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Sep 30, 2012, 2:54 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Michael Morse is congratulated by Adam LaRoche following his unusual grand slam.

Updated at 12:55 a.m.

ST. LOUIS — The champagne was on site, stored away in crates out of view from the main room in the visitors clubhouse at Busch Stadium. So, too, were the plastic locker covers, the ones that can quickly be installed to prevent all that champagne from ruining clothes, jewelry and electronics.

The Nationals showed up Saturday afternoon prepared for a party, just in case events fell their way. But before their 6-4, 10-inning victory over the Cardinals was complete, they already knew there would be no celebration on this night. The Braves’ 2-0 win over the Mets kept the NL East race alive for at least one more day.

For the first time all season, though, the Nationals know they don’t need to count on Atlanta for anything else. Their magic number now down to 1, they need simply win one of their final four games to wrap up the division title and enter the postseason no worse than the NL’s No. 2 seed.

“I mean, it’s the best position you can be in,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position all year. I remember when we first started talking about this a month or a month-and-a-half ago. We did everything we could to give ourselves a chance, and now we’re to the ultimate position where we’ve given ourselves the best chance.”
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105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Mark, In honor of the Morse GS, I think you should post the Instant Anaysis, then repost the Game Thread and start over…

  2. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    That's all Stammen gets, a SAVE??? Extra credit, man, extra credit. And Suzuki, too.

  3. Secret wasian man - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Yahoooooooooo. Lets get this thing tommorow. Yahoooooooooo. I like cold duck haha BTW.

  4. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    And the Nationals could do nothing but head back their hotel for the night, knowing the celebration Washington baseball fans have waited 79 years to experience can't take place for at least one more day.Yes, no help from the Mets. On our own here….!!!!

  5. MicheleS - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!

  6. JaneB - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    So now they have to win tomorrow. We want to clinch, but on OUR WIN, not on the Braves loss.I have chewed my finger nails to the quick. How do they live through this? It's harder than hitting a fastball.

  7. 5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Anyone know what the Teddy eye black promotion is on Monday?

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    I'm happy but not happy with the bats going asleep after the first inning until now.

  9. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Does anyone really control their own destiny?

  10. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    Haha…Come on Ghost, Don't look at the hole in the Doughnut, look at the whole Doughnut…

  11. NatsLady - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    I don't understand Methany at all. Doesn't he read this blog? Doesn't he know Espinosa is a K-machine and Suzuki is totally clutch????

  12. SonnyG10 - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    The Cardinals had to lose because the Cardinal fans were doing the wave during the game. Baseball gods did not like that.

  13. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Maybe Methany had a "LaRousa Moment"…

  14. bluejeener - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Needing to find someplace to watch tomorrow's games with Nats fans. Anyone know of non (or minimal) football bar in MoCo? Or, for that matter NoVa or DC. Any Nats Insider spots????

  15. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    That was fun, and funny! We were at dinner during the first inning, at a sports pub as planned. I had to ask* *twice to get them to tune a tv to the Nats game. They had one baseball game on – the Tigers. Say what? But I digress. After they tuned in MASN, we saw but couldn't hear the invisi-slam. Just watched it with sound on the postgame show. Loved Carpenter's call, the second time.The Teddy eye black promo is two sticky strips, one to go under each eye.

  16. Jimmy DeMoney - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    What a nail-biter. Davey, next time your SP has thrown > 100 pitches and gives up 2 singles in a row, get those relievers warming up, stat!

  17. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    bluejeener, I think you can watch at Duffy's in DC. I was at a Glory Days in Virginia for the early innings tonight.

  18. ehay2k - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Lol Swift – nice one about reposting. The Nats now control their own destiny, no one else. And that is how it must be between now and when we stop playing.

  19. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    Oh, yeah, and ZUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUKKK!! Where are the haters now? ;-)

  20. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    So visiting teams have to bring their own plastic locker covers if they plan to clinch on the road? That's like a hotel where you have to bring your own sheets and towels. Doesn't sound too major league to me.

  21. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    Honestly, has anyone seen something as funny on a baseball field as the Morse "phantom swing" and HR trot?

