Skip to content

Injuries mounting

May 16, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Associated Press
Wilson Ramos hunches over after injuring himself last night.

Every ballclub has to deal with injuries over the course of a season, and the good ones are able to overcome them by stockpiling depth and having Plan B and Plan C in place for such events. The Nationals certainly showed that one year ago, overcoming the extended losses of Jayson Werth, Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond and still winning an MLB-best 98 games.

But you can't help but have some sympathy for Davey Johnson and Co. right now. Though they've managed to avoid any devastating injuries to date, they just can't seem to get their eight regulars all healthy at the same time. Only five times in 40 games so far has Johnson submitted his Opening Day lineup card to umpires before first pitch.

And just when it looked like the Nationals were on the verge of being able to do that again — Bryce Harper has been cleared to return and Jayson Werth is due to come off the disabled list onRead more »

210 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Tcostant - May 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Guess starting the catchers in back to back games wasn't the best idea? If Det is hurt, bring up Romero and start Duke.

  2. DaveB - May 16, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Did anyone else watch Davey's Q&A with the beat reporters last night? He got really pissed at one question, but I couldn't hear the question. Johnny and Ray said that they thought it was about Harper, but they couldn't hear it either?

  3. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Dave B, it was something about what was written in Tuesday Wash Post, but I couldn't hear exactly what the question was. It was evidently out of bounds.

  4. Section 135 - May 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Davey has no right to get upset at reporters for calling him out. He single-handedly has cost this team first place. He cost them game 5 last year. He has his strengths as a manager but this year he hasn't been at his best. When you're missing half your lineup, its up to the manager to work around that. You have to make moves to generate runs. His moves, such as batting Danny 1st and Lombo 2nd dont havent worked.

  5. mick - May 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Watched the whole game as I always do, but, took Coach SJM's advice and slept on it before posting as much as I was tempted to after the 8th. I am still frustrated and mad. The injuries had NOTHING to do with 2 so called solid hitters STINKING it up with a lame pop up and KO. This is so typical of a 500 team that is over rated, one night the hot hitters cool down and the 1 for 15 guys hit with of course nobody on base. Reminds me again of the sorry Senators of 1971. ALR, lame pop out and Desomond's KO was simply TERRIBLE. Worst of all is Storen…I forgave him for game 5, but I will tell you, his performances keep reminding me of game five and I am getting done with him, as I said he is has let his team down time and time again, not that it would have mattered in the 9th as the Nats bats are PATHETIC!

  6. mick - May 16, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Injuries have NOTHING to do with Storen who sucks and Desmond and ALR stinking in 8th. Does the pitching staff have to win 1-0 ALL THE TIME

  7. baseballswami - May 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Scoring one run in two games. The Kershaw thing I get, but this one? Not like they scored a million against us. Hitting is terrible and players can 't stay on the field. Harper does need to use some common sense, the rest are poor conditioning? Who knows. I would tend towards Stammen making a start, although we know from experience Young is capable. What is up with Greinke? Collarbone surgery and he shuts us down a month later? Give our team whatever he is having.

  8. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    We are simply not a very good club, a .500 team. Maybe get on a run and get to 86, 87 wins. The problem is my expectations.

  9. Gonat - May 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Espinosa gets a hit. Of course its when nobody was on base.

  10. ruggeds1000 - May 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    If he has to be in the lineup at all, Espinosa should bat 8th, like all weak hitting good fielding 2B's. That's just baseball 101. I am starting to wonder about Johnson. Also, can't he see that Storen and Clippard are timebombs whose poor performances are going to be magnified after the ASB.

  11. Doc - May 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Somebody in this gaudy operation, referred to as the Washington Nationals, ought to put a few bucks down and buy a mic for the reporters asking Davey questions.Those 'press conferences' are ridiculous. You hear somebody mumbling in the foreground, and then out of the blue comes Davey's reply.

  12. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Injury concerns so far this season:ALR: back stiffness.Espi: Playing with torn rotator cuffZimm: Rehabbing shoulder, hamstringWerth: hamstringHarper: *all* the thingsRamos: hamstring. twice.Strasburg: forearm tightnessGio: possibly? lower velocity and lack of control at times is suspiciousHaren: leg/back painDet: back spasmsHRod: elbow painCan't really blame team conditioning for any of those. Det and Gio had odd spring trainings due to the WBC, Ramos and Zimm had odd spring trainings due to coming back from other injuries, Stras and Haren and HRod have had these types of injury concerns in the past, ALR and Werth are older players, Harper's just killing himself out there, and they can't force Espi to the get the surgery (though the time is getting close to not play him if he can't play through it successfully).Hard to score too many runs when half of your opening day roster is banged up; the difference last year was that the fill-ins performed at a higher rate. But even with all of that, the team is still one game back – if/when they can get everyone healthy at the same time, they can go on a run.I'm not going to excuse the 8th inning offfensive approach – that was kind of a mess. But they're only two games worse than they were at this point last year, and the schedule gets easier after May. Hardly a 'give up on the season' point, even if this kind of game was hard to watch.

  13. BigCat - May 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Perhaps "Deer Antler" will spruce up the troups.

  14. JT - May 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Wow…all these negative comments…and some deservedly so are showing the passion of the fans. I am thinking that DC is turning into a baseball town. Keep it up folks. Oh, and I'll agree that Storens productivity ever since game 5 has not showed much improvement and Espinosa, why he continues to get a bye is beyond me.

  15. JamesFan - May 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Speaking of frustrations, mine is Harper's attitude towar playing the game. He seems to have a martyr complex. There is a difference between playing the game hard and being wreckless. To declare you aren't worried about the long-term contribution to the team because you aren't afraid to run headlong into walls is very immature, even stupid. It also says that you can't learn how to play the outfield properly. Damaging the team just so you can look tough is not what I respect.

  16. phil dunton - May 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Injuries or no injuries, this team has no offense! It is painful to watch them try to score a run.

  17. Sam - May 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Mark, the five times with the Opening Day lineup is not entirely fair. Davey planned to platoon Ramos and Suzuki from day 1, so I would argue that any lineup with Suzuki and the other 7 regulars counts just the same as those with Ramos.

  18. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I mean, are we surprised Harper's immature? He's a 20-year-old kid who's always been physically better at baseball than anyone else at every level he's played at. That doesn't tend to create a realistic sense of one's own limitations.With that said, the wall crash wasn't necessarily reckless – he got a bad read (as he tend to do in right field), and lost track of where he was.We just have to hope his teammates can try to push him to play smarter, over time, and that the team gives him time to heal a little more before throwing him back out there. I'd prefer he sits out until at least Friday, personally.

  19. m - May 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I know I am repeating what everyone else is saying but starting pitching, although a slight problem if Det is hurt, is the least of our problems. Problems:(1) As others have stated Storen and Clip cannot be counted on to pitch a scoreless inning. The chances are they will give up at least one run.(2) We have absolutely no bench which means we have no depth. It is painfully evident with the line- up that is posted each day.(3) We have nothing on the farm save for maybe Marrero and Brown, although Brown is hurt now. (4) Espinosa is brutal. It is painful to watch him. In hockey goalies are pulled if the game is out of reach. Espy should be pulled because he just does not have it. The team is not helping him by trotting out each day. The only problem is we have no one to replace him.(5) We have no clutch hitters and that goes for Zimm, ALR, Desmond, Werth and Harper. The rest of team save for Ramos cannot hit let alone in the clutch. Ramos is our only clutch hitter and he is now hurt. I do not think the above deficiencies are an exaggeration. This team is just not that good. Over the entire season we will see they are no match for Atlanta, Reds, Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies or Cardinals. That's right – no playoffs.I am tired of hearing about the 98 wins. That happened last year and will not happen this year. We are a 500 team at best. It looks like we played above our heads last year. Now the big excuse from Davey, the players, Carp and FP will be our injuries. Unfortunately the injuries do not explain the lack of bench, lack of depth, poor farm and shaking bullpen. Oh one other thing. Enough with the called third strike. Swing the "expletive" bat.

  20. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    There is a 7-day DL for concussions. Should Harper be on it?

  21. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    The only thing more depressing than watching the game is reading our posts.Look, folks, Danny is one of several players that are killing us at the plate right now. But as peric correctly pointed out last night, he is not only our second baseman, he is in effect the only viable back up to Ian Desmond at short in the entire organization. I know we can cover him with someone else playing 2nd, and a few games on the bench would do him good,in my opinion,but if he is to continue being our starting 2nd baseman he needs to reside in the 8 hole until he shows he can hit.On Laroche's pop out to left with men on the corners and nobody out, if there had been one out Trent would have sent Perez. He may, or may not have scored. It would've been close with Perez' speed. But with Desmond on deck you don't send him on a ball that shallow.So for everybody that is calling for Davey's head, in spite of managing a team of walking wounded, who would you virtual GM's think would do a better job? As to Rick Epstein, go ahead, replace him, and guess what? The likes of Danny Espinosa aren't going to listen and follow the new guys instructions in the game either. Danny is bullheaded.Last year Tyler Moore was impressive. The league kept trying to throw fastballs by him, unsuccessfully. This year they have evidently figured out how to pitch to him, and he just isn't going to get enough AB's to work it out, especially when Werth and Harper return.Regarding strikeouts, I don't give a rat's posterior if it's a called third stike out, or a swing and a miss. It's a k, or a backwards K, but it's a strikeout in the book. Of course power hitters generally have more swinging strikeouts, but one way or the other, if you go down on strikes with men on base, you have killed a run scoring possibility. A 30% K rate is not acceptable.For the year, ALR, Moore, Tracy and Bernadina have all had at bats ending with strike outs over 30% of their PA's. That is horrible, but Moore's 44.1% is beyond description. I bleed for the kid.

  22. Pete - May 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Lets look at this another way – pretty much everything that could go wrong has, and the club is still over .500. Haren until recently hasn't panned out, stras and gio look uncomfortable on the mound and it translates to uncomfortable fielding, mounting injuries and an offense which is mimicking it's early season 2012 self and yet they're a game back from the Braves (who are starting an easy homestand but for now still worth pointing out). Don't panic after losing games to Kershaw and Greinke on the road.

  23. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    "When you're missing half your lineup, its up to the manager to work around that."You mean by, say, keeping them one game back from first?

  24. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Damn autocorrect. I swear I wrote "Eckstein!"

  25. bowdenball - May 16, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    JT- I love your attitude. You're absolutely right. I sometimes get frustrated reading posts and tweets from a fan base getting hysterical about a team that's one game out of first, but if I take a step back, it really is great that so many people are so invested in this team. It wasn't the case as recently as a year ago, but now this town is starting to feel like a baseball town- especially if you also look at the attendance numbers. Thanks for the perspective.As far as Espi- he gets a bye because there's nobody waiting to take his place. Lombo is even worse at the plate while not offering the same level of defense, and Rendon has a total of four professional games at 2B. It really is that simple.

  26. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Nothing wrong with this team a six game win streak wouldn't cure. (Last time I said that we went 6 for 7). I'm a little worried about Harper, though. The Pads are not a good team, but they have some good players, some players you have to watch out for. Evereth Cabrera is FAST. And Chase Headley is their Ryan Zimmerman. They've been playing well recently, as they did last season after a bad start. Volquez, their Opening Day starter, has a high ERA, and is streaky. His last two starts were good… before that… yo-yo.

  27. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I agree about Espi batting 8th, at least until he remembers how to slow down and hit the ball.

  28. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Just finish watching the game. I actually had high hopes when I saw the eight inning unfolding. I never learn, I'm such a fool. You have the guys to do the job and both fail miserably. Pathetic, unprofessional. Enough with potential , results is the name of the game.

  29. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    In addition, Desi, I love ya, and you've been hot as hell at times this year, but you, too, need to learn how to slow down and just hit in clutch situations. I bet he tore his shoelaces striking out in the 8th last night.

  30. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Also, it's good to see the Giants take a walloping, even if it was "only" Vogelsong. GIants have had some shaky defense, also. They are not infallible.

  31. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    ALR's pop out was probably 5 – 10 feet from being a sac fly. I think he took the right approach. Don't recall him swinging with every ounce of power in his body on every swing like Desi, anyway.

  32. Theophilus T. S. - May 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I suppose Moore would be helped by more playing time but I have been skeptical about his long-term performance ever since he came up. Like several others on this team (LaRoche coming primarily to mind) he is a "mistake" hitter — he will punish the pitcher's mistakes but on well-placed pitches he is severely disadvantaged. Pitchers have now seen enough of him to know what "mistakes" to avoid. He doesn't have the command of the strike zone to wait for a mistake or a BB. (Although LaRoche strikes out a lot, he has more patience than Moore and gets more hittable pitches — hittable for him, anyway.)

  33. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    It pains me to say it but when the Nats played the Cards this year you can see what a team professionals they are. They can all hit HRs but they know the situation and adjust. I think they are even better than last year.The Nats are so weak under pressure and game 5 has destroyed the little confidence they had in themselves. Only Harper and JZim are immune to that.

  34. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    As far as not sending Espi down because he is the backup SS; do planes not fly from Syracuse to wherever the Nats are playing? Would it kill the team to have Lombo play there for a couple of innings if needed?Come up with a better excuse Rizzo.

  35. mick - May 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    If Stras can act like an adult and pitch a decent game, then it appears the starting pitching has come around. BP problems exist as Storen sucks and Clip is a head case, and why Henry and Duke are still here is a mystery to all mankind. Davey needs to deal with BP NOWOffense is puzzling, I know Werth and Harp out is a big deal. However, have we overestimated our reserves and depth? T Moore inconsistent and I think he can play better… the Shark can not HIT, Espi is a bust and I think it is a serious issue. April and May are the months that teams figure out if they can roll or if they have to make a major shakeup. I am just not sure which it is with Nats?/

  36. mick - May 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Remember, Harper did not begin play until late April and Werth was out 4 months last year Zim need a cortisone shot in June and and the Nats still rolled, SO, the injuries are NO EXCUSE

  37. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    >It pains me to say it but when the Nats played the Cards this year you can see what a team professionals they are. They can all hit HRs but they know the situation and adjust. I agree 100%. We NEED to become more adept at small ball. When you're down 1 with men on 2nd and 3rd, just try drive in ONE run at a time, don't try to win right then and there. If you succeed with the first run, now you have a man on third. Score him. If you don't, then at the very least you've bought yourself more time to go yard for the win. In 1 run games with 1 or more men in score position, the rule should be to simply move them around the bases to at least tie it up.>Only Harper and JZim are immune to that.I don't agree with this so much. I really think their biggest problem remains trying to do too much when just enough will suffice, AKA, pressing (refer back to small ball comments).

  38. Theophilus T. S. - May 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    The question is how to get more hitting in the lineup. I think the time has come to send Moore down for some ABs and bring up Rendon to bat second and chase Span around the bases. Espinosa to the bench to work on his issues in BP unless/until there is an injury in the IF. Lombardozzi to be regarded as a spare outfielder.I've been barking for a long time that they need a consistent hitter in the day-to-day lineup, one who doesn't strike out much, knows how to get hits in all portions of the field and all kinds of pitches, and doesn't go from slumps into streaks and vice-versa. Rendon is the only player in the system who matches that description. If they're in the commode at the All-Star break, flush Storen, LaRoche, Bernadina and Lombardozzi, who either have no long-term future with this team, are blocking a fix to the embarrasing 3B problem, or stink.

