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Game 50: Nats at Pirates

May 25, 2014, 10:28 AM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

PITTSBURGH — You may want to avert your eyes for a moment, but I feel compelled to share this fact: If the Nationals lose today, they would suffer their first four-game sweep since July 2009 against the Cubs, their first four-game road sweep since August 2008 in Milwaukee. Yikes.

But enough with the negative news. Let’s focus on several positive reasons why the Nats have reason to believe they won’t be heading out of Pittsburgh winless: 1) Adam LaRoche is officially back from the DL, hitting cleanup for the first time in 15 days, 2) Doug Fister is on the mound, and at this point, there may be no other pitcher the Nats would rather have out there in a must-win situation, 3) The Nats have been way more successful against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching this season, even with all the injuries, and today it’s lefty Francisco Liriano on the mound for the Pirates.

So, there you have it. Some reason for optimism. Updates to come, so please check back…

PNC Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9,
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869,
Weather: Sunny, 78 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to CF

CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
2B Kevin Frandsen
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Doug Fister

PIRATES (22-26)
RF Josh Harrison
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Ike Davis
LF Starling Marte
3B Pedro Alvarez
SS Jordy Mercer
C Chris Stewart
LHP Francisco Liriano

HP Tim Timmons
1B Tim Welke (cc)
2B Todd Tichenor
3B Gabe Morales

1:35 p.m. — And we’re underway on one last beautiful day here at PNC Park. Denard Span takes a strike from Francisco Liriano to get this one started.

1:49 p.m. — That’s exactly the kind of start the Nationals needed to this game. They scored two runs in the top of the first thanks to hits from Span, Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore, a walk by Anthony Rendon and some aggressiveness from Span, who scored on a wild pitch that only bounced 20 feet away from the plate. The Nats entered today hitting .284 against lefties, and that number only went up after a 3-for-6 top of the first that also included a scorched lineout by Kevin Frandsen that happened to be right at Pedro Alvarez. 2-0 Nats as Doug Fister takes the mound.

1:55 p.m. — And Fister opens his afternoon with a 9-pitch bottom of the first that included a 3-pitch strikeout of Andrew McCutchen. Since his dominant game Thursday night, the reigning MVP and Nat-killer has been held in check. He’s now 1 for his last 9.

2:07 p.m. — Make it 6 up, 6 down for Fister on 22 pitches. He had a really nice strikeout of Starling Marte on a 3-2 curveball. That’s showing some confidence right there. Still 2-0 Nats after two.

2:17 p.m. — Here’s a weird one for you: Rendon got caught trying to steal second too soon and got in a rundown. But Ike Davis dropped the ball, then spiked Rendon, who tripped and fell. So Davis was called for obstruction and Rendon was awarded second base. Meanwhile, Adam LaRoche is 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout in his first game off the DL. LaRoche gets booed unmercifully here. I guess the fans still hold some slow starts over multiple seasons against him. But this has got to be the only place in America where LaRoche gets booed. (Actually, I need to amend that. It probably happens at various deer farms in Kansas.)

2:33 p.m. — Things have settled down here, with Liriano finding his groove and keeping the Nats from scoring over the last three innings. Fister did finally put his first man of the game on base via a Chris Stewart single in the third, but that’s it so far allowed by the big right-hander. It remains 2-0 Nats heading to the bottom of the fourth.

3:04 p.m. — The magic number for the Nationals this season has been 4. When they score four or more runs, they’re 20-1. Well, they’ve got their four runs, thanks to Span’s second hit of a day (at the end of a fantastic, 11-pitch at-bat), a stolen base, a Rendon triple off the wall in right-center and Liriano’s second wild pitch of the afternoon. Speaking that stolen base, it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention but the Nats are now 23-for-27 on attempts this season. They rank 13th in the NL in number of steals, but their 85 percent success rate is best in the NL. 4-0 now heading to the bottom of the fifth.

3:19 p.m. — Fister appeared to get a 6-4-3 double play to end the fifth inning, only to watch as Desmond ole’d it for his 13th error of the season. So how did he respond: By inducing another 6-4-3 double play, this one successfully turned. That’s a pretty good idea of Doug Fister right there. Guy doesn’t let anything bother him on the mound. Still 4-0 Nats heading to the sixth.

3:36 p.m. — Wow, things sure fell apart quickly for Fister in the sixth. Josh Harrison — who has turned into Andrew McCutchen this weekend — led off with a homer. Then after two singles, Matt Williams came out to get the ball from Fister, who had thrown only 83 pitches. Certainly didn’t get the same ace treatment afforded to Stephen Strasburg last night. Then again, this move worked like a charm because Craig Stammen entered and on one pitch recorded two outs, getting Starling Marte on a 5-4-3. So it’s a 4-1 lead for the Nats after six.

3:57 p.m. — More insurance for the Nats in the seventh. They get a run on three singles, including an RBI hit by Desmond that was originally ruled a diving catch by Harrison in right field but was overturned on Matt Williams’ challenge. So it’s now 5-1 Nats at the stretch.

4:10 p.m. — Is there a more underrated reliever in baseball than Craig Stammen. He’s already tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in a big spot, and now he gets to hit for himself in the top of the eighth. His value to this team can’t be overstated.

4:28 p.m. — Don’t get too comfortable quite yet, folks. Ike Davis’ RBI single off Aaron Barrett in the eighth cut the lead to 5-2. Barrett did strike out both McCutchen and Marte to avoid any more damage, but it’s now a 5-2 game and thus a save situation is looming for Rafael Soriano in the ninth.

4:36 p.m. — OK, here we go. It’s Soriano vs. Alvarez, Mercer and Stewart in the bottom of the ninth, the Nats still leading by three runs.

4:44 p.m. — That’ll do it. The Nats earn a much-needed, 5-2 win to avoid a four-game sweep and get back to the .500 mark heading back to D.C. for a 9-game homestand.

121 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    From the last thread:

    +1, NJ… Werth absolutely brings leadership and authority to this team, but anybody who feels like they have to put the team on his back, for an extended time, will wind up pressing after awhile. I think there’ll come a time, after everybody has come off the DL, when the whole lineup will start hitting like they can, the team will put up 50+ runs one week, and I don’t think we’ll see a team-wide slump after that. No matter how brilliant your rotation is, knowing that leaving a single pitch up, can cost your team the win is enough to make you press. Scoring a couple in the early innings, consistently, and swinging for base hits with RISP, consistently, are the best ways to get this team humming, again, and that’s a tall order when you’re running 3-4 bench guys out there, every night.

    Two other points: even I am at the end of my rope, with Danny. This isn’t a player who doesn’t have the talent to be a great player, but one who (seemingly) refuses to take the nessecary approach to become one. If somebody would part with a bag of really clean, white balls, I would make that deal. I do not give up on talented players, but Danny makes me tired…

    The other point: please… I’m not a charter NI member, but I’ve a few years in here…. I’m not asking for Pollyannaism, but I’m not seeing ANY “GYFNG”, any more… One run losses are disinheartening, but look, we know what a hopeless situation looks like, and this is no hopeless situation… So let’s hope these guys can get to Liriano early, today, and that Fister, our new Stopper, can cruise…


    • ehay2k - May 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Yeah, a bit of malaise all around – team and fan base. But as Boz pointed put today in his column, few fans, except those of the A’s and the Morse-led Giants, have much to cheer about right now.

      The Nats have lost a ton of hitting power to injury, yet remain in the hunt. This hitting can’t help but improve with the return of guys who can actually hit and the relegation of free-swingers to the bench where they belong. Espi, for one, does remarkably improve with a couple of days resting on the bench, where I speculate that the pressure on his gluteus maximus forces more blood to his brain. Either that or he has a long, good look at the batter’s eye. There has to be a reason.

