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All-Star agenda

Jul 15, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

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NEW YORK — Good morning from the Big Apple, where baseball always is on center stage but for the next 48 hours will occupy every stage in the city with the All-Star Game coming to town. It was only five years ago that old Yankee Stadium hosted the Midsummer Classic in its final season of existence, but this time the festivities take place in Queens, as the Mets get to host this event for the first time since 1964.

The Nationals' presence at this All-Star Game won't rival last year, when Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez all took Kansas City by storm. But even though Harper is the lone member of the organization playing tomorrow night — Jordan Zimmermann is here but will sit out to rest his lingering neck strain — there still will be plenty of attention lavished upon the Nats.

Harper, of course, draws a crowd all by himself, and plenty of eyes will be on him both tonight in the Home Run Derby and then tomorrow night in the All-Star Game. But don't discount the significance of Davey Johnson's presence here. The 70-year-old manager, in what by all accounts will be his final All-Star Game,Read more »

109 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Unknown - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Yawn. Like so much else big tv and greedy baseball have ruined what used to be a cool event and a real competition. I loved the 60s when the NL used to beat the stuffing out of the AL with a lot of African American stars the bigots in the AL, like the Senators old ownership, refused to sign. Now? I'll pass.

  2. Doc - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I'll watch Daddy Harper pitch some BP to Harps. I'll also probably zip in and out of TV land when Bryce is AB in the game.And that'll be it for me.I'm waiting for real baseball to start back up on Friday.

  3. Rabbit34 - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM

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  4. John - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Chris Berman is great for football. He's even okay for a baseball highlight now and then with all the funny nicknames. But he has really tarnished his legacy with the home run derby. I really really hope he stops announcing it. It's obnoxious and the "back-back-back" thing is just not cool anymore.

  5. Rabbit34 - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Having a second thought, I will go to MLB.com and choose a real baseball game to watch. Pro sports just try too hard to make the atmosphere similar to what you get at a three-ring circus. Where you have spotlights swirling, pointing to animals, and scanning the audience. It is carrying over to baseball with so much to do instead of watching a baseball game….music, ball bounces, silly things on the big screen instead of just lineups and scores, and all the glitter.

  6. Nats 128 - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    "but rest assured we'll try to press him for a substantive answer"Its amazing you can be aggresive and "press" on the commisioner but on the local front the press doesnt press.

  7. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    So anyone read Boswell today? Can't wait until the next time he tries to interview Werth… Pretty scathing stuff for someone who is supposed to be at least somewhat of a homer.

  8. hiramhover - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    swamiBoswell is a homer whose frustrations have reached the boiling point–like a lot of commenters here.

  9. Mr. Doggett - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Berman is a disgrace. He's awful to listen to. He tries too hard. He tries to make it about himself. His shtick is old and he's never bothered to adapt it. HOWEVER, that being said, he's gotten TONS of criticism for this in the past several years and ESPN still trots him out there (it's even worse when he does golf). I have a feeling that it's like the Skip Bayless effect. The four-letter network knows how much people can't stand him, but that's become part of the appeal.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I'll watch the Harrisburg game on MiLB.TV tonite and DVR the HR Derby to watch tomorrow. Think I'll do the same for the All Star game tomorrow nite, as well.Much better to watch both those events with the ability to fast forward and mute the sound.Robbie Ray should pitch tomorrow nite for Harrisburg. Last outing was a complete 9 inning, 107 pitch, 2 hit shut out with 8 K's.He's the other guy I said to keep an eye on coming out of Spring Training along with Taylor Jorda.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I meant to say 11K's for Ray, not 8.

  12. Muddy - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I read the Boz article up to the point early on where he compares Harp's recent ejection and subsequent comments re an ump's call unfavorably with Machado's ejection and reaction, calling the former childish and praising Machado. I say, B.S. Boz. Let Harp show some fire. Somebody on the Nats should. Anyway, regarding newspapers this a.m., the WSJ has a short spoofy article the gist of which is that by combining the Marlins and the Astros — "the two worst teams in baseball" — you might form one good team. (I guess the WSJ isn't aware that that the Marlins have been playing pretty good ball lately and actually have a winning record since May 30.) The WSJ says the problem is hitting and notes their OPS are 29th and 30th at .632 and .668 for the Marlins and Astros, respectively. This confronted me with the painful awareness that our Nats aren't much better: 26th at .686. Interestly, the Yankees are worse: .686! Who'd a thunk it. The Red Sox, Tigers, O's, Angels, Cards, Rays (!), and Indians lead the OPS. Though I'd share …

  13. Doc - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Good to hear about Robbie Ray's progress NJ.Any sightings of Harper's brother Bryan, who is pitching relief for Potomac?

  14. hiramhover - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Bryan is at Hagerstown, not Potomac, and is not exactly lighting things up. 4.96 ERA, 24 BBs in 32.2 IP.

