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Clinch is no cinch

Sep 20, 2012, 5:30 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Tyler Clippard is disconsolate after giving up the winning run in the ninth inning.

For seven innings, they gave no reason for the 26,931 in attendance to believe they had a rally in them, one that would give everyone at Nationals Park reason to celebrate the clinching of Washington’s first postseason berth in 79 years.

His team down six runs in the second half of a doubleheader against the Dodgers, Davey Johnson pulled three of his biggest bats — Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche — from the game. With his starter, John Lannan, knocked out in the fourth, Johnson handed the ball to a right-hander who has spent the majority of the last three seasons on the disabled list (Chien-Ming Wang) and a left-hander who spent the last five months at Class AAA (Zach Duke).

Could you blame so many of those fans for heading to the exits early?

And then something unexpected happened. Michael Morse led off the eighth with a solo homer. Two batters later, Steve Lombardozzi blasted a two-run shot. Adrian Gonzalez booted a ball at first base. Mark DeRosa poked a single to right field. Bryce Harper beat out a slow roller to third. Danny Espinosa singled to left. And Morse (batting for the second time in the inning) delivered another clutch hit, a two-run single to right that incredibly left this game tied at 6 and left those who did remain in the park in a state of ecstasy, realizing they might just witness the Nationals clinch in stunning fashion.

“That was one of the coolest innings I’ve been a part of on this team,” Morse said.
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  1. SonnyG10 - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Boy, this loss was hard to take after we battled back. I need to forgive Clip, but I'll never forgive Alan Porter! He told Davey he saw the runner score before the out and that is a bald-faced lie as the replay shows. He was not doing his job and tried to cover up for it.

  2. peric - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Clippard plus HRod I suppose equals Storen's save total from last year. But, honestly, I think a guy that can get his fastball up to 98 might be a better choice down the road. And that's Storen. Hopefully, H-Rod figures things out. Meanwhile, there's now also Mattheus and Garcia.

  3. rabbit34 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    And, the division title still leaves me very queasy. But, this is a great year. It has been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of fun pulling posters' strings too! Will we be able to make it to the title? Maybe….but maybe not.

  4. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Mike Winters is just as big a jerk as Alan Porter.Ibelieve that anytime a pool reporter ask for an interview it should be granted. No ifs no buts. MLB doesn't hold umpires accountable, and in this case won't allow the press to do the same.They have no trouble throwing a player to the fire, but refuse to allow their umpires to be touched.If that isn't shades of a conspiracy I don't know what is.Why would you allow a cover up. You want transparency in your product.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    So, word is, you can see this umpire crew again on Sunday. They'll be dressed up as NFL refs.Pathetic call, but honestly, everybody in the stadium, including Porter, was watching Ryan Zimmerman trying to pick the ball up and make the tag.

  6. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Some big positives from yesterday:JZ looked like the guy who went 4-0 and was pitcher of the month in July. If he keeps pitching like that, the Nats will be that much tougher the rest of the way.Morse came back from his 8-day layoff with his swing still intact. They are going to need his big bat in the middle of the lineup to go deep into the post-season.Espinoza followed up his cortisone shot with 3 hits and only 1 K in the DB. If he gets hot, too, the Nats offense is going to score a lot of runs down the stretch.The rookies, Lombo, Harp and Brown all played significant roles in the 8th inning comeback. It was great to see them all come through in that situation.Zach Duke was very impressive in long relief. Both Davey and Rizzo have something to think about. Burnett had his best outing in weeks.In his first season in CF, Harp has become a plus defender. He looks like Jim Edmonds when he goes back and snags those long drives over his head, and like Paul Blair coming in to snag a shallow liner. He covers the gaps with the best of them, and any runner who tries to advance against Harp's arm is just plain stupid. By the time he is through, he will go down as one of the best all-around players to ever lace 'em up – maybe the very best.The league needs to give each manager on each team a peremptory challenge. If the challenge is upheld, they still have one to make, should there be another questionable call. If their first challenge fails, they lose the right to challenge any other call for the rest of the game, except for the HR call, which is seldom invoked, anyway. That would eliminate frivolous challenges and allow egregious mistakes by the umps to be corrected. Imagine if the call at 1b in Atlanta, and the non-call at home last night, had occurred in the WS, with the Nats losing the series 4-3, largely because of 2 horrible calls by the umpiring crew, whose only purpose is to see that the game is called fairly and accurately.Baseball can fix this. I hope it doesn't take a fiasco in the WS to force them to do it.

  7. MicheleS - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    First game great.. 2nd game, well for 1 inning it was good. I won't be at tonight's game. I will be at a wine tasting. Hopefully celebrating a Nat's win!CMW- although not great (hello Wild Pitch), wiggled out of a lot.Duke looked good as long relief guy. I wanted to know why Davey didn't bring Garcia in for the 9th. I figured Clipp was toast after the first game.Go get them today boys…

  8. Gonat - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… You wanna get really pissed? Watching King Felix on the MASN channel vs Os and Gary Thorne all if a sudden turns from the game conversation to start lambasting Rizzo and the Nats on shutting down Strasburg.You tell me, Angeloser owns MASN and you have to wonder how often their announcers are talking crap about the Nats.Lerner shouldn't sit idly by.September 19, 2012 11:46 PM ______________________________________They are replaying the O's game at 9AM. I can't wait to hear this rant.Are the O's announcers being told to badmouth the Nationals? I could see that as a strategy so O's fans don't become Nats fans.Next will be MASN subliminal messages. Just pathetic.

  9. Scooter - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I think yesterday/last night as my most exciting day ever at Nats Park.Man, I love this game! Isn't this awesome, y'all?

  10. Gonat - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    How long is Rizzo going to sit by and watch the Nats come up seriously short on poor umpiring. Its about 1 key poor call per series. Forget all the homeplate umpiring balls/strikes that are missed, these are blown calls in the field.

  11. Gonat - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Scooter said… I think yesterday/last night as my most exciting day ever at Nats Park.Man, I love this game! Isn't this awesome, y'all? September 20, 2012 7:47 AM _________________________________For a loss, game 2 was very cool. Great to stay and get a performance like that.They were saying last night that getting a save in both games in a doubleheader is rare as Rafael Soriano for the Yanks did it yesterday.Tough way to lose last night. What I didn't like was the Nats going out in the bottom of the 9th with barely a fight. 1-2-3 quickly.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    oh boy, this is what happens when I miss part of games.thanks to the botched call, we wait one more day to clinch a playoff spot. oh well, let's get them today.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    question, even if kemp crosses the plate before Zimm retires AGon, it should not matter since it is the third out of the inning. Right?

  14. natsfan1a - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Baseball *is* awesome, Scooter. This here pennant race thingy is pretty cool, too.

  15. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Faraz, no. Since the batter reached first safely, and there was no force (remember, Flores said he overheard the umpires' discussion, and one of them said he thought the bases were loaded, so he didn't have to pay attention), if the run crosses before the third out is made, it would count.

  16. Gonat - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Faraz, it wasn't a force out so it then becomes a timing play.

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

    FS, if he crossed the plate before Zimm made the out, the run would count. Evidently the whole crew had a bad case of rectal-cranial inversion.

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

    [adding a couple of colas to my tab]

  19. Doc - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    That blown play by umpire Porter and the rest of the gang of bums in black was #91 right there! This play should be appealed six ways to Tuesday, until the umpires and used-car dealer commissioner are tired of hearing about it. If Torre can change The Beast's hit into an error, earlier in the season, he should have the cojones to overrule this dumb mistake.The players are out there playing their asses off, and a bunch of lazy clowns can't even be pay attention to the basics of the action!

  20. BigCat - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    That was absolutely one of the worst calls I have ever seen……anywhere. Manassas, you are right. These umps should be made to answer when they blatantly screw up like this. I mean, the play was right in front of the homeplate ump. What the hell was he looking at?

  21. baseballswami - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Laddie blah blah – good points. The regulars looked good in game one, jz and suzuki appear to be settling in, finally. Defense sparkled. Good situational hitting as opposed to waiting for the homer.Please don't forget the team we were watching in game 2. Davey almost conceded the game — took people out, used CMW and DeRosa, for goodness sake. Bench guys have been stepping up big time – even DeRosa got a hit in a big spot.Lombo with almost no playing time lately goes yard? The first game looked like my Nats, the second game showed that rallying, come-back Nats team that I love also. Clip, after teetering lately, gave up a hr. With decent pitching and umpiring it wouldn't have been an issue.No, the division title is not a given and even if we get there it will probably be the hardest and most painful route ever. It's baseball.

