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Around the NL East: Phillies in trouble

May 21, 2013, 4:42 PM EST

Photo by USA Today

Atlanta Braves (26-18)
The Braves have turned in four straight wins after sweeping the Dodgers and taking the first of a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. They are now 3.5 games ahead of the Nats in the N.L. East as Washington is headed in the other direction with three consecutive losses. Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton have led the way on offense with five RBI each in their last six games. Julio Teheran made two solid starts recently, allowing just three runs through 14 1/3 innings against Minnesota and Arizona.

While they are winning on the field, the Braves were dealt some more bad news regarding their bullpen. Lefty setup man Eric O'Flaherty is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery this afternoon, keeping him out at least a calendar year. They also lost another lefty out of the bullpen in Jonny Venters who had the same procedure last week. Jordan Walden, who would be their next setup option, also remains out with shoulder inflammation.

Player of the Week: 1B Freddie Freeman – 6 H, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 2 R

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  1. NatsLady - May 21, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Oh, Rick, I'm so proud of you. A walk, my, my, my.

  2. Theophilus T. S. - May 21, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Is that supposed to make us feel better? It doesn't.

  3. nats guy - May 21, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Glad to see somebody else is unraveling. Almost a case of I don't want it you take it.

  4. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Why is it that I take no solace in the Phils unraveling LEADING UP to our series against them?Ugh.

  5. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Crazy what happens when one team in the division faces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on the road, and then immediately after that another team gets Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and Matt Magill. Next thing you know one team is flying high and the other team's fans are in full panic mode.Those kind of bad breaks happen over the course of a season. They'll even out in the end.

  6. NatsLady - May 21, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Bowdenball, yeah, and we got Kenley Jansen when he wasn't tired. Mattingly stinks at managing his bullpen.

  7. karlkolchak - May 21, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    "The Phils are starting to really unravel just days before they travel to Washington.So what's the record for the longest 0-0 game in MLB history?

  8. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 21, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    The longest scoreless game in MLB history was on April 15, 1968, when the Astros beat the Mets 1-0 in 24 innings.

  9. JD - May 21, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Ghost, NL and Bowdenball, I posted my proposed batting order earlier. to me the concept of scoring in the 1st inning, scoring multiple runs and particularly when the team is struggling is very important and the best chance of doing that is by putting all your best hitters close to the top of the order. This also lets them come up more often than you less accomplished hitters. I think Davie concept of trying to insert people like Lombo,Espinosa and Bernadina into the 2nd hole is flawed. You are almost always conceding at least 1 out in the 1st inning and it's hard have a big inning with 2 outs. I do think that the offense will pick up using my suggestion and I also think that Bernie/Moore will improve if they are put under less pressure.

  10. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Oddities of the day:- Prior to Jim Johnson's blowing three saves he had 35 straight successful saves (And, for that matter, the O's had set a record with 109 straight win where they had a lead after seven — and now lost two in a row where they had the lead after seven)- Jay Bruce has a hit or an RBI in every game this month.- Evan Longoria has reached base in 43 of the Rays' 44 games this year- Mariners scored in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings. And lost.- Dunn now has 11 home runs and 13 non-home run hits- Jason Marquis is the NL's fourth person to reach six wins- Colbert Hamels has lost more games to the Marlins than any other team

  11. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 21, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    With all the recent talk about what idiots Davey and Rizzo have become over the past six months, it may be useful to remember that they don't get the luxury of picking which things to be right about, and which ones to overlook. They basically have to bet on every race, and not just one horse per race, but for every horse in it, win/place/show/also-ran, and their bets are (mostly) public knowledge. So of course, on any given mistake, there was somebody in the stands who picked the other horse. The stupidest people in the world sometimes are baseball managers, and parents of teenagers. Just saying.

  12. JD - May 21, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Also, From my non professional point of view Davie is not having a good year. I think he has been inconsistent with his starter handling, the bullpen roles are all jumbled up, hit and runs in a 1 run game with your best hitter at the plate, non action in obvious pinch run situations are all examples of what I consider poor management. I think Davie has an 'I'm smarter than any one' attitude and I think a lot of that comes from last year's success where every move worked.

