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Feast one night, famine the next

Jul 10, 2013, 4:09 AM EST

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — They were tearing the cover off the ball, getting production from up and down their lineup and finally putting to rest any doubt about their ability to score enough runs to win games on a regular basis.

And then they arrived at Citizens Bank Park this week, and now the Nationals seem to be right back where they started.

Back-to-back losses to the Phillies, including Tuesday night’s 4-2 defeat, have pretty much killed whatever positive momentum the Nationals had developed during a four-game winning streak. More troubling is the feast-or-famine nature of their offensive output.

Behold the Nationals’ run totals for each of the last 10 days: 13, 10, 0, 1, 8, 8, 5, 11, 2, 2. Officially, they’ve averaged six runs per game during this stretch, but that’s an awfully misleading stat.

“We’ll get into a game and we’ll be in the sixth, seventh inning with two or three hits,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “Where the night before we had 15 hits. I can’t explain it. It’s one of those things you try to go out and get 15 hits before you get the first one. And nothing good happens.”
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  1. PChuck - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Watching other teams play on MLB.tv, I've just come to the conclusion we have a bunch of fundamentally flawed hitters who are made worse by Davey Johnson's preferred hitting style.

  2. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    Many teams are flawed.Our approach is swinging hard way too much. Hit the ball where it's pitched and shorten swing on 2 strikes.An easy fix

  3. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    If the Nats can't figure it out, let me be of assistance:1. They don't take enough pitches, except for Werth.2. The pitches they do swing at are often out of the strike zone.3. Davey encourages 1) and 2) with his constant urgings to "be aggressive" at the plate. This team needs to be more aggressive about as much as Cher needs another facelift.4. Team speed is a joke, not that it makes much difference to Davey, who treats the hit-and-run like it was contaminated nuclear waste.5. Their defense often can go as south as the hitting. Forget the official number of errors, they often make one or two mental lapses a game that aren't officially committed errors.6. Their one spark, Harper, seems lost at the plate since his homer that first at-bat back.7. Ramos is a joke behind the plate. For every two runs he bats in, he lets one in defensively.8. Except for Soriano, Clippard and the not-used-enough Krol, the bullpen is a hallmark of inconsistency. No lead is big enough.There's more, but it's late, I've got a headache from watching this team swing at pitchers in the dirt and I've got some leftover bourbon and Maalox waiting.

  4. David Proctor - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    I'm not sure if you're just rehashing the common arguments or giving your own opinion, but I couldn't disagree more with many of your points Sunshine.1. The team takes too many pitches sometimes. You can't keep taking strike 1 right down the middle and letting the pitcher get ahead. The first pitch is often the best to hit. Remember the other day when Zim hit that Grand Slam? First pitch. That's not an isolated incident. The problem is being smart. If it's not a good pitch, you don't HAVE to swing first pitch. But be willing to do it. I think the team somewhat has a tendency to take good pitches and swing at bad ones. That's on the hitters.2. I guess we kind of agree that they choose poorly.3. See above.4. Meaningless really. Of the bottom 5 teams in running last year, all 5 were playoff teams. The Tigers ran the least, they made the World Series. Maybe we could do hit and run some more, but it's not a huge difference maker. The run game isn't important.5. Agreed, defense needs to improve, but it's not nearly as often as you're making it sound. There are not 1-2 mental lapses a game, that's just plain out not the case.6. Harper was 2-3 yesterday and the day before went 3-4 with 2 stolen bases. He hasn't lost a spark. You're just experiencing selective memory.7. Ramos isn't a joke behind the plate. He's not the best and he struggles don't get me wrong, but if you think he's a "joke", you should look at some other catchers around the league. Every 2 run for 1 run is such a bad exaggeration, I don't even know what to say. 8. Agreed bullpen is inconsistent.

