50 shot at the playoffs. If the Braves win 95 and lose in a freaky game to the 90-win Pirates, it sucks for the Braves. "But hey, shouldda beat the Nats when you had the chance." PLUS the Pirates will be at a disadvantage themselves, having burned everything for a one-game playoff. So I'll take that as a purist.

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Section222, first off I never gave you what I would have done as it is hindsight and there is no right or wrong answer here as the Braves had options. Kimbrel was warmed. Its a decision their manager had to make and he made his decision. Just saying you can't make a 20/40 hindsight decision.I'm a Nats fan so I was pleased he didn't bring Kimbrel in.Now if you want my decision if I were in that situation, Kimbrel would have pitched the whole 13th from the beginning. I would have forced Davey's hand for the top of the 14th. Kimbrel was up so many times he should have finally used him. Now he has probably lost Avilan and Martinez for tonight.Avilan pitched 2 innings and 28 pitches and Martinez threw 30 pitches in his 1 1/3.

  52. Drew - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    The picture of a giddy Werth makes me think about how wise a decision he made to come to Washington.Sure, $126 million is a ton of jack, but someone else would have paid him millions. He did not have to go from what was then the penthouse to the outhouse. As Tom Hanks says about turning down bad scripts: "Just how well can you eat?"In Werth's two years here the Nats are 156-127 and their future is brighter than bright.In that span the Phillies are 159-125 and their arrow is pointing down. (Tick tock, etc.)No wonder the man is smiling.

  53. Candide - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Photo of Werth smiling. Save that to the archives.

  54. baseballswami - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I know that every player is always out there planning what he will do if the ball comes to him. I think the problem for the Barves last night is that things happened that were not part of the scenario. Fluky things happened. That chop into infield no man's land was probably not in the scenario and so there was a little panic. Then, when Tracy hit it to Uggla, Suzuki did the unexpected thing by not running towards Uggla. Those unexpected things that couldn't be planned for caused the problem. Those things require quick, instinctive actions. I also noticed that the Nats hug a lot. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  55. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Section 222 said… pRAA — If all of MLB played in Southern California, I'd prefer a best of 3 series, but baseball in November is just not an appealing thing.Assuming this two wild card thing is something MLB wants to keep permanently, there are things that can be done in the schedule to carve out space for a 3 game WC playoff without moving into November. Less than 162 game season, scheduled doubleheaders, etc.I agree that the fluky things that can happen in a one game playoff are unfortunate, but these are both teams that failed to win their divisions so I guess I just don't feel that bad for them, regardless of a disparity in their records. If you want to avoid a one and done game, win your division, dammit! :-) Let's see if you feel the same way if by chance the Nats end up a game behind the Braves (or even tied with them and lose the one-game tiebreaker) and then have to face a team like the Pirates with a 10-games worse record that just managed to grab the second wild card spot.

  56. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Ghost — Then we agree. Great. When you said, "please look at the stats, it's not a given," it sounded to me like you would have made the decision that Fredi made. Glad to hear that like me you would have done something different. (By the way, somehow I doubt that Fredi made that call based on stats. He just wanted to save Kimbrell for the eventual save. Dumb move I think, for the reasons stated previously.) Of course I can make a 20/40 hindsight decision. I'm a fan playing arm chair manager. That's all I can do. Only the managers get to make those calls in real time. Very glad our manager is smarter than theirs.

  57. Brother Juniper - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Boz seems to say that Eck had wanted to teach the all-fields approach (aka taking what the game gives you), but was over-ruled by management. Who do you all think Johnson refers to as “the previous regime”??? Bowden?? Acta??"He empowered Eckstein to teach hitting the way the coach wanted to, but has never before had across-the-board support." – Boz

  58. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Let's see if you feel the same way if by chance the Nats end up a game behind the Braves (or even tied with them and lose the one-game tiebreaker) and then have to face a team like the Pirates with a 10-games worse record that just managed to grab the second wild card spot.When that absolute worst-case scenario happens, I'm sure you'll remind me. But I'll take my lumps even on that one. I grew up when the NL and AL played 162 games (not 154, I'm not that old) and the two pennant winning teams went to the World Series. I still think that's the best way to determine the best team in baseball. All this playoffs and Wild Card stuff is just creeping NBA-ism as far as I'm concerned. I just think the WC play-in game is an improvement over the system we had last year. I prefer old-fashioned pennant races that mean something over a period of weeks. I really thought those years of the Rays (or Sox) and Yankees not caring who won the division were disgusting.

  59. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    swami,I was tempted to call in. LaVar and Dukers were pretty reasonable. I didn't go last night because I went to three games over the weekend, including taking off work on Friday. I stayed through the 2.5 hour rain delay on Sunday, as did all but 64 of the 33,764 who came in the gates.On Monday, I have to work. Period. If I take more days off work I won't be able to afford my bills, I'll mortgage my retirement, no Christmas presents for family and I won't be able to afford playoff games. That's why I didn't go last night. I still watched on cable TV (the only only only reason I have cable TV) and listened on the radio in the car–thus adding to ratings. I've spent hundreds and hundreds of $$ on Nats gear. I don't feel one whit guilty for not going to the game last night. Not one whit. So I'm done on the attendance issue.

