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Staying red-hot in the desert

May 12, 2015, 2:21 AM EST

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / Associated Press

PHOENIX — Denard Span dug in, Josh Collmenter went into his funky, tomahawk-style windup and tried to sneak an 84-mph cutter over the inner half of the plate and then the ball went soaring toward right field. The game was all of 30 seconds old, many in the Chase Field crowd of 16,406 had yet to even find their seats and already the Nationals held a 1-0 lead that boosted the already-high level of confidence brewing in the visitors’ dugout.

“When you see your leadoff guy hits a homer,” catcher Wilson Ramos said, “you say something special’s coming.”

Are 10 runs in two innings — 10 runs before they had made even five outs — special enough?

The Nationals have done their share of remarkable things over two weeks of lights-out baseball, but this stood out from the pack. In the opener of a 6-game West Coast trip, they blasted Collmenter straight out of Chase Field, gave their ace a 10-run lead and cruised the rest of Monday night to an 11-1 shellacking of the Diamondbacks.

That’s five in a row for the resurgent Nationals, who since their historic rally in Atlanta two weeks ago have won 11 of 13, turned a hand-wringing 7-13 record into a comfortable 18-15 mark and climbed to within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Mets in the NL East.

“It’s been fun, obviously,” Span said. “I think it started in Atlanta on that come-from-behind win. And I think we’ve just carried that momentum since that game and have just been finding ways to win.”

Speaking of momentum, the Nationals had plenty of it through the first two innings of Monday night’s victory. And it all began with Span, who took Collmenter’s second pitch of the game deep to right for his third homer of the season, even if he wasn’t necessarily attempting to do that.

“I’m never trying to hit home runs, to be honest with you,” he said. “He threw me … a cutter that was middle-in, and I just reacted. It’s clichéd, but I just tried to put a good swing [on it].”

Nobody sparks a lineup like a good leadoff man, and so when Span gave his team a 1-0 lead only seconds into Monday’s game, the tone for the evening was set. What transpired after that was a barrage of well-struck balls off the highly ineffective Collmenter. Yunel Escobar singled (the first of his five hits on the night). Jayson Werth drew a walk. Bryce Harper came within a couple feet of yet another home run, settling instead for a runner-advancing flyout. Ryan Zimmerman left no doubt with a towering 3-run homer to left-center, giving the Nats a 4-0 lead.

And that’s all before the second inning rolled around. That’s when they really turned it on, adding six more runs on six hits, none bigger than Ramos’ bases-clearing double down the left-field line.

“We’ve had some games where we’ve created some opportunities early and gotten one or two,” manager Matt Williams said. “But tonight we got big hits. … We got some opportunities early and took advantage.”

And nobody took more advantage of all that than Max Scherzer, who was handed the ultimate gift — a 10-run lead — but did exactly what you’re supposed to do in that situation: Go right after the opposition and not even give them a sniff of a comeback.

“The trick in these situations is, once we you get a 10-run lead like that, you can’t pitch to the scoreboard,” he said. “You’ve got to treat it like it’s a 0-0 game. The old tale is: Oh, just give them fastballs, you’re just trying to get through the lineup. No, you’ve got to still pitch. You’ve got to still throw all your off-speed. You’ve got to throw backward. You’ve got to do everything that you plan on doing before the game and still continue to do that.”

Scherzer did just that, churning out seven more quality innings, allowing only a solo homer to Jordan Pacheco to earn his third win of the season.

It’s rare that a ballclub can coast through seven innings, confident the lead it already established is large enough to hold up over a full game.

What the Nationals are doing right now, though, is rare. A lineup that averaged a meager 3.45 runs during its ragged, 20-game start to the season has now averaged 6.48 runs over is last 13 games.

And when it all comes together like it did early Monday in the hot, dry, desert air, the end result is quite something to behold.

“That was a pretty good first two innings for us,” Ramos said. “The guys are hitting very good right now. We have to keep doing the same.”

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 4:44 AM

    After watching that, it is hard to believe Collmenter is a ML pitcher. The rookie reliever from AAA was far more effective. Nice to see Max get all that support, and to see Ryan barrel up another one. Honestly, Yunel Escobar.

    That one was too easy. They will see better pitchers on the West Coast before this week is out.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 7:09 AM

      Even on MLB Network they were building up the Scherzer vs Collmenter as the matchup of the night.

      • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 7:16 AM

        I don’t get MLB Network in my cable package, but I was watching Pete Rose on the Fox Sports channel last night and he said that Max Scherzer would have to hit. Evidently Max listened, as the boxscore tells me that he had two hits last night. 😉

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 7:17 AM

        2 nice hits and neither was a butcher boy as FP tried to tell us.

      • laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 7:17 AM

        “…Scherzer vs Collmenter as the matchup of the night.”

        I hadn’t seen Collmenter this year, but if last night was an exhibition of what he brings to the table, I don’t think I missed much. If I am a DBacks fan, I want to see that rookie in his rotation slot next time around. A FB that tops out at 82-83, with no movement, and a change-up at 77? It seemed like batting practice for the Nats.

        I am sure you have seen much more of him than I. Am I missing something, Ghost? Pitchers have off-games, e.g. JZ against the Braves, just the other day.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 7:29 AM

        I’m mystified also on Collmenter. Fastball was BP and the changeup wasn’t slow enough. He was BABIP’d in the 2nd. 2 infield hits and a some bad luck.

        His ERA got killed last night.

    • Section 222 - May 12, 2015 at 7:56 AM

      Vidal Nuno is no rookie. He made 31 starts between the Yankees and D-backs last year.

  2. nats1924 - May 12, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    Yunel, 5-5, batting .342?!? And now Espinosa bat is coming alive?

    Desi w a .664 OPS and all of his errors that so far has caused us a division lead?

    Writing is on the wall – Deal Desi for BP help! Ive been saying for years now, you take away Desi’s power and he is an awful SS. Thank goodness he turned down the Nats offer!

    Lets go Nats!

    • laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 7:02 AM

      I don’t believe Rizzo can even think about doing anything like that until Rendon returns healthy, can take over 3rd base, and gets his batting eye back. Besides, who else would want Desmond, at this point, or be willing to give up value in return?

    • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2015 at 7:50 AM

      Writing is on the wall – Deal Desi for BP help!

      I don’t know about the wall, but you seem determined to write it in every comment thread.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 12, 2015 at 9:02 AM

        You’re familiar with the expression “off the wall,” right?

    • Section 222 - May 12, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      To paraphrase FP from the other day, do you want to talk about Desi’s 1 for 5, or the Nats’ 11 runs and 15 hits?

    • bowdenball - May 12, 2015 at 8:29 AM

      Good call on trading Desi. Like they always say, sell low!

      That’s what they say, right?

      • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2015 at 8:34 AM

        That’s what the buyers say, yes.

  3. natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    Oops, I posted in the wrong thread. How nice to wake up to a curly W, and with 11 runs, even. Wow. Will definitely enjoy watching the recording of this one. What’s that you say? The Mets lost, too? Niice. Very nice.

  4. rayvil01 - May 12, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    This will get interesting when Rendon gets back. He was in the two-hole last year. But, how do you move Escobar out of there considering what he’s doing? Could we see Rendon at 6 and Desi down to 8?

    • virginiascopist - May 12, 2015 at 7:08 AM

      Good question. I would think when Rendon comes back he will be hitting lower until he gets up to speed. After that happens, assuming Escobar is still raking, I honestly don’t know what they’ll do. It will be a good problem to have. And, yes, Desi at 8 until he stops swinging for the fences — I wish he’d watch Escobar’s approach.

      • therealjohnc - May 12, 2015 at 9:12 AM

        It doesn’t matter whether he’s watching Escobar or not – that approach doesn’t work for Desmond. The Nationals under Riggleman tried to make Desmond a Slappy McSlapperston type of hitter, and over two plus seasons he tried and tried and nearly failed his way out of the majors. It wasn’t until the Nats (Davey Johnson in particular) told Desmond “[eff] that, you’re a power hitter, be yourself” that Desmond’s career really took off.

        When Desmond isn’t “swinging for the fences” he’s not actually a major league level hitter.

    • laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 7:10 AM

      I would slot Rendon in the 3-hole, just ahead of Bryce, and move Werth to the 6-hole behind Ryan, or even to the 7-hole, behind Ramos. Espinosa would hit 8th, with Desmond on the bench, where he belongs.

      Worried about Jayson, again. He did not look good last night, even against a cookie thrower like Collmenter. If he cannot swing with authority, or with any consistency, he does not belong in the 3-hole. He is not the defender in LF that he once was, so plugging in either CRob or TMo is not that big a deal if Werth is hitting 6th or 7th. Play him when his shoulder is loose, and sit him when it ain’t.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 7:33 AM

        Yes, move Werth back and Rendon in the 3.

      • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2015 at 7:53 AM

        That line up works for me.

        I’m not sure how worried to be about Jayson. I think he’s going to struggle a while longer at the plate before he gets his mojo (and shoulder) back. I don’t think this is the beginning of the end for him, but sometimes I worry that it is.

      • Section 222 - May 12, 2015 at 8:01 AM

        I predict that when Rendon returns Werth will continue to bat 3rd and Desi will continue to be in the lineup. Perhaps some other lineups make sense and perhaps the case can be made for Desi’s benching, but I seriously doubt it will happen.

      • laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 8:28 AM

        “I think he’s going to struggle a while longer at the plate before he gets his mojo (and shoulder) back.”

        What bothers me is the inconsistency. He looked so good hitting that tater half way up the LF bleachers against the Braves, and then following that up with a laser to LF later in that game. Those swings came after 3 days off, so his shoulder was about as rested as possible in that game.

        I did not see that swing yesterday. You have to wonder why not? I wonder, but I don’t know the answer.

      • laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 8:36 AM

        “Perhaps some other lineups make sense and perhaps the case can be made for Desi’s benching, but I seriously doubt it will happen.”

        You could be right about Desmond. No matter how poorly Desmond plays, he is never benched. He is like the National organization’s sacred cow. Nevertheless, he is the 4th best infielder on the Nats right now, and would become the 5th best when Rendon returns. That does not seem to make any difference, in his case. Maybe, finally, it will. Hard to justify his presence in the lineup when you have 4 alternatives, all of whom are hitting better than he.

        Werth is different. He has been slotted at 5 or 6 for much of his career, and has produced very well from that position in the batting order. He is honest enough, I think, to realize making way for Rendon is the best move for the team, and for himself.

      • Section 222 - May 12, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        Good point laddie, on Werth’s previous success at 5 or 6. Obviously, he’s not going to hit 5th. Nor would I want him to. But 6th would work, if he’d be willing and MW has the guts to ask him. He’d be making way for Esco, of course, not Rendon. Rendon will hit 2nd if Werth stays at No. 3.

      • jfmii - May 12, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        Stop with the Desmond bashing

  5. TimDz - May 12, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    Not to nitpick (okay, maybe a little), but this is a 7 game roadtrip, not 6….

  6. natsjackinfl - May 12, 2015 at 7:36 AM

    Since I despise west coast night games unless it’s Friday or Saturday night, I went to bed at 9:30 and didn’t even turn on the bedroom tv.

    Woke up an hour later and turned on the tv only to see the score was 10-0.

    Being a big picture guy, I immediately turned off the tv, figuring I could master the details in the morning.

    Think I’ll do the same thing tonight and hope for similar results.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 12, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      I watched Span’s leadoff homer, then made it until it was 10-0, then barely until it was 11-1, nodded out, woke up with the boob-tube still on and the game long over.Watching the first couple of innings were like watching batting practice, at least for the Nats.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 12, 2015 at 8:20 AM

        I think it was in the bottom of the 2nd a guy hit a dribbler between the mound and 3rd that Max had to hustle to get to. He picked it up and fired what looked like a 100mph fastball to Zimm at first. I sure hope Ryan caught that in the web of his mitt!

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 12, 2015 at 9:06 AM

        That was the one off the back of his leg.

  7. natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    I went to bed at 10, without having watched any of the game. (I get too wired to get to sleep if I watch late games.)

    I, too, will do the same tonight. We gotta stick with what works. 🙂

    • therealjohnc - May 12, 2015 at 9:14 AM

      Have to honor the streak 🙂

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    Nice to see RZim and Werth get an early night off. 6 bullpen guys also got the night off.

  9. ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    These west coast games usually kill me becuase I try to stay tonstay up. Last night we got the gift of sleep! I got to turn off the TV, put the radio on and hit the Sleep button, and drift off to the sounds of Charlie and Dave. I was out at the first commercial.

    Escobar continues to impress, although I remember how enamored a lot of people (myself included) were with Cabrera last year when he first started hot. OK, he wasn’t Esco hot, but he was hot compared to Danny. But by the end of the year, he had cooled off. Somehow, I don’t get the feeling Esco will cool off at all. He just loves playing and has mad skilz with the bat. He is Livo in the infield!

    I loved how Scherzer went after guys even with the big lead. He really did look like he was pitching a 1-0 game. The Barves didn’t pitch that way to us up 9-1, and it cost them. One more thing our young staff has learned, early in the season. (I do hope his left leg is OK after getting hit by that comebacker. Any news there Mark Z.?)

    Averaging almost 6.5 runs per game, and arguably our best hitter is still rehabbing. Now 2.5 games back, and playing better and better.

    We are coming Mets, we are coming…

    • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2015 at 7:56 AM

      Esco will cool off–his BABIP now is .371, vs a career clip of .302.

      If he can just wait until Rendon gets back to return to his career norms, all will be well….

      • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 8:16 AM

        Yeah, he will cool off a little, but in the Age of The Shift, he is a nightmare hitter for defenses. Take last night for example: if you divide the field into 5 equal wedges, he hit to every wedge. Where do you shade him?

        At any rate, he is fun to watch, and like Scherzer, a huge gain for the ballclub. The Nats are a strong ballclub, and finally playing like it.

        And where are the people that said we should fire the Rizzo and MW, and blow up the team to “try to win in 2016”? they can soon go over to the Barves, Mets and Marlins blogs and troll there, where there commentary will gain support.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 8:19 AM

        All 5 hits last night were in the right places. The good news is he hits them hard. Yes, I also expect some even-ing out but who knows, he could be on that Chris Johnson change of team thing and never cool off.

        He’s a contact man. Needs to get that RISP BA up.

      • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 8:22 AM

        Not sure, but maybe they got lost back in this thread:

        http://natsinsider.com/2015/04/25/3-weeks-in-nats-staring-at-7-game-division-deficit/#comments

        ====

        And where are the people that said we should fire the Rizzo and MW, and blow up the team to “try to win in 2016″?

      • laddieblahblah - May 12, 2015 at 8:45 AM

        “And where are the people that said we should fire the Rizzo and MW, and blow up the team to “try to win in 2016?”

        Probably with the people who thought the Nats had to play .700 ball the rest of the way just to pull even with the Mets, assuming the Mets went .500 for the rest of the season. Less than a month after that was posted, the Nats are only 2 1/2 back, and could be in first place by the time the current road trip is finished.

        The Nats have a great team, and while Escobar is on an unsustainable roll, stalwarts like Ryan and Werth have yet to hit their strides. RZ shows signs of breaking out, but Werth continues to be erratic and unpredictable at the plate. And then there is that guy, Tony Rendon. Does anyone want to put any money on the Mets finishing ahead of the Nats this season, let alone winning the NL East? No disrespect to the Mets, who have done a very good job of remaking that team, but they are simply not in the Nats class, this year.

      • chrisrw109nats - May 12, 2015 at 9:44 AM

        To the credit of the people who said we had to play 700 ball… we are playing better than that right now. 🙂

        It’s all good. We were right about the strengths of this team, and we are seeing them dig in and get the work done.

        They won’t all be laughers, but it’s nice when they are.

    • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 8:29 AM

      On a related note, nice tweet. Very nice…

      Byron Kerr @masnKerr
      #Nats trail the Mets by 2.5 games in the N.L. East. Since April 27: Mets 5-7. Nats 11-2. NYM lead was 8 games.

      ===

      We are coming Mets, we are coming…

      • homeparkdc - May 12, 2015 at 10:58 AM

        And Mark’s phrase above with my editing.

        “…turned a hand-wringing [gut-wrenching, cursing, troll-ridden, dejected, demoralizing, humiliating] 7-13 record into a comfortable 18-15….”

      • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 11:53 AM

        lol

  10. ArVAFan - May 12, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    This semi-retirement thing is working out just fine. Work a few hours, take a nap, and stay up until Charlie and Dave play some Journey. As that guy on the t-shirt says, “Life is Good.”

    Oh, and speaking of that comeback game in Atlanta–I got one of the MLB Authenticated balls from that game. Atlanta Authentics was glad to sell me one–not much competition from the hometown fans, I expect.

    • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      Nice score on the game ball!

    • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      Ha! Good story.

  11. virginiascopist - May 12, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    “…adding six more runs on six hits, none bigger than Ramos’ bases-clearing double down the left-field line.”

    Wilson now has, I believe, the longest current hitting streak in the majors, 14, as Dee Gordon went hitless last night. Speaking of the Marlins, for the second consecutive game, Cishek blew the save AND got the loss. Just imagine the reaction if Drew deigned to do something like that.

    • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      Maybe the Fish can trade Stanton forma decent closer? Lol.

      • veejh - May 12, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        Well played

    • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      Cicshed blew a save *and* Chapman blew a save.

      They both gotta rip up their offense to get some BP help, don’t you think?

    • homeparkdc - May 12, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      +1 Also interesting to see Greinke shut down D. Gordon. Watched most of that game this morning. Looking at Greinke stats today – after 7 games he’s 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA. Like a GG for RZimm at first, Scherzer must want the Cy Young for the NL. Greinke’s having a ++ year and their stats are similar except for the W-L, of course. Sometimes it’s just plain fun to project what I would want onto the players, don’cha know.

  12. Candide - May 12, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    People are talking about Escobar’s hot start. Well, we’re six weeks into the season, closing in on the end of the second of 222’s 18 game slices. When does a hot start stop being a start?

    • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 8:26 AM

      Perhaps when NL pitchers get the book on a guy who spent his time in the AL? Cabrera seemed unstoppable at first last year. But I still wouldn’t put him in the same class as Esco, who is a bigger and better athlete, and younger to boot.

      3 years Rizzo? Hmm, if he keeps playing like he has, maybe he gets offered a Gio-like extension to take out arbitration and FA years? (Disclaimer, I have not looked up his contract status.)
      If he gets a decent multi-year offer for guaranteed money, he might just take it, given his background.

      • Candide - May 12, 2015 at 8:57 AM

        <IPerhaps when NL pitchers get the book on a guy who spent his time in the AL?

        I’ve never understood that. NL teams have no pitchers or pitching coaches who were in the AL with Escobar? There’s no video of Escobar’s ABs during his AL years? He’s an unknown quantity and will remain so until the league gets significant face time with him?

        I get how this might be true for a rookie, where nobody has had a significant look at the guy and there’s no video of the guy facing MLB pitching. But for a vet?

      • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 10:18 AM

        Well, for one, there’s the issue of the allegedly different strike zones in leagues, and also where he hits in the order makes a difference between AL and NL. But pehaps the biggest difference is that most NL pitchers haven’t faced him.

      • sec105rowwseat28 - May 12, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        Escobar is well past arbitration and is already into his free-agent years. Indeed, the contract he’s playing on now is two years (2015-16) plus club option (2017), so he’s in the exact same situation as LaRoche was in 2013, or for that matter Span was when he came to the Nats in 2013.

      • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 10:16 AM

        Thanks for the research. If Difo and Turner are ready by the time his contract ends, maybe he’s gone. But if not, then what? Would Rizzo try to extend him in the next year or so with the thought that he can be traded later if the kids are ready?

      • therealjohnc - May 12, 2015 at 9:23 AM

        Escobar is under contract for $5M this season, $7M next season with a club option of $7M for 2017. He’s already in the “Gio-like” category in terms of contract (solid player, excellent value for the money).

        I’m not under any illusions that this is who Escobar is through 2015, much less through 2017. When they picked him up I thought he was a solid rebound candidate likely to put up about 2 fWAR; he’s currently on pace for >3 fWAR (with 0.6 through 29 games). I suspect that he will throttle back a bit when the baseball stops finding gaps. But my hope is that he stays hot until Rendon is back and 100%. The Nats wouldn’t get as much of a bounce when Rendon steps in, but they would be cushioned against the almost inevitable regression.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 12, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        I suspect that he will throttle back a bit when the baseball stops finding gaps.

        So you’re saying this five-for-five once a week thing is just a tease, not a contractual obligation he needs to continue or he’ll be traded for a middle reliever?

      • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        Once he stops hitting and becomes garbage, then Rizzo can trade him for a closer, or maybe Kershaw.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    If you stayed up for the postgame, Denard was asked about Esco and he described him as a great teammate who is funny although DSpan did admit he is difficult to understand his English at times.

    Also funny was a FP segue that his buddy Kevin Frandsen is with the Diamomdbacks organization with a AAA assignment. Anyone surprised that Frandsen didn’t get a bench spot on a MLB team. FP is having a hard time with that reality check.

  14. Theophilus T.S. - May 12, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    I realize it is highly improbable Escobar will continue to hit .340. His success, however, is more than just luck (or, as some would have it, BAPIP). The evidence is that the five hits were all singles. You can’t get five singles in a game unless you are playing basic, fundamental baseball, taking — as every coach preaches — whatever the pitcher gives you and not corkscrewing yourself trying to hit everything over the wall. There’s a reason they call the over-swinging approach “running into the ball.” THAT’s luck. Getting five singles — to all parts of the field — takes work.

    • ehay2k - May 12, 2015 at 8:28 AM

      +1

    • Hiram Hover - May 12, 2015 at 8:32 AM

      Two 5 for 5 games in 3 days is proof that he has both skill and luck working for him right now.

      It’s not either/or. It’s both/and.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        That’s correct. Make contact and good things happen (Note to Desi).

        Can’t wait for the possibility of Span to Esco to Tony 2 to BHarp to RZim to Werth to Ramos to Desi to Scherzer

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      Excellent points and he hit them all hard and again proves solid contact is the key.

    • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      I love the addition of Escobar to the team.

      But, umm . . . actually, I was wondering about BABIP last night.. All five were grounders — some of them just barely past an oustretched glove. So, well, it did sort of seem very BABIP-ish to me.

  15. Muddy Ruel - May 12, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    Escobar is mostly definitely sent straight from heaven in answer to prayers for more hitters for the offensive-challenged Nats. I love this guy. Thank you Mike Rizzo.

    • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 8:30 AM

      Seconded.

      • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 8:30 AM

        Plus, he just seems to have so much fun out there.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM

        We were watching him twirling his bat like a baton in the on deck circle last week and it was quite impressive. The guy is having a blast. I also think that his approach at the plate isn’t that he goes up there hoping to get a hit, rather he goes up there, looks at the where the defense isn’t and says to himself, “I’m going to hit it there.”

  16. exposremains - May 12, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    So typical of them. They score early and then shut it down. Can’t win like that…

    • dcwx61 - May 12, 2015 at 9:03 AM

      but they did ?

    • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      Both teams shut it down last night. The D-Backs took out their best player in the third inning or so (Goldschmit).

    • exposremains - May 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      It was a joke!!!!

      • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        I plead guilty on needing to have my snark detector to be readjusted. At first I thought it was a joke, but then when someone replied I thought maybe it wasn’t.

        Apologies, and let me delete my response (oh, wait . . . . ) — ok, replace my original response with the following:

        Good one!! 😉

      • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        I got it, expos. (Yay! My snark detector is functional.)

    • exposremains - May 12, 2015 at 10:06 AM

      I should have put a wink but it’s more confusing without it…

      • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        No — it was good as it is (imho)

  17. adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    For those dumping on Collmenter earlier in the thread (or making fun of the Scherzer-Collmenter promotion): in his first six starts (last night was his seventh): he already had a complete game shutout (in SF) and pitched 8 innings of one-unearned-run ball against the Rockies. Total of three so-called “quality starts” in his six outings, and he and De Rosa are the only pitchers on the D-backs with three wins. He’s obviously inconsistent, but he’s not a nobody.

    • therealjohnc - May 12, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      Doesn’t matter. It’s well established that if the Nats square you up, you’re a lousy pitcher. Like that Felix Hernandez guy last year … man, he was awful.

      • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        😉

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 12, 2015 at 11:48 AM

        He’s better than that Cueto bum! The Reds need to package him with Chapman for a real shortstop, like Desmond.

      • Section 222 - May 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM

        Felix Hernandez, awful! Aw come on, just because he doesn’t get a lot of wins. That’s ridiculous. Just shows you know nothing about baseball. I mean really. Oh wait…

        Never mind. 🙂

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      The buildup was possibly warranted but he had one of those horrible starts that kills the stats like JZim in Boston. I just don’t believe the MLB Network making out Collmenter as an Ace. Small sample size but we will see if he can bounce back.

      Collmenter could’ve been through the 2nd inning unscathed if the bounces went his way. 2 infield hits by Espi and Scherzer to start the inning.

      • pdowdy83 - May 12, 2015 at 11:47 AM

        Collmenter is the “ace” in Arizona like Lannan was the “ace” in DC before 2011.

        Perfectly acceptable pitcher who got opening day starts by default.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 12:50 PM

        Perfectly described I think. Credit to Collmenter for grabbing some headlines with some good starts. This start, not so good.

  18. dcwx61 - May 12, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    and hope that Max is ok after that rocket off thigh. He looked fine

  19. adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    Deal Desi for BP help! Ive been saying for years now, you take away Desi’s power and he is an awful SS.

    You’ve been saying it for years? Frankly, that lowers your credibility even more. You are aware that he’s the current three-consecutive-time Silver Slugger, right? And that the Nats BP is (depending on how you measure) perhaps the third best in the NL? Or that his lifetime BA is .268?

    And that the suggestion is even sillier this year, because it’s his walk year?

    (As for saying “if you take away his power” — what is that about? Drew Storen is a mediocre pitcher, at best, if you take away his slider. So what? Drew has a slider and Ian has power. That’s how Ian finished 7th in the NL in RBIs last year)

  20. dcwx61 - May 12, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    In spite of his recent slump, Desmond is a proven player. It would be good to seem him rest once in a while and we’ve all noted the tough decision to be made when Rendon returns. I guess they send MAT back down ?

    • Joe Seamhead - May 12, 2015 at 9:42 AM

      Barring injury, I think that Ian Desmond is going to be the shortstop for this team all the way through the World Series. (Unless the unlikely event occurs that the Yankees give up on Didi Gregorious and offer a helluva deal to Rizzo. The Yankees are the only team that a trade for Desi, at this point, makes any sense for.They are winning, but the Jeter heir-apparent is struggling).

  21. Theophilus T.S. - May 12, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    Desmond is the victim of Kharma. Which is about as predictable as BAPIP. The only question is how long will it last. I seem to remember a year (2011?) in which he was at or below .250 at the All-Star break and ended up w/ numbers that were acceptable (except maybe for OBP) and, essentially, saved his place in the organization. Sadly, it seems that he has reached the point where — for the time being — he has no idea how to get his act back together. If this were a Greek drama the punishment for his pride would be to turn into Steven Drew.

    We are, however, barely twenty percent through the season (although that seems like a lot) and it is likely that he recovers to some degree. Probably as likely that Espinosa won’t hit .270 for the rest of the season. Desmond’s problem, however, is that at the end of the year– particularly when compared to teammates who are having excellent seasons, e.g., Escobar, Ramos — he’s going to look like a complementary player, not a player who’s led his team to a championship, not a player an owner looks at and says, “If we get Desmond, he’ll take us to a World Series.”

  22. Eugene in Oregon - May 12, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    I tried to have a more specific discussion with the ‘trade Desi now!’ crew in a couple of yesterday’s threads. But there are no specifics. Trade Ian Desmond — who’s ‘garbage’ one says — for a Craig Kimbrel-like reliever. Right. It’s just blather that’s no longer worth addressing.

    • veejh - May 12, 2015 at 10:06 AM

      Wait, you mean The Reds won’t do Chapman for Dez?

      • adcwonk - May 12, 2015 at 10:54 AM

        Who wants Chapman? The dude wild-pitched in the losing run last night after surrendering two singles! (OTOH, given that, the Reds might want to deal. 😉 )

      • natsfan1a - May 12, 2015 at 11:54 AM

        What a bum. 😉

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - May 12, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    “jfmii on May 12, 2015 at 9:34 am
    Stop with the Desmond bashing”

    When the guy was winning back to back Silver Sluggers some here were bashing him for his BB/K. Desi has his flaws and he’s in a funk that he has earned a chance to crawl out of just like RZim and Werth.

    He’s in my lineup when Rendon comes back but I’d give him rest days as Espi and Uggla need some work.

    I wouldn’t even mind Espi at SS tomorrow with Uggs at 2nd and Esco at 3rd just for some needed rest.

    At some point Desi will win a game singlehandedly for this team just like Uggla, Bryce. RZim, Esco and Ramos have done.

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