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Guess the Rotation, Round 3 (Lineups now added)

First off, thanks to everyone who held down the fort while I was on vacation (more on that later). At this writing, we had 716 comments in 11 days, an average of 65 per, which basically proves that my incessant babbling is unnecessary and that you all - particularly a very few of you all - do just fine on your own. Also thanks to intern Steve Yanda, who covered for me at home, and all-time pro and Olympic guru Amy Shipley, who did so in Miami.

And at 6:34 p.m., here's your lineups:

Houston:
Biggio -- 4
Pence -- 8 (would look good in a Nationals uniform, and was pursued at trade deadline for Soriano, to no avail)
Berkman -- 9
Lee -- 7
Loretta -- 3
Ensberg -- 5
Bruntlett -- 6
Ausmus -- 2
Williams -- 1 (Woody, to clarify)

Washington:
Logan -- 8
Belliard -- 4 (7-15, 3 HR, 4 BB, 1 2B, 1 3B in his career against Williams)
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Church -- 7
Kearns -- 9
Lopez -- 6
Schneider -- 2
Bacsik -- 1
(Side note: D'Angelo Jimenez is 10 for 20 with three homers in his career off Williams. He is, I would point out, 1 for 25 this year for the Nationals. On both counts: Wow.)

And back to our regularly scheduled thread:

That said, let's pick up an old thread (because, of course, I'm not yet at the ballpark, and have no insight to offer right now (insert "when do you have insight to offer" joke here).). On May 22, when Nationals pitchers were strewn about the field like so many broken twigs, we played our second game of "Guess the Rotation." The first, of course, came in spring training, and if you recall, the Opening Day rotation looked like this (with current stats following their names):

John Patterson - 7 GS, 31-1/3 IP, 1-5, 7.47 ERA
Shawn Hill - 8 GS, 50 IP, 3-3, 2.70 ERA
Matt Chico - 19 GS, 102-1/3 IP, 4-6, 4.57 ERA
Jason Bergmann - 12 GS, 66-2/3 IP, 1-5, 4.32 ERA
Jerome Williams - 6 GS, 30 IP, 0-5, 7.20 ERA

Your grand totals for your Opening Day rotation: 52 starts (out of 90 games), 9-24 record, 4.78 ERA.

That would be nine wins in 90 games, with 38 starts made by other people. Is that good?

The injuries, of course, were devastating, and that's what led us to our second game of Guess the Rotation in May. Patterson, Hill and Bergmann all went down within a little more of a week of each other. So the question became: After the all-star break, what will the rotation be? As a reminder, here's how it shook out then:

Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann, Jason Simontacchi and John Patterson.

The next five: Mike Bacsik, Billy Traber, Mike O'Connor, Joel Hanrahan and Tim Redding.

Also receiving votes: Escaped Fraternity Boy from Nat Pack, Svrluga, Raccoon from Spring Training.

Which brings us, as we head into the fourth game after the break, to what the actual rotation looks to be:

Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico, Jason Simontacchi, Mike Bacsik, Tim Redding.

To me, the most disappointing development has been the length of Hill's injury, and how he's gone between problems with his left shoulder and his right forearm and elbow. Amy Shipley reported that his throwing session off a mound yesterday was "free and easy," and that's good. But we're still looking for an August return, at best. The reason getting another look at him is so important is because, if he can ever turn in 30 starts in a year, this is a guy that could really be part of a winning team in the future. It would be nice, from the Nationals' perspective, to have him finish the season with 10-12 more starts, go into the offseason completely healthy, and have him come into spring training ready to go.

Patterson: He wants to return for September. He's currently outside Toronto going through all sorts of crazy tests/treatments/who knows what. But part of the point of all this will bring us to our third round of "Guess the Rotation," which is to say - Who will be the rotation on Sept. 1.

To that end, let's take a look at the two most likely prospects to be called up around that time. General Manager Jim Bowden has said repeatedly that he has to corral himself every night (thanks, Stan) from picking up the phone and calling the minors to get either lefty John Lannan or right-hander Collin Balester.

Lannan has skyrocketed from Class A Potomac to Class AAA Columbus this season.

John Lannan:
Potomac (A) - 8 GS, 6-0,. 2.13 ERA, 35 K, 15 BB in 50-2/3 IP
Harrisburg (AA) - 6 G, 5 GS, 3-2, 3.25 ERA, 20 K, 15 BB in 36 IP
Columbus (AAA) - 5 GS, 2-1, 1.55 ERA, 14 K, 12 BB in 29 IP
Totals: 11-3, 2.33 ERA, 69 K, 42 BB in 115-2/3 IP

Yesterday, he threw six innings, allowing three hits and one run in picking up the win over Richmond. Now, keep in mind, this is a 22-year-old guy who threw 138 innings last year, and he should be past that within four starts or so. The Nationals are likely to be careful with him, but not so careful that they don't see what he can do.

On to Balester. Unlike Lannan, he was on folks' radar when spring training began. Baseball America had him as the club's top prospect. Dmitri Young, who was in the minor league camp in spring training, told me before the break that, "He's got more charisma than probably anyone in the organization." Guy's a brash, confident surfer-dude from California. He was just promoted to Columbus after pitching for (dreadful) Harrisburg during the first half.

