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Nine lives

Aug 21, 2014, 12:57 AM EST

AP AP

This shouldn’t be happening, not like this. It’s not that the Nationals have won nine straight games. And it’s not that they’ve won in walk-off fashion four of the last five nights. It’s that they’ve won three of the last four nights after blowing a lead in the eighth or ninth inning.

Really, who does this?

“I mean, just absolutely epic,” Bryce Harper said. “That’s the best word I can put on it for you. It’s been incredible.”

The events taking place each evening on South Capitol Street are beginning to defy explanation. Four nights after rallying from 3 runs down to beat the Pirates, three nights after watching Rafael Soriano melt down in the ninth before they came back to win in the 11th, two nights after watching Tyler Clippard blow his own ninth-inning lead before they again came back to win in the 11th, they did it yet again.

Leading by two runs in the eighth, the Nationals saw Clippard surrender another game-tying homer, only to pick up their All-Star reliever by producing another winning rally in the ninth, beating the Diamondbacks 3-2 for their ninth consecutive victory.

At this point, it sure looks like Matt Williams is drawing them up this way, going for maximum drama at the expense of everyone’s blood pressure.

“No, no. Not even close,” the rookie manager insisted. “That’s not the way you draw them up. But they don’t stop fighting, that’s for sure.”

The Nationals find themselves in this position — winners of nine straight, owners of a 7-game division lead, an NL-best 19 games over .500 — thanks to an elite rotation (starters have given up 10 total earned runs during these nine games) and an opportunistic lineup that thrives in pressure situations late (they’ve scored 27 runs from the sixth inning on during the streak).

They got both Wednesday night, with Tanner Roark tossing seven scoreless innings despite some early command struggles and then Harper, Kevin Frandsen and Anthony Rendon combining to produce the winning rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Harper ignited things with a base hit up the middle (his third of the game) after battling Arizona reliever Evan Marshall to a full count.

“Great at-bat,” Williams said.

After Wilson Ramos struck out on three pitches, Frandsen sent a sharp grounder up the middle, just past Aaron Hill’s diving attempt. Harper, seeing the ball trickle into shallow center field, never broke stride and wound up on third base without drawing a throw.

That brought a familiar face to the plate in an unfamiliar role. Rendon was supposed to have the night off after 62 consecutive starts at either second or third base, but here was the 24-year-old being asked to pinch-hit for the first time this season, with the game on the line.

Rendon had spent the evening shadowing Scott Hairston, watching how the veteran bench player prepared for the possibility of late action.

“I followed Scotty throughout the whole game pretty much,” Rendon said. “I was like: ‘Alright, what do I do? Do I do this? Do I do that?’”

Rendon also remembered advice he got earlier this summer from former teammate Greg Dobbs, a pinch-hitting specialist for many years.

“He said to just get up like it;s your first at-bat of game. That’s what Dobbs told me,” Rendon said. “And that’s what I actually remembered from earlier in the year. So I was like: ‘Alright, I’m going to go up like it’s my first at-bat of the game and go up there and try to barrel the ball like I always do.’”

Rendon took ball one from Marshall, then turned on the next pitch. The ball was scorched down the third-base line, giving Harper a leisurely stroll home with the winning run while everyone else mobbed Rendon near first base, impressed (but not surprised) by his latest offensive exploits.

“A lot of guys around here will sing his praises all the time, because he is so levelheaded,” Frandsen said. “For him to finally get a day off today, you’d never know, because he was out there doing everything, coming off the bench. There’s one thing I think he was born to do, and it’s hit.”

And there appears to be one thing these Nationals know how to do right now: Win ballgames, no matter how much drama it requires.

“For me, it’s just a very good ethic that these guys have,” Williams said, who with one more win Thursday would have to make good on his pledge to break out his old Babe Ruth impersonation. “They believe in each other. They believe that we can stay in a game, that we can win a game, that we’re never out of a game. That’s a trait that you can’t force on folks. They get that amongst themselves in that clubhouse, and it’s enjoyable to watch. Sometimes it’s not a whole lot of fun, but it’s enjoyable to watch the way they go about it. So I’m proud of them.”

120 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. David Proctor - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    Braves before their 5-game winning streak: 6 games out of 1st place
    Braves after their 5-game winning streak: 7 games out of 1st place

    How demoralizing must that be for them?

    • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:04 AM

      Before: magic number 37
      After: magic number 30

    • snerdblurter - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      +1

    • tcostant - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      How do you sit Desi on his Bobblehead day???

  2. Pete "Hit 'n Run" Wood - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    Matt Williams better be dusting off that Babe Ruth tap dance:)

  3. laddieblahblah - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    Do it, guys, for the Babe’s sake.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        Evidently I cannot link to videos. Too bad for y’all, ’cause it was funny as heck. Seriously.

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    The recent bullpen fails are ultimately traceable to all of the innings Strasburg and Gonzalez failed to work earlier this season. Strasburg seems to have pulled the chain on his light bulb recently, which should ease the burden on the bullpen, as should some post-September 1 reinforcements. (Remember how important Garcia’s contributions were at the end of 2012.) Now’s the chance for Gonzalez to show he’s absorbed something by osmosis. Once the offense decides to stop writing cliff-hanger scripts things should be a lot better.

    Plus I’m happy about finally gaining ground on the Braves and being seven games up with six games against them remaining. They’ll really have to get a burn on to catch the Nats now. Not that I’m ready to declare the race over (see, Phillies, 1964) but it will should make it possible to go to bed during the West Coast games at the end of the season with some degree of comfort.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      They have the Seattle/LA trip starting next weekend, then it’s all EDT for the last lap.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      “The recent bullpen fails are ultimately traceable to all of the innings Strasburg and Gonzalez failed to work earlier this season.”

      Maybe somewhat kinda sorta, but I doubt there’s a front end set that isn’t dragging a little by now, regardless. They’ve been going for about six months by now, and that “162-game grind” (gulp-bang!) does grind you down even in good years.

      • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        Maybe somewhat kinda sorta

        Agreed. Another factor is the sheer number of wins we have. You use your front line when you’re ahead in the 7th 8th and 9th. Losing teams don’t have this problem.

    • thelatencn - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      ” Once … things should be a lot better.” Wow. Just how much better are they going to get???

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      The recent bullpen fails are ultimately traceable to all of the innings Strasburg and Gonzalez failed to work earlier this season

      Just to be clear, in the first half of the season, the Nats five regulars were all pretty similar in terms of IP per start, from just below 6 IP to a little over 6-1/3.

      JZimm and Gio were basically tied for the lowest, Fister was the highest. Stras had the most total IP and Fister had the fewest, because he started the season on the DL, and the emergency starters who replaced him (T. Jordan and Treinen) really did have short outings, averaging less than 5-1/3 IP per start.

      • sjm308 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        There you go, confusing people with actual facts

        Stop it! (Just kidding)

      • faridrushdi - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        When I have a question about life–or baseball–I go back to the 1969 Washington Senators, the last of God’s miracles on Earth.

        Here are the Senators top five starters of that year with their innings per start:

        Casey Cox: 7.1
        Dick Bosman: 6.2
        Joe Coleman: 6.1
        Barry Moore: 6.0
        Jim Hannan: 5.2

        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      “The recent bullpen fails are ultimately traceable to all of the innings Strasburg and Gonzalez failed to work earlier this season.”

      Strasburg is fifth in the National League in innings pitched. Only one person (Cueto) has an innings total more than 5 innings greater than Strasburg’s 171. Why no blame for Roark, who is 12 innings behind Strasburg, or Zimmermann, who is 20 innings behind Strasburg.

      Sometimes I think that if Stephen Strasburg pitched a perfect game in Game 7 of the World Series there would be Nats Insider posters the next day complaining that he should never have let it get to seven games in the first place.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        Roark is two starts behind Strasburg, and has logged more innings per start. Plus, from those who are most hyped, more is expected. Kershaw is giving his team 7.25 innings per start, about one inning more than Strasburg.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        You need to go by innings per start and use that stat since the All Star break when this really has become an issue.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        OK.

        Since the ASB, full rotation
        
        July
        Gio 3.1, 7, 3.2
        SS 7, 5.1, 7
        Znn 3.1, 5, 7
        TR 7, 7, 7, 7
        Fr. 7, 7, 5.2, 7
        
        August
        Gio 6, 4.2, 5
        SS 7, 5, 7, 8
        Znn 7, 6.1, 6.1, 7
        TR 6.1, 7, 5.2, 7
        Fr. 7, 7.1, 7, 7
        
      • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        “Plus, from those who are most hyped, more is expected.”

