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Critical week ahead?

Jun 4, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Associated Press

Any given week over the course of a baseball season can have lasting implications, but something about the upcoming week for the Nationals feels more significant than others.

It's not just the fact this team, now sitting a game under the .500 mark and seven games behind the Braves in the NL East, needs to go on a hot streak. It's also a convergence of decisions that must be made over the next week that could go a long way toward determining the Nats' long-term fate.

Let's start, though, with the actual games at hand. The Nationals play host to a six-game homestand, with a pair of sub-.500 teams coming to town in the Mets and Twins. Obviously, there are no sure things in baseball, but the Mets are a trainwreck (having just been swept by the even-worse Marlins) and won't have young ace Matt Harvey pitching in this series.

The Twins, meanwhile, have been hot lately in winning six of seven, but those all came against the Brewers and Mariners. Prior to that,Read more »

135 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Rabbit34 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Phils and Braves won? Wait until the Mets leave! Get the SCUBA out.

  2. dcdingo - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    In past years the Nats have often played better against good teams and then sunk into the gutter with the bad. I've followed a number of teams in different sports that have done that. Here's hoping they can feast, not fumble.

  3. alexva - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    when you're seven games back all games are critical. before the Mets were swept by Miami they swept four from the Yankees. don't overthink it, play each game to win

  4. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    I've seen and heard lots of comments that the Nats need to win 5 of these next 6 games. That's a tall order. How about winning both series? Baby steps.

  5. baseballswami - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    How about winning tonight? Way too much getting ahead of things. One pitch, one hitter, one inning, one game.

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Great call Swami. That's how I enjoy the games, pitch by pitch.

  7. Stew Magnuson - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    These facts haven't stopped MASN from running that promo touting a big showdown between Matt Harvey and Bryce Harper over the next three days. Apparently, they didn't get the memo.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    The rundown on last nites Q&A with Davey and Rizzo is…….don't expect to see Danny Espinosa anywhere but second base for a while. Both were pretty adamant about that. Henry seems to finally have run out of time. Davey didn"t give much of an endorsement by saying "it's time for him to produce".Not much else new. ST in Viera next year but no onfo on beyond. I do know Osceola Co. is having a workshop on expanding and improving facilities in and around the Astros complex on June 17 so I expect more news after that.

  9. Nats106 - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Looking forward to a 4-2 homestand. Gonna miss tonight's guaranteed win…..

  10. SCNatsFan - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    I think it is safe to say that every week is a critical week for the Nats.Hate to hear Rizzo and Davey still dancing right in time with Espi. At least I'll be able to moan in my posts for the near future.

  11. Gonat - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Section 222 said… "NL, if Rendon comes up, he's here to stay and he will play everyday. No doubt about it."Why would that be? Because Rendon is too sensitive to be sent down again? That's silly. Rendon will stay as long as his hitting and fielding justify it. Maybe he starts out playing 2B against lefties, and Lombo plays against righties. There are lots of options, and all three 2Bs have options. Espi could even come back if he figures things out in AAA, or if Desi is injured and he's needed to play SS for a few weeks. No decision is irreversible. But at least the light at the end of the tunnel, when the human rally killer is out of the lineup, is visible. Brown hit lots of homers last season, and the year before too. He's a great AAA player. It's by no means clear, and is perhaps even doubtful, that he'll be a big help here. But he certainly can't be worse than Tracy or Moore, whichever he replaces. I definitely think it's time to make some moves. Getting Jason back is a good thing, but Davey was joking about him carrying the team on his shoulders. That's not his role, nor is he capable of doing it. June 03, 2013 11:25 PM ___________________________________Sec222, nice post. I agree on Rendon and the future of Espinosa.It's about time the Best 25 Stay Here.Corey Brown should be the 3rd outfielder and go back to AAA when Bryce Harper comes off the DL.

  12. baseballswami - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I just don't get the denial- the head in the sand. I feel that they are sacrificing the rest of the organization for one person. He must have pictures of someone doing something….

  13. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Read Boz's article about the Nats "tough" culture and injury management. Have to day, I didn't agree with most of it, seems like he is pretty much grasping at straws, particularly when he talks about guys punching each other. I bet that stuff goes on in every locker room in every city. The only way Harper will learn to deal with injuries is to have them and deal with them. Danny was told by the doctors that he could strengthen and play with the shoulder. Now, that may not be true (or advisable), but where is Boz' medical degree? Several posters on here who have had shoulder injuries have themselves given different opinions based on personal experience. Seattle is doing the exact same thing with Morse–and they are not contenders, they could "afford" to put him on the DL. So are the M's a macho team, refusing to put Morse on the DL? Boz, how about listing the teams that DON'T have a macho attitude, I wanna see that list. Whatever happened to flags fly forever? Boz is already talking about next year. I personally have not given up on THIS year.Morse suffered his injury on the base paths last week. He was diagnosed with a strained quadriceps, causing the team to list him as day to day. He’s been able to avoid a stint on the DL, and the M’s have replaced him in the outfield using a combination of Jason Bay and Endy Chavez. With Justin Smoak hitting the DL with an oblique injury, Seattle can use Morse to help fill in at first …I'm really starting to get tired of Boz.

  14. BigCat - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    well said NL.I think Boz is as big a fan as any of us and he is frustrated just like us

  15. Don - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Rizzo's amazingly ever-expanding Espi hubris boil needs to be lanced. It's beyond ridiculous. It is larger than his head, which is itself no small thing. Danny is not healthy, and even when he was his offensive game had serious flaws. Rizzo's got to work this roster to try to win games, not to try to restore the value of his pet players.

  16. BigCat - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    So Espi is gonna continue to play. I just can't believe it. Rizzo must have a tremendous ego…..or something

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Interesting comments NatsJack. Sounds like today's roster move is either Kobernus or Duke unless they make more than 1 move and bring up CBro.

  18. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Swami, I doubt very much that either Davey or Rizzo has his "head in the sand." The solutions are just not that simple. Boz says the Nats "have decent second basemen coming out their ears." The Nats have exactly ONE decent second basemen–Lombo–who fits that description, but he NEVER walks and is not that fast, and certainly not a power threat. And if you have him playing every day, who is HIS backup? Kobernus? Fine, but he's just up from the minors. Zach Walters? Rizzo seems to be working as fast as he can to get Rendon at 2B–a plan that is dubious at best and potentially disastrous, in my opinion. (Boz doesn't mention Rendon, but if Danny should get the season off to heal then isn't it equally important not to take chances with Rendon, and to let his development proceed as scheduled?) We had to live Danny because there wasn't much choice. With Werth back, Lombo doesn't have to play LF, let's see if he takes over 2B and Danny goes on the DL.

