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The stopper delivers again

May 2, 2013, 3:47 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Jordan Zimmermann tossed eight more scoreless innings to improve to 5-1.

ATLANTA — While Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez battled their way through the season’s first month, their inconsistency mirroring the Nationals’ overall up-and-down performance, Jordan Zimmermann simply took the ball every fifth day and did everything within his power to pitch his team to victory.

So when the Nationals took the field Wednesday night at Turner Field, desperate to beat a Braves club that had dominated them in five previous meetings this season, who better than Zimmermann to lead the way?

Who knows how the Nationals’ rotation will be aligned come season’s end, who will be designated staff ace and who will bring up the rear? Make no mistake, though: Right now, Zimmermann is the best pitcher on this staff. He’s also legitimately among the very best pitchers in baseball.

“There’s no question about it,” manager Davey Johnson said following a 2-0 victory over Atlanta. “We needed that one bad, and he went out there and pitched a blueprint game. That was outstanding.”
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  1. Faraz Shaikh - May 2, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    man, should have extended this guy this off-season. go jz!

  2. Eric - May 2, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    Zinn for the win!

  3. tayo - May 2, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    JZim is the man. Nothing more to be said. The Nats just need to channel a series against the braves last year that for whatever reason has been in my mind lately. It was, I think a 4 game series with a doubleheader against the braves. Anyway, we had one of the worst losses I have experienced to date where the Braves came back from a large deficit to win the game. At that point, I really did think the Nats were done as the division leaders and the Braves would just takeover.Alas, John Lannan gets called up, steps up and helps the Nats win the next game and order seemed to have been restored. This win by JZim reminds me of that, and I hope this is a turning point to right our inconsistent season as the offense gets going.

  4. Scooter - May 2, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Indeed, tayo, that would be nice.

  5. SonnyG10 - May 2, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    Jordan is definitely our ace right now.

  6. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    Didn't I read that Rizzo just yesterday insisted that Stras is our ace? Wonder if he still thinks that.

  7. Scooter - May 2, 2013 at 5:18 AM

    I've seen too many Internet discussions of what an "ace" is to get sucked down that hole. I'll just say I think he's awesome and leave it at that.

  8. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Tayo– I remember that series as I am permanently scarred by it. My Filly relatives were here that Friday night. Yes, we were way ahead and blew it.The Saturday was a rain make up game and Lannan was the 26 th man called up for the day and pitched a gem. Sometimes mental toughness trumps talent.

  9. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    And in the – of course- category… JZ is pitching out of mind. All headlines read– Bryce Injured. Jordan invisible again.

  10. Candide - May 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    I'm not much for quoting myself, but it looks like I need to correct a previous post:Candide said… JZimm may well need to throw another 1-hitter tonight. May 01, 2013 3:50 PMLooks like I was wrong. A two-hitter was good enough.

  11. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Section 222 said… Didn't I read that Rizzo just yesterday insisted that Stras is our ace? Wonder if he still thinks that._________________________________It's just become a tag like the FoF. Heck, Bryce Harper is the FoB (Face of Baseball).If Jordan didn't throw 3 duds down the stretch last year he was in position of being in the Cy Young discussion at the end. Remember on July 31st Sports Illustrated put Jordan on their 2012 Cy Young watchlist.He is learning about himself in each start and he and Zuk are having fun with it. Hard to believe how far they have come as a duo since being on the wrong page through those tough Aug/Sept duds.

