Skip to content

In 17 days, Nats have climbed back to brink of 1st place

May 16, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images

On the morning of April 28, the Nationals appeared to be a mess, stuck in a 6-game losing streak, owning a 7-13 record and sitting a full 8 games behind the Mets in the NL East. Nobody truly believed this team wouldn’t be able to make up ground over time, but everybody seemed to recognize it wouldn’t happen overnight.

Turns out everybody was right. The Nationals didn’t make up all that ground overnight. They did it in 17 days.

Friday night’s 10-0 shellacking of the Padres, coupled with the Mets’ fifth straight loss, leaves the Nationals on the precipice of first place in the NL East again. They now sit a mere 1/2-game back, having made up 7 1/2 games in the standings in only 17 days.

That’s an incredibly short amount of time to make up that much ground. It’s the same number of days it took the Phillies to make up 7 games on the Mets down the stretch in 2007 and capture the division title, considered one of the biggest collapses in recent baseball history.

There is so much baseball left to be played, and who knows how that will all play out. But for now, just appreciate how quickly the Nationals righted their ship, bouncing back from a 7-13 start to win 13 of their next 17 and put themselves on the brink of leapfrogging the Mets.

Some more observations from last night’s game…

Bryce Harper remains red-hot
With a fourth-inning home run to right field, Harper continued his torrid streak at the plate. He now has eight homers and 18 RBI in his last nine games, eight homers in his last 32 at-bats, to go along with eight walks and a 2.000 OPS.

It’s a ridiculously hot stretch for the young slugger, but it’s starting to get to the point where it’s turning into more than just a mere hot stretch. It does make you wonder: At what point is this no longer a streak and instead just what Bryce Harper really is?

Let’s look farther back than these nine games, farther back even than this season, farther back even than last October. Let’s go all the way back to last September, once Harper appeared to be fully healed from his thumb surgery earlier in the season.

Harper has played 65 games since Sept. 1, 2014, during which time he has hit .306 with 16 homers, a .421 on-base percentage, .584 slugging percentage and 1.004 OPS. Aside from batting average, he ranks in the top five in baseball in all of those categories since that date.

Point is, Harper isn’t just hot right now. He’s been doing this, basically, for nearly half a season’s worth of games.

Jayson Werth appears to be OK after getting hit in the wrist
The sight of Werth going down in obvious pain after taking a pitch off his left wrist in the second inning was harrowing for plenty of people. That’s the same wrist Werth has injured several times in his carer, including that play in right field in May 2012 in which the wrist broke.

Werth remained in the game to run the bases, but he didn’t take the field for the bottom of the inning, and that surely raised some red flags. The good news, though: Matt Williams told reporters after the game that X-rays came back negative and Werth will be re-evaluated Saturday. He may need to miss a day or two, but it looks like he dodged a major injury this time.

A.J. Cole was much, much better in his second career appearance
The Nationals’ resurgence came after Cole was bashed around by the Braves for nine runs in only two innings his MLB debut on April 28. Cole was sent back to Class AAA Syracuse after that game, and you couldn’t help but wonder if the negative experience would weigh on him for some time.

Well, the right-hander returned Friday night, called up to take Doug Fister’s roster spot, and he came in out of the bullpen in relief of Jordan Zimmermann. And did a very nice job.

Cole tossed three scoreless innings, facing only 10 total batters, allowing just one to reach base. He threw 23 of his 37 pitches for strikes and wound up earning the save (which is automatic when a reliever tosses three innings to close out a win for his team).

It’s unclear how Cole will be used for now; because of a pair of off-days coming up, the Nationals only need four starters for the time being. Cole could remain and pitch out of the bullpen. More likely, he would seem to be a logical candidate for demotion when Casey Janssen comes off the DL, perhaps as soon as Tuesday.

Whatever the case, it was nice to see Cole return to a big-league mound and enjoy some real success after his disastrous debut last month.

  1. Theophilus T.S. - May 16, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    Two keys to closing an eight-game lead; (1) the team you are chasing falls to earth like a meteor; (2) feasting on lousy pitching. Despaigne was a guy who would never have come through the Nats system to be a member of the regular rotation. Lousy stuff (dissected by Ray Knight post-game), poor metaphysics — he had no idea what he was doing and really didn’t want to be there. To win a lot of games you’ve got to beat up on the weak sisters from the opposing pitching staff. The next item on the agenda: continue to, as GSM says, step on their throats. If the Nats get through Strasburg’s start they get to face the Yankees, whose record reflects the weak division in which they play. I don’t know whether the Nats face Pineda but the Yankees aren’t the kind of stone wall the Cardinals might be.

    Glad to see Wms. get ABs for Moore, Taylor and Uggla, which will serve the Nats well when those players are called upon in more critical moments.

    Thinking about Cole’s day — a flight (if non-stop) of at least five-and-a half hours, an Uber-ride to the ball park, maybe a sandwich on the run through the clubhouse, facing the Padres (with some good hitters, for a change) for the first time — he did amazingly well. Still uncertain whether he has the stuff of a major league pitcher but his composure was outstanding.

    • ArVAFan - May 16, 2015 at 8:00 AM

      +1 on Cole. Unlike the rest of the team, he was playing after midnight based on his body clock. Hope this holds up, both for the short and long term.

      And Clancy will take his catnip, now, thank you.

      • natsfan1a - May 16, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        I missed out on the catnip reference, as I’m behind on reading. My cat will take his catnip any time, any place, thank you very much.

    • unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      Metaphysics? Anyway, sounds like a great game I didn’t get to watch… GYFNGOGOGO!!!

      • natsfan1a - May 16, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        Dunno – why am I here?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 16, 2015 at 5:47 PM

        Where are we going?
        And why are we in this handbasket?

    • virginiascopist - May 16, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      Really happy for Cole. I am sure this will go a long way to restoring his confidence.

    • natsfan1a - May 16, 2015 at 9:35 AM

      Didn’t see this one either but will try to make time to watch the recording today. Never did watch the Thursday recording, as yesterday was very busy.

      fwiw, NYY currently featuring Eovaldi and Warran as probables on the Nats site.

  2. laddieblahblah - May 16, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    A win today could put them in 1st place, where they belong. Werth can’t seem to catch a break, this year, but the Nats can send Moore, Taylor or Robinson out there until he is better.

    Key injuries are the only thing that can stop this team. JZ is back on track, Max has been solid. SS needs to get it together, but Gio is pitching like it was 2012. Even without Fister, they can plug in Roark until Doug is good to go.

    Cole could probably start, right now, for the Padres, and most the Nats bench could probably start, somewhere, in the MLs.

    The scary part for everyone else is that they are doing all this without Rendon and with a pen that is still searching for the right mix.

    • unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      +1

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      I think Werth did catch a break as the baseball hit him flush on that pad. If he pronated that wrist a fraction it could have fractured the wrist. I’m sure it’s still swollen. Hope JDub isn’t out for long.

      Cole was in a Low Lev spot and produced. Amazing how much better his mechanics looked yesterday.

      The bullpen’s issue is 8th inning. They have been successful in matchup baseball in contrast to handing the 8th to one pitcher.

      Yep, amazing the Nats have done all of this without Rendon but it’s because you’re getting production from Esco and Espi and Uggla.

      • Dave - May 16, 2015 at 9:26 AM

        Casey Janssen is somebody else who is yet to show up. That should help the eighth-inning bullpen

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        Dave, Casey Jannsen was inconsistent in Spring Training. Not sure what we will see from him.

      • laddieblahblah - May 16, 2015 at 9:44 AM

        Ghost, do you really think he got a break with a pitch that could not have it him more squarely on that wrist? Of all the places to get hit. And just when he had finally started to rake. I hope he can come back PDQ. That wrist guard may have saved him. You can tell he wants to be playing for this team every day, if possible.

        They are turning out to be special, with both pitching and offense that are seldom seen on the same team. Harper is taking the pressure off the rest of the guys in the lineup. Even with the bases loaded, the San Diego starter did not want to throw a strike to Bryce. How many times have you seen them pitch around a guy with the bases loaded?

        I went to bed before Cole came on, so I didn’t see him last night. A number of people think he will get Fister’s spot in the rotation, instead of Roark. Could be. Would love to see him get another shot. He was awful in his first start. The Nats need to see if he is the real deal, with Fister out for who knows how long, and with both Doug and JZ free agents this off-season. I am sure Rizzo would like to find out, ASAP.

        Espinosa’s transformation continues to amaze. He actually choked up on a 2-strike count just before hitting that double, just barreling the ball up without trying to kill it. The guy is becoming a real player. He still strikes out, but he is swinging at good pitches to hit when he does. He is hitting way over his lifetime norms.

