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Elation in the 9th, dejection in the 13th

Jun 21, 2014, 1:20 AM EST

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As the ball went screaming off Anthony Rendon’s bat and soared toward the bullpen in deep left-center field, anything seemed possible, from the Nationals’ standpoint, for the first time in a long time.

What’s that about this team’s mental hurdle trying to beat the Braves? How about a game-tying, 2-out, bottom-of-the-ninth homer off Craig Kimbrel to cure all that ails the Nats?

“Especially the timing of it,” teammate Adam LaRoche said, “coming against this team that we’ve had so much trouble with. You go from realistically knowing there in the ninth it’s going to be tough to get this one, with the best closer in the game on the mound. And you tie it up. It’s a pretty good feeling after that, that we’re going to win it.”

So the stage was set for the Nationals to exorcise their ever-growing Atlanta demons, winning a game in dramatic fashion to retain their position atop the NL East. The only problem: They couldn’t push across the actual winning run before ultimately giving it up in the 13th inning, allowing a potentially season-changing victory to devolve instead to as demoralizing a loss as they’ve suffered all year.

Final score: Braves 6, Nats 4. Say hello to second place again, thanks to the 20th loss in 27 games against Atlanta.

“This game changes on one swing sometimes,” manager Matt Williams said. “That could’ve been the one swing. It turned out it wasn’t.”

Lifeless at the plate for most of the night, the Nationals gave themselves one last shot in the bottom of the ninth against the almighty Kimbrel. Pinch-hitter Nate McLouth drew a leadoff walk, then after Greg Dobbs and Denard Span popped out, Rendon stepped up as his team’s last hope. The second-year infielder worked the count to 2-1, then turned on Kimbrel’s 98 mph fastball and sent it flying to deep left-center.

“Just try to see the ball, try not to do too much,” Rendon said of his approach against the fearsome Kimbrel. “He’s going to supply all the power. He throws 100 mph. He throws pretty hard. He’s a phenomenal pitcher. I just tried to barrel it.”

After a slight delay while the play was reviewed in New York, Rendon was officially awarded his home run, sending the crowd of 36,608 into a frenzy and leaving the Braves downright stunned.

But as inspiring as that moment was, it wouldn’t do much good if the Nationals couldn’t finish off the victory. They couldn’t do it against Kimbrel in the ninth, then they couldn’t do it in the 10th, 11th or 12th innings against a trio of Atlanta relievers, two of them making their major-league debuts.

The Nationals’ bullpen had already done yeoman’s work to keep the game knotted at 4, with Drew Storen, Craig Stammen, Rafael Soriano, Tyler Clippard and Jerry Blevins combining to toss six scoreless innings, retiring 18 consecutive batters at one point.

And then fatigue set in. With rookie Aaron Barrett unavailable after pitching the previous three nights, and with long man Ross Detwiler available only in an emergency after throwing 45 pitches two nights earlier, Williams had no choice but to send Blevins back to the mound for a second inning of work.

The veteran lefty, who himself had thrown 18 pitches the night before, immediately got into trouble in the 13th, walking leadoff man B.J. Upton. “That’s the one that gets me the most, the leadoff walk to Upton,” he said. “You can’t do that.”

Freddie Freeman followed with a single, then Evan Gattis delivered the base hit to left that brought home the eventual winning run. A botched double-play attempt later in the inning let an insurance run home and left the Nationals trailing by 2.

“Everybody’s tired,” Blevins said. “We’re in the 13th inning. Their guys have been going the whole time, our guys have. You’ve just got to step up. I didn’t get the job done. I gave up a couple runs, didn’t get the job done.”

The Nationals’ final shot at extending the game ended quickly, with Jordan Walden retiring the side in the bottom of the 13th, and so this team trudged off the field after yet another loss to the Braves. They’ve experienced this so many times in the last 1 1/2 years, yet this one stung as much as any that came before it.

“We came back against one of the best closers in the game to tie the game,” Williams said. “Had an opportunity, but we lost it. But (I’m) proud of them for fighting back, staying in it and giving ourselves an opportunity. … It’s no fun to lose. Nobody wants to lose. But we’ve got two more against these guys and a whole bunch of games left. So we have to have short memories.”

  1. David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    As I said in the other thread, let’s just hope Doug Fister is good luck since he hasn’t been part of this one-sided “rivalry.” All you can do is try to win the next game. Otherwise, I’m at a loss.

    • BurnedOnce - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      I expect Fister to pitch well. I expect no run support for him unless Tehran throws BP. And the last Fox broadcast game I remember us winning is the Phillies game where Harper got plunked and stole home.

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        Uhhh, that was an ESPN game 3 years ago. Nats have been on Fix a bunch of times since then, including just last Saturday night.

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        FOX, not FIx.

      • Doc - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        No need to correct, FOX is FIXXED!

      • BurnedOnce - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Ah then I don’t remember a win on Fox.

      • 6ID20 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        As I recall, we ended up losing the game that Harper stole home. It was the third game of the Natitude Park series. We won the first two games, the ones that weren’t on national TV. That game was basically the beginning of the national TV curse.

      • BurnedOnce - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        Shoot yes it was a 9-3 Phillies win – guess I don’t remember a national tv win. There you have it.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        I will point out that both of the playoff wins in 2012 were on National TV, and both came after the game where Hamels plunked Harper.

  2. natsguy - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:52 AM

    MW and DJ same guy. Proud of how they fought back. Famous last words of losing teams. They may not be owned but the Braves sure hold the mortgage.

  3. natsguy - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    3 games under .500 since game 9 or 88% of he season to date. Projecting to about 84 wins if they didn’t have to play the Braves anymore. Not enough. It is crucial to their own psyche that they win next two games.

    • David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:53 AM

      I always laugh at these posts with arbitrary endpoints. Why game 9? What happened in game 9? Let’s play it another way:

      Despite their ownage of the Nats, since their 17-7 start, the Braves are 21-28…that’s 7 games under .500. During that same time, the Nats are 24-23 or 1 game over .500. So since the Braves 17-7 hot start, the Nationals have been 8 games better than the Braves. And that’s despite the Braves winning 7 of 8 from the Nats. Without that it would be insanely lopsided.

      None of that matters though. We’re in second place by half a game. That’s what matters.

      • David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:54 AM

        Excuse my awful math in this post, I realized what an idiot I am immediately after I posted. It’s not 8 games better. But it’s still significantly better and that’s the point.

      • NatsLady - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:46 AM

        On June 21. One-half game on June 21. That’s not what matters. What matters is getting this train back on track.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        And tied in the loss column despite the awful record that they have against the Braves.

  4. David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    I blame my awful posting at 3am on insomnia. Apologies.

    • Doc - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      You done good DP!

      Thanks for the stats, amended or otherwise. We’re OK, except against these bas**** Braves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      We also have 2 more big guys to get back in there. Life will go on—-successfully!

      There will be joy in Natsville, mighty Tony didn’t strike out.

  5. natsfan24 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    I was really pissed off around the 7th inning to the point where Redskin Fan apathy creeps in…

    Rendon is why I still care. That guy is such a professional. He is a modern day Robbie Alomar minus the attitude.

    I am so disappointed with Ryan Zimmerman. How in the hell do you ground into two double plays in a huge game like this? C’Mon Zim.

    I am equally disappointed in Werth. You are going to strike out 4 times in a game like this? He is officially over paid. How dare you choke like that?

    Needs to be cut: Loboton (not only for his abysmal hitting but his game calling).

  6. natsfan24 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    If the Nats get swept, heads need to roll. Man cards will be revoked.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I commented about Kimbrel’s lack of control that the Nats needed patience. McLouth worked a walk and that was a professional AB. Dobbs goes 1st ball swinging after McLouth walked. What did he miss while standing in the batters box?

    Someone commented that the pitch was a strike. It wasn’t and really not close. The 2nd pitch was but clearly Kimbrel was trying to get Dobbs swinging at outside pitches and if you take the 1st pitch and the 2nd pitch you are in a 1-1 count. Big deal. Dobbs should have been waiting for “his” pitch like Rendon did.

