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1st half report card

Jul 17, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT

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Few would say the first half of this baseball season progressed as they expected it would for the Nationals, who on Opening Day were the sport's odds-on favorites to win the World Series but slogged their way into the All-Star break with a 48-47 record.

The Nationals, by no means, have been awful. (Though there have been some awful stretches along the way.) But neither have they been fantastic. (Though there have been sporadic moments when they looked like they could be.)

As MLB makes the transition now from the All-Star Game to the unofficial start of the season's second half, let's look back and hand out first-half grades for everyone…

WILSON RAMOS — INC
Two hamstring injuries knocked him out of the lineup for a total of two months, but he came back with a bang two weeks ago and should make a positive difference the rest of the way.

KURT SUZUKI — C
He's solid when he catches every-other-day, but he really struggled (and took a physical beating) when forced into everyday duties while Ramos was on the DL.Read more »

132 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. UNTERP - Jul 17, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    More representative grades:Defense: FOffense: D-Other category(base running: F)Management and Coaching: C-

  2. UNTERP - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Starting Pitching: B+Bullpen: BBench: D-

  3. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Agree for the most part; you're a tough — but fair, in this case — grader. Just a couple of questions/quibbles:– Why the 'minus' attached to Anthony Rendon's 'A'?– Hard to jjustify even a 'D' for Dan Haren. Why not an 'F'?– What about an overall team grade? Maybe a 'D' or, at best, a 'C-'?

  4. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I know nobody ever wants to trash a really nice, friendly guy who plays a very physically demanding position. But Kurt Suzuki has been brutal this year, especially at the plate. Among the 27 MLB catchers with at least 200 plate appearances this season, he's 26th in OPS. Unacceptable, especially for a guy who's merely an average defensive catcher at best. It hasn't gotten the coverage of Espinosa or Haren, but it was a real problem for the team while Ramos was out and a big factor in the disappointing results to date.

  5. Don - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Not sure I'd give Rizzo such a great grade as he assembled what has been arguably the worst bench in the bigs and Haren has stunk it up for big Dollars. Rizzo waited far too long to send the guy down. I like Danny's slick glove 20/20 upsde as much an anyone but the guy struggled like mad last year, showed ZERO sign of breaking out this year. It should not have taken so long for Davey to at least throw the guy on the bench.Unterp hits it well above. The club has just not played well. That comes down to Davey. Bad fielding, bad base running, no one can bunt, lineup cards raise eyebrows and don't produce runs. Davey needs to crack the whip some and he needs to make adjustments. Rizzo also needs to adjust the roster — they need another pen arm and they need a SP. This club has too much talent for Rizzo not to be bold and go get some player(s) of impact. Rizzo sat on his hands last year (only add was a post-deadline Suzuki acquisition), he can't be so timid this year. This is the Nats win window, it is here now. These are the salad days of Nats baseball (and we are barely at 500); Rizzo's got to play to win now.

  6. do1teach1 - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    MCCARTNEY ANNOUNCES CHANGES AFTER NATS PARK CONCERTNews ReleaseLiverpool England, July 17, 2013 Superstar Paul McCartney, referring to some type of “curse” upon his band after their triumphant Nationals Park appearance, announced a series of mid-tour changes for his band.“It seems like some kind of funk fell upon us after we played at Nats Park,” the lovable Beatle said, adding, “It’s almost like we caught some awful virus from the hapless Nationals.” He cited the following:For some idiotic reason, after 98 perfect performances on the 2012 tour, his general manager sacked a number of excellent players, replacing all of them with mediocre ones. “I mean, he swapped Jimmy Page out for Peter Tork,” said McCartney.In an appearance in Cleveland, his band spent the entire performance watching labor disturbances and picket-line scuffles. “I can’t explain it,” McCartney said, “but after the DC appearance, all they want to do is watch strikes.”McCartney announced that, after the concert in the Nation’s Capital, he was giving pay raises to his first- and second-bassmen. “I just realized our third bassman cannot play his instrument,” he said.Unaccustomed to losing, Paul noted the band has lost a number of “Battle of the Bands” contests since leaving Washington. “We made Gerry and the Pacemakers look better than the Beatles in one battle,” he said, exasperated. “We got swept by the 1910 Fruitgum Company in Miami, and by the Archies in Philadelphia. And after every loss, we give lame excuses and prepare to lose again the next night. Bands that haven’t had a hit in 40 years wake up and destroy us—we got shut out by Question Mark and the Mysterians!”Halfway through a lifeless concert in Atlanta, McCartney—and the audience—noticed his band hadn’t actually performed any songs. “They would get into position, tap their feet, hear me scream ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ then nothing. Nothing. Our GM would send out our media flack, Phil Would, to reassure the fans there was no problem.”McCartney continued, sadly, “Phil kept telling people, concert after concert, ‘Don’t worry—it’s still early.’” Then Paul asked, bitterly, “But is it ever early if you’re not playing at all?”Sir Paul identified another troubling trend in his band, post-Washington: If they have six lousy concerts and then one good one, they say the one good one has solved all their ills and they’re back in top form. “Then, inevitably,” he sighed, “the next night they’re singing ‘Mandy’ and doing Millie Vanilli covers again.”On McCartney’s order the word, “mechanics” has been banned from the band. “Ever since DC,” he said, “when my guys screw up the chords on a song lately, they come back stage and tell me they’re having a problem with their ‘mechanics.’ And I’m screaming, ‘screw mechanics—play the damn song!’”In a final act, unprecedented in the hard-edged world of Rock and Roll, McCartney announced no groupies would be permitted near the band for the rest of the 2013 tour. “Ever since Washington, our guys just have trouble scoring,” he said.For further information contact McCartney's manager, Brian Eckstein, at 201-3-8181.

  7. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    bowdenball, Agree on Suzuki. I think Ramos return and his ability to stay healthy is under estimated. No way the Nats should let Suzuki vest his option for next year. I am ok with Shopach as the backup. I think the major factors in the team decline from last year to this are: Not as good a 1st half as last by: LaRoche,2nd base,Zim,Stras,Gio,Det and Haren vs. EJax, bench. Better than last year: JZim, Werth and Desi. about the same: Harper and the bullpen. Catching roughly the same (Suzuki TY vs. Flores LY). Span has actually been an upgrade over Morse. Davie deserves a D at best and Rizzo an INC.

