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History In the Making (Not the Good Kind)

I'm sitting here having some fun with the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, trying to put into context how absurd it is for the Nationals to keep losing games when they score five, six, seven or a gazillion runs. (I mean, here's one nugget: MLB teams are 95-6 this year when they score 10 or more runs in a game. The Nationals, though, are only 1-1-1, counting the 10-10 suspended game against Houston.)

Here are some other nuggets, if your stomach can take them:

Longest Losing Streak When Scoring Five or More Runs (since 1954)
6 (tie) - Rangers, August 2005
6 (tie) - Reds, June 2004
5 (tie) - Seven times, most recently Nationals, May 2009

Most Losses When Scoring Six or More Runs (2009)
1. Nationals, 10
2. (tie) Angels, 5
2. (tie) Indians, 5

Best, Worst Winning Percentages When Scoring Six or More Runs (2000-09)
1. 2009 Pirates, 1.000 (14-0)
2. 2002 Braves, .957 (44-2)
3. 2007 Diamondbacks, .956 (43-2)
4. 2007 Red Sox, .955 (64-3)
5. 2005 Indians, .951 (58-3)
....
298. 2000 Cubs, .604 (32-21)
299. 2003 Tigers, .579 (22-16)
300. 2009 Nationals, .375 (6-10)

Meantime, here is where the Nationals' bullpen ranks in the majors this year in the following categories:

ERA: 30th (6.68). Mets are first, at 2.90.
Winning pct.: 30th, (.071, or 1-13). Marlins are first, at .692, or 9-4.
Save pct.: 30th, (31.6 pct, or 6-of-19). Reds are first, at 90.9 pct, or 10-of-11.
Walks allowed: 1st (77). Rockies are last, with 32.
K/BB Ratio: 30th (1.23). Rockies are first, at 2.75.
Opponents' OPS: 30th (.857). A's are first, at .630.

And finally, here are the worst bullpens in history, by ERA, according to Stats LLC:
1. 2009 Nationals, 6.68
2. 2009 Angels, 6.21
3. 2007 Devil Rays, 6.16
4. 1996 Tigers, 5.97
5. 1999 Mariners, 5.90

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 19, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
 
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Next: Lineups From Nats Park

Comments

New posted:

Some of the looks on Riggleman's face during the course of any game are priceless. You can just hear the internal monologue running through his head.

"Why oh why didn't the Mariner's hire me?"

"How much longer do I need to sit through this nonsense before it's my turn?"

"Do you think if I hit him in the head with a shovel it would help?"

"If we just happened to layover in Vegas on our next west coast swing and lose him in the desert do you think anyone would mind?"

"Do you think he can hear me screaming with my eyes?"

"If I concentrate hard enough can I actually stare daggers into the back of his head?"

"First thing I'd do is go all Oprah on this entire pitching staff: 'You're getting a pink slip! You're getting a pink slip! and you're getting a pink slip! You're ALL getting pink slips!!'"

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Both Dibble and Ray Knight really held nothing back last night on Nats Xtra. Those two played the game and understand the level of frustration far beyond what any of us can imagine.

However, I'm beginning to sense that the "Master Planners" have all but decided that 75-85 pitches will be the limit for the top 3 and whoever makes a guest apprearance going forward. Manny will hand over the zippo lighter and gas can to the pen for the nightly barn-fire in the 5th or 6th and that will be about it. In all honesty they are focusing on 2010 and beyond, with that said its a shame that so much damage has been done that even if 2010 turns out better the stands may stay empty for quite a long time. Ive got 30 more games to attend and I'm just trying to figure out a reason to go.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 19, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

new posted as well:

Just for the heck of it, here's my roster moves for the Nats. (BTW, maybe it's because I haven't had my coffee yet, but when I looked at the 40-man roster, I only counted 39 players so I am basing these moves with this info):

Cabrera -- DFA
call up JD Martin to start. He last pitched on Saturday, so his next start would be Thursday. Martin would need to be added to the 40-man roster, but would take Cabrera's spot (still leaves the Nats at 39/40)

Mock -- optioned to SYR
call up Bergmann. Bergmann is already on the 40-man (Nats still at 39/40)

Colome -- optioned to SYR
call up Tyler Clippard. Clippard is already on the 40-man (Nats still at 39/40)

Cintron -- DFA
call up Mike MacDougal. Go to an 8-man bullpen. MacDougal would need to be added to the 40-man, but would take Cintron's spot. (Nats still at 39/40)

Dukes -- place on DL.
call up Maxwell. Maxwell should play everyday in center until Dukes comes back from the DL and is 100%. Willie Harris is then moved to the utility infield position that Cintron occupied. Maxwell is already on the 40-man (Nats still at 39/40).

Posted by: erocks33 | May 19, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: erocks33 | May 19, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@erocks33 -

Can't argue with any of that.

Posted by: WebberDC | May 19, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm I the only one who thinks we desperately need a trade? We've got lots of offense to trade, and the only people that I would never let go are Zimmerman, Flores, Dukes, Zimmermann, Martis, and Lannan. Dunn would get us a good starter and maybe a reliver as well in return, no?

Posted by: Peter55 | May 19, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

So, let me read this right...

The previous record for losses when scoring 6 or more runs was 5 - set by 2 teams.

And we've doubled that record. In May.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 19, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

new posted, me too:

@juni: "It felt like Manny was stealing from me as I sat in the stands to watch last night's atrocity. He's managing like he has money on the opponent. How come I and the people around me knew what would happen when he pulled Detweiler, but Manny didn't?"

I swear to God, I have left the ballpark or turned off the TV many times recently wondering whether or not those guys in the bullpen or the dugout were being paid to throw the games. (I mean lose them on purpose, not throw strikes or anything exotic like that.) Really, they're playing as though they have to create a negative point spread on the Nats.

I'm not joking. I have seriously considered this. Only problem with this argument is that the stakes are so low. Otherwise, it looks a whole lot like thrown games

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 19, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"And finally, here are the worst bullpens in history, by ERA, according to Stats LLC:
1. 2009 NATIONALS, 6.68
2. 2009 Angels, 6.21
3. 2007 Devil Rays, 6.16
4. 1996 Tigers, 5.97
5. 1999 Mariners, 5.90"

This is clearly an unfair stat and underrates the god-awfulness of our bullpen by lumping us in with AL teams, who have the benefit of the DH to bump their ERAs up. What's the next-worst NL bullpen ERA in history?

Posted by: joebleux | May 19, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

What's the over/under for how many runs the bullpen will give up tonight? 5?

Posted by: rxs85 | May 19, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

look, folks.

you go into the 6th with the bullpen you have, not the bullpen you wish you had.

(with apologies)

Posted by: ihatewalks | May 19, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Carrying over this thought, Zuckerman has an interesting companion piece in the OP re. relief pitching woes throughout MLB (executive summary: you are not alone). As possible factors he cites the economy (and lower payrolls) and PED testing (something that had occurred to me).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Someone posted that Stan Kasten is a used car salesman. But aside from that, seriously, what is his job with the Nats and what are his responsibilities? Anyone?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanx, Dave

You just confirmed that the Nats bullpen is the "Rocky Horror Pitcher Show."

