Skip to content

One step closer

Sep 11, 2012, 4:32 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez walked five but emerged with his MLB-leading 19th win.

NEW YORK — It was by no means his best performance of the season, but it didn’t need to be. Thanks to some early support from what has suddenly becomes baseball’s most power-laden lineup, Gio Gonzalez needed only navigate his way through six quality innings Monday night to emerge as baseball’s first 19-game winner of 2012.

And the Nationals, despite failing to record a hit after the fourth inning, still managed to pull off a thoroughly convincing, 5-1 victory over the Mets that moved them yet another step closer to October baseball.

Combined with the Braves’ loss in Milwaukee, the Nationals saw their lead in the NL East grow to 6 1/2 games with 21 to play, their magic number drop to 15. The number to secure their first-ever postseason berth dropped to single digits: 9.

“Great win,” manager Davey Johnson said. “And I think we eliminated the Mets from the pennant race, didn’t we?”

Indeed, they did. Two days after knocking the Marlins officially out of contention for the division title, they did the same to New York.
Read more

  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    Workmanlike. Professional. Error-free. This game was a microcosm of the Nats' entire season. Magic number 15. It'll be in the single digits by the week.GYFNG!!

  2. do1teach1 - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    There really is something drastically wrong with the way this team is covered in the national media.ESPN and MLB TV covered tonight almost exclusively from the perspective of how close the Phillies are to taking a wild card slot. They could not stop babbling about it. NO ONE could stop their rotation (so how come they didn't win their division?)Their other darlings: the A's. They show their game-status every 5 minutes. Team of the year. Manager of the year. Miracle team. Have they given ANY consideration to how far the Nats have come this fast, with a completely ruined minor league system when the Nats came to Washington? To the miracles wrought by Davey Johnson? No. They don't care.They had a long conversation on MLB TV tonight about the Cy Young award in the NL. They concluded it came down to Kershaw and Dickey, but Dickey should win it. A distant third? — Gio. It is a Joke. Does ANY consideration go to how much the pitcher has contributed to his team being a WINNER?It is sickening and sad, night after night after night.

  3. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 11, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Just finished watching the game (on replay, obviously). Just as Sunshine described it above — workmanlike. And good to learn that the Braves lost; not that it should matter too much, but nice to have one of those games back and tick the magic number down two digits. Well played, Nats. Now for Mr. Dickey and his knuckler…

  4. Candide - Sep 11, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Do1teach1, I've always been a big fan of flying under the radar.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    I'm with Candide…. Under the radar is fine by me.

  6. Positively Half St. - Sep 11, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    do1teach1-The Nats have been discussed in some circles, but mostly in the context of how they don't have a chance now that Strasburg has been shut down. Jim Bowden dropped the Nats from 1 all the way out of the top 5 in his Power Rankings on XM, for instance.As for the Phillies, the Nats' magic number to eliminate them from the NL East race is 5. The Phils may only be 5 games out of the Wild Card, like Milwaukee (bet the guys didn't talk about them!), but they still need to get through the Dodgers, Pirates and Cardinals to get there. That's the reason ESPN only gives them a 1.5% chance to do it. But look, Baseball Tonight has to come up with some way to keep it fresh, right?For what it is worth, the next team the Nats will leave behind them is San Diego, with a magic number of 1.+1/2St.

  7. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Heard the middle innings when I was able to pick up the radio signal on the drive home from our trip (tuned in just in time to hear our guys take the lead). Was so nice to hear some Nats baseball after being away since late last week. Was able to read the box scores while away and, even better, check in to read Mark's take on, ahem, breaking news.Great piece and very awesome about the single-digit magic number (and the other one, of course :-)). Thanks, too, for the tragic number updates. On the division rival front, it would be so sweet to clinch the division in front of the Phillies at CBP, as we've watched them do it there a time or two? Hope it will be locked up before we're due to play there, though. :-)In other news, got to read some Indians dead-tree coverage while I was away. The Akron Beacon Journal beat guy is very funny when writing about hapless play, although I might not think so if I was a fan of that team. :-)

  8. MicheleS - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Waking up and finding that the Barves lost.. Ah.. so sweet.

  9. Expos4Ever - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Swift Eagle said…"Thank you Mark for not lumping in the Expos stats…I hate it when people do that, the Expos are gone…"Yep, they are gone to Washington. They are the same franchise and you can't just ignore 35 years of history, no matter how much you hate it.I don't mind what the article said, as long as the wording is right, it's all good (Washington history versus franchise history)… Years of Washington baseball history shouldn't be ignored either.

  10. jonny nats - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    15 baby 15! Long time reader, only occasional commenter, thanks Mark for the great insight.If Gio keeps this up they're going to have to name a high school after him. I want to party like its 1924! Keep the pressure up guys. GYFNG!

  11. Unknown - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Teacher dude, don't watch ESPN. They are dopes. They exist only to drum up false controversy – read Boswell, Gammons – if you must do ESPN, listen only to Kurkjian.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Kurkjian and I appreciate Kruk's lack of filter. You can have the rest of the ESPN group in pretty much anything.

  13. baseballswami - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    I avoid the four letter network whenever possible. When the mlbtv channel started up it changed my life.

  14. baseballswami - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I find it to be appropriate that New York and Washington are playing one another on Sept. 11, the two cities most affected by that date.

  15. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    I think I liked our offense more when they did not rely on long ball so much. It is great to see the power surge but not sure we are exactly made for that kind of offense. We have 27 in this month, that is 9 more than the next team (Orioles). Our team OPS is about one full point ahead of the next team (.941 against .842). I don't think we can keep this up but let's see.GG seems to be going back to his form that won him NL pitcher of the month in May (I think). Should be fun.hope dickey's record against us at the end of today will be 2-2 on the season. :)

  16. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Me, too, on MLB Network, swami (and on that four-letter one). Good point on the WAS/NY game.

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    The Phillies and Brewers are on a roll. The Phillies have pitching while the Brewers really don't.Just wait for the Phillies to take 4 against Houston later this week.

  18. peric - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    The Phillies are still the scary team and the Nats meet them twice more in the stretch run including the final series. I think they have a chance to catch Atlanta. And if they will have to be a strong dark horse consideration. They've mostly got all their guys back now too.Bowden's an idiot. If there was any doubt, the Nats recent success should put that to rest.

  19. NatsLady - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    So I'm watching last night's game listening to the Mets announcers. First they complain about how much time players spend at the ballpark (with pools, weight rooms, chefs, etc.) and THEN they complain that players don't take infield any more. So which is it–they're tired from so much time spent at the park or they're–ooops–not tired from "working up a lather" taking infield? Just guys missing the old days, I guess.

  20. SCNatsFan - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    So much for the pundits who felt the leotards would disrupt team chemistry and take focus away from the team.I wonder… at what point does Teddy join the celebration and get his first W?

  21. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I'm way behind in reading posts and comments but did see the gymnast pics. My first thought was: Oh, my stars and garters. My second thought was: I suppose they asked whether they were allowed to wear cups? :-)

  22. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I am also weary of Phillies. They may not be a threat to division lead but as wild card and in a short series, they have the pitching to win it. I don't want to see them in postseason.Cards, Dodgers, and Pirates are not really making hard for either brewers or phillies to gain ground so yeah those six games against Phillies will be very crucial. Anyways, just take of our games one at a time.

  23. JamesFan - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Many assume that Stras was a leader on the team and not just an impact pitcher. He was not yet. Maybe in the future but not now. This team has won two out of three without Stras. I do not expect them to fade at all. This team seems very committed to winning with the players who are available.

  24. ehay2k - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    "Hello, is this 'Leotards R Us'? Great, I need some large women's gymnastics leotards. No, larger than that. The tallest, um, team member is like 6' 5” and 220 lbs. Yeah, I know. Certainly can't do uneven bar exercises with that build. More of a vault specialist. Anyway, what do you have? Nothing in US logo? What about just red? Oh, yeah, Chinese unis probably don't run that big. Hmmmm… Do you have any leftover East German unis in red? Maybe we could use those…"Seriously, where DID they get those unis?

  25. mayhemnsuz - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    She's not necessarily East German, she might just be big boned.

  26. NatsNut - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    ehay, that's hilarious. thanks for the morning laugh!

  27. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    What a second half the Nats IF is having, especially Zim. If the Nats had given him that cortisone shot a month earlier, they might have clinched by now, he would be hitting .310 – .320 with 30 HRs, and probably would be the leading candidate for MVP. And Harp is now crushing the ball with regularity, too.As it is, all 4 of the IFs, Zim, Desi, Danny and ALR, will go over 100 HRs, all 4 may hit at least 20 (if Danny gets hot), and the other 3 all have a chance to go over 25, even though each of those 3 has missed some time due to injury.Just in time, too, as the SPs have started to look a little shaky, except for Gio. A good game from JZ today would certainly help stabilize that situation.Part of their power surge has to do with the relatively weak pitching they have seen over the past 2 weeks, but you've still got to hit the cookies when they give them to you.

  28. Candide - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    peric said…The Phillies are still the scary team and the Nats meet them twice more in the stretch run including the final series.I think you meant to say: "The Nats are still the scary team and the Phillies meet them twice more in the stretch run including the final series."Seriously, it makes more sense that way.

  29. Candide - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said…As it is, all 4 of the IFs, Zim, Desi, Danny and ALR, will go over 100 HRs…If even ONE of them goes over 100 HRs, the league will need to have him tested for substances that haven't been banned because they won't exist until the year 2047…

  30. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Also carrying this forward, after reading gymnast comments:And, as others have noted, many teams do late season rookie hazings like this, often on a road trip, I believe. I think our guys usually do it on a late season NY trip, because it means parading through a couple of big city train stations all decked out. If memory serves, Ryan Church wore a very fetching French maid outfit, with mesh stockings. :-)

  31. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    And I'm not underestimating the Phillies. Just stating that it would be so very awesome to clinch in front of them (well, mostly in front of their fans).

  32. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Oh, and what's with the cake that Garcia (?) is carrying in the gymnast pic?

  33. hiramhover - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I'm wary of the Phillies but weary of all this hand-wringing about them. It puts me in mind of what Grant said about Lee:"I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do."

  34. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Or as Comak quotes LaRoche on the Bravos:“We don’t need to watch what [the Braves] are doing,” said first baseman Adam LaRoche on Sunday evening as the Nationals prepared for arguably their most important final stretch of road games. “We’re not relying on them to melt down. We’re relying on ourselves to continue doing what we’ve done all year. And if we don’t do that, it won’t matter if those guys stay hot as they are now.“This isn’t a ‘sit and wait for Atlanta to fall apart.’ I don’t think guys care what they do. When they lost it, [we] pick up a game. Great. But we need to get locked in and be focused going into October.”

  35. Exposremains - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Expos4ever: Swift Eagle said…"Thank you Mark for not lumping in the Expos stats…I hate it when people do that, the Expos are gone…"The only reason he said that is to upset some of us because he knows there are former Expos fans on this blog. In other words, it's call arrogance. The Nationals do recognize the existence of the Expos in their Stadium. That matters a lot more.

  36. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Agree J. Zimmermann needs to get his boat pointed in the right direction. Best case tonight, win or lose, is that Dickey doesn't throw the whole lineup into a tailspin. Hopefully Johnson gets his rotation set so that Nats start the NLDS w/ Gonzalez and Zimmermann. Phillies are indeed scary as they can throw out three pitchers in a row that can turn bats into pasta. Again, hopefully, by the last three games, they'll be out of it and have lost interest while the Nats are clinching or going for NL best record.Nats catchers now have 15 HR between them, a nice complement to the power-hitting IF.

  37. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    If I'd seen them in NY Penn Station (at least until I was close enough to see the faces) I would have assumed that the Ballet Trocadero (all-male ballet troupe) was in town. Maybe that's where they got the leotards.ArVaFan

  38. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    "Laddie Blah Blah said…As it is, all 4 of the IFs, Zim, Desi, Danny and ALR, will go over 100 HRs…"Well, ALR has 29, Zim 21, Desi 22, and Danny 16. If you use both your French fried fingers and toes, you may eventually figure out that they have hit 88 HRs already.

  39. hiramhover - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    1aGreat quote from ALR, channeling his inner US Grant.

  40. NatsLady - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Plenty of Expos fans around. You see caps at the park and logos on the Nats MLB site. There is room for all.

  41. Doc - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Well Swift Eagle, the 'Spos are gone, but not forgotten.We are the Expos—and the Nats too!!!The Expos still own your SS, the league's best, as well as your #1 CF off the bench.In other news, the Nats are closing in on the Beer Barrels in Milwaukee, for the NL HR lead. As the season winds down, we might even take over the runs scored lead.GoooooooooooExpos!!!! GooooooooooNats!!!!!!GooooooooooooDesi!!!!!Goooooooooo All you gymnastic guys!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. SCNatsFan - Sep 11, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Why the Nats or Nat fans want to ignore the Expos is one of life's great mysteries.

  43. Candide - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    SCNatsFan said…Why the Nats or Nat fans want to ignore the Expos is one of life's great mysteries.Yup, right up there with life, the universe, and everything…

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… NatsJack, the 2nd Wild Card may need 87 to 90 the way things go. It will come down to Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and either LA/SF.Could the Phillies sneak in? Now that they took 2 of 3 from Cincy, they have a clear path of the worst teams in the NL over the next 14 days. I could see them going 11-2 in the next 2 weeks (Colo, Mia, Hous, NYM) then they face Atlanta for 3 games then the Nats for 3 games then finish the year with Miami and the Nats. With Philly's 9 remaining games vs. Atlanta and Nats, that's the buzz saw possibly but I think they will make it interesting with the easiest part of their schedule the next 2 weeks.I could easily see them 77-73 in 2 weeks from now with 12 games remaining. September 06, 2012 10:07 AM Ghost Of Steve M. said… NatsJack, they needed to take 2 of 3 from the Braves and 2 of 3 from the Reds and they did that. Its a huge longshot for the Phillies but 2 weeks from now you will see that they will be at 77-73 or 76-74 as they are playing like a team that is playing with confidence and urgency. Its that last 12 games that will be tough. You just never know. I could see them facing in the last series against the Nats pitchers like Wang and Duke. September 06, 2012 10:36 AM Ghost Of Steve M. said… Joe, nor do I think the Phillies have a shot as it would take a miracle BUT they will make it interesting with their easy schedule the next 2 weeks and get in the discussion if the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers all continue to struggle as they have. September 06, 2012 11:24 AM

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    It only took 5 days from when I wrote all that stuff about the Phillies and their easy schedule: "get in the discussion if the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers all continue to struggle as they have." See NatsJack, I'm not as stupid as I look. If the Phillies take the next 2 against the Marlins, they have 4 against the easiest team in the Majors which is the Houston Astros.

  46. sm13 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Yay, just bought extra playoff tix so my whole STH syndicate is covered for the NLDS! Now, that was exciting! It deserves a Michele S-esque WoooHooo!

  47. Section 222 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Yay, just bought extra playoff tix so my whole STH syndicate is covered for the NLDS! Now, that was exciting! It deserves a Michele S-esque WoooHooo!Right with you sm13. That was as tense as a Clippard save. Whew! From the looks of what seats were popping up, I believe I will win my "bet" with pRAA that all or virtually all seats will be purchased by STHs. We'll see.

  48. Exposremains - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Candide SaidYup, right up there with life, the universe, and everything…We have to make our garden grow.

  49. Section 222 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    This team has won two out of three without Stras.Very true. And that's just since Stras was shut down. Boz calculated a few weeks ago (before the Cards and Cubs series I think) that the Nats had the 3rd best record in baseball in games that Stras didn't start. I have a feeling that we'll be just fine without him.

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I've always seen your point Ghost. It's just that I prefer to see the games played out. And the next 10 days will tell alot between the Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers and Braves.

  51. JD - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Ghost, The Phills may well do what you say but they are still benefiting from a group tank by all of : Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates. If one of these teams especially the Cardinals manages to play semi respectfully for the next week or so the Phills will fall short. The Nats won't pitch Duke or Wang against the Phills if these games mean something in the standings to teams such as the Cardinals; it's considered poor sportsmanship.

  52. Tcostant - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    The Nationals sent me a link and password to buy extra single game playoff tickets. I am so confident that we will the division, that I didn't even buy the Wild Card or TieBreaker game tickets, just the divisional series (they weren't offering the rest yet).If your a season ticket holder, check your mailbox.

  53. JD - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I went to the game last night at Citi field and it was cold and windy. – Gio was a little off last night; a good hitting team would have punished him for all these walks. – The Nats took advantage of a mediocre rookie as they should have. – The Nats didn't get a hit after the 4th inning; a little disturbing.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    NatsJack, my point was more towards the way the media and fans will jump on the bandwagon. It only took 5 days. ESPN and the MLB Network will now blow this up.I think one of the reasons for the Phillies recent success was that they were playing loose and playing spoiler. All of a sudden all the teams above them and under the Barves have fallen apart (Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers). Like I said, 77-73 in a week or 76-74, then they have the Braves for 3.Get the popcorn ready.

  55. Feel Wood - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    SCNatsFan said… Why the Nats or Nat fans want to ignore the Expos is one of life's great mysteries.So when someone moves into that house next door to you that sat vacant for 34 years, and then you become best friends with that person, you're going to spend time reminiscing about all the good times you didn't have with that person when they weren't living next door to you? Why?

  56. JD - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Tonight should be a very good test for JZimm. You have to figure that he won't get much run support against Dickey so he will need to be strong and focused right from the start.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    JD, the 5 walks ticked me off but no hits after the 4th inning??? It was as if the Nats went back in cruise control. That really irked me. Pedal to the metal.

  58. Feel Wood - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Tcostant said… The Nationals sent me a link and password to buy extra single game playoff tickets.One thing that seems to be missing there is how to buy parking for games I've already bought via the postseason strip. I don't recall any parking being offered when I bought the strip, and the presale today requires you to buy game tickets before you get to parking. Anyone know how to do that?

  59. Section 222 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Feel, I seem to remember parking being offered as part of the playoff strips, but I would call your Nats rep and ask for help on this. Good luck.

  60. sm13 - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    TCostant — I made the same bet!

  61. sm13 - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Sec. 222 — definitely some tension involved — like your analogy to a Tyler save. I was hoping that the "add another event" link would actually work! Eventually, an ungodly change up and the sale was closed!

  62. Feel Wood - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Gio was a little off last night; a good hitting team would have punished him for all these walks.He did strike out a good hitter in David Wright to get out of the jam he put himself into by walking two guys after two outs in the third. And none of those guys who walked stole a base on him, which is better than Strasburg or indeed anyone else on the staff would likely have done in the same situation. So yes, Gio was a little off last night. But he made the adjustment and came out a winner. That's what good pitchers do.

  63. Section 222 - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I know there are plenty of old Senators fans here and in DC, but you have to remember that many diehard, Day 1 Nats fans grew up elsewhere and have no allegiance to the Senators, or to the Expos for that matter. Sportswriters love to write about first postseason game since 1945, most HRs by middle infielders since 1066, and all that, but such stats mean little to most of us for whom baseball in DC started in 2005.So the argument whether to include the Expos in the team history or not seems kind of silly to me. The Nats are my team, whatever their lineage.

  64. Feel Wood - Sep 11, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Just talked with my ST rep. Parking was not offered with the playoff strips unless you already had a season parking plan. (I don't. I park in Lot HH, usually on a cash basis but occasionally buying in advance if the game looks like it will draw a big crowd.) The only way you can buy parking now is by buying a single game ticket first. An obvious loophole that my ST rep says she will bring to the attention of her bosses. I'm not holding my breath. Looks like I'll be riding Metro for the postseason. Which, BTW, someone will pay to keep open. If it's not the DC government or MLB, then the Lerners will do it. I'm not worried about that. I am however worried that Metro won't be up to the task, because really, are they ever?

  65. natsfan1a - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I'm a little confused as to which bandwagon we'd be jumping on – the one for the Phillies to clinch the postseason? I don't take any game against them lightly but I'm not gonna jump on any Philly bandwagon. :-)NatsJack, my point was more towards the way the media and fans will jump on the bandwagon. It only took 5 days. ESPN and the MLB Network will now blow this up.

  66. UnkyD - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Erudite crowd, today! Quite from U.S. Grant (Wilderness campaign?) and a reference to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo… What's next; Niccolo Machiavelli, or P.D.Q. Bach?

  67. UnkyD - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Quote…..quote from Grant ….(sheesh!)

  68. Candide - Sep 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    There have also been a references to Douglas Adams (at 10:16) and Voltaire (10:30 – NOT by me).Ghost Of Steve M. said…JD, the 5 walks ticked me off but no hits after the 4th inning??? It was as if the Nats went back in cruise control. That really irked me. Pedal to the metal.I don't have any statistics on this, but the Nats seem to do that a lot – score several runs early in the game, then shut down. Wonder how they compare with other teams in that respect. It IS disturbing – you're supposed to get BETTER the second and third time you've seen a pitcher's stuff, right?

  69. A DC Wonk - Sep 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Feel Wood said… SCNatsFan said… Why the Nats or Nat fans want to ignore the Expos is one of life's great mysteries. So when someone moves into that house next door to you that sat vacant for 34 years, and then you become best friends with that person, you're going to spend time reminiscing about all the good times you didn't have with that person when they weren't living next door to you? Why?Well put. You might also add: that you might even want to talk about the good times you had with the former occupant of the house!

  70. A DC Wonk - Sep 11, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    you're supposed to get BETTER the second and third time you've seen a pitcher's stuff, right?Actually, I read somewhere that more runs are scored in the first inning than any other.

  71. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Candide & DC Wonk — I have a theory, maybe two, about why the Nats appear to "shut it down" after early innings outbursts. The first is that, you score four or five runs early, you knock out the starter and don't see him the third time around, or maybe even the second. Now you're hitting against some guy you didn't bone up on the night before and for whom you don't have a game plan. And you rarely see the BP guy more than once. The second theory is that most of the Nats are streak hitters, which is fine when they're all on a streak, not so fine when they're not (e.g., Werth, Morse the last couple of games). They thrive much of the time by hammering mistakes. Rarely, I think, do streak hitters hit consistently, at-bat after at-bat. (If they did, they wouldn't be streaky.) Moreover, God doesn't grant hitters multiple mistakes to feast on throughout the game.

  72. Feel Wood - Sep 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    I don't have any statistics on this, but the Nats seem to do that a lot – score several runs early in the game, then shut down. Wonder how they compare with other teams in that respect. It IS disturbing – you're supposed to get BETTER the second and third time you've seen a pitcher's stuff, right?This doesn't work for last night's game, because the Nats got all their hits and runs off the Mets starter, and then he was pulled. They went hitless against the bullpen – which is usually one of the weak links of the Mets. Go figure.

  73. JaneB - Sep 11, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Feel Wood, our ticket rep said we could buy single game parking as soon as it becomes announced. I bet it will be pretty steep, but we're going to do it anyway.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 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