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We can talk offense, assuming it exists

Let's start first with a reminder. We've got a chat at 2 p.m. today.

If you like dramatic baseball, last night's game probably worked well. We saw another superb outing from Jason Bergmann, who showed a stronger fastball than he did against the Mets (90-91 mph, with command) and maintained the breaking stuff that's fast become his out pitch. Two starts, no runs. I'll say he deserves a job.

Then again, if you like baseball where, say, runners reach third base with regularity, this wasn't your night. The game story focuses on those dualities.

In part because it became immaterial, I neglected to mention the play of the game -- the ninth-inning 8-6-2 out at home plate made possible my Jesus Flores's job blocking the plate. The more we see Flores at Nationals Park, the more at home he looks. I will have to dig deeper into this at a later time, maybe for an off-day feature down the road, but Nats starters across the board have been going out of their ways to credit Flores. Bergmann did it again last night, talking about how Flores calls such a great game, how he picks just the right times to head to the mound or make suggestions. He plays like he's 33 years old.

One other comment to fill in the backstory of yesterday's game. When it ended, I was talked to Lenny Harris, the hitting coach. The picture he painted of the Nats' offense -- "one day we'll have a good day, next day we won't play that well hitting wise. It's been up and down so far." -- felt a bit rosier than warranted. So this morning, I tried a quick statistical analysis to see what's up.

Here are where your Nats stand in some basic ML rankings:

HRs: tied, 24th

Avg: tied, 29th

OBP: 27th

2Bs: 18th

Runs: tied, 25th

If there's any attempt by the coaches to note an improvement, I should mention that Washington is hitting .243 in May. Then again, Jason Bergmann has pitched in two 1-0 games in as many starts. And certainly, if you hold the Phillies to one run in two games, you should expect to win the series.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 21, 2008; 9:07 AM ET
 
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Next: Today's lineups

Comments

Watching Flores block the plate last night, it certainly felt like the Flores/Nieves tandem is a better bet than the Lo Duca/Estrada combo. How do you send Flores down?

Posted by: 220 | May 21, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

In spring, what was thought to be a weakness, starting pitching, has turned into the strength of the team. The hitting, which was thought to have been overhauled in the spring, was seemingly overrated. Hopefully the latter will turn around. As things go for the Nats though, it likely will be that the pitching will regress before the hitting improves eneough to matter. I sure hope I'm wrong about that.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 21, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

220, I asked the same thing in a question I just submitted for the chat. Flores needs to start here in Washington this year. It's just a matter of if the front office will be willing to move LoDu/Estrada around.

Posted by: Section 138 | May 21, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes 220, I agree with your assessment of the Flores/Nieves tandem. Seems like it might be time for management to just admit they came to the wrong conclusion of the catching situation and cut strings with LoDuca/Estrada.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 21, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If Randy St. Claire gets credit for the pitchers exceeding expectations, then they need a better hitting coach. It's not like there's nothing to work with; except for Guzman, and two catchers who weren't supposed to be here (and one starting pitcher), almost everybody is below personal norms (tho Zimm is starting to come around).
"Gee, those other guys are sure good; I don't know what we could do ..." isn't what I want to hear, here.

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

It seems pretty obvious, in hindsight, that Flores should have been up all along. Nieves is found money, a nice job by the scouts and good luck that he got to play. Well, good for the Nats, not so much for PLD.

*********
Watching Flores block the plate last night, it certainly felt like the Flores/Nieves tandem is a better bet than the Lo Duca/Estrada combo. How do you send Flores down?

Posted by: 220 | May 21, 2008 9:40 AM

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

hear hear, ce :)

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Nats are dead last in stolen bases.

Posted by: Mike Hunt | May 21, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Dang! CE got another post in before my response to the prior one...

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

OK, I was at the game last night and there was two instances on the same play that really ticked me off. Bottom of the 9th, runners on 1st and 3rd (both of whom had walked). Lopez NEEDS TO AT LEAST TAKE THE FIRST PITCH! Lidge wasn't near the plate for the last 2 hitters, and he is known for uncorking one in the dirt. Taking a pitch or two might have helped Lidge go further off the deep end.

The second part was after Lopez hit the ball. He BARELY ran out of the batter's box. Did anyone else notice that Utley bobbled the grounder? I'm not saying that Lopez would have beaten the throw, but if he's hustling down the line, maybe, just maybe Utley hurries the throw and makes a mistake.

Lopez has hit better than last year, and his fielding has been decent, but man his hustle has been sorely lacking. I would love to see Manny sit him down tonight. With Moyer pitching, I don't think it would be wise to have Willie Harris in the lineup. Maybe Aaron Boone could play one game at second?

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Very dismal offensive numbers. However nice Lenny Harris is, it is clear it is time to shake things up. Before Trader Jim gets cranked up, we need to change hitting coach. they need another voice whispering in their ear. We need to stir up the pot!

Posted by: Section 425 | May 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

In 2005, Barry, among many others, kept insisting Guzman would come around, this guy won't hit .200 for a whole year. And he didn't. For five months, thru August, but not all year. Turns out he was hurt the whole time, apparently.
So I'm wondering, can ALL these guys be hurt, and not telling us? Obviously, something is not normal. Is the clubhouse uptight and pressing, as a team culture? Are they all looking over their shoulders at pumping gas for a living (which would not make ME more relaxed, or productive, I gotta say)? Does Lenny Harris really just [have a lot to learn], big time?
I hear Ozzie Guillen will probably be available soon -- six months of him as hitting coach ought to do it (and be about as much as folks here could stand of him).

