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Impressive win for Nats to open series in New York

May 1, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

AP

If the Nationals’ intention Thursday night was to make a statement to the Mets, consider their mission accomplished.

With a lopsided, 8-2 victory at Citi Field, the Nationals took the first game of this big weekend series, won their third straight, moved to within five games of first place in the NL East and thoroughly outplayed New York in every facet.

Whether the trend will continue Friday night and beyond remains to be seen. But on this night, the Nationals appeared to flex some muscles, reminding the Mets who exactly won this division by 17 games last season and who remains the heavy favorite to repeat in 2015.

Thoughts on some of the key points of this impressive win…

Stephen Strasburg made some nice mid-game adjustments
The way his first two innings went, Strasburg didn’t look long for this game. He put the Nationals in an early 2-0 hole, but worse, he needed 52 pitches just to get through those two frames.

At that rate, Strasburg would have been lucky to complete five innings. He wound up reaching the sixth, thanks to a far more aggressive approach from the third inning on.

Strasburg threw only 59.6 percent of his pitches for strikes in those laborious first two innings, constantly falling behind New York hitters. But over his next three innings, he increased that number to 73.8 percent, needing only 42 pitches to record nine outs.

No, he wasn’t perfect. And, yes, you’d have liked to see him at least finish the sixth inning. But Strasburg did show he could make an adjustment after two shaky innings, pounding the strike zone with much better fastball command and not letting the Mets score again once the Nationals took the lead.

The lineup remains red-hot
OK, so the Nationals failed to score 13 runs for the first time in three games. What a colossal failure that makes them.

Not exactly. The Nats were more than productive enough at the plate, scoring eight runs on 12 hits and three walks. Yunel Escobar returned from two days off with an injured left hand to go 3-for-5 and score three runs. Jayson Werth finally got some hard-hit balls to drop and went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson each recorded a pinch-hit, always a welcome sight.

And Bryce Harper was up to his old tricks yet again. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles, another walk, three RBI, a run scored and a couple of extra bases taken.

Thus concludes a phenomenal April for Harper, who finished the month with a .286 batting average, five homers, 15 RBI, 22 walks, .440 on-base percentage, .545 slugging percentage and .985 OPS. Oh, and he remains 22 years old.

The bullpen was used effectively and locked down the win
The significance of this could get lost in the shuffle because the final score was lopsided, but this remained a close ballgame until the ninth, when Harper’s 3-run double broke things open. The Nationals led only 5-2 from the sixth-through-eighth innings, and that’s when Aaron Barrett and Sammy Solis did some yeoman’s work out of the pen.

First of all, props to Matt Williams for bringing in Barrett to replace Strasburg with two on and one out in the sixth. That normally would be a bit early of an appearance for Barrett, who had entered in the eighth inning or later in 10 of his 11 previous outings this season.

But the game hung in the balance in the bottom of the sixth, with the Mets bringing the tying run to the plate. That was the high-leverage situation, and Williams brought in one of his most-effective relievers to get out of the jam. Which Barrett did, striking out Eric Campbell and getting Wilmer Flores to hit a line drive right at Werth in left field. Barrett threw 7-of-8 pitches for strikes, a standout performance in a big spot.

Solis, meanwhile, earned Williams’ trust not only to pitch the seventh inning of a 3-run game but to come back and pitch the eighth as well. The 26-year-old lefty, the fifth rookie pitcher to make his MLB debut for the Nationals in 16 days, also pounded the strike zone (16-of-22 pitches). And he was plenty effective, retiring 6-of-7 batters faced.

Not to be overlooked, Drew Storen retired the side in the ninth, striking out a pair. Harper’s earlier double had removed the save situation from the game, but Storen nonetheless pitched how you’d want him to when protecting a 1-run lead.

128 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. stoatva - May 1, 2015 at 6:07 AM

    First of all, props to Matt Williams for bringing in Barrett to replace Strasburg with two on and one out in the sixth.

    Amen to that. Was still listening on the radio at that point but when he went out and got him, and had Bear ready I said “That’s the right move no matter how it turns out.” I’d have considered it successful had they been held to one run, but they got bupkis.

    And Matt actually looked like he was having fun, post game. Turning point, indeed.

    • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 8:16 AM

      It is only good when it works out and it did. It was Campbell on-deck when Stras was pulled, not David Wright and it appeared Stras had more in the tank.

  2. Guapo - May 1, 2015 at 6:17 AM

    Huge win. Crazy April. Long way to go, but at least ending the month on the upswing.

    This very well may be Bryce’s team by the AS break. You can almost see him maturing as a ballplayer on a daily basis. Still struggling with a high K% but overall at the plate he looks more comfortable than at any other point in his career.

    • 3on2out - May 1, 2015 at 6:51 AM

      and still shows a lack of discipline when he incorrectly believes his arm doesn’t require the intervention of the cutoff man…but Guapo is spot on…his plate discipline has been remarkable and a huge stride forward from his free swinging past.

      • laddieblahblah - May 1, 2015 at 6:59 AM

        Twenty-two walks, already. Somebody on this thread predicted in ST that Bryce would lead the league in walks this year. That prediction looks pretty good, about now. The way he is hitting, they may actually give him free passes at an even more accelerated pace.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 7:14 AM

        I admit to not liking the move to pull Stras at the time. It worked out, so I’m a dummy and MW is a genius. Honestly, we’ll never know, but I thought Stephen still had more in the tank and really seemed to want to get out of his own mess. But more importantly,Barrett had a great, confidence building outing. And oh, what a debut for Sammy Solis!

      • Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 7:38 AM

        Other than BA, after 100 PA’s Harper is leading the team in almost every significant offensive category and he has reached base in all but two games. Of his 22 walks five are officially intentional, but several more were clearly “pitch arounds.”

      • Nats Fan Zee - May 1, 2015 at 7:49 AM

        To Joe … I had the opposite reaction. When MW came out I said “thank God”. Not to be disrespectful because Strass started out missing a bit but then locked in and got on a very strong run …. But, then the all too familiar routine began … Back to back hits to open the inning followed by a sac fly and viola, 1st and 3rd one out. Many times we see this with Strass after an error or bad calls or bad luck or fill in the blank. What follows usually is a meltdown but THIS time, MW took preventive action.

        Good for him, good for SS and good for the Nats. Last night, MW managed and used every tool in the box and it worked out all around …. Imagine that.

      • natsjackinfl - May 1, 2015 at 7:51 AM

        Disagree Joe. Stras was forcing his effort and that leads to trouble. Matt made the right call.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 9:07 AM

        Like I said, Jack, I’m a dummy.

    • laddieblahblah - May 1, 2015 at 6:54 AM

      “This very well may be Bryce’s team by the AS break. You can almost see him maturing as a ballplayer on a daily basis.”

      He has been very impressive, especially since every team seems to have circled his name and decided that Bryce will not be the guy who will beat them. Twice the Mets brought in a LOOGY for Bryce, and Bryce rewarded that ploy with a base-clearing 3-run double by driving a bullet to the left center gap for an 8-2 lead… “DAGGER!”

      Just as Bryce has harnessed his competitive drive, SS seems to have developed one of his own. Both of them are going to be leaders on this team. If SS gets any more pumped up, they may have to keep him in a cage. I can’t be sure, of course, but I suspect he was upset with the way Ramos set up for that 0-2 change-up to Flores in the 2nd after Flores had taken 2 FBs down the middle, apparently not wanting anything to do with either of them. Ramos has a habit of repeating both pitch sequences and pitch locations, and Flores appeared to be sitting on that 0-2 change down and in. Lobaton does a much better job of mixing both pitch sequences and their locations, and will deliberately call for, say, a high FB up and out of the zone, while Ramos much more consistently calls for pitches to be thrown in the strike zone. Last year, most of SS’s dominant performances were caught, and called, by Lobaton. That is another case, I would think, where Rizzo and his scouts knew exactly what they were doing when they got him.

      The heart of the order had a pretty good night – Esco (3 hits), Werth (2 hits), Harp (2 hits), Zim (2 hits) and Ramos (3 hits). And two more PHs from the bench.

      But the really big surprise for me was the dominant performance of Sammy Solis, after missing so much development time with numerous severe arm injuries and only 4 innings pitched at Harrisburg this year. So much for the rating services that had Cole so far ahead of Solis on their prospect lists. Actually, Solis wasn’t even on their lists this year, except to be listed as a bust. Hard to believe the guy uncorked a 96 mph FB and regularly dished 95, after all that his arm has been through. Those young bull pen arms are looking pretty good, with both Grace, and now Solis, as legitimate candidates to make the cut.

      It has only been one month, but is Escobar really as good as he has shown? Once again, Rizzo and his scouts saw something, or figured something, that led Mike to pull the trigger on that guy, and does that trade ever look like another steal, at this point in the season. Desi may have the Silver Slugger trophy, but Esco has been, by far, the best hitting SS on this team.

      • natsjackinfl - May 1, 2015 at 7:55 AM

        Escobar is the same player he was in Tampa only that his lower half is healthy.

        He was always a tough at bat and always enthusiastic.

        But haters are haters and all they cared about was his lack of the cultural understanding that he put on display 1 afternoon in Toronto.

        I was glad the second the trade was announced.

      • alexva6 - May 1, 2015 at 8:04 AM

        Solis was highly touted when drafted. He has never stayed healthy so when he can go a full season without injury I may jump on the bandwagon.

        I am not a Thornton fan so I am very happy to see the good work out of Grace as well as Solis last night.

      • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 8:25 AM

        The little mock fight between Werth and Esco after they scored on Harper’s hit was a fun thing to see. Looks like Esco has fit right in and is great for team chemistry. How about that? And he’s exceeded expectations both at the plate and in the field. But don’t worry jack,Theo will continue to dump on him at every opportunity.

      • laddieblahblah - May 1, 2015 at 8:49 AM

        I don’t know what happened in Toronto, Jack, but I don’t see how anyone can hate that guy. Terrific addition to an already dominant team.

      • virginiascopist - May 1, 2015 at 8:50 AM

        I think any Mets fan would tell you Leathersich is not a LOOGY, but fortunately for us, Terry Collins apparently thinks he is.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 8:52 AM

        +1 222. That exchange between Esco and Werth after scoring was fun to watch.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 8:52 AM

        100% agree NatsJack and I’ve said so many times that he was a good teammate in Tampa and he plays the game with passion.

      • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 8:59 AM

        Loved it.

  3. Another_Sam - May 1, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    What’s with Spann?

    • ArVAFan - May 1, 2015 at 7:08 AM

      Per various tweets, he exited with some soreness in the area where he’d had his operations. Hopes to play Saturday or Sunday.

      • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 7:09 AM

        Hope that it’s just part of the healing/returning process.

    • Steady Eddie - May 1, 2015 at 7:16 AM

      A little soreness in the area of his last surgery. He’s been going all out the past few days — as DSpan himself said, “and gained 1000 yards” — so they’re giving him him Friday (at least) off. Explains a little more why they brought up MAT rather than DD — want a starter to give DSpan and Wirth a full game rest rather than a late inning replacement.

    • natsguy - May 1, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      Span

  4. natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    Nice win, boys. Very nice.

    Stras really looked P.O.’d when he was taken out (but I’m glad he was).

    “Both of them are going to be leaders on this team. If SS gets any more pumped up, they may have to keep him in a cage”

    • Guapo - May 1, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      Agreed. Happy to see some right in SS to pitch. Would have liked to see the same fight to pitch back in the FAll of 2012, but that’s water under the bridge at this point.

  5. Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Harper is becoming an absolute beast before our very eyes. I love how quiet he is at the plate, and his plate discipline is paying off in spades. As I noted in a conversation with JoeS about this yesterday, every time he takes pitches outside the zone and walks he serves notice to opposing teams that he will not chase bad pitches. That means when there comes a time that a walk would be a very bad result for the pitcher (like last night with the bases loaded), he will get a pitch to hit. When he unleashes his beautiful swing on a pitch in the strike zone, it’s a beautiful thing to watch.

    Oh, and did you notice that he ripped that bases clearing double off a LOOGY brought in specifically to face him? Awesome.

    A note of caution — Rafael Martin had an outstanding, some said historic, multi-inning debut too, if i recall correctly. Against the Red Sox, no less. I’m going to reserve judgment on Solis for a good while. It was cool, however, to see the velocity displayed last night. I thought he was “soft-tossing, crafty lefty.”

    • rayvil01 - May 1, 2015 at 8:32 AM

      “Harper is becoming an absolute beast before our very eyes.”

      Yes he is. He still has more than a fair share of K’s. But, I suspect those will come down with time also. I like his competitiveness. Maybe it’s because of RZ and previously ALR, this team tended to look like a business conference. Very professional…but, very sterile. You need some fire in the mix. That’s one of the reasons Esco has been a pleasant surprise. He is visually having a good time out there.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 8:46 AM

        Has to lay off that high cheese at his eyeballs. Thats the 1 pitch he has to anticipate.

    • adcwonk - May 1, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      Oh, and did you notice that he ripped that bases clearing double off a LOOGY brought in specifically to face him? Awesome.

      Best part — it was 0-2 and Bryce didn’t try to do too much with it (Ian, dude, are you listening). Bryce sort of went with the pitch with a slight inside-out swing, and, boom: to the left field gap.

      Great piece of hitting against the lefty. I don’t recall Bryce going to left all that much lately. That pitch was the perfect time.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 1, 2015 at 1:20 PM

        To me the best part, was the pitch was on the outer half and he went to left.

        My complaint of most batter is pulling outside pitches.

    • jd - May 1, 2015 at 9:03 AM

      Deuces,

      That’s a very inteligent remark about Solis. We have a tendendency to draw lofty conclusions based on small sample sizes. I am rooting hard for Solis but I am not concluding that he is ahead of Cole in the pecking order based on on 1 outing for each of them. Let’s maintaintain some perspective,

      • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        Yeah. A single appearance is about a small a sample size as you can get. But especially after the over the top reviews of Martin’s first outing, I’m skeptical. He went from Cy Young, to a ROOGY, to a guy who couldn’t get anyone out and gets sent back to the ‘Cuse in the course of a few weeks.

      • Doc - May 1, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        The Nats have decided that Solis will be a reliever, Cole, at least at this point, has been earmarked for the rotation. Probably not much to compete about there.

    • npb99 - May 1, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      One of the keys to Nats’ success this year was a big step forward for Harper. He’s done that so far, in all sorts of ways. Kudos to the kid!

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    MW went with instinct last night when he pulled Strasburg and when things are going right it worked out extremely well.

    The Solis move was a total head scratcher. 3 run lead and it was the kids debut in New York City and added pressure and the first 2 batters he faces were righties. It worked out.

    That’s baseball. MW deserves all the credit because if it was a disaster he would get all the blame.

    • rayvil01 - May 1, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      Haters gonna’ hate regardless, Ghost. For the reasons you noted some will say he got lucky. If he had followed the book he’s just a “Paint-by-numbers” guy.., just an unimaginative dolt. Now, if Bochy had made those contrarian moves, Oh My that’s just pure genius. Managing as an art form, etc, etc.

      At the nadir of the game in ATL down 9-1 some guy was tweeting that the silver lining was that MW would be fired soon with Rizzo shortly thereafter. I’m sure he and others are in remission at the moment. But, they’ll return with a vengeance at the first opportunity.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 8:44 AM

        I have very little intel on Solis as to why MW picked him over Thornton or Treinen. Why Sammy So in that spot? Technically that was a Med Lev spot but that was Hi Lev in reality.

        MW has to get the credit. Even his 2 pinch hitters got hits.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        “At the nadir of the game in ATL down 9-1 some guy was tweeting that the silver lining was that MW would be fired soon with Rizzo shortly thereafter.”

        Didnt see it and it doesnt suprize me at all.

      • nats4me - May 1, 2015 at 10:27 AM

        I don’t understand the animus against Rizzo. What has he not done to better this team…outside of winning the World Series? It’s not that easy. Taking over for MLB’s joke, Jim Bowden, Rizzo has orchestrated some excellent deals. Who has a problem with the Fister trade? Rizzo got Mike Morris for Ryan Langerhans! Who’d complain about sending Guzman for Tanner Roark? How about Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps? Then there is the Alex Meyer who can’t bust the fairly poor lineup in Minnesota for Span! And I for one thought the move last year for Cabrera for Zach Walters was the one that won them the NL East.
        Granted, I’m choosing the good trades, but if you look up the rest, you won’t find really that many stinkers…and yes I include the Souza trade, as a good one….not bad.

    • laddieblahblah - May 1, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      “The Solis move was a total head scratcher.”

      Yeah. I was, well, shocked. But he was dominant. Can he stay healthy? The Nats were always high on him, but injuries appeared to have destroyed his career. He could not even muster 95 when he was in college, as I recall. Topped out at about 92. Now, after all the injuries, surgeries and rehabs, he hits 96 in his ML debut.

      Amazing.

      • natsjackinfl - May 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM

        I wasn’t surprised. When Solis didn’t get warm in the blow out the night before it told me he was there for the Mets lefties Granderson, Duda, and Murphy.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        Sorry NatsJack, they have other lefties now and MW didnt bring Solis in for those guys. He brought him in to start the 7th and he got 2 righties Plawicki and Mayberry (PH) before he got Granderson. I would have expected Thornton but Solis made some sense as the 2nd hitter was going to be either Mayberry or Niewenhuis who was the lefty if the Nats brought in Treinen.

        Now if you knew he somehow would come back for the 8th inning then your a mindreader. The only reason he faced Daniel Murphy was because he gave up a single to the left-hander Duda and faced the 4th batter of the inning who happened to be Murphy who smoked a liner off him and right at Taylor.

      • natsjackinfl - May 1, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        You can say you’re sorry all you want but the organization has viewed Solis as their power lefty out of the pen for just the scenario he entered last night.

        He can go through a line up with 3 solid pitches and is super tough on lefties. Which important Mets lefty did he not face?

        Thornton is no mystery to the Mets and Grace was used the nigh before.

        All in all, II’d say the bullpen has a chance to develope into a force.

        But what do I know?

      • therealjohnc - May 1, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        I was very impressed with Solis’s stuff out of the bullpen last night. I had always heard that he had an excellent curve ball (although he apparently had to recapture it after the TJ surgery) but I had no idea that he could throw 95-96+ heat. If he can consistently command that stuff, it will certainly play out of the bullpen.

        “Consistently,” of course, is a big hurdle for any young pitcher. But I will say that with Martin as I watched his successful MLB debut I was wondering “how is he doing that?” because his stuff was certainly unexciting. As I watched Solis my thought was to wonder if the Nationals could catch a left handed version of Christian Garcia: a highly touted power arm that couldn’t stay healthy as a starter but flourishes out of the bullpen. Hopefully with a better ending than Garcia, whose health woes of course resurfaced and ultimately ended his career.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    I can empathize with the Mets. A costly error by their shortstop changed the momentum of the game and deGrom was rattled. 3 runs scored.

    Early in the game I said the leftfielder Cuddyer was a defensive liability and as luck has it he couldn’t get to some balls. He lumbered towards 2 balls that many LFs catch with ease and one of them was the Bryce Harper double. Cuddyer was positioned well at the crack of the bat but was very slow getting to the ball. I wish that #Statcast was in effect to show 1st step, speed and path to the ball.

    Defense and pitching was the difference in this game, and kudos to the Nats for timely hitting. Great RISP results.

    • Guapo - May 1, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      +1

      Nice to be on the good side of a crucial E6 for once. Three or four more of those and Nats will be even for the season.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 8:58 AM

        I had a head spin after Flores booted the ball. The only outstanding play the Mets made was gunning RZ out at the plate and on replay it looked like if RZ foot was down he beat the tag by a eyelash.

        After the 3rd inning it was the Nats making all the plays and getting all the bounces and taking advantage of the Mets.

        Nice to see the tables turned.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        That’s Regression for you.

      • Doc - May 1, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        Regression to the mean always defeats most of our previous comments. But what the hay, commenting is more fun than waiting for regression to take place.

      • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 2:20 PM

        Yeah, that’s like watching grass grow.

    • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      Speaking of #Statcast the human highlight reel Kevin Pillar did it again last night and Statcast rated him:

      “According to MLB Statcast (TM) data, Pillar reached a top speed of nearly 18 miles per hour, as he traveled more than 85 feet to make the leaping catch. His route efficiency was graded at 96.2 percent.”

      • Doc - May 1, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        His vertical was something else too!

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        Someone on here pointed to his range ratings. Who do you believe? Range ratings or #Statcast. One is subjective and one is computer measured. Im sticking with Statcast.

        The same person also pointed out that Pillars OPS is 694 which is weak for a corner outfielder. Sure he ranks 25th of 40 leftfielders in a small sample size in OPS.

        Your OPS leaders are Scott Van Slyke, Chris Young, Hanley Ramirez and Matt Holliday. 3 of them are considered to be poor defensive outfielders.

  8. laddieblahblah - May 1, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    Well, that didn’t take long. Will Difo has already been promoted from Potomac to Harrisburg. Both he and Turner are now at AA.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      Yep, Turner is now in a slump but that’s expected. He started hot. Just needs to adjust to the diet of breaking pitches.

      Difo is special.

      • laddieblahblah - May 1, 2015 at 9:12 AM

        I looked up his bio a couple of weeks ago, but can’t find it. Otherwise I would link to it. He was so poor as a kid he was an under-nourished teenager in the DR who could not get a tryout until a Nats scout down there gave him a shot and signed him. As soon as he started to get some decent food he blossomed into that 6′, 200 lb frame. The kid dedicated himself to making it all the way to the bigs, not only for himself, but to help his family have a more comfortable life.

        Nothing is going to stop that kid.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 9:18 AM

        Love his swing and he reminds me a lot of a young Placido Polanco with a little more girth.

        His life story just makes it all more special. Thanks for sharing. It can’t be said enough.

      • unkyd59 - May 1, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        Renda is at Harrisburg, too… I refuse to let him become a non-person…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        I wrote last week I’d expect him to be promoted to AAA. Makes no sense not to play him every day.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        Laddie, was it this WaPo article you mean?

        Nats’ Top Prospect Bloomed Late

      • letswin3 - May 1, 2015 at 2:25 PM

        Thanks, Sofa. That story will stick with me.

  9. nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    “A note of caution — Rafael Martin had an outstanding, some said historic, multi-inning debut too, if i recall correctly. Against the Red Sox, no less. I’m going to reserve judgment on Solis for a good while. It was cool, however, to see the velocity displayed last night. I thought he was “soft-tossing, crafty lefty.””

    2’s, your comparison to Rafael Martin is valid. No book on these guys. Adrenaline pumpping. Extra zip on the balls.

    Gift it a few outings before you declare Solis to be the next Aroldis Chapman.

    • jd - May 1, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      Exactly right.

    • natsjackinfl - May 1, 2015 at 12:50 PM

      Martin will be back.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 1:45 PM

        Im sure he will be.

  10. natsguy - May 1, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    To quote some of y’all, its early yet. Don’t get too high about victories (Eric) or too low about losses (JayB). Ther are still 139 games to go.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 9:19 AM

      “The goin’ up is worth the comin’ down.”
      — Kris Kristofferson
      You could look it up!

    • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      JayB’s cup was already 1/2 empty and he was pouring the rest out after AJ Cole was pulled from the game on Tuesday.

      • Candide - May 1, 2015 at 10:06 AM

        +1 just for a beautiful turn of phrase.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 10:27 AM

        :O)

  11. adcwonk - May 1, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Nats were 8 games out of it, and down 9-1 (true, but according to the neg-anon cockroaches who scatter at the first sign of light, they were also dead and out of it).

    Just three days later: a nice little three game win streak, and five games behind.

    And get this (ahem, this speaks towards clutch hitting) — Nats are fourth in NL in runs scored per game, despite being 11th in BA.

    Team ERA is 5th in NL.

    This is a team that has all the markings of “getting on track”.

    … to state the obvious

    • jd - May 1, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      wonk,

      Except for 1 thing. 4 out of 5 of our great rotation have underperformed fairly significantly. I am not a big Mc.Catty fan and I also wonder if there’s an issue with Ramos but there’s something disturbing with their performance so far.

      • sec105rowwseat28 - May 1, 2015 at 9:22 AM

        Disagree. Scherzer has been great, as advertised. Stras has been Stras and Gio has been Gio, as expected. JZ started off a bit off, but is coming around. That leaves Fister as the only one in the rotation who has “underperformed fairly significantly.”

      • veejh - May 1, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        I agree. The only direction is up for this rotation. Once things fully click…..lights out.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 1, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        The rotation struggled coming out of the gate last year, too, but turned it around.

      • Doc - May 1, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        Fister is the only guy that I’m concerned about. He’s pitching high in the zone, and his breaking stuff is not fooling the hitters.

      • adcwonk - May 1, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        You and I differ greatly on McCatty.

        As for our rotation, I think that they will get it together just like our hitters did. Far too early to worry about them very much, imho.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 12:13 PM

        There was a great comment a while ago that speaks to when you strive to be so perfect with every pitch you add the pressure to the performance that multiplies if there is a error or bad call from the man in blue. You could see it. Once Strasburg got the lead last night he relaxed and dominated.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 1, 2015 at 1:24 PM

        I sort of agree 3 out of 5 are below career stats, Fister is a little better Max is way above.

        But I expect a quality start each time, not the MLB definition. My definition 7 IP 2 runs.

      • NatsLady - May 1, 2015 at 2:26 PM

        Re: McCatty. Just about every time I listen to an opposing team’s broadcast they state that McCatty is one of the best pitching coaches. Ron Darling raved about him yesterday. Since he’s a former pitcher, that carries weight with me.

    • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:24 AM

      Thanks for compliling all that data. If Ian Desmond can get on track that will help. Now Michael Taylor needs to stop with his Desi impression. If you blinked you missed Taylor’s at-bat.

      Pitcher
      B. Carlyle
      Batter
      M. Taylor
      Speed Pitch Result
      1 86 Slider Swinging Strike
      2 89 Sinker Foul
      3 91 Fastball (Four-seam) Swinging Strike

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:41 AM

        Taylor’s 1st AB was a 4 pitch strikeout. Saw 7 pitches on the night and K’d twice.

    • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      wonk, the stats you cite show exactly how meaningless early season rankings are. Three days ago, the Nats were near the bottom of the NL in runs scored. Now after two 13 run games and an 8 run game they are fourth. But they’re still 12 in won-loss percentage.

      Span’s batting average jumped about 100 points after he went 5-5 the other night. Small sample sizes have that effect.

      I think I’m going to wait until we get over .500 to say we’ve turned it around or are “on track.” We had a nice series against the Phillies a few weeks ago too, and then lost 6 straight.

      • adcwonk - May 1, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        I agree completely. (Thus my prior posts all month long of “it’s still April”)

        Which is always why I said “has all the markings of on track” rather than pronounce us as actually “on track.”

        The old saw come into play again: a team is never as bad as it looks during a losing streak and never as good as it looks during a winning streak . . .

  12. Theophilus T.S. - May 1, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Sec 222 — For the record, I officially changed my position re Escobar over a week, probaby closer to two, ago. Of course, “small sample size” applies to team chemistry as well as BA — everyone loves Hanley Ramirez in Boston, for the time being — but as to Escobar I am now optimistic. As I mused in announcing my reversal, I think Washington is a much easier place to play than Tampa. There’s enough enthusiastic fan support here for every player to feel like a hero. If I had to play in that echoing fungus farm in St. Petersburg, I’d be an under-achiever, too.

    • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Difference is Big Papi is the clubhouse leader of the Bosox and he recruited Hanley. In Los Angeles the problem was they didnt have a clubhouse leader and you had the Matt Kemp faction, the Hanley faction, and Puig was the ringmaster of his own circus. You need veteran leadership.

      Hanley is lazy, doesnt finish plays and you get that sense he doesnt care. That resonates thru a clubhouse. Ive never heard anything negative on Escobar’s passion to play the game.

    • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      You officially changed your position over a week ago? Really? That didn’t seem to deter you from criticizing Esco’s “defensive technique” in the Simmons spiking incident. I guess it depends on what the meaning of “changed” is.

      • Theophilus T.S. - May 1, 2015 at 10:14 AM

        A critique is different from not liking the player. He’s playing out of position, which earns a bit of latitude. And I don’t think anybody has ever confused him w/ Mark Belanger.

      • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 11:07 AM

        I see. So before, you didn’t like the player, and took every opportunity to point out his supposed deficiencies and blast the trade that brought him here. You’ve changed your position, so now, the day after he leaves the field with a bloody and bruised hand, and people are discussing the Simmons slide, you take the opportunity to critique Esco’s defensive play. That makes sense.

      • therealjohnc - May 1, 2015 at 11:37 AM

        Actually it makes perfect sense. If my favorite player does something with poor technique or is just foolish, one can point that out without having to renounce the player. It works the other way, too: I can be really impressed by a smart, heads-up play made by a player whose overall game I really dislike.

        One is a general, overall feeling, impression or rating. The other is an analysis of a specific play/event.

      • adcwonk - May 1, 2015 at 11:40 AM

        I missed TS’s critique — but the ESPN guys also immediately noted bad technique on that play (fwiw, I posted it during the game thread). My own addition was that it might be due to Esco’s inexperience at 3b (a position that, I think, he’s never played during his entire pro career)

      • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 11:42 AM

        You’re entitled to your opinion johnc. But the timing of the comment in question and the back story of Theo’s intense dislike of the trade and the player made it abundantly clear that it was not just an objective critique. If you go back and read the comment I think you’ll see what I mean. But maybe not.

  13. Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    A little update on Trey Turner:

    For the season he is batting .282 with a 354 OBP.

    In 71 AB’s he has 20 hits, [7 XBHs] and 8 BBs

    In 18 games he has had 1 error

    Before last night’s 3-4 game he had a rough 4 games going 1-17, but overall for the past 10 games his BA was still .286 going 12-42 with 3 BBs

    For his first 18 games at the AA level, under weird circumstances, I’d say that he is doing pretty good.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 9:46 AM

      Thanks for updating and that’s a nice breakout of the mini slump last night!

      BTW, it’s Trea not Trey although it’s pronounced like a Tray.

      Also, Turner started off in AA en fuego then hit that mini slump. It happens.

      Harrisburg Senator fans are going to be lucky to watch them!!!!

      • Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 9:51 AM

        When he gets there I plan to head up there for a few games.
        [BTW, I know his name is Trea, but sometimes, [in reality,quite often] I make mistakes.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        Figure on June 16th in Harrisburg vs Richmond for his 1st start.

        I also wonder how long Giolito will be in Potomac.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 10:04 AM

        Harrisburg plays in Bowie on July 16 to 19. Good timing since the Nats are just coming off the All Star break.

      • ArVAFan - May 1, 2015 at 10:10 AM

        Joe, don’t worry about Trey, Tray, Trea. We blame it on the auto-corrupt function, not you.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        You should see the auto-correct on Difo. Mine wants to make it Dodo.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 10:14 AM

        Steve, it’s a bit of a haul for us to make the Harrisburg trip. Most of the way is actually quite pleasant,but as you get closer to Harrisburg the traffic, often due to roadwork, is miserable. But then once you get to that park it is just as cool of a minor league park as I’ve ever been to. Even with remodel work done in the too distant past, it still has an old feel to it, not to mention it’s built on an island on the river. There are quite a few good old boys that go to virtually every game and they are wealth of information.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 1, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        I’ve actually made it there and stayed in Hershey and got in some good golf.

  14. Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Anyone happen to see Pedro last night on MLB Network talking about how pitchers can learn alot from how a hitter “waggles” his bat when he gets set in the box? Apparently Felipe Alou pointed it out to him when he was with the Expos. They demonstrated how revealing it is by looking at the “waggles” of Trout, Pujols, and Cruz, and then showing their “hot zone” charts. Great stuff.

  15. Joe Seamhead - May 1, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Not a Phillies fan at all, but it’s kind of sad to see Chase Utley’s slash so far this year:

    21 games:

    .114/.198/.200/.398

    Didn’t one of our esteemed posters scream all winter that Rizzo should’ve tried to get Utley down here?

  16. scmargenau - May 1, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    Anyone notice how Collins called out (kinda) Ian in post game?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      Didn’t see it. What did he say?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 10:19 AM

        There’s this quote in the NYDN gamer. Hard to argue with it on the facts.

        “You look at the way the Nationals are playing right now, their shortstop (Desmond) is off to one of the worst starts of anybody,” the Mets manager said. “But he is still playing shortstop and they are playing good.

        “You have to be a little patient.”

      • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        Further context, from the same gamer, is that Collins was preaching patience regarding Flores:

        Collins preached patience with Flores, citing one shortstop the Mets looked into acquiring this winter as an example: the Nationals’ Ian Desmond, who has nine errors.

        “We decided he was going to be the shortstop, we realized there might be a couple rough spots,” Collins said. “But you realize the minute you jerk him out of the lineup because he is not good enough to play shortstop, you might as well just put him someplace else, because those days are over playing shortstop.

        “You look at the way the Nationals are playing right now, their shortstop (Desmond) is off to one of the worst starts of anybody,” the Mets manager said. “But he is still playing shortstop and they are playing good.

        “You have to be a little patient.”

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM

        A little patient? I know just the one!

      • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 11:02 AM

        lol

  17. mabworld - May 1, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    The MASN broadcast didn’t show a few things that the Mets broadcast did regarding Stras and Ramos. There was definitely some back and forth going on early in the game between them. When Stras let the two runners on in the 6th, I wonder if MW pulled Stras, in part, because of this. While the Mets announcers were probably blowing it up bigger than it really was, it still wasn’t pretty.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      I have video of the conversation right here:

      • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 11:46 AM

        Niiice.

      • Section 222 - May 1, 2015 at 12:03 PM

        This clip (and many others from Bull Durham) never get old. Thanks for posting.

      • Candide - May 1, 2015 at 12:50 PM

        The day I don’t laugh my ass off at this scene, you might as well unplug me from the life support.

    • ehay2k - May 1, 2015 at 11:49 AM

      MLB Network really called this out today, claimed there was a bit of heat between the two.

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 12:20 PM

        Stras being Stras. There was a time people suggested he wasnt connecting with Suzuki and wanted a personal catcher relationship.

      • ehay2k - May 1, 2015 at 12:21 PM

        I was actually thinking at the time that he wanted Ramos to call more fast balls, because that appeared to be his best pitch. but that is a normal disagreement and I think MLB Network was blowing it out of proportion

      • nats128 - May 1, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        Stras being Stras.

  18. Serious Jammage - May 1, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Forecast for first pitch is 55 degrees, might remind Max of his time in Detroit. Going to be a blast watching him against Harvey.

    Also, to remind those who forgot what it felt like last year, we are currently on a “winning streak”:

    • natsfan1a - May 1, 2015 at 11:46 AM

      lol, it has happened before.

  19. paulfortier - May 1, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    LUCAS GIOLITO

    Does anybody know what is happening with the top prospect Lucas Giolito? I made some research and it appears he didn’t pitch a single inning this season.

    • alexva6 - May 1, 2015 at 11:12 AM

      no need to worry, in FLA getting ready to start the season. his innings are being limited

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        Not sure this is really him …

  20. rlndtln - May 1, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Let them keep fighting and winning

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