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Shawn Hill: Columbus on Sunday

Shawn Hill said he felt fine after last night's start at Class A Potomac.

"It feels like normal throwing, stiffness - nothing abnormal that I would be worried about," he said.

Still, the club wants him to stretch himself out and face better competition, so he'll pitch for Class AAA Columbus on Sunday, not for the major league club. Manny Acta, who was there last night, had this to say:

"We need to see him [against] better competition," Acta said. "We want him to see better competition. Obviously before last night, he pitched in our controlled environment that we had in Florida, and last night was a real type of game, and he didn't even see a lefty the whole game. And also, we want him to get his pitch count up. He only threw 69 pitches in the game."

Acta, though, liked what he saw.

"I was very happy because of the fact that he was able to keep his velocity throughout the whole five innings," Acta said. "His stamina was good. That was one of the encouraging things about last night."

Hill sounded fine with the decision.

"I could come out Sunday and throw here and be able to throw 95 pitches here, but it's not going to hurt to go and do another one," Hill said. "That way when I come up here, it's the second time, it's a little easier to not push the boundaries when I get to that 90-95 pitch count. ... By no means, we're not in a rush. It's not going to hurt to go do one more."

Johnny Estrada: He's here a bit earlier than they expected, but as Acta said, he's basically filling the role of Dmitri Young as a switch-hitter off the bench. For now, Jesus Flores is still the backup catcher. Estrada said his elbow is getting stronger every day, but in cold weather it's still stiff -- which affects throwing, not hitting.

Chad Cordero: If he's fine after his inning tonight in Potomac, he could be activated Friday or Saturday. "That's the plan," Acta said.

Your lineups:
Florida:
Ramirez -- 6
Uggla -- 4
Hermida -- 9
Willingham -- 7
Jacobs -- 3
Cantu -- 5
Treanor -- 2
Amezaga -- 8
Olsen -- 1

Washington:
Guzman -- 6
Milledge -- 8
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Lo Duca -- 2
Belliard -- 4
Lopez -- 7
Bergmann -- 1

Enjoy the evening.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 9, 2008; 4:47 PM ET
 
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Next: Panic? Or chill?

Comments

Can't argue with Manny's logic. Plus they get another look at both Chico and Lannan to decide who goes down if Hill proves himself.

Posted by: BofG | April 9, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

In Manny We Trust

(I've got t-shirts on order)

Posted by: Corey | April 9, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

That news on Estrada makes keeping Flores much more understandable. As with everything else, this decision affecting only a small segment of the early season is not make-or-break.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 9, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I like the decision on Hill as well and wouldn't even mind if he pitched two in Columbus. No sense having Chico/Lannan going back and forth until there is some certainity.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 9, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Corey - I want one! Manny is the coolest manager in baseball.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I think that's the right decision on Hill. He gets another start, the team gets another look, not only at him vs. better competition, but at Chico and Lannan (as BofG noted above).

(See, leetee1955, sometimes I steal other people's ideas AND give them credit!)

Two things from Barry's chat -- first, there was a question from "The Constituency," which I thought was great.

Second, it seems that the plan for Flores is to go to Columbus (AAA) instead of Harrisburg (AA). Does that mean he's shown he's closer to being the everyday guy here than they thought before the start of the season? Or has there been some other development in the minors that makes AAA a better fit?

I'm going to sleuth around a bit on that front but chime in if you know something. Or think you know something. Or if you want to make something up out of whole cloth and throw it out there as fact.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I still don't like keeping Lopez starting in Left Field until WMP is back, but it will be nice to have a full bench again - especially since having Estrada on the roster gives Manny more freedom to use Flores as a pinch hitter against lefties (Estrada is then your emergency catcher).

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Beep, beep! Sorry but I had to :-)

Though I did predict AA Harrisburg over AAA Columbus since we've heard several times that orgs typically have their true prospects at the AA level (not to mention that Harrisburg is about 300 miles closer than Columbus is).

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

I wouldn't mind seeing him [Hill] get one more rehab start facing better competition at say AA Harrisburg before rejoining the Nats. Gives the Lannan/Chico tandem an extra chance to prove who should/shouldn't go back to Columbus when SHill comes off the DL. All of this of course depends on how he feels tomorrow and the day after of course.

Posted by: MKevin | April 8, 2008 10:17 PM

Posted by: Tooting my own horn | April 9, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand Lopez in left field every single day. Why are Langerhans and Escobar in Columbus if they're not going to get called up with 2 OFs on the DL? Why are the Nats giving Mackowiak a spot on the team and paying him over $1M if he can't crack the starting lineup even once when 2 other guys go down? This is no way to run a team.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about getting a bulk box of them and then re-selling them to people but I was unsure if there would be enough demand or if there were permit issues or what....but if you can go to customink.com and make on - it's actually pretty fun.....if you want, I'll send you the design I have

Posted by: Corey | April 9, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Bobblehead, (love the handle, especially in one so sleep-starved as you must be with young 'uns and whatnot) it looked like there were $7 million reasons why we lose Jesus to AAA - $5 million to LoDuca and $2 million to Estrada.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Langerhans and Escobar aren't on the 40 man roster. Can't be called up unless they are.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Right, and the 40 man roster has 3 empty spots.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I think the talk of sending Flores to AAA Columbus instead of AA Harrisburg has nothing to do with his status and more to do with the prospects at those locations. No "top" SP prospects at Harrisburg, but all 5 starters in Columbus are likely to see time in the majors in the next 2 years.

Also, if they sent Flores to Harrisburg they would need to move one of the players on that roster. I don't think that is true of Columbus.

Finally, there are direct flights from Colubus to DCA whereas it takes a lot longer to drive down from Harrisburg and if you fly you have to go into IAD (not 100% sure of that).

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I think Manny should try the LaRussa/Yost thing. If Lopez is going to be in there, it would be better to have him hit ninth. First, i think Belliard is a better hitter to have in front of the pitcher, because as Sutton puts it "he has very well thought out at bats". The idea of Belly on base, pitcher bunts him over, gives Lopez a chance to drive him in from second. Also it give them a second leadoff hitter and with the way Guzman and Milledge are driving the ball it would be better to do it with a runner in scoring position. Also Lopez can get himself over by stealing a base. Listen he's here, may as well maximize his "value" right? Switch hitter with speed, drives the ball when he's on. Just a thought

Posted by: BigRoy | April 9, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

And, as some might say, flights to Columbus are cheap!!

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 9, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

estuartj - Can WMP hit a curve or a sinker now? Wasn't that the rap on him at Boston? I remember seeing some awesome homers and more rally-killing swings at RFK. I hope that you are right and that he will transform the Nats into a run machine, but . . .

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

BigRoy-

If the Nats lose another one, I will be willing to have the pitcher bat 2nd! Of course, my rationale for that will make less sense than your proposal, but I will be frantic.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 9, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

estuartj, I like your AAA vs. AA ideas all the way up until the travel thought. Harrisburg is a 2-hour drive away - just straight out 270 and north on 15. There's no way it takes less time to get through security and airport traffic on both ends from Columbus, never mind the 45-minute or so flight.

That said, I agree that it seems like most pitchers we have a shot at seeing this year (Detwiler excepted) are slotted in at Columbus, making it a natural selection to locate Flores.

Posted by: faNATic | April 9, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey anything to help the situational hitting. 9 times leaving the bases loaded. 9 TIMES!!!! and its only been a week.

Posted by: BigRoy | April 9, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Corey - Thank you and I'm honored for the offer of the design - I like my t-shirts huge - sean-jean xxx huge. If you get it, I will meet you at the park and pay. I can't think of a way of giving you my contact info. without also giving away my secret identity and the directions to the batcave under Stately Wayne Manor!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

BigRoy - I like the idea of putting Lopez 9th. I was at the nats-cards game in STL on Saturday and it's amazing how much the fans love it. Izturis is similair to Lopez in style and I think it could work, I doubt Manny is comfortable with that kind of unorthodox tiinking.

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

In his 5:02 post, O's Exec somehow managed to get his apostrophes and possessives correct. In fact, but for the misplaced comma in the last sentence, the comment is almost literate. Still, it's a vast improvement from yesterday.

All this belies the more fundamental question: Do the Orioles fans just not have their own blogs to comment on?

Posted by: Nats Season Ticket Holder/Grammar Police | April 9, 2008 5:26 PM

*******************************************

Not to dissapoint you buddy, but I also left out a closing period in the 2nd sentence. Oh well.

But, that's neither here nor there because the O's are 5 game over .500 and the Nats, well lets just say the Nats aren't quite at .500.

Also, no more DC United or political discussion today?

Posted by: O's Exec | April 9, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, thanks, but I'm through the sleep-starved phase, my girls are 7 and (almost) 4. Which is good, because now they can both sit through an entire baseball game. Which they will do, tomorrow night and again on Saturday!

In any case, my point wasn't really about why Flores was being sent down, it was about where he was being sent -- earlier they said he would go to AA and now they're saying AAA.

EStuartJ has some good ideas above, although neither Columbus nor Harrisburg has moved since Spring Training, as far as I know, and they should have had a pretty good feel for which pitchers would be where by the end of March as well. So I'm still wondering what changed.

CiL, I think both Lagerhaaaaaans and Escobar had to pass through waivers to get to the minors, and that if we called them up they would have to do so again. Now I suppose you can argue that if they went unclaimed before then they would likely do so again and therefore that if they can help the club now they should be up here. The counterpoint might be that teams might have injuries now that might lead them to claim one or both of them. So it's all about holding onto our assets (see Schroder getting sent down instead of Colume on the grounds that he has options).

Keeping Mackowiak around is the same thing. At the end of the day I think we have to recognize that this team is still playing for the future and not the present. Barry pointed this out in the chat (in the context of saying that the Nats might well trade Nick Johnson for prospects whether or not Dmitri is healthy). There are a lot of fans who will object to that and want a winning team on the field sooner rather than later. But that does not appear to be The Plan.

So yes, we have a team that is willing to tank some games early in the season in order to hang onto some guys that might be worth something to us later. They've put managing the roster ahead of managing the games at this point. I'm OK with that but I understand the opposing view as well.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

BigRoy-Lopez is fast, really fast and Belly is, well, I love him, and I think the Cards would love to have him back, but he'd be the first to admit that the pitcher should be bunting Felipe over. And many sabremetricians say there is no such thing as situational hitting or clutchiness - it's all random, so you prove that we are due!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree the Mackowiak signing was a mistake. But Langerhans had all of last season to prove himself worthy of the big leagues. Lopez in Left doesn't bother me that much. He's made fewer mistakes than Milledge or WMP would have. And his bat is better than Langerhans.

And it looks like Chico and Lannan can each get 2 more starts before they could recall Hill, even with only 1 start in Columbus.

Posted by: BofG | April 9, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

faNATic - my brother used to live in Harrisburg and my Aunt and Uncle still live in Mechanicsburg and that is a miserable drive, even without traffice (and I think 270 is backed up at 3am on Saturday). I would rather fly myself...

flynnie - I hope WMP is better with the curve now. The end of last season he was hitting the ball the other way on breaking pitches (take what they give you was Harris' mantra). I know this for certain though, he has the power you want and expect from a Left Fielder and Lopez most certainly does not.

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"I think both Lagerhaaaaaans and Escobar had to pass through waivers to get to the minors, and that if we called them up they would have to do so again."

bobL, they only have to be passed through waivers when they're moved off of the roster. once they're off the roster, they won't have to pass through waivers again until after they're added and subsequently dropped from the roster again.

so right now, they're not on the roster. if they're added, they'd have to go back on the 40 man roster (which we have space, per barry, we have 38 on now). but they wouldn't have to pass through waivers again unless we removed them again later.

Posted by: 231 | April 9, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Hate to rain on the hate parade for Felipe, but since he's been playing outfield, Felipe has a 1.000 fielding percentage, with 8 put outs and 1 assist.

I know, the real problem is at the plate. There, he's only 4 for 13 (.307) with 2 walks and 4 strike outs, 3 of those in his first game at the position.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 9, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Well-said 506, and Felipe is fast!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I beg to differ on the situational hitter point. Ask Paul la Duca about that next time he has a runner on third with 1 or no outs. A grounder for an out gets the runner in. its got nothing to do with clutch, its baseball 101. which is easy to do if hes not swing pitches above his head. Clutch i agree is not a teachable skill, its having the stones to man up drive in a couple of runs when you have the base loaded, i.e. Austin Kearns. Not try to guess (his words) which pitch is coming. Simple see ball, hit ball.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

BobL, I understand what you are saying but here's the thing: what are Langerhans and Escobar doing in Columbus if neither of them is going to get called up when 2 of the 5 OFs on the big league club get DL'd? Neither of them are prospects. If they're not in Columbus to provide insurance for when players go down, then they shouldn't be there. If the concern is that they would have to pass through waivers to be sent down (as opposed to being removed from the 40-man) because they are out of options, I understand that, but then there should be someone else who the team can call up. The answer shouldn't be "no one."

This isn't a question of wanting to *win now* so much as it is one of competent roster management. The team currently has only 3 active OFs on the big league club. And one of them Manny apparently won't start. They should have a backup plan for this, it is hardly unprecedented (especially for the Nats) for 2 outfielders to go on the DL at the same time.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"which is easy to do if hes not swing pitches above his head."

And which ones would those be, Big Roy?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 9, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Coverage, it's not baseball strategy.

It's GM strategy. And I hope it works.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 9, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

506 - please don't include me as a Lopez hater, but I don't want him starting in Left Field. I have no problem with his defensive play, but his offense just doesn't cut the mustard.

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

To add 1 point as to the "out of options" thing, I don't know that to be the case for either Langerhans or Escobar, I'm speculating as to what BobL was getting at in his post. If they're not out of options, either could go back and forth to Columbus as many times as the Nats want this year (the Yankees used to call it the "Columbus Shuttle") while remaining on the 40-man. If anyone knows whether either of them are out of options, I'd be interested to know that.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you 506, I think the Felipe thing is way overblown. If people want him to go so bad they actually should be rooting for him to play. A switch hitting 2nd/SS who can also play the outfield has more trade value if he.........plays. We should root for him to play and play well.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

CiL, there are actually 4 OFs on the active roster: milledge, kearns, harris, mackowiak.

Posted by: 231 | April 9, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

There's always Nook!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

yes, both harris and mackowiak are long out of options at this point.

Posted by: 231 | April 9, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Nook's 2007 highlights -

ranked 2nd among Nationals (Felipe Lopez, 24) and matched career high with 23 stolen bags...ranked among NL leaders in infield hits (7th, 25), bunt hits (5th, 9) and batting with RISP and 2 outs (9th, .366)...started 79 games, all in CF...got the starting nod in 51 of Washington's 74 contests after the All-Star break...ranked 2nd among Nationals with .284 batting average (61-for-215) after the ASB...only Austin Kearns (.285) was better...led Washington with 14 2nd-half stolen bases

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I just read the last three posts and their blogs. I had all kinds of things to say but my mind got boggled. Just please, 231(and you know you have my respect, generally) don't pretend to go there re the Colon trade. Only a hard and fast Expo fan is allowed to do that.
I liked some things that Steven on the Hill said, and estuartj said, even something Coverage is Lacking said but I can't remember what they were.
Flynnie, are you Canadian? And was my friend, natscan, really driven away from this site?
I'm really going to stop posting after my after four o'clock two glasses of wine-o.k. three glasses. You got me.

Posted by: Jeeves | April 9, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Langerhans must be out of options. Hence not being on the 40 man. So to call him up creates another headache, how to get rid of him when WMP comes back.

Posted by: BofG | April 9, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Are you serious, 506? once in Philly and once in St. Lou in the first 5-4 game. He's like the chick from 'A League of Their Own'. Can't hit 'em, can't lay off 'em. I actually think he was trying for a sac fly but....didn't happen. Oh well

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Harris and Mackowiak, or did you mean to say Langerhans and Escobar (which is what I was asking about)?

As for Harris being an outfielder on the active roster, I was more consdering him as a utility guy but you are right, he has played a good number of games in OF over his career. But if we're going to consider him an OFer, that just furthers my point--why is the team carrying outfielders that it won't put in the outfield?

* * *

yes, both harris and mackowiak are long out of options at this point.

Posted by: 231 | April 9, 2008 6:14 PM

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

231, I agree, but that's the point -- if we called them up, we'd have to add them to the 40-man, and then when WMP and/or Dukes came back, we'd have to pass them through waivers.

CiL, you definitely have an argument, but I think the "incompetent" roster management is being done on purpose, with a different goal than maximizing the talent on the big league club right at the moment.

We could call up Lagerhans or Escobar (who are both out of options, otherwise they wouldn't have had to pass through waivers before), but then we risk losing them for nothing. And their value is low right now compared to what it theoretically might be at the trade deadline. We could call up Maxwell, who has options, but we want him to develop in AA, not yo-yo him up and down at this point in his young career. So we play with 23 men right now, on purpose, because we think it might pay dividends down the road.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

hey, come on now. i didn't really say anything about the colon trade (other than phillips was a bust for cleveland and didn't break out until he got to cinci, which is true). i did mention the other players who were listed who left the team *before* MLB took over (like pedro and alou). mostly i was commenting that the biggest problem, imo, was how MLB gutted the operations of the minors. yes, the colon trade got rid of a bunch of top prospects, but the fact that we got so few new prospects from the draft or internationally after MLB took over hurt even worse. and it took a couple of years to rebuild the infrastructure that MLB tore down.

Posted by: 231 | April 9, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I think FLo has done a decent job out there ... he just doesn't have the power that we were all looking for out of your left fielder. He has good pop, good speed and is athletic, but isn't your protypical 25-40 HR left field option.

About the Flores to AAA, love him going there rather than AA. He gets to develop with Collin Balester, Tyler Clippard and Garrett Mock. There he'll get to learn their out pitches, there comfort level with certain situations and also just to get to know his battery mates for the next 5-10 years.

More than likely we'll see Balester, Clippard and Mock (throw in maybe an appearance by Mikey O'Connor) up here at some point this year ... and we all know we'll definitely see Flores again.

Posted by: Section 111 (formerly 223 @ RFK) | April 9, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

i don't disagree with your point that we should play those guys if we're going to keep them on the roster. and i think harris is more of an OF now than IF. he's played more OF the past few years.

and yeah, i meant langerhans and escobar. they've both spent too much time on ML rosters to have options left.

sorry, bobL, i misunderstood you then.

Posted by: 231 | April 9, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

BobL, they *might* be out of options. But I don't know that based on the fact that they had to pass through waivers--that had to happen in any case because the team took them off the 40-man roster entirely. They have enough seniority to be exposed to waivers if they are removed from a 40-man roster, just as they would be available in the Rule 5 draft if they were not on the 40-man to begin with when the Rule 5 draft was conducted. But that's different from remaining on the 40-man and being sent down to Columbus.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I should add that this is certainly not the only way to run a railroad, and I think you can argue that failing to put your best team on the field isn't fair to the fans or to your current players or to the integrity of the game in general. But that seems to be The Plan, and that's the train that I'm on, and like 506, I'm just hoping it's headed in the right direction.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

flynnie-

You almost made it sound like Nook was good!

Remember, in case anyone truly gets nostalgic about Nook (and God help us if we do), we all need to hit him with the same sterois jokes as LoDuca, because he was also named in the report.

As for LoDuca, I swear I am rooting hard for him to tear it up and further discredit the steroid witch hunt. There is nothing wrong with it except: 1)it rewards those who weren't caught, and 2) it is a cover for Great Satan Selig, who is incredibly complicit. The problem is how big those two exceptions are.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 9, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

OK, I think we cleared up the options issue now, and everyone's points on the issue are clear and well-stated. I've enjoyed the little debate. Now, can we talk about the Post's void of a baseball columnist who might chime in on this stuff? ;-)

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I like the way you're thinking Sec 111. Good point. Plus, if Flores facing guys similiar in ability too Mock, Clippard, hell even O'Conner that has to be a benefit to him right? I have to get this out of the way right now. I've got nothing but man love for Flores, that dude is going to be a star. "Nobody messes with the Jesus" (Big Lebowski ref.)

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Howdy Jeeves! No doot aboot it, no better place than PEI in July, eh? Never thought I'd tire of lobster, but I did there! Have a glass for me (still at work issuing moose-hunting permits) and bring us a win tonight!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

CiL, fair point I guess, but I think we've established that they're out of options.

I'm going to start thinking about the game now instead of about arcane roster rules, antitrust exemptions, and municipal bonds.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Right you are, Big Roy. LoDuca looked like last year's Andrew Jones. Up the ladder and out. Every time I see him, I love Jesus more.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Allright, I'm going to spend just one minute thinking about Moose Hunting Permits, and then I'm going to think about the game ...

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Good one, CIL.

In the meantime, did anyone else see the Baltimore Sun column the other day, in which the columnist called for liberation from DC? It was very appealing, calling for Angelos to finally put Baltimore back on their uniforms, and to stop trying to be "regional". Let Baltimore have the O's and stop worrying about people who don't make the trip up anyway.

I have to admit that, if the O's started claiming Baltimore again, a town I used to have great affection for, I could start having affection for the team again. Stay out of our face, and let us be two markets. I would even be happy to have one of O's Exec's crab cakes if they stopped trying to be Washington's team.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 9, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"...and you risk driving away a great contibutor, such has been done to NatsCan, 419+1 and others.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 1:49 PM
----------------------------
The guy who drove away 419+1 did this blog a great service. In which post did the glorious deed occur?

Posted by: (419 + 1) * 0 | April 9, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

La Duca .400 avg against Olsen in twenty ABs, i'm predicting a good night.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

By the way BobL, good call on your Maxwell point. It drives me nuts when I see Barry report that Maxwell might be the first outfielder called up. The last thing that guy needs is to be yo-yo'd up and down and further stunt his development, which is already delayed due to his earlier injury history.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Flynnie. hopfully those situations balance themselves out over the course of the year. Ray Knight just mentioned that Paulie has struck out less than 30 times in 7 of the 10 years he has played, WOW! So hopefully he was just being a bit aggressive in those at bats. I wouldn't know, this is the first time i've seen him play on a regular basis. But the numbers don't lie he does make regular contact, lets just hope its with runners in scoring postiton.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Olsen's a head case we can get to this guy.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I like Lopez in left. It seems people are falling into the fallacy of the excluded middle with LF -- you don't like Lopez there because he doesn't have typical power for the position. Which is true, but the alternative isn't Willy Mo -- it's Langerhans, who doesn't have that power either. (Escobar I don't know much about, admittedly.) This way, you get Lopez four or five at-bats every day instead of one -- maybe -- which is what he needs to hit out of his slump (and which appears to be working.)

FLop is aware of his position just like the rest of us. When he was pinch-hitting, he went up swinging for the fences every time, because he knew that we'd all love him again if he won a game for us with a 3-run dinger. And that led to whiffs. Plate discipline is a lot easier if you know you've got the opportunity to make up a K two innings later, instead of two days. This way, he sees pitches in situations where he isn't necessarily going to be hero OR the goat, and he's been swinging all the better for it.

ISTM that the real danger with FLop in left was the possibility of poor defense, and so far that looks unfounded. So I say keep him there for the next couple weeks. By the time Willy Mo comes back, Lopez's offense should have stabilized and we'll be better able to compare him to the other middle infield options. (And, if he hits a few dingers and another club comes sniffing around the door for him, that could make sense too. But as others have said, that won't happen when he's riding the pine.)

Posted by: Cliffy | April 9, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Big Roy! So THAT's why we traded away Schneider and Church and paid him $5 mil. Let's hope Barry's right about the juice not helping and that you're right about a win tonight!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey 231, i know we have debated this point before. What do you think about the rotation once Hill returns? I think that it comes down to Chico and Lannan unfortunatly. But if its late May late May and Perez has thrown a couple of more games like the St. Lou start. We have to move him out and let Chico AND Lannan stay, right?

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Gametime boys. play ball!!! testing 1..2.. is this thing on (Mike Green). On that point i'm going with the Fro' Hawk to support my boy Greeny and the Caps playoff run.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Some good points raised today, but since Baseball is a long season, the roster management tends to take on a long-term view as well. Not that I'm making excuses for management, that's just the way the season plays out. Now, let's play some ball - GO NATS!

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to watch the game on MASN HD (Comcast), but I'm getting no sound (picture is fine, and sound works on other HD channels). Anyone else experiencing this problem?

Posted by: Union Station | April 9, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

GOOOOOO NATS!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

God I love listening to Dave's call on Zim's walkoff on the radio before the games! That collection of calls from OD gives me the chills every time. Better crowd tonight evidently. Baseball! Yay.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

BigRoy: If the callup happens in the next 10 days, I would think Lannan goes down. If management strings it out over a couple of weeks, whoever has the worst overall record (Chico or Lannan) becomes an immediate candidate. Just my view...

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm having the same problem with comcast too. Great picture..no sound :(

Posted by: Dan | April 9, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Here, here, Bob L. That opening is magnificent!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Dan, get the radio on! Baseball is meant to be listened to on the radio. has anyone noticed that the TV is way ahead of the radio call? It used to be the other way round.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Charlie got some coffee. His ad for Majorca Coffee seems very heartfelt, and he is now thanking the guy who delivered him a pound, going so far as to read "rich, syrupy" and having Dave, a non-coffee drinker, smell the aroma.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

flynnie: Agreed - Baseball is the best sport via radio!

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Anything he Cantu, Zim can do better.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, a couple of opening clunkers from the Marlins! GO NATS!

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

BobL: You got a giggle out of me with that.

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks BIM, it's all part of the blog.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Just got to the game at the top of the 2nd.

This place is gorgeous!

Nice Run score on back to back error!

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly, the seeing eye singles are ours, and the errors are theirs. Blastings, yer up.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Poke them, prod them, pester them - just stay ahead of them. There's the theme for this season.

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful bunt single by Lastings, absolutely perfect!

Posted by: estuart | April 9, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Big Roy - The situational clutchiness has not happened with Kearns yet. But Zimm gave us his 1st double play. Damn. Still up 1-0! Come on, Jason!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

We interrupt your normal in-game blogging for this brief commercial interruption:

Those of you who are looking to get your "Inagural Ball" posters framed, Michael's is having their annual 60% off custom framing orders sale. I got mine built to match my "Baseball Returns" framed poster for $350 (down from $900). Makes you wonder what kind of mark-up they regularly charge on that stuff but anyway...

Now back to Charlie and Dave.

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Go with the pitch Zim, should be trying to hit the ball to the right side in that situation, thats where the pitch was thrown anyway. Situaional hitting! Looks like he knew that too. Arghhhhh!!!

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Weird, I'm watching on Verizon FIOS over slingbox... and only getting the stadium mics. Don and Bob went silent during their discussion of bullpen innings...

Posted by: mrm0to | April 9, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Great out pitch to Hanley!

Bergy's on a roll.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I hear ya flynnie. he should went with the pitch away. Lo Duca did it. Should've been a out but hey we got a run. I don't what to say about Kearns. Dude just need to relax. Man Bergmann is dealing. Perfect bunt by LMillz, that was beautiful.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Milledge got a bad jump and missed the cutoff ... Again ...

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Phew. Thanks AK.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow - Nice play by Kearns to end the threat.

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Same thing here Mrmoto. comcast in Rich. they say they're having audio trouble at the game.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Manny! It's a hit! Don't give me that do-goody-good bull[redacted]

**************
In Manny We Trust
(I've got t-shirts on order)
Posted by: Corey | April 9, 2008 5:12 PM

Posted by: Red Floyd | April 9, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Man Flip almost got it, the more i think about i much rather see him bat ninth. Better if bergmann made that last out. Even if Flip got on what gonna happen. If bergmann made that last out then, Flip lead off next inning. Damn Berggy just gave up the booty.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmmn, lotta hard contact against Bergy all of a sudden. Better get somebody up.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Always be wary of the second time through the order.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

An IBB. Haven't I seen this movie before? Recently? Let's go Jason.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Dammit! Manny, enough with the intentional walks.

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is exhausting.

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"Clutch, I agree, is not a teachable skill, it's having the stones to man up [and] drive in a couple of runs when you have the base loaded, [that is,] Austin Kearns."

Seriously, what does that even mean, "stones" and "man up"? You think leaving runners on base is a moral failing, cowardly somehow? Honestly, and no disrespect intended, have you ever played the game at a level above whiffle ball?

**************
I beg to differ on the situational hitter point. Ask Paul la Duca about that next time he has a runner on third with 1 or no outs. A grounder for an out gets the runner in. its got nothing to do with clutch, its baseball 101. which is easy to do if hes not swing pitches above his head. Clutch i agree is not a teachable skill, its having the stones to man up drive in a couple of runs when you have the base loaded, i.e. Austin Kearns. Not try to guess (his words) which pitch is coming. Simple see ball, hit ball.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 6:05 PM

Posted by: CE | April 9, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Two games in a row, second time through the order.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

WTF!?! This is absurd. Wake up the bats please and let's put some freaking runs on the board!

Posted by: WAKE UP OFFENSE!! | April 9, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I actually played in college. Stones and man up mean to "not shrink" like a flower with runners on base. Kinda like the Marlins are doing right now. It means not guessing at the plate (his words). I understand, hey it happens but it happens to kearns too often. It also means to cut down on you swing and get the ball in play. All fundamental things i learned, yes, while playing in college. Thanks Dude

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

GDI - Early exit by starting pitcher, leaving yet another long game to the bullpen. We should be doing better than this against the Fish (sigh).

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Attendence looks poor and the Nats are getting destroyed. DC spent $611 million for this. You could probably combine the actual attendence of both Camden Yards and Nats Stadium for the last two home games and it would not equal a single game's attendence at Yankee Stadium. Probably even one game at Wrigley or Fenway would exceed the combine attendance of the last two home games of the Browns and the Expos.

Posted by: Yankees #1 | April 9, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Charlie said that something changed in Bergmann's delivery in the 5th, and he started hanging sliders. He was ahead on the counts when, to quote Dave, "the hit parade continued." But then I walked into the house and heard Bob's sweet call of Guzman's home run. We are fortunate indeed in our play by play men. Now let's rally!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

All i'm saying is some guys thrive in pressure at bats (David Ortiz), some guys don't (A-Rod). We've had too many examples of the latter so far. I didn't mean to offend your son Austin, CE.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

This is f***ing ridiculous - we need to wake up! Florida starters have an ERA of over 8 and we haven't been able to tap into that at all tonight. Monday night was defensive miscues, tonight is starting pitching and a lack of hitting, what's next? Why can't we scrounge up a decent game lately?

Posted by: BSG | April 9, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Where have you gone Oh Mr. Hanrahan of March?

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

That's the second time Nick missed a foul ball at the tarp, which I attribute to the injury. His new dollop of caution is a good thing. He's out to prove that he's not injury prone, and I'd rather have ahealthy nick than that out.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

We've got four inning to come back. If we do, at least it'll be exciting.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Bob's words of wisdom on Handley Ramirez: "I don't know how you pitch him!" And Don: "It's like they know what's coming!" Come on Nats - blow up this inning!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Not that way.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

It's not just the pitcher, it's the battery. If the catcher starts to favor one or two particular pitches & locations, it can "set up" the opposing pitchers. Just a thought...

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Is this the curse of Brian Schneider? It seems that these guys were pitching better last year. How are the pitchers liking Lo Duca?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan with a little pinball in there. Three for one. And then another dinger. Yikes.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Yawn, going to bed now, guys and gals. Have this good book and......

Posted by: Jeeves | April 9, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Holy crap... @(*$(*^W(*Q()*#^&!!!!!

I'm punching out for the evening. I have better things to do than sit here and feel my blood pressure sky rocket as the Feesh bomb us back to the stone-age.

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

On the plus side... if Hanrahan keeps this up the FO just might be able to sneak him through waivers.

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of clutch, I think DY is a clutch hitter; I am not so sure about NJ. Nothing against Nick, but when you start looking at differences between this year and last, this is one.

Posted by: Ed | April 9, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's a completly whacked thought for all of you - Install Flores as #1 catcher, set LoDuca down to #2 & let him battle with Estrada for a roster spot. I'm not sure Management would be willing to do that yet, but would they consider it?

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about LoDuca's call of the game too, April 9 Mr. Anonymous, but I don't think you can blame 10 runs on the receiver.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Catcher50 would probably agree with me here - How you call a game (and frame the plate) can be critical to your team's performance on the field. I'm not convinced that PLD can call a a game that doesn't let him settle into a "rocking chair - fastball/slider" sequence.

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

And the Marlins' brass are getting to watch this in person (checking out the majestic new park for their park.) Curse you Jeffrey Lorea! You do not deserve this or Larry Beinfest! These guys can hit. 8th inning rally - come on guys!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

flynnie: You can if the hits are off of a set of pitches (fastball, then say slider/curve) to a particular location (say, low inside). If a pattern is established, it becomes predictable, hence "it's almost like he knows what's coming".

Posted by: BIM | April 9, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Who said 4-1? Grerreererererr

Posted by: i hate walks | April 9, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The guys are KILLIN' me

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 9, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

flynnie, I'm not saying you can blame him for 10 runs, but Schneider seemed to have more control of the game. There seemed to be fewer blowup innings. Maybe he had the pitchers throw more inside. It just seems that our pitchers are getting killed now.

Posted by: Ed | April 9, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected, Olsen pitched a helluva game. Everyone in our lineup is pressing right now except for Guzzy and Lastings. Way to go Paulie.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

This may seem silly, but did anyone else notice that the second 'N' on the fancy dancy scoreboard has burned out? $611 million doesn't buy great lights I suppose...

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Yeah with games like this, you tend to notice things like that. Saw it here too.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

And here comes Ray King, who can't seem to find the plate. This should be good...

Posted by: BSG | April 9, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Sweeeet! LoDuca! A two-out rally! Come on Belly! Awwww, damn. 10-4. There's still time for a miracle. Bob Carpenter stated the problem succinctly - a waste of great leadoff hitting by the middle of the order - 3,4,& 5 hitters "shut down and shut out by the likes of Olsen and the Marlins bullpen. But for that to work you have to give up less than 10 runs, which the Nats have done tonight and Monday night." And, "If you told us one week ago that this would happen, none of us would have believed it."

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Back after putting kids to bed duty. I was hoping you guys would pull off a big inning or two in my absence. Guess my presence wasn't the problem.

Some points unrelated to the game at hand, per se;

Does anybody think the camera angles are different tonight, so that they spend a lot more time focusing on the batter from the side, showing the folks actually in the seats between first and third, instead of the empty ones behind the plate?

I had another point but caught Jeeves Disease and forgot what it

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 9, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Bob just brought up a good point. The Nats haven't been the same since that second inning last week in Philly. Bases loaded no outs. Man its been a rough 6 games. We just need one win to break out of this. Its gotta be one where Austin, Zim and the bottom of the order have a good game and the starter gives us at least 6 good innings, i.e. a quality start, like Lannan threw on Sunday. Just one game

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Thank God it's a long season. There will be losing streaks like this for all teams. Some will exceed it. May be the O's or may be some other team. Hell, it may be the Nats. When push comes to shove, we will remember the WS champs and nobody else.
This is a team that will make some noise. It will happen sooner rather than later.
Faith, people.

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

All right, tomorrow night's the night to break this streak. I'll be there and hey, they're 2-0 when I'm present at the park (the exhibition game and opening night), so we can always hope :)

Posted by: BSG | April 9, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Livan Hernandez seems to be off to a decent start in Minnesota. Kyle Lohse also seems to be quite serviceable. I am sure glad they saved money not signing those two. Much better to field a poor team in the 1st season in the new stadium. Great way to build a fan base.

Posted by: DkNatsFan | April 9, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Ummmm . . . Go Caps?

Posted by: Bob L. Fuh | April 9, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Can someone post the score of the Nats/'Fins game tonight for me please?

Could someone also post attendance figures as well?

Thanks guys!!

Go O's

Posted by: O's Exec | April 9, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Time froze at Nationals Park! It froze in HD! It's like the yule log again! Way to go MASN - now Ray and Johnny in regular, kinder def.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Big Roy, who's your Ranch Hand of the Night? I nominate Guzman.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to go with Guzzie too. He's swingin' well right now. Boy was that tough to watch. Hope you guys are watchin' Nats Xtra right now. Brother Ray is talin' you guessed situational hitting, translation hitting behind the runner i.e. getting the guy standing on second over so a sac fly can get him in. Oh well that horse is dead. Man, we need a win

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

23,340 was the attendance tonight. Can't blame the weather....maybe the Wiz-Celtics.

Posted by: Brian | April 9, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Truth is hitting wasn't the problem tonight. Olsen pitched a good game, worked fast, threw strikes. One thing i'm going to pay more attention to is opponent BA the second time thru the line up. Its something i picked on in the 2nd half of last season with bergmann. and it has happened in his first to starts this year. He's gotten picked apart the second time thru. It might be nothing, but worth keeping an eye on.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

This was the first game played at Nats Park that I've watched on tv, as I have been there for the others. What an awful broadcast by MASN.

The camera high behind the plate is horribly positioned and way too high in the sky. I hope this is a work in progress and things can be fixed. But there were a few line drives to the outfield where I found it almost impossible to follow the action as the camera zoomed in. And on infield ground balls, the camera shot was so far from the action it was ridiculous--I thought I was watching a replay of a game broadcast in the 70s or something. On MASN right now they're showing Mets-Phils highlights, the difference in the camera positioning is night and day.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Bob L. Head: I noticed the close-in camera angles as well. I was at the first two games, so I can't really compare them, but I knew there were complaints that the cameras seemed far from the field.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 9, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for mentioning Coverage i've brought this up a couple of times, including earlier today. that angle is horrible. Tom Verducci mentioned it on SI.com in his observations for opening week.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Tom Verducci per SI:

5. Nationals home game appear amateurish on TV.

The camera behind home plate is much too high. Considering how many more people know the park from television rather than in person, how could Washington not make sure their product is made for TV?

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

On the brighter side of things, Cordero's line tonight for the PNats:

1.0 IP (W) / 1H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 SO

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Play by play from Cordero's PNats appearance:

Myrtle Beach Top 9th

* Pitcher Change: Chad Cordero replaces Zechry Zinicola.
* Roberto Alvarez flies out to right fielder Edgardo Baez.
* Phillip Britton singles on a fly ball to center fielder Frank Diaz.
* Paul Bennett strikes out swinging.
* Derrick Arnold grounds out, third baseman Ofilio Castro to first baseman Christopher Marrero.

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Who pitched the rest of the game for the P-Nats?

Posted by: estuartj | April 9, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Thats good news, hope to see the Chief this weekend, which means we'll be leading in the ninth.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Big Roy. Glad others are noticing. Hopefully this will be one of those things that Stan will work to fix, and not one of those things that Stan will try to spin and refuse to acknowledge as an issue.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Potomac
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Alaniz 4.0 3 3 3 2 2 0 6.75
Martinez, C 2.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Zinicola 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Cordero (W, 1-0) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Well we learned on thing over the last couple of games. The ball has no problem carrying at Nats Park. Uh oh, July and August are going to be interesting.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Hahahaha, sometimes things feel so bad, all you can do is look them right in their mean little faces and laugh.

I guess the bright side is that we're only 3 games under .500!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 9, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

What a great post-game! I sat behind the Red Sox bullpen at the end of Bill Buckner's career, and we would call for him, and sometimes the manager would oblige. Ray Knight is insanely competitive, and he told us of Buckner having to move his family to Idaho, "because he has a raw, tender spot, as any man would." He said that Buckner's throwing out the ball at Fenway when the world series rings were distributed was "a tribute long overdue." He stays in touch with Buckner and calls him a "borderline hall of fame player." What did Barry call Hector Carasco? "Found money."

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Lets hope so. Stan the Plan, can be quite the used car man sometimes, but he's gotta get this fixed. Like i mentioned this afternoon. Fenway as a similar configutation with the pressbox and 403 seats, but they stationed a camera right in front of 403 and not in the box like most other parks. Its kind of a small issue but one the should fix. Especially if a guy writing in a national publication is banging on it.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Nice perspective 506, you're right, another 3 game winning streak and all a these bad feelings go away. I predicted an 81-81 year at best. I expected lulls like this. But it sux none the less. Especially after the way they won the first three. hey could be worse. without Zim's two homers last week, how bad would things seem right now. Just remember momentum is tomorrows starter, oh wait

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the sun still rises in the east tomorrow I'll see you folks then. I'll be the one in the flame redardant chinos carefully navigating the fires of "6 Game Losing Streak Blogsville".

Posted by: MKevin | April 9, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Holiday made another fun moment when he said that Bob Carpenter, with the Capitol dome behind him, "looks like our Capitol Hill correspondent" causing Bob to straighten his tie. Johnny said he didn't know about the other guy, i.e. Don Sutton and Bob said, "Let the Alabama boy do the farm reports!" If they can have fun now, so can we. It's a long season.

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Holy Crap! Gheorge Muresan siting on Comcast Sports. Man, love that guy

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Nats were already a poor team and with:

-- #1 starter on DL
-- closer on DL
-- both slugging LF's on DL
-- best PH on DL
-- middle of order slumping
-- no media cheerleader to pump up depressed fans a la P. Schmuck
-- no history of winning baseball to fill up the dead times since 1933 (anyone on this blog alive then?)
-- 34 years of no baseball at all
-- poor marketing - you have to buy 20 games to get a package and few casual fans even know Nats exist
-- only 1 home grown player in starting line-up every night
-- wretched, losing baseball since July 5, 2005
-- grandstanding GM

-- neighborhood development lagging stadium site

Looks like it's gonna be a long season -- but things always look bad early. It might get better....

Some truths:

-- Washington won't be a baseball town until there's baseball worth giving your heart to
-- Team has a weak starting rotation and incredibly weak defense up the middle
-- Team has no 1 hitter others fear
-- Bullpen hung over from last year and couldn't possibly repeat virtuoso performance

So, 73 wins might be tough to come by.

But, take heart:

-- Marero, Burgress, Flores, Smiley, Daniel, Desmond, Maxwell -- high draft choices this year and likely next

-- Detwiler, Zimmerman, Balester, Carr, Wilhems, Smoker, McGeary, Mock, Lannan others...
-- Lerner's HAVE TO invest in a marquee free agent next year or risk losing the town.

Bottom Line: There's a lot of work to do to rebuild the mess this franchise was when DC got it. If they do and the team wins, Washington will become a baseball town. But 5-10 more years of losing baseball, it becomes a Pittsburgh-like backwater. Only time will tell.

Now, can you guys please win a game?

Also -- another good DC baseball blog at www.moonstruckoverwashington.com

Posted by: everett anderson | April 9, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

That true flynnie. 153 left, there will plenty to cheer about this year. Time for bed. you guys be cool. check 'ya later.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Big Roy - remember that article by Angus Phillips in the Post with a picture of two short fisherman who use Gheorge as a Fish Spotter on their boat? Gheorge loves fishing!

Posted by: flynnie | April 9, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah one more thought, we pick 9th in june. i hope we're giving a long look at Gordon Beckham 2B/SS from U of Georgia. Maybe not as high 9th but if he makes it into the second round (i highly doubt he will) we better take him. Thats kids stock is skyrocketing right now. He fits the first round profile. 3rd year college starter, drives the ball, covers our lack of depth in the middle infield in the organization. Would be ready to play next year. I think he'd be a good get. Either him or Jacob Thompson rhp saturday stater from UVA. Last start against FSU aside, The kid is nails.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Big Roy, the improper camera positioning is another example of how the Nats organization, from a production/marketing standpoint, lacks baseball savvy. This is consistent wih Barry's recent comment that many of the team staff come from other sports and don't/didn't know much about baseball.

These are things that hopefully can be fixed, but that there's no reason for the Nats to get wrong in the first place. It matters where the camera is. It matters that the scoreboard doesn't display the official scorer's decision, and doesn't consistently display what the batter did in his prior at-bats. These are not technical glitches, these are things that should have been right on Day One. When Stan was busy talking incessantly about the HUGE HD SCOREBOARD and how awesome it is, was anyone paying attention to the details and what they were actually going to display on that scoreboard? I don't think the organization appreciates what is important to many of its fans who actually like to watch the Nats play baseball--both in the park and on tv.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

This team has no heart. Acta is to blame for accepting losing and treating the season like Spring Training. Everyone in the stands could see that Bergman had nothing left in the 5th. He has a history of dying after a few innings....WHAT IS ACTA DOING! THIS IS NOT SPRING TRAINING! Also I had to get up and walk out when I saw yet another runner slide at second base (Boone) for the third out and he NEVER MADE IT TO THE BAG! What if they dropped the ball just like when GUZMAN trotted down the line to 1st the other night? THIS IS WHAT ACTA ACCEPTS? THEN HE GETS WHAT HE DESERVES....players who are phoning it in because he is leading the charge to the phone booth.

STAN the plan was to improve not run the 2008 season like a 6 month spring training tryout session yet AGAIN!

Posted by: JayB | April 9, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more Coverage. I hope one of you guys has a direct line to Stan or maybe Barry, Boz, or Dave can clue him in. Like I said its not end of world stuff, but it is something that can be rectified tomorrow. I guess we're all learning, food staff, tv prodution staff, marketing, fans, team. We're all in it together. "Tongue firmly place in cheek". Nah, but you right though.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 9, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't you think that after giving up 3 runs in an inning it's time to pull the pitcher???Obviously he lost his stuff by that time. Hence 7 runs in the 5th inning..ouch..even the Babe could have pitched better. True the bats were not there tonite. But, wake up and smell the coffee(which the mygam, or whatever it is called, is the best i have tasted) dont wait until the inning is over before pulling an ineffective pitcher.

Posted by: jerry-springfield | April 9, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

"It matters that the scoreboard doesn't display the official scorer's decision"

The scoreboard was displaying the official scorer's decision tonight. It's at the bottom of the right column on the screen, under the opposing pitcher's stats, pitch count and radar gun reading. In fact, they displayed the scoring of every play there as it happened, e.g. FC 5-4.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

JayB, could you clarify something for us, as it's a bit confusing from your recent posts. Whose fault is it for the six game losing streak, Acta's or Stan's? Is Bowden blameless, since you haven't mentioned him at all?

Also, you might want to bum some meds off the new kinder, gentler swanni. Whatever he's taking now has mellowed him out nicely. And boy do you need to take some of the edge off, dude, or you're gonna be out on a ledge before June!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, anonymous poster, I'm glad they've now added the scorer's decision. But like I said there's no reason not to have displayed that information on Day One--except for the fact that the marketing/entertainment people in the organization seem not to know baseball very well.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 9, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Manny needs to have a serious conversation with the team. I know it's early in the season still, but with every loss, the hole gets a little bit deeper and it's one more game you have to win to get back up in the standings. The losses are starting to add up and things are not looking good right now. It's not the end of the world, but we need to start turning things around. I think clutch hitting is our biggest problem right now - the 3, 4 and 5 hitters are not producing. Bob and Don said mid-way through tonight's game that they were 1 for 20 to that point in the series. Guzman and Milledge are holding their own, but they're not be ing driven in. Plus leaving the bases loaded as many times as we have (though that really wasn't an issue tonight) is not good. I hope things get better...and soon.

Posted by: BSG | April 9, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"But like I said there's no reason not to have displayed that information on Day One--except for the fact that the marketing/entertainment people in the organization seem not to know baseball very well."

I think it's not that but just that they haven't figured out yet how to work the scoreboard properly. They're still learning, and after all it is only the third game tonight (fourth if you count the exhibition). For a while in the fifth inning tonight on the line score, while the total was showing 3 runs for Florida the fifth inning was only showing 1 run. That got fixed eventually (unfortunately by Florida scoring more runs), but I would have thought that the scoreboard display software would be set up to just take the individual inning runs and add them up to determine the total score it will display - but apparently that's not how it works.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

On the scoreboard, I think there are actually 2 issues: (1) what are they going to show? and (2) are they going to get right that which they do show? I think they deserve some slack on point 2, because it likely takes some time to figure out how to use a new system. That stuff will work itself out. But I don't think they deserve any slack on point 1. That's what they had all offseason (at the least) to think about and plan for, and that's what they apparently paid a company to help them with and advise them on. Didn't they also visit other stadiums to check out their scoreboard displays? And they just figured out now after 3 games that fans want to know if it's scored a wild pitch or a passed ball? They even showed the scorer's decision at RFK, no reason it wasn't there on Opening Night.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 10, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

There is a patio on the club level, behind home plate that looks like it was made for TV cameras, but none are there. The angle from the club level is more traditional than the current "skyscraper pess box" shot

Posted by: SwiftIt | April 10, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

It's odd that people seem surprised about this. The Nats are a quad-A franchise, very obviously. But unlike the Royals and others they have no excuse. Just greed and/or incredible cheapness on the part of the Lerners. Careful spending is always good, but there is no need or justification for a franchise in this market, in a brand new, taxpayer-funded stadium, to have one of the very lowest total payrolls in baseball.

Posted by: kjm | April 10, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

BUT LOOK AT THAT AWESOME HUGE HD SCOREBOARD! IT'S THE BIGGEST SCOREBOARD IN THE WORLD! DON'T YOU WANT TO COME VISIT MY NEW BALLPARK NOW AND CHECK IT OUT?!?

Posted by: Stan The Plan | April 10, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Swift good observation. i noticed that too on the construction cam and in pics. i was hoping that where the set up was going after the Opening weekend. lets hope thats a consideration.

Posted by: Big Roy | April 10, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Attendance for Wednesday's game: 23,340

Must have been A LOT of Nats fans that decided to go to the United and Wizard games huh?

Posted by: O's Exec | April 10, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't normally do this, but the blame for last night's loss has to go to the F/O.

They failed to propitiate the baseball gods by not having a moment of silence or otherwise honoring Walt Masterson, whose obit was in the WaPo yesterday.

Posted by: Catcher50 | April 10, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Just up. And I see the Nats didn't have a comeback... h'mmm. 'Time Traveller's Wife' is really a fun read.
Breakfast time!
When the team gets back to playing baseball, I'll talk about baseball again. And to think, I felt Zim deserved the Rookie of the Year award ahead of Ramirez last year. Ah heck, I can't help it. Go Zim, go Jason, go Flores, and way to go Guzzie and Milledge.

Posted by: Jeeves | April 10, 2008 6:47 AM | Report abuse

I missed the game but saw Ray Knight's comments post game. Ray said Bergmann stopped throwing fast balls in the 7 run inning and was getting his curve ball/slider smacked all over the park. My question concerns who was calling for the change in tactics. Was Lo Duca calling for the off speed pitches or was Bergmann shaking off Lo Duca's signs?

Is Randy St. Claire managing the pitchers during the game? It took him two horrible outings by Colome to figure out his release point was messed up. If your pitcher goes for the first 4 innings getting outs and then changes tactics for the fifth who is directing this? I noticed a big difference in Duncan's management of pitching in St. Louis vs St. Claire (or Acta).

Posted by: Dale | April 10, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile the 3, 4 and 5 hitters continue to sink. If it was not for Guzman and Milledge this lineup would be utterly lifeless. Is a rejuggling of the hitting order needed to shake up these guys?

Posted by: Dale | April 10, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Just to summarize.....Stan is responsible for a flawed plan that does not allow for spending on short term FA contracts to improve the product on the field. This savings is not in some trust fund waiting to be spent in future years. Jimbo is responsible for being Jimbo, that is obsessed with one dimensional players that have flaws that have caused several teams to cast them off before he wastes cash on them can you say Lopez and Young to mention a few. Acta is responsible for managing with no passion and sense of urgency. It feels like a spring training game to the young guys. Acta is not managing to win so why should they play to win. Lerners are responsible because they have lied about their intentions for this team. They said all profits would go into the team and the most important mission is to win.............oh and they keep Jimbo when everyone in baseball and Stan knew this team needed a proven General Manager who has built a winning team.

Posted by: JayB | April 10, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Anyone have any idea what the lit box just down third base line from home plate is?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 10, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Ray Knight was wonderful last night. He was "disappointed" (a polite Southern euphemism for angry) at the loss, "as a fan." Johnny kept things light, as did Bob Carpenter, who manages to state with great economy of words what is happening on the field - wasted leadoff hitting, the 3-4-5 spots (Zimm, Nick,and Kearnsy) being "shut out and set down" by the likes of the Marlins pitching, putting pressure on the Nats pitching, which folds and allows 10 runs. And Ray's sharing of his insights, friendship and respect with Bill Buckner was a real gift to all of us, which Johnny is to be commended for bringing up. These guys remind us that it's supposed to be fun, and it is. So, PlanetNats, be slow to anger for nothing good comes of human wrath, and it's not fun to be mad. I'll be at the game tonight.

Posted by: flynnie | April 10, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

So, JayB, have you picked the ledge you plan to jump off of yet? Because none of those things on your list are going to change any time soon, you know. Maybe we can send someone over to talk you down.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

I am trying to remember George Will's words that every team in the league will lose 60 games, and every team in the league will win 60 games. It's the 40 in the middle we fight for. Well, let's stop spotting the opposition 6 losses at a time. This is exactly what happened last year in April and it wasn't until May 11 that we got on a .500 track.

Posted by: 6th and D | April 10, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Who is the post re: JayB and the ledge from? April 10? Your insights are good. Why do you continue to post anonymously?

Posted by: flynnie | April 10, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

.....and, during last night's broadcast, I heard Don Sutton say "It's like they (Marlins hitters) know what's coming". I also heard him say that in St. Louis. Our pitchers must be showing something.

Posted by: 6th and D | April 10, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Nationals would like to apologize for the recent spate of losing and make this offer to our loyal fans who come to the ballpark: Since team management took the decision to invest in cherry trees instead of pitching this off-season, fans leaving the stadium following a loss are invited to break off a small branch from one of the trees to take home as a souvenir. We hope you take advantage of this new promotion and please take Metro to the new Nationals Park.

Posted by: Clint | April 10, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm. Paul LoDuca IS a gambling man. And he doth protest a lot too.

Just sayin....
________________________
.....and, during last night's broadcast, I heard Don Sutton say "It's like they (Marlins hitters) know what's coming". I also heard him say that in St. Louis. Our pitchers must be showing something.

Posted by: 6th and D | April 10, 2008 8:08 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | April 10, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Headline you thought you would never live to see....

"Angelos says he hopes Nationals succeed" in today's Baltimore Sun.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/bal-sp.angelos10apr10,0,6380232.story

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 10, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

So, we started great, lost a few close ones and then moved right in to stinking up the joint. So, the only place to go is better, right? We've hit the bottom, so up is next, right? Right? Pleeease?

Anyway, I'll contribute to the COS count tonight, as a loyal member of The Constituency.

And by the way, leetee, Angelos lies. You knew that, didn't you?

Posted by: NatsFly | April 10, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

With the weather being what it was, and my taxes already done, I couldn't resist hopping on the orange line for a $5 ticket last night. observations:

The walk from Capitol South to the stadium is quick and easy and no sketchy area that I saw.

On the 300/400 level there's a cart with Stella and Bass, otherwise the upper deck is all Bud/BudLight/MGD/[whizz] ... is one keg of Yuengling too much for the proletariat to ask for?

As mentioned over on nats320, the chicken tenders is not a good value. I wasn't in the mood for a hot dog, and I'm not ready to trust the food operations enough to try seafood (I was hankering crabcake sandwich).

The view from the cheap seats is quite tolerable.

I hand to show my ticket to get into section 402 before the game. Really? You want to see my ticket? You think I'm going to try to sneak into the cheapest seats in the park? I know you're just doing your job, mister usher, but whomever assigned you to this task isn't doing theirs.

The scoreboard is wicked nice. The official scoring is a nice addition, but it seems to take a long time to get updated. Previous at-bat information would be cool.

YAY for a park with lots of good standing room.

Nationals Park is a completely non-smoking facility. Unless, of course, you want to have a cigarette. In that case you just light one and smoke it and nobody seems to mind (except me). How about having the ushers guarding the cheap seats escort those people to the smoking area (outside the gates)? Yeah, I ride a high horse on this topic.

The standing room section in straightaway center is freakin' fabulous. The drain at the back of each row is dangerous and needs to be covered by some kind of grating. I almost twisted my ankle in it twice.

The Red Loft bar is not a thoroughfare except when it is. Since they don't have Yuengling there either I'll have no reason to wade through that swarm of nonfans.

The picnic tables behind section 142 will be a great spot for the NJ Constituency meet-up on Sunday the 27th. Props to whomever suggested it.

Looking at the crowd it is so quintessential DC the way that the Diamond club and President's club areas are exclusive and empty. The distinction between the haves, the have-a-lots, and the have-people-to-keep-track-of-what-i've-gots is never more obvious than from the cheapest seats in the park.

The game itself sucked.

Back again tonight in my season ticket seats!

Posted by: i hate walks | April 10, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Of course he wants the team to succeed. The SOB controls our television rights.
-------------------------------------------
Headline you thought you would never live to see....

"Angelos says he hopes Nationals succeed" in today's Baltimore Sun.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/bal-sp.angelos10apr10,0,6380232.story

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 10, 2008 8:45 AM

Posted by: TimDz | April 10, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I love the fight in these guys and how pissed they are about loosing, Lo Duca and Bergmann come to mind. But also liked Zim's quote about the Tigers. It's a very long season.

All I can say is I grew up here in DC watching the O's because I had nothing else so I'm just still so giddy to have a team to watch and listen to on the radio and obsess on in a blog, that I'm really not that upset w/ a loosing streak.

Besides the team is on the right track, they're trending up. They'll turn it around.

Posted by: Avar | April 10, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

You know what gets me about the President or diamond club seats - or whatever the hell they are called. It is plainly obvious that they are not sold. So, I try to buy a couple of tickets in these seats as a anniversary celebration with the Missus. You know, a once a year expenditure for a great seat with all the bells and whistles. Can't buy 'em. WTF? I am stunned that the team would rather these go unsold than sell them on a onesy/twosy basis. Stupid.

Posted by: 6th and D | April 10, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

506, that box on the third base line is where you go to light the fuse that causes Bergmann to blow up in the 5th inning. They need to have that removed.

Dale -- if Chico is a slow-moving brush fire, what's Bergy?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 10, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, IHW, for mentioning the picnic table possibility for our April 27 gathering. I missed the first posting about the tables, if there was one (traffic by both Constituency and trolls has been high and I've been scrolling past lots of posts rather than reading them). At any rate, the Nats Park picnic table idea sounds like a good one for this initial gathering rather than trying to coordinate a full-up RFK tailgate.

---

The picnic tables behind section 142 will be a great spot for the NJ Constituency meet-up on Sunday the 27th. Props to whomever suggested it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 10, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Re: the Diamond Club seats. I have to say when I was sitting looking down at them last night, I came to the realization that the Nationals are going to have to alter the policy for those seats. Perhaps make admittance to the Diamond Club separate or something, but to have them unoccupied night after night is stupid. What you end up with is a cross seating pattern that begins on the side of each dugout.

I am way confident this is going to have to be changed.

Posted by: Section408 | April 10, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they could hand out unsold diamond club seats on the day of the game to the local kids in the neighborhood, it would fill the seats for the cameras, build some new fans, and improve relations with the community.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 10, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I am guessing that the President's club seats will give way in a few years to regular (but expensive) season ticket seats. After a few years of these seats being empty, I am betting that an offseason will be spent getting rid of the big cushy seats that no one is using and replacing them with "regular" seats at a lower, but still hefty, price.
That exclusive club room will most likely end up being some type of a paid perk.
I haven't been to the park yet, but from what I have read, there seems to be too much goofy stuff there (build-a-bear? WTF?). Have we become so freaking ADD as a society that we cannot sit in a seat and focus on a game for tow lousy hours?

Posted by: TimDz | April 10, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

or...TWO lousy hours...must be time for my ADD meds...

Posted by: TimDz | April 10, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE GET RID OF AUSTIN KEARNS. HE WILL SUCK THE LIFE OUTTA THIS TEAM!

Posted by: dk | April 10, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

austin kearns inning killing double play back to the pitcher against the phils, when just a sac fly or even a grounder to any1 else woulda probably won that game, is the defining play of the season so far. that at bat changed everything.

Posted by: dk | April 10, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Lay off of Kearns. His overall batting has been better this year. Yes he did hit into that DP.
If I am not mistaking, we had 1st and 2nd with nobody out and Zimmerman hit into a DP. You don't call for his head...
This is a TEAM and the TEAM is playing lousy. Just about everyone on the TEAM has had an opportunity to come up with a big hit and nearly everyone failed.
It isn't just one player.

Posted by: TimDz | April 10, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure the woeful streak can be pinned solely on Kearns, or any one player for that matter...Milledge hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire either. And i can't even start in on the pitching staff....time for some shake ups manny. Zimmerman is gonna be on The Herd (espnradio.com) today, hopefully he'll have some answers for this rough patch. Something has to give.

Posted by: GPS | April 10, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Ladson has this to say about Odalis, who starts tonight:

"Perez's problems throwing his fastball for strikes weren't helped by a blister on the middle finger of his left hand. He has had the blister since Opening Night against the Braves. Perez is hoping his fingernail grows so he won't put any more pressure on the blister."

OK, so today we're rooting for OP's fingernail to really put on a show. Let's go nail! Let's go nail!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 10, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The poor quality of the players left on the Expos after MLB took over and destroyed the team had nothing to do with them moving here.

The Expos were actually right in the mix through much of the early 00s (esp. 2003, when Bud notoriously refused to allow the team to spend the money to expand their roster for the stretch drive). The league conspired to destroy that franchise to contract the league after they realized they'd over-expanded and were losing money (I think the same guy who decided 30 teams was a good idea decided that it made sense to charge $50 for the red porch). The plan was to get rid of Minnesota too (need an even number of teams for scheduling). So Bud and the Conspiracy of 29 went to Jeffrey Loria, then owner of the Expos, and said, "hey, we'll give you a non-competitive bid on the Marlins if you let us all buy the Expos so we can get rid of them." Loria gets his sweetheart deal and takes over the Marlins (booo Marlins!!!), MLB takes over the 'Spos, and sends Omar to run the team for the benefit of the other 29 teams by imposing a salary cap that was something like 25% of the average payroll, telling Omar to pawn all prospects (since they're getting rid of the team 1-2 years down the road) and making very clear, public moves to contract the team (like they installed new turf in the stadium but leased it for a year instead of buying it outright). Omar for his trouble got a sweet deal running the Mets.

This whole plan fell apart when the good people of Minnesota and their legislature refused to go along and sued successfully to make the Twins play out their lease in the Humpty-Dome. See? It's not impossible for government to stand up to MLB--just Linda Cropp and Anthony Williams.

As for which deals were pure MLB-mandated persecution of Le Expos and which were just run-of-the-mill baseball financial imbalance (which is also a huge problem that the NFL shows us probably couldn't survive in a competitive marketplace), and which were just bad moves, it's impossible to say, and I acknowledged that in my original post. But I think it's valuable to look at what WAS here nonetheless. We were stocked with talent, MLB took over, and 4 years later we got a team of replacement-level aging vets and one of the most talent-less minor league systems of all time.

Looking specifically at the players I cite, I'm not just pulling them all out of my tush. Vladdy was clearly MLB just taking him away from our team, denying us even the compensatory picks. Pedro was just a run-of-the-mill poor team that can't resign it's star player so they traded him while he still had value (again, the obscene financial/competitive imbalance that forces deals like Pedro to Boston is one of the negative effects of the lack of market competition, so it's not irrelevant). The Sizemore-Colon was indeed a playoff-push win-now type deal, but I've read a lot that says the pressure to win now was overwhelming because of the impending contraction. And when every team knows that you HAVE to make a deal, it makes it hard to get value for your prospects. So I am happy to lay that at the feet of Bud and the Conspiracy of 29. Orlando Cabrera left of his own accord as an FA, but has said that a big part of the reason he left. They don't explain every deal, but BP's 2008 annual mentions all these players as prospects Omar Expo-rted in the pre-contraction firesale: BArret, Phillips, Cabrera, Young, Cliff Lee, Carl Pavano, Grady, Vladdy. A lot these guys would be a big lift to our current squad.

Again, the most important point is that we as Nats fans need to understand how we got to this point where we suck so bad. It makes no sense to blame Kasten or the Lerners (yet). They've had one measly draft and 2 off seasons (really that first one was kind of a wash with the new ownership group just figuring out the lay of the land). It's totally unreasonable to expect that they can build a competitive team on that timeline. Not given the complete total and utter lack of any talent at any level of the franchise when they arrived. It would be like touring Afghanistan and complaining that Karzai hasn't built Kabul into a NYC-type metropolis yet. It's just not a reasonable expectation given that he inherited a medieval backwater.

So take your anger out on the other teams. Boo the Brewers (Selig), the Mets (Omar), and the Marlins (formerly Loria, who since cashed out his winnings) and the rest of the Conspiracy of 29. If we still suck in 3 years, then it'll make sense to boo Kasten.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

As much as I hate Jeff Loria of the Marlins, his FO manages to field a team with potential. Their hitters are aggressive, confident, smart and young. What impresses me is that Benefest can get top prospects for his maturing stars (i.e. Becket, Cabrera,etc.) We get draft choices for Soriano. The Marlins are not going to win the division but they offer some hope for the future. Our team cannot make that claim. We continue to employ a band aid approach. Bowden's strategy is to try to catch lightning in a bottle and that is not a long term solution. If we are going to go with youth then go with it. Take some of our current starters and form a strong bench and trade or waive the rest of the current 25. Trade or waive the likes of O Perez, Lopez, Belliard, Kearns, Lo Duca, Mackowiak, Boone, Estrada, King, Hanrahan, Rauch, etc.

If I am Bowden I would consider some of the following moves:
(i) Promote Dewitt and Zimmermann. Starting rotation Hill, Lanna, Dewitt, Zimmermann, Chico or some other kid at AAA.
(ii) Bergmann to the pen. Odallis Perez is cut.
(iii) Cut King and trade Rauch and Haranhan.
(iv)Kearns is traded. Escobar in right. Promote Maxwell.
(v)Cut Boone and Mackowiak.
(vi) Trade Lopez or Belliard.
(vii) Trade Johnson and promote Luis Jiminnez if you do not want to promote Marrero.
(viii) Cut Estrada. Lopez is the starting catcher, LoDuca is back up.

I know the above has to be thought out more but if you going with youth do it. This band aid approach does not work and is embarrassing giving the money that DC spent on this team.

One last thing - Acta looks like a deer in the head lights. Someone tell him that the season has started. As for Bowden - please send him away.


Posted by: mjames | April 10, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh and of course--boo Congress and the Supreme Court for allowing MLB to collude to destroy a franchise and deny our top-tier market a team for 34 years. Again, if it wasn't for the anti-trust exemption, none of this could have happened--not the 34 years without a team, not the $611m, not the purposeful destruction of our franchise.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Loria still owns the Marlins?? Geez I didn't know that. BOOO MARLINS!!!!!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Wow, mjames' approach to rebuilding the Nationals is kind of like General Sherman's approach to "rebuilding" Atlanta.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 10, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Steven on Capital Hill.

Excellent post . You are spot on in comment. I am a life long Expos fan and now a Nats fan. I have seen it all. My only commnet on your post is that you left out some players such Jason Bay and Brandon Phillips of the Reds. Concerning Phillips, Bowden had a shot at him before the Reds but he passed.

Bowden needs to go or have him switch postions with the current AGM Mike ???.

Posted by: mjames | April 10, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

mjames--thanks. I posted my full lineup of the "would be" Nats of 2005 the other day. Does this match your sense of what "would have been" if not for the Conspiracy of 29?:

C: Micheal Barrett or Brian Schneider
1B: Jose Vidro or Brad Wilkerson
2B: Brandon Phillips
SS: Orlando Cabrera
3B: Maicer Izturis/Ryan Zimmerman (by season's end)
LF: Jason Bay
CF: Grady Sizemore
RF: Vladimir Guerrero
Rotation: Pedro Martinez, Chris Young, Javier Vazquez, Livan Hernandez, Cliff Lee
Bullpen: Chad Cordero, Luis Ayala

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@ JayB
You know all this after only 9 games? Manny has no passion? Patience my friend patience. This is baseball. Of course, you can always to go to Build a Screech and Fun Zone if it all becomes too much
In general about last night my regular new seat (see above)was excellent. Bergmann's and Hanrahan's non-performane makes it wide open, as Barry suggested today, who among the pitchers gets down.
Although I just counseled patience, I am begining to run out of it when it comes to Kearns. Zim has been leaving men own also but he has shown that he will improve. Kearns appears to continuing his non-performing ways from last season. Still it is a long season.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 (Formerly Sec 417 Row 8 Seat 9) | April 10, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"Slash and burn" probably isn't the best course of action at this point.

Acta is not the problem. Nor is Bowden.

Better situational hitting (I know, it's cliche) will do wonders.

And why FLop is in the everyday lineup is beyond me.

Posted by: Section408 | April 10, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

OK off my main "blame Bud and the anti-trust exemption" manifesto momentarily.

Does it seem like this team is getting really down on itself really fast? I keep reading about LoDuca's clubhouse rants and now Bergmann. Last season one of our biggest strengths was our unflagging optimism. I worry that LoDuca is poisoning the well. Maybe he did the same in NY during their swoon. This guys was supposed to be a vocal team leader, but I just hear lots of negativity, which I don't think helps.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

a lot of teams had a shot at phillips before the reds and passed.

Posted by: 231 | April 10, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

People shouldn't be so focused on any one particular player that Bud and the Conspiracy of 29 looted from our franchise. The point is that the overall level of talent on the team was quite high, and the team was run directly into the ground in a purposeful effort to benefit of the other 29 and contract the franchise. Yeah, this guy or that might still have left or been traded, but only under a coordinated, collusive effort to destroy a franchise could the Expos/Nationals have gone from one of the more talented, up-and-coming teams in the league, to perhaps the least talented top-to-bottom team in the history of MLB.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

""Perez's problems throwing his fastball for strikes weren't helped by a blister on the middle finger of his left hand. He has had the blister since Opening Night against the Braves. Perez is hoping his fingernail grows so he won't put any more pressure on the blister."

Colome's buttocks. Perez's fingernail. It's always something.

Posted by: Roseanne Roseannadanna | April 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Here's a quick look to back up the situational hitting angle.

PLAYER Runners On / Runners in scoring pos.
--------------------
Guzman .375/.500
Milledge .538/.500
Zimmerman .071/.000
Johnson .250/.286
Kearns .214/.273
LoDuca .286/.364
Belliard .375/.273
Lopez .167/.125

Bottom line is if you want to point the finger at anyone, start with Zim. He's *killed* the club thus far going 0-for-10 with RISP. And as your number three hitter, that's a formula for losses.

Posted by: Section408 | April 10, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Steven :

That looks about right - That would have been a decent team. I am not sure you would still have had Pedro. Concerning the Pedro trade to Boston, I know the Yankees had offered Posada and some other top prospect at the time. I forget who the player was but he went on to be a star.

The point is the Expos, despite all their money woes, had a Team. They maximized the use of their scarce resources. Kasten has to try to emulate this. Enough with the band-aids. I think the guy who built the Expos at the end was Dana Brown. What Bowden is doing is beyond me. LoDuca, Estrada, Mackowiak, Boone, Perez = $ 9.8mm. Don't you think we might have obtained a decent player or pitcher for that amount instead of this mishmash that Bowden has assembled. The problem might be that Bowden has too much money to spend . The Expos would not have signed these players because they did not have the money to waste on the LoDuca's, etc. They would have promoted someone from the minors.

Posted by: mjames | April 10, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

@Section 408

Point well taken. Mine is Zim has done it before and will likely do it again. Kearns has yet to do it. My expectations for Kearns with men on base are beginning to be low. Not the case with Zim.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | April 10, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Points well taken, but I don't think the 1-year deals they are handing out for middling vets will matter much in the long run. Bowden and Kasten will be judged based on whether the Marreros, Detwilers, Smokers, and Zimmermanns of the world pan out. You can't win with free talent and FAs alone--you need to develop your own stars, and we've had 1 draft so far to do that since the end of the Conspiracy of 29.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

To Steven on the Hill: How does LoDuca making the comment, "I'm better than that" translate into a clubhouse rant and a potential poisoning of the well? The man knew he made a mistake and took responsibility for it? If it was Zimmerman who says that, people laud his maturity and leadership (and justifiably so). Same thing with Bergmann. He was pissed off at himself.
I don't equate personal accountability with negativity.
If I misread or misinterpreted your post, please let me know.

Posted by: TimDz | April 10, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 10, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I know there's a lot of angst here, but there is also a new post.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | April 10, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

TimDz--I dunno. I'm obviously not in the clubhouse, but I think if he calmly said, "I should have done better and I take responsibility," that's a positive, like you say. If on the other hand he was throwing his mitt and stomping around the clubhouse having basically a big emotional fit about it, that's seems like it's dwelling on the negative in an unhelpful way. That's just my sense of what helps and what doesn't in a team dynamic. Hard to tell from the coverage which it was, but it seemed more like the latter.

Then this quote from Loduca in today's Post was troubling to me: "I know it's early, but we need to turn it around quick because this is getting ridiculous."

Funny you mention Zimmy, because I thought his quote was much more what I'd want from a team leader (on a team like this at least): "The team that's supposed to win 200 games hasn't won a game yet... we've played good baseball."

This team is going to win more than it loses, but it won't be historically bad unless players lose their composure. We need Manny's long-view optimism to stay in it. Zimmerman seems to have drunk that kool-aid, whereas Loduca seems like he's losing his cool at the first sign of inevitable adversity.

That's my concern, but again I'm not in the room so I obviously don't really know what the dynamic is like.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 10, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Lay off of Kearns. His overall batting has been better this year.

Posted by: TimDz | April 10, 2008 10:04 AM

WOW. ARE YOU KIDDIN ME? KEARNS IS BATTIN .235 BUT HES BATTIN BETTER THIS YEAR. LOOKOUT! WEVE REALLY GOT A BUNCH OF LEMMINGS.

AUSTIN KEARNS STINKS! BIGTIME.

Posted by: dk | April 10, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line is if you want to point the finger at anyone, start with Zim.

Posted by: Section408 | April 10, 2008 10:54 AM

wrong. zim gets a pass right now cause hes done far more good than bad. and has won many games for us. kearns negatives far outweight his positives. pure and simple he is a team killer.
zim will shine, kearns will continue to bury the nats.

Posted by: dk | April 10, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Steven on Capitol Hill - Pedro left in the off season after 1997 in a trade for two out Bosotn 3 best pitching prospects - Pavano and Armas. Money was a factor, butthat was in the Claude Brochu era when Quebex would nto build him a stadium. Up until 2000 or so, Boston was not using that much market power to drive salaries up. I don't have the stats right here, but I'd venture to say their 1998 payroll was probably only 4th in the AL East (perhaps 3d). I'll not gues where they were in the AL. Laugh as you will about Pavano and Armas, but Pavano had a pretty good career before he went to the NYY, and Armas had some potential at the time.

Cabrera, OTOH, left in the Nomar 4 way deal in 2004 (Murton to the Cubs part of the package but I forget the rest) before his contract expired. All the Expos received back I think was Brendan Harris and one of the Alex Gonzalezes. That was a "get what I can" deal for the Expos, and Cabrera's unwillingness to resign was due to uncertainty about where/if they would be playing.

Posted by: ptbnl | April 10, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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