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Second half begins with high expectations

Jul 5, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

Jul 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) is congratulated by Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams (9) after defeating the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the mathematical halfway point of the season, and while the conventional midway break doesn’t occur for another week, the Nationals’ first half seems to be a success.

With 45 wins and a host of visits to the disabled list by key players, the Nationals should be in good shape for the last three months of the season.

They’ve used 40 players in 81 games. Last year, it took them a full season to employ 40, and some of those unexpected players have performed much better than expected.

Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are on the disabled list, and Stephen Strasburg, who left Saturday’s game with tightness in his left side, could rejoin them.

Tyler Moore, Clint Robinson and Michael A. Taylor all played important parts offensively in the two wins against San Francisco this weekend.

“It’s not ideal. It’s not the way we planned it to have so many guys out, but it gives opportunities to Tyler and Clint, Michael to get in there and get consistent at-bats, the more they do the better timing they have, and the better they can be,” manager Matt Williams said

A year ago, 13 games were started by pitchers who weren’t in the Nationals’ primary starting five. This year, it’s already been 11, and if Strasburg’s injury sends him back to the DL, it could be more.

Still, the Nationals wake up Sunday with a 4 ½ game lead in the National League East, their largest of the season.

“I think it just shows how deep we are in the minor leagues and how good our scouting has been, how good our pitching has been. Max [Scherzer] has so big for us this year, going out there and throwing 0’s every day,” Harper said.

Harper also mentioned Strasburg, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann and Joe Ross, who struck out 21 and walked just two in his three starts.

Ross could again fill in for Strasburg. So could Tanner Roark, who pitched creditably when Strasburg left Saturday’s game after four innings.

“Guys are stepping up. It’s fun to watch and it gives life to everyone else to see guys thriving and doing well, just doing our thing and having fun,” Roark said.

Drew Storen is enjoying a renaissance as the closer, and Matt Thornton has been excellent as the eighth inning man.

“Give a lot of credit to our bullpen, the young guys going out there and doing what they’ve been doing. It shows you how deep we are and kind of makes you excited for October and beyond that, so we’re excited, and we’ve still got a couple of more games this half and we want to come back stronger,” Harper said.

With his home run on Saturday, Harper is on pace for 50 homers and 120 RBIs, Scherzer for 18 wins.

Six losses in their first eight games, well, the Nationals are way past that. They hope Rendon, Werth and Zimmerman are all back for most of the second half.

“We started the year off…just kind of bad. We had a lot of expectations. Just want to flush all that stuff out and it really doesn’t matter,” Moore said.

“Obviously we want those guys back with injuries, but we can’t really use that as an excuse. I think the bench has done a decent job of coming in and stepping in for those guys. We want those guys back as soon as possible, but if not, we’re going to keep rolling.”

  1. Joe Seamhead - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    Nice column, Rich, and thanks for filling in and keeping us rolling along on the blog!

  2. rlndtln - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    What is the time table for the return of the 3?

  3. scmargenau - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Rendon is set to come back, as is zim, but no news!! 😡

  4. laddieblahblah - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Got new-posted. Comment to Ghost from prior thread:

    “I’m thinking Clint Robinson for the time being has Wally Pipp’d RZim.”

    I’ve also been thinking along those same lines wrt Taylor and Werth. I still hold out some hope that Zim’s bat speed will return, but Werth has both shoulder and wrist problems, and can no longer play D the way Taylor can play it now. Zim still has that glove, and he did have that stretch where he took his BA from around .180 all the way up to .248 before cratering, and playing himself onto the DL.

    Robinson is just getting better the more he sees of ML pitching, and how they approach him. He has all that MiL experience behind him, and he is a very smart hitter who goes full Mach speed on pitches in his turbo zone (inner half, down) but just tries to square up pitches over the outer half.

    And I don’t know how they justify continuing to play Desmond every day when Rendon returns. Desi did have a good AB his last time up – he actually took the first 5 pitches to get to a 3-2 count, then dialed it back to reach for a ball up and on the outer half to poke it into RF for the sac fly. Small gruel, perhaps, but a much better situational AB than we are used to seeing from him. Does that justify keeping him in the lineup over Espinosa, Rendon and Escobar?

    We may be seeing a changing of the guard a year before anyone thought likely. It seems to me they may give Span more than a qualifying offer, as well. Taylor can play LF or CF, but he can’t play both, and the Nats have no one else who is nearly as good as Denard in the leadoff slot.

    We’ll know soon enough. August is not that far away, and Zim should be just about ready, I would think, after the AS break.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      CRob success is raising some interesting questions.

      I had a bout of PF once and it was nasty. If RZ tries to get active too quickly, he’ll not get over it this season. When they had to stop him the other day taking grounders, that’s another period of time required for things to calm down. He can get in an endless cycle of those things if not careful.

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Thanks for the update on Zim. I’ve had PF, too, and simply cannot imagine how anyone could play baseball at the ML level while dealing with that, no matter what meds and shoe inserts he is using to get past it.

    • npb99 - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:35 AM

      I agree completely. Just because some guys have been great in the past, and earn big bucks under long-term deals, doesn’t mean they will be better in the near future for this team.
      I think the Wally Pipp analogy works even better for Taylor and Werth – young guy continuing to improve compared with a 36-year old coming off of multiple injuries. And for these purposes, it doesn’t matter that Werth has two plus years left on his contract. He was overpaid under an overly long contract to come here, and he’s been worth it. Pun intended. But that doesn’t mean he’s the best choice to be an every day outfielder till his contract expires if a young guy is outplaying him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:19 PM

        Money should be no factor in who starts but if Werth and RZim are healthy they will be on the team and playing in some capacity.

        I just have a hard time getting overly excited about MAT’s .246/.295/.389/.684 considering 12 of his 15 walks came in the 8th spot and were mostly unintentional-intentional walks ahead of the pitcher. Now the impressive stat in 42 ABs as mentioned is his RISP slash which is excellent but SSS, .357/.429/.643/1.071

        What Taylor does is provide your best LF defense.

    • Steady Eddie - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      I’ve come to the same view on keeping Span even as MAT has made and continues to make some impressive adjustments at the plate and settles into the field. While I don’t agree with the straight (downward) line extrapolation of Werth’s capabilities — as a late starter, he has less mileage on him than most his age, takes good care of himself and could be an Ibanez in persistence of skills — he does seem to find it harder to stay on the field for most of the long season. With Span back for another three years or so, MAT could spell Werth every third game, Span every fourth game to keep them fresh, and Bryce maybe once every ten games, which would enable MAT to start two out of every three games. And that’s assuming the other three stay healthy for the whole season and that’s all he plays.

      Wouldn’t want to think of our outfield without anyone in the organization now of MAT’s skill level as the full time injury backup for the OF.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        Eddie, you posted this as I was writing my post below. We’re on the same page.

      • Doc - Jul 5, 2015 at 12:01 PM

        I like your math Steady!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:22 PM

        Rumors of Werth’s demise could be greatly exaggerated.

        A healthy Werth vs MAT with the game on the line in the postseason, who do you want?

    • zmunchkin - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:03 AM

      Let’s not forget that opposing teams have not yet acquired a book on CRob. I like what he is doing. But it is too early (IMO) to think he is going to replace RZ. His current performance level means the Nats don’t have to rush RZ back. And that RZ can take days/innings off as needed in order to minimize of a flare-up of his PF.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      To me, this is the biggest story of right now but are we too excited about change and is MAT and CRob the improvement we need?

      Top line stats aren’t great but certainly an improvement and CRob has been in the zone in the short-term.

      I hope we can watch them longer as I need larger sample sizes and see if both can improve on their weaknesses.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:18 AM

        +1

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      I am excited about what some of these bench guys are doing, but folks are too quick to turn the page.

      Robinson right now is slashing .273/.350/.438, with a wRC+ of 118.
      Zim last season: .280/.342/.449, with a wRC+ of 120.

      In other words, if CRob can keep performing at his current level (and there are good reasons to doubt it), he is just barely the equal of Zim in an injury diminished season.

      Now, if Zim never gets over the series of injuries that keep sidelining him, that’s something else–not Wally Pipped but … maybe Ken Griffey Jr’ed? Others can probably think of a better analogy, but a Wally Pipp situation it ain’t.

