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Instant analysis: Rockies 6, Nats 4

Jul 23, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With an opportunity to sweep the foundering Rockies and get their 9-game road off to a stellar start, the Nationals knew they’d need to compensate for the absences of Ryan Zimmerman (who was placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring strain), Jayson Werth (given a day off to rest his knee) and Wilson Ramos (given a day off after catching a night game).

That depleted lineup wound up struggling to maintain its previous level of production, stymied by Colorado left-hander Jorge De La Rosa over 7 1/3 innings. The Nationals were forced to play catch-up all afternoon, though, after Stephen Strasburg served up three quick runs in the bottom of the first, setting the stage for another battle of an outing by the right-hander.

The Nationals attempted mount one final rally in the ninth, getting four straight 2-out hits off closer LaTroy Hawkins, but Ian Desmond struck out with the bases loaded and a chance to drive in the go-ahead run. So in the end, the Nats left Coors Field having captured another series — they’ve either won or split nine of their last 10 — while at worst maintaining a 1-game lead in the NL East over the Braves (who face the Marlins later this evening).

HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nationals had a couple of chances to rally against De La Rosa when the game was still tight. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the sixth, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and one out. Harper, though, struck out for the third time in as many at-bats vs. De La Rosa. Danny Espinosa then grounded the very next pitch to shortstop to kill that rally. One inning later, now trailing 4-2, the Nationals had runners on first and second with nobody out. But Denard Span (who had been 3-for-3 on the afternoon) tried to sacrifice and wound up bunting too hard, letting the Rockies throw out Jose Lobaton at third base. Werth, getting a rare opportunity to pinch-hit, then struck out while Anthony Rendon followed with a grounder to short, killing that rally as well.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: It has become routine for Strasburg: Give up several runs early, then battle to try to make something out of the start. And it happened again today. Handed a 1-0 lead before he ever took the mound, Strasburg immediately gave three runs right back on two doubles, a walk and two singles. Then he settled down and managed to keep the damage at those three runs into the sixth, pumping his fastball up to 98 mph to get one key double-play grounder out of Drew Stubbs. But then Strasburg couldn’t finish on a high note. He walked No. 7 hitter Michael McKenry to lead off the sixth, then later allowed an infield single to De La Rosa, and out came Matt Williams asking for the ball. Strasburg’s final line (four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings) wasn’t particularly strong, and it leaves him with a 7-8 record and 3.67 ERA for the season. That ERA ranks 29th out of 50 qualifying NL starters.

KEY STAT: Kevin Frandsen’s bunt single in the top of the seventh snapped an 0-for-22 slump by Nationals pinch-hitters.

UP NEXT: The Nationals get a day off before opening a 3-game series at Cincinnati on Friday at 7:10 p.m. It’ll be Tanner Roark vs. Reds All-Star right-hander Alfredo Simon in the opener at Great American Ball Park.

132 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    You just can’t play Harper against Lefties. He is an automatic out.

    • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      exactly, Harper is another Espi, maybe one step up

    • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      to add, at least Espi does not act like child when he strikouts

      • secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Good point. Espi has heart. Harper is a pro doña who is hard to root for.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      If you were Billy Beane, that would be right. Rizzo doesn’t play it that way and there is not a good platoon replacement unless you used RZim.

      • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        Ghost

        what is the prognosis on Zim, i have not heard anything

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        Whatbis a Grade 2

      • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        Billy Beane platoons players who have proven they can’t hit same-sided pitchign. He doesn’t platoon 21 year olds who hit lefties at about league average in his career and well above this year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Whatever you say David. He has built a team to get the sum of the parts greater than the whole. It’s smart ball. Check egos at the door.

      • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        No it’s not, it’s shortsighted and it’s not something Billy Beane even does. You don’t turn a player into a platoon player without giving them the chance to develop. He brings in guys who have proven repeatedly they can’t succeed against same-sided pitching. To try and apply that or compare that to Harper is just ridiculous. Any GM who tried to platoon Harper (or any player) this early in his career should be fired.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        Ok, David. Fire Beane. The point is their are certain lefties that eat up Harper and Matty had to know that De La Rosa was not a good matchup. What did Bryce learn today that he hasn’t learned in 3 years. These games count. They count for a lot actually.

      • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        I’m not saying to fire Beane, I’m saying Beane doesn’t even do what you’re suggesting. Why should Matt know that De La Rosa is a bad matchup when Harper was on base all 3 times against a lefty yesterday?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:03 PM

        I have spent hours with Billy. I suggested Coco Crisp to him when he was a Free Agent. Of course I mentioned him here a dozen times.

      • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        Okay, so Billy Beane signed Coco Crisp because of you. Got it. Anything else you want to take credit for, Ghost?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        I didn’t say that. I suggested him as a fit. Whether or bot he relied on that was on him. I suggest lots of players that aren’t signed.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:08 PM

        I guess I pulled that Grade 2 out of my butt also. Had that before it was public.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Beane ball doesn’t use platoons based on what hand the pitcher throws with, it’s matchups. If Harper matches well to a lefty, he would be in there.

      • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        I’m not sure what you mean by matchups. If you’re suggesting he plays players based on pitcher-hitter matchups, that makes no sense because the results are statistically insignificant. And if you turn a player into a platoon player, he’d never have the chance to develop that matchup history to begin with. He takes a guy like Brandon Moss who was a failed Philly prospect because he couldn’t hit LHP and puts him into a situation where he can succeed by never facing LHP. Same for a guy like John Jaso. He doesn’t turn guys who are still extremely young and still developing into platoon players.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        There’s no discussing with you. You go by a book and stats that tell you information that you can’t figure out.

      • coop202 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        You realize billy beane doesn’t do any actual in game managing right?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:01 PM

        He is the manager of the manager just like Rizzo is to MW.

      • coop202 - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:22 PM

        exactly… he’d never have control of a platoon

      • Smyrcok - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        Ghost these comments of yours are hilarious

    • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      he’s hitting .375 against lefties. he had two walks and a hit off a lefty just yesterday.

      • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        that is true, I guess I really am down at his effort at the plate today. I really expected him to step after R im went down. That is what special players do, i see no evidence at all that Harper has those qualities

      • karlkolchak - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        @mick – I think Nats fans are starting to feel disappointed that Harper and Strasburg, so far in their careers, are both vastly overrated compared to the hype that surrounded them when they were drafted. Two “once in a decade” talents ought to be playing at Kershaw and Trout levels. They may yet reach those lofty heights, but if they were already the Nats would easily be the best team in baseball by a comfortable margin. And yes, it’s hard to keep being patient with them and hoping they take it to that next level.

      • scmargenau - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        Small sample. Toss it out. He’s 240ish and on a decline as pitchers figure out what he can’t hit.

      • texnat1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Proctor is completely correct here. Its ridiculous to suggest that a young talent on the level of Harper should be platooned at this point in his career. Outrageously so. If you want to do that, then go ahead and trade him, because he will probably publicly demand a trade and perhaps even stop showing up for work. Beane wouldn’t do it either.

        And as Proctor suggests, Harper has actually been doing fine against lefties in the recent past.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Proud of them, they fought to the last out.

  3. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    very proud of the effort indeed. they almost pulled it off

  4. scnatsfan - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Great finish but our ace has to stop with the early runs to put us in the hole.

    52 starts over 2 years, 15 wins. Numbers like that scare no one.

    • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      CO’s ace was better and may be better than Stras. This was game I really thought Stras would dominate

    • secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      That is mind blowing. And he is not our ace. He’s our 5. The numbers don’t lie.

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        SS is not our ace…maybe not 5, but NOT #1.

  5. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Ghost

    how long is he out?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      I think there is no easy answer. Treatment and therapy. He’s a slow healer so I’m not optimistic.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        I looked up a Grade 2. Not a total tear thru but not good. Not that mild 10 day type of strain and then back to running.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        Grade 2 is a broad range. It means that it didn’t tear completely and roll up…but it’s more than stretched. some tearing took place. There is enough room there to park a bus. 3-12 weeks.

        My gut is that he’s out until September.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        I am hearing late August to mid September with the wide range due to his recovery time since he’s been a slow healer.

        Do we have any Doctors here to explain how a guy running 90 feet shreds his hammie. At least they aren’t recommending surgery which I guess is a Grade 3.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        Yeah G3 is surgery.

        It is a sprinter’s ailment. Runs to 1st Base are a leading category. Not a doc, though. Can’t tell you why.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        By the way, the Nats knew before the game the severity. Not sure why they wanted to wait for after the game.

        I was hoping cramp, Charlie Horse, or just the garden variety 15 day DL pull.

        This is shocking. I guess better than a knee.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Ghost, see the post at the bottom about Hairston. Curious about your thoughts.

  6. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    in 2012, Rizzo was able to get Suzuki about now, is Kurt available? I think it would be a great pick up, he knows the team and maybe the 2nd time is a charm

    • secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Yes he’s available. And if you recall Suzuki was huge in Aug Sept for us.

  7. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    3 guys I never want to see in post season:

    Hairston
    Lobaton
    Barrett

    • secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      3 guys I don’t want to see Friday. Hairston, Lobaton, Barett.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Lobaton had a poor game but he’s an able backup.

    • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      give Barrett a little slack, he’s young…..

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Wow, Williams says Span’s bunt was called by Williams himself. Span had already had 3 hits, Loboton, a bad runner at 2nd, and you called for that bunt?!!!

    By the way, weird stat: Span went 4-5 on a total of 10 pitches.

    • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      did a reporter follow that up, because at the least MW should explain why or own up and admit he made a bad move.

      • secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        Bad move by a bad manger. Trying to manage when he doesn’t need to. Sit the heck down.

    • David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      Yeah that made no sense at all. Matt made several curious moves today.

      • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        and that is what would concern me in a post season about MW. he does things that are just, well, plain stupid sometimes

      • nats128 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        Hairston batting 2nd tops everything. I didnt mind the bunt it was just executed poorly.

      • texnat1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        MW’s in game management leaves a great deal to be desired at this point in his career. Especially with regard to bunting (or not bunting when you should). Yesterday was a very bad decision. (i) Span is hot; (ii) Lobaton is slow, and mostly (iii) you need two runs so why trade one out just to advance the runners?

  9. secretwasianman - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    This team needs Bryce. It’s time he steps up. Same with Stras. It’s time. The mediocrity must end. Number 1 picks should not equal mediocrity. Good night all.

    • mrnat7 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Is Stras and Harper going to end up being two big busts for the Nats! They both have a very very long way to go!

      • coollikelivo - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:02 PM

        Problem is they would both be the type to totally mature and improve to HOF levels if traded. The Caps have been notorious for trading players who blossom after the change of scenery. Problem may be that SS and BH have been coddled, possibly for fear of inviting the wrath of Boras….

      • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        very true, coddled is also an understatement for both of them.

      • scbilly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        Neither has proven to be a once in a decade player yet (shouldn’t there only be one of those every ten years?), but in his chat on Monday Boz laid out the case that both are about 25% better than a replacement player which is far from a bust. Harper at least still has plenty of upside potential – if he has a full healthy season next year it will be his first. Breathe in, breathe out, check back in on Friday.

  10. veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    We’re not going to win every game, but sheesh, Stras seems more and more average as time passes.

    • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Stras seems more and more NOT the ace of this team, that is reality.

  11. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    could Rizzo go after Price?

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Not worth what we’d have to give up.

    • mrnat7 - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      How about Strasburg for Price!

      • natinalsgo - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:53 PM

        Would the Rays do that deal. 2 years of Strasburg for 1 year of Price.

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Whaddya suppose the chances are Seattle gives us Walker and Franklin for Strasburg at the trade deadline? Solves three of our problems.

  13. Nats fool - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    We need to strengthen our bench and plan better for injuries to Zimm. Is there a grinder available at the trade deadline, preferably third base? You could move Rendon back to second and avoid Espi except as a defensive replacement. Let’s start moving some prospects.

  14. David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    Braves putting a beating on Miami. It’s nice we built a tiny cushion so regardless of what happens, we’re still in first.

  15. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    karlkolchak – Jul 23, 2014 at 7:50 PM
    @mick – I think Nats fans are starting to feel disappointed that Harper and Strasburg, so far in their careers, are both vastly overrated compared to the hype that surrounded them when they were drafted. Two “once in a decade” talents ought to be playing at Kershaw and Trout levels. They may yet reach those lofty heights, but if they were already the Nats would easily be the best team in baseball by a comfortable margin. And yes, it’s hard to keep being patient with them and hoping they take it to that next level.

    karl: EXCELLENT POST!!! that hits the nail on the head, they both or at least one of them should be at the levels of Trout and Kershaw and they clearly are not

    • scmargenau - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      U know that’s Peric right?

  16. micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    karlkolchak, I love your SN, use to watch Darrin McGavin and simon Oaklnad on Friday nights. The series was not as good as the 2 made for TV movies, 1971 Night stalker and 1973 Night strangler. I was sacred shi_____ when I watched the Night Stalker, that was at the time the most watched made for TV movie in history, before Brian’s Song cam out a month later.

    • micksback1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:18 PM

      actually early 1972 was Night Stalker, Brian’s song was 1971

  17. pausecoaching - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Straus is an automatic L now. I usually factor this in to all his games now. Sad, but getting to be true.

    • stoatva - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      No, it’s not true. Jeebus.

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      In general, I usually ignore all posts where the poster cannot even spell an abbreviated version of the players name.

      • stoatva - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        Hopefully most of these guys will disappear with the football season.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    From Kilgore, Look who he mentions, Arizona Diamondbacks, Hill and Prado:

    “Martin Prado and Aaron Hill, both of whom Williams coached with the Arizona Diamondbacks, would fit the Nationals’ needs. An excellent defender and an all-star in 2009, Hill owns a paltry .664 on-base-plus-slugging percentage this season. But he’s also come out of the all-star break hot, going 8 for 19 with a homer and two doubles.

    Prado, who went to the Diamondbacks when they traded Justin Upton to the Braves, is hitting .272/.317/.365. He can play left field, third base and second base and is regarded as a hard-working, team-first player.
    Both Prado and Hill have contracts that would make a deal difficult. Hill will make roughly $4.2 million the rest of the season and $12 million in both 2015 and 2016. Prado will also make about $4.2 million the remainder of this year and then $11 million in each of the next two seasons.

    Prado’s defensive flexibility would make his contract more palatable. The Nationals could make either player fit in seasons to come. If Adam LaRoche leaves in free agency, Zimmerman could take over at first base, Rendon could play third and a player they trade for could stick at second, with Espinosa continuing to serve in the bench role. Still, General Manager Mike Rizzo seemed content to use Espinosa as Zimmerman’s replacement.”

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      What about JZIMM and/or Dez’ contracts?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        Do you mean extensions?

      • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        No, the money we get from LaRoche and Sori being bye bye, I assume, would go to either or both, JZIMM or Dez. Pretty sure either or both would have new contracts. You can call it an extension if you like.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        I think they sign Desi. I think they are at a standstill with JZim and will offer him a QO and let the chips fall where they may.

        In 2016 the Nats control Stras, Gio, Roark and would have to add 2 unless JZim or Fister take an extension. AJ Cole could be ready and who knows who else.

      • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        Don’t think baby Gio is ready by then?

  19. stoatva - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Wasn’t able to watch the game, but if Span successfully sacrifices to put runners on for Werth…. don’t they intentionally walk Werth?

  20. natinalsgo - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    I thought the game was 8:40 PM. I guess I missed a good one. Bryce Harper hate everywhere. Oh no!

  21. nats128 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    Haren blew up again. 5 runs given up in 5 innings and pulled. I thought his problem was he was homesick and needed to be in LA.

    Such a joke the excuses people here come up with.

