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An epic debut, a crushing loss

Apr 29, 2012, 7:08 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

LOS ANGELES — It was everything Bryce Harper dreamed it might be, and maybe even a little more than he ever imagined.

A raucous, sellout crowd in an iconic ballpark. A laser beam of a double off the base of the center-field wall for his first career hit. A perfect throw from left field to the plate for what should have been a crucial out. A well-executed sacrifice fly to drive in what would have been the game-winning run.

And then … well, allow Harper to tell you what was going through his mind as he watched Dodgers All-Star Matt Kemp launch the 10th-inning homer that sent the Nationals to a crushing, 4-3 loss late last night.

“That sucked,” the 19-year-old said. “Seeing him hit a bomb, that was terrible.”

What had all the makings of a banner night in Nationals history — Harper went 1-for-3 with that double and an RBI, Stephen Strasburg tossed seven more brilliant innings and Henry Rodriguez was one strike away from wrapping up an epic victory — came to a sudden and devastating conclusion.

When Rodriguez uncorked his third wild pitch of the ninth inning, and when Tom Gorzelanny served up that towering home run to Kemp in the bottom of the 10th, it was difficult to think about everything good that had transpired over the previous three hours. The sting of those final, frantic moments were too fresh in everyone’s minds.

“But that just builds character,” manager Davey Johnson said nearly an hour later sitting on a clubhouse sofa, legs propped up on a coffee table. “That was a heck of a game tonight.”

Indeed it was. The calendar said it took place on April 28. The scene inside Dodger Stadium, and the emotions that emanated out of both dugouts, suggested this game took place six months later, with a whole lot more at stake.

Now, consider this all took place as the most-hyped pitching prospect in a generation stood on the mound and the most-hyped hitting prospect in a generation made his big-league debut in left field.

“It was a fun atmosphere,” said Strasburg, who struck out nine without issuing a walk over seven innings of one-run ball. “I thought we showed up to play. We just couldn’t get it done in the late innings.”

Harper was not at all to blame for that. If anything, the 19-year-old might have displayed the most poise of anyone in a Nationals uniform during this epic ballgame.

“I didn’t have butterflies at all, really,” he said. “I think that’s one of the first times I’ve ever not gotten butterflies.”

With the crowd booing (and in one case, mooning) his every move, Harper looked perfectly comfortable playing in his first major-league game. The first half of his evening was nondescript, featuring a comebacker to the mound and a flyball to left in his first two at-bats. But he came up big in his biggest moments later in the game.

It began with Harper’s first career hit: a two-out, two-strike double off the base of the wall in straightaway center field.

It then continued with a perfect throw from left field in the bottom of the seventh, a throw that beat Jerry Hairston to the plate but resulted in the run scoring when catcher Wilson Ramos couldn’t hold onto the ball … though that play was not without controversy. Johnson argued that Hairston intentionally swiped at Ramos’ mitt, trying to knock the ball loose, which should have constituted interference.

Plate umpire Mark Carlson told Johnson he didn’t see Hairston’s move, but he wouldn’t seek help from one of his other crew members who might have had a better view.

“He smacked the ball,” Johnson said. “He’s out. … He can do whatever you want with the catcher. But you cannot move the ball, or you’re out.”

Hairston’s questionable run left the game tied 1-1 heading into the ninth, but it also set the stage for Harper to be the hero when his sacrifice fly to medium left field easily scored Rick Ankiel with the go-ahead run. Ramos’ RBI single moments later extended the lead to 3-1 and put the Nationals in prime position to pull off one of the most-impressive wins in club history.

The last three outs of a Major League Baseball game, though, are unlike any other outs in this sport. And even a pitcher armed with a 102-mph fastball and a devastating slider can succumb to the pressure sometimes.

So it was for Rodriguez, who to date had been brilliant in recording five saves but on this night melted under the hot lights. Rodriguez faced six batters, allowing hits to the first three, uncorking one wild pitch to advance a runner, then another to bring home the tying run, then another on a strikeout to prolong the inning and give the Dodgers a chance to win in regulation.

“I thought we were in good shape to get out of it, and a wild pitch killed us,” Johnson said. “Henry pitched good, except he probably tried to overthrow that one pitch, and he threw it away. He’s been great all spring, all year. I’m not worried about him.”

Johnson did have to yank his closer with the game still up in the air in the ninth, turning to Gorzelanny to retire Tony Gwynn Jr. on a rocket line drive hit directly at first baseman Adam LaRoche.

The 69-year-old manager then stuck with Gorzelanny for the 10th inning, despite the fact the right-handed Kemp (who leads the majors in nearly every offensive category) was due to lead off. Johnson said he didn’t want to use right-hander Ryan Mattheus or left-hander Sean Burnett for a third consecutive day, and he didn’t want to burn up his other long reliever (Craig Stammen) and leave himself vulnerable in Sunday’s series finale.

“At that point, I’ve got two left-handers coming up behind [Kemp] and I figured he was going to pitch him close there,” Johnson said. “And he’s my long man. I need another inning out of him. … If you want to go ahead and throw the kitchen sink out there and have nothing left for tomorrow … that’s not a wise way to go about it.”

Gorzelanny got ahead of Kemp, but left his 1-2 pitch over the plate and watched as the ball soared into the Hollywood night, a crushing conclusion to what had been shaping up as one of the best nights in Nationals history.

It’ll still be remembered years from now as the night a 19-year-old phenom made his debut and lived up to the hype. In the heat of the moment, though, it was tough for Harper to contemplate what he had just experienced.

When will it all finally sink in?

“I don’t know,” Harper said. “I’m thinking the same thing. I was wondering the same thing: When will it sink in? When will I feel it? I think the next week or so it’ll really sink in. I was sitting in the dugout before the game and I was thinking to myself: ‘Wow, I’m in the big leagues.’ But I’m just trying to take it one game at a time, one at-bat at a time and not get too overwhelmed with things. I’m trying to do the best I can with that.”

On this night, Harper’s best wasn’t enough.

181 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLAfan - Apr 29, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    I was behind home plate for this one and it was just devastating to watch them lose it. Harper didn't look over matched at all and completely looked like he belonged.

  2. SonnyG10 - Apr 29, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Its going to be good to see how Bryce does against left-handed pitching.

  3. Section 215 Row A - Apr 29, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I have to echo NatsLAfan in every regard…a loss that was devastating to watch AND Harper looked like he belonged. I was saying yesterday I think he is up too early…that he needs more time at AAA but damn! I would LOVE to be wrong!!

  4. jeeves - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I realize that the Nat's record is still good. After each loss people keep saying that. But when one considers that the starting pitching rarely gives up more than one run, seven losses is not good, no matter how we slant it. I've always been Desi's biggest supporter (still am) but the last two games he and Lombo are 0 for 18, with no walks. The bullpen is very erratic. It's lost two of the last three games and almost blew three or four others taking away the win for our starter. I fear this tendency (one the old Nats suscribed to in the past) of different parts of the team taking turns contributing to a loss. Hopefully our amazing starting pitching will not get in on the act.As for Mr Scully's comment about the Nats not being as good a team as LA is ridiculous. If the Nats were healthy, they'd be the better team, no question. After the big three of Kemp, Ethier, and Kershaw, who, of significance do they have. I'll take our pitching hands down (with Storen) and a lineup with Zimm, Morse, Werth, Harper, LaRoche and company any day of the week.

  5. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Jeeves: Jansen and Billingsley are 'of signifigance' amd Josh Lindblom and Ted lilly have era's below 1.00

  6. nats-prospects - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Not so sure I'd want to be bragging about being, um, *behind* home plate last night.Hell of a debut, but Harper being Harper, did he have to flip the helmet off with such little panache? For a so-called student of the game, you'd think he'd have seen Bob Uecker explain how to do it subtly.

