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Encouraging start to tough West Coast trip

Aug 11, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images

It’s just one game at the start of a very tough road trip, and it came against a Dodgers club exhausted after playing Sunday night in Pittsburgh that decided to sit several key regulars.

That doesn’t make Monday night’s 8-3 victory in Los Angeles any less important for the Nationals.

Truth be told, they had to win this game. The Mets had already come from behind to beat the Rockies, so a victory was required to keep pace in the NL East. The Dodgers, as previously stated, were fielding something less than their “A” lineup, with an ineffective Brett Anderson on the mound. And Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw await for the final two games of this series.

So if ever the Nationals needed a win, this was it. They did so in impressive fashion, both at the plate (where Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond combined for six hits, three doubles and two homers) and on the mound (where Gio Gonzalez completed eight scoreless innings).

No, this one game didn’t cure everything that ails the Nats. But it was an important performance in something that resembled a must-win situation, and it set a distinct positive tone on the first night of a long road trip.

Some thoughts on what went down at Chavez Ravine late last night while many of you were already asleep…

This lineup is showing actual signs of life
The 8-run outburst, with five of those runs coming in the top of the sixth, was enjoyable to watch and featured big hits from several guys who had been slumping. But this performance wasn’t completely out of the blue, either.

This actually has been going on for more than a week now. Over their last eight games, the Nationals have scored an average of 5.4 runs while hitting .272 with a .361 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage.

And the production isn’t coming from one source; it has been spread throughout the lineup. Consider that the Nats have scored 43 runs in their last eight games, and not one came via a Bryce Harper homer. The frontrunner for NL MVP has only one extra-base hit and one RBI during this span.

That’s a good sign. Too often the Nationals have relied on Harper to carry the load this season. Over the last week, they’ve proven they score runs in bunches even when the young star has little tangible impact.

Ian Desmond is warming up

I know, I know. We’ve proclaimed this several times before, and in every case, Desmond has fallen back into a slump. But this time is different! No, really. It is.

Because after launching a pair of home runs Monday night, Desmond is now hitting .315 with seven homers, 16 RBI, a .383 on-base percentage and 1.040 OPS over his last 20 games. That’s not an insignificant sample, and it even includes a slump in the middle portion of this streak.

Of course he needs to prove he can keep this up, or something bearing slight resemblance to this. But Desmond is delivering right now for the Nationals, and not a moment too soon for this team and for its shortstop.

Ryan Zimmerman is already red-hot
Remember how we wondered how long it would take for the Nationals’ returning regulars to get their swings in place after missing considerable time due to injury? Well, for Zimmerman, it didn’t take much time at all.

He looks as locked-in at the plate as he’s been all season. Really, he’s as locked-in as he’s been since last summer, when that nasty hamstring pull essentially ended his season in late July.

Since coming off the DL on July 28, a span of 14 games, Zimmerman is now hitting .333 with four homers, 11 RBI, a .400 on-base percentage and 1.129 OPS. Seven of his last nine hits have been for extra bases.

The emergence of Zimmerman as an offensive force again means the world to the Nats, because finally somebody is providing some legitimate protection for Harper in the lineup.

Gio Gonzalez is pitching as well as we’ve seen him in a long time
Monday night’s 8-inning start was probably Gonzalez’s best of the season. He didn’t give up a run. He only walked one batter. He threw 76-of-117 pitches for strikes. And he completed eight innings for the first time this season.

This, though, was merely a continuation of what Gonzalez has been doing for awhile now. Over his last eight starts, the lefty is now 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of those eight starts.

There’s probably no coincidence in the fact Jose Lobaton has been behind the plate for every one of those starts. Lobaton has become Gonzalez’s personal catcher, and you can’t dispute the results. The eight times Wilson Ramos has caught him this year, Gonzalez owns a 5.12 ERA. The 13 times Lobaton has caught him, Gonzalez’s ERA is 2.55.

Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  1. natsjackinfl - Aug 11, 2015 at 6:05 AM

    With rintintin’s current obsession with Chase (I’ll choose where I go” Utley, I’m of the opinion that Jayb has a second handle.

    • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:33 AM

      Oh, c’mon. You mean you don’t think that a 36 year old who’s batting .190 is the solution to the Nats problems ? 😉

  2. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 6:10 AM

    Good start to what could be a good season. They have talent but have proven nothing yet…good teams are able to produce with some level of consistency.

    So the Dodgers looked like a mess…..do not follow them but how did all that happen all of a sudden?

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

      I don’t follow the Dodgers much either, but it appears they have been very lucky that San Francisco has been playing almost as badly as they have been — or at least losing as much as they have. Their acquisition of Jim Johnson from the Braves to help reinforce up their bullpen is sure to be a bad one.

  3. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    oh and yes I do like Utley’s bat and make up on the field…..but Rizzo moved passed that need at 2nd so Cargo or some other high money OF bat is what we need and yes….it is going to take big money because Rizzo did not do it before trading deadline with prospects.

    • chaz11963 - Aug 11, 2015 at 6:35 AM

      And where would this big $$$ bat play? Do you think JW should be benched in LF? Zim at 1B? Escobar at 3B? The only place they might consider an upgrade is CF for Michael Taylor; which depends on what happens with Span.

      • JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:05 AM

        Werth is a big problem in LF….he just can not throw or move….not sure how he did not spend 100s of hours in LF during BP for these past months learning/keeping skills sharp but he looks like Feb 22 out there. So yes Werth to Bench and big LF Bat from the LH side….it will cost a lot of cash and will need to eat a big contract that someone else wants to unload….this is on Rizzo for not making the move before deadline….now all that will get through waivers is big money contracts.

    • rayvil01 - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      Wow, Man, after a blowout it’s still acid and vinegar for Rizzo? Geeze Louise.

      Money the Lerners got. Rather spend money than give away good prospects at this point. If he really wants CarGo, and all it’s going to take is money? This is a problem? It’s not going to happen though. Werth to the bench won’t happen this year.

      Utley in, who’s out? The guy on 3rd who has the second most hits on the team and played great defense last night? The Shortstop who hit 2 HRs last night? Or, Rendon? You’d seriously sit one of those three guys for a fossilized Utley? That’s a idea for the round file.

      • JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:46 AM

        like I said when I was on the Utley train it was before Spring Training …..now….it sure beats Uggla and LH bat but that is not going to happen now

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 11, 2015 at 6:31 AM

    My phone died last night… thought it was charging and the dang thing wasn’t plugged in.

    Gio was spectacular last night…. kinda wondered why he went out for the 8th, but meh…

    I don’t know that Dougie being in the BP is helping (it’s also leaving the bench 1 man short). With what he is doing this year, I don’t know how you can trust him in a close game.

    Great way to start the road trip. I ended up going to bed at like 115. And 530 got here way too fast.

    I hope the Nats offense continues this and beats Greinke tonight.

    • virginiascopist - Aug 11, 2015 at 6:41 AM

      I agree having Fister in the bullpen is not helping, but what else can you do with him, short of a stint on the DL? I’d be willing to cut him a little slack, given that he’s never, I believe, worked out of the BP before, but at this point I think he’s best suited as mop-up man (boy, I hate that term).

  5. natsfan1a - Aug 11, 2015 at 7:10 AM

    Nice to wake up to a happy game results email. Will speed-watch the recording later. Good start to the road trip. Atta way, Gio. Atta way, Nats.

  6. philipd763 - Aug 11, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    Take Fister and send him down to Syracuse to work out his problems. Presently, he does not belong on a major league roster.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 11, 2015 at 7:42 AM

      Yeah because he didn’t recover from Desmond’s 22 error that should have preserved the shut out.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        It was not a good throw, but it was a play that should also have been made on the first base side. Moore did not pick up his teammate there.

    • virginiascopist - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      Does Fister have options?

      • someguyinva - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:41 AM

        No.

        Players only have options during their first three years in the majors. After that, they must pass through waivers in order to be sent down to the minors.

      • natsguy1 - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:26 AM

        Options don’t actually expire after three years, you have three option years that can be used even before you’re in the majors, and longer than three years after you’re in the majors.

        So, let’s look at the case of Doug Fister. He was added to the Seattle 40-man roster in August 2009. He spent the rest of that season on the major league roster, so no option was used. He’s basically been in the majors ever since. He made one minor league appearance in both 2010 and 2012, but I’m going to assume those were rehab starts and not option years. He was on the major league roster all of 2011 and 2013, and we know his minor league appearances at the beginning of 2014 were all rehab starts. So, it appears that Fister has actually never been optioned and has all 3 of his option years remaining. Even if we assume he was optioned in 2010 and 2012, he still would have one option remaining.

        But the key fact for Fister is that he has over 5 years of service time, so even if he has options left, he also has the right to decline that option and become a free agent. So, I think we can sum up his status as this: he has options remaining but Nationals can’t or won’t risk using them.

        Good summary of the rules here:

        http://riveraveblues.com/2009/05/understanding-option-years-12285/

      • someguyinva - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:44 AM

        Thanks, natsguy. I think the source of my confusion was this passage from the linked article:

        “Three years after the date of a player’s first appearance on a major-league roster, he must clear optional waivers (which are revocable) to be optioned even if he has options remaining”

  7. stoatva - Aug 11, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    In Joe Cool We Trust.

  8. Another_Sam - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I hope that two in a row isn’t too much for these guys.

    • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:31 AM

      Fister to Syracuse and recall deDenker.No brainer,We are playing one man short.

      • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:36 AM

        No brainer? Did you stop to think whether Fister has any options left? (Or is that what you meant by “no brainer”? 😉 )

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:07 AM

        Trade Fister for Kershaw before tonight’s game. No brainer.

      • Section 222 - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:16 AM

        No bb, our rotation is full. We need a LH bat. Trade Fister for Joey Votto or CarGo. No brainer.

    • stoatva - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:41 AM

      Is that officially the bottom of the barrel?

  9. deelizzle - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    Is it me, or does it look to others like Gio (our “number 4 starter”) is carrying the rotation during this lull on his back?

    • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:51 AM

      Indeed he is.

      Who would have thought that: “Over his last eight starts, [he] is now 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA.” would ever apply to Gio!

      He’s dropped his ERA to 3.50 (JZ is 3.44)

      • Theophilus T.S. - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:20 AM

        Holiday stupidly described Gonzalez as “the best pitcher on the staff,” ignoring that he goes less than five as often as he goes seven. That was a very good start, however, and indicative of what he is capable of doing — and should do, regularly — when he pays attention to business. Santangelo correctly pointed out, however, that the head-spinning exorcist moments seem to have abated now that Lobaton has become his personal catcher. He noted the number of times LaRoche had to go to the mound to talk Gonzalez out of his tree. Of course, LaRoche is no longer here to give counsel but the in-game therapy seasons seem to be a thing of the past.

      • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:07 AM

        Holiday stupidly described Gonzalez as “the best pitcher on the staff,”

        OTOH, for the last seven games I think he _has_ been the best on the staff!

      • Candide - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:39 AM

        …head-spinning exorcist moments…

        …LaRoche had to go to the mound to talk Gonzalez out of his tree…

        …the in-game therapy seasons seem to be a thing of the past.

        +3 for laugh-out-loud-but-spot-on imagery

  10. veejh - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    Just win one of the next 2, split with the Giants, and win the series vs the Rox. Finish the road trip 6-4. Piece of cake.

  11. #4 - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    I do follow the Dodgers. They are playing with a skeleton of their usual line-up becasue of a combination of injuries and slumps. Knedrick and Turner are out. Crawford and Grandal were both taking the night off I think after a long road trip. Joc is mired in a horrible slump. Their line-up generally against lefties is weaker – particularly with their injuries. About the only guy doing much right now is Rollins. I would expect more of an “A” line up tonight. It’s also true that the last time through the rotation both Kershaw and Grienke weren’t great. That hasn’t helped. Lastly, Vin was comparing the Dodgers and Nats bullpens last night commenting that both have struggled recently.

    Last night’s game for the Nats was a very good sign.

    1. They were 5 for 5 scoring runners who reached 2nd base with nobody out.
    2. Lobaton was really good on balls in the dirt. He also framed a strike three call on Van Slyke.
    3. Gio handled his one PFP well.
    4. Escobar had a great lay out to save a run.
    5. Bob Hendley did not run them out of their big inning. He made good decisions on sending runners in the sixth.

    The only (very small) blemish on the “what loses you games” count was Gio’s 8th inning lead-off walk. Hard not to give him a pass on that though given how well he pitched. And again you can’t expect perfection.

    • virginiascopist - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      I thought Crawford and Grandal were out of the lineup mostly due to Gio being the starter (Grandal not having good splits against lefties). In any case, we will definitely be facing more of their “regular” lineup tonight.

      And although our bullpens may be both be struggling, I still wouldn’t trade ours for theirs. Some of their fans’ are apparently likening their BP to the Tigers’ in — pick any of the last three years. Not what you want for a contender.

      • #4 - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:05 AM

        Yeah, you’re probably right about Crawford and Grandal. Gonzalez too. It was probably a combination of factors. Certainly made sense to give them a day off v a LHP and after a long roady.

      • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:15 AM

        Re: Dodgers BP

        Baez just completely overmatched everybody. The first guy hit a grounder which could have been a DP, and then he struck out the other four guys he faced.

        Howell did give up 3 hits, and Ian’s 2d HR, but his ERA is an eye -popping 1.35 — due to his incredible streak of *36!!* straight appearances without giving up a run earlier this season.

        Kelley Jansen struck out all three guys he faced.

        This is a weak BP?

        OTOH, taking a quick look at their game logs, I do see that all three have had recent rough patches, at about the same time.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      Don’t forget Adrian Gonzalez had the night off also.

      That was a split squad Dodgers lineup.

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:19 AM

        It was more of a platoon lineup. Mattingly sat some guys who struggle against lefties anyway (Gonzalez’ OPS is 120 points lower vs lefties, Pederson’s is 150 points lower, Ethier’s is a whopping 275 points power) to get them some rest.

        In other words, Ethier’s .501 OPS vs lefties, and for that matter Pederson’s .687, probably would have helped them too much last night. It’s not so much that we got a good break, it’s more that we had an effective lefty starter in our rotation who was well-positioned to take advantage of one of the opponents’ glaring weaknesses.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:28 AM

        Adrian Gonzalez does just fine against lefties. I think it was just the right day to rest them after the long trip plus you have the righties like Kendrick and Justin Turner who are both injured.

        Yasmani Grandal is a switch-hitter and he sat also.

        Also if you follow the Dodgers, Puig only started 4 games last week.

        I’d say Puig and Jimmy Rollins were the closest to regulars.

        Ross will face the Dodgers lineup with all the regulars they have (minus the injured players) and he has to face Greinke who was 3-3 with a HR in his last start.

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        “Fine” is a good way to describe it. His 2015 OPS is .815 vs lefties. For his career he’s .773. Lefties basically transform him from His replacement at 1B last night has an .899 OPS vs lefties in 2015, .895 for his career. In other words he hits lefties better than Gonzalez and it’s not that close.

        Gio had a great outing. Its greatness is not lessened by the quality of the lineup he faced. In fact if anything it was more impressive when you consider that it was stacked with batters who hit lefties well.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:03 AM

        Puig isn’t hitting anyone well right now.

        Gio took advantage of a depleted lineup and did what he needed to do but I’m not going to say he cut through Murderers Row.

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Sorry, was gonna say that lefties basically transform him from good Jayson Werth to bad Jayson Werth.

    • jfmii - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:05 AM

      Where was/is Adrian Gonzalez?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        Rest day. The Dodgers plane didn’t get into LA until early morning after their ESPN night game in Pittsburgh.

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    Interesting comments on Werth but the Dodgers blew it on him in a 3-0 count and the Werth scouting report. First off, Joc Pederson catches that ball as Hernandez is not a great outfielder and the fact that Anderson threw Werth a cookie in a 3-0 count tells you they don’t know Werth’s scouting report that he is all “GO” in 3-0 counts.

    I have been a Werth supporter since the day he was signed and even during his struggles in 2011 but his defense is poor with range and arm and has even had a hard time digging out balls in the corner. His offense is getting better but I’m not sure some ambush hits will get him to where we need him as a corner outfielder.

    I still think if Rizzo could get a corner outfield upgrade with a lefty in CarGo (doubtful) or Bruce who would be a salary dump then you do it. Politically Werth would have to accept a platoon situation and sit 5 days a week.

    • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      If we were to get Bruce or Cargo we would still have to dump a pitcher as we are 1 down in regular players.I hope we are not going to go with a 4 man bench until Sept.1.Fister to the DL and bring up denDeker is the best solution for now.That is better than a 4 man bench and Fister.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Fister would have to agree to a DL stint like Uggla and my guess is Fister said NO. Rizzo does not want to dump him.

        Even though Fister was victimized by a Desi error he couldn’t get through that inning unscathed.

  13. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Who cares what Werth will “accept”…..thought this was a team game….he has his last contract ever….does he think he is doing better than Bruce or CarGo in the OF?

  14. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    Werth can not even reach a cut off man in short LF…….something is very wrong with his arm

  15. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    wish we had a media reporter type who had the eye and gut to see/ask about this

  16. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:07 AM

    oh and was on the trip

    • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      I have said over and over we need ATLEAST an additional defensive outfielder to replace Jason late in the game.We are going to get burnt with him because he has to play 9 innings as we do not have anyone better.Seems ridiculous Rizzo did not resolve that at the deadline by trading Fister.

      • someguyinva - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:39 PM

        In all seriousness, what kind of return would you expect Fister to bring in trade? He’s in his walk year, and he’s not been pitching very well; only contending teams trade for impending free agents, and the return on them (especially ones having mediocre seasons) is usually some organizational filler from their AA or High A team.

        What’s a hypothetical trade that you’d have seen another team make for Fister that would’ve helped the Nats this year?

  17. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    Assume, for sake of argument, Nats were to claim C. Gonzalez off waivers. They then would have seven days to make a trade w/ CO — w/ a huge pay in prospects — before Rockies recall the waivers. As useful as C. Gonzalez would be, and as hot as he is right now, he’s been basically a half-season player this year and, offensively, is as big a risk as Cespedes. The Nats need their limited supply of top prospects for 2016 and 2017 more than they need that.

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

      Big deal with Fister.We will not resign him and will never make a qualifying offer so what do we have to lose by dumping him now if he would not go down for 2 weeks.Seems to me he will look lil the loser that we would just cut him loose.We need a 5th bench guy that can play defense late in the game now not Sept.1 or until we make this fantasy deal and Jason tells you he is not playing 2 days a week at best.Get real and do something simple that can help now.

      • JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:36 AM

        agreed on doing something now…..it is a no brainer…but like Ghost has said…not enough….Werth can not play in the field anymore or at least not OF this year…that is very easy to see. Cargo is a dream…but it is the type of addition teams who win make….look at Blue Jays this year….Giants and Hunter Pence…..that is not just having the right 25 roster allocation that is major upgrades to talent. That wins World Series…Giants 3 years in 5 with Pence leading the way.

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:17 PM

        Hunter Pence was not on the Giants when they won the 2010 World Series.

        He hit .219/.287/.384 for the Giants in the 2012 regular season and .210/.231/.290 in the postseason, when the Giants won the World Series in spite of him, not because of him.

        He was fairly decent in 2014 both in the regular season and the postseason. Of course that was after he would have reached free agency on the deal he brought with him from Philly so his 2014 season was not an asset the team traded for.

        “3 years in 5 with Pence leading the way” indeed.

      • #4 - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:37 PM

        Just for fun I went back and looked at the teams that have gone to the World Series the last several years. Other than Pence and the 2012 Giants, there aren’t really any examples of those teams adding significant position players at the deadline. And of course as bowdenball points out HP didn’t exactly tear it up. I do think there is something about chemistry and winning. It’s hard to add an everyday guy in mid-stream. Those teams did often add a key reliever or a rotation-bolstering #4 or #5 starter. I guess that bodes well for the Papelbon pick-up.

  18. JayB - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Cargo is not as big a risk as Cespedes…now do you get there?

    We need to thing of 2016 and 2017 more than this year…..dude…this is the last shot for Ted L and like 5 of the key starters…..you think Werth and Zim are getting any better? It is this year all it time. Really past time…..July 31 was the right time to make this move.

  19. Ryan Chase - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Roark or fister auditiong for starts in September when Ross shut down

  20. texnat1 - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    I just don’t see the Nats replacing Werth over the least two years of his contract. Not unless he falls off a cliff and stays there. I’m sure they are thinking he will rebound.

    • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:45 AM

      I’m sure they are thinking he will rebound.

      And there’s halfway decent evidence — he was hitting pretty well when his wrist got broken by that pitch in May. Everybody keeps saying you need 100 AB’s to get all the rust off — he’s had 50 since he’s come back so far (with a BABIP of .194!)

      • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        Still he needs defensive replacement late in games.He will cost us.

      • texnat1 - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:27 PM

        I agree that the nats need another outfielder on the bench who can actually play the outfield. I guess they have decided they want Uggla on the team so badly that its worth it to have an unbalanced roster. I don’t get that, but it will be resolved with roster expansion.

  21. #4 - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    Puig is starting about four games a week because there is organization wide frustration with his attitude. Some think he is still an emotional basket case because of the experience he had fleeing Cuba. He still tears up when talking about it. It was really horrific.

  22. jd - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    Ghost,

    Before the trade deadline the Mets offered Cinci the same prospects they gave Detroit for Cespedes in an effort to get Bruce and Cinci declined. These prospects ranked 5 and 17 equate to Difo and Vettleson on the Nats except that they are pitchers so let’s say Lopez and Voth. First of all you gotta remember that Cinci declined to make that deal and second of all are you prepared to trade Lopez and Voth, take on a big salary for a player who has only been so so?

    Even if the answer is yes, what makes you think that the player passes through waivers to get to us?

    The problem is not with the fact that people make suggestions but that you assume that it’s a piece of cake to execute.

    • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:37 PM

      For now what is easy is dump Fister who you will not make an offer to and get nothing and bringing up deDenker for immediate help.

      • jd - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:51 PM

        Don’t assume that you won’t need Fister. Ross has an innings limit and Fister may yet be a valuable asset through the end of the year much more valuable I might add than having a 5th bench player.

    • virginiascopist - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:49 PM

      I thought the Mets offered Wheeler+ for Bruce. Maybe not, but I’m sure I heard that Cincinnati was interested in Wheeler.

      • jd - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:52 PM

        I think Wheeler was one option but I read that Cinci could have had the prospects gave Detroit for Cespedes. In any event Cinci didn’t pull the trigger, what makes you think they will now?

      • virginiascopist - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:00 PM

        Oh, no, I can’t believe Cincinnati would trade Bruce for what Rizzo might be willing to offer (and it wouldn’t be Lopez and Voth). I remember what they wanted for Chapman.

  23. #4 - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Dumping Fister would not be a good move right now. The Nats’ rotation health is tenuous at best with an innings-limited Ross and an injury prone Strasburg. They need to keep him in the stable. He is a proven money pitcher who is just one year removed from being their best pitcher. Let him figure out his mechanics in the bullpen. He will be needed. Send Trienan down or cut Thornton to make room for the fifth bench player. Use Roark in the Trienan/Thornton role and Fister in the Roark role.

    • virginiascopist - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:03 PM

      I am quite sure, if healthy, Fister will be useful. He may not make the playoff roster (knock on wood), but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a role in the remainder of August and September.

  24. unkyd59 - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:16 PM

    Who is Tony Campana?

  25. jd - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    Why are people so fixated on the 5th bench spot? How often have we used 5 bench players in a game?

    • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:48 PM

      No hope with a comment like that.We have carried 12 pitchers and 13 regulars 99 percent of the time as do 99 precent of all NL teams.In our case we do not have a defensive replacement for Jason late in games where we are up 1or2 runs.Only the Fister issue is causing that.Also in tight extra inning games you may need a pinch hitter especially that MW never wants to use the 2nd catcher so you are really playing with 3 spare parts.I am officially done on this issue.

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:59 PM

        OK, rlndrtln. Let’s say the Nats do cut Fister loose.

        Who takes Ross’ spot in the lineup when he reaches his innings limit. Or if you prefer, who is designated as his “handcuff” so he can continue to start but be removed after 4-5 innings for a long reliever?

        Assuming you think that would be Roark, who then would take Roark’s spot as long reliever in the bullpen? Cole? Jordan? I consider those guys to be downgrades from Fister, and I think most people would feel the same.

        Remember, roster expand three weeks from today. You’re talking about just a handful of late-inning plays to RF at most in which a defensive replacement might save the Nats a base or an out between now and then. Is that really worth giving up someone who has years and years of good to outstanding performance as a major league starter and getting nothing in return? What if he goes to the Mets – who will need some spot starts to rest their young starters this month- and offers up some insight into the Nats’ approach to certain Mets players?

      • bowdenball - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        Sorry, a handful of plays to LF, not RF.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM

        You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

        According to active players list on espn the following NL teams are all carrying 13 pitchers which means they have only 4 bench guys: Marlins, Cubs, Brewers, Cards, Rockies and the Giants. And the Padres are carrying 14 pitcher on their active roster. So only 5 of the NL teams have 5 position players on their bench. By my calculation, that is nowhere close to 99%.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 11, 2015 at 3:19 PM

        What, zmunchkin? You actually look things up and rely on facts?

        BANNED!!!

      • zmunchkin - Aug 11, 2015 at 3:28 PM

        My most sincere apologies realjohn. I usually don’t bother to look such things up. But I recalled FP making a comment about the bench when Uggla went on the DL for Stras.

        I promise I will be careful in the future regarding the use of facts and data when commenting here!

    • #4 - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      It’s not so much that you use 5 bench players. It’s that there is very little flexibility. Ideally you would have a

      1. a back-up catcher (Lobaton)
      2. a RH PH with thump (Moore)
      3. a LH PH with thump (Robinson)
      4. a utility infielder (Espinosa)
      5. a good defensive OF that can run (?)

      One or two of these guys should excel at late inning small ball – good bunter, base stealer. At spots #2 and #5 they are below average. You don’t need each of these every game, but you need each of these once or twice a week.

      • veejh - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        Clint Robinson has zero thump, but I get your point.

      • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:19 PM

        Now somebody gets it.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:11 PM

      And don’t forget that Fister is a good athlete. For three weeks I think holding onto him makes sense. He could be the late inning pinch runner for CRob. And in an emergency he could play first base. I still remember the split he made to catch that throw to first (last year?).

      • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:25 PM

        The Nats can start Roark if Ross has reached his limit.I prefer Roark to Fister.Rizzo the expert I am sure will either bring up one of our untouchable relievers remember the ones we could not lose or make a trade off the waiver list for long relief ..Fister is useless and 3 weeks is almost half of what is left in the season.So many here say Jason is horrendous in left,can not run or throw but are willing to wait another 20 games to get a 5th bench player a number we ALWAYS have and need.

      • rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 4:41 PM

        maybe foster can play left field.the only reason he is here is he is selfish.period.case closed.

    • adcwonk - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      Why are people so fixated on the 5th bench spot?

      Yeah — you gotta wonder sometime. As if that’s the most important part of the team, or, perhaps the only missing ingredient.

      It’s an easy thing to complain about.

      Really.

      And for everybody else — have you seen what other 5th bench spots looks like?

      There is a reason that, not only are they not starting, but they are the *last* choice for the bench.

      Puleeze . . .

  26. rlndtln - Aug 11, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    No sense trying to reason with idiots.Guys ask the expert The ghost will tell you.

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