Posted by: CE again | May 21, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of ML rankings, what is a good online source for 2008 comparisons by club? I've been able to locate individual player stats on the team site and others but not club stats as a whole. Specifically, I was curious about the current pace as far as DP's turned by the Nats in 2008 compared to their totals in 2007 (when they had 153, according to the media guide). (not sure whether I want to see the stats on DP's hit into...)

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Make that NL rankings.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@e -- YES, AND --
I was just starting to say to my wife, "Watch this, he'll steal home ..." when a guy who's been around long enough to know better swings at the first pitch.
Which, to judge by the result and Charlie and Dave's call, was not a great pitch to hit.

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Lenny Harris's quote reminds me of a musician friend of mine who's been known to introduce a set on stage by saying in his North Carolina drawl "We're gonna start this one slow, and then after a while we'll mellow out a bit." Thing is, in music that kind of approach can work. But for hitting major league pitching, not so much. As they say, you can't fire the players. But you can fire the hitting coach. Might not help, but it sure won't make things any worse than they are now - because that's just not possible.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I love Flores and I think he's going to be a future All-Star. I know he's young and has had some really good at bats, but he really messed up at the plate last night.

Posted by: jesus saves us | May 21, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

and maybe we're overinterpreting this, but it's been said before, a pinch hitter has a different plan at the plate, generally, and has to hack more. Not what you wanted in that situation, as e correctly points out, unless the pitch is one you can drive (which it doesn't seem to have been).

Posted by: CE again | May 21, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

How did he mess up? He looked a little overmatched, certainly, but what did he do wrong?

*******
I love Flores and I think he's going to be a future All-Star. I know he's young and has had some really good at bats, but he really messed up at the plate last night.

Posted by: jesus saves us | May 21, 2008 10:10 AM

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

My take on hitting coaches (the post on the other thread about the Padres was right on) is that they do not have as much as an impact on batters as pitching coaches do on pitching. They have some impact on, however, on batters. So, if the team has not somewhat offensively by end of June average wise perhaps Jimbo and Manny should be looking for Lennie's replacement. That being said, the NATS could win tonight 5 or 6-1.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | May 21, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

So it isn't only great minds that can think alike? Cool.

******
hear hear, ce :)
Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 9:54 AM

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"a bit rosier than warranted."
If the hitting were coming along as well as The Kid's gift for understatement, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

So if we grant that it's organizational policy to look on the bright side and be upbeat, and it's policy to learn on the job (except for the pitching coach), then they are going to give Lenny Harris this whole year, no matter what, aren't they?

Maybe I should save that for the chat?
Nah.

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"...masters of binary baseball..."

This line was amazing Chico. I really enjoyed the gamer today.

Lopez is a naturally gifted ballplayer, but his baseball brain sucks. A little bit like an older Milledge.

But how great was Bergie again!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 21, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The feeling I get for every batter this year is the same feeling I had last year with every starting pitcher. Doubt, unease and holding my breath. There was a small exhale with every little success but those always felt lucky and I never really trusted the luck to be consistent.

This year I'm completely relaxed and trusting in our starting pitching, but I'm tense with every at-bat.

It's exhausting sometimes being a fan of this team.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm with others that think Lenny needs to be replaced. But I also think part of the anemic offense has to do with the management decision to bring in castoffs.

Austin Kearns and Lastings Milledge were acquired in legit baseball trades, but Wily Mo Pena (who has been sold here like snake oil) was essentially given away by the Red Sox. Even the woeful Pirates wouldn't take him. Much has been written about Elijah Dukes' off the field problems, but he didn't hit .200 in Tampa Bay last year, and he isn't even hitting .100 here. Maybe he just isn't that good. Mackoviak and Harris also are journeymen who have never demonstrated that they can hit consistently. Langerhans was jettisoned by Atlanta because he couldn't hit, too

So while Lenny may be part of the problem w/ Kearns and Milledge, I think in the case of the other players, its just a question of not being able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Maybe the management that charges $35 for parking per game can put some of that money into salary for a decent major league left fielder.

Posted by: Ray | May 21, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Chico, why should you mention that the Nats are hitting .243 in May - other than to point out that the Nats still aren't hitting like a major league team.

Posted by: Sec 114 Row E | May 21, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with NatsNut, especially the last line: "It's exhausting sometimes being a fan of this team."

Posted by: samantha7 | May 21, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Love the young Catcher. Always thought we went overboard with both LoDuca and Estrad that Flores could have been on the team working with one of those guys from the beginning. I am impressed by some of our starting pitchers more than I thought I would be during the off season, though I feel like Bergmans stats, when I was looking at them, are deceptive, he seems dominant in some games like last night.

Posted by: Alex35332 | May 21, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Ray. We do have quite a few "potential" guys on the team who could go either way on their production. This makes me hesitate to say FIRE Lenny Harris.

But like a pitching coach, I absolutely think a stronger hitting coach would be able to coax the best out of them.

I also believe that a strong hitting coach would be able to nip an oncoming slump in the bud for the experienced hitters. If the slumps last long enough, they will start to overlap each other and then you've got a lineup like we have now.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of our woeful hitting, did anybody else notice the revealing comment by O's starter Guthrie after Sunday's game? According to WaPo,when complimented on his performance, he shrugged it off, saying that for the most part the Nats' batters were "getting themselves out."

Talk about disrespect! Even if the pitcher feels that's true, he NEVER says it publicly. Makes me suspect that this bit of wisdom is being regularly imparted to pitchers by their pitching coaches: let the Nats' hitters get themselves out.

Posted by: CapPeterson | May 21, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Is Lenny Harris the batting coach with whom the Nationals should trust their up-and-coming Players of the Plan as they rise to the big leagues? If the answer is no, make the change...now.

Posted by: joemktg | May 21, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So we can go from having softball girls in the dugout to inflatable girls in the locker room?

-----

I hear Ozzie Guillen will probably be available soon -- six months of him as hitting coach ought to do it (and be about as much as folks here could stand of him).

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 21, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Estrada may be done for the season anyway; the press release basically said there was no timetable for his return, and I doubt the Nats want him back at this point.

Lo Duco is a different situation; if Lo duca comes back from DL, i'd guess Flores goes back down again to start full time at AAA. I doubt the Nats will want to eat the $5M they paid for Lo Duca. Nieves serves as a once or twice a week backup.

gotta stick to the plan.

Posted by: Sec131 | May 21, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I just took a look at the Nats BAs with Runners In Scoring Position (RISP) and the top 3 are their supposed 2nd, 3rd and 4th string Catchers (Estrada - .429, Flores - .417 then Nieves - .357). Zim, formerly Mr. Clutch, is hitting .146 (7 for 48) with RISP.

Posted by: Section 221 | May 21, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I believe Cap's point speaks volumes. It's not rocket science to believe if one team knows this then the others do too. It's kinda like when PLod/Estrada are behind the plate everyone in the NL knows it's open season on the base paths vs. the Nats.

Posted by: MKevin | May 21, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

If good hitting coaches could prevent slumps for experienced hitters then experienced hitters wouldn't have slumps. That's crazy. It's like Frank said when people used to ask him all the time what was wrong with Tony Armas. He went on a five minute rant, saying something to the effect of, "if I knew what was wrong with Tony Armas then I wouldn't be here. I would be living on my own personal island in the Caribbean sipping frozen drinks and would fly to DC once a week to tell you all what was wrong with Tony Armas."

If there were a hitting coach that could prevent all slumps, he would be the most highly paid man in baseball. He doesn't exist.

The other annoying thing is that whatever Lenny Harris did with Zimmerman is starting to pay off big. Yet no one is rushing to give him credit. Harris and Mackowiak seem to be catching on, too. No credit for Harris. Flores is hitting over 250 points higher than in the minors. No credit to Harris. Guzman is hitting phenomenally. No credit to Harris. Lopez has gotten his act together. No credit to Harris.

It's possible he doesn't deserve credit for any of those. It's possible he does. It's possible he can't deal with 25 unique problems all at the same time and has been focusing on people.

But to watch a game against Cole Hamels and conclude that because the Nats flailed against him, regardless of how they performed the night before against Meyers, the hitting coach needs to be fired is ridiculous. Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't, but let's try to be realistic and holistic in our assessment.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Section 131, I couldn't agree LESS. I don't care what you paid for LoDuca -- they play better and have more cohesiveness sans the blowhard. Bringing up a young catcher certain fits in with The Plan. Its about time they own up to a mistake and frankly, when you don't spend real money on free agents then you have the leeway to discard 5 million or so for the good of the organization.

Posted by: GoNats | May 21, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"Lo Duco is a different situation; if Lo duca comes back from DL, i'd guess Flores goes back down again to start full time at AAA. I doubt the Nats will want to eat the $5M they paid for Lo Duca."

LoDuca needs to go on an extended rehab assignment before they consider bringing him back up. Let him become the restaurant critic of whatever city (Harrisburg or Columbus) he ends up in for rehab. Better yet, let him do both of them. And of course any restaurant critic worth his salt needs to try every item on the menu of a restaurant several times before expounding on it in his review. Let LoDuca review every single restaurant in town. In the spirit of Dmitri Young, let him enlist the help of his minor league teammates. (All on his own dime, of course.) By the time he's done with that, it will be September and the rosters will expand, so he can come back up to be the team's bench nutritionist. That will get the Nationals their $5M worth out of him - and it's about the only way they ever possibly will, actually.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

506 - wasn't it Boone the Elder who tweaked something with Zimm?

Posted by: MKevin | May 21, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

No idea, MKevin, but his approach to at bats looks much better than what it did and that's what Harris said he was working on. My opinion is that hitting is so complicated there are many factors, thus diminishing the effect of each one individually. Harris's numbers as hitting coach are better than Page's. I suspect if he were older and more tenured he wouldn't be getting the same attention.

For those interested, Hendo's got an interesting take on the effects of a possible Padre's firesale:

http://www.nationalspride.com/columnists/post.cfm?blog=hendo&id=62&story=western+fire+sale

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

... and there is a chat on the MLB draft today at noon here:

http://mlb.mlb.com/fan_forum/chat.jsp

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 21, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

So, which is the real Bergmann? Pre-AAA or Post-AAA?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a - Good news and bad news.

Good news - ESPN's MLB stats section let's you sort by team batting, pitching, and fielding. The team batting has 3 levels of stats. GDP is on the "Expanded stats II" page.

Bad news - Our 41 ranks 5th most in the NL. Our 50.4 AB/HR is 2d worst, but only .1 worse than Colorado. My how the mighty have fallen.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 21, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Excellent points about Harris (the hitting coach, not the utility man) 506BM. But I think a lot of the suspicion about him is a result of the organization's own candid doubts about his ability. They as much as said they were going to give him another chance despite some real ambivalence- in that context a .234 team BA raises eyebrows (and questions).

Incidents like Lopez going after the first pitch last night, and other breakdowns in "situational hitting" allow for legitimate criticism of the team's approach at the plate, which should be the responsibility of the hitting coach. On the other hand, your point about Flores is very intriguing since we have now seen enough of him to at least speculate reasonably that he hits better at the major league level than in the minors (baseball is indeed a funny game).

I don't know how much Harris is to blame for the Nats inept offense, if at all. But Manny (and JimBo) should and, I agree with the joemktg in thinking that if Harris is not part of The Plan, now (meaning sometime before the all-star break) would be a good time to make the change.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 21, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Wily Mo Pena (who has been sold here like snake oil) was essentially given away by the Red Sox. Even the woeful Pirates wouldn't take him. Much has been written about Elijah Dukes' off the field problems, but he didn't hit .200 in Tampa Bay last year, and he isn't even hitting .100 here. Maybe he just isn't that good."

Dukes at 23 .190/.318/.391 in 184 AB's after an age 22 AAA line of .293/.401/.488 indicates SOME level of talent (in fact a far higher ceiling than anyone above AA in the Nats system now)

How soon we forget that Wily Mo gave us .293/.352/.504 in 133 ABs just last year? And that was after a .218/.291/.385 start for the Sox. Maybe Wily Mo just don't like the cold? But a 26 year old with three 100+ OPS+ seasons is worth giving a shot to.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | May 21, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Much has been written about Elijah Dukes' off the field problems, but he didn't hit .200 in Tampa Bay last year, and he isn't even hitting .100 here."

Ray, this is why you need to look at more than just batting average, especially with a young player (and especially if you're looking at stats this year that include all of 26 ABs).

yes, dukes hit 190 last year (in 184 ABs). but he had almost as many walks as hits (35 hits, 33 BBs), and 15 of his 35 hits were extra base hits (3 2Bs, 2 3Bs, and 10HRs). so, for a rookie, he had a reasonable OBP/SLG/OPS line of 318/391/709, especially considering hitting 190. for a power hitter, his K/BB ratio was 4/3 (44k, 33BB), which isn't bad. 3.88 pitches per plate appearance, also good.

so you have to look at all the stats before pronouncing judgment, especially with a young player. and dukes' peripherals last year were pretty good, which gives a talent evaluator a good sense that the batting average will come. and 26ABs in 11 games this year isn't much to judge on.

Posted by: 231 | May 21, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If Escobar is healthy, playing every day and hitting the ball...why not give him a try? Can't really do any worse.

If he's going to get re-injured anyway it might as well be in the majors.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I believe Dukes will hit at the major league level given enough at bats. He's had 1500 ABs at the minor league level, 1/2 at AA or AAA. His .282/.364/.450 line shows he has some plate discipline, and even with his awful batting average through his first 210 at bats at the major league level, he is still drawing walks. He showed decent power last year (10 HRs in 184 ABs), so I'm guessing the homers will come. Even last year's OBP, .318, would be behind only 3 of the regulars (and several of the bench) in this year's Nats line up. He's just had 26 at bats this year in the majors in spot duty. It's hard to project off of that.

As for Jesus v. other catchers, it probably was wise to think we would try to give him seasoning in the minors and bring in depth at the majors for a year. But he's done nothing to show he's not ready, and until he shows he can't handle the majors, he belongs getting the bulk of the work.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 21, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Chico,
How would you know how a 33 year old plays? Not that I would know myself, just saying...

Posted by: Miggy Tejada | May 21, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

506 -- I'm going to respectfully disagree on some of your comments on where's the credit for Harris.

Zim -- notoriously slow starter. I can't credit Harris since this is what Zim does each year.

Mackowiak -- he's hitting .179 on the season. He's 1 for his kast 11. He can take a walk, but I can't say that he's hitting better.

Willie Harris -- .194 in April. .200 in May. And he still can't lay down a bunt. Nope, won't credit Lenny here either.

Guzman -- was hitting well last season before he got hurt and before Lenny took over as hitting coach. I'll credit the laser-eye surgeon here.

I'm not saying that Lenny needs to be fired. I'm not saying he needs to be kept. Something, though, is not working right now. If I can see that Milledge is swinging at the first pitch in almost every at-bat, and Lopez (amongst others) are swinging at the first pitch after the batter (or batters) before him have been walked, then something does need to be done to correct that. That is not a sound approach to the plate that some of these players are having and it is up to the hitting coach to correct this.

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Chico -- did you, or anyone from the Post, go to the Q&A with Lastings Milledge yesterday at the ESPN Zone? I couldn't go but would like to know what he said, how many people were there, etc ...

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If 1000 monkees typing for 1000 years could produce one Hamlet, the GRIP, 231, and I can sort the same stats and cometothe same conclusion about Dukes. As John Lannan might say, "All we are saying is give Dukes a chance."

Posted by: PTBNL | May 21, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

re: GRiP. Anagram for Levale Speigner (c.f. google).

Apparently Levale's mom is NJer. Who knew?

Posted by: joebleux | February 19, 2008 03:42 PM

Gal Revels in Pee is an anagram (or whatever you call it when you mix up the letters in a word to form another word) that Capital Punishment came up with last year for Levale Speigner.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 19, 2008 03:54 PM

Posted by: Nipper, The RCA Dog | May 21, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I just did a very quick search of the past couple of seasons to see if any hitting coaches had been fired mid-season and so far have found:

6/5/06 -- CLE fires Eddie Murray, replaces him with Derek Shelton
6/15/06 -- SD fires Dave Magadan, replaces him with Marv Rettenmund
7/13/06 -- HOU fires Gary Gaetti, replaces him with Sean Berry
6/14/07 -- LAD fires Eddie Murray, replaces him with Bill Mueller
7/12/07 -- NYM fires Rick Down, replaces him with Howard Johnson
8/1/07 -- SD fires Marv Rettenmund, replaces him with Wally Joyner

Looks like the time to fire a hitting coach is from mid-June to right around the All-Star Game.

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

lowcountry, I concur.

It looks like we find the worst of every game to obsess over. Remember when everyone hated Jason Bergmann? Where's the love for him now? The Haters have won and we've come to a point where the topic of every conversation is what's wrong or not wrong, not what's right or not right.

It reminds me of an old political joke that I'll tell in the last form I heard it, which was just recently:

The Pope was in Washington for his visit and to say mass at Nationals Park one week. It happened that at the same time Senator Obama was going to be in town to vote on an important bill. The Pope caught wind that the Democratic senator's visit to his workplace would coincide with his own and sent a message to him.

"Senator," it said, "You're likely to be one of the nominees for President of the most powerful country in the world, I would like to meet with you to discuss some things that I think are important to the people of that world."

Obama, of course, accepted the invitation, but expressed doubt that they could meet anywhere where the media would not overwhelm them both. So the Pope suggested they go out on the Tidal Basin, since it was on a body of water that Jesus usually went to avoid the crowds. On the day, the two of them took a paddle boat out to the center of the Tidal Basin, while the hordes of reporters and photographers and frenzied fanatics stood on the shore, trying to get a view of the historic meeting.

As soon as they reached the center of the Tidal Basin, Benedict realized that he had forgotten his lunch back on shore.

"Ach! I have forgotten my lunch," he said. "It's back on the shore!"

"No, problem," Obama said, "We'll just paddle back and get it."

"No, no," Benedict moaned, "then all the cameras will take pictures of us rowing back and all the newspapers will mock me for being old and senile."

"Don't worry," Obama said, understanding. "I'll get it for you and no one will say anything."

And with that, Obama climbed out of the paddle boat and walked back to shore across the water, his shoes not even getting wet.

The next day, the headline read: OBAMA CAN'T SWIM

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Perez signing: I like it.

There are those who will say the Nats should have done it six months ago and paid ten times the price, but I guess the FO will just have to live with the consequences of their bad timing.

Posted by: Hendo | February 19, 2008 04:16 PM

He might not be the worst pitcher in baseball, but he's in the discussion.

Posted by: .390 | February 19, 2008 01:51 PM

Had we signed Odalis Perez at this point last season he would've been our number two starter - and quickly been bumped up to number one after JP's performances.

Posted by: lowcountry | February 19, 2008 09:39 PM

Posted by: CE | February 19, 2008 10:34 PM


Posted by: Foresight's Better Than Hindsight | May 21, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

506, let me remind you of where you are. This is not a crowd that cares much about being bothered with the facts (unless, of course, they are arcane and narrow quantifiable statistics from which broad generalizations can be drawn)

=== === ===

"... Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't, but let's try to be realistic and holistic in our assessment.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 11:02 AM"

Posted by: i hate walks | May 21, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Also, didn't Barry Larkin do some tweaking as well?

Thanks, PTBNL, for the source. Will delve deeper into the ESPN stats section.

---

wasn't it Boone the Elder who tweaked something with Zimm?

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, e, you outline the great reasons why he shouldn't get credit, and I think you're fairly persuasive.

My prediction on Harris is that he won't be with the Nats next year and not for much longer this year. This was his learning job. He'll go work coaching in the minors and be back and probably be much better. It's not his time now, I don't think.

But to say this is all his fault or that everything is terrible, is ridiculous. To look at one hitter doing poorly and say it's all the coach and one doing well and say it's all the player is nonsense.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

506, I never said PREVENT. I said nip slumps in the bud so they don't last two months.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the time to fire a hitting coach is from mid-June to right around the All-Star Game.

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 12:00 PM

. . .for teams that suck and/or have Eddie Murray as a hitting coach.

Posted by: f;ynnie | May 21, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Trying to post this again. Re. the ESPN stats: thanks, but I was more interested in DP's turned than those hit into. When I look at ESPN's comparison of club fielding stats, I don't find a breakout of DP's. I did notice that the Nats are tied for 3rd in fielding percentage, at .986.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

And besides that, 506, we're not really talking individuals anymore. We're talking about the team as a whole. The team's offense, as a whole, to date, stinks. More than it should.

You should at least be QUESTIONING Lenny Harris, for goodness sake.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Agree with firing Lenny Harris now. Its time for the Kasten/Lerners to take some action so the fans will see that "putrid" is not good enough.

Even though the OF hitting has not improved with AK on the bench, keep him there. He suffers from the "no hussle" syndrome as well.

Kudos to Flores and Guzman!

211

Posted by: AWWNats | May 21, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised more people are asking for Lopezes head. Lidge had just walked two batters, tying run on 3rd and Lopez is up there hacking at the first pitch off a pitcher he hasn't seen yet that night! I sure hope Harris had a little chat about patience. Perhaps Milledge and Pena can join Lopez for some daily therapy sessions on how to be more patient at the plate.

Posted by: vitisgod | May 21, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

506 -- As I said, I don't know if Lenny is to blame or not. And I do agree that he won't be here next year. I hope he does get re-assigned somehere in the minors to work on whatever it is he needs to work on.

And yes, Bergmann did a great job last night. That's two very good starts since his recall from Columbus. Way to go JB! Keep it up.

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

And I'll say this again. I'm not necessarily saying Harris is to blame for it all, or even that he's a BAD hitting coach.

I'm say that a strong or stronger one would be able to coax out their best, which is exactly what Randy St. Claire does so well. He's a STRONG coach.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

And I'll say this again. I'm not necessarily saying Harris is to blame for it all, or even that he's a BAD hitting coach.

I'm say that a strong or stronger one would be able to coax out their best, which is exactly what Randy St. Claire does so well. He's a STRONG coach.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

And here are the FACTS, in case you were doubting:

HRs: tied, 24th

Avg: tied, 29th

OBP: 27th

2Bs: 18th

Runs: tied, 25th

Not to mention this:
"Manager Manny Acta said. "Pinch-hit one guy who's struggling for another guy who's struggling?"

And don't forget:
"And their .279 slugging percentage...was not only last in baseball, not only .150 points lower than an average NL outfielder, but was 77 points lower than the 29th-best outfield in the majors."

If you argue that Lenny Harris is not the problem, then please tell me what you think the problem is, after TWO FULL MONTHS, because you certainly can't deny offense is a problem right now.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

And I'll say this again. I'm not necessarily saying Harris is to blame for it all, or even that he's a BAD hitting coach.

I'm say that a strong or stronger one would be able to coax out their best, which is exactly what Randy St. Claire does so well. He's a STRONG coach.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

oops. very sorry.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@Harlan,

Great story about Bowden's Binary batters. The next time you stop JimBow on his Segway, peak to JimBow, could you ask him why none of his "toolsy" players can hit? The Wasteland of Minimal Production is useless as a defender and Da Meat Hook is below average at best. Nats pitchers sure must feel confident with that subpar defensive alignment behind them most nights.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 21, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I fell asleep and didn't see the thrilling conclusion, but from what I read here, why is everyone blaming Lenny? Shouldn't Manny have had the take sign on?

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

While I agree it's just a hair too early (3 weeks) to pull the ripcord on Harris, the fact is that the hitters aren't hitting. And perhaps more importantly the Nats' young hitters aren't improving. Milledge and Dukes have done nothing but backslide if anything. And WMP, who at least could pound the ball out of the park in-between strikeouts isn't even doing that anymore. Across the board, the Nats hitters have regressed. And *that's* reflective of the hitting coach.

Posted by: Section 408 | May 21, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Da Meat Hook is below average at best.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 21, 2008 12:56 PM

Dmitri in 15 at bats since his return: 3 hits, 4 walks, 2 runs scored.

Love 'ya lettee, and your '69 Senator redux is priceless, as are most of your posts, but 7 for 15 ain't "average at best." If everyone took ab's like Da Meat, we would be crying out for Lenny Harris to be paid $3 million a year and be named "Assistant Coach, Offense."

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Not there, I wouldn't. Lopez has enough power to win the game right there, if Lidge does absolutely groove one. It could happen.
That's about the only pitch he should be swinging at with no strikes there, but it could happen. Plate discipline, not a take sign.
*********
Shouldn't Manny have had the take sign on?
Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 12:57 PM

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me what Flores did that was so bad last night, or is it just another example of one of you getting the person you're cricizing mixed up with someone else?

Posted by: annoying gnat | May 21, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut,

Those numbers are very disheartening. Here's some more:

HR: 22 of 32 have been in the last 30 days

AVG: Team average is bad, but the goats contributing to that average have been changing. April was the month of Johnson, Milledge, and Guzman, May has been the month of Zimmerman, Lopez, and Guzman.

OBP: April was Kearns, Johnson, and Guzman, now Lopez and Guzman (and Boone, Flores, Young, and Nieves, but they have so few at bats).

2B: Guzman, Milledge, Zimmerman, and Lopez have all already met or exceeded the number of doubles they hit in April with a week of May left

Runs: Our AVG with RISP is higher than it was in April. But, more importantly, we're winning a lot more games than we did in April. Who cares how many runs we score if we win more? The team that scored the most runs in history ('31ish Yankees) didn't even make it to the World Series


So it's much more complicate than a simple "look at the total numbers." It's baseball, it always is.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was wondering that, too.

****
Can someone tell me what Flores did that was so bad last night, or is it just another example of one of you getting the person you're criticizing mixed up with someone else?

Posted by: annoying gnat | May 21, 2008 1:11 PM

Posted by: CE again | May 21, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Not even in the World Series?? What a bunch of bums!

Make that modern history, and it was indeed the '31 Yankees, who still won 94 games, but finished well back of the Philadelphia As, 107-45.
*******
The team that scored the most runs in history ('31ish Yankees) didn't even make it to the World Series.

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I just now stopped laughing flynnie! I'm sweating the next two months if I'm the Padres hitting coach as well!
_________________________________
Looks like the time to fire a hitting coach is from mid-June to right around the All-Star Game.

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 12:00 PM

. . .for teams that suck and/or have Eddie Murray as a hitting coach.

Posted by: f;ynnie | May 21, 2008 12:23 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it was being 3/4 of the way to donning a Golden Sombrero?

Posted by: Flores woes | May 21, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This is a reasonable point, and the patience and "plate discipline" advised for the Nationals would be good advice for us here, too. Two months is not enough time to decide if a guy who's never had the job before is going to get better. Thanks, 506 BM, for the reminder.

That said, it's not as if there's no such thing as effective (and ineffective) hitting coaches. If the team isn't hitting better, the coach may not be the problem, but he demonstrably isn't helping.

*********
If good hitting coaches could prevent slumps for experienced hitters then experienced hitters wouldn't have slumps.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 11:02 AM

Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@flynnie,

I meant below average at best DEFENSIVELY! Read what I wrote in context, please.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 21, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.

Posted by: W.M. Pena | May 21, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

As I said:

*******
How did he mess up? He looked a little overmatched, certainly, but what did he do wrong?
Posted by: CE | May 21, 2008 10:13 AM
------

Perhaps it was being 3/4 of the way to donning a Golden Sombrero?
Posted by: Flores woes | May 21, 2008 1:25 PM

Posted by: CE again | May 21, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. The klan trolls are back. I'm going to work.

[BS]
Posted by: W.M. Pena | May 21, 2008 1:28 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

[quote]"Dmitri in 15 at bats since his return: 3 hits, 4 walks, 2 runs scored.

Love 'ya lettee, and your '69 Senator redux is priceless, as are most of your posts, but 7 for 15 ain't "average at best."[/quote]

flynnie, shouldn't someone who's been around as long as you have know that 3 hits and 4 walks in 15 at bats is not "7 for 15"? It's 3 for 15 (.200 BA) with an OBP of .368. The batting average is actually pretty poor at best, although the on-base percentage is okay. But 19 plate appearances is a very small sample size.

Besides that, I believe leetee was saying that Dmitri's _defense_ is below average at best. I don't think you can really argue that one, can you? (Although he did look pretty good with that nonchalant glove flip catch of the foul popup at the rail last night, didn't he?)

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site."

Yeah, that could happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

This is a great point, CE: "If the team isn't hitting better, the coach may not be the problem, but he demonstrably isn't helping." Maybe the question isn't "Is Lenny bad," but rather "Is someone else better."

I know who thinks yes, you don't have to post it.

And to answer your Flores question: he didn't hit Cole Hamels out of the park three times, duh. Everyone else has been hammering Hamels all around the league! Why can't 23 year old Jesus Flores?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

during most of harris's career, he was a pinch hitter who got maybe one at-bat during most games and really couldn't afford to be too selective at the plate. maybe his proteges are doing as he did, not as he's saying as Harris finished his career with a .269 average, .318 OBP with 279 BB and 337 K's in 3924 ABs with an average of 3.27 pitches per plate appearances.

Posted by: natsscribe | May 21, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, have been questioning Lenny Harris since about this time last year. To be sure, I have not received much in the way of encouraging answers, save that he was -- at one time -- an awesome pinch-hitter.

But I think 506 has a point: there are just too many layers of abstraction between what Lenny Harris says to Willy Mo and Ronnie in the cages or BP or in the film room or during card games or on the bus ... there's just no way to directly correlate what shows up on baseball-reference.com to those conversations.

Partly, because baseball is a mental game. Partly, because what works for some guys doesn't work for others. Partly, because there's a certain point at which you have to stand in the batters box and quiet all those instructive voices in your head and use your instincts. Partly because the pitchers they are facing are playing in the big leagues for a reason: They're *supposed* to be good.

Yes, I'd like to see more plate discipline overall. Yes, I'd like to see hitters approach their at-bats with a plan. Yes, I'd like to see more home runs. Is replacing Lenny Harris the key to making that stuff happen? I'm unconvinced. Can we augment him with additional coaching? (that's a real question, I don't know if there is a limit to how many guys you can have on a coaching staff). Is there something Manny or the kangaroo court can do to spark the offense?

I know right now Willy Mo is only feared by the cherry trees, and mister Milledge is making it awfully hard to scream out "Blastings!" when he comes to the plate.

But I also know that Flores and Boone are doing better than expected. And what of Zimmerman who is warming up slowly (with the weather)?

I want to see the bats come alive, and I'll get behind a plan that makes that happen but I'm not convinced that replacing Lenny is THE answer for that. Nor am I convinced that spending a whole bunch more money is THE answer for that. Not even more coverage by the post seems to be the silver-bullet ... although I expect that each of those options are opportunities for improvement in various aspects of this ballclub.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 21, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

How quick we are to write off WMP's .856 OPS in his 2007 half-season with the Nats. Dude missed all of spring training and was brought back too soon from injury. Not saying he's Papi-in-waiting at the plate or anything, but give him some time. If he's not launching shots in June and July, then it may be time to consider other options.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | May 21, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@Jimmy Tango,

NL pitchers unfamiliarity with wmp may have had something to do with that ops.

Posted by: natsscribe | May 21, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Failed to hit him four times but who's counting?

Posted by: Flores woes | May 21, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

actually, WMP had a couple of good at bats last night: The double and the deep fly ball to center. Maybe, just maybe he's starting to warm up?

And I have been slightly impressed with Dukes' approach at the plate. He has a decent eye (note the number of walks). He will strikeout a bit, but I expect the contact to come pretty soon.

Posted by: e | May 21, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

thankfully nobody any good has ever failed to hit hamels 4 times in one game... ::rolleyes::

Posted by: 231 | May 21, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Failed to hit him four times but who's counting?

Posted by: Flores woes | May 21, 2008 1:41 PM

-----

It's a good point. He's now slid to a disappointing .315 over his 38 at bats. We really expected more.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Dukes's peripherals through the minors suggest he will be just fine. He definitely knows how to take a walk. At this point, with only 11 games under his belt, he's the least of my worries. I want to see him get regular ABs, regardless of his average.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | May 21, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

i hate walks made reference to the "kangaroo court." Do we have a kangaroo court? From what I read in the papers, the O's do. But I haven't heard or read anything to indicate that we do, although Lord knows we could use one. Dmitri would seem like the best (maybe the only) candidate for "Judge."

Posted by: CapPeterson | May 21, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@ natsscribe

Possibly, but when the whole book on a hitter is "don't throw him a fastball," not every NL pitcher could have missed that memo. Plus, he was only two seasons removed from the NL when he came back.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | May 21, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Chico -- did you, or anyone from the Post, go to the Q&A with Lastings Milledge yesterday at the ESPN Zone? I couldn't go but would like to know what he said, how many people were there, etc ..."

Dan Steinberg of the Post was there. Here's an excerpt from his DC Sports Bog:

[quote]And yet that's not the move Milledge has become known for; instead, think of the Dmitri Young finger waggle. More importantly, think of the comparatively mild on-field celebrations Milledge deployed while with the Mets last year, innocent displays of happiness that led to tabloid nonsense.

"You can't do nothing in the big leagues, you're just supposed to shut up and play ball," Milledge said, when I asked about his deviations from The Code. "I don't care. I make it fun. We're gonna make it fun."

To that end, here's the Milledge Code: no celebrations after home runs (that's showing off), "a little something" after singles (but only if they come with an RBI), no celebrations after sac flies or bases-loaded walks, and yes to triples ("but I haven't got one yet so I don't know what I'll do," he said.)

And doubles? "Doubles, you always do something, unless we're down by three," he said. "We down by three, you don't do it."

As for what the celebrations entail, that's more complicated. When he broke out of his slump with two doubles on Monday night, there was an exaggerated brow wipe, for example, but the library of mild joy is has many more chapters.

"It's a lot of stuff, 12 different things I've done already," he said, explaining that he doesn't set the night's celebratory lineup until just before the first pitch. "I just be doing some crazy stuff sometimes."[/quote]

This actually ties in with the Lenny Harris discussion. It's pretty obvious that Milledge spends a good deal of time thinking about and planning what he's going to do to celebrate once he gets on base. Nothing wrong with that per se, but he really needs to be spending even more time figuring out what he's going to do to get on base in the first place. Lenny Harris ought to be the one to make sure Milledge does his preparation for batting each night, in the same way that a high school kid's mother will tell him it might be a good idea for him to start doing his homework before spending hours planning what he's gonna do during beach week after graduation. Is Lenny Harris doing this with Milledge? Somehow I doubt it. Fire Lenny.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Couple comments from the Philadelphia Inquirer's gamer that I thought were worth noting (yes, I was driven to this! Ack!)

' "When I hit it, I knew it would fall," Dobbs said. "I was just watching Bruntlett out of the corner of my eye. He was sitting on the bag making sure it fell. So after I hit it, it was more like, 'Bruntlett, you're going to score, right? You're going to score, right? Yeah, you're going to score.' Then there's the 'woooh.' Relief."

'Relief for a few reasons:

'The victory snapped the Phillies' three-game losing streak.

'The run stopped their 17-inning scoreless streak.

'The hit ended an 0-for-20 skid without a hit with runners in scoring position.'

and then...

'Hamels left with a career-high 19-inning scoreless streak, dating from his May 9 start in San Francisco.'

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/20080521_Phillies_end_a_few_skids.html

And check out their sad looking box score:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS200805200.shtml

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Milledge talks about prepping for goofiness with a blogger at a fun event.

Milledge isn't hitting as well as we liked.

Therefore, Milledge is wasting time prepping for goofiness instead of preparing for hitting.

Q.E.D., with the bonus that Lenny Harris should be fired.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Therefore, Milledge is wasting time prepping for goofiness instead of preparing for hitting.

Q.E.D., with the bonus that Lenny Harris should be fired."

Lenny, thanks for posting here. But don't you think you should instead be spending your time doing your job as hitting coach?

Seriously, 506, did you not see where I said that there's nothing wrong with Milledge spending time prepping his celebrations as long as he's spending just as much if not more time prepping for his ABs? The results of his celebration prep are quite evident, the results of any AB prep not so much. A hitting coach who's doing his job would be telling the kid to cool it on the celebration prep until he figures out a way to have more occasions to celebrate in the first place. But remember, Lenny Harris is the hitting coach who started his tenure last year by becoming one of the regulars in playing cards with the players. What are the chances that now he's serving as the stern father figure he needs to be, or if he is actually trying to do that that he has any credibility at all as an authority figure? Slim to none, I'd say. Fire Lenny.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

i actually attended the Milledge event (shared a table with Steinberg) yesterday and reported on it on my blog. here's the link:

http://bottomfeederbaseball.blogspot.com/2008/05/lastings-milledge-takes-questions-at.html

anyway, i thought Milledge was quite candid in his remarks, and for what started out as a P.R. event, there was some newsworthy information that came out of it.

also, if LoDuca or Estrada see another at bat, we'll know conclusively who's pulling the strings. every single player has gone out of their way to plug for Flores--the mamager has done the same. NOBODY wants to see LoDuca back.

at some point, Bowden is going to have to be held responsible for the team he fielded for THIS year.

Posted by: Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball | May 21, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

ABM, you missed my point, which is not your bad at all, since I chose to employ snark in making it.

My point was I don't see why we should assume talking about fun things is in any way indicative of not planning for at bats. There's nothing he said that makes it exclusive. It's quite possible that he exaggerated it, even, for comedic effect at a light-hearted event.

You have one possible conclusion, but with the information given we can only rationally check "E, not enough information to answer."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

[quote]You have one possible conclusion, but with the information given we can only rationally check "E, not enough information to answer."[/quote]

I'm basing my conclusion on Milledge's performance at the plate this season. If he is planning for his ABs, then whatever he's doing isn't working. Until it does start working, a professional batter would cease talking the talk until he's able to walk the walk. Obviously, Milledge is not yet a professional batter, so his coach ought to be telling him to cool it on the celebration talk for now. There's no evidence that Harris is doing that. Fire Lenny.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"A professional batter would cease talking the talk until he's able to walk the walk"

Your idea of a professional batter. Also Billy Wagner's and Paul Lo Duca's and the New York tab's. I, on the other hand, think that a positive attitude is what helps a batter best and if being a bit of a cocky kid makes Milledge feel better, he should do it.

"Obviously, Milledge is not yet a professional batter, so his coach ought to be telling him to cool it on the celebration talk for now."

I still don't see how you know that he's not doing this? If I were him, I wouldn't, but it's quite possible he is and Milledge isn't listening.

But then you couldn't prove the thing you already know to be true, that Lenny Harris needs to be fired.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm here!!!

Posted by: new post | May 21, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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