  8. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    do1teach1 said…"For some idiotic reason, after 98 perfect performances on the 2012 tour, his general manager sacked a number of excellent players, replacing all of them with mediocre ones. “I mean, he swapped Jimmy Page out for Peter Tork,” said McCartney."I know it's just parody and I know you're simply trying to be funny and I shouldn't take it seriously. But I can't help – this has become my #1 Nats fan pet peeve.People need to stop saying the Nats overhauled their 98 win roster. 99% of MLB teams change more of their roster from one season to the next than the 2012 – 2013 Washington Nationals. If anything the Nationals were too stagnant in the offseason. When people complain about the "roster overhaul," all if does it makes them sound like they just started watching baseball last season and don't pay attention to any moves other than those made by the Nationals.

  9. phil dunton - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Davey Johnson F, Rizzo D-, Eckstein F, Jewett, F, McCatty D-

  10. Tcostant - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Getting the teammate home from 3B with less than two out: F-

  11. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Tcostant said…"Getting the teammate home from 3B with less than two out: F-"Ouch! What grade do the 15 teams who have fewer sacrifice flies than the Nationals get? The Pirates must get an M or something.

  12. Doc - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Love see Ramos coming up to bat.Hate seeing him go after a pop foul. He missed one at the dugout railing in the Philthies' series that was so catchable that even a caveman could have caught it.It can't be that hard can it??

  13. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    do1teach1 — No one is going to agree with every analogy you make — heck, you probably don't either. But that was really darn clever. Congrats.

  14. do1teach1 - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    bowdenball–Totally fair comment, thank you.I see it more as a matter of chemistry than raw percentage of change. We swapped out a leadoff hitter (Werth) who hit .300 last year, for Span. We had an unbelievably happy and productive outfield and subtracted Morse from it. And I believe the changes in our bullpen, announced with the hubristic boast that "our righties can get lefties out–we don't need all those lefties" turned out to be disastrous–and dug a hole for the team that the still haven't climbed out of.And also–while not representing a wholesale numerical change–the loss of Lannen for one mediocre replacement after another–has really hurt us. He was a Braves killer for us, and is now a Nats killer for the Phils. Which, to me, in sum, means losing Eric Clapton for Peter Tork.Thanks/D1

  15. do1teach1 - Jul 17, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks 222. Really was inspired by McCartney at Nats Park Friday night.

  16. John C. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    An "F" for fielding, Unterp? Really? When ranked by their ability to turn balls in play into outs (which is, after all, the goal of fielding), the Nats rank 10th of the 30 MLB teams. Like It's funny that so many seem to confuse the 2013 Nationals with "terrible." Those of us who have actually been watching the team since 2005 know "terrible." Trust us, this team isn't terrible. I'm not saying it's great, but it's a lot better than terrible (see, e.g., Washington Nationals 2006-2010).

  17. Gregory Johnson - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    First of all this is the same bench from last year minus a tweak here or there and it seemed reasonable to expect progression from the 2nd yr players( T.Moore, S. Lombardozzi) young vets( Bernadina) and of course Chad Tracy…..yet everyone seems to have regressed, injuries, off years…whatever. Suzuki was supposed to back up Ramos not start the majority of games. The Nats have grade A talent….but….Rizzo needs to honor the baseball Gods and quit acting like it is predestined for them to be perinial contenders….I think personally this year is karma, not for shutting down Strausburg but the comments of certainty that they'll be contenders every year….. probably either sneak in this year or wash out…..just humble yourselves and remember never tell this game how next year will go…..it'll break your heart.

  18. James Joyce - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Having more sac flies than half of baseball is a pretty dumb stat to throw out. Teams can get hits to score guys from 3B too, no? And most teams have scored more runs than the Nats, right? The club has simply, whether it be from bad situational hitting or otherwise, just not scored enough. Same story as for most of last year.Look, Eckstein is looking pretty wooly right now. Sacrificing a lamb is an ancient, tried and true tradition, especially in baseball. I like the guy and I don't think this is his fault, but they can't fire the lineup or Davey or Rizzo. Eck's just gotta be 86'd. Club/Davey needs to feel the guilt of getting the guy fired.

  19. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    This team is not terrible. No doubt about. It's a .500 team. That's basically mediocre. But it's terrible compared to expectations at the beginning of the season, not just from rose colored glasses wearing fans or the local media, but from baseball experts around the country, management, and the team itself.

  20. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    The only guy in a prominent enough position to be a meaningful sacrificial lamb because of the team's mediocre performance is Davey. I really hate the idea of firing a guy just because you think it might help if there's no objective way to conclude his performance is deficient.

  21. UnkyD - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    DoTeach…. You worked so hard, I almost wish I could agree with more of your very clever post…. Nicely done, however… Well played

  22. John C. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    do1teach1 … I get your story, which was cute. But the problem that I have is the odd veneration of players that were allowed to depart. I miss Michael Morse, but I have to admit that he is a lousy OF, and since the end of April has been some combination of hurt and not very good. Sean Burnett has been hurt and has barely played this season. Mike Gonzalez has been mediocre. Gorzelanny has been OK. Neither of them have been as effective as Ian Krol and Fernando Abad. Going into the last 67 games of the season, the 2013 Nats bullpen is in better shape than it was in 2012. Hate on Dan Haren? Sure, if you must. But he replaced Edwin Jackson in the rotation, and Jackson has not just been lousy, he's lousy and signed to big $$ for four years. The real difference from last year to this year, IMHO, is that the bench fell apart. But that's not where the team changed, it's where the team stayed the same. Rizzo kept the band together, but Bernadina, Moore, Lombardozzi and Tracy have all been terrible. So the real complaint shouldn't be that Rizzo broke up the band, it's that he didn't.Which is, of course, 20/20 hindsight. Which is the easiest way to GM :D

  23. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Having more sac flies than half of baseball is a pretty dumb stat to throw out. Teams can get hits to score guys from 3B too, no? OK, now I'm curious. Where DO they rank in getting runners in from 3rd base?

  24. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    do1teach1-I should say that I was very hesitant to post that given the fact that you were obviously just having some fun 9and that most of the analogies were good ones!). I just get tired of hearing that criticism so I couldn't help myself.People who think the Nats messed up a good thing should look at the teams that made the playoffs last year and are doing well again this year. The Braves signed their most expensive free agent ever and then traded away maybe their best hitter from last season for a new left fielder. The Tigers signed Torii Hunter and dumped the ALCS MVP. The Yankees changed pretty much every spot in the lineup except Cano's. The Cardinals let Lohse and Berkman go and lost their #1 starter and their closer to injury. The A's made a bunch of moves.This is just the way the sport works. Nobody ever returns the same team. In fact, the only 2012 good team I can think of that had less turnover than the Nats is the Giants, and they're eight games under .500 right now.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    CHAD TRACY — DIt's been a difficult and frustrating season for the veteran pinch-hitter, who hasn't come close to duplicating last year's production. The only thing saving him from an F: three game-saving home runs off the bench.Did you forget the throwing error that lost the game Saturday?I give him a D just because he's a nice guy who is trying hard.