    I expect more from Dobbs. He’s done nothing and time for him to go. He’s probably going to be DFA’d when Bryce comes back anyway, but I say get the “en fuego” Walters back here until Bryce is ready.

  8. sjm308 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Upset as I am sure all fans are.

    Did not read or post yesterday, just too tired.

    I am sure it was mentioned, but why is Detwiler in the the bullpen? Except for Stammen, I can’t see any of our guys going more than one inning and that is obviously what hurt Blevins last night.
    If we are not going to use Detwiler, then get the bag of balls for him and lets move on.

    Hate to be negative this morning and I realize we are still in the hunt but we honestly need to get things going in a different direction. As for Dobbs, I think it is pretty obvious that he will be gone as soon as Bryce is ready.

    I have to hope that Ramos and Harper will make a huge difference as well but Matt really is learning on the job here and that hurts as well.

    Hoping I can run my streak to 4 in a row and stop this mess.
    See you at the Park!

    Go Nats!!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      As to Detwiler, why indeed. He is now akin to an anchor thrown behind a boat that is trying to move forward.He is a drag.
      308, I am in 100% agreement with you regarding Soriano as being the only All-Star worthy player on this team right now. He has been fantastic.

    • dcwx61 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      +1
      We’ll be in 312…tough game tonight…
      Missed opportunities last night.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Great section to really see the game, dcwx61. Hope you don’t get rained out!

      • dcwx61 - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        Yes, that’s my partial season tix plan seats.
        Was a beautifully played game

    • therealjohnc - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      MW was trying not to use Detwiler because he threw 45 pitches (basically half a start’s worth of pitches) two days ago – but he would have gone in the 14th. He was also the last man in the bullpen (Barrett had thrown three days in a row, and was unavailable). But Williams was planning to use Detwiler in the 14th at need. And why not go in the 13th? Neither option (Detwiler vs. Blevins) was great, but with the pitcher’s spot hitting fourth in the bottom of the 13th and the bench completely used up MW would have had to send Detwiler up to hit (instead of the better pitchers as options, such as Roark to bunt or JZim to hit) in the bottom of the inning because he would have been the last man standing.

      All the criticism, but if you think it through you realize that MW had thought it through.

      • sjm308 - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        thanks for that John – I really did not criticize but questioned why he was not used and you answered it well

  9. BurnedOnce - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    I maintain that this team cannot hit if the opposition is pitching mediocre or better. We win when the opposition makes mistakes. We do not win if it requires us to beat them head to head in cleanly played, reasonably pitched game. The litany of great pitchers we beat eg Cueto etc are all on days they left pitches up or had bad location. We beat Houston but not soundly. On Wednesday we beat them because of their walks and slow pitching allowing stolen bases. We have lots of talent on paper but as for execution it looks to me like mostly luck. The Nats can’t seem to deliver if the opposition has a backbone.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I am pulling this over from the instant analysis thread. It was my response to NatsLady stating that she had a difficult time blaming Blevins for the loss:

    When we traded for Blevins it was said that he wasn’t just a lefty specialist, but a durable guy that could go multiple innings, and that he actually had better splits against RH’ed batters last year. So Williams should be able to get more than one inning out of him. I wasn’t sold of him the day we made the trade, yet he looked good in several key situations before last night.But to say it’s difficult to blame him for last night after he gave up the lead off walk to .205 BJ Upton? I not only have no problem blaming him, I am all the way back to feeling the way I did the day we made the trade for him; i.e. I’m not sold on him.

    A bigger question I had was a decision that Williams made earlier that actually worked out , and that was to bring Clippard in to face Justin Heyward to start the 11th inning. Heyward now has a .career 556 BA against Clippard. Earlier in the year in the same situation, Heyward clocked Tyler. I thought it made more sense to bring Blevins in then. That’s why we got him. My hat’s off to Tyler for the job he did, but it was still a very questionable, low percentage call by Matt Williams.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      “@AdamKilgoreWP: The Nats traded for Blevins, in part, to deal with Freddie Freeman. It has not gone well. First and third, no outs in the 13th.”

      Walking the leadoff .205 hitter was the dagger.

      Read Strasburg on the Heyward strategy with fastballs. Also on MLB Network they called Werth’s read off the bat wasn’t good.

