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Game 88: Padres at Nats

Jul 7, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

Winners of three straight, the Nationals today seek their first four-game win since early-May. They are finally on something of a sustained roll, having won 11 of their last 18. That doesn't sound impressive? Well, that's a .611 winning percentage over the last three weeks, a rate that over a full season would equate to 99 wins. Obviously, they've got to prove they can do this for more than three weeks, but it's certainly a start.

With left-hander Robbie Erlin on the mound for the Padres, Davey Johnson is giving Adam LaRoche a rare day off. In his place is Tyler Moore, who starts only his third game of the season at first base. The rest of the lineup stays the same, with Wilson Ramos back in there behind the plate. (Another interesting note: The Nats this season are 11-5 when Ramos plays, 34-37 when he doesn't.)

Stephen Strasburg, owner of a 1.29 ERA over his last nine starts, gets the ball this afternoon against his hometown team. He hasn't surrendered more than two earned runs in any of those nine outings, quite a stretch of dominance for the right-hander.

I'm off today, taking a quick breather before heading to Philadelphia tomorrow. Enjoy the conversation…

SAN DIEGO PADRES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 12 mph out to CF

NATIONALS (45-42)
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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454 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    When they say Strasburg left his mark on the Padres they mean it literally after he plunked 3 guys who will have lace mark bruises on them for a while.

  2. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… And we told him before, you can't do that! July 07, 2013 7:09 PM I wonder if Davey checks the charts before calling things snakebit.Stammen's 1st pitch fastball smashed for the double was center cut waist high!http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=489334&game=gid_2013_07_07_sdnmlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=64&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    I like Harper's comment. It does not mean anything for SD pitchers. He is just excited to face 3 lefties I guess.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Ghost, I really don't think that Johnson misses as much as some of us thinks that he does., though sometimes he gets ahead of himself. Randy Knorr says it's sometimes embarrassing the things that Davey sees that nobody else does. I still think that he runs a marathon, not a dash. He does frustrate the hell out of me sometimes, but as I've said many times before, two things everybody thinks that they can do better- run a restaurant and manage a baseball team. Relax, we got this. You'll see.

  5. NatsLady - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Philly should wake and realize they will get more for Cliff Lee if they trade him before his next start. ;)

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Exactly NatsLady!

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    I'm 100% with you on that NL! Just don't let him go to Atlanta!

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Joe, I like your thoughts. Read the Kool-Aid I was spewing last week when I had the Nats winning 6 of 7 vs the Brewers/Padres.

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    From Amanda Comak on Bryce Harper receiving an invitation from David Wright to hit in the HR Derby: The Home Run Derby, which is essentially batting practice for the players but with a focus of hitting only home runs, is often a lively event for fans to attend and for the other All-Stars to watch. It also has a history of screwing with players’ swings and some past participants point to it as the start of a second-half slump.While I don't disagree with Amanda I chuckle at her choice of words "screwing with players' swings".

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    mick said… Ghost…your right and realistically, Braves should still be ahead by the break, but I bet Nats could be within 2-3 games and the second wild card going into break July 01, 2013 4:39 PM Ghost Of Steve M. said… I want to see the Nats get exactly to that 2-3 games by the All Star break and the Nats can certainly do that by grinding it out every game and doing their best #EatFace! July 01, 2013 5:04 PM JD said… Ghost,I don't know. The Braves have 6 games with the Marlins and 3 with the Phills before they host the Reds for 4. I'm not sure I see much potential for making up ground unless we win something like 9 out of 10 and even then I don't see us making up 3 – 4 games. July 01, 2013 5:10 PM An interesting exchange of positivity with Mick and me and JD with his analysis.Yes, this will be a tough week. Will Davey go for it like the postseason or keep it the same and hope the bats stay hot.

  11. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Chien-Ming Wang is on the Buffalo Bisons. Beat Syracuse 4-1. The one run was Danny's RBI hit.

  12. NatsFanSinceStart - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Espi's on a hot streak – he's now hitting .188 — hey that's .100 higher than a few days ago. Good luck, Danny.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    The Barves fans are freaking out. I wonder if they will be looking for Gregg for their bullpen.Starter Kris Medlen gave up a career-high seven runs for Atlanta and fell to 6-8 with a 3.45 ERA.

  14. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    Remember when Medlen was being compared to Strasburg?

  15. mick - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    sjm and ghost lololo

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    NatsLady, sure do and they are very different. Only similarity I saw was their attack style. Harvey is a good comparison and I wonder if he modeled his approach after Strasburg.Strasburg is very Verlander-esque.

  17. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    I actually think we will get to Lannan tomorrow… We just saw him 3 or so weeks ago… I want to say we miss Howard too since he is on the DL (I think it's Howard)…. But I have a feeling (probably hoping) we see the Dan Haren that faced Baltimore and our offense will carry us through…Side Note – I'm really glad to see T Jordan is staying up… He has been very solid during his stint up here…

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    I like the new Mick. How are you feeling the odds are for getting to a 2 to 3 game deficit a week from today for the lead in the NL East?

  19. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    I also think (maybe it's my inner GM) that Davey is saving both Abad and Krol for the Philly series…

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    MrsB, he didn't need to save them which was the odd thing. Sure, give them a day off today but they haven't put up many innings in the last week.

  21. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    *sigh* you're right ghost… But uhm, idk… Oh hell… We won the game… So I guess never mind…:). Haren will win tomorrow… I got faith….

  22. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Ghost, I remember you saying we need to make it one game at a time. From the beginning of the season I've been saying something to the effect that we were going to be in a dog race with Atlanta, and that we would probably not be in first place from beginning to end, but we would be there at the end.I have kept my positive take all year with the exception of the loss of the Cubs game the day after Strasburg's meltdown. My enthusiasm was dealt a hard blow that day, but only for a day. Anyway, I still think the Nats will win the division for the same reasons as I thought in April: We have the best team, and we have a better manager. Now, I also think Rizzo is going to need to make a move to get another starter, and to make a couple of moves to tweak the bench, if he indeed believes that we can win it all this year.

  23. Section 222 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Fantastic game today. Totally entertaining. And lots of NATS NATS cheers. I was joined in 314 by my friend's son who has come to baseball games with me since he was 4 in 2006, and I had to keep him entertained with peanuts and cotton candy and hope we could stay till the stretch. Now, as an 11 year old, he's into the game, loves the Nats, and soaks up everything about strategy that I can feed him. He still likes Dippin Dots, so he hasn't grown up completely yet. We have a great time. Today, he was wearing his Ryan Zimmerman jersey that he got at promotion game a few years ago. But he said he was thinking about getting a Harper shirt. When Zim came up with the bases loaded, I said to him, "Ryan should really hit a slam here because you're wearing his jersey, and you might switch to Harper pretty soon." When Ryan's shot left the park, the look of pure joy on his face was priceless. He said, "I think I'll keep wearing my Zimmerman jersey."

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    I'm hoping with you MrsB that Haren gets the Win tomorrow.If his cutter is moving 3+ inches horizontally then he will have the movement needed to have a good game. Again, he can sacrifice the velo for the movement as that is Haren's game "movement" and locating.

  25. Section 222 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    I think Davey hoped to get Storen and Stammen turned around by using them against the Padres. Seemed to have worked with Storen, thank goodness, unfortunately not with Stammen. We need the whole bullpen working well to win this thing. I just wonder who goes down when Mattheus is ready.

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Joe, definitely need bench upgrades and especially a true right-handed outfielder is needed. I'm scared by the thoughts of obtaining a starter and the cost of that.For the playoffs, you only need 4. TJord can take this team to mid to end of August and if there's a way to get this to September 1st where you expand rosters I think Davey can go quick hook. Let's hope the new Haren is what we need and Detwiler can come back healthy after the All Star break.

  27. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Krol hasn't worked at all in a week.

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    David, Krol even got up today. Just not used.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    Sect222, Davey stood up for Stammen in his postgame. Likes his stuff. Said he's been snakebit but per the Pitch FX he threw the 1st batter faced a center cut waist high fastball that was crushed for the double. Actually many poor pitches again. Davey doesn't need to cover for these guys like he did for Espi for over a year until he told the truth last week.

  30. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Great story about the 11-year-old, 222.Now, kid, about those dippin' dots…

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Sect222, the game is about the kids and taking us old guys back to our childhood. Never too old or too young .

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I was impressed with Span getting his game back. Good lefty on lefty today. Needs to work harder on his bunting.

  33. JaneB - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I love that Davey stood up for Craig today.I'm so grateful to my parents for teaching me to love baseball when I was too young to know there was anything else in the world except my elementary school. Never too old or too young is right!

  34. realdealnats - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    222–loved the story about your kid. Priceless.

  35. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    Here is why I think Atlanta will lose the division:They had runners at second and third with none out in the fifth inning against Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone (5-3), who proceeded to strike out both B.J. Upton and Chris Johnson. Upton complained about the called third strike and was ejected by home-plate umpire Doug Eddings after returning to the dugout.The Upton brothers were 0-7 today with 4 more strikeouts.BJ is wearing thin with a lot of umpires with his whining. It's going to haunt him more and more as the season goes on.Have I ever mentioned how glad I was that the Nats didn't sign any outfielder named Upton?

  36. UnkyD - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    I'm with Ghost: I hope Rizzo is able to punch up the bench bats, without depleting our already meager cupboard of prospects… A starter who is a real improvement over our on-house options will cost too much. If our Big Three stay healthy and effective, we'll have as good a chance as anybody. And if one of them goes down (touching wood!), we're screwed anyway… Maybe Shark and T-mo will get their grooves back…

  37. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Unkyd, I think much of it depends on which Dan Haren we see from here on out.

  38. UnkyD - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Fingers crossed…. Still… The point is that the guys they'll wan in trade from us, aren't far enough along to command 1 for 1 deals. I can just see us sending Purke and Cole away for some Garza, and then have somebody go down, making the point moot…. No desperate deals! So Let It Be Written….

  39. Nats 128 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    The Nats didn't disappoint today. Huge power display in support of Strasburg. Storen looked real good.

  40. Section 222 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    TJordan had a nice outing last time out. But I just doubt that he, Det, Haren, and whoever replaces TJ when he hits his innings limit, will get us through to October. If Rizzo is serious about getting to the playoffs this year, we need another reliable starter. I don't have the answer on who it should be and what we'd be willing to give up, but I just think standing pat is the wrong approach.

  41. Nats 128 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    "Section 222 said… TJordan had a nice outing last time out. But I just doubt that he, Det, Haren, and whoever replaces TJ when he hits his innings limit, will get us through to October. "You only need 4 starters for October which they have if Detwiler is healthy.Its the $13 million man who is the unknown here. TJ can hold his own until he will reach his innings limit.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Did you all see what Gorzo did as today's starter for the Brewers. 6 innings of 8 hits 8 K pitching with no walks. Gave up no earned however 2 scored on an error so he took the loss in a 2-1 game.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    Rizzo has to be in wait & see mode on Haren and Detwiler before he pulls the trigger on a starter. Again, I'm just hoping this Detwiler issue isn't his hip. If it is his back, get him the extra rest this time.Not much difference between some of these 3.45 ERA guys and the 3.75 ERA guys and I'd be looking for starters who can get you deeper into the games.Bud Norris is the name I like given he is under team control through the 2015 season so you can trade a big prospect and I'd propose Karns + Espinosa + Tyler Moore and see if they bite.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    Let me give you Bud Norris numbers. 2 lousy starts and 4 games of 0 runs, 3 games of 1 runs, and 5 games of 2 runs. This is a pitcher that has those Crawford Boxes in a hitter's park.Maybe Houston won't trade him or would want too much for him and if you pay more prospects for him maybe Rizzo pulls that sign & extension type of deal he did with Gio.

  45. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 19sSource: #Nationals acquire OF Scott Hairston from #Cubs.There's our bench bat.

  46. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Although he hasn't really hit well this year.

  47. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    He does have 7 homers though which would be more than double anyone else on our bench.

  48. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    Per ESPN:However, his offensive downturn is almost entirely based on hitting balls right at people. His walk rate, strikeout rate and isolated power are almost identical to his marks from last year with the Mets, when he posted a 118 wRC+ and was a high-quality role player.His batting average on balls in play, however, is a staggeringly low .132, 155 points below his 2012 mark and easily the lowest of any hitter with at least 100 plate appearances this year. BABIP is much less predictive than other measures, especially over 100 plate appearances, and Hairston could easily go back to mashing left-handed pitching in the second half. For a team looking for a platoon outfielder, Hairston would be a nice low-cost option.

  49. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    The Nationals figure to use Hairston in the role currently occupied by Tyler Moore, a second-year player who is batting only .157/.202/.294. And the Nats will control Hairston through next season.Sounds like Moore is going back down.

  50. NCNatsie - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    Llke the Hairston move, mainly because Tyler is still our projected first baseman some day and if he's going to do that job well, he needs to spend the rest of this year playing every day in Syracuse.

  51. SonnyG10 - Jul 8, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…Bud Norris is the name I like given he is under team control through the 2015 season so you can trade a big prospect and I'd propose Karns + Espinosa + Tyler Moore and see if they bite.July 07, 2013 11:09 PMI guess I'm going to be crusified for saying this, but I don't want to see Espinosa get traded. He is a better 2nd baseman than Rendon. He has more range, a stronger arm, and more athleticism in performing the pivot on double plays. I would like to keep him in the minors until he gets his hitting straightened out, but have him available for when we lose LaRoache. Maybe this is just a pipe dream on my part and it won't happen, but I can hope. I do want him to hit at least .270 or .280, preferabily higher though. Otherwise his defense won't be worth it.

  52. sjm308 - Jul 8, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Actually SonnyG, I was just hoping we kept him and wasn't looking that far ahead but it does make sense. When LaRoche has finished his contract, you move Ryan to first, Rendon back to third and hopefully let Espinosa take over 2nd. Now, if he continues his strikeouts and horrible OBP you certainly don't do that but we have control for several more years. I hated letting Lannan go when we still had control and he would have helped this year. I don't care all that much about their feelings, they are professional athletes and if they help our team more by staying in the minors then so be it.

  53. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. natsfan1a - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    222, awesome story at 9:05 PM. Good on you for taking him to games all these years.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
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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