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Tied up, but heading home

Oct 9, 2012, 3:12 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper is 1-for-10 with six strikeouts so far in this series.

ST. LOUIS — As much as the one-time-only format change to MLB's Division Series this year — with the lesser team getting to host Games 1 and 2 — has been criticized, there was one scenario in particular in which a team like the Nationals would actually benefit.

Sure, you could argue it wasn't fair for the team with baseball's best regular-season record to have top open the playoffs on the road in a hostile environment. But by merely winning one of the first two games of their NLDS against the Cardinals, the Nationals put themselves in a position where they now go home knowing they just need to take care of business to advance to the next round.

"With the two games on the road, I think it's almost fairer," right fielder Jayson Werth said. "It's like I said: Our job coming in here was to split the series, and we did that."

That they did. Oh, make no mistake, a 12-4 debacle in Game 2 at Busch Stadium was an ugly spectacle to behold, whether you were among the crowd of 45,840 in St. Louis or back home watching onRead more »

  1. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    "According to Keri and the “team of experts” who wrote “Baseball Between The Numbers”, it is rare for any team to have better than a 25% – 30% chance to win the World Series. That’s not much of a chance. It means that a team can be the best in baseball for eight years, and (if luck holds) maybe win the World Series two of those years. This roughly parallels the Yankees’ record in the 2000s: the Yanks made the playoffs in 9 of those 10 years, they had the best record (or tied for best) in 4 of those 10 years, and they took home two World Series championships."http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2010/08/23/luck-and-competitive-balance-part-1-the-post-season/

  2. peric - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Its not just about the best record but who has the best team and the best assets in a short series versus the 162 game marathon.The Nats still should have the edge given that they have the stronger bullpen. It just didn't show up yesterday. Burnett is probably someone who should be left as a last resort. He has something wrong and its been there for a good long time now.

  3. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    In spite of the random nature of baseball, I think many people would agree that the Nats' pitching has tailed off in the second half, with the exception of Storen.

  4. Drew - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    For Nats junkies who need a fix on an off day: The Arizona Fall League starts on Tuesday. Your Salt River Rafters, who play at 6:35 Mountain time, feature eight Nats hopefuls.There are lots of good story lines here. Can Rendon stay healthy? Is Perry a bonafide starter? Is Cole Kimball back? Can Matt Skole rake against top prospects? Will Skole play some first base? Is Jason Martinson a playa?How close is Brian Goodwin?As for the young starting pitchers, there is Paul Newman's timeless question: "Who are those guys?"

  5. Teresa - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    I'm a bit worried. Nats struggled in September, playing only .500 ball. Yes, we split in St. Louis, but only won the first game due to our bullpen and the at-bat by Moore. In both games, hitting has been somewhat anemic by the starters, except for possibly Morse and Desi. Both Werth and Harper have been awful at the plate and LaRoche not much better. So far, Werth is batting in the playoffs like he did in 2011 – seemingly happy to eek out a walk if possible, and Harper has reverted to his "chase anything in the dirt" plate mentality. It's really important that our #1 and #2 guys get on base and preferably with hits. When they do, that makes it so much easier for our power hitters to really make a difference. Also, I believe Lombo should be starting over Espi, who is basically a guaranteed out at the plate. Espi's fielding is not that much better to justify him starting over Lombo. Didn't Espi lead the NL in strikeouts this season?

  6. rogieshan - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:43 AM

    I hope EJax's experience will provide the edge because his pitch repertoire is not that different from JZim and, as Davey pointed out post-game today, the Cardinals are a very good "fastball-hitting team."

  7. Teresa - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:47 AM

    I was correct. Espi did lead the NL with 189 strikeouts – that is horrible. He is second only to Dunn and Granderson in all of MLB for strikeouts, but both of those guys have 40+ HRs to Danny's 17. Espi is a huge liability at the plate. If he's entrenched as a starter, bat him 8th, not 7th. Some of our pitchers are better hitters than him. I just don't understand Davey's devotion to this guy. It's not as if Lombo is horrible at 2nd base and he's a far better hitter. In the playoffs, every hit matters.

