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State of the Nats: Impressions from the first week

Apr 7, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Top storylines:

Injuries mounting - The Nationals avoided the sweep on Sunday, but moving forward there are plenty of injury situations to watch. For one, Ryan Zimmerman is expected to be reevaluated on Tuesday as the team looks for a solution to his shoulder soreness. An MRI showed no structural damage, only inflammation, which is good. Matt Williams said on Sunday the team may try limiting his practice before games or simply give him time to rest. We’ll see how long he is out of the lineup.

Doug Fister is also on the mend with a right lat strain and threw from 60 feet on Sunday. This week he should ramp that up to 90 feet and go from there. The Nationals should find out more about his specific timeline after he takes the next step in his rehab.

The Nats will also be without Scott Hairston who is now sidelined with a strained left oblique. Hairston had made only two appearances so far, but his absence is a knock to their depth. Look for Tyler Moore, his replacement on the roster, to get some chances this week against lefties.

Bryce Harper is struggling – The Nationals are 4-2 through six games despite the struggles of Harper, but they will need his bat to get going very soon, especially as they try to overcome injuries. Harper is 3-for-21 with 10 strikeouts so far in five games. It’s a very small sample size, but Harper is clearly frustrated with himself. He even admitted he is “lost.”

The Nationals say Harper is healthy, that specifically he has shown no ill-effects since the collision he was involved in on Opening Day. But until Harper gets on track, especially with the frustration he has shown, it’s definitely something to watch. Perhaps playing the Marlins can help, as traditionally Harper has been excellent against the NL East rivals. In 31 games he has a .869 OPS and eight home runs, the most he has hit against any one club.

Marlins come to town - Though they have only played seven games, the Miami Marlins have been somewhat of an early season surprise. They took three of four against the Rockies to begin the year, then won two of three against the Padres. Neither opponent was in the playoffs last season, and both series were at Marlins Park, but there are some numbers the Fish have produced as a team that suggest they could be better than we thought.

The Marlins, for instance, currently lead the majors in runs scored (42). As a team they place second in the NL in both on-base percentage (.353) and OPS (.786). They also have the third-best team ERA (2.43) so far. Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee are both near the top of the league in RBI totals, and Jose Fernandez (2-0. 0.71) has picked up right where he left off in 2013. Are the Marlins legitimate? We could find out a lot about them this week when they play the Nats in Washington Tuesday through Thursday. One good thing for the Nats, however, is that they could miss both Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi. They were the starters in the Marlins’ two most recent games.

NL East Standings

source:

Offensive game of the week: Ryan Zimmerman 4/3 vs. Mets – 4 for 5, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB

Pitching game of the week: Taylor Jordan 4/6 vs. Braves – 6.1 IP, ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 SO, 89 pitches, 54 strikes

Quote of the week:

Bryce Harper on his rough start to the year:

I mean, I’m pretty lost right now, actually. I’m trying to see where my swing’s at, watch video of where my hands are. I’m trying everything right now. We’ll see where I’m at tomorrow. Give pops a call and see what he says, also.

Tweet of the week:

It was a little over a week ago, but still…

Road ahead

MON – OFF
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (Gonzalez)
WED – 7:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (Roark)
THU – 4:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (Zimmermann)
FRI – 7:35 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Strasburg)
SAT – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Jordan)
SUN – 1:35 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Gonzalez)

  1. waddueyeno - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    chase – great impressions. i’d add some, but:

    gyfng – beat the first place marlins!

    • Doc - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      Love it!

      From what movie was that??

      That’s the guy that played Dean Wormer in Animal House. John Vernon?

      • waddueyeno - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        naked gun. starring reggie jackson

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Airplane II. John Vernon as Dr. Brock; John Larch as the prosecuting attorney.

    • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

      Speaking of the Naked Gun movies, I noticed yesterday that one of the scoreboard film montages featured Leslie Nielsen behind the dish, wearing the tools of ignorance. I shouted out: “Hey, it’s Enrico Pallazzo!” Evidently nobody in my section saw the movie. Well, other than my husband and I. :-)

      It was almost as awesome as the happy dancing montage that featured a Gio cameo. Almost.

  2. Nats128 - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    All I can say is glad the Nats miss Jose Fernandez this time around.

    I also hope sliders away to Giancarlo Stanton. If he walks oh well.

