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On second thought, Nats out of playoff position

Aug 3, 2015, 11:45 PM EDT


They were wholeheartedly anointed the team to beat in what looked like a weak NL East, and for most of the summer to date, the Nationals were living up to the billing. Baseball Prospectus publishes daily playoff odds, and pretty much for the last six weeks the Nats were given anywhere from a 75 percent to an 89 percent chance of making the postseason.

As recently as Thursday, that number was 81.2 percent, with a 76.8 percent chance of winning the division. And then the Nationals were swept by the Mets over the weekend, and then they lost 6-4 to the Diamondbacks on Monday night while New York was busy steamrolling the Marlins 12-1.

And so now, the Nationals don’t even need bother look at projected standings to understand the situation they’re in. They need only look at the actual standings, which show the Mets sitting all alone atop the NL East for the first time since June 19. Not to mention the NL wild card standings, which show three teams ahead of the Nats and only two slots available for the one-game October play-in.

If you’re stunned by this sudden development, you’re not alone. The Nationals certainly didn’t see this coming, though they still choose to take the long-term view of the situation.

“That’s not good, but it’s not the end of the season,” right-hander Doug Fister said. “We still have quite a bit of time left. And we need to go out here every day and make sure we get our business done.”

The Nats haven’t been getting their business done in recent days. They’ve dropped four straight, 11-of-17 since the All-Star break.

And the primary reason for that is obvious: A lack of offense.

During this 17-game skid to open the season’s second half, the Nationals are hitting a collective .214 with a .278 on-base percentage and scoring an average of 3.3 runs per game. And it’s getting worse: Over their last five games, they’ve scored only 10 total runs … with four of those coming during a last-ditch, bottom-of-the-ninth rally Monday night.

It was one thing when this happened against the never-ending string of aces that lined up to face the Nationals over the last two weeks, pitchers with names like Kershaw and Greinke and Cole and Fernandez and Harvey and deGrom and Syndergaard. But then came Monday’s game against Zack Godley, the Diamondbacks’ previously unknown rookie right-hander making his third career start after posting a 5.14 ERA at Class AA, who proceeded to shut out this star-laden lineup over six innings.

“What a plan we had up there today,” Bryce Harper said with a hint of sarcasm. “I don’t think we had one. Being able to go up there against a guy we’ve never faced, we were really just trying to have good at-bats. I don’t think we executed enough on that tonight. It just happens that way sometimes.”

Manager Matt Williams noted his hitters “swung at balls out of the strike zone” early on, failing to take advantage of what few opportunities they had.

When they were missing four key lineup regulars, it was easy to blame the Nationals’ offensive woes to injury. But everyone aside from Denard Span has now been back at least a week, and the results are no better, even worse in some ways.

There is, of course, a difference between a healthy lineup and a lineup full of hitters in midseason form.

“I think everybody knows it’s going to take about 100 at-bats for guys to really get going,” Harper said. “It’s something that I went through two years in a row [after returning from lengthy DL stints]. I know how it is. We want those guys in the lineup, but we know it’s going to take a little bit of time. It’s something that just goes that way. You need about 100 at-bats to really get going. We’ll see about it in a couple of weeks.”

Problem is, the Nationals can’t necessarily afford to wait another couple of weeks to start clicking. Games are taking on more and more significance with each passing day.

“If you’re here and ready to play, there’s really no excuse,” said Ryan Zimmerman, 6-for-26 with two homers since returning from his 7-week stint on the DL. “Bottom line, it just comes down to we have to score more runs. To get to where we want to get, we’re going to have to score runs against good pitchers and help our guys out.”

Until that happens, the Nationals will find themselves in this precarious position, actually looking up at another club in the standings for the first time in a long time, hoping that won’t remain the case for long.

“We’ve just really gotta try to stay within our team,” Harper said. “I don’t really give a crap about what the Mets are doing, or the Dodgers, the Giants or Texas or anybody. I could really care less. I know what type of team we are, our capability of going into every single game and having the confidence to win ballgames. Playing guys like [Arizona] that has a losing record, we’ve got to win these ballgames. We’ve got to scratch and fight and claw just try to win these games. Hopefully we can do that the rest of the time we’re here.”

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. saintpaddy - Aug 4, 2015 at 12:03 AM

    “We’ve just really gotta try to stay within our team,” Harper said. “I don’t really give a crap about what the Mets are doing, or the Dodgers, the Giants or Texas or anybody. I could really care less.

    It’s I couldn’t care less damn it Harper!

  2. Big Red W - Aug 4, 2015 at 12:40 AM

    This team has a chance to go down as a historic failure. But they certainly have the same chance to rebound and win this division. This team is too talented to not win ball games, and even the best teams experience slumps throughout the season. Do not give up Nats fans. The team is still very much alive in 2015. And 2016 will most certainly be a great season for us. We have a bright future, as well as a the potential for a bright finish to this season. Let’s just make it happen.

    • npb99 - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:51 AM

      I like the optimism, but why say “2016 will most certainly be a great season for us?” Really no reason to think they’ll be stronger next year.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:13 AM

        Every reason to think the Mets will be a better team in 2016 … That’s what I thought back in April but I did not expect them to improve this much this year. I also did not expect that after the MI failures of past years and lack of offense, Rizzo would go get MORE pitching. Face it, the Mets filled in a few holes and we did not. Now it’s a race to see if we can get healthy enough before they burn out. It should not have come to this.

    • bowdenball - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      I agree with all of this except ‘historic failure.” They’re almost certainly going to finish above .500, and they were hardly the odd-on favorite to win the World Series or something. They’re probably not even the biggest disappointment this season. There’s probably two bigger disappointments in the AL West alone.

  3. Karl Kolchak - Aug 4, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    How do we go from making it sound like whether the NL East is “up for grabs” is a silly question to “the Nats are out of the playoffs” in just 12 hours? Are you guys trolling us, or what?

    Seriously, that was a bad game tonight. I left the stadium angrier than I’ve been post-any regular season game since the dark ages of 2008-2009. All that stuff Harper said about it taking 100 at bats or so to “really get going” is fine for RZ and JW, but how does that explain Desmond and Ramos? Or the inexplicable decision to bench Espinosa while Desmond continues to stink up the joint?

    Best laugh I had all night was during the “Random acts of Natitude” or whatever they’re calling it these days when they gave out free Ian Desmond bobbleheads. I felt like a bigger winner by NOT being in that section. A truly appropriate giveaway for a bummer of a night at the ballpark.

    • akiterp - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:24 AM

      I thoroughly enjoyed the bottom of the 9th … despite the loss …the possibility of a 6 run inning to tie the game. I left the game energized and hoarse. You left angry? Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the rest of the season

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:45 AM

        It just goes to show you how the failures to get a run or 2 early in the game and that HR that Paps gave up was large in the end.

      • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:47 AM

        Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the rest of the season

        Indeed! Nothing like a late summer pennant race!

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:19 AM

    Soooooooooooooo…. who’s going Wednesday?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2015 at 6:20 AM

      I am.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 6:45 AM

      I am.

    • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:22 AM

      I am.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:43 AM

      Sunday for me.

    • Candide - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:04 AM

      Cunegonde and I are going. Her birthday gift: Lexus seats. Those summbitches better not spoil it. 😠

    • zmunchkin - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      I am too. Also going tonight,

    • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      Us, too! Although my daughter, the Wonkling, is out of town for the week — she left strict instructions that we are to go, see the Nats win, and collect a Jayson Werth Chia Pet!

      (And there’s no arguing with a 20-year old determined daughter 😉 )

    • NIWatcher - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:57 AM

      I am.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:01 AM

      Since I assume we are going for the Werth chia, that means going very early. Anyone interested in meeting somewhere inside the stadium. I’d love to meet face to face and get some feedback on questions I could work into my efforts with the PitchFx data.

    • legnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:21 AM

      I am! Gotta get a Chia Pet!

    • Section 222 - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      I’ll be there too.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      Me … TWICE!

      They have a coach’s clinic in the morning that my son was invited to so I have to trek in early …. Go back to NOVA @ 1 … Pick up my wife & my son’s friend and head back in around 3:30. Thank God I have an understanding boss!

  5. Another_Sam - Aug 4, 2015 at 6:42 AM

    I’ll troll you: Matt has gotta go!

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 6:45 AM

      Call me a troll…. cuz I do think he has to go. I’m ready for a change in regimes.

      • Another_Sam - Aug 4, 2015 at 6:51 AM

        Mike too?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 6:56 AM

        No, I dont think Rizzo needs to go. But his selection for manager is not working.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:51 AM

      How did he not pinch hit for Fister once a man was on base.

