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Thoughts on Saturday’s 8-5 loss in Cincinnati

May 31, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

AP

It had been a month since the Nationals last dropped two games in a row, not to mention a series, so the events of the last 48 hours have come as a bit of a shock. A Nats club that was sky-high just lost two straight to the Reds, who had lost 10 of their previous 11 games, and now needs a win Sunday to avoid a series sweep.

Back-to-back losses, of course, do not spoil what has otherwise been a brilliant May for the Nationals. Saturday’s game did feature plenty of drama and moments of significance, so let’s recap some of it…

GIO GONZALEZ GOT HIT BY 2 PITCHES, THEN FALTERED IN 6TH
Only nine previous times in MLB history, and not since 2001, had a pitcher been plunked twice in the same game. So add Gonzalez to that illustrious list after his 2-HBP performance Saturday.

Reds starter Raisel Iglesias got Gonzalez with a glancing blow in the top of the fifth, but one inning later he caught the right-handed-hitting pitcher square in the left elbow with a fastball. Gonzalez appeared in some obvious pain, though he made his way to first base and then returned to the mound for the bottom of the sixth.

That’s when things began to fall apart for him. Holding a 5-2 lead at the time, Gonzalez immediately walked Joey Votto to begin the inning, then gave up a ground-rule double to Todd Frazier. Jay Bruce’s RBI grounder brought one runner home. Then, as Blake Treinen warmed in the pen, Gonzalez surrendered an RBI single to Brayan Peña, ending his afternoon in unceremonious fashion.

Did the second plunking affect Gonzalez’s ability to pitch? Perhaps, though there were no telltale signs of that, aside from the poor results. Regardless, the lefty’s inability to deliver a shutdown inning after his teammates had taken a 3-run lead left a bitter taste after what had to that point been a solid start.

Of course, that would not have mattered much if not for…

CASEY JANSSEN BLEW AN 8TH-INNING LEAD IN UNSIGHTLY FASHION
We’ve only seen a little bit of Janssen since he made his delayed season debut last week, and most of what we had seen had been impressive (including a brilliant escape act at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night).

This, though, was not pretty. Handed a 5-4 lead in the eighth, the veteran right-hander proceeded to give up four runs on four hits and two walks. It didn’t help matters that he was late to cover first base on Peña’s grounder to the right side of the infield. Had Janssen broke immediately for the bag, he would’ve beaten Peña there and recorded the second out of the inning and possibly escaped without any damage in the end.

Then again, it may not have mattered the way Janssen pitched. He was eminently hittable on this afternoon, leaving his fastball and slider up in the zone and paying the price for it.

Janssen doesn’t have blow-you-away stuff; his fastball sits in the 86-88 mph range. But he has a track record for success because he’s always been able to locate those pitches down in the zone and on the corners. He knows that’s what he needs to do to be successful. And he knows what happens when he doesn’t do that, as we all found out Saturday.

Janssen’s ragged eighth cost the Nats a win and made a footnote out of…

MICHAEL TAYLOR’S 3-RUN HOMER IN THE 6TH
A late addition to the lineup after Bryce Harper was scratched with a sore back, Taylor did it again, more than making up for the loss of the current best hitter on the planet.

With two on and two on in what was then a 2-2 game, Taylor crushed an 0-1 slider from Iglesias to left field to give the Nats the lead. This was the rookie’s fourth homer, leaving him tied for fifth on the roster. That’s fairly remarkable, considering he has far fewer at-bats (102) than everybody else higher than him on the list.

Taylor remains a work-in-progress. He’s striking out in a ridiculous 40 percent of his at-bats, which isn’t going to work long-term. But he has shown his ability to deliver big hits in big spots on more than one occasion. And with Jayson Werth likely out til August, Taylor is going to continue to get opportunities to prove he belongs here.

Speaking of playing short-handed…

YUNEL ESCOBAR GOT EJECTED ARGUING BALLS AND STRIKES
Escobar’s argument with Andy Fletcher didn’t last long, and the plate umpire probably should have afforded him some more leeway. But that doesn’t excuse Escobar from failing to recognize the sitaution and the fact the Nats simply couldn’t afford for him to get tossed in this game.

With Harper, Werth and Anthony Rendon all out of the lineup Saturday (not to mention Wilson Ramos as well), Escobar was one of the Nationals’ most-accomplished hitters. He needed to keep himself in the game, especially for the ninth inning.

Aroldis Chapman is among the toughest at-bats in baseball, and who knows whether Escobar would’ve had any luck against the flame-throwing Cincinnati closer. But you would have to have liked his chances better than Dan Uggla, who while representing the tying run struck out on three pitches. Sure, Uggla was more likely to get a hold of one and tie the game with one swing, but Escobar was far more likely to make contact and potentially keep the Nats’ rally going.

Escobar has been mighty important to the Nationals so far this season, but he and the rest of the team may be getting a huge boost very soon, because…

ANTHONY RENDON APPEARS CLOSE TO READY TO MAKE HIS SEASON DEBUT
Rendon played in his second rehab game for Class AA Harrisburg on Saturday, and this time he played the full nine innings. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and played the entire game at second base, offering further evidence that’s the position he’ll man when he comes off the disabled list.

When will that be? Well, it’s probably going to be soon. It’s possible the Nats could decide Rendon is good to go now, giving him Sunday off and then activating him Monday when they open a home interleague series against the Blue Jays. A more likely scenario would probably have Rendon playing another couple of full games on rehab, then joining the Nationals mid-week.

Either way, it appears the time has finally come for the Nats to get their best player from 2014 in the lineup for the first time in 2015.

  1. Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 7:02 AM

    Yesterday’s loss was a disappointment, but you’ll have some of those in a 162 game season. There were a few keys to why the Nats lost that game, starting with who wasn’t in the lineup. Hopefully Harper will be back sooner, rather than later, and add Rendon to the mix and things are looking up. Janssen is still showing signs of rust, but not covering 1st on that play? Come on, man, you start doing that in high school, if not before. All I can figure is that he never thought Zim had a chance to get to the ball. Poor excuse, I know, but that’s all I got. That play was the pivotal, defining moment of the game. As to Gio? He looked pretty good up until the 2nd time that he got hit at the plate. I think it stands to reason that it affected him.

    So great news that Anthony Rendon’s return is drawing near. If he hits anywhere near like he did last year then this lineup improves no matter who he replaces. Between him and Harper, along with the rest of the regulars, I sure wouldn’t want to face that group as a pitcher.

    I was happy for Baby Taylor, especially after his first couple of at bats, which were pathetic. I’m with Ray Knight on him in that I think that he will improve. I do think that he should’ve come in on the one ball hit his way that bounced in front of him, Denard was behind him, so if it got by him there would have been no damage. That trust comes in time with good outfielders playing together. Honestly, I thought the ball was catchable.

    Trea Turner continues to rock and roll in San Antonio. He went 2-4 with an RBI yesterday. His slash line: .341/.413/.520 He has now played in 45 games at SS and has a total of 3 errors, and they were all pretty much in the beginning of the year. Put your sunglasses on, the future’s looking bright!

    • rabbit433 - May 31, 2015 at 7:29 AM

      Joe, when is Trea Turner supposed to be available to us?

      • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 7:41 AM

        June 13 rabbit

    • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      Actually, due to a rainout on Friday, the Missions played two yesterday. For the day, Turner went 3-8.

  2. natfan33 - May 31, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    Is Janssen just a slower Soriano? It’s tough to see a reliever being successful throwing 86-88. Mix in the change up and hit the corners. But you’ve got to be perfect with those pitches at that speed.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 7:23 AM

      Well, you could say “what has he done lately,” but he does have a pretty successful resume of living off of locating his pitches. I think that he’s going to get a lot opportunity to show if he still can do the job.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 8:14 AM

        Problem is he didn’t locate himself on the 1st base bag to accept a throw from Dan Uggla.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 8:20 AM

        Was it Uggla that got to that ball? I was thinking it was Zimm. Regardless, he has no excuse for not covering on the play.

