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For some, the road was longer

Oct 2, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

Photo by Bob Youngentob / CSNwashington.com
Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats' first draft pick in 2005, finally got to celebrate.

By Chase Hughes
CSNwashington.com

When the Nationals begin their five-game playoff series this weekend, it will mark the first postseason game for almost every player on the team's young roster. Most have never played meaningful games in October, but for a choice few who have seen the franchise at its lowest points, the dream perhaps seemed even farther away.

Ryan Zimmerman was the franchise's first draft pick when it moved to Washington, and through years of losing twice decided to sign contract extensions to stay with the club. He opted to stay loyal when he could have jumped ship and instead trusted the vision and future of the team around him.

Now his team is not only postseason bound, but champions of the NL East.

"The odds were in my favor that I was going to win here at some point," he said. "I love this town. They gave me a chance, took a chance on me at a young age, and put me right in the middle of it.

"For the team to take a chance on me like that, IRead more »

130 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. RickH - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Nice article, Chase.

  2. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    From the last thread. Stras is not going to be on the postseason roster. You can take that to the bank. He can still be in the dugout and enjoy the experience, but he is done for the year, no matter what Harold and Mitch think. What dufuses.

  3. MicheleS - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Thanks Chase.So happy for all the guys, but for those that suffered through all the bad years, this must be so much sweeter.

  4. hiramhover - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I was off line by the time of last night's celebration thread, but wanted to add my own Woo-Hoo! to the chorus.Sorry Lannan and the rest of the pitching staff got no run support, but however the clinch came, Lannan's right–this team deserved it, and we fans deserved it. Yeah us!

  5. Swift Eagle - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    So true Michele…at the Park last night, I just kept saying "I never thought I'd see this"….It was bleak for a LONG time…in 2008 and 2009, I couldn't even imagine this!!Now, WE WANT THE Z!!!

  6. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Giants can't beat or tie us for the best record since they are at 93. How about we don't play tonight, see what the Reds do, and then decide whether to play one or two tomorrow?

  7. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Ghost, From the last thread, Why would you take Gio out of his routine? This is his regular day to pitch and starting him tonight still leaves him available for a Sunday start. I still feel he pitches 3 – 4 innings or 75 pitches and then gives way to Gorzo or Duke. I think the same goes for EJax tomorrow. I think Mike Gonzalez, Storen, Burnett and Clip all can use an inning here and there as well. I think Stammen can probably be rested until the playoffs. I don't see any way Lannan is on the post season roster regardless who they play.

  8. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    If the Reds lose today, then we only need to win 1 of 2. Win the first game and cancel #2 (I know it wouldn't happen that way–right?).

  9. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Rain could clear out by 9 pm. You really want Gio sitting around for two hours and then pitching in sloppy conditions?

  10. NatsFanSinceStart - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    PREDICTIONStrasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season.You can make book on this.

  11. hiramhover - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    NatsLadyI was wondering about the possibility of a rainout tonight too. Weather.com is showing a 50-60 percent chance or rain thru 11pm. Sounds like this was broached in the earlier thread, but I'm wondering what the collective wisdom was–would they cancel tonight, play at 1pm tomorrow, and then do the second game of a doubleheader only if necessary to break a time for best record?

  12. NatsFanSinceStart - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Lets have some fun.Stick Wang out there tonight. Let him pitch the entire game — no matter what.We can only speculate how many runs the Phils will score.

  13. Tcostant - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    NatsFanSinceStart said "PREDICTIONStrasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season."Me – No way, they won't waste a post season roster spot.Now for something complete different:My playoff strips didn't arrive yesterday (and no UPS "we miss you" slip either). I e-mailed my rep about a tracking # with no reply.

  14. MicheleS - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Okay.. for those that are at the First Home Playoff game, we have to have an Insider meet up somewhere.

  15. bowdenball - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    NatsFanSinceStart said…"PREDICTIONStrasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season.You can make book on this."I don't care about whether I can make book on it. I want YOU to make book on it. Because if you are, then I'm buying. I don't care what kind of odds you're offering.

  16. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    HH, that's what I would do. But I don't know considerations like gate or what Davey and Rizzo feel would be best for the team. Can't imagine you would get a big crowd out tonight (Tuesday) with the Division clinched and a chilly rainy forecast (not to mention conditions getting to the game).

  17. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Oh, I forgot to mention this yesterday. Harper posted a picture of sunrise from his apartement yesterday morning on Twitter. So the Kid is up at that hour taking pictures? You think he was hyped or what?

  18. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    He's a breakfast kinda guy. :-)

  19. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomakThe #nats are changing things up post-clinch, as @AdamKilgoreWP said, Tom Gorzelanny will start tonight, not Gio Gonzalez.

  20. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomakThe #Phillies, of course, were planning to throw a bullpen game today. And all of that may be irrelevant if it keeps pouring the way it is.

  21. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    NL, I may be wrong, but I don't think it's up to Rizzo or the Nats whether the 162nd game will be played. MLB makes that call. I expect they will try hard to get the game in tonight, as they always do. (We had only two rainouts this year, and neither were like that phony one they had last year.) Whether Gio pitches is another matter. Looks like Gorzo is getting the nod. peric was right!!

  22. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    NatsFanSinceStart said… PREDICTION Strasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season. You can make book on this.You're on, NFSS. Anything you want. One dollar to the last dollar in your IRA. Anything. Cars. Boats. Golf clubs. Houses. I say Jesus doesn't pitch until ST 2013. Bet?

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    JD said… Ghost,From the last thread,Why would you take Gio out of his routine? This is his regular day to pitch and starting him tonight still leaves him available for a Sunday start. I still feel he pitches 3 – 4 innings or 75 pitches and then gives way to Gorzo or Duke. I think the same goes for EJax tomorrow.NatsLady said… Amanda Comak ‏@acomakThe #nats are changing things up post-clinch, as @AdamKilgoreWP said, Tom Gorzelanny will start tonight, not Gio Gonzalez.JD, there you go. Gio is at 199 innings and Davey will have him throw a simulated few innings instead.

  24. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Zimm's most precious comment: "I love this town."And it loves you back. For the Zimms and the LannEns of the world, this day is especially sweet. And for all of us too. Anybody who lived through the Brian Schneiders and Nook Logans of the world deserves this day.It may be raining, but I'm pouring gratitude. Thanksgiving came two months early this year.And to clinch it against the Filthies. Even sweeter. I loved Jolly Cholly going off on his team last night … after a win! Love it, love it, love it.

  25. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    The next time we see Gio on the mound will be Game 1 of the NLDS. Book on that.

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Mick from the previous thread, I don't see Stras pitching again this year. You would have to ramp him up in Viera to get prepared and it would be like Spring Training. It would make for a great movie and the way he looked in the interview, maybe Rizzo gave him a scintilla of hope but I just think that roster spot is too valuable.

  27. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    PREDICTIONStrasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season.You can make book on this.And NatsFanSinceTheStar, you'll be just as WRONG as those imbeciles on the MLB network. Do you really want to look like an imbecile? C'mon now Strasburg will have been completely shutdown for over a month. No bullpens … maybe batting practice.That means he needs to ramp up … they aren't going to do that with a guy who may be the very best starter in MLB baseball to be? C'mon did you guys take stupid pills when you got up or what?

  28. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    As for playing the game, yes, it is MLB's call, but they have a simple criterion for that: if it affects standings, they play. They're tied with the Reds for best record now, but the Nats hold the tiebreaker. The Reds play tonight and tomorrow night, so whether they win or lose to the Cards (who haven't clinched yet, btw), the Nats have to play both games to settle the seeding. I think they'll make them play both, regardless. But I'm not making book on it. I WILL take a share, along with bowdenball, on the Stras-biscuit thing.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… The next time we see Gio on the mound will be Game 1 of the NLDS. Book on that.That's a done deal.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    How about Obama's prediction of Whites Sox v Nats last month.Well, he was 1/2 right.On the same note, Ryan Zimmerman makes it to the post-season before Adam Dunn.

  31. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    The Nats went out and signed Edwin Jackson to a 1 year contract of 11 million dollars and he isn't worth that per annum …. for a reason …To slot in for Strasburg when they shut him down. Both he and Boras agree that was what was stipulated when the figure was agree upon. That said your starters for the post season are: Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detwiler.Get used to it.Stop believing the knuckleheads on the MLB channel who seem intent on running cartoon carnival with the adventures of Scott MacLeod the Space Angel from the 1960's instead of getting with the modern era. Pitchers like Strasburg aren't a dime-a-dozen. You take very good care with them. They might have a couple more in Alex Meyer and Lucas Giolito. Time will tell and the jury is still out.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I believe Gorzo/Duke will start tonight and EJax tomorrow.

  33. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    222, when they canceled the Dodgers came last year, I believe Rizzo and the Dodgers agreed to cancel and then they had to get MLB to approve. Can't see any reason why they wouldn't approve this year if both teams wanted to go home after the first game.

  34. SonnyG10 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Careful about accepting a bet with NatsFanSinceStart about Strasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season. Strasburg could throw out the first pitch in a pre-game ceremony. But that's the only way he could do it.

  35. hiramhover - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    We've seen it all season long–talking about Strasburg means ratings. Talking about Det or EJax does not. So it's no surprise that the talking heads are talking about Stras, as untethered from reality as it may (still) be.

  36. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    NatsLady said…Amanda Comak ‏@acomakThe #nats are changing things up post-clinch, as @AdamKilgoreWP said, Tom Gorzelanny will start tonight, not Gio Gonzalez.As I predicted last night.One more prediction in the style of John McLaughlin:Strasburg WON'T PITCH FOR THE NATS 'TIL SPRING TRAINING! Get used to it! Bye Bye.

