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State of the Nats: All tied up in the NL East

Aug 3, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

USA Today

Top storylines:

Mets earn a sweep – The Mets made a statement this weekend with their sweep of the Nationals, a convincing trio of wins capped off by Tyler Clippard getting Jose Lobaton to pop up for the final out on Sunday night. They earned a tie atop the NL East and seem energized by their trade deadline acquisitions of both Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes. It was New York’s first sweep of the Nationals since 2009.

The Mets will now move on to play the Marlins in Miami, while the Nationals will return home to host the Diamondbacks. Two months remain in the season and, if this weekend is any indication, it should be a hotly contested race to the finish line for the division crown.

The Mets left this weekend feeling good about their chances in the NL East and they should. They just took care of the Nationals with a combination of dominant starting pitching and timely hits. Their lineup is much more imposing with Cespedes in the mix, especially when Lucas Duda is playing up to his potential. Once they get David Wright back, they will be even more impressive.

The Nationals should see the Mets for the threat that they truly are, but also understand that there is another gear for themselves to reach. Anthony Rendon is just starting to heat up, while Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth have yet to round into form.

They got encouraging news this weekend about Denard Span’s recovery and getting him back soon would work wonders. The Nats are 35-24 with Span this season and just 19-25 without him. Since he joined the team before the 2013 season, their winning percentage in games he plays is .579 (208-151) and just .411 (28-40) when he doesn’t.

The Nationals also played this series – and the last between the two teams – without Max Scherzer. He is easily the Nats’ best pitcher and has allowed just one run in 14 2/3 innings against the Mets this season.

The Nats will not be making excuses for themselves, and that is not the intention of this argument. But it’s clear the Nationals have a good chance to be better than they are now when these two teams face off again in September.

Both the Nationals and Mets are on pace for 85 wins this season. The last team to win a division with less was the 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers, who had 84.

Odds are one of the two, the Nats or Mets, will find their groove and run away with the division. Who will it be?

Injury updates  Rendon, Werth and Zimmerman are back, but this week we should hear more on several players still rehabbing on the disabled list. Span joined the team on Saturday in New York and began baseball activities. This should be a big week for him. Stephen Strasburg will continue his minor league rehab assignment on Monday with the Syracuse Chiefs. After that is done he is likely to rejoin the Nats, perhaps in time to pitch next weekend. And reliever David Carpenter should learn the results of the second opinion he sought on his shoulder this week.

Schedule eases up briefly – The Nationals just finished a 10-game road trip that began with four games in Pittsburgh, went through Miami and finished in New York against the formidable Mets. That followed a stretch of six games against the first-place Dodgers and Mets to begin the second half of the year. That was not an easy run, whatsoever.

Though the Nats finished just 3-7 on this current road trip, they should have an opportunity to recover at home this week. They begin with four games against the 50-53 Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona was the worst team in baseball last season and has a losing record this year. They are a streaky team that lost nine of 11 from July 10 to 24, then won six straight games from July 25 to July 31. They come to Washington losers of two consectutive games at the Houston Astros.

After Arizona the Nats will host the Colorado Rockies, who own the second-worst record in baseball and just traded away their best player, Troy Tulowitzki. That’s seven straight home games against teams that will not be in the playoffs this year. The Nats better take advantage, as following this homestand is a long West Coast trip that begins with seven games at the L.A. Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

NL East Standings

source:

Offensive game of the week: Bryce Harper 7/29 vs. Marlins – 3-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R.

Pitching game of the week: Max Scherzer 7/30 vs. Marlins – 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 SO. 109 pitches, 75 strikes.

Quote of the week:

Jonathan Papelbon on why he waived his no-trade clause to join the Nats under the condition that he would be the closer…

Well, for me, I’m getting up there on the all-time closing list and that’s important to me. When Theo [Epstein] had me as a young kid in Boston and he wanted to start me, I said ‘no, I’m a closer, that’s what I want to be. That’s who I am.’ This is what I envisioned, this is what I envisioned. I envisioned chasing Mariano [Rivera]. I’ve told Mariano at many All-Star games that ‘I’m coming after you.’ That’s part of it. Ego, maybe you want to call it, whatever you want to say. For me, it’s a path that I started a long time ago, 11 years ago, and now I’m trying to do everything that I can to continue that and win championships as a closer… This is what I’m best at. When I feel like I’m best in a certain situation, I don’t necessarily want to be taken out of it.

Tweet of the week:

Road ahead

MON – 7:05 p.m. vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Fister)
TUE – 7:05 p.m. vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Scherzer)
WED – 7:05 p.m. vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Gonzalez)
THU – 4:05 p.m. vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (Ross)
FRI – 7:05 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies (Zimmermann)
SAT – 7:05 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies (Fister)
SUN – 1:35 p.m. vs. Colorado Rockies (Scherzer)

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. wmlsays - Aug 3, 2015 at 6:20 AM

    The Nats were BEATEN! They were BEATEN! They not only lost, they were BEATEN! For all their bravado and braggadocio, they were BEATEN by a team with less “stars”, a smaller payroll, by a team that worked harder, by a team with better pitching. They were BEATEN by a better team. Their reign atop the NL East looks to be over. Rizzo did a poor job improving the team over the years. For all the accolades heaped on Rizzo, he has never shown the knack for building a champion. Pretenders, yes, but a champion? It appears that day will not be coming soon. Should the Nats be able to get to the playoffs, teams with lights out pitching or lights out managers are sure to beat them. In other words, one way or another, the Nats are over matched.

    • veejh - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:51 AM

      Chill….it’s 1 series. 20 more to go.

      • mwstatsguy - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        +1

    • bowdenball - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:31 AM

      Sounds like all is lost, huh? So do us all a favor and stop following and commenting on the team.

    • realdealnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:42 AM

      thou dost protest too much…

  2. ArVAFan - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    Last year, about this time, I went on a family vacation and the Nats went on a 10-game winning streak (that’s the one where I was “watching” the games under the covers at 2 a.m. so I wouldn’t disturb my mom, with whom I was sharing a room).

    In a couple of hours, I leave for this year’s vacation with the same branch of the family. So it’s time, guys, it’s time. Just a reminder.

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:08 AM

      With all the walk-offs, that was a bunch of fun! Going to several games during this home stand, so let’s have a repeat!!!!

    • natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      And I just got back from a long weekend trip, during which I did not see any games or go online. Listened to last night’s game on the drive from when we got within radio range until we got home (bottom of 1st into the 5th). I did DVR this one but don’t think I’ll watch it. I’ll start fresh tonight instead. Sounds like the ESPN crew was pretty awful, and the game not great for our guys, obviously.

  3. Another_Sam - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Getting back the injured players who hit at .200 hasn’t worked.

    • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      Well, the injured players who came back are not .200 hitters, lifetime, so there will likely be some regression to the mean.

      • alexva6 - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:25 AM

        there better be or else they’re in trouble

      • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        I certainly won’t argue with that.

  4. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    OK, this was a wild game.

    Harrisburg 16 Portland 12 (11 inn.)
    • Giolito (L, 0-2) 5IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 4K
    • Mendez (W, 5-3) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
    • Difo 5-7, 3R, 2B, BB, 2RBI, 4SB
    • Vettleson 3-5, 3R, 2BB, 2HR, 3RBI
    • Pleffner 3-6, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 3RBI

    Harrisburg fell behind 5-1 after one, blew a 12-9 lead in the 8th, and rallied for four in the 11th to take the series finale, 16-12. Buried in the box score: Lucas Giolito started and labored through five innings, charged with six runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out four and threw 98 pitches, 58 for strikes. Wilmer Difo ran wild with four stolen bases and went 5-for-7 with a walk and three runs scored to lead the Senators’ 22-hit parade, which included two doubles, a triple, and five homers.

    Also, Strasburg’s second rehab start is tonight.

    http://nationalsprospects.com/2015/08/mondays-news-notes-101/

    • ArVAFan - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:55 AM

      Thank you for the details. Any time there’s a total scoring over 15 or so, you have to assume it was a pretty wild game.

  5. kiawah51 - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    Thank Mr. Rizzo for getting us a closer when we needed at least one big bat. Our closer will hardly see the ninth inning because we will be down by X instead of up by x. RIzzo has put together a floored team for 3 years now in the hope that that bats would be there when it was obvious once we got out of the division good pitching silenced our bats. Heck even bad pitching beat us too many times. Werth 200, Zimm 212, Desmond 213, Ramos 237, Taylor 235 and dropping like a nuclear bomb. No injury excuse, most of these guys were batting like this before injury. In 3 game series against the Mets struck team struck out 37 of 81 outs. Not to far off from other series against good teams. We play in worst division in BB and finally catching up to us.
    But good news is as Rizzo says, we have enough offense and don’t need any more. “I like our odds with our team”. Not sure what hes been watching for 3 years. Guess he missed the series against the Giants last year. Drinking his own cool aid. What a joke.

    • scmargenau - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:29 AM

      Ugh. Depressing, but hard to ignore.

    • philipd763 - Aug 3, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      You nailed it Kiawah51. Rizzo, as a GM and former scout, is much more skilled at appraising and acquiring pitching help than he is at acquiring offense. I really feel he thinks offense isn’t that important; that good pitching is the only thing that matters.

    • bisonaudit - Aug 5, 2015 at 2:22 PM

      The problem isn’t necessarily with who he acquired, it’s how they’re deployed. Both the Friday and Saturday games were tied late and neither of the two best bullpen arms saw the field either night. It’s an error about 25 other MLB managers would also make, but it’s an error none-the-less. When surrendering a single run guarantees that you will lose the game there is no reason not to deploy your best pitchers.

  6. Whack-A-Mule - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    For the moment, the Mets are the better team; better starting pitching, better bullpen, better offense.

    (Aside:
    It is difficult to win games with 3 hitters and 5 passengers constituting the position players.
    No production from either of the catchers, 1st base, shortstop, left field, center field.
    That may perhaps change, at least for a couple of the 5; and Span will return.
    That may not be enough, however.
    The Mets are well-constructed for playoff competition with 3 lights-out starters;
    we seem to have one, plus 2 “halves”.)

  7. JayB - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    Agree this team plays with no heart and has been that way as long as Zim has been the “leader”. Werth is not a leader he is a pampered rich kid. Matt Williams has one leader on this team but has not done a thing to support him. Harper is getting killed by umps and pitchers and opposing managers who know that they can do whatever they want to him and this team….yes team…as managed by WIlliams does not have his back.

    You have to support him in meaningful ways. If he feels umps are screwing him on purpose….which they are….then a 99 mph fast ball must be missed by the catcher and Jerry M needs to ware one or two of them in a row.

    Rizzo and WIlliams need to manage and lead like they understand the roster. Werth is a waste as is Zimm…..put the best bat you have behind him…that is Robinson because Rizzo is too stubborn to admit he blew the trade deadline.

    Year after year this same group of players and front office people make the same lame excuses for just not having a pair.

    • alexva6 - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:44 AM

      there was a time when your comments contained some good baseball analysis

      now you’ve got to the point of suggesting that they throw at the umpire.

      you may be taking this a little too seriously.

    • Doc - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      Spend your time on a Mets’ blog; that way you can use your virtual pair in your own fantasy way!!

  8. natsjackinfl - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    It continues to amaze me that people don’t understand the difference between “being” better and “playing ” better. It is a requirement for all knowledgeable baseball followers.

    Those that understand it, please don’t argue with those that don’t.