  7. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    The play with Hairston (from what I saw on TV) wasn't swiping it from the mitt–Ramos dropped the ball from the contact on the tag–but the ball dropped down, and Hairston swiped it back away from Ramos while trying to get back to the plate, which he hadn't yet touched, before Wilson could pick it up and tag him again. Veteran move–he looked to me like it was on purpose, but with plenty of "credible deniability" that he was just clawing his way back toward home. Bo Porter saw it immediately.

  8. D'Gourds - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    By bringing up Harper, the Nats have made a statement that they are truly dedicated to winning now. With that in mind, they should use their best bullpen pitcher to close–Craig Stammen. He has been nothing short of phenomenal this year. Lidge and Rodriguez have simply not done the job. Let Henry pitch in less pressure situations until he gets his head right. Lidge can pitch the 7th.

  9. MicheleS - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    NatsLAfan. Lucky you to have seen this in person I certainly hope you didn't have to see the kid mooning the camera. Mark, I hope the Dodgers apologize for that. Sorry, it's a beef with me. Watching with impressionable teenagers, they don't need anymore encouragement to act like knuckleheads.

  10. MicheleS - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Onto the game, first off, the booing, umm, you think it's going to be any better say in Philly, Boston, or any other sold out park? Well, except St Louis.I thought they played okay, not great obviously, but okay. For those that are calling for STammen to be the closer, remember the other day when he was yanked for putting 2 on base? I think some of the same things were said about Craig, that were said about HRod last night.I think some of our kids showed the nervious last night.Adam MVP.. enough said.The Phenoms.. All I can say is WOW! How fun are they going to watch for the next several years! Both delivered last night.And thank you CSNWashington for sending our fearless leader to the game. He always (both on this blog and on twitter) makes the game much more enjoyable.Poor Amanda was stuck at the NerdProm! Mark make sure you needle her for that!

  11. NatsJim - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    I'd just like to thank Directv and/or MASN for NOT having the game on MASN2 as scheduled so when I went to watch it this morning I had a 4 hour recording of the Directv logo… Seriously, how @#!! difficult is it to broadcast the games where they're scheduled to be??Silver lining is it saved me from having to watch the meltdown, but I feel completely robbed of seeing the debut.

  12. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Vin Scully has given DC the back of the hand before and I guess he needs to again but then again he does work for a team whose fanbase, moons from the expensive seats and tries physical attacks on visiting teams and fans whenever they get a chance. I am so glad they do not travel I can not cover the price of a ticket and bodyguard at Nats Park. BTW what really is Scully's problem with DC he would have never come here for games in 1950 or whatever. Did Clark Griffth stiff him on something.

  13. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    So I read WHY Gorzy was pitching to Kemp but really why not walk him and get to the left handers. You could see it was again not going to work out so go for the people he you had much better chance against. I was yelling to walk Kemp when I saw he left Gorzy in and yes it was 1-2 count but then again Henry only needed one pitch to win the damn game.

  14. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    I'm not all the way awake yet, so I'll just be lazy and carry over a post. btw, it looked to me on the replay that Hairston "swung and missed" on the ball swat, but I could be wrong. Thanks for the heads up on the game thread, Cwj. I figured that it might have gotten rather heated in there. Thanks for getting the H-Rod/A's correction in before the buzzer, John. I was about to post to that effect but decided to read the whole thread first. I'm with NatsLady and others re. H-Rod. Hadn't pitched in days (6, I think?) and he takes the mound in to a playoff atmosphere. Also, with Lidge having just gone on the DL, maybe there's a little bit of pressure knowing that he's the man now. I really felt for him as he left the game. He was clearly upset, I thought. A few other random thoughts (still without having read the game thread so apologies if these points had been made). Hairston's attempted swat of the ball in the play at the plate was rather A-Rodian, I thought (that's not a compliment, btw). FP was funny talking about Harper's gray bats – those are his road bats; he has a bunch of white ones for home games. I was switching over to MLB Network and the Giants game on breaks. Loved the McDonald's ad behind the plate: Grab some meat, meat. Also loved Harold Reynolds comments during MLB Tonight – to the effect that the Phillies were the most overrated team in baseball. All the talk about their having aged overnight kinda warmed my heart, too. Please please please can they still be in last place for our upcoming series? 🙂 Oh, and it would have been more fitting for Harper to have hit a moonshot than a double, given the circumstances, but I'll take it. Good game, kid. April 29, 2012 8:12 AM

  15. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Er, do I hear 4th place? Heh.I typed:Please please please can they still be in last place for our upcoming series? 🙂

  16. carolync - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Excellent post, Mark. A lot to like from this game and I'm looking forward to watching Gio carve up this Dodger line-up this afternoon. And Harper is a joy to watch.The only red flag to me is the lack of production from the top of the line-up. 2 (both by Werth) for 38 in the last 3 games is beyond pitiful. I believe this is a major reason we have started losing these close games and you can't place all the blame on Zimmerman being out. I'm interested to see what if anything Davey does with today's line-up.BTW Hairston hurt his wrist and probably won't play today.

  17. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    I was wondering if Moon man was one of Larry Kings family of fine people. BTW did you ever notice a group who eats so much during a game. I guess they need their strength later for the freeway.

  18. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    One other thing, Bob (I think) was commenting about the fans chanting MVP for Kemp in April. I was wondering whether it might relate more to Braun's beating him out last season than to this season (though he's off to a good start, of course).

  19. natscan reduxit - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    … bottom line, for me at least, is simply this: the phenoms are getting the job done; we can't wait any longer for the other position guys to step up, (A LaR excepted)…. for the past two weeks, we've been waiting, giving them slack. The time for that patience is over. Get 'er done, boys, or take a seat.Go Nats!!

  20. 164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    It's hard to know what else they can do to get more production from the rest of the lineup at this point. Seeing Espinosa consistently swing and miss at pitches in the dirt is maddening, as is watching Desmond hack over-aggressively. It is also frustrating to see them unable to execute sac flies when they need it — except for Harper, who perhaps has not had enough time to be infected by whatever else is ailing the rest of the team. This team has the potential to contend; it also has the potential to crater and finish in last place in a challenging division if it continues to fail to produce runs. The next 30 days or so well tell us a lot about which of those two things it will be.

  21. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Hairston an interesting guy when he played here but after he was traded to Milwaukee he made some comments that he was glad to get out of DC and the Nats. I am not sure what he would have thought was negative being here but the losing. So there they are former Nats on the Trolly Dodgers try to bite us back. I really have a sudden distaste for the Trolly Dodgers

  22. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    So is it to early to bring up the hitting coach discussion again?

  23. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Me, too. I was telling my husband last night that I'd be rooting against them this season. 🙂I really have a sudden distaste for the Trolly Dodgers

  24. Another_Sam - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I want to see a 10-8 win for a change.

  25. Another_Sam - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I want to see the hitters take one or two. For a change. That's my contribution to the hitting coach discussion.

  26. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Kemp is on a mission, no doubt. Tickled me that Harper wants to jump right past Rookie-of-the-Year and go straight to MVP. Gotta love it.Hey, this team is not the Rangers. If they project to 85 or even 90 wins, it's gonna be a rocky ride. Get used to it.Can you imagine being Rizzo and Amanda, with one of the most coveted invites on the planet (White House Correspondents Dinner) and wishing you were 3,000 miles away???????Jimmy Fallon was terrible and the First Lady is a knockout. Didn't hear the Prez, it was "happy birthday" to my sis time. :)Saw tweets to the effect that Tyler Moore might be coming up, we might get another surprise. What time is today's game? If I am on an airplane or in an airport, they better be showing it.

  27. Another_Sam - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    IMHO giving up a solo home run to Matt Kemp is no real cause for hand wringing. But scoring one run over 8 innings [again] is a cause for dismay.

