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Making sense of a sweep

Jun 1, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Matt Grace (60) reacts in the dugout after giving up four runs in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, May 31, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 8-2. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

After winning nine consecutive series to tie a franchise record, the Nationals took a step back over the weekend by getting swept by the Reds. The Nationals arrived in Cincinnati as one of the hottest teams in baseball, while the Reds had lost 10 of their previous 11 games. So, what happened?

Well, it’s tough to make too much of three games in a long season, but the weekend may have highlighted some things that could be concerning in the short-term.

For one, the Nationals are dealing with a significant amount of injuries. The disabled list is now a crowded group with Stephen Strasburg now joining Doug Fister, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. Bryce Harper also missed Saturday’s game with a sore back. Take all those names out of the mix and the Nats look like a much different team.

Denard Span was also removed from Sunday’s game in the eighth inning with a sore right knee, as Matt Williams revealed to reporters afterwards. It sounds minor, but it’s something to watch.

With all the injuries they’ve had this season, it’s a wonder how the Nationals have been so good at scoring runs. Even after scoring nine runs in three games this weekend, the Nats remain atop the NL in run production. The Reds, meanwhile, are 26th in baseball with a 4.24 team ERA. And that’s after putting on a solid pitching display against the Nats.

Given the Nationals’ otherwise very impressive track record, offense shouldn’t be too much of a worry. And Rendon seems like he’s close to returning, which will be a huge boost.

The weekend sweep also showed some cracks in the Nats’ bullpen, however. It was a series to forget for the Nats’ pitching staff as a whole, but the bullpen in particular gave up 14 runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Casey Janssen, Aaron Barrett and Matt Grace got the worst of it against the Reds. Janssen gave up four earned runs on four hits and two walks in the eighth inning on Saturday. Barrett gave up two runs in 1/3 of an inning pitched on Sunday. And Grace allowed four runs on three hits and two walks without retiring a batter in the seventh inning on Sunday.

Janssen is just getting started this season, but Barrett now sports a 5.19 ERA through 25 games this year and Grace has a 5.25 ERA through 17 appearances. All three figure to play big roles on the Nats’ pitching staff this year and will certainly hope to be better moving forward.

The Nationals should be fine in the long-run and are returning home at a convenient time. They begin a series with the 23-29 Toronto Blue Jays at Nats Park on Monday.

The Blue Jays are also a team with a poor pitching staff, much like the Reds, and sit 28th in baseball with a 4.59 ERA. Seeing them for three straight games could help get the offense back going.

The Blue Jays are, though, the best scoring team in baseball. They average 5.15 runs per game hold a .768 team OPS. Only three Nats players – Harper, Span and Danny Espinosa – have been better this season individually. That could provide a big test for a banged up rotation and a struggling relief staff.

Fortunately for the Nationals, the Mets failed to take advantage this weekend. New York lost two of three to the 20-31 Miami Marlins while the Nats were in Cincy. Up next for the Mets is a West Coast road trip through San Diego and Arizona.

The Nationals remain in first place and still look like the best team in the NL East by a good margin, despite the sweep. The Reds series may have pointed out a few concerns, but they it’s likely just a minor wakeup call for a team that was cruising for the previous five weeks.

  1. rayvil01 - Jun 1, 2015 at 6:22 AM

    Hot streaks usually end with a loud “Thud.” This one was no exception.

    Some of the offense was BABIP. RZ on Friday, with two one lasers a ball to Votto. Yesterday with two on and one out Clint Robinson lasers a ball to Votto who steps on the bag. End of rally. During the really hot streak BABIP was going our way mostly…except for Robinson who might be having the worst BABIP luck I’ve ever seen.

    Bullpen was bad but is getting too much work. Stras leaving Friday after sixteen pitches didn’t help that.

    Time for some home cooking.

  2. homeparkdc - Jun 1, 2015 at 6:25 AM

    Perspective:
    Morning, May 1, 2015 – Washington Nationals 10-13 .435 – 5 GB NLE
    Morning, June 1, 2015 – Washington Nationals 28-22 .560 – up 0.5 NLE
    In NL standings, the Nats are 5 GB – St. Louis; 1.5 GB – Los Angeles; 1 GB – San Francisco.
    At home, the Giants split a 4 game series vs the Braes. Funny game this baseball.
    Personal observation on 2015, to date: If the bats are cold the bullpen struggles.

