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Best-Case Scenarios, Worst-Case Results

I don't have a pet name for this theory; it's probably not stimulating enough to even deserve a name. Or to even qualify as a theory. But for now, let's call it the Best-Case Theory. At the beginning of the year, most sports fans (if you're like me) draw up some mental list of best-case scenarios. You know, a blueprint for what happens if every last thing goes right. Just in case.

Well, we're 37 games into the Nats season.

And look at how many Best Cases we have on offense.

* Cristian Guzman has 15 multi-hit games in 24 starts. He's batting .381. Give him enough ABs to qualify, and he's leading the NL in hitting.

* Ryan Zimmerman is playing at an all-star level, and looks like he's made "the leap."

* Adam Dunn is hitting for better-than-expected average and as-ordered power.

* Nick Johnson is healthy and sharper than ever.

* Elijah Dukes is on pace for 100 RBI.

* Jesus Flores has shown every indication he's a rock-solid long-term catcher.

* Even the Austin Kearns/Josh Willingham combo has worked out well enough; between them, your lineup always has a decent corner outfielder.

Anyway, I bring this up not for the purpose of optimism. Quite the opposite, actually. Despite all of these Best Cases -- despite a lineup that is truly playing like one of the best in baseball -- the Nats have an 11-25 record. In games when they score six or more, they're 6-9 (with one suspended game thrown in). That's amazing. That's condemning. No team should be able to squander so much good fortune. No team should be so bad when given the gift of so many best-case scenarios.

In the gamer I just finished, you can read about the details of how this all went down today. This was paint-by-numbers Washington baseball: A three-run eighth inning, an ugly error, etc., etc. You've seen this before.

So now?

After this one, Manny Acta suggested the team might soon use an eight-man bullpen.

"We're thinking about that right now, because the pace we're going at right now, we're probably going to need an extra guy over there," he said.

Also, Joel Hanrahan is again the closer. Acta had said in previous days that Hanrahan would again be given chances in the ninth inning, but after this one, he called Hanrahan the closer with no equivocation. "We're closing with Joel," Acta said. "We're going back to closing with Joel."

By Chico Harlan  |  May 17, 2009; 7:38 PM ET
 
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Next: So Long, Farewell, Etc.

Comments

yep truly sad that mashing the ball as opposed to being the worst offense in the league has produced zero gain in the win column... sweet

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

>So now?

So now, how about the reporters grow some balls and ask him why his team loses a different way every night? You all act like you're afraid of that passive-aggressive loser. Humiliate him the way he humiliates the fans and his players. If he never gets upset, THEN GET HIM UPSET. Don't tip-toe around the emperor with no clothes. Get an answer. Hold him accountable. And if you see the anger boiling - hop all over it because THE FANS WANT ANSWERS OR GET HIM OUT OF HERE. See, they won't allow us to get at the manager. And I'm sure there are thousands of them who would like to chew a piece of his ear off. All these articles are ridiculous, talking about stats when they have no fundamentals, the pitch selection is terrible, the plan changes from day to day. 11-25? A major league media town would have had him on a rail a long time ago. Do your job and quit being cute. And that goes for the rest of the press corps.

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

How much longer are they going to continue with Cintron. His PH for JZim was pathetic as his season has been.

Hopefully Bernadina can get well quickly!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 17, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

My fellow season ticket holders and I discussed this while we froze our butts off watching terrible baseball and suffering the always unpleasant company of the Phillies fans that Mr. Kasten so graciously invited into our house. Up until now Randy St. Claire has gotten the benefit of the doubt because he's had such lousy talent to work with and because the offense wasn't any better. Well, now the offense is producing regularly and the deficiencies in the pitching staff are painfully evident. At some point Randy has to start being accountable.

Posted by: Aterio | May 17, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The good news on offense is likely the bad news because it probably can't maintain that pace. So when the hitters return to their norms, the 6-5 losses are going to turn into 6-2 losses.

Guzman is not going to hit like Rod Carew for an entire season. He may go without a walk but he won't hit this well.

I can see Zimmerman maitaining this pace. But will the guys in front of him be on base to be driven in?

Johnson is always a blink away from injury. He may hit well the rest of the year but he will probably hit the DL at least once.

Dukes (see Nick Johnson).

I really don't expect Dunn to hit near .300. His power and OBP will consistent, so there probably isn't any downside here.

Acta could improve the Kearns/Willingham situation by removing Kearns. Although the numbers are about the same, they are going in different directions. That won't change because Kearns bat speed has slowed down significantly over the last two seasons. Play Willingham everyday for improved performance.

Of course, the downside is the upside in the future. With the exception of Cabrera, there is no way the starting pitching will be this bad all season.

The bullpen will be as bad as the veterans currently occupying it let it be. They have too many old guys who just aren't that good any longer. Addition by subtraction would help the cause here.

The final upside is that it is just really hard for a major league team to lose 2 of 3 for an entire season. In the end, they will lose about 108 games regardless. I would just rather see them do it without Johnson (injured too much), Cabrera, Wells, Beimel and Tarvarez.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Brue is a thousand time correct. This is the fundamental problem with this whole situation. No one in the media is holding Acta's feet to the fire and don't start saying its not your job, BS. If this was happening to Zorn the WAPO buffoons would be all over the guy and so would the other scribes and the useless blowhards on the Synder owned sports talker. This is what happened for years with the CAPS, the media ignored them until one day Tubby Teddy Leonis said enough and gave the axe to Hanlon and brought in BB. I hold to my convictions when it comes to the downright neglect that has been obvious when it comes to covering this team. Articles on tax payer built stadiums, season ticket sales vs falling attendence, parking or taking metro, cold hotdogs and warm beer
doesn't keep the pressure on the people who make the decisions to build a major league product. Stop the Shiner and Bozwell hate and love-fests, go after Acta, shove his decisions in his face and lets see him squirm for a chnage. Enough of this, the lease says the team will be here till 2034 so WAPO you ahd better get used to it. Now do your job!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 17, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

It is condemning, no doubt. So now the Lerners should fire Manny Acta and Randy St. Claire. No brainer.

Posted by: dfh123 | May 17, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

We're losing because of bad defense and bad pitching - especially bad relief pitching. I don't buy it that it's primarily St. Claire's fault and I'm still an agnostic on Manny. The latter is a bore on TV, and maybe to his players, but it's hard to have enough information to make an intelligent judgment, seems to me.

The main blame has to go to Bowden. The bullpen was our strength until this year and end of last year, remember?. Jimbo blew it up to get other players and prospects. The question is, was it worth it?

I trust current management would love to get some talent out there, but where?

I'll blame St. Claire when I see 3 or more pitchers who failed us go on to succeed elsewhere. That tells you the problem could be with the coach. Can anyone name three such rags to riches pitchers?

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I am missing the connection or series of connections from sportwriters asking questions to ball players making catches, throwing strikes and hitting baseballs. What could Manny Acta do, and trust me I almost never defend baseball managers, to make this team better?

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Manny could quit.

Posted by: dfh123 | May 17, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Forgot two more things:

Great points, Chico. (Another way of saying I had the same thoughts myself!)

Clint Watch: Clint was at the park today, but seemed more subdued, less caffeinated, and he had less 'playing time.' I was grateful.

Although we lost in the usual, predictable way, my son and I enjoyed the game. It was close, exciting, reasonably well played and winning isn't everything. Even the Phillies fans in our section were fairly civilized.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Forgot two more things:

Great points, Chico. (Another way of saying I had the same thoughts myself!)

Clint Watch: Clint was at the park today, but seemed more subdued, less caffeinated, and he had less 'playing time.' I was grateful.

Although we lost in the usual, predictable way, my son and I enjoyed the game. It was close, exciting, reasonably well played and winning isn't everything. Even the Phillies fans in our section were fairly civilized.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Jeffrey maybe you should listen to Carpenter and Dibble they actually said that they could see Acta using 5 pitchers to get the last 6 outs today and that is exactly what Acta did. The man does not get his team prepared to win on a day in and day out basis. It rather simple, you can't fire 25 players no matter how bad they are. In baseball like in most organizations that have leaders and followers, its the leaders who have to answer for bad performance.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 17, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Apparently even Fenty gave up on the Nats after this weekend.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/17/AR2009051701796.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 17, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Forgot two more things:

Great points, Chico. (Another way of saying I had the same thoughts myself!)

Clint Watch: Clint was at the park today, but seemed more subdued, less caffeinated, and he had less 'playing time.' I was grateful.

Although we lost in the usual, predictable way, my son and I enjoyed the game. It was close, exciting, reasonably well played and winning isn't everything. Even the Phillies fans in our section were fairly civilized.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"Manny Acta suggested the team might soon use an eight-man bullpen."

Didn't anyone ask how eight crappy pitchers is better than seven?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 17, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Ok, less snark. More reasoning. Acta is now well on his way to his third very losing season. Sure, the roster has had serious limitations and injuries have been many, but the team has just not really ever played well for the guy. It is that simple. Sure, in 07 they were better than expected, but still losers. Last year it was poor defense, inability to move runners over and bad base running night after night, loafing vets in the lineup every night (Lopez and LoDcua!), questionable lineups (Kearns batted clean-up every night for months while hitting .205). This year there is very poor defense, very poor pictching, very questionable in-game moves, Alex Cintron!, etc. The Lastings experiment -- the lead-off guy AND the CF when he had neither role in his game to date, then after 24 AB's Manny rolls him under the bus to 'Cuse (either Manny failed in selcting Lastings for the rolse or he failed inpreparing him to take them on, or both -- I think both), etc. etc. AND Acta has very rarley stpped up and said "This is on me, I am the manager, I am responsible."

Bottom line is that Acta has not shown that he can get this club to perform. We have no reason to believe that he can get it done. There are managers out there that have shown an ability to motivate, prepare and strategize -- why not go get one? Is there really in any downside to trying that?

Posted by: dfh123 | May 17, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

And Post of the Day Honors go to PowerBoater69 for this gem:

"Manny Acta suggested the team might soon use an eight-man bullpen."
Didn't anyone ask how eight crappy pitchers is better than seven?

Fire Manny now. Tim Foli is a major upgrade, if only for the hothead potential.

And, Brue, I agreed: softball-tossing Wash. Post/Times/4-7-9 TV/980 Radio are enabling Manny. 11-and-25: it's time to go.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 17, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

TC, I understand the dynamics of leadership and responsibility. However, if the talent or ability isn't there, leadership isn't goint to create it. Getting new or different leadership isn't going to make more talent.

No, I didn't listen to the game today. I was doing something less painful, getting a tree stump out of my yard. I did watch last night's game where Acta kept DC in for 46 pitches in the last inning. So Acta isn't over using his pen every night. One big reason that he had to use three pitchers, not five, to get the last six outs is because Tavarez couldn't get either of the hitters he faced out.

Regardless of what they said, it doesn't change the fact that the best WHIP on this team belongs to Shairon Martis. His 1.37 WHIP is nothing to write home about. The rest of the starting WHIPs are bad and awful. Even today, Zimmermann gave up 5 runs and 10 base runners. He threw 108 pitches in 5 innings. How long should Acta have let Zimm stay out there?

There is one very good way to keep bullpen use down. Get better starting pitching. The Nationals starting pitching hasn't been good.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"THE FANS WANT ANSWERS OR GET HIM OUT OF HERE. See, they won't allow us to get at the manager. "

Manny Acta responds to questions from fans on his MASN blog. Have you submitted any questions to him there, or are you too much of a wimp? All talk, no follow through, right? Or have you submitted questions and had him ignore them?

Tel you what, Brue. Why don't you submit the kind of hard-hitting question to Manny that you think the press isn't doing, and see if he responds? Put it on the MASN blog and put it here when you do. Then we'll know if you get a response or not, and we'll see who's the real p*ssy in this town - Manny Acta or you.

Go ahead, do it, you big blowhard. I dare you.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 17, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The Nats can't accept losing ugly every week with several potential All Stars on the roster. Losing 2-3 with a club hitting like this is simply ridiculous. Acta has to be held accountable for that. Adios Manny. Fare thee well.

Posted by: dfh123 | May 17, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Jeffrey your spot on. All good points. However management has got to be at a cross roads with this guy, maybe he just doesn't have what is needed to get the most out of what little he has.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 17, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

What is the fascination with J.D. Martin. He was drafted in 2001 and hasn't pitched one inning in the big leagues. He has had Tommy John surgery. The Indians are a well managed franchise and wouldn't have let him go if they thought he had any future at all. Do some research before you suggest names of pitchers.

Posted by: natsguy | May 17, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Jefferyt -- I disagree. Leadership wrings performance from talent. Getting different leadership does not imprvoe talent, you are correct. But good ledership gets the most out of talent. Ask the 03 Marlins how they made out when they fired Torborg and got old, dusty JackMcKeon. The manager can make a big difference. The Nats have found almost amazing ways to blow games, many players have contributed to that losing. Acta is the guy ultimately responsible for wins and losses. He has simply not managed this club well. I like the guy but he's just not the right guy for the job.

Posted by: dfh123 | May 17, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The WHIP for the entire NL is 1.42. The NL ERA is 4.44.

The Nationals pitching is fourth in homeruns allowed and leads the league in walks allowed. Those are two plays that you can't defend against, its just bad pitching.

What manager is going to make these pitchers good? What question can a Post reporter ask to keep the balls in the park?

I have the same antipathy for Acta as I do every manager but he is not the problem.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Guz is the league leader. To qualify you must have 3.1 ABs/game played by team. Guz has 118 AB. The Nats have played 36 games. 36 games times 3.1 ab = 111.6 abs.

Posted by: Watson1 | May 17, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

>Even today, Zimmermann gave up 5 runs and 10 base runners. He threw 108 pitches in 5 innings. How long should Acta have let Zimm stay out there?

You obviously didn't listen to Knight in the postgame - he would have explained the entire thing. The gist is the fact that game plan as far as pitch selection is lacking. He had Jason Werth behind with fastballs, he was fouling them off to the right, and with two strikes, they call a curveball, which is exactly his bat speed (84), and he hanmmers it for a hit. They give up entirely too many two strike hits, and two out runs. The defense has the advantage in these situations, and the Nats give it right back. Happens over and over. Things don't happen in a vacuum, in other words, coaching influences the pitching DURING the game, not just 'hey let's go get em big boy'. They don't make adjustments. That's how you win, because everyone's so close talent-wise. That's the difference, and that's why it's hard to see for some people, because it's not a contest of physicality or will, but a mental approach that gets the job done in certain situations.

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

DFH, some good points. I'm not a big fan of Manny, but I also worry that firing him or making him the scapegoat, takes the GM and ownership off the hook for not getting us good players.

Re Milledge. One reason for the experiment was the Nats don't have a good leadoff hitter and they still don't. Guzman should be batting second. Bowden again.

Lopez was disciplined for being a loafer and was traded finally, and he is still loafing for Arizona, or one of those western teams. Didn't you see him in that recent series? He didn't run out a ground ball and he didn't cover 2nd base. Lopez is actually a reason to like Manny. He never liked Lopez, as Bowden did.

Kearns at cleanup was a disaster, you are quite right about that. Dukes base running is bad, too many fundamentals seem poor, Acta's tactics during the game not always so good either. So he seems like a mediocre manager. Still, I'd rather spend money on two competent relievers.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Oops, should be 37 games x 3.1 = 114.7 abs. Guz still qualifies.

Posted by: Watson1 | May 17, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"Then we'll know if you get a response or not, and we'll see who's the real p*ssy in this town - Manny Acta or you."

Ah, namecalling. The crutch of the defeated.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 17, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Went to the game today and I'm still bummed. This has really gotten old. Nats fans are few in the stands, and the ones there are much quieter than they have been since '05. There's a stench of failure about the whole organization right now.
I am starting to think that Manny must go. This mess certainly isn't all his fault. But the captain has to be held accountable for the ship. He has failed to get this team to perform solid fundamental baseball--on the mound, in the field, on the basepaths. Only with the bats have they excelled. The team may need a new manager to shake things up. How much longer can we put up with this without trying something (and someone) new?

Posted by: jdsp2000 | May 17, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Dh, yes leadership can get the most out of talent but only what is there. Leadership may get more out of the whole than the sum of the parts. But the Nationals only have part of the sum.

McKeon is a bad example. He had a .518 winning percentage, which is nothing special. He has some pretty bad years among his good ones. But that doesn't explain the 2003 Marlins.

What follows will explain why the Marlins won in 2003 and it had little to do with McKeon than it did with an infusion of talent. About the time McKeon was hired, the rookie sensation Dontrelle Willis was called up. At that same time, Miguel Cabrera was called up. In July of that season, Josh Becket came back fron about 2 months on the DL. Uegeth Urbina was also acquired in July of 03. So while the managers changed, the talent also was significantly upgraded. That talent upgrade probably had more to do with the Marlins winning than managers.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Get rid Stan Kasten he was a joke here in Atlanta and he's a joke now the Lerners need a baseball person to take over and they need to do it in a hurry, they are in serious danger of losing the fan base if they haven't already. Stan Kasten,Manny Acta,and the Saint need to go and don't wait until the all star break DO IT NOW!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 17, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@jlnash819 wrote: Lopez is actually a reason to like Manny.

I hated FLop while he was here, and still do. But he's batting .317 while proving to be a decent leadoff hitter for Arizona.

The point isn't whether FLop is a dog or not. He is. But obviously Manny never got the best out of him. How many more FLops are there on this team that will get better without Manny? Who knows unless we try. Manny Must Go.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 17, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

JD, True about Lopez's batting. He said he plays better and harder now because his new team wins more games. Ugh. Maybe Church should be added to the list of players who got better elsewhere?

But then again, Church was in a better lineup in NY. See how much better Ryan Z is doing this year? Don't you think it has something to do with batting in front of Dunn instead of Kearns? Not to mention Nick.

"How many more FLops are there on this team that will get better without Manny?"

Why doesn't someone do the numbers and see how guys we traded did on their new teams? Especially pitchers, as that's where we are under performing.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Chico, welcome back. I like your theory - with a good offensive club, the Nats are on pace for a 32-130 record.

The flip side of the good offense is bad outfield defense, which costs runs. Second base has been weak. AH has made some bonehead plays, and Belli has no range, otherwise the infield defense has been ok overall. Zim good, Guz and Nick ok.

But the pitching. Historically bad, and really not much to hope for. Remember Lannan is our #1, who would be maybe a #3 on a good team. Where are they gonna find quality arms? Sure, we'll see the AAA arms at some point, but really, we're hoping for some mediocrity to improve our results. Odds are we lose 3 of every 5 games on starting pitching alone. That's a big hole and a long season.

Bad scouting and bad management have brought us to this point. Don't see a short term fix ahead. Should be able to rebuild the bullpen in the offseason if player evaluation is solid, maybe the young starters will improve.

Boy, I don't think that even the pessimists on NJ predicted over 100 losses again. Being a fan means I hope the Nats can turn things around, but hard to see where the improvement comes from after this series.

Geezer

Posted by: utec | May 17, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Folks None of this is surprising. Please go back and read my first posts prior to the season. I said we were going to be Texas Rangers North. I said it's all about pitching pitching pitching of which we had none in the bullpen. People scoffed at me.
I really don't know why peeps are surprised now. When you go into the season without pitching, what do you expect? It doesn't matter how many runs you score, you just end up giving up more. Daniel Carbrera?? Pining hopes on that loser?? Come on.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I predicted 57-and-105. They actually have to improve to hit my numbers.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 17, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone is surprised at the record, what causes surprise is the fact that our offense is legitimately threatening and we're still the pushovers that every single team is better than, no one sane put their hopes behind cabrera and even the worst bullpen should not be this bad

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

The only people involved with major league baseball that think Randy St. Clair is the problem are fans.

You know what? I'm sorry. All of you. I'm sorry you're feeling so blue because your team sucks. Someone should be fired so that you know the ownership feels real bad about how sad you feel because of your sports team losing.

All those big bad ownership people only invested hundreds of millions of dollars into this. And those lazy managers and coaches only do this for their livelihood. And those players only gave up on pursuing any other skills with their life to play this game.

Man, when I think about it, it seems the only people suffering are the poor, poor fans who get so disgusted they have to change the channel!

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

What the heck is section 506 babbling about. You may call these guys professionals but they are the worst. Look at the facts. Plain and simple. The people who put this team together and are coaching it are completely clueless. That's why every other team in the entire league is better than us. Not 1. Not 2. But every single team. Hmmmmm. Yea.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

none of them make a cent without fans, and without the philadelphia faithful the park would have been deserted

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Even the commentators who work the games are calling out the managers and gm. And Dibble and Knight know a thing or two. And even Carpenter had joined the chorus. Doesn't take a genius to realize the conductor at the head of this train is BLIND.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm babbling about how self-centered you and your ilk are.

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to 506 to make victims of the billion/millionaires. Nice.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 17, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

"I like your theory - with a good offensive club, the Nats are on pace for a 32-130 record."

Geezer, I think your math is wrong. Nats are on pace to win 48 games. Still horrible, but with some luck they have a chance to avoid the ignominy of 100 losses. That's the real suspense remaining for those obsessed with winning.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

This team continues to be the Island of Misfit Toys where its personnel is concerned. The pitching is horrendous and the outfielders who can hit are defensive liabilities. You can't have good pitching without good defense. But the defense is often back on its heels because the pitchers can't throw strikes. Too many former starters trying to find their ways in relief and the so-called professional relievers have been the ones blowing up the bullpen.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 17, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"I'm babbling about how self-centered you and your ilk are."

Fans demanding accountability for a laughingstock franchise they invest their money/emotions in is self-centered? This organization is and has been banking on the complacency you and your "ilk" provide. Thanks.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 17, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to RickFelt to not be smart enough to realize people who stand to lose millions of dollars are probably at least as concerned as people losing thousands of dollars.

Let's be frank here: you are an idiot if you care about winning so much to get you this hopping mad and you decide to follow this team.

Go join your kindred spirits in the Bronx.

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Teams just sit back and wait for the 7th and 8th inning. There's no worry. They know it. We know it. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. So consistent you can tell time by it.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Sound summary, leetee. Do you see a way out of it other than trading what we have of value for young talent?

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

>Leave it to 506 to make victims of the billion/millionaires. Nice.

There are some weird people on here. It's like everything is backwards for them.

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

"you and your ilk" wouldn't happen to be a condescending remark and therefore self-centered would it?

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

>Leave it to RickFelt to not be smart enough to realize people who stand to lose millions of dollars are probably at least as concerned as people losing thousands of dollars.

I know one thing - the Lerners made 43 million more off this team last year than I did.

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

we were the second most profitable team last year, yea 2nd in a league with the yankees, red sox, and cubs

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

--Leave it to RickFelt to not be smart enough to realize people who stand to lose millions of dollars are probably at least as concerned as people losing thousands of dollars. Posted by: Section506 |

Hey 506, put down the glue and slide away from the window. You really don't get it do you.
First off, so the owners and managers are concerned. So what? Concern doesn't equal competance. As a matter of fact this ownership group has proven just the opposite. That they are indeed incompetent.
Oh and BTW the Nats are worth more today than the price that was paid for them. So the owners can make a pretty penny by continuing to run this group of bad news bears out there daily.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

"Leave it to RickFelt to not be smart enough to realize people who stand to lose millions of dollars are probably at least as concerned as people losing thousands of dollars.