      As for MAT–people need to pump the breaks even harder.

      As should be the case for a young CF shifted to the easiest position in the OF, his glove is great in LF. But at that position, his bat is not–even with the Ks down (and we’re all happy to see that), he is slashing .246/.295/.389 with a wRC+ of 82. Werth last year slashed .292/.394/.455 with a wRC+ of 141. Among qualifying NL LF, the median this year is .253/.353/.429 with a wRC+ of 113.

      We all hope MAT’s offense continues to improve, and if it does, should be fine for a CF (maybe with a lower OBP but more power than normal at that position). But at what should be a power corner OF position? I don’t think so.

      • thisizit - Jul 5, 2015 at 12:39 PM

        Many of CRob’s numbers came with inconsistent playing time. Too small a sample size to evaluate/compare either way.

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 5, 2015 at 12:42 PM

        Most of Werth’s numbers from last year were compiled BEFORE he injured his shoulder. Take a look at his numbers THIS year, after off-season shoulder surgery, and we still don’t know what additional effect there may be from the recent wrist injury, since he hasn’t played an inning since he incurred that:

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/werthja01.shtml

        Assuming he can return to last season’s form is assuming an awful lot. That wrist, even late last year, caused him to wince after checking his swing. This year’s injury could not have helped with any of that.

        As for Michael A., the Nats have clearly penciled him in as a future Nats outfielder, and his numbers keep improving, as has his approach at the plate. He is obviously improving on his playing skills with each passing week. There are a lot more questions concerning Werth’s abilities, right now, than there are about MAT’s.

        Zim is a different matter. I am hopeful that he can return to form. I see CRob as an outstanding bench player, but not as the permanent solution at 1b. That role might end up belonging to Matt Skole, who is intermittently raking, and then slumping, in the minors. A September call-up, possibly, as the Nats probably want to keep him playing every day to max his number of repetitions. But he remains another big question mark.

        And Zim, too, did not come close to matching his numbers from last year when he was on the active roster. His shoulder injury is chronic, and there is no cure for it.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:30 PM

        Good points all around.

        Agree that we need to see more of CRob to know what he is. Some folks seem to think he can keep up what he’s doing now or even improve. That’s not inconceivable–lightning does strike. But it’s unlikely for a career minor leaguer.

        I agree with laddie–don’t count Zim out. He consistently put up good #s at the plate with a bad shoulder over the past several years. He was awful this season, but the shoulder doesn’t seem to have been the problem. Whether he will come back–when and how strong–is anybody’s guess. So fingers crossed for CRob keeping it up.

        Werth – since he’s on the DL, yes, it’s fair to say there are more questions about him right now that MAT. 🙂

        But remember, Werth came back strong from a wrist injury in 2012. How he will come back from the shoulder is hard to predict, but the silver lining (if there is one) of this year’s wrist injury is that he’s had more time to rest and rehab the shoulder.

        Will Werth match 2013-14 when he comes back in August? Lightning does strike, but again, not count on it. Even a diminished Werth, though, could easily be better–at the plate if not in the field–than MAT. Werth’s walk rate over the last 2 season is nearly 2x MAT’s. His OBP this year–in a season when he absolutely sucked–matched what MAT has put up.

        None of that is to say that MAT doesn’t have a bright future with the team. He does. But at this point he is no replacement for what a moderately healthy Werth can do at the plate, which is why it mystifies me that some folks seem to think it’s no big deal when (or even if) Werth comes back.

  5. rayvil01 - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    My eyes were telling me that Harper was doing better against lefties. But, now there are some numbers to back that up:
    2012-14 vs. LHP:.237/.317/.389, 11 HR, 409 AB
    2015 vs. LHP:.333/.469/.641, 5 HR, 78 AB

    Big-time improvement.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Jul 5, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Virtually everybody on here is writing off Werth ever contributing again in any substantial way.I’m going on record to say that I disagree. I have grown to like Michael Taylor, and I think that he is probably going to stay in the majors, but in my opinion a healthy Jayson Werth, even at 36 years old, can be a productive force down the stretch. If Jayson is healthy by August I see an outfield primarily as what we are seeing now, but with Taylor, Werth, and Span rotating frequently. A healthy Ryan Zimmerman would be great, but I am not holding my breath on that. I see Robinson and Moore splitting time at 1B, and yesterday’s terrific showing by Tyler notwithstanding, I think Clint gets the lion’s share of playing time, at least for now. As to Anthony Rendon? Jeez, what started as a “bruise” in spring training has morphed into missing a huge part of the first half of the season. What’s up with that?

    • zmunchkin - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      +1

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      +28.

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 5, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      “in my opinion a healthy Jayson Werth, even at 36 years old, can be a productive force down the stretch. If Jayson is healthy by August…”

      That’s a very big IF, Joe. He wasn’t playing very well when his only problem was his shoulder. Now he has to deal with that wrist injury, too. Both injuries can affect his swing. There is just no getting around that.

      • npb99 - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:30 PM

        Those who constantly invoke SSS to discount stats they dislike should also look at how many outfielders past age 35, coming off significant shoulder and wrist problems, go on to excel afterwards. We’re talking twilight years for most players. I’m rooting for JW, but his best days are most likely behind him, and MAT’s are ahead. At some point soon, the lines of ascent and descent will cross.
        And another thing on the SSS trump card people keep playing – how do you think scouts and managers evaluate young players? Do you think they discount all stats, because the player hasn’t been playing long enough?

    • therealjohnc - Jul 5, 2015 at 3:39 PM

      Writing off struggling players is what we (as fans) do. Desmond was terrible and needed to be shipped out of town so Espinosa could play SS. Oh, wait, Desmond became arguably the best all-around SS in baseball while Danny cratered? Danny’s awful and should be DFA’d! Or at least traded for a bag of used baseballs. What, wait? Desmond is struggling and Espinosa has had a solid half season? Trade Desmond for a bag of used baseballs and install Espinosa as starter!

      Lather, rinse, repeat.

      As fans we can afford a strong recency bias in how we see things because it doesn’t really matter (in the sense that there’s no danger that our views will lead the team astray). Teams take a longer view.

  7. homeparkdc - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    After considering the $ values of Werth and Zimmerman on the DL or on the bench – a total of $35 million this year, some research was in order. IMO, if they never play again, the expenditures, past, present and future have been worth it to the franchise. One excellent article helped put matters in perspective.
    Foundations of the Dollars-per-WAR Evaluation Framework March 26, 2014 by Matt Swartz
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/foundations-of-the-dollars-per-war-evaluation-framework/
    Swartz followed this article up with two more and the consecutive links are provided (just in case it’s raining at your house today and/or there’s nothing to do until game time.)

    • homeparkdc - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:11 AM

      Seeing Joe’s comment above, which was posted while mine was in preparation, please, understand it was not my intention that Werth and/or Zimmerman should never return. Like Joe, I think Werth will be back to his productive self this year.

    • npb99 - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      Homepark, of course Zimm had provided enormous value to the franchise before the current deal. If you want to consider the current contract as compensation for past performance, then you have a point. But since signing that deal in early 2012, he’s had one very good year, 2012, one slightly lesser, in 2013, and then injuries on injuries in the last two. For that period, I don’t see how you can calculate that contract as being worth it so far. And to top it off – the two good years, 2012 and 2013, were also under his old contract, so you could argue they shouldn’t even be counted as performance under the deal that superceded it. Looking at it that way, the current deal has been a disaster so far.

  8. scmargenau - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Phil wood thinks a starting Tyler Moore is a “30hr guy with a high BA and above avg glove at first.

    I agree. He’s a guy who thrives when in lineup consistently and has never had a chance here. He crushed in all level of the minors. Crib has a nice run but he’s not as talented as Moore. Still, u gotta love the platoon.

    • scmargenau - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      -Crob

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:31 PM

      I’ve been “on” TyMo for a while after what I saw in 2012 but by getting Scott Hairston forced TyMo back to the Minors in 2014.

      BABIP at the start of yesterday was .228 which tells you how unlucky he has been. Sure enough he made contact yesterday and got 3 knocks. His sample sizes are still small.

      Until RZim is ready, a platoon between CRob and TyMo makes sense. You can’t play CRob in LF any more. You don’t want to play TyMo in LF unless you have the situation like yesterday where MAT shifts to CF.

    • npb99 - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:44 PM

      My preference back in 2012 was to let ALR walk and then let Morse and Moore battle it out for the 1B spot. If TyMo had prevailed, perhaps playing every day would have turned him into a productive hitter. But the constant yo-yoing between the majors and minors and using him as pinch hitter seems to have stifled his growth. In my opinion anyway.

  9. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 5, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    Given the ‘blow up the team’ hysteria and hyperbole of some posters during the first — admittedly frustrating — month of the season, perhaps the perspective of seeing the Nats in 1st place place after 81 games might lead some to accept that baseball is a 162 game experiment in which success ebbs and flows? Nah, probably not.

    In any event, early in the season on the most glaring stats I saw was the large difference between runs allowed per game and ERA. The Nats were — by far — worst in the NL. Now, at the midpoint, they are allowing 3.93 runs/game with a 3.62 ERA, for a 0.31 difference. That puts them in 8th place in the league, which means they’re right in the middle of the pack. Much better, but when combined with a look at some of the individual defensive stats (both old-school and modern) suggesting that the Nats still need to tighten up their fielding.

    And as good as the pitching has been at times and in some individual games, overall the Nats are still just barely better than league average in ERA (3.62 vs. 3.81). As much as many of us get frustrated with the hitters (and I include myself in that), It’s really the 4.38 runs/game scoring (3rd best in the league) that has allowed the Nats to succeed this year.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 5, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      High win percentage of late is tied to the pitching:

      • therealjohnc - Jul 5, 2015 at 3:48 PM

        It’s not just over the past 30 days, either. BTB also posted the best rotations over the season so far:

        1. Nationals (83)
        2. Pirates (86)
        3. Cubs (87)
        4. Cardinals (88)
        5. A’s (88)

  10. NatsLady - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    With regard to Scherzer and the ASG: I know this is probably “not done,” but I would leave it up to Max. Whether he wants to go two innings for the ASG or make a full start on Sunday. He’s a MAX effort guy, and seems to benefit from extra rest (some guys don’t or say they don’t. See Harvey, Matt. A little of Harvey goes a l-o-n-g way in my book). So he might rather take the two innings in Cincinnati and rest up. OTOH, he’s such a competitor, he might rather have the full start on Sunday. Either way would be fine by me.

    (Wonder if Bryce is gonna use that bat in Cincinnati.)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:35 PM

      MW has to force rest on him. Sometimes you need to help Max from himself. The prize is October and decisions made a long the way affect that.

      I believe the pattern on Bumgarner will be a major decline in 2016 based on his “use” patterns. Follow Verlander and other Aces who have been leaned on.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:36 PM

        *along the way affect that

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:24 PM

        Agreed. I’d put Roark or Ross in the rotation for Stras’s turn, and let Scherzer have a long rest, plus an All-Star game start.

        The Nats should not squeeze another Scherzer start on Sunday.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM

        That’s what I’m thinking and I go to Joe Ross.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 5, 2015 at 4:38 PM

        Letting Roark take the spot on Friday that would have been Strasburg’s actually does force rest on Scherzer. Instead of a full start in the rotation he would throw an inning or two in the ASG (in lieu of bullpen/side work) and then get another couple of days off before starting game #3 of the series with the Dodgers after the break. That would enable the Nats to start JZim on pretty close to regular rest against the Dodgers, and JZim tends to struggle if rested too long. It also enables them to slot Gio against the Dodgers. While the Dodgers can certainly hit anyone, they are much better against RHP (team .778 OPS) than against LHP (team .704 OPS). It would also line Scherzer up to pitch against the Pirates in Pittsburgh instead of the Mets in DC, a tougher matchup.

  11. stoatva - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:36 PM

    Reflecting on somebody’s complaint yesterday that contemporary pitchers are fragile compared to the he-men of yesteryear, I’ll bet that if you look at the handful of pitchers who threw remotely as hard as today’s, you’ll find a trail of burnt out arms. Koufax being only the most obvious example.

    And no one will ever convince me that Nolan Ryan wasn’t using steroids. Flame if you must, but I won’t budge.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:56 PM

      You have to build up to handle the innings. Scherzer is at 118 innings and that’s a ton through 81 games. Leads the Majors. He pitched 220 last year which was a career high and got blown out in the playoffs to the tune of 5 runs in 7 1/3 innings and Detroit was swept so he only got 1 start. Not a good way to end your season.

      I don’t want to see Scherzer at more than 200 innings when the regular season ends unless there’s a fight to the end to make the postseason.

      • NatsLady - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        I didn’t realize he was up to 118 innings half-way through the season. Have a nice vacation, Max. Don’t overdo it in Cincinnati.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 3:05 PM

        NatsLady, I agree. Have a nice vacation, don’t have him start in B-more on Sunday.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:03 PM

      The other piece of the ‘Bob Gibson always pitched a complete game’ argument is the pitchers you’ve never heard of. Why haven’t you heard of them? Because they blew out their arms early and didn’t have the benefit of TJ surgery. If they had, they might have been the Jordan Zimmermanns of the 1950s and 1960s. Good pitchers who you’d want on your team as a starter, but from whom you wouldn’t expect 30 complete games per season.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Of course, this is selective memory.

      We remember the he-men of yesterday. We don’t remember the many, many guys who flamed out.

    • npb99 - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      I’ll take the bait. Why do you think NR was in steroids?
      I know more about individual performance sports than baseball, but my sense from watching a wide variety of sports is that the steroid users are the ones whose performance spikes mysteriously, sometimes in the middle or later part of their careers. Ben Jonson was a very good sprinter who all of a sudden became a complete beast. FloJo was a great example of someone who was never caught – again a good sprinter who suddenly became an unbeatable record breaker. And from baseball there’s of course lots of example, Bonds being the best – a very good player who suddenly became just about the best ever.
      But Ryan was the opposite – he had a very long sustained career, where he was good early on, in the middle, and late. What grounds are there to suspect him?

      • unkyd59 - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        +1….. Just because somebody’s dominant, doesn’t make them users…

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 5, 2015 at 5:07 PM

        In any data set, there are outliers, somebody well away from the middle of the bunch; a perfect storm of great talent, great work ethic, and great good luck. Bound to happen sooner or later, you just never know where or when until later.

  12. manassasnatsfan - Jul 5, 2015 at 1:40 PM

    CRob has been a mine send for my draft kings team to his value is still low, and he has helped me afford Harper too.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 5, 2015 at 5:03 PM

      mine send?

      Really, I know it’s good, but I’ve never heard that one before.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Looks like Roark will take Strasburg’s place in the rotation and TJord takes Strasburg’s place in the roster

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:59 PM

  14. unkyd59 - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:52 PM

    Stars to 15 day DL. Taylor Jordan recalled….. I was thinking Ross….?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 2:58 PM

      Didn’t line up to Stras’s next start but otherwise yes.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 3:14 PM

        Now what could still happen is another move to come. Ross starts tomorrow for Syracuse and doesn’t line up to the schedule.

        I could see Barrett coming back for TJord.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    Sun JZim
    Mon Fister
    Tue Scherzer
    Wed Gio
    Thurs 0ff-day
    Fri Roark or JZim
    Sat JZim or Fister
    Sun Fister or Scherzer or Other

    MW and Rizzo have many options

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 5, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    Verlander gives up 7 runs today in 5 innings.

  17. golfersal - Jul 5, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    Not to sound rude but it was a shame that the game was moved to 8PM. The day couldn’t of been better for a 1:35 game, one of the coolest days of July. Everyone loves Sunday afternoon games and if we can’t go, we can always sell them on Stubhub. But with the switch that won’t happen
    Many of us has to get up early so a 8;08 game means that I can’t go and we can’t sell the tickets on Stubhub because many others aren’t going either and there are over 2,000 tickets on Stubhub.

    So we have to suffer the wrath of ESPN and waste $120 of tickets.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 5, 2015 at 5:11 PM

      Well, it could have been better for those few of us who prefer evenings, but I take your point. Maybe the ticket folks could have offered a free trade-in, too.

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ON THE RADIO

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 ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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