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Game 120: Nats at Rockies

Aug 20, 2015, 5:20 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

Quick: Do you remember the last time the Nationals won three games in a row? It’s been awhile, July 11-17, when they won the final two games of the season’s first half at Camden Yards, then came back from the All-Star break to beat the Dodgers in the second-half opener.

Tonight, the Nats have a chance to do it again, with a sweep of the Rockies there for the taking at Coors Field. They’ll have Max Scherzer on the mound, hoping their ace can bounce back after his first real rough stretch of the season (6.00 ERA over his last five starts). Scherzer spoke after his last outing in San Francisco that he knew what mechanical fix would solve the problem; we’ll find out if he’s able to apply that tonight.

The lineup, meanwhile, looks the same as the last two nights, with one significant exception: Anthony Rendon is back in there, with Danny Espinosa taking a seat after starting the first two games of the series. This is going to be a delicate balancing act for Matt Williams, trying to keep Espinosa playing on a regular basis despite the presence of three other qualified starting infielders.

It’s the last game of a long road trip. Thankfully the Nats and yours truly will be back at the park tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy tonight’s game and conversation…

Where: Coors Field, Denver
Gametime: 8:40 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 186/869
Weather: Clear, 80 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF

LF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
3B Yunel Escobar
SS Ian Desmond
1B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Michael Taylor
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Max Scherzer

ROCKIES (48-70)
CF Charlie Blackmon
SS Jose Reyes
RF Carlos Gonzalez
3B Nolan Arenado
1B Ben Paulsen
LF Matt McBride
2B Daniel Descalso
C Dustin Garneau
LHP Yohan Flande

HP Lance Barksdale
1B Quinn Wolcott
2B Gary Cederstrom (cc)
3B Jim Wolf

105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. natfan33 - Aug 20, 2015 at 5:27 PM

    Any chance they can pick up a quality catcher before the Aug 31st trade deadline? Who would be available?

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 20, 2015 at 5:38 PM

      Doubtful. Do you see any teams with excess catchers around that they want to put on waivers?

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 20, 2015 at 5:38 PM


  2. cunninja4 - Aug 20, 2015 at 5:45 PM

    Why is this not a getaway game time?

    We get stuck overnighting back to DC while the Brewers have the day off?

    • natsfansince62 - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:12 PM

      Ya MLB really hosed us on this one. No sleep for the boys tonight.

    • sjberke - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:13 PM

      As someone noted in an earlier thread, this isn’t a getaway game for the Rockies (the Mets come to Coors tomorrow night!) and the home team gets to set the game time under most circumstances. Just more tough luck…

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:20 PM

      I asked this same question about 4-5 days ago. Seems to me the players association would have wanted something like this in the CBA.

  3. natsfan1a - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:06 PM

    See Max. See Max bounce. Bounce, Max, bounce!

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    Other teams have catchers they might want to move but I don’t think there are more than 15 good catchers in the major leagues — maybe not that many — and those are unlikely to be available. If someone like Lucroy was available — he was reportedly available before the 7/31 deadline — he would be unlikely to clear waivers (because of cheap contract) before he reached Washington and if such a catcher were to reach Washington on waivers the trade price would be much more than the difference between Ramos and Catcher A. We’re stuck w/ Ramos until the offseason — but replacing him should be the first offseason priority.

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:48 PM

      Carlos Ruiz perhaps or is too old or too expensive?

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 20, 2015 at 7:39 PM

        Both, I would assume.

      • natsnatsnatswoo - Aug 20, 2015 at 7:53 PM

        Or too washed up.

      • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:51 PM

        Don’t think you want Ruiz if you are looking for offense.

    • DaveB - Aug 20, 2015 at 7:31 PM

      I’ll be quite surprised if we replace Ramos next year.
      1. As noted above, it’s quite hard to find proven C’s that teams are willing to give up at any reasonable price. I don’t see any that I’d be excited about as FA’s (Wieters is probably the best, and he’s been worse than Ramos for the last 3 years … both in terms of health and production), and it’s a risky position as players health / ability tends to degrade fast.
      2. There are some near ML ready prospects around obviously, but they also tend to be expensive to trade for and pretty “hit or miss” in their early years at MLB level.
      3. The Nats don’t have any prospects that appear ready next year, but there are possibilities for 2017 (mostly Severino, but Kieboom or Read might have a breakout year).
      4. Ramos just has one more year of fairly reasonably priced team control. His salary should be less than $5M, and that is a “bargain” even at his WAR of 1.1+ for this year, and would be great if he figured out how to return to his 2+ WAR years. It’s probably worth more to the Nats to see if he can bounce back than to “sell low” now.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 20, 2015 at 7:40 PM

        That’s probably about right on all four points.

      • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:00 PM

        Don’t we have Severino in the making?

      • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:02 PM

        Sorry, missed #3

      • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:04 PM

        Nicely analyzed. I don’t see the Nats replacing Ramos. Boy, Scherzer is getting a lot of fly balls. Glad they are staying in the park. (So far.)

      • natsguy - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:33 PM

        Severino can’t hit.

    • Guapo - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:06 AM

      MW could stack the lineup with #34 behind the dish and Espinosa in left 🙂

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 20, 2015 at 6:31 PM


  6. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    Nice play, Desi.

  7. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    Max, stop with the walks, already, K?

  8. veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    1st base hit ever in the bigs for Garneau vs Scherzer. Not bad.

  9. sunshinebobby - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    I’d be fine if the Buffalo just roamed away at the end of the season.

    • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      Me too sunshine. But I think we’re probably stuck with him for two more years. Painful.

      • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:35 PM

        I think his shortcomings are exaggerated now. He’s quite serviceable for the time being. We have other issues than Ramos.

      • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:40 PM

        OPS+ of 93 last year and 68 this year. Well documented inability to catch throws from the outfield. Neither of those is exaggerated. Serviceable? I guess so. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting someone better. And we’re not talking about getting rid of him tomorrow, just hoping for an improvement at that position next season. Because it’s pretty clear the Buffalo is not going to get any better.

      • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:48 PM

        Oh, and did I mention he’s a double play machine because he’s so slow out of the box?

      • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:55 PM

        Don’t forget to add his timely RBIs

      • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:11 PM

        Yeah, his OPS+ is a majestic 84 with RISP.

      • natsguy - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:35 PM

        No he’s a bad catcher who was in there for his supposed hitting.

  10. Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    That throw looked like what we feared Zim would do this year from 1B.

    • stoatva - Aug 20, 2015 at 9:40 PM

      Marv Throneberry-esque.

      • sunshinebobby - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:08 PM

        Let’s not impugn the good Throneberry name that way!

  11. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to say thank you to those who have stuck around here the last few days. I’m aware of what’s going on, and I’ve been taking steps to try and prevent a couple of troublemakers from posting here any more. So far, so good tonight. (Fingers crossed.)

    As I’ve said many times before, this site wouldn’t be what it is today without the tremendous community you all have built over the last five years. Here’s hoping we can continue that moving forward. I can’t promise an end to the problems that have cropped up, but I can promise that I will do everything I can to try to cater to those of you who are the most loyal readers and not let a couple of bad seeds ruin the experience.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      Well done, Mr. Zuckerman…. Well done, indeed.

      • sunshinebobby - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:29 PM

        I echo Mrs. B. This site is harder to remain civil than a GOP debate.

      • knoxvillenat - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        Sunshine, let’s not sink the GOP to that level.

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:31 PM

      Thanks Mark. Reading your insight is perhaps the best part of reading NI. Here’s hoping you can “clean it up” so to speak.

    • tcostant - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:32 PM

      Zuck. Miss having you during game updates. Seem to happen less and less…

      • Mark Zuckerman - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:36 PM

        Back at it tomorrow night from Nats Park. Lots of home games coming up, so the in-game updates will be back up and running!

    • texnat1 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:34 PM

      Thanks for your efforts, MZ. Enjoy your reporting. Keep up the good work!

    • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:35 PM

      Thank you, Mark. Appreciate your efforts!

    • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:37 PM


    • ArVAFan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:37 PM

      Thanks, Mark. There are those of us who really do appreciate what you do–and maybe we should speak up and say thanks more often.

      Although I will say, do we need to start up again taking collections to send you to road games? Paypal is always an option.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:40 PM

      You’re the best Mark!

    • abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:51 PM

      Glad you care Mark. But it isn’t you – you gave always done a great job and run a great site. Nonetheless I understand the pressure thus causes you and realize you will do the best you can for everyone.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:26 AM

      Thanks, Mark.

  12. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    Anybody staying away should re think your position . Don’t let the fringe take away a good thing . Pay no attention .

    • abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:02 PM


  13. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    And with that – FP has had some beauties tonite 😁

    • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:28 PM

      He was just piling on the ridiculous comments, two about Bryce’s arm.

      • natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:02 PM

        34 two awful throws – must be the air – Fp say s held guy at third earier way wrong throw was 8 feet off plate .

      • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:08 PM

        Right. And he was also praising the wild overthrow of 3B that Scherzer backed up.

  14. Danny - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    One of the worst players in Major League Baseball is single handedly taking it to us.

  15. Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:28 PM


  16. manassasnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    Good job MaT 493 feet

  17. sunshinebobby - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    Why in the name of Manny Acta is Matty Marine yanking Scherzer?

    • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:37 PM

      Have you seen Scherzer’s body language? He is spent. Was breathing hard in the 5th inning already.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:40 PM

      He hasn’t pitched here in a while. The altitude probably is getting to him.

      • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:42 PM

        Maybe he should have gone ahead to get a couple of extra days at the altitude.

      • sunshinebobby - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:47 PM

        You both may be right. I forgot about Mile High.

  18. Joe Seamhead - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    I appreciate Mark’s efforts and his candor. I just hope that it isn’t too little, too late. The game blogs particularly have become insufferable. Now, if the powers that be could please move the report comment so that the blog post order wouldn’t get totally jumbled.

    • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

      This is a great example of why you split up the lefties. Someone’s going to get a good matchup unless MW was willing to use Thornton. Paid off.

      • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM


      • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:50 PM

        Would be glad to split up the lefties. IF WE HAD TWO LEFTIES to split.

      • Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:07 PM

        MW batted Harper 3rd and C-Rob a few times. Not smart.

  19. Section 222 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    Impressive hitting by CarGo.

    • abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:47 PM

      CarGo is a heck of a player. I really like him since I have seen him more with CO being a local feed here. Are ago is also really good, so – good onya Blake. One more.

  20. veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    At least MW is playing matchup baseball.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

      Yes but it has not worked out so far

  21. abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    Important point in the game. Hope Blake us up to it.

    • abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:49 PM

      Oh well. Ok a letdown, now don’t let it lead to collapse.

  22. veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    Ramos lucky lucky

  23. Nats Fan Zee - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    Just a routine third out!

  24. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    Ramos has played well defensively this game. That was excellent.

  25. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Not for nothing N-Lady but more pure luck than excellence , just sayin 😇

    • NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:03 PM

      Was also thinking of that pick that prevented a WP.

      • natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:06 PM

        Pick was gr8 yes

  26. NatsLady - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    Werth robbed by CarGo–I hope the Rockies play this well over the weekend!!!

    • veejh - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:05 PM

      Let’s sneak this game out and have them believing they can compete!

  27. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Come on 34

  28. abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Ok, three outs to position for a good end to the trip. Don’t give up at bats easy here. Afford is hittable this year.

    • abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:13 PM

      Axford. Autocorrect is not my friend. And nice hit Bryce.

  29. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:11 PM


  30. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    Send bryce

  31. abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    That pitch was good. Esco was just looking for something else.

  32. natsdial8 - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:24 PM

    3 any hit works here

  33. abqnatsfan - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:29 PM

    Afford throwing 99. Wow he sure woke up from an off year tonight! Go home, refocus, and make the home stand work.

  34. exposremains - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:34 PM

    Gotta win those games. Mets took care of Rockies. Nats failed. The way the Rockies look makes me wonder how are they so bad .

    • JT - Aug 20, 2015 at 11:47 PM

      What a shame. This should have been a sweep. It’s death by a thousand cuts with this clueless team.

  35. homeparkdc - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:06 AM

    Was this snark reply really necessary?
    You should take advantage of the new blog while the tranquility lasts. It’s controlled and edited by someone I have ignored for a long time. He’s not a reporter, he’s a pompous, conceited, me-first, me-last blogger. Now, along with “certain” people, he has his own sandbox. Good. Stay there.
    Of course, for curiosity, I looked at the newest blog. Must say I’m not amazed that some posters are in both places, but prefer to dump any controversial opinion here rather than risk the wrath there.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      I understand where you are coming from. Very childish. One poster accounted for an average of 1/3 of the posts on this board. I am guessing that the top three would be about 1/2. Yes, lately a few haters joined in with comments that were unproductive and snarky but I was getting ready to leave too because one poster Absolutly dominated this board and I grew tired of reading that same dribble every day. I was going to suggest to Mark that posts be capped @ 25 a day. That should have shut down most of the chatter boxes at around 7AM each day!

      So yes, he has his pulpit now and his friends. Good … That’s what America is all about. What do we have? What Mark provide a long time ago … A good place for discussion of topics about our Nats. I’ll chime in on occasion when I have something meaningful to share. I hope others will as well,

  36. natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    Did you read Mark’s post from last night? It demonstrates that he is not ignoring the user experience.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:31 AM

      For clarity’s sake (need coffee), I’ll add that Mark’s post is nested in the comments at 10:13 p.m., not in a separate, freestanding post.

  37. sjm308 - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    I don’t post often but I still read Mark’s work daily.
    I never posted during games because to me, it took away from what I wanted and needed to do to enjoy the game. I am not a multitask er.
    I do enjoy learning from comments as well and it had gotten pretty bad.
    Mark has always been a class act and many of us actually feel proud to have helped him get this started years ago.
    Just want to wish Mark good luck and say hi to others and yes, I have read Ghost’s blog and commented there briefly as well. I don’t think there are rules on only posting at one place sooo

    Go Nats!

    • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:42 AM

      Hi back at you, sjm. Always nice to “see” you.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:14 AM

        Seconded on the frequency. 🙂

      • natsfan1a - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        Ugh, my comment was evidently shifting, or shading, or something. It was meant to second Joe’s comment at 9:11.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:20 AM

      I for one am glad you participate here.

      • sjm308 - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:32 AM


      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        I wish it was more frequent.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:02 AM

      Great comment, sjm308, especially about Mark’s being a class act, and that there aren’t rules to participate on both places.

      I have had some nice correspondence with Mark over the past few days. I’m not going to post the entire emails, but Mark has asked stated to me that he is aware of the situation and is addressing it. For me, I feel a sense of loyalty to Mark Z for all he has done to give us a place to hang out and to discuss the Nats. As to the game threads, I see them as being sort of like a virtual bar to discuss the games with my virtual friends. But the bar needs a bartender to moderate the sometimes heated exchanges, and it unfortunately needs a virtual bouncer to throw out folks that get out of line.

      That all said, the issues here that have driven some away didn’t just pop up with the recent neg-anons that were doing everything that they could to start trouble. For me, they were just the straw that was breaking the proverbial camel’s back. But the Word Press format being used here is a pain in the [neck]. When using a phone, or an iPad, it is way too east to hit the report comment button when either scanning down the page, or even hitting the reply button. When someone does that the whole order of the page gets scrambled, rendering the whole thread impossible to follow.

      As I stated above, my personal loyalty and appreciation is to Mark Z, but I have to say that it is not to his employer. I will continue to be a part of this site because it has given me a lot of positives for years now. I will also take part in the new blog, and wish the people behind it nothing but good luck.

      Sorry to be so long-winded.

      Oh, yeah, and most importantly: Go Nats!

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 21, 2015 at 11:56 AM

        I don’t get some people’s notion that you HAVE to choose which blog to be in. What’s wrong with being in both?

        I like both, therefore I can be in both, right?





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 Click here for past audio clips.

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