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State of the Nats-5/20

May 20, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Team Record: 23-21 (8-8)

N.L. East Standings













Offensive Game of the Week: Adam LaRoche 5/17 vs. Padres – 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI

Pitching Line of the Week: Stephen Strasburg 5/16 vs. Padres – 8 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 SO, 117 pitches (68 strikes)

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114 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Another frustrating morning for this Nats fan. Another series against a team we should beat that we are lucky to leave with a split.

  2. livernonions - May 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Fortunately, we remain well in the running for the post-season and it is not unreasonable to expect better health as the season goes on, which will in turn lead to more consistent scoring, which in turn will lead to less nail biters, which in turn will lead to us having the luxury of pulling otherwise hot starters a bit early so the bullpen guys stay fresh, etc. . .

  3. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I understand your frustration, but if you think any team SHOULD take 3 of 4 on the road without its #2 and #3 hitters, you're asking to be frustrated. The manner in which it happened was kind of frustrating, and I know many Nats fans are upset about Espinosa's and Haren's seasons so far, but splitting a road series under those circumstances is perfectly acceptable.

  4. Don - May 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Messi is hands down the best team sport athlete in the world and his kid looks sharp with he curly W lid.

  5. phil dunton - May 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Blame the GM for signing a 32 year old right fielder of mediocre talent and chronically ailing wheels to a 7 year contract at an eye watering $126 million. That's just the beginning of his blunders. Then, add a 70 year old manager who acts like he's 90 and that's all you need to know as why this team is in deep doo doo.

  6. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    phil dunton said…"… chronically ailing wheels to a 7 year contract …"To my knowledge Jayson Werth had never had a leg injury in his entire career when the Nats signed him. So pretty weak trolling effort there. Next time maybe you should try 30 seconds of research in order to make your trolling less obvious.

  7. Don - May 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Not sure I agree with Phil there, but the pressure is on Rizzo right now to make adjustments. Last year Rizzo did very little to improve the club as it headed for the post-season (the Suzuki add post trade deadline being the only real roster move), becasue they were ahead of the plan, they did not expect to be in first. This year his club is expected to win the WS, he neeeds to go for it, not sit back and hope things get better.

  8. Tcostant - May 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    The most troubling thing about this team is the defense. Last year we went in peak and valleys hitting wise, but the defense was always there. To go from one of the better defensive teams to one of the worst (statistically) with an upgrade in the OF overall with Span is just bizarre.Interesting thing on Saturday is that Zimmermann let himself down with his own defense, although I though ALR should have come off the bag to go get the off line throw.

  9. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Pretty sure Thiago is the little one on his lap. Don't know who the girl in the Curly W cap is, but I'm pretty sure it's not Messi's son. Just saying.And I thought the most offensive game was the 2-1 loss to the Cubs last Sunday, but maybe that's just me.

  10. Doc - May 20, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Too many holes in the lineup, what with injuries and underperformers. Then they let Harper get away with thinking that reckless is the same as aggressive.Underperformers and reckless play, suggest that someone needs to say something to somebody.Nats have sufficient talent, now somebody has to figure out how to manage it.

  11. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    I understand your frustration, but if you think any team SHOULD take 3 of 4 on the road without its #2 and #3 hitters, you're asking to be frustrated.Some people like to be frustrated. I'm just coming to grips with my own frustration that DC is close to Philadelphia in more than just geography. There's a significant number of people who are just going to be like that. It's easy to grin when your ship's coming in,And you've got the stock market beat, But the man who's worthwhile is the cat who can smileWhen his shorts are too tight in the seat.So I'm learning to see the humor in people who get all bent out of shape when, for instance, Strasburg gets upset by an error behind him. "But Earl … it's only a game!"

  12. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    This is a little random, so bare with me here. Oh, and that was an image I don't need.Ursus, foiled again!

  13. Don - May 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Espi needs to be sent down. Time for some tough love; he's hurting the club and he's not developing. Zim should be out in LF if he cannot throw (and he cannot throw, but he sure can hit); Werth (if and when healthy) should be the 4th OF and Bryce in RF. It's time to start doing all the club can do to win games.

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    I hope the team is making the right choice of not DL'ing Detwiler because if Duke can't go at least 5 innings this could really tax the bullpen as you are now changing to a 6 man 'pen right now and could be potentially adding a lot of additional bullpen innings.I'm trying to keep faith in Rizzo and Davey's decisions but every time I see the failures of Espinosa and TyMo I have to think there were alternatives going back to the off-season for a better 2nd baseman and with TyMo several weeks ago to send him down.Finally Chad Tracy came through but his season has been awful up until Friday.

