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Game 146: Nats at Braves

Sep 16, 2012, 8:42 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez seeks win No. 20 tonight at Turner Field.

ATLANTA — It's Sunday night, and the Nationals and Braves have the entire national stage to themselves. Well, aside from whatever NFL game is being played in primetime, which I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow drew 4,862 times more viewers than this pennant race ballgame. But I digress…

ESPN gets a good one tonight, with the Braves trying to sweep the series and pull within 5 1/2 games of the NL East lead. The Nationals, of course, came to town knowing they just needed to win once to keep the lead at a comfortable 7 1/2 games, so now the pressure's on them to salvage tonight's finale.

Davey Johnson will send his de facto ace to the mound in Gio Gonzalez, seeking to become the first 20-game winner in the majors this season and boost his increasing Cy Young Award hopes. He'll be opposed by fellow left-hander Mike Minor, who owns a 4.42 ERA for the season but hasn't given up a run in his last 12 2/3 innings.

Plenty of updates to come live from Turner Field…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EDT
TV: ESPN
Radio: WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WJFK (106.7 FM), WTEM (980 AM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 83 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to LF

NATIONALS (89-56)
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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244 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    The ball to LaRoche seemed taylor made for 3-6-3 doyble play.

  2. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Uggla. Can't stand that guy.

  3. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    God darnit — I hate to be right!!Burnett allowed three runs to score.Nats management froze: no one up — allowing Burnett to face the righty, Uggla.That camera shot of the Nats 'brain trust' was classic: three grown men in a state of Hyper Panic. Great. Trickle down panic.

  4. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    NatsFanJim, I don't think so. Espi has never hit for average, never had a strikeout percentage less then 20% (at ANY level) qhile his power numbers stay flat; if anything, his numbers are getting worse. Shows me he isn't learning a thing. Unless its his vision there isn't an easy fix. Perhaps have him abandon the left side and see what happens; either that or we accept him just like he is. For me that isn't good enough.Nats getting what they deserve tonight. You give a good team free baserunners and they eat your lunch. Hopefully the team is paying attention.And since his return from the rest Burnett isn't fooling anyone.

  5. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Just too much negativity. Good night NIs. See you during the Dodgers series.

  6. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    I cannot believe the bullpen was idle while Burnett was in there.I cant believe Derosa is still in the big leagues.I cant believe Davey and his staff froze or forgot to look ahead when Uggla came up.If I'm Rizzo, I'm down in Davey's office yelling at him again — Davey is getting too damn old.

  7. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Last 11 appearnce for Burnett 24 runners. Time to shut him down

  8. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    SC I agree with you. Thats why I put Espi very high on my Dumbest Nats List.He is not making enough progress for my liking. I think he's stupid and can't learn.But he has skills and a good teacher might get through to him. But accept for that, I agree with you totally. How can't I? His stats prove it out.

  9. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    What really ticks me off is we are pathetic on ESPN and Fox

  10. JaneB - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Oh Sean. I love, you've gotten us far. If you're hurt, don't play. Oy.

  11. 89e5c620-ff94-11e1-839f-000bcdcb2996 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Nats Fan Jim:Have you noticed that pretty much every other regular commenter is gone for the night? It take a special combination of insipid and obnoxious to clear a room. You, sir, have a rare talent. Just one tip for you, to help you overcome this social disorder: Save up the comments you want to make over 15-20 minutes. Put them all into one comment, then edit it down so we can all skip over it more quickly. Watching sport is a source of fun. Based on teh anger you show here, I fear for your own health and the safety of those close to you.

  12. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    I am not too happy after these last 3 games and I see some red flags. Friday night, fine, Ian had a bad throw, I accept that. Yesterday, an arrogant umpire who is so unprofessional, he did not ask the HP umpire for an appeal, Hudson is a jerk period and hope he gets razzed by fans at other ball parks. Tonight, once again Espi is showing me that he may not be a long term term player for the Nats, his bat going silent at a critical part of the season tells me a lot. Two veteran players on each corner lost this game tonight, Zim and LaRoche were very disappointing. Burnett just can not be on the playoff roster period, he has no confidence and he looks afraid. Zim's demeanor is bothering me as well. I hope this is not a pattern going down the stretch. Stammen was brilliant and all Zim and LaRoche had to do to keep this a 2-1 game was to play like veterans

  13. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    89e5c620-ff94-11e1-839f-000bcdcb2996 Well done! Had closed out Nats Insider but came back and saw your post! Thank you. Good night.

  14. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    This is unreal. Storen comes in in a 5-1 mop up role? But Davey brought Burnett in in a critical situation??? What the frig is going on here?Storen has been light out lately — and never gets to pitch!! Unreal. If Im Rizzo I am spitting bullets — right at Im Too Old to Manage Johnson.

  15. ExposedinDC - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Trying to figure out whats worse….this weekend in Atlanta or being in the same chat room with professor Jim

  16. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Series recap 1 run in games 1 and 3. Harper responsible for both runs. He is the youngster. Anyone else want to help?Errors in all 3 games resulted in5 unearned runs.TNo matter how good pitching you win few games that way.I came into game figuring Gio ciuld help erase the stupidity of Josh Morgan, but all his 3 ball counts assured me that wasn't going to happen.lets score 4 it is not to late.

  17. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    troll alert: Nats Lady is a troll — and she is also 89e5. Well done, Nats Lady. Another Forum Nazi who wants to filter our posts.

  18. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    I look at it this way; Used correctly Davey can use this series to remind this team, which is just learning how to win, that you have to compete every night, every at bat or you are going to lose to a good team. Maybe the team had too much prosperity too early; maybe this is just a blip; maybe, like right before the St L series when the bats went dormant that this is just the silence before the storm. Any way you look at it we weren't the better team in any game this weekend and got what we deserved. Here is hoping we learn and take the lessons learned into the post season.I am concerned about Burnett's arm; without him our lefty will be Gonzo and I don't trust him at all.

  19. Joe Seamhead - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    Why did I look in here, I ask myself.All of this bull from you guys is pretty bad. You do realize that the Nats still lead by 5 1/2 games, have the best record in baseball, but according to you bozos, Davey Johnson is too old to manage. Go back under your rocks. This team has brought more joy to baseball fans in this town than any team in generations. They lose a couple of games and you all pretty much bail on them. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  20. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    To Natslady who is still watching. Posting as one person who has curiously never posted before, and then you post to agree with them while you attack a poster is kinda sick.maybe you should go watch women's tennis. Baseball seems a little out of your league.

  21. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    OK, OK, everybody back away from the ledge. Put down the sharp instruments. Everything broke the Barves' way this weekend — Medlin on Friday, that crap call Saturday and tonight's assortment of "Duh-Uggla" moments — and we're still five and a-half up on these Dixie Doormats.I think these three will serve as motivation should we have to play them when it really counts in October.Good September win, Fredi. See you in October, chump.

  22. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Not NatsLady. And nobody is censoring you, they're just bored by you. That's why we leave. You add nothing.

  23. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    Joe, Don't join the Forum Police: Swift and Natslady. Dont insult people and be such a jerk.Good fans here are just telling it the way it is and not insulting other posters.You, Natslady and Swift are insulting people who hurl invectives a little too much. You have no manners and no class. If you want a perfect world, go post on the Sesame Street Forum.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    I think there is a vast difference in critiquing players and just being downright negative.I have never been won over by Espi. It's a full season we have to look at players not just a great month of July.I wrote my analysis of Espi. Just more poor ABs tonight.

  25. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    Section 3 is also a Forum Nazi. If he doesnt like what you say, you are isolated, attacked, and insulted.Go find a ladies forum, fella. They might lie the way you like it over there.

  26. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    Lets see 2 fast balls over heart taken so you have to swing at a change up. Batting approach questionable.Espi might as well bat if Lombo is going to K.I expect a lot better exscution on Tuesday. I hate losing first or last game of a series. I dislike losing second.My real trouble will start in about 10 minutes. I sleep terrible after a loss. Though one like this is easier to sleep than the previous 2.

  27. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Ghost… good point and I agree with you 100% on Espi…. I hope this young man can become consistent, but I suspect he will always be a great defensive player and an inconsistent hitter

  28. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    I think Natslady is also Section 3: they write the same, think the same, insult the same, and police 'their forum' the same.You add Zero to this forum. Your'e Pollyanna view of things is embarassing for you.Do us all a favor: either behave or don't post here. And stop insulting and harassing Nats fans, and being so nasty.

  29. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Baseball is a funny game. One night you can look like the 27 Yankees, the next like the 62 Mets. We have won enough series this year to let this one go, lets just not be friendly hosts to the Dodgers and get this train back on the right track.

  30. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    To all Forum Nazis who appeared briefly tonight with hit and run invective and insults.Go to the Red Porch and get a beer. Everyone will agree with you there — and they know about as much about baseball as you do.And perhaps there is only one Forum Nazi posing as other people — they seem to pop up curiosly together and at the same time. Right, Natslady?? lol You are a trip.

  31. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Ghost I don't think being negative about Espi is being negative about the Nats; I think it is looking at the team and seeing where its weak spots are. I love the Nats and will love them if they win or lose 100; would just be so much more fun if they won 100…

  32. Joe Seamhead - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    Nats Fan Jim, you are an immature, misogynistic clown that brings nothing of value to the table. NatsLady knows more about baseball in general, and the Nats in particular, then you ever will. Do us all a favor and go back under the rock that you crawled out from.

  33. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    SC what worries me is that the Nats weaknesses are compounding and are costing them games — against opponents they are likely to see again.In pressure baseball, weaknesses are always glaring — and we have more than a few.Not hard to see why Rizzo expected the Nats to be good NEXT year, and not this year. He KNows how weak we really are.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    Thanks Mick. He's a good kid but this is about the team first and his ego isn't a priority. Like I said in April he needed a tuneup in AAA. This swinging for the fences every at-bat has regressed him. He is 2 for his last 35 now.

  35. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    Joe: I wont even dignify your rather unhinged remarks.

  36. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Where did all the little Forum Nazis come from? The Nats being swept by the Braves has caused what I will callThe Great Unhinging. haha Right Joe?

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    SCNatsfan, I'm not referring to you. We had a good discussion this morning on Espi.I'm talking about attacking Espi's IQ. Talk about his swing, his lack of contact, his pitch recognition, not his baseball IQ.

  38. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Check out my list of Smart and Stupid Nats. I think you'll enjoy it.Espi is a stupid person who has learning problems.

  39. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    I wonder if the best thing for Espi would be to only bat right handed and still play him verse right handed pitchers? It could be as simple as that

  40. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    NatsFanJim said…Check out my list of Smart and Stupid Nats. I think you'll enjoy it.Espi is a stupid person who has learning problems.I actually think Espi is very smart and I think switch hitting may be his problem

  41. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Will Davey be back in 2013?I wonder what odds Vegas would give you? Might be worth a c-note.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Mick, something has to change. That's the best idea to try.

  43. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Mick: Actually, you may very well be right. I'm concerned that Espi cannot or will not learn to correct the loop and the holes in his lefty swing. It's the same thing every game: he is making no progress. I'm sure he's trying but not smart enough to succeed.2 for his last 35? This is a problem. Does his approach change? Nope. He must be stupid.

  44. NatsFanJim - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Davey Johnson committed the Manager's Mortal Sin tonight: he froze at the switch.Davey brings in an ineffective Burnett who implodes again. Does he warm anyone up? Nope.Storen sits but Burnett pitches? Does that make sense? Up comes Uggla: and we know Davey is obsessed with Righty Lefty matchups. Is a righty warm in the bullpen? Nope. In fact, no one is up in the bullpen.Davey froze. He is too old to manage. Davey should be retired after this year.

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.

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