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At home in San Diego

May 17, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

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Stephen Strasburg pitched eight innings for the first time in his career.

Maybe there's just something about pitching in San Diego, where there's never any fear about heat, humidity, rain, poor field conditions or rowdy opposing fans. Stephen Strasburg has always been most comfortable in his hometown, and he looked far more comfortable last night beating the Padres, 6-2, than he had in quite some time.

How comfortable? Enough to reach (and ultimately complete) the eighth inning for the first time in 54 career starts with the Nationals.

Cross that one off Strasburg's to-do list. The only one left on the resume: His first career complete game, which will probably come at some point this season, especially if he keeps pitching the way he did last night.

Strasburg was in complete control from start to finish, keeping San Diego's hitters off-balance with a devastating changeup andRead more ยป

  1. baseballswami - May 17, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Good news, very good news. I hope he can build on this. Look how ALR turned his season around. Nice having Bryce in the line up. Any stats on team results, wins, average, etc. , with or without Bryce in the line up?

  2. Laddie Blah Blah - May 17, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    The camera caught Davey after the game with a big grin on his face. The Nats old skipper must have really liked this one. Strasburg, in particular, faced adversity and stared it down, this time. Probably the most significant aspect of the game. That, and completing 8 innings for the first time. I think the Nats big horse is poised to break out into a gallop after last night.Harper seems to have recovered from the flu, the body bruise, and the LA knockout enough to scorch a 430' line shot over the CF fence. With Harper, Zim and ALR all hitting (finally), and with Desi to back them up, the offense is going to start scoring more than 2 – 3 runs per game.But the most critical AB, for me, was Lombo's 2-out blooper over the IF with runners on 1st and 3rd. Much more productive than a 3 or 4 pitch strikeout to end the rally. That hit not only drove in a run, it also brought Zim to the plate with runners on 2nd and 3rd, which he promptly drove in with a line drive single to CF. Three runs in that situation sure as heck beats none. And all it took was a blooper over SS to make it happen. No need for a 5-run homer to do the job in those circumstances.Consider how different that inning would have been if Espinoza had come to the plate in that same situation, instead of Lombo. Yeah, maybe Danny would have delivered, too, but recent history strongly suggests otherwise.Until Werth returns, Lombo is the better option for the 2-hole. What a weird stat – SS has had 9 unearned runs scored against him (the most in all the MLs), and 7 of the 9 were a direct result of errors by the same guy, Ryan Zimmerman. Last night's error came in the 5th, and led to an unearned run. Zim's pivotal error in the last game also came in the 5th.I have drawn a mental circle around the 5th inning of SS's next start, to see if Ryan and SS can escape unscathed.

  3. Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    No excuses, but in fairness to Ryan Zimmerman, before the throwing error, on the same play, he first saved the run from scoring by keeping the ball in the infield. He doesn't stop that ball with the great play, the runner on second would have scored, with Stras being charged with an earned run. That runner scored on a pay after the throwing error, making the run unearned.

  4. Doc - May 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Not to take anything from Lombo's last night's hitting performance, per se, but the last time I checked he was hitting .214–not something for which you can put on your rally caps regularly. Lombo did well in the field last night too.A better option at 2nd might be the guy down in the 'Burg, risky ankles or not.

  5. natsfan1a - May 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    It's always nice to wake up to a happy game results email. Will try to make time to watch the replay today. Good on SS for going deeper into the game and for maintaining his composure in the face of adversity. Judging from the boxscore, looks like the Trolley Dodgers were not-so-good with runners in scoring position. On the Nats side, looks like they came through with a hit from the bench-o-the-day (yay), although it also looks like the bench-o-the-day was caught stealing (baby steps).On another note, Comak has an interesting piece on a Greinke convo with Mark Lerner the other day.(Thanks to a number of my fellow Insiders for their kind words the other night. You know who you are. :-))

  6. m - May 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    I had the San Diego feed on the game last night. Their announcers offered an opinion that Stras' meltdown problems might be related to his mechanics when his pitches from the stretch. Whenever he did last night he lost a little control. They might be on to something. Maybe his issue is not mental. Zim on the other hand has the dreaded yipes brought on by his continuing tinkering with his throws way before his shoulder problem from last year.

