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At last, some positive surprises

Jun 13, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Associated Press

Rarely does a team enjoy a successful season receiving contributions only from those players who were expected all along to do it.

Look no further than the 2012 Nationals, who won 98 games not only behind the star power of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann but also thanks to the unlikely performances of rookies Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi and — yes — Bryce Harper. None of those players was being counted on to play a major role when that season began. All wound up becoming critical to an NL East title.

Why has the 2013 season been such a disappointment for the Nationals to date? Obviously, injuries to the likes of Harper, Strasburg, Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos and others has been significant. But so has the utter lack of contributions from players who weren't expected to contribute in the first place.

That's what made last night's 5-1 victory in Colorado feel like more than a random Wednesday night victory at Coors Field. It wasn'tRead more »

269 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    "The day this kid was drafted I wrote here "2nd base or LF" as he sure wasn't going to un-seed RZim at 3rd base and I was ridiculed then and every time I mentioned it."Not by me, you weren't. Good call.

  2. Candide - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… You don't have to be a mind-reader to observe a man's actions or listen to what he has to say, or not say. There was an observable, objective difference to the way Danny handled his DL assignment and the way that Karns and Moore handled their demotions. The difference being Karns and Moore said the appropriate things in the situation, while Danny has said very little. So the only reason Espinosa hasn't said much is because he's emotionally fragile and/or is immature and/or has a sense of entitlement? There can't be any other possible explanation? Can someone show me where he said he feels unappreciated, or that he's been treated unfairly, or that he has a right to the job? If so, I'll retract my criticism of those who would psychoanalyze him and will acknowledge that he's being a jerk about the whole thing.But not saying, "Yeah, I stunk, and I'm going to work hard to get back," is not evidence of a sense of entitlement or emotional fragility. There are players who choose not to talk when they're going bad; some even choose not to talk even when things are going well.Aren't you judging people for making their own judgments?Judging people? No. I'm pointing out that a lot of people claim to have insights into Danny's head when they have no evidence to base those claims on. I don't know why they do it. It could be projection, it could be a desire to show how much they know, it could be a dislike for Danny because of his failings in the batter's box, it could be any of a thousand reasons. I don't know what those reasons might be, but the behavior – claiming to know the contents of Danny's head – is undeniably there.All I'm asking for is evidence to back up those claims. And "He didn't say anything," doesn't do it.

  3. Eric - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    "Can someone show me where he said he feels unappreciated, or that he's been treated unfairly, or that he has a right to the job?"I've been asking for the same kinds of quotes since the day he went on the DL…still haven't seen 'em…

  4. baseballswami - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    First of all- if we all stop judging players by what we see on the field, in the dugout and in the media, Mark will have to shut down the blog. Second,– a new subject! Did anyone notice how Dillon Gee carved up the Cardinals lineup last night? Apparently he did not just channel Cy Young for one night against us. They are an offensive machine and he totally shut them down. He is on some kind of pitching tear. Not just we were bad.

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… "The day this kid was drafted I wrote here "2nd base or LF" as he sure wasn't going to un-seed RZim at 3rd base and I was ridiculed then and every time I mentioned it."Not by me, you weren't. Good call. June 13, 2013 11:07 AM I talk to a lot of people not just here but other places and I put my reputation on the line with Rendon and I really wasn't nervous.When I went to Spring Training 2012 and saw him in that exhibition game against Georgetown I could see some throwback in him. Head looking down the barrel of his bat and precision of a gifted batsmen.I keep thinking of who to compare him to from the 60's and I just can't connect it but this kid is special so long as he keeps within himself.A couple more hits and his OPS will get over that 800 mark and he will accomplish that without any HRs. Just keep hitting those doubles and singles and taking those walks.At least JD has come around on him. Maybe a few more will stop for a moment and quit making this a vigil for Espinosa and about what you do have here which is one of the best things that's happened here since Bryce was called up last year. Talk about X factors, here he is!