      My take on the Nats:
      Pitching looks super solid, both SP and pen. Hitting, see above. The defense, well, it has to improve. Too many errors, especially by non-benchers. But hitting and defense can be improved upon, and quickly when you have what amounts to a roster turnover. Even Ramos is still finding his groove and power.

      So, I’m not yet worried, just not at all satisfied. My only nitpick right now is our 3b coach. Sends ALR against a strong OF arm (more than once, I might add), but stops Werth when the Keystone (State) Cops fumble for the ball in CF? He needs to be more on the ball himself.

      GYFNG!!! Time for a WooooHoooo !!! (tm MicheleS)

      • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        Thanks, 2k!

  2. Joe Seamhead - May 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    My first reaction to seeing this lineup wasn’t very positive. I hope that I’m wrong.

    • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      I line it, against the struggling lefty…

      • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        Like….like it…(sheesh!)

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 25, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      At this point, I’m not sure what else could be trotted out there. GYFNG!

      • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        Thanks Eugene

    • Joe Seamhead - May 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Hey, I’m often wrong. I hope that I keep my percentage high. If Fister pitches the way he did last week there’s a good chance we’ll be fine.

      • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM


    • dcwx61 - May 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      I like that Frandsen is in as he should be at 2b while Zimm is injured

  3. natsguy - May 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    To all the people who beat me up about schmuckanosa, raspberries. Other than that keep your chins up. Things will probably get better

    However, schmuckie was the one who should have been sent down not, Zach Walters. Schmuckie does not belong in the MLB.

    • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 11:05 AM


    • 6ID20 - May 25, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      Walters hasn’t given any indication that he belongs up here either. Send them all down!

      • dcwx61 - May 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        he already was

  4. Eugene in Oregon - May 25, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    BTW, loved the post in the previous thread which — and I think I’ve parsed it out correctly — basically says: ‘The Spring 2012 Mike Rizzo should have clearly foreseen the Nats’ injury woes in 2014, which would have thus led the Summer 2012 Mike Rizzo to make the appropriate moves to set up the team’s Fall 2012 starter-out-of-the-bullpen options correctly and perfectly.” There’s a logic train there, I think, but I’m pretty sure it only works if you believe in alternate universes and time travel.

    • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      I’ve said this a thousand times but it NEVER seems to penetrate. If the Nats wanted to alter Stras’ routine, skip starts, put him in the BP etc, in 2012, the time they would have needed to do that was starting in June. Well, in June it was FAR from clear this was a 98-win time, or that you could do without Stras in the rotation to even stay above .500. The division looked very competitive, the Marlins had just had the world’s hotest May, the Phillies hadn’t folded, the Braves were neck-and-neck with us, and the Mets had not year become the Mets. By accident I listened to a mid-June podcast where the analysts were raving about a “FIVE team race in the NL East.”

      So, yeah, that’s exactly the time when you are going to make a decision to alter your starter’s routine (not sure that’s EVER a good idea with Stras), skip starts that he has a good chance of winning, or put him in the bullpen (where he’s NEVER been) so he can contribute fewer innings.

      By the time August came along, and post-season was becoming a near-certainty, it was too late to change course on Stras. It’s not clear at all we would have gotten to the postseason at all if Stras hadn’t been in the rotation, and effective in the rotation for the first half of the season. And as we know, he got less and less effective, to where he was alternating great starts with horrible ones. I was just listening to a great podcast (Effectively Wild) where they had the main doctor from the Dodgers on. He said it takes two years+ to recover from TJ, the first year in rehab, and the second year actually pitching games. So Stras was, in effect, playing injured in 2012. That’s who you want starting critical games in the postseason, an injured pitcher.

      • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        So many typos… hopefully that was understandable…

      • ehay2k - May 25, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        +1 NatsLady. Add to that two words: Chris Medlen. He pitched in the postseason, did that high-leverage pitching hurt his arm? No way to know. But Shutting Stras down didn’t hurt his.

      • ehay2k - May 25, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        +1 NatsLady. Add to that two words: Chris Medlen. He pitched in the postseason, did that high-leverage pitching hurt his arm? No way to know. But Shutting Stras down didn’t hurt his.

      • rmoore446 - May 25, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        Thanks for a good summary NatsLady. This is exactly what I thought in 2012 and believe now. A few predicted a chance at the wild card but far more had the team missing the playoffs. I bet if the team had pitched Stras in the playoffs and he later came up injured or needing a second TJ, the same critics would have blamed Rizzo for rushing him back. The alternative route followed by Braves’ Medlen was often cited as evidence by Dan Patrick and others of the Nats mistake. But not so much since Medlen’s 2nd TJ.

  5. Doc - May 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    A year ago I didn’t think that I’d be hoping ALR would be in the lineup.

    But Jeeze, go Adam; we need you, you bearded wonder!!!

    Danny The K went down swinging 3 times last night. How many times has he done that this year. I’m totally disappointed and disillusioned with Espi, and that’s very sad.

    Things will get better, but damn this is a hard time to be a Nats’ fan!


    • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Thanks, Doc!

    • Joe Seamhead - May 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Danny’s three K’s? 9 pitches. Ouch.


      • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        That’s what I’m talking about, Joe!

  6. natsguy - May 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    The only 2 players I totally have no use for on this team are Detwiler and schmuckie. Both of them have great talent but refuse to adjust, adapt, and learn. What a waste of talent. What a shame.

    • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      I’m with you on Detwiler. Even if he can find a way to adjust, he needs to be on the Cubs or something where he can be under less pressure, and maybe have different pitching coach because clearly either Cat hasn’t diagnosed the problem (unlikely) or Det isn’t listening.

      I may be the last person on earth to have hope for Danny, but I do.

      • Hiram Hover - May 25, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        He’s capable of going on hot streaks, and his D makes him an acceptable backup, but he is not capable of being an every day big league hitter, day in and day out. I have now given up on that.

      • Eric - May 25, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        I think he’s showed he can be an everyday hitter, simply because it’s clear where his problems lie, and he’s shown he can sustain for a month an approach that addresses those problems. It seems possible to be that he can come back from the abyss twice.

        If he does, then imo the main question will be whether or not he can reduce the length of a given slump. I do think he’ll always battle them.

      • Hiram Hover - May 25, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Between two months this season and all of last season, he’s basically had one good month of major league hitting. That just won’t cut it. His lows are so low that even when they’re averaged together with his highs, the total isn’t acceptable.

        I think part of the problem is that he doesnt have the strike zone recognition and the mental fortitude and flexibility to identify and fix his problems. When he gets into a funk, he reverts to old habits and/or makes adjustments that just make things worse. For example, he’s striking out too much, so he swings less–but he holds off on the wrong pitches, so now they’re backward rather than swinging Ks. That ain’t progress.

      • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        That’s funny, ‘Lady, because I’m done with Danny, but still willing to give Det quite a bit more time to adjust to life in the ‘pen. Lol

        GYFNGOGOGO !!!

      • Eric - May 25, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        I’m not at all arguing that his overall production is acceptable.

        But, I would feel more resolved to an abysmal outcome for his hitting career if the one good month in the last two seasons was April 2013. The fact that it was April 2014 after his terrible 2013 shows that he *can* make effective adjustments. He just needs to do it again, and have much shorter slumps in the future, if he ever wants to be an MLB regular again.

      • lphboston - May 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        Assuming this team gets its collective head together, do you really want Espinosa up in an important situation late in the season or in the playoffs? Two on, 1 out in the top of the 9th, down a run?

    • Eric - May 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      You’re not the last to have hope for Espi, NL. I’m still a big fan due to his D, even though his ABs are beyond frustrating.

      I wonder why he’s stopped going back to the bunt when his swing gets long. Worked a number of times early on.

      In any case, I’m not sure why it’s necessary to call him a penis due to poor performance…but whatever does it for you.

      • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        Well, there’s winning and there’s entertainment. If I thought Danny was the sole reason the Nats aren’t 30-19, yeah, let him go… but he isn’t and in the meantime, it’s fun as crack (well, I’ve never actually smoked crack, but fun as I IMAGINE it would be to smoke crack), it’s so fun to watch him play in the field.

      • Eric - May 25, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        He is, although it’s not just fun to watch, it can save wins.

        IMO, the chances of Espi being the sole reason we’re not in the race are low. If the rest of our lineup is healthy he would be on the bench. Even if everyone were healthy except Zim, Desi, OR Rendon, this team should be able to float a slumping Espi playing every day.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        See new post on this subject.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 25, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      And you know that they refuse to adjust, adapt and learn how?

  7. Section 222 - May 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Espi is a disaster, no doubt about it. Still having hope for him is charming, but kind of silly in light of the record. Zim can’t get back soon enough. On the other hand, juvenile name-calling reflects more on the commenter than the player, in my opinion. As to how many times he has K’d this season, that would be 53 in 163 PAs, a K-rate of 32.5%. And that includes his so-called “good start.” Truly stunning.

    I was frustrated last night during the seventh, waiting in vain for our highly touted bullpen to save the day. But I was livid when I heard MW in the presser (yes, they played some of it on the Pirates radio post-game — MASN and 106.7 take note). I expected MW to say, even if he didn’t actually believe it, that he felt Stras still had it. Something like, “his velocity was still good, he felt strong, and we had a good plan to get the third out. I thought he gave us the best chance to get out of the inning.” But no, his justification was that Stras was our ace, he had earned the right to get out of the jam, and, most absurdly, he wanted to give him a shot to pick up the “win” by staying the pitcher of record for the 8th.

    What complete and utter crap! As HH and others have said here, MW’s job is to win ballgames. Not to show confidence in people, not to figure out who has earned the right to pitch or to hit. If MW was managing to win, he would have replaced Stras after Martin’s hit leading off the inning, or after Marte’s double, or after Tabata’s game tying single. But no, he has divided loyalties. Apparently, he’s more concerned about the psyche of the players, than the good of the team, than winning baseball games. That is idiotic.

    And by the way, if he really wanted to give Stras a good chance for the win, he would have taken him out after Martin’s leadoff hit. There is no shame in a six inning, 1 run start. In fact, he had pitched very, very well for six innings. I have every confidence, and MW should have to, that our bullpen could bring him a victory with that setup.

    Listening to the Pirates’ postgame on the radio was educational. Hurdle is straightforward and informative. He actually said he liked the matchup of Tabata, who has struggled recently, with Stras because Tabata had seen him in the AFL and done well. I wonder if MW was aware of that. And Harrison, as I noted late last night, was very confident going up against Stras for a fourth AB. He felt like he had seen everything Stras could throw, and was just trying to barrel something up.

    No game for me today. Suffering through three losses in a row in an opposing stadium is enough. Still, it was great weekend. Kind of.

    • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Thanks, for the report, deuces. Sorry you are missing a game…Nats up 2-0 in the first (and it would have been 3-0 if Frandsen’s liner had got through….)

      • Section 222 - May 25, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Thanks. Luckily, I’m sitting on my porch in the mountains, with the Pirates’ radio broadcast. Enjoying the quick work of Fister so far.

    • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Now you know how Eugene and I felt after the A’s series.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        +1 (and UNTERP, too).

  8. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Maybe LaRoche will help get these guys going. Glad you’re back, Adam.

  9. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    That’s how you start the game.

  10. NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Span sure does love those low pitches!

  11. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Make it stop!

  12. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Thank you wild pitch.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Thanks Liriano. Needed Werth to swing at a strike.

  14. Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Desi hitting like he used to in man in 3rd and 2 outs. In 2012 he led the Majors in that stat.

  15. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Who is this team?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      It helps having LaRoche back. Werth needs a day off. Every time I say that he has a big day.

  16. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Another lineout with RISP. Could’ve been a big inning. I’ll take 2 for now. The hard contact bodes well.

    • adcwonk - May 25, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Frankly, I think that’s part of what Werth was getting at last night. How many times in the past week were we not only just a run behind, but had RISP, hit a hard liner, that was right at somebody (or, not at somebody, but a fielder making a great play (McCutcheon, Hamilton) or a ridiculously outstanding play (Brandon Phillips).

      I heard Charlie and Dave mention, the other night, that the Nats BABIP for line drives, as a team, was around .650, and that Werth’s was around .450 — the implication being that he’s been stunningly unluckly on his lines drives so far, to be .200 below the team average.

      Lady luck (and the return of injured players) will change things.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Now Nats need add-on runs.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    McCutcheon looking. Wow

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Normally McCutcheon hits that 385 oppo over the Clemente wall. It was a sinker but center cut outside edge.

  19. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Moonshine BBQ, huh? Sounds appalling.

  20. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    I see Fister getting a no-hitter before any of the other Nats pitchers.

    • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM


      • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        Oh, come on.

  21. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Twice now Werth has swung at ball 4.

    • NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Is that when you say he’s seeing the ball little?

  22. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Maybe luck is on OUR side today.

  23. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Wow, our 2nd baseman got a hit!

  24. Joe Seamhead - May 25, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    I’m liking our leadoff batter today.

    • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Nice steal. Bout time Rendon!

  25. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Free runs. Yay.

  26. NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    I like Fister. No drama.

  27. NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Desi, it’s Memorial Day. Stop with the errors already.

    • David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      He had looked so much better coming into this series, but 3 errors in this series has him looking like he did early on.

  28. NatsLady - May 25, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    As I said, I like Fister. No drama. 😉

  29. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Fister is a joy to watch.

  30. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    No walks for Fister. Crucial.

  31. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Shake it off. No biggie.

  32. philipd763 - May 25, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Harrison has always killed the Nationals.

  33. Danny - May 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    That ended quickly..

    • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      He was cruising. Still a solid outing. Let the best pen in the MLB finish this off.

  34. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    I guess after yesterday’s debacle, Fister was on a short leash. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

  35. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    This is way too quick of a hook. If you guys want the bullpen to be used this way every time a player gets into a jam, we won’t have any fresh arms in August or September. Matt is overreacting to the criticism of his Strasburg decision last night.

    • Danny - May 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Hindsight is 20/20 ha.

    • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Mission accomplished. Fister’s win preserved. We can’t have it both ways.

  36. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    And by the way, Fister looked pissed that Matt came and took him out. Yeah, yeah his job is to win the game not please players, but you’re going to lose your players trust if you yank them every time they get into trouble.

    Stammen got out of it, and that’s great, but I hate the decision to pull Fister there. It’s a rookie manager overreacting.

    • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      Agree, DP, but it IS good to see Matty learning… Fister didn’t have Stras’ pitch count, from last night, but going to the pen here indicates that he is thinking, and learning. Matt Williams, with a couple of years under his belt will be much more balanced, but for now, it’s like cursing the dark, to too worked up over his learning curve. He’s a rookie manager, and we’ll have to live with that. This decision, tight or wrong, represents progress…

  37. Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Matty today doesn’t wait for the game to fall apart

    • David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      Yeah, but now Fister has to look over his shoulder every time he gets into trouble.

      • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        And he should in the 6th or 7th inning with a lead.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        Fister has been around the block.

      • David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        And he’s shown he can get out of trouble. He was every bit as likely to get that groundball as Stammen. You want your starters to go deep, you have to trust them. It won’t always work out (it didn’t last night), but over the long run it will. That’s not to say you should blindly stick with a starter if they’re clearly wearing down, but despite giving up some hits, I didn’t get the impression Fister was out of gas at all. He was only at 84 pitches.

      • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        He wasn’t out of gas, but his stuff was starting to be up in the zone.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        4 game losing streak and you want him to do what he dis last night. Whatever.

      • David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        It was a completely different situation. We had a 3 run lead, Fister did not look tired and he was only at 80 pitches whereas Strasburg was well over 100.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        It was a completely different situation and he took the conservative route and it was absolutely the right move. They were making contact on Fister and the ball was up.

        Put in your shutdown bullpen and get the win.

        He got the win and you’re still complaining.

      • David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        I’m glad we got the win, but I worry about it becoming a long-term trend. I think it will hurt us in the long run if he continues to manage that way. I guess time will tell.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        I think he showed with the guys he will give them room to work out of it but after Saturday he knew the W had to be achieved.

        I say smart. Best bullpen in baseball.

      • Section 222 - May 25, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Who cares if he has to look over his shoulder? My goodness. Enough of the managing with the psychiatrist’s couch. Let’s just win the game.

        Looks like you’re in a very small minority today, even smaller than last night. But at least you disagreed with an MW decision for once.

  38. unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 3:36 PM


  39. rmoore446 - May 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    He may have specific reasons for the quick hook for Fister which seemed counter to his rationale for leaving Stras in. Right now, I’m just pleased at how well it worked!

  40. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Shift fail

  41. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Sneaky guy. Ha!

  42. unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Has anyone read anything re: how much input Matty’s staff has? Does Knorr have anything like a mentor relationship with him? Does McCatty have any say on these things? ME has to be the boss, but I would think that this is why you would keep so much of the precious regime in place, no?

    • unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Yeah…previous… previous regime…(sheesh!)

  43. texnat1 - May 25, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    How is that not a double? And ALR only allowed second?

    Oh well. At least they got the hit part right.

    • veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      LaRoche had to wait to tag up and Harrison came up w the ball quite quickly.

  44. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Probably the proper call.

    • texnat1 - May 25, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Disagree. Even the Pit announcers are very puzzled at ALR not being given 3rd.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 26, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        I was there and totally disagree, had the umps ruled correctly ALR stayed half way because umps rule wrong.

        Also Harrison didn’t get up fast as he was chasing the ball.

  45. texnat1 - May 25, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    That should have been another run with ALR at third.

  46. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    That’s a sac fly if ALR is properly placed on third

  47. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Time to bust this wide open.

  48. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Odd fact of the day: Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Tanner Roark are all tied for the team lead in ERA at 3.42.

  49. David Proctor - May 25, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Josh Beckett is 3 outs away from no hitting the Phillies.

  50. unkyd59 - May 25, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    If nothing else, it’s nice to see the staff get a handle on McCutcheon. You hate to have even the best hitters feel like they own you:

  51. Ghost of Steve M. - May 25, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    You have to manage to the game situation. If you are in a 4 game win streak then you let Fister keep going. People complain for the sake of complaining sometimes. Last night MW is barbequed for not pulling Stras much earlier. Go argue with someone else.

  52. Sec 3 My Sofa - May 25, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I’m all tucked up.

  53. veejh - May 25, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Had to leave…..did we win?

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - May 25, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      NOW they have.


  54. natsjackinfl - May 25, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    OK you Soriano dislikers, just keep on complaining about his success.

  55. natsfan1a - May 25, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Nice. Got to watch most of the game, did not fall asleep on the couch, and there’s another curly w in the books.

    Now it’s time for some grilled steaks. mmmm…

    • natsfan1a - May 25, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      Word Press, you are one wacky, wacky service. What time is it in your world, and what color is the sky? 😉

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - May 25, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Untucking into some grilled salmon here.





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