  15. bowdenball - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    The problem with the Boswell article- and with posts like Muddy's that compare OPS numbers on the season- is that the identify a problem that has already been corrected. The Nationals are 6th in the NL in runs scored and 4th in OPS over the last 30 days. The guys who were dragging the lineup down- Espinosa, Lombardozzi, the bench guys- have been replaced via guys coming off the DL, trades and other roster moves. This lineup can hit.Errors are a terrible way to evaluate defense in the first place, but even if you want to use them as Boz does, the Nats' total of 67 is mostly due to their early struggles. If you want to talk about why this team is only one game over .500, talking about the offensive drought and the defensive struggles is fine. But you can't talk about it in the present tense as Boswell does, because it's no longer true. They had a rough road trip with some bad luck and some poor play, but they're not the same offense that put up those putrid numbers in April and May.

  16. bowdenball - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    No offense to Muddy, BTW. Sorry that came off as critical- your post was very good, I was just referencing the OPS comparison thing as a jumping off point for the stats for the last month.

  17. Tcostant - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Mark -Please make sure tomorrow that you ask Selig for an update on the MASN situation including a timetable. Per Selig own schedule, a ruling is long over due. Thanks

  18. SonnyG10 - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Mark, glad to hear Selig will be pressed on the Nats TV rights. I was going to request you do that.

  19. Doc - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Thanks Bowdenball.There's always past history, and recent history.The Nats of '12 had a similar resurgence in the 2nd half–caused by different hitting concerns.ARen/ARake, apart from his own performance, may be having a positive effect on some of the other guys.

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    bowdenball said… The problem with the Boswell article- and with posts like Muddy's that compare OPS numbers on the season- is that the identify a problem that has already been corrected. The Nationals are 6th in the NL in runs scored and 4th in OPS over the last 30 days. The guys who were dragging the lineup down- Espinosa, Lombardozzi, the bench guys- have been replaced via guys coming off the DL, trades and other roster moves. This lineup can hit.You are correct but when you are looking for why the Nats are 1 game over .500 and not 15 games over .500 you have to go back to April and May and see the ineptitude.As I pointed out yesterday, while the numbers are improving with Ramos and 6 weeks of ARen, the #1 spot in the Nats lineup ranks 3rd to last in the Majors in OBP. It took Davey until yesterday to address it and now the question becomes was this a little to late.

  21. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I don't see anything wrong w/ Boswell's article. Who's performing consistently well right now? Werth. Ramos. Gonzalez. Clippard. Rendon, though not as torrid as he was. That's five-six cylinders on a 25-cylinder engine that are firing the way they are supposed to. Not Harper. With allowances for injuries, .264 does not an All-Star season make. Compounded by stupid tantrums (his hyper-sensitivity about the strike zone — instead of swinging at hittable pitches –was showing for a couple of weeks before he erupted) and bonehead plays in the OF. The only straw worth clinging to is that they are a bunch of streaky — not consistent — guys and some players (notably Zimmerman) haven't had their streaks yet and others (LaRoche, Harper) have fizzled after brief flashes.

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    m said… What troubled me most about Span's bunt was the fact that he stood in the batter's box to look it. This is the second time he has done that in the past week. He should be fined and benched for this. I know that not running out ground balls is a "no no" wihth some managers. I guess that it is okay with us. This team's collective head is not in the game – period.I am pleased we won but ……. July 15, 2013 8:27 AM I just hope Span gets to the field earlier and works on bunting. After watching his former teammate Ben Revere over several games, I like the energy he brings with him, and that's what I expected from Span.Very disappointed and moving him down in the order is long overdue. Span seemed to have some extra motivation yesterday. Where has that been lately?

  23. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    If you're going to call out a veteran ump on national TV, you have to be right, and you have to pick a better spot. The pitch Harper got tossed on, PitchFX has as a strike, so it can't possibly have been that bad a call. You have to stay in the game, there. Showing some fire is good; burning down your own house in the process, not so much. Anyway, stomping your feet and throwing a tantrum might get some fans a vicarious thrill, but it does not get you better calls. Angel Hernandez still has a job–clearly, shame is not an effective tool, here.

  24. hiramhover - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    You can nitpick Boswell's complaints about this or that, but what I appreciate is that he's calling out the team as a whole, and a lot of the players and decision makers by name. Too many folks here try to pin all the blame on one or two players–Span recently, Espi before (and still). Boswell is closer to right, in seeing the problems as widespread. Sending one player down to the minors and another down in the line up is not going to solve all that ails the Nats.

  25. Michael Dempsey - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Chris Berman makes the HR Derby unwatchable to me.

  26. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I agree with Theo and HH–IMO, Boz is essentially correct about how they are playing–with their heads up someplace they don't belong–and why. After game 54–1/3 of a season–they were at .500. Going into play yesterday, they were at .500. If there's been improvement in the peripherals, like Rendon for Espinosa, it hasn't helped the bottom line. It remains to be seen whether this is a "fatal" flaw in the team for the season, one that no amount of reworking is going to fix, but if they don't have more runs than the other team at the end of the game, and more wins at the end of the season, effectively, there is no improvement. Do, or do not. There is no "try."

