Skip to content

Off-night for Ross, but he didn’t get much help

Aug 12, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images

The Nationals faced a tough enough challenge Tuesday night with Zack Greinke on the mound for the Dodgers. That they wound up having to face the Cy Young frontrunner without the services of Bryce Harper was downright unfair.

The absence of Harper from the Nationals’ lineup due to a sore left knee proved significant during the 5-0 loss in Los Angeles, but perhaps more so from a defensive standpoint than an offensive one. Then again, it might not have mattered how well the Nats played in the field; you still can’t win a game without scoring a run.

So now the Nationals find themselves 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in the NL East — not to mention 5 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the NL’s final wild card berth — heading into Wednesday night’s series finale. And now they have to beat Clayton Kershaw to emerge with a series victory and avoid falling even farther back in the race.

Before looking ahead, a look back at some key points from Tuesday’s loss…

Joe Ross had his first off-night in the big leagues
It is remarkable to consider that Ross hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his first seven big-league starts, not to mention the fact he had walked only four total batters since joining the Nationals rotation.

Well, both streaks ended Tuesday night. Ross was charged with five runs in a career-low 4 2/3 innings. And he walked four batters in the game, included two in a row at one point.

That lack of pinpoint command proved Ross’ undoing, and not only in the form of the walks. His command within the strike zone was off as well, leading to the biggest blast of the game: Yasiel Puig’s 2-run homer in the bottom of the fourth. It came on a hanging slider, truly one of Ross’ only bad pitches since he has reached the majors.

How rare was that mistake? Well, Ross faced 102 right-handed batters in the big leagues before surrendering his first extra-base hit to one of them. Yes, Puig was the first to do it to him, in career start No. 8. That’s nuts.

As stated, Ross was charged with five runs in the game. He very easily could’ve been charged with only one, though: Puig’s homer. That’s because…

The Nats’ defense let down their starter
Puig’s homer came with Andre Ethier standing on third base? How did Ethier get there? By legging out a triple off the center-field wall, despite Michael Taylor’s best effort to throw him out at third base. Umpire C.B. Bucknor actually did initially call Ethier out after Taylor’s fantastic throw, but the call was overturned after replays showed Ethier sliding around Yunel Escobar’s tag.

Ethier, of course, gets some credit for his nifty move. But Escobar gets some blame as well for not putting himself in the best possible position to make that tag, which ultimately led to one of the Dodgers’ runs.

Escobar’s misplay was far more damaging to the Nationals than Clint Robinson’s misplay one inning later. Pressed into emergency right field duties with Harper sidelined, Robinson wasn’t able to track down Puig’s blooper into shallow right with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth.

There’s no way to say definitively that Harper would’ve made the play. But it’s safe to say this: He certainly would have had a better chance of making the play than Robinson, a career first baseman who had never spent an inning in the outfield until this season.

This is where the Nationals’ current roster situation kills them. Denard Span is already on the DL, showing no signs of returning from a back injury anytime soon. That forces Taylor to play center field and only center field, unable to serve as the club’s fourth outfielder for such emergencies as this. The Nats don’t really have a fourth outfielder at the moment. They have Robinson and Tyler Moore, each natural first basemen who have learned how to play corner outfield positions over the years. They also have Danny Espinosa, a career middle infielder who earlier this season made his left field debut.

This isn’t an ideal situation, and it underscores the importance of Harper being healthy enough to play. Not to mention the significant loss of Span.

Jayson Werth is really struggling
While Ryan Zimmerman has been red-hot since returning from the DL and Anthony Rendon has shown signs of life, Werth continues to struggle at the plate.

The veteran outfielder did homer on Sunday in D.C., and he did drive in a couple runs Monday in L.A., but in 14 games overall since returning from a broken wrist, he is now hitting a paltry .160 (8-for-50) while drawing only two walks (leading to a .185 on-base percentage).

It’s one thing for Werth’s power stroke to take some time to re-emerge. The lack of walks, though, is disturbing for a guy who has made a living working the count as well as anybody in the game.

168 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. unkyd59 - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:19 AM

    The box score shows clean relief, at least…

  2. JT - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:48 AM

    My neighbor flies a huge Dodger flag from his porch. After Monday’s game, I would lay on my horn when driving by and point to my Nats magnets. This is DC, not LA.

    Not looking forward to the payback today.

  3. nats1924 - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    season is over. Fire Matt Wiliams! Obviously team chemistry is bad right now.

    Let all the pending FA’s walk, cuz they all stink, and trade Storen.

  4. kiawah51 - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    they have been done for a month. WHen they get back to DC they will be under 500, but all the local media guys will continue to say, “just wait to everyone reverts to the norm:” A joke

  5. natsfan1a - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    Bummer, a not-happy game results email. Eh.

  6. philipd763 - Aug 12, 2015 at 6:58 AM

    Rizzo could have gotten Cespedes before the trade deadline but he sat on his hands. Rizzo is good when it comes to shoring up relief pitching but doesn’t seem to understand a team needs offense to win games too. Further, you severely weaken a team’s offense when you play infielders in the outfield. Span’s absence has been lethal and it looks more and more like his season is over.

    • hokiepokster92 - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:02 AM

      I guess Souza for Trea Turner and Joe Ross doesn’t register on your radar? Too much myopia?

  7. Doc - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    The MLB.TV Vin Scully broadcast doesn’t feature ‘Pitch-Track’ so confirmation of pitch location was difficult. But it did appear early in the game that the home plate umpire was squeezing lots of Joe Cool’s outside pitches that appeared to me to be on the black.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      Just as I explain to the little league kids, don’t blame blue … Do your job and things will take care of themselves.

      Not directed at you Doc but there has been lots of crying about the umps On this board over the past few weeks. You don’t hear that nonsense from winning teams. We don’t win because we don’t hit … Especially situational hitting. It’s been that way since September of last year …. It’s not the “Umps are out to get us”.

  8. alexva6 - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    “There’s no way to say definitively that Harper would’ve made the play”

    I just watched the replay and will say definitively “Harper would’ve made the play”

    • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:11 AM

      No doubt . Joe got S,crewed in this game. We need something to change right now. Status quo = fail

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      Harper would have made the play for three reasons:

      1. Harper is faster than CRob
      2. Because of #1, Harper plays a bit closer in than CRob
      3. Harper is a lefty — CRob had to try to grab it on his back-hand side, making it more difficult.

