Skip to content

Shrinking margin

Sep 17, 2012, 5:10 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Michael Bourn eludes Kurt Suzuki’s tag to score a key seventh-inning run.

ATLANTA — Davey Johnson ambled through an otherwise silent clubhouse late Sunday night — black sweater, khaki slacks, white sneakers — and started cracking jokes to every player he encountered.

The Nationals had just lost a sloppy game to the Braves, 5-1, had just been swept by their lone remaining challenger in the NL East and had seen their once insurmountable, 8 1/2-game lead shrink to 5 1/2 games at the end of a difficult weekend.

Their left fielder has been out since Tuesday with a left hand injury. Their second baseman is now likely to miss at least the next series with a left shoulder injury that will require an MRI. What had been baseball’s best pitching staff all season is starting to show some cracks in the foundation. And what had been the league’s most-potent lineup for the last month was silenced the last three days by Atlanta’s pitching staff.

None of that, Johnson believes, should overshadow what the Nationals have done over the last 5 1/2 months, nor give them reason to worry about the 2 1/2 weeks they still have left in a pennant race that is far from over.

“I feel fine about where we’re at,” the 69-year-old manager insisted.
Read more

  1. peric - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    Cue up the Legion of Doom.

  2. Kevin Rusch - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Well, i'm not gonna get Legion of Doom about it, but I have to admit that it's rather disconcerting how sometimes this team can play a good team (Dodgers, Yankees, Braves) and get swept. At least friday and saturday were close games, but sometimes this team just looks flat, and that won't be a good thing in October. I don't know what to do about it, other than hope they don't stink when the time comes, but yeesh.

  3. BigCat - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Gotta get the sticks going again.

  4. baseballswami - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    They are young, inexperienced,banged up, tired and have been under the pressure of being a first place team after never having even a winning season. Add to that the injuries and the Strasburg scrutiny. Right now the game is moving a little fast for them and they are showing some "yips". As are plenty of other more experienced teams. It's been an awesome season but for a few weeks now, folks have been getting a little ahead of themselves. Players, fans – we need to take a step back and breathe. It's a cruel and unpredictable game and division titles don't come easy. We'll see this week if they can pull it back together. That's what they have usually done. I am so proud of the season they have put together and pulling for them every minute.

  5. NatsNut - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Can we play the Cubs again?

  6. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    It's called–after Gio couldn't win–"it's raining, let's go home." You can like it, you can not like it, but that's what it is.

  7. rabbit34 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Looks like I'm being proven correct. WE NEED BATS!. Don't worry, next year we will have some holes filled. The Nats have already exceeded, in wins, what many thought they would have. We will have more experienced players and we'll be fine, next year. Against any good pitcher, we've had it. We have a chance with a 3-4-5. Or, maybe not. This is our gravy year. Enjoy it. Next will will be for real..not living a fantasy.

  8. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2012/09/17/danny-espinosa-to-receive-mri-on-left-shoulder-likely-to-miss-at-least-three-games/They are saying Espinosa has been playing with a hurt shoulder. If they knew that, why do they march him out there with Lombardozzi available.

  9. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Nats ended up 10-8 in the season against the Braves. Friday ended on a throwing error by Desmond and Saturday turned on a Marvin Hudson bad call at 1st. Sunday ended on Gio's inability to throw strikes.Nats collectively went into a hitting funk. No Michael Morse and Espinosa batting 6th all weekend.I'm not overly concerned.

  10. 320R2S15 - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Thanks swami. Truly,I could not have said it better myself. Lombo will fill in nicely, you can't bust on him for the strike out, good lord he has not had many at bats lately. Deep breath boys.

  11. baseballswami - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I am also quite comfortable with Lombo at 2B. Even with fewer at bats, he makes contact most of the time. That at bat against Kimbrel could have happened to any player in mlb. And probably has happened to them, or will happen to them. Both Danny and Drew have lost grandparents this week. Like these kids needs more pressure. As for Davey Johnson – I have a sneaky suspicion that he created some situations ( see Burnett, Sean) just to see how people would react. Who passed and who failed? Who blinked? He does seem to have a philosophy where you just throw them in deep water and they either swim or they don't.

  12. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Do you all realize that Michael Bourn was 1-18 before last night. Do you all realize the hottest RH was sat last night as Freddi gave Prado a rest and most thought Kimbrell wouldn't pitch.The perfect set-up for Gio and it seemed Freddi was going to take the L and move on but Gio pitched on the corners and got his pitch count up and walked too many batters.While it was a tough game to watch since most of us expected to see Win #20 and probably had our expectations shattered, it just ended up as one of those frustrating losses you get in a 162 game season.

  13. MicheleS - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Gonat.. I think Espi only has had the balky shoulder for the last week. From what I read, he gave himself up last night and asked to be benched. Good for him. (it might be a day or two late, but still).Burnett has got to be hurt still. someone send him out for the MRI. This weekend was a good swift kick in the butt, they probably needed it. Keep your foot on the pedal boys, we need to take out the Dodgers this series (hopefully Kershaw won't pitch, or if he does we take advantage of his hip issues – BUNT at the pitcher)

  14. MurrayTheRed - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    If someone said to you at the begining of the year the Nats would have a 5 1/2 game lead in the NL East with less then 3 weeks to play you would have been jumping out of you skin. Everything is cool no worries! The Braves are a very good team with their backs against the wall, where we could step back. No worries!

  15. BigCat - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Yes Swami, you are right on the money. And in Davey, we have the right guy in charge to keep the boat steady. We have bounced back all year and will do it again.

  16. rabbit34 - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Swami…GREAT post!! You should copy and re-post it with every loss.

  17. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Unless the pain is intolerable (and these guys have high thresholds at this time of year and in a playoff race) –unless the pain is intolerable, it's hard to differntiate between normal athletic soreness and a serious strain or partial tear. The first sign is that is lingers after the break Danny had, and that it impairs your swing. Note that Danny was asking ALR about his injury, meaning he had not experienced it before.So now all the people who were questioning Danny's IQ and saying "this is who he is" (a K machine) will take a step back. If a guy has been good since the All-Star and suddenly slumps, the first question should be, is he hurt?

  18. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    NatsLady, Danny is a K machine. He is 1st in the National League with 174 K's. There's a good reason he is 7th in the Majors in K% and everyone in front of him is considered big HR hitters except Drew Stubbs. Danny has the 8th worst contact% in the Majors.These are facts. Questioning his IQ is a low-blow.

  19. 95southNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    This has been a great season all around, but I have a question. What is the Nats record on Fox and ESPN games? It seems like we've consistently lost in nationally televised games. Not sure if its the quirky start times or just the bigger stage, but we seem to play flatter in those games.

  20. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. bowdenball - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Depressing, but let's remember that it's partially bad luck, not bad play. We should have won the game Saturday but for the blown call at first. Changed everything about the game- not just the extra run but the way the bullpens were used, the way EJax pitched to Heyward, and so on. A three-game sweep on the road with two one run losses, one of which turned on an unforgivably bad call, is nothing to get upset about. Take care of business at home this week against a couple .500ish teams and we'll be fine.Speaking of that, I hope the fans really make an effort to come out and see the team over these next seven games. They need a loud stadium and some positive vibes!

  24. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    NatsLady, you are wrong if you think Danny is a K machine because his shoulder is hurting. If you go back and look at his stats from the minors on his K percentage in the majors has never been less the 25% and in the minors never less then 20%. Is he hurting? Probably, and that's part of the 8 in a row I guess. But he is a K machine, have no doubt about that, unless his shoulder started hurting in 2008.

  25. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    95southNatsFan, nothing there. we have played too few games to consider that as significant. I can recall three 8 PM Sunday games and our record is 1-2. I don't see anything quirky about 4PM start on Saturdays, which we have played at least a couple.Anyways, no excuses. Braves played better and just reminded us that we would be wrong to think that they will just hand us over the division. let's just get back home and to winning ways.

  26. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    BTW, the 15th best contact man in the Major Leagues is Steve Lombardozzi at 91.1% He is just 0.2% behind Ichiro.His lack of playing time put some rust on him and while he K'd against Kimbrel on Saturday, so has Ichiro Suzuki.

  27. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Agreed, Murray.Was out last night and didn't see the game. I did record it, but not sure I'll make the time to watch given the ESPN crew and that whole chop-chant thingy.Not the series we were hoping for but, as it stands, wouldn't the Nats have to go 4-12 and the Barves 9-6 to tie them?* There's still some baseball left to play but a day off for R&R (I'm thinking mostly the first one), a week of home cooking for our guys, and Kristina rather than Bow-Tie Boy and his ilk on the sidelines could be just what the doctor ordered. :-)If someone said to you at the begining of the year the Nats would have a 5 1/2 game lead in the NL East with less then 3 weeks to play you would have been jumping out of you skin.*Typed after looking at a morning newspaper box that did not incorporate late game results. My math doesn't agree with Mark's on the Tweeter update above. I may need additional coffee and some math drills. Your mileage may vary. As always, thanks for reading. :-)

  28. DJB - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I can't stand this "it's all gravy" argument. You never take anything for granted in baseball. As Davey would say, "that's a losing attitude." If the players choke this year, what makes you think they won't next? You go for it this year as if its the last. If the players on the field choke, you get new players. You develop the truly talented (i.e. Bryce), deal the journeyman and mildly talented (Zimmerman),and you bring in veterans (should have been Pujols).

  29. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Wow Zimmernam is mildly talented? Kind of loses credibility for any argument right there.

  30. ehay2k - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Man, lots of haters posting last night. While it's fair to criticize poor performance, it's not fair to call people out as stupid or dumb. That serves no purpose except to drive people from this blog. It's also uncalled for to call people jerks, nazis, etc. Please continue to discuss the games, the players, the coaches, the owners, even your own anxiety, but do so in a civil manner. There is just no need to get personal.

  31. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I'm behind on reading posts and comments but agree with ehay on ad hominem attacks in general.

  32. ehay2k - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Need Espi healthy, but very glad we have uber-utilityman Lombo to back him up. Also need Morse back because he makes pitchers nervous when he's healthy. We will have to live with Moore/Bernie in LF, or maybe we will see Werth, Brown, Harper in the 7,8,9 spots, respectively.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Gonat/SCNatsfan, thanks for the Espinosa stats.Not sure what NatsLady is trying to defend. I'm not even sure Danny is injured even though he has a sore shoulder and supposedly getting a MRI. Very few players make it to this point of the season without ailments.My take on it is that Lombo is getting his chance to start and Danny will get his MRI.I fully expected Lombo to be the starting 2nd baseman against RH pitching on Tuesday. Reading about Espinosas MRI was the surprise.

  34. blovy8 - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Lombardozzi needs the work anyway. Espy had probably played the most this season, and perhaps the time off will help him calm down and stop swinging at everything.Glad I got out of there early last night. I figured once the rain came, things were gonna get worse, but there's no sense in harping on it. The only important thing is to win the division and try to be healthy when the postseason starts. I think momentum lasts one game.

  35. blovy8 - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    By early, I mean the comments page for last night's game.

  36. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I don't know if full time Lombo is better then Espi at 2B when you factor in Espi's defense; what I see though is Danny isn't making progress at the plate. I think it would be unfair to ask him to learn to hit solely from the right side at the major league level; that would be a disaster. I think it is great that management has his back and says all the right public things but if anyone deserves to be sent down to retool his swing and get some at bats against lesser pitchers it has to be him, although I know its too late to do anything this year. I just fear once the playoffs arrive we will have a huge black hole in our lineup as he faces nothing but the best pitchers every day because there is no reason to expect he will be any better then he hsa been since he arrived in DC.

  37. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    The more I think about it, Espi's problem may be very simple to solve… bag the switch hitting and let him bat right handed permanently. Zim, Morse, Harp, etc… bat only one way, let Espi do the same, if he is inconsistent after that, then we know he is not the long term 2b for Nats

  38. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    mick, the other way to bag Espi's LH swing is just play him against Lefty pitching.

  39. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Gonat… true and with Lombo yes that would make sense, but…. my point is that Zim, Werth, Bryce, Morse and Ian only bat one way, why not afford Espi the same opportunity to prove he can bat right handed verse right handed pitching?

  40. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Gonat/SCNatsfan, thanks for the Espinosa stats.Not sure what NatsLady is trying to defend. I'm not even sure Danny is injured even though he has a sore shoulder and supposedly getting a MRI. Very few players make it to this point of the season without ailments.My take on it is that Lombo is getting his chance to start and Danny will get his MRI.I fully expected Lombo to be the starting 2nd baseman against RH pitching on Tuesday. Reading about Espinosas MRI was the surprise.________________________________________Sounds like you may be thinking that the benching was coming regardless.A 2-35 slump and that long looping swing at this point in the season is not great timing.Time to see what Lombo can do. He actually did well in Desi's absense.

  41. JaneB - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    It's our good fortune to have Lombo to back up Danny now. Danny's defense is awesome, and I hope that this injury turn out to be something that either heals fast, or that they do whatever surgery is needed without waiting too long to have him back in the spring.Echo ehay on the personal attacks. I get that people get scared and anxious. But just because we're Imaginary and you don't run into us at the Safeway or on the Metro (that you know of), doesn't mean that you get to spew venom.We all want to clinch the division. Best thing we can do is send good thoughts their way, not the fear. And show up this week, literally or figuratively.

  42. Gonat - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    mick, I could see them asking him to give it a go in Winter Ball as a RH only hitter or like some have suggested giving Espi his 3rd year in the Majors to improve as a switch hitter.Its really his peaks and long valleys that are a problem. He has picked up his overall numbers.

  43. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Gonat… exactly my thinking… winter ball and exhibition, maybe a 3rd year, at some point Espi may have to tell Davey, look I want to focus only on batting right handed verse all pithers. I actually think he could be a 270-275 hitter career wise if he stuck right handed

  44. bowdenball - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    mick said…Gonat… true and with Lombo yes that would make sense, but…. my point is that Zim, Werth, Bryce, Morse and Ian only bat one way, why not afford Espi the same opportunity to prove he can bat right handed verse right handed pitching?Because he's gone his entire life without facing right-handed pitching from the right side. It would take YEARS for him to suddenly feel comfortable enough with it to be productive against the best right-handed pitchers in the world.There may be some example of a player making this switch after starting their major league career, but I don't know about it. And since this is brought up whenever Espi struggles from the left, I don't think other people know of them either. If you type the phrase "former switch hitter" into Google you won't get a single relevant result.

  45. Joe Seamhead - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    GYFNG!!!

  46. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    bowdenball…. I was not aware that Espi has not faced enough right handed pitching in his career. that is good point. So it appears that one has to hope he works out his left handed hitting issues from now to next season.

  47. bowdenball - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    He's faced a ton of right handed pitching, mick. That's not the problem. The problem is that he's NEVER faced right-handed pitching from the right side. Not just in the majors; at any level. Not even little league.There is such a fine line from elite player and replacement level player to minor leaguer in this game. Even the most talented guys on earth need a year or two honing their skills against lesser talent from their preferred side of the plate before they can hit major league pitching. Espinosa would probably need more than that to be able to pick up righthanded pitching from that side of the plate and learn to adjust mid-swing instinctively. Like I said, it rarely happens, if ever, and I think there's a season for it.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    16 games to go.

  49. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    your right and I did mean facing from the right side.

  50. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…16 games to go.10 of which are at Nats park

  51. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    And 15 for the Barves (6 @ home).

  52. mick - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Overall, we are in fairly good shape

  53. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    I don't disagree with you at all Bowdenball; I think you try Danny facing right handers as a right handed hitter in the winter league and see how comfortable he is; if he isn't then you decide to A) live with him as he is B)use him as a platoon player or C) give up on him and let another organization try figure him out. If he is comfortable Lord knows how long it would take for him to feel comfortable facing Halladay or someone like that.

  54. Feel Wood - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    There may be some example of a player making this switch after starting their major league career, but I don't know about it.Well, Nook Logan did. And his career ended shortly thereafter. Not clear whether it was the dropping switch hitting or the placebo steroids he took that caused it.

  55. Exposremains - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    They always say you need to get hot for the playoff. Its time to get real hot and carry it in the postseason. At this point, I would avoid using Burnett at all cost.

  56. Kiterp - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    “As for Davey Johnson – I have a sneaky suspicion that he created some situations ( see Burnett, Sean) just to see how people would react. Who passed and who failed? Who blinked? He does seem to have a philosophy where you just throw them in deep water and they either swim or they don't”Agreed …the way he managed the series, never felt like DJ thought this was a make-or-break series … just another step towards the playoffs. All calculated. Master plan. Though winning the division would be HUGE for this club, the league has put the top seed at a huge disadvantage with first two games on the road. Is DJ playing for the division or the whole enchilada. Does DJ want to go back to Atlanta for the first two games of a series … or LA … or would he rather bet his boys could win a one game series at home and then host the first two games NLDS?Sore, beat up, tired, pressure building … the first thing that starts to slip is the mental edge. It wasn’t just the arms that made this team great at times, it was the D making the pitchers look great with incredible plays. Now, all around this is a team that is tired. Having never been here, final stretch, gas tank empty, nothing is going to be easy … and all a great learning experience that will pay dividends into the future. For now, perhaps the dog caught the bus and you just hope they can hold on … just have to hope DJ can get them to reach down and find that magic again.

  57. bowdenball - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Every baseball player is different. Still, it's worth pointing out that the conversation Nats fans are having about Danny Espinosa in 2012 (during his year 25 season, his second full season in the majors) is EXACTLY like the conversation Nats fans were having about Ian Desmond during his year 25 season/second full season in the majors.That doesn't mean I think Espinosa is going to turn into a 5 WAR player like Desmond next season, just that we should be patient when it comes to this organization and their eye for power hitting middle infielders with plus defensive skills.

  58. bowdenball - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Kiterp said… “As for Davey Johnson – I have a sneaky suspicion that he created some situations ( see Burnett, Sean) just to see how people would react. Who passed and who failed? Who blinked? He does seem to have a philosophy where you just throw them in deep water and they either swim or they don't” Agreed …the way he managed the series, never felt like DJ thought this was a make-or-break series … just another step towards the playoffs. All calculated. Master plan."Though winning the division would be HUGE for this club, the league has put the top seed at a huge disadvantage with first two games on the road. Is DJ playing for the division or the whole enchilada. Does DJ want to go back to Atlanta for the first two games of a series … or LA … or would he rather bet his boys could win a one game series at home and then host the first two games NLDS?"I think both division series follow the two on the road, three at home format. Presumably to avoid exactly the sort of gamesmanship you're talking about.

  59. SCNatsFan - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I agree Bowdenball but you need to get someone in this organization to get it into his head he is not Pedro Cerrano and that contact is not a bad thing

  60. Feel Wood - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. Feel Wood - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Though winning the division would be HUGE for this club, the league has put the top seed at a huge disadvantage with first two games on the road. Is DJ playing for the division or the whole enchilada. Does DJ want to go back to Atlanta for the first two games of a series … or LA … or would he rather bet his boys could win a one game series at home and then host the first two games NLDS?The #2 seed also has to play the first two NLDS games on the road, at the #3 seed. The only way to avoid having to play the first two on the road is to be the #3 seed (currently the Giants with a record 1/2 game behind the Braves) or the #4 seed (wild card game winner). Surely you aren't serious in saying Davey might be planning to drop enough games the rest of the season so they fall behind the Braves and/or Giants, just so they can start the NLDS at home? Because that strategy of trying to fine tune your record by losing just enough games rarely works. Why? Because after doing that, it's kinda hard to just flip the switch and turn the winning back on.

  62. Oldguy - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Swami has it right. I was rereading an old article by Bart Giamatti (for those of you who don't know, he was actor Paul Giamatti's father, among other things.) Here's what he wrote about baseball:"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."I grew up in New York and Boston. Dodgers lose five world series to the Yankees before they finally win one. The Red Sox go into Yankee Stadium with a one-game lead, two games left and two pitchers who won 48 games between them. You know what happened.Once a team begins to think winning is easy, the end is in sight. Yankees in 2006–won the AL east by 10 games. No sweat. Went out in first round 3-1.And so it goes. Don't bother to read further–just an old fart who knows there's always next year, and whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

  63. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    no one thinks of dropping the division when six games up to gain home field advantage by being wild card, given that Nats road record has been pretty good. if you are good enough to be top team in NL, you should be good enough to start the series on the road.

  64. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Danny strikes out a lot. Patience is the key. He is night-and-day more talented (raw talent) than Lombardozzi. He could easily be an All-Star next season or in 2014. Lombo won't be with us next season, because he's plenty good enough to be a full-time player on many teams, so why would you keep him on the bench when you can get good value in a trade? However, if Danny is injured, rest him and heal him for 10 or 15 games. Period. We are playing a bunch of .500 teams. Play .500 ball and we will be at 97 games, which should win the division baring some kind of freak run from the Barfs (not likely, as although they are a good team, they have not shown they are capable of that kind of streak).In the meantime, Davey has some choices to make, in particular, does he put Burnett on the playoff roster(s). If Burnett was like he was for 3/4 of the season it would be a no-brainer. Davey's seen what he needed to see from Garcia. Great stuff, can handle back-to-back outings. But, a righty, not a proven closer/setup guy. IOW, a rookie. I expect to see a lot of Burnett as long as Davey can keep the record at .500 or above.

  65. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    No idea whether Lombardozzi will be here or not–not into the crystal ball thing–but you want someone who is "good enough to start on many teams" sitting on your bench, 1., because he's better than someone who isn't as good, and b., because he will be starting a significant number of games when the regulars get hurt, which they always do. So I'd like to keep him, or someone a lot like him.

  66. Steady Eddie - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. Steady Eddie - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Sofa, agree completely re keeping Lombo. Teams that win consistently over multiple years are marked by having the kind of backups you described — who could start and be solid if unspectacular players for most teams. Replacement level backups are what .500 teams have.

  68. Steady Eddie - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Sofa, how did you get a 12:47 pm time stamp on your comment?

  69. natsfan1a - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    By commenting yesterday afternoon, I would think. :-)

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