  12. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Yesterday JZ put on another no-hitter type performance on yesterday.Only 69% fastballs yesterday and great use of the breaking pitches and 4 changeups of which 3 were all strategically thrown. Top Velo on the fastball topped out at 96 1/2 mph and was thrown in Verlander style where he reached back for a little extra to get a K on Justin Upton.This chart is incredible on how much he was in the strike zone but also how many strikes weren't called. 6 strikes missed and 2 non-strikes called strikes for a net of 4 but there were a few on the black that he also deserved K calls on that Winters wouldn't give him. With a better ump, who knows, probably another complete game. http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=519455&game=gid_2013_05_01_wasmlb_atlmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=.gif

  13. MicheleS - May 2, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Remember the 7th inning of Game 4 Last year. Remember the fist pump as JZ came off the mound? Remember how we were all excited to see that Jordan Zimmermann? Well, I think he has picked up right from that point on. It is so fun to watch him put on a clinic. The J Upton didn't look so scary last night. JZ carved up that entire lineup. I hope we beat Medlen like a drum tonight just for payback for last year (actually like the guy, seems like a good dude)

  14. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    MicheleS, that was an amazing inning!Speaking of JUpton, I thought the official scorer was too kind to score a single that was hit right at LaRoche in a 1st inning of a game. Usually you want a clean single.I thought JZ's stuff was better yesterday than vs the Reds and the difference was the umpire missing some of those strikes dotting the corners.I again commend Davey for putting the team before JZ's stats and pulling him after the 8th. I would by lying if I didn't confess that Rafael Soriano was giving me those Kardiac Kid maalox moments!

  15. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Gonat….as I said last nite, that ball hit by Justin was smoked the opposite way. Check it in real time and you'll see that had a play been made, it would have been miraculous.Slo-mo makes it look alot easier than what it actually was.

  16. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    NJack, FP and Bob were speculating at the time if it was an error or a hit and the only replay just showed a hop but he played it off to his side instead of getting in front of it. I want to see LaRoche who isn't hitting make some non-routine types of plays. Did you see what Freeman did to that smash by Harper?

  17. Janus - May 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Faraz,I think I remember seeing that Jordan wasn't in a particular hurry to work out a conract extension. I think he had a feeling another season like last, or even better as it's been so far, would increase his value and he didn't want to sell himself short.

  18. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Freeman and Simmons are going to be multiple gold glove winners for the Braves.I know Bob and FP were debating it but the real time replay showed that top spin hop off the dirt wgich eats guys up. The Freeman play was excellent but the ball stayed low tge whole way.

  19. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Adam is now a good first baseman. He is not spectacular anymore. Everyone has been saying that we take his offensive offense because of his amazing glove work. Uh, no? He is not the same as he was last year—– yet. At this point, maybe not even Tyler Moore, but maybe Marrero. By the way– Moore looked very good in the outfield last night. Made a very smooth running grab. He does not suck out there.

  20. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    baseballswami said… By the way– Moore looked very good in the outfield last night. Made a very smooth running grab. He does not suck out there. May 02, 2013 8:20 AM _____________________________Glad you made mention. As he got 2 days in a row of playing time, he shook the rust off quickly. If he is to get more playing time out there I would think he would need to get Tarasco to fungo some balls off the wall for him.

  21. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Speaking of defense, there was no issues with Lombo at 2nd base defensively but a huge disappointment with swinging 1st pitch on Maholm all night.Last year the book on Lombo was that he couldn't hit LHPs. This year and until last night he was hitting LHPs much better.If Lombo doesn't get some good ABs off of Medlen tonight, the starting 2B on Friday in Pittsburgh might be this Danny Espinosa kid.

  22. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Moore looked seviceable last nite in left field. That's what he is. He's worked at becoming serviceable and we all admire him for that. While I don't like looking ahead too much, I have to say that Det, Stras and Gio line up very well against the Pirates this week end but don't sell them short. They might be weak hitting but they are only 1/2 game back and coming off an unheard of road win in Milwaukee.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    My mantra on Espinosa will be "Espinosa Stinks" and will remain so until he's hitting a robust .230 (which still stinks).

  24. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Serviceable will do if TyMo can get his bat going. I would go so far as to say he is faster and more agile than Morse was. Of course Bryce, Span and Werth are the first choice, but he can hold his own out there.

  25. Rich P. - May 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Span in the outfield makes the difficult plays look easy. Moore in the outfield makes the easy plays look difficult, just as he did last night.