      Fister has to go and they have Strasburg to replace him with. Fister must be injured. 😉

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:20 AM

        Matt Williams = Robo Manager ….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        Yah and it drives me crazy. Rizzo better be up his backside.

  6. lphboston - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:12 AM

    Time to rattle some cages.

    Williams out, Knorr in.
    Desmond to the bench, Espinosa to SS
    Zimmerman/Robinson platoon at 1B
    Ramos/Lobaton platoon at C

    • everendp - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:39 AM


    • bowdenball - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      I tend to think most posts like these are overreactions but this kind of makes sense. Robinson’s defense at 1B scares me a lot, I’d want to see Zimm replace him early and often when we get a lead, but otherwise sign me up for all four of these! +1

    • therealjohnc - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      The first isn’t going to happen, so it’s not worth worrying about (although for the record I was on board with Knorr before they hired MW). I think that things would have to get much worse before they even considered not bringing MW back next season. I’m also under no illusions that anyone would much like the replacement no matter who he is – being an MLB manager is not for anyone who wants to actually be liked or appreciated.

      I’m OK with Espinosa getting some more starts for Desmond at SS, but I will also note that Espinosa hasn’t been hitting lately either. I do think that 3b Rendon, SS Espinosa, 2b Escobar and 1b Zimmerman is likely the team’s strongest overall infield alignment

      And speaking of 1b, a Zim/Robinson platoon at 1b is nuts. Despite the batting average I’ve been impressed with how Zim is hitting since he returned. He’s had some bad BABIP luck in a small sample size – I went to his Fangraphs page and confirmed that his batted ball profile is excellent. His hard contact percentage since he returned is excellent with a corresponding high LD%. That’s before you even get to Zim’s better defense and baserunning. Occasional starts if Zim’s foot is barking? Sure. But a platoon would hurt the team at a team when they don’t need any more pain.

      I don’t mind giving Lobaton more starts, but that’s no panacea. Lobaton isn’t hitting either (his OPS, .607, is actually less than Ramos’s .622) and despite FP’s bromance with Lobaton Ramos is pretty clearly the better defensive catcher.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    I, sincerly, hope that the offensive flutter last night in the 9th jump starts this offense…

    • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:29 AM

      Corbin is an above-average pitcher, but he’s not an Ace, he’s not Chris Sale or Clayton Kershaw or even John Lester. I remember that this team used to chew up lefties and spit them out. How’s about we do that tonight?

    • natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:43 AM

      Me, too. I actually kinda sort thought at the time that they might just pull it off. Eh.

  8. NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:26 AM

    A little schadenfreude (from a team with, y’know, a “better” manager):

    Braves 9, Giants 8: Adonis Garcia with the walkoff two-run homer in the 12th inning. The Giants had a 6-0 lead in the sixth inning thanks in part to two Brandon Crawford homers and had a one run lead in the 12th but they blew it both times. This is the kind of loss that has to absolutely sting when you’re in a playoff race. The kind you look back at in October if you fall a game or two short and say “man, THAT’S the one we should’ve had.”

    • rayvil01 - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:33 AM

      That sort of thing doesn’t happen to a team with Hunter Pence in the lineup. His character will be so strong that that sort of thing won’t happen. Oh, wait, He was in the lineup. 1 for 5 with a strikeout. Never mind.

      • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:50 AM

        “That sort of thing doesn’t happen to a team with Hunter Pence in the lineup”

        No. I think the correct statement is: “that sort of thing doesn’t happen to a smart manager like Bochy”

        Oh. Wait.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:17 AM

        Why Hunter Pence?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:53 AM

      Hang on, the great Bochy lost that game ? (Sarcasm)

  9. veejh - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:36 AM

    My biggest worry now is the lineup heating up when it’s already too late. Flashbacks from 2013. Come on guys.

    • npb99 - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:55 AM

      True, but we were much further back in 2013. Now we’re basically tied.
      But of course I’m worried too.

  10. acsportsfn - Aug 4, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    Casey Stern from MLB Network was on 106.7 yesterday and said he believes Nats and Mets make playoffs because they will be beating up on the Phils, Marlins and Braves while the Cubbies and Giants have much tougher schedules. Works for me. Mets can deal with Kershaw and Greinke and we get revenge on Cards. Just so someone handles the Buccos.

    • AlexandriaNatFan - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      Very interesting, indeed…

  11. natsjackinfl - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    Either the Nats start playing better baseball or they don’t. They either make the playoffs or they don’t. As a fan, I’ll be watching as either of those scenarios come to fruition.

    It still beats all those years prior to 2005 by a long shot.

    • JayB - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      yup… is just baseball right….nothing can be done….nobody is accountable for bad decisions in game or on the roster…No players should be benched or kicked in the ass when they do not perform…smiles and laughing in the dugout during a game you are behind 5 zip to a pitcher who has 5 starts over A ball shows good character…….bar is so low that anything is fine as long as it is baseball in DC……tells me all I need to know about why you and I never see eye to eye.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:16 AM

      In some ways it was much easier then. I enjoyed the Ws more, now I expect them. I didn’t get mad when played sucked because, well, they sucked. This team just plays like it doesn’t care.

      • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:30 AM

        I just don’t see evidence of playing like they “don’t care.” Let’s go through the lineup.

        (1) Yunel Escobar – is totally focuses and “into” every at-bat. Does extra pre-game work to improve his fielding at third base.
        (2) Anthony Rendon – OK, he doesn’t care where he plays as long as he gets to bat. He LOVES to play, you think he wants to go home at the end of September?
        (3) Bryce Harper – probably cares too much for his own good.
        (4) Ryan Zimmerman – played until the pain was unbearable. Never takes a day off.
        (5) Clint Robinson – really? You think he doesn’t care?
        (5a) Jayson Werth – playing for that ring, always and always.
        (6) Ian Desmond – grinding.
        (7) Wilson Ramos – can’t seem to re-capture the magic, but in there every day trying.
        (8) Michael A. – learning and learning. Wish he could hit sliders.

      • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        And, NatsLady, you tell me one player who has voiced displeasure of losing. All say the same – it will turn around – not one guy, except Harper, publically shows they are upset. Not even our manager. We are some of the best losers on the planet.

        As for Desmond grinding, that’s a joke. Everyone who goes to a job every day is grinding. That wins you no points.

      • bowdenball - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:13 AM

        scnatsfan, you can’t demand evidence that they care while providing no evidence that they don’t.

        Of course they care. Virtually every player in the major leagues cares a ton. They wouldn’t have reached the big leagues, let alone stuck there, if they didn’t. If you’re going to make a preposterous declaration that men who have devoted their entire lives to excelling at baseball and continue to play through pain and bust their butts to return from injuries suddenly no longer care about excelling at baseball because they’re one game out of first. I think the burden is on you to provide evidence to support your statement.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        It’s a very common notion that success at the elite sports level = passion/want-to/commitment/caring, with the corollary that struggling/failure = a lack of all of those things.

        Especially in baseball, I think that struggling is often called by being too wound up, wanting to do too much, getting outside of yourself because of an internal need to DO SOMETHING, DAMMIT … so you jump at a pitch you shouldn’t swing at, roll over and tap it to an infielder. Or you get so in your head that “I will NOT be overaggressive I will NOT be overaggressive” … that you end up taking a pitch down the middle. In baseball you need to be relaxed AND aggressive. If players got wound up the way we do as fans, they couldn’t function as players.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:44 AM

      We’re still going to as many games as we can get to. And, overall, still having a ton of fun. That said, I am in the camp that is at least having doubts about Matt Williams. I have often said that generally the manager doesn’t win or lose too many for a team, but I honestly think that Matt has lost a few for them this year with his curious decisions. That said, I am not in favor of dismissing him at this point in the season. He has had to deal with a fair amount of adversity due to a ton of injuries. This team isn’t just losing because of poor pitcher management. They need to see ball, hit ball, and score more runs.

      Seriously, I can’t figure the logic of not starting Espinosa in the IF at all this past week. You took the somewhat hot hand out of the lineup because Desmond is “heating up?”

      For the what it’s worth department, Taylor snapped out his funk for the night and had 2 hits and an RBI, and no K’s. Sure, it would be nice to give him a day off, but if you do I think the outfield loses quality. He’s going to sit a lot when Span returns.

      Bryce Harper’s throws to the plate have looked awful for a while now.

      For those howling about Escobar not getting to 2B on that little dink to RF last night? It was a “tweener” that looked like it had a good chance of being caught. I had a great look at the play from where I was sitting and it was not as easy a decision as some thought it was. The way he played it was a judgement call that didn’t work out, but if he had gotten doubled off it would have been stupid base running. If it had been caught and he had gotten doubled off? Then you would really be justified in your howling.

      Come on, fellows, let’s get on a winning streak!

      • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:53 AM

        Bryce didn’t set himself up properly for that throw to the plate, going back to how he approached the catch. He had to make a little extra move, and then he rushed and it was way off-line.

        I’m going to games all week. I would have gone last night but felt feverish just as I was leaving for the Park.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        I hope that you feel better, NL! I’ll be there tonight in section 311.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:03 AM

      The pitchforks are out for MW. I’m neutral on him as all managers make mistakes but if this team doesn’t make the postseason, time to change.

      Look at Bochy last night losing a 6 run lead.

      Fister lost the game but where was the Nats offense prior to the 9th. RZim’s K early in the game with men on 2nd and 1st with 1 out was the biggest play of the game IMO. Sure he got a 9th inning HR when the game was 6-0 that sparked a mini rally but in the books it would be 1 RBI just like if he singled earlier in the game with RISP to get a rally going against a smaller margin.

      MW made 1 mistake and I don’t buy his logic of bunting with Fister in the 5th. Is that enough to fire him. Not yet but I hope Rizzo is crawling up his rear end.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:12 AM

        Steve, not only was I surprised that Fister hit for himself, but also that he was bunting at all, as he is a decent hitter, and he looked like horse dung on the first two bunting strikes. It sort of worked bunting with two strikes, because of replay, but two strike bunting is a very low percentage strategy.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:19 AM

        Exactly to both. I was ok batting him if nobody was on base.

      • Section 222 - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:07 AM

        This is getting a lot of use:

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        Well said 2’s.

    • Another_Sam - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM

      Again you’ve nailed it, Jack. I’m with you.

  12. scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    I’m just so tired of hearing of injuries, so tired of hearing if we just had our lineup. If you want something enough you find a way to get it; if not, you find an excuse. Again this team is full of excuses. Clearly MW isn’t getting all he can out of this talent.

  13. JayB - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    clearly……but real fans should not expect more than team plays the games…that is all real fans expect right Jack?

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:35 AM

      I ‘m all about enjoying life and a lot of that starts with a love of baseball. It also has everything to do with being thankful for the things I have and not worrying about things that I have no control over.

      Being accountable has to do with how I live my life and treat other living elements, not some warped desire to sit in judgment of others.

      • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:47 AM

        I’m with you on this, nj. I watch baseball for entertainment, not because I NEED the team to win. I love it when they win, I’m happier when they win, but I don’t live and die by the results of a sports team.

        I don’t have any doubt Rizzo sees what we see, and more. He sees that Matt Williams is in a slump–that’s what you’d call it if he were a player.

        The question is, do you DFA him because he’s in a slump, particularly if you don’t have a better guy to call up? Apparently, Rizzo doesn’t think Knorr is better than Williams or he would have picked Knorr in the first place.

      • natsjackinfl - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        You nailed it NatsLady. Thanks.

      • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        It also has everything to do with being thankful for the things I have and not worrying about things that I have no control over.

        Being accountable has to do with how I live my life and treat other living elements, not some warped desire to sit in judgment of others.

        Ding. Ding. Ding! We have a winner.

        Yep. Perspective.

        I once asked a very wise religious leader I know about being a sports fan (this is for for real). He said that if you are into it enough that it brings you joy, that’s fine. He said if you’re so into it that it brings you unhappiness, then you need to back off and get perspective.

        FWIW, and YMMV

      • Candide - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:03 AM

        It also has everything to do with being thankful for the things I have and not worrying about things that I have no control over.

        + eleventy

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:06 AM

        Good call. I don’t fire MW yet. Rizzo won’t either so we should support what we have and stop the Fire MW discussion and debate for after the season and seriously consider a DL move for shoulder inflammation for Fister.

      • jfmii - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        There is a time-worn phrase for JayB to add to what you are saying: Get a life.

      • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        @adcwonk–well, it brought me unhappiness in the Octobers of 2012 and 2014. And I did grieve.

        But it wasn’t like the loss of a loved one, it was just that the playoffs were SO exciting, such a rush, and then such a sudden let-down, especially the first time (2012). But, you know, I was at JZimm’s no-hitter, and that was an incredible rush also, yet the stakes were the lowest possible (last game of a season with the Division long since locked up).

        My love I will not see again, but win or lose, there will be winter, and baseball in the spring.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:15 AM

        Don’t let Jack fool you. I’ve sat through games with him.He’s always out of control.

    • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      Wow — that’d be an amazing development. It’s almost impossible to imagine a team heading into the last week of the season, or heading into the playoffs, and losing Harvey, de Grom, and Syndegaard all at around the same time!

      Just. Wow.

      But, of course, according to someone earlier in the thread: ” If you want something enough you find a way to get it; if not, you find an excuse. Again this team is full of excuses.” So, losing those three shouldn’t effect the Mets so much, right?

      Yeah, right.

      • realdealnats - Aug 5, 2015 at 9:44 AM

        If they actually sit them down…which brings us back to the Strasburg argument, and the Rizzo philosophy argument. In Rizzo We Trust…

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:20 AM

      Collins response is kinda sad.. Like it sounds he is willing to expose them in a sense at his expense…

      • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        Yeah, Collins is just messed up. Especially when he said he had to stop with the six-man rotation because “I was crucified for it.” Man, if you thought it was the right thing to do, then you should do it, no matter what Matt Harvey (or anyone else) says!!

        You may say Matt Williams is stubborn because he sticks to his plan beyond what we think is reasonable, but Terry Collins blows with the wind.

      • stoatva - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        Was “with the wind” even strictly necessary?

      • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        I,m dying to see what they do. During the Strasburg shutdown some of the loudest noise was coming from New York with idiots like David Cone angrily crucifying the Nats. Let’s see what happens when they absolutely need to use all of them to even have a chance at the playoffs.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:31 AM

        The Mets have been known to blow out more than a few arms. If they are close they will fire everything they have. Look at what happened to Johan Santana.

  14. mrnat7 - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    What happened to Espi? Did he get traded – sent to the minors-go on leave-get locked up? I think I’ve only seen him as a pinch runner since Rendon came back. It’s nice to be in Desi shoes, you know you are going to play no manner what you do on the field. Whatever happened to competition on teams? With the Nats and in most jobs, “its who likes you”! And you can sure see that with Rizzo and MW. When Dilfo was up, did he get a chance?

    • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      I expect we’ll see him when Rendon or Escobar need a day off. You aren’t going to see him replace Desi (unless Desi gets hurt or something), that’s pretty clear.

      • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        That’s unfortunate NL because you can easily rest all 3 of them once a week and that gives Espi 3 games a week. It’s not hard and it keeps one of our most productive players all year in. Not advocating benching Desi just finding a way to let Espi continue to help us win.

      • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:36 AM

        jd– I would agree with that. Rendon could use one day off a week, he’s always been a bit fragile, and Escobar is playing himself into the ground. Heaven knows how banged up he is or whether his wrist is fully recovered.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      Difo with 5 hits and a bunch of steals. He probably is relaxed after the trade deadline.

      • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:28 AM

        He might be disappointed too; he’s a MLB ready 2B for some teams right now.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:31 AM

        He’s the 2017 starting 2nd baseman for the Nats. Rendon 3B Turner SS Difo 2B

      • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:06 AM

        I gotta tell you Ghost that I’m done making predictions for what will happen in 2 years. At the start of this year I predicted that the 2016 starting rotation will be: Scherzer, Stras, Gio, Roark and Cole. How is that looking now?

        I’m willing to predict that Turner will be the SS starting in May 2016 (or whatever the date is that will protect service time), I am also ready to put Joe Ross in our rotation for 2016. Not much beyond that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        It’s fun playing Nostradaumus. Have fun with it. I probably predicted the same 2016 starting rotation as you. Baseball America does it all the time.

        Point is Difo is going to need to show patience as Esco and Rendon and Turner and Espi will all factor in next season. I still don’t think Rizzo has Turner on the OD roster 2016 as to save his max team control.

  15. robertrobert104 - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    Well, they choked. That’s simple as that. They don’t have the balls to go through….I reckon that they are a nice team, but not the kind that make winners….

    • Another_Sam - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:46 AM

      Are you intentionally paraphrasing Ken Beatrice? “I’m sure he’s a nice young man, but . . . “. Haha. My age is showing.

    • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:01 AM

      Well, they choked. That’s simple as that

      They sure did! Man! They were up 6-0 after four innings and just let them back into the game.

      Then they were up 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and nobody on base!! Just one out to go for the win! Then a single and HR to Pierzynski tied it.

      Then in the 12th, they were up 8-7 — and in the bottom of the 12th he puts in the starter Vogelsong! What the heck?! Then Brandon Crawford makes an error at SS, followed by a 2 run HR, and the Braves win 9-8.

      What chokers. What a lame manager. No heart.

      (Wait. You were talking about the Giants last night, right?)

  16. stoatva - Aug 4, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    It’s a month tomorrow since i last attended a winning game (when we completed the sweep of the Giants). I am ready for that nonsense to end tonight.

  17. jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    MW is not getting fired now and is likely not getting fired at the end of the year either. He is not a great tactical manager but at the same time he is not responsible for the injuries, the poor seasons of so many players and the brutal bad luck in not missing anyone’s ace or aces for 2 solid weeks.

    As a fan I will continue to pull for my team regardless of the results and I remain hopeful that at the end of the day we will make the playoffs. I am not one to jump off a bridge after every bad loss and I also don’t feel that every game is do or die. There are close to 60 games left and no one will run away with the division in the next few days. There has been a 4 game swing in the last 4 days so you can see how quickly things can change.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM


    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      As I recall, injuries was an excuse used to defend a previous cue-ball-head Nats manager against accusations of incompetence, until at last that excuse ran so thin that the incompetence was there for all to see, like the emperor’s new clothes, and Rizzo was forced to fire him. Deja vu all over again?

  18. philipd763 - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    The Nats have four guys (Span, Desmond, Zimmermann and Fister) in their walk years. This puts additional pressure on these key players and three of them aren’t responding well. Meanwhile, the only one who hasn’t caved to the pressure is Span but he’s missed significant time due to an assortment of injuries.

    • jd - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      I think all 4 will be gone after this year. I would still entertain keeping Span if he’d sign a 2 year deal but I think this is his last chance to sign a large contract and I think someone will give him a 4 year deal. The more intriguing question is who do you make a qualifying offer to? JZim will reject it for sure as will Span but Desi and Fister are having such miserable years they just may accept theirs and I don’t think you want to take that chance.

      I’d put every one on waivers (I’m sure they will) and see who bites. I don’t think losing Fister will have a negative effect on our record this year, you can go with Ross as long as his innings limit allows and then slot Roark in whenever you need to. I think off days will allow you to skip starters in September.

      • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        I think they will all get QO’s, and they will all reject them.

        Fister has shown flashes of his former self. I’m sure somebody will think it’s worth the risk that he can get straightened out.

        Ditto with Ian. He’s obviously an asset in the lockeroom (so all the players say) and a team leader — and a guy his age, with three straight silver sluggers on his resume, is also worth a risk to any team with a weak hitting SS. (Jimmy Rollins is hitting .216 for the Dodgers, for example).

      • nataddicted - Aug 4, 2015 at 3:37 PM

        Hi Everyone, The Qualifying offer was $13.3M in 2012, upped to 14.1, then to 15.3 last year. Expect over 16M this year. (The number is the same for all Free Agents to receive the offer, calculated by the average of the top 125 salaries.)

        In 2014 all 12 players to receive the offer rejected it, turning down a one-year $15.3M deal. In 2013, all 13 declined to say yes to 1 year at $14.1M. In 2012 all 9 turned it down.

        I’m not sure I’d love paying some of our FA’s $16+M, but I’d sure like to get the draft picks when they walk!

        I say make the offer! It looks pretty low-risk.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      They will all be gone and hopefully some of the picks we get turn out just like JZ did when Soriano walked

  19. ward5nedc - Aug 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    I’ll be there tonight sect 227

  20. golfersal - Aug 4, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    As a season ticket holder for the last ten years, it’s a struggle to watch these guys play. We expect so much more and the Nats management is really blowing it with the fans. I got by ticket renewal for 2016, the tickets went up from $45 to $65 which is 34% increasse. With this and the fact that food is a fortune and we can get our seats for less on Stubhub for about 80% of the games, the answer is very easy.

    Nats management has to do a better job at making it seem having a season ticket plan is important, they aren’t doing that anymore now that the stadium is filling up more.





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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