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All-too-familiar result

Jul 21, 2013, 5:24 AM EDT

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At the end of a brutally frustrating, brutally long and brutally hot Saturday night at the ballpark, one that concluded with an all-too-familiar-result for the home ballclub, the question seemed less to be how the Nationals lost yet another low-scoring game but how they intend to keep themselves from imploding to the point this season no longer becomes salvageable.

It’s one thing to lose baseball games. It’s another to keep losing them over and over and over in the same fashion, wasting brilliant pitching performances and squandering scoring opportunities left and right.

Add Saturday’s 3-1, 10-inning loss to the Dodgers to the ever-growing list of candidates for “Most Frustrating Loss of the Year.” Just don’t expect the Nationals to succumb to the frustration and take it out on each other.

“I think we’re doing fine,” shortstop Ian Desmond when asked about the state of clubhouse morale. “I don’t think you could do any better than what we’re doing. I think a lot of teams, under the situation that we’re in, would probably be a little bit more distressed inside the clubhouse than what we’ve been. I think we’re doing a pretty good job, and I think that will pay off in the end.”
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  1. Kevin Rusch - Jul 21, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    Yeesh. So I'm thinking it's time to cut bait. There's a lot of talent on this team; there's no doubting that, but it's a .500 team, and you're kidding yourself if you think they're going to make the postseason at this point. Available to unload: Clippard (running out of arb years and can seel high), ALR, some mid-level relievers. If Haren does well, maybe we can get something for him (if we pay the bulk of his alary.) There's not much else that anyone would give anything for, but there's no sense in kidding ourselves that the Nats are buyers right now. 10 hits and 1 run — sorry, but even if their luck changes, they're too far back to get anywhere.

  2. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    It was Jayson Werth's first career ejection. Here is the write-up.http://www.closecallsports.com/2013/07/mlb-ejection-099-chad-fairchild-5.html

  3. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    By the way, the Dodgers had a game this year with 11 hits and 1 run. Detroit had 10 hits and 1 run. So did Pittsburgh. Guess those teams should cut bait. Of course, this is the second one this season for the Nats….

  4. David Proctor - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:26 AM

    It's not that it's just "x hits, 1 run." It's that this futile offense has been a year-long trend. If this were the exception to the rule, it'd be a lot easier to swallow.I'm the most optimistic person here, but I've said this homestand will define the rest of the season for us. We need to turn it around NOW, starting tomorrow. And Kershaw is on the mound. So…I'll watch it play out, but my optimism is running at an all-time low, for this season.But I still like the talent on the team, for the most part.

  5. David Proctor - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    That's an interesting site, NL…

  6. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    Yes. Now, Desi's third strike was in the zone. But the first two (also called strikes) were pretty low, though technically touching the black per brooksbaseball.net. Where was that strike zone in Game 5 when Drew needed it? That ump wanted to go home after a long, hot night.

  7. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    Pittsburgh has an offense like the Nats, if not worse. They've just had better luck, better defense, and (slightly) better pitching.

  8. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    I work all winter so I can go to baseball games in the summer. I'm still going, and when my sis visits this week, I'm dragging her to as many as she can stand. There is no place I would rather be than at a baseball game with my Nats.

  9. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    Hmmmmmm, saw this note on that same site,HP Umpire Travis Carlson ejected Syracuse Chiefs 2B Danny Espinosa for arguing a strike three call (threw equipment), #MiLB AAA IL Baseball

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 21, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    why are you guys still up?

  11. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 21, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    "why are you guys still up?"We are keeping an eye on you.

  12. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 21, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    "It was Jayson Werth's first career ejection."Well, he survived the experience. Things can be a lot worse, depending on who is doing the officiating, and what they are carrying:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20130706/brazil-soccer-beheading-decapitation.ap/?sct=obnetworkTalk about the "agony of defeat."

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    I read that a while back. sad piece.

