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Wild homestand ends with winning streak

Jul 28, 2013, 11:20 PM EDT

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The Nationals returned from the All-Star break on July 19 with a winning record, a healthy roster and reason to believe they could take advantage of a long homestand to thrust themselves into the thick of the National League pennant race.

So what transpired over the next 10 days? How much time do you have to run through the laundry list?

The Nationals got swept by the Dodgers. Then they fired their hitting coach, against the manager’s wishes. They extended their losing streak to six games before snapping it on Bryce Harper’s first career walk-off homer. They got blown out by 11 runs in the first game of a doubleheader, then won the nightcap on Ryan Zimmerman’s ninth career walk-off homer. After which they sent their former closer to Class AAA, prompting another reliever to harshly criticize the organization. And then, just as their season appeared on the verge of disaster, they rebounded to win three in a row, capped by Sunday’s record-setting, 14-1 throttling of the Mets.

How on earth do the Nationals make sense of all that?

“We can’t get too excited,” center fielder Denard Span said. “We’ve been up and down all season. We’ve just got to stay the course, just try to win series. Definitely this weekend’s series was very important for us to win three out of four, especially after losing … six in a row. Just started off with Zimmerman getting that walk-off home run the other night, and we’ve just carried that momentum the last two days.”
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121 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. David Proctor - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    T.J. QuinnVerified account‏@TJQuinnESPNFrom what we've heard, Gio Gonzalez did not receive PEDs, so unlikely he'll face discipline.

  2. sjm308 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Only reason I am posting here is that it is the latest article. IF, Mattheus throws another stinker in his next appearance, how long will they wait until Drew is back?

  3. David Proctor - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    "Optimism not withstanding I still think we are in very dire straits. I know Rizzo can't throw in the towel but he shouldn't approach the trade deadline as if we are 1 player away from the WS. Give no prospects away Mike."I believe Rizzo has said that his plan is to acquire a LH bench bat (and reports have confirmed that's what the Nats are looking for). I'm fine with that. I assume it won't cost anything significant and we need it badly.Obviously, I'm opposed to making any big moves.

  4. Nats 128 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    sm308, you have Stammens who is struggling, Mattheus who didnt rehab enough, and Storen is in AAA for a while.Relying on Soriano, Clippard, Krol, Abad is alot of pressure. Ohlendorf is back to long man.

  5. baseballswami - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Who is voted off the island next, David, when the mystery bench bat arrives? Man, a lot of heads have rolled this season. Everyone must be watching their back.

  6. David Proctor - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    "For the season they rank in the bottom three in baseball for runs scored, however over the the past 30 days the Nats have scored in the top half of baseball."This is before today. I'm baffled as to how this is possible given the absolute offensive ineptitude shown over the last 10 days.

  7. Nats 128 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    By the way, Scott Hairston is worse than Tyler Moore if you havent noticed. The Cubs are laughing as they are on there own winning streak.

  8. JD - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Optimism not withstanding I still think we are in very dire straits. I know Rizzo can't throw in the towel but he shouldn't approach the trade deadline as if we are 1 player away from the WS. Give no prospects away Mike.On the flip side I wouldn't mind a bit if we traded ALR and Soriano for almost anything if we can somehow re deploy that money on JZim and Desi. At the same time I would really like to see Tyler Moore get a real shot with his name in the lineup every day for 50 games and playing 1st base. Sometimes the best solutions are the easy ones.

  9. sjm308 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    128 – exactly! I think Ohlendorf will start as long as Det is injured so our bullpen is actually down two men.

  10. Nats 128 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Yasiel Puig walkoff in a 0-0 game in the 11th inning. Dodgers win 1-0

  11. sjm308 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Hairston is not putting up great numbers but the numbers Moore was putting up here were horrible. He is crushing the ball in AAA and that is good news but its a whole different game up here. Hope we see Tyler back but Hairston is under control for this year and next. It should prove interesting

  12. Nats 128 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    sm308, you think. I thought Ollie goes back to pen until Taylor Jordan is shut down.StrasburgGioJordan ZHarenTaylor J

  13. JD - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    David, A LH bat like schierholtz won't cost nothing and it's not likely to make a difference this year. The bigger point is that if they acquire someone like that they won't play him just like they aren't playing Hairston. To give up anything for someone who gets 2 at bats a week is crazy unless you are right there in contention.

  14. David Proctor - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Scott Hairston is good in a very limited role. Against lefties only. We have used him against righties. And even still, he's only had like 15 ABs. Hold off on calling for his head just yet. I doubt the Cubs are laughing too much, since all they got was a weak single-A prospect. It's not like either side got hosed in the deal. We got a decent lefty hitter for a mediocre single-A pitcher. Reds losing is good for us.

  15. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    "A LH bat like schierholtz won't cost nothing and it's not likely to make a difference this year. The bigger point is that if they acquire someone like that they won't play him just like they aren't playing Hairston. To give up anything for someone who gets 2 at bats a week is crazy unless you are right there in contention."Schierholtz will want to be an everyday player. I don't think that's the type of guy Rizzo is targeting.

  16. Nats 128 - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    sm308, heres Hairstons slash .125/.176/.125/.301 and is batting .000 with RISPThat is worse then Tyler Moore and Bernadina.

  17. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    The Nats leave tomorrow for Detroit, home to the team which thoroughly disassembled the Phollies (sic) over the weekend. Disassembled them to the point that they will likely begin a disassembly of their roster, laden as it is with aging (some aged) veterans.Cliff Lee will likely be available. Mule recommends a pass.This is a different Nats squad than the one which swept the mini-series from the Tigers earlier in the season. The Tigers are different as well. Perhaps both squads are improved from the time of their previous meeting.Mule expects a rough parity; well-pitched, well-played games which could go either way. The Nats should not succumb to Detroit in the manner of Philadelphia.

  18. Nats 128 - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Hang on, who is this LH bat going to replace? I hope you say Tracy.

  19. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    The good news for the Nationals is that Verlander is having an off year. I really think we can get to him, the way he's pitched this season.

  20. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    128 – I agree with you on Ross -I put him back into long relief and try and get two more starts out of Jordan – On Hairston, I have no problem getting rid of him and bringing Moore back up but look at how long they have stayed with others who were struggling.

  21. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    So the bleeping Cardinals had to pick this weekend to slump??

  22. paul brandt - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    ok, so i never posted this below but why not now…just changing the topic after reading some posters getting a bit more optimistic than i:love the optimism fellow NI'ers but this was the Mets we beat….how quickly we forget we lost 6 in a row vs. the Dodgers & the Pirates before we won 1, going into this series…do hope this is a sign of good things to come but let's get to .500 first before we start calling in with our credit card #'s to reserve play-off tickets…wow!

  23. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    Mets have the best record in the NL recently — or, should I say, had….

  24. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    So remember last year when everyone was all about Chris Medlin? This year he has been struggling. Just like Harvey this year. Darling of the season. Just wait a minute- baseball has it's way of humbling everyone . Stras has had his growing pains. Not an easy game day to day and season to season.

  25. pedrocerrano - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    We're still sellers right?

  26. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    I don't think we were ever sellers. But we're not buyers, no.

  27. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    baseballswami said… Who is voted off the island next, David, when the mystery bench bat arrives? Man, a lot of heads have rolled this season. Everyone must be watching their back.No more than the number of heads that rolled last season. Xavier Nady, Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan, Brad Lidge, Rick Ankiel, Cesar Izturis, Brett Carroll, etc all got canned at some point in 2012. It happens every year.

  28. paul brandt - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    bad weekend for us for the Cardinals to suck!

  29. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    One more reason to hate them.

  30. hiramhover - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    swamiPretty sure it's the Dodgers who have had best recent record in NL–and unfortunately, the Nats made it even better.Taking 3 of 4 from the Mets was nice, but the Nats needed more from this homestand to make a serious run at the playoffs.

  31. ExposedinDC - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    2-1 barves….Shelby Miller with an RBI double

  32. Secret wasian man - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Ohlendorf, Haren and Jordan all getting it done. Time for the big three to get it going. Especially Zimmerman.

  33. Nats 128 - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Gattis bad fielding just cost the Barvos a run!

  34. Secret wasian man - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    21 wins in August and we will be back in the thick of it. I know it's tough, but you have to believe.

  35. Nats 128 - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    "Secret wasian man said… Ohlendorf, Haren and Jordan all getting it done"Ollie and Taylor J have done it every time they have been called on. With better run support these guys look like much better.

  36. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    I hate the Braves…

  37. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    Oh- Hiramhover- I meant in our division. I saw a graphic, can't remember the date, but maybe the last month? Mets and Marlins had better records than the others. Crazy division. Lots of ups and downs. Seems that any of the teams can beat any other. Marlins are dominating Pittsburg. Can't sleep on any of the teams was my point. They can stink or dominate.

  38. Nats 128 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    I dont care what anyone says about the Marlins. For the junk they got rid of they got a ton of talent in return.

  39. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    I also think the Marlins are better off. They have some exciting young players. Phils might be the weakest team player by player at this point based on talent for the future.

  40. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Harper's overall numbers since he came off the DL are still bad, but since the ASB, he's hitting well over .300. And his power seems to have returned. A good sign.

  41. hiramhover - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    SwamiAh, got it.

  42. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Mike Matheney took Shelby Miller after a single with 2 out. Two relievers then gave up 3 hits.Not sure what he saw in Miller to replace him, as I sure didnt see a reason.

  43. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:26 AM

    Since he came back is .250 which for him is bad.

  44. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    128 – I also think the Marlins are better off. Hell, they have to be just getting rid of Hanley. I realize he is crushing it now for the Dodgers but give him time. He will mess them up sooner than later.Great to actually see Harper smile today after his 2 rbi's. He has not shown nearly the same emotion he did in the beginning of the year.

  45. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    I am not going go see who said, but there Are several suspects.After the 11-0 game weren't we told the Nats were headed for 4th place.Person made it sound it would happen this weekend. Did I miss tge fall to 4th

  46. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    Manassas, there are many who you won't read here for today and tomorrow. They are famous for coming out when things are not going well and sort of go on vacation when we are winning.

  47. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    David Proctor – I don't read in-game stuff but I am guessing you did not have to defend a whole lot the last few days. Hope it was still fun for you.

  48. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    We have been incredibly lucky that most of the division can be as inconsistent as we are. Just when the Phils edged us out for second, they tanked. Just when we were in danger of taking over the Mets spot in fourth, we beat them. I am telling you now– wackiest division in baseball.

  49. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    I realize my prediction of 16 of 20 seemed high to the and were chewing me out.Well since i called for it we are 3-0.I hate negative predictions.I realize negative might happen and I will comment afterwards, but I refuse to predict it.

  50. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    The in-game threads have been very civil the last few nights. Curiously no WODL sighting with Span's success. ;)

  51. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    Civil or not, I will pass on those and let you handle all the crazies. I asked about WODL earlier. He will be back as soon as Span has an 0-4 day. Let us hope that does not happen. I have not seen Ghost either and I don't consider him a negative, although he is not happy with Span against lefties.

  52. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Wassan and Mick absent too.I did have a little beef despite a 14-1 score.Lots of the outs were still ground balls pulled when on the outer half.However lots hits were opposite field on outer halfOverall some were approaching much better.

  53. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Amazing what a few wins will do. But I do think that the events of the past week, Eck, Sori and Knorr, Clip, Drew– lanced a few festering boils. Some things had to give- and they did.

  54. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Last 30 days Dpan .286Against righties for the season .308Lefties for season .146So lefties is a legitimate concern.

  55. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    It is great to be loyal, but it is a business more important to win then be loyal.

  56. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    I hate to give the Braves a compliment but I went to espn and checked out their game. They have Heyward leading off who is hitting .225. Upton has dropped to .249. BJ is not even playing but I don't think he is above .200. Uggla is hitting .202, Simmons is hitting .245 but has an obp of .287. and yet they are about to sweep the Cards and have an 8.5 lead in our division. Baseball really is a crazy game.

  57. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    I am not sure why Span is struggling so much with lefties but it is a new league so I am guessing these are all pretty much new pitchers for him. Still, I have no issue with Davey sitting him against lefties, especially the Lee's and Kershaw's of the world. Surprised Mick is not posting. I did not consider him someone who would just put stuff up in a down time.

  58. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    You cant explain tge record at all.Pitching is fine, but so is ours.We hurt ourself having our real poor hitters hitting way to much.Rendon has slumped since cutting the mullet. Abad move. Bsseball players are superstitious.

  59. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    I think Span if he would hit lefties to left with their sweeping curves and sliders.Those pitches deem to be what he rolls over in a high rate.Lets see if Schu convinces only pull inside pitches.If he does he will hit lefties better.

  60. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Of the 8 position players on the Braves, who would you take for our roster? Freeman at first is a definiteI have a hard time with any other starters. I guess you could take Heyward in right because of his age but he is having a not so good year(.225 – slugging .335)I like all of our guys at the other positions thank you very much.

  61. Theo Mackie - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    The Cards really don't do this team any favors.

  62. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    6 weeks until football…Braves are in complete control of this division. Nationals would have to pull off a 2002 A's streak of 20 in a row to really have a shot at the postseason.

  63. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    nope

  64. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    That nope was to theoErik is right that we need to do something like Tampa did last month and have the Braves fall down as well

  65. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    I think you have it with Freeman. Chris Johnson is having a better season than Zim.

  66. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Braves sweep Card.Cards sweep Nats.

  67. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    I am predicting 16 of 20.I don't watch football til Nats are done.

  68. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    There is no reason we cant do it.

  69. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    There's a difference between expecting something to happen and hoping something will happen. I do not expect us to make the playoffs at this hope. But I sure as hell hope we do. And I'll hope that until we're mathematically eliminated.

  70. Steady Eddie - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    Mnf — answer to your 10:24 (why did Matheny pull Shelby Miller?) is that he's a 22 year old pitcher who had thrown 112 pitches tonight. Art to not burn his arm out before you even get to August.

  71. Scott Margenau - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    DP – Did u mean "at this point?"

  72. D'Gourds - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    big deal, they beat the mets 3 in a row. start to gloat when they sweep the tigers.

  73. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    yes, I meant at this point.

  74. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Good Morning!Not trying to do battle with any of the legion, but if you can't enjoy a sweep, what is the point of being a fan?? No gloating here but just wondering if D'Gourd is happier when they lose. We have dug a huge hole and to my knowledge, the only way out is to beat up on the teams you are supposed to beat up on and try and win at least 50% of the games against good teams. Braves play 50 of their 57 remaining games against teams under .500 (including our lads at this time). Those 9 games are huge but we have to keep plugging. I won't gloat but I will enjoy 3 in a row and todays day off.Go Nats!

  75. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    And yes, I do realize we did not actually sweep the Mets.

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Who's gloating? I just want the Nats to play solid baseball in the their next game and see how that game shakes out.Then, on to the next game.

  77. fast eddie - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    In spite of several regulars having poor seasons, the Braves are still hitting well as a team. Here are the MLB rankings: BA OBP OPSBraves 18 9 10Nationals 26 28 24The biggest edge is in Run Differential where they rank #4 (+83) while we are #20 (-23). I think this is primarily due to their excellent SP and especially their BP.

  78. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    In other news, looks like the Brewers wised up and made nice after their recent fan relations fail.

  79. Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I admit to doing a happy dance a couple of times these past few days. Heck, we won 4 out of 5. The Jordan kid got his first Curly W, we had 2 walk off wins, we saw Haren pitch a decent game and get a W, Harper was fun to watch, Span hit as well as he has since he got here, Ramos had one of the greatest smiles ever after hitting his first grand slam, Zimmerman and Werth were both terrific, Clippard continued a pretty darn impressive streak, Desi hit well, ALR isn't hitting but his DP throw from his knees was pretty cool the other day, and Gio and Stras pitched good games. In other words, our team has played overall pretty good ball the past few days. So, like sjm308 said, if you can't enjoy all that, too bad for you. BTW, Kilgore says that Schu had Span change the way he was holding the bat. Maybe he is already making a difference?

  80. Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    And I forgot to mention Ross Olendorff's great start and win.

  81. Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    fast eddie, after this weekend it's hard to not tip your hat to the barves. Thanx for nothing, Cards.

  82. bowdenball - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Said it before and I'll say it again- too much focus on the Braves around here. There are other ways to make the playoffs. We're 1.5 games closer to the Reds than the Braves, the Reds still don't have Johnny Cueto back, the Reds have a tougher schedule to close the season, and there's NOBODY else stepping up to challenge for that second wild card spot. Right now it would be the DBacks, but if they get hot they'd win the division, not just the wild card.If the Reds go .500 from here out they'd finish with 87 wins. That's attainable.

  83. fast eddie - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Seamhead:Yeah, the Cards rolled over this weekend in Atlanta. So, is it time to start looking at WC standings?? We're 7 GB behind Pitt. and Cinn, with the D'backs at 4.5

  84. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    JS, The Braves kept the door open for us all year, we just couldn't make it through. We are in the position we are and we can't do anything about the games the Braves play against other teams and we are 7 games behind the Reds so there is some hope there. As real fans we will continue to hope until the bitter end, heck I recall one year the Expos were something like 5 games out with 6 games to play and I kept telling everyone that we will overtake whoever was ahead of us. Mike Rizzo on the other hand should treat this trade dead line with extreme caution. You are not going to get anyone who will make more than 1 game difference (I doubt Trout is available)and the worst thing he can do is get someone who is a marginal upgrade for any kind of prospect.

  85. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    NatsJack, I completely agree with your philosophy. All you can do on any given day is win the game you are scheduled to play. There's no sense doing all these mathematical probability modules because in baseball strange things happen. Before the Mets series I thought that the 1st game was the best matchup for us and the 2nd game the worst, go figure.

  86. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Eddie, I wish we were 7 games behind Pitt. How about 10.5?

  87. baseballswami - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    We used to be ignored. Now way too many national pundits and sports figured enjoy taking shots at the Nats and individual players. Sometimes being relevant stinks.

  88. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Someone noted yesterday that the Nats have nine games left w/ the Braves. That's a good place to make up 4-5 games — if the Nats play up to their ability and the Braves continue to play below the level of their reputations. I think one reason some people post (mostly) during times when the Nats are falling on their f, aces and less when they are playing well is that baseball inexorably pushes performance down to the level of the players' ability. "Good stories," e.g., Jordan (rising from AA obscurity), Ohlendorf (rising from ML below-mediocrity, Span (squeezing a couple just over the scoreboard wall) tend to last just so long — and then the meteorite falls to earth. Seriously, how many are willing to bet — based on their performance the last month — that Jordan and Ohlendorf are in some major league team's rotation next year? Jordan may well be part of the Nats rotation in 2017 (with Giolito, Cole, Solis and Karns?) but he won't be in it at the end of this season. And Ohlendorf — well, I have my hopes, because he seems to have discovered physical attributes not previously exhibited — but the probabilities are he's not going to end the season 8-1. When you've been as disappointing as many of the players have been this season it's just difficult to summon up wild enthusiasm even after a 14-1 pasting of the Mets.I'm trying to be enthusiastic but it would help a lot if Strasburg and the other so-called ace take two from the Tigers.

  89. fast eddie - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    JD:Thanks for the clarification re: WC standings.ESPN website actually shows Pitt and Cinn. as the unofficial "Wild Cards" (with no difference in their records). Ariz. is shown as 4.5 GB with us at 7 GB.

  90. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    An addendum to the previous comment, not only will they have to beat the teams they're supposed to beat, e.g., Marlins, Phillies, their best players need to perform at their highest level against the best teams. If both happen, they'll be in the running at the end.

  91. SonnyG10 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I've really enjoyed our last three games. Looking for more wins one game at a time.

  92. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Absolutely agree with NatsJack about one game at a time – there is actually no other way as a player or fan. And Theo is correct, when we play the "big boys" that is when our guys need to step up. Next series vs. Detroit hopefull will be fun. Like others, I just want us to play clean, smart baseball. One game at a time. NatsJack – my comments were directed at D'gourd who chided us about rejoicing on winning 3 in a row vs. Mets

  93. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    First and foremost, JD…thank you for the feedback on the Nats pitching prospects, I did not have a chance to thank you yesterday as I went to the game last minute!!

  94. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    had a lot of fun at the park! I really like Taylor Jordan

  95. sjm308 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Mick – glad you saw a great offensive outburst and a nice job by our young starter. It is a nice park!

  96. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    it is indeed coach!

  97. bowdenball - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said…"Someone noted yesterday that the Nats have nine games left w/ the Braves. That's a good place to make up 4-5 games — if the Nats play up to their ability and the Braves continue to play below the level of their reputations."The Nats actually CAN'T make up four games head to head with the Braves. I point that out not to correct Theo but to illustrate what a tall task it is. If they don't go 7-2 in the nine games, which is very unlikely, then the most they can make up is three games head to head. The goal should be 87-88 wins. That's realistic and has a decent chance of getting the Nats to the postseason. I don't like the strategy of putting all the eggs in the Braves basket, especially if they start shuffling the rotation or otherwise make strategic decisions based on putting extra emphasis on the three Braves series.

  98. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    bowdenballI think you are spot on, I feel 87-89 would qualify for at least a Wild Card, if it does not then it is still a good season that the team can learn from…it means Nats would have been one of the hottest teams since the break with 87-89 wins with just too much ground to make up, I can live with that.Here is another thought, 87 wins could create perhaps a 2 or 3 way tie at the end of the season, meaning 2 WC games.

  99. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    whats up with Tino Martinez?ha ha ha

  100. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Theo, I don't agree with you re. Jordan. I think he has every chance to be in our rotation next year. Remember we are only looking for a 5th been at and has held his own at the big leagues. I don't think we need to go the Haren, EJax route again for the 5th starter. Spend the money elsewhere.

  101. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    sjm… my comment was directed at D'Gourds as well.

  102. Kirbs - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    The Phills have lost 8 strait!!!!! Will we see them blow up by Wednesday?

  103. hiramhover - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Tie-breakersSomeone remind me – is a divisional tie breaker no longer determined by head to head record? I think that changed last year.The Barves are already up 7-3 on the Nats this year, so even if the Nats go 6-3, the Barves still win the seasons series.

  104. hiramhover - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    JDI like Jordan for next year too, but I don't necessarily expect that he slots in easily as the #5 and the 2014 rotation is set, with no trades or free agency signings. Those calculations only work if you're penciling in Det for #4. Last year was his only year of 100+ innings and he's at 71 this year with no return in immediate sight. If the Nats are uncertain about him (and they have reason to be), they're more likely to go the trade or FA route in the off-season.But there's a lot of baseball before we need to start worrying too much about that.

  105. NatsLady - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    CAA Baseball Sunday, @thisisdspan became first #Nationals CF since 2006 with 4 H, 3 RBI, HR in one game

  106. fast eddie - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    I hate off-days. My spousal equivalent is threatening to commandeer the remote and force me to watch "The Bachelorette" tonight.

  107. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Matthues concerns me…my bet is that he was not ready to come back…I do not think he has any mojo back which creates BP problems

  108. #4 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I still think that psychologically for this team to get on a roll, they need to do three things:1. Limit the number of extra outs they give the other team – errors and misplays.2. Limit the number of extra bases they give the other team – hit cut-off men, hold runners, throw strikes.3. Execute offensive fundamentals – get bunts down, limit the runners thrown out on the bases, score runners from 3rd with less than two outs.I do think that "regression to the mean" dictates, in the Nats' case, actually a "progression to the mean". Their BA in RISP situations must get better. BABIP's will get better. That's what their historical averages show. What will be deflating is if the players feel like they are giving games away through things they can control. Furthermore, I don't think one can overestimate the impact that certain players making mistakes has on a ball club. When players know someone is struggling and the players know it's costing them ball games, seeing that player make yet another error, etc. is hard to see. I think Storen getting sent down and Zim getting his mojo back with the walk-off HR were crucial for this team's mind set. Zim's and Drew's mental state was sucking the oxygen out of this ball club.

  109. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    a split with Tigers and winning the series against Brew would be very nice, it would set up the following week well.agree #4…good analysis

  110. mick - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    also Braves swept Cards…I hope they do not get on a roll?

  111. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    HH, I agree about your last comment. I was just responding to Theo's comment. All I'm saying is that I don't think Jordan will go the way of Martis,O'Connor and Atilano. I think he's the real deal. Not necessarily a top of the rotation guy but a very solid mid to bottom of the rotation guy. My other point is that spending $13 mil to fill in the rotation is not exactly the most cost effective way to run a team. Similarly spending that much on a so-so closer isn't necessary either. Sign your young vets to multi year deals instead (JZim and Desi).

  112. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Mick,if the Braves maintain their .570 pace they will be at 92 wins. If the Reds maintain their .560 pace they will be at 90 wins and in either case we are not likely to catch either of them. This does not mean that either team can't slump and worse but this is our reality. If they both play well we won't make the playoffs.

  113. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Correct, JD. Both Jackson last year and Haren this season are stop gaps until the development of the likes of Taylor, Robbie Ray, Solis and Purke gets to the point of supplementing the ML staff.Next year could be that year.

  114. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    "My other point is that spending $13 mil to fill in the rotation is not exactly the most cost effective way to run a team."I don't see that pattern ending next year. Others point out that the Nats — at this moment — need both a #4 and a #5 for next season. Unless you assume that (A) Detwiler rebounds and (B) Ohlendorf continues to beat expectations and is signed for, say, $5MM, they don't have the parts within the organization to fill one hole, let alone two.Sorry, JD, but Jordan is a year away if not two. No one says the No. 5 starter has to be an ace, but he has to be good enuf to pick up the slack when the 2, 3 or 4 is going through a rough spot. Jordan needs work on his breaking stuff, his K rate is low, and he gives up too many hits — meaning a lot of time squirming in the seats. Meaning, he's a slightly more polished if less powerful Karns. Give him another year in the minors — or maybe even another four months — and he might be ready. But for next year there'll be another rental arm. If the White Sox will lower their price on Peavy it might be a good idea to just buy him now, as it is likely they can be pressed to pick up at least some of the cost.

  115. bowdenball - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    JD said…"if the Braves maintain their .570 pace they will be at 92 wins. If the Reds maintain their .560 pace they will be at 90 wins and in either case we are not likely to catch either of them. This does not mean that either team can't slump and worse but this is our reality. If they both play well we won't make the playoffs."The Reds "pace" is mostly due to a red-hot May when they were healthy and firing on all cylinders. They had a TEAM OPS of .781 for the month of May. Since then they've lost their #1 starter and a couple other role players and have cooled off considerably. They're actually under .500 since Memorial Day. I don't see any reason anyone would expect them to maintain a .560 pace.

  116. hiramhover - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    his K rate is low, and he gives up too many hits — meaning a lot of time squirming in the seats.Wait a minute – isn't that last part especially the job description for a #5 starter?Snark aside, I think Jordan's numbers have been plenty good for a #5 starter: 1.30 WHIP, but he's a GB pitcher and should be expected to see a higher than avg # of balls in play. Not high Ks, but few BBs and so a 4/1 K/BB ratio.Whether he can handle the marathon of 30 start season and maintain those #s, I don't know. But they're good enough to take a flyer on him for #5–if they've got #4 nailed down.But since they don't, I agree the Nats won't necessarily depend on internal options for the 2014 rotation.

  117. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Bowdenball, You are exactly right and the Braves have played .500 since their hot start. All I'm saying is that if they should both get hot we wouldn't catch either of them. The other part of the equation of course is that we need to play .570 to get to 88 wins. That is doable but it's at a higher level than we've played all year.

  118. JD - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Jordan's K to BB rate is 5 to 1. He has given up 41 hits in 35 innings which is fine since he's only walked 5 hitters and only given up 2 HR's. I think he's good enough right now to be in the rotation and he'll only get better.

  119. hiramhover - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    JDAgreed on everything except rounding error–he has 21Ks, 5BBs = 4.2 K/BB ratio.

  120. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Let him get last out.

  121. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Technically we swept the originally scheduled series , but not the actually played series.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 54 43 --
ATLANTA 54 45 1.0
MIAMI 46 52 8.5
NEW YORK 46 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 56 12.0
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
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.
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

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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