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Werth earns well-deserved praise

Aug 11, 2013, 4:30 AM EDT

Associated Press

Jayson Werth has been an easy target for cynical baseball fans, both from within the District and around the sport, since signing a $126 million contract with the Nationals prior to the 2011 season. That contract figure forever will be attached to Werth’s name, and even his staunchest supporters will admit he’ll never live up to that mammoth number.

Try for a moment, though, to ignore the money and focus simply on what Werth has done on the field for the Nationals, most notably over the last two seasons. His actual contributions have been immense.

“He’s doing an unbelievable job leading this team,” Bryce Harper said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch, being able to see him get hits against unbelievable pitchers and seeing him do his thing.”

Washington fans got an opportunity to shower Werth with some well-deserved praise Saturday night when the veteran right fielder reached a personal milestone and delivered the biggest blast of the Nationals’ 8-5 victory over the Phillies all with one mighty swing. His two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh highlighted a five-run rally, putting the Nationals ahead for the first time in a game they once trailed 4-0, and represented the 1,000th hit of his career, to boot.

For that, the crowd of 32,676 coaxed Werth out of the dugout for a curtain call.
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  1. Depot Master - Aug 11, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    Hopefully, at long last, the final "Werth-less" comment has been posted. Even if production dwindles later in the contract, young players need to understand championship attitude and work ethic.

  2. David Proctor - Aug 11, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    "It was great," Harper said of his Gatorade attack. "Unbelievable moment for him, being able to get his 1,000th career hit on a homer against them. It's pretty unbelievable. I'm very happy for him. Hopefully we can keep going. …"I love J-Dub. He's a leader on this team and one of the guys that really took me under his wing and really taught me the past two years. To be able to see him do that was pretty unbelievable. What an incredible teammate and person he is."

  3. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Aug 11, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Random notes from last night's game:1. The first two innings, it looked as if LaRoche had forgotten to take his Adderall, and everyone else (even Worth) looked as if they needed some. But they re-focused, and never gave up. Good to see Taylor work through that situation.2. The Philly fans were there, but they were booing Carlos Ruiz instead of Jason Werth. Nice change. I did not see any ugly incidents with Philly fans, but maybe someone else did.3. Winning is fun. The Nats should try it more often.4. From the Department of Things Going Right: sat next to a season ticket holder being treated for cancer. As soon as he was diagnosed, Ticketholder Services worked with him to change all his tickets around his chemo schedule (98% probability of a cure, so not worrying about him, but nice that they did all the work for him).By the way, I will be in Chicago for the 19th and 20th games against the Cubs. On the 20th, look for me right behind the visitors dugout (for those of you who know what I look like. For those of you who don't, look for a couple of middle-aged fans in red, either yelling with or at the Nats, depending on how they're playing.)ArVAFan

  4. Another_Sam - Aug 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Back to back wins make me forget the recent wretched play. I'm in. Play ball.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Aug 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I went back to the December 2010 Nats Insider blogs to read what was said about the Werth signing and the not re- signing of Adam Dunn. It was a fun read.

  6. natsfan1a - Aug 11, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Had I been there, I would have cheered Jayson like crazy. Good on you folks who did, for the curtain call.Random question, was that really Stammen on the opposite end of the Gatorade cooler from Harper, as the WaPo photo caption noted? Couldn't tell in the moment on tv, and it doesn't much look like him in the photo. (I didn't watch much of the postgame.)

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 11, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    "Uh, S for surprising," LOL, good one Werth. Nice way to not discourage the youngster.

  8. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    "The Philly fans were there, but they were booing Carlos Ruiz instead of Jason Werth."Were they booing, or were they yelling CHOOOOOOOOOOOCH? Carlos Ruiz is the new RA-OOOOOOOOOOOOOL for Phillies phans.At least we know they weren't yelling DRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

  9. Candide - Aug 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Is it my imagination, or does Werth seem to step it up a notch against Philadelphia? I've looked for hitting stats against, broken out by team, but can't find it.I remember Werth saying, after Filthie fans cheered when he broke his wrist, that he wanted to make sure they never celebrated on Broad Street again.

  10. Candide - Aug 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Cunegonde and I are going to be the only NIers at today's game? Really? https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArHMZg5A8wSXdGViSG8xUGQxUlZzaUVxekJFNHFRcEE#gid=9

  11. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    I will be at the game. Baseballreference.com will give you player vs teams.

  12. NatsLady - Aug 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    click on "splits" and page down, it will show you stat by opponent.

  13. Section 222 - Aug 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I'll be there today Candide. Sorry to miss the last two nights of offensive resurgence. Wow.

  14. Doc - Aug 11, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    One of the best hits of the night–Harps 'bunt'.In the history of baseball, it was one of the worst bunts ever. But it got the job done, with bringing the run in. It also showed a player that was more interested in winning, than trying to get a hit against a pitcher who had his number.

  15. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Doc, I thought that was catch-able for that Phillies player, not sure why he decided to field it instead.

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I like what Jayson Werth called Bryce's bunt "S…….. for surprise" .

  17. Doc - Aug 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Yeah, Faraz it was definitely catchable. Maybe he thought he would let it drop and get a DP–but Harps fooled him, and everybody else!!!!!Ghost, one thing that a lot of sports' reporters miss is apprciating Harp's baseball brain. Kid is always working overtime to get the edge."Sh#@ for surprise"—that's our boy!!!!!!!!On any given day, this is a playoff team. Will they get there, who knows!

  18. Candide - Aug 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    NL, 222, you going to be around the 312 picnic tables before the game? How do we recognize you?

  19. Steady Eddie - Aug 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Another nice note re JDub — I was sitting in my usual RF cornet seats and when the mostly Nats fans there gave him a standing O coming out for the top of the eighth, he TWICE tipped his cap. And often gives balls to the field attendants to give to little kids. Classy guy.

  20. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Doc, I don't agree with that. Had he caught the ball, RZ was much towards 2B and had not any chance of coming back to 1st or even Lombo to third?anyways, glad they did not and we tied the game.Werth is on top in wRC+ in the second half, leads the next player by 244 to 225.

  21. Don - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Harper bunting there was a bad call, no wonder Werth was surprised, and he almost popped into a double play. Having an XBH threat like Harper drop a bunt to tie with 1st and third and less than 2 outs is just not good baseball. They got lucky and it worked and the inning kept going, but it was not a good call.

  22. James Joyce - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Hard for me to think about any player being vital for the Nats when they are several games under .500 in mid August. (I would put Ohlendorf ahead of Werth, and JZim or Gio ahead of both of them, but whatever) But, Werth showing his star potential just after the season is all but lost is the kind of luck a club creates for itself after standing around and hoping for weeks on end that good fortune would happen, too little too late for the timid. How great it is to watch Werth go on a long-awaited tear for this midling club that was World Series or bust? Not so great. They might finish 4th anyway.

  23. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    I too was a little surprised Utley didn't lay out for what looked to me like a catchable bunt, but maybe he was just caught that flat-footed. Harper certainly made sure it cleared the pitcher, didn't he?

  24. Section 222 - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Don, I'd agree with you, but Harper was overmatched by the Phillies' lefthander. He wasn't much of an XBH threat at that point. Watching the play on replay, it sure looked like Utley had a chance at catching the bunt. Not an easy play but a dive might have done it. Maybe he had a momentary brainfreeze. Even if he didn't double up Zim at first, at least the run wouldn't have scored.

  25. Section 222 - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    If caught flat footed equals brainfreeze, I might owe you a drink Sofa. :0-)

  26. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    But I disagree it was a bad idea. 1. It did work. That matters.2. Never tell me the odds. What, never? Well, hardly ever. Coins flips are isolated events, but baseball plays are not. Treating a given play *only* on its own chances misses significant things. Seasons are long, careers are even longer, and it helps to have the other team know they can't assume anything.

  27. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I will leave that one to your own judgement, Deuces. <:-)

  28. JamesFan - Aug 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    The homer in the playoffs changed everything for Werth in Washinton. He's now part of the family and playing terrific baseball. Werth is a solid asset, and I'm glad we have him for years to come. The deal to get him was an excellent one. He brings a winning mindset to the team.

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