  7. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    "Joe Seamhead said… No excuses, but in fairness to Ryan Zimmerman, before the throwing error, on the same play, he first saved the run from scoring by keeping the ball in the infield. He doesn't stop that ball with the great play, the runner on second would have scored, with Stras being charged with an earned run. That runner scored on a pay after the throwing error, making the run unearned."You start off by saying NO EXCUSES and then you go on to make excuses. That was a higher degree of difficulty play on the hot corner. That was the 1st ball that came Zimm's way and his only chance the entire game and it was an error.His fielding % dropped to .896 The only qualifying fielder close to him has a .931 fielding % and he was sent down to AAA.That was a horrible throw is all I know-no excuses. Lombo saved 2 runs by somehow stopping that throw.

  8. NCNatsie - May 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Home runs from Harper and LaRoche. I guess the former is over the flu, and the latter not over the hill.

  9. DL in VA - May 17, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Harpo, that doesn't look like an excuse to me. And fact is, Zim's stop did prevent a run. Disagree?

  10. bowdenball - May 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Let's not get carried away on Lombo. He got lucky on a weak fly ball that the CF broke poorly on. His OBP is still .237 with no power. That's atrocious. He shouldn't be anywhere near the 2 spot, which should be reserved for one of the team's best hitters:http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/keith-law/post?id=789

  11. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    DL in VA, I expect Zimm to make that play. No excuses.

  12. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    bowdenball is right on Lombo however I'd still rather have him out there than Espy because Lombo will get better with reps. I do agree with Doc tho that the guy playing 3rd in 'Burg is the best choice for 2nd.

  13. baseballswami - May 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Zim's shoulder surgery is still incredibly recent after a long time of being a mess. The rest of the team and the fans will just have to hold their noses for a while until it comes back. The hitting is obviously recovering nicely. ALR– no national media that I have heard mentioning the s_____k. Ok by me. I agree that while Lombo's BA is nothing special, he has more of a chance for things to get better. If the rest of the lineup is firing, Lombo at the two spot can make some contact and move a runner. We need some Werth, though!!!

  14. Theophilus T. S. - May 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    " [Lombardozzi] shouldn't be anywhere near the 2 spot, which should be reserved for one of the team's best hitters." Agree, completely. Unfortunately, the team doesn't have enuf good hitters to fill all of the spots in the lineup. With Werth's litany of injuries, I don't know when, or even if, he's going to be able to be a presence in that slot. My fantasy continues to be that the Nats do a Machado and bring Rendon to the party. Someone yesterday said that the rotation of Rendon around the infield in H'burg wasn't working out as planned. Remember the Orioles played Machado at SS exclusively in the minors (Bowie?) while secretly (seriously) working him out at 3B before games for two months before bringing him up. Are we saying the Nats are less smart than the Orioles? I hope not.

  15. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Well, they did charge him with an error, and if he made any excuses, I didn't hear it. So there's that.

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

    You can kiss it, Harpo. There's no excuse for the poor throw. He made a hell of a play keeping the ball in the infield. Others mentioned in the game thread that he should have outrun the runner and tagged third base, which was not the right play. He made a poor throw, [terrible actually]. My point was simply that he prevented Strasburg from getting an earned run charged.Why do you feel the need to provoke a fight 24/7 with almost every poster on this blog?

  17. SCNatsFan - May 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    If the error Zim had against Chicago was the kick in the butt SS needed to mentally focus after adversity then it was well worth the loss of that one game

  18. bowdenball - May 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I agree Theophilus. They seem to be one reasonably productive hitter short of a balanced, well-rounded lineup. We thought it would be Danny, and it he was at his career averages it would be, but he's obviously struggling big time.I'd love to see Rendon in the lineup too, but keep in mind that moving to the middle infield from the corners is a LOT harder than moving from the middle infield to the corners. It's incredibly rare. Jim Callis seems to think it's possible with Rendon, but several of the other prospect guys think it's a bad idea. And no matter what, he's definitely gonna need way more than 5 MI starts before he's ready to play there in the bigs.

  19. NatsLady - May 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Read the KLaw article (actually remembered I'd read it before). So, maybe even if Danny could up his OBP you still wouldn't want him to hit 2nd. Looking forward to Gio following up with a nice game tonight. Go Gio!

  20. Dominats Vobiscum - May 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Someone yesterday said that the rotation of Rendon around the infield in H'burg wasn't working out as planned.When they sent Rendon back down, the plan was 4 days/wk at 3B, 2 days at SS and 1 day at 2B. (Per Charlie Slowes/Dave Jageler pregame show.) So if he's played second 1 day in the last 10 as reported yesterday, sounds like they're right on plan.

  21. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Its surprizing to me that I cant disagree with someone without the retribution of "kiss it". IMHO I didnt think Zimm's stop on that play in the 5th was Top Play worthy. It was a good stop and one you expect him to make. Headley makes that play and the throw for a doubleplay and Headley has a 1.000 fielding percentage.

  22. Scott Margenau - May 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    U guys r nuts. U should be embracing Lombo. PH stats so far, let that dude start for a month and then see. He's clutch AND when was the last time ubsaw at least 2 web gems at second??? As

  23. Theophilus T. S. - May 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Bowdenball — I can think of two catchers — Ted Sizemore and Craig Biggio — who became top drawer 2B. Can't be any tougher transition than that. I think one of the reasons few 3B move to the middle is that they're at 3B for a reason — body type and/or defensive ineptitude (both increasingly apply to Z'man but that's beside the point). Keep in mind, Rendon is hitting .356 with an OBP of .483. He is dominating the Eastern League and doesn't have much more room for improvement down there. I don't know how much longer they can justify stashing him in the high minors.

  24. Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    You can disagree with me anytime,Harpo. We don't agree on a degree of difficulty of a given play, no big deal. But you turn things into a snitty rebuttal implying that your take on things is somehow superior to everybody else's. Look back at your posts since you started going by "Harpo" and there is a consistant pattern.BTW, I went back and watched the play and it was a play that I expect Ryan to make, not saying it wasn't a helluva play, just that we expect Ryan to make great stops. Other third basemen make the play, sure, but a lot don't.Zimmerman is obviously having issues, but I'll be damned if I'm ready to throw him under the bus.

  25. Section 222 - May 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Feel/Harpo is right. Zim made a nice play, but it wasn't a web gem. And he has to complete the play. If his arm was right, he could even have thrown across the diamond. There was plenty of time on that hot smash, just like on the game losing play against Atlanta. Every major league 3B other than him can make a throw on that play. So fine, he made a nice stop and saved a run. Good for him. He also made an error. Not good. But it's sure nice to see him hitting. And ALR too, that erstwhile no power singles hitter.

  26. bowdenball - May 17, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Catcher is a quirky position, and Biggio is a rare talent. Regardless, a move from the corner infield to the middle infield is obviously rare and difficult. Sure, 3Bs are usually 3Bs for a reason, but Rendon is a 3B. Isn't that probably for a reason? I'm aware of what Rendon is doing in AA. I'd love to find a place for him. But I just don't know enough about his defensive skill set to think he can play second base, and a lot of people who do know a lot about his defensive skill set, including prospect experts, his college coach, and the Nats organization so far, have left him at third. Who knows, maybe he can do it. The people who go to lots of Harrisburg Sens games might have some insight, but the rest of us really have no idea.

  27. Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    As to Rendon, Rizzo was smart enough to have drafted him when 5 other teams passed on him. Rizzo didn't draft him with the intention of keeping him down any longer than he feels appropriate. Anthony himself said it was an eye opener on how fast things happened on the ML level and how much thinking went into seemingly everything. Two years of virtually no reps in the field is a huge part of the reason he's not playing as a starter on a team involved in a pennant race. He needs pro defensive experience, and the comparison to Harper is not relevant, in my opinion. Both are exceptions to many rules, but at least Bryce had over a whole year playing in the minors before they brought him up.

  28. alexva - May 17, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Bryce was brought up due to injuries not non-performance of another player. now if Espinosa should resort to surgery…..