  19. Adam - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I'd imagine they're going to evaluate Strassy today and probably put him on the DL, delaying cutting loose any of the current relievers. Although I don't think Duke will last much longer, he just does not seem to have a roll on this team or be comfortable, maybe somewhere else he could flourish.

  20. phil dunton - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Rizzo and Johnson are stubborn mules who are going to stick with H-Rod, Espinosa and Eckstein. This team is in the crapper because there is no accountability.

  21. Tcostant - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    We must go 5-1 in these next six game. We need some good vibes…

  22. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    So Rendon in AA, peacefully learning to hit fastballs, which you MUST do to play offensively at the major-league level. Now he is jerked to Syracuse, a new position, and we still don't know if he can hit fastballs. So you bring him up in a month (or less?) to make errors at 2B and struggle at the plate? It could work. But I guess I'm just in the category of the devil-we-know (Danny) than the one we don't (Rendon).

  23. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Plus, if by some chance RZ needs time off (which has NEVER happened before), you need Rendon to come up and play his natural position, because you really don't want to see Lombo at 3rd. I'd rather see Tracy there than Lombo.

  24. A DC Wonk - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Hate to hear Rizzo and Davey still dancing right in time with Espi. The answer to this is simple — and NatsLady spelled it out at 8:44. It's easy to scream that somebody in a slump should be benched. But who replaces him? As I've said way too many times: Lombo *also* has a negative WAR. Next up is Rendon, and with his promotion to AAA and playing 2b, the future, here is pretty obvious.In the meantime, until Rendon is ready, there's no reason for Rizzo/Davey to start trashing Espi. They need to back Espi 100% — until Rendon is ready.I gotta say, even more than I'm sick of the usual Legion of Doom, I'm also tired of folks saying that Espi is playing because Rizzo/Davey is: (a) blind; (b) stubborn; (c) stupid; (d) Espi has some blackmail material.Those comments themselves are stupid. Espi's playing because there's not a good replacement ready yet. How hard is that to understand? For a team that hardly scores, having a solid infield defense (since RZim seems to be a weak link right now) is pretty important. Not only is Espi sparkling on defense for 2b, but he's far and away the best back-up defensive SS if Ian needs a spell or gets hurt.All that goes away when Rendon shows up. But there aren't any good options for Espi until then.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    NatsLady, Rendon can hit fastballs. What are you talking about?

  26. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Ghost there was an article the other day that said Rendon was good at the off-speed but had trouble with the FB, and that's why he was in AA, because that's where the young flame-throwers are. I will see if I can track down the article.

  27. Tcostant - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    The easy roster move to make to activate Werth is sent Stras to the DL. Moveove, we need to see someone (I’ll take Lombo or Kobernus) other than Espi at 2B – PLEASE!!! If Det can pitch, just slide him into Stras spot (and DFA Duke at the time), otherwise pray for rain!!!World Series or Bust!

  28. Gonat - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    NatsLady, I don't question that was written but it's not true. Just because someone throws a fastball by you when you are guessing wrong isn't that he can't hit a fastball.Check his charts when he was up. He hit the fastballs as well as the sliders.He needs reps and regular reps and watch videos of Manny Machado and remember that was "his" game back at Rice. Gap line drive hitter who will smash doubles in bunches.

  29. SCNatsFan - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    NatsLady how is it disaterouos for Rendon to play 2B?And DC Wonk you can get in line with all the other posters who say a guy who hits .140, doesn't walk and can't advace runners doesn't hurt us because of his defense. I don't buy it. Maybe Kobernus it better, who knows, but you are dealing with a guy who can't cut it in MLB and I don't care if it is physical, mental or he just isn't good. This team is foundering and we are accepting of batting averages that get you laughed at behind your back because of 'potential'.Inside of me is a potential supermodel, I just have to get 100 lbs of fat off and grow some hair. Should I try selling that to a modeling agency because I was once in shape?

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    NatsLady….apparently the Nats evaluators saw enough in the Arizona Fall League, Spring Training, his short stint in DC and 116 at bats at Harrisburg at a .319 clip to deem him ready for AAA.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    NatsLady, I agree with what Gonat just said. Also remember that certain players use the Minors to work on certain parts of their game like specifically working on the off-speed.Agreed that he smashed quite a few fastballs when I've seen Rendon play.Just to make you feel better. In his last game before he was sent back down he got 2 hits vs Atlanta. The first single he didn't hit the off-speed and Medlen threw him a 91MPH sinker that Rendon hit for a single.http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?s_type=3&sp_type=1&year=2013&month=5&day=2&pitchSel=450665&game=gid_2013_05_02_wasmlb_atlmlb_1/&prevGame=gid_2013_05_02_wasmlb_atlmlb_1/&prevDate=52&batterX=10

  32. alexva - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    while I agree than Espinosa may be the best option short term, it would be a lot easier to take if the same weren't present with Moore, Tracy and to a lesser extent Bernadina.

  33. Kevin Rusch - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Nobody asked me, but:DFA: Zach Duke Henry Rodriguez Chad TracyDL: Danny EspinosaSend Down until they're hitting: Tyler MooreCall up: Marrero (bench pop) Kobernus (middle infield) Corey Brown (outfield) Anyone who can throw strikesIf Garcia's effective, he'll be quite welcome, and Karns sure looks to be more effective than Duke, so they can use Karns and Stammen as long men. I still think Moore and Lombo have bright futures, but they're not hitting now, and they need consistent at-bats to get their grooves back. In the interim, might as well get some guy (or two) who's hitting *right now* from AAA for the bench until they cool off.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I also agree with what NatsJack said!

  35. Don - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    DC Wonk, Lombo's negative WAR (if you buy into that stuff) has at least something to do with him being used as a pinch hitter a lot and not playing every day. Even though Lombo has not been very good, he has been miles better at the plate than Espi (sure Lombo is not taking walks, one less than Espi, but he's 30 Ks short of Espi too and hitting 60 pointys higer and trending up at least a touch — he's been on base in 6 of the last 7) and Lombo is capable in the field. Lombo is a decent 2B, Boz is right. Decent is better than awful. Rizzo is banking that Espi can leap from awful to very good any day now and is worth the pain now for the pleasure later. Rizzo and Davey stick with Espi, in my opinion, because they see the potential, the power, the speed that is in there (though hiding masterfully right now). They are hoping that today's game is THE GAME where Danny turns the corner and his inner Joe Morgan comes out to forever shine. I hope they are right, but the sample size is piling up, Danny is not getting better and his ailments are not speeding the process. Rizzo may not be blind, stupid or subject to blackmail, I just don't think that he's right about Espi (not on the time horizon we need — third of the season done 7 games back with offense at a premium) and Mike has a history (for better or worse) of sticking to his plan. We can argue over whether that is stubbornness or not, but it does not really matter. The roster he contructed is not producing, that is the bottom line.

  36. Jimmy - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    The funny thing about all this is we had the same people crying about the same things last year at this same time in the season. Even with the one of the best records in baseball at the time, Rizzo and Davey were stubborn idiots because the offense struggled all the way to the end of June. Remember that series out in Coors Field? Guys got healthy, bats came alive, the Nats won the division, best record in baseball and gave this town a great run of baseball in the process. Remember being swept by the Yankees in mid-June? Remember what people were saying? The internet does: http://www.natsinsider.com/2012/06/sweep-exposes-nats-lineup-woes.html People will get healthy and bats will come alive. Davey and Rizzo, believe it or not, know a lot about baseball.

  37. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Not sure I agree about Rendon not being able to hit FBs… He may have some issues with them, like all batters at 1 point in time, but he seemed to have good recognition while he was up here and was doing well before being out for the wisdom tooth pull….As for Espi… *sigh* … His defense really is the only reason he is still in the line up. It makes so sense to me why DJ/Rizzo dont send him down to the farms to get some plate discipline and help him see pitches… Espi will swing at just about anything. He has no recognition at all… Ive been wondering if he needs some type of vision correction…

  38. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    With Bryce on the DL, Cory Brown deserves to take his spot and be in the line up everyday until Bryce returns.

  39. Joe Seamhead - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Nowhere have I ever read that Kobernus plays a good 2B. They didn't just start playing him in the OF because Syracuse needed OF help. It was because he can get on base and they are trying to make him into a utility guy, but he certainly hasn't gotten any meaningful innings up here at any position.Espinosa has got to be a frustration to Davey and Rizzo, too. he certainly plays a very good, to near great second base, but he is killing this team's season by his lack of production at the plate. I personally see a guy that needs sit,and heal if that's his problem. You may a price with Lombo at 2B, but the operative word is"may." Lombo may never be a .280/20 HR guy, but he at least is sometimes coming through at the plate. Overall he has beat out the 2013 version of Danny Espinosa, whether Danny's issues are due to injury, or talent.As to the outfield, personally I would rather have Werth, Span, and either Bernadina or Brown playing behind me if I'm pitching. Not Moore or Lombo. I am also really frustrated with the Nats pitchers in general, but especially the relievers, just giving free bases to any runner that wants to take second. If anything they are worse at it then last year when Chase Utley came off of the DL and with gimpy knees stole 2nd and 3rd uncontested. We look very unprofessional at this and every manager out there should, and will, exploit this weakness.

  40. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Do any of you really expect Nats Management to come out and bascially throw Espi to the wolves in a public forum? Do you really expect them to divulge all this to the fans? If they did that, guys would never come here as a free agent.When will we know about how they react? When it actually happens. It might not be to our time frame, but something will happen soon.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… With Bryce on the DL, Cory Brown deserves to take his spot and be in the line up everyday until Bryce returns. June 04, 2013 9:25 AM A great opportunity to call up Corey who is en fuego and ride the hot hand and put him in the lineup every day against RH pitching.I'm hoping he is on the flight to Reagan National this morning or on the Lerner private jet. It's a no brainer and he can trade places with Kobernus who isn't playing anyway.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    For the umpteenth time I'll say Rizzo has to adjust the 40 man and put usable parts with options so the pitching staff can have complete usefulness for Davey. Cedeno and Krol are solid lefries and there are several righties deemed ready for possible use but guys like Perry, Duke and HRod clutter it up.

  43. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Well, I guess I'm in the minority here with my opinion that rushing Rendon is not the best idea. One thing about baseball (and sports in general) is that sooner or later you see the performance and your guess is proved right or wrong–as opposed to "well, I liked/hated that play/movie/novel and tastes differ."Ghost, I can't find the article by a Google search, but it was mentioned here maybe a week or so ago, and commented upon. It stuck in my mind because usually young guys can hit the FB and have trouble with the off-speed.

  44. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    GoSM said… Im hoping he is on the flight to Reagan National….====Meanwhile, Im hoping that HRod and ZDuke are on their way out…

  45. SCNatsFan - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I don't expect a public flogging MicheleS but I don't think there is a player in the majors who wouldn't expect to be demoted if they were performing like Espi so I don't think it hurts FAs coming here. Not like he is hitting .350 and getting demoted.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    MicheleS, totally agree but you can read between the lines that Espi isn't sitting until Rendon takes over -or- something miraculous happens and Danny starts hitting. That's kind of what I read from the comments.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    NatsLady, they are rushing Rendon. This wasn't the original plan but I think the situation with Espi is so dire that they don't have a choice.As noted, Lombo is a small upgrade, not a big one.

  48. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Yes, MicheleS, I honestly believe when DJ said 'changes were a coming but that is for another day' that he meant it… It seems they dont like just bringing people up/down on a whim from the farm and we all know DJ likes to give his chances..I think when the line up gets back to healthy, that is when we see changes… The sad part about Espi is that he really does have the potential and we saw the flashes the 2nd part of 2012…

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    NatsJack, thanks for backing me on Krol. He may end up making that Michael Morse trade by himself a great trade! I hope that turns out that way and AJ Cole becomes the Ace we hope he can be.

  50. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    SC and NatsJack. I 100% agree that changes need to be made and that they should have been done earlier. NJ… agree they should have been more flexible with the 40 man. We have some parts in the minors that could help. I mean what the heck did they call up Kobernus if they were going to have him sit?SC it's not Espi's performance that would cause that, it's the Public Airing of the Dirty Laundry? Really, would you knowlingly go to an organization that would rip you in public if you were in a slump or worse possibly injured?

  51. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Lombo is a serviceable utility man… He does a lot of things well but nothing really great… He is more attractive becuz for 1. Espi is the scapegoat (whether he deserves it or not) and 2. he at least makes contact with the ball, whereas Espi, more than likely stikes out swinging…

  52. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Ghost, there are always choices. They could live with Lombo at 2B and bring up Zach Walters to back up SS. If it were a matter of rushing Rendon because RZ was down, I would be fine with that. It's the combination of (a) injury history (b) new position and (c) a high-value prospect that is part of your future that makes me uncomfortable.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    NatsLady said… Ghost, I can't find the article by a Google search, but it was mentioned here maybe a week or so ago, and commented upon. It stuck in my mind because usually young guys can hit the FB and have trouble with the off-speed. Maybe they got it backwards. He can definitely hit fastballs and probably was told to work on and sit on off-speed.In that Medlen at-bat you will see he didn't hit the changeup or curveball that were both strikes. For some reason Medlen's 2 strike pitch was a fastball near the black and Rendon singled it.

  54. jeeves - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I may be wrong here, Natslady, but I believe you were one of the people who were against Harper being brought up so quickly.Texas brings up the 20 year old Profer, formerly a shortstop to play second base. LA brings up a young outfielder. And etc.As someone here pointed out, they can be sent back down and there is no way they can do worse than some of the Nat's 'experienced' players.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    NatsLady, I saw Zach Walters play. Not impressed. He makes fielding errors in bunches as his footwork isn't good and he thinks he's a switch hitter power hitter. Seen that combo before.Danny is the only backup SS I see. Poor depth at SS.

  56. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    And Ghost you are so right on reading between the lines. WHEN they realized probably about 1 month ago that ESPI was NOT going to get any better they accelerated the Rendon Option. I think Rendon's wisdom teeth delayed it by a couple of weeks. The issue is that for SOME reason they DON'T want Lombo at 2b right now (that could be because Bryce went down, but who knows at this point).I get that it is FRUSTRATING as all get out. Lord knows I am cursing at my TV a lot more this season.

  57. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    jeeves, you are wrong. I called for Harper to be brought up ASAP. I would have had him up from spring training if it weren't for the Nats losing a year of his service. A lot of people disagreed with me on that, you can check it out. Different player, different situation.

  58. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Ghost, I'll take your word on Walters. Even more reason, then, why they will stick with Danny until his wrist or shoulder affect his D. Remember when we picked up Izturis, who can't hit at all, because we had no SS to backup Danny when Desi was on the DL? Just think of Danny as Izturis… :)

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    MicheleS, if they bring up CBro today like they should to rest Bryce until he is ready, I think we may see the "changes" coming slowly.There will be no wholesale changes of sending 4 guys packing but Werth is back today and its a great time to play Werth, Span and Brown in the outfield.Use Espi against LH pitching and Lombo against RH pitching and wait for Rendon to show he is ready and has himself en fuego.

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    NatsLady, it pains me to say it, Espinosa is the only backup at shortstop which is why I don't think he does any surgery. Not even sure they will send him to AAA as he may move to the bench.Yes, Lombo could be the emergency short-term backup at shortstop if Espi did go on the DL or to AAA.

  61. natsfan1a - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I do remember that, NL.NatsLady said… jeeves, you are wrong. I called for Harper to be brought up ASAP. I would have had him up from spring training if it weren't for the Nats losing a year of his service. A lot of people disagreed with me on that, you can check it out. Different player, different situation. June 04, 2013 9:42 AM

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Danny = Izturis is correct NatsLady.

  63. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    I've been wrong a lot of times, and there are people on here who would be delighted to give you the list. But Harper wasn't one of the times I was wrong. I was right on the money with him. He was major-league ready, I could see that. Rendon probably is close, but not like Harper. I just have a feeling we are getting into one of those "there isn't enough time to do it right–but there's always enough time to do it over."

  64. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    I have always said that the biggest reason Espinosa stays around is the total dearth of ML caliber shortstops in the organization.Ghost is correct. I've seen enough of Walters to be very afraid of him defensively and a .206 average at Syracuse sure doesn't help.Wil Ryhmes? Whew….I hope not.

  65. bowdenball - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I don't know who this Jimmy fellow is, but he absolutely nailed it. Same whining, different year, just as wrong now as it was then.It's been a rough season, but the answers for the most part have to come from guys already on the 25 man roster or on the DL. Rendon is a talented hitter, but he still has less than ten games played at 2B in his entire adult life. And although you might not want to hear it, most talented hitters- including guys even more highly regarded than Rendon- struggle mightily in their first few months in the big leagues. Corey Brown isn't the worst option in the world as a 4th or 5th OF, but a 27 year old with a .347 OBP in AAA isn't gonna cure this offense's inability to get on base when he starts facing big league pitching instead of AAA guys. The fact that he struck out at a higher rate than everyone's favorite scapegoat Danny Espinosa during his brief callup last year should tell you that. Marrero's an interesting option, but he's limited defensively and can only play a position where we have a solid two-way player so at best you're looking at 4-5 PAs a week from him. A possible small improvement in production in 4-5 PAs a week doesn't change anything.When things are going well fans always demand change because they like to think there's an easy answer to what ails their team, but there almost never is. The answer to the team's offensive woes is Werth, Harper, Ramos and maybe a sprinkle of Rendon after he gets comfortable at 2B. That plus the schedule is what we need, not a bloodbath with the 25 man roster because fans are angry.

  66. Joe Seamhead - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Good post, bowdenball.

  67. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    bowdenball……I agee with you on Marerro but Brown deserves a shot that consists of more than an occaisional start and pinch hitting duties. With Bryce on the DL, that opportunity is now.

  68. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  69. Eric - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    "When things are going well fans always demand change because they like to think there's an easy answer to what ails their team, but there almost never is. The answer to the team's offensive woes is Werth, Harper, Ramos and maybe a sprinkle of Rendon after he gets comfortable at 2B. That plus the schedule is what we need, not a bloodbath with the 25 man roster because fans are angry."Bingo, except at this point I would much prefer to see Espi and Lombo platooning at 2B than see Rendon rushed into action, and that only if Lombo continues to produce at the plate.Only thing that would change my mind on Rendon is if he becomes an absolute firewall at 2B in the minors. The last thing he and the team needs is for him to come up here and hit well enough but become Espi's replacement punching bag because he's fielding at 2013 RZim levels.

  70. livernonions - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    As Mark points out, we have two series coming up against sub-.500 teams. Unfortunately, both those teams are also playing a sub-.500 team in the form of the Nats. Such is baseball, but I'd rather be in our position than in the positions of either the Mets or Twins. The season is getting long and our hole is getting deeper, but we're still just a confluence of a few good, reasonable-to-expect things from getting back into contention.

  71. A DC Wonk - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Hello? For all those complaining that Harper was ready rightaway, and therefore Rendon should also be . . . We might want to remember that:Harper played in 130 minor league games before getting the callRendon has played in 79 minor league games

  72. SCNatsFan - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    MicheleS I agree about public comments but, as far as free agents go, I cannot believe a FA wuouldn't want to come here with the support they have shown DeRosa, Stairs, Tracy, Espi and LoDuca.

  73. natsfan1a - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    There was some dire talk before Lannan's July spot start as well.Jimmy said…Remember being swept by the Yankees in mid-June? Remember what people were saying? The internet does: http://www.natsinsider.com/2012/06/sweep-exposes-nats-lineup-woes.html

  74. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Corey Brown is great, I'm sure, but I don't see him as being better than Bernadina as a 4th-5th outfielder. If he were, he'd be here, and Rizzo would get a prospect or a Zach Duke/Ryan Perry/Colin Balester type in a trade. I watched Brown in spring training, and he made routine mistakes in the OF.Maybe I should have watched for Zach Walters' mistakes but I was blinded by the neon shoelaces…It is the exception rather than the rule that you have a guy in the minors who is better than his counterpart on the 25-man. No one "deserves" a chance at a roster spot (or at-bats or starts for that matter). That's not how it works. A guy "gets" a chance when he's shown he can do the job and he's needed.

  75. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Face it folks, we're going to lose 70 games. That's OK, though, because Atlanta's going to lose 72, and the Fillies are gonna lose 80. Keep smiling, there's a lot season left.

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    At some point, a player producing at the AAA level certainly does "deserve" an opportunity when one arises. Bryce on the DL is one of those timesHow long did it take for Michael Morse to get his opportunity? Producing at the AAA level is what gave him his deserved shot.Cory Brown is an adequate and possibly above average defensively, especially if he's in left field. And he's been tearing the cover off the ball since returning from the DL.

  77. JD - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    NatsJack, You should be able to acquire a veteran replacement level short stop on the cheap for emergency backup. no? I am thinking someone like Ronny Cedeno, Jamie Carrol etc.

  78. blovy8 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I think it actually has to be about backing up at short, the results do not support anything else. There's the real possibility that the continuing at bats are not helping Espinosa either. There are easy ways of getting him out that have not changed all season. The book on him has expanded if anything. He's dealing with two injuries, and it's past the point where patience seems prudent in terms of better results or further development. They're doing him a disservice by not taking the responsibiliy of making him heal and putting him in the best position to be successful. Waiting for a magic switch seems like folly when his success can be measured in weeks, not years. There even seemed to be a point in April where he tried to change his approach, which didn't work either, it seems to me that it's just as likely he's going to develop bad habits than be able to adjust. Is Kobernus really that much of a butcher at 2nd that he can't play there two times a week? Lombardozzi has been a reasonable contact hitter when he plays every day, he has just as much chance to develop his game (obviously without the same upside) to be an average player in the interim as any alternative. If they don't trust Kobernus, bring up Rhymes.

  79. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I would like to see Kobernus and what he can do… I dont understand why he hasnt gotten the playing time…But it is never anything wrong with taking the approach that the Yanks and even the O's have taken in terms of providing a lift to their ball clubs.yanks are so injured and they had no problem with calling folks up and having them compete instead of just relying on the usual bench (which I truly believe, ours last year over achieved) O's had 2 folks playing 2nd base and both were fighting and giving their best to see which would make it and stay…Another issue is also accountability. Not sure the guys have it. They can be terrible and know that they will still be in the line up every day…

  80. JD - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    NatsJack, I agree with you. As you recall I told you in spring training that Brown could probably fill Bernadina's shoes if the latter was traded but unfortunately Brown proceeded to have a very so so camp, and he was given lots of playing time. He may or may not be a AAAA player but I'm pretty sure he's no worse than Tracy and he'l likely not produce any worse than Moore has been and he actually plays a very solid outfield. Let's have a look but if we do it shouldn't be 1 at bat a week.

  81. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Why do I have the feeling that when Werth returns… Kobernus will be sent back down… And HRod and Duke will still be with the club…

  82. Kevin Rusch - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    so, one thing I'd like to point out about Espinosa and his scapegoat status — he's injured. Now, I think he should be NOWHERE NEAR the starting lineup right now, because he's making 2005 Guzman look like Hank Aaron. But it's not that he's a bum, just that he is, at the moment, a huge harm to the team. Just tell him to go get healed and we'll have him back. In the meantime, can Rendon do better than .180? If so, call him up.

  83. SCNatsFan - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    NatsLady I agree it is a long season but every day its getting shorter. Hopefully today is the day we turn this around.

  84. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    blovy -I tell people all the time on the WaPo boards… Lombo could go 0-4 and people would herald him just becuz he isnt Espi…I just for the life of me cant figure out why Kobernus hasnt gotten much playing time…

  85. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    bowdenball said…I don't know who this Jimmy fellow is, but he absolutely nailed it. Same whining, different year, just as wrong now as it was then.====Difference is pitching was better last year and was carrying us… and we had a winning record…

  86. JD - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    My biggest complaint with Davie is that he doesn't give emergency call ups any playing time at all. You can see from the get go that players like Perez and Kobernus are there because they had to be and not because Davie wants them there. Atlanta's biggest plus this year is that they have been using everyone almost interchangeably and look what they are getting from: Ramiro Pena,Gaddis,Chris Johnson etc.

  87. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Thanks for the link to last year's post-Yankee sweep post, Jimmy. Very entertaining. One post after that we had a vigorous debate over whether Storen would resume his closer duties immediately upon returning from the DL. Good times. (Whatever happened to prAA anyway?)I truly don't understand the worry about "rushing" Rendon. If he can't handle it, he can go back down. That's really not such a big deal. Give him some reps in AAA and bring him up when you feel he can handle the position. And the idea that he was rushed to AAA is ludicrous. After his cup of coffee here, he's been crushing AA pitching. There's nothing more for him to learn there. One article theorizing why he was sent to AA rather than AAA a month ago doesn't prove anything. It's not like he needs to spend a year there. Nor do I think Espi's status has anything to do with who will back up who if someone gets injured. Again, adjustments can be made if there's an injury. That's what has happened all year long. It's why Karns is on the roster, and Kobernus, and Abad. It's why Ty-Mo and the Shark have over 90 PAs already. I sure don't want to see Zach Walters on the bench over a better hitter on the off chance that we need a shortstop for a game.Finally, I'm trying to continue my Zen-like attitude about Espi. Actions speak louder than words, so I still think his days on the 25-man are numbered based on the Rendon promotion. Suppose I'm right, what would have been the advantage of Rizzo and Davey announcing that at some obscure event when the switch is probably weeks away?

  88. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    SC.. if the nats get a reputation of dissing players publicly, it won't help with FA's regardless of how they treat people in the past. There have been calls to have ESPI flogged, Davey Fired and Rizzo banished back to being a junior scout because the team management hasn't fed the fan base with red meat to chew on.And NJ.. agree.. we need some SS help..I just want a HEALTHY TEAM.. YUP.. that means ALL 25 and the best available 25.

  89. blovy8 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    If you lose Desmond, sure, you're going to have to use a guy who's a lousy fielder or get someone up who's an automatic out. But that's kind of what they already have in Espinosa anyway at this point.

  90. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Not like he is hitting .350 and getting demoted.Or .260. Or .220. Or even .180. I mean really. I can't believe anyone wants to keep that kind of worthless bat in the lineup because they are worried about Rendon's ankles, or not sure his fielding is GG quality. JD, on the emergency callups, I'm curious how Kobernus would do too. But isn't it possible that Davey views them as emergency players and would rather see his major league bench guys in the lineup. Ty-Mo, Lombo, and Bernadina haven't been tearing it up, but they made the team out of spring training over Kobernus and Perez for a reason. Why should they sit just to give those new guys a chance? When everyone's healthy, they'll be back on the bench (or in Ty-Mo's case, in AAA, we hope.)

  91. bowdenball - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    MrsB loves the Nats said…"Difference is pitching was better last year and was carrying us… and we had a winning record…"And yet the complaints about Davey and Rizzo and the misguided demands that marginal AAA talent be called up to save a major league offense are exactly the same. That should tell you something about those complaints and demands.

  92. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Anyone else think that the expiration date on Henry may be tied to how soon CGarcia is ready to join the bullpen? Have there been any recent reports on whether the Nats still want to stretch him out as a starter?

  93. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    222.. or maybe as soon as Matheus is healthy if garcia should be slowed down for any reason?

  94. JD - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Sec222, In truth there was very little competition in spring training. Essentially the team was set based on last year and the off season moves. There was one bullpen spot supposedly open and it went to Henry because he had no options and because no one else really grabbed it. Kobernus was with the Tigers in spring training but based on his performance at AAA and the team's struggles I feel he should have been given a week's worth of regular playing time somewhere. Brown was a big disappointment for me in the spring. Coming off an excellent AAA season and a late season call up I thought he would really try to force the issue but alas we didn't see much. Why not give him a week while Harper is on the DL? whose flaming bat will he displace?

  95. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Good point Michele. I sure hope Garcia is ready before Matheus' hand is healed though. BTW, I just saw your 9:29 comment about Rizzo's and Davey's public stance. I don't think I owe you a beer for that, but you're absolutely right.

  96. fast eddie - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    MicheleS:Espinosa wouldn't need to be publicly flogged to replace him. Just DL him and everyone saves face.I recall we did that a couple of times last year with HRod when he developed some mysterious arm ailment.At least in Danny's case, he has well-documented injuries. Why isn't he on the DL already??

  97. JD - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    'Anyone else think that the expiration date on Henry may be tied to how soon CGarcia is ready to join the bullpen? Have there been any recent reports on whether the Nats still want to stretch him out as a starter?' I do. Along with Duke.

  98. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Idk bowdenball… Nats made moves last year (and they were winning)… They released Ankiel and Nady… I remember DeRosa wasnt playing all that well either.. I remember Ramos went down and then they got Zook…So one has to believe that some changes are coming up or we hope… But there is legitimate concern/criticsm with DJ/Rizzo and their handling of Espi… Its not like Espi has even shown flashes of getting better lately. He looks like the same ol Espi who hacks at any and everything and looks lost at the plate…

  99. JD - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Bowdenball, Overall I agree with you. But I don't think it's unreasonable to replace the under performing bench players (or some of them) with the best performing AAA players. But you are right. No AAA player will give you Harper's, Werth's or Ramos's production

  100. blovy8 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I still would rather see a challenge trade out there for Henry, so Rizzo can save something from that deal. We'll could probably get a similar guy running out of time on his team with maybe an option year left.

  101. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    JD, I agree Brown didn't win a spot on the bench but let's be real the bench was set beforehand with Tracy and Bernadina signed to million dollar deals and TyMo the big righty bat. I kind of felt Brown had nothing to play for. You bring him up and then decide when Harp comes back to Browns future. You play the hot hand when you have it.

  102. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Well Brown hasn't been brought up yet, so we don't know how Davey will use him if he is. I agree he had a shot this spring and didn't take advantage of it. I fear he's a AAAA guy, unfortunately. With Werth coming back, there will be only one OF spot to fill and two or three other possible replacements, so I wouldn't get my hopes up for seeing him on a regular basis.I'm sure if Rizzo thought Kobernus was a better utility guy than Lombo he would have made the team over him once we got him back. The MLB track record that Lombo has (and Ty-Mo for that matter) means something though. There's no arguing with that. Then again they would have had to put him on the 40 man again, which is the whole reason the Tigers could grab him in the Rule 5 draft, right? I'd like to see him get some ABs too, but I can understand where Davey is coming from. At this point, Davey needs to manage to win games not to see what our prospects can do. There's very little margin for error left.

  103. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    The MLB track record that Tyler Moore has???? Did I miss the sarcasm? .151/.200/.269 in 100 PAs?

  104. A DC Wonk - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Essentially the team was set based on last year and the off season moves.Even so — that "set" first string lineup has been used only six times this year. (injuries to: Harper, Werth, Ramos, RZim, etc.)Biggest problem we have: getting healthy.

  105. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Tyler Moore should never start on a major-league team at this point, can't field (and is gonna get Span hurt), slow on the bases and barely hits. There's a "teacher's pet" if I ever saw one.

  106. A DC Wonk - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    NatsLady said… The MLB track record that Tyler Moore has???? Did I miss the sarcasm? .151/.200/.269 in 100 PAs?To buttress those comments: although he's 0-13 as a PH — if you take those away, we're left with .175/.221/.313

  107. Nats 128 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I think Corey Brown could start for a few teams. He was a highly regarded Draft pick and was only held back from injuries.While I was disappointed in his Spring Training we all know he wouldnt have made the team any way.Use him while he is hot and then decide. Its an easy choice. If he rakes in place of Brycie then he takes Tracys spot on the bench when Bryce returns. Seems simple.Nothing ventured nothing gained.

  108. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Tyler Moore needs to be sent down so he can learn some plate discipline…

  109. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    NL, I was talking about his good showing last year that won him the hairy-chested RH batter spot on the bench this year. No argument that he hasn't been terrible so far this year, and no, I don't think he should be starting. But when a starting player is injured, the logical replacements are the bench player, not a guy playing well in AAA.

  110. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Tracy's advantage is that he doesn't disgrace himself at 1B or 3B. Until Corey Brown can play the infield, he ain't taking Tracy's spot.

  111. Nats 128 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    "NatsLady said… Tyler Moore should never start on a major-league team at this point, can't field (and is gonna get Span hurt), slow on the bases and barely hits. There's a "teacher's pet" if I ever saw one."In his current state, he might not even start in AAA.I disagree that he is a teachers pet. The only reason he got playing time was because of Werths injury then Harper.

  112. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Fast Eddie.. I AGREE with putting Espi on the DL (we did it enough times last year), but guess what for SOME reason they don't thing they have someone in the minors that is ready YET to come and take his place.

  113. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    We went over this several times a few days ago. Corey Brown would take over Tracy's LH batting spot, not his backup fielding positions. Ty-Mo can play 1B, as can Marrero if he replaces Ty-Mo as the RH bench batter. Lombo has and can play 3B for a game or two if needed. If Zim goes down for more than that, Rendon replaces him. Respectfully, you put way too much emphasis on who would back up our starters if they get hurt. Roster moves can be made if the injuries are serious. If they're not we muddle through for a day or two.

  114. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    And Eddie, we all agree with the DL, but some want Espi tarred feathered and sent to Mars just to feel that their frustration has some how been vindicated.I am sure sometime in the next few weeks (or as soon as Rendon is ready) Espi will finally be DL'd

  115. Just wonderin' - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    "But when a starting player is injured, the logical replacements are the bench player, not a guy playing well in AAA."====================Is that true? I thought teams (Nats included) often kept the "logical replacement" in AAA so that said replacement could play every day? Aren't the bench players there to provide late-inning depth or maybe fill in for a game or two or five? When you know a starter is out of a while, don't you often head to your top AAA player?

  116. Tcostant - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    'Anyone else think that the expiration date on Henry may be tied to how soon CGarcia is ready to join the bullpen? Me: I think the Nationals will have to put him on the roster within 30 days of his first rehab game. Not sure if he has any minor league option left, which would be a whole different question.

  117. fast eddie - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    MicheleS:We've got two better alternatives than Danny already on the roster: Lombo and Kobernus. I expect Rendon to play 2B at Syracuse during June, then be brought up by the All-Star break.

  118. mick - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    I agree with the sports junkies om 106.7 this morning, anything less than winning 4 of 6 verse the Mets (minus Harvey) and Twins at home is a disaster. HRod should be traded or released, preferably traded to at least get a long shot prospect. The entire Espi saga is simply weird. If the boy is hurt, put him on DL, if he is not, then it is clear he will never be a MLB hitter. This is what angers me about Davey and Rizzo and it reveals serious flaws in both.

  119. mick - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    The only thing weirder than the Espis saga is how both Rizzo and Davey have labeled Lombo as a part time player.

  120. mick - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    I agree with most of the other posters in here about Nats prospects and have concluded…they just are not good

  121. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    I don't put myself in the doom-and-gloom category (although I have been — and will continue to be — critical of the decision to keep Danny Espinosa in the starting line-up), but I'm also a realist. And one reason this week is 'critical' (to return to the theme of the original post) is that after five more games the Nats will reach the '100-games-left' point in the season. Assuming they get there with about 30-32 wins, they would need finish the season 60-40 to reach the 90-92 win level. Since the year 2000, these are the numbers of Ws the NL East winner has recorded: 95, 88, 101, 101, 96, 90, 97, 89, 92, 93, 97, 102, and 98. That averages out to 94.7. I'm not suggesting that it's impossible for the Nats the win the NL East (there were five years in there in which 93 would have won it; three in which 90 Ws equalled a division crown) but it's going to be tough. And yes, it's a 162 season, but at some point every loss begins to count a bit more against you.

  122. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:01 PM

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  123. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Eugene, what was the average number of wins for the second place team in the NL East. That's the number the Nats have to beat.

  124. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Just wonderin', obviously pitchers are different. The bullpen is not the bench for the starters. Otherwise, you'd see Clip or Soriano doing a spot start. Never gonna happen. So of course you have to go to the minors to replace a starter for more than a game or two. Certainly there are top prospects who are sent to the minors so they can play every day, but your fourth outfielder is usually the guy who becomes a starter when one of the top 3 goes down, same with your utility infielder. There are exceptions of course, but I would guess that the vast majority of guys who start big league games because of injury to one of a regular position players are guys who are on the bench when everyone is healthy. Certainly that's been the case for the Nats this year, as Perez had only one start during his time here and Kobernus doesn't have any yet. Even Rendon started only 8 of the 12 games between his MLB debut and his return to AA on 5/2.

  125. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Two things struck me in assembling the Nats and Mets injury stats report.(1) the Mets have a LOT of injured pitchers. I know the Blue Jays have that reputation, but the Mets are not far behind. What does Boz have to say?? /s(2) Way Way Way too many PAs by players who should be on the bench as pinch hitters or late-inning replacements.

  126. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    222, "muddling through" –no, I'm not for that. The only exception is a completely unexpected contingency like Mattheus breaking his hand and not informing Davey or the trainers. Yes, then you have to make emergency call-ups and muddle through.Aside from that, you need a plan. That includes the backups of the backups getting hurt and extra inning games.

  127. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    222 @ 12:02 p.m.,I understand what you're suggesting and I even considered using that number (i.e., one win more than the second place team), but I opted to go with the Ws the division winner achieved. In fact, if you're looking at it your way, you probably should argue that I should have added one win to the division winner's total, not to the 2nd place team's total. But better, I think, just to stick with the fact that those are the Ws the division winner recorded and let those numbers speak for themselves.

  128. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    So you would keep Tracy on the 25 man, no matter how lousy his hitting becomes, over a possibly capable replacement (Brown) because he's a solid 3B and Lombo is not (in your view)? Really? This is a recipe for disaster, although it's consistent with your desire to keep Espi on the roster because he's a better stopgap replacement at SS than Lombo, in case of injury to Desmond.With only 25 guys on the roster and a 7-man bullpen, which means only four bench guys other than your backup catcher, you have to muddle through for a game or two every now and then. There's just no way around it. Otherwise you have a bench full of .150 hitters, which, come to think of it, is exactly what we have now, along with a .500 record.

  129. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    I was just curious Eugene, and thought you had the numbers at hand. Obviously, if you have a dominant team that wins 100 games and beats the competition by six or seven games for several years on a row but no teams looks that dominant now, you wouldn't conclude that it takes 100 wins or 101 to win the division. I'm not looking to blow the Braves out this year. That doesn't seem possible. Just want to win one more than they do.

  130. NatsLady - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    222, agree on the bench. If you had Lombo, Bernadina, Tracy, ABC RH'er (Moore/Marrero, whoever) and backup catcher, and they were ON the bench, spot starting, or late inning replacements, that would be fine. If those guys are starting, it's a problem. The problem is compounded by the timing, in that you can't trade for guys–yet–even if you are willing to take on salary because too many teams think they have a chance at a good run. Who are the teams that are (a) out of it and (b) not in rebuilding mode? Every team (besides Miami, Houston and the Cubs) is 8 or few games behind their Division leaders–except the season surprise:Milwaukee. They are making a lot of moves, desperation moves in some cases, and they are a small market team. We need a rental starter (because down two is too many) and a rental outfielder. Uncle Teddie will have to get out the checkbook sooner than he wanted.MIL Roster moveshttp://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130603&content_id=49480608&vkey=news_mil&c_id=mil

  131. baseballswami - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    You know, I completely disagree that most people on here want Espi tarred and feathered. I think there has been a great deal of restraint. What I hear is that this is terrible for the team but even worse for him. What I hear is that there is no reason for this. That something has to change. I hear people expressing that they feel sorry for the guy. That is restraint. In Atlanta they were booing BJ Upton. I heard Nats fans ( if you want to call them that) booing Zim. Espi may get booed by some idiots this week. But I don't think anyone who posts here on a regular basis will be booing Espi. I think most people are frustrated more by the so-called adults making the decisions. I am upset at the decision makers. Espi has listened to doctors and of course if they are going to let him play he is not going to bench himself. I am not hearing haterade for this kid at all. Just frustration at the situation. I don't want him to be dfa'd, I want him fixed so that we can see if he can fulfill his potential ever. This inertia is not productive. I will be so glad to see Jayson Werth on the team, no matter how things go for him on the field — he faced single A pitching so far, so I would not expect a 4 for 4 night. I am also going to be so glad to see FP on tv. I love what he brings to the game. Go Nats!!!

  132. MicheleS - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Swami.. if you saw what I saw on Message Boards and Twitter, I am referring to Nats fans wanting Espi Tarred and Feathered, it's not just some people on this board.

  133. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    No team and no fan should expect that all the starters will play 162 games. Bench guys are going to get starts over the course of the season. Injuries are part of the game. So you have to have bench players who you think are capable of starting for a week or two at a time. That's why, or one of the reasons, in the NL, that it was idiocy to take up a roster spot with a Matt Stairs. I really think Rizzo was justified in thinking that Lombo, Ty-Mo and the Shark would continue to improve after the good seasons they had last year. Not sure he was right to think that Tracy would match or come close to last year's production, but if the three younger guys were hitting better we wouldn't be having this discussion about the bench. So I don't blame him for how he constructed the roster coming out of Spring Training. But as with Espi, if you look at your players in the cold light of day and conclude they aren't going to get better, you have to make changes. Whether it's through bringing up minor leaguers or making trades, it has to be done. Two mediocre months aren't fatal, three are, if you're chasing a team as good as the Braves. I do believe Rizzo understands this and is stepping up. His move with Rendon shows that.

  134. Section 222 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Michele, people exaggerate and embellish and go overboard on blogs and message boards everywhere. There is no cost to having a peric-like rapier keyboard, especially on Twitter, if you're not a public figure. Don't take it personally. They all will be perfectly satisfied if Espi is DL'd or in the minors and will move on to the next target.Soon enough, I'm convinced that will happen. Rizzo didn't make the Rendon move for nothing.

  135. bowdenball - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    JD said…"Overall I agree with you. But I don't think it's unreasonable to replace the under performing bench players (or some of them) with the best performing AAA players. But you are right. No AAA player will give you Harper's, Werth's or Ramos's production."I think it's fine to replace them, but anyone who thinks it's gonna make a noticeable difference is fooling themselves. Corey Brown and Chris Marrero are not going to post numbers anywhere near their current minor league numbers in the bigs. With the benefit of hindsight you can say they would have done better than Moore and Bernadina so far in 2013, but I'm not sure how much better they'd be for the rest of the season.As far as Rendon goes, there's not a position opening until the club is comfortable that he can play second base. When that happens I'm sure he'll be a better hitter than Espi and Lombo have been this year, but that's only because they've been so awful, not because I expect him to be all that good.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 71 64 5.5
MIAMI 65 68 10.5
NEW YORK 63 72 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 73 15.0
Through Friday's early games

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

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