  8. Teresa - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    Our chances on Wednesday depend on the answer to the following question:Who will show up – EJax Good or EJax Bad? We've seen both this year.

  9. 5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    I hope there is a loud crowd tomorrow. I've been to enough games to fear the stuffed shirts with khakis crowd that permeates Nats Park for "prime" games.

  10. NatsNut - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    This gave me goosebumps! I CAN'T WAIT!!!"I think our fan base is going to come out strong," Werth said. "We've had a lot of support down the stretch, and people have been coming out in waves. Should be a packed house. Should be a lot of fun. And I can't wait to get back home in front of our fans and take care of business."

  11. NatsNut - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    There didn't seem to be a big discussion about Harper's eye black. I was surprised he tried to pull that off and seemed a little like a regression back to some former immaturity. I'm kind of embarrassed for him. Boy looked RIDICULOUS.

  12. Section 135 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    People need to stop posting here with this Lombo over Espi crap. There is no comparison defensively. I think I'll trust Davey over people who obviously started watching the nats this year. As bad as Danny has looked Bryce has looked as bad. Does this mean we should bench him too. The ignorance of people on here is so apparent it's embarrassing. Most OC the guys were pressIng. They will break out. It cones down to the pitching.

  13. alexva - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    @NN, by now he's earned the respect of the players around the league, I'm sure they don't have a problem with it.

  14. 320R2S15 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    5c….96, That is a nice thing to say. We are who we are and no apoligies necessary. Plenty of your prefered blue collar baseball close by in Balt. and Philly. I kinda like our lawyers on holliday crowds.

  15. alexva - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    @135, I though they hit the ball hard for innings 3-7. Jay's robbery of course came at Danny's expense. hopefully good things to come with some home crowd support.

  16. Dave - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    I'm nervous about tomorrow–just like I was nervous at Nats Park last Monday, clinch day. But I've decided I'm not worried about the Wednesday game. Why? Because there's not a dern thing I personally can do about the outcome. I think I optimistically predicted an 86-win season. I feel I've definitely gotten my money's worth. So now, let's go win this series and move on. GYFNG!

  17. rabbit34 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Yes, they are now in position to go home and "take care of business". If this was Next Year, and Rizzo took care of business during the off-season, then we would be ok. But, it is This Year, and we just don't have what it takes to get the business taken care of. You can still have fun and root for the team. Hey, maybe by some miracle they will pull it off. But, with the hitting they have, it is not possible. These guys have to learn how to put the bat on the ball. And to do it when it also counts, as in men in scoring position.

  18. blovy8 - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    The thing that worries me with Espinosa was that he was so messed up, he was trying to bunt. That's not his game, and tells you about his lack of confidence. Bad as that was, it took a great catch to take away a double from him at least. He just looks lost against anything offspeed.

  19. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    very tough loss yesterday. we tried to come back multiple times but could not for whatever reasons. let's get back in this series on wednesday. I think we can beat both Carp and Lohse.

  20. alexva - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    come on rabbit, they had the best record in baseball and the front office didn't get it done? get your head out of your bunny hole and listen to yourself sometimes.

  21. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    NN, don't know whether you saw it, but they were remarking on the eyeblack on the tv broadcast.

  23. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Wait, did you just call me a lawyer? You take that back right now! ;-) Seriously, not every game attendee is a lawyer or (ick) a politician. I've gone to weekday games, and I do my part to make plenty of noise. Not that lawyers and politicians don't make noise because da-ang (blah blah blah). No offense to those readers who belong to either cohort. :-)320R2S15 said…5c….96, That is a nice thing to say. We are who we are and no apoligies necessary. Plenty of your prefered blue collar baseball close by in Balt. and Philly. I kinda like our lawyers on holliday crowds.October 09, 2012 7:13 AM5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said…I hope there is a loud crowd tomorrow. I've been to enough games to fear the stuffed shirts with khakis crowd that permeates Nats Park for "prime" games.October 09, 2012 12:51 AM

  25. JaneB - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Danny did the right thing by bunting Sunday. It is how the runner was in scoring position, and that run won the game for us, why are people still on about that? We take the series. That puts it into perspective for us. When does the park open tomorrow? I'm going to hit the gate as early as possible. And I will bring my loud positive self with me.

  26. NatsLady - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Bunting not Danny's game? You could say that about anyone else, but Espy bunts for a hit plenty of times.

  27. Doc - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    I'm still puzzled by JZim's performance last night. If he, Cat, Zuke, and Davey had all the time that they had to prepare for the game, not to mention his great work during the season, why does Davey attribute his bad outing to 'lack of experience'??And surely throwing nothing but fastballs over the plate to the Cards couldn't have been part of the game preparation, right??

  28. mick - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Buster Olney says Cards have the momentum, I hope he is wrong

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I love Jordan Zimmermann but untill he can command a change up, something he worked on diligentlty last off season, he's going to continue to suffer when his fastball command is off like yesterday.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Having Buster Onley claim the Cards have the momentum is like a sweet reverse lock.

  31. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Chant with me:"WE'RE FROM THE GOV-ER-MENTWE'RE HERE TO HELP!"

  32. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Now, that's scary. :-D

  33. mick - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…Having Buster Onley claim the Cards have the momentum is like a sweet reverse lock.I hope your right!!!

  34. JD - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    NatsJack, JZimm is still a work in progress. The talent is all there but he is still learning how to pitch. The concept of 'pitching to contact' is all very nice unless contact is what the Cards did last night. You have to strike out your share of hitters to increase your winning probability. EJax and Detwiler can go either way. It's gonna be touch and go and hopefully our offense can win a game or 2 for us to help the pitching staff. The Cards are just about the toughest opponent we could have drawn for this round but they too can be beaten.

  35. JD - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Doc, If it were that easy everyone would be a star. Cat wants his pitchers to work off their fast balls; he wants them to pitch ahead on the count and be aggressive. The problem is that you can also be wild in the strike zone; just because you are throwing strikes doesn't mean you are throwing it where you want to. There is a reason Zimmermann is not quite where Strasburg and Gio are results wise. The news however is mostly good because he is healthy and is getting better and better. He will learn from this experience and come back stronger.

  36. MicheleS - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Well, today is a new day and tomorrow is a new game. Everyone except Desi seems to be having inconsistent ABs. EJax will be fine. Like the boys said, we have to win a series at home. We have done that 11 out of 16 times this year.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… I love Jordan Zimmermann but untill he can command a change up, something he worked on diligentlty last off season, he's going to continue to suffer when his fastball command is off like yesterday.I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I have said it numerous times before, these Nats pitchers are not knuckleball pitchers and must pitch with a solid repertoire not just 90% fastballs. Other than knuckleballers, the best starters throw several pitches.Sure, you can move locations and mix in 4 seam and 2 seam but like I wrote early in the game thread, "Where's JZim's slider?" which is what Davey asked in his post-game presser.JZim has a really good fastball when he hits his spots but is most effective throwing it with his tight slider and that great curveball which he rarely throws and that changeup that he has all but abandoned.The Cardinals not only can hit fastballs, they are adept at working the count to get to their pitch they are sitting on. They are well schooled by their hitting coach Mark McGwire. Yesterday, JZ was throwing fastballs and they were bashing it.It was like BP.

  38. Section 222 - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    rogie — E-Jax has an excellent slider and uses it often. I suppose his repertoire is similar to JZnn's but my impression is he relies on his breaking pitches more than JZnn does. Hopefully he'll be "on" tomorrow, because when he's "on" he can be nearly unhittable.I was at his complete game in April against the Reds. Since the weather will be similar in October maybe he'll have deja vu all over again.

  39. Kiterp - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Doc said… I'm still puzzled by JZim's performance last night. If he, Cat, Zuke, and Davey had all the time that they had to prepare for the game, not to mention his great work during the season, why does Davey attribute his bad outing to 'lack of experience'??Good pitching is not only about preparation but about making adjustments … adjusting to what is working and what is not … the strike zone … and what each hitter is doing/thinking/adjusting. Experience required

  40. Feel Wood - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I heard a rumor last week that the Nats would be handing out thunder sticks at the game tomorrow. Any truth to that?Judging from what I've seen on TV from Detroit to St. Louis to Baltimore, the trend this postseason is to hand out a local version of the "terrible towel." That's nice, but towels don't make much noise.