  22. JT - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    Nats are playing ball like its 1924!

  23. ehay2k - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    I will actually be at the O's game tomorrow (bought O's -Sox tix for my son a while ago).Hope I can get the game up there on my tiny radio. GYFNG!

  24. NatsNut - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    Does anyone else now kinda want them to go ahead and wait until Monday?

  25. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    Sonny, I was shocked – shocked – to see Cards fans doing the wave. And that lady in orange waving her hands around at their pitcher in the 10th. Uh, okay. Speaking of the 10th, was weird how first the MASN score block had the Cards up by 2, then a 6-6 tie, then they finally got it right. Maybe another do-over homage?

  26. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    No.NatsNut said… Does anyone else now kinda want them to go ahead and wait until Monday? September 29, 2012 11:09 PM

  27. bluejeener - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    NatsFan1a, Thanks. And Suzuki is almost enough to get Rizo Exec of the year,dont'ya think??2005 feels like a LIFE time ago

  28. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Not me NatsNut…I'm still hoping for the Z! I know FP disagrees, but I think playing @SF v Cain and Bumgartner would be too tough….We want the WC winner!

  29. Vox Populi - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Why the commenter does not delve on the obviously slow response by Johnson when Zimmermann was clearly getting tired and flailing? Johnson was asleep at the wheel, it almost cost us the game and ended up costing Zimmermann a W that he had worked very hard to get.

  30. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    I thought Thr Teddy eye black promo was if you start the wave, Teddy gives you a black eye. Darn.

  31. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    You're welcome, bluejeener.It does feel like a long, long time ago. I can still remember how the music used to make me smile. Wait, wrong blog. :-)

  32. Doc - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    The Cards announcers couldn't figure out why/how Suzuki was playing with a thumb wrap. Guess they have it figured out now!!!!!!Also, one of the Cards' announcers said that, "…I have a good feeling about what Molina is going to do with the bat…". My advice to him would be to never trust an hallucination!

  33. ehay2k - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Also, it seemed like there were a LOT of empty seats for a team in a renowned baseball town in a playoff hunt. MicheleS – were there a lot of people milling around out of their seats?

  34. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    That would be the black-eye promo. But good idea. :-)Feel Wood said… I thought Thr Teddy eye black promo was if you start the wave, Teddy gives you a black eye. Darn. September 29, 2012 11:11 PM

  35. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Looked like there were a lot of empty seats last night as well, ehay.

  36. NatsNut - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Okay then. I guess I"m the only one. LOLIt's cuz I have to work my part-time job tomorrow from 8:30 am to about 7pm. I'll be able to follow the game, but the atmosphere is not conducive to me jumping up and down and happy dancing.

  37. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Hmmm…When you say Davey "almost cost" the Nats the game, that means they won right??In that case, I hope the "almost lose" every game

  38. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    Whatever happened to champale? It served wine drinkers and beer drinkers for any kind of celebration?

  39. baseballswami - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    No, I don 't want to wait at all. Tomorrow would be fine with me.

  40. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Two words: bathroom break. You're welcome. :-)NatsNut said… Okay then. I guess I"m the only one. LOL It's cuz I have to work my part-time job tomorrow from 8:30 am to about 7pm. I'll be able to follow the game, but the atmosphere is not conducive to me jumping up and down and happy dancing. September 29, 2012 11:13 PM

  41. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Haha…Well I think it's obvious that you'll have to quit that job NatsNut!..Lol, who wants a job without a little happy dancing?

  42. Bigfish - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Another way in which baseball stats are screwy: Storen blows the save but gets the win.

  43. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    I guess I should go be social for a while, and then try to sleep some. Later.

  44. NatsNut - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    Oh right. I can see it now… "NatsNut, where were you when the Nats won the Division for the first time in a kajillion years?"

  45. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    If the Nats lose their next five and the Braves win their next five then the Nats could end up having four post-season home games in a row!

  46. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    lol! Just don't drop the phone.NatsNut said… Oh right. I can see it now… "NatsNut, where were you when the Nats won the Division for the first time in a kajillion years?" September 29, 2012 11:16 PM

  47. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    Actually, I think they said Danny was 3-4 off Salas with a triple and a homer. Not that any of us would haveade the same choice, but along with the matchup, it wasn't entirely irrational.Just wrong, and not entirely in retrospect only.

