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Bryce Harper benched in Nats’ loss to Cardinals for ‘lack of hustle’

Apr 19, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT

AP AP

[Updated 5:15 p.m.]

Just 18 games into the Nationals’ 2014 season, rookie manager Matt Williams has made his first big statement as skipper.

Bryce Harper was benched before the beginning of the seventh inning in the Nationals’ loss to the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Williams said it was because he failed to hustle out a groundball while running to first.

Though Harper has been dealing with quad tightness, Williams said the decision had nothing to do with his injury.

“No, lack of hustle. That’s why he came out of the game,” Williams clarified. “The inability to run 90 feet.”

“We made an agreement. He and I made an agreement, this team made an agreement, that when you play the game that we hustle at all times, that we play the game with intensity and a willingness to win.”

The play happened in the bottom of the sixth inning on a groundout to pitcher Lance Lynn. Harper hit a slow grounder to Lynn, and slowly jogged to first before turning towards the dugout as first baseman Matt Adams caught the throw.

Harper spoke shortly with media after the game and said he understood Williams’ decision.

“I respect what he did, it’s part of the game.”

Williams explained the move further with a reference to the newly enforced ‘transfer rule.’ This year players have to not only make a catch, but transfer the ball successfully before throwing it to secure an out.

“He’s an exciting player, people pay money to watch him play and watch him play the way he can play,” Williams said. “But, there’s another side to it.

“The other side is that, regardless of how the ball comes off the bat, or regardless of how he’s feeling about an at-bat, he must maintain that intensity and that aggressiveness. That means running all the way to first base and touching first base. There’s a million reasons why. The transfer rules that we’ve seen lately, what if that guy bobbles the ball as he’s throwing it around? If he doesn’t touch the base, he’s out. If he veers to the dugout, he’s automatically out. Beyond all the ‘just run 90 feet stuff,’ there’s a real, tangible rule behind it now. We must do that. He understands that.”

Kevin Frandsen replaced Harper in left field to begin the seventh inning. Frandsen later drove in a run in the top of the ninth in Harper’s spot in the lineup.

If Harper was up, however, it’s easy to wonder if the Nationals could have scored more. Frandsen brought one run home on a fielder’s choice with two runners in scoring position and one out. Jayson Werth then struck out and the Nats lost 4-3.

Williams noted that scenario afterwards.

“As it turned out, his spot came up, Kevin Frandsen put together a nice AB with [Trevor] Rosenthal, but his spot came up with the ability to win the game. That’s a shame for his teammates.”

Harper lamented not getting the chance to help his team win the game.

“Man, that’s tough to watch. Being able to be up there in that situation is something that I thrive on, that I want to be in. It’s just in the past and there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

Williams said the incident will be forgotten on Sunday when the Nationals close their series with St. Louis.

“Of course. He’s going to be in the lineup tomorrow. But we made that agreement.”

Williams benching Harper certainly sends a message to the Nationals’ clubhouse, that no one individual is above the team. Veterans Jayson Werth and Jordan Zimmermann shared their thoughts on the move after the loss.

“I’ve played on teams where if you don’t hustle, you get taken out of the game. It’s pretty standard,” Werth said. “I think that’s part of the game. You show up here, you be on time, you hustle. Not a lot is asked of us.”

“That’s up to Matt,” Zimmermann said. “I don’t have much to say on that. I’m going to try to stay out of it, but I hopefully he learns, I guess.”

168 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. waddueyeno - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    last guy you’d expect not to hustle.
    hmmmmm…..

    • therealjohnc - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      Well.

      Harper’s image is the “playing with his hair on fire” “run ’til they tag you out” 100% all the time kinda player. Reality hasn’t really stacked up to that image. There have always been plays where, watching, the thought crossed my mind that Harper wasn’t busting it down the line. And not just when he’s been babying injuries, either. IIRC Randy Knorr called him out for it last year. Certainly not at Robinson Cano levels of not running, but noticeable.

      It’s a risk for a manager, certainly. But if you let it go, where does it stop? I remember in Desmond’s “word association” interview, when it came to Harper the word was “diva.” That’s not good. Now the team knows that the manager will hold anyone on the team accountable for not hustling, including the putative superstar.

  2. unkyd59 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Wow

  3. emdash01 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Williams chose showing his authority over winning the game, and that’s the worst thing a manager can do. Harper could’ve prevented the 4th run from scoring and Frandsen being up in his spot instead was the difference in the game.

    Not to mention the insanity of benching a player with quad tightness over not running out a cleanly-caught comebacker right to the pitcher, which practically nobody would run out and is an out near 99% of the time. Nothing Davey did last year was quite this stupid.

    • Candide - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      …not running out a cleanly-caught comebacker right to the pitcher,

      Funny, I remember Bryce Harper running out a comebacker (against the Phillies was it?) his rookie year like all the hounds of Hell were in hot pursuit, and the throw barely beat him.

      And I was at Thursday’s game when Taylor Jordan bobbled a comebacker in the very first inning and the Cards went on to score three runs.

      • emdash01 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        That wasn’t fielded cleanly, this one was.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:39 PM

        But you bust it out of the box to make that play happen. Sure, 99.9% of the time it makes no difference at all. But once, maybe twice a season it DOES make a difference. Since you don’t know in advance which of those it will be, RUN.

        Remember when Carlton Fisk called out Deion Sanders for not running out a play? Everyone loved that.

        And yes, it diminished their chance of winning this game (no gimme even if Harper had been up – but I do like his bat better there than Frandsen, obviously). But if sending a message to the team that everyone on the team will be held accountable for not running, that may well pay dividends over the next five months.

    • knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Williams chose showing his authority over winning the game, and that’s the worst thing a manager can do.

      Nonsense!

