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Catching tandem producing at the plate

Apr 8, 2013, 10:00 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images
Kurt Suzuki was all smiles after homering in the second inning yesterday.

They say competition brings out the best in everyone, and one week into the season Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki appear to be taking that to heart.

The Nationals' two catchers, splitting time behind the plate 50-50, have made the most of what playing time they've gotten so far. The end result: Perhaps the most-productive catching corps in the majors.

The two backstops really took off over the weekend in Cincinnati. Ramos was the offensive star of Saturday's 11-inning victory, clubbing a pair of home runs to lead the Nationals to a 7-6 win. Suzuki then accounted for all of the Nats' offense in Sunday's 6-3 loss, launching a three-run homer in the top of the second (not to mention adding a couple of doubles for good measure).

Put it all together and these two are producing at a level befitting a middle-of-the-order slugger, not a tandem No. 8 hitter…Read more »

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Love the catching tandem. Can't go wrong with 2 number 1's. Nats are on pace to exceed my 104 win total so no need to worry.And after the last 2 in game threads, count me out. No need to waste time on a fantasy geek commenting at a rate of 3 posts a minute. Pretty lame.Also saw where Ryan Perry picked up where he left off in Spring Training, not fooling anybody.

  2. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Swami sort of alluded to the well pitched games being accomplished with Ramos behind the plate in the last post. Actually, I think what he said was that both poorly pitched games were with Suzuki in the lineup. I thought I would come up here and post since its an appropriate article on the two catchers. I have no way of knowing if one pitcher "likes" throwing to a certain catcher but even if they did, this is professional baseball and I can't imagine Davey altering his lineup for that. I never caught (thank god) but I also don't understand how Ramos could have turned what I saw from Haren into a successful outing. I believe Suzuki has a clause in his contract about the number of games he catches, its somewhere over 100, locking in his next year at a huge price. I doubt if Davey gives a hoot (not the words I would use but I am going pc after the Rutgers thing) about that but I bet Suzuki does.I like them both but sooner or later I think Davey is going to have to stop alternating on a daily basis. Go Nats!!

  3. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    I just took a stroll through the minor league box scores. I don't have the ability to present it like NatsLady or Drew but in AAA and AA we are knocking the stuffing out of the ball. I realize its only 4 or 5 games but it looks like everyone is seeing the ball. One of the lowest averages was some kid named Rendon (.200) and from what I hear, we don't have to worry about him.

  4. baseballswami - Apr 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Actually, sjm, I was kind of basing my comment on Stras' comments after his first start. I was surprised to hear him say that he liked working with Ramos because he did not over- think( re-phrasing, I know). At the time, I kind of went, hmmmm, was that a back- handed remark about Suzuki? Even watching a pitcher miss spots could possibly have something to do with how the catcher sets up. I absolutely do not know, just speculating as we all tend to do. How much does the catcher affect the pitcher's performance? After a no hitter, they sure do praise the catcher. Could a rough outing be partly their responsibility also? Can a catcher call a bad game, set up badly, or be way out of sync with the pitcher? Not saying that 's what happened, but is it possible?

  5. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Interesting that Susuki said he was not in the "best position" to catch Espinosa's throw home. Hard to say if he was protecting his teammate's decision, but I like him saying that.(from Amanda's article). Nats vs. Reds

  6. Doc - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Cathching is the hardest job in baseball. Bochey had the right idea with Posey (in recovery), keeping him behind the plate for only 104 games last year, and playing him at 1B in other games. He got an MVP player out of it! Bet he tries a similar schedule this year. Being a former catcher, he would know what he's doing.It's a rare opportunity, but if it can be done it's probably best for Ramos & Suk, and the team, to split it up. Keeps them fresh. The longevity of a catcher, over a career of 162 games/yr., is probably the worst in baseball. After a certain number of games, everything wears out–back, legs, arm, not to mention the odd concussion. Matheny of the Cardinals is quoted as saying that he had 22 small concussions as a catcher.

