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After bottoming out, can Nats hit reset button?

Aug 6, 2015, 1:18 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

If you were hoping for a closed-door meeting, for the postgame spread to be turned over, for the expletives to fly, for the panic button to be smashed with a closed fist … well, that didn’t happen Wednesday night. The tone coming out of the Nationals’ clubhouse following a hideous, 11-4 loss to the Diamondbacks was one of encouragement, of sticking together, of “having more fun.”

Oh, there will be a team meeting before Thursday afternoon’s series finale — “I think we’ll have a conversation tomorrow about where we want to go and what we want to do,” manager Matt Williams said — but the purpose won’t be to tear anybody down but rather to try to build people back up after a ragged stretch to open the season’s second half that has left this team in a suddenly precarious position.

“Laugh, and really try to enjoy the game,” right fielder Bryce Harper said, offering his prescription for what ails this team. “That’s all that matters. Try to enjoy the game, try to laugh and smile. There’s bigger things than just baseball in life. Just come in with a clean slate every single day and worry about what you can do to help your team win that day.”

Maybe there was nothing the Nationals could do after Wednesday night’s debacle but laugh it off and turn the page. This was, in every possible way, a laugher of a ballgame. Among its most notable features…

— A ghastly (and costly) error by Aaron Barrett, who fielded Nick Ahmed’s fifth-inning sacrifice bunt and fired it down the right-field line, bringing home the two runs that gave Arizona the lead for good. “Just trying to make a good play and get rid of it as fast as I could,” the right-hander said. “It just got away. It sucks.”

— A bases-loaded walk issued by Tanner Roark later in that fifth inning.

— A strike-out-the-side inning of relief by Oliver Perez, who got Harper swinging and then Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth looking.

— A bases-loaded balk by Felipe Rivero in the top of the ninth.

— A position player, Tyler Moore, replacing the ineffective Rivero later that inning … and outperforming the rest of the Nationals bullpen by retiring two of the three batters he faced, including MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt.

And then, of course, there was the big picture at the end of the night. A Nationals club that not long ago was expected to run away with the NL East title has now lost five of its last six while watching the Mets win six in a row and open up a 2-game lead in the division.

So, how come there’s no palpable sense of panic in the clubhouse right now?

“We can’t,” catcher Jose Lobaton said. “Still a lot of games. I know we’ve got a better team. I know we can do better and better, but that’s what baseball is giving to us right now. We gotta keep working and working and try to show the fans and everybody that we’re still a good team that’s gonna be in the playoffs.”

Playoffs? Playoffs? That may feel like the last thing this team should be worried about at the moment. Winning a game or two this week would seem to be a more pressing matter.

But that’s not this team’s style. There is an inherent confidence permeating through that clubhouse. It rubs some people the wrong way. But it’s who these Nationals are. They know they haven’t played up to their potential yet, but they believe they will before it’s all said and done.

“I think it’s just a matter of time, really,” left fielder Jayson Werth said after Tuesday night’s win. “We’re a great second-half team.”

There is some truth in that. Every team every year is by definition different, but the Nationals have established a pattern over the last three years of finishing the regular season on a roll. Their winning percentages in August and September in 2012, 2013 and 2014: .617, .630, .679.

Do they have another run like that in them in 2015? Who knows, but they may need one if they’re going to emerge on top and have another shot at erasing their October demons. At the moment, the Nationals (55-51) are playing at an 84-win pace. To get to 90, they’d need to play at a 101-win pace the rest of the way, a .623 winning percentage.

“I just think coming in every single day you’ve just gotta have a good mind, try to have a positive attitude every single day,” Harper said. “Just try to go about it the right way. Our team, we’re very good, and everybody knows that. Hopefully we can keep grinding it and keep doing it and have a positive attitude every single day. Just try to enjoy the game we play.”

The Nationals will hope to start that process Thursday afternoon, when their manager closes the doors to their clubhouse, gathers everybody together and tries to get them to use the embarrassment of their latest loss — and the last couple of weeks — as a wake-up call before it’s too late.

“Can it galvanize? Yeah, we hope so,” Williams said. “That’ll be the message tomorrow, for sure. We’ve got a limited number of games left, and we’ve got to play well if we’re going to get to where we want to go. That includes everybody. We feel good about the guy going for us tomorrow [rookie right-hander Joe Ross]. We’ll see if we can get that one to get started.”

106 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natsguy - Aug 6, 2015 at 1:35 AM

    These comments remind me so much of 2013. “We’ve still got plenty of time” until they didn’t. Sure have fun but know you suck as a team right now.

    I do agree there are more important things to worry about in life.

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:01 AM

      These comments remind me so much of 2013.

      They are also reminiscent of 2014.

  2. simalex - Aug 6, 2015 at 3:00 AM

    The lack of sense of urgency has been 1) apparent in the quality of play, and 2) more than a little baffling. I dunno.

  3. wmlsays - Aug 6, 2015 at 3:21 AM

    Matt Williams time is coming to an end. And Mike Rizzo has proven incapable of building a roster that’s balanced or able to go deep into the playoffs. When you load up on great pitching and the great pitching never comes, you get the Nats.

    • dcphanatic - Aug 6, 2015 at 5:16 PM

      You do seem a bit agitated. Time and therapy will help you overcome your evident lack of common sense and baseball acumen. Tune in to MLB cable network in the morning bs before bed for 10 days or until you baseball IQ match your shoe size. Have news for you: neither Rizzo nor MW are going anywhere anytime soon. Live with it.

  4. JayB - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    Rizzo has been very quite lately. That is when he is most angry…..MW will not make it through August without being in first place soon. Is it mostly MW problems…no it is mostly JW, Zim, Ian, and a culture of Nats problem….you can not have 29 other teams hate the way you do business and carry yourself on and off the field without good reason. Baseball players do not like guys who think they should be given wins….or they have earned playing time based on past years…..Other clubs look at this team and organization and say what a waste….lets kick their ass again and watch them not care.