    The guy just stinks. He had 5 good starts and hasn’t pitched good since. How soon before the Dodgers DFA him.

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      Huh? Haren? That dude was garbage for us.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        Very inconsistent. If Rizzo signed Lohse instead of Haren, Nats win the NL East in 2013. At least Rizzo got it right with Fister this year.

        By the way, Lohse 1 run against the Reds today.

  22. David Proctor - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Are you serious with everyone trading Stras and Harper. Get a grip, people.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      It’s not going to happen.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        The bigger the contract, the bigger the target. Look how Werth was treated in 2011. Some say it comes with the territory.

        Strasburg looked bad today but Lobaton didn’t look prepared. You have to know that 4 seamers and 2 seamers generally play well in Colorado. The time to see what your curveball is doing is in the pregame in the bullpen. Strasburg did a good job of keeping the ball down but was not hitting his spots when he needed to and didn’t do a good job of changing the eye level.

        He had several 2 strike counts and didn’t put the batters away. Tthe batters were looking low to put them in play and they did and while several weren’t hit well, it didn’t matter as the bad luck bug bit him.

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    Dodgers lose again.

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Barves win. Nats lead the NL East by 1.0

    • therealjohnc - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Two in the loss column. That’s the marker that I track, because you can’t get a loss back.

  25. Andrew Wallace - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    I think both of their disappointments are the results of injury. Stras was unhittable out of the gate throwing 98-100 with great command….he blew up this elbow…and was never as dominant again and didn’t regain his velocity. Nobody talks about this but Harper for his part DID have a once in a generation 19 yr old rookie season. Nobody at 19 basically had ever put up numbers like that…then he came out of the gate in 2013 on absokute unholy fire with like 10 bombs in April and ran into the wall in LA. For whatever reason he has never been close to the same since the wall collision. And that’s just a fact. Whether it’s a result of that injury (either the knee and developing bad hitting habits to compensate for pain on back leg etc or even a misdiagnosed concussion/trauma) he’s been a totally different far inferior player since then. Think about people like Logan Morrison. Was a phenomenal young player…hit in the head and tho it wasn’t supposed to be that terribly serious, he literally became horrible at baseball afterward. I believe that both stras and Harper have had their development as young players dramatically stunted by these incidents.

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      This is waaaaay too logical. Cut it out.

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      Stras’ fastball doesn’t have enough movement. Harper will come around. Bank on that. He needs to lose the attitude and he will excel. Zim should take him under his wing as his protégé.

      • Andrew Wallace - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        He needs to spend the entire offseason developing done type of 4th pitch whether slider or sinker or some sort of hard pitch with movement to get people off his straight 4 seamer

      • natinalsgo - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        Strasburg throws the occasional 2-seamer when he wants that groundball. He had the slider in Spring Training and abandoned it in April.

        He’s a 3 pitch guy. Fastball, changeup, curveball.

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      “I think both of their disappointments are the results of injury.”

      Some might be forgetting that Stras had an operation this past off-season, as well, for removal of bone chips from his elbow. And Harper’s knee was still bothering him after an offseason operation which prevented him from working out over the winter. That knee was still bothering him al through ST.

      Let’s see how those guys do once they are both fully healed, and are able to perform, post full recovery. Whenever a player has an off-season operation, his next season is often going to be affected.

      • Andrew Wallace - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        Yup. MASN Dan talking today about how drew was telling stras to not get too discouraged because drew said he lost ton of velocity and command the year after his bond chips procedure and then regained it this year obviously. I would be very surprised if stras turns into this generations Nolan ryan….rarely in cy young convo but always leading league in strikeouts. I believe firmly that he will improve . With Bryce I’m even more confident.

      • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

        Some might be forgetting that Stras had an operation this past off-season, as well, for removal of bone chips from his elbow.

        Bingo!

  26. Andrew Wallace - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    And 2 more things. 1. To say that we were entitled to Trout and Kershaw is just beyond ridiculous. You’re talking about arguably the greatest young left handed pitcher of all time (only one under 26 to win 2 Cys and he should’ve won the Dickey year a 3rd and a guy who isn’t just a once in a decade player….trout is a once in a quarter century player. He’s that ridiculous. Nobody in the history of baseball has had an all around first 3 years in the big leagues at that age like Trout. Nobody. He may well end his career as a top 6 all time player. It’s not out of the question remotely. If u expected Willie Mays and Walter Johnson…then I think that’s a bit unfair.
    2. It’s entirely possible that Strasburg becomes the ace we want him to be. The talent is undeniable….and according to the entire theory of peripheral statistics, he should be a top 3 pitcher in baseball right now given his K BB numbers. We have a pitcher leading the league in strikeouts by 30 this year. Let’s not call the guy a bust for goodness sake. As for Bryce, he did have 2 astonishing age 19 and age 20 seasons given historical perspective (look at mantle and griffeys numbers at his age….harps one of the 3 youngest players on a roster right now!!! Gotta remember that!!). Did we expect him to make another leap this year? Without a doubt. But he had an abbreviated offseason where he couldn’t really work on hitting because of fairly serious knee surgery and then tore a thumb ligament. You all have GOT to give the kid a break. His career arc suggests somebody who will reach MVP level at some point and be a 30+homer, .290-.300 and 120 RBI guy at his peak. He probably won’t be barry bonds or mike trout but my goodness, NOBODY is. And I do mean nobody.

    • veejh - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      I don’t think anyone is calling Stras a bust (except for a few stupid ones). However, given his arsenal, he’s not nearly as effective as he should be. I don’t like seeing posts blaming Lobo for his shortcomings. He’s the one tossing pitches and something almost always seems to go wrong.

      • Andrew Wallace - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        I agree. It is genuinely bizarre how he seems to CONSTANTLY give up the big hit in the bad spot. I wonder btw whether it’s simply that he is poor mechanically/just very ineffective from the stretch. Would explain the sense we all have that he’s “not clutch”. Maybe hes just a pitcher who needs the windup to be dominant. I would love tho to see Keith law or schoenfeld or one of those guys analyze how it’s possible to have a K/BB rate like his and also have a below average ERA. It’s seems virtually impossible. He really is defying the BABIP law of gravity I guess

      • scmargenau - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        Define bust.

        He’s ranked 29/50 pitchers and was a number one one in a decade guy. Maybe a solid pitcher for a number3-4 — but some will say that’s a bust do to expectations.

  27. laddieblahblah - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    “The bigger the contract, the bigger the target. Look how Werth was treated in 2011. Some say it comes with the territory.”

    That contract is looking better by the year, while Ryan Howard’s much bigger contract is looking worse and worse, yet Howard is a year younger than Werth. Werth is slowing down in the field, but his bat is as good as ever, maybe better than ever.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      Who can forget the “Werthless” chants.

      Werth’s contract is fine given the output and the intangibles. It’s RZim’s which isn’t paying off because he can’t stay on the field.

      Werth’s contract is in effect for 2015, 2016, 2017. He has to move to LF.

      RZim’s contract is in effect for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 with team option for 2020.

      Rendon is under team control for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

      Harper is under team control for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

      Ramos is under team control for 2015, 2016

      Desi is under team control for 2015

      Strasburg is under team control for 2015, 2016

      JZim is under team control for 2015

      Fister is under team control for 2015

      Gio is under team control for 2015, 2016, with team option for 2017 and vesting option for 2018

      Roark is under team control for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

      • npb99 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:32 AM

        Thanks for that summary. It’s clear based on those numbers that the window is wide open right now, but who knows in a fee years.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:55 AM

        The Nats are wide open to make big payroll expenditures in 2018 and beyond.

        If they sign Desi and Ramos to extensions they can try to push the larger payouts out further to cost control the cashflow.

      • npb99 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:32 AM

        Fee, few … Whatever.

      • adcwonk - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Who can forget the “Werthless” chants.

        Oh my — that lasted over a year.

        Or the self-proclaimed genius who shall not be named and who doesn’t hang out here anymore who asserted he was the most expensive bench player in history.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        Jayson earned 1/2 his 2011 salary for getting rid of Nyjer.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:37 AM

        Werth is also a reminder of why you shouldn’t be too quick too judge the value of a long-term contract.

        Fact is, he wasn’t that good in his first year as a Nat, and then between time on the DL and diminished power when he returned, even less productive in his second year.

        But in 2013-14, he’s returned to the offensive production that was expected all along, and his defense, while not stellar, is still tolerable.

        So let’s not be too quick to judge Zim’s contract in what is clearly a bad-luck season for him, sorta like Werth’s 2012.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        HH, the prob with RZim is total games played each year and his ramp up time every time he comes back from the DL.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        Ghost

        I think you’re being too hard. In 8 seasons, Zim has had over 600 PA in 6 of them, including the last two.

        This year is clearly a hard luck season for him. Whether it’s the beginning of the end, or just an aberration, remains to be seen.

        If he returns to being a 600-650 PA guy with the kind of #s he put up this year, we will be talking about a “resurgent” Zim who proved all the doubters wrong, just as folks are saying about Werth right now.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        I guess if he keeps up this every 3 year thing with 2008, 2011, 2014 where he misses over 1/3 of each season, we can project 2017 as a year to wrap him in bubble wrap.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        I’m thinking full body Zimmer-mit.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        Good one!

  28. stoatva - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    Papelblown implosion in the ninth inning of scoreless contest. Now Giants 3 Phillies 0. Two walks, a hit batter and then a bloop double down the line by Pence.

    No day is a complete loss when Jonathan takes a beating.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:10 AM

      They are showing the game again on ESPN

  29. natsbro - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Am I the only one who thinks we would be ok not making a trade? I’d be surprised if we do…

  30. thomaswell - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    The cost to replace Zim’s bat in a trade is going to be too steep. with news that his hammy strain is worse then buffalo’s, he may not be back until late August…… (guess). I still think we can win pennant without Zim until then but looking ahead, are we good enough to go deep in playoffs? I’d like to see a replacement lefty bat for Nate, preferrably an OF.

    so we’d be “ok” not making trade but our current roster is one good lefty bench bat that can help us get to Series.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      I don’t think anyone should expect a blockbuster trade.

      The Nats are in a tight race, so even minor improvements could have a big effect on the outcome of the season. They don’t have to go out and find someone who could equal Zim’s production (that would be nice, but also very expensive). They just have to find someone who would be an upgrade over Espinosa/Walters.

      That could come in the form of a 2B with decent defense and better offensive #s than Espi, or it could be a 3B, which would allow them to keep Rendon at 2B most of the time.

  31. natsbro - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Doesn’t winning the pennant mean winning the NLCS?

    • natsbro - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      ^^I’m not trying to call you out thomas..I just want to make sure I’VE been using the term correctly haha

  32. rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Ghost,
    My thinking on Hairston yesterday was that it was one last chance. He’s supposedly a specialist against lefties. He had hit this pitcher well in the past. If he’s lost it then this would prove it. When Werth came out to PH for him, still against the lefty, I think that was the end of the line for Haiston.

    Agree?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Hairston’s rep was built on what he did with the Mets and prior. He’s a fraction of his former self.

      Hard to believe Hairston has lasted this long. He goes in the long line of duds with Stairs and Tracey.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        I think they finally realize it. He will be gone soon.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Sad, watching the end is near. Stairs got a job in the TV booth for the Phoolies and look at Mark DeRosa and Preston Wilson.

        Ex-Nats getting good TV gigs.

  33. Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    From yesterday’s game blog:

    nats106 – Jul 23, 2014 at 5:39 PM
    Did Davey Johnson make a guest appearance at Coors today?

    —————————————————

    I’ll guaranty you that Davey wouldn’t have had a guy that had already had 3 hits bunt with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, especially with Jose Loboton being the lead runner.

    Davey’s ship has sailed, as it was time.I like Matt Williams, but he still has a lot to learn on how to manage a baseball game, and as old and frail as many think that Davey Johnson is, Davey could still take Matt to school, in my opinion.

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