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VIDEOS: Werth rehabs at Potomac

May 16, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT

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  1. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    That 2nd interview with Werth is good stuff "Fairly hilarious, but"

  2. Steady Eddie - May 16, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    As much as on the field, this is the kind of way that Werth genuinely earns his pay. It's clear that he's been THE mentor to Harper from the beginning, and the money shot is that he's the one guy who can and will tell him, "Bryce, playing all out doesn't mean playing stupid. Don't play stupid." — and have Harp actually listen to him.Afraid I tend to agree with the commenters at the end of the last post that Bryce would be better off sitting for at least another couple of games, maybe more. He was no good for a week after his last wall run-in in Atlanta, until he got the Sunday-Tuesday rest before the Tigers series. Last night's PH AB looked like the ones after the Atlanta hit — swinging in clear pain, with lots of Ks and ground outs to second.

  3. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Thanks for the video. Continuing on the topic of add on runs brought up in the previous post.It does seem like the Nats have a tendency to get a few early runs and then sit on the lead and not add-on. But I thought about it, and that's probably because the starter, in a lot of cases, "settles down" after a rough first or second inning (as our starters often do). If the starter settles and if you don't get to the long or middle relievers, you then get the setup and closer types who are usually a team's best relievers. Voila, no add-on runs. So if the starter is shaky for the first inning or two and gets a high pitch count, but only gives up a couple of runs and "settles," then I think the Nats should be very patient and try to get the guy out after 5 innings (Werth's suggestion). That was the strategy employed with Greinke. It didn't work, but you could see that's what they were trying, get Greinke out of there and get to an inferior reliever.OTOH, if the starter is nails in the first few innings, then you have to take a more aggressive approach.You aren't getting rid of the guy on pitch count, so up your number of swings early in the at-bats and just try to hit a few hard and hope they don't meet up with a fielder. That was the approach with Kershaw, and frustrating as it was, I think it was correct. If you can't hit his fastball, you are getting his curve and story over.

  4. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    re: Harper, it's interesting Davey said last night that he'll "probably" play today and Harper said "we'll see." If Harper, of all people, is saying anything other than, "PUT ME IN THE GAME!!!!!" then imo that's a sure sign he needs to sit.

  5. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I think our failure to tack on runs later in the game is a direct result of our lack of emphASis on a style of hitting I've banned myself from mentioning for awhile ;).

  6. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Maybe Harper learned from his previous experience with the wall that getting up there and swinging at the first pitch or three is (a) painful and (b) not helpful. Also, he might realize now a few days' rest makes a lot of difference, you don't have to play through absolutely everything. I bet the toenail isn't completely healed either. No one thinks he's dogging it, really, I promise.

  7. Steady Eddie - May 16, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Nats Lady, your point about the lack of add-on runs makes sense as far as the starters go. One corollary of that is that you want to have very strategic, situation-specific ABs in the early inning where you can get to that starter. That means trying to exploit whatever pitch he's weakest on at that point, and fouling or laying off the rest, rather than trying to blast him out of the game with one swing regardless of whether it's a pitcher's pitch or not(which our hitters have mostly done too much of in all situations). How many times have we gotten one or two runs early and then let the starter out of the jam by that kind of bad approach? But the problem has been taking that same bad approach into the late innings, regardless of what quality of reliever it's against. We got essentially nothing in three games against a Cubs bullpen with ERAs from 5 to 12. At least LaRoche's approach in the 8th last night was right, he just missed a deep enough fly by a fraction of an inch. The frustrating example of pressing last night was Desi, which was so unlike his approach for most of last year, when he was Mr. Two-out With RISP Clutch — by hitting singles and gappers. I guess I'm with everyone else here calling for a small ball approach where the situation demands it.

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… "Laddie, loving your posts. I can just sit back and let you keep going as you're doing a great job!"Thanks, Ghost. The feeling is mutual. I like the give and take, but I've gotta run. See you next time. May 16, 2013 1:14 PM Like I've said recently, I will read your posts and put down my keyboard because you have said something similar to what I would say. Just be careful because like a few others, you'll get tagged as one of my allies or called worse if we keep complimenting each other!Yah, I'm sitting on the sideline much of today. I had no problem with losing to Kershaw as I tip my hat to him but losing last night was like a re-run of poorly executed Nats games.Situational hitting has been dreadful.

  9. Steady Eddie - May 16, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Eric — oops, was that the forbidden phrase?

  10. Steady Eddie - May 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Ghost — saying the same thing because at this point, it's kind of hard to miss."Sometimes the evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk."

  11. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    LOL, yes, but only for me (because I was starting to harp on it a lot).

  12. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Eddie, exactly the point I've been trying to make. You can't have the same approach with every pitcher and every situation. The wait-him-out approach was NEVER going to work with Kershaw. He's a horse, he's not injured, and he rarely makes mistakes. SwIng at his first pitch, which is likely to be a strike and might be a fastball; you might connect,and it might go where a fielder ain't. That may be the approach you take with a top closer, also.That's shouldn't be the approach you take with a shaky starter or a middle reliever with a 6.00 ERA. Those guys are going to make mistakes, get tired, etc. No point in giving them 9-pitch innings.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    NatsLady, I have watched Kershaw enough to know that ambushing him normally doesn't work. He's an amazing pitcher and probably the best lefty in baseball.You beat him only if your pitching is as good as his and Haren's almost was. When Kershaw is on you beat him with classic small ball playing for 1 run at a time and you must manufacture them. He gets even tougher with men on base.The Nats had their opportunity in the 1st inning where he's most vulnerable. Again, no shame losing to Kershaw. He's worth the price of admission.

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Kilgore does a good job statistically telling us what we already know. The Nats haven't come from behind (0-16) when they’re losing after the 6th inning.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/05/16/the-nationals-astonishing-inability-to-come-back/

  15. Exposremains - May 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Yes Gosm I was gonna point out Kilgore's piece which illustrates well what I was trying to express this morning.

  16. sjm308 - May 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Ghost: does that mean I should disagree once and awhile? Let me know the game plan because we sure wouldn't want to upset anyone on here.Eric – you crack me up! Great analysis and even the disagreements were well stated, very little name calling and again, that is one of the many things that fascinates me about baseball is that one person can call for the 3 run HR while another calls for small ball and they actually both may be correct depending on the situation.Espinosa is a great point. If we are all healthy, hitting reasonably well and our pitching is solid, Espinosa is not hardly worth mentioning. With so many issues, his becomes glaring.Go Nats!!

  17. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I'm glad, sjm! Levity is overlooked all too often.

  19. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Ghost, I wasn't suggesting ambushing Kershaw. Agree that's not likely to work. I was more saying, take your chances when you know he's probably throwing you a first-pitch fastball that is also probably a strike, because if you wait you will get the slider and then the unhittable curve. IOW, patience at an at-bat is not likely to work, he won't make a mistake and he is unlikely to get tired.Now, I do agree that IF by some chance you get someone on base, maybe by a bunt or a fielder's error or something like that, "small ball" is definitely called for. But then you say, "he's even better with men on base," so again you have to hope his fielders make a mistake while you are trying to "manufacture" that run or a bloop falls in, or whatever. Another thing I've noticed, however, is that fielders are often on top of their game when their Ace is pitching. He sets a good pace and they know they have the best chance to win when he's there. Having a guy like Beckett up there has got to be somewhat demoralizing. Not saying they aren't pros, but they are human.As you say, no shame in losing to Kershaw, and Davey practically conceded that there was a good chance we would as indicated by him resting Span (and Harper). Haren pitched well, under very adverse circumstances.

  20. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Tcostant, yesterday I took the liberty of looking at comments on the Barves site on mlb.com. Wow. Whatever you hear here about Danny (or Davey) is TAME compared to what their fans say about BJ Upton, Fredi, "Struggla" and the rest… Both teams are flawed (quelle surprise), but the Mets are bad, the Fillies are mediocre and the Marlins—! I wouldn't be shocked if 88 wins carries the Division.

  21. Theophilus T. S. - May 16, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    So the Nats are 0-16 when trailing after six. Nice to know exactly how bad they are but it's dog bites man stuff.Too lazy to try to do the research, but what's the number when trailing by two (or more) at any point in the ball game? Once in a while, Johnson tries small ball; once in a while, as against Kershaw, he waves the white flag along with the lineup card. The point is they can't come from behind playing either small ball or Weaver-ball. Right now they're just a bunch of candy-asses.

  22. bowdenball - May 16, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Exposremains said…"Yes Gosm I was gonna point out Kilgore's piece which illustrates well what I was trying to express this morning."The thing about the Kilgore piece is that while he highlights the same problem as you, he seems to disagree with respect to the cause. He says it's not about "character and clutchness," which is what I took you to be saying, but about tangible things like terrible pinch hitting and struggles against flamethrowing relievers.Speaking of the bench, I don't think we make enough of their struggles this year. Everyone wants to talk about Espinosa, and his bat has been a problem, but he's a middle infielder, paid to play defense as well as hit. On the other hand, the bench's job on this team is mostly to hit, since the starters don't really need defensive subs. They get the advantage of favorable matchups. And they've been dreadful. If they were simply hitting as well as our starting pitchers we'd be in first place.

  23. peric - May 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    It looks like its going to be a struggle to get through 162 games.The Nats offense is single dimensional at this point. Harper is the offense. When he's out or not hitting its non existent. The return of Werth to the middle of the order will only exacerbate that he isn't going to help it. Not with LaRoche struggling to hit for power. Hopefully, the long fly out and home run last night are signs he can resurrect things one last time. But, I don't have a lot of confidence. Still, miracles can happen.

  24. peric - May 16, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    And they've been dreadful. If they were simply hitting as well as our starting pitchers we'd be in first place.Except for Lombo they were mostly dreadful last season at this point. And Lombo got a leg up and a starting super utility job as a result of injuries both the starters and the bench (DeRosa).

  25. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Looking ahead to tonight's match-up -Best hitting track record against Volquez: Ramos (sigh), Zimm, LaRoche, Bernadina. Everyone else has an OPS of 0 against him or has never faced him. All small sample sizes, of course, with LaRoche's 16 at-bats the only one very substantial. No homeruns.Best Padres hitting track record against Strasburg: Will Venable (3 at-bats, 3 hits – a single, double and triple), Yonder Alonso. The rest have not him him, or have not faced him. (A large number of the latter.)

  26. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Yes, I also wonder about that velocity thing, since I noticed that the Nats also seem to have difficulty with the young flame-throwing starters that we've met. I've profiled them with the comment that Desi and our hitters should just eat up them up–and they haven't.Again, it's not like the Nats were such great come-from-behinders last year, 16 of 162 is only 10%. If we come back four times in the next few games that will be right on track, so, um, partly statistical anomaly, yes? Honestly, if the Nats were constantly getting 5 run leads and blowing them that would be more worrying, because that would mean our starters are not doing the job or the bullpen is bad. If you get 5 runs in a game and the opponents only get 4, you still win the game no matter in what order the events occur, that's the bottom line to me.

  27. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    And, looking at platoon splits, Stras has the platoon split you'd expect of a right-hander, so we can expect the Padres to pack the line-up with lefties

  28. EmDash - May 16, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Also: NatsPR just posted the stat that the Nats pitching staff have gone 55 innings without allowing a homerun, so I think that qualifies as a jinx for tonight. *g*

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    sjm308 said… Ghost: does that mean I should disagree once and awhile? Let me know the game plan because we sure wouldn't want to upset anyone on here.I love it! Someone seemed to have tamed many of the neganons. In fact, some of the people that normally "lose" it on the game threads are now writing good stuff!I'm encouraged by a lot of what I am seeing with the starters and the bats of ALR and RZim.Once Werth and Harp are back this team can get the offense going again. This may be the weekend the Nats take over 1st Place!

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    NatsLady said… Ghost, I wasn't suggesting ambushing Kershaw. Agree that's not likely to work. I was more saying, take your chances when you know he's probably throwing you a first-pitch fastball that is also probably a strike, because if you wait you will get the slider and then the unhittable curve. It hasn't helped that Koufax has personally been tutoring Kershaw and helping him with that deadly curve.One of the things they talked about out here is how Kershaw made some mistake pitches with his fastball and the Nats didn't take advantage.I agree with all those that say you have to have a different team approach with a true Ace as you are generally playing for 2 to 3 runs to win.

  31. Dominats Vobiscum - May 16, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Kilgore, a master of using stats to belabor the obvious and yet totally miss the point. The only time it matters whether the Nats are ahead or behind is at the end of the game. How they got there really doesn't matter. If he took his nose out of the stat sheet every now and then and just watched the games, he'd see that the team is underperforming virtually across the board. Yet at the quarter pole in the season they're only one game out of first place. This bodes well for when one or more aspects of the team quit underperforming, which their track record says will happen sooner or later.

  32. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Ghost, LOL. Just what I said–about your only chance with Kershaw is on his fastball. Not much luck with his slider and virtually none if he throws the curve, even if you know it's coming.

  33. Harpo - May 16, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Dominats, Killgore will dazzle us with his brilliance by using stats. A few drove home the point. The rest were just more of the same.This team is getting top of the league starting pitching which is how they have remained in these games until the end. Davey is a leapfrogger. When hes losing 2-1 he isnt going to play small ball. Hes going for the big crooked numbers. A 3 run HR puts you up 4-2 or a double puts you up 3-2. Thats his strategy and thats how LaRoche and Desi approached the 8th inning last night and ultimately failed. I am with NatsLady on that you can change your approach from game to game as thats called strategy.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 16, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    NatsLady, Kershaw hasn't walked a batter this year when throwing a curveball and his K rate on a 2 strike curveball is 57.6 %. It's almost unhittable. If the Nats face him again I look forward to seeing if they change their approach.

  35. peric - May 16, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    he'd see that the team is underperforming virtually across the board. Yet at the quarter pole in the season they're only one game out of first place.Yet, even with the trials and travails of Zimmerman at third and Desi at short … not defensively and not pitching-wise even with the struggles of Stras and Gio. And in the end isn't this the kind of team Rizzo designed? When he decided to move Harper out of CF and banish Morse to the Mariners? From that perspective things are working as the FO intended.As I contended from the beginning. This would be a weak team offensively more in line with what we saw in 2011. Then they had Morse instead of Harper. Now they have Harper. LaRoche has been slightly more extremely bad as compared to very good. One season a complete wash … jury still out out on this one. Bottom line: wildly inconsistent offensively. Werth isn't and hasn't been the Werth that we saw with the Phillies offensively. Doubtless at this point he never will be to a tune of the highest salary of all Nats players. This was a team built to provide defense and pitching while prospects and post graduate prospects adjust to major league pitching, mature and learn to hit. Once that happens then offense shouldn't be a problem.

  36. Tcostant - May 16, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    NatsLady said… Tcostant, yesterday I took the liberty of looking at comments on the Barves site on mlb.com. Wow. Whatever you hear here about Danny (or Davey) is TAME compared to what their fans say about BJ Upton, Fredi, "Struggla" and the rest… Both teams are flawed (quelle surprise), but the Mets are bad, the Fillies are mediocre and the Marlins—! I wouldn't be shocked if 88 wins carries the Division.Me – I think you might be on to something there…

  37. peric - May 16, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Honk, Honk! I am with NatsLady on that you can change your approach from game to game as thats called strategy.The Earl Weaver approached worked for Earl. It also worked for Davey. "Smart ball" did not work at all for Riggleman. The team was lucky to be .500 or above when they were playing the kind of ball that said hit everything to opposite field. Constant hit-and-run, sacrifice bunts. Lots of outs to manufacture meager run support.No thank you. honk, honk

  38. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    "I am with NatsLady on that you can change your approach from game to game as thats called strategy."A decision to remain flexible with regard to long vs. small ball is absolutely a strategic one. If you're down by one with a man on 2nd and 3rd, no outs in the bottom of the 8th, you can do yourself a lot of favors by focusing on small ball RBIs. If you're down by 1 with none on and two outs, the long ball is probably your best bet. Sure, a 3 run homer is always a good payoff, but what are the odds of that vs. any one of the following: a single, a sac bunt, a sac fly, or a fielder's choice?I see no reason to make the strategic decision to simply lock yourself into one or the other.

  40. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    PS – 2 on, none out, top of the 3rd? Sure, swing for the fences. But, top of the 8th? At that point the focus should be on at least securing extra innings more than anything. Anything else is gravy. JMO, though.

  41. peric - May 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    I see no reason to make the strategic decision to simply lock yourself into one or the other.The problem is YOU MUST give up outs (bunts, sacrifice) to move the runners. In baseball there is not time limit there IS ONLY one limitation. You are limited in the number of outs you have. It is clearly statistically better to be more conservative with your base running and your at bats awaiting the big hit. And that big hit COULD BE a single with men on.This strategy doesn't preclude working walks. And THAT has been the weakness of most of the table-setters. None of them like to walk with the exception of Werth who is extremely good (just look at the OBP and adjusted OBP) at this. Period. Span has improved but it isn't something he likes to do. Werth reveled in working the pitcher from that lead off spot. Which in turn led to a pitcher sometimes losing composure to the following batters. Especially with Harper right behind Werth.They aren't doing that this season they are wasting outs on strike outs instead of taking walks. And that is the problem.

  42. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Agreed re: walks. But, imo, it is absolutely advisable to give up an out in exchange for a run in the bottom of the 8th with no outs, 2 runners in scoring position, and down by 1. If you sac in Perez, then, by all means, swing out of your shoes for the rest of the inning.The Dodger's response to our 0 in the top of the 8th was painful just like the entire series against the Cards was painful. Both shone a bright light on one of our biggest weaknesses.But, dammit, here I am talking small ball again ;).

  43. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Do we have official word on Ramos or Det?

  44. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    I believe it is reinjured hamstring for Ramos, lower back spasms for Det.

  45. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Oh, wait, did you mean regarding how much missed time, if any? If so, I'm not sure.

  46. peric - May 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    But, imo, it is absolutely advisable to give up an out in exchange for a run in the bottom of the 8th with no outs, 2 runners in scoring position, and down by 1.Davey's a real mathematician and comp sci guy. He knows that statistically that isn't advisable in most situations. Of course like everything in Mathematics it depends. There are some situations where it would be advisable given the hitters coming up, an emptied bench (xtra innings), etc. There are many permutations.BUT there really shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.

  47. peric - May 16, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Riggleman's eyes would blur if you showed him the math. Its why he follows hard-and-fast rules. "Smart ball" is small mind trying to play small ball.

  48. Eric - May 16, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    >BUT there really shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.Agreed. My only point is that we either seem to have a hard and fast rule against late-inning small ball, or we're simply incapable of it. If it's the former, imho, that needs to change; if it's the latter, it needs to be fixed ASAP.Again, I'm not arguing for small-ball only, just for putting it in our back pocket. We've been burned by it a number of times this season and I'd like to see us turn it on others more often.

  49. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    yes, there is nothing on MLB.com about Ramos being officially put on the DL, and there is only speculation that Det will be back "May 20."

  50. NatsLady - May 16, 2013 at 8:41 PM

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  51. peric - May 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Again, I'm not arguing for small-ball only, just for putting it in our back pocket. We've been burned by it a number of times this season and I'd like to see us turn it on others more often.We're just going to have rely on Davey's astute knowledge of statistics as one of the very first, early adopters for using advanced statistical metrics to manage a baseball game. He tried convincing Weaver of its value and only ended up making Weaver's eyes blur. A lot of factors go into it. Is the batter capable of bunting for starters? We've had some problems with pitchers bunting this year. Stras used to be good at it and suddenly he can't do it. JZimmnn is still as capable and competent as he ever was. Haren of course is. Span isn't a good bunter. Lombo used to be a good bunter I'm not sure what happened there. The Shark used to be a decent bunter and again …A lot of these players don't like to bunt. If anything the big power bats are going to do it well. Harper … why? They don't feel threatened, they know that won't become their permanent role. If they bunt well they could be called upon to do that exclusively. There are a lot of permutations.I would much rather seem the work walks. A pitcher knows a good bunt is nothing he can control. But walks? Its going to drive some of them crazy.

  52. peric - May 16, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    You'll likely see it tweeted first Natslady.

  53. peric - May 16, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Looks like Ryan Tatusko's 4+ where better than Chris Young's 4+ in which he gave up 9 runs 8 earned again. There's no way Young is coming up for Detwiler.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
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MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
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WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
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