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A St. Louis stinker

Sep 30, 2012, 9:23 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Ross Detwiler was roughed up for seven runs (three earned) in only 2 1/3 innings.

Updated at 7:45 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — They wanted to get this thing over with.

Sure, it’s always nice to celebrate at home in front of your own fans, but the Nationals have been inching toward their first-ever division title for quite a while now, and each day that passes without them finishing it off feels like a wasted day, another day in which Davey Johnson feels forced to play all of his regulars instead of giving them a pre-postseason breather.

So the Nationals desperately wanted to celebrate at Busch Stadum Sunday afternoon, either via their own win over the Cardinals or an admittedly unlikely Braves loss at Turner Field.

“I mean, we just want to do it,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “It doesn’t matter where it’s at.”

Well, if they do it now, it will have to take place at Nationals Park. The worst-case combination of Atlanta’s 6-2 win over the Mets and Washington’s 10-4 loss in St. Louis leaves the magic number stuck on 1 and leaves the Nationals trying again for the clinch Monday night at home, with John Lannan on the mound against a Phillies club that was already eliminated from postseason contention over the weekend.
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134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. sjb - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    If the Nats can't win one game out of three at home over a team with nothing to play for (and that they beat two out of three in their park when they did) they don't deserve to win the division.

  2. UnkyD - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Great. I can hear busloads of Phoolies, gunning their engines, now….. Let's not take this thing down to the wire, huh….?

  3. baseballswami - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Kind of agree. What does that say about how you will perform when ( and if) you get there?

  4. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Thank you for accurately portraying what happened here.

  5. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Yuck, just yuck. That one was deflating. Just try to shower it off and head for home, sweet home. FP put out the Nat signal. It's time to get after it tomorrow.

  6. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    For the Nats to miss the Divisonal Series, they would have to lose 6 in a row, including the tiebreak game and play-in games at home. That seems unlikely.

  7. Bzl. - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Neganons back; great.Let's do a reverse woooo hooo:OHHHHH OWWWWW!We'll get 'em tomorrow!

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    does no one find it poetic that Lannen could possibly clinch against Phillies at home?

  9. DannyEllinosa - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Yes Lannan clinch is poetic and it will happen. GYFNG!

  10. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Well, for once, WODL said something sensible.For the Nats to miss the Divisonal Series, they would have to lose 6 in a row, including the tiebreak game and play-in games at home. That seems unlikely.That probably describes Davey's thinking to a tee.

  11. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Try to remember what Gio said. It's entertainment and "We are gonna put on a good show for you guys." Tell me this isn't a good show.

  12. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Just finished reading the game thread comments. That was a mistake. Anyhoo, tomorrow is another day.

  13. sjb - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Especially sine (1) the Nats longest losing streak this season has been five, (2) IIRC, the Nats have not lost two series in a row this season, and (3) the Nats have been swept at home only once (by the Yankees back in June)

  14. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    First question is about Wang. Davey didn't want to use Stammen, wanted to get more out of him and not burn the pen. Pretty much what we expected him to say. Didn't say he messed up, but it was kind of implicit. Also said he doesn't put our best foot forward when we're behind (kind of supporting NatsLady's theory.) He likes clinching at home. That's the silver lining I guess.

  15. Secret wasian man - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Not upset over at a team loss to a team like the cards. What worrisome is in 2 of the 3 this weekend our starting pitchers didn't give the TEAM a chance.

  16. MicheleS - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Remember the 2004 Red Sox. They had to go thru their arch enemy to win it all. For us its the Phillies. Tomorrow night we get ours and yes it would be Poetic Justice if Lannan to get the clincher.

  17. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    It takes a great deal of forbearance to ignore egomaniacs. Davey's explanation was not particularly cogent, but it was clear that he was disgusted with Wang's performance. I didn't hear him say anything about letting Wang bat specifically. I think Mr. Wang has pitched his last for the Washington Nats and for that, we can all be thankful.

  18. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    The only thing I don't like about this game is Detwiler's performance. I don't care about CMW, he is not a factor in the postseason. But right now we are going in with Gio, JZ (shoulder?) and EJax (.500?). Give Gio all the whispering he needs, he'll deliver. JZ will deliver even if he's hurting. Ejax will deliver 1/2 the time. That's not enough. I'm not going to be in the Legion of Doom, I've been totally optimistic all season. But Detwiler worries me. I don't want to have to depend on Lannan.

  19. A DC Wonk - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    I agree with the silver-lining comments here — clinching at home, with massive crowds screaming, and big dog piles, against the Phillies would sure be great!

  20. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Detwiler is fine and has pitched well in big games this year, most notably on a Sunday against the Braves. He certainly did not deserve to be attributed the sole blame for this loss.

  21. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Wonk, agree. I don't even care if it's the Pirates winning because I feel for them and I am a big McCutch fan.

  22. Bzl. - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    yeah, IF Lannan comes up big tomorrow, I wonder if Davey will be tempted with Lannan over Det for the first series. I'm certainly glad that I had the "foresight" to grab Points tickets for tomorrow's game… back in July.

