Skip to content

Nats quarterly report-5/18

May 18, 2013, 12:30 PM EST

Photo by USA Today
A baseball season can’t be broken into perfect fourths due to a total of 162 games, but the Nats basically entered the second quarter of their season on Thursday in playing their 41st game. Here is a look at the team through roughly one-fourth of the year and how they compare to last season, plus some predictions for the next 41 games.
Aside from Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, and Denard Span, everyone else in the Nats’ lineup hasn’t been playing up to their capabilities. Injuries have been a significant factor, but that excuse doesn’t apply to everybody. Danny Espinosa has simply struggled, and Adam LaRoche is still recovering from his forgettable April. As a whole they don’t get on base, strike out too much, and don’t make the most of opportunities.
After ranking among the top ten teams in the majors in team batting average, runs scored, and home runs in 2012, the Nats are among the ten worst teams in each of those categories this season. Their team OPS is second worst only to the Marlins and their batting average is third worst. Espinosa is the posterboy for these struggles, but he’s not the only one at fault. Harper and Desmond are the only members of the Opening Day lineup that aren’t hitting below their career batting averages. That applies to Kurt Suzuki as well.

Read more »

130 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. The Bat - May 18, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Interesting regarding Rendon and forcing the Nats hand at 3B. I don't see the team sending LaRoche to the bench or trading him so Zim can play 1B. We need his power and he plays great defense. 2nd base is where the money is. That job is open to any applicants who can hit for a decent average. Rendon should be getting as many reps there as possible in the minors to make the move to the majors.

  2. fast eddie - May 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Both Chase and Boswell are suggesting trading Laroche, moving Zimm to 1B and bringing up Rendon.I agree with many of you that this will happen in 2014. To make the move now would seem to be an over-reaction on Rizzo's part.I assume Laroche does not have a "no-trade" clause?How will Zimm handle the move, knowing that his poor throws were responsible for the trade??

  3. mick - May 18, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Great character win, the dugout emotion showed it all that they all have each others backs. I am very happy for Tracy. Storen pitching out of the mess he got the team in may be a bigger upside in the long run. Clip did very wellNow for the concerns… Zim… this is ridiculous, you almost blew it on the last out in the 10th. Soriano pissed me off, if this was a solid team they were playing then fine. You do not blow a 2 run lead. Bernadina's at bat is over looked because they won, but on 3-1, that pitch he hit was a ball and if he takes it is 7-5 in 10th. More importantly, you need the leadoff guy on! This is all minor compared to the fact that the Nats need a 2b who can not hit. Espi will NEVER be that guy, look for Rizzo to make a deal, Espi is killing this team at the plate

  4. mick - May 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I can not fathom how bad a loss this would have been

  5. mick - May 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    can Rendon play 2b? that would solve the problem

  6. mick - May 18, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    eddie, ALR may be back, i would think long and hard about trading him.

  7. Candide - May 18, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    At the end of the first quarter, the Nats are in fifth place in the NL wild card race, trailing the Reds, Pirates, D-Backs, and Giants.

  8. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Even when Lombo gets a chance to play he isnt seperating himself from Espy. Hes a better contact hitter than Espy however his contact is weak. Neither is the answer as a starter.

  9. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Miami DFA'd Jon Rauch.

  10. Whack-a-Mule - May 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Mule agrees that no Major League baseball team can have a 3rd-baseman who commits 36 errors in a season(that being Zim's pace through 1/4 of the year).But 1st base? Now? Absolutely not. Nats cannot afford to lose LaRoche's bat, nor can they afford the large defensive drop-off incurred by replacing LaRoche with Zim at 1st.Either Zim corrects his throwing, or he becomes aM.O.G.S. ("member-of-goon-squad pinch hitter).

  11. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Mule, I think Zimms error rate is now over 36 errors based on if he plays a full season the rest of the way as you have to consider he was on the DL for much of this season. Looks like he is on a 40 error pace based on # of chances. All joking aside, Zimm has to be pulled in the later innings for a defensive replacement like they did with Adam Dunn in the OF.

  12. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    There is a good chance the official scorer reverses the error on Zimm:"I would never complain about a play, but that’s not an error. I don’t know if they have Brooks Robinson as a scorekeeper here or what. . . . I’m almost near second base and throwing across against not a slow guy. If that’s on the base, it’s bang-bang. We’re not supposed to complain about that stuff, but that one’s a little ridiculous. I guess if anyone deserves to get errors put on them right now, it’s me. But that’s over the top."

  13. Dominats Vobiscum - May 18, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    The problem with trading LaRoche is that Rizzo and Davey lobbied so long and hard all offseason to get him back, when they could easily have just let him walk and kept Michael Morse. So now they're stuck. They made their bed, they're going to have to lie in it at least through this season and probably into the next.

  14. Doc - May 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Good review MarkMeister! Honest and reasonably thorough.For starters though, a starter like Young coming out of 'Cuse, given his current record (so much for spring training) would be a mistake.Maybe best to look at Harrisbury for some starting pitching help. Unfortunately, Duke is not being used enough to perform as expected. Probably could be 5th starter for some other team.The biggest mistake was Rizzo letting Espi talk him into not going ahead with the RT operation. Danny will soon out-Mendoza, Mendoza!The offense is getting better, but some nights they revert back to being the hitless wonders.Will RZim's arm improve. Davey seems to think so. By the way what's the record for season errors for a 3B guy????

  15. Gonat - May 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Amanda Comak asked Davey if RZ should have taken that ball in the 9th in front of Desi. I think Davey said it was close but Zim makes that play all the time.While I don't think it was an error it was mentioned that Zim just isn't making the most of his plays when he gets chances and the play in the 1st inning where Bryce threw that laser to 3rd, Zim didn't get in front of the ball and it was Bryce charged with an error and it scored a run. I think FP made up some excuse that the ball hit something like FP does often. Was there Turface® on the field FP?

  16. Gonat - May 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Doc, Chase wrote this piece.

  17. BxJaycobb - May 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    This question is out there…and probably has no chance of happening…but just a thought: can Ryan potentially move over to play a mediocre to below average 2B? Before blowing it off just consider: it would effectively replace Danny's bat with rendons, keep ALR in the lineup…and get ride of Ryan's throwing problems…we can assume the toss to second wont be as demanding. In terms of the plays that he'd find demanding and difficult to learn and perfect…obviously the pivot on a double play is not easy… But Ryans always been more comfortable side arm slinging it. Is this worth putting him over there for some fun goes and workouts just to see what's what? I'd imagine with how great an athlete he is and his glove is, he'd be able to play a serviceable to below average second with enough practice….crazy?

  18. Gonat - May 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Doc said…The offense is getting better, but some nights they revert back to being the hitless wonders._______________________The 2 hole is a black hole and Desi is getting the big time junkball pitch-around with Espi hitting behind him. Span is in a mini-slump and Bryce has played most of the month injured.Luckily LaRoche and RZ are hitting.

  19. DaveB - May 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    fast eddie Did you actually read all of Boswell's column … he put those ideas (i.e., trading ALR, benching Espi, etc.) and the proclaimed them "the different faces of panic". His recommendation was patience (although he did say to save those ideas for some point in the future).

  20. Doc - May 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Thanks for the corretion Gonat, and my apologies Chase. Well done. Multitasking in the morning and not paying close attention–my bad.And Gonat, like you I thought that the error on Harps' throw was more on Zim. He let the throw play him, and not vice-versa.

  21. Gonat - May 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    BxJaycobb, Peric actually brought this up last week and while it isn't outlandish think of Knoblach, he couldn't make the throws from 2nd and I think you lose range with RZ. It's just bad, real bad. No simple solution until you can move him to 1st.

  22. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    "Doc said… And Gonat, like you I thought that the error on Harps' throw was more on Zim. He let the throw play him, and not vice-versa"Ray Knight talked about it in his postgame. I just saw the play again on MLB and Zim played it off to his side instead of getting his body in front of the throw. Its not a issue catching the ball, its an issue of knocking down the ball to not let it get by you. No excuses and Im sure Bryce is ticked picking up an error for that.

  23. Theophilus T. S. - May 18, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    "Boswell… put those ideas (i.e., trading ALR, benching Espi, etc.) and the proclaimed them 'the different faces of panic'."Boswell, being who he is, not only cannot use the word "panic" he cannot be allowed to use anything that appears alongside it in the thesaurus. I am pretty damn certain those are the moves he thinks are necessary. Some of them, e.g., pushing LaRoche into a lifeboat and moving Zimmerman to 1B (a lifeboat in its own right), are moves that get made only if the Nats are underwater at the trade deadline. But (with the possible exception of the Moore for Werth swap) they are the things I have concluded recently are necessary.

  24. Doc - May 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Thanks for the update on Knight's discussion of Zim's misplay Harpo!And thanks to Selig/whoever else, I never get to listen to the post-game show.

  25. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Kilgores morning Tweet "epic rant" or epic whine?Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPChad Tracy saved the Nats with one swing, and Ryan Zimmerman's full, epic rant against San Diego's scorer.

  26. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Boswell made some valid points. LaRoche isn't going anywhere right now. He's one of the bright spots. I'd like to see Rendon at second regardless of reps.At least he can hit or see the ball….

  27. Dominats Vobiscum - May 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Rant or whine, Kilgore couldn't manage to transcribe Zimmerman's comment without making an error himself. "If a get the ball and throw across my body, it’s not a play you practice.” Kilgore needs to practice proofreading. It's a play a real journalist makes every time.

  28. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Doc I like the way you said it "He let the throw play him, and not vice-versa."Zimms fielding percentage is now at .890

  29. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Irregardless of journalists errors, there's no excuses for a professional making one. And blaming the Ump?

  30. nats guy - May 18, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    This is kind of a wild idea. RZim still has options. Send him to Syracuse for a month to prove he can get better with his throwing and bat speed. If he can't he should go to the 60 day DL. Bring up Rendon from Harrisburg.RZim is only hurting himself and his team right now. Its tough to watch a formerly great player fail because of an injury, but it is happening and delaying the inevitable is just cruel. If I were a pitcher I wouldn't want him playing behind me right now.

  31. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Dominats, very true on Kilgore. At least this error/non-error was an aggressive play and not a unforced error and it doesnt matter except in the stats sheet for him and Soriano.

  32. nats guy - May 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Irregardless is a word commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective, which has caused controversy since the early twentieth century, though the word appeared in print as early as 1795. [1] Most dictionaries list it as "nonstandard" or "incorrect".

  33. peric - May 18, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Chris Young looks FAR WORSE than Zach Duke does right now. He is getting hammered every single time he goes out. Its not even a contest when he pitches.

  34. peric - May 18, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    If RZim hits and hits and hits it'll be okay. Kind of like playing Pujols at third base the way the Cardinals did. Eventually, Rendon will replace him there. But then you've got to find a spot for him and like-it-or-not its where Adam LaRoche is standing.LaRoche forced Morse out of the picture and he had to know the same thing would happen to him when Rendon got closer.LaRoche has smouldering hot bat right now so it won't happen for awhile. Hopefully, that lasts for the whole season … But, eventually? Rendon isn't going to second base. Lombo or Kobernus are before they consider Rendon. He's going to third.

  35. BxJaycobb - May 18, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Honestly I think that despite losing the range with zimm at second base, I bet that actually he could handle it. He's got great reflexes and a phenomenal glove. For all his problems at third, the throws are all tailing when they get halfway across the diamond. That probably wouldn't be an issue throwing from second to first. Would it take work to acclimatize him? Yes but I think that the WAR uptick you would get from having rendon in the lineup for Danny and ryan no longer making errors at third would balance out the loss of range/ not as strong arm on DPS/ pivots … Also, if davey starts duke instead of stanmen, he is on drugs. Duke is no longer a major league quality pitcher. Stanmen has been excellent. I know he's not as good when hitters get a second and third look at him, but he's fully capable of pitching a quality start and giving us a chance to win, unlike duke.

  36. BxJaycobb - May 18, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Also question: if davey plays Danny doesn't he need to put Danny behind somebody besides Desmond? It's not a good combination to have an out hitting behind an impatient hitter…whoever hits in front of Danny will get pitched around but u need that person to be patient and take a walk. Desk can't, and his hitting is suffering for it. Gotta hit Danny behind catcher or something…and put desi ahead of somebody more threatening like ALR.

  37. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 18, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Rzim bats. .290 or so I will put up with some E. I am hoping the June projection for good shoulder throwing wise woks out.

  38. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    When Werth returns to the line up with varios people improving the whole lineup will improve.SpanWerthHarperZimLaRocheDesmondSuzuki 2BPitcherMy lineup though really would be thisSpanRendonHarperZimLaRocheDesmondWerthSuzukiPitcher

  39. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    MNF, I hope you are right with the 2nd lineup.

  40. NCNatsie - May 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Zim's error last night should be reversed. He is wrong to say the play would have been bang-bang with a good throw. IMHO the runner had the play beaten easily even with the best imaginable throw, therefore, while it doesn't negate the bad throw, it shouldn't be an error.

  41. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    No matter what happens with everyone else , someone has to keep Bryce healthy and in the line up and someone else has to get Jayson healthy and return him to the lineup. Then all will be right and good in Natstown. I have decreed it!

  42. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Espinosa having the surgery is as good an excuse as any to remedy the problem. Should have done it immediately and there would be no excuses.And a quality ball club does not offer them.Thanks nats guy for the history lesson.

  43. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    When did "mired" become transitive?

  44. EmDash - May 18, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Moving Zimm to second wouldn't work, I think – it's the more important defensive position, and Zimm's range right now isn't great either. It would be worse at a position where more range is needed.And I'm pretty sure a player can't be sent to the minors without their permission if they have > 5 years in the majors, so that's not going to happen unless he gets injured or "injured" and goes back on the DL.There's just not really a good option with him right now but to stick with it and hope he gets better as his shoulder comes along.Rendon might be the best option at second, but he needs more reps before that can happen because it's defensively challenging and he doesn't have fielding experience there as a professional. So he needs more time before a move can be made. If Espi continues to struggle and goes on the DL for his shoulder, I'd imagine we'd see Kobernus or Will Rhymes before we'd see him, but I could be wrong.As for Soriano's performance last night – he kind of got BABIPed there, I think. But the main problem was sequencing – once the first two players got hits under the same strategy of swinging at the first pitch and sneaking a single through the hole between first and second, it would've been advisable to throw some junk and see if you can get the batter to give away a strike and then adjust from there.

  45. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    The last place I expected an English/history lesson.The joys of following the Nats. Seriously.

  46. EmDash - May 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Or rather, once the first player did so. They were going up there hacking against Soriano and he and Suzuki probably should've adjusted.Interesting fact: the Nats have won both games that Soriano blew a save in extras. I believe Stammen got the win in the first one, though, as that one lasted a little longer.

  47. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    "Irregardless of journalists errors, there's no excuses for a professional making one."Well played, even if it did whoosh a few folks.

  48. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Bryce didn't have reps as you say…but an injury forced a call-up. Same for Rendon.If they are serious about this year it's time to pull all the plugs. I'm sorry Danny but you had your chance and you have an excuse….

  49. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Zim's error: not a matter of opinion whether the runner would have beaten the throw–he absolutely would not have. Unambiguous in the replay. Sorry, but E5, especially considering Desmond (and Desmond's arm) was in position for it, so Zim didn't have to cut it off. When the throw bounces, they almost always give the error on that, regardless of what kind of good/bad bounce the fielder gets. Not always fair, maybe, but well-established custom. But you *have* to knock that down somehow.

  50. EmDash - May 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Bryce played in the minors in the outfield a full year before coming up. And the outfield's kind of different as far as that goes, anyway – if you've got Bryce's speed and arm it can make up for a lot, even if he gets bad reads out there. But a lot of infield defense is positioning yourself properly before the play and footwork to complete double-plays, and stuff happens faster there generally speaking.Not saying that the time's not coming to make a decision about continuing to play Espi. But if we think Rendon is going to be able to play an unfamiliar defensive position well enough to contribute in the majors after playing it a few times a week for a month or two in the minors it's perhaps overly optimistic.

  51. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Emdash is correct about the 5-year thing.You want goofy speculation? Has anybody suggested moving Zim to left, and Harper to third? He was a catcher his whole amateur career, he could handle it at least as well as Zim is doing now. He has the arm, certainly, and it keeps both bats in the lineup. Zim should be at least as good in left as Lombo or TMo.

  52. Eugene in Oregon - May 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Oh my. Just watched last night's game — being careful not to see the score beforehand — and was…what? Down, then up, then up a bit more, then worried because I could see (from the time counter thingee) that there was too much time left for a 9-inning game, then my fears were realized, then up again, but still worried because the time thingee still had 12 minutes on it. Geez.Two thoughts and one question from reading this and the post-game bits of the game thread:– No matter what schemes we fans come up with, this team is not going to trade Adam LaRoche unless they are completely out of it at the trade deadline; just not going to happen; and– The team will be making some significant personnel moves as they return to Washington from the current road trip; the combination of uncertainty about Jayson Werth and Ross Detwiler will probably cost them a few days in the decision-making process, but the notion of bringing Anthony Rendom up by the 1st of June seems to be no-brainer — whether to play 2nd (more likely) or 3rd (much less likely, as moving Ryan Zimmerman to 2nd in the middle of the season isn't a Davey Johnston-type move). But they'll wait until they're back in DC.– Question: Recalling the Bryce Harper countdown last season (and the fact that Mr. Rendon has already a two-week stint in MLB) is there a date (or dates?) that Mike Rizzo and company may be waiting for to avoid future complications (i.e. if the super-two or free agency variety)? If so, anyone know what that date is? Dates are?

  53. mick - May 18, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. nats guy - May 18, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Sorry DSM but "irregardless", "orientated", and "cache" pronounced as "cachet" are a few of my pet peeves.

  55. mick - May 18, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    typos, let;s try again…If I was GM, i would..get rid of Duke and see if any club in MLB will give anything, if not, still cut him, he fills up a roster spot and is Espi ASAP as a package deal or straight up for a reliever. Go with Rendon and Lombo, team will be patient with Zim at 3rd, if he keeps stinking the joint up, then this could factor in perhaps dealing ALR with maybe Espi, and or a bench another player to get a stud reliever. Them move Zim to 1b.If I can get Morse back, I seriously explore it.In a nut shell, the Nats need 2 relief pitchers and a 2b. They may need one more starting pitcher, but that is the least of any concern. The have to fix 2b and the bull pen, it can be done, if they do not, the season ends early

  56. Theophilus T. S. - May 18, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Unless LaRoche is traded — which I would not discount in the slightest if this bumfest continues — the "what do you do w/ Rendon" question will persist for another 1 3/4 seasons. A further reason for bringing up Rendon immediately to play second base is to find out — now — whether he can play 2B (this is for you skeptics who think he can't).If it looks like he can't hold the position for one year — and one year only — then the off-season course of action is set on auto-pilot.

  57. Dominats Vobiscum - May 18, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    "DWS said… Irregardless of journalists errors, there's no excuses for a professional making one. And blaming the Ump?"He's not blaming the ump. He's questioning the decision of the official scorer, who is probably some overweight journalist who never played the game and sits up in the press box watching replays in slo-mo saying "I could of made that play. Error."

  58. mick - May 18, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Also, depending on Werth injuries, play T Moore now and find out if he can do this. If you remove Tracy's HR, we have the worst pinch hiting team in baseball. Hopefully, that will change. Also, lost in the discussion was Span's horrible bunt attempt, first of all, WHY WAS HE BUNTING???The Shark just can not hit, we need another bat on the bench

  59. Dominats Vobiscum - May 18, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Second base. It's so easy a caveman could play it. Or even a guy who did commercials with a caveman.

  60. mick - May 18, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    The official scorer was SPOT ON about Zim's error's are you all joking?

  61. Section 222 - May 18, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Eugene, I believe it was established before that Rendon spent enough time in the minors before his first call up to avoid reaching free agency a year too soon. They probably aren't worried about Super 2, which only means he gets arbitration a year earlier.

  62. Joe Seamhead - May 18, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I must say that if one regards "irregardless" as a word, one must accept that it means regarding. The prefix "ir" and the suffix "less" doubly negates the "regard", making it redundant. "Irregardless of the live crawfish in my gumbo" would mean look at or think about the crawfish, not ignore it.mick, "bad throw" and "error" aren't always the same thing. If Zimm had let the ball go to Desmond it was extremely doubtful Ian's throw would have had a chance. I still think the runner would have beat a good throw from Zimmerman. Just my take on it.

  63. NatsJack in Florida - May 18, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    First 5 games of a west coast road trip and the Nats are 3-2.So far, so good.

  64. Joe Seamhead - May 18, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    BTW, I stole the crawfish example from a friend of mine.

  65. Eugene in Oregon - May 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    222,Thanks re Rendon's status. Agree they should not be overly concerned about the Super 2 status, but free agency a year early is a big deal.

  66. Joe Seamhead - May 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Jack, from reading the posts I thought we were out of the race and it was time to start a serious rebuilding process.

  67. Doc - May 18, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Hey Nats Guy, thanks! I knew someday, somewhere, somebody would bring up the misuse of the word 'irregardless'.I used to use it until it was pointed out to me by a Newfie, aka someone from Newfoundland, who, when he wasn't fishing, taught high school math.Funny how it came into our lexicon. I'm still tempted to use it, as much as it lacks meaning.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - May 18, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Joe……only a couple of Redskin fans channeling their inner Dan Snyder.

  69. Theophilus T. S. - May 18, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    The "out-of-the race" issue arises a few days before the trading deadline. As of the moment the Nats are two games behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the wild card race. If/when they are ten games out on July 28 it'll be time to wash a few guys out of their hair.

  70. Theophilus T. S. - May 18, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    I'd be prepared to trade five of the guys on the ML roster right now for one good LH reliever.

  71. SonnyG10 - May 18, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I'd say that playing Zimmerman at second base would not help his throws. Haven't you noticed that he has made two wild throws to second base trying to get a force out or a double play? He was close the second base when he made the throws and they still went wild. Also, remember the relay by Espi from the right fielder (I forget whether it was Bryce or the Shark) to Zimmerman to get the out at third base on the runner trying for a triple. No way Zim or Lombo makes that relay throw.

  72. NatsLady - May 18, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Theo, you have a good LH reliever. His name it Tyler CLippard. That's the least of our worries, as long as he stays effective.

  73. Dominats Vobiscum - May 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    "If/when they are ten games out on July 28 it'll be time to wash a few guys out of their hair."They're a half game out of first place after playing terrible ball for much of the first quarter. They won't continue to play so badly and even if they do they won't be ten games out on July 28th. And even if they are, it won't be cause for a fire sale. If they make a move at the deadline, it will be to add on (a la last year with Suzuki) not to unload – like they have never done anyway. Not with Soriano, not with Dunn.

  74. Dominats Vobiscum - May 18, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    "Theophilus T. S. said… I'd be prepared to trade five of the guys on the ML roster right now for one good LH reliever."Then you'd be an idiot. A well-prepared idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

  75. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    A spark is what this team needs. Perhaps last nights game was it but I think it's time to find a position for Rendon. It is still relatively early and if he fails, (I don't think he will) send him back.Zimmerman and LaRoche aren't going anywhere.

  76. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    And Dominats it was a pleasure to read this entire blog without a person calling somebody (no matter their opinion) down. Well done.

  77. EmDash - May 18, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Theophilus – I'm not skeptical that Rendon could ever play 2nd, I'm sure with practice he'd be fine. But practice is the key thing.

  78. NatsLady - May 18, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Tyler Clippard vs. lefties. 5 walks, 1 hit.Avg .038WHIP .069OBP .194 (that's the walks)in 31 plate appearances.

  79. NatsJack in Florida - May 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    On April 22, while watching my first game of my DC trip to watch the Nats, I adopted the "Espinosa Stinks" theme in an effort to get him to .230. After that game that night he was hitting .176.After last nights game, he's hitting .172.I officially give up.

  80. jeeves - May 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Really Domenats. If you wouldn't trade Dukes, Tracy, Bernadina, Rodriquez, and Moore for a really good lefty reliever, then I wonder to whom the name calling should be applied.

  81. Joe Seamhead - May 18, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Jack, many of the virtual medical experts have determined Espinosa's problems are due to his separated shoulder. What do you hear/think?

  82. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 18, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    NatsJack, I was questioning Espinosa's swing & miss back in July 2011.

  83. NatsJack in Florida - May 18, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    It's not a seperated shoulder. It's a cleanly torn rotator cuff in his non-throwing shoulder.I've got one in my throwing shoulder that has been cleaned and prepped for a replacement that I've been putting off because it hasn't affected my golf swing and I don't want to take 6-8 months off.I doubt it has any affect on his swing either.His head, on the other hand is a diferent story.

  84. Theophilus T. S. - May 18, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    NL — I beg to demur. There is a difference in the way Johnson is required to use Clippard or Storen in the post-Burnett era which will ultimately be to our detriment. Possibly Clippard will remain as effective against LH hitters as he has been thus far but counting on him as a "left-handed specialist" dictates that you save him for Utley/Howard or Freeman/McMann rather than right now when you need to get through some tough RHs. Or that you must begin the inning with him rather than, as was often the case, with Burnett, hoping that Burnett could get the lead-off LH and escape the two RHs that followed and avoid using Clippard/Storen at all. Over the course of the season it probably means using Clippard more than is optimal. (Of course, Clippard — and Burnett — were used more than was optimal last season and wore down and were ineffective at the end. So, maybe it is just inevitable that Johnson will over-tax his bullpen.)

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 18, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Read RZim's comments on Amanda's blog. He contends that it was his play to take. The problem was Zim's path to the ball. He fielded the ball on the infield dirt which would be perfect if the play was at 2nd.

  86. Theophilus T. S. - May 18, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Jeeves — Actually, my list of five was Dukes, Rodriguez, Bernadina, Perez, and Lombardozzi. Dukes really has no value but he is taking a roster spot from someone who needs experience and they should get rid of him ; Rodriguez we know all (and enough) about; Bernadina, Perez and Lombardozzi are never going to be major league regulars. There are fungible parts throughout the organization. Actually, I don't think the bunch of them is enough to fetch a good LH reliever.