      MW did not choose to lose the game anymore then Rendon “chose” to throw a ball away. The player failed to hustle, he failed to follow one of the few rules major league players are asked to observe with respect to the game, he failed his teammates by putting Williams in that position. Suppose Williams had let it go, and the next time the situation comes about, maybe Espinosa or someone else doesn’t run all out, what is Matt suppose to do, look away again? No sir, no need for two sets of rules on how you are expected to hustle that is a sure way to lose a clubhouse.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Matt did the right thing.

      • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:31 AM

        No he didn’t.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Oh yes he did!!!!!!!

      • zmunchkin - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:48 AM

        It was a stupid, hopefully rookie manager, mistake that we won’t see again.

        You don’t take one of your hot hitters out for this. You call him on the carpet for it (privately). But you don’t take him out of the game.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Oh yes you do!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    They don’t call him The Big Marine for his haircut.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Actually I think maybe it is for his haircut.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        OK, exclusively for his haircut.

        He doesn’t, in fact, have any hair, yanno.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Managers bench players to make a point, either to the player or to the team. If it’s for the player’s benefit, you bench that player, and right then and there, or not at all.

      If it’s for the team’s benefit, you don’t bench some AAAA kid up for a cup of coffee (and that guy *will* be hustling); you bench somebody important, and you still do it right then and there.

      Lack of hustle costs games, too.

      • Candide - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        +1

      • NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        I’ve watched every game. Seen lots of mental mistakes, esp. Thursday. Haven’t seen “lack of hustle.” IF anything, the complaint was the guys were playing TOO tight, trying TOO hard.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        +1

      • karlkolchak - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:48 AM

        +1

  5. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I hope Williams gets an earful from the home crowd tomorrow.

    The man has shown me nothing positive, and several strong reasons to suspect that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    Put me in the “in over his head” column.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      I’ve actually been impressed with Matt Williams’ style. He’s not afraid to sit Ryan Zimmerman on double switches, bring in a reliever in the middle of an inning, or pull a player from a game if he doesn’t hustle. If Matt is going to be responsible for how well the Nats do, then he needs to take the bull by the horns and make the players play his way and that’s exactly what he is doing.

  6. scnatsfan - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    I didn’t see the play so no idea if he hustled or not. Hope this does not play out poorly.

  7. Whynat - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Did not see the play. From the description he did not hustle. I don’t have a problem with a benching to make a point. But I listened to the presser and I have to say that is the first time I have ever heard a manager publicly and purposefully humiliate and hang one of his own players out to dry.

    • NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      That’s because you haven’t listened to the Phillies. Cholly did it to Jimmy Rollins, more than once, and Ryne Sandberg did it to him again this season.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      And it’s the first time he’s shown any sign of having a pulse this season. Not helpful, in my opinion.

      I went over from “neutral, unimpressed” to “highly dubious” when he sat on his hands last night with the bases loaded and no one out and let McLouth and Lobaton, who had already demonstrated themselves to be utterly out of their depths against Wacha, make their inevitable, feeble outs.

      Perhaps I’ll see some evidence that this is a carefully thought out decision by Williams, and not just “blowing a gasket,” but I am skeptical.

      • zmunchkin - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        And if Williams doesn’t pull Harper, he perhaps still has Frandsen on the bench to PH.

  8. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Remember when Desi said Bryce and Gio were the “divas” of the clubhouse? Maybe the guys got tired of it?

    I don’t think we know the whole story, but I don’t like going public with this. It leads to unnecessary public ridicule. Just keep your MOUTH SHUT AND PLAY.

    This reminds me of Cholly and Jimmy Rollins. IIRC, there had been ripples about Harper not hustling in the past. Kid probably just doesn’t know when to turn it off and on, I sincerely hoope he doesn’t pull a hamstrring tomorrow.

    Meanwhile Werth is definitely movind kind of slow out there in right field. Is he going to get benched also????

    • knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      If Werth gets benched it won’t be due to a lack of hustle. Jayson is simply not the defensive outfielder he once was, he is slower getting to balls not hit directly to him.

      • NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        I agree. But Harper hustles plenty in the outfield, and maybe too much on the basepaths. I worry that Williams is going to get Harper hurt. Werth knows how to protect his body, I’m not at all sure Harper does.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        More than a few slip-shod plays in the outfield came via Harper and it is very early. I believe this may have been brewing for a bit.

  9. knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    As for calling Harper out in public or throwing him under a bus, I believe Williams was responding to a direct question as to why Bryce was taken out of the game. Question asked and answered, I have no problem with the manager’s decision in either case.

    • NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      I don’t have a problem with the decision, just the public nature of it. Is this an on-going issue with Harper, that led to the “agreement”?

      • knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        So if you were Williams how would you have answered the question in the presses afterwards?

      • therealjohnc - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        Yeah, if you say “he was clearly babying his quad” or something like that, you have to wonder what the rest of the team would have thought of that.

  10. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    WaPo had more on the Werth quote. He also said, “But we’re focusing on one, small part of the game, I feel like.” That’s pretty darn close to calling Williams out on focusing on Harper. He’s right. What about the errors, the bad at-bats, the aggressive base-running, etc. that have cost us games????

    • knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      I went to the WaPo site and read the rest of Werth’s comments as well. Seems to me you are leaving an important part of Jayson’s comments out of your post. To paraphrase JW says something along the lines of “that’s not my area” and “we aren’t asked to do much, show up on time, hustle…..”

      I don’t get the sense that Werth is close to calling out Williams at all.

      • zmunchkin - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:55 AM

        But he also made it very clear that he was not supporting him. Werth showed smarts in how he answered this question, that Williams failed to show during the post-game conference. The line not my call, no my area, and so on, almost always means I disagree, but am not going to add fuel to the fire.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      That’s pretty darn close to calling Williams out on focusing on Harper.

      No it’s not. It’s calling out the press, maybe, but not Williams.