  29. JD - May 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Lombo playing for Espi at this juncture is not unreasonable. Lombo hitting 2nd makes no sense to me. I realize that with Bernie also in the lineup you have a couple of holes to fill but I would move everyone up until Werth returns: Span,Harper,Zim,LaRoche,Desmond,Suzuki,Lombo,Bernie.

  30. Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    If Ryan Zimmerman was a walk on to a major college team and tried out with the way he's throwing the ball right now, there's a good chance he wouldn't make the team. That said, he has been a leader in many ways to this team since he got here. Will he get over whatever is ailing him? None of us know the answer to that, but he will get every chance to work through it. I think he deserves it, and I think the possibility is good of the team being aptly rewarded for sticking with him.No one is more freaked then he is when the errant throws happen.

  31. Exposremains - May 17, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Not saying its gonna happen or think it's a good idea but what do you guys think is Zim's trade value at this point? I wonder if other teams think they can fix him and have a great player or they are all scared.

  32. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    "Zimmerman is obviously having issues, but I'll be damned if I'm ready to throw him under the bus."+1I'm with ya on the stop. It was every bit as important as Lombo catching his bad throw. IMO that would've been a hit if Zim missed the grab, which is the critical question there.Definitely a bummer he didn't nail the throw, but there's a huge silver lining in that Stras had an opportunity to definitively bury questions about how he handles adversity.

  33. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Anthony himself said it was an eye opener on how fast things happened on the ML level and how much thinking went into seemingly everything. Just my prejudice, perhaps, but that right there doesn't sound like a second baseman to me. After catcher, 2nd is the most complicated position, where you can leverage thinking into better play.

  34. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    what do you guys think is Zim's trade value at this point?With that contract, and that shoulder?

  35. MicheleS - May 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    A Belated WOOOO HOOOOO!! I DVR'd the game, so I will watch later today.Glad to see the reports that Stras told Zim "I Got this" after the error (Sounds like Joe Seamhead's "We Got This"). Love it.. shows he is a quick study. Also, Kilgore said he studied Jordan and Kershaw on how they were working a game. LOVE IT.Sad about Ramos' hammy.. it's the new Ian Desmond Oblique, thankfully we have Zuke to step in. Hope the Onion gets a few days of playing time, don't need to start the catching revolving door.

  36. bowdenball - May 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Hear hear, JD. Davey doesn't seem like the kind of manager who would be a slave to the traditional "slap hitter" model for a #2 hitter and would be open to the idea of putting a great hitter in that spot. Yet here we are. Hopefully Werth will be back soon and the problem will solve itself.

  37. John Stodalka - May 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. John Stodalka - May 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Theophilus T. S. - May 17, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Rendon is 6',195#, so he is somewhat smaller than Espinosa, and dwarfish in comparison to Zimmerman (who admittedly could stand to lose at least 15 of his reported 230 lbs. So he is not endomorphically ineligible to play 2B. Clearly, and especially in his first few games, he showed that there is some catching up to do after two years of sitting on the bench most of the time. He's now played 77 post-injury games, which should be enough to knock the rust off. I'd be shocked if he was less competent at 2B than Lombardozzi, whose arm limit is the second-base bag.My essential point, however, is that the Nats cannot afford to continue any longer with this line-up of big swing, no-contact hitters (the only non-offenders being Span and Harper — mostly).In the course of a full season, Rendon would produce 50-60 more runs than Lombardozzi, maybe more. The Nats need every one of them.

  40. NatsLady - May 17, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Re: Editing after posting. No. But, what I do is copy the text of the post, delete the post, and then re-post it with corrections. It's not worth for minor corrections, but if it affects the understanding of the content, then that's what I do.Someone mentioned in a previous discussion that Placido Polanco plays both position, not sure what he played when he was drafted.

  41. John Stodalka - May 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Try this again. I'm learning here. Anyway, I don't know if this has been mentioned, but Ryne Sandberg came up through the Phillies as a 3b He even played his first year with the Cubs as a 3b before moving over to 2nd. Rendon should be able to do the same. But for now I would stick with Espinosa. Way more power than Lombardozzi, and better defensively. He will snap out of his slump at some point. Lombardozzi has a very ineffectual swing, and little room for improvement.