  26. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Rizzo kept the band together, but Bernadina, Moore, Lombardozzi and Tracy have all been terrible. So the real complaint shouldn't be that Rizzo broke up the band, it's that he didn't.It's an interesting problem for personnel management, isn't it? "Look, you had a great year off the bench, but there's a reason you're a bench guy, and most bench guys don't sustain that kind of production long-term. We don't believe you can do that again. Now, if you had a mediocre season, we'd see some upside, and keep you, but as it is, well … you're fired."

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Mark, I have to give you credit for giving the tough grades even on the teflon men (RZim and Rizzo).People are going to want to see what they want to see and you and Bowdenball nailed it on Suzuki. My question is how can you keep this guy and risk paying him $8.5 million next year? That money has to be spent on a 4th outfielder. There are many players that fit the right-handed high OBP profile that could fill that role for 2014 at near that salary and maybe there's a way to bring back Morse on a 1 year deal.

  28. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    "This team is not terrible. No doubt about. It's a .500 team. That's basically mediocre."Not really. This is a good team that has under-performed. They had the best defense, on paper, of any team in the MLs, but were terrible out of the gate. They had the most exciting player in baseball on his way to a historic performance in his sophomore year who has not been the same since he crashed into 2 RF walls and damaged his right knee.They have a manager who scoffs at small ball and does not know how to manufacture runs, and their offense shows it. I give Davey an "F" for this year, and there is not enough room here to detail all the reasons.Let's see where they are at the end of the year. Even with such an under-whelming performance in the first half, they are still one game over .500 and in 2nd place in the NL East. They can play a lot better baseball than they have so far this year.

  29. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Did you forget the throwing error that lost the game Saturday? Wait, that helps save him from an F? Huh?

  30. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I feel that Davey is pretty much done already. Danny' s not breaking out and Rizzo stepping in to remedy the situation appeared to have been a major disappointment. He saw Danny as his mini- me and could not leave that finished product as a legacy. He seems disappointed, dispirited, confused, frustrated and more than ready for Bora Bora. This not the way he saw his final season playing out. He is retiring , yet no one seemed to notice at the ASG or pay any attention to him. No farewells in other cities. Has he stayed too long at the party? Do any of you think he still has the fire and the ability to lead and inspire? Will there be some miraculous turnaround ahead?

  31. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    To be fair, the gopher ball to Stanton cost them the game. The error just hastened the inevitable.

  32. UNTERP - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    John C. said… An "F" for fielding, Unterp? Really? When ranked by their ability to turn balls in play into outs (which is, after all, the goal of fielding), the Nats rank 10th of the 30 MLB teams. Like http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/fielding/year/2013/seasontype/2/league/nlFielding StatsNational LeagueRK TEAM GP E FPCT A PO TC15 Wash. 95 67 .981 928 2530 3525I don't usually waste my time looking up Stats. I'm just not a stats guy. But the Nationals rank last in the NL in fielding. They have been terrible and the reason I gave them an "F"…

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… They have a manager who scoffs at small ball and does not know how to manufacture runs, and their offense shows it. I give Davey an "F" for this year, and there is not enough room here to detail all the reasons.If Rizzo gets a C, then Davey gets a C until we find out which brainiac insisted on putting Henry on the 25 man roster out of Spring Training and keeping Espinosa for as long as they did and also Chad Tracy because whoever is responsible for those bad decisions need help analyzing roster talent and they deserve a F.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa said… To be fair, the gopher ball to Stanton cost them the game. The error just hastened the inevitable.I also jumped on Soriano until I saw the Pitch F/X that ball was 3 inches over top of the strike zone at his highest velo for the game at 94. That is credit to Stanton although in the 1-2 count I would have buried the slider in the dirt which is what some scouts have as the "out" pitch to get Stanton in a 0-2.Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the batter.

  35. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa said…"OK, now I'm curious. Where DO they rank in getting runners in from 3rd base?"I don't know exactly where they rank in getting runners in from 3rd base. But given that they're 15th in sacrifice flies and that they rank HIGHER in batting average, OBP and slugging with runners in scoring position than they rank in those categories overall, I can pretty confidently say that situational hitting has NOT been the Nationals' problem.This is pretty common fan bias. Everyone thinks their team sucks at situational hitting. The reason is that they remember the times their team fails to convert a chance to score because it's so frustrating, and they forget the times they succeeded. Similarly they remember the times the opponents did get a run home, and forget the times that their own team's pitchers were able to strand them, for the same reason. Frustration sticks with you, contentment does not. The Nationals real problem is actually the opposite of what people have been saying= they haven't hit as well with the bases empty as they have with runners on scoring position. If they had, they'd have had a lot more runners in scoring position in the first place, and consequently a lot more runs.

  36. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Adam Kilgore with another good piece:“Ian’s a good player, someone that I consider one of the best shortstops in the game,” said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the National League starter. “A couple years back, I think his error total was real high. He’s cut down on those. Anytime you get an offensive shortstop, he’s going to be a key piece to a team. I think Washington needs to sign him. He’s going to make a little bit of money, but he deserves it.”

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    bowdenball said… The Nationals real problem is actually the opposite of what people have been saying= they haven't hit as well with the bases empty as they have with runners on scoring position. I analyzed that problem last week. When your leadoff man ranks 3rd to last in OBP amongst qualified batters, that's a problem and the 7th spot in the Nats order was last in the Majors in OBP for the 1st 60 games.Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ian Desmond can only hit solo HRs if nobody is on base.Seems to me you were one of those saying it was OK for Span and Espinosa since their defense was so good.

  38. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Ghost, Those moves you mention, while questionable have little to do with the team's record. Davie's in game decisions do as evidenced by the fact that reversing these decisions hasn't given the team the kick start you would have anticipated. Rizzo gets an incomplete based on the following: a) How does A.J Cole turn out? b) Does LaRoche end up closer to last year's stats or his April stats? c) What does he get for Espinosa? d) what happens before or at July 31st?

  39. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the batter.Yeah, and LaSorda still insists if he had to do it over again, he'd still pitch to Jack Clark. I can still see Tommy's face, thinking to himself, "Do I walk him, and let that [SOB] {Van Slyke) beat me?"Another fastball out of the zone, too.Great game, baseball.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    JD said… Ghost,Those moves you mention, while questionable have little to do with the team's recordKeep telling yourself that.

  41. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    GoSM-Sorry, but I just don't understand the relationship between what you quoted from my post and what you wrote. I'm talking about situational hitting. The Nats have been good at it as compared to their overall numbers, despite what several posters seem to think. Where they've struggled is in getting runners into scoring position in the first place.You're talking about batting order, and the overall value of Span and Espinosa when you account for their defensive contributions. And I have no idea what any of those things have to do with what I said. By the way, I don't think either player has been "OK," but that's neither here nor there.

  42. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Ghost, With Rendon, Krol, Abad et al. is our record any better than with Henry, Espi and Duke? If the answer is no then I think your argument loses a lot of its luster.

  43. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    "If Rizzo gets a C, then Davey gets a C until we find out which brainiac insisted on putting Henry on the 25 man roster out of Spring Training and keeping Espinosa for as long as they did and also Chad Tracy because whoever is responsible for those bad decisions need help analyzing roster talent and they deserve a F."I think it's a safe bet that Henry was Rizzo's decision. He was the guy who brought Henry here and we all know how much Rizzo believes in his guys. I think that one is on him. My one big beef with Mike is that he persists in believing in players who have demonstrated they are no longer deserving of it.Davey has his way, and he sticks with it, win or lose. I put Espinosa on Davey. I see that Danny has made some encouraging improvements in the minors lately. So how come Davey and Rick could not have made the same progress with him that the folks at Syracuse, apparently, have seen? He should have been sent down long ago. I have never seen a player more poorly managed than Espinosa.Tracy should have been replaced. Assembling the bench is on Rizzo. Usually Rizzo seems to have options for whatever may go wrong. This year, he has not given himself the same flexibility that he has in the past. Maybe he thought he had enough talent in the minors. I did, too, but the minor leaguers have faltered this year as much as the ML bench. Corey Brown has fallen off a cliff. Perez does not offer much. Kobernus is not as good as what Davey already has. Goodwin's development has stalled. No help there.The one guy they did have, Rendon, they brought up far too late. They have talented pitching, but most are at least one year away. If Solis not had TJ surgery so recently, he may have been the guy to replace Detwiler, but he was not ready.Some of that was just bad luck, but a lot of it was a failure to act when action was called for. I still give Rizzo a "C" because he did assemble the best team in the division going into the season. There are always injuries, and they had some major injuries,but Mike had nothing to answer them with.I think all of us knew, going in, that they had no depth for the rotation, and that has hurt.Those guys have plenty of talent. Davey can put a lineup out there that must be the envy of most of his managerial rivals, but they have under-performed. The Nats will need a new manager, next year, to realize their full potential, IMO. Even so, they could still win it, just on talent, alone.

  44. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Laddie, Re your post at 2:57, A couple of things…I always thought HRod was DJ's guy… The same chances DJ gave Espi, I felt he gave HRod… But DJ's loyalty has always seemingly been an issue… even when the team was winning last year…I was livid that we re-signed Tracy… I actually thought he would have become a 1st base or 3rd base coach or just joined the staff. He definitely has a lot of knowledge and can help but I didnt want him on the team… I actually thought the entire Goodn Squad over-achieved last year but I was very surprised that Rizzo didnt add another bat to it…'The Nats will need a new manager, next year, to realize their full potential, IMO.' — To what I see is that on 1 hand DJ preaches the power but we dont have an all power line up… We traded Morse (who I am glad is gone) who was a big bat for Span (who I do like a lot) who isnt a HR power guy… Its like DJ wants the line up to do what they arent necessarily made for…

  45. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Ghost – Saw where you have made mention of Span not getting on base as an issue a number of times, but what I dont remember is the 2 hitter really doing anything behind him… or the rest of the line up really… Not defending Span but the issue isnt only him… and of course for some reason our situational hitting is the best…

  46. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    If I were Span, I would be p****ed, but I doubt he is, as he seems like an amiable fellow. He's brought in to lead off (which he has done ALL his career) and play defense. He does both in April (and the latter all season) but someone–and by someone, I mean Davey–got greedy, and said with a adjustment to your swing and being more aggressive in the count, you can hit better than .265 or .275, we can get you to that .300+ you hit EXACTLY once!So, Span obliges, even though for 2.5 months he's not comfortable and his OBP and average slide and slide. Moreover, non of the coaches (by this I assume he means Davey and Eck) can diagnose what's wrong and make the little tweaks he used to get from the Twins who knew him all his life.Finally, knowing he's not performing in the leadoff role, he starts taking walks again, for two games. So you start to think, "good, he's going back to what worked for him." THEN, baby Bryce says, I wanna lead-off, and Davey says fine, maybe that'll work. By an accident of fate, Denard hits two doubles from the 7-spot and wins a game…. Yeah, way to go, Davey, way to mess with someone's head.

  47. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Laddie, Good points overall but I disagree on 1 point. I don't think you can say that Brian Goodwin development has stalled. He has a .351 OBP and a .748 OPS in his 1st full year at AA which is a tough level to hurdle. I think Goodwin has always been projected as a 2015 arrival and I don't think he has done anything to counter that target. I think he will a better more rounded version of Span when he gets here. I think Rizzo believed in his bench because they did well as a group last year and by the time they all started bombing most of the other options had jobs (I agree that there was no need to rush to signing Tracy). I think Rizzo knew that the minors provided little help, Brown has been around long enough Rizzo thought little enough of Kobernus that he left him unprotected. I am in full agreement with you about Davie. Some really strange and inconsistent in game decisions. I think we need to find a young energetic out of the box thinking manager for next year. My out of the blue candidate? Brad Ausmus.

  48. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    NatsLady said…"THEN, baby Bryce says, I wanna lead-off, and Davey says fine, maybe that'll work. By an accident of fate, Denard hits two doubles from the 7-spot and wins a game…."Did this really happen? Did Davey lead off Bryce just because Bryce asked him for it?If not that seems like a pretty mean-spirited accusation. If so- wow. I'm surprised Davey would be so accommodating considering that Harper had been tossed the day before.I agree with your premise, though. Span seems to have changed his approach to be more a little aggressive and take fewer walks, and I don't like it either. What he did in Minnesota worked just fine.

  49. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    As far as the bullpen and the righties can handle it==> (1) If Davey didn't like it, he had a mouth and could have said something but he went gallivanting to South Africa and only came back for his Manager of the Year Award(2) You could see in spring training and from career stats that the only righty who was consistently good at getting lefties was Clippard (though, actually, Henry wasn't bad either when he actually pitched to them.) Mattheus and Storen were terrible against lefties. Again, where was Davey to say, look this isn't going to work, at least let me keep Abad;. It took Mattheus breaking his hand to get Abad up here. Davey, meanwhile, said in ST that Abad had pitched well enough to make the team. Had Henry?

  50. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Yes, it was reported in a couple of places that Bryce went to Davey and asked to lead off.