      I’m glad that I haven’t seen (at least not yet) folks screaming at CRob. To me, that would be like yelling at, say, Ramos for not being able to run faster.

      CRob did what he could — he tried — he’s just not as good as an average true outfielder (and certainly not as good as Harper)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:46 AM

        On your #3, I think you meant Harper is a righty fielder meaning his glove hand is on his left hand and that would not have been a back-hand.

        CRob put in the effort and you’d swear it was in slow motion and he has to be the slowest on the team and that’s slower than Ramos.

        It is what it is. When CRob is your 4th outfielder it’s not a good thing for a pitching/defense 1st team.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:54 AM

        On your #3, I think you meant Harper is a righty fielder meaning his glove hand is on his left hand

        Yep — exactly. Thanks for straightening that out.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        Any time. I think you meant that anyway.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:09 AM

        Yes, but always helps to clarify something poorly written — thanks

    • texnat1 - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:12 AM

      Heck, Jayson Werth would have made the play. And probably without having to dive.

  9. robertrobert104 - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    So, without Harper in the lineup, the Nats are hitting .216 since the start of the season (excluding pitchers, stats provided by ESPN). Which means only one thing: this is a very bad team. Not a team that you would expect to win a division. Players who can’t perform when it counts are legion on that team: Werth is totally lost, Zimmerman play on one foot, Desmond is a disaster, Rendon is way too relax, Span is on disabled list again and again, Ramos is ok, no more. So that leave Harper and Escobar. And I won’t say a thing about Matt Williams…What happens since 2013? Last year was, what, a mirage? Everything was almost perfect. And this year, a total disaster. This is a team that won’t be able to respond to the expectation. Yes, they had many, many injuries. So the other teams. Not an excuse. They just can’t take the pressure, that’s it.

    • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:47 AM

      Harsh. But stats are stats. I agree we can’t rely on aging past stars and injury prone vets. We need change. I strongly dislike MW and his bonehead moves. Him making a promise over a year ago and not fulfilling evoked the babes curse. :/

    • alexva6 - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      Harper has been out of the lineup for 7 games, SSS

      the rest of the hitters are batting .246, not great but not quite as dismal as your comment paints

      • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:11 AM

        That’s not what he is saying. He’s saying take harpers stats out and the team hits .216

      • alexva6 - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:21 AM

        if you take Harper’s status out the team hits .246 not .216.

  10. veejh - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    One bad slider and one bad outfielder was the difference. Went sleep after the Clint fail. Blah.

    • Another_Sam - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:32 AM

      The difference IMHO was no runs scored. Perfect pitching and stellar defense can’t overcome that.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:45 AM

        Truth be told, Sam, you are right. No runs scored, no chance to win. The other team took advantage of two miscues in the outfield, along with a very poor play at third base. I am pretty big on Michael Taylor, but twice in the past 3 games with 2 outs he has taken a step in on two catchable balls off the bat, only to have them go over his head, both times leading to home runs being hit by the next batter. Max Scherzer’s and Joe Ross’ lines ended up much worse because of those plays that don’t show up in the box score. Sad thing is: Taylor’s the best defensive outfielder that they have right now.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:53 AM

        oops, there was only one out when the ball went over MAT’s head last night. My bad. It was a late night and early morning here.

      • veejh - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:43 AM

        Well, that too. We could have at least had a chance in the later innings of winning if it was tied 0-0.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:50 AM

        All good points here on “one bad slider” and “I am pretty big on Michael Taylor, but twice in the past 3 games with 2 outs he has taken a step in on two catchable balls off the bat, only to have them go over his head, both times leading to home runs being hit by the next batter.”

        If Taylor catches the Ethier ball then there is a good chance that Ross pitches to Puig differently. The CRob bases loaded non-catch is what it is.

        Joe Cool deserved better but Another_Sam is right even if you make all those plays the Nats scored ZERO runs.

  11. rayvil01 - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    Two down in the lost column on August 12’th and the team is supposedly “Done.” Shake my head. If it was September 12th they wouldn’t be done.

    Check back in 30 games.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:47 AM

      + 30!!!

      Well, if you ain’t just a ray of sunshine, ray!

    • bowdenball - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:03 AM

      +1.

      These comments are similar to the comments around here at the end of April. The Nats aren’t done until they’ve been mathematically eliminated. At this point even the Marlins haven’t been mathematically eliminated.

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:57 AM

      You can say that again. Anyone who doubts it hasn’t been a fan for very long (or has a short memory).

      The Mets were something like 7 games up on (approx) Sept 12 (or, converserly, you can say the Phils were 7 games behind) on Sept 12 a few years back.

      The Phils certainly weren’t “done” that year.

      • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:12 AM

        2007 …. And to prove it was not a fluke, they did it again in 2008!

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        Oh yeah — that, too!

        They were up 3.5 on Sept 12, and at the end of play just *four days later* they were in second place! (They finished in 2nd, 3 games out)

      • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:35 AM

        The article on MW says it all.He manages as a robot.You guys do not like the truth about this team but it is reality.MW must go to start.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:21 PM

        And why is that article any more authoritative than Boz’s recent article which called MW an average manager?

  12. scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    Ok let’s look at what we have as solid building blocks:

    Ross
    Max
    Esco
    Bryce
    MAT
    Trea (get up here)
    Stras
    Rivero
    Zim maybe

    Everyone else is gone soon or highly suspect as a keeper player. Batting .216 without Bryce’s monster year is just not ok. I agree we need to give it 30 days but honestly…do these guys really look like champions? No they just don’t, sadly.

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      Batting .216 without Bryce’s monster year is just not ok.

      That’s just not true.

      I think the figure related to BA since the all star break. Big difference. And I think it’s already gone up since then.

      • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:13 AM

        Yes it is. Subtract harpers stats and chi it

      • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:15 AM

        If it is since break, that’s still bad. It explains a slide that will likely have us missing post

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:26 AM

        If it is since break, that’s still bad. It explains a slide that will likely have us missing post

        If I recall, that stat was measured right after a brutal series. It’s higher than that now, and will continue to get higher (see, e.g., Escobar, RZ, etc.)

