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Inches from disaster

May 17, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

AP AP

The game was well in hand. The Nationals held a 5-2 lead over the Mets with two outs in the ninth, nobody on base, and all Rafael Soriano had to do was retire one more batter before giving up three runs.

And then Soriano walked pinch-hitter Juan Lagares on four pitches. And then he walked Eric Young Jr. on seven pitches, bringing the tying run to the plate. And then Daniel Murphy launched a ball deep to right field, forcing Jayson Werth to backtrack to the fence and leap with glove extended, leaving a crowd of 34,413 to suffer one massive, collective heart attack all at once.

Perhaps the only soul in the ballpark who remained calm and collected — at least outwardly — was the man who hauled in Murphy’s drive, robbing a potential game-tying homer, securing the Nationals’ ninth consecutive win over the Mets and doing it all without showing any emotion whatsoever. Werth simply caught the ball, leaned up against the wall for a moment, then trotted toward the infield to join his teammates following a nerve-wracking victory.

And what was the veteran right fielder thinking in that moment?

“I probably should’ve untucked my shirt,” he said, straight-faced.

Werth may not have pulled out his jersey, but Soriano sure did after getting bailed out by his teammate. The Nationals’ closer, who six nights earlier blew his first save of the season, came within inches of blowing his second, this time in particularly gaudy style.

Handed a 5-2 lead that had remained intact since the fifth inning, Soriano got two quick outs to start the ninth, though the first — a drive to the warning track in center by Anthony Recker — was perhaps a sign of trouble to come. If not that, the Mets fan who ran onto the field shortly after and made it all the way around the bases before getting body-slammed by a security guard certainly left a sense of unease in the entire ballpark.

Still, all Soriano needed to do was retire Lagares, producer of one home run in 107 plate appearances this season, to end this game. Yet he walked him on four pitches to jump-start the rally. Then he walked Young, producer of three homers in his last 742 plate appearances.

“Those were close pitches,” catcher Wilson Ramos said. “But those guys, they’re smart hitters. They’re looking for something not on the corners. They’re looking for just one pitch in the strike zone. But it happens.”

With Murphy now at the plate, Soriano did have to worry about grooving one pitch over the plate. Which he wound up doing, firing a first-pitch fastball on the inner-half of the strike zone, belt-high.

“He’s our closer,” manager Matt Williams said. “We’re confident he’ll get the next guy out, but Murph’s been one of their hottest hitters as of late. And he’s one of their best hitters overall. So it’s not comfortable when he’s at the plate with the chance to tie the game. But it’s a game of inches sometimes. He didn’t quite get enough of it.”

As soon as Murphy made contact, it was clear the ball at least had a chance to leave the park.

“I thought I had a chance,” the Mets second baseman said. “My heart of hearts, I knew it was going to be close. He crowded me just a little bit, got it in on me just a hair. I knew it was going to be tight.”

Werth, though, was fairly confident it wasn’t hit quite well enough, especially given the light rain that had begun to fall minutes earlier.

“When it was hit, I figured it was right about where it was at,” he said. “I think the rain might have knocked it down a little bit, gave me a better chance. It was close. I know he hit it good. Recker hit that ball good, too, to start off the inning. I think the mist might have helped us out a little bit.”

Werth hasn’t always looked smooth in right field this season, but he was in complete control of this play. He calmly backtracked and perfectly sensed his position on the warning track and against the fence before timing his jump.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “I don’t know if you learn it, or you practice it or you’re just born with it. I don’t know.”

As the Nationals bullpen erupted in celebration and Soriano untucked his jersey in the center of the diamond, Werth just casually strolled in from right field, ball in glove. His catch had just moved his team to within a half-game of first place in the NL East, but he wasn’t about to reveal any emotions. That’s just not his style.

He simply was pleased to have helped the Nationals stave off the kind of furious rally they’ve inflicted on other teams this season.

