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On Haren, Rendon and Storen

Apr 23, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

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Dan Haren allowed three runs over five-plus innings.

Though the lack of a clutch hit was the main focus of last night's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, there were several other developments worth noting from the Nationals' perspective.

Let's run through three of them…

HAREN SHOWS SIGNS OF PROGRESS
It was by no means a quality start, either by the official definition or based purely on observation, but Dan Haren did make some big strides in his fourth outing as a National.

After getting beat around by the Reds, White Sox and Marlins, Haren was mostly effective against a tough St. Louis lineup. He gave up a two-run double to Allen Craig in the third when Denard Span couldn't quite haul the ball in against the wall. But otherwise, the right-hander was unscathed through his first five innings of work.

"I guess a little bit better," he said. "I mean, I gotta get obviously deeper in the game. I feel good. My stuff is good. … I gave us aRead more »

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    AceHammer said… To the Morse deniers out there, I don't see how our defense could be any worse with him Well, let me explain it to you real slowly:a) Morse is worse defensively than any of our outfielders; andb) Morse is worse defensively than LaRoche at 1st.Does that help you see?

  2. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Yes, if I'm not mistaken, the vast majority of our errors have come from the left side of the infield. Can you imagine where we'd be if we didn't have LaRoche's glove at 1st or if more balls fell in the outfield?

  3. Steady Eddie - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Nice one Wonk. I like Morse also but he was clearly not in Rizzo's plans for some time. And for good reasons, with him being injury prone, walk year (he might have signed back with Nats), and not as good defensively as you mentioned.Anyways, tough loss last night. Our offense needs to get going if our pitchers are keeping us in the game.Nice to see Storen in action against Cards. Wish it was a closing opportunity.

  6. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Back to the topic at hand:Good on Storen. Good on the bullpen. SOLID performance last night fellas.

  7. Doc - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    While we're at it, let's toss in a few up-to-date positives on Stammen's performance last night.The guy was awesome in a clutch relief stint!

  8. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    These are the kinds of losses I can deal with. A loss to something like Jon Jay's athleticism doesn't haunt me like a SP implosion that isn't put to bed until it's too late. 3 – 2 loss to the Cards even with our best bats having gone quiet lately? I can live with that.Still, here's hoping I can live in more celebratory fashion following the next two games ;).

  9. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Nice one Wonk. I like Morse also but he was clearly not in Rizzo's plans for some time.AND NEITHER IS LAROCHE. That's ON Davey.

  10. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Sorry, got that backwards. Morse had 18, Espinosa 17.Now, go back and compare the number of at bats. The plate appearances?Both Morse and Espinosa suffered through injury fraught years as did Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. Let's face it this is a case of Rizzo and Johnson being too fixed and rigid with a lineup of guys who still haven't recovered from INJURIES NOT game 5. Werth's wrist seems to be better BUT IS IT ENOUGH to hit 15 homers and 20 doubles? Will RZimm ever be healthy enough to get at least 500 at bats and hit the way he did in 2009 and 2010? That window of opportunity is closing as he approaches age 30. Is Espinosa's separated rotator cuff really okay? And then there's 33 year old LaRoche post-shoulder surgery and now with the back? Before last season Rizzo wasn't afraid to go with the youth. Its time to see Tyler Moore just like it was time to see Anthony Rendon. The heart of the lineup has been devastated by injuries. Werth is no longer a #5 hitter. One is left to wonder if RZimm will be kept out long enough to become healthy enough to be one!!! LaRoche is probably on the decline and at the least regressing to his mean. There;s ONLY Harper.THIS IS NOT THE HEART of a lineup of a playoff/world series team! The pitchers may come around but I fear the hitting won't.

  11. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Doc said… While we're at it, let's toss in a few up-to-date positives on Stammen's performance last night.There was a game I went to in 2012 or 2011 where the same thing happened. Middle innings, and Stammen was called into a bases-loaded no-out jam — and he did the job with no runs.And, I also vaguely recall that happening last year where he (or somebody) got out of a bases loaded no out jam on two pitches. Anybody remember that one? (And was it the same one that I saw in person? I can't remember!)Agreed — kudos to Stammen. His pitches had a nasty dip in them just as they were crossing the plate. This is the Stammen that we need.

  12. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Weren't the bats even quieter to start last season than they have been to start this season?

  13. EmDash - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Mattheus had the outing with two pitches to get out of a bases-loaded-no-outs situation with no runs scored in game one of the NLDS last year – first one hit to Desmond to get the force-out at home, and then a double play.

