Skip to content

Nationals Stock Watch: Strasburg’s road struggles continue

Jul 24, 2014, 1:33 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today
We take a look at the Nationals’ past week, at a glance:

Record: 4-2
Team slash: .318/.361/.444
Team ERA:  3.74
Runs per game: 5.5


Ian Desmond, SS: .440 AVG/ .462 OBP/ .640 SLG

This past week was a pretty good reminder that when he’s right, Desmond is one of the best hitting shortstops in the National League. After scuffling throughout most of June, he’s put together a quality stretch recently, including his current 10-game hitting streak in which he’s driven in at least one run in seven of those games. As he has for the last month or so, he still leads the team in home runs and RBI, but the hit streak has raised his average to above .250 for the first time since April 11th. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s cut down on the strikeouts lately; he had 40 punchouts in June to just 18 so far in July.

Denard Span, CF: .462 AVG/ .517 OBP/ 2 SB/ 4 R

Every potent lineup needs a spark plug at the top of the order to set the table for the big boppers. Span has been that guy for a good part of the season, yet like most of the Nats’ hitters he’s especially flourishing in July. He’s reached base in every game he’s played this month, and has had multi-hit efforts in six out of the last nine. He leads the team in stolen bases and is second only to Anthony Rendon in both hits and runs scored. It’d be tough to ask for a whole lot more from a lead-off man.

Bryce Harper, LF: .412 AVG/ .524 OBP/ .647 SLG

New batting stance, new haircut, new Bryce? Harper clearly changed up a few things during the All-Star Break to try to get out of his slump. And while it may be too early to say that the old Harper is back, posting a 1.127 OPS  — highest of anyone in the everyday lineup over the past week —  is a pretty good way to start a rebound. His power-stroke isn’t all the way there just yet, but the more upright stance allows him to see the ball better and make his swing a little more compact. The Nats certainly hope the new approach works, because with Ryan Zimmerman out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, now would be a really good time for Harper to get it going.

Stephen Strasburg, SP: 0-2/5.84 ERA/1.62 WHIP

Strasburg’s roller coaster season continues to leave Nats fans scratching their heads. It’s been just as confusing to try to pin down exactly why he hasn’t pitched up to expectations, too. So what gives? His strikeout-to-walk ratio (163-30) is better than it’s ever been, and yet opposing hitters are looking as comfortable as they can be against him at the plate. As Zuckerman mentioned in an earlier post, Strasburg’s fastball velocity isn’t as good as it used to be, so he can’t just rear back and blow hitters away like he used to in 2010. But even if his velocity is down, Strasburg still has other plus-pitches to go to when he needs them, so there’s no reason to think he can’t work around having a good-but-no-longer-great heater. Another troubling trend is the stark contrast between his home and road splits: After Wednesday’s defeat in Colorado, Strasburg is now 1-6 with a 5.09 ERA on the road, compared to 6-2 with a 2.62 ERA at Nationals Park.

Anthony Rendon, INF: .172 AVG/ .172 OBP/ .207 SLG

Rendon’s cooled off a bit since the Baltimore series a few weeks back. Since then, he’s had only two extra-base hits in the last ten games with a pair of RBIs. The good thing about Rendon’s stellar season, however, is that right when it looks like he’s about to go into an extended slump, he emphatically slugs his way out of it in a hurry. We’ll see if he can do it again.
152 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Daniel Shiferaw, did you see Rendon’s last 2 games? 4 for 10 Small sample sizes give “luck” too much distortion of numbers and Rendon was the bad luck guy in the Milwaukee series.

    • texnat1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      True, but he needs to turn some of those outs into walks. Note that his average and OBP were exactly the same, meaning he didn’t walk once.

      He has too good an eye for his OBP to be so close to his average overall. I expect it will come with time (unless Desi is rubbing off on him).

  2. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Span quietly has a .333 OBP. Is that what you’d want from a leadoff guy necessarily? Probably not. But it’s actually higher than Rendon’s. His walk rate is up from last year. He’s stealing more bases than last year and doing it more efficiently. He’s been a fine leadoff guy. Not amazing, but certainly good enough.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      .340 as a minimum which he is above if you remove his slow start.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      Agree. His .333 isn’t elite, but it will do.