  5. natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    Ugh. Went to bed after the 6th. Sounds like it got *really* bad after that. Not sure that I’ll watch the rest of it. Well, maybe I’ll watch TyMo’s pitching appearance. Eh.

  6. JayB - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:17 AM

    Nats remind me of Texas Longhorns in the early 80’s….they would roll into town with all the trimmings…set up cooling stations in their dugout…..on your field……..and put a lineup of future major leagues, all stars and Roger Clemens for game one……and push play…..if you kicked them hard they would fold and did not seem to care….yes they won one College WS but they lost far more than that and way way underachieved for that talent…..they did not really care and that is what this team looks like to me.

    • texnat1 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:01 AM

      Texas played in the College World Series 7 times in the 80s, made it to the final game 3 times, and one a championship.

      The fact that you not only look down on this run, but actually hold it up as an example of failure, explains a lot about your posting history here.

      • texnat1 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:01 AM

        *won a championship. Yikes.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:40 AM


  7. natslive - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    Very frustrating to watch this team right now….no sense of urgency…yes the season is not over but they need to do something to kick start….I suspect Harpers comment really means they have been pressing. Yes I agree more important things in life than baseball games so I will watch and root for them but not end of world if the lose. Good thing for today is I will be at work so will miss most of it – maybe that will be the reverse jinx for them to do well.

  8. Another_Sam - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    Regarding losing the locker room from another thread: I sit in the stands and in front of my TV. So I can comment on only what I see on the field. #empiricist

    Last night – my frustration is that the hope was to eke out another 2-1, five hit win. There’s no percentage in that. IMHO the pitching, though well below the euphoric expectations, has been mostly bearable. It’s the anemic hitting that annoys me. Some of the biggest names on the club are battling with Mendoza. Anything over five hits per game is a big night. Six or seven innings a night with no base runners is the norm. Struggling journeymen pitchers get well against this crew. Forgive my rant.

    Regardless of all this, I applaud the wisdom of NatsJack and NatsLady. I’ll be watching again today. Play ball. The score is 0-0 right now.

  9. Serious Jammage - Aug 6, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    I am the eternal optimist but that was an ugly baseball game. Our guys made little league mistakes. Fangraphs now has us projected to end the season in a tie with the Mets at 86 wins. Ugh.

    I’ll be in section 113 this afternoon to watch the turnaround begin.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:11 AM

      I was there Tuesday night for the turn around! The road to the playoffs is drawn with crooked lines

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:03 AM

        The road to the playoffs is drawn with crooked lines



  10. edshelton2013 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    Mark says we’ve “bottomed out”. I hope he’s right, but as natslady pointed out, the upcoming west coast trip will define the rest of the season.

  11. dcwx61 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    I wish players could not read or were not permitted to listen to the media…then I could be sure, they are sure of MW as their manage.

  12. saxguy007 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    I am honestly wondering what “caring” is supposed to accomplish, other than sending some psychologically-comforting signal to the fans. Will getting ticked off about losing suddenly mean breaking balls break better? That curveballs drop in where they’re supposed to? That bats will magically hurl through the zone a couple millimeters higher or lower, sooner or later to barrel up?

    Does “caring” mean extra batting practice (which if it raised OPS would have every batter doing it “caring” or not).

    The only obvious not-caring symptom is not running out ground balls or letting marginal flies drop in front instead of diving for them. We know not legging out grounders is a bench-able offense.

    “Caring” can mean PRESSING- swinging harder in counts and contexts (and rolling over to short) when a bloop single the other way could have gotten something started.

    Yeah, it sucks when it seems these highly-paid athletes seem to have came in with an entitlement mentality, but don’t expect a sudden increase in “caring” to change anything.

  13. scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    That’s right, these are your Nats. No sense of panic, no need to show emotion, no need to get upset. After all, this is the team that has been rolling to Championships one after another, no need to change the ‘it will be ok’ culture.

    I said this team had no fire and was asked how I knew or could prove it; just read the article above. Sure they want to win, but do they want to win as much as the Cards, the Giants, the Mets? Are they willing to do what it takes to win? No, all we have are silent leaders who address the horrid play with deep thoughts and serious faces. I want to see a table turned over, I want to see a water cooler smashed. I want MW to go out and go nuts as yet another strike 3 is called a ball. I’m tired of hearing of injuries, tired of hearing we have to respect someone like Desi because he is ‘grinding’. And, like so many here, I’m tired of watching an uninspired team lose more then the level of talent would suggest.

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      I want to see a table turned over, I want to see a water cooler smashed. I want MW to go out and go nuts as yet another strike 3 is called a ball.

      That might work in basketball or football — but not in baseball.

      • scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        And that is because???

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        Because baseball is a skill sport, like, say, golf is. The only way to hit a baseball is to quiet your mind. How many times do we hear, of batters in slumps, “he was pressing, he just needs to relax at the plate” ?

        Similarly, how many times do we hear that a pitcher “was overthrowing it, he needs to stay within himself.”

        Look. I get it. Everybody wants to see Mike Ditka-in-your-face scream — it’s like a vicarious venting of frustration. But is dumping a table going to get Desi or Espi out of their slumps? Is screaming going to help Werth shake the rust off?

        (Do you recall that everybody said that Tony Dungy would never be a good coach because he was too calm? And then he finally got fired from Tampa Bay. So, the Colts hired him — and folks said the same thing: “he never yells, he’ll never motivate a football team good enough!”

        After 5 straight 1st place divison titles and a Super Bowl ring they stopped saying that about him.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:05 AM

        Let me add one thing. Despite what I wrote, I think the “dumping the table” *is* worthwhile/helpful in one scenario: where players are playing as if they don’t care and/or are playing lazy.

        But I really don’t think that’s the case here. Except for that ill-timed sinker by Barrett — the defense was solid. Baserunning had no gaffes (in part because there were hardly any baserunners to begin with). Folks were still trying while down 11-2 in the bottom of the ninth.