  22. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    There is no appeal on blown calls, nor was this the first or last blown call ever. Don't you think they would have overruled the blown call that cost a perfect game, if there were any way to do it?

  23. natsfan1a - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    After watching the LAD highlight video, their broadcasters realized it was a bad call as well. Everybody but the umps did, evidently.

  24. natsfan1a - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    sec3: well, can we at least cry about it a little bit? What? There's no crying in baseball either? Waaahhh! D'oh! :-)

  25. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    thanks for clarifying sofa, gonat, and 1a.saw the video again. how can you just award a run since the manager asked? RZ put it best, you can't go around giving free runs at this level.

  26. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    The whole crew had a bad night all over the field, and thinking the bases were loaded? Maybe the umps were loaded. Of course, the OTHER SIX RUNS were not their fault.

  27. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    FS, on a play where the ump just plain didn't see what happened, and still has to make a call, sometimes the first argument wins. They don't like to over-rule a call on a play none of them saw. Which, again, would be incompetent at any level, seeing as how their heads were not in the game. They didn't just see it wrong–they were not paying attention.

  28. ChiefWJ - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Not to defend Porter, because the play wasn't even close to being close, but if a) Kemp was hustling or b) Gonzalez had enough sense to retreat to second or get caught in a rundown to allow the run to score this would all have been a non-issue. The Dodgers sure don't look like a good fundamental team.

  29. A DC Wonk - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Gonat said… How long is Rizzo going to sit by and watch the Nats come up seriously short on poor umpiring. C'mon — give Rizzo some credit.What makes you think Rizzo is just "sitting by and watching"? Rizzo never takes this stuff lying down. You can be sure he's blasting away about this. But it's not productive to be public about criticizing umps — fines would be levied and umps would get pissed. I'm sure Torre's gotten some heated communications by now.

  30. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Chief, yes, and what may be the worst part of all this, we never got an otherwise well-deserved laugh out of the tag–did you see where Zim stuck the ball on that tag? Ouch!

  31. mick - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Just watched Rod Darling on Morning Joe and I love what he said about Davey, called him a winner and both the Nats and O's…. he said they will draw 6 million combine in a 2 cities 45 minutes a part and that is a great thing

  32. md_schmidt - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Not positive, but my guess is the relative inability to hold umps accountable is all part of their CBA with MLB. This is one of the basic principles of any union — protecting its members at all costs and above all else.

  33. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    BTW, the rule in question is 4.09(a)"HOW A TEAM SCORES.(a) One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first, second, third and home base before three men are put out to end the inning. EXCEPTION: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made (1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; (2) by any runner being forced out; or (3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases."

  34. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    side note, is anyone watching the Pirates? What happened to them? they were heading to postseason for the first time in years (still in the race) and now are at .500.

  35. NCNatsie - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Sofa, one difference between last night's blown call and the one that took away the perfect game is that in the latter, the ump owned up and admitted his mistake with great and obviously sincere remorse. Haven't heard a peep from Porter.

  36. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Faraz, here's one opinion.

  37. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Natsie, the crew chief last night did decline to speak to reporters, it's true, but the distinction is purely public relations. By rule, there was and is no way to get the call right.

  38. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    After the game, that is, which was the point under discussion.

  39. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    If the umps had wrongly interpreted a rule, it would have been protestable, but there's no protesting a judgement call. The Brett pine-tar incident, as I recall, was overturned on those grounds, iirc, but not, say, Denkinger's WS pooch in 1985.

  40. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    And as long as we're all worked up to pitchforks and torches, some history: 10 Biggest Blown Calls

  41. natsfan1a - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Yes, yes I did. :-)did you see where Zim stuck the ball on that tag?

  42. Tcostant - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I think a game like that Clipp already figured he wasn't pitching at 6-0 and even 6-1, with a bunch of regulars pulled. His head just wasn't there those first to batters, it's to bad. He needs to understand that in the post season he will pitch in games when we are BEHIND, to keep it close. Get the head in the game now!