  14. Tcostant - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    There are a lot of good post here and the last post; on days like this I enjoy the posts more than Mark’s post. I have these random thoughts, although some are reactions to the post I read:I’m worried that Haren is gonna be one of those pitchers that is just good enough to loss. What I mean is yesterday we pull to 2-2 and the very next inning he give up a run (and it could have been a lot worse). I expect a lot more of that this year.M had a great post about Strasburg and how he not the same pitcher we saw in those early days. That reminded me of Dwight Gooden. His first two years he was amazing, electric stuff. I remember fondly showing up at Shea and us all waving giant “K” cards every time he had two strikes on a hitter. He had over a strike out an inning each of those first two years. Then Davey and his pitching coach talked about how Doc is throwing to many pitches and needs be more efficient (sound familiar?). Gooden was a very good pitcher after that, but never again one of the best in baseball and never won another cy young award. I hope Strasburg get back to where he was, because an out isn’t an out, lots more things can happen when a ball goes into the field of play.I think Storen needs to see a sports physiologist, if he hasn’t already. I’ve seen a lot of baseball in my lifetime and I think I know when something is in a guy’s head, and it’s in his head. I don’t know if it is game 5 or the fact that he isn’t the closer any longer, but he should talk with someone and come to terms with what is bothering him.Rizzo blew it this offseason, but letting all the lefties go. Bottom line his manager likes to manage to matchups and he took that away from Davey. Publically Davey talks about splits, but he has used this righty with good lefty split in matchup situations, because he just being a good PR mat for Rizzo’s gaff. To think that Gonzalez or JP Howell could have been had for less than $3M and were ignored, is unbelievable; I know that Burnett got a little expensive but there options out there. If J.C. Romero does fill a role before the All-Star break, expect Rizzo to burn a prospect on a lefty who won’t be as good a Howell and would likely make more. Just plan over thinking.Lastly, Tyler Moore just can’t be so made at himself for striking out that he doesn’t run to first when the catcher drops the ball. We need runners and this self loathing cost us one.End of Rant.

  15. Doc - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    DC, thanks for the follow-up on Stammen. The guy has had his moments, and seems to be the under-the-radar guy in the pen.I think that you're right about Matteus, EmDash. Both Stammen and Matteus quietly do their work. Both are getting their ERA's down to respectable levels early in the spring. IMHO, Stammen seems to have the slightly better stuff.

  16. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Off-beat stat of the day:Steve Lombardozzi leads the league with 27 at bats without a strikeout. The next guy is at 12.

  17. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I think Storen needs to see a sports physiologist, if he hasn’t already. I’ve seen a lot of baseball in my lifetime and I think I know when something is in a guy’s head, and it’s in his head. I don’t know if it is game 5 or the fact that he isn’t the closer any longer, but he should talk with someone and come to terms with what is bothering him.Another INJURY. He was never quite the same last season after they removed those chips from his elbow … and he looked the same at the start of ST and into April. If you look at Storen's warm up and how he uses his arm one can see why.

  18. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    The bull pen is back. All of them. Storen just went at those guys and blew them away. If there is another game 5, that is the Storen we are going to see. Davey deserves some of the blame for the early woes of the reliever corps, but he also deserves full credit for managing them back to where they are now. They really do look like the best in the business now,"I don't care if he hits .900," manager Davey Johnson said. "He's not going to beat out Ryan Zimmerman."Hmm. I don't think Rizzo has had Rendon playing 2nd base and SS because he is grooming Rendon to take Ryan's place any time soon. And it was 2nd base, not 3rd, where Davey, himself, gave Anthony lessons on footwork around the bag. Davey was also quoted as saying that there was no scenario that would keep Rendon from being sent down once Ryan returned. That's not Davey's decision, and that's not what Rizzo said (something like he was keeping an open mind about it). I can see multiple scenarios that would keep Rendon in the majors that do not involve Ryan Z, even if Davey cannot. Davey is a great manager because he manages with his heart. He loves his players and they know it, feel it, and respond to it. But sometimes you've got to listen to your head.Not even Lou Gehrig hit .900. I suppose Davey would have kept Wally Pipp because he was the incumbent who Davey liked, and he would have sent Gehrig back down because… Well, if anyone can think of a good answer to that, fire away.

  19. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Steve Lombardozzi leads the league with 27 at bats without a strikeout. The next guy is at 12.Yes, but does he walk?

  20. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Davey was also quoted as saying that there was no scenario that would keep Rendon from being sent down once Ryan returned. That's not Davey's decision, and that's not what Rizzo said (something like he was keeping an open mind about it). Its not Zim he doesn't want to lose LaRoche to the bench after going through all he did to get him back in the offseason. Would make Davey look bad. Sorry Davey but at this point things sure look like that's the direction they are going to go.

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    "I don't care if he hits .900," manager Davey Johnson said. "He's not going to beat out Ryan Zimmerman."I know many of you fear for Rendon's ankles but if he starts pounding the ball I believe you are looking at the 2nd baseman of this team for a while.Yes, its a placeholder position until RZim makes that move across the diamond and as we know there are many variables at work here.There's an old saying in baseball that if you can hit they will find a place for you. Ok, Rendon, hit that ball!Also of concern and I could be wrong and Kilgore could be right, my interpretation of the early call-up for 40 man players was 20 games not 20 days just like last year when the Nats called up Harp after the 20th game was played on April 28th. the season started earlier this year so the 20th game for most teams will be Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. Maybe a new interpretation has been set and I missed the memo as Kilgore seems very sure of himself.

  22. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Nice stat Wonk. That's very interesting.Peric, if ALR was not in plans, I doubt Rizzo would have signed him.

  23. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Maybe a new interpretation has been set and I missed the memo as Kilgore seems very sure of himself.And Amanda told me in her comments section that Lannan had no options?I don't know Ghost its always possible you could be right and Kilgore wrong. Best thing is to ask the experts at Fangraphs. Or COTS major league contracts?

  24. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Eric said… Weren't the bats even quieter to start last season than they have been to start this season?Indeed they were!The difference is that the pitching was off-the-charts outstanding last April.That's partly why I have faith that our bats will start to come around — as they did last year.As for Desmond — yowza, what an awful at bat last night. I'd love to hear from him pitch-by-pitch what was going on. Nevertheless, he _did_ get a key hit last night, and he's second in the league in doubles and extra base hits. (And second on the team in total bases — by a long shot).

  25. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Peric, if ALR was not in plans, I doubt Rizzo would have signed him.He was also willing to keep Morse but Davey wanted LaRoche. He signed LaRoche as a placeholder for Rendon. When Rendon was ready he would slide into third and Zim to first base. Rizzo being Rizzo probably thought it would be a couple of years.Now, given the injury problems a change of plans?

  26. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    "M had a great post about Strasburg and how he not the same pitcher we saw in those early days."Strasburg was the hardest throwing starter in the NL last year, and is the hardest throwing starter in the NL this year. Even so, he has reportedly deliberately dialed back his velocity for better location. I don't think anyone in the Nats organization believes Strasburg is anything less than the most talented pitcher in baseball.Doc Gooden was ruined by drugs. Cocaine. I don't believe the 2 situations are remotely comparable.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Davey is still sore about Bobby Grich taking his spot and Davey getting traded to Atlanta. (I say this tongue in cheek). Grich was able to play 3rd, SS, and 2nd until they found a spot for him because he could hit and Earl wanted him on the roster.Ryan Zimmerman is not being traded but Espinosa right now needs some time in 'Cuse to figure it out. This slow start stuff is not cutting it. They have invested too much into a player that can't get hits in pressure situations. Most of his hits are with nobody on base and his approach of just making contact while not striking out is not working. The goal was to cutdown on the K's while making GOOD contact and that's the difference. He's swinging out of his cleats on the 1st strike he sees and not swinging at quality pitches.

  28. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Doc Gooden was ruined by drugs. Cocaine. I don't believe the 2 situations are remotely comparable.Maturity level between the two is vastly different. Stras will adapt and adjust and get better. Its INJURIES that worry me. But, so far, so good … with the exception of Haren everyone in the rotation looks good.

  29. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Anyone think Rendon has a shot at putting up Lou Gehrig's '25 numbers? Or, that maybe Davey thinks it's safe a safe bet he won't, hence the "batting .900" comment?

  30. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    I suppose Davey would have kept Wally Pipp because he was the incumbent who Davey liked, and he would have sent Gehrig back down because… Well, if anyone can think of a good answer to that, fire away. A number of comments:1. Pipp wasn't the face of the franchise at the time, and he wasn't a former gold glover, silver slugger, and all star. A guy like that isn't going to lose his job in a 15 day DL stint.2. Take everything Davey says with lots of salt. Davey's number one priority is to get his players playing well, not to be straight and open to the public. By portraying the decision as set in stone, he takes the pressure off of Rendon ("here's a two week cup of coffee, kid, enjoy the experience"), and he also takes pressure off of RZ in case he wanted to rush back before he's ready.Anybody who actually believes that if Rendon is batting .400 he will get sent back down is awfully naive about how baseball works.

  31. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman is not being traded but Espinosa right now needs some time in 'Cuse to figure it out. There is no way they can trade Zim. There is no bat currently in the organization that matches his. NO NOT Harper okay!? At least not yet. The NEED that BAT HEALTHY which is why Rendon needs to stay at third as long as possible against the wishes of Davey if necessary. A completely healthy Zim say in June? (Ala Michael Morse) might be just what the doctor ordered.As for Espy he probably needs the rotator cuff taken care of NOT Syracuse. He's a tough, intense competitor and that's his problem. And if Kobernus learns to walk as well as hit I'd rather see him at second base over Lombo.

  32. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Oh and I saw 42 the other day. Inspirational!The movie does not tell all the troubles Jackie went to (we have books for that) but enough of a glimpse to understand why his is the only number retired in all of baseball.

  33. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Grich was able to play 3rd, SS, and 2nd until they found a spot for him because he could hit and Earl wanted him on the roster.Didn't they end up sending him to the Angels not long after that?

  34. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Doc Gooden was ruined by drugs. Cocaine. I don't believe the 2 situations are remotely comparable. Doc Gooden was also ruined by throwing an eye-popping 276 innings at age 20, and 276 more at age 21.Strasburg is going to be 25 in a few months.Summary: yet another reason why the cases are not remotely comparable.

  35. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Doc Gooden was also ruined by throwing an eye-popping 276 innings at age 20, and 276 more at age 21.They all did that back then that's how McCatty himself got ruined. Perhaps its why he is such a proponent of pitch-to-contact.

  36. EmDash - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    To be fair to Espinosa, he's been incredibly unlucky so far. League-average BABIP is .292, and his is .190. His hitting would look better if that normalizes. But he did look pretty bad flailing at pitches way out of the strikezone last night, another sign of the team generally being a little overanxious in their hitting approach.