  87. NatsLady - May 18, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Theo, with that I agree. I'm always worried about Davey overusing Clip because when he's effective he's so versatile. He'll have a fantastic month or two, and then wear down, and I've looked at days of rest and other factors, and there just doesn't seem to be an optimal pattern. At first I thought it would be best to give him one day's rest after every appearance (like in spring training) but that just didn't seem to correlate with his effectiveness. Hopefully, what will keep Davey from overtaxing the bullpen is starters going longer. Other than Detwiler (maybe), there is no one in our rotation that needs to be protected by early removal, and Davey just needs to get over that "I always add on runs" syndrome.

  88. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Irrespective of the topic … you all get that it was a joke, right?

  89. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Our manager never used the lefty specialist approach very much– that is, where you bring in a lefty to face that one hitter. As I recall, our lefties always did complete innings and pitched to more than one hitter. They might have been chosen that day to reflect the makeup of the lineup. But I feel that everyone in the pen was used about the same. I heard that there is one team, Dodgers?, that has a pitcher designated to face Posey. Now that is specialization!

  90. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    NatsLady- so far the starters going longer seems to have had a negative effect on the pen. Rusty guys out there. Clip especially pitches better with more work.

  91. Scott Margenau - May 18, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Tclip is a righty

  92. DWS - May 18, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Nobody pays attention Sec. 3Except the wannabe managers and GMs. The beauty of the game is the love people have for it. A strange thing indeed. Sort of like Football in the rest of the world.

  93. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Thru game 42, Clip has thrown 16 innings this season compared to 19 innings last season thru the 42nd game.I think baseballswami is correct about the starters going longer.

  94. David Proctor - May 18, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    The errors on Desmond aren't really an issue anymore. He had a BUNCH the first 2 weeks of the season, but has been great since then. Zim on the other hand…

  95. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  96. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Yah I dont know why there are any comparisons on fielding to Desi. Of Zimms 9 errors there are 7 unforced errors.

  97. Joe Seamhead - May 18, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Thanks, Jack. Sorry. I had a brain fart saying separated shoulder, rather then torn rotator cuff. So, anyway, your point is that the shoulder has limited, if any,effect on his poor numbers. I tend to agree.His approach is awful, and I don't care if it's with no strikes, one strike, or two strikes. He seems like he is just completely lost at the plate, and it's not new to this year. At what point does he get sat down for more then 1 or 2 games?

  98. Joe Seamhead - May 18, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Scott Margenau said…Tclip is a rightyMay 18, 2013 4:09 PM_______________________________________Yeah, but you wouldn't know it from his numbers put up against lefties, which was NatsLady's point. As far as I know, nobody said he was a LH.

  99. peric - May 18, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Looks like TB's version of Danny Espinosa Reid Brignac moved to Colorado and now the Yankees to replace AGonz as the utility guy.

  100. peric - May 18, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    A further reason for bringing up Rendon immediately to play second base is to find out — now — whether he can play 2B (this is for you skeptics who think he can't).He probably can the caveat being he has two previously fractured ankles. Many scouts, et al believe this makes 2nd base a risky proposition at this time. Particularly since he has yet to prove he can survive an entire season unscathed?Plus the level of fielding prowess does go down significantly from Danny Espinosa. He is still the best back up / starter + grade shortstop on the roster and depth wise down into the minors period. Finally, Rendon is a superior third baseman. He's had abundant experience playing that position. The current third bagger is no longer viable defensively.The logical move is to place Rendon at third base within a season's time.

  101. EmDash - May 18, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Watching the O's game on Fox, man, are most athlete interviews unbearably boring…

  102. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    "Ghost Of Steve M. said… NatsJack, I was questioning Espinosa's swing & miss back in July 2011."Of course you were. In other news Natsjack stink meter on Espy is still stinky and probaly will never change.

  103. Eugene in Oregon - May 18, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    EmDash @ 4:54 p.m.,With the exception of some rock stars, a couple of actors, and a few authors, most interviews of any public figure are unbearably boring.

  104. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Emdash– I especially hate the interviews during the games that fox does. Something amazing can be going on in the game and they don't even notice. Drives me nuts. And yes, they are usually pretty bad. The intentional talk show does good interviews because they ask the players off the wall questions instead of the same old mundane stuff.

  105. Section 222 - May 18, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Davey is definitely letting the starters go longer this year, as he should. They are starters for a reason — they are our best pitchers. If less use is going to make them less effective, the relievers are going to have to adjust. Throw side sessions or do whatever they have to do to stay sharp. Davey should never take out one of our starters in order to make sure that Storen or H-Rod or whoever gets enough work. If as we go forward, enough of the starters are regularly going 7 innings, maybe we can go with a 6-man bullpen and have another bat on the bench. Already, I'm not sure what purpose H-Rod serves, or maybe Duke is expendable. One possibility, if we get to that point, is to carry three catchers so that Ramos or Zuki can pinch hit. Right now, they are more reliable than any of our bench players, Tracy's HR last night notwithstanding.

  106. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 18, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Harpo, why don't you read through the July 2011 postings and you'll find it.

  107. David Proctor - May 18, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomak 2mSeen at Petco Park: Zach Duke throwing a bullpen session. The #nats Monday starter vs. SFG? It would appear that way. We shall see.

  108. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    David the reason to pitch Zach Duke is to keep Detwiler on the roster to avoid the DL unless Riz got real creative. That could be a good sign for Detweiler that he will only miss 1 start.

  109. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Ghost I read thru your July 2011 analysis of Espy and I was giving you a compliment and Natsjack also. The guy stinks.

  110. David Proctor - May 18, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    No Harper in the lineup today.

  111. peric - May 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomak 2mSeen at Petco Park: Zach Duke throwing a bullpen session. The #nats Monday starter vs. SFG? It would appear that way. We shall see.Makes sense. He really hasn't been effective so far doing anything else. And always was a starter.

  112. peric - May 18, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Tomorrow no Span and Desmond … possibly … for the 4th game.

  113. David Proctor - May 18, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Yeah I heard that Davey wanted to give Desi his first day off tomorrow.

  114. Cwj - May 18, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Doom and Gloom, both the article and 80% of the posts.Come on, forget the wild card, the Nats are playing for the NL East title. Did you guys know the Nats are 10-4 in their last 14 games?In the end it is pitching that wins, and the Nats have that in spades.Lighten up folks.Go Nats!

  115. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    So Zach Duke starts and the minute he struggles, Stammen comes in. Then, if needed , it's Harry Wholestaff. Bullpen is pretty rested and I am sure they would love some playing time.

  116. BxJaycobb - May 18, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    anybody know whats wrong with harp? complications from wall incident im assuming? hope they didnt find something serious.

  117. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Cwj, should people ignore the major issues with the team. Zimms fielding, Espys bat, bench production, Duke & HRod.

  118. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    BxJaycobb, lets hope just a day off for Harp.

  119. peric - May 18, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    So Zach Duke starts and the minute he struggles, Stammen comes in.Exactly. But Duke knows his job is to save the bullpen not deplete it for the SF series. So, we'll see.

  120. peric - May 18, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    And Carlos Quentin is officially back for the next two … that's a bat the Rizzo once purportedly coveted.

  121. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Stults is a lefty pitcher.

  122. peric - May 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Braves lose Eric O'Flaherty.

  123. BxJaycobb - May 18, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Yeah the talk of being nauseated etc was a little unnerving. usually with no concussion there's not much headaches/nausea/etc . anyway, hopefully he'll be good to go soon. will need him badly for SF

  124. peric - May 18, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Harper is hitting .171 in May. Shades of Danny Espinosa? Espy has been getting rested now, so too, Harper given all that he's managed to endure health-wise.

  125. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    peric at 6:09. Harper has been hurt 3 times in May. Whats Dannys excuse.

  126. Harpo - May 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Venters, Walden and now O'Flaherty. Kimbrel has been shakey. I dont know the deal with Walden however the others are all classic case of overuse.

  127. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    FP was commenting on abdominal pain, expressing concern about internal injuries!! I seriously hope they are watching him closely. As for Danny, one day is just not enough to clear your head or rest your shoulder. I have said before that I wish they would stick to one alignment at least for a series.

  128. baseballswami - May 18, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    And just got the answer via twitter on Bryce. Abdominal MRI clear, but knee is sore- 2 days rest to be ready for SF. Then bubble wrap I hope.

  129. David Proctor - May 18, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Harper is apparently out because his knee is sore. He said he got an MRI on the abdomen and it came back clean. Said he mostly feels okay, except for the knee.

  130. paul brandt - May 19, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Good to see Jzim pissed off at the end of the game in the dug-out with some choice words to himself… just hope he relays them loudly in the clubhouse…he did his job and only gave up 2 runs to the padres…this team is mind-boggling…jekyl & hyde…every day…never know what to expect.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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 Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter