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Nats trounced again, Harper speaks out

Jul 31, 2013, 10:20 PM EDT

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DETROIT — At the end of yet another lopsided loss, inside a disconsolate clubhouse full of players who slowly are coming to the realization this season is beyond repair, the youngest guy in the room stood up and offered a rare-but-impassioned plea for his teammates, coaches and manager not to give up on 2013.

“You’ve got to have heart right now,” Bryce Harper said following an 11-1 trouncing at the hands of the Tigers. “You’ve got to play as a family, and everybody’s got to want it, starting with the manager on down to everybody.”

Whether the Nationals collectively have been showing much heart or not in recent weeks is up for debate. The results on the field are not.

They’ve lost 14 of their last 20 games, a stretch that had already included scores of 8-3, 9-2 and 11-0 prior to Wednesday’s blowout. They’ve scored zero or one run in seven of those 14 losses, not to mention 30 total times in 108 games this season.
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121 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Good for Bryce!!!!!!!! You know, Mike Wise can be an extremist jerk sometimes, but I think he was spot on when he wrote about the environment surrounding the team this season. I never remember players being pushed to say the things they are saying. Ever. And I think this all started with John Lannan last year. They were winning and he ended up finding some redemption later in the season, but I feel that was the first nail. Then there were the broken confidences. Now this season their manager seems to care more about his disappointments than about the guys. He checked out when Rizzo took Espi away from him. I just do not see them encouraging one another. Seems like maybe resentments are simmering and sides taken. Not a happy group. And it's not like they are last place kind of bad. Up until last season we would have been thrilled with second place. I hope they start working things out as a group. Group hug?

  2. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:39 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…

  3. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Sean Burnett needs surgery, out for year. He pitched what…10 innings this year?

  4. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    As for Harp's comments… Hopefully they will resonate more than the eat face comments…

  5. Candide - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Hmmm… Get Girardi and sign Cano, too?I know people are saying Cano is old – he'll be 31 next May – but he's almost as durable as Cal Ripken; he's missed eleven games since 2007. Career OPS of .857. Even if age and gravity catch up with him and he drops 100 points off his OPS, who else do we have in the pipeline that can play second and hit .757, other than Rendon, who we want to move to third so RZimm can play first?

  6. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Candide,Unpopular opinion but…Danny Espinosa. He's come close to .757 before and I think he could do it. I know it's an unpopular opinion though, so give it to me.Truth is, we can't give out 100 mil contracts to everyone and Cano will fetch far more than 100 mil. We need to lock up Desi, we have contract situations coming up with JZimm and Stras too. And if Cano's contract is 7 years like he wants, that could potentially interfere with Harper way down the road. I have more of an issue with the years than the cash.

  7. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Now this season their manager seems to care more about his disappointments than about the guys. He checked out when Rizzo took Espi away from him.C'mon — that was two months ago already. Do you want Davey to wear pom-poms and do some cheers?We all know what the problem is: guys who aren't hitting nearly as well as last year. It's as simple as that.

  8. phil dunton - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Johnson should be the one kicking butt instead of Harper but he is too out of it to do anything.

  9. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    I tend to agree with you DC Wonk, but Bryce's comments were very pointed. I think there has to be some clubhouse issues that we don't know about. not necessarily controversy, but just a bad atmosphere. And some of that comes from losing, I'm sure, but still. Through everything, I've always defended that Davey knows how to manage a clubhouse and we never hear a peep of bad. In the last few weeks, that has changed. And if Davey loses that, combined with some of his baffling in game decisions…I mean, what does he have going for him?

  10. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    No Candide – I'm not on the Cano train… But I am on Girardi… I think it's phenomenal what he has done with Yanks, this year esp, given their injuries….

  11. jeffwx - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    karma swami, karmaThe players must feel kind of helpless with the dumb decisions the coach continues to make.1. Playing Espi forever2. Continuing to put LaRoche in the middle of the order and Ramos 8th.3. Continue to throw Storen in critical situations with a 4+ ERA.4. Continue to play Tracy.No confidence in the manager. So Werth tries to take over, Harper pleading with the manager to care. WTF

  12. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Interesting to me that Harper included the manager, that takes cojones when you are talking about THE "Davey Johnson." I'm with him, by the way. Go out and win 18 of 20, starting right now (OK, Friday) with Milwaukee. It was later than this when St. Louis was 10 games back and they had a dinner and a pep talk. Just win, win Friday, then win Saturday…

  13. DWS - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    At least he cares.

  14. MrsB loves the Nats - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Yeah NL – I refuse to stick in a fork in the Nats… I understand why some folks are… I'm just not… I'm gonna hold out hope until we are mathematically eliminated…With that said, y'all take care… See ya for the Brew Crew series!Go Nats!!!

  15. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    jeffwx, can't do anything about Danny or Storen now. But they could put LaRoche on the DL and bring Moore up for a couple of weeks, and they could find someone, anyone, to replace Tracy.They are going to have to do without McCatty until Monday. Is Davey the right person to go to the mound, or should Jim Lett have that temporary assignment?

  16. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Why do we think LaRoche is still sick? There's really no evidence of that at all. If you don't want LaRoche in the lineup, that's one thing, but I see nothing to suggest he should be on the DL.

  17. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    Word is they'll be bringing up someone like Spin Williams to be pitching coach in Milwaukee.

  18. jeffwx - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Yes, NL, and Harper's comments are telling. Davey suffers from clinging to previous decisions with very slow reaction. McClellan civil war management style.

  19. jeffwx - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Why keep playing players in the same position day in and day out when you could do better or prepare for next year (eg: Espi, Storen, ALR 4th and Ramos 8th because catchers bat 8th, Noting Moore's improved hitting). I see no evidence for that.

  20. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    It really burns me when people feel sorry for Davey. He is the manager and no one should even know he has feelings. When you are the leader it is not about you. You think anyone feels sorry for Bruce Bochy? Or Soscia? No. They are supposed to do their job and be all about what their team needs. He is not leading- he is just letting the season happen however it will and throwing up his hands.

  21. baseballswami - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    And I hear they are bringing in someone to sub for Cat. That worries me. How about feel sorry for him? Stress got to him.

  22. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    JeffWX, Nobody on that team should be "preparing for next year." They need to fight until they're eliminated. That's exactly what Bryce is saying. You need heart and fight. You need to believe. Magical things happen sometimes. But not with the way this team is playing now, that's for damn sure.

  23. ExposedinDC - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    You are what your record says you are……period. Blame Rizzo, Davey, Laroche it really doesn't matter. This team as assembled is not a contender….I don't care about last year. It sounds like Bryce has had enough and I don't blame him.

  24. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Through everything, I've always defended that Davey knows how to manage a clubhouse and we never hear a peep of bad. In the last few weeks, that has changed.I dunno. I heard a pre-game interview a couple of days ago of Clippard. (Very informative. Tangent: he attributes his success this year to throwing his curve ball, which he said he didn't do last year — more on that some other time).In any event: he was asked about if he thought he was being used too much or too little.Clip used that to sing the praises of Davey. He started his answer with: "ever since Davey got here, he knows how to manage a bullpen", and then went on to say that he was very happy with how much he was being used.But I thought that first sentence was telling — because he didn't have to say it. And he sure didn't have to preface that with "ever since Davey got here", which to me was a slight put down of the previous manager (which, btw, we all used to think Riggs used him too much and was going to burn him out).I've followed Davey his whole career, and I'm a big fan. He's pretty smart. His post-game press conferences are fairly uninformative (he knows better than to speak from the heart after a loss), but his pre-game interviews are very informative. There's a method and a good reason for everything he does, even we we don't know what it is.someone else wrote:Playing Espi foreverYeah, yeah, we've heard that. You can keep saying it over and over again, but it still doesn't make it true. As I wrote in last thread — it was only 44 games and, furthermore, there weren't other good options. Lombo had a negative WAR, too — and Rendon was clearly not ready. (After 44 games ALR was only hitting around .220, too).

  25. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    And the best way to prepare for next year is to finish this year on a strong note. Play good ball. It's probably too late for postseason and all that. But we can play better. We played great down the stretch in 2011 and that carried over into 2012. In 2012, we kind of struggled down the stretch and we all know what happened in the playoffs. That has also carried into this year.Yeah, the playoffs are probably over. But the season isn't. Go out there every day like you're fighting for a playoff spot. If it happens it happens, if it doesn't, you still build momentum going into next year.

  26. ExposedinDC - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Well said DP…..well said.

  27. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    … Ramos 8th because catchers bat 8thI think Davey answered that one. He feels that the more Ramos bats, the more wearing it is on him on top of his catching duties (since he's coming back from injuries, etc. — he's only played more than 25 games in a season once — 2011), and that will lead to Suzuki playing more, which would be another .220 batter in the lineup.

  28. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    What seems obvious is that Rizzo recruited people over people who had played on a 98 game winner. Soriano was brought in to teach Clippard and Soren et al. how to pitch. Span was brought in to banish the dreadful Harper to Left. Lannan was jettisoned for a hope and a prayer. If I were Harper, I would have been pissed that I just had an alltime great rookie season and some bald guy who had never played in the big leagues thought that I didn't have what it took to be a center fielder. It will be very difficult for Rizzo to escape from all this. The Post article today was very damaging and guess what, the Lerners own the team and Davey is retiring, that leaves Rizzo holding the bag. Don't disrespect the guys who brung you.But to be fair, every single Nats blogger gushed and gushed about the Span acquisition. All of them. Only Boswell held back. Everyone thought that Span was the second coming of Willie Wilson or Vince Coleman, when in reality it was the great fielding Endy Chavez coming home in spirit….

  29. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    "Soriano was brought in to teach Clippard and Soren et al. how to pitch."Do you just make this stuff up, WODL? Soriano was brought in to close games because he had been very successful doing it in pressurized environments. If we were a good team, Soriano would be far more valuable to us than he's been.I won't even respond to the Span comment because you're a broken record at this point. Everyone in the national media loved it too, though. Wasn't just Nats people.

  30. natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Yeah, that was a stinker, and I watched the whole thing. True confessions, I was kinda hoping for Hunter to get his triple.Swami, my understanding is that the pitching coach sub is only for the remainder of the road trip, and because McCatty isn't joining the team until they return home (on doctor's orders, I would think).

  31. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Davd Proctor loves Mike Rizzo. Smoooch…..

  32. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Everyone was wrong about Span, correct. He is playing slightly better than Endy Chavez and about at the same level as Morgan. Boswell was the only one smart enough and brave enough to say anything. All the other little sabermetric sheep gushed and gushed and they were wrong, just as they so often are, in spite of their shiny computers and high rotisserie league rankings. The Nats have done the same move over and over and over and they will not stop until they have found the greatest fielding outfielder who cannot hit at all in all of the universe. Moneyball made clear that defense is not particularly important to winning games. Pitching is forty percent or so and hitting is forty percent or so and running and fielding makes up the rest of the equation but we will keep seeing the new stats guys trying to make a name for themselves by disproving the Moneyball notion that fielding is is over-emphasized in baseball, It always has been and it always will be because we all want to believe that fielding should matter as much as hitting. We want to believe that Bill Mazerowski was as good as the average fielding Babe Ruth. He wasn't and he never will be.If you want to impress me, Mr. Rizzo, find someone who can f'ing hit. The O's seem to have plenty of guys. There must be someone out there. Denard Span will be the punchline to the 2013 season of Mike Rizzo.

  33. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    And to follow up, Soriano's stats as a closer were not impressive especially. They were fine, not great. His stats this year are arguably worse than Soren's according to some bloggers, and the whole notion of a closer in general is basically the most ignorant stupid thing in all of baseball. You cannot find a single stats guys who defends using a good reliever as a closer but Rizzo went with the prevailing, and not very old, doctrine regarding relievers, which is not very old at all, dating back to La Russa in the 90's.

  34. SonnyG10 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    DP, I'm with you. I don't care how lost the season is, I don't want this team to give up. Show me what you've got, Nats, even if its only for pride. I want to see you right the ship even if it takes until the last day of the season.

  35. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Its hard looking at this roster and believing what has happened with all the All Star type players.People smarter than me predicted Laroche would regress. This is beyond normal age regression. This is just where the problems started this year with this team in a poor April.Laroche in the 4th spot in the order batting .136 in April and following that up with a .160 in July. If you watch him ennough you know his instincts to groundballs and line drives arent top notch. Overall its hurt the team.Ryan Zimmerman cant stay healthy and his defense is what it is. His offense is below what he is capable of doing. The Nats have 2 ongoing issues they have to solve. Keeping Ryan Zimmerman healthy and productive and moving him to 1st base and doing something with Laroche.This gives the Nats the opportunity to find a new 3rd baseman. Rendon looks better suited for 2nd base.

  36. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    Is there a stat out there to see the total number of baserunners Laroche has left on base. Im guessing he leads the Majors in that category.

  37. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Sean Burnett done for the season and will probably need surgery (not TJ). He made exactly 13 appearances. So, should Rizzo have outbid the Angels for him (2 years, $8 million)?

  38. A DC Wonk - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    Everyone was wrong about Span, correct. He is…. about at the same level as Morgan.Do you care at all about your own credibility?Because it just goes out the window when you make _that_ comparison.

  39. A DC Wonk - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    NatsLady said… Sean Burnett done for the season and will probably need surgery (not TJ). He made exactly 13 appearances. So, should Rizzo have outbid the Angels for him (2 years, $8 million)?Yeah, a number of folks here were pretty angry about Rizzo not keeping Burnett.

  40. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    WODL hasn't had credibility in months.

  41. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    I love the notion that anybody that the Nats trade who gets hurt was destined to get hurt if he stayed here.So, if we had traded Harper for Trout, by way of example, would that have been a bad trade for the Angels, because Harper got hurt this year? But we will keep hearing this argument over and over in favor of not signing guys or trading them. With the guys who are traded, you start getting into fraud. Are you saying that we defrauded the Mariners because we knew that Morse was damaged goods? Guys in baseball get hurt all the time and seemingly, with all the meds and docs, more than ever. Please stop defending decisions on personnel based upon fluke things that happen elsewhere. If you have knowledge as to what cause the injury, then fine, but it is a bit silly to say that accidents are the west coast mean that accidents would have happened here. Span got hurt all the time in Minnesota, but he hasn't gotten hurt here. Maybe we have better doctors but isn't the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota?

  42. sjm308 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    So the news of the day is WODL does not care for Rizzo – Denard Span or Soriano.Shocker!

  43. SCNatsFan - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Dc wonk, on a bright note I backed Rizzo for not resigning Burnett as I thought he might be damaged goods. Of my many bad decisions I got that one right.

  44. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    But David Proctor hasn't had credibility in how long?

  45. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    Wonk, the idea of keeping last year's team together is pretty ridiculous. How well has that worked for the Giants? Rizzo kept the "core" together and made changes basically around the margins. I don't get the Lannan-love, other than that he's cheaper than Haren. He's a nice guy, he and his wife did good work during Sandy. BUT, he was on the DL for a couple of months, he has a 4.10 ERA, and this was his last start: Lannan was up to his old tricks Wednesday as he got knocked around for four earned runs on eight hits over just four innings. He walked two and struck out three.Impact: Lannan did not live to see the fifth inning in this one, as he needed 88 pitches (60 strikes) to get through his four shaky innings against the vaunted Cardinals lineup.Morse, we've discussed many times. Mike Gonzalez has been ineffective, in particular, he's been ineffective against lefties!Only Gorzo has been somewhat effective, and if you recall, it was expected–and it was a reasonable expectation–that Zach Duke would be a better and cheaper Gorzelanny.

  46. A DC Wonk - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    The Nats have done the same move over and over and over and they will not stop until they have found the greatest fielding outfielder who cannot hit at all in all of the universe. WODL, did Span run over your dog or something?Have you noticed that Span is bringing the BA of the Nats _up_, not down?In fact, B-R shows that he's one of only six non-pitchers on the team that has a WAR of 1.0 or higher.The problem with the Nats hitting isn't Span.

  47. A DC Wonk - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    NatsLady said… Wonk, the idea of keeping last year's team together is pretty ridiculous. How well has that worked for the Giants? Rizzo kept the "core" together and made changes basically around the margins. I don't get the Lannan-love, other than that he's cheaper than HarenYep — I think we're mostly in agreement.

  48. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    Span has improved a lot since Werth told him not to listen to Davey but to play his own game. (I don't actually KNOW this conversation occurred, but I'd bet a lot it did.)

  49. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    I also would like to see them playing for pride – and each other. I have been wondering if things would have been any different had Cat been around the last three days. He knows these guys so very well and seems to be the Pitcher Whisperer. Maybe he could have stopped Stras' meltdown with a mechanics check. Maybe he could have stopped Gio's meltdown? They really do need someone who is there just to keep tabs on them. The other coaches and the manager have way too many other things to handle.

  50. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Span has improved a lot since Werth told him not to listen to Davey but to play his own game. (I don't actually KNOW this conversation occurred, but I'd bet a lot it did.)________________What the hell? People are just making up conversations from thin air now. For what it's worth, Span said that Schu told him to position his hands differently and also to be more "fluid" and that's helped.

  51. sjm308 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    I sometimes enjoy that WODL argues just for the sake of arguing. I don't follow the entire league but I do like to hear about what our former Nats are doing. I wanted to keep Burnett and am sorry he is injured but I think what knowledgeable posters are doing is letting us know how decisions made by Rizzo have worked out. Its not validation or condemnation, just fact. So and So is injured, So & So is hitting .400. etc etc. I don't believe Rizzo has had a great year but it has not been a disaster. I would have re-signed Morse & Burnett and both would have probably backfired. I am not the GM so I trust him to do what he thinks is best. Others here like to bash him & I will never change their minds. The one thing I would really really like though is to see Span go on a tear because those posts from WODL have just become way too much. Its not that I am a huge Span fan (hey that rhymes) its that I am just tired of reading the same thing over and over and over and over. William, we get it – you don't like Span, you don't like Rizzo for signing him and you compare Span to the dregs of the earth. I feel you might be a bit over the top on that comparison but please just stop.

  52. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    DP, yep, makin' it up. Thass wut the Interwebz r fer, din't ya know?

  53. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Go look at the stats and look at Byrd and Morgan and Chavez and and all the other outfielders, most of who have had strange names (I don't know why and it has nothing to do with the point) like Sludge and on and on. You can impugn me but then you can go look at the stats and you will find that most of them were slick outfielders who were bad offensively. It is not that hard. The stats are all there online. Slick outfielders basically are replacement players. We are always told that player X is a great fielder and runner and that management projects him or her as an undervalued offensive contributor and they always field great and they never do a damn thing offensively. This goes back to Bowden and continues. The Nats have never, NEVER, signed a decent outfielder, unless he cost a boatload of money like Werth or Soriano. You guys pretend like you follow the Nats but you don't. You don't remember Endy Chavez. You don't remember how mediocre all of these outfield acquisitions have been. Find a guy who can hit and bring him in. We don't need any more slaphitting defensive specialists in the outfield but I am sure that all of the DC wonkish types just want to believe that the next one will be the key.Come bearing stats if you disagree. Otherwise, shut up. I won't respond anymore to the people who shout down everyone on this site and refuse to provide any proof for what they say.

  54. sjm308 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    NatsLady – I think you over reached on that last comment about Werth. I doubt if you would publish that on your own blog.

  55. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    "him or her"?????? I LIVE for that day…!

  56. sjm308 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    Here is my proof – you talk way way way too much about the same thing over and over!

  57. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    sjm==> you are right, I wouldn't. A reader asked me if I written on Storen and Clip. I haven't. I try to keep it to stats and minor personal observations occasionally. I think the Storen/Clip situation is very complicated and I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. Nevertheless, I do wonder how much attention players give to Davey, and how much is courtesy to a guy who HAS paid his dues, and more than paid his dues–but may be past it, now.

  58. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    Span could hit .500 the rest of the season and who cares, SJM? We signed him to be ready on day 1.Was Span ready on Day 1? Was he a good player when this team needed him? No. He was a replacement player. Look at his OPS+ for the year. Now, he is playing for fun. I wish him well, but he was a disaster up to this weekend. He hasn't been very good the last three years. If you want to decide that he is going to make this team a winner based on garbage time, more power to you.I have seen enough. We signed him to be ready to play and he was not. He is no Dwight Howard but the situation is not that different. Come to play and play. Don't blame your situation on the hitting coach and don't bellyache to the media about being dropped in the order after you hurt the team. One guy on the Nats blogroll has been honest enough to finally note that Span has cost the team many runs this year. People all over baseball know this, but people on this site keep defending the guy, just because he is nice, and I will stipulate that he is a nice guy and I like him personally.

  59. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    It gives me great pleasure that the Pirates just tied it up. If I can't hope the Nats will make it, I can at least hope the Pirates will grind the Cards into smithereens.

  60. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    If I talk too much about something, it is simply to hammer the rest of you until you realize that you are wrong. The Zimmerman defenders are all gone on the site. There is not a single one left. Soon, the Span defenders will be gone. This is not to silence people. It is just that at some point everyone has to admit things that are apparent. There was a kids' story when I was growing up about a naked emperor and his subjects all contended that he was fully clothed.This team is naked. Get used to it.

  61. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Os losing 11-0 to Houston in the 7th. Yes Houston and some Minor Leaguer Ive never heard of is pitching great.Good teams get blown out by good teams however when you get blown out by Houston its time to get really mad.

  62. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Argggggggh!!! This season is making me crazy! And it's making everyone else cranky!! Make it stop!!!!!

  63. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    The difference is that the O's might come back against Houston. It is remote but within the realm of possibility. Like Stras said, if he had walked the guy yesterday, the Nats would have lost by one instead of four but what difference does it make?

  64. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    Well, if "people all over baseball" know this, they must not be reading fangraphs.By WAR, Span is the 4th best position player on the Nats, better than Ryan Zimmerman, Ramos, Rendon, LaRoche…Nats by WARhttp://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=np&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=24&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

  65. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    WODL, I think if you were bashing Laroche or Ryan Z who are getting paid "star" money then I could get around what you are trying to say however the Span bashing is just old as he wasnt brought here as a star. He was brought here as a high potential player. He is a good defender and everything else is below average right now including that bad baserunning.

  66. fast eddie - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    From the previous thread:–At the current rate, we will lose 46 games by zero or one runs vs. last year's 26 TexNat: Agree that we need to move Zimm to 1B, trade ALR, Rendon to 3B, ditch Span and move Harper back to CF if you find a corner OF.This team needs hitters!

  67. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Yeah, that's just what we need to do, move Harper and his bad knee to CF.. Yeeesh!

  68. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    NL, good WAR stuff. If Harp and Ramo werent injured Harp would still be #2 in WAR and Ramo would be #3. Thats surprising and mostly because Ryan Zimmerman is just not preforming to where he should be.Also Ramo numbers blow away Suzuki. Given the disparity in games played that is huge.

  69. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    I still defend Ryan Zimmerman. So there's at least one here, WODL.

  70. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Yes, in this case you can see why Davey is "riding" Ramos for as much as he can bear. I don't know exactly what happened to Suzuki's offense. He wasn't always a .220 hitter, but he is now.

  71. BigCat - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    The boat is slowly filling with water….the rats are jumping off. Somewhere Eck is smiling and ordering another bourbon and coke

  72. SCNatsFan - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    I am still on the zim bandwagon

  73. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    But of course, Harper's knee wouldn't have gotten hurt if we hadn't gotten Span. He played center all year last year and well and didn't get hurt. I can't remember how many games we won last year with Harper and his pathetic fielding in center and Morse and his pathetic fielding in left–what was it 79 games or so? Thank goodness we have a slick fielding productive outfield now.I laugh at anyone who thinks that Denard Span is a star or who thinks that there is a dime's worth of difference between him and N. Morgan. Well, let me rephrase. There might be but the difference is that Morgan was better. Check his OPS+ over his 170 games when N. Morgan was here. Bring back N, Norgan. We were way to hasty to let him go.

  74. SCNatsFan - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Bigcat I bet Eck is miserable about the players performance. I doubt he is smiling although the continued woes will make it easier for him to get another job.

  75. hiramhover - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Wait a minute – has WODL turned against Span?!I don't check in here for 12 hours and the world turns upside down!

  76. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Ryan Zimmerman has been on the DL over the last 6 years every season except 1. His defensive UZR had been steady and fallen way off this year and much of that is his range.His WAR defines him well this year. Not much better than a replacement player because of that poor defense.Hard to defend that.

  77. gail - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    I think the chemistry in the dugout was bad from before spring training as a result of signing Soriano as closer. This move – a reasonable one, considering Storen's playoff problems – took most of the team by surprise. I think the bullpen suffered, and I think Drew Storen could not cope with the demotion. Drew needs to man-up if he wants to be a successful closer. Davy Johnson may be a great baseball man, but he wasn't able to strengthen the characters of his young staff. They never looked fearless – more like deer in headlights. They never adjusted to various pitchers, either. I blame the former hitting coach for the lifeless offense, and I am glad someone else with major league experience has the job now.This season is gone, but I hope hiring a new, aggressive, and strong manager and a new, strident coaching staff will demand more from our talented but distracted players.

  78. EmDash - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    People are pointing out injuries to players that weren't kept because their high injury risks were exactly why they were let go/traded. Morse and Burnett missing time with injuries was a pretty good bet. Span, whatever you think of him in general, has been durable except for stretches related to his post-concussion syndrome.It's also worth pointing out because many do believe that if the Nats had run the exact same roster as last year out there. That the supposed saviors mostly haven't performed well for their new teams is therefore worth pointing out.

  79. hiramhover - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Zim's defense has certainly dragged down his WAR this year, but saying he's "not much better than a replacement player" is too much. He's at 1.1 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR.

  80. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Yeah, that sickening thud around baseball is because WAR is garbage unless you are talking about offensive WAR. Defensive War is garbage and Fangraphs basically admits it on their site, with their work in progress disclaimer and all, but the same people who believe that stockbrokers know what stocks are going up, believe in Fangraph's defensive WAR stats. Go look how they calculate it and go look at their disclaimer that says "don't sue us if you lose in your fantasy league (and you will lose if you depend on Defensive War).Repeat after me. Defensive WAR is garbage. It is based on garbage and we all know that garbage in, equals garbage out. Enron was worth billions and billions of dollars, remember, as was AOL.Well, the same people who brought Enron and WorldCom to you have now brought you Defensive War, but hey, if you want to believe that Denard Span is an All Star, as one Nats blogger on the blog list listed to the side here wrote a couple of weeks back, then I have a bridge to sell you.Defensive WAR. That is almost as funny as the notion of the Nats being in the wild card.

  81. paul brandt - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    WODL, we know you don't like Span, stop saying it, we heard it in April so why keep bringing it up? and sorry but your comment below is just silly:"…and the whole notion of a closer in general is basically the most ignorant stupid thing in all of baseball."I think Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Dan Quisenberry, Trevor Hoffmann, others that I am forgetting and all of their teammates would disagree with you.

  82. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    AJ Cole today: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. This follows a great first start at AA. very positive.

  83. Roberto Fenili - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    The team's record reflects the fact that the players are performing poorly. It has very little do do with Rizzo's moves.As for DJ, I say this as an old man myself, DJ sounds more like a guy ready for Sunrise Assisted Living then a major league manager.

  84. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    Did I miss the Enron – defensive WAR connection? Ok, then.My EYES say that Span is amazing in CF. I don't think Harper was bad, I don't think Werth was bad, but they were not the permanent solution. We have a real guy out there and we simply have forgotten how to worry because he gets to every ball that is gettable-to. No drama, just reaches out his glove and the ball is in it.

  85. paul brandt - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    wow, potential for A-Rod lifetime suspension per MLB network…good.

  86. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    hiramover, unless Ryan Z is a DH he has to play defense. Theres no getting around how poor he has really been. Without Laroche playing pooper scooper for his lousy throws he would have another dozen errors and be at replacement.

  87. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Werth said it best, said he was so glad to have a pro out there after having to coach all the amateurs on where to put themselves (and I don't think he just mean Jeff Kobernus).

  88. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    I will start calling Span Mr. X, because I root for Span. I am against this ridiculous idea that a 98 game winning team needed a player like Mr. X. A Mr. X tends to be fast, but not incredibly. He plays a good outfield but is not quite a Gold Glover. He doesn't hit that well but in certain years he might get a good BABIP and who knows what might happen. Mr. X's never have power, though, unfortunately, because teams in the big leagues would rather take a chance on a guy with power like Upton, when money is no obstacle. Guys like Mr. X are all over baseball. Minnesota, incredibly, had 3 guys of these type. None of the 3 play for Minnesota anymore and they now have a new type of player like Mr. X. The Washington Nats, in 8 years or so, have had at least 5 or 6 versions of Mr. X. Some of them were nice and some were not. Mr. Span seems nice. But the overriding, not to be missed point, is that none of these guys were guys that you were likely to see on the Yankees. None of these guys were likely to be signed by the Rangers or the Angels or any of the other teams with big payrolls. These teams know that slaphitters are not what you need to maintain a marginal offensive team and none of them would dream of trying to hoodwink their fans into thinking that an acquisition of a Mr. X type player was an upgrade over Mike Morse, or that having a light hitting outfielder was desirable in center field…. The Nats, on the other hand, ran hard with the Span acquisition, arguing that Span was better than Justin Upchurch and much cheaper. Mr. X's do tend to be cheaper. That part was right.

  89. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    I wouldn't have a problem with Harper in CF if we got a great corner outfielder. I do not think Span is some Hall of Famer and it very well have been a mistake to sign him. But Span is far from the biggest problem on this team and it's ANNOYING for you to go on. and on. and on. about it. It's neverending. Just give it a f***ing rest, WODL.

  90. hiramhover - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    I'll say one thing for you, WODL–you sure packed a lot of "garbage" into that comment.You do realize that if we ignore defensive WAR and look only at offensive WAR, Zim is the 2d highest Nat (behnd Desi) and 26th overall in the NL, right?

  91. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    Mr. Brandt, please go read some stats sites. Joe Blogs writes about relievers all the time and the costs and benefits about how they are used. Bill James does too. Simply writing a bunch of names that you remember and saying that they disagree with me seems not to actually address the sabermetric point.No one who studies stats thinks that the idea of having a closer makes sense. Baseball fans who like walk-up music like it and the networks like it, but there is essentially no defense of using relievers in this manner. If you know one or an article, please point me to it.I will not, btw, stop saying what I believe to be true, although I will strive to provide evidence for what I say. In the same manner, i will generally not tell everyone else what is prohibited on this site. If you don't like what I have to say, then read over it.

  92. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Nobody is trying to stifle your opinion WODL, but repeating yourself ad nauseum every single day is obnoxious. You can do whatever you want though, I guess.

  93. hiramhover - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    128I didn't stick up for Zim's defense and I'm not going to now. But you're the one who wrote "his WAR defines him well"–not, "what his WAR would be if someone other than ALR was over there at first defines him well."Fact is, his WAR shows that's he is much better than a replacement player, crappy defense and all.

  94. sjm308 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    WODL – so as I read your post from 9:14 – your goal is to get everyone to agree with you – what a bully!! Your goal is to hammer us until we realize we are wrong. How stupid. You will never admit you are wrong so your tact is to inflict us with your drivel. I have not nor ever will say that Span is an All-Star or Hall of Fame worthy but I will say that you are a bore.

  95. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    David, many think your pollyannaish musings are annoying. I happen to think they are earnest and often provocative. Zimmerman has been okay on offensive, probably better than he seems. The problem is that his power is way down. I can't claim to have the mathematics all worked out but many have noted that this team seems to be a walk and a homer type of team. Zimmerman hitting 20 or fewer homers won't work, when ALR, Harper, Werth, Espinosa et al. are down from last year.It is the combination of Zimmerman's bad defense with the change in his offense from slugger to more of a balance-type hitter that has made him not as productive. The problem going forward is that 1st basemen are expected to be more productive than either Zimmerman or ALR this year.

  96. sjm308 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    What I will do now is become an official "Span Fan" just so my boy William can not reach his goal of 9:14. Oh, by the way, I like Ryan Zimmerman as well. Guess 60+ years of watching baseball has really eroded my views.Good Night All!Go Nats!

  97. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    "hiramhover said… 128I didn't stick up for Zim's defense and I'm not going to now. But you're the one who wrote "his WAR defines him well"–not, "what his WAR would be if someone other than ALR was over there at first defines him well."Fact is, his WAR shows that's he is much better than a replacement player, crappy defense and all."I believe the reason Laroche is here is to bail out Ryan Z on his throws. We all know theres nobody in baseball playing pooper scooper at 1st base. Its a chain reaction that has occurred here. If you didnt have Laroche we all could guess how much worse that "E" next to Ryans stats would be.Pretending it isnt there is just putting ones head in the sand.

  98. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Stats, please. Peoples' belief as to what is boring differs. I liked Star Wars I. I find guys like David Proctor much more interesting when they are forced to address negative things about anything having to do with the Nats or Rizzo, and many on herehave been basically on your knees the last two days, so I guess that is something. You can look and I have said over and over, that I expect the Nats to be better next year and that much of this is a random blip downward. That is not good enough, however. Anyone who doesn't worship at the altar of Rizzo is persona non grata. Funny, that that doesn't seem to apply to Davey, however, who is every bit as worth of being defended as Rizzo. Rizzo and management had issues with the previous guy and apparently, when the team wins, it is Rizzo who does it, but when the team doesn't, well, that is just bad luck. It is way more complicated than that and although, I actually thought the Lerners deserved better, the Post hammered both the Lerners and Rizzo in the sports section today, but I am probably the last guy in the world who actually pays to read a newspaper that you can hold and thus no one else saw the article.

  99. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Don't worry, SJM, that happens to most old people.Go Nats.

  100. paul brandt - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    WODL, then why does every MLB team have a closer? are the coaches and GM's all clueless?you said: No one who studies stats thinks that the idea of having a closer makes sense.

  101. BooieHooie - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    2012..98 wins..magical season..almost2013…target on back…expected to win, BUT the drive isn't there…can't just walk on the field and expect it to happen. Things go bad…losses…guys tighten-up and press…little veteran vocal leadership (as far as we can tell).Season –DONE (or nearly so).The season sure goes slow when things are bad.2014 — A new management voice. A few new (vocal) players. And most of all, no pressing, relax, but play incredibly hard and smart and with fire.Baseball…a combination of luck (the bouncing ball), mind-set, skill, overcoming injuries. Last year the Nats had all these features. This year, maybe only (dormant) skill.

  102. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    The good news is the weak links have been exposed. If Rizzo botches it this offseason then he doesnt deserve to be a GM.Sorry, anyone can draft Strasburg and Harper and trade 4 players for Gio. It takes a good GM to make good trades and sign good free agents.Lerners gave Rizzo 50 million to spend in the offseason and we see where he spent it. Not good. Get it right this offseason. Must find a way to get rid of Laroche.

  103. baseballswami - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    I see the flaws, but at heart I am a homer. I love having a team and I really like most of the guys on the roster and many of our minor leaguers. I love the game. I guess I am surprised that people are so very miserable and angry but yet they keep subjecting themselves to it. When something makes me that unhappy I think I will not participate in it for a while. Hasn't happened yet. After all those last place seasons, I can't be all that miserable over second place. I don't love the way the Nats are playing at all. But I will miss it tomorrow and tune in on Friday. I don't obsess about the post season or Atlanta. Just hoping for better play, some heart and hustle, win or lose.

  104. Drew - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    Meanwhile, at Syracuse, Zach Walters has steadily raised his average to .265.Get this: Of his 100 base hits 57 are for extra bases.He has 29 doubles, 4 triples and 24 home runs.He could be in the mix as a bench bat next year.

  105. TexNat - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    Span is a solid player all things considered. He just isn't a good fit with the Nats because their lineup is insufficiently good to be able to handle an outfielder with no power. Thus he needs to go and be replaced with a plus bat. The only other option is to do something drastic like sign Cano.

  106. Nats 128 - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    "baseballswami said… I see the flaws, but at heart I am a homer."Im down for that however lets not lie to ourselves. The stats dont lie either. All the players batting under .200 and the UZR stats are what they are.

  107. TexNat - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    And honestly, the Nats would be better off doing both.

  108. SCNatsFan - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    I'm a homer too and I think a lot of us are. That is what is making this season so hard.

  109. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    FP said it well the other day: this game will rip your heart out if you let it. I've let it.

  110. ChiefWJ - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    "Stats please"Denard Span has a range factor of 2.74/9 innings this year vs. the league average for all CFers of 2.47/9 (per baseball-reference). That's 27 more balls he's getting to over 100 games compared to the average CFer. While numbers can be deceiving, note that the Nationals Park outfield is not particularly large and Nats pitching is 4th in the National League in strikeouts, so the numbers are not skewed by having a disproportionate number of opportunities. Plus he has committed zero errors this year. These numbers are consistent with his career performance; they're lower than in Minnesota, but the Twins pitching staff has been notorious for having relatively few strikeouts and therefore relatively more chances for the defenders.

  111. ChiefWJ - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    "Stats please"Denard Span has a range factor of 2.74/9 innings this year vs. the league average for all CFers of 2.47/9 (per baseball-reference). That's 27 more balls he's getting to over 100 games compared to the average CFer. While numbers can be deceiving, note that the Nationals Park outfield is not particularly large and Nats pitching is 4th in the National League in strikeouts, so the numbers are not skewed by having a disproportionate number of opportunities. Plus he has committed zero errors this year. These numbers are consistent with his career performance; they're lower than in Minnesota, but the Twins pitching staff has been notorious for having relatively few strikeouts and therefore relatively more chances for the defenders.

  112. ChiefWJ - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Sorry about the duplicate post. By the way, Endy Chavez played exactly 7 games as a National.

  113. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    Tonight is the beginning of the Harper era in Natstown. A 20-year-old kid is not only a preternatural talent, but is also a born leader. Harper will not tolerate losing. That's more than I can say for Davey and former team leaders, like the FOF.In no more than 2 years' time the Nats will be Harper's team – maybe even by next year. You will not see the lackadaisical attitude on Harper's Nats, or on the Nats new coaching staff, when that happens.The Nats need a field manager as intense and as focused on winning as Harper is. Davey treated this year's team like a country club crowd out on a field trip to the beach. Lots of yucks and no accountability.Even now, it is clear that ALR is having trouble, but Davey still has him batting 4th or 5th every day, just to make sure ALR gets as many daily opportunities to kill off Nats' rallies as possible.La Roche looks like he belongs in bed. Three times up, today, with men on base each time, and 3 Ks from Adam. After the 3rd time, I couldn't watch, any more. He really does not look well and is performing way below par.

  114. snopes1 - Aug 1, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    Life's short so you can't spend all day on Nats Insider. Things go much faster with a cheat sheet. Here's mine.Stop & read list: A DC Wonk, JaneB, Joe Seamhead, John C., NatsLady, sjm308Skip without even skimming list: Mick, JayB, Secret Wasian Man, William O. Douglas Loeffler, TconstantEverybody else: Case-by-case review. Obviously, your tastes might vary. But I've found Nats Insider to be much more enjoyable by rigorously sifting through the chaff.

  115. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP Spin Williams, Nats minor league pitching coordinator, will join team in Milwaukee to serve as temporary pitching coach for Steve McCatty.After reading the article on WaPo about Ohlendorf, I don't understand why he was in the game. He threw 114 pitches on Friday night, the most he's thrown this season (88 in his previous appearance).That is only three days' rest, coming into what looked like a multi-inning stint of relief. Ohlendorf claims he's not injured, jut not fully recovered. I hope that's the case, and also hope the guys will be open with Spin Williams.

  116. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    How is Friday to Wednesday a 3 day rest? I count it as his 5th day scheduled start if he was in the rotation.

  117. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Oh, sorry, I guess I was thinking it was Tuesday. Oh, well, so much for counting…

  118. NatsLady - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Then that's reasonable Ohlendorf came in.

  119. natsfan1a - Aug 1, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    New month, new post. See y'all in August. :-)

  120. D'Gourds - Aug 1, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    "I'm seeing good effort," manager Davey Johnson insisted. "The attitude's fine. It's just the results aren't too good."This is why we suck this year. The Nats need the manager from Bull Durham to throw some bats in the shower and give the lalygagging speech! Bo Porter would have given it last year. This year there is nobody on the coaching staf with fire. I miss Bo. Tough guy. He would be perfect as our next manager.

  121. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 6, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    How about breaking out for 5 runs this inning?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 66 9.5
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 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

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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.
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