Let's be frank here: you are an idiot if you care about winning so much to get you this hopping mad and you decide to follow this team."

Wealth is relative. And you prove my complacency point with the second comment. Since I care about winning I shouldn't follow this team?

Posted by: RickFelt | May 17, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

So which is it? They're losing the fans and baseball is doomed or they're the second most profitable and laughing to the bank? Good God, all you people can see is tonight and tomorrow morning, isn't it? You have no concept of how to build anything. If you ran this team, they would call us the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Always planning for yesterday, never for next week.

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

--If you ran this team, they would call us the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Last I looked we were in the Pirates rear view mirror. And if any of us ran this team, well we couldn't do any worse than the so-called pros. Could we?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry you're feeling blue because the Nats suck."

Wrong. You did say, 'all of you,' feel this way, so. It's still fun to watch them, though it would be still more fun if they had decent pitching. Any ideas, you wisenheimer?

"This organization is and has been banking on the complacency you and your "ilk" provide."

Maybe. But not any longer, I reckon. Been to the ball park lately? it's empty, man.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 17, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered the relationship here between offense and giving up runs? Errors only count on balls you get to, and with Dunn in LF (God bless his bat) there's probably more balls he's not getting to. Same with Guzman. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Section406 | May 17, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

No, since you care about winning so much you harangue us day and night with who should be fired, which by now is almost the whole team. And you rant and you rave and you whine and you generally inundate us with your insufferable pain at having a team without a winning record.

If it really causes you such agony, you should go somewhere else, because trust me brother - it's not going to get better soon. Not this year and probably not next year and probably not the year after. You're going to give yourself a stroke unless you mellow out a little and take losing a little more like a man.

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

"You have no concept of how to build anything. If you ran this team, they would call us the Pittsburgh Pirates."

I would hope so. As of today they are 4.5 games ahead of us in the big league standings and have a better top to bottom minor league system. And a (by most accounts) better ballpark.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 17, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Good thing Acta decided to make Hanrahan THE closer. Nothing to close -

Posted by: johnbear1 | May 17, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Time to fire Manny. It's a shame because I really like the guy, but he should be getting much more out of this team, bad pitching not excepted. We knew that coming into the season.

It's baseball, noting personal.

Later in the season, when the Dedsox realize Ortiz is cooked, the Gnats need to trade Dunn to the Beantowners for a small bus load of pitching prospects.

Posted by: MartinZook | May 17, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

unless you mellow out a little and take losing a little more like a man. Posted by: Section506

???? Yea like the Yankees, and Red Sox and Cubs and Cards.... they are all mellow when it comes to losing. whatever.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Boy, was this a bad weekend. It's got tempers frayed and brain cells disappearing by the hundreds, judging from all of the "Fire Manny" comments. "It's a shame because I really like the guy, but he should be getting much more out of this team, bad pitching not excepted." That's like saying Mrs. Lincoln shouldn't have complained so much about her night at the theatre, ending not excepted.

It is impossible, impossible, impossible, impossible (have I made my point yet?), impossible to judge Manny with the team he has right now. Not only can they not pitch, they can't field either. That's a deadly combination. Half of our bullpen was unemployed two months ago. Our most experienced starter is Daniel Cabrera. How any rational human being read those last two sentences and then decide that the manager is the problem is just clueless.

Thanks to low budget thinking by ownership and horrible decision making by the old GM, we're stuck. The best that we can hope for the rest of this season is that with a trade or two and some blind luck, we can improve the pitching staff to mediocre status, then hope for better things next year. I know we've said the same thing for the last four years, but it's the sad truth.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 17, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

>>It is impossible, impossible, impossible, impossible (have I made my point yet?), impossible to judge Manny with the team he has right now.

Couldn't disagree more. Fielding mistakes, mental errors, constant base-running gaffes--that's on the manager. No teaching, no discipline, no consequences. Plain and simple.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

"Plain and simple."

As with most things in life, this should be the clue that you're wrong. If it was plain and simple, more people would be doing it.

But, since you're convinced, why don't you submit your resume?

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

--Fielding mistakes,

Why don't the Nats take fielding practice before games? Dibble has raised this question numerous times. This team stinks in the field. They don't stink offensively. Maybe they should bypass batting practice or curtail it and add fielding practice. What does Acta do besides make out the freaking lineup card? Seriously. It's time to think outside the box although fielding practice is pretty inside the box.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag:

From the previous thread:

It is Anderson Hernandez' fault because if he makes that play at first, no runs score in the top of the 8th inning. The bunt was followed by a shallow fly that would not have advanced the runner from third, and Rollins flew out. The Nats would have gone into the bottom of the 8th with a lead.

It is true that Taveres put two on, but Colome did his job. Without the error, Colome works out of the jam.

It is really easy to put it on the bullpen, and there's no doubt that the bullpen hasn't done their part... but it is nothing compared to the defense...

Posted by: wigi | May 17, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

>It is impossible, impossible, impossible, impossible (have I made my point yet?), impossible to judge Manny with the team he has right now.

Impossible for you. A piece of cake for those of us who aren't legally blind. Makes you wonder how people who think like this can actually get along in life. You know - what kind of work do they do, are they actually old enough to drive, did their parents deprive them of vital nutrients when they were little, have they ever picked up a baseball.

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Also Jordan Zimmermann is really getting the white glove treatment. Not sure why. 5 or 6 runs every game by the 3rd or 4th inning isn't getting it done. After awhile you've got to call it like it is.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 17, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Re: fielding practice. Do you really think this team doesn't take fielding practice? Really?

Dibble doesn't get to the ballpark as early as everyone else because of his radio show, so he may not be fully aware of what's going on (that's a pretty accurate description of his color commentary, by the way). Every team takes fielding practice. With our guys, it's just not sinking in yet...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 17, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

--Dibble doesn't get to the ballpark as early as everyone else because of his radio show, so he may not be fully aware of what's going on

You know what, I'm gonna go with Dibble on this one. He's there. I think he knows more than we do. Carpenter is also there. And he seems to back Dibble up on this. I don't think we take fielding practice. And that's a big problem.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Manny may be semi-clueless and totally uninspiring, but no one could have taken these old horses in the bullpen and done anything with them. Ditto on Olsen and Cabrera--damaged goods physically (Olsen) and mentally (Cabrera).

Posted by: paulkp | May 18, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Brue, I deeply apologize. I didn't realize I was in the presence of a true baseball genius. I assume it's just bad luck that kept you from a 20-year career as a big league skipper, probably winning five World Series at least. I should have recognized your brilliance from the level of your posts.

I clearly have been wasting my time for the past 40 years, watching games in person and actually talking to real big league players and managers like Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, Grady Little and Johnny Oates. I should have just called you.

So I defer to your greatness. You're now in charge of the 2009 Nats. What do you do, big mouth, that would work so much better than what's going on now? I'm sure we'd all enjoy a detailed outline of your plan, which will certainly include dozens of thoughts that never occured to Manny Acta. The floor's yours, big boy. Dazzle us.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 18, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

BTW Just the fact that Manny Acta can say that Daniel Cabrera looked like he was making progress after allowing another 7 runs in 5 innings, shows that Acta, not Cabrera, is the one hallucinating and isn't quite right. Just on that statement alone Acta should be gone.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

The floor's yours, big boy. Dazzle us.Posted by: baltova1

Even though you didn't ask me, let me tell you what I'd do:

1. Tomorrow cut Daniel Cabrera.
2. Trade Wil Nieves. Not because he isn't good. BUt just the contrary. Because he is playing well and there are a bunch of teams that need a good starting catcher now. See if you can get some arms for him.
3. Trade Nick Johnson. His value will never be higher. Again see if you can get some arms for him.
4. Move (and I know this is dangerous) Dunn to first and play Willingham in left hoping he does well so you can trade him.
5. Bring up Maxwell and play him in center, moving Dukes to right.
6. Trade or cut Austin Kearns immediately.
How's that for starters.
7. And oh yea, fire Manny Acta.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 18, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

OK, I know lots of folks will find this irrelevant, but Chico touched on it and it helps take my mind off 11-25. As Watson1 did the math in a 9:26 post, Guzman indeed does qualify as the league's leading hitter right now. He has 118 plate appearances (all ABs) and needs just 114 and a fraction to have 3.1 per the Nats' 37 games. MLB.com shows him as the NL leader on that basis, but the idiots at STATS Inc., which provides the Associated Press (and thus every newspaper) with its statistics arbitrarily says he needs 124 plate appearances today to be in the league leaders. So the Nats get dis'd when this time (for once) it's undeserved.

Posted by: nats24 | May 18, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Dovelevine, interesting trading Nieves. I might dig that. Bard is probably ok enough to be the backup. Though Flores has had his injury problems they've been small ones.

It's a tough ask but what this team needs to do is add talent without letting much of it go. Obviously we'll dump the deadwood when we can (Cabrera, Olsen, Kearns/Willingham, most of the bullpen...). We've got something that works and has depth (offense). It's the one thing that works. I don't think we should mess with it. There are really only 4 guys that have demonstrated they are every day contributors: RZim, Guzy, NJ and Dunn. And of those there's some defensive issues with Dunn and Guzy. After that it gets a bit more cloudy: Flores/Nieves are very streaky. Both have shown they're good at the plate but then they hit long stretches where they just lose the plot. Kearns/Willingham speak for themselves. At least Kearns has good D but neither has a consistent bat. Anderson/Belliard can be good but you don't know which days. Dukes is a constant injury risk even if it's for short stints. Harris isn't quite there. Let's not even talk about Cintron.

So that brings us to one obvious case: NJ. I think once you trade him you've written the year off. But then if he gets injured that happens anyway. The only teams that will be interested in him are contenders who need a boost and figure they can get the remainder of a season out of him but then they won't want to give anything good up for him. What do you do?

As for Manny vs. pitchers vs. errors vs. FO vs. Lerner checkbook. Guys it's ALL those problems. We won't win a division much less a world series with Manny at the helm. That simple. With the exception of Lannan and Martis the pitching is terrible. Gotta dump Carbera and Olsen. I think JZim will work it out. Get Strasbourg. Get Detwiler and Stammen some innings. We ought to get 5 quality starters out of that and maybe one of them can do bullpen. Get JBerg back up.

And yeah... maybe time to dump Randy. The key question with him is how many YOUNG pitchers did he help become successful pitchers? Been lots of guys come through that have done well with him but they've all been guys who were good before they got here. The rest either tanked our injured their way out of a career.

As for the FO... well... this post is too long already....

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | May 18, 2009 2:00 AM | Report abuse

dovelevine, you pretty much proved my point. The moves you're talking about are made by the GM, not the manager. You didn't explain how Manny can do a better job with the team he has NOW, while he waits for the Nats to make moves like you suggest, which by the way still may not bring in enough pitching help to make a real difference. Tell me how he's supposed to use the bullpen he's stuck with, how he works with young, inconsistent and inexperienced starting pitchers, how he's supposed to deal with a lousy defensive team.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 18, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

@baltova1:
But Manny had a team in '07 that was supposed to lose at least 110 -- no starters worth spit. That team didn't lose 90. If he's such a genius as we thought then, what gives? I don't say for a minute that the manager can make that much of a difference, but when a team is 11-25 after 100+ loses, the field manager is the one who take the fall.

Posted by: nats24 | May 18, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the correction. My math was wrong. Unfortunately the correct projection is still terrible. Today's another day, and we're playing another bad team. Hope we can win a few.
Geezer

Posted by: utec | May 18, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

A combination of Earl Weaver, Miller Huggins and Bucky Harris couldn't do better than Acta with the Gasoline Alley he has for a bullpen. All managers make some bad decisions, but with these pitchers, any mistake is magnified 100x. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken s--- and Manny is certainly no alchemist. He has been dealt a hand by Bowden and has to play it. It's up to management now to give him the proper tools. If he fails, he goes the way of all managers. But I have to agree with Baltova1, to fob all of this nightmare on the current manager is nuts. That being said, I would love to see some more second guessing type questions put to Acta from the press. Let's see if he still keeps his cool. Oh, and PLEEEZE dump the inane, vacuous Debbie Taylor. If I hear her say (after a rare win), "How important was it for you to snap that 12 game losing streak?"
I am going to strangle her through the TV set.

Posted by: MarcJMilzman | May 18, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

>Brue, I deeply apologize.

You should.

>I clearly have been wasting my time for the past 40 years

You could have been watching cartoons for all we can tell.

>So I defer to your greatness.

I've converted another one. Here's a sample for you. I really should charge for this.

These are the 2008 stats from the guys in the bullpen. Seems like we had the answers all along. 5 out of the 6 have either been cut, or sent to the minors. All this in the first month of '09. Funny how they all got bad at the same time but Manny the Mute got smarter. All 11-25 of him.

G IP ERA

Hanrahan 69 84 3.95
Rivera 76 84 3.96
Shell 39 50 2.16
Mock 26 41 4.17
Colome 61 71 4.31
Hinckley 14 13 0.00

Posted by: Brue | May 18, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"Trade Wil Nieves"

Can't do that. His annoying MASN commercial guy has a no-trade clause in his contract.

Posted by: section417planD | May 18, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

>Tell me how he's supposed to use the bullpen he's stuck with, how he works with young, inconsistent and inexperienced starting pitchers,

Bullpen question answered above. If he called a better game, the starters wouldn't throw as many pitches, because they obviously have the talent to do so, they'd go deeper into games, the bullpen wouldn't be as taxed, and would consequently throw better.

As far as the crappy defense - you really need to put on your listening ears like Judge Judy says. I think someone needs a timeout. Let's hope you wake up with your smiley face on today! 11-25. Suck on it and like it.

Posted by: Brue | May 18, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

To Natsguy:
Who? has this fascination with JD Martin, besides you bad mouthing him??? But since you bring him up, tell us who, currently in the Nationals Org. (Majors or Minors)that have better minor league career stats/ratio's than this kid. By the way; I heard he declined Clevelands offer to stay and desided to go for a quicker route to the Bigs!! Maybe ya ought to give him the chance...

Posted by: dawgball | May 18, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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