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Nats 1, Marlins 0: Nip-and-tuck finale to take series

Jul 30, 2015, 2:52 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With the series hanging in the balance and every game carrying more weight as the calendar approaches August and the Mets looming in the rear view mirror, the Nationals very much needed Thursday’s matinee at Marlins Park. So they turned to their ace, their longtime slugger, their former closer and their new closer to pull off a 1-0 victory.

Ryan Zimmerman provided all of the offense, launching a leadoff homer in the top of the second off old pal Dan Haren. The Nationals did nothing else of real consequence at the plate, but they didn’t need it because Scherzer was in top form. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, battling out of a couple of jams to maintain that 1-0 lead before handing it over to his bullpen.

And that new-look bullpen was perfect. Drew Storen retired the side in the eighth, striking out two, just as he did Wednesday night. And Jonathan Papelbon made his Nationals debut by retiring the side in the ninth, striking out Michael Morse (who had reportedly already been traded to the Dodgers) to end it in style and allow the Nats to maintain at least a 2-game lead over the Mets heading into a huge series this weekend.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There was some concern when the Nationals activated Zimmerman off the disabled list Tuesday despite his 1-for-10 performance while on rehab with Class AA Harrisburg. Maybe the veteran slugger needed more time to get his swing down. But you have to be careful putting much stock in rehab assignment stats. It’s more important what kind of at-bats a player produces, and by all accounts Zimmerman looked good while in the minors. There’s no debating how good he has looked since rejoining the Nationals. Headlined by his homer in the top of the second — his first since May 19 — Zimmerman went 4-for-11 with three extra-base hits this series.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: He may have gone only seven innings, but these were some high-stress innings for Scherzer, with no margin for error given the 1-0 lead his teammates gave him. And as he has done so many times this year, the right-hander delivered. He induced a huge double play out of Christian Yelich to end the sixth. Then he blew away Adeiny Hechavarria on a 95-mph to end the seventh. Based on the way his jersey looked completely soaked by the end of his afternoon, it’s probably safe to say Scherzer worked hard for this one.

KEY STAT: Though he is averaging more innings per start (7.14 vs. 6.68), Scherzer actually is averaging fewer pitches per outing (102 vs. 110) this season than he threw last season.

UP NEXT: Though Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline will dominate most of the discourse around baseball, the Nationals have a pretty important ballgame to play as well. They head to New York to open a huge weekend series with the Mets, with first place in the NL East at stake. It’ll be Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 3.83) against Matt Harvey (9-7, 3.16) at 7:10 p.m. EDT.

146 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. hokiepokster92 - Jul 30, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    I like the new look to the back end of the bullpen. Talk about slamming the door!

    • veejh - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      Drew looks unstoppable right now. Those sliders were nasty. I’m glad he hasn’t crumbled based on his demotion.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:06 PM


    • JayB - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:23 PM

      Agee so fast great move

  2. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    Let’s see; born in Baton Rouge, LA, Jacksonville for high school, Mississippi St. for college. Now, I’m a country boy, so this is meant with no ill-will, but I think our new closer just might have a little bit of redneck in him.

    • rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      He looks like the same old jerk.And Drew is a better pitcher I do not care what inning either pitches.

      • nattygoats - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:14 PM

        Yes yes. Dude is a lousy interview. Luv you Drew.

      • chaz11963 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:27 PM

        Don’t you remember Pap when he was with Boston? He was a fun guy back then. I’m hoping Max and Gio can lighten him up.

      • catcher50 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:19 PM

        Wait, he flipped off the fans in Philly…and that’s problematic because?

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:36 PM

        To be fair, a lot of Phillies players have flipped off the Philly fans. Or wanted to.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:06 AM

        Maybe even a few fans have done so (maybe only in their minds).

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:17 PM

      Rays of sunshine on a story day in DC!

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:26 PM

      Careful. I’m from Jacksonville.

      But, yes, you’re probably right.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:42 PM

        LOL, Fish, but like I said, no ill-will intended.

    • Doc - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:13 PM


      But he makes it work for him throwing a baseball!

  3. TimDz - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    Still not sure how Morse plays in Miami when he was traded to LA….
    Glad they got the W….

    As for JPaps, I hope the casual fans (and the Drew fans, for that matter) understand that this was a decision base on the best interest of the TEAM…Storen/Papelbon could be a lethal combination for this team going forward. If we can get seven good innings from the starters on most occasions, other teams are not going to like playing from behind in the later innings…

    • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:38 PM

      Trade didn’t go through?

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:01 PM

    Hold & Save like you hope! Series win!

    • veejh - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:03 PM

      Textbook….just like Rizzo drew it up. Keep em coming.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:06 PM

      Just like it was drawn up in the Nats Operations Room!

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:50 PM

      Clippard wanted to close, too. I don’t recall anyone expressing much angst over that.

      Including me, tbh.

      I’ll just go un-bunch my undies now.

      • dclivejazz - Jul 31, 2015 at 12:54 AM

        Clip was the closer when Drew was out injured. He was allowed to continue closing after Drew returned, until Clip started struggling as the closer. By contrast, in the present situation, Drew has been one of the best closers all year.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:50 PM

      Clippard wanted to close, too. I don’t recall anyone expressing much angst over that.

      Including me, tbh.

      I’ll just go un-bunch my undies now.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 31, 2015 at 12:05 AM

        Yeah, that was me. Just delete the extra. That’s the spirit. Thanks.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:05 AM

        On the bright side, at least you didn’t report yourself.

  5. npb99 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Welcome back Zimm! Some of us (yes, including me) were skeptical of what you’d do after returning from IR, but we love it so far.

  6. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    Nice work, boys! Very nice. Missed the early innings but saw some highlights later in the game. (I see you, Ryan.)

  7. hokiepokster92 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    I’m glad to see the setup experiments with the youngsters (Barrett, Treinen) are over. I’m much more comfortable seeing veterans with solid track records as closers pitch the 7th (Janssen), 8th (Drew), and 9th (Paps).

    Nice work, Rizzo!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      Tru dat!

    • veejh - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      I still have high expectations for Treinen. I think he’ll put it together eventually. I’d rather he do it in AAA, though, for now.

      • alexva6 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:26 PM

        Treinen should have been closing in AAA from day one. He still needs to refine his command

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:14 PM

      Treinen has been nails in AAA, but I wouldn’t trust Treinen, Barrett or Roark in a key spot in the postseason.

      This trade had to happen for an elite arm. I would still love Ziegler if his price comes down or Benoit.

      • veejh - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:34 PM

        Treinen has to be high on some scouts lists with all that velocity and movement. Maybe part of a package? Id hate to see him go. I just have a feeling he’ll put it together somewhere else and be dominant.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:36 PM

        Treinen and Barrett were available for trade. Maybe if the Nats get Benoit. Both players have years of team control.

      • JayB - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:22 PM

        Agreed but check with MW

        He loved those guys in playoffs and went on record he would do again and again bad outcomes are just baseball


      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:26 PM

        I hope he was just showing respect for the players . 1st time shame on you, 2nd time same on me. They have to earn their way back in.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 31, 2015 at 6:31 AM

        Of course he was showing respect for his players. If he would have said, “I’ll never trust X or Y again” that would have a) hurt their development and b) lost him respect in the clubhouse.

        The MW haters just need to swallow the pill labelled, “Will be here for a good long while.”

  8. nattygoats - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    Great pitching today. Storen is a great guy and a great teammate. Nobody was going to hit today with that UMP. Now me and the fan off to NYC to beat those Mets

    • thisizit - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      Storen is a standup guy and has been great. I think the Nats’ made a mistake anointing him as a closer at the outset. Let them work, see what develops and take it from there. He is definitely a highly effective reliever.

    • coop202 - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:33 PM

      So you do get positive? Still stand by my comments on when the luck turns…

  9. mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Isn’t there a stud catcher out there that we can snag for some prospects?
    I’m so over Wilson Ramos.
    He is no longer the Buffalo. He is now just the Yak!

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM

      Bring back Derek Norris

      • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:41 PM

        Norris is hitting .227. With 88 K’s, he’s behind only Kemp and J Upton in that dept.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:16 PM

        And he isn’t good defensively which is why they believe the Padres pitchers got much worse.

    • micksback1 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM


      the OAF, no buffalo

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:19 PM

      I thought Ramos had one of his best games of the year as all the pitchers were burying balls. One got away but these pitchers feel they can bury a breaking pitch because of Ramos. Great game calling and pace.

      Smashed a ball to RF that he got robbed on. Nats win, find someone else to kick.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 30, 2015 at 6:47 PM

      3 games up Mets lose

  10. manassasnatsfan - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    Let’s make it 3 in a row Gio.

  11. nattygoats - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    Great point on Ramos. He brings nothing to the team. He’s a ground out or K every time.

    • veejh - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:20 PM

      That guy that brings nothing happens to be the #2 guy on the team in RBIs.

      • hokiepokster92 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:25 PM


      • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:39 PM

        Yes, that is true, 41 RBI and a paltry 7 in July.
        Horrible plate discipline. Lazy in my book.
        Also, since he’s been technically “healthy” while others have not, his RBIs are skewed.
        RyZim has 35 in 77 fewer ABs then The Yak.
        I’m just saying we need to upgrade the C position if at all possible, right?

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM

        I can’t believe you are calling Wilson Ramos “lazy.” He has his weaknesses, but I will bet that he will play a huge positive part for this team before all is said and done.

      • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:55 PM

        Yes, very lazy at the plate = undisciplined.
        We’ll see if you’re right Seam.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:21 PM

      Or 42 RBIs which is 2nd on the team. No worries, MW runs the team.

  12. 3on2out - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    nobody brings less to the discussion than Nasty.

  13. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    JUpton hits a 3r HR in top of the 9th to put Pads up 8-7. Going to bottom of the 9th and a rain delay.

    • zmunchkin - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:48 PM

      Me like :-)!

      Two singles and then the HR -all after two outs!

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:00 PM

        The rain is not a minor issue up there. I hope that they can finish it.

  14. unkyd59 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:45 PM

    Something I hadn’t considered… Drew and Paps each just might not wanna let the other sow him up. We could be in for a whole bunch of 1-2-3 innings, and a friendly K kompetition… I like it already….😀
    (The bonus is that rintintin is gonna spout off in contempt for the deal for the rest of the year… The proper attitude is simply to treat rinny and mairzy doats like the comic relief that they are….lol

    • hokiepokster92 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:24 PM

      I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing (is it really friendly?). Keep putting up those clean innings, Drew! Paps will have no choice but to match you.

  15. micksback1 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    Drew has looked mtaure and professional his first 2 outings as the 8th inning guy. I am concerned at only 1 run, but i will take it.

    To chime in with others, Ramos simply seems like an oaf at times who you can not count on to it when it matters. RZim is provoing me wrong and he looks mid season form

    Werth, i have doubts on and when Span comes back, maybe a speedy outfield of Span, Taylor and Harper would do fine? and…Max is a BEAST!!!

    • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      Yes and as much as CRob’s defense is disparaged, I think the guy is a hitter.
      I like CRob and Espi coming off the bench.

    • hokiepokster92 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:26 PM

      I agree, the 1 run leads are uneasy to watch but think of how tight postseason games tend to be. If the Nats plan on going anywhere, they’re going to have to master closing out these 1 run games.

  16. nattygoats - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    I think Padres went up on the Mets

  17. micksback1 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    OMG..Padres are up 8-7

  18. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    So Familia blew the save for the Mets, giving up the 3-run blast to Upton two outs. Clip could end up being the Mets’ closer sooner than we think. That’s his second blown save this week.

  19. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Oh, my. I lol’d when I clicked on the link in Mark’s tweeter update thingy at the top of the page, wherein masncj posts a quote from a reliever shower conversation – eh, just go read it yourself.

    • ehay2k - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      😂😂😂. That was funny! I like Papelbon more already.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:30 PM

        I’m dying here!

  20. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Oh, [heck] yeah. Go, Friars!

  21. scnatsfan - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Maybe its just me but when I clicked on the Mets boxscore I was hoping Clip got lit up

    • Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:21 PM

      I think it’s just you. I’ll always like Clip, so I’d rather that other relievers are responsible for the Mets losing all three games this weekend.

  22. manassasnatsfan - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    Padres took the lead now in a delay again.

  23. mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:12 PM


    • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:18 PM

      I would not be shocked if Mike has something else brewing right now…

      • scnatsfan - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        I agree… but realistically we have no room. Unless you want to pry Lucroy for the Brewers …

      • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:59 PM

        YES! Let’s pry! That would be amazing. Would probably cost a lot but stud catchers are rare!
        Still don’t know why we let Norris get away. He was the one. The one Jerry….

      • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:01 PM

        Full Name: Derek Russell Norris
        Born: 2/14/1989 in Goddard, KS
        Draft: 2007, Washington Nationals, 4th rd. (130th overall)
        High School: Goddard, KS
        Debut: June 21, 2012

      • mauimo22 - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:56 PM

        When’s the last time The Yak went 5/5 ?

        But Derek Norris sparked San Diego’s comeback with a grand slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, and Upton capped it with his three-run homer in the ninth. Familia recorded two quick outs before a 44-minute rain delay, then gave up consecutive singles and Upton’s homer after it. Seconds later, Citi Field’s grounds crew brought the tarp back to the field for a second delay, which lasted two hours and 52 minutes.
        – source Anthony DiComo and Joe Trezza /

  24. stoatva - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Because Padres took lead in last AB, if Mets game can’t continue it will be suspended and completed another day rather than revert to last complete inning, when Mets led.

    I’m not sure I knew that.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:47 PM

      I think that they will wait out the storm for as long as needed. I don’t see the Padres coming back to NY at a later date to play 1/2 inning.

    • rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 8:56 PM

      Thank goodness they were able to finish.What you said is true unless it is the last meeting of the year then the game goes back to the completed 8 innings and the Mets would have won.

  25. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 30, 2015 at 4:54 PM

    Neither Ramos nor Lobaton gets the job done w/ his bat. On the screen the other night, they flashed Lobaton’s record as the starter, something like 51-30, which is pretty remarkable. But when he had to start virtually every game for a time last year he wore out — at the plate — quickly. Ramos’s 42 RBIs stands out only because of the minimal contributions (injured or otherwise) of Rendon, Werth, Zimmerman and Desmond. I don’t think either Ramos or Lobaton is going to get any better so I think it’s time for Ramos to move on (Lobaton has one more year of control. After next season Ramos is a FA anyway. At some point it isn’t the number of times he lifts the team up that’s important it’s the number of times he lets the team down.

    Hence my hope that Storen gets parlayed with whatever other pieces to fetch a young, athletic catcher in the offseason.

  26. npb99 - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:24 PM

    I’m a fan of this blog and the comments by knowledgable and passionate Nats fans. But it is increasingly annoying to not only see the trolls run amuck but also all the usually sensible posters take the bait and reply to the trolls, and try to put the trolls in place, and otherwise discuss the trolls.
    We all know who the trolls are. Just skip over their entries. Make them invisible.

    • Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:29 PM

      See my comment above, or below, or wherever WordPress decided to put it. 🙂

  27. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:28 PM

    I’d love to get Kimbrel. His arm might fall off at some point, but he’s only 27 and I think he has several good years left. But:

    1. Rizzo’s not going after him because he committed to Pap that he could close.
    2. Rizzo’s not going after him because he’s owed $11 million for ’16 and $13 million in ’17, and whatever’s left of his $9 million this year, which S.D. is not going to eat. No way Riz is paying $22 million in salary for two relievers next year. He’ll have to swallow hard if he wants to keep Storen and Pap.
    2. S.D.’s not moving him unless they are offered way more than Rizzo (or most of us here) are willing to offer.

  28. zmunchkin - Jul 30, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    222, my comment about ignoring was a reply to a specific post, but my point was more general.

    As I said the other day in response to a go away type comment, some folks post ridiculous comments just to get a reaction. So if you are one of those folks who is frustrated with what they say, instead of responding to them to say how absurd their comments are, just ignore them. Lots of research has been done on that topic and quite often these folks do this just to get attention. They want to incite others and get a reaction. They are not trying to have a reasonable conversation. And that research has shown that ignoring them quite often results in one of the following two outcomes:

    – they go away because they are not getting the high from their comments
    – they eventually start to make more reasonable comments.

    And WRT Mark banning them, that is a non-starter. All they have to do is get a new (free) email address and the sign up again.

    Folks are mostly free to say whatever they want. But the rest of us are free to completely ignore them if they don’t add value to the conversions/discussions.

  29. zmunchkin - Jul 30, 2015 at 6:14 PM

    According to the radar on, the storm front has now passed thru New York, so they should be able to resume soon.

  30. rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    Past stats against now Drew.Big difference this year as he added a pitch and is in his prime.Drew has better stuff now.The eye test.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 6:38 PM

      He’s got a better changeup and slider but lefties still hit him too well and he doesn’t do well from the stretch.

  31. natsguy1 - Jul 30, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    “in as an excruciating fashion as possible, the Mets lose a crusher to the San Diego Padres 8-7”

    -Mets radio guy = music to my ears…

  32. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    Mets haven’t lost a game at home with a 6 run lead in 45 years.

    Nats division lead is 3 games and they go into NYM to where they can’t leave with less than a tie in the standings but of course I hope the Nats can win games this weekend and stretch that lead.

  33. Drew - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:15 PM

    Speaking of prospects, has anybody seen the reordered list on the Nats’ minor league page?

    Ross jumps to third. Cole drops to 7th. Skole plummets to 23rd and Goodwin to 25th!

  34. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    Dodgers DFA Michael Morse and 3 others. looks like short stay for morse in LA.

    • TimDz - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      Since LA DFA’d Morse, and if nobody claims him, you have to wonder if Miami signs him again to the league minimum…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM

        That would fit the way they do things.

      • Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:48 PM

        And LA pays his salary, right? He becomes the Marlins’ Uggla.

        Weird to see Clip in a Mets uni.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:07 PM

      I don’t understand the Braves letting Wood go in that trade. Good young arm. Head scratcher.

  35. dcwx61 - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    this has been the most unfollowable blog ever….,posts are all over the place

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:41 PM

      And several seemed to have vanished into thin air.

      • dcwx61 - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:32 AM

        its too bad because a blog is supposed to encourage fun interaction and not frustrate it

  36. rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    Bruxton.That was my point.I was willing to give up Ross for either and everybody said that was too much.As you point out they both wanted 2or3 times that.Ross for either would have been a steal and Rizzo would have gladly done it as you have shown what the asking price was. I also said they would never make that deal.

  37. rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Bruxton that was my point.Everybody here said giving up Ross for either was too much.I argues the opposite that it would have been a steal for us.As you pointed out and I said nether team would make that deal.Thanks for setting the record straight.

  38. RoadApples - Jul 30, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    Be more selective with pitches at bat.
    Focus on letting the ball get deeper in the strike zone with an inside/outside swing: because you have excellent power to the right field/opposite field gap.

  39. djbinfl - Jul 30, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    Ghost – do you think the agent of Drew is simply working on next years salary? Making sure Rizzo does not come in with a low ball since he is not the closer.

  40. djbinfl - Jul 30, 2015 at 8:21 PM

    Ghost, do you think Drew’s agent is working on next years salary? Making sure no one tries to lower his value since he is not the closer.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:35 PM

      They have a choice for next year as it’s his final year of arbitration to work out something ahead of time and even discuss an extension. I would like to spend the Nats money and reward him now. He’s at $5.6 million and could go from $7 to $8 million for next year. The year after he’s worth $10 to $11 million. Papelbon will be making $11 million.

      • Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:52 PM

        Do you really think Rizzo is going to extend Drew? I’m very skeptical. Clip had a much longer track record, and Rizzo showed him the door. And if you’re Drew, do you let Rizzo buy out more than your last year of arbitration? Heck no. He wants to go somewhere and be a closer in 2017. Actually, he’ll probably be happy with a trade after this season, but Rizzo may keep him in the fold if the 1-2 punch works as well for the rest of the year as it did today.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:59 PM

        Even if they did, Storen probably says No. I think with the PR issue this week it might be a good time to offer up a market deal to show Storen good faith that his market value hasn’t diminished.

        Rizzo has to do a better job of public relations in the future. The fans love Drew, of course until they hate him again.

      • Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:03 PM

        Seems like most knowledgable fans are coming around to liking the deal. Today’s shutdown bullpen effort didn’t hurt. I don’t Rizzo much cares about the PR aspect. And I don’t think he’s going to offer Storen a deal for ’17. He’s in the driver seat.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:18 PM

        Agreed on the knowledgeable portion of the fan base.

        Doesn’t seem to match his strategy on relievers and Rizzo has time but you want good player relations and Storen will say No anyway. I’d extend the olive branch.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:52 PM

        Storen will be fine. He’s going into his last year of arbitration and if Rizzo tries to lowball him there (which he won’t) Drew will win the arb hearing anyway and get his closer money, based on his 29 saves (at least) this year. No way Rizzo trades Storen in the offseason. He’ll ride out the lockdown Janssen-Storen-Papelbon bullpen as long as he can (which would be through 2016 if he picks up Janssen’s option after this year) and then all three of those guys can compete for big money contracts as free agents. Who knows, Rizzo might end up signing one or more of them, particularly Storen who is the youngest of the three.

  41. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 30, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Astros got Gomez….

  42. adcwonk - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    zmunchkin – Jul 30, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    Me like :-)!

    Two singles and then the HR -all after two outs!

    Holy moley.

    If I read the game notes correctly:

    Familia got the first two outs in the 9th, and then there was a 44 minutes rain delay.

    After the delay, Familia keeps pitching. He goes 0-2 to Norris!

    The Mets are one strike away from ending the game — with bases empty and a two run lead.

    Then Norris gets a single on 0-2, Kemp gets a single, and J Upton, in the driving rain, hits a HR on the first pitch.

    Then an almost three hour delay, before Kimbrel mows them down 1-2-3 to close out the game.

    Just. Wow. What a way to lose.

    (Norris was batting .227 before the game — goes 5-for-5 with a grand slam. The slamie was a real drive, but two of the hits included: a Baltimore chopper than went over the drawn in 1b-man, and a flare over the 1b-2b area.)

  43. carlospaula - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:05 PM

    Meanwhile, it looks like Span may never return….

    • rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:07 PM

      Why do you say that?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:22 PM

      He’s taking his time getting back into shape as he atrophied during his shutdown. He’s building his core back and will be back but they aren’t rushing it with Michael A. Taylor doing a good job in his place.

      • Doc - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:21 PM

        So Ghost there are probably some advanced metrics that would give us the answer, but is Mickey T. getting to some balls that Span couldn’t reach???

        Jus’ wonderin’.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:31 PM

        Metrics can’t compare players on particular plays so it’s an eye test.

        Fangraphs loves MAT and never has with DSpan. I think MAT is playing elite D right now and makes it look easy.

        Span is still the better all around player in my opinion.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:43 PM

        You can look at the range and zone ratings on fangraphs to compare them in a general way. They do suggest MAT has better range and gets to more balls than Span.

        But the caveat is that the people who designed those metrics don’t think they’re very reliable over sample sizes of less than a year, and MAT has had the equivalent of maybe a 6-7 weeks in CF.

        So I don’t think it counts for much at this point.

      • veejh - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:29 AM

        Oh, he’s done. No way he can make it back and hit anymore.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 31, 2015 at 12:08 PM

        Are you joking?

  44. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    AJ Burnett gave up 8 runs in 4 1/3 to the Reds. Sounds like the Pirates should be looking for another starter just in case. Burnett may be hitting the wall.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      Nats had been the only ones that had hit him hard before now.

      Seeing Chapman to Dbacks rumors. Huh?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:07 PM

        DBacks giving their fans hope. They’re out of it. Not a chance that’s for real.

  45. Doc - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    Looking at Mark’s lead in, ‘Nip and Tuck’ are 2 good names for Stor and Paps!

  46. Candide - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    Unless my math is off…

    • ArVAFan - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:33 PM

      Well, we know whose number comes next!

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:03 PM

        Unless we are swept by the Mets (heaven forbid!) we will not see that next magic number of which you speak. We’ll skip right over it to the ketchup man.

    • rlndtln - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:36 PM

      I believe Denard realizes playing hurt will only hurt him in his contract year.He has to be sure he is back pain free to sign his last multiyear deal.If he plays hurt and never mends he will never get that long term contract.I would guess he could play as is but that would hurt his goal of the big contract.He has no incentive to rush back and play hurt.I do not blame him as we can see with Drew this is a business and Denard must be in perfect shape at the end of the year even if that means not playing until he is perfect or not at all.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:08 PM

        The MRI showed no structural damage to his back. He’s strengthening his core right now, and that takes time. He’ll be back though. Players have played successfully before by managing their back spasms. See Adam LaRoche.

    • Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:52 PM

      The return of the magic numbers countdown.. Yes!!

    • natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:03 AM

      Niiice (and I’ll throw in a number of optimistic “Niiice(s)” in advance, as I won’t be on the ‘puter much over the next few days).

  47. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    Just saw the highlights of the Mets loss. What an epic collapse. The funniest thing was that the Padres in the dugout, particularly Justin Upton, were incredulous when the ump called the rain delay with the count 0-1 on Norris with two outs in the 9th. After the delay, Norris and Kemp get hits and Upton crushes a 3-run shot to put the Padres ahead. Unbelievable.

    • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:03 PM

      somebody else here noted that it was the first time in 45 years that they lost a 6-run lead at home. that’s gotta really hurt

      • npb99 - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:48 PM

        Funny, it has the opposite effect on me. Feeling warm and fuzzy.

  48. thecynicin408 - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    Combining replies/comments to various posts above:

    To JoeS on the comments about Baton Rouge, Jacksonville, and Starkville–Starkville is the only one of those three places that is remotely country. Now, redneck is a different story. You can find folks who fit that description everywhere. Although I am no fan of Mississippi State (having done my undergrad in the first mentioned of those Southern cities), many players have gone through that program, including our own Tyler Moore as well as Will Clarke, Rafael Palmerio, Jeff Brantley, Paul Maholm and probably some others I’ve forgotten.

    To my fellow Drew fans who’ve been complaining–if the pattern of the last two days holds (and it is admittedly a very small sample thus far), whether or not we like the trade and its consequences, we’ll learn to love it. It’s hard to argue against what we’ve seen to this point.

    To those stating that we need to upgrade at catcher–I view this year as something of a sorting out season for Ramos as he tries to stay healthy and give the team a full year’s value. I do wish he could do a better job of catching bounced throws from the outfield for plays at the plate, but it certainly seems that both the coaching staff and the pitching staff like the job he’s doing. If we weren’t suffering so many other injuries, we wouldn’t be complaining much, if any, as many catchers don’t make as much of an offensive contribution as Ramos does and most of them do hit into a fair number of double plays. Let’s see how he finishes the year and look for improvements the rest of the season and next. (This represents a turnaround for me from yesterday when I was responding to questions about the Papelbon trade by saying we should Ramos and a prospect to the Dodgers for Puig, put Puig in the outfield and move Harper to behind the plate where’s he played the bulk of his young life, instantly making us younger, faster, more athletic and stronger offensively. But of course that was my sarcastic reaction to a trade that I didn’t like, but which thus far shows why Rizzo is making the trades and I’m not.)

    Let’s go and continue the pattern of success at CitiField. After this series I will be traveling for two weeks and hope that upon my return I will find we will have extended the lead, gotten Span and Stras back and avoided other injuries.

  49. trom1 - Jul 30, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    Desi must be having a good week. Natsinsiders are piling on Ramos now.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 31, 2015 at 12:07 AM

      Well, he’s the one in the MLB. They can pile it as deep as they like.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:04 AM

        Might need some muck boots in that case.

  50. trom1 - Jul 31, 2015 at 12:43 AM

    The shenanigans with the Cargo nontrade got me thinking about other Mets counter factuals for this season. If the mets could have put together even a below avg line up this off season, Mets would be #1 in NL east at this point.

    Lagares was untouchable in trades last winter. Their cf of the future. Now they are shopping for his replacement and maybe shopping him – after a bad half season. Just makes me wonder if mets front office have any trust in their ability to evaluate position players and put together a lineup.

    I guess I am having a hard time seeing a rival for the nats in NY. They look more like a foil to me.

    • Andrew Wallace - Jul 31, 2015 at 1:22 AM

      If Carlos Gomez could be had for the price Keith law describes, you have to assume the rebuilding Brewers would deal lucroy for something along the lines of difo and fedde or difo and Reynaldo Lopez and Cole or something. I just think if rizzo was evaluating this team honestly he would want an above average (or better) catcher for next few years. Willy has been barely above replacement level (and to whoever is quoting his RBI numbers…..first of all, 40 RBI at deadline? Not great. Second, why are we still paying attention to things like RBIs in 2015. It’s a garbage stat (as is average with RISP, a small sample size non repeatable skill, as every players RISP reverts back to his career avg with large enough size.) look at wilsons slash line. He’s heinous at getting on base. He doesn’t have much pop anymore. He’s an offensive hole. Even for a catcher he’s rough on offense. I like willy, but goodness he’s the most obvious position to improve.

      • veejh - Jul 31, 2015 at 7:35 AM

        The only reason I brought up the RBI thing was to point out that Ramos contributes more than nothing, which was a ridiculous comment to make.

    • virginiascopist - Jul 31, 2015 at 6:27 AM

      I believe Lagares has been playing through an elbow injury and, if they had gotten Gomez, would undergo Tommy John surgery. They apparently have no adequate replacement.





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.

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