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Nats, Orioles see promise in Beltway Series

Jul 11, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles

For much of the 10 seasons since the Nationals moved to Washington, the regional rivalry of the Nats and Orioles has generally featured little more than a short commute between ballparks.

As recently as three years ago, both teams were perennially among the worst in baseball. And by the time they faced each other in interleague play, each was looking more towards the offseason than the playoffs.

In 2012 that all changed. Both the Nationals and Orioles became postseason contenders with marketable stars and packed stadiums on a nightly basis. And now, in 2014, with both teams continuing to play well, their matchups have become as entertaining as any interleague duel in baseball.

This week was supposed to be a four-game series, two in D.C. and two at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Rain shortened it to three, but you can bet their makeup game on Aug. 4 will be an anticipated affair.

“Everyone kept saying it was a good series, very well put together,” Thursday’s losing pitcher Gio Gonzalez said. “It showed that there’s a lot of hope in the Beltway series. They look good, we look good. It was just a fun game all around. Everyone had some fun and we all got some smiles out of it.”

The Nationals fell for the second time in three games to the Orioles on Thursday night, taking a tough 4-3 loss thanks to blown opportunities at the plate and a costly mistake by Ian Desmond on defense. The first game of the series saw the Orioles lose the lead in the sixth inning, then explode in the 11th to win 8-2. The second installment was a Nationals win, a 6-2 final score that featured three home runs by Washington.

Each game was entertaining in its own right and left both teams sharing a mutual respect for each other.

“I think it’s good for the DMV area that both teams are playing quite well, especially this late into the season,” Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said. “We’re both first place in our respective divisions. That’s a good team. That’s a great pitching staff on top of baseball, if not the top. The bullpen’s electric. That’s a very good team. You raise the competition.”

“Tight games. They got us late in the first one, but good games to be a part of,” Matt Williams said. “We wish we could’ve won two of the three, but we’ll get them again August 4th and see what we can do.”

The series also featured several moments that for the first time in the matchup’s 10-year existence made it feel like a rivalry. First, there were manager Buck Showalter’s comments about Orioles owner Peter Angelos being “kind enough to let [Washington] have a team.” Then there was Bryce Harper getting booed during his first at-bats in Baltimore, a gesture that has become rare these days. And then, with Jayson Werth up in the top of the ninth on Thursday, a rousing chant of ‘Werthless’ bursted out among Orioles fans as he grounded out to end the game.

That’s three shots taken by the Orioles, but there’s no question the team itself sees the Nats as a formidable foe.

“That’s a good club. I’m glad they’re somebody else’s problem,” Showalter said.

“We love it,” Jones said. “We love the competition, and we love the fact that you never know what could happen in October. You could have a Battle of the Beltways when it’s a little colder and bring the fans back out.”

  1. NatsLady - Jul 11, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Would have been a nice game to win, a comeback win and all. Aaron Barrett looked good. Matty took a chance leaving him in for the 8th and it paid off. I would not want to be in that trainer’s room, I imagine there is a looooooong line for treatment. I hope Gio’s shoulder is OK. And Ian’s hand. And Werth’s foot. And Adam’s back…

  2. natsbro - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Man that Oriole offense is no joke..hopefully it’s a fun series for years to come. Time to shift focus to the Phils.

  3. scmargenau - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Pretty funny. No way we can put him in center

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pWX5G8oTO08

    • natsbro - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      Haha that guy must really hate Bryce

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      More hating on Bryce? Sigh….

      • micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        I had a blast the past 2 evenings at Camden Yards. I got there last night exactly when Harper had his first AB, which of course was another K, more on this in a moment. Overall, a very well played game, in spite of Desi’s stupid throw, I am relieved that he is OK and was surprised that he even came out for warm ups in the 8th. Too bad we could not get it in the bottom of 8th, but, ODay is a beast.

        Now on to this defense of Harper which is more foolish than the haters of Harper at this point, let me cite a key fact that I think puts this delusional defense of Bryce in perspective….Ramos had a far more serious injury than Bryce and in fact, there was talk that he could lose lower when he came back. Simple question, who is hitting the ball, Ramos or Harper. More importantly, who is seeing the ball and hitting it hard, whether or not they get on base or not? Harper has had over 40 at bats since he has returned and maybe 2 hard hits at the most and his KO’s have been worse than a 7 year old playing baseball for the first time.

        i am so tired of the ridiculous muligans some of you give this pre madonna, yet when it comes to other players, it does not apply. Bryce harper is simply ordinary, all the stats , an graphs are garbage and this will be proven over the next few years , let alone this season. if i am MW, I would seriously consider going with McClouth as a starter if By August 1, harper is still stinking it up and hurting the club .

        One more thing, that really puts into perspective how other team fans see Harper, there were a couple of O’s fans yelling at Sholwalter when he had Bryce intentionally walked to pitch to Desi who of course is right handed , “what, he’s an easy out, what’s he doing” that is what they were yelling. i turned and said t them thank you Buck because Desi may punish you for this. as it turned out, Desi was hit and of course Ramos flew out. Those fans were correct as I have no doubt Bryce would have whiffed or hit a lame ball right to a fielder, Buck got lucky on that one and many O’s fan’s felt the same, that is the state of what objective fans of another team think of Bryce.

        I’m sure I will be blasted

      • bowdenball - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        Harper is pre-Madonna? What do you think will happen when he’s full Madonna?

      • chaz11963 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        That was a good one bowden

      • rayvil01 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        Wow…haters live to hate.

      • adcwonk - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        Mick — you need to distinguish between three groups here:

        1. Bryce is ordinary, over-hyped, etc.
        2. Bryce is going to be a Hall of Fame shoo-in
        3. It’s too early to tell

        I think you are lumping #2 and #3 together. I fall into the #3 category. I keep pointing out that he is 21, that’s he’s the youngest player in all of MLB (even younger than anyone on the AA team) — not to say “and therefore he’s going to be great”, but, rather, to say, “and therefore, it’s too early to have a clue as to whether he is ordinary.”

        Ramos is 26, for crying out loud. Think there’s no difference in experience between a 26 year old and a 21 year old?

        Further, while you cite Ramos for coming back quickly, one could just as easily cite Ryan Zimmerman this year. He was hitting .364 (!!) when he was injured. Then, when he came back (and he was out for a shorter time than Harper), in his first 26 games RZ hit .190! Harper, in the meantime, has only played nine games since coming back.

        A players’ peak years are between the ages of 26 and 32. You can’t write off a guy who’s just 21. It’s just too early to tell.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        Mick

        I’m not sure how my comment above could have triggered your rant, but I am happy to hear you enjoyed yourself at OPACY.

    • adcwonk - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      Because, certainly, nobody would be able to make the exact same kind of video for anybody else who’s ever played MLB.

    • natsbro - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      You shouldn’t be blasted Mick you make some good points..but the bottom line is Harper is still a young athlete figuring out how to play at the Major league level. Up till now he’s played in 288 games…that’s not even 2 seasons worth of major league baseball yet. So if it takes him a while to get his timing back when he’s returning from injury I’m ok with that..he’s still learning at this level. Like FP mentioned last night, younger players may think that they are ready to return after a few rehab starts when in reality they are not..while veteran players know their swing better, then know when to come back…I think he may have came back a little early (after hitting 3 bombs in one game he was probably pretty confident), but I have faith he’ll figure it out.

      I think people forget that he’s still a 21 year old adapting to the game because of the high expectations placed on him.

      • micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        thank you, let me add that Wilson Ramos is also a young athlete as well

      • adcwonk - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        Mick, see my comment above. Ramos is 26. That’s light years ahead of 21.

      • natsbro - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        Yep, meaning he’s had years of experience in the minors compared to Harper (although he’s surprisingly played in less major league games…or unsurprisingly given his injury history ha)

      • therealjohnc - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        Mick, the “Ramos is also young” argument vis Harper is a pretty silly analogy. Ramos is young compared to me, probably compared to you, certainly young for most careers (and not even old for baseball/athletics). But Ramos is more than five years older than Harper (Ramos turns 27 in a couple of weeks, Harper won’t turn 22 until October 16). In terms of both personal maturity and, more importantly here, career development it would be hard to overestimate how much of a difference that is.

    • NatsLady - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      I dunno if I agree.. He’s swinging at a very high rate of pitches out of the zone (44.3%) which is higher (by a little) than Desi, and the highest of the regulars (only Hairston is worse at 47.1%). To me that suggests his eye and timing are off, rather than that his thumb is making him hit weak grounders or popouts because he doesn’t have a good grip or strength. Those may be factors, but I think the main factor is not seeing major-league pitching for over two months.

      • adcwonk - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        Agreed. And he’s starting to hit the ball hard (right at outfielders). I suspect it will be soon . . . .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        NL, I think it could be an “all of the above”. As I pointed out on Monday, he added a thumb pad on Monday onto his bat handle and has been trying to get comfortable with the thumb. He has told people the thumb is bothering him. Was it bothering him in Harrisburg or is this new?

        You figure swinging at garbage pitches has nothing to do with the thumb as that wouldn’t make sense on the surface but so much of the game is mind over matter.

        I’m not making up excuses for Bryce but here’s what I saw when he came back for his rehab games. He mashed for Harrisburg and looked great then he gets into the Nats lineup to face 3 lefties in succession. Bryce held his own for the Games 1 and 2 but in Game 3 Matzek threw him into a tailspin much like Andy Pettitte did in Bryce’s rookie year. His last AB against Matzek was like a kid who got lost at the plate.

        On Wednesday Bryce hit 2 popups that were some decent ABs. I suggested yesterday that it would be a good day to sit Bryce as I didn’t think he would matchup well with Chen. Someone posted a fair point that he would probably play because MW doesn’t want to deal with any controversy of sitting Bryce which is a good possibility of MWs thinking.

        It’s tough to watch Bryce struggle and listen to the people who don’t like him try to make a case about what Bryce is.

        I just know how important he is to the success of this team but we also know the politics involved in whatever Bryce does.

      • natinalsgo - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        adcwonk, whatcha talking about. Bryce struck out 2 times in his 3 AB’s yesterday.

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

        adcwonk, whatcha talking about. Bryce struck out 2 times in his 3 AB’s yesterday.

        I might be wrong, but his other AB was a smash line drive to left, no? And the game before, he had a smash line drive right to the right-fielder.

  4. adcwonk - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned or not, but in the pre-game, on radio, Boswell pointed out that:

    This is the first time in the history of baseball that a Washington and a Baltimore team faced each other, both of them undisputed in first place.

    It sounded very cool at the time. Now that I think about it — i.e., that Baltimore has only been around since 1954, and the Senators 2.0 left in 1971, and baseball didn’t return here until 2005, it’s not so surprising.

    Nevertheless, it’s still pretty cool.

    (As is the fact that Nats are still ranked top NL team by B-R (by SRS) and baseball prospectus odds put us at finishing in 1st, three games ahead of the Braves . . . )

  5. jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Has anyone taken notice to what Steven Souza is doing at AAA?

    .366 446 .599 13 HR’s 17 doubles 20 stolen bases.

    I don’t know if has very much more to prove at the minors.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Ive been calling for him and to drop that dead weight Hairston for a while now…

      • jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        That’s apples and oranges. Hairston is a pinch hitter against lefties, that’s his role and he hasn’t done badly in that role, in fact Mc.Louth and Frandsen have only been marginally better and they have 3 times as many at bats. I contend that they have all been basically irrelevant and I don’t understand the hate for bench players who have little or no effect on the team’s overall results.

        Souza is a candidate for a more regular role and admittedly It’s hard to see how that works on our team but you sure don’t want to wake up 2 years later and see him star for another team.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        It takes a special player to be efficient as a bench player. It’s a waste of time bringing up Souza to fill that role. I love the guy. Potential 5 tool player, but you don’t sit him on the bench.

        Hairston is a waste as he can’t play defense and serves no purpose as a righty bat off the bench to only face LHPs. There was better options when he was acquired and you have to cut your losses.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        jd, do you do revisionist history on Hairston? Here’s Hairston’s pinch-hitting statline: .158/.217/.316/.533 THAT’S AWFUL! He hasn’t had a hit since May 2014!

        He has to be replaced.

        Here’s Frandsen’s pinch-hitting record. .280/.333/.400/.733 JD, that’s not marginally better, that’s pretty good.

        How long are you going to wait for Hairston to turn it around? Rizzo has tried that with numerous players and it just never seems to work out.

      • jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        Ghost,

        I am not arguing that Hairston is adding much to the team. I am just not sure who your better options are. We spent a small fortune on Mc.Louth because he was supposed to be the perfect bench player who can not only pinch hit but can also play defense, step in for an injured player and give regulars a rest. Mc.Louth has performed at below replacement level.

        Once in a while you hit the jackpot with a bench player like the Braves did last year with Jordan Schafer, but he too is back to his pedestrian self.

        I agree that Souza can’t be brought up to serve as an occasional pinch hitter.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        Sorry, I don’t agree with you all… I think MW is hesitant on going to the bench and replacing players etc, since Hairston is a mess in the OF and at the plate…

        If Souza was up here, he could spell Werth. Now, MN could but he has been not lights out at the plate either…

        Hairston is a waste, and I think Souza should be given the chance…

      • jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        Mrs. B.

        You are bringing up Souza so he can spell Werth once a week? Sorry – dumb idea.

    • tcostant - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Outside a OF injury, we’ll see Souza in September. That’s life with a good team.

    • Doc - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      On most MLB clubs, Souza would already be in somebody’s starting lineup.

      Playing in AAA again next year can’t be an option.

      Play him or trade him!

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Jd. I said about 10 days ago that should Werth or another starting outfielder go on the DL, Souza should and would get the call to step in temporarily.

      His early call up was strictly as a reserve but his lengthy run of success deserves giving him a shot in the event of an injury.

      • jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        Souza may also present an opportunity to move a veteran and insert a player who will be at a low salary level for a few years giving the team more payroll flexibility. I contend that a team which wants to be a contender year after year has to keep producing young talent as you can’t have a $15 – $20 mil playe at every position.

      • NatsLady - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        From his play on the field Werth looks like a DL candidate, but he’s hitting, and with power. Tough decision.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Yes. Fangraphs wrote him up earlier this week, in a piece on “compelling fringe prospects”:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-fringe-five-baseballs-most-compelling-fringe-prospects-32/

      Sample: “It’s probably a threat to whatever legitimacy this weekly column possesses that Souza hasn’t previously appeared within it.”

      Includes a nice video of a HR of his, too.

  6. micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I wonder what Vegas odd are that Span will have more home runs this season than Bryce as they are both tied beyond the half way point of the season? lol

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I hope Gio is okay… Saw him shake his shoulder/arm out a couple of times… Man, the AS break is a blessing in disguise… Gives our guys a chance to really rest and heal up.

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

      I didn’t see it — but the description on the radio was that he was no happy with his arm slot and/or that he was “flying open early” a couple times, and was moving his arm kinda the way a batter takes a practice swing in order to get his mechanics right. I think they mentioned this in the last inning.

  8. snopes1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    I was pretty sure “bursted out” was going to be the highlight of this thread, but “pre Madonna” tops it by a mile.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      Yes, I had visions of Bryce morphing into Madonna during an at bat!

      • coop202 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        Honestly I think he lines it up this weekend and the conversation Sunday night is giddy based on resting injured guys and having Harper turn the corner. He had a few good line outs in the last two (not that that counts for much) but here’s to hoping Philly jogs his bat

  9. micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    How long are you going to wait for Hairston to turn it around?

    Ghost, maybe the double the time the Bryce faithful want to wait for him to turn it around, since of course he gets half the playing time of Bryce? Maybe that would fair, lol

  10. sjm308 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Mick – your points are valid and everyone can see that he is struggling.
    Yet, you still use words like prima donna which shows your bias.
    He is 21 and I hope when he starts producing like we hope he will ( I actually go beyond hope and feel, like Ghost, that it is just a matter of time ) – anyway, when he goes on a tear I hope you will at least have the ability to say you might have not shown enough patience. You have every right to dislike the young man and that video posted earlier,shows me that you are not alone but Harper, even in his struggles gives us a decent option in LF, a guy who is intentionally walked as many times as he has the last few games shows me that the people who understand talent still fear his bat. People will always trash those who are in the spotlight and for us Strasburg and Harper are our two young stars and get most of the negative press. It comes with the territory and I think they both handle it pretty well.

    As for Souza – we brought Tyler Moore up to sit on the bench and that did not work out well for the young man. Why would you do the same this year for Souza? Hell, McClouth can’t even get on the field and I realize he has poor numbers this year but look at his major league career. Let Souza keep playing every day, bring him up in Sept. and even then we should be in a pennant race and he will at least get an idea of how fast the game moves up here.

    Go Nats!!

    • micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Coach, believe me O will and I have posted several times that I hope I am dead wrong and wish him the best. Yes, maybe I should not have posted primadonna, but I do only because of his remarks on the lineup and then seeing Rendon (who has earned the 2 spot and worked for it) moved down the lineup for a game, that really irked me

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      I will say it again “WHEN” Bryce gets going, this team will be unstoppable. When Bryce gets going, then MW can also shuffle the lineup. When Bryce gets going, the haters will all turn to rah-rah Bryce lovers.