  39. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Expos, other than Storen, I don't think that's true about Game 5. We fans haven't put it behind us, but I'm sure the boys have, on a day-to-day basis. You just don't have time as an athlete to stew over events that far in the past. D-Span, Haren, and Soriano weren't even here, and they are key parts of the team. This year is this year, and it has its own set of problems.BTW, Morse is starting to hit. I'm tellin' ya, Rizzo is keeing an eye on him. If, in July, the M's are where they are now (below .500 with NO shot in their DIvision and not much chance of a Wild Card), Morse's price won't be high, in fact, he could come back for a random minor-leaguer and "salary considerations" as a 3-month rental.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Eric said… ALR's pop out was probably 5 – 10 feet from being a sac fly. I think he took the right approach. Don't recall him swinging with every ounce of power in his body on every swing like Desi, anyway. May 16, 2013 9:39 AM LaRoche's approach was fine. Get a ball to drive. He did that. There were no outs with Desi on-deck. Good play all around not to send Perez. Let Desi drive him in. Desi was swinging for the 3 run HR and missed it. It happens. Again, the game wasn't won or lost there.

  41. mick - May 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Our depth has been scouted and it is just not good

  42. baseballswami - May 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    For those of you thinking Clip is unreliable– in his last 9 innings he has struck out 10 and allowed one run. We all seem to have this thing that relievers should put up only zeroes. Nice goal, but not realistic. It seems precarious because our offense is so paltry and our games so close. I would venture a guess that there are no relievers with a zero era at the end of a season. We are not getting a ton of runs scored against us since the first few weeks. It really is a lack of offense.

  43. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    >SO, the injuries are NO EXCUSEThey are when your the majority of your bench players are swinging nothing but wet noodles.

  44. mick - May 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Nats Lady… you are on to something, I agree about Morse and I could see Beast back in DC in July

  45. mick - May 16, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Eric said…>SO, the injuries are NO EXCUSEThey are when your the majority of your bench players are swinging nothing but wet noodles.excuse me, last season the Nats had more injuries and starter on DL and they still rolled, so explain that

  46. mick - May 16, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Ericsorry, i did not read your post correctly, you are right

  47. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    "Rendon to bat second and chase Span around the bases."Nah, I like Werth there.Talk of ditching LaRoche–of the 12-game hitting streak with a tater currently sitting on top–is…odd…imo."Desi was swinging for the 3 run HR and missed it. It happens. Again, the game wasn't won or lost there."IMO, the time for that swing is AFTER you tie the game. In the top of the 8th, buying yourself time should be top priority, imo. Desi always seems to strike out in the exact same way in those situations.

  48. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    S'all good, mick. It's frustrating as hell, don't get me wrong!

  49. mick - May 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. mick - May 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Theophilus T. Sagree about 3rd, and once the NATS hit, Ryan 's rubber arm I am sure will strike again costing the team a game or two

  51. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Oh, but GoSM, I agree with this 100%:"There were no outs with Desi on-deck. Good play all around not to send Perez [on ALR's pop out]."

  52. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I know that Storen is the most affected by game 5 and also by losing his job as a closer but I feel they have this defeated attitude. All the problems they had in the playoff have carried into the season. I agree injuries are no excuses, all teams go through them. I just saw Zim's comment about not having their lineup injury-free, that sounds like Rollins.

  53. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I agree, Ghost at 9:46, but it certainly wasn't won there either.LOL

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I'm not sure you all could see into the Nats dugout last night but there just seemed to be a lot of slumped shoulders all game except for the little bit of joy that came with the LaRoche HR. Everyone seems tense. Bryce looked wiped out and understandly so. These guys look tired except for 3 guys. Desi, Eury Perez and Chad Tracy. Chad's probably still happy to have a job and Eury is that combo of youth and hunger and Desi is a team leader. When Werth comes back, keep Perez and send TyMo back to AAA. He is just another of these broken players who is lost. Espinosa just seems the wrong type of infectious and whatever he has you don't want. This team really needs Jayson Werth for his clubhouse presence. When he isn't around it just reminds me of the Acta days. Low energy and just guys cashing a paycheck.

  55. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    It's funny about Clip, swami. Something about him just makes me extremely nervous, but he has quietly racked up a nice little stretch of innings, hasn't he?

  56. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Mick – the team's record at this point last year was only two games better than it is now, not a huge swing. It's true that the team hasn't looked as impressive as we'd like, but it's not like they looked like the best team in baseball last April-May either. Several of those wins happened on freak events like a walkoff wild pitch with a man on third.The only major difference is expectations.The team could end up being mediocre or bad, of course. If the injuries keep piling up (I'm mainly worried about the starting pitchers), the backups could keep not performing, who knows. But we just don't know yet.

  57. mick - May 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Ghost.. your post is EXCELLENT and I think it sums things up fairly accurately. Let me throw in getting Morse back in June/July and with Werth and Morse in the dug out, maybe this team can roll… who the hell knows…

  58. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I have to say, I really like the idea of Perez replacing Moore.

  59. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    And if your replacements for you injured players don't do the job, you try other ones. We use to hear competitions is good a thing between players but it can't happen if there's no consequences of constantly fail as a player. Espinosa, Moore, Hrod, Duke, Tracy, Bernadina even Storen

  60. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I agree there are alot of hanging heads on this team, not much smiling or laughing. Team at the moment just looks like losers. I'm not ready to give up on Storen but he needs someone to get in his ear and motivate him. He should use this opportunity to outshime Soriano and make the Nats use him late. Its like he and SS are the sulk in the corner twins.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    mick, thanks. Sadly I think Rizzo made it clear he didn't see Mikey in the future plans here.

  62. mick - May 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Emdash… good points, however, I actually think the starting pitching may be coming around, if Stras can GROW UP It is the BP that scares me

  63. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Ghost, I think the injury bug really got them down last night. When your starting pitcher *and* starting catcher (who just returned from a trip to the DL) both go down before the 4th inning, that's got to be really deflating.

  64. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I dunno. I think we're projecting on Storen a bit. He was on 106.7 the other day and had a great, upbeat attitude, and I seem to recall a recent stretch where our entire bullpen (including him) was lights out (up through the Tigers series maybe)?One tangible thing this team needs, imo, is for Stras to have a solid outing, ideally that involves him powering through adversity once or twice without causing or compounding damage. Be a leader Stras, you're A-1 in the rotation!

  65. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Agreed @10:10 EmDash.

  66. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Mick – very proud of you! and you have a right to be ticked offJT said it well, more and more baseball fans emerging in this town and as long as baseball has been played there will be different opinions. I am guessing they will wait until the West Coast swing is done (and how great is it that we don't have another trip out West?). If the Braves continue to struggle and we can somehow turn it around maybe we will return home in first place.On Morse – remember my pleas to Rizzo to keep him as a super utility guy. I was actually half serious as I realized it made better sense to move him but just look at how much he would have helped us. Zim & LaRoche out early – no problem, insert Morse. Werth out – no problem, Morse takes over. Span needs a day off from a tough lefty – No problem. Anyway, if NatsLady could be right on just one prediction this early, I would take this one on Morse rejoining our lineup. Think the 7th inning stretch wouldn't be even more jazzed up??? OK – back to reality. Lets hope SS figures things out and gets us back on a roll. SS, Gio, JZimmnn could mean a nice streak. Go Nats!! Hit the damn ball

  67. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Expos, I just have to disagree. They didn't look "defeated" at all when they were winning the last 2 from Atlanta and clawing victories from the Tigers. They've run into some bad luck and injuries, but the only two games in the recent set that annoy me are Davey pulling Gio and Stras melting down. I don't think Davey will repeat that "mistake" (or at least, not soon). It remains to be seen if Stras will come out of his funk. He's getting plenty of bad pub. we have to see if that motivates him or not. The difference between Stras' postgame comments and Haren's is stark. I don't place a lot of faith in postgame comments, because most of these guys have been trained by their agents to spew out the cliches. But there is a choice of which cliches, and I didn't much care for Strasburg's choice.So Stras is going out there tonight with not the best lineup, just like Haren did. Werth is out, Harper may be out, probably should be out, the hitters are slumping and you are in their house. Will he be the stopper for the team?

  68. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Well, maybe Stras will be inspired pitching in front of his hometown crowd today.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Eric said… I have to say, I really like the idea of Perez replacing Moore. May 16, 2013 10:09 AM Thanks and the best example someone gave a few weeks ago (can't remember who said it) was treat this like an underperforming College basketball team and pull your 5 starters and put in 5 bench guys.It can't be as drastic but this team has to take players who have options that aren't getting it done and ship them off together. As Solano flies to San Diego this morning I hope they stop in Harrisburg to pick up Rendon and then stop in DC to get Werth.As soon as Corey Brown gets some rehab starts, he should join the team. Chad Tracy needs to get a hangnail and go on the DL when Corey Brown is ready and Werth can replace TyMo and Espi needs to go back to some level of instructional ball. With all that said, Rendon is coming back any time soon. The "plan" of playing him at 2nd base in AA just isn't happening. He has played 2nd base once in the past 10 days.

  70. Diz - May 16, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    You can't bat Espi 8th. He doesn't have the discipline and his K's would go even higher. Suzuki is perfect there as he takes pitches when they try to work around the 8-hole. You think DE is bad now at that plate, watch what happens when you put him 8th. As far as the rotation goes, I think they way people are pitching now, you have to go with Stammen. There is nobody down in Syracuse that I would trust giving the ball to.If we had to go to Syracuse, Ohlendorf, I think is a better option than Rosenbaum. His ERA is higher, but his WHIP is lower and has a 2 to 1 K to BB ratio. Young is not an option at this point.Also, Duke is a disaster. No way you can put him in as a starter. He shouldn't even be on the roster at this point. And can we all admit, Maya may be Rizzo's worst signing ever.

  71. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I wrote earlier this week about keeping Perez and worried that Davey always talks about having that "big bat" on the bench. Guess what Davey, none of our bats on the bench are "big" right now! Perez gives you one thing that we do not have on the bench and that is speed! He is almost the perfect double switch as he plays good defense, can pinch run, can bunt and hopefully get on base. What's not to like.

  72. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Eric, same thought! It's time–it's past time–for Stras to step up. I also think fans are projecting our feelings on the boys, but Storen has just not been what he was when he was saving 40 games. Clip's had these rough patches before (look at LAST spring) and then amazing stretches. But Storen–does he have the maturity yet, or is it physical (relievers are a crap-shoot anyway, a lot of them), or are we just using too much of a microscope?

  73. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I'll agree to disagree with you Natslady. To me, when a team never comes back from behind they are defeated. When they fail in important spot, they are defeated.

  74. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    EmDash said… Ghost, I think the injury bug really got them down last night. When your starting pitcher *and* starting catcher (who just returned from a trip to the DL) both go down before the 4th inning, that's got to be really deflating. May 16, 2013 10:10 AM I'm talking from the start of the 2nd inning which was long before the injuries. Sure, it got worse as the game went on and the Ramos injury after he crushed those 2 balls was a real blow to the team.I was happy to see Chad Tracy as a bench leader. At least he is trying to do something.

  75. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  76. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    GOSMthe fact that they don't play REndon at 2nd base can only mean 2 things either they are planning to trade him or replace Zim(trade or move him to 1st). I don't see any of those happening this year so like you said Rendon ain't coming back.

  77. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    I think for the money, Maya ranks right up there but it was a gamble and at the time, the Lerners were still getting that rap of not spending money.I hate to give up on Duke but he has been horrible. It would be a stretch but if it was just for one start, you could start Stammen with Duke getting ready in the 4th/5th depending on how Craig is doing or you could flip it depending on who you are playing and what their lineup looks like. Again, Duke scares me a hell of a lot more than Stammen here. Hoping Bray continues to improve and gets here soon.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    sjm308 said… I wrote earlier this week about keeping Perez and worried that Davey always talks about having that "big bat" on the bench. Guess what Davey, none of our bats on the bench are "big" right now! Perez gives you one thing that we do not have on the bench and that is speed! He is almost the perfect double switch as he plays good defense, can pinch run, can bunt and hopefully get on base. What's not to like. May 16, 2013 10:20 AM Glad we had the same thoughts on Perez. I think Bernadina has some speed on the bench. You're right, no power on that bench as Tracy and TyMo are just not making much solid contact.

  79. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    To GoSM @ 10:18:Yeah. I don't see Espi going anywhere. As I've stated a number of times, I can live with that. Rizzo's comment yesterday about him being the primary SS back up really solidified for me how valuable he is to our defense. I *do* think he should be chained to the 8 hole and immediately benched on signs of slipping up in the field.As for the bench, keep Lombo and Shark (fantastic in the field and waking up in the batter's box), swap Tracy and Moore. Honestly, if we have a lefty who is even remotely like Perez on the base paths, that's who should replace Tracy. Our biggest offensive weakness is clearly manufacturing runs via small ball. IMO we need more bench guys that address that.

  80. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    It's hard to say what Duke would be if he had the time to prepare as a starter. He might give you a good 5 innings, he might not, but if you use Stammen then he's gone for two or even three games when you might need him in relief. I don't like the trade-off. Bring someone up or use Duke.

  81. JD - May 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    'or are we just using too much of a microscope?'Bingo !!Toronto is 17 – 24 Oakland 20 – 11LA Angels 15 – 25LA Dodgers 17 – 22 The Nationals are 21 – 19 and 1 game out of 1st place. Rizzo isn't going to blow up this team just because it hasn't clicked yet; that's not his MO. If he believed in the team he put together in the off season he will ride this out at least until the all star break and even then we are talking about tweaking not massive rebuilds.

  82. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    The small ball problem is not on Eckstein, it's on Davey. He doesn't like that style of play and that's why you see guys swinging for the fences.

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Eric said… Yeah. I don't see Espi going anywhere. As I've stated a number of times, I can live with that. Rizzo's comment yesterday about him being the primary SS back up really solidified for me how valuable he is to our defense.Sorry, but that's just excuse # 501. You send Espi down and if something happened to Desi during a game Lombo finishes the game at SS and you recall Espi. It's real simple just like what Solano is doing now with the injury to Ramos.Espi right now is a problem with himself and everyone around him.

  84. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    NatsLady I disagree the Nats have been unlucky. It stinks to watch sportscenter seeing teams hit gappers and we get excited with singles because we are hitting the ball so weakly. Teams make their own luck and right now the Nats are getting what they deserve; if the want to improve it has to start with the team playing better.

  85. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    It's possible that Drew's just been pretty unlucky this year – if you look at his FIP for the full year of 2011 and now, they're pretty much identical (3.32 vs. 4.48).K/9: 8.84 vs. 8.22BB/9: 2.39 vs. 1.76 (so, he's actually walked fewer people this year)He's getting a fair number of ground balls: 45.8%. It's just that the BABIP against him is a very high .360 so far vs. .246 in 2011. A high number of ground balls are finding holes and going for hits; that's not generally considered to be in the pitcher's control.

  86. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Makes sense NatsLady, but couldn't Mattheus sort of replace Stammen for those 2 or 3 games or is he just a one inning pitcher right now? We always have Henry right? (will wait for the rocks to come flying)

  87. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    JD, I think you meant Oakland is 20-22.

  88. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    As far as the big bat on the bench, well, statistically Tracy is due to hit a HR; you have to think he hits one a year at least and its been a year

  89. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Exposremains said… The small ball problem is not on Eckstein, it's on Davey. He doesn't like that style of play and that's why you see guys swinging for the fences. May 16, 2013 10:27 AM That's a true statement. The element of surprise could have been a Desi suicide squeeze for a hit and keep the line moving. The suicide squeeze is demoralizing to the other team.

  90. JD - May 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Sending Moore down and dropping Tracy is fine and DFA'ng Henry is also fine except it doesn't matter that much. The key to our success is getting Zim, LaRoche, Werth,Harper humming at the same time coupled with continued strong starting pitching. Park Espi at the bottom of the lineup and quit worrying about him so much.

  91. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Uh, the FIP in the first paragraph should be 3.32 vs. *3*.48. If the latter started with a 4, that'd be a greater concern. *g*

  92. JD - May 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    NatsLady, You are right of course.

  93. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    sjm308, if I recall, last year Davey tried using Mattheus for more than one inning, with mixed success. Mattheus could get hurt again, which we definitely DON'T WANT. He's better off using Henry for multiple innings if Duke (or XYZ from Syracuse) implodes.

  94. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Ghost is right about Danny and I agree – this is professional baseball – you produce or you get replaced – you use the options the MLB contracts provide to make those moves – Danny has options – let him try and get better at a level where it does not affect the major league team – I am not an Oriole fan but I do appreciate looking at how Buck has no problems with moving people back and forth from the majors to the minors. If you don't produce, its next man up.

  95. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    SCNatsFan said… As far as the big bat on the bench, well, statistically Tracy is due to hit a HR; you have to think he hits one a year at least and its been a year May 16, 2013 10:29 AM That is correct. Last HR was a year and 2 days ago. Keep waiting for that HR. How did Matt Stairs do with the HR that Rizzo kept waiting for?http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/event_hr.cgi?id=tracych01&t=b

  96. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    NatsLady – good points (as usual) and I definitely don't want Stammen, Mattheus or Clip hurt.

  97. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    "Sorry, but that's just excuse # 501. You send Espi down and if something happened to Desi during a game Lombo finishes the game at SS and you recall Espi. It's real simple just like what Solano is doing now with the injury to Ramos."That does make sense, but if Lombo's in the wings to back up Desi, who's playing second? That gets us back to the whole Rendon/Kobernus/etc., debate. I just think the dominoes set in motion by sending Espi down make for a web that's one thread too tangled.

  98. Theophilus T. S. - May 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Eric (and others) — I agree the idea of dumping LaRoche seems odd, at the moment. Remember, my predicate for dumping him was, "if they're in the commode at the All-Star break."I believe — subject to resurrection of Z'man's throwing ability — they're going to have to move him to 1B as soon as possible rather than at their leisure. Trading LaRoche is the only alternative to trading Z'man, which I think management would realize is unthinkable. First base is the only other position Z'man could play. A performing LaRoche with more than a year remaining on his contract would be very marketable at the trade deadline. The Nationals have enough talent that they shouldn't be in a rebuilding mode. A fill-and-patch at the most obvious weak spots (2B and defense at 3B) would be a big step toward a solution to their problems. Maybe in the process they could get a couple of usable relief pitchers.

  99. bowdenball - May 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Exposremains said…"I'll agree to disagree with you Natslady. To me, when a team never comes back from behind they are defeated. When they fail in important spot, they are defeated."I don't know what team you're talking about, but it ain't the 2013 Nationals. Or have your forgotten them bouncing back from 5 straight losses to the Braves to win two straight and salvage the four game set in Atlanta? What about the extra-innings win in Cincinnati after losing a lead in the 9th? And they trailed early but came back to win games against both the Pirates and the Tigers in the last 12 days or so.

  100. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    "That's a true statement. The element of surprise could have been a Desi suicide squeeze for a hit and keep the line moving. The suicide squeeze is demoralizing to the other team."That's *exactly* the sort of thing that needed to be done in that situation, imo. If Desi was told to go up there and swing his shoes off, that was bad strategy, imo. If he did it of his own volition, that was some hardcore pressing.

  101. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    JD, have to agree on your priorities. We spend a lot of time here on minor pieces to the puzzle. LaRoche's homerun was a nice sign, so was his focus in the 9th inning vs. Kershaw–it wouldn't have taken a lot to get two runs off Kershaw who was clearly tired. Didn't happen, but that was the only time I felt the Nats had a real chance in that game.

  102. JD - May 16, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Re Espi/Rendon. I think the problem in the discussion here is that some people want to couple these too situations but Rizzo is and must look at them separately. Rendon – Rizzo has a development plan for Rendon and he is not deviating from it because he is more interested in the long term than in the short term; if you don't believe that this is true then you didn't pay attention to the whole Stras shutdown story last year. The fact that he's having success is great and the fact that he beat adversity last year is also great. He will arrive when Rizzo feels it's time. Espi – I think he would have been sent down if we had a viable backup short stop solution. I really think that his career needs to be resurrected at least to last year's levels because right now he is at replacement level and I think he's better than that.

  103. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    sjm308 said… Ghost is right about Danny and I agree – this is professional baseball – you produce or you get replaced – you use the options the MLB contracts provide to make those moves – Danny has options – let him try and get better at a level where it does not affect the major league team – I am not an Oriole fan but I do appreciate looking at how Buck has no problems with moving people back and forth from the majors to the minors. If you don't produce, its next man up. May 16, 2013 10:32 AM I hate when an Orio does anything that makes sense but you're right. Buck takes the hot hand from Norfolk and injects them into the lineup usually for short-term gain until the scouting catches up with the player.Buck's biggest success came with Chris Davis and moving Machado to 3rd. It wasn't his position but they wanted his bat in there and it was a choice of playing him at 3rd or 2nd since Hardy was cemented at SS.They have the best infield in baseball now. It pains me to say that.

  104. Candide - May 16, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I know it's just infield dirt, but it sure looks like Wilson crapped his pants in the photo at the top of this post.

  105. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    "I just think the dominoes set in motion by sending Espi down make for a web that's one thread too tangled."WOW…how about THAT mixed metaphor? I'm gonna go make some coffee. Sheesh.

  106. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Thanks for that, Candide–NOT. (I hadn't noticed).

  107. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    JD, we have a difference of opinion. When a player is ready, like Trout, Harper, Machado, you know it. Trout got sent back to the Minors at 19 and came back at 20 years old as one of the greatest rookie performances in history.Rendon was overwhelmed at first when he was called up. After he sat on the bench for 2 days, he looked amazing during the rest of his games here.The kid is ready right now if you have a position for him. Its the perfect Manny Machado comparison. You find a temporary position for him. 2nd base is clearly open.

  108. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Bowden BallThey keep talking about it on the MASN broadcast on how if they trail after something like the 5-6 inning they basically never win this year. THat's what I've been watching, have you? How many walk off do they have?

  109. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    You mentioned winning 2 against the BRaves. THat's 2 out of 7. I don't find that reassuring.

  110. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    From 9:45 last night: Nats confident Harper isn't concussed

  111. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    The silver lining here is that the Nats are still in the hunt even though they clearly aren't playing well.

  112. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    “Once the word came that everything was OK, I thought it was fairly hilarious,” Werth said. Ha! “But we definitely need to get that under control because we don’t want to see any players running face first into fences especially a guy like Bryce that potentially has a long, good career ahead of him. And I’ve said this many times before, Bryce has a lot to learn. Again, I think it’s fairly apparent that he’s got a lot to learn.”Right on.

  113. Ivan Tuski - May 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I feel that our scoring opportunities are rare enough of late that we should not have the luxury of making a conservative choice on whether or not to send Eury home from third.

  114. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Walk-offs usually say more about the weakness of the opponent's bullpen than the strength of the offense. I'm fine with getting early leads and keeping them.

  115. Ivan Tuski - May 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    I also think that the loss of Bo Porter has not sufficiently replaced. too many base running miscues both aggressive and passive.

  116. Ivan Tuski - May 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    "From 9:45 last night: Nats confident Harper isn't concussed" I still saw that far away look in his eyes, and do not have the utmost confidence in our medical staff. Ramos's return being just the latest example.It's worrisome.

  117. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    "Walk-offs usually say more about the weakness of the opponent's bullpen than the strength of the offense. I'm fine with getting early leads and keeping them."I'm also fine with bunts, sac flies, fielder's choices, seeing-eye hits, etc.!

  118. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Jd, I have said before that I think your one of the more intelligent writers here and a constant voice of reason however on Rendon I think you are being close minded and thinking there is some grand plan here. The only plan I see here is someone or someones in management are protecting Danny Espinosa and that is why Rendon isn't here is because he is blocked. In the words of the great Natsjack, Espinosa stinks. Truer words haven't been spoken.

  119. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Ivan, I'm not 100% confident in his condition, either. I'd be very curious what Denard Span would have to say about it. I know he's not a medical expert, but he's familiar with the signs.

  120. Diz - May 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Seems to me that the baseball gods haven't been too kind to us this year.We get the Dodgers and have to face Kershaw and the return of Greinke.Then the Braves get Dodgers right after us and miss both of them.We must make a sacrifice to appease them!

  121. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    "We must make a sacrifice to appease them!"Ha! Anyone here gonna be at the game tonight? Maybe bring some sage.

  122. NatsJack in Florida - May 16, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    And there you go. The team is not playing good baseball and still in the hunt. And if and when they start playing good baseball, that will come with no guarantees.That's why I watch the games.

  123. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Diz, the Braves get Kershaw on Sunday. After pitching over 130 he might be very hittable.

  124. Laddie Blah Blah - May 16, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    "Rendon was overwhelmed at first when he was called up. After he sat on the bench for 2 days, he looked amazing during the rest of his games here.The kid is ready right now if you have a position for him. Its the perfect Manny Machado comparison. You find a temporary position for him. 2nd base is clearly open."Nah. Last night, Anthony Rendon only went 1 for 5 with a home run. Since he returned from the majors, Rendon is hitting .432/.523/.838. That's only an OPS of 1.361. Since when is that good enough to replace Danny Espinosa?

  125. JD - May 16, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Ghost, Your disagreement is with Rizzo not with me. I am not qualified enough to determine when it is optimal to promote a young player. Clearly Rizzo does not see it your way or Rendon would be playing 2nd base every day in Harrisburg. You must at least consider the possibility that Rizzo knows what he's doing when it comes to player development and when the right time is to graduate them.

  126. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Laddie, that is the greatest paragraph of sarcasm. Funny stuff and great stats.Rendon would be ready if they gave him several days of work at 2nd base.Jd, Rizzo did graduate Rendon when he came up to play 3rd while Zimm was on the DL. The team easily could have done what they did last year when Zimm was out and play Tracy and Lombo there.

  127. bowdenball - May 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Exposremains said…"Bowden BallThey keep talking about it on the MASN broadcast on how if they trail after something like the 5-6 inning they basically never win this year. That's what I've been watching, have you? How many walk off do they have?"That's just stupid. They've played 40 games. Walk off wins are rare. You know who else doesn't have any walk-off wins this year? The 26-13 Cardinals, the best team in baseball. They're also 0-2 in extra inning games and I think have won maybe two games they trailed late. Are the Cardinals "defeated" too?The simple fact is that even the better teams in the game still have only 20-26 wins because the season is so young. Walkoffs, extra inning wins and dramatic comebacks are rare, so most teams only have a small handful of those out of their 20-26 wins. The Nats are no different.

  128. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    You will not be happy with Rendon at 2B. What he gains at the plate (MAYBE) he will lost on defense at that position. JD is correct, what we need is RZ, LaRoche, Werth, Desi hitting on all cylinders, with Span to set the table and occasional contributions from Danny, the catcher and the starting pitchers (except Det). Danny should not hit 8th behind the catcher, that is a recipe for disaster in the form of catcher injuries on the basepaths. If anything, Danny should hit 2nd, and be told to take walks or bunt.

  129. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    "NatsLady said… If anything, Danny should hit 2nd, and be told to take walks or bunt."You had a good thing going there until that sentence unless thats a joke. It was a joke, right.

  130. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    "You know who else doesn't have any walk-off wins this year? The 26-13 Cardinals, the best team in baseball."What they do have is skill with a small blade and inflicting death by 1000 cuts.But, I'll shut up about small ball for awhile…

  131. JD - May 16, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Harpo, Maybe you are right but why do you think that is? I can see trying to resurrect Espinosa at least to get some trade value for him but I don't believe they are holding Rendon back for that; it doesn't make sense to me. To me it looks more like they see Rendon as a 3rd baseman because they are not so sure Zim can keep that position long term with his throwing issues.

  132. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I firmly believe Espi stays here; its not like Rizzo or Davey to admit defeat on a decision

  133. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Jd, I think you send Espi down to get him some confidence and hope he comes back as a better player. You could see the temporary lift just from his 2 day benching.He hasn't earned what he has. Its 2 years of declining value. I don't know many teams that would put up with this when a player still has minor league options.

  134. Laddie Blah Blah - May 16, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    "Laddie, that is the greatest paragraph of sarcasm. Funny stuff and great stats."Couldn't help it. We have gone from delusional to downright farcical with Espinosa. All we can do now is laugh at it.

  135. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    "JD said… Harpo,To me it looks more like they see Rendon as a 3rd baseman because they are not so sure Zim can keep that position long term with his throwing issues."Rendon could be a 2nd baseman for 3 months or 3 years however you dont hold him back because 3rd base isnt open.The person who used the Machado situation is correct. If Rendon doesn't cut it, you send it back down. If he proves better than Espy, its a net-net gain.

  136. Laddie Blah Blah - May 16, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    "You will not be happy with Rendon at 2B."No, YOU will not be happy with Rendon at 2nd base. I would be delighted, and so would Nats Nation, in short order.

  137. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Danny is fast, he CAN take a walk and he can bunt. He won't hit into double plays if Span gets on, the worst he will do is strike out and he might get a double or a HR. If he hits 7th or 8th he will be a rally-killer–as we have seen.

  138. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Bowden ballIf not agreeing with you makes me stupid, I think you know what not agreeing with me makes you.

  139. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    "Laddie Blah Blah said… "Laddie, that is the greatest paragraph of sarcasm. Funny stuff and great stats."Couldn't help it. We have gone from delusional to downright farcical with Espinosa. All we can do now is laugh at it."The amount of excuses given for 1 major league player is so above and beyond. Between HRod and Espy, this fanbase has given more excuses than you can give in a lifetime. They turned on a guy like Morse however they are willing to accept 2 players that fail at proportions that put them near the bottom of their profession.As SCNatsFan said, theres also this "I firmly believe Espi stays here; its not like Rizzo or Davey to admit defeat on a decision" I think much of the excuses is really a show of support for management. The stats are so bad for those guys that you cant even come up with any rational support.

  140. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Danny is at replacement value. That value comes entirely from his D and his baserunning. His D isn't going anywhere. All he has to do is hit a LITTLE, not a lot. His BABIP is .211–meaning he has been extremely unlucky on balls he has hit.On the other hand, Manny Machado's BABIP is .383–unsustainably high unless you are Ichiro. Machado's bloops are falling in, Danny's aren't.

  141. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Wait, who "turned" on Morse? I'm just not living in the past. He's gone, I'm over it.Morse has a lot of positives, but he's by no means the Michael frickin Jordan of baseball, imo. We still have one of the few guys that could be.

  142. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    NatsLady, when Espi was put in the 2 hole I think last week, I thought it made a lot of sense. IF he can be disciplined enough to approach batting as you suggest, then I'm with you all the way.

  143. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    I want to apologize for my last comment to other posters but it just really annoys me that some on here always use name calling to prove their point. I also know that fights between posters are annoying.

  144. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Laddie, loving your posts. I can just sit back and let you keep going as you're doing a great job!

  145. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    NatsLady just wrote excuses 502, 503 and 504 for Danny. If he could take a walk, he would be doing it. He is lost at the plate. The pitchers dont have to throw him strikes as he will expand his strike zone.Why do you constantly feel the need to make excuses for him. If he could do it in the 2 hole, he would have done it in the 7 hole.

  146. Eugene in Oregon - May 16, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    NatsLady,I respect your opinion on most issues, but I've got to take issue with your suggestion that Danny Espinosa be put in the two-slot in the batting order. His career OBP is .306, to begin this season it's .208, and — as Mark Z. pointed out yesterday — since hurting his shoulder it's .222. He may not be an ideal #7 or #8 hitter, but he's certainly not a #2 hitter. If anything, I'd be more comfortable with moving everyone up in the order until Jayson Werth returns. I'd rather see Messrs. Harper and Zimmerman guaranteed a first inning AB than give up an more-or-less automatic out before the game has even really started.

  147. SonnyG10 - May 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Haven't read all the thread yet, so pardon me please if I'm repeating.It's not much wonder that our scoring ability was not productive last night. With the lineup that was trotted out there, due to injuries, had five players with a batting average of .214 or lower. That's over half the lineup!

  148. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Expos, not a problem by me. I consider you one of the most valuable and thoughtful posters on this board. If we disagree on certain points, that happens. One thing I try to remember is that we, as fans, don't have all the facts, period. We don't have the scouts, and even with use of fangraphs, brooks baseball, etc., we don't have the best information (or, at least I HOPE we don't). I'm not a professional at this.Agree about Morse being in the past, and that was clearly the signal Rizzo gave. But he didn't leave on bad terms or anything, and if that was the one piece missing in July, meaning our pitchers are healthy, our bullpen is solid, etc., and the bench is STILL not producing, Rizzo could find a place for Morse for three months. Not saying he will, but he could.

  149. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Espinosa in the 2 hole: .125/.176/.188 and thats a .364 OPS with a K/BB of 7.00 Yikes! His worse results have been in the 2 hole!

  150. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    "Eric said… NatsLady, when Espi was put in the 2 hole I think last week, I thought it made a lot of sense. IF he can be disciplined enough to approach batting as you suggest, then I'm with you all the way."Just curious, what did you see that made sense? Espy has K'd in 7 of his 16 ABs this year in the 2 hole. Why would you move him up in the order with the chance he could bat 1 more time in a game.I dont get the simple baseball IQ on here sometimes.

  151. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Eugene, if it's the shoulder that is causing the problem, then I see some merit in your position. But I don't see how the shoulder is causing Danny not to take walks. (As you pointed out, his career OPS is .306). He's done so in the past and he can do so again if he is told that that is his job, and forget about RBIs. You may say you don't want to give him an early at-bat, but after the first inning it's less about giving him at-bats than what situation is he in. If he hits 2nd, then the catcher, the pitcher, and Span are hitting ahead of him. If he hits 7th, Werth, Zimm, ALR and Desi are ahead of him.

  152. kgwhit - May 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Early last year with all the injuries the team got excellent hitting from the bench and continued to win…along with great pitching. This year the bench is not hitting at all. At all star break last year Moore was hitting .310 now he is below .200. At the all-star break only one guy, Nady, was hitting below .200. Today the team has 4 non pitchers hitting below .200. The key issue is was last year a fluke or this year?

  153. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    If Werth, Zim, ALR and Desi are ahead of Danny, that's how he kills rallys. If the catcher and pitcher and Span are ahead of him, he could kill a rally but it's far less likely. Desi is already getting pitched around because Danny is behind him, and that's not what you want.

  154. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Thanks Natslady! I appreciate your posts and your good attitude about the Nats and yes we don't know half the story.

  155. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    NatsLady, your smarter than this. You write good blog pieces but then you have this history of trying to justify the existence of so many horrible players but you turn on guys like Morse where you use his stats against him.What gives? Ankiel, Wang HRod, Danny

  156. JD - May 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Harpo, I agree with you that under no circumstances do you put a struggling hitter at or close to the top of the order for the simple reason that you want your best hitters to come up more often. This is why I advocated moving Bryce to the no. 2 hole when Werth went down. I do agree with NatsLady that if Espinosa hits a little bit, with some power and he hits 7th then he's not a problem.His defense alone made his overall contribution last year acceptable.

  157. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    kgwhit, bench players, like relief pitchers, are often a crap-shoot from year to year. Rizzo went with the hot hand (Tracy and Moore), presumably with input from Davey.

  158. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    "Just curious, what did you see that made sense? Espy has K'd in 7 of his 16 ABs this year in the 2 hole. Why would you move him up in the order with the chance he could bat 1 more time in a game.I dont get the simple baseball IQ on here sometimes. "I said, when he was moved to the 2 hole, I thought it made a lot of sense. Then, I said, "IF he can be disciplined enough to approach batting as you suggest, then I'm with you all the way." One might infer from this that I don't feel he displayed that kind of discipline whilst in the 2 hole.Please try to understand my posts before condescending about my "baseball IQ" or whatever. Or not. It's your choice!

  159. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    I didn't "turn" on Morse. I was never his fan, period. As for history, fine. I put down what I think at the time, like anyone else here. At the time I thought Ankiel might be the solution, he was hitting .287. At the time I admired Chien-Ming Wang, so did RIzzo–and I had watched him, in person, pitch a phenomenal game. I still support Henry and Danny. Sosume.

  160. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Jd, you said it, last year was acceptable for Espy and the stats proved that out …until the playoffs rolled around where you have to step up and he did not. This year is this year and

  161. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 16, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    This may be a bad time to bring it up, but isn't it time for the annual F2F?Hey, Mark! Will there be a Nats Isider (inside or outside) sometime this summer?

  162. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    If Espinosa could be disciplined, that would be great, but he's never shown too much evidence of that. It's one thing to tell him to do it, but he needs the ability to recognize and layoff borderline pitches – and he doesn't have that. No matter how much you coach players to have discipline, it doesn't necessarily have any effect in a game situation.

  163. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  164. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    NatsLady, just my opinion I think you like the underdogs and you sometimes dont look objectively had players you admire. Danny stinks. What makes anyone think he can get better. This isn't 2009 where losing 100 games affforded you the ability to let a player improve at the major league level.This team has players who can step up and help and Rizzo isnt giving those players a chance to step up and help.

  165. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    The general consensus is that lineup construction shouldn't have as much of an effect on run production, but to the extent that it does, the optimal construction is to have the best hitter (or at least best OBP) in the second spot. You need people on base for the following hitters to drive in.

  166. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    As for proposing Danny in the 2 spot, I put forward my reasoning, which involves changing his approach until he "figures it out," as noted by Eric. Last year when Scotty Rolen was hitting in the .100s we were able to pitch around Votto. Now pitchers are doing that to Desi because of guess who. I perfectly understand the point of not wanting to give more at-bats to a struggling hitter, but that is only one element of line-up construction. Anyway, line-up construction, according to the sabermatricians, is overrated.

  167. Candide - May 16, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    NatsLady said… Danny is fast, he CAN take a walk…He CAN take a walk. The problem is he DOESN'T take a walk. He has three so far this season. Tracy and Bernadina, playing very much part-time, each have three. Ramos has four in 20 fewer games, Rendon has five in 26 fewer games.Does Espi wear contacts? Has he had his eyes checked? IIRC, Harper went into a slump last year which ended the day he got contacts.

  168. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    EmDash just gave the perfect answer for your #2 hitter with 2 good posts.

  169. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Well, I thought Desi would get better. When everyone was Desi-dumping, I was one of his few supporters. Now I think Danny will get better. I think it will take time, but I have faith. If it doesn't work, add him to the list you are keeping.

  170. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    NatsLady, to be clear, I'm not suggesting Espi be moved to the 2 spot and then figure it out there. I think it would be great if he were coached to take that approach in the 7 spot and then get moved up if he succeeds. I do think he'd be great at the front of the order if he could reliably get on base. That approach at 7 may not be ideal, but it would certainly be better than this.Of course, that brings us back to the lineup construction issue; how do you adjust to Espi in the 2 spot? Do you just simply move everyone else back a slot?

  171. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Eric, nice 360 there!

  172. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    "Eric, nice 360 there!"Don't confuse your failure to understand my original post with my having performed a 360.

  173. Dominats Vobiscum - May 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    It is possible that Michael Morse could be this year's Kurt Suzuki. But it would probably take a season-ending injury to LaRoche, Werth or Harper for that to happen. Not sure anyone wants to see that scenario.

  174. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    NatsLady, you were wise to stick up for Desi however the difference with Desi and Espy starts with hand/eye coordination. Desi has it and Espy just isnt that good. The stats prove out that his swing/miss %'s are now the worst in the major leagues for the last 3 years combined for batters with over 1,000 ABs.

  175. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  176. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    "Eric said… NatsLady, when Espi was put in the 2 hole I think last week, I thought it made a lot of sense."I can read Eric. I learned in my elementary school.

  177. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I think Danny can get better too, to clarify, NatsLady. But plate discipline doesn't tend to be a teachable skill and is unlikely to just become part of his game.Same with Desmond – he's as yet never had a season with more than 35 walks, which is kind of insane. He makes his aggressive style work for him, and is valuable. But he's not the best choice for the 2nd slot, as his OBP is remarkably low considering he hits for a good average.

  178. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Werth is pretty much the ideal number two hitter, I think, so it'll be nice when he's back.

  179. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    "I can read Eric. I learned in my elementary school."Where did you learn how to strip quotes of context? The full quote is:"NatsLady, when Espi was put in the 2 hole I think last week, I thought it made a lot of sense. IF he can be disciplined enough to approach batting as you suggest, then I'm with you all the way."Now you've moved beyond a simple lack of comprehension and on to willful disregard for honest discourse. How we proceed from here is your choice.

  180. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Too many typos, trying again.Eric, good question, because you do want Desi getting at-bats so you would hate to have him lead off the third inning, if the Nats go 1-2-3 in the first two innings. That's not what you plan for, however. However, if Espy could ever succeed in the 2-hole that would be a nice problem to have. If you start with this (which means all these guys are healthy at the same time!!),SpanEspyHarperRZALRDesi WerthcatcherpitcherThen you adjust based on who is the opponent's starting pitcher.I disagree completely that plate discipline isn't a teachable skill. Hitters consciously have different approaches, I just listened to Chase Headly talk about his change in approach (to be more aggressive, try to hit more home runs) yesterday. If you incentivize OBP, then hitters will have better OBP, within the limits of their talent, of course. Davey has to find a way to tell Danny he needs to walk more, bunt more (but not get HBP more, which used to be his final refuge), be more selective, and that NEXT year may be the year to adjust his approach to be more aggressive.

  181. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Harpo, I've said it before and I'll say it again: you often have good insights into baseball, but you're terrible at trolling.Here's that word again: choice.Which one will you make?

  182. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Eric, if that makes you feel better than go for it. You are right. I was wrong. You never said that it made sense last week because you had the word IF in the next sentence.

  183. Dave - May 16, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Uh…a 360 would bring you around all the way back to where you started.

  184. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  185. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Agreed that Werth is good 2 hole hitter, and will hopefully hit there starting Saturday, in which case we've wasted a lot of time worrying about line-up construction for two whole games. But I'm not feeling well today, so typing hypothetical line-ups is about all I have the energy for right now. Carry on….

  186. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    "Eric, if that makes you feel better than go for it."Your misunderstanding me and then misquoting me has no bearing on my sense of well being.

  187. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    "NatsLady said…Davey has to find a way to tell Danny he needs to walk more,"Davey can whisper that into his ear while hes sleeping and it still wont make a difference. He is a free swinger and has little comprehension for recognizing pitches.In the "see it hit it" approach that has become a cliche', you have to really see it and recongnize the pitch. Danny just isnt good at it and he really isnt even good at making contact with fastballs.

  188. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    "Uh…a 360 would bring you around all the way back to where you started."lol, true! I've hoisted myself on another's petard.

  189. Kiterp - May 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    A lot of people jere crowded on the ledge. You’d think we were living in Houston or Miami? Milwaukee? NY? Reading through, I’m not sure there is one person in the NATs organization that hasn’t been thrown under the bus today except for the batboy. Oh hell … he sucks too. Only thing I’d like to see … even if they lose 1-0 is Stras having a great night. And if they lose, tomorrow I get to read through another stream of insane anger … not sure what’s more entertaining and surreal … this or an episode of The Followers

  190. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Definitely don't like the idea of Werth batting 7th (or our healthy lineup 3-4-5-6 guys, for that matter), hence why I asked about the lineup construction.But, I still think if Danny could prove he has that kind of discipline he could be good at the top of the order, at least when injury or days off make room for it.

  191. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Volquez is on the mound tonight. A RHP. I'm going to guess Span, Harp, Zimm, LaRoche, Desi, Bernadina, Suzuki, Lombo, Stras tonight.

  192. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Eric, thats correct, you went full circle and back to making sense. See, you saw it as negative!

  193. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I have a funny feeling Harp's gonna sit this one out…we'll see. Him saying he felt "terrible" after pinch hitting last night doesn't bode well. Really hope they don't rush him back.

  194. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Eric, agree. Where Werth hits will depend on whether he's using his heavy bat or his light bat (i;e., is his power there or not). My own feeling (this is just a feeling) is that Harper should go on the 7-day DL, go home to Vegas and heal his body, meet the team after the road trip. The pitchers can handle Petco and ATT Park, and if we have a bunch of 2-1 games, let's just WIN them.

  195. Mr Baseball - May 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Does anyone have any idea when MASN is going to come to teams with the Nationals, on the TV contract? I thought this was suppose to be settled over a year ago!

  196. SCNatsFan - May 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    OK Espi can't hit in the 1,2 or 8 spots. Not good enough for 3-6 and he's a rally killer at 7. Leaves the 9 spot.

  197. Dave - May 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    I think MASN was actually supposed to settled almost two years ago. I think it's pretty outrageous that MLB, Bud & co. have let it languish this long. Sooner or later it's going to directly affect what the Nationals are able to do with player contracts.

  198. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Eric, I hope Davey sits Harp out. I'm hoping for Eury in the #2 as he can drive Volquez crazy. Give Harp another day off!The rehashing and people standing ground on Espi is like a daily re-run. It's frustrating.I agree with the many commentors that if Span, Werth, Harp, Zim, ALR and Desi are producing that your 7-9 batters impact isn't as important. I don't want to trivialize it as you do want everyone playing well but the reality is that you have players that have off days all the time.

  199. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    I'd definitely rest Harper until at least the weekend if it were up to me. He's not likely to be able to be productive in his condition, and runs a huge risk of aggravating his injury. Not worth it. Especially for the most important non-pitcher player on the team. Playing him feels a bit like desperation to win, which they really should not feel at this stage.But for whatever reason, the team is much less medically conservative with position players than pitchers. It's odd.

  200. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    "SCNatsFan said… OK Espi can't hit in the 1,2 or 8 spots. Not good enough for 3-6 and he's a rally killer at 7. Leaves the 9 spot."Nah, Davey likes his pitcher batting in the 9 spot which leaves a spot open in Harrisburg.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 85 63 -- 4
ATLANTA 75 74 10.5
MIAMI 72 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 78 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 80 16.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 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.

Follow us on Twitter