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State of the Nats: Who makes the All-Star team?

Jun 30, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

USA Today

Top storylines:

Who makes the All-Star team?  The 2015 MLB All-Star Game rosters will be announced this upcoming Sunday and Monday in a two-day special aired on ESPN. The starters will be revealed Sunday night, while the reserves will be announced on Monday.

The Nationals should have at least two All-Stars, barring something unforeseen. Those would be Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer. Harper is setting records in fan voting and will likely start the game, depending on his health. And if Scherzer doesn’t make the roster, something is wrong. He has a very good case to be the National League starter.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Drew Storen seems to have a very good case. He has a 2.10 ERA and is tied for second in the NL with 23 saves in 25 appearances. There are only so many spots for closers, but he certainly seems to be right on the bubble.

Yunel Escobar also has a solid chance it would seem. The versatile infielder is fourth in the NL with a .324 batting average and has been indispensable for the Nationals.

Denard Span is having another solid year with a .305 average, but has only appeared in 53 games. He might be the one Nats player with the most realistic ‘longshot’ chance.

Can rotation keep it up? – With Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg back in the fold, the Nationals’ rotation is starting to look like many dreamed it would heading into this season, Tanner Roark’s spot start on Sunday not withstanding of course. If their last turn in the rotation is any indication, the Nats’ starting staff is becoming a real strength.

Take Roark’s forgettable day out of the equation and the Nats’ rotation’s numbers since last Friday are insane: 0.71 ERA, 51 IP, 4 ER, 43 SO, 5 BB. That’s across seven total starts from their regular rotation of Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Fister and Strasburg.

Those numbers are not sustainable, but the Nats could definitely use more dominance from their starters with their lineup missing Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. Harper, Escobar and Span are all banged up and could use days off, as well.

Giants are heading to Washington – The Nationals close the upcoming week with their first matchup against the San Francisco Giants since their NL Division Series last October. The Giants, of course, went on to win the World Series after taking out the Nats in four games.

San Francisco has been a very streaky team, much like the Nationals. They won 13 of 15 at the end of May, then lost 11 of 15. Now they are winners of eight of their last 12 as they head to D.C.

The series will feature two national TV games, but unfortunately no Scherzer. Strasburg vs. Madison Bumgarner on the Fourth of July, however, is not too shabby of a pitching matchup.

NL East Standings


Offensive game of the week: Ian Desmond 6/25 vs. Braves – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R

Pitching game of the week: Max Scherzer 6/24 vs. Braves – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 SO. 100 pitches, 76 strikes.

Quote of the week:

A sarcastic Gio Gonzalez on Saturday’s start being rained out after 1 1/2 innings:

I mean, this rain kind of caught us all off-guard. I mean, we didn’t know it was coming for like three days, so…

Tweet of the week:

Road ahead

TUE – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Zimmermann)
WED – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Fister)
THU – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Scherzer)
FRI – 6:00 p.m. vs. San Francisco Giants (Gonzalez)
SAT – 11:05 a.m.vs. San Francisco Giants (Strasburg)
SUN – 8:00 p.m.vs. San Francisco Giants (Zimmermann)

  1. veejh - Jun 30, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    I haven’t even looked at the standings or anything Giants all season. How’s MadBum fairing after all those innings last season?

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 8:16 AM

      Almost exactly the same pitcher he was in 2014.

      • adcwonk - Jun 30, 2015 at 8:38 AM


        Last year: 18-10, 2.98, WHIP of 1.090
        This year: 8-4, 2.99, WHIP of 1.043

      • veejh - Jun 30, 2015 at 8:40 AM

        Maybe he’ll run out of gas by season’s end.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 8:59 AM


        It sounds like you’re jonesing for some schadenfreude–like you want the guy to get injured or at least worn down as payback for his heavy use in the 2014 playoffs.

        I don’t want him to be worse. I just want the Nats to be better.

      • veejh - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:18 AM

        You reap what you sow. At least I hope so.

        You’re right though, I don’t necessarily want him to get injured, but maybe a serious downtick in his effectiveness? I’m really just sick of the Giants.

  2. rayvil01 - Jun 30, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Shame it won’t be terribly hot this weekend. Giants aren’t fond of that.

    I went to the “Turn back the clock” game on July 5, 2012. Matt Cain started and the Giants had a 5-1 lead. It was hot as hell and twice as humid. Bochy sent Cain back out for the 7th. My brother and I looked at each other, “Big mistake.” (Yes, Bochy makes his share too.) Nats got to Cain that inning. Nats walked that game off in the bottom of the ninth when the first baseman couldn’t hold a double-play throw.

    Afterwards. the SF papers had all kinds of quotes from the Giants players about the heat. Have to see if we can’t wish the temps up a bit.

    BTW, is Cain done?

    • virginiascopist - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      Was that a game Detwiler started? I seem to recall that game as well.

      Anyway, I believe both Cain and Peavy are working their way back, but not sure if either are expected to pitch against us. As for the heat, I wonder how many of the 2012 Giants are still Giants today. Let’s see. I guess Posey, Belt, Crawford, Pagan. I think that’s it for position players.

      • rayvil01 - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        Yes, Detwiler did start that game.

      • Section 222 - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:07 PM

        That was an awesome game, and the “turn back the clock” stuff was great. I wish they’d do that again.

    • NatsLady - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:49 AM

      I remember that too. And the Giants announcers were just talking today (well, I think it was actually Sunday) about the heat and humidity here, and that it wasn’t predicted to be “too bad” in Our Nations’ Capital.” They just wilted.

      Of course, beautiful as it is, I would FREEZE in SF, so…

  3. wearenationals - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    Jumping ahead of the Barves series? Win the series in ATL – nay sweep – and that adds another proverbial nail to their season.

  4. NatsLady - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    I’m watching Bumgarner pitch (against the Rockies). He can still hit.

    For some reason the Giants are auctioning off their wives.

    • alexva6 - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      for some reason?

      • NatsLady - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        I think it’s charity. I also think the wives are auctioning off memorabilia… but it’s ambiguous. If they show it again I’ll get a screen cap of the “Giants Wives Auction”.

    • adcwonk - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      Bum is hitting .235 with 2 HRs.

      • NatsLady - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        `Our guys are such slouches. Not a homer among ’em…
        Nats Starters

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 9:44 AM

      Wives as property to be auctioned off?

      So “traditional” conceptions of marriage still survive in … San Francisco!

      • adcwonk - Jun 30, 2015 at 11:02 AM


      • Doc - Jun 30, 2015 at 11:05 AM

        Under Obamacare you are allowed to auction off your wife to pay your medical bills.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 11:31 AM

        I think you’re confusing that with “Paint Your Wagon.” Not that show tunes aren’t popular in The City.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 1:05 PM

        +1 for getting me to look up “Paint Your Wagon”!

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 1:40 PM

        Look up the scene “Whatever the bid is, I DOUBLE it!”

  5. nats128 - Jun 30, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    I see the Nats still have TBDs for Thursday’s starter and beyond as I guess MW hasn’t committed to the schedule given the rainout and Monday day-off.

    The pitching schedule makes for a interesting choice for MW as to who pitches the Sunday before the All Star break starts as the Nats have a off-day next Thursday it give MW flexibility to pitch either Fister or Scherzer. The Nats finish up in Balmore.

    If the Nats pitch Scherzer on that Sunday by rule he wont be allowed to pitch in the All Star game.

    Using Chase’s pitching order from above

    TUE – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Zimmermann)
    WED – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Fister)
    THU – 7:10 p.m. at Atlanta Braves (Scherzer)
    FRI – 6:00 p.m. vs. San Francisco Giants (Gonzalez)
    SAT – 11:05 a.m.vs. San Francisco Giants (Strasburg)
    SUN – 8:00 p.m.vs. San Francisco Giants (Zimmermann)
    MON – 7:05 p.m. vs Cincinnati Reds (Fister)
    TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs Cincinnati Reds (Scherzer)
    WED – 7:05 p.m. vs.Cincinnati Reds (Gonzalez)

    FRI – 7:05 p.m at. Baltimore Orioles (Strasburg)
    SAT – 7:05 p.m at. Baltimore Orioles (Zimmermann)
    SUN – 1:35 p.m. at Baltimore Orioles TBD

    • Tyler Babip - Jun 30, 2015 at 11:30 AM


      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:01 PM

        Scherzer’s pitched 3 regular season games in Baltimore and 1 playoff game last year.

        The last regular season game was 2013 and he threw an 8 inning 3 hitter. Prior to that, not so good.

        The playoff game was Game 1 last year and they left him in too long because of the poor Detroit bullpen. He gave up 3 runs early then 2 runs when he was pulled in the 8th.

        I would think about pitching Scherzer on Friday against the Giants and the following Wednesday against the Reds.

  6. nats128 - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Trea Turner with a 0-5 last night for Syracuse. Hes now 0-14 since his promotion there. AJ Cole pulled his groin in the game and was removed in the 3rd.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      Clarification: A.J. Cole pulled his OWN groin in the game.

      • nats128 - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:43 PM

        If you think that needed clarification. James Wagner just Tweeted at 12:20 that Cole has tightness in his groin. Not sure if thats the same as a pull.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:53 PM

        Thanks for the clarification.

        That sounded like a pretty odd way to welcome Turner to AAA.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 1:41 PM

        I hope someone told Wagner that was TMA.

  7. micksback1 - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    nats All stars according to Mick”

    Bryce and Max should start
    Assuing Span has played in enough games, he deserves a spot aliong with Escobar and Storen

    So, a total of 5 Nats should be on roster

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      Max and Harp are definitely in.

      The others, probably not.

      Storen has the best case, but didnt help himself with that HR a coupla series back.

      I like what Escobar has done for the Nats, but he is no All-Star. It doesn’t help that he is listed on the ballot at 2B, a position he hasn’t played a single inning. At 3B, neither his bat nor his fielding is really that competitive (he ranks 5th among qualifying NL 3B in wRC+).

      Span – his offense is a bit better than 2014, but his defense is not. I don’t blame him for that–he’s been injured. But hard to see how he makes it given how stiff the competition is.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jun 30, 2015 at 1:52 PM

      Escobar is fourth in the NL with a .324 BA. He won’t get chosen via the ballot, thanks to the position miscasting, but Bochy or the players or whoever it is that chooses the reserves would have to be impressed by that. Meanwhile, they probably think wRC+ is that “strong password” they can never remember when trying to get into their bank’s web site.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 30, 2015 at 2:46 PM


        I doubt they find BA alone that impressive, and his OPS (which I’m sure they do understand) is pretty much the same story as his wRC+–5th among NL 3B, would be 4th among 2B. Still just not good enough, whether it’s fans or coaches making the pick.

        Full disclosure–I did vote for him the maximum # of times, and with several email addresses. Because I am a homer.

  8. unterp - Jun 30, 2015 at 12:43 PM

    escobar maybe, storen and span no way…

  9. Section 222 - Jun 30, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    Hate to say it, but Drew probably didn’t help his stock with Bochy for the ASG with his performance in Game 2 of the NLDS.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 1:45 PM

      Bruce is just like us fans: When his players get hits, it’s because they’re good hitters. When his relievers give up hits, it’s because they’re headcases.

  10. Section 222 - Jun 30, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    Maybe so, but he also wants to win the game and get HFA for the NL (maybe his team). If he picks relievers, he probably is going to pick guys he would want to use in the game — Chapman definitely comes to mind (my goodness, 104 mph last night?). . I’m not sure Drew is in that category for him.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 2:19 PM

      Pretty sure you’re right. I was just being bratty.

    • Guapo - Jun 30, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      Storen would do fine in the AS game. There isn’t any pressure. It’s crunch time when he gets the lump in his throat.

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Is it time to revisit th preseason predictions yet?

    Sure! (emphasis added; we know Harper is in, and it’s a fair bet Scherzer will make the staff.)

    Craig Heist (106.7 FM) — Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman
    Chase Hughes ( — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg
    Chelsea Janes (Washington Post) — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
    Chris Johnson ( — Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer
    Bill Ladson ( — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann
    Tom Schad (Washington Times) — Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann
    Andrew Simon ( — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg
    James Wagner (Washington Post) — Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann
    Mark Zuckerman ( — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann

    [Andrew Simon, WTH? No Harper?? How can you NOT pick Harper??! It was Harper’s picture on top of the post! How much of a hint do you need?]

    Section 222 – Apr 6, 2015 at 10:44 AM
    Nats All Stars — Harper, Stras, Scherzer, Rendon (3B is a thin position in the NL, and Rendon will get hot when he arrives. That will be good enough for a bench spot, in light of last year’s snub)

    Sec 3, My Sofa – Apr 6, 2015 at 11:19 AM
    All-Stars: Ramos, Scherzer, Rendon
    [Ummm … can I change my vote?]

    adcwonk – Apr 6, 2015 at 12:41 PM
    All-Stars: Scherzer, JZ, Harper

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 30, 2015 at 2:18 PM

      Whoops, Sorry, Simon. That should be directed at Tom Schad of the W. Times.

      The Sofa regrets that, too. 😦

    • Section 222 - Jun 30, 2015 at 3:39 PM

      So much for 3B being thin — Arenado, Frazier, Carpenter — all strong and worthy candidates. TTB will beat then all out someday but not this year.





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

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

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

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