  26. BigCat - May 2, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Laroche is swinging much better since he consulted with his batting coach from Atlanta. He will be fine, wait and see. Zim coming back. All will be well in Natland

  27. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    As for Lombo, he is what he is. A serviceable utility guy on a play off caliber team and a solid day in day out starter on a second division team. But Espinosa stinks and Lombo dosen't.

  28. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Apparently Chipper helped Desi also and the Atlanta fans are not amused. He wants a hitting coach job and is auditioning.

  29. Joe Seamhead - May 2, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Feel Rich, for once I agree with you. Tyler was serviceable in LF as NJ said.Gonat, I went back and watched that play with ALR early in the game. At the time last night I thought it was playable.We have all come to expect Adam to make the exceptional play every time. I do think that he is having issues getting all the way down to the ground routinely.We saw in Viera, too. After watching it again, I think it would have been a heck of a play if he had played it. One of the great things about baseball is that 3 people see the same play and they all seemingly see three different plays sometimes.

  30. Rabbit34 - May 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I must say I was really concerned when Soriano came in for the ninth. Even after 107 pitches Zimm was the best pitcher to have out there.

  31. SCNatsFan - May 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    NatsJack, I don't think Espi stinks; I think he just needs to get away from MLB pitching for a little while and get some quality ABs against lesser arms. Get some confidence. This team won't collapse with espi spending a month or so in upstate NY.

  32. SCNatsFan - May 2, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Rabbit, I was concerned too, but this is what we are paying Soriano for; if he can't close that then we are really in trouble. My problem was I was waiting all night for the error or mental mistake that would kill us, or the bullpen blow up; glad I was wrong.

  33. Doc - May 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    The Bulldog would have needed fewer pitches to do the deal last night, if the fool behind homeplate was more consistent with his calls. All sorts of good pitches went for balls.Obviously, the average is not there but Espi has been putting more balls in play this year than last year, and the K's are down. In time things should turn around.

  34. Tcostant - May 2, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    $5 tickets for the next two series:http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/5series.jsp

  35. bowdenball - May 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I assumed NatJack was kidding about the Espi thing. NatsJack seems to know a lot about baseball, and most people who know a lot about baseball stopped citing batting average a decade ago.Espi is better than Lombo. He's played slightly better than him even in this terrible season. He's easily been the better player over the course of their major league career. Pick an advanced stat- anyone you choose- and they'll all confirm this for 2013 and for their careers. And he has a much higher ceiling. This is not really a matter for debate.

  36. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    But — please take note that when the ump does not give him a call, there is an error, a hit, whatever, Jordan does not fall apart. Stras? Gio??

  37. Exposremains - May 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Strasburg is one year behind JZim. Last year, JZim would get rattled and wouldn't be able to get out of an inning. He would show incredible stuff but the other team would manage to do some damage. I see the same in Stras this year but if he follows Jzim learning curve he will be even more amazing next year.

  38. JD - May 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    ScNatsFan,'NatsJack, I don't think Espi stinks; I think he just needs to get away from MLB pitching for a little while and get some quality ABs against lesser arms. Get some confidence. This team won't collapse with espi spending a month or so in upstate NY.'I agree completely. I think Danny is in a downward spiral and it's too much to try to fix it in the big leagues pressure cooker atmosphere.

  39. Steady Eddie - May 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Janus @8:19, that's what i've been saying about JZimm all along — the Nats couldn't get an extension because it takes two to tango.JZimm came the closest to going to arbitration over this year's salary and I'm sure felt, as you suggested, that he was ready for a big year and wanted the Nats to have to buy at the top of the market. But this start is no fluke and if you believe in paying fair value, he had every right to set his own value by demonstrating how dominant he could be. The only way the Nats could possibly have signed him to an extension would have been to give him the value up front that he would have earned by the year he's having. And I'm not even sure he would have done that — there's something in JZimm's bulldog intensity that suggests he would have wanted to earn it by demonstrating what he could do, and that after they signed the 2013 contract, his reaction to any mention of an extension was likely, "thanks, let's talk again after the end of the season, not sooner, period."