  23. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Here is how I apportion the blame:Detwiler 60%Wang 20%Danny 10% (maybe, but he made up for it)Davey 10%I'm sorry, but when you give up 5 walks, I don't know how many hits and a HR in the less than three innings you pitch you have not done your job. I'm sorry Danny didn't make a doubleplay. But you have to overcome that and you didn't.

  24. DannyEllinosa - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Even better to clinch with Philthies in our house. Just meant to be. No worries about our boys. They got us this far. Farther than most had predicted this year. Enjoying the ride.

  25. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Mathematical certitude must be a wonderful gift to possess.

  26. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… For the Nats to miss the Divisonal Series, they would have to lose 6 in a row, including the tiebreak game and play-in games at home. That seems unlikely.If the Nats lose three to Philly and the Braves win three at Pitt, they play a tiebreaker in DC. If they lose that, they play the wild card play-in in DC. If they lose that, they're out. That's five games, not six.

  27. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Didn't they lose today, lol? 1,2,3,4,5,6….

  28. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Prediction: If Lannan pitches well tomorrow, win or lose, he will replace either Detwiler or Jackson on the postseason roster. Which one will depend on who they're playing. If it's Atlanta, he'll replace Jackson so they can go heavy on the lefties. Anyone else, it's probably Detwiler he'd replace.

  29. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    So, I just went online and got two tix for tomorrow's game via the WaPo $2 promo. (Impulsive, much? Well, FP said and all. But I digress.) Not sure if my hubby will want to go (he's not home right now), so I may be flying solo. I'll be in the Upper Deckian reaches.

  30. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    DannyE, you are SO right. I'm enjoying this ride. Remember, 2013 is our year. Probably should have left the champagne at home and saved the environment. I assume they sell it in St. Louis, even on Sunday. 96 wins, that is incredible. I know people hate stats and probabilities, but coolstandings.com gives the Nats 98.8% chance of winning the division. I'll take those odds. We got this.

  31. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… Didn't they lose today, lol? 1,2,3,4,5,6….You said play-in games. There's only one of those.

  32. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    There are no bad seats that I have seen at Nats Park.

  33. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    But there would be a tiebreak game against the Braves. The best Atlanta can do is tie.

  34. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    We lost, and it [stunk]. You can point the finger at one person, or at more than one person. But it won't change anything. It's over, and there's another game tomorrow. I'm going to be there. Aloha.

  35. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    We would have to lose five games in a row at home and six overall, not to make it to the 3-5 series.

  36. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    I don't remember anybody giving the sole blame to Ross, but you don't seem to grok at all what the big old dummy Johnson was saying. As many of us have said all year: this is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Using all of the best of you bullpen with almost seven innings to play is a high risk. If you still lose the game, you have a worn out Craig Stammon, who would then not be available for the next two games. Garcia is a wonderful pitcher that is only been used for two, or fewer innings. Gorzolony and Zack Walters are lefties that the Cards eat for lunch. Who does that leave you to get 6 2/3 innings from? Sure, maybe you can use the combo of Garcia,a lefty specialist, Clippard, and Storen. But what if you still lose 5-4, in spite of perfect relief by those guys? What have you got left in the tank tomorrow? Now, for the last 1/4 mile of the marathon you just sprinted too early to finish the race with any effectiveness.You're too winded. Johnson looks a move, or two, further ahead then most of the pundits.

  37. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Watching A's M's. M's have 11 hits and 2 runs. A's have 2 hits and 2 runs. Gotta love the A's. #Efficiency

  38. phil dunton - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Ever since Strasburg was shut down, the teams pitching–both starting and relief– has gotten very shabby. This is not a good position to be in going into the playoffs.

  39. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Seamhead, I said that early on, when Davey first put CMW in. You are trying to get 6+ innings from the BP where are you getting them FROM??? You are down 5-0 and you are going to blow your bullpen on what, reasonably, is a lost cause? Nope.You think St. Louis with the BEST offense in the league is going to get ZERO runs agains the BP and you are going to get 6+ runs against a team that is going to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the game because they haven't clinched?Garcia is great but you are not putting him out there for FOUR innings! Stammen, the same, and he is prone to give up the occasional HR. People don't THINK, that's for sure.

  40. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    How did we manage the bullpen prior to September? We have several additional arms and we still seem to always be teetering on the brink of exhaustion. If it is in fact so, then why pull Detwiler. 5 runs in 3 innings is not the worst thing ever. We saw the Cards' pitcher recover yesterday and Gio did a few games back. One thing we all know for sure, is that for Wang, a "good" performance is one where, like last Sunday, he gives up several hits and walks and gets out of it with double plays, if he is lucky. His WHIP is essentially double that of some of our guys.If the bullpen is in such tired shape, then Davey probably should have left Wang in for three or four or five innings. That would have made much more sense than leaving him in just long enough to make sure the game was indeed over, and then yanking him. In fact, that seems to be the only justification for letting him bat, but then he didn't do that.Maybe Davey just finally realized what the rest of us do about Wang. He doesn't belong on a staff of this quality, and judging from his minor league stats this year, he probably doesn't belong on any team where you draw a salary to pitch.