  48. Dave - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    @Bigfish, that shows you just how dumb the "save" and "win" stats are.Glad the boys won tonight, but is Drew really the "winning pitcher" in your mind tonight?

  49. JT - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    If the Braves and Nats both lose tomorrow, would that kind of put a damper on a postgame champaigne celebration? I hope not.

  50. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Ah..I didn't know that Eddie. In that case, a pitching change would have made more sense…But at least we know what Matheny was thinking..

  51. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Nah JT..Winning a Division take 6 months of excellence…There's no such thing as backing into a Division title….Champagne-worthy without a doubr…

  52. JT - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    Yep, those are my thoughts also Swift Eagle, when it happens, no matter how it happens, pop the corks, they earned it!!

  53. JT - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Also today I saw a tweet by Magic Johnson saying he was a Nationals fan today!! Guess so as his Dodgers need the Nats help.

  54. MicheleS - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    For all the love STL fans get. Wave, cheerleaders, loud music at inappropriate times. LEFT EARLY TOO!sat next too a childhood friend of Jayson's. Really nice people. Told me good stories about JW and his family.

  55. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    And that's why wins are the mark of shame for a closer. Closers shouldn't have wins.

  56. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    "The Teddy eye black promo is two sticky strips, one to go under each eye."Thanks for clearing that detail up, there, 1a.; )

  57. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    For all the love STL fans get. Wave, cheerleaders, loud music at inappropriate times. LEFT EARLY TOO!Maybe that's why they didn't sell out–the "casual fans" are getting on their nerves, too.

  58. Swift Eagle - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Haha Sofa…reminds me of one of my favorite Yogi Berra lines..When asked why he wore batting gloves, he said "They're for my hands"…

  59. Drew - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    Whew Hoo!Harper just keeps on rolling. Using Fangraphs' data I ran the numbers for 18 year olds and 17-year-olds. Suffice to say that the only great season by any hitter younger than 19 was Phil Cavarretta's 1935 season for the Cubs.So here is how Harper ranks against all of the other teenage seasons in major league history.Home runs1. Tony Conigliaro, 24, for 1964 Red Sox2. Bryce Harper, 21, for 2012 NatsRuns Scored1. Buddy Lewis, 100 for 1936 Nats2. George Davis, 98, for 1890 Cleveland Spiders3. Bryce Harper, 96 for 2012 NatsDoubles1. Robin Yount, 28 for 1975 Brewers(Tie) Phil Cavarretta, 28 for 1935 Cubs2. Mel Ott, 26 for 1928 Giants3. Bryce Harper, 25 for 2012 NatsTriples1. Buddy Lewis, 13 for 1936 Nats2. Freddie Lindstrom, 12 for 1925 Giants(Tie) Sherry Magee, 12 for 1904 PhilliesPhil Cavarretta, 12 for 1935 Cubs3. Bryce Harper, 9 for 2012 Nats(Tie) George Davis, 9 for 1890 Spiders Jimmie Sheckard, 9 for 1899 Brooklyn BridegroomsStolen bases1. Ty Cobb, 23 for 1906 Cubs2. George Davis, 22 for 1890 Spiders3. Bryce Harper, 17 for 2012 Nats(Tie) Cesar Cedeno, 17 for 1970 AstrosBen Conroy, 17 for 1890 Philadelphia A'sBase hits1. Buddy Lewis. 177 for 1936 Nats2. Bob Kennedy, 153 for 1940 White Sox (Bob is Terry Kennedy's dad.)3. Robin Yount, 149 for 1975 Brewers4. Bryce Harper, 141 for 2012 NatsWalks1. Will Smalley, 60, for 1890 Spiders2. Rusty Staub, 59 for 1963 Colt 45s3. Bryce Harper, 54 for 2012 NatsThe Kid's putting up a staggering body of work.

  60. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    You're welcome. In other news, the rose goes in the front. :-)Thanks for clearing that detail up, there, 1a.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    My stomach lining can't take this! Was hoping for a laugher. Bryce is a champ. Morse has proven once again what a legit HR hitter means after Zim in the 4/5. Desi looked tired.

  62. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    And yes, hellyeah win it tomorrow. They're still in line for 100 wins if they do, and can sweep the last homestand. Isn't the 96 a franchise record?

  63. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Clinching a tie for the division title is like clinching your sister.

  64. Drew - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    Ty Cobb was a jerk, but I shouldn't have traded him to the Cubs.

  65. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Very cool about the JW stories, Michele.

  66. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    Yes, I believe it is. In other news, I should not drink caffeinated beverages after 7 PM.Isn't the 96 a franchise record

  67. Feel Wood - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    They'd better win tomorrow. You don't want to come home needing a win while your franchise is throwing a three day celebration of its loser mascot. Seriously, why is this a Teddy in 2012 series and not another Natitude Park series?

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    Yes Expos once won 95

  69. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Drew — great stuff re Harp. Any info on outfield assists? Of course, the most important thing that wouldn't show up in any stats is all the runs prevented by Harp's cannon.

  70. natsfan1a - Sep 30, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    I don't get the Teddy promo either, Feel Wood.

  71. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    At 100 wins they would break the Senators' record too.Anyway I want them to clinch TOMORROW So I can go to the game on Mobday and have them announce "Ladies and gentlemen, your National League East Champion Washington Nationals!". So I can lose my voice screaming before the actual game starts.So they can let Teddy win and end this stupid "loves me loser" crap once and for all.OK, two out of three wouldn't be bad.

  72. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    Clinching a tie for the division title is like clinching your sister.Leave my sister out of this!

  73. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  74. Section 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    Ty Cobb was a jerk, but I shouldn't have traded him to the Cubs.The 1906 Cubs were pretty strong, as I recall. I think they won about 116 games.

  75. Steady Eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Grrrr… I hate autocorrect.It turns "loveable loser" into "loves me loser" but can't figure out that there is no "Mobday".

  76. Tom in AR - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Teddy needs to sweep the presidents races after the Nats clinch the division tomorrow.And NatsNut – There is a part of me that would rather see them clinch at home in front of our fans and do it over the Filthies. But given the choice, I will take the win tomorrow.To me the real anti-climax would be if the Braves lose in the middle of the Nats/Cards. Do they pause the game to spray Champagne?

  77. Shoshana - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    I can remember which entry I posted my comment about the Braves winning out. Also, pardon the delay in me posting this, as I am an Orthodox Jew and I was not online from Friday night until tonight.So, I am here to "raise my hand", as they say, and admit that I was wrong about the Braves running the table. Now, for the Nats to get at least one more win. :)

  78. Shoshana - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    That was "can't remember"

  79. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:33 AM

    Hah! Drew vultures the win. He really has taken over for Clip!

  80. Gonat - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:43 AM

    Just got home. We were hoping to pop champagne but instead just beers and beers and then I needed the maalox. The Kardiac Kids did it again.Very surprised Davey didn't bring in the 7th, 8th and 9th guys with the 4-0 lead and JZim in the 90's on his pitch count.Rowdy crowd with people that are bandwagon fans and not enjoyable as the b-tched and moaned about everybody. Definitely the Legion of Doom. They thought Suzuki was Ichiro Suzuki. What a joke.

  81. Unknown - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:43 AM

    Off topic, but Mark mentioned that tomorrow is the anniversary of the Senators playing that last game against the Yankees back in '71 (I'll never forget Hondo getting that grooved pitch and launching his 26th of the season).I read where Miguel Cabrera hit his 43rd tonight and is in a good position to capture the AL Triple Crown.I love seeing records broken, but man, I hope he doesn't do it.I remember like it as yesterday when the Orioles Frank Robinson ('66) and the Red Sox Carl Yaztremski ('67) did their back-to-back Triple Crown victories — something we haven't seen since. Nothing against Cabrera, but those are two very special Hall of Fame players and I'd rather their 40-year ownership of the trophy remain uninterrupted. Tony Conigilaro's name is coming up a lot now because of the Bryce Harper connection. He was an amazing player before his injury. Big, lumberjack arms and amazing power. The kid grew up in New England and was a Sox fan, for Heaven's sake. After he returned ('69 I think), he still had trouble seeing and was losing pitched balls in the white shirts in the far left seats way up their in center. They turned those 50-75 seats into "Conig's Corner." You had to wear a dark shirt to get in, giving Conig a better batter's eye. In return, you'd get this card saying you were a member of Conig's Corner and it was signed by Tony himself. Still have mine. The second most precious baseball prize I have next too …… the Nationals Media pass when I was credentialed last May (17?). I got down into the first row of seats and got 25 shots of Harper hitting his first major league homer. My favorite photo of Harper hitting the ball is going to be framed along with the media pass from that night. My guess is that by the time I die and my son ages, that little frame is going to be worth some money, me thinks. Not as much as my autographed '59 Topps cards of Koufax and Mantle, but close. Farid @ Idaho

