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Roark proving he’s the real deal

Apr 26, 2014, 5:59 PM EST

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On July 30, 2010, Mike Rizzo made a deadline deal with the Rangers that seemed notable at the time only for the fact the Nationals general manager was able to find a taker for under-performing, aging shortstop Cristian Guzman.

The two minor-league pitchers the Nationals received in return for Guzman had little pedigree. Ryan Tatusko was a 17th-round pick with a 4.46 ERA in three seasons in Class A. Tanner Roark was a 25th-round pick with a 4.20 ERA at Class AA and an uncertain future as either a starter or reliever.

So flash-forward to Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park and contemplate the improbability of the scene that was playing out. A crowd of 31,590 stood and roared as Roark fired his 105th and final pitch of the afternoon, striking out Jedd Gyorko to finish off the first shutout of his professional career, secure a 4-0 victory for the Nationals and improve to a stunning 9-1 with a 1.98 ERA as a big-league pitcher.

“You know, it’s definitely humbling to come out here and compete like I know I can compete at this level,” the unassuming 27-year-old said. “It feels really good. And a game like today just builds your confidence even more and more.”

Roark’s confidence is soaring these days, and for good reason. When he first enjoyed success for the Nationals late last summer, he was still something of a mystery, perhaps a fluke who caught the rest of the league by surprise.

But with each passing start, nearly all of them effective if not downright dominant, it’s hard to look at Roark as anything but the real deal now.

“I would say so,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “You’ve gone through it enough times, it gets past being a fluke or a question mark. He’s great to play behind. You saw it tonight. He works quick, a lot of strikes and not afraid of contact. … He’s a bulldog out there.”

A bulldog with a growing resume that stacks up against anybody else in the majors. Consider this: Since he was called up from Class AAA Syracuse on August 6, only one other big-league pitcher has thrown as many innings as Roark while posting a lower ERA (Zack Greinke, 1.69).

And consider this: Over his first 86 big-league innings, Stephen Strasburg was 5-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Over his first 86 1/3 big-league innings, Roark is 9-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

Strasburg was hailed as the greatest pitching phenom in decades. Roark is barely known among casual D.C. sports fans, let alone the rest of the country.

“That’s kind of his personality,” manager Matt Williams said. “He waits his turn to get the ball again. He takes the other parts of his game very seriously, as well as his pitching. He fields his position. He throws to the bases. He does a lot of things that are conducive to helping yourself win. And that’s not to mention his pitches, the way he goes about it.”

Roark went about everything brilliantly on Saturday. He retired the first 16 Padres he faced, carrying a perfect game into the top of the sixth. Rene Rivera’s line-drive single up the middle quashed any possibility of a history-making performance, but it didn’t quash Roark’s style on the mound.

The right-hander just went back to work and wound up going the distance, scattering three singles and a walk, striking out eight and keeping the entire Nationals’ bullpen from ever needing to do anything more than some light tossing, just in case.

“It’s easy for me [to work with him],” catcher Sandy Leon said. “Because you can call whatever. You know he’s going to throw a strike. He’s going to throw the pitch wherever you want it thrown. You don’t have to think too much, just have fun in the game and call the right pitches.”

Roark, while acknowledging he saw the scoreboard, insisted he didn’t particularly think about his perfect game while it remained intact. He was too focused on mastering all four of his pitches, especially a two-seam fastball that consistently left batters from both sides of the plate baffled and a changeup that was equally effective against left-handed and right-handed hitters.

When he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, the crowd stood and cheered, understanding Williams was going to let his young hurler go the distance. The fans were on their feet again as Roark strolled to the mound for the top of the ninth. And they let out their biggest roar of the day when he struck out Gyorko on a two-seamer, then clapped his hands together in celebration of the best start of his professional life.

“It feels really good,” Roark said. “It gives me confidence that I can pitch at this level and keep pitching for as long as I can.”

At this point, considering the numbers, his confidence level should be off the charts. And anyone who has watched and wondered whether this guy is the real deal should have their answer by now.

105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. unkyd59 - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Oops! New posted… Just wanted to share a pat on the back, with Mick:

    Hey, Mick… In no way is it my intent to poke you with a stick, in saying this… But Desi is 6 for 9 over the last two games. This is why so many of us were against giving one of our best players a few days off, when he was slumping… Good players play their way out of slumps. I can’t quote anyone specific on that, but I could swear I’ve been hearing it all my life. I know you’re thrilled Desi seems to be finding his groove… And I hope there was a Victory Corona within easy reach, after Fanner’s Masterpiece 😉

    • micksback1 - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      I am happy to have been wrong

  2. stoatva - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    And consider this: Over his first 86 big-league innings, Stephen Strasburg was 5-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Over his first 86 1/3 big-league innings, Roark is 9-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

    Needed to see that again.

    • adcwonk - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      And I need to see _this_ again:

      Since he was called up from Class AAA Syracuse on August 6, only one other big-league pitcher has thrown as many innings as Roark while posting a lower ERA (Zack Greinke, 1.69).

      Is there anybody on the planet that would guess that in a million years?

  3. knoxvillenat - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    I have nothing but hope for future success for Taylor Jordan but I think Roark has secured the fifth spot in the rotation when Doug Fister returns. This guy strikes me as a real bulldog type, not bothered by any sort of adversity.

    • unkyd59 - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Without question, Knox…

      So, NI Peeps…TJ has had a long, thorough cup of coffee, here… What, specifically should he be working on, when he gets back to Syracuse?

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        What Tanner has in spades. Consistent command.

      • Eric - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        Off speed pitches.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        What Steady Eddie said. TJ got burned by leaving his sinker up in the zone. He needs to keep the ball down and consistently locate his pitches.

  4. thelatencn - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Also newposted after this, which is on oint for this thread.

    Mark writes of Roark, “it might be time to acknowledge that this thing is for real and not just some small-sample-size fluke.” Agreed, but what would be the critrion for such an acknolodgement? How about this? It’s no longer a small sample size when the league has had ample time to adjust to what a pitcher is doing, yet has failed to do so.

  5. Sonny G 10 - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Just got back from my first game at National Park this year and boy, what a day it was. Beautiful, sunny day and a chance to see Tanner take a big step in his career. It was the kind of game that was easy to watch. We jump off to a 3 run lead in the first inning and then watched Tanner snuff out the Padres hitters for the rest of the game. GYFNG!!!!

  6. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    You picked a good one, Sonny!

  7. veejh - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Some serious stats for Roark to hang his hat on. Another steal by Rizzo.

  8. Hiram Hover - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Happy for him, happy for the Nats.

  9. laddieblahblah - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Picked the right game for my first day at the park, and Tanner picked the best walk-up music for ANY pitcher. Took me about half the game to realize what it was.

    Stranglehold, by Ted Nugent:

    “Here I come again now baby
    Like a dog in heat

    “Tell its me by the clamor now baby
    I like to tear up the street

    “Now I been smokin’ for so long
    Ya know I’m here to stay

    “I got you in a stranglehold baby
    you best get out of the way”

    The ladies in the stands can sing “Take on Me” in the 7th. I’ll take “Stranglehold” as they played it all during Tanner’s warm-ups in the top of the 9th, just in case the Padres didn’t hear it the first time.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Umm, yeah. No. You can keep that guy.

      • laddieblahblah - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        “Umm, yeah. No. You can keep that guy.”

        Why are you telling me? It’s Roark’s choice.

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        “The best walk up music for any pitcher”? Not Tanner’s words.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        Tanner didn’t post it.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        Concur with Sofa.

    • unkyd59 - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:09 PM


    • laddieblahblah - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      “‘The best walk up music for any pitcher’? Not Tanner’s words.”

      It’s his choice of music. He has his pick of any other music, and chose that as the music he wanted played when he came to bat. If he didn’t think it was his best choice, then why didn’t he pick something else? Huh?

      What would be your choice? Do you presume you have the role of deciding for him? And, if so, why? And if not, what is your point?

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        That’s his choice. I am sorry to hear it.

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:13 PM

        As you seem repeatedly determined not to notice, I was NOT responding to your post about the music — which I don’t care about one way or the other — but to your post saying “Why are you telling me? It’s Roark’s choice.”

        You, not Tanner, was the one who gushed, “best walk up music for ANY pitcher”.

        But as you also seem determined in two posts now to pretend that my comments were about Tanner’s choice of music and not about your taking responsibility for your own words, this particular conversation is clearly a waste of time.

        Y’all get a good nights sleep now!

      • laddieblahblah - Apr 27, 2014 at 3:34 AM

        “But as you also seem determined in two posts now to pretend that my comments were about Tanner’s choice of music and not about your taking responsibility for your own words, this particular conversation is clearly a waste of time.”

        I see. You do not find fault with Tanner’s choice of music, but you find fault with my approval of his choice. Have I got that right?

        And if you cannot find anything wrong with his choice, then what is your beef with my opinion of it, concurring with his own?

        “This particular conversation is clearly a waste of time.”

        And you are clearly the one who chose to waste your time by engaging in it. I find it instructive that some are intent on pointless disputation only to belatedly realize that they are a total waste of everyone’s time.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      Good stuff…Thanks Laddie….
      Tanner is a cool dude and a regular guy.
      Us old guys may have different tastes than the boys leading the show. Acceptance is the key.

  10. NatsLady - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Who designed the Barves new uniforms? I’m all for not having the tomahawk, but the blue on red with white stars is blinding on my TV.

    • Steady Eddie - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:19 PM

      I agree, but I suspect that’s part of the point. Distract the other team, because the Braves don’t have to look at the Braves uniforms when they’re playing.

    • Steady Eddie - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      In other words, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  11. David Proctor - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    If Jordan can win tomorrow, we have a chance to go on a nice little run with 2 against the Astros. Even if we lose tomorrow, as long as we win the 2 games in Houston, we should finish April at 4 games above .500. That’s 5 games better than 2013.

    Still hoping Bryce isn’t seriously injured though. We can ill afford another serious loss.

    • veejh - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      Just when he was heating up. Blah.

  12. David Proctor - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Interesting article in the Post about Strasburg. Lobaton gave some interesting quotes:

    “Friday was only the third time Jose Lobaton has started behind the plate with Strasburg pitching. Sandy Leon has caught Strasburg twice and Wilson Ramos started the season opener. Over the past month, Lobaton has grown more comfortable talking to the reserved Strasburg and it has helped them in the game.

    “First time was kinda like I don’t know how to go talk to him in the dugout,” Lobaton said. “He’s kinda like quiet guy. He like to be alone. He like to talk to the pitching coach. In the beginning, I was kinda like, ‘Ugh.’ I talked to Matt, I talked to the pitching coach, I talked to the hitting coach, and all the guys how you can handle that, how you can talk to him. They were like, ‘No, he’s quiet but he listens to you.’”

    Now, Lobaton is different around Strasburg. He talks often with him, and there’s back and forth between them during the game.

    “If I make a mistake, I caught a pitch and we get a basehit,” Lobaton said. “I was kinda like mad. He got mad, too. I was like, ‘Ok, my bad.’ I tell him another pitcher, this pitch can do better. He said, ‘It’s okay.’ Day by day you be learning his attitude. He’s nice. He’s a good guy to talk.””

    • letswin3 - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Wow, that’s interesting, because after Stras’ last start I posted that I had seen him and Lobo during that game (in a brief TV pan over to the dugout) sitting there having a serious conversation …. and it looked like Stras was intimately involved. I loved it, because he has always seemed so “standoffish”. Maybe Lobo is our new catalytic catcher/mentor for the big guy. And maybe Stras is starting to mature a little too. That all sounds good to me.

  13. Danny - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    David Hale 8 innings 2 hits.. Seriously? I could throw on a Braves uni and throw 6-7 scoreless apparently.

    • stoatva - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      Both hits in the first inning, too. Nothing after.

    • ehay2k - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:07 AM

      Two words – pine tar.

      We know Kimbrel has it on his cap. File that away for late in the season when it’s humid and we face the Barves.

  14. Doc - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    Tj is OK, but I always thought that Roark had the advantage with better location.

    I like what F.P. says about him, “….Madduxesque….” Paints the black and has late action on his breaking stuff.

    it’s nice to see him come out of nowhere and do well.

    I think Rizzo got lucky, or maybe he and his scouts saw something???

    • veejh - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Rizzo is that good. This guy could scout a 5 year old.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        It is a tribute to the pitching development in the Minors. His story of the ups and downs in his career is an eye opener to what many guys go through. Some give up and some find something to keep them going.

        Fanner Roark is living the dream! Keep it going. 1 of 19,000 to call themselves a Major Leaguer.

  15. micksback1 - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Ted Nugent is repulsive like the Clippers owner

    I love Tanner !!

    • NatsLady - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Never heard of Nugent, since I don’t pay any attention to rock music or conservative politics. So I read the long write-up in Wikipedia.

      So, I still have no idea if Nugent is a good musician (quantity doesn’t always equal quality) but I’m not going to judge Tanner on this. Maybe he just likes the song.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:58 PM

        He’s a rich pop headbanger-wannabe who has always been one hood short of a Klan.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        Well said, Sofa, well said.

      • stoatva - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        Until it’s shown otherwise, imma assume TR just likes the riff.

      • ehay2k - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:12 AM

        One can appreciate Ty Cobb’s immense baseball skills and considerable accomplishments while at the same time acknowledge that he was a miserable human being and unworthy of admiration in any arena save the ballpark. The ability to rationally hold both positions seems to becoming a lost art in our future, much I fear, to our collective detriment.

      • Chazz - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:28 AM

        I’m perfectly capable of holding contradictory opinions. I disagree with myself all the time, sometimes out loud. I just think social opprobrium is valid in these cases too.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        Yes, Its not about the politics for Tanner from what friends of friends tell me.

      • letswin3 - Apr 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        Hey Chazz, thanks for expanding my vocabulary. Pretty cool word there. I’ll try to incorporate it in my conversation. And I’m with ya ….. now that I know what it means.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      Somebody, maybe FP, called Roark “a poor man’s Greg Maddux.” I’m thinking it’s more like a very comfortable middle class man’s Maddux.

      • letswin3 - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        The guy is starting to make believers out of all of us. Some of us just assumed that it was a short-lived mirage and it would go poof one day …. well, it ain’t happening yet. I love the fact that he works quickly and throws strikes, without grooving them. Plus, today he looked like he expected to be in the 9th inning with a shutout on the line … ya gotta be a little confident, and he looks to be improving that facet of his game with each start.

  16. unkyd59 - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Ok, I love my music, and I have widely eclectic tastes. Long ago, I decided that I don’t much care about the politics or personal proclivities of my favorite musicians. So, I think the title of “Stranglehold” is great, for a pitchers walkup music… Spot on. It’s a great, classic rock anthem. Ted has some really sleazy stuff in his past, and his pro-gun politics prolly don’t fly with some, here, but Laddie, I’m down with Ted, and with Tanners choice.

    • stoatva - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      “Bad company… til the day I die” on the other hand, was terrible music for a relief pitcher.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        I love thqt wong

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 27, 2014 at 3:45 AM

      “I’m down with Ted, and with Tanners choice.”

      Amen. Find me a better fit between mission and message. Most walk-up music puts me to sleep.

      Some may not like Jimmy Hendrix because of his race, Camille Paglia because of her sexual orientation, George Bernard Shaw or George Orwell because of their politics, Beethoven because of his ethnicity, or the Pope because of his religion.