  60. sm13 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Juniper – prior mgmt was Riggleman, a self-centered man who would desert his players in mid-season. The polar opposite of Davey.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Baseball is every day for 6+ days straight. Football is on average one game every 2 weeks and only 8 games a year.Hockey and basketball aren't generally every day either and is indoors and about 40 games a year.Tough conversation to have in comparing.

  62. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I think if Davey had been in the same situation, Clip would have come in for a matchup in the 13th and pitched the 14th. But Clip has done that many times before in his "setup/fireman" role. I don't know what Kimbrall has done, since he mostly comes in with bases clean as the "closer" (as Storen did last year). I still would have send Kimbrall in to face Tracy because in the situation Atlanta is in they can't afford to, as Jackson said, "give away games." Not only do they need to make ground in the division, they are far from a lock to get a wildcard. It's hard to win extra inning games on the road, no doubt. But they are talking Kimbrall for Cy Young, even though he is a reliever. He needed to come in.

  63. ehay2k - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Media's nattering nutjobs have to harp on something, so now attendance is an issue. i catually called into "the FAN" today and talked to HK. I said that because of the weather, which was bad in the western suburbs from whence many fans originate, they knew there would be a rain delay, that Metro could close early, likely forcing them to miss at least part of the game, and that their kids had to go back to school today, making family night our extremely unlikely. Finally, despite the fact that according to the Media-which-ignores-the-Nats-All-season-until-SS-has-to-be-shutdown-or-they-are-in-a-pennant-race, this was THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR, I said that Nats fans understood that while this was a very important series, having 5 games in hand meant that this ONE game, and wasn't the most important game of the year. I argued that the next two games were more important. He said "Nats fans just don't get it." He's right in my case, I just don't get the hype. Like the Nats themselves, I get that this is one game in a series. Of course, the best part is that HK, WHO (allegedly) COVERS SPORTS FOR A LIVING, wasn't at the game himself, but razzed Nats fans for poor attendance. 'Nuff said.

  64. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    None of us should take this silly discussion of attendance on The Fan and elsewhere as a personal attack. We attend plenty of games. Maybe if the media in DC gave the Redskin mania a rest for a month and covered the Nats and the pennant race as it should be covered, the casual fan would get the message on what is going on here and turn out. It's pretty rich for the media to criticize attendance at Nats games in between discussions of what RGIII had for breakfast.

  65. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    NL, I agree on Davey and Clipp. That's why he'll be manager of the year and Fredi's team will again fail to win the division.

  66. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Metro and the Nats need to start talking about the end of the season, though. A real mess.The best thing the Nats could do would be to reverse the 2008 Kasten Doctrine and quit telling fans to take Metro to the game. Even if they buy the extra hours for Metro to stay open late, the basic Metro service is just not up to the task. It was in 2005-2007 at RFK, and even in 2008, but it has declined. I used to take Metro to games all the time from West Falls Church. But I cut out weekends a couple of years ago due to their slow schedule and maintenance issues. This season, even though I work within walking distance of the ballpark and used to walk over to games and Metro home, I now leave work a couple hours early on game days, Metro home and drive back in. This is because even if the game ends before Metro closes, the level of service after rush hour is terrible. 20 minutes between Orange Line trains, single tracking, etc. Metro can clear the crowd from the Navy Yard if they want to, but that's not the same thing as getting everyone home.In the postseason there will definitely be Metro issues, because many of those games won't start until 8:15 or so, and even a nine inning game will go close to midnight because of the longer commercial breaks. What I would like to see the Nats do is to revive the RFK shuttle – even charge $5-$10 for it if they want to – and use that to augment the existing parking options. This would be in addition to paying for late Metro service, of course.

  67. A DC Wonk - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Let's see if you feel the same way if by chance the Nats end up a game behind the Braves (or even tied with them and lose the one-game tiebreaker) and then have to face a team like the Pirates with a 10-games worse record that just managed to grab the second wild card spot. I'd still feel the same way. In my book *ANY* team that doesn't finish first in their division and *still* makes the playoffs is playing with house money. They should consider themselves lucky they got a second shot. And if their reward is "only" a one-game-crapshoot-playoff — well, let them remember that there eleven other teams the didn't win the division that _wish_ they could have that kind of a chance.

  68. The Z-Mantis! - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    The last time we had this "keep metro open late" discussion, someone posted good informational details on why that was complicated and unlikely. Anyone got that link?

