Skip to content

Game 76: Diamondbacks at Nats

Jun 25, 2013, 7:34 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

After a rough end to their weekend and then an off-day, the Nationals are back at it tonight, opening a new series with the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, all the while keeping an eye on what's happening down the road in Woodbridge, where tonight Bryce Harper is scheduled to play three innings for Class A Potomac. Chase Hughes will be on-site and will have updates on Harper's rehab, so be sure to check the site for that.

Back here on South Capitol Street, the Nationals have Jayson Werth back in their lineup after he left Sunday's game with what appeared to be a groin injury. But, in a surprise development, Ryan Zimmerman is not listed on Davey Johnson's lineup card. You wouldn't think he'd need a day off after the club didn't play yesterday, but perhaps there's a little nagging something going on. Stay tuned.

Gio Gonzalez gets the start, hoping to continue his impressive run while actually earning the win for a change. Right-hander Trevor Cahill is on the mound for Arizona.

Updates to come…

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to CF

NATIONALS (37-38)
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

371 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. EmDash - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    If Zimm isn't injured, this is pretty weird. He just had a day off yesterday. And it sure seems like a bad idea for Werth to be pushing it.I hope this isn't one of those "get Tracy going" things. They could've played him during Haren's last start for that, since they had to know it was a likely loss anyway.

  2. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Probably tiny thing on Zim or Msrk or someone would have know.Werth hopefully is hydrated.

  3. Secret wasian man - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Chad Tracy???? Geesh Davey just throw in the white flag already.

  4. McR-rich - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    We have had some great links to various stats in the comments today (and one I have been looking for for weeks), but with Zim out tonight, it reminded me of something I noticed about the Nationals with runners in scoring position (currently Zim has the best BA on the club with risp). Yes, that RISP that we have been frequently discussing.While the Nationals are now in the middle of the pack in BA/SLG/OPS with RISP. They are dead last in the NL for plate appearances and at bats with RISP…that is a lot of empty bases when this team needs to be scoring. The cursed Cardinals are all over the top of these categories.

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    WTF? Where's RZim. Hangover from the Stones concert last night?

  6. Section 222 - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Here are last year's division leaders and WC leaders on June 25:ALDivision: Yankees, White Sox, Rangers, WC 1: OriolesWC 2: Angels/Rays- tied NLDivision: Nationals, Reds, DodgersWC1: Giants WC 2: Braves/PiratesSo one division winner (Tigers, Giants) and one WC team (A's, Cards) in each league came from behind in the second half. In 2011, here's where things stood on June 25:ALDivision: Yankees, Indians, RangersWC: Red Sox (Rays 2nd)NLDivision: Phillies, Brewers, GiantsWC: Braves (Diamondbacks 2nd)So again, one division winner in each league (Tigers, D-Backs) came from behind. Both WC teams (Cards, Rays) came from behind (there was only one in each league that year.So based on the last two seasons, you can certainly argue that it's not over yet. But, on the other hand, pole position matters.

  7. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    I heard Davey insist a few days ago that Adam would have a couple of days in a row. Then he did not even pinch hit him when it could have meant the game. Perhaps this is a part of a plan? Bad matchup? Bean ball war coming? Who knows? I am guessing it's about Tracy playing. Hope Gio has command as the D bags have engaged in some fisticuffs.

  8. Laddie Blah Blah - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Good to see Werth in the lineup. Maybe all is well with him.Cannot understand Tracy for Zim. Maybe it's one of those numbers things that Davey loves, like Zim is only 2 for 9 against Cahill and Tracy is 3 for 11. I would think we would have heard if Zim were injured.

  9. Doc - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Is Chad Tracy one of Davey's relatives?

  10. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    If Zim is under the weather, I bet those photos his wife posted of them at the Rolling Stones show last night are gonna become a story. It won't be right or fair, but sometimes life ain't fair.

  11. Secret wasian man - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    The lineup is easy. Span, Bernie or Lombo until Bryce Zimm, laroche, WERTh, Ian, Rendon, Suzuki, pitcher.

  12. Secret wasian man - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Bowden was he really at the stones show?

  13. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Bowden– already happening on twitter. Yes, Zim's wife is very active on twitter and posted pictures. So players are not allowed to relax on off days? Not like he was sky diving or racing motorcycles.

  14. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    So Haren got a magical shot in the shoulder , will be back real soon and be fantastic……..

  15. EmDash - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    All sample sizes against Cahill are pretty small – 10 plate appearances or less. But Zimm has the second-best OPS against of the current roster, with a home run and a walk in 3 plate appearances making his slash line .500/.667/2.000. So bad track record can't be the reason.

  16. phil dunton - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Zim signed his fat contract, then he quit!!

  17. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    While the Nationals are now in the middle of the pack in BA/SLG/OPS with RISP. They are dead last in the NL for plate appearances and at bats with RISP…that is a lot of empty bases when this team needs to be scoring.Thanks for the info!Confirms what I've been saying the past few weeks: the problem isn't situational hitting — the problem is hitting in general.

  18. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    "Zim signed his fat contract, then he quit!!"As evidenced by his MVP-caliber second half to last season and his team leading BA with RISP this year. So sick of the Zim hate. He deserves some credit, but you'd think the guy was the devil.

  19. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    phil dunton said… Zim signed his fat contract, then he quit!!Yep. Despite time off for an injury, he's played in 61 games already. What a slacker, huh?Just brilliant.

  20. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    baseballswami said…"Bowden– already happening on twitter. Yes, Zim's wife is very active on twitter and posted pictures. So players are not allowed to relax on off days? Not like he was sky diving or racing motorcycles."I completely agree, swami. It was a bunch of old guys playing classic rock in a basketball stadium, not a 4 AM DJ set at a rave. That's probably one of the more relaxing things you can do on your off day. But I could see it coming a mile away. Fans are very predictable.

  21. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    No way Zim is out of the lineup unless he's hurt/sick.

  22. phil dunton - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    DC Wonk. It's not his absence, it is the lazy way he plays when he isn't ailing. Look at his stats and maybe you will become brilliant too.

  23. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    "phil dunton said…DC Wonk. It's not his absence, it is the lazy way he plays when he isn't ailing. Look at his stats and maybe you will become brilliant too."124 OPS+, the same as Freddie Freeman. He leads the team in BA with RISP. When his throws were bad, he was out there at 10am every morning throwing trying to get it right (and it's atleast somewhat better now).It' almost offensive for you to suggest Ryan is lazy.

  24. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    "It' almost offensive for you to suggest Ryan is lazy."Or, would be, if the opinion mattered even one single little iota.

  25. Diz - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Cahill is 0 – 3 and has an 8.80 ERA in the month of June.If they can't give Gio some run support tonight, they should call up the AAA roster.

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    I guess we should reserve harsh criticism until we know what's happening with RZim.

  27. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    What makes anyone think it's Zim's decision? Davey sits people when ever he wants to. Anyone else gets a game off and no one asks what he did the night before. Zim is a grinder. He just is not a rah rah type.

  28. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Byron Kerr ‏@masnKerr 31sDavey says Zim is fine. Shoulder bothering him a bit. Avail pinch hit. Taking med to calm it down. That's normal. Nothin earth shattering

  29. EmDash - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Davey said in the postgame comments for the last game that he didn't have LaRoche pinch-hit at any point because he wanted to build the other players' confidence. Early in the season I can see that, but at this point the team has much less room for error and can't afford to give so many plate appearances to guys that aren't performing. I hope that's not what he's doing with Zimmerman today.

  30. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    swami-It's all just speculation, but the problem is that this would be a REALLY weird time to give Zimmerman the day off. The team had a day off yesterday. They're struggling to score runs. They're one game under .500. They should get Harper back in a few days, which will give them more flexibility to give a heart of the order type the day off. But this game, against a pitcher he does fine against, is really odd timing. If it's just a regular day off it's easily the strangest lineup decision Davey has made in his time with the club.

  31. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Byron Kerr ‏@masnKerr 48sDavey said werth on groin told him This is something he has had before and it not as bad as before So put him in lineup.

  32. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 15sDavey says Zimmerman is fine, even though he's taking anti-inflammation for his shoulder. He wanted to stack two days off for him.

