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Position by position: First base (With lots of news tidbits now added)

Part two of our occasional series focuses on one of the positions I find most confusing for the Nationals. Let's go over the players first.

Nick Johnson
Age: 28
Contract: Three years, $16.5 million, with $5.5 million due in both 2008 and '09
2006: 147 G/500 AB, .290 average/.428 OBP/.520 slugging, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 100 runs scored, 110 walks
Career: 599 G/1,973 AB, .272/.395/.458, 76 HR, 297 RBI

Dmitri Young
Age: 33
Contract: Two years, $10 million through 2009, with vesting option for $6 million for 2010 (becomes guaranteed with 500 plate appearances in 2009 or 900 plate appearances in 2008/09)
2007: 115 G/395 AB, .334/.384/.516, 12 HR, 68 RBI
Career: 1,293 G/4,547 AB, .293/.349/.479, 166 HR, 667 RBI

Prospects:
Larry Broadway
Age: 26
Team: Class AAA Columbus
2007: .248/.367/.422, 10 HR, 41 RBI in 92 G/294 AB

Josh Whitesell
Age: 25
Team: Class AA Harrisburg
2007: .286/.424/.506, 20 HR, 70 RBI in 114 G/371 AB

First off, let's make one thing clear: As long as Manny Acta is the manager of this team, Dmitri Young is not playing left field for the Nationals. Not next year. Not the year after that.

Second: I think it's clear by now that there are no guarantees about Johnson's return. We have been through the dance - told that he would be ready by spring training, then by Opening Day, then assured it wasn't a season-ending injury. All that went by the boards. Do I expect to see Johnson back out there again? Yes. But at this point, I don't think anyone can say with absolute certainty.

Young: It's amazing how much his stats kind of seamlessly replace Johnson's in the lineup. No, his OBP isn't as high as Johnson's, but Nick's was third-best in the NL last year behind only Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera, two pretty fair hitters. But Young will likely drive in more runs. Johnson hit just .248 with runners in scoring position last season, .307 with no one on. Young is hitting .330 with runners in scoring position, .318 with the bases empty. His numbers are basically impervious to situations (.336 against lefties, .333 against right-handers, etc.).

So the Nationals have $10.5 million invested in first base next season and $10.5 million the year after that. If you get production from that position that's commensurate with that of an $11 million player (and keep in mind Mark Texeira made just $9 million this year), then that would be fine. Perhaps the Nationals are more certain than not that Johnson won't come back, so they felt like they had to sign Young. Otherwise, I just don't see how they're both going to get enough at-bats. And forget about the idea of a platoon: Both these guys need and want and like to play every day.

Young: It's possible, if he produces like he is this year, that he's tradable. He has proven himself as reformed - at least publicly - and would have plenty of people vouch for him as a good teammate. But statistics would indicate that he can't repeat this performance. He is hitting 41 points better than his career average (.293), 24 points better than his previous high for a single season (.310 in 1998). Does a guy just get that much better at 33 - and then continue it through to when he's 36?

Defense: It is generally assumed that Johnson is a superior defender, and anyone who has watched this team would agree. But that overlooks a couple of key points. Johnson had a subpar defensive season last year, and in fact led all first basemen in baseball with 15 errors. Young, meanwhile, has nine errors on the year - tied for second among all first basemen with Arizona's Conor Jackson, trailing only Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. But do you remember when his last one came? That would be July 5. He has two errors in the last two months. He regularly scoops throws that used to baffle him. Gold Glover? No way. But I never thought he'd get as solid as he is now. That said, I wouldn't expect Johnson to be as shaky as he was in 2006, though there's no telling whether his full range would come back.

The prospects: The organization doesn't believe in either of them. Broadway is now off the 40-man roster, is about to become a six-year minor league free agent, if I'm not mistaken, and there's a very good chance that he ends up in someone else's system. GM Jim Bowden has extolled the virtues of several minor leaguers over the course of the season, but Whitesell isn't one of them.

I really think this is one of the more interesting ones to knock around. Will Johnson ever get healthy? If so, is Young tradable with that contract? If they're both healthy and both here, will they get enough at-bats.

UPDATE 7:45 P.M. (Eastern): John Patterson had a setback during a simulated game the other day, and he has stopped throwing for now. According to Lee Kuntz, the head athletic trainer, Patterson experienced tightness in his forearm as he threw at the beginning of the "sim" game, and they stopped it immediately. He will continue to undergo something called "active release therapy," which is a process that began in Toronto. But there is no timetable for him to start throwing again. The chances of him returning to the majors by the end of the year grow slimmer with each passing day.

Jason Simontacchi: GM Jim Bowden said he is headed to see Dr. James Andrews Monday in Birmingham, Ala., to get a look at a possible bone spur on his right elbow. Bowden said it's most likely Simontacchi will have surgery Tuesday, though that's not definite. The ligament in the elbow is fine, Bowden said.

Jason Bergmann: "He'll be on a plane Sunday," Bowden said, joining the Nationals in Los Angeles. It is conceivable -- nay, probable -- that Bergmann will pitch in the Dodgers' series, and it sounds very much like he will take Lannan's turn in the rotation, shutting Lannan down even earlier than expected. Not definite, but that's what it sounds like to me.

Call-ups in September: They'll be heavy on pitching, and there will be no limits because of budgetary constraints. But they clearly want to limit the wear and tear on their key bullpen people (Rauch, Rivera, Ayala, etc.), so you can expect a slew of those guys. List isn't final yet.