  6. Section 222 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    So where would you want Zimmerman there? Getting a piggyback ride from Kobernus? Sounds like he was about where he was supposed to be. I'm not going to repeat my lollygagging comment from last night for fear of causing further offense, but this is a question I just have to answer. I want Zim as close to second base as he can be, while being careful, of course, not to run into Kobernus. But as we discussed last night, Kobernus was well past second base by the time the ball was dropped in the outfield, so there was simply no danger that Zim would run into in or lap him as long as he didn't round second. It's pretty clear, though, that he was nowhere near second by the time the outfielders collided and the ball dropped.Unfortunately, there are no videos that show how hard Zim ran after his pause to admire his hit, or that show his location when the ball was dropped. This one (the MASN feed) seems to show that he had just cruised into second and was taking his gloves off at the time that their shortstop received the relay throw. Kobernus crossed the plate at that time too, meaning that he went from approximately 1/3 of the way to third to home afterthe ball hit the ground. Yes, Kobernus is faster than Zim, but he ran to slowly to second, rounded the bag, and waited to see what happened in the outfield during the 6.5 seconds that the ball was in the air. How far did Zim get during that time? I found it interesting to compare the replays of Zim's double(this is the Rockies feed) and Cargo's later triple to more or less the same spot in the outfield. I used the stopwatch on my phone to make the following calculations. I freely confess they may not be precisely accurate (thank goodness for the "lap" function though.)Time (in seconds) from crack of the bat to ball hitting fence/glove: Zim's hit 6.5 Cargo's hit 5.3.Time from ball hitting glove/fence to OF making throw: Zim 4.1, Cargo 3.5.Time of throw from OF to relay man: Zim 2.3, Cargo 1.7Time from relay man catching throw to runner reaching third base: (Zim — no relay throw, no triple), Cargo 2.0.So basically Cargo reached third safely in about 12.5 seconds. Zim was only cruising into second in 12.3 seconds. Cargo was also well on his way to third base by the time Desi caught the throw from Kobernus, 10.5 seconds after the ball was it, and made his off balance relay throw. Zim was barely to second when the Rockie's SS received the throw from the outfield 12.3 seconds after the hit.It's my view that if Zim had been even halfway to second by the time the ball hit the ground he could have made it to third easily given the confusion in the outfield. And getting midway to second in 6.5 seconds wouldn't have been that hard on such a long, high fly ball, if he had hustled out of the box and between 1st and 2nd. Heck, Harper did an entire home run trot in 16.32 seconds last year, and while he ran fast, he didn't do a full out sprint.In the end it didn't matter because Zim scored anyway. But given our difficulty scoring runs this year, no one is going to convince me that Zim did the right thing here or that we should accept a "run of the mill minor baserunning error" from our FoF.

  7. NCNatsie - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    JD said: "Haren ain't going to the pen anytime soon; he' wasn't signed to a $13 mil contract to be Zack Duke"I read comments expressisng this sentiment frequently, and have never understood them. Baseball is a business. Once an item of inventory has been paid for, the price that was paid for it becomes irrelevant in determining the price you charge for it. If you misjudge, you take a loss. The price of gas at your local fillup place isn't based on what the dealer paid for the gas you're pumping — it's based on what he estimates he's going to have to pay for the NEXT truckload.If a player is hurting your team, you can't keep him in the lineup, no matte how much you're paying him. Maybe you give him a longer leash, to be sure, which is a reflection of the confidence you have in him that caused you to pay the big bucks in the first place. But there must come a time when you just have to take your loss and move on.

  8. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Everyone is so happy when they have a new toy, and so quick to throw out the old one. If only took me ONE try to find these posts.Now for Danny Espinosa who all of a sudden is becoming Mr. Clutch. The turn-around in his stats are amazing over the last 2 weeks. His BA with RISP is now .355 and his OBP with RISP is now .452 with a .903 Slugging %.His clutch numbers are fantastic now and are in the tops of the league. Danny leads the Nats in HRs, RBIs, and 1 behind Werth for runs scored.So much weighting is put on BA/OBP as you have to move runners up, but you have to consider that it really is all about run producing and Espy is accomplishing that!!!!

  9. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Don't get me wrong, I think the right thing happened with Danny/Rendon. But it's funny to watch the enthusiasm ebb and flow.

  10. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Isn't it–Ghost?

  11. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    The difference between Moore's and Karns's response to being sent down and Espinosa's apparent reaction to the DL is interesting but not instructive. Both Moore and Karns realized they reached the majors sooner than their minor league track records warranted. Espinosa, however, seems to want to do anything except admit what has happened. He's been stubborn since Oct. 2012 about getting surgery on his shoulder, about fessing up to how much the wrist was bothering him and apparently resistant to going on the DL. I'd be concerned, too, if Rendon was waiting to take my job. But his stubborness has proved self-defeating. Had he gotten surgery last fall, Lombardozzi would have opened the season at 2B, Espinosa's wrist wouldn't have been fractured and he wouldn't have hit .150 for a third of the season. He could have come back in June completely healthy and reclaimed his job. Instead he underperformed at a colossal level and Rendon got the seasoning in the minors that the organization thought he required — at the minimum. And by going on the DL at this point of the season he forced management's hand on Rendon and won't get a starting job until he's traded or 2015 at the earliest if he stays w/ the Nats.My suggestion that he has a "fragile psyche" might be hyperbolic but I think he's shown poor decision-making and a lack of maturity to some degree. And much of it his fault. I don't know if he'll go to entitlement or "play me or trade me mode" but it wouldn't surprise me, particularly in an era where players have so many more opportunities to shoot themselves in the foot on social media.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    NatsLady, that blast from the past for nostalgic purposes doesn't mean diddly. It's what have you done for me lately and NCNatsie is right on the discussion of the business side.Who cares what Danny did at some point in April 2011 or July 2012. This year he stinks. Let him finally earn his way back. Let the players who did the hard way like Werth and LaRoche explain what that means.

  13. SCNatsFan - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    NatsLady, your point? We were enamored with Danny and we all assumed – wrongly – he would continue to progress. At the plate the league adjusted to him and he did not adjust back. No doubt the guy has talent, no doubt he can be an impact player but I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why people keep defending a guy who cannot get it done at the plate. Everyone – even the people who are hardest on him – WANT him to do well and snap out of this 'funk' but there are no signs that this is short term, no glimmers of hope. He needs, IMHO, to become a better student or get better teachers because he is going backwards. That I like and root for him does not change that.

  14. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    NCNatsie, Really all I'm saying is that the probability of Haren pitching a strong game is higher than that of Ohlendorf given their respective pitching history. Fans tend to sway one way or another based on a hot hand perception which IMO is more an emotional reaction than a rational objective analysis. Ghost may be right and Ohlendorf may have figured out something but it takes more than 1 strong game (sorry minor league games don't carry the same weight) to declare a pattern. I think that Ohlendorf probably earned himself more rope. Yesterday Mark wrote that Ohlendorf is likely to be optioned back regardless of his performance when Det and Stras are back but I don't necessarily agree. There is always Cedeno and Davis who could be returned to the minors and Ohlendorf could take the Zack Duke role.

  15. D'Gourds - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    "the bearded K machine from Outer Mendozia" POST OF THE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thanks Gonat!

  16. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    >We were enamored with Danny and we all assumed – wrongly – he would continue to progress.That's exactly my point. We don't know yet what Rendon will become any more than we knew then what Espinosa would become. We don't know the adjustments the league will make, nor whether he will adjust back, nor whether he will be able to stay healthy.You look at players with a track record, RZ, Span, those type guys, who produce year-in-year-out, who come back from injuries, etc. and you are glad you have them.Harper, yes, I think he will be a star, even thought it's early yet. Everyone else, I wait and see.

  17. Section 222 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    When Davey said he was going to look for a way to keep Ohlendorf around, I assumed he meant in the bullpen. He certainly didn't suggest he had "earned a start" the way he did with Stammen (and look how that turned out). If he stands at the ready to replace Haren in the 4th, 5th, or 6th inning at the first sign of trouble, that would be a useful role. I don't expect Rizzo/Davey to give up on the $13 million man any time soon, nor do I expect Ross O to be lights out in every appearance. Nice to see Mark highlighting the comparison between Rendon and Espi's hitting accomplishment this year. I noted in the game post last night, which I know some folks don'tt read, that Rendon had his 4th multi-hit game last night, matching Espi's total in the 44 games he played before going on the DL. Espi's longest hitting streak was 4 games. Rendon is at 7, including every game he has played since returning to the majors. It's amazing what having an actual hitter in the No. 7 spot can do for a lineup. I could see him moving to the No. 2 spot when Harper returns, if Davey wants to keep Werth lower in the order.

  18. Candide - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    JD said…There is always Cedeno and Davis who could be returned to the minors and Ohlendorf could take the Zack Duke role.Would the team be better off with Ohlendorf in the BP and Haren continuing to start or with Haren in the BP and Ohlendorf starting?Honestly, I'd put Haren in the bull pen. He's shown he can pitch 4 good innings; bring him in when the starter gets knocked out early but the game isn't out of hand yet. My concern would be how long does it take him to get loose? IIRC, that was the objection to putting both Lannan and Livo in the bull pen – they took forever to get loose.

