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Nats Blow Lead, Rain Holds It

Typical. So typical. The Nats had a four-run lead last night. They blew it, in standard disreputable fashion (walks, errors, horrid relief pitching) just minutes before the skies opened up and forced everybody off the field. The game never resumed. The Nats lost 7-5.

Florida's mastery of the Nats is stunning. I know pet owners with Pomeranians that only dream of such obedience. Give the Nats a lead -- they serve it back. Give them a save opportunity -- they blow it. Give them a leadoff hitter -- they walk him. Give them Hanley Ramirez -- they give the fans in the bleachers, more times than not, a souvenir.

The Marlins have now won 23 of the last 26 games against the Nats. Go back to the start of 2008, and the Nats are 3-22 against the Fish. (And 0-8 in 2009.)

During that span, Washington has ...

* surrendered nine or more runs six times.

* encountered 13 save opportunities -- and saved just two games.

* a 6.35 bullpen ERA.

* allowed Florida to hit 40 homers, or 1.6 per game. (This would put Florida on pace for 259 HRs in a season. Only two teams in MLB history, the 2005 Rangers and the 1997 Mariners, have hit 260 or more.)

* walked 92 people, including 10 in one game and seven in two others.

* thrown 17 wild pitches.

* committed 29 errors.

On that note, let's get to the morning links...

Hanley Ramirez has been on a tear.

Here's the news story on yesterday's four-player trade with Pittsburgh.

The Post-Gazette writes that the Buccos, countering a longstanding trend, are now taking on some risks.

P-G columnist Gene Collier sees a popular player departing and a player with baggage coming in return.

Shawn Hill undergoes a second Tommy John operation and is done for the season. Egads.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 1, 2009; 7:53 AM ET
 
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Next: Dukes Optioned to Class AAA

Comments

Marlins own the Nats. They probably wish they could play them every night. As for blowing a 4 run lead, no one is surprised. When was the last time the bullpen held a lead? It was a while ago. This is seriously the worst bullpen in MLB history. Also, how many games have the Nats lost to the rain?

I didn't feel that bad about the game after the Red Sox blew a 9 run lead in the 7th!

Posted by: rachel216 | July 1, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

This is all well and good Chico, but who is being DFA'd today? Game time is 3.5 hours away!

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | July 1, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I predict that Clippard goes back down. He didn't do himself any favors last night. Looked like Nook LaLoosh on the mound in the first AB.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | July 1, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Please let it be Kearns. DFA this guy. It's a big $$$ loss along with Bowden's other follies...D. Young,LoDuca,Mackiowek,Estrada etc. This team is so bad. It's hard to believe that first year at RFK ever happened.

Posted by: ridgely1 | July 1, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

hehe, after he K'd I turned to my husband and stated that even if we ended up losing, it was worth it to have seen us get that little #*@$% out.

---

Perverse satisfaction: I'm sort of glad Willingham dropped that foul fly so that little Bonnie could strike out. Because Ramirez drove in the runs, it didn't matter much.

Posted by: nats24 | June 30, 2009 11:04 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

-So the Blows down 10-1 come back to beat the Sawk.
-The Mets are on the verge of a full implosion.
-The Marlins continue to master the local loveable losers.

Anything else going on?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 1, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I think Dukes goes down to AAA don't want to see him leave but until NJ or Kearns or Harris are delt he makes the most sense to move

Posted by: mintbucket | July 1, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are not even loveable. But they are major losers, that's for sure.

Posted by: rachel216 | July 1, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I'd say the odds on who goes look something like this:

Kearns (DFA) 5-2
Dukes (AAA) 7-1
Willingham (Trade) 10-1
Dunn (Trade) 15-1
Harris (Trade or DFA) 5-1
Belliard (DFA) 4-1
A.G. (AAA) 1-3

I think the AG goes down for a while, until another roster move is made and then he comes back up. DFA'ing is final, and I don't think we're ready to be irrevocable yet with Belliard or Kearns.

Gotta say, I'm warming up a little to Nyjer. The whole key for me, though, hangs on those 20-30 points of OBP. If he can stay at .345-.350 OBP and play plus CF defense, then it was a good move. If he slides toward the .310-.320 range, then he's Endy v. 5.0.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | July 1, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Its kind of amazing to read all these Pirates quotes after the trade. If nothing else, these 2 were really loved as teammates.