        I like this team. They seem to have grown up. Harper is tough as well as intense. That seems to be rubbing off on the whole team. He may not be the leader in the clubhouse, but he is on the field. The kid is still only 22. If he keeps it up, he will be the runaway NL MVP.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        Espi needed that RISP hit and hopefully that’s a start. His hitting in all other situations is now .316 Yes, you are reading that correctly. In non-RISP he is batting .316

      • Dave - May 16, 2015 at 10:25 AM

        “Dave, Casey Jannsen was inconsistent in Spring Training. Not sure what we will see from him.”

        Well, Janssen was hurt during spring training, right? I’m not judging by his ST. I’m going to assume Rizzo knew what he was doing when he acquired him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        Still a reclamation project and he was very inconsistent when healthy in ST.

        I’d hate to dump anyone right now while they’re jelling out there.

    • senators5 - May 16, 2015 at 4:28 PM

      not to mention Strasburg who has hardly been lights out……

  3. rayvil01 - May 16, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Difference between this team and the past few years is that there’s a legitimate big stick in the four-hole. And he has pretty good coverage behind him. We haven’t had that dynamic. Bryce could get in the high 30s or low 40s with homers and that will get the two and three-hole hitters a lot more fastballs.

    They can keep giving Bryce that “Most Overrated” crown every year. =)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      LaRoche at times was a big stick but he was so streaky that he wasn’t putting the fear of the baseball gods into opposing teams like King Oppo Boppo.

      With RZim hitting and Werth getting on base, it’s causing havoc.

      2 things you want when Bryce is up, a runner on 1st and less than 2 outs and RZim in the zone behind Harp. Pitchers are nibbling like crazy on Harp and he’s rarely biting. That has been the maturation I’ve been talking about in taking what the game gives you where you don’t expand and help the pitcher. It’s a pleasure to watch and the closest I’ve seen to vintage Bonds.

      • laddieblahblah - May 16, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        Hammer meets nail, right on its head.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 10:05 AM

        🙂

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    3 weeks ago there were some declaring the season over. I kept saying there is 140+ games left and I really wasn’t concerned.

    I’ve said numerous times that there are some players like Jayson Werth that transcends stats with his intangibles and pointed to his W/L record when he plays. That didn’t make some happy who said he “stinks”. Whatever.

    Yesterday I was talking about Nats starters and that they didn’t forget how to pitch. I wasn’t really concerned about JZim and Scherzer, Gio is Gio, and I thought Fister was doing a Haren impersonation and now we hear he’s injured. Strasburg I compared to Kluber and he didn’t forget how to pitch unless he’s injured he will be fine.

    The bench is producing in Game Winning moments even though their stats are a mixed bag. TyMo suddenly is batting over Mendoza.

    • rayvil01 - May 16, 2015 at 8:41 AM

      +1. I think TyMo has a bigger upside than many will acknowledge. He could be a solid player if he could get on the field more often.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 8:50 AM

        Exactly. You can see he has always shown the ability to win games for this team. He did it in Toronto in 2012 and in St. Louis in the playoffs. He has to do it as a role player like he did in Arizona.

        This bench needs an identity branded and something better than the Goon Squad. I hope these guys embrace their role and the only slacker is CRob and I hope he starts contributing besides relief appearances.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    The Nats now have an 8 man bullpen with AJ Cole being used as a tandem yesterday. 3 shutout innings sure helped his stats.

    MW now has 4 pitchers who can go long with Cole, Treinen, Solis, and Roark. They have actually saved the other 4 from racking up innings on their arms.

  6. NatsLady - May 16, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    If Max wins today, Stras will be on house money tomorrow. Pitching “at home” (for him) and in front of well-wishers. hopefully he will relax, trust his catcher, and just throw. I fully expect him to put in a Kluber-like performance one of these times (perhaps Sunday) and exorcise his ghosts. A lot of people were writing Kluber off as a one-season wonder, and it only took one game, ONE GAME, for all those folks to change their minds.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      I disagree, that’s not a house money situation to be satisfied with a series split. You always want a series win.

      What’s with exorcising his ghosts, it’s exorcising his demons!

      BTW, anyone calling Kluber a one-season wonder would only be correct in a sense he probably won’t repeat a 2.44 ERA but I’d expect him around 2.75. He has real stuff.

      • NatsLady - May 16, 2015 at 9:02 AM

        I was referring to the road trip when I said “house money.” A win today guarantees the road trip is above .500.

        Not knowing Stras personally, I can’t say whether he responds better to being under pressure (i.e., to be the “stopper” for a losing streak, or the “go-to” guy for a Game 7) or better when he can “relax” and pitch an individual game without worrying about the standings.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        Not sure either and the pressure is on him to follow JZim and Scherzer in his hometown of San Diego.

        JZim now holds some road mark record of a 0.23 ERA at Petco. That’s impressive.

    • Nats Fan Zee - May 16, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      Home town crowd is not going to restore his breaking ball. Shakey performance at home = early melt down.

      This is not my hope … It’s my fear. He needs help and not the kind you get from a chiropractor or podiatrist.

  7. Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Once again, it’s time for an 18-game recap, covering the games through Thursday night. I’ve been looking forward to this post ever since the Nats turned their season around. It’s much more fun to talk about good 18-game stretches than bad ones.

    When we last left our heroes they had suffered through a truly lousy start to the season, going 7-11. I noted that they hadn’t had that bad an 18-game stretch in either 2012 or 2014. Was this reason to panic? No. But it certainly was reason for concern. The Nats needed to turn things around with a winning streak or at least by going on a run of solid 10-8s to claw their way back to respectability.

    As it turned out, they hadn’t even hit rock bottom as of that 18th game. They, and we, still had two more losses of their demoralizing 6 game losing streak to endure. After an ugly, error prone (4 errors!) loss to the Braves in the opening game of the series on April 27, the Nats were 7-13, 8 games behind the high flying Mets.

    And then came the miraculous 13-12 comeback victory in Atlanta on April 28, capped by Dan Uggla’s 3-run blast in the top of the 9th. And after that — 12 wins and only four losses, bringing us to 12-6 for the full 18-game set. The stretch included series wins in Atlanta, New York, and Arizona, and at home against Miami and Atlanta. It covered the Nats’ 5 game winning streak, which itself included Bryce’s 3 homer, then 2 homer, then 1 walkoff homer games. The Nats scored 40 runs in those 5 games. In short, it’s been quite a run.

    19-17 after 36 games is as if they went 9-9 and 10-8 to open the season. It’s not the best start possible by a long shot, but it’s certainly respectable. And after last night’s win, and considering how they’ve played in the past few weeks, I think it’s fair to expect that the third 18-game stretch will be more like the second than the first. There are still serious questions about the starting rotation and the bullpen. And a few of our hitters are still not quite clicking on all cylinders. But things are definitely looking up.

    Some things are looking way up — Bryce’s slashline in the 71 PAs in the second 18-game set: .351/.479/.842/1.321 with 7 homers, 14 walks, and 20 RBIs. Otherworldly.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      Eric Byrnes on Baseball Tonight said the other day the turnaround was April 27th when Andrelton Simmons spiked Esco which set up Uggla in his place to be the hero on April 28th.

      I also look back to Jayson Werth on April 15th when he got his 1st hit of the season and the Nats are 17-8 in those 25 games since.

      Werth has that je ne sais quoi quality of his off the charts intangibles even when his stats aren’t great. The Nats are 12-4 in games this season when Werth gets a hit.

      This team has more “it” factor then the 2012 team and like I said above I hope they can brand the bench with some cool name (like the Goon squad) and embrace it as Uggla especially needs to embrace it more than others.

      • laddieblahblah - May 16, 2015 at 10:04 AM

        “Eric Byrnes on Baseball Tonight said the other day the turnaround was April 27th when Andrelton Simmons spiked Esco which set up Uggla in his place to be the hero on April 28th.”

        That was the turning point, and I thought so at the time. Even Chipper tweeted about that incident and how Simmons should have let “the dead dog lie.” The team has not been the same since that series, and following that incident, in particular. The next game’s comeback, and Uggla’s role in it, turned the team around. They have gone from being one of the worst offensive teams in baseball to being one of the most potent.

        Off the top of my head, I can think of 3-hit games from Lobaton, Espinosa, Robinson, and Uggla. Moore has also had multi-hit games as well as MAT, but I can’t recall if any of them were 3-hit games. Power? Moore (2 HRs), Lobaton (2 HRs), Danny (4 HRs), MAT (3 HRs), Uggla (just 1 HR, but it was a beaut). And we are not yet to June.

        They got just 1 HR from Frandsen last year, 1 from Mac Louth, and 1 HR from Hairston, all year long. What a difference a year makes.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 10:19 AM

        “They got just 1 HR from Frandsen last year, 1 from Mac Louth, and 1 HR from Hairston, all year long. What a difference a year makes.”

        When Frandsen is your star of that bench you know you have issues.

        Rizzo made the necessary choice dumping Frandsen and I applauded it because when you settle for mediocrity you get mediocre play and there was little chance that Frandsen was going to improve.

        You are also correct, Clint Robinson on April 12th had a 3 hit game. The problem is he hasn’t had a hit since April 18th and he leads the team in weak contact. I like his makeup and enthusiasm but the Nats already have cheerleaders and he needs to produce.

        The rest of the bench is getting it done and someone is going to have to leave when Rendon comes back and I’m no longer convinced it’s Taylor as Robinson is struggling and has to improve.

        I think at the July trade deadline that the Nats need to get a big lefty bench bat unless CRob steps up to cement that role.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        “That was the turning point, and I thought so at the time. Even Chipper tweeted about that incident and how Simmons should have let “the dead dog lie.””

        Turning points are great to look at in hindsight! Thanks Andrelton!

      • laddieblahblah - May 16, 2015 at 10:55 AM

        “Turning points are great to look at in hindsight!”

        Ghost, I did not say that in hindsight. It was my prediction going into the next game, at the time. You can look it up.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 11:03 AM

        I wasn’t being critical as I also made similar comments then. A true turnaround can only be judged in historical terms, I guess hindsight was the wrong term. July 21 2012 was a turning point and if the Nats make the postseason then April 27 2015 becomes the day officially.

      • Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 12:18 PM

        If you want to think like Eric Byrnes, maybe the turning point was Bowden’s failure to sign Aaron Crow in 2009. That led to the drafting of Drew Storen, and when Storen got hurt in 2012, Clipp got a chance to close and get 32 save, which helped increase his value as a top-tier reliever, which led to Rizzo being able to trade him and get Esco, which allowed Esco to fill in at 3B and get hurt on the Simmons slide, which led to Uggla playing the next day!

        So I guess you can look at it any number of ways, but I prefer to look for an active event — something a Nat did to turn things around — rather than something another team did, as a turning point. Plus, there’s a difference between Eric Byrnes’ coincidental approach and seeing Simmons slide as something that lit a fire under the Nats. Maybe that’s what happened (who knows?), but it would have to have been a fire that smoldered until we were down 9-1 and then ignited.

        To me, Uggla’s HR was what did it. That’s what made the Nats start believing in themselves, although maybe you could pick Lobo’s 3-run HR in the 5th that made the score 10-6 (slam range).

    • ehay2k - May 17, 2015 at 7:50 AM

      Thanks again 222 for these recaps. As I sat down this morning I was thinking to myself we were due for another one of these, and boy would the result be different for the first!

      And Rendon isn’t even back yet. Wow.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Tulowitzki left last night’s game with a quad injury. Just sayin.

    • veejh - May 16, 2015 at 10:31 AM

      I thought we were trading the farm for him?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 10:40 AM

        Yesterday sure was caution to that wind. I can smell the manure.

  9. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Well, I am happiest for our centerfielder. The guy had been maligned by many since the day he got here.He has played exceptional defense since his first game here in 2013, but since early in the summer last year he has also been one of the best lead off hitters in baseball.When Denard Span is getting on base, this team seems to really gel. When you add Yunel Escobar into the equation the table is really being set nicely for Werth, Harper, Zim and Ramos. But Span has been a huge part of the success of this team since he returned from his surgery, and I couldn’t be happier for the guy.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      Peric I read yesterday on MASN wrote that the Nats need to get rid of Strasburg and Span. He was the one unfairly maligning Span but let’s face it, for a while Span was not producing. Span had a 2nd half last year that was off the charts and unfortunately as we found out later he was playing injured in the playoffs.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2015 at 9:38 AM

        For almost the past year Span has been the player that Rizzo envisioned when he traded for him.

        peric and WODL were far from the only ones that tried to chew Span up and spit him out on this board.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        Forgot about WODL. I think some of the factual criticisms were fair though.

        There were 2 things that happened to him last year. One was the chew out from Werth in Pittsburgh when DSpan didn’t take charge and the other was Rosenthal commenting on his defense.

        Span went to an all new level after that. His “take charge” as the outfield captain is what it should be. His oppo hitting is also good.

      • Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        Yeah Joe, I even remember one guy who wanted Span benched in favor of Espi when Bryce returned from the DL. 🙂

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:59 AM

        When Bryce made his proclamation, that also seemed to be a motivator to Span. He’s had many people question him and at times there was justification. You shut up your critics by proving them wrong.

        Did you see Span and Bryce doing their thang before the game started yesterday. They have bonded and that’s good to see.

        Werth still isn’t at 100% and right now he is the weak link statistically on this team but like I said, he transcends stats sometimes with his je ne sais quoi qualities.

      • Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 11:58 AM

        I was actually thinking of someone here. Pure speculation that Bryce’s comments motivated Span, but sure, that could be the case.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 12:02 PM

        Motivations come from different places.

      • unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 10:24 AM

        Je ne sais quoi-lities… A new statistical measure?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 10:28 AM

        Werth transends the normal intangibles as statistically on offense and especially defense he’s been no bueno but look at the Win stats. Quoi-lities and Quoi-tients and special moments.

        I don’t know what it is with Jayson but statistically they’re right, he is no longer a 3 hitter, but those that keep asking to bench him don’t get je ne sais quoi JDub-ness.

        I just think he needs more rest days 😉

      • veejh - May 16, 2015 at 10:32 AM

        Toss in an Espi that actually hits!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      Nats are 13-8 in Span games this season.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        And for a handful of those Span was not only not really 100%,
        Also Escobar was out for a few of those 21 games. He had Desi hitting behind him in the 2 spot.Span and Escobar have been pretty impressive at the top.Oh, what to do when Rendon comes back?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        All valid but I will still take 13-8.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        I need a personal editor on this site.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        I just need an edit button. 😉

      • Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2015 at 11:21 AM

        One more thing regarding Denard Span’s tenure here. Even in 2013 he was a huge overall improvement to the likes of Lastings Milledge, Nyjer Morgan and a long line of all of the CF’ers that proceeded him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 11:55 AM

        No kidding!

  10. Joe Seamhead - May 16, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    Off topic, but our old buddy Justin Maxwell has played a pretty fair game for the Giants during Hunter Pence’s absence. Pence is set to come off the DL any time now., which will relegate JMax to a 4th outfielder. I’m happy for Justin for his resurrection from the ashes, at least for a while.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      I expect he will be getting starts in LF and CF occassionally and especially against LHPs.

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Who knew that Will-ie Harris was still in the Majors. I just watched this 30+ year old reliever for Houston come in with men on 2nd and 1st and no outs and strike out the next 2 of 3 with some nasty stuff. He stunk last year with Arizona and now has a 0.50 ERA with Houston. He throws some of the nastiest curves and cutters I have seen.

  12. unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    Way off topic, and I know that Mick likes to lay low when his favorite team is raking, but I know he must’ve raised a Corona to the passing of the King of the Blues, yesterday… Salute, Mick

    • Eric - May 16, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      Oh no! RIP, BB. 😦

    • micksback1 - May 16, 2015 at 11:22 AM

      God Bless you, hey, I have posted after each win, just not as much and I have been attending both caps and Wiz games so I have not been around as much

      BB is with all the greats in heaven, Muddy, Louy, The Count, John, George, Jimmi, Janis, Clarence and the rest. God is smiling!

    • Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      Reminds me of this:

      Ronald Reagan arrived at the Pearly Gates this week, and was met by St. Peter. Reagan was stunned for a moment.

      “You mean, I—I’m in?” he asked.

      “That’s right” said St. Peter. “Come on, man. I’ll show you around.” He tossed the keys to a brand new Lincoln Town Car at Reagan, and said, “You drive. This is your car, for the rest of eternity.”

      Reagan was buoyant as they drove along the streets of Heaven, through sunny neighborhoods. Finally they came to a fancy part of town, with big lawns and swimming pools. St. Peter told Reagan that this is where he would be living.

      “That’s Franklin Roosevelt’s house over there,” St. Peter pointed out as they drove, “And that’s where Albert Einstein lives, next to Madame Curie. Pope John Paul XXIII lives here….and here’s your house.” They pulled into the driveway, and got out.

      As Reagan was looking around, he noticed up in the hills a palace made of shimmering, white granite. He could see it was enormous, with room after room, and terraces with dozens of gold fountains. “That must be where the Lord lives,” said Reagan. St. Peter shook his head.

      “No, that’s Ray Charles’s place,” he said. Reagan’s smile faltered for a moment.

      “Ray Charles lives there? How come all the presidents, scientists and popes live here, and Ray Charles lives up in that palace? I don’t get it.”

      St. Peter chuckled. “Ronnie,” he said, “Presidents and Popes are a dime a dozen. But baby, there’s only one Ray Charles.”

      There’s only one B.B. King. He has a palace up there too.

      • micksback1 - May 16, 2015 at 2:44 PM

        Sec222: LOLOLOLOLO

        that is awesome!!!!

      • zmunchkin - May 16, 2015 at 3:01 PM

        +1

  13. micksback1 - May 16, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    got home after watching the Wiz lose, nats salvaged what was an awful 48 hours of dC sports agony.

    well, some of my pre season predictiions look good, I said Bryce was 35 HR’s and 100 RBI’s
    Nats 92 wins. I said Desi is a burden.

    But, I also said in late April they would only 80 games, I am more than happy to eat crow on that. Happy Cole did well, I am concerned abot Fister, I still think Barrett and Stras are over and BP still needs and 8th inning guy. Other than that, things are looking good.

    If we can get the Rockies SS, then good bye Desi!!!! and hello a deep post season

    • unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      Possibility of getting Tulo is so low as to not warrent further discussion, especially with his quad injured, now… No room for big FA contracts, when affordable, high-end talent is a year or two away, in the pipeline…

      • Nats Fan Zee - May 16, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        Don’t be surprised if he turned up as a Met.

      • micksback1 - May 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM

        you are correct and in fact, i just heard from a NY mets fan that he has a better chance to end up in nY. However, would Rizzon get him, just to keep a division opponent from getting him??

      • senators5 - May 16, 2015 at 4:37 PM

        Why would you want a guy who has the unbelievable track record of injuries this guy has. Be patient, Trea Turner will be our next SS

    • unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      Well, at least we don’t have the Caps and the Wiz to oick around, any more…

    • infideljack - May 16, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      We just need Rendon back and Espinosa can replace Desi.

  14. unkyd59 - May 16, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    I would still like to see a clip of Matt reading Gio the riot act, the other night, if anyone has a link… Thanks!

    • Eric - May 16, 2015 at 12:41 PM

      +1

  15. Drew - May 16, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    28 of the 71 posts are from Ghost.

    He’s hitting .394

    Look out Teddy Ballgame!

    • Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      It’s Ghost’s blog. We’re just visitors.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 2:34 PM

        Just made one for you sweetie. Recalculate.

        Lombo sent to AAA.

      • Doc - May 16, 2015 at 3:10 PM

        I think that our Ghost has the potential to hit .400!

  16. virginiascopist - May 16, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    Who are we supposed to root for?

    Jace Peterson just hit a grand slam against Mat Latos. 5-0, middle of the 2nd.

    • Section 222 - May 16, 2015 at 2:07 PM

      This is the fantasy baseball player’s lament!

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    Lombo sent down to AAA.

    • natsjackinfl - May 16, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      Is anybody surprised?

      What can you do with a slap hitter that plays awful defense?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 16, 2015 at 3:05 PM

        Not surprised at all but recall those who thought he was a legit long-term answer for the Nats as a starter.

        I think that was more an indictment on how iffy the Nats looked at 2nd base and SS at that time than Lombo being a top prospect.

        Still need to thank Dombrowski for trading Fister for him.

      • therealjohnc - May 16, 2015 at 3:32 PM

        And won’t take a walk. Lombo is the most aggressive lousy hitter I think I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t whiff much because he doesn’t get to two strikes. But while the ball is in play, it’s usually mediocre contact. I never understood the Lombo Love.

  18. ehay2k - May 17, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Mark Z., you didn’t mention that the main reason the Mets collapsed in 2007 was that the then-lowly Nats took 5 out of six game from the Mets in the last 14 days of September. Buckhantz would have yelled “Dagger!!”

    Just glad that we are the beneficiary this time.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK9072
WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
PHILADELPHIA639927.0

ON THE RADIO

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

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter