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Game 81: Nats at Mets

Jun 30, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

NEW YORK — And so the most anticipated season in Nationals history has reached its midpoint in a most surprising state. The Nats enter today's series (and first half) finale at 40-40, a full 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East and still trying to find their way before it's too late.

Help is on the way, with Bryce Harper due to come off the DL tomorrow for the start of a seven-game homestand. Today, the Nationals will have to try to generate some offense against another young Mets phenom: Zack Wheeler. The rookie right-hander actually arrived in New York with a higher ceiling than Matt Harvey, though obviously Harvey's results at the big-league level have been out of this world.

Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals, trying to get his team back over the .500 mark before heading home. Updates to come…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to LF

NATIONALS (40-40)
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

264 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Section 222 - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Reposting from the last thread. I'm interested in the thoughts of others on this:I certainly understand wanting to be careful with Bryce. What I don't understand is how you are being more careful with him by having him play in AA rather than back with the Nats. There's nothing that says that when he comes back he has to play every day or every inning. He's playing all out in AA. Seems to me there's just as big a chance of reinjury there as here. Yeah, yeah the game is faster and all that, but Bryce plays at a single speed so I don't see that much of a difference in risk. So once it's established that he has his timing back, and I think that was pretty clear after two games, why not bring him up? I'd much prefer that he had taken a few hacks against Dylan Gee yesterday than against the rehabbing O's pitcher. And then if you want to sit him today, or just use him as a PH in the late innings instead of Chad "stick a fork in me I'm done" Tracy, fine. Play him every other day for a week if you want. Rest him in the late innings when we're ahead. Do whatever you this is needed to ease him in, but call him up!

  2. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

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  3. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I don't think anyone who considers the situation finds it to make sense. Our hope is that if we just ignore it, then Bryce will be back and whatever is going on will be smoothed over. I hope to see him back in Center field where he belongs and back to the guy that I loved watching so much.

  4. Mark Zuckerman - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Uh, whoops. Well, Harvey and Wheeler are basically the same, right?Just fixed it, thanks.

  5. JD - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Greetings from Sam and I from Citi field.

  6. karlkolchak - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Minor league games are really little more than glorified exhibition games. Yeah, the teams would like to win, but the needs of the players ALWAYS trump the game situations, which is why you see things like a rehabbing reliever starting a game and pitching the first inning. They are essentially controlled environments–much better for closely watching a rehabbing player than an MLB game in which everything counts/matters.

  7. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    222, my understanding is that he played a full nine yesterday for the first time and they want to use today to see how much (if at all) swelling there is in the knee.Bearing in mind that if you send someone back to the minors they have to stay there for 10 days or if they go on the DL they have to stay at least 15 days, I don't think they want Bryce to come up until they are pretty sure he's staying. You don't want him to come up for a game or two and then have to go on the DL for 15 days because he's not QUITE ready (i.e., he might only need another 3 days of healing, and you've then sacrificed 12 unnecessary days). My feeling is that, like Desi last year, he might not play in the All-Star game, even if he's selected/voted, and even though Rizzo said it would be okay for him to do so if healthy.

  8. A DC Wonk - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Bearing in mind that if you send someone back to the minors they have to stay there for 10 days or if they go on the DL they have to stay at least 15 days, I don't think they want Bryce to come up until they are pretty sure he's staying. You don't want him to come up for a game or two and then have to go on the DL for 15 days because he's not QUITE ready (i.e., he might only need another 3 days of healing, and you've then sacrificed 12 unnecessary days).Bingo. Well put, NL.Or (one other possibility): he might only need another 3 days, and he's using up a 25-man roster-spot while sitting on the bench. (We've certainly had enough of that this season).

  9. Sam - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    NatsLady, last year, Desi was hampered with injuries around this time. I haven't heard anything this year, so maybe he will play!

  10. Section 222 - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    That's a decent theory NL, but suppose he played nine yesterday in NY. Then today there's a little swelling and they want to rest him for more than a day, but he certainly doesn't need 15 days. Are we really that much worse off to have him on the bench, maybe available to PH, for a few days? And if he's fine today, you rest him one day to be safe and have him play tomorrow as planned anyway. That fourth rehab start last night just doesn't make sense to me, particularly since the previous game was very long, and the seven innings he played were almost like a full nine inning game.

  11. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Sam, I'm definitely hoping Desi will get selected AND play. I meant, Bryce. He might benefit from the time off, if there's even a small amount of pain or swelling.

  12. hiramhover - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    As for general question of roster management I think the NatsLady/Wonk combo nailed the answer.As for Bryce in particular – from Mark's reporting and other things, it sounds as if there was a bit of a disagreement bwn Harper and the team about when he would come back. After pushing things too hard before, Bryce seemed pretty insistent on getting the 5-6 rehab games before he returned. If he had been pushing to come back himself, or had just said, "whatever management says," I think we might have seen him in NY this weekend.

  13. Section 222 - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Wonk and NL, even 1/3 a Harper (if he plays one out of three days) is worth a Moore or Tracy or the extra reliever. Remember, there's always a chance he'll reinjure the knee, but that could happen during his rehab too. Or when he comes up on Monday, or whenever it is. The issue is how do you deal with the need for a little more rest in between games if there's some swelling and don't want to play him. My view is he can just as well do that on the bench with the team as lying on his couch in DC or Harrisburg.

  14. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    222, I don't think Bryce wanted to play in NY yesterday–until he played in Bowie and got restless there. And that's exactly what you need, Bryce with his confidence back and mentally ready to put AA behind him. I doubt he would have made the difference between a win and a loss since we needed a grand slam yesterday just to tie it, given the errors and Stammen not being at his best.However, I might have flown him up to NY and checked out the knee for today's game–especially if it was the Sunday night game and you had 16+ hours to assess the swelling. But it isn't so I expect we'll see him tomorrow.

  15. natsfan1a - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:50 PM

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  16. natsfan1a - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Wouldn't it be nice to end the series on a high note, with another curly W, and a series win, in the books? How about it, Nats and Gio? kthxbai.

  17. DWS - Jun 30, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    This team needs a jolt. 'Nuff said.

  18. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Ray Knight says he doesn't think that the Nats are only a .500 team.The Nats might not be just a .500 team but they play one on tv…..

  19. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    William Loeff…excellent post from last thread…so here is an obvious question…why won't Nats move either Harper or Desi to lead off?anyone…why not have Desi or Bryce lead off…it worked last year?

  20. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    DWS said…This team needs a jolt. 'Nuff said.is that jolt…Bryce and ramos returning or is it a change in managers?

  21. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I had a conversation with a few area baseball coaches a few days ago and all of them think the Nats should have had Bryce hit lead off at the beginning of this season…if it aint broke, don't fix it" was the best response I got from one of them…98 wins last year and the team rolled with Bryce at lead off. The if it ain't broke also applied to Morse as wellalso, that would'nt that make Span a better hitter as well if he s not leading off?

  22. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Off to a good start….

  23. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    same ol same ol

  24. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    I agree that Harper should be leading off, just as SI argued that Votto should be, but baseball fans are bound in the past. They would rather have a mediocre guy like Span who "feels" like a lead-off guy than a productive one with power.The other thing is that virtually all of Span's value comes from his fielding. His base running stats on fangraphs are the lowest of his career, so that whole notion is not playing out.

  25. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    good point….the thing is Span is a great fielder… his offense is really bad right now and that is the biggest reason I think Davey needs to think about Bryce or Desi leading offI have no faith at all in Span ever turning it around as a lead off and I think the majority of ans and baseball people would agree as well

  26. karlkolchak - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Just saw that Jeff Francoeur got DFA'ed by the Royals. The Nats really ought to consider giving him a shot as a bench player/pinch hitter since they could sign him for the pro-rated MLB minimum. Who knows, maybe a change of scenery would revitalize him.

  27. A DC Wonk - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said… I agree that Harper should be leading off,I don't get that. When you have (and the Nats have too often had) three guys hitting near or below .200 at the end of the order, wouldn't you rather have the best power hitter on the team come up to the plate with somebody on base?

  28. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    karlkolchakagreed, very interesting

  29. A DC Wonk - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I have no faith at all in Span ever turning it around…With all due respect, don't we hear that with _every_ player who goes through an extended rough patch? We heard it with Werth, ARL, RZim, and Desmond, for starters.

  30. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    There is no disgrace in being all field and no hit. that is a pretty common paradigm in baseball. Suzuki is like that. The disgrace is that Davey refuses to even address the situation and everyone just keeps pretending nothing is wrong or that Span will be getting on base at a .400 clip going forward.If this is all Span is on offense, then we are going to have to figure out where our runs are going to come from. 14th in the NL, and with the exception of Werth, I don't think any of these guys are performing away from their norms if you look at Desmond, Zimmerman, LaRoche and Suzuki. That does not bound well unless somehow Harper can carry them on his back. But we definitely need to maximize his impact and plate appearances.

  31. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    This wheeler is filthy. Ball just explodes out of his hand. If gio gives up a run it could be over

  32. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:24 PM

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  33. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Wonk2 reasons for Harper or Desi leading off1) 2012 season ( that basis alone is enough evidence)2) Span ain't getting it done at the half way point, he is simply terrible as a lead off3) If Span is a hitter , why not take some pressure off him and move him down the order, if he fails there, then he becomes another Rizzo bust in 1 seasonhow anyone can think it is OK to leave span at lead off is puzzling

  34. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    William O. Douglas Loeffler said…There is no disgrace in being all field and no hit. that is a pretty common paradigm in baseball. Suzuki is like that. The disgrace is that Davey refuses to even address the situation and everyone just keeps pretending nothing is wrong or that Span will be getting on base at a .400 clip going forward.That says it all!

  35. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    The way the mathematics work, I believe, is that the extra plate appearances by your best player outweigh the loss of rbi opportunities. I haven't run the simulation myself, but it is not as though Span is on base a whole lot more than Suzuki and some of the pitchers.

  36. nats guy - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Looks like it might be a long day.

  37. nats guy - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Gio has thrown a lot of pitches already.

  38. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    You can see now how key that win Friday night was. We really need a win here. We just don't have the hitting to make a huge move in the East. We can manage 6 games or so, but if we get under .500 or passed by the Philles, a big block of fishing time is going to open up here.

  39. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    A DC Wonk said…I have no faith at all in Span ever turning it around…With all due respect, don't we hear that with _every_ player who goes through an extended rough patch? We heard it with Werth, ARL, RZim, and Desmond, for starters.ARL I said that about in May, i was wrongmy friend we are talking about 81 games with span, not a rough patch

  40. Amr Khani - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Hopefully Gio settles down. Thank Marlon Byrd for swinging at some pitches way out of the strike zone. Could have been worse.

  41. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    like i said, i was wrong about ALRha ha

  42. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    how many HR's does Span have after 80 games…let me see…ahZERO!!

  43. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    There we go!

  44. Tcostant - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Mick-Harper should not lead off and Desi should never leadoff again. Did youy watch those years Desi leadoff – no thanks. Nice ALR homers!

  45. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    There is your run gio. Go get em. Great swing from AL

  46. howl31 - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    For the record, Bryce Harper has never batted leadoff in a MLB game… and Ian Desmond led off in 38 games in 2012 and posted a .294 OBP… I'm not defending Span, his performance offensively has been lackluster and a significant cause of the poor team performance… But, I had to point that out that Harper never batted leadoff and Desmond had a lower OBP then Span at leadoff…Really, the bottom line is Span needs to get back to his career OBP of .352 and Harper just needs to get back, period, if we want to compete… at least the second part of that equation seems imminent, not sure the first part will happen or not…

  47. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    how many times desi has had 1st strike swinging in his first at bat of the game? just wondering.

  48. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Tcostantwhat was Nats reocrd in 2012 after Bryce lead off??that is all I will say and most importantly, what will change with Span after 81 games…what is an adequate sample size? missing post season and finishing under 500?I don't think so…its clear Span should not lead off

  49. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    even Werth leading off would be more of a threat…

  50. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    same ol same ol?

  51. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said…how many times desi has had 1st strike swinging in his first at bat of the game? just wondering.just wondering why Desi will be All Star this year and Span will notjust wondering??

  52. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    You can look at baseball reference or fangraphs but Span has been trending down for a long time, with a slight blip up last year, but he is not doing as well in the things that he can control, like walks and hbp's where he is way down in both. If he doesn't get on base, his speed is irrelevant. His singles are way down, as are his homers, while his triples are way up. This doesn't make sense to me, but it may be related to his swinging at more balls out of the strike zone. My gut tells me that his concussion may have made him a much less effective hitter, as a guy who had little margin for change in terms of remaining effective.

  53. howl31 - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    The Nats record in 2012 with Harper leading off was 0-0… he never batted leadoff…

  54. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    for the record…in the first inning it was same ol same ol and an extension from yesterday which would make it 10 innings.good start today

  55. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Actually, werth was a pretty good leadoff. Wow. 3-0 BREAK UP THE NATS!!!Bunt the frickin ball gio!!

  56. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Pitiful. Eck needs to work with him on bunting

  57. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    howl31 said…The Nats record in 2012 with Harper leading off was 0-0… he never batted leadoff…how much you want to wager my friend????if you say something it does not mean its truesick and tired of how some of you gang up on someone who can post an idea and back it up…if its anti status quo or anti Davey then you all flip outso, tell me pal, how much you want to wager?? you stated Harper NEVER lead off in 2012

  58. howl31 - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    How about you post what the Nat's record in 2012 was in game where Harper lead off… I say it was 0-0… what do you say it was?

  59. Amr Khani - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    That was a fantastic at-bat.

  60. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    I'm sorry? You were saying about Span?

  61. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    excellent startlove how you changed the question howl31… so that means you will not answer my direct question?you started this pal..

  62. Drew - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Cue Paul Newman:"Who are those guys?"

  63. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Span could possibly achieve an obp of .350 in the second half, which would put him at .330 for the year, which is still not that great. He babip is slightly lower than last year but not all that much so this is not a case of a guy being unlucky. Even if he achieves a babip of .350 in the second half, with no homers, and no real running game, it is not going to make a huge difference in run production because you are sacrificing so much power compared to other lead off guys. Span's doubles and triples are fine. He is well up in both categories over his expected values based on the past. The problem is the lack of walks and singles. If he is going to be either a double or a triple or nothing, it is hard to see why he doesn't become more productive batting 7th when guys might be on base in front of him.

  64. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    nats lady…you need to stop now

  65. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    ah…found all the box scores for 2012… where do I begin??

  66. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Unless baseballreference.com is incorrect, Harper NEVER batted leadoff in 2012. Not once. He batted 2nd 117 times, other positions a smattering.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=harpebr03&year=2012&t=b

  67. mick - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I will copy and paste the box scores…one moment please….

  68. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Laroche's bomb unnerved wheeler. Saw his 97 mph go into the upper deck. We win this series and get The Kid back we are gonna get it going

  69. howl31 - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    I didn't start anything, I just pointed out that Harper has never batted lead off in a MLB game… if someone has proof that he has, then mea culpa… I'll be able to admit that I'm wrong…

  70. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    stop what? who me? checking the facts, you mean?

  71. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    You are not wrong. He has never batted leadoff in his MLB career, according to baseballreference.comhttp://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=harpebr03&year=Career&t=bIt would be harder to track down if he ever batted leadoff in the minors.

  72. nats guy - Jun 30, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Cue Paul Newman,Hell the fall will probably kiii ya.

  73. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Yep. That is what I was saying. Mr. Span should try getting on base more. His strike-out to walk ratio is by far the highest of his career. He refuses to take walks or let the ball hit him, which he did regularly when he came into the league. It is hard to make firm conclusions because he is so fragile and has never played over 153 games in a season, but his walk rate is way, way down. In his 2 full years with the Twins, he walked on average over 80 times a season. This year he is on pace to walk 44 times. He also got hit by pitches 14 times those two years, but only once for the Nats so far.The data are all there. Yes, a free swinger will get more doubles and triples and also fewer walks. He also may strike out more. Combining these factors has decimated his offensive value.

  74. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    You know lead-off is not exactly a position. Who cares if he has ever batted lead-off?

  75. baseballswami - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    You think Span is not trying to get on base????? Besides that, you are only leading off at the beginning of the game. Any hitter can lead off an inning. It's a situation, not something permanent.

  76. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Of Desi's 547 plate appearances in 2012, 116–21%–ended on the first pitch. For Werth, it was 4%.Desmond and Werthhttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-tale-of-two-hitters.html

  77. baseballswami - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    For example– in the second, he was in an RBI situation.

  78. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Wow. My boy WerthI'm sorry that I cussed you yesterday jason

  79. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Werth with a bomb! maybe he is tipping his pitches.

  80. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    I think Span is trying to get on base, but I believe he was told to be more aggressive and isn't handling it well. It makes no sense that he was taking his walks earlier this season and suddenly stopped.

  81. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Maybe I will do this analysis again for the first half of 2013. Already I can say that Span is swinging at more pitches out of the zone than he did last year…

  82. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Often when a hitter changes leagues, he needs a little time getting used to the new pitchers and umps. Can we give Span more than 1/2 season like we gave Werth.

  83. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    and different strike zone between leagues.I'm confident that Span will come around to his norms. .350 OBP in the second half would be awesome

  84. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    NL, nice numbers there.

  85. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Bottom line, our vets gotta get it going this second half. And it's looking good so far with Roche and werth going deep. But I would vote for shaking up the lineup this second half and that would include moving span down to 7th or 8 th

  86. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    All things being equal, it is great to make a pitcher throw more pitches, but sacrificing offensive production to do so is unlikely to maximize runs. We need Span to get back to taking walks like he did several years ago in Minnesota. Talking walks obviously gets a pitch count up. He was getting 50 percent more walks then while striking out at about the same rate. Either he has the ability to do what a lead-off hitter with no power needs to do or he isn't, and that is to get on base. Nothing fancy.So if that is what he means by having changed his approach at the plate, then by all means, he needs to get back to what he was doing in Minnesota because that could make a big difference. His babip is unlikely to go up much but he can control walks and strike-outs.

  87. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Gio rolling now. I'm putting this one in the Curly column

  88. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    In the on-going debate about Denard Span, it's probably worth noting the offensive stats for other NL lead-off hitters and center fielders by way of comparison:2013 NL CFs: .256/.320/.3982013 lead-off: .268/.334/.3972013 Span: .257/.310/.350Not great, I agree, but not that far off the league averages (slugging excepted).I also encourage you to look at the fielding stats for NL center fielders that Baseball Reference provides at:http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2013-specialpos_cf-fielding.shtmlThey're somewhat hard to characterize in a single number, but click around and you'll see that Washington (mostly Mr. Span) is right at the top in most comparative categories.

  89. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    I don't think they have different strike zones anymore between leagues. I wish they did.

  90. baseballswami - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    I think Span may need a full season to adjust to the league. Big change in leagues, managers, teammates, opposing pitchers– everything. Lots of guys take a minute after a big trade. I love the way he plays CF, and he seems to be a good fit here. No one is hitting well this season. Why should we pick on him about it?

  91. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    I think they are the same umps. Definitely different pitchers/managers/teammates…

  92. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    The big shake in the lineup comes when you replace your .170 outfield bench with little power, to a superstar with amazing ba/obp/slug. I'd make that trade anyday.Combine that with replacing Solano with Wilson Ramos with great power…then 25% of your 8 man XBH and BA has improved enormously.

  93. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Thanks, NL, I remember when the AL had a higher strike zone but that may have because of the different chest protectors.

  94. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Once again, an attempt at defense of Span as lead-off hitter is made by making reference to his fielding stats. That evidence is irrelevant to whether he is being a offensive player. I will stipulate for the record that ALL of Span's value this year over a replacement has come from his defense.

  95. A DC Wonk - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    jeffwx said… Often when a hitter changes leagues, he needs a little time getting used to the new pitchers and umps. [and different strike zone between leagues.] Can we give Span more than 1/2 season like we gave Werth.Patience? From a fan?You're in rarefied air, my friend! ;-)

  96. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Gosh, I will have to leave my house at 9 a.m. on Thursday…. whew..

  97. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    No one is asking Span to hit well. I don't want him to hit well. I want him to get on base. Eddie Yost didn't hit well. Eddie Yost got on base. Joe Morgan hit well, but when he could no longer hit, he still got on base, and the same has been true for a whole host of lead-off hitters.

  98. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    I love games like this. We needed a breather to relax.

  99. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Yeah, they changed a few years ago so there are not AL-only and NL-only umpire crews. I didn't realize they used different equipment.

  100. TexNat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    I agree with Proctor that Span has likely chaffing under the Johnson/Eckstein be aggressive mantra. Its frustrating to watch. Frankly, I'll be glad to see these guys gone. I think this organization undervalues getting on base.

  101. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Gio, pitch quick. Need five innings. Definite storms on the radar.

  102. baseballswami - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    If no one is on, you need to get on. If someone is on, you try to move them. If the are in scoring position, you try to score them. All three are different situations and require different approaches . One size dies not fit all.

  103. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    I think they make it…storms are training sw to ne while moving slowly east but agree….lets get thru 5exciting

  104. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Here is brooksbaseball on Span (they now have player cards for hitters).Denard Span has seen 11,573 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2008 and 2013, including pitches seen in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2013, against All Fastballs (933 seen), he has had a very poor eye (0.79 d'; 57% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 27% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a very patient approach at the plate (0.23 c) with a low likelihood to swing and miss (8% whiff/swing).Against Breaking Pitches (214 seen), he has had a very good eye (0.99 d'; 61% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 24% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a patient approach at the plate (0.21 c) with a low likelihood to swing and miss (18% whiff/swing).Against Offspeed Pitches (117 seen), he has had an exceptionally poor eye (0.55 d'; 67% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 45% swing rate at pitches out of the zone) and a steady approach at the plate (-0.15 c) with a below average likelihood to swing and miss (26% whiff/swing). Spanhttp://www.brooksbaseball.net/h_landing.php?player=452655

  105. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Looks like they could wait it out and have another window before there is another line of storms. Not the ideal way to play a baseball game.

  106. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    2nd time in a row Span has not gone to 1B/RF. I'm liking it.

  107. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Span must be reading the thread today in between innings.

  108. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    There! That is what we want. Crappy bloop hits that get you on base because then you get to 2nd when they have a passed ball and you are in scoring position.

  109. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I agree. If he can put the ball in play and cut down on the strike-outs, some of those balls are going to fall in.

  110. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Now that we have fixed Span, I am worried about Rendon….

  111. TexNat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Rendon could perhaps use a day off to observe and collect his thoughts. Definitely in a mini-slump here.

  112. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    So now, another dink hit or balk or passed ball and we get a run. Not a big deal today, but I do think at least the initial thinking was for us to learn how to manufacture runs, because with our pitchers, that can be enough in the post-season. Curse you, Arizona.

  113. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    I wish Bob would stop with the constant Braves updates. I'll worry about that later. Right now, I'm worried about our team winning.

  114. Oldguy - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    I got so fed up with the discussion yesterday that I left in about three minutes. Let me plug in a piece of history for all the sky-is-falling types.On July 10, 2005, the Houston Astros were 44-43. They went to their first world series that year. (My son lives in Houston and they were my NL team in those days–even went to RFK three days in a row to see Oswalt and Clemens pitch.)In the previous 10 years they had won the NL Central 4 times and been to the playoffs six times. That was their 9th trip to the post-season. They got swept by the White Sox 4-0 in the series.Oh, and the White Sox? That was their FIRST WS championship since 1917!And if we don't win it this year, everything has gone to hell, right? And while I'm at it, our old nemesis, the Phillies, have won 3 in 130 years!I'm just as happy right now that the target is no longer on our backs. MLB has just posted that today's ATL-ARIZ game is an NL championship preview. GREAT! Let their jaws tighten up when we start creeping up on them.

  115. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    win before the rain deadlineimprove the bench before the trade deadlineplay in october before the frost leaves us to face the winter alone (borrowed from Giamatti)

  116. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Old Guy, you ain't that old.Cardinals played .500 ball thru July of 1964 before winning it all (acquisition of Cub cast off Lou Brock helped)..How about the miracle cubs in 08…They were trailing most of the season before the great Merkle boner (didn't touch the 2nd base bag after the walk off hit)Don't you remember ?

  117. sjm308 - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    So where did Mick go?

  118. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    One thing about Rendon. On his hot streak, every ground ball he hit seemed to be in a hole. Every flair fell in. Against the D-Backs those things started to turn around. They took 2 hits away from him that last game. He has still been a pleasant surprise. And yes, it will be fun to see him at 2 and Harp at 3.

  119. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    training should keep this game going thru 7 at least. As the sea breeze dies down after 4, storms should break thru.

  120. baseballswami - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    David- agreed about the Braves– plus, the Phils are closer to us and so more of a threat. I also get tired of the constant verbal pitch count. It's excessive , even when it's not looking like it's going to be a factor.

  121. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Yeah, whats the verdict on Harper leading off? Did he or didn't he? manassas would know….he knows everything from Mexican league batting averages to Biblical versus in the book of Genesis

  122. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Harper didn't lead off last year.

  123. baseballswami - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    And about Rendon– I have not seen his process going awry, he has gotten unlucky– defensive scouting?

  124. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    How can you not love Gio? He's SO happy when he's pitching well and has a 5 run lead.

  125. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Yes, BC, yes…..I've been waiting for Rendon/Harper since the Ruth/Gehrig era…Should be fun.

  126. sjm308 - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    There are so many irritating things about our man Bobby, I could spend paragraphs but just try to ignore.him as much as possible. He has no clue on most home runs. LaRoche went upper deck and he wasn't sure it was out.

  127. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    You are right Swami…..and the baseball Gods have a way of evening things out. if he keeps squaring it up he will be fine. Got jammed pretty good his last time up though. Still, I don't miss Espi at all

  128. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Freakin Gio makes me happy and that aint easy if you are as old asnd crusty as me.Aardsma has too many A's in his name.

  129. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Was that payback? I didn't know we were having that kind of game.

  130. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Lol wow at the Mets plunking Desi and then him stealing second.

  131. sjm308 - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    No doubt Ian hit in retaliation for Wright yesterday

  132. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Reminds me of former Mets announcer, Ralph Kiner,That ball is going, going, and Felix Milan has it at second.

  133. nats guy - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Swami,Its just baseball. They are catching up to him so he'll have to adjust. If he does he'll be Ok, if he doesn't he'll be with Mr. Espinosa. I think he is a lot smarter than Mr. Espinosa.

  134. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Arizona ain't going to the postseason if they keep playing like this. Atlanta has runners on base–again.

  135. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    clearly on purpose b/c of the ball up & in on Wright on his bobble-head day.

  136. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    You see Davey's comments in Wise's article. Said the Lerners won't be sad to see him go.

  137. nats guy - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    The Harper/Rendon combo reminds me of Yount/Molitor. Similar type players.

  138. Eric - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Holy moly…I thought the game was at 4! Doh! Nice time to check in though :)

  139. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Turtles–a little lower, Roger. Or a little higher.

  140. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    >You see Davey's comments in Wise's article. Said the Lerners won't be sad to see him go.Really? I missed that. Davey should keep his mouth shut. (I've said that more than once.)

  141. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    So does Gio hit somebody now? When Harper got intentionally hit, Zimmermann hit Hamels.

  142. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    If Desi was for Wright, then, no, it's over…

  143. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    sjm @ 258pm, you're right forgot we hit Wright yesterday so that and today's up and in early on…at least Aardsma didn't throw at Desi's head, I respect him for that.

  144. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    NL, AZ playing like this…you mean Will Nieves catching for them today ?Lucky for AZ, Giants lost 6 in a row.

  145. Eric - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Am I the only one who won't trust Davey re: not managing next season until the season starts and Davey's not managing?Slowes said Wright has been buzzed a few times and wondered if that's why Desi was plunked, and if the blood feud is over yet.Here's hoping…

  146. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Bernie had a good game.

  147. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Davey could change his mind, I'm not ruling it out. And I think the Lerners and Rizzo would have him back. For all the hate he sometimes gets on here, there are probably 25 other teams who would take him.

  148. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    That was a great play by Zimmerman and much harder than his normal throw on the run.

  149. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Shark and RZimm- beautiful to see!

  150. TexNat - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Stammen clearly did not hit Wright on purpose yesterday. There was at least one runner already on and it was still a winnable game. Maybe the Mets have forgotten that some teams are still trying to win ballgames.

  151. Eric - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    I for one would/will be sad to see him go.

  152. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Hello Az, you are hitting against Paul Maholm.their announcer say they are in a funk cause they are not resting their players enuf but gibson wants his best outfield in the cavernous Atlanta Stadium…good points

  153. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Jeffwx, actually I was referring to them 1-4 on their road trip==so far. Of course, they get 4 against the Mets after Atlanta.

  154. Eric - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Yeah sounds like I just missed some good D. Man I wish I weren't in a parking lot listening…hope I get where I'm going in time to see some of the game on TV.

  155. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Davey's quote……"I know for sure that the Lerners are very happy that this is my last year." I think Davey revels in the outlaw, or rebel mode, whether its there or not. He seems too old and timid to be an outlaw now

  156. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    I'll be very sad to see Davey go. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes, but we could do A LOT worse. He has imperfections, but on the whole, he's a great manager.

  157. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    NatsLady, Desi needed that for his OBP a that's as good as a walk ;)

  158. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    yes…the NL west is wilting maybe give the dodgers a chance to catch up.

  159. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    David, I agree with that. Much as I get on his case, he manages a mean bullpen. :) Rendon is having NO LUCK.

  160. BigCat - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Need to keep buzzing Wright. Guy kills us. He dives in against the away ball. Screw him. I wish we'd plunk his ribs a couple times! Where is HRod when you need him?

  161. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Harrisburg just got no-hit. I guess they're missing Bryce already.

  162. TexNat - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    I won't be sorry to see Davey go either. He is like a doctor that prescribes the same medicine regardless of the diagnosis. There isn't a player out there that Davey doesn't think needs to be more aggressive at the plate. He is also loyal to players to a fault. His methods work, but there are always diminishing returns as players regress to their means. And Davey has no backup plan. That is why he has moved around so much, and why the Nats will be better off next year without him.Honestly, he was a strange hire to begin with. Not because he isn't a good manager, but because he is old, and this is a young team on a multi-year run. I wonder how it was decided that Davey would be the manager given this. Reminds me of when Dick Cheney was in charge of selecting GW Bush's VP candidate.

  163. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    >Hello Az, you are hitting against Paul Maholm.Yeah. The problem is ATL is hitting against Trevor Cahill.

  164. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Mets fans…take the bobblehead and run.

  165. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    guess mick is still looking…

  166. Eric - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    "I think Davey revels in the outlaw, or rebel mode, whether its there or not. He seems too old and timid to be an outlaw now"I also think he and probably Rizzo directs that rebellion at the media at least as much as his employers…not really taking that comment about the Learners all that seriously. We know they basically straight up lied about plans for Espi.

  167. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Ugla is Ugla

  168. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    I think Davey's a great manager, but I think his time here has worn out, in that the (young) players have learned what they needed from him. He has nothing to teach guys like Werth/LaRoche/Zim or even Bernadina. Basically, the team has outgrown him.

  169. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Trevor Cahill is not a good pitcher.

  170. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Davey has one task left, that is to make sure the young guys play hard and get back to winning after the .500 half-season. And even that can be handled by Werth and LaRoche.

  171. nats guy - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Hopefully not Gio's usual checkout inning.

  172. TexNat - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Davey's task is to get this team into the playoffs.

  173. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Span, nice play…bring in Clip

  174. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    You have to love Gio's personality on the mound….

  175. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Gio!!!!!!!! GO TAKE A LONG SHOWER!!!! We LOVE YOU!

  176. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    What a great job by Gio. You could tell how much he wanted it. That look in his eyes. I love it.

  177. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    nice outing Gio!

  178. A DC Wonk - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Aardsma has too many A's in his name. Yeah, but it allows him to move past Hank Aaron in the record books (as Davey and Charlie pointed out).

  179. Drew - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Gio threw 119 pitches and lowered his ERA to 3.09.Wow. The Nats three stellar starters are rolling. The second half is all about the bats.

  180. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Darn….WODL pointed out another A player that beat out Aaron.Nice play mr young

  181. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Davey Johnson = One of the great baseball lives, without doubt, but managers barely matter, unless they have full independence in the clubhouse….

  182. Anna Peregrina - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Aardsma is an anagram of A SAD ARM.

  183. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    In case you think we got it bad==Giants… Posey has been unable to catch because of what he described as “general tightness” in his legs. Giants manager Bruce Bochy even declined to stick Posey behind the plate when he double-switched in the ninth inning Saturday. Hector Sanchez came in for Guillermo Quiroz, instead.walking woundedhttp://www.csnbayarea.com/article/pregame-notes-add-scutaro-posey-giants-list-walking-wounded

  184. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Abad is anagram for Bad A##

  185. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    No wonder the G men have lost 6 in a row, NLAnd here comes the D Backs….Maholm is gone.6-2

  186. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Poor Shark. He's had a tough day.

  187. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomak 29sRT @masnkolko: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann combined since May 5: 2.15 ERA in 192.2 innings

  188. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Fair ball!!!!! LOL.

  189. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    And then that happens…baseball is a weird sport. Shark gets his RBI.

  190. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    you were saying DP…what a game

  191. David Proctor - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    HA! ZUKE!

  192. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Jeez…it takes skill to play .500 ball with that kind of pitching….Wilson who ?

  193. Smatt1001 - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Zuk!

  194. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    They're hitting like bryce is in the lineup.

  195. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    That will help our run differential. If we could get like 20 more then we will actually deserve our record based on the Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball.

  196. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    OK, now they're just playing for the run differential. ;)

  197. paul brandt - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    heck, bring in Haren now!

  198. jeffwx - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Mets should have picked up Henry

  199. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    He is on the DL, injured.

  200. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Tracy running the bases!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 56 44 --
ATLANTA 55 48 2.5
MIAMI 49 53 8.0
NEW YORK 49 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 45 58 12.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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