        Not if you’re a rational baseball fan who understands that hype has nothing to do with reality, and certainly has nothing to do with who deserves “blame.”

        By the way, trying to blame Strasburg for a tiring bullpen 36 hours after he bailed out an exhausted bullpen with 8 innings of three-hit ball at the absolute perfect time.

        I swear, I half-expect you to come in here one day and blame Strasburg for the chili on your half-smoke being lukewarm. “The guy was the cover of Sports Illustrated and he can’t even run up to Ben’s and warm up the damn chili?”

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      I won’t pile on except to say that I agree with everything that Sofa, HH, and, especially, bb have said. They have identified the two problems with Theo’s argument: (1) that the back end of our bullpen fails more and is more tired than the back end of other bullpens in the NL at this point of the season; and (2) that the supposed unusual number of fails is causes by Stras and Gio not carrying their weight as starters. Both are suspect and apparently not borne out by the facts.

      There’s one additional problem. If the cumulative weight of the bad outings by Gio and Stras early in the season are responsible, how is it possible that a few days rest for Sori was all it took for him to pitch well yesterday? It’s fine to be concerned about Gio’s recent shortcomings or Stras’s failure to live up to your hight expectations. But it’s beyond a stretch to say that the lead to bullpen deficiencies to the extent you suggest.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        I don’t mean to say that early overloading on the bullpen has no deleterious effects–I believe it can have–but in this case, I think it’s a stretch to blame Strasburg and Gio for a few short outings, and 6 innings is NOT a short outing. Bullpens have been expected to carry three innings more often than not for decades now. If the starter can go longer, great, but six innings is considered good enough now, like it or not.

        But total innings, or average number of innings per start even, might not be a fair measure. How many “short” outings did they have?

        innings pitched per each start, for April, May, and June (i.e., "earlier in the season")
        
        April 
        Gio 6, 6, 6, 7, 5, 6
        SS 4.1, 6.2, 4, 6, 7
        
        May
        Gio 7, 4.1, 3, --> DL mid-May to mid-June
        SS 6, 7.1, 7, 7, 7, 6
        
        June
        Gio 5, 6, 7
        SS 7, 6, 6.2, 6, 4.2 

        So Gio was hurt and it took a while to figure that out. Stras did have a couple of stinkers in April, and one at the end of June, but otherwise, this was not a heavy load.

        And none of this addresses WHY they came out of the game. I am too lazy to go back and look up in which starts they were pinch-hit for, and could have gone longer had they had a lead.

  5. karlkolchak - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    The last time the Nats were going for their tenth win in a row, I was at RFK and saw them get it against Seatlle. I’ll be there tonight as they try to match their longest ever streak. Hopefully, I’m a good luck charm. :)

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      If -IFF- they win tonight … How early should I get there Friday to see Matty’s act? Gotta be sometime around BP, yes?

    • faridrushdi - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Those 10 wins in a row seemed an impossible dream, something a Washington baseball team never did (and I’m the guy that remembers almost sweeping the Red Sox in the last series of 1969 to give the Senators 86 wins).

      But this time, while it feels good certainly, it’s not one of those impossible dreams. This team is so good you kind of figured that they’d do something like this sooner or later.

      The only drawback is that once a long winning streak is broken, many teams go on a losing streak of a few games. Hope that doesn’t happen this time.

  6. MicheleS - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    Well, September 1 can’t get here fast enough so that the bullpen can get some help. I am happy for Soriano, after all the grief he got, he pitched very well last night and he got the win.

    How sweet is Mr Rendon’s swing? That kid can flat out hit.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:10 AM

      Is it too early to worry they are peaking too soon?

      Yes, I am kidding.

      Sorta.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        Well, we can take comfort in the obvious fact that the bullpen, at least, cannot be said to be peaking. So there’s that.

        Have something to fall back on, mom always said.

  7. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Thankfully Scott Hairston’s success on Sunday night didn’t lead MW to think that “he’s our guy for man on third, less than two outs walkoff situations. Rendon was born to hit in that spot. Just put the barrel on the ball, as he says.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Just amazing. Even if the 3rd baseman gets the ball Harper was gone on contact and would have scored as the 3B couldn’t turn a doubleplay.