      If you are a fan of the team, it’s sad for those who are turning their back on Bryce. He will get there, it takes time.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      I just think it’s funny (not as funny as “pre-madonna” but funny) that male athletes use terms like “prima donna” and “diva” without any apparent irony. There was a time that would have been an unforgivable insult.

  11. micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    don’t get me wrong, i agree with you on Hairston, I am just making a point and wouldn’t a great irony be that in 6-7 years, Harper’s stats are similar to Hairston?

    • rayvil01 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Not a cjance in this world of that. Bryce has talent. Talent wins out in the end.

  12. micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    rayvil01
    Wow…haters live to hate.

    I’m calling you out, show me what is hateful about my post. would it be fair for me to post trolls live to troll? hmm??

    • jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Mick,

      You are not a hater but you are the most impatient fan I have ever ran across. I can recall you calling out Ryan Zimmerman about 4 days after he returned from injury (I think you said something like FOF – my ass), You were all over Stras after his only bad outing in a span of about a month and you are still all over Bryce.

      As I said before, keep in mind that Harper has more HRs and RBIs than any 21 year old in the history of baseball not named Mickey Mantle or Al Kaline. All the pundits aren’t stupid, Harper is a unique generational talent and he will come out of it just like he has every other time he has struggled. I can’t tell you when but I can tell you that when you look at Bryce’s numbers at the end of the year they will be fine.

      Just my opinion Mick but you didn’t do your credibility any favors by buddying up with SWM who is a known neganon who totally disappears when anything positive happens and comes out crapping all over the Nats anytime something negative happens.

      Remember, ours is still a 1st place team despite the fact that we had the heart of our order out for 2 months.

  13. micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    wonk

    I respect your comments and we will of course see and I hope you are right.

    On Ramos, how many actual games has he played? remember, he has been out a lot over the past 3 seasons due to injuries, so, his MLB game time is close to Bryce’s?

    • adcwonk - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      Bryce’s MLB time is about the same as Ramos MLB games

      But Ramos played 270 more minor league games.

      When Ramos was 21 (same age as Harper is now), Ramos had played about the same number of games as Bryce had in the minors — but Ramos had made it only as far as AA at the time.

      Do you see what I mean: Ramos as 21 was AA, and at 22 was batting .258 in AAA. He’s improved since then. Just as we all expect Harper to.

      • micksback1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        wonk

        that does make sense

        thanks

  14. langleyclub - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I don’t see the issue with Souza changing next year either. The Nats are overloaded with corner OFs, and Werth, Zimmerman and Harper aren’t going anywhere next year or the year after. Also, the Nats are already too right-handed hitting dominant; so, I can’t imagine the plan is to replace Span or ALR by putting Souza in the lineup (with either Harper moving to CF or RZ moving to 1b) as that would give the Nats 7 or possibly 8 right-handed hitters in the everyday lineup (there is a reason why the Nats record is great against LHP and mediocre against RHP).

    I could see the Nats trading to Souza (and possibly Moore and/or Walters) for either a SS or CF prospect that is a left-handed bat (BTW, the Nats other uber position player prospect, Michael Tayler is also a right-handed bat).

    • sjm308 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      The more I read, the more I learn.

      I could see a scenerio that maybe has Span AND LaRoche gone after this season.
      Harper back to CF, Zimm to first and add either Souza or Taylor (or both) to the 25 man roster. You still have McClouth on his 2nd year and hopefully he will play like a guy who needs one more contract (ala LaRoche).

      Outfield of Souza – Harper – Werth (with McClouth and Taylor on the bench)
      Infield of – Rendon – Desmond – Espinosa (or a trade)- Zimm with Moore & Frandsen on the bench

      Can’t see any issues with our starters for next year
      Bullpen will always be influx – its the nature of the beast

      Enough about the future. Have to get back to rooting for this team to take a huge step. Minimum of 2/3 from the Phillies and then a nice rest and hit the ground running after the AS break

      Ghost jd and Wonk – totally agree with you on Bryce and always have. I still think I will be looking back and comparing him to Mickey Mantle when all is said and done

      Go Nats!!

