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Game on

Aug 1, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

AP

There were any number of moments Friday night at Citi Field that could have stood on their own merits as epic examples of what pennant race baseball is all about. Matt Harvey taking the mound for the eighth inning with the Mets up 1-0, then giving up the tying hit to Yunel Escobar. Tyler Clippard entering out of the bullpen and engaging in a 13-pitch at-bat with Jayson Werth that ended with the right-hander striking out his ex-teammate. Bryce Harper getting ejected in the 11th inning after going ballistic on plate umpire Jerry Meals for a questionable strike three call.

And, of course, Wilmer Flores — the Mets shortstop who 48 hours earlier found himself crying on the field after being told he was being traded to Milwaukee — launching a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th to bring New York — yes, he’s still in New York, the trade having blown up — to within 2 games of Washington the NL East.

For the impartial observer, this was great theater, as great as it gets on the final day of July. For anyone affiliated with the Nationals, this was a harsh blow that if nothing else proved this: The Mets aren’t going away.

Yes, we’ve got ourselves an old-fashioned pennant race brewing in the NL East.

Maybe the Nationals will pull away and take control of this thing at some point. But there’s no reason to simply assume that anymore, not given the way they’ve played through the season’s first four months and certainly not given the way the Mets have hung in there and now bolstered their lights-out pitching staff with some much-needed offensive punch.

As for Friday night’s instant classic…

— The Werth-Clippard showdown was worth the price of admission alone. The at-bat, which came in a 1-1 game with two out and two on in the top of the eighth, lasted 13 pitches, featured seven foul balls (including pitches 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12) and ended with a borderline strike three call at the knees. Werth, clearly believing the pitch was low, started walking toward first base only to be stopped dead in his tracks by Meals, who had a rough night in the consistency department. Werth, though, let his opinion be known without saying or doing anything to jeopardize his status within the game … something Harper would have been wise to note.

— Harper’s fateful at-bat in the top of the 11th represented the most frustrating juncture of the evening, because it encapsulated the Nationals’ struggles to put anything on the board outside of Escobar’s RBI single in the eighth. It also encapsulated one of Harper’s few flaws during a potential MVP season: The inability to control his temper at the most critical moments. Yes, Meals’ strike three call was bad, particularly because he called two previous pitches in the at-bat in nearly identical spots balls. But it doesn’t matter how bad the call was, Harper simply cannot let himself be ejected in that situation. Meals gave him ample opportunity to avoid the heave-ho, twice saying “Knock it off!” as Harper screamed in his face. Harper couldn’t help himself, and so Meals was entirely in his right to eject the young star. That alone didn’t ultimately cost the Nationals the game, but the fact it forced Matt Williams to play Ryan Zimmerman in left field for the first time this season and Dan Uggla at first base for the first time in his career underscored how ill-advised Harper’s actions were.

— About the Nats’ bullpen usage. It felt a bit odd, no? They only used three relievers in a 12-inning game in which the starter was pulled in the fifth. Tanner Roark went 2 1/3 innings in relief of Gonzalez. Aaron Barrett turned in two dominant innings to send this one to extras. And then Felipe Rivero tossed a scoreless 10th and a scoreless 11th before being sent back to the mound for the 12th having already thrown 19 pitches. What happened? Well, Matt Williams acknowledged to reporters afterward that two members of his bullpen were unavailable, though he wouldn’t specify which two. This much we do know: Both Matt Thornton and Jonathan Papelbon warmed up at one point, suggesting each was indeed available. That leaves Casey Janssen and Drew Storen as having been unavailable. Storen pitched the last two days in Miami, so it stands to reason he’d need a night off. Janssen, though, had appeared only once in the previous four days, so that seems odd. Keep an eye on him moving forward.

123 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. veejh - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:08 AM

    Oh, MW. Didn’t use your best BP guys in a serious division game that was quite winnable once we tied it up. I just don’t get the non-use of Janssen. Hey, let’s save the guys for tomorrow where we might never be tied or have the lead?

    Regarding Harp…needs to get that temper under control. Not much more to say.

  2. ArVAFan - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    And in another game, Adam LaRoche got to pitch. Finally. And he used his dad’s pitch, and got one strikeout. So there’s that.

    On to tonight . . . that’s why they play the games (and, hint, Bryce, generally it’s better if you’re IN them. You’re not looking for an acting award here).

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      He also had 4 hits. Last night the Nats had 5..

  3. Doc - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    There’s no recourse to bad ball and strike ump calls, none. The immorality of bad umping is that they are taking the fans’ tickets out of their hands.

    Turn to walk away while telling him you’ll send him a video of his botched ^&***^###@*** efforts!

    Meals was dog’s breakfast behind the plate last night!

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:53 AM

      Irrelevant as far as Harper’s actions. Personally, I watch umpires like Jerry Meals and Angel Hernandez and I seriously question their integrity.

      • chaz11963 - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        That’s a very good point, Joe. It seems incredulous to me that Meals could’ve just called two pitches in almost the same identical spot balls, then punches Bryce out on that pitch. It really makes me feel he was looking to call Bryce out. Maybe I’m making too much of it, and I certainly don’t know anything about Meals, but that seems mighty peculiar.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        +34 This wasn’t an Ace getting the call but Hansel Robles. Bryce was upset already after missing pitch 1 and looking at pitch 3 which was a huge mistake meatball in Bryces wheelhouse.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:30 AM

        the problem was inconsistency…it’s important to know what the umps strike zone is rather than what the real strike zone is…It did feel like a setup on Bryce.
        It’s a crazy idea but I think a manager should be able to ask for a review of up to two BS calls per game on only a called strike three or called ball four using pitch track or something like it.
        This would be a way to introduce the technology gradually

      • Section 222 - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:51 PM

        I can certainly understand questioning their competence and I do it all the time, but their integrity? That’s very different. Why would you say that?

      • Jeff - Aug 2, 2015 at 10:32 PM

        Agree

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      I try to teach my little league son to NEVER take a called strike 3 … Especially if the ump has a wide strike zone. We alway instruct “if it’s close, you gotta swing”.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:04 AM

        Oh and never, EVER make comments or look sideways at the ump!

      • nattyboh - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        That is indeed what you tell little leaguers however it’s hard enough to protect the plate at the MLB level, let alone pitches 6 inches off of it. Bryce has a good eye and was correct to lay off that pitch.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:03 PM

      Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism that recommends a way of eliminating unlikely explanations for a phenomenon (a philosophical razor).

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      As an eponymous law, it may have been named after Robert J. Hanlon. There are also earlier sayings that convey the same idea dating back at least as far as Goethe in 1774.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    We all love watching Bryce Harper play baseball. He is arguably the best player in the league. But as someone who has been around a lot of youth baseball over the years I have to ask how does a kid’s coach today deal with youngsters that idolize Harper? I can’t fathom how I would’ve handled it if my son had ever acted the way Bryce has on numerous occasions in his short career. Bryce, we love ya, man, but you’re acting like a jerk. When one acts like a jerk repeatedly? Then one actually is a jerk. Grow up, show some class, and quit being disrespectful to the game.

    GYFNG!

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      We make them sit and point out role models that handle the situation better …. Zimmerman comes to mind. The excessive eye black …have not figured out how to deal with the war paint successfully yet 😉

  5. edshelton2013 - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    We/ve had ten hits and two runs in the last 21 innings. Matt Harvey I can understand (although we beat him last week). But Dan Haren??
    Where are the hitters??

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:17 AM

      Execution cost the Nats yesterday. Missed bunt by Roark and then there was the Werth leadoff double and Bryce didn’t do his job and move him over. That’s how you win playoff-type games.

      A lot of robbed hits yesterday and Ichiro himself took away 3 on Thursday.

  6. laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    I have to say a word in Harp’s defense. For 4 years now, he has been dealing with a wider strike zone than any other ML player. Why the umps have chosen to do that to Harper is on them. They have consistently expanded his strike zone to the outside by 1 to 2 baseballs. Harp knows the strike zone and his plate discipline tells him not to swing at bad pitches – that’s why he has drawn 70 odd walks.

    Four years of making the very same bad call over and over and over again is long enough. He has to speak out, and call out what the umps have been doing to him. To me, what has been going on is almost all on the umps.

    Yeah, he has to stay in the game, but he is also going to be playing it for many years to come. He is entitled to expect the same strike zone as any other player for the next 15 years, or so. It’s about time he got one.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      +34 times a million. I said something similar below.

    • veejh - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      Are you suggesting a conspiracy amongst umps against Harper making his zone larger because of his attitude?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      When I first brought up the “BRYCE BIAS” years ago I was thrilled that MLB instituted video replay so when he was unfairly called out on the base paths it could be challenged. There’s only 1 way to stop the bias on ball/strike calls and that’s to allow a challenge on ball/strike calls. That Greinke game was a joke. This game was a joke.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        Agreed. And if you look at his first AB there was a pitch that was outside (and not close) that was called a strike.

        Not sure challenging balls/strikes is a good idea. But as I said above/below (?), publishing % agreement between a pitch track system and umpires might force the umpires to be more consistent (or force MLB to get rid of the truly bad umpires).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        Torre has to at the very least get involved as the head of the league and tell these guys they will be watching closely.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:36 AM

        The link got stripped. Let me try again:

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:00 PM

        It was the first pitch of the at bat. I remembered being shocked.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      +3

    • texnat1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      The bottom line is that Harper is now in a feud with the umps. Doesn’t matter how it started; what’s important is that it exists. The only way out of it is for Harp to be on his best behavior for an extended period of time. He has to stop even looking at the umps.

      If something needs to be said to an ump, then MW is going to have to be the one to say it. Or else Harp will continue to be the umps whipping boy.

      • Section 222 - Aug 1, 2015 at 7:55 PM

        +34 on that. I can’t believe there are people defending Harp’s behavior last night.

  7. zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    Just for yuks, I am going to suggest a contrarian view on Harper’s ejection. There is absolutely no doubt that Meals was awful and biased (my quick look at the Brooks pitch f/x site seemed to show three times as many balls called as strikes for the Mets pitchers vs. the Nats pitchers) . Everyone agrees that something needs to be done about the quality of umpiring. They are allowed to get away with murder and never be questioned. Maybe, just maybe, if more players reacted like Harper did MLB would realize that they need to fix this.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:50 AM

      Interesting stat. It didn’t need to be until now since we can quantify how good or bad they really are.

    • thisizit - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:07 PM

      Bad behavior by players is not what is going to get the league’s attention.

      • texnat1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:28 PM

        Correct. It will just beget more ejections for Bryce. he needs to get out of the umps cross hairs.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:12 PM

        Note that my contrarian statement was if more players reacted like Harper did that I might force MLB to do something. I was not advocating that Bryce do this more often.

        Umpires right now are allowed to get away with whatever they want. They are not required to talk to the press after the game. Any discipline is done behind closed doors so no one knows if they’ve been reprimanded for anything. If a manager or a player publically criticizes an umpire (e.g., in a post-game interview), they are fined.

        Bottom line is that there are a lot of bad umpires. And the fact that players and managers have to be do differential towards them is not making them any better. In fact, you could argue that it makes them more arrogant and vindictive.

  8. laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    BTW, Stevenson got promoted to Harrisburg from Auburn. Not sure exactly when that happened, but it did.

    Haven’t seen Blake Perkins’ name anywhere on a minor league roster, but I suspect that the Nats sent him to Viera ASAP after signing him. The Nats announced their intention to convert Blake into a switch hitter to take better advantage of his plus speed. That is exactly what they did with Billy Burns after they drafted him, and that really paid off, even if it was for the A’s.

    After promoting Trea Turner to AAA, the Nats sent Will Difo back down to AA, where he played SS yesterday while Turner played SS at AAA.

    • pdowdy83 - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      Perkins has played several games for the GCL Nats.

      • laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:45 PM

        Thanks, I haven’t checked the GCL roster. How’s he doing?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      “BTW, Stevenson got promoted to Harrisburg from Auburn. Not sure exactly when that happened, but it did.”

      Actually he was in Hagerstown for a few games this last week. Had a few singles. That’s about it.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM

        I think he’s still in Hagerstown from what I can see.

      • laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        I wasn’t able to check until this morning, Ghost. I figured he might have been there for a few games, already. Thanks for the specifics.

    • Jeff - Aug 2, 2015 at 10:34 PM

      Five hits sunday in 16-12 Wrigley esque
      Win in Portland

  9. donniebenth - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    Two thoughts:

    I sure wish that trade had gone through.

    I hope nothing’s wrong with Jannsen. Guy has been lights out lately.

  10. natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Storen pitched the last two days in Miami, so it stands to reason he’d need a night off.

    But he only threw 19 pitches in those two appearances in Miami, so he shouldn’t have needed a night off on account of that. After all, throwing 19 pitches in two successive innings didn’t earn Rivero the next inning off – although maybe it should have.

    Perhaps the real reason Storen was unavailable last night was because he stayed up late the night before reading the little book – one page actually, in large print – that Rizzo gave him when they met with Drew’s agent. It’s called The Wit and Wisdom of Joey Eischen.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/nationals-journal/wp/2015/07/31/drew-storen-and-his-agent-meet-with-nationals-gm-mike-rizzo/

  11. joemktg - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:06 AM

    You know when you’re in a pennant race when every move or non-move, every AB, every pitch, every call, etc., are being scrutinized.

    Love it!

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Sorry, Laddie. Stevenson is at Hagerstown, not Harrisburg.

    I can’t figure out how someone who’s unable to call that pitch right gets made a major league umpire crew chief.

    It not only calls Meals’s integrity into doubt it casts a shadow over every other umpire. How MLB keeps umpiring from being a public scandal I don’t know.

    The technology for cyber-botting balls and strikes is in place at every major league park and it’s time to use it.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:39 AM

      No it is not in place at every park. And no it is not time to use it. What the pitch track systems do is track where the ball crosses the front of the plate. They also are not calibrated to adjust for the height of each batter. They do not track whether the ball was a strike.

      What should be done however is to publish after each game metrics on the percent agreement and disagreement on called balls and strikes between the pitch fx and the umpire. They won’t agree, but they will highlight which umpires are the outliers. By documenting/highlight the differences at least two benefits could be gained:

      – the umpires will learn that they have to be consistent across batters and pitchers – something that they aren’t now.

      – the truly bad umpires will be obvious to all in an objective way. That should force MLB to replace them.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        yes…i mentioned that a few weeks ago as providing some kind of accountablity to BS calls.
        I would bring pitch track in gradually by allowing up to two reviews a game for called strike 3 or called ball 4.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        zmuchkin: +1; a very fair and reasonable approach. I think most of us would also like to see a bit more transparency from MLB on how MLB grades/evaluates umpires and what — if anything — is done to encourage adjustments (let’s call them) in ball/strike calls over the course of a week/month/season.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:32 AM

        Actually, I shouldn’t have said ‘a bit more’ but rather ‘a LOT more’ transparency.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:20 PM

        Spot On Eugene.

    • laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      “Sorry, Laddie. Stevenson is at Hagerstown, not Harrisburg.”

      LOL. Of course. Don’t know if I got auto-corrected or just had a brain freeze. Why are you always sorry? People make mistakes. You may as well be sorry that you’re human.

      Are you?

  13. chaz11963 - Aug 1, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Does anyone really think there’s any excuse for keeping Rivero in for 3 innings? A rookie, who’s done very well, but in repeated high leverage situations. I suspect MW didn’t bring in Thornton because of the old lefty-righty thing, but what’s up with Janssen? Why wouldn’t he be available? I understand saving Pap, but c’mon man!

    • stoatva - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:25 AM

      Rivero looked strong and was due to lead off 13th, as would his replacement, the Nats having no double switch options. I don’t think it was the wrong decision, among the unattractive alternatives.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      a questionable decision to be sure….doubt that most managers would have kept him in a third inning. you’re gonna have to have the pitcher bat in any case even if he leads off the inning given there were no subs

      • therealjohnc - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:02 AM

        He had already sent Ramos out to the on deck circle, so there was a PH chance. He could also have PH one of the better hitting starters (Scherzer being the obvious choice) even if he wanted to hold Ramos back. My sense was that Ramos was a decoy unless there was a runner in scoring position – then you burn the backup catcher & go for it.

        But Rivero’s pitch count was low, the Nats were running out of pitchers and (other than Ramos) were already out of position players. Sending Rivero’s out was the right move.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:11 AM

        I will disagree with you and FP esp on having few relief options available and low pitch count……he’s a rookie up to 20 pitches….clearly hindsight is 20/20 though. I wish he was as clear during his postgame.
        A little humility rather than more arrogance would help him. You’re out there for the fans….after the day is done it is only a game that will fade in most people’s memory.

  14. rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    The Mets were playing the game as if it was the 7th game of the WS.Where was Jansen last night?The Mets had 3 righties coming up in the 12th.I will tell you now we will lose 4-0 tonite and you will see the relievers we were saving for tonite in a close game that does not happen.Our best chance to win this weekend was last night and we had to go all in to win.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      +1

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    Many posters this morning questioning Meal’s integrity. That’s the most serious accusation in sports. I don’t think Meals has an issue with Bryce like some umps but he joined the club of inept umpires.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      probably not…but yes we have the technology to check on questionable biases that may not even be intentional.
      This would at least make the umpire aware.
      As Zmunchink and others have said, use pitch track to bring some kind of accountability and quantify if he really is inept or biased. It can’t hurt. the data is online somewhere…i suspect Zmun and the Real John C could put together a program to do just that during an all nighter.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:51 AM

        I don’t get it though. More bad calls against Bryce than any player I can think of. Never happens to Trout and he seems to get the benefit of the close calls.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:31 PM

        Not even close to an all nighter dcwx61. If I could get my hands on the data for each pitch that is used by the brooks baseball site, it would take me no time at all to put a program together to generate a base report. And once that’s done, there is a lot we could do.

        So does anyone know where the data might be accessible as a text or csv file?

        I will start looking for it in the meantime. :-).

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:51 PM

        Looks like the data are available. Found this old link:

        http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2010/03/how_can_i_get_m.php

        But none of the links there (the ones I checked) worked. Will continue searching.

        If anyone has a source for the data, point me to it please. The link above makes references to XML files as well as SQL databases. I can deal with just about any format.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:23 PM

        very cool…will look around

      • zmunchkin - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:27 PM

        Thx.

        I sent an email to the person behind the baseballsavant website. Hoping he can point me in the right direction.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:29 PM

        thank you Z! glad you can handle SQL or XML
        i have no idea….the harper bias may show

    • stoatva - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      Pretty sure he has a toxic case of Little Man Syndrome, though.

    • Section 222 - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:02 PM

      +1 Ghost. There’s a big difference between competence and integrity. See Sofa’s funny comment at 2:30 pm.

  16. stoatva - Aug 1, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    The umpires you know by name aren’t usually the best of them.

  17. philipd763 - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    I came to the conclusion after last years playoff loss to the Giants that the when the Nats win it’s in spite of Matt Williams’ lousy management strategies and decisions. Having pitchers bunt with two strikes is just plain dumb! They always strike out by bunting a foul ball just like Roark did last night. Bringing a short reliever out for a third inning like Williams did with Rivero last night was also dumb and Williams paid the price for his lousy managing. Sadly, he’s a buddy of Rizzo so we are stuck with him forever.

  18. Trey - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    All this flack over Meals … The mets had to deal with his inconsistency too … And the HBP in the 8th inning that started the comeback was bad …. Nate should have lost 1-0 as the “comeback” never should have happened

  19. dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    Is there anything he can’t do?

    Renaissance man Adam LaRoche picked up four hits and then pitched a clean inning
    The Official Site of Major League Baseball
    OAK.CTX.LY

    • rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      Bryce is more likely to have close calls go against him because he knows the strike zone.The Desmonds and Ramos swing at pitches a foot off the plate.Bryce takes pitches 2inches off the plate and took 2 identical ones and the third one which was the same he got banged out.Most of the Nats would have swung at all 3.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      Crazy thing is he was being trashed on the call in on MLB radio during the trade deadline discussion on the White Sox looking for a hitter. He was batting .210 before the game. Good to see him have a big game.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:34 AM

        And glad to see him finally get that chance to pitch.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        well they certainly don’t need another relief pitcher at least

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:42 AM

        Might need a long-man

  20. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Why do I have the feeling that in that alternate reality world where Felipe Rivero is replaced by another RP and Wilmer Flores still hits a game-winning home run, many of the same posters would be saying “How could MW not leave Rivero in…he was pitching great!”

    • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:47 AM

      perhaps, but the more unusual move for some (like this one) would be to keep him in…But then maybe it is good to think outside the box and play to the situation. We will never know and that what makes the game great.
      As Nats talk says today…the moment of the game was not that but not getting Werth over on a leadoff double.

    • IsawTeddywin - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      Because every game the Nats lose is. Because MW is an idiot, and every game they is because they’ve overcome his idiocy.
      At least that’s what you’d think from many of the posters here.
      Yeah, let’s burn ALL the relievers in a relatively meaningless game, I’m sure Ross will a complete game today.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:57 AM

        MW is not an idiot….What makes him an idiot ? The key is not trying to imply what others think but what Teddy would do in such a situation.
        Bully

      • Section 222 - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:04 PM

        Oh baloney. He wouldn’t have burned Thornton or Janssen for today by pitching them yesterday. He definitely did burn Rivero though. I also don’t know what you mean by a relatively meaningless game. It’s more meaningful than most because it’s against our closest rival.

    • rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      The Mets had 3 righties coming up.When they had 3 lefties coming up
      it made sense.Also this was his 3rd inning.Rivero is behind Jansen in the BP order to begin with.I think MW was thinking this game could go on for awhile and since Gio forced MW to use Roark earlier as a long man he did not have Roark for a long relief if the game went forever.MW likes to keep Roark in extras to pitch until the game is over.I guess he figured if he used Jansen one inning and Thornton one inning he might be out of pitchers.

      • rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:55 AM

        The game was lost when we were not capable of small ball that wins games.Roark not getting the bunt down and Bryce not moving Jason.You will not be a championship team unless you can execute in the big spots.The difference between winning and losing is so small.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:55 AM

        Very good points. Particularly about having burned Tanner Roark earlier.

  21. Met fan - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    Met fan here came here because of a tweet by one of your Insiders, I must say that was one of the most exciting games of the season for me last night and I hope it’s a close race for the season although I must say I don’t think my heart can take another game like that anytime soon.

  22. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    From Byron Kerr: To get a better measure of how good of a hitter Turner is capable of being is to view how he did in the month of July with Syracuse. In 27 games, Turner hit .340 (34-for-100) with three doubles, three triples, two homers, 11 RBI, eight walks, seven stolen bases and 17 runs scored.
    He is also batting .439 (18-for-41) versus left-handed pitching and .388 at home.

    Today is August 1st. Let’s see if Jim Bowden is on point that Trea will be called up today. He certainly looks worthy of a September callup.

    • rlndtln - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      The Nats play by the book.Turner will be called up September because he would not play here and is better off playing the month of August in AAA.Our real problem is how to manufacture runs in these low scoring games.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:08 PM

        I don’t disagree. Just saying Trea is doing well and today is the day JimBo predicted his call up and said he’d be today’s starting SS for the Nats.

      • laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:57 PM

        “Today is August 1st. Let’s see if Jim Bowden is on point that Trea will be called up today. He certainly looks worthy of a September call up.”

        Rizzo will stick with Desmond as his starter. That now seems certain. Bowden may have heard something which led him to believe Rizzo was going to deal Desi. Who knows? He was wrong, regardless.

  23. micksback1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    As a baseball fan, last nights game was good, intense, playoff atmosphere baseball froma pitching perspective.

    However, I have 2 problems with last night,

    1) MW’s decision to have Rivero throw 3 innings. Let me say first, I was happy with how Tanner pitched and he looked very good. Phil Wood who I like a lot was way off base focusing on Gio. Hello Phil, Gio gave up one freaking run and when you score only 2 runs in the last 18 innings you will lose games. Back to MW, he is full of crap with his explanation and if this is how he is going to manage ptrching in the post season, the Nats will be done AGAIN, in first round. What the hell is he thinking asking a fast ball pitcher to go 9 outs scoreless???/ He had Thornton and he had Pap and he had Jansesen and if if there was something up, tell us and stop being an arrogant stooge who has won nothing yet and acts as if he is Joe Torre. This is why I think MW is a total boob.

    2) I love Bryce and I defended him when he was tossed by the King of A-Hole umps in DC, but last night, Bryce was a fool and showed a very selfish side that he needs to apologize to his team for. Yes, the HP ump is a 4 eyed geek, loser whose strike zone for both teams sucked, but, he did give Bryce the chance to walk away, unlike the ahole in DC and Bryce behaved far worse last night. Just when I think Bryce has grown up he regressed into a 2 year old and left his team out to dry. It is his fault he is 0-15 verse Harvey and that he stunk at the plate, nobody elses.

    If MW manages his pitchers in posts eason as he did last night, nats are done, period. Please tell me the logic of Rivero 3 innings????

    • Section 222 - Aug 1, 2015 at 8:07 PM

      +1 to your comments on Bryce. I wondered if they ump gave him the chance to walk away because he knew he was wrong. Too bad Bryce didn’t take him up on it.

  24. Jfmii - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    Hey folks, let’s not be assigning lack of integrity, for umpires’ treatment of Bryce. When he gets angry, like last night, he gets menacing-looking. Not angry/disgusted like ball players do. But the way he got up in Meals’ face… Meals handled the situation correctly. And let’s not go all conspiracy theory about an inconsistent strike zone. But when umpires see replays of Bryce’s nasty tantrums, well they are human and going forward, Bryce will be a victim of what could only be classified as human nature

    • thisizit - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      +1

  25. micksback1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    In fairness to MW, Zim and Bryce STUNK last night and Desi just is worthless. I am so done with Desmond and he brings nothing to the plate except crappy at bats that are predictable and sad. Play Espi full time and be done with this bust

    • Jfmii - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:13 PM

      Des hit one very hard to right center in a big moment. Didn’t pan out, but a good attempt. Also drew a walk off Clip

      • micksback1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:57 PM

        that is true, but I hope a post season game does not come down to one of his at bats as it stands right now

  26. micksback1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    In a sense, I am happy for Flores and Clip, but its time to win the next 2

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:07 PM

      Clip didn’t pitch well. Cleary Jayson should have walked and not struck out then the next inning Clip walked 2 more and was pulled.

      TBH, I didn’t like how Clip spouted off after he was traded and his trash talk.

      • Jfmii - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:16 PM

        Didn’t pitch track prove Jayson’s strike 3 to be the correct call?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:32 PM

        MASN Pitch Track isn’t changed for the height of the batter. Official pitch f/x showed it clear below the knees but that wasn’t as egregious given low pitches are tough to judge.

      • Jfmii - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:19 PM

        I certainly agree he did not pitch well. Reminded me of not just a few outings as a National

      • texnat1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:25 PM

        His comments weren’t bad at all. Read the whole thing rather than the juicy sound bytes that have been circulated.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:34 PM

        I read it. Best he said little. He’s a 2 month rental. Reminds me how Morse ran his mouth after a trade.

      • Jfmii - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        Watching live on TV, sure looked low

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

        Yep, your eyes were right.

      • micksback1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:58 PM

        agreed Ghost, maybe Clip is upset that Nats did not get him back?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:10 PM

        Something going on there Mick.

      • laddieblahblah - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        Interesting, Ghost. I always look to your analysis on those calls. It did look low to me in real time, too, but the on-air pitch-track fooled me into thinking it was an in-th-black strike.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:11 PM

        Yep but it still wasn’t egregious. It looked large as it was a 3-2 pitch.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 1, 2015 at 6:01 PM

        Thanks for that proof Sofa!

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Aug 1, 2015 at 5:59 PM

        correction: make that “Strike One was OUTSIDE.”
        This is shown in the perspective of the umpire.

  27. David Proctor - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    Everyone talking about Harper and MW’s pitching, but how about the awful game Michael Taylor had? I understand he’s going to have some bad ABs and he’s going to strikeout a lot, but he looked completely and totally overmatched. That AB against Familia in the 9th was just brutal. 3 balls in the dirt and he swung at all 3. Not even Desmond is THAT bad.

    • unkyd59 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      If there’s only one player on the team who gets a pass against elite starters and closers, it’s MAT. This is not, to me, indicative of a future of Desmondesque flailing… The young man was supposed to be dominating AAA this year. I would not be surprised to see him in the discussion for Silver Slugger, in CF, for ’17…

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:05 PM

        Not sure about the Silver Slugger, but otherwise +1.

    • micksback1 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:56 PM

      David: Spot on

      I love MT but he looked terrible at his AB’s and lost. I hope that was simply a bad game and not a trend. Agreed his at bats were worse than Desi’s and came at costly times in the game

  28. kiawah51 - Aug 1, 2015 at 1:40 PM

    gio pitched very good. Are you kidding me. He threw 105 pitches in 4 innings. “But he only gave up one run.” SOme of you people are unbelievable and know zero about BB

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:11 PM

      I know the team with the most runs wins the game. Just saying.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 1, 2015 at 2:44 PM

      Uhhh, 105 pitches in 6 innings sucks. Gio battled and I respect that, but he was awful.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Aug 1, 2015 at 6:02 PM

      But who said Gio “pitched very good.”?

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