  69. A DC Wonk - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    according to the Media … this was THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR, I said that Nats fans understood that while this was a very important series, having 5 games in hand meant that this ONE game …Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Well put. I've been meaning to write that all day.When you are *five games up* on a team that's coming in for a *three* game series, the first game is *not* the most important game of the season.Call me a fair weather friend, but I'm old enough that I'm not going to endure potentially multi-hour rain delays on a weeknight (when I have to work the next day) when there's still 40 games to play, and the team is five games up. TV and/or Charlie & Dave will do just fine. If it were playoffs, or a game in the last two weeks and the teams were tied — that's a different story. I can't afford every game — and when I see "rain" scheduled for the first one, and "no rain and Strasburg" for the second one . . . well, for this close-to-retirement guy, that's an easy choice.As someone else wrote: it's not like that pointy ball team which allows only eight chances to see them in person.

  70. JaneB - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Ehay2K, I heard you! I was grateful to whomever that voice belonged to, and am glad I "know" you.Steady Eddie, HURRAH for Diana! Congratulations! We have friends in town tonight and tomorrow, so Lindsay will be taking the tickets. We also burned two tickets for upstairs, thinking the rain delay would be long (based in part on frantic calls from Lindsay saying it was raining "cat and dogs and sheep" at home. So a virtual hug will we go for the Cards series.

  71. A DC Wonk - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    The Z-Mantis! said… The last time we had this "keep metro open late" discussion, someone posted good informational details on why that was complicated and unlikely. Anyone got that link?No — but I think I remember the main points. I think it was this:1. Nats need to pay to keep Metro open. (I forget the cost)2. Nats could have a standing arrangement with Metro for every home game (which would add up pretty expensive). This is what Caps do, I think — but their games are longer, start later (I think), have fewer games, and close to sell out most of the time.3. Nats can also have a per game arrangement, but it must be set up in advance. For most 7:05 starts, they don't need it, so they'd be spending a lot of money. The problem last night was the combination of rain delay _plus_ extra innings (and that it was too late to make the arrangements).As for the playoffs — if they do indeed start at 8:15 (do they?), and since they will sell out, I'd not be surprised if the Lerner's pay the money to have every game covered by Metro.

  72. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    The Z-Mantis! said… The last time we had this "keep metro open late" discussion, someone posted good informational details on why that was complicated and unlikely. Anyone got that link?No, but I think the reason is because the late Metro service has to be arranged in advance. It's not something that can be done at 9pm on a day when your game gets delayed an hour by rain and you think you might need it. IOW, the Nats would basically need to request it for every night home game of the season, just in case, even though most of the time they wouldn't end up needing it. IIRC, they did arrange for it in advance for the Sunday ESPN game that started at 8:00, although in the end it wasn't needed. And I believe the Caps had it arranged for all their night playoff games to cover the multiple-overtime possibilities that can never occur in the regular season.

  73. SonnyG10 - Aug 21, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Section 222 @ 2:37:Agree with you 100%.

  74. Candide - Aug 21, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    A DC Wonk said…As for the playoffs — if they do indeed start at 8:15 (do they?), and since they will sell out, I'd not be surprised if the Lerner's pay the money to have every game covered by Metro.When you consider how much $$$ the Lerners would haul in for four World Series games, they'd be criminally insane if they didn't. Cunegonde and I just plopped down $1000 with our STH guy; that will get us tix to two WS games at $250 apiece in our regular Stars and Stripes club seats. Face price is (I think) $45.00.I just re-read the next-to-last sentence above and can hardly believe I wrote it even though I am indisputably sane and sober. Back in February I was telling Cunegonde I figured they'd probably win about 85 games this season and might be in the playoff hunt if things fell into place (i.e. a weak NL East). To think that they'd go from 59 to 80 to (quite possibly) 100 wins over three consecutive seasons – how often does that happen? Betcha Boz would tell you it's as rare as a Wil Nieves home run.

  75. NatsFanJim - Aug 21, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Dan Uggla: "ah, so many choices, so little time. What do to … what to do … oh … s%&%.

  76. Ron In Reston - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Actually, Candide, they've gone from 59 to 70 to 80 to 90+ (we hope) in four seasons, not three. It looks eerily like the Tigers from 2001-2006, who won 66, 55, 43(!), 72, 71, and then 95 games. Over the last six years, the Nats have won 73, 59, 59, 70, 80, and this season are now on a pace to win….101. Wow.

  77. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Candide — actually, the even more amazing stat is that they went from 59 to 69 to 81 to 95-100 wins in consecutive seasons — that it just kept steadily building and then exploded.JaneB — Di has actually invited me to the Aug 31 game against the Cards but in the AU group up in 237 or something. If you're going to be at that game we will try to come down and find you.

  78. Steady Eddie - Aug 21, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Ron — you and I were both wrong on one year each. 2010 was 69 wins, not 70, and last year was 80 wins, not 81 (which would have been .500). I keep forgetting the cancelled game.

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