        But — folks are slumping at the plate and middle BP still has problems, and even some of our starters are not playing up to par (yes, JZ and Fister, I’m looking at you guys. In fact Gio’s been the second most reliable starter over the past month).

      • scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:05 AM

        Well Weaver and Showalter sure seem to break that mold.

        Now I’m not saying to yell just to yell but I disagree with your notion that being relaxed is the only way to get performance. Sure pressing doesn’t help but the attitude everything will be OK obviously isnt working for this team. Seeing passion, not anger, is something I think would help – unless its a bonehead move like Harper getting ejected.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        Well Weaver and Showalter sure seem to break that mold.

        I think it shows there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Just like, say, both screamers *and* Dungy can win a Super Bowl.

        Now I’m not saying to yell just to yell but I disagree with your notion that being relaxed is the only way to get performance.

        I’ve never played baseball at a high level — but I can’t recall anyone ever saying anything other than “be relaxed at the plate.”

        Seeing passion, not anger, is something I think would help

        I would help the fans, for sure!

        I dunno. RZ rarely looks passionate, and yet over his career he’s Mr Clutch. Rendon often looks like he’s about to fall asleep at the plate, but (when healthy and playing full time) he’s one of our best.

        OTOH, the rap on Gio was that he had too much passion while pitching!

  14. robertrobert104 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    Boy, are they choking or what? They just prove to us, fans, that they don’t have the nerves to win….Too bad, it will soon be the time to reconstruct that team, since a 1/3 of the team will hit free agency at the end of the year. Thing is, next year, we will still have Werth (less) and Zim with their .200 hitting stats….

  15. stoatva - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    Read today’s NYTimes article about the Red Sox if you want a look at how bad things can get.

  16. JayB - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    agreed…nothing bad ever came of a manager tipping tables and getting in players faces when things get this bad and team plays with such a low energy level and so little sense of urgency. Rizzo is likely the only one with the leadership skills to go into the locker room and fire MW and Tip a table or two…..

    • scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      Or Harper. Please not Werth, Rendon, Escobar, Span, SS, Fister or Barrett; they would end up back on the DL.

      On a bright note, we saw Barrett’s excellent sinker. Too bad it was on the throw to first.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    Ugly? That was worse than ugly. What is really discouraging is that last night was not an aberration.No, I haven’t thrown in the towel, but I am discouraged. Not just because of last night, or Monday night, or the Mets series, or the Pirates series, or the Dodgers series, but the accumulation of all of them since the break. Yes, like NatsLady, NatsJack, Another Sam,and so many others, I am happy to have baseball here to watch, and I’ll watch again today, etc. but this team is not playing very good baseball right now. Jeez, the highlight from last night was that Tyler Moore pitched and we called it quits and went home before that happened. I just think that even with all of the injuries that this team should be performing better than they have. A lot better. And when it’s your veterans that are looking this bad, it’s even worse. I’ve been a huge Jayson Werth fan since day one, but, Dude, you look as bad in LF as anybody has since Wily Mo Pena. And Ian Desmond, you have shown the worse plate discipline as anybody’s since…Wily Mo Pena. And Matt William? Your bullpen management has been as bad as anybody’s since…pre-Nationals.

    But all that said? Go get ’em today.

    • stoatva - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      Pray for rain!

    • scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:50 AM

      +100 I’ll watch and root if they lose the next 20 games. Complain about it too. Still hope that next day the real Nats show up.

    • raleighnat - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:50 AM

      What is discouraging to me is that the players themselves just don’t seem to be as good as I’d hoped and expected. Due to injuries and poor play I would say the following have significantly under produced:


      Span is a wash – been very good (I think the key to our offense) – but out so much

      Fulfilling or exceeding expectations
      Scherzer, Harper, Storen, Escobar

      The underperformers are simply killing us and we need Span back. Since the Mets are not going to let 84 win our way into the playoffs, our veterans (the core) are going to have to turn the corner and start playing really well.

  18. micksback1 - Aug 6, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    The Nats post game response exceeded even my silly prediction last night . They not only are cozy and weak, they actually sang Kumbya.

    Denial will not help turning this around. There are certain realities that one can see since the so called great hitters have returned to the lineup with a more than adequate sample size. But wait… an adequate sample size to Stooge Williams is apparently 162 games, aka..Desi.

    Werth is now Werthless, period He is old, injured and hopeless and.RZim is old. nats are better off and were better off and in first place with Robinson playing everyday A poster last night (I forgot who) hit the nail on the head when he said that the Nats got old at once. This is true but only part of the reason for this disaster. The main reason is the Nats have one of the worst managers in the game, who has no clue on his team, when to leave pitchers in or when to take them out. The worst part is MW is arrogant and pain dumb

    Barrett is a joke of a reliever,and his play personifies the stupidity of the manager. very sad and disappointing season that had so much promise, Nats will not win 82 games, tae that to the bank unless they do what the marlins did in 2003, they changed course with a real manager (Jim leyland and got to the NLCS with far less talent than the nats.

    One more point to make: The defenders of MW who point to injuries, i have one question:

    How do you reconcile the FACT, not opinion that the club was in first most of the season BEFORE the regulars returned????

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:07 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?

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      Panic full press, eh?

      Most folks say (and Harper just said it a day or two ago) you need 100 AB to get going after a long layoff. Werth has had 31 PA’s since he came back. So, a bit premature to write him off.

      As for Desi — well, we all got our wish last night, didn’t we? Our big star Espi got to play instead. (0-for-4).

      Please note: Espi has been batting .170 over the last 30 days (Jul 7 thru last night). Repeat: .170. So while we love to call MW an idiot for playing Desi, perhaps MW is not such an idiot in this instance.

      How do you reconcile the FACT, not opinion that the club was in first most of the season BEFORE the regulars returned????

