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Change Coming?

After the Washington Nationals' 11-3 debacle tonight against the Boston Red Sox, Manager Manny Acta did not seem pleased. Not that you would expect him to seem pleased after any loss, but Acta appeared particularly annoyed with the bullpen.

After the game, Acta suggested the Nationals might need to shake up the bullpen in order to solve the issues that have bogged it down this season. Specifically, he said, Washington is in search of a reliable option among relievers Joel Hanrahan, Kip Wells and Jesus Colome.

"Somebody has to step up out of those three guys," Acta said. "Because I can't pitch the same four guys."

Those four guys: Ron Villone, Julian Tavarez, Joe Beimel, Mike MacDougal.

In recent weeks, the Nationals bullpen had taken form. In fact, it looked downright impressive on certain nights. Before tonight, the relievers had posted a 3.50 ERA in 19 games since May 29. But the Red Sox issued a reminder that Washington's bullpen led the major leagues with 23 losses entering the night.

The Nationals disintegrated in the eighth, needing three pitchers to escape the inning. But the damage had been inflicted on the scoreboard by the time they emerged. The Red Sox battered Washington's relievers for six runs in the eighth, rendering a 4-3 game a foregone conclusion before the home team had a chance to bat later that inning.

And now, everyone will have to wait any see if there is any fallout from that performance or for any similar performances in the near future.

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 12:26 AM ET
 
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Next: Time For Bullpen Makeover Pt. IV (Or Is It Pt. V?)

Comments

"After the game, Acta suggested the Nationals might need to shake up the bullpen in order to solve the issues that have bogged it down this season."

Hey Manny, you've already tried that. Remember? How'd that work out for you? Obviously not very well if you're back where you started. In all honesty, though, the bullpen has been pretty decent lately, with the exception of Hanrahan. Tonight was the worst night for the 'pen in a while. I'd love to lose at least Hanrahan and Colome, but who takes their places? Clippard and...? I really think the next major change needs to be the manager. Nothing else has seemed to work so far.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 24, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Hanrahan needs to go. Not to be too redundantly cliche but, 3 strikes, you're out. The problem is there's no one to really fill the void. I guess we have Storen... Maybe sign Pedro and move Detweiler or Stammen in to save innings?

This bullpen is the stink of the corpse of JimBo.

Posted by: grandstander | June 24, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see Wells and Colome gone and bring in Clippard and Rivera.

Posted by: ilovethenats | June 24, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Please, Mr. Kasten. Think real hard about picking up Luis Ayala now that he's available. He is thousand times better than Hanrahan. JH really needs to go at this point.
I am no expert but I'd release Hanrahan and Colome. Then sign Ayala and bring back Mock/Clippard.

Posted by: gonats1 | June 24, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, the original gas can, Ayala, that would fix everything...really, I mean, really!! I know you didn't mean that, it was a joke wasn't it??

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 24, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Let's just see what Manny's statement about "change" translates into. In the past when such a pronouncement was made Bergmann was the designated goat. To me there are two candidates for the demotion/release: Hanrahan and Welles. Hanrahan has proved himself to be unsafe at any time. Welles had no control at all. What have we to lose with bringing in Clippard and Martin? The Hanrahan apologists say that he will be claimed if DFA'ed. Who would be that desperate to claim him?

And back to my favorite subject--Dunn's appalling defense. How many left fielders allow a runner to go from first to third on a hit to short left field? It has to be a real short list in the major leagues. Why did Dunn take the fly ball from Willie Harris when there was a runner on third?

I felt sorry for Lannan last night. He was high in the zone all night long. When he did induce ground balls to the shortstop/third base side they often found their way through. Only allowing three runs in the game was a tribute to him.

Posted by: driley | June 24, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's it, hope and change...

Here's change we can really believe in. Have President Obama and Ted Lerner switch jobs.

The Nats would then rain millions of dollars in Obama stimulus luckybucks on every star free agent in the galaxy and go off on a ten-year streak of winning the World Series.

Meanwhile, the federal budget would get slashed to the bone and we wouldn't be saddling our great-grandchildren with stupefying anmounts of federal debt.

It's a win-win. Email the White House today!

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 24, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Gee I wonder if you were so worried about great grandchildren when DubU was running the show ?

Posted by: CBinDC | June 24, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Please, Mr. Kasten. Think real hard about picking up Luis Ayala now that he's available. He is thousand times better than Hanrahan. JH really needs to go at this point.
----------------

For the love of God, no Luis Ayala!!! Haven't we suffered enough from him -- the Joel Hanrahan of 2008. How many games did he lose us last year? ANYONE BUT AYALA!!

On an unrelated note, I am a full season ticket holder and I'm getting more than a little annoyed at the Nats management's efforts to make the opponent's fans comfortable and happy. Thanking people in the middle of the game for the attendance when it was about 60/40 Red Sox fans (or more) was extremely irritating. It was like Susan O'Malley and Abe Pollin was running the Nats. Take care of your fan base, Stan.

Posted by: raymitten | June 24, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Some things are self evident, chief among these the inalienable right of the pursuit of happiness. That's not happening until Colome, Hanrahan, and Wells are replaced. Each has an ERA 6.68 or higher, each has pitched enough for those numbers not to be an anomolie. Those are ER-Averages. Hanrahan has been asked to pitch four games in a row - the first one worked out well, but the other three not so much. Colome has pitched in 13 games, he's given up runs in 6 of them (46%) not counting inherrited runners. Hanrahan has given up runs in 13 of 33 appearances (39%) not including inherrited. Wells 13 of 23 (56%) appearances. Madness.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 24, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

You know, a month ago we didn't have confidence in *any* of the bullpen ... I'll take this as a sign of progress.

For the record,if Luis Ayala is the answer then we really need to rethink the question.

[Side note to David617 if you're lurking - well played ... Round one to your boys.]

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 24, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

biscuits, what's it look like when you add in inherited runners?

Posted by: Section506 | June 24, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

CBinDC: "Gee I wonder if you were so worried about great grandchildren when DubU was running the show ?"

I was VERY worried. So imagine how worried I am now that we're going to double the amount that we owe over just the next four years. Next year's federal budget is projected to be 43% borrowed money. How long do you think YOU could spend $4,000 a month on income of less than $2,300, with no end in sight, before the Chinese - sorry, your bank - stopped lending money to you?

Ted Lerner for President!

Barack Obama for Nats owner!

Hey, Obama wouldn't be the first president to own a ball club. Just the first former president.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 24, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Lannan didn't have his best stuff last night, but was still effective. The weakest part of the worst team in baseball couldn't contain the offense of the second-best team in baseball. As losses go, this one doesn't bum me out too much. Yes, Tavarez, Wells, Hanrahan and Colome stunk the joint out, but Lannan showed why he's part of this rotation for the long-term, Zimmerman got a couple of hits to snap the oh-fer, Willie made a couple of nice catches, and they were basically in the game until the 8th. Nice night at the park, though there were too many pink and green hats.

As for Chico (hurler, not scribe), let me give you two career MLB stats lines:

1 - 4.8 ERA, 89 ERA+, 6.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9
2 - 4.98 ERA, 85 ERA+, 5.9 K/9, 3.8 BB/9

Both of them lefties who when they are going well tend to get the ball up around 90, who have at times struggled with being too hittable. Neither one likely to be an ace, both of them close to the same age. Line 2 is Chico. Line 1 is Scott Olsen (who has 600 MLB IP to Chico's 200 and is six months younger). So, I don't know exactly what that tells me, except that Chico's really going to have to show something to make this pitching staff as a starter, since people doubt Olsen's ability to be a #5 guy. Maybe he can shorten up and get to be an effective reliever, but maybe not - he strikes me as a #5/LR guy at best.

He was definitely our most "consistent" and durable pitcher in 2007 - but don't forget - that was not a case of him being good as much as it was that the others were terrible. The group of starting luminaries consisted of (in order of games started): Chico, Bergmann, Bacsik, Hill, Redding, Simontacchi, Hanrahan, Bowie, Patterson, and Jerome Williams. Let's not turn him into some sort of hidden ace prospect - he's a slop-balling lefty who might catch on to a rotation. I like the kid's attitude and I root for him, but he's no great shakes. If you were to list our most prominent potential starters, I'm not sure Chico would crack the top 10. In no particular order: Lannan, Detwiler, Stammen, Martis, JZimm, Olsen, Strasburg, Mock (looking much better as a starter than a reliever), Balester (oh, right, I remember Balester!), and then a five-way tie for #10 among Estrada, Clippard, Atilano, Bergmann and Chico. So anyway, I hope the kid proves me wrong, but he's definitely got an uphill climb in front of him. The Nats starting rotation now ain't your same old '07 mess.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 24, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

506, it probably all evens out since they're the ones most leaving guys on base for each other.

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

biscuits, what's it look like when you add in inherited runners?

Posted by: Section506 | June 24, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: NatsNut | June 24, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey gang...no base ball stuff from me today....altho I've only been posting tthis year, I've been here reading all of you since day one. And I believe one of the things that make it so remarkable (in addition to the intelligence and wit of the posters)is the lack of invective and the LACK OF POLITICAL COMMENTARY. Got plenty of other places for those catfights, don't we? I see too many things in life get highjacked by an either/or right/wrong mentality based on political stuff. WE have enough room to disagree about the stinkin' Nats here, huh? Please?From your independant, libertarian democratic republican leaning human Nats fan . Go Nats.....

Posted by: zendo | June 24, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

295, I don't recall anyone saying Chico (the pitcher) was the second coming or anything.

It was just remarkable that he came up from AA and hung with the big dogs. He never dominated, just hung in there, which spelled hope for his future since he was so young and still developing. He seemed to have that bulldog characteristic that everyone's saying can make an average thrower into a good pitcher.

His surgery pushed the pause button on that development, but it doesn't mean he's finished either.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 24, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

My comments will be restricted to the first seven innings. Highway295 summed it up well as to Lannan. The bats still have a ways to and while Zimm broke out of his slump he still has to quit making the air mail throws on routine plays. The "4" in the 4-3 score was on him.

My memories of Ayala are as fond as the rest of y'all and I think are shared by Management Thus, we won't be seeing him. All in all, I remain optimistic about this series in that I believe the rotation will be good throung six-seven and the bats will improve further.

Posted by: adhardwick | June 24, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

My comments will be restricted to the first seven innings. Highway295 summed it up well as to Lannan. The bats still have a ways to and while Zimm broke out of his slump he still has to quit making the air mail throws on routine plays. The "4" in the 4-3 score was on him.

My memories of Ayala are as fond as the rest of y'all and I think are shared by Management Thus, we won't be seeing him. All in all, I remain optimistic about this series in that I believe the rotation will be good throung six-seven and the bats will improve further.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 (Surrounded by NATS Fans last night, thank the Lord)

Posted by: adhardwick | June 24, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I was impresssed with Lannan's ability to wriggle out of trouble last night and how he completely owned JD Drew. The HR to Bay could be expected when Lannan was elevating and giving up flies, but a single solo doesn't usually lose a game.

In section 111 Upper, I'd guess it was 90+% Red Sox fans. One loud jerk who was more derisive towards the Nats than positive towards the Sox, but other than that, actually well behaved. I think that was due to the number of transplants from NE who live down here but have the Nats as a their NL (and 2d) team. There were a few folks with Sox caps and Nats jerseys, or vice versa.

A lot of respect for Willie Harris's glove. There were more than a few times when balls were hit his way when people had the "yes . . . yes . . . no!" reaction.

Finally, I had a new appreciation for Nats Park last night. It just has a different feel when it is packed. The fake limestone / concrete doesn't have an industrial feel to it, the standing areas in center and in the cut aways are packed like rail birds at a track, the concessions still were much quicker than last year even with the large crowd. With the weather near perfect for late June, you got a sense of what the park could be.

(aside to Surly W and the other poster wondering about the 2009 Red Sox diversity - see my 8 AM or so post on one of the prior two threads)

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 24, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 24, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

You say Ayala now, but he's really more of the same. I'd be for a shakeup, but bringing back old faces and hoping for a different result is not likely.

Posted by: TheMichael | June 24, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The Nats need to re-think the old "starter-reliever-saver" concept and stock the pitching staff with players who can start, and relieve, and save. There shouldn't be any valid reason why a young gun can't pitch one or two evenings one night in relief-mode or for a save (a dozen or two dozen pitches at most), then rest up and start several nights laters. Such an approach to pitching would give the Nats more flexibility in more situations.

Go Nats!

Posted by: bbahler | June 24, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

>"After the game, Acta suggested the Nationals might need to shake up the bullpen in order to solve the issues that have bogged it down this season."

Hey Manny, you've already tried that. Remember? How'd that work out for you? Obviously not very well if you're back where you started. In all honesty, though, the bullpen has been pretty decent lately, with the exception of Hanrahan. Tonight was the worst night for the 'pen in a while. I'd love to lose at least Hanrahan and Colome, but who takes their places? Clippard and...? I really think the next major change needs to be the manager. Nothing else has seemed to work so far.

Manny's a useless P.O.S.

Posted by: Brue | June 24, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Whew.

After the four game winning streak, I was afraid the Gnats might be jeopardizing their second consecutive overall #1 pick in the 2010 draft.

Glad to see so many Ded Sox fans on hand to cheer the Gnats back on track for another #1 pick.

Posted by: MartinZook | June 24, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Ayala might not be a bad pickup, Twins desingated him due to his ineffectiveness...to them that was 1-2 4.18 ERA. Compared to most in the Nats bullpen that is alomst CY Young candidate numbers!

Posted by: markfd | June 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Give Hanrahan a break. That guy has been told all sorts of things this year--you're the closer, you're not the closer, work with Randy, work with Scott, blah blah blah. Yeah, the pen has been beyond tragedy but you can't blame Hanrahan, who is still adjusting to the majors unlike Wells and Colome. His stuff is good. He just needs guidance.

Posted by: UrbanShocker | June 24, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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