  82. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 30, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    I missed the last half of the game still hoping they will admit him. I knew he was not feeling right when Storen blew the save and all he could say was let them eat cake.

  83. Natslifer - Sep 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Morning everyone! "Win the series, win the Division" – c'mon Nats, one more time this year!! My daughter has a soccer game at 3:30 – I sure am thankful we're starting on CST.

  84. BigCat - Sep 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Isn't it great how Harper has shortened his swing with 2 strikes. He even lowers his hands a little also as FP has pointed out. He has done this and is not a "punch and Judy" hitter. He needs to work with Espi on this. Espi is back in his early season rut. Chasing pitches 2 feet out of the zone and missing pitches in the zone by 6 inches. He will have around 190 k's on the season

  85. UnkyD - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Unknown: Cabrera has made it known that he will not accept any Triple Crowm accolades, due to his suspension.

  86. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    UnkyD, I think that you're thinking of Melky Cabrera, who played for the Giants before his suspension. Miguel Cabrera plays for the Tigers, and to the best of my knowledge has been clean this year.

  87. ChiefWJ - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Miguel is a substance abuser, too, but it's legal and as far as we know does not aid his performance.

  88. fast eddie - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Unknown/Farid @Idaho:You brought back memories of Hondo's last HR off Mike Kekich in 1971. He fouled off several fast balls, then hit a laser over the LF wall. We forfeited the game after all the fans stormed the field, pulling up sod as souvenirs. Kekich gained notoriety, along with Fritz Petersen, after swapping wives (and families)in NY. You can't make this stuff up.

  89. Drew - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Farid, very cool stories about Tony C. and your keepsakes. I don't think a Triple Crown by Miggy would insult the great F. Robby and Yaz.Miguel Cabrera has 320 home runs and 1100 RBIs at 29 years old! He's a historic player in his own right — a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

  90. mick - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Whats up NIers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  91. mick - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    fast eddie said…Unknown/Farid @Idaho:You brought back memories of Hondo's last HR off Mike Kekich in 1971. He fouled off several fast balls, then hit a laser over the LF wall. We forfeited the game after all the fans stormed the field, pulling up sod as souvenirs. Kekich gained notoriety, along with Fritz Petersen, after swapping wives (and families)in NY. You can't make this stuff up.you are awesome!! I have the same memories and yes, ol Fritz and Mike made the cover of Newsweek with the wife swapping in 1973

  92. mick - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Great article on Rizzo in post, just finished reading it…. I am pumped up today!!!

  93. Gonat - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    BigCat said… Isn't it great how Harper has shortened his swing with 2 strikes. He even lowers his hands a little also as FP has pointed out. He has done this and is not a "punch and Judy" hitter. He needs to work with Espi on this. Espi is back in his early season rut. Chasing pitches 2 feet out of the zone and missing pitches in the zone by 6 inches. He will have around 190 k's on the season September 30, 2012 8:48 AM _____________________________________Yes and yes. Bryce is locked in. I want him to get 3 more steals!Espi, what can you say. Shoulder, batters eye, hamate bone, what's the newest excuse?