  5. do1teach1 - Jul 10, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    Sunshine Bobby–here are some more, to be added to your list:9. A team that does not hold runners is doomed. We are that team.10. A team that never surprises the defense (e.g. bunt Zimm with man on first instead of the predictable double play, or run suicide squeezes that would've given us three more wins this year) is doomed. Again, us.11. Every team in baseball has Davey's "World Series or Bust" quote on their bulletin board, making it so much more fun to beat us.12. Our GM has never been held accountable for decimating one of the best lefty-bullpens in baseball.13. In addition to the immobile Ramos, we have the worst defensive third baseman in baseball.14. Our bench is truly execrable. Think we held on to Matt Stairs too long? –Just consider Chad Tracey.July 31st is coming soon. And we diehards, who write posts at 1:20 in the morning, will soon get reminders that our "hometown heroes" are actually independent businessmen in a very rich union, who are looking for the exits to make more money somewhere else. And for this we can thank Mr. Rizzo, who took a 98-win team and systematically ruined it.

  6. nats guy - Jul 10, 2013 at 5:23 AM

    Adam, I can explain it. You guys hit well against bad teams. You don't against good teams. Duh!

  7. Secret wasian man - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Ray night nailed it last night. Of course you hit the Padres, there pitchers stink.

  8. Section 135 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    This team needs to upgrade offensively in the offseason. The problem is where the heck do you put this hitter. Maybe LaRoche or Span. Hopefully we will have a manager that plays to the teams strengths. Davey has been truly awful this year. Is he trying to break Stammen with his daily use? He lost that game last night. With 2 men on and Krol in the BP, you shouldn't let Jordan face 2 straight lefties. Suzuki should also never play more than once a week with the struggles of our offense. Ramos is one of the only sources of power.

  9. baseballswami - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Trying to take the long view. We definitely have talent, but things seem way out of sync. I have been thinking more and more about what this roster will be like with another manager. Will they rebel against a tighter ship? Or do they need a bit more direction? Will a different style of offense, including more base running, squeezes, etc. result in more runs? Will it be a tough transition year or will things fall into place? Choosing the new manager is going to be very critical to the future of this franchise.

  10. phil dunton - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    A start would be to hire a manager who is still alive and hire a real hitting coach. Maybe then the slugs on this roster would wake up and become motivated.

  11. fast eddie - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Do any of the following have "no-trade" clauses in their contract: Zimm? Werth? Span? Laroche? Storen? Don't pile on–just wondering.

  12. baseballswami - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I don't see it as a lack of motivation, Phil, more like confusion caused by mixed messages. When you take a lot of pitches, get the starter out early, battle, you get better results. But the manager wants aggressive, which results in first pitch outs and no sustained offense. But he is a highly regarded baseball person and the boss. I can really relate as I have a boss who is all over the place from day to day, contradicts himself, changes his mind a lot, and has conflicting priorities. I can tell you that none of us feel at all effective right now. I think our team tries very , very hard all the time, but the manager is trying to use tomatoes to make pudding because he wants pudding, even though he does not have any milk. He needs to use his very fine tomatoes to make pasta sauce , which they are intended for. Hey , I like to cook, so sue me.

  13. ExposedinDC - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Interesting to see who starts tonight….Hairston or Span ? Davey must have tossed and turned all night at the thought of benching one of his beloved veterans 2 nights in a row.

  14. hiramhover - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    FWIW, the Nats as a team rank 10th in # of pitches per plate appearance, at 3.87. MLB average for all players is 3.83.Also–I haven't checked the game logs or anything, but it seems to me that Rendon takes a lot of first pitches for strikes. But he has good pitch recognition and a mature approach, and ranks pretty highly in pitches per plate appearance, at 4.19.

  15. hiramhover - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Also, I noticed this in Kilgore's gamer–Ian's comment on Jimmy Rollins' getting in the line of ALR's throw to him in the 6th:" 'That’s unbelievable baserunning,' Desmond said. 'That’s really good wherewithal.' "No, Desi. No it's not.

  16. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Davey just said on the radio that Hairston won't be starting tonight.

  17. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    " 'That’s unbelievable baserunning,' Desmond said. 'That’s really good wherewithal.' No, Desi. No it's not."Rollins pulled it off and got away with it, so yes it is. If the situation was reversed and Desi was the runner, you'd be applauding it.

  18. Tcostant - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    fast eddie said… Do any of the following have "no-trade" clauses in their contract: Zimm? Werth? Span? Laroche? Storen? Don't pile on–just wondering. Me: Werth has a full no trade clause. Zimm basicly has one, but they matched it up to when he is a 5/10 player and gets it automaticly. The rest don't.BTW – Ramos is the worse catcher I've ever seen catching throws from the OF. Even over the weekend, he could catch a throw from a cut off man that was high, but has to be caught. But the way he hits, I can over look it for now.

  19. Tcostant - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    I'm on board with tradeing for a SP, but I think I would stay the course with the hitters right now and mix and match as needed.

  20. hiramhover - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Re(n)d onYou missed the point–sorry I didn't have the "really good wherewithal" to make it better.

  21. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Ooooooh, yeah, ooh, yeah Everythin', everythin', everythin's gonna be alright this mornin' Ooh yeah, whoaw Now when I was a young boy, at the age of five My mother said I was, gonna be the greatest man aliveha ha

  22. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said…"If the Nats can't figure it out, let me be of assistance: 1. They don't take enough pitches, except for Werth."The Nats are actually 22nd in MLB in swing percentage, so they take more pitches than most teams. The average number of pitchers per plate appearance over the last ten years is 3.79. The Nationals are at 3.86 as a team. Werth, Rendon, Zimmerman, LaRoche and Suzuki are all above 4.00, and Harper and Span are both above 3.90. .The problem isn't taking pitchss. The problem is translating those pitches into walks. The Nats are only 21st in the leagu in walks, even though they swing far less and see more pitches than average. Our hitters frequently get ahead only to waste those opportunities to get a free pass by swinging away. The good news is that the Nats were near the bottom of the league in walks just a couple weeks ago. Having Werth, Harper, Rendon and Ramos healthy is already paying big dividends offensively, the last two nights aside. We just have to wait it out and trust that the trend will continue over the long haul if they stay healthy. Can't win 'em all.

  23. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    need a win tonight…patience at the plate…stop swinging for the fences…

  24. A DC Wonk - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Wonk Way to .600 ball (as I've mentioned before):Win 2/3 when our "big three" are pitching, win 1/2 when the other two are pitching.That's exactly what we've been doing over the last 20 games:Games 71-75 3-0 0-2 = 3-2Games 76-80 2-1 1-1 = 3-2Games 81-85 2-1 1-1 = 3-2Games 86-90 3-0 0-2 = 3-2There are five games left before ASB. Let's win three of them.

  25. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    bowdenballi had breakfast yesterday with a very respectable and legendary baseball coach yesterday and his assessment on Nats hitting seems to make the most sense…. they all swing for the homer, lack patience (whether or not they take the first pitch in the count) and he felt that it was due to guys trying to do too much because of the injuries…when the full lineup was back…h says he now thinks it is because many players are simply selfish and disrespect Eck observing for myself after his comments, I think he may be right

  26. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Wonk-It's funny how lately the fanbase always seems to bubble over with with optimism during the first three games of the rotation, only to swing to the other emd of the spectrum during the last two … yet it seems like very few people notice the pattern.Slow and steady wins the race- if not the NL East race, then the wild card race at least.

  27. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    only 4 back of wild card…which may actually be a better route in the playoffs…i will take any of our 3 starters in a one game playoff verse any team

  28. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    mick-I'm sure your breakfast mate was a great coach, but numbers don't lie. They see more pitches then the average team and swing less than the average team. That's a fact.Maybe he meant that they are impatient later in counts, getting overeager whenever they are ahead in the count, and taking big hacks swings with two strikes instead of changing their approach. If that's what he meant, I agree with him.

  29. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Wonk-It's funny how lately the fanbase always seems to bubble over with with optimism during the first three games of the rotation, only to swing to the other emd of the spectrum during the last two … yet it seems like very few people notice the pattern.actually, that is flawed because Haren and Johnson pitched well… the issue is the run production, unless the team mentally says before a game, let's not hit tonight because our #4 and #5 pitchers are pitching

  30. A DC Wonk - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    If the Nats can't figure it out, let me be of assistance:1. They don't take enough pitches, except for Werth.2. The pitches they do swing at are often out of the strike zone.3. Davey encourages 1) and 2) with his constant urgings to "be aggressive" at the plate. This team needs to be more aggressive about as much as Cher needs another facelift.That's not correct. Davey encourages #1, not #2.His theory is simple: if the first pitch is a center-cut fastball, swing at it. Because if you don't, you're behind 0-1 and you might not see another pitch that good to hit. This is even more important when you face a pitcher with excellent control.And _that's_ what he means by be aggressive.Ryan Zimmerman got a pitch pitch fastball with bases loaded on Sunday. He was aggressive with it.Consider this: Jayson Werth has 238 plate appearances. He has 9 HR's.Jayson Werth (whom you praise for being patient) has 15 at bats that ended on the first pitch: he has six hits (for .400 average) and three HR's.A lot a lot of pitchers throw fat fastballs to "get one over" on the first pitch. Davey's preaching: when you see one of those, swing at it.

  31. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    bowden…good point and I think that is what he meant

  32. A DC Wonk - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    mick wrote: actually, that is flawed because Haren and Johnson pitched well… the issue is the run production, unless the team mentally says before a game, let's not hit tonight because our #4 and #5 pitchers are pitching Nice observation. Yes, Haren and Jordan both pitched well enough to get wins — it was the bats that betrayed us.

  33. Eric - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Excellent post @8:49, bowden.Also, maybe I'm again just too new to all of these patters, but is it that uncommon for a team to average six runs a game via a mixed bag of huge outbursts and anemic flops?

  34. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    thanks Wonk… your point is well taken for teh most part, I was only referencing the last two games

  35. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    ok…time to get some work done….

  36. A DC Wonk - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    bowdenball — I didn't see your comment before I posted mine. You wrote:The Nats are actually 22nd in MLB in swing percentage, so they take more pitches than most teams. The average number of pitchers per plate appearance over the last ten years is 3.79. The Nationals are at 3.86 as a team. Werth, Rendon, Zimmerman, LaRoche and Suzuki are all above 4.00, and Harper and Span are both above 3.90. .The problem isn't taking pitchss. The problem is translating those pitches into walks.I'd say that you're half right. I think what Davey's been saying is that the problem (or at least half the problem) is taking too many strikes.Can someone look up where the Nats are in terms of "taking strikes" and, perhaps, "called out on strikes"?

  37. 3on2out - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Bowdeball & Wonk:Thank you for your calm and reasoned voices this morning. Once again, the Legion of Doom, the Chicken Littles, were roused into action last night. All the usual naysayers…it's painful to read this blog during a loss. Let me iterate too: this team will be in the hunt the rest of the year. There will be thrills and spills galore, heart-pounding wins, heart-breaking losses, and meaningful game right down to those final road games in St. Louis and Arizona.

  38. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    I wouldn't say Jordan pitched well enough to get a win last night. 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits over 5 2/3 with a walk and only two strikeouts is not very good at all. For that matter, Haren's outing two nights ago was solid, but nothing special. 2 runs over 5 innings equals 3.6 runs over 9 innings. That's barely above average for a National League team.

  39. Eric - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    "There are five games left before ASB. Let's win three of them."Four please! ;)Tonight is the night that will probably make or break that possibility, though…"Nice observation. Yes, Haren and Jordan both pitched well enough to get wins — it was the bats that betrayed us."IMO, and to the extent that we can control such things, we should *really* prioritize winning on nights when especially Haren pitches well.

  40. A DC Wonk - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    And for this we can thank Mr. Rizzo, who took a 98-win team and systematically ruined itIf you thank Rizzo for that, do you also thank him for turning a laughingstock of a team, a team so bad it held open try-outs for starting pitchers in spring training one year, a team that had the worst farm system in baseball (thanks to MLB ownership neglect, a team that lost 100+ games two years in a row — into a team that won 98 games last year? And into a team that is well in the race this year, despite a ton of injuries?Just asking.

  41. A DC Wonk - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    bowdenball said… I wouldn't say Jordan pitched well enough to get a win last night. 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits over 5 2/3 with a walk and only two strikeouts is not very good at all. For that matter, Haren's outing two nights ago was solid, but nothing special. 2 runs over 5 innings equals 3.6 runs over 9 innings. That's barely above average for a National League team. Well enough that we were still in the game, is what I meant. Last night we had the tying runs on base with one out. The night before, Werth missed tying the game by hitting a ball to the warning track in the deepest part of the park.Not that they pitched great, but that we were still very much in the ball games after they left (as opposed to, ahem, some prior Haren outings).

  42. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    There are five games left before ASB. Let's win three of them.I predicted we would go 7 – 3 in the 10 games before the AS break… Im still gonna stick with it!

  43. baseballswami - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Bright spots- revamped bullpen( no HRod), Espi in remedial ball, Anthony Rendon, Taylor Jordan, Giolito news, Ramos back, Bryce Harper, still being anywhere near the .500 mark with all of the above transitions going on. Let's see what the second half brings. But I also hope they don't mentally go on break until they actually play the games.

  44. Nats 128 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    To think how negative I thought I was and then I read what some of you write in blaming certain players.Some of you would turn on your Mommys if they dont give you desert after dinner.

  45. 3on2out - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Wonk said:"If you thank Rizzo for that, do you also thank him for turning a laughingstock of a team, a team so bad it held open try-outs for starting pitchers in spring training one year, a team that had the worst farm system in baseball (thanks to MLB ownership neglect, a team that lost 100+ games two years in a row — into a team that won 98 games last year? And into a team that is well in the race this year, despite a ton of injuries?"Hear! Hear!

  46. natsfan1a - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Saw only the early innings last night. Clicked back later and tried to watch a bit, but I was getting whiplash from nodding off, so I decided to sleep in bed instead of on the couch. Here's hoping for great games from Gio and Z'nn and a couple of curly w's before our guys head to Florida. (I heard that Gio has a bunch of friends and family who are buying tickets for that series. What?)

  47. Nats 128 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Look at the players in that $10 million and up on this team in Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Werth, Adam Laroche and Dan Haren.Haren didnt play yesterday and the other 3 did nothing when they all had chances to help the Nats win the game. When a single scores 2 runs Zimm goes for the fences.Zimm: "Can't blame anyone but myself. I got a good pitch to hit." Yes, as pointed out his 2 strike approach is bad. Possibly you work on changing.

  48. natsfan1a - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Dang, Mom. I wanted Sonora, not Sahara. What?Some of you would turn on your Mommys if they dont give you desert after dinner.

  49. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    David Proctor, Your analysis is bang on. For me the key to hitting is to avoid falling behind on the count and passing on a 'hit me' fast ball on the 1st or 2nd pitch is the best way to fall behind and get into a situation where you have to swing at the pitchers pitches. I hate to generalize but where I see an overall team weakness is in 2 areas: 1) Several of our key hitters aren't great at spoiling nasty pitches. 2) We don't take full advantage when we are ahead in the count and we don't take enough walks.

  50. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Nats 128, To be fair to Zim it's hard to have any sort of approach when strike 1 called is at the ankles. The umpire was awful in that 8th inning to both Zim and Werth.

  51. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Taylor Jordan has promise but what he doesn't have is a 'put away' pitch. He had 2 strikes on a bunch of hitters and they always seemed to find away to put the ball in play. You do that all game and eventually the hits will come. BABIP has a funny way of regressing to the mean. Say what you will about the strike out but generally nothing bad happens to you if you strike the hitter out.

  52. Eric - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    "The umpire was awful in that 8th inning to both Zim and Werth."It's hard for me to get over that. REALLY p!ss3d me 0ff.

  53. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Yeah the SZ was just dumb as bricks in the 8th and 8th…I was watching the game and as soon as I saw bases were loaded, I said DJ should sub Ryan right now and put in C Tracy… He will give you the pop up you need/want right now…But even so still… Im sticking with no more losing series.. and we are going 7 – 3 the 10 games before the AS break… We are 3 – 2 now… My fingers are crossed.

  54. baseballswami - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    I love to watch a great battle between the pitcher and the hitter. For me, Werth and Rendon are the best at it, although Span has been known to do it on occasion. Give me a ten pitch at bat any day of the week with the pitcher throwing everything out there and the hitter fouling everything off until he gets that pitch he wants. I will be on the edge of my seat every time. I hate to watch the first pitch pop up or ground out to the second baseman. Makes me want to pound my head against a wall. Patience, grasshopper.

  55. Nats 128 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    On team construction, any GM picks Strasburg #1 overall. Not sure where Rizzo gets all this credit.Detweiler, Jordan Z and Stras all were going to be part of this rotation no matter who the GM was. Gio was part of Rizzos acquisition and as well as the 4 players he traded away were removed.I think the Gio trade is a credit to Rizzo.I don't think he gets credit for Harper as again that was a slam dunk pick and Zimm and Desi were part of the system before Rizzo.Rizzo get the credit/blame for Werth depending on how you look at it.When you disect all the moves made when Rizzo officially took over as GM, I just am not seeing where hes been that great given the contracts he wrote and the slam dunk picks he had and the players he inherited.

  56. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    JD said…Taylor Jordan has promise but what he doesn't have is a 'put away' pitch.====I said that to my dad last night… He needs to work on not getting behind in the count (which looked like an improvement last night)… I didnt understand why Zook kept calling the outside pitch when it was clear the blue wasnt giving it…

  57. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Mule is not an "Eeyore" about any of this.The (late) Earl Weaver was known to opine that all teams win 60 games and lose 60 games. It's what each team does with the remaining 42 games that determines the final standings. The Nats currently being 46 – 44, the remaining 54 games will determine their fate. Baseball is non-linear, so simple extrapolation is rarely beneficial (or accurate).It is entirely possible that the Nationals will win the N.L. East again this year (and possibly more). It is entirely certain that they themselves will determine their fate and their final standing by the quality and consistency of their play. The fan base ". . . also serve who only stand and wait."

  58. hiramhover - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Re that first pitch of Zimm's 8th inning AB — Pitch f/x thought it caught the lower part of the zone. The ump had his problems earlier in the game–more often with pitches away to righties, iirc. But the ump got that call on Zimm correct, and I was surprised to seem him get so visibly po'ed.

  59. Doc - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    The deadbeat ump behind the plate won the game for the Philthies.If baseball is a game of inches, then Perlazza (Sp?) moved the inches in favor of the home town bums.Their scorer got into the act too, with that error against ALR. The runner interferred with the throw, which only Superman could have caught!

  60. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    It's hilarious that people think Rizzo doesn't deserve credit for the team because ?any Gm would have drafted Strasburg and Harper." 1. Those guys are just a small part of this team's total production. Ask the Mets if having a great bat and a dominant starter is a formula for guaranteed success.2. You don't just draft guys are then hand them over. The GM negotiates the contracts for draftees and everyone else. He oversees player development. He makes the calls on when to promote guys, balancing what's best for the player, what's best for the org short term and what's best for the org long term. He decides when to give up on a starter and move him to the bullpen. He does a lot of things with young talent other than pick them.3. Rizzo hasn't made one bad trade since taking over. Some might say Willingham, but he was due to be a free agent anyway. Where's the bad trade that balances out the Ramos and Gio and Span and Krol and Suzuki acquisitions? An average GM loses 50% of his trades- I'm not sure Rizzo has lost any.4. You also need to consider the moves he doesn't make. You don't think teams were asking for Clippard when we dealt Matt Capps for Ramos? How about turning Adam Dunn into Brian Goodwin instead of whatever mediocre prospects we would have gotten in a trade?

  61. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Sorry- that should be turning Adam Dunn into Goodwin AND Meyer, who would eventuall turn into Span.

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    JD said… Taylor Jordan has promise but what he doesn't have is a 'put away' pitch. He had 2 strikes on a bunch of hitters and they always seemed to find away to put the ball in play. You do that all game and eventually the hits will come. BABIP has a funny way of regressing to the mean.Say what you will about the strike out but generally nothing bad happens to you if you strike the hitter outDo you remember the 2 scouting reports I posted up before TJord was called up?Deceptive delivery with good fastball and changeup but slider needs work. Changeup has split action and fastball has good movement.The problem I said as he gets through the order that good hitters will see him better 2nd time around. This is the Majors, not AA.This kid is a valuable pitcher and could easily be the #5 here next year with the ability to pitch like a #3. Must get that slider going or change the wrist action. Without that, he will be pulled early and becomes a liability if he can't make it consistently past the 5th inning and this is what we have seen.I believe the Nats know all this and will help him develop a breaking pitch that will be a + pitch. I also believe the Nats will be able to help refine Karns.

  63. Section 222 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    John C. posted the pitch track data from Brooks Baseball on last nights game. I've linked to it again. It's pretty stunning. Jordan got a lot of borderline outside strikes against lefties that Hamels didn't get. But look at the data for RH batters. 5 low pitches called strikes for Hamels, none for Jordan, and three clear strikes for Jordan that were called balls. I'd be interested in hearing from folks on two things in connection with these charts: (1) Brooks says the dashed lines represent the strikezones that all Umpires generally call. I'm a little surprised that there is more play on the corners than at the knees or the letters. Seems to me that judging the height of the pitch as it crosses the plate would be harder than whether its inside or outside. And (2) is it common for umps to be more generous in calling pitches against RH batters coming from LH pitchers? It just seems like Jordan really got squeezed last night. And Hamels got some real gifts. However, if I'm reading this right, the first pitch to Zim in the 8th was actually a strike.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Where did the ump make a mistake on Hamels bases loaded K of RZim?Pitch 2 was inside and out of the zone as was pitch 3 which was above the zone and RZim swung at both.http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation_io.php-pitchSel=430935&game=gid_2013_07_09_wasmlb_phimlb_1&batterX=59&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

  65. hiramhover - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    GhostPeople are complaining about the called first strike, which Zim got visibly upset about. But the ump appeared to get it right, as I noted above, and 222 pointed out as well.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    hiramhover, exactly right. It was a strike. End of story.

  67. sjm308 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Bowdenball: I was about to mention that signing SS and Harper were just as crucial as drafting them. Rizzo works well with his owners and with the agents and that is a nice combination. I agree with your post and lets hope the Haren deal is looked upon as a wash by the end of the year. I am not naive enough to think he will win every game he pitches in the last few months but if he will just win 50% and keep us in several others we will have a chance. The thing to remember is, you, Wonk and others will not change the minds of those who think Rizzo is the reason we are not achieving this year. I appreciate the comments though.Go Nats!!

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Ghost….when Taylor came out of high school and when he signed out of Brevard CC, he had a killer 12 to 6 curve. After TJ, the braintrust got him to change that pitch to the slider he's working on now.Give him a little time and I think you're right on with that "next years #5 with #3 potential".

  69. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I thought the 1st pitch to Zim was very low but I could be wrong. What really upset me though is he followed that up be calling 2 very high strikes on Werth.

  70. baseballswami - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Taylor Jordan started the season in single A ball.He is in his first season after TJ. Going into last night's game, he had exactly 10 major league innings under his belt and now he is pitching in a hitter's park, in a hostile environment, with barely a whisper of run support. I would say that he did a remarkable job! The fact that the only weakness you can point to is that he gets ahead of the hitters (Yeah!!!) and then doesn't quite have that killer put away pitch says a lot about the tools he DOES have. Add to that the Giolito news from yesterday and that gives us two nice pitchers for the future. Suppose they overlap by even a year with JZ, STras and Gio? Can you even imagine?

  71. bowdenball - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Strike 1 was one of those pitches that is in the zone but is probably called a ball more than a strike. It was diving and just caught the bottom of the zone and was framed poorly. Same goes for a called strike he got at the very top of the zone, I think maybe strike 2 against Werth.Strike one against Werth was easily the worst call of the inning, along with a called strike on the outside to Harper that didn't matter because he walked anyway. It was also probably the biggest miss. Hamels had spotty control that inning, so Werth might well have walked with the bases loaded if that had been called correctly.

  72. Section 222 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I think folks are upset about the first strike to Zim because FP really went off on it. It was kind of silly because pitchtrack during the game showed that it was a strike.

  73. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    If you want to get pissed, it was the Hairston at-bat that ended the game. In a 2-0 count, Bastardo throws his pitch below the zone (confirmed on Pitch F/X) and it was called a strike. Instead of 3-0, the count went to 2-1 and Bastardo went after Hairston with the next pitch and induced a pop-up.My theory with 1st base open that Bastardo was trying to get Hairston to chase until he got him in that 2-1 count and went inside and challenged him.On a 3-0 pitch, I think Bastardo walks Hairston with 1st base open and they bring in the righty to face Desi with men on 1st and 2nd.Where was that ump when Storen needed him in Game 5?????http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation_io.php-pitchSel=455374&game=gid_2013_07_09_wasmlb_phimlb_1&batterX=68&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

  74. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Swami, We are looking at Taylor Jordan as a potential # 5 for next year (which is reasonable) but Giolito is years away even by the most optimistic projections. What I like about Jordan vs. Karns for example is that he doesn't yield home runs and he doesn't walk the congregation. Even without much refinement he would be a better no. 5 than many teams have.

  75. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Ghost, To be fair at the end of the day you can't put the loss on the ump. I agree with your analysis that Zim really needs to get more defensive with 2 strikes. Firstly, he probably swung outside the strike zone and secondly he over swung. At worst you need to try and foul that pitch off. Werth was clearly aggravated by the ump because he easily missed at least 1 of the 1st 2 pitches and Werth's approach depends a great deal on the count.

  76. JD - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    'Where was that ump when Storen needed him in Game 5?????' LOL

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Ghost….when Taylor came out of high school and when he signed out of Brevard CC, he had a killer 12 to 6 curve. After TJ, the braintrust got him to change that pitch to the slider he's working on now.Give him a little time and I think you're right on with that "next years #5 with #3 potential". July 10, 2013 10:38 AM I have been very impressed and you were the one that first put him on my radar.The scouts really like him. They say that split second of deception in his delivery gives him added pop on the fastball.When you have a staff with Stras, JZim and Gio with the enigman known as NationalDet, being a #5 is just a placement not the potential. If he's a 3.50 ERA guy, he's a true #3.I'm penciling him in for 2014 already and 180 innings. I like his demeanor on the mound. It's not his fault that his defense hasn't helped him in each of his starts so far. What is his fault is he can get deeper than 5 2/3 innings and has to get the breaker going or at least another variation to his fastball. Let's face it, a pitcher with 3 "plus" pitches in this league can turn into an Ace.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    JD said… Ghost,To be fair at the end of the day you can't put the loss on the ump. I agree with your analysis that Zim really needs to get more defensive with 2 strikes. Firstly, he probably swung outside the strike zone and secondly he over swung. At worst you need to try and foul that pitch off.Werth was clearly aggravated by the ump because he easily missed at least 1 of the 1st 2 pitches and Werth's approach depends a great deal on the count. July 10, 2013 10:50 AM Agreed with everything you said. Werth had a great approach and guessed right on the 3-2 pitch and unfortunately hit it with a little too much air under it. He would have cleared the bases with a line drive in the gap.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    TJordan has enough movement that the batters aren't getting all of his pitches he throws over the center of the plate. Young was the only one who drove a ball last night and that was unfortunate as he cleared the bases.

  80. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    FP was right about that first called strike to Zim. What the pitch track says about the pitch is irrelevant. Balls and strikes are still a judgement call on the part of the ump. Ruiz had his mitt on the ground when he caught the ball, and as FP said you rarely if ever see a strike called when the catcher takes the pitch on the ground.

  81. mick - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    3on2out said…Bowdeball & Wonk:Thank you for your calm and reasoned voices this morning. Once again, the Legion of Doom, the Chicken Littles, were roused into action last night. All the usual naysayers…it's painful to read this blog during a loss.I actually thought there were very good critical questions as well as analysis to back some of their points asked by many last evening…I have no idea what blog you were on?just an irresponsible and baseless post

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