    • texnat1 - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      Has Rendon now been written off? I missed that memo.

  13. scnatsfan - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    I’m not saying the Nats are done – far from it – but unless this team learns to beat good pitchers it is going nowhere, that’s for sure. Assuming we make the playoffs (inserts Mora’s ‘playoffs? playoffs?’ rant here for effect) all we will see is top of the line arms – how can we win a series if we won’t even win a game?

    • bowdenball - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      Here are the good pitchers we’ve beaten since July 1:

      Jake Peavy
      Madison Bumgarner
      Wei-Yin Chen
      Matt Harvey
      Noah Syndergaard (late comeback after he departed)
      AJ Burnett
      Patrick Corbin (ran him out early, DBacks came back, Nats won late)

      That’s just since July 1. Go back further and you can find many big names in the L column on the Nats’ schedule; names like deGrom (x2), Hamels, Lester, Liriano, Burnett again, and Miller.

      This silly narrative needs to die and it needs to die now. Of course we struggle to beat good pitchers. Everyone struggles to beat good pitchers. That’s what makes them good pitchers. The 2015 Nats have some problems and they face an uphill battle, but relative inability to beat good pitchers is not one of them.

      • scnatsfan - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:56 AM

        And look at the last three weeks. Its not a silly narrative. Good pitchers are chewing us up and spitting us out.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:01 AM

        And look at the last three weeks. Its not a silly narrative. Good pitchers are chewing us up and spitting us out.

        You say “look at the last three weeks”, B-ball says “look at the last 6 weeks”.

        Can anybody see the problem here?

        The last three weeks is a combined hitting slump and facing good pitchers at the same time.

        We _can_ beat good pitchers, but not lately. When — or if — the hitting gets back on track, we’ll beat good pitchers some of the time.

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    Gosh, I hope Harper is better today and can play.

    The lack of productivity from the LF position is hurting the team. Hopefully Werth can get on soon. My fingers are crossed.

    Joe Ross had an unbelievable streak of awesome pitching. He was still good yesterday, just not as sharp. And then the defensive miscues didn’t help.

    And yes, I do believe Harper makes that catch. PLEASE HURRY BACK SPAN, THIS TEAM NEEDS YOU IN MORE WAYS THAN 1.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      In my opinion, though he wasn’t as sharp as he has been thus far, all 5 runs scored as a result of defensive miscues.

      • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:32 AM

        U r right joe.

        Spans not coming back… His own comments indicate that. He seems to have his future in mind.

        Jeyson is a huge concern. I expect some kind of shake up soon in prep for a stretch run.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:35 AM

        I will say 4 runs scored becuz of defensive miscues – That HR by Puig, he got all of it.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        Yeah,you’re right, there would’ve only been 2 outs when Puig hit the HR if either MAT had caught the ball, or if Escobar had put a good tag on. Taylor’s throw certainly beat the runner, terrible technique by Yunel on the tag.

  15. rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    Endless chatter about a team that has not smelled a run against Greinke in 2 starts this year.We would never beat a good team with right handed pitching.We have 1 left handed hitter and play against teams with 3or 4 that are killing us.This team is poorly constructed.The loss of Denard was the final nail in the coffin.We are average in all ways.Starting pitching above average,BP below average,Hiitting average,team speed poor,defense average at best and the manager fair at best.This adds up to an average team that will win in the low 80s.Need to replace Jason with a strong lefty bat,Turner at SS and leading off next year and 2 BP pitchers and a new manager.to begin with.Denard,JZIM,Fister and Desi will be gone.We had our best chance in 2012 when we could hit and pitch but could not do it.The train has left the station on this team and anybody that can not see it is blind.

    • JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:23 AM

      yup…..Rizzo while having huge strengths is Player development and Minor League rosters has proven he is not the GM to build a team at the ML Level…….MW…..below average and why would a team with this talent pipeline and deep pockets keep a manager who is a very best 23 out 30 in a ranking of peers…..that is just stupid and pig headed…..oh wait that is Rizzo’s blind spot.

      • bowdenball - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:46 AM

        Did you say Rizzo can’t build a team at the major league level?

        The Nats had the most wins in baseball from 2012-2014.

      • JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        yea…how many playoff wins….where are they now…they are in a very very weak division for all those wins and teams that win the most games in MLB over a 3 year period and can not get out round one are not well constructed MLB teams. List of teams who have won at least one Play off Series during that time…those are teams that are constructed to win. Sorry Nats always have this huge fatal flaw….Closer, Bull Pen, Defense, Speed, Hitting, Fundamentals of small ball, bunting and situation hitting making contact with two strikes, moving runners with less than two outs…..Nats are not good at all this over that period.

      • JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        Having no 4th outfielder on the 25 man roster in a pennant race is inexcusable to look at current roster construction problems as well as the longer term issues Rizzo has failed to fix over past 3 season.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        “Rizzo while having huge strengths is Player development and Minor League rosters has proven he is not the GM to build a team at the ML Level”

        Since the start of the 2012 season the Nats have won 396 games out 715 for a 0.553 winning average. Only St Louis has more wins at 419. And there is the small matter of 2 out of 3 Division titles. Obviously the Nats are an “ML Level” team.

        You’re reaching a new level of speciousness. I’m beginning to think you’re Jim Riggelman undercover. He’s still carrying a big axe to grind on Rizzo. Your vitriol is unsupported by facts.

      • bowdenball - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:01 AM

        You said he couldn’t build a team to win at the major league level. If you meant to say that he couldn’t build a team to win in the playoffs, you should have said that he couldn’t build a team to win in the playoffs.

        It wouldn’t be any more correct since it’s been proven time and again that the MLB playoffs are a total crapshoot, but at least it wouldn’t have been quite as easily disproven.

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      We would never beat a good team with right handed pitching.

      Well, except for all the times that we did beat a good team with great RH pitching. Matt Harvey’s a righty, right?

      See bowdenball’s list above.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Yes, Turner is hitting .299 against AAA pitching. He also has 10 errors in 41 games. I seriously doubt you’ll be seeing Trea this year.

      • nats106 - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:01 AM

        Wow, he is the true heir apparent to Desmond, isn’t he? Since when did committing double digit errors keep a National MI out of the lineup? Tongue in cheek, of course.