  19. Candide - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Section 222 said…I could see him moving to the No. 2 spot when Harper returns, I would love that better than All You Can Eat Free Ribs At The Ball Park Night.

  20. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Also, my other point is that people always want to drag posts out of the past to prove they were right, but somehow they never want to make the same effort to acknowledge they were, let us say, premature…It's fine to be enthusiastic about Rendon. But to claim that predicting in ST that this is exactly what would happen doesn't mean I give that person credit as a smart analyst because I can go back and find plenty of posts where they weren't. Myself, I thought Rendon would be in the minors longer because I thought Danny would do better (and Lombo, too, though I'm not a big Lombo fan) and RZ would need time on the DL (again)–so Rendon would come up in his "natural" position.It is not such a "genius" move that Rendon is at 2B, where I can admire those who predicted it. This is a move born of necessity, and I still have reservations.

  21. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Candide'Would the team be better off with Ohlendorf in the BP and Haren continuing to start or with Haren in the BP and Ohlendorf starting?' Based on 1 start I agree with your conclusion. Based on career performance it's not even a topic for conversation. If Haren continues to struggle AND Ohlendorf repeats what he did last night 3 or 4 more times then it's least a reasonable discussion.

  22. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Does Ohlendorf's success present the possibility of making Haren a reliever??

  23. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    A couple of quick thoughts while my students take their final exam:– I am much less concerned about Danny Espinosa's pysche than I am about his performance (demonstrated/potential/expected) relative to the available alternatives (Messrs. Rendon, Lombardozzi, and — I guess — Kobernus).– Based on Mike Rizzo's comments when Mr. Espinosa was placed on the DL — combined with Mr. Espinosa's reported texts to fellow players and his action in completely cleaning out his locker — you don't have to be a crack IC analyst to conclude that he's going to be spending some time in AAA even after coming off the DL.– While I was one of those calling for Mr. Espinosa to be replaced, I would nonetheless be delighted if he spends a while in AAA and reemerges as the offensive threat he was in the first half of 2011 and the second half of 2012.– If that happens (and I have my doubts that it will), so much the better the for the Nats to be dealing with the problem of two (or more) solid alternatives at 2B than not having any good options.

  24. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    I don't know about Haren in the bullpen. We tried that with Zach Duke, and it proved hard for him to overcome a lifetime of the starter's routine, and Wang, similarly, was not good out of the pen due to his lengthy warm-up routine. It could work, it worked with Stammen and Gorzelanny.

  25. Nats 128 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    "SCNatsFan said… NatsLady, your point? We were enamored with Danny and we all assumed – wrongly – he would continue to progress. At the plate the league adjusted to him and he did not adjust back. No doubt the guy has talent, no doubt he can be an impact player but I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why people keep defending a guy who cannot get it done at the plate. Everyone – even the people who are hardest on him – WANT him to do well and snap out of this 'funk' but there are no signs that this is short term, no glimmers of hope. He needs, IMHO, to become a better student or get better teachers because he is going backwards. That I like and root for him does not change that.""Section 222 said… Nice to see Mark highlighting the comparison between Rendon and Espi's hitting accomplishment this year. I noted in the game post last night, which I know some folks don'tt read, that Rendon had his 4th multi-hit game last night, matching Espi's total in the 44 games he played before going on the DL. Espi's longest hitting streak was 4 games. Rendon is at 7, including every game he has played since returning to the majors. It's amazing what having an actual hitter in the No. 7 spot can do for a lineup.""Ghost Of Steve M. said… At least JD has come around on him. Maybe a few more will stop for a moment and quit making this a vigil for Espinosa and about what you do have here which is one of the best things that's happened here since Bryce was called up last year. Talk about X factors, here he is!"I agree, Rendon is doing what needs to be done. Move forward and let Danny do what he needs to do at AAA.Danny wont come crying for any of you if you lost your job and last I checked he's still making more then minimum wage.

  26. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    it would seem to make sense, Haren is capable of giving at least 2-3 good innings

  27. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    NatsLady, As you know I am on your side when it comes to waiting on long term data before jumping to conclusions and as I have pointed out there are multiple examples of 'can't miss' prospects who have missed but given Rendon's pedigree and more importantly his approach I really, really like the odds. His pitch recognition is not that of a rookie, he doesn't swing out of his shoes and he's not afraid to hit with 2 strikes. He should be OK.

  28. alexva - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    mick, how'd that idea work out with Duke?

  29. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    On Espi, and I know both Ghost and Gonat have made good points about the switch hitting, BUT, I do believe Espi can focus only on batting right handed, where his BA is significantly higher from that side of the plate…that is just my view.

  30. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    alexva said…mick, how'd that idea work out with Duke?good point but Haren and Duke are apples an oranges…Haren was an All Star and a top AL pitcher with a good resume. Duke has never established any credibility as a pitcher in my view

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    NatsLady said… I don't know about Haren in the bullpen. We tried that with Zach Duke, and it proved hard for him to overcome a lifetime of the starter's routine, and Wang, similarly, was not good out of the pen due to his lengthy warm-up routine. It could work, it worked with Stammen and Gorzelanny. June 13, 2013 12:01 PM Think of Haren moving to the BP has a temporary place to hold him just to see if Ohlendorf is for real. We need to see Ohlendorf again to see what's up and beyond that to see if the scouts find holes in his game.If you send him back it has to be done with a DFA and the Nats will lose him. That was the risk of bringing him up now as opposed to Sunday as the freebie 26th doubleheader man.

  32. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    It behooves the Nationals to do all they can to resurrect Espi's value. If he even returns to last year's numbers there will be a line of GM's interested in his services. You don't find a switch hitting, all world defensive infielder (who can play both 2nd and SS) with power growing on trees. It is disappointing that he's not getting the shoulder taken care of. If this is a core issue and he let's this bleed into next year he is going to cost himself mucho dinneros.

  33. Section 222 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    The thing about Haren is that sometimes he can be good. Why limit him to two or three innings as a long guy if he can occasionally go six. The key thing is to pull him quickly. He pitched well the other night, for four innings. In Baltimore, he went 7 1/3 and gave up only 2 runs. Ross O. may have the same potential, but I think I'd mess with his rhythm as a starter before doing that to Haren. And I'll bet that's what Davey has in mind. Of course, this all assumes that Stras and Det are ready to pick up where they left off. If not, he's now the incumbent No. 6 starter, the John Lannan of 2013. Anyone know if he can still exercise the opt out if he gets sent back to Syracuse? His performance last night might have gained him a few MLB job offers.

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

    Duke was an All-Star with a pretty good resume, better than Ohlendorf's. You just don't know, I think, how a pitcher will adjust to the bullpen. Look at Lincecum, who thrived there as is very open to it in the future.Haren seems to have a good attitude, but he's only here for one year, and going to the bullpen would really dim his stock, whereas going to the bullpen might enhance Ohlendorf's, particularly if his alternative is Syracuse or job-hunting.Rizzo on the radio yesterday seemed to feel very strongly that in these quick collapses Haren slips into some kind of mechanical problem that he can't recover from. He is walking the control tightrope every time he goes out there, so it doesn't take a lot for him to become eminently hittable. I'm not sure that's what you want coming out of the pen.

  35. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    also, every individual is different, one size does not fit all…this where managers can think out side the box, just because it failed with Duke does not etch in stone it will fail with Harenbest example that comes to mind is a basketball one with the old Bullets…In 1976, they made a stupid trade, Kevin Porter for Dave Bing. Bing as many of you old DC dudes know played at Spingarn HS, was an all American shooting guard at Syracuse and was an NBA all star and hall of famer as a SHOOTING Guard. KC Jones (great coach) tried to make him a point guard. it failed…Dick Motta in 1978 made Kevin Grevey a shooting guard after Kevin has spent his career as a small forward, result, Bullets win NBA champion and Grevey found his home as a 2 guardnot saying it will work with Haren, but it is worth a shot

  36. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The other thing is if Haren is really on the downside and it takes him five days to get enough stamina to pitch four innings, you definitely don't want him in the bullpen. Let him start and piggyback him with relievers, four or five good innnings is better than nothing.

  37. Anna Peregrina - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Apologies if people have seen this, but it's an interesting article about Ohlendorf's intelligence from Pirates days:http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=kurkjian_tim&id=4230662

  38. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    OK… just read the other posts on Haren as a reliever and they are all great points… I'm just saying, maybe a give it shot and as Ghost said..this only on the assumption that Det, Stras are healthy and if Ohlendorf is consistent

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    NatsLady said… It is not such a "genius" move that Rendon is at 2B, where I can admire those who predicted it. This is a move born of necessity, and I still have reservations. June 13, 2013 11:58 AM NatsLady, I disagree. You aren't talking about a gloveless wonder here. This kid was born to hit and on top of that actually can field his position. Maybe not Gold Glove calibre but from the day he was drafted I'm saying you have to place him into the position he will play in and the hole in this team since May 2011 has been 2nd base.Yes, that was born out of neccissity but so what. You don't have to be a genius to see it rather have the guts to say it. I was the only one saying it then, last year and during Spring Training and the chorus got louder.Wasn't I called an idiot a few times by a certain poster and told it will never happen?Guess what, it's happened and Rendon since his callup is slashing .375/.400/.542/.942 and what happens if he falls into a slump, you send him back. Ride the hot hand.

  40. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    an athlete of Rendon's caliber can can play 3rd, 2nd or ss at a high level. I am basing it on his speed, his strength, vertical jump and his arm…I feel that way about Desi as well

  41. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    >You don't have to be a genius to see it rather have the guts to say it. I was the only one saying it then, last year and during Spring Training and the chorus got louder.I am so happy for you, Ghost.

  42. mick - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    also…lets assume the best that espi comes back strong…now you have 2 players who can play both ss and 2b in espi and rendon

  43. Caps Fan - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    "So where would you want Zimmerman there? Getting a piggyback ride from Kobernus? Sounds like he was about where he was supposed to be."Baserunning 101 says you don't want two runners between second and third when there's a questionable ball in play in the outfield. Why? Because that ties the hands of the third base coach. He has no choice other than to send the lead runner home, because if he stops him at third it leaves the trail runner hung out to dry. So when Kobernus stopped between second and third, Zimmerman being a smart baserunner stopped between first and second.Baserunning 102 says that in a situation like that the trail runner needs to keep the play in front of him as long as possible. Why? Because if he goes tearing around second base without a good sense of what's going on in the outfield, he can't count on any help from the third base coach because he's busy with the lead runner. So Zimmerman the smart baserunner did that, and he knew by the time he got to second that he had no chance at third and he stopped there.Yes, it's possible that in the same situation Harper might have ended up at third. But Harper's a reckless baserunner, not a smart one.

  44. Eric - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    With all due respect, why does one need guts to make a prediction on an Internet board? There are basically 0 consequences ;).

  45. baseballswami - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    There are lots if people posting during a weekday and everyone has plenty to say . Pretty rare week day thread.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    JD said… It behooves the Nationals to do all they can to resurrect Espi's value. If he even returns to last year's numbers there will be a line of GM's interested in his services. You don't find a switch hitting, all world defensive infielder (who can play both 2nd and SS) with power growing on trees.It is disappointing that he's not getting the shoulder taken care of. If this is a core issue and he let's this bleed into next year he is going to cost himself mucho dinneros. June 13, 2013 12:10 PM Why should he get the shoulder taken care of? Supposedly the shoulder is fine and if it isn't they aren't disclosing.Espi's value is slightly above Henry's. It doesn't take a genius to see his swing & miss and inconsistencies in his career and 2013 numbers have killed any value that existed in the off-season.Espi needs to reassess his life in AAA and maybe get his head out of his backside and dedicate himself to becoming a contact hitter and build up some confidence and earn a spot for himself.

  47. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Well that's the thing ghost. You decided that 2nd base is a hole but other didn't including management.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Eric said… With all due respect, why does one need guts to make a prediction on an Internet board? There are basically 0 consequences ;). June 13, 2013 12:27 PM Some people have a pride factor and have built up a reputation in the community they contribute to. I guess you can make bold predictions and if you are wrong slither away and change your name and try to be re-born as a smarter interneter. ;)

  49. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Actually, I'm not sure you do send Rendon down if he slumps, not unless you have an alternative, and I'm not sure Lombo is it. Maybe you live with his slump like we lived with Harper's last summer. JD, I wish I had enough medical expertise to know if Danny should have the shoulder surgically repaired or if the rehab/strengthening regime is a permanent solution. My hope is that if he is advised that surgery is his best option that he will take it, realizing, like many, many players before him, a year away from the game is not the worst thing. When LaRoche took that year off (by necessity), he came back rejuvenated. A few weeks ago I I started an analysis of position players who have had a year-long interrruption in their careers and thrived afterwards but the data is surprisingly difficult to fine. Suffice it to say, there are some famous ones.

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    JD said… Well that's the thing ghost. You decided that 2nd base is a hole but other didn't including management. June 13, 2013 12:32 PM If a .465 OPS couldn't convince management of that, I guess Rizzo isn't as smart as I think he is.I was reaching my conclusion in June 2011 as I was writing about the Espinosa anomaly and swing & miss percentages so I guess I was way ahead of the curve. ;)

  51. Eric - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    "Some people have a pride factor and have built up a reputation in the community they contribute to. I guess you can make bold predictions and if you are wrong slither away and change your name and try to be re-born as a smarter interneter. ;)"Zing!

  52. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    NL, I am making a leap of faith here. Espi wasn't this bad before the shoulder injury. As a matter of fact he was well above average offensive player for his position. This year he looks completely over matched; I'm putting 2 and 2 together here and I'm assuming the injury is contributing to the lack of performance. I may be totally off base here and it could be all mechanical in which case Espi really needs to spend an extended time period in the minors.

  53. JD - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Ghost, Danny's OPS was .730 (give or take) in both 2011 and 2012 and in both years his WAR was in the 3.5 range ranking him amongst the top overall 2nd basemen in the NL so I am not sure how you concluded in June 2011 that he was no good using 2013 statistics.

  54. Candide - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    If you want to get a sense of how close your seats are at Nats Park compared to being at Coors Field, have a look at this shot FP tweeted. Home plate looks like it's in another area code.

  55. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    >I was reaching my conclusion in June 2011 as I was writing about the Espinosa anomaly and swing & miss percentages so I guess I was way ahead of the curve. ;)LOL, Ghost. You do know that the posts I pulled were from June 2011, right around the time you said Riggleman WASN'T toast. Meanwhile, I was right all along about RIggs, so there is that. Hated the guy from Day One as a poor manager (people-wise and on-field) and in the job because he was a baseball lifer and who else would take the Nats when they fired Acta?

  56. NatsLady - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    OK, I'm done piling on Ghost. Other stuff to talk about in the next post…

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    JD said… Ghost,Danny's OPS was .730 (give or take) in both 2011 and 2012 and in both years his WAR was in the 3.5 range ranking him amongst the top overall 2nd basemen in the NL so I am not sure how you concluded in June 2011 that he was no good using 2013 statistics. I was assuming continued regression in OPS and the lack of contact in swing & miss in key spots where he would strikeout became the intangible of rally killer. The league started to figure out that he would expand his K zone and swing at balls at his shoulders.I think he was good defensively but never saw the great horizontal range as most of his range was vertically into the outfield on popups. People touted him as a Gold Glove and I just never saw that. Better than average, yes, but the issues at the plate were hard to overcome for me.By the way, Espinosa had a .717 OPS last year that was worse than Bernadina's .777, TyMo's .840 and Strasburg's .759I wouldn't get too excited about .717 especially when Danny led the Majors in strikouts with 189.

  58. Section 222 - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Baserunning 101 says you don't want two runners between second and third when there's a questionable ball in play in the outfield…. So when Kobernus stopped between second and third, Zimmerman being a smart baserunner stopped between first and second.Baserunning 102 says that in a situation like that the trail runner needs to keep the play in front of him as long as possible…. So Zimmerman the smart baserunner did that, and he knew by the time he got to second that he had no chance at third and he stopped there.Talk about a strawman. No one was arguing that Zim should have been between second and third or even all the way to second. He needed to be maybe a third to halfway to second in the 6.5 seconds it took for his majestic fly ball to come down. There's absolutely no evidence he was that far, and if he was, he could have cruised into third before the ball even made it back to the infield. Did you look at the replays?My guess is that he was barely to first when the ball came down and so had no chance to go any farther than second. There's just no way he was halfway to second. If he was, how could he only get to second when Kobernus started no more than 1/3 of the way to third and was able to nearly cross the plate by the time the ball got to the shortstop 6 seconds later?At least some people admit that he made a baserunning error, but say it was minor and understandable (because everyone admires their towering shots to the wall I guess.) But to say it was smart baserunning defies the evidence.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    NatsLady said… >I was reaching my conclusion in June 2011 as I was writing about the Espinosa anomaly and swing & miss percentages so I guess I was way ahead of the curve. ;)LOL, Ghost. You do know that the posts I pulled were from June 2011, right around the time you said Riggleman WASN'T toast. I did change from mancrush to reality though as the swing and miss piled up and I was "oops". Better late than never.Look, I supported bringing back Adam Dunn "oops" because I felt that big bat behind RZim was bigger in the intangibles than Dunn's lousy defense.Riggleman and I go way back, decades and my personal feelings probably clouded my judgment at first and there's no excusing what he did. I still think Rizzo set him up for the fall but I do agree that Jim had that sad-man personality that just wasn't going to work with this team. He was oil and water with Werth. What Davey did last year was magical.

  60. Eric - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. Eric - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    "There's absolutely no evidence he was that far"Is there evidence that he wasn't?"At least some people admit that he made a baserunning error, but say it was minor and understandable"Minor? Yes, imo. Understandable? I'll leave that to the experts.

  62. Section 222 - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Is there evidence that he wasn't?Yes, strong evidence, though I guess you could call it circumstantial since there is no video. We know that Kobernus was about 1/3 of the way to third, and even took a step back toward second before taking off for home after the ball dropped. And he scored just as the shortstop was taking the throw from the outfield. Zim only made it to second base at about the same time. So you'd have to believe that Zim covered half the distance from 1st to 2nd in the time that Kobernus ran home. I know Zim is slower than Kobernus, but he's not that slow. If he was halfway to second, he could have easily made it nearly to third in the six seconds from the time that the ball dropped to when the shortstop received the throw.

  63. Caps Fan - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    The evidence shows that when the ball came down, Kobernus stopped between second and third to see if it had been caught, and Zimmerman was somewhere short of second base. How far short of second is irrelevant. It's when the ball comes down that Zimmerman becomes a baserunner instead of a guy running out a possible home run. Whether he stopped for an instant to admire his shot or whether he ran full out from the get go is also irrelevant, because until he knew for sure that the ball was caught he had to stay short of second base and behind the lead runner. He can't commit to advancing until he sees Kobernus advance, because there's always the chance Kobernus will head back to second. In any case, comparing this situation to CarGo legging out a triple or Harper's home run trots are also irrelevant, because those are "off to the races" situations while Zimmerman's was more of a traffic management situation with a man on base in front of him. If Zim had admired his shot with the bases empty and only made it to second he might be open to criticism, but that was not the case last night. Zimmerman is a smart baserunner, plain and simple.

  64. Whack-a-Mule - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    While last season's answer appeared to have been a chicken ("sacrifice a live . . ." or "a whole (KFC) chicken just like you ordered" or "soup" or "mode" or whatever), this season it appears to be gunpowder ("Have to wake up bats!").Mule senses a bat-awakening in progress. Offerings of cigars and rum are also indicated.Thanks be given to the baseball gods (or Jobu, or whomever); may the excitement continue to build !

  65. Caps Fan - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    "We know that Kobernus was about 1/3 of the way to third, and even took a step back toward second before taking off for home after the ball dropped. And he scored just as the shortstop was taking the throw from the outfield."And if Zimmerman was barreling toward third just as Kobernus was scoring, he would have been thrown out.

  66. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Among the positive surprises is this new style of discussion, where people don't agree about something, and yet somehow don't call each other (or the players in question) disparaging names.

  67. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    And if Zimmerman was barreling toward third just as Kobernus was scoring, he would have been thrown out. Maybe he would and maybe he wouldn't, but the risk would have been significant, and not worth it. Kobernus is going all out because he can score–getting to third instead of second is useful, but not worth an even-money risk with Rendon and Desmond coming up. So again, different case between Kobernus and Zim. Sorry, Deuces.

  68. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Sec. 3, I forgive you for your foolish oversight of either not reading, or not remembering, my posts from March. If you take the trouble to check this site's archives, you find that I was beating the drum for Rendon throughout most of spring training.Well, that's fair enough. And, no, of course I'm not going to go look it up.

  69. Section 222 - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Sofa and Feel, you guys are entitled to your opinion, but you're ignoring the evidence. Time the different stages of the play yourself. If Ryan Zimmerman can't go from halfway between first and second to third in 6 seconds, he's crawling out there. Kobernus scored standing up, and he wasn't even sprinting at the end because someone gave him the "come in standing up" signal as he came home. He covered that ground easily, and the ball was only to the shortstop well behind second base by the time he scored. The only possible conclusion is that Zim was hardly to first base by the time the ball came down. That's what I'm concerned about, not that he didn't make a foolish try for third once he was behind the 8-ball. Feel surmises that he was halfway, but he's given no evidence or even a theory that suggests it other than that "he's a good baserunner." That just doesn't cut it. No complaints about Zim's play today though, that's for sure. :-)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (3) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.0
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

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