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An erratic road trip ends on a high note

Jun 17, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

For all the anguish displayed over the last week — some of it admittedly deserved — the Nationals did just wrap up a 4-4 road trip. No, that shouldn’t be cause for celebration, but neither should it be cause for panic.

Do the Nationals have their share of issues? Absolutely. This has been a painfully inconsistent team through the season’s first 2 1/2 months. But think of it this way: If, despite so many things going wrong during this road trip, you still manage to go 4-4, things can’t be all that bad.

There was plenty to like (and one or two things not to like) during Tuesday night’s 16-4 trouncing of the Rays. Let’s run through some of them…

A RECORD-SETTING NIGHT AT THE PLATE
No, the Nationals didn’t set a club record for runs scored, falling one short of that mark (set May 20, 2011 during a 17-5 win over the Orioles). But they did set a club record with 23 hits. And they did score 10 or more runs for the seventh time this season, only one shy of their total from the entire 2014 season.

Danny Espinosa recorded the first 5-hit game of his career. Clint Robinson recorded the first 4-hit game of his much briefer career, one of those a home run that got stuck somewhere in the catwalk high above Tropicana Field and never returned to Earth.

Every member of the starting lineup recorded a hit, and everyone other than Yunel Escobar recorded multiple hits. Even Ian Desmond, mired in perhaps the worst offensive funk of his career, delivered two hits, an RBI and a walk, perhaps enough to finally get him going in a positive direction again. Wilson Ramos homered twice, in consecutive innings, off two separate position players who were pitching.

Oh yeah, and Bryce Harper went 3-for-3 with a walk and a home run that sailed over the ray tank in right-center field. That gives him 22 homers on the season, matching his career-high even though this season isn’t even half-complete yet. Harper now sports a .481 on-base percentage (tied with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt for the MLB lead). Nobody has finished a season with an OBP that high since Barry Bonds’ insane .609 mark in 2004. The only other player to top .481 in the last 50 years was Frank Thomas in 1994, but that season ended abruptly on August 12 due to the players’ strike.

TANNER ROARK BOUNCED BACK NICELY
After a couple of shaky starts, Roark was very good Tuesday, tossing seven innings of 1-run ball. Obviously, it helps pitching with a 6-run lead after two innings, but Roark was a different pitcher in this one than he had been the last few times he took the mound.

There weren’t nearly as many hard-hit balls off Roark at Tampa Bay as there were in Milwaukee on Thursday. He was more aggressive in going after hitters. And he didn’t fade as his pitch count rose to 112, capped by a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

What’s next for Roark? That still remains to be seen. Doug Fister will come off the DL and return to the rotation Thursday against this same Rays team in D.C. Roark could move back to the bullpen now, with Joe Ross given a chance to stay in the rotation. Or he could get another start, though he’d still be ticketed for the bullpen once Stephen Strasburg comes off the DL (something that appears likely by the start of next week).

DREW STOREN MAY HAVE COST HIMSELF AN ALL-STAR SELECTION
This isn’t to suggest it should happen, or even that it will, but Storen’s rocky ninth inning during a blowout victory could end up costing him big-time in a couple of weeks.

Inserted to pitch with the Nats up 16-1 because he had taken the mound only once in the previous 10 days, Storen wound up walking his first batter since April 28 and serving up his first homer since July 30, 2014 (a span of 49 relief appearances).

Because of that, Storen’s ERA skyrocketed from a crazy-good 1.11 to a still really-good 2.16. That might be enough of a leap, though, to keep the Nats’ lights-out closer from earning his first All-Star selection.

Relievers are chosen either by fellow major-league players or by the league’s manager (the Giants’ Bruce Bochy this season). No matter how good his peripheral stats are, no matter how well those who watch him every day know he has pitched, relievers tend to get selected to All-Star teams based on two stats alone: saves and ERA.

Storen has 19 saves (currently tied for third in the NL). He entered Tuesday with the league’s fourth-best ERA among all relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. He ended the day in 23rd place, a precipitous drop.

Now, anybody who watches this on a nightly basis knows a 3-run homer with your team up 15 runs means nothing in the big picture. Unfortunately, those who actually get to decide whether Storen earns his first All-Star selection or not probably will be making that decision based on how cumulative numbers at the end of the season’s first half, with little context taken into consideration.

There are still several weeks left before this is decided, so there’s plenty of time for things to change. But if Storen ends up spending his All-Star break at home in Indianapolis instead of in Cincinnati with the rest of baseball’s best players, Tuesday’s performance might very well be to blame.

119 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. TimDz - Jun 17, 2015 at 6:31 AM

    As fans, we needed a laugher, despite the efforts of the LOD/Rain on the parade remarks in the game thread….
    This team just needs to hover around first place in the division as they get healthy. Remember the post All-Star game run last year …besides that, I believe we’ve only played the mets seven times….lots of head to head games remaining.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:40 AM

      They just can’t help themselves.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      They could be in roughly the same predicament at the ASB as they were in 2013. Remember the post-ASB non-run that year? The point is, never assume anything about this team.

      • tcostant - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        I remember that too, they laid an egg vs. the Dodgers and never recovered…

      • bowdenball - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        Never assume anything about any team.

        I think the point is that the Nats are in decent position. If you’d told us in March that the Nats would get replacement level or worse contributions through mid-June from Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister, most of us would be delighted to subsequently learn that the team was only 1.5 games out of first place and a half-game out of the wild card.

        The team has played sloppily at times and there continue to be reasons for concern, but considering the injuries and the key players who’ve completely fallen flat it could be worse.

      • virginiascopist - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        Yes, I remember 2013. They limped into the ASB, then came out of it, I believe, getting swept by the Dodgers and losing three of four to the Pirates, all at home. I don’t recall the standings at the time, but I distinctly remember thinking that was the end of the season.

      • davebinmd - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        From the last week of July in 2013 they made an excellent run, they just started two or three weeks too late.

  2. Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Robinson’s HR ball that never came back—-is there some idea how far ti traveled???

    The life-long minor leaguer is now hitting .286.

    • davebinmd - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      Major League Baseball’s distance tracker projected Robinson’s shot would have traveled 449 feet.

      • letswin3 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:49 PM

        I’m pretty sure it’s still going.

  3. Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Robinson’s HR ball that never came back—-is there some idea how far ti traveled???

    The life-long minor leaguer is now hitting .286.

    • ArVAFan - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:45 AM

      The real question is “when they use the tape measure, do they count the rest of the arc that would have happened if it didn’t get stuck in the catwalk?”

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:04 AM

        The reported distance:

        “If the ball’s flight was interrupted before returning all the way down to field level (as is usually the case), the estimated distance the ball would have traveled if its flight had continued uninterrupted all the way down to field level.”

        http://www.hittrackeronline.com/glossary.php

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      409 feet. It was pulled into RF. I’m not sure why FP talked about it so much as if that has never happened before. In contrast Bryce Harper’s went 445 and Ramos where he had to generate the power off of Elmore went 435 to straight-away CF.

      • Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:36 AM

        Maybe the Buffalo’s power (post-hamate) is returning.

        According to the graphic from the Rays broadcast his HR (forget which one) went out at 109. 3 mph–which would put it up there with Stanton’s league leading rate.

        And true Ghost, Ramos had to generate his own power, as both Elmore and the other guy were throwing a FB at about 84.

        We need the Buffalo!!!!!!

      • Toot D. Blan - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:37 AM

        When Harper homered, FP said that it probably went even further than Robinson’s did. What FP was talking about never having happened before was that Robinson’s HR went up but it never came down.

      • davebinmd - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        Clint Robinson’s was listed at 449 feet, not 409. Curiously, it was right up in the same area of that facility where Harper hit one with a titanium bat at the age of 16 and that one was listed at 502 feet.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        Where did you see that? ESPN had it at 409 after the game.

      • Steady Eddie - Jun 17, 2015 at 1:22 PM

        AtBat Statcast feed:
        Clint Robinson homers (2) on a fly ball to right field. Ball left the bat at 110 mph and traveled a distance of 449 feet. Launch angle 30 degrees.
        Home RunWSH 1 – TB 00 out

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 2:01 PM

        That’s a large disparity. I wonder if ESPN will update.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    I think our own MannassasNatsFan or another Nats fan won the Draft Kings challenge. It was a lineup of almost all Nats players.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:57 AM

      “manassasnatsfan – Jun 16, 2015 at 10:10 PM
      What a draft kings night used Ramos, Robinson, Rendon, Machado and Espi. Outfield Harper, Cain and Calhoun. Pitchers Bauer and Chris Young.

      Closing in on 200 points”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:12 AM

        Nope wasn’t maassasnatsfan unless he had a 2nd lineup.

        The winner had Wilson Ramos, Clint Robinson, Bryce Harper, Todd Frasier, Wilmer Flores, Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrara, and pitchers were Bauer and Matt Harvey.

  5. ArVAFan - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    So, if it turns out that the Cards really did hack into the Astros’s network, what should the penalty be? (and will the Commish have the b*lls to do something appropriately drastic? separate question).

    Loss of draft picks?
    Cash penalty?
    (Gasp) Post-season ineligibility?

    Baseball has had its share of scandals, but this one is different. I’m not saying it’s the Black Sox scandal, but it’s way beyond stealing signs.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 7:55 AM

      A lot worse than the deflategate penalties which was loss of draft picks. I start to question stealing signs, player positioning, trade data, etc.

    • Candide - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      Has to be harsh enough to send the message to the rest of MLB. Exile from the draft entirely for one full season? An eight or nine-figure fine?

      A slap on the wrists will just get everyone in on the hacking wars. Chaos.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:12 AM

        A cash fine on them? Sure, but that won’t hurt much. That let’s them off easy as they are not only one of the wealthiest ownership groups, the DeWitt’s used the land holdings of the Cardinals to sell to pay off almost all the original debt on the team and I think they own the team free and clear and only debt is on the new stadium. They purchased the team from Anheuser-Busch for $150 million which included massive land holdings around the stadium.

        Hit them where it really hurts which is Draft Picks.

      • ArVAFan - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:37 AM

        I think we’re safe, unless someone does a Vulcan mind meld on Rizzo.

    • Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      It’s baseball’s Watergate. Let’s see how far it goes up the Cards’ corporate ladder.

      • wearenationals - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:53 AM

        Agreed, Doc. Corporate hacking is a federal offense. This is bigger than the Patriots cheating ways. Heads will will roll…this is HUGE!

    • sec205 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:11 PM

      They shouldn’t be allowed to take any pitchesin any playoff at bats vs drew storen

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    Billy Burns all over the highlights himself yesterday. In the 1st inning he goes above the wall to steal a HR then doubles the runner off 1st base. He had 2 walks and a triple and scored the GW run.

    His sample size is growing and he now has 172 ABs and here’s his slash .308/.355/.413/.768

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:01 AM

      He’s doing well, but his AAA stats last year suggest that he will regress.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:08 AM

        We all agree on that but he wouldn’t be the 1st player to come to the Majors and make adjustments and never look back.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:13 AM

        MFK, his whole career, from the day he was drafted in the 32nd round, all of the “experts” have said he’d never make it. You can’t teach speed,which he has aplenty, but they taught him how to switch hit. With his speed he can get on at will from the left side. If they play him in, he swings away. I think that he is for real, but even if he fades he has already been more of a success than almost anybody thought he’d be.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:56 AM

        He’s certainly done better than almost anyone expected. He would have helped the Nats, obviously. On the other hand, Billy Hamilton, a similar player, got off to a good start last year but then tailed off. He’s still a positive contributor, but he’s really struggling with the bat. I would not be surprised if Burns had a similar progression.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      Yeah, I kind of wish that we had kept him.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      Almost more impressive is his continuing improvement in CF. This is the play that Ghost was referring to from last night:
      http://m.mlb.com/video/v168977483/?game_pk=414623&mode=video&partnerId=LR_highlights

    • Muddy Ruel - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      Burn has done great from almost day one in the minors with the Nats. Good story. Very happy for him.

      Good story too re Clint R. His lefty swing looks great. Fun to watch — so far. The Nats need Robinson (Clint that is, although Frank can probably still hit) for the foreseeable future with often injured Werth and Zimmerman currently injured and not hitting when trying to play through it.

  7. Whack-A-Mule - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    Headline : – ” RAMOS, CRIPPLE-SHOOTER ! ”

    When it matters, (i.e. game on the line, RISP, etc.), he grounds out or GIDP.
    Two meaningless dingers off a non-pitcher in a laugher does not salvage his
    reputation as a choke-hitter.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      The Orioles are calling for your help! Why let your hatred get in the way of facts including the dozens of clutch HRs and 4 walk-off hits including his 2011 walk-off 3 run HR.

      Here’s your team GIDP leaders:

      RZim 10,
      Escobar 7,
      Harper 6,
      Ramos 5,
      Rendon 2

      Rendon leads the team in GIDP/AB ratio

      Oh Nats RISP leaders?

      Ramos is batting .308 with RISP with a .707 OPS.

  8. scnatsfan - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    One thing learned last night… Ramos can hit bad pitching, I mean really bad pitching

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      Sure, it should be that way and counts the same as his HRs hit off of Felix Hernandez, Gerrit Cole, Cole Hamels, Jason Hammel (2), AJ Burnett, Papelbon, and even David Carpenter, etc.

      Everybody in the order had a chance to hit off of Elmore and/or Franklin.

  9. natsjackinfl - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Personally, I think the Cardinals hacking thing from a club stand point is being way over blown, unless upper management was aware and didn’t come forward with their knowledge.

    More than likely, it was carried out by a former Luhnow underling that was looking to embarass him. If so, and it was limited to 1 or 2 lower management types, I believe any reprimand on the club will be minimal.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      Good luck proving it unless the perpetrators roll over and they come across as credible. Deflate-gate proved very little to implicate who knew what and never showed the Coach or upper management knew and they still took away Draft picks.

  10. natsjackinfl - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Personally, I think the Cardinals hacking thing from a club stand point is being way over blown, unless upper management was aware and didn’t come forward with their knowledge.

    More than likely, it was carried out by a former Luhnow underling that was looking to embarass him. If so, and it was limited to 1 or 2 lower management types, I believe any reprimand on the club will be minimal.

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:18 AM

      This double posting thing is really annoying.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:20 AM

        I thought it was just your tribute to Jimmy Two-Times, who was mentioned by C&D on Friday night’s broadcast.

      • Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:39 AM

        You can say that again!

    • Candide - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      A smart organization, whether it’s a business or politics, knows it’s important to make sure the top person/people can never be proven to have been involved or had knowledge.

      All you need is someone down below who knows what the big guy wants done (but will NEVER say out loud), who’s willing to do it, and, if caught, fall on his sword for the boss.

      Fortunately, a baseball commissioner doesn’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt – viz Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the Black Sox – to punish people who would corrupt the game. He just needs the stones to do what’s right.

      “I don’t care if you didn’t know what some underling was doing. You’re the owner and the GM; you’re ultimately responsible for the people you hire. In Japan, you’d have committed seppuku by now. Say bye-bye to next year’s draft, and please have a check for $100 million made out to MLB and another one made out to the Astros by close of business tomorrow.”

      • therealjohnc - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        “Will no one rid me of the meddlesome priest?”

      • unkyd59 - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Savonarola? (The priest/monk)

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:02 AM

        Henry II (Peter O’Toole in the movie), about Thomas Beckett, A/b of Canterbury (Richard Burton). Great flick.

      • Candide - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:13 PM

        I think the exact quote is “turbulent priest.”

        But the point is valid. Henry ends up paying dearly for rhetorically ordering Beckett killed.

    • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:52 AM

      What happens in the “real world” when one company steals very valuable secrets from a competitor via hacking (and violating federal law)?

      • stoatva - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        “Mistakes were made. Let’s look forward not backward. Nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving.”

        Negligible fine. Underling fired, finds new job.

      • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:40 AM

        Yep — that’s possible. That’s from MLB’s point of view. If the feds can show that the Cards reaped some benefit from it, however, feds will argue for jail time just like any other corporate espionage case.

  11. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    Saw the game from the bottom of the 2nd on, after picking up my Chicago-now-Denver baseball buddy at the Metro. Didn’t hear that much of the commentary, though, between catching up and doing our assorted shtick. That said – wow, our boys brought their bats last night!

  12. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    In other news, the preview feature is new here, right? So, we can edit now? Awesome and thanks muchly if so.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:42 AM

      You could always edit here. Just do it before you hit ‘Post comment’. How hard is that? Shouldn’t you be doing it all the time with anything you write?

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      In spite of the snarky comment from Toot D. Blan, to answer your question, yes, the preview feature is new.

      • Mark Zuckerman - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:17 AM

        I’m trying to help you guys, I really am. I know how frustrating the comment posting is. Finally figured out late last night how to add the edit function. Hopefully this is a first step toward making the process easier.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        When you can figure out a way to get rid of the neganons like Whack-A-Mule who just show up to rain on the parade we will be a better community and people will come back.

        We’ve lost a lot of good posters over the year. Many have gone to Twitter or dare I say it over to WaPo where they can hit the “ignore” button.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        Yay! Thanks, Mark.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:51 AM

        There is a way, and it works. It’s been proven over and over. Quit feeding them.

        If you keep swinging at slop in the dirt, you never will get the pitch you want.

        Plate discipline.

      • Toot D. Blan - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:31 AM

        Maybe people quit posting here because they get tired of the constant refrain of “I said it first”, “as I said yesterday”, etc, the constant berating of any poster who expresses an opinion outside the mainstream, the constant labeling of people who aren’t consistently positive or supportive of the groupthink as “look at the stupid Orioles fan/Peric/Feelwood/SWM/LOD, why don’t they just go away so we can ridicule them after they leave” and all that jazz. Or maybe people quit reading this site and go to the Post instead because CSN is now too cheap to send any writers to cover road games. More Tom Boswell and less Tom Shales, CSN. We don’t need someone to tell us all about what everyone already saw on TV last night, CSN. We need boots on the ground to tell us what’s going on in the parts of the game only seen from being at the ballpark and in the clubhouse.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:57 AM

        Toot D. Blan shows up when Sec105RowT left.

        Add something to the discussion and you can remind us like Ken Rosenthal “reported first by”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:59 AM

        We would all know when Peric was back. Feelwood changes names as quickly as most change socks.

        Toot D. Blan makes the same complaints as Sec105 and Feelwood. I guess they just think alike.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        Thanks, Mark. I appreciate it.

      • Section 222 - Jun 17, 2015 at 5:24 PM

        Toot’s snark about an edit button was unwarranted. Many people have complained about the lack of and edit function since this blog moved to WordPress. So many thanks to Mark for the improvement.

        He’s spot on in his other comments though and I for one am glad he’s here, whether he’s actually section 105 or even Feelwood. Or both. Plus, Toot D. Blan is a good moniker.

  13. ArVAFan - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    OK, so the guys in the dugout asked for Desi’s first hit ball to be thrown back in to them. I assume they did something goofy (like decorated it as a “first hit” ball, or covered it in Hershey’s and left it in his locker). Anyone hear what happened?

    Ramos said he had to get a hit against the position players or “everyone would laugh at him when he came back to the dugout.” Maybe they should laugh at him when he GIDP? Just kidding–I know he’s not trying to do that!

    • virginiascopist - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      That was a funny comment by Wilson — to be fair, though, I believe it was that they’d laugh at him if he struck out against a position player. For the record, no one did strike out against either Elmore or Franklin.

      • nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        Happy handshakes and if you can pad the stats, go for it. Michael Taylor hit one to the wall and he didn’t want to ruin his impact HR thing he has going 😉

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:02 AM

      As much as people want to keep bashing Ramos which amazes me, Here’s your team GIDP leaders:

      RZim 10,
      Escobar 7,
      Harper 6,
      Ramos 5,
      Rendon 2

      Rendon leads the team in GIDP/AB ratio

      • Bruxtun - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:34 AM

        Ghost I’m certainly not trying to bash Ramos but I don’t think it should amaze you that some were down on him. From Chris Johnson, Ramos was slashing 174/.197/.348 since his 19 game hitting streak ended. That line doesn’t include the last 2 games. Even when it wasn’t a GIDP it felt like a weak grounder to short, too often on a pitch very early in the count.

        I think it’s all about pitch selection for him and I just want to see him get his pitch and make his swing. Then it goes up the middle or opposite field.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Was he struggling? Yes. Was he hitting as bad as RZim or Desi? No.

      • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        I’m definitely not in the bash Ramos camp — but he’s performing at a below average level compared to other NL starting catchers (because there’s a lot of good ones — AJ Pirzqtzvzi (or however you spell it), Posey, Norris, Molina, Cevelli, etc.) According to FanGraphs, for the 12 catchers with over 150 PA’s, Ramos ranks 8th in WAR. 8th in BA, 11th in OBP, 8th in SLG

        Frankly, I was surprised to see that. Perhaps that’s expected when taking a snapshot after a long slump. I dunno . . .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:55 AM

        Absolutely and 8th of 15 is middle of the road. He went from All Star to no star quickly.

        The first pitch swinging rollover to the left side weakly has been the current issue.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:31 AM

        Something else to consider is that FanGraphs totals up all stats in the player’s primary position so a player like Stephen Vogt who plays C is also a 1B in 8 games and can DH and Posey plays 1st base as well as Yadier.

        The offensive numbers of catchers are certainly stronger now than they used to be as there are many wider bodied players at catcher again who can hit.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:01 AM

        When you can deal in facts over stupidity the discussions can have some substance.

      • Bruxtun - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:16 AM

        Might be a little too soon to say “was struggling” since those two homeruns were off position players throwing 80mph but it could be just what he needs to get out of it. He did also have a homer and a double over the last few games so that’s good. And those numbers are about as bad as Ryan’s were if I’m not mistaken. Not as bad as Desi’s, but that would be hard to do. He still contributes on defense as a catcher and defense should come first with him so it’s not as big of a deal as when Ryan or Ian slumps. It’s not like you’d bench Ramos, the move would be to take him out of the fifth spot before anything else. Ryan didn’t have that nice 19 game hitting streak though, so it’s safer to call it a slump or a struggle from Wilson that he could pull out of at any time. I think the best Ryan got up to was about a 240 average that even with that nose dive Wilson took he is still above.

      • ITGSOT - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:33 AM

        Praising Ramos by saying he’s not as bad as Desi/RZ is like trying to pick up a woman at a bar by saying “you know, for a fat girl you sure don’t sweat much.” Just as Desi could’ve used a few more days off lately, so could Ramos.

  14. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 17, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    First possible scenario: Some juvenile Cardinals employee experiments, accesses Houston’s data base — for comparison to their own, congratulates himself and goes to bed. No story, no FBI investigation. MLB left to figure out how to punish a low-mid level computer geek while still sending a cautionary message to the rest of the league.

    Other version of the story: Juvenile Cardinals employee experiments, accesses Houston’s data base. Prints out a thousand pages of data which is poured over by upper management for insight into Houston’s dealings with other teams, which gives them information that all of those teams want kept confidential, e.g., Philadelphia lays out what Boston, LAA are offering for Hamels, explains their rationale for declining both deals. Much bigger story than the first.

    Biggest story: Juvenile Cardinals employee, giddy with success after receiving attaboys from top brass, starts probing networks of other teams.

    Possible punishments: Cardinals are stripped of first round draft choice; because they have no draft choice to use, Cardinals feel freed to pursue more FAs because they have nothing more to lose. Most serious punishment: Cardinals allotment for draft picks 1-10 cut by thirty-three percent, result is that college seniors get squeezed, are forced to sign for far below slot, high school players don’t get drafted.

    I think there is much more to follow.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:14 AM

      I got the impression from the first stories I saw that the intrusion was possible mainly because Luhnow (or someone working with/for him) used the same passwords with the new Astros database, which Luhnow was creating, as he used on the one he did for the Cardinals. St. Louis’ story is that they were only looking to see if he’d taken any intellectual property that belonged to the Cardinals, in creating the new software for the Astros. If he created the database as an employee of the Cardinals, in most cases it would belong to the employer, not the employee, and they would have a proper beef with him (and the Astros) in that case. Of course, getting caught with their hands in some other cookie jar entirely would make that cover story a lot less convincing.

  15. tcostant - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    “Stephen Strasburg comes off the DL (something that appears likely by the start of next week)”

    What’s the rush to get Strasburg off the DL so quick. He was mess before going there, why not get him three starts and work on improving. I just don’t understand, why you don’t take this time to fix his delivery in low presure situations…

    • ArVAFan - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      Well, let’s see how his first rehab start goes. He’s been working drills with McCatty to get his mechanics in order, and he’s pitched a sim game against his teammates, all with good results. Perhaps that’s all the “away from the spotlight” time that he needed. Maybe he won’t need a second rehab start–if he’s good to go, why not bring him back sooner rather than later?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        Because they don’t know whether he’s good to go until he’s gone once or twice?

  16. stoatva - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Reasons to be cheerful, part one:

    To this point in the season the Nats have played 37 road games and only 28 at home. The Mets are almost exactly the reverse. The Mets have thus far been a very poor road team.

  17. scnatsfan - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    Just remember Sean Payton and the NFL… even if you didn’t directly know about it you are responsible for your employees actions

  18. nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Looks like Bowden’s Face of the Franchise aka Trea Turner had a rough debut. 0-4, K, error allowing the only run to score in a 1-0 loss.

    • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      Ouch!

      Not the first impression he was hoping to make!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:58 AM

        He will be fine. Both pitchers were on their game last night.

      • nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      • nats128 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:16 PM

        2nd impression was good 😉

  19. laddieblahblah - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    “This is bigger than the Patriots cheating ways.”

    It is a federal crime to hack anyone’s private information, not just corporate proprietary info. Deflategate was about the violation of NFL rules and regs – no one was in danger of going to jail. Someone could do time for the Card’s hack into Houston’s proprietary data files, or could also do time if they copied privileged info on any Houston employee, e.g. copying private emails.

    The college kid who hacked into Sarah Palin’s private email account got 1 year, but there were no higher ups directing his actions. The person who performed the hack on the Astros is in real legal jeopardy, but the corporate hierarchy involved (someone was given the info) introduces a different element of associated guilt and possible punishment.

    Even more serious charges and much longer prison sentences could be involved for anyone who lies to the FBI during the investigation (obstruction of justice). The penalties for that are far more severe. Anyone foolish enough to cover for a higher up would be risking serious jail time as a convicted felon. Serious, as in up to 20 years.

    MLB would be wise, IMO, to await the outcome of the FBI investigation. If the FBI finds criminal wrong-doing then the perpetrator(s) will be charged and tried, most likely (unless they cop a plea), and MLB can base its actions on evidence presented in court, and/or on the findings of guilt or innocence via the legal process.

    FBI IT forensic specialists have already collected whatever info they need to proceed, but may subpoena back-up drives and the hard drive used in the hack. They can usually recover info that has been deleted from the email and file systems by inspecting remnants of those images remaining on that drive.

    Could be a precedent-setter. Some Cards personnel could be looking at consequences much more serious than losing some draft picks.

    • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:50 AM

      I agree with every thing you say.

      Some Cards personnel could be looking at consequences much more serious than losing some draft picks.

      Like, banned from baseball for some time . . . (as well as prison time)

  20. stoatva - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    There is a way, and it works. It’s been proven over and over. Quit feeding them.

    I suspect this may be complicated by the occasional consumption of adult beverages on the part of the occasional commenter.

    Just a hunch, though.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 17, 2015 at 10:59 AM

      I sure hope so. I’d hate to think somebody sober posted some of these comments.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        What do you make of Whack A Moles 8:13am post? Hangover of hate?

        What possesses someone to write stupidity like that?

      • stoatva - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        Really referring more to the responses than the trollish comments. My hands are not completely clean when it comes to engaging with these buffoons, but I find that when I’m responding to stuff like that it’s a sure signal I need to check in with where my head is at.

        (In my case it’s not drunkenness because on the rare occasions I have a bit too much, I’ll be asleep. 😀 Cause that’s the way this almost 63 year old rolls, anymore.)

      • Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        My response to your honest musing Ghost, is that ‘hate’ is a psychological variant of cowardice, and probably even a more deep-seated issue of emotional turmoil.

        In most cases, such as commenters, it is a projection of personal dissatisfaction largely unrelated to the player to whom they are making negative reference . It is easily transacted under anonymity. It is also done to act out personal frustration.

        The best that we can do is ignore it. The more likely that we ignore it, the higher probability that it will go away.

        We’re just fans, and the best we can do is enjoy the privilege. It is the players’ frustrations that we should be commenting on, not our own. The objectivity of stats, saves us all!

        Go Nats!

      • Doc - Jun 17, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        My response to your honest musing Ghost, is that ‘hate’ is a psychological variant of cowardice, and probably even a more deep-seated issue of emotional turmoil.

        In most cases, such as commenters, it is a projection of personal dissatisfaction largely unrelated to the player to whom they are making negative reference . It is easily transacted under anonymity. It is also done to act out personal frustration.

        The best that we can do is ignore it. The more likely that we ignore it, the higher probability that it will go away.

        We’re just fans, and the best we can do is enjoy the privilege. It is the players’ frustrations that we should be commenting on, not our own. The objectivity of stats, saves us all!

        Go Nats!

  21. ehay2k - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Mssed the first 2 innings last night, thought I’d missed sought hits. Boy was I wrong!

    Will have to skim the game thread to see what could possibly have been fuel for the neganon’s fire. I have pretty much stopped reading the game posts because they no longer are enjoyable. Previously banned posters have returned, and some newer ones are there to detract from the conversation, not add to it. I have no desire to read personal attacks on players, managers, or posters.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      Nattygoats and Ritilin and Whack A Mule and pick which is the former SWM

      It’s easy to bash on Stras, Gio, Desi, Ramos, RZim, and others with rants that don’t deal with fact.

      I sometimes wonder if Ian Desmond shafted one of these idiots. The venom spewed is hard to ignore some times.

      • stoatva - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        It IS hard to ignore, especially since WordPress requires you to refresh for new comments and scan up and down the thread for new comments, thereby exposing you to the same toxic garbage for the duration. And even if you’re feeling particularly high-minded and mature on a given evening, the odds that someone else will finally get fed up and take a poke at a troll are pretty high (so to speak).

        I’ve repeatedly heard folks on this and other blogs say that it’s demonstrated from experience that ignoring provocateurs makes them go away, but my experience is that that’s seldom effective without some mechanism to block or hide offensive comments. Otherwise the stupidity and malice just wear you down.

        Finally, a bigger problem than alcohol-fueled engagement, my own comment notwithstanding, is that the negs are at their worst (and are most content) when things are going badly and everyone else is already frustrated and peevish.

        Hope that between WP, CSN and Mark they can come up with some tools to help everyone make this the fan blog it’s capable of being.

      • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:51 AM

        stoatva raises some good points.

        Other reasons it’s so hard to ignore:

        a. in many other places — in real life — silence often (not always, but often) implies agreement

        b. sometimes the entire trolling remark is based on a lie, err, made up, errr, incorrect facts. Like, say, “Ian has never been able to hit” — when it cries out for a mention of, say, three straight silver sluggers

        In real life, the best way to take the wind out of the sails of a blowhard that is making stuff up, is to calmly undermine his entire argument with some actual facts. So, it’s easy to want to do that here, too.

      • jd - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:57 AM

        Ghost,

        Here is my approach:

        ‘Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.’

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:04 PM

        Of course you’re right.

      • ITGSOT - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:46 PM

        But this isn’t a “fan blog”. Neither is the WP. They are both news sites that have included the comment feature as a means of driving up the page clicks. They don’t care what your comments are, they just want you to make them because doing so brings traffic to the site. It’s doubtful that either Mark or the WP pay any more attention to what is said here than a bar owner would pay to the crowd at a table. Only if it gets drunk or out of hand do they pay it any mind.

        So one has to wonder why all the blowhards and comment police here don’t just quit complaining and start up their own fan blogs where they would have total control over what gets said and who says it? I mean, it’s totally without expense to do that. WordPress, Blogger and the rest are free. Every trenchant insight these guys are posting here could be posted there. All the comments they like could be made, and posters they don’t like could be banned. So why don’t they do that? Because they are afraid that no one would pay attention to them if they did that. So instead they hijack this news site and hold everyone hostage to their ranting and drivel. And if SWM et al did not exist they would be inventing them just so they’d have something to complain about.

  22. Danny - Jun 17, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    Difo absent from Harrisburg lineup again.

    • jd - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      Danny,

      He came out of a game after one at bat last week so he may be nursing an injury. What I find curious is that if Turner is the heir apparent at SS, why was Difo not playing 2nd base all this time? I guess I don’t have enough info to really judge but I’m guessing that our theory of Difo and Turner as the future keystone combo is not necessarily etched in stone.

      • scmargenau - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        Jd

        A valid point. My guess is they want options open. Let’s say esco, Dilfo and turner are all playing well…add a consistent Danny and we have 4 guys that all can play 3 positions. That’s ideal.

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    7-pitch 1-2-3 first inning for Stephen Strasburg. 6 fastballs…1 breaking ball. 2 groundouts. 1 weak fly to RF. Reached 97 mph. #Nats

    • adcwonk - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:38 PM

      Nice!!!

      Wouldn’t it be awesome if his problems this year were all mechanical due to, first, the ankle injury, and then all that followed?

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    Trea Turner with his first hit!

  25. micksback1 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Drew was off last night, but Drew, Bryce and Max I expect to see on the all star team

  26. micksback1 - Jun 17, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    Ian really only had one hit, it was a good one as he hit behind the runner. If he is turning the corner, we should see it th next few games, if not, Nats have to move him

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