      By the way, Rendon was credited for a single and didn’t get his Tony 2-bags last night. ;)

  8. adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    starters have given up 10 total earned runs during these nine games

    That is ridiculously crazy good.

  9. sjm308 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Wonder if MW would do it right after the game tonight. That would be great! I realize he normally did those during BP.
    This is # 3 in 4 days, got to sit in 308 on Monday after the 1st inning. Kinda felt like RFK except back then we had seats waay out in CF and would end up behind 3rd base.

    Will start today in 307 with red carpet seats but my usher understands it’s important for us to be in 308 to keep this streak alive.

    Go Nats!

    Have a nice day of rest Mr. Clippard, Mr. Thorton is ready to go.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      After a sweep of AZ doing it infront of them might get a player plunked next time… and rightfully so.

      • sjm308 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        good point – it probably should be something just the team gets to enjoy – probably even gets them closer together

  10. Candide - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    It’s that they’ve won three of the last four nights after blowing a lead in the eighth or ninth inning.

    Meh; they’re just playing with one hand tied behind their backs, just to keep it fair.

  11. masterfishkeeper - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Interesting that Souza is going on rehab for 3 or 4 games. The alternative would have been to keep him on the DL until September 1. Wonder if they’ll send Taylor down Monday and have Souza in his place. That’s what I would do.

    Would be nice to have another strong bat on the bench.

    • stoatva - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      +1

      There’s a lot to like about young Mr Taylor but he will have a lot more to offer in a year or two.

      • natszee - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        He came out and signed my son’s team ball Monday night. The kids love him BTW but the “under 12″ favorite in the house is Steven Sousa Jr. …. Why I have no idea … Just is. Perhaps that all changes if Byrce heats up.

        The kids are funny.

  12. adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Another shout out to Rizzo. Recall that Rendon was a projected 1/1 pick, but then got yet another injury (shoulder) which caused him to be relegated to DH for almost the entire college season. (In his other two years in college, he injured his ankle twice in college in 2009 and 2010 — (one required surgery)) A fantasy baseball scouting report noted “Nothing can destroy a player’s power potential quite like a shoulder injury, so Rendon’s health history is a real cause for concern.”

    So, the first five teams passed on him, and Rizzo snatched him up in the sixth pick.

    Not all risk moves pay off (that’s why they are called risky), but Rizzo has a much better record than most in this area.

    • jd - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      It’s a sound strategy. You get much better players that way. No way they get Rendon, Giolito if they are healthy. They also took a flier on Purke but in a later round. The odds on him were long but it was worth a shot given his pre injury potential.

      Likewise this year they drafter Eric Fedde who is projected much higher than where he was drafted but is out for a year before he can start his career.

    • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Those who have read Moneyball know that it’s not about a certain type of player or style of play but about finding inefficiencies in the marketplace for baseball talent. At this point it’s pretty clear to me that Rizzo found one- draft prospects with injury concerns were being undervalued by risk-averse MLB front offices. Kudos to him, because such inefficiencies are very hard to find in today’s game with all the easily accessed data.

      • exposednats - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        I sense a movie on Rizzo called “Band-aid ball”

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Still hard to forget that the brass kept insisting there was a real tryout at 2nd base in ST between Rendon and Espi.

      I laughed then and laughing now. Rendon is going to get some MVP votes if he keeps this up the rest of the year. If he goes on a RBI tear to 90+ with 100 Runs Scored he will be in unique company.

      • jd - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        Love Rendon – top 10 NL player but I think MVP will be Stanton almost unanimously

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        If Rendon ends up #12 in total votes, great. Stanton is Top 3

  13. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    I’m guessing that IFF they won tonight, MW would do it at some point after the fact, perhaps when it was just the team (and the media? or just the MASN crew?). It would be awesome if he did it after today’s game, because I’ll be there. But no pressure, guys. No pressure at all. Riiiight.

  14. adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    1st in ERA, fewest BB’s, 2d in WHIP, fewst HR’s allowed, 1st in K/BB, 6th youngest pitching staff

    6th in BA, 5th in OBP and SLG, 5th in BB’s, 4th fewest GIDP, 5th in HR’s, 1st in fewest caught stealing, 3rd in runs/game

    which adds up to:

    best record in NL, 7 game lead, best “SRS” & run differential in NL

    (tangent: Braves are currently 1.5 out of the wild-card)

    Weird fact of the morning:
    Nats are 40-24 at home, 32-29 on the road.
    LA Dodgers are 31-31 at home, 40-26 on the road.
    Huh?

    • Doc - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Thanks for the stats, wonk!

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      LA Dodgers are 31-31 at home, 40-26 on the road.
      Huh?

      It’s a bought team, all their guys are from somewhere else. Every road game is a used-to-be home game for somebody there.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Chavez Ravine is a pitchers’ park, tends to equalize the Dodgers’ power.

      • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        It’s a bought team, all their guys are from somewhere else. Every road game is a used-to-be home game for somebody there.

    • 6ID20 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      The games at Dodger Stadium most of the players show up around the third inning and start leaving after the seventh inning stretch. That makes it harder to win the game.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        +1

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        The Cubs, OTOH, have the opposite problem: the players stay for the whole game.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      (tangent: Braves are currently 1.5 out of the wild-card)

      Yes, they lost 1/2 game in the standings when the Giants’ appeal came through, and they can lose the other half if the Giants pull that one out.

    • natszee - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      I contest your analysis in that games played at Citi Field should be considered home games!

      Kidding aside, factor those out and we are 26-29 on the road …

  15. water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    So, the baseball gods are smiling on the Nats. Not only are they winning when parts of the teams are struggling but other teams are being worn out in advance of playing the Nats.

    The Giants won their Giant Win Protest and get to play a game with the Cubs starting down 2-0 in the sixth. Due to scheduling, they must play the game as part of a true double header. 5 PM start and scheduled 8:05 PM start for the second game.

    Here’s hoping they comeback and play extra inning in the first game! Wow, a chance to play the Gaints with a worn out BP after two games in one day! Nice!

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      But we want the Giants to win both games, anyway — wild card and all.
      Well, that, and my own 50-years-a-Giants-fan status.

      • water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:01 AM

        Don’t care whether the win or lose against the Cubbies. Ir would help if they had to use a bunch of relievers in the two games.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        (Go, Giants!) (That was my brother talking, btw.)

    • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      water47-

      You might reconsider your stance and start rooting for the Giants if you take a look at the team they’re currently fighting for the second wild card spot!

      • water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        bowdenball,
        I am not saying I do not want the Giants to win but I am saying it is more important for the Nats if the Giants play two long games and/or use their entire bullpen today. Then, tomorrow, when the Nats play the Giants things look brighter.

        Yes, it would be nice for the Giants to eliminate the Barves but that won’t happen this weekend. But, 3 wins for the Nats will shrink the magic number by a minimum of three and maybe five or six (depending on Barves) And,. ight now, I will take that over tightening of the wildcard race.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        I still want to see the Giants catch the Dodgers, and have the Pirates eliminate LA in a one-gamer.

      • bowdenball - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        I know, water47. I was just making a joke because I assume all Nats fans would very much like to see the Braves miss the playoffs.

      • water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

        faire enfu

      • sjm308 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        As an old coach – I will root for the Giants to lose both games!
        Not because I wish them ill, but I truly believe that it is easier to win after a win and lose after a lose. I realize Baseball is all about starting pitching first, but if a team is coming in with a losing streak there are thoughts in the back of everyone’s mind. Pirates came in with a losing streak, Arizona came in on a losing streak and I want the Giants coming in after losing as well. After they play us, they can go nuts.

        Go Nats!!

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        I dunno, Skip; it didn’t seem to work that way when the Nats went out there. They were the hottest team in baseball at the start of that series, and they’ve been in the tank pretty much ever since. Coincidence? You decide.

  16. thomaswell - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    love Rendon’s batting philosophy, put barrel on ball and hit it hard.

  17. unkyd59 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Was looking at atbat, for the end, lady night… Saw Rendon’s name, Big Smile! Yes I had alread counted that curly W, but hung around for the Blue Dot- In Play (runs), just the same…. Two Bags is MONEY!!

    • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      but hung around for the Blue Dot- In Play (runs)

      I know it well! ;-)

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      For the record, GoogleTranslate is useless for some things.

      I finally figured this out on my own.

      Cabbage crates over the briney!

  18. jd - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    BTW, there was some fairly strong sentiment here that in order to win big wou must make significant moves at the trade deadline. Oakland and Detroit made the big splashy moves and have since proceeded to relinquish their season long holds on 1st place to the Angels and Royals who made no major moves.

    The Nationals made 2 relatively under the radar targeted moves to plug gaping holes and took off. Just saying.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Rizzo made the 2 moves he had to make. A bullpen upgrade (Thornton) and a replacement for RZim which he did (Cabrera).

      XFactors as I’ve said before come in different sizes and shapes and Marco Scutaro did it for the Giants and before him Cody Ross.

      Usually they aren’t the big name everyone expects. The story is still being written so lets talk on this on November 1st.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Have been looking at Hill this series. He was a possibility at the deadline. Rizzo did better with Cabrera.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        Rayvil, absolutely. There’s almost no comparison but keep in mind Rizzo and Mark Lerner have said repeatedly No short term rentals which is exactly what Asdrubal is.

        If I knew when I compiled my initial list short termers were available, I would have had Asdrubal 4th or 5th on my list.

        As I said, you can look at shortstops like Castro and convert them to 2Bs.

        From the pure low risk perspective, this was a good choice. We all know the Nats had Beltre, Murphy and others on their short list.

        We will know when the final chapter of this book is written if this is Rizzo’s Scutaro.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        Well, they could always put Cabrera at short, move Desmond to third, Rendon to second, with Zim at first. I’ll bet nobody would see that coming!

      • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        There’s almost no comparison but keep in mind Rizzo and Mark Lerner have said repeatedly No short term rentals which is exactly what Asdrubal is.

        Indeed. Rizzo said recently that every trade he’s ever made — with the exception of Zach for Cabrera — was made with the future in mind.

        In other words: he’s making a big exception and doing a rental now, because, obviously, this year is the best shot in Nats history to go to the Big Show.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        adcwonk, I don’t mind it at all. Asdrubal feels like he’s been here for a while. OTOH, Thornton came in talking like an outsider but quickly has joined in.

        Chemistry is huge. I’m looking for XFactor guys. This team as I said before was the best team before RZim went down but needed bullpen and bench help. The dynamics quickly changed. If a healthy RZim comes back, the bench gets upgraded with whoever sits be it Asdrubal or someone else.

        I still think TyMo needs to get a spot. Greatest bench hit in Nats history in Game 1.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        I really like a GM that has a long-term view yet is pragmatic. A short term rental is one of the arrows in the quiver. Refusing to use it ever is a limitation.

        You want to build from inside. But no championship team is entirely home grown. Sign of a great GM is that he uses all avenues in balance.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Miley has been amazing on the road. 2.86 road ERA and 6.20 home.

    Since July 1 vs good teams:

    2 vs Pitt
    1 vs ATL
    0 vs SFG
    0 vs Cin
    1 vs MIA

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      All the euphoria and a game to play today against one of the best road pitchers in the Majors.

      Gio and the Nats hitters better be ready.

  20. water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Hey NatsLady,

    Another week, another development. Maybe, we need to discuss this more. but Mark’s Silence is disappointing

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Federal Baseball doing a great job of compiling the info. The ONLY way to make it fair is give the Nats their own TV rights like all the other teams have had prior to MASN.

      The way to get to that point is to put MASN in default. I think the Lerners have a strategy and I hope they obliterate Angelos when this is said and done.

      How 1 team can control the fate of another team with regional TV rights that are worth this much is unconscionable.

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      Water, thanks for the link to the summary article on the MASN dispute status. Never underestimate the ability of MLB owners to shoot themselves in the foot and blow their whole leg off.

      Not sure what Mark would add to the fairly comprehensive coverage elsewhere, though. No disrespect intended, Mark.

      • water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        Soul,

        Agreed, Federal Baseball does a nice job. Other have reported on it. Just when things were developing in late July, others noted that Mark was busy reporting on more important things like the trade deadline. Now it has been 21 days since that critical date and yet Mark & co. have not done any reporting on this. I am surprised surprised they have not reported as most other news outlets in DC have reported on it. Mark & co. have done a top notch job on covered the Nats except for this issue so maybe CSN has gagged them. If not, then one must reasonably ask why Mark & company have not?
        \

    • TimDz - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      I have been vocal on this issue for a while and, while I am not an attorney (nor have I ever played one on TV), it appears that this is Angelos’ last stand. While the preliminary injunction means that the Nats front office can not enforce the arbitration ruling and force the litte baltimore troll to pony up the money he owes, it does not mean all is lost. There will be many legal manuevers between now and when the final decision comes across. This may (at least in my opinion) force Baltimore to acknowledge that they are unable to pay what is considered to be FAIR MARKET value (that may need to be established once again), which may provide the impetus for an third party (hello Fox Sports Network) to come in and provide the big cash that is needed.

      Much of this is about Peter Angelos’ ego and only part of it is his greed (which is still there, mind you). Once the facts of the matter are presented, he is going to be backed into a corner and will cave.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        Yeah, but … the problem isn’t the ultimate outcome, it’s how they get there. If the Nats and O’s drag this thing through a cage-match of a trial, MLB risks some very private financial information becoming public, and once that happens, nobody anywhere knows where it stops, or what effects it will ultimately have. Selig was apparently incensed with both of them for risking that, but he has no hold over Angelos, who is old, rich, and already generally hated anyhow, and the Lerners, legally speaking, are like Honey Badger–they do not give one single [fleck] at all.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        Hard to see how they weren’t going to end up in court.

        MASN was pretty clearly lowballing the Nats. The Nats weren’t going to take it. Angelos wasn’t going to budge.

        Maybe a strong and decisive MLB commissioner could have found a solution that kept it out of court. Maybe not. But the point is moot, because MLB doesn’t have a strong and decisive commissioner. It has Bud.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Great points TimDz, ego and greed and the entitlement blows me away. Angelos is alienating the other owners. It’s a country club and Angelos is going rogue. There’s too much money there and I’m convinced Angelos wants MLB to pay the Nats the extra $50 to $60 million for his silence.

        I hope they put Angelos out of business. If you get a better owner in Baltimore, maybe there could be regional unity where baseball is a NL/AL powerhouse.

    • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      Not sure why you called on me, water. I’m far from an expert on this matter. I’ve linked to some stories, and of course I hope the Nats prevail, but that’s about it. Other posters have more to offer.

      • water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        NL,

        Nothing personal, but it all started when you correctly pointed out that there were bigger fish to fry and that is why Mark is not reporting on it. But, it has been 3 weeks since you made that point and I use your comment as the time when he started his non-reporting.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Lets give credit to Werth. His double where he split the gap on his easy short punchy swing is my favorite Werth.

    When Werth isn’t trying to carry the team on his back, he’s excellent. The same for Bryce. Give us those singles and keep the line moving.

  22. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Gotta love 7Up. That is, each of the Upton brothers now have 7 errors charged against them. BJ has the distinction of not only leading all centerfielders in errors, he also leads the league in strikeouts. But,man,he sure gets paid well for it! BTW, that ball last night should’ve been BJ’s all the way, but Justin hotdogged it into a loss for the Braves. HA!

  23. NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    With regard to the bullpen. Think how RARE it is that we have basically the same bullpen we had on Opening Day. Thornton has replaced Aaron Barrett. That’s IT! We have the same closer (Soriano), the same setup men (Clip and Drew), the same long men (Stammen and Detwiler) and the same “lefty specialist” (Blevins).

    Similarly, we have only used seven pitchers to start games (Stras, Fister, Taylor Jordan, Blake Treinen, Gio, Roark) and a couple of those were double header callups.

    222, this is for you. And anyone else… of course.

    I was hoping to go to the game today, but it’s not to be as I have to teach re-scheduled lessons from Saturday and other days. Same for tomorrow. If I can’t go tomorrow (and if it doesn’t rain) I’ll give the ticket away, but it’ll be last minute.

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Great point on the durability of our pitching staff. Extraordinary. Last year, we had Nate Karns, Taylor Jordan, Ross Ohlendorf, and even Zack Duke, start games before Roark came along. Not to mention Detwiler and Haren. And the bullpen featured, at various times, Erik Davis, Yunesky Maya, the aforementioned Duke, Fernando Abad, and Henry Rodriguez. The improvement has been monumental.

      Thanks for the link.

    • Doc - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Great stats NL!

      Thanks!!!

  24. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Sorry to hear that you won’t make it today, NL.

    I’m heading out in a bit and can’t post from the ballpark with my not-that-smart phone, so I’ll offer this here:

    Go, Gio! Go, NATS!!

    May stop by the 312 picnic tables before the game to see whether I can find any NI folks there.

    • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      My original schedule was light, only two students. But postponing lessons is starting to catch up with me, and August is already barren. Gotta save up for October, it’s looking 99% likely I’ll be taking more time off.

  25. micksback1 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Danny and Holden on 106.7 is devoting their entire 4 hour block to Nats ONLY stories. They will do this as long as the streak is going on, I love it!!

  26. micksback1 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    they are having fans call in there favorite Nationals player…. Fister, Span, Rendon and Crebera seem to be the favorites.

    heard some really nice stories on Span, a great guy

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    “micksback1 – Aug 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM
    Danny and Holden on 106.7 is devoting their entire 4 hour block to Nats ONLY stories. They will do this as long as the streak is going on, I love it!!”

    That is cheap radio shtick. Get a crowd that normally wouldn’t listen to them. Where were they after Win #5 Nats face Miley tonight and Tim Hudson tomorrow. They are betting this is a 1 or 2 day BS marketing bonanza.

    Frandsen laid them out well with, and I paraphrase, “Where have you guys been. Nats have been in 1st place for a while”. Bam!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Yes, and I got sucked in and listening on the Radio.com app. More commercials than talk.

  28. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Desi sitting today. Espi at SS.

    • DaveB - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      A little surprised they didn’t let Cabrera play SS, since he said that was his preference.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Me too.

      • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        Agreed. Maybe MW thinks Espi is a better SS than Cabrera.

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        Maybe the point is that Cabrera will get most of the starts at second, so they want him to focus on that position for the rest of the year. I actually think Danny may be a better SS, too.

        Point also could be that showcasing Danny’s versatility could make it easier to trade him in the offseason. Find a team that thinks they could fix his bat.

      • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        222, I replied to your comment over on my blog, but if you don’t happen to circle back: Rendon .254/.306/.388 Jul 18 – Aug 20 (that is, since the All-Star Break).

      • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        I checked on B-R. It’s not a typo. I think he’s wearing down. Have thought so for a while. Desi is an iron man. Rendon isn’t–or he isn’t yet.

      • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Yeah NL, I double checked it too. Surprising, given how confident we all were that he’d come through last night. He has the worst wOBA of all of our starters. He does seem to have a very high percentage of hard hit balls that are caught.

      • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Yeah NL, I double checked it too. Surprising, given how confident we all were that he’d come through last night. He has the worst wOBA of all of our starters. He does seem to have a very high percentage of hard hit balls that are caught.

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        If you look at Cabrera’s stats at B-Ref and Fangraphs, you’ll see that he’s been below average defensively most years, on both systems. Interestingly, he had one good year defensively, 2008, when he played mostly . . . wait for it . . . second base.

    • Section 222 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Hey, I thought WordPress was supposed to catch duplicate comments. Now it’s really worthless!

  29. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    “@JamesWagnerWP: Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring) did some light throwing today to test hamstring. Still a ways off in recovery. Running & hitting bigger steps.”

    Nice

    • water47 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Nice, get healthy!

  30. Soul Possession, Sec 3 My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    D-backs
    1. Inciarte, E, CF
    2. Pennington, C, SS
    3. Peralta, D, RF
    4. Trumbo, M, 1B
    5. Hill, A, 2B
    6. Pacheco, J, 3B
    7. Marte, A, LF
    8. Gosewisch, T, C
    9. Miley, W, P

    Nationals
    Span, D, CF
    Rendon, A, 3B
    Werth, J, RF
    LaRoche, A, 1B
    Ramos, W, C
    Harper, B, LF
    Cabrera, A, 2B
    Espinosa, D, SS
    Gonzalez, G, P

    • adcwonk - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      This seems as good as any time (7 game lead, against a weak team, etc.) to rest some guys judiciously. Desmond today, Rendon yesterday, Werth got lots of rest last week, Span about a week ago, etc. (Hmmm, ALR, 3 weeks ago . . . )

  31. Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    New posts, but no NEWER nav buttons??

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