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 19, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chico, this is interesting but ... how about an errors and misplays vs. runs scored over losses analysis?

Posted by: ihatewalks | May 19, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Kudos, all. For the first time I can remember I can't stand to read the last couple gamers - not your fault, Chico - and I've been throwing things and cursing somewhere around the 7th inning most nights, but I must say the debate on NJ this morning is some of the finest I've seen.

Posted by: nattaboy | May 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Extra kudos to NatsNut. Blue ribbon for "in punch-in-the-face range"

Posted by: nattaboy | May 19, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

We need a GM like Theo Epstein. Someone who isn't afraid to make bold moves. Dude traded Manny and didn't miss a beat by getting Bay. Yes he traded Hanley Ramirez but he got Beckett. I know Rizzo hasn't been at it long, but man times a wastin. Get on the horn already and deal Nick, Dunn, Nieves and get some freakin arms. And fire Acta. Heck I'd take ole Frankie R over him.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

To throw out a cliche for cliche's sake:

It ain't the dogs in the fight, it's the fight in the dogs.

Right now, the dogs in the Nats pen have no fight in them. Go into any situation expecting bad things to happen and you'll usually be proven right. These guys have ability or they wouldn't be where they are. Straighten out their heads and the body will follow. IMO this is a real test for the coaching staff. Changing player personnel hasn't worked so far. They need someone who can get in these guys heads and pull the right strings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

look, folks.

you go into the 6th with the bullpen you have, not the bullpen you wish you had.

(with apologies)

Posted by: ihatewalks | May 19, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

To comish4lif: Actually, those numbers are for 2009 only. Still, it's damning enough that the Nationals have lost twice as many games when scoring six or more runs as any other team in the majors this year.

To joebleux: Worst NL Bullpens, All-Time:
1. 2009 NATIONALS, 6.68
2. 1999 Rockies, 5.69
3. 2000 Phillies, 5.66
4. 2004 Rockies, 5.53
5. 1954 Cardinals, 5.46

Posted by: DaveSheinin | May 19, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Problem is, who does Rizzo answer to? Is it the Lerners or more accurately Kasten. Usually you have the owners and then the GM. But Rizzo seems to be right in the middle. So can he even make moves? Or is Kasten in charge? Again I ask, who is running the team Rizzo or Kasten and what is Kasten's job?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I agree with erocks/ihatewalks about going to the bullpen. You can't assume failure. And let's remember Detwiler had a bat in his hand until we had something brewing.

Regarding Cintron - I guess it makes sense to save your best bats, but this was a situation where you pulled your hot arm to get the big inning. So he knows it's a big spot. Why wait for later when odds are it won't be? We also had Nieves available.

Another issue I have here is the frequency with which Cintron comes up to PH. I'd like to know how many PH chances he's had vs. the other guys who are 'saved for later'.

I'm still a Manny guy.

Posted by: nattaboy | May 19, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Brian informs us that Clippard, Bergman and MacDougal pitched three scoreless innings, while Maxwell went 3/4 with a stolen base.

::sound of crickets::

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"So, let me read this right...

The previous record for losses when scoring 6 or more runs was 5 - set by 2 teams.

And we've doubled that record. In May."

You're reading it wrong. Look at the headline: "Most Losses When Scoring Six or More Runs (2009)" That means that in 2009, the Nationals with 10 have twice as many as the two teams with 5 do - this year. No idea what the single-season record for this might be.

Posted by: section417planD | May 19, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

::sound of crickets::

Chirp.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The pitching is bad, is the fielding actually worse? Guzman, Johnson, Zimmy, that truly remarkable Anderson Hernandez play (Hah! Missed me!). How is Manny still working? We need someone to require performance and concentration from his players, not more "keepin' it positive".

To tippycanoe. Bail on this team until the Lerner's die. I had to give up my season tickets. Worst entertainment value in DC.

Posted by: bflorhodes | May 19, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Dave -- almost a full run's separation between us and the next worst NL bullpen of all time. Yow.

Posted by: joebleux | May 19, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Manny just needs to do something (stupid or otherwise) that will take the focus off of the bullpen and the team. All the good managers do it.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 19, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

How many games do you think Earl Weaver or Bobby Cox would have been tossed from by now?

If JBow were still in town he could get loaded and streak the game on his Segway. Oh well. No since wishing for what's lost.

~~~~~~~~~

Manny just needs to do something (stupid or otherwise) that will take the focus off of the bullpen and the team. All the good managers do it.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 19, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Someone posted that Stan Kasten is a used car salesman. But aside from that, seriously, what is his job with the Nats and what are his responsibilities? Anyone?"

Kasten is a part owner of the team as well as the president of the team. He runs the team (i.e. every aspect of it) on a daily basis. That's his full time job. The Lerners of course are the majority owners of the team, so ultimately what they say goes. But they also have that role and authority for everything else that the Lerners own, so their full attention isn't on the Nationals. Kasten is the man they have delegated to pay full attention to running the Nationals.

Posted by: section417planD | May 19, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey Peeps, can I get some answers. What is the line of authority? Who is in charge after the Lerners? What is Kastens and Rizzos job? Any help?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I have to re-post this from 1a after another similar entry from Sheinin in Baseball Insider:


"Ow. Stop kicking me. Ow. Let me just get up off the ground here. Ow."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 13, 2009 11:51 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | May 19, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The reason Manny still works is because they need to give him a chance with a real team. He can always hide behind the 'terrible players' defense.

I happen to think he is not good enough but, until he had some cards to play with he, or anyone else is just spinning their wheels.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

>> Kasten is the man they have delegated to pay full attention to running the Nationals.
Posted by: section417planD

Sounds like a GM. So what is Rizzos job then? And who is in charge of trades and building the team--Rizzo or Kasten?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Erock33 what is the fascination with JD Martin. He was drafted 8 years ago and had never pitched an inning in MLB. He has had Tommy John surgery. He is closer to 27 than 25. The Indians are a well managed franchise and they did not see any value in keeping him or they would have kept him. Stop acting like he is a PROSPECT. He is just another 4A player and they already have a bunch of that in the bullpen. You get to see that every night after the 6th inning when the bullpen blows up. Get over him. We don't need more 4A crap.

Posted by: natsguy | May 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I could almost buy the "Manny doesn't have the right horses" line of thought for the bullpen woes. Almost. I still think most of this is mental and needs proper coaching to fix, but as bad as the bullpen is, don't let it overshadow the fact that the defense is really bad... again. A troubling trend in Acta coached teams.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The Lerners' job is to be the owners.

Kasten's job is to help the team be profitable by boosting revenue (selling tickets/ST plans) and limiting operating costs (holding down salaries/overhead). He reports and is responsible to the owners.

Rizzo's job is to put the best possible team on the field - at the major and minor-league levels. He reports and is responsible to Kasten.

Acta's job is to win with the team he is given. He reports to and is responsible to Rizzo.

Of course, this isn't a purely linear relationship - each of them need one another to perform for the organization to be successful.

What isn't clear - and is most important to clarify *soon* I'd say - is whether 1) Kasten's cost-limiting function (or the Lerners' willingness to spend) has had a negative impact on the organization's on-field performance or 2) Rizzo and Acta are eye-to-eye on who should be on the 25- and 40-man rosters.

I'm willing to be wrong - and often am - but that's my impression right now.

Thoughts?

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | May 19, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

hehe, NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Hey Peeps, can I get some answers. What is the line of authority? Who is in charge after the Lerners? What is Kastens and Rizzos job? Any help?"

The Lerners own the team. Kasten owns a piece of the team and is the president. He ultimately runs everything - baseball (i.e. on-the-field) and non-baseball (stadium, parking, cocessions, etc, etc). Bowden was VP of baseball operations and GM, meaning he ran the baseball side (reporting to Kasten) while other VPs/executives ran the other aspects of the team (also reporting to Kasten). Rizzo is only the acting GM and still only an Asst VP of baseball operations, meaning he's doing Bowden's job only with more assistance/oversight from Kasten than Bowden had. Make sense? Ultimately the decision-making line of authority on the baseball side of the house runs from Rizzo up through Kasten to the Lerners. But as in any operation, the guys at the top only make the biggest decisions, and delegate other decisions down to lower levels.

Posted by: section417planD | May 19, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

From what I've heard and seen, Kasten's job apparently is to sit in the President's Club bar and schmooze with pretentious 20-something DC socialites postgame before they head to their "late nights." It's easy because none of them care enough about the team or baseball to ask him pointed questions.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 19, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Rotoworld:

Former first round draft choice Ryan Wagner has retired from baseball, according to MASN.com.

Wagner had two saves and a 6.11 ERA in 13 games with Triple-A Syracuse this year. The relief pitcher had season-ending shoulder surgery in 2007, but he returned to Class-A ball last year before being recalled to Triple-A Columbus to finish the season. Wagner hasn't offered an explanation for his retirement, but Washington manager Manny Acta was shocked at the news of the youngster's retirement.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 19, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

In addition to bad relief pitching, I googled up this tidbit:

In 1883, Philadelphia of the National League committed 639 errors as a team.

The post World War II record is 234 by Philadelphia in 1945 (for the NL record) or 211 by Washington (for the AL record).

The last team to commit 200 errors in a season were the 1963 Mets, who committed 208.


The Nats are only on a pace for 180 errors. No one has broken the 150 barrier in this decade, the closest being San Diego at 145 in 2001. Last year Tesxas led with 132 and Washington was second with 123. At current pace, we should hit 123 roughly at game 111 which is about the end of July.

Other famously bad defenses:

- The devil made me do it
- The Alamo
- She told me she was 18
- 2008 Detroit Lions
- 2009 Washington Wizards

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 19, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I get the feeling that everyone who attended the game last night has posted in here today, yes?

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 19, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

It's almost noon and I'm surprised the FO hasn't done anything -- DFAs, sent-downs, call-ups, etc -- yet.

Is Rizzo in "whatever, dude" mode, or what?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of stating the obvious, the problem with this team is that the pitching staff is too thin across the board. It would be one thing if we just had a weak bullpen. It is another thing to have a weak bullpen, no closer and a bunch of young starters that can't pitch more than 6 innings. It's a fundamental flaw in roster construction that creates the perfect storm on a nightly basis.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 19, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I was not at the game last night, and didn't even watch it on TV. For that I am glad. I will be there tomorrow night though (because that game is in my plan) and tonight too (because Martis is pitching and I desperately need to go to a game they might actually have a chance of winning).

Posted by: section417planD | May 19, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"VORP is truly the stupidest thing I've ever heard of, really people take that junk science seriously??"

-------

"You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? Excuse me, I have no time to listen to such nonsense." -- Napoleon to Robert Fulton

Posted by: Section506 | May 19, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Why is Kasten still around? What has this genius done? The team he was in charge of stinks. The GM he was in charge of is being investigated by the FBI. The attendance and ticket sales he is charge of is at an all time low. What has the guy done successfully with the team in any repect? Why is he skating free?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Believe it or not, the Bethesda Big Train is having a Manny Acta Bobblehead night!! Too perfect.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Man if the Lerners had run their other businesses like they are running the Nats into the ground, they wouldnt have any bread to even buy the team.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely can't have Manny bobblehead day at Nationals park. Too many mental images of mini-Manny after mini-Manny bouncing off the mound with Mock walking slumped shouldered back to the dugout.

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling! No wait... it's only raining Actas."

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Look at the bright side.
If they keep doing this, the Nationals will be able to set a new all-time record!

Posted by: jeff-in-dc | May 19, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? Excuse me, I have no time to listen to such nonsense." -- Napoleon to Robert Fulton


Haha, sorry some mythical replacement player statistic just seems like nonsense to me, and they can bring in all the scrap parts they want, but when pitching is consistently bad no matter who you bring in (I'm talking starters here too, how many have gone more than 6 innings??), and the pitching plan is particularly awful, and defense is consistently awful, and base running and mental lapses occur on a nightly basis, when on earth does coaching start to get a long hard look?

Posted by: skippy1999 | May 19, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Cricket

I agree. The 'terrible defense' case is a compelling one but...

No one seems to take into account the defense when we talk about this excellent offense. The fact is that with the exception of Zimm, all our best offensive players are very poor on defense. You can't add Dunn and Willingham to your team, play Dukes out of position (in a tough defensive position no less) and have Guzman at shortstop and expect a your team to defend. Does anyone believe we can coach Dunn to defend. Or that if Riggleman was the coach Guzman would develop range? Of course we don't. Is it Mannys fault we are tied to a first baseman who'd broken body has been progressively hampering his ability to field his position for a few years? Or that Kearns range has been declining, and was overrated to begin with?

Although Hernandez and Gonzalez going missing on defense are serious strikes against Manny.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Also Rizzo is most certainly not in 'whatever' mode. But he will wait until after the draft to make a trade because 'first things first'.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

that was your funniest post yet, 1a.

baltova, i liked your defense of Manny last post.

And hey, I get the fire Manny brigade. I've actually tried to understand it and visualize how firing him could help the team. But I just don't get it. It's too easy an answer (Fire Him!) when there are no real alternatives that I think can make a difference. Maybe after the season, but right now all I can see is more harm than good.

Like another commenter said about St. Claire--Manny is just as in charge of Zimm's hitting streak, Martis's complete game and Nick's 3-run shot as he is that bullpen.

And if you carry the scenario all the way through, actually firing Manny, I just cringe at what the aftershock will be. Buck says player morale tanks even worse than it is now.

In fact, the team's morale doesn't seem nearly as bad as it should be right now and I credit Manny for that.

Put another manager in there right now and you've still got a sucky bullpen but now players are bummed out too? No thanks.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 19, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Doveline,

Stan Kasten = Jeffrey Immelt

Same situation different companys. One is running a baseball team into the ground in the Capital of the free world. The other is running a once proud American company into the ground. Yet, each one of these two fools keeps their jobs. Damnest thing I've ever seen.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 19, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

--Doveline,
Stan Kasten = Jeffrey Immelt

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Please don't say that. My GE stock has plummeted under that clown. And now my Nats are plummeting. Oh no. You may be right.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

dovelevine

Do you perchance own stock in Chrysler?

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I think, if anything, people are UNDERESTIMATING how bad this bullpen is. While I'm not going to cry a river if Manny gets shown the door, faulting him for doing the best he can with the eye-bleedingly bad tools he has doesn't seem quite fair. I mean, when I heard Jesus Colome was coming back to the pen, I think I threw up a little in my own mouth.

In a post the other day someone said something along the lines of "Good leadership can bring bring out the best in even bad players", faulting St. Clair and Acta for the reapeated implosions. I think we ARE seeing the best of this bullpen. They're just THAT BAD. After a certain point you have to start looking up the chain of command at who's making the personnel decisions. I'm looking at YOU, Rizzo, Kasten and Lerners!

As for the ridiculous abomination of a defense, I don't understand why these guys aren't taking infield EVERY DAMN DAY. Dibble and Knight been harping on it, and I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | May 19, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Who would it be if we got rid of Manny, though? Who really wants this job? Isn't part of the reason he's here because he works for cheap and *can* bear to look at this bullpen every day without having a heart attack?

--SD

Posted by: souldrummer | May 19, 2009 3:12 AM |
----------------------------------------------

I'll take the job.

Maybe, this could be a new promotion? Instead of giving out t-shirts, the Nats could randomly choose the manager for the day? I bet they'd pack the stands....

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe after the season, but right now all I can see is more harm than good. "

Like our Win Pct. dropping to .190 instead of .290?? That'd really be something.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 19, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Erock33 what is the fascination with JD Martin ... We don't need more 4A crap."

Posted by: natsguy | May 19, 2009 11:29 AM
-------------------------------

I don't care what a guy's age is. If he's throwing strikes and not walking anyone, let's give him a shot. And that's exactly what Martin does. Plus, he strikes out more hitters than Stammen does. I'd rather take a shot with a guy that's 2 years removed from TJ surgery (it's usually the second year back when a pitcher regains his form - and in some cases can add a couple MPH on his fastball) than to keep trotting Cabrera out there. Stammen may be good, but he is not ready. He pitches to contact and with this defense, I'd shudder to think what that might do to a younger kid's (Stammen) psyche. Or would you rather watch Cabrera implode every 5th day?

Posted by: erocks33 | May 19, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

How about Terry Engles? 50 strikeouts and only 7 walks in 38 innings this season? Sure, it's in a low-A league, but it sounds like he could outpitch some of the Nats' "major league" arms.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

We have come completely unhinged.

Posted by: Section506 | May 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"And hey, I get the fire Manny brigade. I've actually tried to understand it and visualize how firing him could help the team. But I just don't get it. It's too easy an answer (Fire Him!) when there are no real alternatives that I think can make a difference. Maybe after the season, but right now all I can see is more harm than good.

Like another commenter said about St. Claire--Manny is just as in charge of Zimm's hitting streak, Martis's complete game and Nick's 3-run shot as he is that bullpen.

And if you carry the scenario all the way through, actually firing Manny, I just cringe at what the aftershock will be. Buck says player morale tanks even worse than it is now."

Perhaps the reason it's an easy answer is because it's so obviously the correct one?

I don't fault Manny for a terrible bullpen, nor do I credit him for Zim and Johnson's 3-run shot (that goes to Dunn and Rick Eckstein). But in-game management is on him 100%, and his is terrible. He's clearly demonstrated that he can't make the right decisions when the game's on the line.

So what if team morale tanks from firing him? The team can't finish any worse than last. Better to get rid of a bad manager before he has a chance to mismanage a talented team that might have a chance at winning.

Posted by: Juni | May 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke,

I don't disagree with you at all on your defensive assessment, and we all kinda knew some of this was coming with the additions made/not made in the off-season. Of course coaching doesn't improve range or ability. It's the mental lapses that make them look like a bad high-school team at times that you have to control. Hernandez's Ole move on his first base non-cover play this weekend as a case in point.

I'm frustrated at the long leashes these guys seem to be getting. I don't see any moves being made to tighten up the defense in areas where they can be made. Manny has some input there. It's a Manny/Rizzo team thing but I think this is an area where Manny as a "player's manager" gets in the way.

I think Kearns has gotten plenty of opportunity to show what he's going to add by being healthy this season and I don't know why they continue to stick with him. I'm an advocate of using Willingham off the bench with Dukes/Dunn in the corners and promoting Maxwell to be the everyday CF. It's time to turn the page on some of this deadwood.

They boxed themselves into their own hole at 2B when they didn't pull the trigger on Orlando Hudson in the offseason. I think perhaps the offense has enough juice that they can afford to ride Hernandez on the bench and promote from AA/AAA an infielder with stronger defense and take anything he gives you at the plate as a bonus.

Long story short, I think there are moves they can make to tighten up the defense some without costing the offense too much.

It's easy and proper to pick on the bullpen but I think it's a much tougher fix than the defense.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I think that pretty much sums it up. One other question though, who is the bullpen and players responsible too?

We have a manager who keeps saying every night that he "cant believe what he is seeing" and that "he has never seen anything like this before."

Do you think when he gets to the ballpark each day he thinks about the possibilty of the bullpen blowing another lead and says "nah, cant happen again tonight, Ive never seen anything like 6 straight blow saves"
_______________________________________

The Lerners' job is to be the owners.

Kasten's job is to help the team be profitable by boosting revenue (selling tickets/ST plans) and limiting operating costs (holding down salaries/overhead). He reports and is responsible to the owners.

Rizzo's job is to put the best possible team on the field - at the major and minor-league levels. He reports and is responsible to Kasten.

Acta's job is to win with the team he is given. He reports to and is responsible to Rizzo.

Of course, this isn't a purely linear relationship - each of them need one another to perform for the organization to be successful.

What isn't clear - and is most important to clarify *soon* I'd say - is whether 1) Kasten's cost-limiting function (or the Lerners' willingness to spend) has had a negative impact on the organization's on-field performance or 2) Rizzo and Acta are eye-to-eye on who should be on the 25- and 40-man rosters.

I'm willing to be wrong - and often am - but that's my impression right now.

Thoughts?

Posted by: BigTrain | May 19, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We have come completely unhinged.
Posted by: Section506 | May 19,

BWAHAHAHAHAH. Post of the Day.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I think Kearns has gotten plenty of opportunity to show what he's going to add by being healthy this season and I don't know why they continue to stick with him. I'm an advocate of using Willingham off the bench with Dukes/Dunn in the corners and promoting Maxwell to be the everyday CF. It's time to turn the page on some of this deadwood.
-----------------------------------------------
Yes yes yes and a thousand times yes. Dunn-Maxwell-Dukes is a solid defense with serious offensive upside (even if Maxwell is just middling on offense).

We will only get a prospect for Kearns if we eat his salary but that seems like something the Lerners will never do, even though it would generate more good will in the fan base than anything else right now.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"As for the ridiculous abomination of a defense, I don't understand why these guys aren't taking infield EVERY DAMN DAY. Dibble and Knight been harping on it, and I couldn't agree more."

I agree too. You can't coach range, sure. And if Dunn's just not going to get there, that's one thing. But you can damn sure practice it so that he catches the balls he gets to, hits the cutoff, etc. The bumblingness is getting OLD.

Posted by: Section406 | May 19, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Bill Veeck was way ahead of you on that one.

---

I'll take the job.

Maybe, this could be a new promotion? Instead of giving out t-shirts, the Nats could randomly choose the manager for the day? I bet they'd pack the stands....

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Grandstand Managers' Day. As someone once said, you could look it up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Ask Dibble what TJ surgery did for him. Also that is when they ever were in the Majors at all. He has never been there.

Posted by: natsguy | May 19, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I bow to Bill Veeck's awesomeness in marketing.

Death to Disco!!

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is a classic American League DH. At his cheap price there would easily be a ton of AL teams that would want his services later this season--guaranteed. Again, someone in the front office needs to get creative.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"At the risk of stating the obvious, the problem with this team is that the pitching staff is too thin across the board. It would be one thing if we just had a weak bullpen. It is another thing to have a weak bullpen, no closer and a bunch of young starters that can't pitch more than 6 innings. It's a fundamental flaw in roster construction that creates the perfect storm on a nightly basis."

Absolutely spot on. Add the bad defense that makes pitchers work harder than they needed to and it is a recipe for the disaster that is currently the Nats.

Posted by: skippy1999 | May 19, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Once again, if we do find a sucker (oops, another team) willing to take some of our "players" in a trade, we will not get anything of worth in return. For all those clamoring for the Nats to trade Kearns/Willingham/Nick/Nieves/Belly for bullpen arms, you know what kind of bullpen arms we'd get in return? The other teams' versions of Kensing/Mock/Colome/Tavarez/Wells. There will be no magic elixir if they trade any of the players you are asking to be traded. All we'd get are other teams castoffs and/or 26 year old guys still playing in A ball.

Posted by: erocks33 | May 19, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Veeck had another idea that might help the Nats:

Since our relievers can't throw strikes, maybe we could even things up by sending up some hitters with really small strike zones.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and if they trade Dunn, Zim might as well not suit up for the rest of the season because no pitcher will ever give him anything to hit.

Posted by: erocks33 | May 19, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is a classic American League DH. At his cheap price there would easily be a ton of AL teams that would want his services later this season--guaranteed. Again, someone in the front office needs to get creative.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 12:53 PM |

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

If that's so, how come he wound up with the Nats? If there were an AL team that wanted Dunn at his price, don't you think that would have happened in the off-season?

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Manny made the right move on Detwiler last night. The Nats hit seven absolute rockets in that inning and one mile-high pop-up on a pitch Dunn barely missed. That was their chance at Ohlendorf, and he was right to take it. Plus, Detwiler was about to start the third time through the order and would've been susceptible to a blowup then. Cintron gave the ball a ride, then the Pirates went to their pen -- which is strong -- and we didn't score again till the game was out of reach.
It is regrettable what happened next, but we need better relievers. If we could get them, we could win this year. Yes, I said it.
I would trade the Strasburg pick for one effective closer and one 3 or 4 starter, right now. If we did, we could win this year and worry about later later.

Posted by: Coach2 | May 19, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I still have not made up my mind about Manny since nobody really knows what he could do with a talented team. I do have two thoughts about his managerial process:

1) It is mechanical and boring. Just because historical stats say that you shouldn't bunt or steal bases doesn't guarantee you a winning team, but it does give the fans a very boring product to watch. Winning a championship doesn't seem to matter how good you are at applying sabremetrics, it depends on how healthy your players stay and how many you can get to have a career year all at once. Give me something entertaining to watch and hope that health and talent can match up for a championship season.

2) He not only over-uses the bullpen, but he seems to put them into a challenging position game after game. I think a lot of managers expect their pitchers to be able to pitch out of their own jams. Manny lets one pitcher come in and give up a single and a walk, then brings in another pitcher into a difficult situation. I don't know if Colome can pitch out of a 2-on-no-out situation, but give him a shot to clean up his own mess. Bringing in Mock or Biemel (or any other reliever) in a situation like that only creates more pressure on the guy coming in and can further damage an already fragile mentality. I'm not sure that the results will be any better, but they certainly cannot be any worse. Plus, you hopefully take some of the stress off the other guys in the bullpen that you still need.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | May 19, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"I would trade the Strasburg pick for one effective closer and one 3 or 4 starter, right now. "

Thank you for invalidating the rest of your ridiculous post about the Detwiler gaffe with this comment.

Posted by: RickFelt | May 19, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Concerning Dunn, as a free agent he could decide what league he wanted. I don't think he wanted to be a DH at the time. However now he has no say if he is traded. And with his cheap price tag and with teams seeing how he is teeing off on the ball, he would be a hot commodity for an AL DH needing contender. I cant see any NL team wanting to touch him because of his fielding liabilities. But then again theres a sucker born every minute. Look who currently signed him knowing that.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Coach, coach, coach. You sounded so smart until this:

"I would trade the Strasburg pick for one effective closer and one 3 or 4 starter, right now"
Posted by: Coach2 | May 19, 2009 1:01 PM |

**************

there's no trading draft picks in baseball.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 19, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Dunn is a classic American League DH. At his cheap price there would easily be a ton of AL teams that would want his services later this season--guaranteed. Again, someone in the front office needs to get creative."

If that's true, then why aren't those AL teams who might want/need a DH trading for Matt Stairs of the Phillies? The asking price for Stairs would have to be way less than what the Nats would need to get in exchange for Dunn.

Posted by: section417planD | May 19, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"there's no trading draft picks in baseball."

Also there's no crying when you're told for the umpteenth time that you can't trade draft picks in baseball.

Posted by: section417planD | May 19, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments today are awfully entertaining I must say. Thanks for lightening up the despair I feel about this team. One strong note of caution though -- there are no saviors in Syracuse -- not Martin, not Stamman, not Bergmann (he was up already remember?), not whatever washed up old reliever Rizzo is giving a chance to this week. That doesn't mean Rizzo shouldn't make as many moves as he can to try to turn things around, it just means we shouldn't expect things to end up much differently. I dont' think we have much choice but to keep shuffling the reliever corp and hope that someone discovers the ability to throw strikes and get outs. But let's not pretend there is some magic move out there that the front office is blind to.

Oh, and forget about Hanrahan. Even when we're three runs down, he can't keep from bouncing pitches in front of the plate.

Posted by: Section222 | May 19, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"there's no trading draft picks in baseball."

Unofficial motto of the 2009 Nationals Journal

Posted by: Section506 | May 19, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

After Manny's comment last night that "we gotta change it up'' in the bullpen, I'm surprised the moves haven't been made already. The immediate changes should be obvious: Mock and Colome go down (or with the latter, get DFA'd); Bergmann and Clippard come up. I don't expect miracles, but it's a start.

Posted by: nats24 | May 19, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You all want to trade Dunn? Are you out of your minds? The way to fix the pitching is NOT by ruining the offense. He makes everyone in the lineup better -- do you want the 2006 or 2009 "I've got protection" Zimmerman or the 2008 model? Who's going to play first if Dunn is traded and Johnson gets hurt? Belliard?

Posted by: raymitten | May 19, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"I would trade the Strasburg pick for one effective closer and one 3 or 4 starter, right now"
Posted by: Coach2 | May 19, 2009 1:01 PM |

**************

there's no trading draft picks in baseball.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 19, 2009 1:12 PM |

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

I hate to defend an otherwise ridiculous comment, but please note the use of the word "would".

That is a conditional expression. In this case, "would", if the condition was met of being able to do so.

It was a silly comment because of Strasburg's enormous, franchise-saving potential -- Not because Coach was saying the team "should" do that, since Coach did not say that. Coach was expressing frustration with the current state of affairs and saying if possible it would be worth a trade to fix things now. You're assuming too much in assuming he did not know we can't trade the pick.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm for trading anybody over the age of 25 not named Zimmerman(n) for decent prospects. That means starting pitching or position players, not relievers.

Posted by: Section506 | May 19, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Manny doesn't have the horses."

I agree with this. But no one is berating Manny InActa because we aren't lading the division and opening up a lead for the Wild Card.

I'm beating on Manny because this team doesn't look like an 11-26 team. 10 losses when we score 6 or more. I just want a team that gives me hope every night. I'd be happy if there was a .500 team on the field - then I could believe that we were making progress towards "the plan."

Fire Manny now. Why? Because I am sick of watching this lackluster team underperform. If the next guy doesn't make a difference, at least it will look like the Lerners are trying.

Posted by: comish4lif | May 19, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It's possible he was saying they should make such a trade -- which is prohibited, It's just not entirely clear he was saying that.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Trade for a reliever or two. Draft Crowe and Strasberg. Be happy.

Posted by: periculum | May 19, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

--You all want to trade Dunn? Are you out of your minds?

No in a perfect world I'd like to keep him especially if we were an American League team. However its not a perfect world, our team stinks and theres not a heck of a lot of chips we have to bargain with. So you've got to make do. We need pitching and bigtime. It's as simple as that. Pitching Pitching Pitching.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I agree, this is surely not an 11-26 team. That can be attributed directly to the manager and acting GM, and some part to Kasten. That's why they are paid the big bucks. The "buck" has to stop somewhere.

Posted by: periculum | May 19, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

BTW talk to the Texas Rangers about how good it works to have a ton of boppers on your team, score 10 a night, have no pitching and still lose every night. Theyve been the experts for the past 10 years (not including this year).

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

You don't trade Dunn. You trade Nick the stick before you trade Dunn. And I don't think its a good idea to trade Nick Johnson. You deal outfielders and young starting pitchers with potential. Because that is what you have.

Posted by: periculum | May 19, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course -- what's really wrong with Manny Acta is his appreciation for Toby Keith:

http://misterirrelevant.com/index.php/2007/09/27/manny-acta-loves-him-some-toby-keith/

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Well with the "worst team in the history of AA baseball" at Harrisburg (read Rosenthal's column at FoxSports), and not a whole lot of major-league ready talent anywhere else - just a rehash of the Maxwell back and forth - dude ain't hitting, the Nats have to take the long-view with getting the farm system stocked. The draft is a start, but I firmly believe the only reason you give Dunn a 2 year deal is to trade him in a package at the deadline. Dunn, NJ, Kearns, et al are not part of a competitive future for the Nats, the FO needs to work the deadline deals and get some young talent in here. Don't let the offense fool you - there's no way they will sustain this pace and the pitching will remain dreadful. Keep to the plan.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 19, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell looks ready. I would trade both Kearns and Willingham. Improved defense in the outfield seems almost requisite to improved pitching. If Bernadina hadn't gotten hurt he would be ready. There is Millege on the DL as well. Pitching, pick 'em. They have a whole bunch of what appear to be young starters trying to be relievers.

Posted by: periculum | May 19, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

>> You deal outfielders and young starting pitchers with potential. Posted by: periculum

Of course why didn't I think of that. We need pitching so let's trade our starting pitchers, who are the foundation of our future. Brilliant Professa!

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I would trade Strasburg for the entire 1923 New York Yankees and an ice cream cone.

Weeeeee this is fun!

Posted by: Section506 | May 19, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

hmmm... no nibbles on the news that Ryan Wagner retired?

I wonder what could be the reason, because he was surely going to get another shot at the bigs soon with the way things are going.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 19, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell looks ready.

Posted by: periculum | May 19, 2009 1:45 PM |

Is it his .247 avg. at Syracuse that has you convinced?

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I remember when Bowden traded one of our starting pitchers a couple years ago for a utility infielder. Again I repeat a starting pitcher, think his name was Kim and old Frankie R thought he disrespected him, for a utility infielder who proceeded to break his wrist and never play again. Bwahahahahahah.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Weeks is done for the season. Anyone decent in the Brewers bullpen we can trade Belliard for??

Posted by: 1of9000 | May 19, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Jim Riggleman graduated from Richard Mongtomery High School. Go Rockets

Posted by: nativedc | May 19, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone decent in the Brewers bullpen we can trade Belliard for??"

If anyone has a decent, reliable reliever, no way they are trading them, unless they are getting a STAR in return.

Posted by: skippy1999 | May 19, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the bullpen is weak, but all the ridicule must be making it worse. Those poor bastards must be totally freaked out, and that can't be helping matters. I wonder how the rest of the team is treating them. I think dclifer97 may have something:
Manny just needs to do something (stupid or otherwise) that will take the focus off of the bullpen and the team. All the good managers do it.

Posted by: dclifer97 | May 19, 2009 11:19 AM

Posted by: Section109 | May 19, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Seems like I recently saw something about a (MiLB?) team that was doing some sort of Eddie Gaedel throwback. Can't remember where it was.

---

Veeck had another idea that might help the Nats:

Since our relievers can't throw strikes, maybe we could even things up by sending up some hitters with really small strike zones.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe that WAS the reason.

************
hmmm... no nibbles on the news that Ryan Wagner retired?
I wonder what could be the reason, because he was surely going to get another shot at the bigs soon with the way things are going.
Posted by: dclifer97 | May 19, 2009 1:48 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 19, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Belliard is "CLUTCH"! Haven't you seen the MASN commercials?! (only about a thousand times!)

Posted by: 1of9000 | May 19, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Doveline, you're thinking of Tomo Ohka, who did in fact dis Frank on the mound. I'd have benched him myself. And the Junior Spivey trade only looks bad in hindsight. That could have worked, it just didn't happen to. Worth a shot for a starter who is also out of baseball now, IIRC.

***********
I remember when Bowden traded one of our starting pitchers a couple years ago for a utility infielder. Again I repeat a starting pitcher, think his name was Kim and old Frankie R thought he disrespected him, for a utility infielder who proceeded to break his wrist and never play again. Bwahahahahahah.
Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 1:51 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 19, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes you have to take baby steps. In theat vein, here are some short term goals:

- when fielding, block the ball with your body (don't dodge)
- don't get picked off
- watch the ball into your glove
- no bouncing pitches
- open glove before ball arives
- find someone to backup on every play
- lose by a lower score

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 19, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

When you use Beimel and Villone in lefty lefty matchups they will do great. The Nats have to get back to using the relievers in situational play instead of thinking their inning is due.

I would also move up Hanrahan into Mock's role and bring up Clippard and give him a turn in the closer's role.

What did Manny see in Hanrahan yesterday that would lead him to think Joel is ready for the closer's role again????

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 19, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of ice cream, as 506 was, it occurred to me after Sunday's game that Stan Kasten should buy a batting helmet sundae for each Nats fan who is in attendance at a bullpen blowout. Do you think I should email the Nats PR department with my suggestion? Nah. Ten cent beer, maybe? Nah.

Also, in case you've not visited the Bog for a while, there's been a stint of Nats posts of late.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

as RicketyCricket, among others, points out, these kids are pitching scared. "Baseball is a game of fear and ignorance," and you can't play it in fear.

I'm afraid the whole steerpen staff is a loss, which means the best thing left is to replace them all, at the same time, to lose the Loser-tude, and that won't happen for logistical reasons if nothing else.

But you can't tell me that out of 7 BILLION human beings, they can't find half a dozen who can throw strikes and aren't already in MLB.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone decent in the Brewers bullpen we can trade Belliard for??"

If anyone has a decent, reliable reliever, no way they are trading them, unless they are getting a STAR in return.

Posted by: skippy1999 | May 19, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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

How dare you suggest Belliard is not a star!!!

Posted by: soundbloke | May 19, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

1a, back at the old Candlestick Park, opposing teams used to bring a ball over the Giants dugout and ask them to have the fans autograph it. It was rumored the Giants discussed putting the season ticket holders' photos in the media guide.

**************
Speaking of ice cream, as 506 was, it occurred to me after Sunday's game that Stan Kasten should buy a batting helmet sundae for each Nats fan who is in attendance at a bullpen blowout. Do you think I should email the Nats PR department with my suggestion? Nah. Ten cent beer, maybe? Nah.
Also, in case you've not visited the Bog for a while, there's been a stint of Nats posts of late.
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 2:11 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh my kingdom for a reliever who can actually throw a strike over the plate without bouncing it. (Way to earn your money St.Clair.)

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Me thinks its time to take a little break from watching this team.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

To take a brief break from the bullpen discussion and touch on Acta's conservative managing: why wouldn't you send the runners (on 1st and 2nd) on full count with the league leader in GIDP's batting (1st inning last night)? Zimm did hit into the DP, killing the early rally.

Posted by: slewis1 | May 19, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

This is a bit off topic (still Natinals related), but what happened to the fan blog that WaPo ran last season? It was quite entertaining...

Posted by: skipper7 | May 19, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Sec. 3, maybe Nats management is taking a page out of their book in that they have started a program to honor chosen season ticket holders at games. They honored a couple of them during the 7th inning stretch at Sunday's game. (I believe that the fans were on the field at the time but I was, uh, not in my seat.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 19, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I'll bite. Ronnie Belliard is a STAR.

Here's what bothers me about the 'clutch' commercial (among other things). I could swear that play happened in the 10th (not the 12th) and that when Belly homered the baserunner was on 1st base, not 'in scoring position'. Right?

Bonus: who is that putting shaving cream all over Nieves after his walkoff? I couldn't tell and it burns me up inside

Posted by: nattaboy | May 19, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"why wouldn't you send the runners (on 1st and 2nd) on full count with the league leader in GIDP's batting"

If this is the one I'm remembering, my answer would be because Nick was the runner at first, he's blindingly slow, and has the worst slide in baseball, so you really wouldn't want him getting to second just in time to futilely try to break up the DP (and more likely tumble-slide himself into a season ending injury)

Posted by: joebleux | May 19, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I can not watch another Garrett Mock outing. What about putting Daniel Cabrera in there as well. Compared to our current relievers, he has control like Greg Maddox.

Posted by: Tom8 | May 19, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Umm, am I not mistaken, but didn't we fire last year's bullpen coach? Should we give him a call and see what he's up to. He certainly can't do any worse than Randy Knorr.

Posted by: twinbrook | May 19, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

My wife worked the fan blog last year. It was only intended to be a one season gig, commenting on the new stadium. But your right, it could have continued. I know she enjoyed it, but felt discouraged sometimes because the Post didn't always post her submissions.

Posted by: psubman | May 19, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh and did anyone see this, Ryan Church must think he's still a Nat. Church missed touching third base on what would have been the go-ahead run in the 11th inning against the Dodgers last night. Instead the third baseman called for the ball, touched the bag and Church was called out and the Mets lost in the bottom of the inning. perfect.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I love the "Cabrera to the Bullpen" people.

Right, with a runner on 3rd and 2 outs and the game on the line - Danny Cabrera is the guy I want out there!

Posted by: comish4lif | May 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Daniel Cabrera in the bullpen... funny... it might not be a bad idea. Best case scenario you get Armando Benitez Redux. Worst case he's blowing leads rather than digging holes for a little while.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Everybody should hope for a low-pitch-count outing from Martis and another complete game. That's the sure way to solve the bullpen problem for one night. It's mind-boggling that the Nats have the pitcher with the best record in the league -- on an 11-26 team.

BTW, when is Stats going to recognize Guzman as the league's leading hitter? He has more than 3.1 plate appearances per game now. MLB.com has Guzzy on top.

Posted by: nats24 | May 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"and more likely tumble-slide himself into a season ending injury"

True, but isn't this a given at some point?

Posted by: slewis1 | May 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't use him out of the pen unless he's starting an inning. You're right... no chance you want to bring him into a situation like you described.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love the "Cabrera to the Bullpen" people.

Right, with a runner on 3rd and 2 outs and the game on the line - Danny Cabrera is the guy I want out there!

Posted by: comish4lif | May 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 19, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

it's a shame none of you "experts" in here have ever been hired to run a major league baseball team. i'm sure we'd all be better off.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | May 19, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Anyone care to give the over/under on "announced" attendance tonight? I'm going with under 14K - less than last night.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 19, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

What's your point? Manny's a great manager and none of us are as smart as you for recognizing his greatness?

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

it's a shame none of you "experts" in here have ever been hired to run a major league baseball team. i'm sure we'd all be better off.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10

Posted by: comish4lif | May 19, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

it's a shame none of you "experts" in here have ever been hired to run a major league baseball team. i'm sure we'd all be better off. Posted by: bottomfeeders10

Sad thing is, we couldn't do any worse.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I love how RosenRosen argues that Harrisburg is the worst team in the history of AA baseball on the grounds that "only" 3 players on the Sens are on the Nats' 40-man roster. No team in the Eastern League has more than 4, and most have 2-3. Where have all the reporters gone? All we get now are bloggers posting opinions and conventional wisdom.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 19, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Seriously you could close your eyes and throw darts at a dartboard and come out with better results.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@nataboy -- You're right, Dmitri was on first when Belliard hit that walk off last year, but it was, in fact, in the bottom of the 12th.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS200806290.shtml

It was one of my favorite moments last year too, although the ad is kind of ruining it.

Posted by: Section222 | May 19, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Those ads are annoying. The one with Dukes, what team was that against.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 19, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we all need to think outside the box for a solution to turn our beloved Nats around.

Our starting pitching is, for the most part, adequate (save Cabrera and Olsen). They tend to go 5-6 innings with relatively little damage. Our offense is pretty good this year, what with 5+ runs per game average, so scoring isn't the problem.

I say, let's start the game with the bullpen. Let Mock, Hanrahan, and the rest of those gimps start the game, go 1 or 2 innings and done. (Don't waste PHs on them, though. Let/make them hit if they come up.) Then, in the 4th inning, we let the "starters" come in and mop up the game. If, as we might well expect, we're behind by 4 or 5 runs, our offense will certainly take care of any deficit, and we just might win a few.

Ain't it worth a try????

Posted by: luv2bikva | May 19, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

So, what is the all time season record for combining most losses with highest number of runs scored, and could we be poised to shatter it? (Might as well throw in most errors too while we're at it...)

The chatter about whether it's the right or wrong move to fire Manny, or how much of the present condition is his 'fault', or whether it would make any difference in the the W-L column, is fast becoming academic, sorry to say. I like Manny very much, and hate to see his viability/effectiveness being eroded daily by this chronic ineptitude, but the bottom line is the team is playing him out of his job. The season started in scandal and then proceeded downhill. Bowden's gone. Rijo's gone. All of Manny's coaches from last year save one were fired from under him. Position players and pitchers who it was hoped would be mainstays at this juncture haven't panned out. Ineffectual band-aids that aren't part of the future have been applied in desperation. There isn't yet a replacement GM officially named. The "plan" is stalled, the future pushed back. Kasten and Rizzo, not to mention the Lerners, are keeping their heads low. We have a franchise that still bears the scars of being long crippled by neglect and uncertainty, with inexperienced owners looking at attendance that has fallen off the table in a new stadium, in an area that's essentially new to hometown baseball, where hopes were high but depth of commitment not yet developed. The 'laughingstock' tag is upon us. In short, this is a reeling organization at the moment. Manny was always an inexpensive hope used to fill a slot on a young team that wasn't expected to win right away, and potentially take it on the chin if things didn't work out. It is inevitable the manager will eventually be fired in the current climate, regardless of whether he 'deserves' it or not.

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | May 19, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@BobLHead. Actually, Rosenthal was quoting a scout with the "worst AA team in history" thing. The rest was informational context about the team's failings. However, you're correct to note the death of actual reporting in favor of know-nothing opinion blog posters.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

You're right on erocks33 about Martin!! This Natsguy has a personal problem and he just needs to fine some work and get out of the baseball game. (like get a job) If anybody, with good intenions would look at Martins minor league career stat's he wouldn't Pop-off like this guy does. yes, 2 yr.'s out from TJ and the kid is throwing strikes. (Like currently 13/1 BB/ks.) Call-em up...

Posted by: dawgball | May 19, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

OK, boys and girls. Time for a new theory on the latest suckitude.

Catcher's ERA.

Here are the numbers (courtesy of the geniuses at Baseball-Reference):

Player Age Inn. ERA R/9
Jesus Flores 24 980 5.12 5.73
Wil Nieves 31 447 6.93 7.95
Josh Bard 31 200 7.65 8.55
League Average 4.45 4.79

Indulge the small sample size, but if you combine Nieves and Bard, the numbers tell a clear story.

Flores make the most out of the chicken s%$t he's been given. 5.12 is awful, but lg. avg is only 2/3 of a run higher.

The combined average for Nieves and Bard (since Nieves has roughly twice as many innings, I did ((6.93x2)+ 7.65)/3) is 7.17. (Yes, I know I could get a more precise number by looking at the earned runs versus innings actually played by these two, but that is too much work).

Therefore, the craptastic 5.12 ERA of Flores goes up by over 2 runs per game to a hideous 7.17 when Nieves and Bard are run out there. The anecdotal evidence is there as well if you have been listening to Dibble question pitch selection for the past week. All 3 have had the same horrendous material to work with, for the most part, so the revolving door in the RF bullpen does not explain this.

Thus, the latest 1-7 reverse tear with Nieves and Bard can be directly linked to Flores' injury back in Arizona. Hurry back Jesus!

(Yes, Chico and Dave. Feel free to run the real numbers, inquire of Manny his thoughts on the subject, and muscle up a post on this. No citation necessary.)

Posted by: WebberDC | May 19, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed we s**k worse than usual when Bard is in there. Can we move Bard and Cintron out on the Acela tonight?

Posted by: 1of9000 | May 19, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@WebberDC -- very interesting post. I'd just want a wee bit more info -- whether those #s are influenced by the pitcher? Perhaps Flores has been catching Lannan and Martis, while the others catching Olsen, Cabrera, etc.? Still, it's very enlightening. We need Flores back, because the Nats do seem to be a better team with him in there.

Posted by: fischy | May 19, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

new post. Thanks 222! Time flies when you're having fun I guess. My favorite moment by far - I almost caught the ball. Keeps me wondering what if. You think Ronnie would've given me a bat and/or a handshake for it?

Posted by: nattaboy | May 19, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Chico posted this news yesterday, so I assume most of the nibbling was going on during that thread.

-----

hmmm... no nibbles on the news that Ryan Wagner retired?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 19, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Bill Veeck's son, Mike, is the principal owner of the St. Paul Saints, an independent league team. There is a family resemblance, that's for sure.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 19, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Dawgball,

You are a little rude. I at least know it's find not fine. I at least know the difference between a PROSPECT and a 4A player. Did you ever play baseball or did you just look at baseball cards?

Posted by: natsguy | May 19, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that the Nats ERA is ONLY 6.68. I about fell off my chair when they flashed Colome's 20.25 ERA on the screen when he came out after Mock. I mean really,20.25?? Why isn't he pitching Little League somewhere?

Posted by: EKruse | May 19, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Just my perspective...

I hate seeing the Nats blow games, but mostly because I know it sucks for the players. Much more than it sucks for me as a fan (which is a lot). And it looks so much like a mental thing at this point, it's just hard to watch, and harder to get excited about the next game, especially with that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach.

But maybe these guys just aren't really that good. I don't mean that in a negative way (if that makes sense), just following up on something that Boz has written before about Cabrera -- that he always roots for him because he knows Cabrera has maxed out his talent potential, that he's trying to play above his abilities. So are most of the Nationals, I think -- even guys like Guzman and Dunn, who are excellent in some respects but still much more likely to commit defensive errors than other major league players. Some of that (in Dunn's case) can be attributed to the role they're playing on this team. Some of it is that it's a losing team, and everyone's playing tighter because they don't want to be responsible for screwing up *this* game -- and then they go and screw it up.

Anyway, I'm not getting worked up over this debacle because I know that every single person in the organization is actually trying to win. All of them. That's also what's heartbreaking, because the fact is that most players end up being average, and most managers too. Otherwise there wouldn't be averages. And I know the point is that the Nats aren't even average right now, and it's frustrating for everyone... but hell, it's baseball. I'm just watching to get a glimpse of something unexpected now and then. Someday they'll be good. And it'll mean more to have followed them since back when they were bad...

Posted by: thoward1223 | May 19, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Come on Nats. Help Washington restore its pride. Beat down those Pirates!

Posted by: Terptwin | May 19, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Natsguy;
Bad day!! I was a little rude and for that I apologize..I've been following the kid since HS and I am a big fan. He's had some bad brakes but keeps fighting them off and I believe, baring injuries he's ready, which his career stats support. He just needs that brake as all of them do!! FYI, I never collected them but sure signed lots..Anyway; ya otta give him a chance..

Posted by: dawgball | May 19, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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