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Game 121: Pirates at Nats

Aug 16, 2014, 3:22 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

In their slow, mostly steady march to the top of the NL East, the Nationals have won five straight games only once this season, from June 28-July 2. Tonight they have a chance to match that streak, if they can take down the Pirates once again.

They’ll need a better performance from Gio Gonzalez than they’ve gotten in the last few weeks. Gonzalez is 0-3 over his last three starts, having given up 11 earned runs while putting 27 men on base in only 14 1/3 innings. Consistency, and a low pitch count early are mandatory for the left-hander.

Jayson Werth once again is out of the lineup — this is the seventh time in eight games he’s been out — but the hope is that his shoulder will be ready to get him back starting tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, Bryce Harper moves to right field tonight, with Kevin Frandsen getting the start in left field against Pirates lefty Jeff Locke.

Updates to come…

PITTSBURGH PIRATES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 83 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF

NATIONALS (67-53)
CF Denard Span
LF Kevin Frandsen
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
2B Danny Espinosa
LHP Gio Gonzalez

PIRATES (64-58)
SS Josh Harrison
RF Gregory Polanco
C Russell Martin
CF Starling Marte
1B Gaby Sanchez
3B Pedro Alvarez
2B Jayson Nix
LF Travis Snider
LHP Jeff Locke

UMPIRES
HP Mark Wegner (cc)
1B Andy Fletcher
2B Mike Muchlinski
3B Tom Woodring

7:06 p.m. — We are underway on another spectacular night here, with a fastball from Gio Gonzalez to Josh Harrison for strike one.

7:18 p.m. — The good news: Gio threw strikes in the top of the first, a lot of them. Eight of his first nine pitches were for strikes, and 19 of his 27 pitches in the inning were strikes. But 27 pitches to only five batters is a lot. Credit to the Pirates for fouling a bunch off and for producing a pair of 2-out singles by Russell Martin and Starling Marte. Gaby Sanchez nearly sent a double to the gap in right-center to score both, but Bryce Harper hauled it in to ensure a scoreless inning for Gonzalez.

7:30 p.m. — A 1-out single from Kevin Frandsen in the bottom of the first, but that’s it for the Nats. Nobody else hit the ball out of the infield against Jeff Locke.

7:38 p.m. — That’s more like it. Gonzalez struck out the side in the top of the second, needing only 16 pitches to do it. He fired a couple of really nice curveballs in the inning, getting Jayson Nix to whiff on one of them. He also got Travis Snider to strike out on a well-placed changeup to end the inning. To the bottom of the second we go in a 0-0 game.

7:59 p.m. — That was not more like it. Gio looked like he was going to get through the top of the third with no trouble, but then he issued a 2-out walk to Martin and the wheels fell off. Marte sent an RBI double down the third-base line. Sanchez then smoked the next pitch through the hole on the left side of the infield, bringing home two more runs. Just like that, the Pirates are up 3-0, and Gonzalez’s pitch count sits at a whopping 65.

8:05 p.m. — This isn’t for the faint of heart, but here goes: Over his last nine innings of work, Gio Gonzalez has thrown … 204 pitches.

8:16 p.m. — A better fourth inning for Gonzalez, who allowed an infield single to Snider, but that was it. On the flip side, the Nats lineup hasn’t been able to get anything going against Locke. Through three innings, they’ve got Frandsen’s single and Desmond’s walk (which was wiped out when he was caught stealing). Still 3-0 Bucs heading to the bottom of the fourth.

8:35 p.m. — Well, there you have it: Gio has reached triple digits in pitches for the night, with only two outs and two on in the fifth. He struck out Alvarez, so he’s through five on 102 pitches (65 strikes). And the Pirates still have only those three runs. But there has yet to be any movement in the bullpen despite the high pitch count, and likely for this reason: Both Rafael Soriano and Tyler Clippard have pitched three straight days. Which means they’re likely unavailable tonight, which means Matt Williams has a short pen for this one and needs to try to squeeze one more inning out of Gio.