  13. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    "The stupidest people in the world sometimes are baseball managers, and parents of teenagers."::: snarf :::

  14. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa said… The longest scoreless game in MLB history was on April 15, 1968, when the Astros beat the Mets 1-0 in 24 innings.Arrrghgghghgh . . . I listed to much of that game hiding under the covers in my room. My childhood memory is that it was at least 3am, and that the game was lost on an Al Weis error at shortstop. (Although bases were loaded with one out, so can't blame the loss on Weis)Tom Seaver started the game and pitched 10 innings. Tommie Agee batting 3rd was 0-for-10. Ron Swoboda — batting cleanup — went 0-for-10 with 5 K's (!)(For the Astros: *relief* pitcher Jim Ray pitched 7 innings and struck out 11!)Thanks for bringing up childhood nightmares ;-)

  15. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 21, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    I think Davie has an 'I'm smarter than any one' attitude and I think a lot of that comes from last year's success where every move worked.Last year didn't hurt his ego, I'm sure, but last year wasn't Davey's first rodeo.

  16. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 21, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    that the game was lost on an Al Weis error at shortstop. (Although bases were loaded with one out, so can't blame the loss on Weis)In the 24th inning, it would be a bit harsh to blame him in any case, I think. I'm still sore from Sunday's doubleheader.

  17. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    I agree 100% about the 2 spot, JD. I posted an article by Keith Law about the importance of the #2 spot a couple days ago. Law's target was Dusty Baker who hits Zach Cosart second, but it applies to us too.Davey normally seems like a guy who's willing to change with the times as we learn more about the game. For example he goes to the pen early and often, which is definitely a "new school" strategy. However in this case he seems stuck in the past, where the #2 guy was supposed to be a guy with speed who could put the ball in play, move the leadoff man over, and not "clog the bases" if he got on.Doing the right thing here should be easier for the Nationals than most clubs because their best hitter is also a good fit for the #2 spot. Harper can get on base and run and can also hit for power. He's a perfect fit. And hey, what do you know- that's where Harper hit last season when the Nats won 98 games. That wasn't the reason they won 98 of course, but getting him those extra ABs sure didn't hurt.

  18. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    I think Davie has an 'I'm smarter than any one' attitude and I think a lot of that comes from last year's success where every move worked. I think it comes from, for the most part, actually being smarter than anyone. Look at his managerial record — it is truly outstanding (especially if you see what the teams records were before he took over, and after he left). He's has five stints, and he's been a success with five different teams, managing under some pretty difficult owners and miserable organizations (Marge Schott, Peter Angelos, etc.). He didn't win MoY — twice — for nothing.

  19. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    bowdenball said… I agree 100% about the 2 spot, JD.We don't have a lot of options there. Ian hasn't done the job there (he's a natural 5- or 6-hole guy — his "way", and it works well for him, is to swing at a lot of first pitches). Werth is injured (I think he's good there — he can work a count with the best of them when needed). Harper has too much slugging power to be there. I don't see RZ or ALR there. Davey tried Lombo (if he were performing at last year's level, that wouldn't be too bad), and Shark (ditto).So . . . who else would work there?

  20. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 21, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    I think Davie has an 'I'm smarter than any one' attitude and I think a lot of that comes from last year's success where every move worked.Of course, the other side of that is, as I used to wonder, how big an [alpha hotel] do you have to be, to manage four different teams to no worse than second place, improving their records (sometimes dramatically) at every stop, win MOY twice, and get fired from every one of them? I know now that that Davey wasn't always the [alpha hotel] in all those situations, but honestly, it made me wonder, at least.

  21. SCNatsFan - May 21, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    For God's sake Nats just win tonight and even espi's batting average will look OK tomorrow. In the light of victory everything looks less harsh.

  22. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    A DC Wonk said…"So . . . who else would work there?"I guess you didn't read the rest of my post, Wonk? ;)I don't buy the argument that you can't have a guy with lots of power in the 2 spot. How many times has the 3 spot come up with two men on base in the first inning this year? And how many times has he hit a 3 run HR in that situation? I'm guessing zero. I'd much rather have him one of every 9 games end with him at the plate instead of in the on-deck circle. For that privilege I'll risk the possibility of him tragically hitting a 2-run HR instead of a 3-run HR in the first inning once in a blue moon.

  23. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    So . . . who else would work there?,Um, Rendon?

  24. NI Watcher - May 21, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    I'd like to try Suzuki at the two-hole, despite the extra at-bats that would entail for a catcher.

  25. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    bowdenball — sorry, didn't read it carefully enough. I thought you were using Harper as an _example_ of what happens when you have a good #2 hitter. He's got more power this year, but, I suppose, he might fit the bill.222 — yeah, I was thinking Rendon, too ;-)Sec 3 — good question: why did Davey get fired from all his jobs.a. From the Mets: Davey was a young and green, and didn't exert enough control over the team. He let the players get away with too much stuff.b. From the Reds — Marge Schott. They hated each other. I know who I side with on that one.c. From the O's — Peter Angelos. Dittod. From the Dodgers — The reason given is that ownership thought they were underperforming under Davey. They were predicted to do very well, and finished with "only" a 9 game improvement from the year before (but 11 games behind Giants). I'm not sure what the real reason is.

  26. JD - May 21, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Wonk, Davie's record is undeniable. He is clearly a top notch manager. I just think he's having a bad year so far. Sec222 – no way you pit that much pressure on a rookie if you do make the move. I think he would be parked in the 7th spot and rightfully so.

  27. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Steady Eddie - May 21, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Re using Zuk in the 2 hole, I did a little review the other day (after Byron kerr wrote a piece on MASN Sports suggesting it) of which teams used catchers at each spot in the lineup. After going through all 30 teams i didn't keep it, but the majority of teams didn't put their catcher at #8 (though a plurality of 11 teams did put him there). As I recall, there were 1 each at ##2-4 (maybe 2 at #4?), with (funnily) 5 teams at #5 and 6 teams at #6, and maybe 3-4 at #7, and one (obviously AL team) at #9. The point is that catchers who are big power hitters but not fast are well placed in the lower middle of the lineup, but one with decent speed and good OBP or SLG could hit higher up. Zuk does fit that role on this team relatively speaking. But at this point it would be a move of necessity and not of pure choice.

  29. JD - May 21, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    I like Suzuki a lot and I am not opposed to having him hit 6th but I think Harper is the better option by a country mile.

  30. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    JD, I hear you. But last year, Harper started out batting 7th and by his 6th game was batting third, before settling into the 2 hole. Perhaps Rendon in his second trip to the show will show the same aptitude. (Ty-Mo was awful in his first cup of coffee last year, but he figured it out the second time around.) Rendon certainly can't be any worse than what we've had there since Werth went down. In some ways, batting second might be less pressure. He'll know his job is just to work counts and keep the train moving for our big guys. No expectation that he hit for power. Just make contact and get on base, which are his strengths.

  31. peric - May 21, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    I keep hearing Davey one of the most important aspects of his job is being patient. I believe he admitted in an interview either last year or previous that was something it took him a bit to learn as a manager. Mike Rizzo seems to have learned that lesson a tad quicker than Davey as well.Right now from their perspective patience is required with a small modicum of tinkering and changes only where injuries occur. Patience diminishes as you head into July. Its do or die time for teams wanting to enter the post season.

  32. peric - May 21, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    However, putting a lot of pressure on a rookie player like Rendon who hasn't played a full season of any kind of professional ball yet … hasn't had a complete season of any kind in around 3-4 years seems fraught with danger. They may yet do that but only in a multiple severe injury scenario I think. But who knows?

  33. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    To be fair to Davey, Werth also works fine at the #2 spot as long as he's getting on base around 35% of the time and getting a reasonable number of extra base hits. That was the plan this year I believe. The problems at the #2 spot arose only when Werth got hurt. I wish Davey hadn't got the Dusty Baker route when that happened, but we're still fortunate that's it's a temporary problem. Those poor Cincinnati fans have to watch Zach Cosart hit second all year.

  34. peric - May 21, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    I'm not sure what the real reason is.Davey and the GM completely disagreed on everything at the time. The GM felt Davey was undermining him and Davey thought the GM was an idiot. Owership had to act as referee. And that's why Davey was fired and probably why he had his only bad season there.Interestingly enough that GM was fired not long afterward when the team spiraled further under him.

  35. JD - May 21, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Bowdenball, The thing is that Werth will have been out for around a month and it's unfortunate that Davie did not align the lineup the way you and I think it works best although in fairness there were many days where we had more holes than Swiss cheese and it's no easy task putting together a lineup when you have 4 or 5 players performing below replacement level.

  36. Don - May 21, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I would not count-out the Phils. They have a lot of talent on that club, aging as it may be. Hamles has been a hard luck loser more than he's pitched poorly (allowed 2 runs or less in 6 of 10 starts). Not sure that them being a few games under 500 in May seems a long way from unraveling.

  37. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    I seem to remember hearing that Davey likes the way Ramos and Zuki handle the No. 8 spot, apparently unfazed by not getting a lot of good pitches to hit because the pitcher is next up. We all remember how awful Desi was in that role several years ago. So he's loath to move them, even though they clearly are better hitters than some of the guys hitting higher in the lineup.

  38. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    I would not count-out the Phils. They have a lot of talent on that club, aging as it may be.I remember hearing this as late as mid-August of last year. Fear of the Phils is a hard mindset to lose. But they are now a year older, and Hallady is lost. We have nothing to fear, here, but fear itself.

  39. peric - May 21, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    We have nothing to fear, here, but fear itself.What the Nats have to fear is unraveling themselves … and it is possible. One injury to Detwiler could lead to a long losing streak. The balance between good and bad seems that tenuous. Losing even one of their starters appears to stagger them.

  40. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    I love the oddities- thanks!!! I also feel that Suzuki should be in the two spot, even if he is a catcher. And many of you know that our manager is not my favorite person. Today I will just say that in most cities when a team is performing badly, the manager is scrutinized. Not saying he is to blame, but how can a manager NOT bear any responsibility at all? It's him being looked at as though he could not possibly ever be wrong that I really disagree with. In this patch of ugliness the team is going through there are plenty of issues to point at. We must remember that these players are someone's sons, husbands, fathers , brothers. They are young and are failing on a huge stage. Terrible for them and their families. But at some point, no matter what you do for a living, you need to pull yourself together. Is there anyone in the clubhouse right now trying to hold off the panic? DeRo gone, Werth not with the team. They need an intervention. One more thing– last night amidst all the baseball angst, Bryce tweeted — about Oklahoma. Youngest player with the best perspective / and s great , big heart. Love that kid .

  41. JD - May 21, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Don, Quite frankly my only concern are the Nats. If they play up to potential I think they are better than everyone in their division including the Braves whose starting rotation is not as good as ours. The Phills are headed in the wrong direction IMO.

  42. Dave - May 21, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    I hope that 1-0 24-inning game doesn't happen Saturday night. I've got that game. True, I have nothing to do Sunday morning, but I would like to sleep sometime.And, Sofa, your words of wisdom,The stupidest people in the world sometimes are baseball managers, and parents of teenagers.remind me of the quote by Mark Twain to the effect that, when he was 14 years old his father was the stupidest man in the world. By the time Twain was 21 he was amazed how much the old man had learned in seven years.

  43. JD - May 21, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Peric, I disagree that we are in the tenuous position you suggest we are. As Bowdenball has pointed out we still have our heads above water, we still have 3 superb pitchers at the top of our rotation,Zim and LaRoche are producing now and I also don't agree with throwing Duke to the trash heap. I think Duke is fine as a 5th starter for several weeks if needed. Obviously he hasn't performed up to expectations but he has alot of company in that category and it's not as if the alternatives are that appealing.

  44. MurrayTheRed - May 21, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    I think it's interesting all the talk about Harper in the #2 hole. A funny thing occurred to me, Harper is the better choice in almost every hole!Sofa – love your comment at 1:42, I have that argument with my brother every time he leaves a pitcher in too long, or takes a pitcher out too early. The simple truth is that hindsight really is 20/20.

  45. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I agree, JD. But I do understand that the traditional mentality in baseball is a tough habit to break. Maybe Davey will get tired of what he's getting from Lombo and Espi there and will break the mold out of necessity. Or at least we hopefully won't have to watch Lombo or Espi take the last AB in a close loss while one of the best hitters in game watches from the on-deck circle.

  46. Don - May 21, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Yeah, call me cray but Hamels, Lee and Kendrick are very good. The pen neds to improve but Bastardo and Pappelbon are money. Domonic Brown may be finally arriving, M Young is hitting (and playing respectable for him defense), Revere likely will hit, Utley might be an All Star, Howard's knee is not a big injury (or so they say). D Young will hit, the bench is not bad, etc. The club is not bad at all. Not sure I fear them so much as respect them.

  47. peric - May 21, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I think Duke is fine as a 5th starter for several weeks if needed. Obviously he hasn't performed up to expectations but he has alot of company in that category and it's not as if the alternatives are that appealing.I agree. Whether he gets yet another chance to prove himself will depend on how they use Maya and how effective he is in his finale for this franchise.

  48. SCNatsFan - May 21, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Oh I disagree on Duke; he hs shown nothing this year that he can do anything but mop up. Last year I would have been fine with it, and going into the year I was fine with it but he appears to have lost alot of the progress he seemed to make last year. Unless we are just going to raise the flag every 5th start then I hope Duke makes no more starts unless you need an injury spot start.

  49. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    "it's unfortunate that Davie did not align the lineup the way you and I think it works best"Heh. That gave me a giggle ;).The problem with the Phils right now is their coming our way during a phase when we appear to serve as everyone else's stopper.

  50. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. MurrayTheRed - May 21, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    From a comment awhile ago.I wouldn't put much weight in what Keith Law says regarding Dusty, or the Nationals for that matter. He hates Dusty, with a passion. And often disses the Nats. The only time I'm interested in what KLaw says, is when he's writing about undrafted prospects.

  52. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Er, that should be, "we appear to serve as [fodder] everyone else [(re)discovering] their stopper."Anyway, regarding the 2 hole, it seems to me Werth is a break from the traditional mold, and Davey has kinda/sorta vacillated between the old school and new school since Werth went down.I don't think Davey's opposed to breaking with tradition, I think he has no one capable of filling the role in any capacity at the moment who isn't currently serving in some other capacity.

  53. Dominats Vobiscum - May 21, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    "I think Davie has an 'I'm smarter than any one' attitude and I think a lot of that comes from last year's success where every move worked."Where were you last year during the Chien-Ming Wang starts, the HRod and Lidge blown saves, the Xavier Nady pinch hit appearances, the Desmond leadoff experiment, and too many other Davey moves that didn't work?

  54. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    MurrayTheRed said…"From a comment awhile ago.I wouldn't put much weight in what Keith Law says regarding Dusty, or the Nationals for that matter. He hates Dusty, with a passion. And often disses the Nats. The only time I'm interested in what KLaw says, is when he's writing about undrafted prospects."What Keith thinks of the Reds or Dusty or the Nats is irrelevant. It's the math and the logic he cites that matters. Here's the article:http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/keith-law/post?id=789There is nothing subjective about saying that each lineup gets 2.5% more appearances than the one after it, or any of the other data there. It all that having a guy like Harper or Votto bat #2 is better than having a Cosart or a Lombo bat #2. Not only does that mean the big bats come up less often, it also means they frequently bat with two out and nobody on.In Werth's absence, why not just move everyone up a spot- Harper to 2, Zim to 3, LaRoche to 4, Desmond to 5? The only downside to that is the lefty-lefty pairing at the top, which actually doesn't matter if you look at DSpan's career splits.

  55. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Last post should say that the big bats come up less often and frequently with two outs and nobody on if you DO leave a Cosart or a Lombo in the 2 spot.

  56. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Where were you last year during the Chien-Ming Wang starts, the HRod and Lidge blown saves, the Xavier Nady pinch hit appearances, the Desmond leadoff experiment, and too many other Davey moves that didn't work?Where were you? Oh right, posting under another name.

  57. David Proctor - May 21, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Boz said it well again today:"This may be the season when the Nats start seeing everything that’s flawed in them, everything they still need to learn. That leads to maturity. Champions are adult. But who enjoys the actual process of growing up?The Nats are not just 45 games into this season. It would be more accurate to say they are about 200 games, including last season and its playoffs, into a 1,000-game test of their athletic gifts and their mental ability to learn from everything that buffets and batters them along the way.The seas are getting choppy out West this week. This “World Series or Bust” stuff is never about smooth sailing, but actually, just the opposite. To the Nats, these bouts of heavy weather, whether last October or now, are part of the seasoning process of becoming an old salt. That bitter taste isn’t gall, just necessary brine."

  58. JD - May 21, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    DV, Every manager makes many questionable decisions during a 162 game schedule, it's easy to criticize with the benefit of hindsight. What is unquestionable is the fact that overall Davie led the team to the best record in baseball which leads one to the inevitable conclusion that he must have made a lot of really good decisions too.

  59. MurrayTheRed - May 21, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Bowdenball – I hope I didn't come off as dismissive of your point, just of Law in general. He's clearly a smart guy, but his anti-nats bias gets to me.But back to the substance of KLaw's point. I didn't know it was 2.5% but clearly the earlier a hitter is in the batting order the more at bats he will get over the season. To prove this point go to espn batters stats, and then sort by the AB column. Notice that the top players are all leadoff hitters (that were never on the DL). I bet you could prove empirically if the 2.5% number is correct by using this table at the end of the year. But clearly this logic of better players earlier in the lineup breaks down – Barry Bonds was never in the number two hole – silly example sorry. No, I like Harper in the #3 hole.

  60. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    I can totally see how this team is still very green. I think right now they are not the darlings of MLB, fans have booed the FOF, bounces aren't 't going their way, umps are ejecting Bryce. It's different than being irrelevant losers. There were huge expectations and teams are really getting up to play them and taking extreme pleasure in beating them. I can imagine that they are wondering where the heck it all went wrong. There seems to be a lack of composure. Now we will see who steps up, who are the leaders, how they bounce. They all seem like very sincere, quality guys. I hope they all have people to turn to who can help them tune out the noise and get back on track. Everyone got too far ahead of things . Even there is the obsession with the Barves and the post season. It needs to be about the process. One pitch, one at bat, one out , one inning, one game, one series. Things got moviing too fast.

  61. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    From the annals of lousy predictions:"Why not focus on the stench emanating from LaRoche? Danny will hit .230 before LaRoche makes it to .200.May 06, 2013 9:51 AM"Danny's highest BA this year was .200 after the game on May 8. He's now at .163 in 135 ABs. ALR was hitting .168 when that prediction was made. He crossed the Mendoza line with a 2 for 4 game against the Cubs on May 10 and now is hitting a robust (for the Nats) .224. His OPS is an anemic .696, but that's 132 points more than it was on May 6. Danny's OPS has fallen 106 points in the same time period, to .488.How much farther will it fall before Davey/Rizzo do something?

  62. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Funny thing about line-up orders. In softball, in the leagues where there are homers a plenty (and, as a result, a lot of empty bases) many say the correct order is to put the best HR hitter first, the 2nd best one second, and so on.I am intrigued with just moving the guys up one (as bowdenball suggested): have 2-Harper 3-Zim 4-ALR 5-Ian . . . baseballswami said… I love the oddities- thanks!!!Thanks! I was wondering if anyone thought they were interesting!

  63. bowdenball - May 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    MurrayTheRed said…"But clearly this logic of better players earlier in the lineup breaks down – Barry Bonds was never in the number two hole – silly example sorry."I don't think you understand the point. He says the best hitters should be in the #2 hole, not that guys in the #2 hole become the best hitters. So it doesn't matter where Bonds hit, the point is where he should have hit. And this isn't just a Keith Law thing. Everyone who has looked at batting order empirically has come to the same conclusion about the #3 spot. Putting your best hitter there wastes runs.Ultimately it doesn't matter all that much, as Law acknowledges, because it's just a handful of extra plate appearances and RBI chances. But it does matter. And having a guy like Lombo or Espi hit second on a team that is struggling offensively magnifies that difference.

  64. m - May 21, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    This team is assuming the personality of the 2005-2009 teams. Those teams were unprofessional and quite frankly an embarrassment. The 2013 edition of the Nat's is very similar. We currently have the about worst fielding team in the majors, we cannot hit, our BP is mediocre at best, our medical staff cannot diagnose or treat injuries, we have a GM who tinkered with a good team and ruined it, we have a farm system which is all hype, we have a pitcher who should be fined for his stupidity and finally we have a team with no heart. Last year we had team that could come back because we had guys like Morse who had heart. Span, although a nice player cannot win a game like Morse. Span is equivalent to another Bernadina. We swapped Morse for another Bernadina . That was not a net addition to the team Mr Rizzo. Currently we have three automatic outs in our line-up every game. That is not very encouraging and certainly not a recipe for success. I thought last was a precursor of things to come . Unfortunately it was more an "outlier" and it appears we are now reverting to the mean.

  65. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Section 222 said… From the annals of lousy predictions: "Why not focus on the stench emanating from LaRoche? Danny will hit .230 before LaRoche makes it to .200. May 06, 2013 9:51 AM"You didn't tell us who said that — folks might think it was you! (I looked it up, it was Harpo).Nice find!

  66. David Proctor - May 21, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Here, some cause for optimism from Kilgore:A rival evaluator on Fernando Abad: "I really like him. Better than Romeo. I’m actually surprised it took them this long to call him up."

  67. Theophilus T. S. - May 21, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    My ideal lineup would be Span, Rendon, Zimmerman, Harper, LaRoche, Ramos, Werth, Desmond and whoever pitches. Of course, three of the above are nowhere near the playing field. If the name of the game is to "keep the line moving," as FP says, the current bunch is geometrically challenged. Desmond is hitting the emptiest .275 (or whatever) in the league. He swings so much the only thing that distinguishes him from Ankiel is luck.Originally I thought the lineup should be L, R, L, R, L, R, SW, R. That turned out to be too simple. My current objective is to not bunch up the free-swingers. Contact, Contact, Swing, Contact, Swing, Sorta Contact (Ramos), Contact and Swing. This way the swing-and-a miss guys will be back-to-back only once.

  68. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    m wrote:2005-2009 teams. Those teams were unprofessional and quite frankly an embarrassment. The 2013 edition of the Nat's is very similarHmmm. My memory must be fading. Who, from those teams, reminds you of Stras, Gio, _or_ JZim? Or Harper? Or Ian? Any speedy guys in the outfield like Span?Span, although a nice player cannot win a game like Morse. Span is equivalent to another Bernadina.Sheesh — I wonder how many times I'm going to point this outMorse has a negative WAR! (and in the last year on his contract).Morse is -0.4Span is 0.5Bernadina is 0.0That means, in just 1/4 of a season, swapping out Morse for Span has gained us one win already.

  69. Theophilus T. S. - May 21, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    The farm system is not "all hype." Management just refuses to utilize the one minor-leaguer who has the potential to make a significant contribution to the major league lineup.

  70. karlkolchak - May 21, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Boz has been in Washington too long. He sounds like a cheap PR flack.

  71. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    "He sounds like a cheap PR flack."Did you read any of the article but what was copied here?

  72. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Ok- I watch almost every inning this team plays. There is no way that Span is another Bernadina. No way at all. Watch Span gliding around in center, completely under control at all times and where he needs to be. Watch him take pitch after pitch after pitch and then immediately go to the dugout to share information. No, he is not a power hitter. Every player does not have to be cut from the same cloth. We need all the skill sets. Span is a jewel. But, the line up as a whole is not operating well at this point. When Werth followed Span, then Bryce and on down, that worked. When Bryce – healthy , and Jayson are both out it's an issue.

  73. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Read the whole Boz article with an open mind. Beneath the hyperbole there are some common sense concepts.

  74. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Yes, and it's a very, very far cry from a PR piece, imo.

  75. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Chad Gaudin is replacing Vogelsang. Wasn't he a Nat?

  76. peric - May 21, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Span should bat 2nd and Werth first to get the most out of the top of the order.

  77. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    The Nats don't play the Giants again until August. Chad G. will be gone from their rotation by then, right? Darn!

  78. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Chad Gaudin hasn't started a game since 2009. Gee, is the Giants GM so inept that he doesn't have a good #6 starter at the ready?(tongue in cheek)

  79. Section 222 - May 21, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Chad Gaudin made 10 appearances for the Nats in early 2011. He pitched 8.1 innings, gave up 12 hits and 10 runs, only 6 of them earned. His WHIP was 2.40 and his ERA was 6.48. Not the finest hour of his career.

  80. David Proctor - May 21, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    I have to laugh reading some of these comments. You'd think we were the Houston Astros! Thank goodness for Eric, NatsLady, Swami and others who keep a level head.

  81. tayo - May 21, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I am not one to often criticize Rizzo or Davey as I realize that they have forgotten more about baseball than I could ever know. However, I don't get many of their current moves. I think Daniel Rosenbaum should have gotten the call as Matheus replacement instead of the Putrid Maya. He probably should have gotten an opportunity to start over even Duke. I know he is not on the 40 but we can definitely make space for him. And if replacement with someone who could possibly be a long reliever and was already on the 40 wasn't a priority then Eric Davis would have been a better choice.And what do they really fear by not DFA Hrod. relievers with good fastballs are a dime in a dozen and there are many other prospects that have way better control than him. Just let him go, we cannot afford him on this team if we have serious intentions of contending for a playoff spot.

  82. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Back atcha David Proctor!

  83. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    :) Some ugly baseball keeps the bandwagon crowd at bay for a while. I have to tell you, after all the horrible things that have happened to people since last season — Hurricane Sandy, Newtown, Boston and now Oklahoma, you just have to appreciate the fun distractions in life and not get too serious about your fandom. Life is truly too short. That being said , The Bad News Bears re- enactment is getting just a tad old. I don't mind Bull Durham or Major League, but I have to draw the line somewhere. Go Nats!!! Play clean baseball and score some runs!!!

  84. nats guy - May 21, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    David,You go ahead and laugh all the way to an 80 and 82 season. This team deserves to be laughed about. They could be fixed if they would make some serious moves now. Some players have to admit they have injuries. Either Danny Espinosa is injured (probably) or he has forgotten how to hit since 9/1/12. Which is it. HROD can only pitch well when there is no pressure. Tyler Moore has never been able to hit breaking pitches. Bernadina has to make great plays to make up for bad reads unlike Denard Span. Drew Storen has not pitched well since 2011 when he had surgery in the offseason. Zach Dukes is a 4A player who is on this team because he is left handed and available. Ross Detwiler needs to remember to throw something besides fastballs. Tyler Clippard needs to fall out of his total love affair with the changeup. Dan Haren geez who knows. Strasburg needs to stop getting so frazzled with errors. Ryan Zimmerman, is he hurt or not. Gio Gonzalez needs to not lose focus in one inning of almost every game he pitches. Ryan Mattheus actions speak for themselves.Good thingsAdam LaRoche,Ian Desmond, JZim, Bryce Harper, Suzuki, and Denard Span.

  85. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Another thing I have learned about baseball– try not to be miserable the whole season. I realized I should have enjoyed last season a whole lot more.

  86. Eric - May 21, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Apoplexy v. Laughing… it's a no brainer for me!

  87. baseballswami - May 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    The truth is that not one person knows right now how the rest of the season will go. We could win 80 or we could win 100. You just have to watch and see. Unpredictable game.

  88. NatsLady - May 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBSUtley scratched with pain in side. Will be re-evaluated tomorow, phillies announce.

  89. David Proctor - May 21, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Very interesting. Maybe we can avoid him this weekend.

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