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Questions for an off day

Thoughts while waiting for USAir 49 on my layover in Las Vegas (arrival at DCA: 7:43 a.m.):

· Ryan Church, who hit his first homer off a lefty since 2006 on Sunday, is on pace to hit 48 doubles. Since 1940, only 17 different National League players have hit 50 doubles in a season. If Church hits 50 doubles - a realistic possibility - will he be the least-distinguished player to do so? The list: Todd Helton (twice), Craig Biggio (twice), Lance Berkman, Mark Grudzelanek, Jeff Cirillo, Stan Musial (three times), Lyle Overbay, Luis Gonzalez, Freddy Sanchez, Mark Grace, Albert Pujols (twice), Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Jose Vidro, Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Derrek Lee.

· In being named the NL's co-player of the week when the Nationals went 6-0 on their last homestand, Ryan Zimmerman hit .519 to raise his average to .274, highest since the first week of the season. On the just-completed seven-game road trip, he hit .143 to drop his average back down to .266. What will Zimmerman end up hitting for the season?

· There are four members of the 2005 Opening Day roster active on the current Nationals' 25-man roster. Name them. (Answer further down.)

· The Nationals are currently on pace to go 74-88, which would be a three-game improvement over last year's 71-91 without a single game from Alfonso Soriano or Nick Johnson. Last year, Florida's Joe Girardi won the National League's manager of the year award with a team that went 79-83. What win total would be enough for Manny Acta to earn the same honor?

· In 19 appearances, including two perfect innings Saturday, Chris Schroder has a 1.30 ERA and opponents are hitting .190 against him. Right-handed hitters are hitting .174 and slugging .203 against him, yet the team has won only five of the 19 games he has appeared in. Should Schroder be entrusted in more crucial situations?

· Jason Bergmann posted a 2.76 ERA and a .162 opponents' batting average in his first eight starts of the year, after which he went on the disabled list. In his next six starts, beginning June 25, he posted a 7.96 ERA and opponents hit .327 against him. Do you think Bergmann - currently on his way back from a hamstring injury - should be counted on as a stable member of the rotation in 2008?

· Austin Kearns is slugging .382 as a right fielder, the third-lowest of qualifying right fielders in all of baseball. (Only Arizona's Carlos Quentin and Cleveland's Trot Nixon are worse.) Do you think Kearns can ultimately be a productive offensive player on a winning team?

· Since the all-star break, Nook Logan is hitting .337 with a .396 on-base percentage. Do you think that dropping switch-hitting means Logan has now "gotten it" and has "turned the corner," or do you think center field is still one of the Nationals' top two priorities in the offseason?

That's all I have time for. Hope that's enough to get you through a slow Monday. I'll talk to you Tuesday from RFK, where perhaps you'll show up for Shawn Hill's return to the mound. (And for anyone who doubted whose sinker I truly lust after, please know, it is the one I will see Tuesday, not the one I saw Saturday.

Oh, almost forgot: Members of the 2005 Opening Day roster active on the current Nationals: Luis Ayala, Ryan Church, Chad Cordero and Brian Schneider. (Remember that Jon Rauch started that year in the minors.)


By Barry Svrluga  |  August 13, 2007; 2:07 AM ET
 
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Next: The clock is ticking

Comments

Barry, you stay up late.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | August 13, 2007 3:02 AM | Report abuse

barry...too many questions.

the only one i shall answer is about schroder. he is great, he has electric stuff and if given more innings would be at the top of the league in K/9. behind rauch and ayala could be the best pure reliever on the 40 man.

as for the other questions...yes no yes yes yes no

Posted by: love | August 13, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

To be a contender the nats need 2 better outfielders than they have already but nook can be that other guy. (nothing personal against kearns/church)

Posted by: chillsonic | August 13, 2007 3:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Nook could be that guy so long as the other 2 are new. And Dmitri doesn't count. But I think Kearns has to be better than this, and they will give him one more year in the new stadium to pull it together before pulling the plug.

Zimm will pull it over .270 but not over .280. The rest of the numbers will be solid. I expect next year he'll reach a new level which he rarely dips below. He still contributes something to every win.

I am not going to question Acta's use of any pitcher. He is the team MVP right now and earns my confidence (and manager of the year vote). Bergmann still needs to earn it.

Posted by: NationalTerp | August 13, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

... Shawn Hill takes the ball-in-hand tomorrow night, and I'm left with egg all over my face. It was a mere couple of weeks ago I made the rash statement that Shawn was a forgotten man in the eyes of the Nats FO. How wrong I was; how awful that cold yolk feels running down over my eyes and nose.

... but my erroneous comments might not be as surprising as one might think, since it is my habit to see how many eggs I can juggle at one time and keep in the air whenever a topic of discussion comes up. It is my habit, indeed has become my modus operandi to give voice to my gut when my turn comes to offer an opinion, so it is no wonder that every so often, one of those comments comes back to haunt me ... or in this case, drops squarely in my face.

... at any rate, I'm thrilled that my home-boy Shawn, will be on the mound against the Philadelphias. And in keeping with my blogging nature, I'll say firmly that he'll win the game tossing a three hitter, a K-BB of 8-4, and going into the seventh. mark it down.

Posted by: natscan reduxit (I'll get to Barry's questions later) | August 13, 2007 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Zimm-272 by the end of season.
If Nats win 74 games, he should win. This was to be the team with the worst record ever and that prediction before all the injuries.
Yes, Schroder should be entrusted with more crucial situations, until(unless) he shows he can't handle them.
Bergman will be back. Kearns will be productive in the new park. And we still need a high level center fielder.

Posted by: j. campbell | August 13, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

>>If Church hits 50 doubles - a realistic possibility - will he be the least-distinguished player to do so?>What will Zimmerman end up hitting for the season?>There are four members of the 2005 Opening Day roster active on the current Nationals' 25-man roster. Name them.>What win total would be enough for Manny Acta to earn the same honor?>Should Schroder be entrusted in more crucial situations?>Do you think Bergmann - currently on his way back from a hamstring injury - should be counted on as a stable member of the rotation in 2008?>Do you think Kearns can ultimately be a productive offensive player on a winning team?>Do you think that dropping switch-hitting means Logan has now "gotten it" and has "turned the corner," or do you think center field is still one of the Nationals' top two priorities in the offseason?<<

I like everything about Nook except his game. He is a delightful interview, he seems like a good guy, he can be a force on the bases but he has no baseball instincts. Now, Bernie Williams had no real instincts for baseball either -- and he is a borderline Hall of Famer (well, sort of), so we will wait and see.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

... in the matter of doubles producer Ryan Church, I would say that he is in with good company but for only half the good reason. The others were two-way players of note - offence and defence. I think Ryan lacks in the latter category.

... Zimm's final average will be .272.

... Manny's value is not in numeric totals but in quality of style, ability and conduct. As in all years, the M-O-Y is decided based on his comparison with the others. So the numbers don't tell the whole story. If this year's winner will be decided on numbers, Manny will likely lose out to ... someone else. But if those who choose look at the overall impact on the team, he's got to be a shoe-in.

... Shroder is doing a good job in terms of what's being asked of him. Should more be asked? Yes, but only if the game situations lead in that direction.

... Bergmann a stable mate for 2008? Of course.

... Kearns has the ability to be a productive asset, but I'm not sold that it can or will be on this team, as it is currently constituted.

... Nook is the right guy to have on the bench as second-string CF next year, right behind whomever becomes available this winter to get the starting role.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow, lots of questions. Will have to ponder them during my appt. this a.m.

I almost get the 2005 roster question (I had Chief, the Schneid, Church, and Rauch -- then second guessed myself and added Ayala with a question mark). But, as someone who also wore a Nat uniform once said, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Who was that person?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

1. Church won't be the least-distinguished, because he won't make it (but he would be if he did).

2. .270, on the nose.

3. Almost forgot about Ayala, but then I remembered.

4. Probably would need 80+ - remember, Girardi got MoY because the Fish were in the W-Card hunt until late in the year.

5. If Manny says so. But I'm not sure I like messing with the Rivera/Ayala-Rauch-Chief juju...if it ain't broke...

6. Together with Hill, the most interesting pitching question for the rest of the year. To me, he's got to earn it, by a. being healthy, and b. proving that he can recapture that early season form - don't forget that he was one bad start away from being sent to Columbus before he went on that tear.

7. Kearns is having a down year - too much pressure on him to carry the load offensively. His park-adjusted SLG is .422 (according to BRef). Another year or two in the new park, and then see if somebody else is putting pressure on him.

8. Logan is fun to watch, but absolutely not the answer in CF - this lineup needs more pop than he can provide.

Posted by: Rapid-Fire | August 13, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

1) Church - Possibly the least distinguished, but quite an accomplishment.
2) Zimmm - Will finish at .279.
3) I got all four. Are Guzman and Johnson the only other two still with the team?
4) It will take 81 wins to get Manager of the Year.
5) Yes Schroder should get to pitch in more crucial situations, but with a number of very good relievers, there are not that many opportunities.
6) Yes Bergmann should be part of the starting rotation next year. No he should not be counted on as a stable member.
7,8) The Nats need to sign two top caliber outfielders in the off-season and let Kearns, Logan, and Church battle for the remaining starting position.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 13, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'll just hit on the 3 points that I was already thinking about this weekend...

1. Are we in a pennant race? No. Is there any good reason NOT to give Schroder a shot to pitch the 7th or 8th in a 1-run game? No. Let see how he handles the pressure.

2. "We"... (I hate saying "we" when I talk about the Nationals, but in this case I made the same mistake the front office, etc. made) made the mistake of guaranteeing someone a place in the lineup and depending on him/hoping that he would be our lone bright spot in the rotation. How did that work out? The only way ANYONE should be guaranteed a spot in the '08 rotation is 1-if Hill doesn't miss a start for the rest of '07, and he's his same old self, and/or 2-we sign a big-name free agent pitcher (Zambrano, for example).

3. If the only difference between this year's OF and next year's OF is Da Meat in left, I'll be very disappointed. I'd really love to see Rowand in CF next year. Having said that, if a slugger is signed to play either of the corner outfield positions or 1B, and the Front Office believes Nook can and will continue to hit .300-ish, and get even better defensively (he's pretty young, you've got to figure he will), I'm VERY ok with that.

Posted by: Matt | August 13, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

>> But, as someone who also wore a Nat uniform once said, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Who was that person? <<

That person was Anonymous. Of course, hundreds of guys named Anonymous wore Nats unis. Through most of the 50s and 60s.

But I'll bet that the answer you are looking for is Frank Robinson.

Posted by: amb141 | August 13, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Prediction: Ryan Church will finish his career with better numbers than Jeff Cirillo. So he's not the least distinguished.

Zim will hit over .270 for the year.

Nook Logan can't hit if he doesn't play every day, but his track record here is that he can if he does. If the Nats don't sign Hunter or Rowand, I'd keep him as the regular CF next year.

Jason Bergmann has better stuff than Matt Chico, Mike Bascik, Tim Redding, and Jason Simontacchi. So you have to give him the ball & see what he can do.

Austin Kearns has too many holes in his swing to be a real good hitter, but he's under contract through 2009, so it looks like he'll be back. But if he's the cleanup hitter next year, no progress will have been made.

Posted by: Section 418 | August 13, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The exclusively right-handed hitting Nook is clearly an improvement on the switch-hitting Nook, but yes, Rowand would be nice to see in center come April.

Bergmann has shown enough promise that he deserves time to prove himself, most likely into the beginning of next spring.

I fear Kearns will remain the rightfielder next year, but would much prefer him to be part of a LF platoon with Church. Despite the stats indicating a more mediocre rather than pathetic park-adjusted slugging percentage, Kearns has proven himself to be a low-production rightfielder. The Nats need more out of that spot, and it should be prioritized for next year, maybe even more so than CF.

Posted by: GoNats | August 13, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

... maybe I'm being picky, and looking for bogey men where there aren't any, but I note with some interest and revelation, the words of Mike Bacsik, who said in reference to his move from starting to the bullpen, "Everybody down there is throwing great ..."..

... "down there". In the pitching fraternity, there are starters and there are relievers. In the past, we on this blog have noted that the role of reliever has become a firm position from the very start of a player's career. So it follows that any given team's group of starters and group of relievers should be regarded as being on an equal footing. In that case therefore, Mike might have said "Everybody OVER there is throwing ...". But he didn't; he used the directional reference of 'down'. Mike feels - perhaps subconsciously - that going to the pen is for him, a demotion. Understandable in the heat of the particular moment (his poor outing yesterday), but revelatory in the overall scheme of what baseball players really feel.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

While almost being swept by the 'Backs, the Nats saw a team similar to their own, but containing two or three of those pieces (pitching!) badly required by a contender.

1) Ryan Church will get more than 45 doubles, but not 50.

2) Zim will hit .275.

3) Manny would have to end over .500 to win MoY. This year the Nats were Below the Radar. He will win it next year.

4) Schroder is in training. Look for him to be the second setup next year (or he's part of an off-season trade).

5) Jason Bergman, alas, will not be back next year.

6 & 7) Nook and Kearns will both be part of the outfield next year, though one will be the 4th fielder. Nook will finally break out.

Posted by: Markus Kamau | August 13, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

... I watched an interview with comedian Dave Chappelle last night on TV. During the discussion, Chappelle who was born in Washington, noted that DC is still the most racially-segregated urban center of the country. That is his comment, not mine, and I'm not here to introduce it as a topic of discussion on our blog.

... but it highlights what has become recently, a very active and important conversation in MLB and all baseball circles; an issue which is the focus of numerous stories in other sports media of late.

... there is a growing decline in the number of black (North) Americans playing professional baseball, and it is being noticed at all levels of the sport.

... I am of an age that I can recall issuing the following challenge to my friends. When you watch baseball on TV, take note of the number of non-while players on the teams (many), and then take note of the number of non-white fans caught by the cameras covering the action (few). Those cameras show the paying spectators in the very good seats (especially the ones behind the plate), and those fans are invariably white. That is not to say there are not non-white fans at the games but they are not the fans paying the big bucks for the best seats.

... that particular exercise reveals a very small instance of a much larger truth. The gap between rich and poor in the North American society is growing greater and greater, by leaps and bounds, and is directly paralleled with race. So is it any wonder that potential African American athletes feel professional sports is not for them?

... one of the current African American professionals in MLB is lashing back; Gary Sheffield, surely not the most rational of men, has pointed an accusing finger not at MLB itself, nor at society, but at Hispanic players, drawing a line in the sand between those two racial groups. But MLB doesn't mind. It's called divide and conquer. On the other side of the same coin, African American players have balked at the attempt to honour Roberto Clemente in similar fashion to the honour for Jackie Robinson. There is simply no rationale for that, yet that is the irrationality that has come to pass since the race issue has never been settled in Major League Baseball.

... so why would I bring this up on a discussion list about the Washington Nationals? Because the Nats like almost every other team, has the roster make-up to prove MLB is an international entity (although we have yet to acquire the requisite Asian star). MLB teams portray a racial diversity, albeit a diversity in flux. But it is in the rest of society where the issue has legs. And the rest of society is demanding that MLB cease seeing itself as a U.S. American institution and begin embracing the reality that baseball and MLB is international and interracial.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"If Church hits 50 doubles - a realistic possibility - will he be the least-distinguished player to do so?" Possibly, but if he can manage at least a few over 50 he will probably also be a little more distinguished than he is now.

"What will Zimmerman end up hitting for the season?" My model projects .272 / .326 / .460.

I blew the 2005 Opening Day question because I misread it as 2007.

"What win total would be enough for Manny Acta to earn [2007 NL Manager of the Year]?" Oh, about 110. These ay-wards (as we say in parts of West Virginia) seem to be given sometimes for the damnedest reasons, from the sentimental to the political. I would say (alphabetically) that Bob Melvin, Lou Piniella, and Ned Yost will be the finalists. Dark horse: Bud Black. Manny, Charlie Manuel, and Willie Randolph all deserve consideration but won't get it.

"Should Schroder be entrusted in more crucial situations?" Absolutely yes. Any time the score is tied or the Nats are up by one, and a pitching change is called for, bring him on.

"Do you think Bergmann - currently on his way back from a hamstring injury - should be counted on as a stable member of the rotation in 2008?" Yes, unless the hammy is a chronic problem, and barring elbow or shoulder issues.

"Do you think Kearns can ultimately be a productive offensive player on a winning team?" Again yes, barring mechanical issues. The hitting-coach situation needs to get settled down. (Nick Johnson, call your office.)

"Do you think that dropping switch-hitting means Logan has now 'gotten it' and has 'turned the corner,' or do you think center field is still one of the Nationals' top two priorities in the offseason?" I'm not sure it's one of the top two, but I think Nook should be competing for the job in '08 rather than having it handed to him. (His bunting, if it keeps up, should earn him points. And whether da Meat moves to left will affect the decision.)

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

natscan, here are two corrective shocks that could be applied to advantage:

1. Everyone, anyone, who professes to give a rip about baseball should read "Dropping the Ball," by Dave Winfield. This book is chock-full of ideas that should be adopted with dispatch. Hie thee to a bookseller or library.

2. A suggestion that modesty precludes Winfield -- but not me -- from making: Winfield should be the next Commissioner of Baseball. (If Bud had a clue, he would abdicate in Winfield's favor this instant.)

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Ryan Church on the DL for opening day 2005? I seem to remember him being penciled in as the CFer and lead-off man but then got hurt in the exhibition game vs the Mets.
Anyone remember differently?

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Ryan Church on the DL for opening day 2005? I seem to remember him being penciled in as the CFer and lead-off man but then got hurt in the exhibition game vs the Mets.
Anyone remember differently?

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

... thanx Hendo. I too recommend "Dropping the Ball", if for no other reason than it was written by Dave Winfield, who once threw a baseball at a seagull and killed it.

... but pardon the jest. You are quite correct in the value of Winfield's book and views.

... I won't prolong this particular (racial) debate, but would suggest this to you and others: why don't we on NJ offer our favourite baseball books and a bit about why they ought to be read.

... my first would be "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton (close but no cigar), and my reason for this suggestion is that "Ball Four" was the first (for me) book that told it like it is; that named names with no holds barred. Certainly that was the prevailing attitude of the times and Bouton fell into the genre with ease. Reading it today is a fresh read for that very reason - not because it is timely because it isn't, but because it satisfies the longing to read something that other people wish hadn't been written.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, Winfield did not "throw a baseball at a seagull" -- he threw it to the infield, and it HIT the seagull. So he did not KNOWINGLY throw at a seagull ...

Posted by: Cevansjr | August 13, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

3) I got all four. Are Guzman and Johnson the only other two still with the team?


What so you think John Patterson was doing in 2005? Has Barry brainwashed all of you?

Posted by: gilsfan | August 13, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

natscan, not to take issue with the larger point, but ... [the lack of people who don't look white, in good seats] "reveals a very small instance of a much larger truth. The gap between rich and poor in the North American society is growing greater and greater, by leaps and bounds, and is directly paralleled with race."

Since that seating distribution has always been true more or less, in fact is less true now than it was during, say, enforced segregation (which coincided with the Depression, when the gap was much greater and more evident), it doesn't really speak to any such gap. Not that there is no gap, but that's no evidence of it.

Posted by: cevans | August 13, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

We return you now to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion, already in progress...

Posted by: cevans | August 13, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

good questions!
- Zim is playing great...not sure what his final avg for 2007 will be but not worrried about it.
-I don't think its fair but unless the Nats finish at .500, my guess is Manny wont get the award...
-Shroder - should get more chances--
-Bergman - too erratic to count on him ---has looked good at times, but...
-Kearns - I have no idea why he has not hit consistently since coming here...but its getting to be an old story, sorry to say. Hoping he turns it around.
-Logan - Looking a lot better lately, but still seems lost on the bases sometimes...Would hate to give up on him and watch him become the next Endy Chavez.

Posted by: pk | August 13, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't like all this talk about 2008. We have all winter to talk about next year. I am very interdted though, considering our record, who will distinguish themselves in the remaining games.

I don't think we'll trade away any starting pitchers before spring training next year so it will probably be a 9 man tryout for the 5 rotation spots and not one of those 9 can afford a let down. The guys with the most to prove in the next 6 weeks are (in order of vulnerability);
Patterson
Detwiler
Balester
Lannan
Hanrahan
Redding
Chico
Bergmann
Hill

In the outfield we can't tell what is going to happen until we find out the organizations opinion on a few key items, first - what do they expect for Nick? Is young in the outfield a reasonable option.
Is nook capable of hitting and fielding at a high enough level to warrant his being vested as the everyday CF of the future? How much are we really willing to spend on a FA outfielder? How far away are our young outfield prospects (Marrero, etc.)? If Church gets 50 2bagers and Logan hits over .500 I think they'll be a lot more willing to either stay patient and wait for our OF prospects to develop or spend that money instead on bringing in another starting pitcher.

We need to win 81 games (maybe 82) for Manny to have any chance at MofY, voters will be very hesitant to vote for two "rebuilders" in a row.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

natscan reduxit, have you been to a Wizard's game? AfAm fanbase shows up when they want to, just like anybody else. e.g. Hispanic fanbase at United. Wilbon calls NBA All-Star weekend "Black Thanksgiving." Have you seen the hovels where Vlad Guerrero and others grew up in The Dominican? Your theory: "The gap between rich and poor in the North American society is growing greater and greater, by leaps and bounds, and is directly paralleled with race. So is it any wonder that potential African American athletes feel professional sports is not for them?" Don't think so. Anyhow, WAS THAT WIN SWEET, or what?

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

When did they activate Patterson? I missed that.

What so you think John Patterson was doing in 2005? Has Barry brainwashed all of you?
Posted by: gilsfan | August 13, 2007 10:18 AM

Posted by: cevans | August 13, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't like all this talk about 2008. We have all winter to talk about next year. I am very interdted though, considering our record, who will distinguish themselves in the remaining games.

I don't think we'll trade away any starting pitchers before spring training next year so it will probably be a 9 man tryout for the 5 rotation spots and not one of those 9 can afford a let down. The guys with the most to prove in the next 6 weeks are (in order of vulnerability);
Patterson
Detwiler
Balester
Lannan
Hanrahan
Redding
Chico
Bergmann
Hill

In the outfield we can't tell what is going to happen until we find out the organizations opinion on a few key items, first - what do they expect for Nick? Is young in the outfield a reasonable option.
Is nook capable of hitting and fielding at a high enough level to warrant his being vested as the everyday CF of the future? How much are we really willing to spend on a FA outfielder? How far away are our young outfield prospects (Marrero, etc.)? If Church gets 50 2bagers and Logan hits over .500 I think they'll be a lot more willing to either stay patient and wait for our OF prospects to develop or spend that money instead on bringing in another starting pitcher.

We need to win 81 games (maybe 82) for Manny to have any chance at MofY, voters will be very hesitant to vote for two "rebuilders" in a row.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't like all this talk about 2008. We have all winter to talk about next year. I am very interdted though, considering our record, who will distinguish themselves in the remaining games.

I don't think we'll trade away any starting pitchers before spring training next year so it will probably be a 9 man tryout for the 5 rotation spots and not one of those 9 can afford a let down. The guys with the most to prove in the next 6 weeks are (in order of vulnerability);
Patterson
Detwiler
Balester
Lannan
Hanrahan
Redding
Chico
Bergmann
Hill

In the outfield we can't tell what is going to happen until we find out the organizations opinion on a few key items, first - what do they expect for Nick? Is young in the outfield a reasonable option.
Is nook capable of hitting and fielding at a high enough level to warrant his being vested as the everyday CF of the future? How much are we really willing to spend on a FA outfielder? How far away are our young outfield prospects (Marrero, etc.)? If Church gets 50 2bagers and Logan hits over .500 I think they'll be a lot more willing to either stay patient and wait for our OF prospects to develop or spend that money instead on bringing in another starting pitcher.

We need to win 81 games (maybe 82) for Manny to have any chance at MofY, voters will be very hesitant to vote for two "rebuilders" in a row.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

natscan, I move to table the book discussion to the offseason. I have roughly an offseason's worth of stuff to say, so I promise the time won't be spent idly.

Please remind me at that time to describe the book club arrangement that my rowmates and I have set up.

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

natscan sez: "The gap between rich and poor in the North American society is growing greater and greater, by leaps and bounds, and is directly paralleled with race. So is it any wonder that potential African American athletes feel professional sports is not for them?"

If this is true, then why are all thos black guys playing in the NBA and the NFL, and why are all the inner-city (and presumably poor) black kids sporting those NBA and NFL team jerseys, which don't come cheap?

It is true that there aren't all that many non-Hispanic blacks in MLB, especially compared with 40-50 years ago, and maybe the gap between rich and poor in North America does have something to do with that, since poor inner-city kids these days are shooting hoops rather than playing stickball in the streets, while in Cuba, the Dominican, etc, the poor kids are playing baseball or soccer. So maybe that's why they might feel that paricular professional sports are not for them, but not professional sports in general.

Posted by: Section 419 | August 13, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Cevansjr

... you are correct, when it comes to detail. But Jonathan Livingston was till pretty miffed.

... and for some completely unfathomable reason, so were a number of Blue Jay fans!!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"If Church hits 50 doubles will he be the least-distinguished player to do so?"
I'm sure he doesn't care. FIFTY doubles. He can look distinguished in 20 years when his temples are grey.

"What will Zimmerman end up hitting for the season?"
Who do I look like, Madame Clio?

"What win total would be enough for Manny Acta to earn the [MOTY]?"
I've posted this elsewhere before, but it won't be just W/L, they will need to at least threaten to contend for the wild card. That said, at least 81.

"Do you think Kearns can ultimately be a productive offensive player on a winning team?"
Yes, but not this one. OK, off the bench, maybe.

"Do you think that dropping switch-hitting means Logan has 'turned the corner,' or do you think center field is still one of the Nationals' top two priorities in the offseason?"
Not mutually exclusive. He may hit .325 but he'll never hit for power, and somebody on this team has to. They need home runs more than OBP and steals, so get two (2) power hitters. If they are LF and RF, then maybe.

Posted by: c jr | August 13, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Bergmann, do we know when his next start will be with GCL and where he'll be headed after that? Also, when is he eligible to be re-instated? Finally, any word on Patterson's throwing program and when we can expect a re-hab start, and where?

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

We return you now to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion, already in progress...

Posted by: cevans | August 13, 2007 10:24 AM


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

... in reference to your immediately previous post, I wish we had another venue so you and I might debate the issue. But it's not about to happen, so I agree with your comment above: "Let's Play Ball!"

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey ESJ,

... I like your list of potential starters, prioritized by vulnerability. But I would reverese Chico and Bergmann, if I understand your listing correctly. What I'm saying is that I believe Chico is more secure for next year than is Bergmann.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Natscan,
I wouldn't argue that point you could flip those two easily. If nothing were to change from right now, and of course it will...but based on what we have and know right now the pencilled in (and lightly penciled at that) starters are Hill, Bergmann, Chico, Redding and Hanrahan (though Lannan has to be REALLY close after Saturday). So the guys who really need to step up the most in the next 6 weeks are Patterson (jsut pitching a mlb game will be huge), Detwiler (he has the farthest to go and will only get 4 more starts in the minors), Lannan (almost there...y and Balester who needs a couple good starts at AAA if he wants to get called up.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hookless Off-Day Lineup (For Entertainment Purposes Only):

LF - Church
3B - Zimmerman
RF - Kearns
1B - Belliard
2B - Lopez
SS - Jimenez
CF - Logan
C - Schneider

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

amb141, yer right -- I was sitting on F. Robby. But that Anonymous fella/gal sure is prolific, eh?

estuartj, I'm with you, I'd rather see the rest of the season out before opining on who is worthy or not for next year (besides which, facing all of those questions first thing in the a.m. made my brain hurt and I have to save at least some brain cells for work...). I'll leave the stats-guessing on Zimm to the seam-heads, but I do think that he will finish well. Re. manager of the year, I have no idea how many wins will be required. Last year's winner was not at .500, but his team was also in the wild card race in the stretch.

Hendo, awwww, but I like the book discussion. Hard to narrow it down, but I'm also a fan of Ball Four (and of anything by Bill Lee).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Well it's an off day for the real Nats so it's time to go root for the P-Nats tonight for $1 !!! (thank you Wash Post)

They play the first place Wilmington team for 4 games and they are only 5 games out of first, so with a sweep they are right back in it.

Here's what to watch.

Pitching Pitching and more Pitching,
Well whoever says that the Nats farm team is stocked with Pitching hasn't been to Potomac lately. Its bad, really bad.
Tonight on the mound is 2006 5th round draft pick Left hander Cory Van Allen who is 2-5, 6.98 ERA
Too bad Justin Jones couldn't have had his near perfect game against Wilmington, instead of Saturday against last place Winston Salem

probable starting lineup:

1. Will SS Ian Desmond (3rd round 2004) (who was rated as one of the best arms in the Carolina League) continue to hit? He's currently batting .246 but considering he started the year near the 2005 Guzman line, it's a major improvement. I wish he wasn't the leadoff hitter!

2- CF Justin Maxwell (4th round 2005) is currently batting .231, but has been hot lately. This Speedy CF is looking more like the guy who hit .301 in Hagerstown earlier this year. Be sure to say hi to his family is Section 3 as his Blonde significant other is very nice looking and is at all the games!

3- CF/DH/OF Mike Daniel (7th round 2005) is batting .309 He looks good and can clearly hit as he batted .304 for Vermont last year and .290 in Hagerstown earlier this year. He just doesn't have the blazing speed of Justin Maxwell. Doesn't get as much press as the highly touted Marrero but is outperforming him so far.

4. - LF Chris Marrero (1st round 2006) is batting .266 and is slumping the last couple weeks as his average was well over .300 a few weeks ago. He is clearly a Major League prospect and should probably be in AA Harrisburg by the middle of next year. The only problem I foresee is his tendency to strikeout over 25% of the time.

5. - C Devin Ivany (6th round 2004) is leading the team batting .345 He's one of our favorites as he can hit and field well. He's got a good arm and is tough to steal against, unless they steal it off the pitching staff which isn't that great. Was an All-star for Savanah last year.

6. 2b Matt Rogelstad- (Really a 3b but we don't have a 2b) Batting .281 Signed as a non-drafted free agent June 17, 2003; graduated from Arkansas State University in June, 2004...was Arkansas' team leader in batting average (.341), slugging percentage (.534) and RBI (41) in 2002...recipient of the NCAA Statistics Service "Toughest to Strike Out" honor for Division I...on the provisional roster for Canada for the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

7. OF Marvin Lowrance (7th round 2004) Warning track power hitter who hits the ball to RF all the time. Is currently batting .254 and is relatively unimpressive compared to other OF's Daniel, Marrero, and even the speedy Maxwell.

8 3b Leonard Davis (8th round 2004) recent callup from Hagerstown is currently batting .294 including 2 HR in just 4 games. Was a All-Star for Hagerstown this year.

9. 1B Brett McMillan (14th round 2006) He is currently batting .236 He was a callup as a result of Steve Mortimer going to AA Harrisburg. McMillan doesn't look like he belongs here yet.

Others omitted
2b or 3b Greg Thissen (8th round 2001) We love this guy and wish he was our leadoff or second hitter instead of Desmond, or Maxwell. Greg couldn't stay in AAA this season, but looks to good to be in Potomac. However, he is 26 and probably not going to make the majors.

Come join us tonight at Potomac! It's only a buck to get in and $1 dogs!

Posted by: P Nats Fan | August 13, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

What, no love for Randy Johnson??

Posted by: Jonathan Livingston | August 13, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Um, gilsfan, brainwashed? You need to revisit your conspiracy theory on this one, as the question related to Nats who are active on the current 25-man roster, which JP is not...

---

What so you think John Patterson was doing in 2005? Has Barry brainwashed all of you?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hope triumphs over experience. I'm apt to essay the trip to Woodbridge again tonight, trying the GW Parkway this time. (Wigi, was that part of your Dad's wormhole?)

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Great P-Nats summary, P Nats Fan. You deked me, though, as I was thinking that the posting was by Hendo until I saw the attribution.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I believe 506 is on vacation and won't be able to bring us the weekly GB/A list he usually provides for us. So, as a public service, here's my attempt to keep the list alive this week (and 506, I apologize if you are not on vacation). Also, I apologize for any errors that may occur:

30. Tampa Bay (45-72) .385 (-8.5)
29. Pittsburgh (48-66) .421 (-4)
29. San Francisco (49-67) .422 (-4)
27. Cincinnati (50-67) .427 (-3.5)
26. Texas (51-66) .436 (-2.5)
25. Kansas City (51-65) .440 (-2)
24. Houston (52-65) .444 (-1.5)
23. NATS!!! (54-64) .458 (---)
22. Chi Sox (54-63) .462 (.5)
21. Baltimore (54-62) .466 (1)
21. Florida (55-63) .466 (1)
19. Oakland (56-62) .475 (2)
18. St. Louis (55-60) .478 (2.5)
17. Minnesota (58-59) .496 (4.5)


Posted by: e | August 13, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"natscan, I move to table the book discussion to the offseason. "

... fine with me, so long as one of us, or another fellow blogger remembers to bring it back then.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Yay, a GB/A summary! They always warm the cockles of my heart. Thanks for coming off the bench to do it, e. Atta boy (at least I think that's the right noun, but "Atta gal" if not)!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

But what if we don't have a blog in the off-season (gulp)?

---

... fine with me, so long as one of us, or another fellow blogger remembers to bring it back then.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Nah, Svrlugamania, he's just on West Coast time. As a malapropping skipper once said, it gets late early here... ;)

---

Barry, you stay up late.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Here's a couple more questions about our outfield.

1. What of our in-organization potential outfielders for 2008 can play Right Field, Young, Church, Logan, Watson? Having a strong enough arm to play in Right might go a long way to keeping (or gettting) any of those into the starting line-up for 2008...Watch your back kearnsy, if Church's numbers weren't "good enough" (per Manny) for a corner infield spot - what must they think of Kearn's production (fawning praise of his defense to the side).

Also, for Hendo - here is my imaginary line-up for tonight;

1. Logan (CF) I like him better as leadoff
2. Lopez (SS) interchangable with Logan really
3. Zimmerman (3B) Does he own #3 forever?
4. Young (1B) Welcome back, hit a dinger?
5. Church (LF) Let's get to 50 2 bagers!
6. Belliard (2B) Great avg protects our power
7. Kearns (RF) Step it up or face the axe!
8. Flores (C) Platoon day vs or imaginary LHP
9. Patterson (P) Imaginary pitcher for imaginary lineup.

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

• Watson rising: Outfielder Brandon Watson posted a multi-hit game for the fourth time in his past five starts. He went 2 for 4 and scored both Clippers runs, raising his batting average to .324

AVG.319 OBP.352 SLG.387 OPS 739

Will we see him in September?

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse


1. Yeah, he probably would be the least distinguised but did most people know who Freddy Sanchez was before last year? Im saying he hits only 44 Only, yeaaa I know).

2. I say right around .274 - but he won't get over .280 I think in an ideal situation he would be a #5 hitter hitting .285-.300, with 40 2bs, 20-25 HRs. Like I said, that would be IDEAL. Theres a reason hes hitting 3rd in THIS lineup.


3. I said Rauch and forgot about Ayala but I got all the others. Remember in ST when it was down to Patterson/Rauch for the 5th starter job? Not sure how I forgot about Ayala though. He is a free-agent after this year, but I will get into that later.


4. There are other almost equally deserving managers, and because of that, unless this team goes over .500 Manny won't win. My vote would be for Bob Melvin.

5. Like I said, Ayala is a FA after this year. Im confident he will be re-signed (along with Colome) and this is part of the reason I wouldn't have had a problem with trading Rauch or Cordero. There is depth. Id rather see him than Rivera. Rivera scares me sometimes with his wildness.


6. I think he should def. be on the team next year, but depending on what others do in ST I dont know if he should start, as much as I like him. He might be wasted out of the pen though. It will be an interesting spring training for sure.

7. I talked about an ideal lineup before with Zimm hitting 5th. In another ideal lineup, Kearns should be batting 6th. I like what someone said earlier "If Kearns is hitting cleanup again next year there will have been no progress." Which is true, but hopefully we will have Johnson back by then.

8. Center is still the biggest priority, but Id give the job to Roger Bernadina. I know that isnt going to happen though. Perhaps Dunn will be signed if his option isn't picked up and Church will be moved to center. Logan SHOULD only be a 5th outfielder. The 25th man. The only big time FA Id sign this offseason would be Carlos Zambrano. Hes young enough, just entering his prime, and most importantly, hes an ACE! (Don Sutton and I would disagree on that one)

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 13, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie,
I think we'll definetly see Watson and Broadway. Maybe Balester and maybe Detwiler too depending on how they do in their next 4 starts before rosters expand.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The line-up below was tagged as Hendo's but I think that someone else posted it? Anyway, I like it, but if we're going to have Patterson, can we have Guzie, too, pleeze, can we, huh??

---

Also, for Hendo - here is my imaginary line-up for tonight;

1. Logan (CF) I like him better as leadoff
2. Lopez (SS) interchangable with Logan really
3. Zimmerman (3B) Does he own #3 forever?
4. Young (1B) Welcome back, hit a dinger?
5. Church (LF) Let's get to 50 2 bagers!
6. Belliard (2B) Great avg protects our power
7. Kearns (RF) Step it up or face the axe!
8. Flores (C) Platoon day vs or imaginary LHP
9. Patterson (P) Imaginary pitcher for imaginary lineup.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

ESJ -

Would you have kept Watson up here, seeing as how he won every game with timely hiting and displayed real fire - remember that screaming, fist-pumping steal of 2d with the ump showing safe in the background?

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, before you start bashing me, read the other responses. I know that Barry said on the active roster,and I got those 4, by the way, but powerboater69 asked if Guzman and NJ were the other 2 and I assumed he meant on the DL, since neither of them are on the active roster. John Patterson, now on the DL and not the active roster, was very much on the team in 2005, and in the Opening Day starting rotation, as any Nat fan who was here in that year very well knows! Now, please tell me what was wrong with my response. Don't be so quick to shoot first and ask questions later.

"3) I got all four. Are Guzman and Johnson the only other two still with the team

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 13, 2007 08:26 AM

Posted by: gilsfan | August 13, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Finally, any word on Patterson's throwing program and when we can expect a re-hab start, and where?

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 10:40 AM
__________________________________________

Barry, I am seconding this request. Please let us know what is going on with Patterson.

Posted by: gilsfan | August 13, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie,
I would have kept Watson and released Fick (One game does not a year (or career) save. I know what your going to say, who is the backup for Young then? My answer would be Larry Broadway. He's 26 and has finally started hitting for power if not now when? If we don't have Johnson next year he'll be a great backup to Young and if we do have Johnson we might be able to find someone intersted in him to clear a space for someone younger (we have two good potentials in AA).

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

With Hill starting Tuesday and Today being a day off this is Manny's chance to re-set the rotation.

Redding, Hanrahan and Chico are all available to start on Wednesday and Lannan is available on Thursday.

The MLB website has Redding on Wednesday and Hanrahan on Thursday, but those projections are strickly based on who pitched last....

Sooooo, if you had your choice what would be the order of the rotation? Mine is;

1. Hill
2. Redding
3. Hanrahan
4. Lannan
5. Chico (and extra days rest might do him good).

A lot also depends on who we're facing with Philly and the NYM, but we don't have another day off again until August 30th so if your going to shuffle the line-up, the time is now.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Barry, that's too many questions for me to deal with, I'm too simple-minded, besides I'm at the beach right now, so I can't focus on that many points (although Kearns should go). But I was intrigued by this tidbit from espn.com's team rankings:

20) White Sox
21) NATS
22) Orioles
23) Cardinals

So the Nats are bookended by the last two World Champs and our friends from up the road. Yes, two of those teams are in declinne and the other never goes anywhere, but still did anybody in baseball consider the Nats the equal of those teams at the beginning of the year? And haven't the Nats had as many injuries as those teams, yet they're overachieving? Doesn't that make Manny Acta Manager of the Year? Didn't I just ask more questions than Barry? I'm out!

Posted by: GEVA | August 13, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

gilsfan, I'm not sure whether your bashing comment was meant for me? It's always challenging to intuit mood from virtual communications, I realize, but I was attempting to defend the members of this blog at large, after you had perhaps in jest) characterized them as "brainwashed." I had not perceived that powerboater's posting, rather those of all contributors to the thread, were the subject of your remarks (I think that was the case because of the "all of you" language). I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your meaning.

---

Hey, before you start bashing me, read the other responses. I know that Barry said on the active roster, and I got those 4, by the way, but powerboater69 asked if Guzman and NJ were the other 2 and I assumed he meant on the DL, since neither of them are on the active roster. John Patterson, now on the DL and not the active roster, was very much on the team in 2005, and in the Opening Day starting rotation, as any Nat fan who was here in that year very well knows! Now, please tell me what was wrong with my response. Don't be so quick to shoot first and ask questions later.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"But what if we don't have a blog in the off-season (gulp)?"

... can't speak for Hendo, natsfan1a, but the idea we'd go dormant simply never occurred to me.

... up here in the great white hinterland, I'm also a card-carrying member of a Habs (Montreal Canadiens) blog - as useless a group of socially inept dim-wits as you'll ever bust a gut laughing over - and the thing just won't die. Through all kinds of weather, season in-season out, it keeps on going in true Eveready style, with the most innane, mundane (and all the 'ane) topics you can imagine.

... I simply assumed we'd do the same, since in my experience, there's far more important and interesting baseball thought-control to be done in the winter than there is to be accomplished for hockey in summer.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, natscan, I hope we'll continue in the off-season as well. Your Habs blog sounds, um, interesting. At least we know where else we could find you should the need arise. ;)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

1. Church was on the active roster, but you're right, he tweaked his groin in the exhibition game against the Mets at RFK Stadium the day before the opener. He was supposed to be in the starting lineup, but he wasn't (Wilkerson in center, Sledge in left). The injury, though, wasn't bad enough for him to be placed on the DL.

2. Patterson: He's in Viera, Fla., on a throwing program. He still intends to pitch in the majors this year, but keep in mind he'll need some rehabilitation starts, and the minor league season ends around Labor Day. Same goes for anyone thinking about Nick Johnson's return.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | August 13, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"What of our in-organization potential outfielders for 2008 can play Right Field, Young, Church, Logan, Watson?" Hendo asks, and the very sight of those names, pixellated on my screen makes me ask in return, pointedly and with drastic abandon:

Young, Church, Kearns, Logan, Watson (altho' my awareness is limited with him), Langerhans, Fick. Is there an MLB-quality outfielder among the bunch?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

P Nats Fan, thanks for the very cool update!

Posted by: G-town | August 13, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

ESJ-

And do without that triple yestersday? And Fick's Picks out of the dirt at 1st? Why not keep Watson and release Langerhans, even though I am grateful for his occassional power and always thrilling defense.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry (AKA "Svrgali") for the update. I will think what Barry says...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that means there isn't any schedule for when he'll be ready for a rehab start - Ditto for Johnson.

Any word on Bergmann though? He last pitched on the 8th so he should be ready to pitch again today...

I see Colome pitched an inning Sunday at GCL what's his status?

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I forgot the emoticon...

Thanks, Barry (AKA "Svrgali") for the update. I will think what Barry says... :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"My answer would be Larry Broadway. He's 26 and has finally started hitting for power if not now when?"

... but ESJ: didn't Larry B. hit for power on the farm before last spring too? Wasn't it his power we/they slavered over at the prospect of him making the team? Then look what happened; how he simply wasn't up for the big-time. What's to say it won't happen again second time around?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

On Saturday night, Charlie and Dave did a hilarious riff on JimBow's answered prayers for Colome, his buttocks, and his family.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie,
Yes I'd do without the triple and the dig from the dirt. Over the last 6-8 weeks how much production have we lost with Fick in the line-up? (especially late in games when Young has come out).

That said I don't know enough about Broadway's defensive prowess and there in no way to judge how much of his recent success will translate to the majors.

Also, my point was to release/demote both Fick and Langerhans. Watson would take Langerhans slot as the 4th outfielder and Broadway would talk Fick's spot as backup 1B (I don't consider Fick our 5th outfielder anymore, and I think Manny and JimBow don't either).

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Dang, flynnie, I'm sorry I missed that. We were at dinner with friends and I only heard the beginning and the end (ironically enough) of the game. I can only imagine what Charlie and Dave must have done with that...

---

On Saturday night, Charlie and Dave did a hilarious riff on JimBow's answered prayers for Colome, his buttocks, and his family.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"But what if we don't have a blog in the off-season (gulp)?"

You will have a blog in the off-season. One way or another.

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

natscan reduxit,
That's why I said if not now, when? If he can't do it now (and I'm guessing we'll see him on Sept. 5th) than the answer is never. We'll probably send him away and make room for someone like Josh Whitesell who is batting .287 w/ 20HRs 18doubles and a .422OBP/.510SLG for a .941 OPS! Oh yea, and he turned 25 in april (vs Broadway turning 27 this december).

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

No, the Logan-to-Patterson lineup was not my doing. I am flattered, though.

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Woops, here are Whitesell's actually numbers at AA Harrisburg;

.287avg/.422obp/.519slg/.941ops

I was close...

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"1. Hill
2. Redding
3. Hanrahan
4. Lannan
5. Chico (and extra days rest might do him good)."

If you are going to reset everything why not mix it up? You two hard throwing righties back to back followed by two soft left handers. Why not mix them up.

1. Hill
2. Chico
3. Redding
4. Lannan
5. Hanrahan

Then you don't give teams similar looks on back to back days.

Posted by: natrat | August 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE answering my own question;

Regarding Bergmann from the Nationals Farm Authority;

Tonight: Columbus RHP Jason Bergmann (NR) makes a rehab appearance in Richmond at 7:00PM

Roadtrip anyone?

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

GilsFan: There would have been less confusion over your posting if you had simply answered my question rather than asking if all Nats fans had been brainwashed.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 13, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

estuartj

... understood ... upon second reading.

... back in Viera, I wanted to see Larry do well, if for no other reason that he'd been touted as 'on his way'. But you've hit the nail on the same head I'd have, if I'd have had a hammer: "If not now, when?" It hurts a little bit to have to answer: "possibly never."

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hendo,
The lineup with Patterson pitching was my creation, I don't know how it got attributed to you. I was writting from my blackberry (thus the double and triple postings), but I don't know how that would do it either.

Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

How much does RFK play into all of Church's 2Br's? I believe more than just a few of his doubles would be homers if he was playing in let's say Philadelphia.

Larry Broadway is an excellent fielding 1B.
Being tall and a lefty helps.

By the way happy international left handers day everyone!

Posted by: Tom | August 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Natscan reduxit,

I hate seeing guys careers come to that breaking point. I remember when Rick Short came up and then got sent right back down. He came up again in september and was hitting around .400, but he never had a chance and they sold him to the Japanese league.

Maybe Broadway is another AAAA player, too good for the minors, but not good enough for the bigs. I heard it said once that the second biggest talent differential in sports is from AAA to the bigs (curiously #1 was the talent differential between HS and College football).

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, do you recall what inning that was, so I can go back to it? Might as well get my $15 worth out of MLB radio...


On Saturday night, Charlie and Dave did a hilarious riff on JimBow's answered prayers for Colome, his buttocks, and his family.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 12:59 PM

Posted by: Cevansjr | August 13, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1A-

Through the laughter, I was thinking, "Hey, guys, remember what happened to Jon Miller up the road for saying what restaurant he was taking his wife to after an O's loss!" But from Charlie's heartfelt cry for coffee - "A whole pot, from IHOP!" and Dave's puritanical rebukes - "Why drink it? You just get cranky when you can't get it!" - to JimBow's prayer life, these guys are the best. They have that touch of subversive humor that is endearing without being destructive.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Why, thanks, Tom, from an eccentric left hander (but I'm in my right mind...)

---

By the way happy international left handers day everyone!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Hendo!

---

You will have a blog in the off-season. One way or another.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry, for the update on Patterson. I am aware that the minor league season ends around labor day. Do you have any idea how close he is to a rehab start? In reading the Atlethics website for news on Huston Street, it seems that with some of their starters (not Street as he is a closer)they would give them 1 minor league start, then work them out of the bullpen until they were stretched out enough to go 4 or 5 innings and then start them. Couldn't the Nats do that with Patterson? It seems to me that would work if he can't get enough minor league starts before they close down. He really wants and needs to get back this year if his arm permits and I think the Nats owe it to him to facilitate that.

Sorry if I ruffled any feathers with my earlier post. It often seems to me that Barry would just like to forget that Patterson exists and I feel that some of the posters here share that attitude. Perhaps I am getting paranoid in my old age!

Posted by: gilsfan | August 13, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, yes, I love listening to those guys! I do recall Charlie's original coffee-seeking odyssey, and my thinking at the time, hmmm, so that's what fuels him...

---

But from Charlie's heartfelt cry for coffee - "A whole pot, from IHOP!" and Dave's puritanical rebukes - "Why drink it? You just get cranky when you can't get it!" - to JimBow's prayer life, these guys are the best. They have that touch of subversive humor that is endearing without being destructive.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, gilsfan, I'm sorry if I ruffled yours, too. I'd love to see Patterson back and healthy.

---

Sorry if I ruffled any feathers with my earlier post. It often seems to me that Barry would just like to forget that Patterson exists and I feel that some of the posters here share that attitude. Perhaps I am getting paranoid in my old age!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like to see him prove me wrong, it really looks like Broadway is done as a National. The 1B job was his for the taking in Spring Training, and he couldn't close the deal. He then he struggled upon being demoted to AAA.

He's hitting .355 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, and 7 RBI in his last ten games, but he's only hitting .257 (16 2B, 10 HR, 38 RBI) in 83 games.

Barry has said that the guy would benefit from a change of scenery, and I think he's right. After all, the Nationals will be paying over $10 million to two different first basemen next year. I don't see him getting called up in September, though, seeing as how management has a few other guys they want to get a read on.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Larry Broadway is simply holding back Josh Whitesell who is doing well in AA.

Did anyone else see the Futures at Fenway game this Saturday on New England Sports Network (NESN) as Washington's AA team, Harrisburg, played Portland?

What a lack of pitching!!! Harrisburg blew an 8-3 lead!!! I'm still amazed by anyone who says that our system has a lot of good pitching prospects! Maybe in Vermont but definetely not in Potomac or Harrisburg. check it out on www.MILB.com

Posted by: P Nats Fan | August 13, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

cevansjr -

I'm trying to put it in context to get the inning for you. Let's see, I remember laughing out loud, the family coming to the door to see if I'd lost my mind, as I was alone - I'd say 7th, but it's a guess.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be forever let's wait and see, but:

1. No matter what the predictions, we won't know how OxBlue Stadium will play until at least 1/2 of the season (and probably longer), and my seats are not even in, yet. Thus, virtually no predictions about hitters, doubles, HRs, necessary defense are valid.
2. C/W says that a Major league ballplayer needs about 1,500 P.A. to truly asses his offensive abilities. As such, it will really be some time in 2008 before we know what we really have with Zimm. BTW, this year: .275. My prediction for the next decade: .280 / 25-35 HR (depending on OxBlue) / 125 - 140 RBI.
3. Manny for MOY...NL, probably not. Central, either Yost if Brewers or Pinnella if Cubs.
4. No outfield changes for next year, unless someone really hot comes up, and I don't think that any real studs are up this year. See #1.

As far as Dave Chappelle's remark...Hogwash. DC is probably the least segregated big city in the country. He has, apparently, never been to Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta, etc. On the ballpark. Next time you're there, look around and check out the variety of fans in the seats. Then, go to OPCY. Find the black person.

Posted by: Catcher50 | August 13, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

So, Natscan, is it too early to expect Carey Price to compete for the #1 goaltending job? With less than a month until training camp, I have to figure Habs fans have sounded the Drums of Goalie Controversy.

Maybe I should save this for the offseason chats...

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, F, that sounds about right. Announcers usually start getting giddy (those who do) about that point.
I remember, decades ago, when the Cubs traded a set-up guy named Porfi Altimirano, rumor had it, because there was NO WAY Harry Carey could pronounce "Porfi Altimirano" by the 7th inning.

Charlie and Dave are definitely growing on me. (All time favorite: Hank Greenwald.)

I'd say 7th, but it's a guess.
Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 01:48 PM

Posted by: Cevansjr | August 13, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Looking like the D'backs: On the surface it looks like we're heading in the D'back direction: prospects showing up, Meat and Belly as the clubhouse-leading, hitting vets, a sudden glut of pitchers, even a potential Webb in our boy Hill.

But I still have a sinking feeling (no pun intended) in my gut that we have way too many holes yet to think we're even close. 1B=question mark. Even 2B and SS are question marks when you think about it. Our whole outfield is a question mark because none of them is really sparkly. Kearns? Solid but not sparkly.

Which brings me to Nook. Yes I think he turned a corner but not because he gave up hitting left. It happened when the Langerhans platoon stopped.

Manny as MOTY: I don't think our win/loss record will determine this. It will depend on what the team has done to draw attention to ourselves right when the MOTY buzz is nearing its peak. Have we taken any exciting games from the leaders in our division? Taken the wild card from someone? Moved up to 4th place? We have the Phillies and Mets this homestand, Florida and Atlanta in the next one. If we see some of the same flashes of sparkle as we got in Arizona last night in any of those games, more eyes will be on the Nats and Manny. That's when he'll have a real chance at MOTY.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 13, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi John in Mpls ,

... I despondently agree with you about Larry B.'s future with the Nats. But I'll ask you, and estuartj, whether you feel he's good enough to play in MLB for another team. For that, read: might he be an attractive part of an off-season trade?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

cevansjr -

Hank Greenwald - Communicated utter love for the Giants, but criticized Bonds in a memoir (in 1999!) and was frozen out of any recognition on the field during the last game at Candlestick. Except that the great Jon Miller invited him to the booth to call the 4th inning!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Re: Charlie and Dave ...

I like them too -- more and more (I also liked the other Dave.)

But has anybody else noticed that whenever the Nats do something good, Charlie sounds like he is thunderstruck -- like such a thing can't possibly be happening.

BTW, my favorites (aside from John McLain and Dan Daniels but there might be juat a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in that) was Rizzuto, White and Messer on the radio. Bill White was the sharpest baseball analyst I have ever heard, you could actually keep a decent scorecard when Frank was handling the PBP -- and Phil ... well, Phil is a national treasure.

alan

Posted by: amb141 | August 13, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Ariz. is 20-7 vs. NL East, incl. 6-1 vs. DC, but 3-4 vs. the Mets.

Barry's covered this, but it is central to the discussion: it's hard to know what they have until we know how the new park will play, and we won't know that until the end of 2008. How much does the pitching staff benefit from being in RFK, how much do the hitters suffer, and how will finding out affect their confidence? Road stats are instructive and relevant, but none of those games were played in the new park. 2009 will be a key year for lots of reasons.

Posted by: cevans | August 13, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

P.S. I gotta do something about my baseball and Nationals Journal addiction. I had a dream the other night that I was in London (?) walking through a school with a maze of hallways looking for a class I was supposed to be taking. I was running late, but when I finally found the classroom, it had "Barry" on the nameplate outside the door. He was teaching a baseball class. I walked in and you were all there, sitting down waiting for me because I was the last student to arrive. Barry was handing out papers and somehow knew my real name. Also, I looked around the "classroom" and the desks were long, butcher-block tables with picnic table-style seating, dim lighting and rounds of pitchers being delivered.
Thought you'd get a kick out of it.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 13, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"But has anybody else noticed that whenever the Nats do something good, Charlie sounds like he is thunderstruck -- like such a thing can't possibly be happening."

Now you look me right in the eye, with a straight face, and tell me you haven't done the same thing, at least once in a while.

I thought so.

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hi John in Mpls,

... not much word about Carey at the moment. Latest bruhaha has been over Bob Gainey (re)signing Patrice Brisbois ... again.

... but at the tail end of last season, we were all abuzz over the fact that there was a surfeit of goaltenders, and Carey was usually picked as the guy to beat at training camp. I'd venture a guess the Habs will start the season with Huet and Price as #1 and #2, with the order being shifted as time goes on.

... and now back to the diamond ...

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

When I heard Miller got that job, I was glad; I thought he was the one who could follow Greenwald's easygoing professionalism and great storytelling. I miss him still.

---
Except that the great Jon Miller invited him to the booth to call the 4th inning!
Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 02:34 PM

Posted by: Cevansjr | August 13, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"... there was NO WAY Harry Carey could pronounce ..."

... one of my most favourite moments in all of baseball came when Harry Carey was doing an Expos game and tried to announce that Mark Grudzielanek was playing short.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"But has anybody else noticed that whenever the Nats do something good, Charlie sounds like he is thunderstruck -- like such a thing can't possibly be happening."

To be fair, he sounded more stunned on the Nook-at-third base call.

Posted by: c jr | August 13, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, cool dream.

The room sounds like my high school chem lab, though. Better give those pitchers a sniff before you start pouring.

Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut, that's a hoot! At first reading, I was visually pitchers as in players as opposed to pitchers as in serving vessels (or is that the same thing?). Maybe we can recreate the dream at our gathering on 9/23...

---

P.S. I gotta do something about my baseball and Nationals Journal addiction. I had a dream the other night that I was in London (?) walking through a school with a maze of hallways looking for a class I was supposed to be taking. I was running late, but when I finally found the classroom, it had "Barry" on the nameplate outside the door. He was teaching a baseball class. I walked in and you were all there, sitting down waiting for me because I was the last student to arrive. Barry was handing out papers and somehow knew my real name. Also, I looked around the "classroom" and the desks were long, butcher-block tables with picnic table-style seating, dim lighting and rounds of pitchers being delivered.
Thought you'd get a kick out of it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Hendo

>> Now you look me right in the eye, with a straight face, and tell me you haven't done the same thing, at least once in a while. <<

Well, yeah -- but I grew up with the expansion Senators. And if Bobo Osborne got a hit or Jim Duckworth had a one-two-three inning I WAS thunderstruck. Old habits are hard to break.

alan

Posted by: amb141 | August 13, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Thunderstruck Charlie --
And of course, there's always "I don't believe it! This is gonna be a HOME RUN!"
"I do NOT believe what my eyes just saw." by the Greatest Of All Time, Vin Scully.

Posted by: c "Big Evs" jr | August 13, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, I meant "visualizing"

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts exactly.

Better give those pitchers a sniff before you start pouring.
Posted by: Hendo | August 13, 2007 02:47 PM

Posted by: (not) Jim Bowden | August 13, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

>>

"... there was NO WAY Harry Carey could pronounce ..."

... one of my most favourite moments in all of baseball came when Harry Carey was doing an Expos game and tried to announce that Mark Grudzielanek was playing short. <<

Tommy Hutton when he called Yankee games one year could not pronounce "Luis Polonia". But the best of 'em all, that I heard. was Kiner trying to say the name of Reds longtime backup catcher Dann Billardello. For seven years (or however long Billardello played) Kiner called him "Danny Bordello"

alan

Posted by: amb141 | August 13, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

My favorite moment saw Carey trying to provide the caption for two snuggling lovers in the stands. "He's kissing her on the strikes, and she's kissing him on the balls."

-----

... one of my most favourite moments in all of baseball came when Harry Carey was doing an Expos game and tried to announce that Mark Grudzielanek was playing short.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Heh, great pitching woo story...

---

My favorite moment saw Carey trying to provide the caption for two snuggling lovers in the stands. "He's kissing her on the strikes, and she's kissing him on the balls."

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd venture to say yes. He was a PCL all-star last season, but it looked like the pressure to make it to the bigs got to him. Again, I think a change of scenery will help. He's very good defensively, and that never hurts. I'd actually love to see him up in September, but I don't see the front office using the roster spot on him.

(And I tend to agree with the bewilderment surrounding the re-re-signing of Brisebois. I think Price will end up back in Hamilton, just to get the ice time. Still, it seems like a heck of a waste for the Calder Cup MVP. By the way, there's a Habs blueline prospect playing here for the U - David Fischer - who looks pretty good. I'll keep you posted.)

-----

I'll ask you, and estuartj, whether you feel he's good enough to play in MLB for another team. For that, read: might he be an attractive part of an off-season trade?

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

It turns out my "favorite Carey moment" may not have happened at all. The same quote has been attributed to both Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy, as well as Carey.

A good friend of mine is a Cubs fan, sadly, and he was the person who told me about this. I assumed he saw it himself. I'll have to call him on that later.

The "What was Nook Logan thinking!" call, well, I heard that one myself, and it was a beauty.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Re: Larry Broadway;

He will be called up. If he does well we might still see him in the organization next year. Even if he does well and especially if he does not we'll probably see him traded value for value with another club looking to fill a whole. We'll probably look for and get either a good AAA infielder or a mediocre utility man. If we didn't have two first baseman under contract for next year he might still be in the organization's plans. Unfortunately for him I think his charge in teh second half is too late. Had he started the season like this we probably would have seen him up to replace Fick and possibly would have made Meat expendable.

Maybe a change of scenery will finally allow him to break into the bigs and find a home...

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

It's a great story either way, John.

The Nook Logan call was an immediate classic, IMO. When they re-played first-half highlights on the radio show just after the All-Star break, that call was included (as well it should be).

---

It turns out my "favorite Carey moment" may not have happened at all. The same quote has been attributed to both Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy, as well as Carey.

A good friend of mine is a Cubs fan, sadly, and he was the person who told me about this. I assumed he saw it himself. I'll have to call him on that later.

The "What was Nook Logan thinking!" call, well, I heard that one myself, and it was a beauty.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised we haven't gotten any comments on Jason Bergmann starting for Columbus tonight.

If he does well vs. Richmond he would be available to pitch in the bigs on Saturday vs Saturday - which happens to be Lannan's turn in the rotation (if Manny doesn't shuffle the order).

IF Bergmann does well (ie 4-5IP 1-2ER on 4-5 Hits) then I think they'll have him up asap.

I'm all about reading tea leaves so keep checking the mlb.com site to see who the probably pitcher are...my guess is that whoever draws Saturday's game will be starting for Columbus...

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

That should have read Satuday vs the Mets.

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I hope not, as I'd love to see Lannan after I've picked up my AL bobblehead on Saturday.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

""I do NOT believe what my eyes just saw." by the Greatest Of All Time, Vin Scully"

... yes Vin was/is the very best. But I wish I could recall the booth announcer who offered the best line I ever heard in a game broadcast. It was probably a Red Sox guy, and he said "You'd have to see this to believe it!" It was on radio.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe what I just saw was not Scully. That was Jack Buck.

Scully's call of the Gibson homer was perfect: "In the season of the improbable, the impossible has happened!"

Slightly more eloquent. ;)

Posted by: Chris | August 13, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This is from Bill Ladson's mailbag today when asked about Nick Johnson and Dimitri Young;

"The purpose of keeping Johnson is that he can hit, and the Nationals need offense in the worst way. It's difficult to see the Nationals winning a championship with this starting eight. The plan is to have Young play left field and have Johnson return to first base next year. "

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi John in Mpls,

... as long as our fellow Nats fans don't get overly PO'd that you and I are having this little tangent, I'll say this:

I think Price will start the season in Montreal because:

1/ ... both Halak and Huet had a couple of slack moments last year that didn't sit well with the fans. Sure it happens to everyone, but this is Montreal we're talking about.

2/ ... with the addition of Brisebois, the fans will want to see something they can cheer for at the back end of the rink. I'm not sure Halak or Huet can be that guy; I'm not sure Hamrlik will be that guy; I'm sure Josh Gorges is not that guy. So Carey could answer that need.

3/ ... he proved himself at the World Jrs., and with the Calder Cup. Habs fans will not sit still and wait for him any longer, especially since there hasn't been a fan favourite in goal since Jose Theodore and even then ...

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Natscan, those are all great reasons, and I certainly hope you're right.

Huet was on my fantasy team (Kansas City Penguins - almost a great prediction), and I certainly agree he wasn't consistent.

While success at the AHL level isn't always telling, when a goalie posts a GAA of 2.09 with two shutouts in the tournament, you have to think he's ready.
Plus, maybe having Price as backup puts the pressure on Huet to compete every night.

(C'mon guys, it's an off day...)

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Recovering from West Coast jet lag today. I witnessed John Lannan's masterpiece in person on Saturday night. He was terrific. Webb though had a nasty breaking pitch, making him virtually unhittable. Two comments about watching games in Phoenix:

1. Indoor baseball is not for me. Geez ... Phoenix is hot. I spent most of my vacation in the mountains outside of Tucson and the difference in temperature 100 to 110 was very noticeable. Still, I don't like the roof and feeling like I'm at a basketball game.

2. The D'Backs ushers do something I like a lot. They do not permit people to return their seats during an inning so as not to disrupt people watching the game. People walking in front of me during the action at RFK drive me nuts.

I've tried to catch up on the posts over the last few days. I've been particularly interested in the discussion about Broadway and Watson. I mentioned this last week, but I trot out again the Bill James formula that says that a player's major league stats will be about 82% of his AAA stats. Taking Braodway and Watson over the course of their AAA careers, this means their major league equivalent over 500 ABs would be:

Broadway

BA: .227 HR: 15 RBI's: 67

Watson

BA: .267 OBP: .300

Watson also has very little power. Neither of these guys is worth wasting time and ABs on this September. These projections are very accurate for players 25 years and older usually.

As far as Barry's questions go:

1. Church won't get to 50 so it's irrelevant. The OF is definitely the weakest part of this team. I'm convinced more than ever that Kearns needs to go. They will not win with him starting. Church could be a 4th OF if he's willing to sit on the bench. I doubt he is. Nook despite his recent hot streak is nothing more than a good small ball bench player. They have NO championship level starting OFs.

2. Zim will finish at .275

3. Acta's done a great job, but others are right. The Nats need to be in contention for him to get enough votes.

4. Schroder should replace Rivera as the 7th inning guy. I don't think he's in the Rauch/Cordero class, but he may be better than Saul. Give him a shot.

5. Bergman cannot be counted on for anything until he can go 6 months without getting hurt. I do think though that he should be kept. He's got front of the rotation stuff.

I enjoyed Barry's post comparing the D'Backs' and Nats' line ups. AZ is way ahead of the Nats. The Nats are nowhere close to having the position player depth that AZ has. Our minor league discussions revolve around guys like Broadway, Watson, and Whitesell - players that no organization would ever have interest in trading for. Meanwhile, the D'backs doors were being knocked down at the trading deadline. One thing I'm surprised at Barry was that you (and no one else at the Post) has mentioned that the D'Backs GM, Josh Byrnes, is a DC native. In fact for about 3 weeks a couple years ago, there were three MLB GM's who all went to HS in the same DC athletic conference and all played against each other (Paul DiPodesta, Dodgers/Episcopal HS (Alexandria); Brian Cashman Yankees/ Georgetown Prep (Rockville); Josh Byrnes D'Backs/St. Albans (DC).

Lastly it was Jack Buck who said "I don't believe what I just saw". That call along with his "Go crazy, folks. Go Crazy" when Ozzie Smith hit a pennant clinching HR for the Cards are my two all-time favorites.

And I've never been a Cards fan. No Carpy jokes.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it's in my all-time top three Nats calls:

1. Zimmerman's walk-off home run against the Yankees on Father's Day last year, called by Slowes.

2. Nook's gaffe, called by Slowes.

3. This little classic by Ava: "Ribs in Toronto? Ribs in Toronto?! RIBS in TORONTO?!?! YEARGH!"

-----

The Nook Logan call was an immediate classic, IMO.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

#4 -

Welcome back! Was that win last night a SWEET GIFT OF SUMMER? Was that you on TV last night in the Nats travel jersey with the rallycap taunting the locals w/pantomime choking, etc.? St. Stephens, St. Albans, and G'town Prep - Natscan's right about wealth being the path to power - at least in America's Game!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing during the games, flynnie. I'm pretty sure MASN showed that same guy at 2 (if not 3) of the 3 games this weekend, and I was wondering if it was #4...

Posted by: Matt | August 13, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie -

That win was a sweet gift. Unfortunately I was at the 1-0 game Saturday night. It wasn't me you saw. I was sitting with my daughter. She had a road blue curly W hat on. I had on a red home hat. Also, taunting the opponent is not my style although I did cheer loudly. I was surprised at how many Nats' hats and jerseys I saw at the game - probably a dozen or so walking around.

My Episcopal friends would be very angry at you for calling it St. Stephen's. Those two schools hate each other. St. Stephen's link to area baseball is that Tom Boswell is an alum.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

#4 -

Matt and I are glad that Taunterfan wasn't you. We need zealous fans, but this guy - well, I feared for his safety, and he would not have made it out alive in Philly, NY, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and probably other venues with a younger, more hot-blooded fan base.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

What's this Bill Ladson writes? Jerome Williams was released by AA Harrisburg?

From #4 starter the bigs to released by a AA team in less than five months. Ouch.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

John, good calls. I missed #1 because I was at the game without a radio, but I've heard it since. Re. #3, I wonder what ever happened to Ava? There were a couple of classic Langerhans calls.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, #4. I'm also glad that you aren't a mime. Then we'd have to start calling you Marcel.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

And yes, I'm way behind Barry on this one. From NJ on August 6th:

"Also: Remember Jerome Williams? The Nationals released him from Class AA Harrisburg today. Dude went 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA and had two stints on the disabled list for the Nats. He then went 0-3 with a 9.08 ERA in 14 appearances, just four starts, for Harrisburg."

Just more proof we have the best in the business in Barry.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 13, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Philly, did any of you see them rush out of their dugout to rescue the Rockies' grounds crew who were being buried and sent airborne by the tarp during the most hellish storm I've ever seen strike a ballpark? A grown man holding onto that tarp was being bounced and dragged up and down 4-5' like a toy! Only one Rocky helped, while Shane Victorino and all of his teammates got control of the tarp and sat laughing through a lashing rain. On NPR the next day, (Yes, NPR!) Ryan Howard was asked why more Rockies didn't come to the rescue, and said, "I don't know. Those guys were in trouble. You'll have to ask them." How do you hate the Phillies now? In fact, how can they not be your 2d favorite team?

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

flynnie,

Trying to follow the story - do you mean that only one of the Phillies helped with the tarp, and Ryan Howard did not know why more Phillies did not come to the rescue?

Posted by: Traveler | August 13, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that was pretty cool. The Philadelphia Weekly headline after the Phillies won was funny, too: Phillies Help Grounds Crew, Defeat Lazy Jerks. They won't become my 2d favorite team, though...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Traveler, only one Rockies player helped with the tarp, though many (all?) of the Phillies players did. The game was in Denver.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Traveler -

All of the Phillies rushed out as one to rescue the Colorado grounds crew. It was a heroic, beutiful thing.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I get it - sorry I'm so slow on that one! Yes, terrific story!

Posted by: Traveler | August 13, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Pulling tarps on and off a field in a windy storm is an extremely dangerous business. People have been knocked cold, have broken limbs, and have been suffocated in the process. In this day of pampered players who are worried about their next contract, I am very impressed by what the Phillies did (and not surprised by the Rockies). I cannot root for the Phillies, but I can respect them.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Barry, what's the latest on Smoker and McGeary? Are they going to be signed?

Posted by: Nats Fan | August 13, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

#4-

I had no idea that a tarp in a windstorm was that dangerous! That makes the Phillies truly heroic and newsworthy - pampered millionaires aren't supposed to be so heedless of life and limb. There were at least two guys under the tarp - it had flipped over them in the wind, and the one guy trying to hold onto the corner being whipped into the air and bounced along the ground. Come on, now, #4, doesn't this make the Phillies #2 in your heart? And natsfan1a - thanks for the great headline!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Flynnie. No dice.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure I'll be cured of my phillyphilia as soon as I have to sit next to one of their fans.

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's the clip of Phillies helping groundscrew (sorry for the long URL, but it does work).

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl.jsp?w=mms%3A//a1503.v108692.c10869.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1503/10869/v0001/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2007/open/tp/archive07/070807_phicol_raintarp_tp_350.wmv&w_id=584219&pid=mlb_tp&fid=mlb_tp400&v=2&gid=2007/07/08/phimlb-colmlb-1&login=N&authorization=N&mType=w&urlstr=&mUrl=&type=v_free&_mp=1

Posted by: NatsNut | August 13, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of bringing guys up in September, how does a player's status on the 40 man roster impact the decision to bring him up? Does anyone know? Right now the Nats have 40 players on their 40 man although three of them aren't technically on it because they are on the 60 day DL - Escobar, Johnson, and Wagner. The only position players on the 40 man and in the minors are Kory Casto and Brandon Watson. Broadway and Whitesell, aren't on it. Neither are Detwiler and Balester. My question is would the Nats have to drop people off their 40 man in order to bring up one of these last four. If so, would the guy they drop have to be released? sent through waivers? I think because of this numbers game and the fact that having extra players costs money (salaries/travel), I'm betting there are not more than two guys called up. I'm betting they are both pitchers.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Natnut:

Thanks for the URL. That was outstsnding to watch. At the beginning one could see one of the grounds guys get rolled under the tarp. He's lucky that he wasn't seriously injured or suffocated. Next time we are at RFK, we should tip our hats to the grounds crew.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to go on about this, but the other thing that should be pointed out is that if the tarp gets out of control, it can pick up speed, blow into the stands and kill a fan. The grounds crew was heroic themselves, hanging on for dear life the way they did.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

If it had happened in Philly, I wonder whether the fans would have booed the grounds crew? ;)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"My Episcopal friends..."

#4: and an Anglican one north of 49.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

My Phillies phan posting preceded #4's on the hazards that tarps can present to grounds crews. Just want to clarify that I agree that the crew and the Phillies (and LaTroy Hawkins, the only Rockies player to help) were heroic. I just couldn't resist taking a little jab at Phillies phans. I'm a baaaaad poster... :(

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a:

You can strike the words "I wonder whether" and the ?.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"Jerome Williams was released by AA Harrisburg?"

John, I believe this happened a week or two ago, didn't it??

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

After having watched the tarp clip again (I did see it shortly after the incident took place), I'd like to also commend the two umps who assisted with the tarp. We fans sometimes tend to notice umps only when they're inconsistent/off in their calls (at least from our perspective), so here's to you, Blues, for lending a helping hand!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, #4!

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Natsfan1a:

You can strike the words "I wonder whether" and the ?.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Natscan -

Episcopal meant the high school, not the religion. I should have typed "My friends who attended Episcopal..."

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

natscan, I think that John later confessed that he was behind in reading Barry's postings (I imagine that he was at Burger King...)

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John, I believe this happened a week or two ago, didn't it??

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

... I want to thank any and all of you for tipping me to the Phillies/Tarp thing. It truly was a unique episode in this season. But more than that, it makes me feel (realize?) that there is a whole lot of good in baseball players - just like there is in all people.

... from what I've read on this blog, Phillie fans can be rather insolent and churlish. But we shouldn't project that sensibility onto the players themselves.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"

Natscan -

Episcopal meant the high school, not the religion. I should have typed "My friends who attended Episcopal..."

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 06:45 PM "

~~~~~~~~~~

... that's okay #4. It was just my little bit of social evangelism. But be assured being Episcopal/Anglican is nothing to shy away from.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 13, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

natscan reduxit -

Wasn't it fine, exhilarating, and morally uplifting? I wonder if anyone else out there can educate us on spontaneous episodes of baseball heroism by whole teams? If there's more like this out there, I want to see it!

Posted by: flynnie | August 13, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that there are many similarly inspirational stories out there, flynnie, but you might start by searching for info on MLB players in the San Francisco Bay Area in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta quake and in New York City in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Re. my second example, I recommend a documentary called, I believe, 9 Innings at Ground Zero (available via NetFlix).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, you would think that I would know better than to post before fact-checking by now...it's Nine Innings from Ground Zero (originally shown on HBO)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 13, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Answers to questions:

Please note that I've only answered some of the question... However, all of my answers are correct.

RE: Logan - I think there are a number of possible reasons for Logan's transformation. One is, just your basic hot streak... and I am inclined to believe that one first... which would by definition preclude one from declaring him to be 'fixed'. The others, such as the end of the platoon, the end of switch hitting, and a good talking-to by Bowden all are problematic. There have been a couple of comments in the blog about about the whole good talking-to thing, and I am of the same mind as other commetors, that professional ballplayers shouldn't need that. The short answer is, if Logan is still playing CF on a regular basis next year for the Nats, then either he's made a miraculous transformation, or someone didn't get the right free agent in the offseason.

RE: Zimm - Get Dmitri back in the lineup hitting 4th, and see Zimm get good pitches to hit.

RE: Manny and Manager of the Year - I think it sounds good, on the surface, but... a) it isn't going to happen, and b) I think Manny would consider that trivial, compared to the actual goal, winning the World Series (which means that you shouldn't gauge his success on whether he does or does not win it... and in fact, I might argue that winning it would distract from the final goal, anyway). Winning any award like that is really a political process, and it means making a splash somehow... and in this case, it means a bunch of people having to admit they were wrong at the beginning of the season, about something (The Nats' record) that doesn't mean anything to anyone (in their sphere).

RE: Schroeder - Lets see what he can do.

RE: Kearns - Kearns is one of those guys that gets hot when everyone else gets hot. You can see it in his eyes. The new stadium is going to fix Kearns because everyone is going to hit better there.

RE: Church - There are a lot of stats out there that are meaningless unless you look at them over a large sample. That is true with most batting statistics. On the other hand, if you have a full season to look at, that tells you something. If Church hits 50 doubles, then it means that he's a lot better than everyone thinks. The question in my mind becomes, what can the Nats do to have him realize his potential? One answer might be to trade him.

RE: Bergmann - The Bergmann of earlier in the season would be awesome to have in 2008... but I don't think that he or anyone else could be considered a stable member of the 2008 rotation. We've seen some surprising performances from starters this year... but nobody has shown me the consistency that would make me dub them a "stable member" of the rotation. The good news is, we have 8 or 9 potential candidates that we didn't have last year. In his (and most of the other starter's)defense, the thing that has kept them from proving themselves as consistent players is injury... they won't have the innings to show anyone that they have a season's worth of good stuff... and while Chico hasn't missed a start, he seems to be faltering in the stretch. The injury thing has to get resolved, and were it just this year, I would just call it bad luck, but the Nats have had three years (at least) of injury-plagued seasons... I don't think it is coincidence...

See? I told you they were all correct!

Posted by: Wigi | August 13, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

It appears that the biggest disagreement amongst the faithful here is what the Nats should do with Austin Kearns. Since I'm among his critics, I thought I'd actually look at his stats during his major league career to see what type of player we are talking about. Most of my thoughts to this point are based on my impression of him as a National only. This exercise is done in the hope of seeing some merit in keeping him.

He is on pace to bat 545 times this year. His average output for 545 ABs during his career is BA: .263; OBP: .356; SLG: .447; HR: 21; RBI: 85. These are pretty good. He projects as a solid #5 or #6 hitter in a good National League line up. The Baseball Reference web site lists the four most similar players at his age to him in terms of batting stats are: 1) Rondell White, 2) George Bell, 3) Jermaine Dye, 4) Frank Thomas - also impressive. His output since becoming a National projected out over 545 ABs is BA: .251; OBP: .340; SLG: .395; HR: 15; RBI: 72. Those are not quite as impressive.

The question of course then is which player is he? I don't buy Wigi's assertion that the new park will be a lot more hitter friendly than RFK. In fact I hope it isn't. I'm guessing if one polled MLB GMs, they would tell you that it's much easier to build a winning team in a pitcher's park than a hitter's park. We won't know what sort of park the new one is until a season's worth of games are played there. I guess it just boils down for me that he will be player #2. On a team where players seem to plug away, make adjustments, and seem to be pretty happy campers, Kearns has always appeared to me to be unhappy in DC. I think it would be good for both parties if they traded him for an OF who could run - particularly if they sign someone like Aaron Rowand to play CF. Find a Dave Roberts type to lead off and play a corner OF position. Not Dave Roberts - he's too old - but someone like him.

By the way, the much maligned Adam Dunn who no one in NJ wants projects these stats over 545 ABs - BA: 251; OBP: 377; SLG: 516; HR: 38; RBI: 92. These stats are in a hitter's park though.

Posted by: #4 | August 13, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Will Bergmann be back this weekend? Here is his lione for tonights atart for Columbus at Richmond:

4.0 IP, 5 hits, 3ER, 3BB 3SO

Posted by: estuartj | August 13, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I have also just watched the Phillies tarp tape - I think I was confused back when this topic was first brought up because I couldn't believe that anyone on this blog ever had anything nice to say about the Phils! Considering the matter further, the Phils are fine, really it's their fans that we don't like, with good reason. Heroic is the word for the Phils, the Colorado ground crew, and the others who responded.

Posted by: Traveler | August 13, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

#4:

My thinking about the new park is based on two things: first, it will almost certainly be more of a hitters park than RFK, just because of the dimensions. But in addition to that, if you look at how the park is aligned geographically, the line from home to center field is northeast - I don't know the exact direction, but it is somewhere between NNE and ENE. Having a considerable backround in meteorology, I can tell you that the typical prevailing wind in DC during the summer is out of the southwest, or blowing straight out. Also, the way the stadium is constructed leaves a large gap in the superstructure in center field, which (in other parks) serves to funnel air out that way when the prevailing wind is 'out'. Based on that, my prediction is that it will be at least average, and perhaps better than average hitters park...

The second thing is that I believe that there is some synergy when it comes to hitting... when one guy is hitting, it helps those around him. Most of it may have to do with the fact that you might get better pitches with runners on ahead of you, and that those batting behind you are perceived to be more dangerous, and thus offer you some protection as a hitter... but I also think that since hitting is as much mental as physical, that when a team is playing well, it helps all aspects of their game, and I think events will converge next year for the Nats to overachieve as a team.

As for Kearns, I don't see him as a leader... he's certainly had the opportunity to lead here. But he might be a good follower, in which case, a better-performing Nats will lead to a better-performing Kearns.

I know that most of my argument (about Kearns) is based on touchy-feely stuff... but I think that there is lots about human endeavor that statistics just do not address, and that has been the basis of a lot of recent discussion about players like Logan and others, where they were given a reality check by Bowden, and suddenly their form changed. I personally don't believe that should be necessary with a professional baseball player, but it is hard to argue with results... and the results say that there are relationship things you can do on a team to improve performance... such as a gentle 'reminder' or some team synergy.

Posted by: Wigi | August 13, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Zimm...274 // Record for Manny to win Mgr of Year...81-81 // Schroeder...yes-no-maybe // Bergman...same as Schroeder // Kearns...same as Bergman // centerfield a priority...YES GO NATS...STAY HOT I sound like a politician...yes

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 13, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm probably too late but;

Church making 50 would have to make Nats reconsider how they view him. Maybe in a better lineup those 50 doubles get his RBI total up to 90 and then he's a good LF bat.

Acta should get MOY but won't. Overall record is too low.

Had 3 of 4 from '05, had Rauch for Ayala.

Zimm will be at .280 by year end.

Logan s/b given starting job in '08 IF he finishes the season like he's done since All-Star.

Kearns - He's under contract so will be here in '08, if that year isn't really solid 85+ RBI, 750+ OPS then he has to go.

Schroeder should be given more chances, why not??

Bergman shouldn't be counted on (neither should any of our starters except Chico to be a #4 or #5) but should definitely be given a rotation spot in '08 even if he's weaker in Aug/Sep than he was early this year.

Love the NatsNut dream.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | August 13, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Back from my last minor-league trip of the year. At the Pfitz, the P-Nats came out on top of a 7-5 slugfest -- which featured TWO sets of back-to-back homers by Potomac -- on a three-run walkoff by C Devin Ivany in the bottom of the ninth.

Yep, you did the math right: all seven of the P-Nats runs scored on homers. Wonder how often that happens in the Carolina League?

DH Chris Marrero, 2B Matt Rogelstad, SS Ian Desmond, and perhaps-renascent CF Justin Maxwell did the rest of the yard-going for the Woodbridgians. LF Mike Daniel had some fine at-bats, getting robbed in the ninth on an excellent rundown by Wilmington CF Jose Duarte of a potential extra-base gapper.

Rogelstad had an interesting night. Besides the jack, he drew a walk on a ten-pitch at-bat in the fourth, and singled in the ninth. In the field, he made a Belliard-like move to spear a Brian McFall liner in the second, but then in the seventh seemed to nonchalant a Duarte squib up the middle.

Blue Rocks reliever Rayner Oliveros issued both sets of back-to-back gopher balls. After the second pair of dings, in the seventh, he delivered first-pitch chin music to Daniel, earning himself and Wilmington manager John Mizerock a stern shake of the finger from the man in blue. He proceeded to walk Daniel (harmlessly, as it happened), earning a shower for his trouble as Mizerock had evidently seen enough.

See what you get for a buck? (Thanks, Post!)

Posted by: Hendo | August 14, 2007 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow, there's a lot to catch up on from the weekend so here goes.

Barry's questions:
Church - Just let's see him hit 50 doubles, then we can compare whose company he is in. Until he hits 50 doubles he isn't on that list of distinguished fellas.

Zim - I didn't get to watch enough of the road trip to comfortably comment on his recent cooling, but I tend to agree with wigi that getting Young back into the #4 hole will get Zim more good pitches to hit. I see a lot of people here expect him to end the season at .272 so in the price-is-right style I'm going to go with .273

I, too, misread the "four members" question to mean opening day 2007. Oh well. I would have forgotten about Ayala, anyway.

Acta for MoY? I dunno. I think he's done a great job with what he has to work with, but as a freshman manager I think it is unlikely he gets such an honor. I don't think 80 & 82 is out of reach, nor is 81-81 impossible if our boys are firing on all cylinders.

Yes, let's see more Schroder. He's earned the chance to get the ball more.

I'm hoping Bergmann is a staple in our stable next season. I don't think that "the hammy is a chronic problem" (unless you're referring to Tim Tolman as the chronic problem, Hendo), but he hasn't proven that he's any less fragile than other pitchers.

Kearns is below his career numbers in both SLG and OBP this year. Maybe he's having a hard time, maybe he would be helped by a non-interim hitting coach ... who knows? I'm not ready to junk him yet, but I do notice that his page on the baseball-reference site isn't sponsored. Oh and "(Nick Johnson, call your office.)" ... if I haven't said it in this forum before, I have expressed this sentiment aloud more than a few times.

My guess about Logan's hitting is that he's got twice as much time to focus on hitting from the right side as he did when he was switch-hitting. I like Nook, I really do, but he's missing some key element of playing centerfield. Last week (or so) Don Sutton commented that he was able to make a very nice catch because he didn't break backwards on contact and then change direction the way he usually does. If he gets centerfield figured out his career will keep on going after his speed starts to taper off.

Natscan: I think you're paranoid in your dissection of Bacsik's comment. "Down there" could also be the 'pen while you sit in the dugout waiting for your next day to pitch.

Hendo, et al: I'm really looking forward to getting your booklists in the coming offseason. I've noted with intrest when you've mentioned books before (although I have yet to read them). Amazon has a feature called "Listmania!" that may be useful here.

P Nats Fan: You did have me looking at my watch to see if I could scoot out of the office in time to make Potomac by gametime. Thanks for a GREAT post.

NatsNut: You know, they don't have pitchers, but there are picnic tables in the Red, Hot, & Blue BBQ porch at RFK. I'm just sayin'. If you can dream it, you can do it ... right?

Flynnie: Thanks for pointing out the Phillies tarp story to me (and for posting the link to the video, NatsNut). That was actually pretty cool of those guys. Still, having grown up around Cubs fans I can understand why Phillies fans would become surly after a few decades of consistently lousy teams.

#4: The new park will be more hitter friendly, both for the wind issue that wigi points out and for the fact that it will have much, much less foul territory than RFK. I believe that only the Oakland Coliseum has more space to catch a foul on the fly, which costs batters at-bats. (can't find definitive reference, ballparks.com is a good place to start).

That off day was nice, but ... let's beat the Phillies without extra innings this series, ok Nats?!

Posted by: i hate walks | August 14, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

... to respond to one of #4's comments arising from the ashes of Phoenix:

"Indoor baseball is not for me."

... AB-SO-LUTE-LEEEEE!

... back before 1976, some architect from France came to Montreal and convinced 'les peres de la cite' that an artist could design a retractable roof for a sports venue (Olympic Stadium). Mayor Jean Drapeau bought the notion hook, line et sinker. It turned out to be something that looked like a spider web in a bad Japanese science fiction movie. But worst of all, IT NEVER WORKED!

... so apart from the very early games I watched at the triple-A level Jarry Park, all my Expos adventures were inside that crappy X-box video game of an MLB park. It sucked rocks out loud.

... thank the good lord God that when Toronto wanted an indoor-outdoor stadium, they got people who knew what they were doing, and we got the SkyDome which is almost credible as a baseball park. Outdoor when it can be; indoor when it has to be.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 14, 2007 7:03 AM | Report abuse

re: the dream. Yes, it was pitchers of beer being passed around, not left or right handed pitchers! That was a funny misunderstanding.

Steve Yanda: Great article on Detwiler.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Wigi and ihatewalks:

I'm impressed with the meteorological argument about wind direction, etc. It makes sense. However, I think the prevailing opinion among most baseball analysts is that you never know how the ball will carry until you play games there in all types of weather. The surrounding buildings and topography also impact the carry of the ball. Foul territory does affect batting average, but usually not power numbers much. The key in building this park is that the Nats need to leave room to move the fences back if the park is too homer friendly. If we have a Philly or a Cincy, I think that could be disastrous long term for the franchise. The issue is that it's almost impossible to take seats out and move the fences back. Better would be what happened at Comerica in Detroit. The first year it was too pitcher friendly. They moved the fences in and added seats. It's now a fairer pitcher friendly park.

On Kearns, I guess what I'm worried about is that it's all well and good that his numbers will go up in more hitter friendly park, but of course so will everybody else's including our opponents. That makes the value of each of his hits go down relative to what it takes to win. I don't have the numbers on this, but my sense is that even park adjusted his numbers aren't very good. I suppose the argument could be made - and I think this is what you are saying - that the psychological impact of improved performance will improve his numbers beyond the park adjustment. My "touchy-feely" reaction to that is that I don't see it happening. There is just something about his body language and inability to adjust at the plate that screams "selfish and stubborn" to me. Unless Nationals Park is a band box, I don't see him making great leaps and bounds. If it is a band box, his numbers may go up, but I think the overall performance of the team will go down. We'll see, and for the sake of the franchise, I hope I'm the one looking on-line for crow recipes.

Lastly, Hendo - thanks for the PNats run down. It's good to see positive minor league reports about hitters rather than pitchers for once.

Posted by: #4 | August 14, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

and for the record, I emphatically did *not* mean to create *any* Phillies love by posting that link about the tarp. It was cool of them, but I'm still at the front of the pitchfork-and-torches bunch. ;)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 14, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

... random thoughts on a Tuesday morning:

1/ ... with the team's relative success this year, it is easy forget that the Nats are a long way from the top of anyone's wish list. It is also easy to understand, and difficult for Jim/Manny to resist, trying to hasten the day when wild card, division champion or World Series contention becomes a reality. The administration must not make decisions now on the assumption that since this year was better than expected, the rush to the top will be easier than first imagined. We hold back on the reins now, to let the Plan unfold properly.

2/ ... this must be the most considerate and polite blog there is. In this thread alone with 187 posts, we have used the word 'thanks' 20 times, and 'agree' 7 times. It doesn't sound like much but it made an impression on me every time I noticed how well-behaved and well-mannered we were.

3/ ... let's see now: Cal Ripken is taking on the role of 'America booster' abroad. What do you suppose this might entail? Anyone have any ideas? Will we see the number of international players in the league rise incrementally? Does anyone know what Cal brings to this other than he is a very decent person? Does he have a background in politics or international affairs for instance?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 14, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hendo, thanks for the terrific report, but are you not going to see the World Famous San Diego Chicken in Woodbridge on 8/31?? :)

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Back from my last minor-league trip of the year.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh. never mind...

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re: the dream. Yes, it was pitchers of beer being passed around, not left or right handed pitchers! That was a funny misunderstanding.

Posted by: Emily Latella | August 14, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

i hate walks suggests:

"Natscan: I think you're paranoid..."

... I wouldn't be so paranoid if everyone weren't out to get me. (Old joke, but best I could come up with on short notice.)

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 14, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

natscan, I loved your response (and very well-mannered, it was)

... I wouldn't be so paranoid if everyone weren't out to get me. (Old joke, but best I could come up with on short notice.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Barry: at the beginning of the year, Manny selected Kearns, Schneider, Zimmerman and (someone else?) to act as team leaders. Do you have any idea how that went or is going? Can we look back at any specific part of the season and clearly identify instances where this leadership made an impact or a difference?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 14, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

natscan, I'm with you on politeness. Not that it's not OK sometimes for blogging to be a contact sport, but not here. (Even as I weep with mirth at NatsNut's depiction of the Philly faithful fleeing for their lives before a pitchfork-and-torch-bearing mob of true Nats believers. And yet tip my hat to the Philly players who put themselves in harm's way to help out that grounds crew.)

I might have spoken too soon in the wee hours re "last minor league trip of the year." There's a businesspeople's special at 12:05 tomorrow at the Pfitz, and I am feeling all businesslike. Especially since two weeks hence will find me in baseball-free India. (Maybe Cal can do some business there?)

Posted by: Hendo | August 14, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm not Barry, but I'm pressing my buzzer to weigh in on question1: Who was Lopey?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Hendo, that was a quick turnaound (re. the "last" trip)!

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I might have spoken too soon in the wee hours re "last minor league trip of the year." There's a businesspeople's special at 12:05 tomorrow at the Pfitz, and I am feeling all businesslike. Especially since two weeks hence will find me in baseball-free India. (Maybe Cal can do some business there?)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut: I'll second that emotion. Nice placement, too (i.e., above the fold)!

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Steve Yanda: Great article on Detwiler.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't so much behind as I was simply not thorough. Williams was released on August 6th, otherwise known as Lannan vs. Bonds Night, so I understandably overlooked the transaction.

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natscan, I think that John later confessed that he was behind in reading Barry's postings (I imagine that he was at Burger King...)

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 14, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I was looking through the minor league affiliated websites and spotted another pitcher in AAA that we haven't spoken about here, but might see in September and in Spring Training. Someone to keep an eye on for the next few weeks anyway;

Lefty Columbus Relief Pitcher Arnaldo Munoz
DOB: 6/21/82, 5'9" (shorty!) 170lb.
2-1 in 46 appearances (44.2IP)
42 Hits
14 ER
2.82 ERA
41 SO
15 BB
.243 avg against

Seems like the best relief pitcher prospect in AAA right now.

Posted by: estuartj | August 14, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the mischaracteriziation, John. I was too lazy to look back to see just what you'd said when I piped up in response to natscan (in my inaccurate attempt to set the record straight).

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I wasn't so much behind as I was simply not thorough. Williams was released on August 6th, otherwise known as Lannan vs. Bonds Night, so I understandably overlooked the transaction.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

And here comes my "I'm sorry" #2 for the day, this time for a spelling gaffe...and it's only 10:12 a.m. EST ;)

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I mistyped: Sorry for the mischaracteriziation

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

This new post alert is brought to you by natsfan1a

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Oh no, not a mischaracterization at all. I appreciate your response! And, just to drive the count up, I'm sorry, you're right, I agree.

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Sorry for the mischaracteriziation, John. I was too lazy to look back to see just what you'd said when I piped up in response to natscan (in my inaccurate attempt to set the record straight).

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 14, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, John (getting that counter up...).

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Oh no, not a mischaracterization at all. I appreciate your response! And, just to drive the count up, I'm sorry, you're right, I agree.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll comment here on several of the above threads, rather than moving to the new post.

Have you noticed national media - web, tv, whatever - always refer to the Nats as "lowly," etc.? Meanwhile GB/A shows there are 7 teams worse than us. It's as if none of these media jebronis have looked at the standings and are still going by preseason predictions. That just annoys me.

P-Nats: Went to a game Aug. 1 and saw Marrero absolutely crush two homers. However, the pitching on both sides that night was lackluster. Facing a new pitcher in his third AB he struck out swinging for the fences again. He has the look of a guy who is more talented than his opposition. But making the majors isn't easy, and at some point he is going to be playing against guys at or close to his level and then he'll have to adjust. How well he makes that adjustment will be the key to how fast he gets to the majors, after he realizes it won't always come easy.

A columnist at NatsFanatics.com went to see Detwiler pitch his first game at Potomac and came away unimpressed by his command of his secondary pitches. Despite the Nats' surprising record this year, they are still a fourth place and shouldn't bring Detwiler up in September unless he is really ready. Sure he should be getting work in September, but they could have him work with coaches in Viera instead of getting rocked by ML caliber hitters he is not ready for. That said, let's see what happens his last few starts in Potomac.

A final thought: there is no need to rush any Nats pitching prospect to the majors, as they have won a lot of games this year with a whole rotation of #5 starters. I say let the talent wave crash in 2009, when a lot of position players and pitchers will be ready. 2008 will have a few new faces and if we're lucky, a free agent to solidify the Nats' line-up. My #1 belief watching this team hit is that everyone is trying to do too much because there is no big masher in the middle of the lineup. If the Nats somehow managed to acquire such a guy in free agency (or by trade) then guys like Zimm and Kearns could settle into secondary roles they may be better suited for.

Posted by: B-dogg | August 14, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

B-dogg, I hear ya. I was just commenting on this front to my husband this a.m., as I perused the sports section, that such commentators would otherwise have to adjust their modifiers too frequently ("the Nats, the, uh, lessee here, 8th worst team in baseball...")

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Have you noticed national media - web, tv, whatever - always refer to the Nats as "lowly," etc.? Meanwhile GB/A shows there are 7 teams worse than us. It's as if none of these media jebronis have looked at the standings and are still going by preseason predictions. That just annoys me.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Well done, John. It took natsfan1c years to learn the lingo (just kidding, I know you're just juicing up the polite-o-meter count)

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And, just to drive the count up, I'm sorry, you're right, I agree.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 14, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Cheers nf1a!

Posted by: B-dogg | August 14, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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