    • Brookstoor - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      Bookmarking this comment so when the nats don’t play against Fernandez I can bring it up and give you the proper credit.

  3. Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Worst part of this post?

    MON – OFF

    Is it tomorrow yet?!

    • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      +1

    • NatsLady - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      I need the day off. I went to three straight games, plus working Saturday and Sunday. I came home yesterday and fell asleep during the first inning of the Dodgers game–so that was about 8:30.

      • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        I only went to yesterday’s game (plus the trip to NY for the road opener), but I fell asleep on the Giants/Dodgers game, too.

      • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Oy! Rest up!

        I’ve only been to Saturday’s game so far. Figures Desi’s homer yesterday landed almost exactly where we were sitting the night before!

  4. adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Why doesn’t Gio get the pitching line of the week?

    6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, WHIP 0.667

    • adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      And special mention to two guys who have appeared three times each, without allowing any baserunners:

      Barrett (2.2 IP) and Storen (3 IP). Both with 4 K’s.

    • ArVAFan - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      He should just get “the combined line of the week” since he also hit a homer in that game. No extra credit for the grin, though: that comes standard.

      • NatsNut - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        Like!

    • michael - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      Wins vs the braves > win vs mets.

  5. adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Wonk’s Monday Tidbits

    Houston, despite a team BA of .200, is 3-3 and just one game out of first in the AL West.

    Total HR’s this season: Gio Gonzales 1, New York Yankess 1 (Yanks were the second to last team in all of MLB to hit a HR).

    And the first Tiger’s loss of the season goes to . . . Justin Verlander.

    Dodgers got seven hits yesterday: four of them were HR’s by Ramirez & Kemp (Ramirez also hit a double).

    In 16 at-bats, A.J. Pierzynski has taken four balls. Total.

    Cards’ Jhonny Peralta slash line, .095/.174/.381

    • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      wonk –

      Just want to say I’m a bog fan of these tidbits posts. Keep up the good work.

      • knoxvillenat - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        +1

      • adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        Thanks!!

  6. Hiram Hover - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    One more thing about the Marlins – their BABIP as a team is .365, highest in the majors (2014 median is ~.293; Nats are at .300). Highest team BABIP last season was Red Sox at .329.

    • adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      The Marlins just need a good does of sterling Nats pitching to cool them down, eh? ;-)

      Let’s start ‘em off with Gio!

  7. jd - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    One last comment from the last post:

    Just because MW left Blevins in to pitch to Freeman and it worked doesn’t mean that it was the right decision. Similarly if it hadn’t worked it doesn’t mean that it was the wrong decision. The manager has to make a decision without the benefit of hindsight.

    • NatsLady - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      Agree wholeheartedly. Blevins was already up and pitching, so why not use him for the lefty? That won’t always be the case.

      • jd - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        I haven’t seen Blevins enough but I am not even sure that it was the right decision this time Nats Lady.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      The manager has to make a decision without the benefit of hindsight.

      If the Nats ever have the chance to hire a manager who CAN make his decisions with the benefit of hindsight, they should hire him immediately.

      Also, I could use his financial advice.

      • jd - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        HH,

        Yes but we have no problem judging the manager based on what happened as if he should have known that it was gonna happen.

        I read a story in Jonah Keri’s book about the Rays where the Rays were playing Detroit (I may have some of the details wrong but the gist of the story is accurate) and the Tigers had men on 1st and 2nd and 2 out, the Rays were winning by 2. Maddon walked Cabrerra intentionally even though he was the winning run to pitch to someone such as Victor Martinez who is also a very good hitter. Once he made the decision Maddon sat down and relaxed, not because he knew for sure he’d win but because regardless of the outcome he made the right decision and then let the chips fall where they may.

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        JD –

        Yes, we have to make allowances for what he knew at the time, and the fact that he’s making decisions based on probabilities, not certainties.

        But of course we–and the manager himself–are going to judge decisions by their consequences. Because the consequences matter. And because the consequences become part of the knowledge he takes into account next time.

        Or as the little slip of paper stuck in my cookie said: Today’s hindsight is tomorrow’s foresight.

      • Doc - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Hind sight is more important than foresight!

      • adcwonk - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        +1 !!!

      • chiefwj - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        The move (or non-move) wasn’t made without some significant information.

        Freeman is 5 for 13 lifetime against Clippard, with a HR (the second most hits of any other batter against him). Given the fact that Clippard relies more on an unusual delivery than some other pitchers, I suspect that success or failure against him may relate to a hitter’s ability to pick up the ball. In this case, perhaps more than the average pitcher, this is arguably useful information and not merely a small sample size.

        FYI, Heyward also has 5 hits (5 for 11 lifetime). David Wright is 6 for 18 against Clippard with 3 HR.

        .

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Case in point:
      1954, Giants-Cleveland. Leo Durocher brings in LHP Don Liddle to face Vic Wertz. Mays runs a half-marathon to go back and make The Catch. Leo replaces Liddle, who goes to the dugout, tosses his glove onto the bench, plops down and says, “Well, I got *my* guy.”

  8. natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    That inflatable Screech is kinda weird, imo, but at least he doesn’t have an evil twin…yet

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Video-Captures-Billy-Cub-Punching-Man-Who-Removes-Costumes-Head-254097611.html

  9. natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    So, to review, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape and you don’t remove Billy the Cub’s head.

  10. tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Has anyone else been using the eCash? My card didn’t work two out of four during the preseason game and didn’t work one out of two times during the opening game? Each time it didn’t work they gave me th efood for free including a $25 bucket of chicken tenders. Can’t complain really..

    • NatsNut - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Only problem I had was that the $51 I loaded on the card disappeared! It’s just gone. I’m livid considering they made me put all that on there just to receive my bonus bucks. Grrr.

      • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Wow – missing money is much worse than free food…

    • Section 222 - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      Haven’t tried it yet. What food stands does it work on?

      And if you didn’t have any money on the card anyway, that would be a real deal!

      • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        It works at most standsyou see a line on the right that say “eCash only” and you get to cut the line (nice). On the first level Ben Chili Bowl and the Change Up Chicken had it. On the third level, both Nats Dogs had it too. The one place I wish they had it was near my seats in secition 202, both place there did not have it.

        It’s fast when it works.

      • Section 222 - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Thanks for the info. For some reason I thought it was only at NatsDogs stands, but if some others have it, it definitely be worth it. Especially if they give you free food when it doesn’t work. :-)

      • therealjohnc - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:03 PM

        At the stands I saw that had the feature, the “eCash only” line wasn’t being maintained – so if you wanted to use eCash, you got to stand in line with everyone else. Which pretty much defeats most of the benefit of having the eCash in the first place.

    • naterialguy - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      That’s because the preseason game was rained out? ;-)
      I went to use mine opening day and the lady said the eCash machine was not working. At this point I’m wondering if the people who designed the website for the affordable health care act are behind eCash

  11. micksback1 - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    My overall impressions begin with that it appears both Roark and Jordan were blessings in disguise as well as part of a great minor league system Mike Rizzo has put together. I posted last week that I felt they both could be. Both young men show that the Nats can be as resilient as the Braves when it comes to restocking a pitching staff due to injuries, although the Braves are impressive having lost 2 starters to TJ surgery. Barrett is another young surprise as well and a product of our farm system. On that note, I feel better that perhaps the Nats can afford to rest Fister even a little longer. I am concerned with both Clip and Soriano. I simply do not feel confident in Soriano long term and I wonder if Storen is ready to become a closer again. Clip just seems unsure of himself, maybe I am wrong, it is more of a vibe than any thing else. I do think Soriano is going to blow some games this year, I just hope MW makes a decision in a timely manner with him. I have issues with Stras and I really do not see him as top pitcher from an attitude standpoint. If anything he may be one of the most over rated players in MLB, not because of skill, but because of his selfish attitude when things go wrong outside of his control. Too many fans are obsessed with strikeout totals the same way they are with slam dunks in basketball. I will take a mentally tough pitcher who wins big games who throws in the high 80’s, keeps his poise and does not pout and make his team mate who made an error feel any worse than they do over a spoiled talented brat any time. I hope MW can reach him, clearly Cat has not. No fault to Cat.

    On offense from a positive perspective, I am impressed with Rendon, this kid is very good period. Danny Espinoza has impressed me with his hard work and good attitude and the Nats have 2 solid young infielders who can be trusted to hit in both of them. ALR is off to a fairly good start but I feel as others do, that perhaps platoon him with RZim could be not only the smart thing to do, it will keep both players fresh deep into the dog days of the season. I know there are some rosters in here who are going to go after me for that, but my rationale is based on a few points

    1. ALR is getting older and Ryan simply has issues throwing from 3rd that may be due to age and simple deterioration of the arm. We are lucky this does not affect his performance at the plate. There are fewer throws that are made by a first basemen period and those throws are not like throwing across the diamond

    2. MW sttated clearly that the reasons for obtaining McClouth and Fransden deal with fatgue issues that both Rizzo and himself felt hurt the team in 2013, especially in the outfield.

    3.I just believe rested players are less likley to get hurt

    Desi, Span, Jayson have been solid. Our catchers have played very well too. I want to see more of Frandsen and Nick M and I hope Tyler Moore steps it up if not lets hope Harristion does.

    As far as Bryce goes, I think he is ready to kick some ass!

    • thenatom - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      I agree with you on Zim. I love him but I’m starting to think he just can’t play third anymore.
      I don’t really know if Rizzo can do this but if he can’t play third, I would send him down to AAA so he can start at first and get some practice in there. When he is comfortable in two or three weeks, you call him up so he can platoon with ALR for a bit while Rizzo works on shipping LaRoche.
      Ideally, Zimm would be back in the starting lineup and starting at first by early June. Move Espi to 2nd and Rendon to 3rd.

      • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        I think if you really wanted to do that, you need to DL him and then the “rehab” minor league games could be at 1B. In the end, I think you can just stick him at 1B w/o any time there. If former catcher and fat power hitters can play first, so can Zimm.

      • thenatom - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        Agreed, DLing him so he could work on 1B for a while would be a good move.

      • JW - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Boswell is a charter member of the Lerners Are Cheap brigade. He was disparaging them even before they bought the team. Again, watch what the Lerners do, not what Boswell says. The Gio and Fister deals were made, weren’t they? That’s all that matters.

      • natszee - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        I really believe the SS is a talented and gifted pitcher that has a great deal of potential. I also believe that he is a head case if he gets rattled too early. I would not sit any regular starter in order to pacify him or any other pitcher. The exception is if he had a preference for a catcher.

        I saw the throw up close (from row B of section 111) from directly behind it looked like a soft arc that never came down. When he threw it, I was completely take by surprise. Zimm has issues and I do not think he should be playing that position until he is physically and mentally able to. 1st base is not an option unless LaRoche gets cold fast. As much as I hate to say it, he may need to spend considerable time on the DL until he is right and then play a bit in Syracuse to gain some confidence back.

        BTW, am I the only one or is this April turning out to be a repeat of last April’s conga line of injuries? Does this training staff actually do anything to prepare the athletes for competition at and before spring training? Whatever they do, it’s not working very well.

      • scmargenau - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:55 AM

        Why do u think espi won’t slide back to his normal ways? He hasn’t shown me squat except errors. Just a matter of time before he cost us games.

        And aren’t u worried Zim at first will chuck DP and forces into centerfield.

        These things worry me.

    • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Great stuff. Boswell has posted his article for tomorrow’s Washington Post and he has a lot of the same thoughts about Zimm and ALR. I’d almost play Zimm either at 1B or rest him with Stras pitches, becuase Stras just doesn’t handle errors well.

      The most concerning article of the weekend was Saturday, when the Washington Post report that the Lerners are already topped out on spending, so unless attenance goes over 3 million or the MASN situation gets resovled soon than Desi and JZimm are as good as gone.

      • thenatom - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        I disagree with resting Zimm when Stras pitches. If Stras is starting the wild card game for example, you can’t possibly bench Zimm but if you play him after not having him play at all during Stras starts, one error could be catastrophic. There will just be too many situations that we need both to play for that idea to work.

      • natinalsgo - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        “I’d almost play Zimm either at 1B or rest him with Stras pitches”

        tcostant, I’m sort of with you on the Ryan Zimmerman situation when Stras pitches. If he has his stuff together like the end of 2013, why sit him. If he look like he does now, I agree with you and probably wouldn’t play him at 3rd at all until he can field his position.

        I was at all the games over the weekend and watched him throwing pitches in the dirt on warmups on Friday and Saturday where LaRoche had to stretch. Very few balls hit LaRoche at his chest. LaRoche can handle those balls in the dirt but not several feet over his head. Watching Ryan that far off we all knew that Saturday was a train wreck waiting to happen. Nobody was surprised.

        Boz in his article has a decent solution but this was suggested months ago when MW announced Ryan would play 1st base. This just states that a solution has to occur and I agree. It kind of feels like the ticking time bomb as to when its going to explode. 2 throwing errors in 11 attempts and quite a few hits zipping by him. Can he generate enough offense over a replacement player to justify putting him back at 3rd until he’s 100%. I think that’s what managerment has to ask themselves.

      • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        The dirty little secret (and Bos does address this in the article) is that Zimm plays so in now, because he wants a shorter throw, he is giving up a ton of range. When was the last time you saw Zim throw a ball from the end of the IF dirt?

        If thinks change, like the secomd half of last year, then Zimm could play 3B with Stras. I’m referring to this period right now, as Zimm is working his way back to playing at 3B. I mean, if he is going to sometimes rest and sometimes play 1B for the next few months, what’s the point of putting him out at 3B when the easy distracted Stras is pitching?

      • JW - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        Watch what the Lerners do, not what they say. They’re never going to say anything that implies they have enough money now, because if they do they lose all leverage for getting more out of the MASN deal.

      • tcostant - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        JW Boswell has reported that the Lerners scoffed at the dollars in the Gio deal and more resently in the Fister deal too. He reported that they held up each deal for days before Rizzo convinced them.

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        About the Bos piece on the Lerners

        I don’t quite get that – Gio’s deal looked decent at the time and like a steal now. Fister trade didn’t involve any money, and in terms of talent looked like a steal from the get-go.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Seems to be a good Off Day for videos.

      Bryce the Duck
      (mildly NSFW, and yet recommended for work at the same time.)

  12. Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    It’s just so sad and frustrating that after years and years of Zim being the lone or nearly lone bright spot on the roster his shoulder starts to fail him just as the team comes up to or even beyond his level. I mean, I think it might be safe to say that if not for Zim, the Nats might not have half the fan base they have today. Probably gross hyperbole, but he’s certainly helped them keep at least my tenuous attention all these years.

    I really, strongly, hope that something works out here. If it’s a simple matter of pinch hitting and spot starts at 1B while popping 800mgs of ibuprofen thrice daily for 2 or 3 weeks, that would be amazing, but I fear the situation is well beyond that point.

    I can’t even imagine what this must be like for him.

    • natsfan1a - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      +1

    • natinalsgo - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Eric, you say “his shoulder starts to fail him” and that’s an assumption that could be correct or could be wrong. Me thinks it’s mind over matter more than any physical ailment. Sure the pain could be there but his mechanics are shot. How can you throw the ball when your follow-thru points the ball away from the target. The ball goes to where the hand is pointed.

      • nats128 - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        Unless you are throwing curveballs to 1st. Just kidding of course. Wang and other pitchers have had there shoulders rebuilt and they are pitchers and can still throw the ball just not as good as they once were. I dont expect RZ to ever be what he was in 2007 but if you cant make routine throws you cant play.

      • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        “The ball goes to where the hand is pointed.”

        Having watched my wife struggle with an inflamed labrum over the past few weeks, “where the hand is pointed” can be severely restricted by excruciating pain. She can smack me hard as hell in the head when I say something offensive, but can’t manage to life a 1oz plastic plate up to the third shelf in our cabinet (about 2″ higher than the top of my head ;) ).

        In any case, if it were in his head, how is it that he overcame it so completely last fall? How often is “the yips” a touch-and-go ailment?

        I don’t claim to know anything, but I do strongly suspect he is legitimately hurting and that the pain really kicks when he raises his arm to just below the 3/4 slot or higher.

      • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Also, I think it’s fair to say that his shoulder has been failing him for a few years now. Whether it has or does give out completely (as in, is or becomes irreparable) is another matter entirely.

        If what he’s experiencing now is truly just inflammation, I think he may yet overcome it. I do find it shocking that he’s been throwing as much as he has, and it’s conceivable to me that cutting back on that will help…again, if it’s actually injury related and simply a matter of inflammation…

      • JW - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        You can aim an empty gun perfectly or you can point it randomly. Either way you have no chance of hitting your target.

    • Candide - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      It’s just so sad and frustrating that after years and years of Zim being the lone or nearly lone bright spot on the roster his shoulder starts to fail him just as the team comes up to or even beyond his level. I mean, I think it might be safe to say that if not for Zim, the Nats might not have half the fan base they have today. Probably gross hyperbole, but he’s certainly helped them keep at least my tenuous attention all these years.

      +eleventy on that – I was saying almost exactly the same thing to Cunegonde as we left the park yesterday. For years, he was the only genuine star on the team, and now that we’re looking to go for all the marbles, this happens to him.

      I remember the year he won both the NL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, and it was so nice to be able to think, “Suck on it ARod; the best third baseman in baseball plays for the Nats.”

      • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        Ha! Awesome. I barely knew what the Gold Glove and Sliver Slugger awards were back then, and I probably thought ARod was some kind of street racing vehicle ;)

    • NatsNut - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      +1

  13. veejh - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Might be time for those cortisone shots. Zim killed it, I think in 2012, maybe 2011, after getting injected.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      veejh, there can also be side effects of excessive Cortisone shots. I’m sure between Ryan and the Nats they will figure it out.

      • veejh - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        I’m one of the top back seat doctors around.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        I hear you and we all want Ryan back to his potential. I just don’t think the answers are that simple. We need him to play a real 3rd base not a guy who is faking it as if everyone is bunting. His range hurt this team badly last year along with all those errors.

        I was very reluctant to post my opinions on Zim’s defensive positioning as I knew it would be an unpopular observation even though I was spot on.

        I got to a point where I felt it needed to be said and I posted it and I was right, it wasn’t received well.

        Boz today called it the dirty little secret with regards to where RZim plays.

        I think Davey was even afraid to say anything last year and in August finally blurted out the secret that was only a secret if you weren’t watching or were afraid of the truth. It’s bot a secret if everyone knows.

        Why did Prince Fielder get traded? Part of it was to move Miguel Cabrera back to 1st because he was not good last year and he was still better than RZim on overall UZR. Ryan was worst in the Majors.

        Read NatsJack’s tweets from Saturday. He didn’t hold back. This is a bad situation that need a current solution.

      • veejh - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        And from the way the Nats med staff has performed so far, they might wanna call me for a consult.

  14. realdealnats - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I’m sure it’s been said already but how ironic that after all the Espi/Rendon talk re 2B, the more Rendon covers for Zim at 3B, the more Espi is actually the winner of that competition. I mean we all know why, but still who thought it might be happening this soon. Even those who voiced concerns re Zim’s arm or nerves last year probably didn’t expect an MRI this early in the season this year.

  15. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    “Rest Zimmerman when Strasburg starts . . ..” What the hell has this team/blog come to? People coddling a phenom pitcher whose knickers get in a knot when an unexpected runner gets on base? People who want to platoon a phenom hitter. If you people think that’s who these players are the Nats better trade them quickly, before they start making real money. The players need to grow up and the fans need to wear neck braces.

    • nats128 - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM

      “What the hell has this team/blog come to? People coddling a phenom pitcher”

      Interesting point-of-view. Some may say we are coddling a former phenom 3rd baseman. If you cant field your position, thats a problem.

      If you really want your head to spin then read Bozwells column on the subject.

  16. rabbit433 - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    I see Harper swinging the bat like Espinosa did before he was sent to Syracuse. Maybe that’s what Harper needs? I know it’s the very beginning of the season, but 50% strikeouts! I hope the Nationals don’t wait too long.

    • Eric - Apr 7, 2014 at 7:45 PM

      http://www.dcimprov.com

      They have a stage and a school… Your call!

      • nats128 - Apr 7, 2014 at 8:46 PM

        Eric, yep good standup comedy there!

  17. scmargenau - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    I think it’s possible Zim has arthritis. At 25 I hurt my arm and the dr told me they saw nothing…but I could not throw overhand. It terrified me. Mentally I restricted my arm’s range. 10 years later it was discovered to be bone on bone…

    So now I throw alas Zim to my boy….and I wonder if he has a similar issue. You don’t rebuild shoulders like knees…u can fix muscle issues like rotater but shoulder replacement is for 55 plus. I hope that changes soon,

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 53 --
ATLANTA 67 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 10.0
NEW YORK 60 68 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
THU: OFF
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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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