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Desmond leads Nats to win with HR, reveals personal struggle

Apr 6, 2014, 6:27 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

With the Nationals and Braves locked in a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday, Nats shortstop Ian Desmond walked to the plate looking to swing big on the first pitch. After allowing three straight hits to begin the game, Braves starter Alex Wood had settled in to dominate the Nationals for five consecutive frames.

Desmond saw a 87 mile per hour fastball slightly inside and got just about all of it, sending the ball deep into the left field stands for a solo home run. It was the first pitch of the inning, and Desmond knew it was gone immediately. He flipped his bat as the ball soared nearly out onto the concourse, falling short by just six or seven rows.

“Yeah, I was pretty sure I got it,” Desmond said. “Fastball in, a little bit up, just connected on it. It was good. We needed that one. Not necessarily a home run, but we needed to score a run there and prove to ourselves we could hold it down.”

“I knew right when it left my hand that it wasn’t going to be a very good outcome,” Wood said.

Desmond gave Washington the go-ahead run in what ended as a 2-1 win for the Nationals. They avoided the sweep and salvaged the first series between the two teams of the season.

The Nationals were in danger of dropping the first three games against a team that went 13-6 against them in 19 matchups in 2013. The Nats know they will have to do better against the Braves this time around to have a chance at retaking the division crown.

“We played good. It was nice to get that W, get the monkey off our back,” Desmond said. “We obviously understand that we have some things that have to be addressed when we’re playing them, but we’re going to continue to get better and we’ll see how it shakes out the rest of the way.”

Desmond had the big hit on a day he also had other things on his mind. The 28-year-old is currently trying to quit dipping smokeless tobacco, a habit he started as a teenager. Desmond has been working on quitting since December, he said, but relapsed recently and now has his mother adamantly supporting him in the effort.

“This morning I had this huge battle. I’m trying to quit dipping, so I texted my mom and everybody and they were all like ‘You can do it, you can do it,’ so they were all praying for me and I made it through the whole game without dip so that was a bigger victory than beating the Braves. I’ve dipped for a long time and I’m really trying hard to quit, so thank you for all those out there that supported me today.”

Desmond said he is quitting for himself, that there was no specific event that convinced him to give it up.

“Nothing forced me, I kind of just decided it was time. It’s not going to be easy. I’ve been doing it for a long time, it’s a terrible habit, but I’m working on it.”

Chewing or dipping tobacco is commonplace in professional baseball, as many players and coaches have been using it for decades. Growing up around the game exposed Desmond to the habit, and he says that makes it even harder to quit.

“I hate to say this because I know there will probably be kids that hear this, but for me growing up it was part of the game. That’s what it was. When I put my uniform on, I feel like that’s part of what I need to put on and whether people see that as good or bad, it’s just like I’m sure steelworkers or whatever, it just goes with the job for me. But I’m trying to shake it off.”

Desmond said he told his mom in the morning before the game he was having a hard time quitting, that he had dipped again recently. She helped him abstain on Sunday with encouragement.

“It’s not something I’m proud of, that it’s got that control over me, but I’m going to try,” he said.

105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Apr 6, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Good for Desi! just got home and man that was a nail biter. Glad we could get 1.

  2. Sonny G 10 - Apr 6, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    You’re the man, Desi. Here’s wishing you much success in quitting tobacco. I know how hard it is. I quit smoking over 40 years ago and it was hard.

  3. laddieblahblah - Apr 6, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    You can do it, Desi.

    I’d like to see MW platoon Espi with Frandsen, against lefties, move Zim to 1b, play Rendon at 3rd, and put TyMo in LF. That would leave Span as the only lefty in the lineup, and they would then have ALR and Harp on the bench for double-switching and for PH duties against righties, and they would get to see Zim at 1b.

    I hope to see MW try something like that. Frandsen has been swinging the bat a lot better than Danny, anyway, and the Nats have to do better against LH pitching. Harp’s numbers against lefties has been a problem, too. I don’t like TyMo in LF, but they have got to do better against lefties.