  42. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    "Also, Kilgore said he studied Jordan and Kershaw on how they were working a game. LOVE IT."You could see it, imo. He had a very fast pace at times, often starting his wind up before Zuk had fully settled into his crouch. Good stuff.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    NatsLady said… Someone mentioned in a previous discussion that Placido Polanco plays both position, not sure what he played when he was drafted. Yes, that was my best comparison and through his history coming up with the Cardinals he would sometimes toggle between 3rd and 2nd.If I had to guess, I would say Polanco was drafted as a 2nd baseman who they saw as a hybrid player or utility type player.

  44. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I'm not sure that using Ryne Sandberg and Craig Biggio as examples is entirely reflective of the general population of MLB players. Not saying Rendon couldn't do it, just that those are extreme examples.

  45. Exposremains - May 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Sec sofaI know it cant be very high.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    John Stodalka said… Anyway, I don't know if this has been mentioned, but Ryne Sandberg came up through the Phillies as a 3b He even played his first year with the Cubs as a 3b before moving over to 2nd. Rendon should be able to do the same. But for now I would stick with Espinosa. Way more power than Lombardozzi, and better defensively. He will snap out of his slump at some point. Lombardozzi has a very ineffectual swing, and little room for improvement.Sandberg is another good example but I think anyone who didn't see it because they didn't watch last night's game, Lombo had 2 Best Play nominations last night and a Web Gem on the last play of the game diving for a ball and saving a run to end the game.I mentioned it a few weeks ago that Espi isn't diving for balls which is possibly a factor of preventing reinjuring the shoulder. While advanced metrics have Espi with a Top 5 UZR, I think his groundball range has dropped slightly as he won't lay out for balls that he would have dove for in the past. In my recollection I can only think of 2 plays but 1 was huge in a Strasburg start where he tried to stab for a grounder in the 1st inning that got through for a RBI and a big inning. In fairness, Robinson Cano doesn't dive for balls and Span is another that doesn't like diving for balls.

  47. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    If I had to guess, I would say Polanco was drafted as a 2nd baseman who they saw as a hybrid player or utility type player.Good guess. He played almost no third base in the minors. He was drafted in the 19th round and played middle infield, so that would all be consistent with "utility" player.

  48. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I know [Zimmerman's trade value] cant be very high.I believe the phrase is "asymptotically approaching zero."

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    There's an old saying in baseball, if you can really hit, they will find a place for you.Rendon can really hit. This is a short-term stop gap as RZim will be the team's 1st baseman in 2015. Rendon will be the team's 3rd baseman in 2015. What happens for the next 283 games is anybody's guess.

  50. JD - May 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Ghost,'Rendon can really hit. This is a short-term stop gap as RZim will be the team's 1st baseman in 2015. Rendon will be the team's 3rd baseman in 2015.' I am not sure you can make that statement with absolute certainty. The problem with that alignment is that it makes us very right handed. What you can say with relative certainty is that Rendon will be in the majors very soon. How everything aligns is still an open question.

  51. bowdenball - May 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…"Lombo had 2 Best Play nominations last night and a Web Gem on the last play of the game diving for a ball and saving a run to end the game."All I saw last night from Lombo was routine plays converted to "web gems" by his lack of range and quickness. The best defenders turn difficult plays into routine ones rather than vice versa. See for example Denard Span.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Sec. 3, My Sofa said… If I had to guess, I would say Polanco was drafted as a 2nd baseman who they saw as a hybrid player or utility type player.—–Good guess. He played almost no third base in the minors. He was drafted in the 19th round and played middle infield, so that would all be consistent with "utility" player. May 17, 2013 10:46 AM Thanks Sec3. I also chose Polanco for the example as he would toggle between 2nd and 3rd in-season. LaRussa had no issues doing it. I think people are making a big deal about this and it really isn't. Rendon was a top High School shortstop and moved to 3rd to take a position. He said he feels he can play all infield positions. The fact that Rizzo is playing him a few games at 2nd already answers the question that he can play 2nd but he needs a lot more reps before he should play it at the Major League level.