  15. dick young - May 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    You can't just send anyone out to lf and expect good defense! You also can't keep sending Espinosa out to hit and just expect him to turn it around when he hasn't hit in quite a long time. The pitching is not just thin but non existent in AAA. A trade needs to be made for an arm (see Detwiller problem) and a decision made at second base!

  16. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    I don't get the sense, just my own intuition from watching, that Tracy is Stairs, if only because he isn't hitting the ball at all, and that probably won't keep happening. Stairs, even when he clearly "got all of that one," was hitting balls short of the warning track that would have been in the second deck even two years earlier.

  17. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Don said…"Espi needs to be sent down. Time for some tough love; he's hurting the club and he's not developing. Zim should be out in LF if he cannot throw (and he cannot throw, but he sure can hit); Werth (if and when healthy) should be the 4th OF and Bryce in RF. It's time to start doing all the club can do to win games."So Espi should go hit against pitchers who don't have major league stuff in order to figure out how to hit major league stuff. Makes sense. Also, Zimmerman should play LF, because you never have to throw accurately from the outfield and it's really easy to learn how to take proper routes to fly balls, anyone can do it. That should work out well also. And now we have two open infield spots, which I'm guessing you want filled by Steve Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy, who both offer not only sub-.600 OPSs but also limited defensive skills.That was good for a laugh. Thanks for brightening my Monday.

  18. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    *or keep NOT happening, more accurately.

  19. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Well, at least Zim knows what can happen to an infielder who refuses to go play left. That'll show him.

  20. UnkyD - May 20, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Grumpy enough to put on my Grammar&Usage hat."bear with me"……

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Sec. 4, My Natural Sofa, Tracy hit a HR and also is a top clubhourse guy. I think his clubhouse leadership for the Goon Squad guys was instrumental last year with DeRosa. You can never have enough good guys but you do have to produce!

  22. 3on2out - May 20, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Sec. 3, your little ditty reminds me of the beginning of another poem:If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same…

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I am with the group that feels Espinosa's defense is very good. I am with the group that feels Lombo's defense is very good but not excellent.I just have this feeling that Lombo will field more grounders than Danny as I like his instincts better off the bat. His weak arm is plenty sufficient at 2nd base. Its very subjective but I really like what he did on Friday in his defense.For anyone concerned about team defense, you should be outraged any time TyMo or Lombo are playing the outfield. That play in the 9th inning where Lombo allowed that liner to drop in for a hit was a turning point in that game.Again, its on Davey as he had a chance to put in his "hands" team and didn't do it with both Eury and Shark sitting on the bench.Both Eury and the Shark have game changing skills in a close game, sure, none of them are hitting well but how many are on this team? You saw Bud Black turn to Amarista in almost every game and it worked out great for him on Saturday.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Duke and Vogelsong tonight. The battle of the 8.00+ ERA guys.

  25. mick - May 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    3on2out…. very nice.I just have a feeling 2013 is a step back year for Nats. Clearly T Moore may not be that good, shark can not hit and Lombo may be the only steady reserve on the team and he should be the starting second basman. We have enough of a sample size to determine Espi can not do it. This is what all young teams go through. As long as Nats have Stras, J Zimm, Gio and Det, they will contend. But, Rizzo needs pieces

  26. Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Sofa @9:16, I agree with you regarding the 2-1 loss to the Cubs. The night before was the Zimm/Stras fiasco and I thought that after that game that Sunday's game was pivotal "must win" game to stop the bleeding. When Adam caught the foul ball, but made no throw to stop the runner on 2nd from advancing to 3rd I got a sick feeling. That runner scored the go ahead, and thus the winning run.Put Ryan Zimmerman in LF? Not feeling the love on that one.Ghost, you asked yesterday if I was Hank Thomas' friend Joe G yesterday, and the answer is no. My wife and I get together frequently at a mutual good friend's place in Bethesda. We have had many days on the deck that I built, drinking beer, Rolling Rock for Hank, usually darker beers for me, and listening to my wife play guitar and sing dirty woman blues songs. Do you know Hank?

  27. mick - May 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    To add, Rizzo has to be careful not to screw this up in 2014 and beyond. A trade involving ALR an maybe a prospect has to be considered in order to get a stud closer and/or a stud hitter. The only untouchables are the starting pitchers, Haren the exception. Use 2013 to find out about Perez and Rendon and others in the farm. In my view, Nats are 1 starter, 1-2 bullpen, one 2b and one bench bat away of being dominant. they do not have that now

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Mick, fair enough but I still think Bernadina's wrist injury from the WBC was more severe than he led on to.I have to agree on everything else. Still the good news is other than the hole in the 6th starter spot, every other issue is still fixable. My frustration level is why is it taking so long to fix the problems?

  29. mick - May 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Agreed GhostJoe, I have met Hank several time as we have a mutual friend, he is an awesome man! Looks just like his grandfatherPut this in perspective… even if Storen gets that last out in game 5, my bet is Nats would have gone 7 with Giants and came up short. Even with this alternative history, we are probably still 23-21, perhaps Morse is still here? We still have these problems

  30. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Sec 3 any Caddyshack quote can make me smile and I agree. My frustrations are borne out of my expectations. Seems I enjoyed wins last year when we were 'turning the corner' then this year when I am expecting them every night and I can't blame the club for that. But you can't blame me for wanting to see this team put it all together and start to hit on all cylinders.

  31. NatsLady - May 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Ghost, if I understand correctly, they can backdate Detwiler's DL date, so it's not hurting right now. Let's see if Duke can go five innings.

  32. A DC Wonk - May 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    When Adam caught the foul ball, but made no throw to stop the runner on 2nd from advancing to 3rd I got a sick feeling.But he caught that foul ball running away from 3rd base _and_ faced away from 3rd base. I think a throw had no potential benefit (and some potential negative).

  33. mick - May 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    here you go scnats"Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it.""Oh, this your wife, huh? A lovely lady. Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity."

  34. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Did someone just suggest that we trade ALR and a prospect for a closer and then tank 2013 so we can find out about our youngsters?Natstown has lost its mind.We are over .500 and 2.5 games out of first place on May 20. On May 20, 2012, the San Francisco Giants were 21-20 and 7 games out of first, while the Detroit Tigers were 20-21 and three games out of first. In other words, both were in worse shape than the 2013 Nats. Would you have advised those teams to trade away their #5 hitters for closers (both teams had worse bullpens than this one by far) or prospects and to start playing the youngsters to prepare for the future? Good God, people. Take a deep breath. This team has been a mild disappointment, not a total disaster. I think you all have them confused with the Angels or the Dodgers.

  35. Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Ghost, you and I are on the same page this morning. I really don't get the whole thing of playing either Lombo or Moore in the OF. Honestly, I doubt seriously that either of them can ever develop into more than "barely servicable" as outfielders, and I agree wholeheartedly that that ball to left in the 9th had to be caught. I like Davey a lot, but I have watched baseball managers from Babe Ruth League, to high schools, to college, and to the pros try to hide, or just expect anybody to be able to play the OF. And we all have witnessed bad results at all levels as a result.

  36. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    phil dunton said…"… chronically ailing wheels to a 7 year contract …"To my knowledge Jayson Werth had never had a leg injury in his entire career when the Nats signed him. He's right Bowdenball. The guy is going to be 34. Next season 35. They need to fill that slot in the outfield with a younger player preferably an offensive threat. Werth will never match the seasons he had for Philadelphia if he hasn't yet. And Werth was overpaid given that he hasn't had one season where he even came close? Next season Werth really should become a very, very, way too expensive version of Mark DeRosa. However, I don't blame Rizzo entirely. I think that ownership got a nice sales job from Scott Boras and they were the ones who really signed on the dotted line. At that point from Rizzo's perspective any help at any price was needed. No free agent wanted to join the pathetic Nats and an ownership group that was said to be worse than frugal with the payroll. It is what it is. They will be stuck paying the guy 21 million while he spends most of his time on the DL or the bench. Hopefully the latter.

  37. mick - May 20, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    bowden.. your misinterpreting my point in a historical context of teams on the rise. The Nats I do not think can win with Espi and the current bullpen. They have the depth to make deal late in the summer if all is lost

  38. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    If we keep Moore then he has to play the OF to get significant ABs, something going into the year I thought he earned. Never been a fan of Lombo in the OF especially (back up on my soapbox) when there is a position he could be playing to take a negative out of the lineup.

  39. mick - May 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    bowden… Boswell agrees with me

  40. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    "Ghost, if I understand correctly, they can backdate Detwiler's DL date, so it's not hurting right now. Let's see if Duke can go five innings."I believe backdating to the DL has to be done by the 10th day since the injury? Apparently that's part of the "day-to-day" designation: it establishes the first day of the injury.

  41. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    I didn't say anything about what I expect from Werth next year, peric. I said he didn't have chronically ailing wheels when he signed a 7 year contract. In fact he had chronically healthy wheels. If you want to use phil's error about Werth's injury history as an excuse to go on one of your anti-veteran rants, that's your choice, but don't drag me into it.

