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Game 142: Nats at Marlins

Sep 13, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

How inept has the Nationals lineup been this weekend? In two games at Marlins Park, that lineup has scored a total of one (unearned) run on 10 hits, only one of them going for extra bases. Is it any wonder, then, that the Nats have lost both games, despite having surrendered only four runs?

They’ll give it one more shot this afternoon, trying to salvage at least one win out of this series and avoid losing even more ground to the Mets. (They’ve now dropped 5 1/2 games in the standings in six days.)

Max Scherzer will try to rebound from his disappointing Labor Day performance against New York, not to mention his longstanding slump (a 5.05 ERA over his last 12 starts). Brad Hand starts for Miami; the left-hander is 0-6 with a 7.96 ERA in 10 career appearances vs. Washington.

Enjoy the game and the conversation…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Marlins Park, Miami
Gametime: 1:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183/869
Weather: Indoors

NATIONALS (71-70)
2
B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
LF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
1B Tyler Moore
RHP Max Scherzer

MARLINS (61-81)
RF Ichiro Suzuki
LF Christian Yelich
3B Martin Prado
1B Justin Bour
CF Marcell Ozuna
2B Derek Dietrich
SS Miguel Rojas
C Jeff Mathis
LHP Brad Hand

UMPIRES
HP Tom Woodring
1B Vic Carapazza
2B Ron Kulpa
3B Larry Vanover (cc)

  1. 3on2out - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Storen self-destructs both figuratively and literally and the rest of the team has tapped. They appear to be more interested in their early October tee times than playing out the string with a semblance of dignity. That’s OK…we all have to make plans for the future. I got 3 home games left and I have to pick out a paper bag to wear.

    • RealNatsFan - Sep 13, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      Find a new team.

      • golfersal - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:09 PM

        I agree with what people are writing, the Nats are completely unwatchable. They are as bad as they were in 2009 when they lost 103 games. We have seen what was suppose to be a great team that looked forward to October and the playoffs before they won any games.
        Yes their have been injuries, but the Cards and Mets have also suffered.
        I can’t think of a pitcher or player making as much money as Max give such lousey results. Yes he was good the first half of the season, but since the no-hitter it’s been a struggle.

        I paid very good money for my season tickets, close to $7,400 for the year. I haven’t gotten my money’s worth and what are the Nats doing? Raising my tickets to $10,800 for 2016. Haven’t made up my mind yet on what to do, but I am favoring telling the Nats they can take their tickets and put into a place that just doesn’t shine.

        Sorry again, I am a loyal fan that went through ten prior years of hardship, paying for 82 game packages since 2005. In a matter of a couple of weeks have gone from a great fan to someone that really doesn’t care anymore. That’s because the landscape is different now, tickets are more, food and parking is more. I have to fight 41,000 to the park instead of the 20,000 that went a couple of years ago. It’s a hassle taking metro, I hate waiting 15 minutes for the silver line in the transfer. It’s just a plain hassle to go to the park and watch terrible baseball day after day after day.

        Even Nats management are not as kind and nice as they use to be. They have taken a lesson from Daniel Snyder on how to really piss off fans with management that never gets back to you and never deals with customer problems and concerns. They write us letters like they did last month on how great the Nats are on the way to getting to the playoffs, again that syndron of talking about October before earning a spot for October.

        I am totally sick of the Nats and hope for someone like the Lerners to change everything.

        Nobody seems to really write about what the fans have had to endure in 2015, hear that Mark Zuckerman????

        A once very loyal Nats fan that is very tired over everything in Nats-nation.

      • golfersal - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:18 PM

        I also forget to add about Drew Storen. I was his biggest fan until a couple of weeks ago. Sorry Drew the game is not about you and being the closer. Take a page from your ex-roomate Tyler Clipper who worked hard no matter if he was pitching in the 7th, 8th or 9th innings. Take a page from Tanner Rourke who endured days of looking out from the bull-pen after a great year last year.

        Drew, your nothing more than a big baby with your crap. Sorry but I put the blame on the whole season on your back, you gave up the winning runs in seven games since mid-August. If you would of come in and done your job, the Nats would only be a game or two behind the Mets. Now we are 8 or 9 back, don’t know if they won last night.

        I feel your pain for being demoted but life throws us a lot of crappy curves. The great ones are the ones that endure and be succesful in places even though they don’t belong there or didn’t earn a demotion.

        Sorry Drew, but you have ruined a lot of good times for thousands of Nats fans like myself, by being bull-headed over this. Didn’t the demotion to Syracuse in 2013 teach you anything on how really crappy things could be???

        Oh well, enjoy your career on some other team and be sure to pass on some of your good cheer to others from another team.

  2. 3on2out - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Oh I see. A REAL fan can’t express dismay at the product on the field? I have had season tickets since ’05 but I am obviously the fair weather sort ready to “find a new team.”

    Your brilliant solution to my concern about the Nationals play will no doubt resonate with REAL fans everywhere.

    Thanks for the advice. It is much appreciated.

    • nats106 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      No, it’s more like those paper bags are tough to breath out of. For me, like you’ I’ve found a team and over the years lost my old one. (Cardinals). Now is a good time to be Nationals fan. Paper bag or not, support can take on many forms.

  3. fpa4356 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Do you think that the team’s listlessness is somehow related to Drew’s Wednesday saga – being called in to face Cespedes, the locker incident ? If it’s correct that Drew’s warmup pitches were off, then wouldn’t that sort of correlate the picture that Drew didn’t want to come in (if he knows he didn’t have command, the one essential component needed in order to pitch successfully) ? And if that’s right, could it be the case that since then at least some of the players have turned on MW ?
    Also, remember Harper’s comment some time ago to the effect of “plan, what plan, we didn’t have a plan” suggest that there is a serious communication problem between MW/coaches and the players? There just has to be some sort of big problem in the clubhouse.

  4. JayB - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    You mean the players right?

    Luckily that is going to happen very soon but one thing nobody could miss is that MW has zero motivational skills and the players all want him gone

    They have checked out completely on him

  5. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:19 AM

    This has to go down as one of the most disappointing team performances ever. I almost can’t bear to look back at the predictions I made when Mark put up his preseason beatwriters poll. The baseball gods have taken revenge on us in a big way.

    Let’s take a look at the top 10 silver linings of this fiasco of a season:

    10. A refund of thousands of dollars in playoff and World Series tickets that can be put to other uses.
    9. The Nats won’t be World Series favorites next year. Heck, they might not even be favored to win their division.
    8. Not having to listen to national media commentary about “the shutdown” when Stras pitches in the playoffs this year.
    7. Not having to relive Game 5 again and again if the Nats play the Cardinals again or Game 2 when JZnn pitches.
    6. The Mets’ rotation of Harvey, DeGrom, Syndegarrd, Wheeler, and Matz will be the next “historically great” rotation for the baseball gods to sabotage.
    5. Not having to find that goofy Tibetan Nats hat with tassels to wear to a playoff game.
    4. Rizzo may finally realize that a playoff contender’s bullpen can’t be built on the cheap.
    3. Getting to watch Bryce Harper play with a chip on his shoulder next year and being even better, if that’s even possible.
    2. No chance of ever again having to endure the pain of Drew Storen melting down under playoff pressure.

    And the No. 1 silver lining of the Great Collapse of 2015 is:

    1. We probably won’t have MW to kick around anymore after this season.

    • edgs3rd1978 - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:28 PM

      “Heck, they might not even be favored to win their division.”

      You say that with the same conviction all you guys had for 2015 – don’t curse your team again man. Let me reiterate something I said here last month. The Mets are here to stay, not only because of their cost-controlled pitching, but also because of their payroll flexibility. We just man-handled this division from you guys with a payroll that ranks in the bottom third of the league.

      The Mets are also generating a ton of revenue due to playing meaningful games in August and September. Compound that with actual playoff games, along with the 20+ million they will shed in contracts in the offseason, and you will soon see the excellent financial position this New York market team is in.

      The starting rotation is set, and the first of the five young aces won’t be up for free agency until AFTER the 2018 season. The Mets will now have the flexibility to lock up the real 2015 NL MVP during the offseason. In addition, we will be bringing in a SS, and judging from what is available in free agency next year, that guy is coming from the Washington Nationals. They’ll of course spend the rest on a strong bullpen piece which is what Alderson seemingly always does during the offseason.

      You’ve seen what they’ve been able to do with a limited amount of games from Ces, Wright & D’arnaud (39, 23, 51 resp.) this year right? – we’re on pace to win 95 games! Imagine a full year with these studs and no inning limits for the starting rotation. For you to make a comment like that is irrational and if you really think that, you will probably wind up with as much heartburn next year as you did this year.

      • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:55 PM

        Sorry, did I kill your dog by accident or something? Can’t imagine what in my somewhat light-hearted post would inspire this diatribe. Yes, your Mets are a good team with great young pitching and a bright future. Happy now?

