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Game 159: Nats at Cardinals

Sep 30, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Will the Nationals celebrate this afternoon at Busch Stadium?

ST. LOUIS — It's been 10 days since the Nationals clinched a postseason berth. It feels like twice as long. They certainly expected to wrap up the NL East title by now, but the Braves have had other plans and have stretched this thing out nearly as long as possible.

Today, though, when the Nationals take the field at Busch Stadium, they won't need to look at the out-of-town scoreboard. Their task is simple: Win and they're NL East champs. Yes, they could also back their way in if the Braves lose to the Mets in a game that begins 40 minutes before this one. But the players in the visitors clubhouse prefer it not come to that. As one guy said this morning: "We want to dog-pile."

So it will be a motivated group this afternoon, led by St. Louis native Ross Detwiler and catcher Kurt Suzuki (starting his ninth consecutive game behind the plate). All the regulars are in the lineup, another sign Davey Johnson wants to end this thing right here and right now, then give everyone a rest during the final three games against the Phillies.

Enjoy this day, everyone. And, of course, be sure to check in here for live updates and analysis throughout…

Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 2:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Ch. 50,
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 70 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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264 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Watching Garcia easily blow through the Cards there makes me even more upset with Wang and Davey. WTF is Davey thinking — still tinkering, Davey? Uh Davey, it's a pennant clinching game. What do you think Davey, that Wang is suddenly going to revert to form? And what form is that? ERA at 4.00+ at best. Again: Davey a hero in the clubhouse — a bufoon on the field.

  2. MicheleS - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    WODLMarks feed should be on upper right corner. Try at The NI home page if its not on game thread

  3. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    WODL, for this game at least it's more on Davey than on CMW. After using him in the Dodgers game, Davey knew what he was in this season. CMW came in and did the same thing he did in the Dodgers game, only twice.It really is mystifying. Davey clearly wasn't going to repeat staying too long with Det when he looked like EJax did on Friday night. He started Det in the first place because he was serious about clinching this weekend. Then he brings in someone who gave us no serious chance of winning.I imagine Davey will give the explanation that he didn't bring in Gorzy or Duke both because of the matchups and because he wanted to keep them fresh for potential starts after we clinch in order to give the real starters a little rest. Which still wouldn't explain why he brings in a reliver who would be a garbage time reliever in a post-clinch game instead of his real relievers.If he really wanted to win this game.

  4. Smatt1001 - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Have to agree with Mark's tweet. Could have used Garcia in the 4th.

  5. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    WODL, it's not the beat writers' job to "hammer" Davey. Someone will ask the question I'm pretty sure. That's all we can ask. They aren't fans, and they aren't there to argue with him.NL, we're trying to understand Davey and we can't. Do you seriously think he wanted to lose today? I don't buy that for a second.Steady — Davey might have had good reason for bringing in Wang. But not for letting him bat or leaving him in as long as he did.

  6. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    And now he's used all the real relievers — Stammen, Garcia, Duke — he should have brought in (and presumably was trying not to use) in the first place.I know we're all piling on here, but this is incredibly frustrating when Davey is getting in the way of his own team like this on such a huge game.Not the end of the world, we can and should win tomorrow if we can't come back today. But for a young team which is really doing an admirable job of hanging in there for the first pressure September for most, this game was really not constructive when it was inflicted on the team which is really trying like this.

  7. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Keeping Duke or Gorzo fresh for a start after we clinch? Nah. He can always get Perry or Maya off their couches for that.

  8. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Davey is playing the percentages. Fans aren't. Neither is Boz or Mark. I thought about it, and I got no problem with it. Maybe Davey made a mistake with CMW (bringing him in with runners on base). But at that time it was 5-0. Try to remember that. At the time Davey brought Wang in, the Cards had a 94.7% chance of winning the game. ( didn't lose this game. Nor did CMW. Detwiler (and if you want, Espy) lost this game. (Assuming we lose it). fangraphs play log

  9. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Mark is right to show his increduilty of Davey Boy Johnson — that's the manager with a supreme amount of hubris.Mark mentioned batting Wang — which was unbelievably weird — this isn't May, Davey. Its the clincher.He didnt mention batting Det for himself — when it was apparent to all that Det was done.But Davey is so smart, so brilliant. NOT

  10. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I don't agree with what Davey did, but I understand his reasoning.

  11. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    With a wiser manager in charge – the Nats would have had 100 wins by now.Right Buck?

  12. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Wang did, in fact, lose this game.

  13. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    NL, you're a superb Davey apologist. :-) I think you're nuts, but I admire the effort. No one is excusing Det or saying we would have won if he didn't bring in Wang. But 5-4 is a lot more winnable than 9-4. And 7-4 is more winnable than 9-4. And 7-5 (if a Goon Squader had successfully pinch hit for Wang) is a lot more winnable than 9-4. What percentages are you thinking about? I don't see it.

  14. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    The boys from MLB Network are correct: the nats won't go far into the postseason because of the weaknesses in their bullpen.

  15. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    222 — I'm sure Davey had his reasons. But if you wouldn't trust him to start a big big game like this, why would you bring him in — knowing what he's been in relief this month — when that game you don't trust him to start is still hanging in the balance?If you're not trying to build him up in a Clip-type thing (and no, CMW CANNOT be in consideration for the postseason roster), why is he in a big game like this at all before it's decided?I trust Davey a lot but can't see any excuse for either bringing him in in the first place, and especially leaving him in when you've seen he was what you feared he was.

  16. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    We lose this game and we are .500 on the road trip. That's what we needed to be. The Barfs had a cupcake schedule, we knew that. We were lucky to get one from the Mets. This game is not the issue. The issue is figuring out how to get Detwiler back on track. That is what I am worried about.

  17. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Hopefully, Johnson now realizes that Wang is incapable of starting a relief appearance with anything other than a wild pitch.

  18. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    "Him" being CMW, of course.

  19. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Please explain Davey's reasoning, Natslady? How would you know his thinking? just curious.curious to know where you played your ball as well.

  20. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    CMW was never in any consideration for the postseason roster. Period. And 222, you put your finger right on it. Can you trust Detwiler to start a big game?

  21. JaneB - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    I'm worried about Det too. I hope we never see Wang on our mound again (I'm sure he's a nice guy but…) and I wish DJ had put Garcia in earlier.That said, we will be home when they clinch. It's been painful to get there but they WILL and we will be there for and with them. I just hope the Pirates have some verve left in 'em, just n case.

  22. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    I am more concerned with Rizzo and Johnson promising us that Wang will never take the field for the Nats again. We simply cannot waste anymore time, money and resources on a has-been, who in fact never really was, if you look at this Yankee stats carefully.Cut him now.

  23. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    The last 6 games the bullpen less a problem then the starters

  24. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Prediction: Rizzo is not bringing back Johnson — too weird — too odd — too many brain farts.The team won in spite of Davey — afterall, no small ball, no stealing, average pitching staff management (and that mcCatty's job).Davey is Earl Weaver: sit back and wait for the three run homer: and Earl had phenomenal pitching too. interesting.

  25. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Zim this weekend trying to pull outside pitches. A bad habit for sure

  26. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    We have all these promising young guys on the roster–why is Wang sucking up innings if he is not going to be on the roster? Are they evaluating him for next year? Virtually, every pitcher on the squad has had good games and shown promise except for Lidge, who is gone, and Wang, who should be released immediately.

  27. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I'm worried about Det too. That's not the issue with how this game was managed. If you were managing the team, would you have (1) relieved him with Wang; (2) left him in after two straight wild pitches; 3) let him bat for himself in the top of the 4th with a man on base; (4) left him in after walking Jay to face Beltran. Those were five separate decisions. The only one I can even see a rationale for is the first.

  28. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    NL — if you're basing this on the percentages — which are BS with this team and its demonstrated capacity to come back, but anyway — then you're saying Davey was in fact giving up the game for lost, waving the white flag by bringing CMW in, and only pulling Det to limit the damage to his psyche.

  29. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Why do we strike out so much as a team?

  30. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    The multi-million waste of money on Wang is hanging around our necks. Using him in any situation is a joke. Even when he won 19 games twice for the Yanks, his ERA was over 4.00. Wang never was any good.Using him is irresponsible — and not fair to the fans who follow, support, and spend huge amounts of money at Nats Park. Shame on you, Johnson.

  31. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Manassas, you are right. I am not worried about the BP, and Davey putting Wang is was the measure of him saving the BP. Nothing says if he put Stammen in he wouldn't have given up a dinger and scored the runs (he's done that before and so has Mattheus). Remember it was only the 3rd inning. You need 5-6 innings from the BP, where are you getting them? You are not getting them from Garcia–you simply do not want to wear him out in a 94.7% lost cause. So you bring him in for 1 inning, what next? I admit, I would have brought in Duke over CMW, I said that in a post. But do you know how many times the Nats have scored 4-5 runs early and held on to win a game? Probably at least 20-30 times, maybe more. The Cards are not the Mets or Brewers with their lousy bullpens. The percentages were simply not on the side of Davey blowing out his bullpen.

  32. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Davey's a great manager. He wants to win every game, including this one. He's coming back next season. He really screwed up today. We'll see if he admits it.

  33. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    CMW was never in any consideration for the postseason roster. Period.NL, do you always have to "correct" people by essentially repeating what they just said?

  34. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    It's still a marathon, folks.There is still a game that must be won, and then, hopefully, a playoff series. I honestly think that Johnson looks pretty bad with his decisions today, but it's not all on him. Ross gave up 7 runs, with a little help from Danny and Wang. If Danny doesn't flub the made to order double play ball, that whole inning probably looks at least a little different. Werth got to third with one out in the first and Zimmerman and ALR stranded him. We just had two guys on and one out and didn't score in the sixth. Now, in the eighth we strand ALR at third.This is a team loss, dealt to us by our inability to produce in several fazes of the game.PS. I'm bummed, because my prediction that the final Phillies series would be meaningless has now almost certainly been proven wrong.

  35. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    I think Johnson is very good at managing personalities. I doubt beyond that, that any manager really matters a lot. Casey Stengel won five World Series in a row and then managed the Mets in 1962, winning 40.

  36. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Eddie, someone said that, that Davey bringing in CMW was Davey's version of the "white flag." I didn't like the ragging on CMW (who is, after all, a human being) but I agree with the sentiment.

  37. NatsNut - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Seriously?NatsFanSinceStart said…Prediction: Rizzo is not bringing back Johnson — too weird — too odd — too many brain farts.

  38. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Wang isn't and wasn't under consideration for the playoff roster. Nor was Davey thinking about next year. Davey just wanted to follow Det with a RH long reliever. Someone who could go more than one inning. Stammen pitched last night. He thought Wang pitched decently against the Dodgers after the initial lack of control. So he brought him in. I'm not going to criticize him much for that decision. But the subsequent ones are another story. It was clear Wang wasn't going to keep the deficit stable and he should have been replaced ASAP.

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

    Eddie, someone was asking about CMW and the postseason. I can't figure who said what. I'm outtta here. There has GOT to be a better blog. Bye.

  40. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Natslady: 5-0 in the fourth inning is not a game you give away. Get off this Fangraph thing — I don't care if 'they say' it's a lost game. This is baseball and you don't give up a game down 5 runs in the fourth.You are bending yourself into pretzels defending a horrible job by the manager. But you make a fool out of yourself sighting Fangraph's contention the game was lost in the fourth to defend Giving the game up.Where did you play your ball? Oh, I forgot. Everyone who can quote Billy Beane, Fangraph and read Sabermetrics is a Baseball Guru. Give me a break.

  41. NatsFanSinceStart - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Oh My God! Pus Throwing Lannan goes tomorrow night. What a waste of good money.

  42. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Thanks, NatsFanSinceStart. I want everyone to realize as well just how mediocre Wang is. People said he was decent last Sunday–he was not. He got in trouble every inning. He did get a double which may have fooled Davey into letting him hit.The Nats have spent a huge amount of resources on this guy and, unlike Lannan, Wang has give zero back in return. I don't know if he is a nice guy or not since he apparently doesn't speak English, but I do know that he apparently lacks the concentration to come into a game as a reliever and throw a pitch within ten feet of the catcher. Please Wang, go foist your wares on some other unsuspecting team…. Tell them that you are pitching like it is 2008, whatever it takes….

  43. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    NatsFanSinceStart– That's the second time you've pulled this "where did you play your ball" crap. It's sexist and stupid. Lots of very good analysts, male and female, never played ball (or played it in Little League only, which doesn't qualify you for anything.) So cut it out.

  44. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    NL — the "somebody" was me, and I wasn't asking, I was saying no way. So you can respond but can't be bothered to see who you're responding to or what they actually said?

  45. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Now you see why you don't bring in the soft tossing lefty Zack Duke to pitch against this heavy hitting RH'ed lineup.And how long do you think that you could have left Garcia in if you had brought him in for Det in the 2nd? Or even for Wang in the 4th?

  46. SFNats - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Not a great day at the office for Davey, that can't be denied. But with what he's done with this team since he took over? No question he gets a pass for a bad decision now and then.

  47. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Lets get 7 in the 9th

  48. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    We cut to 7-4. Then Wang gives up 2 and the batters quit. I dont like when we quit

  49. Another_Sam - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    RealDeal – I'm with you. I feel this year about CMW like I felt about Lannan last yer. Don't give him the ball.

  50. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Folks, when Wang came in we were already down 5-0, and there were runners on base. We scored 4, count them, 4 runs. Do the math, it's no hard. Wang did not cost us this game. Neither did Johnson, unless you want to blame him for starting Ross.

  51. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    No, Eddie, it wasn't you. It was that idiot William O. Douglas Loeffler I was responding to. this is what he said,Were they seriously considering Wang for the post-season?And I remembered perfectly well who said it, I was trying to be polite and not name names. I won't try that again.

  52. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Men on first and second, one out. The score was 5-0. Wild pitch moves men to second and third. Wild pitch scores one run. Sac fly scores second run. Ground ball ends the inning. W

  53. SFNats - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Leaving Wang in to give up another couple when you'd just scored 4 to make it a ballgame is a questionable decision. Especially when you let him hit with a man on third.

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

    Detwiler obviously left us in a bad situation, but a decent inning of relief would have kept the score at 5-0. Instead Wang, (I am not cool enough to use his initials) comes in, and apparently cannot be bothered to throw either of his first two pitches in the vicinity of home plate. Wang takes an inning that was imminently manageable and converts it into essentially automatically 2 runs. 5 run comebacks happen much more often than 7 run comebacks and Wang was not done yet.This one was on Wang.

  55. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Off -topic,, but NatsFanSinceStart, didn't you say some time ago that your son played on the MD Patriots when Justin Maxwell played for them? My son also played with that team the whole time Max played there. What position did your son play?

  56. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    222, thanks for the defense, but don't worry about it. My IQ is probably 40 points above anyone else who posts here and still not close to Davey's. I'm used to the sexism. Once I submitted an article to a magazine and it was rejected. Years later I found the article in an old file, sent it to the same magazine but used a (non-identifiable) pseudonym. Of course, it was accepted and published and I got the check in the mail…

  57. 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.

  58. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    My guess is that Davey Johnson will take the blame for the loss. He usually does.

  59. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Seamhead, who I very much doubt is a stathead, is exactly correct. As I said, I don't agree with what Davey did, but I understand his reasoning.And if you want to be even more cynical, Davey wants home games for player bonuses. The more games, the more gate.You tell me. Would you go to the game if the Nats had clinched in St. Louis? Will you go to the game tomorrow (or Tuesday or Wednesday) if they haven't clinched. It's a business, people.

  60. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Seamhead, of course he will. :) I don't even have to watch the postgame. That's a lock.

  61. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Davey is a very bright guy and he certainly would never attempt to put all of the blame for what happened here on Detwiler. We have seen the Nats come back from five runs down in the late innings quite recently. No one who understands even a little about baseball would view Wang's performance as anything short of a fiasco.

  62. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Absolutely. Wang was a fiasco. He's done. And he only did "marginally" well in his previous outing (not horrible, but certainly not great).

  63. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    NatsLady, I am certainly not a stathead, at least not in the contemporary sense.I felt that Johnson used, and stuck, with CMW for exactly the reason he just stated. He didn't want to burn the best of the pen in a game that the starter couldn't even give you three innings. Look, Wang is done for the year, maybe forever, but like I said in an earlier post, you couldn't get 7.2 innings out of the rest of the BP without jeopardizing your options tomorrow.

  64. Tcostant - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Now I want the Nationals to just win tonight, since I'll be there!




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