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Nats’ extra-inning woes reach new lows

Jul 8, 2014, 12:45 AM EST

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The Nationals, on paper, should be as formidable an extra-inning foe as anyone in baseball. Between a dominant and deep bullpen, a productive and deep lineup and a veteran-laden bench, they appear well-constructed to come up big the later the clock reads.

How then to explain their actual results this season? Monday’s 8-2, 11-inning loss to the Orioles was only the latest, most-extreme example of the Nationals’ late-night woes. They’re now 2-8 in extra innings this year, an inexplicable stat that nobody appears to be able to decipher.

“It’ll turn around,” said reliever Craig Stammen, who gave up five of Baltimore’s six 11th-inning runs. “Those games even out sooner or later.”

Perhaps they will. Perhaps this is all just a statistical anomaly that normalizes over time. The stats right now, though, aren’t pretty.

In innings 1-through-9, the Nationals are hitting a collective .249 and scoring an average of 4.2 runs. In innings 10 and beyond, they’re hitting a paltry .184, having scored eight total runs in 28 total innings.

One of the majors’ most-effective bullpens, meanwhile, has crumbled once summoned to work overtime. Nationals relievers sport a collective 2.26 ERA when pitching anything through the ninth inning. After that, their ERA balloons to 6.67.

“You have specialty pitchers at the back of bullpens,” manager Matt Williams said. “With the exception of our last inning, you could arguably say the same thing with our guys who came in (earlier: Tyler Clippard, Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen). They’re just specialty pitchers, so you can match up. I’m not concerned about that. We had an opportunity to get it done in the ninth, and it didn’t happen for us.”

The Nationals indeed had a golden opportunity to avoid extra innings altogether, setting themselves up for a potential game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth. Having tied things up 2-2 thanks to Anthony Rendon’s sixth-inning homer off Chris Tillman, they got a one-out double from Ryan Zimmerman, forcing Baltimore manager Buck Showalter to intentionally walk the slumping Bryce Harper and set up a double-play scenario for Ian Desmond.

Desmond historically has thrived in those situations — he was 11-for-17 in his career after the batter in front of him was intentionally walked — but he stood little chance against Orioles sidewinder Darren O’Day. Desmond whiffed on two straight high fastballs, then after fouling off two pitches he flailed at a breaking ball to strike out. Wilson Ramos followed suit, striking out on five pitches to leave the winning run stranded on second base and send this one to extras.

Desmond and Ramos each turned down postgame interview requests.

“You figure that a right-handed, sidearm pitcher, the ball sinks a lot,” Williams said. “But he was throwing balls up in the strike zone. That’s difficult to see, because it comes down here and it takes a different angle than you’re used to – up-to-down as opposed to down-to-up. That’s why he’s in that spot, because he’s really tough on right-handed hitters. We had an opportunity. Just didn’t happen.”

The Orioles made the most of their opportunity in the 11th, and then some. Stammen entered from the bullpen, fully prepared to go as many innings as the Nationals needed, a role he has cherished for several seasons. But he never even made it through that frame, torched for back-to-back home runs by Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy, with three more singles thrown in for good measure before he was unceremoniously yanked.

Stammen’s biggest issue? His slider, which felt good while warming up in the bullpen but fell flat once he entered the game. “One of those driving-range sliders I had today,” he said, trying to crack a smile.

“I made some good pitches with my fastball, but my slider was just so bad that it didn’t really matter what happened,” he added. “But I felt confident, I felt like I put [the first homer] behind me. It just didn’t work out.”

For three months now, it just hasn’t worked out for the Nationals in extra innings.

They have no explanation for it. They can only hope their fortunes change over the next three months.

111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:53 AM

    Not to single out Ghost who I respect, but I’m amused that whenever someone struggles, the immediate response on this site is to stick them on the DL with a phantom injury. Guys have to work out of their slumps. Stammen has had a few rough outings in a short time frame. It happens. Just like a hitter, the only way to get out of it is to pitch some more.

    Obviously, if there really is a physical issue, get it taken care of. But there’s no indication that’s the case. So move him into some lower leverage spots for now and just ride out the bumps. Same for Barrett. He’s a rookie, there will be bumps. His stuff is still good. Maybe a stint at AAA would be good for him since he skipped that level, but if he’s proven he can get big league hitters out (he has), I don’t think it sends the right message to demote him at the first sign of trouble. It also may be a product of him being used so often in the first half. Even when he wasn’t getting into games, he was often warming at the first sign of trouble. That wears on you. So if he’s legitimately fatigued, a DL stint or trip to AAA may make sense for him.

    Overall though, we need to refrain from any overreactions. These games happen. They suck, but they happen. Let’s see how the rest of the series plays out.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      +1

  2. therealjohnc - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    People will come up with many explanations, certain of the fact that they know teh secret to why the Nats have struggled in extra innings, particularly at home this year. There will be a variety of causes offered, but one common thread for virtually all of these explanations is that they will be narratives adapted to explain events rather than actual causes of events. In other words, steaming piles of [stuff].

    It’s baseball, a handful of games. Remember when the Orioles were 29-9 in one run games just two years ago, including double digit consecutive wins (until losing one in Game 5 of the ALDS – ouch)? And then the next year were 20-31 in one run games? Same manager, mostly same players, presumably with the same acumen, verve, heart, approach, etc. in back-to-back years. It’s baseball; weird stuff happens. Stammen is right, these things turn around. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will turn around right away. Just keep playing.

  3. David Proctor - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:15 AM

    Rendon says the cure to our extra inning woes is to score more runs than they do after the 9th inning. It might just be crazy enough to work.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:19 AM

      #voteRendon

  4. waddueyeno - Jul 8, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    meanwhile on the amalfi coast…..

    woke up just an hour after the game finished.

    i”m teaching/stage directing at the amalfi festival in italy, where one of the other teachers is a baltimore fan. we get home from performances just in time for me to catch the first inning. it’s going to be tough to tell him the score when i see him, next, but we’ll sweep the rest, right?

    and also, we have a group of people from the DC area who have come to watch shows, trael the hood, etc. so now i’m in charge of keeping them informed, too.

    tough gig, but the food is great.

    best to all.

    gyfng

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 6:27 AM

      What a cool place to spend time! I’ll bet the food and wine are both more than great! Not to mention the scenery.
      You’d never know it by the score, but it was a really good game last night, though very frustrating.

      GYFNG!!!

      • Doc - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:40 AM

        Correctomundo, Seams.

        Some entertaining baseball on both sides of the ball last night–lousy result for us Nats’ fans!.

        Love the way Rendy adjusts with 2 strikes. Machado vs. Rendon—some future debate there.

    • Section 222 - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Sounds like a blast Geno. Enjoy!

  5. Nats fool - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    Simple answer: certain players choke. It’s been that way since 2012.

    • lplipty - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:09 AM

      +1000

      But, it’s called Clutchless. Every single Nat except Rendon freezes and/or chokes in big spots. How else can u explain the xtra inning and one fun woes!

      • chaz11963 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        Good grief- really? Please show me the stats on this mind numbing hypothesis. I would go through Fangraphs and look at Nats’ high leverage ABs, but think I already know the conclusion.

      • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        Guessing you weren’t watching literally TWO DAYS AGO, when Span hit a double in the bottom of the 8th and Zimmerman singled to drive him home for the game winner?

      • adcwonk - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        Every single Nat except Rendon…

        Or that Desmond has *10* homers that have tied the game or given the Nats the lead? Including one *just last week* to beat the Rockies, 4-3?

        Or Ryan Zim’s 2-run HR in the top of the 16th to beat the Brewers (who at the time had NL’s best record) 4-2?

        Oh, wait, I get it. You weren’t aware of those because you were you born yesterday

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        peoples, peoples, peoples … plate discipline. Quit feeding them.

  6. chaz11963 - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    Good game… but UGH… HATE to lose to the Os. Their fans are starting to become like Phillies fans used to be. I was really starting to think the momentum was going our way in the 9th… then stagnation. .

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Two things that I always fine both amusing and also irritating after a loss like this: How many people scream for the team to make wholesale changes, and how many blame the manager.Get a grip.The team the Nats are in the dogfight with, the Braves, blew their game in extra innings last night too.

  8. ArVAFan - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Good morning to all (and I do mean that in the nicest way possible).

    Having attempted to determine for myself whether there is such a thing as “too much baseball,” I’ve attended 8 of the last 10 Nats games. I’ve determined three things:

    1. There isn’t such a thing as “too much baseball.” (I know, many posters on this site have known that for years, I’m sure, but it’s one of those things you have to find out for yourself).

    2. The Nats are playing pretty good baseball (not perfect, but they won 5 of those 8 games, plus the two I missed. That, overall, qualifies at least as “pretty good”, given that they are one of 8 teams with a 8-2 or 7-3 record over the last 10 games).

    3. Baseball, especially after nights like last night, can frustrate the heck out of us . . . but we love it anyway. And we keep watching, and cheering . . . because the score of today’s game is 0-0 now.

    • adcwonk - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      1. There isn’t such a thing as “too much baseball.”

      Awesome!

      2. The Nats are playing pretty good baseball

      Note to LoD complainers and trollers: over the past 36 games, the Nats have the best record in baseball. S&ck on that. Oh, and if the season ended this morning, the Nats are in the playoffs.

      Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty good baseball.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    “Stammen’s biggest issue? His slider, which felt good while warming up in the bullpen but fell flat once he entered the game.”

    Just what I said in the in-game notes. Lately in the pressure situations, his slider has not been good and his fastball isn’t a good pitch.

  10. sjm308 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Have been reading a little but not posting lately.
    I am sure that it was mentioned in one of the earlier posts but that might have been the largest number of O’s fans I have seen at a game. I have always been after my son to cease with the O during our National Anthem, for two reasons. One, to me it cheapens our Anthem and two it celebrates a team I am not fond of. Last night the O was louder than I had ever heard it, he looked at me and said “that wasn’t good”.
    I am guessing around 30% but it could have been higher and they were certainly the more vocal. Not nasty like Philly fans but certainly loud.
    Up in 308 it might have been a little lighter than 30% but looking down on the lower bowl you could certainly see a bunch of orange.
    So we go into the 9th inning and it really was a good game. Tense, excellent pitching, good defense, lots of situations where things could have changed with one timely hit. My season ticket group is talking about what a good game this is and I say “this is a good game only if we win”. After the Davis/Hardy back to back one guy looks at me and tells me I was right. I don’t get much positive out of a loss, and I realize as an old coach that there are certain things you can benefit from but as a fan, its a loss. Not going to scream about this player or that manager, I will leave that to Mick and others. Just have to hope we have a short memory and come back strong tonight.

    Go Nats!!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      I miss your near daily commentary, Coach. And the commentary from more than a few others that seem to have been run off/put off by one reason, or another.

      • sjm308 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:11 AM

        Thanks seam but it just gets too messy in here. I will still read a bunch but I just lost it reading another tirade from one of my former favorites and I wlll say goodbye for today

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    3 – 7 went 1 for 23 last night… and the 1 was the double by Ryan Z, who was stranded in the 9th…

    I’m still upset by last night’s game but thank goodness today is a new day and the score is 0-0…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      A shot of realism. Span, Rendon, Ramos. LaRoche I believe is hurting with that back tweak and could explain his recent lack of success.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        When did he tweak his back?

        If that is the case, that would explain some things with him…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:39 AM

        On Thursday. I was hoping as I wrote that they’d rest him against the Rockies.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:40 AM

        The 3 players of the week Werth, Jones and Pearce all went hitless yesterday.

      • chaz11963 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        Interesting, I didn’t know he had hurt his back. He is 1 for 20 in the last 5 games beginning with the last Rockies game.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:50 AM

        Exactly Chaz – I didn’t either… I remember him getting lose on July 4 with the help of the trainer but I figred cuz it was so early in the morning…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

        In other injury news, Bryces thumb is barking. Yesterday you may have noticed red tape in the middle of his bat handle. Underneath the red tape is padding for his thumb. Hope it works.

  12. alexva6 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    once again MW fails to show faith in Detwiler. he should have been in the game in the 10th but at the very least the 11th. we were luck to escape Storen’s inning, not so much with Stammen

    you can call it second guessing if you like, you weren’t there with me last night.

    • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      agreed, MW out managed, not shocked at all.
      in fairness to MW, Harper, ALR and Desi SUCKED!!!

  13. micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    postives:

    Stras and Rendon, both outstanding, Span and R Zim played well as well.

    reality: Nats have played 41 games verse teams with winning records and are 15-26, take away the Giants series and record is 12-25. we are what we are, a good team, not a championship team.

    harper is ordinary and I am afraid I will roven right ina year or two, not quite a Kwame Brown bust, but not a ny where as good as his hype.

    Also, I took grief yesterday for mentionng Trout. Got another young player that Bryce can’t carry his jock, machado

    • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Harper career slash line: .271/.351/.470, no on-field assaults

      Machado career slash line: .275/.309/.428, one on-field assault

      “Can’t carry his jock” indeed.

      • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        that is correct, I will take Machado who grew up hard in a clutch situation 101 out of 100 times over pampered Bryce and his delicate ego every time.

        yes, can’t carry his jock and there are probably 10 other players under 22 who have more heart and consistency than Bryce. Yes, don’t like the assault and I don’t like Bryce’s jealousy of Rendon which is so clear to any one who is not delusional at eat Manny puts the ball in play, and your right, Bryce as no assaults on filed, he certainly can’t come close to assaulting the ball

        at what point does this age excuse stop, I can see it now, Bryce is 28 years old and average hitter, injured every 25 games and Machado and Trout are headed to greatness and you will still say, Bryce is younger

        whatever

      • adcwonk - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        at what point does this age excuse stop…

        Perhaps at the point when he isn’t the youngest player in all of MLB — and younger, even than every single player on the AA team?

        Just sayin’

      • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        You’re throwing out absurd, irrational complaints about Harper because he hasn’t played well of late just like you were throwing out absurd, irrational complaints about the entire team in May because they hadn’t played well of late.

        I am sure that your attitude about Harper will change when he starts to play well just as your attitude about the Nationals changed when they started to play well. Until then, perhaps switch to decaf? And also maybe ponder this little ditty from @aceballstats yesterday:

        Since Bryce Harper’s call-up on April 28, 2012, the #Nationals are 162-123 (.568) with Harper and 56-50 (.528) without him.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      Reality #1: There are no championship teams in early July. That’s not decided til October. Slow down.

      Reality #2: Go back and read the comments you got yesterday when you said Harp was ordinary. Going 0-3 and reaching twice on BB (some nice fielding too) doesn’t change any of that.

      Reality #3: Machado? You mean the guy whose OPS+ this season is actually a point lower than Bryce’s?

      • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        yeah, the guy who bats cleanup on a first place team in tougher division, yes, that guy

        Reality #2: Go back and read the comments you got yesterday when you said Harp was ordinary. Going 0-3 and reaching twice on BB (some nice fielding too) doesn’t change any of that.

        are you SERIOUS!!

        how about when he walked out of the batter’s box when strike 3 came at him in his 1st at bat, when he had no clue verse Tillman

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        Yes, Mick, I am serious.

        The championships really aren’t til October. And a single AB really does not determine Harper’s ability, no matter how bad it was.

        Bonus seriousness: Yes, Harper’s stats really are much better than Machado’s, regardless of where either falls in his team’s batting order.

    • adcwonk - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      we are what we are, a good team, not a championship team.

      Best record in baseball for last 36 games. If season ended today, we’d be in the playoffs.

      Must be tough seeing life as a 1/4-empty glass all the time.

      • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM

        sure, we are beating th teams we should and that is good, but reality 15-26 verse 500 or better teams, that is a concern at the half way point, is it not?

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        Mick

        According to espn’s rankings, the Nats have had a marginally harder strength of schedule than the Os, are tied with them in the relative power index, which assesses performance relative to strength of schedule.

    • sjm308 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      good god Mick – one week you are calling Strasburg out and the next you are praising him

      are you just going to jump around and slam the person who that day failed?

      i have news for you, baseball players are not successful more than 30% of the time and those are the great ones.

      your failure to look at how skilled Bryce Harper is just amazes me. You lose all credibility as someone with knowledge of the sport.

      Reality – we are .5 games out of FIRST PLACE –

      you are one reason I don’t post much anymore

      take care

  14. Brookstoor - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    This team sucks in extra innings. The only solution is to win it in 9. We had a perfect chance with a one out double but Desmond essentially struck out on the very first pitch. As soon as he swung at that eye level fast ball you know he was done for. Leading the league in strike outs is embarrassing. He needs to make adjustments because what he is doing right now is not good enough and we count on him for a lot of production at the plate.

    The good news is we are good enough to win most games in 9. They should stop making crappy pitchers look great though.

  15. micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    sickening to see so many O’s fans in DC, where the hell is the passion with Nats fans???

    • ArVAFan - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      At least until the 11th, the Nats fans were yelling back as loud as the O’s fans. When the O’s would start, the Nats fans would try to drown them out–and were doing a decent job. Now, depending on where you were sitting, you might have had a different impression: there were some very orange sections in the stadium. But from where I sit under the press box, it was pretty even until the 11th. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Camden Yards set will be as equal, given the reputation of the fans in that park. Personally, I wouldn’t go to Baltimore or Philly unless I brought my own bouncer-type for safety.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        I’ve gone to Camden Yards many times dressed in Nats gear. There’s been absolutely no issue, hon. Baltimore is not Philadelphia.

    • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      The Nationals are 12th in attendance in MLB, averaging crowds of 31,173 despite having been in their city for much less time than every other franchise and never having won a playoff series in Washington.

      The Orioles are 16th in attendance in MLB, averaging crowds of 29,017 despite having been in Baltimore since 1964, winning three World Series titles, having one of the greatest ballparks in history and getting a massive attendance bump from the Yankees and Red Sox fan bases.

      I think Nats fans are doing just fine, thank you.

      • chaz11963 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        Well articulated. Concur completely. I am also surprised at the numbers of Nats fans we see on road trips now. Wrigley Field was full of Nats fans.

      • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        Sorry, that should say the Orioles have been in Baltimore since 1954, not 1964.

      • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        As of Monday (before the O’s game).

        Season: Attendance: 1,430,009 (5th of 15)

        This Week. Attendance: 201,324 (33,554/game). That was for six games against the Rockies and the Cubs. The Rockies are not what I’d call a big draw here. The Cubs are, sort of (they had plenty of fans in view, though not vocal). It was the Fourth of July weekend–for which a sellout crowd of over 41K arrived at an 11:a.m. game!

      • Section 222 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        Don’t confuse us with the facts, please.

      • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        Nats are 7th in NL in attendance, which is fanatstic, BUT

        where were our fans when buying up tickets for this series??

        nobody can answer that

      • tcostant - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        I’m not going to split hairs, both are very good attendance numbers. Bottom line both team are winning and were in the playoffs in 2012. That draws fans. I’ve been going to Nats game since they come here, I remember having empty rows (not seats – rows) in front of my season tickets. Winning draws crowds, don’t make this out to a town thing.

        If the Nationals had the Cubs record this year and last (because attendance sometime has a year lag), they would be drawing 18,000 no doubt in my mind. The O’s too.

        End of rant

      • Section 222 - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        mick, I would be willing to bet that the O’s fans you saw last night did not come down from Baltimore. They live here and they bought tickets very early to these two games because it’s a lot more convenient than traveling ot OPACY. The Nats have only been here 9 years. I don’t blame those fans for not giving up the team they grew up with and wanting to see their team without driving as far and staying out as late.

        There aren’t alot of Nats fans in Baltimore for obvious reasons. Most everyone in a Nats cap on Wed or Thursday drove up from the DC area. Good for them, but you just can’t compare the two fan bases in that way.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        Way to go Bowden! Also add that the Whorioles rely on the Yankees and Bosox fanbases to fill their park.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      There were a lot of O’s fans there last night, which struck me as weird because the last few times that I’ve been to OPACY there weren’t that many O’s fans there. It’s like they have been driven out of Baltimore by encroaching Red Sox and Yankee fans and have been forced south to DC.

      Think I exaggerate? For a four game series with Texas last week the O’s drew an average of about 18,100 fans and bottomed out at 13,478. And that’s paid attendance, not the number that actually showed up. For a first place team in July, after schools are out, that’s pathetic. For comparison, the Nats lowest attendance of the season in any single game at Nats Park was 20,869 – for a weekday afternoon game. In April (April 10). Against the Marlins, before anyone realized that the Marlins might not be a complete disaster this season.

      And I can’t vouch for where you might have been sitting, Mick, but in section 311 the Nats fans were much more vocal and fervent than the O’s fans, many of whom didn’t really make much noise until the 11th inning. Stadium wide my experience was the same as ArVAFan – the O’s fans would try to get something going and the Nats fans would drown them out. Late in the game a “Let’s Go, [team]!” chant was weirdly co-opted by both sets of fans, so the ballpark was in unison on the first two words but not the last. That was kinda cool, actually. And really, really loud :-D

  16. natsbro - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Some of the reactions I’ve read this morning about the loss last night are just silly. People do realize this is baseball and good teams still lose 60 to 70 times a season.A tough loss (where they battled for the first 10 innings) and the manager is put on trial and this team “just isn’t trying”. They’re a half game out of first..some people need to relax.

    • sjm308 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      I honestly think some people on here just believe we should go undefeated, never make an error, never give up a hit and love it when things go wrong.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Remember, everyone has the right to believe in anything they want. And everyone else has the right to find it freaking ridiculous. Have a great day!

  17. micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    I know nats have drawn more at home than O’s, but then why so many O’s fans last night???? Where wee our fans when buying tickets for this series???

    • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      Did you just move here recently? The Orioles were the only game in town for over 30 years. They have a huge fan base in the area. There are even some DC residents who consider themselves Orioles fans first and foremost because that’s the team they grew up with. That’s how it’s always been and how it will be for at least the next 10-20 years.

      • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        And of course many of those fans only get to see the Orioles in DC three times a year, other times they have to go through the hassle of getting up to Baltimore to watch them. Nats fans can take the metro or the short drive to Navy Yard to see their team 81 times a year.

        I don’t understand why this is at all surprising to you.

      • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        you are missing my point entirely>

        Nats draw about 31,000 per home game which is 7th in NL and more than the O’s draw at home, correct?

        Now, are you telling me that there O’s fan base that attend Nats games when they play teams other than the O’s? If that is the case, then the question is answered, if it is not, then what the heck are all of you talking about. If it is not, then my question is more than valid, why did not our fans buy up most of the tickets?

        I am a life time DC dude, baseball is in DC 76 years before the O’s came in 1954!!

      • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        Wait, you’re asking why Nats fans buy up every available seat for a Monday night game … and then buy all the tickets off the secondary markets too?

        Are you serious? This wasn’t a World Series game. Just like almost every other team in the league the Nats don’t sell out most games, certainly not weekday games.

  18. micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Coach sjm was there ad posted that there were so many O’s fans

  19. micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    And of course many of those fans only get to see the Orioles in DC three times a year, other times they have to go through the hassle of getting up to Baltimore to watch them.

    whaaat?

    then my question is not answered, who are the 31,000 fans that come to nats games if you are saying O’s fan’s in DC only get to go 2 times a year to watch the O’s play Nats at Nats Park???

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      He’s right Mick. There’s 1000s that live in Fredericksburg and South that don’t travel to BMore. They were in a gap when there was only 1 team in the region and didn’t switch to the Nats.

      I really dislike Angelos but his team he fleeced is 3 generations old just turning 60. The Nats are only 10 years in existence. A Nats World Series will go a long way in building a fan base.

      Hard to stomach as obnoxious as they are.

  20. lplipty - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Check out link from Rosenthall about looking for a future ss

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/if-desmond-won-t-stay-for-90-million-nats-need-to-start-shopping-070714

  21. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    As for the extra inning games, I don’t regard that as much more than a fluke. A couple of weeks ago posters were whining the Nats couldn’t win 1-run games 9-13 at the time). Then we won a couple, and it’s now 11-13, which is in line with 1-run games being pretty close to a coin-flip. One run and extra inning games put a lot of stress on the bullpen. And it’s fair to say that the bullpen may be feeling the stress, but is it because of (a) the rotation not pitching enough innings, or (b) lack of offense?

    Let’s look at June, when the Nats went 17-11.

    All of the June games were played under NL rules. The pitchers gave up 82 runs (80 earned). The relievers gave up 28 (all earned) for an ERA of 3.23, compared to the starters ERA of 2.60.

    (a) In June, our rotation was 4th in the NL with 179.2 innings pitched (28 games). That is an average of 6.4 innings/game, which is pretty good when you think about it. In July, the starters have thrown 42.2 innings in six games, that is a little over 7 innings/start. So it is not the rotation that is putting pressure on the bullpen.

    (b) In June the offense scored 109 runs in 28 games, that’s about 3.9 runs/game. That’s a little less than the magic “4”. Of the 24 one-run games, only 3 were in June, a 4-3 loss (11 innings) and two 6-5 victories. There were three extra inning games in June and the Nats went 1-2.

    Honestly, eleven games is such a small sample set, I can’t get excited. It’s annoying, and it’s exhausting, to lose long games, but I’m not sure canning Desi is the solution. I can’t even see any particular pattern, because here are the losses,

    6-7 @ ATL on 4/11 (10 innings) – Blevins
    3-4 to SDP on 4/24 (12 innings) – Stammen
    3-4 @ OAK on 5/10 (12 innings) – Storen
    3-4 to CIN on 5/15 (15 innings) – Detwiler
    5-8 to MIA on 5/26 (10 innings) – Blevins
    3-4 @SDP on 6/7 (11 innings) – Stammen
    4-6 to ATL on 6/20 (13 innings ) – Blevins
    2-8 to BAL on 7/7 (11 innings) – Stammen

    Diagnose away, doctors!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      Blevins isn’t an inning by inning guy as we have all had to witness and as I said in game Stammen’s slider isn’t sliding and Barrett just has lost it.

