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Podcast: ‘Baseball in the District’ – ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian

May 1, 2014, 11:38 AM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

This week Tim Murray of ESPN 980 and I welcomed a very special guest to ‘Baseball in the District.’ ESPN national baseball writer and Bethesda, Md.-native Tim Kurkjian called in to discuss a variety of topics regarding the Nationals.

We asked Kurkjian about his thoughts on Bryce Harper’s durability, Matt Williams’ first month as manager, how good Anthony Rendon has been so far, and at what point Tanner Roark can be declared as an elite MLB starting pitcher. As always, Kurkjian was great on all subjects. He even told a story about how there were people in the Tigers’ organization that were convinced they would get Rendon in the Doug Fister trade this offseason. Great stuff.

Before welcoming on Kurkjian, Tim Murray and I talked about the relationship between Harper and Williams, who will have to step up in Harper’s absence and who has been the team’s MVP so far.

Check it out right here:

You can also listen to the show on ESPN 980’s website, or on iTunes.

    • adcwonk - May 1, 2014 at 11:52 AM


      And a number of folks were right (did that include Werth? Boswell? I can’t remember). They said that the only way to deal with that is to be a better team and to beat them consistently.

      My oh my. Yet another nice reminder of how far we’ve some!

    • tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      If anyone wants to go to Philly on Friday, use this link and enter “PHRIDAY” under promo code. Take over the park!

      Remember to enter “PHRIDAY” under promo code.

      • tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Just to be clear 50% off with that promo code!

  1. adcwonk - May 1, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Wonk’s Thursday’s Thidbits

    (note, I’ll be mostly gone from now till Monday)

    Robbie Ray will make his major league debut against the Astros on Tuesday. If I were a minor leaguer, that’s exactly who’d I want to face first time out!

    Max Scherzer became the first Tiger in team history to have 7+ K’s in each of his first six starts this year.

    Oakland A’s have scored 7 runs in an inning three times this season already. The other 29 teams, combined, have scored 7 runs three times this season. They scored 22 runs in 11.1 innings against Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, and Robbie Ross, who had a combined 1.65 ERA before April 28.

    Jose Bautista walked for his 30th time in April.

    Zack Greinke (5-0, 2.04) now has gone 18 straight regular-season starts of at least five innings while allowing two runs or fewer, the longest run since 1914

    Miami’s Nate Eovaldi (2-1) has the lowest career run support among active major league starters. But yesterday was staked to a 9-0 lead after 5 innings. Over the Braves!

    The Braves totaled five hits in the past two games against Eovaldi and Jose Fernandez, and fall to 11th in NL in BA, and second to last in runs scored.

    I *think* that as of Monday, no Atlanta starter (or perhaps one?) had allowed more than three runs the entire season — they’ve done it twice in a row. I.e., Atlanta’s pitching is coming back to planet earth.

    Giants’ starter Tim Hudson has walked 2 batters in 46 innings this year.

    The only team in baseball that’s had its starting pitcher go at least five innings every game is the New York Mets.

    Martin Maldonado, a catcher, pitched a scoreless inning for the Brewers. First time he’s pitched in MLB. Who knew?

    Nats continue to have the second highest “SRS” in MLB from B-R (they are at 1.7, Braves at 1.8, three teams, Miami, Angesls, A’s at 1.6)

    Rendon is 3rd in NL in hits and XBH, 4th in doubles, 5th in RBI’s, 6th in runs scored. Werth leads the NL in WPA (Span is 10th!)

    Stasburg is 1st, and JZ is 10th, in NL for K/IP; Stras is 2d and Gio is 10th in K’s.


    • Brookstoor - May 1, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      We should root for Robbie Ray to do well. Not just because it’s bad form to root against a rookie/former team prospect/what have you, but because it would reflect positively on our organization. I think we’re already gaining a reputation for producing good to great pitching prospects. With Alex Meyer and RRay soon to debut, we should want teams to know that when they trade with us it’s a win-win, that we don’t fleece anyone by trading a lemon, and that our prospects are something to be coveted.

      • Brookstoor - May 1, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Not that you said anything to the contrary, Wonk. Just throwing in my thoughts since you mentioned Ray’s upcoming debut. People around the league will be watching that too I think, if for no other reason than to see who “won” the trade.

      • tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Root for them yes, expecially when they are in the AL!

      • adcwonk - May 2, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        Excellent thoughts!

  2. natsjackinfl - May 1, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    I think I just heard Lombo has been sent down by the Orioles.

    • NatsLady - May 1, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      I’m seeing that on Twitter. He’s not listed on the 25-man and they needed room for Manny Machado.

    • NatsLady - May 1, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      Yes, see it now. He’s going to Norfolk.

  3. NatsLady - May 1, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Going to watch Dan Haren for a while until I gotta go get tires for my car (it’s always something). He’s 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA. Where was that guy LAST April?

    • jd - May 1, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Makes you wonder (at least it makes me wonder) about Mc.Catty.

  4. #4 - May 1, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    This is the guy Rendon has always reminded me of as a hitter.

    Not a perennial 30 HR guy, but a helluva a hitter with lots of extra base hit power. The nice thing is that AR can actually field too.

    • letswin3 - May 1, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Edgar was sure a nice player. 18 years with the Mariners. We could do a lot worse than expect those kind of numbers from Anthony over the next many years.

      • knoxvillenat - May 2, 2014 at 8:29 AM

        Edgar and Harold Baines both deserve more consideration for the HOF than they have previously received. If a 1 inning relief pitcher who totals about 70 innings a year can get into the Hall why not a DH who takes 3-4 AB’s per game over the course of a season? I don’t understand the bias against DH’s when it comes to this.

  5. stoatva - May 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    A little first inning goat rodeo for the Dodgers.

  6. tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Just as I feared, Kershaw will face the Nats:

    • NatsLady - May 1, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      Yep. Discussed in previous thread. Got a rough road ahead.

      • TimDz - May 1, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I know it is cliche’, but I like when the team goes up against the big dogs….if they make the playoffs (I believe they do), they will have to face these same pitchers anyway, so get a look at him now….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        They are saying on the other side they have to face Strasburg, Fanner Roark, Gio, JZim and Fister.

        If the Nats do their job they can win any game. It’s playoff baseball and you play run by run thinking 1 run will win it.

  7. NatsLady - May 1, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Arizona Diamondacks have played 31 games vs 28 for the Nats. The Dodgers are now playing Game #28 so that’s a fair comparison.

  8. chazzmichaelmichaelzz - May 1, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    This podcast is not working on my phone in Chrome browser. Is there an Android compatible version?

    • tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Try going directly to ESPN 980 DC audio Valut and listen there (

      Click Sports Saturday and you see the link there.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:46 PM


      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        Brian Mitchell needs to see what OPS is all about.

      • chazzmichaelmichaelzz - May 1, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        Thanks. I appreciate the help. I still can’t get that link to work on my phone either (chrome, firefox, and android browsers). Maybe I am missing a plug-in. Most other podcasts seem to work fine, like the red porch report podcast, so I’m not sure what’s wrong.

  9. tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    NatsLive FREE Postgame Concert Series lineup is… Plain White T’s (6/5), Austin Mahone (7/19) & Martina McBride (8/16)!

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Haren getting beat around in the 5th.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 1, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      I remember he would blow up around the 5th last year….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        ERA creeping up! Replay right now for doubleplay.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        Bad baserunning by Twins just got Haren out of the big inning with 2 runs given up. Dodgers win the challenge.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 1, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        I was trying to follow on at bat before some had the nerve to walk in my office and ask me a question… What did they challenge?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        They doubled up the runner at 2nd on a line drive catch. Ump called him safe but he wasn’t.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 1, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Y Puig has such talent…

  12. David Proctor - May 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Haren’s given up 4 runs. With us last April, that was an automatic L. For the Dodgers, it doesn’t appear as awful.

    • jd - May 1, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Haren also gave up more than 4 runs on many occasions last year.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 1, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Man… the dodgers are smacking Deduno around…

  14. philipd763 - May 1, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have activated third baseman Manny Machado from the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A Norfolk.

    Machado hasn’t played in the majors since undergoing left knee surgery last October. He was not in the lineup for the first game of a doubleheader against Pittsburgh on Thursday, but manager Buck Showalter said the 21-year-old would start in the nightcap.

    Machado takes the roster spot vacated by first baseman Chris Davis, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained left oblique. Davis had a platelet-rich-plasma injection on Monday.

    Lombardozzi was optioned to make room for Steve Pearce, who was signed to a major league contract Tuesday after being designated for assignment last week.

    Lombardozzi batted .292 in 19 games this season.

  15. nats128 - May 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Wow, Orioles game is on now. They just showed video of Clarksburg Maryland in Montgomery County with the caption “This is Birdland”.

    They are clearly trying to claim enough of the Nationals area of Maryland as “there own”. That Nats should do the same segment in Howard County like Ellicott City and say “This is Natitude”.

    Between Billboards near Nats Park and this garbage and cheaping out on the Nats broadcast on MASN, its Angelos dreaming up how much he can push the Nats.

    • tcostant - May 1, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      You should go to the DC Sports Blog at the Washington Post showing D.C. as “Birdland”, I pulled the link:

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        OMG, are you f*****g kidding me? Washington DC shown as “This is Birdland”. Here the Nats technically own about 20% of MASN and the Nats are paying a film crew and editors, etc to go into their market and film this.

        How long to you let that little Napleonic Troll Angelos do this to you? Its bullying.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 1, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        As I suggested the other day, someone needs to find a vengeful Peter Angelos ex-mistress who knows how to use a tape recorder.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        Hard to believe. This is the business equivilent of of bullies punch to the face. Lerner will just sit there and take it. Its been building up for years and bullies keep taking until you punch them back in the face.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Eugene. I missed that. Great idea! Get to work on it.

        Personally I don’t think anyone would be a mistress to that piece of garbage:

      • letswin3 - May 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        Good thinkin, Eugene.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - May 1, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        OK, just playing Devil’s Advocate for a minute, what’s the damage? Do Nationals fans switch allegiances when they see a commercial for the O’s? Does anybody in DC buy a ticket to a Baltimore game because they see that? I suppose the ad agency must think so, or they wouldn’t bother, but I find it hard to believe.





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