  37. timeless46 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    DC Wonk, I recall Burnett coming in with the bases loaded (following Henry) and getting a double play home to first to get out of it in one or two pitches. don't recall the opposing team though. I am sure it was Sean because I remember his big grin under that crooked hat after the play

  38. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    AGAIN the true KEY to the Nats struggles? Injuries. Pitching 276 innings is a good way to get to that fast. Playing before you're ready Ryan Zimmerman is a good way to become a marginal fringe player awfully fast. Injuries are what Jayson Werth feared the most and right after he said that he breaks that same wrist that almost ended his career. And don't tell me Espy sucks when he is running around with a damaged rotator cuff.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    peric said… He was also willing to keep Morse but Davey wanted LaRoche.My sources told me they were in agreement on LaRoche but it was Davey pushing for him.I still believe that it was ALR's glove that would provide the comfort factor for Zim/Desi to make these horrible throws that was the deciding factor.It's pretty bad when your left-side of your infield can't make good throws as the rule instead of the exception.Like I said in early 2011, Ryan Zimmerman has once again let down his team. Another Spring Training he came in not ready to play and the original surgery on the AC Joint had a recovery time of 6 weeks so tell me why he wasn't ready around December 15th if that was factual?

  40. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    "But he did look pretty bad flailing at pitches way out of the strikezone last night, another sign of the team generally being a little overanxious in their hitting approach."Another clue to me is Werth reacting like he got punched in the gut every time he watches a strike go by. Seemed to start in NYC. Kinda strange to see that from him.

  41. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    But he did look pretty bad flailing at pitches way out of the strikezone last night, another sign of the team generally being a little overanxious in their hitting approach.Davey might have taken the pressure off of Zim and Rendon but as Ghost aptly states NOT off of Espinosa. He is now hitting behind a potential replacement. But, if I were he and Lombo I'd be more worried about the second baseman batting well over .400 in Syracuse with a .500 OBP who lead the team in 3 offensive categories including stolen bases. And Desi? That guy is a natural team leader going back to college.

  42. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Another Spring Training he came in not ready to play and the original surgery on the AC Joint had a recovery time of 6 weeks so tell me why he wasn't ready around December 15th if that was factual?For whatever reason, when it comes to Zim, they never tell the truth about the extent of his injuries. Do your sources have any rationale behind that? All I know is they don't have Morse. All that's left is Zim. If he's healthy you can rely on him to push himself up right below the tier 1 rung of top offensive players like Pujols et al. At this point a healthy Zim might actually be better. That really could be the difference between missing the playoffs with off year and getting back into the mix.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Something just doesn't add up on Zim's shoulder. He had the arthroscopic surgery and it was called successful on October 25th. The recovery time was said to be 6 weeks. The rehab was to be another 60 days to be ready to be full strength at or around February 1st.Something in the timeline just doesn't make sense unless there was a setback or Zim wasn't following the rehab protocol because clearly he wasn't ready for almost 45 days afterwards.Then he was still bouncing the ball and started the season in a batting slump and then injured his hamstring.Always a mystery with RZim. Is it really the groing or is it the oblique, oh yah, needed abdominal surgery. All I can say is see what Nick Markakis did with the exact same injury.This is the FoF and the glue that holds this lineup together and once again the cloud surrounds the real story.

  44. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    AND YES people a healthy Zim really **IS** better than David Wright and Tampa Bay's third bagger Evan Longoria. But wait, if you'll recall Pujols also tried playing third … Stats don't like if you look at them objectively that's why its better to let fans of other teams (like the Mariners) do the stats on your guy. Zim projects as a potential tier 1 rung offensive player. That means he can compete for the All Star at first base if he is healthy. I fear that if he continues to play third he will never get completely healthy.

  45. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    And Zim versus Machado? That's a joke. In the end Rendon will be better Ori-holes fans.

  46. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    peric said… For whatever reason, when it comes to Zim, they never tell the truth about the extent of his injuries. Do your sources have any rationale behind that? Nobody is ever allowed to speak on it. The only reason I knew they were lying in 2011 was because Riggleman mis-spoke in a media interview and slipped up about the abdominal when they were reporting it as a groin injury.I'm sure they were all covering up as they didn't want to look inept.My guess really is that Ryan won't tell the team the truth. Nothing else makes sense. You have to tell how bad it is as time away and putting off the inevitable is worse.

  48. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    My guess really is that Ryan won't tell the team the truth. Nothing else makes sense. You have to tell how bad it is as time away and putting off the inevitable is worse.Replace Zim's name with Espy's. And LaRoche for that matter all though he finally came clean in 2011. And there was still enough time for Morse to demolish the NL with his bat.Its pretty clear to me injuries affect the play of these guys. Everyone is so charged up about LaRoche the Hoover at first base … well his back must be hurting because the guy isn't really reaching as he used to now is he? And his hitting suffers.

  49. A DC Wonk - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    emdash wrote:But he did look pretty bad flailing at pitches way out of the strikezone last night, another sign of the team generally being a little overanxious in their hitting approach.Eric responded:Another clue to me is Werth reacting like he got punched in the gut every time he watches a strike go by. Seemed to start in NYC. Kinda strange to see that from him.Anyone remember last year the Nats changed from hitting terribly to hitting great after their series in Colorado. (They were 2-2, but scored 35 runs). They left Colorado and continued on to nine straight games scoring 5+ runs (which included three games of 8+ runs (plus the three games of 10+ runs in Colorado))This year's trip to Colorado: June 11.(Off topic: the good news is that after last Tuesday, the Nats were 4.5 games out of first. Now, a week later, Nats are 3.5 games out of first).

