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A day, and night, of emotions

Jul 27, 2013, 5:04 AM EST

Associated Press

The emotional ups and downs of a baseball season can be draining for any club, let alone one expected to be among the sport’s best but slogging its way through a prolonged train-wreck stretch of games. What the Nationals have experienced over the last 36 hours alone would normally be enough to fill a month.

It began Thursday afternoon with a wild victory over the Pirates that saw their closer blow a four-run lead in the top of the ninth, only to see their young star produce his first career game-winning homer in the bottom of the inning.

It continued Friday afternoon with an ugly, lopsided, 11-0 loss to the Mets that saw their former closer sent to the mound facing a 5-run deficit despite the fact he was battling flu-like symptoms and wasn’t expected to pitch at all.

And then it was capped off Friday evening in the nightcap of a wild doubleheader with a familiar face providing a familiar thrill to lead the Nationals to a 2-1 win, only to be trumped in some ways by the postgame demotion of that former closer to the minors and critical comments from a teammate lobbed toward the organization.
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  1. nats guy - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    I am very sorry about Drew. He's a nice kid and deserves better. I think the rest of this season and off season is going to be even more emotional> I suspect Clippards comments may lead to some clubhose acrimony and are reflective of some of the players thoughts. The addition of Soriano in many ways has been a subtraction by addition. In 20/20 hindsight maybe should have stood pat. The last 10 months have really been a hell of a ride. It will be interesting to see how the Lerners react with Mr. Rizzo about what is going on. Also what Dave Johnson does if things don't improve this weekend. All I can say is too damn bad I had such hopes about this season.

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    Watching the game right now.

  3. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:26 AM

    In all the drama of the last six hours, Ross O's great performance is going to be overlooked. Once again he pitched magnificently. He's now pitched over four innings four times, and in those appearances, a total of 20 2/3 innings, he's given up a total of 4 runs. That's stunning. I called for him to be the go to spot starter after his first spot start followed by his first long relief appearance 8 days later. TJordan has been a pleasant surprise, but at this point, I don't know how you can keep sending Haren out there to get beat up game after game when you have RossO available. He seems to have figured something out. Tomorrow's start should be Haren's last. 11 lost games in a row is plenty.

  4. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:27 AM

    Stand pat so Drew could have his meltdowns in save situations? We'd be in the cellar now. No thanks.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    If I were LaRoche, I would bunt the ball to 3b in B6. With Werth's hot bat behind, that might have resulted in a longer inning.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    not just pitching, Sec 222. Just saw him putting everything in his run down 1B line for a grounder to second. all Nats need to play like that.

  7. jw - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    If there's anything to Wagner's story that the informal clubhouse consensus supported the decision to pull Soriano, (and one player liked the move, but didn't think DJ would have made it) – there's already acrimony in the clubhouse. The atmosphere may already be toxic.

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    man Desi is a leader in that club.

  9. David Proctor - Jul 27, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    I'd like to think people can have disagreements about what should or shouldn't be done without it causing acrimony or a "toxic atmosphere." No clubhouse is perfect, but until today, I've never heard a bad one out of ours in the Davey Johnson era.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    last walk-off by RZ was 2011 against Madson of Phillies. he has 9 in his career and career leader is thome with 13.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    yeah DP, I am not sure how much of that is true. we will see.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 27, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    yeah and Drew's parents need to stay out of his business. he is not 18 YO.

  13. pedrocerrano - Jul 27, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    as for players on this team who don't deserve the boot to Syracuse, you can count them on two hands. Instead of crying crocodile tears for drew Storen, these losers should be criticising management for taking so long to hold poor performers accountable.

  14. baseballswami - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    I am very tired of all the drama this season that has nothing to do with balls and strikes. Yes, Drew has struggled and has also looked good for a stretch. For the most part, though, I think he has been poorly used from the start of the season. Lately, he has been put in the worst situations, almost set up to fail. Short memory for what he has done for this team. HRod got more consideration and deserved it a whole lot less. And the flu thing yesterday? ALR got sent home for two days. I have been very disappointed in the ways things have gone down this season- and I don't mean losing – even when I don't necessarily disagree with the need. Too much blood on the ground. Inept and clumsy management.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    In Wagner's column regarding the move to pull Soriano on Friday he should get his facts right. He said,"Pedro Alvarez was coming to bat with two on and no outs" and that's not true. Soriano had struck McCutchen out.

  16. alexva - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Storen has had a tough year but it is due to one of the overlooked problems coming out of spring training, his inability to hold a runner. it put added pressure on him in that a walk is a double.if he works on this in then next few weeks I see no reason he can't be an asset in September.

  17. jeeves - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Whatever one thinks about the handling of the Storen situation, Nat guy, it can't do the team any harm, at least in terms of results. And maybe, just maybe, a little acrimony will turn out to be the fuse to lgnite the team.