    The pitching staff bailed them out today. You are not going to win many games if you only score 2 runs, or less. The Nats just lost 2 out of 3 doing exactly that.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      I’m with you Laddie. I’m getting a better read on MW and think he will do that or stick with McLouth as his CF.

      Normally you get 2 lefties a week. LaRoche could use a rest. TyMo even at 1st.

      • Section 222 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        Wait, are you guys saying you want Harper and TyMo to platoon? Seriously? TyMo? He of the .222/.276/.383 slashline against lefties? The guy who couldn’t even make our O.D. roster is now going to replace one of the best LFs in the game one out of every four games? I realize that Bryce’s line isn’t great, but it’s actually better than TyMo’s. .231/.313/.377. Plus, he’s Bryce Harper. Come on!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        While he’s struggling you give Bryce mental health days against LHPs just like MW did today. I wouldn’t use the word platoon.

        As the Nats face 2 LHPs on average a week it is a good time to rest LaRoche, Bryce or Span. That’s not a platoon. It’s keeping everyone fresh.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        The only reason TyMo didn’t make the OD roster is because Hairston took his spot.

      • Section 222 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        Yes, but you know he’s not a great option either.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        I called TyMo this morning a small upgrade over Hairston. That’s not a bad thing.

      • Section 222 - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:18 PM

        We’ll see. I fear TyMo’s time has come and gone. Had a lot of promise a few years ago. Now he may just be a AAAA player.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        The benches of the Majors is made up with lots of AAAA guys. They better have specific tools that fit the team’s needs. I don’t like one-dimensional guys in the Stairs role. Unless you are Giambi and in the AL it doesn’t make sense for a NL team. Hairston is an AL type. TyMo won a game in Toronto and the Nats 1st ever playoff game. He is an upgrade over Hairston and at a $1.5.million savings.

      • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        I agree Ghost. Hairston took any chance of TyMo making this team.

      • texnat1 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        Once Harper gets going, I would not support benching him regularly against lefties. He isn’t going to get better at hitting them that way and we don’t have anything good enough on the bench to justify it.

        If you want to time all his off days with tough lefty matchups, that’s fine with me. But if he is healthy and hitting, there should only be barely more than a handful of those.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Agreed tex. He’s too valuable for his other tools.

      • letswin3 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:12 PM

        I want Harper to start every damned game. Mental schmental, he is a ballplayer. And ballplayers play ball. They can beat you with their bat, their glove, their feet and their hustle, and Harper can get ya with all of those.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:22 PM

        Letswin3, 162 games in a season. I think MW made a good move. Tomorrows an off day. Remember the hit Bryce took to the head. Smart move IMO

      • Section 222 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:31 PM

        No one’s suggesting Harper shouldn’t get an occasional day off (except letswin3, but I think he was being dramatic). But Laddie’s comment said platoon Harper and you said you agreed with it Ghost. Glad to hear you’ve backed off that position. I totally agree that resting him today was fine. That’s alot different than saying he should sit against all lefties for a guy who can’t hit them any better than he can.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        Laddie and I spoke offline and he never meant platoon in that context. Bryce got bashed in the head and just for that to sit him today gives him 2 days off. Smart ball by MW. Add to that Bruce is pressing and struggling, did MW see a chance to upgrade the lineup today with Frandsen? Yes and it worked out ok. The Nats won.

      • Section 222 - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        Well that’s good. I can only go by what you guys write, and platooning Harper would be ridiculous. Giving him a day off today was fine and it worked, but it’s not like it was some kind of brilliant move or anything. And it’s pretty easy to say it was smart after the fact since they won.

        And by the way, Laddie also wanted to platoon Frandsen and Espi? Frandsen is right handed. And Espi hits better from the RH side. So what’s the point of that?