  50. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    You have to tell how bad it is as time away and putting off the inevitable is worse.If he ends up needing another surgery you might as well accept that this will be a rebuilding year in which Rizzo et al will start bringing the prospects he developed up to give them a spin. Davey claims he can still win under those conditions. Well Davey?

  51. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Ghost, I just came back from my orthopedist, who is team dr. to one of the local teams. He expressed great doubt that what we were told about Zim's shoulder surgery is what actually took place. He said, well, the surgery took place, but we don't know that what they told us happened is what was done on the operating room table. He did say that the team signed that long-term deal with RZ, and that was a sign of his eventual health. My own opinion is that RZ needs a year off, period. A sabbatical. If not a year, then at least several months. He is 28 and the majors have worn out his body. I think the year off was incredibly beneficial to ALR, as was the months Werth had off with his wrist. I'm going to look at some high-calibre players who had mid-career injuries. I know it's not the case for every HOF player, but I've already found several. I want to look in the "modern" era, because travel and medical practices have changed so much.

  52. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    He did say that the team signed that long-term deal with RZ, and that was a sign of his eventual health.He's 28 and as much a work out fanatic as Werth or anyone for that matter. He's a work out warrior. But it won't help if his body isn't allowed to heal. Thus Anthony Rendon now becomes the sacrificial lamb as Zim tries to get healthy. He's got a load on him replacing the FoF and the best bat in the lineup. Let us hope he is up to this challenge.

  53. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Wonk, that visit was coupled with RZ's return with a shot in the arm. that's why we produced at the plate I think, not just the visit to Rockies.

  54. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    In the end RZ has to move to first base where he can attempt, mind you, attempt to stay healthy for his team. And Rendon and his ankles will be manning third. At second they now have a plethora of choices with three guys all aiming for that spot. Don't look now but if Kobernus continues to hit .450 in AAA? And actually walks and has a 50=50 walk to strike out ratio? What will Rizzo do? Ask Danny to get the rotator cuff fixed would be my guess.

  55. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Off topic … another reason why I think Marerro is Davey's bench bat not Moore who should start …Marerro already has 4 errors at first base. But he does have 1.037 OPS. Sounds like a potentially good bench bat/DH to me?

  56. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Oh and Danny just might end up at shortstop after Davey is ostensibly gone. You never know.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    NatsLady, thank you for being intuitive enough to come up with a logical answer. They went in there and it was more extensive.I think you are also right with taking the extra time off and get it right.

  58. Rabbit34 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    "I don't care if he hits .900," manager Davey Johnson said. "He's not going to beat out Ryan Zimmerman."That's the mindset that will keep us at or below .500.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    peric said… Oh and Danny just might end up at shortstop after Davey is ostensibly gone. You never know. April 23, 2013 11:38 AM Until Danny shows he can hit, I'm not sure he will be in the near-term plans of the team.Rizzo loves Danny but Davey knows he needs a replication of himself in that position and that is a 2-way player. Danny is stranding runners at a dozen or more a week so far.

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Rabbit34 said… "I don't care if he hits .900," manager Davey Johnson said. "He's not going to beat out Ryan Zimmerman."That's the mindset that will keep us at or below .500. April 23, 2013 11:43 AM Its also why Davey has been successful because of his extreme loyalties.Again, loyalties SHOULD go out the window in the post-season, just ask Bruce Bochy.Danny and EJax should've been watching from the dugout while Lombo and Lannan took their places.While Lombo nose-dived towards the end of the season, so did Danny as we know now he was injured.I believe this time around, Davey will play the hot-hand into the post-season whoever they are.I also believe in the merit of what NatsLady said that Zim shouldn't be brought back until he is right and that should entail a rehab assignment working his way back.This standing inches from the left edge of the batters box by Zim has me incensed. It reminds me of a kid afraid of getting HBP'd so he stands 3 feet from the plate. I don't know what his issue is but it has to stop. This isn't playing baseball. If you are going to play like that you need to bat 7th or 8th or sit on the bench.Sorry for my rant. I'm just frustrated with all the BS surrounding his status.

  61. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    but Davey knows he needs a replication of himself in that position and that is a 2-way player.And a feisty team leader type? That could be Kobernus. He has the best OPS on the Chiefs and that is due mostly to his OBP. 6 walks and 10 K's. That's the figures I'll be watching.

  62. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Wait, didn't Espi surge during the post season? I seem to recall that he was one of the few Nats hitting consistently throughout the NLDS…him and Suzuki.

  63. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    lol, wow, .067 in the post season…I really thought he came alive in St. Louis…weird.

  64. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Espy is not going anywhere except to the surgeons table. And, yes, that could happen if it seems like he is struggling to hit and the should is the reason behind that.

  65. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I think you are also right with taking the extra time off and get it right.As I've said more than once. The stats don't lie. If he had been completely right last season (sans cortisone fix) I believe the Nats would definitely have made the world series and it wouldn't have even been close.

  66. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Wait, didn't Espi surge during the post season? I seem to recall that he was one of the few Nats hitting consistently throughout the NLDS…him and Suzuki.You might need to get an MRI on your memory. Espi's slashline for the NLDS was .067/.176/.067, with 7 Ks in 19 plate appearances. Suzuki wasn't great either, but he wasn't that bad.

  67. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    "You might need to get an MRI on your memory. "You might need to check my subsequent post before busting out the one-liners…Thanks for setting me straight, though!

  68. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Hmm, do I owe Eric a drink for correcting his own memory? :-)

  69. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    I'm not sure how the "owe a drink" thing works around here, but I like drinks, so if I'm owed one, I'll take it ;).

  70. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    You're now on the NIDO Spreadsheet Eric. :-)

  71. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    OH! Because you xposted with my own correction of my misremembery…got it!Glad to get on the board ;).

  72. Rich P. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    "This standing inches from the left edge of the batters box by Zim has me incensed. It reminds me of a kid afraid of getting HBP'd so he stands 3 feet from the plate. I don't know what his issue is but it has to stop. This isn't playing baseball. If you are going to play like that you need to bat 7th or 8th or sit on the bench."Zim has been lining up like that his entire career. He's the anti-Cal Ripken in that regard. Never changes his stance, and why should he? He's had a lot of success with it, and will again. He's always been a streaky hitter. Nothing is going to change that.

  73. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    You realize y'all probably each owe me 10 drinks for ridiculing the idea of Rendon coming up early … and everything that Natslady and Ghost have outlined about Zim and his injuries are precisely the reason why.You all look at phobias and think everyone should get traded, sent to the minors, etc. I see injuries. And that definitely means you too JayB.

  74. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Zim has been lining up like that his entire career. He's the anti-Cal Ripken in that regard. Never changes his stance, and why should he?With the bad shoulder he loses bat speed. He must have pretty damned good bat speed when he is healthy. And that allows him to use that stance and it is effective. When he's not healthy its a different story.

  75. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I think you are judging to some extent by the angle you see on TV. My new seats look right down on home plate and RZ's stance is not that extreme. Werth has his foot right on the line, though, I wonder he never gets called on it.

  76. mick - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Bottom line, the team needs to play better and Davey needs to manage better. There are 4 solid starting pitchers on the squad. Haren is not one of them and Nats really need to cut their losses with him now. What should disturb and anger not only Nats fans but the management about Haren assuming he has been healthy is:1) He is a veteran pitcher2) He is getting a hell of a lot of money up front3) His off season preparation clearly was uninspired and down right lazy4) He does not seem to care about his team mates or the Nats fans, unlike Edwin who really did care and took his losses to heart and was willing to take a pay cut to stay here. I am not saying we should have kept Edwin, what I am saying is that Mike Rizzo should not have settled on Haren so quickly. Every team misses one now and then, Rizzo really missed this one and it is time to move on.Offensively, Nats are just having the injury bug. Everything is a perfect storm against the Nats right now, let's hope they can ride it out. In order to do this, a LEADER must emerge. Nats have no leader in club house right now!

  77. EmDash - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    I don't think anyone doubted Rendon would come up if Zimm was injured, though? Most of us just believed the surgery recovery timeline that the team put out, is all, which admittedly was perhaps foolish in retrospect. *g*

  78. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    "4) He does not seem to care about his team mates or the Nats fans, unlike Edwin who really did care and took his losses to heart and was willing to take a pay cut to stay here. "I disagree with this. He has been exceptionally contrite and extremely candid about his performance thus far, and about how much he's letting everyone down.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    peric said… but Davey knows he needs a replication of himself in that position and that is a 2-way player.And a feisty team leader type? That could be Kobernus. He has the best OPS on the Chiefs and that is due mostly to his OBP. 6 walks and 10 K's. That's the figures I'll be watching. April 23, 2013 11:55 AM The scouting report on Kobernus is as a bench bat at best. Maybe you know more. Honestly I've never seen the kid in person. I learned a long time ago that the Minors is littered with AAAA players that rise above the rest in the Minors but never make it as a Major Leaguer. There are so few stars and most of what you have in the Majors is average performers. If you think Kobernus is better than Lombo or Espi or Desi than that is a huge statement.Look, the scouting report on TyMo was a free swinger who K's too much and poor glove. He rose above all of that but is blocked and we have no idea of his real potential.Most players have to find something within themselves to make 1 sizeable adjustment to move ahead of the pack or they won't make it. Baseball stars are born and then groomed. You can't teach eye/hand coordination but you can teach through repetition to hit a curveball or the tricks of what pitch is coming. Competive advantage is made through hard work.Kids like Rendon or Harper or Trout are 1 in several million. I'm more a frontrunner and only have the time to follow the top prospects as it takes a lot of time to see them. Nothing like knowing you are going out to see a possible future star but I have seen many of them that burned out due to injury, lack of desire, bad luck, etc.Nothing makes me happier to come across a Jamey Carroll type. They are my favorite guy. The future X-factor on a team. The guy who works harder than every other player because he doesn't have the natural genetics to be 6'2" and chiseled.I luckily get to travel to see many top prospects. There are some gems in this years draft that won't fall to the Nats unfortunately.Everyone is looking for the next 5 tool player. Again, they are 1 in a million and baseball produced 2 at the same time in Trout and Harper.Rendon isn't a 5 tool and shouldn't even try to because he would be trying to go beyond his natural skillset but he's 3 tool and 2 tools I'd rate as 3/4's in potential in power and speed and that's future star if he stays healthy and makes adjustments!

  80. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Eric, you may have been thinking of Desi in your postseason hitting comments at 11:56.And "yay" for Jamey Carroll (and, by extension, Jamey Carroll types). :-)

  81. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    NatsLady said… I think you are judging to some extent by the angle you see on TV. My new seats look right down on home plate and RZ's stance is not that extreme. Werth has his foot right on the line, though, I wonder he never gets called on it. April 23, 2013 12:17 PM Unless you see him from behind the plate you can't see it. He has moved 2 to 3 inches further away.One announcer on the other team said they were exploiting him on the outside. Clearly. He can't reach it unless he dives in with that oppo swing. Its a game of inches.

  82. EmDash - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    I mean, I'm not a Haren fan either, but he seems genuinely self-critical about his outings so far and trying to improve. And last night was at least an improvement. I don't see how we can reasonably psycho-analyze a guy based on four starts on how much he "cares about the team." There's literally no way to tell that just by watching him pitch.The "assuming he's healthy" is a big, big assumption. He's certainly not running like a guy feeling physically comfortable. I don't know what they'll end up doing, but you have to wonder about his health.

  83. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Haren is looking to use this year to prove that he is healthy and can maybe sign a three-year deal for the rest of his career, whether that's with us (as our minor-league system is a trifle barren until Giolito gets here) or with another team. He is trying as hard as he can without re-injuring himself to get back to the pace and craftiness of an older pitcher. His interests and the team's coincide, and I've seen no evidence that he is either "lazy" or self-centered.

  84. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    "I don't see how we can reasonably psycho-analyze a guy based on four starts on how much he "cares about the team.""His post-game interviews are pretty telling. He's clearly not making excuses, and he's clearly not happy with the impression he's making. Honestly, I think his mentality is a huge positive that gives me hope that he'll bounce back.Hard to say what's up with the running. Seems like it could be preventative as much as a reaction to an actual injury. IIRC, in the post-game interview after he got his double he mentioned that he didn't want to risk re-injuring his back.

  85. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    but he's 3 tool and 2 tools I'd rate as 3/4's in potential in power and speed and that's future star if he stays healthy and makes adjustments!Scouting says he's lost speed due to the ankles so your analysis is about right. Continued health is why he probably shouldn't be risked at 2nd or shortstop. And his range isn't what it used to be. Power can sometimes be an unknown quantity. Look how long it took Morse to develop his? A lot has to do with adjusting to major league pitching and taking advantage of your opportunities. And having great bat speed.The big thing for me is to get Zim to heal. In my mind his bat is a known quantity when it is healthy. And he proves that time-and-again. And that is why I though Rendon would end up at third. And for no other reason. Rendon would be better off with a good year or two in the minors no doubt. But …

  86. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    "Eric, you may have been thinking of Desi in your postseason hitting comments at 11:56."I think you're right…

  87. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    (as our minor-league system is a trifle barren until Giolito gets here) or with another team.Looks to me like Danny Rosenbaum is healthy again and then there's Nate Karns who is already on the 40-man. Rizzo might be able to replace Harren this season if he has to with one or both of these guys … I don't see Chris Young but we'll see how he does tonight.

  88. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    peric said… Espy is not going anywhere except to the surgeons table. And, yes, that could happen if it seems like he is struggling to hit and the should is the reason behind that. April 23, 2013 11:58 AM I would be shocked if the rest he had to heal and weight training to strengthen his deltoid muscles didn't fix it. It's an extremely painful rehab and I believe we were told the truth on it and if they were truthful it really doesn't require surgery unless it rips again.Many players successfully rehab through that tear.

  89. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    I am curious about that, Ghost. What do you think is the ideal distance for a right-handed power batter like Zim? I can take some photos next time to see where those guys align–unfortunately won't be able to take photos of Zim for a while–and overlay them. It seemed like for a while RZ was reaching and they were pitching him outside, but that was last year before the cortisone shots when it was obvious something was amiss. You knew from that game where he limped around the bases that he had a leg problem, and it's my belief he took a shot of some med like they give football players (Toradol) and finished out a great game–that day. However, those drugs have dangerous side-effects and are not a solution, particularly since, bad as it is for football players to get a shot once a week, imagine a baseball player getting one every day or every other day.

  90. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    I would be shocked if the rest he had to heal and weight training to strengthen his deltoid muscles didn't fix it.Batting left he still looks like he did when he had the issue last season? He looked fine in ST but now? Did he exacerbate it? All I know is it doesn't seem to be working at this point. Espy's power is down somewhat but he still manages to hit doubles. Its that left-handed desperation hack that has me worried.

  91. Eric - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    "that…desperation hack…has me worried. "Half the team must have torn something in their shoulder recently, then ;).

  92. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    I never wanted Haren but since he's here you have to make the best of a bad situation. He pitched real well last night until the 6th inning.That's on McCatty and Davey for not having Stay-men up and warming between innings and then yanked quickly.In a 2-2 tie in a critical game the Nats were in great shape to win it in the bullpens. Once you get past Rosenthal, the Cardinals bullpen stinks.Of course Mujica looked real good slicing and dicing through Rendon, Espi and Suzuki like a hot knife through butter. Way to restore his confidence.The game was lost in the 8th inning. Horrible approach by LaRoche swinging at a ball low in the zone. He was lucky he didn't GIDP. What was he thinking? That was almost as bad as swinging at that 3-0. He just labored through Harper and walked him. Work him for a mistake!

  93. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Ghost, agree. I don't see how Danny could have that great D (and he has been great) if his shoulder was bothering him. He's had range, grabs and throws. The hitting is partly bad luck (BAPIP) and partly that he appears to be seriously trying to cut back on the K's. Also, he can't (and shouldn't) resort to being HBP to up his on-base, as he used to do. One trip to first base is not worth being out a few games.

  94. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Also, I was listening to the Royals GM yesterday. They also have a very young team, younger than ours. He said it history shows it takes 2-4 years for a talented kid to become a productive, reliable major leaguer. Danny is right in the middle of that period.

  95. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    peric said… Batting left he still looks like he did when he had the issue last season? He looked fine in ST but now?Look at him last April and May and most of June. He was horrible and he still is. His ST stats are typical and that's why you can't rely on MiLB numbers, ST numbers, or September results for call-ups.

  96. natsfan1a - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Missed the middle innings last night and just noticed the Davey dugout "pushups" video over on the Sports Bog. Geez, do people not recognize a hit and run sign when they see it? ;-)

  97. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Good one, Eric! (My typing is shot, but I'm too lazy to edit posts right now)."that…desperation hack…has me worried. "Half the team must have torn something in their shoulder recently, then ;).

  98. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    NatsLady, the first few games I said unlucky BABIP but his swings are so poor on contact that he has actually dropping his BABIP to his poor approach.They wanted him aggessive and swinging early in the count. He just has never been a good contact swinger until this year but its at a cost. He has raised his Swing & Miss % which looks good on paper until you watch him every day.He is just a poor contact hitter. Getting 16 hits out of 100 ABs is historically bad. You are supposed to get lucky BABIP and he just isn't due to the poor contact.

  99. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    NatsLady said… Also, I was listening to the Royals GM yesterday. They also have a very young team, younger than ours. He said it history shows it takes 2-4 years for a talented kid to become a productive, reliable major leaguer. Danny is right in the middle of that period. April 23, 2013 12:51 PM I've heard ole Dayton speak. The Royals drafted Alex Gordon in the 2005 Draft. He was a can't miss and better than Ryan Z.The Royals mis-handled him just like most of their top prospects.What did I say here 3 years ago about this Lorenzo Cain kid?The Royals do it all on the cheap. Gordon and Cain and Hosmer and all these top Draft picks they have squandered is legendary bad.Either you are or you aren't and there are very few late bloomers out there like Werth and Morse.There are also plenty of Travis Lee's and Ben Grieve's out there.

  100. NatsLady - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Ghost, I wonder why they wanted Espy more aggressive. He's not Desmond, and he always could take a walk. Last year there was a lot of tinkering (I remember Davey was mad about that), and this year seems to be the same. Maybe just a consistent approach and let him work through it?

  101. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    He is just a poor contact hitter. Getting 16 hits out of 100 ABs is historically bad. You are supposed to get lucky BABIP and he just isn't due to the poor contact.He looks like a potential future power guy … they tried him at the top of the lineup and that wasn't going to work. Things work for him when he bats right handed. When he bats left they don't. Yet he swears up and down that left is the more natural side for him? I think he's nuts when he says that. I guess Rizzo is going to bring guys up to provide competition they didn't have in spring training. Too much complacency as someone observed maybe JayB? He starts with Rendon. He'll follow with others if things don't straighten out.

  102. peric - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Not to mention father-and-son Burroughs Ghost.

  103. bdrube - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    There seems to be a lot of Monday Morning GM-ing going on concerning Haren. Most fans and the media at the time seemed to agree that it was a great signing by the Nats, especially considering that it was for only one year. The Nats' real problem is they have a whole bunch of guys not performing up to expectations as of yet. At least some of them will bounce back, hopefully enough to get them back where we hoped they would be.Look at the bright side: other than Detwiler there isn't anyone who is likely going to be REGRESSING to their norm, and even with Det there is a chance that he may be taking his game to a higher level.

  104. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Oh yes, the Burroughs. Major disaster.

  105. John C. - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Too many comments, too much DOOM! to read on a busy day (heading to the ballpark later). I did see it started with some Michael Morse controversy. I will note that without Morse the Nationals are currently 3rd in the NL in home runs. And middle of the pack (7th) in strikeouts.The Nats' team BABIP is .278, opponent BABIP is .298. Those should also even out as the season progresses. DOOM! is not called for (not that I have any confidence that the LoD will stop).

  106. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    John C., I like your optimism and the BABIP has been un-kind but we aren't making Web Gems like the other teams and not walking into the batter's box from batter's 4 to 7 with a good approach although Desi's numbers are fine.

  107. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 23, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    NEW POST

Archives

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