“You guys have seen it with us all year,” he said. “We’ve been putting it on bullpens and setup men and closers. The shoe was on the other foot a little bit. But we still got the win, and that’s the important thing.”

  1. Brookstoor - May 17, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    I thought it was a homerun. From where I was sitting I couldn’t see, but then I heard the cheers. I still can’t believe it.

  2. veejh - May 17, 2014 at 3:13 AM

    Supposedly, the inflammation in Zim’s shoulder is gone. Whether or not it returns once he plays again is yet to be seen, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it will.

    • Doc - May 17, 2014 at 7:09 AM

      Sadly, you are correct veejh.

      Since they have diagnosed arthritis in the should, we can assume that the condition is chronic.

  3. David Proctor - May 17, 2014 at 3:38 AM

    Werth is a Roark fan:

    “Tanner pitched another great game tonight again. You feel good when he is on the mound. He works quick, throws strike. There is a lot to be said about that. He keeps the defense in the game. Sometimes, when you do that, it gets the offense going, too. I like the way he pitches.”

    • knoxvillenat - May 17, 2014 at 6:29 AM

      I can’t recall the name of the former Orioles pitching coach from the late 60’s early 70’s who preached it but his mantra to pitchers was “work quickly, change speeds and throw strikes”.

      Always seemed to work for those guys.

  4. 3on2out - May 17, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    Work fast. Change speeds. Throw Strikes. Ray Miller, Pitching Coach, Baltimore Orioles.

  5. #4 - May 17, 2014 at 7:05 AM

    It was George Bamberger, Earl Weaver’s pitching coach that you’re referencing, I think.

    • natsguy - May 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      No it was Ray Miller

  6. #4 - May 17, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    I believe he used to add, ” hold runners and field your position” to his formula.

  7. ArVAFan - May 17, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    A few observations from last night’s game.

    1. When the announcer said “it’s a beautiful night for a ball game” he wasn’t lying. (Unlike most of the games I’ve been to so far this year, where “we hope we can get the field squeegeed off before it starts raining again” or “blankets are available for sale in the Team Store” would have been more appropriate introductions). My beer stayed cold and I stayed warm, and the Nats won. Can’t ask for more than that (HT Natsjack).

    2. There were two rundowns on the base paths, one for each team (not counting the crazy Mets fan who rounded the bases and was immediately tackled). Don’t see that too often. My friend who keeps score just gave up and wrote “caught stealing” or “rundown” because they don’t post 1-3-4-1-5-2 or something like that on the board.

    3. My spouse has now seen the Nats win this year. All the previous games she’s gone to have been losses.

    4. I wouldn’t say that Werth showed no emotion as he landed with that ball. The look on his face looked to me like a combination of “I can’t believe I caught the !$#@ing ball” and “I can’t believe I had to catch that #~ing ball.”

    5. From where we were sitting, first base side, it looked as if Moore took his eyes off the foul pop at the last minute, perhaps not being as sure of the location of the fence/tarp roller as Adam is. Better a dropped foul ball than an injury at this point, and he’ll learn the feel for the location if he keeps playing over there.

    6. I think the announcer should have said something about it being Dobb’s first at-bat as a Nat. Way to earn your salary: hit and stolen base on your first at-bat.

    • Candide - May 17, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      Regarding the rundowns – Cunegonde was keeping score and I had At Bat running on my smartphone, so I was able to go to the individual play and find the scoring.

      BTW, whoever was in charge of the scoring on the scoreboard has a brain fart during the 5th. Line drugs to Espinosa showed up as L6…

      • 3on2out - May 17, 2014 at 7:55 AM

        I saw that too, Candide. Not an easy mistake to make…I thought was a shift on? Was Desmond standing where Danny normally does? No. And no. Weird.

      • Candide - May 17, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        Line DRIVE.

        DRIVE, dammit…

    • ArVAFan - May 17, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      And bless the 9th inning rain: people left the park and the ball didn’t.

  8. natsjackinfl - May 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Just a quick comment on the signing of Dobbs.

    I know I’m in the minority but once he was released by the Fish, I was glad Rizzo made the move.

    Everyone seems to think he was washed up because of his 1-13 line for the season but that is totally misleading. As a Florida resident, I watch a lot more Fish and Tampa Bay Rays games than many of you so I believe I get a better perspective of both teams.

    The Marlins have become totally committed to their youth movement and much like the Mets and their jettisoning of Farnsworth, have decided that there are cheaper , younger options that can be developed at the Major League level.

    Dobbs provides an experienced left handed bat off the bench and for the short term, fills a definite need.

    The next two weeks the Nats can better determine if there is a role for him for the remainder of the season which would allow Zach Walters to return to Syracuse where he can get the daily playing time his development requires.

    And I have to admit, I’ve always liked Dobbs off the bench.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      I always appreciate your perspective. Still surprised that the Marlins would cut a guy with value that they were paying over $1 million to and are still on the hook for.

      Per my point yesterday, the Nats showed they weren’t going to use Leon and it was a waste of a spot and the bench weakness was a lefty off the bench since McLouth wasn’t producing off the bench offensively which made adding Dobbs a low risk move.

      The Nats have plenty of time now to see what Dobbs can do and have a few months before the trade deadline before a real potent lefty bench bat comes available. If Dobbs steps up, BONUS!

    • alexva6 - May 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      agree but not sure what you do with him when Zimm is ready

    • laddieblahblah - May 17, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      Thanks for that perspective. His stats this year were a little unsettling, so I was concerned, at first.

      Still haven’t figured out why the Phils let Frandsen go, but I don’t really care. The Nats now have 2 of the best pinch hitters in recent baseball history, one from each side of the plate.

      And Hairston has been living up to his rep as a leftie killer, too – at least this year, so far.

      FP mentioned last night that Tyler Moore has had about 100 ML ABs as a first baseman, and he is hitting over .350 (35+ hits in those 100+ ABs) over the course of his career. I knew the BA splits for him at 1b were far superior to any other role he has played (mainly pinch hitter and outfielder), but I didn’t realize it was that dramatic. Frankly, he stinks when he is playing anywhere else.

      If I could figure that out just watching him play, why didn’t they know it, too, and use him, accordingly?

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - May 17, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        B/c it’s not about him, it’s about what they think the team needs, and what they hope to at least get away with.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        The problem with TyMo is he is poor off the bench where he will sit once ALR comes back.

        Here’s his bench stats .164/.228/.288/.516

        and his 1st base stats .356/.412/.606/1.018

      • Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 8:52 AM

        Two the best PHs in recent history, and both former Phillies. Interesting.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        Oh, let’s just face it, the Nats management just isn’t as baseball smart as some of the Nats Insiders.

      • Hiram Hover - May 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        Those splits, tho, are on such small sample sizes that I don’t put much stock in them.

        Unless the pt is that Moore doesn’t have the mental fortitude and flexibility to adapt to different situations–in which case, that in itself diminishes his value.

  9. laddieblahblah - May 17, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    How refreshing to see the defense bail out the staff! And preserve a win for Roark, too!

    It helped that Werth was already well-positioned in double-prevention mode, and that he is 6’6″ tall with looong arms. He made it look easy. That drive would have been a lot more difficult for McClouth to reach. Tyler Moore would have had no shot.

    The right guy in the right place at the right time. Maybe the beginning of a streak of good fortune. The Nats have seen plenty of the other variety to last for the whole year.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      “It helped that Werth was already well-positioned in double-prevention mode, and that he is 6’6″ tall with looong arms. He made it look easy.”

      What’s interesting is that the Nats didn’t deploy the “no doubles” defense on the road and it cost them the Saturday night game in Oakland, but clearly saved them last night at home.