  43. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    My umpiring career ended w/ Little League and I don't think I ever forgot how many men were on base.MLB could do what they do in the minors — go w/ two umps — and add instant replay and improve the quality of the game.

  44. Steady Eddie - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Tcostant — I expect an even more fundamental reason Clip thought he wouldn't come in is that he had already closed the front end of the DH. In the roughly half-dozen DHs the Nats have played under Davie in the past season and a half, the only time I can remember him using a closer in both ends was by Storen at Philly the week before the season ended last year. The justification for doing that there was that we weren't going to the postseason so if Druuu ended up a little worn out, he had 5 months to recover.Here, though Clip hasn't been as overused this year as the last two (67 IP so far with 14 games to play, vs 88 and 91 in 2011 and 2010), he's still pitched more innings than any other reliever than Stammen, the RH long guy (and more than Gorzy — LH long guy — at 65.2 or Mattheus at 60.1). This wasn't a save opportunity and as folks have pointed out, we had Garcia who's already proven himself up to handling high leverage situations. At a time when we want to preserve everyone's arms for the postseason as much as possible, consistent with winning the division, putting in Clip was more of a questionable call on Davey.Having said that, you wonder about Clip throwing the high heater where he wanted it to with Kemp. Sure, that's been his out pitch in past seasons but folks have caught up with it more than once this year (Valdespin), and he's been going more with low and away stuff for out pitches in the past couple of months. Strange judgment to throw that to such a dangerous hitter here.

  45. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Before getting so enthusiastic about Harper as a great CF, it is reasonable to be concerned that extended duty in CF — beyond a couple of years — may work against his overall health. (This is particularly a concern if he has to cover LCF for Morse for too much longer. There has been talk that Harper would grow "too big" to play CF — I don't think that is an issue. Bo Jackson weighed 230# and was still the fastest player in the game. But Fred Lynn was a great CF until he ran into too many walls and dove face first into the dirt on too many pop flies. This is not an argument for spending money/trading prospects for some never-gonna-be-as-good-as-he-is-today CF like Borne (heaven forbid). The Nats have plenty of in-house prospects who should be able to hold down CF inexpensively for many years to come.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Between the play in Atlanta on Saturday where they said LaRoche was off the bag with the Nats leading 4-2 and plays like last night and on and on because there have been many "blown" calls against the Nats I can't think of one game turner on a blown call in the Nats favor.That's a problem.

  47. Steady Eddie - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    I do like the blunt way USA Today's headline described the fiasco in the fourth last night:Matt Kemp scores phantom run, then homers to lift Dodgers.On something this blatant, Torre at least needs to be accountable. I'm not holding my breath.

  48. JD - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    To say that Clipp's head wasn't in the game is nonsense. He made exactly the pitch he wanted and a great hitter hit it; it happens. The problem is that Clipp's best fastball is 93 MPH and as such he has very little margin for error. Storen would have thrown that pitch at 96 MPH and there is a better chance that Kemp would have fouled it or missed it.

  49. Steady Eddie - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Ghost — and don't forget the infamous gimme to the Yanks where TMo should have been called safe on what would have been the winning run in the bottom of the 8th.None of those three were even judgment calls. They were all failures by Torre's guys.

  50. natsfan1a - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    In other news, and after reading the game thread, that's a cute rally kitteh you have there, sec3. :-)

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    I can also think about the wide strike zone against Bryce Harper and the postage stamp strike zone the Nats pitchers have endured with certain umps.There have been 3 calls go against LaRoche at 1st base this year and all were mistakes. Of course the one in Atlanta and one was a Desmond throw that LaRoche had to stretch for and the ump called him off the bag and gave Desi an E6 and then there was one where LaRoche was on the base but then decided to try to tag the runner too and was called safe.They always say the bad calls even out but they haven't.It really felt like replacement umps last night.

  52. Steady Eddie - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    JD — the problem is that the high heater is no longer Clip's effective out pitch. It's not the speed of the pitch, it's that good hitters have learned where it goes. Storen doesn't try to throw high heaters for the K.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Ghost — and don't forget the infamous gimme to the Yanks where TMo should have been called safe on what would have been the winning run in the bottom of the 8th.None of those three were even judgment calls. They were all failures by Torre's guys. September 20, 2012 9:56 AM Thank you for that one. That was a game changer that would have been a W.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    JD said… To say that Clipp's head wasn't in the game is nonsense. He made exactly the pitch he wanted and a great hitter hit it; it happens. The problem is that Clipp's best fastball is 93 MPH and as such he has very little margin for error. Storen would have thrown that pitch at 96 MPH and there is a better chance that Kemp would have fouled it or missed it. September 20, 2012 9:55 AM Well said although I think it needed to be 1 to 3 inches higher. Its mostly a "chase" pitch for a K the way most opposing batters get Espinosa out on a swing and miss. If they connect, it will be either a popup or a foul back. Was that the same pitch that Valdespin hit the HR on off of Clip?

  55. JaneB - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I'm still fuming abut Alan Porter. Umpires make mistakes all the time. But what they get paid for is baseball rules knowledge, attention to the right things at the right time, and personal integrity. The blown calls that cost us two games have lacked the integrity piece completely. The ump who said ALR was off the bag was out of position — it happens — and should have called for another opinion. No excuse for Porter. MLB has to do something about this.

  56. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    We noticed, collectively, earlier in the season that Clippard wasn't throwing the high fastball for the K nearly so much this season. And while that pitch last night was up out of the zone, about neck-high I'd guess, clearly it wasn't a good choice on 0-2 to a FB hitter like Kemp. Yes, he's been hurt, and almost like Morse is for the Nats, not his 100% self, but that was "OH, NO!" as soon as it left his hand.

  57. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    They might get disciplined for this. As I recall, Bob Davidson got suspended for one game earlier this year for repeated major suckage. But it won't get the call right.

  58. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    There really is no recourse. Suppose Torre says, "Yeah, that was inexcusable. Let's reverse it." Do you want them to replay the game from that point, at 5-0?

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Section3, if Clip got the desired swing and miss on that pitch, everyone would be complimenting Clip. I tip my cap to Kemp for getting on top of that ball. That isn't why the Nats lost the game.

  60. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Now, if there were some way to replay the whole game … maybe if Rizzo agreed to start Strasburg if they replay it?

  61. PChuck - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    >>>Do you want them to replay the game from that point, at 5-0?<<<Well, we'd still have a chance to win the game, if they did that. Right now, we have no chance.And the Dodgers are terrible. I like our chances to outscore them by 5 runs over 5 innings.

  62. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    IF he had, sure, but you could say that about any mistake pitch. And Kemp hit the ball a ton, hats off to a great player. And the other five runs were more the problem, I agree.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    From Mark's Twitter: Clippard said he threw 0-2 high fastball to Kemp exactly where he wanted. Said this was incredibly tough loss for him to swallowThere you go. Credit to pitcher and the hitter.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Section3, read what Clip said. It was not a mistake pitch. Thrown where he wanted. Its 1 loss in 162.

  65. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Teams have probably erased five-run deficits twice in one game before; can't think of any offhand, but it's probably happened. But the same five runs? That would have to be a first!

  66. NatsNut - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Gonat, I agree with Wonk. Not only is Rizzo not "sitting and watching" the poor umpiring, but isn't he the only *GM* to be fined for arguing with the umpires? Cracks me up.

  67. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I thought Davey said he missed his location, in the postgame, but as you say, one loss.

  68. NatsNut - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I'm also okay with Clippard's pitch. It's Matt Kemp. One of the top guys on our list of guys-not-to-pitch-to cuz he's such a masher. I'd be more upset if it was, like, Pete Orr or something. Besides, we all know that home run was Scooter's fault anyway.

  69. bowdenball - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Of course there's no recourse, Sec. 3. I think Nats fans just want MLB to acknowledge it. We've been screwed twice in the last four games with two obvious blown calls that cost us a run in one run games. Nothing's gonna move those games over in the win column, but a little accountability from baseball and its umpires and acknowledgement that we're really getting the shaft here would be nice.

  70. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Scooter's fault? Oh, good. I was ready to blame the cat for falling asleep on top of her Rally Napkin.

  71. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    The play of the game was walking Adrian Gonzalez walking in the top of the 3rd with 2 outs and 2 men on base.Lannan pitched around Kemp which put men on 1st and 2nd and I had no problem with that to get to the lefty Adrian Gonzalez. In a 2-2 count Lannan bounces the 2 seamer like he had with the slider before that. Let's just say the fish weren't biting. The ball needed to be thrown in the zone and hope he rolled it over as Lannan has to know Hanley is lurking on-deck.Other issue was Wang in the 4th wild pitching run #5 in with 2 outs.Why wasn't Christian Garcia called in so if you were to use Wang he could start with a clean inning?

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Atlanta is idle today. Nats have to take care of business tonight.

  73. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    "There is no appeal on blown calls…"There is an appeal on a HR call, already, and in football, you get multiple appeals. No reason in the world that baseball cannot implement a review system either."Not positive, but my guess is the relative inability to hold umps accountable is all part of their CBA with MLB. This is one of the basic principles of any union — protecting its members at all costs and above all else."The CBA is irrelevant. NFL refs have their own union, too, but that was no impediment to the appeal process they now have in place. Tennis, too, is much better since they implemented the Cyclops system to settle disputed calls. Baseball is behind the curve.This can be fixed, and it should be. Umps are human. They make mistakes just like NFL referees and tennis line judges. The game should be decided by the players."Before getting so enthusiastic about Harper as a great CF, it is reasonable to be concerned that extended duty in CF — beyond a couple of years — may work against his overall health."If you cannot get enthusiastic about Harper's play why are you watching the game? Of course, the Nats have already expressed their intention to move him to RF, eventually, to save him from becoming the next Grady Sizemore. We already know that he will not be their permanent CFer. So what's your point?"I can also think about the wide strike zone against Bryce Harper and the postage stamp strike zone the Nats pitchers have endured with certain umps."Amen to that. I thought Porter was taking the low strike away from Lannan early last night. Without that low strike call, Lannan was extremely vulnerable since he does not have the stuff to throw strikes high in the zone. It looked to me as if he elevated his pitches, but tried to paint the corners. The result was too many walks and too many counts in favor of the hitter, forcing John to come to the hitter with a hitter's pitch. The result was predictable.It was not just Porter's blown call that helped determine the outcome of that game, IMO.

  74. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Personally, and speaking strictly for me, I'm not big on official-validation-by-moot-"accountability" in these things, but OK. The umps should be disciplined for not doing their jobs, especially in a game with playoff implications. The other wild-card contenders can't be happy about this, either. But I won't feel any better about it for that.

  75. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Maybe Kemp got a cortisone shot. Because all we heard about for days and days before the Dodgers got here was that Kemp couldn't reach high and outside because of his shoulder. I wonder if you can "deke" other teams with fake–or exaggerated–injury news, I mean, why not?

  76. Section 222 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    So who's the starter on Sunday? Did Davey rule out Wang and Duke by using them last night (they'll have only 3 days rest) or was he auditioning them and assuming they could start a game on Sunday after pitching a few innings on Wednesday? Will Stammen get the call as a "reward" for a job well done this year, or does one of peric's dark horses from the minors (Perry, Maya, Karns, Meyer) get a shot? As the world turns, these are the days of our lives.

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    NatsLady, I was thinking the same thing. Kemp didn't look hurt to me.

  78. Steady Eddie - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Laddie @ 10:40 — good points and a fair perspective on all counts. Thanks.

  79. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    "Nothing's gonna move those games over in the win column, but a little accountability from baseball and its umpires and acknowledgement that we're really getting the shaft here would be nice."Yeah, especially since those 2 games in the loss column could cost the Nats and their fans the home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Section 222, I am expecting Wang to start and this was like his side session last night. Probably go to Duke and hope the Nats get 6 innings out of them.All that changes if Davey uses them Friday or Saturday.

  81. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Wait, At-Bat Lite has Jackson listed as starting both Friday and Saturday. THAT can't be right.

