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Instant analysis: Reds 1, Nats 0

Jul 26, 2014, 6:35 PM EST

AP AP

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals have been on a tear at the plate in recent weeks, beating some decent pitchers along the way. But they hadn’t faced anyone quite like Johnny Cueto, who showed today why he has been among the NL’s most-dominant starters this season.

Cueto tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out nine and escaping a couple of jams, to lower his ERA to a miniscule 2.08. The Reds right-hander was aided by some questionable baserunning on the Nationals’ part, most notably by Bryce Harper, but he also left this previously red-hot lineup flailing at his vast assortment of pitches.

Gio Gonzalez tried his best to outduel Cueto, and the left-hander nearly pulled it off in one of his better starts of the season. But the Reds got to Gonzalez for one run in the fifth inning, and that proved to be enough on this afternoon.

Thus the Nationals lost for only the third time in their last 10 games, while the Reds earned their first win since before the All-Star break. They’ll have to wait and see if the Braves can beat the Padres later this evening and make up ground in the NL East.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: When you’re facing one of the best pitchers in the league, you know you’ve got to make the most of the few opportunities you get. The Nationals didn’t do that today against Cueto. Despite putting the leadoff man on base in four of the game’s first five innings, they never so much as advanced him to third base. That was in part due to a few hitters not delivering in those spots. But bad baserunning played a major role as well. Harper twice ran himself into outs on the bases, killing potential rallies. He strayed too far (and then failed to hustle back) on Wilson Ramos’ lineout to deep right-center in the second inning. Then he foolishly tried to go first-to-third on Ramos’ infield single in the seventh. In a low-scoring ballgame against an especially tough pitcher, Harper simply can’t let that happen twice.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: On the heels of a laborious start against the Brewers in which he needed 88 pitches just to complete 3 1/3 innings, Gonzalez did a complete 180 this afternoon. He worked fast. He threw strikes. He picked off a couple of runners. And he was particularly efficient, getting through seven innings of 1-run ball on only 95 pitches. The only blemish on his afternoon: a fifth-inning double by Chris Heisey and an RBI single by Brayan Pena. Otherwise, Gonzalez matched Cueto pitch-for-pitch and did everything in his power to give the Nationals a chance to win.

KEY STAT: The Nationals’ lineup had produced at least 11 hits in each of the last eight games before today.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up Sunday afternoon when Doug Fister faces Mat Latos at Great American Ball Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natsjackinfl - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Reds got to play a full 27 outs and the Nats only got to bat for 24. Running into outs sucks.

  2. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    That was an awful game… just awful… and there really is no excusing Bryce Harper and his stupid play.

    Let’s take the series win tomorrow.

  3. David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Harper had a horrendous day, but I hope nobody says the L is his fault. His atrocious baserunning killed rallies, but with the way Cueto was pitching, I have no faith Frandsen would come through. But Harper didn’t even give him a chance so he certainly deserves SOME blame. I hope Werth has a talk with him. Aggressive is good. Stupid is not. Tip your cap to Cueto and the Reds D who delivered.

    Matt bunting Harper was stupid. It’s not easy to bunt 100+mph. Why was Desi stealing if Harper was bunting? Do one or the other. LaRoche swung at Ball 3 in the 8th when 2 runners had the bags stolen easily. Ugly game.

    Win tomorrow, take the series and keep rolling.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      Matt just said on the steal attempt play that Harper wasn’t supposed to get the bunt down. It was a designed protect the runner on the steal play. Desi just got a crappy jump.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        I’d rather choose to believe Matty is trying to cover for his player and making up the first thing that came into his head, than believe he actually chose to call for a fake bunt and steal attempt, twice.

    • mauimo22 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Not Bryce’s fault but he should know better. Very selfish style of play. Young Pup better learn fast or get used to platoon duty. Bryce is no Mike Trout! Trout plays within himself!

      • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        his chances of becoming a platoon player are zilch and none

  4. David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 1m
    Williams says Nats were running a designed play in the 9th. Harper isn’t supposed to get the bunt down. Desmond trying to swipe 2nd.

    That’s even more stupid.

  5. ArVAFan - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Silver lining department: I think we can stop worrying about Gio (other than his W-L record. He deserved at least a no-decision for today).

    Oh, well, tomorrow is another day . . . and another game.

    • letswin3 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      Wow, good thought there. I hadn’t even considered that, but you sure are right. This makes me feel a little better about getting shut out.

  6. knoxvillenat - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Watching Harper play I’m sometimes reminded of the late Billy Martin’s description of Carl Yastremski as being “an all-star from the neck down”. I never agreed with Martin on this assessment of Yaz however there are times when I think it is applicable to Harper. Someone needs to get to this young man and get him to understand the difference between “aggressive” and “plain stupid”.

    That being said I don’t pin this loss on him alone but rather tip my hat to Cueto who pitched a heck of a ball game. Sometimes that happens in baseball.

    • micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      Harper needs a Billy Martin to kick him the ass

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    We’ll get em tomorrow.
    Great effort by Gio. The stolen base wasn’t his fault.
    Matt Williams? What goes with the top of the ninth? Desi trying to steal on a 100+ mph fastball while you have Harper bunting? Gag me.
    Harper’s baserunning was, as Ghost said, high school. Except these are major leaguer players on defense. Time to grow up.
    Bryce’s guffaws were terrible, but I think Rendon should’ve been able to tag and gone to 3rd on the ball that ALR hit that Hamilton initially misjudged. The little things.
    Kudos to FP for making the call on the play on how to catch Hamilton stealing.
    This just wasn’t a very well played game by the Nats. They happen.
    Get em tomorrow.

    • NatsLady - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Apparently the memo about never criticizing Harper didn’t get to Charlie and Dave, because they described Harper’s (first) out on the basepaths as he “took a couple of strides after touching second base and then put it in gear.” Rounding second is aggressive but acceptable. But once the ball is caught, you hustle, hustle, hustle back to first base. Not the moment to worry about whether the guy has a good arm, ASSUME HE DOES.

      I didn’t see the second one, but everyone (even FP and Carp) said, “That can’t happen.” So I assume it was pretty bad. I got home just in time to see Desi get caught stealing. Shaking my head…

      • Whynat - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        Ray Knight completely dissected the play of Bryce rounding second in the post game and called him out on not following any baseball fundamentals. He gained no advantage at all with that aggression.

      • Section 222 - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        Uh oh. Ray disagreeing with FP. This could be ugly.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      Guffaws? You mean gaffs, I think.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        Yes, they were gaffs, but they were also laughers. Or they would’ve been if it wasn’t so sad.

  8. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Seemed like every time I was able to listen to the game for five minutes someone was getting thrown out on the basepaths. Glad to see Gio pitched well, that gives me hope for the future–it won’t always be Cueto. We got one game out of Cueto (in the previous series), which is a heckuva lot more than most teams get.

  9. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Gio was great so that is a positive. Bryce, Bryce, Bryce…….. Ray Knight expressed it best. i will just add that the young stuff just holds no water anymore. he is a selfish ball player period and so not prime time. Jim rice, Fred Lynn were rookies in 1975 and they were major part of the Red Sox getting to a 7th game of the WS. Trout is class. The first base running error, I can live with, the second I will not let go because it is not first time he has done this at a critical time. His last at bat showed me he is a chump not champ to let his team mate get thrown out, He cpuld have fouled the ball off and his swing and a miss on the next pitch put a face on who he is, over rated clown.

    • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      “is last at bat showed me he is a chump not champ to let his team mate get thrown out, He cpuld have fouled the ball off and his swing and a miss on the next pitch put a face on who he is, over rated clown.”

      This doesn’t even make a lick of sense. The entire play was to miss the bunt and let Desi steal third. You really think he had enough time to see Desi was going to be out and then foul it off? You couldn’t do that with 90, much less 101. Perhaps you should look up who Aroldis Chapman is before you declare someone an “overrated clown.”

      • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        steal second, rather. Typo.

      • micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        I do not agree with you and he is chump before that with his stupid, selfish base running in a 1 run game, his at bat magnified it, mabey I should have been clearer. This was game 101 and this is his 3rd season and he still makes the same mistakes. At what point is the honeymoon does reality set in that he is only an average player

      • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        At what point do you realize that every player in baseball goes through struggles? Most people his age are in AA Ball. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s a fact. It doesn’t excuse his mistakes. Not at all. But you need to stop declaring his career practically over. It’s ridiculous. You (and not just you Mick, but many) need to learn to apply context the situation. And while he still makes too many baserunning blunders, he HAS learned from many of his mistakes. People just don’t realize it.

      • knoxvillenat - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        IIRC when Harper played a rehab game at double A Harrisburg earlier this season he was the youngest player on their roster.

      • letswin3 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Yeah David, you’re spot on here. I too get aggravated with Bryce’s baserunning, but I need to remember his age and terrific competitive nature too. Having said that, I still hope that someone will have a little chat with Bryce about thinking through the options and learn to measure the risk to reward factors.

      • Section 222 - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        DP, I agree with you here. But didn’t you ask during the game post why ALR swung at a pitch and grounded out when Rendon and Werth were running on what appeared to be a successful double steal? My thought at the time was that batters are watching the pitch. They can’t tell whether as steal is going to be successful or not.

      • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        Yeah, but I’d argue it’s different. Harper was showing bunt. He’d have to pull the bat back and then try to foul off 100mph. LaRoche was already in hitting position and all he had to do was take.

      • Section 222 - Jul 26, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        Maybe. I doubt it. Weren’t there two strikes?

    • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      By the way, we don’t win the NL East in 2012 without Bryce Harper. But how quickly we forget..,

      • micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        that is subjective, i respectfully disagree

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        mick, you kill me. Subjective about the Nats not winning without Harper in 2012?

        In 2012 the Nats lost Ramos,Werth and Desmond for long stretches. Davey beat up Rizzo to bring a very raw Bryce Harper up. You don’t think Harper was key? Look at what he did that first year:

        Harper’s 2012 stats: 144 hits, 98 runs scored, 22 home runs,26 doubles, 9 triples, 59 RBI’s, 18 SB, and a 5.0 War

        That was in 139 games played. Look at the stats again.

        No, I don’t see it as a subjective opinion at all. Nats would’ve beat out Atlanta in 2012 without Harper. To say otherwise is just not being objective.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        EDIT:

        Nats would not have beat out Atlanta.

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      Who here knows that Fred Lynn got called up to the Red Sox at the ripe old age of 22 years and 7 months in September of 1974?

      His rookie season was at age 23 in 1975.

      Bryce has a way to go yet before comparisons.

      • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:54 AM

        Look. Sometimes you know after 3 years where a guy will likely be. U see traits, character, in game smarts etc. forget age, that’s a dumb argument. He’s been playing since he was 5. We knew Ryan leaf was an arse, we knew Schuyler was a bust. We know trout and manchado will be great. A tad gut, but more from watching sports for 35 years and seeing the habits and characteristics of true stars.

        Bottom line we don’t know. You could be right. DP could be right. But Bryce is not likable, neither is Stras. They are both mental midgets. I’m surprised you can’t see that. And there are dozens of writers who have addressed it.

        Expand your mind a tad and consider, we may be right.

      • Eric - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        “But Bryce is not likable, neither is Stras. They are both mental midgets. I’m surprised you can’t see that…

        Expand your mind a tad and consider, we may be right.”

        How about an old quote to highlight a little irony here?

        “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

  10. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    the defending of Harper reminds me of the Heath Shuler fans back in 1995

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      mick, not defending the baserunning guffaws, OK? But on Harper’s last at bat he did was he was told to do. It was a fake bunt play on the second strike to give Desi some protection on a steal attempt and it was called for from the bench. Bryce did exactly what he was supposed to do. Desmond got a crappy jump. It was a questionable call by Williams.

      • micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:37 PM

        if that is the case, then MW really had a bad day managing

    • Andrew Wallace - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      Well…it is objective…..he was worth 4 wins and we won by 3 I believe (or was it 2?) and yes, roger Bernadina (who would’ve played instead) is replacement level. Anybody who thinks Bryce Harper is an average player is legitimately on drugs. This guy is the only 19 year old to hit 24 homers since world war 2, and followed it up with another 20+ homer year on one leg. There are precisely 2 major leaguers who are older than him playing right now. He remains a phenom who will undoubtedly develop into a star player. If I hear one more person compare him to mike trout I’m gonna throw up. The media paired the 2, not Bryce. is it his fault if he’s the 3rd or 4th best 19-21 yrs old position player in the last 30 years after Jr, Trout, and Andrew Jones, instead of the 1st? So he makes idiotic base running mistakes sometimes. He’ll learn. Don’t use a crappy incident to make sweeping statements based in zero fact. U sound like a fool.

      • micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        well this fool has seen the same player for 3 seasons now make the same mistake. I assume you meant Harper was 19 nineteen 2 years ago, right? Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Willie Mays, Cal Ripken, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Bonds, I could on and on but there is not enough space and I would not do justice by leaving any of them out. These players I mentioned have 1 thing in common with Harper:

        1) They all were deemed as special young players when they first played at the MLB level and were projected to be hall of famers

        that is all they have in common, what is different about Harper and the above mentioned is that by season 3, they did not make the same stupid mental errors on the base paths

        calling someone on drugs is condensending

      • knoxvillenat - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Your point is well made but in addition to the 3 players you listed I would include Alex Rodriguez as another 19-21 year old ahead of Harper. Unless A -Rod was using PED’s at that time as well.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        +1 and thank you for an intelligent post.

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      Keep up the football references. Shows a complete lack of baseball knowledge.

      • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:59 AM

        It’s an example of evaluating talent. Don’t be such a jack.

  11. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    I compliment MW and give him a B+ earlier today, then he goes out and coaches like stooge. Why have your clutch hitter (so called) lay down a bunt any way??? Is this how MW will coach in a tight post season game, or does MW something we don’t about Bryce in key situations?

  12. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    David

    what evidence is there that Bryce has learned from base running mistakes, PLEASE direct me and about 1,000 other Nats fans to the proof

    • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      I’m not so much talking about the baserunning. He obviously needs to get better (and smarter) at that. But he has learned from other mistakes. He plays balls off the wall much better than he used to, for example

      • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        I don’t think he has progressed as a hitter. And don’t even quote your left handed pitch stats. Let’s look at them in sept

  13. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    David

    direct Ray Knight as well

  14. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    and David, I said he is an average player, where did I post his career was practically over? you see. Bryce will play 10 plus years in MLB, I am just saying he will finish his career as a good player not a super star or even close to it.

    • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      But there’s no evidence to actually support that Mick. The guy has put up better numbers than many HOFers through this point in his career. Mike Trout distorts what people think of as normal. Harper’s only issue is staying healthy. If he does that, all the evidence points to him turning into a superstar player. That doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. Nothing is. But it’s way too soon he won’t be, especially when the numbers say otherwise.

      • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        Go look at zimmermans number, age 20 and first 3 years. Then look at next 3.

    • Andrew Wallace - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Lol how on earth do u know how a 21 year old is gonna finish his career? You must be a once in a generation GM mind. Bryce is playing years in the major leagues that everyone else plays in AA. He’s ahead of the curve of phenoms like Gregory polanco who just got here and are the same age and are struggling. His career arc projected by professionals based on other players with similar 19-21 yr old years as an eventual MVP (go look at ken griffey jr and Micky mantles first 3 years in the bigs. They hit like .275 with 18-25 bombs. Sounds familiar. “But he’s nothing compared to Trout!!!” Trouts a freak the likes of which we have literally never seen in professional baseball. Nobody is mike trout and nobody has ever been as good as like trout this young. Nobody.

    • letswin3 - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      Actually Mick, you called Harper a chump and an overrated clown. In my opinion he’s a young and talented guy still trying to discern the difference between his extreme competiveness and sound decision making. I think he’ll get there just in time to make this team a little better.

    • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:05 AM

      It’s called speculation.

      I’ll bet he’s a 265 / 330 guy who hits 24 hr – certainly good, not great. I also speculate he’s a low RBI guy and will always have a bad attitude and piss of managers and teammates.

      But it’s just a guess. Nobody knows.

  15. pchuck69 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Ray Knight held back no punches on the postgame show.

  16. natsfan1a - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Aw, was hoping the Nats might be able to score later in the game. Watched it through the 6th and then our friend came and we went out for his birthday dinner.

  17. Another_Sam - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    That’s the way 1-0 games go.

    When I was Bryce’s age I couldn’t find m bottom with both hands.

    Tomorrow’s game is 0-0 right now. Play ball.

  18. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    the best thing about today was that Gio pitched great, that may be more important than nay thing else today

  19. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    good point Knox

    TY

  20. micksback1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    time for some cold ones, back tomorrow, and I hope natsjack catches the billy goat for his dinner

    lol

    • natsjackinfl - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      2″ thick T-bone for me and the bone goes to my rescue dog Harper.

      • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:08 AM

        U did not name him after Bryce. Plz say it isn’t so

  21. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Bryce and Matty can use the game as a learning experience. I thought there was a good chance we would lose this one, but Gio pitched very well, so we had a chance. Hard to say we “blew” the chance, though–it’s not as if the winning run got thrown out at the plate on a knucklehead play. Even with the best baserunning, it’s only a hypothesis that we would have gotten two runs in.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Meanwhile, the Padres are leading 2-1 in Atlanta. It’s early yet, of course.

  23. Nats fool - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Bryce’s crouch forces his head up when he swings. That’s his primary flaw. He may or may not correct it. Nothing is certain in baseball. The bigger issue is the lack of depth in our lineup. We need to make a trade, but I don’t think Rizzo will. We can’t risk hovering at .500.

    • Eric - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      He hasn’t crouched since the ASB ended, has he?

    • David Proctor - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      Aren’t we tied for the best record in the NL…?

  24. coop202 - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Lot of good stuff today from Gio, bummer to lose but Cueto is a tough out at home and I can live with the loss. One thing that gets me is how much some fans get under the microscope with Bryce – there is a good 80% of the league that acts the same or worse but the attention he gets gives him such a bad wrap. I hope we don’t turn that attention to Werth at the end of his contract and forget he did a lot of good for the team (assuming he tapers off, fingers crossed).

    • Jerry - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      Here’s a thought from a HUGE Rizzo fan and and a guy who thinks Bryce is truly a breath of fresh air – maybe Bryce could use a bit more time in AAA to learn his fundamentals and work on some stuff , most likely never happen – tough loss today and hard to excuse his base running mistakes – may have cost this game -

  25. scnatsfan - Jul 26, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Before the season I got yelled at because I said Harper has been, to this point, an average outfielder. You were right, he is below average.

    Time to grow up and play. I know he is young but he made his bed coming out early. You want to get paid like an all star then play like one every night,not once a month.

    And, for God’s sake, stop making bonehead moves on the base paths.

    Right now he is a weak spot in our lineup.

  26. natszee - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    Billy Joel Opened tonight remarking ” Nat’s Stadium … Your baseball team is in first place …. Must be nice! “. We forget just how fortunate we are …..

    • nats128 - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:53 AM

      It was a great concert. Billy The Kid with nice compliments about the Nats.

      Not good is all the comments here just trashing good Nats players. You lose a game 1-0 and still are in 1st place.

      This is playoff baseball. Cueto is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Gio was almost as good. Nats couldnt find a way to manufacture even 1 run and the Reds did and thats how they won. 5 of the 9 innings the Nats got the leadoff man on base. At some point you have to stop playing for the big inning and play for 1 run.

  27. secretwasianman - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    Bryce Harper is Danny Espinosa with a stupid looking haircut.

  28. scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    Harper then took the next pitch, a fastball over the plate, to strike out looking and the crowd erupted. “He throws 103,” Harper said. “I kind of had no shot.”

    Great attitude.

    • micksback1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      good morning, its all good here, i’ve made my peace from yesterday.

      Now, when i first read Harper’s comment that you just posted, it hit the nail on the head as to why I do not really like this young man, it also reinforces what have said for awhile that he is selfish and does not have anyone’s back but his own. What team player says, “I kind of had no shot” a true team player would have taken the responsibility and said something like “I had better days, I did not play well and I feel bad for Ian”

      I know there are those who will defend Harper to the end, but at least this should give one an understanding of why many alos have serious questions about him

  29. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    I decided not to post after the game. I knew most of the comments would be on Bryce’s baserunning and I wanted to step back and see all the comments.

    Nobody mentioned in any comment here that early in the season Bryce pulled the same stunt and was safe at 3rd. Which ones of you criticized that play? I criticized that play as a High School stunt when he did it early in the season. He was safe on a bang/bang play and it wasn’t a good play then even though he was safe and wasn’t a good play yesterday clearly. One he was safe, and one he was out.

    In risk and reward the juice isn’t worth the squeeze on ever attempting that play. This isn’t High School. These games count.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      Ghost, I remember your post from earlier in the year and I said at the time it was a good play because he got away with it, but that if he hadn’t of gotten away with it, then it’s a dumb ass play.Same thing on a similar play by Frandsen.

      Like I said yesterday, Bryce is a dodo bird sometimes, but the “blame” is also on Matt Williams. He has made it clear that he wants them constantly pushing the envelope on the basepaths. With that philosophy you are going to sometimes get glaringly awful looking plays. The whole fake bunt thing and sending Desmond in the ninth with a guy throwing over 100mph was ill-conceived, and almost as dumb as Harper’s goofs, regardless of the fact that it’s a play that they practice. That was a bad time to call it, and Desi did not execute very well. Bryce actually did what he was supposed to do.

    • Eric - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      I recall that, Ghost. I can’t recall exactly how I reacted the time he succeeded, but I do recall thinking your point about it being overly risky made sense. Yesterday illustrated why.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:41 AM

        Eric, you get it. It was a foreshadowing to the rules of success and failure when you consider High risk, low reward. Yesterday proved the point. A RISP with 1 out vs no RISP and 2 outs vs runners on 3rd and 1st and 1 out.

        Frandsen is a RH batter up next. Bryce has a higher probability stealing 3rd then pulling that stunt.

        If Bryce gets to 3rd with Gio in the hole, a likelihood they intentionally walk Frandsen to pitch to Gio.

        You have to put the pressure on the other team instead of back on your team.

    • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      When base runners are at a premium , like last night…i just don’t think it’s wise to push thee envelope.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        I don”t think anybody is disagreeing that Harper was an idiot on the bases yesterday. “Again”, I might add.

    • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      Thanks for the post. Sometimes we forget this 100 games is a lot better than 2013’s first 100 games. Go NATS!

  30. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    I’m not sure it was “aggression” as much as desperation, seeing a 0-0 and then 1-0 game with Cueto on his game and, as the scoreless innings mount up, looking forward (!) to Aroldis Chapman. You say they need to play for one run and not the big inning, but that is, in fact, exactly what they were doing, with the baserunning and the bunt play. Perhaps if they had just relaxed a bit and said, well, the guy behind me will get the job done, or “Rochie is due for another bomb so it doesn’t matter which base I’m on,” they might have done better, but that’s hard to do, especially missing RZimm.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Yes. That’s it. Do your job and let the person behind you do theirs. Don’t take the pressure off the other team.

    • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      And when I say “desperation” I don’t mean that as a good thing, as seen last night. You have to keep your thinking cap on even when faced with the likes of Cueto and Chapman. Not to excuse Harper, but he is still seeing situations for the first time that experienced guys like Werth have seen dozens of times.

      You say, well, he should calculate the effect of a successfully getting to third, namely, that the Reds could then walk Frandsen to get to Gio. Absolutely true, and Werth would know that and factor it in to his risk. Harper isn’t at that point yet. He’s still going on talent and drive, the experience part isn’t yet factoring into his baseball “instincts.” The remedy is perhaps he should look at his base coach once is a while…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        “he is still seeing situations for the first time”

        With all due respect, this is the 2nd time this year and if he didn’t learn from the previous play even though he was safe at 3rd by an eyelash, then I don’t know what to tell you.

        Steal 3rd base with Frandsen up or give Frandsen and opportunity to get a hit with Bryce on 2nd. You can play out several scenarios but taking yourself out of scoring position with 1 out and turning it to 2 outs and taking the pressue off of Cueto is the wrong play.

  31. #4 - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    The best news from yesterday was Gio’s quote about taking a page from the Fister/Roark playbook – work quickly and attack. Let’s hope he keeps that up the rest of the year.

    I don’t criticize MW for trying to make soemthing happen in the 9th yestreday. I wonder though why he didn’t go hit and run rather then fake bunt/steal. A swing and miss would have given Desi a better shot at getting to 2nd. BH knowing he has to swing would have had a better shot at hitting 101 MPH. Sure there are downsides but you have to gamble v. Chapman. The fake bunt was too likely to put BH in an 0-2 hole, even if Desi had reached 2nd.

    Lastly, on BH, he is exhibiting all the signs of a guy who is really pressing. I have thought since the beginning of the year that the off-season player poll in which he was selected MLB’s most overrated player really affected him. He needs to adjust his approach and let the game come to him through some swing tweaks and baserunning decisions. He will.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      With the “jump” Desi got it wouldn’t have made any difference whether it was a swing and miss, or the fake bunt. Also, Chapman is not an easy guy to steal on.

    • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      I don’t think it helped that the Angels series was billed as a Harper/Trout showdown and Bryce didn’t do much. Not being in his head, I don’t know if that stuff gets to him or not, but as a fan I wish they’d just STOP IT!

  32. veejh - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Once again, I missed yesterday’s game. For all the leadoff hits we got, did MW ever try to sac bunt the base runner to 2nd? If not, does anyone think this is a good move against these aces we face, especially in a tight game?

    • David Proctor - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      I don’t believe you give aces a free out. You need every one you can get. So no, I don’t like the sac bunt against Cueto

  33. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Like I said after the game, get em next game.

    I think way too much of yesterday’s loss is being blamed on one player. Reason # one why they lost? Cueto pitched a great game and beat them. He’s a great pitcher, it happens.The Nats had 4 hits and 5 walks, but no runs. They were 0-4 with runners in scoring position. They left a total of 7 guys on base. They struck out 11 times. There was a questionable move that reeked of desperation by the manager in the 9th. No, it’s not all on Bryce Harper.

    In the scope of things, it’s OK. Nobody wins 162 games. Nor are the Reds so bad that they aren’t going to beat some good teams again this year. The Nats are in first place, they play again today, and my money says that they will probably win today.

    GYFNG!!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      I agree with that, but Bryce took the pressure off them. This isn’t High School. This isn’t Junior College. This isn’t A ball or AA ball or AAA ball. This is the big leagues and it’s a High Risk play. You have a higher likelihood with the right-handed Frandsen coming up to bat of stealing 3rd base then the stunt he tried to pull.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        Steve, how did you feel about Anthony Rendon not tagging on ALR’s ball that went over Billy Hamilton’s head, but Billy recovered and caught it, but was off balance and with his back to Rendon.? On that play the runner should be about 1/3 of the way to 3rd and if Hamilton doesn’t make the catch Rendon scores easily. If he makes the catch it’s an easy tag and advance to 3rd if he’s not too far down the line. That’s also taught in high school.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        Joe, I think it was a mistake as that extra base is big. I agree, an easy tag.

      • scmargenau - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        If he is 1/3 way to third…there is no way once catch is made he could tag and advance.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        That’s 30 feet, you get a read and head back. I agree with Joe on that one. If the ball gets past Hamilton it carries to the wall and he scores easily.

    • stoatva - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      From the All Star break on, winning home series and no less than .500 on the road gets us to 92 wins. I’d like to win them all too, but that’s not baseball.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        Of course you won’t go 162-0 in baseball. This wasn’t a devestating loss in my opinion. It was playoff style baseball and if you learn from it then good. My frustration was watching Bryce pull this stunt again.

  34. Eric - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    NL: “The remedy is perhaps he should look at his base coach once is a while…”

    This brought to mind something I’ve been wondering lately: what is the role of the 3B coach, if any, as a player rounds second?

    • NatsLady - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      If I understand correctly, he had the stop sign up.

  35. micksback1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    did i read correctly that the Nats have interest in Marlon Byrd? He plays Of and this would make no sense other than Hairston would definitely be out and Marlon who knows the club would be a good back up.

    maybe I read this wronf

  36. micksback1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    again, i have no problem with harper out on the play at 3rd, that was a good gamble and a terrific catch

    my issue is his response to the Desmond play, that does not sit well with me. I really thought Harper would sttae he made mistakes and hurt the team, he did not and that shows me a really bad side of him in the long run

  37. Joe Seamhead - Jul 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Wow. A lot of posts disappeared here. Changes the whole context of the flow of the entire thread.

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