  94. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    So I woke up this morning,at least I think I did, looked at the standings, saw the Nats with 96 wins, best record in baseball, one game away from winning the division and in spite of a self-induced headache from too much fun last night, I am a very happy man.What a year,and what a final 4 games it's going to be around the league. The Nats'fate is in their own hands, I like their odds. The O's/Yankees tied for first with 4 to go? Oh, come now! And the White Sox have pretty much blown it against Detroit, but the Fat Lady hasn't sung there yet,either.We're going down to the park for the regular season finale. I'm assuming that our fate will be a little clearer before then.Nats Lady, your link to the "comebacker" play was the strangest play of the year until the first inning of last night's game in STL. Wow, Michael Morse hitting his grand slam twice was pretty much unprecedented in my over a half century of watching baseball.Thank goodness for the fairly recent replay rule, because otherwise he would have only had an RBI single, and an out! [more crappy umpire performance. Can't anybody call this game?]GYFNG!!!

  95. Gonat - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    mick said… Great article on Rizzo in post, just finished reading it…. I am pumped up today!!! September 30, 2012 9:28 AM ___________________________________Ross Detwiler with an extra days rest. Let's see it RD/NationalDet!September 30, 2012 Is today the day? Let's do it!

  96. mick - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Joe Seam… the umpiring has gotten old… I hope MLB puts the best out there for the playoffs. The inconsistent strike zone or as FP puts it, the floating strike zone is UNACCEPTABLE!!!

  97. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Joe Seamhead — Miguel Cabrera is an unrepentant drunk who might lead the AL in DUIs as well as the standard Triple Crown categories. I'm amazed he makes it through season after season. Question whether he retires because of a slow bat, bad knees or cirrhosis. Great role model . . ..

  98. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    If this was the NHL, the umps who've called the strike zone like a Putt-Putt 18th hole for the whole season would start calling it like a bay window. That will be the last positive thing I will say about the umpires.

  99. BigCat - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Yes, that rookie ump had a terrible zone last night. He really put the squeeze on Jordon there in the 7th last night. 2 and 0 instead of 0-2. Next pitch…bang…double. Really impressed with the Cards hitters. Disciplined…..and they don't get cheated up there.

  100. Joe Seamhead - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Theo, my point was that Miguel isn't the Cabrera that UnkyD was referring to. I was not putting him up to be canonized by the pope. Unless he comes up dirty from banned substances, he has been 'clean" from a rules point of view.

  101. Bzl. - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Music fans should check out "The Ballad of Mike Kekich And Fritz Peterson" by the band The Baseball Project (who also have a really cool Strasburg lament "Phenom" on one of their CDs). http://store.yeproc.com/album.php?id=13480http://thebaseballproject.bandcamp.com/track/phenomApparently the Kekich/Peterson trade is also being made into a movie by Damon and Affleck.Great post Farid!

  102. Drew - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Theo:Mickey Mantle was an unrepentant drunk until his 60s, when he cast his life as a cautionary tale. He was familiar with models, but they weren't role models.His off-the-field nonsense did not affect his Hall of Fame candidacy.One of the truly exciting things about Harper is that he has Mantle's skill set with the added dimension of character. Honestly — imagine what Mantle would have done if he wasn't out carousing with Billy and Whitey. Harper is ticketed for greatness. The only question is whether he can avoid Mantle's other huge obstacle — a litany of crippling injuries.

  103. mick - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Theo… "unrepentant drunk", in the words of the Scarecrow, after Dorothy and gang ran into Bert Lahrs"now thats personal lion" lol

  104. mick - Sep 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    the finish in both leagues is going to be priceless for all fansDodgers close with Giants, if Giants are locked din at 3rd seed, do they rest players, allowing the Dodgers to win the last 3?Cards play Reds, if reds are playing for 1 seed verse Nats, what is their approach?I would think going into Monday, Brewers are already eliminated making it a race between Dodgers and Cards for last playoff spot? dodger are 2 back as of this morining.So, today's game really should be the game of the week Nats-Cards

  105. SFNats - Sep 30, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    "Miguel Cabrera is an unrepentant drunk who might lead the AL in DUIs as well as the standard Triple Crown categories. I'm amazed he makes it through season after season. Question whether he retires because of a slow bat, bad knees or cirrhosis. Great role model . . .. "So he's the second coming of Mickey Mantle.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 67 10.0
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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