      The regulars aren’t all back. Before, we had Span and Strasburg — now we don’t. Further, *in the short run* Werth and RZ are still shaking off rust.

      Nats will not win 82 games, tae that to the bank

      To the bank? Does that mean you will make a wager with me? Please?

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    I mean it was awful… No way else to describe it. Gio didn’t pitch effectively/efficiently enough, imo. BP blew it to hell… and the offense went silent after scoring 2 runs in the 1st inning.

    Nats are a good team playing bad ball. Hopefully this is the low of the lows and they can get it together.

    Kinda cool seeing TyMo get Goldy out. I had to chuckle…

    Im just really glad I got my Chia Pet. Yesterday would have sucked really bad if I hadn’t.

    • jd - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:25 AM


      True about Gio not being efficient. Not true about him not being effective. We should know by now that Gio for all his faults is a bulldog and most times he gives us heart burn but he rarely blows up. I feel that there is a very good chance he would have gotten through the 6th inning without doing a Barrett. The look on Gio’s face after Barrett threw the ball away was worth a thousand words.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        He was at like 95 pitches after 5 innings. I don’t think that is effective pitching. But you are right in that he is a bulldog and tries to give his all. And I also think he would have gotten out of the 6th had he stayed. Hell, 2 innings before that (or was it 3) he allowed 2 batters on, no walks and ended up getting out the inning with no runs scored.

        I was at the game and when I saw Gio come out for the 6th, I said to the folks I was with – Watch MW pull him if he allows 1 batter on base, which I am totally against. And lo and behold, of course he did it. I completely disagreed with it.

        This feeble offense has gotten old. The lack of runs is really concerning. Starting pitchers fearing they have to be perfect becuz the bats are dead and the BP will come in and just mess it up more.

        Nats are in a bad place right now…

      • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:40 AM

        He looked so dejected. He hung his head. That pretty much summed up last night, and the past few weeks in one camera take.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:42 AM

        I recorded the game so that I could go back and watch parts I had questions about… but I don’t think I want to see his face or any of what happened last night again…

  20. micksback1 - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    As long as Nats have the pitching pipeline they have Giolotto, Ross, etc… they will remain good even after JZim leaves and Bryce leaves after 2018. Provided they hire a REAL manager, not this clown who has dragged this team to its lowest level in 5 years. Everyone makes mistakes, Rizzo is a great GM, but Mike, chalk up Stooge Williams as a disaster

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      worst managers in the game, who has no clue on his team, when to leave pitchers in or when to take them out

      That’s easy. If the other team scores a run in the 5th 6th or 7th, it’s MW’s fault. If they don’t score, it’s because our pitcher was good.

      See? Simple!

      The entire first 2/3 of the season was marked with: “MW leaves his starters in too long and our BP sucks” as if there was no contradiction there.

      Well, last night you got your wish. The starter got pulled after 95 pitches.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:32 AM

        That’s exactly right. What’s been exposed time and again is that Aaaron Barrett and Roark just have no consistency.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        That’s exactly right. What’s been exposed time and again is that Aaaron Barrett and Roark just have no consistency.

        Roark was so good last year and the year before. And who’da thunk that we’d miss Stammen so much.

        And RIvero? Wow. In his last 11 appearances, he’d only given up that HR to Duda — ERA of 0.63.

        And Barrett — the guy we all love to hate as much as Desi — it’s worth reminding that he’d pitched 9 straight scoreless appearances: 7 K’s, 4 hits, 1 BB. He really looked like he was back on track — especially after throwing 2-2/3 scoreless IP against the Mets on back to back night.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        Barrett has come in with inherited runners that he has allowed to score which doesn’t show up on his ERA. July 21st and July 25th and last night were those cases.

        Barrett was used as a stopper as Rizzo has no other righty for that. He’s been fine with bases empty.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        Barrett has come in with inherited runners that he has allowed to score which doesn’t show up on his ERA.

        Good point. Still, his back-to-back appearances against the Mets looked pretty good, imho (july 31-aug 1)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:02 AM

        Yes, those were. Stats though are Barrett only has 3 of his last 12 appearances were clean appearances and 9 of the 12 appearances were all partial innings. That’s not good.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:45 AM

        Ghost, imho, what they have done with Tanner Roark this year is nothing short of 1st degree baseball player abuse. The young man has no set role, hasn’t really had one since the day Max was signed. He is getting yanked around in every way imaginable. Expecting versatility is on thing, but his handling has been just twisted. I actually appreciate Tanner’s efforts more than anybody else’s on the team.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM

        Roark hasn’t had “no role” this season. He’s had the Craig Stammen role. Thing is, Craig Stammen did a much better job of it in previous years.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:10 AM

        “Roark hasn’t had “no role” this season. He’s had the Craig Stammen role. Thing is, Craig Stammen did a much better job of it in previous years.”

        Really? Stammen was moved from being a starter in 2010. Do you know how many games he started since 2010? Look it up, you’ll be surprised. Roark’s role, I think, was supposed to be like Stammen’s was before Craig got hurt, but Stammen’s was never used in quite the same way as Roark has been.

  21. jd - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    A few observations:

    1) Typical bullpen management by MW. Gio was either gassed and should have been pinch hit for in the bottom of the 5th or he was fine and should not have been taken out after 1 ground ball single.

    2) The ticket to winning for the Nats as designed by the Paplebon trade was to get the starter through 6 innings and then hand the ball to Jansen, Storen, Paplebon. It’s kind of hard to do when you use your closers in a 5 – 0 deficit on Monday.

    3) You can’t use Barrett in any situation that can potentially influence the outcome of a game. At this point mop up or Syracuse.

    4) Someone said yesterday that Thornton should only be used situationaly. Please tell me what situation would qualify as a good one to use Thornton in. He can’t get lefties out anymore, he’s basically useless.

    5) Burning Rivero in a game that was pretty much lost already was asinine. This was actually a good time to let Thornton finish the game.