  33. d'grviii 8 - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    All players not named Cal Ripken get days off from time to time during the year. Managers often like to schedule those days off on the day before or after an off day to get twice the payoff. Don't be surprised if Davey does the same thing with Desi soon.

  34. nats guy - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Per MLBTR the Nats are actively shopping ALR. Would put RZIM at first and Rendon at 3rd. Scouts in NL are beginning to notice that RZIM is playing in help his throwing. Becoming a liability in the field. This is only a rumor but apparently has some legs.

  35. ExposedinDC - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Nice to see Davey in "we got plenty of time" why panic mode.

  36. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    "Per MLBTR the Nats are actively shopping ALR. Would put RZIM at first and Rendon at 3rd. Scouts in NL are beginning to notice that RZIM is playing in help his throwing. Becoming a liability in the field. This is only a rumor but apparently has some legs."False. Here's what it says:Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche could be dealt, hears Stark, in a scenario where Ryan Zimmerman moves to first base, Anthony Rendon moves back to third base, and Danny Espinosa gets healthy. LaRoche's name is not out there at present, however.Last line is key. This is not something currently on the table, but it could be if the season tanks. It also depends on Espinosa being good. Don't count on it.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    nats guy, that is interesting about ALR since I named him yesterday as trade bait which I could see but doubt the buyers will be knocking down Rizzo's door.

  38. nats guy - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    David,Actually what I wrote i not false.

  39. EmDash - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    The most likely trade chips are probably Espi (yes, awful this year, but 25, cost-controlled and two 3-win seasons aren't something to sneeze at) and Storen or Clippard if something big is planned this season. It'd be odd to me if they moved LaRoche this season as they'd then need another regular infielder, and no second base option is terribly appealing.

  40. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    nats guy said…"Per MLBTR the Nats are actively shopping ALR. Would put RZIM at first and Rendon at 3rd. Scouts in NL are beginning to notice that RZIM is playing in help his throwing. Becoming a liability in the field. This is only a rumor but apparently has some legs."False. The MLB Trade Rumors tidbit says only that Jayson Stark heard it as a possibility. There is NOTHING there about the Nats "actively shopping" LaRoche; in fact the note says the exact opposite, that "LaRoche's name is not out there at present."I don't understand why someone would post something so wrong. Seems like a deliberate attempt to get people riled up.

  41. alexva - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    actively shopping was not what was reported on MLBTR. considering but not at he present time is more accurate

  42. jeffwx - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Ok, Zimm needs another day off for his shoulder.Not sure putting Rendon on 3rd and using Kobernus would be much better than Tracy…so Today, I agree with Davey.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Jayson Stark must have read my post yesterday about the Nats trading ALR if they are not in the race.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Jeff, I agree. What irks me is that this has happened before with Zim and been something larger. If he plays the rest of the week then fine. Wait & see.

  45. jeffwx - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Jeff, LMAO, you don't need much to say "heard it as a possibility". I laid it out yesterday in where the Nats need to move Werth or RZim to 1st.

  47. jeffwx - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Sorry Ghost, just a little envious that your predictions often find their way into reality. I don't have such skill in my profession (weather man).But you don't need a weather man to know which way the trade winds blow.

  48. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    I love the way people say so-and-so should get a day off, and then when he does, then why is the lazy bum taking a day off? This is a very long stretch of games, 20 in 20 days–the max allowed by the CBA. It's hot and humid this time year, in case you hadn't noticed. Tracy goes in for the LH/RH match. The only "time off" Zim has had since he came back from the DL was when he DH'd against Cleveland.This is, IMO, the weakest pitcher Arizona has going in the three-game set. Now, maybe you say, Davey should counter with his strongest lineup, but you klnow that doesn't guarantee a win, so why not let the lefties go?Miley was almost ROY last year, though he has struggled. He is a lefty and you Davey will have all the righties in tomorrow. Corbin is their best and he is also a lefty. We can DO this!

  49. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Percentage of MLB Trade Rumors that actually happen?I'd say less than 1 percent.It's fodder for sports talk radio and boards like this, nothing more.