  18. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    swami, I have to agree on Storen being used poorly, which makes Davey's statement that he looked at lineups to put him in "where he could succeed" not ring true to me. For example, if Storen is not good against lefties, why was he left in to face them? Storen seems particularly skilled at being a ROOGY, called in to get one or two tough righties even with runners on base. He doesn't seem as good at cleaning up his own runners (I'd have to check that, just an impression.) So if Storen is fired up and good when he puts out someone else's fire, but gets flustered when his own inning starts to go bad–put him in the fireman's job!Unfortunately, Davey has the pre-planned idea. He wants his relievers to go the full inning, especially when they start the inning. Now he's got the two lefties, but he STILL uses them for full innings an awful lot.I've thought about it, and I still think it was inexcusable to bring Storen in when he was feverish. Maybe his fever had gone down with an IV (reported) and aspirin, and he was feeling better. But he came out with the stirrups and the puffy pants–and with a high leg kick, and I'm sorry, he looked like a clown. Granted it was 8-0, but you don't try out a new pitching motion in an MLB game like that. He also had to know he was going down–or in danger of going down– because Davey as much as said so the day before. If Davey wanted to preserve his bullpen, let Scott Hairston pitch, move Lombo to LF and put Rendon in for an inning. I can't even imagine Storen's mental state at that point…even the opposing team had pity on him.

  19. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    As for "acrimony in the clubhouse," I wouldn't be surprised at all. There is probably acrimony in every clubhouse when a team is losing (except maybe a team like the Astros that was expected to lose a 100 games). I would even guess that resentment built up against Storen as he blew game after game, and even when he didn't, you were always looking over your shoulder to see if he would. Same for Davey with his blown calls. The question is, does the team pull together and salvage a decent season? It may not be a playoff season, it would take some luck and a lot better play. But let's see some good baseball.

  20. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Honestly, I see Drew Storen as a stand up guy, a talented young pitcher that will be back, hopefully stronger then ever. That said, I thought last fall when Chase Utley came off the DL with 2 gimpy knees and just pulled Drew's pants down by stealing 2nd and 3rd, back-to-back, that a major flaw was exposed in Storen's delivery, and it was exposed to the entire league. Utley did not exactly have wheels at that point, but he did it on finess. From that game forward everybody in the league has run on Storen. But why hasn't he been taught to do a better job holding runners? That is something that is usually taught way before you get to the ML. Generally speaking, whether it's hitting, or pitching, basic skills are not taught at this level.Drew rose to the ML roster on a meteor because he had great stuff, and a closer's mentality, with ice seemingly going through his veins. Then when he came back from elbow surgery he seemed ever so slightly effected. Game five came, the team, and the manager, got us to the 9th with a pretty big lead, turned it over to our closer.He got us to within a strike of winning a couple of times and couldn't get it done, causing him, and all of Natstown to suffer the worst gut punch imaginable. On the big stage, he couldn't deliver. So, what does"management" do? They decide that the kid isn't trustworthy in the closer's role at this point in his career, and they sign a mercenary to take over for two years. The mercenary Soriano isn't always too damn pretty his own self, but overall he's gotten the job done. Storen? He has been uneven all year, seemingly "unsure of his role". Give me a break.His "role" is to come in and get guys out. Not 27 outs, but usually no more then 3. If he does that consistently, and Soriano flounders, then he works his way back to being the closer. He hasn't done it. He's become a serious liability to the team too often. Now, suck it up, work your way back. You have the talent.

  21. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Went to bed before the Storen move but not really surprised, as from recent stories it seemed to be on the table. That said, I can also understand why Clippard was upset, given their friendship. I'm also still somewhat baffled by Drew's being on the mound at all yesterday given his reported illness. Do feel for the guy but maybe he'll turn things around and take some positives out of the move eventually.And I've read the Wagner piece a few times now but for me neither "acrimony" nor "toxic" was a takeaway.

  22. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    NatsLady – excellent point about how Davey uses his bullpen and I silently scream about how he lets his relievers go a full inning. I don't think he did that last year. He had 3 lefties and I remember both Burnett and Gonzalez for sure coming in for just one batter. I also like your idea that if they are going to use Storen, let him come in for those righties and then get him out of there.To me, the two big points are not his stuff but 1. holding runners and 2. the amazing amount of time he takes between pitches.I am not his coach but those would be the two things I would start with in AAA. I think his stuff will come around as he conquers those issues.

  23. m - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    The Storen episode in just another case of management mishandling a situation. It was widely assumed that Storen was going to be sent down. Here we have a kid who was ill, was known to sulk, was aware that he would likely be sent down and we have Johnson bringing him into a lost game. I am not surprised that Storen imploded. He appears to have fragile psyche which was only made worse by another case Of Johnson's non-existent management skills. He might have been manager of the year last year but this year is this year. Even to his most ardent supporters you have to admit that he has mailed it in beginning in ST. The unfortunate thing with the Storen case is that Matheus is no better than Storen, perhaps even worse. This bullpen mess is a creation of Rizzo. Speaking of messes pitching is not the real problem with this team. The team does not hit . We are now seeing that Eck had nothing to do with the problem. The firing of Eck was a pointless exercise and was only made to send a message to the players. I think that is a poor way to send a message. If you want to send a message then bench Span and ALR. Until they learn to go the other way they sit. I really do not think their absence hurts because they do not help the team offensively. The argument that they save games with their gloves is bull. ALR does not have a lot of range and Span refuses to dive which has cost the team at least one game.I beginning to believe that the team that lost 11-0 is the real team as opposed to the one that won 2-1. I am extremely disappointed in Rizzo as I thought he was a better manager. His has unintentionally created major flaws in this team resulting in this train wreck. If I am the Lerners I would be really annoyed. The money has not been spent wisely nor has management exercised their roles in an appropriate manner. .

  24. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    NL, I often agree with you, but on the thing of using Drew yesterday, fever and all, he's in the pen, says he can pitch, you need him, use him. Personally, I think he should have been optioned after the Dodgers game, but Davey wanted to stick with him.

  25. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    On Span not diving–I'm for it. I watched Harper dive (and it wasn't a full out dive), and guess what, he aggravated his knee and he's out for the night game. Span slide for balls and 99% of the time he gets such a good jump on balls, he doesn't NEED to dive. If he cost us one game by failing to dive, and if he'd been out for a 15-day DL if he did "win" that particular game, it's not worth it. Agreed Span needs to spray balls to the other side. Not sure how easy it is to make that adjustment.The team that lost 11-0 was put in a big hole by Jordan Zimmermann and the bullpen. I'm not sure why you wanted to lose 8-6, other than run differential. I don't worry about blowouts. Get the 6 runs in a game where your starter has his stuff working.

  26. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    That said, I thought last fall when Chase Utley came off the DL with 2 gimpy knees and just pulled Drew's pants down by stealing 2nd and 3rd, back-to-back, that a major flaw was exposed in Storen's delivery, and it was exposed to the entire league.It started before that. I would credit the discovery of Storen's inability to hold runners to the Cardinals (who else?) in this game on September 1st.

  27. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Mule on "Acrimony":Mule is all in favor of "Acrimony", if that can be defined as the opposite of (and the remedy for) "Complacency".The cloying stench of complacency has wafted from the manager, the clubhouse and the front office throughout this disappointing season. Complacency (in the Nats' case an unwillingness or inability to admit to problems and address them) has compounded the already-disappointing on-field performance. Consistency and loyalty are fine things; key ingredients in the recipe for leadership. But the complacency displayed by said leadership in the face of identifiable failure had become denial.H-Rod, Duke and Espinosa are prime examples of this pattern of denial, in which Storen is merely the latest chapter.So if the facade of complacency has been dented a bit, sobeit. It may well prove beneficial along the lines of "That which does not kill us makes us stronger". Better the risk of rapid demise from action that the certain death from 1000 cuts.

  28. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Seamhead, over and over again players, especially pitchers, conceal injuries or say, "I'm ready, Skip, if you need me." In this case, Storen may have felt he was hanging by a thread and if he had a good appearance it would be the difference in his favor between him and Mattheus. Hence the high leg kick, "Look, boss, I can fix this in DC, no need for me to go to Syracuse." He was just not thinking straight. Davey is supposed to be a good reader of men, well, he misread it.It is up to the manager (and McCatty) to see beyond the "I'm good to go" of the player and sit him. He was unavailable, he should have stayed unavailable, just as LaRoche did when he had the flu, and Span and whoever else. I'm sure those guys told Davey, "I can go if you need me." (I know LaRoche did, it was reported). They ALL say that. Harper said that, and look where that led. Agree with you Storen should have been optioned earlier.Just do it, it was inevitable. The sooner he goes down, the sooner he comes back (or is traded–I think Clip sees a trade in Storen's future.)

  29. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Re(n)d On, You are right that it started before Utley, but Utley really exploited it, and was all but still limping at the time.On holding runners, it's not just Drew at fault either. Virtually every pitcher on the team is very poor at it. Ross Olendorff probably displayed the best ability to hold them of anybody yesterday, though they still beat Ramos.

  30. m - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Whack – Loved the prose not mention that your post is spot on.

  31. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I'm not sure it was complacency, per se, but there was a definite feeling of "we're young and talented, the Braves are not that good, we'll go on a run and get this." There was no sense of urgency. There was frustration with missed chances, but the next chance is "around the corner," and then it was the All-Star Break and there is a shortage of corners. OK, well, I'm going to put up some stats for the games and toddle over to the season ticket event to pick up the freebies. Don't have any interest in talking to the players–I already have Clip's autograph and this probably isn't the best moment for him.

  32. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Who ever heard of a ROOGY? The modern bullpen doesn't have enough spots to have a RH pitcher who can't be trusted to ever pitch to lefties or to pitch with men on base. As for it being Davey's fault that he sent Drew out in situations where he he was set up to fail, I don't even know what to say to that. He's supposed to be one of our top flight relievers — a late inning guy in games we are winning. Now, because of "what he's done for this team" you want him to be babied and what? Used only in mopup situations or against bottom of the order righthanders? That's absurd. If he can't handle the tough situations, he shouldn't be pitching in MLB. Now, thankfully, he won't be, at least for a while.NL, you say you've thought a lot about Davey's decision to use Drew yesterday. Tell me this — if Drew is too sick to pitch, why is he dressed and in the bullpen and relaying word that's he's good for an inning? He's not a kid who just has to put on his uniform for every game even if he can't play. He's a grown man making $2.5 million a year. It's his responsibility to be ready to play, or to tell the manager he can't do it. What am I missing?

  33. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    It's really, really aggravating that seemingly every single becomes a double by way of the stolen base. With our offense we cannot give away scoring opportunities. Oh, and those errors…

  34. JayB - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    This string and the last of posts is very enlightening. It explains a lot about the true motivations of long time posters here. All (save a very few) are great people. I have spend hours and hours reading their stuff. Still I disagree strongly with some I really respect and read carefully. This Drew thing puts a spotlight on why we do not agree. I care about winning. I care about the results and the team record. It is very clear that some care about the people. They are fans of the players before the team.222 is so correct. While I do want to negatively impact his standing by agreeing with him….but for years he has been the effective voice for what I wanted to communicate. He is exactly right most all the time.On the team side of this issue what the last week of firing Eck, sending down Drew, pulling Soreano and the like has shown me is that the team has many soft spots mentally. This year is going to separate them from the Harper and Zimm types. Those guys can play poorly but they never question their own ability and they go out the next day with a single minded purpose. That is the team we need to win it all.Rizzo needs to fill that clubhouse with Ross O type competitors and let the soft belled Drews and Danny's and Spanns of the team find other teams to waste their talent on. Final though on all this. Davey is the biggest problem. He fed the wrong egos and gave jobs out without making players earn them. Rizzo is right about one thing. You perform or you leave. More exits to come over the next weeks and months. At least this dog of a year will serve some positive purpose for the future.

  35. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    222, I addressed why Storen is suited up and "sending word he's ready to pitch." So, OK, I'll repeat just for you.(1) Storen took an IV and some aspirin and probably felt better. Marginally better.That doesn't mean he could pitch, he was still sick. Look, feeling like that, all medicated–would you want him driving?(2) Guys in MLB don't call in sick, they tell the manager, "I'm good to go, if you need me." They ALWAYS do that–be a team player, it's a double header, save the bullpen, etc. etc. (3) Even more so in Storen's case, where he thought this one appearance could make the difference between being sent down and staying. D***ed if he wasn't going to go out there with a new leg kick, SHOW them he can solve this!!!!! That is not rational thinking. When a player is not thinking rationally, you don't send him out to give up three runs. I was at the game. I was mad as fire when Storen started warming, and exploded at my sis when he came in the game. It was just wrong on so many levels.

  36. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Mule – your use of "that which does not kill me makes me stronger" brought back good memories. We used that on the back of our t-shirts for several seasons at Md. It comes from the horrific situation in German concentration camps studied by Victor Frankel who used that quote from Nietzche (along with many other ideas) to help to try and explain why some survived the horrors and others did not. Not the kind of book you want to curl up with at night but it was insightful to say the least.

  37. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    JayB – well said!No one ever said coaching/GM/playing would be easy at this level and I think Davey might have eased off just a bit. You can be sure Rizzo has not and I agree there will be more changes coming.

  38. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Question, NatsLady, would it have been ok to put him out there if he hadn't been sick, given the whole situation? Mattheus couldn't do anything right.You're managing a team on a double header day. This game is lost.The decision has already been made that Storen is going down after the game. Who do you use?

  39. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    As for caring about the players–I don't really care for Storen in a personal sense. I've long felt he was one of those two-pitch (FB/Slider) guys who would flame out in three-four years. Nothing he's done has changed my opinion. Nevertheless, you don't create a winning team by treating players the way he was treated. I don't mean the Soriano signing–I was ok with that. You want to build a winning team, stuff the bullpen. If that messes with Storen's head, too bad. But Storen wasn't performing, he was streaky, and his blowups were major (multiple runs, not a solo HR here and there). I disagree with the Clip and the pundits that this all goes back to Game 5. Mo recovered from worse–if Storen isn't tough then he isn't a closer, end of story for me.But the recent treatment, misusing Storen, stringing him along, and then yesterday–that's wrong. If you think you need to send a guy down, send him down. Tell him he's going down, tell him the decision is made and nothing is undoing it. This is like relationships where one side keeps clinging to hope and the other side knows the break-up is inevitable. It's not pretty and it's not helpful.

  40. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Seamhead, I said SEVERAL times, when it's 8-0, I put Hairston or another position player in. I meant it. There are times when you do that, and this was one of them.

  41. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Ah, I see. It's John Fogerty's fault that Storen pitched yesterday.

  42. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Seamhead, it's like my parking spot. I had a neighbor who kept using it and when I would come home late (I work odd hours) I would have to knock on his door to get him to come move his car. And he would say, "well, I was in a hurry and I figured you weren't coming back for a while." That parking spot is my property and it's NOT available, period. (P.S., I told him if it happened again I would have his car towed and that solved that.)If Storen is not available, you figure something out. That is your job as manager. What if he had a bruised finger and couldn't pitch. You figure something out.

  43. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    It's possible to care about players as fellow human beings while also being invested in/caring about the outcome of games. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

  44. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Anyway, if Storen feels he was given a raw deal, maybe that will motivate him in Syracuse. I hope so, because he can be effective. If we are lucky enough to pull out of this and get within 4-5 games of the Division, we will need him (or a guy like him). I agree with whoever said Mattheus isn't better than Storen, he's just better right now–I hope.

  45. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    look at how Lannan handled demotion and Storen…I think Drew needs to grow up…and yes, maybe the Soriano move hurt Drew…but a true champion should have used that for motivation to be better…I really do not feel for Drew

  47. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Wow, I really am suffering from CRS. I've beat up on Storen for the Utley steals of 2nd and 3rd last year, but now thinking back on it I'm pretty sure that I'm wrong on that particular game. I think that it was Sean Burnette. Regardless, the whole team has been awful at holding runners for the past two years, and every team is exploing our weakness.I still don't know which coach would be the one to work on it.

  48. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Seamhead, I re-read your question. If Storen WEREN'T sick, maybe. IF you speak to him ahead of time and tell him he's going down, but him pitching an inning (if needed) would be GREATLY appreciated because of the double header, etc. And if you tell that to Clip, or Storen tells that to Clip–and says, look, I don't like it but I'm dealing with it. I highly doubt that's the way it was handled…First of all, he WAS sick. Second, he wasn't thinking rationally, doing one last service for his team before going down. Or, let's say, it didn't seem like he was thinking rationally, with that 1940s costume and high leg kick.

  49. JayB - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    1a…not when things are going poorly. At this level you can care about both but when decision need to be made….like they do now….you have to put team in front of player. All this Drew and Danny coddling cost us big this year. It sent the wrong messages to the players and the rest of the team. Perform or we will find someone else. That always has to be the bottom line under all the warm fuzzy Davey type talk. Rizzo is correct about that and that is the part of the GM job he has right.

  50. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Mick – we don't know how Storen has handled it yet. He has said nothing as far as I know. Lannan was not happy about his demotion and he actually asked for a trade, remember? Lannan cooled off and came back. Don't judge Storen by posts on here or what his best friend has said. I will say that his body language when things are going wrong is just hard to watch.

  51. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    One last thought (I keep saying that).On Rizzo. He thought he saw a championship team. He WASN'T compacent, though. He saw weaknesses–centerfield/leadoff and bullpen. (Haren was just supposed to be EJax). He tried to shore up those perceived weaknesses without blowing up the rest of the team, he tried to do *just* enough. I agreed with both Span and Soriano, and was indifferent about Haren. I'm pretty sure Rizzo knew Davey was a weakness also, but not much he could do about it.

  52. hiramhover - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    My apologies if I missed this, but did anyone understand Davey's explanation (as related by Mark Z yesterday) of Span's GB to 2B tendencies:"Davey Johnson insists the issue is all about timing, saying that Span has been late on his swings; instead of hitting the ball in front of the plate, he's letting the ball get too deep in the strike zone."If Span makes contact earlier but everything else remains the same, doesn't it just become a weak GB to 1B instead of 2B?Never played above little league, so maybe there's something about terminology or the mechanics of hitting that I'm missing. Or maybe it's just another bit of Davey BS. I really can't tell which.

  53. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    sjm308–agreed, We don't know how Storen will handle this. You have a choice between(a) This will totally crush him. Evidence: he didn't have the mental toughness to come back from Game 5 and the Soriano signing and pitched terribly for many outings.or(b) This will motivate him to fix his problems. Evidence: he had the mental toughness to come back from Game 5 and the Soriano signing and pitched very well for many outings. Take your pick.

  54. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    sjm308, i agree about the body language message. I remember a few weeks ago when the left fielder [Harper?] misplayed a ball in LF and Storen's body language was pretty loud.I'm not going to try not dwell on this anymore. I feel bad for Jane, as she really does see many players on such a personal level, and as such, she's bleeding right now. She's like a mother lioness protecting her cubs. I

  55. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    your right coach…his parents tweets I may have been holding against him, but you know how parents arelol

  56. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    hh, I asked the same question yesterday about Davey's explanation for Span's constant 4-3 or 3U at bats. Sounds like nonsense to me.NL, sorry I hadn't read your explanation before my post. I apologize.You spin a nice story about Drew, but there is just no evidence that what you say actually happened. For all we know, Davey had a conversation with him before he left the dugout, put his hand on his forehead, maybe even took his temperature, looked him in the eye and said: "Are you sure you're ok Drew?" He then consulted with the team physician and all the coaches who agreed that Drew was a little under the weather, but the 102 fever had broken and he'd be ok.But assuming he didn't do all this, Davey has a lot to worry about in the dugout, even in a 8-0 game. Maybe he can look at Harper bleeding or limping and say, "no kid, you're not ok to play." But Storen is in the bullpen, in uniform, and said he was ready to pitch. Davey has to be able to rely on that. Davey isn't a doctor or a psychologist or a mind reader. And I repeat, Drew is not a child, he's a grown man.Several times you've suggested that Davey should have just thrown Scott Hairston out there on the mound. I'm guessing you know that he's pitched before at some point in his career in an emergency, but that's just lunacy. It's an invitation to serious injury. It's like saying Harper should catch, only worse. I know the Mets did it with their reserve catcher, but it was crazy then too.

  57. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I have no idea if Hairston has pitched in an emergency in the past. My point is, with the game 8-0, Davey should have a plan, a plan other than using Storen, because if Storen was unavailable, he was unavailable (just like my parking spot). Putting him out there dizzy with flu (which he could have been when the meds wore off) is JUST as much an invitation to injury. But you raise a good point, where was Jim Lett in this? DId he agree that Storen was OK, or did he just pass along Storen's message?

  58. Nats 128 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    "Section 222 said… I called for him to be the go to spot starter after his first spot start followed by his first long relief appearance 8 days later."Arent you the same guy bashing others for patting themselves on the back?There were plenty of people calling for Olendorf to take over for Haren and others that said it wouldnt ever happen becuz Harens 13 million deal wouldnt be sent to the bullpen then there were others that said he couldnt sustain it.

  59. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I checked baseball reference, as far as I can see Hairston has never thrown a pitch, major or minor leagues. But I bet someone has. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to just concede games.

  60. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    hiramhover,I don't get it either. Span was a spray hitter in April and May, then started pulling almost everything, and it seems to have come from Davey's directive. When Johnson took over for Riggleman he made it clear that he disagreed with the policy of taking it to the opposite field that Eck was pushing at Jim's request. I honestly think that sometimes when a player is struggling at the plate that there is a lot of merit to having the mentality of taking it to the opposite field. It helps you to quit pulling everything, over-swinging, and throwing your head out and shoulders out. Now, if a guy is a natural pull hitter and doing well, leave him alone. Span is getting twisted by this thing of "he's waiting too late and letting the ball get to deep in the zone." Deuces, I agree about throwing a position player out there to pitch being bad joss.

  61. Nats 128 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I listened to an hour of Bill Rowland last night on the Fan Radio after Phil Wood went off and it was a discussion on Drew.Not one commenter on the radio said that Drew needed to be sent down. Of course all the anger centered on team chemistry and blaming Soriano. Sorry, Soriano didn't do this to Drew. Drew did this to Drew. Lefty OPS at 1.040, 5.95 overall ERA and all the stolen bases have made it unavoidable.If Drew didnt have options he would have been RELEASED!

  62. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Wait, so you were ready to toss Scott Hairston onto the mound and you don't know that he's ever pitched before? Wow. And you don't know what Jim Lett said or thought? I thought you had the whole story figured out. Obviously, there's a lot we don't know about what was going on behind the scenes. Based on what we actually do know, I still don't think Davey was wrong to use him. Certainly, it was not "inexcusable" or any of the other adjectives being tossed around.I just watched Storen's inning again. There's nothing wrong with wearing stirrups in a day game. He looked fine to me on that score. He sure was talking to himself alot though. I'm no lip reader but I believe his parents wouldn't have been very happy to see a closed caption of what he said.You are right that he was working on something new though. FP was wrong that he never had used a leg kick before. I believe that the stiff leg delivery started as he was trying to work things out during his bad spring training in 2011. He was also delivering the ball much faster. I timed several deliveries within 15-20 seconds of receiving the ball, as compared to his usual 30 or more.

  63. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    back in June, i got blasted when i suggested that Rizzo and perhaps Davey were not honest brokers…I would like to pose the suggestion once again in light of the Storen situation.thoughts?

  64. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    222, boy, do you make a SPECIALTY of misinterpreting what I say? ]I SAID, you put Scott Hairston or a position player in there OR something–in other words, YOU HAVE A PLAN for Storen's not being available. I don't like at all a guy being available/unavailable mid-game. Even if Storen WAS better and COULD go, that is an open invitation to other players to second-guess their own status and injuries based on the individual game. Unless it's a critical situation (and down 8-0 is NOT my idea of a critical situation) you don't do that. That was the decision that was made with Stras. Don't put your players (or even your opponents) in the way of long-term injury for the sake of one game.

  65. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. FL Bassist - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    My first post here after lurking for ages. As far as Clip's statements are concerned, the concept of loyalty between team and players went out the window a long time ago with the advent of free agency. This is a business where success is measured by winning games and even more so, by championships. That said, there are certain players, such as Jeter, who are so iconic to the team, that they are part of the business model for success, and their loyalty will not and should not be betrayed (although I was shocked that Pujols moved on, frankly). Storen's connection to the team is not Jeter-like, sorry.Clip should have taken his concerns to management privately and could have gotten his point across publicly in a more politically correct way. But at the end of the day, Clip doesn't run the team, and the folks controlling the purse strings get to do what they want.

  67. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Questioning either guy's personal integrity based on what we are privy to is not right in my view, mick. Davey seems a little tired to me, but dishonest? I can't go there. Rizzo is a poker playing GM that likes to hold his cards close to his vest. Dishonest? No more so then any other GM, IMHO. He isn't paid to be a sentimental fool.

  68. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    of course one could make the argument that Drew should have suited up period in first place with a 102 fever…old school coaches will say, if your suited up, be prepared to play

  69. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    should not have…i meant to type

  70. Nats 128 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    mick, when did you get blasted on Rizzos honesty. We all know he gets paid to lie only he doesnt do a good job of it.Davey on the other hand isnt the ultimate boss. When he said Lannan was his guy he was. He didnt lie. Rizzo told him as his boss that Detwiler was gonna be his guy.

  71. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I also said, in response to Seamhead, that putting Storen in was acceptable if he was told beforehand about going down (I doubt he was), if he was in good health (I doubt he was), and if he understood that he was doing the team a service if he pitched a needed inning and that it would not make any difference to his being optioned down (I doubt he did). Any player going down is an emotional situation. Putting him in when he hadn't been effective recently, and was unlikely to be effective (given his flu symptoms) only exacerbated it. Yes, he got the inning over–but what do you think his last memory of Nats Park is? What did the fans see? Not good.

  72. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I agree Clip should not have spoken so publicly and emotionally. It really spoiled the glow of Zim's walk-off and Ohlendorf's great job (not to mention Clip's outing). My feeling is he was upset, and he was also trying to protect Storen–who was, in the end, protected from a "how do you feel about the decision" -type question, and who didn't have a microphone shoved in his face.

  73. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Joesounds about right…I only posed the question because many posters seem angry and confused with some of davey's post games comments as well as Clip's emotions about management

  74. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Seamhead, if anything, Davey is too honest. Should have kept his mouth shut the other day about Storen getting sent down. Those are things you decide, you talk to the player (and perhaps his agent), you do them, and THEN you release the information.

  75. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM


  76. Doc - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    NL I agree that Storen was overdue to be sent down, and maybe if he had been sent down a while back, he'd be back contributing by now. Maybe they were hoping things would 'iron out' for Drew. Baseball, unlike other sports, tends to let things play out when they should be kicking ass and taking names. Maybe they were waiting for Mattheus to come back.Yeah, FB/Slider are Drew's two best pitches, but from the day he was signed out of Stanford he's been talked about as a 4-pitch guy. Nature of the role, seems to be for a relief pitcher to stick to 2 basic pitches, while slipping in the others occasionally.Anyway, like how Clip picked up for him. But bottom line—fix it Drew and c'mon back soon.

  77. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Doc, yeah, a lot of it does get back to Mattheus. He really messed the bullpen up, and it hasn't recovered yet, though it didn't prompt the promotion of Abad and the discovery of Krol.

  78. MicheleS - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Did Drew need to go down? Probably. Do I think the Lerners/Rizzo/Davey handled this well? Nope. Am I proud of Clipp for sticking up for his friend? Yup, something we would want all of our friends to do for us.There is more to this story than we are seeing or hearing. And I for one will take Ryan Zim's lead in that the only way I will ever untuck is if Soriano saves the last game of the World Series for the Nats

  79. MicheleS - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    and from Twitter.. Davey no showed at the Season Ticket holder event.

  80. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    NL, I hope you know me well enough to know that I would never intentionally misinterpret what you said, but for the record, here is what you said at 8:00 am: "If Davey wanted to preserve his bullpen, let Scott Hairston pitch, move Lombo to LF and put Rendon in for an inning." And here is what you said in game post at 6:46 PM last night: "Davey could have let Hairston pitch." I see now that at 9:12 AM you said that you put Hairston or another position player in, but by then you had twice suggested that you knew that Scott Hairston was the position player that Davey would turn to in an emergency, or at least that he had done emergency pitching before. I'm sorry, but I'm not a mind reader either. I suppose you could just as easily have said, "let Ryan Zimmerman pitch, and put Rendon in for an inning." I imagine that would have inspired even more skepticism. I agree that there should be a backup plan. But it only goes into effect in an emergency. If Drew were really unavailable, there were still pitchers that could have been used. This is very much a side issue though. Our main disagreement is whether Drew was available. On that, there's nothing more to say.

  81. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Ha on Davey and the Season Ticket event. I no-showed also, too tired from two games yesterday and all the emotion. Will be at the game today in order to wait out the rain delays…

  82. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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  83. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    One had to wonder what the harmonious Natstown was going to implode into backstabbing and pettiness.I guess it all starts now! Except I'm still not giving up on the season until we've been eliminated.I'll cheer for all our boys, and I'll question playing 2nd basemen in the outfield. Whether I agreed with the Morse, Span, Soriano,or Haren moves at the time they were made is not relevant. That's all water under the bridge.we got the guys we have on the the roster, and I'm cheering for them. GYFNG!!!

  84. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    When they were going to implode

  85. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Seamhead, LOL, guilty as charged! Also, I'm not giving up either, I still intend to have fun with my sis today and tomorrow. And I'll go to games whenever I can. The season isn't over til it's over.

  86. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Arent you the same guy bashing others for patting themselves on the back?There were plenty of people calling for Olendorf to take over for Haren and others that said it wouldnt ever happen becuz Harens 13 million deal wouldnt be sent to the bullpen then there were others that said he couldn't sustain it.Bashing would not be the word I'd use, but yes, I've chided some people for too much self-congratulation. I did do a lot of self-back patting last night when I noted that I had cautioned some posters against too much pessimism about last night's game. It happens. It felt really good. Hope you enjoyed it.The post you objected to wasn't self-back patting. I was just noting that my desire for Ohlendorf to be the main fill in starter was not recently hatched. And I know I wasn't the only one. In fact, at that time I wasn't calling for him to replace Haren permanently (though I am now), I just wanted him to replace Haren/Det in the rotation when they were hurt, based on two very strong fill in appearances. I stand by that, and over a month later, it sounds like RossO will be making more regular starts.

  87. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Ok, Stras, Gio, JZimm, and now RossO are gimmes.Taylor has a couple of more starts. What then?

  88. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    222, sent you email re: tix. Let me know.

  89. hiramhover - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    222 and seamheadThanks – I guess as recent mysteries go, this is one of the lesser ones.

  90. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Agreed on decision making, JayB. I was speaking from the fan point of view.JayB said… 1a…not when things are going poorly. At this level you can care about both but when decision need to be made….like they do now….you have to put team in front of player. All this Drew and Danny coddling cost us big this year. It sent the wrong messages to the players and the rest of the team. Perform or we will find someone else. That always has to be the bottom line under all the warm fuzzy Davey type talk. Rizzo is correct about that and that is the part of the GM job he has right. July 27, 2013 9:30 AM

  91. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Agreed, 222. I'm pretty sure that FP is the official team "fashion cop," but personally I like stirrup socks. :-)I just watched Storen's inning again. There's nothing wrong with wearing stirrups in a day game. He looked fine to me on that score.

  92. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Agreed here as well but, as you indicate, likely his emotions got the better of him given their close friendship.NatsLady said… I agree Clip should not have spoken so publicly and emotionally. It really spoiled the glow of Zim's walk-off and Ohlendorf's great job (not to mention Clip's outing). My feeling is he was upset, and he was also trying to protect Storen–who was, in the end, protected from a "how do you feel about the decision" -type question, and who didn't have a microphone shoved in his face. July 27, 2013 10:44 AM

  93. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Anyhoo, guess everybody's moved on to the next post. I'm catching up after being out all morning doing chores, but I think I'll get some lunch now.

  94. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Also from Twitter:Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 28mDavey didn't attend today's season-ticket holder event as planned. Told team 2 weeks ago he wouldn't go once he learned it was a day game…MicheleS said… and from Twitter.. Davey no showed at the Season Ticket holder event. July 27, 2013 11:01 AM

  95. fast eddie - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    hiramhoover:I agree re: Span's weak grounders to 2B. Davey's advice to swing earlier would seem to result in weak grounders to 1B. How is THAT helpful??It would be interesting to hear what Schu has to say. In fact, has he weighed in with advice to anyone yet??





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