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Nats desperate for healthy Harper, Werth

May 20, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

Associated Press
Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper haven't both been in the lineup since May 2.

There are no shortage of reasons behind the Nationals' offensive struggles right now, but one reason stands above the rest: Injuries to Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth.

Sure, Danny Espinosa's .488 OPS, a complete lack of production off the bench and way too many strikeouts aren't helping the cause. But those are secondary factors to the most significant one plaguing the Nationals. Simply put, they need to get their best players healthy and back in the lineup.

Only once in their last 18 games have the Nationals had both Werth and Harper together on the lineup card. During that span, the club is batting a collective .216 with a .279 on-base percentage while averaging only 3.3 runs per game.

Coincidence? Not at all. This is what happens when you don't haveRead more »

  1. phil dunton - May 20, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    If Rizzo hadn't given Michael Morse away, the absence of Werth and Harper wouldn't hurt so much.

  2. Don - May 20, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    The club was not exactly lighting the world on fire before the injuries. Werth and ALR struggled, Desi's a streaky guy, they had way too many Ks, and the club was not moving runners over and in well either. I think that for this team the 2 hole is the key. Span has been getting on. Harper will hit for average and power as will Zim, and ALR should reach projections. Desi will do .275/20HRs and C will provide better than league average offense from the position. Hard to evaluate the bench on short sample size, but they should be better given the track records. So, the 2 hole and production from second base are the areas of real, serious concern. We'll see how the club works this stuff out.

  3. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    And phil when everyone is healthy exactly where would Morse be playing? Sure in hindsight it looks great having him in the lineup but there is no room for him when healthy; plus its isn't like Morse doesn't have a large amount of the tin man in him too. We got three good arms for him instead of nothing at the end of the year

  4. Candide - May 20, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Lots of injuries last year, but we did fine, because the Goon Squad was so effective; you could argue they played over their heads. Reversion to the mean? Johnson Effect/Plexiglas Principle?

  5. Dave - May 20, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Of course, at this point last season there was no Michael Morse on the active roster. So the diff between last year at this point and this year isn't Morse.

  6. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    After 44 games last year, they were 26-18. They are now 24-21, or 2.5 games behind last year. It would not be hard to find three losses in the bench alone, nevermind Zim's errors. To paraphrase Mae West, "Beast Mode had nothing to do with it, honey."

  7. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Well one good thing about Morse leaving – it effectively ended the complaining about Dunn leaving

  8. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    I try not to badmouth posters, so I'll simply point out here that phil tried to tell us in the last comment section that Werth had "chronically ailing wheels" when the Nats signed him, even though Werth had never missed time due to a leg or foot injury in his professional career when the Nats signed him.If someone doesn't have any regard for the truth when the post, they are probably interested in trolling, and there's no reason to respond to trolling.

  9. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Of course, Zim is also hitting now, which he wasn't doing last spring, so maybe that's a wash.

  10. baseballswami - May 20, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    ALR was not just cold, he was tragic. His turnaround has been extreme. Maybe the team will follow suit? Very low lows and very high highs? My one complaint with the lineup tinkering is not sticking with something for a series or a week to give it time to work. The daily changes just smack of panic. If you are going to try someone in the 2 hole, give it some time. If you are going to sit Dannty, give it more than one game. A little too frantic for me.

  11. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Well, aside from the 2 hole and the 7/8 hole (and, the 6 hole when Harper's out), things have actually been pretty consistent.With Harper:Span???HarperZimLaRocheDesi???/SuzamosSuzamos/???Without Harper:Span???ZimLaRocheDesi??????/SuzamosSuzamos/???I think he fills those gaps based on matchups first, need to "get a bat going" second.

  12. fast eddie - May 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I hate to put the pressure on Harper and Werth to carry this team. The rest of the regulars plus the bench need to start producing.

  13. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Span, Zim, LaRoche, and Desi have been producing pretty well, especially in May.Hopefully they won't cool off just in time for the full line up to finally take the field again.

  14. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Oh, and Suzuki. He's been doing pretty well, too. Only regular that's floundering horribly right now is Espi.

  15. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    swami, ok, one more game. As long as you don't say, "see, everything's fine," if he gets two hits. We tend to see too much in one game, which is why waiting till game 40, which I think peric suggested very early on, is a smart thing to do before drawing any conclusions. Now we're past game 40. ALR is hitting. Zim is hitting. Espi, decidedly, is not. I'm not sure this is what peric thought would be the case, but that's neither here nor there. It was a good idea to wait. Now it's time to make a move. Whether because of injury or lack of ability, Espi is not going to improve. Time to do something. Anything.

  16. Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Sec. 3 wrote: "After 44 games last year, they were 26-18. They are now 24-21, or 2.5 games behind last year."———————————And, coincidentally, 2.5 games behind the Braves. At the end of the season, there are only two W-L records that matter: the record it takes to win the NL East and, if you don't achieve that, the record it takes to get into the NL 'play-in' (aka Wild Card) game (setting aside for a moment concerns about home-field advantage). The records of the teams in the other league don't matter and the records of the other division winners in the NL don't matter. I'm not going to worry about whether the Nats have the best record in baseball or the tenth best; my concern is purely with either winning the NL East or making the play-in game. (Yes, the record says something about the overall quality of the team, but as we've seen in recent seasons it's less important than a team's performance/momentum/chemistry in the last six weeks of the season.)I agree with those who say it's much too early to panic. That said, it's not too early to be concerned. Several posters yesterday described the team as 'fixable' and I concur. Part of that fix is getting a healthy Jayson Werth back, a big part is getting a healthy Bryce Harper back, and another part is getting a healthy Wilson Ramos back (if only to spell Kurt Suzuki). But absent those players returning in both a healthy and productive state, my concern remains when management is going to start working on the fixes that matter now, primarily low, low production from 2B. Because if you wait too long to work on those immediate fixes, those two W-L records that really matter may not be achievable.

  17. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    For those who demand that something be done about the offensive production at second base:The 2012 Giants started the season with Ryan Theriot at 2B. He had an OPS of .637 on the year. They eventually traded for Marco Scutaro who had a great run at the end of the year for them, but he wasn't acquired until the trading deadline.The 2012 Tigers split their 2B playing time pretty evenly between Omar Infante (.668 OPS), Ramon Santiago (.555 OPS) and Ryan Raburn (.480 OPS). You don't need a big bat at second base to win. Very few teams have it. What you need is production from the corners. With Zimm and LaRoche heating up and Harper and Werth returning soon, the Nats will hopefully get it.

  18. A DC Wonk - May 20, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I think Rizzo is a great GM, the move to get span was a good one. I think his biggest mistakes was to let Morse go and perhaps Burnett or Gonzo Besides the minor detail that Burnett and Gonzo are injured — if you applaud the Span move, ten where do you play Morse? Put Werth or Harper on the bench?BTW, baseball reference has Morse's WAR as -0.4! Worse than a replacement player (+0.8 on offense, -1.4 on defense. Yeah, I know it doesn't add up, I don't get it, either).So, yeah, I'd love to have the big bat in the line-up, too . . . but with all the defensive woes in the infield, do you want to subtract defense from the outfield, too?

  19. baseballswami - May 20, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Suzuki with a ten game hit streak, ALR with sixteen, Zim hot, Lombo hitting, what does anyone think of Zuke in the two spot? If Lombo is indeed on track his style could work there, too If the pitching is good, we don't need that many more runs per game. For example, we should not need, say 14? Hoping we can just hang around until Bryce and Werth are both back into playing form. Bryce should be ok, but Werth has been out a while now.

  20. David Proctor - May 20, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    I would much prefer Zuke in the 2 hole. He has a good bat and can take a walk (something neither Espinosa nor Lombardozzi can do).

  21. Gonat - May 20, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Gonat - May 20, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I wonder how Manny Acta must feel. He gets fired and a year later Riggles/Johnson improve the Nats to 80+ wins and now the Indians are on the verge of something special with another walk-off win today.

  23. Secret wasian man - May 20, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    The fact that there is nobody in the 2 hole makes the span move useless. I blame Davey for this. Desmond should be there or Suzuki. I personally would have kept the exact same roster as last year. Also What help kill the Nats last October. Steals and not holding runners on. So here we are in May and it is still,a big problem. So what was done in Spring training to fix it? Well apparently nothing. Who's fault is that? The manager. Davey needs to step down.

  24. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    I'm confused, wasian. Do you disapprove of Werth in the 2 hole, or do you just blame Davey for how he's managed the 2 hole in Werth's absence?Someone mentioned that putting a catcher in the 2 hole and subjecting them to more base running is a bad idea. Kinda makes sense.And, I think Desi too aggressive for the front of the order.The stealing in San Diego was really frustrating, though, I agree on that front.