And with that, I give you the lineups:

Washington:
Logan -- 8
Jimenez -- 6 (just a day off for Lopez, according to Acta)
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Pena -- 7
Belliard -- 4
Flores -- 2
Hill -- 1

Colorado:
Matsui -- 4
Tulowitzki -- 6
Holliday -- 7
Helton -- 3
Atkins -- 5
Hawpe -- 9
Torrealba -- 2
Sullivan -- 8
Francis -- 1

And this trivia from John Dever, the club's director of baseball information: Tonight's matchup between Hill (Mississaugua, Ont.) and Jeff Francis (Vancouver, B.C.) is the first matchup of Canadian-born starting pitchers since July 1, 2000, when Florida's Ryan Dempster faced off against Michael Johnson of Montreal.

Enjoy the game.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 24, 2007; 4:38 PM ET
 
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Next: Cordero's future

Comments

We need to get some prospects into the pipeline but I think we're good with Nick and Dmitri for the next two years. Maybe Marrero in the future?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 24, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

For a DH, Dmitri's a fine first baseman.

But just looking at errors doesn't give you the full picture. There are a lot of balls in foul territory that DaMeat doesn't get to, and that play last night, where Zim threw the guy out from the coach's box? No chance that Dmitri stretches like Fick did (and like Nick would), and the runner is safe.

Nick is a first baseman, Dmitri's a guy who plays first 'cuz there's no DH in the NL, and you can't put him anywhere else.

If Nick's healthy, he plays first full time, and Dmitri gets his hacks where he can.

Posted by: joebleux | August 24, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I never would have believed Dmitri Young's season if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I watch almost every game... and I think he looks as good defensively as you could hope for from most any seasoned first baseman. He looked shaky at first, no question... but I think he looks better defensively than Fick does. He obviously doesn't have the infield range fielding ground balls... but Belliard (by playing way back in Kearns' front yard) gets some of that back, even if it is by narrowing the hole from the second base side. If you told me today that Dmitri was going to be the starting first baseman in 2008, I wouldn't think twice about it (in fact, this was my mantra all along... keep him if you have someplace to play him).

There's no arguing that Nick is amazing with a bat... the most striking thing he does, I think, is make pitchers give up ten pitch walks. There's no way that as a fan, you can't like him. His defense is beyond question (last year's errors not withstanding -- errors don't tell the whole story, and that is true with either Nick or Dmitri).

The thing is... a broken femur is a big thing, no matter what. People die or are maimed by breaking their femur. That it is Nick Johnson, whose healing powers are perhaps less than we'd like only makes it worse.

I wonder if the Nats know more than they say about Nick's injury... not that it matters at this point, because they've covered their bases (no pun intended) as best they can.

I think we've seen the end of the "Pitching, Pitching, Pitching" mantra. There are dark clouds on the horizon at several positions, and first base is probably one of the more pressing ones... fortunately, the rain probably won't start until 2009.

Posted by: Wigi | August 24, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Even if Johnson is in tip-top shape for Opening Day '08, I don't think the Nats need to get the 1B trade wire hot just then, let alone any time between now and then.

I could see a platoon working at first, especially given what might be the most likely outcome -- viz., that Nick is neither 100% nor still on the DL. In such a case, you badly want Da Meat around to fill in whatever gaps might eventuate.

In fact, the only time I'd even barely consider trading Young is if Nick is lights-out solid as of spring training. And even then, remember what happened to Guz -- not that the situations are necessarily comparable, but if something *did* happen to Nick and you didn't have Da Meat to step up, where would you be?

If Johnson were healthy and tradable, that'd be an option to consider. But in any case, must a decision be made soon? I think not.

Posted by: Hendo | August 24, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

As far as Dmitri's "fluke" season or not, after cleaning himself up in his personal life, maybe he really is just a more focused player. Maybe he's high on life, and that is worth extra points on the avg.

I'm amazed at how many balls he hits that "almost" are hits. Barely snagged by a fielder. And he sure isn't legging out any infield hits. His average is legit this year in all scenarios.

Question remains: if both Dmitri and Johnson are playing well in spring training and early in the season, who is more valuable in the trade market? Until Johnson proves his reliability over several months (seasons?), I don't know how many teams would give up much to get him.

Meanwhile, a productive Dmitri early next year might attract some interest - 2 years and a repeat performance for a quality switch-hitting bat (especially as a DH). What would Tampa give up to play him (and shape up) his talented younger bro?

You gotta play whomever you would want to trade to show him off, right?

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 24, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I was at a game a few weeks ago vs the Phillies and my friend and I were discussing the possibility of Young playing Left Field, I commented that Young would need to lose 20 lbs to play Left Field and said "Meat needs to lose 20lbs to play FIRST BASE!"

I love Young and I'm glad we kept him (though I think we overpaid, but hell it's not my money), but he is not the answer at first base for the next 2 or 3 years.

Posted by: estuartj | August 24, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

As a Nick Johnson fan it pains me to say I don't think he'll be back with the Nats. I think the Wily Mo signing shows that maybe the FO was aware of the delays in his healing and that they're not even going with the Dmitri in LF myth anymore. Hopefully I'm wrong, because Nick is a valuable piece of the lineup when he's healthy.

Posted by: NoVA Nat | August 24, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the point that need re-iterating is that Johnson has consistently been injury-plagued. This has been an exceptional case to be sure - but how many years has he played over 150 games in his career?
Given the circumstances, what is the possiblity of the Nats starting NJ out in AAA next year, getting him some ABs, and bringing him up six weeks before the trading deadline?
Ceteris parabis, that would be my inclination, especially if they can acquire a promising minor league firstbasemen during the off-season.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | August 24, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

By the way, i really liked the Stark posting about Andruw Jones being overrated. Very interesting, AND, I do agree he has slumped in the field (from a VERY high performance standard 5 years ago).

Thanks for posting that one!
Another (not) productive August Friday in DC!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 24, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

You ask: "Does a guy just get that much better at 33 - and then continue it through to when he's 36?"

Funny, I recall someone else asking me that very question about ten years ago. You know, I think his name might have been Barry too. What'd I tell him? Oh, yeah...a bit of the cream and a bit of the clear. A little dab'll do ya...

Posted by: BALCO | August 24, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Just bringing my "GM" answer over from the last post, and also noting, as e pointed out over there, that Colon was also traded for three top prospects. So maybe that's the market price for an ace.

If I am GM of MN or SD I'd start with asking for Zimmerman, Balester and another pitching prospect, like one of our recent draft picks or someone from Vermont, in exchange for Peavy/Santana. (I know we all love Zim here but outside of Nats Nation he might well be regarded simply as a 22-year old with promise who might be an all-star one day, and also might be a guy that hits .275 and 20 dingers with decent defense; in other words, a useful guy but not a franchise guy like Peavy or Santana.)

The Nats wouldn't agree to Zim, but I don't think the other side would do the deal unless it netted them a young player that was MLB-ready and had at least the potential to be an all-star (like Zim).

So maybe the next proposal would be something like Shawn Hill, John Lannan and Marrero.

Just my three cents.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 24, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Pay NJ 5.5 MILLION dollars to play in Columbus? You have to be kidding.

BTW NJ's games played by year;

'01 - 23
'02 - 129
'03 - 96
'04 - 73
'05 - 131
'06 - 147

Posted by: estuartj | August 24, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the Dmitri contract is that finding production from a 1B is cheap. If you need NJ insurance in 2008, it can be found under the same (large) rock you found Dmitri.

So the end result is: with a payroll that will max out at what $60mto $70M, you have $10m tied up in a position that you should be able to adequately staff for half that. Not to mention the prospect that someone should have given us for Dmitri at the trading deadline.

Posted by: Mr. Crabs | August 24, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I think you're talking about the wrong Zimmerman, if I were GM Iwould ask for one ML starter (Hill), 1 SP prospect, (Detwiler) and one or two MiLB position players (Marrero & Daniels).

As Jim Bowden I would counter offer with, Tim Redding, Colton Wilems and Maxwell.

Posted by: estuartj | August 24, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Some people are just more susceptible to injury... I know... but if I was Kasten (this is over Bowden's head, and maybe even Kasten's), I would bring in an independent consultant to critique my training program, from Viera all the way to DC. What is the worst thing that happens? You spend $100,000 to find out that you're state of the art. The second worst thing is, you find out that there are some serious deficiencies... of which, other than twice a day on an elliptical machine, I have no firsthand knowledge. I would want to know... there's a multi-million dollar investment in athletes. It would seem to me that the Lerner Way (soon to become "The Nationals Way") would be to insist on the best.

Not saying it already isn't...

Posted by: Wigi | August 24, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

let me clarify... clicked the wrong button...

I don't know anything more about training than getting on an elliptical machine twice a day... so get an expert to tell you about it... that's what I meant.

Posted by: Wigi | August 24, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

ESJ, I think we're in the same ballpark, Hill/Lannan/Marerro is pretty close to Hill/Detwiler/Marerro/Daniels. I don't see anyone biting on Redding, although he could change that with a strong finish and a strong first half next year.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 24, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Lerner way was to look over every travel vocher to make sure you aren't wasting a dime? I hope the reports of that kind of penny pinching are overblown...

One of the things that gives me hope for NJ's return is that their is a huge difference between being HURT and being INJURED. I remember the word getting out that they didn't think Ryan Church was "Tough" enough for the majors because he couldn't play through the pain of day to day pain (in this case turf toe) that everyone gets over 162 games.

One of NJ's DL trips in '05 was along that line (bruised heal if memory serves), but if I remember correctly many of the DL trips for NJ were actual injuries, can anyone check this out for us?

Posted by: estuartj | August 24, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Count me in the camp that doesn't think Nick Johnson will be back by Opening Day next year. He broke his leg and underwent surgery on it 11 months ago. He just underwent more surgery earlier this month. And this isn't a pinkie-toe we're talking about -- it's one of the largest bones in the human body.

As a player, I think he's tremendous. I just wish his body were of the type that healed faster.

I'm no doctor, but if he were to come back, I wouldn't be surprised if it was sometime after the All-Star break next year.

Which makes the Meat-Hook signing, IMO, all the more prescient.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 24, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that Marrero isn't much of a OFer and he grew up playing 3rd base. Seems like a natural that 1st base is the final position for him on the Nats.

What I still don't understand is why we gave away the Arizona 1B prospect, Chris Carter for WMP? If they would have given us Carter for Fruto straight up, that seems like a no-brainer for a organization with a need. His numbers are exceptional. I think we still could have gotten WMP for another prospect or combination of people and kept Carter. The other option is to see if you can convert WMP to 1st base. He is a heck of an athlete.

Posted by: roman1735 | August 24, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

So you want to trade for Carter as a back up to Meat and Johnson? The reason ARI was willing to deal him is that they didn't have a place for him in the bigs...neither do we. Also, Carter is considered to be a serious defensive liability and my end result is that if NJ can't go next year you can get a cheap backup off the same heap we got LeCroy and Young the last two years.

Posted by: estuartj | August 24, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Why we didn't keep Chris Carter? His numbers don't seem too far off from someone we already have in our system ... Josh Whitesell. Check out their numbers from the past two seasons:

Chris Carter
Age: 24 (25 in Sept.)
Team: Class AAA Pawtucket
2007: .324/.383/.521, 18 HR, 84 RBI in 126 G/503 AB

Team: Class AA Tucson
2006: .301/.395/.483, 19 HR, 97 RBI in 136 G/509 AB


Josh Whitesell
Age: 25
Team: Class AA Harrisburg
2007: .286/.424/.506, 20 HR, 70 RBI in 114 G/371 AB

Team: Class AA Harrisburg
2006: .264/.354/.433, 19 HR, 56 RBI in 127 G/402 AB

I would love to see Josh get a shot up here in September or at the very least in Columbus next year. His defense has gotten better and his obp/slg has risen as well over the past year.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Bowden and company aren't big on Whitesell at all. I'm almost certain that Broadway will either be in the bigs or out of the organization for next year so Whitesell will be able to move up to AAA, if he can reproduce the .930 OPS he's putting up at Harrisburg we might see him in the bigs next September. He's still a young guy so I'm hoping he gets a chance to prove (or not) he can make it to the show.

Posted by: estuartj | August 24, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Two things: I think that Nick will be able to take the field come opening day and two, I don't think we should let him.

Though I love the guy, I'm getting weary of waiting for him to play healthy. Time to let someone else go out there every day and help the team. Next year, Dmitri is more likely to hit .290-18-85 than what he's doing now, but that's enough.

That said, Nick's $5.5 million is a lot of money to eat.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | August 24, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a huge problem if Nick returns healthy, which is likely with the harware out of his leg. Both are full time players, and will be miserable, highly paid veterans if they can't play full-time. Miserable highly paid veterans are something this franchise has avoided so far. Ask Sam Perlozzo how fun they are to have around. Meat hated DH'ing at the Metrodome. He got so stir crazy he got on an exercise bike between bats. Nick is everything you could want in a player. Meat is magnificent leader - I can still see him checking on Bascik after the Droid Dinger, and his "Whoop-de-doo" spoke for us all. I love them both. This is why bigamy is illegal. There is no good solution.

Posted by: flynnie | August 24, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

More Trivia: John Dever, Tim Redding, and myself* are all from what city?

*-As of right now.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 24, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Trivia Answer:

We're all citizens of this wonderful Earthly village.

Was I right?

Posted by: Wigi | August 24, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear. This is SUCH a big surprise.

---
UPDATE 7:45 P.M. (Eastern): John Patterson had a setback during a simulated game the other day, and he has stopped throwing for now. According to Lee Kuntz, the head athletic trainer, Patterson experienced tightness in his forearm as he threw at the beginning of the "sim" game, and they stopped it immediately.

Posted by: NatsNut (dripping sarcasm) | August 24, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Who didn't see this coming when he chose the witch doctor over the surgen?

Posted by: MKevin | August 24, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

...i mean surgeon. You'll notice a sharp drop off in my spelling accuracy in the evening since I only use Firefox during the day.

Posted by: MKevin | August 24, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Who didn't see this coming in Spring Training?

_____
Who didn't see this coming when he chose the witch doctor over the surgen?

Posted by: MKevin | August 24, 2007 09:14 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Like the Whitesell stats, but can't find anything that shows him as a real prospect.

Not sure how many of us here are longtime baseball fans, given the comparative new-ness of the Nats, but for those that are comparatively new, I suggest that Zim notwithstanding, the chances of any one of of our recent draft picks, and any one of of our Vermonters, and any other one of our prospects, for that matter, not already on the 40-man roster, of making the majors (and I mean making, much less contributing, much less contributing as a regular and/or all star) is slim.

What the Nats have done this year with minor league pitchers is unprecedented. Teams simply do not go into spring training with four open rotation slots, lose the one guy that was supposed to be the ace (Patterson) and then parade Hill, Redding, Bergman, Lannan et al to the bigs with a fair amount of success. Much more often, the prospects get hurt, lose focus, and never make it. I don't mean that none of these players will make it, I just mean that for every one that does, there will be 20 or 50 that do not.

But in my book, that's not a reason not to remain an eternally optimistic fan, the world is better for those of us that see the glass as half full. I will be hoping that the pitchers we now have will eventually become Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, until they don't.

Having "lurked" since the trade deadline and then posted of late, I will be absent for a bit, back after Labor Day, taking my young girls to the beach for a week with their cousins. See y'all after that.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 24, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I am a little frustrated over hearing how Nick Johnson is a slow healer -- OMG, does anyone remember seeing that injury? It's the biggest bone in the body ... snapped in two. Weight bearing. Muscle attached. Solution, stick a metal rod in it. Take the metal rod out. If Nick is ready by February, he will be on schedule. If he can ever field and run like he did before it will be the product of intense hard work, dedication, and force of will.

Now, as to the state of 1B for the Nats? I love them both. Dintri and Nick. Both character guys. But you can't have character guys at every position. Somewhere you have to have a couple of monster hitters. I suspect they will compete for the job in 2007 and though they won't like it, one of them will be on the bench to start the year. Eventually one will be traded before the 2008 trade deadline. By 2009 Marrero might be playing 1B in Washington. (I know he's currently an outfielder).

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 24, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

here, here natbiscuit! I agree. I'm also a little frustrated hearing his injury has anything to do with him being injury prone. He played (damn near) the entire season without so much as a tweak. He didn't twist an ankle folks, he had a terrible accident that would have taken out the fittest and least "injury-prone" of them.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

... and Zimm comes through once again. 4-1 and things are looking good. Go Nats!

Bob L. Head,

... it was/is good to 'meet' you on-blog as it were. Glad to hear you're taking time to spend with your daughters. I wish you all the best in the coming week.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 24, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know if Hill is still on a pitch count?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I am now officially rescinding my "Wily Less" wisecrack.

Posted by: #1 Lurker | August 24, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Id like to see Hill go 9. Nats have yet to record a CG.

Posted by: Andrew S. | August 24, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Awesome night for SHill. One run in 7 in Denver is flat out getting it done.

Posted by: MKevin | August 24, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Ayala is just a bad@55. Seeing him now just reminds you how sorely he was missed after the WBBC debacle.

Posted by: MKevin | August 24, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Ya'll need to cut Logan a little slack already. He was in a hitting slump and ya'll beat him up for that. He starts hitting and ya'll spend an entire day (or two) posting about how bad his fielding is. In addition to his awesome catch on Tal's Hill, I believe he's caught everything his way since that dropped ball mess with Church. And now you're griping he can't throw? Sheesh, the guy can't win.
And just for the record, (and especially if he guns someone down at home here anytime soon) I've been defending him all along...
;)
____
Salty Dog said this morning, "...My question is, can Logan learn to throw?..."

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm rather content with the current set-up of players right now. Keep building the farm system. Only addition I would like to add, and I wouldn't break the bank on this, is a power hitting outfielder. Now, if Kearns can maintain his current level after his hands adjustment, and Nook can continue to get on base and terrorize with his speed, and WMP through regular play improve his consistency, bang-zoom. I don't see a need to do a darn thing about first or second base for a couple of years. If, and it's a big one, Guzie comes back healthy, he should be ok for a few...3 or 4 years. Zimm is anchoring down 3rd for the next 10 yrs at least and Schneider/Flores are a good catching tandem. Pitching is taking care of itself through FA and the draft. So, whats the rush to panic, I just don't see it. Tweek the bench year to year and so be it. GO NATS...STAY HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 24, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Nice going Cordero. First pitch single. First pitch 2-run homer. True to form.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Hook the chief right now...please

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 24, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Rauch warming....gas on the fire

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 24, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Rauch in about 12 pitches too late.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

dear god... please let rauch shut them down like we know he can do.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 24, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

should've kept hill in...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 24, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

understatement of the century
-----
should've kept hill in...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 24, 2007 11:46 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

why is this happening? Can anyone count the efforts being wasted?

Posted by: mike | August 24, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm serious. If the Nats want to take Cordero out back and rough him up a bit, we'd all look the other way.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

also: cordero yanked too late; hill yanked too early

Posted by: mike | August 24, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

You gotta be [RF]ing kidding me.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Well... that was depressing

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | August 24, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

If not Hill than at least leave Ayala in for a 2nd inning of work in the 9th. With a 4 run lead there was no save opportunity and no need to bring in Cordero.

Posted by: MKevin | August 24, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

shameful !! cordero suckssssssss....what a morale killer......what is Acta doing ?????leave Hill in the damn game

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

God, I think I'm gonna THROW UP...

Posted by: Juan-John | August 24, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Hill was at 92 pitches not far off of an injury. If you ask me he should always be yanked early, maybe even moved to the pen. Better 7 innings of gem pitching then a great simulated game. I think cordero should be used sparingly in coors or any other hitters park. We should look at his splits away from rfk and see if we should consider trading him off for some fungo bats in the offseason (that's probably just the rage talking).

Could have been a great statement of the new direction of the ballclub. Great pitching from shawn hill, a revitalized ayala with a hold, homers from the young star and the new aquizition, and a save from the talented if not unconventional closer... but oh wait... instead it turned into a sad display of a bottom 9 featuring terrible pitching (albiet against a very dangerous lineup in a park where the ball flies off the bat) and ended with a brilliant defensive play from diangelo "e6" jimenez. Bravo.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | August 24, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Let's all go have a beer.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 24, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

what a joke of a '(c)loser' cordero is. this ain't fresno state chief; and lay off the buffett just a tad..

Posted by: joe m. | August 25, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

muSta alredy hd a few 'cuz i dontt beleave my i.s. Ok, yeah, that was terribly depressing.

Posted by: Anrw tebns | August 25, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

OK, bile has been forced back down.

Positives:

Hill in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings had all ZEROs in the run/earned run, hit, error and left-on-base boxes.

Logan was 0 for 4 in the leadoff spot, but in four out of his five plate appearances he made the pitcher throw AT LEAST six pitches. That nine-pitch at-bat in the first inning helped set the tone for the first 8 innings, IMO.

In the top of the 4th, Tulowitzki the shortstop fielded a Belliard grounder and made a similar off-balance, diagonal-to-the-ground throw to first like Zimmerman did the other night, but Tulowitzki STILL didn't get the ball to first base in time even though he had a shorter distance to throw.

Makes me glad my jersey has Zim's name and number on it.

Negatives:

Won't go there. Wanna keep my dinner down.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 25, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

deep breaths...deep breaths

Florida lost too.

Posted by: NatsNut (containing tantrum) | August 25, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Also... to those of you who want Marrero to be the 1st basemen of the future:

I recall barry telling us earlier in the year (maybe spring training) that they were trying him out at first and his fielding was pretty solid. This is to be expected from a 3rd basemen making the switch, its just flip flopping which takes some getting used to but it isnt that bad. However he was so bad at digging throws out of the dirt and making stretches that he was shipped back to the outfield. Apparently this was deemed fairly hopeless. Im hoping this magically turns around, but if im not mistaken his position (like so many other bowden prospects) is hitter and not much else.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | August 25, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why Manny went to Cordero, since it was a non-save situation. And he definitely didn't get the job done tonight. But on the Nats roster page (I think up to date through Houston 8/23), the splits for Cordero's ERA were 3.00 at RFK and 2.57 on the road. Obivously that will change, but it's hard to make a case that RFK had been helping him.

Posted by: Sect 422 | August 25, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

1. Did I miss some subtle turn of strategy from Manny? Why did he leave first base open when that little grounder could have been an easy force at second if he had walked the batter? He had nothing to lose by filling first base.
2. Does anyone else feel that watching Cordero "close" a game is like watching a drunk staggering across train tracks on a night when the express runs through?
3. If Cordero and Raush are both giving up games why not tweak your late game strategy? When you have a good bullpen go with the hot pitchers.

Posted by: Dale | August 25, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry, for the update on Patterson. I just wish it were better news. And I would like to remind your loyal followers that sarcasm is not really appropriate here. Patterson has done everything that he possibly can to try to get back on the mound at RFK in September. I respect him for the "100 percent effort" as Jim Bowden said, and can't even imagine the frustration he must feel over this latest setback. I hope that it is only temporary and that he can somehow manage to comeback before the end of the season.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | August 25, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Tough luck for the Chief. Wish I had his temperament, though. He won't let this get him down.

We'll get 'em tomorrow.

Posted by: Hendo | August 25, 2007 6:18 AM | Report abuse

You have to be tough mentally to be a closer. We'll see if Cordero can pass the test.

Remember, he's average, but a lot of teams (Braves/Wickman) would settle for an "average" closer.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | August 25, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, OK, Cordero blew it last night. Good closing though is like good umpiring. You tend not to notice when it's done well. It looks awful and stands out when it's done poorly. Just because Cordero didn't perform to expectations last night, it's not time to question Manny's strategy or Chad's role. I saw someone commented that the bullpen should be "tweaked". Changing guys' roles can be devastating to a bullpen's confidence and rhythm. It's the reason that few managers do it. Relievers like to have a well-defined idea of when they will be used. It helps them prepare mentally and physically and reduces wear and tear during a long season. Those who think Hill should have been left in, I cannot agree. We are talking about a guy who's just coming off of an injury. Get him out of there. Leaving him in exposes him to injury and shows a lack of confidence in your bullpen. Relievers notice that sort of thing, and it can be very destructive to team chemistry.

It's a long season. The bullpen blew one game, but they've been great all year. The bottom line is that despite St. Claire's and the catchers' wonderful work, the Nats' starters have thrown the fewest innings of any team in the big leagues. The bullpen is gassed. It reminds me on the end of 2005 when the bully melted down. The answer is better and more durable starting pitching, not blowing up the bull pen rotation.

Posted by: #4 | August 25, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Losing a 4-run lead in less than 20 pitches can be devastating to the TEAM'S confidence and rhythm.
_____
"Changing guys' roles can be devastating to a bullpen's confidence and rhythm."

Posted by: NatsNut | August 25, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Cordero's the wrong guy to be closing games in Coors Field. He just gives up too many long fly balls. Play the bottom of the ninth of last night's game in RFK, and I bet he gets the save.

With respect to Young, there's no miracle associated with his turnaround. The guy has diabetes, for Ryan's sake, and until last year, untreated diabetes. It's a miracle that his career numbers are where they are. I have no doubt that getting treatment (which includes getting off the sauce) is largely responsible for his improved numbers this year. Remember, as noted above with respect to the "other" Barry, the statistics say that it's highly unlikely that someone's numbers improve dramatically and consistently at age 33, *all other things being equal*. Here, there's an additional factor at work. So, I think there's good reason to expect that Dimitri will continue to perform at this year's level over the next couple of years, assuming he keeps up with his insulin shots (and barring injury, of course).

Posted by: Tom Servo | August 25, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

A rather disappointing end to last nights game. In hindsight Acta was a little slow.

Concerning the Colon trade several years back, that was the single move that ruined the Expos for years. It still affects the Nats today. We would love to have Sizemore and Brandon Philips (Bowden should have pick him when he had a chance last year)today. Cliff Lee should bounce back . Bad trade. Minaya ruined us.

Given the above I am not big on Peavy trade.

Posted by: Mjames | August 25, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I listened last night to the game, shut it off at the end and slept...a little. Awakened this morning hoping that it was all just a bad dream, til I checked the on-line post...no such luck. Yes, these things happen. I'll be interested in the team reaction in tonights game. Will they do what they've done all year and bounce back, or will this be the game that takes its toll and more time to recover? Guess we'll just have to wait and see. This is where Manny earns his money. Take the rest of the weekend off Chad. Coors does not fit your style. A positive note...breakfast stayed down.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 25, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

... sometimes I wish I had access to a TV feed of Nats games. I would have wanted to be watch last night's game to see Shawn Hill's outing.

... then this morning I watched game highlights on the morning SportsNet (shown since both pitchers were Canadian).

... sometimes I'm happy NOT to have that TV access. Last night was just one more of those.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 25, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I'll believe Nick Johnson is back when he has 150 at bats.
In spring training, anyone associated with the Tigers rolled his eyes and giggled with the mention of Dmitri at first base. Early on, it looked like they were right. On several occasions, he got his footwork so fouled up he put the wrong foot on the base and inadvertently stretched toward right field for a throw coming from the left side of the infield. His improvement has been remarkable. He'll never be the sort of first baseman who helps you with his range or his instincts but he no longer hurts you that much, either. He is adequate, just like half or more of the first basemen in the big leagues.
Barry is right about his hitting. This looks like a career year, unlikely to be repeated. But consider this: By all accounts, this is the first season in several years when he has played without the considerable distractions of addiction and personal problems. His early years with the Reds may be closer to the norm than the later ones with the Tigers.
If he gets off to a decent start next year, he would certainly be tradeable.
That is, after Nick Johnson gets those 150 at bats.

Posted by: Salty Dog | August 25, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Man I was sick when I woke up this morning and saw what happened. I was already counting the win last night thinking only one more win would have made it a .500 road trip.

I know people's opinions are strong when it comes to Cordero, but I have never seen him as a closer. I think he's a great pitcher and a valuable piece to the bullpen, but he is not a closer. Very rarely does he come in and there is no drama. He always gives up hits and puts men on base. And that is not the role of a closer. I wish Bowden would have moved him when he had the chance.

The real problem is 2008. Last night we saw the results of what can happen to him in a hitter friendly park. The new ballpark won't be as cozy for him as RFK is. While the bullpen has been one of the brightest spots, next year the late innings, especially the ninth might be the team's weakness.

We need a backend guy that can close games. Cordero is not a closer.

Posted by: Mike In Fredericksburg | August 25, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

... I was just about to comment on Manny's reticence, or inability to let go of Cordero, but then I noticed Mjames already said it. So I'll just second that emotion.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 25, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Just my two cents on Cordero:
Cordero is a young guy who has done really well so far in his career. If we take a look at the big picture we will note that he now ranks 89th all time in saves after having played for poor teams his whole career. Pretty impressive.

19 wins 14 losses 2.77 ERA 285 games 119 saves (ranked 89th) 302.1 innings 270 strike outs

If this was a championship team and we had to entrust a closer to go all the way we might be looking at someone for this playoff. Right now I can't say he isn't that guy yet.

When Cordero is the weakness on this team we will have come a long way.

Overall encouraged with our young pitchers. Combination of guys who have revived their careers after having gone through tough times coupled with young talent will help build a character team.

Relief corps is starting to show the wear and tear. They kept us in it but lets give them a rest.

Posted by: Long Time Franchise Fan | August 25, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I still stand by my comment late last night of the bullpen needing to be "tweaked", espectially in the last two innings set up. Consider that Cordero has the luxury of coming in with a clean slate in the ninth inning, no runners on base, no need to pitch more than one inning. In the last 5 series he has been letting too many runners on base to give anyone a feeling of confidence. He has been able to just squeeze out of trouble (from his own brewing) on too many occasions. King, Ayala, and Rausch or Colome have better chances of dominating an inning and closing at this stage of the season. Don't forget that Cordero gave up a homer in Houston in his last game as well. Here is a question that I will throw out: are there any pitchers on the staff that Manny will allow to complete a game?

Posted by: Dale | August 25, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"Here is a question that I will throw out: are there any pitchers on the staff that Manny will allow to complete a game?"

I would say given everyone's questionable health, No.

Posted by: #4 | August 25, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Unless a guy's got a no-hitter going I don't see Manny letting anyone try to complete a 9 inning game for 2 reasons:

1: There's going to be a lot of September call ups that they're going to want to get a look at so get ready for even shorter outings by the starting staff.

2: Look what happened the one time he did let one of these guys stretch himself (Bergmann).

Posted by: MKevin | August 25, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Id say it was MLB & Bud Selig (and Loria and co.) that ruined us. Minaya was trying to do the best he could to save the franchise that was supposed to be killed. When Omar was making those trades the Expos were close to contending, and he felt that THIS would be THE YEAR...so why think about the future when youve all ready been told you have none? I dont blame Omar Minaya at all. I blame MLB.

-----------------------------------

"Minaya ruined us." -MJames

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 25, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Longtime Franchise Fan:
Forget Cordero's line. Just sit and listen to a few of the games he "closes". No way you can say he's championship caliber with a straight face.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 25, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

MKevin suggested: "Unless a guy's got a no-hitter going I don't see Manny letting anyone try to complete a 9 inning game."

... as much as I hate to cast nasturtiums at the great Manny A, I'd have to say he wouldn't be likely to let the guy finish even in that situation.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 25, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

... I've said it before - more than once, so I'm happy to note Andrew Stebbins agreeing with me. Omar Minaya was not the problem; he simply became the scapegoat.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 25, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I just read the gamer online (having read the early version in the 35-center), and I have to say that I feel bad for Chad (not that I wasn't yelling at the tv last night, mind you). I seem to remember reading about the head-in-the-locker phenomenon before, perhaps with another player. Is that a traditional, unspoken way for someone to indicate to teammates that he needs some space/time to process things? From what I observed in tv shots during the game, Chief was upset about his role in the loss. At any rate, I hope that somebody was there to buck him up at some point after the game. Shawn Hill, too. The way he hung his head at the final out was telling. I noticed that Dmitri was sitting next to Hill late in the game, so I would think that would have happened. On a related tangent, I love Young's visits to the mound for encouragement/support when a pitcher is in trouble. I like to announce "first baseman's visit to the mound" when it happens. I am easily amused, as you may have noticed...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Here's my take on Cordero.

According to MLB.com he has had 36 save opportunities this season and has 28 saves. That ranks him 12th overall on saves alone. But, and here's the real thing, that also means he has blown 8 saves this year. That is more than anyone else in MLB.com's top 50. On a team like this, 8 losses that could have been wins is tough. I'm sure they all aren't his fault, but still tough to lose 8 games in the ninth or later.

He is clearly just a set up man. Why the Nationals don't see that and they continue to use him as a closer, I don't know. There are other options to close out games and I think there could be some tweaking to be done.

Posted by: Bruce | August 25, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

No way he pulls a guy with a no-no going into the 8th or 9th. 7th with a high pitch count? Maybe, but he's well aware that a guy going into the last two innings with a chance at a once in a lifetime achievement would never, EVER forgive him for yanking him to start a late inning. Not to say he wouldn't have double-barrel action in the bullpen and yank him the first sign of trouble - but I even think he'd let him walk a guy in that situation. 1st hit his done but unless he totally lost it, as long as he's still getting outs w/o giving up hits he lets him stay in.
-----------------------------
"... as much as I hate to cast nasturtiums at the great Manny A, I'd have to say he wouldn't be likely to let the guy finish even in that situation."

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 25, 2007 12:26 PM

Posted by: MKevin | August 25, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Although it was the Chief who threw the pitches, I have to place much of the blame for last night's loss on Manny Acta. Cordero did not need to be in the game. It wasn't a save situation, so the argument needn't be made that the closer should pitch the ninth because that's what closers are for. It couldn't be argued that Cordero needed the work, since he had just pitched the night before in Houston. In fact, even though he picked up the save that night, he did not look sharp in doing so. So why not bring in someone else last night? Ayala threw only 10 pitches in the eighth, so why not leave him in to pitch the ninth? Or why not Colome, or Rauch, or someone else? After all, it was not a save situation. So what was it in Manny's head that said "Chad is the best man for this job tonight"? I really wonder...

Posted by: Section 419 | August 25, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

On Cordero: I don't believe the Nats considered him a closer when they drafted him. Think back to what Bowden was being offered at the trade deadline for him. The rest of the league considers him a setup guy. Frank put him into the closer's role in 2005 becuase he had nobody else. Mind you, Chad has done exceptionally well with the situation he was put into, especially in 2005. I however agree with the concensus that the Nats brass needs to take a long look at the new depth of pitching talent in their minor league system and see if one of them can't become the next Papelbon. I know Trevor Hoffman has made a career out of closing games with 80's on the radar gun but I'd feel much more comfortable with a fireballer on the mound in the the 9th.

Posted by: MKevin | August 25, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

419: I said the same thing about Ayala last night. No need to pull him after the 8th for all the reasons you already stated.

Posted by: MKevin | August 25, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"But, and here's the real thing, that also means he has blown 8 saves this year. That is more than anyone else in MLB.com's top 50. On a team like this, 8 losses that could have been wins is tough. I'm sure they all aren't his fault, but still tough to lose 8 games in the ninth or later."

Blown saves aren't necessarily losses. Of those 8 blown saves, the Nats have won 3.

Also important to note that yesterday was not a save situation. Despite what the clueless Bob Carpenter says, Cordero doesn't get a blown save.

Posted by: Chris | August 25, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I see all this dissecting of who should have pitched the 9th as "20/20 hindsight" stuff. If Cordero performs, no one is critical of Acta. Leaving Ayala in for another inning would have made him unavailable for tonight's game. I'm sure that was in the back of Manny's mind.

As far as whether Cordero should be the closer, he clearly is the guy on the staff with the best demeanor and most experience to be in that role. He attacks hitters and generally bounces back from failure very quickly. One blown save does not ruin a staff's confidence. Baseball players realize that this is a hard game and that bad nights are part of it. George Will once said that "baseball is a game of managing failure". Chad is good at doing just that. I've never seen him blow saves in bunches, except at the end of 2005 when he was gassed and at the beginning of this season when he was struggling with his grandmother's health. How many saves has he blown since he returned from her funeral? I think it's only 3 or 4 in about 30 chances. A 90% conversion is fine. This conversation is a little like the one about Schneider. Sure we'd all like to have Joe Mauer behind the plate and Jonathan Paplebon as the closer. Should the Nats maybe groom one of these pitchers they've drafted to become a closer? Sure. I'm only saying that we shouldn't all bail on Chad because he blew a save. He's a quality closer in the upper half of the league.

Posted by: #4 | August 25, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Here is my secondary complaint with Manny's tactics last night. Ninth inning, runners on second and third, two out, game tied. Why do you leave first base open? Why? Why? Why? Walk the baserunner and any infield grounder becomes a play at any base for the last out. As you all recall, it was a grounder to withing 3 feet of second base that was misplayed by the ss that cost the tie. I think that Manny goes into automatic about the 8th inning with the Rausch/Cordero closeout theory and then shuts the window to any further managing. If it blows up in his face, which has been happening a lot lately, he falls back on the "well its worked in the past" defence.

Posted by: Dale | August 25, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I HATE when managers walk the bases loaded.

It puts so much pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes. They often end up throwing more hittable get-me-over strikes (ala Cordero) than they would just going after the guy.

Besides, there's no guarantee that Jiminez comes up with the ball cleanly with the bases juiced anyway. He would've had to have fielded it, turned and either made a an accurate throw to second with a charging runner (no guarantee) or shifted his momentum and ran to the bag, neither of which are better options than going to first in the first place.

Posted by: Chris | August 25, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

There's a new thread.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 25, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Cordero went down in flames last night. Agreed. But does one bad outing undo the record of 119 saves in 142 tries? Or being the second youngest pitcher in MLB history to record 100 saves?

Last night was embarrassing. Agreed. But is it worse than Rivera blowing a save against Baltimore on the 13th and giving up three earned runs against Baltimore on the 15th? Or Wagner and Hoffman both blowing saves in Thursday's game in NY? Or Hoffman's three blown saves since August 10th? Or, for that matter, the August 12th game from the Diamondbacks point of view, when their bullpen and closer gave up two leads and allowed us to win?
Cordero doesn't look or pitch like Papelbon. Agreed. But are we remembering that the Red Sox were rumored to be trading for Cordero when Papelbon said he thought he might do better in the starting rotation...because he was fatigued after 59 games and 68 innings pitched in 2006? (Compare to Cordero's 62 games and 61 innings pitched when there are roughly 33 games to go.)

We will remember last night for a long time. Agreed. But can we either try to think like the Nationals ball players and say today is a new ballgame, (and we don't intend to remember last night), or remember to do a quick look at the long term stats and story lines?


Posted by: Sect 422 | August 25, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

#4 has it right. This team is this team. 8 blown saves? Most of the time, when he came in this whole season the difference to the NATS was +1 or two runs. Come on! He could have blown 10 or 12. This team, to repeat and repeat, will be doing good to win 72 games! This mean they will lose 90 and be 18 below .500. Wail till next year. LETS GO NATS.

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