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Pitching decisions come to forefront in loss to Orioles

Aug 5, 2014, 12:38 AM EDT

AP AP

A manager has a split-second to make an in-game decision, and he must consider all sorts of factors in that split-second afforded him before somebody has to step to the plate or throw a pitch.

As soon as Wilson Ramos singled to right-center in the bottom of the sixth Monday night, Matt Williams had a split-second to make his decision: Should he let Tanner Roark hit for himself with runners on the corners and two outs, the Nationals leading the Orioles by 1 run, or should he send a pinch-hitter to the plate and try to add to the lead?

The factors to consider: 1) Roark was cruising to that point, allowing two solo homers over six innings on a total of only 84 pitches, 2) The only left-handed bat on the Nationals’ bench right now is Danny Espinosa, who has struggled mightily from that side of the plate, 3) What is the current state of the Nationals’ bullpen?

In the end, Williams decided to stick with Roark, who made solid contact but grounded the ball right to Chris Davis, who stepped on first base to end the sixth. Moments later, Roark was getting the hook from Williams after allowing three hits in the top of the seventh, turning the Nationals’ 3-2 lead into a 4-3 deficit that ultimately became a 7-3 loss.

“There’s thought,” Williams said of pinch-hitting for Roark. “But it depends on who else we’ve got available. Bullpen’s been pitching a lot lately, but we’ve got the lead. And he almost got a hit. That ball almost got down the line. But in that situation, he’s [got a] low pitch count, he’s pitching well he’s been pitching well. So we want to take the lead into the following inning, as well. And we can’t burn the pen, either.”

That last point may be the key to the entire equation. The Nationals’ bullpen, a strength through the season’s first half, has fallen into a rut the last few weeks. And several members have been overworked to the point they’ve needed multiple days off.

Williams wouldn’t go into any detail after Monday’s game, but both Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano pitched an inning during Sunday’s win over the Phillies, as well as an inning a piece Friday night. This would have been three appearances in four days for either late-inning reliever. Drew Storen, meanwhile, hasn’t pitched in five days, not since his near-blown save Wednesday afternoon in Miami.

“That’s for us to know,” Williams said when asked if anyone wasn’t available. “I’m not gonna go there now. But the bullpen’s been pitching a lot.”

Whatever the case, the Nationals collectively couldn’t hold their slim lead at a crucial point in Monday night’s game. Roark opened the seventh by allowing back-to-back doubles to J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty, tying the game at 3. Pinch-hitter Delmon Young then singled up the middle to score Flaherty, give Baltimore the lead for good and knock Roark from the game.

“The ball was up, elevated, wasn’t hitting my spots,” Roark said. “Like I’ve told you guys many times before: If the ball is up and I’m not hitting my spots, the ball is going to be hit hard. That’s what happened.”

Once Roark departed, left-hander Ross Detwiler was given an opportunity to face a left-handed hitter: Nick Markakis, who delivered another single to left field, bringing Williams back out of the dugout to make another change.

Enter Craig Stammen, who proceeded to give up six hits to the eight batters he faced, bailed out only by a hard smash to third that Anthony Rendon and Asdrubal Cabrera impressively turned into a 5-4-3 double play.

“Whenever you go into the game, you’re trying to keep the game close, or try to keep the lead,” said Stammen, who has allowed 11 hits (all singles) over his last two appearances. “That didn’t happen today, so it’s disappointing.”

It’s been a disappointing stretch for the Nationals’ bullpen, which has now allowed 18 runs over its last 20 2/3 innings. The top three relievers have pitched well but have been used an awful lot. The other four members of the unit haven’t consistently pitched well enough to be trusted in key spots.

“I don’t think we’re wearing down,” Stammen said. “We’ve proven, I think all of us, that we can withstand major-league seasons and that we’ve all pitched well in the season. Even though this is a little lull, maybe the averages are just evening up a little bit and we’ll get back on track here shortly.”

  1. ptindc - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    Would have been a great opportunity to see Souza as a PH.

    • tcostant - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      I agree and saod so while it was happening. You have to pinch hit there.

  2. ArVAFan - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    I was at the game, sitting right behind the dugout. As they returned to the dugout, Roark looked stoic, Detweiler looked sheepish, Stammen wasn’t making eye contact. Only Blevins looked please with himself. I would say they know exactly how they did and what went wrong, just based on their faces (and yes, before you ask, I do have some training in reading faces).