  50. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    NatsLady-Great point about the two lefties tomorrow and Thursday, and this being a good time to give Zimmerman a day off. But at the same time, if he needs a break during this stretch why not wait until Harper returns? Let's say Harper is back on Friday or Saturday- why not give Zimm a day off over the weekend, especially if we have to face the right-handed Matt Harvey in New York? I usually give the team the benefit of the doubt and take the long view, but given this team's offensive issues I think giving away ANYTHING offensively right now, when you're already having problems scoring runs, when you're one game under .500 and your season is teetering on the brink, is a mistake.

  51. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    So it apparently was part of a plan to have back to back days to rest the shoulder. Still rehabbing that shoulder– easy does it. And Haren hates the DL because he does n't feel part of the team. Would he like a little cheese with that whine? If you want to be part of the team, throw strikes and get people out!

  52. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Plus, Davey can bring Zim in to PH against, y'know, Heath Bell, if it gets to that point. :)

  53. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    "baseballswami said…So it apparently was part of a plan to have back to back days to rest the shoulder. Still rehabbing that shoulder– easy does it. And Haren hates the DL because he does n't feel part of the team. Would he like a little cheese with that whine? If you want to be part of the team, throw strikes and get people out!"He's helping the team by staying as far away from a mound as possible…

  54. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    bowdenball, I'm not necessarily agreeing with Davey, just trying to explain what might be his reasoning. Speaking for myself, I like the idea of two days off in a row when you are at home rather than separating them and having the off-day on the road. Just a little more comfortable, maybe a little more relaxing.

  55. bowdenball - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    I appreciate that NatsLady, and it was as good an explanation as I can expect to hear since I disagree with the decision. Thanks.Hopefully this lineup can surprise us and we can get the best of both worlds- a W and some rest for Zim.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    NatsLady, I have heard RZ say before "I can play if they really needed me to play".

  57. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    David– my post was a response to a tweet saying he would be throwing by Thursday and does not want to be on the DL— hence my chagrin. I agree that he will help the team more by staying ON the DL.

  58. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    I certainly understand being wary when it's Zim's shoulder and the history associated with that. He's been hitting fine though and he did hit a home run on Saturday. I wouldn't be too worried yet. We'll just have to let it play out and see.

  59. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Apparently Zim can pinch hit. Must be the throwing motion that stresses him. He really is still rehabbing. Let's not push him too far.

  60. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I have a feeling that Harper will either pinch hit or only play parts of games when he returns, if it is over the weekend. Then next week he'll ramp it up–anyway, that would be my plan. SO I would, yes, want Harper for Harvey if possible, maybe start the game and pull him early. Looks like we get Wheeler on Sunday (he's going today), so Harper would hopefuly go then also–again, maybe not a full game–if he only takes three rehab days!

  61. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Davey said Harper is unlikely to return this weekend. Monday against the Brewers is the most likely date.

  62. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    I would also be very much in favor of Bryce re- entering the fray gradually. Anyone know if Citi or Miller have huge left fields ? Every time Jayson has to make a tough play I cringe. Zim's throws, DSpan's steals, now Bryce running. More bourbon and maalox.

  63. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    I also heard Bryce wants to play alongside his brother in Hagerstown this weekend.

  64. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Well, there ya go then. If Zim is really just feeling a little pinched, I would expect him to play a nice string of games. Davey does a little too much platooning for my taste, but we'll see how this one works out. Tracy won't disgrace himself at 3B, and might get a hit or two…

  65. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    I think he was joking when he said that, Swami.

  66. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    David- I thought that might be the motive behind the 6 or 7 games scenario, They are extremely close. Maybe not kidding?

  67. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    >I also heard Bryce wants to play alongside his brother in Hagerstown this weekend.That's very sweet but if he's OK, he should play with the big team. How is he getting his timing back at low-A????

  68. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    I would hope he's not delaying his return to the big club just so he can play with his brother. If that's the case, that may explain why Davey was putting his foot down and saying it's his decision, not Bryce's.

  69. Rabbit34 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Putrid lineup. This game is definitely going to the dogs.

  70. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Garcia is starting at Syracuse tonight. I thought he was on the 60 day DL?

  71. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    The 60 day DL only applies to the big club. I believe this basically counts as a rehab assignment for Garcia.

