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Hamels and Hill on the hill

Greetings. Couple of house-keeping items. Anyone notice what Jake Peavy did in San Diego last night? (For those who didn't, he struck out nine straight Arizona Diamondbacks, one short of Tom Seaver's major league record.) And who would the Nationals be facing on Monday in San Diego? That would be Jake Peavy. Against John Patterson.

Mull it over.

Today's lineup:
Josh Wilson -- 6
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Church -- 8
Restovich -- 7
Schneider -- 2
Hill -- 1

Phillies lineup isn't up yet, but we know Cole Hamels -- that left-hander who struck out 15 Reds his last time out -- will be on the bump.

Anybody watch the game last night? Please discuss your thoughts on Patterson below. Strange to say that a 5-1/3-inning outing in which he gave up six runs might've been a step forward, but I think it might have been.

Anyone who stopped by yesterday's chat, thank you. I think there were some pretty good questions in there. (The answers, of course, were stunningly insightful, but then you knew that.)

Might offer you a few in-game updates to round out your work day, too.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 26, 2007; 11:42 AM ET
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Next: I won't say this is moving along ...


Depressing game last night, though you are probably right that Patterson took a step forward. I am really mystified by Acta's apparent loss of confidence in Snelling. I can sort of understand platooning him with Restovich, but why start Fick? Fick is NOT part of "The Plan" and we have nothing to learn about what he can bring to the club. Snelling is 25 and could very well be part of "The Plan" if we actually bother to let him play and see what he can do. Just seeing the lineup last night had me annoyed and then watching Fick completely misplay that long ball in the outfield only made it worse. Arg!!!!

Posted by: Brewer | April 26, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I know Felipe needs a day off now and then, but "Wilson -- 6" just depresses me.

Posted by: Rocket1124 | April 26, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Is John Patterson an established quality pitcher who suffered injury after proving he could consistently win at the major league level? Lots of people feel he has the physical tools to be a star. I have seen flashes of top of the rotation ability, but isn't the evidence, as of right now, that he can not (yet?) adapt when he loses velocity, that he lets "bad breaks" & poor fielding discourage him and that he has so far failed to demonstrate the bull dog determination to be a star that we see from the Roger Clemmens, Nolan Ryans, and Tom Seavers, and/or just the gut it out mentality of a Livan. Is his ceiling #2 behind a true diva?

Posted by: Section 313 | April 26, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Please, Manny! Give Flores a chance!

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Barry! Any reason given on why the Nats PH Restovich in Fick's spot in the 7th and then put Snelling in defensively in the bottom of the inning? It seemed like burning two players where the price of one would have done fine.

Posted by: misschatter | April 26, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Why on earth is Flores not starting?

Posted by: Brian | April 26, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to "the master of arcades and urban planning" this is what we have to look forward to for the next 5 months;

The current inhabitants of those Nats uniforms can't score runs, can't make routine plays, can't judge a homerun ball from a fly ball, miss the cutoff man, and make Chase Utley look like Ted Williams.

Patterson is "no ace", the guy has zero for a fastball, he ditches a few pitches every inning and then when his arm tires he is sailing the ball high and outside. Worst of all his demeanor on the mound is more bush-league then major league.

Posted by: 41 Games | April 26, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to give you props for working T.S. Eliot into the Notebook today. Nice.

Posted by: John in Mpls | April 26, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait until Guzman (and Logan) come back. Belliard has been stinking up the joint since moving up to the 2 spot. His defense has been sporadic -- I know that was a tough pop-up in the 6th, but jeez, you've got to make that catch! (and btw ... where was Lopez on that play? Shouldn't he have been covering second so we at least could have gotten the forct out?).

Guzman, Logan, King back.
Restovich, Jimenez, Wagner sent down.

Maybe give Patterson one more start to show that he's making progress. Otherwise, I think they should discover an "injury" and let him rest/rehab for 15 days and bring up Simontacchi and/or Hanrahan and see if they can't help keep our bullpen from working too much (might as well drop J-Williams while we're at it).

Posted by: e | April 26, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse


Just curious... is "41 Games" your ticket plan, or your win prediction for the season? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell me it's the former...or I may cry !

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 26, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

C'mon folks. Besides the stranding-on-bases hitting, tension-filled pitching, and fielding errors, I think we have an excellent team.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 26, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

If we're in TSE mode....I'll bet you would have absolutely NO trouble coming up with some text to go with a heading of "The Wasteland" !

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 26, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Give Flores a chance." "Why on earth is Flores not starting?" Simple, Rule 5. As I said the other day, Rule 5 is a waste of bench players. Flores may prove to be a great player in the near future, but they are destroying Schneider now. They should start him in day games, give him one starter to always catch for, or send him back to the muts.
BTW, Tony Blanco was part of the Nats future in 2005. He is an impact player two years later.

Posted by: ChrisC | April 26, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I've been sitting on this for a while, but I just have to ask... just how many babes *does* Barry have? :-)

Posted by: misschatter | April 26, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

one of Barry's Babes: Don't listen to 41 Games. He's PMSing or something.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

JP isn't going to be effective until his velocity returns. 87-88 mph works for Greg Maddux but not for JP.

And, if I can see JP lose confidence and get rattled on the mound from all the way in my living room, surly Randy St. Claire can see it. Just watch his shoulder slump after he makes a bad pitch. Go out there RIGHT THEN. Don't let him throw another bad pitch and make it worse. Wear out a path to the mound if you have to.

Posted by: 118losses | April 26, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

if you did not know it was gonna be a loooong season, you just were not paying attention...

Posted by: hangnail | April 26, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I thought Patterson looked as though he is making progress -but it certainly would have helped to have a major league team playing behind him! I don't know what they were playing, offensively and defensively, but it sure didn't look like baseball to me. Anyway, as far as Patterson goes, I am afraid he may still have a long road in front of him. When he had the surgery last July, we were told that it was a fairly simple procedure and that his arm should be 100% by Spring Training, Obviously, it hasn't turned out that way and I expect that no one is more dismayed by this turn of events than Patterson himself. And to make it even worse, people are blaming him for something he has no control over! I have a pathologist friend who has raised the possibility that the Nats waited too long in diagnosing Patterson's arm injury last year - it starting hurting in Spring Training and tests were finally ordered in July - and as a result he could have permanent nerve damage. A nerve conduction study was what finally showed the problem. Has a follow-up study been done to see if the problem has been fully corrected? Apparently the pain is gone, but if there is permanent damage that could account for the loss of velocity and the feeling of deadness of his arm. If that is the case, Patterson will have to change his style of pitching from a "power guy" to a finesse type. I have no doubt that he could do that, but it will take time and will the Nats - and the fans- have enough patience to allow him to do it? He will have to take many small steps and a game like last night's - ugly as it was - would be considered progress. (If you throw out all the poor defense and the lack of run support and just look at Patterson's pitching, it was pretty good, but not yet the real John Patterson.) While he is going through this tough time, he needs the support of the fans, but they are quick to turn against him.
One blogger thinks there are 2 reasons for this; 1. because they expected much from Patterson and he has disappointed them - but think how great his disappointment must be! And 2. Because he keeps insisting that his arm is fine and he just needs to regain strength in it - that he would get more sympathy if he said that his arm is not 100% and he doesn't know when it will be, but Patterson has had so much negative in his career and just wants to think positive thoughts.( You wrote about this in your book, Barry.) John Patterson has been through a lot so far in his career and has never given up. Let's not give up on him. Let's hope this is just another stumbling block and not the end of the road.

Posted by: thunderstrucknatsfan | April 26, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"if you did not know it was gonna be a loooong season, ..."

Hangnail, you left an "s" off the word "season."

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | April 26, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Since 1990, here are some examples of your "waste": Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Jay Gibbons, Fernando Vina, Scott Podsednik, Frank Catalanotto, Matt Mantei, Willy Taveras, Miguel Batista, Graeme Lloyd, Antonio Alfonseca, Luis Ayala, Guillermo Mota, Scott Sauerbeck, Jorge Sosa, Derrick Turnbow, Shane Victorino. Yes, I will grant you Rule 5 doesn't always work out. In most cases it's a losing bet. But what exactly does this team have to lose gambling on a guy like Flores, who multiple scouts believe has the potential to add to the success stories of the Rule 5 draft. And more importantly, who is being held back by keeping Jesus Flores on the roster?

Posted by: Rule 5 is a waste | April 26, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Rule 5.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 26, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

To: Rule 5 is a waste
You give some fine examples and I agree that some workout. However, Dan Uggla has played one full season and that was last year. Let's see how he is in a year or two. There is a reason these guys spend all those years at the minor league level.
As for who is he holding back on this team? No one. But, he is taking a spot for yet another reliever we need or outfielder. At the rate we are using our bullpen, the Nats will reach the All-Star break with 8 position players, Fick on the bench, and 16 pitchers.

Posted by: ChirsC | April 26, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"[Flores] is taking a spot for yet another reliever we need or outfielder." No he isn't -- the only way that makes sense is if you make Fick your backup catcher instead, and they clearly don't want to do that because he's too useful as a utility player. If you didn't have Flores you'd either have to bring up a catcher or sign one.

Posted by: Cosmo | April 26, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Flores was signed out of Venezuela at 17 by the Mets. He's only 22 years old and is an exception to the Rule 5 standard type of player. He's still young enough to develop into something. The Mets took a huge gamble leaving him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. They thought that no team would risk grabbing a player who was at the A-ball level and keep him on the 25-man roster for a full season. The Nationals are in a position where they could take that gamble. The issue is they need to play him more than they have in order to minimize the impact of his fouled up year of development. Playing him once a week at minimum seems like an acceptable amount of time. And today seems like as good a day as any. It's a day game after a night game and the Nats are facing a LHP (Flores is RH).

Posted by: Brian | April 26, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

re: Flores....."Playing him once a week at minimum seems like an acceptable amount of time. And today seems like as good a day as any. It's a day game after a night game and the Nats are facing a LHP (Flores is RH)."

...except he's NOT playing today. the line-up at the top of the blog says Schneider again.

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 26, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Which is why my first comment was "Why on earth is Flores not starting?"

Posted by: Brian | April 26, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

To you guys think Flores is taking up valuable pine: When I was down at spring training Schneider was out with a pulled hamstring and Flores looked really, really good both behind the plate and in the box. Flores is young and this year he will have a chance to learn a lot of good stuff from Schneider, and I still think he should be teamed up with a single starting pitcher. You know, the buddy system.

And I say: take on 13 pitchers Friday when King comes off the DL and send down Josh Wilson. Although he has a decent OBP he makes too many errors in the field .. and not ornery official scorekeeper errors either, it is like someone puts butter in his glove. ..or between his ears.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 26, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

JP looked much better last night and showed flashes of some great fastball spotting which means he is throwing with confidence and at full power for what he has right now. Unfortunately, you simply cannot build up the arm strength he had in just 6 months or so. If he stays healthy and throws every fifth day you will see step by step improvements from him and he will be back to 'Nasty' by June or July.

Posted by: RYan | April 26, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

And as far as Flores and Schneider -- I'm so sick of hearing about people being down on Schneider. You people have no idea what a catcher does. All you see is a low batting average (which he admits should be higher) and you see a lower percentage of baserunners thrown out than he has had in the past.

What you don't see are all the other little things like the textbook blocking, the on-field leadership, the film sessions with young pitchers that immeasureably helps their development, the perfect footwork on his throws, I could go on...

If I hear another yokel like the guy behind me last Wednesday night talking about how he thinks Schneider stinks and he was at the game he made three errors last year and Frank pulled him, blah, blah...oh, and Schneider hit a three run home run that game AND caught all 13 innings. Then got the next afternoon game off, then came back and caught another 14 innings.

Enough of a rant? Can you tell I was a catcher?

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Dude -- has anyone noticed that thru 72 pitches Cole Hamels has only thrown 17 balls? Wow.

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Of course as soon as I say that he intentionally walks Kearns.

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The thought was to actually give Flores some marginally regular playing, not a denigration of Schneider. In actuality, it probably helps him by giving him an occasional day off to keep him fresher for later in the season.

Posted by: Brian | April 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Atta boy Church!! Two run single!

Posted by: RYan | April 26, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah sorry Brian -- my rant was from a whole lot of other Schneider bashing I've heard, not necessarily this conversation. BUT the role of a backup is just that, a backup which means one start a week at most.

Admittedly those days should be day games after night games, especially with a lefty on the mound and the left hitting Schneider. The only thing I can guess is there are matchup numbers that Acta has that favor Schneider being in the lineup today.

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

And now a GREAT at bat by Schneider to work the count full with the bases loaded with several foul balls and get a walk to score a run and get Hamels over 90 pitches, still in the 6th!

Those are things you just don't see in a box score. You see the RBI, but you don't see it was an 8-pitch AB that worked the stud pitcher out of the game.

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go, enjoy the rest of the game, go Nats!

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think we should have drafted 10 Rule-5 players and kept the best 4. Speigner may be one of our most reliable relievers. Flores may start next year in the minors, but be a starter in the majors by end of 08. Josh Hamilton would look good in CF for us right now. I'm guessing we could have plucked a middle infielder out of another system that would be better than Wilson/Jimenez. A better bench this year is not going to put us in first place. A better group of starters in 2 years might.

Posted by: D.Frenzy | April 26, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Re: Rule 5 Flores. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't these guys sometimes get stuck in the minors simply because the rest of the team (major league) is so stacked that there's just no room for them? Any other team and they could be starting (take our AA pitchers, for example) but the timing and makeup of the current team just doesn't allow it? My impression is that there are plenty of reasons for sending players up and down so much that may have nothing to do with ability.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 26, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Ryan -- Well said on Schneider.

I guess he started only to receive Hill. I would like to see a buddy system for Flores.

Posted by: A different Brian | April 26, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Patterson made progress. He was sabotaged by the fielding, mostly, Manny is right: He's still redeveloping his arm strength. Learning to pitch without his full velocity will help him in the long run. And I can only echo those who back Flores: Would you prefer some Gary Bennett-type as the backup catcher? We'd need one, even with Fick.

Posted by: andy from Jersey | April 27, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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