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Poised Ross has earned right to remain in rotation

Aug 7, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

Joe Ross wasn’t on anybody’s radar when the season began, barely even known by members of the Nationals major-league coaching staff. He was “The Other Guy Acquired in the Trea Turner Deal,” a young right-hander with some upside but not a pitcher who figured into the picture in 2015.

Which makes Thursday’s events all the more remarkable. Needing to remove somebody from their current rotation to open a slot for Stephen Strasburg in his return from an oblique strain, the Nationals elected to move struggling veteran Doug Fister to their bullpen, sticking with Ross as one of their five starters for the stretch run of a pennant race.

And the thing is, Ross absolutely has earned it, both because of his performance and because of the way he has handled everything since making his major-league debut earlier this summer.

“I just think he has been unfazed by any of it, from his opening start through today,” manager Matt Williams said. “He’s aggressive, he throws strikes. He’s faced some pretty good pitching when he’s been on the mound, and he’s held his own with all of them. So I just think he’s prepared and he’s ready and he’s unfazed by any of it.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Through seven big-league starts, Ross owns a 2.80 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and astounding, 47-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 45 total innings.

This from a 22-year-old who had started all of three games above Class A prior to this season. So how is it that Ross has managed to maintain so much poise since being thrown to the wolves with little experience?

“That’s something I learned, I guess, when I was younger,” he said. “Ever since pro ball, it’s really become an important thing. Especially as a pitcher, once you kind of get down on yourself, the other team and their hitters can jump on that and try to capitalize. Especially here, the biggest thing is focusing from pitch-to-pitch. And if one guy gets you, then it’s on to the next guy and try to go from there.”

The younger brother of an All-Star, San Diego’s Tyson Ross, Joe Ross has displayed maturity beyond his years since arriving in D.C. These traits aren’t common in 22-year-olds, but the Nationals have quickly realized this is no common 22-year-old.

“It’s rare,” Williams said of Ross’ advanced mental approach to the game. “But he understands if he makes pitches, he has a chance to get them out. We’ve seen so far that he doesn’t walk a whole lot of guys and makes them put the ball in play. And that’s important.”

From a baseball standpoint, the decision to keep Ross in the rotation over Fister was an easy one. But there were some complicating factors standing in the way, most notably the fact the Nationals are monitoring Ross’ workload this season and likely will cap his innings pitched. He has now thrown a combined 121 innings in the majors and minors this year, essentially duplicating his totals from both 2013 and 2014.

The Nationals typically restrict young pitchers to a roughly 30 percent increase in innings pitched from one year to the next, which suggests Ross will capped around the 160-inning mark. Which also means he may not make it through the rest of the season in the starting rotation.

The organization isn’t saying for sure what its plan is the rest of the way for Ross, but it stands to reason Fister may still be needed to start games come some point in September.

For now, the Nationals are thrilled simply to have the kid pitching every fifth day. And pitching quite well.

“Joe’s confident in his ability,” first baseman Clint Robinson said. “He has a lot of poise on the mound. He trusts his stuff and knows that he’s good enough to be up here and be successful. We love having him in the rotation. Good guy, love him to death and what he brings to us.”

  1. alexva6 - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    Ross is certainly one of their best starters and should pitch until they feel they need to shut him down (can’t wait for that talk again).

    • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      Speaking of which — I would dearly love for some pundits (including NY ones) to eat crow if, at the end of the Mets season, the Mets shut down possibly all three of their big guns (Harvey, de Grom, Thor) in order to preserve their careers. th

      (Come to think of it — I have a brother-in-law who’s a Mets fan and who gave me crap for the SS shutdown. This will be interesting 😉 )

      As pointed out in another thread, most folks outside of DC have no idea who Ross is, so we won’t have know-nothings all over the country calling for Rizzo’s head on this.

      • alexva6 - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        no but there will be plenty of similar types posting similar rants

      • npb99 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        I’m perfectly fine with the Mets burning through and burning out their young pitchers. If all these guys have diminished careers as a result, fine. A ruthless Nats fan here!

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        If the Nats “walking wounded” return to form (which I hope will be the case) and Mets don’t burn out (which I think they will) before we next see them (Labor day), I fully expect them to burn out those arms. I also expect the Joe Ross will be pulled as he hits his limit number (160?) which will be the right thing to do, regardless of where the Nats are in the standings at that time. In fact, get ready for another Nats related “Should they have shut down Joe” story.

        As for your relatives giving you guff, believe me, I get it all the time. The Mets built a team that should have finished a few games over .500 this year BUT made some trades to fill hole with rentals at the deadline … we did not. That is why they are in 1st right now. What we did is we acquired a closer in order to move our closer to the 8th inning hold guy because we traded out 8th inning hold guy (who is now on the Mets) in order to acquire a MI, specifically envisioned as a 2nd Base prime with SS backup because for three years the Nats failed to address the lack of plate performance by Danny Espinosa (who has performed way above expectations this year). All the while, NOT addressing what the teams immediate needs are …. a big bat and help in the BP (for anything before the 7th inning). Plug that into the “Rizzo is a genius” equation.

        Having said all that, I think it is very likely the Nats will be @ full strength (which I believe is Rizzo’s thinking as well) with ½ the team rested and at mid-season form. At the same time as the Mets either shut down starters or just plain get tired. This “perfect storm” scenario would result in the Nats making the playoffs and going deep .. WS deep with a rested offense. At least that is the hope.

        As for your family harassing you, what I do with mine is tell them that I tip my hat to the moves the Mets made, instruct them to enjoy being in 1st at this point in the season and be prepared for September as in 2007/2008 just in case they have the “can’t happen here” attitude. If they sill break my chops, I point to this (it’s 4 years old but still good):

        What soured me (as a lifelong Met fan) was #6 but I fully transitioned to being a Nat Fan after 2008. The Mets broke my heart more years than the Nats have been in DC … they will NOT do so again this year!

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:55 AM

        Great comments.

        I, too, was a die-hard Met fan, right from the beginning. And, my earlier comment about having really bad GM’s that mess up a team (in reference to San Diego’s Preller) — I was also thinking of Dan Snyder *and* the terrible Mets GM’s (going way back to when they left Tom Seaver (!!) unprotected and lost him! — which was years after they lost him the first time (bad mouthing his wife and then trading him to the Reds). (Yes, Donald M. Grant, I’m talking about you).

        If the Mets burn out those young arms, they would be stupid for too many reasons to count. But the two biggest one are: (a) the obvious one — that they are sacrificing their future greatest strength; but also: (b) agents to the best young pitchers will warn their clients to stay away from a team that does that.

        Nobody should think for a minute that Boras, et al, doesn’t know very well that the Nats protect their pitchers’ arms very well — and that he tells his clients that.

        Thanks for the link — I’ll go check it out. I’m now at a safe enough emotional distance (and a die-hard Nats fan since “switching” over in 2005) to read it 😉

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26 AM

        Wonk – since you are a “reformed” Met fan, you just have to love Joe Ross’s number! It fits!

        My son attended Wednesday’s coach’s clinic. They met three players – Felipe Rivero, David Carpenter and Joe Ross. He asked Joe what he thought his chances are for rookie of the year were and he smiled and said he did not think they were very good and besides he may not qualify (this was before the Fister decision). My boy also asked him who his favorite players on the Nats were and he again smiled and said “Felipe and David .. of course!” . He then said all of the pitchers then the entire team. I could go into the othe Q&A but suffice it to say it was a great dialog. Joe Ross is a natural … just a real earthy nice guy. He made a lots of kids fans that day as he pitched to them and after each made contact he said “awesome! … You Rock! … Solid! and such.

        I am SOOOOOOOOOOO glad he took #41!

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        +41 !! (and + ’69!)


      • ArVAFan - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        NatsFansZee: thanks for the first-hand info. No substitute for that.

  2. adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    To repeat the obvious: is Souza for Ross and Turner the steal of the decade?

    Just a brilliant trade by Rizzo (helped by shortsightedness on the part of Padres’ GM (Preller)). Turner and Ross were their #2 and #4 prospects.

    • TimDz - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:23 AM

      Not to mention that the steal was verified by Preller himself (as he tried to get Turner BACK from the Nats at the trade deadline…um, yeah….sorry ’bout yo luck, AJ)

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:26 AM

        Man — I do feel sorry for Padres fans. I hate it when you like a team and your GM screws it up (yes, Danny, I’m thinking of you, too).

        The thing is — the Padres were up and coming. Just a bit more patience and they would have had a good team this year or next even with zero trades.

        For those who haven’t already seen it, here’s a great in-depth explanation of how they really scr@wed their own team:

      • npb99 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:39 AM

        Thanks for posting, Wonk. Reading that, I admit to a serious case of schadenfreude.

    • Karl Kolchak - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      That is why anyone who comes around here bashing Rizzo is an idiot. The Nats have a GM who is second to none in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his own players, which is demonstrated by his outstanding record when making trades.

      This deal looks to be far better than even Langerhans for Morse or Guzman for Roark because of its potential long term impact.

    • npb99 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Talk about selling high – Souza probably had some magic attached to him after making that great catch to save the no-hitter. But this season, his OPS is barely over .700, weak for a corner outfielder.

    • DaveB - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      I definitely agree, but you always have to wait awhile to be confident on how these things will be viewed in the long run. Wasn’t long ago that the Fister deal looked like the steal of a decade, but Robbie ray is looking stronger and ….

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:35 AM

        That’s a good point — the value of trades plays out over years, not months!

  3. jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Sorry I can’t resist:

    MW bullpen management exhibit W:

    1) Took a still very effective Ross out after 6 innings and 89 pitches – That’s a minor complaint of mine because going with Jansen, Storen and Paplebon is the master plan, still I am all for leaving an effective starter in the game until he starts showing real signs of fatigue. For the record I supported keeping Ross in the the NY game so I am consistent in my opinion.

    2) After the DBacks loaded the bases against Jansen in the top of the 8th MW let Jansen pitch to Owens which is reasonable, he then allowed him to face Inciarte (lefty) but after the latter doubled he brought in Thornton for the next bunch of lefties and switch hitters, so my puzzlement is this: If you don’t trust Jansen to retire left handed hitters why do you wait until after serious damage is done before making a move? if you do then why do you make a move after the double? I think it’s important to ignore the results here because MW has to make the decisions without the benefit of knowing the outcome. I think it’s a consistent problem with MW where he makes a move one batter too late.

    BTW, I think using Treinen in the 9th was 100% the correct move.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      Matt Williams = Robo Manager

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:07 AM

        Jim Riggleman once said of Tony LaRussa “He’s playing chess out there while the rest of us are playing checkers.” Matt Williams hasn’t even learned how to play checkers. Maybe he’s playing tiddlywinks.

  4. micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    As I said a month ago, Ross needs to be in rotation. Fister has been terrible.
    who is the 7th inning guy? Nats do not have one so unless starters go 7, we are in deep trouble
    The troubling part of the team is, wh

    • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:10 AM


      Why do you say that? Jansen has been money until yesterday, really effective. If you don’t believe me look it up. Everyone has an off day even Mariano Rivera. If we would take all the players you dismissed as: ‘garbage’ or ‘terrible’ based on a few games here and there we would have no players left to play.

      • micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:16 AM

        jd, read my current post about the 7th and let me know if I am right or wrong, is the 7th by committee the rest of the season or not and should it be

      • micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        I agree about Jansenn and ask yourself this, why didn’t MW pitched Jansen in the Mets series??

      • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:25 AM

        ‘why didn’t MW pitched Jansen in the Mets series??’

        Now that’s a very good question. And Storen and Paplebon.

      • hokiepokster92 - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:05 PM


    • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Janssen/Rivero/Thornton is the 7th inning “guy”. Or three guys in a trench coat trying to sneak in to a movie theatre.

    • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      I agree about Jansenn and ask yourself this, why didn’t MW pitched Jansen in the Mets series??

      Didn’t it come out afterwards that Janssen has a stiff neck or something? (Perhaps only on Friday, I’m not sure)

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        (my kingdom for an edit button)

        OK, try this:

        I agree about Jansenn and ask yourself this, why didn’t MW pitched Jansen in the Mets series??

        Didn’t it come out afterwards that Janssen had a stiff neck or something? (Perhaps only on Friday, I’m not sure)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:32 PM

      +1 Mick, I’ve been saying the same but had some skepticism if he could keep it up and he did and he has. The Mets scouted the [BLEEP] out of him and they couldn’t figure him out.

      He’s added new wrinkles to his repertoire and that is a slightly different slider that comes in a little slower and drops more vs. his “JZim slider” which is harder with late life or as some call it the “heavy slider”. What did he do yesterday—he added back a new and improved changeup.

      His swing & miss was fantastic. His precision was spot on. His ERA is down to 2.80 which is ACE numbers and the last step in normal times when you don’t have innings limits would be to go deeper in games.

  5. Doc - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    As for Joe Cool and Turner, let’s give some kudos to the back of the room scouts. I have no idea who they are, but they continue to make their presence known.

    Interesting how Joe Cool has leap-frogged over all the top prospects like A.J. Cole, etc.

    • TimDz - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      I have a feeling AJ Cole will once again find himself being traded. He has upside and is still filling out his frame, but he can be packaged with another prospect to get a bat for next year. I can see Cole and Tyler Moore being traded as a package in the off season. I kind of feel bad for Tymo, as he is blocked by Zimmerman and really has no business being anywhere else in the field. He could be a monster pickup for an AL team needing a DH, and would probably get nice value in return.

      • micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        I have always seen TMoore as a poor man’s Michael Morse

      • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:14 AM


        I am not buying it. RZim was out for a couple of months and TyMo was still used sparingly and was passed in the pecking order by an obviously inferior defender Clint Robinson and appropriately so. I think by now it is clear TyMo is who he is, he is very unlikely to be a monster anything for anyone. I don’t think TyMo would have made it on the roster throughout the year if we didn’t experience so many injuries, same as Dan Uggla.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:33 PM

      AJ Cole has to change that over the top delivery with an open frame. Once they close him up his stuff will play better and you could see his last time up he looked better.

      The transformation of Joe Cool is incredible.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:40 PM

        Amazing how he has adapted. He must be extremely coach – able.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:43 PM

        Joe Cool you can tell is a smart kid. I still haven’t seen one media person ask him about his pitch refinement. That 82-83 mph breaking pitch that breaks differently has given him 4 pitches to go to.

  6. micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    I guess 7th inning is by committee? This is where MW has to go match up by batter for the 7th, am I right?

    • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      mick, it already was by committee before the Papelbon trade which pushes Janssen to 7th. Could return to that very easily, especially since Rivero is emerging as something that looks great. And Thornton is the situational guy, I assume.

  7. janebeard - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Jansen had a bad day. Mostly he has good days. He will be stable again in the 7th.

    Joe is on an innings count. To me, it made sense that you take him out, save an inning, and go to your proven 7-8-9 guys (till Clint hits a 3-run dinger and it’s no longer a save situation). We were at the game yesterday and the other team was definitely seeing Joe better the second and third time through. I think they did right. It was a flukey thing that Jansen tanked.

    • Doc - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      I like getting Joe Cool out of the game when it is practical. It saves him for more innings later on in his 160 inning count. It also appears that Ross has figured out that Max is someone that from whom he can learn a few things.

    • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:31 AM


      Fair points although I don’t think you manage the innings limit during games. One extra inning won’t determine when the shutdown will come. I think we all know Joe has about 6 – 7 starts left which brings us to the 1st or 2nd week in September. No amount of juggling or managing will get Joe through the regular season and beyond. The Mets face the same issue only it’s with their top 3 pitchers.

      For the record, I didn’t have a huge problem with the move but in general I prefer an effective Ross to a fresh Jansen any day.

      • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        What exactly is the Mets plan for that by the way? Is it for sure they will be shutting guys down?

      • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:58 AM


        What I read was that they have an innings limit of 215 for DeGrom who is at 133 so he may be OK, I think 185 for Harvey who is at 140 – trouble, and 160 for Syndergaard who is at 125 – trouble. They were gonna use a 6 men rotation and then Matz went down, they are hoping to try and skip starts whenever possible etc but I think that any way you slice it they only have 2 choices: 1) shut the last 2 down and 2) ignore the limits they set.

        It’s especially interesting watching them try to juggle 3 pitchers innings limits. For me this is entertaining because some of the loudest noise about Strasburg came from New York. Let’s see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?

      • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        also jd you may like this, from the Washington Post:

        “Williams said Wednesday if Ross is in the majors, he will not be limited on a game-by-game basis because the Nationals cannot afford it.”

      • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:07 AM

        thanks for the info re: Mets innings limits jd. Good knowledge for our side of the fence in this division race.

      • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:10 AM


        I totally agree with that. Once the game starts you don’t try to save an inning here and inning there. At the end of the game you reevaluate and when the innings limit is reached you move on to plan B.

      • dhamm6500 - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:28 AM

        I get the feeling that Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins are the type of “old-school” guys who wouldn’t shut down a guy in the middle of a pennant race, in spite of a stated innings limits.

        I also get the feeling some of their guys will be the new Kerry Wood’s and Mark Prior’s.

  8. micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Clint has been the most consistent player on this team. A great pick up by Rizzo and he does not get enough credit

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Mick. I like Clint, too, but only with a bat in his hand.

      • micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        your probably right. However, I only think he had one bad game at 1st so far. Also, I think he plays LF adequate enough and on par with Jayson, who is not comfortable at that position. I see Clint as giving Werth and Zim rest maybe every few days

    • jfmii - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      He is a statue at first or in the outfield

  9. virginiascopist - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    At the time of the trade, Souza for PTBNL and “the other guy.” Who would have thought?

  10. micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    The Stammen injury in hindsight is the most significant of all 2015 injuries

    • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      pretty significant but I don’t know if you can say the most significant, I mean we lost our starting 3rd baseman for like 3 months, our starting left fielder for close to 4 months, our starting 1st baseman for 2 months and our starting center fielder for about 2 month. Our no. 3 starter for about 2 months.

      Now that I write this I think I understand why it’s been such a struggle.

      I agree with you in principal that Robinson has been terrific, not the most consistent player on this team though. I mean we do have this guy named Harper and the Escobar fellow has been decent too. no?

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        And while missing less time than others, Span seems to be the straw that mixes the drink (or some metaphor like that). We really miss him setting the table. The difference in our W-L record with and without him is amazing (clearly not all due to him, but, in part).

        Span led the NL in hits last year, and was the second hardest to K. That’s pretty darn valuable — and he’s missed half the season already (he’s played in 59 games)

  11. micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    significant in terms of the pitching

    • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      very true.

  12. adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    From last thread:

    Sec 3, My Sofa – Aug 7, 2015 at 4:52 AM

    “A lot of us have been in the big leagues for a long time and a lot of us have had success,” Zimmerman said. “We understand that we’re gonna have bad weeks, we’re gonna have good weeks. We just gotta keep going and keep working. Everyone in this room works.”

    I chuckle because most of here have been fans longer than RZ has even been alive. And yet, a non-trivial number of posters here _still_ haven’t learned the lesson that RZ explains here.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:55 PM


    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:42 PM

      I think it was Ken Dryden who said, the only people who don’t make mistakes at a game are the fans.

      • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:14 PM

        I think it was Ken Dryden who said, the only people who don’t make mistakes at a game are the fans.

        Awesome — I have to remember that one!

  13. micksback1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:52 AM


    Is Jansen the 7th inning guy or not?

    • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:25 PM


      Is Jansen the 7th inning guy or not?

      It seems he is, no?

  14. edshelton2013 - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    I agree that we really need Span back. He’s been strangely silent for more than a month. What’s up with his “core”? Maybe he thinks that sitting out will preserve his market value in the future?

    • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:14 PM

      He’s started baseball activities recently. He’s supposed to take live batting practice soon.

      • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        It does seem frustratingly slow though.

      • Bruxtun - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:28 PM


        it does. Span is one of my favorite players too so I can’t wait to see him back. But the WaPo reported the back issue is under control (they would know, right? mild sarcasm) so hopefully it was more of a “make sure he’s completely healed so he can play down the stretch without issue” kind of thing. With Werth back, and Taylor already here, it does buy some extra time. The sooner he gets back the sooner we have the log jam to deal with.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:18 PM

        According to various reports, Span was engaged in baseball activities (hitting, fielding, throwing at Citi Field in NY. And FWIW, on Wednesday (5 August) Ladson over on MLB said that Span could begin his rehab assignment next week. I certainly agree that the Nats need him.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:08 PM

      From personal experience, it simply takes time to build up muscle strength, even if you exercise every day. Some things just can’t be hurried (sorry to whoever’s ad slogan I just borrowed). Rather see him take it slow and get it right for the stretch run: even though we will hear about it when he’s getting his timing back for 7-14 days.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:46 PM

      I want to hear about how the injured players are coming along, too, and I know it’s because we’re interested and we care, but I shudder a bit at the thought of them having to issue daily press releases, because “it’s expected.” I don’t think that would be a good thing, taken altogether.

  15. masterfishkeeper - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:24 PM

    Heyman’s latest includes rumors about unhappiness in the Nats’ dugout:

    Not sure what to make of this. Losing or disappointing teams tend to be unhappy, but it’s important not to confuse cause and effect.

    • adcwonk - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      It’s said to be an “unhappy scene” around the Nats, as manager Matt Williams has not be well-received by many players, who find him “not loose” and “never relaxed.

      Ha! That’s the opposite of what his critics on NI say, right!

      Perhaps some will learn that we actually don’t know what it’s like in the dugout and clubhouse?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:50 PM

        I don’t make much of that and anyone that looks at MW can tell he’s wound tighter than the inner-workings of a baseball. Unhappy? Just ask Storen. He’s pi$$ed and Fister too and Roark.

        Heyman gets his info from Boras and Boras clients. I can tell you that Gio Gonzalez has switched over to Boras as his agent and that sounds like a direct quote from Gio and I say that “in my opinion”.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:11 PM

        There was a telling screen shot in the middle of one of the games recently. Randy Knorr with a big wide grin on his face next to MW looking so tightly wrapped his head might explode any minute. You’d never know from that which one’s wife recently died.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM

      Thanks .. the most interesting part of this for me was:

      “Jerry Blevins, out for the year after re-breaking his left arm falling off a curb, finishes the year perfect. He faced 15 batters and retired them all. Thus, his WHIP for the year is 0.00 (same as his ERA).”

      I am not surprised by the so called clubhouse comments. Think about this as we close in on two years with Matt Williams at the helm … when was the last time he made a move that you looked at and said “Wow, that was brilliant!”?

      I’m guessing that the Matt Willimas epitath will not look like this:

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        MW’s managing career with the Nats will surely end just like the previous cue-ball-head manager’s did. The question is not how, but when.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:08 PM

        All managers are hired to be fired. Comes with the job.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:09 PM

        Wait, who was the other “cue ball head”ed Nats manager?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:02 PM

      Well, I have no idea what the clubhouse thinks of Matt, and I don’t doubt he’s still learning on the job — I certainly hope so. I do think you don’t get a nickname like “The Big Marine” when you were not in the USMC, by bouncing around like Roberto Benigni. So nobody should be surprised. And I’m not a fan of undercutting your boss in the press, anonymously.

      Joe Maddon seems to be doing a great job keeping the kids loose and focused in Chicago.

  16. #4 - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    I have always seen Tyler Moore as another Austin Kearns. He’s the kind of guy that plays a corner and bats 5th or 6th on a team that wins about 75 games. Not a championship piece. Sorry. I don’t think he will return much value in a trade even packaged with Cole. One can’t expect a solid starting player of value for two players who are at best a bench player and a 5th starter on a good team. It doesn’t work that way

    • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:55 PM


      Your point is absolutely correct. I sometimes listen to NY sports radio and you’d be surprised how often people call in with ideas like: Gee+Campbell+Tejada+more garbage for Goldschmidt. Fans think that you can get quality by increasing the quantity of the garbage, never mind that Gee was on waivers and no one took him for free.

      On the other hand I do think Cole still has some value, he’s only 23. I still think he’ll be better than a 5th starter although I admit that his stock right now is probably not that high.

      • NatsLady - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:24 PM

        I don’t think you would get much for Cole. That’s not to say he’s not worth much. I just have a feeling he’s a late-developer, and perhaps a bit of a delicate flower mentally. He needs to demonstrate consistent success and, more importantly, the ability to withstand adversity. Therefore I think Rizzo will keep him (having reacquired him) to see if that can be accomplished.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    “jd – Aug 7, 2015 at 9:30 AM
    Sorry I can’t resist:

    MW bullpen management exhibit W:

    1) Took a still very effective Ross out after 6 innings and 89 pitches”

    You know why, because he caught so much $*&t when he left Ross in at 84 pitches that he pulled him this time to go 7-8-9 with his “A” bullpen and it didn’t work with Janssen.

    This isn’t blackjack where you always hold with 16 when the dealer has a 5 showing. Much of it was touch and feel and Janssen didn’t do his job.

    Exhibit R: The Nats made the decision to keep Ross in the rotation which they didn’t in his last start so they are now going to try to conserve innings and with a 3 run lead heck yeah give it to Janssen. Who can believe he’d walk the leadoff man!

    • jd - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:03 PM


      I said in my post that I only had a minor issue with this move. In my opinion it was correct to keep Ross in the game both in NY and in yesterday’s game because IMO Ross is better than Jansen at any time unless he’s gassed.

      As far as conserving innings, I don’t buy that you do that during games and after all do you think it makes a difference if he’s at 160 or 163? Williams actually said himself that he won’t control the innings during games and I applaud him for that.

      I think you are correct that MW reacted yesterday to what happened in NY and that’s unfortunate, that’s no way to manage. He should manage by conviction, nothing guarantees success, you make what you think is the right decision and you don’t worry about the results.

      I like Jansen a lot so again it wasn’t really a bad move. Letting Jansen pitch to Inciarte made no sense in the context of then taking him out after the double. You either trust Jansen to retire lefties or you don’t .

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        I actually think the different approach from the last Ross start may have been the status of the pen, with Storen and Papelbon available, plus Treinen.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:20 PM

        Ross is going to be pulled after 6 I think going forward to conserve innings.

        We are complaining because Janssen cr@pped the bed. This is on Janssen and Janssen only. He imploded so quickly they couldn’t get Thornton loose quick enough.

        You don’t walk the leadoff man with a 3 run lead.

        “I like Jansen a lot so again it wasn’t really a bad move. Letting Jansen pitch to Inciarte made no sense in the context of then taking him out after the double.”

        Janssen only stayed in because Thornton wasn’t loose. That was part of the problem in his last appearance.

        This isn’t blackjack. Each situation that looks the same never is. Now id Ross goes 7 innings in his next start and pushes beyond 89 pitches then I will be scratching my head.

        My problem is that as I said 100 times during the last week of the trade deadline that the Nats needed Chapman and Benoit and when Rizzo got Papelbon that they needed Papelbon and Benoit.

        You can’t count on Aaron Barrett or Roark. Thornton’s velo and movement is down. Janssen has to rely on “finesse” which leaves 3 pitchers you call your top guys which is Rivero, Storen and Papelbon.

        I hope Rizzo finds another stealth reliever and no, Fister is not the answer, he’s now going to occupy a spot, not good. That leaves MW a man short.

      • #4 - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:31 PM

        One argument you could make is that adding Fister to the bullpen makes Roark a clear option as a short reliever. Giving him a more defined role may help his production. Fister is now your long man.

    • Doc - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:49 PM

      Ghost, I think that the reliever that Riz finds is a guy named Treinan. He K’d 3 last night in 1 inning. He’s not throwing his 2-Seamer to LHers now. He’s got the stuff, and maybe he’s learning how to use it.

      Did well in his short stint at Syiracuse.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        Who leaves the Nats tomorrow when Strasburg is activated? Could be Treinen.

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 7, 2015 at 2:07 PM

        Either Treinen or Rivero, right? And don’t you need 2 LHPs in the pen, especially given that Thornton seems to need a fair amount of rest. Or you DFA Uggla.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:45 PM

        Seems to me it is either Treinen or Roark and I think Rizzo wouldn’t do that to Roark. You need 2 lefties which protects Rivero. I think it has to be Treinen.

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:47 PM

    Happened across this article on that Weird Wuss, Joe Maddon, and how views the idea keeping an even keel.

  19. Doc - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    Just a wild guess GhostMeister, but I’m thinking that it’s Roark that leaves town. If Fister is the long guy, then……..

    And Treinan can go long and short..

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:46 PM

      I would go that route also since they didn’t DL on Firster. It’s 25 days until roster expansion.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:00 PM

        I’m still betting on Treinen but Rizzo is full of surprises. Maybe someone will go on the DL with inflammation.

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    Well, they could release Uggla, but D’OH! they might need him to play first base again because Bryce might not like a call!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:01 PM

      24 days after tonight to the September roster expansion. You don’t want to DFA on Uggla. DL yes, DFA no.





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