  11. Candide - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Mickey Mantle once didn’t hustle down to first on a routine grounder, with Roger Maris already on first. Maris slid hard into second to try to break up the double play, unaware that Mantle wasn’t anywhere close to first, and (if I remember the story correctly) sustained a minor injury.

    Stengel yanked Mantle from the game right then and there, and Mantle apologized to him the next day.

    (Have to look it up – it was in “Dynasty – When Rooting for the Yankees Was Like Rooting for U.S. Steel.”)

    • unkyd59 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      When I was a kid I read about that incident in “The Baseball Life Of Mickey Mantle”. The incident was related as Stengal chewing The Mick out on the spot, and Mickey being red faced, and as noted, apologized… I recall that he thought there were two outs, when there was only one. The point? RUN IT OUT!! I hope Bryce’s dad reaches out with that message…

      • unkyd59 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Read several of the Devaney books, in the day… :)

  12. 6ID20 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    [Jerome voice] Bryce Harper. Nothing but hustle. [/Jerome voice]

    Once again, advertising lies.

  13. coop202 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Kind of irrelevant story line – just wasn’t our game, and first team to flinch lost. Harper probably said his leg was sore still and MW got riled up by thinking it was an excuse. Happier seeing 4-3 than 8-0, and I’ll take a split down some core players if we can get tomorrow

  14. Drew - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    A reporter asked Williams why he took Harper out of the game.

    Would you prefer that the manager lie?

    I appreciate the candor.

    When I played Little League more than 40 years ago, a parent walked onto the practice field, grabbed his son by the shirt collar and took him home.

    The dad had learned that his boy — a talented pitcher — had broken a neighbor’s window. He immediately took his boy to her doorstep to apologize.

    The boy, his family and our team got the message: Accept personal responsibility.

    Like that kid, Bryce learned his lesson.

    • NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Well, I don’t appreciate the candor, no, I don’t. Unless Williams was at his wit’s end, having tried everything else to get “hustle” from Harper, I don’t appreciate his candor AT ALL. It leads to public mockery, not only of Harper but of the team and of his own management of the team, if he can’t get hustle out of Harper. I don’t like the team held up to ridicule, I prefer Williams keep his mouth shut we just PLAY the games.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        you’re only as sick as your secrets. MW did the right thing. coverups and lies to a direct question in public never work out. If we can take anything from Watergate, that would be it.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:00 PM

        Again, its not like Davey never used this “card” in a attempt to reach players. In fact it was his modus operandi while managing and he is renowned for his “candor”?

  15. secretwasianman - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    MW shows me nothing. When Bryce came back to dugout he should have been asked by MW if he was hurting. If so take him out. If not then rip his Butt after the game. As someone said earlier MW put himself ahead of the victory. This is all good if we are getting results. But we are not. Bring back Riggs

    • therealjohnc - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      Bring back Riggs? I assume that is hyperbole to make a point. Riggleman is not, and has never been, a good manager. He’s overly infatuated with the bunt, would run the bench in for a day and end up starting four guys hitting below the Mendoza Line in the same lineup, just on and on. He managed some bad teams, certainly, but his teams also consistently underperformed their “pythagorean” W/L record.

      • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        And like Dick Nixon, Riggleman was so paranoid believing “all of enemies, everyone are out to get him! Trust No One”

  16. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    @knox, I would have said something like, He didn’t look right running to first, sliding on the field, etc. I pulled him as a precaution. Trainers have checked him out and he’s fine & will be in lineup tomorrow.

    (Then I would have blasted his ears out, if necessary in private). NOW, if Williams has already done that, hence the “agreement,” then maybe this is what is needed to get Harper’s attention.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      Hard to respect someone who has to make up stories about his decisions,,,not cool from a dude’s point of view.

      • knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        +1

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        +1

      • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:34 AM

        See below. Williams is either lying about the need to protect Harper, or he’s lying about Harper’s lack of hustle. Can’t have it both ways.

    • knoxvillenat - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Ridiculous.

      Remember Williams said the TEAM made an agreement with him to hustle, not just Harper. If Harper isn’t going to hold up his end of the agreement he has to be taken out of the game or else you send the wrong message to the rest of the team.

      As far as having Williams make up an answer that isn’t quite true, sometimes called a fib or a lie, well it is Washington, D.C. So I guess you all have come to accept that as a way of life, but I have more respect for Williams’ honesty and candidness in discussing his reasoning.

      • unkyd59 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        +1

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        +1

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        +1

  17. secretwasianman - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Did Bryce break a window today? WTP

  18. breakbad1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    This falls squarely within the “mental team” problem.

    We received a tremendous amount of PR, mostly from Harper himself, about how he was going to give 150% on “every single play, every single day” (because that’s how he was taught to play the game–the “right way.”)…yet this is not the first time he’s jogged to first, or peeled off to the dugout before he reached the bag.

    I would guess that every one on this board has seen a star player, even in Little League, coddled by coaches and parents. This star treatment creates a focus on self in the individual–I remember the tallest, strongest kid on an 11-year old basketball team, coming off the court during timeouts to check his points and rebounds.

    You’ve got to take this spoiling treatment and deferral by adults, and multiply it by 10 million with Harper. How could he not see himself as the star–a diva? He’s in a commercial now with Babe Ruth for goodness sake! How could he not see that fans would pretty soon figure out he’s telling us he hustling all the time, when we can see he is not? How would he know to put the team above himself, when he has been the star and centerpiece of every team he’s played on since he was 6?

    I like Harper a lot. But he’s going to have to learn to check his ego at the door when he enters the clubhouse, make a tough self-examination of all the idiotic things he has done (bloodying his head with a baseball bat after smashing the bat against a wall? — Is there one parent on this board who wouldn’t tell their son to GROW UP in this situation?)