  41. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Just think of Wang as Ryan Perry (remember, the "human towel") and forget about it. Davey is playing for tomorrow.

  42. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Davey took Wang out because he is a human being. There have been managers that left some poor slob in there to give up 10 runs or something. That is just wrong. Davey should have done the same for Detwiler, and not let him go in for the 3rd, or taken him out after the first guy got on base. I am not happy with Davey today, but I'm not as mad at him as some people on here seem to be.

  43. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    The thing with Wang has gone on all year. For some reason Johnson believes in him. He demoted Detwiler and returned him to his position and he always talks about Wang as though the guy is just about to turn into Greg Maddux. I think we all have seen coaches who seem to have blind spots with respect to certain players and we cringe when we see them coming in again.There are 3 games left. I think we can only assume that Wang is done, but he should not even have been on the September roster period.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    I get the impression that there are people on this site that think the Nats will have to sweep every series in the playoffs because every regular season loss means this wonderful season is a total loss.By the way, where has Fear & Ignorance gone?

  45. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    I think everyone knows that the best team in baseball will lose at least 64 times this year. 26 runs in 3 games, with a blow save sandwiched in between is obviously not good, but Washington has achieved its goals this season.

  46. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Please, NJ, F&I is not missed…! I personally am a happy camper. I have ordered my playoff tickets, am wearing my playoff cap. Who knew? We just got off a .500 road trip and are a .600 team. I read that Davey says Detwiler is not in his "doghouse." Well, he's in mine, but I guess Davey is still managing the team. LOL.

  47. DJB - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Det has a real problem pitching on the road. Depends on the match ups, but I would consider replacing him with Lannan if the game is on the road. His last outing, he admitted to having nerves. I don't like having to clinch against Philly, when they are salivating to be the spoiler. Makes me nervous. I underestimated the importance of Stras, and I think we are entering the playoffs with real problems with our pitching, never a good thing. But I never expected them to win the WS, I just don't want them to collapse.

  48. sm13 - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    I've got my freshly printed tix for Monday and I'm ready to be part of the celebration. We, as fans, need to get out to Nats park tomorrow and show this team our support – they've earned it!

  49. LoveDaNats - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    The Phils would like nothing better than to deprive the Nats of a division title. They will be super motivated to take us out. These boys need everything they've got tomorrow. Just wrap it up! This uncertainty is giving me ulcers.

  50. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    The Pirates are motivated also. Don't forget them. I haven't.

  51. sm13 - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    We get one break – Ryan Howard is out with a broken toe.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    And Kyle Kendrick has been throwing batting practice his last couple of starts.

  53. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    WODL,you've made your point,you don't like Wang, and I understand where you are coming from, but can we change the record now? Good grief, a week ago some here never wanted to see Burnette ever throw another pitch for us, others wanted to throw Clip under the bus.Others want to bench Espy for Lombo, still others want to bench Morse for Bernadina.A couple of others nicknamed our new catcher KSuck after two games Another wanted to put Harper on the 15 day DL.I could go on. And on. They are human. They are not perfect. Very few ball players are.

  54. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Well said, Joe S. I would add that very few humans are perfect, either (well actually, none of them, imho). I know that I'm not. :-)

  55. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    sm13, I am not sure Ryan Howard being out is a good thing for us. Actually, I'm pretty sure it is not a good thing as Darin Ruf will play his natural position, 1B, instead of LF. He is known as a plus first baseman.He also seems to think he can hit.

  56. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Joe… I agree. Howard is a shell of the player he used to be. Left handers own him.

  57. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    1A, wait—you're not perfect? When did that happen?Would love to be a fly on the wall on the plane ride home. Hope Davey is reminding the boys they are a good team full of talent and then he goes for a round of golf tomorrow.

  58. sm13 - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Given our history with him, I'll take my chances with a Howard-less lineup.

  59. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    By the way, where has Fear & Ignorance gone?I think he changed his name to William O. Douglas Loeffler.

  60. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Born that way, NatsLady. :-)Agree re. the plane ride home. I was just thinking about that.

  61. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    There's a couple of MIA's that I don't miss. 'nuff said.I just got two tickets in 315 on stub hub for tomorrow. Also going on Weds. The Stub Hub tickets were disappearing pretty quickly in the IF Gallery. Twice I hit "purchase" only to get a "Sorry, Charlie" message. Colbert pitched today, so we won't see him this series.Halladay looks to be shutdown. Kendrick pitches tomorrow.Gio tenetively goes for us on Tuesday vs. TBA. Cliff Lee is scheduled for them on Weds. Tuesday's weather is suspect.