    6) Some posters (Mick) are convinced that Werth and Zimmerman are old and done. Maybe but more than likely they are still in spring training mode having missed months of the season. Werth was rebounding into form last time he got hurt just before he got hurt again, Zim has been playing with a very painful injury most of the year and it won’t get all the way better until he rests it completely in the off season.

    7) I am a fan of the Nats and if they are 5 games back with 6 to play I will hold out hope they can turn it around. The posters blasting the Nats are tedious and redundant. The worse they get the more crow they will have to eat if/when things turn positive.

    8) There is a game this afternoon so it’s all good.

    • texnat1 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Agree with these comments. Thornton is done. The collapse of Thornton, Barrett, Trienen and injury to Stammen have really hurt this year.

    • bowdenball - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      This is a great, great post. Agree with every word of it. +1.

  22. Bob - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    I don’t like the fact they Matt or anyone else doesn’t say they need to step up or get benched. Matt, stop with the la de da attitude. If a player is struggling, put someone in who will play. Matt, you need to adjust and change how you coach and approach the games. It seeks to us your current approach is not working. Same goes for your coaches

  23. Candide - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Okay, there were some GOOD things that happened last night: Most of them were after things had gone completely off the rails, but…

    1) Watching the out-of-town scoreboard in the 9th. All night long the Mets were pouring it on the Marlins, and it was 8-0 going into the bottom of the ninth in Miami. Then it was 8-1. And 8-2. By the time it got to 8-6, with Marlins at first and third with two outs, we were cheering, “Let’s go, Marlins!” in our section. It ended up falling flat, but it was fun while it lasted.

    2) Tyler Moore trotting out of the dugout to mop up the vomit all over the field in the top of the ninth. He got a loud standing ovation like he was coming in to finish a perfect game, and, as someone observed afterwards, he was the only reliever who did NOT give up a run.

    3) We had a very nice young lady home on leave from a tour in Afghanistan sitting next to us. When Rivero nicked a batter with a pitch, she yelled at him, “Don’t be a bitch; charge the mound!”

    4) Even down 11-2, the “N-A-T-S NATS NATS NATS” brigade came through when MAT his a two-run homer in the 9th. I made sure the young kids a couple of rows behind us chimed in, and when we were done I pointed at them and yelled, “All right, I’m PROUD of you guys!” They beamed like I was Bryce Harper asking for their autographs.

    5) We got our chia Werths, and…

    6) Cunegonde told me sitting in the PNC Diamond seats was a lovely birthday gift, even if the Nats stank last night. Keep the Queen Bee happy.

    • Candide - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:30 AM

      Just noticed; at Cunegonde’s left is the lady on leave from Afghanistan.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      Thanks for this, as I really needed a lol this morning (it was needed not because of Natly futility, although there is that, but for other reasons).


      3) We had a very nice young lady home on leave from a tour in Afghanistan sitting next to us. When Rivero nicked a batter with a pitch, she yelled at him, “Don’t be a bitch; charge the mound!”

  24. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Managers write out the lineup card, players play the game. Culprits last night all through the lineup, with the exceptions of Escobar and, possibly, Lobaton and Taylor — too little (not their fault) and too late (which is their falult — the entire lineup should have feasted on De La Rosa like a pig on turnips). Gonzalez was distraught — justifiably — and incoherent after the game — does not wear distress well. I regret that my poor opinion of Barrett turns out to be vindicated. Desmond was probably smirking on the bench — “can’t blame this turkey on me!”

  25. adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    I was at last night’s game. Here are a few observations:

    – Gio got a very raw deal from all over. From Barrett, certainly, but also he was the victim of incredible BABIP. He allowed 8 hits, but, by my count, *seven* of them were lucky — regular speed grounders up the middle, or in the 5.5 hole, at least one slow roller, one blooper, and — in the inning where he gave up the run — a double play ball that Rendon threw high pulling RZ off the bag. Yes, Gio threw a lot of pitches — but he only walked one, and 7 of his 15 outs were strike outs. A significant part of the high pitch count, however, were all these lucky singles he gave up. (This may have been more clear at the stadium than on TV). There was only *one* hard hit single to left.

    – Yesterday, in one thread I noted Espi’s recent BA, and then in a second thread I wrote: “As I noted in another thread, Espi’s been batting around .190 in the last month”, which got jumped on. To clarify, I meant the prior 29 or 30 days. As I posted above in this thread (corrected), Espi has been batting .175 since his 2-4 game on July 6. With only a single walk — making his OBA a paltry .190. During that same time from (July 7 thru yesterday) Ian has been batting .224. You think MW hasn’t noticed that Espi’s been stinking up the joint during that time period? Think that has _anything_ to do with Desi’s continued play?

    – At least I got my chia pet. Oh. Wait. D’oh! I didn’t. 😦 I wasn’t thinking, went to the main gate, and they were out of them when I got there at 6:15. But, at least . . . (see next note)

    – In the ninth, when Rivero needed to come out, we couldn’t figure out why nobody was warming in the pen. My son’s friend started chanting “put Espi in, put Espi in” (i.e., to pitch). We were thrilled when TyMo came out. I wished I had watched the scoreboard more too see his speed, but I know on the first (or second?) pitch, he threw 85 mph (!!). We were amazed: TyMo pitching to Goldschmidt? And then he got him out!

    So, at least that. We ended on a fun note or sorts.

    In all my years, I’ve never been at the stadium when a position player pitched. That was pretty fun.

    • Another_Sam - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      On Gio — IMHO he was the victim of this crew of neo-Mendozas. Consisten [and frequent] t hitting cures many ills. Just IMHO.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:59 AM

        On Gio — IMHO he was the victim of this crew of neo-Mendozas. Consisten [and frequent] t hitting cures many ills. Just IMHO.

        That’s a good point. The Nats didn’t get their third hit until well after Gio left the game.

        (Note: *part* of that was unlucky BABIP for the Nats. But only part.)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      That doubleplay that wasn’t turned was costly. It scored that 1 run against him while he was in there and also cost him many extra pitches.

      You’re also right about being BABIP’d but part of that is defensive positioning.

  26. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    Im so ready for Span and SS to come back.

    • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      It’s not going help much when everyone else around is playing terribly.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:12 AM

        I don’t agree with that. Span has shown how important he is to this offense and team. Anthony and Escobar and Harper have been hitting and Span being at the top can create some havoc. Defensively, this gives Jayson a chance for more rest days and you can then put MAT over in LF.

        As for SS – once he comes back, Fister can go on the DL and Ross can come in and help the ball club.

  27. 4thgendc - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    I’m sad for these guys that they aren’t embarrassed for themselves and the team.

    Or more to the point I suppose, I’m sure they’re embarrassed, but they can’t admit that embarrassment and failure to themselves or to the press/fans/league. I’ve played on a lot of different teams in my day. Yes, not professionally, but at it’s most basic a team is a team. You have to know who you are as a team (and as a player). This team is showing me that they think they’re something that they are not.

    Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

    But, I’ll still be watching today and through the end of the season. Sink or swim, they’re my team….

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      They don’t really have anything to be embarrassed about–yet. If they miss the playoffs–particularly if the Mets win the division comfortably after all the offseason hype–then yes, they should hugely embarrassed. Especially the older veterans who have let the team down all year.

      If they rebound and win the division, however, all of this will be forgotten.

      • 4thgendc - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:07 AM


        I know for me, if I overthrew first baseman; missed an easy doubleplay; pitched worse than a bench player; lost to a rookie pitcher; was playing even though I knew I shouldn’t be; lost to teams we had no place losing to; [insert team/individual failure du jour here]; and if as a team we repeatedly did these things over the course of the season, I *would* be embarrassed.

        I think it’s too late if that feeling comes after the season is over

  28. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    Gio once again couldn’t go deep in the game or could he this time? He got pulled in the mid-90’s pitch-count and you have to wonder if MW succumbed to all the calls for his head due to bullpen management.

    Gio was not helped out by his defense and none bigger than the flip from Espinosa to Rendon on a potential doubleplay was flipped to Rendon over his head and they couldn’t turn the doubleplay. Not only did that turn into a run eventually, it cost Gio many extra pitches to get out of that stressful inning.

    Werths’s adventures in the outfield were troubling once again where he couldn’t dig a ball out of the corner and a double turned into a triple.

    The Aaron Barrett swinging bunt play where he bounced the throw was poor but Ryan has to scoop that or just block it with a runner who he knows is on 3rd base.

    Once again the front of the bullpen falters and Barrett and Roark are not effective. This has been an issue all season. In MW’s case, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The fanbase has wanted quicker hooks and you got it.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      Gio should hang his head… but that’s what Gio is for the most part, a 5 inning 100 pitch pitcher. Like Barrett, he is allergic to throwing early strikes or getting ahead of hitters; the sad part is the misses are so far off the mark. Was the complaint about him when he got here – that and walks – and he’s lived up to the billing. Unlike Barrett, who looked shell shocked, Gio actually looked like he let the team down.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:56 AM

        Basically a shutdown long reliever is what these starts feel like to me. He has really burned the bullpen this year. In the postseason a start like that would work well but in the regular season it just costs you in using the front of the bullpen.

      • texnat1 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:09 AM

        Well, he was under 100 when he got pulled last night. And that hit at the top of the inning was not exactly scorched or anything.

        I just get the overwhelming sense that MW doesn’t have any idea what he is doing with the pitchers and the bullpen. He’s just guessing out there.

      • jd - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:21 AM


        I agree with you 100%. If things go according to script MW is ok but when he needs to go by feel he almost always makes the wrong move. There was absolutely no reason to take Gio out with the bottom of the order coming.

      • bowdenball - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        Gio gave up one walk and no extra base hits last night. To me it looked like he was pissed about getting pulled, not about letting the team down. The loss was not on him at all.

    • Section 222 - Aug 6, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      Ghost, I’n glad you mentioned that bothched DP feed by Espi. Since I tend to be an Espi critic I thought it would be uncharitable to mention it given how many other clunkers there were last night, but now I will pile on. Not a difficult play and definitely had a ripple effect.

  29. Karl Kolchak - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Incidentally, Tyler Moore was the 26th pitcher the Nats have used this year. The last year they used so many was 2010. The last time they exceeded this number was when they used 30 during the Great Bullpen Meltdown of 2009.

    These are obviously not positive comparisons.

  30. Joe Seamhead - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    BTW, if anybody that didn’t get a Werth chia pet has a Davey Johnson bobblehead with the box that they would swap for, I’d make the trade.

  31. alexva6 - Aug 6, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    while Gio did throw 95 pitches 70% were for strikes. that’s a good hitting team and while I missed the first couple innings what I did see was him going after the hitters aggressively. I don’t know what more you can ask of him.

    he’s not the ace, he’s the 4th or 5th starter.

    look elsewhere if you want a scapegoat for this game.

    • veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      He kept the game in check even though he labored. At least he didn’t Fister the game and put it out of reach before it started

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      This one wasn’t Gio’s fault I would agree. He made some big pitches when he needed it and induced the doubleplay ball and Espinosa flips the ball over Rendon’s head which cost Gio the doubleplay and the 1st run of the game and many extra pitches to get 2 more outs.

      Also, the Nats had bases loaded in the 1st with NO outs. Ryan Zimmerman drove the ball for a Sac Fly and Werth did the same but to score only 2 runs felt like a letdown then the Nats were basically shutout for the rest of the game.

      Nats pitchers have zero margin for error.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        “…zero room for error. ” Exactly.