    To the extent our players focus purely on the team and forget themselves, we are going to reach our potential–as a non-mental team. To the extent self-centeredness and self-consciousness remain on this team, we will fail to reach our potential, and will be a mental team.

    • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:42 AM

      Stars like Harper are stars because they have special talent, which usually (but not always) includes work ethic. You cand have a team full of guys like Lombardozzi, but you aren’t going to win many pennants. You call it “ego” but it’s usually more like “single-minded focus,” and people who don’t have it often don’t understand it and even resent it. Look at Braun, at what he said today after he hit two home runs. Your stomach could retch at his ego, but he did hit two home runs and won the game.

      It’s often observed that for the modern manager, the difference is not that much in the on-field moves (anyone could pull Clip, that was obvious) as in ability to meld and motivate a group of young multi-millionaires who perform in front of thousands of fans on a daily basis. It remains to be seen if pulling Harper when he really didn’t do anything wrong motivates the team. Says something sad if they weren’t motivated before this, though.

      • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:45 AM

        What I’m saying is, you aren’t going to eliminate “self-centeredness and self-consciousness” and you probably don’t want to because those are part of great talent. What you want to do is ensure that the self-driven person’s goals align with your goals, and hence, the team’s goals.

      • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:46 AM

        And the same applies to Stras, who is probably a FAR harder nut to crack than Harper.

  19. secretwasianman - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Also Drew by pulling the kid off the field you took away the teams best pitcher. Hence, letting down the entire team. Seems awful selfish act to me.

  20. dcwx61 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    And who can forget Billy Martin taking Reggie out of RF on National TV. Woke up the yanks as they overcame a 13 game deficit on August 1 to win it all in ’78

  21. Drew - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    NL and Secret: I always respect your views. We just disagree here.

    Williams noted in his post game that people pay their money to see Harper play. He’s acknowledging that the guys aren’t playing in a vacuum. They’re accountable to the fans who invest their time and money in what is a business as well as a public trust.

    Remember Joe DiMaggio’s famous quote:

    “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.”

    • snerdblurter - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      Always loved that DiMaggio quote. Good pull.

  22. Whynat - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I agree with NL. MW has now let this become the story for the next 24 to 48 hours. He needs some more PR training. Half truth, equivocation, and misdirection are some of the tools he should master if he is going to face the press every day. There would have been nothing wrong with saying: “He didn’t look right to me, so I took him out.” Truthful, everyone would get the message, but no pubic mockery.

  23. veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    Why do people here always try to make excuses for the players? Its pretty clear that Bryce was irritated after having a tough day at the plate and gave up on the play. Good job MW.

    • paul brandt - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      veejh, Agree…if this were a veteran manager it would have been applauded. Because its MW in his first year and its Harper everyone is quick to bash MW. I do think it could have been handled differently…really no reason to air it publicly; but he did, the tone is set for the season and its over.

      Does sound like there is an agreement/understanding with all players that they will hustle 100% of the time and play the right way. If correct, he had no choice but to pull him.

      Win tomorrow and all is forgotten and look for Harper to have a big game.

  24. sunshinebobby - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Put me down on the wide of stoatva, who said at 4:44 PM:

    “I hope Williams gets an earful from the home crowd tomorrow.

    The man has shown me nothing positive, and several strong reasons to suspect that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    Put me in the “in over his head” column.”

    Lost in the Bryce benching kerfluffle is the bigger screw-up in the second inning when Matty Boy decided to pitch to the No. 8 batter with runners on second and third, instead of intentionally walking him to get to the pitcher. The two runs driven in when the No. 8 batter singled was the difference in the game.

    I’m all for discipline and playing the game the right way, but let’s not cost us a game in the process. That’s basically what Werth said afterward.

    All’s not right in Matty-land.

    • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      I dont see this being a big deal at all. How bout that move by MW last night pulling Clipp for Storen? He’s hardly in over his head. Hindsight is 20/20, whether it be right or wrong move.

      • micksback1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        I think Clip is finished, i hope MW doe snot fool around to long with him, i would deal him

      • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        It took Clippard 26 high stress pitches to get one out. No one capable of generating a brain wave was going to let him face another hitter.

      • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Davey would have left him in. “He needs to work through this”

    • David Proctor - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      No. Actually the difference was the pitcher doubling. So pitching to the 8 hitter ended up making no difference.

      • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        Uhhhhh, dont think the pitcher hits a double had the 8 guy been walked. Whatever, it’s hypothetical.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      after 16 games ???

  25. letswin3 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    I’m part of the public, and just for the record … I can handle hearing the truth. There is a standard in the game that calls for all players to hustle, not just those that aren’t getting a big paycheck, TV commercials or product endorsements. Bryce said that he understood why he was benched, and I believe he does. So don’t worry about me, I can handle it. Besides, I’ve always disliked double standards.

    • unkyd59 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      +1

    • Whynat - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:42 PM

      Win3, I think the public is fine with the truth. I love knowing the truth. The question is how do you best manage and motivate people. Was the public flogging really necessary? We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple of weeks. My approach is to praise in public and discipline in private, but I haven’t gotten my big league manager ticket punched yet.

      • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Flogging? Way overblown. He was asked why Harper was pulled and told the truth. I doubt Harper is losing anysleep over his “flogging.”

      • letswin3 - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        Everyone needs to find a way to motivate others that works, and what works for one decision maker doesn’t necessarily work for others. An example might be John Wooden as compared with Bobby Knight. Both guys won a ton of games with disparate styles. If the proof is in the pudding, it doesn’t really matter what we think of their styles. Matt Williams will have to find a management style that’s right for him. In the meantime, I’m satisfied that Bryce got the message and is cool with it.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      +1

  26. Drew - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    As for Williams’ candor:

    There are times when you have a moral obligation to lie — say, if Anne Frank is in your attic.

    There are times when a white lie is the better part of valor: “Does this dress make me look fat?”

    But the exceptions are far and between. I liked Toby’s philosophy on “The West Wing.”

    He advised Jed Bartlett to tell the truth, because, if nothing else, “it’s the easiest thing to remember.”

    • unkyd59 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:34 PM

      +1

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      My wife once asked me if her dress made her look fat. I said no honey, your fat makes you look fat. Fortunately for me she has a good sense of humor.

  27. micksback1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    I just hope Nats are not the Capitals of MLB, we may have too many softies on this team. the good news is that our young players in AA and AAA are excellent. If I am Rizzo and MW, I do not fool around and make the mistakes Ted Leonsis has done by trusting the so called suoer stars and thinking every season they players would grow up and play like champs. I see some guys already that I just do not believe will ever be champions

    I just hope April is the month this team gets all the knucklehead play out of their system. I have no problem with MW on Bryce. I will have a problem if he does not hold Stras to the same standard if he pouts like a little gal on the mound if things do not go his way.

  28. micksback1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    This loss is not on MW, our so called suoer stars need to start playing like suoer stars . Coaching staff has put them in position to win games, the players are coming up short

  29. wskyrnr21 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    Young boy will learn.

    Man I am really starting to love MW.

    Werth’s comment beat them all!

  30. wskyrnr21 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Young boy will learn if he pays attention to Werth.

  31. scnatsfan - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Saw the play and I understand Williams move since there was a one in a jillion chance he would end up on base.

    This was clearly a message to the team and he picked on Harper to do it.

  32. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I think Williams’ allowing the hopelessly overmatched McLouth and Lobaton to face Wacha with the bases loaded and one on last night, with a bench load of alternatives available was the managerial equivalent of not running out a “gimme” out. Your job is safer, I guess, if you don’t call attention to yourself by making a move that might win the game, but might not.

    I’d feel a lot better about Matt’s Harper decision if he had done a single thing to distinguish himself thus far. He has been a cipher, as far as I can see, passive to the point of catatonia since he took over the term, then he suddenly makes an extreme, “snap” decision against the team’s most charismatic (and controversial) player. I am not a psychologist, but I don’t like the smell of this.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      “team,” not “term.”

      My kingdom for an ‘edit’ function!

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      I think you’re probably missing a lot of things that go on behind the scenes. Things that stay between Matt and the team. I think its a mistake to assume nothing is going on just because we are not aware of them.

    • zmunchkin - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:01 AM

      He had no other options in the ninth. Primarily because he pulled Harper and had to use Frandsen as the replacement.

      This was rookie manager stupid move. Hopefully one he will learn from and never repeat.

  33. topnat - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    I for one support MW 100% in this. As for pitching to the 8 hole hitter with risp he did again later in the game and got a ground out. I do not understand the fervor here to chastise MW. I believe Rizzo brought MW here for exactly this reason. People here lament the lack of toughness this team displays but complain when the manager is tough. Amazing.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      Topnat, you have to remember that an MLB manager’s existence is to be criticized, because upon hiring they are among the 30 dumbest people on the planet. Why do I say that? Because every single person in the world thinks that (a) they could manage a baseball team; and (b) that they could do a better job. And they tend to think those things loudly.

      The 31-60 dumbest people in the world, by the way, are the 30 MLB general managers.

      It reminds me of what Rocky Bridges (a former Washington Senator) once said: “Well, there are three things that the average man thinks he can do better than anybody else. Build a fire, run a hotel and manage a baseball team.”

  34. Eugene in Oregon - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Interesting move; interesting discussion. I’m not too concerned about Bryce Harper’s ‘hustle’ — or possible lack thereof — however. I’m much more concerned about how the Nats seem to constantly find themselves playing from behind early in games:

    0-3, 1st inning;
    0-2, 1st inning;
    0-2; 1st inning;
    0-5, 2nd inning;
    0-4, 1st inning;
    1-4, 1st inning;
    0-6, 2nd inning;
    0-6, 2nd inning;
    0-3, 1st inning; and
    0-3, 2nd inning.

    That’s 10 out of 18 games in which they’ve been behind by two or more runs after two innings or less. Admittedly, they won three of those games, but to the Mets (twice) and the Marlins. It’s much hard to come back against the Braves or the Cardinals, as we all know. More to the point, I don’t think any of those early-inning holes were dug because of lack of hustle. Lack of focus, maybe, but that’s a different problem.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Sorry, should read “…much harder to come back…”

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      Those games are usually won at the margins, by 1 or 2 runs. The Nats did not make many mistakes, but a walk, an error, and double by the opposing pitcher on a 2-strike count are all small mistakes, in isolation. None of them, by itself, would have cost the Nats that game, but you put 3 of them together in 1 inning and the bad guys end up with 3 unearned runs.

      Matt has said he wants the team to focus on the little things in order for the team to have its best chance to win. If JZ had not walked a hitter, then Rendon’s throw would not have to have been hurried, because he would have had plenty of time to get Peralta at 1b. Instead he was going for the DP with a fast runner to be doubled up at first. He hurried that throw and yanked it towards CF, so they didn’t get even 1 out on that play.

      We all saw what happened next. Even if they had gotten only 1 man (forced out at 2nd), then the 3rd out would have been made by the next hitter, before Cruz’s double. And, of course, if they had executed the DP, the inning would have been over with a minimum of pitches from JZ to retire the side. The little things had already added up to 2 unearned runs, and then JZ gave Lynn a 2-strike pitch he could hit and a 3rd unearned run scored on Lynn’s hit to RF.

      The little things escalate, and, if you don’t take care of them, you are more likely to lose, than win. MW is right about that. Today’s game was a textbook example. Hustling to 1b is a little thing, but if you want to play on a winning team, you do it.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:13 PM

        +1, laddie

      • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 1:47 AM

        I was thinking that, too. A lot of blame on Rendon, but there was the walk, single and double. Also, JZ gave up that crucial fourth run in the 7th.

        Here’s the thing, the more I think about it, the more I’m criticial of Williams’ decision/method.

        (1) Harper’s lack of hustle running out a dribbler did not affect the result of the game, but having it out of it may have because of Frandsen’s poor arm, plus his two at bats (a popout in the 7th and a ground out in the 9th, which although it got a run it the out actually cost more in WPA, so that at bat was -12%. Only Werth’s strikeout was worse.)

        So, speaking of “little things,” having Frandsen in the game instead of Harper may not have changed the result but it certainly didn’t help and are the BEST available players not on the field in a close game??????

        (2) Are we protecting Harper’s health or not? This is from another site, a commenter “gatorprof”.

        Here are two reasons why this is all the more idiotic…the coach needs to be consistent, period.

        1) Here is Matt Williams’ quote on Harper’s quad injury YESTERDAY,

        “Williams also said that Harper is guarding the injury against plays he doesn’t have to go all out on…It’s tight on him, but we have to make sure that we are taking the right precautions so he could continue to play. We don’t want to get it too bad,” Williams said. “The thing that Bryce has to do is make sure he monitors [the injury] himself. ”

        http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140417&content_id=72449622&notebook_id=72452102&vkey=notebook_was&c_id=was

        2) Here is Williams TODAY,

        “”We made an agreement,” Williams explained afterward. “He and I made an agreement, this team made an agreement, that when we play the game, that we hustle at all times, that we play the game with intensity and the willingness to win. And as it turned out, his spot came up. Kevin Frandsen put on a nice AB against (Trevor) Rosenthal, but his spot came up with the ability to win the game. And that’s a shame for his teammates.”

        http://www.masnsports.com/nationals-pastime/2014/04/williams-removes-harper-from-game-because-of-lack-of-hustle.html

        Sorry Matt, you made the mistake in yanking him and THAT is a shame for his teammates.

      • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:25 AM

        Harper is young, and doesn’t yet know how to manage his body. We saw that last year where he played despite injury and it cost. Now his manager (and fans) say, play hard, but protect yourself, don’t go all out on plays where it doesn’t matter. AND THE VERY NEXT DAY, when he doesn’t go all out on a dribbler, that he can see and you can see is already in Matt Adams’ glove and transferred out of it to throw to Lynn BEFORE Harper turns off the field, so by definition, as play that is finished and DOESN’T MATTER, on that day he is pulled from a close game–when he has done EXACTLY what he was told to do, what Ramos was told to do when he was coming back from injury, what Santana did because he’s a pitcher, what Robinson Cano did for years so he could play 160 games every season.

        Apparently–and this makes it WORSE in my eyes if true–the Philly announcers said Williams had been planning “for days” to bench Harper for lack of hustle. So what was that about protecing Harper, if not A LIE???

        It’s not only a bond with the team that the manager makes, it’s a bond with fans–that you are putting the best possible team on the field (allowing for platoons, rest days, and the like). If you let it get to the point your method of “discipline” involves voluntarily pulling a top player from the field in a close game, then you are a very poor manager. But, ok, temper gets ahold of all of us, and Williams is nothing if not intense. But if you planned it in advance–!

    • dcwx61 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:18 PM

      The Elite starting 5 are not quite there yet

    • cayucosbaseballconservancy - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      Should have been expected. Low on offense, raising the level of defense and pitching. This is to be expected. Whether now or at some other point in the season. They are still working out the kinks finding ways to win these close games and this was the difference between 10 games over and the playoffs last season.

  35. laddieblahblah - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    I don’t see any big problem with the way either man handled the situation.

    MW has set a standard and expects his players to play up to it. Bryce had a letdown, and I immediately noticed, myself, how lackadaisical he was on that play. I used to see Michael Morse turn off half way down the line and head back to the dugout, too, on numerous similar occasions. That annoyed the heck out of me, and I have always suspected that his consistent lack of hustle is why Davey did not want him on his team.

    Next time you watch a game, observe Adam La Roche running out a grounder. He can’t run worth a lick, but he ALWAYS runs as hard as he can. I cannot recall ever seeing ALR loaf up the first base line and turn off to head back to the dugout, as Harp did today. I actually watch stuff like that, and I can recall exactly one time when that hustle paid off for ALR, and that was on a DP grounder that the first baseman momentarily bobbled, and ALR barely made it to first in time to be safe. A whole season of running out grounders, and it paid off only once. But he is still at it.

    Today was an aberration for Harper. He knows better. That’s not the way he usually plays the game. I wish Matt had found a different way to deal with it, because Bryce is still so young. The media will make a big thing about it because it involved Bryce Harper. No one would have cared about it if Riggleman or Davey had done the same to Michael Morse. They should have, but neither manager ever did.

    MW is different, like it or not. I happen to like it.

  36. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    The media will make a big thing about it because it involved Bryce Harper.

    This is my biggest problem with the decision… Bryce is a lightning rod, and has been since his teens. Incredibly difficult position for a young person. To make a huge public deal out of what was a pretty slight transgression (having now seen the video of the incident, I’d call it trivial) makes me think that Williams isn’t so much trying to address an issue that’s causing his team problems (NO ONE has suggested that the Nats’ struggles are the result of lack of hustle) as positioning himself vis-a-vis the team’s highest profile player in the court of public opinion.

    I would hate to see Shanahan vs. RGIII play itself out again on the Nats. The jury is still out, but I’m not liking this
    Williams guy at all.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      The media response is the only real problem I have with it. If it had been anyone else besides Bryce Harper, it would be forgotten by tomorrow. It is an internal team matter, and should be treated as such, but it probably won’t be.

      “Having now seen the video of the incident, I’d call it trivial.”

      The “little things” are usually the difference between winning and losing the close games against the best teams. That is not trivial, if you happen to think winning is important.

      • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        I don’t know… the ball was in the pitcher’s hand before Harper was out of the box, and in the first baseman’s hand by the time he peeled off to the dugout. Nothing about the situation called for a public shaming of the only Nats position player the media is interested in. You have to know that you’re creating a media situation that will have a life of its own when you make a decision like this… if you don’t know it, you shouldn’t be in the job. And if you’re creating the situation to serve your own interests, shame on you.

      • laddieblahblah - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        That’s a valid point about the public nature of the incident and about Harper being such a public figure. It’s not fair to Harper, but coming down so hard on MW is a bit harsh, as well. Bryce is cashing in on his notoriety, too, so its not like the publicity is all bad, either.

        I really believe Harper would be the first to tell you he agrees with his skipper. Normally, the guy plays his heart out.

        “You have to know that you’re creating a media situation that will have a life of its own when you make a decision like this… if you don’t know it, you shouldn’t be in the job.”

        You can’t manage a baseball team based on what the media will say. If you do, you shouldn’t be on the job.

        “And if you’re creating the situation to serve your own interests, shame on you.”

        And what interest would that be? Managing a winning team is the only interest that Matt has, if he wants to keep his job, and it should also be the only matter of interest to the players, too.

    • letswin3 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      Right, and it’s not a manager vs a player (“Shannahan vs. RGlll”), it’s simply a manager trying to uphold standards that can be important down the road. Williams has said many times how he loves having Harper on the team.

      • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:12 PM

        Bingo

  37. Drew - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    My last point for today:

    Last July, Davey was ejected from a game and Randy Knorr took the helm.

    Soriano entered in a non-save situation and dithered. Knorr marched to the mound, yanked the closer and brought in Ian Krol.

    In the post game, Knorr did not mince words: “Figured, if you don’t want to be in that mode to shut the game down, I’ll bring somebody else in.”

    I don’t recall gnashing of teeth then about the team’s psyche. I think folks here appreciated Knorr’s old-school grit.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      Knorr didn’t get the job, either.

    • Whynat - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      yeah, but this is all Randy said. He didn’t spend over 2 minutes on it and say Sori let his teammates down and it was a shame.

  38. David Proctor - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    The pitcher doubling scored a run. Why wouldn’t he double if Jzimm walked the 8 hitter? I don’t think Jzimm was trying any less hard.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      “I don’t think Jzimm was trying any less hard.”

      Of course not, but that pitch was yet another little mistake that produced the 3rd unearned run. And that mistake would not have occurred if the Nats had made the DP, or even if they had just gotten the force out at 2nd. The first mistake (walking the 2nd batter) opens the door to the next mistake, hurrying the throw to 2nd to make an inning-ending DP, which resulted not only in no DP, but in neither runner being out. They don’t always escalate like that, but today they did.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        That’s funny Laddie. I was writing for about 10 minutes to David’s post also.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      “I don’t think Jzimm was trying any less hard.”

      He was pitching great up until that point and very demoralizing that he gives the backup catcher a 2 run single.

      “Why wouldn’t he double if Jzimm walked the 8 hitter?”

      Nobody knows what happens because we can’t have a do-over but to expect the same pitch and same location with the same result in a different situation is far fectched. Maybe he throws him a ball he hits for a grand slam, maybe he hits a single, who knows.

  39. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    Everybody’s haircut is his own business, but my goodness Earvin Santana looks comical.

  40. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    If I understand the narrative for the next couple of weeks correctly, if Bryce Harper catches fire it will be because gritty manager Matt Williams “lit a fire” under the kid, and if he slumps it will be because he’s petulant and pouting when called to account by gritty manager Matt Williams. Do I have that right?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      +1

    • adcwonk - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      +100

  41. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    “alexva6 – Apr 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM
    I fail to see where this inning showed the managerial strategies of the managers. I’d expect that Matheny wouldn’t have bunted and that Williams would have walked the 8 hitter.”

    I posted the question after inning #2 on Thursday when Matheny walked bases loaded to pitch to the pitcher with 2 outs how managerial strategies work. Amazing coincidence that 2 games later MW has almost the identical situation in a 0-0 game and didn’t walk the #8 batter to pitch to the pitcher.

    Alexva6 says “Williams would have walked the 8 hitter”. Well guess what. He didn’t.

  42. Steady Eddie - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    @AdamKilgoreWP: Talked with some, not a ton, of Nats people/players. I haven’t talked to one yet who disagreed with or disliked Williams’s decision.

    Speaks for me.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      +1 I haven’t commented yet on this because it’s just drama IMHO.

      It’s an internal issue. Bryce knows what he did and knows he was wrong.

      Play ball.

    • letswin3 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      +1

    • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      This isnt a big deal. It’s just the mainstream media writing a story about a player they know will get clicks. The team and Harper and MW are not fractured because of this. Good grief.

  43. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Earvin Santana takes a leisurely jog down the line on a routine grounder to third. Mets announcers immediately make the comparison to Harper.

    Santana was not removed from the game, needless to say.

  44. nats128 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Do you think Matty is frustrated with himself on a game changing decision of his own? He doesn’t put up 4 fingers to walk Cruz and he breaks the game open. That frustration probably percolated inside his boiler if you know what I mean.

    On the other hand Bryce in the 1st inning in a 3-1 count rolls over the same pitch for a doubleplay as the one he hit back to the pitcher when he only ran half way to 1st base. I think Bryce was more frustrated than what looked like he wasn’t hustling.

    The whole thing is a shame because of the negative attention its receiving from the media. Its an internal matter.

  45. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Watching B.J.Upton whiff on a routine pop up to short center did my heart good. Didn’t help the Mets any, but it was fun to watch.

  46. breakbad1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    This has been a revealing discussion. I guess I thought from all these years on NI, that most posters here were old-school/high standards types.

    And so it has been surprising to me how many on this thread have chosen the path of situational ethics: maybe Matt Williams should lie a little, maybe spin a little PR, maybe say it was one thing in public and another in private.

    I learned this in 25 years on active duty, including command: In positions of leadership, there is no substitute for setting and enforcing high standards that apply to every member of the unit.

    The PR-ers, compromisers, and short-cutters here might never have heard or lived the above maxim. So let me explain how it applies in the situation with Harper today.

    24 Nationals, all the coaches, and thousands of fans saw Harper violate a time-honored rule: run it out, no matter what.

    So what happens when Harper peels off the basepath and lightly turns to the dugout? All those players and coaches see the violation and ask themselves–Is the standard going to be enforced or not?

    And what happens when, as so many here advise, Matt Williams cleans it up for the media and lies to them about Harper’s blatant disregard for team standards? Every player concludes, rightly, “Well, I guess there’s one rule for Bryce and another rule for the rest of us.” If you want to ruin a team or any other organization, your first MUST is to apply double-standards; willingness to lie about violations of standards is your second rule, because, you , the manager, have compromised yourself in the eyes of the people you lead. From this point on, no subordinate respects you–least of all the one who violated the rule in the first place.

    I’ve not mentioned another group of 25 men who also noticed: the St Louis Cardinals. This is a blue-collar team with an incredibly rich history. When they saw Harper dog it to the dugout, I’m sure they thought, “Pretty boy. Diva. Makes commercials about hustle but doesn’t hustle on the field.” Yes, my friends, the Cardinals and everyone else in baseball will take note of what happened today.

    Therefore Matt Williams did the right thing by setting and enforcing high standards that apply to every member of the team.

    • Whynat - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:41 PM

      Breakbad, did your CO do your performance reviews with your colleages and their families in the room with you? There is a time and place for everything. I’m fine with the benching. MW handled the media side of it poorly and turned it into a story, which was not necessary.

      • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

        I disagree. They asked him why he was benched and he told the truth. A sure sign MW isnt f’ing around.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:52 PM

      maybe Matt Williams should lie a little, maybe spin a little PR, maybe say it was one thing in public and another in private.

      Come on. Matt Williams, like anyone else in public life, is perfectly happy to do this when it suits his convenience. Little else has come out of his mouth before today.

    • NatsLady - Apr 20, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      You are a poor CO if you let it get to that point. Period. I was a manager and supervisor in manufacturing plants for years, as tough a “blue-collar” environment as there is–and I’m female and I’m NOT a chemical engineer. I had to fire people, go through layoffs, you name it.

      So you tell me, would you pick a battle situation to discipline a man and put others in danger? Or would you find another time and place, another way to motivate him and the team?

      Yes, they all saw Harper violate the rules, if you will. They ALSO saw their manager take a top hitter and cannon arm out of a close game in what figures to be a close pennant race.

  47. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Mets have scored two, have tying run on third, go-ahead on first with two out in the eighth against Braves.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:49 PM

      Tejada closes out the inning with weak dribbler to Uggla. Darling couldn’t believe Collins let Tejada bat.

      4-3 Braves headed to the ninth.

  48. Whynat - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Adam Dunn with a stolen base tonight

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Must have stolen it at gunpoint.

      • adcwonk - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        +1

  49. breakbad1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    This was not a performance review; this was a disciplinary action.

    When you embarrass your CO and your unit in front of 40,000 people, you may find the disciplinary process takes place in the public eye.

    • topnat - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      Agree with you 100% bb1. The only legitimate question for me is how does the team react? And that will be answered over time and we wont have guess, it will be very public.
      As for the Harper/RGIII comparisons. I feel it comes down to them deciding to be winners or devleoping their ”brands”. It’s tough to do both when you are young. Win and you get paid.

  50. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    Braun’s second HR of night puts Brewers ahead of Bucs by a run in the ninth.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      Mets walk Freeman to get to J.Up who hits a three run HR to put Barves up by four. Valverde… sheesh.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      Dang! Hasn’t he gotten the PEDs out of his system yet! :)

  51. veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    “You can’t handle the truth!”

    ~Col. Nathan R. Jessep

  52. veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Mets bullpen strikes again.

  53. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Mets smacking Kimbrel around in bottom of ninth. With a run already scored, Granderson at the plate represents the tying run.

    • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      Uh oh….Kimbrel’s shoulder could be ailing.

      • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

        I dunno… velocity looks normal, the breaking pitches to strike out Granderson were brutal.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      Two runs in against Kimbrel, tying runs on base for Duda.

  54. veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Kimbrel is wild. His shoulder has to be an issue.

    • stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Pulling him to put in Walden with bases loaded. I didn’t see that coming.

      Also, they noted that this was Kimbrel’s first appearance in a week.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      I hope our Nats are watching. Kimbrel can be had. The Nats need to believe this!

  55. veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    The Braves like to overuse their pitchers. Kimbrel hasnt started since last Saturday because of shoulder soreness, and clearly today something is wrong. Instead of pulling him as a safeguard, they let him keep pitching til the bases are loaded. They need to protect that guy, he’s a key piece.

  56. manassasnatsfan - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Finally pulled him

  57. manassasnatsfan - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Finally pulled him

  58. stoatva - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Andrelton Simmons. Money.

    G’nite.

    • veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      Not bad, not bad.

  59. manassasnatsfan - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    When d’Arnaud hit I thought it was tied. But once Simmons had it I knew no way he would beat it out.

  60. veejh - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    I’ll say this, we need Stras to kick some a** tomorrow. Kind of seems like a pivotal season defining game for him and the team.

  61. snerdblurter - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    An “ace” on a team in turmoil comes through big tomorrow. I think Stras gets it done – 8 IP, 12K’s, 4H’s & 3 BB’s

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves 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.

*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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