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Harper’s impact should be significant

Jul 1, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

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It's been seven full weeks since Bryce Harper slammed face-first into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium, a frightening collision that initially left everyone worried the young Nationals star had suffered a head injury but ultimately did more damage to his left knee than anything.

The Nationals were four games over .500 that night in Los Angeles, having struggled some through the season's first month-and-a-half but only one game out of first place in the NL East and still feeling good about their overall standing.

The club's mostly unsuccessful results since then are not entirely attributable to Harper's bursitis, but it's not unfair to to call his absence the biggest factor contributing to a 20-23 record since his collision.

So it's also not unfair to suggest Harper's healthy return tonight,Read more »

  1. MurrayTheRed - Jul 1, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    LaRoche's quote is priceless: "We just need to keep him out of trouble, keep him away from anything dangerous, and he'll be alright."

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    so what's it gonna be? rendon 2nd or werth 2nd? harper will remain 3rd I am guessing. same l-r lineup.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Werth 2nd. Rendon behind Desmond in the 7 spot.

  4. natsfan1a - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    If it was good enough for Nick the Stick, it's good enough for him. :-)"Probably going to sleep in my uniform tonight since I am really excited and ready to be back! Little league days!," he tweeted last night.

  5. Moose - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Two thoughts:1. Last Thursday, Mark, Adam Kilgore, and Amanda Comack all had feature stories on how Rendon was such a natural hitter… and he promptly fell into a slump. I'm not sayin' they jinxed him… but they jinxed him!2. Notwithstanding the sportswriter jinx, why not have Rendon lead off? Who said that Span owns the lead off spot forever? Rendon scatters hits and runs fast – seems like he would make a better lead off man right now. Rendon-Werth-Harper-Zim-LaRoche-Desi… that sounds pretty fearsome to me…

  6. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I wonder if Bryce has ever had this much time off– during the season of course, but off season, too, because he works out like a fiend. He is such a learner, and such a thinker. Makes me wonder how this sabbatical of sorts has affected him personally. He seems to use every situation as a positive. He has seemed very calm, surprisingly calm. I hope he has a nice , smooth time ahead – the kid deserves it.

  7. Kiterp - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    "We just need to keep him out of trouble, keep him away from anything dangerous, and he'll be alright." Usually for young players that means clubs, women and the law. In this case it’s walls, adrenaline and enthusiasm. If this club can get 50+ wins by the break, they’ll be fine. Logic would dictate that adding Harp to the bats that are just now waking up, should prove potent. Logic, though, has never applied well to this team

  8. timeless46 - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

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  9. Will - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Lombardozzi and Moore, the beneficiaries of most of LF playing time since Harper's injury, have batted .212/.214/.313 in over 99 AB since May 27th.Harper could bunt every single at bat for the rest of the season and still put up better offensive numbers.

  10. timeless46 - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM

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  11. sjm308 - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I realize that JoeSeamhead is still relaxing and now everyone is excited to have Harper back with Ramos on the way. All of that is great news but I am now looking at the wildcard standings and see us 3rd, just 4.5 back of the Reds who just put their opening day pitcher back on the DL. It is my hope that the Cards/Pirates/Reds all beat themselves up while we feast on the Phillies/Mets/Marlins. I might not be relaxed yet but I do see some hope.Go Nats!!

  12. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I am looking forward to watching JZ pitch, seeing Harper and Rendon play together, at home. I hope they play well and win. That is all. After today, I will look forward to tomorrow. I refuse to have every single day be a fear festival about the post season. It will happen or it won't. The season is a day to day thing. Try to enjoy it because the off season is long and boring.

  13. snopes1 - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    It will be great to have Harper back, but we should not underestimate the size of the hole the Nats are in. According to the Post, the Nats have played at a 94-win pace when Harper was in the lineup. If they do that same pace in the second half, they'll win 87 games (41 first half, 47 second half). Last year, 87 wins would not have been enough to win any division in baseball or any of the 4 wild card playoff slots.Even if the Nats played in the second half as well as Pittsburgh has in the first half (102 win pace, .630 win percentage), they still would not be assured of a playoff spot — they would win 92 games (41 first half and 51 second half). Last year that would have been enough to win only the AL East among the six division championships and would have qualified for a wild card slot in the NL but not the AL.It's still possible for the Nats to make the playoffs, but they have to get hot now and stay hot. There's no margin for error.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Swami… congrats… I think you've figured this out.

  15. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I paid attention last night, for the first time, to the schedule for the end of September. Not good; three on the road with each of St. Louis and Arizona. They might feast on the Mets, Phillies and Marlins but (A) everything could unravel in a hurry; (B) Braves will be playing someone else and Nats could have to rely on outside help and scoreboard-watch. So anyone imagining that "slow but steady" will lead to a playoff spot is an overly rosy optimist. They need to get very hot, very quickly, overtake ATL and everybody in the WC race, and hang on for a wild ride.

  16. A DC Wonk - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    NJ, Swami: perfect.I'd like to see some good baseball from our home team. That's really the main goal. I mean: we follow teams because it's entertaining and fun, it's not like _our_ livelihoods depend on it.If the Nats play good baseball, it will be an exciting summer.For those of us who endured 100+ loss season, it's a bit (or should be) easier to enjoy this season.For those of us who endured decades of _no_ hometown baseball — it should be really easy to enjoy this team if we look at the big picture.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Interesting stat regarding the Nats' outfield., in that though the team has the second most errors in MLB, the OF only has 5 errors, 1 by Tyler Moore, 1 by Werth, and 3 by Harper. Now, of course charged errors are close to useless as a stat, especially outfield errors. Michael Morse went some incredible number of games without an error in the outfield, but it didn't mean he was a good outfielder. Anyway, I agree that Bryce being back not only brings a huge defensive upgrade, but it will reduce the number of runners advancing for cheap extra bases, not to mention runs scored. If Davey occasionally gives Span a day off against LHP I still see Bryce staying in the lineup, but moving to CF for those games, with Tyler playing LF.If Moore stays up here I think that Lombo will again be putting his outfielder's mitt away.

  18. d'grviii 8 - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Rizzo has always said it right. The goal is to be playing meaningful games in September and hopefully October too. So as long as they're not completely out of it by mid to late September, there's no reason to label this season a failure. Way too early to be doing that now.

  19. JD - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    We went to both games this weekend in Citi (Saturday and Sunday). 1) Saturday was brutal – worst game I can recall. 2) I like Taylor Jordan but he needs to start throwing strike 1. He will be in real trouble if he's always behind the hitters. 3) Span had awful at bats on Saturday and great at bats on Sunday. 4) Love Gio. 5) Krol looked like he was pitching batting practice yesterday but with an 11 and the 13 run lead who could blame him? 6) Still waiting on EZim to get on a nice roll. 7) The Mets lineup ends after the 3rd hitter. 8) Wheeler will be very good. 9) Rendon is not quite Ty Cobb yet.10) We need Bryce big time.

  20. JD - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    NatsJack, Obviously you can't win more than 1 game at a time but realistically we dug ourselves quite a big hole and I do think it's time to start winning series consistently and the occasional sweep wouldn't hurt either.

  21. UnkyD - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Joe…. Please put Tyler in RF, with Werth in CF…. These young puppies, learning positions they didn't grow up in can use the stability… Bryce in left, Rendon on second, if you please…

  22. kc21 - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I like this lineup best….1 Werth (he was great here last year, much better than DSpan)2 Rendon3 Harper4 Zimm5 LaRoche6 Desmond7 Span8 Suzuki

  23. kc21 - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Werth lifetime OBP = 361, Span = 352. Werth lifetime SLG = 461, Span = 385. I'd much rather have 1 extra AB from Werth vs. Span. Span only steals bases a little more than Werth. I'd argue that Werth is actually a better base runner.BUT, I think Davey will not want Werth being aggressive on the bases and still sees him as a #5 hitter.

  24. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:49 PM

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  25. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Plus Davey really likes Werth in the 2 spot.

  26. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    It's really gonna suck huevos del burro if the game is rained out tonight…especially since it looks dicey until next freakin Monday!

  27. ExposedinDC - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Kc, I like the thought process however with Span being the ballyhooed lead off hitter that Rizzo and Davey claimed we lacked last year, I just don't see it happening.

  28. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Any time a post has a lot of math in it and it's only July first, it makes my head hurt. We can talk that kind of numbers maybe in September. As for today? Harpocalypse is here!! The Tony and Bryce show!! JZim!! By the way– look at Desi's numbers if you like math, and double them to see what his minimum should be for the whole season– oh, baby!!!! Desi is good at baseball.

  29. UnkyD - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    :)

  30. hiramhover - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    I agree with those who see Werth #2, and Rendon moving down, Span staying at lead-off. Rendon's having a (brief) cold streak–I think it will be temporary, but now isn't the time to add pressure by moving him into the #1 spot. Werth still doesn't look 100% comfortable running and has only has 2 SB on the season; Span has 8 (in 11 tries).

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Go back to to Zach Wheeler's dominance of the Nats in February in Spring Training. http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/keep_it_wheel_qwUg6yHSAPLayFE1IBkKaO

  32. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Mule C.P.A. – Numbers Notes:Mule's best guess is that it will take 95 wins to capture the N.L. East. In spite of a mediocre first half (41-40 wasn't what anyone had in mind), 95 wins is not an opium-dream.54 wins does it; that's 54 out of 81, a 0.667 winning percentage. Must win 2-out-of-3; day in, day out through September."Every time we win a game, we peel a section!"

  33. hiramhover - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    The Nats under performed the first half of the season. I want them to be in the mix come Sept 1. To do that, they've got to play some great ball for the next 2 months, and it would help if the Barves, or someone in the NL central stumbled.If things actually look good come Sept., that's when I'll start paying serious attention to the odds, the games behind column, and the contenders' end of the season schedules.Until then, I just look forward to enjoying the ride.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Mule, I don't think this year that 95 wins is needed to win the NL East given the 9 head-to-head games left with Atlanta but if that is this the case the Nats would have to go 54-37.Like JD said, keep winning the series and some 3 game sweeps would be nice.I think that 89 wins could win the NL East if the Nats take care of business head-to-head with the Braves. The Nats must go no worse than 6-3 in the remaining games with the Braves and treat each game like a "must win" with keeping an eye on the next game. If the Nats go 6-3 against the Braves that picks up 3 games in the standings. 7-2 picks up 5 games in the standings.It's doable theoretically and a big step would be a 4 game dominating sweep of the Brewers.

  35. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Mule's best guess is that it will take 95 wins to capture the N.L. East.OTOH, if ATL doesn't play better than the .500 they have been since that season-opening streak, 89 wins will beat them.

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Sec 3, I like my beers cold.

  37. d'grviii 8 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    54-37 is 91 games. Nats have only 81 games left. They'd have to go 54-27. That's better than the best record in baseball over the first half. Not likely.

  38. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    I don't really see Rendon as slumping. Even when he is not getting hits in the scorebook, he is making contact. He has been robbed by outright web gems a lot lately. I think the defensive scouting reports are getting compiled and defenses are positioning better. His approach is still good, he makes contact, he runs hard and has sometimes only been out by half a step. I think it's more like Suzuki was for a while – the babip was horrible. Watching Rendon, I am not too worried about him . So if Bryce has a big 0-fer tonight is everyone going to be jumping off the 14th street bridge? Or are we going to give him a minute to re-adjust.We really do put an awful lot of expectations on that kid. Maybe we could just let him be one of 25 on the team.

  39. nats guy - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Hey Guys,Come back to Earth and take one series at a time. On Saturday they played and hit horribly against Dylan Gee. On Friday through 7 innings they couldn't hit their way out of a paper bag. Yesterday they beat up a rookie pitcher who was tipping his pitches and had a fastball as straight as a string. So now everybody is back on the band wagon. They have an under .500 record for the last 72 games. They are very lucky to be at 1 game over. If they explode now great. But calm down it is a very long season and these guys have a lot to prove yet. One game does not turn the season around. They have a defensive liability at 3B and 2 starting pitcher slots with issues. Hopefully Harper and Ramos will be able to overcome those issues. Hell, Ramos has yet to prove he can play one full season yet.

  40. slidell2 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    All the ruminations regarding the number of games we have to win in order to get to the post-season are essentially meaningless at this point in time. When you get right down to it, if by the end we have won one more than the Braves, we're in. (Which of course makes the head-to-heads critical) We are in a bit of a hole and must play better from here on out, but the Braves are not exactly overwhelming.

  41. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    No jinx there, Ghost–different topics.

  42. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Span presents essentially the same problem at seven (or eight) as he does as a lead-off hitter. At seven he leaves the Nats with three weak sisters at the bottom of the order; at eight the chances of rolling over the lineup so that the pitcher bats — and the lead-off hitter actually leads off — are reduced. Better off giving him the extra AB per game and hoping he uses it to show the skills he was touted for.Making allowances for Suzuki because (A) he is worn out working 5-6 games a week and (B) the pitcher is hitting behind him, he has been a surprisingly effective hitter in spots. He is not an automatic out and has extra base power when he hits. To top it off, he is apparently the key to keeping Gonzalez on task. With Ramos coming back Suzuki's option is unlikely to vest and $9+ million is a huge no. for a part-time catcher. If this were the NFL they'd sign him for a smaller no. and add a couple of years to his contract. Looking around at who the back-up catchers are in this league, and considering Ramos's list of trips to the DL, who could they find as good or better, or could potentially be as important?

  43. A DC Wonk - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Today's tidbits:* Justin Masterson, who leads the AL in GS, CG, threw his third complete game shutout of the season (which leads all of MLB)* Kyle Gibson made his debut for the Twins, and struck out five in 6 innings. He now has the 8th most K's on the team.* Wade Davis started on Saturday and lasted 69 pitches. He struck out two. He recorded — in total — only three outs. He also allowed 5 hits and 5 walks.* Adam Wainright pitched a complete game (most in NL), with 8 K's and 2 BB's. That drops (i.e., makes worse) his K/BB ratio a full point.* Pirates are the first team to win 50 this year — three years ago they won their 50th on September 18.* Michael Cuddyer's game hitting streak goes to 27. * Astros' closer Jose Veras has the same number of saves as the Phillies, Red Sox or Indians as a team. (Soriano has five more than that, but we're talking the Astros here!)

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    d'grviii 8 said… 54-37 is 91 games. Nats have only 81 games left. They'd have to go 54-27. That's better than the best record in baseball over the first half. Not likely. thanks for the correction. Yes .667 pace the rest of the way to get to 95 wins. Possible but improbable.Again, go 7-2 or 6-3 head-to-head with the Braves and 42-30 for all other games and the Nats can still do it and that gets you to a 90-72 or 89-73 record on the season depending on those Braves wins.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Sec. 3, My Sofa said… No jinx there, Ghost–different topics. Glad we are on that same page of 89 wins can do it and I still do like my beers cold ;)

  46. hiramhover - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    swamiAgreed that Rendon's approach is fine and doesn't require major adjustment. The BABIP fairy smiled on him for a couple of weeks, then frowned for the last week or so. When it all evens out, he should be an above average hitter for average and OBP.

  47. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    We are on the same page with cold beer, as well. I also prefer it.

  48. A DC Wonk - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    As I wrote yesterday: try to win 2 of three when it's Gio/JZim/Stras, and try to split when the other two (whoever they will be) are pitching. That's exactly what we did the last five games.That's be .600 ball, and it'd get us to 90 wins which could well be enough (certainly for WC, possibly the division if we can keep taking 2/3 when we're head-to-head with the Braves).

  49. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Justin Masterson, who leads the AL in GS, CG, threw his third complete game shutout of the season (which leads all of MLB)They don't call him "Ball Masterson" by any chance, I suppose. You know, because in the AL, he doesn't get a bat?

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    swami, good observations on Rendon. I told a poster the same yesterday that he isn't slumping given the good contact and Web Gems turned on him. As I said they are now trying to pitch him up and in and low and in and he has to adjust to that while also waiting on the mistake pitches.Once he pulls a few HRs down the LF line like he almost did yesterday they will pound him outside where he is just money taking them oppo.

  51. Joe Seamhead - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Span has been disappointing at leadoff, no one can argue otherwise. That said, in the past 10 games he has hit .342 with a .375 OBP. If that pace continues I think most of us would be content. I wouldn't throw him under the bus quite yet, folks.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    hiramhover said… swamiAgreed that Rendon's approach is fine and doesn't require major adjustment. The BABIP fairy smiled on him for a couple of weeks, then frowned for the last week or so. When it all evens out, he should be an above average hitter for average and OBP. When you are a line drive hitter the BABIP fairy rewards you. The bad luck of getting robbed will even out but like I said kudos to the Mets for scouting him well and making some tremendous defensive plays on him. He rolled 4 balls in the series directly at the shortstop which is an auto-out. With a quicker bat on those he pulls 2 of those into that 5.5 hole.He should have figured out sooner what they were trying to do and make the adjustment. This kid is one of the best pure contact hitters in the Majors. That Machado kid is probably the best in the Majors right now and Rendon could be the best in the NL if he continues to make adjustments. Jury is still out on Puig and I hear this Harper kid is pretty good too!

  53. NatsLady - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Looking at the stats for the June, and for the last couple of weeks, agreed that Harper will make a difference, but Desi, RZim, ALR and even Werth are producing. THAT is what we need. Rendon and Harper will make us an offensive force, and with our pitching—! (At least,the top three). The key will be, as always, STAY HEALTHY!!!!

  54. hiramhover - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    GhostGreat observations about how the Mets defended Rendon, and I agree that he has the makings of a player who will have a higher than average BABIP (LDs, ability to go the other way, etc.) But his BABIP at the beginning of last week was .420. That's not just higher than average–it's higher than any player has sustained over a season in the last 50 years.That's what it looks like when the BABIP fairy smiles. The other team getting their web gems against you–that's what it looks like when the BABIP fairy frowns.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Span has been disappointing at leadoff, no one can argue otherwise. That said, in the past 10 games he has hit .342 with a .375 OBP. If that pace continues I think most of us would be content. I wouldn't throw him under the bus quite yet, folks. July 01, 2013 11:12 AM The problem overall is how poor Span has been against LH pitching over the season. Span has been very good against Right-handed pitching slashing .306/.350 /.432 /.783 but you cannot continue accepting these stats against LHPs:.145 /.220/ .169 /.388 That spells bench player and must be platooned. 28% of his plate appearances this season has come against LHPs.One solution is to move him to 8th against LHPs to minimize his ABs in those games. Other solution is to find a slick fielding RH centerfielder like a Carlos Gomez. They are out there. Lorenzo Cain used to be one but he is now killing RH pitching and not hitting lefties, go figure. I told you I would give you a name after teasing you yesterday. He can't hit RH pitching at all and his previous team sent him to the minors where he is now but here's his slash against LHPs:.304/.360/.391/.751 You combine that with Span and you have a near All-Star centerfielder in hybrid.

  56. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Mule sends its regards to "Moose".We quadrapedal ungulates can "ruminate"on the seemingly indigestible complexitiesof our national game and our Nationals.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    hiramhover, true on the .420 and Puig's is even higher and check out Machados. Line drive hitters get rewarded. I said it when Rendon was drafted that this kid looks like a geek when dressed in street clothes. He doesn't look like an athlete but when he has a bat in his hands or a fielding glove on his left hand he is one of the most gifted baseball players I have ever seen. Whether he fulfills all that will be based on his dedication and the ability to make adjustments. The Mets were the first team that devised a Rendon plan. Let's see how the Brewers pitch him and let's see how Rendon handles it.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Atlanta has also been lucky in consistently missing the other teams Aces. They have missed Kershaw in the Dodgers series, Corbin in the 2nd Arizona series, Harvey in their 1st Mets series and Verlander in the Tigers series.Arizona tee'd up Kennedy returning from his suspension, Delgado in a callup spot and Cahill. It couldn't have been any easier.The Braves starting pitching has been over-performing and are set for a correction in the 2nd half I believe as well as their bullpen which has been holding up very well for them.

  59. natsfan1a - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    lolzSec. 3, My Sofa said… They don't call him "Ball Masterson" by any chance, I suppose. You know, because in the AL, he doesn't get a bat? July 01, 2013 11:02 AM

  60. NatsLady - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Just did the injury reports and individual stats. You know who has had unlucky BABIP==>>> Desi.

  61. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    "Looking at the stats for the June, and for the last couple of weeks, agreed that Harper will make a difference, but Desi, RZim, ALR and even Werth are producing. THAT is what we need."For sure. The crazy thing is, we were above .500 with Harper in the line up while at times RZim and Werth were on the DL and while ALR and Espi were slumping HARD. Everyone of those problems is currently fixed. I'm trying really hard not to get too excited about what our record might be with Harper in the lineup and if all those fixes stick…!!!>They have missed Kershaw in the Dodgers seriesTWICE!!! I think they missed Greinke twice, too.

  62. karlkolchak - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. – I advocated last night that the Nats should take a chance on recently DFA's Jeff Francoeur as a bench player. Here's a idea: let Harper play CF against lefties with Frenchy playing left filed. The latter owns a CAREER .287/.338/.471 and .809 OPS with 48 dingers against left handed pitching. Plus, he may not be great but he's one of the game's good guys.

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Eric said… >They have missed Kershaw in the Dodgers seriesTWICE!!! I think they missed Greinke twice, too. Good point on Greinke. A lot easier facing other team's 2-3-4 or 3-4-5 like Atlanta has been able to do.I'm not being a homer here to say the Nats have been very unlucky this year and the Braves have had luck on their side much more.

  64. baseballswami - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Francoeur can't hit — it's like having Ankiel back. We have Bernadina for outfield defense. Do we really need another defensive replacement that can't hit worth a lick but is a great guy?

  65. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    "the Nats have been very unlucky this year and the Braves have had luck on their side much more."It certainly seems that way, at least in terms of scheduling.

  66. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    karlkolchak, Jeff hasn't had much success against either pitching lately.NL, Desi also has a significantly higher HR/Fb% than most players.

  67. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Eric, scheduling and if you consider that injuries are a "bad luck" thing.

  68. karlkolchak - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    baseballswami – check the stats, Francoeur hits LEFTIES. What do the Nats in general NOT do (especially the bench)? Hit LEFTIES. Anyway, I'm only advocating they take a chance and send Tyler Moore back to AAA for awhile. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but Frenchy could hardly be worse than Moore and is at least a natural outfielder.

  69. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    come on GoSM. I think we just have not played injuries or not, bad schedule or not. I am hoping that has changed recently.

  70. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    karlkolchak, jeff's career numbers might be decent against lefties but recently his numbers are not any better than our players.

  71. karlkolchak - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Faraz Shaikh – that's what these "change of scenery" deals are all about. Sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle. Felipe Lopez turned into Rogers Hornsby in St. Louis after we released him in July 2008.

  72. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    >Eric, scheduling and if you consider that injuries are a "bad luck" thing.I do, and I almost included that, but then I seem to recall that the Braves have had a number of starters injured already, too? Or, am I misremembering?

  73. karlkolchak - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Besides, what else are they going to do to improve the bench? They have already called up just about every minor league position player they have with a pulse and gotten the same crappy results. They have to start thinking creatively because the bench is a big old anchor weighing down a potential second half comeback.

  74. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Oh, and haven't the Braves lost a couple of key relievers to TJ?

  75. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    "They have already called up just about every minor league position player they have with a pulse and gotten the same crappy results. They have to start thinking creatively because the bench is a big old anchor weighing down a potential second half comeback."I think Bernie is truly waking up, and Tracy, too. Tracy now has 3 HR and didn't he even get a freaking SINGLE and WALK during the Mets series?!

  76. karlkolchak - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Bernie is batting .176 with a .508 OPS since June 12th. Since his last HR, Tracy is hitless in 9 ABs. Moore has 1 hit (a HR) in 7 ABs since his recall.Nope, I'd say the bench still stinks as it has all year. I don't know why there is so much resistance to the idea of at least TRYING to improve it.

  77. NatsLady - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. Eric - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    karl, I have no issue at all with trying to improve the bench, it's just that our current alternatives aren't really any better. I know little to nothing about the dregs+ available around the league so can't really comment on that.I know Bernie's numbers aren't great, but it seems to me that he's making contact instead of K'ing more often and that's he's been hitting it MUCH harder. I don't think he should be starting, but I think it's worth seeing how it plays out with him.I really thought Tracy singled in NY…regardless, I'm less optimistic about him than Shark.You'll note I said nothing about Moore in my last post.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 48 --
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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

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