Colin Ballester:
Harrisburg (AA) - 17 GS, 2-7, 3.74 ERA, 77 K, 25 BB in 98-2/3 IP

Keep in mind, too, that lefty Brandon Claussen is now pitching for Columbus after finally working his way back from shoulder surgery. He's 0-0 with a 5.79 ERA in his two starts for the Clippers after making three starts (3.00 ERA, 18 K, 1 BB in 15 innings) for the Gulf Coast League Nationals (rookie ball).

Also, Mike O'Connor, coming off left elbow surgery, is 1-3 with a 4.47 ERA in seven starts for Harrisburg.

And I would also add that Garrett Mock is one to watch as well. The guy who, for now, is the "other" part of the Livan Hernandez trade last August (Matt Chico was also received from Arizona) was the more highly touted of the pair when the trade was made. He is a big (6-feet-4, 215-pound) guy with a Clemens-like frame, but he has had a slew of injury problems this year. He came off knee surgery too quickly, and that set him back in spring training. He went to Potomac, had an excellent six-inning, one-run start, and then went on the DL with arm problems. It's been fits and starts since then, but he's back with Harrisburg now (and GM Jim Bowden raved internally about him when he saw him in Viera pitching for the GCL Nationals as he rehabbed).

Overall, Mock is 1-4 with a 4.57 ERA in six appearances (five starts) for Potomac, GCL Nats and Harrisburg (and he's 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in his two starts for the Senators).

So there you have it: The list of candidates for your Labor Day weekend rotation. Please fill out, in order from No. 1 starter to No. 5, who you think it will be at that point. I'll use the same scoring system as in the previous two rounds (5 points for first-place vote, 4 for second, etc.), and I'll tabulate the results tomorrow.

I'll also have lineups when I get to the park, any news from there, etc., and we'll jump right back into this whole thing.

(Oh, as for vacation, it was unbelievable, thanks. We went here and here, and ate this and that. We also ate at two of my favorite restaurants in the world, Fore Street and Street and Company. For those who haven't been to Maine, please stay out. The rest of us like it that way.)

By Barry Svrluga  |  July 16, 2007; 11:51 AM ET
 
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Next: To bunt or not to bunt? That is the question

Comments

May I be the first to say, welcome back, Barry. We missed you! And your blogging is totally necessary -- we were just trying to fill the void.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 16, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Ha ! I knew it! As soon as we put the NJ blog up for grabs, he returns --- we should have thought of that days ago !

Posted by: one of Amy's Amigas (formerly, one of Barry's Babes) | July 16, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Especially since half the posts ended up being "where's Barry?" which should reduce the numbers per day and also I took up five or six posts sending out one word of a sentence about making 1,000. Also we resorted to talking about Barry Bonds.

I vote:

1. Bergmann
2. Chico
3. Balestar
4. Hill
5. Redding

Redding continues to perform better than expected. Balestar gets a chance to prove he was really top prospect, while Lannan keeps developing in the minors (but maybe with some time in late September). Hill is down so low because of a late return and need to rebuild arm strength.

I worry that Bergmann will return to the old Bergmann.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I have a dumb question.

When a player has a multi-year contract, and sits out all or most of a season injured, does he get the full salary? Or is there usually some kind of "short/long term disability" clause that gives him, say, 50% or 75% for the season?

And if it's the former (full salary), who gets to decide whether he's well enough to play? --- in particular, I'm referring to JP's insistence on being 100%, if the team were to decide that JP at 80% is better than most of their other folks at 100%.

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | July 16, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank-you Maine for releasing Barry back to us...we were..uh...out of it. Rotation Jeopardy...1. Chico 2. Bergman 3. Hill 4. Redding 5. Lannan

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 16, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

welcome back. (thanks for saving us from ourselves)


Have I put too much into my reading of Moneyball, or are the important stats in those pitchers' lines the K:BB numbers? From that angle, Ballester looks a bit better than Lannan ...not watching them pitch, just comparing numbers. It just seems to me that getting outs is the most valuable thing a pitcher can do and giving away bases is the worst thing. So much of the other numbers rely on things beyond the pitcher's control and possibly at the scorekeeper's whim.

Anyway, I'm excited to see both of them do well but not so excited that I would rush them to the big leagues just to trash their confidence.

And, while I'm thinking about it ... can we get some durable pitchers, please?

Posted by: i hate walks | July 16, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

First off, welcome back. I hope you're rested and refreshed to deal with JimBo (and the addicts/fanatics on this blog) for the rest of the season.

My predicted rotation on Labor Day is:

1: Bergmann

2: Hill

3: Chico

4: ???

5: Redding

The "???" at position #4 refers to the as-yet unidentified pitcher currently on somebody else's minor league roster who will arrive here via a trade in late July and, after serving a short stint in our minor league organization, will prove surprisingly effective on the mound at RFK during the month of September.

Posted by: Section 502 (Haven't Moved Yet) | July 16, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

My vote: Bergmann, Hill, Chico, Redding, Lannan. But I do like the identified pitcher theory, Sect. 502.

BTW, that blueberry pie looks simply scrumptious. Homemade, I assume.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 16, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back. I spent a few summers as a child outside boothbay harbor. Good times. Lobsters: straight up w/ butter, or lobster rolls, or bisque?

BTW: you didn't miss much....

Posted by: derek | July 16, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"(insert "when do you have insight to offer" joke here)"

... first off Barry, I think you'll notice that a great many of those 716 ramblings had as their main theme: "Where's Barry?" I think you'll notice and have to agree it is NO JOKE that as bloggers of this list, we do only as well as we are conditioned to do by your very capable self.

... the length of Hill's injury and come-back is frustrating as you say, but is it any more so that JP's, or JB's or maybe Colume's or Bowie's? I think it stinks Shawn's been off the hill for so long, but his experience isn't THAT much worse that the many others, it seems to me.

... so the five-man rotation on Sept. 1:

Bergmann OR pitcher acquired by trade
Hill
O'Connor
Chico
Ballester

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 16, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Glad to have you back Mr. Nationals Journal. I vacation in Connecticut, so that's 4 less people in Maine.

Your Washington Nationals starting rotation (Sept. 1st):

Hill
Bergmann
Chico
Bacsik
Lannan

Posted by: Patty | July 16, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Where Are They Now?

Where IS Colome? How is his buttocks?

Also, how is Brandon Watson doing after the demotion?

I thought I spied some news that Escobar has been cold since his latest return. Is that true?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Though Maine looks nice...nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina...South, that is. Smiling faces and sunshiny places. We are having our water festival this week (Beaufort) and loving it. See you at RFK 9/23...tickets in hand (arrived today). Unlike Maine...we love guests (southern hospitality), so ya'll are welcome to visit anytime.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 16, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

September 1st rotation:

1. Shawn Hill
2. Matt Chico
3. Jason Bergmann
4. Jason Simontacchi
5. Tim Redding

Occasional Fill-ins:

1. Lannan
2. Ballester
3. O'Connor
4. Bascik
5. Whoever we get for Dimitri and Belliard

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 16, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

1) Chico
2) Bergmann
3) Simontacchi
4) Ballestar
5) Bascik

As much as I'd like to see Patterson and Hill back in the mix, I think we'll be waiting until 08 to see them.

Posted by: hondo lives | July 16, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Patterson will never be back in the mix taking a regular turn. Think toast.

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 16, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

You were missed, sir. My shakes are now gone.

1- Hill
2- Chico
3- Bergmann
4- Lannan
5- Balester

Re: #'s 4 & 5 - I just have this sneaking suspicion that come Sept. 1, JimBo won't feel the need to hold back any longer.

Posted by: Matt | July 16, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Rotation I'd like to see post roster-expansion:

Bergmann, Chico (L), Hill, Lannan (L), Balester.

Lets put Lannan on the mound 9/1 against the lefty-swinging Bonds and see what he can do.

Posted by: Todd Boss | July 16, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Barry. I think your cessant postings were causing people more worry, at least toward the end. (Not me, though. Plus I think I nailed the pool, but I have to check.)

Let's have some fun Labor Day weekend.

1. Chico
2. Simontacchi
3. Bacsik
4. O'Connor
5. Detwiler

Posted by: Hendo | July 16, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Barry, now that you're back, I'd like to put you to work. The Bos said at the beginning of the year that this year's rotation would be better than last just because they couldn't be worse. Can you lay out the actual stats of the starting pitchers this year vs. last? With guys like Bowie and Speigner bouncing from bullpen to rotation, it's hard to break out their stats, but right now if there's any improvement, it's negligible. As for the 9/1 rotation: 1) Hill, 2) Chico, 3) Lannan, 4) Ballester and 5) the guy we get for Dmitri Young.

Posted by: GEVA | July 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back Barry! Kudos on a balanced and thoughtful midseason report in Friday's paper.

Alex Escobar is not playing well.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Alex%2520Escobar&pos=OF&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=276510

My optimistic guess for Sept. 1 rotation

1. Matt Chico - He RULES!
2. Jason Bergmann
3. Shawn Hill
4. Tim Redding - Because Boswell said so.
5. Jason Simontacchi - There will be no September callup for any member of the Columbus Clipper rotation.

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I reject "that guy we get for Dmitri"

SAVE THE MEAT!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Bergmann
Hill
Chico
O'Connor
Balester

Posted by: DE | July 16, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Whew. Now I can exhale. VERY happy to have you back Barry.

Hendo: Glad to see someone else was thinking about Detwiler. I bet he comes up this year, even as early as Sept. 1
1. Chico
2. Bergmann
3. Bascik
4. Balester
5. Detwiler

Keeping Bascik in the rotation is mostly just wishful thinking. I really like that guy. Had a very brief exchange with him in Pittsburgh and he left a great impression on me.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 16, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wait, wait. I forgot about Redding, who's doing so much better than we expected. Oh all right. I guess Bascik goes down. I revise my submission:
1. Chico
2. Bergmann
3. Redding
4. Balester
5. Detwiler

Posted by: NatsNut | July 16, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, please tell me you're joking with your "guess the rotation" list.

This team is depressing enough. Why would the Nats continue with Bascik and Simontacchi, and add Mike "Hit-a-Homer" O'Connor?

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry, welcome back... I just read your lastest... and sat there and contemplated what my entry would be... and realized it is more like picking powerball numbers than something that requires skill... I thought about putting names in a hat and drawing them out... but I guess I should make an effort at actually thinking about this... so here's my picks:

September 1:

Hill
Bergmann
Chico
Simontacci
Balester

I actually think the August 31 roster is going to be the more telling one... and my picks for that are:

Hill
Bergmann
Chico
Simontacci
Redding

Not that there's any great insight there, but if you think about the top three, and think about what we know they can do (and have done during this season), we're actually looking pretty good... We know that Patterson will be there in February trying to get back into the rotation... so unlike this spring, we're only going to have one or two open spots, and several credible candidates to fill them. If it weren't for the injuries, we would almost have too many.

What we don't have in that list, is an ace. Someone may make themselves one, but there's nobody locked into that role.

We should play "Guess the Batting Order" and "Guess the 40-man Roster" or "Guess the Trading Deadline Trades". I don't think we'll have any more skill with that, though.

Posted by: Wigi | July 16, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse


Bergmann
Chico
Simontacci
Redding
Detwiler

I think Detwiler might be better off to spend more time in the minors, but I think he may be brought up as a demonstration to all prospects that the Nats mean what they say about getting players to the majors quickly, like Zim and Chad.

Posted by: Traveler | July 16, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

If we are talking about expanded rosters (and I think we are); the rotation will probably remain pretty much as it is with call-ups getting occasional starts. As for O'Connor, I don't think it is fair to consider what did or didn't happen with him last year except for stepping up and doing yeoman work under a lousy manager. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter who gets sent out there as long as the Nats offense continues to make mediocre pitchers look like Cy Young resurrected. Against great and good pitchers the team looks like a buncha All-Stars, against the dregs, they stink. I don't get it. They aren't making adjustments as the game goes along and it seems to me this is coaching and Harris isn't getting it done. The Nats should have won at least two this past weekend if the offense hadn't done a sick imitation of the Skins or a soccer team.

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 16, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BrianH goggles: "This team is depressing enough. Why would the Nats continue with Bascik and Simontacchi, and add Mike 'Hit-a-Homer' O'Connor?"

Because on September 1, the year on the calendar will still read 2007. And all three will still have major league experience and the ability to save some younger arms.

I admit that Detwiler was just for fun. Having had my fun, I don't want to blow his arm, his options or his rookie status, so if he doesn't make the cut I won't be sad. If we do want to bring a guy up from the A or AA level, though, and it's not Detwiler, let's make it Balester and/or Hinckley, so we can approach closure regarding the status of one or both of the latter.

Posted by: Hendo | July 16, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Dancer13, you hit the nail on the head describing this Nats offense. If they won't make adjustments, will they at least cork their bats?

Barry, I'm wondering about Jesus Colome. Will you please ask about his condition?
Is Colome ambulatory? Is he able to exercise? Thanks.

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, isn't the goal of 2007 to find pieces to the puzzle?

Bascik and Simontacchi are wasting space. The Nationals know what they can do.

Give someone else a shot.

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

So the Labor day rotation will be:

1) Chico (A number 4 starter for most teams)
2) Bergmann (Does it still hurt? or is his arm just weak from inactivity)
3) Simontacchi (will be replaced in mid September by a Rookie)
4) Hill (He won't be as good as he was)
5) Patterson (You can't get rich if you don't pitch)

But before we get to labor day Claussen, Redding, and Fruto (sp?) will see some time. I vote Simontacchi for most likely starter to be traded. I'll take this all a step further and predict the opening day rotation to be Free Agent, Hill, Chico, Balester, and Bergmann.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Re: 'Tach and Bacs

"Bascik and Simontacchi are wasting space. The Nationals know what they can do."

I disagree. I think if either of them could manage to be a reliable pitcher, they would be immensely important to the team because of their veteran status and their great attitudes. Hill, Bergmann, and Chico are all somewhat dour individuals that could use an affable leader. Hill in particular needs to lighten up a bit if he wants to be the Ace and lead some younger guys.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I don't think of Smoltz as being particularly affable.

"......Hill in particular needs to lighten up a bit if he wants to be the Ace and lead some younger guys.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving)"

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 16, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Bascik & Simontacchi: "I think if either of them could manage to be a reliable pitcher..."

It ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

BrianH...kudos, I agree that tacci & csik just aren't good eneough to advance this team. The days are numbered for them.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 16, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

In honor of the final month of RFK, let's go Old School:

1) Bergmann
2) Hill
3) Chico
4) Redding

That is right, a four man rotation.

Posted by: ChrisC | July 16, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Save Da Meat, buy a t-shirt....

Sect. 506 spoke out: I reject "that guy we get for Dmitri"

SAVE THE MEAT!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 16, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Hill
Chico
Simontacci
Redding
Claussen

Bergmann will join Patterson on the DL by August. They've seen everybody else at this point (Bowie, Bacsik etc.) and September will be Claussen's turn in the showcase showdown.

Posted by: Kirk | July 16, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats go to Claussen, they will really be in a pickle.

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 16, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

1. Chico
2. Hill/Bergmann
3. Redding
4. Balester
5. Lannen

Posted by: C'vill Nat | July 16, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr. 300*, can you put up the link for the Meat Hook shirts again for anyone that has realized the wisdom of getting one?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

This group really has paid no attention to what Lannan has done this season. He has more than proven himself at every level. Holding him back because he is only 22 doesn't make much sense to me. The last time I checked it takes the same effort to throw a 90 mph baseball off a a AAA mound as does a ML mound. Brining him up would show the Plan is working.

Posted by: Tom | July 16, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Barry be back!

Rotation? WHAT rotation? ROTFL!

I think I prefer to be surprised and go to RFK as innocent and virginal as the driven snow.

Posted by: Juan-John | July 16, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Tom - It takes a lot more effort to throw a 90 mph off a ML mound past Miguel Cabrera, et al., than around a AAA batter. Leave Lannan where he can rack up some more confidence and then let him try out for the team next year. Don't bring him up just to get shelled in September.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

At your service...

http://www.cafepress.com/dameat

Posted by: Mr. 300* | July 16, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Re cautious pitching promotion, BrianH asks: "Isn't the goal of 2007 to find pieces to the puzzle?"