  3. laddieblahblah - Jun 1, 2015 at 6:35 AM

    What a weekend! No need to single out individual failings, as that was a team-wide breakdown – an offense that could not hit with RISP, critical miscues on defense, at least one major breakdown by the bull pen in each game. Caught Matt’s presser after the sweep, and he doesn’t seem worried. A good team can play lousy baseball.

    The most encouraging thing to me is MAT’s ability to deliver the big hit in high-leverage game situations. He strikes out waaay too much, but has delivered in the clutch while many more senior and more celebrated members of the team failed to do so in Cincy. The low breakers are killing him, but they throw him just enough hangers and FBs down the middle, at just the right time, to make him the offensive star over, and over, again.

    Take it out on the Jays.

  4. ArVAFan - Jun 1, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    So Votto walked on Ball Three and no one challenged it. Whose fault is that ( besides obviously the umpire )? Should the pitcher and/or catcher and/or first base coach and/or manager have said something?

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:32 AM

      That is challengable under the rule. So yes, Matt Williams should have challenged it. Isn’t someone in the dugout charged with monitoring this kind of thing?

    • zmunchkin - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      I thought one of the called balls to Votto was a strike. Decided to check the brooks baseball site and it does not show Votto even batting in the 7th against Grace. Very strange.

      • nataddicted - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        That was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever listened to during a baseball game. To allow a walk on three balls is pretty much inexcusable.

        Both the Umps and Nats bench need thirty lashes!

  5. Hiram Hover - Jun 1, 2015 at 7:25 AM

    The Blue Jays are also a team with a poor pitching staff, much like the Reds…. Seeing them for three straight games could help get the offense back going.

    Don’t quite get the logic there. Nats just faced one of the worst teams in the NL and had trouble scoring runs … so facing one of the worst teams in the AL will get the offense jump started?

    Maybe a return home will help. But I am worried about this offense.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      +1

      Nats’ offense is feast or famine. If you graphed their offensive output over the whole season it would look like the EKG of a man in cardiac distress. Ray Knight was candid all weekend — necessary but not good to hear — pointing out the undisciplined swings at bad pitches. Desmond (naturally), Ramos and Espinosa being the worst offenders but merely part of the crowd. Although “BAPIP” — otherwise known as “luck” — can be blamed by a few of them, unselective first-pitch swingers made loud outs when Lorenzen couldn’t throw strikes. Multi-dimensional bad baseball.

      The batting order is out of whack. Desmond does not belong at the top of the order, Escobar does not belong in the three-spot. Only in this sense is the offense a “short-term” problem, because it can be fixed by Rendon’s return.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        Stipulated that the Nats’ offense if feast or famine. But that’s pretty much true of all teams. I haven’t run the numbers specifically, but I do question whether the Nats in fact are unusually streaky or whether we just notice it because we don’t care about the other teams’ boom-or-bust pattern.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    I wrote yesterday after the game that I expected Matt Grace to be sent to AAA and followed up with Felipe Rivero will replace him.

    • Doc - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:10 AM

      I would have expected that too, except that Rivero’s stats at Syracuse feature a 6.75 ERA. Wad’s with Hill, he seems to have some good stats, with the exception of BB’s.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:16 AM

        I saw Hill pitch briefly with the Orioles a few years ago. His pitch chart looked like something from Jackson Pollack.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:16 AM

        Hill isn’t on the 40 man and had a tough week.

        Rivero gave up 2 earned in 4 games and that’s how thin the pickings are to choose from.

        If Janssen proves to be fine, the pen will be ok.

        Getting exposed like that was tough to watch. Storen, Thornton and Treinen with a good week. Barrett better get his shiz together. They would send him down if they had someone to replace him.

        PFF fails with Janssen and Barrett and that’s frustrating.

      • letswin3 - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        Now THAT’S funny Theo.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      That may well happen but among the genuine “prospects” — a term that should be used advisedly — Rivero has the least experience. I’m not advocating Rich Hill — heavens no — but I don’t think an exchange of Grace for Rivero gets you much more than permitting Grace to get some experience somewhere he’s not a danger to others.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:19 AM

        Yep, lesser of the evils. He has zero confidence now.