      Plenty of blame to go around.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        Steve, I agree that Werth didn’t get a great read, but from where he was positioned there was no way in hell that he would have made that catch anyway.
        I’m sure Blevins will give us many quality appearances before all is said and done, but I also expect for him to lay a couple of more rotten eggs, too. He is nothing to write home about in my opinion.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        I agree Joe, didn’t seem close to getting to it.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        I love our seats in 311 because we get a great view of balls off the bat and their flight to the outfield. Outfield play is one of my favorite things about watching baseball. The shot that got by Jayson was one of those line drives that are tough to read off the bat. I’m pretty sure Werth would not have made that play even in his prime because of where he was and where the ball was hit.
        Even though it worked out, did you question bringing in Clippard to face Heyward, who was actually a career near .600 hitter against him?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Extra innings and limited arms, there was no choice. Clip did great.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Didn’t Justin Heyward play for the Moody Blues

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        Jason Heyward.Sorry, but jeez, we got down to Justin’s at 4:00 yesterday, stayed for the whole game, drove 35 miles home in the rain and crappy traffic. And yes, Justin Heyward did play with the Moody Blues
        JASON Heyward did kill us in one of the first games of the season, sending Clippard into a prolonged funk, after he cost us a win.

  11. Barved - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    No power from our 3,4,5 hitters. That’s why we stink. Unfortunately we are at the decline phase of Zim and Werth and their power is already on the decline phase. Hopefully Harper can reach his potential, but this team needs a solid bat next year to replace Laroche or Span. Otherwise I don’t see much improvement in the offense since Zil and Werth are not going to hit more than 20 homers again.

  12. NatsLady - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    I don’t know about you, but I was disappointed in Strasburg’s postgame remarks. Seemed like he was throwing McCatty (and Lobaton) under the proverbial bus. I put the quotes and video in this post.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      He sure was but wasn’t Lobaton following instructions? His framing wasn’t the best but the pitch selection seemed fine if that was in fact the game plan. Stras talked about the wisdom of throwing 18 of his 19 pitches as fastballs. Yes, you have to wonder.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        Stephen looked good until he had to get a third strike.He just couldn’t seem to put them away after getting two strikes.It was frustrating for us to watch, I can only imagine what he felt.
        Lobo is what he is, that is, a second string catcher. I am much more worried about Zimmerman and Werth at the plate over the past couple of weeks. the team is out of sync at the plate in general.Span was left on 3rd twice last night, and LOB 3 times overall. He gets to 3rd, somebody has to get him home.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        Yep corner OFs could only get 1 hit and that was a bouncer off of the plate.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        Steve, I know that it’s unconventional these days to do it, but in the 3rd Span doubled, advanced to 3rd on Rendon’s ground out. Then with 2 outs, and Werth at bat, Gattis was lobbing the ball back to Minor. Span was taking great secondary leads. I swear he could have stolen home fairly easily on a delayed steal. Crazy? Maybe, but I watched Rod Carew do it more than once in similar situations.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        The juice probably not werth the squeeze. Still low percentage and if you’re thrown out you’re the scapegoat.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        What I am saying is that Gattis was really lobbing the ball back to Minor, and Span was half way down the line. I really think that he could have caught them with their pants down. And I agree, if you do it and it doesn’t work you look bad, but good grief, he’s getting stranded a lot there anyway. Did you know that Babe Ruth had 10 documented steals of home? Of course Cobb did it 54 times, but in more recent history, Rod Carew pulled it off 17 times. It is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, and it can still be done if you pick and chose the right time, and the delayed steal is a blast to watch get executed successfully!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        3 run lead, that would be worth it.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Steve, here is Jayson Werth pulling off a delayed steal with perfect execution. Not the catcher lobbing the ball back:

        http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090512&content_id=4693536&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb&fext=.jsp

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        I meant to say “note” the catcher, not,”not” the catcher.

    • npb99 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Thanks for the link. McCatty was right – pitchers can and do shake off signs. Stras’ own fault if he isn’t confident enough in his stuff to take charge of what to throw.

    • Another_Sam - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      NatsLady — I’m disappointed in Strasburg in a number of ways, all of ‘em on the field. I don’t care what he says after the game; I care about him getting these guys out during the game.

      • NatsLady - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Another_Sam, I agree 100%. And that’s why I don’t mind “formula” responses at all. In this case, Stras departed from the formula and we saw what he was really thinking–and it wasn’t pretty. So that’s why I care. And I hope the remarks will come to the attention of higher-powers-that-be, because it’s not a good attitude. And attitude DOES matter on the field.

        This is something that should have been dealt with internally. If Stras isso frustrated that he expressed it to reporters then you have to figure he was frustrated on the field, and that it could affect his performance. I regard this in the same light as injury reports, except that we don’t normally find out about attitude problems, we usually have to surmise them from body language, etc., which is chancy and speculative.

    • natsfan1a - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      No offense, NatsLady, but I’d rather have had a direct link to Kilgore’s piece than a link to your piece quoting it and linking to it. I prefer to read such quotes, particularly controversial ones, in their full context, and I’d rather go straight to the original article than get there via a detour. I didn’t know who had written the original piece from which you quoted until I went to your site. (Plus, some video there started playing without my having clicked on it, which is a curmudgeonly pet peeve of mine.)

      • NatsLady - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        Sorry. I particularly wanted to include the video as well as an extended quote from Kilgore’s article and I didn’t want to put them here and clog up this blog. The reason I wanted to include the video is exactly what you said, namely, context. Stras said a bunch of stuff before he got to the quote in question, and, for example, the MASN article only included the “game plan” quote in their article. I’m not sure why videos autoplay but I’ll see if there is a setting I can use to fix it.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        Thanks, NL. I don’t know how to turn off auto-plays on my end, or whether it’s possible to do so.

  13. natsguy - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    David Proctor,

    I use game 9 because that was the high mark of the year for them at this point. It also shows how poorly they have played for a very long time. 3 games under .500 is not very good. Interestingly that was the high mark at this time last year. Looks like nothing is changing except the Marlins. The Braves aren’t as far up but they had played the Nats more at this time last year so had more victories.

    Nats need to get right with the Braves this weekend

    Don’t worry I laugh at your ridiculously pollyanna posts too. You should change your handle.

  14. npb99 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    I wonder whether RZ’s shoulder is deteriorated to the point that it’s harming his hitting. An injury that keeps him from throwing properly could also affect his swing.
    Are people really happy that we have this guy under contract for $100M? I’m worried about how we’re going to fit in (hide) two aging and overpriced guys (JW and RZ) guys in our defense the next few years.

    • micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      I would not be upset at all if he was traded to an AL club, in act there are several players on this team that really have worn out their welcome.

      • npb99 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        He may be untradeable due to the injury, but if not, Rizzo would probably have to throw in some money to make that trade. I’d be for it. Signing RZ to an extension was done out of sentimentality more than anything else. Look at how winners like the Red Sox and Cards operate. No one is untouchable. The point is to field the best team possible. Nothing else matters.

    • micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      face of the franchise, my ass!!

  15. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Rendon is a star and he is a winner. MW’s comment about beating a top closer just does not cut it. I guarantee anyone that Earl Weaver and Billy Martin could have given a rats ass about beating Kimbrell to tie up a game that their team ended up losing to, AGAIN! Weaver and Martin (both winners of WS Champiosnships) would probably and rightfully have expressed their frustration both privately and publicly with RZim (face of the franchise) crap ass at bats and 2 DP balls. I also guarantee, neither would blame Blevins but instead would blast the core of the veteran batting order for not stepping up when it mattered in the 10, 11 and 12 innings. Werth, Span and Zim, very very poor of them last night. They should be ashamed of themselves as this ridiculous domination by the Braves is going on in nats park.

    i will predict that if the Nats lose all 4 games, they will not win the East and I would bet would struggle to beat out te marlins fr second. This is not doom and gloom, this is reality about a group of players who are not prime time, mental head cases who need a real manager like weaver or martin to kick them in their asses!! The home crowd would have every right to boo their asses if they lose all 4 to the Braves.

  16. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    the defense of many of these underachieving no account players by using fangraphs is the face of today’s generation that makes everyone a winner, hands out 5th, 6th, 7th place trophies to every kid and rewards mediocrity.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Still can’t get over that the Nats faced 2 relievers that were making MLB debuts and thrust into Hi Lev spots and couldn’t beat either of them.

    Swinging for the fences instead of working the count. Everyone wants to be a hero. I was begging for singles. Too much to ask for.

    • dcwx61 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      +1

  18. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    and to add Ghost, its not like the Braves came into Nats park as the hottest team in MLB. this is what really makes the state of the Nats very bleak. they can not beat and frankly compete with the teams they need to beat. MW approach has failed, period. Either he changes it by getting in their grills or Rizzo needs to can him

  19. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    MW’s post game sounded so much like Norv Turner, ugh!

  20. JamesFan - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    This team does seem to lack mental toughness. Werth looks exhausted and Ramos cannot stay on the field. Nats pitching deserves better support than they are getting.

    • micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      you have a good point about Werth and maybe I am being to harsh on him, he is probably doing all he can. Ramos is either injury prone which would make him worthless in the long run, or the Nats trainers suck. Ramos is talented enough where at the least Rizzo ought to look into a assembling better training staff.

    • dcwx61 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      give him a day off then,,,,split up Desmond and espi in the lineup…there’s plenty Matt can do to shake things up just a little bit

  21. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    FOX, not FIx.

    njack, you had it correct the first time, believe me

  22. dcwx61 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    i’m predictin the Nats score tonight will be the same as today’s Germany Ghana match,,,but can not predict the winner
    GYFNG

  23. natsfan1a - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Actually stayed up and watched into extra innings, but went to bed before it ended. Yawn. Will be watching tv tonight and at the ballpark tomorrow.

  24. NatsLady - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Speaking of dejection,

    Also, apparently both debutantes came out of the Nats system, according to Charlie and Dave. I get the feeling the Nats are populating MLB with pitchers…

  25. natsfan1a - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Also on a dejection note, I think I may have tracked down that back-monkey:

    http://thevintageposter.com/ArtDetail.asp?Size=med&Inv=10573

    Okay, boys. You know your mission tonight. Go get ‘em. :-)

  26. sjm308 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    We discussed this up in 308 the other night.
    We honestly do not have a position player that is even close for consideration of being one of the top two players.
    Closest we could figure would be Desmond or Rendon but neither has all-star numbers. LaRoche has nice numbers but is buried behind lots of stars.

    We do have an all-star however. He gets almost as much grief on here as anyone but if you look at Soriano and what he has done this year, he is our all-star. You could pick Clippard (even with the one bad outing) or even Storen but I think for an All-Star game they like the big guys who close. Hard to pick any of our starters who all have had ups and downs, so for me its Soriano. Let the screaming begin.

    Go Nats!!

  27. BurnedOnce - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    + 1 on the all stars. As for Zims hitting, he did break his thumb which has got to effect his grip. I’m sure the soft tissue is not fully healed. Healed enough to make a swinging motion but not healed like it didn’t happen. I think the same will be true of Harper. He’ll be back on the field but I do not expect that he will be able to hit like we want him to.

  28. natsfan24 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    You’re probably right.

  29. therealjohnc - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Bwah hah hah! Brave anonymous internet commenters questioning the manliness of professional athletes! That’s hilarious – thanks for the laugh I definitely needed this morning :-)

  30. npb99 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    You’re probably right. Soriano may be unlikable, but he’s mostly delivered. I used to think this was a talented team, but not so sure anymore. JW & RZ are creaky, playing through age and injuries, underperforming and and overpaid players. Desi has heart and intensity, but too undisciplined. Rendon is a rising star, but not a star yet. Stras is good, but not great, as much as we hope he will be. And so on.
    And I hope I eat my words when this team goes on huge run, but we’re approaching the mid-way point and barely above .500.

  31. JamesFan - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    I agree with you. I don’t understand the reluctance to acknowledge Soriano’s contribution. Look at all the teams with closer problems. Sure, he doesn’t have a sparkling personality and hype, but I’ll take performance every time.

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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)...

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