        Have to ride this out until bats warm. BP other than 7 8 9 is shaky in caps. Not only no room for error. But need them to go 6 full.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:51 AM

        Yes, that full 6 is much needed with the Nats having a good lead.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      I don’t think anyone ‘blamed’ this on Gio but him not being able to go and finish the 6th ( we can debate whether he should have etc another time) did hurt as Barrett (who always scares me when runners are on and he comes in) came in and seemed to start the fire and then pour gasoline…

      Again, hopefully this is the lowest of lows and the Nats, collectively, can improve and get it going…

      • alexva6 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        several comments said he was not efficient, 70% of his pitches were strikes. those two facts don’t jibe

        I’m not trying to pin down anyone on this but so many time I read Gio was nibbling, Gio lost focus, blah blah blah. if it’s JZimm on the mound he’s getting squeezed. last night he pitched well from my view on the couch.

        I also said last night that I though he should have been removed when he was, it just appeared that he had given all he had at the time. of course it could not have turned out worse.

        he’s an emotional guy but I cannot think of any other 4th or 5th starter elsewhere in the league I’d rather have.

      • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:34 AM

        several comments said he was not efficient, 70% of his pitches were strikes. those two facts don’t jibe

        Exactly. And 7 of his 15 outs were K’s, and he only had one walk.

        His pitch count was up because of so many seeing-eye hits. There was only one hard hit-single — the rest were dribblers, grounders, and bloopers.

  32. veejh - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Who said this is the bottom?

  33. golfersal - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    Last night was a real bad experience. Our section 208 is so down in the dumps, first with ticket increases for 2016 with prices going from $45 to $65 we can no longer afford Nats baseball. Second is the way the team is playing, they aren’t even close to being a winning team. They got trashed big time by a team that can’t even play 500 baseball. With a tough west coast swing ahead of them, they could go to L.A. six games back of the Mets and on the verge of being out of playoff contention.

    There is nothing that can be done now, but Nats management had better rethink things that they are doing to the fans. If we had this great team, maybe it would help make us stomach these high prices, but with a terrible team paying these high prices is crazy and just not worth it. My $45 season ticket has no value anymore with so many other tickets on Stub Hub. Go up on stub hub right now, you can get my ticket, a club level ticket for today’s game for about $25.
    And the Nats want us to pay $65 for these worthless tickets???

  34. peewilly - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Matt Williams turning over the after-game spread = panic, that’s just not his personality. Just what you’d want to see from your manager during a tough stretch, right? Don’t mistake what’s said to the media as all inclusive of all the conversations amongst the team. Williams keeps his cards very close to the vest with his public comments.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:25 AM

      “Matt Williams turning over the after-game spread”

      Where did you hear that?

      • peewilly - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:40 AM

        He didn’t, I was just responding to those who want to see Williams channel his inner “Ditka”.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        Thanks for the clarification.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Well Williams was in part hired to get away from the laid back attitude of Johnson. The only difference I see is Williams has a better stare.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      They can stay close to the vest with the comments if they want, but they should be releasing stats on the number of guys MW has put into a locker, since Rizzo promised the fans MW would be doing that when he hired him.

  35. kiawah51 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    When they get back from the west coast trip in ten days this team will be 5 games out of first place and the division will be pretty much decided. This team has zero offense and and MW is unwilling to play small ball in situations where every run counts. We have 4 professional hitters on this team (rendon, Harper, Span and Escabar). You can’t consistently score runs when half the team bats 220 and under. For the 20th time, Rizzo made the wrong move. He got a closer who will not have the ability to get into enough games to make a difference because we will be behind to often. We needed two good bats he was arrogant enough to think all of a sudden these 200 hitters were going to hit 300. Shame on him.

  36. thewerthwhisperer - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    Can’t blame last night on Desi…just saying.

    I was there, couple of observations.

    Even before the 6th inning, the pace of play was torturous. The challenge took way too long and definitely threw off Gio’s rhythm. Don’t know who’s in charge of Nats’ challenges, but from where I sat looking at the replay, no way it was going to be over turned.

    Then the 6th inning itself was like sitting through slow torture. When Escobar broke back to third (my seats are right there by him) all I could think of was that they had called the wheel house play. But no, no way, not with Barrett pitching…and the rest is history.

    At one point I looked up at the scoreboard and saw we had 1 hit ad two runs, and AZ had 7 hits and one run. I thought, “This is not going to last”

    Way too early to jump ship, I’ve been a baseball fan for 55 years. I never leave early. But last night, I’d had enough. Too bad, would have liked to see Tyler pitch!

    Had a nice conversation with Phil Wood on my way out. Does anyone else stop by? My daughter asked a great question about how often teams change their signs. Right now, the Nats could use a (good) sign from G!d!

  37. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    “— A ghastly (and costly) error by Aaron Barrett, who fielded Nick Ahmed’s fifth-inning sacrifice bunt and fired it down the right-field line, bringing home the two runs that gave Arizona the lead for good. “Just trying to make a good play and get rid of it as fast as I could,” the right-hander said. “It just got away. It sucks.””

    Yes, the throw was buried in the ground and poor but if you freeze the video at 7 seconds you will see Ahmed already beat the throw. At that point a 1st baseman has to do whatever they can to block that ball and Ryan Zimmerman didn’t do that. Some 1st baseman go parallel to the ball in catcher mode to keep the ball in front of them. Clearly the error was on Barrett and it was unfortunate in blowing the lead.

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      Nice observation, Ghost.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      Zimmerman has no way of knowing that Ahmed is going to beat the throw when he has to make the decision of trying to field it or block it. Unlike you, he can’t freeze the frame while he tries to figure out what to do. He deserves none of your blame whatsoever on that play.

  38. NatsLady - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    With regard to Matty pulling Gio at 95 pitches.

    I believe he said he pulled him because he’d already gotten out of two jams and how many jams can you expect him to get out of? (That is, it was more a function of the stressful innings than the pitch count). Someone noted that ALL his strikeouts came with runners in scoring position…

    I saw Gio’s face when he got pulled. He was getting a standing ovation, but he made kind of an apologetic, almost bewildered shrug, like “I didn’t do anything that special, and I’m not sure why I’m outta this game.”

    So, my thought: Perhaps MW shouldn’t worry so much about pitch count with Gio. Gio himself once said that he doesn’t worry about pitch count (this was in reference to him being “inefficient” and walking too many guys). He just goes out there and tries to “pound the zone.” That’s his thinking, not the ratio of pitches to batter, etc.

    Maybe Gio, an experienced veteran, can handle more than Matty is letting him handle, particularly since he doesn’t seem to hit the wall suddenly as Fister and Scherzer do. Rather, he starts nibbling and losing confidence, and a visit from Lobaton or Desi–who, it must be noted, was not on the field–can help him out, whereas other pitchers don’t want “visits” because it makes them lose focus. Notice that Gio’s best inning came after he got out of severe trouble in the previous inning. I expect he went back in the clubhouse and talked it out with himself (and maybe with Lobaton and McCatty).

    RIzzo said Matty had a “feel” for how the pitchers feel, and maybe he’s improving in that area, I suspect he is with Fister/Scherzer and even JZimm. But maybe he doesn’t have a feel for Gio because they are such opposites.

    Note: A little PFP might be in order. I know pitchers hate it. I know that’s supposed to be covered in spring training. I know GIo’s never been a great fielder but he almost killed the FoF three times!

    • adcwonk - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      I saw Gio’s face when he got pulled. He was getting a standing ovation, but he made kind of an apologetic, almost bewildered shrug, like “I didn’t do anything that special, and I’m not sure why I’m outta this game.”

      Funny — I saw something different (admitting that we have no idea). In fact, I saw something different than Mrs Wonk who was sitting next to me.

      She saw: “man, I’m pissed at getting pulled right now”

      I saw: “man, I’m pissed that they got so many darn bloopers, grounders, and dribblers for hits.”

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      A runner on first with none out and the bottom of the order up is not a “jam.”

  39. catcher50 - Aug 6, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Yes, there are problems, including:

    1. Need to play Lobaton more. Ramos is the #1 catcher and he gives about the best target I’ve ever seen (and I go back to “Scraps” Courtney), but has had other troubles and is not good at framing pitches. Lobaton is rated one of the best framers in MLB and this is a skill that becomes more and more important, as MLB pitchers regularly hit 94+.
    2. Who decided to keep Uggla on the roster? He has provided virtually nothing at the plate and simply can’t play defense. Burriss would have been a much better choice.
    3. MW is completely clueless with pitchers. Don’t know if the playmate is not giving good advice or MW is simply not paying attention. Monday night he blew an obvious 2x switch situation and there was absolutely no reason to bring Gio out for the 6th, Wednesday. He was done after 5. He, obviously, had no rhythm and managed to barely get through the 5th with only one run.
    4. I understand the concept of having a good hitter in the #8 spot, but Taylor is sitting there, with no protection on either side. To make him more productive, he needs to be 7 or even 6.
    5. Desi, after a short hot spell has reverted to what he was, earlier this year. Espi seems to have lost what he had a the beginning of the year, maybe he just has a great 1/2 season every few years. It may be time to think about Trea Turner. Turner started out 0 for 16. Now, with about 125 PA, his OPS is 1,100+. That, folks, is Harper territory.
    6. Do something about the I.T. folks. We seem to be less successful in replays than other teams. This is not to discount the problems with the system (i.e. no reason to have ex-MLB or current MLB umpires, who have grudges and friendships).
    7. Don’t know if it is because of the injury or inertia, but Rendon is a natural 3rd baseman and Escobar is a middle infielder. Make the switch.

    • NatsLady - Aug 6, 2015 at 11:12 AM

      1. Lobaton is simply not a good hitter. Ramos is, or at least he has the potential to be.
      2. I 100% agree with you on Uggla. He is a waste of a roster spot and I can’t imagine there isn’t someone we couldn’t have picked up at the deadline (or off waivers) that would have more position flexibility and be just as good as Uggla at not hitting. We seem to go through this every season with at least one bench player.
      3. MW often doesn’t seem to make the moves that seem obvious, such as double-switches, pinch-runners, late-inning substitutions, etc. However, I was at the game, and Gio didn’t seem gassed. He seemed frustrated, but not tired. I really think Matt wanted Gio through six so he could use Barrett-Janssen-Storen for 7-8-9 to preserve the lead. As I said in a previous post, however, in his mind he had Gio on a short leash and he failed to communicate that to the bullpen. Barrett was simply NOT ready (nor was Roark after him).
      4. The idea behind having a fast runner in the #8 spot is so the pitcher can bunt him over and it doesn’t have to be a perfect bunt. (Better bunting by our pitchers WOULD HELP!!) When Span comes back you can move Escobar down in the order to balance it out more.
      5. We’ll see Trea in September. I think it would be a panic move to bring him up now, and plus, if he’s true to form, he’ll struggle for a week or three at this level and how does that help. Now, a couple of months ago I’d have said, Well, his D is a lot better than Desi’s, but Desi seems to have cleaned up his act in that regard.
      6. Last season the IT guys were amazing. I wonder what happened or if it’s just small-sample-size.
      7. Absolutely agree on your assessment of Escobar/Rendon’s natural abilities. But we’ve discussed this several times on the board and concluded that Yunel doesn’t feel comfortable learning a new position at this point. To which people say, well, a SS should be able to play 2B. But somehow, Desi never has.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 6, 2015 at 12:20 PM

        Yeah, the IT guys are horrible this year. When Barrett uncorked that throw I looked up at the scoreboard to see if the official scorer had ruled a hit along with Barrett’s obvious error. The big screen was showing only the batter’s photo and stats, and the ribbon board line scores had disappeared as well. It stayed like that for several minutes. That play was so bad it broke the scoreboard!





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