And what it is even more strange is how much they loved Pittsburgh. If they can grow to love a perpetually bad team in a beautiful new ballpark, maybe they will grow to love DC

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | July 1, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

uh, what fans in the bleachers? Looks like there's not much competition for most of the balls hit out there.

---

Give them Hanley Ramirez -- they give the fans in the bleachers, more times than not, a souvenir.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Can Kearns be traded to the Independent League? And I mean the Independent League, not the International.

Posted by: jfromPG | July 1, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

What's the deal with Ryan Knobberman last night?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 1, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Man, Collier doesn't like the trade at all... "trading still another popular outfielder for some highly suspicious baggage belonging to the worst team in the major leagues."

I guess as much as it sucks to be a Nats fan, it must suck a whole lot worse to be a Pirates fan.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 1, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

HWY295,

I can see your point in your odds list, and I think those trades might come about, but obviously not by 12 pm today. Gonzalez fits Rizzo's MO, so I am guessing that knocks him off the list as well. I would be shocked if they DFA'd Harris.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | July 1, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

In fact, having worked in publishing for a few decades, I do know a thing or two about writing. But to each his or her own. ;-)

---

Natsfan, I think you know a thing or two about baseball, but when it comes to writing.....

...

Posted by: JLNash819 | June 30, 2009 9:47 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Do you mean Yipperman?

---

What's the deal with Ryan Knobberman last night?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 1, 2009 8:57 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

It was 5-4 ater Stammen was pulled. Stammen, not the bullpen, gave up the opposite field homer on a good pitch to Ramirez, who leads MLB w/RISP. I would have walked Ramirez to create a double play possibility. That would have loaded the bases for the red hot Cantu, who would have hit his double and scored the 3 runs anyhow. Best case scenario after that - 5-4, bottom of the 5th, with Clippard holding it there. To expect any bullpen to hold the Marlins to 0 runs for another inning is a little much. I don't see how Clippard was "betrayed" by anyone. Zimm's last error was a hot shot way out of his zone that bounced off his chest, if memory serves, and that some third basemen wouldn't have stopped. The last throwing error could have happened to the best 3rd basemen. We needed it to rain one inning sooner, and would've had a win.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of rain, am I delusional in thinking that we have a shot at taking the suspended "home" game in Houston next Thursday? (I think that Hawkins was on the mound with one out and Dukes on first, Willingham batting, and the pitcher's spot - Hanranhan - on deck. We had a couple of guys left on the bench - Bard and Gonzo?)

---

Also, how many games have the Nats lost to the rain?

I didn't feel that bad about the game after the Red Sox blew a 9 run lead in the 7th!

Posted by: rachel216 | July 1, 2009 8:28 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I know that I shouldn't be looking ahead of the other series but a gal can dream, right?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing about the timing of the rain last night, Flynnie.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The game really came down to Pinto striking out the side in the top of the 6th and Beimel, our best, not getting calls, and blowing the save. Even Beimel can't hold that line up if each of them get 5 strikes. We'll get them at noon today!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

My money is on Dukes to AAA, then he will be recalled when the next Riz deal happens.

Posted by: markfd | July 1, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'll see you today noonish, 1a! Gotta go make the world a better place!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 1, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

NatsTerps - i agree - I don't think a deal gets done today unless they were working things simultaneously. I agree AG is a longer-term fit, but he (or random bullpen arm) are the easiest, least final to move, so I think they'll move AG down to AAA for a little while and let the dust settle before they DFA a guy they're paying that much. I think Boz is on point below when he talks about this being prelude to other moves.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | July 1, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Who shut within doors the sea when it burst forth from the womb . . . command raised up a storm wind and summon rain upon the earth . . . (Hanley Ramirez)
_____________________________
I was thinking the same thing about the timing of the rain last night, Flynnie.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 |

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"If you think you may trade Nick Johnson and move either Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham to first base, then you need a speedy lefty hitter like Morgan in the outfield."

This makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 1, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Buster Olney says that it is unlikely that Johnson or Willingham will be moved because the Nats are asking alot in return and their salaries are 5.5 mil and 2.95 mil. Also, I think that means that no team will trade or claim Kearns and Bellieard due to their inflated salaries, unless the NATs agree to eat all of the salary.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 1, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The problem was that Beimel shaved. Not as intimidating without the face fur.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 1, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

>>In other news, Boston is just killing Baltimore, 9-1 Posted by: swang30

But they play 9 remember? What was the final? What a game!

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Some people trade with the Pirates and get Jason Bay. Others get Nyjer Morgan. Yep. Says it all.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I could swear that I saw Dmitri in a picture of the recent tie drive at Nats Park. Can't recall where I saw the pic, though.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Game time in two hours. Any word on the roster move?

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 1, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Some people trade with the Pirates and get Jason Bay. Others get Nyjer Morgan. Yep. Says it all. "

Not quite all. Some people give up Manny Ramirez in a three team swap. Others give up Lastings Milledge.

Now THAT says it all.

Posted by: Section506 | July 1, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

>"If you think you may trade Nick Johnson and move either Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham to first base, then you need a speedy lefty hitter like Morgan in the outfield."

This makes no sense whatsoever.

I think Boswell has taken to making half-assed positive comments about the team because even he believes they're a trainwreck. He says Rizzo likes Morgan, so you can rate the evaluator because it's a 'we like him' trade, which means it isn't really based on a need, or a strategy, they just like the guy. In which case, you could rate Rizzo right now, because Morgan ain't gonna get any better. He also made the justification that the Nats had given up on Gas can and Milledge. That's nice. If you're looking for reasons to deal a player. It's funny how they replaced one of the most consistent players they have in Willie Harris. Nyger is a clone with even less power.

Posted by: Brue | July 1, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

And I'll say it again doveline. Look what you give up to get Bay, look what you give up to get Morgan.

Everyone slams Bowden for being an idiot then as soon as we trade a prospect that only he rated it's pass the Bowdenberry Red Cool-Aid and sit around talking about the great potential and tools of good ol' Blastings Thrilledge.

The guy had no value. He's been on the block since July, and this is the best best offer we got. Think about that. He can't field, can't steal, can't walk and has limited power. Also the work ethic and the showing up late for work. You think anyone was calling for this guy? Or maybe you wanted to bench Dunn and play him so he could 'increase his trade value'. Hey, worked for Lopez! It's doing wonders Kearns.

You want Jason Bay, you might think about adding something to the Milledge package to get that.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 1, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Morgan is NOT a clone of Harris. Come one Brue, you are so much better than that. Harris is an adequate fielder who we could trust to hustle. Morgan is a plus plus fielder. He was acquired to compensate for Dunn and settle our pitchers. You may not like the trade but that is a totally unfair comparison and you know it!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 1, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

506 made my oint without being a jek. Two totally jerky posts by me. Sorry about that. I'll calm down again in a minute.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 1, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What on earth would the Nats have to offer the Bucs for J.Bay? Seriously, get real...

Some people trade with the Pirates and get Jason Bay. Others get Nyjer Morgan. Yep. Says it all.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 9:53 AM

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

>>You want Jason Bay, you might think about adding something to the Milledge package to get that. Posted by: soundbloke>>

No one's sayin Milledge is worth Jason Bay. Sayin you've gotta give up something big to get something big. Enough with trading nobodys for nobodys.
Os gave up ace Bedard and have a current and future superstar in Adam Jones plus more. Boston gave up Manny and ended up with Bay. You're going to have to eventually give up something big to make something big happen.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 1, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I sometimes like looking at trades from a fantasy baseball perspective. Here's what they said at Rotoworld:

"Pittsburgh made a pair of trades to shake up the outfield Tuesday, sending Eric Hinske to the Yankees for a pair of mid-level prospects and then swapping Nyjer Morgan to the Nationals along with Sean Burnett for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan. Morgan has emerged as a very solid all-around player, offering elite defense and nice on-base skills, but Andrew McCutchen made him expendable.

Morgan dramatically upgrades the Nationals' outfield defense and certainly has a good deal of value, but he's also 29 years old with a modest .286/.351/.376 mark in 157 career games. Milledge has far more long-term upside even considering his various issues, but clearly Washington had given up on him and Hanrahan as pieces of the puzzle going forward.

Morgan was already playing every day in Pittsburgh, so the only big change from the trade will be his moving back to the leadoff spot. That should give him a little boost, but his basic value remains the same. Hanrahan's value dries up now that he has no chance for another crack at closing duties and Burnett isn't worthy of a fantasy roster spot in any circumstances, leaving Milledge as the deal's winner.

Demoted to Triple-A all of seven games into the season, he's currently rehabbing a broken finger and should get an extended shot in the Pirates' new-look outfield once healthy. Milledge has been a large disappointment both on and off the field so far, but he's still just 24 years old with a promising power-speed combo. If he can get on track and live up to some of the hype, the Pirates will have done well.

While the Pirates likely look to trade Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson next, here are some other notes from around baseball …"

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 1, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I believe dovelevine, honestly believe, that you will get your wish. That may be the cool-aid talking but, I think we will see two out of Guzman, Johnson, Dunn, Willingham and Dukes go along with young pitcher.

But I am certainly aware of this optimism being slightly misplaced, and that it will rightfully open me to ridicule.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 1, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

It's easier to give up something big if you know enough about who you are as an organization and have a clear picture as to where you are and where you are going in order to differentiate between the big and little pieces. Deeper still, you need to be able to sort those big pieces into "must keeps" and "can live without if the deal is right". I'm not sure the Nats stockpile of big pieces is deep enough to sort into categories. Right now they're all "must keeps". That's why the majority of the deals I think are going to come from their active big league roster. Perhaps we see a Stammen or a Martis moved but only one of the two at most.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 1, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

>>I honestly believe we will see (traded) two out of Guzman, Johnson, Dunn, Willingham and Dukes go along with young pitcher.
Posted by: soundbloke

Not so sure. We're hearing the same thing today that we heard about Bowden all those years--that the Nats want a kings ransom in return for any players. That's why Soriano was never traded. That's why the Nats in their short history have never traded anyone of any real value for anyone of any great value. It's getting old real fast.

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

Ladson reporting that Elijah Dukes has been sent down to Syracuse.

http://therocket.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/07/elijah_dukes_sent_down_to_trip.html

Posted by: section417 | July 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what the heck Rizzo is thinking about sending Dukes down and trying to trade him. There is too much invested in Dukes and he probably has the most talent of any player in the organization. There is no reason to try and trade him now that his stock is so low and I don't understand the move of sending him down. Willingham needs to be trade NOW (stock high and no future here) and Kearns needs to be let go.

Posted by: brothbart | July 1, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

That is a good move. Give him sometime to get his swing back in order, not worry about "learning" to play CF, and he may yet be our piece for RF. Maybe work some on baserunning with hin while he is there as well :)
________________________________
Ladson reporting that Elijah Dukes has been sent down to Syracuse.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 1, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Just because he's sent down, does it automatically mean he's getting traded?

Posted by: FloresFan | July 1, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't know the man, but if it's true, as written in a few places, including here, that he's not liked in the clubhouse (and I don't see why--anybody who does Softball Girls cheers can't be that bad), then maybe replacing a guy who can hit for power but hasn't, lately, with a guy who doesn't, but catches the ball and cheers up his teammates, could work. Not sure anything could cheer up a team taking the pastings these guys take, but it's worth a shot, I guess.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

FloresFan, no, it doesn't. Who said Rizzo was trying to trade him? Ladson's tweet doesn't mention that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

maybe they're trading him for draft picks...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

On the trade, I'm beginning to realize that I was more of a Bowdenite than I thought - I'm entranced by potential and projection. Thrilledge is all about the potential and projection - IF he capitalizes on it, THEN he'll be a steal for the Pirates, but the key thing to remember - the Pirates took on ALL the downside risk in this deal.

What they did was they bought Citibank and Wachovia stock at the absolute bottom. If Milledge and Hanrahan rebound, they'll look like geniuses, if they don't, they gave away good, valuable commodities (Morgan and Burnett) for losing lottery tickets. All the potential reward, all the potential risk. I find that I tend to like the risky upside play, where Rizzo seems to opt for the more solid, proven performance.

No, you're not going to be sending Nyjer Morgan to the all-star game as a CF any time soon, but having a +10 - +20 UZR/150 guy in CF will do wonders for the young arms' confidence. In the 3-5 year view, it's quite possible the Nats got the worse end of the deal, but if the Nats had decided that Thrilledge and Hanrahan were not going to be parts of their MLB ballclub, then getting a plus-plus CF and a useable bullpen arm is worth it.

Dukes, huh? I should have thought of that more seriously - that says to me that Kearns or Willingham is going.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | July 1, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

That said, if Dukes does have the upside we think he does, AND if staying out of jail for the past year has convinced some GM somewhere that it's possible he can maintain outside of Florida, maybe they can trade another maybe good for another definitely OK.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

New post re. the move.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but if you bet any other way consistently you'll go broke.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but if you bet any other way consistently you'll go broke.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 1, 2009 11:05 AM
______________________________________

Maybe not. You can get sweet odds on the slow and the weak. I'd just stay off the Nats vs FLA.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 1, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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