That is an objective, yes, an objective that can be met by bringing up pitchers when they're ready. That may be this year or it may be next. I lean toward the conservative, except in the case of guys like Hinckley who are getting pretty ripe down on the farm.

"Bascik and Simontacchi are wasting space. The Nationals know what they can do."

They can eat up innings, and save arms, another 2007 objective. If those abilities are needed later this season, and they're gone, they'll be hard to replace (and impossible at the price at which they came).

Twenty-oh-eight will be a way different story. Don't let's jump the gun.

Posted by: Hendo | July 16, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Dancer13, that was (wonderfully) awful! You are still in the Hunt('s).

---

If the Nats go to Claussen, they will really be in a pickle.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 16, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

So its ok for JB to rush a 1st rounder to the show. Come on they are talking about bringing Detwiler up in September and he hasn't even thrown a professional pitch yet. But if you are not a 1st rounder, but are proving yourself at every level it is not ok to "rush" a pitcher. Finally, a young pitcher is going to have to face a ML slugger sooner or later. Take the chance on Lannan and just maybe you will all be pleasantly surprised. Pitching is 75% between the ears from all the reports I've seen Lannan is already the real deal.
By the way last year a 22 year old was one of the best players on this team. This year he is a team leader and according to Barry is the only sure piece of the future that is on the team now.

Posted by: Tom | July 16, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'll also have lineups when I get to the park, any news from there, etc., and we'll jump right back into this whole thing."

I wonder what my boss would say if I asked him for two weeks off in the middle of a 6 month project I was leading for a important client...

ops I keep forgetting this whole year does not count so why should the Post care?.......

Posted by: Bueller Anyone? | July 16, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"I'll also have lineups when I get to the park, any news from there, etc., and we'll jump right back into this whole thing."

I wonder what my boss would say if I asked him for two weeks off in the middle of a 6 month project I was leading for a important client...

ops I keep forgetting this whole year does not count so why should the Post care?.......

Posted by: Bueller Anyone? | July 16, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Barry, did you read all 716 of them?

Posted by: Nats Fan | July 16, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tom,

... one of the more positive thin gs about "The Plan" is its cautious conservatism (Hi Hendo in Alaska). Certainly JimBo and Stan have reached out to some young guys and brought them to the Show for a look-see, but that is early to mid-season stuff. Once the year is past half way, the young guys are in the very depths of their particular learning curve and it would take a LARGE EVENT to move them around too much.

... and September is the time you are looking at the guys you think might very well be in the Bigs come next April. You don't want to manipulate things and take unnecessary chances beyond each player's dictated situation, and so in September, you don't bring guys up who you'd rather see in the minors next year.

... that's the conservative view; that's the path I believe Jim and Stan will follow.

... I may be wrong.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 16, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Tom = Lannan's mom

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 16, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Just my thoughts on trading Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard. WHY? Yeah, I know the plan. Yeah, we are "rebuilding". But these guys are the only batters that hit above their weight! They can take some of the pressure off of Zimmerman and produce some runs. Also, both are well liked by the fans. They put bodies in the seats. How much is that worth? I really think another year (in a new stadium) like this one will cause many to enter the frustration mode that was a way of life with the Senators! I believe we need at least some hope and punch in the line-up. Both Young and Belliard have proved they can hit and produce day to day, even on a team that under-performs. Everyone talks about the trade bringing "quality pitching" to the Nats. However, where will the hits and runs come from? You can't win if you can't score!

Posted by: Nick | July 16, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

YEAH MEAT!!!

And... how about Zim with the bunt, knowing Woody brought his A game tonight? I like it, and even though he's hitting in the third spot, the benefit was there. He's hit into enough 6-4-3 DPs this year!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | July 16, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Heads-up play by Zimm, followed by DA MEAT!! Way to go, Nats!

Posted by: statsmeister | July 16, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

So Nick,

... you have added more reason to 'our' position, so we can add you to 'our' side, then? Don't forget to visit 'our' official website:

At your service...

http://www.cafepress.com/dameat

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 16, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Mr. 300*, was that you who sent the t-shirt email to Slowes? In case you weren't listening to the radio, he read an email about the vegetarian tee right after Da Meat Hook's homer. He described the tee but didn't give the URL to order. Anyway, congrats to you and to our sloganmeister natscan on the promo!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 16, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

... Dmitri knows the Plan; he knows he'll be more 'tradeable' as he continues to light 'em up. But continue he does, and why? Because he wants to look good on the trading block? No, because he wants to win. Keep Dmitri!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 16, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Will someone please tell Bob Carpenter to Shut the Hell Up?!?

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

To BrianH:
I use the "mute" button liberally and actually turn the volume down most of the time. A little music instead of commentary goes a long way! From your posts, you seem to know the game ok - try it! Bob's on the telecast (I actually don't mind him, just not a big fan of Sutton), so what are YOU gonna do?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | July 16, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

To respond to the great Svrluga's (genuflect, genuflect, blah, blah) original question, the starting staff AS OF 9/1/07 will most likely be: 1)Chico, 2)Bergmann, 3)Simontacchi, 4)Hill, & 5)O'Connor. With the interim time & September minor-league callups, things could change dramatically (trades, roster shifts, etc). Patterson might be "pulling a Dreese" on us (injured under contract, but going elswhere). Just another two-cents worth.

Posted by: statsmeister | July 16, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

to BrianH: Do the same thing that a lot of people do to Redskins brodacasts - mute the TV & listen to the radio. The WP radio team isn't half-bad.

Posted by: statsmeister | July 16, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

No, Manny, no!

It's too early and the lead is too small to pull DA MEAT and Church in the 8th inning.

They're due up 3rd and 4th in the bottom of the 8th. We need their offense!

ShawNatsFan: I usually listen to radio. I love Sutton, but Carpenter gets on my nerves. What kind of music goes well with a baseball game?

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

... very nice Chad, and two K's to boot. Well done.

... Houston and the Nats almost neck and neck in the wild card race!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 16, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Way ta go, Chief! Great win! DaMeat! A keeper for sure!!!

Posted by: Nick | July 16, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Barry: In regards to "the puppies" (the recent non-rostered draftees) you've mentioned, let's look at the results to date. 1) Lannan - probably brought up too quickly (look at K/BB ratios); non-roster, keep him at AA for a full year. 2) Balester - good K/BB ratio at AA ball; probably a September callup, unless he crashes in Columbus. 2a) Claussen - woking into shape, might be ready by September, but he's a reach. 3) O'Conner - coming back from surgery, Major League experience, already on the 40-man; fits this team like a glove. 4) Mock - Another non-roster player, might be worth a look as a reliever in September.
If anyone in the Nationals front office looks at this blog, PLEASE don't waste an option on any of the 2007 draft choices!!!
BTW, way to get the curly W, Nats!!

Posted by: statsmeister | July 16, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Nats win! Nats win! Way to go, guys!!

Also, we're already above the average post per day total for Barry's absence, which just shows to go ya that we need his babbling, um, blogging to really get rolling.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 16, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

506:
Tom = Lannan's Mom
Very Funny!

Bacsik's performance tonight keeps Lannan down on the farm for another week.
Is everyone happy?

Posted by: Tom | July 16, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

A little bang and zoom!

Thanks to:
- Mike Bascik
- Chad Cordero
- Lance Berkman,

and of course,

DA MEAT HOOK.

Posted by: BrianH | July 16, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

BrianH:
The obvious answer is jazz, especially on a hot humid night. I often have some Brazilian bossa nova going too - the mellow tempo works with the pace of a game.

Tonight I had in my playlist:

1) The new Linkin Park: Minutes to Midnight
2) Chill Brazil Disc 1
3) Chill Brazil Disc 2
4) Karsh Kale: Broken English (trip-hop)
5) Etta James: At Last!

Strangely, I turn on the sound for post-game with Johnny and Ray (after a good game).

The Linkin Park kicked in just before the Nats run started, with Da Meat's homer coming right at a crescendo on track 2! Nice! Guess I'll keep it on the playlist for tomorrow night!

Nice work Cardiac Cordero. Beauty spots on those (backwards) Ks! Peace out!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | July 16, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Sept. 1st 2007 -
1: M. Chico
2. J. Bergmann
3. J. Simontacchi
4. S. Hill
5. J Lannan
and a guy who I think might get a few starts in the month...Collin Balester.

I think Hill will be back around Mid-August, but we wont see Patterson until about the second week of September, and when he does come back his time will be limited (giving Balester some innings).
Also, with Hill returning I think we will either see Redding or Simontacchi (in this scenario I chose Redding) move to the bullpen. I wouldn't be suprised to see a 6 man rotation either...I dont think Bacsik will be around much longer, and if he is it will be in a bullpen role (with the emergency of Balester, Lannan, and the returns of Hill and Patterson).

Sec. 502 brought up a good point about a trade happening. Thats the wild card. We all know how wild Bowden can get sometimes. Ouch.

In general though, the rotation will be a mess (in a good way) evaluating so many guys, that there really won't be a set one.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | July 16, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Chico
Simontacchi
Bowie
Lannan
O'Connor

Balester and/or Detwiler could be callups for bullpen and spot starts.

Posted by: jpm | July 16, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Just another day in paradise...wtg Meat/Nats...I'm hooked.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 16, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back Barry! What - no Panera in Maine?

As of Sept. 1 -

Hill
Patterson (knows he needs a couple of starts to save his career)
Chico (pray his arm holds out)
Marquis/Westbrook/F. Garcia (whoever we get for Kearns)
Lannen/Balester/Claussen (they all get a look in the five spot)


Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | July 16, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

BrianH: As for music to watch the muted TV ball game by, I'd ordinarily say good old WASH-FM, but I am not a Delilah fan. Bossa nova may get the nod.

A pleasant and hospitable afternoon spent with Wigi, with thanks. Perfect combination of Smallball and bigball in the bottom of the sixth, with You Know Who clearing the table:

Nattily-battily
First sack Dmitri Young
Coaxes from Williams a
Pitch he can beat,

Hinting that we should be
Retentionistically
Going all-veggie and
Saving Da Meat.

Oh you Nats!

Posted by: Hendo | July 16, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I didn't send the email to Slowes. I was watching the game on TV and didn't hear him read the email. That's great news, though. I must admit that sales have been very slow so far.

My first shirt is due in from UPS tomorrow and I will be wearing it at the game. Hopefully I can pass the URL onto some folks.

_____
"Hey, Mr. 300*, was that you who sent the t-shirt email to Slowes? In case you weren't listening to the radio, he read an email about the vegetarian tee right after Da Meat Hook's homer. He described the tee but didn't give the URL to order. Anyway, congrats to you and to our sloganmeister natscan on the promo!"

Posted by: Mr. 300* | July 16, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"Retentionalistically"???

Actually, upon further reflection, nice one, Hendo! :-)

And Barry, in your gamer, you write:

"When it ended, Young, Lopez and Kearns -- all former teammates of Larkin, now waiting to be tutored -- celebrated at midfield."

I can understand for Lopez and Kearns, but other than fielding his position, what could Young possibly learn that he doesn't already know himself? Weren't all the young prospects at Spring Training eating up every word outta da Meat Hook's mouth?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 16, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, you did it again! SAVE DA MEAT!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 17, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Alright Mr. 300*, I have a brainstorm or a post-midnight idiot attack. We should print little bits of paper with the address of the website and give them out next to the metro of RFK. A piece of paper, cut into 8 pieces is about business card size, which should be plenty big enough. If RFK were filled to capacity, it would take 5,000 sheets of paper to have enough cards for everyone. Since we really only need 20,000 people worth, that's 2,500 pieces of paper.

I have no idea what the going rate for paper is at a copy shop. Anyone? Is there a particular game to give these out at that would be better? Sales for the shirt would sure catch Stan and JimBo's attention.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 17, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

My projected rotation is:
1. Hill
2. Chico
3. Bergmann
4. Simontacchi
5. Bowie

not to far from what it has been. I have a feeling that JP is finished with this organization. And as much as I would like to see our young guns get up here, I think their talents would best be served in AA and AAA getting more accustomed to the scene.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 17, 2007 4:45 AM | Report abuse

Sect. 506, you should be able to get a ream (500 sheets) of standard printing paper for $4-5 at Wal-Mart or a similar store. If you're having the cards printed and cut at the copy shop, rather than doing it yourself, it would cost more. I would think the sooner the better as far as disseminating the URL. I wouldn't think that everybody would take one, so you might not need as many as you'd think.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 17, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Just a FYI on stats. Cordero is now #99 on all time saves.

Posted by: long time fan from Canada | July 17, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Good game but sorry that Mike Bascik didn't get the win - he deserved it.

I've listened to a lot of TV teams over the years and I am pretty satisfied with Carpenter and Sutton. Occasionally, Carpenter turns into a Chatty Kathy, but when I compare him with McCarver and Morgan, I'm pretty comfortable. Knight is apparently going back into the booth later in the month for a few games and I dread listening to his pontificating.

Didn't like Manny's position on Zim's bunt. He's not being realistic about how Zim is hitting into double plays or just grounding to short. The idea is to win Manny, by whatever means.

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 17, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

... Bill Ladson said it: "Without Young, Washington most likely would have been the worst hitting team in baseball."

... so now I'll say it: The Plan in effect calls for 2007 to be a write-off, while the brain trust plans for 2008 as the break-out year. Why would it make sense to field a team and play an entire season only to plan to 'start' next year? With Dmitri and Ronnie forming the offensive backbone of the 2007 team, why would it not make sense to start the building now, and use them as the key blocks?

... Barry S. reports on the immense effect Barry Larkin has on the Nats current line-up and that only promises to yield good results. So next year, when Kearns (a great DP last night) and Lopez and Zimm all get their acts together, maybe Dmitri and Ronnie can be expendable, but this year and into next spring training, they have to be the nucleus. That is, unless 2007 has all been for nothing.

... one side note: Manny wouldn't have called for Zimm's bunt last night, and I understand his thinking. Yet he didn't raise hell about it, nor steam off in the press after the game. Manny is man enough to realize that a good thing happened in spite of his own inclinations. That's a great manager.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | July 17, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Dancer13 "I've listened to a lot of TV teams over the years and I am pretty satisfied with Carpenter and Sutton."
!?!?!
Sutton should be the pitchman for Lunesta or whatever that sleep medicine with the neon butterfly is. Carpenter is fine, he does a pretty good job. The only reason he turns into a "Chatty Kathy" every now and then is because maybe he can hear the entire area falling asleep from Sutton's deadly combination of boring comments and low, subdued voice.

Throw in Sutton's love for the Atlanta Braves that still shines through telecast after telecast and I think we should shave his head and lead him out of town, back to Bobby Cox's house or wherever he used to live.

Unfortunately I do not have a good replacement idea, so let's hear some and then make it happen.

Posted by: Nick715 | July 17, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I too understand his thinking. Trouble is, it's based on last year's results from Zim, not this year's. This year Zim is a double- play/grounder-to-short expert, not an effective #3 hitter. Zim is correct in trying to get on, even if it is only a bunt, in an attempt to help the team win. Manny's negative comments during the interview could cause a young player to be reluctant to "do what it takes" to get on.


"... one side note: Manny wouldn't have called for Zimm's bunt last night, and I understand his thinking."

Posted by: natscan reduxit

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 17, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Natscan, on Manny's post-mortem: "Manny wouldn't have called for Zimm's bunt last night, and I understand his thinking."

I wouldn't have called for it either. But if you're Zimm, and you see the third baseman standing about 110 feet away, and you're looking for an off-speed pitch, is bunt not going through your mind? Mind you, you'll only get one try, since the infield will be poised to advance during the remainder of your at-bat. But if you're any kind of a bunter, that try is absolutely worth it.

Curiously, "calling for" the bunt might well have deflated the entire at-bat. Zimm had to act on his own, and did, successfully, and critically for the win.

Posted by: Hendo | July 17, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Dancer, based on Zim's comments in the gamer, I don't think he's too broken up about it. It would be a concern, though, if the young player thought he knew better than the manager as a habit.

Two great moments that St. Barry missed in the gamer (besides the aforementioned Kearns DP):

1. Schneider's throw out at first. The only person who seemed at all surprised that the batter didn't run was Brian Schneider. Everyone else looked like it was a foul tip.

2. Manny arguing a call!! When I saw him run out there I thought, "are you kidding me Manny, this is the one you're arguing?" Then they showed the replay and eagle-eyed Manny was dead right and the ump was wrong. Way to go!

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 17, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Barry,

Great gouge on pitching prospects, do you think you can give us some insider trade rumor info? What are we gonna get for our meat?!

Posted by: G-town | July 17, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

BrianH asked, "What kind of music goes well with a baseball game?"

The answer, of course, is "Van Lingle Mungo"!

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/vanlinglemungo.shtml

And for Hendo, who said, "Bossa nova may get the nod," I 'note' (What, I should let you guys have all the pun fun?) that Van Lingle Mungo is described by composer David Frishberg as a bossa nova ballad.

To talk more seriously about baseball music, D.C.'s Hungry for Music organization (at www.hungryformusic.org) raises money to buy musical instruments for D.C. schools. They've compiled a whole 'diamond cuts' collection of baseball song CDs with tunes like the "Lou Pinella Polka" and "Here Comes the Big Train", done by local D.C. artists and nationally-known musicians like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and George Winston -- even Stan Musial's harmonica version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". (Stan the Man plays pretty darn well, actually.)

I have no connection with the group besides buying the CDs to help D.C.'s kids and thinking that they're very enjoyable listens.

Which is why I urge you to check them out.

Posted by: Section 502 (Blames It On The Bossa Nova) | July 17, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

DA MEAT will be here at the end of the season because Johnson isn't even close to ready and the deadline is 13 days away. Even if Johnson was on his rehab assignment now instead of getting cortisone shots, he couldn't make it before the deadline.

By the way, my wife love DA MEAT but hates it when I call him that. I think it's a term of endearment as I am a huge MEAT fan.

9/1 rotation:
Bergman
Chico
O'Connor
Redding
Lannan

Hill and JP won't be ready yet and they won't bring up Ballester yet, he's still at AA.

When do we start guessing the rotation in the new park??

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | July 17, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Could Eugene Robinson be any more wrong, today?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 17, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Nice story on Nick Johnson in USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/nationals/2007-07-15-johnson-cover_N.htm

Posted by: Dancer13 | July 17, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

BARRY,

Thank God you are back! I especially appreciate your story on Barry Larkin's observations. As one who has been trying to explain the dangers of the Extreme version of the PLAN (from Stan), it was great to hear someone really speak to the problems created by not having credible major league Vets to help teach and protect what we do have.

It was also great to hear Larkin's frank appraisal of our "core pieces" as Jimbo and Stan have shoved on us. Lopez, Kearsn are not important building blocks and it is nice to hear someone on the inside finally point out they are role players at best.

Please Barry, follow up with Stan and Jimbo on Larkin's comments. It is not right that Nats have been able to just say whatever justifies their PLAN. We have very few pieces in place.....far less then what Stan and Jimbo have been allowed to promote without being challenged....nice that Larkin has the guts to say so....no wonder they don't want him around everyday.

Posted by: JayB | July 17, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Sect. 502, for the links, especially the baseball CDs. Sounds like a great gift idea!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 17, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I hope I'm not too late to get this in - I've been too busy with other committments to read the journal.

1. Patterson - I'm not giving up on him until we see what Dr Galea can do for him. He may not be ready by the 1st of Sept. but soon after.
2 Chico
3. Bowie
4. Simontacci
5. Bergmann (maybe)

I don't think Hill will be back this year or if he is, he won't be good. Frankly, I don't much care. He wasn't all that good in 2006 either, but in all fairness, he, like Patterson, has not been 100% for a long time.

As far as the question about the Nats wanting Patterson to pitch when he is only 80% and he wants to be 100%: In the first place why would the Nats want him to pitch when he is not 100%? Makes no sense unless they are really trying to ruin him. Second - this foolishness about Patterson only pitching when he is 100% comes from Boswell and Svrluga and not from Patterson, in my opinion. He was not 100% from the beginning of the year. And on top if that, he was not right in 2006 from the last of March until he pitched his last game on July 9. In my not so humble opinion, John Patterson at 75-80% is still better than most pitchers at 100%. Let's just hope we get him back.

Posted by: gilsfan | July 17, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I hope I am not too late with this - I have been very busy with other committments and have not had time to read the journal.Here is my Septembet 1 rotation.

1. Patterson - he may not be ready by Sept. 1 but soon there after. Let's wait and see what Dr. Galea can do for his arm before giving up on him.
2 Chico
3. Bowie
4, Simontacchi
5. Bergmann (maybe)

I don't think Hill will be back this year and frankly, I don't much care. He wasn't very good last year, but to be fair, he, like Patterson, has not been 100% in a long time.

Now the question of what happens if the team wants JP to pitch when he is only 80% and he want to be 100%: First of all why on earth would the team want Patterson to pitch when he is 80% unless they really want to ruin him? Patterson only pitching when he is 100% comes from Boswell and Svrluga and not from Patterson, in my opinion. He was not 100% from the beginning of the year. And on top of that, he was not right in 2006 from the last of March until he pitched his last game on July 9. I also believe he wanted to come back last year and the team would not let him do it. In my not so humble opinion, John Patterson at 75-80% is still better than most pitchers at 100%. Let's just hope we get him back.

Posted by: gilsfan | July 17, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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