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Notes on Scherzer’s career day

Jun 15, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

Jun 14, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Drew Storen (22) douse chocolate syrup on pitcher Max Scherzer (31) after Scherzer pitched a complete game shutout at Miller Park. The Nationals won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

When the Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a record $210 million contract this past offseason, they hoped his best was yet to come. It’s only been 13 starts, but so far that’s in some ways been the case.

Scherzer continued his impressive 2015 season with the best start of his eight-year MLB career on Sunday; a one-hit, 16-strikeout and one-walk masterpiece of nine shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. Scherzer carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before a Carlos Gomez bloop flyball sailed over the head of Anthony Rendon in shallow right field.

The hit itself was one you don’t see very often. Scherzer threw an inside fastball right on the hands of Gomez, yet somehow he lofted a softly-hit single to opposite field past Rendon. It was the furthest hit ball against Scherzer on the day and it traveled no more than 200 feet.

Sunday is by most accounts the second-best pitching performance in Nationals history, second of course to Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the final day of the 2014 season. But if you want to really get technical, the final out of Zimmermann’s no-no – a long almost-double to left-center field – was squared up better than any swing against Scherzer on Sunday.

It may be nonsense to suggest a one-hitter is better than a no-hitter, but here are some notes to consider on Scherzer’s memorable day:

– Scherzer had the longest perfect game bid in Nats history (6.0 IP), the second-longest is a tie at 5 1/3 innings between Zimmermann on June 8 of 2014 and Tanner Roark on May 26 of 2014.

– Scherzer’s 16 strikeouts were a career-high, a Nationals single-game record and are tied for the second-most by any MLB pitcher this season.

– Sunday was Scherzer’s second career complete game and the third time he has allowed just one hit in a start.

– Scherzer is just the second pitcher in the last 13 seasons (2003-2015) with 16 strikeouts in a shutout. The other was Brandon Morrow in 2010, when he was with the Blue Jays.

– Scherzer is the fifth pitcher in the last 25 seasons (1991-2015) with a complete game shutout, one hit or fewer and 16 strikeouts in a game. The others were Morrow (2010), Curt Schilling (2002), Kerry Wood (1998) and Nolan Ryan (1991). Ryan also did it three other times in his career.

– Scherzer is just the third pitcher ever to throw a one-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts or more and one walk or less. Ryan and Wood were the other two.

– Based on Bill James’ game score, Scherzer pitched one of the greatest games of all time. He became just the 12th player in MLB history to post a 100 game score. The perfect game, for comparison, has only been accomplished 23 times.

Scherzer now sits 7-5 with a 1.93 ERA through 13 starts on the season with 113 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings pitched. Up until this year, Scherzer had never held a sub-3.00 ERA through his first 13 starts in a single season. He has been nothing short of dominant this year and is showing no signs of slowing down.

CSN researcher Rich Goldberg contributed to this story

111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. nats1924 - Jun 15, 2015 at 6:22 AM

    You think Desi is hearing foot steps recently w Espi, Yunel and now Trea Turner knocking on the door?

    He’s striking out a near 30% clip. Almost 10% more than 2012.

    How much does he regret turning down $100m+?

    ..Go Mad Max and go Nats!

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:57 AM

      I mentioned to Jack in the pre-season that Desi looked lost at the plate, even then. And I posted in response to NL early on that I thought Desi would continue on the downward trajectory he has been on for the past 3 years, and counting.

      He looks more lost, now, than ever. The Nats insist on sending him out there, day after day, apparently in the firm belief that he is a “streaky hitter” and will embark on an offensive tear any day now.

      As I see it, most of the league has figured out how to get Desi out. Of his recent strike outs, how many were swing and miss Ks on off-speed breakers below the strike zone and at least 4 inches off the outside of the plate? I didn’t keep count, but there were many such examples in Milwaukee. Desi has to know what they are doing to him, by now – either those low-outside breakers or high FBs for strike 3. The Brewer way, obviously, is the breaker down and away.

      It worked almost every single time they used it in 2-strike counts against Desi. One time Desi dialed back his swing, reached outside and simply put his bat barrel on an outside pitch and hit a soft liner to CF which, unfortunately, carried out far enough to be caught by the center fielder.

      He’s trying to adjust, and maybe its time his team just stopped waiting around for him to fix himself and give him some attention, like they are with Ryan and Stras. It’s not like they can’t fill in behind Desi while he is gone. He is easier to replace than either Ryan or Stras.

      A newly discovered, chronic hangnail problem would be enough to get him some time working his hitting approach and swing mechanics, similar to the attention Stras’ pitching mechanics are being given now. Neither the team nor Desi has anything to lose, and a lot to gain, by developing a hitting strategy to counter what the rest of baseball is doing to destroy Desmond. He has plenty of talent. They could at least try to put it to better use.

    • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      No, I don’t. He knows he’s gone at the end of the year, and he knows he’s the starting shortstop for the rest of the year. The daily drumbeat here isn’t going to change that. But knock yourself out.

      • Toot D. Blan - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        That’s not entirely true. They’re not going to cut him or send him down or invent some phantom injury to put him on the DL. But at some point he’s going to need to start improving at the plate, or at least get out of his current funk, or MW is going to be giving him more and more rest days. If his current style of play continues post ASB, post trading deadline, there’s a very real possibility he could end up spending more time on the bench than off it. But you are right, nothing said here will affect the timing of that.

  2. laddieblahblah - Jun 15, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    Max was super, but give some credit to Lobaton, Max did, citing Lobaton’s pitch sequencing for helping to keep the Brewer’s off-balance. Lobaton is much better at that than Ramos, whom I have seen call the same pitch in the same location to the same hitter 3 times in a row, with the 3d iteration squarely intercepted by the barrel of the bat.

    Lobaton has called some of SS’s most successful outings since joining the club, and this year he and Gio have partnered for some of Gio’s best outings, as well. But yesterday topped them all. If Scherzer ever comes close to that performance, again, my guess is that it will be with Lobaton calling the game, and framing the pitches. May be the most under-rated player on the team.

    Still, Lobaton only called the game, but Max had to pitch it.

    If Espinosa had been at 2nd base, Max would probably have had a no-hitter. I think Danny makes up that 2 inches or so that Rendon could not close out, and that Danny makes that catch, instead of falling just that short.

    • veejh - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      Is it time to make Loboton the starter?

      • laddieblahblah - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:31 AM

        “Is it time to make Loboton the starter?”

        Not my call, but I would use him more frequently. Whatever advantage Ramos has with the bat, Lobaton makes up for behind the plate. But since the Nats offense is missing so many weapons, Ramos may be the better bet.

        Yesterday, for example, the Nats were without Werth and Zim, as well as Ramos and Harper. Yet the bench pulled it off, again, with Lobaton driving in 1 run and CRob 2 runs – 3 of the 4 runs the Nats scored. Still, if I were Matt, I would prefer to have Ramos’ and Harper’s bats in the lineup.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:01 AM

        If I’m using Baseball Reference correctly, the Nats’ ERA with Lobaton is 4.30; with Ramos, it’s 3.80. So I’d say stick with Ramos as primary catcher, but use Lobaton liberally to give Ramos days off.

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:06 AM

        Dont worry, the fanbase would turn as quickly on Lobaton. Yesterdays win pushed Lobaton above the .500 mark for the season at 8-7.

        Im not to influenced by FPs love for Lobaton as the stats showed the ump was fair and consistent giving Scherzer 1 strike and taking 1 away. Dan Butler from AAA could have caught that game yesterday with near similar results.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        masterfishkeeper, facts have little place in a discussion like this. Once the narrative (“pitchers don’t trust Ramos” “pitchers prefer Lobaton” etc.) is established, all data points converge to support the narrative. Sources whose judgment/knowledge/objectivity may often be questioned (FP) are cited as authoritative … so long as they support the narrative.

        In the statistical analyses that I’ve seen, Ramos is an average pitch framer, Lobaton slightly (but not markedly) above average. Ramos (38%) is significantly better than Lobaton (21%) at throwing out baserunners. Otherwise defensively Ramos has a better range factor but Lobaton has a better fielding percentage. And you have pointed out that the staff ERA is better with Ramos behind the plate than with Lobaton. And now that Lobaton’s brief early season spike has subsided, Ramos has again re-emerged as the better hitter. Yes, Ramos has trouble with one-hop outfield throws. To me that’ s not nearly enough to promote the backup to starter.

        But of course as fans we tend to like the backup more than the starter … until the backup is the starter. 🙂

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        masterfishkeeper, its the facts that confuse many so dont use them. Remeber, MW is a idiot. 😉

      • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        +1 realjohn. It’s a silly discussion that again is not going to happen. Until, of course, Ramos gets injured. We’ve been lucky so far. Knock on wood for the Buffalo’s health.

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        RealJohn beat me to it! I also made the mistake thinking Lobaton caught Ross since it was a day game after a night game. That was one of the best starts of the year and Ramos caught that.

        Pitch framing has its downside as you are trying to catch the ball near the webbing of the mitt which as led to 2 passed balls by Lobaton in 15 games and his blocking skills on balls in the dirt isnt as advanced.

        I do like how Lobaton moves locations around but I guess that has the factor of pitchers hitting spots.

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:50 AM

        “Sources whose judgment/knowledge/objectivity may often be questioned (FP) are cited as authoritative … so long as they support the narrative.”

        Yes RealJohn, I still think Ramos must have hurt FPs ego off the field becuz it seems personal. FP goes out of his way to complement Loby so often its over the top and rarely has a nice word for Ramos and that carries over to the fanbase who hear him as the expert.

        Kurt Suzuki quickly went from fan favorite to a player that fans wanted to show the door after the 2012 playoffs. The fickled nature of fanbases.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        therealjohnc, come on, don’t make sense, it just confuses those who need reasons to complain in the morning after a great Saturday/Sunday. I do agree that FP drones on and on about Lobaton and it seems personal but I am also someone who stresses the long season marathon and that Lobaton needs to play more to keep Ramos fresh.

      • adcwonk - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:24 AM

        Kurt Suzuki quickly went from fan favorite to a player that fans wanted to show the door after the 2012 playoffs. The fickled nature of fanbases.

        Kinda like “the backup quarterback syndrome” that we see all over the place. The pointy-ball team doesn’t do well, fans blame the QB and call for the backup, who is the fan favorite. By game 10 or 11, the backup comes in, doesn’t do well, everyone learns why he was a backup to begin with, and, etc etc.

        Lobaton is a solid backup, it’s good to have him. Ramos, however, can add real value to the team by his hitting. Loby, otoh, has a BA of .208. That’s not what the team needs right now.

  3. AbbeFaria - Jun 15, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Whoa. I didn’t realize Desi went 0 for 12 with 10 Ks. He did get a pinch hit on Thursday, though.

    • stoatva - Jun 15, 2015 at 7:27 AM

      He should get more opportunities to pinch hit.

      • Guapo - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:41 AM

        Well played. +1

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:47 AM

        I see your +1, Guapo, and raise you 1.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 15, 2015 at 12:04 PM

        Heh. I’m not on the “dump Desi” train, but that made me laugh. Well played.

  4. pchuck69 - Jun 15, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    >>>When the Nationals signed Max Scherzer to a record $250 million contract this past offseason

    It was $210 million.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 15, 2015 at 7:28 AM

    One of the announcers yesterday said Scherzer doesn’t place much emphasis on complete games, which his career record certainly bears out — that’s not news. But he is obsessed by excellence and, after two meh starts — and watching Ross Saturday — yesterday’s game was almost foreordained. Lobaton seems to be on the receiving end of many of the rotation’s best efforts. Ramos has weak spots defensively but generally calls a good game and I think most of the starters — possible exception Strasburg — trust him. Lobaton’s starts, however, have a smoothness that shows exceptional preparation and game plan execution. How many times does Lobaton need to go out and calm down his pitcher, put him back on track? Virtually never. And I am not just echoing FP when I praise his “framing” of pitches that are just skirting the strike zone. Yesterday I noted a couple of cases where he just snapped his mitt around the ball and the umpire had to be wondering, “Where did that pitch go?”

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:21 AM

      Lobaton doesn’t just vary pitch sequences randomly. He seems to have a mental book on many hitters – their tendencies, their strengths and weaknesses, their makeup (aggressive, patient), and exploits that by playing his pitcher’s strengths against the hitter’s tenadencies, weaknesses and makeup. His is definitely a baseball skill, but it has little to do with athleticism (that subtle framing ability being the exception). It is more of a mental-psychological game he is playing when behind the plate – the thinking man’s catcher.

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:10 AM

        Lobaton was brilliant catching Joe Ross on Saturday. 8 strikeouts and baffled those batters. Must have done his homework on those batters strengths and weaknesses and that K of Gomez on the inside fastball where he twisted around in a 360 was silly.

        A great weekend for Lobaton.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        nats128, sorry, that was Ramos who caught Joe Cool on Saturday.

      • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:07 AM

        Given his comment at 9:50 am above, I’m guessing that 128 was being facetious. Lobo was brilliant catching JZnn’s no-hitter too. 🙂 He’s like Forrest Gump.

      • everendp - Jun 15, 2015 at 2:53 PM

        +1 laddie

        Calling a good game has more influence on the game outcome than pitch framing etc. Are there stats that measure how well the catcher calls the game?

  6. rayvil01 - Jun 15, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    The Bill James Game Score was 100. 50 points for the start, 27 for the outs, 10 for the five innings after the fourth, 16 for the strikeouts, Minus 2 for the hit, minus 1 for the walk.

    Have been reading this morning that this Game Score was in some rarefied company like Koufax and Kershaw who had 102 with his no-hitter. Walter Johnson had 10 games over 90, but none that hit 100. Pretty impressive display put on by Max yesterday.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      Truly incredible performance. The swing and miss was the most impressive stat of the day. 27 of those swing & miss strikes against the same team whose offense smoked the Nats on Thursday and Friday night.

      It’s as if Scherzer was inspired by Joe Ross the day before and said whatever you do I can do better and he did as Ross had 8Ks and Scherzer went to 16Ks.

      Who gets 12 swing and miss with a 4-seam fastball? Scherzer did. He has used the reachback as a go-to pitch all season and got 12 swing and miss on that filthy slider. Only 1 swing and miss on the curveball and 2 on the changeup.

      • rayvil01 - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:10 AM

        That slider was amazing. FP was saying that the hitters couldn’t see rotation on it. I don’t know how that’s possible. But, it sure looked like they had no clue on it. I don’t think I’ve seen so many feeble swings in one game. Jean Segura was just abused.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:26 AM

        They couldn’t hit his heater, and the slider and changeup both looked like the fastball and that’s the key that they have to look like a strike.

        His slider and changeup both were the same speed giving him the great swing and miss and looking lost at the plate as the pitches went out of the strike zone.

        It was artistry and mastery.

  7. alexva6 - Jun 15, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    two harmless flies to Taylor and the hit were the only balls out of the infield.

    Span never touched a ball in the field and Robinson only on the hit.

    simply amazing.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:21 AM

      The hit was on a busted bat fastball that was just fisted out there. It shows the random luck of no-hitters and near no-hitters and how fate works in the hands of the baseball gods as the lone hit missed Rendon’s glove by inches.

      12 balls were put into play the entire game. Scherzer’s BABIP against is .270 which means the random value of balls in play based on his average would result in 3 hits but the contact all day was weak and his dominance goes back to the greatest that ever played the game like Koufax.

      On Kershaw’s great no-hitter he got only 22 swing & miss and 13 balls in play and 15 strikeouts.

      Whose outing was better?

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:10 AM


  8. Hiram Hover - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    Marvellous Max!

    I was doing chores and only looking in on the game every 5-10 minutes yesterday, with the sound off. Saw that bloop hit and wondered why Max gave that brief sour look afterwards. I would have too.

  9. veejh - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I was listening to the Brewers feed on XM during the game. Those announcers jinxed him! After every inning, it was, “And Scherzer is perfect through 4.”…., “and Scherzer is perfect through 5…..” Just shut up!

    • virginiascopist - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      Yeah, on one of the Mets’ game threads yesterday, they were doing it too. After every inning, someone would post “Scherzer has a PERFECT GAME through 4” (then 5, 6), to which other posters would respond, “Did you say PERFECT GAME?” “Am I hearing PERFECT GAME?”

      After the sixth inning, one of the responses was, “I don’t think this is working, honestly.”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:45 AM

        When the Mets were no-hit last week by Heston and the Giants, there were plenty of Mets fans cheering on Heston in the 8th and 9th based on the experience of witnessing a no-hitter in person.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:42 AM

      I loved how humble Scherzer was after the game. Just wanted to talk about the Win and the Shutout.

    • adcwonk - Jun 15, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      I’m happy to pass the blame to others on the jinx.

      I was in the car, and texted my wife: “turn on the game, Schezer has a no-hitter going”. She turned it on, and the hit came on the second pitch she saw.

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    Hoping the Pirates have no rainouts this week so Gerrit Cole pitches on Thursday but it sets up an AJ Burnett vs Scherzer game on Friday in Nats Park and Burnett threw his own 9 inning shutout yesterday with 5 hits and got a no decision. Yes, a shutout no decision.

    • rayvil01 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      I’m going Friday night, so I’m hoping no rainouts either.

      Pirates are good. Central Division has three good teams, two bad ones and we’ve lost to all five of them. I think the record is 5-11 or 6-11 against that Division. Hoping we can start turning that around next weekend.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        Liriano vs Gio on Saturday and supposed to be Morton vs Roark on Sunday. Morton is 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA

  11. wmlsays - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    It is fun to watch a guy who loves the game play at such a high level. No whining, no excuses, gives compliments to his fellow team members, and a natural leader.

  12. Guapo - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    This is what a top of the rotation guy looks like.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      I like how he starts off each game in complete control. Yesterday as we know from baseball history was a rarity to see complete dominance like that.

      It’s only been those final innings that have bit him in the backside when his fastball flattens out and his slider has little bite.

      MW has been in the precarious position to push starters vs bringing in the shakey front of the bullpen and just about all of the starters have had those high pitch count final innings where they’ve faltered.

      • infideljack - Jun 15, 2015 at 1:59 PM

        Carpenter should help, but getting Roark back in the pen should make up for the loss of Stammen. I hope Fister is ok and back in the rotation by the time the Bucs series begins.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        Fister is ready go Thursday if they activate him and push everyone back a day.

        I for one think pushing Scherzer back to Saturday would be wise given his workload yesterday which goes beyond the pitch count.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Did anyone notice that Scherzer abandoned the cutter? He said they were putting too many of them in play.

    • laddieblahblah - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:01 AM

      No, I didn’t, but that is a perfect example of changing strategy mid-game, based on what was happening on the field. They apparently had no problem abandoning what the original game plan was, in order to pitch a more effective game.

      He’s not only good, he’s smart. Lobaton, too.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Scherzer abandoned the cutter a few starts ago.

      • Doc - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        I think that it was a cutter that he tossed that winning HR in the late innings a game or 2 back??????

  14. jd - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:12 AM

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) I agree with Laddie that Lobaton gets more out our pitchers than Ramos. Ramos is the better hitter but he’s not exactly Johnny Bench either. I really would consider using Lobaton more frequently. BTW one of the most interesting Nats prospects is 22 year old catcher Pedro Severino who is already in AA. He hasn’t hit much yet but is considered a superb athletic defensive catcher.

    2) A lot of posters consider putting Desi in the lineup every day close to insane and it’s kind of beginning to look that way more and more every day. But there may be another angle to consider, the Nats may be trying to maximize Desi”s value going into the trade deadline by hoping he has a hot streak in him. They may figure that it really can’t get much worse and I tend to agree. I don’t buy the theory that the league has figured out how to get him all of the sudden after 5 years. I think Desi actually took a bunch of hittable pitches yesterday and got himself into a 0-2 hole needlessly. Desi needs to be Desi meaning he needs to get into the batters box in an attack mode, he can’t remake himself and be successful.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:20 AM

      1) I do think Lobaton does a good job as a backup but you know how things go sometimes as there were similar feelings in 2012 when Ramos was hurt and Suzuki was acquired. Playing the bulk of the games is a tough grind and most catchers can’t keep up with it as we saw with Suzuki. I do think the catching load should be split more evenly. Maybe FanGraphs is just plain wrong but it’s ratings has never had Lobaton as a great defensive catcher.

      2) Yah, Desi needs to go to the bench. You can’t hit the ball without watching the ball onto your bat. His head is off and pointed straight over his left shoulder.

      • natsjackinfl - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        Except for when it’s over his right shoulder looking at called strike 3.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        You and I were Desi’s biggest supporters when the natives were restless and wanted to send him packing.

        Desi is his own worst enemy. He has done this to himself and his greed bit him in the butt. His offer from Rizzo was more than fair and he said he didn’t want to devalue the future worth of shortstops to follow acting as if he was being altruistic. Laughable.

        I think he needs a hangnail and a DL stint to get himself straight.

  15. Danny - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    On dealing Dez. Just stop it. Why deal him when his stock has never been lower. If he picks it up, he will be an important piece for the playoff run. His fate to DC will be tied to whether he accepts a QO in the offseason.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      Exactly. You don’t sell low. You also hope he can somehow right his ship. Up until the last few games it had just been his feeble RISP approach and now he’s put himself in a legit slump.

    • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      I agree you don’t sell low now. But is next year’s draft so good that the QO draft pick is worth more than what we might get with a deadline deal? I don’t know. And don’t be shocked if Desi’s bad year continues when he accepts the QO and attempts to resurrect his value next year.

      • Bruxtun - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:29 AM

        That’s a good point 222. I’ve been assuming he would decline it and go for the money. He did bet on himself when refusing that original deal after all. He definitely could try to rebuild himself by taking the one year deal.

        Just from the arm chair psychology department, if he’s playing poorly right now because the contract and seeing his replacement join the Nats org in Trea Turner is weighing on his mind (not saying that’s the case but just for the purpose of discussion), how much more pressure would that add to him next year?

      • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:39 AM

        I really doubt that Desi is seeing Trea Turner in the rear view mirror. Like I said, he’s well aware he won’t be here next year. If he continues to crap the bed this year and accepts the QO, he may well have to win the job next year. We’ve gone from having nothing in the pipeline in the middle infield to having a crowd there.

        All that makes a deadline trade a bit more intriguing, no?

      • Bruxtun - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        Good points. Yeah you have to assume he’s known he very likely wouldn’t be here in 2016 since he signed that two year arbitration buy out deal after 2013, and it became all but a certainty this last off season. The only way he’s still here next year is if he accepts the QO. I love the crowd we’ve got in the middle infield now. Even with trading Renda, this Bostick guy seems to fill that same role.

  16. alexva6 - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    since the posts have turned to Desmond, I’ll suggest it’s time to go with Rendon at 3rd, Escobar at short and Espinosa at 2nd on an every days basis. Moore/Robinson platoon at first.

    I’m not convinced Danny will maintain his current production and if not Desmond may be back in the lineup. but for the time being you can’t ignore his futility at the plate.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      I think what ways on Rizzo’s and MW’s mind is how relaxed Escobar is playing 3rd. When Espi played SS you saw how many balls he just buried in the dirt and how uncomfortable he looked at the plate and that seemed to carryover through the weekend.

      Just move Desi to 8th.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 9:51 AM

        *weighs not ways

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        Your right that positions add to comfort levels and you dont want to do anything to change what is working for Espi.

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:02 AM

        Espi and Esco.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:03 AM

        To change what’s working for the sake of 1 player I don’t like. Just do what many of us suggested with RZim, move him back in the lineup.

      • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        Don’t move Desi to 8th. I don’t know the answer to his problems, but that’s not it. He’s been awful in that role in the past. Maybe bat the pitcher 8th and bat Desi 9th? That seems to be the strategy flavor of the year. (Both the Cubs and the Reds did it last night!)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:25 AM

        You move your weakest hitter to 8th but you’re right, Nats have pitchers hitting better than Desi right now.

      • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:29 AM

        Ghost, we’ve discussed this before. “You move your weakest hitter to 8th” is a paint by the numbers approach that would be a mistake here. Do you remember how awful Desi was as a number 8 hitter early in his career? For years, the Nats had Ramos bat 8th and he thrived there. He wasn’t the weakest hitter in the lineup.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:40 AM

        You want him where he will hurt you on a lesser scale not necessarily where he will thrive. Lesser of the evils. He’s as lost as I’ve seen him and his stats are only what they are because of all of the low lev hits and empty base hits he’s accumulated. RISP and situational hitting is awful. I wish there was something I could say “good” about Desi right now but it would be a reach.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      Alex, I agree with you 100%. I think you go with the lineup that you suggest and plug Desi in as a pinch hitter until if/when Danny Espinosa cools off. Desmond has the reputation of being a great team leader, and as such, he needs to step up by stepping down for a while for the good of the team. If his slump continues for even another couple of games then Matt Williams should make the very difficult call to sit him down, at least temporarily.But at the same time, I don’t believe that sending to a trumped up 15 day DL trip is the right move, either.He’ll more than likely work his way out of this eventually.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Worse than his defense and his strikeouts is his situational hitting Of .125 with RISP.It is absolutely atrocious,Heck, he’s 1-6 with 4 K’s with the bases loaded. I don’t even remember Eddie Brinkman having a streak this bad.

        But according to statistical slash line he has been most productive this year, by far, when batting second.

  17. Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    So how do all the armchair beanball enthusiasts think we need to send that t we won’t stand for HBPs message to the league since Max couldn’t do it? I assume everyone thinks he didn’t take care of business the first few times through the order because he had a perfect game going. Haven’t heard the theory for why he didn’t plunk someone later.

    Can’t do anything this week because the Rays are in the wrong league right? And then we have the Pirates. They’ve kind of been on the wrong end of the plunking wars recently. I would not recommend going after McCutcheon. Maybe Cole? Oh, he might not pitch against us. Burnett?

    • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      All fluff from some people only show up on NatsInsider on days they want to talk tough.

      • Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:30 AM

        Except some of our most esteemed commenters endorse the macho approach as well. I’m just wondering what they think now. Or maybe they’ve realized that tough talk and beanball wars aren’t as good as 1-hitters in sending a message?

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        I think there are those are protective of Harper and over reacted. I dont think it was intentional.

  18. micksback1 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    It was fun watching a super star at his craft
    Max is a BEAST

  19. Doc - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    I heard the Cinci announcers say that Lobaton was one of the worst defensive Cs in baseball. They must have been checking with Fangraphs.

    I don’t see myself. He ‘seems’ to be doing the job, particularly with framing.

    • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:32 AM

      Wild pitch % and Passed ball % arent good and his pitcher ERA was bad in Cinci at 5.30. Throwing out runners is below league average. Above average pitch framer, but again, hes not Yadier Molina on pitch framing.

    • Bruxtun - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      Lobaton looks great behind the plate. By defensive do they mean blocking pitches and throwing out runners? I see in this thread there are stats that do point to him being weaker than Ramos at least. Wouldn’t have pegged him for “worst in baseball”. My eye test tells me he calls a great game and is above average at pitch framing, but does that count as “defensive abilities” or just “catching duties”?

  20. Section 222 - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    There is no doubt that Scherzer’s outing was better than JZnn’s no-no. The no-no was tremendously exciting, one of the best live baseball experiences I’ve ever had. But JZnn had several hard hit balls, especially in the fifth inning, and then the Souza catch. Max shut the Brewers down. Completely.

    The difference between the two outings is probably the best evidence that luck is a major component in pitching a no hitter. Because if anyone ever had no hit stuff, Max did yesterday.

    • ArVAFan - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      We can only hope that he has “no hit stuff” again . . . in Nats Park with the baseball gods smiling.

      But in the meantime, I think I’ll add this one to the “watch over the winter” list.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Chatter on Aroldis Chapman is the Nats and Giants want him and the best deal to the Reds will get him. The problem is the Reds don’t want to sell in June but both teams want him sooner than later.

    It’s going to be costly. The good news is you get Chapman for the rest of 2015 and all of 2016 and then you can get a comp draft pick for him as a Free Agent.

    • NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      Is Chapman willing to share duties with Storen, or set up? I know he resisted being stretched out as a starter, even though that would have meant more money for him career-wise.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:05 AM

        I think they would share the duties with Storen getting most of the work but Aroldis would get the 9th when lefties were 2 of the 3 batters.

        This solves much of that posteason issues that we’ve discussed. This also sets up Janssen for the 7th, Aroldis for the 8th and Storen for the 9th.

        Treinen moves to the long man role and the old Stammen role and Rivero and Thornton as lefty stoppers and Carpenter would be the righty stopper.

        It instantly makes the bullpen defined if the starters can carry their load.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:09 AM

        Let me add that Roark would go back to the bullpen to take Treinen’s place.

        I will also reiterate that I could see Joe Cool as a September call-up for some spot starts but possibly also some bullpen work. Rizzo knows you need 8 arms in the postseason bullpen and needs a cool and confident player who can take a full inning and throw gas and Joe Ross can ramp up to high 90’s then mix in that slider.

    • NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:11 AM

      Also, the Reds better recognize reality–there are three better teams in their division. They may think they’ll get more down the road with a bidding war closer to the deadline, but other things could happen. Chapman could get injured, of course. That’s always a risk.

      But also, the Nats’ bullpen could right itself. Janssen has had nine scoreless outings (out of ten, but we all remember the one), has inherited four runners and none have scored. Carpenter may work out. Ross/Fister/Stras may work out well enough for Roark to go back to the pen. Thornton seems fine if he’s not overused. If Treinen got more consistent (entirely possible with more experience) and one of the random lefties sticks we could be ok.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:16 AM

        I think the Nats miss Clip more than they let on as they need that 8th inning sure thing that Clip had been for so many years.

        The defined roles were screwed up by the poor starting pitching the Nats have put together.

        Treinen almost certainly has to go back to AAA to make room for Roark.

        Saturday and Sunday seem like the Nats we know–pitching and timely hitting.

      • NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:26 AM

        I see no reason Janssen couldn’t take the Clippard role (sob!). I think he lost Matty’s trust between being on the DL and that one blowup. I don’t think Treinen or Barrett was ready for the 8th inning role, but now we’ve seen what happens when you DON’T have defined roles–you can mix-and-match but that means on a given day more guys have to not suck. IMO, you want to use the minimum number of relievers (and warm up the minimum number of relievers). Hence, roles.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:54 AM

        The Nats sure miss 2011-2014 Clippard. I’m not so sure that they miss 2015 Clippard. Despite moving to a team with a much better defense and pitching in a ballpark that caters to his pitching style Clippard has been pretty mediocre this season. I have to wonder whether the innings have caught up to the arm. Simply re-acquiring Clippard in a trade with Oakland may not be the panacea that many assume.

  22. NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    We don’t know a lot, but I did hear that Matty specifically wanted Ramos to catch Ross for his debut. There’s no minor-league history or familiarity there, so I take that to mean MW feels Ramos would be better for a young man in his first ML start, whether that’s defense or “presence,” game-calling, or “setting up a big target” (which I’ve heard pitchers say Ramos does).

    On a different topic, I found this chart interesting. It’s how much WAR each team is getting out of each position. You can carp, but the Nats still have the best rotation in the majors (by that measure).

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      I am confused when I looked behind the scenes of that chart. They have a sizable percentage of the stats at 2B coming from Yunel Escobar. Why? He hasn’t played one inning at 2nd during the regular season, has he? Fan Graphs’ loses me sometimes on their measurements.

      • NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        I would have to look. Maybe there is an error, sounds like it to me. They’re not infallible.

      • bisonaudit - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:37 AM

        I think those depth charts are driving the projections for the remainder of the season so that’s not a reflection of where he’s played, it’s an estimate of where they expect him to play.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      FanGraphs still likes Strasburg.

    • NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      Joe S–good catch, I see the same. I posted a question to Fangraphs, let’s see if I get an explanation.

    • adcwonk - Jun 15, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      You can carp, but the Nats still have the best rotation in the majors (by that measure).

      And the 5th best bullpen in the NL.

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    Strasburg will start Wednesday in Harrisburg and Fister could join the Nats rotation soon. Whose place does Fister take, Roark or Joe Ross?

    • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      Roark back to the bullpen. Strasburg will be back soon. Let’s get 2 more starts from Joe Ross.

      • NatsLady - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        That would be my vote. I feel bad for Roark, who didn’t really get a chance to build up as a starter. I notice that after the first year, Stammen didn’t make spot starts either. I’m thinking that putting a guy in the bullpen as “long man/spot starter” isn’t really feasible. Except for double header, you can’t predict when you’ll need him (and for double headers you can bring someone up). Also, even as the long man, he’ll only pitch 2-3 innings, which is, obviously, not what you want from a starter.

        So you put Roark back in the pen, and use him whenever needed. He seems to be flexible and adaptable, which a lot of guys aren’t.

      • nats128 - Jun 15, 2015 at 12:28 PM

        Just my stupid opinion but Roark had a lousy Spring Training and beginning to the year. Many kept saying it was early. His highlights were the Save and 2 good starts and a couple of nice relief appearances surrounded by many so-so appearances. Hes racked up some miserable stats overall.

        I think the demotion to the bullpen has hurt him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        I would agree.

        Speaking of rookie starters, Nate Karns won’t face the Nats in this 4 game series with Tampa. He pitched another gem yesterday besting Chris Sale who lost on a 2 run Asdrubal HR in a 2-1 loss.

      • therealjohnc - Jun 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM

        I’m glad that Karns is doing well so far this season in Tampa, and that the Nats won’t be facing him. That trade certainly seems to be working out well for both teams so far, with the Nats getting their #2 catcher (Lobaton), a LH pitcher that already looks good as a bullpen arm and may still end up starting (Rivero) and an outfielder who has frankly underwhelmed so far (Vettleson). Karns was pretty terrible in the majors and minors last year but has been solid (3.67 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 1.235 WHIP) so far this season. He’s 27, so this is when he needs to make his move – and he’s been making it.

        It’s good for the Nationals to get a rep as an organization whose prospects do well – helps in future trade negotiations.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 12:39 PM

        therealjohnc, well said on Karns and I agree. Hopefully will be looked back on as a mutually beneficial trade.

    • infideljack - Jun 15, 2015 at 2:20 PM

      Should be Roark, as he is needed in the BP.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 15, 2015 at 2:26 PM

        Seems to make sense and there’s lot of options and directions for Rizzo and MW to go in.

  24. everendp - Jun 15, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    +1 laddie

    Calling a good game has more influence on the game outcome than pitch framing etc. Are there stats that measure how well the catcher calls the game?





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