      The fix with Blevins is easy, he’s a LOOGY. The solution with Barrett is easy, send him back to AAA. No easy solution with Stammen.

      • Doc - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        JZim lost his slider for about 6 weeks this year (Mid April-End of May).

        Stammen previously lost his slider last year for a period of time.

        Must be a tough pitch to maintain on a consistent basis. Strasburgh gave up on his.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    As regards the attendance, mick, the Nats are not 7th in the NL, they are 5th in the NL.

    Plus, the ENTIRE point of having these games is to pump up attendance on weeknights because you draw from both fanbases. Like it or not, the O’s are a first place team with an exciting offense. That’s going to draw. I actually think it’s kind of cool to see fans of both teams trying to out-shout each other. That’s a lot different than when the Fillies fans stepped all over the last-place Nats This is two fanbases in a playoff atmosphere. How can you not like it?

    • micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      don’t get me wrong, I am very happy at what we draw, and long ago we proved to Angelos and Baltimorons that DC is a baseball town. I just loathe O’s fans in MY PARK

  23. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Enuf complaining about Os fans. The Nats aren’t compelling enough to fill a 40,000 seat stadium w/ Nats fans. They just aren’t. Nature abhors an empty seat so the Os fans come out. Maybe if the Nats get past talking about it and actually win something things will change.

    As to extra innings, it always comes down to the fact that most of the Nats are streak hitters, not good hitters. With the exception of Rendon, and possibly Zimmerman. They are streak hitters not just from game to game — someone is always in a deep slump, right now it’s Harper and LaRoche — but also within games. They don’t adjust. Confront them with a pitcher they see only rarely, or an anomaly like O’Day, and they flail. So after struggling all night to solve Tillman — who no one in the AL seems to have any trouble solving — they are completely clueless about O’Day, as if none of them ever saw a sidewinder before. The Desmond and Ramos ABs were pathetic.

    • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Well, they’ve seen 20 innings of Steve Cishek and he’s 1-1 with 5 saves, 3 holds and no blown saves. When Cishek has come into a game with it tied or with a lead (12 times), the Nats have beaten him once.

    • bowdenball - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      The Nationals are no more or less streaky than any other team over the season. The notion of being “streaky not just game to game … but within games” is so preposterous that it doesn’t really merit a response. Show me a hitter who’s not streaky within games and I’ll show you either the greatest or worst hitter in the history of baseball.

      The argument that they can’t hit “an anomaly like O’Day” is also wrong. Brad Zeigler has maybe the quirkiest delivery in the game and the Nats hung four runs on him in a third of an inning last time they faced him.

      Maybe the team has just hit a small spell of bad luck over a miniscule sample size? After all, 28 total innings is just three games. If a team’s offensive output shrunk to 8 runs over three games nobody would think anything was wrong, it would just be a small run of below-average offense. And maybe Darren O’Day is just really good? After all, he’s got a 1.13 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP this season.

      Sometimes a rose is just a rose.

      • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        I go with “a rose is just a rose.” I’ve seen Rendon have 0-fers and I’ve seen Ryan Zimmerman strike out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning–more than once. Werth, who is probably the best as figuring out guys, is 0-8 in two games.

        In the long haul, you need talent, health and luck. We’ve gotten a fair amount of all three, starting from the team Rizzo built and continuing with items like a rare bad outing from Cueto, and now with all our lineup, rotation and bullpen healthy at the same time. Get through this series, bash the Fillies, who are Cliff-Lee-less and Carlos Ruiz-less (though I believe we’ll see Colbert). Then a nice break for the boys and come out charging.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        Wait a minnit … “streaky within games“???? Somebody actually wrote that??

        That’s almost Bob & Ray good.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        The really good teams score *constantly*. Even when they’re not up to bat.

        One time, the 1927 Yankees racked up three runs during the seventh inning stretch.

      • Doc - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Speaking of ‘Bob & Ray’—so far this O’s series has been a Messy Production!

  24. passedappetizers - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    All,

    Forgive me for using this forum to send a “private” message to therealjohnc.

    Sir,

    Do you really think the players on the field or the umpires can hear you from Section 311, Row D? Do you think the people around you enjoy listening to your incessant chanting and singing and generally making a spectacle of yourself? Do you think the folks around you want to hear your commentary on the came that is so superficially designed to make you sound like a sage? There are one or two dimwits in 310 and 311 who seem to appreciate you, but the rest of us wish your seat came with an ejection button. You’re not clever, you’re not that wise, and you’re not remotely the singer you seem to think you are.

    Thanks for listening. Now let’s get that Curly W.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Based on my conversation with Ian, the players can hear the group chant centered in 313. But I doubt they could hear a single voice from that distance.

      • dryw4nats - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        And you made my week by reporting that the guys can hear that!! (and that they like it) Thanks for sharing your experience!!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      I wasn’t there last night, but I sit in that section over 20 games a year, but I’ve never noticed the person that you are referring to.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        To be fair, that’s probably because you’re on a different 20 game plan than I am. I’m on the “Teddy” plan, and have gotten to know and befriend the group immediately around me who are also on the same plan.

        That’s what I like about the 300 level seats behind home plate (roughly sections 310-316). That’s where you’ll find the diehard fans, not the Beltway Bandit/on the iPhone all game types. It’s not surprising that the N-A-T-S NATS NATS NATS group started up in either 313 or 314 (I’m not sure which). And having sat in most different parts of Nats Park (except the Diamond Club seats), I firmly believe that the infield gallery seats behind home plate are the best value in the stadium. My one complaint is that compared to the seats in RFK they are higher and set back just a bit farther – so we’ll get one or two foul balls a season instead of one or two a game. I stopped bringing my glove a couple of years ago.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      It’s a beautiful game, passedappetizers. Some of us like to cheer, stomp, clap and have fun. It’s not the Kennedy Center, but your mileage may vary. Let’s go, Nats!

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        For a couple of years it was almost verboten to even cheer at Nats Park. I am not a constant motormouth, but I cheer hard and like it when others do, as long as they’re not blocking my view. Last year I was about the only one in 311 that was trying to spread the N-A-T-S cheer over our way. Now a lot of the section is doing it.

  25. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    In theory, it should be easier to win extra innings games at home (and I believe it is, slightly, I looked it up last year). However, the way relievers are currently used, I think it may benefit the away team. The away team holds back their best reliever until they have a lead, whereas the home team, under current practice, uses their best relievers while the game is tied, on the theory that if they keep it tied, the offense has chances for a walk off win.

    That means if you go past the best one-inning relievers, in our case Storen, Clip and Sori, you are using inferior relievers–possibly for multiple innings–while the opponent still has one “good” reliever left to clinch the game if they get a lead against said inferior relievers.

    Managers were getting bashed a couple of years ago for losing games in extra innings while their closer never threw a single pitch, but they keep doing it, and I don’t think it’s just because of the “save” statistic.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this… Yes, Blevins is clearly best used as a LOOGY, but that wouldn’t have solved last night’s problem, and you have to expect him to carry some more load in a tie game.

    It seems foolish for the home team to change the order of using relievers, because there is no game to “save.” You want to keep it tied as long as possible, and maximize the chance you only need one run to win. So I can’t argue with Clip in the 8th or Soriano in the 9th.

    However, from the 10th on, I think you have to look a bit at matchups and expectations for scoring. In the top of the 10th they had Schoop, pinch hittter and Markakis due up, while we had pinch-hitter, Span, Rendon due up for the bottom of the 10th. If Barrett were trustworthy (not sure he is, right now), you might have wanted to use him before Storen, on the theory that both teams have their best hittes due up in the 11th (all due respect to Markakis).

    If Barrett gets in trouble, put Storen in, but if he doesn’t, you have Storen for the big boys in the next inning. This way, they are not set up for Stammen (your “inferior” reliever). Meanwhile, if Hairston, Span, Rendon don’t score, you put your faith in OUR big boys for the 11th (Werth, ALR, Zim, Harper, Desi, Ramos).

    It’s just very annoying that our three best relievers have now gone two nights in a row, although, as luck would have it, even with all those runners on base, Clip only threw 16 pitches, Soriano 9 and Storen 17.

    • adcwonk - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Those are very nice insights, NL. Well done.

      To take it a step further — it might be the case that, because the way the Nats use their relievers, they may be winning games in the 8th or 9th, instead of winning them in the 10th or 11th, and perhaps that is why their extra-inning record is not as good.

      Interestingly, not a single team in the NL East has a winning record in X-inning games:

      Nats 10, 2-8
      Atl 10, 5-5
      Miami 13, 5-8
      Phil 11, 6-5
      NYM, 13, 6-7

      ===============
      One other thing: the Nats have the best SRS (according to B-R) in the entire NL. (How’s this for odd: the Nats are 4th highest in baseball — the three ahead of them are all in AL West)

      • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        That is a good point about winning games in the 8th or 9th (I’d add the 7th, or basically, how many 9-inning games have the Nats won that were tied or within one run after the starter left?). I’m out of time now, just going to take all this material into my game post and maybe do further analysis another day.

        One of the things I observe about bad teams like the Diamondbacks and Mets is they sometimes get an early lead, but teams like Atlanta grind away at that lead, get to a tie, or small lead, and then win. So (I’m agreeing with you), if we get a 3 or 4 run lead and preserve it, that’s a winning strategy, and a heckuva lot easier than winning extra inning games.

        However, I’m quick to say one-run and extra innings are a “crap shoot.” That doesn’t mean we should ignore or concede them, however, since they are 25% of the games we have played. If there is something that can be done to improve the chance of winning in 25% of your games, then it needs to be considered.

  26. Section 222 - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    I think you’re on to something here NL, though I still think saving the closer on the road is stupid. But in extras the same matchup hunting should govern the reliever selection as governs the 6th and 7th. This is twice now when MW has used Stammen too early in my opinion, unless he was planning to use Det as the last man standing. He still had Barrett, and he still had Blevins, and the bottom of the order was coming up.

    In the end, I view extra inning games as a crapshoot. You’re going to win some and lose some. Would have been nice to win last night, and we had a chance, but Fister is going tonight and we can even the series. I’m just looking for a split of these four games.

    • coop202 - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Our bats went flat against a good team. We still played a solid game, just not good enough. Really need Harper to get going – he’s become a well respected dead zone at the moment.

  27. micksback1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    mick, I would be willing to bet that the O’s fans you saw last night did not come down from Baltimore. They live here and they bought tickets very early to these two games because it’s a lot more convenient than traveling ot OPACY. The Nats have only been here 9 years. I don’t blame those fans for not giving up the team they grew up with and wanting to see their team without driving as far and staying out as late.

    There aren’t alot of Nats fans in Baltimore for obvious reasons. Most everyone in a Nats cap on Wed or Thursday drove up from the DC area. Good for them, but you just can’t compare the two fan bases in that way.

    sec222: THANK YOU

    that makes sense and that is the kind of answer I was looking for

  28. philipd763 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    The problem rests in lack of offense. This has been the problem for two seasons now. It goes on for several games, then the Nats pad their stats with a big game like the one with the Cubs, then they go back into a funk. There are too many streak hitters on this team so the stats are misleading but there’s a big, big problem and I don’t think Rizzo sees it. A team’s offense has to be rated on the basis of how it performs and not on it’s potential. Unfortunately, the potential has never been realized and the clock is ticking, especially for Bryce Harper.

    • adcwonk - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      and I don’t think Rizzo sees it

      Not likely. Rizzo sees more than the rest of us could with binoculars.

      But this one is pretty obvious.

      Nats are by far the best ERA, and sitting 8th in BA. That’s pretty hard to miss.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Do you really believe that you see things that Mike Rizzo misses? Or Matt Williams? Or Randy Knorr?

    • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      Come back to me in a month with that ticking clock on Bryce Harper. He is re-doing Spring Training at this point, while the pitchers are in perhaps the best period of the season–early kinks worked out but not totally drained by the grind. It’s a little annoying that the All-Star Break comes right when Harper could use the at-bats. But everyone else needs the REST.

      • philipd763 - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Harper has been on the team for three seasons now and despite all the hype the only thing he has shown he’s any good at is getting his butt on the disabled list on a regular basis! The fact that he made two All Star teams was a total joke and it made a mockery out of the whole process. And yes, I do see things that apparently Rizzo does not because he’s yet to understand that no matter how good the pitching is a team needs to score runs to win games.

      • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        And yet somehow Atlanta, who are 28th in runs scored per game at 3.71, are 1/2 game ahead of the Nats, who have scored 4.10 runs/game. Yes, they haven’t had a 13-0 victory. But they have had several 10 run games (including one against us). They are streaky, they’ve had a 9-game winning streak and a 7-game losing streak. They’ve lost 11 blowouts and won only 8 (the reverse of the Nats, who are 16-13 in blowouts). The Nats are steady grinders. That’s our team’s profile, maybe that’s Mike Rizzo’s profile.

      • NatsLady - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        And which team scores the most runs in the National League and yet is in LAST place in their Division? The team that has NO pitching becuase their rotation is on the DL… The team we just swept. It isn’t enough to score runs, you also have to prevent the other team from scoring runs.

        Every hitter on our regular line-up (except perhaps Span and Desi) is capable of hitting 300 for two or three months at a time. That’s the team Rizzo put together offensively. There isn’t a weak link in that line-up when you have Desi hitting 7th and Ramos hitting 8th–as Jake Arrieta said the other day.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax called. They beg to differ.

      • jd - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        phillipd763,

        You do realize that Harper has the best lifetime numbers for any 21 year old in the history of baseball except Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline?

        It’s not just hype Phillip. Most players are in their prime between the ages of 26 and 29.

        NatsLady is quite correct in pointing out that Harper is basically in the 2nd week of sprint training facing pitchers who are at their season’s peak.

  29. philipd763 - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Desi lead the majors in whiffs and he’s batting ..240 but $98 million isn’t enough!

    Nats Would Like To Add Young Shortstop Via Trade
    By Steve Adams [July 8, 2014 at 10:36am CDT]
    The Nationals, who have had extension offers rejected by shortstop Ian Desmond according to multiple reports, are “actively seeking” young shortstops in trades, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

    Previous reports have indicated that Desmond rejected a seven-year, $85.5MM contract, but Rosenthal spoke to one source who said as much as $98MM was on the table over a seven-year period. Rosenthal notes that the Nats would clearly never trade Desmond or right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (also a free agent after the 2015 season) while the team was making a playoff push, but one or both could be on the market this winter.

    The team isn’t likely to deal pieces from its Major League club this July, as they’re firmly in the playoff race. Instead, Rosenthal writes, Major League ready prospects like catcher Sandy Leon, outfielder Steven Souza and infielder Zach Walters could be used to entice teams instead (the mention of Walters is at least somewhat puzzling, as he is a shortstop himself, albeit one with poor on-base skills in Triple-A).

    The Diamondbacks naturally come to mind when reports indicate that a club is looking for young shortstops, as they have Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed in their organization. In the Nationals’ case, however, it seems likely that they’d be ok with targeting someone who is a bit further from Major League ready than that trio, as the team could simply retain Desmond for the 2015 season and give a younger shortstop another year to develop.

    • coop202 - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Somebody call the cubs

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        For Javier Baez? Probably a serious downgrade on defense from Desmond. Getting Addison Russell might be a little tougher, though. Or more expensive.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Oh, wait, Russell just got drafted this year.

        “Now people just get uglier, and I have no sense of time.”

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        Maybe somebody should just delete those and save me the embarrassment. I’m too confused. Sigh.

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