  72. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    NatsLady said… I love the way people say so-and-so should get a day off, and then when he does, then why is the lazy bum taking a day off? This is a very long stretch of games, 20 in 20 days–the max allowed by the CBA. It's hot and humid this time year, in case you hadn't noticed. Tracy goes in for the LH/RH match. The only "time off" Zim has had since he came back from the DL was when he DH'd against Cleveland. This is, IMO, the weakest pitcher Arizona has going in the three-game set.NatsLady — you trying to confuse some folks here by bringing in some fact, logic, and the big picture? (and pointing out hypocrisy, to boot? ;-) )

  73. jeffwx - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Good for zimm to rest the shoulder if it hurts…I don't see any downside to it. Davey's choice of Tracy makes the most sense as to his replacement.

  74. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Here's the Jayson Stark piece that MLBTR was referring to, in its entirety:"Adam LaRoche: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told us last week that "we could be buyers and we could be sellers" at the deadline. So what might that mean? Other clubs get the vibe that if the Nationals do sell, they wouldn't mind finding a landing spot for LaRoche that would enable them to move Ryan Zimmerman to first base and install polished rookie Anthony Rendon at third. LaRoche's name isn't out there at the moment, and some of this could depend on whether second baseman Danny Espinosa can get healthy. But it's a scenario worth watching."In other words, Stark is totally making this up. He may be right, but he's not reporting, he's speculating. And NatsGuy is trolling (again).

  75. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  76. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    David and NatsLady– during that time of miscommunication, a friend showed me some posts on a blog I will never follow– the posters were killing Bryce over him wanting more games, attributing it to his brother and calling them ever name in the book. Obviously some (ahem), " fans" believe it is true and took it seriously. You know, Bryce is a kid, and a pretty personally and socially tame kid. Maybe it occurred to him. PNats only 3 games then they leave. And I think maybe we are not fully appreciating how Mark keeps this blog civil. I wanted to poke my eyes out after reading that stuff.

  77. JD - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    David, but if it's a rehab assignment then there's a limit for how long that can last and then he has to be brought up or optioned out. correct? maybe it's just an accounting thing with the 40 men roster. IDK.

  78. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    So two of the Mets pitchers, Harvey and Gee, are skipping the entire Colorado series to go to New York so they will be ready for us. I have heard of a guy leaving the day before to get some sleep, but this is a new one on me. Isn't that highly unusual? I have never heard of two guys skipping a whole trip.

  79. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Swami, I think I know the place.

  80. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    "David,but if it's a rehab assignment then there's a limit for how long that can last and then he has to be brought up or optioned out. correct?"This is correct, but by re-injuring the shoulder (shoulder soreness or whatever they're calling it), I believe they reset the time he has on rehab assignment. I may be wrong on this though.

  81. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    "Hopefully this lineup can surprise us"A suboptimal line up certainly surprised us on Sunday!!

  82. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    As great as that comeback was, I'd like a W this time. We don't have time for moral victories.

  83. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    I have heard of a guy leaving the day before to get some sleep, but this is a new one on me. That reminds me of my favorite low-scoring team story. Drysdale left a day ahead of the team to get settled before his next start, and when he got off the plane, reporters met him at the gate with the news Koufax and just thrown a no-hitter."No kidding?" he said. "Who won?"

  84. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    swami, yes. And then I saw on THIS blog a question as to whether the Nats are "exploiting" Bryce by bringing him back too soon–oir not soon enough–I forget which. Bottom line, is I would guess the kid has lost a little confidence in his own body and in his hard-driving style and–IF IN FACT he is pretty close to healthy–that confidence will return when he gets back to doing what he's done all his life. The simplest explanation is that he, we, and Davey, don't yet know how his body will respond to three/six/nine innings of playing time. I'm going with simple (i.e, no conspiracy theories).

  85. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    If Gio had been on the mound that very likely would've been a W…

  86. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    LOL on the Mets!! I hope they have a couple of 20-inning games out there and regret sending the starters ahead!

  87. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I had a thought that Bryce was a little apprehensive and Davey wanted him back on the horse before he started thinking too much. I hope things go well , and not just for us greedy fans. He truly is great kid. One of the reasons it seems I am always defending the AAA bench guys is that I have a soft spot for the young guys trying to make it. I just can't help pulling for them. Makes me all mushy.

  88. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    NatsLady- I thought about that – what if you need a bunter or runner in a long game? Do you also find it highly unusual?

  89. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    My guess on Harper (posted in response to the "exploiting" him comment) is that Davey will defer to him about the injury the day after each start, but pull rank on him regarding issues of mechanics, e.g., swing timing.

  90. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Uhm…. I have no issue with RZ taking/having another day off… But I do have an issue with C Tracy playing…. Ugh… And I don't say this often but why not Lombo…Watch Tracy have a 2/3 night….

  91. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    I'm going to tilt at a few windmills here and try to defend Tracy. If you assume he's our No. 1 pinch-hitter, it's totally unfair to just send the guy out there night after night for one at-bat against live pitching. The only way to stay sharp is to get some occasional at-bats in the regular lineup. Besides, his glove is perfectly adequate at third and it gives Zim the day off — which apparently violates some Puritanical work ethic code somewhere in the Nats Insider Constitution, judging from some of the comments so far.

  92. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Tracy has been a very different hitter in June than he was in April and May. I still don't expect much from him, but now that includes not expecting guaranteed whiffs, which is an improvement.

  93. NatsFanSinceStart - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Well, I guess it's the best lineup Davey's got to go with — not too impressive.

  94. NatsFanSinceStart - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Tracy is one of those players that end up being "the player to be named later" in a trade. Maybe he's there now.

  95. NatsFanSinceStart - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Ironically, its lineups like this that sometime catch lightning in a bottle and light up the scoreboard — lifting the spirits of the team. Baseball is a funny game; maybe this ugly duckling lineup is the Prince in disguise.

  96. NatsFanSinceStart - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  97. Scott Margenau - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Ghost are u morphing into Peric, with the self adulation?

  98. NatsLady - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    MrsB, you don't want Lombo's arm at 3B.

  99. NatsFanSinceStart - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    I do wish Davey could make a lineup without seniority entering into it. On paper, Rendon ought to be batting 3rd, Desi fourth, then Laroche — put Werth down in the two hole.But Davey doesn't like to 'diss' his boys.

  100. DWS - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Surprise me Chad. I would have had Rendon there.I'm surprised that there's not MI in the outfield.Bring up an outfielder. They can't be worse, can they?

  101. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Natslady — not too long ago I watched a nats classic from last season where Lombo was at third – no problem whatsoever. Nice throws, not quite as powerful as Zim, but totally accurate and well on time.He does not have a cannon but gets a totally bad rap on the arm. It's plenty serviceable for the infield or for hitting a cutoff. And may I stress totally accurate?

  102. baseballswami - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    You know, sometimes the guys with something to prove will kick it up a notch. Gio deserves some run support for a change. Come on guys, do it for Gio!!!

  103. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Lombo at third for a game is tolerable. Anything more than that and you'ere asking for trouble.

  104. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Aight… Time to win! Lets go Nats!

  105. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… I'm going to tilt at a few windmills here and try to defend Tracy. If you assume he's our No. 1 pinch-hitter, it's totally unfair to just send the guy out there night after night for one at-bat against live pitching. The only way to stay sharp is to get some occasional at-bats in the regular lineup. Interestingly enough, both of his recent home runs came the day _after_ he started a game and went hitless.The point being that although fans see things game-to-game, the pros (Davey, etc.) see things in the long, run, bigger picture. Even if Chad goes hitless tonight, it may well be worth it if he gets some key pinch hits in the near future.

  106. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    No radar on the pitchers tonight?

  107. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Everyone can relax.. Tim is here!

  108. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Let us go, Nationals. (Trying to mix things up a bit.)

  109. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    I really want MASN to put in the pitch count on the status bar…

  110. Just wonderin' - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  111. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    With the cuban players looking better and better in cin la oak.. is it time for dc to become international players again?

  112. Just wonderin' - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Candide said…No radar on the pitchers tonight?========Maybe a stealth ball?

  113. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Decent crowd for a Tuesday night it seems.. a lot of ppl still getting their hot dogs it seems

  114. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    The trainers were coming out, Gio told them to stay put. I guess when Gio does it, they listen.

  115. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Keep it 0-0 plz!

  116. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Breaking Ball was nasty

  117. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Good job Gio!

  118. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Gio looking good so far

  119. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Good inning Gio…. Come on Nats bats… Lets do this…D-backs swing that bat often…

  120. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Taylor Hill promoted to Harrisburg and starts tomorrow nite. Perhaps replacing Taylor Jordan who is set up to start Saturday. Davey saying they need a starter for Saturday. Hmmmm?

  121. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Just home. Been on a ladder. Haven't had a chance to read the posts. Just heard Tyler Moore brought back up. Oh, great. This is killing me. Can we bring up a freaking outfielder? Oh, yeah. Tyler is hitting what? And he stinks in the outfield. Perez? He's hitting what? Oh yeah, and he runs good routes, has a decent arm, and is a good pinch runner.Somebody help me understand. NatsJack? Ghost?

  122. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    I don't think Perez has ever hit a ball out of the infield when he's been up. Small sample size of course…but still. I'd rather see Brown even with his low BA than Perez.

  123. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Note to Trevor Cahill: Don't grab your nuts (twice) when you're on the mound.This has been a pub(l)ic service announcement.

  124. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Two fast puts not good

  125. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Just home. Been on a ladder. Haven't had a chance to read the posts. Just heard Tyler Moore brought back up. Oh, great. This is killing me. Can we bring up a freaking outfielder? Oh, yeah. Tyler is hitting what? And he stinks in the outfield. Perez? He's hitting what? Oh yeah, and he runs good routes, has a decent arm, and is a good pinch runner.Somebody help me understand. NatsJack? Ghost?Joe – Relax. You'll see. We got this.

  126. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Outs*

  127. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    I think Marrero is going back down soon

  128. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Harper doubles

  129. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Werth is great idc what anyone says that's my guy.

  130. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    How's he running?

  131. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Smooth running

  132. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    I hate first pitch swinging…. Sigh…But I just noticed that Gio has a higher batting average than the 3 guys in front of him…

  133. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP 1mBryce Harper bloops second pitch into shallow left field and shortstop drops a backhanded attempt. Ran hard around bases and into second.Looks like Harper is hustling.

  134. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Even in the minors.. not sure how I feel about that

  135. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Desmond to LaRoche a thing of beauty

  136. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Is that little tailback on Cahill's pitches just the "natural" movement on his fastball?

  137. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    If he can't do it in the minors, he shouldn't be playing.

  138. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    That guy Desi has a gun of an arm…

  139. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Harper picked off second base. He slid back in head first trying to get back, per Chase. Let's see how he reacts to that.

  140. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    I actually think its best for #20 to skip All-Star weekend… he never gets days off

  141. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    When Harper is activated, if AAAA Dogbreath Marrero isn't sent down, I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue. Hear that, Rizzo?I have absolutely seen enough of the slow-bat, slow-foot, slow-everything Marrero.Please make him the throw-in to sweeten up a midseason trade. And more accurately, the throw-up.

  142. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    'Dogbreath Marerro'Bwahhhhahhhhhhh a…. Lol… Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  143. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Harsh

  144. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Holy Cow!! SPAN ZUK!!

  145. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    YES!

  146. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Span! His arm isn't as bad as advertised. It's not Harper, but it's more than adequate.

  147. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    That's an outfielder for you!

  148. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    See, Joe? We got this!

  149. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    I hope all the Span-haters saw that play. Not everything in baseball is captured in OBP.

  150. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Great throw by Span…. Seriously…. That was awesome….

  151. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    That was a great block by Zuki too…

  152. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    On the replay, I swear that throw from Span curled back, like a screwball.Good throw, because it was dead on. Lucky it wasn't very deep, 'cuz Span's arm isn't exactly a howitzer.

  153. Knoxville Nat - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    And Prado is no speed guy either.

  154. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Tracy bailed him out

  155. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    That was actually an okay at bat for C Tracy…

  156. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    I'm telling you, Kobernius, Lombo, nor Moore makes that very routine throw from the outfield.

  157. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    This lineup tonight isn't the best we've put out.. sigh

  158. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Cahill looks hittable to me

  159. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Tracy fouled off ball 4. But he did make Cahill work some. Definitely not his worst AB.

  160. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Whoa, did Carp just make fun of Jimmy Piersall for having "mental issues"?! Wow.And for the record, Carp, he didn't run the bases backwards on a home run; he ran the usual route, but facing backwards. Just to be clear.I expect to hear some backpedaling apologies soon on the air.

  161. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Look, I'm not a huge Bernadina fan, but I'll take this outfield any day.

  162. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    The word around the league must be that the Nats cannot adjust to off speed stuff.Each Nats hitter sure sees alot of off speed stuff and do not handle it well.

  163. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Gio talking trash

  164. Joe Seamhead - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Jack, what's your take on Moore coming back up?

  165. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Sounds like they've seen enough of Marrero, Joe.

  166. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Changed him up….

  167. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Haven't we all seen enough of Marerro?!?!?

  168. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Gio has been absolutely phenomenal lately.

  169. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Kinda sad I have high hopes for any 1st rounder

  170. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    I want him to succeed badly

  171. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    David Proctor said… James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP 1m Bryce Harper bloops second pitch into shallow left field and shortstop drops a backhanded attempt. Ran hard around bases and into second.Did he slide into second? How's his knee?David Proctor said… Harper picked off second base.Wow. I'm actually kinda glad that happened. Harper has to remember to never take anything for granted. That "even A guys" can pick him off if he's caught flat footed.

  172. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Give Gio some love already Nats!

  173. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Perfect bunt by Gio… So we have 2 pitchers who can bunt well….Come on top of the line up… Bring home a run or 2….

  174. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Chase Hughes ‏@chasehughesCSN 39sHarper just tracked a ground rule double in left field and looked spry when running, it was his first defensive play of the day. #NatsHarper slid headfirst into second to try avoid being picked off, Wonk.

  175. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Way to go!!!! Oh yeah, baby!!! I love that man, Denard Span….

  176. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    OK keep 'er moving fellas!

  177. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Walk, bunt, single, run. That's how it's done when the offense is struggling.

  178. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    A rocket by Spannie!

  179. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Denard Span… I never gave up on you!!

  180. Candide - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Okay, let's bring home a few more runs. Give Gio a laugher for once.

  181. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    I'm hoping we see the Cahill of late and not the one before his last 6 starts….

  182. Timothy Folk - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Can't get over how friendly baseball players are during games

  183. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    Good hit ARen…

  184. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    A'ight Werth…

  185. Eric - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Table is set for you, WereWerth… Now feast on face!

  186. David Proctor - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Not to nitpick, but Span should be on third. The ball was hit hard, but Span was running on the play and then stopped. Goes back to what I said about him lacking confidence on the basepaths. There have been a few times where he had a base stolen easily and then just stopped running. I love Span as a player, but it seems to me this is something he needs to work on.

  187. David Proctor - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    See, if Span is on third, the run scores on that wild pitch.

  188. Eric - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Dessert comes early!

  189. Joe Seamhead - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    You think Span had a part in that WP?

  190. Scott Margenau - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Ok – ill say it: Rendon is better than Harper.

  191. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    On yeah, Span scored anyway… So it's all good….Base hit…Dare I say, we are seeing a little small ball?!?!?!?!?

  192. Eric - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Yes!!!OK LaRoche… Werth left you a nice fresh plate… Nom nom nom…

  193. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Just keep the line moving!

  194. David Proctor - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    LAROCHE!

  195. Eric - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!!!

  196. MrsB loves the Nats - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Oh my goodness…. I thought that was a sac fly! Nice!!!!Whoot hoooooo!!!!!!

  197. Candide - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    ALR makes amends for swinging at the first pitch in his first AB.

  198. Timothy Folk - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    I was saying this clown looked hittable

  199. Joe Seamhead - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    David, it's all elementary my dear Watson, but Span would've dead meat if he had tried to get to third.He did better by rattling Cahill.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
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.
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.

Follow us on Twitter