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Zimmerman out of lineup for first time in 205 games

Ryan Zimmerman is sitting today. It's not an injury. It's not a benching. It's just a day off.

Zimmerman had played in every Nationals game since Sept. 19, 2006 -- including all 162 last year. But he and Manny Acta had talked about it, and they decided they wouldn't repeat that this season.

"He told me he's not pursuing Cal Ripken Jr.," Acta said.

Zimmerman said: "I knew I wouldn't want to."

This gives Zimmerman two days off in a row, coupled with tomorrow's off day. Aaron Boone at third today. Zimmerman's streak of 205 straight games was the second-longest in the majors behind Atlanta right fielder Jeff Francoeur (355).

So here are your lineups.

Pittsburgh:
McLouth -- 8
Sanchez -- 4
Bay -- 7
Doumit -- 2
Nady -- 9
LaRoche -- 3
Bautista -- 5
Bixler -- 6
Snell -- 1

Washington:
Lopez -- 4
Guzman -- 6
Milledge -- 8
Johnson -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Boone -- 5
Lo Duca -- 2
Mackowiak -- 7
Redding -- 1

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 4, 2008; 1:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Taking stock

Comments

Yeah. Riiiight. Sorry if I have trouble believing that.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 4, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I have this pegged as Mackawiak's last day with the team. Dukes is ready to return.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Good for Zim and Acta not being stupid and doing what needs done. Next question is what did they do to Wily Mo's power?

Posted by: gonats | May 4, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Go Nick!

My man Milledge is really trying to get out at second base.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 4, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Pinch-hit. Late-game defense. Something.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | May 4, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Boone. You killed the rally.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 4, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Looks like kearns is showing signs of life. He is now 5 for his last 11 with 3 RBIs. Love it! GO NATS!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 4, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I got newposted again. Flynnie and IHWalks, see my comments at the end of the last.

Zim, congrats on a great streak!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Redding's slider is working very well so far today.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 4, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Tell Nick that he obviously hits better with the old school socks...

Posted by: Sartorial Sam | May 4, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

AK for President!

Posted by: Elwood the Rally Something | May 4, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Or, maybe not.

Posted by: Something for President! | May 4, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why they say AK plays the game the right way. Yeah, he K'd to end the inning but he moved on and made a nice play in the field immediately thereafter. If we are going to try to play WMP in left and LateStings in CF, we need AK in right.

Also, Nick just saved an airmail throw from Zim.

Without Nick and AK, that's a run for the Pie-Rats.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

That's Boone at 3rd, Bob.

Posted by: jindc | May 4, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Errr, that would airmail from AB. Habit. Speaking of which, Aaron (AB) BOOONE!!!

Posted by: Bob (E5) Head | May 4, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh for the love of god Manny, Can you teach Lopez to run out a ground ball. What is all this BS about playing the game the right way. Barry before you leave can you please ask Acta how he can look the other way on Lopez's start of the game?

Posted by: JayB | May 4, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

for the loduca haters, he *is* capable of blocking a bad pitch.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

And that insurance run brought to you by Geico ...

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Totally agreed, JayB,
I was at the game yesterday, and said the exact same thing to a friend, I think I saw 2 instances of "Flippant Flippie" especially when compared to Guzzie, who (as far as I've seen) hustles the line on all contact.
(we now return to the game... Atta boy, Willie! nice hit! and of course, Flippie just got him home... I'll shut up now.)

Posted by: nats del negro | May 4, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Rob M is dogging it as well.....Barry, the team is playing better but about 5 or so real good examples of lack of hustle this weekend.....How about asking Manny about each one....It is Acta's job to get these guys ready to play. How does he rationalize this stuff. It is not like they have the talent....they need to hustle and work harder than everyone

Posted by: JayB | May 4, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The lack of hustle plays don't impress me either, but it's hard to blame Manny. It's a fact of life in pro sports that players who hustle are the exception more than the rule, and given that they make way more money and tend to have as much or more backing from the team, well, there's not much the manager can do. The days of Vince Lombardi are long over.

That said, if you wanted to make an example of someone, Mackowiak would be an easy mark, since he's one healthy DY or Dukes away from AAA (then again he may have immunity as one of Bowden's draft picks from Cincy).

I'd also take a talented guy who doesn't run out easy outs than a replacement player hustle guy, not that this is our choice.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 4, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Colume has ()ick. Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Maybe thing will settle down for a nice boring old 5-2 Nats win tomorrow....

Posted by: estuartj | May 3, 2008 4:44 PM

Wow... well put estuartj. Kinda creepy.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 4, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Yay. Heckuva homestand fellas. Just what the doctor ordered. It's another great day for the National Pastime.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

As long as I have the crystal ball rolling for me I'm going to win the lottery tomorrow.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

How about that 8-3 homestand! That was a good way to get kickstarted for the flight to Houston. Not being picky, but it would have been nice once it was 5-2 to get Lurch a save, but, not that important. I hope the Nats get some RESPECT on espns' baseball tonight show, seeing as I'm not privy to the local DC area sportscasts. STAY HOT NATS

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 4, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think maybe if the all-star game was tomorrow that Redding could be our rep.

People made the case for Guzman, and if it was 1984 he would have made it over Rafael Ramirez and Alfredo Griffin, but with Hanley, Furcal, and Tejada in the same league, it'd be hard to include him.

But 3.20 ERA and 4-2? That passes the smell test.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 4, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

So the Rangers are wearing Senators uniforms, complete with hats that look just like the hats the Nats wear today. The A's are in full "Swingin' A's" regalia.

Posted by: mike8 | May 4, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Rauch would be the All Star rep if the game were next week.

Posted by: nattybynature | May 4, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

How about Will Month Pena getting his first extra base hit today, a 2 out RBI double to less.

Regarding Redding, MLBTR has the Braves in the market for a SP. Wonder what his value would be to a team lke the Braves. I'd hate to see him go, and hate even more seeing him pitch against us, but any chance to upgrade the farm and get the team younger should be explored, especially if we could get spome AA quality pitching prospects.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mike8...just checked that out on MLB package...pretty cool seeing those old Senator unis.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 4, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

No problem. It's very cool. I feel like Mike Epstein should pop on the screen momentarily (in either uniform).

Posted by: mike8 | May 4, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

8 of 11 ain't bad. Not at all.

Nice to see Boone sub for Zim and hit a home run.

Nice to see Redding sharp, and the relievers hold for him.

Pena gets his first extra base hit of the year!!!

Nats are the second hottest team in baseball after the Dodgers. If we can keep it going for another 8 games, we'll be near .500.

Then we'll start to get respect from the media.

Go Nats.

Posted by: Natty Dread | May 4, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

John Rauch of the 4.38 ERA to the all-star game? Boy I sure hope not. I'd take Ayala, Odalis, Lannan, or Redding before Rauch. Maybe he'll be the guy in the end, but not now.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 4, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Aaron F'ing Boone! Ray F'ing Knight talking to Aaron F'ing Boone! I'm gonna get wicked sick!

Posted by: Red Sox Nation | May 4, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

If we can keep it going for another 8 games, we'll be near .500.

18 - 14 = 4 games = 4 games under .500


Posted by: math gremlins | May 4, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately I doubt Redding would have much trade value. But if they made an offer that valued Redding as a SP with a 4-2 record and 3.20 ERA, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 4, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see an article on Guzman that really gave me sense of his backstory and personality. I have my impression (probably very inaccurate in a lot of cases) of a lot of players, but Guzman (much as I like him) is a mystery man. Barry, you probably don't have enough time for such a thing, but I would have loved to see for Guzman one of those wonderful articles of the likes you did on Zimmerman, Nick, and Felipe. Many, many thanks for the terrific work you've done, Barry. If Manny wants to give anyone an example of a first-rate work ethic, he can point to you. And since this is the first time I've written since Barry introduced Chico Harlan, welcome to you, Chico.

Posted by: Section 109 | May 4, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Red Sox Nation: you and Jeremiah Wright need to learn that it is NOT always all about you.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 4, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Rauch's ERA is 3.52.

Posted by: nattybynature | May 4, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

This team loved playing at The Launching Pad (Enron? Minute-Maid?)last year. I remember Debbi Taylor interviewing the train driver, saying she hoped he got shelled with the nicest smile on her face, and his nervous stare in return. And I remember a lot of long balls. I've got a good feeling about next week. Days off seem empty though, don't they?

Posted by: flynnie | May 4, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Willie Mo even hit a double w/RBI in the pinch! WTF? Who did we get for him? Fruto????

Posted by: Red Sox Nation | May 4, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Guzman totally, totally gets my vote for All Star. My gawd, every time I turn around dude is on base. And he's so under-the-radar. I agree, he's a mystery man, which I think is kinda cool. Just minding his business and taking care of things.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to trade anybody for suspectsImeanprospects. Look at how well things are working out for the Yankees and their youth movement on the mound. Hughes-gone! How does the Hughes + Chamberlain for Santana trade look now? I love these guys, Our Nats, and we do need a reason to come to the park, which they are certainly giving us. Brian Cashman must be looking at our staff like an Atkins dieter at the Krispy Kreme.

Posted by: flynnie | May 4, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Guzman was treated pretty poorly here his first year, I wouldn't blame him for keeping to himself.

Posted by: mike8 | May 4, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Barry -

I don't buy the Zimmerman's not hurt bit. I might be totally off base here but I sure thought he was wearing a brace on his left wrist the other night and that swinging sort of bunt he had looked more like a reaction to pain that it was a check swing. What say you, Saint Barry???

Posted by: Nats Lifer | May 4, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@Nats Liifer: I think Zimmerman wears that wrist brace every time he gets on base. Dunno why, but that's what I've noticed.

Also, it looks like Mr. Pena is getting his Mojo back (albeit too slowly for my taste)! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 4, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Pena (and Kearns?) Are getting their mojo back in time to save his job. If Dukes comes back hot it's going to be tough to hold onto that starting slot hitting like a catcher.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, you're right that the Yankees' pitching youth movement is not going so well. The Nats' forthcoming pitching youth movement, however, is bound to be a great success because, well...because it's the Nats! I mean really, it's a good thing that all of the Nats' minor league pitchers like Detwiler, Balester, Smoker and Zimmermann are going to be studs. We don't need to trade for any more so-called prospects, and we don't need to sign any free agent pitchers either! The 2011 World Series is OURS!

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 4, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Breathe deeeeeeep, LernerHater, we wooooooonnnn! And though I would hate seeing any of our current roster traded, (maybe not as much as you hate Our Lerner Family who have given us so much) I know that trades are inevitable, and particularly trades with the Yankees (see Tyler Clippard) at a time when Steinbrenner the Lesser and the NY press are calling for Cashman to pull a rabbit out of the hat. It looks to me like we've got a lot that would save the Yankees season down here. Nick would look great in the pinstripes!

Posted by: flynnie | May 4, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

That was a nice little homestand. 8 and 3. Maybe the new park is starting to agree with these guys. The numbers at the gate were good too. Nats are already over half-million paying customers.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 4, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Aaargh...Nick in pinstripes...you're giving me ojuda (spelling). I don't want to envision such a sight.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 4, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Apparently they are STILL having problems with the scoreboard. I listened to Charlie and Dave for the first seven innings since I was on the road, and caught the last two on MASN at home. Both sets of announcers at different points announced the wrong ball-strike count, then corrected themselves and said they got the wrong count by looking at the scoreboard. That's really embarassing - Stan needs to hold somebody accountable. If they can't get it right by now, that's ridiculous. By the way, I haven't been to a game since Tuesday - have they ever made the promised changes to the layout on the HD scoreboard?

Posted by: BSG | May 4, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

i'm sure glad that flynnie (and LaC) aren't in charge of our front office.

flynnie, you can't be emotional about players and make good decisions. this team isn't good enough to get emotionally attached to marginal players.

and LaC either just wants to b1tch or spend spend spend (regardless of whether there's anything worth spending on).

both philosophies lead to long-term bad teams.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

oh, and if you're going to judge "youth" movements, like the yankee's young pitchers for example, you have to judge longer than 1/4 of their rookie seasons. well, you don't *have* to, but you're not very baseball smart if you don't. young players are rarely stars immediately. santana's first season wasn't very good, either (2-3, 6.49era, and he didn't even become a full-time starter until his 5th season). nor was smoltz (2-7, 5.54 era).

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

231, I enjoy it when you try to act like such a smart guy, but that's my point exactly, so thanks :-) Anyone who thinks "The Plan" will even potentially lead to a contender with a solid pitching staff before 2013 or 2014 is nuts. Unless, of course, all our guys end up being better than Santana and Smoltz ;-) You know that Zimmerman will turn 29 in 2013? Pretty small window we're talking about now, huh?
______________________
oh, and if you're going to judge "youth" movements, like the yankee's young pitchers for example, you have to judge longer than 1/4 of their rookie seasons. well, you don't *have* to, but you're not very baseball smart if you don't. young players are rarely stars immediately. santana's first season wasn't very good, either (2-3, 6.49era, and he didn't even become a full-time starter until his 5th season). nor was smoltz (2-7, 5.54 era).

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 6:58 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 4, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

With Arizona heading toward their tenth loss this afternoon, every team will now have double-digit wins and losses. To answer Barry's question from a week or two ago, it is officially no longer early in the season.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 4, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

LaC, i love it when you act smug but actually missed the point. just because you can't just a rookie on a poor 1/4 of a season (really, you can't just much of *anyone* on 1/4 of a season) doesn't mean they can't be playing well by the end of the season and/or during the next season.

if the pitchers start coming up in 08/09, which some will, they can be part of a contender in 2010, which is when i would hope this team would start to contend. to presume that players coming up in 08/09 can't be any good until 13/14 is foolish, at best.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

and 29 in 2013? sounds like right in the prime of his career. makes sense to me. ;)

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

err... that's "judge" a rookie, not "just." *sigh*

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Your premise is flawed. Who is coming up this year or next? Balester, perhaps Zimmermann (though it would be unwise to rush him) and that's it. And who are these guys anyway? All this talk about Balester, he is hardly lighting things up in Columbus with a 4.13 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, showing no improvement so far over last year's numbers. And Detwiler is having the normal setbacks that are to be expected by anyone who is, to use your cool phrase, "baseball smart," and anyone who isn't drinking the kool-aid from the Lerners and Stan the snake-oil salesman. Maybe Ross will flame out altogether. He certainly won't be in DC next season. As to 2013-14, *you* are the one who pointed to Santana's 5-year development track, smart guy, not me.

Just because you conduct yourself like a jerk on this blog by using words like "foolish" to accompany your ipse dixit pronouncements doesn't make them any more supportable. The Nats will not be a contender in 2010 contender without major alterations in approach that would amount to chucking "The Plan" overboard. Here's hoping they do that.
_____________________
if the pitchers start coming up in 08/09, which some will, they can be part of a contender in 2010, which is when i would hope this team would start to contend. to presume that players coming up in 08/09 can't be any good until 13/14 is foolish, at best.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 7:33 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 4, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, I haven't been to a game since Tuesday - have they ever made the promised changes to the layout on the HD scoreboard?"

Yes, they made the changes, apparently on Wednesday night. I was there both Thursday and Saturday, and the scoreboard looked great. No problems whatsoever with it.

Although apparently the lighting failure on Friday was caused by them "installing new systems." Presumably, that means the scoreboard. I guess everything is computer-controlled these days, and it's all tied together.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 4, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I am psyched (amped? geeked? fleebed? I have no idea, and made the last one up) when you all start talking about the minors.

Balester has been good. Detwiler has not. Clippard excited me, but neither he nor Albaladejo (now with Yanks) has been great. Mock has been mediocre, but Cory VanAllen and Zech Zinicola have been promoted.

For hitters, Marrero has not been great (our #1 prospect) but he is improving. Same for Justin Maxwell. Michael Burgess, at low A, has lived up to his promise. My big surprise is catcher Luke Montz, who has been a moster, and better than Jesus Flores.

Read Nationals Farm Authority. We can talk about the Plan, and the future, but unless you realize that the minor-league teams have been _inarguably_ better this year so far, you could be frustrated unnecessarily.

My favorite to watch? First base at Harrisburg. Andrew Lefave, who we got for Ray King and who won the batting title in Advanced A this year, is getting hot with the bat. He shares time with Luis "Little Papi" Jimenez, who tears the cover off the ball.

We are growing players, and trade bait. Don't talk about the big club in isolation, if you want to discuss the future. For the organization, things are looking up.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 4, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

interesting how you cherry picked and looked at santana and ignored smoltz, who had one adjustment season and started his quality pitching career in year two. most good young pitchers take a season or two to adjust (and maybe readjust) before they begin to settle down into who they'll be.

if you think i'm "drinking the koolaid," then you don't know anything about me. i think the team needs to spend a lot more over the next two offseasons to be there for 2010. what's in the farm system isn't enough to contend, but it's enough to build off of so they *can* contend as the young pitching begins to come up. i don't believe that every single pitcher in AA and up is going to be great. but there will likely be some good pitchers out of the group.

as far as your "jerk" comment, i didn't attack you, i attacked your presumption. i said "to make that presumption was foolish." i attacted your position, not you. if you think someone calling your position foolish is so insulting and makes me a jerk, then you need to grow a thicker skin, because i don't consider that the least bit offensive.

of course, you calling me a jerk had nothing to do with the argument and was personal.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

LaFave was in Low-A last year when he won the batting title. He was very old for that level, but has responded very well thus far to the "Challenge" of his AA assignment.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, they made the changes, apparently on Wednesday night. I was there both Thursday and Saturday, and the scoreboard looked great. No problems whatsoever with it."

-----------------------------------
But the out-of-town scoreboard still switched pitchers randomly on Friday night.

Posted by: lowerdeck | May 4, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not cherry-picking; why would I mention Smoltz as far as a 5-year development horizon? That would be distorting what you said and the facts. However, you did mention that it took Santana 5 years to even become a full-time starter; why should we expect the Nats will prove to have *multiple* "good young pitchers" who come up in 2008 or 2009 and develop in 2 years? It would be great if the Nats had *even one* guy in the system who could ever approach John Smoltz's accomplishments. But one 22 or 23-year old John Smoltz is not going to turn the Nats into a contender in 2010. So who is in your 2010 starting rotation with which the Nats will contend?

As to your conducting yourself like a jerk on this blog, I think you do. That doesn't mean that it bothers me or gets under my skin; I actually find it amusing. It just means that you conduct yourself much differently than most other posters on this blog. You seem to feel the need to characterize other posters' views with pejorative or disparaging language (i.e., "foolish, at best") as if you necessarily speak the truth, rather than just addressing on the merits the views with which you disagree. Maybe this blog needs more jerks, but let's call a spade a spade.

