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With Nats needing a spark, Espinosa delivers again

Jul 12, 2015, 12:44 AM EDT

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BALTIMORE — Even the most ardent supporters of Danny Espinosa probably admit they didn’t see this coming, not to this extent. The All-Star break is a few hours away, and the Nationals right now are trying to figure out where they’d be without this guy.

“He’s kept us afloat a little bit,” manager Matt Williams said.

He did more than keep the Nationals afloat Saturday night. Espinosa’s 3-run homer in the top of the sixth gave his team the lead for good and made a 7-4 victory over the Orioles possible. Perhaps more remarkable is the fact these kind of events no longer are that surprising from a player who entered the season with very little expected of him but now has morphed into a major contributor on a first-place club.

“One of the best second basemen in the league right now,” said Bryce Harper, whose laser of a home run led off the sixth and set the Nationals’ game-winning rally in motion.

Harper’s not exaggerating when he says that. Espinosa has now hit 10 homers this season, tops among all NL second basemen. Only the now-injured Dee Gordon rates better than him in defensive metrics. Only Gordon and the Giants’ Joe Panik boast a higher WAR at the position.

And neither of those guys entered the season without being assured of a job. Or being asked to give up switch-hitting after a lifetime spent trying to swing from both sides of the plate.

Espinosa has put that storyline to rest with a remarkable turnaround as a left-handed batter this season. He’s still only hitting a modest .244 left-handed but with a .323 on-base percentage and .760 OPS that is a full 257 points better than the combined mark he posted the last two years as one of the least-productive hitters in baseball.

Perhaps the two biggest keys to Espinosa’s turnaround? The first is mechanical: He is keeping his head still with more regularity, allowing him to see the ball better and make more solid contact. The second is psychological: He keeps reminding himself when he steps to the plate not to think about home runs.

Which is exactly what he did during his key at-bat Saturday night. When Miguel Gonzalez threw him an 0-1 changeup over the plate, Espinosa simply made good contact with a controlled swing, then watched the ball sail over the right-field fence and onto the Camden Yards flag court.

“I was telling myself: Just don’t try to do too much. Just get a good pitch to hit,” he said. “Try to get a base hit, not try to do too much. It turned into something a lot better than a single.”

Espinosa’s offensive contributions have been most surprising this season, but his defensive contributions — while expected — have been no less significant. He has bounced around the field for the first time in his career, making his MLB debuts at third base, first base and left field and playing five different positions in total.

“He’s played all over the diamond, done everything we’ve asked him to do, and then some,” Williams said. “It says something about his character.”

Espinosa’s most-sparkling play Saturday came in the field, at second base, when Adam Jones scorched a ball back up the middle in the bottom of the third that registered 101 mph off the bat.

“The one that almost hit my face?” right-hander Jordan Zimmermann said with a laugh. “I was just trying to get out of the way, and all of a sudden I look, and there he is.”

Indeed, Espinosa (who was shaded up the middle) made a nifty, backhand stab at Jones’ rocket, then flipped to Ian Desmond, who had to make a difficult turn at second base to complete one of the Nationals’ best 4-6-3 double plays of the year.

“Part of it is positioning, being shaded up the middle a little more,” Espinosa said. “For the most part, I probably wouldn’t be shaded that far up the middle. But just right there on the short-hop, just trying to make sure of an out. Keep the ball in the infield and make sure of an out there. And we were able to get two.”

Just one of countless things Espinosa has done this season to help the Nationals, a development few could have seen coming.

“Being able to contribute every single day,” he said, “it’s been a lot of fun.”

  1. Tony - Jul 12, 2015 at 1:49 AM

    Always have loved Danny from the start of his career, more for his defensive abilities (among the best fielders in the league) but now that his bat has started to come up to his defensive abilities makes him an every day player in my eyes. And when we get all healthy (if that happens) the solution is easy in my eyes, Danny to ss, Rendon to second, and Escobar to 3rd.

    • NIWatcher - Jul 12, 2015 at 3:11 AM

      Why not Escobar to ss, Danny to 2nd and Rendon to 3rd?