  82. Steady Eddie - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    222 — about the dark horses, I would only want to see Perry — as an MLB experienced RH power pitcher — get a chance as the others are either bad history (Maya) or none at all.But apart from those points, the question that would apply to all of them is, have they thrown anything in the past three weeks? Do you want to start someone for a very important game against a tough opponent (they're all tough from here) who was essentially shut down three weeks ago? Have any of these guys been throwing in Viera?I suspect for all of these reasons and more, Davey will stick with his current staff, with only Perry (if he's thrown in FL) having a small outside shot (and also being on the 40 man). Can't imagine he wants Maya's nibbling against the banging Brews.

  83. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Gio goes Saturday, I should think.

  84. Section 222 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Ghost, that sounds reasonable. Kind of like a "bullpen game, which ought to make NatsLady happy. I just hope Stammen stay in his very valuable long man role. Not worth messing with his rhythm for one start. By the way, in case anyone is going tonight and considers having the Dodger hotdog platter from Taste of the Majors — don't do it! The advertised "avocado slices" were a green-tinged mayonaise sauce. It was basically a footlong hotdoge with three half slices of tomato and the aforementioned sauce. Perhaps the worst food I've ever had at Nats Park, and that's saying something.

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Sec222, that's my exact thinking.

  86. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    No Post on the subject of Sunday's starter. Perfect timing!

  87. Joe Hardy - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Umps are human. They make mistakes. They miss calls, have wide strike zones, give a strike call to the vet, but deny the call in the same location to the rookie. It's part of our game. I hate it, but it is so exciting… Nats will go out today and remember this…score more points and we winGo Nats!

  88. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    By the way, in case anyone is going tonight and considers having the Dodger hotdog platter from Taste of the Majors — don't do it! The advertised "avocado slices" were a green-tinged mayonnaise sauce.Mayo on a hot dog–that's L.A. all over.

  89. Feel Wood - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    By the way, in case anyone is going tonight and considers having the Dodger hotdog platter from Taste of the Majors — don't do it! The advertised "avocado slices" were a green-tinged mayonaise sauce. It was basically a footlong hotdoge with three half slices of tomato and the aforementioned sauce. Perhaps the worst food I've ever had at Nats Park, and that's saying something.I've never been to LA, but from all I've ever heard the real Dodger Dogs aren't all that and a bag of chips either. So you know what they say: Accept no substitutes. Now you know why they say that.

  90. bowdenball - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Joe Hardy said…"Umps are human. They make mistakes. They miss calls, have wide strike zones, give a strike call to the vet, but deny the call in the same location to the rookie. It's part of our game."It doesn't have to be. Balls and strikes are one thing. The call in the 4th last night and the off-the-bag call on LaRoche on Saturday could be reviewed on replay and reversed. Just give each manager one challenge a game (only lose it if you're wrong) on any call other than balls and strikes, send it to a centralized review center like in NHL, and voila. The integrity of the game is protected, nobody feels cheated, and the delay is minimal, 2-3 minutes at the most.

  91. bigfitzva - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    At the games yesterday, when in the second game was hit with flashbacks from when that was our best starter on the mound. Thank goodness we've moved past it now. But please, let Lannan find a contract somewhere else next season.

  92. DJB - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Clip didn't make a mistake on location. It's just that he doesn't throw it hard enough to go to a high heater consistently. He only has a fast ball and an off-speed pitch really. His fast ball is like a dart with no action and velocity in the low 90's at most. He's a good set-up pitcher if he can keep his location low. Now, if Storen is locating, his balls move enough to be a decent closer. They need to get Storen into it now.

  93. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Ha, 222. Tastes are funny. I had the LA Hot Dog and thought it was great… Too much bread, but I loved the cool sauce and the fresh tomatoes.

  94. Scooter - Sep 20, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I'm just glad that we've collectively decided to ignore the whole that-homer-was-Scooter's-fault thing.

  95. md_schmidt - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Lots of posts about the blown call by Porter and Clippard's problems (IMO its both the relative low speed and minimal movement of his FB but also the predictability. All hitters know what / where his out pitch is >50% of AB's). To me, the game was lost because the SP went a whopping 3 2/3 IP with 6 ER and the first RP in allowed 2 of 3 IR to score plus uncorked a WP plus allowed 3 hits, etc. Clip's mistake was easy to point to a the main culprit but don't forget about the other 6 runs.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

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