And, let's not forget how our little dialogue this evening started, when you posted this out of the blue in response to something I had written: "and LaC either just wants to b1tch or spend spend spend (regardless of whether there's anything worth spending on)." Rather ironic that you would write something like this while now you protest that I "don't know anything about you," no? Again, go ahead and be a jerk, I don't mind, but let's be up front about it, ok?
_____________________
interesting how you cherry picked and looked at santana and ignored smoltz, who had one adjustment season and started his quality pitching career in year two. most good young pitchers take a season or two to adjust (and maybe readjust) before they begin to settle down into who they'll be.

if you think i'm "drinking the koolaid," then you don't know anything about me. i think the team needs to spend a lot more over the next two offseasons to be there for 2010. what's in the farm system isn't enough to contend, but it's enough to build off of so they *can* contend as the young pitching begins to come up. i don't believe that every single pitcher in AA and up is going to be great. but there will likely be some good pitchers out of the group.

as far as your "jerk" comment, i didn't attack you, i attacked your presumption. i said "to make that presumption was foolish." i attacted your position, not you. if you think someone calling your position foolish is so insulting and makes me a jerk, then you need to grow a thicker skin, because i don't consider that the least bit offensive.

of course, you calling me a jerk had nothing to do with the argument and was personal.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 8:17 PM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 4, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I just want to second what Positively Half St. mentioned about Nationals Farm Authority. It is a tremendous site that tracks how the farm system is doing. The last 2 weeks have been enjoyable watching the Nats get back to playing respectable ball. But, as we all talk about the future and "The Plan," the farm system is the most important aspect of this season.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | May 4, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

fair enough, i did overstep on the first comment and overdo the sarcasm. i'm willing to accept that i shouldn't have been harsh like that.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

estuartj-

That's right- LeFave was well above the right age for his level. I forgot. Even still, it makes his slow rise in hitting even more exciting, because I want him to be a surprise prospect agian. this time he would not be too old for his level.

NF in NJ- Thanks. We need more folks to supplement Nationals Journal with NFA. Perhaps we can get Chico to be a regular reader.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 4, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Obviously ESJ is now a game ahead of the rest of us, chasing 506. He is probably already gnashing his teeth during the off day, as we are wont to do. But for tonight, there is only victory. Victory at (D)C, you might say.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

is postively half street a dylan fan?

Posted by: dk | May 4, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

btw this is how much carpenter and sutton love austin ks.
1st inning: austin ks on first and nick johnson on 3rd-- 1 out. pirates pitcher throws a wild pitch that would allow any1 who was awake to literally walk down to 2nd base. however austin ks for some reason never goes.

instead of hammerin him like he shoulda been hammered, like they woulda hammered milledge, the two talking heads go on and on about what a good baserunning decision it was to stay at first cause for some reason austin ks couldnt see the ball squirt through even though every1 else did and any normal person woulda.

well that would have put runners on 2nd and third with 1 out. instead it remains 1st and third and the batter hits the next pitch into a double play to end the inning.

so the baserunning blunder cost us a run. fortunately it didnt hurt. but its amazing. even when austin ks completely blows it, which is most of the time, these nuts always put a positive spin on it.
i think those guys hold up austin ks poster at night with one hand.

Posted by: dk | May 4, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Let's see - playoff teams from last year who have system products starting or prominent in their bullpens for their stretch drive last year or on the staffs now.

Cleveland - Sabathia (Cy Young), Carmona, Laffey, Perez.

Boston - Lester (won game 4), Papelbon, Del Carmen, Buchholz (this year).

New York - Hughes (hurt), Chamberlain, and for the history buffs: Pettitte, Rivera.

LAA - Jered Weaver, John Lackey (DL), K-Rod, Scott Shields, Saunders

Colorado - Francis, Jiminez, Aaron Cook,[I'll defer]

Arizona - Webb, Owings, Scherzer, Pena

Cubs - Zambrano, Wood, Marmol

Phillies - Hamels, Myers, Kendrick

Also, it should be noted that the A's had some success with home grown pitching this decade, and that Detroit had a bit of success (Verlander, Rodney, Zumaya, but not Bonderman, who they got as a minor league prospect).

So now that we have established that EVERY PLAYOFF TEAM HAS SYSTEM DEVELOPED PITCHERS IN PROMINENT ROLES, many within a few years of being drafted, could we maybe have another blast from LAC about how dumb it is to draft mulitple pitchers with the hope a few will be important on your staff?

Red Sox Nation: - Sox got a Chris Carter, not Fruto.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 4, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Rauch's ERA is 3.52.
___________

Huh you're right. Warning--SportingNews.com apparently isn't a reliable source of player stats!!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 4, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Oops - I forgot C-M Wang. So that's the #1 starter for the each of the playoff teams except Boston, whose closer was a draft choice that I think was closing within 2 -3 years of being drafted.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 4, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

We gave up Fruto to ARI for Pena, Boston got Carter from ARI.

Funny Bob, I'm actually in a hotel in Cleveland researching the Astros on my blackberry waiting for the biz center to open up so I can check out the affiliates (damn NFA for taking a weekend off!).

Maybe I should do some work too while I'm down there....

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Brandon Lyon is the only NL reliever with more saves and a lower ERA than Rauch, although Lidge, who is monster so far, has the same number of saves and no ERA. And Rauch hasn't been the closer all year.

Posted by: nattybynature | May 4, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I just can't wrap my head around the inability of some folks to simply accept a beautiful thing like an 8-3 homestand at face value (9-3 stretch overall if you go back to the last road game). I swear it's like some of us around here aren't happy unless we're miserable. Good lord folks, if the last two weeks aren't enough to make you happy, at least in the moment, then what will? For the love of poundcake people... enjoy it while it lasts!

Posted by: MKevin | May 4, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

btw sittin zim was a smart smart move. let the guy clear his head out. id even move him outta the 3 hole. although such a big deal would be made of that, it would probably work against whoever was stuffed in there and hurt zim as well. on 2nd thought just keep him at 3.

Posted by: dk | May 4, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

For the love of poundcake people... enjoy it while it lasts!
Posted by: MKevin | May 4, 2008 9:47 PM

yum poundcake. i could go for some of that now.

Posted by: dk | May 4, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I just saw that Dukes got himself ejected in AAA along with Foli. Probably shouldn't worry but with Dukes there is always the concern.

Sorry - big non-sequitor here but on Friday night I was in LA and saw the Orioles beat the Angels 4-3 - a very good game. Amazingly they had a cow milking contest before the game. The Orioles' Garrett Olson won the contest handily. Angels player was intimidated by the cow and couldn't milk worth a darn. Kinda funny. The whole thing is sponsored by Farmer John there. Kids just loved it.

Anyway I will be curious to see if the Nats can come up something quirky.

Posted by: DkNatsFan | May 4, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

BTW Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerrero looked great. Oh well.

Posted by: DkNatsFan | May 4, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Any idea what the story is on the Dukes ejection?

Mixed bag in the minors, Bergman had another great outing, but Detwiler had another rough one.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Dukes was just called out on strikes and then was ejected. Presumably he had some tender words for the Ump.

Posted by: DkNatsFan | May 4, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, I never said that the Nats shouldn't draft pitchers and try to develop them. Developing pitchers through the draft is extremely important. What I've said is that it takes a very long time to do this, and that the Nats need to bring in pitching at the same time they are trying to develop it internally. I've said that the Nats are not going to be able to field a contending team anywhere near 2010 based on the approach they are currently following.

And your post actually reinforces my point about how long this process takes. 231 has been talking about contending in 2010. Well, let's take a look at the pitchers you've identified for the NL teams, and see when they were acquired by the contending team. Only one of the teams below (Phillies) acquired more than one of their home-grown starting pitchers within five years of 2007--i.e., in the 2002 draft or later. For most, the development horizon was much longer.

Additionally, this analysis leaves out the fact that you've just identified a few pitchers on each team; where did the rest of their pitchers come from, and where are the rest of the Nats pitchers going to come from on the team that is supposedly going to contend in 2010?

Also, as to the NL teams you identified, there is a huge range of talent among them and their contributions to their '07 playoff teams; for the most part I left that alone. Anyway, here goes:

Colorado - Francis (2002), Jiminez (FA2001), Aaron Cook (1997)

Arizona - Webb (2000), Owings (2005), Scherzer ('08 rookie doesn't count), Pena (FA 2002)

Cubs - Zambrano(1997), Wood (1995 and irrelevant for '07), Marmol (FA1999)

Phillies - Hamels (2002), Myers (1999), Kendrick (2003)

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 4, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so who had 8-3 for the homestand?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 4, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I had 7-4, so I'll take an honorable mention.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

we don't completely disagree, lAc. as i said, i believe the team needs to start acquiring FA talent over the next few offseasons. you can't just rely on either the farm *or* free agency. history shows that. even the yankees best success was a combination of the two. even with a $200m payroll, double all but a couple of teams over the past few years, didn't get them to the WS as their home grown products aged. it has to be both.

my contention all along is that it doesn't make sense to buy the big bucks FAs until the home grown talent has begun to arrive. and by "home grown," i'm including prospects we traded for as opposed to drafted, like a dukes and/or milledge.

so i don't agree with your moniker. at least not yet. if they won't spend over the next offseason or three, then i'll chime right in with you. and that spending shouldn't just be limited to FAs, but by trading for higher-priced veterans and signing their own home-grown talent to market rate deals (i.e., for now, zimmerman).

btw, i don't expect them to be powerhouses by 2010. i just expect them to be good enough to *expect* to be over 500 and to be able to compete and contend with any kind of reasonably good breaks. one can only hope they can eventually become long-term contenders, a la the braves, yankees, bosox, etc. but there's just no way to predict that with a franchise that's this young (i think this team was almost essentially an expansion franchise, based on what MLB did to it and left the new ownership with).

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

This team has found its footing. The losing streak was rough. But it's worth noting that we lost, arguably (for purposes of playing the 2008 expectations game), our opening day starter in Patterson, our #2 starter Hill to some injury time, our closer Chad, our 2007 starting 1b in Meat (who can blame Nick for a slow -- albeit productive -- start after a year off), our starting LF in WMP, and our best 4th outfielder in Dukes. Throw in slow starts for Zim and AK and you get a 5-15 start.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm also going to get in front on the upcoming 3 games sweep of the Astros. Tuesday will be the toughest pitching match-up, but I have all the faith in world that Hill is back to pre-injury 2007 level. Houstons starters for games 1-3 are strugglong and I think O.Perez is in a groove and Lannan is fue for another stellar outing.

I also bet Chico gets skipped in the rotation on Friday and Redding gets start for game 1 vs the Marlins.

Posted by: estuartj | May 4, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

And I like Aaron Boone, and Willy Harris plays the game the right way. Those two plus Belly are a World Series caliber bench. Now we need the other 5-7 guys. And on that note, 231 and LAC, you are both right about where we are, the only difference is how you feel about that and what the way forward should be. I'm in the tank for The Plan myself, because I think that's the right way to build a long term contender and I love following progress in MiLB. Not the only way though.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Amazing what a difference a week makes. Since I last filled you in on the Games Back/Ahead (GB/A) list the Nats had 17 losses. This week, they lost only the single game I attended in person. Figures. As you can see this list is rather large, since most of baseball is within five games of us. Again, in case anyone forgot, this list is meant only to show that - despite Baseball Tonight's insistence - the Nationals are not the worst team in baseball and that as slow and frustrating as that start was, the standings are still wide open. Now that the guys have lowered expectations for themselves, they ought to perform quite well.

First, some quick numbers. As noted earlier, the Nationals are now tied with the Dodgers for the hottest team in baseball. Both have won 8 of their last 10 games. We're on pace for a final record of 71-91. If we want to beat the 2007 Washington Nationals' 73 wins, we're going to need to go 59-71 for the rest of the year, which is a .453 winning percentage.

So, without further ado, methinks that we should jump right to the list. Since there are now six teams in baseball with worse records, this is an appropriate time to point out the minus sign indicates that the Nationals are that many games ahead.

29. Cincinnati (12-20) .375 (-2)
29. San Diego (12-20) .375 (-2)
27. Colorado (12-19) .387 (-1.5)
27. Pittsburgh (12-19) .387 (-1.5)
25. Texas (13-19) .406 (-1)
25. Seattle (13-19) .406 (-1)
22. Detroit (14-18) .438 (0)
22. San Francisco (14-18) .438 (0)
22. NATS!!!! (14-18) .438 (--)
21. Cleveland (14-17) .452 (.5)
20. Kansas City (14-16) .467 (1)
19. Toronto (15-17) .469 (1)
18. Chi Sox (14-15) .483 (1.5)
16. Atlanta (15-15) .500 (2)
16. Houston (15-15) .500 (2)
15. Yankees (17-16) .515 (2.5)
12. Tampa Bay (16-15) .516 (2.5)
12. Baltimore (16-15) .516 (2.5)
12. Milwaukee (16-15) .516 (2.5)
11. Minnesota (16-14) .533 (3)
9. Florida (17-14) .548 (3.5)
9. Dodgers (17-14) .548 (3.5)
8. NY Mets (16-13) .552 (3.5)
7. Philly (18-14) .563 (4)
6. Oakland (19-14) .576 (4.5)
5. Chicago Cubs (18-13) .581 (4.5)

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 4, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Is nobody as alarmed as I am about Dukes getting ejected? My Gawd, after all this time and effort? Isn't this what kept him in the minors all last year?

It's a bad, bad sign. And it's making Sheinin's words clang around in my head, "he won't be here for long. It's just a hunch."

Posted by: NatsNut | May 4, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut has a good point about Dukes. Often overlooked among his off-field domestic troubles is that Dukes has also had many *on-field* problems as well, including ejections and fights with his own coaches and teammates. It will be interesting to see what happened and what we are told about this incident.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 4, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

i'll reserve judgement on dukes until i hear the whole story (or as much as we'll get, at least). even good people get ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

Posted by: 231 | May 4, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 506, for the reality check. Folks, it's still early. That doesn't mean the results so far are irrelevant. But it does mean that the story of this season has yet to be written.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 4, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Was at this afternoon's (Sunday's) game ... was disappointed that nothing was done to recognize Lopez' 300th career RBI. Not that I thought fireworks would have been appropriate -- but a PA announcement or banner on the scoreboard would at least have drawn a nice round of applause.

P.S. really like the new layout of the scoreboard.

Posted by: M. Carroll, Springfield | May 4, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Dukes: He got tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Some umps will toss you for looking cross-eyed at them. Call me if he beats the hell out of someone at a bar or threatens someone over the phone (again). Until then (NatsNut), hit the freakin' snooze button on your alarm...

Posted by: TimDz | May 5, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Not buying it 231.

Dukes is not like plenty of good people. He's on a very short leash because of this stuff. At least I hope he is.

Someone like him should not even THINK about arguing a call for a long, long time, much less get ejected for it.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys like I said it's not only off-field incidents in Dukes's troubled past. This is from 2006:

"Dukes, an outfielder for Triple-A Durham, has been suspended at least twice by the Rays (and benched another time) and once by the International League this season and has been ejected from two games. He has had an altercation with coach Richie Hebner in the Bulls clubhouse, a fight with teammate Ryan Knox in a hotel lobby (which led to a 15-game suspension) and a dugout incident with Bulls manager John Tamargo."

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/02/Rays/Suspended_Dukes_threa.shtml

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

never said dukes was like plenty of good people. just that i'm not going to jump to conclusions. there are reasonable people who get thrown out of games. and if even reasonable people can get thrown out, people with bad histories can get thrown out without it necessarily being bad.

it *could* be something bad. but it could be something that's not unreasonable, too. since we don't know, speculating with absolutely no info isn't the best way to approach it, imo. maybe we'll get more info over the next couple of days that will indict him, and if so, i'll be right there with you. but not until we get some of that info.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it. Sunday nights are grim. This is the night that the weekend ends and we've had to go back to work/school since we were 6 years old. So thank, you MKevin, for your light in the darkness, and thank you, 506, for the hard work on the GB/A index! If anyone had told me the Nats were going 8-3 at the beginning of a homestand that included the Braves and Cubs, I'd thought that some hurried concessionaire had sprinkled some leftover crack on their NatsDogs.

I swear it's like some of us around here aren't happy unless we're miserable. Good lord folks, if the last two weeks aren't enough to make you happy, at least in the moment, then what will?
Posted by: MKevin | May 4, 2008 9:47 PM

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

I remember when Cal got thrown out of Camden Yards for arguing balls and strikes. The ump said it was like throwing Jesus out of church.

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I'll stick my 2C in here.

First, I'm not happy about the Rangers using our unis from the 60s. Let's get one thing straight. Baseball in DC belongs to us. I think that the Lerners have done a good job of making that point (see Home Plate entrance to the park). Also, the caps that the Rangers used were current Nats caps, not authentic. There is a difference in the Curly W.

I also have another problem with throwback unis, and I don't care if they are the Homestead Grays (which I kind of like), Senators, or any other. They use modern, man made, light, wicking material. If players are going to put on throwbacks, they should be required to use wool flannel, baggy unis. Let's let them try that on So. Cap. St. in July.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 5, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, the point of throwback uniforms is for people watching the game, not playing it. So why would it matter if they wear flannel or not, or were you just posting to show that you know that old-style uniforms were made of flannel, and that you know what "wicking" means? (I'm very impressed, btw, you really know your stuff!) It was cool for me to turn on the game yesterday and have a discussion with my sons about baseball history and how they did it in the old days. And the discussion was about baseball, not fabric.

As for "Baseball in DC belongs to us," I don't know what that even means. You can deny history, if you like, but the Rangers' history is the Washington Senators.

I figured that the hats were probably different, and that someone on this site would immediately express their displeasure on the internet, I was surprised it took this long.


Posted by: nattybynature | May 5, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Monday, Everyone! May we all find the exact right spot to whatever troubles us and experience complete release! Dmitry looked dapper and free-moving in his tux Saturday night. May all of us move gracefully through the week's challenges!

Posted by: flynnie | May 5, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

It seems like the Dallas Morning
News recycles this same story every
3 weeks. We Nat's fans have been
hearing this story since the second week in Viera. He's a done Tom Turkey.

===================================
Patterson appearance: Right-hander John Patterson, who signed a minor league contract with the Rangers last month, threw a bullpen session for pitching coach Mark Connor. Patterson has been working out with the extended spring training team in Arizona and said he is about a week away from being ready to pitch in a game.

He said he will be on a regular spring training schedule starting with a two-inning outing once he gets into games. That could put him in position to join a minor league team by mid- to late May. Patterson can take his release if he's not in the majors by June 15.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 5, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand what else you would need to know about getting thrown out of a game for arguing a call. How many extenuating circumstances can there be?

The issue is his anger management, plain and simple. Hundreds of guys have hundreds of opportunities to argue calls. How many in the big leagues get kicked out of games? A handful a year at most.

If it were an isolated instance, of course it wouldn't be alarming, but this is the polar opposite of an isolated instance.

Dukes absolutely *cannot* afford to be arguing anything, period. Much less enough to get him kicked out of a game. At the very least, he has to show that he's reforming/reformed from his past ways.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

SPEAKING OF THE TEXAS RANGERS... I was watching Sportscenter this morning and saw the highlights of the Rangers/A's game. It was turn back the clock day in Oakland. The A's were in throwback Oakland uniforms. Texas wore WASHINGTON SENATORS uniforms - no kidding - right down to red curly W hats and batting helmets. This TICKED me off. I want our history back from both Texas and Minnesota.

Posted by: 6th and D | May 5, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

And Barry, please do tell us more about it. Don't let Manny and Jim coddle him on this one.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

How did this get past everybody?

*******
The Orioles' Garrett Olson won the [cow-milking] contest handily.
Posted by: DkNatsFan | May 4, 2008 9:59 PM

Posted by: MIB buckets | May 5, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Of course I was being, more or less, facetious about the material in the unis. I just think that it would be funny to watch the players, in July in DC or May in Texas, try and play in those things.

Does the word: Wilt mean anything?

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 5, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

C50, I'm not sure what the point of wearing the flannels would be.

It's not like they're in some Civil War recreation society, and sticklers for historical authenticity -- it's a memorial device, a tribute (and a marketing play), not a educational device for the players.

*********
I'll stick my 2C in here.

First, I'm not happy about the Rangers using our unis from the 60s. Let's get one thing straight. Baseball in DC belongs to us. I think that the Lerners have done a good job of making that point (see Home Plate entrance to the park). Also, the caps that the Rangers used were current Nats caps, not authentic. There is a difference in the Curly W.

I also have another problem with throwback unis, and I don't care if they are the Homestead Grays (which I kind of like), Senators, or any other. They use modern, man made, light, wicking material. If players are going to put on throwbacks, they should be required to use wool flannel, baggy unis. Let's let them try that on So. Cap. St. in July.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 5, 2008 6:44 AM

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

How did he know? How did he know???!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm also concerned about Dukes. The temper control has to be on & off the field. I'm curious to hear more, but this does raise alarm bells because of the history he's already paved in this department.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | May 5, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

ummm, they should wear 1960s Lakers uniforms?

Does the word: Wilt mean anything?
Posted by: Catcher50 | May 5, 2008 9:04 AM

Posted by: MIB | May 5, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"The issue is his anger management, plain and simple. Hundreds of guys have hundreds of opportunities to argue calls. How many in the big leagues get kicked out of games? A handful a year at most."

There's a rule that says that arguing balls and strikes equals automatic ejection for a player, coach or manager. The definition of what constitutes "arguing" is left to the umpire. If the umpire woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, a single word from a batter could be enough to get him ejected. As someone else said, NatsNut, you need to chill on this since you don't know any of the circumstances. It could very well be that this is no big deal at all. Perhaps Elijah Dukes is not the only one who has some anger management issues to be dealing with on this one.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut feeling | May 5, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Natsnut, have you ever been tossed? Some days it just doesn't take much. I agree, Dukes need to keep himself disciplined more than most, because he has much more to lose than most. And this is not a good sign. But I'm with 231 on this: let's see some coverage.

**************
I don't understand what else you would need to know about getting thrown out of a game for arguing a call. How many extenuating circumstances can there be?

The issue is his anger management, plain and simple. Hundreds of guys have hundreds of opportunities to argue calls. How many in the big leagues get kicked out of games? A handful a year at most.

If it were an isolated instance, of course it wouldn't be alarming, but this is the polar opposite of an isolated instance.

Dukes absolutely *cannot* afford to be arguing anything, period. Much less enough to get him kicked out of a game. At the very least, he has to show that he's reforming/reformed from his past ways.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 8:55 AM

Posted by: CE | May 5, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

LAC - just catching up on postings. 2010 I think is an "if everything breaks right" projection in this division. I don't think it unreasonable to project some of the draftees being quality pitchers by then.

I'm a bit more familiar with the AL drafts. Two - three years for a college pitcher is not unusual if things break right. Verlander, Andrew Miller (not quite yet), Papelbon, Buchholz, Kennedy (though he bombed), Jered Weaver. This is from memory, as was that list.

Detwiler might be a case like Gavin Floyd (or worse, Dewon Brazleton) and take several years to establish himself. Projections from BA, BP, ESPN were that he could crack the rotation this year or next,at the outside. He was thought to be the most polished pitcher in the draft (with less of an upside than Price). But the depth of the drafts, the number of quality arms, and the less expected development of ptihcers outside the top of the draft leads me to expect that at least 3 system products will be providing quality mid-rotation innings by 2010. It'll be a little quick for the high school draftees like McGeary and Smoker, but if they do hit their potential, everything I've seen have them as #1 - #2 potential.

I guess you were reacting to the posts that seem to project every pitcher being a star in the majors. We do have to recognize the failure rate of pitching prospects is so high that some say "TINSTAAPP" (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect). But TINSTAAPP is as wrong as everyone hits their projection.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 5, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut, I think you may be reading too much into this one. Players do argue balls and strikes all the time and sometimes they're even right. We also know from our own John Lannan that sometimes umps get a little toss-happy and will throw people out when they should just be letting it go (not to sound too much like Don Sutton).

Even if he does have anger issues that caused this ejection, I would delightedly take blowing up at the umpire over any form of abuse. Blowing up at an umpire is only immature, abuse is a problem.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"Dukes absolutely *cannot* afford to be arguing anything, period."

an overreaction, in my opinion. he needs to be reasonable, not perfect. if you're asking him to be perfect, you've automatically set him up to fail.

"How many extenuating circumstances can there be?"

as has been stated above, there are plenty of different ways this could have happened. umps vary significantly on how they handle ejections for things like this. maybe dukes knew nothing about this guy and he has a hair trigger. maybe players had been jawing him all game for his strike zone and dukes just happened to be the guy who's comment sent him over the edge. or maybe dukes committed the cardinal sin of turning to face him while he complained. (that's considered showing up the ump. if you make comments while walking away or not looking at him and don't say any of the "magic words," you generally get lattitude. if you turn and face him, that changes how many words are "magic.") but we don't know any of that stuff.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The rights to the 60s era Curly W went with the team to Texas. C50 I think picked up that the current Curly W is a slight variant of the old one. Not to make this political, but a friend of mine who coached little league in DC wanted to use the old curly w in the '90s and found that a former general partner of the ownership group that sold to Tom Hicks had retained the rights to the old curly w. At the time, he was not given (or perhaps did not seek) permission to use it. It seems the former general partner might have thought about using the logo in his new line of work, but settled on a different look for his W. Which is why I prefer the DC logo, but look forward to a new hat next year.

Posted by: PTBNL | May 5, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Barry, the Nats scored 5 runs yesterday. How did they score? Who got the hits? Did anything exciting happen in the game yesterday when the Nats were at bat? How did Snell pitch? Your "gamer" certainly doesn't tell us about any of that. Here is the only sentence from your entire gamer that has anything to do with the Nats' offense in yesterday's game: "'We're playing good baseball,' said Boone, who started in place of Ryan Zimmerman at third and responded with his first home run as a National."

Seriously. I'm not exaggerating here, that's it for the entire article. While Barry's "gamer" was a nice story wrapping up a successful homestand, it told us next to nothing about the game that was actually played yesterday. This is a perfect example of how the Post's coverage of the Nats stinks. Why not two articles in today's paper? One could have recapped the homestand, and the other could have actually reported about the game that was played. Instead, Barry is forced to shoehorn material into a story where it doesn't belong, and as a result the notion of a "gamer" becomes a farce. Not enough space in the paper? Yeah, right; there is enough space though for almost 2 pages about the Redskins in early May, as well as for an NBA game played in Boston that the Post's editors deemed important enough to send a staff writer to cover rather than rely on the wire coverage.

Memo to Chico Harlan: this is not the way a home baseball team should be covered in the Post. Since you will be a new hire to the Post with next to no pull, it will probably be almost impossible for you to successfully lobby Mr. Garcia-Ruiz for the resources that covering the Nats deserves. In any event, I hope you will try, and do what you can to help coverage improve.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 5, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Catcher50, I laughed at your post! It's discouraging that we've built an atmosphere where so many thought you were completely earnest.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

231, all the unknown circumstances you named are precisely the reason Dukes needs to keep his eyes forward and his cake hole shut. He shouldn't be taking any chances on that.

In fact, the umpire could absolutely have been hair-trigger, maybe more so BECAUSE of Dukes's reputation. But Dukes should know the "rules" by now, don't you think? (i.e. don't look at him, don't use magic words, etc).

Dukes is absolutely the last person who needs to be the team's spokesperson if they've all been jawing over getting squeezed, and he should know that too.

He has used up all his leeway for mistakes related to his temper. He absolutely needs to at least *appear* perfect in that regard.

Dropping fly balls, striking out, caught stealing, whatever. Those are forgivable mistakes. Temper stuff he needs to tread very, very lightly.

I get what you're saying. It's one incident, probably harmless. But his record is littered with lots of "one incidents" already.

Alright. Now I'll chill.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 5, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"Why not two articles in today's paper?"

Because, as you pointed out, they needed to devote TWO ENTIRE PAGES to the Redskins, who were doing nothing but practicing. Those two Redskins pages also included a story that was longer than Barry's gamer which was all about some rookie oversleeping and missing practice. Keep in mind, this rookie is a guy that just over a week ago was someone that no one in this town had ever even heard of before. Also, he'll probably be cut before the end of training camp. Nevertheless, his beauty rest deserves more space in the paper than the city's entire baseball team, which actually played and won a game yesterday.

It's pretty clear why Barry is going to the Redskins beat - it's his only hope of ever seeing his byline above the fold on page 1 of Sports ever again. I just hope he enjoys writing that in-depth feature during the bye week that analyzes how the punter has increased his hang time by 0.001 seconds by farting just at the instant his foot hits the ball.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Dukes getting tossed, I'm less interested in the circumstances leading to the toss than Dukes' response to it.

If he was able to walk away without causing a scene (or even better, let his manager come in a plead his case for him) that would show a level of maturity that might have been missing earlier in his career.

No one is (or at least should be) saying Dukes isn't allowed to get angry, especially if he legitimately feels wronged, but how he ACTs to those emotions demand close scrutiny.

Posted by: estuartj | May 5, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

the punter has increased his hang time by 0.001 seconds by farting just at the instant his foot hits the ball.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 5, 2008 10:25 AM
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actually, it doesn't help. and lord help you if you had spicy food before the game ...

Posted by: e | May 5, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

9 out of the last 12, gang, 9 out of the last 12.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 5, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

i'm with estuartj on what's most important about the ejection (unless dukes did something inexcusable to cause it).

like i said, natsnut, the approach you're taking means dukes has to be perfect and can never make any mistakes. and we all know that even the absolute best people make mistakes, so it's not really reasonable to ask him to make no mistakes at all. at least imo. to me, what's important is that any mistakes he makes aren't egregious and, as estuarj said, aren't things he compounds by giving in to his anger issues.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm not concerned about the Dukes ejection, at least not yet. As long as he keeps his hands to himself and his off field demeanor in check he'll pass the smell test. As far as the Rangers wearing the old Senator unis, I'm over that. That is a part of the Rangers past also. I wonder how Nats fans will feel if/when the Nats one day put on the Expos uniform in a turn back the clock game and how it will be viewed in Montreal. As for all this talk about how long it takes pitchers to reach there potential, hogwash. I guess there has never been a pitcher who matured quickly and performed sooner than expected?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 5, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm usually on the other side of the Great Post Coverage Debate from CiL et al, but seeing 'Rookie draftee sleeps in' fronting the sports page even made me cringe.

CiL: That said, I very much enjoyed Sheinen's piece on Emmanuel Burriss, and found it less a profile of a Giants player than an examination of the (sorry) state of baseball in the DC Public Schools.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | May 5, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

nouveau post.

Posted by: 231 | May 5, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the GB/A, 506, as always.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

So long as they don't do cotton unis - what if they shrunk and the players ended up running around like penguins? ;)

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If players are going to put on throwbacks, they should be required to use wool flannel, baggy unis. Let's let them try that on So. Cap. St. in July.

Posted by: Catcher50 | May 5, 2008 6:44 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to say that the Nats are 3-0 when wearing Homestead Gray unis at home (2006, 2007, 2008). How cool is that?

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Good catch, dk. This was discussed in the past and the moniker is a Dylan reference.

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is postively half street a dylan fan?

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

One other thing (channeling Lt. Columbo here), my initial reaction to the Dukes ejection was similar to that of NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 5, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

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