  51. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    JD said… I think we need to find a young energetic out of the box thinking manager for next year. My out of the blue candidate? Brad Ausmus.====Big reason why I wanted B Porter… Passionate guy… But I do wonder about the Yanks current manager…

  52. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    I am not 100% certain of the sequence of events (I'd have to look up the articles) but I believe Bryce had proposed himself as lead-off hitter before he got ejected.

  53. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Naw NL – Davey was too busy trying to buy into the moves… Remember when he said it was okay that there were no L in the BP… R could get folks out…I cant believe so many people bought into that crap..

  54. John C. - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Unterp, it's not clear which of these stats was the "ranking" stat that placed the Nationals 15th in the NL. I suspect it was either errors (fielding percentage is based on errors) – which is a lousy stat for analyzing defensive ability. Why? Two reasons: (1) it doesn't account for range (it's quite common for a player to be given an error on a play that most fielders don't even get to); and (2) biased official scoring. The latter is my favorite, because I've been to OPACY a couple of times and noticed that it is nearly impossible for an O's player to be charged with an error there. Which is why it is fiendishly difficult even for advanced metrics to account for defense – even UZR and other methods are imperfect, especially when analyzing an individual player in an individual season. Which is why I prefer Baseball Prospectus's "Defensive Efficiency." Using every baseball put into play over the season, it ranks teams on their ability to turn those baseballs into outs – which is the bottom line function of a defense. When you get right down to it, the Nationals aren't a great fielding team, but they are above average at getting outs. I'll take it.

  55. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    NatsLady, I think that most players and most fans misunderstand the concept of 'being aggressive'. To me the idea is that many pitchers if not most dread walking the leadoff man so they often throw 'get over' pitches. You don't want to take 'get over' pitches and fall behind because if you do you are toast. This does not mean that you have to swing at a pitcher's pitch and if at the end of this approach you get a walk this is a good result as well. I think that this is Eck's and Davie's philosophy and I agree with it whole hardheartedly. I think Span's problem hasn't been approach, it's been lousy execution.

  56. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    JD – "Rizzo gets an incomplete based on the following…"The same can be said for this season. That team can play a lot better than what they have shown, to date. They need some luck, too. They need Haren to step up, and either Ohlendorf or Detwiler to hold down the 5-slot. They need for Harper to return to his early season form, for Rendon and Ramos to stay healthy, for Ryan and ALR to each have a strong 2nd half, and for Desi and Werth to keep on doing as they have been.The Nats did not have either Rendon or Ramos for most of the 1st half, and they did not have a healthy Harper back until recently.Let's see what they can do with their new, improved lineup supporting a patched up rotation.It wouldn't hurt to get better field management out of Davey, either.

  57. karlkolchak - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Mark is being too kind with Haren. Those last two starts may have saved his spot in the rotation for the time being but do not detract the fact that he was paid $13 million to solidify the rotation and would be second worst right now among ERA title qualifiers had his recent DL stint not prevented him from logging enough innings. He deserves a big, fat F.Also deserving Fs: Espinosa, Henry, Duke and Tyler Moore. Performing badly enough to get demoted or released certainly qualifies as failure.

  58. bowdenball - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    NatsLady said…"I am not 100% certain of the sequence of events (I'd have to look up the articles) but I believe Bryce had proposed himself as lead-off hitter before he got ejected."Proposing a lineup spot for yourself, whenever it happens, doesn't really seem all that baby-ish to me. I'm sure guys make lineup suggestions or requests to managers all the time. Kinda seems like an unfair rush to judgment on Bryce, unless you have some reason to think he was being childish about it. Was he pouting or threatening to throw a tantrum or something?

  59. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    "I think Goodwin has always been projected as a 2015 arrival and I don't think he has done anything to counter that target."I hope you are right, JD. That is probably why they gave Span a 2-year deal.

  60. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    Mrs. B? Girardi? good idea, I think the Yankees will keep him though. I've heard Ausmus speak and I've heard players who played with him speak about him. Smart guy.

  61. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    JD, I do understand and even wrote a long blog post about the idea that pitchers try to steal that first strike, and hitters counter that with being aggressive. In that same article I took a brief look at Span, whose approach was more like Werth's than Desi's. I think it depends on what you want out of your lead-off hitter. If you want a guy who will see a lot of pitches and get on base via the walk or a single, and then maybe distract the pitcher on the basebaths (even if he gets picked off) in the first inning, then that's what you hired Span for. If you want a guy like Desi in the leadoff spot–well, Davey did try that last year….

  62. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    No, I have no reason to think Bryce was being childish, and maybe shouldn't have phrased it that way–heaven knows how the conversation went. It just rubbed me the wrong way…

  63. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Yes Girardi… I heard reports that the Yanks said that if they didnt make it to the playoffs this year, he was gone… or something to that affect…

  64. Don - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Harper batting lead-off is just a bad idea, no matter who came up with the notion. The kid is a power bat, a baseball masher. His OBP abilities are great, but having him up there with pretty much no chance to knock someone in is not a good call. The way to beat great power hitters is to make sure no one is on when they get their XBHs.

  65. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    NL, See, I think that's over complicated. Desi just swung at the 1st pitch regardless when he was leading off. I am not advocating that. I just don't think you should take the 1st pitch or the 2nd pitch on spec. If it's a hittable pitch, hit it and if you make a hard out so be it. Span has been playing pepper with the 2nd baseman for 2 months, that's not being aggressive, that's making soft outs. When I lived in Montreal I used to listen to Duke Snyder on the Expos broadcast and he had a similar philosophy. In any given at bat the pitcher is likely to give you one good pitch to hit and that's the pitch you should be swinging at whether it's the 1st pitch or not. Of course with 2 strike you have to change your approach and be defensive but a good pitcher will throw you nasty pitches once he has you set up.

  66. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Yep, Davey and Bryce are to blame for all of Span's offensive woes. Davey and Bryce should both be fired and Span should move back to the lead-off position. You see, Lead-Off Hitter is a position, according to NatsLady, and only certain types of players can play that position, and Bryce is not the sort of human who qualifies apparently, even though his on base percentage and slugging are in the stratosphere compared to Span's. Bryce just doesn't have the capabilities and need not apply to be Lead-Off Hitter.

  67. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    "I always thought HRod was DJ's guy…"Maybe. But as I recall Rizzo brought him here in the Willingham trade before Davey was named field manager. Davey mainly used Henry for mop-up duties this year. It appeared to me that Davey was reluctant to use him in meaningful situations."I actually thought the entire (Goon) Squad over-achieved last year but I was very surprised that Rizzo didnt add another bat to it…"My theory is that Davey liked the team chemistry and did not want to shake up the bench to change it. But that is no excuse for Mike not to have made an upgrade. The Nats are an attractive venue, now, for free agents."Its like DJ wants the line up to do what they arent necessarily made for…"Bizarre, but true, like when he insisted, against all prior experience, to put Espinosa and Desi at the top of the lineup last year. They had the lowest first inning run production in the entire MLs until he put Werth and Harper in those slots, instead, and moved both Espi and Desi down in the order where they had always hit best, and did so, again, after Davey finally made the obvious change.And then there was that 9th inning tie game with the Braves early this year, with runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs in the 9th, and Desi at bat against their ace closer. Desi had gone 0 for 7 against him, with 5 strikeouts, in his career. The Braves were playing their IF back, conceding a run on virtually any ball hit into play. A perfect bunt scenario, especially since Desi is one of the team's best bunters.So Davey had him swing away, instead. The Braves had handed him a run, for free, but he refused to take it. Of course, Desi struck out for the 6th time in 8 ABs against that closer. The Braves brought their IF in on the next batter, who either struck out, or popped out, and the Nats did not score in the 9th, and lost the game in the 10th.If the Nats fail to make the playoffs by 1 game, that is the game and the situation that I will remember going into the off-season. Davey gave that one away, and to the Braves, in the bargain.

  68. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I feel your pain Laddie. Don't forget that that was the game when Davey brought in H-Rod in the bottom of the 10th to lose the game because he was saving Soriano in case we took the lead in the 11th. It was H-Rod's last appearance as a National.Someone asked earlier why Davey and Eck couldn't accomplish the improvements Espi has apparently made in Syracuse. I can't resist answering: Because Syracuse batters face minor league pitching.

  69. James Joyce - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Willaim O Douglas Longname is right, but for the wrong reasons. Harper can get on at leadoff, no doubt, but he is more qualified to bat where it counts more, further down in the order, say hitting 4th or 5th (he's a .270 hitter, he's not a better hitter than Zim and hitting him 2 is also something of a waste of his talent). A lot of guys can hope to get on and maybe they can run well too. WAY fewer guys can knock in 100+ RBI. Bryce is one of those guys.

  70. JamesFan - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    I'm getting down on Harper. Who is he to say where he bats or anything else. THIS YEAR, he's a .264 hitter with 13 homers and 29 RBI. I'm not into hair, shiny shoes or hype. I want to see production. Last year he made a difference. This year not. So far, he has a long way to go to match his expectations. I want fewer tantrums, more maturity and a more professional approach to the game.

  71. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    I'm guessing I'm not alone in enjoying a chuckle over someone posting under the pseudonym James Joyce mocking the pseudonym William O Douglas. :-)

  72. hiramhover - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Out of curiousity, I took a quick look at players fWAR–both what they've actually accumulated this season (the first #), and what they would get in a 650 PA season (second #).Desi – 3.5, 5.8Ramos – 0.7, 5.4Harp – 1.6, 4.3Rendon – 1.1, 4.0Zimm – 1.2, 2.3Werth – 0.8, 2.0Span – 1.2, 2.0Zook – 0.3, 0.8ALR – 0.1, 0.2The shocker to me is ALR. WAR used to love his defense, and that was where he got a lot of his supposed value. This year, not so much.

  73. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Harper's OPS+ is 143, among the highest in the league. Manny Machado's is 116. Batting average is a poor way to evaluate a player (although he could and will raise the BA). His OBP is good. His power numbers are good. Harper will be just fine.

  74. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Interesting that fWAR has Ryan at 1.2 while bWAR has him at 2.0. That's a pretty significant difference.

  75. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Even though injuries have affected his game, Harper still has a .893 OPS. That would tie him for 8th in the National League if he had enough plate appearances. (The minimum is 294, Harper has 242.) I want to see him back in the zone he was in for the first few weeks of the season too, but I think it's a little early to write him off as a spoiled and overrated showboater who can't produce.

  76. hiramhover - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    DavidYes, and there are some others that show big gaps – Rendon is 1.1 on fWAR, 0.6 on bWAR.Neither likes ALR, tho – 0.1 on fWAR, 0.3 on bWAR.

  77. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Harper's numbers have been dragged down by 1. playing injured in May and 2. that 0-19 or whatever after returning from the DL. I think he's had pretty good ABs lately (the day he got into a fight over the SZ notwithstanding).

  78. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Also worth pointing out that Span has the 3rd highest fWAR on the team…

  79. jshai - Jul 17, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Soriano seems incapable of pitching a 1-2-3 ninth. Should be added to Span and Haren as a move that has not worked out the way we had hoped.

  80. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    What? Soriano has worked out just fine, imo. He's on pace for 43 saves.

  81. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Imagine where we would be if Storen was closing. Soriano has been a great move by Rizzo really.

  82. Don - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    The Soriano move has worked out pretty welll (25 of 29 chances). And Storen was going to close otherwise, how do you think that would have worked-out?

  83. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Soriano seems incapable of pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.That's not his job. His job is to save games, period. It doesn't matter how many batters he faces to do it. He'll succeed or fail on that.

  84. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Really, I don't even blame Soriano for the last blown save. It was a 1 run game with one of the best HR hiters in the game up. He threw a pitch well above the strike zone trying to get Stanton to swing under it. Somehow Stanton got it. When the margin for error is 1, those things are going to happen sometimes.

  85. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Don, Storen has also had only about 5 – 6 bad games and he has been in many. His bad games though have been very bad. I think the Soriano move was based on the feeling that this team has everything and an experienced closer would be the icing on the cake. You can be a .500 team with or without Soriano so whether that move can be ultimately judged a success is yet to be determined.

  86. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    I just feel that these kind of events like the ASG affect Bryce. It seems that he is destined for that spotlight, and he knows it. He " gets" his place in the game he loves the game, the spotlight, the other players, the fans. It does not seem to be a burden to him. He just steps right up. I see him returning with a refreshed passion. And yes, he will run into walls and outs, he will have adventures and get impatient with umpires. Would you rather have him be bland? He has a good foundation and is growing into his role. Remember last year? He was starry eyed, dropped a ball. This year he not only belonged , he stood out. Love that kid and everything that comes along with him, even the messy stuff.

  87. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    FWIW, Storen has 7 games where he's given up 2 or more earned runs.

  88. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Soriano has 3 games where he's given up 2 runs. He's never given up more than 2 runs in a game this year this year.

  89. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Would you rather have him be bland? You said it, Swami. And it's not as if we had that choice, anyway–might as well get on board for the ride.

