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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Phillies 2 (11)

Jun 20, 2013, 2:42 AM EDT

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Gio Gonzalez was brilliant after allowing a first-inning homer.

Game in a nutshell: Desperately in need of a win to avoid a series sweep and to at least end a rough trip on a high-note, the Nationals found themselves engaged in an all-too-familiar ballgame. They got a great pitching performance, with Gio Gonzalez allowing a first-inning homer to Michael Young but nothing else the rest of the way. And they supported their starter with practically nothing in the way of run support. Kyle Kendrick held this woebegone lineup to two hits over 7 2/3 innings, the one run finally coming in the top of the seventh on Jayson Werth's two-out, RBI single to right. Werth then delivered one of the biggest hits of the season, a two-out RBI single off Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the ninth, tying this game 2-2 and giving the Nationals new life. They had chances in both the ninth and 10th to push across the go-ahead run but stranded a man on third base each time. They got yet another chance in the 11th, and this time they pulled it off. In grand style. Ian Desmond crushed the Nats' first grand slam of the season, taking Michael Stutes deep to complete a dramatic rally and send the Nationals home happy with one of their best wins of the year.

Hitting highlight: There were nothing but lowlights for most of the night, but Desmond certainly made up for it with a major highlight
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145 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I have sooo missed that! #ESF

  2. waddu eye no - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    Mmmm. Face.

  3. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    I've been very wary of saying "this game is going to turnaround the season" after every big win, but this game feels like a turning point to me. Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but to look so lifeless and then battle back with your leader (Werth) and hit a Grand Slam (easily the biggest hit of the year).Of course, the Nats could lose the next 3 and all that momentum is gone. But it feels big.

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    Oh yes! Eat Some Face!

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    Very happy for Werth and Desi and Storen who all came through big!

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Oh, K-Rol too with men on base in his 1st High Leverage appearance.

  7. Kirbs - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    Face is good!….mark, how many times did you have to change this?

  8. do1teach1 - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." – Winston Churchill

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    ICYMI Nats sign 22 Draft Pickshttp://www.masnsports.com/masn_news_information/2013/06/nationals-agree-to-terms-with-22-players-taken-in-draft.htmland Taylor Jordan in AA with another really nice start tonight.

  10. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Man, what winning and sound baseball does…. I know we were all frustrated going thru the 7th… Even 8th and then we started to do our thing…I see Phil didnt sweep us…. We went 4-5 on this road trip… Would have rathered flipped it but we will take the win…Really sad for Gio… Man, Krol came in, big situation for him…Just a great game, at the end… Lets keep rolling over the Rockies at home….

  11. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    At least we won't have to deal with Tulo this time. Although Haren is pitching again so…

  12. NatsLady - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Look at this picture. So cool. Let's not forget how GRATEFUL we are to Denard Span for getting on base and scoring the tying run. Right? We are grateful? Yes, we are.Bottom drops out of the game for Philadelphiahttp://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2013-06-19&team=Phillies&dh=0&season=2013

  13. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Naw NL… Span is the new scape goat now that Espi is gone…

  14. SCNatsFan - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    I'm not down on Span I'm down on losing!

  15. NatsLady - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    >Naw NL… Span is the new scape goat now that Espi is gone…Well, or Dan Haren… Hope Roger is ok, MrsB.

  16. NatsLady - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    MrsB, LOL on the t-shirt but I bet somebody can do better than THAT!

  17. NatsLady - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Gio shouldn't be too upset. He set the game up so we could win it! He kept his cool and he was GREAT.

  18. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    Span one of the heroes.Had he not beat out the infield hit there is no tie.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    Span needs to play his game, whatever that got him successful in Minny. If it's bunting, then do it. Evolve and adapt Davey.3 flyball outs from Rendon. Remember what I said, if Rendon stays in his game which is line drive hits and stays away from trying to get under balls for HRs he will be successful. I can't stand watching good hitters change their approaches.

  20. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    thank god! thank you desi! thank you K-rol! thank you Storen! thank you Gio! thank you all Nats! let's go on a win streak now.

  21. karlkolchak - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    I'm happy for Ian, who I still don't think gets the respect he deserves nationally. Also happy to see Werth getting some clutch hits. I'm not willing to say this is the turnaround moment, but they once again managed to arrest a slide just as it looked like they were about to bury themselves for good.

  22. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    Owe you a drink NL.

  23. JaneB - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Grateful to Jayson for getting us to extra innings to begin with. I want to leave for tomorrow's game NOW.

  24. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Don't read too much into it yet, Ghost. Small sample size and all. If he continues doing it, then there's cause for concern.

  25. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    I like D-Span…. Like him a lot… But he got a lot of flack tonight… Ever since he hit that ball off his foot the first time, he has been a little off….Well, Haren, well… Uhm… I've nothing positive to say about him, except that I think he is a cutie and I feel sorry for him as I know he doesn't want to suck.. But, uhm, right now he does….Yeah NL – I hope Roger is okay too… Getting kind tired of seeing Lombo in the line up…

  26. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:05 AM

    JZimm pitching tomorrow. For the first time all season, I'm hoping we don't score many runs.

  27. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:05 AM

    Time for a Natty Boh. I have no idea why the Nats don't reclaim Natty Boh, which used to be their official beer I believe in the 60's and 70's. I had one at the O's-Nats game last year.

  28. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    I wrote on the game threadIan homered in the bottom of 10th to walk off against JJ Putz of Az. It turned out to propell the late May through late June part of scheule.Remember No more losses in June.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    David Proctor said… Don't read too much into it yet, Ghost. Small sample size and all. If he continues doing it, then there's cause for concern. June 19, 2013 11:03 PM I love the kid and I saw him do just that in the AFL Stars Game. He needs to do what got him here which is plugging gaps. Let the big boys hit the HRs and get the HRs like you got in Cleveland by using the same swing.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    David Proctor said… JZimm pitching tomorrow. For the first time all season, I'm hoping we don't score many runs.Remember, its not scoring many early and do it in the 3rd inning and on. 3 or 4 runs.

  31. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    Anyone who attempts to impute meaning to the result of 1/162 of the baseball season probably should save his or her breath but it is always nice to win when you are a light hitting team.

  32. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    #EatFace is trending on twitter. Too funny.

  33. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    I know it is a small sample size, but the 2 games we scored early than HZim had problems both occuted in AL parks. His ERA in NL park extremely low.

  34. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    So far, we are 7-9 this month…. I'm still hoping for 17-10 for the month of June…. Well 16-10 since we lost1 game for the Mets due to rain…

  35. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    Dont trend but look for similarities from successful times.

  36. NatsLady - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    From the Phillies game recap."Teams don't win too many games when they pick up no hits between the second and ninth innings, but the Phillies had a chance. Papelbon couldn't hold it. Werth ate him up."

  37. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    Yeah, Span going 1 for 5 or was it 0 for 5, I missed the scoring decision, puts all of us in his permanent debt. He should have beaten the thing out cleanly.

  38. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    I think we sweep the Rockies… Yeah, I'm calling it right now..l

  39. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    #EatfaceEven when we win some people just refuse to be happy, I think they prefer to not to be happy.#NomorelossesinJune

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    Manassas Nats' Fan said… I know it is a small sample size, but the 2 games we scored early than HZim had problems both occuted in AL parks.I think the common demoninator is that he likes to hit and be in the game. His rhythm was just off about the time you'd expect him to bat. Coincidence, I don't think so.

  41. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    do1teach1 said… "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." – Winston Churchill — 10:49 PM You're hot tonight, sir/madam.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    2 blown saves by Papelbon and this was a demoralizing defeat by the Phoolies.The Nats made Kendrick look Cy which was frustrating but it was Jayson Werth who carried the team into extra innings.

  43. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Predictions without any money behind them are worth the amount of money not ventured, but I hope we sweep Colorado too. The odds are against it.

  44. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    I love that blown save rule whereby Papelbon got the win the other night. Talk about playing with the house's money….

  45. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    Winning any 4 game series isn't likely, especially not against one as good as theirs offensively. I think 3/4 is possible though.

  46. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    I think the odds of our winning four games in a row against the Rockies are something akin to .52 to the 4th power.

  47. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    With respect to Denard, there is time. Does anyone remember another lead-off hitter who got off to a slow start? I do and his name was Willie Mays Hays….

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    The way I look at it any time you have JZim, Stras and Det pitching you have a great chance of winning all 3 of those games.

  49. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    Agreed Ghost. The problem is Haren is the other one. Surely he's due for a good game at some point?

  50. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Law of averages will catch up on Haren soon.

  51. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    Yeah, you could up the percentage to .55 or so, but one grand slam does not cure our bats overnight. I seem to recall Det, Stras and Zimmerman all just losing or get no-decisioned in the last few days, but sometimes it all runs together….

  52. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    Well the calls for sweep were ignored, though some had the broom out.The 3rd place Nats no longrr exist#EatFace

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    David Proctor said… Agreed Ghost. The problem is Haren is the other one. Surely he's due for a good game at some point?You got it. We know he has it in him to pitch a gem. The problem still is his inconsistency. Davey needs to give him the A+ defense this time.

  54. John C. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Great game to watch! Well played by both teams, with several nice defensive plays. Kendrick's stuff was very good. Gio was GREAT once he tracked down his curve ball. Werth comes through with two outs TWICE to shut up Phillie haterz. Desmond with a no-doubt-about-it salami. How sweet it is.Let the Legion of Doom wail their despair to the heavens (because they will, even after this game)! I will have a cold one to celebrate despite them. WOO + HOO!

  55. SonnyG10 - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Oh joy; what a nice game. I wanted to turn Desmond across my knee and spank him in the 9th inning for trying to hit a home run when all we needed was a single. He sure made up for it in the 11th.Now lets have a nice winning home stand. GYFNG!!!

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    Manassas Nats' Fan said… Well the calls for sweep were ignored, though some had the broom out.The 3rd place Nats no longrr exist#EatFace I know where the Phoolies fanbase can stick those broom sticks.

  57. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    The Legion of Doom is just imagining that the Nats rank near 30th in every offensive category except for homers. I hate those Legion of Doom guys.

  58. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    Oops, copying this post of mine over from the game thread, which died 40 minutes ago…heh:Uh. Maze. ING!"I've been very wary of saying "this game is going to turnaround the season" after every big win, but this game feels like a turning point to me."I don't know about a turning point, but from the time Werth knocked in the tying run until Desi was 2 – 2 I was grinning like a fool. Something about tying it up in the top of the 9th in Philly just turned this into a fun little heart attack of a game. I was really enjoying myself. I can't believe I didn't wake the kids when Desi hit it out. Holy m**** f****** sh**b***s!!!This is Werth walkoff level folks. In Philly, where by the end of the night they weren't just booing Werth, they were booing Zim, LaRoche, Werth, AND Desi.Just an absolutely perfect game, unless you're name is Gio Gonzalez. Still feel bad for him and all the no decisions.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    I called this a crossroads game and the Nats came through. They've had some big wins and need to pick up some momentum here.The Braves have an easy game tomorrow with the Mets and an easy weekend with the Brewers.

  61. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    "Gio shouldn't be too upset. He set the game up so we could win it! He kept his cool and he was GREAT."Yes, absolutely. He should be extremely proud of himself of late, but our offense needs to deliver him a win.

  62. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    Werth is a clutch player. I would agree, if such a thing actually exists. He is it.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    Eric, I'm not good at Wheel Of Fortune. Can I buy a vowel? sh**b***s!!!

  64. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Wins, losses and saves are all but phony stats. Gio is getting the credit he deserves.The Nats actually pitched a no-hitter of sorts, with 29 outs without a hit if I read correctly.

  65. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    I believe it's 2 words. Sh*t b**ches. I may be wrong though.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… Werth is a clutch player. I would agree, if such a thing actually exists. He is itLook at the players who have been getting it done lately. Werth, Desi, Rendon, Tracy and Lombo.Notice the names missing like RZim who had Walkoff HRs from 2006-2011. He had none in 2012 and has none in 2013.

  67. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    Yeah, the Braves have been mopping up the floor with the Mets lately…. It should be automatic for the Braves.

  68. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    Zimmerman did have a key hit tonight and a key walk, but he is not where he needs to be, especially if he is to be a key guy for six more years!

  69. Scott Margenau - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:48 AM

    Eric said: I can't believe I didn't wake the kids when Desi hit it out. Holy m**** f****** sh**b***s!!!Lol, I did. My 6 year old was too far gone to wake up. Lucky for him I taped it. :-)Nothing beats baseball with your kids.

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    David, you think? I figured the 1st word, just not the 2nd.Eric, don't leave us hanging!

  71. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    How about an inversion, Ghost:**it*all*!!!"I called this a crossroads game and the Nats came through. They've had some big wins and need to pick up some momentum here."I think it's been building. Finally they have 7+ hits and runs to show for it. If you add this to the two games over the last week or so where they scored one run over 2 games with 17 hits, they have scored 7 runs over 3 games with 25 hits.I don't know the stats on the average number of runs/hit, but I suspect 1 for every 3.5 hits is closer to it than 1 for every 17…If we keep hitting like this it seems to me that the runs will eventually follow.

  72. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    Oh, right, the first word is obvious.Second word is "balls".

  73. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    David Proctor said… http://thenationalsarchive.spreadshirt.com/eat-face-men-A12894834/customize/color/2Eat Face shirts are already out. June 19, 2013 11:44 PM I like that. I just want it with a Nats look to it. Curly W and probably in the color Red.

  74. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    >I like that. I just want it with a Nats look to it. Curly W and probably in the color Red.And, the ball needs a beard.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    Eric, nice cursing! I actually set up a Skype call to share with my DC friends. One of my buddies wasn't even watching Can you believe that! Fair weather fans and he is off my list. In 1969, I was 9 years old and got into a fight with a kid who turncoated on one of my teams.I can't stand the bandwagoneers.

  76. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:58 AM

    This is the bizarre hybrid of a one-run win and an easy non-save win. If anyone was impressed with our hitting in this game, then I guess I was watching some other game.

  77. John C. - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:58 AM

    Ah, the LoD checks in and tries to deflect jubilation by gunning for Ryan Zimmerman. Ignoring the fact that with Harper out Zimmerman is the best hitter on the team (OPS+ of 123 even before checking in tonight with a double, a walk, and TWO runs scored). Yes, Zim often does not succeed. Because that's the way baseball works.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    WODL, I was impressed with Werth's 2 hits, Werth's walk, RZim's double, and Desi's Grand Slam.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSN Jayson Werth: "We got lucky. We stole this one. … If you're going to go in and win the division, you need to win games like this."

  80. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    Basically, anyone who utters Legion of Doom is just out to annoy people making serious points. Uttering Legion of Doom detracts from your point, John C. Make your point and leave the epithets out as Mark asked earlier.Zimmerman had some key moments tonight, as was mentioned.. He also had a couple of at bats where he looked completely lost, as he did Sunday, where he basically blew the game. He is a very good ballplayer. I always expected him to be better than he has shown.

  81. baseballswami - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    Well that was deliciously satisfying. Ladies and Gentlemen– your 2013 Nats Team Leaders: Jayson and Desi. They were the spokesmen last night and they put their bats behind their words. Leading by example with grit and grind. Yeah, I know it's one game, but I just love watching that POS, Papelbon blow saves. Especially when they stay blown.

  82. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    I was not impressed with the team's hitting, but they came up with hits when they needed them. I'd rather us get a few hits at the right time than a bunch of hits at the wrong time (which is what we've been doing).

  83. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    I am a Jayson Werth fan, so it is probably not fair for me to comment too much on his performance.

  84. Doc - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Now that Desi is Eating Face, the rest of the guys need to start doing it.Desi for 4th in the batting order. Put ALR in 6th or 7th spot.

  85. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    >If anyone was impressed with our hitting in this game, then I guess I was watching some other game.I wasn't, except when I was. I spent plenty of time extremely frustrated, but we drew some key walks (Zim in the 7th, Werth in the 11th), and Werth was money with RISP. Zook had the double in the 10th, Zim in the 11th, and then of course you have Desi with the maybe the second most clutch at bat in Nats history.So, yeah, we wandered the desert for what seemed like 40 at bats, but in the end we made it ;)

  86. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    Yeah, but David, from what I gather, all analysis indicates that teams have little or no control over when they get hits, as opposed to how many, which they can control based upon player acquisition and line-up changes. There is some ability to hit behind the runner, or to hit fly balls on purpose, but we have shown very little aptitude for those things recently….

  87. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    PS: "Eric, nice cursing!"Thanks, Ghost, I truly excel in that department when etiquette doesn't keep me down ;).As for fair weather friends, a friend of mine has paid much more attention to the Nats than me for many years. When Gio gave up the home run tonight, he texted me that he was done. I'm still not sure he saw the end, but I am sure of one thing: he's not fairweather, he's frustrated.FWIW.

  89. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    It shouldn't be that hard, Eric. I know Harper is out and I know Espinosa wasn't as good this year as last year. Unfortunately, the Span deal has cost us a lot on the offensive end. Werth was a far better lead-off hitter. Span so far has been an utter fiasco on the offensive end. How bad? Not quite as bad as BJ Upton bad, but they are trending in opposite directions.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:13 AM

    Eric, if we look back to this game as the turning point then I would agree it was the 2nd biggest hit in Nats history, otherwise it's just a clutch hit and falls way down the line.

  91. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Doc said… Now that Desi is Eating Face, the rest of the guys need to start doing it.Did you forget Werth? He carried the team tonight.

  92. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    I thought the Mets game was the turning point….

  93. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    And to be fair to the naysayers, our expected record this season based upon run differential is 32-39. To me, we seem unlucky, but to the rest of the league, we seem very, very lucky to be still where we are….

  94. baseballswami - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    I know that some of you are not Storen fans, but his pitches have been getting nastier and nastier. He is still not entirely consistent, but watch the pitches- filthy. Absolutely filthy.

  95. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    Indeed, William. You can never say something's a "turning point" until the point has turned. If that makes sense. We could lose the next 2 games and today means nothing. or we could go on a win streak and look back on this as a turning point.It's impossible to say right now.

  96. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… I thought the Mets game was the turning point….It's that game that propels you from that low point on a straight line up!Last year was July 21st in the Lannan win over the Braves when the Nats lead was cut to a 1/2 game and they never looked back from that point forward.

  97. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    On the bright side, based upon run differential, the Nats should be 3 games up on the Phillies, instead of 1, so in that sense we have been unlucky. And who knows what further injuries the Braves will have. The 2005 Nats completely fell apart in the second half, so who knows?

  98. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    I agree that Lannan game was key and I am biased towards him. If anyone had to beat us, I am glad it was Lannan. I remember trying to talk people off the ledge after we blew the 9 run lead with Stras pitching and then lost early on Saturday….

  99. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    baseballswami said… I know that some of you are not Storen fans, but his pitches have been getting nastier and nastier. He is still not entirely consistent, but watch the pitches- filthy. Absolutely filthy.I listed him for a gold star. I think it will go down as a Medium Leverage inning but it felt High Leverage. The batters were taking strikes and working the count. It was a huge inning.

  100. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:22 AM

    "Eric, if we look back to this game as the turning point then I would agree it was the 2nd biggest hit in Nats history, otherwise it's just a clutch hit and falls way down the line."Agreed, hence "maybe".WODL, I disagree about Span. He's been cold lately, but he's had some great stretches, too.swami, I was thinking that myself about Storen: he's just straight up dirty, especially with that change coming online.

  101. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    It is very bad to steal Jobu's rum. Remember that always….

  102. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    WODL, you remember July 20th and Game 1 on July 21st well.That was a turning point. I thought the Lombo walk-off game was the possible turning point but it wasn't.Let's hope this is it.

  103. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Do you all realize the Nats are facing Oswalt tomorrow.The Nats I hope treat him rudely on Thursday!

  104. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    When were Span's great stretches? I know I didn't miss any homers. I tend not to believe in great stretches when a guy has barely a .300 obp. When you say that, you imply that he can turn it on and off as he wants. He has cost this team more runs than probably anyone else looking back on last year, except for maybe Harper with his injury. Span has been a good defensive player and a complete offensive fiasco. If he cannot get on base at least at a .350 clip, given that he has Zero power, he will have been a very poor acquisition and the odds seem to be against him. I like him. I am rooting for him. But as someone else said earlier: Wonder why the Twins didn't want him anymore….?

  105. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    "Let's hope this is it."Indeed.

  106. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    I think the fans have treated Storen well. Usually, a change of venue seems better for all involved when a guy has a blow up like Mitch Williams or Drew Storen in the post-season. I just think Storen needs to be all but perfect now to regain esteem. Somewhere else, no one remembers or cares that he was the pitcher who gave up four runs in the 9th in the most important game in Nats history.

  107. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    Did you all notice no Abad in the game. Maybe he was getting the night off but maybe it was Davey needing to get Abad reset in a low leverage situation.

  108. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    Span had a great series against the Twins including a game tying triple. The Twins traded him because we gave them a great pitching prospect and they desperately need pitching.

  109. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    >When you say that, you imply that he can turn it on and off as he wants.I seem to recall that he started off pretty well and sometime in the last couple of weeks had a number of extra base hits in a short period, including two triples in one game. I don't really expect homers from the guy, I expect him to be on base so others can bring him home, like he was tonight at the last possible moment.He's been in a pretty deep funk, but his slash line is only as low as it is for a reason.Admittedly, though, I don't track this stuff all that closely, so it's fully possible I'm way off and that he's been consistently under producing since 4/1.

  110. John C. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    Well, fair enough William. My point, then:The neverending desire to focus solely on the negative and discounting or diminishing the positive is ridiculous. It was ridiculous last year (when it went away as the season wore on) and it is ridiculous now. There simply is no countervailing equivalent. Just imagine if someone came onto this blog and posted tonight that this was it, the starting point, and the Nats are going to blow past the Braves on their way to 100 wins! That person would be hooted into silence and generally all around discounted. But the equivalent post on the negative side happens after virtually every loss, off day, or even after some wins deemed not sufficiently impressive. Leading to the question: why is unreasonable panicking doom is more socially acceptable than unreasonable hubris? I've seen bad baseball teams – I remember 2006-2010. The 2013 Nationals are NOT a bad baseball team. The pitching is very good. The defense is also good; don't be fooled by the errors. Errors are a subjective stat (particularly at OPACY) and don't account for range (etc). The Nats defensive capabilities are better shown by the basic ability to turn batted balls into outs. The Nats rank 11th of 30 at this measure, which Baseball America calls "defensive efficiency." The hitting has been poor. That's what has kept them from being a good baseball team so far.And the pitching (outside of Haren) has improved. With the swap of Duke and HRod for Krol and Abad, the bullpen has gone from being a liability to an asset while the starters have remained strong. As for hitting, Rendon has replaced Espinosa and Harper and Ramos are on their way back. Will it be enough? Who knows? It's not my point to contend that I know what's going to happen. NONE of us do. Which makes the slavish devotion to the worst case scenario incomprehensible.

  111. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… I like him. I am rooting for him. But as someone else said earlier: Wonder why the Twins didn't want him anymore….? The Twins aren't that bright in their recent decade+.I think the Nats made a fair trade but Span is not playing his game at all. His baserunning has been awful and he isn't working the walks.Clearly needs to get some hot streak going. I liked the bunt attempt and he got robbed there.

  112. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:35 AM

    I was there for the triple and I liked it, but as Desmond said after the game, "Welcome to the Nats," meaning what took you so long to do anything to make a difference. He obviously seems a step above Nyger Morgan, but take a look at their career stats and there is little difference offensively. Nyger plays in Japan now.For some reason, Nats fans seems to always fall for management's bringing in the new great outfielder that no one else sees the value in. Let's see. We have had Dukes, Byrd, Morgan, Span, Milledge and perhaps a couple of others that I am forgetting. I see little to indicate that a guy with ZERO power and a .300 obp is any different from the previous diamonds in the rough….

  113. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    "why is unreasonable panicking doom is more socially acceptable than unreasonable hubris? "For the same reason that bubbles pop: the number of forces acting against a bubble's structural integrity are numerous and unpredictable, while those acting to keep it together are very limited. In a bad situation, panicking is easy, remaining hopeful is not.Plus, there are tens of thousands of fans of other teams out there who want us to fail…who knows if any and how many find their way here.

  114. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:40 AM

    I agree with all of your points, John C. I earlier posted some run differential data that showed that the Nats have been most lucky this year but the Phillies have been even luckier. I think a lot of the negative comments during the game are more tongue in cheek than some people perceive. The other thing to realize is that with the stats revolution if someone says Ryan Zimmerman stinks, they likely mean that his production is not par with his salary and esteem by the local public. I don't think anyone means Zimmerman stinks in general. Now Dan Haren, ….

  115. John C. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:40 AM

    And yes, people routinely post that they hope that this game or that game is a turning point, etc. But when the Nats lose, or don't play sufficiently impressively, there are plenty of posters that come on and say that the team is definitely doomed, that they are going to finish .500 or worse, that the season is over (thus demonstrating a complete lack of knowledge of baseball history, FWIW), that the Nationals will finish third behind the Phillies, or fourth behind the Phillies and Mets. No one has gone so far as to say they will catch the Marlins for last because the Marlins are SO bad … but I've seen posters that note that hey, the Marlins are improving, with the implication that the Nationals had better watch out.It's the certainty of the pessimists that is striking. And it's a giveaway. When one is that certain about something that is so uncertain, it tells more about the poster than the subject they are posting about.

  116. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:40 AM

    Watching MLB Network. How did the Nats let Gregor Blanco just walk last year. The guy is putting up really nice numbers off the bench. Doesn't have huge power but gets on base and drives in runs.

  117. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    I don't understand why people care about what these guys are making. To this point at least, it has made no difference in our ability to sign free agents. There's no salary cap. It's not my money. I don't care what these guys make, I care if they produce. For the most part, Zim and Werth are good players, even if overpaid.

  118. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:43 AM

    John C. @12:40, I would say to ignore those Trolls. Most of them are not Nats fans and come here to annoy us.They don't even believe what they are writing and are just hoping to piss off devoted Nats fans.

  119. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    I have tried to say over and over as an old Reds fan, to remember that the Big Red Machine had a 79 game winning season in 1971 sandwiched between 2 World Series teams. The 1967 O's finished with a losing record after winning the World Series with a young team in 1966. Some years, things just go badly and some years go perfectly like with the 1954 Indians and 1969 O's who had two of the best records in baseball history and then got wiped out in the World Series by clearly inferior teams.

  120. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Honestly, I know very little about what anyone makes aside from Zim and Werth, and even with them I just know it's a lot of money for a long time. I can't remember and don't care about the details all that much.What I do care about is that I can't think of a single moment where how someone plays conveys to me anything about what they make. Zim and Werth, who have almost nothing to worry about career wise, seem every bit as intense as Rendon or Kobernus or Lombo, who have just about everything imaginable on the line.

  121. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:47 AM

    The money obviously makes some difference. We know which teams sign free agents and it tends to be the ones with either big local television contracts, or national teams like the Yankees, Cardinals and Braves, or both. Beyond that, each of these guys are occupying a sacred slot that hundreds of other guys would give almost anything to possess. To whom much is given, much is expected.

  122. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:50 AM

    No one disputes that most guys are trying their hardest. Maybe read Moneyball and it will become clearer. $13 million on Haren versus $3 million for Lannan could have gone to bringing in J. Upton instead of Denard Span. That could have been worth several more victories already this year.

  123. Section 222 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:50 AM

    Mark, this was not the first extra inning grand slam in Nats history. Michael Morse hit a grand slam in the 11th inning of the Nats game against the D-backs on June 5, 2011.

  124. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    The money makes a difference -if- you have a finite budget and it keeps you from spending on other needs when the sum of the parts reach the cap on the budget. For instance, I've felt that the Nats needed to waste money on a veteran 2nd baseman in case Espi wasn't ready to play since the team knew for a long time about Espi's shoulder issues.As they say, water under the bridge now.

  125. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    WODL, I explained once before that Lannan vs Haren thing and it was never going to be $3 mill as Lannan would've had to renegotiate a deal and he wouldn't do that supposedly. Instead they would've had to go to arb with him and probably had to pay him $6 million.Still a $7 mill savings which is a ton when they needed a guy like Scutaro or Kelly Johnson and sure early on could have pursued Justin Upton.

  126. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    I don't really have the sense that JUp would be saving us from ourselves right now…maybe, but he has his own bad slumps from what I understand.

  127. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    I always loved the irony of Lannan being the second highest paid pitcher after Gio in the organization last season. The name of the game in the MLB union is stick to the young guys like Machado and Trout and Harper, which is why I think those guys should get the biggest signing bonus possible.

  128. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    Also, how many errors does JUp have in the OF? Is he any better out there overall than Lombo getting that drive on a one hop instead of getting an out last night?

  129. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:01 AM

    Eric, he was en fuego in April and now batting just .239 but draws tons of walks and has a .349 OBP with a .807 OPS.If the Nats had JUp it makes everyone around him in the order better but it also would have meant Bryce would still be the CF. It also would have meant the Braves wouldn't have gotten JUp which is just as important.

  130. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:02 AM

    It doesn't have to be J. Upton. It could be the guy we didn't sign last year or even the year before or the guy we don't sign next year. The Lerners are rich and that probably takes some of the pressure off, but on the other hand, with the exception of Werth, we aren't exactly out there in the market for big name guys like Pujols and Hamilton, which isn't always bad, but how about a guy like Shin Shoo Choo (not looking up the spelling). If we had him leading off instead of Span, we would be a much better team with no if's and's or but's….

  131. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    From every stat I looked at, Bryce Harper did an excellent job in center field last year. Once again the mother hen Nats move him to conserve his strength and what happens? Idiocy in my opinion. Harper was going to be the next Mickey Mantle in center but Rizzo decided he might get too tired out there….

  132. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    Upton saved the game with a big catch the other night, too. Span's obs+ is not that much higher than B. Upton. Span seems like a nice guy who is not Nygeresque in terms of personality. I still hope he can at least deliver .340 opb, with 4 homers this year, which would be down from his peak, but be significantly better than so far. Regression to the mean might indicate that he will be better from now on, but I doubt he makes it back to .340 obp.Here's hoping!

  133. Eric - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    I don't know much about Choo's quality as a fielder, but I wouldn't mind seeing him batting lead off in Nats uniform…not at all.

  134. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    Babe Ruth never won a single Golden Glove.

  135. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    Looking at Syracuse, Moore is doing slightly better at Syracuse than he was up here. Espinosa is doing worse, unfortunately.

  136. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    James Gandolfini dead.

  137. Depot Master - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:42 AM

    Guys, what do you think about shirts that are derived from Marie Antoinette?"Let them eat FACE!"

  138. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    It sounds sort of risque. I don't know why . Why not let them eat cake?

  139. natsfan1a - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    To quote Mr. Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri: "To the victor goes the spoils"

  140. TriplePlay - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    OK……one-day momentum. Let's see if they can keep it up this time.

  141. Chevy Chase Bob - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    I am so old that "eating face" was a term for making out!

  142. Chevy Chase Bob - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    I am so old that "eating face" was a term for making out!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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