8:46 p.m. — Given their first real opportunity of the night to do something at the plate, the Nats couldn’t even put the ball in play. Singles by Desmond and Ramos in the bottom of the fifth put two on with one out. But Espinosa struck out looking at an inside fastball (Mark Wegner’s strike zone has been quite erratic tonight, on both sides) and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston struck out on three pitches. So it remains 3-0 heading to the sixth, and here’s Craig Stammen to replace Gonzalez.

9:08 p.m. — Another chance for the Nats in the bottom of the sixth, but again they can’t deliver. They had two one with two out and Desmond at the plate when Clint Hurdle strode to the mound and removed Locke in favor of right-hander Jared Hughes. Desmond battled to a 2-2 count and roped a line drive … directly at Josh Harrison at shortstop. Rally killed. It’s still 3-0 heading to the seventh.

9:19 p.m. — This isn’t to suggest the Nats have been robbed or have been unlucky tonight, but the Pirates have flashed some serious leather in this game. Snider, Marte and Harrison all have made stellar plays in the field to take potential hits away. It remains 3-0 after seven.

9:26 p.m. — Three scoreless innings of relief from Stammen, who has faced the minimum thanks to a pair of double plays induced. He has does everything he can to give his teammates a chance to rally late. Now it’s up to them. They still trail 3-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

9:42 p.m. — We’ve got a whole new ballgame, folks. The Nats just stormed back to score three runs in the eighth off All-Star Tony Watson. The key hits: Frandsen’s RBI single to right (his third hit of the game) and LaRoche’s line shot over the right-field fence on a 1-0 pitch. That’s the first homer Watson has surrendered to a lefty this season, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Nats, who have tied this game 3-3 heading to the ninth.

9:57 p.m. — Nats win! Nats win! Harper drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, then took second on a wild pitch, then scored on Ramos’ ground-rule double to deep right. That’s a 4-3 victory, their fifth straight.

199 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Its time for Gio to put on his big time pitcher pants, and pitch like 2012.

    Locate the fast ball and curve and cut out the nibbling.

  2. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Glad to see that Matt is platooning Cabrera and Espi. Smart.

    It’s hard for me to blame Gio for his shortcomings because, as I’ve made clear, I do not think he is healthy.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      If he is unhealthy enough to be pitching as poor he has the last 3 games, then he should resting the injury not pitching.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      Some people don’t like the word platoon.

  3. hitmeimopen - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    He looks a little out of shape to me. When he failed to cover first it was evident…couldn’t get his fat ass moving!

    • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      what?

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        I agree he doesn’t look out of shape.

      • natsbro - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        I actually think he looks skinnier than last season

  4. Drew - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Just throw strikes. How about a 15-pitch first, instead of 30?

  5. stoatva - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Sure, it’s always throw strikes and stop nibbling until they start hitting screaming line drives.

  6. unkyd59 - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    LF will be well covered…

    • slidell2 - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Well, we’ll find out if Denard has enough range to cover the rest.

  7. Drew - Aug 16, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    The Nats are 20-13 against lefty starters, according to ESPN.

    Only Seattle (26-15) and the Dodgers (20-10) are better. Tigers are 25-18.

  8. Kenz aFan - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Sure will be hard to get a hit to Left Field with two Left Fielders.

  9. Danny - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Fun fact Josh Harrison would lead our team in slugging.

  10. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Nats 1 game behind Dodgers for top seed.

  11. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Baseball player are very superstitious. In 2012 Gio got a fresh haircut and shave on game day. He pitched great that year. Last year he quit doing that and he pitched worse.

    He continued not doing, and is still weaker.

    I am shocked he hasn’t gone back to it. Try it. Pitch great, and keep doing it.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      That’s an excellent point, mnf. I had forgotten that haircut regimen. He definitely needs to resume that.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        It is worth a try especially if you have had tough times.

  12. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Oh my, Michael Morse a triple.

    • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Leadoff triple and don’t score.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Apparently third by a giant this week

  13. TimDz - Aug 16, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Psssst…..Kevin…..

    TWO hands….

  14. letswin3 - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    I haven’t even checked the game thread from last nights game to see some of your comments, but I would like to say that Ramos drop of a good throw was just that …..he dropped it, and he’s dome this a few times before. I know that some of you think the throw is supposed to be in the air, while others (and me too) feel that a one-hopper is what’s generally taught. FP Santangelo made out like it was a short-hop, it wasn’t…. then he blamed it on not bouncing high enough … looked to me like it bounced about exactly what I would expect of a ball thrown at that low angle. IMO. every missed opportunity doesn’t need an excuse. Just call it what it was, a dropped ball that was thrown pretty darned good. Wilson is still a good catcher that will not make every play over a season, and I’m okay with that. I just don’t feel that we need alibi’s for every play that didn’t go our way.

    • letswin3 - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Geez, was that last night, or the night before? Games are kinda running into each other here.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      +1
      Alibis, or opprobrium.

      • letswin3 - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        Thanks for the endorsement. But even more thanks for expanding my vocabulary …. now I gotta find a way to get opprobrium into one of my next three conversations.

      • 6ID20 - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:06 PM

        Analysis does not equal alibi or excuse. FP explained exactly why Ramos missed the throw. The bounce was lower than Ramos expected. And Ramos did not have the benefit of replay to figure that out. He had to decide where to set up for the throw on the fly, as it were.

    • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      FWIW, the Pirates announcers blamed it on the new collision rule. They said Ramos couldn’t back up to get a better hop because of the rule.

      I don’t think they’re correct in their interpretation of the rule and Ramos has had issues with that play well prior to this year.j

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        +1 Everyone blames everything on that rule.

        Here’s how I would summarize the rule:

        1. Catcher has to set up to receive the throw out of the basepath (usually in front of the plate) to allow the runner a lane to slide.
        2. Once the catcher has the ball, he can block the plate. Or he can swipe tag. It’s up to him.
        3. If the throw leads the catcher into the basepath, that’s ok.
        4. The runner can’t intentionally lower the boom on the catcher.

        Do I have that right?

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        Phil woods gives one excuse. Kilgore gave a different one. FP’s was different yet, and I heard a different one on here. Baseball is a funny thing sometimes. Ask six people what down on a play and you get 6 different versions as to what happened. Me, on that play? Ramos dropped the ball. It happens.

  15. Danny - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Newsflash the Giants are a sinking ship.

    • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Yes, but they are playing the already sunk Phillies

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        A pop up not played by 3 infielders a prime okay by the Phillies.

  16. scnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Super lock tonight it’s my birthday

  17. thewerthwhisperer - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Would someone explain what it is that that Pirates do with their hands when they drive in a run?

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      The fans in Pittsburgh explained it to me when I was there in 2013. It made no sense then, still doesn’t

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      Here you go:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoltan_(hand_gesture)

      • thewerthwhisperer - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:51 PM

        Thanks, section 222, got it. A little weird, a little fun.
        Nice to know that baseball players are always looking to further their knowledge and education while,in the clubhouse. I’m sure mike Mussina would have joined right in. (Hmmmm…..maybe not)

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    Kevin Frandsen takes Michael Taylor’s spot. I would have given Michael A a start against a lefty.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    Gio with another 1st inning going over 20 pitches.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Fresh haircut and shave .

    Still too many pitches though.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      He just doesn’t understand the concept of pitch to contact. You don’t stay in games long when you pitch 27 in the 1st inning.

      Deja vu all over again.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        You act like he’s trying to do that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        He’s a nibbler. Nibbling leads to lots of foul balls and raises your pitch count. That’s what Gio has become.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        But why? Gio didn’t just decide to start nibbling one day (though he has always done it to an extent). Why is he not throwing his best pitch? Why has his already-shaky command deteriorated? I tend to believe that it’s not a 28 year old going through some sort of decline. Given he missed time this year on the DL and at various points since returning has looked very uncomfortable, I tend to believe it is physical.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:37 PM

        As I wrote after his last start he got away from the curveball against LHs and using it against RHs. The LHs have been hitting him better than the LH. He is using the changeup against the LH.

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        +1 to DP. That’s the MNF approach to commenting. The reason he had 27 pitches is that the Pirates got two hits. They made contact on those pitches, right?

        Pitch to contact really just means throw strikes. Gio threw 19 strikes in that inning. That’s not bad at all.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        Come on, he threw 6 pitches to batter #1 and 7 to batter #2 and was at 13 pitches before Martin got up and batted. That’s not a good average per batter.

        Starts off against Alvarez with 6 pitches in the 2nd inning.

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        They are fouling off pitches Ghost. That’s not a reluctance to “pitch to contact.”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        2’s, something has to change because you can’t pitch deep into games with that pitch count.

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        I certainly agree that you can’t pitch deep if you throw 29 pitches per inning. That’s not the point, and I think you know that. The attitude that players are trying to perform badly, or missing some obvious fix that we fans sitting on our couches can see so clearly gets old after awhile. As I say to MNF on a regular basis, playing baseball is hard.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        He’s not doing it on purpose and Gio is Gio. The K/9 is great. The WHIP and ERA and pitch counts aren’t. His average IP/G isn’t awful for 2014 but since the All Star break has been bad.

        He has to get to 6 innings at a minimum and get back to an ERA that is under 3.50

  21. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Gio is allergic to quick innings. You can say he’s nibbling all you want, but it’s clear as day he refuses to throw his curveball and the few he does throw are not good. That indicates it hurts him to throw it.

    Without his wipeout pitch, Gio is very hittable as we’ve seen.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      I would say that’s a theory I have pondered after his last start although I don’t know if you can conclude “that indicates it hurts him to throw it” although it’s possible. It could be he has lost confidence in it as it no longer has the right-turn and drop it had when Gio was pitching well.

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      It does seem that he’s not throwing the curve much. But it’s a leap to say that indicates it hurts him to throw it.
      Do you really think if that were true, they’d let him pitch? Or that MW, McCatty, and Ramos don’t notice that he’s not throwing the curve?

      Maybe it’s just not curving as much for him and he doesn’t want to hang it.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        You owe me a couple 2’s.

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        Yeah, that was drink worthy I think. Even though I did add value with the reference to the professionals who apparently haven’t noticed that Gio is hurting.

  22. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    Horrible first pitch to curve to Alvarez and it was at 76. Normally it’s around 80.

  23. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    Very obnoxious fan out there yelling “swing” on each pitch. At least I think that’s what he’s saying.

  24. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    That was a good curve.

  25. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Gio keep it up

  26. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Just 14 pitches that inning. The difference? Fewer strikeouts? Noooo. He struck out the side. He just didn’t give up any hits or walk anyone. That’s how you keep your pitch count down.

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Desi with another walk. That’s 4 out of the last 5 games Desi has had a walk.

  28. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Did you just hear what FP just said about nibbling and going after the corners instead of aggressively going after the batters.

  29. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Just won’t go to the curve.

  30. nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Walks come back to bite Gio once again. 3 runs. Nats got more out of Treinen than Gio.

  31. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    How can anyone watch Gio and think he looks healthy? The velocity is down, he’s completely abandoned the pitch that puts the most stress on the arm and he almost never looks comfortable out there.

    He can not pitch at 90-92 with just fastball/changeup. He can’t do it.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      Well then, why in the hell does MW keep trotting him out there… Sorry, I don’t believe this theory that he’s hurt…

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM

        Then what is your theory? I’m open to ideas.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        Why does it have to be an excuse for him and his performances…

    • nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      I no longer want to go to the ballpark with Gio pitching. Its not a fun night. I wish the 2012 Gio could reappear and its just wishfull dreaming. Hes a mess.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Gio was very good last year too.

      • nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:06 PM

        Good but not as good as 2012.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        2012 was a career year. 2013 was more like his career. 3.36 ERA. I’d take that

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      I agree with Mrs B if is injured then he and MW are both screwing up playing him.

      I believe he has totally lost confidence, and has forgotten what he did to be successful.

      But in case I am wrong then shame on him for nit telling MW he is injured, or shame MW intentionally pitching an injured pitcher.

  32. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Unh… Walks hurt… And idk what Desi thought he saw on the steal….

    Come on Nats bats… 0 runs weren’t going to win this game…

  33. nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Just saw a Tweet that if piece together Gio’s last 9 innings of work he has thrown 204 pitches. Is that due to hits? No, its due to poor pitching.

  34. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    What excuse, Mrs B? 28 year olds with great career numbers don’t randomly turn to this out of the blue. I’m trying to find an explanation for it. I think there’s a lot of evidence that points to him not being 100%. If you have other theories, I will listen. It’s not making an excuse.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      Fwiw, you’re the only one pushing the ‘injury’ theory… I think he’s been largely ineffective due to poor pitching… It’s just simply that for me. Idk what McCatty and Williams and Gio are going to do… Who knows, maybe this year is an arbitration like 2012 was… I’m just not going to continually give reasons on why he is pitching poorly…

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:19 PM

      Most of us don’t presume to make medical diagnosis from watching someone play on TV. I have no idea why he’s pitching poorly this year, but your theory that there’s something wrong with him physically because he won’t throw a curveball doesn’t hold up — particularly because he’s thrown quite a few good ones tonight.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        Given the constant cries to place a guy on the DL whenever he’s struggling, I beg to differ about most making medical diagnosis from TV. Granted, you don’t do it, but it’s more than a couple of posters on this site.

        I think there’s actual evidence that he’s hurt and it goes beyond just him not throwing curves. His fastball velocity is down mid-season, which is a sign of injury. He’s constantly stretching his shoulder on the mound. It’s not one singular thing.

      • nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        We cant even know how many times players are put on the DL when they arent really hurt. Teams use it as a tool often if they can get away with it. Im sure the player has to be in agreement with it.

  35. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Nats need to get the bats going. That would help.

  36. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    That’s 2 curveballs in a row to Locke. That blows a big hole in DP’s theory plus that 2nd curve was the ole wiffle ball curve that made Gio unhittable at times.

    • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:18 PM

      I’m not saying Gio can NEVER throw the curve. He even throws some good ones on occasion, as he did there. It’s the consistency with it I question. He is clearly throwing far fewer.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        You made a statement as if it were a fact and its really an opinion/theory that you have. That’s a big difference.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        Woah, when have I ever stated it as fact?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        David, when you wrote this:

        “David Proctor – Aug 16, 2014 at 7:19 PM
        …. but it’s clear as day he refuses to throw his curveball and the few he does throw are not good. That indicates it hurts him to throw it”

        You stated that as fact. If you don’t know the difference, ask an attorney. If it was opinion, then you should have inserted “possibly”.

      • David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        The first two things are fact and can be backed up by data. The “indicates it hurts him to throw it” is not fact. But “indicate” in the context I was using it means “suggests.” Pretty clear that’s not fact, I think. But are we really going to fight over semantics?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        No, it doesn’t suggest. It doesn’t indicate. It is an opinion or theory of yours. While it’s possible, it’s not fact supported by anything.

        Gio has definitely changed his plan/approach. Throwing more changeups and less curveballs. Maybe someone needs to ask him why.

  37. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Gotta go to a banquet/charity dinner, which I’m already late for… Was hoping to see the beginnings of a Nats come back while I could…

    Oh well, here’s to the Nats coming back and winning… Uhm, Oakland too…

    Later folks.

  38. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Gio easily showing why he is the Number 5 Starter he walks too many, and gives up by far the most two out hits on the team.

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      I thought Stras was the No. 5 starter? ;-)

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:35 PM

        Not even close in no stat is Gio near Strasburg

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        I was joking. After the Atlanta start some people wanted to leave Stras off the postseason roster.

  39. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Ridicules called strike 3 on Rendon.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      “Ridiculous”.

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Pitchtrack had it as a strike. Granted, it was on the upper right hand corner of the zone, but it was a strike. So was that pitch that Frandsen tried to bunt. Nats need to stop complaining about the strike zone and start getting some hits.

  40. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Sonny Gray struggling aginst the Barves.

  41. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Real simple solution. Pitch about 40% curves. No ecxuses. When he pitches curves he is fine. I have no evidence he is hurt. I do have evidence he is throwing to many fast balls.

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      I have plenty of evidence that Gio is simply throwing too many pitches. Sometimes I think he is trying to strike out every batter and consequently he throws too many pitches as a result of that strategy.

      Once again I will quote the late George Bamberger, former pitching coach and Brewers manager, “work quickly, change speeds and THROW STRIKES”.

  42. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    At least Desi seems to be getting hot.

  43. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Are you kidding me. Robbed by Snider. Who? Snider.

  44. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    Does anyone have an issue with Ramos swinging at the 1st pitch? Of course not, because he got a hit.

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Mrs. B does, but she’s not here now.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      I never have a deal as the first pitch is generally a fastball in the middle.

      If anything other than fast ball in the middle there is no reason to swing.

      • scmargenau - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        U realize its a pitchers job to make pitches LOOK like fastballs down the middle, right?

  45. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    San Diego comes back with 4 runs to tie the Cardinals. If the Pads can do that, the Nats surely can. Let’s go Nats!

  46. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Horrible at-bat by Espinosa. Everything “in” and Danny goes down looking instead of protecting.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      Espi doesn’t really want to okay next year it seems to me.

  47. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Can we please get Hairston off this team?

    • nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      At the beginning of the season there were a few talking about how great he was hitting. Nothing like falling in love with small sample sizes.

  48. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    I can’t watch Hairston. What was that? I thought he was supposed to be a lefty killer. Strike 1, strike 2, swing and miss strike 3.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      We all DFAed him in April, what does he have on Rizzo to still be here.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        BS, he had big supporters of his stats vs lefties. Go back and check as I argued with many of them. It was a small sample as I told them and they kept espousing his career stats.

  49. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Respinosa and Hairston let fastballs on the inner half go, but pitch a crappy change up let’s swing.

    Our hitters are not watching the game. He is throwing fastballs on the inside drive them left. Don’t stare at them.

  50. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Gio just needed to pay attention to Locke. Inside fastballs to righties werestrikes all night, instead he would throw the ball in the middle or outside.

    Watch the ump and pitch to what he is giving. It is not rocket science.

    At there are only a few players on the team who are not performing up to a standard they should.

    That is why we are in first. Most teams have more like 6 not playing to standard.

  51. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Didn’t realize Henderson Alvarez is off the DL and pitching well tonight.

  52. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Here is how I judge. Roark gives up 3 and that is OK as he out pitched his opponent, which is job.

    Gio gives up 3 and it is bad as he didn’t out pitch his opponent.

    Same amount given up but one does the job and one doesn’t.

    The starter is ask ed to do one thing, out pitch the other starter.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      One went deep into the game and one didn’t.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Roark went 5 + that is not deep.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:10 PM

        5 2/3. Deeper. Not deep.

  53. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    2 run jack by A’s

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Steven Vogt

  54. scmargenau - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Why anyone relies on espi and Hairston is just puzzling. I bet no one would take them, much less start them. Very upsetting.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      No one would take Hairston as he is right now. He will get a Minor League deal next year with a Spring Training invite for 2015. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      They are 2 who could be gone tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them.

  55. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Hurdle unlike MW doesn’t let the starter go to long. Gets him out before Desmond hits his 3 run homer.

    Gio in the third gets no visit from anyone until he did the damage. After ball 3 to Martin and Gio was disgusted, someone should ride Gio’s ass, but we never seem to take proactive work.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      Look how Desi was hitting Locke. Wasn’t a tough decision with 2 on in the 6th. MW would have done the same.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:17 PM

        But he made it. How often have we seen MW not make the move.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        That’s Weidemaier’s job and I’m not impressed

  56. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    How is Josh Harrison playing that far in the 5.5. Unreal. Unlucky.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:08 PM

      Who plays in that spot? Josh Harrison. That was like a pull shift.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        Scouting got him there. No luck involved.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        It’s possible. Rarely do you see any SS playing that far towards their 3rd baseman.

  57. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Bob carpenter said something that I don’t believe. Said Nats got unlucky,

    Unlucky?

    Harrison was in the whole. Why? Great scouting. Why? Because pitcher was planning to pitch inside.

    Now how is that unlucky?

  58. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    Gio could’ve pitched a shutout and it wouldn’t matter at this point. Score some runs please.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      It would still be tied, so I have no problem with that.

  59. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    Stammen, maybe we can put him as 5th starter and Gio can go long relief.

  60. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    Ramos has had a terrible series.

  61. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    Their fielders are in better spots than ours for sure.

  62. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Tens of thousands of fans can’t be wrong. The wave will prevail!

  63. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    A’s are laying an egg this weekend in Atlanta.

  64. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Real nice sinker working for Stammen tonight. Not really throwing the slider and relying on the 2-seam.

  65. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Nice walk drawn by a Taylor.

  66. Another Tyler - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Go Taylor, takin’ walks!

  67. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Span! Great AB!

  68. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    First pitch RBI base hit. Good job, Kevin!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      Make contact and let BABIP work in your favor.

  69. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Well now 1 of Gio’s run are made uup.

    But Rendon is a rally killer. FP said no bunt, I said bunt. I was right.

    • nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      Gets Gio off the hook.

  70. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Holy s****!!!!!!!!!!

  71. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Sweet!!

  72. Another Tyler - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    woooo

  73. nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    All started by Michael A Taylor!

  74. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Who wanted to sit him down? ALR shows you how it’s done.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      Good job, to bad Rendon not fast enough to be on base.

  75. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Already bails out Rendon. Bails out Gio.

    Well Gio had matched Locke we would be ahead, so Gio is still on my boo list.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      Turn the page. It’s getting tiring.

  76. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    If only Rendon could’ve struck out instead of hit into the DP.

  77. Drew - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Boom!

  78. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Matt Williams is rewarded this time by the quick hook. Stammen held the game in check and the Nats get the big walk and a bloop and a blast!

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      Good point. Right move at the right time. And talk about saving the bullpen.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        Why does Gio always have to have 1 bad inning.

  79. dc27dan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Viva la Roche!

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      Well played Sir.

  80. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    What were the Yankees thinking when they let Thornton go? What a pickup by the Nats!

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Not as good as Fister move, but a good one NY Rizzo

  81. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Okay, Harper, Ramos, and …Espinosa. Ok, it’s up to you, kid!

  82. David Proctor - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    We really can’t afford extras so let’s walk it off here

  83. Drew - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Good thing Matt throws strikes. Otherwise he’d be Thornton Wilder.

    (Carry on.)

  84. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    I have said before I rarely have seen Thornton and couldn’t really form an opinion about him and only knew his scouting report but what I have seen is a stone cold killer out there.

    I will say my point again. As soon as Jayson can play, time to do something with Hairston and get Treinen up as another reliever. MW needs an 8 man pen to save Storen, Clip and Soriano. Too many innings on those guys.

    • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      I’d shed no tears for Hairston, that’s for sure. But September is just a few weeks away.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        I know but can you wait the 2 weeks as its thin. Hairston is worthless now, in 2 weeks and beyond.

        Tyler Moore should have taken his spot.

      • Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:56 PM

        Given that Chad Tracy lasted all year, I’ll be surprised if Rizzo gives up on Hairston.

  85. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Nice catch by Drew in the bullpen of ALR’s blast.

  86. nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    This ump blows. Bryce went but come on.

  87. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    Can Wilson Ramos be the hero here?

  88. nats128 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Is Bryce the new Mr T with all that gold around his neck.

  89. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Harp had a mind to go to 3rd there. Little cat and mouse game with Martin.

  90. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Wilson has to go right-side.

  91. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Told you Wilson Ramos hero!

  92. Joe Seamhead - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    So much for Ramos having a bad series! All is forgiven!

  93. conatsguy - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    WTF!!

    Great epic win.

  94. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Buffalo baby!!

  95. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Sweeeeeeep

  96. manassasnatsfan - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Stammen no win or hold, but ought to get a hold.

  97. rayvil01 - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Starting to look like a team that wants it.

  98. Drew - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    GYFNG.

    It’s starting to feel like a magical season.

  99. conatsguy - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Rox game postponed. Got back in time for the bottom of the 8th.

    Looked like a route :-)

  100. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Just want to record for posterity Mark’s question to MW: “Matt, when along that last two innings did you kind of feel like the flip was switched?” Sweet Fancy Moses indeed.

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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)...

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