  25. David Proctor - May 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Boz had some very interesting things to say in his chat. Here are a few:"The last three years, Z'mann is 27-21 with a 2.83 ERA. Strasburg, in his career, is 23-15 with a 2.292 ERA. What makes the Nats special, and the reason they will probably shake off their poor start and have a good season is that Gio Gonzalez is also a true ace, 21-game winner. The last four years, he's 55-31 with a 3.15 ERA, probably better than either Strasburg or Z'mann on actual accomplishments. As long as these three are intact, the Nats are just a couple of healthy hitters and a few breaks away from a winning streak that puts them right back where they were expected to be."

  26. David Proctor - May 20, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    About Espinosa:"Your #s are right. Espinosa is so lost right now __on either side of the plate__ that I'm not sure I've ever seen a player "fighting himself" and "fighting the game" any worse. There are two problems here. First, if you put Lombardozzi in the lineup regularly, you will probably never get him out of it! He's very consistent, just a totally admirable player. But he is very limited. He has no power or stolen base speed. His arm is at the opposiite end of the spectrum from Espinosa's cannon on relays or plays behind 2nd. Once you go with Lombo, you accept that you have, probably, locked youself into a spunky everyday player who will hit .275, make all the plays, but, in reality, not be one of the top 20 second basemen in MLB. Look at all the 2nd basemen these days. It is a VERY productive offensive position with lots of 15+ HR players. You don't "give away" that spot in the lineup, especially when you have a no-power player like Span in CF. You can have a Span OR Lombo at the top of the lineup, but not BOTH __it is just two many plate appearances for a pair of guys who are <.7090 OPS players. That's a killer. If you hit Lombo 8th, the bottom of the order is weak.Espinosa is the prototype 2nd baseman of this period __he's already had 20 HR and 20 SB seasons and his glove is one of the best. ALSO, everybody loves to bitch about Espinosa but there is no such thing as a team that is sunk by having a good-glove-weak-bat hitting SEVENTH. This isn't the 1-2-3-4-5-6 hitter we are talking about. But I'm not sure you don't let Lombo play 2nd for a while __he had 3 hits yesterday__ just because he deserves it. And because Espinosa has had a 1,000-at-bat trial since the '11 All-Star game. This is exactly the kind of baseball discussion __a very difficult one__ that Washington didn't have for 33 years. I enjoy them, but they do show you how hard it is. Anthony Rendon, if healthy, is going to mplay 3rd, 2nd or 1st base for this team someday. Once you KNOW that, and the Nats do feel that they know it __Rendon is now up to .350 at AA after his sixth homer on Sat nite__ you do everything to make sure that Rendon is DEVELOPED properly for the next 10 years not for part of this one year. He is too big a "piece" to screw up in a sseason when, two months from now, everybody may say, "The Nats have a nice lead in that messed up N.L. East with all those games against pigeons. Why weren't they smart enough to let Rendon stay in the minors and have One Full Year to learn his trade, handle good fastballs, play some second base and show that he could stay in one piece. Instead they "rushed him and ruined him." Didn't the Nats say they believed in patience and proper development?"The Nats keep sticking with Espinosa because it worked with Desmond (!!!) when everybopdy hated his errors and they feel like they are always one good week away from having him fixed.But he sure doesn't look fixed to me. He looks like he needs some time off to keep from incinerating himself with frustration"

  27. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Re: Zuk in the two spot, I think Davey has said that he doesn't like to bat catchers that early because he prefers to limit the physical demands on them since it's such a tough position to play.Also, his OBP may be in part a function of his hitting eighth in front of the pitcher, so it's sort of a chicken-or-egg problem. Which came first, the walks or the hitting in front of the pitcher?

  28. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Nice, thanks for sharing, David.

  29. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    One might think that anybody pitching well on the MLB level would have learned a halfway decent move to first by that time, but apparently, that's optional. Whether or not they should have learned it, most of the staff just doesn't hold runners on, because they don't know how. They lack the moves. I think it's probably harder than learning a new pitch, and because it risks screwing up your mechanics on your bread-and-butter stuff, it's a tricky thing to learn on the job. So I'm not surprised they can't just start picking people off all of a sudden. Still, it would be nice to see some kind of progress, somewhere, for somebody.

