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Instant analysis: Tigers 11, Nats 1

Jul 31, 2013, 8:08 PM EDT

J Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports J Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Game in a nutshell: In a word: Ugly. In two words: Really ugly. Gio Gonzalez was torched for 10 runs in only 3 1/3 innings, one of the worst starts in Nationals history. Justin Verlander, after allowing an early run in the top of the first, dominated through the sixth before handing it over to the Tigers bullpen. Ross Ohlendorf, in relief of Gonzalez, lasted only 11 pitches before departing with some sort of injury. Even Bryce Harper appeared to wince after a seventh-inning swing, ultimately leaving the game one inning later. Put it all together and you’ve got the latest disaster of a ballgame for the Nationals, who have reached the two-thirds point of the season with a 52-56 record. At this rate, they’d finish with 78 wins.

Hitting lowlight: Just as they did Tuesday night, the Nationals jumped on a tough opposing pitcher for a quick run in the top ofRead more ยป

113 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Ray Knight looks like he's going to cry.

  2. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Its just nothing positive to say after a whooping like this… Just terrible..Gio didnt have it.. Besides Span and Harper, no one else did a thing…Just a mess….

  3. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    If Harper is hurt, it's going to be hard to watch this team. I will. If I watched during 100 loss years, I can stomach this. But Harper is exciting to watch, even when we suck. Without him, there's really no excitement at all.Sigh.

  4. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    same crap…1 step fw, 2 steps backDavey is the worst manager in MLB todayvery sad

  5. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    No way Davey is worse than Terry Collins. I've never seen someone miss on obvious decisions more than Terry Collins. Absolutely abysmal manager.

  6. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Well, we beat them in Nats Park and they beat us in Detroit…Hopefully, the Nats win the series against the Brewers….

  7. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Davey staying on board right now is horrid for both himself and the club. Clearly his message is lost and he ends an all star career running a preseason favorite to a team battling with the Mets (Mets!) for 4th place.

  8. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    0 – 9 for RiSP today… *shaking my head*

  9. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Your defense of Davey being the worst manager in baseball, David Proctor, is that you can still think of one guy in MLM worse than he is? That is your defense of Davey?Sigh….

  10. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    I was just pointing out the first guy who came to mind. Davey isn't the best manager, but he's certainly not near the bottom. Having said that, he has screwed up a lot this year. Not defending him.

  11. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    We'll get 'em tomorrow….

  12. Unknown - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    All throughout last season, I had a feeling that the Nationals were a good team but nonetheless were playing above their talent level and were the benefactors of most of the "unusual" wins that occurred. I predicted 86-88 wins when the season started. Though this has been very difficult to watch, I think this season will make the team better. I think they trotted onto the field this year expecting to win, assuming that something good would happen and waited for it.They will be hungry in 2014 and Rizzo will fix the problems. Don't like to be a Monday-morning quarterback, but it seemed as though the Nationals tried to save too much money in the bullpen. Span may not be back next year and I'm guessing the team will trade for / sign a very good first baseman. I love LaRoche but happy they only signed him to a 2-year deal.

  13. karlkolchak - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Why do I have the feeling that Gorzo is psyching himself up for the game of his life on Friday night?Forget looking at how far out they are from the WC. This team needs to go 34-20 just to get to 86 wins, which I would think will be the bare minimum to be in the WC hunt. That's a .630 pace the whole rest of the way, basically winning every three game series with a split in a couple of four gamers. I said yesterday that the fat lady was walking on stage and about to hit her mark. She's now opening her mouth wide and if they lose the Brewers series she's gonna start singing loud and clear.

  14. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    In the offseason, I wanted us to sign Torii Hunter. He was a free agent. He clearly still had a lot left in the tank. He's a clubhouse leader. I would've left Harper in center, put Werth in left and Hunter in right. Then when Goodwin was ready, Hunter would be gone, he could play center and Harper could move to a corner like he was now.I wonder how things would be different if we had done that.

  15. Tcostant - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    I guess I can watch preseason football this weekend…

  16. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Considering the bench being maybe the worst-performing in the majors, the numerous injuries to starting position players (Zimm, Ramos, Werth, Harper), the team allowing more runs because the bullpen has struggled & starting pitchers' health has been iffy & Haren's been unforseeably awful & and infield defense has been problematic…I doubt Hunter over Span would make too much difference, personally. The problem this season hasn't been any one thing – it's a number of worst-case scenarios all happening at once. Veteran leadership is nice, but it can't overcome this much.