  7. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM

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  8. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    From week 1, there are many positives and a few red flags. The red flags may be minor and will work themselves out. First the positives and to Mark's blog on the catchers, Wilson Ramos has recovered 100%, Kurt Suzuki and Wilson are 2 of the top 5 catchers in all of baseball on the same team. Second positive, is Span, he works the pitch count, he makes contact his defense is very good. Third and over looked is Coach Jewett at 3rd base, I loved Bo Porter, I like Jewett better. Next, club house demeanor is excellent, after blowing a 5-1 lead on Sat, no yelling, finger pointing, instead, they rallied back. Next, Stammen is very tough mentally, Clip pitched well too. Stras, Gio, Det and Zim all excellent command in their first outings. Detweiler may be the most UNDERRATED player in MLB, this kid would be a 1-2 on some teams. Desmond's mental toughness is awesome.Now for the red flags, Stras is still immature, he acts and looks childish at times when things do not go right and that makes him look selfish. In fairness to him, Davey blew it by not taking him out after the 5th, he was at 100 pitches and what is the point of a great bull pen if you do not use it?? Davey was out coached, but that is OK, Davey will out coach an opponent 9 of 10 times, this was the 1 time so far, Dusty, well, he dusted him. The defense is bad, the errors are UNACCEPTABLE at this level. My only other issue is with Davey not playing Lombo. If he can trust Kurt and Wilson alternating catching, why the hell does he not pull Espi or Desi and let Lombo play? He certainly would not have hurt the team in the field.

  9. 3on2out - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    sjm308:Rendon is hitting .200? I had to go the Harrisburg website to confirm because I was sure a certain Rendon advocate claimed that Anthony was hitting .700 just a day or so ago…you know…raking at a rate that would force Davey to find spot in the lineup and drive Zim to 1st base.

  10. NatsJim - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I hope neither catches more than 90 games this year; implicit in that number is that both are performing well enough that Davey doesn't favor one over the other and that neither gets injured. For this year only I like the 2-headed monster to keep them both healthy, we know that next year they won't both be here.

  11. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Perhaps whichever one is not catching that day should be playing first base. Here we are a week into the season and Adam LaRoche has more games on the bench with a bad back (2) than he does hits (zero!). Meanwhile my man Mikey Morse has five count em five dingers already out in Seattle.As I recall, you guys like to play your little games here. Here's one for you. Name the date when Adam LaRoche finally has more hits than Michael Morse has home runs. Feel free to extend into 2014 if you need to.

  12. Bob Saget Nats Fan 101 - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I want to say one thing before I have to go to class.A good team makes mistakes. A good team gets over mistakes. A good team gets over fluke plays and bad calls. We are not that good team. We are a great team. We are better than most teams in the long haul. I hope this makes sense as I am typing it.p.sI think our catching will be the least of our worries this year if we have any real worries.

  13. JaneB - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I love that both these guys, hitting in the 8 hole, have been producing well enough to hit in the 4 or 5 slot in The Dark Years. Look how great they're doing in that slot! I'm with the idea that 90 or so games for both would mean great things for all concerned. They are both #1 catchers and I hope they are okay with that. After today, where there have been a few on and off days, the gallop begins. It's hard to believe I was getting ready to leave the house to go to OPening Day, just a week ago at this moment.

  14. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I had some food for thoughts ideas for the future….As you all know ALR probably plays 1-2 more seasons at the level he has in the NL. His glove is outstanding and I thought about the future in terms of Desi being a part of it long term. So why not an infield of Desi at 1b, Lombo 2b, Espi at SS (his natural position) an Zim at 3rd? Desi is a stud athlete and would handle the bag very well. it would keep him in the line up and it would make fora solid infield… thoughtsI am talking about 2014 and beyond, not 2013

  15. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutesI am bugged by Morse not here as well. I understand the move, and think the span pick up was correct and a great move as Nats have a true lead off guy and an excellent glove in center. I suppose with Roger B as a back up, the Nats felt they were set in the out field. However, deep down i feel Morse should have been part of this team, his club house personality, his passion for the game, his power at the plate wold have only made a very good team even deeper. So I understand where you are coming from but, I would have resign ALR in a minute as well for the same reason I would have Morse

  16. NatsJim - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Desi's athleticism would be wasted at 1b mick – I like the projections of Zimm moving over their once ALR leaves and Rendon stepping in at 3b. I believe that's the plan, whether or not things play out that way is yet to be seen. If Espi has fixed the hole in his swing and keeps his Ks to a reasonable level he and Desi are the middle infield for the foreseeable future and Lombo's the utility guy.

  17. NatsJim - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Zimm moving over THERE, not their… ugh, coffee.

  18. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Nats Jim, I understand that is the plan, I have no problem with it. I just feel that Lombo needs to playing more and that my Desi idea would only come to reality when ALR is gone. I guess that would leave Zim out so this is the classic catch 22. If Lombo is OK with being a utility player then it solves a great deal. I assume Lombo's roles would extend to the outfield as well.

  19. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    my other idea would be when Werth retires, could Desi play OF? thoughts

  20. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    If RGIII recovers like Wilson Ramos… as Michele would say Wooooowoooooo

  21. mick - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Gotta go to work, one more thing where is my man Sofa?? Old Funk????

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    So mick…..who does Morse replace? The only spot for him would be Tyler Moores place on the bench next to Davey.Then how would he be able to show off his wares in a contract year?And do you really think Rizzo would want to offer him a 3 year contract that keeps him here at a fair value for both? That wouldn't be fair to Morse and it certainly doesn't get you A.J. Cole back.

  23. NatsJim - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    You don't typically move one of the best SS in the game to another position in his prime mick – the Brewers did it with Robin Yount, but that's the only example I can think of… once you get a great SS you leave him alone.

  24. Teddy Rochlis - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    personally i would have Ramos catch for the homegrown nats (stras zimm and det) while Suzuki catch for Gio and Haren, every week. I think that is a good tradeoff.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Go back to NatsJacks comments on pitcher preferences. Ramos 3-0 Suzuki 1-2

  26. NatsNut - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    The only way Desmond moves to any other position on a baseball field is if there is another shortstop in the minors, who is as good as Bryce Harper, is out of options, and whose grandpa is best friends with Ted Lerner.

  27. SteveRep44 - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Agree with NatsJim — Desmond is locked as this team's shortstop for the forseeable future. (I would not have said that 2 seasons ago)The question could come up that you might shift Espi to OF — but most of the uncertainties about him come at the plate.

  28. NatsNut - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    …and Desmond is 42.

  29. UnkyD - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    The thing I really like about sticking to the alternating games, with both catchers, is that (God forbid…touching wood…) one or the other has to miss some time, there will be no adjustment for any of the pitchers, as they will be equally conversant with each, and vice-versa….

  30. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Doesn't seem to be updating the blog roll. Here is my post on the "story of the day"==> Aces getting roughed up. 2nd start

  31. JD - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Ghost said:'Go back to NatsJacks comments on pitcher preferences. Ramos 3-0 Suzuki 1-2'. So what?

  32. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Going back to the Winter Meetings, I had discussed obtaining Justin Upton in the package with Danny Espinosa which would have meant that Bryce Harper stayed in CF and moving Morse to 1st.Fantasy Baseball is just that, fantasy. The reality is Morse and Lannan are both gone and Span and Haren are here and so is LaRoche.One week isn't enough to really do any intelligent analysis.

  34. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Haven't read them but I don't usually read the comments there after losses, and I don't tend to participate in game threads in real time other than on occasion during spring training. That said, doesn't sound like I missed much there. Or maybe I did miss a bunch of, er, stuff, but that's okay. :-)That said, hope that people don't go from not being inclined to participate in game threads to not reading comments at all. Would be a shame to see this site and community have an exodus along the lines of what happened at the WaPo site.Ok, this crap that none of us goes on to the game thread is getting to much like "I won't go to any more Phillies games" mentality.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    JD said… Ghost said:'Go back to NatsJacks comments on pitcher preferences. Ramos 3-0 Suzuki 1-2'.So what? April 08, 2013 10:58 AM Like I said, it's just a week. It will be interesting to see if there is any trend in the W/L based on the catchers.I have been in agreement with NatsJack on pitcher preferences and I think in a few weeks you can analyze that W/L based on the catchers.

  36. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Meant to post that in the prior thread, but the sentiment stands regardless.

  37. JD - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    'One week isn't enough to really do any intelligent analysis.' I agree completely and yet that hasn't stopped anyone from doing it anyway.

  38. JD - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I think that in the long term at is not cost effective to have 2 no. 1 catchers. If/when Ramos can play at a no. 1 level in about 120 games the Nats are likely to let Suzuki walk or trade him. I think that Solano is real close to being able to serve as a solid major league backup.

  39. JD - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    I can't believe that people are quoting minor league batting averages after 4 games. Can we let them play a month before we start judging them one way or another?

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    JD, people pushing the panic button over the weekend. Friday was a blip – it happens. Saturday belonged to the Nats. Sunday was the rubber game and Strasburg threw a few bad pitches. It was a game that next time they face each other I'd expect Strasburg to dominate. The Nats could've with some different BABIP be 5-1 right now instead of 4-2.Let's see in another week how everything is trending. It's still small sample sizes but a lot better than where we are at.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    JD said… I think that in the long term at is not cost effective to have 2 no. 1 catchers. If/when Ramos can play at a no. 1 level in about 120 games the Nats are likely to let Suzuki walk or trade him.I think that Solano is real close to being able to serve as a solid major league backup. April 08, 2013 11:12 AM Absolutely, and the only way Suzuki would return is to restructure his contact. I don't see the Nats paying him $8.5 Million in his option next year.

  42. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Fans are fans, that's the bottom line. Every game is like a microcosm of the entire season. But I think Davey said last year that he manages five games at a time… The only game that didn't go "as planned" was Sunday (yesterday). I also remember from last year that Davey took his time putting the pedal to the metal, and also fiddled and experimented with his bullpen (much to Clipp's annoyance). Davey won't have to do that this year. The only newcomer is Soriano, who has a defined job, and it only remains to be seen if he does it. OTOH, April is a LOT rougher schedule this year than last. Let's not panic and send Espinosa to the minors and DFA Haren after two starts.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    The only thing that really concerned me over the entire weekend was having Stras pitch as much as he did.There's no telling if that will affect him in his next start since he has an extra days rest but anyone who saw Darvish yesterday he showed the wear and a blister and got hit around yesterday after going for that perfect game last week.

  44. Unknown - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Morse will probably hit .300-30-110 this year and LaRoche will likely come in around .265-25-90 and had I known that in December I still would have taken LaRoche. Morse is like your baby brother, silly and goofy and fun and a joy to be around, but LaRoche is a quiet steady leader. Right now, the Nationals need the leader. Also, I've seen at least four or five throws to first that were short-hops that LaRoche caught with ease, throws that Morse probably wouldn't have. The other infielders see that and become more aggressive with their throws, taking chances because LaRoche will probably catch them.Over 162 games, I think LaRoche's defense wins more games than Morse's offense. Farid @ Idaho

  45. Section 222 - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    So Suzuki caught Stras on Sunday, and presumably Ramos will catch Gio on Tuesday. That's what happens when you have five starters and two catchers. If Gio blows up, some people will say it's because he didn't have his preferred catcher behind the plate. If Gio pitches well, those same people will say that Ramos is the better game caller. So I guess you CAN have it both ways in this case.I prefer to put the responsibility of pitching well where it belongs — on the pitcher. And it's highly unfair to look at their records so far when one catcher caught two out of three against the Marlins and the other caught two out of three against the Reds. Really Ghost, I'm surprised at you.

  46. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Watching Tracey at !B reinforced my appreciation of LaRoche. Not that Tracey is horrible, but I think when ALR is there he anchors the entire infield, lets them just "relax" and play. Desi took responsibility for not shouting out "TWO TWO" to Espinosa on the throw home, but LaRoche might have clarified the setup before the play, so that Danny had no doubt. I'm not as down on Danny as some here. I understand conceding the run and getting two outs. But you are in the sixth inning by now, with that bullpen ahead of you. I don't like conceding ANY run that late in the game.

  47. MicheleS - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Ghost, on Stras. Stras said he wants to be the horse. Last year the leash was on him, which might have played into how he viewed the game. knowing he would be yanked after 5/6 or a certain number of pitches.This year the gloves are off and he needs to learn what it takes to be a horse. Which is why you keep him in. Up until that inning he pitched well and made adjustments after the 1st inning. And if he was tipping his pitches, he needs to fix that (which I am sure he is doing right now in a video room with McCatty)And I agree with you and Jack on the pitcher/Catcher preferences. Watched it my entire life with Maddux. Davey might be trying to figure out those relationships at this point, trying to give each catcher a couple of starts with each pitcher to work it out.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    MicheleS, a horse is one thing and a mule is another. Davey has to protect Stras from himself.He threw 60 pitches threw 3 innings and I was thinking he had "dead arm". He seemed to be over-throwing and you could see the drop in velo. He was also showing his frustration. With the day-off, I wouldn't have brought him out for the 6th.Other than that, I like what I am seeing from this team.

  49. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Davey could let Zuuuuuuuk catch Gio on Tuesday, with the off-day and all. If he doesn't, that sends a firm message that he's NOT going with "personal" catchers. Yes, we have Solano almost ready. But I think Suzuki stays in 2013 for the same reason Rizzo acquired Soriano–depth and depth and QUALITY depth. 2014 will be a different situation, and IMO, it's too far ahead to speculate.

  50. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Ghost, I disagree with you on Stras coming out in the sixth. Stras needs to NOT show his frustration. Verlander gave up three pop-pop-pop runs, and was zeroes after that. Conditions are not always going to be ideal for Stras and it's time to stop babying him.

  51. NatsLady - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Also, does anyone have a link to Espinosa's leap on Saturday? I went on MLB and in the play-by-play it's described as "Derrick Robinson lines out softly to second baseman Danny Espinosa."There's no clip of it in the video highlights.

  52. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    For my part, I don't think Danny's throw home was that big a mistake. Sure, in hindsight, going for the double-play might have save two runs (or might not). But the point is, that needs to be set up *before* the pitch. On a hard ground ball, are they going for two and conceding the run, or trying to get the out at home if they can? Even if there is no set play, the second baseman in that situation has to decide beforehand what he's going to do, considering the situation, the runners, and everything else. In hindsight, it looked like a perfect throw might have gotten him, so it *was* close at the point Danny committed to the throw.Considering that, but for one pitch, they'd been shut out so far, and considering the Reds' decent bullpen, trying to choke off the run wasn't crazy. Didn't work out, but it wasn't a terrible idea.

  53. NatsJim - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    My biggest problem with leaving Stras in was that the GO AHEAD run was in scoring position when his spot in the order came up… had that not been the case I would have been fine with sending him out for the 6th w/ 92 pitches, but not with the opportunity to get him out of the game with the lead after the way he had struggled.

  54. JD - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    NatsLady, This early in the year Davie won't mess with the catchers platoon; later on he'l do whatever it takes to win. I think Davie should have pinch hit for Stras in the 6th. Not because of the pitch count but because he wasn't all that sharp and we had a scoring opportunity.

  55. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Now, Harper's throw home, the one that ticked Davey off–that made no sense. There was no chance at all there.

  56. JD - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    NatsLady, I disagree with you on Espi's play as well. A one run deficit in the 6th inning in a park like Cincinnati is manageable. You have to take the outs there and prevent a big crooked number and you have to know that you are doing that before the play even happens.

  57. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    NatsLady, I don't know if there's a clip, but he did get up high. Beautiful "oh, no you don't either!" catch.

  58. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    New post.Donuts …. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

  59. peric - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    I was sure a certain Rendon advocate claimed that Anthony was hitting .700 just a day or so ago…you know…raking at a rate that would force Davey to find spot in the lineup and drive Zim to 1st base.YOU see 3onand2out? You don't read carefully now do you? I said Jeff Kobernus was WHITE HOT hitting .700. NOT Rendon. Kobernus is so hot the Iron Pigs stopped pitching to him. And what I said was … folks had better give up on the idea of Rendon at second base because with Espinosa, Lombardozzi, and this kid Kobernus it sure looks like they are really deep at second base.

  60. Rich P. - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    "Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said… For my part, I don't think Danny's throw home was that big a mistake. Sure, in hindsight, going for the double-play might have save two runs (or might not). But the point is, that needs to be set up *before* the pitch."It is set up before the pitch, when the manager positions his infield at DP depth instead of pulling them in. Which is what Davey did – he had the infield at DP depth. A signal to the players that he was conceding the run if he could get the DP. That should have been Espi's mindset before the pitch. He definitely screwed up throwing home. Ray Knight (former infielder, former manager) spent about five minutes saying as much on the postgame show yesterday.You better believe Espi heard about that play after the game, if not from Davey then from whatever coach has responsibility for the infield.

  61. Joe Seamhead - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Kind of sucks when people mis-quote what you wrote. I understand your frustration.As to SS hitting for himself in the 6th, remember he is a better than average hitting pitcher.Sofa, Danny had to go way too far to his left to get the ball, making his throwing motion awkward and negating a reasonable chance to make a better throw home.





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