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No Relief

Until today, only one Washington starting pitcher this exhibition season (Daniel Cabrera, on Feb. 28) had allowed any runs in his start. The bullpen, though, is slowly developing into a problem.

Let's examine the list. Steven Shell has allowed five hits and four runs in two innings. Mike O'Connor has allowed three hits and two runs in two innings. Garrett Mock has allowed three hits and three runs in three innings. Wil Ledezman has allowed three hits and three runs in 1-2/3 innings. Even Mike Hinckley has allowed three earned runs in his two innings. (We could continue, too... Marco Estrada. Tyler Clippard. Gary Glover. All have been roughed up. It hasn't been pretty.)

Today? More of the same. We've just gotten an extended look at J.D. Martin, who, here in the fifth, has surrendered back-to-back home runs to Marcus Thames and Jeff Larish. Both were absolute bombs, especially that of Thames, who pulled one down the left field line that sailed well beyond the grassy slope behind the outfield wall. Might have gone 430 feet.

The Nats trail here in the fifth, 6-2. The Tigers have scored in each of the last four innings.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 2:43 PM ET
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Next: "He's A Scout. And I Am A Scout." -- Phil Rizzo


Where's Wagner?

Posted by: NatsNut | March 5, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Alng these lines, the comments on this MLBTR post has a nice comparison of Beimel, Reyes, and Ohmann. If a vet is wanted, Rudy Seanez is still out there, too.

Chico - can you ask if they are talking to Ohmann or Reyes?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 5, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

OMG - I;m TWO threads behind about Shawn Hill...

It's great that the Nats are being cautious wit Shawn Hill. And even though I've been a baseball fan for more than 40 years, I'm not one of those old farts who yearn for the days when pitchers were men and starters completed games. I know the game has evolved since the Griffith Stadium days, but as Don Sutton used to say pitchers aren't going to feel 100 percent for 35 starts a year. The Nats pitchers have been in camp at least for three weeks, and hopefully Hill is going through a "dead arm" period from throwing. I forget who first said it, but the six most ominous words to a pitcher are "Dr. Andrews will see you now..."

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 5, 2009 3:12 PM

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Baseball America blogger Ben Badler has a post up about how MLB scouts weren't surprised but saddened about L'Affaire Smiley.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 5, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

... sorry guys. I should have warned you about Chacin. When he was with Toronto, and Blue Jays games were beamed into my very brain on a daily basis, assuming that as a Canadian, Toronto MUST be ‘my team’, Gustavo was an embarassment even then. Not much has changed.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 5, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hi leetee1955,

... I want desperately to agree with you about Shawn Hill and his little problem. But you see, it's his forearm ... again!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 5, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Shawn might be over the Hill, so to speak. Rather than bring in any MLB average starters, I would be inclined to sign two veteran bullpen arms to one-year deals. Our fourth and fifth starters should come from the group that includes Balester, Zimmermann, Chico, Clippard, Detwiler, Estrada, Mock and Martis. Take the two best out of ST and put the rest in the starting rotation in Syracuse (or Harrisburg). If one of the MLB starters falters, call up the one that's performing the best in the minors. But have the veteran bullpen depth to compensate for the occasional disastrous start while giving our improved offense the chance to catch up.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Youngster Justin Jones (24, LHP), and Rule 5 Terrell Young with good outings.

WAY early yet, to talk of problems.

Posted by: VladiHondo | March 5, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

At one point I thought we were discussed as being in on Juan Cruz and Beimel, or some others. We should be going after Ohman. The bullpen has regressed every year. Of course Bowden tried to fix it, but the evil doers and the liberal media did him in.

Posted by: Juliasdad | March 5, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

My god! relievers giving up runs in two innings!!!!! PANIC!!!! PANIC!!!!

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | March 5, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Wagner is in the game now, NatsNut

Posted by: lowcountry | March 5, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

and it isn't pretty . . .

Posted by: lowcountry | March 5, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

And he just gave up a 3-run dinger. Four runs total. The new Opener?

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Is there a slaughter rule in ST?

Posted by: BobLHead | March 5, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Geez, I go to one little doctor appt., and look what happens! Well, at least I know of a certain sports editor who is probably very happy right about now. So there's that.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, I heard on the radio that Dunn had a dinger for Team USA today.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Were you seeing Dr. James Andrews as well, 1a?

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 5, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, looks like Wagner gave up a long ball to Mitsy May's hubby

Posted by: lowcountry | March 5, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The bullpen definitely looks worst today than a week ago. Assuming 6 spots (14 position players and 5 starters), Hanrahan and Riveria are definitely in. I think Young is too because he's rule 5, as well as Bergmann to be the long guy/spot starter. So that leaves two spots (maybe three if they go 13/12) for Colome, Mock, Hinkley, Shell, Wagner, Estrada, O'Connor, ect.

It's a little less worrying, considering all of these guys are not going to be counted on, but adding one more vet to the mix would certainly settle things down.

I think the dream scenerio would be for JZim, Bally AND Martis to all make the rotation with Cabrera moving to the back of the bullpen, by the end of the year.

Of the potential starters, I think Cabrera is the only one that could be successful (if not more so) in the closer's or set-up man's role.

Posted by: sec307 | March 5, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

ha ha, JiM!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the boxscore, it looks like JD Martin also had a wild pitch, a balk and a hit batsmen. Yeesh. Looks like JD "Wild Thing" Martin shouldn't have gotten out of bed today.

Posted by: erocks33 | March 5, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

He was at Joker's House, and evidently jokers are wild.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Highly unlikely the team carries 14 position players. Normal set-up would be 5 starters, 7 relievers, 2 Catchers and 11 Infielder/Outfielders.

Of course that assumes we can find 7 relievers you would be willing to put in a game, maybe a few long reliever scrubs to eat up innings, take a beating and save the poor young starters ego.

Posted by: estuartj | March 5, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Chico: "The bullpen is slowly developing into a problem."
Are you kidding me?
NO: it is neither developing and certainly not slowly!!!!!!! It hardly exists. There are two guys who are a seventh inning pitcher and a set-up man who serves as a closer. This is a joke! Get us some relieve pitchers – Mr. Jim Bowden – oh I forgot – you lost your Cincinnati connection - where they have no relief either – when you were fired/resigned.
Kasten, Rizzo, time to become active!
Has Kerns hit anything this spring?

Posted by: johnbear1 | March 5, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

john bear = jb?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm not too worried about the starting pitching, but again looks like these guys aren't getting any run support.

Nats in ST currently last in MLB in slugging, and not much batter in BA.

Chico - what is Eckstein doing to improve the hitting?

Posted by: DesertNat | March 5, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

He was at Joker's House, and evidently jokers are wild.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 4:35 PM


Is this the first terrible pun of the season?!

Posted by: Section506 | March 5, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm not in regular season form yet, 506.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Finally, we get to see a couple more STI pitchers in a game. JD Martin, not too good a first impression; J.Jones, on the other hand, posted decent numbers - I'd like to see him get one or two more appearances in with the big squad before passing judgement.
As an additional comment, did Manny REALLY have Guzman, C. at 3B today, or should that have been Guzman, Joel in the box score? Was anybody at the game that could comment on this?

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Terrible puns? Sounds like your regular-season form to me, 1a.

Posted by: Scooter_ | March 6, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Scooter. (You knew I'd be back here, didn't you?)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 6, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome. (Yes. Yes, I did.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | March 6, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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