  40. NatsLady - May 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Janus, your recollection is correct. JZ not only didn't want to sign an extension, he was the last holdout for arbitration, and he was ready to go toe-to-toe with Rizzo if there had been a hearing, saying the process would be "fun." (I assume his agent talked him out of it).

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    JD, so it's taken you 2 years to come around on Espi. I just wonder where you all were when I have been beating this drum on Espi for almost 2 years that he needed to be Bryan LaHair'd?He was annointed a star after a hot start to his 2011 Rookie year and then he couldn't make adjustments after he thought he was a HR hitter. He's been an above average fielder and a horrible clutch player ever since that 2 month start to his career. In Rizzo's defense he might not have had a better replacement in 2011 but why didn't the team look for a new 2nd baseman in the 2011 off-season?I said yesterday that I thought all those Lombo lovers have to stop declaring him the answer. He started the year with a high BABIP and while I liked his improved pop on the ball I just haven't seen enough. Maybe he is and maybe he isn't.I'm still laughing at all those people that wanted Espi as the starting shortstop of this team for 2012 and Desi to be the utility guy.

  42. Exposremains - May 2, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    GhostWhich 2b baseman is on the market? What options do they have apart from Espi and Lombo? Please don't tell me Kobernus. Is it Rendon?

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    SCNatsFan said… NatsJack, I don't think Espi stinks; I think he just needs to get away from MLB pitching for a little while and get some quality ABs against lesser arms. Get some confidence.I agree with that portion but until he either FULLY embraces being a gap hitter with a LH compact swing and confidence in a solid approach, he's toast.I also think he should take some games and try swinging RH against RH pitching.Something has to give here. Espi is frustrated and Rizzo is frustrated.I believe it was Rizzo who made this decision. From a scout's POV, it's obvious that Danny is a mess right now.Syracuse can only help him.

  44. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    One of the great things about baseball is that 3 people see the same play and they all seemingly see three different plays sometimes.Truer words were never written. And that's what fuels this blog and many others.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Exposremains said… GhostWhich 2b baseman is on the market? What options do they have apart from Espi and Lombo? Please don't tell me Kobernus. Is it Rendon? Of course it's Rendon. From the day they drafted him I said on this Blog he would be the long-term answer at 2nd base, but I also understand why they've needed to be conservative with him. I've likened him to Placido Polanco as he can play both 3rd and 2nd for sure with more upside.Yes, I am concerned about his ankles but he can wear Kevlar ankle protectors and tape up each game for extra support.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Sect222, people see what they want to see and get excited about different facets of the game.Look at HenRod, Espi, LaRoche, Gio and Ryan Z. All having their stuggles and all different opinions.In the off-season it was the debates over Morse and Lannan.

  47. JD - May 2, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Ghost, I have a couple of issues with your analysis. 1st of all I am inclined to give any player with strong potential as much rope as possible because as you know some players do come around eventually (Desmond). 2nd of all Espinosa is the best 2nd baseman we have by several country miles and even in a down year in 2012 he still recorded a 3.4 WAR and 3rd of all Espinosa is not an above average 2nd baseman; he is in a league with Brandon Philips and Darwin Barney and is one of the very top defensive 2nd basemen in the game. I advocate sending him down in an effort to rediscover his hitting stroke and deal with his approach away from the bright lights of the majors not because I think someone else is the ultimate answer at the position.

  48. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    My mantra on Espinosa is mostly tongue in cheek but it's because of his bull headedness. I said it last week while watching him in games at Nats Park that if you can't hit .230, you stink.His attitude as he continues to spiral downward really bugged me when his play defensively dwindled.Until he's hitting .230 (which still stinks), he stinks.

  49. bowdenball - May 2, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I said it before and I'll say it again: a lot of people have absolutely zero perspective regarding an acceptable offensive output for a middle infielder with plus defense.Espi's not the biggest problem with this team right now. He's not even second, or third, or fourth. 1B, 3B, bench and #5 starter have all been bigger holes than 2B in 2013.You all act like major league starters at 2B are Espinosa and 29 Robinson Canos. That's not the reality.

  50. NatsLady - May 2, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    bowdenball, I wrote that up a while back, when there was supposed to be a competition for second base.http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/03/no-contest.htmlWe saw Lombo's ceiling last year–he is what he is, he won't embarrass the team. But everyone who likes his "contact" wouldn't like it so much if Span (or a pinch hitter) had been on base and those grounders had been doubleplaya (that didn't happen last year, he only hit 1 GIDP, and a lot of singles). He doesn't walk (4.6% in 2012) and he doesn't steal. He shouldn't be in the 2-spot and it's not clear why Davey has him there.Espinosa is faster than Lombo and if the worst he does is strike out, Harper still comes up behind him with a man on base.Last year I think pitchers may have underestimated him as a bench/utility player hitting at the bottom of the order. If he hits in front of Harper, pitchers are going to make sure he doesn't get on base.

  51. NatsLady - May 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Wait–bull-headedness is OK for JZimm but not OK for Espinosa? I'm so confused.

  52. SCNatsFan - May 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Lets be Thankful today… last year at this time HRod would have been coming in to pitch the 9th

  53. Exposremains - May 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    GhostDo you think Rendon will play more 2b when he goes back to the minors?

  54. Exposremains - May 2, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    BowdenballIf Espinosa is a light hitting 2b baseman than he needs to bat 8 and his approach should be the one of a light hitting 2b baseman

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Talking about different opinions. I love the JZim bandwagon. Where have those people been?On July 28 2012 Jordan Zimmermann had a 2.28 ERA and was leading the Majors. There were people here saying he didn't have enough strikeouts and wasn't throwing complete games to be a Cy Young.First of all I found it then like I find it now to be rubbish about K's. Very over-rated except in men in RISP with less than 2 outs. I have long said that the pitcher who takes the ball every 5 days averaging 6 innings or more per start and carries his team with the lowest ERA regardless of W/L is that team's best pitcher. Now whether you call him the team's Ace or not is just a label.

  56. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Bull headedness when you're good is a good thing. Bull headedness when you're bad is stupid.

  57. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    By the way.Dan Uggla stinks, too.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Exposremains said… GhostDo you think Rendon will play more 2b when he goes back to the minors? May 02, 2013 10:13 AM I think that will depend upon how Ryan Zimmerman looks. I think the 4, 2, 1 config in AA can be changed to 4 at 3rd and 3 at 2nd and scrap the 1 at SS if Ryan is still shakey, but if not an issue Rendon goes back and is strictly a 2nd baseman.Rizzo does need to make a decision. 2nd base is an issue and Rendon has a sound batting approach and will provide excellent Defense.With Span, Werth, and Harper with all great approaches, I think Rendon could anchor the 7 spot because we all know Desi is a free swinger. How many games do we need to sit through where we have seen the pitcher throw 20 pitches in the 1st inning and 6 in the 2nd inning as LaRoche sees 3 pitches, Desi sees 2 and Espi sees 1.Rendon is the best player to take over 2nd base. Send Rendon back to AA to get 2 weeks of work at 2nd and then bring him up and send Espi down to AAA. Let Espi work through his issues then Rizzo can make some good decisions on where he goes from there.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… By the way.Dan Uggla stinks, too. May 02, 2013 10:20 AM Yes he does. He's a meathead. Pitchers get stupid and want to challenge him. You kill him with sliders away, fastballs way up, and K him with a changeup to make him look stupid.How does he still have a spot on that team?

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    How's about Rendon's at-bats last night. He walked and K'd and shot a blast right at SS.If you are going to K, make it an epic battle. This kid is so close. I think he needs to adjust to the inside heater as he stands so close to the plate. Either move up in the box against LHPs or step back a few inches. Maholm kept jamming him and Rendon couldn't get solid contact. Other than that, all I can say is Nice!If he plays tonight which I hope he does he needs a breakout game before he's sent back.