        As for the Mets being able to lock up the “real 2015 NL MVP” during the offseason, sorry but Bryce is not a free agent after this year. 🙂

  6. Joe Seamhead - Sep 13, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    Joe Seamhead – Apr 28, 2015 at 8:19 PM
    I have supported Matt Williams, but now I am getting to the point first of pitying him, and secondly, I am wondering who’s available as an improvement? I’m 100% serious.
    ———————

    I said this when the Nats were losing 9-1 to the Braves that night, after Williams left AJ Cole in until it got to be 9-1. The Nats came back and won that game on Dan Uggla’s only home run of the season. They won the game, but I lost all respect for Matt Williams that night.

    So, who’s next?

    • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      That’s amazing Joe. I wonder if you were the first to call for his head on a platter. And right before the biggest hit of the season for the Nats. I guess Uggla bought him some time with you. Actually, I’m sure JayB called for him to be fired before that. Sorry JayB.

      So who’s available? Lots of people are, but I don’t think any of us know who would be good for this team in the position it’s in. I know folks will be calling for Randy Knorr, Bo Porter, and even Ray Knight (god forbid!). But that’s just because those are guys they are familiar with an like. They have no idea if they’d be good managers. I wouldn’t surprise me if Knorr gets a shot since he’s been such a good soldier. Maybe on a one year deal.

      There won’t be a lot of pressure on whoever takes over since the expectations for this team will be so low next year. Maybe low expectations are what we need — the last time we had them was 2012 and we all know what happened then — the best season in Nats history so far..

      • nats106 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        I was picking the last of my tomatoes and planting Kale turnips and beets. Then I got a revelation:

        Hire a Garden (hire) He, like many others is tanned rested and ready.

        I have no pity for Williams. I have pity for the vendors at Nats games for the rest of the year who will have no one to sell their food, beverages etc to for the remaining games.

      • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:09 PM

        Also Bud Black. I always liked that guy.

      • nats106 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:13 PM

        +1 on Bud Black

      • Joe Seamhead - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:42 PM

        Deuces, Jay B was also the first to praise MW in 2014 spring training for not running a country club spring training as Davey supposedly did. It was going to be more of a boot camp ST according to JayB. Jay B is baskink in the doom of the Nats right now because he has been predicting it for years.

        Look, The Nats are still my team. I yelled Dreeeew all year, even though he wasn’t my favorite to have out there. I also publicly supported Matt Williams, even though I had serious reservations about him. I am not as proud to wear my Nats hats as I have been at times, but I have worn them since 2005 and will continue to do so. Mrs. Seamhead and I will not be renewing our partial plan seats in 311 next year primarily because it has really gotten hard for us to make the 65 mile trip down there. But I will also say that the Nats haven’t made it very appealing for us to renew, either. Both times they made the playoffs, we got crappy seats as a reward for our loyalty. Three years in a row we were required to buy the exhibition pre-season tickets as part of our plan and all three times our seats for them weren’t just crappy, they were horrible. We used to be admitted twice a year to the Stars and Stripes club as perk, [no seats, just allowed in to the bar area, and to get out of the heat], but that disappeared a couple of years ago. The discount for the team store went from 20% down to 5%, and the Red Carpet Rewards weren’t worth much anymore, either.I could go on about beer prices for swill, etc. but my point is, it’s not worth it to us anymore, especially when I can get better prices on Stub Hub for the same level seats, or better.

        As to the future of the team? I feel very positive that they will will continue to be a competitive team. I think of this year as being an exception. I do think Matt Williams should resign, and if he doesn’t then he must be fired. Who will take the reins next season? I have no idea. Speculation will be fun.

      • rabbit433 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:53 PM

        Ray Knight probably would be good……since he wouldn’t need a Teleprompter! Hahaha!!

  7. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    The wind has clearly gone out of their sails, which is very sad to see. The fanbase, and I mean even the more loyal ones, have turned on the team and management. ( I note that even Mark’s blog posts have much shorter intros. )

    But really, can anyone blame them? Not the fans, the Nats? I mean, they had the Mets by the throat, then choked away a sure win and a likely win, both in soul-crushing fashion. Everything is good and allmare on sure footing in a locker room when teams are winning, and the smallest stumble become a hard fall and faceplant when they are losing. And when you’ve given up the chance to even make the playoffs when you have considered yourself World Series favorites all year (and many others felt the same way), the fall is that much the harder.

    I really believed when Zimmerman carried the team against the Braves, and the Mets stumbled, we were going to catch them. On Tuesday, it was clear we could beat their ace, and badly. Until then 7th. Same on Wednesday. Then, the season was on life support. After losing two to the Fish, it is officially moved for me. Barring mass PED suspensions for the Mets (and they may have a history of PED usage in that clubhouse, just saying), they will win the division. Not sure they will go anywhere in the playoffs, but that is always a crap shoot.

    As for the Nats, here are my end of year observations and a wish list:

    I believe MW is done, and I’m OK with that. He is a step above Manny Acta, but he is no Jim Riggleman, who sadly had a better feel for pitchers, and that is not a high bar for anyone to beat. Beacuse he was such a good player himself, did MW think guys should just be able to go out and execute as he did? I’m not sure there is a way to know, but that is an all-too-common failing of great players who go on to manage or coach. He also didn’t seem to be able to make smart game time decisions, and while people have rightly (in my mind anyway) criticized him for bunting Rendon, I thought more would be calling for him to have replaced Werth in LF with a better defender (den Dekker was available) when we had a lead. In fact, I can’t really recall many defensive substitutions by MW that didn’t involve a double shift. Rendon to 3b and Espi to 2b would be a smart move with a lead, but I never saw it happen, despite the fact that Rendon is cleslry better at 3rd and Espi is a defensive upgrade at 2b on ANY team.

    As for Rizzo, hindsight is 20/20 on not doing more before the no-waiver deadline. He thought he was getting Span, Zimm, Rendon, and Werth back right around the deadline. It was reasonable to think that there was no need for a bat, and there was not much room for one either. So he got Papelbon, which put Drew, who had been very reliable all season, to the 8th inning spot. Hard to argue against that move on paper. He also knew he’d get power lefties Solis and Rivero, both of whom had pitched well in prior stints, along with Martin, coming up in Sept. I can’t blame him for thinking his both his pitching and hitting would be in good shape for the end of the season run.

    To me, what killed the Nats wasn’t the hitting, or the bullpen, despite the obvious meltdowns recently. What killed them was the inability of their starting pitchers to go deep into games and keep the team in those games. Some very short outings by our starters had a snowball effect on the bullpen, and the older arms there, especially the AL transplants, didn’t hold up. Thornton was lights out last year at this time, but after a full season in the NL, it looks like teams have figured him out and his FIP ballooned from around 2.5 to close to 3.5. Janssen? I wondered about that pickup when we got him because he didn’t fit Rizzo’s power-arm mantra. But he’s also getting older, so he won’t be picking up any velocity. Basically, he’s a gamer, but one with no velocity and diminishing control. His record is 1-5 this year. Your 7th/8th inning guy can’t be losing games for you. But you shouldn’t have to use a 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guy for what for a while seemed like times a week!

    Rizzo has another year to prove himself. No small part of his success so far has been drafting quality players by taking risks (Rendon, Giolito) and overpaying. Overpaying for draft picks is harder now because MLB basically instituted “Rizzo Rules” to prevent this a couplempfmyears ago. How will his most recent draft picks fare? And what’s his plan for next year? ( The Nats certainly will get higher picks, sans the pick they have up for Scherzer.)

    His other strength has been his trades (See the excellent “Rizzo’s Rap Sheet” post here and elsewhere.) But as his reputation grows, he may have a tougher time getting what he wants. He also appears to have fewer prospects to deal. I say appears, because if you had asked me he’d get for Souza I wouldn’t have said Turner and Ross.

    Both his drafting and trades are built on one thing that the Nats seem to have in spades: scouting. For all the Rizzo naysayers out there, none can honestly say he didn’t build a scouting organization with a serious eye for talent. From trades to drafts, and even when it comes to callups (Clint Robinson? Tell me anyone here saw that coming?), they have a very good track record in what is an entirely unpredictable business.

    I’d also like the Nats to look at their bullpen staff. Pitchers too often seem to come out and not be quite ready to pitch. Surely there must be room for improvement there.

    The last thing the Nats need to address is the trainers and medical staff. Too many injuries that indicate poor stretching regimens, too many misdiagnosed injuries, especially the severity of injuries, and rehabs that take much too long and don’t often result in a player truly ready to come back (Span is a prime example of this). Perhaps it’s my bias, but it seems to me that players seem to routinely get 2nd opinions that contradict the team doctors. At any rate, is there a person who has watched this team over the past few years that would honestly praise the medical staff and trainers? I don’t think so, and I sure as hell wouldn’t. Imagine what having our starting lineup on the field for more than 2 games this year would have done?!

    I have tickets to 2 more games – the Monday game in the O’s series because my son likes the O’s, and the last home game ( I seriously doubt the Cincy game will be played.) My son isn’t even interested in going now tomthe O’s game (“Both teams stink dad!”) , and my family may not want to go to the last game. That makes me sad. It should make the Nats worried.

    • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      Really good and smart post ehay. I agree with much of what you say and the long view you take is refreshing. I think your assessment of Rizzo’s deadline moves and strong scouting staff are exactly right. Less certain about the criticism of the bullpen and medical staffs.All we see is the results. Whether correlation is causation in those cases is impossible to say from where we sit.

      The Cincy game on 9/28 will be played for sure. The only way it wouldn’t is if 9/27 was the last game of the season, but it’s not. We still have to go to ATL and NY (and endure the Mets’ weekend long victory lap.

      • nats106 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:25 PM

        Don’t have to endure it if you’re not watching it. Just saying.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:04 PM

        I was wondering about the 9/28 game as well. Good point on it not being the last game of the season altogether.

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:55 PM

      Great post, ehay.

  8. lesatcsc - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    Really, Desmond and Moore in the lineup again? Why? Don’t the Nats have some young players they could give a shot? I would start Trea Turner at short for the rest of the season, if for no other reason than to see how far away he might be from being the everyday SS. It could influence decisions on what to do at that position over the winter. Moore can’t hit, why not let Robinson start even if he hits from the “wrong” side. Moore is hitting below the Mendoza line and is probably playing one of his last games in the big leagues. I don’t see him making a team next year, there is simply no point in playing him now. Is the Nats farm system so bad that they really don’t have any other young players that could profit from an exposure to the big leagues for a few weeks at the end of the season?

    • rabbit433 - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      The answer to all your “why’s” is MW! His brain is just scrambled as it has been most of the season. Go REDSKINS!!!

    • fpa4356 - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      Robinson is out, went home for birth of his child

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      Yes–the Nats’ farm system really is that bad. I’m an avid watcher of the Nats’ minor league teams, all of whom finished well below .500 this year. They have very little in the way of big league-ready arms, which is why you’ve seen the likes of Solis, Grace, de los Santos, Hill and Martin this year, and worse yet they have no good hitters above Low A ball other than Turner.

      The biggest culprit has been the awful drafts by Rizzo and company from 2012-2014. Other than Lucas Giolito, the Nats are very unlikely to end up with more than one or two effective big leaguers from those three drafts, and that’s a BIG problem going forward.

    • RoadApples - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      With all do respect:
      I shake my head when the question is asked why ( in particular ) Desmond and to a certain degree Moore are in the starting lineup and playing.
      For the most part the Washington Nationals are indeed a first class organization.

  9. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    Facing “Hand” today? Oh, the irony. Welp, a curly W would be nice, just for old time’s sake.

    I have tix for the last 4 home games, so the vendors/team store will see some action from me. Heck, you never know what might happen. I was at the meaningless final home game last season, and that turned out to be a pretty awesome one. Your mileage may vary, as always.

    • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      Anyone whose mileage varies on the awesomeness of the final home game last season has no pulse.

      • ArVAFan - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:49 PM

        Dunno about that–I think my heart might have stopped (temporarily) during the last out of the 9th inning.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:05 PM

        Happily for all, Souza restarted it. 🙂

      • Karl Kolchak - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:19 PM

        I was at that game–and other than Bryce’s three homer game and Scherzer’s no hitter and hasn’t been much fun going to Nats Park since then.

  10. edgs3rd1978 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    You shouldn’t get too down on your pen, at least in the Mets series. Number one, we are the best offensive team is the league since the deadline, so even calling on your bullpen to protect the lead is a testament to your starting pitching. Second, we are hot in the second half of the game (we lead the league in comeback wins). Nobody is shutting us down from 7th inning on, and you honestly don’t think that every bullpen in the league is in need of overhaul do you?

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:23 PM

      The Nats bullpen is dog doo right now. If I could wave a magic wand, all other than Rivero and Stammen would never wear a Nats’ uniform ever again. Even Papelbon is being paid way too much for a closer who is already well into age-related decline.

  11. veejh - Sep 13, 2015 at 1:22 PM

    Agree with ehay’s post. I think that Stammen’s injury was possibly the most devastating of all the injury’s to the team this year. Go figure.

  12. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Well, hello, Max!

    • ArVAFan - Sep 13, 2015 at 3:57 PM

      Yep. I was beginning to think he had an “average” twin who had swapped places with him over the All-Star break.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:16 PM

      Nice game, Max. Nice win, Nats.

  13. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    Bobby Parnell strikes again!

  14. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2015 at 4:37 PM

    And–Atlanta’s bullpen implodes with two outs in the 9th.

    • NatsLady - Sep 13, 2015 at 5:06 PM

      And again it the 10th. They are truly terrible.

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