  17. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Just ugly.Ended up switching over and watching the ESPN hour on the trade deadline. Nationals not mentioned once and rightly so, we are not a team of consequence anymore. Well, as Davey says, tomorrow is another day. Oh wait, we have an off day. Well, at least I can wear the same hat tonight and tomorrow.A very mild Go Nats.

  18. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Yeah, everything that can possibly go wrong, did go wrong, this year…

  19. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    We're the second youngest team in baseball. Let's just consider this an adjustment season. What Torii Hunter said about our team is true. Very true.

  20. Unknown - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    There is really not much the team can do in terms of changing for 2014.1B-LaRoche I'm sure is gone for next year, which is too bad because I love him.2B-Rendon is the long-term answer at secondSS-Desmond is the long-term answer at short3B-Zimmerman is, well, the "face"LF-Harper is a fixtureCF-I think Span will be movedRF-Werth's contract means he staysC-Ramos's health is the only thing that is going to keep him from being a starStrasburg, Gio and Zimmermann are locks. The other two spots will be open.I don't see much that the team can do for '14. They just have to hope '13 was a blip.

  21. Candide - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    I think we can say, officially, that the wheels have fallen off. And I still have tickets for four or five games.

  22. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    DP – What did Hunter say about the Nats?

  23. jeeves - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Jeeze, one of the few things the Nats had going for them was starting pitching (the big three). Now even they are tanking. Actually, I don' t blame them. It is likely a protest against the support they get.And LaRoche. Well, guess I have said it all before, even before he was signed.

  24. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    I'm not convinced that Rendon is the long-term answer at 2B. I still think it's Danny Espinosa's job long-term. Espinosa was a very good player last year. But he has to get right. What he did this year is, obviously, not acceptable.

  25. jeeves - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Jeeze, one of the few things the Nats had going for them was starting pitching (the big three). Now even they are tanking. Actually, I don' t blame them. It is likely a protest against the support they get.And LaRoche. Well, guess I have said it all before, even before he was signed.

  26. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    MrsB, Hunter talked about the Nationals and compared it to the start of his career with the Twins. Talking about how the Nationals are still "babies" and it's easy for the fans and media to forget how young these guys are because they're so good. And those expectations can be a lot. And it's impossible for a 24 year old Strasburg or 20 year old Harper to be a leader of a major league team. And it'll take time for them to learn to adjust to those expectations, just as it did for him.

  27. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Adam Kilgore โ€@AdamKilgoreWP 1mBryce Harper says the Nats need to play with more "heart" and like a "family" from "the manager" on down. The 20-year-old spoke up.Dan Kolko โ€@masnKolko 1mHarper: "We play the Braves nine (more) games. This s*** ain't over."

  28. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Dan Kolko โ€@masnKolko 56sHarper admitted at his age, can't take clubhouse leadership role. But challenged #Nats from the manager on down, to be "a family again"

  29. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    A. Bullpen did ok B. hate to let Verlander off the hook when he was truly pitching horribly C. McCatty ok? That is all.

  30. ChiefWJ - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    One difference would have been we would have seen the Shark start 42 games in CF (the number Harper has missed) because no one else on roster can play the position (unless you want Kobernus back). Hunter has started one game in CF in the last 3 years and Werth can't play the position regularly at this stage of his career.——————–In the offseason, I wanted us to sign Torii Hunter. He was a free agent. He clearly still had a lot left in the tank. He's a clubhouse leader. I would've left Harper in center, put Werth in left and Hunter in right. Then when Goodwin was ready, Hunter would be gone, he could play center and Harper could move to a corner like he was now.I wonder how things would be different if we had done that.

  31. pedrocerrano - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    All I can say is "shame on you" if you expected anything from this series.

  32. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Laroche has been awful at the plate this year. Last year in April May when our pitchers were doing well ALR was the only one hitting. We won games then. Somebody check our record from last years All Star break until now. You lost a 300 hitter for a 240 hitter who has no power. Burnette gone. Ramos hurt. Suzuki has done nothing.

  33. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Yes, harmless optimism – truly shameful!I think the struggles for the big 3 pitchers lately have been down to: 1) overuse (they've all thrown a *lot* of pitches this season – the one game Davey let Gio throw 127 sticks out in my mind – and that takes a toll for most pitchers), 2) minor nagging injuries (Zimm's neck, for one), and 3) variance, because even the great pitchers have bad outings for one reason or another. It just sucks that it's all happening at the same time.

  34. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Should have NEVER touched this Lineup. NEVER. Letting Morse go was a disaster. And don't give me his Seatle stats. Maybe he was happy here. And then Rizzo sits on his Asssssssets and does nothing today.

  35. RaleighNat - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Encouraged by the Harper quotes. 'bout time somebody got mad.

  36. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    I'm pretty sure Ryan Mattheus got angry and we lost him for 2 months lol

  37. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    I wonder how hungry this team really is? Davey said in 2012, if we do not make playoffs, fire me. This year he said WS or bust, why the hell doesn't Davey fire himself now?? He is dragging this team to new depths.

  38. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    The funny thing is, if the Nationals had brought back the exact same team from the end of season last year…they'd probably be at least as badl off. Morse has missed about 2 months of the season due to injuries, and isn't hitting that well, and has his usual defensive problems. Burnett's pitched 9 innings this season because he's been injured. Edwin Jackson's been mostly awful. Mike Gonzalez has an ERA near 4. The only guy who left who's been doing well is Gorzo.

  39. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    And Davey refuses to leave. That's what Angers me so much. Let Knorr,manage the rest of the way.

  40. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Wasianwell said

  41. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Amen Mick. And embash those guys were OUR guys. They were Nationals. As good as Last season was everyone should have been retained. You don't break up the family. That's Dan Snyder crap. Rizzo stinks also. Getting mad

  42. TexNat - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    I don't think Zimm stays at 3B going forward. If he does, it must be because his shoulder will improve further. He can't cut it there any longer, and being constantly dinged is hurting his offense. He has to move to 1B.This leaves you with Rendon, who you either move to 3B or leave at 2B depending on who you acquire. No way can you put Espi back into a lineup that is already not good enough. Even if he rebounds to being a mediocre hitter, that isn't good enough for a team that is simply bad on offense.I think you have to look hard at ditching Span. Not because he isn't a solid little player when he is going right, but because this lineup isn't good enough to accommodate an outfielder with no pop.So the two places you can upgrade without causing to many dislocations are (1) either 2B or 3B depending on where you put Rendon and (2) outfield if you ditch Span.One thing is for sure, the Nats cannot trot out this starting 9 next year if they have any desire to win the world series.

  43. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    I expect something every single game.No use watching if I expect to lose.Never go into a game expecting anything less than a win

  44. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Davey has sucked, but he is far from the only reason this team has tanked. I think it is time for Tyler Moore and Corey Brown to get a lot of playing time up here. Even if they stink, they are not going to be any worse than anybody else, especially LaRoche or Span. At least there is some potential there. Span and LaRoche are all out of that.

  45. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    "She's now opening her mouth wide and if they lose the Brewers series she's gonna start singing loud and clear."Even if they win the Brewer's series, the next 3 are against the Braves. If they do not sweep that series, they are over and out for this year.The most important change for next year will be the new field manager. I blame much of what happened this year on Davey. I don't want to get started on that, because I could go on for at least an hour, or two. Davey is a good man, and he is having his last Hurrah. I wish him the best, and I look forward to new leadership, next year.Rizzo will tweak the horrible bench, repair the rotation, and the Nats will do ita all, again, next year, one year older, wiser, and tougher. I like Harp's attitude. He and Werth are the battlers, down to the last out. They need to take the clubhouse lead next year. Davey and most of the rest of the guys look like they are ready for the off-season.And somebody, please, get La Roche a double cheeseburger. Is he on a hunger strike?

  46. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Anybody remember how Marty shott went 8 8 but we had to kill him because Danny boy wanted Spurrier? How did that work out? Brad Johnson throws for 4000 yards and we win division in 99. First thing Danny does the next year is sign Jeff George. Stop with the fantasy team Rizzo. You screwed it up. And man up and go ask Davey to please step down

  47. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    and Harper said just what I posted…that says it all…too many soft under rated players on this squad who do not have each others backthey need some one to start kicking ass… I do not buy that this group would not respond to a Billy Martin type of manager, if they do not, they should be out of MLB. You know what…too bad, this is how you find out who is a champion and who is a chump. Right now, there are more chumps than champs

  48. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    No can possibly defend the job Davey has done this year. Even Natslady has pointed out various flaws. That being said, what would be the point, this late in the season of making that change? What players would benefit. Who would all of a sudden start playing well because Davey is gone? Do you really think they are not hitting because Davey is the manager or because Eckstein or Schu are the hitting coaches. Seriously? If it would make you as a fan feel better then go ahead, fire away. I guess I take this personally as an old coach but even my AD let me finish out my season. I guess it could give Rizzo a window into how it might be with him at the helm next year but baseball is 162 games, not 55 or so. I just think it needs to play out and we try try again next year.

  49. Don - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    I think that they should go all-in for Robinson Cano AND ink Josh Johnson on a bargain deal for pitch in the back end of the rotation, why not, it's only money.

  50. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Laddie blah blah. ALR is purposely not eating. That way nobody can accuse him of NOT hitting his weight.

  51. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Wasianamen…I remember Schott had turned the Skins around…Synder, the jackass set the team back 10 years with his impulsive move to hire the "ball coach" This is what scares me about Rizzo , will that bald headed stooge trade for a bunch of "ball coaches" like he did this year?

  52. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    "I think that they should go all-in for Robinson Cano"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. This is the worst thing Mike Rizzo could do. I'm terrified of him doing it. Cano is already 30. He wants 7 years, 200 mil. No. Effing. Thanks.

  53. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Baseball is not football but I do think things can be similar in the sense of variation around a level. The Ravens went 6-10 a few years back as a low but have generally been a couple or three or four games above .500 and finally it happened for them. I won't talk about the Redskins because they are the anti-Nats, but this is not a bad core. Everything has gone wrong this season, including all of Rizzo's moves.That does not mean that all of the moves in the future will go wrong. I criticize Rizzo, often, because some people treat him as though he is infallible. He isn't. He wasn't that great last year and he isn't this bad now. Next year will be better. Still. I am a bit embarrassed to have drunk as much of the red stuff as I did….. Mea Culpa. I should have known better than predicting 105 wins….

  54. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    I don't think Prince is hitting his weight :)

  55. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    if Davey goes, it will be his decision…I just think he should leave now on his own

  56. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Oh well lets try again Friday.

  57. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    WODis it a good core? I am starting to wonder…

  58. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    WODL are you a Ravens fan? OMG that's it. Time to take a vacation.

  59. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    agree David and that is what I mean about rizzo

  60. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Why are we still talking about the Braves anyway? We're 10.5 games back of them. We're 7 games back of the Reds. Not exactly close, but 3.5 games is a pretty big difference. If anyone here still thinks we're making the postseason (I do not), the wildcard is our better chance.

  61. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Wow — the LoD is out in full force today.One of my favorites so far:Secret wasian man said… Should have NEVER touched this Lineup. NEVER. Letting Morse go was a disaster. And don't give me his Seatle stats. Translated: don't confuse the issue with facts!!

  62. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Mick – there is only one champ and right now it is the San Francisco Giants. In your book, all the other teams are then chumps. Bochy is not a fire and brimstone manager for what it is worth. It takes all kinds to manage and there are only 30 jobs. I personally would have hated to have Billy Martin as my manager. He was nuts! By the way, Martin won just one World Series and that was with a very good Yankees club.

  63. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    WonkI love you dude, but you can not be happy with what you just witnessed?

  64. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Synder, the jackass set the team back 10 years with his impulsive move to hire the "ball coach" This is what scares me about RizzoC'mon Mick — Rizzo took a team that had two consecutive 100+ seasons and made a real team out of them. (Snyder took a decent team and signed washed up glamor guys and sunk the team for a decade).This team is mostly a bunch of youngsters — still one of the youngest teams in all of MLB.

  65. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    How about this…sign Choo and put Harper at 1B. Keep Zimmerman at 3B and just have the pitcher be the cut-off man.

  66. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    coach…I know only one team wins it all… Billy Martin's teams for most part made posts season a lot or they were in it until the end, going back to the Twins 69-70 and Tigers 72.. in 1974 he took our old Senators who lost 100 games as TX Rangers in 73 to finish 2nd behind the word champion A's in 1974. 1977 and 78 back to AL championships, Billy was a great manager.

  67. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    yeah yeah, I know wonkthis is just very tough to watch

  68. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Mick, you are out there on the edge again. We will need a nice winning streak to bring you back. Your football mentality takes over. This is not football. Look at the ages of our coreHarper – 20Desmond – 26Ramos – 23Stras – 24RZimm – 25/26Gio – 28Rendon – 24We lose LaRoche in a year (maybe sooner), we have pieces in the minors (at least pitching wise). Don't go nuts here.

  69. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    You're a bit off on your ages, sjm. Ramos is 25, Zim is 28, Desi is 27.

  70. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    coachI would like them to be competitive with some fight, that's all

  71. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    That being said, this is hard to watch. Our hitting is just horrible and can you imagine how Davey feels sitting in the dugout and there really is nothing he can do. I don't blame you getting angry but like Wasin Man, Manassas, and others have said, we go again on Friday.

  72. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    David – don't tell Mick, he is so mad he won't notice

  73. mick - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    OK coachsee you Friday!

  74. Shedd - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    "Turn out the lights, the party's over" – Willie Nelson

  75. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    I am being serious here. It would not surprise me to see Harper or Desmond actually try and start something like that. Baseball fights are on the most part ridiculous but maybe that is what this team needs. Just tell Mattheus he needs to stay out of it.Well, maybe I am not really being serious but I need something to make me smile after this game.

  76. Chevy Chase Bob - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Hey, we still have a pennant race…in Balto.

  77. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    I know that is Willie but how many of you old timers thought of Dandy Don Meradith when Shedd Posted

  78. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    I love you dude, but you can not be happy with what you just witnessed? No — I'm miserable about it. It sucks. But blaming Rizzo or Davey is not seeing perspective.Why have we stunk this year? Not because of some off-season moves (or lack of them). Not because Davey's leaving pitchers in too long. It's because:1. Key injuries (Harper, Ramos, Detwiler)2. Danny completely regressing3. Span hitting .100 lower against lefties than his lifetime average4. ALR having his worst ever April slump, and then another one in July5. Bernadina dropping over .100 points6. Tyler Moore dropping over .100 points7. Chad Tracy dropping almost .100 points8. Desmond and RZ dropping in SLG9. Bryce Harper hitting .193 against leftiesEach of the above hurt. All of them happening is a disaster.Of our hitters, only Jason Werth is putting up a (slightly) better season that last year.Who in the world expected all that to happen? There's a reason that SI and every other prognosticator picked the Nats for the WS this year. (And Davey saying "WS or bust" didn't amount to a hill of beans — everybody else was saying it, too).Davey's managed five different teams, and won a division with each one of them. He doesn't go from "manager of the year" to "idiot" just six months later. That's silly.We've had massive regression of our young hitters, multiple, simultaneously.That happens sometimes when a team is so young. It's awful that it happened to us, but . . . that's baseball.

  79. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Prince Fielder could win the triple crown and not hit his own weight….

  80. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    SWM, your argument is that they should've retained every player from last year because they're Nats and therefore family…and also, Davey's gotta go? That's not terribly consistent. And no successful team has just held onto everyone out of loyalty, it just doesn't happen. And as this thing is a business, it shouldn't.If anything, the FO has been too slow to react on these things. Minor moves to augment the bench, or try out minor leaguers, should've been made much earlier. Tyler Moore, Espinosa and Storen all struggled for a long time before they were moved. Lombardozzi hasn't produced and should be getting work in the minors. Bernadina and Tracy seem like great guys and I wish them well, but there's little reason for them to be on the roster at this point.As our esteemed host pointed out, the regulars as of a few days ago are hitting .272/.338/.448. Not enough power, but a team OPS of .786 isn't that bad. All other position players are .194/.238/.288, for an OPS of .526. That's unfathomably poor. That goes to show you that the core are fine, absent LaRoche's regression, perhaps, and the bench/injuries are the primary source of the team's offensive issues.

  81. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    SJM-Problem with the whole "core" argument, is that these guys are all going to command 9-figure contracts. We already have 2 of those. They are only going to be able to keep about 1/2 of that core in 2-3 years. That is why teams play for the "here and now". The 2004 Cubs had a bright future of young core players also with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Patterson, Wood, Prior and Zambrano. How did that work out? 2 got hurt. 1 never became very good. Lee was an MVP, I believe. Zambrano was very good for a long time, and Ramirez has always been a top 5 3B in the league. It doesn't take much to derail the future.

  82. JD - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    sjm308, My fear is that we have 25 Mil (give or take) committed to ALR and Soriano next year and we really need to sign JZim and Desi long term. In addition I really don't want to see ALR in the middle of the lineup next year. I don't want to be a broken record but I really feel that these 2 need to be put on waivers tomorrow morning and if any one bites take a deep breath, kiss your lucky stars and move on.

  83. joemktg - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    "What if this is as good as it gets?" – Melvin UdallCouldn't help to think that Gio just wasn't competing today, and wondering if the imminent Biogenesis announcement is a heavy burden.

  84. do1teach1 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    I'm betting Mark will open a separate thread on the Harper comments. I will hold my thoughts until that occurs, as I believe Harper's comments are extremely important.

  85. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    That's an interesting point joemtk, even though every report says he's not going to be suspended, you have to think it's on his mind until he's officially exonerated.

  86. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    As for Baltimore's place in the pennant race…they arguably have a tougher road to the postseason than the Nats, honestly. Boston and Tampa both look incredibly solid, and have much better pitching. And with one of them, plus Texas and maybe Cleveland in the wild card hunt, that'll be pretty tough with the offense having come down to earth and the pitching remaining the same.The Nats' competitors, if they can get to ~85 wins, are pretty much the Reds (with the toughest schedule left in baseball), and the Diamondbacks (with spotty pitching of their own). There aren't as many solid-to-very-good teams in the NL as their are in the AL. I don't know if they have a run in them, but fewer teams have to collapse for them to have a shot if they do.

  87. jay12 - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Adam LaRoche needs to leave the Washington Nationals organization. It is as simple as that. He is in the middle of our lineup and can not produce anything. He is horrible offensively, the only thing he provides is defense. What sucks about this team is that every position is for the most part, taken. I don't really see where you can change the lineup other than getting rid of Adam LaRoche. Rendon needs to get it together too, he is in a bad slump

  88. Whack-a-Mule - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Mule Notes: The remaining games -The Nationals have not yet been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.That sterling insight having been recorded, one potential positive is that 35 of the 54 are against N.L. East opponents (ATL-9, Phil-9, NYM-7, MIA-10). Nine games head-to-head with the team 10.5 in the lead presents a fine opportunity for advancement.However, as do most clubs, the Nats play much better at home. Thus far in 2013, they are .553 at home (31-25) as opposed to .404 on the road (21-31).Unfortunately, a majority of games remaining (29) are away, with only 25 home games left in the season. For a reasonable chance at the N.L. East title, the Nats need another 36 wins (final record 88-74). Winning 36 of 54 is a .667 clip. Should the Nats raise their road play all the way from .404 to just over .500 (15-14), that would require them to go 21-4 at home, which is asking rather at lot of any home team.Therefore, a winning percentage on the road of well above .500 would be required; .620 – .655 range at any rate (18 or 19 wins out of 29 games). That leaves a need for a home record of 18-7 or 17-8 to reach a total of 36 wins.The Nationals may not yet been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but the numbers do not look good.

  89. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    But next year will be a contract year for LaRoche, no? He tends to be pretty good then.First base really is the only reasonable spot to upgrade, though. Brian McCann might be nice there.

  90. Unknown - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    A bad, bad day. Nats get crushed again, O's get the prime pitching asset on the market for next to nothing, and Angelos STILL screws the Nats over with MASN while Bud does nothing about it. It feels like 1971 all over again.

  91. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Once again, I would stop looking at the Braves. We're finished in that race. If you want to look at something, look at catching the Reds. We're 7 back of them and the Reds have the hardest remaining schedule. And they've faltered some.

  92. DWS - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I've been watching the team for many, many years. I watched Fanning have Steve Rogers pitch to Rick Monday. I'm happy that mgt. realizes that it's a crap shoot.Enjoy the season and hope that it all fall's next.Been watching since Mack Jones. Patience..It might still fall this way…..

  93. JD - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    David. It's gonna be 7.5 in about 10 minutes. And none of it matters if the Nats don't start playing better than they have played all year.

  94. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    The prime pitching asset the O's acquired was *Bud Norris,* though. He's the averagest-average pitcher there is. Better than Hammel for their rotation, but not that huge of an upgrade.

  95. Unknown - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Whoever we get, the DC baseball vortex will suck them in and make them stink. Braves bring up nameless rookies who become stars, Nats sign good players who can't even perform at replacement levels when they don the Curly W. face it, 2012 was probably the high water mark for this franchise. Nothing good ever happens or lasts with Washington baseball.

  96. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    I agree with you JD. I don't think the Nationals are making it. But I just don't get why people keep scoreboard watching the Braves. At least look at the race that is closer.

  97. Don - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I am guessing that Robbie Cano is not going to get $200M. Kinsler was the highest paid 2B at 5 yrs $75M. Pedroia just signed for 7 yrs $100M. The Dodgers will be in on him, but the Dodgers are not paying the guy more than they paid Kemp (not to mention they will have something like 7 guys making more than $15M/yr already in 2014). The Yanks can give him $20M+/yr but he might want a chance to WIN someplace. :-)Cano is looking at something like 6 yrs $128M – a hunch. The Nats can afford him. They can't afford to NOT go for a big, bold guy given that they are in the win-now mode. If they stand around and hope to compete with the group they have now, they are going to finish around 500 a lot.

  98. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Forget the Braves. That's like comparing me with Brad Pitt.

  99. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    While scanning fans clapping for 2 strikes in the 9th Toronto at Oakland, saw an old felow weraing a Curly W hat.

  100. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    you make a change to Knorr for no other reason than to make a change and see how the man does for the remainder of the season. Yes its a small sample size of only 50+ games but so what, it gives Rizzo and others an idea of whether he is the man for the job next year. Its not like Davey is making good, sound decisions anyway…to me its a no brainer and may, repeat may, give this team a kick in the a%&.Am sure it won't happen but it should, heck Davey should make it easy on Rizzo and just step down.

  101. EmDash - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    As for Harper's comments…showing competitive fire's great. But what he did here was call out the attitude of his team's veterans in the media as a second-year player. No one in baseball takes that very well, and it adds yet more off-field drama for a team that's had more than enough. It's ill-addvised to make this kind of thing public.

  102. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    I like Knorr – I just don't think he the answer for manager… I'm still hoping for Girardi… Really think the ball club needs a whole new team…I feel bad for DJ… But I'm gonna keep hope alive that he ends this year on a good note…But Wonk is right… A collection of things that could go wrong, did go wrong… And we see the evidence in the way we play and our record…

  103. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    MrsB, I am not saying Knorr is the answer but we will never know unless he is given a chance…no reason not to give him the audition given the state of the team.Girardi would be great but wouldn't you like to see how Knorr does between now and the end of the year? We all know DJ is leaving…give him his rocking chair and plane tickets to Bora Bora next week and see what Knorr is made of…not saying we will reel off 20 in a row but it certainly can't hurt to see if he can be the guy next year.

  104. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    I agree. Davey not stepping away will prevent it from happening but should this team continue on the death spiral I wouldn't be surprised to see the old health related issues excuse raise its head. Like hrodding the manager.

  105. Almazar80 - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Team's making a great effort without positive results. That's the team line. I guess I'll just swallow the team line. Is this comment better?

  106. jeffwx - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    You think we got it bad…how about the LA Angels of Aneheim or the Blue Jays both who mortgaged their future for this year

  107. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    jeffwx, good point, could be worse.how bout Norris going to the O's from the Astros and they are playing each other night…I guess he just walks across the hall and puts on his new uni but Bo will need to change up his signs before game time…pretty funny.

  108. DWS - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    No, don't have any negative thoughts or helpful thoughts. Reality is hard to swallow for some.Been watching various incarnations of MLB since 1969. You can mock people (posters). You're better off on the sidelines. To close to Football? To those that don't fully understand Baseball.Be a Red Sox fan. Better yet a Cubs fan.

  109. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Wonk, on your list–you forgot the flu. I have this feeling it hit harder than anyone let on. This morning on the radio, they said Storen was sitting by himself in the bullpen so he wouldn't infect his teammates.If someone is that sick they need to be AT HOME. Even Rizzo had a hard time explaining why Storen was in that game, and he was REALLY trying to support Davey. Of coures, that flu probably hit other teams, and it was particularly bad, it's been in the newspaper. I just have a feeling it wasn't taken seriously and it lingered long past when it should have.

  110. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Ah, so it is all LaRoche's fault. If he'd gotten his flu shot instead of holing up in a tree to shoot deer last winter, we'd all be buying our playoff strips now.I bet that meat he sells is tainted too.

  111. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    I highly doubt that there is some sort of summer influenza going around, but coaches tend to call everything the flu when talking to the media. Traditionally, it means that a guy tied one on the night before….

  112. Alexander Caroline - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Tesla and Elon Muskhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrzMdoKPPaA

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