  61. JD - May 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Bowdenball, Of course you are right. I am only looking at it from the perspective of getting Espinosa back to where he was as a hitter. He is clearly not the reason we are .500 I think you covered the reasons pretty well.

  62. bowdenball - May 2, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Well put, NatsLady.I think fans hate Espinosa because strikeouts are more frustrating when you're watching the game than groundouts. That's an understandable emotional reaction, even if it doesn't really relate to run production. Espinosa has talent, and even at his worst he's still better than many 2Bs, including Lombo. If you want to hit him 8th instead of 7th, that's fine, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is giving him a long leash, managing expectations considering he's a 2B with power who plays above-average defense, and not making him a fan scapegoat. I know fans like scapegoats, but usually they choose high-priced free agents, not young homegrown talent that hasn't even reached arbitration yet and is currently making less than many of the fans in the good seats.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    bowdenball said… Well put, NatsLady.I think fans hate Espinosa because strikeouts are more frustrating when you're watching the game than groundouts. That's an understandable emotional reaction, even if it doesn't really relate to run production. Espinosa has talent, and even at his worst he's still better than many 2Bs, including Lombo. What slab of time are you using for that observation?He may or may not be better than Lombo. Let's see. You may be right. I will guarantee you one thing, Rendon is better than both even if his small sample size doesn't look great.

  64. bowdenball - May 2, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    What slab of time, GoSM? Any of them. Take your pick.Even this year, when he has been at his absolute worst, Espi's OPS, OPS+, wOBA and WAR are all higher than Lombo's. There is no "let's see" about it. He is better at the plate, better on the basepaths and better in the field.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    In 341 career games batting Left-handed you are telling me Espinosa's career stats are serviceable? I'm not even cherrypicking and pulling out the 1st 3 months of his career where he looked like an All-Star..224/.300/.390/.690 or batting 2nd in his career for 60 games .197/.274/.294/.569 What was Davey thinking?or the ultimate clutch with RISP and 2 outs.197/.308/.423/.732

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    bowdenball, I'm being fair to Lombo and I'm not a Lombo fan. The kid deserves a block of playing time to evaluate him.My opinion has been that I think both are bench utility guys at best.Rizzo could've traded Danny in the off-season when he had a chance and gone with Lombo until Rendon was ready.I'm hoping Rizzo has finally seen enough and Rendon gets his shot.Span CF LWerth RF RHarper LF LRZim 3B R1st base L/RDesmond SS RRendon 2B RCatcher R/RTake that to the trade deadline and see if you have any weaknesses.Yes, I'm platooning ALR and TyMo at 1st until ALR heats up.

  67. NatsLady - May 2, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    I got it now. Bull-headedness is results based. :)

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    NatsLady said… I got it now. Bull-headedness is results based. :) May 02, 2013 11:00 AM Post of the day and very true.

  69. bowdenball - May 2, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Why are you pulling his left-handed stats only. That's not fair. You were saying he sucks and Lombo may be better. If you want to platoon him, that's a TOTALLY different argument. I still think it's a bad idea, but you can't change your argument in midstream. Also, I don't care for stats that reduce sample size to 2 outs and RISP or by place in batting order. It's been shown many times that stuff like that really doesn't affect performance in the long haul. Here's one of literally hundreds of articles pointing out that stuff like that is pure garbage:http://cyrilmorong.com/ClutchNoMore.htm

  70. NatsLady - May 2, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    No, I am opposed to that, Ghost. You can't throw Rendon into a position he has never played at the major-league level. Ankles or no ankles, that's not the issue. That's not the way to build his confidence and his skills because he would inevitably make errors there, mess up doubleplays, etc. My own feeling is you do not want to turn him into a "utility" player when he is your future third baseman. But if you do, send him back down, and if you want to, let him play 2nd and SS in Harrisburg. I'd be more inclined to send him to Syracuse where he would face better pitching. Chances of RZ not needing another DL stint are, let's say, remote.

  71. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    bowdenball, Danny is serviceable as a RH hitter if one was to believe that batting 2 days a week is worth it. I doubt it at this juncture as you would have to find a good complimentary LH 2nd baseman.Danny is at a crossroads in his career and it has to be what's best for the team as they have given Danny enough opportunities in the eyes of fairness and probably too many.Again, I don't think Lombo will be any better but could he be any worse? Give him time so Rendon can get reps in AA.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    NatsLady, Rendon is an infielder and said he would embrace 2nd if it got him to the Majors. Well he's only play 2 games at 2nd in Pro ball. He needs at least 2 weeks of every day at 2nd base.He's the best option in my opinion.Placido Polanco is one successful example of an infielder who has toggled between 2nd and 3rd.

  73. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Here's Polanco's game count at both positions:14 Seasons 2B 1027 games11 Seasons 3B 666 games

  74. bowdenball - May 2, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…"Again, I don't think Lombo will be any better but could he be any worse?"Yes. He has been worse his entire career and he's worse this year. I don't understand why you keep saying that and ignoring the numbers. OPS, WAR, wOBA, all of them say Espi is better this year and every year.I hate to beat a dead horse here, but this Espi scapegoating has got to stop. It's not fair to him and it reflects poorly on the fan base. Like I just said, homegrown 26 year old talent making $500,000 while playing above-average middle infield defense isn't the problem. He simply can't be based on position, salary and defensive contributions, and the fans really need to stop with this routine.

  75. NatsJack in Florida - May 2, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    No we don't.

  76. NatsLady - May 2, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Ghost, that's fine, but did Polanco start that "toggling" in the majors? Am working on something right now and can't look it up.

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    NatsLady, have I ever steered you wrong? Rendon will be the 3rd best hitter on this team if he stays with his gap power. I just hope RZim can play the game at 3rd or we will be debating the Peric plan of RZim to 1st and Rendon to 3rd.Let's face it, the infield other than shortstop is in a state of disarray.I just read Kilgore's quotes that Ryan wasn't making the throws to 1st yesterday. Guess what, that's still a problem that may be larger in overall scope.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    NatsLady, Polanco amazingly only played 3 games at 3B in his Minor League career with the Cardinals. They either had him working on 3rd in Winter League, ST or on the "fly" but it looks like he would play long stretches at both in the Majors.That's interesting but probably not much different than what Davey did with Lombo at 3rd and LF.A couple of weeks for Rendon is all he needs at 2nd. He will make some mistakes and you just hope they aren't the costly type.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 2, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    I have to go to a breakfast meeting. Catch you all soon!

  80. Sec. 3, My Rocking Fire Sofa - May 2, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    and the fans really need to stop with this routine.I was the first one to stop, if you recall. Which you don't, in all likelihood, because most of us aren't 12 years old, and don't give a [thing].

  81. Eric - May 2, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    "I hate to beat a dead horse here, but this Espi scapegoating has got to stop."I agree with this. So many people are underperforming right now. This is turning into May's version of "We should've kept Morse!" ;)"I just read Kilgore's quotes that Ryan wasn't making the throws to 1st yesterday."What's weird is, there are mixed messages. Apparently in practice, he was nailing the throws, then in warmups he wasn't, then on the field he submarined and side armed some perfect strikes (as we've seen).All in all, mixed reports. It sounds unsettlingly like what we observed before he went on the DL.

  82. JaneB - May 2, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    It doesn't help Danny at all to send this much venom his way. He is at his best when he's feeling good vibes from people. He always does well on his birthday. And when he first came up and people loved him, he did great. He strikes me as one of the people who needs to be believed in. Lets try that.

  83. Sec. 3, My Rocking Fire Sofa - May 2, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    He strikes me as one of the people who needs to be believed in. Lets try that. Then he is so screwed. "You want a friend in this town, get a dog."

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 56 44 --
ATLANTA 55 48 2.5
MIAMI 49 53 8.0
NEW YORK 49 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 45 58 12.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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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