      • rlndtln - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM

        next year for sure.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:52 PM

        For at least the first couple of weeks, until Turner is past the “magic number” so that the Nats get an extra year of team control 🙂

  2. 3on2out - Jul 12, 2015 at 3:38 AM

    Let me be the fitst to admit that I was mystified by the Nationals’ patience with Danny. We all know he was a wizard with the glove but watching him bat left -handed was infuriating. He swung from the heels at every pitch…regardless of the game situation , the count and the strike zone. When we simply needed him to put the ball in play…he was unable to do so. I am so happy the Nationals refused to give up on him because to be honest, I surely had.

    • laddieblahblah - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:41 AM

      He is better with the glove than he has ever been, perhaps because he no longer frets about his miserable offensive stats. He is now both the best SS as well as the best 2nd baseman the Nats have. I am just so happy for the guy.

      “I was mystified by the Nationals’ patience with Danny.”

      I regarded their “patience” as more a case of baseball insanity – wishful thinking that had turned into a kind of irrational obsession. Hand it to Rizzo and the Nats player development folks for sticking with that guy.

      • rmoore446 - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:09 AM

        +1

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:53 AM

        The Nats had that wishful thinking with Detwiler and it finally paid off after the 2012 All Star break and I hope the ending for Espi is better than the way it ended for Detwiler.

        You can take that horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:53 PM

        But even Detwiler worked out well for the Nationals, as they were able to pick up two guys who have now made it to AA and let the Rangers be the team that DFA’d him.

    • Grifftrain - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:02 AM

      3on2out…. I couldn’t agree more. I had been very critical of Danny in the past, sometimes wondering why the Nats kept him around. His defense has always been great, and I guess that’s what saved his job. But now, he has become the MVP of this team. “most Versitile player” is what I mean by that. Now if we can get Desmond to turn it around…..

    • Nats Fan Zee - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      I am happy for him as well. I always said he was a gifted fielder who had difficulty swinging for contact. I also lost patience with him long ago. After his great “April Danny” last year and how quickly he faltered after he took a hitting lesson from Desi, I gave up. I’m still concerned for the long run but he has done a magnificent job so far both with the bat and the glove, any place they put him. Keep it up.

      Good for you Danny Espinosa !

  3. laddieblahblah - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:33 AM

    I kept looking for Danny to come around, but, in truth, I really was convinced he was a lost cause. Now, he is the indispensable man. He still has upside, as he occasionally slips back into cave man mode. But when he approaches his ABs as he did yesterday, he can hit .260 from the left side, and over .300, overall. And he still is on pace for a 15-20 HR season.

    But the future at SS belongs to Trea Turner, who is now hitting a cool .417 in his last 10 games at Syracuse, after hitting .359 in 10 games at Harrisburg. When Trea comes up, Danny can go back to being a full-time 2nd baseman and all-around utility guy, with Rendon back at 3rd, and Escobar the backup at SS. Throw the still-improving Wil Difo into that mix, and the Nats will have both the best and deepest infield in all of baseball – or Rizzo will have one of them as a very valuable chip to play in the trade market. But Danny, Rendon, and Turner will not be the one traded, if any of those five are.

    Congratulations to Danny Espinosa. He deserves all the praise he is getting for becoming the player that we all had hoped he would be. I know he can do even better, and I expect that he will.

    • TimDz - Jul 12, 2015 at 6:45 AM

      Danny will start to get more expensive and, given the cost controlled options, along with Danny’s inconsistency at the plate, and Rizzo may see him as a “sell high” candidate at the end of the season.

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:23 AM

        Perhaps, but I doubt it. Danny has value beyond his batting stats, which are pretty good. He has arguably been the 2nd most productive bat in the Nats lineup, and he has played every infield position as well as the OF. You don’t just find people like that very often, especially as good as he is on defense. And don’t forget his speed.

        I see Rizzo hanging onto him for the near future, with Escobar being the more likely trade chip in the near term.

    • unkyd59 - Jul 12, 2015 at 7:31 AM

      “…Escobar the b/u at SS…”
      You realize he’s batted over .300, all year, basically without slumping, at all, right? That guy starts, somewhere…

      • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        +5

      • laddieblahblah - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:18 AM

        “You realize he’s batted over .300, all year, basically without slumping, at all, right? That guy starts, somewhere…”

        He may start next year at SS, but that job will be Turner’s for years to come. I can see Rizzo trading him while he has so much value. Lots of teams can use a good-hitting SS, but I would much rather have the 22-year-old guy than the 33-year-old version. Besides, Turner is looking more and more like a special talent. Just amazing to me that Rizzo got both Turner and Joe Ross for Souza, Jr.

        I can see Rizzo working a similar deal by trading the older SS for a young corner power bat during the off-season.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:58 PM

        Don’t get too caught up in Yunel’s production this season. He’s been great, and I hope that it continues all season. But I would encourage Nats fans not to assume that this is who Escobar is and set expectations accordingly. He’s hitting in a massive amount of good BABIP fortune this season. His three hits today are a good example of that. None particularly hard hit, all found green. Even coming into today his BABIP was fifty points higher (.354) than his career BABIP (.304), and over seventy points higher than any of the past three seasons (.273/.281/.282). It’s fun while it lasts, but don’t make the mistake that Barves’ fans did with Chris Johnson, who parlayed an excellent 2013 season (.321 average) fueled almost entirely by a one season fifty point surge in BABIP. They all thought that Chris Johnson was an all star. When regression hit, Chris Johnson went right back to being … Chris Johnson. That’s likely to be Yuney Escobar next year, too.

        As for Johnson, I guess it wasn’t just the Barves’ fans that were fooled since the management signed him to a 3 year, $23.5M contract extension after 2013 that they have regretted ever since. Fortunately the Nats already have Escobar under control for the next two seasons, so they won’t face any temptation/pressure to change that. Certainly not with Turner (2-2, 2b, 3b, 2 RBI so far in the Futures’ Game today).

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      The only reason why Danny is still a Nats is because Rizzo was under-whelmed every time he was offered a trade for him. As frustrated as the fanbase was with Danny is as frustrated as Rick Schu, MW and Rizzo were to a multiple of 100!

      Danny has finally stuck with the approach and look who else has–Michael A. Taylor. It works. Look at MATs 9th inning hit. A RBI RISP doinker and counts the same as a line drive.

      Espi has become one of the most valuable pieces of this 2015 team and like Laddie says above, his defense has gotten better.

      • Doc - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        Best news about MAT’s hit was that it was done on a breaking pitch.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:01 AM

        Agreed Ghost. With one additional comment. The reason Rizzo was under-whelmed is because he knew the value of Danny’s defense. There is a long history of strong defensive MIers with bad bats. Saving a hit on defense counts. Perhaps not as much as getting hits. But since the point is to score more runs that the other team, keeping their guys off the bases helps with that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:08 AM

        It’s that rare balance between offense and defense.

  4. stoatva - Jul 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    It’s been fun for us too, Danny.

  5. natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    Good for Danny. Gee, maybe Rizzo and Co. actually know what they’re doing? Maybe they even know more than we fans do? Nah. 😉

    Only saw the last couple of innings, as we were out with a friend last night. Will try to watch my recording of the rest of the game at some point.

  6. natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Oh, and it’s early and my coffee hasn’t kicked in, but doesn’t this mean that the Nats will go into the break in sole possession of first? Niiice…not that I wouldn’t like a win today, mind you. No, I would not mind that one bit.

  7. nats128 - Jul 12, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    I went with a small group of Nats fans to last nights game. Notice how respectfull Nats fans travel to Philly and Ballmore. We cheered when Bryce and Espi homered but never got obnoxious.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:04 AM

      Wonder how much of the orange crowd that shows up at Nats Park are Washington Metro area people that were Orioles fans during some or all of the 34 lost years. Got a feeling that drives some of the dynamics when these games are in Washington.

      • nats128 - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:11 AM

        The difference is they let you know from the start of the National Anthem with there O that they are there and how many times does that Oooooo-o-o-o-o-0 song get going at Nats Park. They just cant clap, it has to be obnoxious. Very much like we had to put up with when the Phoolies fans showed up in numbers.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:02 AM

        The difference is that Nats fans are reactive not proactive in their cheering, even at home. By that I mean that Nats fans only cheer in response to something happening on the field, not in advance of it to pump up their team. Our section 313 chant is a classic example of that, it only happens when the Nats score. The only proactive Nats cheers are Let’s Go Nats that bubbles up occasionally, Druuuuuuuuuu for Storen, and the pathetic efforts led by Terrance. In contrast, the O’s fanbase has the O in the anthem and the Oooooo-o-o-o-o-0 song that can easily be transported into another ballpark to cheer their team on. (And Braves fans have the Chop.) And really, if there are enough O’s or Braves fans present in a ballpark to be heard doing these cheers, why shouldn’t they do them?

        Perhaps instead of complaining about this, the Nats fanbase should quit being so meek and develop some proactive cheers of our own that can be taken to other ballparks. Maybe Section 128 could take the lead on getting it started. Section 313 can’t be responsible for everything!

  8. rayvil01 - Jul 12, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    “I was telling myself: Just don’t try to do too much. Just get a good pitch to hit,” he said. “Try to get a base hit, not try to do too much. It turned into something a lot better than a single.”

    That’s the polar opposite approach to Desmond’s “Hit it hard.” I know I had given up on Espi and am thrilled to eat crow on it. Espi is doing exactly what I said he wouldn’t do: Take what the game gives him. Is it too much of a stretch to hope Desmond follows suit?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      Because the Os thought Espi was bunting they went outside the zone on Pitch #1 and Espi fouled off what was Ball #1.

      They were supposed to go outside and up with pitch #2 also and he made 3 mistakes on the pitch. Missed location, pitch selection, and they sped up Espi’s bat. The HR pitch was a changeup on the outside that Danny caught in front as he was swinging for a fastball so instead of inside-outing, he pulled it and just kept it fair.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        I’ll take it. Our pitchers aren’t the only ones that can make a location mistake.

        There’s no stats to verify this, but aren’t most HRs the result of a mistake pitch?

        I thought early on the Nats could light that pitcher up. His four-seamer looked like it had zero movement. Bryce had a meatball in his first AB and just plain missed it. Great to see him get ahold of that ball in the sixth.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:58 AM

        “There’s no stats to verify this, but aren’t most HRs the result of a mistake pitch?”

        Yes.

  9. natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    On another note, last night I was wondering what possible use FP might have for a giveaway O’s Hawaiian shirt, which he asked for during the broadcast. Then it came to me. Maybe he’s going to shred it to line a bird cage. Or use it to wax his car. Nah. He’ll probably wear it. I think the Nats need to get on developing a curly W Hawaiian shirt giveaway. Yeah, that’s the ticket. 🙂

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      I commented on it last night. He has no use for it. He was just being a tool. FP went over the top trying to be friendly to the Orange side.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        Thanks, I only saw the last couple of innings. Maybe he’s making sure to stay on MASN’s good side depending on how things pan out with their legal issues.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 8:59 AM

        Yes, I think thats a part of it. I sure didnt hear Gary Thorne say anything conciliatory to Nats fans with as nasty he has been in the past.

        Be real FP.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        http://www.natsenquirer.com/2012/09/masns-gary-thorne-trashed-nats-decision-to-shut-down-strasburg-during-last-nights-os-broadcast.html

        This was 1 Gary Thorne rant back in 2012. There have been others against the Nats.

      • natslive - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        Turned sound off for most of the game as didn’t want to listen to FP and Thorne….would have rather had Carp and Palmer :). Did have it on to hear Thorne’s call of Harper’s HR which was pathetic and hilarious particularly given it’s his home ballpark so should be used to how ball travels even if this one was a rocket

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        There are chameleons in every walk of life that change their colors to adapt. An actual chameleon does it for survival, others do it because they lack integrity.

        Angelos is the devil incarnate and when I hear FP go out of his way to say nice things about the Orange it sickens me. That Hawaiin shirt is ghastly.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:34 AM

        All Hawaiian shirts are ghastly. That’s the point.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        Except when in Rome, err, Hawaii. Orange shirts are almost always

    • ArVAFan - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      Hmmm. Maybe I’ll stay for the game today. That shirt would definitely keep the bird away from my tomatoes–as a scarecrow.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        I wouldn’t even give that orange fabric to a homeless person.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:12 PM

        Now we’re talking. A scarecrow sounds just about right. 🙂

    • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      One of my own mottoes for life:

      Better to err on being too nice than being too much of a jerk.

      FP was acting the polite guest at O’s park, on an O’s network, with an O’s guy doing play-by-play. If anything, he was demonstrating the opposite of classlessness.

      Did he go too far? Ehh, I don’t mind. Better that than acting like a Phillies fan. Better that than acting like Thorne has via-a-vis Strasburg.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:07 AM

        Agreed adcwonk.

        And I also detected a bit of sarcasm in the way he said that. Maybe I am imagining that, but even if I am making over the top comments like that are often said in jest.

        To me the best line of the night was Thorne’s call on Harper’s HR. That was a classic screw-up. I wonder if the guy on MLB network who went off on either Charlie or Dave on a HR run call (can’t recall his name right now) will do the same with Thorne?

      • virginiascopist - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        ” I wonder if the guy on MLB network who went off on either Charlie or Dave on a HR run call…”

        I believe you’re referring to that loud-mouth Chris Russo, and IIRC, it was the call last year where, in the top of the ninth, Werth brought back a potential game-tying home run off the bat of (I think) Daniel Murphy. And yes, he better rake Thorne over the coals for his missed call.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        All Hawaiian shirts are ghastly. That’s the point.

      • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 11:15 AM

        All Hawaiian shirts are ghastly. That’s the point.

        LOL!

        OTOH, if I were alone, and my only two choices were a Hawaiian shirt and a button down shirt with tie . . . 😉

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        It wasn’t an O’s broadcast, it wasn’t a MASN broadcast, it was a Fox regional broadcast. It wasn’t supposed to be a Battle of the Beltways in the booth, and it wasnt. Neither Thorne nor FP were their usual homer selves. They were equally friendly to both teams and friendly to the home ballpark, as they should have been. My only complaint with the broadcast was the player interviews during the game. Why can’t Fox figure out that we tune in to watch a game, not to watch players pelt each other with sunflower seeds?

      • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 11:14 AM

        It wasn’t an O’s broadcast, it wasn’t a MASN broadcast, it was a Fox regional broadcast.

        Good point, I forgot that.

        Nevertheless, I still think that my “motto” still holds. An extra bit of friendliness, an extra bit of praise, to someone else, even if not warranted, goes a long way. (As well as, imho, leads to a happier life for oneself and others, but now I’m really getting off on a tangent . . . )

      • natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:12 PM

        The game was on Fox, not MASN.

        “FP was acting the polite guest at O’s park, on an O’s network, with an O’s guy doing play-by-play. If anything, he was demonstrating the opposite of classlessness.”

      • natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:14 PM

        Aaand I’m late on that one. That’s what I get for being out this morning.

        “natsnatsnatswoo – Jul 12, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        It wasn’t an O’s broadcast, it wasn’t a MASN broadcast, it was a Fox regional broadcast.”

      • natsfan1a - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:15 PM

        And for the record, I like Hawaiian shirts and frequently sport them when in non-baseball mode.

      • natsdial8 - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:20 PM

        Best outcome would be Fox likes FP so much they hire him away from us.:) By the way rivalry aside to me Thorne is a good play by play . He has a classic voice . i enjoyed him .

      • zmunchkin - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:48 PM

        You must have been watching a different than I was. Thorne clearly was biased. Every time the Os had a great play you could hear the excitement in his voice – something that was missing when the Nats had a great play.

        And we will have to disagree on FP. He gets on my nerves at times, but unlike most color guys he is actually explaining thing for the casual fans in a way that can be understood. And that is probably why he may get a national/network gig.

      • natsdial8 - Jul 12, 2015 at 1:27 PM

        I wasn’t commenting on Thome being neutral , rather that I like his play by play style.

  10. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    The Double Play was a masterwork: Espinosa’s stop and flip; Desmond getting across the bag and rid of the ball in a hurry, and Moore’s stretch for a rather inaccurate throw looking like Adrian Gonzalez. Moore at 1B has made notable improvements. Other than Z’mann’s struggles, that was one of the best games the Nats have played all season.

    Escobar badly needs the time off. Can’t run to first — or home plate. But he’s in the lineup even when that hamstring is worse than anyone is letting on publicly. Need to get him to the All-Star break before it turns into a really serious injury.

    den Dekker is a capable replacement. His speed, and skill on the bases — I’m referring to his ability to cut the corners at full speed — is a revelation.

    With everybody healthy, this is a team that could stand pat (except for SS, and some help in the BP) in the off season. (I think Span’s FMV — because of the injuries — is diminished. Somewhat like LaRoche, it will be hard to get more than a two-year contract. It is worth a serious effort to get him to take an extension.)

    • adcwonk - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      With everybody healthy, this is a team that could stand pat….

      Yeah, but, it seems like the first three words of that sentence are a complete fantasy . . .

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      The doubleplay was ESPN’s #10 play of the day.

      I also share your concerns on Esco.

      “den Dekker is a capable replacement. His speed, and skill on the bases — I’m referring to his ability to cut the corners at full speed — is a revelation”

      I was writing similar thoughts last night.

  11. thelatencn - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    When O’s fans shout “O” during the National Anthem, they are beeing both disrespectful and unpatriotic. The whole point of playing the anthem at sporting events is to remind us that however competitive we may be on the field of play, there things more important that unite us, or at least ought to. In earlier times, it was common if a fight broke out in the stands for the booth to play the National Anthem, whereupon the combatants would be obliged, and did, stop fighting, stand up tall and take their hats off. Are we more civilized now because there are fewer fist fights, or less so because if one should occur, the chances of respect for the Star Spangled Banner isn’t high enough that playing it would make any difference? Tough question.

    • natslive - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      I agree that the O is disrespectful and I dislike it especially when it’s not at Camden Yards and games where the Os aren’t even playing. We were at Fenway one time for a game and Os not involved and the Baltimoron (self evident because no one else would be saying O at Fenway) behind us shouted it during the anthem and I just had to shake my head…..

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        They scream O during Caps games. Just saying.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    We’re all thrilled by Danny Espinosa’s great season, and almost every one of us were at the end of the rope with him. But I will give credit where credit is due: peric was big on Espinosa all along. He was right with regards as to why Rizzo stuck with him. It wasn’t rocket science, as Danny was not just the best backup shortstop, he was virtually the only one.

    • veejh - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      Agree. We stuck with him because we had to. Without the injury to Rendon, we may have never known. I guess there’s been some serious upside to Rendon’s injury.

    • dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      he was big on Corey Brown too….no one is perfect i guess 😉

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:19 AM

        No, he was far from perfect. Very far. But give a monkey a typewriter and he’s sure to spell a word sometime.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        In the Willingham trade, Corey Brown at least wasn’t a mistake, the other player in the trade was.

      • dcwx61 - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:23 PM

        HROD…what happened to downtown Corey

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 5:27 PM

        I think he’s in AAA still.

  13. natsjackinfl - Jul 12, 2015 at 9:52 AM

    While I am looking forward to the Nats and Scherzer this afternoon, I’m actually more excited to watch the Futures game on the MLB Network. Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner are going to be huge pieces to Rizzo’s roster in the not too distant future.

  14. exposedindc - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    I admit, I was first in line to pay for Danny s ticket out of town, didn’t see this coming, and really glad I was dead wrong. My hope is that when October rolls around and if the Nats are fortunate to be still playing,there are a few guys that can exercise some of last year’s playoff demons.

  15. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    There is a long article in today’s Post on Scherzer. I just wanted to add a personal observation: I’ve never seen a pitcher with a more extreme pre-game warm-up than Max’s. If you are at the game early enough, watch for it. It’s amazing.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 11:06 AM

      I’ve commented before on his bullpen warmup on his gamedays. He goes through some unusual un-evil machinations with rehearsed hand gestures.

    • Doc - Jul 12, 2015 at 11:32 AM

      I remember when Maxie was signed, fromer teammate Tori Hunter commented that he had never seen a pitcher do such a comprehensive bull pen before a game.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 11:59 AM

        I don’t know what it means but he sure seems to have fun doing it.

  16. Doc - Jul 12, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    I presume that we shall not have to bear the burden of listening to Gary Thorne for today’s game.

    His initial career was that of a lawyer, which seems to explain his exaggerated sycophant style..I am not aware of the history of the Hawaiian shirt. But in any case, the color should be yellow, not orange.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    As I’ve written before, this will be Scherzer’s 5th start in Ballmore. This will be his 4th regular season start to go with 1 playoff start.

    Like JZim, Scherzer doesn’t like the smallpark. It’s Max’s time to turn things around by relying on his stuff.

  18. natsdial8 - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    Not much discussion as to sending Esco home early in the game when he was obviously hurt . He was out by a fair amount . Not to mention the risk of additional injury .

    • Doc - Jul 12, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      The probabilities of scoring for homeward bound runners scoring is on the side of the runner in the best of situations. However, everything considered, Esco should have been kept at 3B.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    Desi with a nice swing on the 1st pitch then pulls off of the 2nd and 3rd pitches and swings out of his cleats. Not smart.

    Then MAT swings at the 1st pitch.

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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)...

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