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Overpowered

You can read about Washington's defeat last night -- its second "walk-off" game in a row, though decidedly different than the one Sunday -- here. What I don't mention in the game story is that Florida is now (avert thine eyes!) 9-1 against Washington this season. The Marlins have outscored the Nats, 69-38. The few players who I talked to after yesterday's game couldn't really guess the root of this dominance, but there is one thing that distinguishes Florida from other clubs: Power.

They crush the ball.

They lead the NL in homers.

In five of the 10 games against Washington this season, Florida has hit at least three of them. (Yesterday included.)

Though Dan Uggla, with 23 homers, might miss the entire series, even the guys who remain have some scary pop. Hanley Ramirez has 19 home runs, Mike Jacobs has 18, Jorge Cantu has 14, Cody Ross has 13. Seven players on their roster have more home runs than the leader yesterday in Washington's lineup. (Ronnie Belliard, with 6, if you're wondering.) When a team can change the complexion of a ballgame so quickly, it tends to do well against teams that require everything to go right -- teams, like the Nats, with little margin for error.

By the way, if you take away head-to-head match-ups, here are the two teams' respective records.

FLA -- 34-38
WAS -- 32-42

But in reality, the Marlins are 43-39, thinking (cautiously) about October -- even if the fans down here are still largely unaware that professional baseball is being played on a nightly basis. The Nats, meanwhile, will have plenty of time in October to exercise their Taylor Made products.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 1, 2008; 9:16 AM ET
 
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Next: Health news, and not altogether bad

Comments

OK, now I figured out why Chico didn't mention the Nats' bats in today's gamer...they're invisible!

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 1, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

huh?

"The Nats, meanwhile, will have plenty of time in October to exercise their Taylor Made products."

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

taylor made products = golf equipment

so the nats will have plenty of time for gold in october.

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Taylor Made makes golf clubs. To play golf with.

Posted by: Pittsburgh Nationals | July 1, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, if you take away head-to-head match-ups, here are the two teams' respective records.

FLA -- 34-38
WAS -- 32-42"


That's what winning teams do...beat up on sucky teams.

Posted by: 756* | July 1, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

By the way, it took them this long to give Chad an arthogram and figure out that he has a torn labrum??? What the hell is going on in our organization? Why would anyone (FA or amateur) want to sign with an organization that repeatedly misdiagnoses or FAILS TO DIAGNOSE serious injuries!

Posted by: 756* | July 1, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"The Nats, meanwhile, will have plenty of time in October to exercise their Taylor Made products."

ZING!

Posted by: NatsNQ | July 1, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, it took them this long to give Chad an arthogram and figure out that he has a torn labrum??? "

According to the notebook today, they've given him bunches of arthrograms and MRIs. (Something has obviously been very wrong with him for a very long time. Yeah, they've been trying to figure out what. They may be incompetent, but they're not stupid.) The guess is that the tear wasn't bad enough to see until he started rehabbing (and thereby exacerbating, ironically enough) the shoulder.

Posted by: get well soon, Chad | July 1, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"That's what winning teams do...beat up on sucky teams."

It's certainly how it feels, but I think the point of that statistic is, without the Nationals, the Marlins aren't a winning team.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Where is the Pete Orr news? I see him off the roster, but can't find the link on Nationals.com or in the Post about his optioning.

I'm not one to usually complain about your writing Chico, but a personnel move really ought to be reported in the print edition. Unless, of course, it happened after printing.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I am here.

Posted by: Balester | July 1, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

JayB & 506 - I think there are restrictions on how you deal with a guy to whom you decline to offer arbitration (Grammar Lady - did I get that right?). It may have changed last year, but if you decline to offer arbtration, I think at some point you can't resign the guy for a lower amount until the middle of the season the next year.

I think Magglio Ordonez's orginal contract (and maybe Pudge's) had some sort of voidable term if he could not play a certain number of games due to inury. Same with JD Drew, where the team specified the injury of concern.

You could only offer Chad a 20% pay cut if you were to offer him arbitration. You woudl have to offer him at least $4.8 million for 2009. Getting creative, you could offer him a few extra years, voidable if he does not pitch a minimum number of innings or make a minimum number of appearances (I don't think you can make it contingent on number of saves or holds, but I'll let somene who knows what they are talking about post about that). Price the voidable years as if he is healthy, but at a discount because he'd be getting $4.8 for at most half a year.

I still don't think this makes sense for the Nats. While I wish him good health and a comeback, I think a guy who, outside of DC, was viewed as a set up guy when healthy can't be given closer money. His best interest is probably to rehab, take a low ball Colon-type contract, prove he can pitch, then go FA to a team in a pitcher friendly park.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 1, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"Where is the Pete Orr news? I see him off the roster, but can't find the link on Nationals.com or in the Post about his optioning."

506, I think it's in the little personnel section at the top of the page with the second half of the gamer in the print edition (E7? E8?). You know, the blurb next to the game schedule for the next three days and the stat of the day and the quote of the day. I do remember reading it in the paper this morning, but that was pushing four hours ago, so I don't quite remember the details. Hope this is more helpful than confusing.

Posted by: tree killer | July 1, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"422", in an earlier post, makes a valid point. What is up with our medical staff and consultants?

(1) Some pitchers incur a forearm strain and we cannot get it fixed ( Patterson, Hill, perhaps Chico)
(2) Zimmerman (4 weeks to find out he had a shoulder tear).
(3) Johnson - (wrist out for the year - a month to find out the wrist was torn)
(4) Cordero - (three months to find the shoulder was torn)

If I am Lerner and Kasten I would be looking into this. This medical history is just unacceptable.

Another example of Bowden's incompetence. He has mismanaged this aspect of his job.

Posted by: mjames | July 1, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that was a bit cryptic. My thought process was the offer could be structured as 3 years, $4.8 / $4 / $4, with the last year voidable if he does not make 60 appearance in '09 and '10. Maybe toss in some achievable incentives that raises 2011 based on 2010 performance. Option years, triggers, etc... could be worked in. We have about 5 months to work out such a deal before we have to offer arbitration.
------------------------
"Getting creative, you could offer him a few extra years, voidable if he does not pitch a minimum number of innings or make a minimum number of appearances (I don't think you can make it contingent on number of saves or holds, but I'll let someone who knows what they are talking about post about that). Price the voidable years as if he is healthy, but at a discount because he'd be getting $4.8 for at most half a year."

Posted by: PTBNL | July 1, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, PTBNL, and thanks, tree killer. Your murderous ways were very informative.

It's also worth noting that of all the Nats-O's rivalry posts yesterday, the paper selected the most negative of all, which called the entire affair nothing more than a distraction from bad baseball. Way to go, Post.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

506,
Orr news is here:

http://tinyurl.com/6ypwgz


At the bottom of the story under "Tidbits"

Posted by: NatsNut | July 1, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are a joke and have no real reason for showing up on a daily basis. Can you blame them for their lazy play?


-----

Okay, let's see if I show up in the best of the blogs feature tomorrow for that one. It seems negative sweeping, generalizations are the qualifications for showing up.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

anyone there want to chat with a girl who likes sports? Let's mingle here at +++++(((((((-----u k i n t e r r a c i a l m a t c h . c o m------)))))))+++, where many black and white singles who want to meet and seek fun & love seriously! Join us to begin our connect!

Posted by: Maggie | July 1, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Ooh, Maggie... sign me up. Can I give you my social security number and credit card info too??

Posted by: JennX | July 1, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of Bowden, but on the medical stuff I think his hands are tied. Generally team physicians are chosen through some corporate agreement, not by the GM. I will agree though that the medical situation is unacceptable. I think it starts with how they are trained (trainers and strength coaches) and goes right to how they are diagnosed and treated (team doctors).

Posted by: #4 | July 1, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the Pete Orr news should have appeared in the "Personnel Dept" file in today's paper.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | July 1, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Chico! Criticism entirely unwarranted, you're still great. Though, of course, Barry would always travel back in time in order to make a post to tell us future moves, at least one week in advance. Don't feel bad, though, when he first started he accidentally went forward and time and gave us old news, but we were ready for him, since he had admitted his future mistake a few days before.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the Nats should just tip their caps and call the Marlins their daddies.

Posted by: Pedro Martinez | July 1, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get it either, NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The Orr info appears at the top of p. E6 of today's print edition. (Also, you forgot about the ice cream, 506, which somehow never melted despite Barry's time travel. :-)).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I see that the Orr print info already been covered. It pays to read ahead, as always. ;-)

PTBNL, I'm not Grammar Lady (although I've played one at work), but you did get it right.

On another note, I share the concerns expressed by others re. the handling of injuries. I hope that Cordero was not irreparably damaged due to the delays. Best wishes to him for a full recovery.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I also found that interesting, 506.

It's also worth noting that of all the Nats-O's rivalry posts yesterday, the paper selected the most negative of all, which called the entire affair nothing more than a distraction from bad baseball. Way to go, Post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't understand why so many think these "soft tissue" injuries can be detected immediately. Interpreting images is as much art as science. Besides, who's to say when the actual tear, separation, whatever occurred versus a strain, stretch, inflammation that leads to a tear. You don't always get a clean, definite break with connective tissue. Swelling complicates the diagnostic too. Ever heard of delayed onset? Besides, a weakness in one area can lead to overuse and failure in another area. All those flexible, moving parts are connected in very complicated ways and under extreme stress in pro atheletes. Blaming doctors or management in these cases is silly and childish. Break-downs and injuries are frustrating and disappointing but part of the game.

Posted by: NatMan | July 1, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The Nats never won more than 1 out of 3 in Miami last year, when the Nats had all their front-line players, and the Marlins did not have the wealth of talent from the Dontrelle trade. Our Nats went toe-to-toe last night against one of the best slugging teams in baseball. Good to see Dmitri and Elijah's power, and Lo Duca's bat getting something other than a scorched foul to left. I know he's pressing, and has hit a lot of hard liners foul ahead of the pitch. Here's to seeing another great game and a win tonight!

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Concern about the well-being of players is neither silly nor childish. Name-calling, on the other hand, is.

Posted by: sticks and stones | July 1, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

NatsFan1a, I agree completely. Over 100,000 show up to see the Battle of the Beltways, and the Post publishes lettee's "nah, it's not really a rivalry but it will be when they're both contending for a playoff" post. I don't get it. And this along with having to go to E8 for a black and white photo of Belliard's walkoff, one of the greatest moments since baseball's return to D.C. What has Emilio got against baseball? Along with Steinberg's b!tchin that we don't click his blog enough, is there another round of firings afoot? Are they distracted? Coverage is, indeed, lacking.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It's also worth noting that of all the Nats-O's rivalry posts yesterday, the paper selected the most negative of all, which called the entire affair nothing more than a distraction from bad baseball. Way to go, Post.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 11:14 AM

==========================================

How many of my elegant, exquisite, bijou posts made the grade?

Posted by: O's Exec | July 1, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

506 - just read your post re: WaPo ennui to thrilling baseball. You are one of the reasons I read this blog.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Sports franchises invest millions in their players. That's their product. You think they don't have concern for their well being?

P.S. It's OK to call management/doctors incompetent? That's not name calling?

Posted by: NatMan | July 1, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey, hey.

Before this becomes a flame war, let's clarify the issue. NatMan is right that these injuries are very hard to diagnose. Also, it's a little unfair of us to be so critical when we don't really know what the doctors saw or could have seen or should have seen in the numerous arthrograms they've taken in recent months. NatMan made very good points and covered the issue well. He did not call anyone silly or childish for being concerned about the well-being of Chad Cordero or anyone else.

On the other hand, this team has had an awful time with injuries. With Nick Johnson, at least, I think the problem lies with the player. (He's injury-prone. Always has been, always will be. Sucks because he's great at baseball.) But the more opening day starters hit the DL, the more we start to think that maybe it's not a coincidence, and there is something linking all these breaks and tears and strains and pulls.

I don't think anyone here has any accurate way of judging how much of this is coincidental and how much is actually someone's fault. But we're frustrated, and we're sad, so we rush to blame someone. For better or for worse, that someone is the training staff. Whether or not they deserve any blame, I doubt they spend their days on NJ, so feel free to criticize them all you want. Just don't insult each other.

Posted by: too bad Chad :( | July 1, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

i think calling belliard's HR this weekend "one on the the greatest moments since baseball's return to DC" is a *bit* over the top. i'm not sure it makes my top 10. don't get me wrong, it's a nice moment and i enjoyed watching it, but that's a bit much.

just an FYI, too. none of the players detroit traded for willis/cabrera played last night, and most of them haven't put much time in against the nats (outfielder Cameron Maybin, pitcher Andrew Miller, catcher Mike Rabelo and minor league pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop). we've faced badenhop once and probably miller once or twice. very little of the wealth of talent they got has made a dent in the nats (and the best player in the deal is still in the minors). but i'd far rather have dealt with all of them this year than have had noted nationals-killer miguel cabrera in their lineup.

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I was pretty impressed with what the Nats did against Pinto last night. He's been pretty tough on them. Gregg, too, though they didn't get any runs.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 1, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that Washington has many black players. Interesting because black interest in baseball is supposed to be falling.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Evidently none of your posts made the grade, O's Exec. Not one. Zippo. Nada. Goose egg.

Posted by: Nats Exec | July 1, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Can we PLEASE get rid of Lopez for a $5 ESPNZone pass or something of lesser value. Out at third for lack of hussel or smarts, and does not cover second base with a right handed batter at the plate. All in one game.

Posted by: ChrisC | July 1, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

On injuries:
Let's not make this out to be rocket science here. "NatMan is right that these injuries are very hard to diagnose." Looking at MRI results might be tough for us, but for doctors trained to do such...common.

I'm not blaming the training staff for this (though in Zimm's case, they seemed slow to recognize how serious it was...shoulder soreness >=< torn labrum. And there are simple field tests that tell you the extent of a labral tear.)

It seems like the Nats (in comparison to other teams) are slow to give players MRI and arthograms, and thus accurately diagnose injuries and their proper extent.

Posted by: 756* | July 1, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Out at third for lack of hussel or smarts"

I sure hope you're not talking about the strike out/throw out DP. That was NOT Lopez's fault. That was 100% on Wil Nieves, who was swinging for the fences instead of contact, even though he should have been protecting the guys on base. With fast men on first and second and a full count, Willie and Felipe were TOLD to run, and it was Wil's job to protect them.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Lopez (and/or the team as a whole) is bad enough. Complain about the stuff he actually does wrong! There's no need to fabricate charges to prove your point.

Posted by: Santa's advocate | July 1, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Maggie seems a bit aggressive, but I like Jennx's cynacism and biting sarcasm. Meet me in Section 322.

On the baseball front, it looks like the Nats now have a catch 22. Can't play Lopez, because he won't play hard. Can't trade him easily, because his salary/contribution's are not in alignment. Can't release him because he's still a monetary asset. If the guy would just get a clue, he could yet be traded to a playoff contender and get additional post-season money, but he won't work hard enough on a nightly basis or say the right things to drum up interest in himself. Somebody (like his agent) needs to get him to take some actualization courses -- you know envision the future; figure out what you have to do to get there; then do those things.... Agent? Are you listening? ROI? ... crickets....

Posted by: NatBisquit | July 1, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Lopez actual failings include:

1) not running hard on all plays particularly ground balls;

2) not covering bases;

3) not concentrating (errors happen, but some are caused by not being prepared)

4) mouthing off to the press;

There's a difference between showing up and showing up ready to play everyday. I think there is adequate evidence that he is not doing the latter.

Posted by: NatBisquit | July 1, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"and does not cover second base with a right handed batter at the plate"

And is this in reference to the stolen base where Nieves made a strong throw and no one was covering? I do recall Lopez making a pretty good play to prevent that ball (a pretty wild throw, although that may have been due to surprise at the lack of 2B-covering) from sailing into centerfield. Dunno where Lopez was supposed to be beforehand, but he certainly did something right.

Posted by: Santa's advocate | July 1, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, NatsBisquit. To those I have no response. Like I said, there's plenty to criticize.

Posted by: Santa's advocate | July 1, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

One guy you didn't mention in your list of Fish sluggers is Willingham. My recollection over the last couple years is that he owns Nats pitchers. It would be interesting to look at his average and slugging percentage and # of homers against us. It seems he crushes one nearly every time we play them.

Posted by: John DC | July 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats, meanwhile, will have plenty of time in October to exercise their Taylor Made products."

ZING!

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

Or perhaps Ping!, if they don't like Taylor Made.

As for the "Post of the Day," I agree I wouldn't have chosen it, but I guess that since a standing portion of our Constituency generally takes the pessimistic view, it is approriate that they be represented sometimes.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What about Nats players who use Callaway's or King Cobras'? Or even, god forbid, the Adam's Tight Lies clubs?

Posted by: O's Exec | July 1, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Willingham has 56 career HRs. 11 are against the Nats. He's OPSing 1.051 in his career against Washington. Straight pwnage.

Posted by: Jimmy Tango | July 1, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"It seems like the Nats (in comparison to other teams) are slow to give players MRI and arthograms."

According to the Post this morning, Cordero had multiple arthograms over the past several weeks. It was only on the most recent one that the doctors were able to see the labrum tear. What's slow about that on the part of the Nats?

Or do we not believe what we read in the Post?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 1, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Not to get into a "how does Lopez stink?" discussion, but Santa, on the play where Nieves threw the ball well off-target on the steal last night, it seemed clear to me that Felipe was supposed to be covering the bag - the shot after the play had happened of him on the field showed him tapping his glove to his chest as he said to Guzman "My bad." I think the reason the throw was off was that Nieves choked the throw back a little when he saw that he was basically throwing to a completely uncovered bag - it was a bit of luck that he happened to get it close enough to Lopez to keep it from going into CF.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | July 1, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Luck? This team doesn't get lucky. There must be another explanation.

Posted by: ;) | July 1, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Seattle 31-51
Colorado 32-51 (0.5GB)
Washington 33-51 (1GB)
San Diego 33-51 (1GB)

Posted by: #1 Pick in 2009 | July 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"506, I think it's in the little personnel section at the top of the page with the second half of the gamer in the print edition (E7? E8?)."

tree killer I thought you were talking about the Nats defense E7, E8, and don't forget E4!

Posted by: junkbucket | July 1, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

NatsNQ... don't you mean PING!

""The Nats, meanwhile, will have plenty of time in October to exercise their Taylor Made products."

ZING!"

Posted by: junkbucket | July 1, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The Good News...Balester, Bernadina and maybe even Casto get a chance for some full time action a little sooner than originally thought

The Bad News...Cordero, Hill & Johnson may have changed from building blocks to afterthoughts relative to the Plan

The Good News...I have three dates over the next two weeks compliments of Maggie and her website

The Bad News...My credit card is now over the limit and my dates are all set in the U.K.


Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 1, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

231- Last night we ran into the wealth of talent from the Beckett trade, and still almost won, giving the fans another very entertaining game. If Belli's walk-off is not in your top 10, I'd love to see the list. If you have the time, please share that happy walk down memory lane. Let me guess - Livo's opening night win; Chad's save before the all-star break to leave us in 1st in 2005; Zimm's walk-off against the Yankees; Zimm's walk-off against the Braves; Soscia v. Frank in Anaheim, with Guillen hitting the winning run and then calling Soscia a "piece of garbage"; Willie Harris' sensational catch at Shea; Dmitri's 4th of July grand-slam; Brad hitting for the cycle; Felipe's grand slam against the Mets this year; Church's slamming against the wall and fracturing (non-displaced) his ribs to save the game in Pittsburgh (I think NatsNut was there for that one); I've left out some spectacular fielding by Zimmerman and awesome pitching by Patterson, Hill, Hector "Found Money" Carasco, JBerg, Lannan and others. Wow, is that fun! Do we share any favorite memories?

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

IMO, the GHE crowd are represented the majority of the time in "Post of the Day."

=======================
As for the "Post of the Day," I agree I wouldn't have chosen it, but I guess that since a standing portion of our Constituency generally takes the pessimistic view, it is approriate that they be represented sometimes.

Posted by: GHF representative | July 1, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

flynnie, those are great memories. Thanks for sharing them. Of the games that I attended in person, I'm partial to Patterson's complete game shutout in 2005 (with Wilky's grand slam), the two wins vs. the Yanks in 2006, Dmitri's grand slam game in 2007, and now Belli's walk-off (I was hoarse the next day but it was totally worth it).

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, they had multiple arthrograms on Cordero as mentioned above, and the results of these arthrograms were read by doctors not employed by the Nats except through a consulting capacity. In other words, the trainers and medical doctors of the Nats had nothing to do with how long it took for them to find it.

Hill had multiple MRIs, although I don't believe he had arthrograms. Still, his injury doesn't need an arthrogram. Zimmerman was following a strength training regimen recommended by outside staff. Johnson, I don't recall, so you may have a point here.

All in all, I find it difficult to believe that these are faults of the training staff. Injuries due to sliding and hitting your shoulder on something, or getting hit by the ball, are normal in baseball. I don't think that they would want to save a couple of thousand dollars and pose undue risk to a several million dollar asset. Come on, that's carrying the hating a bit far now, isn't it?

Posted by: SF Fan | July 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

BTW, nice to see Sherrill's homage to a former Nat in last night's loss, when he threw his glove into the stands in a fit of pique.

Posted by: Nats Exec | July 1, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

we share many of those moments, flynnie. swamped at work today, or i'd try to think back to any others that stand out at the moment, but that's a pretty good list, in general. one zimmerman defensive play stands out w/o thinking about it, though. the one where he runs at a dead run down the 3B line into the OF and lays out to catch a ball coming from behind him. think ESPN had that in the top 5 all-time plays for the montreal/washington franchise (maybe even #1). i was there that game, sitting on the 3B line, and was blown away.

oh, and soriano's 3HR night against the braves (after my buddy and i weathered (pun intended) the long rain delay).

and beckett trade, i'll buy. even if it's just hanram. there's no doubt in my mind he's the best SS (offensively) in baseball right now. he's an absolute monster at the plate. wonder how much longer he'll last at SS.

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's because I'm relatively new to these here parts, but I'd love to hear some of the commenters' favorite moments. I don't truck with Top Ten Lists as such, so herewith I present 11 moments, in no particular order but maybe sort of chronological, that came to mind as I chewed over the matter:

- Livan Hernandez's first pitch in 2005.
- A game against the Diamondbacks in April of 05. Attended with the missus; it was the first time I saw My Beloved Nats live. We had real nice seats.
- Cordero's save end of June 2005 - I believe he set the record for saves in a month.
- A diving stop by Guzman on a soft liner against the Marlins. Pretty sure it was '05. It was the game where Cabrera got hit in the face, if anyone can remember when that was. My dad and I were in left field, perfectly positioned to see the play. It was beautiful.
- The last game of '05. The Phillies pounded the Nats, giving us a chance to bestow a standing O on pretty much every reliever as he got yanked.
- One of Zimmerman's walk-off homers -- he had two within a week or so; I think it was the second one that I really savored.
- A game late in '06 where we beat the Phillies. If memory serves, it helped keep them out of the playoffs.
- That one time I got a hot dog from a vendor at my seat, as G-d intended.
- Patterson pitched a phenomenal game in early '06? '07? where Zimmerman made a simply astounding over-the-shoulder catch in short left. (I see that 231 just mentioned this play.)
- Zimmerman's homer opening day 2008.
- Belliard's homer to end Sunday's game.

Just a few recollections.

Posted by: Scooter | July 1, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

231-you were at the 3 HR Soriano Rain-Delay night? A true foul-weather fan! I watched the replay, and listened on the radio. You could hear dozens of fans cheering in the cavernous confines of RFK! Sweet to remember the Zimm catch, too.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Scooter, you prove that fans of a losing baseball team are richly rewarded! I heard Phil Wood struggling to explain this to John Thompson and Brian Mitchell today. He struggled in vain. Here are two afternoon sprots-radio drive-time hosts who had no idea that Lannan is the 13th best pitcher in all of the 390 or so in baseball, and who could barely contain their boredom. And this after 118,000 plus had packed the house this weekend! They don't know what they're missing.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

John Thompson and Brian Mitchell are bored by baseball? Who ever would have thought that?

Posted by: Water is wet. The sky is blue. | July 1, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Training / medical staff - I'd like to see one of us, or perhaps Chico, chat with Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus about what teams seem to have the strongest medical staffs and what they seem to do differently than others. There are always years in which injuries bunch up, and there are predictable declines in older players. But there are also teams that take a pretty hard line on innings a player throws in his early 20s, shifting pitchers back and forth between starting and relieving depending on how their arm adjusts, shoulder strengthening programs, projecting injury risk when drafting, etc... I'd be curious just what the Nats program is in these areas.

It is possible to put too much stock in avoiding injury risk, too. Recall that Frank Jobe was the one to tell the Dodgers to "sell high" on Pedro Martinez due to his belief that his arm would fall off. But you see injury risks like Magglio pay off, and you see certain doctors like Kremcheck, Andrews, and Yocum have big reputations. So if not a beat guy like Chico, then perhaps a Sheinin piece would be in order.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 1, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Good call, Scooter, on the last game of 2005. I'd forgotten about the love-fest that took place. It was awesome!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I can never really do a Top 10 Fav. Moments List. There are a few that stand out, like the Zim walk-offs and the like.

My main joy was in June of 2005, I went to the park and bought the cheap seats about 15 times (no joke). EVERY game we would fall behind and EVERY game my friends and I, or my dad and I felt like we were still in it. And in June, EVERY game we came back and nailed it down. Sometimes it was ridiculous, as when we beat Oswalt and the Astros because Gardner inexplicably took him out of the game. Livan had kept us close, and then we feasted on the Astros relief.

Or against the Mariners (this is Top 10), when Rick Short of flirting-with-.400-in-AAA fame came up and got his first major league hit, RBI and game winner (I think) all in the same at bat. We gave him a standing O, because Barry had written a great piece on him that morning.

Is it just me, or did the fans seem to know more, or be more...fans-ish that year?

This of course does not include the well respected individuals of this blog.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | July 1, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"It seems like the Nats (in comparison to other teams) are slow to give players MRI and arthograms."

According to the Post this morning, Cordero had multiple arthograms over the past several weeks. It was only on the most recent one that the doctors were able to see the labrum tear. What's slow about that on the part of the Nats?

Or do we not believe what we read in the Post?

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | July 1, 2008 2:03 PM
____________________________

When Chad was initially injured, where were the MRIs and arthograms then? There was rest, there were bullpen sessions, there was a DL stint, then rehab, and then the DL. Now where were the MRIs and arthograms? Or did the Post just not report them?

Here is some detail. http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_previousnews.aspx?sport=MLB&id=3760
After the April 17th 82 mph display, it still took another week to get him checked out by Dr. Andrews.

Zimm played a while and rested a while before he was given his MRI arthogram. Not blaming the training staff for the incident that caused the injury, BUT if a player has an unstable shoulder that pops when he swings, a trainer should know it's the labrum, and the organization should get him checked out. It's a very common injury among hitters these days to have a torn labrum in your non-throwing shoulder.

Look at the way the Cubs treated Zambrano. He was pulled from a game 1 day, given an MRI the next.

Posted by: 756* | July 1, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

it's altogether possible it wasn't reported by the team or the post any time players got arthrograms/MRIs. we often presume we have information that we don't. i think there's a presumption here that the lerners are "too cheap" to allow the team to practice proper medical precautions. i never got the impression that the lerners were stupid, though, and it's a poor business decision to skimp on medical procedures on multimillion dollar assets, which these guys are. i don't think the lerners are poor businessmen.

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

i meant "every time" above, not necessarily "any time."

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Best moment: 2005 opener with new Nats taking gloves from old Senators in the field. The end of a 33 year drought. That just can't be repeated.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | July 1, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Actually I recently heard a Will Carroll analysis on XM Radio in which he talked about this. He did not focus exclusively on the medical staff - he broadened the discussion to also include the Pitching Coach. However, he gave Boston high marks and also spoke highly of Rick Peterson (Mets pitching coach; pre-firing). If I recall correctly he also had nice things to say about Tampa. The general gist was that it is usually an organizational philosophy not a medical staff issue. Medical staff gets involved in fixing problems. Organizational philosophy about training and conditioning prevents medical problems. What good is it to have Dr. James Andrews on your medical staff? He's a surgeon. You're already screwed by the time you see him.

As for the early identification and diagnosis of problems, the Nationals do not look like they have been economizing there. Trips to Andrews, Mayo, Canada, Cinncinatti, etc... have been reported extensively. And these are good doctors. The problem of early identification is not limited to the Nationals.

One other factor to consider. When a National gets injurred, there is little reason to hide the injury or even play through it. We're not going to the playoffs. Teams in contention are much more likely to have players who cowboy up and keep playing. Carl Crawford is playing hurt, Kevin Youkilis is playing hurt, Chipper Jones plays hurt (until this week). Sometimes you hear about it, sometimes you don't.


Posted by: NatBisquit | July 1, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Best moment: 2005 opener with new Nats taking gloves from old Senators in the field."

not sure how i missed that one. i was on the phone with my dad (who was in atlanta) when that happened. he made me tell him the name of every old senator on the field and it was bringing back a lot of memories for him.

i was always told i was born right after the first pitch of a saturday afternoon game...

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

NattyDelite-it WAS ridiculous in June, 2005! I remember coming out of a Home Depot with my wife, putting on the game that I'd given up for lost, only to hear a thrilling bottom of the 9th and Charlie shouting "Bang! Zoom go the Fireworks!"

SC NatsFan-what a great moment, and a portent of so many great moments to come!

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

and don't forget zimmerman's september callup, where he hit 400 and showed us how stellar his defense was going to be.

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Labrum, It Nearly Killed Him
Why the torn labrum is baseball's most fearsome injury.
By Will Carroll Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004, at 5:02 PM ET

"But because it's positioned between two bones, a damaged labrum is far more difficult to detect than other shoulder problems, like a torn rotator cuff. Doctors are only now getting the diagnostic tools to detect labrum tears, so it's impossible to say how many great hurlers of the past suffered the injury. Even today it's tough to tell which pitchers have labrum trouble. Baseball teams often consult with multiple orthopedists and radiologists in an attempt to reach a consensus. One team's policy is to show an MRI to five doctors--majority diagnosis rules. The only way to know for sure that your pitcher has a torn labrum is to conduct exploratory surgery."

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

And from the same article, remember Chad saying that he felt a click but it didn't hurt?

"The most common variety of labrum tear is a SLAP--superior lesion, anterior to posterior. The SLAP tear feels like a "catch", a slight click or pop in the normal overhand motion."

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Why were Zim and Chad treated with rest and rehab?

"So far, the message from the nation's orthopedic surgeons is: We can't rebuild them. Dr. Anthony Tropiano, a top baseball arm doc, says the best available treatment option today is to do nothing. "We call it conservative treatment," he says, "but that's just a euphemism for a little rehab and a lot of prayer."

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

As far as blaming the Nats:

"As of yet, there aren't any reliable techniques to prevent labrum injuries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the best way to avoid injury is to keep your pitcher from throwing while fatigued. But fatigue is exceptionally difficult for a pitching coach or manager to measure--and one wrong guess can lead to the operating table."

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"One other factor to consider. When a National gets injurred, there is little reason to hide the injury or even play through it."

NatBisquit, you overlook the primal desire for it to be all-right that makes us all avoid the doctor and hope that chest pain is just indigestion. Except we are not trying to keep a spot on an MLB roster, one of the most difficult to get and keep jobs that exist.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The Marlins are in the market for a veteran catcher.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Paul Lo Duca was a Marlin in 2004-2005.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

One of my most exciting nats memories is the almost no -hitter but I can't remember who the pitcher was!!! The intensity was more than I have ever felt at a nats game - hard to even breathe. Anyone else who was there and remembers who it was? Is it someone who is even still pitching?

Posted by: memorylane | July 1, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious how many of the Nats spend time at the Athletes Performance Institute in the offseason.

Because Will Carroll brought up EE#4 as a team with an organizational philosophy about training and conditioning, I'll note for Planet NJ that most of their big prospects and a lot of the current roster go through API for specific strengthening and conditioning issues. Link below is to an article about Michael Bowden, their top pitching prospect in AA. They had him focus on stretching as well as strength.
http://tinyurl.com/6hqwkt

Posted by: PTBNL | July 1, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I suppose this isn't a top 10, but I loved beating Peavy in June 2007, mostly because I had tickets.

Posted by: PTBNL | July 1, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

believe it or not, i think the near no-hitter was ramon ortiz, with a 1-hitter... not at all who you'd expect.

unfortunately, the 1 hit was a homer and he didn't get the complete game. but he did at least get the win (which wouldn't be all that guaranteed this year).

Posted by: 231 | July 1, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I was there with my Marine Corps son-in-law when the most unlikely candidate for a no-hitter-Pedro Astacio two hit the Braves and pitched a complete game in 2 hours. Was that it? August 15, 2006.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Actually it was the ramon ortiz game - is he pitching anywhere? also a good one - Zim's walk - off against the Marlins ( I think) in the middle of the night after a long rain delay.

Posted by: memorylane | July 1, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

You're right, memorylane! It was September 4, 2006, against the soon-to-be World Series champion Cardinals! Ramon Ortiz not only no-hit them until the top of the 9th, when Aaron Miles hit a single, folowed by a double play and then a Pujols homer, but Ramon hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th! Chief came in for the final out, and we went crazy for Ramon, who tipped his cap on the way to the dugout, if memory serves! it started at 1:05 and ended at 3:15. What a game!

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

New post up, but keep the memories coming. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 1, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

It *was* Ramon Ortiz. We were sitting just under the roof, about even with first base, and a foursome of middle-aged tourists were sitting behind us. They were touring MLB ballparks, and the women were merciless on one of the guys, who started talking about "no-hitter" in the second inning. "He does that EVERY DAMM GAME. I'm SO SICK of it!"
By about the sixth inning they were looking really sorry. Not because of what they'd said, but because it occurred to them that if they were to actually see a no-hitter, they would NEVER hear the end of it, for the rest of their lives.
But even when it was broken up, they did seem a little sorry, he looked SO disappointed.

Posted by: CE | July 1, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Ramon Ortiz was traded by the Twins to the Rockies on August 15, 2007. Our then beat writer, Barry Svrluga, ran into him in the Denver airport and had a nice reunion. Barry thought that he was a great guy. Ramon got the win after a one inning appearance in the Oct. 1, 13 inning playoff game that sent San Diego home and the Rockies to the post-season. I don't see what happened to him after that.

Posted by: flynnie | July 1, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Ramon Ortiz is playing for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 1, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: alice | July 1, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

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