  30. A DC Wonk - May 20, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    David Proctor — nice posts!It's nice to see some folks who can see a big picture and not panic over the short term, and keeping the eye on the long term.Nats will start hitting. Werth and Harper will return. The "big-3" of our starters will get straightened out (and Det has looked pretty darn good, too). Soriano-Clip-Storen are a pretty good combo. Stammen has been solid.2.5 games out with 118 games left to play.

  31. A DC Wonk - May 20, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said… One might think that anybody pitching well on the MLB level would have learned a halfway decent move to first by that time, but apparently, that's optional.Might it be the case sometimes — e.g., Strasburg — that he had been so good in college and coming up, that he didn't _have_ to learn a good move to first?

  32. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Wonk, it might very well be. The minors are full of guys who were great, right up until they started competing against nothing but other guys who were as good or better than they were.

  33. Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    bowdenball @ 3:13 p.m.,First, I agree completely that a good team doesn't have an absolute need for a hugely productive 2B. If you've got solid, balanced hitting elsewhere in the line up, you can afford a near-Mendoza-line defensive specialist. But Danny Espinosa has three things going against him right now: (1) The combination of injuries and less-then-balanced production from the rest of the line up has put his offensive production (which is well below the Mendoza line) under a spotlight (and not a flattering spotlight); (2) Mr. Espinosa was 'sold' as being much more than a defensive specialist; fairly or unfairly, the public expectations set for him were to be a combination exceptional run-preventer and above average run-producer; and (3) Anthony Rendon is lurking in the wings.Second, I'm not sure your two examples really support (what I understand to be) your argument. In the case of the Tigers (apart from being an AL team with a little extra cushion), despite an MVP season from Miguel Cabrera and solid production from Prince Fielder (and others), Detroit was not running away with their division. Thus, they still felt compelled to do something about their limited 2B production by trading for Omar Infante to address what had become a hole in their (impressive) line up. Ditto the Giants, who realized their overall lack of run production (partly caused by injuries — sound familiar?) meant they simply couldn't afford to keep a low-offense 2B in the line up indefinitely or they weren't going to win the NL West. As you point out, they went out and acquired Marco Scutaro. As I read them, those aren't arguments for sitting tight and accepting a good-field, no-hit middle infielder, but rather for aggressively seeking to increase your offensive production.

  34. A DC Wonk - May 20, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Oddities of the day:- Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez went a combined 5 1/3 innings, allowing 14 runs- Aroldis Chapman allowed a walked, picked the (pinch) runner off, then allowed back-to-back HR's from the bottom of the Phillies lines up- Braves have their no. 8 hitters with a higher slugging (.490) than their cleanup hitters (.441).- Brewer's Aramis Ramirez had six RBIs, and his team lost 7-6.and my favorite for today:- Former Cy Young winners are 1-7 with an ERA over eight against the Indians this year. They’ve beaten RA Dickey, David Price, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Bartolo Colon, Justin Verlander, and now Felix Hernandez.

  35. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Eugene-I didn't intend to argue that the Nats should just accept what they're getting from 2B at the moment. I only intended to argue that we're not even close to crisis mode yet, just as the Giants and Tigers were not at crisis mode. And also that the Nats struggles shouldn't be primarily placed at the feet of a 2B with above-average defensive skills, because lots of teams stay in contention with middling offensive production from 2B. It's not the same as getting middling production from 1B or LF or something.Sure it's a problem, but it's not a crisis. If it continues I'd want them to make a move at the deadline just like the Tigers and Giants did. I just object to making Espinosa the primary culprit for our offensive woes. Hard for that to be the case when normal production for a 2B hitting late in the lineup is so low.

  36. Doc - May 20, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    The difference between winning and losing a ballgame is not a lot.It only takes an error here, an error there. Or the absence of a regular like Harper or Werth, or both!

  37. Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    bowdenball @ 4:59 p.m.,Fair enough. And I agree with an earlier poster that the ideal situation would be to allow Mr. Rendon to have the rest of the year in AA and AAA to continue his development.I just worry about going beyond that impossible-to-know-exactly tipping point, after which it's too late to make the fixes needed to stay in contention and eventually make the playoffs. Patience is always a virtue, of course, except when — with 20/20 hindsight — you realize you waited too long.

  38. jeffwx - May 20, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    The Ian Desmond Stick with it story:First 3 yrs : 2009-2011Despi: 2010-2012 Desmond DespiAB :1184 1270 H: 312 304BA: .262 .239Ks: 262 385YR 4BA: .292 .163 so farWe need more productivity in the lineup….We've given Despinosa a lot more time than Desmond to provide it. I think Despi could be a great player somewhere, but not here.All we are saying is Despi a chance for a fresh start and give us some more productivity at any position (bench, OF, 2B, anywhere). Yes, Despi isn't the only reason we can't hit, but he sure aint helpin things with the status quo.

  39. Secret wasian man - May 20, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Don't like davey managing of the 2 hole in werths absence. Play Bernie put him there. Tyler no need it outfield not hitting anyway.

  40. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Interesting comment David, but you make a bunch of assumptions that I don't think hold up. First, why would putting Lombo at 2B mean accepting his kind of production forever? If you put him there, he has the job until there's someone better to take his place. Jamey Carroll played some 2B for the Nats. So did Guzman. Neither got the job permanently. No one is "locked in," at least until he gets a big long term contract. Not Espi, not Lombo, not Rendon. I agree with you that Lombo shouldn't be at the top of the order with Span –Werth should. And I also happen to think Lombo wouldn't prove to be much of an improvement over Espi for the reasons you mention. That's why I would try Rendon, at least against lefties, and see how he does. I agree that a weak hitter in the number 7 hole doesn't doom the team, but Espi is not just a weak hitter, he's one of the worst in MLB. And Desi's development is pretty quickly becoming not a very good model for what we might see from Espi — Desi was showing improvement in Sept. 2011, before his breakout 2012 season, and was hitting well by this time last year. Espi has been collapsing since the ASG in 2011, and is even worse now than he was at the end of last season.As for Rendon's development, no one can predict the future. But the idea that giving him another callup to the big leagues is going to "ruin" him seems far fetched. I'm certainly not predicting he's going to have a Harper-like impact, but I'll bet he'll hit well over the Mendoza line with some extra base pop. We could really use another bat like that in this Morse-less lineup. But if he's lost and doesn't provide decent defense, you can always send him back down. That's the beauty of minor league options, and it's not going to kill his development. In fact, his MLB cup of coffee seems to have helped him quite a bit, wouldn't you say?

  41. jeffwx - May 20, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Hey Proctor and Wonk, we are not panicking… The team is good, The discussion is how long to stick with Despinosa.1400 AB is not short term sample.You're not helping him by giving excuses for the last 3 years or comparing to Desmond. Can't afford Despi kind of offense at any place in the lineup.

  42. Secret wasian man - May 20, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I don't think the 2 hole can really be fixed with the injuries. I would just like to see less strikeouts. Less errors and less steals against. Rarely a box score with a zero in that last column

  43. David Proctor - May 20, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Okay, apparently it wasn't clear. I was merely quoting Boz, from his chat. I didn't write any of that, just copied it here because I found it interesting.

  44. jeffwx - May 20, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Sorry David, I missed the quotations…yes that was Boz talkin…the same guy who wants to trade ALR right now and put Zimm at first.

  45. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    I'm with you, Eugene. I don't know how long we should continue to be patient. My comment was more about where we should place the blame for the offensive woes to date than about what the team should do going forward. If it can find more offense at 2B without sacrificing too much defensively, then obviously the front office should do that at some point soon. I personally don't think Lombo is the answer there, although it's fine that others disagree. In my opinion the offensive gains are minimal, and there's a defensive loss. As far as other answers- Kobernus, Rendon, trade, whatever- I have to trust the organization because I don't know what kind of defense we'd get from those options at second base.

  46. David Proctor - May 20, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Jeff, Boz does not want to do that. A lot of people seem to be misunderstanding that article. At the end, he calls those ideas the "faces of panic."

  47. NatsLady - May 20, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    On July 4, 2010 there was a team that was 41-40 and 7.5 games out of first in their division. It's a LONG season…Look it up.

  48. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Whoa, I guess I should recycle my rant on the WaPo website. Sorry about that DP.

  49. Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    I didn' t read it that Tom Boz wanted to trade ALR. I read it that he was saying, after you cut through it, that's crazy talk.

  50. ExposedinDC - May 20, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    For the love of god can we please drop the what ifs with Michael Morse, he is gone, a decision was made and we have to live with it, not one person complains about Morse when we win, let it go. If you took the equivalent of Werth and Harp off any team they would struggle, plain and simple, just be thankful that we have a very good starting rotation or it could be a lot worse.

  51. Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    {or panic talk, at least at this point].

  52. jeffwx - May 20, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Thanks again David, I read Boz wrong….I hope a columnist of his esteem can be a bit more clear.and NLJuly 20, 1964…Cards at .500, but win the series… The Lou Brock deal made somewhat of a difference, however.

  53. jeffwx - May 20, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    In the meantime, OKC devastated by a massive 2 mile wide tornado.

  54. NatsLady - May 20, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    omigosh, jeffwx, I thought you meant in 1964. Just saw the picture, that looks terrible!!

  55. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 20, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    I was thinking why did Espi lose the hitting ability he had first half of 2011?Seems od that would lose the batting eye that young.

  56. natsfan1a - May 20, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. natsfan1a - May 20, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Yes, it does. In an earlier thread, the term "disaster" was used in reference to the Nats season to date. That term could be more appropriately used in reference to the tornado's effects. Baseball is just baseball. Thoughts and prayers for the folks in Oklahoma City. NatsLady said… omigosh, jeffwx, I thought you meant in 1964. Just saw the picture, that looks terrible!! May 20, 2013 5:48 PM

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    I've been frustrated since July 2011 when I pointed out Espinosa's swing & miss issue after the league found l of his weaknesses.You can't fix his combination of hand/eye coordination issues and his poor mechanics, poor plate discipline. Those are 3 major issues hence batting .160. This is why Rizzo shouldve traded him when he had the opportunity. It's poor player evaluation of your own system.

  59. Eugene in Oregon - May 20, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    MNF @ 5:58 p.m.,I think you may be asking the wrong question. It's not so much why/how did he lose it ('hitting ability') but did he ever have it. If you divide his overall numbers into six periods of time — Sept. 2010, 1st half 2011, 2nd half 2011, 1st half 2012, 2nd half 2012, and 1st half (partial) 2013 — he's only had two (1st half 2011 and 2nd half 2012) in which he put up better than league average numbers (using OPS+ numbers from Baseball-Reference and wRC+ calculations from Fangraphs), and 2nd half of 2012 was just marginally above league average. I can't analyze a swing or a hitter's approach the way same some folks who post here can, but I can sure look at his stats and suggest that it was the 1st half of 2011 that was the fluke, not his performance since.

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Bingo Eugene. You can't lose what you never had.

  61. Laddie Blah Blah - May 20, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    "I was thinking why did Espi lose the hitting ability he had first half of 2011?"The league figured out that he could not hit the high fast ball, but that he would swing at it, anyway. They figured out that he cannot hit an inside breaker under his hands, and that he could easily be fooled into doing so. They figured out that they could fool him into swinging at outside fast balls breaking off the plate, and breakers bouncing on the plate.They do not have to get Espinosa out. He gets himself out, as long as they don't give him anything good to hit. I don't even bother to note, any more, Danny's 3 or 4 pitch strike outs on 3 or 4 pitches that are not in the strike zone, or anywhere near it.Danny is not in a slump. He is who he is – the consistently easiest out in the lineup, and the least effective situational hitter I have ever seen. Not just on the current Nats roster, but ever.Rizzo and Davey waiting for Danny to break out "any day now" reminds me of those Polynesian cargo cultists who keep expecting those WWII cargo planes to come back and bring them some more goodies, any day. After all, the planes used to come, so you just know they will return, some day. All that is needed is just a little more patience.

  62. Laddie Blah Blah - May 20, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    "I can sure look at his stats and suggest that it was the 1st half of 2011 that was the fluke, not his performance since."The old school term for that was "flash in the pan." Danny's Odyssey from new phenom, all the way to bust, is as old as baseball.

  63. Laddie Blah Blah - May 20, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    "Baseball is just baseball. Thoughts and prayers for the folks in Oklahoma City."Well said, NL. It's just a game. There are reports that there are kids and teachers trapped in the rubble of an elementary school, and they are keeping parents away from the scene. I was trying to imagine what it must be like to be one of those parents while watching cable news just a few minutes ago.

  64. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 20, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Moore not OKC by the way. FYI USATODAY has a page like this talking tornado.

  65. Secret wasian man - May 21, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Yankees pretty injured. They are doing fine. Oh wait that's case they have a real manager.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 66 9.5
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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