    • rlndtln - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:44 AM

      Harp will leave as soon as he can 2018.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:53 AM

      NatsJack: +1

  9. veejh - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    The sky isn’t falling, we lost a baseball series. Big deal. Two of the games were super close. They barely beat us in those and we didn’t hit for s***. I still think we’re the better team.

  10. JayB - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    At what point is your play your play Jack…..how many ABs….months…years does it take to know? How many need to play betters is it going to take because every player and every team goes from needing to play better to being beat…….Look at Willie Mays…..Werth and Zimm are looking like that at the end of his career.

    Difference and this is a huge differnece….Willie was pissed and was never too cool to try his hardest…..those two are just priming around waiting for MW and Rizzo to make excusses for them….as very very short wait.

    • rlndtln - Aug 3, 2015 at 7:56 AM

      We had our best chance in 2012 and blew the Cardinals series by Gio pitching the way he does.Up 6-0 and hitting no problem and then the 9th.It has been all down hill.The decision on Stras in 12 was pathetic.That was our chance.2014 we started the downhill hitting spiral.Now it has peaked with Desi,Ramos,Zim and Werth are below average.Only Harps off the chart 2 months kept us afloat.As soon as he got back to a normal good we stopped scoring.The Mets are not only the best in the east but in the playoffs I would take them over any NL team.

      • veejh - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:01 AM

        This is a ridiculous comment. The Mets the best in the NL. Now that is funny.

      • realdealnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:56 AM

        I really wouldn’t want to be around a lot of you in a critical situation when you were depended upon to stay cool and not stand up in the canoe as we go over the rapids.

        We’ve been playing shorthanded all year. It will take these guys a couple weeks longer to wind into shape. Get used to batting before and after each other. See the ball, hit the ball, with all the requisite timing involved.

        Werth and Zim are getting on, true, but they still have some solid hitting left in the tank. And a healthy Span alone could easily have turned two of these last two games our way.

        Don’t you guys like a good fight? You take one on the chin and want to fold right up.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:14 PM

        realdeal, the motto of many fans is “when in danger, when in doubt; run in circles, SCREAM AND SHOUT!”

        With a tip o’ the cap to my dear departed Grandmother, who was absolutely a baseball fan (although a fan of the Cardinals; no accounting for taste, I suppose).

  11. edshelton2013 - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Kiawah and Whack-A-Mule:

    Totally agree that we have five almost “automatic outs” from our eight position players:
    Desmond, Zimmerman, Werth, Ramos/Lobaton and Taylor. Not sure that Rizzo has any options the rest of this year. Could Zimm and Werth be moved this winter, given their contracts?

    We should still make the playoffs, but does anyone think we’ll hit any better than last time?? I don’t.

    • rlndtln - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      We are going no where.

    • philipd763 - Aug 3, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Zimm and Werth have no trade value and both are in serious decline. Werth has even become a defensive liability in LF. Two or three years ago, I recommended on this site that Rizzo should trade Zimm to an AL team before his $100 million no-trade contract kicked in. Re-signing Zimmerman was comparable to the Wizards re-signing a broken down Gilbert Arenas. Werth is just plain old while Zimm’s body started failing him 4-5 years ago. He’s following the career path of Nick Johnson.

  12. rlndtln - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    Ridiculous?Everything I predicted happened including this road trip when I said we are in bad shape and would be looking up to the Mets right after the trip.Which is around the corner.I will take the Mets against the Dodgers or Card with those three pitching and there new offensive weapons and the other guys starting to hit.They were a 500 club with zero hitting.In a short series they will be tough to beat.

  13. scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    Right now this team has shown, against the big boys, our offense against good pitching isn’t enough to carry our pitching staff, which is good but not good enough. There are alot of teams better then us right now.

  14. moozystar - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    The good news is, the Mets will make us a better team for October. Winning the division is not the goal, winning the World Series is. If we coast into a first place finish without a little drama to push the team leaser then we will coast into the playoffs and we have all seen how that ends. Perhaps I am a glass half full kinda guy here but I think this is exactly what the Nats need at this point in the season. I’m looking forward to being in the part tonight to see them start to bust out!

    • rlndtln - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:24 AM

      If we do not win the division a wild card is not likely

      • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:40 AM

        Why? The Nats (and Mets) are only 2.5 games back of the 2nd Wild Card.

  15. rayvil01 - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    I knew the Legion of Doom would be in full throat this morning. Initiation Ritual: Quickly drink six cups of coffee and then slam your hand in the car door. That’ll get the right frame of mind established.

    The worst of the worst part of the schedule is now over. Time to fatten up on poor teams. I read on April 26th that the season was over. Sure has been a lot of baseball since then…and more to come.

    • bowdenball - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      Amazing how many people have forgotten that even with this sweep we’ve still been 7.5 games better than the Mets since April 26, isn’t it?

      Everyone’s upset this morning, and rightfully so. We needed just one win in NY to avoid disaster and we couldn’t get it done. Sometimes that’s gonna happen when you are on the road with your #2, #4 and #6 starter facing the other teams #1, #2 and #3 starter. And yes, the Mets’ schedule is Charmin soft the rest of the way while the Nats still have to go west for a tough stretch against the California teams. But other than that there are many reasons for optimism in addition to the ones laid out by Chase above:

      1. We’re still in first place by virtue of having two games in hand.
      2. Run differential indicates that the Nats have been a better team than the Mets. The Nats are +28, the Mets are -2. They’ve gotten lucky while we’ve been good. Not great, but good.
      3. The Mets’ young pitchers, post-TJ Harvey in particular- are racking up an irresponsible number of innings during their mid-summer push. They are going to tire soon and it’s probably not going to be pretty, as anyone who remembers Strasburg’s last few starts of 2012 can attest. In fact Collins already mentioned yesterday that they may have to return to six man rotations along the road. You’re going to see the threesome of young guns that took us down this weekend quite a bit less in the coming weeks.
      4. Span will return and he represents a decent upgrade over Taylor. Taylor’s future is bright but he’s still far too easy of an out. Nobody has ever described Span as an easy out.
      5. Zimmermann is in a very rough stretch right now. But he’s been in rough stretches before and he has always responded with a return to excellence. Every. Single. Time. If he repeats this pattern one more time the Nats’ rotation will start to look like the one we envisioned.
      6. It’s August 3 and the Nats will be playing hugely important baseball games for at least another 6-7 weeks. Anyone who was around from 2005-2011 knows that’s preferable to the alternative.

      • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        Point #3 is crucial. They are leaning very heavily on those young pitchers, and they either will have to shut them down early, or else they will burn them up for future years.

      • stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Yes. I can’t bring myself to celebrate an injury to these talented young pitchers but their handling looks totally irresponsible to me.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:07 AM

        Some of the posters discussed how Collins is pushing his young stars a little bit yesterday… They absolutely will tire out and I don’t think a 6 man rotation will help them either…

        As for Taylor, Im guessing that once Span comes back, MAT will be a late defensive sub for Jayson…

        Going to be a nice ride to September. Will definitely be exciting…

      • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:09 AM

        And to point #6 I would add, anyone who was around before 2005 will remember a city without any baseball at all. I like this better, even if they don’t make the post season.

        Going to Pittsburgh was a reminder of this. That town has had their team since 1887, and they’ve had plenty of ups and downs. The folks there seem to understand it’s a game, and they seem to have a much more reasonable attitude.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:18 AM

        Amazing how many people have forgotten that even with this sweep we’ve still been 7.5 games better than the Mets since April 26, isn’t it?

        Yes, but after the Nats caught the Mets with an incredible month of May and ended up tied with them on June 1, the Mets have played the Nats dead even in the two months since. And the Mets are clearly on the upswing right now. So what happened in May is pretty much irrelevant at this point.

      • jd - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:23 AM

        Bowdenball,

        As usual you are always the voice of reason and you are of course correct. I have a few observations of my own some a bit less positive than yours:

        1) I think MW is a lousy manager who in addition to managing in a ‘paint by numbers’ fashion is also stubborn.
        2) I agree that the Mets through everything at us this weekend but still and all the 1st 2 games were winnable, at least one of them. If you think about the Friday game in particular, in extra innings the Nats should have had an advantage because the Mets had used all of their top relievers and we hadn’t used any. MW tried to squeeze one more inning out of Rivero where IMO he should have gone Storen, Paplebon, Jansen.
        3) People refer to Matt Thornton as a LOOGY. By definition, shouldn’t that imply that he can get left handed hitters out? I would be very careful in giving him high lev. situations going forward.
        4) The home plate umpire was brutal last nigh and one sided, he was clearly swept by the wave of excitement provided by the home crowd, but he was really over the top bad.
        5) I was very disappointed in how JZimm handled adversity last night. He was visibly upset at the walk to Plawecki but with 2 outs he made a terrible batting practice pitch to Granderson, which happens but to then not settle down and allow the Mets to just about put the game away is something you don’t expect from a veteran.
        6) Having said that, the pitch Duda hit was unbelievable, the guy is so locked in right now that he hit an inside fastball that is impossible to hit fair out of the park, and this guy was 0 for 2 months.
        7) We really need to give our returning injured players a break. They have been out for several months, are really in spring training mode and have faced a ridiculous parade of past and future Cy Young winners and contenders.
        8) There is a parade of posters (some very level headed regulars) who have been screaming to have Harper bat 3rd. Not I think it’s that big of a deal but I wish some of them would articulate their reasons for this line of thinking. The fact that Willie Mays, Aaron etc hit 3rd when no one analyzed such tings shouldn’t be a criteria.
        9)FWIW I think our based lineup alignment is:Escobar,Rendon,Werth,Harper,Zimmerman,Desmond,Ramos,Taylor.

      • texnat1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        JD,

        Agree on Williams. Still learning on the job or just doesn’t have it. Either way, not up to managning a team that is supposed to one of baseball’s best.

        As to your lineup, I would go with Werth leading off because he sees a bunch of pitches and walks a ton. Then Harp, Rendon, etc.

        As to the Mets, I am not worried about them. My take is that the Nats will either get it together (in which case they will win the division comfortably) or they won’t (in which case they may or may not squeak into the playoffs only to be quickly dispatched if they do). When healthy and functioning, the Nats have a clearly better team, so I’m not losing sleep over the Mets.

  16. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    First of all, Rizzo didn’t get us a closer. He got us an 8th inning guy, possibly the best 8th inning guy in the NL, name of Drew Storen. And we needed one, because the bullpen was leaking runs and throwing close games down the drain.

    Second, anyone who thinks this team doesn’t care, doesn’t play hard, or doesn’t “want it” as much as the Mets do is NUTS. (Also, Matt Williams may not be the best manager, but is Terry Collins?????)

    Third, let’s not forget that the Mets were in the deepest dumps after the trade deadline screwup and the extra inning loss last week. They’re riding the highs and lows, it will catch up with them. Meanwhile, keep our team steady-as-she-goes. Our guys will hit.

    • chaz11963 - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      Exactly, it’s been a frustrating season because of all the injuries and the record of the team doesn’t reflect the talent level. Were all BBWA insane when they predicted the Nats as one of the best teams in MLB at the beginning of the season? These guys are playing their hearts out and if anyone thinks they don’t care… well… I won’t call anyone names… but you simply don’t know baseball.

    • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:14 AM

      Thanks for the manager comparison, NatsLady. I doubt that many Mets fans would compare Collins favorably with Bruce Bochy, for example. Just check the online comments after the non-trade fiasco on Wednesday. Collins and Alderson were BOTH excoriated by the fans.

      • realdealnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:12 PM

        Dave–no kidding. I was driving from the Cape through NYC to DC back in June and you shoulda heard the WFAN jocks. They were about to slit their wrists. They kept talking about Duda dis and Duda dat, I subjected my wife to it for about an hour and we were laughing our butts off. It was like listening to the Sopranos. Like NatsLady is saying, even post-deadline they’ll be riding the highs and lows. We need to take it steady as she goes and we’ll be there for the final bell.

    • jd - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      Noah Syndergard who is 22 years old threw 99 MPH on pitch number 109. I hope for his sake that he can stay healthy but I don’t know how responsible it is to let him do that.

  17. chaz11963 - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    Wow… I see LOD are out in force this morning. I think I’ll just refrain from reading NI on days like today. Perhaps some of you should up your medications.

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:45 AM

      I don’t get the defeatism on this blog, I truly don’t. Why do you project defeat? Why do you ACCEPT defeat?????

      Give up after losing three straight when you are tied for the Division with 49 games left, no way! You fight until the last out of the last game that you are in the race mathematically. After that, you fight for your place in history.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:55 AM

        Sometimes, you have to look at the poster and the history… and just expect it. I normally skip over it myself… but that is me personally.

        I knew either 1 of the Mets or the Fish would challenge the Nats this year. I actually thought it would be the Fish… but either way, I think the Nats need to be challenged all the way thru. Don’t take your foot off the gas. Maybe that will give them a different mindset when the reach October.

      • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:08 AM

        Mrsb, it might have been the Fish, but the Stanton injury just knocked it out of them. Their whole season was based on Stanton and the return of Fernandez. Fernandez has been as advertised, so I would watch out for them next year. BTW, I read that Stanton is healing “slower than expected.” That just means we won’t see him this year, or if we do, it will be at reduced capacity.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        Yes. I predicted the Nats would win the NLEast with the Fish, Mets, Phils and Braves rounding out the rest of the division.

        I border on feeling sorry for Stanton. Got that mega contract but things are still, not well, in Miami. Thought they (management) may have been taking a turn for the better… but it doesn’t seem like it.

        Ya know something else I thought about, is what Duda is doing sustainable. I swear he scored like 6 of the Mets 10 runs over the weekend…

      • JayB - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        Not giving up and you know that I am not

        Demanding better management and GM decisions over very long sample sizes

      • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:25 AM

        Critiques are fine.

        I also don’t understand why Williams didn’t follow the plan Rizzo laid out for him, take Ross out after six and go with Janssen-Storen-Paps. He got the idea of using his own “judgment” based on what he saw in Ross and the low pitch count. Hopefully, Rizzo had a word with him about that. Also not clear why he left Rivero in for a third inning of work, but we don’t know why “a couple” of relievers apparently weren’t available. I do know that I’ve had a terrible cold for several days and wouldn’t feel up to pitching. 😉

        What bothers me is the defeatism, the wallowing in “the Nats are BEATEN,” the season is over, etc. Those aren’t critiques, they’re a way of protecting one’s psyche: if I say the teams is full of losers, and then they lose, then I’m RIGHT, I know better than Mike Rizzo, Matt Williams et al. (If they win, I may have been wrong, but they’re winning so no one cares that I was wrong.)

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:28 AM

        You are absolutely correct in demanding better answers from management (specifically MW). Im not his biggest fan, still trying to figure if Im a fan of his or not to be truthful. I absolutely HATE the way he ‘manages’ BPs.

        You have that right to complain in that fashion and ask the questions…

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        It’s all about time horizon. Some — you, obviously, included — understand that the time horizon in baseball is a full 162-game (plus, potentially, the playoffs) season. Others have a time horizon of anywhere from an AB, to an inning, to a game, to maybe a series — and that’s about it.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:48 AM

      I get SOME of the critiques… and yes, some of them are warranted. However, a lot of people still have the football mentality and live and die with each pitch, at bat, and game. They don’t know how to appreciate the highs and lows of the season.

      Same thing happened in 2012 and 2104 but people only remember the end results…

  18. nats106 - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    Looking at the positives:

    1) We are still a game up in the loss column
    2) Given that the NL Central and West are playing so well, we have a true pennant race in the NL East this year. There is little likelihood that the N LEast will supply that wild card, so it’s all or nothing for the post season. I’m looking forward to that final series in NY-we’ll see what this team is made of then.
    3) While I rarely abandon my beloved sec 106, I am tonight for Diamond club, and that’s a reason to celebrate.

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Biggest take away for me was, once again, MW’s management of the BP. Really disappointed that Storen and Paps (trade deadline acquisition) didn’t pitch in this important series.

    Nats are back at home. Move on, take care of business.

    It was good to see Anthony hit his first HR last night. He had some pretty good at bats. Ryan also looked to be hittig the ball well. Now need Jayson to find his consistent stroke.

    Hurry back soon Denard… Please, hurry back soon.

  20. exposedindc - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Typical NI blog after a loss like that, plenty of doom and gloom, sprinkled with a little eternal optimism and a tad of reality…..isn’t baseball great ( think I’ve heard that somewhere ). I like the Nats chances, seems finally they are healthy, finally the brutal stretch of opponents starting pitching is over and they are still percentage points ahead in 1st place, all they have to do is win more games than the Terry Collins led Mets, if they don’t it’s “wait till next year”….I think I’ve heard that before too.

  21. exposedindc - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:06 AM

    Typical NI blog after a loss like that, plenty of doom and gloom, sprinkled with a little eternal optimism and a tad of reality…..isn’t baseball great ( think I’ve heard that somewhere ). I like the Nats chances, seems finally they are healthy, finally the brutal stretch of opponents starting pitching is over and they are still percentage points ahead in 1st place, all they have to do is win more games than the Terry Collins led Mets, if they don’t it’s “wait till next year”….I think I’ve heard that before too

    • exposedindc - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      Not sure why it posted twice…..sorry….Go Nats

      • JayB - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:39 AM

        You seem to be ok with assuming everying that should be done is being done and that after the last out off yet again an epic fail my this team you are ok with that and will look to next year learning nothing from the data and hold no one accountable

        MW special that’s baseball nobody is accountable here

  22. scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    To those who say fatten up on the weak teams; news flash guys, that’s not who will be playing in late September. This team hasn’t shown it can beat elite pitchers even with our best on the mound. Beating the Phillies won’t change that. This team needs to turn it around quick and the automatic out guys need to play like they can.

    • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      Well, but they certainly have to take out to the weak teams when they have the chance, right?

      • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        Take it to the weak teams. Bad autocorrect.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      Actually, that (weak teams) is who the Nats will be playing in late September. After September 2, the Nats will be playing the Braves and Marlins 7 times each, the Mets and Phillies 6 times each, and the O’s 3 times and possibly the Reds once (although I suspect that game will never be made up). Other than the Mets, the O’s are the only team in that bunch within shouting distance of .500.

  23. TimDz - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    To all Nats faithful (Including the LoD):

    I hope you all had a pleasant weekend. I was able to spend it with both of my children (which is rare, since I have a 20 year old college Junior and seeing her by herself is rare, let alone having the weekend with both her and her 16 year old brother) and even got some grilling in with the the family (note: no family members were grilled otherwise harmed). My kids and I even watched the games this weekend (at least Friday and Saturday’s games). Yes, they got swep. NO, it is not the end of the world. I watched until the Mets hit three home runs and decided I wasn’t going to let this put a damper on my weekend, so I went to bed.

    My uninformed opinion of the weekend series is that I truly expected a sweep and was OK with it and here is why:

    The Mets were riding an emotional high this weekend. They made big trades, made a trade that fell through (complete with teary eyed shortstop who walked us off on Saturday….makes for good drama, to say the least). They were playing at home, in front of a loyal fan base that was thirsting for such relevant baseball, even though it was August 1st (this is of importance here, bear with me). They have a position player hitting the snot out of the ball and they had their young gun pitchers lined up to play us (when you’re the big dog, they all come shooting for you).

    Is this sustainable? I would argue no for a number of reasons:

    1) The emotional high from trade deadline deals is the MLB equivalent of a sugar buzz….it doesn’t last forever and there is an eventual crash. Like I said, it is AUGUST 3RD….Nobody ever wins a division or makes a World Series run in August.
    2) Duda is otherworldly…RIGHT NOW (refer to my statement regarding August). If this was September or late September, I’d be a bit nervous. We had a player (Hoover…Henderson…Oh yeah…. HARPER) that got player of the week two weeks in a row based on his otherworldly play. Yup…it didn’t stay (although I will bet Duda will have a slump that Bryce didn’t….all Bryce did after that run was play solid ball….for him that was the slump).
    3) The starting pitching for the Mets is quite young and will surely get tired as the strain of the season wears on. It wouldn’t surprise me if they shut Syndengartennerstein (however you spell it) down, or if he becomes more ineffective later on in the season)

    Regardless, slow and steady will win the race, while the emotion will burn out quickly…..

    Having a great weekend with your family will do wonders for your perspective….

  24. laddieblahblah - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    I don’t like to comment after games like these because there are so many inflection points which could have changed the outcome – e.g. the “ball 4” call that should have been “strike 3” to end the 4th inning. It seemed to me that call was particularly bad, and it rattled JZ not to get it.

    A few pitches later, the Mets have hit 3 HRs and taken an 0-2 deficit to a 5-2 lead. That is not an excuse for JZ’s meltdown there, just a valid observation on how easily a few bad moments can affect a game like that. Other than those few ABs, the Nats out-pitched and outscored the Mets, 2-0.

    Tony Rendon is all the way back, obviously. I also like the way Ryan has been squaring up the power FBs the Mets staff has been dishing up to him – they had to revert to off-speed breakers to cool him off. Zim has been driving the FB ball really well, but failed to deliver RBIs in key game situations, which has been a major reason for the low scoring in the Mets series.

    Werth was over-powered by the Mets hard stuff, as was MAT, who also was fooled by breaking balls. Couldn’t hit anything. When Span returns, I can see MW benching Werth and moving MAT to LF with Span back at CF. I don’t know how long MW gives Werth to come around, but if he doesn’t, something will have to be done there. He also looks very, very shaky in the OF. It’s more likely, IMO, for MAT to regain his hitting stroke than Werth.

    Desi looks to be the SS for the duration of the season. The Nats seem to be banking on a return to form for him. Ramos has been in a terrible slump. He can turn that around, and has done so in the past.

    The Nats have the bullets, but they are not firing on all cylinders, right now. Span, Tony, Escobar, Harp and 2 more of the regulars can carry the offense. They need one of those 2 to be Zim, with Ramos, Desi or MAT also giving a boost to the middle of the order. The middle of the order has got to start cashing in all the base runners provided by Span, when he returns, and by the continued hitting of Tony, Escobar and Harp.

    Boy, have they ever missed Tony Rendon, who is becoming more and more of a power hitter, without really trying. If he keeps killing the ball like he did last night, we could see him in the 4-hole behind Span, Escobar and Harp, at some point.

    It can be done, any number of ways, depending upon who, and how many, eventually come around. We’ll see.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      ‘I don’t know how long MW gives Werth to come around, but if he doesn’t, something will have to be done there.’

      FWIW – He stuck with Desi for… forever… so I expect him to stay with Werth for the same too. However, I do believe (hope) that he will do late defensive subs for Werth late in games…

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      I was surprised JZimm got rattled. When he first came up that stuff (umpires’ blown calls, fielding errors) got to him, but I thought he was past it.

      • jd - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        NL,

        JZimm has been un ace like since June. We have needed him to step up on several occasions this year and he hasn’t been able to.

        Interestingly enough, Gio on Friday night had little or no command and had to be taken out in the 5th inning because he threw so many pitches but yet he only gave up 1 run. I like that about Gio.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      It seems odd to have in a comment “Werth was over-powered by the Mets hard stuff, as was MAT, who was also fooled by breaking balls” and then go on to assume that MAT comes around sooner than Werth. Although he’s certainly had his moments, overall MAT has been underwhelming (even with his injuries and rustiness, Werth’s OBP is still higher than MAT’s for 2015). It ignores or dismisses the fact that, with no spring training at all Werth was pretty awful his first two weeks back, but actually rounded into shape after that and was raking when he got his wrist broken by the HBP.

      It also assumes that Werth, who was the best hitter on the team in 2013 and 2014, is completely done. Although I do expect the power to be slow to come back, I also expect that (as he did in 2012) he will be an effective hitter with a solid OBP going forward. Father Time is undefeated, and I do not expect that Werth is going to be as good as he was in 2012 (.300/.385/.440) but even a .275/.350/.400 version of Werth would provide significantly more offensive impact than MAT (.237/.282/.369) has so far this season

      The future clearly belongs to MAT more than Werth; MAT is 12 years (!) younger. But for the remainder of the year Werth is likely the better bat.

      • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        Here’s my prediction: JDub peaks in very late September, and it carries over into October, and we have to change the photo on the back of the scoreboard to show his homer from game 6 of the Nats first WS victory since 1924.

  25. micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    The game last night I can live with, its the first 2 that shows MW is a terrible no account manager. I really do not like him and his crap ass news conference after the 2nd game sealed the deal for me, Anyone who can not admit fault is a flawed person

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      I don’t watch press conferences, ever. I don’t see any use in them. I don’t expect a manager to “admit fault” and I wouldn’t like it if he did. I was NOT impressed by Terry Collins weeping all over himself for not bringing Familia in when the Mets lost to us in the previous series.

  26. micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    In a way I hope nats do not make post season because the stooge will be fired

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      RIdiculous.

      • jd - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:23 AM

        Yeah, Mick gets carried away. On the other hand I am very unimpressed with MW as a manager, you are right I’d rather have him than Collins but that’s not saying much. I think MW is a product of Rizzo’s relationship with Davie Johnson. They butted heads on many occasions as a result of which Rizzo was determined to bring in his own guy who wouldn’t challenge him. I think that’s a dangerous way to go. I prefer my managers have the freedom and ability to think outside the box.

      • JayB - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:37 AM

        If you want a manager who thinks….at all….then MW manage my numbers is the opposite…..He is just so pig headed….just like Rizzo…..at least Rizzo is smart and knows his job…..he will likely never reach his full potential due to his fatal flaws but he is a good GM.

      • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        jd, he did think outside Rizzo’s box when he left Ross in to pitch to Duda in the seventh inning. What you want is for him to SUCCESSFULLY think outside Rizzo’s box. 😉

      • jd - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        I actually had no problem with starting Ross in the 7th inning on Friday. I think he was at 84 pitches and was basically cruising. I think Duda hits any pitcher as hot as he is right now. On the other hand I hate to lose the game with Matt Thornton on the mound. After not using his 3 closers on Friday why not go with Storen and Paplebon on Saturday?

        I didn’t like trying to squeeze a 3rd iining out of Rivero on Friday. The Mets were down to their 4th and 5h choices out of the pen by the 12th inning and using our best relievers should have given our lineup another couple of innings to produce the winning run.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      Rizzo has already picked up MW’s option for 2016 so the earliest he would realistically fire him would be ASB 2016, and for that to happen he’d have to miss the playoffs this year and get off to an Acta-like start next year. So we’re stuck with him for a while yet. As I’ve said before, if the Nats win anything it will be despite Matt Williams not because of him.

      • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        A while back I wrote a post about Bruce Bochy and his tenure with the Padres. It’s hard to do because the stakes are so high, but given time, Williams could mature as a manager.

    • realdealnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      Most of the teams and organizations I like have stability. And patience. I think it is premature to write MW off so soon. Sometimes people straightjacket a job until they control it and then step outside the box. I’m curious if anyone remembers how Bucky Showalter started off as a manager. I like his instinct, but I would not bet the farm he started off like he is now. People evolve; grow into roles and jobs. I like Rizzo as a GM b/c he has a vision and sticks to it. He’ll have us in the mix for years to come. I like the baseball Cardinals, the football Steelers, and the basketball Celtics b/c they generally have a vision and stick to it. And sooner or later things (read championships) break their way. It’s no accident this happens. It is years of preparation meeting opportunity. Maybe we’re not there quite yet…and maybe we are. “Why not us?” is always a healthy fightin attitude.

  27. thewerthwhisperer - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

    On to more pressing matters…does anyone think that the Werth Chia Pet figures will be gone by 5:30 like his Garden Gnome was? Do I really need to get there that early on Wednesday?

    • stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:47 AM

      Home plate entrance, on the river side. Just saying.

      Going Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Not a single marquee pitching matchup in sight, hallelujah.

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      I’m about to tell my boss I’m leaving at 3 pm. No telling.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      Yes. Get there right at 5:30 and go in a back gate where there will be little line to wait in.

  28. alexva6 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    I’ll second the comments criticizing MW’s in game managing but I have to acknowledge that there is a second part of being an MLB manager, getting your team ready to play 162 games. in that area he has done very well and deserves credit.

  29. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    I’m not going to quickly dismiss the Mets because of, not Duda or any of the pitchers, but because of one canary in the tunnel, Curtis Granderson. This guy was sleep-walking through the season until recently. Not liking it that he has come alive. Not liking it AT ALL.

  30. paulfortier - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    According to you, which will be the best candidate to replace Mitch Williams successfully?

    • JayB - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      Anyone but randy knot is my first interview

    • Dave - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Um, I think Mitch Williams is a former pitcher and former TV taking head, until he went ballistic at a Little League game or something.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:52 AM

      At this point Mitch Williams might be a better manager for the Nats than Matt Williams. More entertaining if nothing else. Take some edge off the losing.

  31. therealjohnc - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    Started to read the thread, quickly jumped over 90% of it as being panic-stricken and irrational.

    Fact: The Mets have an easy schedule from this point out. Everyone knows that. What people are missing is that the Nats also have an easy schedule from here out. Yes, the Nats have a West Coast road trip. The Mets still get to play the Pirates and the Yankees, two much better clubs.

    Fact: The Nats not only have two games in hand and a one game lead in the loss column (which is why they are still technically in first place, although only by percentage points); the Nats are playing mostly at home (34 of 59 games) and the Mets are playing mostly on the road (32 of 57 games). The Nats have been a good home team (28-19, .596 winning percentage, +18 run differential). The Mets have been an awful road team (17-32, .347 winning percentage, -46 run differential).

    Fact: Three days ago the Mets were LOLMets for having punted away a series at home in miserable fashion against an inferior team. The Nationals were coming off of a series win on the road in Miami and were pointed up. Now it looks different. But impressions like this change constantly in a 162 game baseball season. “You’re never as good as you look when you win, or as bad as you look when you lose” applies equally to the Nats and Mets coming off this series.

    I know that perspective is not easy for a fan to maintain – heck, for some fans it’s apparently not even desirable! But remember perspective if you accidentally find yourself reading a comment from someone who doesn’t. have it.

    The Nats do have work to do, and there are no guarantees – in either direction, although the pessimists and optimists have their own guarantees they are trying to sell us. I, for one, look forward to a pennant race and all the thrills, chills, agony and exhilaration that come along with it.

    • jd - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:47 AM

      therealjohnc,

      fair points. I still feel we should have figured out a way to win one game in NY. It would have really made a difference.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      This is what Pirates/Cards fans… even Dodgers/Giants fans feel like *seemingly* every year. Should be a fun finish – and yes, I do expect the Nats to finish out on top…

    • abqnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      Those are all good points. The season is far from over, and at this date, far from lost (but if we are honest with ourselves, being percentage points ahead in August is not what very many folks would have bet on in April). They could still have a good two months and win the Division by daylight. They could also lose the Division by daylight, which would be very disappointing.

      I also look forward to a good pennant race. I will be happy if the Nats win the Division, period. The one thing that would spoil it is lots of games of futility (poor managing decisions, poor hitting approaches, the wrong tools on the 25 man) resulting in letting the Division slip away. If we lose the Division, a wildcard is possible, but given the Division we are in, a longer shot than winning the Division at the moment.

      I have a lot of concerns, and sometimes I may express them. I still enjoy each game as it starts.

    • realdealnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      Well put.

  32. mrnat7 - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    The;y are NEVER going to win in red! Put them in BLUE and they will become true Washington! Also, the Nationals need a manager who has experience to lead this team. We missed the boat when we let Baltmore hire Buck. Rizzo always favors people he knew when he was with Arizona. What does it take to give Espi a chance at SS. Also, what kind of management would trade for a guy to play 2b (Escobar) and when Rendon gets hurt in spring training he puts him at 3b. They could have played Espi at third until Rendon got back and Escobar would gotten his experience and be playing second. Rendon was developing into one of the better 3b in baseball. Now we have set him back and now don’t have the infield they invisioned. The pitchers never get to develope any confidence because they are not allowed to work out of jams.

  33. paulfortier - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    How about putting Ryan Zimmerman in the clean-up spot even if he is not able to hit a good fastball? Three games against the Mets : 1 hit, 0 rbi. OK, he hit a winning homerun against the Marlins. But it was a change-up and the Mets served him a complete regime of 95 and plus fastball. Pathetic.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      He smoked a 99mph fast ball from Jose Fernandez to center for single in Miami, squared up another one from Noah Syndegaard for a lineout – which is simply bad BABIP luck – and just missed another against Syndegaard for a deep flyout.

      Opposing pitchers will tell you whether you can get around on a fastball. When he first came back Zim was getting mostly fastballs. By the end of the week that had changed to a substantial mix of offspeed pitches – because he was hitting the fastballs. Opposing teams are paying attention to quality of swings and quality of contact even if the hits aren’t falling.

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:33 PM

        Yes, Ryan is looking much improved.

  34. senators69 - Aug 3, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    Skimmed this blog just now…
    Lotta posters I don’t recognize…
    Lotta LONG LONG comments…
    Longitime posters MrsB and NatsLady — you got it going on! Nice job!

    I’m trying to stay cool…However:
    * Matt Williams NOT a help yet he”s gonna be here for the foreseeable future. Rizzo can’t fire him b/c would make Rizzo look bad…bums me out
    * Rizzo rolling the dice that the injured batters will rally…makes me nervous

    If the Nats don’t win at least one post-season series, I think/hope for some major changes.

  35. jfmii - Aug 3, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    So many folks need to draw conclusions, but baseball, in August and even in September, just keeps on rolling. 59 more games. That is a lot. The doomsayers who simply must state their cases in such a strident, forceful way, might be right. They might be wrong. In today’s culture, they certainly will not admit if they are wrong– or I guess they will just use the playoffs to “prove” their correctness. Only ONE team wins the world series so the doomsayers will probably have their day to say “I told you so, LOSERS”. And use words like “pathetic”.

    Me?, I am just enjoying the process; enjoying the fourth straight season of being in contention as late as August.

  36. Skinsdiehard - Aug 3, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    R Zimm and Werth will not carry a team to a championship. Nats organization an fans ate delusional. They can’t deliver in the clutch, especially Zimm. He shouldn’t even be on the playoff roster. Guaranteed he would get maybe 1 hit in an entire playoff series.

    • jfmii - Aug 3, 2015 at 5:04 PM

      Glad you have it all figured out.

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