  27. natsfan1a - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Thanks, Mark. Seconding Tcostant and Sonny on the MASN question. Already have the DVR set but may watch some in real time. eh, who am I kidding, I'll definitely watch some in real time. It's a disease, really. :-) Go, Harp! Go, Pops! Hint for JZ: During the presser, try picturing the press corps in their undies. On second thought, maybe not. (Haven't read the Boz piece, so no comment.)

  28. natsfan1a - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    And now for something completely different, as seen on a SABR discussion list, a piece on keeping score (by hand).

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Sec1, Harper got tossed on the 8th inning call that was a strike but it was the at-bat before that which was outside by 3 inches that had him really upset and carried over.My previous comments was that he thought he earned the makeup call in the 8th inning and didn't get it.Kilgore also commented on the ump got it right in the 8th inning missing the point that it was just the frustration of actually 2 missed strike calls in the previous at-bat.Am I condoning what Harper did? No. It was stupid as you won't win that battle but in contrast Pujols had a similar tirade on Saturday and didn't get tossed.Harper has a target on his back. I can guarantee you that if Davey got up in the umps grill on the previous at-bat it would have been over then.

  30. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    As regards errors, yes, they are not a good way to evaluate, but also, they have NOT gone away. I track them week by week. The last three weeks,6 errors, 3 errors, 5 errors, 14 errors in the last 20 games. That is about the pace we've been going all season. 67 errors in 95 games.

  31. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    And you can't say the errors haven't cost, either. Not when you look at Tracy's error.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    NatsLady, no bigger error than the Chad Tracy error on Saturday.Errors need a rating system like High Lev, Med Lev and Low Lev. That was a High Lev error. If you saw the Cards/Cubs game last night, the amount of mental errors was over the top.

  33. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    If the folks are right who say the team needs someone to loosen them up with practical jokes, maybe we can help with that, from the stands. Maybe we can get the fans to sing silly rally songs. OTOH, this might not be the best venue to propose that.

  34. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I would agree on the rating system for errors. Also, mental errors like baserunning goofs don't show up.

  35. Steady Eddie - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Ghost,While I agree with the overall thrust of your evaluation — that Bryce's tantrum was more on the lack of a make-up call for the badly-missed calls in his previous AB — what all that misses is that this was Hunter Wendelstedt we're talking about.The same prima donna, "this game is all about ME" who went out of his way to toss Bryce back in Pittsburgh in May. While I don't know that it was the worst thing in the world for Bryce to have looked at the video after his third AB to see how bad the calls were, some vet in the dugout should have been telling him, "Bryce, this is Wendelstedt we're dealing with here. It's OK to be aware of how bad he is at a technical level, but umps are what they are. At an emotional level, for the sake of the team, you just have to let it go."Because however understandable his explosion was in the 8th, we all agree it badly hurt the team. And that's what should come first in everyone's calculations.

  36. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Sec 1, Harper got tossed on the 8th inning call that was a strike but it was the at-bat before that which was outside by 3 inches that had him really upset and carried over.Yes, we discussed it a length at the time in here. All the more reason to be sure you're right when you DO go ballistic. It undercuts any credibility you might have had to complain about the wrong call. I can guarantee you that if Davey got up in the ump's grill on the previous at-bat it would have been over then.Well, there you have it. Someone said Davey should have gotten out there to keep Harper in the game–in hindsight, THAT was the time to do it. By the second call, it's too late. Hard to fault Davey for not seeing that coming, though.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa said… I agree with Theo and HH–IMO, Boz is essentially correct about how they are playing–with their heads up someplace they don't belong–and why. Boz lives in a perfect world of never being wrong. The good news is that he has said some scathing things about the Nats in the past that got management/ownership to look in the mirror.Boz still believes he was the catalyst behind the Gio trade and he may have been but also pushed the Nats to spending big this off-season and signing Haren but when things don't go right he quickly distances himself.What we learned is the Haren trade didn't turn out to be low risk as just a money transfer. It got very complicated as the Nats weren't proactive in sending him to the DL sooner rather than later and that sort of has defined the 2013 season in that management has been late to react and the good teams seem to be proactive more than reactive.

  38. D'Gourds - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Do you get the feeling that the Nat's getting full TV rights is about as likely as DC statehood?

  39. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Ghost, I agree with you on Span. Rizzo got a player who he thought was a proto typical lead off hitter and a great center fielder, he got one of these right: 1)Span doesn't have a good enough OBP for leadoff. 2)He doesn't work the count. 3)He doesn't spoil good 2 strike pitches. 4)Not that it's critical but Span is not particularly fast. 5)The Nats don't play the running game in any event. I think Davie has gone round and round with his lineup but a lot of it has to do with not wanting to admit that the 'plan' failed. I have to admit that I thought the 'plan' was sound but after 95 games I think it's fair to say that it has not worked out. I think we need to go to a similar lineup to what we had last year: Werth,Harper,Zim,ALR,Desi,Span,Rendon,Ramos.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa said… "Sec 1, Harper got tossed on the 8th inning call that was a strike but it was the at-bat before that which was outside by 3 inches that had him really upset and carried over."Yes, we discussed it a length at the time in here. All the more reason to be sure you're right when you DO go ballistic. It undercuts any credibility you might have had to complain about the wrong call. "I can guarantee you that if Davey got up in the ump's grill on the previous at-bat it would have been over then."Well, there you have it. Someone said Davey should have gotten out there to keep Harper in the game–in hindsight, THAT was the time to do it. By the second call, it's too late. Hard to fault Davey for not seeing that coming, though.Agreed. Even a sprinter on 'roids couldn't get there quick enough in the 8th inning to stop that ejection.This was all a carryover from the 6th inning and the Harper haters won't point to that rather point to the fact Harper struck out legitimately in the 8th. Yes, true.We have to be fair in setting the record straight for those who didn't read Chapter 6. Also, Harper now has a scouting report that will be to get him off of his game by nibbling outside and try to get at him mentally. He has to be smarter than this and this is the 2nd time this year he gave into the emotion but I blame Davey for not difusing the ticking time bomb in the 6th inning. I saw that happening from 5,000 miles away and commented as such at the time. I'm disappointed in both Davey but mostly Bryce as he has to grow up but like I said there's a double standard. Pujols did the same thing on Saturday and didn't get tossed. I will say it again, there is a Harper bias. He doesn't get close calls and that includes sliding into homeplate with a tag from the catcher!

  41. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Ghost, I think the waiting too long scenarios are on Davie. I don't think he's having a good year as a manager at all. I think he has a stubborn streak which prevents him from admitting mistakes and making changes correspondingly. I can't comment on specific medical decisions such as what you say about Haren because I don't know if there was any basis on which to DL him other than poor performance. I also don't know if the team had enough confidence in T Jordan to make a move sooner.

  42. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Boz still believes he was the catalyst behind the Gio trade and he may have been but also pushed the Nats to spending big this off-season and signing Haren but when things don't go right he quickly distances himself.Supposing for the sake of argument that's true, it's all the same to me; I don't care about his ego, either way. I agreed with his point this morning. He has access to some good sources, and he knows a lot of baseball. Davey probably considers it a great loss to the team for him to get tossed, as the manager, and not without justification. I imagine that has something to do with why he doesn't argue more, and more forcefully. But if you're going to go all Billy Martin on an ump because you lost your temper, you're doing it wrong. There are times to do it–I've been told "You're || this close!" more than once–but it's got to be strategic. Harper's ejection seemed to surprise Davey. Davey seems to look surprised by developments more often this season.

  43. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Mule is an occasional reader of Boswell (Thomas, not James) and is in agreement with the general consensus that the Nats' heads are not where they should be to effect a successful season (auto-cranio-proctoscopy?).Gratitude to "natsfan1a" for the link to the piece on keeping score. There are at least 2 of us in section 127 who score every game pitch-by-pitch, but it does seem to be a vanishing skill (as is skill in the Official Scorer position – the one at Nats Park is appallingly consistently mistaken; it should revert to being rotated among the reporters ).

  44. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I think what Boswell did is kicking the home team when they are down and had a very mean spirited tone. You can call it calling the team out if you want, but it's obvious they are s trying- no on is dogging it. It's quite easy to pick on struggling athletes. It's tougher to provide more thoughtful analyses. Just watch- something good happens and he will be all back on the bandwagon. Jerk.

  45. sjm308 - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Good Morning – kinda glad to have 4 days where I am not going to be upset with results or lack of results. I have always been a big Davey Johnson fan but I honestly do think he has had a difficult year. I don't think, like many on here, that he should be 1. fired2. step downI do hope that he has better communication with Rizzo and his staff. Leaving Espinosa up here to fail was difficult to watch. Leaving Span in the leadoff spot when it was pretty obvious to most of us he was not successful was also difficult. I am ok with the pitching moves. People will always complain about leaving someone in too long or taking them out too soon but I think that all plays out.We honestly don't have a legitimate leadoff guy so I guess it will stay Harper if we as a team are successful with that. I do like Rendon hitting 2nd and Werth down in the lineup. So, my question is – Does Rizzo do anything in the next few weeks or does he ride this out? Bench has underperformed all season.Errors, both mental and physical continue to plague us.Can any of that be fixed with a trade? My answer is no – I think we just play it out and see what happens. I defintely do not want to see our future sold for a short term fix that might not work anyway. Now, if you can get Stanton, I am ok with that.Go Nats!

  46. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I agree 100% with commenters who say a vet should have called Harper aside and said, you were right on the strike calls, but DON'T lose your cool. FP knew he was going down to look at video, then you could see him boiling mad as he was on the railing telling his teammates. Where was Desi, who called him out after the game? Maybe he was batting, maybe Werth was batting, but what about RZimm–they couldn't ALL be batting??? What about Randy Knorr?

  47. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    True, Harper may well not get the calls Pujols gets. Welcome to Earth. Mostly, he's seemed to understand that, and has been remarkably self-possessed when he runs up against the Prestigious Old-School Way of Baseball, but winning fixes a lot of stuff, and they won a lot last year. Now he's frustrated. I don't doubt he'll learn.

  48. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I don't recall an instance of Harper going off on an ump like that before. I can well believe they didn't see it coming, because they are used to thinking of him as knowing better than that.

  49. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    No, Davey shouldn't step down or be fired. That would just cause disarray in the clubhouse, and for what point. Rizzo needs to sit with him and have a heart-to-heart about some of his in-game moves, about whether he must accept more help, whether from Knorr, or Werth or whatever. Davey assumed this season would be a continuation of last August-September–just fill out the card and go on automatic. Well, it isn't. It's going the be hard work for all the guys and we can't have the manager blowing ANY games, there's none to spare.

  50. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I know they're trying hard–that's the problem. You can't play this game better by trying harder.

  51. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Sec my Sofa, I agree we are after-the-facting it, but Harper clearly has a temper and an intensity. These guys are with him many hours of the day–no, maybe he hasn't blown off at an ump, but he's come awfully d*** close a couple of times. Harper is not hitting the way he thinks he should be, it was a frustrating road-trip–and these guys have ALL been major-leaguers a long time. They know. They know what frustration does to you. Maybe they couldn't predict he would blow up at an ump, but they could predict he would blow up…

  52. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    D'Gourds said…Do you get the feeling that the Nat's getting full TV rights is about as likely as DC statehood?==============You're right, of course, but the issue isn't 'full' TV rights. That's a pipe dream, unless the Lerner family is willing to buy out the MASN contract for lots of dollars — which I expect they will do sometime in the future. The more immediate problem is that the O's — or, rather, Peter Angelos — seemingly won't honor the already one-sided contract that was imposed upon the Nats from the beginning. And the question is whether Bud Selig has the gumption to interpret the contract honestly and fairly, giving the Nats something approaching market value.

  53. Dave - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Thanks for the link to that NYT article about scoring, 1a. Good to see Bob Carpenter's brilliantly good scorebook mentioned twice.But I have to say, it's clear that that reporter didn't go to Nats Park to research this story. First of all, there's a free scorecard, along with home and visitor rosters for all the games of every homestand, in Inside Pitch. That magazine is pushed into the hands of each and every fan who comes through the gates, for free.Moreover, I have never sat in any section of Nats Park and been the only person keeping score. There's at least one or two–and often very many–folks marking the plays in their own Carpenter scorebooks, on the free scorecard, or on personal scoresheets that are copied and brought from home. Maybe the Nats have an uncommonly engaged fan base (which I think might be true), but scorekeeping isn't dead at our ballpark.And I spent the summers of 1978, 1979, and 1980 going to Yankee Stadium to watch games from the upper deck. I always took my own scoresheets with a clipboard. I was often the only fan I saw keeping score. This in the House that Ruth built, during a couple of legendary seasons.So I think there was a bit of "Harumph…bring back the good old days" in that article that wasn't necessarily accurate.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    JD said… Ghost,I think we need to go to a similar lineup to what we had last year:Werth,Harper,Zim,ALR,Desi,Span,Rendon,Ramos. July 15, 2013 10:55 AM I suggested quite a few times this year getting Werth back in the leadoff so I like that you are also suggesting that but I would bat Rendon 2nd to really set up Harper as RZim just isn't getting it done right now in the 4 and don't think I would move him to the 3.Rendon can play small ball if needed too if Davey ever decides to go in that direction. Part of my problem with Davey is that he just won't evolve. There has to be a different game plan when you are facing a Kershaw or a Harvey or a Fernandez and that is playing for 1 run at a time where 1-0 or 2-1 can win the game. The Nats needed those 1 runs on Friday and Saturday. I am still surprised Davey didn't pinch-hit Rendon for Hairston on Saturday with men on 3rd and 2nd and 1 out. Lost opportunity and on cue Hairston struck out.

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Those are troll calls for Davey to be fired or step down and would be a stain on the team if either happened.This team still is in in with 67 games left and only 6 back.The Braves are in bad shape and could lose the 1st 3 coming out of the break!Nats have to take care of their own business and the Dodgers will throw Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu most likely at the Nats this weekend. Davey better get ready for some small ball.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    NatsLady said… I agree 100% with commenters who say a vet should have called Harper aside and said, you were right on the strike calls, but DON'T lose your cool. FP knew he was going down to look at video, then you could see him boiling mad as he was on the railing telling his teammates. Where was Desi, who called him out after the game? Maybe he was batting, maybe Werth was batting, but what about RZimm–they couldn't ALL be batting??? What about Randy Knorr?That's a great point that I don't think had been mentioned. Where was the veteran leadership group to also help difuse it. Credit to Redmond the former player who saw the opportunity and I'm sure discussed with his catcher how to pitch Harper in the next at-bat. It was the flammable situation you could see and the Nats allowed it to go up in flames.

  57. hiramhover - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    In case there's any comfort in it:As Ghost has pointed out, the Nats are getting lousy table setting from their leadoff hitter–.314 OBP on the season, #22 in MLB. But they're still looking down on the Barves–.303 OBP from their #1 hitter, #26 in MLB.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    hiram, that's a great point. With leadoff men with at least 200 plate appearances, guess who's the worst:1. Andrelton Simmons

  59. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    This team still is in in with 67 games left and only 6 back. The Braves are in bad shape and could lose the 1st 3 coming out of the break!Indeed; the Nats' luck has been relatively even, at worst, for injuries; ATL's has not been good, and it could easily get worse. (One coach's motto: "It can *always* get worse.")It's not completely out of the realm of possibility that the Nationals could play the second half like the first, and STILL win the division. Everybody is flawed, anybody can get hurt, and they all play each other.

  60. m - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Natslady:I suggest a vet call Span aside and ask him why he stays in the box after he bunts. In yesterday's game and once against the Phillies Span stood in the box making himm an autiomatic out. This team's collective head is not in the game.

  61. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    1. Andrelton Simmons Yeah, but that kid can play some shortstop, can't he?

  62. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Ghost, I looked at the Barves schedule. They play the White Sox and then the Mets. I don't think they are going to get swept, even if they are limping, because they have good pitching. We need to take care of business. Item ONE for me is to make sure Strasburg's bad outing was just a fluke.

  63. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I don't see what Rizzo can do before the deadline that will make things measurably better. He's got his RH pinch-hitter; Tracy hitting well enuf recently that I doubt he can be improved on (except not letting him play third). Bernadina is needed to fill in the outfield; the guy who isn't contributing, at bat or in the field, is Lombardozzi. The only pitcher out there worth having is Garza and I wouldn't give more than chicken-feed for him (which probably won't get the job done) unless he comes with a three-year affordable extension. To mix a metaphor, I think we're stuck with the horses we rode in on.

  64. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    SHeesh, posts are disappearing again.m–I agree on Span, I'm putting it down to fatigue and adjustment, but that better get fixed after the break.

  65. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Ghost, Hairston actually had a great at bat before striking out. Cishek was throwing nasty sliders and Hairston kept fouling them off. He finally threw a fastball and caught Hairston off guard. Zim on the other hand looked foolish against Cishek. I don't think Rendon is a great match up in that situation either. A lefty would have been better but I don't think we had any left.

  66. sjm308 - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Theo: that is the same conclusion I came do. There really isn't that much out there and we have to hope the players who have been under achieving can turn it around.Ghost – there might be a few trolls calling for Davey but Mick and others are just passionate fans who are frustrated. Mick usually calls for others to go during games as well. I think just a few games past, he wanted Ryan gone which we pretty much know isn't going to happen. I would never put Mick in the troll catagory, he is just letting his passion override his thinking at times.

  67. Mr Baseball - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I hope the Nationals don't ruin Stephen Strasburg! They have tried to change him from a power pitcher to a pitcher who pitches to contact. When are they going to realize he's a Nolan Ryan type of pitcher. If they would just let him work on the fast ball and moving it around, he would start hitting the corners like he use too. All his other pitches should come off his fast ball. The more you throw the FB the more speed. Since he has been pitching to contact, he has lost a little speed on his FB and he does not hit the corners like he once did!

  68. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Something else that was in Boswell's column today, the idea that the team is looking for their identity. I wonder if this IS the team's personality. Everybody probably knows somebody like that–they're smart, but not as smart as they think they are. They tend to over-estimate their own skills, and underestimate other people's. They can tend to overlook details. They are fine when things are going their way, but in a crisis, they lose their composure and get rattled, and testy. They usually wind up doing pretty well overall, and occasionally will pull off some flashy accomplishment, but overall, it's B+ material. Just a thought.

  69. Muddy - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    A quick note in response to the comments that Davey and the Nats shoulda seen sooner that Span wasn't getting the lead-off job done and moved him out: although Span's OBP so far this year is only about .310, his career OBP is .350ish (which, by the way, is probably the minimum acceptable for leading off). Span's 2013 OBP of .310 wasn't outrageous. I think the Nats were justified in keeping Span leading off based on his career stats and his marginal 2013 OBP while allowing him to adjust to a new team in a new city. And also justified now is trying something else. They weren't panicking; they were being rational in their approach, treating Span like a valued part of the team as well as a human being.

  70. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    The stats don't show any improvement, but my heart/instinct says it's got to come.Henry/Duke/Espinosa gone, replaced byKrol/Abad/RendonDetwiler on the DL, replaced byTaylor JordanBad Haren, replace byGood Haren?Ramos back and healthy/Harper back and healthyWerth producing, Desi solid on offense and defense.BUTLaRoche and Span are spottyRZim seems to be in a slump, hopefully minor. It's been masked a little by walks.Bench is still a question.

  71. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Just the fact that Boz called the Marlins a bad team shows you he is not keeping up. They started out badly, but they play every pitch, every out like the game depends on it. They also have some real talent. Every team in our division right now has something going for it. They are not going to roll over. I think at this point the Barves may actually be the worst. I am in Philly country listening to sports talk( rant) radio, and I think my ears are bleeding. Yikes, they don't hold back at all .

  72. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    I'm still concerned about the starting pitching, and I'd be surprised if Rizzo weren't. I don't think we need Garza. I think we need a body, a healthy body, because Taylor Jordan will reach his innings limit, heaven knows when Detwiler will be back, and how effective he will be, and Haren seems to need a lot of tender care and monitoring. And that's before you get to the Big Three. There is just NOTHING that we have as a contingency plan, except maybe Ross Ohlendorf. Basically, we need another Ross Ohlendorf type to sit at Syracuse–in other words, a pitcher we have to "buy out" from a team that wants to shed salary. Rizzo needs to spend about $4-6 million for 2.5 months, which is a lot, but it's an insurance policy.

  73. dickinsonpoet - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    I think the most important thing is the player introductions. Actually SEEING these great players come out and getting to know a bit more about players from teams other than your own or the teams you've been playing against. It's a great moment when they are all standing there on the baselines. You can cheapen almost everything else about it–but not that brief shining moment.

  74. A DC Wonk - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Belated Monday Morning Tidbits:- Since he's been back from DL, Wilson Ramos (9 games) .375/.394/.625/1.019, with 2 HR, 11 RBI's.- Tim Lincecum before the no-hitter: 4-9, 4.61 ERA. San Diego against the Giants on the day after the no-hitter: 10 runs, 12 hits- 40 year old Bartolo Colon ends the first half 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA- The Twins won a series at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2001. The Twins, in 2001, had on their team four 2013 all stars (Torii Hunter, David Ortiz, Grant Balfour, and Michael Cuddyer) as well as Kyle Lohse.- Yankees are fourth going into the all star break, first time since 1995. (The starter for the 1995 Yankees in the last game before the break? Rookie Mariano Rivera, who went six innings in his sixth start, allowing three runs and lowering his ERA to 6.21)

  75. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Also, it's too bad about Morse. I think Rizzo would rather have had him than Hairston, but the guy just ISN'T healthy. If he comes off the DL after the break, that's only two weeks before the trade deadline. Yes, after July 31 Seattle could put Morse through waivers–and they probably will–but teams ahead of us might bite. But the teams "ahead of us" (i.e., behind us in the standings) are probably not contenders. After July 31 they will be marginal teams like the Phillies, Toronto, KC. the Giants, who might not want to pay millions for a part-time bat.

  76. NatsLady - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Read this on a baseball humor site.Giancarlo Stanton had two outfield assists on Sunday, because if he can't escape Miami, then nobody else can.

  77. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    It'll never happen, but right now, I would be willing to offer Daisuke Matsuzaka-level posting fees to the Marlins for Stanton, and give them Storen, Detwiler, and Giolito. Nevermind where he'd play–he'd play "hitter."

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    sjm, true, I don't consider Mick a troll. I criticize Davey all the time but no way do you send him off before the season is up.

  79. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    WerthRendonStantonHarperLaRocheZimmermanDesmond RamosYou think there's 4.7 in that?

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Awww, I see you replaced Span. Uh, that's a 4.8!

  81. nats guy - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    For the past 86 games they have been 41 and 45. That is a very long period of sub .500 baseball. Hopefully they find the same vendor of rose colored glasses and vat of cool aid you guys are drinking.

  82. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    It's spelled "kool-ade," or "kool-aid," or as we sometimes say here, "kook-ade."

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Nats Guy, I will drink it until the Nats are mathematically eliminated. It's sports. Have fun with it!

  84. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    But aside from the fact that most of the posts today are not particularly optimistic–hopeful, maybe, but this IS a fan site, after all–and so the "cool aid" thing is a little weird, in fact, 86 games is a small sample. It's just a little over half a year. They've been playing baseball for what, 150 years? And with a live ball since 1920. And in all that time, every year, some team, usually more than one, has a crappy first half, and a good second half. Every year. Will it be the Nats? I dunno, that's why they play the games, to find out. More than that, nobody knows.

  85. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Davie isn't going anywhere. He has earned enough respect to avoid getting canned at 70. Besides, I am not sure you will get anyone better for the stretch run.

  86. EmDash - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Harper's batting 9th and playing center field, it would appear. Brandon Phillips and his .320 OBP are leading off. Lineup optimization!

  87. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    The way I look at it is this is way better than 2007.

  88. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Bochy did not listen to Davey and take Desi. Bryce batting 9th. Mmmm. Close relationship? Maybe not so much? Bochy not much of a Nats fan?

  89. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Called Bryce Bryan also. Interesting.

  90. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Where we are now in the standings I wouldn't be a buyer or a seller on July 31st. We are too far back to be considered serious contenders but not far enough back to be out of the running. If our position switches for the worse by July 31st (Even 7 games out is enough) I would try to convert LaRoche and even Span into some serious young talent.

  91. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    To me the all star game is only good for 1 thing; 4 days off for a tired bunch. The fewer Nats, the better. The HR derby is a crashing bore.

  92. Section 135 - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    I would try very hard to trade Laroche this year. If this season is any indication, his next year could be brutal and he is not part of the future. Soriano too. They wont mean more than 2-3 wins this year at best and open up a lot of possibilities for next year.

  93. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    JD, keep in mind that 7 games back on July 31, historically, is far from insurmountable when you only have to catch one team. If the Giants are 7 games back, and in last place, for them, maybe that might be so. And they have hardware on the shelf as I type this.

  94. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Sec.1 Not insurmountable but not likely especially if we are still hovering around .500. Someday soon we have to start winning 8 of 10, 7 of 10 , 9 of 10 etc. We have to stop taking 2 steps forward and 2 steps back.

  95. EmDash - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    If we're going to talk about Span's OBP this season, I think we have to look at how much his approach has changed over the course of the season, right? In the first month, he worked the count more frequently, took a lot more walks. Since then he's swung at the first pitch a lot more often, and hit a lot more pop-ups. I have to suspect that a complete change of approach doesn't just happen with a veteran player, it's a result of coaching. He seems to have been advised to be a more aggressive hitter, but it's just not his natural style.

  96. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Still think there is a little bit of a Nats snub going on. Bryce will bat once, no Desi- and Davey is a retiring manager? Smells stinky.

  97. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    JD, you miss my point. They only have to catch the Braves, and nobody knows how many games they'll win. They could crash and burn, and if 83 wins winds up being good enough for first, the media stink for cashing in with 2 months to go will be worse than shutting down Strasburg.

  98. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Sec 135, I don't disagree with you at all. Soriano is good to have if he is the last piece on a championship team, for a .500 team he is an unnecessary luxury. If we are closer than we are now at the deadline then you can't give away any of the elements you mention because you have to go for it.

  99. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    LatsLady, Strasburg is confounding. He was so good for such a long time and then boom, he has an outing where he can't command anything, his fast ball is down a couple of MPH and it's like batting practice. I hope is not physical. I do agree with whoever posted that trying to be a 'pitch to contact' pitcher is not for Strasburg, it's not his personality and it's not pitching to his strength. I wish he was in attack mode all the time.

  100. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I haven't done this math, and I'm not going to, because I'm too lazy, but at what point–how many games back–have teams, historically, not come back? I'm pretty sure it would turn out to be more than 7.

  101. JD - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Sec1, I get your point. I just think it's hard to make up 7 games even if it's only 1 team ahead of you. I think the Braves can pitch well enough to avoid going into the tank completely. The other thing to consider is that the Phills are right there with us too. Don't get me wrong I still hope that we can at least get back to 4 games out by 7/31 where we were just a week ago I am just less optimistic than I was a week ago.

  102. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Well, to borrow a line, "Of course it's hard. Hard is what makes it great. If it weren't hard, everyone would do it."Baseball is not about probabilities–fantasy baseball is about probabilities. Betting on baseball is about probabilities. Baseball is about what *could* happen, and what does happen. Not that I think you don't know that–I know you do. But that's why I think 7 is not too far back.

  103. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Heck, the Phillies had a 6-game lead with ten games to play!

  104. hiramhover - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    In the first month, he worked the count more frequently, took a lot more walks.I'm dissatisfied with Span's performance, but a little correction is in order. His BB rate is:April – 10.1%May – 4.3June – 5.7July – 11.5His pitches per plate appearance are:April – 4.06May – 4.11June – 3.52July – 4.21He didn't walk much in May or June, and wasn't seeing as many pitches in June. But in both respects his July is actually looking a little better than April.

  105. A DC Wonk - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Strasburg is confounding. He was so good for such a long time and then boom, he has an outing where he can't command anything, his fast ball is down a couple of MPH and it's like batting practice. I hope is not physical.I don't get why everyone is fretting over Strasburg. Almost *all* great pitchers have outings like that every once in a while, no? Justin Verlander had a game where he lasted only 2.2 innings. And, in fact, he had a four-game streak where his combined ERA was 7.89 and a .333 BA.It happens.

  106. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    LatsLadyI did not know that. I always thought of her as more of a biceps lady. Live and learn.

  107. natsfan1a - Jul 15, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    On the flip side, the 2007 Mets had a 7 game lead over the Phillies in the NL East, with 17 games to play. The Mets went 5-12 and the Phillies won the division on the last day of the regular season. (Wait, were the Nats on the field for that clinch? But I digress…)Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa said… Heck, the Phillies had a 6-game lead with ten games to play! July 15, 2013 2:33 PM

  108. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    After seeing all the growing pains Stras has gone through over several seasons, I find that I am less likely to get excited about the new and exciting pitching flavor of the month. Medlin, Harvey, and other new guys with miniscule era's – just wait. Even Cy Young winners like Dickey, Stras, Lincecum- the path is not smooth, ever. It's an arduous journey- look at Roy Halladay. Being an elite level pitcher is a ridiculously difficult thing to pull off, especially year after year. It remains to be seen if Stras can get there. He has the ability. I do agree with Brian Kenny that the worth of a pitcher is not measured by wins, though. ERA, WHIP- it all has to be looked at together. Right now I would like to see Stras be more consistent from inning to inning and from game to game. He has a ways to go before he is a fully mature pitcher- still pretty green. Now Jordan is getting there in a hurry. Lefties take longer but Gio is getting to be in his prime.

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