      It happens, and we just saw a prime example of reflexive hatred right here on this thread.

      • Chazz - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        No, we didn’t. There’s nothing reflexive about it. The guy’s a racist, and very publicly so. Rejection of that is well-considered.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        That’s me, BTW. I forgot to switch logins.

  17. ArVAFan - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Well, Blevins runs in to “Sympathy for the Devil,” and I’m sure there are some people who are offended by that. I’m not–I just think it’s funny to go with his #13.

    See (some of) you tomorrow at the Park!

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      Offend somebody? I got yer offend-somebody run-in music right here, starting at about 3:10.

      • unkyd59 - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        That’s shat I’m talking about, Sofa! Really sorry to lose Lou, last year… Seems like they’re dropping like snowflakes, anymore….

  18. Drew - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Psst … Future bat alert:

    Drew Ward, the 19-year-old Okie who is hitting third for Hagerstown, has 20 RBIs in his first 13 games.

    • 2005bb - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      I went to a Suns game last week and they do look good.

    • letswin3 - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      As FP would say “He’s ready, call him up”.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Its a good time to bring up guys like this as the Nats are developing pitchers and have to develop in the Minors some top position players who weren’t 1st round picks. Ward is another athletic big body kid in this Harper, Souza and Skole type of physique that can eventually fill out. Ward has pop and is built to add body mass.

      Rizzo like every other GM wants to find the next Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton. Good luck Mike!

  19. 2005bb - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Baseball Tonight on ESPN just did a segment on a pitcher for the Nats who just threw a shutout, named Rorck. Never hear of him but he sounds good. Is a little homework too much to ask?

    • unkyd59 - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:39 PM


    • stoatva - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Mike Shannon on the Cards radio team makes me nuts with his “Strauss-berg”. Dude invariably sounds like he’s three sheets by the fourth inning.

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Did anyone listen to Phil Wood on the post-game talking about Anthony Rendon?

    Well I’ve been a Kool Aid drinking Rendon guy before he was ever drafted and he’s a natural gap hitter who is a future BA champ, and I’ve said so before he ever swung a bat for the Nats, but Phil Wood lost his mind today.

    Phil actually believes Rendon can be another Miguel Cabrera and be a 30 HR hitter and .300+ BA. Phil said he’s not calling Rendon a Triple Crown guy but will hit for big power along with batting average like Miguel Cabrera.

    Someone drug test Phil.

    • veejh - Apr 27, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      Oh come on…Rendon is the next coming of Christ. For real. Dude walks on water as far as I’m concerned.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 27, 2014 at 12:56 AM

        I’m Prez of his Fan Club but comparing him to Miguel Cabrera with a straight face?

        How’s about this guy: Jose’ Abreu!

      • veejh - Apr 27, 2014 at 1:07 AM

        I see way more upside w Rendon compared to Harper. Rendon has the eye. He will have a BA title eventually.

      • veejh - Apr 27, 2014 at 1:19 AM

        Oh, and by the way, if you’re already prez, can I be VP?

      • Chazz - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        So, you’re saying he can’t swim? Trade the bum!

      • Candide - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Oh come on…Rendon is the next coming of Christ.

        I thought that was Strasburg. Isn’t that why we call him “Jesus?”

        As long as we’re getting into religious imagery, I do like Blevins’s walk-in music: “Sympathy for the Devil” and his uni number 13. Anyone know if he keeps a goat as a pet?

    • dhamm6500 - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      Yes, I was listenting. What I heard Phil say was … I’ve talked to scouts who feel like Rendon is going to fill out and be a bigger and stronger man, one who could someday hit 30 HR and drive in 100, with a high batting average. Then he said I’m NOT saying he could be Miguel Cabrera, but a guy who could hit for a high average with some power.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

        We are going to need to go to the videotape! I thought he made the comparison to Miguel Cabrera but then made the point that he was NOT saying he will win a Triple Crown.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Aboslutety…his hitting is more typical of Joltin Joe DiMaggio….He’s just a man and not a freak.
      What an insuly By PW

  21. Joe Seamhead - Apr 27, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    I was at the game yesterday and between the Roark, the game, and the weather it was pretty close to a perfect Saturday afternoon.

    A couple of observations: Plenty has been said about Tanner’s performance, not much more I can add.

    Highlight of the day otherwise? Jayson Werth staying on 2nd base after he’d been called out. It was hilarious.The Padres had all left the field, the Nats were still in the dugout, the umps had gone in to review the play and Werth was the only player to be seen on the field and he was sitting on the base refusing to move. We were laughing that at any moment he would pull the base out of the ground and take it to the dugout. The call was overturned and as he knew all along, he was safe.

    Great to see Desi get some hits. Much needed for him, and for the team.

    OK, Kevin Frandson is playing a better left than I thought he would, much better than any of the other guys that couldn’t play a decent infield that have been stuck out there the past few years. And he has been ok with the bat. So far, I think he has played the utility role better than anyone else the past couple of years.

    Sandy Leon caught a great all around game! Terrific job behind the plate.

    Clippard got up in the bullpen in the 8th, Soriano in the 9th. We were all hoping that Tanner would get the complete game. When he gave up the single in the 9th, Raffy actually started throwing harder out there. Glad he had a little workout, but was thrilled to see the CG!

    Rendon had some very good plays at 3rd, Desi and Espy made all of the routine plays.

    Overall? A gem!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      “OK, Kevin Frandson is playing a better left than I thought he would, much better than any of the other guys that couldn’t play a decent infield that have been stuck out there the past few years. And he has been ok with the bat. So far, I think he has played the utility role better than anyone else the past couple of years.”

      True and true and 1st baseman normally don’t make good outfielders and weak arm guys like Lombo and Hairston don’t work well either. The 2 easiest positions on the field are 1st base and LF and some can’t play either well. The Giants will love Morse in the outfield for as long as he is hitting. That’s how the tradeoff works.

      Frandsen has an average arm but very good accuracy and very quick to balls hit in foul territory. He hasn’t been tested to the gap and that worries me. I still contend that Zach Walters has to take reps in LF as that will get him into the game and having a Zobrist-type on the bench is what teams need.

  22. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    When should I get there for the bobblehead? 11 AM is fine?

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM

      11:00 you will be fine.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:26 AM

        thanks Joe! not too early, right?

    • Candide - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Since the gates don’t open until 11:30, 11:00 will be plenty of time. Keep in mind, you only have to be among the first 25,000. Cunegonde and I aren’t leaving Alexandria until 11:30, will probably get to the center field gate around 12:15 assuming normal traffic.

      And, Faraz, to be a NIer in good standing, you need to fill in your line in the “Who’s Going” tab of the NIDO board, so we know when you’ll be there and where to find you. Here’s your link!

  23. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    Nats said when they signed Rendon he had the potential to be a 30 HR guy.

    • Candide - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      I hope he doesn’t go there, because that’ll come at the expense of batting average and OBP. He’s a tremendously disciplined batter. He has gap power and will take a lot of walks. He’ll hit the occasional dinger, but we don’t need him to do that – you can always pick up a big slow slugger for a bag of cheeseburgers if you need one.

      I see him as a future Wade Boggs or Derek Jeter – not known for their HR power, but both with career OPS well over .800.

      And if someone wants to persuade him he can be a slugger, all he needs to do is look over at second base and remember what happened to Danny when he got that idea in his head.

      • Section 222 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM


      • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:58 AM


  24. Candide - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I posted this yesterday morning:

    Was out of town helping my mom after cataract surgery, so all I could do was sneak the occasional peek at MLB At Bat. If my being unable to either watch or attend the game is all it takes for the Nats to score eleven runs and the starting pitcher to go seven strong, well, my absence can be bought.

    Bidding starts at $1 for each game the opposing team is over .500…

    I drove home yesterday afternoon when my mom chased me out of the house* – she’s doing much better than she’d feared – looking to get home in time for first pitch, blissfully unaware that yesterday was an afternoon game. Didn’t realize it until my nephew texted me to look at Fanner’s line.

    So I neither saw nor attended yesterday’s game, either, and you see the results.

    Again, my absence can be bought. Especially today, since Cunegonde and I have Stars and Stripes seats at $45 apiece. My absence will cost 2 x $45 plus 2 x $25 for the bobbleheads we’ll be foregoing. So if you want Taylor Jordan to finally get his act together, I can guarantee it for $140. If that’s too much for you, someone can start a collection…

    * Oh, and ArVaFan, thanks for the good wishes for my mom!

  25. Eric - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Kilgore update in Harper in the Post…nothing specific about the MRI yet, but ruh roh on this one:

    “If Harper lands on the disabled list, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. would be the likeliest candidate to take his roster spot. Souza was not in the lineup at Class AAA Syracuse on Saturday, and he was not used in a situation that would have typically called for a pinch hitter.”

    • NatsLady - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      Honestly, with two off days this week, and one next week, the Astros and Phillies both below .500 on the schedule, this wouldn’t be the worst time for Harper to go on the DL. He would miss the Dodgers and the trip West (Athletics, DBacks).

      • stoatva - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Would love to see Souza get a few hacks in Citizens Bank Crackerbox.

    • Eric - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      So long as it isn’t a torn ligament or something I agree we’ll manage OK.

      • NatsLady - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        Yes, I counted four off-days in that period. So he could conceivably miss as few as eleven games.

      • Eric - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        It’s also heartening that we’ve scored, what, 10 runs in the ~10 innings since he got hurt? If Frandsen can pick it back up, all the better…and if McLouth can get it together?

      • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        or ucl as DP pointed out yesterday

      • Eric - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        UCL is a ligament

  26. NatsLady - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Just finished writing this up on Everth Cabrera and why he isn’t stealing (sore knee).

  27. TimDz - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Missed the game …had to return a car (that was far too small for my 6’7″ frame, along with a cat that was contiually crying far too much for my mental health) to Connecticut….
    I got the text updates and, when I got to my destination, I scheduled the DVR for the 11:30 pm replay (love the DVR app….)
    Will have a few cold ones and enjoy this one when I get home this evening….
    As an aside, the Amtrak service beats driving I-95 hands down…

  28. TimDz - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Harper to the 15 day DL….
    Dropping like flies…..

    • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      bummer man
      All thumbs. I hope ti is just 15 days.
      and ghost saw something in that slide first.

  29. Section 222 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Harper on the DL is a dern shame. Has Souza been down long enough to come back up?

    So now we have three of our eight opening day starting position players on the DL. Yikes. Yet we have the same record as the Dodgers, tied for 4th best in the NL.

    • originalnatsfan - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      I think you can come up sooner than 10 days if it\’s to replace an injured player, but not sure.
      Those who know can confirm or deny

  30. dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Would love to see the opening day lineup again sometime this season

  31. Candide - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Harper needs to give Cal Ripken a call and ask him about playing both aggressive and smart.

    Or, if he’s permitted to, give Pete Rose a call and ask him for some pointers on head-first slides.

    This is ridiculous. All the talent in the world doesn’t do your team the slightest good if it’s sitting on the bench.

  32. Eric - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    This doesn’t sound promising… Thumb sprain, second opinion, “doesn’t look good”?


    “Though the full extent of his left thumb injury remains unclear, the Nationals placed Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list with a thumb sprain after he visited a hand specialist and received an MRI on Saturday.

    Harper will see another doctor for a second opinion, according to a person familiar with the situation, which should determine the full nature of Harper’s injury and how long it will keep him out. “Doesn’t look good,” the person said.”





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