    • therealjohnc - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      Langley, one thing that is interesting is that the Nationals have been playing Souza in CF a fair amount of late. Including last night, This instead of former CF heir apparent Brian Goodwin, who shifts to RF when Souza plays CF. This is a possible indicator that the Nationals are at least open to the possibility of a Werth-Souza-Harper outfield next season.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        It could be John. I think that’s a good observation. I’m of the opinion that Span, LaRoche and Soriano won’t be retained for 2015.

        I think Rendon will be the leadoff of the future just by default.

      • coop202 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        I could see us keeping one of the two position players if the prices right/we pick up a 1 year option.

  15. chaz11963 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Totally agree with wonk, jd, and Ghost- Bryce is a generational talent that is an important piece to the success of the Nats this year and for years to come. Once he gets back on track, the Nats are going to be a juggernaut.

    • sjm308 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      I dont do the virtual drink thing but I owe you one

  16. langleyclub - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    One other point on the Souza thing, in a perfect world, the Nats and Rizzo would love to unload the last year 3 years of the Werth contract on someone else. While no team is going to take an aging Werth at that price, the scenario with Souza would be very different, if Werth’s contract expired after this year. To win these days, you need to have productive young players with limited salaries, Souza appears that he is MLB ready at minimum salary. Does not get any better than that.

    • jd - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      langleyclub,

      That’s exactly my point. Even the Yankees are failing because they are not able to build from within at all. Now, Souza may turn out to be a AAAA player who can dominate the minors but how long are you going to keep a player at AAA when he is hitting .370 with power and speed?

  17. Eric - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Ramos had a far more serious injury than Bryce and in fact, there was talk that he could lose lower when he came back.

    Uh…I totally disagree. A hairline fracture is far less serious than a fully-torn ligament, and removing a small bone is far less serious of a surgery than grafting connective tissue.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Coop, the mistake of teams like the Phoolies is that they weren’t bringing up the young players except Dominic Brown during the years they were getting old.

    The Nats for next year could go:

    Rendon 3B or 2B
    Harper RF
    RZim 1B
    Ramos C
    Desi SS
    Werth LF
    Souza/McLouth CF
    Vacant 2B or 3B

    Bench

    Lobaton C
    McLouth/Souza OF
    Lefty Bat 1B
    Frandsen
    Middle Infielder SS/2B

    Rotation

    Fister
    JZim
    Stras
    Gio
    Roark/TJordan/THill/Treinen

    Bullpen

    Storen
    Clippard
    Barrett
    Mattheus
    5
    6
    7

    I think it will look like this next year and it wouldn’t surprise me to see some deadline trades that impact the 2015 roster.

    • coop202 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      So you think we ship danny too? I’ll admit I don’t know as much about Souza as I should but the difference between what we want to build and the phillies strategy needs to be to build a team in the cardinal’s mantra and stockpile as much young 4A/possibly mlb talent as possible too. It’s also why I see a lot of our top talent walking in the next few years – I assume we’ll see Souza later this season in mlb and get a better sense of if we push more turn next season. In my dreams we trade AAAA pitching for one of the cubs MI milb guys at somepoint before New Years…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        We might see Michael Taylor also. I think Danny stays until he’s traded. They don’t want to DFA this guy.

      • DaveB - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        Unless you’re talking Darwin Barney, you need to keep dreaming if you think AAAA talent will fetch one of the Cubs MI prospects

      • coop202 - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        We have a wealth of potential mid level starters that currently would be considered high level prospects/4A. So no, not dreaming, we’re overfilled on pitching.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    “jd – Jul 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM
    Ghost,

    I am not arguing that Hairston is adding much to the team. I am just not sure who your better options are. We spent a small fortune on Mc.Louth because he was supposed to be the perfect bench player who can not only pinch hit but can also play defense, step in for an injured player and give regulars a rest. Mc.Louth has performed at below replacement level.

    Once in a while you hit the jackpot with a bench player like the Braves did last year with Jordan Schafer, but he too is back to his pedestrian self.

    I agree that Souza can’t be brought up to serve as an occasional pinch hitter”

    jd, you are correct on McLouth but at least he plays defense and can run. Hairston adds nothing. He was a mistake coming North and he was a POOR signing in the first place as I said at the time, but there was nobody on the staff this Spring Training to take his spot but there were available FA’s that were available.

  20. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Does anyone care that lebron went back to Cleveland? Shocker for sure.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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