      While we get frustrated when you get dinked and doinked for singles in the “no doubles” I think last night showed that their are moments to deploy it. Game saver because if Werth isn’t patrolling the outer reaches he probably doesn’t get back to the wall to get it.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        But on the earlier catch in the 9th Span was positioned pretty much where he had been the whole game. I’m telling you, Denard doesn’t need to play deeper, especially at home. It would be counter-productive. Werth was slightly deeper the whole 9th inning, as was McLouth.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        I agree with you. He is very comfortable at Nats Park. Its on the road where it would help.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        You are correct that there are situations where it is totally the right positioning. On the infamous night when Soriano called Harper out he was absolutely correct in that Bryce should have been positioned deeper. That one was on the bench more then on Harper, in my opinion.

    • Nats Amore - May 17, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      It wasn’t one of those classic home run robbing catches where the guy’s arm is extended well beyond the wall. Looks like he got it with just a little hop, but the situation in which it occurred made it significant, as in the DeWayne Wise catch in Buehrle’s perfect game (which was even more special). Of course if Eddie Gaedel had been in right, the outcome would have been different :-)

  10. Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Werth’s catch reminded me of a play that Dave Winfield made in LF at Memorial Stadium against the O’s a long time ago. He leaped way up at the wall, came down with his glove at his side with a very dejected look, the O’s fans roared thinking it was a home run, when Winfield got a huge smile on his face and showed the ball in his glove.
    Last night from our seats in sec 311 we couldn’t tell for sure right away if Werth had made the catch, then he showed the ball. Charlie and Dave thought at first that it was a homer.

    • therealjohnc - May 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      I remember going to old Memorial Stadium and talking to an O’s fan who was incredulous that some Yankee fans didn’t like Winfield. The fan said “It seems like every game he goes over the wall and brings back a HR.” And a few innings later, sure enough Winfield went over the wall and brought one back!

  11. Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Most teams’ fans when treated to a dramatic catch at the wall to save a game are elated, thrilled, and relieved. They praise the outfielder and thank the baseball gods for their good fortune. But reading last night’s threads, you’d think we lost the game. The reliever who was bailed out is an “idiot.” He should be tarred and feathered and run out of town. How dare he throw a pitch that almost was hit out of the park. How dare he make Jayson run all the way to the wall from his no-doubles position.

    No matter that his ERA is now 1.06 in 17 appearances. That’s right 1.06 in 17 appearances. Sure he’s had some close calls. What successful closer doesn’t? Would you rather he have two blown saves and another really bad outing where he couldn’t even finish the inning like Kimbrel?

    And I will say it again, and keep saying it. This meme that Soriano never had a clean outing is crap. It’s pure laziness from Bob, FP, and Ray who can’t be bothered to look it up. But you can, and should. Here’s the link:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=soriara01&t=p&year=

    Just for a little perspective, K-Rod, who leads the league in saves has faced 3 batters in 11 out of 23 appearances. Kimbrel has faced 3 batters in 7 of 15. Now that you have that B-R page open, take a look at Soriano: 9 for 17. How about that?

    Good teams bail each other out. Soriano made a bad pitch. Werth saved the game. That’s cause for pride and satisfaction, not nasty criticism.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      You’re preaching to the choir with me, Deuces. I have said it before: I love exciting baseball, especially games with dramatic finishes. Those games are why baseball is definitely not boring.Soriano is much better then he is getting credit for, as you said, look at his stats and he stacks up against the best pretty good. He also gives us something else to argue about.

    • Hiram Hover - May 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      +1!

    • Eric - May 17, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      +1!

    • 6ID20 - May 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      There are clean innings, unclean innings and downright ugly innings like last night. All I know is that long ago I quit standing up for the last out with Soriano because all too often it took him two or more batters to get it. Haven’t seen anything from him this year that makes me want to change that behavior.

    • Dave - May 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Haven’t commented here much lately, but I’d also like to chime in regarding Soriano. He has been lights-out this year, and I cannot see how anybody can give him the crap he got on the Interwebz last light or after that game in Oakland.

