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Gone in a flash

Oct 13, 2012, 4:34 AM EDT


The remnants of a celebration that was supposed to happen lingered throughout a surreal clubhouse scene, plastic tarps either torn down in haste or left to hang from the ceiling, a temporary carpet covering the majority of the room so the regular flooring wouldn’t get ruined amid the jubilee.

Somewhere out of public view, cases of champagne and beer bottles had been stashed away, removed from the premises before the participants could see them. A TV crew that had been in place and ready to broadcast the pandemonium raced to clear out of the room and hustle down the hallway to the visitors clubhouse, where the actual celebration would occur.

All that remained inside the Nationals’ oval-shaped office was silence, punctuated by the occasional slap of players and coaches hugging each other and saying their goodbyes for the winter.

Baseball “is designed to break your heart,” former commissioner Bart Giamatti once wrote, but the Nationals’ 9-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series was less about heartbreak and more about heartburn, the sting of a never-been-seen turn of events too fresh in everyone’s minds to allow for emotion to take over.

“There’s a bad taste in my mouth,” Drew Storen said. “That’s gonna stay there for a couple of months. And it’s probably never going to leave.”

Ultimate responsibility for the largest blown lead in a winner-take-all ballgame in major-league history fell on Storen, who twice was one strike away from locking up a 7-5 victory and propelling the Nationals into a National League Championship Series date with the San Francisco Giants, yet allowed four runs in the top of the ninth via three hits and two walks to re-write the script.

But make no mistake: Storen’s performance was only the final piece of the Nationals’ slow death in this decisive game.

There was an inability to muster much of any offense after exploding for six early runs. There was an inability by starter Gio Gonzalez to pitch deep enough into the game to allow Davey Johnson to use his bullpen the way he would have preferred. There was the manager’s on-the-fly decisions with his pitching staff, summoning relievers who had never been used quite like this in an attempt to close out the game and the series. And there were more runs surrendered by some of those relievers, giving Storen less room to breathe when he did finally get the ball for the ninth.

“We’re all in the same boat right now,” said Tyler Clippard, who served up Daniel Descalso’s homer in the eighth. “Obviously Drew feels bad. I feel bad. We’re all pretty devastated right now.”

Storen, in the end, needed only one more strike. One measly strike to finish off what would have been a stirring victory and given the record crowd of 45,966 reason to ignite a celebration not experienced in Washington in three generations.

And he had five opportunities to throw that final strike, reaching a 2-2 count to Yadier Molina with two out and one on in the ninth and then a 1-2 count to David Freese moments later with two men now on base. Each time, Storen just missed with pitches that could theoretically have been called strikes by umpire Alfonso Marquez but clearly were out of the zone.

“They’re good hitters,” Storen said. “That’s what makes them good: They have quality takes. It is what makes them successful.”

“I really don’t know what we would have done differently, to tell you the truth,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “You tip your hat. They never give up. They’ve done it before.”

They certainly have. These Cardinals staved off elimination four times last fall before winning their 11th World Series championship, and they’ve now done it twice in the last week, keeping their hopes of a repeat run alive.

They manage to do it year in and year out behind the performances of not only superstars but role players like Descalso and Pete Kozma, the middle infielders who capped this stunning rally with back-to-back, two-run singles off Storen.

Descalso’s game-tying hit was a hard grounder up the middle, off a diving Ian Desmond’s glove and into center field.

“He hit it good,” Desmond said. “I did the best I could to get my glove on it. I didn’t get it.”

Kozma’s game-winner was a poke down the right-field line, another two-run single that completed the rally and left the Nationals and their crowd in stunned silence.

“It’s a crazy game,” said Ryan Zimmerman, who wound up making the final out of the Nationals’ season. “This game has taught us a lot. And one of the things it’s taught us is to never take anything for granted. Nothing’s over til it’s over. You have to give that team over there some credit.”

There is no shame in losing a best-of-five series to the defending champs, a veteran-laden team that has every reason to believe it can make another deep run. But the manner in which this series was lost and this 100-win season (98 in the regular season, two more in the playoffs) ended won’t be easy for the Nationals to forget.

“This is not how I wanted my year to end,” said rookie Bryce Harper, who four days shy of his 20th birthday recorded his first career postseason homer and triple. “I definitely wanted to play deeper into the postseason. I’m not ready to go home and take off that uniform.”

Despite their dominating record, the Nationals never did do much in easy fashion. So it was perhaps appropriate that the decisive showdown of a meat grinder of this NLDS proved to be the most harrowing of the Nationals’ 167 games to date in 2012.

That the outcome of this game was left to be decided late was remarkable in and of itself, considering the way the Nationals stormed out of the gates to take what appeared to be a commanding lead.

If there was any question whether it’s possible to ride momentum from one ballgame into another, the Nationals certainly appeared to answer that in definitive fashion to start Game 5. After Gonzalez got through a scoreless top of the first, the top of the Nationals lineup put an immediate hurting on Adam Wainwright.

Seven pitches in, Wainwright had served up a double to Jayson Werth, an RBI triple to Harper and a two-run homer to Zimmerman that left the sellout crowd roaring nearly as loud as it did for Werth’s walk-off heroics in Game 4.

And the Nationals didn’t let up against the veteran right-hander, posting three more runs in the bottom of the third, ignited by none other than the youngest player on the field.

Harper had struggled throughout the series, looking every bit like a 19-year-old overwhelmed by the bright lights of a stage he had never seen before. But manager Davey Johnson has known all along Harper has too much talent and ability to thrive in big moments to be held down for long, so he stuck with the rookie despite his 1-for-18 numbers.

And sure enough, the kid delivered when it really counted, crushing a pitch from Wainwright deep into the right-field bleachers top open the bottom of the third. In the process, Harper joined Andruw Jones as the only teenagers ever to hit a postseason homer.

And still the Nationals weren’t done. A Zimmerman double kept the pressure on, and two batters later, Michael Morse (who had looked feeble at the plate through most of the series, still battling a wrist injury) destroyed a first-pitch fastball from Wainwright into the left-field bleachers.

The scoreboard read 6-0, the home dugout exploded and the sellout crowd went bezerk, perhaps some in the ballpark beginning to research airfares to San Francisco for Games 3 through 5 of the NLCS.

Anyone who watched the Nationals all season, however, knew it was never quite that easy. This team had been known to burst out of the gates, then go stone-cold silent at the plate for inning after inning. Which is precisely what happened. They may have knocked out Wainwright after 2 1/3 innings, but the Nationals proceeded to make 10 straight outs against the St. Louis bullpen.

“We talked about it during the game: We were up six runs, but we said we need to keep it going,” cleanup hitter Adam LaRoche said. “As good as our pen is, we need to keep pouring it on and doing what we can.”

All the while, Gonzalez began to morph into his Game 1 self, especially during a harrowing fifth inning in which the lefty issued three walks and a wild pitch, letting two runs score in the process.

Gonzalez did come through with a couple of big pitches when he needed them most, inducing a comebacker from Matt Holliday with the bases loaded and one out, then getting Molina to fly out to right to end the inning and leave the bases loaded. But at 99 pitches, his night was over, forcing manager Davey Johnson to try to coax four innings from a bullpen that had to once again be pieced together in last-minute fashion.

That included a surprise appearance by Game 3 starter Edwin Jackson in the top of the seventh, resulting in one run. It included Clippard in the eighth, resulting in another run on Descalso’s homer into the right-field bullpen.

And it included Storen in the ninth, entrusted with a 7-5 lead that felt safe at the time but quickly turned tenuous as the right-hander struggled to keep the ball over the plate, producing two of the eight walks issued by Washington pitchers in the game.

“With all the adversity we’ve gone through this year, and then to give up that many free passes,” Johnson sighed, “that’s not the way you win ballgames. It’s tough. We’ve had a great year overcoming a lot of hardship, and to not go after them at the end was not fun to watch.”

Especially the painful ninth inning, as Storen tried in vain five times to make the one pitch that would send the Nationals deeper into the postseason and send the crowd into pandemonium.

That pitch never came. And because what ensued happened in such rapid-fire fashion, the Nationals were left to gather in silence in a clubhouse that had been prepped for a celebration but had suddenly been transformed into a room full of hugs, red eyes and farewells for the winter.

“It’s always tough when you can see the finish line and taste it and you’re an out or two, or a pitch or two, away and you don’t win it,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “It’s a testament to this game. You’ve got to get all 27 outs before you can pack up the bats. And especially against a club as playoff-tested and battle-tested as those guys over there. …

“We don’t know what to do tomorrow. It’s Saturday, and we don’t have a game.”

210 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Exposremains - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:37 AM

    yesterday no hitting but pitching and today the opposite. They really played this whole series like an inexperienced team.

  2. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    It hurts, sure but you win as a team and lose as a team.

  3. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    I don't care what I say! I am pissed off!

  4. Swift Eagle - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    Biggest Comeback (blown lead) in a Do or Die game in MLB history, according to TBS…Ouch

  5. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    It comes down to talent. The cardinals brought 5 guys out of the bullpen throwing 97+ and didn't walk anyone while we brought out Stammen Ejax, Clippard and Storen,throwing low to mid 90's and walking multiple batters. They work at bats while we swing for the fences and don't work any at bats. We were lucky to even have a chance to win

  6. John Lewis - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:39 AM


  7. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    It comes down to talent. The cardinals brought 5 guys out of the bullpen throwing 97+ and didn't walk anyone while we brought out Stammen Ejax, Clippard and Storen,throwing low to mid 90's and walking multiple batters. They work at bats while we swing for the fences and don't work any at bats. We were lucky to even have a chance to win

  8. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    No…this wasn't a team loss! It was on storen's shoulder's. And he lost it!!!

  9. Swift Eagle - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    A horrible end to a Great Season…Already counting the days to Spring Training…Already wearing my shades b/c the future is bright!!

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Please don't act like childish bandwagon fans. This team did great to get to this point.

  11. Exposremains - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    When you win the World Series, the NLDS is a piece of cake. When you win 59 games, NlDS is a big deal. Cards played with confidence, Nats played like kids with a new toy.

  12. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    We were leading 7-5 with two outs in the ninth! Storen lost it plain and simple!

  13. djinFl. - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    What poor fans you are to complain. This team exceeded everyones expectations this year. Yes, this is a tough way to go out, but this team is not deserving of such hate.

  14. Exposremains - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:43 AM

    Storen the new Lidge, I wonder how long it will take him to recover

  15. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    I will never forgive Drew for this. Pitiful, choke of a performance not helped by awful umpiring.

  16. Swift Eagle - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    Not sure why, but StL hit the Nats staff like no other team all year….That caused a lot of the walks…I feel like they hit every ball hard, even when they made outs…

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    m20832@ 12:41sure, that's the ending. Storen didn't do his job but neither did Gio. He had a 6-0 lead and Davey left him in.Mattheus and MGonzo and Garcia never got to pitch.I've said it before, Davey does it his way, live by the sword and die by the sword and this time it bit him.

  18. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    When you are up 7-5 with 2 outs and 2 strikes I understand what they are saying8 walks unacceptable.what pisses me off ERA is 3.40 in regular season and then in post season closer to 7.00 What the hell is that all about.I hate walks

  19. John Lewis - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:47 AM


  20. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    Yeah… I guess Davey died by the sword with two outs and two up in the top of the ninth!

  21. DWS - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    I survived "Blue Monday" I'll survive this. Very disappointing yes. The end of the world no.

  22. rogieshan - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    Too many 'what ifs' to ponder. Better to revisit the "Teddy" speech. Will be in a fog for days ahead.

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    Yah, this will dog Storen for the rest of his life but this wasn't Game 7 of the NLCS and wasn't the 7th game of the World Series.It hurts, sure.

  24. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    This just hurts to no end to lose to a team we should have crushed!

  25. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    Now I have to listen to my niece…..

  26. the squeaky mouse gets the cheese - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    Best team doesn't win every year — Cards were so close in 2004 with 100+ wins and just got crushed that year in the WS. File it away. The Nats have a very good team, lots of young talent and leadership, plus Strasberg. Fans deserve better yes, but use it to go further next year. Relievers I agree could be shored up, but also it was just a bit of luck and bounces. Series turn on those things.

  27. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    Some one said their heart went out went out to Drew. Not mine. It was in his hands. He is the one who controls the pitch location. I never feel sorry for the pitcher. The hitter I can feel sorry for if he on a line.6-0 Lead and the only pitcher any good tonight was Burnett

  28. Secret wasian man - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:52 AM

    this isnt about talent. Its about a young kid who couldnt handle the moment. And he choked. He was not mentally ready for the situation. Hopefully he will learn. Unfortunately we have 365 days to wait and see.

  29. Shark Attack - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    What is it about Descalso that we just couldn't get him out?

  30. Dean Glaros - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    The Nats could have used a dominant pitcher in this one. Guess who?

  31. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    Fair weather fans out in force. One year earlier than expected , the Nats made a meteoric rise from never having a winning season to taking the defending World Series champs five games into the playoffs. Look at the big, rich teams who never got this far- angels, rangers. They did not play all that well, especially the pitching. Lack of experience was a factor. Post season turned out to be a cruel and arduous planet. My heart is breaking for them , especially Drew. They will come back tougher and more mature. Stop with the mean spirited crap and appreciate what they accomplished.

  32. Secret wasian man - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Ghost of Steve. your correct. we couldnt get to game 7 of NLCS. Because are closer CHOKED>

  33. phil dunton - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    Pure and simple, a classic choke! Davey blew it when he stayed way too long wxith Gio.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    I had to walk out of the stadium and see young kids sobbing. Not sure how old some of you are but act your age and get some perspective. Nobody died tonight.The Nats will survive this and come back stronger. This is typical bandwagon reaction by some of you.

  35. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    This is so much like a series the Caps would do. Have a much better record and not executein the clutch. Some call it choking. I call it not executing under pressure.Only pitcher tonight who earned their money was Burnett

  36. Secret wasian man - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    If we lost 4 3 in a back and forth game :I would say yes, the complainers are fair weathered fans. But to lose in this fashion everyone has a right to be pissed. Whos gonna cleanup Drews throwup thats all over the mound.

  37. Swift Eagle - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    Great Posts from Swami and Steve…There are plenty of great fans and posters here…Nats will be back…And as tough as tonight has been, I'll remember 2012 as a FUN year…

  38. rmoore446 - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    How many of those eight walks scored? I am too sick to figure it out tonight but several did and other walks moved runners into scoring positions. Walks have historically plagued Gio but he wasn't the only one tonight.

  39. Expos4Ever - Oct 13, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    "Mattheus and MGonzo and Garcia never got to pitch."I couldn't figure that out either. I was surprised how long pitchers were left in while they struggled. I was also surprised to see Jackson warming up after getting lit up the other day.This team definitely lacks confidence. But it gained great playoff experience. Gotta learn how to lose before you can learn how to win. (cliche, I know)NHL, please bring hockey back now, I suddenly notice you're missing. Go Habs!PS … I'm so glad I found this site during spring training … I'll be back next spring, anxiously awaiting Strasburg's appearance on opening night.

  40. Gabor Mehes - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:01 AM


  41. Expos4Ever - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    "I survived "Blue Monday" I'll survive this. Very disappointing yes. The end of the world no."I was only 10, so only remember that through history … this definitely hurt more for me.Bottom line, I'll take the heartache over a 100 loss season!

  42. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    McCatty must work on pitching strikes.Johnny Holliday is an idiot. He says Gio pitched well. Not watching the same game. When up 6-0 and you throw that many balls that is not pitching good.

  43. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    Rizzo will make changes. Expect a new bullpen next year at least. Maybe one of Clip and Storen is here. No Laroche, likely no Morse, one of Lombo or Espi gone. It will be interesting to see who is here next year. At least we have Harper. He will be a dominant force for years to come.

  44. rogieshan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    I look at the Reds, blowing three straight at home, and I think maybe their collapse is harder for their fans to take than what took place here. And then I remember Donnie Moore and what happened to him after '86, well, that quickly put it all in perspective. No need to pile on those who failed today.

  45. Clip&Store - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    pitching just completely tanked other way to describe it, thats and facebook are off until a later the meanwhile..i could almost see this coming when they kept slowly chipping, but i refused to let myself believe it..unbelievable. i don't even have anger i have…i don't know how to describe it..some combination of sad, disappointment, but probably most of all: stunned

  46. JB - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    I do have to say, Marquez's strike zone was really tight, but really consistent. Cards adjusted, Nats didn't. Watching the Cards dugout down two in the 9th vs the Nats in the same situation was a lesson in championship level perseverence. I now officially loathe the Cards (at least for '12), but that team knows how to win.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Secret, I'm pissed, don't get me wrong. I'm more disappointed with Gio. Didn't look Cy Young, in fact looked #5. Davey should have pulled him and I posted it at the time.4 teams left and in another week or so 2 more teams will be eliminated and feel like we do now.

  48. JB - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    I do have to say, Marquez's strike zone was really tight, but really consistent. Cards adjusted, Nats didn't. Watching the Cards dugout down two in the 9th vs the Nats in the same situation was a lesson in championship level perseverence. I now officially loathe the Cards (at least for '12), but that team knows how to win.

  49. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    How can you cheer for Drew ever again after this. This ruins closers careers. He's likely done here.

  50. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    4 Walks scoredwalks pissme off and have for over 50 years

  51. jachilles - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Steady Eddie - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    Eagle, Ghost, and Swami, word. Thank you.It sucks, but this is how you learn.Though the one-sided calling (or not) of the outside corner seemed to get worse as the night went on. I do smell an edge of corrupt MLB payback at Rizzo and Lerner for those overslot signings.But ultimately, you're absolutely right, Steve. Nobody died there tonight.

  53. jachilles - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. JB - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    Everybody stop it with the hyperbole. Nobody's blowing up a 98 win team. Storen is fine, just got beat. Ian snares that grounder or Drew gets one borderline call and this is a different ballgame, and we're all celebrating. It sucks, but it happens.

  55. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    The strike zone was tight for both teams but we swung at many more out of the strike zone than the Cards did. Tight zone swing only at strikes. Real simple

  56. Drew - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."– Bart GiamattiPS. M20832: Clean up your act.

  57. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Just got back… using a lab top to join my NI family… First and foremost, I feel for Drew. The things some fans were yelling out at the end was just uncalled for and a sad reflection on human nature, kicking one when they are as down as they can be. As a fan, all I want is effort and Drew and the team gave 100%. I thought the HP umpire squeezed the Nats pitchers all night and that certainly was not helpful. I am so drained emotionally from the last 2 nights at the park. What make sit cruel was that from where I was standing i thought for sure the HP ump was about to call strike 3 and we were headed to the NLCS. Ray Knight said it best… this is only game, tonight it hurts and it hurts bad, but Spring Training will be here before you know it

  58. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Interviews are pathetic. They dont seem to realize no team has ever lost a deciding game up 6.