  42. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Right now Goodwin, Hood don't look like much. The best bet for outfielders with some offensive ability lie in Corey Brown and Jeff Kobernus. There is also Erik Komatsu. Oh we could go out and get a free agent? Well no we can't because they would be blocked by a guy who will be 35 next season and possibly unable to start. Harper is a fixture. Span could be replaced but not yet I guess … They need a corner outfielder who can hit. If T-Mo isn't it then they need to start looking for other solutions because Werth isn't one. Otherwise, if you play Werth you need a power guy in CF. Not a banjo hitter.

  43. EmDash - May 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Espi's unlikely to be sent down. I really think the shoulder injury is affecting him more than they're willing to say. He just doesn't have a normal range of motion at the plate. I think he may end up having that season-ending surgery by mid-June or so.

  44. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    mick, note that Boswell "makes" that suggestion after saying, "How? Here are the suggestions I read, or hear screamed, most often."Then, after reciting the list he says, "Each of these ideas, in isolation, sounds sane or at least not totally nuts. But put them together and they come into focus: the different faces of panic."I don't think he's saying what you think he's saying ;).

  45. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    well peric I give you credit, your position has always been send Werth to the bench in favor of Brown (last year) and Moore (this year) and now it is just send him to the bench. Please don't suggest replacing him with anyone or you might ruin their career too.

  46. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    If you want to use phil's error about Werth's injury history as an excuse to go on one of your anti-veteran rants,I still like Zim in the lineup. He's a veteran is he not? Of course Zim's bat has always been far superior to that of Werth. Zim, if healthy, is worth what they are paying Werth. Not Werth.

  47. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    and now it is just send him to the bench. Please don't suggest replacing him with anyone or you might ruin their career too.They need a 4th outfielder who would ostensibly be a starter given Werth's age and his inability to play an entire season the past two. Right?Who would you suggest? And you can't get the high-end Upton like free agent because that player would have to start and they would have to then admit that Werth was a mistake by moving him to the bench?They needed MCutchen. Not Span even if Span is the better fielder.

  48. Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Wonk, you may be right, but while the ball was still in the air I was yelling, "Look 3!' Adam looked to me that he hadn't thought of the runner advancing until after he caught the ball. If he had foreseen the possibility of the runner advancing,before he caught the ball. then he may have had a chance to make the throw, albeit it would have been a great play, I thought it was possible. Just as many plays in baseball, many people see them completely differently.

  49. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    The bullpen is fine, mick. Soriano has blown two saves, which is not ideal but not a real problem either, especially since the Nats won both games in extra innings. Clippard's had control issues but I trust him to work them out. Storen's been prone to the longball, but otherwise has been solid. Those are the guys I care about. I don't care if the mopup guys get shelled.As for Espi, something is wrong with him and they need to find an answer, but Lombo is not the answer. His numbers bear that out. Also, trading away the starting 1B and #4 or #5 hitter who is knocking the cover off the ball at the moment is something you do in a lost season, not when you're in better shape than both World Series teams were at the same time last year.

  50. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I'm not ready to write off Werth at this point. I think he's versatile enough that he will remain a huge component of any success we have this year. He may never be what he was with the Phils, but I think he can absolutely remain what he was for us at the end of last season.

  51. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    As for Espi, something is wrong with him and they need to find an answer, but Lombo is not the answer. His numbers bear that out. Well as Natsjack suggested they could try to get Zobrist. That would be nigh on impossible since he is ostensibly the Ray's best bat. He could play 2nd but with a huge drop off defensively.And there's Cano but Cano will likely return to the Yankees.Other than that they have a good situation in the infield at second base with Espy, Lombo, and Kobernus plus Rhymes. Zach Walters might improve who knows?Its a long season still time for Espy, Lombo et al to improve and they are both still young.

  52. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:40 PM

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  53. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    but I think he can absolutely remain what he was for us at the end of last season.If and only if he leads off again as that was the only time he had a positive synergistic effect on the offense since he arrived.

  54. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Also, trading away the starting 1B and #4 or #5 hitter who is knocking the cover off the ball at the moment is something you do in a lost season,Not until the end of July depending upon where they are at, injuries, etc.

  55. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I think 1 or 2 works. I think Span is good enough at it that the opening day order works. I wouldn't have a problem with flipping them, though (Werth – Span – Harper – etc).

  56. peric - May 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Storen and Mattheus now have over 5 ERAs. H-Rod has been looking better of late. For some reason I find that kind of scary.

  57. Joe Seamhead - May 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Arguing the worth of Werth again? Have fun. He has brought so much to this team, it's not even debatable to me, so I'll just agree to disagree. At this point those of us on each side of the fence are unlikely to chance their minds, so why bother arguing about it? In one capacity, or another, Jayson Werth will be on this team for the next several years. Anyone that professes to "know" that he will, or won't, contribute? Yeah, right, whatever.