    When Span came in after his rolling catch, his teammates were there waiting to congratulate him. Don’t know if they showed this on camera, but after he left a divot in the outfield grass, Werth came over and stomped the grass back into place–seriously stomped. The grounds crew came out between innings for a more formal repair–I guess Werth’s talents don’t include groundskeeper.

    PS In case the cameras didn’t show it, Zim was in the dugout walking around.

  3. scnatsfan - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    While MW made bad decisions IMHO the team made or didn’t make the plays and pitches. Lots of blame to spread evenly.

  4. natsfan1a - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    That was not fun to watch on tv – at least in the late innings. I imagine it was even less fun in person. Eh, tonight is another game.

  5. nats128 - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    Roark finished the 6th with 84 pitches. Im sure MW wanted to keep off Clip and Soriano which meant the other 5 had to step up which probably led to his decision to send Roark out for the 7th.

    It backfired. It happens. Not one person here is complaining if Roark goes 1-2-3 in the 7th.

    BTW, Roark gets a hit if Davis isn’t holding on Ramos.

    • bowdenball - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      Second time this has cost us a big inning in four days. Last Friday Cabrera drilled a sure double down the RF line that Ryan Howard snagged and turned into a double play because he was holding a runner on first. If it had gone through it would have almost certainly led to a huge inning, three runs at least instead of just one.

      If nothing else it’s been a good reminder of how fickle this game can be on a given night. That’s why they play 162 to sort it out.

  6. edshelton2013 - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Was anyone else offended by the WaPo picture of three O’s doing a celebratory jump in our outfield after the final out?
    Let’s hope this comes back to haunt them in October.

  7. laddieblahblah - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    They’ve had a tough schedule without any days off, not even for travel. That makes it tougher to manage the bull pen. Tanner lost it in the 7th and Craig didn’t have it, either. A good college team could have hit most of those meatballs they left up and over the plate, with nothing on them.

    But those guys can both pitch. They will be back. And the team finally has a day off this week, which will help.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      That’s right, a day off on Monday. Much needed.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    I was at the game, kind of skimmed through the blogs. The decision to leave Tanner in is one of those that people have second guessed managers for since the beginning of baseball. I don’t think it had anything to do with getting Roark the win as several people suggested. Matt’s explanation was plausible in that Tanner, though not dominate, had only given up 2 runs on 84 pitches. Roark hit a shot, but right to first. So, on to the 7th with the one run lead.Only the leadoff batter smokes a double. Nobody gets up in the pen. Next guy ties the game with an RBI double. Nobody gets up in the pen.Then he gives up a single, and the lead, and his night is done, and Stammen comes in with very little warm up. And very little movement on his pitches, effectively pitching us out of any chance to come back. Bad decision to leave Roark in to hit? As it turned out, yes. But come on, why wait so long to at least get someone warmed up?

    I’m not sold on Matt Williams yet, but neither am I anywhere near ready to throw him under the bus.he may become a great manager eventually, but right now he’s going through some growing pains, but the fact is, his team is in first place by three games in spite of going through a lot of the year without key players available due to injury. Cut him some slack.

    • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      I’m OK with the rope he gave Roark. If he didn’t give Det and/or Stammen enough warm up time, that’s a different story, though.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM

        you have a chance to get some more runs in the bottom of the 6th….why not bring in a pinch hitter to increase the odds or force buck to make a move ?
        Maybe you get the rest the bullpen another night.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        I forgot to mention Det faced one batter, but neither of them had much warm up.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        Yes, true, maybe you get to rest them another night, but how often will that night include a 3.5 game lead and your nearest opponent off for the night?

        You have to use slumping relievers sometime…

  9. stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    NYTimes:

    National League East

    The Washington Nationals have the top run differential in the National League, but they currently find themselves four games worse than their expected record based on Bill James’s Pythagorean standings formula. It has not mattered much: The Nationals entered Monday with a three-and-a-half-game lead in the division.

    Led offensively by Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon, the Nationals have survived Bryce Harper’s injury-riddled season. The real story, however, has been the emergence of Tanner Roark. Roark — who made 14 appearances last season, compiling a 7-1 record with 1.51 earned run average in 532/3 innings — has outpitched Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. Advanced statistics show that the 27-year-old Roark’s success is no fluke, and if he keeps this up, the Nationals will have one of the finest rotations in the postseason.

    • tcostant - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      Smiles on that post – thx

    • bowdenball - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Someone noted on Twitter last night that Roark is already approaching his 2013 total for innings pitched, which was his career high. I think he’s at 141 now and he threw 158 last year between AAA and the majors. He can probably finish out the season in the rotation but I would assume he’ll move to the bullpen for the postseason. Injury risk is a concern, but there’s also the more immediate problem of fatigue making him less effective.

      The other less significant problem is who would you drop to make room for him? Gio is the obvious candidate but he’s also the team’s only lefty starter. You want to throw different looks at a team when you’re playing them 4-5 games in a row.

      • tcostant - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        Once a guy hits 25 years old, innings are less of concern. I think it’s a non-issue.

      • bowdenball - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        Maybe they’re less of a concern health-wise because of Roark’s age, but I don’t see how age would help with fatigue late in the season.

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Yes, folks said that Kris Medlen was too old to worry about an innings limit. Look how that turned out.

        I think anytime a pitcher goes way past his previous high in innings you should be worried.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    dcwx61 – Aug 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM
    you have a chance to get some more runs in the bottom of the 6th….why not bring in a pinch hitter to increase the odds or force buck to make a move ?
    Maybe you get the rest the bullpen another night.

    ———————-
    I am not agreeing with the logic, but Matt felt he could get at least one more effective inning out of Tanner. It’s east to second guess the move, especially when it doesn’t work out.

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    We can debate all day long in hindsight about the decision to bring Roark back out for the 7th. Isn’t this more about the players who get paid to do a job and can’t do it? I’m referring to the relievers.

    • adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      +1

      As I noted in the comment last night, I don’t understand about putting this loss on MW. Not only didn’t the relievers do their job, but neither did the hitters.

      I’ll give MW credit for something here: it seemed as though he clearly understands, and wants to avoid, burning out Clip/Storen/Soriano (who have already pitched in 41, 50, 44 games).

      He also understands that we are in a stretch of 17 straight games with no days off, and in a stretch of 33 games in 34 days.

      So, what do you do? You let your pitcher, who’s gone 7 before, who’s only thrown 84 pitches, and who had a 1-2-3 6th, go out for the 7th; and you use your “B” relief pitchers and hope they can get the job done.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        You nailed it. MW knows he needs a healthy Storen, Clip and Soriano and the front of the bullpen has to step up.

        These games are meaningful and it takes 25 to win. Time for Stammen to get his arm scoped. Even in his outings where he got through unscathed lately, his slider hasn’t slid in almost 2 months. I’ve seen BP pitchers with better stuff at the HR Derby. Wheres the guy who threw to Puig?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Human nature is to blame someone. Last I checked Matt Williams didn’t throw 8 balls that were fat in the strike zone. It could have been worse.

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    I don’t get the obsession with matching up pinch hitters. (I don’t believe it was the determining factor; the reluctance to burn a RP was. And I also think letting Roark hit was the right decision; the problem was that Roark wasn’t especially crisp last night and started putting pitches in juicy locations — particularly the second HR and then the FB to Delmon Young.) If there’s a good hitter on the bench why not send him up — even it means a right-on-right matchup? Better to send up a guy who you think can rake, e.g., Souza, than, say, Espinosa or Lobaton just to get a left-on-right matchup. Showalter sent up Young against a RH (although I admit I don’t know what LH options he had). Julio Franco wasn’t productive into his late 40s hitting only against LHs.

    If you’ve made the decision to use a PH, this is a place where slavish obedience to the numbers doesn’t serve. So Espinosa hits .175 (or whatever) against RHs. That’s better than Roark’s .125 five ABs out of a hundred. And Espinosa can do more with the bat (placement, power) if he does hit it than is likely with a pitcher.

    As I said above, I think Williams made the right choice, for the right reason — not because he didn’t have a LH option. It didn’t work out.

    • stoatva - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      How often does one see (and not only in Nats games) a lefty/righty matchup created only to see on a graphic that the pitcher or the hitter or BOTH have reverse splits? Very often, I’d say.

      Also continue to feel that the strict adherence to 7th 8th 9th inning specialists compromises the flexibility of the bullpen and makes decisions way too predictable by the opposition. But that’s just me.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Ive made my feelings known that I thought it was the wrong move to leave Roark in… And I stick with that. He wasn’t really dominate last night and really lucky. They started hitting the ball and batting him around, but he was saved by good defense. I thought he should have come out and we used a PH to try to get more runs…

    With that said, I am more surprised about the B BP being used… vs the A BP… and I am trying to understand the who/what/when on the overuse of the BP that MW referred to. I don’t think it was one of his finest moments as the skipper…

    But its a new day, new game… I cant wait to get my Gnome tonight.

    • adcwonk - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      See my comment above at 9:06. In short:

      Clip/Storen/Soriano have already pitched in 41, 50, 44 games; and we are in the midst of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, and in a stretch of 33 games in 34 days.

      You gotta go with the “B” squad sometimes, and hope they can do their job. And often they will, but sometimes (like last night) they don’t.

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    And congrats to the buffalo for the impending arrival of his new daughter. I hope he enjoys his 3 days off…

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    “Enter Craig Stammen, who proceeded to give up six hits to the eight batters he faced, bailed out only by a hard smash to third that Anthony Rendon and Asdrubal Cabrera impressively turned into a 5-4-3 double play.”

    That says it all. Behind by 1 or 2 runs is within reach. Behind by 4 runs with 9 outs left, not good odds.

  16. tcostant - Aug 5, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    I wonder which catcher they bring up for Ramos this series?

  17. natsjackinfl - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    It’s very apparent that the front end of the bullpen needs help.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Thank you NatsJack. I’ve been very vocal on this for a long time.

      The fact Blevins came through in a game that was already out of hand is a Low Lev success. He hasn’t been good in a Hi Lev spot to a RH in a long time.

  18. natsbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Losing to the O’s sucks…no doubt about that. Today is a new day. LETS GO GIOOOOOOOO

  19. Doc - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Last year about this time, Stammen lost his slider–only to get it back towards the end of the season.

    Watching his performance last night, it seemed that his out-pitch (slider) was not as sharp as it usually is.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      Watching the game you saw it was as sharp as a butter knife. You almost felt bad for him watching the O’s tear him apart.

  20. Hiram Hover - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    So now for a truly important question:

    What do folks think is the latest you can arrive at the ballpark tonight and still reasonably hope to get a gnome?

    Haven’t been to a bobblehead day this year. Want to get the gnome, but also don’t want to get fired when my excuse for leaving work early involves a garden figurine.

    • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      We’re targeting 4:30 so we’re there when the center field gate opens at 4:35.

      Hope that’s sufficient…!

      • bowdenball - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        Do you really think it’s necessary to get there that early? Remember, they do 25,000 for giveaways now instead of 15,000. You think more than 60% of the crowd will arrive at the game 2 hours early on a weekday?

        I bet 6 PM is fine. I know people love the gnomes but they’re not going to sneak out of work an hour early en masse to get one. I’m sure some people will, but not enough to tap out a supply of 25,000.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        Eric

        I envy you – I enjoy showing up early and checking out BP, but I just can’t do 4:30 today.

        I am hoping bowdenball is right and 6pm will suffice.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        So…it sounds like 4:30 is sufficient then…good deal!

        I don’t have any problem spending an “unnecessary” extra hour outdoors this evening.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        PS – I’ve never been at the park for BP…cool.

      • bowdenball - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Well let’s hope I’m right! I really do think there’s a significant difference between 15,000 and 25,000 giveaways for a 40,000 seat stadium. Even for a promotion as beloved as this one seems to be I assume that a significant portion of the crowd won’t show up until just before first pitch.

      • 6ID20 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        Remember, they offer the giveaways at all gates now. Get to one of the non-CF gates at 5:30 and you’ll definitely get one.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        I much preferred the policy where the give-aways were available only at the main gates.

        2-3 years ago they used to have them available at all gates, and I remember people rushing around from gate to gate, in some cases once they were inside the park and arguing with the attendants (“but they ran out at the gate where I came in, so why can’t I get one here?!”).

      • 6ID20 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        Before when they offered stuff at all gates, they only had 15000 bobbleheads, not 25000. That makes a big difference. No reported issues this year.

  21. NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    I thought about it, and I stick with my criticism of having Roark hit for himself. Yes, he “almost” got a hit. But that’s not his job, especially with two outs. If it were 3-2 the other way, with the O’s leading, I might have made a different decision, and “hoped” to get seven out of Roark.

    But saying Roark had only given up four hits forgets that two hits were prevented by defensive gems, and forgets that two of the hits left the yard. He wasn’t sharp in the 6th inning. Saying that Roark went seven in his previous four starts doesn’t mean he’ll go seven in this one–maybe he’s accumulated fatigue. If you want to try for seven, you tell him (as Davey so often did), I’ll put you out for the 7th, but I’ll have a guy warming and one guy gets on base you are out.

    Moreover, as I said in the previous thread, this was mismanaged from a strategic point of view also. When are you likely to need your long relievers? Today, when Gio, the least consistent of the starters (and who has a chancy shoulder) is up. So he uses Detwiler as his first choice and Stammen as his second choice? Blevins and Stammen are probably not available today, and I don’t recall Det going two days in a row. So if Gio doesn’t have it in the early innings, that leaves–Treinen?

    Wrong choice. Pinch hit for Roark. You might get an extra run. You might not, but use Storen/Clip/Sori–that’s their job. If Clip and Sor aren’t available today, so be it. Get the bird (win) you have in hand.

    • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      I agree that his having gone seven in his previous four outings guarantees nothing, but I still think it’s ample justification for trusting Roark to battle one more time.

      I think it’s better to sacrifice a game when your nearest opponent is not playing than when they are, especially to an AL team.

      In light of all that, if Storen, Clip, and Sori are in any way feeling or showing signs of overuse, that was the game to rest them.

      I trust Treinan as a long reliever more than Stammen and maybe even Det.

    • erocks33 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      I had no problem leaving Roark in to hit for himself. Let’s face it, with two outs who on the Nats bench has proved that they can actually get a hit? Why burn a pinch hitter in the 6th?

      Also, I believe that MW left Roark in to pitch the 7th because he had confidence in him. Why wouldn’t he? Roark has been unbelievable all season, but more so his past 4-5 starts. He wasn’t gassed, he wasn’t getting lit up. Ok, he gave up two solo shots in 6 innings – big deal. Roark has been money all season.

      Fact of the matter is, the bullpen (whether it’s the “A” or “B” bullpen) HAS to keep the game from getting away from them. You can’t give up 6 hits to the 8 batters you faced.

      As for who’s the longman after Gio? Well, call me crazy, but I think Gio will do just fine. At least 6 innings. Maybe 7. Why be pessimistic about everything? So the Nats lost. It happens. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go on the next game. BTW … Treinen can be your longman IF Gio doesn’t pitch well.

      • erocks33 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        Oh, one more thing … I think it might be time for Stammen to get “Haren’d” or “McLouth’d” with an ailing shoulder. Maybe having sit for a couple weeks will get his mind and his body back. Time to either pick up a waiver-wire RP, or bring someone up (Rafael Martin?). I dunno, but as Hank Hill used to say, “That boy ain’t right.”

      • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        Yes, Roark had gone seven innings in his previous four starts. But there is an accumulation of fatigue that catches up. Tanner’s now pitched 140 major-league innings. Last season he pitched 159 innings (only 54 in the majors). He’s approaching the most innings he’s ever pitched in his career, in the midst of a pennant race, and you want him for the postseason–and for next year, he’s cheap!

  22. natsbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Looking ahead to tonight, Nats lineup vs Zack Wheeler (Career Stats):

    Wheeler Vs Nats 12.0 IP, 14 H, 8 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 11 K

    The Nats have a .298 average against Wheeler, who is 0 – 2 with a 6.00 ERA in 2 games against the club.

    Span .667/.667/1.333 3 AB’s, 2 Doubles, 2 K

    Rendon .375/.545/.375 8 AB’s, 2 Walks, 2 K

    Werth .231/.267/.538 13 AB’s, 1 HR, 1 Double, 1 Walk, 3 RBI, 1 K

    LaRoche .100/.250/.400 10 AB’s, 1 HR, 2 Walks, 1 RBI, 4 K

    Desmond .286/.286/.571 14 AB’s, 1 HR, 1 Double, 3 RBI, 3 K

    Harper .125/.222/.125 8 AB’s, 1 Walk, 4 K

    Cabrera .000/.000/.000 3 AB’s

    Lobaton (assuming Ramos is gone) has never faced Wheeler, nor has Hairston. If called up Leon is hitless in 2 AB’s against Wheeler but with one walk.

    • natsbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      Overall we’ve hit him pretty well, but have also K’d a lot against him too. Wheeler has been hot of late, going 3 – 0 with a 1.63 ERA in his last 6 starts.

      Correction above:

      Those Zach Wheeler stats against WAS are just for this season. He is 1 – 4 with a 4.75 ERA in 5 career starts vs the Nats.

      • alexva6 - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        listening to MW on the radio yesterday he indicated Souza would likely get some time in the lineup to rest regulars. if so do it tonight with Werth sitting down. don’t wait for him to go a week without playing.

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Ryan Zimmerman has killed Zack Wheeler. But alas…

  23. Joe Seamhead - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    I did take offense to Williams in his post game for in essence throwing Werth under the bus for hitting a flyball, RBI sac fly because he felt that the line was moving and Jayson should’ve got a BH instead of hitting a flyball. No mention of Ramos hitting into a bases loaded double play to slow up the line. Jeesh.

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Both were bad. On 3-0, you have to do damage. A sac fly there is not a good outcome. If you can’t drive the ball, you need to take. That sac fly killed our run expectancy. The double play was brutal as well. Those were too huge missed opportunities. Gausman was on the ropes all night and we let him off.

      • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        two*

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        David, I just thought it was in poor taste to single Werth out for it. Sure, a hit would’ve been better, but what is Werth’s career productivity at swinging on a 3-0 count? He just got a hair under it, but at least he did get a run in at a point in the game when it mattered. Ramos’ AB was deflating, even if it did get a run in.

      • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        I didn’t see MW’s press conference. Despite the poor result there, I wouldn’t want to stop Werth from swinging 3-0. I remember last year against the Mets, we were down 1 late with runners on first and second and Werth hit into a double play on 3-0. Now THAT was bad. He called it the stupidest thing he’d ever done.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        I agree Ramos’ was more deflating than Werth’s, although both were bummers. A little odd about singling out Werth. Maybe MW has little tolerance for 3-0 swinging, and Werth knows he’s out on a limb when he does it? In any case, Ramos wasn’t breaking with ‘protocol’ in his AB, he just didn’t execute particularly well.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Just a note. Swinging at 3-0 pitch from the 8 hole is preferable to swinging at a 3-0 pitch from the 3 hole. But I have no problem with Jayson swinging on 3-0 in

  24. coop202 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    So I made my feelings known last night (feels like the keep roark in camp is slightly bigger than just me at this point unlike last night) and I’m at a disadvantage as I can only see the stats and not the game. Had he really been that lucky? If so I understand the desire to pull him but with two outs your chances of scoring a run are not exactly stellar (the options I think wasn’t espi but Franderson in MW’s mind, which is a different discussion all together as the fans certainly would’ve loved to see Souza go at it). But you increase your run probability odds by pinch hitting to about 24% from whatever roark’s average is while require a non-top three reliever to come in and who have been letting up runs at an above 40% clip per inning. This is fast and loose math but from a pure stats approach would seem to favor leaving the kid in no?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Was he really that lucky, you ask? I was at the game, and all I can tell you is that Span had three plays that were worth the price of admission, not to mention keeping the game close early.

      • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        Yep. And Cabrera’s gem.

        Also, you have to look at tomorrow’s game (today’s game) and you are more likely to need long relievers with Gio up. Also, you have to look at Roark’s workload, which is approaching his career max. He could go over 160 innings before September. If we get a five game lead, I wouldn’t be averse to putting him in the bullpen for a while and letting Treinen take his starts.

      • Eric - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        I like the idea of moving him to the pen if he hits a given ceiling, especially if the plan is to put him in the pen for the post season. Having some time out there during the regular season might help him adjust before it *truly* matters.

  25. water47 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    After a tough loss, sometimes, you just need a pick me up. So, enjoy this

    Battered Ba$tards of Baseball – a salve for a loss

    • NatsLady - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      I’ll be watching that in November when I pick up Netflix again.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Thanks for the heads up. Looks like a good one.

      On a somewhat related note, I recently watched The Boys of Summer on a United flight that offered free Direct TV viewing via -back screens. I seem to recall someone mentioning the film at one point, but can’t recall who it was or where I heard about it. Anyhoo, it’s about the Curacao little league team and their quest to beat the Japan team. Enjoyed it so much that I watched it twice. I also kicked butt in the in-flight trivia tournament, which I discovered after watching the movie. But I digress.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        Link:

        http://boysofsummerfilm.com/

        (btw, that would be “seat-back” screens. Online editing strikes again.)

  26. veejh - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Even if MW pinch hits for Roark, Stammen comes in the next inning and gets smacked around. I don’t get all the bickering over hindsight managing.

    • water47 - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      They lost to Peter Angelos.

    • David Proctor - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      If we’re up by 1, Storen comes in. Stammen came in because Roark blew the lead.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 17.5
Through Wednesday's games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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

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