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Game 162: Phillies at Nats

Oct 3, 2012, 2:44 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to secure the No. 1 seed in the NL playoffs this afternoon.

OK, here's a condensed version of what's at stake today for the Nationals in their regular-season finale against the Phillies: Win and they clinch the No. 1 seed for the playoffs and will open the NLDS on Sunday at the winner of Friday's Wild Card game between the Braves and Cardinals. Lose and they need the Reds to lose tonight in St. Louis to keep that No. 1 seed. Otherwise, they drop to the No. 2 seed and open the NLDS on Saturday in San Francisco.

After giving most of his regulars last night's game off, Davey Johnson planned to get most of them back in the lineup today. The only anticipated exceptions: Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche, though there's still a chance either or both could play.

Edwin Jackson gets the start for the Nationals, getting one last chance to earn his 10th win and become the fifth member of the rotation to reach double digits, a fairly impressive accomplishment.

Updates to come, so please check back…

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to CF

NATIONALS (97-64)
CF Jayson Werth
RF Mark DeRosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse

Read more »

146 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. sm13 - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    This may be the most serious lineup Charlie Manuel has put out there. it would be to see us knock Cliff Lee around.

  2. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Last REGULAR Season game. Wow, just stunning.GYFNG! GO EDWIN! Get that 10th win today!

  3. JaneB - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Wow. Charlie is playing for keeps, isn't he? I hope we cream them. I really do. I officially love the Yankees compared to how I feel about the Phillies. And I HATE the Yankees.GYFNG!

  4. Pappy - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Does anyone want to predict Teddy winning the Presidents Race today?

  5. Jimmy - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I'll be there! Bringing my son (turns 2 next week) and daughter (she's 3 months old today). Meeting the wife there – this is my first big trip alone with the two of them. Wish me luck!It's been a pleasure rooting and reading along with the Nats Insiders this year. Here's to a long playoff run.

  6. Dryw Loves the Nats - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Jimmy, well done on starting to raise two new Nats fans. I hope you have a great time with your little ones!

  7. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    So who's going to be the brilliant strategist who says we should walk Ruf every at bat? ;-)

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    what is it, like his fifth attempt to get that 10th win? Geez, get back on track EJax (to his credit, he should have won against Brewers).

  9. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    how come no one has accused Ruf of PEDs yet? From 9 and 17 HRs in his first two full seasons in minors, he has jumped to 41 combined HRs this season. anyways I don't think we need to worry about Ruf next season with howard being back and no opening in OF either (as far as I can tell). And to be honest, I wouldn't put much emphasis on 11 September games.

  11. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I dunno, FS, the kid looks legit to me.

  12. Water23 - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 3, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Just to clear it up, I am not accusing him either. I am just saying usually people jump on these kind of players.

  14. bowdenball - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    I'd be careful casting those stones before looking at power numbers over the first two seasons in the minors for Tyler Moore. Or Ian Desmond. Ruf went from a 6% walk rate and a 21% K rate in 2010 to a 10% walk rate and a 17% K rate in 2011. He clearly made some significant adjustments in his approach. PEDs don't help your eyes.

  15. Natslifer - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I went to Monday and Tuesday games. Ruf does look like a beast. That first shot last night was a total rollover golf swing outside and low – muscling that over the fence was something else (FS – I suppose your could imagine that there is "something else" and fit with my overall world view of the Phillies).Jimmy – good luck. We took the toddlers to a few games and then stopped for a couple of years after they started walking and couldn't sit still. In my household we practice the "talk about the Nats constantly until they recognize every guy on the team" indoctrination methodology. I knew I had succeeded when I had a discussion with my six year old about "Lombo's" hitting.Go Ejax! I can feel the big mo building.

  16. Natslifer - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Nor am I accusing – just having fun with Philly bashing – the guy is a super big, strong dude. Good on him.

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I can see Juan Pierre trying to bunt to leadoff.

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Peric, read Daveys comments about using Lannan vs Braves.

  19. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Ghost, is that from Kilgore's tweet, or an article?

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Ghost — great points about the position players' and starting rotation's WAR. Does anyone here believe that any of those WARs were career years that won't likely be duplicated for five or more years into the future? (Given decent health — and remember that both Desi and Harp's numbers include a month, give or take, of not playing.)No matter what happens from here in October, that just adds to the glow this team gives us. October 03, 2012 11:37 AM Steady, you are correct since WAR is cumulative that Desi and Harp's numbers were skewed for missing about 25 games which is significant as that is 15% of the season.Hard to believe by the end of the season that Zim will have appeared in more games than Desi and Bryce.I do believe that Desi and Harper and RZim and Werth will all have increased WAR in 2013 if by nothing more than playing more games.2 positions that struggled for the Nats most of the season – LF and catcher – I believe will improve. Ramos had a +.6 just playing in just 25 games which is a +3.0 if Ramos plays in just 125 games.The other 2 positions are 2nd and 1st base and I think present the biggest question marks for next season as we don't know if LaRoche will be back and if he is, can ALR be as consistent? Can Espinosa offensively improve?On starting pitching, I expect a large increase with the maturation of the staff.Questions for next year will be Morse, and Morse and his health, Danny Espinosa, re-signing ALR and who the 5th starter is.Looks like the future is great for the Washington Nats.

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa said… Ghost, is that from Kilgore's tweet, or an article?Actually got that from Amanda's tweet. Doesn't surprise me. I tried to tell Peric to stop with his Lannan hatred when he said no way Lannan gets on any of the post-season rosters.I think it mostly has to do with EJax's performance today and who the Nats play. All the teams except for the Braves are evenly distributed Righty/Lefty.

  22. Unknown - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    One of the few benefits of getting older is all the memories ….This Ruf kid from Philadelphia reminds me a lot of Greg Luzinski, the Phillies' left fielder who had Frank Howard power (and Frank Howard defense). I'm sure they'd rather have him at first over the next few years due to Ryan Howard's age/contract/health, but I don't think there is much they can do about that for now. I'm curious about how Bryce Howard will play as a 20-year-old next season. Will he be a .300-30-100 guy, maybe better? Will he remain 2nd in the lineup? If he wants some RBI, he's going to have to move down.Totally as an aside, my son's Super League team (we live in Pocatello ID) played in a few tournaments in Las Vegas and played Bryce's team twice (Didn't know who he was then but noticed his name on a roster sheet a couple of years ago). I hated him. He played like he was a major leaguer. On the bases, he hunched over, wiggling his fingers in anticipation, eyes darting back and forth, watching the pitcher, the batter and the other base runners. I thought it was a put-on, a kid who thought he was better than the rest and played like it. Turns out that he was just that good and the way he played was natural talent. Now I love him because of those same reasons. I wore my BYU-Idaho t-shirt when I covered the Nationals back in May for our newspaper. I was in awe in the locker room, almost speechless as all my heroes walked past me.Suddenly I looked up and there was Bryce, staring at my t-shirt. "Dude, neighbors!" he said, referencing both our western states and the LDS connection.Here I am, a 56-year-old guy, and I was speechless, unable to talk to a 19-year-old. I wonder if the Nationals will be able to sign him to an extension before free agency, or as a Boras client will money and the next opportunity win out?Time will tell. Farid @ Idaho

  23. rmoore446 - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    I understand that Ruff will be playing winter baseball in order to gain more experience in the outfield. Charlie Manuel, who wasn't quick to get too excited about Ruff, now says Ruff will get a close look next spring.

  24. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Ladson just tweeted that Frank will be throwing out the first Pitch for the First Home Game of the NLDS. Now we can all give him the ovation he deserves.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomak Davey said the #Nationals will consider Lannan for playoff roster/rotation if they play the #Braves. Not much decided until opponent known

  26. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I tried to tell Peric to stop with his Lannan hatred when he said no way Lannan gets on any of the post-season rosters.And who does he supplant? And if he implodes again? As he has been doing most of the season? He's just NOT that good. Milone (especially Milone) and Rosenbaum are better. YOU NEED TO STOP. With the Lannan is some sort of ace or hero? He likely ends up back in AAA next season after some team tries him out as a fifth starter. I'm not even sure he makes it in Houston. He's just not that good.And for the ONE THOUSANDTH TIME: Livo WAS BETTER while he was a starter at an advanced age of 40 plus? How was that possible if Lannan is such a wonderful starter?I'd rather see Gorzelanny or Duke over Lannan. They too are better.

  27. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    #Nationals will consider Lannan for playoff roster/rotation if they play the #Braves.Uhmm last I looked "consider" did not mean definitely.

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    MicheleS said… Ladson just tweeted that Frank will be throwing out the first Pitch for the First Home Game of the NLDS. Now we can all give him the ovation he deserves. October 03, 2012 12:39 PM I agree, much deserved and it wasn't going to happen until Kasten was gone but much of the blame is on Cranky Franky for not doing it sooner. Frank is not the angel he is protrayed as in public but based on history, I have much respect for him as one of the greatest players ever and he was my favorite player as I grew up.I have also suggested retiring Frank's #20 but I know many don't agree with that.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    peric said… #Nationals will consider Lannan for playoff roster/rotation if they play the #Braves.Uhmm last I looked "consider" did not mean definitely. October 03, 2012 12:43 PM We are all smart enough to decipher that. You were the one saying no chance.

  30. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa said… And after today, not only does the W-L record reset to 0-0, but all the batting averages start fresh, too. There's the star who pulls a houdini in the playoffs, and there's some goon squad guy who carries the team for a week, which is all it takes in the playoffs. With pretty much the whole team new to this, there's a lot left to discover about these guys. But I'm betting Harper and Zimm show up.This brings up an interesting point — the Nats have been able to win 97 games without a total-superstar-batter (e.g., a McCutcheon, etc.). The good thing about that is that when a guy goes into a slump, or is injured (see, e.g., 2012 Nationals: RZim, Ramos, Morse, Werth, etc etc), the Nats don't lose as much as with other teams, because their remaining players are so good.imho . . .

  32. mick - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    For all you DC old timers, copy, download the below and enjoyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCcKm2GrWvk&feature=related

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    DC Wonk, according to WAR per game, Desi/Harper/Zim/LaRoche are near the tops in their positions and when they are healthy are hard to replace.

  34. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    And yet three of the four were replaced, for a while, which I think was Wonk's point, partly.

  35. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    This brings up an interesting point — the Nats have been able to win 97 games without a total-superstar-batter They have at least one in training: Bryce Harper.Desmond suddenly looks like he has that potential. Espinosa always did and has made some progress (not as much as many here would like) but 37 doubles and 17 homers with 2 triples is nothing to sneeze at either.Morse sans injuries is one tier below. And LaRoche is having a career year. And even with his injuries Zim is again close to 100 RBI.(And Rendon is on the way.) Sure looks to me like they didn't need any superstar slugger.

  36. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    OTOH, they have guys with all-star potential at at least 7 positions, maybe 8, and 3 or 4 pitchers who could have that kind of a year, or have already.

  37. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    And if he implodes again? As he has been doing most of the season?peric, what stats are _you_ looking at.Lannan has six starts for the Nats. In those six starts he's allowed more than two runs only twice. He imploded only once. Granted, he has trouble finishing the sixth inning — but nobody said he's great. But he might be the fourth best starter right now.You might also want to look at EJax's stats for the month of September: an ERA of 7.92 (!!), and only _one_ start where he allowed fewer than three runs. (And even if you take out that last miserable start, his ERA is 5.32)I'm not saying Lannan's great. But it's not unreasonable at all to think he's better at EJax at this point.I hope EJax throws shutout baseball today (he certainly had some extra rest after lasting only 1.1 innings last time). But if he doesn't — Lannan is worth considering.

  38. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Sure looks to me like they didn't need any superstar slugger. Or indeed, that they have some, and we're selling them short.

  39. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… DC Wonk, according to WAR per game, Desi/Harper/Zim/LaRoche are near the tops in their positions and when they are healthy are hard to replace.I'm looking at baseball-reference's batting leaders. Among hitters, I don't see anyone that is in the top-10 in WAR (total, offense, or defense), BA, OBP, SLG, OPS. Other than LaRoche, nobody in HR or RBI.I'm not being critical at all — I'm saying that even despite that, the Nats are still tied with the best record in baseball, which shows that they are a very balanced team. Even more impressive is that it's not all pitching. Despite the lack of batting leaders, the Nats are still 5th in runs scored. And, again, despite nobody hitting over .300 (for a full season), and nobody in the top 10 in batting — the team BA is fourth in the league! That's amazing. And it points to a strength. Well balanced.As for peric's comment that we have a superstar in waiting (Harper): I agree. But that will just make the Nats that much better for next year.

  40. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Remember those cookies for Detwiler? Somebody needs to send DeRosa some Wheaties.

  41. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    To sum up what I've been trying to say: we don't have an Andrew McCutcheon. But we're also the only team that can kill you from eight different spots in the lineup. I don't know if any other team in the NL can do that.

  42. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    But we're also the only team that can kill you from eight different spots in the lineup.Nine, on some days.

  43. Natslifer - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Too funny – ejax cruising but pitched around Ruf.

  44. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Geez, nice hustle there Mikey.

  45. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Beast needs to be a little more agressive in LF.

  46. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Sharkadina definitely catches that.

  47. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Well at least we know the Beast can hit ;-)

  48. Steady Eddie - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Just following on Gameday but is EJax getting the kind of fastball movement that his results suggest he is? I loved seeing him challenge Utley on a 2-0 count and getting a groundout out of it. 37 pitches, 2h 0R, 2K after 3 IP is PFB.

  49. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Hmmm. MASN graphic showing Harper with 97 RBI.They meant runs.

  50. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    And we know Werth can hit.

  51. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    have you guys used brooksbaseball site before? pretty good source for pitcher data.

  52. Pappy - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Ha! Teddy wins! And Philly helped him do it!Now we need to win this game to get a winning strike started.

  53. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    BOOM Ryan!

  54. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    And we know Zim can hit. And Morse can STILL hit.

  55. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    And we now know T-Mo can hit.

  56. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Look at the #1 on this list and look at the footnote #1 off to the side.Grantland Power Rankings

  57. Michael J. Hayde - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Obviously Cliff Lee has been overcome by the sheer historical significance of Teddy's victory!

  58. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Now we find out whether Jackson can pitch w/ absolutely no pressure.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    An end of an era or error depending on how you look at it, Teddy wins a race. Now they need to find a new "act" for next season.

  60. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Amazing. Philadelphia has another 1B as bad as Howard.

  61. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Michele, thanks for that link; if you have The Facebook, here's a related picture.

  62. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Sofa.. We need to have the Insider Watching Party at Duffy's

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Most of the Phillies know their season is over and seem ready to jump on a plane and go home. I figured that would be good news for the Nats yesterday and today and really its been Ruf and Frandsen trying to audition for next year as they are the guys who have shown up to play all series.

  64. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Possible new presidents (has to be someone arguably funny): William Howard Taft; Harry S. Truman. Maybe Silent Cal in his straw hat.

  65. Steady Eddie - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Was that called strike 3 on JFlo as bad a call as it looked on Gameday? I know Gameday is only intermittently reliable re pitch location, which is why I'm asking. If it was that bad, that's a pretty inexcusable way to end a 10 pitch at bat where the hitter has fouled off six pitches, including at least a couple way out of the zone. That's supposed to be in his favor, not a license for the HP ump to call anything a strike. It's not as if this is the Cliff Lee of 3-4 years ago.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Steady, it looked close enough on a 3-2 that you have to swing and I say that as if it were a Nats pitcher pitching.

  67. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    @MarkZuckerman: #Nats employee once told me they were under strict orders: No Teddy win until playoffs clinched or approval from very top of organization.Now 2 losing streaks have been ended.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Yes Eddie. It was close, certainly closer than 2 of tha ball 4 pitches Flo fouled off.

  69. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    No Teddy win until playoffs clinchedFWIW, I made that suggestion last year (but, heck if I could ever find it!)

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Its amazing to me with all the technology that GameDay pitch tracker isn't sync'd with the real PitchF/X to give accuracy.

  71. Secret wasian man - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Teddy spotted hanging out with Melky Cabrera before the game. Teddy has submitted a urine sample. This victory may not be official yet.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Most of the Phillies know their season is over and seem ready to jump on a plane and go home. I figured that would be good news for the Nats yesterday and today and really its been Ruf and Frandsen trying to audition for next year as they are the guys who have shown up to play all series. October 03, 2012 2:21 PM Like I said, Ruf and Frandsen.

  73. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Possible new presidents (has to be someone arguably funny): Maybe Barack Obama with his whitesox hat.

  74. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    BOOM Tyler! What a MOON SHOT.

  75. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Love seeing our guys hitting of Lee.. perfect…

  76. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    So true Michele….We are so close to the Z I can almost see it!….

  77. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Did anyone hear Dave J. remind us that DeRosa was the Opening Day starter in LF…after the Nats win the World Series, that may make for a good trivia question…

  78. NatsLady - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Wait– I thought the Nats are punchless. Two of their best guys out of the lineup, how are they getting hits?

  79. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I love how Country just flipped the bat and went into his trot without even looking at the ball.

  80. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Wait– I thought the Nats are punchless. Two of their best guys out of the lineup, how are they getting hits?Same old silliness about needing Cabrera or David Wright … albeit I woudl have nothing against picking up Lance Berkman as a bench player. A switch hitter like that on the bench? ATL eat your heart out, he might be better in that role than Chipper.

  81. baseballswami - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    What an impressive crop of rookies !!! They don 't play for a while, then Lombo was clutch last night, Tyler goes yard today. Harper gets the attention , those two are quality guys also.does any other team have that kind of triple threat rookie class???

  82. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    So, am I reading this right: that there could be a four-way tie in the AL for best record at the end of today?

  83. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    T-Mo seems pretty humble. He definitely helped get Corey Brown "centered" this season. He's just happy to be in the majors and helping out.

  84. Jim Zurer - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Can we send Espinosa to strikeout reduction school? His average on balls in play is astronomical.

  85. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Looks like Laynce Nix made the wrong choice in the past offseason. The Nats wanted him back … and he picked the Phils for about the same money.

  86. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Can we send Espinosa to strikeout reduction school? His average on balls in play is astronomical.How many 2nd basemen do you know who play beyond gold glove caliber 2nd base (because he could be a top major league shortstop) while hitting 37 doubles, 2 triples, and 17 home runs? He's learning.

  87. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    See you Wed EJax!

  88. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Just saw that Frank Robinson will throw out the first ball in the first Nationals Park playoff game. Nice move.What about Frank Howard for the second game?

  89. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Looks like Davey is letting Knorr manage the end of this one?

  90. Jim Zurer - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Don't get me wrong….I love Espinosa. But he has the potential to be even better….

  91. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Espi is back to being all or nothing with his swings. Unfortunately the last 2 weeks has been a lot of nothing and 1 HR.

  92. Melissa Rabey - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Wonk: actually, only a three-way tie. If the Yanks lose, Baltimore wins, and then whoever wins the Texas-Oakland game, all three clubs will be at 94-68. And of course, if the first two things happen, the Yanks and the Os will play a tiebreaker game tomorrow.

  93. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    As I recall, the Phillies gave Nix 2 years, and Rizzo would not go 2.

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    EJax with a nice stat line to finish his day. Just difficult to gauge the true performance against the Phillies B team plus Ruiz and Utley.

  95. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Sec, you are correct on Nix.

  96. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Melissa, you beat me to it. One more point: since a tiebreaker game is considered part of the regular season, if that happens, either Baltimore or New York would have the best record, with one more win.

  97. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Ghost…..this may be a Phillies B team but Fransden has been their best hitter for about 6 weeks now.

  98. Melissa Rabey - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Section 3: who plays who and where based on the winners of today's games and the possible Yanks-Os tiebreaker literally makes me stop understanding English. It's *that* convoluted. If you're curious, it's laid out in this article: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121003&content_id=39418980&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb I'm glad the wackiness with home and away playoffs not logically following the seeding is a this-year-only thing!

  99. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Interesting that Papelbon is throwing, not taking the day off, apparently. So it's not all B Team.

  100. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    NatsJack, I gave props to Frandsen and Ruf up above.

  101. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Sorry. Missed that one, Ghost.

  102. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:41 PM

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  103. A DC Wonk - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Your both right. Espinosa is a gold-glove caliber 2B, solid hitter, with lots of upside, who is also a strike-out machine (led the NL by 10 entering today).Here's hoping that, just as he is one year younger than Desi, he will follow in Desi's footsteps, and more fully mature next year into close-to-MVP quality, just as Desi did this year.

  104. Natslifer - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    standing O for Zimmy – very nice

  105. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    During Take On Me, Michele? I missed it.

  106. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Sofa.. see if you can rewind.

  108. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    I can back up, I was wondering when it was.

  109. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    BOOM BEAST!!!

  110. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  111. Melissa Rabey - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    So great to see Beast getting hot at just the right time!

  112. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    BOOM goes the Beast!!

  113. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    And after all the talk of "The Phillies OWN the Nats"…Season series is about to be 9-9…

  114. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    This is pretty nice:Washington Nationals‏@NationalsWith 37,075 in the park today, #Nats average 30,010 per game for 2012, highest attendance since '05. Thank you fans! #NATITUDE

  115. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    It does look like her. Is that where she sits?

  116. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Looks like MikeyMo is ready eh Natslady? His cost is small compared to what LaRoche will ask for. Plus there's Tyler Moore. Morse isn't going anywhere.

  117. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    And after all the talk of "The Phillies OWN the Nats"…Season series is about to be 9-9. And the Phillies are about to be 81-81.

  118. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  119. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    With 37,075 in the park today, #Nats average 30,010 per game for 2012That is cool, getting over 30K.

  120. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    If they bat around, maybe Harp can get those stolen bases yet.

  121. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Is Davey OK?

  122. JD - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Amazing how much better the team has looked since they clinched the division. They were tight as a drum and now they can just play. I think that this bodes well for the playoffs because there should no longer be any fear of collective failure.

  123. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    I hope EJax throws shutout baseball today (he certainly had some extra rest after lasting only 1.1 innings last time). But if he doesn't — Lannan is worth considering.EJax almost got to seven? How many times has Lannan done that? He barely managed to do that in the minors until the end of the season after he got a couple of doubleheader starts in the majors? Of all the pitchers Lannan must make Davey's heart skip the most. He's quickest with the hook with him that's for sure. For Lannan they still need a well rested and fairly complete bullpen.

  124. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Swift I think so.. Normally don't they let the coaches do stuff like this on the last day? FP/Carp said DJ was hanging out in the clubhouse

  125. Drew - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Harper's 98th run ties George Davis for second best by a teenager, two behind Buddy Lewis' 100.

  126. JD - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Gio in for the 9th. Brilliant !!

  127. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Wrong Gonzalez, JD.

  128. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Love the Goon Squad. A shame DeRo couldn't get a couple of hits and get above Mendoza.

  129. JD - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    That's what gameday says. I am not in position to watch the game.

  130. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Wow.. FINALLY getting some calls from the Umps on those check swings. We really are a 1st place team

  131. JD - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    OK, now they have it corrected.

  132. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    That's what gameday says.Well, last game, somebody phoning it in.

  133. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    WE WIN THE Z!!!!Love it!

  134. djinFl. - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    That was so much fun, let's play some more.Thanks to the entire organization.-

  135. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Werth or the guy some used to call Werthless, will finish with a .300 batting average.

  136. Section 3, My 1st Place Sofa - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    98 Wooooooooo HoooooooooooosTM Michele

  137. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    And a winning record every month of the regular season.

  138. JD - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    I guess it's Atlanta or St.Louis. Bring them on !!!

  139. MicheleS - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!!! Can you Believe this!! 98 Wins and we got the Z!!!

  140. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Three home runs to end it. Not a bad tune up.

  141. peric - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Werth or the guy some used to call Werthless, will finish with a .300 batting average.Werth found his "niche" with this team hitting in front of and creating synergy with Bryce Harper while mentoring him.Its a real honest to god shame it took so long to put him there … undoubtedly a part of that might have been due to his truculence over batting lead off in 2011.

  142. JD - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Peric, His contract suggested that he should be a big home run/ RBI guy but his skill set is much more suited for the role he is playing now. It takes a lot to change the minds of old school baseball people and analysts. I generally don't like to play 'I told you so' but I have been touting Werth for the lead off spot since last year and I was disappointing that Davie dropped that experiment last year. It just makes so much sense; you get on base often, you see a lot of pitches then you should hit at the top of the order. And you don't have to steal bases either.

  143. Swift Eagle - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Werth's power will return next year…It's not unusual for guys to lose the power stroke when they have hand/wrist injuries and then come back after an off season of rehab….David Ortiz did it…Werth will hit at least 20 HR next year if healthy

  144. Dave - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    EJax gets win #10. Morse gets dinger #18. Nats get win #98 and the Z: best record in the ENTIRE FREAKING MAJOR LEAGUES.And the Nats come back to DC to play next Wednesday, which means my wife will be back home from work travel to see her first playoff game.Life is good.

  145. Dave - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    @Ghost of Steve M: "Werth or the guy some used to call Werthless, will finish with a .300 batting average."This is so exceptionally good.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 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

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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