Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Astros 9, Nats 4

Certain outfielders around the league could wear racing presidents costumes or drape potato sacks around their legs and still patrol the real estate about as well as Adam Dunn. Listen, I enjoy Dunn, and I think he's been a bargain for the Nats this year -- but he'd be an even better fit if the franchise could somehow gerrymander its was into the American League.

Tonight, in an oh-so-typical 9-4 loss at Minute Maid Park against the Astros, the Nats endured all their typical maladies. But prolonged exposure doesn't help with the tolerance. In Houston's key four-run sixth inning, which transformed a 4-2 Nats' lead into a 6-4 deficit, Dunn had his back turned to a go-ahead triple off the wall and later made a timid attempt on a shallow flair to center. With an average LF, that combo is probably a double and an out. (I have further description of the play-by-play missteps in the gamer, if you're at all interested.)

After this game, asked about Dunn's defense, Manny Acta was fairly, um, defensive.

"Yeah, it is what it is," Acta said. "I don't know why you keep bringing that up. We didn't bring Dunn over here to play defense. He is what he is, and we love the 40 home runs and the 100-something RBIs he's going to bring. Because we didn't have that here. I can't ask Dunn to play outfield like Nyjer Morgan plays it. That ball was off the wall and it just kept on rolling and the other one he just couldn't get to it."

Well, maybe the Nats can just move Dunn to shortstop, where currently Cristian Guzman is operating a bold campaign against his inclusion in the All-Star Game. (Somebody should tell him the Final Vote is over. He's not an all-star.)

Anyway. A few other notes.

* The Nats got four runs early against sloppy Houston starter Russ Ortiz, but he was lifted after just three innings (68 pitches). Washington had just three hits in the final six innings. "Our offense is not right now where it needs to be," Acta said. "We're not scoring enough runs. You knock the starting pitcher out in the third inning, you're supposed to keep adding on. But we didn't do it. We stopped adding on."

* Starter John Lannan had a rare off-night. In five-plus innings, he allowed 11 hits and five earned runs. The lefty later said his stuff was feeling good. Just one problem: He was keeping most of his pitches on the outer half of the plate. "I've faced some teams where they just don't make an adjustment and they kind of pull that outside pitch," Lannan said. "But it's a good-hitting team and they made the adjustments... I didn't mix it up as well as I should have."

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2009; 12:05 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: "The Winning Pitcher Is Hanrahan, Now 1-3"
Next: Reading Material

Comments

Trade him!!! Trade Dunn. Pleeeease!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 10, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

-Big Game was due for a bad game.

-Guzman needs to be benched.

-Somebody needs to break some stuff and scream and get on people's faces in that clubhouse.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 10, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Chico -- nice sarcasm. You've left us nothing to do, but post pale imitations of your masterful snark.

Posted by: fischy | July 10, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure glad Rizzo said he wouldn't trade Dunn.

Actually, I refuse to criticize Dunn. He's performing exactly as he has in the past. Lots of walks, lots of homers, and some defensive problems.

I'd rather see him in LF than at 1B, although I'm not sure it makes much difference. Personally, I am disappointed that the Nats won't at least listen to offers but if Rizzo thinks it's important to keep the heart of the order intact, I'm willing to trust his judgement.

I'm still hopeful he will make some moves though. If he can move Nick or Guz or Beimel and get a young bullpen arm or a postion player that's major league ready, I'd be the first to applaud.

Posted by: grforbes | July 10, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

25 and almost 60

Posted by: Brue | July 10, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

That first game victory gave the Nats 25 for the first half. Thankfully, that's a pace for 50 wins. Gawd, let's at least get there! Washington has been sullied enough. This city does not deserve any more ignominious distinctions.

Posted by: nats24 | July 10, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Chico legit sounds pissed at the defensive effort tonight. Either that, or he doesn't care and just finds it hilarious to rip on them.

Either way, he has a right.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | July 10, 2009 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Dunn has a lot of value in the AL and I would say he's the Nats biggest trade chip right now. What is the point of holding on to him?
Also, I know it's one game, but please stop these Lannan as ace talk that has been going around. An Ace gets your team through more than six innings and has a sub-3 ERA, dominating hitters on both sides of the plate. Lannan ain't there yet.

Posted by: bendersx6 | July 10, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

". . .please stop these Lannan as ace talk"

It ain't talk. I read it right here in the world's greatest newspaper!

By the way, Both Rob Dibble and Ray Knight were scorching in their in-game and post-game commentary on the Nats' performance last night. Interesting that neither one sees Ryan Zimmerman, "the face of the franchise," as any kind of team leader. The more he plays, the more Zimm seems to me to be an enigma.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 10, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Manny here - Dunn isn't hear for his defense, if you thought they were getting Torii Hunter you had misguided expectations.

Posted by: sect104 | July 10, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Did the Nats management think that bringing in and playing terrible defensive players would not have an effect on the whole team? I cringed when I first heard of Dunn's signing. I had watched him play the outfield in Cincinnatti and willed balls to be hit in his direction, knowing what the result would be. The carnage continues here.

Putting horrible defenders out to play will get your starting pitchers knocked out sooner, obliterate your bullpen and in general create a defensive vortex that sucks in other players with it. These are the choices the Nats made and these are the results you get. I am so tired of watching horrid misplays in the field and the rationale being that this is what we expected. Does that sound like a dysfunctional organization? Please Rizzo, trade your DHers out of here, this is a National League team.

Another play last night was a microcosm of this game--Willingham failed to advance to third on the wild throw to home on Bard's single. Bard, who all have observed barely covers ground when running made it to second and discovered the immovable Willingham standing there--apparently disinterested in taking the free base offered at third. The result was of course Bard was made to look foolish trying to limp back to first and ending a promising inning.

Posted by: driley | July 10, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

JohnRDC brings up a point that I agree with regarding Zimmerman not being a team leader. Dibble said last night that Willingham should be getting in player's faces when they loaf their way around the field or have stupid at bats. This team is not a team at all. There is no clubhouse leadership. Manny? No. Dunn? Never. Johnson? Nope. For all his faults Lo Duca immediately saw the problem last year and tried to fill the vacuum but his efforts rang hollow.

Posted by: driley | July 10, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with johnrdc concerning Zimm, "the more he plays, the more Zimm seems to me to be an enigma", It is like he is an actor on stage and each time he has the ball, he tries to "upstage" himself. Overacting and on display most of the time.

Posted by: bsballu5 | July 10, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

MASN broadcasts Nationals Classics from time to time, bigmook. Schedule is at http://masnsports.com/guide

---

flynnie2: You're welcome. Is there a channel out there that broadcasts "Nationals Classics" from say the first half of the 2005 season? Ah, those were the days - in first place, making clutch plays & hits, Cordero closing out the 9th to save a close game hits, and Frank "Managing" the team.

Posted by: bigmook | July 9, 2009 10:57 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

This is not news Dan. Many of us have been seeing these issues for over a year. Rob and Ray saying it brings some light on it but it is not new. One thing I disagree with them on is Manny. Acta has become a huge part of the problem. He is the face of losing and once the front office decided he could stay and lose every night the team decided why not them too? This is much like Jimbo now.....it is going to take the FBI and a scandal to get Lerner and Stan to admit they are in charge of a farce of a baseball operations and that is months away.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 10, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

After reading the gamer, not to make excuses for poor defense, but either Dibble or Carpenter (can't recall which) picked up on Dunn's deke attempt at the time. Also, the gamer doesn't note the bullpen implosion (okay, it's not news, but neither is Dunn's defense). Except for Sean Burnett, our 'pen couldn't hold on while the Astros 'pen could.

Also, how about a little GHF love for Burnett, who was quickly panned here after he gave up that HR in his first game, when he had just come into Miami that morning and likely had the jitters on his first outing with a different club than the one that drafted him? Granted, he's not had that much work with us, but his current stats are 1.59, 4 G, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HBP, 0 BB, and 4 SO. Hope that some of his effectiveness can rub off on the 'pen rather than the other way around (knocks wood). And I still wonder why bullpen preparation and coaching doesn't seem to get any scrutiny?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Lay off Dunn. Every loss is not the fault of Adam Dunn. Its ridiculous. Honestly, do you really think this team would be better off with Adam Dunn and his 40 HRs out of the lineup? He gives you way more runs with his bat than he loses with the glove. Lastings Milledge didn't win a single game with his bat last year, fielded worse than Dunn ever did, and you didn't keep laying into him. If Dunn is traded, all that's going to be in LF is another minor league AAAA player that has only marginally better fielding skill than Dunn and is unable to hit major league pitching.

Please. If you think Adam Dunn is the problem with this team, you really don't know baseball.

Posted by: raymitten | July 10, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I think this line from the late great Shirley Povich is the headline for this whole season

"Hollywood's most imaginative writers on an opium jag could not have scripted a more improbable windup of the season"

Posted by: CBinDC | July 10, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Surly, we won't be calling him Chico anymore?

Surly, Harlan is not suggesting that the Nats cannot play defense?

Surly, he is not suggesting that Adam Dunn is a one dimensional player?

Surly Harlan.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 10, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

wait for it ....

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 10, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Acta is the single largest part of the problem and i know baseball.

Posted by: JayBeee | July 10, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I am serious...and don't call me surly.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

In light of my posting of Burnett's stats with the Nats to date, here are Hanrahan's with the Pirates, from their site (yes, I know, small sample...just sayin'):

11.57, 3 G, 2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 HBP, 2 BB, 3 SO

Also from the Pirates site, here's a piece on reactions to their roster moves/trades. In light of the Nats blow-up-the-team theory, the GM's comments about having inherited a group of players that had experienced 90-plus losses is interesting.

http://tinyurl.com/n8ubyo

http://tinyurl.com/n8ubyo

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the assist 1a.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 10, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Any time, natbiscuits. Couldn't have done it without your good throw.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Where does this team go from here? There are so many things wrong, it is difficult to figure out how to start fixing this mess.

Posted by: Tom8 | July 10, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Acta is the single largest part of the problem and i know baseball."

The first part of your sentence disproves the last part of your sentence.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 10, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

So if the Nats "didn't bring Dunn over here to play defense," why does he have a glove?

Which reminds me of an old line, I think from a Philadelphia columnist writing about a bad-fielding team: "What do they have in common with Michael Jackson? They wear a glove on one hand for no apparent reason."

Posted by: baltova1 | July 10, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

All of this talk about Manny being the "single largest part of the problem" reminds me of a legendary line from Washington sports history. The Skins lost the 1940 NFL championship game to the Bears, 73-0. But early in the game, Slinging Sammy Baugh had a sure touchdown pass dropped in the end zone. After the game, a writer, trying to build the case that the TD might have changed the momentum of the game, asked Sammy, "What would have happened if he caught the pass?"

Sammy said, "We would have lost, 73-7."

Posted by: baltova1 | July 10, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"The Nats got four runs early against sloppy Houston starter Russ Ortiz, but he was lifted after just three innings (68 pitches). Washington had just three hits in the final six innings."

Mr. Harlan, in the light of the above paragraph you wrote in the same post as this tirade against Adam Dunn's defense, you might ask yourself whether your powers of analysis are entirely utilized today. Maybe the kids enjoy a good ranting, but the only comparison it draws for me is with TV commentators, and that should be a severe warning to you.

Making the unlikely assumption that the two run difference in the game was caused by Adam Dunn's poor defense (unlikely because Lannan was being knocked around) a team that can muster more than three hits in six innings would have been able to tie that score.

Your analysis was lazy, and poorly done. I have the internet to entertain me with such tirades, please write like a reporter.

Posted by: Section506 | July 10, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Last year we whined that the team had no power and couldn't score runs. Well, Adam Dunn solves the power outage. I can live with his crappy fielding. The real problem is the infield, especially 2B and SS. Guzman has mailed it in. There isn't a pro 2B on the roster. Nick Johnson is a nice player, but he's not bailing out Ryan anymore by digging throws out of the dirt, and he has no power. And there's no speed on the bases other than Morgan. Bard, Dunn, NJ running the bases looks like the Barnum & Bailey elephants parading down Pennsylvania Ave. on their way to the Verizon Center.

Posted by: trezmartin | July 10, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

This season was over in like April. So trade anybody if you get good pieces for the future. Somebody in another system who will be a good player in 2012 is not as valuable to another team as someone who is good now. So you can add value by trading with the future in mind. Trade, Dunn, Guzman (and chip in salary if you have to) or any of them--except the few good young guys who are under your control. What difference does it make if the Nats lose 108 or 118?

The Nats need to build for a better future, and just write off the present altogether. The Nats have been focused on bargain hunting (willing to take 2009 to engage in tryouts of marginal major league talent). The product, as a result of the frugality, has been laughable. So start over and do it right this time.

I should add that a problem that I have with my own suggestion is that the Nats have not spent up to needed levels in the last two drafts. So the future has already been severely compromised. Sources for that assertion:

http://mlbbonusbaby.com/2009/07/07/draft-review-washington-nationals/

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267400.html

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/events/draft_report/y2008/index.jsp?mc=crow

Posted by: EdDC | July 10, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Look, Dunn signed for 2 years and we all know that Nats will continue to suck. What is the point of keeping him (Dunn)? They might suck just a little more without his bat, but he should give you a nice return of at least a couple of young bats or arms in a trade. The team should sell off the rentals like Johnson for whatever they can get that might be more long-term. The players signed through at least next year like Dunn and Guzman need to be moved to get ML-ready talent.

Posted by: bendersx6 | July 10, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I can only hope that the people who are shouting for Dunn to be traded now are not the same people shouting about how the Lerners were cheap and should bring in some free agents to pass the time back in February.

As for trading guys who are performing well, the only way you get prospects for them is if another team is desperate to have them. NO ONE gives up decent prospects as a rule anymore, not even the Yankees. But a team that feels they need one last umph to make the playoffs this year, will do so.

That means players whose contracts expire this year (or who are arb eligible), which means not Dunn and Guzman, but Willingham and Johnson and Bard and Harris.

Posted by: Section506 | July 10, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I gotta agree with Acta on this one -- shockingly. Dunn is a sluuger, not a 5 tool guy. He is raw power and OBP (the guy is 6'6" and at least 270 pounds!), he's not Barry Bonds. And the plays were not awful anyway: the triple hit at least 15 feet up the wall and bounced around oddly and the subsequent hit was a hit with anyone out there. Dunn is not the reason why the Nats got beat up last night.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 10, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The last player who attempted to lead the team was LoDuca and he just ended up screaming at a brick wall.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 10, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to be a team leader with a syringe sticking out of your butt. Just a thought.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Dang, new posted.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 10, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Those who follow baseball know what we were getting with Dunn. He was/is/will be a liability in the field. The only question going forward for the second half in my mind is: is he less a liability at 1B (given the regular opportunity to play the position)? To answer that, he probably will need to play 1B 3-4 times a week irrespective of what happens with Nick.

506 is right about contract status, as well. Dunn will have significantly more value at the trading deadline next year. I suspect Rizzo knows that too - although I think, his recent professions notwithstanding, he would move him this year if he was made an offer he couldn't refuse.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 10, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

To all the folks complaining about Dunn's defense, when have we had a LF who can hit AND field well on a consistent basis?

Below is a list of all players who have appeared in LF during our franchise's stay in DC.

2005: Blanco, Byrd, Cepicky, Church, Davis, Guillen, Hammonds, Sledge, Watson, Wilkerson, Wilson

2006: Byrd, Church, Jackson, Lombard, Matos, Soriano, Ward

2007: Casto, Church, Langerhans, Pena, Restovich, Snelling, Watson

2008: Bernadina, Casto, Dukes, Harris, Langerhans, Lo Duca, Lopez, Mackowiak

2009 Bernadina, Dukes, Dunn, Harris, Maxwell, Willingham

Posted by: markfd | July 10, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse


What 506 said. Go back and read it again, Chico. From me this time.

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

Mr. Harlan, ...

the only comparison it draws for me is with TV commentators, and that should be a severe warning to you.

...

Posted by: Section506 | July 10, 2009 9:10 AM

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 10, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Harlan, in the light of the above paragraph you wrote in the same post as this tirade against Adam Dunn's defense, you might ask yourself whether your powers of analysis are entirely utilized today. Maybe the kids enjoy a good ranting, but the only comparison it draws for me is with TV commentators, and that should be a severe warning to you.

Making the unlikely assumption that the two run difference in the game was caused by Adam Dunn's poor defense (unlikely because Lannan was being knocked around) a team that can muster more than three hits in six innings would have been able to tie that score.

Your analysis was lazy, and poorly done. I have the internet to entertain me with such tirades, please write like a reporter.

Oh give me a break. It is the "Nationals Journal," not an article that is printed in the actual paper. He can write whatever he wants in these posts he makes. Personally, I find them hilarious. It helps make light of the terrible season.

Posted by: 1stpick | July 10, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company