  59. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Don't put this on Storen. Starting pitching was awful except for Det- and Gio twice. No hitting in games two and three. Key errors. Lots of post season virgin stuff. I cannot imagine going from obscurity to first place with a target on you every day, the Stras crap, the injuries- they are so very, very young. That ground ball is two inches closer to Desi and we are still playing . Now they know what it's like and it can be crushing. I love what they have done this season. They hit a wall in October.

  60. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    Next year… Drew wins this game!

  61. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    Crushing loss but whatever. I am happy I saved some money on playoff tickets. It is not like it is the end of the world. The only complaint is probably they should not have lost in such a spectacular fashion.

  62. jachilles - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    That is a clown closer, bro.

  63. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    The fans would have loved him had he succeeded so I dont feel sorry at all for Drew. Hard to feel sirry for anyone who makes a whole lot more than an average person

  64. Mac Guire - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    What an unexpected end! The stark difference between these two teams:Cards: grind at bats and gladly take walks;Nats: a bunch of free swingers chasing balls out of the zone.I think that's what the Nats should work on. Their approach at the batter's box should change to compete with the teams like the cards.However, this year was absolutely a fun ride, and the postseason games were a bonus, anyway. I'm so grateful to the Nats for what they have done this year. I believe they will come back stronger next year.

  65. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    Yeah, loved what they did this season. Never expected them to go this far. Good for us and them. Good luck to Cards. I hope Giants beat the s*** out of them and their 'experience'.

  66. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    Faraz Shaikh agree, I hope Giants win, I am sick of the Cards as I am the Yankees

  67. jachilles - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    As Nationals "fans" are a fiction, mainly out-of-state transplants with (corporate) jobs in the D.C. area with a casual to "hip" interest in the game of baseball, it is hard to care about this "fan base," especially after a wildly successful year.That is a clown season, bro.

  68. Coach Steve Roggie - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    "We had the right people there, just a little too cautious." – Davey JohnsonThat seems right to me. Our guys, particularly Storen, seemed as if they were afraid to throw strikes. Both Gio and Storen were visibly upset with the plate umpire for calling balls on pitches that were in fact out of the strike zone.This is baseball. You can't run clock or take a knee. You must make it happen until the last out. The Nats didn't.I always thought that the postseason experience factor was overrated. Guess I was wrong.

  69. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    When you a closer your the pitcher you are the one who decides.Good pitches that cant get dont get hit. Bad pitches that might get hit are what decide.But when pitcher is unhittable he is the one who decides it.As I said the only pitcher worthy tonight was Burnette

  70. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Yes, they make obscene money. They are also somebody' s children, spouse, father, brother , friend. You want to get nasty over a game? Move to Philly, you will fit right in. Some day maybe our fans will act like they have been there before. Because now we have been. Sure looks different from here. Yes, it's disappointing. I , myself , will only trash someone for a lack of effort, not for making an honest effort and getting beat in a game. That being said, was Davey in top managing form in this game? Maybe not so much ?

  71. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    Our pitcher nibble way too much and we still won 98 games.I am ready for spring training.I hate the off season (but not as much as walks)

  72. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    We actually won 100 games! I include the 2 post season

  73. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:26 AM

    I wouldnt neccesarily get nasty would hesitate to say he blew it.He was position to win and didnt want it enough to put unhittable strikes in there like Motte did in 9th.1 walk to 8 that is terrible pitching. Same ump calling the plate.

  74. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:26 AM

    When I fail there are not millions of people watching me as though somehow their happiness depends on what I do.

  75. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:26 AM

    I think this game decides which fans care way too much and which fans care enough to enjoy the game as it should be. I am just going to sit back and enjoy some back and forth now.

  76. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Obvious he could put away the guys to win.Had no problem yesterday. So he proved he ciuld do it and simply didnt borher tonight.

  77. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    This was a great season! The fun now will be watching the final pieces inserted into this team over the winter. This team now has 5 post season games under their belts.

  78. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:31 AM

    I know i care too much. I wont change. I dont have enough life left to not care too much.I wish I had 1/4 the talent they have, but i hate losing.

  79. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:32 AM

    Manassas Nats' Fan I know how you feel, but I think Drew is going to take this experience and become a monster next season, perhaps saving 55 plus games

  80. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:35 AM

    Really? He didn't bother? Like he wanted to become the goat and go home? Like as in he really didn't care if we won? That just doesn't make any sense at all. I think what is bothering me now is that I have realized that our season is abruptly over and there is no closure. We don't get to cheer for the guys and appreciate their 100 win season. It just falls off a cliff. I will probably take tomorrow off from the vile spewing and then watch the rest of the post season. I will watch it differently now that I know how tough it is to have every single pitch feel so critical. Only one team out of 30 will ultimately go home happy. 26 disappointed now, 3 more to go.

  81. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:35 AM

    MNF, if you had 1/4th the talent, you probably would not have survived rookie league. Just kidding, what do I know. I am just trying to tick you off.But seriously, Drew is devastated by this loss more than anyone. This is the time we stand behind him, instead of throwing rocks at him.

  82. jonny nats - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:36 AM

    It was a helluva ride. Thanks to Desi, Zim Danny, Larochey, Mikey MO, Werth, Zook and Harp. Thanks to the starters and the pen and the goon squad and all the guys. Thanks especially to Davey for bringing winning baseball back to DC. And thanks to Mark for the best Nats info bar none.GYFNG! Get 'em next year.

  83. Mac Guire - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:39 AM

    This loss is on Davey, not Storen. Why the hell did Davey make Storen pitch 3 games in a row including the mop up job in Game 3. I did not get what Davey was doing when he made Storen pitch in the 8-0 game on Wednesday. I think it came back to bite Storen tonight.

  84. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:39 AM

    According to twitter, Drew is getting death threats. That's unacceptable. It's a game, get over it.

  85. Constant Reader - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:39 AM

    This was the ending I so dreaded. I would have preferred to have been blown off the field like Wednesday. Like a lot of you, I'm going to be dreaming that Storen got that elusive third strike only to wake up and realize he didn't. For a LONG time.I feel horrible. If there's any solace, it's knowing that this feeling is borne from caring about this team and enjoying the community we have here so very much.Serenity friends.

  86. 995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    23-9 grapefruit league…thanks rizzo…you are the laughing stock of baseball…forever!!!

  87. pat grugan - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    Stephen Strasburg can still pitch game 6, right?

  88. feelanau - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    Just got home. So disappointing but let's keep some perspective. It was an awesome ride. Can't wait for next year.

  89. feelanau - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Just got home. So disappointing but let's keep some perspective. It was an awesome ride. Can't wait for next year.

  90. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 5:56 AM

    I think after everyone gets a hold of themselves they will start to appreciate the season. It ended earlier than we would have liked, but went longer than it ever has before. Can't wait for the highlight films. When do awards come out? I am figuring Desi for a Silver Slugger.

  91. kc21 - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    One day this loss will be viewed as the one that made our Nats true champions.

  92. Kevin Rusch - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    JB, the umps were NOT consistent. At all. at those green squares inside the strike zone. That is the nats getting screwed. Two of those were in the 9th inning, and if we get either one of them, we're dogpiling.

  93. Taino in DC - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Well Gio cant handle the big stage , twice choke with 100 pitches in 5 innings . At least no more talk about Edwin J playoff experience , good ride to him . Meanwhile a healthy Ace was sitting in the bench , because the GM refuse to manage the innings , and want to prove he is the man .Thanks for the memories , it was an awesome ride , but i want to go to a fight with all the band .

  94. JaneB - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    Heartbreaking. If I didn't love them so much it would be no big deal. I just feel awful for them. But proud OF them. But sad sad sad.

  95. JaneB - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    I just saw the death threat stuff too. Incredible.

  96. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    I don't think Storen is getting death threats. We don't have to take every cyberbullying seriously. I am sure plenty of fans were cursing Storen, but he did his best. The umpire tonight had a very narrow strike zone and that benefited the Cards. The ump last night had a very broad strike zone and look at the difference in the scores. It is probably not a conspiracy, just a baseball game.I have thought about it and I realize now that it was a baseball game. I don't know any of the players, personally, not a single one. I don't know the owner or any of the ushers, except in passing. It was fun season.

  97. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    It is a strange human attribute whereby we derive self-esteem based upon the performance of people who sort of live in or area, but whom we really do not know.Better to reflect on the beauty of the game and salute the Cardinals for their determination and perseverance. They were worthy opponents.

  98. Dave - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    Baseballswami, I already appreciate this incredible season. Thanks for pointing that out.The immaturity of people who rage because the Nats didn't go into the LCS or the World Series in the first winning season is astonishing.Drew did not lose this because he didn't want it enough. I guarantee he wanted it plenty. I don't know why he couldn't throw that last strike, but I imagine Davey has it right when he says that excessive caution was the culprit.Meanwhile, screen names we have never seen before tonight are posting venom. That is very wrong.I'll be ready for spring training 2013 when it comes. Ah yes, 2013–the year the Nats are supposed to start succeeding.Surprise! They already succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

  99. NatsLady - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    I got home about 1/2 hour ago. Metro seems to have finally figured out how to get 45,000 people on trains… so there's that. The saddest part of my year (other than personal losses) is when I put away my Nats gear for the winter. It happened nine days later than expected. I'll sort the jerseys and fold them, put them in plastic bags. The hats, I got so many hats this year, I might hang them on hooks. The jacket and sweaters go, the gym bag with Nats logo, radio headset, binoculars, all that gets packed away…So much catching up to do, I've gotten behind in my work, apartment floors need a good scrubbing, gotta go on a diet, turn in the cable box (don't need cable until April, save some $$). Reconnect with my family… Can't imagine being hostile or bitter. Yes, it was so close you could taste it, so close the guy next to me was asking what is game time on Sunday. But the future is so bright. Stras will be the next Verlander, the Kid is gonna be a monster. RZ will get his shoulder fixed and Espy will learn how to hit again. Desi will be MVP next year! Werth will be Werth, whatever that is. Ramos and Suzuki will compete for first-string catcher and Gio will toughen up and win 22 games. Det and JZinn, our rotation is scary…Clipp is gonna master that cutter, and be the next Rivera. Mark my words. Drew–poor kid, he's only 25. Who knows what the future holds for him, he has the winter to think about it. Beyond Clipp, Mattheus, Stammen, and maybe Gonzalez, hard to say who will be in the bullpen next year, relievers come and go. Thanks to all my NI friends, and to Mark.

  100. sm13 - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    Just made it home. What a disappointing end to a great season. There was more than enough blame to go around for tonite's loss and more than enough credit to go around for getting to this point. I really feel for Drew, he's going to have to come back from this game and just ignore the crazies calling for his head and his job. I wish only good things for him and still believe he'll be our closer for years to come.

  101. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    Davey Johnson did not do a single thing wrong. Losses do not get much more painful than that and wins are essentially never more wondrous than the game yesterday.We should all thank the Nats and the Cards for an amazing show, and if our team always won, it wouldn't be a very interesting show, now would it?

  102. NatsLady - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    The Cardinals and their fans are class. Quite a few Cards fans on the Metro–no gloating, nothing like that. Smiles, yes. But none of that drunken "Let's go Fillies" chants. I hope the Giants beat them, and I hope Detroit beats the Giants. Not because I have anything against the Yankees–I don't–but because Detroit is a shell of a city. They should have some happiness there.

  103. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    I will be wearing my Nats gear all winter. And who cares about the future? That is garbage. If you think someone has guaranteed you the future, then watch out for falling anvils….This was a great season in itself. The idea that a great season has to end in a title is pretty much garbage. Yeah, those teams with Dimaggio, Berra, Mantle, etc. won every year. The issue is did they play up to the capacity of talent and beauty and creativity that they had?If they did, then that is a great season. There have been plenty of champions that have snuck by the line, winning, while all the time infighting and playing below their capacity of talent and creativity.This team did a lot of beautiful work. I saw a lot of joy while they were out on the field. I didn't see a lot of joy in New York today. I saw anguish over benching a star and I saw a lot of relief. In Baltimore and DC, I saw teams that shot for the moon and just fell short. I will take that anyday.

  104. Unknown - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Folks – much good happened this season – 98 wins, young stars, Ramos, Strasburg, Storen, Werth back healthy – much change coming – Ejax and LaRoche likely gone – but this team is GOOD and will get BETTER. The Cards did this to the Rangers and Phillies last season, who happen to be the two best teams in baseball other than the Cards the last few seasons. Now, they got us and our young closer – Desi came within INCHES of getting Descalso's ball – it was that close. Don't blame anyone – enjoy the memories of the best baseball season of any of our lives. Enjoy that we are now a baseball town- we had the 2nd best attendance on the road in baseball this year. It's painful now, but it's going to get BETTER. Trust me it will – watch some nicer highlights tomorrow and savor this year. Really. Don't villify Storen or anyone – its going to be ok. Soon, those guys will be hoisting a World Series trophy – tonight is a step in that direction.

  105. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Strasburg decision: Debateble. I would have liked to have had him relief tonight, but everything else was defensible.

  106. Dave - Oct 13, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    I hate to keep the fires raging, but…The Nats used the innings-limited Strasburg in the first part of the season. They ended it division champions and had the best record in baseball. Therefore they got to play five more games this week, of which they won two.The Atlanta Braves put the innings-limited Kris Medlen in the bullpen to save him for the pennant run. As a result, they didn't win the division, not even close, but they got to play a one-game Wild Card play-in game. Which they lost.The Nationals did the smart thing with their guy recovering from TJ surgery. The Braves did not.

  107. Garick - Oct 13, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Long time reader, first time poster. I wish I could go high road and just say "ah shucks, that was fun and we'll get em next year", which is fine, but the way Davey managed the game just kills me. From the way he delt with Storen in game 3 and tonight to his lack of creativity with the lineup in the spots that were killing us at the plate. I get the sense that this was just viewed as a dry run, so struggles be dammed just go out & soak up the experience for next year. Nothing is for sure & with this year so close they should have taken better advantage. Now your closer risks becoming a shell of himself (did davey throw him under the bus during his presser?) and with the way harper went down in his final appearance (and Espi finished his series) you didn't fix any discipline at the plate issues. I would have liked to see a better sense of urgency in management instead of putting so many cards in the next year basket.

  108. John C. - Oct 13, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    Storen is definitely done, no one ever recovers from a stunning meltdown like that. Remember Mariano Rivera? He was never the same after blowing a crucial game in the 1997 NLDS. Whatever happened to that guy?

  109. NatsLady - Oct 13, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    John C–great point. Also article on Storen on MASN, sounds like he's gonna burn on that inning and come back.

  110. Schumatrix - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    I'll be honest, guys, this one hurts a whole helluva lot. Probably the worst in my close to two decades of absolutely dedicated DC sports following. I'm absolutely heartbroken for Drew. Dude's been a beast over the last month. What kills me the most out of everything, though, is that I've been yelling my voice hoarse over the season for our bullpen to just throw strikes (many of the game chats this summer are littered with my pleadings for just that) and, in the end, that's what did us in. It was such a phenomenal year, and I still can't get over the fact that it had to end the way it did…

  111. Snivius - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Man, this stings.So, is the glass half-empty or half-full?I'll choose "half-full." I don't think any credible analyst would have predicted 98 wins and one strike away from the NLCS. It's ironic and a testament to human nature how the Nationals' success began to frame itself (in the minds of many) not against the disasters of seasons past, but relative to not winning it all.There can be no more vivid evidence than tonite's game that baseball is indeed a game of inches– a built-in randomness to the system. The Cards got some breaks, like Descalso's grounder. Nats didn't, quite as much.I'm not sure what role "postseason experience" played in this series. Does that experience REALLY change player cognition and behavior (i.e. patience and focus) at the plate and at the mound? I can only hope so. Too many free swingers on this team. Players like Jeter who have ice in their veins in the playoffs are worth their weight in gold.Here's hoping Gio grows up and chills out, and stops being the cuddlier version of Carlos Zambrano, and that Harper will no longer swing at pitches at neck-level.Savor what we DID enjoy. Get 'em next year!

  112. JaneB - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I still love them very much. I wonder if any of them slept. I hope so.More than ever, thank you Mark, for this forum. Thank you for making the ride so much more enjoyable. Thank you, too, Chase. I have that Giamatti quote on the wall in my office. Maybe I should put up the Teddy quote instead.

  113. rabbit34 - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    A Mazing!!!!! I went to bed after the fifth inning. Could sense something bad was going to happen. But, you can't blame Storen. He stayed in the game because Davey want to go with what got him there. Well, what got him there is what got him home. He should have pulled Storen. This was it for games. Blow this one and home you go. Enjoy your vacations guys. Davey and everyone learned a lot tonight. Now, do the tweaking during the off season and close up some holes. See ya all NEXT YEAR. GO YANKEES!!!! (my pick to win it all).

  114. Another_Sam - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    One word – Viera. I'm in.

  115. Whynat - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Rode home on Metro with a Cubs fan. He said to "wait till next year." Got to my car at 2:15 am. Windshield covered in frost. Summer of 2012 is officially over.

  116. Secret wasian man - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I cried all night into my pillow. Anybody remember the Clint longly game

  117. Cwj - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    See you all next year.Great season, lots of fun, and they made it to the playoffs.Drew will be fine. The Nats will be better next year.Have a nice Fall/Winter!Go Nats!

  118. Another_Sam - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Suck it up. That's baseball. Pitchers and catchers report in a few months. But – I was already working up a rotation to face the Giants. What would the rotation have been, armchair managers?

  119. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Haven't yet read posts or comments, as we got home very late, er, early.It was a disappointing end, but I was telling my husband after the game that I was also grateful to have had the postseason baseball experience. Those were some peak baseball moments, my friends, and it was nice to share them with you thanks to our humble host. I also feel like we showed the pundits what a baseball town DC is (not that I give a rat's patoot what the pundits think, but still).Now both we fans and the team have some postseason experience under our belt (at least, those of us who haven't been there before), and we'll have to wait to see what next season brings. One thing I know, there will be a new pennant flying over the scoreboard at Nats park. Before the season started, I never imagined that they'd win the division and be in the playoffs. I figured there might be a shot at the wild card, but that's about it.Actually, our most depressing experiences last night were upon exiting the Metro in VA. First we watched two Nats fans call each other names and nearly come to blows over a cab. Then some young, jock-looking punk was harassing my husband and me as we crossed the street to the lot where we'd parked. First he was on the other side of the street, then he came right up next so us. "Come on, old man. Cross the street. That's right. Step it up. Go to your car, old man. Go to your car – NOW!!" Really? A bit of perspective, maybe? There are worse things in life than losing a baseball game. Trust me. But thanks for the preview of youth-senior relations in my golden years. Now get off my lawn. >:-{In closing, all I can say is go, GIANTS!!

  120. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Well – I did sleep some – then I woke up and remembered. I, too, have put off some things that I really need to catch up on. I will follow the rest of the post season and I am hoping to make it to Viera this spring. The Nats have come a long way in a short time. Yes, there are still some things that need to be "adjusted". Maturity will take care of some of it. I come from the music world and I will tell you that failure usually teaches you a lot more than success. I know it's hard, but this was a step they needed to take. One of the things I hate about the post season is the abruptness of the end. Only four teams out of 30 are still standing. We were the last one standing before them. Three of them will go home devastated also. The later it gets, the more it hurts. They are great guys and have given us a really fun season.

  121. Unknown - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Mark – Thanks for the GREAT work this season – loved it. The Nats are now battle tested with character forged by pain. Look for great things from this club – maybe even a World Series title in 2013. You read it here first. NEVER GIVE UP! Stay with this wonderful team all the way. I sure am. #Champs in 2013

  122. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    On another note, it was so late when I got in last night that it wasn't a factor, but I'm not looking forward to talking to my neighbor, the Cards fan. Luckily he was asleep when we got home. I told my husband, yeah, we'll have to have that conversation at some point – blah blah, good team, you beat us, woof woof. I just didn't feel like doing it last night, er, this morning. Like I said: go, GIANTS! Now, about that coffee, which I will be drinking from a Nats cup…

  123. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    First of all, congratulations to the Cardinals. They were the 2nd best team in the series but they came out the winners. They play the game the right way, hard and clean. They never gave up and they never gave in. They overcame the largest deficit in any deciding game in the history of post-season baseball. They are a class act, from top to bottom, and are led by a field manager who is the polar opposite to whack jobs like Ozzie and Valentine. They could win it all, and I hope that they do. They earned the win, and they deserved it.Davey said all the right things in the aftermath because he can't have the guys pointing fingers in the club house. I'm not in the club house so I can do that for him. Most of the guys performed admirably last night, when it mattered the most. Guys like Werth, Harp, Ryan, ALR, Morse and Suzuki deserved to go home winners. They were on the losing team but those guys are not losers. The burden for last night's loss, and for the series loss, belongs squarely on the pitching staff, which produced its third stinker in the 5-game series. They gave the best-hitting team in baseball 8 BBs, and the Cards thanked them by converting those 8 gifts into 5 of their 9 runs. The Nats' staff managed to blow the biggest lead in a deciding game in post-season baseball history. They converted what should have been a triumph for Nationals' baseball into the most spectacular failure the post-season has ever seen. If the Nats could have swapped just one guy with the Cards, and had the Card's closer in the 9th instead of Storen, they would be getting ready for the Giants today.Even so, if Desi snags DesCalso's one-hop liner and tosses it to Danny the game is over. He got a great jump on that ball, but it was slicing in towards his body and he over-ran it just a bit. It was rightly ruled a hit. Ninety percent of the time that play is not made, and Ian did not make it, but it was a play that could have been made. Not his fault that he didn't make it, but how close the difference between victory and defeat, the difference between going home a winner, or a loser.Next year Desi makes that play. More likely, he won't have to. Unlike Davey, Rizzo will hold guys accountable. There will be differences in the Nats' staff next year. Some of those guys will not be back. The team does not have many holes, but there remain a few. Rizzo has proved that he is the most capable GM in the biz when it comes to building a winner.By the time he finishes, he will have built a champion. Not this year, but soon.

  124. Secret wasian man - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Not upset that the season is over. Not upset had we lost 4 to 1 or something like that. The way that this was lost is what eats at you. Just one more out. Just one more out. Ugh it's tough.

  125. Secret wasian man - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    And of course natsfan1 there were no cops anywhere. I had a similar thing happen in the parking lot after a redskins night game. So I went out and bought a taser. I've never had to use it but I would.

  126. rmoore446 - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I like NatsLady's long post at 2:43am. What an elegant way to close out this sad ending. As for Storen, I feel for him in this dark moment and hope he will move past it. We wouldn't have been in the fifth game of a playoff series without him.

  127. Joe Seamhead - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM


  128. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    "I always thought that the postseason experience factor was overrated. Guess I was wrong."No, you were right. The guys who beat the Nats were not named Holliday, Freese, Molina, or Craig. Beltran was, by far, the best of that crew, but the guys who beat the Nats were post-season neophytes named DesCalso and Cozma, or whatever his name is. They had an advantage, I think, in that the Nats did not have an adequate book on them. They thrashed the Nats all series-long, and it was those two who drove in the two runs the tied the game (DesCalso) and the two runs which won the game (Cozma).The most effective pitcher for the Nats was first-time playoff guy Detwiler, while the least effective was the experienced EJax. They are all experienced now.

  129. sjm308 - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Damn!!Aside from the fact that I still have NEVER seen my team live in a playoff game and I have a 6 hour drive home in a very very sad mood, the sun did come up down here.I realize there were probably some hateful silly posts both in the game thread and here but I just read Mark and came down to the end.Lots of us have been with this team from day one. Lots of us defend most of the moves made by both players, manager and GM. But Damn! The last 6 innings the first runner for the Cards was on base via a walk or hit. Well Actually in the 8th that Cardinal hit all 4 bases (again, Damn!). I have no problem with Drew, he just blew that game and every great closer does that. I do have a problem with keeping Gio in through the 5th and I can't figure out why Garcia and Matheus were not used. This is all probably stated above but I am now going to just read Mark, post what I feel and say the hell with reading "stuff" that will probably get me even more pissed.Baseball is a wonderful beautiful game. The average play gets taken for granted. It is easy to second guess players, managers, umpires. It is one reason I am drawn to it. I love Danny Espinosa but he needed to be benched after game three. I love Mike Rizzo's moves but I still wonder what it would have been like to have Strasburg.Thanks to Mark for all he has done these years. Thanks to most of the NI's who I really wanted to meet on Sunday. I am not a good loser. I don't see much that is gained by losing. I never made excuses when my teams lost and I don't want to read about the "great ride" or the "improvement" or "wait till next year". I wanted us to win. I wanted us to win the World Series and I guess in a couple days I will be ok. I lost enough in my last years of coaching that it cost me my dream job so I do understand what these people are going through. Most of you do not. Losing sucks!!Go Nats!! Score First!!

  130. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    "I like NatsLady's long post at 2:43am. What an elegant way to close out this sad ending."NL is the wisest poster on the thread. Its only a game. We all love it, but it's a bubble world which has no meaning outside its own boundary. We can all now get back to the real world.Damn!

  131. sjm308 - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Laddie, you do a pretty nice job as well. We have so many great posters! I guess I will take a stroll up and see what was written but I am betting there will be some idiotic stuff as well. I am hoping ghost, 222, swami, sunshine and others will either make me smile or at least start to get me out of this funk.

  132. sjm308 - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I am also betting that Swift is totally exhausted if he had to do battle after the game with the legion.

  133. Dryw Loves the Nats - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I still can't believe it happened that way, and it still hurts, but I have to chime in to agree with those who say that this season was AMAZING, better than it was supposed to be, and more fun than I ever could've imagined. We've all (fans and players) gotten a taste of playoff baseball, and I know we all want more. I didn't want this season to end, but I think I'm going to stop and savor it for a few minutes before I start dreaming of next year.

  134. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    The Cardinals used the term chipping awaY and they did that because they were given the opportunity via the numerous walls. What probably upsets me is watching the game end with Lombo, TyMo, Garcia, Mattheus, and MGonzo still unused.Girardi pulled ARod, Matheny pulled Wainwright after 2 1/3 but in a deciding game 5 Davey left Gio in past the 4th and wouldn't pinch hit for Espi.

  135. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    numerous walks

  136. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Gorzo was unused but understand he became the long man.

  137. Another_Sam - Oct 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    sjm308 — no need to be in a funk. as cool as it is, we're talking baseball here. entertainment. the oxymoron of professional sport. great fun, but only fun. we fans are prone to impute relationships and feelings that aren't there. some funk is fine and understandable — i felt it just a bit last night as well. but that's yesterday. this was a great, entertaining season. we all know it would end one way or another very soon. sure, i'd have liked another couple of weeks. but i'm already thinking Viera.And thank you, and the other posters you mentioned, and Mark, for helping make this a very enjoyable season for me.

  138. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Great Season…tons of fun….a lot learned by all….Most importantly though the two who have the most to learn from this past month are likely not to learn anything….they are too stubborn, too arrogant…..Both Rizzo and Davey earned the ire of their peers and the baseball gods. People who know the game and who have been in it as long or longer. People who have paid their dues and respect the game. Davey and Rizzo both disrespected the game and their peers by going into this Month without committing 100% to winning….they both decided to hold back, not to do what it takes to win. I am not talking about Strass. That is a separate issue and one I personally am fine with the shut down. Davey and Rizzo both disrespected baseball by moves like we saw over and over all month….Staying with Danny when it was clear he was hurting the team. Staying with Gio when they knew he was not tough enough to throw strikes over and over again. Pitching Storen in a 8-0 loss and then not even going out to settle him as he meted down. By not using your best pitchers or even warming them up a the game slipped away.The list is long but it has a common theme….Davey and Rizzo both said it loud and clear…."we do not need to win this year…we are not going to do what it takes to win this year….we will manage the team and roster to win at some point later (they hope!)…..suck on that baseball"….and now baseball has shown them you do not disrespect the game…..Lessons learned…sure by not likely by the two men who needed the lesson the most….Davey and Rizzo set the tone and their players showed it when it counted.

  139. Laddie Blah Blah - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    "As for Storen, I feel for him in this dark moment and hope he will move past it. We wouldn't have been in the fifth game of a playoff series without him."Sorry, but I can't feel sorry for any of them. When I hear about guys getting nervous about playing a game, I really have to laugh. Now, a guy in a Marine platoon getting ready to go out on night patrol in a combat zone in Afghanistan has a right to be nervous. That I can understand. A screw-up by him or any of his buddies can mean loss of life or limb at a moments' notice. The pay is not that great, either.Don't waste your sympathy on athletes, who are among the most over-paid and spoiled of all of us who occupy the US of A. Storen will get over it. I mean, he's a grown man, isn't he?I am thinking of that old Geico commercial which featured R. Lee Ermey as a therapist who refuses to provide a hankie for his sniveling, self-pitying "jackwagon" of a patient cowering on the shrink's couch.If Drew can't handle the truth, too bad for him. I'm over it, already.

  140. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    The World According to JayB…..Always casting a pall over anything not ending in absolute perfection.

  141. dcdingo - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    It's the way we lost that stings. Up six runs! Any number of little things could have made the difference. We were already counting on a Sunday game against the Giants. Drew nibbled. He'll remember that hopefully in some future big game. But I think the signs were there late in the regular season that we were out of gas, while other teams were on a rising plane of nutrition (little animal science reference there).It was a great season overall, A year earlier than expected. Hopefully we are good enough to get to the post-season repeatedly.Thanks to Mark for this blog and all the knowledgeable posters.

  142. Joe Seamhead - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Jay B, you are so full of NatsDogs.Maybe you'd rather we still had Bowden and Riggleman?

  143. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Njack….I always enjoy what you say and read it carefully….Was that a well managed month of baseball…were those the moves of a Manager and GM who were all in on this season?

  144. Another_Sam - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    LOL, Laddie. They're not overpaid. They're not spoiled. [Well, maybe in the NBA. LOL] But they're certainly not overpaid. These guys are entertainment professionals — professionals just like you and me like the rest of us, and working for the man like we all do. They earn every penny. Lighten up on the guys who bring us so much entertainment. LOL

  145. Another_Sam - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    NatsJack — great fun seeing you here in town this season and I'm looking forward to seeing you and the Gator next spring. Thanks, man.

  146. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    and yes I know Steve M when out…I am not talking about the Pitching Coach visit….That was when Davey should have shown the respect called for….I manager Davey Johnson am going to change for this moment in history…I Davey Johnson not my coach am going to go out and talk to my young closer who is clearly melting down….This situation calls for something other than managing as if it is June 20th…..

  147. Another_Sam - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Laddie — I do agree completely with your sentiment regarding don't feel sorry for these guys, though. And certainly right on about thoughts getting nervous.

  148. ChicagoNatsGirl - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I hope other fans who have been there from the beginning (as in present on day #1, there through the Nook Logan, Levale Speigner, Odalis Perez [insert long-list of other no-name players we've suffered through the years]) will take a minute to reflect with me just how very far we've come regardless of what happened last night. This was an amazing year. No one was expecting this of us and it was a terrific run. I'm so proud of our team and counting the days until we see them all again in spring training. I think all we can really do right now is thank them for 6 amazing months of entertainment. I also want to thank Mark for this wonderful blog. Simply the best Nats coverage. So here's to the Detroit Tigers winning the World Series (family loyalty), a happy, healthy and safe offseason for our Nats and an amazing 2013. Gooooooo Nats!

  149. sjm308 - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Signing off to start my drive homeI just wonder if we won when the next JayB post would have been??Seems like it takes a loss to get him on here.I do realize he is a fan but I have not seen much in the way of positive thought from his postings.Kind of cowardly to post this and leave but home awaits.

  150. Swift Eagle - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    In 12 games this year against the Nats, Stl scored 8 or more runs 6 times! In their 3 wins in the NLDS, Stl scored 12, 8, and 9 runs…And it felt like they hit the ball hard every time, even when making outs…No other opponent had ABs like that against the Nats all season…

  151. fast eddie - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    We scored 16 runs in the series, the Cards had 32.You can't win many games averaging 3 runs a game.Starters were not sharp (except Det) and neither was the bullpen.The series was truly a team loss.

  152. Section 222 - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Well that was painful. From the heights of excitement to the depths of despair in just a few minutes. I had a bad feeling about the inning as soon as Beltran got the leadoff hit, but even more when he took third on a grounder to Zim, who seemed to have a very good shot at catching him in a rundown if he had tried. I know that run meant nothing, but 1 out with a man on 1st is better than 1 out with a man on third. Twice in that inning we saw defensive indifference on steals of second. Molina (the tying run) stole his base before Drew even made the pitch. To me, that is not good fundamental baseball.Thanks to the guy who posted the link to the Brooks Baseball Zoneplot. It's good to know that the homeplate ump basically had the calls right. Very hard to tell from in the park obviously. It sure seemed like there were a couple of game-ending called strike 3's that weren't called.But enough. It was a fantastic season. I'm skeptical that we'll be back in this position anytime soon because too much can go wrong. But this season stands on its own as a surprising wonder. And I'll never forget it.It was made even better by the generally fun and supportive community we've made here. As I walked out last night, I heard someone call out "222!". It was sjm308's son, who I've met several times when visiting 308 in, well, 308. Very nice of him to say goodbye. Friendships forged at Nationals Park and even here online will endure. We've shared something special, despite the bitter ending.I hope everyone has a great weekend, if that's possible. I'm pretty down in the dumps this morning, but maybe a drive to the Shenandoah's during peak leaves season will cure that.222

  153. baseballswami - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I am so glad that the sensible people are on here this morning. I guess the mean drunks from last night are sleeping it off. I was prepared to sign off if it continued today. I was thinking about how low some of the batting averages were, how mediocre the pitching was, how much they out-scored us by — how did we actually take them down to the ninth inning in the last game? On paper they had us over- matched by a lot. Post season was a whole new world. I do have to say that, although there were plenty of things that went wrong last night, plenty of blame to go around, I really don't think that was Davey Johnson's finest moment. I think he left Gio in too long with no one warming, and I think he had assets that he never used. We hear so much about pitchers and hitters having to adjust to the game, but I don't feel that he adjusts to the game. I appreciate that he has a style of play that he prefers, but sometimes I think you have to adjust and maybe try something. Maybe that's what he was doing when he put EJax in? There were plenty of effective relievers available. I also question using Bernie as a ph early in the game when you might have wanted him defensively later and Lombo makes better contact. Water under the bridge now, but the manager usually takes some responsibility for a big loss, not just the players. Even if he didn't mismanage the game, always a judgement call, it definitely wasn't his best effort either. Now it's the off-season for them – 7 weddings, at least one surgery, some healing, some soul-searching, who will stay, who will go? The sun came up today and life goes on.

  154. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Well, his post *did* open with three of them. Also, he's a passionate fan and has stuck with this team through thick and thin. I don't always see agree with him, but imo he's entitled to his feelings/opinion, as are the rest of us.On an offseason gear note (and perhaps because I'm not into pointy ball), I wear my Nats stuff year-round, and will continue to do so.On a game note, I was telling my husband last night that I figured Drew must be feeling awful. That picture is just sad. Hope it's not true that he's received death threats. Seriously?I just wonder if we won when the next JayB post would have been??Seems like it takes a loss to get him on here.I do realize he is a fan but I have not seen much in the way of positive thought from his postings.

  155. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Also, maybe we need to have an offseason gathering. Just saying.

  156. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    "see agree" = see eye-to-eye/agreeum, more coffee, please?

  157. Feel Wood - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    There were actually two blown saves charged to the Nats last night. One obviously went to Drew Storen. The other goes to whatever front office dude could have stopped this email from hitting my inbox at 7:01 this morning.Dear Feel Wood,Your exclusive online-only World Series ticket presale will be held on Monday, October 15. As a Nationals Season Ticket Holder you will be offered this opportunity to purchase up to four (4) single game postseason tickets for each possible World Series home game using the one-time use password provided to you in this message.

  158. m20832 - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Drew said… "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." — Bart Giamatti PS. M20832: Clean up your act.Clean up your own act. You don't know me. This game came down to Storen with a 7-5 lead top of the ninth with two outs and two strikes on two consecutive card players. He didn't get it done. Burnett did. Clippard did. But he couldn't throw one lousy strike.All I can say is I can't wait for spring training next year.

  159. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Talk about (e-)mailing it in. Dang. :-)Feel Wood said… There were actually two blown saves charged to the Nats last night. One obviously went to Drew Storen. The other goes to whatever front office dude could have stopped this email from hitting my inbox at 7:01 this morning. Dear Feel Wood, Your exclusive online-only World Series ticket presale will be held on Monday, October 15. As a Nationals Season Ticket Holder you will be offered this opportunity to purchase up to four (4) single game postseason tickets for each possible World Series home game using the one-time use password provided to you in this message. October 13, 2012 9:43 AM

  160. zregime - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    "It was the time of The PreacherWhen the story began'Bout the choice of a ladyAnd the love of a manHow he loved her so dearlyHe went out of his mindWhen she left him for someoneThat she'd left behindAnd he cried like a babyAnd he screamed like a pantherIn the middle of the nightAnd he saddled his ponyAnd he went for a ride"Click the TV off. Drain the open Bud. Undress silently, crawl into bed. Wife wakes, rolls over, whispers, "Did they win?"I draw breath. Can't speak. Swallow. Exhale. Draw shallow breath."No, we lost."And then break down in spasmic sobs of agony for about five minutes.She's hugging me. Murmuring ohh-ohh-ohh as I get it out of my system. First the Ryder Cup meltdown, now this. Why do I even watch? Why do I care so much? Am I some sort of weirdo masochist?No.You attend and you watch and you care because, dummy, the highs are like Everest, way more powerful than any natural or synthetic drug that is or will ever be in existence. Werth's ding Thursday night. DaSean's runner to win the Big East. Tebow's pass to beat the Steelers. Phil's putt for the green jacket. Eruzione's slapper to shock the world. You do it, dummy, because of those moments.All the while knowing that in sports, as in life, those highs will be counterbalanced by some Marianas Trench-like lows. Like now.If everybody won, all of the time, what would winning mean?Mark Z: My best and deepest thanks to you for this blog. Go forth and prosper. You have reignited my love of this game.Friends: Mick. Natsfan1a. Section 222 (had a seat there for one of my 5-game ticket plans; best darn bargain ever). MicheleS (stay strong, babe). BaseballSwami. Sunshine Bobby Carpenter. Nats Lady. Peric. And everyone else in this little platoon. We shall gather at the river some day, and my offer will stand. Free food and drinks to celebrate a World Series win for our Natties!Luv you all,Z

  161. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    That was beautiful, z, but my screen is all blurry now.

  162. BigCat - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Man….this was a dagger in the back. A terrible,terrible ending to a wonderful season. The Nats provided me and my son many, many nights of entertainment. I am very sad to see it end. I don't even know if I will watch much more baseball this year.One thing about Drew. He was throwing in his third game in a row. Drew is a power pitcher. Throwing 96-97 mph does take its toll on the arm. And the guy has come back from elbow surgery this year. I'm sure Davey regrets using him in the 8-0 blowout loss. 8 walks was the story in this game. The Cards are a veteran club who don't have a lot of weaknesses, especially at the plate. You give them opportunity after opportunity, in the long run, you pay the price and we did. We gave our "ace" Gio a 6-0 lead and he pissed it away in a barrage of 3-2 counts and BB's. The sad thing here is that I think these are the 2 best teams in baseball. I think the Cards are gonna make short work of the Giants and win the WS again. I think that word "experience" has a lot to do with this series loss. We chased pitches out of the zone, walked guy after guy etc. Anyhow, we had the defending champs down and out and let them off the hook. We will be back next year, better than ever. We are in good hands with Rizzo and, yes JayB, Davey.

  163. Feel Wood - Oct 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    JayB said… and yes I know Steve M when out…I am not talking about the Pitching Coach visit….That was when Davey should have shown the respect called for….I manager Davey Johnson am going to change for this moment in history…I Davey Johnson not my coach am going to go out and talk to my young closer who is clearly melting down….This situation calls for something other than managing as if it is June 20th…..You must be the mouthbreather who called Phil Wood last night after the game with this same screed. I enjoyed listening to him shut you down. It made the drive home almost bearable.

  164. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    I have said all along that Davey and Rizzo are great….love them…many of you know I was not a fan of Acta/Riggs and Jimbo/Kasten. I was here with Watson, Logan, Lastings, FLOP, Estrada…..I know how far we have come and appreciate that…..but that does not mean we can phone in an opportunity that may only come once….it does not mean we should not play to win….Rizzo and Davey both have a lot of soul searching to do….and the collective baseball universe of their peers….lifers who just like them grew up in the game….have spoken on the record and off the record about the decisions and attitude they put on display… cost them a trip to the world series in my view. They may well not ever get the chance again….we shall see.

  165. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Why all the nibbling

  166. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    nope…..Would have liked to hear the rational…I have spoken with Phil in person 100 times or so…..not always in agreement with his point of view that life long baseball men are always right and that anything they do wrong is a not their fault…that managing is just a crap shoot and you are right have the time and wrong have the time…..Phil often says stuff like that…is that the jest?

  167. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I never want to see Morse loaf after a ball down the LF line again. I never want to see Jackson pitch for the Nats again. Aside from that I'm fine with what we have.

  168. Taino in DC - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I hope Mark and company finnaly decide to become real journalists and stop being cheerleaders for the front office . The DC based media need to learn to ask the tought questions , you got a bye this year because is all new to us , but i expect better coverage in years ahead . If you dont want to win , why play the game .

  169. Candide - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  170. NatsLady - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Some of you may recall that the love of my life passed in February. This season meant a lot to me. But not everything. Go Tigers!

  171. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Rizzo is going nowhere. That is silly.8 walks 4 runs.Molina I thought struck iut both by being in the zone and he swung.But the nibbling gave the ump the chance to call a ball.

  172. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    imho, Mark is a real journalist and not a cheerleader. That is all.

  173. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Can you imagine the buzz had Drew done his job?

  174. Candide - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Only saw the last three innings – we were at a pretty mediocre opera, and the moment it was over, I punched up At Bat Lite on the phone and saw it was 6-2, so I was feeling good. The rest of the game was like watching an action flick where a guy's hanging off a cliff and wondering if the hero was going to pull him up before his fingers gave out.Cunegonde and I were both crushed; we sat there silently for a moment after the last out, then flicked off the TV and went to bed.Sadly, cruelly disappointed, but…1) Next year, we have Stras back for 162+ games, Detwiler finally becoming the pitcher we hoped for,and JZnn establishing himself as the bulldog you want on the mound when death is on the line. If Gio is anywhere near the pitcher he was during the regular season, our 1-4 starters should be even more fearsome than this year. I leave EJax out because he's several cuts below the rest of the staff, and I don't expect to see him back.2) Next year, we'll still have a young team, but they'll be a more experienced team. They'll learn how to work the strike zone better, when to throw to the cutoff instead of the catcher (Harper), when to finish the batter who's down 0-2, instead of nibbling for the perfect strike (Storen), when to not walk the leadoff batter (everyone).3) We have logjams in several areas – count on Rizzo and Davey to figure out who stays, who goes, who gets moved up, and who we acquire to put the last piece into place.4) The obvious bandwagoneers here will disappear until next season, taking their ignorance and obnoxiousness to FedEx field today, instead of two weeks from now. That should take a little bit of the sting out of our early exit.5) For the next five months, I'll find productive things to do around the house between 6:30 and 11:00 each night. And finally…6) This season was only heartbreaking in the context of last night's game and what we'd come to dream could be realistically possible. Last March, those who were predicting anything more than about 88 wins and a possible wild-card spot were crazy optimists. This team performed wildly better than any of us had dared to hope for six months ago, and they give us every reason to hope for – and expect – even better next year.And despite last night's result, this season deserves a WOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (tm 2012 MicheleS) that would drown out Nats Park's foghorn.

  175. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I didn't know (or recall) that, NatsLady. My sympathies. On a similar note, some of you may recall that my brother died shortly after seeing his Giants win it all a few years ago. My family moved to the Bay Area about the same time the team did, and my big brother rooted for them for the rest of his life. I was glad that he got to see them win it all, and that he got to learn that his fave, Buster Posey, was voted Rookie of the Year. I was also grateful to have shared in the (bittersweet) experience with him. Will be rooting for Giants again this season. Wish I could share in that with him and talk some baseball.

  176. peric - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Looks like they got all the post season experience they could possibly handle. Losing in the playoffs typically teaches more than winning … and now they know what it takes to do 162 games followed by even fiercer contests.Stras will be back, and more pitching will be on the way. Don't be surprised if Rizzo somehow manages to rope-in another top starter because they dod need one to replace EJax. So, they'll be back … and that's the good news to take from this season. The youth and talent will get the Nats back again if Davey's heart can handle it.

  177. BigCat - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Yes Manassas. This post season baseball is a drug you can't buy on the street. It is quickly addictive. I am in withdrawl. In the fetal posistion, sweating….much like Gene Hackman in The French Connection

  178. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Since that ump was not calling anything close on the outside could Suzuki be part of the problem target was there and we couldnt get a strike. There pitchers were also missing target but we would swing.

  179. UnkyD - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Swift, Ghost, DI, DWS, Squeaky , Swami, Steady, JB, Mick, Mac Guire, Faraz, Roggie, Jonny, KC21, JaneB, WODL, Dave, NatsLady, sm13,  unknown 2:55, John C, snivious, Shumatrix, cwj, 1A, Laddie, sjm….. All balanced, in their posting, last night. Also, Michele, sofa, NatsJack, Peric, and many others, all year long- Thanks… I've been saying, to friends, for a month or so, the these Boys CAN'T disappoint me, at this point. In April, we all wanted this crew to play meaningful games… In September! some allowed for the possibility for more, but… 98 Wins?! Taking the defending Champs to game 5?!?! Nobody can raise their hands, on those….I popped into the gamer, after it was over, last night, at about comment# 200, just to test the water…. unfortunately, as I suspected…. Stay classy, JayB, et al…At that point, I wondered: Do I want to keep looking at this page? Are the clowns killing me, slowly, through elevating my blood pressure? Compiling the list above, reminded me that, with my true "imaginary friends", we have the clowns handily out numbered. My posting has slowed to a crawl (for a # of reasons, some non-Nats related… Helped host a benefit, last weekend, that raised more than $10,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Network!!!), but I lurk, constantly, even if have to skim, sometimes.For me, absolutely nobody in the organization deserves a single boo, because from the Learners on down to the bays on the bench, I never saw less than 100% effort from anybody… The Learners gave Rizzo everything he needed to build it. Rizzo has brought in TONS of young talent, a sprinkling of savvy vets…. Really, when you think about it, who, on this squad, are you NOT in love with, as a fan? There will be a small number of new faces next year, but for most of us, there's nobody we'll be glad to see gone. I love everyone on this roster, and I'm confident that Rizzo will find more lovers for me, next year.And Davey? Oboy…. The benefits of having Davey at the con this year, will be felt year after year, Desi would be somebody else's all-star, if some of of us had our way… Spinner will prove Davey's good judgement next year…just watch! These youngsters will never forget the lessons of this series: Be aggressive and throw strikes, work the count-take what's offered. Harper will join Werth, Zim, AL, and Morse, in providing many more judicious at-bats. Desi will always jump on the 1st pitch, but he'll hit lots of them right on the nose, providing pop, late in the order…and maybe Espi will shorten that swing, and bat .310 next year… He's smart enough… They all are! The sky's the limit, with these guys, and 5 years from now, it's very possible we all look at last nights result as the most valuable lesson of all. I love you all, but I'm CRAZY about the girls, here!!! Not everyone has a girl in their life, who gives a rats bobo about baseball, and your perspective is so valuable… And FUN!!!! Thanks, everyone for being so much fun, all year!!!(now……time to clean the cobwebs out of this propane stove, so it will burn HOT, in a few weeks!!!!!)SeeYa!!!!!

  180. Taino in DC - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    natsfan1a , doing recount of the games is not enough . The only time we knew about the inside situation on the club is because the national media. Mark just drank all the kool-aid Rizzo offer him .

  181. bluejeener - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Sigh, I am struggling with the agony this morning – did that really happen last night(this morning)? But, I can also ask, did we really just have the season we did? Best record in baseball? NL East Champ? And in a year that was supposed to be just-get-better? I heard Phil Woods talk about some changes, and I imagine there will be a few, some we'll agree with (good bye, EJax), some we maybe won't (ALR? Morse?) and I worry about chemistry, but I believe in Rizzo. Hope IS the best antidote to heartbreak.A big thank you to Mark, the other writers and reporters who kept fans in the know, 24/7, and thank you to the posters here – I am sure we're in for a very entertaining off season.

  182. UnkyD - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Should read Pancreatic Cancer ACTION Network… A terrific organization! And "bats on the bench" not bays…..

  183. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Regular season pitchers were great Post season pitchers as a group were very poor.

  184. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    The term I hate There is always next year. Next year is not guarenteed. Just asked the Mayans.

  185. UnkyD - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    OOPS!!! Mark!!!! Fearless Leader!! Your blog has increased, exponentially, my enjoyment of my team…. Enjoy yourself, and keep up the good work.. Thanks, SO much…

  186. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Love ya back, Unk. 🙂

  187. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Mark reports what is said and what happens….he is not ever going to give opinions or be combative with Nats players or Front Office if they give a stock answer…he is not a guy who will follow up a question with a value judgment that the answer was BS….never did and never will…that said….I have always supported even with several $100 payments to Nats Insider to help get it off the ground…..He is a valued resource….just not in the role that is still needed in the media.

  188. Section 135 - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Dear Bandwagon fans: Please don't come back. I prefer still being able to afford great seats, shorter food lines, and a reasonable commute home. I enjoy sitting near people who actually know about baseball.

  189. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Will they re-sign LaRoche?

  190. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  191. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Morning gang… I feel blessed that I was able to attend the last 2 games. This is an experience that shows the high and the low of emotions and that is what makes baseball and life so cool.As I said late last night… I am proud of this team, my heart goes out to Drew who will be a beast next season and to all. Mark Z, djinfl who helped start this site when we lost over 100 games and all of us.No second guessing at all, maybe, maybe Davey should have have pulled Gio sooner or Drew sooner, who knows. I felt the umpire had some terrible calls down the stretch against Nats.GREAT SEASON!!!! Nats are where the braves were in about 1990 so this means we are going to roll for the next 10 years!!1

  192. Feel Wood - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Had Storen managed to hold them to a tie, Davey would have been in great shape for extra innings with Mattheus, Garcia, Gonzalez and Gorz still in the bullpen and Lombo, Moore and Flores still available off the bench. When you're in a chase and the bad guy is gaining on you, you never fire all your bullets at him before he's even caught up to you.

  193. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    natssfan1A… sorry I could not get to sec 312 before game, my buddy I just got to the park in about 1 minute before game time

  194. Dryw Loves the Nats - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    WaPo says that Adam and the Nats are negotiating and both want to keep him here. The link:'m also inclined to think that this horrible loss will have the silver lining of ensuring that Davey sticks around a bit longer, should he have been considering doing otherwise. (Davey, if you're reading this, PLEASE come back! Think of how much fun next year will be…)

  195. JayB - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Wood…once he passes you do you just keep doing what you were doing that allowed him catch you….cause that is what Davey did last night…he did not manage…he was just old and stubborn….Mike M out managed him all series.

  196. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I'm not a journalist and don't play one on tv, but I would think that it's one thing for the national media to cite unnamed sources in the clubhouse or organization and stir the pot. I would think that it's another thing for a beat writer to burn bridges when he/she is covering the team day in, day out and needs to maintain access and contacts who are willing to speak on or off the record. That said, it doesn't strike me that any of the beats shy away from asking tough questions or pointing out flaws. But that's just my perspective.

  197. Exposremains - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Storen was not getting the low breaking ball called and was afraid to throw the FB over the plate and give a HR so he nibbled and walked guys.I can't see one more AB from Cards and couldn't care less about YankeesDid anybody else shut off tv before the could catch Zim pop-up. I did.

  198. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Would like to have met you, Mick. One of these days the stars will align for Insiders who weren't able to make it.Oh, and on a beat writer note, in this day and age they also deal with anonymous internet critics. That must be loads of fun… 🙂

  199. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Like I said, where I was standing I thought strike 3 was called… I really feel that if this was played St Louis and the roles were reversed that GD umpire would have called strike 3.

  200. mick - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Let me add, Davey did a good job, my only real Monday morning QB is what I felt he should have done before game 4 and 5 and that is play Lombo. Tell Espi, look just relax and watch, we still love you and you are pressing a bit… then use Espi as a pinch hitter in game 4. I know the cooncern is Espi's confidence… but what about Lombo's confidence too? any way.. that is a moot point overall, the I would rather be holding the Nats cards the next 10 years over any team in MLB!

  201. Taino in DC - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    In other news ,Chien-Ming Wang sign a 2 year contract , will start rehab , and expect to be ready in May . 🙂

  202. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    And there's a new post up.

  203. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Don't toy with us, Taino. 😉

  204. fast eddie - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Manassas:"Will they re-sign Laroche?"When you read the players' comments, they consider him a real leader and invaluable contributor. His performance will command a long-term contract, however, and he is blocking TyMo at 1B.I could go either way.

  205. Unknown - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Mark- Thanks for all the insights this year. Rough, rough way for it to end. Had a 7 year old daughter sitting next to me in the stands, inconsolable. But as a fan who's been there since the dark days at RFK, this was an amazing season– sooner than expected. It's a great core to build on, and we still have alot coming up Rendon (if healthy), Goodwin, lots of young pitchers. Other than deciding on EJ and Rochie, I'm not sure what the Nats have on the plate for the offseason.

  206. Manassas Nats' Fan - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Mick I believe you are right in StLouis easy K. Still could no see why it was a ball.Also Storen fear of his fastball is still not clear to me

  207. DJB - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    First, I want to congratulate the Nats on a great season. Second, Davey, by bringing in Jackson, lost the game. Third, to presume the Nats as an organization will learn from this is a common fallacy. They may get better by bringing in and developing more experienced talent, but you only learn how to lose by losing. Lastly, I believe the bullpen was worn out, which I attribute to Rizzo's monumentally stupid decision to shut down Stras. He needs to be fired. All in all, the best baseball in 80 years for D.C., but that was in spite of Rizzo, not because of him

  208. DJB - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Finally, on the Rizzo front. Stras appears very angry, and Bryce wants to be on a winner. The only way to go forward and sign these guys eventually is to start over with new management. Maybe, if firing is too harsh, kick Rizzo upstairs. Lastly, didn't Rizzo draft Storen over Trout, who was available. Again, great season, but I'm not sure we'll be seeing this for some time.

  209. Sally - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    I thought Storen actually threw strike 3 twice so I went to pitch fx when I got home. Sure enough, 2 pitches thrown to Molina were clearly in the strike zone and even not that low as it had looked in person. No clue why the umpire let those go as balls. And Storen was throwing some fastballs. I was looking at the gun and a number of pitches were clocking at 96. My biggest question is why didn't Davey walk Kozma? Seemed like a no-brainer. Go to the B9 tied 7-7. Either Motte would have had to hit for himself or Methany would have had to use the only bench player left–a back-up catcher. Cards pen was spent and I would have liked our chances in extras.Watching the replay it also appeared that Desmond gets to Descalso's grounder 9 out of 10 times. Sometimes it's just dumb luck.

  210. Sally - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    DJB, this team wouldn't be this team without Rizzo. He constructed it the way it is and he built a team that won 100 games total this year. Incidentally, Trout wasn't "Trout" at the time of the 2009 draft; Storen was drafted 10th, Trout 12th, so 10 other team also skipped over him. At that time the Nationals needed arms in the pen, particuarly a closer, not outfielders, and Storen was a top closer coming out of college. I doubt many scouts would have predicted how quickly and how well Trout has developed. Besides, where would the Nationals put another outfielder right now? You going to sit Werth, Harper or Morse?





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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