  62. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    People don't THINK, that's for sure.Respecting JoeS's request, I'm not going to weigh in further on this topic, but that was unnecessary NL. (And empirically incorrect as well.)I'd just as soon the players saved their golf playing for the off season at this point, although I suppose it doesn't hurt if Davey wants to do it. So the player formerly known as Gascanrahan blew the save today and the Reds returned the favor for McCutcheon's walkoff with a 9th inning comeback in Pittsburgh. We're now tied with the Reds for 1st seed. So these games against Philly will mean something even if we prevail. Tomorrow night's game is particularly important to win. If we clinch tomorrow, setting up Gio to pitch Game 1 of the NLDS will be easier. If we need him to go all out on Tuesday to clinch the East, he probably won't be our Game 1 pitcher unless we're the No. 1 seed.

  63. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Just updated the article with postgame quotes from Davey, Detwiler, Wang, Espinosa and Desmond, plus more stuff for anyone who'd like to read it again.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Mark, hows Northwestern, lucky or good or both

  65. sm13 - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Thanks Mark. You can feel the tension in some of those quotes. A few early runs will, hopefully, soothe those nerves.

  66. MicheleS - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    MarkThanks for the update. Frustrating loss today. Tomorrow night will be better.

  67. NCNatsie - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Has it occurred to anyone that Atlanta has absolutely no reason to want to tie us for the East Div title?It would mean they would have to win two games to get into the NLDS instead of just one, use up both Medlin and Huston, and truly complicate their situation.

  68. mick - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    I am concerned about Det and Ejac. The loss is fine, Cards needed this game more than us. However,I did not expect Det to pitch so poorly and I wonder if there are real concerns about playoff starters?

  69. mick - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    let me add one more thing, The Wang experiment was a gallant and noble thing…. I am done with him, a waste of payroll, live and learn

  70. MicheleS - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    Mick. Look at Davey's comments about Det. Plus Det's comments. We can worry for them. They are not worried. Plus i think it will be sweeter to beat the Phoolies at home.

  71. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    That is true. I mean, how much is one extra home game in the next round that may or not materialize, even worth. The Braves would have a do or die game to win, either way. This is all set up to gin up fan interest. NCNatsie takes the gold. The Nats clinched on Saturday.

  72. Jimmy DeMoney - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Davey's really not helping himself the last 2 games. CMW should be gone now. Where's Gorzo??? I'm concerned about Burnie and Clippard, let's see how Garcia and Duke do against the Phillies. Let's give these "extra pitchers" a real test-drive before the playoffs.Captain Hook should be quicker with … the hook. We've got a full, healthy 'Pen. Let 'em work!

  73. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    The Nats have given Lannan the ball 5 times this year, and he is 4-0, the highest win rate of any Nats starter. Chances are the Nats win with Lannan, tomorrow. The guy seems to be on a mission. The only game he lost was the one where Al Porter would not give him the low strike, and that threw off his whole game. Joe West gave him the low strike last time out and he only walked one guy, when he was tiring and just before he was taken out. That game was against the Phillies last week, and the Nats got a big win.Sometimes, patience pays off (Lannan), and sometimes it does not (Wang). The Nats obsession with CMW is starting to look like the Garret Mock saga, all over again. But keeping Lannan has paid off for the Nats when it mattered the most.I think he does it, again, tomorrow night.

  74. mick - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    There is no issue with Lannan, he is a competitor and he worked his rear end off in the minors. Wang is a nice young man, but I think his work ethic and preparation is terrible.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    If Lannan wins tomorrow, there's no way Rizzo leaves him off postseason roster.

  76. mick - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    I gotta get to park tomorrow to be part of history!!!

  77. Section 222 - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Great point NCNatsie. Would they rather play the Nats in DC or the Cards in ATL for their first do or die game? I imagine this is a situation not contemplated by the designers of the 2 Wild Card berth playoff system. And if they manage to tie the Nats and beat them in a tiebreaking game for the NL East, their reward is probably heading West to play the Giants. Crazy stuff. In any event, there are six games left between the Nats and Braves, and we need a positive result in only one of those games. I still say: "We got this."

  78. Bob Sagert - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    Who is starting tomorrow? I ask because ESPN's schedule says Wang is starting tomorrow but others, including Mark, say Lannan is starting. I am 99.99% certain Lannan is starting but i have to be sure.

  79. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    "If Lannan wins tomorrow, there's no way Rizzo leaves him off postseason roster."He has a very good record against the Braves. I don't know about Davey, but I would use Lannan in any series with the Braves, at least.

  80. Another_Sam - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Mick — regarding CMW being nice young man: is that homage to Ken Beatrice, the father of DC sports talk radio?

  81. Another_Sam - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Regarding the post season roster: I was out of town on business last week, and also out of town this weekend, so I couldn't read and post to the extent that I like to. So I ask: I've been out of the post season experience for so long I've forgotten. Do clubs alter their makeup as drastically as some here have suggested? Is it a slam dunk to not have five starters on the roster for five and seven game series?