  53. UNTERP - May 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    The best thing to happen to Strasburg was for Zimmerman to have those errors, both in the previous game and the one last night. Both these events are the turnaround moments for his career going forward. He's a fast grower. :)

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    JD, Bryce and Span are 2 left-handed fixtures in this lineup for a long time. The 2015 lineup might be very right-handed and there are quite a few teams that only feature 2 lefties but use platoons to load up lefties when facing a tough right-handed pitcher.

  55. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    "UNTERP said… The best thing to happen to Strasburg was for Zimmerman to have those errors, both in the previous game and the one last night. Both these events are the turnaround moments for his career going forward. He's a fast grower. :)"I can think of better ways to get Strasburg's head straight than commiting errors. Zimm is a mess in the field. 1 total chance in yesterday's game and he gets a throwing error. The good news is he is contributing with the bat however there's no good errors in baseball, physical or mental unless you learn from them and don't do them again which clearly isnt the case with Zimm.

  56. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Hey Bowdenball, you know what they say about opinions. We all have them and many stink.That play to end the game was a great play by Lombo, not sure what you were watching and yah, thats my opinion..

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    By the way, props to ALR, he made a nice diving play to his right on a hot shot and even though he didn't get it you could see he is much more nimble than earlier in the season.That HR was tagged real well. The team has really needed him doing this.The Nats really took it to Volquez who had been throwing great the last 3 starts. He was missing his spots all night and it was good to see the Nats capitalize.

  58. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    "I can think of better ways to get Strasburg's head straight than commiting errors. "I disagree only because Stras' has specifically had a problem when his teammates make errors. Even if RZim were fielding at .990, errors would still happen behind Stras, so it's something he quite simply needed to get past. His past two starts provided uncannily similar opportunities to realize this and then to nip it in the bud. You really can't ask for more tailor-made therapy for Stras' recurring problem on this front.Now, does Zimm need to get it together? No question about it. I don't think this is a matter of Zimm failing to learn from his mistakes, I think it's a matter of him struggling to execute the solution. Which is worrying…

  59. peric - May 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    The fact that Rizzo is playing him a few games at 2nd already answers the question that he can play 2nd but he needs a lot more reps before he should play it at the Major League level.As well as shortstop.The "reps" won't happen until he gets to Syracuse (which should be soon given his current tear) just as with Espinosa converting from shortstop.

  60. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Ghost, relief regarding ALR's performance is quickly being replaced by excitement. It's fun watching him wake up!

  61. peric - May 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    All I saw last night from Lombo was routine plays converted to "web gems" by his lack of range and quickness.Reminds me a lot of Tim Cullen. His batting average right now and his inability to take walks … Lombo is sure handed and competent at second base. Not so with third and short. Okay in left where the big arm isn't as necessary. Espinosa probably is one of the best if not the best fielding second baseman in the majors right now. And he would be right up there with the shortstops if he played there. That does make him a valuable asset/piece. Lots of teams are going with defense over hitting at shortstop. There is still a chance that Espinosa might come around, he's still young.

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Strasburg is so good that once again he didn't need his A game to be effective. Another start where he limited the damage with the 3 walks and 1 HBP as the defense was great and only allowed 3 hits. The defenders were perfectly positioned all night.Strasburg is now 16th in the Majors with a 2.83 ERA.

  63. peric - May 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Ghost, relief regarding ALR's performance is quickly being replaced by excitement. It's fun watching him wake up!2 home runs in two nights is an excellent beginning to go with the career longest hitting streak. But he is making up for what was a truly dismal start.His ISO is still lower than Espinosa's. He leads the team in K's. His OPS is still under .700. He has a looooong way to go. BUT, the team needed that 2-run shot and it seemed to wake up the #3 and #4 hole. IN all of this everyone is missing the key thing that is beginning to happen. Zim is once again becoming Mr. Clutch with men on base. Pitchers are starting to pitch around him again. THAT bodes well for young Bryce because it means he will begin to see pitches to hit again.

  64. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    "Espinosa probably is one of the best if not the best fielding second baseman in the majors right now. "I decided to look into this. While I have no real sense of how he ranks against other 2Bs, I do feel he really is exceptional in his own right.Looks like he's 10th for fielding pct. and 2nd for "Range Factor".Is Range Factor very meaningful as a stat?Anyway, he appears to be in the middle at worst for all stats, and way at the top or #1 for a fair number of them. If the stats are worth anything, he's certainly appears to be top tier if not actually A-1.

  65. Doc - May 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Correctomundo Ghost!If Davey wants/needs a hitter, ARen has his bags packed. That's how Harps arrived and that's how Rendon will arrive. The Lerners are already warming their Lear jet for the quick trip.The Nats' offense is one of the worst in MLB. And a future NL batting champ is smacking the ball in AA, with 5 HR's and a bunch of 2B's on his spread sheet!

  66. John C. - May 17, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… If Ryan Zimmerman was a walk on to a major college team and tried out with the way he's throwing the ball right now, there's a good chance he wouldn't make the team.Um, in the major leagues Ryan Zimmerman is currently hitting .274/.375/.389, with an OPS+ of 113 (well above league average). Over the last two weeks he is hitting .368/.489/.474. And you don't think he'd make a major college team? That's kinda funny when you think about it.The heck with a college team, the Nats are a better team with Zimmerman on the field, even with the fielding struggles. With Werth out, Harper banged up and Espinosa and the entire Goon Squad struggling the Nats need Zim's bat and can live with his glove.

  67. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I've definitely noticed that about Zim with RISP, peric. And, last night, after ALR's bomb, just before RZim's two run RBI, I said, "I bet they pitch to Zim now."And, I'm sure you and I aren't the only one's noticing. It's just that ALR's start was so bleak that his recent activity is standing out in sharp relief.The synergy of this line up is beautiful when it's working!

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Eric said… Ghost, relief regarding ALR's performance is quickly being replaced by excitement. It's fun watching him wake up! May 17, 2013 11:31 AM ALR is the "hot hand" right now and there's no denying it Peric that his season stats still aren't good as it is hard to erase 30 games of hitting .140.Like somebody said, once Harp is feeling 100% and Werth is back healthy and back in the 2, the Nats will have a potent 1-6 where Davey can possibly work on giving Lombo and Espi games based more on matchups.In the meantime, I'm thinking like Doc that a future batting champ is in the wings for when Rizzo decides to upgrade.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Eric, good points on pitching to Z and the craziest part was Volquez was so wild he was trying to paint the outside against RZim and the ball sailed over the middle of the plate and the Z-man made him pay. That's classic Zim as he feasts on hanging breakers and mistake fastballs. When he is hot, he doesn't pitch those pitches.

  70. EmDash - May 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Looking ahead to tonight's match-up -Players to watch against Gio: Carlos Quentin, who in 15 PAs against Gio has a .455/.600/.727 with a home run. They have a lot of players he's never faced.Also look for the Padres to load up on righties to face Gio, as he's been absolute murder on lefties with an 11/1 strikeout to walk ratio and a .457 OPS against.Tonight's pitcher for the Padres is Burch Smith, who made his first major start on the 11th against the Rays and gave up 6 ER and recorded only three outs. Though he has a solid minor league track record with great K/BB numbers, so you don't know if he was just rattled in his first start or something. Either way, hitting rookie kid pitchers without much of a major league record hasn't exactly been a strength of the Nats…

  71. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Yeah, it was awesome, Ghost. Zim has looked positively ravenous at the plate since his second game back from the DL.

  72. EmDash - May 17, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Range factor is generally considered reliable only with a full year's worth of data because it can fluctuate pretty wildly, I think? It's encouraging that Espinosa's off to a good start in that regard, though.

  73. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Gotcha, thanks EmDash.

  74. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Zimm is hitting the ball much harder just not showing HR power which leads me back to still in recovery mode.Its still a difficult pro/con debate on Zimm as to now he is contributing with the bat and OBP however he's on a pace of 1 error to every 10 defensive plays which puts him on a pace of 38 errors based on his 2012 fielding chances which is double his pace of last year. You also have to consider how many errors Laroche will save him on bad throws.He ultimately has to move to 1st base sooner than later as you want his bat and can't tolerate that error frequency from any player.

  75. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I agree he's still in recovery mode, which somewhat mitigates my concern about his throwing. I'd also be a lot more worried if Davey and RZim haven't long maintained that his shoulder won't be right until June. I think they expected this.Definitely hard to watch, though. I really hate seeing RZim struggle, and not just because I want the Nats to win.

  76. Harpo - May 17, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Zimm used to bury the balls in the dirt to Laroche and now he throws them high with these overthrows that are errors. Thats what I see as the big difference Laroche has no chance on overthrows but can handle most of the balls on target that are in the dirt.

  77. Eric - May 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Great quote from Zuk here:"'I was going to go out there,' Suzuki said, after an error in the fifth inning by Ryan Zimmerman threatened to derail Strasburg. 'I was thinking about going out there and talking to [Strasburg]. Once he got the ball back, he looked at Zim and said, 'I got you.' Once he did that, I turned around and went back to home plate. Because I knew he was going to do it.'"

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 17, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Zimm used to bury the balls in the dirt to Laroche and now he throws them high with these overthrows that are errors. Thats what I see as the big difference Laroche has no chance on overthrows but can handle most of the balls on target that are in the dirt. I never really considered that until now. He's either too high or too low but mostly too high now and last year he was often low and LaRoche with the GG just scooped them up.

  79. bowdenball - May 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    EmDash said…"Players to watch against Gio: Carlos Quentin, who in 15 PAs against Gio has a .455/.600/.727 with a home run. They have a lot of players he's never faced."I'm guessing most or all of that damage was done by the Carlos Quentin of the White Sox who got MVP votes in his mid-20s and was a two time all-star. This current version of Carlos Quentin is batting .181/.300/.386.

  80. peric - May 17, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    I never really considered that until now. He's either too high or too low but mostly too high now and last year he was often low and LaRoche with the GG just scooped them up.Its the shoulder. Again, let him just be competent as long as he keeps hitting, and hitting, and hitting some more. Given the make up of the rest of the infield it shouldn't matter then.

  81. peric - May 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    In the meantime, I'm thinking like Doc that a future batting champ is in the wings for when Rizzo decides to upgrade.He already walks. Takes what the pitcher gives him to all fields. Hits mistakes out of the park. And is a gold glove fielder? Methinks he's a soon-to-be AllStar in his rookie year. And voted in, not designated like Harper.

  82. NatsLady - May 17, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I believe Quenton is injured. It says "personal" but last night they said something about a strained something or other…5/17 Injury Report: Carlos Quentin Missed Thursday's game against Washington (May 15, personal)

  83. Ron In Reston - May 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Actually, NL, EmDash & Bowdenball (and anyone else still reading this thread) Quentin missed last night's game and may miss tonight's because his wife gave birth to a son. Sometimes playing fantasy baseball is a plus :)

  84. Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    John C, sorry, I guess i wasn't clear when making the statement about Zimm, though I was pretty definitive about not throwing him under the bus. I meant to be referring to his throwing only, if he can in blind, nothing about his hitting. Look, I still like him, warts and all, as our 3rd baseman, all things considered. For the 2nd time in 2 days I will agree with peric, [scary, I know} in that the Nats need Zim's bat hitting solidly for this team to win. Short lunch break for me. Later.

  85. mick - May 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    As I posted yesterday, if Stras can give a good performance, it would be fair to say that starting pitching has righted itself. Gald the team finally hit. There is no reason the Nats should not win 3 straight.btw: JFK would have been 96 years old today, hard to believe.

  86. Whack-a-Mule - May 17, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Mule is not hasty to adopt the "But what have you done for me lately" point of view in evaluating players. Given Zimmerman's fielding consistency this season (i.e. he consistently makes one egregious throwing error every 8 games; on a pace for a 32-error season), a continuation of such performance cannot be countenanced through an entire season. Mule thinks to give him until the All-Star Break to rectify his throwing problem before turning him into a PH.

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
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
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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