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Nats’ offense shuts down in loss to O’s

May 31, 2013, 3:23 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

BALTIMORE — After a night in which the Nats and Orioles combined for 16 runs, and with two pitchers who have been inconsistent this season on the mound, Thursday’s game at Camden Yards was supposed to be another home run derby. It was a hot and humid evening at a hitters' park, balls were supposed to fly.

But something about the heat may have actually helped Orioles pitcher Freddy Garcia. The 36-year-old found a groove that had escaped him all season and used a split-finger fastball to baffle the Nationals lineup throughout Baltimore’s 2-0 win.

“The split-finger he was throwing, basically like facing R.A. Dickey,” Ian Desmond said. “I think the humidity and the tackiness on the ball, his fingers, there's probably a little bit of sweat going on there, that pitch was pretty unbelievable tonight.”

“A knuckle or something, I don’t know,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “If a pitcher’s got a good pitch and he throws it as much as he did obviously you start to look for it and we still can’t hit it. It’s just one of those nights where he had a really good pitch and he used it as much as he could and it worked for him.”

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  1. Gonat - May 31, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    I love it, Pete Kozma playing 3rd base couldn't handle a throw in the 9th!

  2. David Proctor - May 31, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    As I said in the other thread, The Tigers were 25-29 (!!!) at this point last year. They only made it to the World Series. Obviously, we need to play better. But all is not lost.

  3. SonnyG10 - May 31, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    Well, I hope they stick together because we got no chance if they don't.

  4. Nattering Nat - May 31, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    Well, it looks like we got the first part down. It's always something, so far. What I find baffling is that this team, which showed so much come-from-behind heart last year, has no ability to come back this year. I heard they are the only MLB team not to have a walk-off this year.That lack of comeback ability, against relievers, and some relievers who struggle against others, makes a huge difference.Ah well, I'm tired of all the carping. I just hope they figure it out by the second half of the season. Slow start, fast finish would indeed be great.

  5. David Proctor - May 31, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    The walk off thing is kind of misleading. We've had a couple of games that could've been walk offs if they were at home. Thinking the Reds game and the Padres game.

  6. karlkolchak - May 31, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    @Davide Proctor – well then, NOW is when the turn around needs to begin. Not next week, not in July but NOW. Unless Harper comes back fully healthy and Werth manages to stay off the DL, this is a .500 team at best. We gripe about how this guy or that guy should be called up, but in reality Syracuse has been a trash fire this year, which leaves me doubtful there will be any surprises of the true impact variety coming up from the system (especially now that Rendon seems to have come down with the mysterious day-to-day-that-somehow-stretches-into-two-months type of injury).

  7. SonnyG10 - May 31, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    I think that one of our problems is that we are too young. Our bench guys for the most part are inexperienced and now that they have to fill in for the injured, we are paying for that inexperience. Rizzo might need to go out and get a veteran if he can find one that is good enough and is available.

  8. David Proctor - May 31, 2013 at 3:58 AM

    It's not a mysterious injury to Rendon, he had his wisdom teeth removed and sometimes the complications from that can take some time to recover. Stop exaggerating.

  9. Gonat - May 31, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    The big chance the Nats had was when Chad Tracy had runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out.Look at the pitch he swung at. This is supposed to be your top bench hitter and he has gotten plenty of ABs and he swings at crap:http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation_io.php-pitchSel=150119&game=gid_2013_05_30_wasmlb_balmlb_1&batterX=11&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

  10. nats guy - May 31, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    David,""Its not early anymore"" per RZIM. Detroit was a better team in a weaker division last year.To get to just 90 wins they have to play .583 the rest of the way. 90 wins is no gurantee that they even get to the wild card game. The Atlanta series this weekend is crucial to the rest of the season.

  11. karlkolchak - May 31, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    @David Proctor–check back with me in a month and we'll see if he resumes playing. And anyway, he's still pretty raw–not to mention injury prone. Much as I'd like to see him as the new starting second baseman, I doubt he'll bust out and be a huge difference maker–at least this year.

  12. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 31, 2013 at 4:36 AM

    There is a difference between playing bad and being bad…this team may not be bad, but they are not good either. I think we will be fighting for that 5th Wild Card with the D-Backs, Dodgers, Pirates and Rockies. Don't think the Phillies are dead either…not when they get to play the Mets and Marlins 36 times.

  13. Unknown - May 31, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    Last year was a baseball perfect storm that led to those 98 victories. This year not so much. I think they are a .500 team plus a 13-out-of-15 streak that will put them around 90 wins, give or take. I hoped that Danny Espinosa would have taken his "Ian Desmond leap" this season, but I think he's destined for a utility future. Lombardozzi would do a great job this year as Anthony Rendon matures.

  14. Eugene in Oregon - May 31, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    Going into tonight's game, Freddy Garcia had pitched 27.1 innings and given up 27 hits (7 of which were HRs) and 15 runs (14 earned) in 2013. Teams were hitting .257 and slugging .476 against him. He had walked six and struck out nine in those 27.1 innings.The Nats managed three hits and three total bases in nine innings (eight of which were against Mr. Garcia), thus achieving identical .100 BA and .100 SLG numbers. They drew zero walks, but struck out 7 times (6 of the Ks by Mr. Garcia). Obviously they hit no HRs and scored no runs, earned or unearned.This was the 31st game (of 54) in which the Nats scored three or fewer runs. In two other games they scored only 4 runs, meaning that in 33 of 54 games they have scored below the league runs-per-game average (4.05). It was the 11th game in which Nats pitchers have given up three or fewer runs and lost.

  15. Secret wasian man - May 31, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    It's not a slump. It's LOFT. LACK OF F. TALENT

  16. Will - May 31, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    It's not the offense shutting down as much as it is the offense sucking.You will have a lot of shutouts when using a DH, the team still has 4 of 9 starters batting below .163!Bernadina, Moore, Tracy and Espinosa went 1 for 13.Is it that friggin hard for Rizzo to see that things need to change? Tyler Moore is not a big league quality player. Chad Tracy single responsibility is to hit the ball, and he's failed miserably at that. Why are these two guys still on the team?We have several guys in AAA who could, at the very worst, be just as miserable offensively as Moore and Tracy, but actually add some value on defense, which Moore and Tracy are awful at.

  17. Will - May 31, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Chris Marrero is hitting .301/.347/.516 in AAA. He's not particularly good defensively, but has played OF and 1B. I guarantee he could match Moore's .160 avg. In fact, in a short stint with Washington in 2011, he hit .248!Corey Brown just returned from injury and has been mashing. He's hit 4 HR in the past week, and he's hitting .253/.313/.505. Last year, as largely a pinch hitter, he hit .200 with 1 HR and 3 RBI, which is exactly the same totals Chad Tracy has put up this year, but in twice the number of ABs. Brown is also a coveted lefty, which seems to be the only justification for keeping Tracy. Oh, and Corey Brown is a very good defensive OF; Chad Tracy can only barely play 3B.Micah Owings is batting .276/.323/.474 playing LF and 1B. He's another natural replacement for Moore. He's also got considerable ML experience, batting .283/.310/.502 over 200+ ABs over 6 seasons. But the best part? He used to be a pitcher. Our bullpen has been awful, so when we're getting blown out 10-1 in the 6th, Owings could eat a few innings every now and then and not require a PH.Any three of these guys, or Eury Perez, would be an upgrade on Moore or Tracy

  18. NatsJack in Florida - May 31, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Ross Olendorf must of got the message when the Nats skipped him for Karns because he threw 7 innings of shutout, 4 hit, 11 K's ball last nite. And against Gwinnett, too.

  19. biggoose - May 31, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Davey has destroyed the entire morale of this team by benching guys like Lombardozzi and then saying "Lombo is playing well but I'd like to get Espinosa going as well". Can someone explain this logic to me or are we still in spring training?

  20. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 31, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    My motto of the week Sweep the Braves.My other thought. Royals change hitting coach despite a .261 average, we stand pat with .231.As Davey says things will change. What things?

  21. MicheleS - May 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Here is a link to some news about spring training:FL Spring Training

  22. baseballswami - May 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Oh he will change things- for a day or two. And when things don't go perfectly right away he will change again or go back to what he was doing before. Bernadina is just settling in, Lombo was getting in DP rhythm with the infield– that does not happen in a few games. The changes have been frantic and chaotic- every day the lineup or the defense changes. No wonder people make errors. They can' t get used to the guy they are coordinating with. I still think this goes back to a very casual spring training. I guess maybe some of these guys did need more at bats or they should have ridden that nasty old bus. Davey wants to be the good guy, their peer , their fellow player. He needs to be their parent, coach, teacher. He is allowing them to express their talents. How nice. Perhaps they need a bit more than that.

  23. Rabbit34 - May 31, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    I didn't watch the game because I felt like we were going to blow it and just couldn't sit through more agony. Guess I was right. We are right back in the crap again. Seems like Haren had a pretty good night. No strike-outs for Espinosa. That was good. Ugh, and I'm going to the game Tuesday. Ugh.

  24. natsfan1a - May 31, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Looks like Haren had a good start but the bats were cold. Should I watch before deleting?Good news: no more mixed broadcasts. Bad news: still have to listen to those periodical cicadas for a couple weeks(wheewooo…wheeewoo).

  25. Gonat - May 31, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Will said… Corey Brown just returned from injury and has been mashing. He's hit 4 HR in the past week, and he's hitting .253/.313/.505. Last year, as largely a pinch hitter, he hit .200 with 1 HR and 3 RBI, which is exactly the same totals Chad Tracy has put up this year, but in twice the number of ABs. Brown is also a coveted lefty, which seems to be the only justification for keeping Tracy. Oh, and Corey Brown is a very good defensive OF; Chad Tracy can only barely play 3B____________________________Corey Brown can also play small ball. He can bunt under pressure as we saw with a suicide squeeze and he also had that walk-off hit last year.As you see in the chart at 12:07AM that I posted, Tracy's plate discipline with 2 RISP was garbage swinging at a lousy pitch way off the plate.He also can't use the excuse that he isn't getting ABs.

  26. Rabbit34 - May 31, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    SonnyG, our problem is not that we are too young, our problem is that we are at the bottom of the heap in almost all the stats. No, I haven't looked them up. Someone else can waste time doing that.

  27. Doc - May 31, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    How many times can Davey say that Nats' batters are "expanding the strike zone" with no change in their behavior?Garcia was good, but not that good!

  28. Gonat - May 31, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    The whole reason to DH Tracy was to get a lefty who could hit some balls over the 318 short porch that Davey kept making jokes about. I don't think Tracy in the 2 games hit a ball more than 250 feet.Come on. We know he's a nice guy. We know Espi is a nice guy. We know Tyler Moore is a nice guy. This has to be about producing. Enough with the constant excuses because I know Corey Brown and and Michah Owings are nice guys.If Davey had Corey Brown playing LF in this series he at least catches that Pearce HR in the 7th inning Wednesday night.

  29. NatsJack in Florida - May 31, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Trouble is, Gonat, Cory Brown replaces Roger Bernadina, not Chad Tracy. Tracy is Zim's back up at third.

  30. Gonat - May 31, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    NatsJack, sure in Davey's mind but we all know Lombo plays 3rd base also in an emergency. Rendon is the long-term backup.Tyler Moore isn't a leftfielder and isn't much of a hitter and Corey Brown is the hot hand. If Werth isn't back for a while, why not upgrade.Bryce is still gimpy?

  31. BigCat - May 31, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Tracy is done. Comes a time….like Matt Stairs….when its time to call it a wrap.

  32. fast eddie - May 31, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Braves' manager benched all three of his sub-.200 guys last night: Heyward, Uggla and BJ.Maybe Davey could learn a lesson.

  33. Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Just to give Zim a one game break, Lombo can fill in at third, just as well as Tracy.There is a problem of a Span, Bernadina, Brown outfield, as they are all LH, but Moore is killing us at the plate, not to mention he has had 3 near collisions with Span in the last week by trying to hog balls away from a much better fielder, who just happens to be the centerfielder.Outfielding 101. I'm not sure why Perez wasn't given at least some chance. I haven't seen Kobernus play OF. Has anybody here?Hard to imagine that we don't have one decent hitting RH outfielder, other than Jayson Werth. And let's not go down the MM road again in here.As to Chris Marrero, there is no place to play him. He can't play the outfield. They tried to make him into an OF. It was ugly.

  34. Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    fast eddie, the night before he had benched both Uptons. Justin is now in a downward spiral, too.

  35. SCNatsFan - May 31, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    He will change it up. I'm thinking moving Espi to lead off to jump start him. Give him a week or so to get comfortable.

  36. baseballswami - May 31, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Again– a one game change to make a statement or just to show you are doing something has no value. Make it two weeks and then you will see something. Even one series is too small a sample size. In baseball things happen gradually and not overnight. I was mentioning last night that one of the O's players had just spent 10 days in the minors working on his hitting. No muss no fuss, no ego. Just did it. Can you even imagine Espi doing that? The dynamic of the lineup seems to work better without him– and without the DH. Stras goes yard tonight.

  37. Caps Fan - May 31, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    "I still think this goes back to a very casual spring training. I guess maybe some of these guys did need more at bats or they should have ridden that nasty old bus."But Moore and Tracy probably spent more time on the bus than any of the other guys in last night's lineup. Bernadina was flying the skies from Japan to the West Coast to Florida playing in the WBC. And no one, but no one works harder than Espinosa. It's been well documented. So you can pretty much cross the "lazy spring training" off your list.

  38. NatsLady - May 31, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Yeah, the lazy spring training makes NO sense. The Nats came out of ST winning ballgames (granted, against the Fish). Anyway, it's the end of May now, and that no longer applies.

  39. Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Also, regarding Atlanta, the guy Schafer that plays CF when they bench BJ is playing great ball. The Braves fans love him.

  40. Doc - May 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Agreed Caps Fan. No one worked harder in ST than Espi, and he had the solid average to prove it!

  41. Eric - May 31, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    I think it's worth noting that Davey followed up the "change" comment with "but, that's for another day."Doesn't make it sound like change is imminent, but we'll see.

  42. Nats 128 - May 31, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    "fast eddie said… Braves' manager benched all three of his sub-.200 guys last night: Heyward, Uggla and BJ.Maybe Davey could learn a lesson.May 31, 2013 8:24 AM"The Atlanta Braves also DFA'd 3rd baseman Juan Francisco prior to Thursday's game against the Toronto Blue JaysThat's sweeping change and THEY ARE A 1ST PLACE TEAM!Some people here saw the writing on the wall in Spring Training on Tracy and probably when he was signed to an extension, remind me again for what? Espy has been horrible before the wrist injury and of course since.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Doc said… Agreed Caps Fan. No one worked harder in ST than Espi, and he had the solid average to prove it!May 31, 2013 9:16 AM There's another great saying in business "Work hard, work smart"Espi is a hard worker but he works in one of the most analyzyed businesses and his production report says he should be fired.

  44. Eric - May 31, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    I'm definitely ready to see Tracy cut loose and Moore sent down.I'd like to see Lombo back at second for two weeks to see if his hitting against the Phillies was a fluke. If not, then it would be nice to see Espi and Lombo switch roles for awhile (well, Lombo would still serve as utility in that he'd cover outfield and Espi 2B if an OF goes down).But, ultimately, I trust Davey's decisions on this stuff.

  45. JD - May 31, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I am pretty sure that going into this year none of us expected the bench to be the total disaster it has been. Bernie has been a dependable 4th outfielder for a few years and had a very nice year last year, we all thought that Moore and Lombo will take the next step forward and it wasn't unreasonable to expect Tracy to provide occasional power as well. Instead, they all regressed terribly. Tracy looks shot, Moore looks more and more like last year was a fluke while Bernie and Lombo are just beginning to show signs of life. Couple that with the fact that all the bench players have had to play regular roles due to injury and Espinosa is making Mario Mendoza look like Manny Machado and you get to a .500 team.

  46. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Who do you people who are advocating mass benchings want to replace the benched players with? You act like we've had a group of healthy .350 OBP guys sitting on the bench all week. Here was the bench last night:Lombardozzi (.234/.254/.306 in plenty of action)Kobernus SolanoThat's it. You think that cavalry would have come to the rescue of this offense? Keep dreaming. There will be changes tonight, because we'll be back in an NL park and hopefully Harper will be able to play. That means at least two guys will get benched automatically, and I bet Espi will get benched too. Beyond that, I don't know what you all want done, unless you have spent enough time scouting Rendon's defense and second base and consulting with doctors about his weak ankles to know he can handle the position. Has anyone done that?

  47. alexva - May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    when Werth comes back someone will have to go, if it's Kobernus that will be a shame. I also hope that Kobernus is in left tonight with Lombo at 2nd. I can dream, right?

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Nats 128 said… "fast eddie said… Braves' manager benched all three of his sub-.200 guys last night: Heyward, Uggla and BJ.Maybe Davey could learn a lesson.May 31, 2013 8:24 AM"The Atlanta Braves also DFA'd 3rd baseman Juan Francisco prior to Thursday's game against the Toronto Blue JaysThat's sweeping change and THEY ARE A 1ST PLACE TEAM!GMs like Frank Wren and John Mozeliak have 1st Place teams and know continual improvement is part of the process. They also know that they may have to cut a player who becomes a good player somewhere else and that is a risk that comes with it.Rizzo had a chance for Kelly Johnson as his 2nd baseman as a Free Agent and could've traded Espinosa and he could have retained John Lannan as his 6th starter or even his 5th starter.1/3 of the season has elapsed and the bench depth has been badly exposed. Just because you send a player to AAA doesn't mean they are banished there forever. Both Tyler Moore and Danny Espinosa could use some time there to get better.Rizzo had the opportunity to DL Espinosa and he chose not to. That is on him.

  49. Just wonderin' - May 31, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Anyone else finding themselves checking MLB Trade Rumors more than usual during the season? I normally read it a lot during the offseason, but not so much once April rolls around. These days I keep checking it in hopes the Nats get mentioned — so far only Rizzo saying he's *not* seeking any roster upgrades — on the 2B front (or for any additional offense, for that matter).

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Kobernus? Poor kid gets 1 AB and with all of his bench sitting lately he is probably lost the timing he had.

  51. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…"GMs like Frank Wren and John Mozeliak have 1st Place teams and know continual improvement is part of the process."Mozeliak and Wren have had their jobs three years longer than Rizzo. Wren and Mozeliak both inherited perpetual winners, Rizzo inherited an pseudo-expansion team loser with very little revenue and a minor league system in shambles.Despite those enormous differences in their starting points, Rizzo has produced as many division titles in his three years as those two guys have produced in their combined ten years.Tell me again about who knows how to build a first place team?

  52. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Sorry, that should be two years for Rizzo. Two years vs. combined ten years.

  53. Eric - May 31, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Any word on Werth's performance last night?

  54. natsfan1a - May 31, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    (psst, see the MASN link at left on Werth)

  55. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…"Kobernus? Poor kid gets 1 AB and with all of his bench sitting lately he is probably lost the timing he had."Sure. Go back through play by play of the game last night and replace Espi or Bernadina with Kobernus. Give him two singles if you want, even though he would have been hard-pressed to get one the way Garcia was dealing. Let me know if it changes the result. Oh, and if you replace Espi with him, make sure you also replace Espi's leaping grab in the first with a single, giving the Orioles a run in the first.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    I am very concerned to bring Harper back too soon but would have no hesitation to bring Corey Brown up and play 3 lefties in the outfield especially since Teheran has bad splits against LHB's..325 /.378/ .521/ .899 vs. RHB's.225 /.272 /.344 /.616 and then you have Hudson on Saturday who actually has better splits this year against LHB's. Go figure. Might be a good time to get Kobernus and Werth in the lineup.

  57. NatsJack in Florida - May 31, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Werth, 2-3 with an RBI.

  58. baseballswami - May 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Rest Hsrper on DL and bring up Corey Brown for two weeks??

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Bowdenball, you must be mistaken me for someone else. You address me like you are talking down to me.My only point on Kobernus is if you bring him up use him right away. If you don't use him you can expect diminishing returns from sitting on the bench.

  60. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    bowdenball, you're on a roll! I agree with all your comments this morning. Let me pile on: those complaining about Tracy going after a bad pitch in the 2nd are giving Garcia no credit. Anyone watching the game could see that Garcia was on fire last night — throwing nasty 2-0 and 3-1 splitters. He got first pitch strikes on a huge proportion of batters. He was dealing. Yes, the Nats are hitting poorly, but last night wasn't all on the Nats. Both Garcia _and_ Haren pitched awesomely. (The first run scored with the aid of a seeing-eye grounder; the guy who scored the O's second run got on base with a broken-bat hit).Bernadina, Moore, Tracy and Espinosa went 1 for 13.So what? Span, Zimmerman, and LaRoche combined for only one hit, also. That should tell you something. Go ahead, blame Tracy for being hitless — blame him for going 0-for-3 with a K, but them blame Ryan Zimmerman, too. After all, RZim followed his 3 HR night with 0-for-4 with a K.As I've said many times:1. A team is not as good as it looks during a winning streak; nor it is as bad as they seem during a slump; and2. The first 1/3 of the season is for "seeing what we got." We've now just finished the first third. I bet Espi either gets it together or gets moved to the bench or AAA within the next two weeks (possibly as early as this weekend).

  61. Eric - May 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    It's definitely weird that Kobernus has been almost totally ignored.

  62. Nats 128 - May 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    "bowdenball said… Ghost Of Steve M. said…"GMs like Frank Wren and John Mozeliak have 1st Place teams and know continual improvement is part of the process."Mozeliak and Wren have had their jobs three years longer than Rizzo. Wren and Mozeliak both inherited perpetual winners, Rizzo inherited an pseudo-expansion team loser with very little revenue and a minor league system in shambles."I guess you could have stuck Sabean into the mix. He brings up fill ins like Cody Ross and Marco Scutaro and wins 2 World Series.Sitting on your hands and saying a guy has less experience is no excuse, its just an excuse.Rizzo had the best team in baseball last year and didnt replace his weakest link in the chain and that was Danny Espinosa the guy who went 1 for 15 in the playoffs.

  63. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I don't mean to talk down to you, GoSM. I think you're hearing me getting frustrated about the same pet peeve I've been talking about for weeks. Demanding change for the sake of change because you're frustrated makes no sense. If people think there's a way to improve the team's performance, they should show their work. Tell us not just that you want change and that you want to bench this guy or that guy, but tell us who you would replace them with and why you think that would make a difference. Otherwise, what's the point?I'm frustrated with the season so far, too. But I'm not frustrated with the front office or the manager like many of you seem to be, because I'm not sure they could have done anything differently that would matter all that much. Lombo's bat is slightly better than Espi's, but not enough to really make a difference, especially when you consider the downgrade on defense. Werth and Harper have been hurt, but until Brown came back and showed he was healthy this week Moore and Bernadina were the only options. I agree that we can fault the front office for Tracy. But other than that I think the problems so far are just plain old bad luck, not bad front office or managerial moves.

  64. Eric - May 31, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    "Oh, and if you replace Espi with him, make sure you also replace Espi's leaping grab in the first with a single, giving the Orioles a run in the first."True enough. But, I think now is the time to see if Lombo's performance against the Phillies was a flash in the pan. If it was, I will remain in Espi's camp; if not, let Lombo start there for a month and let Espi back up when Lombo has to fill other roles due to injury, etc. Unlike Rendon and even Kobernus, Lombo's close enough to Espi defensively that I can live with it.Wonk, re: Tracy and Moore, it would be one thing if this were an isolated incident. Unfortunately it's not. They seem look like that against every pitcher they face. LaRoche, Zim, and even Bernie lately were just straight up beat by a pitcher on his game last night. I don't see those as comparable groups even though their performance was comparable last night.

  65. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    See, Nats128's post is the perfect example of what I was talking about. Replace Espi in the offseason? Fine. With who? If it's a free agent, what kind of deal would you have offered, and do you understand that probably means no Soriano? If it's a trade, who are you trading for? Would you be willing to give up the prospects that would be needed for such a trade? You guys are taking something incredibly complicated and reducing it to sports talk radio level discussion. Sorry, but I'm not a fan of that.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Bowdenball, I would never say make change for the sake of a wholesale change. I'm beating my drum from last year.Tracy had a horrible year after he got injured. Why reward him with a $1 contract extension?Why not sign an upgrade in the off-season at 2nd and attempt to trade Espi while he had value?Trade Henry Rodriguez for a case of baseballs I think I said. The jury is out on him and again, I err on the side of caution with him.Those were 3 of my biggest arguements last year. If you come into 2013 with a good squad then you only have to deal with less problems like Tyler Moore and Bernadina.

  67. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Bowdenball, Kelly Johnson was an available Free Agent. Great clubhouse guy and solid offense/defense.

  68. Eric - May 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    >You guys are taking something incredibly complicated and reducing it to sports talk radio level discussion. Sorry, but I'm not a fan of that.I don't think it's all that complicated to start Lombo for two weeks and then longer if he proves the hitting wasn't a fluke.I don't really know what goes into sending down Moore and replacing him with someone, and I do have the impression that most replacements would not be power hitters. Still, I seem to recall that Kobernus is a more versatile utility man than Moore and, while he doesn't hit for power, I seem to recall that he gets on base. If that's the case, when he fills in, put him early in the line up and let someone drive him in. It's better than what Moore's doing.Also not sure what's involved with DFAing Tracy, and I'm aware that the same possible issue of replacing his potential power is there. But, again, even a banjo hitter would be an improvement right now.

  69. Nats 128 - May 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    "Ghost Of Steve M. said… Those were 3 of my biggest arguements last year. If you come into 2013 with a good squad then you only have to deal with less problems like Tyler Moore and Bernadina."Rizzo had to make a decision with Espy and he is the middle of every discussion on whats wrong with this team. Horrible approach at the plate and a rally stopper.Bowdenball doesnt get it. Cant help a guy who doesnt see the problems.

  70. bowdenball - May 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I'm 100% with you on Tracy, GoSM. I wasn't a fan of the extension and I think they could have found a better left-handed bench bat in the offseason. Those are a dime a dozen.Kelly Johnson seems like a hindsight move, though. He hit .225/.313/.365 last season. Espinosa actually had better 2012 numbers and was still approaching peak instead of over 30. Right now I'd rather have Johnson than Espi and Soriano (I'm assuming a limited free agent budget), but before the season started, Espi + Soriano over Johnson seemed like a total no-brainer. I can't fault anyone for that.

  71. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    bowdenball, I don't talk in hindsight and you should know that about me. I detest all those that speak with 20/20 hindsight. Anyone can do that.I didn't even suggest starting Kelly Johnson. I suggested bringing into camp 2 inexpensive Free Agent options and trade Espi or worse case send him to AAA.There was no reason given the revelation of Espi's shoulder and the way he ended the season that he should have been the frontrunner for starting 2nd base on Opening Day but there really was no competition.Lombo is a good kid but I don't think he is ready yet.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 31, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Here's Kelly Johnson's career slash which is much better than Espi's and plays well in a National League tea. plus he is a lefty and started his career as a LF for the Braves. He can play multiple positions including 2nd base and you are getting a player who would've cost $2.5 million. .256 /.339 /.434 /.773

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 50 1.5
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 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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