  58. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    I think H-Rod is trending in a good direction. I'd like to see him pitch to his potential in a high-pressure situation. But, then again, I palpitate anytime he's warming up in a high-pressure situation ;).Seriously, though, if he can get everything under control, I think he could be Kimbrel or Aroldis-like in his dominance.

  59. EmDash - May 20, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I would love Zobrist, but Tampa is famous for demanding high, high prices in trades. And our farm system doesn't exactly have a lot of high-level prospects left. And we may end up needing a servicable starter if any injuries longer than a few days crop up.As an aside, I really think they should be DL'ing Detwiler – they've been overly cautious about placing guys on the DL this season so far for anything non-hamstring-related, and it's causing them to play at a disadvantage with a short bench and pen.

  60. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM

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  61. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:50 PM

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  62. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    EmDash, they have until 10 days after his injury to place him on the DL. If they DO place him on the DL, then he is definitively unavailable to make his next scheduled start after today. I think they just don't want to commit to that until they're sure he won't be ready.

  63. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    At this point, 1/4 through the season, the team is more than a mild disappointment, but it's still early and we're only 2.5 games back in the division. Winning the NL East is still a distinct possibility. I'm not even going to think about a WC berth. Too much of a crapshoot there — both getting in and winning it all when starting from there.The question is what needs to be done to right the ship. I hope the Nats have some sense of what Det's chances of coming back soon are. Has anyone heard of a guy who has an oblique injury being out for a week or less? Yikes. Duke is not going to be adequate for more than this one start. I think Young will get a shot if Det goes on the DL and that's not a very reassuring prospect.Then there's 2B and 3B. Unfortunately, I think we just have to suck it up with Zim. Moving him to another position isn't an option. (LF? Really?) Davey said it would be June before his arm was back on track. I have no confidence whatever in that assessment, but I just don't see a reasonable alternative given the importance of his bat. Let's see him DH though when we hit the AL parks. Espi is another story. Let him finish out this month, but if there's still no sign of renewed life at the plate, make a move. I say send him down, not because he can learn to hit MLB pitching but because he can get his timing back, work on his swing, and find some confidence. Bring up Rendon, and let him start out off platooning with Lombo, and move into the full time role once he's shown he can handle the D at 2B. The BP is what it is. Not great, but not horrible either. I'm glad H-Rod got some work yesterday and Mattheus got a bad outing out of his system in a game that was already lost. Storen scares me. He needs to spend some time watching JZnn and Soriano and learn how not to overthink every single pitch. He's putting his fielders to sleep out there (not to mention the fans trying to stay up at the end of West Coast games).The whole pitching staff needs some remedial holding runners on base lessons. Pitiful.Finally, there's Harper. I hope that the post-L.A. experience has taught him a valuable lesson. Not how much it hurts to run into walls, but how important it is to this team that he be healthy and in the lineup. If he goes down for an extended period like Werth has, we are sunk.There, that's not too much to be concerned about right?

  64. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Joe, I agree 100% about what Werth's brought and brings. His reaction to Harper's injury is no small part of it; nor is his ability to fall in to the front of the order so well. He's absolutely one of my favorite guys on the team.My only question about him is, will he remain a front of the order guy or return to heart of the order form?That doesn't mean it's *impossible* that he's washed up. But, even more so than with LaRoche in April, I see no reason to worry that he is, or that he's even heading that way.

  65. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    There are some options here.1. Espinosa needs to be told have the surgery or go to Syracuse and prove you can still hit.2. Bring up Jeff Kobernus. He can play LF and 2B. Can't be any worse than Espinosa has been.3. Send Tyler Moore to Syracuse to work on hitting breaking pitches and get confidence back.4. Bring up Chris Marrero. Can only play 1B but thats why Kobernus is also being brought up.5. Start Lombardozzi at 2B.6. Find out if Storen is still hurt and either send him to Syracuse or DL.7. DFA HROD, enough is enough.8. Bring up Erik Davis from Syracuse for RHP setup.9. Get RZim to tell the truth about his shoulder. If it is still hurt or needs more rehab, get him to the DL and bring up Rendon.There are some good things going on. Span, Desmond, Laroche are doing pretty well. Starting pitching is fairly good other than Haren. Harper until this last week is great and fun to watch. Despite all the hate for him on this site Werth is missed badly. Suzuki despite his lack of pop is a decent catcher. JZim is at Cy Young level right now.

  66. Don - May 20, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    bowdenball — Should Espi be developing his game — which is not at a quality MLB level –at the MLB level? The guy's hurting the club by hitting 40 points under his weight, but he needs to play every day to have a chance to get right. The minor leagues exist for this purpose. He should be in AAA. If he is not healthy and needs surgery, then the surgery needs to take place. It's a waste having him struggle mightily, if this is a health issue. Zim to LF is in the Nats future, sooner than later, mark it down. He's not a viable 3B right now, ALR is elite at 1B and under contract (maybe Zim could play 2B but no reason to suspect he throws better from there as far as we know). Maybe ALR gets moved to free-up 1B for Zim, but it is hard to forecast that kind of big move. The club will have to find a place to play Zim. LF is manned by Dunn and Morse and guys like Manny Ramirez and Alfonzo Soriano, they heave the ball back to the infield now and then, it aint 3B. Zim can do it. He should be shagging flies right now.

  67. BigCat - May 20, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I have been critical of Werth in the past, but I'll tell ya, I would welcome him back with open arms. Just his presence alone will help us.As for Espi, you just know the labrum thing has got to be effecting him. Remember when Laroche tried to play with one. I would shut him down for the operation, and rehab towards next year. Most of these procedures are orthroscopic now, so he should be 100% for next year.

  68. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    BigCat it isn't a Labrum it is a rotator cuff. Very hard to hit when it hurts like hell to turn your arm.

  69. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Don said…"bowdenball — Should Espi be developing his game — which is not at a quality MLB level –at the MLB level? The guy's hurting the club by hitting 40 points under his weight, but he needs to play every day to have a chance to get right. The minor leagues exist for this purpose. He should be in AAA. If he is not healthy and needs surgery, then the surgery needs to take place. It's a waste having him struggle mightily, if this is a health issue."Well I don't think he's healthy. But if he IS healthy, then I'd rather see him work out his problems at the major league level unless Rendon is ready to play every day at 2B, because Lombardozzi is not really much better than even a struggling Espinosa, and certainly much worse than Espi if he improves even a little bit. Either way, AAA is not going to help. He won't see anything like the pitching he sees in the majors. Might as well be taking extra BP.

  70. EmDash - May 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    They can't just tell Espinosa to get surgery on his shoulder. They can refuse to play him, and it may get there eventually, but surgery or no surgery is ultimately his decision alone.

  71. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    I said give him the choice. Syracuse and prove you can hit or DL and surgery. If he doesn't like those options there is a third option. Do the letters DFA mean anything to you. Batting 163 is not going to get you much sympathy.

  72. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Especially when he knew about it in the winter and refused to get it fixed.

  73. BigCat - May 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Labrum or cuff, neither is good. Even without a lot of pain the shoulder gets very weak and you just can't drive thru the ball. the bad arm drags and you end up "rolling over" at the end to try and get the hand/arm to catch up. Result….a lot of toppers to third or first.

  74. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    You cannot strengthen muscles around a rotator cuff and hope it does the trick. Thats a bunch of BS. It still hurts to swing and turn the arm.

  75. Don - May 20, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Bowdenball — I hear you, but Lombo is hitting 50-60 points higher than Espi now (and that is with a bunch of PH ABs and spot starts). I think that the club should give him his chance to get 10-12 starts in a row before anyone declares him unworthy.

  76. mick - May 20, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Eric… fair enoughThis is a weird game… after Tracy's HR, I really thought the Nats would roll. 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 I am big into chemistry and both bullpen and lineup on offense has been disruptive. Can they overcome it, we shall see

  77. BigCat - May 20, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Agree Don. I think Lombo could be .260-275 hitter if they would just put him at 2B and leave him there.

  78. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Lombo has an empty batting average, Don. He never draws walks or hits for any power. He's basically Cristian Guzman minus 40 points of batting average. Which, if you were around for the Guzman era, is a frightening thought.If they want to start him that's fine I guess considering how bad Espi has been, but he should be buried at the 8 spot in the order and I won't expect more than I currently expect from Espinosa.

  79. mick - May 20, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Maybe I am nuts, but I think Lombo can be steady 2nd baseman. i am just amazed at the defending of Espi. I have said this before and will again. I am flexible, why not just have Espi bat right handed?? My goodness, Werth and Zim bat only right handed. what the heck is the obsession with Espi having to switch hit??/ any one?? any sane answer because going 1 for 30 plus is just not cutting it!