  82. ehay2k - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    OK, we lost today. I missed the Nats game since I was at the O's-Sox game with my O's fan son. Interesting that the O's fans cheer differently for different events, and perhaps not as you'd expect. O's hit a HR, and of course there is cheering. But they show an out-of-town score showing the Yankees losing, and the place erupts in cheers, followed by a well-coordinated 'Yankees Suck!'. It helped that the Sox fans chimed in. :-) I sat next to some BoSox fans who happened to also be Philly phans. Tough year for them. Still they were very complimentary of the Nats. They also said they had not yet been to Nats Park, so they are not in THAT group of phans.OPCY is really beautiful once you are seated. However, the rest of the fan experience is pretty poor, at least compared to Nats Park.Want food? Feel free to miss an inning because you can't see the game from Eutaw St or the concessions behind the first base line. Few TVs around either, and they don't appear to have a radio feed. Bobblehead day today, unless you were a kid under 15!?! Then, no bobblehead for you! Why would you not give them to every payimg customer? And kids are the demographic you want to bring into the park because they eat and drink constantly. Plus, it's a Sunday, not a school day. Lots of ticked off kids today, I can tell you. Nats come home, chance to clinch tomorrow. GYFNG!!!

  83. Clip&Store - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Dear Stephen Strasburg,We miss you.

  84. peric - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Wang is a nice young man, but I think his work ethic and preparation is terrible.Truth is he actually probably worked 500 time harder than did John Lannan in his entire life. Coming back from that kind of career ending surgery was nothing short of Herculean.So, NO ONE should take that away from Chien-Ming Wang NO ONE. However, as many here surmised, quite early on, there was little chance he would again be a major league pitcher at his age, with just one pitch in his arsenal, with that injury history.Hopefully, Davey will finally admit that as well. As for Lannan he would have to literally beat out 1 of the 4 starters to be on the playoff roster. He's not a reliever. I'm not sure he replaces EJax. I don't think he replaces Detwiler against Atlanta or any team. And you aren't going to see him replacing Zimmermann or Gio … so short of an injury I don't think you'll see him. He'd literally have to throw a no-hitter or something pretty damned close against the Phillies. At a minimum last more than 5 because the bullpen is pretty beat right now. And if Lannan can't pick them up?

  85. peric - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Dear Stephen Strasburg,We miss you.There's a pretty decent chance Strasburg gets bombed out as well. That's been historically the case with young pitchers coming off Tommy John's. They paid EJax 11 million for a single year to pick up for Stras. Its time he delivered the goods.

  86. Scooter - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    NCNatsie, if the Braves tie us, they'll only need to win one of two games, instead of needing to win one out of one. First they play the Nats; if they win, they're in. If they lose, then they play the other wild card team. So a win in either game advances them.I think I've got that right.Also, it's really really really unlikely that they'll even get to that point, no matter what they want.

  87. Scooter - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    It occurs to me, by the way, that the Nats have spared us any real heart-rending, close losses lately. They're getting their brains bashed in, or winning a squeaker. My memory may be off, of course. In any event, I'll gladly take this one small grace.

  88. NCNatsie - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Scooter, you're right, and I meant to say "could" instead of "would", the point being that by making the tie, they would gain nothing, because they still have to win at least one game to get to the NLDS, and perhaps two, if they lost the first one, which would be on the road at that. And if they lost it, they would be be in the same situation than they are anyway, except they would have used up one of their starters in the process. Hence I see no reason why they would want to do it.

  89. Section 222 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    Scooter and Natsie. Good points. I guess that raises the question of why Fredi would bring in Kimbrel today, up by 4 runs. Just to get him another save? At a certain point, he's got to want to rest his starters and his pen, even if there is a still a mathematical chance to catch the Nats. That doesn't mean they are going to try to lose games, but if he goes into the WC game with Kimbrel having pitched every day for a week, that's a problem, right?

  90. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    I think we will see the winner of the season's series be the tiebreaker in the future, if they stick to this format. One extra home game in the NLDS and fifty cents will buy you a cup of coffee, not to mention that it might not even give you any extra play-off games at home. The 3 of 5 series is a travesty and it has been since 1969.MLB got rid of it in the 90's and then brought it right back. As far as I can see, except for the basic human emotion of wanting to come out on top, Atlanta's profit maximizing choice is to not tie Washington for first place.

  91. JaneB - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Tomorrow. We do it tomorrow…at home, with a long-time Nat on the mound.I believe. I expect it. Tomorrow is a new day.

  92. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    The odds against the Nats not making the NLDS are very, very low. The odds that the Nats win the NLDS, regardless of opponent, are close to fifty percent. You may not like Billy Beane but I stand by his famous statement that he doesn't even bother working in the post-season….

  93. Doc - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    I just read Adam Berry's post-game interview with Davey. The man's got cojones of steel. In another life he'd be an odds maker in Vegas.Det may have come a long way this year, but he still has a ways to go, particularly with his pitch selection game plan.

  94. Section 222 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    So the Angels lost today, putting themselves on the brink of elimination from the Wild Card chase. I'm loving the possibility that neither the Angels nor the Marlins, who were the teams that supposedly "won" the free agent sweepstakes this past winter, will make the playoffs. And same for the Dodgers and their attempt to buy a new lineup at the trade deadline. Sweet.

  95. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Interesting comparison about Camden Yards vs. Nats Park. Both deserve kudos for not having corporate names. Both are great parks. I actually think Camden Yards hurt the O's overall because baseball in Baltimore became more about the stadium than the team. I think it was pretty obvious that Busch Stadium and Nats Park are very close in age and design. Both are on rivers and have a similar look and feel.My feeling is that Nats Park has better sight lines than Camden Yards. Camden Yards is easier for anyone from Maryland not from Charles or PG County, or inner Monty County to get to.Which is prettier, Camden Yards or Nats Park? Showalter says that anyone who even questions this is embarrassing himself. I am not sure that I agree. Nats Park feels real in a way that Camden Yards does not. In some ways, I preferred Memorial Stadium to Camden Yards, which at times feels a bit too much as though it were designed by the creators of the movie Field of Dreams. The brickwall behind the outfield is nice, but then again I don't remember that brick wall being there before the stadium was built, which basically makes it a Disneyfied prop.Ultimately, I don't recall anyone ever talking about whose stadium was prettier until the building of Camden Yards, and in that sense, Camden Yards is a complete and utter failure, just like walk-up music and all the other extraneous garbage. How good is your team?

  96. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Once again, just because people question Davey Johnson on here does not in any way, matter, shape or form mean that people do not love, admire and respect Davey Johnson.Guys who love chess and who huge fans of Bobby Fischer or whoever, will go through games of Fischer's and cut him to shreds. It doesn't mean they no longer love or admire or respect him. It means they love the game enough to try to elevate each and every single aspect of it by spending precious moments of a limited lifespan evaluating it. It is the ultimate compliment.

  97. Clip&Store - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    William,So are you saying nats park > camden yards?I mean I love nats park and think its underrated, but Camden Yards is pretty historical (well, revolutionary might be a more appropriate term). And for the drive, I come down 81 to 70 (past Hagerstown through Frederick, through Rockville, etc) and find it to be a pretty easy drive until getting into DC.

  98. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    I think Camden Yards is two things at once. I think it is the greatest example of manipulative architecture in baseball history, to the point that people stopped caring about the Orioles and went to the games for the Stadium. I remember a game towards the end of Ripken's career where I was sorry the game ended because I was having so much fun chatting and eating. I have no idea if the O's won or lost.Camden Yards was built to evoke certain images and feelings in the psyches of baseball fans. Before that, stadiums tended to be functional. The game was the spectacle and the things we like now in Fenway and Wrigley tended to be due to the constraints that the urban environment imposed.I think Nats Park should have been put either on the site of RFK or near Howard University, where Griffith was. It would have been easier for many DC area, as opposed to NoVa fans, with respect to Metro and driving in. It wasn't and that ship has sailed. I will say that the area around the park is gorgeous and far, far, safer and nicer than any time in the last 30 years. Nats Park feels real and Section 222 has perfect sight lines. If you had $5 beer, you might really have something.

  99. Section 3, My Sofa - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    The former site of Griffith is now HUH hospital, and not available. One of the four sites discussed at the time was a bit south of there, near New York Avenue. I understand lack of parking possibilities was a serious drawback there, though.

  100. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    Section 222 said… Great point NCNatsie. Would they rather play the Nats in DC or the Cards in ATL for their first do or die game? I imagine this is a situation not contemplated by the designers of the 2 Wild Card berth playoff system.You better believe the Braves would want to play a tiebreaker game in DC, after trailing the Nats in the standings for four months and coming back from being 8.5 games behind with 19 games to go. It wouldn't be a do or die game for the Braves either, because they would have nothing to lose and everything to gain, since they would come in with the same wild card berth they've had all along and could leave with the division title that puts them directly into the NLDS. If they lose, they're back to the wild card game that they had all along. And if the Braves force a tiebreaker game, even though it's in DC it will be advantage Braves, since it puts the Nats in jeopardy of losing the division title they've had in their grasp for four months and having to play the do or die wild card game. In a tiebreaker game, the Nats are the only team with something to lose.

  101. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    While burning up all their pitchers and having to travel twice….

  102. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    NCNatsie's point is based upon two fairly obvious points. One, resources, i.e., pitching arms, are finite. Two, MLB grants essentially zero reward for having the best record over all, or being a division winner. Everyone knows this. NCNatsie is correct.

  103. Clip&Store - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    I hear you William. Great observations and opinions, i really enjoyed it (as a break from the norm of conversations).

  104. SonnyG10 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    If I were running the Braves, I would want to play a tie breaker with the Nats, but I would use my number 4 or 5 starting pitcher and save the number 1 for the play-in game. That way I would have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

  105. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Two, MLB grants essentially zero reward for having the best record over all, or being a division winner. Everyone knows this.The reward for being a division winner is immediate entry into the NLDS without having to win a one game play-in. That reward goes to the division winner whether they get there via winning a tiebreaker or not. There is no team in any division that wouldn't gladly play a 163rd game for the chance to avoid having to win a play-in game before getting into the division series. Having to burn a pitcher has nothing to do with it. If they burn the pitcher and win the tiebreaker game, their reward is not having to burn another pitcher in an absolute do or die game. That's a gamble worth taking.

  106. Section 222 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    I don't discount the momentum advantage that catching the Nats would give the Braves. That's certainly a factor in deciding which scenario the Braves would really like to see happen. The fact remains that if they catch the Nats and beat them in the tiebreaker, they are definitely not getting the No. 1 seed. (The Reds won their season series with the Braves.) That means that if they are the NL East Champ, they are not going to get to play the depleted Wild Card winner in the NLDS, which is the real advantage to being a division champ instead of the Wild Card winner. (The other advantage of being a division winner is that you don't have to use your own No. 1 pitcher in one game playoff to reach the NLDS, but the Braves would have to use theirs in the tiebreaker.) Now if they end up losing to the Nats in DC in the tiebreaker, they have to go back home and play the wild card game without the even one day of rest that the schedule provides the Wild Card teams if there is no tiebreaker. And they would have to use up both their No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers (Medlen/Hudson) in order to get to the NLDS. So the advantage of catching the Nats is having two chances to win a game and get to the NLDS. And the disadvantage is being just as or even more worn out once they get there. Tough call. But if I'm Fredi G., I'm going to think long and hard about how hard I'm going to work my bullpen this week. Anyway, this is all purely hypothetical, because the Nats are going to win the division. :-)

  107. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    SonnyG10 said… If I were running the Braves, I would want to play a tie breaker with the Nats, but I would use my number 4 or 5 starting pitcher and save the number 1 for the play-in game. That way I would have everything to gain and nothing to lose.Exactly. The tiebreaker is an opportunity to avoid the play-in game entirely. Why not give it a shot?

  108. Section 222 - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Good point SonnyG. Since there are no days off between the end of the season (Oct. 3) and the tiebreaker game (Oct. 4), their options are limited. Medlen pitched today so he's probably not available until the WC game at the earliest. They could start Minor on regular rest or Hudson on extra rest. That's an interesting choice. Start Hudson and give yourself a better shot at having Medlen for game 1 of the NLDS (but not Hudson until game 3), or start Minor and hope for the best, knowing you have Medlen for the WC game if necessary, with Hudson then ready for game 1 if you get there. I'd love to know what Fredi would do, but not enough to hope that this extremely unlucky eventuality comes to pass.

  109. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    Speaking of bullpens, Fredi already announced O'Flaherty won't "be available" for the next few days (sore back).

  110. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Another day and another game. GYFNG!

  111. MicheleS - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Your morning glass of Koolaid courtesy of Boz

  112. sjm308 - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    There were some good points made last night & I enjoyed the comparision of parks as well. My son & I will often walk the long way around to 308 from the scoreboard just to stop and look out at the Anacostia. I had season tickets to the O's when I first came back to this area but for some reason, it just wasn't "my" team. These guys ARE my team and I am worried about how we are entering the Post Season.I do agree that it looks like we will win the division with just one of 6 outcomes needed, but I am not happy with our pitching the last few weeks. Way too many inconsistent outings from our starters and to me that is the key to the playoffs. I do think that once they shut Strasburg down, things changed. I was hoping the others would rise to the occasion and I think Gio has, the others are either hurt or tired or mentally unfocused. OK, another day, another hat and I will have really nice seats tonight thanks to Red Carpet seats from my other group members. I will miss 308 but 130 will be the place I hope to watch history!!!Go Nats!! Score First!! Win the Division!!

  113. Joe Seamhead - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Rabbit, Rabbit!GYFNG!!!

  114. Gonat - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Ahhhh, its a new day!

  115. baseballswami - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    And it's a new month, too and I hope October looks better than September did. I have our September record at 16 – 12 – is that right? I know we played some very competitive and tough teams, except the cubs and mets, who we handled well. I think that makes us the only team with a winning record in every single month. BUT — and there is always a but — I just haven't felt that the team looked good, especially in the last couple of weeks. I also think that we are the second youngest team in the majors? That youth and inexperience factor has got to be playing a part in this, no matter what the players and coaches say.No excuse for EJax and I am kind of concerned about the starting pitching. Turn over the calendar, take a breath and finish this thing off – my nerves are shot. Did you guys hear that the O's had a fire on their plane and had to make an emergency landing? Can you even imagine? Crazy stuff. These guys do log a lot of air miles.

  116. LoveDaNats - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    They just want to dog-pile on the mound at Nats Park. And who could blame them?

  117. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Since October is a new month, the Nats have to take 2 out of 3 from the Phillies to claim a winning record in every month.So there you go.

  118. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    swami, yes, 16-12 is what I have for September. I understand Davey was irritated with EJax–as he should be. It's one thing to lose a game, but he should be going deeper than he did Friday, that's his job as the "Livo" replacement. Maybe it was nerves, but I'm more inclined to suspect something physical, like an aching shoulder, that kept him off-kilter. As a person with chronic pain, I can tell you that even a slight increase of pressure bums me out. More puzzling–and worrisome to me–is Detwiler.

  119. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Did you guys hear that the O's had a fire on their plane and had to make an emergency landing?The O's are HOT!

  120. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Yah, the O's charter jet was some older plane and had a galley fire. Angelos trying to save more cash.Cashin on MASN as he says.

  121. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Maybe they were trying to cook up a special MASN deal. Or not. :-)

  122. Tcostant - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Random thoughts:- Lannan will NOT be on the post season roster (unless one of our top 4 starters get hurt). No way.- Camden Yards is just a better ballpark the Nationals Park. I get what your saying about not being able to see the field if you get a hot dog, but the outside looks like a baseball park, Nationals Park looks like an office biulding.- Where are my strips? I have not gotten my playoff strips (nor a tracking number that they are on their way). Does anyone out there have an update???

  123. Anna Peregrina - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    OK, we do like the excitement of down-to-the-wire races. But that is enough excitement for now. Just clinch it tonight, boys.Go NATS!

  124. Tcostant - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Someone here said: Wang is a nice young man, but I think his work ethic and preparation is terrible.Me: How do we know he is a nice young man? In my book, nice young men don't cheat on their wife. I'm just saying…

  125. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    I've read good things about his work ethic in the past. I'm pretty sure he's not the first ballplayer to cheat on his wife. Not that I'm in favor of it. I'm just saying. I agree that he stunk up the joint yesterday, but he wasn't alone in that. :-)

  126. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Tcostant, I'm wondering about Lannan/postseason also. If he wins tonight, would you put him on the roster over Gorzelanny? I understand he's not a reliever, but let's say the same thing happens in a playoff game with EJax or Detwiler–they go 3 innings or less–who would you want to bring in, Gorzy or Lannan?

  127. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Tcostant, I have not gotten my strip, nor a tracking number. But in discussion a couple of days ago it was pointed out you can print your tickets out on line. IOW, the tickets you are getting via FedEx or UPS are commemorative. I still want them, of course.Saw on another site that an O's fan had gotten his, but an Atlanta fan had not gotten his. Picture seems to be mixed.

  128. Scooter - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    NCNatsie, I guess I'm just not understanding your point. Sorry if I muddied the waters.One thing I know we can agree on: it ultimately won't matter what the Braves want, because the Nats ARE going to clinch in these next few days.

  129. Tcostant - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Natsfan1a: I've read good things about his work ethic in the past. I'm pretty sure he's not the first ballplayer to cheat on his wife. Me: While I agree, I wouldn't ne calling him a nice young man then.NatdLady: Lannan/postseason, I think Lannan has filled his purpose, to eat some of those Strasburg innings. I still rather have Gorzelanny or even Dukes as a long guy in the playoffs, but I expect Lannan playoff spot to be taken by Christian Garcia; who I'm very impressed with.

  130. m20832 - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Should we as fans worry that the Nats have Gio and JZimm, but mediocre starting pitching behind them? EJax and Det looked just terrible in their starts. I'm hoping that the latter two really pick up their games.GYFNG!!! Let's take the division tonight!

  131. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I'm wondering about Lannan/postseason also. If he wins tonight, would you put him on the roster over Gorzelanny?Of course not. You'd put him on the roster over Detwiler or Jackson. If he pitches well tonight, that would be three strong outings out of his last four, much better than either Det or Jax over that timeframe. He would definitely be a good choice to replace one of them on a 4-man playoff series roster. Too bad he can't replace them both.As for Gorzelanny, he could easily find himself replaced by Garcia and Duke in an 8-man bullpen for the playoffs. It's no coincidence that Gorz has not been seen much at all during September.

  132. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Yes, I expect Garcia to take the "5th starter" spot in the bullpen unless Davey decides to give it to a bench player (DeRosa). I don't think he would pick Dukes over Gorzy, but I think it's a little closer between Lannan and Gorzy.

  133. Feel Wood - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Tcostant, I have not gotten my strip, nor a tracking number. But in discussion a couple of days ago it was pointed out you can print your tickets out on line.If/when they make them available for transfer on MyNationalsTickets you should be able to. But they still haven't done that yet. I just checked.I suggest you call/email them and ask about alternative delivery options such as printing them out so you can pick them up at the ballpark this week. That's what I'm doing, since with a day job there's no way I can sit at home waiting for them to show up.

  134. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    When Ejax and Detwiler are "on" they are both better pitchers than Lannan when he is "on." The problem is, the former two have not been consistent in September. Lannan had a bad outing also but got away with it, so he hasn't been perfect either. I was 100% with the crew who said Lannan would not be in the postseason until the last week or so. Now I'm not so sure.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 48 --
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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.
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.

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