        And did you also say you think MW might stick with McLouth in CF? Span has a .348 OBP and a .500 SLG so far and is one of the best defenders in the gam. So now you’re just makin’ stuff up.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        McLouth needs some starts. Even though he’s a lefty MW saw today as an opening. By the looks of it McLouth won’t be getting many starts at all.

    • zmunchkin - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Not sure if it was the radio or TV broadcast (thinking it was FP, but it might have been either Charlie or Dave), they speculated that Williams might have also been trying out a line-up approach that many managers use – get the bench guys in the lineup for a day game after a night game. Quite commonly done with catchers and the comment was that some managers will do that with position players and give guys who are struggling (e.g., Harper) a day off.

  4. Drew - Apr 6, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Good luck, Desi.

    Meanwhile, at Harrisburg, Matt Purke goes three innings and gives up 9 hits and 6 earned runs. Yikes.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      Purke’s a future reliever I’m thinking. They should decide soon.

      • alexva6 - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        If he doesn’t pitch any better than that he’s a future nothing.

        still it was a good risk to take and we have the whole season to go

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    I think even the mild mannered NatsJack has had enough:

    “@NatsJackinFl: 30 Major League baseball teams and the Nats have the only player that would get cut from a short season A team fielding like Zimmerman.”

    • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      There’s politically correct and just plain old correct. This team lost alot of games due to poor 3rd base defense that goes beyond errors as we heard to many times “past a diving Ryan Zimmerman”.

      I dont think you can play Ryan at 3rd on Strasburg starts. That probably would not be a good idea going foward.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        Idk… But at some point SS has to rise above the occasion… At what point does he have to shake it off… Whose to say the next 3rd baseman doesn’t make an error, is Strass going to blow up then too…

        Not taking anything away from Ryan and his errors… But SS has to fries above adversity…

      • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

        I think as a pitcher he sees RZ on the starting lineup and is waiting for it.

        Even though he showed no signs of being pissed off it affected his game. Lots of extra pitches and 2 runs scored. The next inning was disaster.

        Strasburg was rolling until that point. They are becoming oil and water.

      • texnat1 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:09 PM

        Not that I am by any stretch giving up on him, but lets face it, there is a lot more than Zim’s defense that is like oil to Strasburg’s water. Other factors that give him trouble and can cause a blow up include:

        -pitching when its too cold;
        -pitching when its too hot;
        -not having his best stuff;

        I think he is a little inside his own head right now. I think the Nats need to back off the pitch to contact with him and just let him go be a bulldog that strikes people out.

      • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:27 PM

        and Icey Hot to the twig & berries region!

      • texnat1 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        And I left out pitching against the Braves.

  6. micksback1 - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Ian, I wish you the best. You can and will do it. I tell all young people who smoke today (which is just insane) to look at a few of these Terry Hall TV commercials, they are awful and sad. I am grateful I never had to deal with such a habit, F the tobacco industry.

    On a great note, the team had a gut check moment in early April. A well played game. What should concern fans is the fact that the Braves are still a monster team without 2 starting pitchers who has TJ surgery. Moving forward, Zim needs to get healthy and Bryce needs to relax. I am more concerned with how fragile and juvenile Stras is in season four.

  7. nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Desmond’s HR was 421 feet. Way to go Ian on your quest to quit tobacco.

  8. manassasnatsfan - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Good job Design. 16 more games with the Braves. These games call for maloox.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      I went to Jamacia and purchased 3 bottles of white rum… Had to crack open a bottle already… Sigh

  9. natinalsgo - Apr 6, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    I spent the entire weekend at each Nats game. Does anyone know why Gattis only started on Friday?

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      Apparently, he was touched with some kind of stomach bug…

      • natinalsgo - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:07 PM

        No way! Lucky there! Thats a big bat out of the lineup. I bet JZim wishes he caught the bug on Friday!

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        I was surprised Sori pitched as he was under the weather too…. That guy always puts on a show.. Lol..

  10. manassasnatsfan - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    Damn new tablet have not found auto correct to turn off.

  11. ehay2k - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    Funny story – at the game today, a very nice Barves fan was seated next to me, along with his Nats fan friend. The third time Upton came up, he looked at the scoreboard and said, hmm… he hasn’t struck out yet, so now he will. And on cue, BJ whiffed hard at strike three. Then BJ had a chat with the ump, and the Barves fan said he was probably “just finding out where the ball was.”
    I asked why he was so hard on Upton, and he said “Because he’s an automatic out.” Reminds me of the commentary last season when Danny was at the plate.

    • natinalsgo - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:09 PM

      Big difference is they spent a ton to get BJ Upton. He’s awful and it doesn’t seem like he has a worry at all. I think he’s one of the over-rated players in the game.

      • ehay2k - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Have you ever studied him at the plate? Reminds me of Oil Can Boyd – lots of head bobbling action. After his flyout early, he jogged to first and looked pleased with himself. Strange bird.

      • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        natinalsgo/ehay2k, that money he has in the bank has given him nirvana. As they say “not a worry in the world”. Bryce is bashing bats and helmets and BJ Upton just laughs it off. The Atlanta fans deserve him. He is the anti-Chipper.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

      Nice story, ehay2k.

      Gonat – BJ used to be overrated, but I think last year erased any illusions about him. He still gets to keep ATL’s $$$, tho, so I’m pretty happy about that.

      • natinalsgo - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Good point. Braves are stuck with him now.

  12. ehay2k - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Funny story – at the game today, a very nice Barves fan was seated next to me, along with his Nats fan friend. The third time Upton came up, he looked at the scoreboard and said, “hmm… he hasn’t struck out yet, so now he will.” And on cue, BJ whiffed hard at strike three. Then BJ had a chat with the ump, and the Barves fan said he was probably “just finding out where the ball was.”
    I asked why he was so hard on Upton, and he said “Because he’s an automatic out.” Reminds me of the commentary last season when Danny was at the plate.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      That was also a win for us… Rizzo not signing Upton.. I remember a lot of Nats fans wanted him…

      • natinalsgo - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        True on that Mrsb that many wanted him. His stats have never been good and it just goes to show that it had nothing to do with hitting in Tropicana Field. People were saying that he just needed a new city. Now he has that and is still not good.

      • ehay2k - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Rizzo want guys with character, not guys who ARE characters.

      • unkyd59 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        One poster, in particular, was convinced BJ was poised, last year for a Matt Kemp magnitude breakout….

  13. ehay2k - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Sigh, really need a delete option to get rid of double posts

    • Candide - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      Sigh, really need a delete option to get rid of double posts

      Don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal.

    • Candide - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      Sigh, really need a delete option to get rid of double posts.

      Don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal.

  14. natsfan1a - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Good luck, Desi. You can do it.

    Carrying forward:

    Was also at the game and enjoyed the day, and the win.

    Haven’t read posts or comments but I do have two not-so-instant analysis items from a fan perspective.

    FAN LOWLIGHT: The group in front of me and the one to the right of me who both kept getting up and down and roaming the aisles in the middle of at-bats. I missed the Desi HR because the whole row in front of me decided to go for drinks, or a hot dog, or something during that at-bat. Just after they all stood up, he hit it out and the crowd went wild. At least I saw the replay on the screen.

    FAN HIGHLIGHT: I was proud of how Nats fans countered the #*(@$! T-hawk chant in the 9th inning. I remember so many games back in the day where a few of us tried to carry the entire seating section in “counter-cheers” and practically gave ourselves throat hemorrhages. I think we’re making some real progress in that regard. Well done, Nats fans. Well done.

    On another note, loved seeing Gio in the “happy dancing” film montage. (Me: “That looks kinda like Gio. Wait a minute, it *is* Gio!”)

    Also liked the new concourse paint job and did find some picnic tables near sec. 321, in the sun.

    Oh, and I got a Desi t-shirt, so that’s probably why he had the dinger. (Not really.)

    • texnat1 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      Looks like somebody just picked up some serious shirt buying obligations going forward!

      • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:49 AM

        Heh. Maybe we can all make it a team effort and chip away at it over the course of the season. ;-)

    • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      What chop counter measures were taken? I’m a fan of saying doing the chop sideways (think “no more” or “cut off” “No, no, no-oh-oh-oh, No, no, no-oh-oh-oh”).

      Was great fun when Kimbrel melted down last fall and there was a really obnoxious Braves fan doing the chop all game up to that point.

      • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Good idea. I didn’t see any physical chop counter measures in our immediate area. It was more Nats fans cheering “Let’s go, NATS!” and making lots of noise. At one point when Nats fans were joining as one in an organic cheer, the PA system started blasting some sort of artificial cheer enhancer. I was like “We got this, scoreboard dude. We got this.” :-)

      • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:11 AM

        That said, I did also do a sotto voce “boo, hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo” into my husband’s ear after the final out. :-)

  15. Candide - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Got home, took a nap, went out to dinner with Cunegonde and my brother-in-law, so hope I’m not retreading too much ground here with this late post.

    Random thought #1: I have to confess I had a moment of trepidation when I saw Zimm in the on-deck circle. Would there be boos?

    Didn’t hear a one. Loud cheers all through the park.

    I’m proud of you, Nats fans.

    Random thought #2: I think I know the secret to beating ATL: Solid pitching, and no TOOTBLANs.

    Random thought #3: Looking at how Jordan and Roarke have stepped up, I’m suddenly not feeling so concerned that JZimm might leave for greener pastures when the opportunity comes up.

    • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      Great to hear about the reaction to Zim. I hope it helps him get through this knowing the bulk of the fan base is squarely behind him.

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan have now both stepped up. Next test is getting deeper into games. Very nice job by both.

    • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      Good problems to have!

  17. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Wow, Panda man has lost weight…

  18. Candide - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Random thought #4: Maybe Rizzo knew more than he was saying when he insisted we were keeping Danny. If he knew, or strongly suspected that Zimm’s shoulder problems weren’t behind him, having Danny available on the bench could turn out to be pretty danged useful if those concerns about Zimm proved valid.

    Random thought #5: I’m still interested in hearing the arguments that the only reason Rizzo was holding on to Danny was because Boras is Danny’s agent and Rizzo and Boras have a mutual admiration society that borders on the incestuous.

    • natinalsgo - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      RZim was having shoulder problems in Spring Training. It didn’t take a psychic to figure this was a real possibility.

      • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        +1 natinalsgo

  19. sunshinebobby - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    You can do this, Ian. We’re all behind you. You showed a lot of courage owning up to it. Best of luck. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier. One day at a time. Best from all of us at Nats Insider. You’re an example for all of us.

    • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      +1

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    The Barves beat writers were having fun with their trivia on the Braves ownership of Clippard.

    I think they had scored on him in 7 straight appearances. What does MW do? He keeps Blevins in to face the lefty Freeman and them have Clip finish off the 2 righties. Brilliant and that streak ends.

    The same beat writers also were Tweeting Strasburg’s poor record against the Barves. That streak will also end soon. Stras was rolling Saturday night until the error.

    That is one cocky group from the players to the ex-players to their radio and TV guys and their beat writers. Sheriff McCann is gone and not much has changed.

    • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 6h
      Per @ajcbraves, Clippard has allowed a run in seven straight appearances against the Braves.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:36 PM

      Well, they have reasons.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        Isn’t that a song Sec3? Rod Stewart maybe? Reason To Believe

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        Or maybe another Henley song: in the long run

  21. Joe Seamhead - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    MW screwed up by bringing Clip in Friday to start the 7th inning with Heyward up first. Heyward has a .625 career average and a 1.602 Ops against Clippard. Williams didn’t make the same mistake today. Still confused why he didn’t bring Blevins in for the 7th on Friday.

    • nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      Sure seems Matty learned alot from Friday. First step of making mistakes is not repeating them.

  22. nats128 - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Freddy Gonzalez on the series and also finishes it up with nice compliments on Taylor Jordan. Says his sinker and breaking pitch are good pitches.

    http://www.ajc.com/videos/news/fredi-gonzalez-on-sundays-loss-to-nats/vCW7mC/

  23. letswin3 - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    I just wanted to comment that although Taylor Jordan was in a very tight, nerve-racking game the entire time he pitched, he looked confident and well-prepared throughout. Of course it always helps when LaRoche or Desi stop by the mound to let him know they have his back, but the guy was aces. I was also guessing that he may have pitched to Leon in the minors, but I haven’t learned that yet. He has certainly earned a shot at winning that 5th spot in the rotation … and if Fister needs a few extra days, I don’t think many of us will mind, after the work that he and Roark have provided.

    • Another Tyler - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      I listen to the games on Gameday and I’m pretty sure they said that Jordan and Leon worked together in the minors, so you’re probably right about that.

  24. Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    The only question for closers — the ONLY question – is, “Did he get the save, yes or no?” Everything else is rotisserie baseball.

    • veejh - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      You crazy. Stop drinking the koolaid. Soriano is horrible. Meatballs galore. Uggla should have made him pay. His luck is about to run out. Barrett for closer!

      • David Proctor - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        Barrett’s 3 major league innings is ready to close but not a guy who has saved over 40 games in 3 of the past 4 years? Soriano wasn’t throwing meatballs. He was throwing cutters up. He kept throwing up because Uggla was not close to any of them. His cutter is a very good pitch (though sometimes he loses command of it).

      • sjm308 - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:26 AM

        Really pretty obvious you are not a Soriano fan. Check out the rest of the closers in major league baseball and tell me who, besides Kimbrell, gives you a guaranteed save each and every time?

        NO ONE!

      • sjm308 - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:28 AM

        Then, after checking out those closers, look at who had the 2nd most saves in the NL last year. I think we have great “in house” options for next year but if you think Rizzo is just going to dump 14 million in salary so you can stop ragging on Soriano, I think you are in for a long year.

      • veejh - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:44 AM

        I know they’ll never take Soriano off the closer role with that ridiculous paycheck he gets. I’m just lobbying for Barrett because I think his stuff is eons better than old a** Soriano. I’m drinking the Barrett koolaid, but I think this koolaid is the true elixir. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I think Soriano is going to get shelled this year, here and there, and always keep everyone on the edge of their seats, which is exactly what I don’t want.

  25. sjm308 - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    Dueces:

    Just wanted to thank you for not allowing Ghost or anyone else to post something silly about platooning Harper or LaRoche.

    Reality is folks that we will face 6 right handed pitchers in a row. Not sure if we will face CJ Wilson with the Angels so it could be 9.

    Why would you rest Harper for any of those games??

    I can see if a tough lefty is inserted but guess what? Marlins and Cards don’t have one.

    Harper will play all 6 games – LaRoche will play all 6 games and while he might rest Span for one game that will be about it.

    Big win today and well managed – especially the bullpen

    Wondering what will happen when Fister comes back – that will be a tough decision

    Go Nats! enjoy the day off everyone

    • Candide - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:44 AM

      +1 for explaining so succinctly that there’s a long view to take into account. People sometimes seem to forget that.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      sjm

      Agree that as a rule Harper should start vs RHP, but he is scuffling so far this year.

      If he has an 0 fer or 1 fer in the first 2-3 games, I would not be surprised to see Matty sit him 1 or more games in that stretch.

      He will get going, but Matty has made clear that he will play the hot hand and freely move people up, down, in and out of the lineup.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      sjm, you were just talking about civility then I read this. I didn’t say anything about platoons. I answered in detail how giving Harp off yesterday was 2 days to rest his noggin. If you want to keep it civil, don’t try to sucker punch me by posting this.

      • nats128 - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:47 AM

        By reading the back n forth it was like you were being grilled by a Prosecutor. You are much nicer than me. Asked and answered and now sjm is trying to bait you.

        You explained your thoughts but I guess on an off day the hags decide to harass you. No wonder you left for most of Spring Training.

      • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        Um, hags?

  26. Joe Seamhead - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    Woke up early, read through a lot of posts. Entertaining stuff. Fantasy Nattitude. Two statements, same post, that I don’t get:

    Ghost of Steve M. – Apr 6, 2014 at 7:06 PM
    I’m with you Laddie. I’m getting a better read on MW and think he will do that or stick with McLouth as his CF.

    Normally you get 2 lefties a week. LaRoche could use a rest. TyMo even at 1st.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:16 AM

      The CF part makes no sense to me what so ever. And you want to give ALR a day off? Play Fransen at first.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        TyMo can play 1st base if ALR needs a day off. Frandsen can play 3rd, 2nd and yes, LF.

        MW is covering his spots if RZim can’t play D

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        Kevin Frandsen did a pretty good job playing some 1st for Philly while Howard was out .I seem to remember that he pretty much sucked playing 3rd.And, yes, they brought Moore back up, so they should try to use him. I have little confidence in him wherever you put him defensively.This team could use another decent RH outfielder.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      Nats only CFs are lefties in Span and McLouth. If you sit Span against a LHP , you have McLouth. Not gaining a right side advantage just resting Span and giving McLouth reps.

  27. rabbit433 - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    Great game! Good bench. Didn’t miss anybody not in the lineup. GO NATIONALS!!

  28. Joe Seamhead - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    Braves batters are now 1-17 with 7 K’s and 4 BB’s against Jerry Blevins.Pretty impressive.

    Soriano’s innning, though nerve wracking, is a great example of why baseball certainly isn’t boring!

    Interesting tidbit, not Nats related, but after the leadoff tandem of Billy Hamilton and Roger Bernadina went 0-17 in the first five games for the Reds they brought in Chris Heisey who finally produced the first hit from the leadoff spot of the year for them in going 1-5. Collectively the three of them are 1-22 with 11 K’s and 4 walks.Hamilton has looked especially bad at the plate.

    • Nats128 - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Joe, speed is great however you can’t steal 1st base.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:39 AM

        Sometimes he thinks he’s the next Rickey Henderson. He needs to stop swinging for the fences,hit line drives, and sharp grounders, if he’s going to make it.

      • adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:56 AM

        But wait — Hamilton has walked once!

        Did anyone mention that he’s 0-1 in stolen base attempts this year?

      • adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        (and Zach Cozart of the Reds is 0-19 thus far, too)

  29. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 7, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Ghost of Steve M. – Apr 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM
    Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan have now both stepped up. Next test is getting deeper into games. Very nice job by both.

    =====

    This is important (I know, I know Captain Obvious). I was thinking MW was playing with fire by allowing Jordan to go out in the 7th. Granted, he only faced 1 batter (I cant remember who it was but I think he got the K). But Jordan was nibbling and throwing meatballs in the 6th. I thought luck was on his side.

    With that said, I think Roark will be the 5th starter becuz I think he can go a little longer, right now. If Ross O was back, then I would say Jordan would have a chance, that way you still have your 2 long innings guys — Ross O and Stammen… wait, is Det the LH long innings guy?

    At any rate, yes this is a good problem to have. I was proud and happy for TJ yesterday. He did a marvelous job.

    • Section 222 - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Det is the LH long guy. He went two innings on Saturday. Some might call that “mop up” work, the way things were going.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 46 --
ATLANTA 58 48 0.5
MIAMI 52 53 6.0
NEW YORK 51 55 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 60 12.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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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