  16. Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    This was clearer coverage by the Dodger’s feed of the MAT/Escobar play than MASN had last night.

    [mlbvideo id="358354683" width="400" height="224" /]

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      Take 2 on the link:http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/63817564/v358354683/?c_id=mlb

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:57 AM

        I saw it on MLB Network. Clearly safe. Of course MASN couldn’t show anything but a blur. 100% definitive, it is what it is. Taylor moving in on the ball cost him to not get to that. When you’re playing against Greinke there is zero margin for error.

        The reason Rizzo traded Willingham and wasn’t aggressive to re-sign Adam Dunn was the shift to pitching and defense. How can you have CRob as your 4th outfielder as you are already carrying Werth is the 2nd worst LF in the Majors.

  17. peewilly - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:12 AM

    Unfair to characterize Puig’s hit to right as a miscue. Robinson made every effort to catch the ball, he’s just not the fastest of foot. It’s fair to say Bryce would have caught it but he didn’t play so it’s a moot point. You can have 8 gold glove fielders in the lineup but if you don’t score a run you won’t win.

    Taylor’s mistake on Ethier’s triple was getting too close to the wall and having the ball bounce over his head. He could’ve kept him to a double which may not have changed the outcome of the game.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:00 AM

      After watching replays I disagree. Taylor compounded things by getting too close to the wall after making the initial mistake of taking a step in on the ball.Just my opinion, but I think if played properly off the bat it wouldn’t have hit off the wall, but been caught instead. I do not agree with comments made last night night that Michael didn’t hustle after it hit off the wall. The kid misread it off the bat, it happens. But, then he almost made up for it with an exceptional throw.

      As to CRob, yes he tried his best, which is a sad testimonial as to what constitutes what his best is.

      As to those that want to bring Matt denDekker back up? Yes, his defense in the outfield would be better than CRob’s or Tyler Moore’s, but there are already too many black holes in the batting order. MdD is good enough to lose with. The Nats need help from outside of the organization, in my opinion.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:05 AM

        Good point, JS. We complain about lack of hitting and also want denDekker. (Or Utley)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        “The Nats need help from outside of the organization, in my opinion.”

        YES YES YES to the point where Rizzo needed to be on this weeks ago, but I am sure Rizzo doesn’t want to do it because it would mean Werth goes to the bench.

        Taylor is still your CF and Bryce the RF so if you bring in a big trade it has to be to replace Werth and he becomes your 4th outfielder.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:07 AM

        If I had to choose between CRob and MdD… well, I think we all know who I would choose. With that said, heck yeah we need another OF… Werth needs to take 1 for the team… I mean Dougie did it…

      • senators69 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:02 PM

        +++ To all comments on this topic
        What will / can Rizzo do now for help???

      • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:26 PM

        of course but in the mean time the season is coming to an end.For the last time I ask is denDeker better than nothing which is what we replaced Uggla with nothing.

  18. #4 - Aug 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    The Nats are not done. They also will not make any big moves “to set themselves up for the stretch run.”

    I am not in love with Matt Williams’ style and am skeptical of whether some of these guys will bounce back given their injuries this year. Having said that there is no way you throw a set of proven players over the side when they have had only a few weeks of playing together all healthy. It just will not happen, and it looks very reactionary. I reiterate that pennant winning teams very rarely add position players for this reason. It really screws up chemistry. If one is added, the GM has to be very careful to bring in a low maintenance personality who can fit in seamlessly. Cespesdes for instance would have been a disaster, and anyway they do not need another RH hitting OF.

    • JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Yea…those Blue Jays sure messed up by being proactive at July trading deadline…..Look what a mess Cespesdes has been for Mets…..Jason is such a better fit here……….Losing and trying to look good while doing it……Nats have that down pat.

      • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:39 AM

        JayB,

        The Blue Jays paid in prospects and money to get pieces for this year. Let’s let it play out before we declare their approach a success because if in the end if they don’t win this year they will not only be out the prospects they traded but also the players they acquired and lots of money. Cespedes is a rental that cost the Mets 2 of their top 15 prospects, again, if the Mets don’t win this year they are out prospects and Cespedes.

        This idea that you guarantee a championship by throwing money and prospects at it has been debunked in the past. It used to work when the Yankees outspent everyone by a factor of 3 to 1, interestingly enough the Yankees protected all their top prospects and refused to deal any of their top 3 for either Chapman or Kimbrell. I think they may understand baseball a little more than you.

        Your team has been in the playoffs 2 of the past 3 years and has been a winning team the past 4 years if that’s not good enough for you you may want to start pulling for the Mets and see how that works out for you.

      • stoatva - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:05 AM

        If you look game by game at Cespedes’ production for the Mets I don’t think you can find a game where he’s made a significant impact. Small sample size and everything could change in an instant, but seems like Uribe’s been more of a difference maker thus far.

  19. Section 222 - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    “Escobar’s misplay was far more damaging to the Nationals than Clint Robinson’s misplay one inning later.”

    That’s a typo, right? First of all, I’m not sure I’d call it Esco’s “misplay.” Perhaps he could have tagged him out, perhaps not. The real misplay, sad to say was MAT’s. Bad read, let the ball bounce over his head. But in the end, it’s one extra run scored on Puig’s bomb.

    C-Rob’s failure to catch Puig’s blooper was much more damaging. Had he caught the ball the inning is over and no runs score on the play. It’s still 2-0 instead of 5-0.

    Of course, we still would have lost. You need to score runs to win ballgames.

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      Bad read, let the ball bounce over his head. But in the end, it’s one extra run scored on Puig’s bomb.

      And not even that. Had he had a better read and played it off the wall better, Ethier wouldn’t have even tried for 3rd. So he’d be standing on 2d rather than 3d. In retrospect — a pretty small event.

      Joe Ross’s walks hurt, as did his hanger to Puig, and, of course, not having Harper in right on Puig’s blooper did it.

      And lack of offense.

      • Section 222 - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        Exactly right. Both MAT’s and Esco’s “misplays” cost us one run at most. C-Rob’s cost us three.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM

        I’ve watched the replay a zillion times. I saw no lack of hustle by Taylor. I saw poor execution. Just my take, though.

  20. JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    C-Rob route was really really bad….started running to his left and just slightly angled in….then let up…then changed route and ran all out….missed it by inches….that is bad bad outfield defense by a guy who should never have been put in that position…you have to have a 4th OF on the roster. Just so pig headed of Rizzo….and watch he will not change it today or anytime soon he will wait till Sept….

  21. ehay2k - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Anyone think maybe Escobar didn’t put the glove down at Ethier’s foot because in the back of his mind he had a vision Simmons’ spikes? The other thing on that play is that to me MAT didn’t seem to chase the ball with a lot of urgency as it came off the wall. Anyone else see it that way?

    Another game today.

    • Section 222 - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      I agree on the lack of urgency. Thought it would be uncharitable to mention that too. All around, MAT did not cover himself with glory on that play (except for the throw, which was almost as good as the one a few innings later which JRoll couldn’t believe). But as wonk says, all of that just led to Ethier taking third. He scores on Puig’s homer either way.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      I said that last night and of course was told that I was wrong on “that lack of urgency”. Glad you agree. I think he didn’t expect Ethier to continue to 3rd and probably embarrassed on the mis-play coming in for the ball. Seen even Bryce do that. You are talking miliseconds on bang bang plays like that. The throw was incredible.

      One plausible explanation from a poster last night is he lost where the ball was. I don’t know maybe, I looked at it and was pi$$ed as his first step wasn’t that urgent quick move.

      • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        Taylor is still a work in progress. I may be wrong here but I think he’l turn out to be an excellent all around player. Remember that if everyone was healthy Taylor would have been in Syracuse all year long.

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

        Listen to Scully. “One step in” as he said about Taylor was the mistake.

        http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/63817564/v358354683/wshlad-ethier-ruled-safe-at-third-after-challenge/?c_id=mlb

        Escobar needed to be up more on the bag. His left leg should have been up.

      • texnat1 - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        I dont agree that Taylor failed to hustle. He made two distinct mistakes before that (i) stepping in and then (ii) misreading the bounce. But once the ball bounced over his head, he moved quickly to it. If he wasn’t in full sprint its because he was measuring his steps so he could immediately fire to third. Which he did in incredibly accurate fashion.

        Escobar, on the other hand, needs to make that play. As Scully brought up repeatedly last night.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:54 AM

        There wasn’t a lot of hustle needed besides a quick 1st step. I think his nonchalant hop and everything that followed was from an expectation that Ethier wouldn’t keep running. That’s my take.

      • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:29 AM

        Very cool ghost. Thx for Sharing. Amazing how fast he noticed that

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:50 AM

        Scully dissected that play perfectly. Great camera work too.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:15 PM

        I said that last night and of course was told that I was wrong on “that lack of urgency”.

        I didn’t see where anybody said you were wrong. Some of us didn’t just see it the same way. That’s baseball fans. 5 people see the same play. 5 people will tell you a different story as to what happened. Interpreting “urgency”, or lack there of on a play that initially resulted in an out being called is subjective. No disrespect to you was intended.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:23 PM

        You’re right and again I think it was more about he didn’t expect Ethier would head to 3rd.

      • natsdial8 - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        Michael clearly lacks good baseball instincts defensively and on the bases . However right now he’s what we have. Hopefully he keeps progressing.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:26 PM

        I disagree defensively since Span went back on the DL. Hes made a few poor instinctive moves but uses his speed to cover up for that. Last night he couldn’t. It happens.

  22. JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Lack of urgency…..hum…..where would that vipe come from…..MW? Ryan and Jason…..Phil Wood and Mark…..I must be wrong thinking now is a time make sure everyone is putting forward 100% effort…..they are going to have all winter to rest up and not work out or prepare their bodies for the grind….that is also a long term problem for Rizzo….whey are guys so injury prone….it is systematic and not random…I know Zimm has always said he does very little in the off season until like January

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      whey are guys so injury prone

      That’s not specific to the Nats. At all.

      • JayB - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:54 AM

        most missed innings to DL in all of ML baseball….

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        See http://www.mangameslost.com/the-most-injured-mlb-teams-since-the-2010-season/ — Nats are squarely in the middle of the pack

        No reason just to pick 2015 — but even if you do, the Mets (as measured by the above) are worse off. David Wright, d’Arnoud, Matz, Zach Wheeler, Blevins, etc.

        Check out http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/injuries also

      • zmunchkin - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:59 AM

        Have to disagree wonk. MGL is not a good metric to use if you want to measure the impact on the team. It treats every player the same, including pitchers. It also counts bench guys the same as starting position players. 

        The site attempts to address this with their y-axis metric. The formula they provide for that metric is idiotic. And I am being generous when I say idiotic. 

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:20 PM

        Wait — wait

        I’m not saying that injuries haven’t hurt the Nats more than other teams. My (silly) discussion with JayB isn’t about that. It’s about whether there were *more* injuries on the Nats than other teams — due to, I dunno, poor coaches/management/whatever.

        And I still assert: no, the Nats are among many teams that have a number of injuries.

        And, besides, stuff like getting hit on the wrist by a pitch, or getting spiked while fielding, has nothing to do with conditioning anyway.

      • bowdenball - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:10 PM

        “As measured by the above” is the key there. The Nats have definitely lost more wins above replacement to injury than the Mets in 2015. Rendon’s missed time alone probably outweighs most of their losses. He was one of the best position players in the National League last season and he’s played less than a third of this season. Throw in Strasburg and Werth and you’re already past the Mets’ losses before even tackling injuries of lesser impact/duration.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:25 PM

        I see wonk. My comment was specifically addressed to

        Mets (as measured by the above) are worse off

        Worse/better off is not something that can be easily measured. As you said, the point is that the Nats have been impacted.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:41 PM

        Right. (I’d like to give a “+” to that, but we’re talking about a sore subject)

        (sick pun intended)

    • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      Wonk,

      It’s a stupid conversation anyway. I mean players with broken bones, plannar faciatis etc. arent a reflection of poor training or poor conditioning but rather bad luck. When you have the JayB mind set you and you start blaming weather delays and lunar eclipses on poor planning I think it’s time to move on to something more productive like sock drawer organization.

  23. adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    .I must be wrong…

    Somebody frame that!

  24. micksback1 - Aug 12, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    vacation is nice, about to go fishing today. however, my season ticket partner sent me this link from WTOP sports and it was provoking enough for me to want to send it to all of you. I think it is spot on and every defender of MW needs to read it if they have not already. This is the most objective analysis of why Stooge Williams must go!

    http://wtop.com/washington-nationals/2015/08/column-500-days-of-the-boys-of-summer-or-why-the-nats-need-to-fire-matt-williams/

    • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      Mick,

      I don’t like calling any one a stooge but I agree with the article and the conclusions 100%.

    • nats106 - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:10 AM

      Mick, maybe just refer to him as Curly (my favorite stooge).

      I saw this article, and can’t disagree. While I should be happy we are still a winning team, my season ticket holder plans reflected a 35% increase for next year, so it looks like I’ll be paying a premium for mediocrity.

      At least we can both console ourselves that we both saw the Mets as the greatest “threat” in the NL East, although I also had the Marlins in there.

      Enjoy your vacation!

      • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:12 PM

        why pay 35 percent more when you can get any game you want on stub hub and save.

    • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:32 AM

      Where u fishing?

      • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:00 PM

        stubhub

    • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      EXCELLENT,EXCELLENT.EXCELLENT.This is why MW should be a bench coach not a manager.

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:34 AM

      Matt Williams is not a stooge. (Although with his haircut he could play a Stooge on TV.) But he’s also not a very good manager, and shows no signs of wanting to become one.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      Bring back Davey to manage the BP? :-).

      Or at least make MW sit down with someone who can beat some sense into him about managing his BP.

    • senators69 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:07 PM

      Name calling aside, I think the simple fact is that there seem to be more instances of MW hurting the team vs helping during actual games via his substitutions or lack thereof. Obviously, we cannot comment on anything else since we are not privy.

  25. jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    There is no doubt that given Span’s injury and questionable future that it would be nice to have an extra outfielder who can both hit and play defense but no one is giving you Carlos Gonzalez or even Jay Bruce without whispering: ‘Lucas Giolito, Trae Turner, Joe Ross’.

    Keep in mind that Jayson Wertth is ours for 2 more years and most teams don’t sit players making $21 mil a year unless it’s proven beyond reasonable doubt that the player is done and I contend that this hasn’t been proven at all, Werth had a very good year last year and hasn’t had enough healthy playing time this year to form any sort of reasonable opinion.

    I think at most you can acquire (and I think Rizzo will) players such as Venable or Byrd to fill a temporary emergency need.

    • scmargenau - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      U make valid points. Still, I hope they elect to play who gives them the best chance to win….

  26. stoatva - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    Having watched the replay several times, it seems to me that Escobar needed to be positioned pretty much where he was on the Ethier play or risk being short-hopped on the throw. But he sure whiffed on the rag, for whatever reason.

    That said, with no runs scored at all it was all gravy after Puig’s solo shot.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:12 AM

      I feel like that is the 3rd/4th time that a ball was thrown to Yuni, in time, and he missed the tag…

      • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:14 AM

        Yeah, He’s not the best 3rd baseman. Would really be nice if Rendon could go back to his natural position.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      Left foot was back but the ball bounced high. I can’t criticize too much when you watch the replay on the Dodgers feed and Scully said it right that Taylor’s 1st move was “in” instead of back. Should have caught the ball and the rest never happens.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:19 AM

        Nate M’s injury hurts too. that is the lefty bat and the bench bat…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:20 AM

        yes. Good point

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

        Ghost, they both made bad plays, but if you want to bring up Scully, he harped on what a non agressive play that was by Escobar. Repeatedly. The most I have ever heard him go after a player.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        On the replay I didn’t like how far back Esco was with his left leg but the ball bounced high anyway and what I thought initially was a swipe tag could have been more aggressive.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:42 AM

        Agreed. Everything after the step in is hair-splitting.I have harped about outfielders taking steps in on balls off the bat since before the beginning of time. Either freeze until you know where the ball is going, or take a slight step back, which Span usually does. You rarely see the likes of Span, or McCutcheon, take a step in first. That was Nyjer Morgan’s biggest fault in CF.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:47 AM

        You nailed it Joe. A rare mistake by Taylor. He has makeup speed but it couldn’t help him there.

        If you wipe that Ethier and Puig triple off the books the Dodgers end up with 4 hits and the Nats had 7.

        Frustrating.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:25 PM

        Steve, though I am still big on Taylor, much of my support is because he is the best available CF to play for this team right now. You may remember an early discussion that you and I had on him where I said I worried about his instincts. The kid has 100% all of the physical tools needed to play the game. But I assure you that when the team moved him from shortstop to the outfield they emphasized the “first step in” while training him. When you still do it after this amount of time? That’s a problem.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:46 PM

        He struggled early with the first move no doubt. FanGraphs loves him.

        If Span was back I’d start MAT over Werth in LF.

  27. stoatva - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:19 AM

    From Mick’s article:

    The very next day, as if karmically dictated by the baseball gods themselves, Gonzalez hit not one, but two more home runs against the man that may be the very best right-handed pitcher in baseball, Max Scherzer (for good measure, he hit another off Jon Niese in New York Monday night). It was a figurative, open-palmed slap from above to the side of Williams’ head to drive the point home: “Do you get it now?”

    Compelling argument, except for the fact that Niese is a lefty.

    • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      stoatva,

      Good point. On the other hand sometimes you go with the odds and you lose anyway and then as they say you tip your cap. MW has no clue about odds or situations. On Friday night as soon as a man got on in the 8th a rational manager gets a lefty up just in case and when it comes down to CarGo having a chance to take away a game from you which you have no business losing you give the ball to the lefty because that’s what the odds say you should do.

      Interestingly enough in the last game against Arizona MW did exactly that, he brought in Thorntont to face a couple of lefties when Jansen created a mess and Thornton rewarded him by preserving the lead. Seems that decision was just a fluke and not by a thought process which leads to doing the things which give you the best chances to win.

  28. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:19 AM

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v358719683/wshlad-puig-clears-the-bases-with-a-triple-to-right/?game_pk=415343

    This was with 2 outs. CRob catches the ball it remains a 2-0 game. If Taylor catches Ethier’s ball it’s a 1-0 game if you believe Ross still pitches the same way to Puig.

    The Dodgers played perfect defense. The Nats didn’t. Nats had more hits than the Dodgers, What what. That’s right, more hits.

    Like I’ve said that if you are playing CRob anywhere in the field the balls will find him whether its 1st base or the outfield. No error when you mis-play a flyball or liner in the outfield if it doesn’t clank off your glove.

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

      We lose ghost no matter.We have not scored a run against Greinke in 2 games .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        I agree we lose but Joe Ross deserved a better fate. He didn’t have his best stuff but good pitchers like Ross can get by without their best stuff.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:27 PM

        I first read this and I wondered what happened to him. How did we lose Ghost?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:58 PM

        Never win in a shutout. Greinke also shows his Aces when he has men on base he spins his 2 seamer with an extra twist and is the best pitcher in baseball and I’d say deGrom is #2.

    • natsdial8 - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:25 PM

      We generally can’t score against good pitching . Several year problem .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:47 PM

        The stats don’t price that out in the first half. Been a challenge in the 2nd half.

  29. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    Carpenter also said Taylor took a step in. Every major league stadium is different. This is the first time Taylor has played CF out there. Dodger Stadium is in a bowl — they don’t call it Chavez Ravine for nothing. The wall where the ball hit is about 395 feet, a bit more than most parks. And the ball is not known for carrying well. It’s regarded as a pitcher’s park. I’ve heard, also, that the stadium behind HP is unusually high. Certainly the bowl affects the sound of the ball on the bat — not sure how, but the reverberation has to be different. And it probably looks different than anything Taylor’s accustomed to seeing — and it’s hard to call him “accustomed” to anything except Nationals Park. Anyone who has watched Werth pre-game (less so in Nationals Park) knows that he spends part of the pre-game warmups bouncing the ball off the wall to gauge how much it caroms. (Hockey players shoot pucks into the corner for the same reason.) Every park has its idiosyncrasies. If Taylor makes a mistake judging a ball or a carom in Dodger Stadium in 2017 it might be exactly that. But don’t get on his case for this one.

  30. rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    The nats are done.

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      Then why are you still here? Trying to rub it in?

      • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:33 PM

        no.to tell the fools who criticized me they were wrong.Now Esco should not be the 3rd baseman.I said all along that Rendon should move back to 3rd.Told can not do that in mid season.but idiots here want Danny who never played the OF to move today.This board is full of too many people that know zero about baseball.I predicted exactly that this collapse was coming.Any one with any reality could see it.We complain about umpires,misplayed balls when the problems are much much deeper.We can not hit against anybody that is goo.Our defense stinks and the great pitching staff is fair.MW can not manage a LL team.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:53 PM

        no.to tell the fools who criticized me they were wrong.

        To tell the truth — you are wrong. A team is nowhere near done if they’re only 3 back with 50 to play. That’s just troll-talk.

        Our defense stinks

        Errors and FA are right at league average.

        the great pitching staff is fair

        6th in the NL in ERA

        This board is full of too many people that know zero about baseball

        (Snicker). Yeah — we agree there.

        We can not hit against anybody that is good

        Is AJ Burnett any good? We beat him in June *and* July. Is Bumgarner any good? We beat him in July, too. Is Jake Peavy any good? We beat him the night before we beat Bumgarner. That’s just July.

        You’re not doing very well at trying to demonstrate that you’re not a troll.

        Just sayin’

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:02 PM

        You are obviously smarter than Williams, Rizzo, and everybody on this board. We don’t deserve you exalted status sharing your infinite baseball wisdom here. And that’s a fact, we don’t don’t deserve you.

      • senators69 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        Then maybe the Nats should hire him/her! Ha!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:11 PM

        We know nothing. We’re not worthy.

  31. Drew - Aug 12, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    On a happier note: I’m starting to wonder whether the Nats’ future leadoff hitter is Stevenson, not Turner.

    Boy, he’s looked good in his first minor league stint. He’s hitting .346 in 13 games at Hagerstown after hitting .361 in 18 games at Auburn.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:06 PM

      That’s good but he is also more experienced than many pitchers he’s facing. The true test will be steps up in High A and AA

      • jd - Aug 12, 2015 at 3:19 PM

        That’s exactly right. Too soon to form an opinion one way or another.

  32. idus1926 - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    Rizzo is an excellent evaluator of young talent and made very good trades. On the other hand, he is terrible in spotting mature talent and made bad free agent signings. This team was doomed from the start. Even a healthy Werth is in serious declineand although Spann and Zimmerman are excellent, their bodies are breaking down. The only unforeseeable event was Rendon’s long absence but this should have been countered by Harper’s emergence as the best player in the NL, Taylor’s .370 average with players in scoring pozition. Here again, look at Rizzo: he brought in the since demoted den Dekker as the fourth outfielder.
    The real surprise is the pitching. Now we can see that Dombrowski is one of the srewdest manager in baseball (i know, the pizza delivery man canned him). He gave up Fister for practically nothing and it took the NL hitters a season to figure him out. Scherzer, it seems, lasted half a season. The batters lay off on his slider and he is lost. Suddenly, for 30 million a year, he became a third or fourth calibre starter. JZ was always the same. Very good fastballs, moving them in and out, without a truly great secondary pitch. The great, positive surprise is the emergence of Ross. Yesterday he was squeezed but still good so the future is bright for him. Hopefully, Strasbourg will follow up on his excellent latest outing, he certainly has the talent.
    One thing is for sure, this season is over for the Nats. Now, the Mets have much better pitching and suddenly, better and more reliable offense too.

    • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      The only unforeseeable event was Rendon’s long absence

      And Span’s.

      Scherzer, it seems, lasted half a season.

      Oh, this is good. You think Scherzer’s season is over, and then complain that Rizzo can’t evaluate mature talent!

      Ohh, that’s a good one!!

      One thing is for sure, this season is over for the Nats.

      Yep — 3 games back with 50 to play including 6 head-to-head. Impossible.

      • idus1926 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:04 PM

        Span’s absence is not a surprise. His last season was the aberration. He was injury prone in his whole carrier.
        In head to head we were just swept if you didn’t notice. It is actually bad that we have to face their pitcher six more times.. Scherzer can bounce back but since his almost perfect game he is mediocre. This is the fact.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:23 PM

        In head to head we were just swept if you didn’t notice.

        So . . . therefore what? Meaning therefore that we can’t ever beat them? The Nats could save some money by just forfeiting then, I guess.

        Span’s absence is not a surprise. His last season was the aberration. He was injury prone in his whole carrier.

        Huh? In his last six seasons, he played over 140 games in 4 of them, and 128 in another.

        Scherzer can bounce back

        Which is the opposite of what you said earlier.

      • idus1926 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:31 PM

        Do you read what you write? So Span had two relatively injury free season in two of his last six seasons. We were swept which simply means the the six games against the don’t look very promising, especially considering how easily they beat the Rockies while we lost against a journeyman, with Scherzer on the mound. I love optimism as the next man but we don’t have any reason to expect the team in the play offs. The Mets have a better overall team and the Cubs have more young talent and a much more capable organization. That is all.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:40 PM

        So Span had two relatively injury free season in two of his last six seasons

        Did you read what _I_ wrote. Span played four full, and one 3/4 full season in the past six years. You said last year was an aberration. It wasn’t.

        To “expect” Span would get injured this year is ridiculous.

        I love optimism as the next man but we don’t have any reason to expect the team in the play offs.

        I never expect that for any team in baseball. That’s part of the attraction of watching for me. I like a good penant race.

        But that’s quite different from “stick a fork in ’em, they’re done.” That just shows baseball ignorance.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:55 PM

        I love optimism as the next man but we don’t have any reason to expect the team in the play offs.

        I want to elaborate on that point.

        The Nats were odds on favorites to win the world series at the beginning of the season. Their odds were the best of any team — they were 6-to-1.

        Which means — assuming the odds were accurate — that 5 times out of 6 *it doesn’t happen*.

        No team is a lock in baseball. Ever. Look at all the 96+ win teams last year, and *none* of them made it to the WS!

        But we watch anyway. “That’s why they play the game” and all that.

      • idus1926 - Aug 12, 2015 at 3:03 PM

        Of course, I will watch it, just watchin a winning team is better.

  33. IsawTeddywin - Aug 12, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    FWIW, Nats record last 50 games last four years:
    2011 26-23, (1 game not played)
    2012 29-21
    2013 32-18
    2014 35-15
    If they can keep it up and go 38-12, we’ve got it made.
    (Needed some optimism here)

    • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      What have we won when it counts.Nothing.

      • adcwonk - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:51 PM

        I tend to think that the 162 games count for something. That’s why I watch during the regular season.

      • zmunchkin - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:07 PM

        Agreed wonk. As someone who was a Senators fan until they left in 71, going 34 years without a team gives one a different perspective. Do I want them to win in the post-season? Of course, I do. But only one team wins the WS. And once 10 teams get to the post-season it is a crap-shoot.

        The regular season is a great ride. And I am going to enjoy it!

  34. senators69 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    Back to the topic that titles this post — JRoss.

    Will be interested to see how Ross recovers from his first mediocre outing.
    TBD

    Will be interested to see how he does next year after MLB teams fully fill-out the “book” on him.
    Hoping he can make the adjustments this year and next and stay…Joe “Cool”

    Will be VERY interested in his innings limits this year, especially if he continues his strong showing and Fister continues to look like he’s done.
    IF the team makes the playoffs, Scherzer, Stras, JZimm, [Gio or Ross?]

    Q: Had Ross had Tommy John surgery?

    • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:28 PM

      Dougie took one for the team are you kiddin.He is why we are playing an OF short.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 12, 2015 at 2:17 PM

        Actually the reason the Nats are playing an outfielder short probably falls on Matt Williams. When it was decided that they would move Fister to the bullpen to see if he could find a role there, no doubt Rizzo gave Williams the choice of whether he wanted to play a man short in the bullpen or a man short on the bench while they tried to figure out how Fister would fit in. Williams chose to play a man short on the bench. If he hadn’t made that choice, denDekker would probably have been brought back up and a reliever would have been sent down.

        Which brings to light another problem with MW’s managing. Not only can he not manage the bullpen, he can’t manage the bench. If he has a full-strength bench he can muddle by, but if he’s a man short he has no clue what to do. He always says that he’s trying to put his players in a position to succeed, but then he goes and does the opposite. For example, when Harper was scratched last night the best way to position the remaining players so they’d have the best chance to succeed would have been Werth RF, Robinson LF. Or even better, Werth RF, Zimmerman LF and Robinson 1B. But MW did none of that, and it ended up having a negative effect on the game.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      You say mediocre and I saw a pitcher who didn’t have his slider and was victimized by 2 poor defensive plays and if he loses 1-0 or 2-0 I don’t think anyone would say mediocre.

      The score too often defines the game. Ross faced the Dodgers “A” lineup and I liked what I saw.

      This kid has “it” and the only thing mediocre was the final score.

      • nats106 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:41 PM

        Depends on how you define mediocre. His location seemed a bit off, but he recovered nicely from several walks and still managed to pitch well. By his brief standards in the majors, it was a mediocre outing. He walked 4 last night and had some additional pitches he left up in the zone, missed spots, etc.

        That being said, if that’s what we’re going to get in a mediocre outings every 4 or 5 starts, I’ll take that for the next 6 years, thank you. The young man is poised, controlled and clearly in charge on the mound. Gotta love it.

        In answer to Senators69 question: No he has not had TJ surgery unless I totally missed something.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:46 PM

        Well said! It also shows the premium you place on defense. He didn’t have his best stuff. I’ve seen JZim scratch and claw the same way and get by giving up 2 runs and get a Win.

        His poise is why I called him Joe Cool. Smoothe and poised and in control.

  35. senators69 - Aug 12, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    Perhaps mediocre was the wrong word. And I was not looking at the score.
    He was just not as sharp as we’ve seen him. But as Nats106 says, I’ll take that variability!
    Looking forward to Ross having a great Nats career.

    • rlndtln - Aug 12, 2015 at 5:07 PM

      nats nats.I finally have someone who can thinkThis is what I have been saying for weeks and receiving grief.Whether it was MW or Fister resistance the end result is no defensive OF for Jason or like last night we needed one decent OF which would have been denDeker if he was there.I realize it would be better to get a great OF but as I have said endlessly denDeker should have been here as you said.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK9072
WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
PHILADELPHIA639927.0

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter