Skip to content

1 bad pitch, 10 games back

Jul 31, 2013, 3:46 AM EDT

Associated Press

DETROIT — He had dominated one of baseball’s toughest lineups all night, but here stood Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night, needing to execute one more pitch in order to escape a bases-loaded jam and keep the Nationals and Tigers tied at Comerica Park.

The count was 2-1 to Alex Avila, and Wilson Ramos called for a fastball down and away to Detroit’s .193-hitting catcher. Strasburg, though, misfired by a foot, leaving the 96-mph heater on the lower-inside corner, right in Avila’s wheelhouse. As the ball soared toward the right-field bleachers and the crowd of 41,880 rejoiced the grand slam, Strasburg could only soak it all in, mutter a couple of things and try to recompose himself and finish his evening.

The rest of the Nationals, meanwhile, could only take a deep breath and come to grips with their latest dose of stark reality: This 5-1 loss to Detroit, combined with the Braves’ lopsided win over Colorado, leaves them a full 10 games back in the NL East entering the final day of July.

“I really could care less what the Braves do,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “We’re [three] games under .500. We’ve got to worry about ourselves. That’s first and foremost. And then the rest will take care of itself.”

It may not matter if the rest takes care of itself. The Nationals aren’t holding up their end of the bargain, and because of it they’re digging themselves into an even deeper hole.
Read more

  1. Coolhandbane (formally Bob Saget) - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    After watching baseball these past 2 seasons, I have come to realize that baseball is more mental than physical. Players are their worst enemies. Whatever made this team a winner last year left when they lost is the NLDS. To me, someone or people, had to have made the team tight. It could have been Mike Morse, Bo Porter, Edwin J, our lefty relievers, or everyone playing above their potential. I hope they can salvage their mental stage and have a winning season. If we dont make the playoffs, fix what needs to be fixed, bring in a new coaching staff and let the Nats roll.

  2. Grandstander - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    Mark, this is going to seem like me taking 4 months of frustration out on you, so I want you to know I'm a huge follower of you and I think you're a great guy and a better journalist.But could you please, pretty please, stop the videos from auto-loading when I open your articles on the CSN site. I go to you to read an article about what happened, if I want to watch the video, I'll gladly click a link to do so, but please don't force me to click a link to not do so.Thank you.

  3. DWS - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. DWS - Jul 31, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    Sorry, Just thought a better option if CSN can't fix it, perhaps the automatic forward to your article on there site might be adjusted.

  5. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 31, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Same old, same old. They had their opportunities, but could not cash in. Desi, of all people, provided 2 of the quickest and easiest outs for Sanchez in critical situations. They are now 4 – 8 since the All-Star break. I do not know why Davey keeps ALR in the heart of the order. Adam looks like a scarecrow who should be in that Scott's lawn food commercial. "Feed him." For God's sake, "FEED HIM."

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    This team is such a tease, especially the offense. I am still holding out hope for one hot streak and get back into at least WC discussion.

  7. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    After100 plus games there is no switch to turn on. They are a average team. That it. Some exciting moments this season. But they are few and far between.

  8. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Only 6.5 back in the Wild Card. Can still sneak in, and that's all you need to do.

  9. Unknown - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    One great clubhouse guy from last year missing now is DeRosa, but he's not working the same intangible magic in Toronto and still can't hit or field. You have to perform. To quote Rizzo, you are your record. The fight the Nats are in this season is not playoff or wild card but to hold off two flawed teams, Phils and Mets, from passing them in the NL East standings. These Nats are not playoff material. It is time to evaluate and build for 2014.

  10. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    I feel that I just have to point this out- if the bases are loaded, you have probably made a few more than One Bad Pitch. Stras seems to lose his mechanics sometimes. Usually he is funky early in the game and then finds his rhythm- this time he had a nice flow going and lost it for an inning. Last year Medlin, this year Harvey. Stras will tell you it gets harder not easier. Don't get too comfy with that early success. It's a humbling game.

  11. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Good Morning!Couple of things1. Grandstander – I am with you on the automatic ads. What I do now is go to comments and if the whole article doesn't come up, I sometimes just head to the comments. Mark is terrific but the ads drive me crazy2. Love Desmond and love his quotes – This is what I was talking about last night. We are 3 games under .500 and yet people are comparing or mentioning what it will take to overcome teams who are 11+ games over .500. How do you think they got to 11+ games over .500. They play winning baseball, its not magic. We need to play better and have not shown that ability3. A point on Harper who I don't think is mentioned. If you don't think he is still hurt you are not paying attention. Yes, by this time of year everyone has something nagging them but Harper is not the player he was in the beginning of the year. Maybe you think he is just playing smarter by not running full speed on groundouts but to me, he is hurt. I would expect he will have an operation or procedure on that knee after the season and I also expect that we will find he is playing with other injuries as well. It is not the main reason we are under .500 but he is not 100% and will not be till next April.OK – time to get a new hat for the day, hope that we somehow turn this season around (I honestly have no clue how that will happen with our offense.) and get on with the dayGo Nats!!

  12. m - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    If anything this team is cosnsistant. Our lineup is no match for Detroit's.

  13. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Last year showed me that the Nats, while getting to be very good, still needed some tweaking to be World Series/ Good Every Year kind of good.. I see this year as a necessary part of the evolution of this franchise. I see most of the changes that have been made as necessary. I see the adversity creating that mental toughness. No, I am not some wimp that has given up. I have seen enough baseball to know that weirder things have happened. I see this franchise as being in it's adolescence. Not a child anymore, but not yet fully mature. As long as the changes keep going in the right direction, I will have to choke down the step back. I try to take heart in the BigO, Taylor Jordan, Anthony Rendon story lines. More work to do. Every move should be towards long term success. I am sorry that do many fans feel so angry. It's certainly not a fairy tale, but I can actually relate more to this team.

  14. natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Tomorrow, er, today is another day. Guess I'd better get some work done if I'm going to watch any of this afternoon's game.

  15. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Afternoon game? How did I miss that? Will have to DVR! Surely Cabrera will not be able to play- he can barely move. He can hit, but fielding and running look painful. So many of these big sluggers seem to be ailing with their hips, ankles, feet. And yet, there is big old Prince. Just playing every single darn day. Head scratcher.

  16. Traveler8 - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    What Grandstander and sjm308 said – I agree, I hate the automatic loads of the video and have stopped clicking on Read more for that reason – opening a new window to the CSN site is fine, but the auto load is NOT fine.Thanks also to the comments about "one bad pitch" – I did not hear or see the game last night, but heard the same "one bad pitch" comment on the radio. The only way one bad pitch scores four runs at the same time is when there were three errors in front of it.

  17. hiramhover - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Re the videosI agree as a viewer, but I don't think this is a "glitch"–the first thing that plays in an ad that the host is getting paid to put in front of as many viewers as possible.

  18. hiramhover - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    sjmWhile I too have worried about Harper having a lingering injury, my reaction for the last 7-10 days is almost the opposite – after slumping for most of July, he's hitting again.

  19. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    hh: I agree he is seeing the ball well & always has been a terrific hitter but watch him on the bases and in the field. He is not the same. Maybe some of that is a good thing as I dont want him running into walls, but I loved the pressure he used to put on infielders on just an easy ground ball and I don't see that anymore.

  20. fast eddie - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    sjm:I share your despair over our current plight. No amount of optimism here will assuage my pain.I'll start dreaming of a WC after we put together a decent winning streak (6-8 games?)I'm conflicted re: ALR. He's killing us at clean-up, but he's such a streak hitter and overdue to get hot. Give him two more weeks, then bring up TyMo. Davey will stick with Rendon so as not to hurt his confidence, but at least move him down in the order.Rizzo should sit tight today, then make necessary moves this winter to find some hitters.

  21. Joe Seamhead - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Nats have played 26 games in July. Earlier in the year you had 2 or 3 glaring holes in the lineup night after night Now it's a similar situation, just different guys not performing consistently at the plate. I've been a supporter of LaRoche, but he needs to take a break. I'm not saying DL time, but a few days off and some nachos, tacos, steaks or something to put some meat on his bones.Other then ALR's poor overall stats, to me the most glaring stat that surprised me was Desmond's low RBI total for the month. I mean, really, did you know Denard Span has twice as many RBI's as Desi does for the month?July Basic Hitting Stats, BA/OBP/OPS [Hits-ABs] RBI'sALR .167/.237/.534 [14-84] 10 RBI'sRendon .184/.237/.558 [16-87] 6 RBI'sHarper .273/.370/.899 [23-92] 12 RBI'sSpan .277/.333/.727 [26-94] 10 RBI'sRamos .279/.322/.818 [19-63] 17 RBI'sDesi .290/..383/.770 [27-93] 5 RBI'sZimm .301/.339/.747 [[31-103] 13 RBI'sWerth .371/.448/.1077 [33--89] 21 RBI'sIf Jayson Werth put up those kind of numbers for a whole year we'd be talking MVP!

  22. hiramhover - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    sjmIf it's any consolation, he did over-run second against the Pirates last week, before the Bucs botched the run down. ;)

  23. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    The only way one bad pitch scores four runs at the same time is when there were three errors in front of it. Not necessarily — sometimes you make a great pitch and the batter still gets a hit, sometimes even a lucky hit.Re: Harper — I agree with a combination of the comments above: I think he was playing hurt, and, I think he's still playing slightly hurt. He has been heating up lately, because I think he's less hurt — but I don't think he's fully healthy yet.

  24. fast eddie - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Seamhead:Interesting July numbers. I wouldn't criticize Desmond for only 5 RBIs. He hit .290/.383/.770.Also, Werth with those numbers should be hitting clean-up, not ALR.

  25. JD - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    SJM, Agree re Harper; the defense in particular has not been up to his standards. Again, I may be in the minority here but if I'm Rizzo I listen very careful to any offers for ALR and Soriano and I take any offer which removes them from the payroll for next year. I think we really need to have an extended look at Moore one more time and I think September is not a good sample as you are playing against minor league pitching in many cases. If Moore turns out to be the answer at 1st base you have about $10 mil you can deploy elsewhere. It's not that hard to replace what ALR has given us this year. I think the FA the Nats should pursue this winter is Shin Soo Choo moving Harper back to CF. The guy is an absolute OBP machine (.418 this year, .386 career) with some pop and decent speed.

  26. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    The "one bad pitch" excuse needs to be circular-filed. He gave up five walks, one of which led to the HR — which he gave up all by himself. Ten base runners in six innings usually results in at least 3-4 runs. So he Houdini-ed himself thru five innings and got de-pantsed in the sixth. The pattern this season is that, otherwise-great numbers notwithstanding, Strasburg's command deserts him at critical moments. And moreso in the last month — ERA of 4.5+.We want Strasburg to be great. Time to stop making excuses for him when he's mediocre or — maybe a better word — pedestrian.

  27. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    David Proctor said… I don't understand why people live and die with each game. Because "fan" is short for "fanatic"? ;-)I think, frankly, that part of the difficult job of the _players_ is the mental aspect to do the opposite.Take Strasburg as an example: we've seen him melt down over a number of things: an RZ error, or, last year, after hitting a batter on the helmet.But he's toughened up – the famous "I've got this" motion to RZ after an error, and, last night, getting the next two guys after the grand-slam. (Not that it helped last night, but it showed a mental toughness of Strasburg, that, really, he didn't have prior to this year).And so, when players don't seem overly upset after a game, it's not because they don't care, it's because they have to focus on the task at hand which is: getting ready for the next game.When players _don't_ do that, they do stupid things like obliterate telephones, or, worse: try to punch out a locker.paul brandt said… Davey and his "tomorrow's another day" final comment has to end his presser…uggghhhh!It may drive some of _us_ nuts when they do that — but for the coaches and players: that's their job. Keep an even keel, and focus on the next game.

  28. JD - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Wonk, I think he's more than a little hurt.

  29. Joe Seamhead - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Eddie, I wasn't criticizing, just was surprised at how low his RBI total is for the month. Compared to his 28 in June, it's rather glaring.I see Rendon still hitting the ball squarely a couple of times a game and keep thinking the law of averages say that some of them have to start dropping, but if you only could see the box scores, his July numbers are pretty glaring, too.

  30. hiramhover - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    JDAbout trying to trade ALR – I'll repeat what I said the other day:Who's going to look at his July #s and say "I want me some of that — and supersize it, please, with another year for a mere $12M more"?He ain't going anywhere, except perhaps a day or two on the bench.

  31. Joe Seamhead - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Careful what you wish for with Tyler Moore at 1B. He really isn't a very good defensive player, no matter where you play him. Put him at first and watch the pitcher's ERA go up, along with their pitch counts.

  32. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Too bad Jim Palmer doesn't do those abominable Nats-O's combined MASN broadcasts. He could have explained to Strasburg how it was that he never gave up a single grand slam in his entire career. Strasburg could have used that knowledge last night.

  33. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Wonk,I think he's more than a little hurt. Quite possibly. I'm suggesting that however hurt he is now, I think it's less hurt than a few weeks ago.I think.

  34. bowdenball - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    JD said…"Again, I may be in the minority here but if I'm Rizzo I listen very careful to any offers for ALR and Soriano and I take any offer which removes them from the payroll for next year."I don't think you're in the minority. I don't even think he could unload them for three. The Nats would have to agree to eat a good bit of their remaining salaries to unload them. LaRoche is a replacement level 1B who will be 34 next season. Soriano still looks like an effective reliever at first glance, but he can't strike people out any more, his K rate is way down. His fastball has lost its zip and his slider has lost its bite. If the Nats can unload either and get any kind of prospect in return they should, even if it means eating most of the money.

  35. bowdenball - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Unload them for "free," not for "three." Weird typo.

  36. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said… Too bad Jim Palmer doesn't do those abominable Nats-O's combined MASN broadcasts. He could have explained to Strasburg how it was that he never gave up a single grand slam in his entire career. Strasburg could have used that knowledge last night.I thought of that, too. But I disagree.The difference on that pitch was not knowledge or strategy, but execution.Strasburg was trying to do the exact thing Palmer would have done — a fastball down and away.But Strasburg messed up his execution on that pitch. All the knowledge and strategy in the world don't mean nuthin' if you can't execute it.

  37. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    reading through the game posts, the below one really struck a cord because I think it is spot on, not just about Stras but about a lot of our so called good playersBigCat said…If my dad was alive he would say Stra is not a " money" player

  38. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Tyler Moore I am afraid is not the answer.

  39. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    To further explain Palmer (to others): a strategy he used was that he would nibble at the corners even when bases were loaded because a walk is much better than a slammer. Palmer did walk guys with bases loaded, but as Feel Wood noted, he never gave up a slam.But last night — Strasburg _was_ trying to nibble at the corner! But he missed — by a full foot.

  40. JD - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Bowdenball, I don't think you are getting anything good in return, it's all about salary relief and opening a spot for Moore for the remainder of the year. Again, Moore may turn out a AAAA player but then again he could turn into the big bopper we have been hoping for. Why not try it now while he's hot and we are a long shot for the playoffs? I think ALR's defense is over rated. He is very good at scooping balls in the dirt but his range is limited and he is overall average.

  41. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    and Palmer has WS 3 rings and 4 AL championships…

  42. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I feel it is a must Nats finish above 500, anything less would be devastating for team and fan morale going into 2014

  43. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I think the FA the Nats should pursue this winter is Shin Soo Choo moving Harper back to CF. The guy is an absolute OBP machine (.418 this year, .386 career) with some pop and decent speed. Intriguing.Question is: what do you think his price is going to be (at age 31) next year? And, then, of course: is he worth that much money? What if the Evil Empire offers him a gazillion dollar 7-year contract?Surely Rizzo has him on his radar. But I shudder to think how much money we might be talking about here.

  44. Joe Seamhead - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I'm going to stick up for Strasburg. I mean come on, this is his first compete season as a ML pitcher. BTW, that slam last night was the first homer that he has given up with more then one runner on in his career. mick, I'll bet you that there isn't one GM in baseball that would agree with BigCat on Strasburg.

  45. JD - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Mick, Why not? They said the same thing about Chris Davis before this year. Moore has an OBP of .417 at AAA with 6 HR's and 25 RBI's in 120 at bats.The Nats better be sure he's not the answer before they discard him and he hits 35 HR's for someone else.

  46. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I think ALR's defense is over rated.Really? He won a gold glove last year!

  47. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    If my dad was alive he would say Stra is not a "money" player It's awfully early in Stras' career to put that label on him, imho.In fact, it's the adversity this year that has forced him to mature and toughen his mental attitude — a lot. He's much much tougher than last year. He's 24, and this is his first full season.

  48. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Joetime will tell, I said last night he was very good, not great, to be great, as the team's ace, you can not make that mistake in that situation…this is where hall of famers carry their team…Stras is not there right now …other than Werth who really is this team's step up player? That is what I believe has been missing…every team struggles, but the winning teams have a few players who carry the load, the Nats have nobody other than Werththat has to change no matter who the next manager is

  49. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    wonk agreed he is better in that regard, but I still see red flags

  50. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    JDI hope your right..I felt Moore had an opportunity this season

  51. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    When you look at this team you think what player has made progress this year… anyone? Except for the guys called up everyone here is having a worse year except Werth. Not a recipe for success.

  52. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Peavey to the Red SoxThe Boston Red Sox took a gamble Tuesday night, beefing up their starting rotation by acquiring Jake Peavy and giving up talented defensive player Jose Iglesias in a three-team, seven-player deal on the eve of the trade deadline.In the closest thing to a “whoa” trade so far, the Red Sox sent Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers along with three prospects (J.B. Wendelken, Francelis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon) and, in addition to obtaining Peavy from the Chicago White Sox, also acquired Brayan Villarreal, a Class AAA righthander, from Detroit. Chicago also obtained outfielder Avisail Garcia, a top prospect who was the key player for them in the deal, from Detroit. In Iglesias, the Tigers have someone who could step in if/when Jhonny Peralta is suspended because of his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic.The Red Sox can use Peavy, one of the best starters on the market this year, while they await the return of Clay Buchholz from the disabled list in late August or early September.

  53. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    SCNatsFan maybe Desi and RZim are playing on the same level as 2012, and Clip and J zim is clearly better than last year, other than them and as you said, Werth everyone else has taken a step back…and in some cases, a major step back

  54. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    actually Ramos has been positive and Gio has pitched well

  55. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    mick said… wonk agreed he is better in that regard, but I still see red flagsPshaw. He's 24. This is his first "tough" season in his life. He's growing from this, and we can see it in front of our eyes. He's going to be tough as nails next year, just like JZimm turned into tough as nails this year. (And JZ is one year ahead of Stras in terms of development).Stras surely has noticed that JZ surpassed him this year, and he's going to be coming out with nostrils-ablazing next year to try to take back the mantle of Nats #1 pitcher.

  56. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    SCNatsFan Espi going down the tubes set the team back big time by allowing Espi to stay up and play in too many games as an automatic out. Rendon has done very well for a rookie but not enough to off set the damage Espi caused. Every bench player went down hill fast, not just one, everyone and that was unexpected. Throw in Hairston and you have no bench. Hairston is one of the worst players i have ever seen since the 2005

  57. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Wonkyou convinced me on Stras

  58. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    question…. what is Eurey Perez future? if they are not going to bring him up, why keep him?

  59. fast eddie - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Too much criticism of Stras here. Whether it was a grand slam or solo HR, we were going to lose either 5-1 or 2-1. Once again, the problem is lack of hitting.

  60. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    fast eddieand that is true, Nats would have lost 2-1

  61. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    mick I don't think we've seen enough of hairston to say he is good or bad.And Eddie, while I agree our offense stinks, its the starters job to beat the other guy. Sanchez didn't make that 'bad pitch', SS did.

  62. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Espi going down the tubes set the team back big time by allowing Espi to stay up and play in too many games as an automatic out.OK, I've heard that meme just too many times, and I'm going to speak out against it.Espi only played in 44 games. At that time is BA was .100 lower than the year before, and it was quite reasonable to expect that he would get that average up.Further, there weren't a whole lot of good options to replace him. Lombo also had a negative WAR at the time, and Rendon certainly wasn't ready to move to 2b at MLB level in April or May.ALR after 44 games was hitting a paltry .219 — did management "play him too long", too?

  63. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Fast Eddie — ding, ding, ding!! Give the man a prize!!! The constant elephant in the room is the offense. Every single day we are crticizing one of the starters or relievers. Almost doesn't matter what they do at this point. Verlander today. I will accept this season's woes if all of this leads to better things in the future. For example — if this season makes Stras into a mature pitcher.

  64. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Mick — You give up too easily. It's perfectly OK to say Strasburg is "not a money player." Accurate, even. Very possible he evolves into a money player. But that evolution needs to take place very soon. Nats fans were sold on the idea that Strasburg is a "once in a generation" talent. It is now certain that he won't be "dominant" until his fifth season in the majors — if then. The Nats have him under control for three more seasons before he's a FA — and more than likely West Coast bound. It's going to be a grave disappointment if Nats fans only see a fraction of the type of performance they were promised — if they see it at all.

  65. Tcostant - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I think Rizzo may have blew it a few weeks ago when he aquired Scott Hairston from the Cubs. He should have got Alfonso Soriano who would have only cost a few more dollars than Hairston because the Cubs wanted him off the team so much they were (are) willing to pay most of his salary.Alfonso Soriano could have been a huge upgrade over Span hitting 7th (if Span isn't going to lead off, what good is he?). Span or ALR could have been traded later to fix the extra guy issue.This would have help scoring runs – a lot.Plus Alfonso Soriano was loved here and would have been a great addition.

  66. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Stras is taking some lumps but all pitchers do throughout each season. I hate to wait for next year but our starters will be better. Gio has really stepped up after a slow start and when all is said and done this season might prove to be the best of all 3.Wonk – thanks as always for expressing to Mr. Proctor much better than I could why we do live and die with each game.Back to Harper – he is the type of player that can carry a club and look at the spark he gave us last year. That is not there right now and it is because he truly is still hurt. I am very concerned about Rendon – I read everyone here talking about his talent and how hard he is still hitting the ball but .181 tells me he is not getting on base and that is how we score runs and win games. Of course, I am concerned about a lot of our offense.I want to take issue with Swami on something posted way early here (7:21AM) – you used the word wimp and giving up on the team in the same sentence. I just don't see the comparison? I will continue to root for my team but I just don't see us reaching the playoffs. How can someone who had high hopes for his team and had those hopes pretty much dashed be a wimp? To me, a wimp is some weakling who hides in the corner or backs away from confrontation. Go Nats!

  67. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Just saw our lineup for this afternoon. Those clamoring for Lombo get their wish and I am also interesting in seeing how Rendon looks at 3rd. Harper at #2 is also intriguing as this is where he excelled last year.Go Nats!

  68. Tcostant - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Interesting lineup. Span leading off and Rendon playing 3B…

  69. alexva - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    one bad pitch, one bad play, one bad at-bat, one managerial decision turned bad, welcome to the 2013 season.

  70. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    The notion that Gonzalez "might prove to be the best of all three" — presumably including Strasburg and Z'mann — is chilling. He's had 21 starts this season and pitched into the sixth in only 11 of them, and more than six only eight times. If there isn't a term for pitchers like that there ought to be — "bullpen eaters." Last year's record may be the outlier; it may be we are watching what Oakland decided he was, a pitcher good enough, even while under team control for three more years, to be traded for a bunch of prospects.

  71. m - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Wonk – Last year is last year. What does ALR's gold glove last entitle him to this year. ALR's defense is overrated this year. Limited range. Please face reality it is not a "sin" to find a slight fault with one's team..

  72. karlkolchak - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Theophilus T. S. – I think you mean "into the 7th" 11 times, which he has. Gio is a strikeout pitcher who walks a few too many guys, but he also has 2.97 ERA, a 1.189 WHIP and he keeps the ball in the park (0.8 HR/9). He's a solid number 2 pitcher for any contending club and the ace on a bad one. Considering that even at the end of his current contract in 2018 he'll be making less than Dan Haren this year, he is a very valuable player to have.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 50 1.5
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 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.

Follow us on Twitter