  80. mick - May 20, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    The Espi defenders are my Twilght Zone moment with this team

  81. mick - May 20, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    bowden, i agree with you 99% of the time but on the Espi verse Lombo, I respectfully agree to disagree with you

  82. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    mick-You can't ask someone who probably hasn't seen right-handed pitching from the right side since he was in underoos to start doing it several years into his professional career. It's basically impossible, which is why nobody ever does it with a switch-hitter regardless of their splits. Adam Kilgore wrote about it last year when Espi's struggles against righties really kicked up. I don't think anyone is defending Espinosa; at this point he's basically indefensible. What I'm saying is that there isn't an easy answer on the roster right now, and I'm not sure there will be before the trade deadline unless the organization gets comfortable with Rendon's defense at second.

  83. mick - May 20, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    bowden…good points.However, is not Espi BA better from the right side? i thought it was and last season it appeared that Espi hit well right handed and the right side seems to give him his best chance of putting the ball into play. I know what Adam wrote, but just watching all the games last season, it just seemed Espi was more comfortable batting RH

  84. EmDash - May 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I don't know that it would improve his at-bats against right-handers if he has never faced them professionally batting right-handed but has to start doing so. Not going to help him pick up the ball better.But again, I think the injury is his problem, and I'd say he gets placed on the DL sometime in June unless he somehow starts hitting in the interim.Agreed that batting Lombo second is kind of insane, and I don't know why Davey keeps doing it. Suzuki has plate discipline and a relatively respectable OBP, he needs to be moved up.Eric: I understand the thought process behind not DL'ing Det, and it would be fine if the bullpen didn't have to hide two mop-up guys. But they'll essentially have a four-man bullpen beyond the closer in competitive games until then since Davey doesn't trust Henry and has to save Duke for potentially another spot start. And Stammen can't get too much work in case Duke gets bombed early, as he's the only other long reliever. It's not sustainable.

  85. SCNatsFan - May 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    That's not true, Rizzo is defending Espi. I don't know enough about the shoulder to make a call but I'm sure there are strength tests they can do. And while you can't make him get surgery, you can assign him to AA and prove he can hit with the shoulder the way it is ; personally I think AAA is still to high for him right now.I suggested last year he stop the switch hitting and use the minors, or winter ball, to try and work out the kinks. It would be unfair to try to do this at a the major league level for any hitter much less one who is struggling mightily from both sides. And while you can argue his lack of offense isn;t the reason we are losing it sure isn't helping us win and right now we need bats to help us win.

  86. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Yes, Detwilers DL can be backdated to the last day he didn't play.

  87. rmoore446 - May 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    My guess is that Espinosa is hampered by injury as he was all of September and the post season last year. Why the team didn't push him toward surgery in the offseason is a mystery but then the medical reviews and judgements of the Nats has always been suspect. I would bet they will never demote Espinosa. He'll only end up in minor league games on a rehab assignment. I doubt he gets surgery at this point in the season but an H-Rod "injury" might happen.I hope he goes 4 for 4 in his next game. He's a sensitive guy and this daily public failure must be torture.I also remember the 2005 season when the Nats signed Christian Guzman to a big (for the Nats) contract and then he he barely stayed above the Mendoza line. Oh, the groans and boos and calls to bench him. A late flurry in 05 got him to 219. He missed all of the 2006 season with injury and then hit .328 in 2007, .316 in 2008 and .284 in 2009, and .282 in 2010.So there is plenty of time for Espinosa to fulfill his promise.

  88. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Hey Mick,Both Gonzo and Burnett are hurt. Probably was a smart decision.

  89. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Lombo looks like a short-term solution only but looks can be deceiving. He showed new muscle in Spring Training but didn't show any power. His best game right now is as a slap contact hitter. He must show he can take a walk. If he can be high OBP he will be valuable.

  90. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    On why Espi can't just bat RH, that question has been asked and answered so many times it deserves a spot in the NIDO Glossary. Bowdenball's answer is solid and concise. Besides, so far this year, Espi's RH batting is nothing to write home about either. Actually, it's awful: .138/.188/.345.

  91. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I imagine he never told them about it after October. Very least deceptive. When I heard what he had done I knew he was done for this year. Could not believe they brought im North. Shoulders take a very long time to heal. Putting it off only mekes it worse. Lord knows what damage RZim did to his shoulder lat year with the continued cortisone injections. Made us happy but what did he do to his own future.

  92. nats guy - May 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    When you turn the arm on the bat follow through it hurts from either side. Batting Right won't help.

  93. EmDash - May 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    The team definitely knew about it in October: it was examined and identified as 'just' a bone bruise. He sought a second opinion after the season with a specialist and was told the rotator cuff was torn. And he opted to go out and play through it – whether on or against medical advice, we don't know. But we can't say the team wasn't aware it was an issue.

  94. NatsLady - May 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Saw this on MLB.comDetwiler. Not expected to need stint on disabled list as of May 19 update; could play catch May 21.

  95. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    "Christian Guzman … then hit .328 in 2007, .316 in 2008 and .284 in 2009, and .282 in 2010."Guzman missed most of 2007 with injuries. He had an impressive 2008, but then in 2009 he was back to striking out more than four times for every walk and producing an OPS under .700. Same for 2010, and he was out of baseball after that season.Gotta say I'm jealous that you guys have such rosy memories!

  96. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    NatsLady, that's encouraging news!

  97. NatsLady - May 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Ghost, it doesn't say who reported that, about Detwiler. Presumably someone who is on the road trip.

  98. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Funny how people want to quote Guzy's K/BB stats and infer he was a mistake. Who cares, the Nats weren't close to competing for 3rd place in 2009. What is Espinosa K/BB this year?

  99. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    I didn't infer he was a mistake at all, GoSM. He was fine for the team at the time. What I said was that Lombo is basically Guzman minus 40 points of batting average, because he doesn't walk, doesn't hit for power and is somewhat limited defensively. Do you think Guzman minus 40 points of batting average would be a useful middle infield starter for the 2013 Nats?

  100. Eric - May 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    For some reason, the way certain names were announced prior to at bats have really stuck with me. Guzman is one. Dunn is another.

  101. natsfan1a - May 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    No love for Viiiiiiiiinyyyyy Castiiiiiiiiiiiiilla?

  102. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Good news NL. With the off day this week, if they don't think Det will be quite ready to come back on May 26, they could make his next start as late as May 30, without needing a substitute starter other than Duke tonight.If he's really ok by then we will have dodged a serious bullet.

  103. Rabbit34 - May 20, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  104. natsfan1a - May 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    (That was in re. in-game announcements.)I'm with bowdenball on the not-a-total-disaster front, fwiw, but it's all subjective so what-ever.

  105. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    1a, don't forget Jose Vidro. Who could ever forget him? Early on, there was a Nats blog called "Past the Diving Vidro."

  106. Mr Baseball - May 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Way things are going, with all the injuries, it won't be long before we will be saying "get your RED on we all DEAD." As you know I don't like wearing the Phillies colors and Cincinnati's unifroms. We should be wearing BLUE and saving "Stay TRUE and wear BLUE." (Things will improve!)

  107. Doc - May 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Nats guy, I completely agree with everything that you're saying about Espinosa and his injury status.However, I blame Rizzo and Davey for being sucked in/conned by Espinosa. I would also think that some of the famed Nats' medical team had to be complicit.I smelled a rat back in the late fall, when an operation was ruled out. Sports, particularly baseball, has this aura of pseudo-macho which allows a guy like Espi to get his way about his injury status and Harper to bounce off walls.

  108. Rabbit34 - May 20, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    The Phillies have the third worst team ERA in the National League, providing a good chance for the Nats’ offense to wake up over the next seven days. Sorry Chase, what this means is that the Nationals will make the Giants and Phillies pitchers look like Cy Young. We've seen it all before. Hahahaha…..smirk.

  109. natsfan1a - May 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I recall hearing that phrase frequently back in the day, as well as "Past a diving Guzman." :-)Section 222 said… 1a, don't forget Jose Vidro. Who could ever forget him? Early on, there was a Nats blog called "Past the Diving Vidro." May 20, 2013 12:29 PM

  110. Section 222 - May 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    That infield may have led the league in unsuccessful dives. I wonder if anyone keeps that stat.

  111. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Bowdenball, I'm not "in" on Lombo. I'm just thinking its unfair for people to judge someone who hasn't had 2+ years as a starter. He's been mostly a bench player and part-time starter which gives little continuity for him to prove himself.

  112. bowdenball - May 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    I don't buy that continuity argument, GoSM. He's been playing baseball his entire life, and he's got a full season worth of major league plate appearances under his belt by now. What we've seen is what we'll get. If he was a viable every day starter, someone would have tried to trade for him when he appeared to be blocked by Espi and Desi- like Rizzo did for Ramos when he appeared to be blocked by Joe Mauer. But we've never heard so much as a peep about anyone else being interested in Lombo.

  113. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 20, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Sec. [3], My Natural Sofa, Tracy hit a HR and also is a top clubhourse guy. I think his clubhouse leadership for the Goon Squad guys was instrumental last year with DeRosa. That was sort of my point, there, that he has one home run more than Stairs, but he does figure to get more–he doesn't look done. As for clubhouse, as I recall, Stairs was around for as long as he was for the same reason.

  114. natsfan1a - May 20, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Maybe we need to invent one. Section 222 said… That infield may have led the league in unsuccessful dives. I wonder if anyone keeps that stat. May 20, 2013 12:41 PM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
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NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
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WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
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