  14. Coolhandbane (formally Bob Saget) - Jul 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Since the baseball season is long, I guess fans like me who spend time going to games, watching them on TV, listening to them on the radio, checking scores/stats every 5 minutes on smartphones and posting on insider blogs are very frustrated. I know a lot of fans put a lot of time,effort and money in this team and with these frustrating losses pilling up, it is getting to the point of just checking in every once in a while.For me, I am done checking scores when I am not watching or listening to the games. No more staying up later than I should when i work early morning the next day. I have to go to work soon. I get off at 230. I hope when I am home, we would have done something amazing.N A T S. NATS NATS NATS

  15. Rabbit34 - Jul 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I think NatsLady is DJs clone.

  16. phil dunton - Jul 21, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    The obvious initial step to turning this ship around is to fire the hitting coach. However, Rizzo is not willing to do that so the ship continues to sink. As I have said many times, the blind loyalty to underperforming players, coaches and the manager eliminates the need for accountability. That's why complacency rules.

  17. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 21, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    "That's why complacency rules."I don't think there is any complacency on the part of the players, Phil. They are playing their hearts out. As bad as we feel, they feel worse.Accountability? Well, that's a different matter. We will see a new manager next year, and at least a few new coaches. Rizzo will address the deficiencies of the bench and the pen and, probably, shore up the depth of the starting rotation.He thought he had solved the leadoff spot with Span, but that remains a problem. Denard is performing below his historic mean. That is really the only hole in a solid ML lineup.

  18. Secret wasian man - Jul 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    When a guy doesn't run full out to second, he's NOT playing his heart out. What I saw Span do on that bunt running to second made me SICK. And every fan has a right to boooooo when he or she sees that. You have to have heart in order to play it out.

  19. Secret wasian man - Jul 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    These guys are mercenaries and don't care. Rizzo so obsessed with span he ruined a fun team. Remember when Snyder was so infatuated with Spurrier? Had to have him. Well, we all know how that worked out. Should,have kept the TRUE Nats.

  20. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    The birthday party I attended was awesome, but it doesn't sound like the game was. I think I'll just delete that one from the DVR. Will be at today's game, in the Right Field Mezzanine.

  21. Another_Sam - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    My new approach for the rest of the season is to take it one game at a time, and enjoy the sedate ride and rythm of the season. Things are not so hard to take, IMHO, if one takes things out of the context of last year. I was as guilty as anyone, thinking "Hey, they won 100 last year. Why not 125 or more this year?" I'm over that now. hahah.Last night we sat in a sweltering park in the middle of summer and watched mostly major leaguers perform mostly at a reasonably high league level. Not too bad, if you're not looking for about 125 wins this season. I'm also over being enamored of this lineup. No one is untouchable. Lots of new faces could score one run in ten innings and make a few baserunning and defensive blunders. I'm open to new faces.

  22. BigCat - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    What was the paid attendance last night? Looked like 40,000 plus

  23. Nats106 - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Yes, it was a sellout-over 41K. Play is certainly not affecting attendance. At least not yet.

  24. Another_Sam - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Cat — they announced a sellout: 41K+. Nice crowd. Not much happening on the field, though.

  25. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    sjm308 said… Oh – National Anthem might have been the highlight of the game. I think its 222 who sang and that quartet nailed it!! Great job gentlemenThe anthem was indeed good, although those guys aren't brothers, none of them is a Flanagan and some of them probably aren't even Americans. But for me the highlight of the evening was watching sjm308 scramble to get out of the Oriole gear when the stadium camera guy came down the aisle and pointed the camera right at him. It was like a politician caught on camera in bed with a woman not his wife. Hilarious!

  26. BigCat - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Wow. I thought soWe are 6 for 66 RISP in last 9 games. Manassas and I have been saying for 2 years that Eck needs to go. How long do we waitThere are 3 local amateurs better than him. Colangelo, Snyder, and RaleyAlso, Sean McCauley with the PNats could step in and be better than Eck

  27. BigCat - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    And that's not mentioning the GW coach Greg Ritchie

  28. MicheleS - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    222.. excellent as always with the Anthem. Well done and got a standing ovation from my group.Sigh, this season is what it is. Being the Pollyanna that I am, even I can't deny something is off. Like Another Sam, I am just going to take it as they come and enjoy the rest of the season.

  29. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I think it's quite sad that not one fan has pointed out yet on this very post how incredible Gio was!!! It 's much easier to complain. I would like to point out something else- when Bryce got ejected, people, including teammates, were all over him for taking himself out of a close game. Uh– Jayson? Team leader? Veteran? Hello? There are some issues on this team for sure! But Sori blows a save for the first time in a while, Adam gets sick. – you have to admit there has been an element of " what the heck will happen next??? I am concerned that Eck has affected Rendon, Ramos came back cold, but– Zim is tearing it up and Tracy was hitting like a real live major leaguer! I am also a little disappointed that Bryce's incredible all star performance seems to have been forgotten pretty quickly. What a kid! I watch baseball because I love the game and I really do love this team. I hope things get better- they have to, right?

  30. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    NatsLady: I will be glad to give you a couple of our "duplicate" bobbleheads. It's the least I can do for all the work you do on your blog. Any chance you're going to the Friday day game?And yes, 222, your quartet sounded great.ArVAFan

  31. BigCat - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Eck reminds me of william Macy in The Cooler. He kills all hot streaks…….kills everything. When he shows up at the batting cage everything just shuts down

  32. MicheleS - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Swami, Gio was brilliant last night. I wish he had more run support so that he could have stayed in a little longer – also, the high K's drove up his pitch count. Time for JZ to be the stopper again.

  33. hiramhover - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    The Nats need to fire Eck and hire the hitting coach they had last year.

  34. Another_Sam - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Swami — I'm guilty as charged. Gio did put in a nice performance, shortened by the wretched lack of runs.As for new hitting coach — these guys are adult, professional players. IMHO a new hitting coach would help the hitting about as much as a new third base coach — which I've called for, BTW — would bring home more runs. IAW not much. I guess I'm saying that getting a new hitting coach isn't in my view a panacea, or even a start to sorting things out.

  35. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    I was puzzled by Gio being taken out- his pitch count was 98, certainly not bad, he was certainly well rested, he did not seem to be struggling, and he had their number. Seems like starters being taken out before they have to be has lost us a few games recently. I know we have a bullpen for a reason, and they are usually fine, but I think some of those yankings have been premature. Another thing I see where Davey has a locked in attitude about something that is not working. I don't want to see our guys abused, but I thought the way he was dealing that 98 was not a problem. In hindsight….,

  36. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I know– offense. But when a guy is so locked in he is his own best reliever. No use getting one run if you can't hold it.

  37. Another_Sam - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    One more thing: you could see Zimm's throwing error comming a mile away last night. He had too much time to throw. I've switched camps i diagnosing his problem. I no longer think it's physical at all. It's hard to watch his odd slinging the ball juxtaposed with Desi's conventional classic rocket-launched throws.

  38. MicheleS - Jul 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    well, I will be heading to the park soon, Hopefully the heat won't be as bad and the boys can get a solid win.. and don't look know but the Pirates are doing the annual death spiral.

  39. MicheleS - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Sam! I saw that too! I was right behind him at 3B and just bit my tongue when he started to make his throw (Small children around me, trying to keep the language G Rated)

  40. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Perhaps you didn't notice that Gonzalez couldn't pitch in the seventh because they pinch hit for him in the bottom of the sixth when his spot came up with runners on first and second and two out. Bernadina got the single that plated Tracy with the Nats' only run of the game. Davey's managerial strategy paid off there. This ain't the American League where a pitcher's performance is the only factor in deciding when to pull him from the game.

  41. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Just saying it does not usually pay off- Gio was so locked in. I really do get the why of it- I would just like to see our starters have the right to own their own games a little more often.

  42. Another_Sam - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Six innings is very often Davy's scenario. Followed by one inning from each of however many follow. The book play.

  43. PChuck - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    >>>I guess I'm saying that getting a new hitting coach isn't in my view a panacea, or even a start to sorting things out.It goes more to accountability. This team always looks totally ill-prepared for whoever the opposing pitcher is. They have no plan at the plate. Their approach is terrible. They NEVER make adjustments particularly, in game.Frankly, Davey's as big a culprit in all this as Eckstein but Davey's not getting fired either, unfortunately.

  44. jeffwx - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    nats will win 88 this year

  45. Rabbit34 - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    JZ is a stopper. SS is a stopper. Gio is a stopper. We just plain don't have the bats to support them. OMG is it frustrating. They just don't have it.

  46. sjm308 - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Feel Wood – you nailed me on that. We hardly ever get that camera guy and there is no way I am going to represent the O's on tv. My nephew loved my outfit (I wore a Chen shirt with korean writing, knee high oriole socks and a stupid oriole floppy hat). Once we went ahead, I took everything off to root our lads home in my national gear but it didn't work. Swami – Feel already explained Gio not going back out. Storen did not even start to warmup until Tracey got on and he wasn't throwing hard until Ramos walked. I think Davey might have let him pitch another inning if we had gone 1-2-3. It was brutal out there though and I do understand yanking a pitcher in that kind of heat.Feel, please come down and say hi next time you are there.Go Nats!! its another day

  47. sjm308 - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Rabbit – I used to think with your early early comments, way before the season started, about our lack of offense, that you might just be a troll. I don't believe that now. I think you want us to do well and to be honest, you nailed it.

  48. JamesFan - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Have we hit bottom yet?I've decided to spend the rest of the season watching interesting teams and interesting rivalries down the stretch. The math does not seem feasible for the Nats. I expect them to show better in September when the pressure is off because they are not in contention. I would like to see lots of call-ups in September.Something is definitely wrong with the 2012 team as a whole (other than pitching). That points to leadership either on the field or in the dugout.Eck probably will be sacrificed soon. Maybe that will help; maybe not. DJ is an icon and will be around until the end of the season.I'm not blaming Rizzo. He has put together a quality team. He cannot make them perform. On the long-term, I favor an organization of quality, not one season or one team. I'm confident that Rizzo has–and will continue to–build a quality organization. That is the only way to sustain the potential to win.My hope is that they do not panic and dump the minors to try to salvage one half season.

  49. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Sean McCauley could.. he hit the opposite was well. A shoulder injury stopped his careere.Byw ,6 for 68

  50. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Would it hurt? If not then try it.

  51. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    After consulting the baseball Gods as I prepare to go the stadium.Sean McCauley for hitting coach.Nats win today 3-2Nats still won the east.I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

  52. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    One more thought Espi took a ton of crap, as he should have, but he been gone 6 weeks and the team as a whole still doing the same crap.

  53. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 21, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Wearing my new alternate red Zimmermann (27) jersey today.

  54. nats guy - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    SJM308,I would like the same consideration. Even recently I have been hammered by this group. I love this team but it was pretty obvious early in the year it had some problems. I think by the Orioles series changes needed to be made and were not.

  55. nats guy - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    PS,I still tink I am right about RZIM still being hurt. Still a singles hitter and still making bad throws. Also still playing in to cover himself and allowing hits to his left that should be easy plays for an MLB quality third basemen.

  56. nats guy - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    JeffWx,88 what?

  57. DJB - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I think the starting place is to change the philosophy governing how the team is constructed. As I don't see a short-term solution to the problem, I would hire a stats-driven president of baseball operations first and either fire or make Rizzo accountable. Davey will be gone anyway. Second, a lot of talk has been made about how certain players are not moveable. That's not the right question. We should be looking at run differential. Runs prevented are due to good pitching and defense. With the exception of Ryan Zimm, we are in good shape here. The problem is that pitching is more dominant league-wide, and scoring is down. That makes runs created even more important. You cannot hire niche players like Span, Espinosa, and Suzuki and expect to get sufficient runs to be competitive. Everyone in the lineup has to be able to score runs in a variety of ways, either via the long ball or "small" ball. Talent is also getting younger. This is because of the league-wide policy against PED's and because the league, especially pitchers, need time to adjust. With modern technology, pitchers will eventually find a hitter's holes. Finally, the long-term contract is proving to be a team-destroyer. Ryan Zimmerman is a good player, but the era where you have a "face of the franchise" is over. He is not good enough because the league has adjusted to him (namely he can't hit curves), because he can't score enough runs to justify the money that could be used elsewhere, and because his defense is poor. The Lerners need to ask how badly they want to win. The key is to move Zimmerman only because he can get you the most young talent now with the least cost in runs scored or prevented. Ultimately, if the players are chosen wisely, this will help Harper's development. Clubhouse guys are a thing of the past. Winning will make the clubhouse environment.

  58. jeffwx - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    88 wins….hard for a team to have a win-loss differential of more than 10 per year.My money is on 88 wins.

  59. jeffwx - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    In an article for MASNSports.com, Dan Kolko suggests that Rizzo should try to put together a deal for a left-handed version of Scott Hairston, whom the Nats acquired from the Cubs earlier this month. Tracy's .149/.187/.276 line represents a significant drop from his production in 2012, when he hit .269/.343/.441 off the bench and provided the team with several big hits. "I'm a veteran guy, I've been through it before," Tracy said of his struggles. "I should be able to make the adjustment and I just haven't done it."

  60. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    NatsLady said…I work all winter so I can go to baseball games in the summer. I'm still going, and when my sis visits this week, I'm dragging her to as many as she can stand. There is no place I would rather be than at a baseball game with my Nats.July 21, 2013 2:38 AMLove your attitude, NatsLady!

  61. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    natsfan1a said…The birthday party I attended was awesome, but it doesn't sound like the game was. I think I'll just delete that one from the DVR. Will be at today's game, in the Right Field Mezzanine.July 21, 2013 7:50 AMHow cool is that. My daughter and I were celebrating my wife's birthday and I DVDed the game to watch later. Now, like you, I think I'll delete it.

  62. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    here is one suggestion: brennan boesch, if he is healthy. it is not my suggestion but I read it at MLBtr and he makes sense to me.

  63. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 21, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I would even consider Joe Francisco or Nate Schierholtz (have heard his name around somewhere before).

  64. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Wow, 6 for 66 RISP. That's terrible. I don't know what the answer is. I don't even know what the right question is. I just don't think firing Eck is the answer, especially with Davey at the helm. I think Eck is just following Davey's instructions the same way he followed Riggleman's instructions. I would like to see us keep Eck and hire and additional hitting instructor. Some teams have more than one. This may need to happen after Davey leaves, however.It just seems like the baseball gods put a curse on us because Davey said "World series or bust". They said "ok, then bust!"

  65. sjm308 - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    natsguy – you have that same consideration from me. I think we have had trolls and Legion of Doom type people from day one but there are lots of fans who are upset, and rightly so.I am puzzled by Zim. He makes wonderful stabs and the ball he stopped down the line yesterday could have possibly scored the runner from first. Yes, he made a poor throw but he stopped a sure double and Tracy just couldn't handle it. On the throw that he sailed, as soon as we saw it was going to be an overhand throw we all sort of held our breath. Not sure if its mental or physical but it must be driving him crazy as well.DJB – very interesting and well thought out. Thanks

  66. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    …an additional hitting instructor…

  67. sjm308 - Jul 21, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Faraz – who are you replacing with any of those you named? Bernadina has still been proven to be a decent defensive replacement. Tracy had a decent game (hell, for him it was the game of the season!) and he can play both corner infield positions. The fact that Lombo did not get in yesterday is telling to me. Davey must have absolutely no confidence in him. Like Moore, send him down if you are not going to play him.Go Nats!

  68. Joe Seamhead - Jul 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
Full season schedule

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