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A blast and a bloop keep Nats rolling

May 4, 2015, 11:53 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

It took nearly a month, but perhaps the 2015 Nationals are beginning to forge an identity, one that bears some strong resemblance to the 2014 version of this club.

Whether overcoming injuries to key regulars, a sloppy play here and there or a late deficit, these Nationals are beginning to show a characteristic key to any successful team.

“We’re a resilient group,” Ian Desmond said following Monday night’s 6-4 win over the Marlins. “We got a lot of guys in here who believe in each other and are pulling on the same end of the rope. It’s fun to be a part of.”

The Nationals are having lots of fun right now, and deservedly so. On the heels of a wild road trip that began with four straight losses, then changed course with a record-breaking rally, they have now won six of their last seven. Stuck in last place in the NL East, a full 8 games back only seven days ago, they’re now in second place, only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Mets.

And they’ve done this thanks to some impressive performances late in games, with Monday night’s effort the latest addition to the list.

Trailing 4-2 in the eighth after the Marlins got a pair of 2-out RBI singles off rookie reliever Matt Grace, the Nationals stormed back to score four runs in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a blast by Desmond and then a perfectly placed bloop by Yunel Escobar to cap a brilliant night at the plate by the veteran infielder.

“This is the best game of my career,” Escobar said through interpreter Nilson Robledo after his first-ever 5-for-5 performance.

Escobar had already singled four times over the course of the night — a grounder up the middle, a line drive to left, a line drive to right, a hit-and-run to right — before he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, two on and the game knotted at 4.

With first base open and the .176-hitting Jayson Werth behind him, Escobar figured the Marlins might walk him.

“I don’t think he’s going to pitch to me,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Marlins reliever Bryan Morris did pitch to him, though, throwing a fastball high for ball one, then another fastball down that Escobar fouled off. Morris’ 1-1 pitch was up and over the outer-third of the plate, so Escobar did what he has made a career of doing: He went with the pitch and sent it into shallow right field. Tyler Moore and Denard Span scampered home, and the crowd of 24,731 rejoiced the home team’s first lead of the night.

“He doesn’t get outside himself,” manager Matt Williams said of Escobar, now hitting .311 for the season. ‘He understands situations, he understands what’s needed in that given at-bat, he’s got an idea of what the pitcher’s gonna do, he studies the previous hitters before him and simply has an approach when he goes up there.”

Escobar’s big hit was made possible only by Desmond’s big homer, which tied the game only five minutes earlier. Desmond is the exact opposite type of hitter as his fellow infielder, aggressive (often to a fault) instead of patient and taking what the pitcher gives him.

But when it works, as it did this time, the end result is a thing of beauty.

Pouncing on Morris’ first-pitch fastball, Desmond sent the ball flying to center field, bouncing it off the grassy batter’s eye beyond the fence for his second homer of the season.

“Swing hard in case you hit it,” he said with a smile. “I hope it gets up. I hit it good, but I didn’t know if it was high enough. It made it over. It was a good one.”

This has been an emotional four weeks for Desmond, who endured through a horrific stretch of errors at shortstop, then after rebounding in the field wound up in an 0-for-29 slump at the plate during the Nationals’ recent road trip. That home run, though, left Desmond 5 for his last 9, and elicited a loud ovation from the crowd, which drew him up the dugout steps for a quick curtain call.

“It was huge,” he said. “I think coming off a long road trip and to come home and have our fans, with a lot going on in the city, come out and support us and then obviously stick around after we probably frustrated them for a few innings … it paid off for them. They got to see a good W.”

The Nationals have had a bunch of good W’s lately. And that has left everyone associated with this ballclub beaming a lot more than they were through a rough opening stretch to this season.

  1. therealjohnc - May 5, 2015 at 12:09 AM

    I can’t believe someone actually threw Ian Desmond a first pitch fastball. Bless his fuzzy little heart …

    • laddieblahblah - May 5, 2015 at 4:11 AM

      I think it was a hanging slider. Whatever, it was waist high and center cut, a mistake that the guy who threw it called his worst pitch of the evening. Grandma Moses could have hit that one, even without her Granny glasses.

      Not complaining, in the least. If they want to give you a gift, you still have to reach out and take it.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 7:06 AM

      Ian said it was a center cut slider.

      • rayvil01 - May 5, 2015 at 7:38 AM

        It was.

        If I were a Miami fan I’d have a headache over that 8th inning. Not sure what Morris was doing. When you have 98 cheese, why are you throwing that silly slider? (that doesn’t move that much.) And Redmond had boxed himself in to Morris. They didn’t even have a thrower up in the bullpen until after Esco had his hit. That’s based on FP on the tv. Maybe they had someone up earlier and the announcers didn’t see it. Still. Morris clearly wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m not sure who he had left out there other than Cishek. It was worth a try from their standpoint.

      • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 8:45 AM

        If I were a Miami fan I’d have a headache over that 8th inning. Not sure what Morris was doing. When you have 98 cheese, why are you throwing that silly slider?

        Because he thought Ian would be sitting first pitch fastball. It happens all the time, a fastball pitcher trying to “steal” a first pitch strike with an off-speed.

        The thing is, in this case, Ian correctly guess that that Morris would try to fool him with a first pitch slider, and was sitting slider instead of fastball.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        Morris missed his spot. The book is you dont throw Desi a 1st pitch fastball near the zone. You also dont throw him a hanging slider. Thats the Desi that won back to back Silver Sluggers. Couldnt have come at a better time.

  2. veejh - May 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    Once Rendon is healthy, and back, we will dominate the universe.

    • laddieblahblah - May 5, 2015 at 4:14 AM

      They are doing this without much of an offensive contribution from either Werth or RZim. They still will not give Harper anything to hit. Once those 2 start to rake, scoring will not be a problem.

      • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 7:51 AM

        good point Z has given 34 pretty much no protection in the lineup. No one else has either .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 7:58 AM

        The book on Ryan is clear as they are peppering the outside edge. The balls he hits seem to be location mistakes.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 7:58 AM

        The book on Ryan is clear as they are peppering the outside edge. The balls he hits seem to be location mistakes.

      • laddieblahblah - May 5, 2015 at 8:09 AM

        “The book on Ryan is clear as they are peppering the outside edge.”

        I wonder if Ryan’s plantar fasciitis is affecting his ability to go outside. I’ve had that problem, and it can hurt like heck, depending on how you plant your foot, and distribute your weight.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        When RZ is going well he dives over the outside corner and drives the ball oppo. They are also beating him on fastballs. Even the balls he is barreling up arent getting the normal carry he was in the past.

        http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/split/79/league/nl/sort/OPS/minpa/75

        Ryan Zimmerman is 2nd to last in the NL in 1st base OPS only ahead of the recently benched Michael Morse. A .274 OBP occupying the #4 spot has to change. People used to be all over Adam LaRoche when he was struggling but Ryan Zimmerman gets a pass.

      • homeparkdc - May 5, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        Nats128 – right, but if you sort the RBI’s, Zimm’s tied for third.

      • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        Z needs a longer bat 🙂

      • Eric - May 5, 2015 at 11:13 AM

        ” A .274 OBP occupying the #4 spot has to change.”

        Isn’t Harper’s OBP at or just north of 400?

  3. Section 222 - May 5, 2015 at 12:30 AM

    Carp called it a slider, MLB.com called it a cutter at 91 mph. Given that Morris has a 96 mph sinker, I don’t think it was a fastball. But it was right over the plate and Ian crushed it. That’s what counts.

  4. Greg - May 5, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    When the trade was announced that the Nats would be getting Escobar, I had hoped he would be an end of the line up improvement. Rizzo saw something else obviously. What a huge pick up! And they have him for a few years. Who saw someone carrying Rendons load like he is?

    • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      Yes Nats saw a good player who had a down period for explainable reasons .

      • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        That’s Rizzo’s MO — completely. He finds undervalued players, particularly guys who just had a down year or two, or who was injured. Sometimes they work out (Escobar, Thornton picked up on waivers, Frandsen, and a number of draft picks of pitchers who had arm trouble; Uggla (jury still out), Rendon (who, formerly projected as a #1 pick, slipped down because of injuries) and sometimes they don’t (Hariston, McClouth, etc.).

        And the jury is still out on others: e.g., Lucas Giolito — another projected #1 who fell to #16 because of his elbow — and the Nats gave him a $3M signing bonus out of high school and by the end of that month had TJ surgery.

        Anybody see a pattern?

        Rizzo tries a lot more than others, and I’d bet he succeeds a lot more than others. You can’t always just look for the best player, because that costs too much. You have to get “value” — i.e., undervalued players, in order to get solid talent without busting the budget. Rizzo’s great at that.

  5. conatsguy - May 5, 2015 at 1:14 AM

    Just got back from a soggy Coors Field. No live baseball tonight. Seeing the Nats Score on the board (and a few Right Field Red brews) made the 2 1/2 hour delay bearable.

    So happy for Ian tonight, and congrats to Escobar for his hitting gem. Nats are finding ways to come back late in close games.

    AR- take all the time you need to come back strong.. We got this for now!

  6. llf0701 - May 5, 2015 at 2:37 AM

    Love waking up on the other side of the world to read your posts (especially with this kind of win!). LET’S GO NATS!!

  7. virginiascopist - May 5, 2015 at 5:55 AM

    Totally off topic, but congratulations to Ross Detwiler who shut down the red-hot Astros to the tune of 7 innings, 4 hits and 1 (earned) run. Didn’t get the win, but kept Texas well-positioned to pull it off in the 8th and 9th.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 7:11 AM

      That’s 2 great starts in a row against 3 starts to open the season where the fanbase was calling for a DFA .

      Ross said he made one mechanical adjustment and it worked after he studied his own video.

      • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 7:56 AM

        Nice info on Nat’s “x’s” thanks for passing it on.

    • Hiram Hover - May 5, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      Good for him!

  8. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    I was at the game last night and watched Denard Span’s catch of Stanton’s shot to right center and thought to myself again what a joy it is to watch that guy play centerfield.

    Bryce Harper also made a nice grab last night, coming in on the ball off of Realmuto’s bat. Bryce is coming into his own out there in RF.

    • therealjohnc - May 5, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      +1, it was a thing of beauty – in part because that ball was rocked. Off the bat my only question was “HR or double?” From Section 314 the whole thing played out right in front of us, a birds-eye view of the shot that Stanton hit, the excellent route that Span took to the ball and the speed he showed to get there. Spanned!

    • nattyboh1 - May 5, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      That was hit to left-center, wasn’t it? Anyway, got to see that in person as well and it was very impressive.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 1:16 PM

        Yes, my mistake, left center.I get dyslectic symptoms before I have a cup of coffee. And,yes, realjohnc, we were in 311 watching it play out.

  9. natsfan1a - May 5, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    Missed the middle innings (I need to catch up on that), but I liked what I saw, including the save by Ro-ark. Very nice, boys. Very nice.

    • natsfan1a - May 5, 2015 at 7:20 AM

      Oh, and nice job on cheering Desi’s dinger, peeps. Very nice.

      • natsfan1a - May 5, 2015 at 7:21 AM

        Oh, and Yuni? Just keep on doing what you do. Niiice.

        Okay, I’m done for now. 🙂

  10. rayvil01 - May 5, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    Last Tuesday morning the Nats were 7-13 and 8 games back. Seven days later they’re 13-14 and 3.5 games back. That’s one hell of a week.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 7:32 AM

      Good stuff! It helped to beat the Mets 3 games head to head.

    • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      Boz says that when you’re chasing another team, a reasonably expectation is to gain one game per week.

      To gain 4.5 in one week is really amazing (as well as leapfrogging the other three teams!)

      • natsfan1a - May 5, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        Speaking of Boz, this item from his chat yesterday is pretty funny:

        Q: Nats Season of Doom

        The Nationals are making stupid errors, their starting pitching (especially Doug Fister) keeps falling behind, and even when they do leave with a lead, the bullpen melts down and blows the game. On top of this, the Mets keep winning, and might have the division wrapped up by the All Star break. Is there any hope for the Nats, or should we just write this season off? By the way, I’ve been in the woods for the past week, and haven’t caught up yet with all the games.

        A: Thomas Boswell

        Thanks. Say goodnight, Gracie.

        — May 04, 2015 1:56 EDT

      • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        AWESOME!!

        (Now we have the answer to where all those doomsayers went! They were out in full force until a week ago, and then — poof! — they disappeared!)

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    From Byron Kerr! #Nats RHP Lucas Giolito & Reynaldo Lopez promoted to high Single-A Potomac Nationals, starts impending, says club source, story upcoming

    • rayvil01 - May 5, 2015 at 7:44 AM

      I really like how they’re handling Giolito. Definitely keeping him in bubble wrap. TJ recovery and young pitcher development at the same time. That’s no place to be aggressive.

      I read a piece somewhere, can’t remember where unfortunately, about how post-TJ pitcher longevity and velo were related. The sooner they start throwing high velo the shorter-lived the repaired tendons. It was interesting to watch Harvey throw those 97s last week.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 5, 2015 at 8:12 AM

        Look at Homer Bailey. Goes from flexor tendon surgery which Stammen just had to TJ surgery.

        Giolito is being handled properly. There’s no rush and err on the side of caution.

        I also fully expect Giolito to make High-A his home only until end of June.

        The Nats are literally assembling a “super team” between Potomac and Harrisburg.

        Syracuse is so bad you’d almost hate to send anyone there as they are playing like wash-ups. When Rizzo has some Harrisburg players to promote it will be interesting the corresponding moves.

      • ehay2k - May 5, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        And, when Harvey first started throwing from a mound, Mets Nation was atwitter about his throwing 99. I was thinking that was the wrong path. Medlen threw hard, but only in relief, and we see how that worked out.

  12. 3on2out - May 5, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    Not to put too fine of a point on it…but Mark said in the game summary that Escobar lined a single to right in the 8th. Now for the sake of little alliteration it becomes a “bloop?” I thought it was a rocket!

    • Steady Eddie - May 5, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      You are correct, sir. MLB statcast says “left the bat at 97 mph”.

      That’s no bloop, it’s a space station!

      (Couldn’t resist, in honor of May the Fourth.)

    • Eric - May 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      Agreed! Strange way to play down the authority of that hit. Seemed to me that he crushed it!

    • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:02 AM

      3on2out, you’re right. It totally was a rocket. I was describing it to my wife this morning, and I used the phrase “he slashed that to right”. Blooper is (sorry Mark) a ridiculous description of if. Blooper implies luck. This was a solid and hard-hit hit.

  13. natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    What’s with Nats batters and taking called third strikes ? Is protect the plate no longer taught at any level ?

    • ehay2k - May 5, 2015 at 8:57 AM

      Good pitching?

    • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      good pitching is more of a reason to “protect the plate” in a 2 strike count. 1) shorten swing 2) don’t sit on any one pitch 3) make contact 4) swing at basically anything near zone – do NOT take a called third because you ” guessed wrong”

      • Eric - May 5, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        “4) swing at basically anything near zone”

        And get ripped for “swinging at junk” when you miss!

    • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 1:02 PM

      Well yes swinging @ junk way out of zone not the best idea. So hopefully the batter avoids that. I’m saying close , as in a few inches of zone with a controlled swing . More good will happen with that approach , possibly 🙂 , than leaving the bat on the shoulder and being rung up.

  14. Theophilus T.S. - May 5, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    Which Zimmerman foot has plantar fasciitis? I’m thinking the front foot (left) is critical to getting to pitches on the outside of the plate. I suppose that could be part of his problems but I think there are other issues. First, he’s having problems with the strike zone; second, he’s got timing issues (lots of warning track outs), which he shouldn’t be having this far into the season; third, bad luck — quite a few at-’em balls. These things are fixable, it’s a question of how long?

    One problem that is affecting the whole team is the lack of, or even the threat of, a running game. Putting the defense in motion creates lots of opportunities, for seeing-eye hits, bloops, hurried pitches, errors, bad throws, etc. The stationary game, however, gives the other guys the opportunity to maximize defensive positioning, fails to put runners in scoring position. Understand why Span has been reluctant to turn it loose. It also reveals how important Rendon was to the running game.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      I agree with you regarding the running game. To start with, the Nats as a team have 3 stolen bases in 27 games., the worst in the majors. Five teams have 20, or more SBs.They have been caught stealing 7 times. The baserunning mistakes keep happening, though Taylor’s hiccup didn’t end up costing them last night, thanks to Werth’s hit. I wish that we had a true base stealer,or two, as I am a firm believer that speed kills in many ways. Much of Houston’s early success has been attributable to Altuve, Springer, and Marisnick’s thirty [30!] stolen bases between them.

      • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        I think *part of it* is situational. If, say, a guy is on first and Werth, Harper, and RZ are up, do you want to try to steal? The fact is, we’re a big boomer team.

        (And, as for Span — it could be that he doesn’t want to steal so soon after his injury).

      • therealjohnc - May 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        Situational is right. When Gordon singled in the 9th it was the one time that I knew he wasn’t stealing. Successful or not, there was no percentage in it – his run meant nothing, and it would just take the bat out of Stanton’s hands. As it was I think that Roark had no intention of challenging Stanton (the 3-0 fastball I believe was a mistake, a missed location that Roark got away with). Just throw sliders away and if Stanton decides to get himself out that’s OK, and if he walks with two outs that’s OK, too.

        Was very happy that Stanton chose (A) – get himself out 🙂

    • ehay2k - May 5, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      Could MW be holding back the running game because of fear of injuries? The Nats can’t afford another injury to a position player. Zimm has that foot thing, Span is still sore from surgery, Werth has the shoulder issue still healing. Those are 3 of the smartest and best base runners. You could send Harper or Desi or Espi, but can’t afford an injury to any of them. Playing it safe then?

      Besides, they are winning. 🙌

    • sec105rowwseat28 - May 5, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      They tried to get the running game going in the seventh when MW pinch ran Michael “AAAA” Taylor for Clint Robinson and put on the hit and run. Escobar came through with the hit, but Taylor stalled rounding second base and only took third after the right fielder bobbled the ball a bit before getting a throw off. But had he not stalled rounding second, he could have come around to score after the right fielder’s miscue. I fully expected the official scorer to give an error to the right fielder there, but he didn’t. One of two questionable decisions by the scorer last night. The other was in the first inning. Werth on second, Harper on first, and Ramos grounds to short. The shortstop throws to third to try and get Werth, but he’s safe. They give Ramos, probably the slowest runner on the team, a hit on the play, when it should have been scored a fielder’s choice.

      But I digress here from my main point. The running game’s not working now because they don’t have the right combination of speed and smarts out on the basepaths. The speed guys either aren’t getting on enough (Desmond, Espinosa) or aren’t smart baserunners (Michael “AAAA” Taylor), and the smart guys like Werth, Span and Zimmerman are hampered for injury recovery reasons. I don’t know what’s up with Harper. He’s on base a lot with all the walks. He should be running more.

      • ArVAFan - May 5, 2015 at 9:43 AM

        BBryce Harper still wearing the “Zimmermitt” on the bases. Maybe he’s being told not to run/slide (unless it’s “worth it”)?

      • homeparkdc - May 5, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        Last few games, Harper is holding a batting glove in each hand while on base. Reminder instead of the mitt?

      • therealjohnc - May 5, 2015 at 10:05 AM

        I disagree that Taylor is “AAAA” (it’s awfully early to tag a guy with that, isn’t it?). But you are absolutely right that if Taylor is running hard with two outs and picking up his third base coach I think he scores right there after the bobble by Stanton. The Nats (and Taylor) were fortunate that Werth was able to pick Taylor up with the two out single.

        Fundamentals are still a problem, though. Taylor’s baserunning mistake. Werth and Ramos both had ugly drops and Espinosa’s bobble cost the team a run (although in Espi’s defense that would have been a highlight reel play).

        But the team has a lot of heart and comeback in them – a fact that we should remember when they are struggling. Whatever trips them up, it’s not lack of effort or desire.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM

        There were 2 outs and the replay showed he never looked at his 3rd base coach until he was standing on the bag. You hear the crack of the bat and less than 2 outs you have to find the ball. With 2 outs you are running hard and immediately look towards 3rd but who stops onto of the 2nd base bag like you are station to station.

  15. Serious Jammage - May 5, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    What an outstanding game. The runs we gave up in the 8th were painful, especially with the near chances we had to escape (two throws beating Dee Gordon that got dropped, one to second on the steal, and one from Harper coming home).

    Great to see Zim working from an 0-2 to a walk, then Des, bless his heart, knocking the ever-loving cover off the ball to tie it up. And then with two out, having just tied the game, Tyler Moore gets another pinch hit to keep it going.

    And finally, how about Tanner f@#$%ing Roark the closer?? The unintentional/intentional walk on Stanton turned into two straight filthy breaking balls for the win. Loved it all around.

    • homeparkdc - May 5, 2015 at 8:53 AM

      +1

  16. homeparkdc - May 5, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    Dear Peevish Petes:
    Please allow me to bask in the glory of the W’s. The winter without games is not forgotten. Nor is the hope of the summer diminished. Not every game or play is perfect. Get used to it, already !!

    • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:07 AM

      “Can you believe it? This team lost 64 games? What is this?”

      “It’s a first place team playing .600 ball, son.”

      • homeparkdc - May 5, 2015 at 9:17 AM

        Exactly ! And May the Fifth be with us – also the first thru fourth and sixth thru ninth. 🙂

  17. tcostant - May 5, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    Everyone got a bobblehead, under 25,000 people last night. Surprising…

    • ArVAFan - May 5, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      Caps game might have had something to do with that (although they did show the score three times, I can understand going to a playoff hockey game vs. an early season baseball game). We were surprised, too, at the low attendance, both visual and announced. I know the section I was in had only a few tickets available on Stubhub or the Nats website, but the section was only half full in real life.

      They didn’t announce the attendance at the end of the game, so maybe they were, um, disgruntled or something.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        Yep, bandwagon fans didnt show up. Still a decent paid crowd.

      • tcostant - May 5, 2015 at 11:02 AM

        Don’t agree with “still a decent paid crowd” considering the boblehead. They moved a lot of these promos to get more people there during the week, they have to expect arouund 35K. If they did this same promo on a Saturday or Sunday, it would have been a near sell out. Mistake???

  18. jfmii - May 5, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    It is too bad that we won’t know, but I don’t think Ramos would have gotten a tag on Gordon soon enough even if he catches. Prevailing thought is that it was a sure out if he catches it, but I don’t think so.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      I don’t think that Ramos would have made the tag even if he had caught the ball, but I do think a more spry catcher ‘may’ have been able to turn and make the tag. Harper’s throw was a bit more to the 1B side of the plate than would’ve been ideal..Ramos has a lot of strengths, but the ability to catch a throw and make a good cat-like turn isn’t generally one of them.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        I agree with Joe. The throw was definitely to his back hand which took him away from the plate. No way he windmills the tag.

        Luck went the Nats way as that had no impact on the Nats win.

        Also, a slower runner doesnt get sent on that as they would have been out by a mile. The other thing Gordon does is a huge lead and secondary lead.

    • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Not the way Gordon came flying in. Even FP kind of retracted his statement after watching the replay. Theres very few runners who beat that throw and Gordon and Hamilton are 2 of them.

      • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        Agreed. The “way he came flying in” also includes (i.e., besides his incredible speed) diving way to his right, and swiping the plate with an outstretched left hand. It was a perfect slide for that situation.

        I, too, thought Ramos might have had a chance — until I saw the third replay. It looks pretty clear there that the slide was just too good and too fast for Ramos to reach all the way around to get him.

      • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        FP should retract a lot of statements 🙂

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 10:23 AM

        He will rarely correct himself when he knows hes wrong and then he continues to perpetuate a line of BS like a used car salesman.

      • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 10:46 AM

        that’s funny 128- I heard Tony Kornheiser rag on FP today –

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Last night Werth clanks the ball in that error and FP starts talking about his forearm got into his sight to the ball. He comes up with new theories daily.

      • ICYMI - May 5, 2015 at 11:31 AM

        Don’t get the FP hate. I’d much rather have an announcer who’s actually played the game and who can give cogent explanations of what happened on a play, be it a good play or a botched play, than some blowhard whose only contribution to the discussion is “Wow Bob. Werth really clanked it on that one. Boy does he suck! What’s he doing in there anyway?” But YMMV.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 3:02 PM

        When Werth fell down in Fridays game and the bases cleared, FP was lining up the excuses and actually said that you get claustrophobic playing in LF

      • Eric - May 5, 2015 at 11:37 AM

        I’m with ya, ICYMI

        Who’s to say FP was wrong about Werth blocking his own view of the ball? And, how does that make Werth’s misplay any less ridiculous? “Oh, he blocked his own view of the ball…that’s a total MLB move, man! Shouldn’t even get the error!” Um…no.

      • nats128 - May 5, 2015 at 11:59 AM

        Sometimes say nothing. FP hesitated to see if the sun was shining and all he could come up with was his forearm. Thats fine and they moved on from that quickly.

        FP means well but its the embellishment that gets to much. I sure like FP over others and he and Carp work well together.

      • natsdial8 - May 5, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        FP often is not accurate in describing what has happened . Usually at least once a
        night he analyzes a play in very suspect terms . In his effort to be overly clever , and to protect his player friends he just kind of makes things up that clearly did not happen. He is talented and knowledgable just not my fav analyst.

  19. Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    Just checked out the stats cast on Span’s catch. What’s the guy gotta do to get a 100% route efficiency rating?

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v101950883/miawsh-span-tracks-down-stantons-fly-ball

    • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      Not to revisit old debates, but, umm, it’s plays like this why I agreed with MW to not PH Uggla for Span on Sunday. That kind of fielding is too important in a 1-0 game.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 1:32 PM

        If you PH Uggla for Span and he doesn’t get the run in and makes an out? Now you would have weakened CF, and lost two bats if the Mets had managed to tie it up and it had gone to extra innings. It wasn’t a horrible idea, but it wouldn’t have been my choice as far going outside the box.

    • adcwonk - May 5, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      What’s the guy gotta do to get a 100% route efficiency rating?

      Good question — does anybody? Or is it a mythical perfect? (I know nothing about route efficiency ratings)

      I remember when one of our kids was born s/he got a “9” on the Apgar scale. We asked the doctor, and she told us: “nobody gets a 10 — everybody gets a max of 9 — well, except for doctor’s newborns” 😉

      • NatsLady - May 5, 2015 at 1:30 PM

        I saw a 99.1 the other day, that’s the highest I’ve seen on route efficiency. (Stupid me, I can’t remember who it was, maybe Lagares.)

    • Joe Seamhead - May 5, 2015 at 1:35 PM

      NatsLady, I don’t get why Span doesn’t get a perfect 10. A few of these type of things and I am quick to take stats cast with a grain of salt.

  20. thenattyprofessor - May 5, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    One of the most encouraging signs to me, echoing the comment of Serious Jammage, was RZim drawing that walk. Not only because Desi followed it with a homer, but because I hope that is a sign of better pitch recognition and plate discipline on his part. He is still out of the zone at the plate and it would be good for him to find his groove.

    As for Michael Taylor, I really hope his base running improves. When Escobar hit the ball to right, it didn’t look like Taylor glanced back at all to see how Stanton was fielding the ball. He all but stopped at second. And he was completely befuddled by Morris’ pickoff move. More than once, Morris went to the plate and Taylor thought a pickoff was coming and headed back to first. I wonder if that is part of the reasons MW used the hit and run? If Taylor were heading back to first when Escobar hit the ball, he might not have made it safely to second base.

  21. thewerthwhisperer - May 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    Two comments
    Last night there was a grounder hit back to JZ by Ichiro, who tossed it to RZ. Would that be a ZIm2Zim by Zuki?

    Second, the Nats PR department should be ashamed. Caps had 3 minutes left, and they should have showed the east on the jumbotron. Instead, we were made to stand 10 deep outside the red porch looking in at the TV, with music blaring instead of th play by play. Wazzup with that? I wonder if anyone in PR gave it a thought?

    • ArVAFan - May 5, 2015 at 11:44 AM

      And that rundown started with a Zim-Zim, too.

    • ICYMI - May 5, 2015 at 11:58 AM

      The game is over. They want you to leave your seat and move toward the gate, not hang around watching the jumbotron. Just be thankful they were showing it on the Red Porch screen so you didn’t have to go to BlueJacket or Willies to cram 20 deep to watch it on a smaller screen.

      • Steady Eddie - May 5, 2015 at 1:30 PM

        Exactly right. Three minutes gametime translates to eight or 10 minutes in real time. Then, if the Rangers scored a goal to tie it up, would’ve been talking over time as well, and even more out rage from the few fans stayed to watch and got angry that the Nats jumbotron operator pulled the plug on an OT game.

        The only time they run other games up there is when they want people to stick around during a rain delay. It’s usually other MLB games but I do recall seeing a Wizards playoff game up there last year.

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