  90. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    And we have no idea how Storen would have been had the closer role been his from the start. Experienced pitchers often talk about the difficulty in changing roles. All I know is this- his stuff is some of the filthiest on the team. He is still evolving as a reliever, but look out in the future. He could be just unhittable. He can be now a lot of the time. Still young.

  91. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Since April 9, Soriano has given up 2 runs once. On May 19, a blown save against the Padres. Since May 19, Soriano has never allowed more than 1 run in a game. In fact, Since May 19, he's allowed 4 runs total. Soriano has been a lot better than people give him credit for, given how interesting he makes it at times.

  92. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Soriano has had 13 1-2-3 innings, as well.

  93. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    It seems bizarre to have to argue in favor of the games, and the players, being interesting.

  94. Another_Sam - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Fans: A- Did mostly a great job of getting to the park.Posters here: B- Many are often wildly negative or wildly optimistic.Me: C. I got off to a slow start attending games. I blame it on the poor weather for the first six weeks or so of the season. I never found my rythm for going to games. I vow to do better in the second half.Davy: B. Seems to me to be managing more or less like he did last year. We knew what to expect. We can't knock him for being consistent.Jewett: F. Hasn't caught the rythm of running the bases, IMHO.Zuck: A, as usual.

  95. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    David, I think Soriano has been fine.I like that he doesn't get flustered. My point is that at the end of the day had we gone with Clip and Storen the way we did last year the difference in wins and loses wouldn't necessarily have been that much. Now if we are in a real race where 1 or 2 games makes a difference then Soriano is well worth it, if we stay where we are it will have been an unnecessary luxury. Of course Rizzo had to make this call without the benefit of hindsight so in the end it was probably a wise move.

  96. A DC Wonk - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Re: Tracy:Did you forget the throwing error that lost the game Saturday?But then let's also remember that in the top of that inning, he led off with a PH single, and was standing on 3rd base with only one out.

  97. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Oh I agree with you JD. But also keep in mind, it's a 2 year deal with a team/vesting option for a third. I think even if the team falls short this year (and I still think they'll make a run but we'll see), he'll be valuable next year.

  98. JD - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Another_sam, I think Davie has been anything but consistent. Some times he takes a pitcher out when he is in full control and with a low pitch count (Gio against the Cubs), sometimes he leaves a pitcher in when he is visibly gassed (JZim against the Orioles). Late inning moves are all over the place from neglecting to pinch run Yuri Perez in an obvious situation to sacrificing early in games to making unnecessary double switches (Tracy against the Marlins) and more. I think the season has caught Davie off guard, he anticipated being on auto pilot with a big lead in the division by now and in cruise control. Davie needs to regain his equilibrium, figure out what his lineup is and who the the pinch hitters are and in what situation to use them and stay with the program. If in the end it doesn't work, so be it but he needs to stop managing like a chicken with it's head cut off.

  99. Gonat - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    JD said… sometimes he leaves a pitcher in when he is visibly gassed (JZim against the Orioles). ______________________________________That was a tough one to watch and just a waste of what could have been a laugher. On Davey's defense, his bullpen didn't look great then.When talking about blowing games, the 5 man bullpen thing wasn't working where he wouldn't use Dukes or Henry on close games.

  100. Muddy - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Jeez, I dunno about throwing Jewett under the bus too … Have enough Nats rounded 3rd for a fare sample size?!

  101. Scott Margenau - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    222Yea, I was cracking up at the two dead guys.

  102. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Judging from the response to one critical post, it looks like lots of folks give Soriano credit, as we should. FP latched on to the incorrect refrain that his innings are always an adventure, which has given it much more play than it deserves. It's just not true. As DP noted, in 13 of his 40 appearances, he had a 1-2-3 inning. And in 13 others he faced only 4 batters and didn't give up a run. So that's 26 out of 40 appearances, just about two out of three, in which he did his job either perfectly or with a minimum of drama. He has 25 saves out of 29 chances. I'll take that any year of the decade. Best of all, he's given up only 8 walks, or 1.8 per 9 innings pitched. That's tied for third best on the team after only JZnn and Haren.I tend to agree with JD that having a lights out closer isn't all that important unless you're a contending team. But Soriano has done exactly what he was hired to do.

  103. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    hiramhover said… Out of curiousity, I took a quick look at players fWAR–both what they've actually accumulated this season (the first #), and what they would get in a 650 PA season (second #).Desi – 3.5, 5.8Ramos – 0.7, 5.4Harp – 1.6, 4.3Rendon – 1.1, 4.0Zimm – 1.2, 2.3Werth – 0.8, 2.0Span – 1.2, 2.0Zook – 0.3, 0.8ALR – 0.1, 0.2The shocker to me is ALR. WAR used to love his defense, and that was where he got a lot of his supposed value. This year, not so much.July 17, 2013 4:42 PM As much as I love Ramos he won't end up a 5.4 because his numbers are based on "hot" small sample sizes.On ALR, recall when I said his horizontal range was not good and the best of is his defense is what he provides on the bag as he is the best crap scooper in the Majors. I will say in the last 2 weeks I have seen better improvement getting balls to his right. He rarely gets balls hit to the rightfield line. Too many doubles get past him.If Nats players made good throws, ALR wouldn't be as valuable there. When the Nats move RZim to 1st, problem solved (I hope).

  104. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    hiramhover said… Desi – 3.5, 5.8Ramos – 0.7, 5.4Harp – 1.6, 4.3Rendon – 1.1, 4.0Zimm – 1.2, 2.3Werth – 0.8, 2.0Span – 1.2, 2.0Zook – 0.3, 0.8ALR – 0.1, 0.2Not surprised at all by Rendon's strong numbers.

  105. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    I would agree that this season has caught Davey off guard- usually he tells a funny story, tells the guys to relax and all is well. This season he will actually have to try some things he usually does not prefer to do- he will just have to hold his nose while he does it. As for Sori- I really love his give a sh#% attitude. Opposing hitters are looked at like gum on the bottom of his shoe. He does not often seem dominating because he does not throw a million mikes an hour. But he obviously knows what he is doing. Healthy ego, there. I kind of hope a little of that intimidating presence spreads to our other relievers.

  106. Muddy - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Those who say Harper shouldn't be leading off b/c his BA is only .270ish are focusing on the wrong stat. His OBP is .370, one of the highest on the team.

  107. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Muddy– very funny on the Jewett comment!! Lonely over there??

  108. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Wait,the Dodgers are pitching Nolasco in game 1? That's a break for the Nats. I figured they'd do Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. Nolasco is having a good year and all, but he's not elite.

  109. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Section222 on Soriano, I'm with you. Couldn't add a thing to that. He reminds me of Chad Cordero much of the time, but the end result is an "untuck". I was ticked at first by the Stanton HR until I saw the Pitch F/X which leads to the next point that Stanton is a game changer and the Nats could use another one of him.2013 will shed a lot of light on 2014. I think Rizzo is going to have to admit to many mistakes and Adam LaRoche was one of them. It doesn't mean Michael Morse was going to work either but the team really needs to look at their options.

  110. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    David Proctor said… Wait,the Dodgers are pitching Nolasco in game 1? That's a break for the Nats. I figured they'd do Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. Nolasco is having a good year and all, but he's not elite. July 17, 2013 6:22 PM That's what I reported this morning and they still pitch Greinke Saturday and Kershaw on Sunday. That's still no picnic. Just hoping Davey realizes that 2-1 is probably the final score of 2 of the games.

  111. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    I remember in the first inning of the game against Kershaw, we had him on the ropes. I think we had bases loaded with less than 2 outs. We didn't score. They won that game in a close one.Sigh…

  112. TheManBearPig - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Muddy, Harper probably shouldn't be leading off — that should be Werth's job. He's almost uniquely suited to the top of the order because unlike almost all MLB hitters, he hits better in leadoff situations – leading off an inning or bases empty – than he does with runners on base. Most MLB hitters are 20-25 pts better with runners on than with bases empty, but Werth turns those numbers around and, in 2012, his OBP in leadoff situations was about .400. There was an even bigger jump in his SLG numbers when leading off an inning or otherwise with bases empty.Span is more like most other hitters in that he's better with runners on. The 7th spot might just turn out to be much better for both him individually as well as the team, especially if Ramos keeps hitting well.

  113. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Nolasco has good stats against us, our combined line is .236/.275/.366 against him. then again we did beat him on April 1. we all know how.Kershaw is .274/.328/.358 and Greinke is .329/.376/.443. Candide, do you still want Davey bobblehead?

  114. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    I still think Span is leadoff material. He has historically had good numbers against left-handers and players his age don't just get bad all of a sudden for no reason. He will get back to his career numbers against lefties.But given team's current situation, I get it if Nats want to try someone else.

  115. Another_Sam - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    JD — I know what you are talking about, re: Davy. Yes, sometimes he leaves a starter in when the booth, all the fans in the park, and all the fans on all the sofas know that the pitcher hasn't got anything left. [SS's last start: clear that SS had nothing after two or three batters, e.g., and would be making an early exit.]But that's Davy's style. I think he's loath to change in the middle of an inning. He doesn't like to do any of that other creative stuff you allude to. His way of handling pitchers is more or less determined before the first pitch: let the starter go six, and then get one inning from each of three predetermined relievers. I think his consistency has been sticking with that model even when it's clear to everyone that a little on the fly creativity is in order. He manages by the old school formulaic book. I'm okay with that. He's consistent in that regard.IMHO, of course.

  116. phil dunton - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    What other organization is stupid enough to continue playing regularly a player who has a broken bone in his wrist and a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder?

  117. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    I do not understand how the same organization can be so careful with one player and so loose with others. Stras was protected medically and from the media at first. When Harper came up it was open season, and he played soon after crashing into a wall, even though he is younger. Hard to figure.

  118. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    phil dunton said… What other organization is stupid enough to continue playing regularly a player who has a broken bone in his wrist and a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder? That wasn't the stupidity as I saw it. Here the team knew about the potential issues with the shoulder and went with only Lombo as their Plan B and didn't go in that direction rather for 60 games they just kept playing Espinosa with the same results. Other than his big day on his birthday, he was awful and his defense suffered because he would no longer lay out for balls.

  119. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    FWIW, the D-Backs had a similar situation with Aaron Hill's wrist. He had gotten HBP and continued playing because the X-Rays did not show a break. It wasn't for a while later that they noticed the break and put him on the DL.

  120. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    I still believe that they dodged the bullet on Espi's shoulder and it was fine. The wrist injury was just a fluke. He wasn't hitting before it or after it or during his first 30 days in the Minors.

  121. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    As for the shoulder, it has been reported a lot that the recommendation of the Dr. was followed. As for Espi- I think he has been the most talked about , most polarizing player on this site this season. And that is quite intriguing for a minor league player. You all think Espi got the most ink so far? Because I do. At least top five in most talked about topics.

  122. Another_Sam - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Some here opined that Espy would be back with the big club by the end of the season — a spot made for him with a trade. I don't see that. Do you guys think he'll be back? [More ink on Espy.]

  123. Another_Sam - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    BTW, I'm over that hideous road trip from hell last week. The score of the next game is 0-0.

  124. baseballswami - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Re-set! 2013 season, Part Deux!

  125. Another_Sam - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    right on, swami. i'm with you.

  126. Sec. 1 D, seat 10 T, My Sofa - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Like I always say sometimes: Everything up to the All-Star break is just for pole position.

  127. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    Just a few innings on the PCL-IL minor league All-Star game, one quick observation: Except for that speedster Billy Hamilton from the Reds organization, I don't see a whole lot of MLB-ready talent.

  128. baseballswami - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Just flipped over to the ESPY's to hear Robin Roberts speech., if you missed it, try to find it online. She is one fine woman. Moving beyond belief. An athlete who has used her platform for good. I admire her greatly.

  129. Traveler8 - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    Do1Teach1, just read your MacCartney post, and totally loved it – thanks very much. I agree with other posters, time to hit the reset button and enjoy the rest of the season.

  130. Scott Margenau - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    One thing bout Harper leading. After inning one, with the bottom the line up looking pretty good with Rendon, span, Ramos….he will get plenty of chances to mash. And he terrorizes pitchers on base…

  131. nats guy - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    Span came with the two year contract not given to bmp him by nats. Espinosa did not tell nats about shoulder till late in winter when it was too late to rehab for this season.

  132. snopes1 - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    Wow. I've been out of the country (Korea, on vacation) for 10 days and not reading NI comments (but listening to dismaying Charlie & Dave 8:05 a.m. broadcasts). A couple of trolling blasts from the past are now delightfully missing — and a level of intelligent, insightful, and civil discourse that I've missed this whole season is back in full force. A witty Paul McCartney extended metaphor, a rare Nats-Lady moment of pique against man-boy Bryce gracefully rebuked and graciously apologized for, a high-level discussion of why LaRoche is underperforming on all "f-war-type stats," sophisticated "if I were Mike Rizzo" counterfactuals, and much more. To repeat myself, wow. It's good to come home again. Thanks, Mark, for making this space once more available for some of the smartest, knowledgeable, wittiest, and kindest fans around. I know it feels wrong to "censor" anyone. But a little judicious pruning has really paid off in this case. This site is back to being the best fan site in baseball.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 43 --
ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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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.

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