      Even Mariano Rivera wasn’t perfect. I think back to the iconic Father’s Day walk off by Zimmy versus the Yankees in 2006. Wang was pitching in the 9th of that game in part because Mo had gotten pit up the day before, as I recall. Others may remember better than I, but I think Rivera “lost” the Saturday game of that series.

      Lighten up on Sori, people!

      • Dave - May 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        “Last night.” Stupid lack of autocorrect.

      • Dave - May 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        “Lit up.” I shouldn’t even try to post from my iPad.

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    I watched the SNY broadcast in the 9th inning and when Young was up they were bashing Soriano continuously “this is Soriano. This is why he has bounced around so much” “Soriano can throw a fat one” “Murph has already had a 3 run homer this week” “I’ve seen Soriano enough to understand why GMs have moved him down the pike”.

    After Werth catches the smash from Murphy “the exasperation on Werth’s face is like I can’t believe I have to catch this ball after Soriano let the tying run come to the plate….I’m just sick of this with Soriano, it’s always like this”

    • Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      But it really isn’t “always like this.” It just seems that way on the nights that it actually is.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        Even beyond that they were playing mind reader and that’s not really fair. They spent several minutes tearing Soriano apart and for truth in broadcasting, the Yankees GM offered Soriano a QO and didn’t exactly move him down the pike. In fact, he stepped in when Mariano was injured.

        Yes, it was tough to watch Soriano walk 2 runners to get to the tying run at the plate. There’s an old saying that when you play with fire too much you get burned. Soriano didn’t get burned that time as the Baseball Gods stepped in but more times than not if you keep walking guys it will come back to haunt you.

    • NatsLady - May 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      I don’t think Werth was disgusted. I think he was just tired. Been in the game for three hours, it’s raining and it’s time to go home. They said he “took treatment” after the game, so you know he’s feeling it

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Just more stupidity from the visiting team broadcasters. I didn’t even transcribe it all.

    • natszee - May 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Gotta love Ron Darling!!

      He also did say something about he has seen plenty of Soriano to know …..

      My boy and I had fun at the park least night. Be back Sunday. Three notes:

      1) Hairston can hit! He has no range and it’s a terrible left Felder. Needs to be a DH someplace.
      2) Soriano generates too much stomach acid for my tastes. I’ll take the old “clip and save” combo back please?
      3) Danny will go sub .100 Sunday for May if he remains hit less.

      Hope Gio does well today. He played right field in BP yesterday and tried to catch every ball hit out there. I got tired just watching him!

      • Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        The original Clip & Save was Clip and Matt Capps. No thanks to getting that guy back. Clip and Storen were good in 2012, though in truth, Clip was the closer for much of that year. I’m delighted to see Storen back pitching and hope he continues to grow this year. But it was absolutely the right move to bring in Soriano, and he’s doing great this year. If you think Storen would generate less stomach acid, you have a short memory.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        I couldn’t make out all the voices except I did know that was Ron Darling as the voice of the mindreader after Werth robbed Murphy.

      • natszee - May 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        I should have been more clear, I meant the roommates (clip and Drew). Disagree about Soriano. Even my Yankee friends were glad he was gone. Having said that, his numbers are impressive but he does not elicit my confidence at all. Hats off to Clip. He is successful in any role handed to him.

    • Nats Amore - May 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      I think the negative comments toward Soriano from the Mets announcers are more a product of the fact that in NY you are either a Mets lover and Yankees hater, or vice versa, with the Yankees having the bigger fan base. So it doesn’t surprise me that those announcers would be harsh on an ex-Yankee.

  13. rabbit433 - May 17, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Well, we definitely stole this one! I can see the future. If that went out we would have lost. So, for the rest of the year we’ll always have one win more that we should have!! GO NATS!

  14. iconicwoodencap - May 17, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    The closer is probably the most scrutinized pitcher in the game. We hang on every pitch as if the game depended on it, which it sometimes does. That is a lot of pressure and certainly leads to a fair bit of handwringing and selective memory, leading to overgeneralization from the most recent performance, whether brilliant or disastrous. Thanks for the data.

    I hope his command is better tonight (actually I hope we are too far ahead to need him!). This reminds me of a couple of home games last year (those with better baseball memories can probably name the series). In the first, Soriano serves up some fat meatballs for two deep balls, the game winning one caught by Span in a spectacular diving catch. Joy in Mudville! The next night he repeated the hanging pitch pattern and this time one went out… blown save.

    This leads me to wonder if it is possible for a pitcher to analyze the mistakes and avoid them the next time or is it just a matter of execuition. I’m sure Soriano knows that walking batters isn’t a good idea, nor is failing to locate pitches. Does it do any good (for a pitching coach, e.g.) to remind a pitcher of what adjustments to make, or do they know better than anyone their own weaknesses and make their own serious assessments? It would seem that observations from others regarding things like arm slot, release point, etc. might be helpful info. Anyway, just curious.

  15. Doc - May 17, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Section 222 has Soriano’s stats right, and he deserves credit for those things accordingly. Section 222 also deserves credit for digging them up.

    I think the baseball pros, and some of we fans, me included, is that regardless of the stats, Soriano just doesn’t have that winning personality that makes anyone want to pick up for him. I think that Ray and FP just don’t see Soriano as a ‘team player’.

    Mickey Mo he ain’t! Soriano’s walk up song might suggest “Bad to the Bone”.

    Soriano needs to hire a PR firm before he signs his next contract.

    • Hiram Hover - May 17, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      I didn’t see Werth pause in the field last night to ask himself “does Soriano have a winning personality? Do I want to pick up for him here?”

      Maybe our fans out to take their cue from him.

    • 6ID20 - May 17, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      Perhaps he should augment his ritual untuckings with a ritual depantsing by Werth whenever he blows a save or comes as close as he did last night. That would make him more lovable, wouldn’t it?

    • Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      If Ray and FP actually think that, they should be fired. That’s just crazy. The guy does his job. He’s quiet and dedicated and maybe Ray and FP can’t relate to that, but to call him not a team player, or to suggest that other players don’t want to “pick him up” is just absurd.

      • letswin3 - May 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        Is he “quiet and dedicated” or sullen and detached? He was quoted after last nights game as saying something like (I’m paraphrasing here) “sometimes you get them out, and sometimes they beat you”. Does that sound like a quiet and dedicated guy, or one that just shows up, gives you what he has and then goes home? IMO, he is all about himself and yanking his shirttail out to be another showboat. Yep, he’s getting the job done, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

      • Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        No, but you should be fair in your criticism, and remember, as you say, that’s he’s getting the job done. I guess we’ll agree to disagree about his attitude. But I sure don’t think FP or Ray are qualified to evaluate that if they insist on ignoring the numbers and creating their own factually incorrect narrative about his performance. I wonder if either of them has ever actually sat down and talked to the guy. FP’s explosion at the end of the game was ridiculous.

        And on the subject of his performance, his ERA and WHIP this year are his lowest since 2010, the year he led the league in saves (his ERA is actually lower than that year). And his FIP is WAY down from the last few year. He’s more than getting the job done. He’s excelling, and it’s simply not right to jump all over him for one or two shaky outings.

      • letswin3 - May 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        I understand your point, and even find it difficult to disagree with nearly all that you point out. Maybe it’s just my perception that what I see from him is arrogance.

  16. Hiram Hover - May 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Hairston went 2-3 with the Nats only XBH last night.

    None of us likes his D, but with #s like that, we are going to see more of him as a starter vs LHP.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      If you are impressed with a single and a double in the classic righty/lefty matchup then you had a lot to cheer about last night as many of the Nats got nice hits on Niese. I still believe Frandsen who owned a .400 lifetime BA against Niese could have done the same as he is a lefty killer.

      Great for Hairston that he got the start and opportunity and took advantage of that.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 17, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      I’m happy for his him and his production at the plate. I detest crappy outfielding though, especially at the ML level. And he may not be the worst the Nats have ever had, but Hairston is pretty bad out there.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        Hairston is now 7 for 13 this season vs lefties. .538/.538/.692/1.231 He’s 1 for 5 against RHPs.

        Yes he is dominating lefties this season but his defense also in a small sample size is at a .833 Fielding % but fielding % doesnt tell the whole story when you consider that balls that should be caught that are misplayed aren’t errors.

        The Eric Young RBI double over Hairston’s head would most likely have been caught by any decent LF. That cost Roark to pitch the 6th inning + a run. Instead of 5-1 it was then 5-2.

        This is the tradeoff with Hairston. He gets a RBI in the game but gives up a run and that’s where you have to weigh the benefit of playing Hairston.

      • thelatencn - May 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        Last night, for example, he misplayed Recker’s liner in the 5th and it became a double. harper definately makes that catch. So does McLouth, probably even Frandsen. If that out is made, Roark may well get out of the inning unscathed. (I understand, the universe splinters if the catch is made, but still, the next two players made outs.)

  17. dcwx61 - May 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    So MW (Wallace) and PW (wood) think tyler moore will likely have to be traded as first base is full for the forseeable future (ALR,RZ…)
    Would Tyler Moore have a place on the team as a platoon position at first with Zimm/Rendon at 3rd/2nd or vicaversa. Rather then Zimm at 1b all the time ?

    • 6ID20 - May 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      This year, maybe. But only if LaRoche is hurt. Next year? No way.

    • Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Zim and Rendon are both RH hitters, and so is TyMo. What kind of platoon are you thinking about? And would you really want Ty-Mo’s bat in the lineup instead of Zim’s or Rendon’s on even one day a week, much less some kind of rotation? I sure wouldn’t.

      I tend to agree that Ty-Mo is trade bait, and it’s good he’s getting a chance to increase his value with ALR out.

      On the other hand, all of these scenarios assume that Espi is our 2B of the future. I’m definitely not convinced of that. Ty-Mo’s bat might be better than his.

      • dcwx61 - May 17, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Yes, I’m making the assumption that Espi will not be a starter with a healthy infield.
        I am proposing putting Moore instead or Espi’s bat by having him at 1st instead of Zimm most of the time with Zimm/Rendon at 3b/2b or vicaversa. You have all three in the lineup replacing Moores bat with Espis.
        Moore also would serve the role when Zimm suffers injuries in the upcoming years. I see espi as a utility infielder/backup for 2b/ss/3b…..We’ve been lucky that Desmond/Rendon has been injury free but cannot assume that luck for ever.

  18. Candide - May 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Off-topic, but if there’s any place to find the answer to this question, it has to be here.

    Cunegonde and I are going up to Boston in September with a New Jersey friend to see the BoSox. My friend has already bought the e-tickets and downloaded them online. He sent me the files for the tickets, with names like “Printable Ticket.html,” “Printable Ticket1.html,” etc.

    The problem is, when you download a ticket like that, the .html file doesn’t contain everything you need to print off the entire ticket. There are apparently some files that get downloaded to your computer and stored somewhere in a deep, dark, and remote location, so when you send the .html file to someone else, he’s able to print MOST of the ticket, but not all, because there are some busted links that go to the files on the downloader’s own computer – apparently mostly graphics files that have nothing to do with the actual game in question.

    The html files I got have all the important game info – the date, the seat locations, and the bar code, as well as all the tiny-print legalese. I’m just wondering if the lack of the graphics can be an issue. I’d hate for us to fly all the way to Boston and have some gate person refuse us entry because the ticket doesn’t look right.

    Anyone here have any experience with this?

    • ehay2k - May 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      My suggestion is to call the Bosox ticket office and ask them. This year’s policies might be new/different from any thing people here may have experienced. I’d hate to steer you wrong.

    • Dave - May 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Can your fried “print” them as PDF files and then email you those? That ought to work, as long as the finished products have bar codes on them.

      I think the bar code is all you need to get into the ballpark, and the info is all the usher needs to seat you.

    • Dave - May 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      But I agree with ehay2k, you should probably call the Red Sox ticket office to be sure.

  19. ehay2k - May 17, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    If Werth was disappointed in Soriano, he had a right to be. That wasn’t smart pitching and he was lucky to get away with it. It was almost as if Soriano didn’t know who was batting. I’m sure that is not the case, but he looked like he was nibbling at guys he should have attacked. But it’s hard to be critical of Sori’s results. Perhaps he just channels his inner Cordero for us?

    Remember when Span couldn’t get to that ball just out of reach the other night? Had he been 6’6”, no problem. So, when we talk about developing players, let’s make sure they are fed well in the minors so they grow nice and tall like Werth!

    But seriously, that was a very nice play by Werth who hasn’t been having his best year defensively. There have been a couple of times where it seemed he didn’t have a good feel for where his glove was. And if someone here can enlighten me as to why he took a knee three times in a single at bat, I’d be grateful. That was just weird to watch, but I’m sure there was a reason for it.

    • Section 222 - May 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      As MNF might say, “why can’t Span be 3″ taller?”

  20. Candide - May 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    And if someone here can enlighten me as to why he took a knee three times in a single at bat, I’d be grateful.

    Just speculating: He figures if a pitch is borderline low, he can go after it, but if he’s going to swing at it, better to come down a bit so that his swing is straighter. Otherwise, trying to hit it from a more upright position, your swing gets a big fat loop in it and you end up looking like Danny Espinosa.

    It may be a bit unorthodox, but is there anything about Werth that you would characterize as orthodox? He’s definitely a thinking man’s hitter.

    • NatsLady - May 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      I’ve seen Werth do that “knee” swing several times now, so I agree, it’s not accidental. He’s might have seen something in a video somewhere and is experimenting to see if he can get more power out of his legs.

  21. Theophilus T.S. - May 17, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Soriano gave up about 775 feet of fly balls in the 9th inning, a reminder of the thin ledge on which the Nationals walk every time he comes in to close. The problem with focusing on that is that Soriano is the Wallenda of closers. Every closer, to some degree, lives on the edge. Perkins nearly blew one last night; Balfour, if I remember correctly, actually did. Perkins is nearly always “clean,” and Balfour is never clean. So far this season, Soriano is ahead of most everyone else. The perils with which closers live shows that “talent,” or “stuff,” or “dominance” are not qualities that necessarily define success. What really defines success — and it may be the only plus factor Soriano possesses — is the ability to pitch tactically, to be able to decide where in the opposing lineup he’s going to get three outs and not only the pitches he has to throw to get outs but also the pitches he needs to throw to not get hurt.

    I’m not clear that Soriano can keep this up w/ his declining repertoire but for the rest of the season I’m prepared to live with the “excitement.”

    • NatsLady - May 17, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Soriano is a very smart pitcher, but he admits that he sometimes doesn’t throw a “good” pitch. Now, that could mean either (1) he didn’t decide on the correct pitch or (2) he had the right idea but wasn’t able to execute.

      He said last night his concentration was disturbed by the fan on the field. I can believe that (though not excusing it, stuff happens).

      Also, when asked who got the save, him or Werth, he said, “That guy” meaning Werth.

      Clip’s also a strikeout/flyball pitcher. You take your chances that it will stay in the park, or if it doesn’t that he hasn’t walked someone in front of the HR. You are rarely going to get out of an inning with a doubleplay with that type of pitcher, just have the outfielders be on their toes. I’m sure they see Clip coming in and know the ball will be coming their way.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 70 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 67 10.0
NEW YORK 62 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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