  41. smurff - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I'll try to find a few positives out of yesterday's game.1) Well, they got the beatdown game out of the way. Was bound to happen at least once in the postseason. Now, learn from it and move on.2) They're back home now. Sleep in your own bed, eat some home cooking, play in front of your own fans.3) Clipp and Storen can share a box of Cheesie Mac tonight, and be ready to roll tomorrow.4) If you're going to have all of your pitchers go bad in one game, it's good to have that game behind you.5) It's a three game series now. They're pretty good at winning three game series(es) this year.6) I was babysitting my 2 month-old grandaughter yesterday during the game. She slept through the whole thing, so it won't ruin her impression of the team.That's about it.

  42. Mac Guire - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    "He just looks lost against anything offspeed."=> That's why Kespi belongs in the minors, where he should work on that. I don't understand why he is still in the majors despite his more than a year long sloppiness.

  43. Tcostant - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I was think about selling my seats due to the early start time (4PM would have let me not have to burn a vacation day); but I think I have to go considering the seats on stubhub are going down due to start time (and blow out?).

  44. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    is anyone able to get sale tickets right now?

  45. gretchenrose - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    it keeps saying "unable to process request." driving me crazy.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    JZim threw 63 total pitches. 49 were fastballs, only 8 sliders, and 6 curveballs.78% fastballs although some batters only saw fastballs.

  47. El - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I so wish I was going to be in town tomorrow for the game. The good news is that the early start is before my talk so I'll be able to listen to the game. The bad news is that the early start is before my talk. :)

  48. Feel Wood - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Tcostant said… I was think about selling my seats due to the early start time (4PM would have let me not have to burn a vacation day); but I think I have to go considering the seats on stubhub are going down due to start time (and blow out?).I had bought NLDS parking, but with the 1:00 game tomorrow I don't need it since I can walk to the ballpark from my office and take the Metro home just like any other Wednesday work day. So within minutes of the announcement of the 1:00 start, I put my parking on StubHub at 50% over face value. It sold 41 minutes later. I should have charged more. If game 4 is a day game, I won't make that mistake again.

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I apologize if this was posted already. The video is on CSN and found the story on WaPo:Now, you’d certainly expect Harper to bust out soon, but in the meantime, some reporters will ask questions about playoff nerves and some such. Monday evening, one reporter — identified by Dan Hellie as St. Louis Post-Dispatch Hall of Famer Rick Hummel — asked what seemed like an innocuous version of this question:“Have you found yourself to be overanxious, trying to do [too much] in your first couple games?” Hummel asked. (The question comes about 40 seconds into the above video, from Comcast SportsNet.)“Do I look overanxious?” Harper responded. “Do you think so?”“I think so,” Hummel answered.“Yeah, maybe you should be the hitting coach,” Harper said.I loved Harper's response!

  50. JD - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Ghost, 78% fast balls for a fast ball pitcher is totally fine. I think you will find that type of a breakdown in most of Zimm's games even when he was very successful. Where Gio occasionally is wild out of the strike zone and rarely gets hit around like Zimm did yesterday; Zimm is occasionally wild in the strike zone; no walks but a lot of loud contact. St.Louis is has a great lineup; possibly the best in the NL; I have quite a bit of trepidation for EJax and Det against that lineup and I hope the offense comes alive. There were much better swings yesterday after the 1st few innings even by Harper and Espi. The ball Espi hit in the 6th could have easily been a triple.

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    JD, you can't throw 5 straight fastballs to a fastball hitter in my opinion. Pitching is the art of deception. Not much deception there unless you are facing the Houston Astros.

  52. Feel Wood - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… JD, you can't throw 5 straight fastballs to a fastball hitter in my opinion.You can, but not if all five are strikes. It's like real estate. Location, location, location. If you're throwing nothing but fastballs, at least a few of them need to be brushbacks or chin music.

  53. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    finally able to get tickets, but only for game 6 of NLCS. that is also for 70 bucks for 'edge of the universe' seats. it better be worth it.by the way, if Nats don't make it to NLCS, I automatically get refunded or what?

  54. Tcostant - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I'm still stuck in the waiting room!

  55. JD - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Ghost, I think your statement is too broad. Sure you can throw 5 fastballs in a row to a fast ball hitter if your location and plane are good. The problem with Zim yesterday was that his fastballs were hittable.

  56. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    in that case, Tcostant, go for the last game. don't waste your time on game 1. you might be able to get cheaper tickets.

  57. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    btw garcia did not get win for game 2, it was Lynn.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Does JZim only throw fastballs? Anyone have the breakdown of pitch selection? I saw 1 slider to Kozma and the rest looked like fastballs. October 08, 2012 5:49 PM Here was my post in-game so I'm not saying this after the fact.JD, if you tell Carlos Beltran you are going to throw him 5 straight fastballs, he is looking dead red to drive one. Mix in other pitches then you can strike him out on fastball when he is looking slider."He didn't really make a lot of adjustments out there. … [The Cardinals are] a good fastball‑hitting club, you have to use both sides of the plate, and he didn't really use his slider much early on. Started going to it a little later. But that's just a little inexperience."My other observation was the meltdown happened after the 1st batter hit that smash down to RZim and he didn't handle it, JZim seemed to get agitated at that point.

  59. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I got into the waiting room but struck out on finding 2 tickets for NLCS game 1, even with the best seats available, scattered option. :-(

  60. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    The Five Heaters: depends on context, too. With an 8 run lead in the 9th, you might show them one curve apiece, but 100 mph fastballs are a pretty convincing argument for sitting down, all alone.

  61. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    But you were talking about Znn, not Rosenthal (who looked PFB, I must say). He needs to mix it up, no question.

  62. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    The Five Heaters: depends on context, too. With an 8 run lead in the 9th, you might show them one curve apiece, but 100 mph fastballs are a pretty convincing argument for sitting down, all alone.

  63. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    1a, so did I. I could not find anything for game 1.At this point, I am hoping Nats make it to NLCS and end it before game 6 so I get my money and Nats in world series. I actually also bought game 2 NLCS tickets for 90 bucks. So if both games 2 and 6 happen, I am kinda broke and can't possibly afford WS tickets.anyways, go nats!!

  64. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Thanks for the info, Faraz. I don't know that I could afford WS tickets either way.

  65. rogieshan - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Section 222: (RE: EJax) "I was at his complete game in April against the Reds. Since the weather will be similar in October maybe he'll have deja vu all over again."That's a very good point. Some pitchers are much better pitching in cold weather. Don't know his track record, but I believe EJax had a good April to start. And you're right about his stuff – his curve is deadly when it's on.

  66. NatsLady - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Wednesday:Partly cloudy. Fog early. High of 68F. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

  67. BigCat - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Nats Jack….you are an old catcher. Now I ask you, if you have a pitcher who throws a 4 seamer 95 with no movement and a 2 seamer 92-93 with good side/sink movement, which one do you call most of the time? Of course, back when you played they didn't call it 4 seam etc. It was "with the seams' or "across the seams."

  68. John C. - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    One quick post this morning, then I have to work. At least one, probably more afternoon games to attend this week!Teresa, don't worry about September. When you actually do the numbers, September success literally has no correlation to success in the playoffs. Baseball Prospectus did it for us, and I've posted the link here a couple of times.Everyone, please remember not to feed the trolls. Not all members of the LoD are trolls (some are just pessimists); but all trolls are members of the LoD. :DIt's funny how the "doom line" keeps advancing. All throughout the season, this event or that circumstance meant DOOM! Two weeks ago the Nats were going to get run down by the Braves. They won the Division anyway. Last week it was terrible that they had to open with two on the road against a wild card winner playing with momentum in their home ball park. The Nats split, and come home for a three game series – against a team that plays lousy (38-43) on the road – with a chance to advance to the NLCS.Do I think the Nats have this won? Heck, no. Baseball, much less October Baseball, doesn't work that way. But I sure as heck don't think they are DOOOOOOMED either. And either way I get to see at least two, possibly three playoff games in my hometown with the chance for seeing a playoff clincher tossed in. GYFNG!!!

  69. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Yeah, I just struck out on #2 and #6 as well. But on the bright side, I would have great seats on my couch. Yay!

  70. BigCat - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    No one home at NJ's.Anyhow, you would throw the 2 seamer 90% of the time. Only time you mix in a 4 seamer is when you are going for a k up in the zone. Pounding a lefty up and in or riding one high against a righty. MOVEMENT is the name of the game. I think everyone gets caught up in the radar gun. Shoot….95 mph is batting practice for good mlb hitters if it doesn't move

  71. John C. - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Oh, and for those second guessing Zimmermann: JZ and Suzuki aren't perfect, but they know a lot more about pitching, and about pitching effectively with JZ's stuff, than we do. The Cardinals tattoo JZ because (as Boswell noted in his column today) that is what they do. They are kryptonite to JZ. The fact that they smacked him around just means that JZ hasn't figured out how he will beat them yet. He won't have to do it again this season, and (if the Nats advance) his record against the Giants and Reds is quite good. Don't fret about JZ.

  72. peric - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I don't kniw why Harp wants to look like Elvis … Hopefully its just a phase at 19. Next he'll be saying rhank you very much … Sime loon nade a t-shirt that says Elvis Died Fir Your Sins. I'm half tempted to send it to the locker room. All rhey need us that and the Morgan's Elvis wig.As far as the hitting the Cards aren't dumb. They know the key the bang zoom iffebse us #1 and #2 hitters. Closely coupled equivalence relation and oartition. Get those two going abd cry havoc! Of course the Cards will maje every effort to shut them down to good effect.

  73. peric - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I hate this dinky keyboard!

  74. Steady Eddie - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    John C., while I like a lot of what Boz is writing lately, that "kryptonite" thing is kind of a load.Yeah, JZimm got bombed in DC September 1, but he completely shut the Cards down for the first 6 innings in his September 29 start — 4 singles (none in the same inning), one walk, 5K. That was his last, previous start, a week and a half ago. The mistake, which Davey acknowledged after the game, was leaving him in too long in the seventh after giving up consecutive one-out singles. Kozma then gets a 2-run double, Freese walks, and Burnett comes in to give up another run that was JZimm's. After Davey had been giving starters a quick hook in the last 2-3 weeks of the season to preserve them, he let JZimm go to 112 pitches and still got no more outs in the seventh. Take out what Davey acknowledged was his mistake, of leaving him in for 2 too many hitters, and JZimm has a dominant performance against the Cards. Not saying that has anything to do with yesterday — though you can argue from performance this season that neither Gio nor JZimm do well on much too much rest, and that's what we just saw — just that "JZimm can't handle the Cards" is an overstatement from the record this season.Also good that EJax will be pitching on six days rest, which is not that far out of the usual rotation, and that Det pitches much better at home than away, and with a lot more rest than usual.

  75. D'Gourds - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Does anybody have any clue what time the game will be on Thursday? It's outrageous that mlb keeps us hostage–there is no reason they can't announce it earlier. It's as if people don't work or have lives and can drop everything at the drop of a hat to go to a game without prior notice.

  76. D'Gourds - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Anyone interested in 2 Lexus Presidential tickets for tomorrow's game? Face value. Probably not cool to ask on this forum–sorry if it offends anyone, but I'm desparate to sell them.

  77. smurff - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    "I hate this dinky keyboard!"Before I saw this, I thought you might have gotten into that bottle in your avatar a little early today…

  78. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Depends on whether they're playing two, three, or four games that day, D'Gourds. You can assume the Yankees will be in the prime time slot, I think.

  79. D'Gourds - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Thanks, Sect 3–just very frustrating although I guess that makes sense.

  80. rabbit34 - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    tut tut tut ALEXVA….Having the best record in baseball has nothing to do with winning a world series. I stand by everything I say because I'm being objective. Oh, and I LOVE my bunny hole.

  81. D'Gourds - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    According to stubhub (for what it's worth) all three NLDS games are listed as 1pm starts. I don't know if it's official

  82. JaneB - Oct 9, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    GAME TIMES SET! Thursday 4:07 Friday if need be 8:37

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

*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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