        I wonder think of using AJCole as a 2 inning guy in that old Stammen role.

      • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:38 AM

        In a bizarre twist the Nats did sign Jose Valverde. Hes also not on the 40 man. Certainly Grace has to get some time away. Dont forget about Sammy Solis who could replace Rivero when hes ready.

      • Doc - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        Now your talkin’., Ghost. Cole could find the plate. And ya, I think that he could be the 2nd coming of Stammen

  7. nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    Glad I stayed away from the game posts over the weekend. Looks like in every game in late innings Nattygoats and other Legion of Doom members would return to post various negativity.

    I agree with Ghost that the hindsight always is spot on but the bigger picture is theres 112 more regular season games and you cant pull relievers at a kneejerk at first sign of trouble at this point in the season. These relievers have to get there job done and Laddie is correct above that the offense besides MAT didnt show up.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    Though the bullpen is a serious concern, especially with the breakdown of Fister and Strasburg, they didn’t lose yesterday’s game.

    2 hits against that kid with no control wasn’t going to win the game anyway. It was a clunker of a series. Move on.

    • stoatva - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:42 AM

      Honestly, how can anyone excuse swinging on 3-0 against that guy? What was the likelihood he was going to throw three straight strikes?

      • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        NONE

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:45 AM

      Just 2 hits to go with 6 walks and runners on base all game. If some of the Nats worked the count more, Lorenzen seemed willing to walk more. Ryan Zimmerman was up to bat twice with chances to break the game open and both times was 1st ball swinging with poor contact. If your going to swing, it better be hit hard somewhere and both times it was weak contact.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:52 AM

      When the bullpen is handed a 2-2 tie going into the seventh inning and proceeds to give up six count em SIX runs in ONE inning, the bullpen lost that game. No doubt about it. 2 hits against the Reds starter was not good, but they could have won the game despite that if the bullpen had done its job.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        All I can say is if the batters had taken a smarter approach the bullpen might have come in to a completely different situation.By the time the game went to the pen the “hitters” had already cost them. Zimm came up in the first with runners on 1st and 2nd, both of them on via walks after the pitcher threw 8 straight balls, and then he swung at the first pitch. It seemed to set the tone of the game.His poor approach was one of quite a few by veteran players. An overall clunker.

    • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      the relief staff came in to a close game.
      So are they only reliable during games in which we are ahead ?

  9. Eric - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    Stammen also on the DL…

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      “Ghost of Steve M. – Jun 1, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      I wonder think of using AJCole as a 2 inning guy in that old Stammen role.”

      They havent seemed to put any one in that swing role. With all the short outings of Stras and Gio it seems more like a fire drill and has lost defined roles now except for closer.

      • rayvil01 - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:53 AM

        Had Roark in that swing/long spot. But, he’s back in the rotation.

      • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:01 AM

        I think your right. How quickly things change.

        Also, Grace is no more than a LOOGY at best right now as he has been looking like the deer in the headlights his last 3 appearances.

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:09 AM

        Since Grace appears to have an aversion to throwing STRIKE ONE (yes, I am screaming), he’s not even a LOOGY in my book.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:10 AM

        NatsJack, he’s pitching with no confidence as I pointed out 2 relief appearances ago.

  10. rayvil01 - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Real good chance tonight’s game is a rain-out. That will give the pen a chance to catchttheir breath.

    • Serious Jammage - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      Oh my goodness! We got ourselves a natural disaster!

  11. natsguy - Jun 1, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    The thing none has mentioned here, The “elephant” in the room that I mentioned in February and was beaten to within an inch of my life about. RZIM after 50 games is hitting .228. Believe me it has nothing to do with Plantar Fascitis or learning 1B. It has everything to do with that anatomy between the elbow and the neck called the shoulder. We shall see. Shoulders do not get better with rest. They just stop hurting until you use them again by trying to hit pitches at 95 MPH on the outside. If you all would notice not too many people are throwing him towards the inside anymore. You are doing him a favor. Something to think about.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:03 AM

      Except that he’s had trouble with the shoulder for years, and performed well nonetheless. This year, there are no particular problems reported with the shoulder, but he’s performing poorly.

      Hard for me to see the cause and effect there.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      It’s a problem but can’t say definitively its shoulder or just not seeing the ball well. He’s providing excellent defense and his RISP numbers are good.

      He just has a slow bat and that’s what is troubling to me. I put up stats on his HR distances and got no replies. Distances are way down and consider 2 of the HRs were wall scrapers.

      Yah I’m concerned. He’s occupying the 4 spot. We can’t blame this on plantar fasciitis but it still doesn’t explain it.

      Some days off? Hit the weight room harder? I don’t know.

      • Doc - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        Zim needs to ditch most of his high leg kick. Worked when his reflexes were younger, not now.

        A guy making $16mm/yr. should be able to figure it out. His RBIs are mostly attributable to the guys in front of him. If he were hitting well, he’d have about 50 Ribbies by now.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        RZim is 33rd out of 37 1st basemen with at least 50 PA’s and 2 below him are on the DL and other 2 below him are Solarte and Carter.

    • scmargenau - Jun 1, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      He’s a rbi machine though

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    “nats128 on June 1, 2015 at 8:38 am
    In a bizarre twist the Nats did sign Jose Valverde. ”

    He didn’t start off great and hasn’t blown AAA guys away. Not on the 40 man.

    Biggest need right now is a capable LOOGY. I’m not endorsing Rivero, I’m just saying Grace needs to learn how to pitch back in AAA.

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

      Problem is MW wants full inning lefties like Thornton and thats a issue.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      What happened to Rich Hill?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 AM

        Can’t get RH batters out. Nothing more than a LOOGY and Rizzo wants more than that.

  13. philipd763 - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    The problem isn’t just with the lousy relief pitching. The starting pitching, except for JZ and MS, is unreliable and the offense isn’t there unless Harper is hot. Without Harper, this team would be down there with the Phillies and the Marlins.

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      Tanner Roark has already stepped back in. He was good enough to win yesterday. I have more confidence in Taylor Jordan than Strasburg and thats a statement I never thought I would write. Gio is Gio and that just isnt a good thing. The league has figured him out as if you stay patient and work the counts he will beat himself and be out of the game quickly with a high pitch count.

      I have enough confidence in Scherz, JZ and Roark to lead this rotation and Taylor Jordan did an admirable job on relieving Strasburg on Friday and was just left in to long.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        Craig Stammen’s injury hurts the most, imo… But with the added unfortunate circumstances of Gio and SS not being able to go further in the BP, its just compounding…

        But at the same time, if the BP doesnt make the most basic mistakes ie not covering 1st and catching come back pop up bunt) the damage, may have been limited…

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    I cant rehash any of this last series without getting upset all over again… With that said, new day, new series begins tonight…

    Hope its not a rain out as my co workers has tickets to the game and I was supposed to go…

    • nataddicted - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      NOAA has ~80% chance of rain from 2pm on…

      We’re gonna have to put up with the discussion another whole day.

  15. jd - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Ghost,

    I don’t know if they need a LOOGY. They just need some relievers who can get people out and right now Grace and Barrett aren’t getting people out. The jury on Jansen is still out but to me the only reliable relievers as of today are Treinen, Thornton and Storen. Wher we really need is for JZim and and Scherzer to pitch like 8 innings each, that will really help.

    Who is starting on Wednesday? I guess Jordan but it could also be Cole. no? Does anyone know the time table on Fister? we really miss him now that Stras is down.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      You’re right. LOOGY’S are the luxury you can’t afford right now given what you said is Rizzo’s philosophy. “We need outs”!!!

      I expect TJord on Wednesday.

      Need a fire and heat reliever for that Stammen role and unfortunately Giolito isn’t available. I see AJ Cole for a conversion to that role.

      Syracuse is so poor on talent the other place to look is Harrisburg considering Nats have plucked both Taylor Hill and Taylor Jordan with only AJ Cole remaining until Solis is available.

      I think Barrett is a tease. Has all the talent but can’t harness it consistently.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:26 AM

        i know one….SS

  16. micksback1 - Jun 1, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    clearly one sweep is not a cause for panis. But…there are 2 thin gs that havea much larger sample to me that should be dealt with:

    1) I am so done with Desi. The worst thing that happen was his phony 12 game hitting streak, many meaningless at bats with no pressure situations in whcih he chokes more than he comes through. His 2nd at bat yesterday was half ass. He does not come to the plate 100% focused and at times his swings look like a 2nd grader swinging wildly. His winging on a 3-0 was it for me. Memo to Desi…just because you get the green light to swing on 3-0 does not man you have too.

    2) His errors have gotten so old and the one on Friday night was unacceptable, not having is feet squared while making throw to 1st when he should not have in the first place.

    3) I said i was not a Grace fan..Goodness gracious, he is terrible, this is 3 bad outings and I assume MW andRrizzo know that this young man sucks period. I agree with Boz’ column on Sunday, losing Desi with what we have in the minors and what we are getting out of Escobar and Espi will not hurt the club at all. I think the Nats are better without him period

    3) Jansen , I still like and I would give him time

    Other than that the Nats will be OK

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      We’ve had our differences in the past but we are in lockstep on the Ian Desmond issue.
      I have all the respect in the world for his approach to community and his desire to be a positive influence on youth but as for his inconsistent play on the field, you and I are un total agreement.

      And we are pretty close on Matt Grace, too.

      • micksback1 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:16 AM

        Thank you natsjack!

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        Michael Taylor has more RBI’S than Desmond for cryin out loud.

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        Michael Taylor has more RBI’S than Desmond for cryin out loud.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        “Michael Taylor has more RBI’S than Desmond for cryin out loud.”

        So does Denard Span for cryin’ out load!

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:36 AM

        edit: loud, not load.

      • Doc - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:14 AM

        Desi muscles up and swings like a wildman with runners on–and pitchers know it.

        It ain’t working, Desi!!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:51 AM

      I’ve also shown my frustration at Desi this season. No excuses for his poor 2 strike approach and his approach overall if it exists. His RISP BA is .152 with a .378 OPS. Last year and for his career he’s been clutch with a man on 3rd, this year 4 for 26.

      He did hit one well yesterday to RF that held up at the warning track but yah, the rest of his day was garbage.

  17. thewerthwhisperer - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    So…if you had tickets for tonight,
    1) would go go on time
    2) would you wait at home to see what the weather looks like, I am 45 minutes by metro, and then leave for the park…i could also drive after rush hour
    3) assume they’ll wait forever to start the game because the Blue jays aren’t coming back to DC
    4) try to sell the tickets on SH to someone who hasn’t checked the weather report!

    • micksback1 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:25 AM

      scattered thunder storms is what the latest is. they will play

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

      Im waiting especially since the Metro had a fire on the red line this morning. If they dont fix it, Im not going.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:34 AM

        THROUGH LATE TONIGHT

        * SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL INCREASE IN COVERAGE THIS
        AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE THROUGH THROUGH MOST OF TONIGHT. SOME OF
        THE STORMS WILL CONTAIN TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS WHICH MAY LEAD TO
        FLASH FLOODING. AVERAGE RAINFALL AMOUNTS BETWEEN ONE TO TWO
        INCHES ARE EXPECTED…BUT LOCALIZED AMOUNTS IN EXCESS OF THREE
        INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN HEAVIER THUNDERSTORMS. RAINFALL RATES
        AROUND ONE TO TWO INCHES PER HOUR ARE EXPECTED IN HEAVIER
        THUNDERSTORMS. RECENT RAINFALL HAS SATURATED SOILS WHICH WILL
        ALSO INCREASE THE THREAT FOR FLASH FLOODING DURING THIS TIME.

        * HEAVY RAINFALL IN SHORT PERIODS OF TIME MAY CAUSE RAPID RISES ON
        CREEKS AND STREAMS AS WELL AS FLASH FLOODING IN URBAN AREAS.

      • tcostant - Jun 1, 2015 at 1:36 PM

        Wow! I was leaning towards going to see the P-Nats and Lucas Giolito tonight. I think I’ll pass now…

  18. micksback1 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    If Michael Taylor can cut down on his KO’s, he is going to be something long term for this club. I really liked his single in the 7th yesterday, it was clutch at the time

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:32 AM

      2 games in a row that Taylor didnt miss a hanging or lousy slider. The biggest issue with a pitcher throwing him a slider now will be in the back of there mind that this kid can crush a slider that doesnt spin. If Taylor didnt get on top of that pitch he would have hit it a mile. I think he also hit the one yesterday off the trademark.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      That remains a big if.

      I was impressed as anyone with the timeliness of his hitting this weekend, but in this series, he still K’d over 35% of the time (4/11).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        The IF is interesting as scouts will report this kid can hit a hanging slider out of the stadium and they may go back to more well placed fastballs on the outside and mix in changeups and breakers in the dirt as Taylor needs to show he can go oppo which could cut down on the Ks and stop swinging at balls in the dirt.

        What I’ve learned about Taylor is that he will kill mistake pitches.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        Justin Maxwell was pretty good with the mistakes too, as I recall.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      Agreed, mick

  19. Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    From the Department of Spilled Milk:

    Tyler Clippard, though he gave up a couple of hits, a couple of BB’s, and one earned run he had a good series against the Yankees recording 3 saves.

    Billy Burns went 9-18 in the series with a home run, 6 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases. He is now hitting .327 leading off for the A’s.

    Steven Sousa went 5-12 against the O’s with 3 homers, 2 doubles and 5 RBI’s.

    • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      Thanks….well we had to give up somebody good to get Escobar…not sure about the return on the rest yet.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        Well, ultimately for Billy Burns we now have Matt denDekker, [via Jerry Blevins].

      • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        ouch

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:46 AM

        I understood the Clipp/Yunel trade perfectly, though on the day of the trade, like most of us here, I thought we sold low. So far, I think that it has been a good trade for both teams. I never liked the Burns/Blevins trade from day one. I thought that though we needed a LH reliever, we traded the wrong guy for the wrong guy.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        yes…not sure the logic in that one. it looks like
        the Nats really sold low there

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        The funny thing is I thought that we then sold Jerry Blevins low. I still think he worked himself onto Rizzo’s bad side. I seriously have little faith that Matt denDekker is anything more than a AAAA player.

    • nats128 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:35 AM

      I saw the Burns and Souza stats.

    • micksback1 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:35 AM

      Sousa is going to be a great player

      • dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        trea turner may be too but agree more uncertainty

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 10:53 AM

        As to Sousa and Turner? I think that both well may be destined to stardom. And I don’t think Joe Ross is exactly chopped liver.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:10 AM

        Trea Turner + Joe Ross for Souza. Not all the eggs are in the one basket (Ross has been excellent in AA, and of course we’re all tracking Turner with his .333/.405/.508 splits as a 21yo (22 on June 30) in AA. For a SS, that’s outstanding.

        I have high hopes for Souza; I’ll always root for him when the Rays aren’t playing the Nats. That said, if you don’t like MAT’s K rate you can’t be completely sanguine about Souza’s – even after a good weekend against the Orioles he’s batting .238 and has a K rate of 37%.

        Clippard for Escobar is a trade I’m completely OK with; we all miss Clippard, but boy howdy the team would miss Escobar if you took him out of the lineup. And that’s not counting the fact that Clippard would be just for this year and the team has control of Escobar through 2017.

        If you want to add another former Nat, Nate Karns has been very good so far for the Rays – although with his walk rate (3.79/9) and his BABIP against so low (.228) I’m not sure how sustainable that is. Still, that was a 3-for-1, with Lobaton, Vettleson and Rivero on the Nationals. If Rivero has been called up today for Matt Grace then two of those guys are on the active roster.

        Burns? Yeah, Burns hurts. But there isn’t a general manager alive who hasn’t had some clunkers in the resume. The trick is to keep them to a minimum, and Rizzo has certainly done that.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        Good post, realjohnc. Real good. Thanks.

  20. dcwx61 - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    yes..didn’t realize Joe Ross was ranked 96 in top 100 prospects

  21. letswin3 - Jun 1, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    I’m pretty sure I saw Difo still in the dugout the other day. I presume he’s still on the 25, but without opportunities to get in games?

    • nataddicted - Jun 1, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      Wilmer Difo is still on the 25 man squad, as of this post…

      • letswin3 - Jun 1, 2015 at 4:36 PM

        Thanks … I guess it’s tough to find at bats and innings for him.

  22. naterialguy - Jun 1, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    The only trade Rizzo has made that I have really felt was bad was Blevins for Decker

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