      • DaveB - May 31, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        Zim dove for it & deflected it to Uggla

      • DaveB - May 31, 2015 at 9:39 AM

        I’ll add that Janssen was running to cover and then clearly paused when he saw it had gotten past Zim … he didn’t totally forget to move toward first, he just didn’t think about the fact that Uggla might still back it up

      • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        Thanks for the clarification , Dave.

  3. Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Also, everyone was wondering what the heck Escobar was doing when he took off to 3rd, but he had caught the Reds napping. I saw a brief shot of it on the end of the MASN broadcast, and Frazier was playing deep and Yunel was almost to 3rd when RZimm hit the ball. I couldn’t find a link to that shot, but if you look at this clip and notice at the 5-6 second mark you’ll see that he was already out of the picture and around third as the ball left the infield area. I don’t think that it was quite the brain-‘freeze’ that it looked like from what we could see during the TV broadcast, but instead that there was some method to his madness. Just my take on why he was running. [BTW, none of that excuses his getting caught off base twice the other night].

  4. Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    Janssen wasn’t brought on to be a closer, so comparing him to Rafael Soriano is useless, but if you did you would find Soriano’s career stats much more impressive. But I certainly am not ready to throw Janssen under the bus yet.

  5. Eric - May 31, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    Did Williams say anything in the post game re: Harper’s status/availability today?

  6. Eric - May 31, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    Harper answered my question:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2015/05/30/bryce-harper-scratched-from-nationals-lineup-vs-reds/

    “It’s more spine, not really back, it’s more through to the spine, so take it day-by-day and see how I feel.”

    Harper said the ball hit him between the 10th and 11th vertebrae, and the injury is more of “a bone bruise kinda feel.”

    “When I swing and I turn, it doesn’t feel very good,” said Harper, who said he will be cautious because he doesn’t want to “switch anything up or tweak anything or do anything else that I haven’t been doing.”

    That doesn’t sound so good. Fingers crossed…

    • rayvil01 - May 31, 2015 at 8:09 AM

      That’s the very thing I was afraid of. He needs to err on the side of caution.

      That pitcher is a punk. You don’t throw at a guy above the waist. There’s no doubt that was intentional. He didn’t want any parts of Bryce hitting.

      • unkyd59 - May 31, 2015 at 8:21 AM

        Not too hard to imagine a broohaha today…

      • Eric - May 31, 2015 at 8:27 AM

        Yeah that’s what I was afraid of, too, rayvil.

    • unkyd59 - May 31, 2015 at 8:18 AM

      Holding my breath, hoping Gio doesn’t have any lasting discomfort in his throwing elbow….

      • Eric - May 31, 2015 at 8:26 AM

        Yeah, that, too.

        What a ridiculous turn of events.

  7. rayvil01 - May 31, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    The record against Cincinnati since the start of 2012 is 12W and 9L including the 0-2 this year to-date. But, for some reason I can’t hardly remember us winning in that bandbox ballpark. We’ve had some bad games there.

  8. Dorothy LaRussoi - May 31, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    No one mentioned this, but one can say Bryce was hit deliberately

    • unkyd59 - May 31, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Dozens of us have mentioned it…

  9. tcostant - May 31, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Rendon should spend at least 5 to 10 more days in rehab, what’s the rush

    • Eric - May 31, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      I suppose there might be a rush depending on Harp’s status now? Ugh.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        I agree with tcostant. Can’t rush it even if Harp is out.

      • Eric - May 31, 2015 at 9:21 AM

        Well, yeah, I just mean, the sense of urgency to kick start the offense will increase if Harp goes down for an extended period. All through May it’s always seemed like we had a chance because…Bryce Harper.

  10. thelatencn - May 31, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Of course it was intentional. I heard some discussion on TV that they wouldn’t have put the tying (or was it leading?) run on, but that’s simply not true when the batter is Harper and you play ina bandbox stadium. I’m guessing half the managers in the NL would have walked Harper intentionally, and the other half would have pitched around him. In Cincy, they figured hitting him was quicker than an IBB, and maybe he’d get mad and get himself thrown out of the game to boot. But from their standpoint, they did even better and put him out for the whole next game, and probably the rest of the series. That’s bush league crap, but some teams are just that.

    • donniebenth - May 31, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      I’m generally not in the retaliation camp, but the junk that is going on in this series needs an appropriate response.

      Clearly, the Harp HBP was intentional and Votto’s clown show behavior after was an attempt to awaken the somnambulant Reds. It worked and it has brought front and center what I perceive to be a bit of a lack of p!$$ and vinegar on this team outside of Bryce, Werth and Sherzer… With esco and jzimm not too far behind.

      In general, I like the laid back nature of this ball club, but at certain times, I’d love to see a bit more alpha behavior.

  11. ArVAFan - May 31, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    Speaking of thoughts about yesterday, how about some appreciation for Span’s “over the fence” saving a run? No, he didn’t catch it, but it was still better than a HR.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      That really was a great play. He covered a ton of yardage to get to it, felt out the wall, and timed his jump perfectly. Saved a homer, yes, but too bad that he didn’t make the catch. It would have made a huge difference.

  12. Toot D. Blan - May 31, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    This loss was clearly on the manager. Matt Williams always seems to be a step behind when making pitching changes, leaving his pitcher in just a bit too long because he hasn’t thought ahead and had someone warming up in case his chosen guy falters. By the time he discovers that he needs to make a change, it’s already too late. Sometimes he gets away with it, but if he does it twice in the same game like he did yesterday he’s always going to get burned. He never should have brought Gio out for the sixth inning after that HBP. He was going to pull him for a PH anyway until Taylor hit that 3 run homer, so he must have had a plan ready to start the sixth inning with Treinin. But he got greedy and abandoned it when handed a 3 run lead. He got burned by having Gio put the first two guys on and they ended up scoring, blowing all but one run of that lead. Imagine how the eighth inning might have played out differently had Janssen been trying to hold a 3 run lead instead of a 1 run lead. They might have been able to escape with the win despite his bad pitching.

    If the Nats end up winning anything this year, it’s going to be despite Matt Williams, not because of him.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      Hindsight is easy to steer everything but as the last 2 games unfolded I made the observations on Taylor Jordan was spent and concern on Gio. The Taylor Jordan sinker stopped sinking in the 5th inning and I suggested a quick hook if they brought him out for the next inning. Not sure what game MW and McCatty were watching but amazingly not ONE commentor commented until of course TJord fell apart in the 6th. My feeling has always been if you don’t say it, it didn’t happen and hindsight is always 20/20.

      Tougher decision yesterday as you have a 3 run lead and Gio had to be given a chance if he was “healthy”. Again, a short leash and MW and McCatty let it go too long.

      In the 8th with Janssen, the guy didn’t cover 1st base. The 8th was the Save. I saw no viable options unless you wanted a 4 out save to bring in Storen but who would be left for Sunday?

      Sometimes you have to go on to live another day.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 9:21 AM

        +1

      • dcwx61 - May 31, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        +1 but MZ was probably right…Janssen didn’t have it so runs would have likely scored. and the bullpen was limited after another Strasburg short outing

    • ehay2k - May 31, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      If Gio was injured, he didn’t need to have anyone ready. The real miss was not having Gio throw wild as he warned up for the sixth, then plunk Votto, then get pulled for the injured arm.

  13. Theophilus T.S. - May 31, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    I can’t fathom why no Red ended yesterday in the neurosurgery ward. Well, yes, I can fathom — it was a close game, Williams going into to this stretch of consecutive games with wasting pitchers, etc. But if a Nat gets HBP today I want to see splints on somebody.

  14. Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 9:06 AM

    Not a good day for catcher’s yesterday. Lobaton with a passed ball and a wild pitch on the same batter.

    Maldonado doesn’t catch a throw at the plate. Brewers shortstop throws a strike to him.

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v137660983/arimil-ahmed-plates-owings-with-a-double/?game_pk=414380

    Villar Sac Fly play at the plate on a short hop on Soto

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v137738983/cwshou-villar-lifts-a-sacrifice-fly-to-left/?game_pk=414383

    The only play at the plate last night turned into an out was Butler to Rivera. Bang bang!

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v137736983/tbbal-butler-nabs-clevenger-at-home-to-save-a-run/?game_pk=414392

    • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      All three of those should have been caught. Rivera’s successful catch was actually the toughest, but the difference was he looked the ball into his glove without getting spooked first by the runner.It looked like it hit the ground on a tight short hop. Great play, especially because it came against the O’s!

      • Joe Seamhead - May 31, 2015 at 9:38 AM

        Note Rivera’s use of two hands, too. On those you have to use both hands, because you don’t have a first baseman’s mitt.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        Is it the new catcher’s rules on blocking the plate or has fielding balls on throws at the plate always been this bad. Maybe yesterday was just a bad day.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      I keep hearing about FP and Lobaton’s pitch framing. Luckily I didn’t have to hear Ray Knight say it once yesterday. Framing a strike is not anything special, framing a ball into a strike is special and while I think he is good at that, let’s not get carried away. In fact Ray was rightfully critical of Lobaton’s biggest problem which is his form on blocking balls in the dirt and of course just no excuses on the passed ball.

      I went to FanGraphs and based on their data he’s the 4th lowest rated defensive catcher in the Majors but by Defensive Runs Saved he’s in a negative at -3 and the worst in the DRS per inning.

      I can’t imagine he is as bad as FanGraphs have him.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=c&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=70&type=1&season=2015&month=0&season1=2015&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&page=2_30

    • rayvil01 - May 31, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      The thing about these plays that always jumps out at me is that the Catchers today keep their mask on. Back in the day we were taught to throw that thing to the backstop to help with vision on a play at home. The short-hop throw is where the vision is the worst through a mask. I don’t understand why they keep those things on in that situation.

      Ramos wears an older-style mask. Those come off easily. The hockey-goalie versions may take a touch more effort. But, still, give yourself every possible advantage. After the Posey Rule it’s not like the runner can come in and give you a forearm shiver. Baffling.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 11:10 AM

        I think Rivera in the Rays game showed where you need to set-up. Of course it only works if the throw is on target.

  15. Theophilus T.S. - May 31, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Janssen will get a lot of latitude — just like Soriano got a long leash w/ his post-All Star 6+ ERA last season. Janssen’s second-half “recovery” from an upset stomach last summer, however, suggests there are limits to his recuperative powers. He might be physically sound but not able to pitch effectively. As a “location, location, location” pitcher, he has a limited margin (recall Dan Haren’s bipolar performance in 2013, the difference between 2014 Fister and 2015 Fister). If the margin is eroded, disaster looms. The questions are (1) how long Williams would tolerate more performances like yesterday’s and (2) what could he do to put someone else in Janssen’s role. The perspective that says Roark is the deity’s answer to a shambles of the world’s greatest rotation is only half the story. The other half is that Roark was also the deity’s answer to a Clippard-less bullpen.

    I certainly hope yesterday was just a blip but my degree of confidence is not high.

  16. ehay2k - May 31, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Did Lobaton hurt his throwing hand? Haven’t seen anything about that but he clearly had issue and the throws to 2b were iffy after he appeared to take that ball to his hand.

    They hit Bryce, intentionally IMO and Gio twice. Votto pays today, especially if he is in a position to be walked, and then both benches can be warned and it will end. I am not saying this just for revenge, I believe that NOT retaliating has a bad mental effect on the team.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      I have to believe he got a stinger. That hit off his finger tips. Not a good day by Lobaton. Pitch selection and location was questionable in key spots yesterday but that could have been on Gio not hitting his spots. The pitch selection to Hamilton and Jay Bruce as I said was a head scratcher. Both of them had established weak zones.

  17. knoxvillenat - May 31, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    I’m currently in Cincinnati to watch the series with the Reds. When the eighth inning rolled around I was surprised, as were several Reds fans sitting near me, that Williams brought in Jannsen instead of leaving Thornton in the game. With the Reds having two lefties coming up in the bottom of the eighth (Votto and Bruce) we didn’t understand MW bringing in a right hander at that point. My friend who was with me said he thought Williams was trying to establish Jannsen as his eighth inning guy, much like Clippard used to be. I hate the idea that relievers have to get an “ownership” of certain innings if you will and Williams seems to have bought into that concept.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      Yep, was saying the same on this ownership of the 8th. As poor as Janssen was, it all gets erased if he makes the one PFF with covering 1st base on the ball deflected off of Ryan Zimmerman with the catcher running! No excuse for that.

      Thornton isn’t an effective 2 inning guy and you need him for the next day. Sure, maybe you get him just for Votto.

      I wrote it last night before the inning that the 8th inning was the Save in that game, but the game was essentially lost in the 6th when the 3 run lead was blown.

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Official FX has the ball location on the Votto HR much differently then the MASN Pitch Track.

    Looks like Votto just beat Gio on a pitch that he was able to barrel up. Credit to the hitter.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      Votto doesn’t hit a 2 run HR if Hamilton was pitched to better. When Hamilton bats RH, his weak zone is up and in and low and in. Gio got ahead 0-2 on him and then went on to waste pitches 3, 4 and 5 to make it 3-2 then comes back in the zone and misses the inside edge which put Hamilton on base and you want to face Votto with bases empty.

      It’s the little things that generally derails Gio’s starts. You get ahead 0-2 on good pitches that you can’t give away the at-bat.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    For now, Harper penciled in the lineup but they need to see how he warms up and make sure he gets loose.

    • dcwx61 - May 31, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      3 HBP in one series… a pitcher should be suspended…i don’t care if it was intentional or not. This is the major leagues. You have to have better control on your staff.

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

        The HBP on Harper was intentional and thrown at max speed to inflict pain. Why? I don’t get it. It was the first time they faced each other. Is Cingrani pissed he was sent to the bullpen.

      • dcwx61 - May 31, 2015 at 11:54 AM

        it’s the most dangerous play in baseball. just as bad as intentionally running over the catcher. intent may be more difficult to judge. but maybe it doesn’t matter after you hit the opposing pitcher twice in one game. Last pitcher should be fined and suspended.
        otherwise you put the offended team in a position to intentionally try to hurt someone.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 11:56 AM

        Doubtful he was trying to hit Gio. Positive he was trying to hit Bryce.

      • dcwx61 - May 31, 2015 at 11:59 AM

        yeah….but i don’t really care. there has to be a larger consequence for hitting the opposing pitcher twice in one game. now the Nats must take the law in their own hands rather than the officials

    • ehay2k - May 31, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      I’d leave him out. Bruises take time to heal. He may do worse damage trying to compensate while still unleashing that big swing.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 31, 2015 at 11:37 AM

        You are correct. I’d give him the extra day. With that said, Bryce will probably hit 2 HRs.

  20. natsguy - May 31, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Two guys for Cinci need to get knocked down toaday. Joey Votto and whoever is pitching at the time. They need to know the bush league BS won’t be tolerated. Dusty Baker wouldn’t have tolerated this stuff. Interesting that Riggleman is the 3rd base coach for Cinci. I wonder how much of this points to his doorstep and his little temper tantrum from 2011. Maybe he’s the one who needs to get knocked down. Oh yeah, he already got fired.

  21. faridrushdi - May 31, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    Though generally happy with Mike Rizzo’s moves this off-season, I was a bit concerned with the bullpen. When you spend hundreds of millions of dollars building this good of a team, why not spend just a little more and create a lights-out bullpen?

    The Nationals are squarely in their “win-now” window and next season will likely bring a roster without Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Denard Span and Ian Desmond. Shouldn’t this have been the pedal-to-the-metal season?

    I understand that those few holes in the bullpen wouldn’t have been noticeable if the rest of the team had stayed healthy, but they didn’t stay healthy. So it may be tough going to nab that crown this year.

    • Eric - May 31, 2015 at 11:11 AM

      I think Stammen was a pretty big blow. I have a feeling the pen would’ve gotten more love in the offseason if we knew we’d lose him for so long.

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