  37. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Although, with Gorzy pitching tonight they might just wait out the rain. Hard to figure if Davey really cares about that No. 1 seed. Not enough to put Gio out there, apparently.

  38. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Careful about accepting a bet with NatsFanSinceStart about Strasburg will indeed pitch in some fashion in the Post Season. Strasburg could throw out the first pitch in a pre-game ceremony. But that's the only way he could do it. Throwing out the first ball isn't pitching.

  39. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I mean, if conditions are bad. I don't think MLB would just let you cancel the last game just because you want to go home. A lot of teams probably want to go home. :)

  40. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Although, with Gorzy pitching tonight they might just wait out the rain. Hard to figure if Davey really cares about that No. 1 seed. Not enough to put Gio out there, apparently.He's worried about the injury risk more than anything else. They've been extremely lucky where that is concerned unless, as was mentioned, you count CM Wang. I'm not sure he would have permanently supplanted Detwiler either way. I'm very certain he is not as good a starter as Tom Gorzelanny at this stage of his career with the injuries.

  41. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman was the franchise's first draft pick when it moved to Washington, and through years of losing twice decided to sign contract extensions to stay with the club. He opted to stay loyal when he could have jumped ship and instead trusted the vision and future of the team around him.Technically speaking, Zimmerman never could have jumped ship. He signed his first extension several years before he would have been beyond team control, and he signed the second one two seasons before he would have hit free agency. He has set things up so that the only way he could ever play baseball somewhere else would be if the team decides to kick him off the ship. The only option he has ever had to jump ship would be to retire.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Congratulations to the Nats of the West aka Oakland A's. Johnny Gomes, Tom Milone and Derek Norris. Amazing to think 2 key pieces of the A's success were farmhands of the Nats.Grant Balfour celebrating their win was awesome.Anyone but Angelos.

  43. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    You think he was hyped or what? Good luck to Davey trying to get him to rest. Or Espinosa for that matter. Those two never want to come out.

  44. Kiterp - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    If Nats stay strong, Strasburg may take a roster spot and have a turn at bat. But he will not pitch

  45. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    I mean, if conditions are bad. I don't think MLB would just let you cancel the last game just because you want to go home. A lot of teams probably want to go home. :) Maybe they play a double header tomorrow? Gorzo pitching in game one. And Duke game 2. Two lefties against the Phillies seems perfect to me.

  46. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    If Stras is preparing to pitch in the playoffs he must be doing it in the tunnel… I can't imagine he's throwing off a mound anywhere in the country that someone wouldn't notice it and tweet it. Total nonsense.

  47. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Like Sunshine Bobby, I'll take any action on the Strasburg ramp up that NFSS is giving. I think Stras was just playing with the MLB guys, who were too dumb and full of themselves to notice. That smile was just him having fun. He's done for the year. He knows it, we know it, and the American people know it. (h/t Feel, who reminded us yesterday of that classic Bob Dole/Dan Ackroyd line from the 1988 primaries.)Lots of games with no meaning are played on the last day of the season, so that's not the test. The Dodgers game wasn't made up last year because there was no reason to bring them back after the last day to do it. But if tonight's game is rained out, they can play a DH tomorrow, on the last day, and I'm pretty sure they'll do it, even if the No. 1 seed has been decided by then. (The Reds/Cards game starts at 2:20 pm EST). .

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Did anyone see Wang last night?

  49. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    If Nats stay strong, Strasburg may take a roster spot and have a turn at bat. But he will not pitchThat is something I mentioned they should do … but everyone thinks that would waste a roster spot. Why? It used to be 24 not 25 and teams managed plus they can change out players between series. If they are interested in keeping Strasburg over the long haul that is what I would think of doing. To ensure he understands just how important he is to the franchise. Actions speak louder than words.

  50. karlkolchak - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    The number one seed is virtually meaningless. With the Braves as hot as they are, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if they go play the Reds instead. No matter what, having to go on the road for the first two games with possibility of returning home facing elimination is almost like a penalty for whomever has the best record.

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    NatsLady said… If Stras is preparing to pitch in the playoffs he must be doing it in the tunnel… I can't imagine he's throwing off a mound anywhere in the country that someone wouldn't notice it and tweet it. Total nonsense. Agreed, but that MLB Network interview will get some traction and just revive the controversy.I think Stras was enjoying the moment and playing along.

  52. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I didn't read your prediction, peric. Got home late and didn't pore through NI. But I reached the same conclusion about Gio/Gorzy, especially with conditions.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    karlkolchak said… With the Braves as hot as they are, Have you looked at their schedule of who they faced?Where are those that predicted they would finish the season 10-0. I predicted 7-3 or 8-2.They are 6-2 with 2 games to go. I don't consider that hot plus they now have to spend their best pitcher Medlen on the Wild Card game against another team that will be playing for "broke".Get your popcorn. Wouldn't be surprised to see the Nats playing the Cardinals or Dodgers!

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    NatsLady said… I didn't read your prediction, peric. Got home late and didn't pore through NI. But I reached the same conclusion about Gio/Gorzy, especially with conditions. October 02, 2012 11:30 AM I said Duke figuring a lefty tandem start. No way Gio was going out there for nothing. He will pitch behind an L screen instead.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… JD, I don't think Gio pitches tonight. Probably Duke. Maybe EJax tomorrow. October 02, 2012 9:34 AM

  56. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Sounds like this was broached in the earlier thread, but I'm wondering what the collective wisdom was–would they cancel tonight, play at 1pm tomorrow, and then do the second game of a doubleheader only if necessary to break a time for best record?Since best overall record determines seeding for the LDS, MLB will not want a situation where two teams in contention for that have not played the same number of games. The only way they would allow that would be if playing the additional games would still have no effect on the result. So if the Nats and/or the Reds are rained out tonight, those games would be rescheduled unless playing them would not allow whichever team is currently behind an opportunity to catch up. If the best that could happen by playing the games is a tie, then the games wouldn't need to be played since the Nats already have the tiebreaker in hand. So in that case they might not reschedule. But once games are rescheduled they're not going to cancel them just because subsequent events make them unneccessary. Tickets have already been sold for those games, so they will go into the "get the game in if at all possible" mode. So if things do pan out such that a doubleheader is put on the schedule for tomorrow, they're not going to cancel the second game if the results of the first game make it irrelevant. It will be played in full, just like the irrelevant final games of other seasons have always been.

  57. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    If Nats stay strong, Strasburg may take a roster spot and have a turn at bat. But he will not pitch.Neither Davey nor Rizzo are the sort to [mess] around like that in the playoffs. If they put him on the roster (and they won't), it won't be for a gimmick, or just to keep from hurting his widdle ducky feewings, it'll be to pitch.

  58. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    The Braves are 19-9 in September. If that's not hot, I don't know what is. But they could also very easily be burned out by their futile chase of the Nats and all the Chipper love. And with Medlen not available until Game 3, I like our chances against them in a five game series (if they get by the Cards, that is, which is by no means and easy task).

  59. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Gorzo and Duke starting the next 2 games. The best performer gets a playoff roster spot?That seems like something Davey would do, and that occurred to me last night. I think he's done with Wang after that last fiasco of a start.

  60. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Replay of the clinch is now on MASN. Two outs top of 9th. Just about to happen… again!

  61. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    And Lannan is exclusively a starter. He goes on the list of injury replacements.

  62. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Maybe they play a double header tomorrow? Gorzo pitching in game one. And Duke game 2. Two lefties against the Phillies seems perfect to me.Doubleheader or not, Jackson will pitch tomorrow. It's his regular day and he will need the work since his first possible playoff start won't be until Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Also he needs to reverse the sting of his lousy short start last Friday night.

  63. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    If they put him on the roster (and they won't), it won't be for a gimmick, or just to keep from hurting his widdle ducky feewings, it'll be to pitch. Without Strasburg there's no title. No pennant. No celebration. Zilch, nada. The Braves likely win hands down. He isn't being paid 11 million like EJax. But someday he will be able to command that salary and more if he lasts.You put him on the playoff roster. The only "duckee feelings" that get hurt will be for someone like John Lannan who might feel he got left off so that Strasburg could have a slot.

  64. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Did anyone see Wang last night?If there was a wardrobe malfunction you know someone would have tweeted it by now.

  65. peric - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    It's his regular day and he will need the work since his first possible playoff start won't be until Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Also he needs to reverse the sting of his lousy short start last Friday night.Davey will also assume he's a veteran and will be ready when called. He isn't Detwiler still trying to get his major league legs. Or JZimmnn for that matter.

  66. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    OK, again:The Nats and Reds are tied, tie going to the Nationals in this case. Both are scheduled to play tonight. The Nats are scheduled for a day game tomorrow, the Reds/Cards a night game. The Reds must win both their remaining games, AND the Nats must lose at least one, for the Reds to have the best record. If the Nats/Phils get rained out tonight, they still have to play both games, even if the Nats lose the 1:05 game tomorrow and the Reds win tonight, because they will not know the outcome of tomorrow's 8:05 Reds/Cards game in time to call off the Nats/Phils.So they're playing both games.

  67. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    This idea of putting Stras on the playoff roster to hit is silliest thing I've ever heard. Sure, he's a decent hitter, maybe even a good one. But who are you going to cut to have him take a swing or two? Bernadina? Tracy? Lombo? Moore? And remember, he's slow and there's no way they'd let him run the bases anyway. So if he gets a hit and doesn't homer, someone has to pinch run. Who would that be? Davey has some tough decisions on the roster. If he has a 12 man pitching staff (4 starters and 8 relievers), which seems likely, he has to pick 13 position players. You'd have the 8 starters, Flores, and four of the following Goon Squaders. I've put them in order of likelihood:LomboBernadinaTracyMooreDeRosaPerezBrownWhere's the spot for Stras?

  68. Donald - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    During last night's game, FP mentioned more than once about how odd it was that the Phillies hadn't named tonights starter yet. My guess is that if the Braves had won, Manual would have started Cliff Lee on short rest tonight. Anything to keep the Nats from clinching on their watch. Just a guess…

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    peric said… And Lannan is exclusively a starter. He goes on the list of injury replacements. October 02, 2012 11:45 AM Can you stop making your 100% comments as if there is no way. You are more times than not wrong. You always tell us when you are right and hide when you are wrong.If Lannan gets run support and Bryce Harper isn't playing so shallow on Ruf that would have been another great performance by Lannan.Just remember July 21, 2012. John Lannan has risen to the occassion numerous times this year.I don't think he will be listed as a starter but he may be on the roster. EJax just hasn't looked good. Detwiler with 2 duds.I'm thinking Davey may want Lannan in the wings as a safety net for an EJax start.

  70. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Ghost, Obviously I was wrong on this but I don't necessarily agree. It will be 10 days between starts for Gio (Side sessions aren't the same) and his control is not always on. I definitely wouldn't put him through weather delays etc. but I would start him and then put someone else in if/when there is a delay. JMO.

  71. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    I don't think Davey will give Stras a playoff spot, at least not one for the NLDS. A five-game series is too chancy. You need the extra BP help, or he'll give it to DeRosa. He might risk it in the WS, if we are ahead say 3-1 or 3-2, but it would be by the "gimmick" of another pitcher getting injured.

  72. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Sofa, if tonight's game is rained out, the Reds lose tonight, and the Nats win tomorrow during the day, we clinch. (We won the season series, so if we tie for best record, we get the No. 1 seed.) I agree with you that both games will be played, but it is possible that the nightcap of our DH and the Reds/Cards game at night will mean nothing.

  73. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Without Strasburg there's no title. No pennant. No celebration.That may or may not be true, we'll never really know; I happen to think it probably is true. But it's beside the point. He won't get on the roster as a reward for good performance. They just aren't that sentimental. I think he's a big boy and he'll get over it, but regardless, if he can't pitch, they can't afford to give away the spot for no other reason than to keep the hired help happy.

  74. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Ghost, agree. With Gorzy starting today (or tomorrow), if he goes long, I could see Lannan taking his place in the BP. This bit about Lannan not being able to relieve is nonsense. In the playoffs it's all hands on deck.

  75. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Davey will also assume he's a veteran and will be ready when called. He isn't Detwiler still trying to get his major league legs. Or JZimmnn for that matter.It's not a matter of Jackson getting his major league legs. It's a matter of maintaining the work routine he's been keeping all season. You don't want him coming into a playoff game like some guy who's coming back to work following his two-week vacation.

  76. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Ghost, there's no room for insurance on a 25 man roster. Davey will pick his four starters and eight relievers. Though I doubt it will happen, I suppose it's possible that Lannan is one of the starters for a series against the lefty heavy Braves. But Davey is not going use a reliever's spot with him. He's as much as said he'll go with an 8 man pen. That almost certainly means:StorenClippMattheusStammenGonzalezBurnettGorzoGarciaWho would you leave out to have Lannan waiting in the wings?

  77. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Ghost, Sorry, that was not a great start by Lannan last night. Too many walks and too many balls in play. The hit by Ruf was clubbed. If Harper catches it he would have crushed into the fence and would have been hurt. I would take my chances with Set and EJax and their stuff any day of the week over Lannan.

  78. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Deuces, that's true. I stand corrected. I would be very surprised if they decide whether to play a second game based on the outcome of the first–what a disincentive for the Phillies!–but as before, I won't make book on it.

  79. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Yeah, but I think Jackson is hurt, at least mildly (shoulder soreness or something like that). Not enough to incapacitate him, but enough so he'd benefit from the extra rest and be able to give a lot of innings. I'm not sure Jackson is as much a creature of "routine" as some guys who have been starters since they were in high school. Jackson is a converted position player. He's come in as a pinch runner, and I recall he went out to the BP and was ready to come in when we had an extra-inning game.My feeling is Jackson would prefer NOT to pitch tomorrow (with the scrub lineup and a good chance for a loss). He needs to be at the top of his game in the showcase.

  80. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    and Bryce Harper isn't playing so shallow on Ruf Just before he faceplanted into the wall, he darn near caught it as it was. I thought he had it, off the bat. But yes, it was one hard-hit ball.

  81. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Sec 222, I agree with Nats Lady. The only possible roster spot for Lannan is Gorzo's as a left long man.

  82. Natslifer - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I think we went over the "who calls the rainout" thing during a "rain-gate" episode severals seasons ago. It's the home team's responsibility to call the game up to the start in consultation with MLB. After the start, it's completely up to the umpires. They have to play both games no matter what standings-wise (see Section 3 above) so we're either playing tonight or playing two tomorrow.Very interesting to hear about Gio not starting tonight. That means Davey wants him to start Game 1 no matter what.And I'm drinking 222's Kool-aid about the Braves and their current status – thanks for that 'cause I am thirsty.

  83. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    222, I would leave out Gorzy in favor of Lannan, especially if he pitches 5 innings tomorrow (i.e., tonight's game is postponed). I'd only do it under those circumstances, and only for the NLDS (five game series). Honestly, if I were going to make a "gesture" for someone's feelings, it would be for Lannan's not Strasburg's. Strasburg has Cy Young and HOF in his future, Lannan has a non-tender in his.

  84. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    JD, agreed. I just don't think it will happen. Davey has had Gorzo in that role all year long. I doubt he'll change now. I wouldn't expect him to go deep in the game tonight either. You want him rested enough to pitch on Oct. 6 if necessary.

  85. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I think Harper could have caught that ball, at least from the angle I saw. But you're right, he might have gotten injured doing it. Doubt that's what went through his mind, though–he just didn't get the best eye on it.

  86. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    I said this before and I'll repeat. I prefer to play the Giants than the Braves or the Cards. If you pitch around Posey there is little in that lineup to scare you (not buying into Angel Pagan, and not losing much sleep over Scutaro and the Panda is not all that either). The Braves and the Cards on the other hand will go into the playoffs battle tested and sharp with deep lineups top to bottom and the Braves pitching staff has been clicking on all cylinders for over a month and then there is Kimbrel.

  87. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I was sitting on the right field side, but I don't think he could have hit the wall much harder than he did. Looked on the replay like he was only a couple of inches shy of catching it.

  88. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    NL, I definitely get that reasoning on Gorzo/Lannan. But Davey's not going to make a gesture, nor does he care about anyone's feelings. He wants to win, and I'm all for that. If he thinks the pitching staff is better or more versatile with Lannan over Gorzo, so be it. I'll be surprised, but not shocked. Lannan played the role that Rizzo envisioned for him when he made the decision to go with Det as the fifth starter very well. He should get a full playoff share, and should feel very proud of what he accomplished under very difficult circumstances, but I don't expect to see him pitch again this year.

  89. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    222, it's too bad (at this point) Rizzo didn't bring up Perry. Could have used him in this circumstance, and saved Gorzy, and then I would agree with you. Honestly, I think it's more important that the hitters rest, especially Morse, RZ and ALR. Don't know how Desi is feeling since he never lets on but Jeez how many days in a row is it for Suzuki?

  90. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    222, agree on that: no "gestures," which is why I don't think we'll see DeRosa either. Was just saying IF anyone's mind ran along those lines, it would be Lannan. Was watching Lannan in the dugout all week and he's a happy camper. No matter what, he has shown other teams that he can handle the No. 4-5 slot in a rotation and is not a minor-league guy.

  91. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    JD, it's not the Giants hitters I'm worried about (though they are better than you suggest), it's their rotation.

  92. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Thanks for the heads up on Manuel's pique, Sunshine, as I'd not seen the reporting on it. (waaah waaah – we're not the defending champs any more – waaah waaah)Re. former Nats, and as previously reported, enjoyed seeing a Terrmel Sledge shirt in the stands last night. As old-timers will recall, he hit the first dinger in the history of "our" Nats, and did it at Philly thankyouverymuch. Of course, a Phan threw it back. :-)Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… Zimm's most precious comment: "I love this town." And it loves you back. For the Zimms and the LannEns of the world, this day is especially sweet. And for all of us too. Anybody who lived through the Brian Schneiders and Nook Logans of the world deserves this day. It may be raining, but I'm pouring gratitude. Thanksgiving came two months early this year. And to clinch it against the Filthies. Even sweeter. I loved Jolly Cholly going off on his team last night … after a win! Love it, love it, love it. October 02, 2012 11:01 AM

  93. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    NL, Gorzo can go 4 or 5 tonight and come back on Sunday (or Saturday if needed). I'd rather see him tonight than Perry (or Maya, God forbid). We still have a No. 1 seed to clinch.

  94. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    We were also on the RF side (upper deck), and agreed that he hit the wall hard. I also thought he was close to catching it. fwiw.Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa said… I was sitting on the right field side, but I don't think he could have hit the wall much harder than he did. Looked on the replay like he was only a couple of inches shy of catching it. October 02, 2012 12:11 PM

  95. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    JD, I was thinking the same, except for the weather. Gio is not a cold weather pitcher. But with our offense and good D, we can do fine out there. I think the Cards would be my least favorite to play against at this point, based on recent history. Wouldn't be worried about the Dodgers because they would have to play both a WC tie-breaker and a WC game, and thus blow their two best pitchers, and do a lot of traveling. I think Davey let the Nats take the weekend off in Atlanta (pretty much) as we were playing to win 1 of 3. We've seen them a lot and I feel we can handle them.

  96. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    From the article linked to by 1a, h/t Sofa:"Not letting them celebrate on the field was kind of nice," Kyle Kendrick said.Guess they weren't watching MLB Network once they left the field. Ha Ha Ha!

  97. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Sec 222, We've handled their rotation all year.Were we not 5 – 1 against them?

  98. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    222, yes. Giants rotation is formidable, and they would start at home, with plenty of rest. So I would rank it this way in terms of most-to-least feared. CardsGiantsReds (I believe that could happen in the NLCS but not before?)AtlantaDodgers

  99. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    NL, I think we can beat the Phills too but in fairness they have been getting lights out pitching from 4 of their 5 starters, their bull pen is top notch and their lineup is deep. They have been playing better than us over the past month. I'd just as soon see them in the NLCS than right off the bat. (I think they will be the Reds if they get past St.Louis and I think LA is done).

  100. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    JD, the Giants pitchers suffered a lot coming here in the heat. Different story now.

  101. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Or maybe Sunshine meant these comments by Cholly. Either way, payback is a, well, you know. :-)sec 222, true that. I loved when Gio came running out onto the field from the locker room celebration. We all cheered and then other players started coming out. He was running around like a big puppy. (Hey, guys, where's Gio? I don't know, it wasn't my day to watch him. Oh, geez, he got out onto the field. We better go get him.)

  102. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    NatsLady….when one pitches 2 full seasons in Oakland, you can bet Gio has pitched in cold weather……in July.

  103. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    JD–you mean Atlanta?

  104. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    NJ, good point. Thanks for reminding me of that! I am with Soriano on this one, as beautiful as that city looks, I wouldn't want to live there.

  105. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    My feeling is Jackson would prefer NOT to pitch tomorrow (with the scrub lineup and a good chance for a loss). He needs to be at the top of his game in the showcase.You claim to be a professional musician, right? Let's say you have three gigs on your calendar. A relatively minor one, a charity gig and then a really big gig. You go out and lay an egg on that first gig. Then the charity calls up and gives you the opportunity to bail out on their gig. Are you going to do that and take your chances that you'll be at the top of your game when that really big gig comes around? I doubt it. For the same reason, Jackson wants another shot in a real game before he has to go out there in the playoffs.

  106. Positively Half St. - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    A lot of us have waited a long time for this, and I am especially glad for us fans that have been devoted to the team since the day Tony Williams announced the move in 2004. I truly want them to win the World Series, but I admit that I will be satisfied that they just won the division. This was on the outer edge of my highest expectations for 2012.+1/2St.

  107. Joe Seamhead - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    An interesting World Series pitching tidbit: In 1956 when Don Larsen threw his perfect game he started in game 2 and gave up 4 unearned runs on 1 hit and 4 walks in 1.2 innings. He also pitched the 7th inning the day before the gem.

  108. Raise the Jolly Scooter - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    I like NatsLady's list.I think this has been covered, but you guys can not-be-scared of the Jints all you want. However, since their second-best hitter was suspended, that squad has gone 29-14. I don't care whom you're playing, that doesn't happen unless you're a pretty good team.Of course, any team the Nats face, at this point, will be pretty good.

  109. Raise the Jolly Scooter - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Oh, and thanks for bringing it with the links, 1a.

  110. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Half st. I am with you 100%. Yesterday was all about relief for me. I will cheer on the team throughout the playoffs but to me from here on out everything is gravy. I think I will enjoy these playoffs tremendously without the horrible fear of a collapse. This year my friends is a smashing success regardless of the playoff outcome.

  111. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I don't know how much better Atlanta has been playing than we have in September once you factor in the quality of the opposition. They got 2-hit last night by, excuse me, the Pirates with a rookie pitcher and not even their real closer. They lost to the non-Dickey Mets.Since playing the Giants in mid-August (spit 2-2) they have played exacting ONE contending team (besides us), the Brewers–and they got swept by the Brewers.

  112. hiramhover - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Thanks to all for the insight about the possibility of a rain out tonight and a double header tomorrow. I have more of a stake in tomorrow than tonight–for years, I've made a pt to take my son to the season finale, even when it didn't matter. Tomorrow's doesn't, either–but in a good way!Btw – looks like the forecast has been revised to lower the predictions of rain for this afternoon, tho 7-10pm still looks like 60% chance of showers.

  113. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Scooter, It does make a difference who you play. The Giants had all these games with: San Diego, Arizona, Colorado all teams eliminated around the all star break. The Nats had a brutal ending schedule against teams desperately trying to get back into the race or catch the division leaders.

  114. JD - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    NL, Fair points and I also wouldn't mind matching wits with Fredi in a short series.

  115. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    FW—ABSOLUTELY I'm bailing on the non-essential gig!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I made the exact mistake of NOT doing that one year, and came into the important gig hoarse, tired and subsisting on honey and tea. Barely made it through and was not invited back the next year.

  116. Section 222 - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    NL, yes, we won't meet the Reds till the NLCS, if at all. The Giants are guaranteed the No. 3 seed, so we either face them or the WC winner. JD, yes, we handled the Giants pitching well in two series, the last of which was in mid-August. Since then, the Giants are 29-14. And they get to play the first two games at home. Don't get me wrong, I'm not scared of them, or any team really. The Nats match up well against everyone. But I'd just as soon play Atlanta or the Cardinals, especially with their No. 1 starter not available until Game 3.At least we have Gio rested to start Game 1, whenever it is.

  117. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    When I look at Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and some other players who have come back from long injury layoffs, it really makes me appreciate the recuperative power of REST.

  118. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Positively Half St. said… A lot of us have waited a long time for this, and I am especially glad for us fans that have been devoted to the team since the day Tony Williams announced the move in 2004. I truly want them to win the World Series, but I admit that I will be satisfied that they just won the division. This was on the outer edge of my highest expectations for 2012.If nothing else, winning the division guarantees that the blank fourth flag next to 1924, 1925 and 1933 on top of the scoreboard can now be filled in. The postseason is now a game of "fill in the blank" with 2012 NL East Champions, 2012 NL Champions and 2012 World Champions being the only choices. Merely making the playoffs as a wild card probably wouldn't have rated a flag. What would it have said, "2012 Postseason Wish You Were Here" or "We went to the 2012 Postseason and all we got was this lousy flag"? I think not.

  119. JaneB - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Wow. As if I didn't hate the Phillies enough, Kendrick and Manuel's comments make me hate them more. Especially Kendrick's, since the DID celebrate their clinches on OUR field. Grrrrrrrrr.I worry about someone getting hurt playing tonight. And a double header tomorrow just seems not right. I wish there were some way around it.mi wonder when the Nats org will say something about what tonight's situation is.

  120. NatsLady - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    What I learned from experience is when you are setting up for a major, important gig, you focus on that not on minor stuff. You learn to say "no" to everything else, charity, family, whatever, and hope they understand (usually they do). Unless you are going to that charity gig and give a half-assed performance (which is less easy than you might think), you don't do it at all. Since I feel that Jackson's problem with his previous outing is probably physical (at least in part) I don't see the point of him going out there and pitching full strength, and I certainly don't see the point of him lobbing balls at the assortment of rookies, September call-ups and bench players Charlie would be throwing out there. And if conditions are poor–which they certainly could be tomorrow–then you risk injury.Davey, McCatty and EJax might have a different view, of course, since they are the experts and it's not by any means the same for a pitcher as for a singer, but that's my opinion.

  121. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    NatsLady….when one pitches 2 full seasons in Oakland, you can bet Gio has pitched in cold weather……in July.Oakland isn't cold in July. San Francisco is cold in the PM, July and August usually, but not Oakland. Lived there 15+ years.

  122. Raise the Jolly Scooter - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    JD said…It does make a difference who you play.Well … yeah. But they went .674. Six seventy-four. Like I said, that's good against ANYBODY.Also, I agree wholeheartedly with this:This year my friends is a smashing success regardless of the playoff outcome.Which is good, because 9 of the 10 playoff teams are gonna end their season with a loss.

  123. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    "We went to the 2012 Postseason and all we got was this lousy flag"Love it.

  124. NCNatsie - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Sec 3, you're right. I never lived there, but I'll always remember how different the weeather reports on the radio in SF were. The one I heard one time, was in the same format as ours: three different temperatures given from regional airports.But whereas the DC one would be something like: "Reagan 84, Dulles 82, BWI 83," the one in SF went something like, "San Francisco 61, Oakland 79, San Jose 94."

  125. SonnyG10 - Oct 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Also, I agree wholeheartedly with this:This year my friends is a smashing success regardless of the playoff outcome.Add me to the list of those who feel this way. I wanted that pennant to fly in DC so badly.

  126. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Thirded, or whatever (lost count).

  127. ehay2k - Oct 2, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    I guess Kendrick missed that they announced Michael Morse as "Batting for YOUR NL East Division Champion Washington Nationals" while Philly was PITCHING?!? Did he miss the roar of the crowd on that one?Because honestly, if we'd won, the Phillies could have shuffled off to the showers and not had their noses rubbed in it like they were for the bottom half of the inning. And I thought it was flippin' AWESOME!

  128. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Furthermore, did he miss the big grin on Morse's face throughout the at-bat? humph.

  129. Raise the Jolly Scooter - Oct 2, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    You know, I was wondering why Morse got such a big ovation for the 9th.Aside from the obvious, of course.

  130. Clark Blaise - Oct 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    clarquito said, my fear is not the Giants' batting order, or their pitching (exactly), it's our strange batting-freeze too many times this year (like last night). We have a powerful offensive order, but there's a disconnect somewhere.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 45 --
ATLANTA 57 48 1.5
MIAMI 51 53 7.0
NEW YORK 50 55 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 59 12.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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.
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

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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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