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Nats grind out another win

Aug 29, 2013, 1:19 AM EDT

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Perhaps during his dark days of 2011, or perhaps even earlier this season when he was still rediscovering his swing, Jayson Werth would have been pitched to in the seventh inning of a tie game and the go-ahead run in scoring position.

Not these days, though, not with Werth as productive and as feared as any hitter in the National League.

“He’s playing unbelievable,” Ian Desmond said. “This is the Jayson I remember playing against in Philadelphia: The grinding-type at-bats, a lot of balls hit on the barrel, working the count.”

So Marlins manager Mike Redmond instructed reliever Mike Dunn to throw four intentional balls to Werth in that key spot in the bottom of the seventh, bringing Desmond to the plate with a chance to give the Nationals the lead. Which Desmond did, roping the two-out, RBI single that spurred the Nationals to a 4-3 victory and continued their slow climb back into contention.

“I don’t even know if I hit a strike, to be honest,” said Desmond, who somehow managed to turn on Dunn’s well-inside slider. “But fortunately it got the job done.”

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  1. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 29, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    no gain but no loss either. that’s good.

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 29, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    I would bring back Strasburg on regular rest.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      From Strasburg’s comments it sounds like he prefers that also.

  3. ArVAFan - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Re: Werth and Span not getting to balls in the outfield last night. I was there, and after watching the Marlins’ second baseman slip on the grass, I’m glad they didn’t run harder and risk an injury. The tarp only covers the infield, and although the field drains well, it’s not as if the grass was going to dry up in that 100% humidity after the rain. However, I don’t think that applies to Harper’s bobble–that wasn’t a problem getting to the ball.

    Annoyed about the rain, because we certainly looked as if we had good Strasburg last night (well, after that first really wild pitch). But that’s baseball.

    Now, continuing with the umpire stuff:

    There won’t be sound on the replay film. That’s a problem because bang-bang calls at first, and the hit-by-pitch calls at the plate are partially called by sound (i.e. did the sound of the ball hitting the palm of the first baseman’s glove precede the runner’s foot on base, or not).

    The Nationals’ facilities and club staff get high marks, as does the Cholula Chicken sandwich (that’s from his wife, who has eaten a lot of ballpark food over the years).

    The home plate umpire’s pants are double-reinforced in the seat. I know you all wanted to know that!

    Re: coping with the weather. He’s even tried wearing a wetsuit under his uniform to cope with the cold. And then hope for no rain delays or extra innings! They can use a cooling vest under their uniform when it’s really hot (sounds like the one they use for the pitchers in the dugout), but that doesn’t last the whole game.

    About “getting help” from the other umpires. Generally, the feeling is that the other umpires are farther away from the play, and aren’t going to have a better view, even if they happened to be looking exactly in the right direction at exactly the right moment.

    Interesting comment about the replay challenges next year. How is that going to change the player-manager dynamic if the player is claiming “hit by pitch” and the replay shows that he wasn’t, and the manager has wasted the challenge. Is there going to be a sign between hitter and manager to indicate “umm, never mind, don’t challenge that one.”?

    OK, more later.

    • Candide - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:35 AM

      Good stuff!

    • adcwonk - Aug 29, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      You said something that he said something about Harper and you’d tell us later? If I’m remembering right — please do tell us!

      Thanks,

    • natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      Um, thanks? Seriously, all very interesting. Thanks for asking, and for sharing.

      “The home plate umpire’s pants are double-reinforced in the seat. I know you all wanted to know that!”

  4. acsportsfn - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    Picked up a game on dbacks last nite……be glad rizzo didnt sign Heath Bell as closer…he turned a 2-1 game to 5-1 game in the eighth.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    Though we didn’t gain on Cincy, Arizona lost ground.

    I wasn’t surprised when Redmond ordered Werth walked intentionally.I also wasn’t surprised when the move backfired. Way to go Desi!

    Rendon’s base running gaff was amateurish, and Harper’s wasn’t much better.Time to stop making those kinds of boneheaded mistakes.

    Adam LaRoche had two of the ugliest strikeouts of the year. Working the 3-0 count to a K was maddening.

    You rarely beat good teams when you make those kind of mistakes, and leave so many runners on base. Luckily, the Marlins are not a very good team.

    • Candide - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      You rarely beat good teams when you make those kind of mistakes, and leave so many runners on base. Luckily, the Marlins are not a very good team.

      Problem is, every team we play the rest of the season is better than Miami (except for the Marlins, who are exactly as bad as Miami…). We’ve won two squeakers against a very bad team. This does not bode well for a late-season resurgence.

    • letswin3 - Aug 29, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      How do teams handle correcting mistakes like Rendons baserunning error? Peer conversations generated by those with more experience (Werth or ALR)? Coaches? Davey?

  6. Joe Seamhead - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Jayson Werth play ball and have been a continuous supporter of him since the day he was signed, but he has been very tentative on balls hit in front of him since early summer.he’s not 100%, the grass was still wet, but I thought he could’ve gotten that ball last night. There was no resulting damage done, so it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t think Span had any chance to get to the one in center. Some balls are just flat out hit where they ain’t!

    Good stuff regarding the umps. Thanks!

  7. natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Yay, happy game results! (Went to bed around 10, with the game tied 3-3).

    In other news, happy birthday to a certain little Insider! (I *think* it’s today.)

  8. natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    For those who have recently made the jump to this site, PSA on using your old moniker (hat tip to 222, who posted this originally):

    If you click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen,
    then click on “Public Profile,” you can change the name that is visible
    here. Remember to Save Changes.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion. Go, NATS!!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      You also do not need a blog to create a user name in WordPress.

      They hide it a bit, further down on the registration page, but you can simply create a login ID here:
      https://signup.wordpress.com/signup/?user=1

  9. alexva6 - Aug 29, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    last nights Carpism “that could have just as easily gone either way”

    • natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      In other news, “Most one run games are lost, not won.” AFLAC?

    • bowdenball - Aug 29, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      This was my favorite Carpism in a while because of the way he emphasized the “easily.” Apparently there are some plays that could go either way, but only barely so. That check swing, on the other hand, wasn’t even close to not being able to go either way. I’m gonna use it next time I lose a coin flip. “Sure that flip came up heads, but it could have EASILY gone either way.”

      • letswin3 - Aug 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Sounds like something Norman Chad would say about one of his many marriages.

  10. CN - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Good day for the Nats affiliates as well as Dakota Baccus (obtained in the Suzuki trade) went 6 innings for the Suns allowing only 1 hit for the win. Also Giolito went 5 innings in his second start for Auburn, allowing 4 hits, but got the no decision. Lastly, AJ Cole was lights out for the Senators again, going 7 inn w/ 7 K’s for the win.

    NationalsProspects.com

  11. ehay2k - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Nice win. Just like 2012 – grind out ABs and find a way to win. Basically, the Nats look to be playing this season the way I sometimes play golf: If I duff my drive and knock it 60 yards, I just say that I decided to to play my sand wedge first!

    ArVAFan – Thanks for the umpire info. Very interesting stuff. Also, tell your umpire friend that his wife, unless she HATES bologna, should try the grilled bologna sandwich at Blue Smoke. Odds are that she will never have another one, but will recommend that everyone try just one.

  12. Doc - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Thank you, thank you vury much, Natsfan1a. I ‘preciate it. @ 8:07

    GooooooooooooooooNats!!!!!

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 29, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    To the person above calling Rendon’s baserunning mistake amateurish, he committed thinking it was going through the hole. Aggressive mistake just like Harper.

    The irony was 2 games after Zimmerman played spectator on a ball hit to shortstop, the Rookie (Lucas) knew to cover his bag in case his shortstop threw to him and it was a tag play executed perfectly.

    I just laugh when people say shortstops almost never throw to 3rd.

    • jd - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Ghost,

      Players are human beings and they make mistakes. I find it tasteless when posters rip players for imperfect execution. Zim screwed up on Sunday as did Stammen and as did Rendon last night. It happens, When you play every day, every inning your concentration won’t be laser sharp all the time. I am sure we all aren’t perfect in what we do either.

      BTW, if we finish the year 1 game out the game sticking in my crow wont be the KC game (remember it was tied when all the mistakes happened and there is no guarantee that we would have scored more runs to take the lead). The game we absolutely couldn’t and shouldn’t have lost is the game to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago.

      • Candide - Aug 29, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        The game we absolutely couldn’t and shouldn’t have lost is the game to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago.

        Don’t get me started on that one.

        I went to that game, almost on the spur of the moment. Got a $9 seat in section 224.

        It was a sunny day, not particularly hot, unless you were in 224, in which case the sun was relentless. Managed to keep my quart bottle of water reasonably cold through the game, fortunately, but I had to nurse it.

        For whatever reason, you can’t see the ball from those seats. You can’t see it leaving the pitcher’s hand, you can’t follow it to the catcher, and you can’t see where the batter hit it. All I could do was watch the fielders and triangulate approximately where the ball was from how the fielders reacted. And my eyes aren’t that bad; I correct to 20-20 with my glasses on.

        So there’s a good reason that seat was nine bucks.

        And then there was the top of the ninth inning. I never did see that home run, because, (in case I hadn’t mentioned it) I couldn’t see the ball and also because it was out of the line of sight from my seat anyway. I suppose there are things better left unseen, but still…

        That game ranks right up there (or down there) with Game Five for making me want to go bazooka-hunting for cute and furry endangered mammals to crowd down my wrath.

  14. NatsLady - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    I am a little worried about Gio. In his previous start, McCatty went out to say get your arm up in the slot. Gio, reportedly said, I’m trying, I’m trying. When a pitcher can’t get his arm slot up (to get the downward angle on pitches) that is sometimes a signal of shoulder trouble. With the bullpen getting really worn down, need Gio to eat innings but can’t blow out his shoulder while doing so. Just hold out until Sunday–help is coming. How good that “help” is remains to be seen.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      To the person above calling Rendon’s baserunning mistake amateurish, he committed thinking it was going through the hole. Aggressive mistake just like Harper.

      If he thought that ball was going through, then he needs his eyes checked. The shortstop barely had to move for a routine hop. Terrible judgement.

      Not doubting you, but I have never heard anybody say shortstops almost never throw to third (when there’s a play there).

    • jd - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Me too. I would keep a very close eye on Gio tonight. I think Roark should be available for long relief duty and if it comes to that he will just have to eat many innings regardless of the outcome and then they will need to bring someone else in to be the emergency long man.

      Hopefully we are worried for nothing and Gio goes 7 – 8 innings.

  15. scnatsfan - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Sure make it interesting now boys! Who knows what happens if we roll thru these bottom feeders.

  16. adcwonk - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Querey? Where’s the Span-haters go?

    Span hitting .294 since June 20. And still zero errors for the season.

    • jd - Aug 29, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      Wonk,

      Span is doing exactly what we hoped he would do all year, and guess what we are winning. It’s a comforting thought that Span may have finally adjusted to the NL and may be in line for a very nice 2014.

      • adcwonk - Aug 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        He actually only had one very bad month. Check out these splits:
        April .276
        May .275
        June .235
        July .289
        August .281

  17. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    I watched Rendon’s dash to third and it was inspired by stupidity not aggressiveness — he was looking straight at the SS, who had the ball in his hands, as Rendon flashed by.

    It’s not fair to stupid people to blame inexperience for Rendon’s mistake. Stupidity should be given credit where it is due. (“Stupid is as stupid does.”) Dumb base-running has been a Nats trademark all season. (If Fangraphs keeps track of those, too, let me know, as I’m sure they’re up among the league leaders.) It is compounded by all sorts of other violations of the fundamental principles of sound baseball. Since the days of Manny Acta, Nats managers have struggled to get their players to execute the fundamentals and, when push comes to crunch, they regress to their T-ball days. Leading to the conclusions that either (A) the Nats don’t, and never have, taught fundamentals at the lower levels of the organizations; (B) more players require adderall prescriptions than anyone would ever have imagined.

    Obviously, at least against the Marlins, they have sufficient raw talent to overcome their mistakes. Raise a glass to genetics over environment and pray that it continues to rule for the remainder of the season.

  18. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 29, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I have tried, for the most part, to refrain from joining the tar-and-feather Span mob. I have said I was disappointed, and would not be unhappy if they traded him, because they badly needed another big bat in the lineup (do they really have even one big bat?). I do believe he has finally gotten the hang of the league and, as a hitter, now is pretty much what we were hoping for. (I realize there are some people who though he was going to steal 35 bases but I don’t think that was reasonable, based both on his history, this manager’s enchantment with the three-run HR and the lack of control, bat-on-ball hitters behind him.)

    I’m pretty much satisfied with the way he is playing now. I also think Harper and Werth are hitting in a manner that diminishes — somewhat — the need for an extra slugger. The current BO, with Z’man no. 2 and Harper no. 3, seems to work. If Span finishes this year strong the 2015 option for $9MM will begin to look like a no-brainer. (Consder what Bourn is currently providing for $12MM.)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

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

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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