  28. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    4:10 ET, NatsLady.

  29. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Confirmed, Moore was on a flight to LA last night. Rizzo pulling out all the stops!!

  30. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    My thought, last night, before Harper's 2B and throw, anyway, was how, in my lifetime, the "curve ball in the dirt" became "the out pitch." When I was watching baseball on TV in the late '50s and '60s, the guy who swung at curve balls in the dirt got the evil eye on the way back to the dugout. The "aggressiveness" prevalent among hitters of this era seems to mean no one is embarrassed about swinging at anything. So the Nats have seven free swingers (except, I think, Ramos — sometimes) in the starting lineup, and nobody seems to be able to get it through to Rodriguez that the game is baseball, not cricket.Harper was fun to watch; real talent. But they need to find him a helmet that fits.

  31. JamesFan - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    This was a great game. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end, but I'm glad this game was in April and not September. Harper looks terrific is a tough, high pressure night. I too had doubts about bring him up. No more.Henry seemed to get spooked by the situation. I still like him as closer. Ramos had a very tough night behind the plate. Frankly, I would like to see a lot more of Flores. I don't think they are that far apart, and Flores has a better bat if he gets to play.

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Wilson Ramos played the worst game of his career last night. Aside from the drop at the plate, andhis refusal to put his body in front of pitches in the dirt, his pitch calling with Henry was atrocious.

  33. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I just want to point out a few things on the Trolly Dodgers. If you ever caught the reruns of Mr. Ed there were a couple of episodes that involved the real Trolly Dodgers. What struck me is they acted as if the team had been there for years and at the time it was just 4 years after they stole the team from Brooklyn. The stadium was built and then given to O'Mally by LA County so the whole place plus land near by was a gift to the Trolly Dodgers and the future owners who have made tons of money off the tax payers of LA. Much different then say here in DC with Nats Park or even the land given to Jack Kent Cooke for the Big Jack. They really feel entitled in LA and how dare us come in and do anything but lose to them. I mean this, it is great the fan base is 3000 miles away or a series here would be a whole lot worse then a Phillie series.

  35. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Re. the double/helmet-off effect, I just remembered where I'd seen that before. Meat Hook did it all the time. Also on a Harper note, wasn't paying attention to the call with his throw to the plate, and at first I assumed it came from Ankiel.

  36. zregime - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Davey's comment about building character is spot-on. We are VERY fortunate to have him as our manager. Nothing he hasn't seen, and I am sure he will school up Bryce in a comprehensive, patient way. Let's be grateful, folks! The Natties are for real, so get on out to the ballpark and root root root…

  37. Gonat - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Gonat said… Scott from Burke, discuss it with Dave and Charlie. You may be right, you may be wrong. They were adament that it was an automatic out which is why Davey argued. I really don't know. April 29, 2012 1:06 AM Scott from Burke said… that's too bad..i generally respect them…but they are 100% wrong on this one April 29, 2012 1:07 AM ________________________________Scott, read above, I guess Davey Johnson is wrong on the rule also. It then continued with a perfect throw from left field in the bottom of the seventh, a throw that beat Jerry Hairston to the plate but resulted in the run scoring when catcher Wilson Ramos couldn't hold onto the ball … though that play was not without controversy. Johnson argued that Hairston intentionally swiped at Ramos' mitt, trying to knock the ball loose, which should have constituted interference.Plate umpire Mark Carlson told Johnson he didn't see Hairston's move, but he wouldn't seek help from one of his other crew members who might have had a better view."He smacked the ball," Johnson said. "He's out. … He can do whatever you want with the catcher. But you cannot move the ball, or you're out."

  38. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I am going to call Henry XANAX from now on because that is what he and I need when he is pitching.

  39. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Nats Jack, your ;ast paragraph is what I was telling BiCar during the 9th inning.You, Big Cat and I all went to the same high school.

  40. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Thanks, 1A. Should be in O'Hare right about then and will have wifi till I get on the plane. Henry shook Ramos off several times, they were definitely not on the same page.Congrates to Tyler Moore. Give him a shout out on Twitter if you can. Go Nats, Nat-GIO, Brycie–how about another one, just like the other one?

  41. Gonat - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Wilson Ramos played the worst game of his career last night. Aside from the drop at the plate, andhis refusal to put his body in front of pitches in the dirt, his pitch calling with Henry was atrocious. April 29, 2012 8:55 AM ______________________________He called a great game. If you are talking about the 9th inning, Ramos isn't a magician. Henry was so wild, he was missing by more than the width of the plate on fastballs.Against the lefty Gwynn, Ramos clearly was set up on the outside of the plate and Henry threw a 101 heater that landed to Ramos backhand low and inside.This was on Henry.On the Harper throw, should have secured with both hands but clearly Hairston's hand knocked it out. Charlie and Dave with over it instantly even before Davey came out and they also thought Hairston missed 3rd base.

  42. Gonat - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    NatsLady said… Henry shook Ramos off several times, they were definitely not on the same page.April 29, 2012 9:06 AM __________________________Maybe Henry should have followed Ramos game plan. NOt sure if he was calling for changeups, but thats what they needed against Gwynn.

  43. blog - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    @Another_Sam has it right. And from the flip side, the Trolley Dodgers can't be wringing their hands over being stopped by Strasburg. The Nats do not yet have a playoff-caliber offense, plain and simple.That being said, after Harper's debut there's never been a brighter outlook. When Storen and Zimm and Morse come back, having Harper there changes everything, offensively and defensively, top to bottom. It's going to be fun.Yes, the Kemp HR was devastating (though perhaps no more than the "Bad Henry" inning that preceded it); but seriously think about where this team was just one season ago. After 2 games, they were five games back already after losing their fifth series …to the Pirates. This team has come far, and fast.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Gonat…..exactly….Henry had better command of his slider yet Wilson kept calling for the heater. And you have to put your body in front of the ball on all ptches in the dirt no matter where you're set up.I know his shoulder had to be hurting but you still have to give up your body especially in those situations.

  45. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    After some tweets by just regular people, Tyler Moore tweets a suggestion that he's been called up, and Amanda tweets a confirmation.Who goes on the DL or down to the minors for this move? Seems odd, the day after Harper comes up, to bring up Moore.

  46. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Off to breakfast w/ fam. Now that our "character is built" let's go NATS!–Fargo, ND

  47. Gonat - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    By the way, nice to see the 1st game this year with a RBI from a starting leftfielder.I wasn't sure which Bryce Harper I would see last night and I liked what I saw. Unfortunately for those that hate on him, they are having at it about him doing a Nyjer Morgan and pulling his helmet off rounding the bases. Some people will find anything to pick on including his hair cut.

  48. carolync - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    What would they do with Tyler Moore? Surely not at first as ALR is our only decent hitter. Platooning with Harper doesn't make sense. I can't imagine.

  49. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Bye bye to Nady, perhaps? Moore off the bench?

  50. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Can Tyler play second base, production in general way low there too.

  51. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Moore is really coming up… is tat true? if it is, then why not bring up Corey Brown as well and more importantly, do the Nats know that Morse is seriously hurt and is Zim's injury more serious?

  52. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    btw, my head is killing me, I should have listen to Scott and had some water before I hit the sack, lol

  53. erocks33 - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Interesting that they'd fly Moore cross country for one day. why not just wait and have him come down to DC?Anyone else concerned re Ramos' shoulder? He looked in pain after reaching up for that high FB from MPHRod, but then I had a terrible flashback to Flores' injury from a couple years ago once Ramos took that foul pitch off that same shoulder. Please do not let the Nats say that he is "day-to-day".

  54. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    "I'd just like to thank Directv and/or MASN for NOT having the game on MASN2 as scheduled so when I went to watch it this morning I had a 4 hour recording of the Directv logo… Seriously, how @#!! difficult is it to broadcast the games where they're scheduled to be??"I watched the entire game on MASN2 on Cox Cable in Fairfax. Once the Orioles game was over the Nats game was also shown on MASN. Apparently DirecTV decided not to simulcast (which makes sense) and put the game on MASN, not MASN2. That also makes sense, because MASN is an actual 24/7 network while MASN2 is not. MASN2 is a squatter that comes in like a bad neighbor taking over a channel on your TV while the game is on, then disappearing without even helping you clean up.

  55. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I think Ramos is hurting, look for 15 day DL

  56. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Gonat — gotta agree with you and disagree with my friend NatsJack on Ramos in the ninth. With bad Henry in the ninth, it was immaterial what pitches we're beng called or nominally thrown — think "I have no idea where it's going, honest to God."And I don't buy Davey's excuse against yanking Henry when it was clear he didn't have it after a couple of hits (twice as much as he'd given up all month), especially when he correctly had such a quick hook for Stammen the other day. You don't worry about overusing the pen when you've got an off day following the next game, and the difference between winning this game or literally throwing it away is between exhilaration — confirmation that the team has arrived with the best (at least for now, and that they can), and apoplexy that we gave it away in a manner that befits the bad old teams of Acta and Riggleman.

  57. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Steady Eddie your spot on, totally agree with you

  58. carolync - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Wow! Off the bench would be a lot to ask of someone so young and inexperienced. I thought bringing up Harper was a great idea but bringing up Moore so soon would smell of panic. Are the pitchers about to stage a riot because of such poor run support?

  59. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    DeRosa to the DL. This is what makes room for Moore. (Per a Ladson tweet.)

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I have read through pages of comments and I see 3 one run losses in a row vs several one run wins. It's the pendulum of the baseball gods.The unconventional decisions that worked last week aren't working now.Great starting pitching, great Adam LaRoche.Offense better pick it up!Talk to you all mañana.

  61. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    this is why I think Zim is out much longer than 15 days and Morse may need to do what LaRouche did, get surgery and sit 2012 out. I can live with this. I just hope Storen can come back 100% and the Nats can be honest with us

  62. 417b620e-8e2f-11e1-b06f-000bcdca4d7a - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    "Loved the McDonald's ad behind the plate: Grab some meat, meat."Rejected McDonald's ad campaign: Grab some pink slime, slimeball.

  63. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I'm telling you all, I wonder if Harper and Moore can be Lynn and Rice for us in 2012 the way they were in 1975?

  64. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Starters have pitched well enough to easily win 18 games. A little disappointing to only have 14 wins when the starters have been so good. However that being said, it is much better being disappointed about that, then being disappaointed because they have have 7 wins and 14 loses.

  65. JaneB - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    I know, carolync! Where do you put Moore? ALR shouldn't be going anywhere…he is the spark we need. Lombo can be good at third, or good ish. Curious about where he fits that doesn't disrupt the works…

  66. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Carolync- good question re intention with Moore. I'd assume it's for a bat off the bench as the fact of the small handful of games he's played in LF still holds. Maybe it's to give him a cuppa of PHing until RZim gets back, because do you really want him learning on the job in LF? On the other hand, maybe Rizzo was convinnced by BHarp's arm and speed that he could hack it in CF?At least this team is plenty interesting. Wonder if they'll find an imaginary ailment to put DeRosa on the DL?

  67. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Moore will be used to PH, that is what I think and then maybe he can play some out field and perhaps help rest Adam LaRouche from time to to time. then again, I have a feeling that Harper and Moore may be the best story since 1975, Lynn and Rice

  68. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Where is everybody getting the word that Tyler Moore is being called up? Where is he going to play? Maybe spell ALR for a few innings? I still would seriously question playing him in the OF. Also, who goes on the DL, DFA'ed, or gets cut, to make room for him? I like the idea of an additional power bat to be available. Very curious to see how this developement shakes out.

  69. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Harper can play right, I have not seen an arm like that since Dave Parker of the Pirates. No excuse for DeRosa, I would just say, you suck and be lucky your on DL

  70. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Hah! Dave, I hadn't even read your comment when I wrote mine re DeRosa. And wrote it largely because DeRosa is the only one who's contributed absolutely nothing since ST.

  71. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Nats lady said Moore was on his way to LA

  72. waddu eye no - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Re: trolleysBorn in bklyn to 2 fans. Saw a guy on the old RFK shuttle wearing a shirt w prints of the 1955? front page "dodgers win series" on it. I mentioned to him my recently deceased uncle's lifelong hatred of their old owner."i bet if they meet in heaven, uncle gerry will curse him out good."" o'mally ain't in heaven!"

  73. howl31 - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    For those stating H-Rod should have thrown more sliders, just pointing out that the biggest hit of that 9th inning was Juan Uribe's smashed double to left, and it came off of a hanging slider… so there was a lot not working for H-Rod last night… Also, I find it hard to blame Ramos for not being able to get his body in front of a 100 MPH fastball thrown 3 feet away from it's intended target… and Ramos also got a clutch 2-out RBI single in the top of the 9th, so it wasn't all negatives for the big guy…Dropping that throw from Harper, however, was a bitter pill to swallow…

  74. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    waddu eye no… great story and you know who else is not in heaven? Bob Short. If he is, I bet there is a line of old DC fans waiting to boot him in his ass, lol

  75. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    When I thought we had gone past the crazy days days here they are again. Can someone with the Nats find medical personel who know what they are doing everybody every time gets a lttle injuried and then BAM 15DL 30DL SURGERY 6MONTHS 12MONTHS 18MONTHS 2YEARS waiting waiting waiting. There seems to be not one major player on this team that has not had some sort of season ending injury. So now DeRosa on DL it would seem DFA would be more like it but I guess this is plausible.

  76. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    "mick said… "btw, my head is killing me, I should have listen to Scott and had some water before I hit the sack, lol"Actually I was the one who suggested the water 🙂

  77. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    kudos cwj, lolo

  78. phil dunton - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Davey Johnson blew last nights game. It was painfully obvious to me from the very first pitch he threw that H-Rod did not have it. He stayed with him way too long, then he lets a very marginal lefty pitch to Matt Kemp in the 10th. Dumb! Relief pitching has become the achilles heel of the Nats. Even Clippard is failing.

  79. CBinDC - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Here is tip for those newer Nats fans if you want to get back at someone just say you want to buy them a beer "Bob Short Style"

  80. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    phil, I agree with everything except Clip. Clip was excellent last night and he is back

  81. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    CBinDc: there you go!!!!

  82. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Joe Seamhead, I got the word from the tweets of two beat reporters, Amanda Comack and Bill Ladson. And Moore himself tweeted something about looking forward to coming up, and thanks for all the good wishes, and so on.So yeah, my question is the same as Carolync's: where does Moore play? Does he simply fill in the bench role of the (maybe, maybe not) injured DeRosa? Moore's an outfielder, right?

  83. jeeves - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Scott from Burke, seeing as you read my post and the one thing you gleaned from it was a negative, I suppose I should reword. Other than Kershaw, who in the LA rotation would you take over our number two, three, four, and five? Billingsley, over the previous three years has a 4.00 era and he's the number two. What position players, other than Kemp and possibly Ethier would you choose over the Nat's players, if all healthy? Obviously, most of the LA players have significance. After all, they are major league players. So is your comment designed to make me look stupid or you to appear all-knowing and clever?

  84. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    @washingnats [Bill Ladson] tweeted at 9:26 AM:"I was just informed that Tyler Moore was promoted to the big leagues.The #Nats have also placed Mark DeRosa on the disabled list. #MLB."So that's where the info comes from.

  85. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    jeeves, Scott is a good dude but deep down he is a Dodger's fan first and foremost.

  86. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    next, Corey Brown???

  87. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    off to 10:30 Mass later gang

  88. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Jeeves: I would take Billingsley over JacksonOne thing to look for tonight: LA hit a Nat Friday..last night two Dodgers got hit with HEAT..look for something to happen today..and if a Dodger pitcher hits Harper watch out..Base BRAWL

  89. JamesFan - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Remember how many games we've sent the other team to the showers with great late-game rallies. Now it's happened to us. With the current lack of offense, we could have many more of these. Overall, it was a great game, full of drama and excitement.

  90. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Thanks, Dave, for the info. Scott, surely you don't believe SS hit either of those guys on purpose? Neither was any more intentional then was Tracy's getting hit the night before. Shoot, Hairston was lucky that his HBP wasn't called a strike, as he was virtually swinging into it when he got hit. I think that your unblinding loyalty to the Dodgers has jaundiced your judgement. If there had been malice on SS's part, there would have been some reaction from Mattingly.

  91. MicheleS - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    SO just got back from running some errands and I was listening to MLB Radio. Bowden was on. NORMALLY, i cringe and change the channel, but he was talking about Bryce. "Bryce ain't going back to the minors" He commented on the plate discipline that he was showing, how he took pitches. Bowden did caution about breaking balls and off speed stuff, but he thinks Bryce ain't going anywhere. For once I actually agree with Bowden.

  92. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    On purpose? Oh man, what are we talking about? Two guys got's not for the Dodgers pitchers to spend time tryomg to get into Strasburg's head, just like you can't know Mattingly's 'reaction' you know what he's feeling and/or said to his pitching coach? The Dodgers pitchers have to protect the Dodgers hitters…notice Kemp and Ethier, the two LA stars, didn't have a pitch come near them..but their lesse players got nailed..if Kemp got hit on the wrist it would have been crazy…luckily he didn't 'accidentally' hit the big guy…tell you what, Seamhead, we'll discuss after the game

  93. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Joe, agree totally. Anyone who thinks, with a 1-0 lead in the 7th, Stras would give up a leadoff base runner by HBP against a mediocre hitter on an 0-2 count is generalizing in complete indifference to everything in Stras' hyper competitive character. He wants to pitch complete game shutouts, and he wants low pitch-count outs on the way there.

  94. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    right, but iirc one hbp was the pitch immediately after what looked like strike 3 and the ump called it a ball..i felt it was frustration from the call..of course, I (and you) don't know what he was thinking..but the score is 2-1…i expect to see one Nat hit today

  95. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Re: Ramos — On the Harper throw, Pudge would have made that play 100 times out of a 100. I have mixed feelings about Pudge in some respects but that skill — blocking the plate, making the tag without exposing the body — is one of which he was the master. Announcers have been commenting on Ramos's bobbles but haven't coupled that with his throwing, which together add up to a noticeable step backwards this season. Don't know what to attribute it to. Maybe he hasn't recovered from the VZ episode as well as everyone thought. Expect Flores will be catching Gio G this afternoon, which may be a good thing.

  96. jeffwx - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Baseball reminds me that acceptance of loss rather than demands for storybook finishes keeps me sane…I wanted to see a perfect ending to a perfect game for the 2 Nat phenoms but that will come on another game. Gotta Believe.TM makes the Nats bench stronger than with DeR

  97. jeeves - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Scott from Burke, so would I. But Jackson is our number four pitcher. I would even argue he should be number five. And, as I pointed out, Billingsly is LA's number two pitcher. Would you trade Gio or Zimm even up for him? I wouldn't consider it for a nanosecond.

  98. JaneB - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Scott, I said the same thing after Stras hit the JHairston last night. I hope cooler heads prevail and there are no plunkings. Remember how Espi used to get plunked all the time last year? I used to try to like the Dodgers, because they were my Mom's team. Now they are lower than the DBacks to me. Which is just one rung above Phillie. Excited for Moore. Beasley has had a few fun conversations this weekend, hasn't he?

  99. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    "I'd just like to thank Directv and/or MASN for NOT having the game on MASN2 as scheduled so when I went to watch it this morning I had a 4 hour recording of the Directv logo…"I watched the entire game on MASN2 last night on DirecTV. Are you sure you set your DVR correctly?

  100. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    It would be extremely uncharacteristic for Strasburg to intentionally hit batters out of frustration.That would be pretty sadistic. He's not a Zambrano or Ubaldo.When Strasburg gets frustrated he tends to walk people, not throw at them.Kemp gave credit to Stras after the game. If there was something brewing I doubt he would have praised Stras for being a "good pitcher" and "pounding the strike zone and getting guys out". Plus I don't believe he was upset about anything last night. He carved up that lineup pretty good.

  101. Exposremains - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Now that Flores is healthy, he seems to be blocking, throwing and catching better than Ramos.Maybe its a small sample size. I think its easy to forget how good Flores was before the injury.

  102. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    After watching Tracy get whacked on the wrist I would have expected him to be the one to go to the DL. Maybe there's another shoe to drop and people will get their Brown wish. If DeRosa is really hurt, then the bench becomes unbalanced left. So they need another RH bench player. Espec. against a LH pitcher today. Moore could (A) start in LF with Werth in CF and Harper in RF; (B) could be the first RH bat off the bench. My guess is he starts. If they need an emergency MI, who's that gonna be?

  103. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    If I recall correctly, Ramos sometimes had problems holding on to balls at the plate prior to this season.Don't know what to attribute it to. Maybe he hasn't recovered from the VZ episode as well as everyone thought. Expect Flores will be catching Gio G this afternoon, which may be a good thing.

  104. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Jeeves..i thought about your post, to answer i would need to know, is it a 1 game scenario or a franchise other words, do i want ellis or the Nats catchers to win tonight or frome today through eternity…frankly it's a toss up..bu tht efact is the Nats aren't even sure who their best catcher is..and at 2b espi can't hit..SS Desmond is having a solid year, but Dee Gordon is faster than Mercury…3b i want Zim, but the injury issues are concerning…LaRoche is crushing th eball and Loney has no pop but Loney is 5 years younger…other than a healthy Zimmerman i don't see much difference between the Nats infielders/catchers and the Dodgers (except for Laroche's..who is having a monster year, and Zim, when he's onthe field)…Morse, when healthy, would be the dodgers starting 1b for sure, but the words 'when healthy' mean 'he's hurt'..not helpful for today's game..the two teams are pretty close excfept the Nats have the better starting pitching, which i realize is VERY IMPORTANT…but the dodgers had a great last 6 weeks last season and are off to a hot start…which team is better RIGHT NOW? i dunno, but if the dodgers win tonight and get the sweep…

  105. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Exposremains- Very good points and I believe Flores could easily be the starting catcher over Ramos.As you said he was really heating up before the injuries. And he's still pretty young.Of course, I'm not giving up on Ramos. But its nice to have Flores as an option.

  106. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Reflecting on my previous comment, I guess I had assumed Tracy was injured. So maybe that's not the case. Still, very thin in the IF right now.

  107. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    look at the 88 dodgers vs 88 Mets..the mets were better at EVERY POSITION..they beat LA in every game they played duringthe regular season except 1..then the playoffs come and Orel Hershiser was a machine…Kershaw could do the same…and would the Nats counter with Stras? no, he's onthe bench because of inning limits…so if the two teams meet in October, I like….really, it's a toss up

  108. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Agreed on all points.Cwj said… Exposremains- Very good points and I believe Flores could easily be the starting catcher over Ramos. As you said he was really heating up before the injuries. And he's still pretty young. Of course, I'm not giving up on Ramos. But its nice to have Flores as an option. April 29, 2012 10:51 AM

  109. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Scott, you're saying "you can't get into people's minds" but then doing exactly that by insisting it was intentional. OK, instead let's take you at your word and not get intopeople's minds but look at the objective facts. Bottom of the second, Loney's on first with two outs, would it make sense for Stras to want to put a runner in scoring position when from the past week of Nats' near zero offense, Stras knows he could be a 1-0 loser if he gives up a cheap single to Ellis? you could say he's confident enough of his own abilities to feel he could get Ellis out without harm, as he then in fact did, but again, the greatest players like Stras put winning as the highest priority, and he certainly has seen from his own experience that any competent MLB hitter (and Ellis is hitting close to .300, which Stras would also know), is capable of beating even the greatest pitchers on occasion.If they were HBPs on the arm or side, strongly suggestive of intention. These HBPs under these game circumstances, with this pitcher, no. Nor would it have made sense for Jansen to have put the tying run on intentionally in the top of the ninth.

  110. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Scott- Yeah the Dodgers are a very good team and I'm surprised very few "experts" projected them to win the division. I think Baseball Prospectus projected them to go 77-85. They look like an 88-90 win team to me.I prefer the Nats though 🙂

  111. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Natsfan1a — Yes, holding onto the ball was something of an issue with Ramos last year, and I heard people talking about how Pudge would teach him the secrets. I think it's become a bigger problem this year; his fail rate is approaching 80 percent.

  112. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I didn't "insist" it was intentional..try to get SOMETHING right..i said the Dodgers pitchers need to protect the Dodgers's not for them to decide it was intentional..I'm saying two of their guys got hit last nigth and those 2 guys are angry (taht's a safe assumption) and would like some revenge…and it's up to the Dodgers pitchers to enact said revenge…a team that gets hit more than they hit the other team is considered soft…how do you get respect? do you ask for it? NO, you take it..and hairston last year talked about how he was happy to get out of DC…coincidence? I dunno..i guess you do

  113. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Regarding Tyler Moore, I hope that he brings us some much needed pop from the right side, but I have some reservations regarding his lack of discipline at the plate,which shows in the # of strike outs. He can't be any less productive then DeRosa has been. I had high hopes for Mark after the spring he had, but it seems to be time to turn the page. I really think before too long we'll see an OF of Werth, Harper, and Brown.

  114. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    the 'experts' have to have something to do or they woudln't get paid..and you can forecast success based on past performance…but you can't predict INJURIES…which are so important…if Kemp of Kershaw get hurt everyting gets flushed

  115. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Scott- Its possible to disagree without talking down to people.

  116. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Scott- Sorry, I was referring to an earlier post.

  117. phil dunton - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    It is only a matter of time before Bernadina is gone.

  118. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Phil- Yeah Bernadina has been given quite a few chances to prove himself. Unfortunately he just hasn't performed well.

  119. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    CWJ..i get emotional..i do love to argue…LOVE IT

  120. MicheleS - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I do like the fact that Stras made Kemp look human.

  121. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I recall the same thing on Pudge, Theophilus. Thanks for the additional stats on Ramos.On another note, after some forensics work on my DVR, it would appear that there were a few moons in orbit last night. Looked like several guys in the same row had something of a lunar eclipse (#fail) earlier in Harper's at-bat. Later in the at-bat, while the one kid did accomplish a full moon, his buddy had more of a plumber effect (a crescent moon?) happening. I was rather surprised that they weren't ejected. They finally seem to have left after the Nats went ahead in the 9th, thus missing their own team's comeback (#losers). Like I said before, stay classy, L.A.

  122. Exposremains - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I don't want to give up on Ramos just want to see more Flores for a few weeks. Its possible the SP prefer Ramos. Ramos is a Rizzo a guy. I think Flores is a Bowden guy.

  123. MicheleS - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Flores was a Davey guy too, I think, I could be wrong.

  124. Cwj - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Exposremains- Yeah Gio and a couple other starters have credited Ramos quite a bit in post game interviews.

  125. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I really think Hairston is getting a bad rap. First, he never touched the ball. To the extent he tried to "knock it out" of Ramos's glove, it was because Ramos was hitting him in the face with his glove (the ball popped out upon impact.. Then, the replay showed the "swat" was unsuccessful. He never touched the ball (which according to Davey is what would have made him out). Whether the unsuccessful swat was intentional or not is impossible to tell (replays don't capture intent), but it sure seemed to me that he was simply scrambling back to the plate after a violent collision during which he was hit in the face.Now he's out for the day, at least, probably because of getting hit on the wrist with a pitch. There was somebody on twitter last night saying he was "whining like a baby" after that, and "you don't get to whine if you step into the pitch." That's just cold. Regardless of how bad his comments after leaving the Nats last year were, the guy got beat up pretty good last night. Give him a break.This was a very tough loss, but a tremendous game. Kemp was embarrassed twice by Strasburg, and he showed why he's the MVP by getting the game winning hit later in the game. And Harper showed in one night why Rizzo made the right decision to give him a shot. All along most of us here understood that the only date not to be ignored in the Harper timeline was the end of April date for avoiding premature free agency. After that, his path would be dictated by his own play and the Nats' needs. Rizzo has to be feeling pretty good this morning. I sure do, despite the heartbreaking result of the game.

  126. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I agree on Ramos/Flores…but there is not much difference between the two..a base hit here, a base hit there..a guy drops the ball so the other guy comes in and throws the ball to center field…i fone was clearly better than the other he would be's not something you see very often…and would probably be better for both if one got traded..bring in a young guy to catch 20 games or so and get a good bat in return

  127. natsfan1a - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Good memory, Michele. From an April 15 NI post by Mark:"Manager Davey Johnson, who was among those who recommended taking Flores in the Rule 5 draft to then-general manager Jim Bowden, insists he never doubted the young catcher could revert to his pre-injury form. It just took time and patience."

  128. Exposremains - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    A trade could be good, I do think that Flores on the bench is wasted talent.

  129. Exposremains - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Thanks Michele and Natsfan1a for the research.

  130. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    This is my last comment until the game..i think it removes all doubt

  131. Destination....K Street - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Just had the courage to turn on the computer this morning. This team has given me some highs and lows since they came to town but last night's loss was one of the worst. To have that slip away like it did was crushing. Here's hoping we get good Gio today and come home with a 3 and 3 road trip.

  132. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Scott — as you can see I also tend to have strong opinions bit also try to keep in mind Justice Holmes' wise saying that "I define truth as the system of my limitations and leave absolute truth to those who are better equipped for it."I've learned a lot in life by trying to listen to those with whom I disagree.Not saying you're necessarily wrong, just that what you described is more what middling teams who are insecure about their own capabilities do, because the best teams tend to get even by beating the crap out of the other team on the field. S smart teams don't look only at general "rules" ("protect your own players") but whAt makes sense under the specific circumstances of game situations and players' reps. It would be different if Stras had a Nyjer-type rep but he doesn't. Yeah, sometimes coincidence IS actually coincidence and not conspiracy (/metaphor). 😉

  133. MicheleS - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Lets see how the team responds after last night. I think that could be more telling about how this team is constructed and what our chances are for the rest of the season.On a bright now, the Braves lost yesterday.

  134. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Flores is a FA in 2014 so 80/20 he gets traded this off-season. Otherwise they would trade Ramos and extend Flores — but I don't see him having enough of a resume by the end of this season to justify the sort of extension that would compare w/ the long-term deal he could get as a 2013 regular with another team becoming a 2014 FA. Even if they might have reservations, I think the Nats have to live w/ Ramos as the long-term catcher.

  135. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I have a hard time with 'smart teams' can ateam be 'smart'? I'm not belittiling you, it's just not a term i'm comfortable with…a person can be smart or dumb, but a team is made of can have 24 rhodes scholars and carlo zambrano beaning every other player and punching his it a smart team? it also depends on who gets hit..if Laroche gets hit he jogs to first..veteran..been around..Harper? who knows…i was at an orioles mariners game years ago…the o's kept bunting because the mariners pitcher was hurt and coudnt field bunts..the M's pitcher threw behind a batter before plunking somebody…the Mussina nailed a mariner in the was INSANE..but mussina wasn't right the rest of the year…as a fan it was FUN!!!

  136. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Scott, you totally made up for some obnoxious comments and our Dodgers fandom by posting that video of Prince. Wow!

  137. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    222: i liked your comments on Hairston..some clown last night said it showed 'bad sportsmanship' what did durocher say? nice guys finish last

  138. FS=Faraz Shaikh - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    what, Moore is up too. awesome.btw had a nightmare last night that Nats gave up 20 runs in first inning.

  139. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    One good thing about the media crush at the game last night? National coverage of the Nats. I imagine we'll be seeing more and more of this. Bring it on!

  140. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Scott — by "team" I guess I really meant manager, who sets the tone on these things. What's "smart" or not is what the manager calculates is a kind of behavior that's in the long-term interest of the team or not, in terms of chemistry and how they regard other teams. Agree on the "who gets hit" thing, and would also add "by whom". That's what I was getting at on players' reps. Harper initially is going to be judged by other players on how he comports himself on the field. For now at least, his hustle on the comebacker, and his quickly picking out a first pitch to get the job done with a quality AB on the sac fly shows him as a guy with respect for the fundamentals, and not showboating at the cost of quality professional play. Of course, what comes next is how he behaves when he succeeds or fails in a big way on a play.

  141. Drew - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Now that I'm ready to experiment with solid food, gotta say that was an electric ballgame.I'm glad to see Tyler Moore join the club. It shows that the club rewards guys who perform and that Rizzo wants to win right now.The promotions are a good message to guys like Rosenbaum and Skole. If you excel you will get your opportunity someday.

  142. baseballswami - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    My mantra these days has been this:play the guys who are the future of the team. Harden them for the battles to come.i hope last night leaves a lasting impression.

  143. Exposremains - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    All right Scott, I get it. We don't don't like me and I don't like you. No need for name calling. Just have a hard time with your I'm right and if you don't agree with me I'll start insulting you.

  144. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Eddy: I agree on the manager comment. It's not all about x's and o' fact, that's a small % of it…it's th efact the team takes onthe personality of the manager…that's why davey was such a great hire…he has shown he can win and win big..the personality of the 86 Mets was NASTY (see The Bad Guys Won..actually, don't ..i read's trash)..but they were champions…the O's team, the one that lost in the ALCS, was an amazing team also, (Armando Benitez and lack of clutchi hitting ended it for em) and he had enought respect to tell Cal Jr to move to SS without issue…I am a DOdgers fan but also care very much about the Nats…i got into it with someone about which team is better…well as far as the skipper the Nats win that one going away

  145. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Expos: you don't like me? now i'm hurt..send me an email..we can patch things up ..maybe friday night at the yard…i'll wear a tom seaver jersey and we'll hug it out

  146. Drew - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Now that I'm ready to experiment with solid food, gotta say that was an electric ballgame.I'm glad to see Tyler Moore called up. The promotions show Rizzo wants to win right now. They also send a good message to guys like Rosenbaum and Skole. If you continue to excel you will get an opportunity someday.

  147. jeffwx - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I hate west coast road trips….you have to wait for every game.It's only one game. Storen get well soon.

  148. 2916b59c-9217-11e1-a2af-000bcdcb471e - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    One detail that seems to have been overlooked. Strasburg completely shut down Kemp (who was clearly frustrated). Meaningless with the outcome of the game, but kind of cool.

  149. jeffwx - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Desmond is a key to our offense…but if you can't walk you are not a good leadoff man.Wish we had a leadoff man with speed and high OBP…losing a run a game without one.My dream lineup:Leadoff IF with speed and patience (Jeter style)Desmond SSZimmerman 3BALR 1BMorse WerthHarperRamos

  150. jeffwx - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Bench: Flores, Espi, Brown, Nady/Tracey

  151. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Stras turned it up a notch when Kemp was inthe a post season game he might pitch to every batter with that kind of intensity, out. The 2003 series the marlins starting pitcher in game 6, Josh Beckett, said he was gonna throw 100% on every pitch…"If not now, when?" was his sentiment…he shut the Yankees out and ended the series..if stras threw 100% on every pitch, well, it would probably look like his debut when he wasted the Pirates

  152. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Scott — yep, the manager is the glue, not just within a team but against other teams. While other teams don't care if two particular teams have a grudge, they do pay close attention to — and make judgments about — how a grudge got started. Because when they play those teams, they look for signs of the "how it got started" on the field. While "protecting your players"" is a part of those judgments, smart managers don't want to create unnecessary burdens for their team around the league.I guess that's what I was trying to get at. Would be easier if this iPhone didn't keep freezing up with this Blogger comment function!

  153. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Eddy — Glad you mentioned Harper's hustle on the comebacker. It was like he was a sprinter in a track meet, leaning forward trying to hit the tape. Impressive. None of the announcers commented on it.

  154. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Steady Eddie said: smart managers don't want to create unnecessary burdens for their team around the league.I like that!

  155. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Harper is good for the game, and will continue to be until he does something silly…hitting him with a pitch would be unfortunate..if i was a dodger pitcher i would go after werth..left as a free agent..always looks angry about that whole facial hair thing going..i mean, if you have to choose one…PLUNK

  156. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Section 222 — Actually I recall Carpenter describing Harper "flying down the line." Something like that. Later, FP spoke of Harper "playing with his hair on fire." I'm pretty sure the hustle was noticed.

  157. Steady Eddie - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Scott & 222 — Thanks!Thing that's exciting and interesting about both Stras and BHarp is they're kind if throwbacks to the old greats. Total intensity and above all, they respect the game.Also love the fact that clearly, neither Davey nor Rizzo have too much patience forvthe shortcomings of the bench vets. "We need you to back up the pitchers and win now or we'll get in a young kid who can."I love this team! GYFNG!

  158. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  159. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Nationals Starters still PFB, ERA at 1.73, leaders in almost every category. Check out (Sorry, can't post links.)

  160. NatsJim - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    "Section 222 said… "I'd just like to thank Directv and/or MASN for NOT having the game on MASN2 as scheduled so when I went to watch it this morning I had a 4 hour recording of the Directv logo…" I watched the entire game on MASN2 last night on DirecTV. Are you sure you set your DVR correctly?"Thanks for the info 222 – yes, the recording even said "Nationals at Dodgers" and was the HD channel (641-1); out of curiosity, were you watching in HD or SD (641)?

  161. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    The Moore callup is interesting, and telling. For one thing, it leaves Lombo and Tracy as the backups at 3B while Zim is out. Tracy seems to be ok, at least to hit after the scary HBP. For another, I wonder if Davey is thinking of platooning Harper and Moore in LF. I'd like to see Harper get a clean shot, including hitting against LHP, but if Moore is solid enough in the field a platoon might give each of them the best chance to shine at the plate. Moore's elevation though, if they really think of him as a backup outfielder, may suggest that Nady is the guy who goes when Zim returns.

  162. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Platooning yes: Harp against righties and Moore vs. lefties…they have a championship caliber average offense..AVERAGE..and they are a playoff teamThe world series is the goal for every team but to get in the postseason for the first time…how sweet would that be for Rizzo and Davey?

  163. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    NatsJim, I was watching on HD — 641-1. I also recorded it and it worked fine. Pretty annoying for you I'm sure. Luckily, Harper is going to be raking for the Nats for a long time. There are lots of highlights of the game on And you could also watch the condensed game. It's about 18 minutes long, which is one of the longer condensed games I've seen. Lots of excitement for sure.

  164. peric - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Moore is a first baseman 222. Not an outfielder. In the past this is what Davey Johnson used to do … call up select players from the minors to provide hitting. But, in this case unless you want to bench LaRoche who is the only guy hitting right now … and left-handed to boot? Moore is a bench player.Interesting game yesterday. Pretty packed in LA, sold out albeit the fans didn't stay to see the end? Lots going on with the Kings and Lakers kind of like DC I guess. I saw a great game full of drama. Seemed to lend a lot of credence to my theory that Mattheus should be the closer not HRod. Henry has never been able to close in the minors or majors. He is inconsistent because he seems to lose focus and then goes wild and it has a domino effect making him even more nervous and more likely to make multiple mistakes.Whereas Mattheus was lights-out as a closer in the minors. Consistently. His problem is much like Clippard's. He isn't the same pitcher he was at the beginning of last season before his injury? To me he still looks like the best choice in lieu of Storen. H-Rod is best used out of the bullpen alternating with a closer or setup guy. He's not a pitcher you can rely on in critical situations on a regular basis.

  165. peric - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Scott from Burke, Harper is going to start and play every day count on it. He isn't a player you platoon with Tyler Moore. Harper has to learn to hit left-handed major league pitching. If not in the minors then in the majors. You'll just have to suffer if he initially flounders … Moore is a bench player replacing DeRosa.

  166. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Peric: you said Bobby Murcer was an average hitter AT BEST..i don't trust a thing you don't know NEARLY as much as you think you do

  167. NatsLady - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    peric, Clip looked like himself yesterday, so much so that Davey interrrupted the game to tell him and Ramos not to issue an IBB with first base open (a puzzling moment, I am curious whose idea the IBB was in the first place–minor point). Don't recall him hitting 96-97 (Dodgers rader consistently 1 mph faster than the TV graphic.So I think we can put the "injured Clip" thought to rest for a while.Anyone here think the Nats might be close to abusing the DL?

  168. Section 222 - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Peric, I know he's a 1B. And I have commented in the past that the idea that he could become a MLB outfielder after a few sessions with Bo Porter seemed silly. You'll note that in my comment my preference that Harper get a shot to play full time. But if Rizzo is bringing Moore up to replace DeRosa on the roster, and with LaRoche playing the best baseball of his career, don't you think he might very well see some time in LF against a LHP? Would Rizzo bring him up just to have him pinch hit? Lots of folks love to disparage the Dodger fans for leaving early. People leave baseball games early all the time, in DC as much as anywhere. Get over it. No one is required to stay for an over 3 hour game if they don't want to. The Dodgers sold out last night's game, perhaps because of the debut of another team's phenom. That's amazing and praiseworthy, regardless of their behavior. How many sellouts have we had this year so far. One. Maybe we'll get close during the Phillies' series, but that will be because of Phillies fans despite the big push to take back Our Park. We're a long ways away from having a fan base anywhere near as big as the Dodgers (3.6 million in 2010, 2.9 million last year).

  169. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    The Dodgers have traditionally drawn they have an ENORMOUS population to draw from? uhh, yes..but they couldn't sustain an NFL franchise…and the Dodgers have a neat mix of races in their stands…when Fernando pitched the place was wild with lots of Mexicanos and Americans loving Fernandomania…Mccourt was darth vader…thankfully he's (pretty much) gone

  170. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Moore call up means the nats are getting younger…they are gonna be good for the foreseeable future…next year they need to draw 2.7 mill +

  171. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    One thing I text Big Cat at the time, was Desmond striking out at a pitch in the dirt could come back to haunt them, as a dinger would put the game out of a reach and single would make it 4-1, and to strike out on a pitch nowhere near the plate more where Hrod's wild pitches went is rediculous. I must have seen this movie before, and indeed I had.

  172. peric - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Peric: you said Bobby Murcer was an average hitter AT BEST..i don't trust a thing you don't know NEARLY as much as you think you doI don't see Murcer making any Yankee ring of honor dude, much less the Hall of Fame. I watched the guy enough times to know an average hitter when I see one. And that was Murcer. Based on what you post your knowledge of baseball is probably what I'd expect from a nine year old … which is fine … if you are a nine year old.

  173. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Wilson Ramos played the worst game of his career last night. Aside from the drop at the plate, and his refusal to put his body in front of pitches in the dirt, his pitch calling with Henry was atrocious.@Jack: I am so glad there is at least one knowledgeable NI who agrees with me on Ramos. He, not MPH Rod, cost us the game. If he can hang onto the ball at the play, JHR is out and we take a shutout into the ninth. And if he could learn to block a pitch in the dirt — or turn his glove upward instead of stabbing at it — maybe he saves us a wild pitch. I thought at least one of MPH Rod's WP's should have been a PB. I miss Pudge.

  174. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Peric, Dude:At his retirement, Murcer's 252 career home runs were tied for 72nd place on the all-time home run list, and his 175 home runs as a Yankee put him 11th on the club's career list. At his death, Murcer was tied for 183rd on the all-time list. Against Hall of Fame pitchers, Murcer hit .291 with 17 homers and 65 RBIs in 447 at bats. If Tommy John and Bert Blyleven (both possible Hall of Famers) are inducted, Murcer's numbers total 553 at bats with 20 home runs, 76 RBIs and a .297 average, seemingly stellar numbers versus an elite group of pitchers. In the 1970s, Murcer drove in 840 runs, the 9th most in the major leagues during that span. Murcer's 119 outfield assists led all major league outfielders for that decade, ahead of Bobby Bonds (106), Rusty Staub (97), Amos Otis (93), Reggie Smith (86), Jose Cardenal (85), Del Unser (82), and Reggie Jackson (81).[3] His 198 homers tied for 17th in the major leagues for the 1970s, and his .282 batting average was 20th among all players who had 5,000 or more plate appearances. During the 1970s, he led his club in home runs six times (1970, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77). In MLB history only 24 players hit above .275 while also hitting 250 or more home runs, driving in more than 1,000 runs, and stealing more than 125 bases and totaling 45 or more triples. Among that elite group only Murcer, George Brett, and Rogers Hornsby struck out fewer than 1,000 times.

  175. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    I know we're all happy that Mark has banned anonymous posting. But the "ugliness factor" has increased over the past couple days. All this name-calling and ad hominem attack may have the effect of scaring away people who want to have a reasonable discussion. (There were a lot of familiar NI names missing from last night's gameday thread, for example.)Peric, Scott, Mick, can you guys sort of "take it outside" and let other people just comment? You can offer your good baseball insights without calling other people names.

  176. Scott from Burke - Apr 29, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    sorry dave

  177. NatsNut - Apr 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Absolutely the most painful play last night was Dee Gordon reaching first on the wild pitch after he STRUCK OUT with 2 outs in the 9th. My stomach hurts.

  178. Dave - Apr 29, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    @NatsNut, that certainly was a painful play. Was that on Rodriguez for the WP or for Ramos for not jumping on it? Either way, it let the floodgates open up and allowed the inning to continue.

  179. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 29, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    One last swat at the Murcer thing . . . watching the Tigers, Murcer scared the crap out of me as much as Mantle did.

  180. mick - Apr 29, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Bobby Murcer was a hell of player that had to follow the Mantle mystique, plain and simple. The nasty and spoiled NY fans, took their frustrations out on Bobby foolishly. The only other player they had that could hit was Joe Pepitone. Elston Howard was washed up, Horace Clarke and Gene Michaels sucked at te plate, so did Roy white. Other than Mel Stottleyer and Fritz Petersen they had no pitching.

  181. NatsJim - Apr 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    222, Thanks for the tip on the condensed game – I didn't know such a thing existed on Obviously not as enjoyable (nor heartbreaking in the end) as being able to watch it this morning, but at least I got to see the relevant action – much appreciated!





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