      Among NL teams, the median OBP for the #1 hitter is .327. Only three teams are getting an OBP of more than .340 out of their lead-off hitters.

      • bowdenball - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Above-average OBP for an NL leadoff hitter PLUS above-average slugging for an NL leadoff hitter (hard to believe but he’s hit a ton of doubles, .390 is average) PLUS elite baserunning as explained by Kilgore yesterday. All three are desirable traits for a leadoff man. I’ll take it.

  3. Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    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 was, Davey could still take Matt to school, in my opinion.

    • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      Davey became a scapegoat for what went wrong last year. Everyone was blaming him. I don’t think people realize what a genius Davey was and not just because of his in-game management. Davey knew how to run a clubhouse and you never once heard a bad thing come out of there from under Davey. Under Matt…not so much.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        I loved the guy, David, but he was pretty tired out last year, especially around the break. I really hope that he is having fun again this year.

  4. rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    What bad out of the clubhouse under MW are you referencing? I haven’t seen it.

    • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Much of it involves Bryce. Davey knew how to handle Bryce. I don’t think Matt has the slightest clue.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        Good answer.

      • Smyrcok - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        You only need to look at Bryce’s “play me or trade me” comments he made last year. Davey made it into a total non-issue and it just made it seem like they had an intense but understanding relationship of mentor-protégé. Imagine if Bryce said something that was actually inflammatory like that this year, instead of just naively answering a question about the lineup without thinking. Good god they’d have to sell the team to get past that storm.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        That hustle benching wasn’t handled well. As far as the rest, it’s Bryce who has to adapt to MW not the other way around.

        Davey checked out last year and I still wonder what Knorr was doing as key mistakes were made.

        Davey wasn’t to blame for Haren or Espi and LaRoche’s poor year, that’s on Riz.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        Agree on the hustle benching. That it came 2 days after that beatdown from the Cardinals may have fueled some of that. Regardless, the public part of that was not good.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        “Play me or trade me” from Bryce was a JOKE. It’s a JOKE, son!

  5. rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    I disagree. Davey let Bryce run loose. MW is starting to mold him. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Bryce doesn’t like parts of it.

    The team is more disciplined this year. Stolen bases against being a prime example.

    Davey was a great manager, until about June last year when he checked out, with a very different style from this guy. That doesn’t make this guy bad…just different.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      I used the same term “checked out”. As a hotel traveler, it’s a great description of Davey.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      “This guy” is going to be fine in all probability, but Davey Johnson was the perfect guy to handle Bryce in his MLB infancy, and I think Harper is much brattier now than ever.

  6. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Matt benched Harper for “not hustling” on a bouncer back to the pitcher, but didn’t bench Hairston for turning a ball off the wall into a single. Nor has he benched a number of other players for not running to first, such as Ramos, Frandsen, and McLouth. Yes, you don’t want Ramos running, but Bryce was dealing with a sore quad too, remember.

    Then he says he wants Bryce in the lineup every day, but sits him twice in six games. When Bryce does play, he bats 6. But you can’t justify moving anyone else down, right? Okay, but Scott freaking Hairston batted second yesterday while Harper batted sixth.

    None of it makes sense. Whether you think he’s an overrated bust or not, Bryce is far more important to this franchise now and long-term than Matt. Matt has sent Bryce mixed signals at best ever since day one. I’m not saying to give Bryce free reign to do whatever he wants. But it seems to me that for whatever reason, MW has treated Harper differently than everyone else and not in a good way. If Bryce doesn’t like MW, it’s hard to blame him at this point.

    • Section 222 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      I agree with you DP. MW for some reason thought he needed to teach Bryce a lesson. It was poorly handled in my opinion and set Bryce back a bit. I do not understand why he’s batting so low in the order even after Zim gets hurt. He’s a potential superstar, but I don’t think he’s going to reach that potential if MW doesn’t change his approach.

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      + 1
      Nothing to add.

    • bowdenball - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Sure it makes sense, or at the very least it’s consistent. You’re ignoring the reasoning behind these moves because you disagree with them. I do too, but the reasons are there:

      Harper was benched because he didn’t bother to run to first, NOT because of how hard he ran down the line. The team decided they’d run all the way to first on every ground ball for whatever reason, something to do with replay I think. The reason doesn’t really matter. That’s the difference between that particular effort and all the other times guys didn’t bust it down the line … including Harper yesterday, who strolled leisurely all the way to first on a week grounder and nobody seemed to care at all. You may think it’s a silly rule- I do- but unless you can produce footage of another player failing to touch first on a grounder and not getting benched, you can’t argue that he’s treating Harper differently.

      As for the benching, he was benched against tough lefties because Williams thought he wasn’t hitting them well. The second benching happened on Monday because Fister was pitching and he wanted his best defensive IF, which meant moving Zimm to the OF. Had Zimm not gotten hurt LaRoche would have been benched yesterday against a lefty too.

      Finally the batting order. First, Hairston has a higher career OPS vs lefties than Harper, so right off the bat that part of the argument loses steam. And in any event Williams has shown that he likes contact guys in the 2 spot to move runners and never bats any of the 5 or 6 Nats with 25+ HR potential higher than 3. I disagree, but it’s not like he’s been inconsistent in that respect. Once you assume that and you have Span batting first, and LaRoche is the team’s most productive hitter all year, 6 is the natural spot for a lefty. I didn’t like it personally- I’d put Rendon first and Span 8th, or bat Harper or Werth second behind Span, or swap LaRoche and Harper as soon as LaRoche started slumping. But like it or not, that’s how MW puts his lineup together. He’s been consistent with the reasoning, including when Harper was out.

      • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        Here’s Ramos not even going halfway down the line before peeling off. I’ll post video if I find it. He was not benched. McLouth also did this once. And Hairston’s was 100x worse than any of them, although I guess that’s different because he touched first. Seems like BS to me.

        Harper this year is hitting well against lefties. Small sample? Sure. But he also had a 2/2 with 2 walks game against a lefty the day after being benched. He’s been about league average against lefties in his career. Well above average this year, so the whole “he’s not seeing them well lately” is just flat out wrong.

        “And in any event Williams has shown that he likes contact guys in the 2 spot to move runners and never bats any of the 5 or 6 Nats with 25+ HR potential higher than 3.”

        Ryan Zimmerman hit second on Opening Day. Harper has hit second this year.

      • bowdenball - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        As you mention the Hairston example is different. It doesn’t make sense to you and it doesn’t make sense to me, but not making sense is different than treating Harper differently. The Ramos example works if it’s a grounder, same for the McLouth example. I wonder why the beat writers didn’t inquire about that after the game. Maybe they later decided to drop that rule in certain instances. Who knows. I hated the move but I’m hard pressed to see that as anything more than a weird isolated incident.

        I agree with you that his reasoning for benching Harper was faulty, but again since he was also planning to bench LaRoche against a lefty later in the series and there was a valid reason for choosing Monday as Harper’s day off vs the three Colorado lefties I don’t know if that constitutes treating him differently.

        You’re right about Zimm and Harper in the 2 spot on rare occasion but Williams clearly favors contact guys there and prefers to bat power guys 3-6. Anyone who watched him bat Frandsen at the 2 repeatedly can tell you that. And it’s not like the 6 spot is the same as the bench. If you assume LaRoche should be at 4- which I don’t but that’s a separate question- than 6 is the natural spot for Harper.

        I disagree with the reasoning behind a lot of these decisions but that’s different than seeing some concerted anti-Harper thing from Williams. I think people are hyper-analyzing the dynamic after the benching and when you do that you can always find evidence to support any position.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        +1 bowdenball.

        The Williams-as-Bryce antagonist business is a tea leaf exercise. Part of why he was brought in was to help mature a young hyper-valuable commodity. That’s going to have some awkward moments by virtue of the fact that he is new to the manager role himself.

        Let’s see what the film looks like this time next year.

  7. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Morse error in LF turns into a Phillies run. Had the ball go right off his glove

    • ArVAFan - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Channeling his inner Adam Dunn? (“I try to knock in more runs than I let in.” Or something similar to that).

  8. micksback1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    how Rendon’s stock has dropped is a mystery to me. His play at 3rd in the CO series was excellent and he bailed out Fister/Barrett a few nights ago.

    How harper’s stock is up is equally amazing, I guess when you hit rock bottom, you can only go up, so I guess this would be correct. His 3 KO’s yesterday were terrible. i have no problem with MW getting on him at all. My issues with MW deal with game strategies which seem plain stupid at times. this coddling of Harper is just ridiculous. He needs to earn respect and reverence and so far he has come up way short

    • jd - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      It’s a weekly thing and last week Rendon hit .172 and Harper hit .412.

      Why is that so difficult to understand?

  9. micksback1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Hairston i now put on the same level as Dobbs: GARBAGE!

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      That’s an insult to Dobbs.

      • Smyrcok - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        And garbage.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        And Hairston.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        That is comic gold. Props to Hairston for jumping so high in the Werth Walkoff celebration.

        That may have kept him off the naughty list. 😉

  10. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    As far as I’m concerned, Matty’s worst “in-game” mistakes were yesterday, starting with batting Hairston in the 2-spot. If the worst happens this season is that we lose a game we were probably supposed to lose, I’m ok with that, but I don’t like the manager contributing to the loss. I put a fair amount of math in my game post to discuss the Span bunt.

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      I was not able to watch the game but my question is: Even if Span bunts the ball successfully don’t they simply walk Werth to fill the open base?

      Seems like a total brain f@rt to me.

      • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        Agree. Probably should have mentioned that in the post. Although Rendon would be up after Werth, so the might not.

      • jd - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        It’s always a dumb idea to bunt when your are 2 runs down. Never give away outs.

    • Section 222 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      We weren’t probably supposed to lose a game with Stras going against one of the worst teams in the league.

      • ArVAFan - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Maybe the worst team, but not their worst pitcher by any means. Given his record pitching for “one of the worst teams”, if we were going to lose one game out of six, that seems like the one.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Operative phrase there being “in the league.. This ain’t football.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        They scored four runs. What’s the astronomical record in games where they score four that Bob and FP keep touting? The lineup didn’t lose that game. Strasburg and Barrett did.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM


      • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        I’m not sure why Barrett was in the game. Matty messed himself up (a) with Hairston batting in the 2-spot and (b) not double-switching to bring in Detwiler. Yes, the double-switch is not a good thing (Detwiler would have to bat for himself, and if Lobaton got on, he would have to sac-bunt) but Matty ended up using two pitchers and two pinch hitters where he only needed one of each.

      • jd - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        Batting Hairston 2nd is completely incomprehensible to me. And if you already made that dumb mistake, why are you pinch hitting for him?

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      jd–correct. The bunt is acceptable (although not great) when you are playing for one run (i.e., tie game in the 8th or 9th inning). When you need two runs (or more), no. Stats show it DECREASES your chance for more than one run in the inning, in other words, you are snuffing out your chance for a rally. And with Span in particular, who doesn’t strike out and is the best contact hitter in the league, why is he bunting? The only worse result is a popout, and that isn’t worse than what actually occurred (a failed bunt). I suppose he could hit into a double play, but he could popup the bunt and that would be a doubleplay, too. So, by me, no bunt.

  11. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Apparently the Dodgers are considering cutting Dan Haren so that he won’t reach the innings needed for his option to vest. he’s been awful lately. He has a 6.04 ERA in his last 10 starts and has served up 13 homers.

    • veejh - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      That’s the Haren we know and love. Well….maybe not love.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      Heard that somewhere also 😉

  12. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Taking the long view, I am hoping for the Nats to win 92. If my back of the napkin calculations are correct, they get there by winning their home series and playing no worse than .500 ball on the road. Nothing wrong with fattening up on teams that are hurting, but so far they are right on track.

    Of course that’s much more maturity than I can summon while the games are in progress. 😉

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      Meaning post-all star break.

  13. Nats fool - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Stras is not going to be a Kershaw. Our problem is lineup depth. Zimm is great when healthy, but he is made of glass. Rizzo doesn’t believe in trading prospects for a quality, older bat, so we are stuck with DFA’d wash-ups, which costs us games and forces our good players to play more games when they could use a rest. Espi can’t be in the everyday lineup because it takes out the lower third of our lineup. We need to bite the bullet and not count on AAA players to blossom. We will need the depth and experience in October. Time to make a splash like the A’s did. Winning the pennant now should be the goal.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      he is made of glass

      Zimm has had 2 injuries this season but logged 600+ PAs in each of the last 2 seasons, the most of any Nat over that stretch.

      Some glass.

  14. lowstrikes - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    two words: Martin Prado…make that three words: Martin Prado, please.

  15. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    What “quality older bat” is on the market? Rizzo is not overly attached to prospects, look at all the prospects he traded away this winter. I think he’d trade Souza (and DFA Hairston) in a NY minute if there were a “rental” to be had.

    • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      I understand you don’t want Souza to rot on the bench, but at this point, you have to bring him up. Is he really being better served at AAA playing every day? It’s like a level too easy for him, his numbers are insane. DFA Hairston, bring up Souza and at the very least, you don’t suffer defensively like you do with Hairston in the game. With Werth’s barky knee, Souza could get some playing time.

      • jd - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:34 PM


        I agree.

      • Smyrcok - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        Souza could play the role McLouth was meant for. DFA Hairston (that is music to my ears), keep McLouth in his current role (no where else to put him) and give Souza spot starts in the field (but actually do it instead of talk about it) and pinch hitting opportunities. Counter act that pesky bench rot by actually getting him in there. He’d have to adjust really quickly though, we’re entering the last third of the season soon.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        Damn… I swear I made this point about 2 weeks ago… And I was told it was a ‘stupid’ suggestion…

        Folks are hilarious….

    • jd - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Prado would certainly be a major upgrade over what we have on the bench today but he’s owed app $25 mil for the next 2.5 years and that’s not bench money. I suppose you can play him at 2nd base next year and he’s not ancient so there is that.

      • lowstrikes - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        2nd, 3rd, or left, durable, and he’d see some pitches in the Nats line-up. I’ll take Souza, too. Let’s vote.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Extrapolate the linear regression he’s been on for the last 2 seasons. 31 years old and not getting younger.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Old friend Marlon Byrd, but probably not available to the Nats.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Byrd and Bastardo, the Phils might bite on Drew Vettleson and Drew Ward.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        Which may be an overpay, but by the time those two come back to hurt you, if they do, much of this team is gone and the Nats are in rebuilding mode anyway.

      • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        We have outfielders, we have nowhere to play them. We need infielders

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      I would be surprised if Hairston is a Nat after July 31. One way or the other, I expect that roster spot will be taken by a promotion or a trade acquisition.

  16. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 7s
    Other teams saying #Nationals looking for 2B and LHR. Nats say teams calling them to offer 2B and will acquire LHR only if it is an upgrade.


    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      Yah, you read Kilgore’s article and it sounds like the Nats are in wait and see mode. More like get & go mode.

      • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        Sounds to me like the Nats are in go & get mode, but are trying to act like they’re in wait & see mode so as to not give up any leverage.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        No honor amongst GMs that “anonymously” tell the national beat writers what’s what. No surprise. I can’t imagine all the garbage GMs are trying to pedal. Guys like Altuve aren’t available nor is the Pirates 2nd baseman, Cano or Kinsler.

        Would love to see Starlin Castro choose 3rd base and take the position permanently when RZim moves to 1st next year. He kills the NL East on the road in his career.

      • natinalsgo - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        I believe it’s “No honour amongst thieves” however certainly the words thieves/GM is inter-changeable

      • natszee - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        For the right price, anyone is available. Question is, does Rizzo want to pay it? I think not. He likes to steal a guy here and there. He will steal somebody or hold tight and deal in the off season. In the meantime, I agree that The pine could be thinned by at least DFA of Hariston … He should not be allowed to put on a uniform again. Complete waste.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Jon Heyman @JonHeymanCBS · 19m
    phils said trying hard to trade ryan howard, willing to pay most of $70M to go.

  18. mrnat7 - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    I have never seen anyone comment about our draft. We most always draft a pitcher number 1 or 2. And lately they have been injured pitchers!!. Anthony Rendon fell to us and Bryce Harper was the number 1 pick in the draft. I don’t care how good your pitching is, you still have to score runs. You can’t expect low scoring games all the time, especially when you fall behind. Our line-up has to many strike out in our players. Look at Bryce, Espi, LaRoche, Desi lately. When is coach Shu going to start stressing make contact and stop swinging from the heels. Baseball has changed since the 3 run homer era. The best teams in the future we be the ones who don’t strike out and can hit from the LF – RF lines. Nothing good happens when you strike out. Also, you won’t see the shifts and you’ll have more areas to get hits. Give me Pete Rose, Nellie Fox, and the little second basemen for Houston!

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Ben Zobrist is under team control thru next season if his team option is picked up but he is 33 and on a slow age regression and won’t come cheap.

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Smoltz thinks Adrian Beltre to the Nats and the Nats can trade LaRoche to the Pirates.

    • nats128 - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      That opens up a spot in Texas for Joey Gallo.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      That would make Pirates fans very unhappy. LaRoche is not loved in Pittsburgh.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        Also Ike Davis is improving and he’s Left-handed. Personally the Nats can keep LaRoche and strengthen their bench by picking up a player now.

      • David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        I’ve never understood why they hate him so much. He put up decent numbers there

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      I sincerely hope the Nats do not trade LaRoche….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        That wouldn’t be good for team chemistry IMHO. Look, this was the Barve Smoltz making this prediction.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        I have a lot of respect for John Smoltz. But this is just some wild-a$$ speculation on his part, isn’t it?

        Not really anything to pay much attention to it, except for amusement purposes.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    The more the Phillies say Hamels isn’t available tells me he is for a huge package. The Phillies are in “SELL” mode. We may not recognize them next week.

  22. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 11s
    dbacks looking to trade hill, barely listening on prado so far.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      That’s not a secret. 😉 What is a secret is how much they will eat.

  23. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    This is funny. I couldn’t imagine it now.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      It looks cold. Maybe he wanted to get into the clubhouse. 😉

  24. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    1 of the braves broadcasting guys isn’t so bad… But the other it God-awful…..

    • knoxvillenat - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      Are you a first time listener to their TV broadcast? Try getting through a game against the Nats with those clowns much less a three game series. Bourbon and Maalox isn’t strong enough!

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Listening to the Marlins TV guys. Not awful.

      • nats128 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:17 PM

        Agreed. If you have MLB.TV app, that’s what you have to do.

      • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        Marlins guys are OK, and since the Fish are out of it, they don’t trash either the Nats or the Barves. Kimbrel just gave up a run in the top of the 9th. We are rooting for Cishek now. I always like him anyway (except against us), guy was never “supposed” to be a closer and he is.

  25. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    Come on Fish!

  26. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Yes…. Horrible jump Ozuna…

  27. Danny - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Fish up 3-2 top 9. Score off Kimbrel.

  28. David Proctor - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Gattis is a disaster behind the plate and it just cost them

    • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      Ran after that strike three wild pitch like he was wearing combat boots.

  29. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Yay, Fish. Kimbrel has the yips again tonight.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      He looked like Barrett with that slider getting away then looked like Clip in the All Star game on that other Wild Pitch.

  30. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    That was a decent throw by BJ….

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      Ozuna is fast. That throw was right on the plate.

  31. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    That whining tomahawk chop thing they do is such a downer. Native Americans should be furious having 40 year old drunk rednecks doing that chop and whine.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:45 PM

      Braves’ fans. You’re expecting more? =)

      Bigger picture is that Kimbrel spilled something on his Superman cape. I was at the Park when Rendon hit that 2-run jack off of him with 2-out in the ninth. Kimbrel looked amazed and stunned. But, he’s been letting people on base like crazy. The other night he loaded the bases with none out and then wiggled out of it. Soriano on steroids.

      He may never return to that aura of invincibility. We will have to wait and hope.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        Strange thing is I used to go to Barves games in the 1990’s and it never bothered me.

        Now I can’t stand it.

        Yes, Kimbrel’s dominance is over. It’s all about the over-use. He’s still good and the umps still help him but he can be had now.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        Agreed. And that’s a big-time development. They won a lot of games on account of his lock-down ninth-innings. With him diminished it opens the door a bit more.

  32. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Nasty pitch….

  33. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    Great win Fish… Great win! Job well done….

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Nats face them on Monday. Yelich is back and hitting.

      Their outifeld is very under-rated. Yelich, Ozuna, Stanton

      Their infield isn’t good.

      • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        I like Hechavarria. Outfield is superb.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        Hech is a free swinger. He has never had an OBP in his career above the .290’s

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:12 PM

        Love Yelich. Kid can play. Stanton is King Kong. It’s a great outfield.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      Three up in the lost column. Earl Weaver used to say to disregard anything else.

      Question is; What will the Braves do now at the trade deadine? They want bullpen help. Lefty. That should not come cheap.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        The front of their bullpen is not good. I’m just hoping they fall apart and go away.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        I can’t get over that guy they have, Walden and that hop-skip-jump delivery. Illegal pitch, every time but never called.

        They’re an odd team. For a “Power” lineup they don’t hit many homers. Gattis is a DH masquerading as a position player. (What in the world was Fredi thinking putting that lug in left field for the playoff series last year?) And, the substitute starters are not much. If the Nats have under-achieved, the Braves have over-achieved and the bills are coming due. If RZ hadn’t blown a tire this was fixing to be the Nats boat racing these folks. Now we’ll have to wait and watch.

      • Eric - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        If any of Harper, Rendon, or LaRoche wake back up before any of the other current hot hitters cool off, I think we will at worst not miss a beat with Zim going down…and will simply lament the total dominance that could have been.

        If 2 of them–or…GASP…all three–wake up, the dog days could be very fun indeed.

  34. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Cishek would cost too much in a trade but I will take Brad Ziegler.

  35. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Hard to say who I love seeing cough up a save more, Kimbrel or Papelbon. Kimbrel’s obviously have more significance, but I do so enjoy watching Jonathan’s head explode. Does that make me a bad person?

    Meh, I don’t care. :-)

    • Eric - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      Kimbrel’s whole shtick is ridiculous. The flames on the scoreboard, the cobra pose as he looks in, etc. Anytime he isn’t dominant it all comes off as hilariously contrived. And, I like laughing 😉

    • natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2014 at 7:04 AM

      Nah, laugh away. JP had that whole Irish jig thing going back in the day. What the what?

      “but I do so enjoy watching Jonathan’s head explode. Does that make me a bad person?”

  36. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Venters, O’Flaherty and Kimbrel. Remember those days?

    • rayvil01 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      Yes I do. Glad they’re over.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      Yah, Freddy killed 2 of those arms. Remember their motto, have the starters give me 6 and turn it over to the pen. He just over-used. For years I said it would catch up with them.

      • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        I worry about a similar fate befalling Storen, Clippard and Soriano. Not a fan of the inflexible seventh, eighth and ninth inning specialist system.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        That’s why you need a guy like Ziegler to work in and take the pressure off of Clip and the others.

        I keep hearing rumors that the Nats want a LH reliever. You get good pitchers and it doesn’t matter which hand they throw with.

        Same goes for batters.

    • Smyrcok - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      @stoatva you don’t need to worry about Soriano, he’s a veteran and knows his limits. He agreed to this “games completed” vesting option and he isn’t on track to even hit it if I’m not mistaken. Storen also doesn’t seem to pitch a lot of innings, and he’s more likely to work only part of an inning, so I wonder if he’s purposely being kept out to remain fresh for the play offs. There seems to be a lot of talk about how the bullpen was overworked in 2012 going down the stretch. It is worth worrying about Clipp and Stammen. Those two dudes have worked a ton of innings the last 3-4 years.

      • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        I’m also less worried about Soriano because I don’t expect he will be here next year. Agree that Clippard is the most vulnerable of the group.

      • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        I wouldn’t worry about Clip. He came up as a starter, with a starter’s workload My only concern with him is I’m not sure he’s a cold weather pitcher, being that he needs a “feel” for his pitches.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 25, 2014 at 7:37 AM

        Exactly, it’s much too easy leaning on Clip. The good news is Clippards pitches per innings has come down.

  37. Candide - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    FWIW, the last time the Nats were at .500 was June 3, when they were 28-28.

    Since then, they’ve gone 27-16. That’s a .628 winning percentage.

    Unlikely they’ll keep that up the rest of the season. But if they play .575 ball the rest of the way, they’ll be at 91 wins.

    • Eric - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Love it.

    • NatsLady - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      June 3 is the day Zim came off the DL.

  38. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    I love the names that pop up as “comparables” when you look up a player on Baseball Reference. I did not expect to ever see the name “Coot Veal” again. Oh my god am I old.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      Considering the alternative, “old” is good.

      • stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        Keep reminding me. 😉

    • Steady Eddie - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      How ’bout Lou Klimchock?

  39. stoatva - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Padres just dumped a nine-spot on the Cubs in the sixth inning. I find that hard to believe. The Pads?





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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 Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter