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Mets 6, Nats 2. J.D. Martin can't stop the losing streak. Then again, who can? After the game, Martin commented that he needed too much time -- the first two innings, really -- to overcome the nerves and start getting his pitches lower in the zone. Here, you can see the difference for yourself. Compare the location of Martin's pitches in the first and second innings with the location in the third and fourth innings.

Scott Olsen goes in for surgery on Thursday.

Acting GM Mike Rizzo talks with Tracee Hamilton about the trading deadline, and hints that Nick Johnson might be here longer than some suspect. "For the immediate future, this year, next year, Nick's our first baseman right now," Rizzo said. "The Lerner family . . . there's no mandate to move salaries, to move players just to clear space. We need to make good, prudent baseball deals. With Marrero in the background and knowing what we know of him I think he's going to be an outstanding major league player, and with that in mind, if we can make a good deal for any of our players, we certainly will."

The New York Post calls the Nationals the "perfect tonic" for struggling Livo.

In New York, the two on the hottest seats -- Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel -- have been told by COO Jeff Wilpon that their jobs are safe.

Finally, just a few numbers. The Nats, now losers in six straight, are 27 games back of the Phillies in the NL East. Perhaps Washington's division this year looks surprisingly mediocre -- especially before the Phillies caught fire in the last week -- but you can't blame the Nats for trying to fix the problem. Against NL East opponents this year, the Nats are 8-32 (.200).

Just for fun, I re-created the NL East standings with team records against all opponents OTHER than Washington...

Philadelphia -- 42-36 (actual record: 52-38)
Atlanta -- 42-42 (actual record: 47-46)
Florida -- 38-47 (actual record: 47-47)
New York -- 36-46 (actual record: 44-48)

By Chico Harlan  |  July 21, 2009; 9:05 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineups

Comments

Chico,

Good to see that your gamer skimmed over the continued A-ball defense which may have taken Martin's debut from poor to promising. Nice to watch the organization hang the poor kid out to dry like that. Next time you interview Riggleman ask him whether he can sleep at night putting that defense out behind a pitcher making his debut.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 21, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

http://www.zazzle.com/washington_natinals_tshirt-235886682956432907

-------------------------
Link courtesy MissChatter.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Nice charts, Chico. Thanks.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about Olsen.

Was at the park last night. Not as many mets fans as I expected.

I noticed a new stand located near the new BBQ place. It's selling Phillies, Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox gear. ??

Posted by: kebcam | July 21, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@kebcam: yes, that's our Welcome Wagon Park. Should see Cards and Padres stuff soon.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Awesome!

I hope someday we look back at all this and laugh.

Posted by: kebcam | July 21, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@kebcam, until now the thing that has annoyed me the most about the "fan experience" is that stupid red tent that blocks a lot of good views of the Capitol, but seeing that stand selling other teams' stuff just has me furious.

Posted by: Traveler8 | July 21, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

*sigh* Hey Lerners? Where are you guys? Do you even know what's going on with your lousy team? Do you even care? You're an embarassment as owners, along with your lousy team. Also, it boggles the mind that Frank Robinson could go .500 with spare parts and cast-offs, but with a fair amount of decent players on the team, apparently we can't win squat this year.

Posted by: futbolclif | July 21, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah right, nerves will do it every time give me a break come on JD you're no rookie, try getting some movement on your fastball so it doesn't look like a beach ball comming up to the plate this was the Mets B team lineup and they hit you like a batting practice pitcher. The Nats are selling other teams gear? well now that's the real "plan" that Kasten has in mind i mean besides making sure the opposing team feels all warm and fuzzy about their stay in our nations capitol and at Nationals Park.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 21, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I was at the Welcome Wagon too last night (those pricey season tickets keep calling me back). Gotta say I hate the Mets more then the Ori-Holes. Met Fans will be coming out of the woodwork for tonights game, one win over the lowely Nats will make them think they are on their way to the NL East title. Geez lets hope not. Either way StanK & the Lerners will have the door wide open at WWP.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 21, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

If they're going to sell other teams' gear, shouldn't they just sell Redskins stuff and get it over with?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm just spitballing here, but I am going to guess that a majority of NJ posters feel that the government is responsible for the Roswell/Area 51 cover up, that there was a second gun-man on the grassy knoll, and that Elvis is still alive.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | July 21, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

This is the Lerners and Kastan.

They would have a stall selling their own children if they thought it would make money. The welcome wagon exists because someone did some market research. If they thought Redskin hats would sell as well they would sell them.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 21, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Something happened to Elvis?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are on pace to lose 116 games this season - 3 less than the 2003 Tigers and 4 less than the '62 Mets. Come on guys, I know you can suck worse than those sucks sucked any day of the week. Go Nats!

Posted by: jthatcher05 | July 21, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

If they're not going to trade Johnson, I don't expect to see DaMeatHook as a player. I would like to see him as the hitting coach. He's a good situational hitter and has a reputation for working with younger players. Eckstein isn't getting it done and can follow St. Clair and Manny out the door.

The defense last night looked better than in other recent games. There were no Bad News Bears errors such as we have seen of late. I didn't see anything the defense did to contribute to Martin's bad outing. He simply had the Yips.

Posted by: longhorn64 | July 21, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

What? Evlis is dead? Must be Manny's fault with help from Kearns.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 21, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The defense may have looked less accident prone but the ball rolled through it with terrifying ease. Harris has no range at third, Guzman could have caught at least one extra grounder if he wasn't immobile, and frnakly it was hard to tell which fatty in the outfield was which between Kearns and Belliard. They were standing next to each other Belliard was so deep.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 21, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Nice to you know have a columnist who you know actually writes about baseball, but geez you know could Tracee Hamilton's columns be a bigger steaming pile of meh? Here's a hint Tracee. You know it's probably not a good idea to fill up your column you know with a bunch of quotes from Jim Riggleman who you know can't complete a sentence without you know saying you know at least three times, or quotes from Mike Rizzo who you know is probably a smart guy but you know really isn't much when it comes to public speaking. Maybe you should grow a set of stones and actually express an opinion. It's a column you know and you're actually allowed to do that. It doesn't have to be all meh you know. Or do you?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 21, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@Soundbloke, Nats_Lady (re-posted from last thread, regarding Riggles lineup last night):

Riggleman's thinking last night was that Harris, Belliard, and Kearns all had crazy good numbers against Hernandez, who has dominated the Nats this year. With Zimm in a funk he opted to give him the night off hoping to trade defense for some "O". Both Belliard and Kearns were 1-3 with a walk each, so it didn't completely backfire.

Not defending, just repeating the logic as I heard it. Given how abysmally we've done pretty much EVERYTHING this year it's hard to argue with a guy trying to do something to put us in a position to win.

Seems like with Manny and Riggleman, these guys get bashed in this space no matter what they do. These guys are trying to make lemonade out of the lemons Bowden left 'em. I feel bad for both... can't imagine any quality manager wanting to take a crack at this mess in 2010.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Willie, I love ya with all my heart. Just not at 3B.

What's with giving Zim, et. al time off? Especially with a guy making his "debut", how about giving him the best we got. :(

Them guys should play daytime doubleheaders in Houston, no roof. Man up.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Periculum,

You are one very sick dude who seems to have a problem with nursing homes (and women). Either you work in one or need some serious therapy. I suggest you get some and stop attacking everybody on this site because of your own inadequacies. I also suggest you learn how to spell the name Strasburg.

Posted by: WashOut | July 21, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I grasp R-man's reasoning, just don't agree with it.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The problem I'm having with this club right now is that there seems to be a lack of fire or hope or pride. I don't care what the reasons are for how they got to be this bad, shouldn't the players 'man-up' and play like they deserve to be out there?

I'm kind of in agreement with Periculum (not in the way he/she says it, but with the idea in general), that maybe it's time to let the guys who WANT to play, play. The lackadasical attitude shown by most on this team is insulting to me as a season ticket holder, to me as a baseball fan and to me as a person.

At least in last night's game Martin, Clippard and Kensing showed that they were trying. Can't say that about most of the bullpen (whom thankfully most have been let go by now). Now it's time to do the same with the offense/fielding.

Oh, and while Martin didn't dazzle last night, I applaud his effort. The first two innings he was one strike or one out away from not allowing any runs in. The third and fourth innings, he seemed to settle down. I hope that he learns from this outing and that he gets at least a quality start in his next outing. And remember, not everyone can overwhelm in his ML debut. Remember John Lannan's debut?

4.1 IP ... 6 Hits ... 5 ER ... 1 HR ... 2 HBP ... ejected

He's turned out to be pretty good for a soft-tosser ...

Posted by: erocks33 | July 21, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Can I vote "no" on the criticism of Tracy and "yes" on Tracy jam-packing her columns with quotations?

Posted by: Section506 | July 21, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Seconded, 506.

Posted by: Section220 | July 21, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Add a third vote of confidence for Tracee.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 21, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm kind of in agreement with Periculum (not in the way he/she says it, but with the idea in general), that maybe it's time to let the guys who WANT to play, play. The lackadasical attitude shown by most on this team is insulting to me as a season ticket holder, to me as a baseball fan and to me as a person.
Posted by: erocks33 | July 21, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse
________

I have to say I agree - we seem to lack any fire. The team is just going through the motions. And the fans/stadium seems resigned to it as well. And I understand about days off in the "dog days" of a tough season, but didn't we JUST have the all star break? What gives? Sure, Zimm didn't get much time off, but Willingham did. And why give TWO starters their rest on the same night? Just doesn't seem right...

Posted by: cdstej | July 21, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Tracee's column was the quotes. I'm hoping (praying?) that Rizzo is blowing smoke and this team will be very active on the trade market in the next few days. Don't base decisions on what Marrero MIGHT be in 2-3 years. He may never get here and this team needs help now, especially in the field. Also, we shouldn't get fooled by the starting rotation, this is not that young a team. They need to get younger, faster and hungrier, and the trade route is the way to go. C'mon, Mike, you're on a roll with trades, keep it up.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@cdstej: exactly. I know it was Monday, and maybe only 19K were there, but you don't let the understudies (sorry, Willie) go on unless you are really incapacitated. Even if it's a lousy show, you are paid to be professionals. Get out there and give us a d*** show, and by the way, put in the effort, you might win once in a while.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I apologize to the good people in Nationals Journal, but I am really steamed. I am so frustrated because I deserve an apology and I know it's not going to happen. Watching these games since the All Star Break, it's clear someone owes me a big fat "I'm sorry."

And who is that, you might ask? It is you, angry people on Nationals Journal. You owe me an apology. You threw tantrums about Jim Bowden and "called for his firing" so the team would stop being a laughingstock and others would finally trade good players to us.

Well, he got fired. Where are the trades?

You moaned and cried about the importance of "character" and getting "high-character guys" in the clubhouse to spark team unity. You said if we just ditched the na'er-do-wells... I can't help but notice it was the two black kids from poor neighborhoods... then we would win.

They're gone, one to another team and the other to AAA. Where is the clubhouse unity that would lead to better play?

You said, if only the Nationals would promote the people who really deserved to be up here instead of the bums we have -- people like JD Martin and Garret Mock and Justin Maxwell and others you swore you could evaluate better than the professionals.

Martin's the latest to get his shot. Where is the talent?

You said that you knew the only way to improve defense was to take infield practice every day. That even little leaguers had to do it and it was offensive that major leaguers thought they didn't need it.

It's instituted. Balls still roll through every hole.

Most of all you said that if we fired Manny Acta, the team would get a message and would "light a fire." That it needed to be made clear to these slackers that a lacksadasical attitude implicitly approced by Acta would be overcome, and they would play with renewed vigor.

Acta was fired. And do you know what I've seen this week that I have never once seen from the Nationals under Manny Acta?

A team that has given up.

Posted by: Section506 | July 21, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm obviously not a mind reader, but I wonder if this team is distracted by pending trades. Some of the lineup moves of late have looked like attempts to showcase people.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"...come on JD you're no rookie"

Posted by: dargregmag | July 21, 2009 9:53

I'm not a baseball statitician, but I'm pretty sure when you make your first appearance in a major league game, you are considered a rookie.

But thanks for always being a beacon of sunshine

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | July 21, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, 506

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | July 21, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@506: No apology from me--I never, ever called for firing Manny, and I never, ever thought AAA/AA players would be the answer to ML problems.

Riggleman is not a "light a fire" type guy, period. He didn't light a fire in Seattle, and he ain't lighting one here.

I can't see how the Nats win another game. Maybe the Padres, ya gotta hope the Padres can lose a game.

Maybe the team has given up (Nyjer excepted), but I have not. I still have hope of seeing a win 10% of the time, which is better odds than playing the lottery. So I'm going to Welcome Wagon Park this weekend, weather permitting. That's just me.


Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree with outsider 6. Riggleman and Manny get bashed no matter what they do with this bunch. Who exactly are the best we've got? Both Zimmerman and Gonzalez made horrible recent errors that unraveled games. Hernandez has made more mental errors at second than I can count. The bottom line is that it appears nothing is going to work.

Posted by: longhorn64 | July 21, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I apologize, 506.


I guess Bos was right when he said we needed to "blow" this whole thing up....roster wise of course.

Posted by: FloresFan | July 21, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Just read Tracee's column from last Friday, and wanted to say that I enjoyed it as well (the comments are closed or I'd have posted it there).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 21, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@baltova1: think you might have a good point there, in fact, there was a quote from one of the players to the effect that they know a bunch of guys are going to be traded for prospects (it was a couple of days ago).

Not sure what they get by "showcasing" Belliard, if that is what they are doing, and Wille at 3B isn't going to sell Willie --so here is a question, who is calling this lineup, Rizzo or Riggleman?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Hello, again. Have been outofpocket for a few days, I see I didn't miss much excpt for same oold same old. DOes the group here thinkwe are going to have big news for the trade deadline?

Posted by: Ringle | July 21, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

On a similar note, for all of you who said during the off-season that we don't need starters b/c we have Balester, Clippard, Mock, Martis, Z'mann, Lannan, etc, you owe me a big phat apology too. B/c I read those comments and they were all stupid.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 21, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

506,

I apologize.

However, I think you should write a similar type letter to the Lerner's and StanK asking for an apology from them for this train wreck that was put together on the cheap.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 21, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side, after singling in his debut with the Brewers last night, FLop was promptly picked off . . .

Posted by: slewis1 | July 21, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

That's a pretty cool pitch chart. Also shows that all 4 innings he was nibbling on the corner, but better to be down in the zone!

Baseball Tonight ended last night with a serious dig at the "pathetic 40 games below .500" Nats. I used to take it personally when I heard the BT guys take shots at the Nats as a laughing-stock but now have to shake my head and agree with them.

Posted by: mo_dc | July 21, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

BTW: I have been away for a while so I don't know if this was covered yet here or not, but if you enter the coupon code "NATS40" at the Nat's ticket site you can get tickets in many sections (not all) for something close to a 40 percent discount. This is supposedly good for the rest of the season.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 21, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and last night made me really miss Levon. They should have grabbed him back when they had a chance. I know he only looks like a world beater when he is playing the Nats, but just love to watch him pitch.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 21, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@506:

No apology here. I've said from the beginning Manny was NOT the problem. I split the blame thus:

Stan and the Lerners: 20%
Bowden: 35%
MLB: 45%

I'll explain. MLB ran this organization into the ground. The team was actually owned by its competitors! They forced Omar Minaya to essentially dismantle the farm system trying to keep a cheap and marginally competitive team on the field in Montreal. The damage done reduced the organization in ways that even expansion franchises don't endure. They set this team back 7-10 years.

Bowden continued Minaya's on-the-cheap acquisition method because, like Minaya, he had no choice. But Bowden's cronyism and shifty character led to players of similar character being brought aboard. For every Dmitri there was a Lopez and a LoDuca. The spiral continued. Bowden should have been discharged a long time ago.

Stan and the Lerners are only 20% ot blame now becuase if what they inherited. But like Obama, this inherited mess is quickly becoming their own. They failed to rid us of Bowden in a timely manner but their rebuilding of the farm system (without the benefit of an expansion draft that new teams get) has been admirable. The stockpiling of young arms will yield returns in years to come. The time has come to start stockpiling positional talent in the same way. And if they don't sign Strasburg, after rightly declining Crow's demands last year, the percentage of blame will shift strongly to Stan and the Lerners. They'll no longer be able to blame the mess they inherited. They've got a month to prove to me I should keep my season tickets. No Strasburg, no Outsider6 hanging out by the Red Porch...

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

No I didn't know thatabout Nats40. what does the 40 stand for? Idon't like to order tickets online but discout would take care fo the fees I guess.

Posted by: Ringle | July 21, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to hear any more about the Lerners ... it's clear after last night that Livan Hernandez owns the Nationals.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 21, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@SilverSpring8: I thought the Marlins owned the Nats. I guess it's a consortium.

Well, off to earn money so I can waste it on lottery, er, I mean, Nats tickets...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

In the military, we called it "give a crap," and the lack of it must be contagious.

-----

The problem I'm having with this club right now is that there seems to be a lack of fire or hope or pride.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 21, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Can I use the NATS40 discount at the season ticket holder site and get back 40% of the money that I spent.

Nice job Nats. Not only are you selling everything in the house below face value, as a STH I get zero as far as useful perks.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 21, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Outsider,

With all due respect, I think you're not putting enough blame on the Lerner's and StanK. They have run this team on the cheap for 3+ years now.

If they didn't want to invest too heavily, at first, into players for the ML roster because of the "Plan", fine.

The "Plan" was about developing their own young talent through the draft and international signings in the attempt to make a deep minor league system full of players to pull from. Sounds well thought out and logical.

However, they have failed miserably to invest the money to make this happen.

They are basically a non-factor in the international market for players and they draft for signability and not the best talent. They then fail to sign their 1st rounder in Crow because of a 400-500k difference.

Inexcuseable.

I do agree on one thing though, no Strasburg signing, no 20 gamer for me.


Posted by: Section505203 | July 21, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

JiM,

If that's true it's only since Manny's firing. I've watched more of their games than I care to admit, about a third in person, and I've been constantly impressed with the level of effort exhibited by pretty much everyone but Guzman. Even as the Manny Watch intensified, even as the losses m,ounted, even as the industry-wide jokes at their expense rose to a crescendo... I've only been able to catch 2 of the games under Riggles but haven't seen a dramatic dropoff. Especially among the young pitchers. These kids are still busting their tails...

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Ok, one last one. I'll take a shot at listing Nats strengths (sniff) and weaknesses. Would be interested to hear others' thoughts.

STRENGTHS:

Baby starting pitchers (both in majors and minors)
Catching depth (if Flores recovers, also good one coming up, I hope)
Offense (definitely OK, above average when they are not slumping)

------------
WEAKNESSES:

Defense, defense, defense (infield and outfield, except Nyger, Zimm if he didn't have to throw balls, and NJ)

Relief pitching (we got Clippard, Beimel, Burnett, and, in alternate weeks, MacDougal. Villone?)

Manager (YUCK)

---------------
TBD (to-be-determined)

General Manager (one good trade, don't like the "interim" label)

President (not sure how much freedom Stan has)

Owners--willing to give them another few months, THAT IS IT.

Prospects/Farm system-- have heard differing views, awaitng firm verdict

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

One of the benefits of being out of the country for several days was that I had no ability to be horribly drawn into watching the train wreck our team has become. Sadly, while minding my own business in a little bistro in Montreal, wearing no baseball gear of any kind, our waiter asked me where I was from. My response of "Washington" immediately drew this reaction "Oh, I am zo sorrie about your bazebol team. Zey stink here and now zey stink zere!" Yes, Pierre. Yes, they do.

Posted by: NatsFly | July 21, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@Section506

"Acta was fired. And do you know what I've seen this week that I have never once seen from the Nationals under Manny Acta?

A team that has given up."

Horsehockey! What you are seeing is the same team we have seen for quite some time. But make no mistake this team had given up well before Manny was axed. The lighting of the fire that so many had hoped would happen with Manny's dismissal hasn't happened but please don't try to tell me that they look any more or less interested than they did a week ago. I don't know if "blowing the team up" is the way to go but extreme changes need to be made. I agree with the poster who said that talent isn't what is needed in the lineup right now. We need the 8 players who hustle on every play, and play the game with their heads. If I see one more guy swing at the first pitch after a pitcher has issued a 4 pitch walk, or another missed cutoff man I'm going to scream. Big changes are needed and they need to start right now.

Posted by: ouvan59 | July 21, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, 506. You said it well at 11:08am, and I agree, especially with your final and most damning observation -- that unlike when Acta was here, since the All-Star Game this team has played like one that has given up.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 21, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady, thats pretty much spot on. I would put offense in the (good and the bad tho) Situational Hitting is non-existent. I really miss the rookie Zimmerman where he was Mr. Walk-off. What happened there?

We can also give credit to Rizzo to making the bullpen better than it originally was. The prospects look good btw. Just give them a few years and with Rizzo at the helm the talent will only get better.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 21, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

506

I will apologize. I argued that firing Manny would achieve nothing because the team was not only bad, but had nothing to play for given the change in GM, and that they knew this meant a roster overhaul was imminent. I argued that defensive players needed to be prioritized, and the youth needed to be favoured.

I feel like we end up on the same side of a lot of debates so why the apology? Well, as a life long fan of this franchise I must have done something terrible in order to deserve this. So I guess I should just say I'm sorry. Really really sorry.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 21, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

506, I saw the team quit weeks before Acta was fired, so I am sorry - that they didn't fire him sooner.

Your last post was self important and hilariously pretentious. If you are above largely censored displays of anger then simply skim over those posts, like I do with Periculum's. Way to pointlessly bring race into the discussion too.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 21, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@hleeo: thanks. I would put the bullpen in the TBD category, but every time I do, it folds. Agreed we seems to get better guys in the pen, but--I said this befor --I really wonder about the relief/bullpen coaching.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@Nats_lady:

I think the pitching coach has been a strength. McCatty has these young pitchers throwing far less fearlessly than St. Claire, who was all about nibbling on the corners and getting opponents to chase pitches outside the zone. McCatty has simplified things greatly: "believe in your stuff and throw the damn ball across the plate". They're ERA (the starters) has dropped almost 2 runs since he came up.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I meant we're catching the nonchalance. Because I'm certainly less motivated to watch games. I still love this team, but it's an abusive relationship.

-----

If that's true it's only since Manny's firing. I've watched more of their games than I care to admit, about a third in person, and I've been constantly impressed with the level of effort exhibited by pretty much everyone but Guzman.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 21, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

manny being gone is a positive if anyone thought riggleman versus manny would make us immediately a new team they've got serious intelligence issues, this team looks exactly like the team of pushovers manny's clubhouse fostered

Posted by: bford1kb | July 21, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

we suck and it ain't news

Posted by: bford1kb | July 21, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

go nats

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 21, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I was behind Manny because I thought that he was handicapped by the lerners' lack of spending on players (i.e. no quality veterans). I began to loose faith in manny after he just sat in the duggout and refused to argue the HR call in right field when Dunn was out there. After that it seemed to me that Manny and all of the other players just gave up.

Posted by: HokiePost | July 21, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Here is my view on a few of our hallowed players:
Guz - Thinks he's better than he is and repeatedly nonchalances the ball to 1st base - I could do without him.
Zim - I'll scream if I see him get one more GIDP with the bases loaded - great defense INCLUDES the throw to 1st base.
N. Morgan - don't let this guy get away!
Dunn - starting to look like he thinks he made a big mistake coming here (uninterested).

Posted by: HokiePost | July 21, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Dunn may be right. I think he did make a very big mistake coming here.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 21, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Dunn's commented publicly that he'd like to stay beyond 2010 when his current contract expires; apparently he sees better days ahead due to the young arms...

I agree. "The Plan" is proceeding well. But we MUST sign Strasburg.

Listening Stan?

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh God! I don't think I can watch another year of Dunn defending.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 21, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Seems like with Manny and Riggleman, these guys get bashed in this space no matter what they do. These guys are trying to make lemonade out of the lemons Bowden left 'em. I feel bad for both... can't imagine any quality manager wanting to take a crack at this mess in 2010.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009"

Can't agree with this more. Adding that they are also left with what seems to be an intractable, difficult to work with ownership? Its my contention that the "frugality", or as some might put it: the Lerner's live in the Galaxy of Cheap is more from attempting make sound financial decisions as one would make in commercial real-estate in the current economic climate. That is what they do.

Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"I agree. 'The Plan' is proceeding well. But we MUST sign Strasburg.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009"

Truism. However, what happens if you sign Strasburg, would ownership follow by drawing the line on signing free agents?

Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

On the brighter side, I hear Elwood is due to come out of rehab in time for 2010 spring training.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 21, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"is that when a person resorts to ad hominem attacks it's because they're unable to win an argument with relevant facts.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 21, 2009"

Horse hockey old dude. I provide plenty of relevant facts. Now watch when these same folks on this site use AAA/AA stats to prove that someone belongs up here ... looking at Detwiler, Balester, and Martis stats in AAA 'the lower league'? Hypocrisy and not Demosthenes.

Besides I prefer Kant and Pirandello (not his politics). Doubt you even know who they are, now do you?

Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I rarely agree with Dibble, but I like what he's said the past couple of games. Paraphrased, "I don't care what these guys do in AA or AAA. Until they can prove it up here, they are not major league ball players"

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 21, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh, I rather suspect that Chico's admonition that this is not going "to get fixed" by any player or players is correct.

The idea I espoused is to bring up the guys who deserve a shot, to see if they fit into next year's plans? Why not, what have you got to lose?

And Marrero is not ready for AA Harrisburg. If he were they would not be "rehabbing" Dmitri Young there.

Right now, Ian Desmond is hitting .235 in Syracuse.

Oh I forgot, minor league and especially AAA stats are meaningless? Perhaps we should bring him up. Or someone like Kory Casto is just now, barely hitting AAA pitching. That was an "underdog type Manny liked ...

Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"I don't care what these guys do in AA or AAA. Until they can prove it up here, they are not major league ball players

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 21, 2009"

I prefer to think that there is some hope in what Tyler Clippard said,

"He was a guy we went to every five days," former Syracuse teammate and current Washington reliever Tyler Clippard said, "and every time he toed the rubber we were like, 'We're going to get a "W" tonight.' He's that kind of pitcher. He locates the ball better than anybody I've ever played with."

More than likely he will end up being someone the Nats will let go that will come back to haunt them. Because of the "educamated" fans on this site. :)

Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering how long it would be before Mt. Periculum erupted... seemed waaaay too quiet.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

outsider6 says: ""The Plan" is proceeding well. But we MUST sign Strasburg."

Could you please read these comments on the 2008 and 2009 Nats' drafts, and then repeat your assertion that the Plan is proceeding well? Also please check out rankings of minor league organizations among MLB clubs. Thanks much.

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

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

Posted by: EdDC | July 21, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"I was wondering how long it would be before Mt. Periculum erupted... seemed waaaay too quiet.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009"

Nah, just catching up from the previous post. Besides isn't it always quiet in the murky, Sargasso-like depths of the Internet?

And EdDC,

Baseball Insider goes back and forth, first Detwiler and Marerro. Now Norris. Then Marerro again. Oh, gee it turns out that Baseball Insider, your "reputable" source, looks at minor league (even AAA) stats to determine if a player belongs on its top 50 prospects list! Age is the other criteria, young players with outstanding stats.

Quick surly_w, "washout", Chico, Dibble, write them a letter, tell them they are all wrong!

Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Ed,

I'll defer to you and your sources about past reviews of the farm system. My observations are based on the fact that 4 rookies and one sophomore starting pitcher have been as effective as you could possibly hope such a group could be at the major league level. And yet there are still more impressive-looking kids waiting in the wings at AAA. This year's second 1st rounder, Storen, has already been promoted after putting up silly numbers in low A. And then there's Mr. Strasburg.

I don't claim to be an expert. I just calls 'em as I see 'em. So far, Stan seems to be delivering on "the Plan". Sure, it's painful too watch and moving painfully slow... but it sure looks to this uneducated eye like things are being built right.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'll explain. MLB ran this organization into the ground. The team was actually owned by its competitors!
Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse
****

OK - isn't it fair to say that this team is still OWNED by its competitors?! At least the NL East?

In all seriousness, this is so true. You've really got to look at the Nats coming to DC as an expansion team - but without the expansion draft. It's not just that other teams didn't want to subsidize a competitor -- for at least 2 years MLB treated the Expos and its assets as something it literally wanted to get rid of. Remember contraction? MLB wasn't just being cheap in dismantling the Expos, it 100% wanted the team and its minor league system to CEASE TO EXIST. So it gutted them in a way far worse than just being cheap or anti-competitive. Does anyone here think that a MLB expansion team would be competitive within 4-5 years? Only in an absolute best-case scenario; once in a generation. Maybe. And often then by getting lucky with the expansion and regular drafts for several years.

I too will reserve judgment on Mt. Lerner until this off-season. Between (a) Strasburg; (b) this year's free agent market; and (c) the major albatross contracts (see: Kearns, A) coming off the books, this is the off season to watch.

Posted by: cdstej | July 21, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I must have missed it, but did someone call periculum dumb? If so, boy, you hit a nerve. He's namedropping Dimosthenes, Kant and Pirandello along with the Sargasso sea.

Easy there, tiger, you're making my little brain hurt. You're very, very smart, okay? I'm really impressed that your handle is Latin, that is freaking hot. You are witty, clever and well-educated.

Just, you know, please stop saying everyone who disagrees with you is in a nursing home. It's kind of...um...obnoxious. Actually, wait, scratch that. It's BENEATH YOU. You are WAY too smart and sophisticated for that kind of humor. Don't stoop to our level, periculum.

Posted by: Section220 | July 21, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hmm.... using reverse psychology on Periculum... nice. Don't think it'll work though. You can add indifference to his list of traits!

He does lead the league in obscure references though... if not for the cruel and unnecessary abuse of his fellow bloggers he'd be damned entertaining!

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

More than likely he will end up being someone the Nats will let go that will come back to haunt them. Because of the "educamated" fans on this site. :)

------

I don't think The Plan includes any provision for listening to us. Although at this point, it couldn't hurt...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Besides I prefer Kant and Pirandello (not his politics). Doubt you even know who they are, now do you?


Posted by: periculum | July 21, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Didn't they play for the Boston Braves in the late '40s? =0

Posted by: Intrudr | July 21, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'll apologize, 506. I called for Milledge's head. And while I'm pretty stinkin happy with his replacement, indeed it has not gotten you more wins. I'm sorry.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 21, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

periculum is home from his summer middle school classes.

Posted by: surly_w | July 21, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Kant played for the Giants with Barry Bonds. Pirandello was the Red Sox 3B back in the 60's.

But I could be wrong...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Kant played for the Giants with Barry Bonds. Pirandello was the Red Sox 3B back in the 60's.

But I could be wrong...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dang! I knew it - my bad. Got confused with Who's On First!

Posted by: Intrudr | July 21, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Two baseball players are talking philiosophy, and one says, you know Pascal says that it's worth believing in God - when you die and if He's there, you go to heaven, if He's not there you are no worse off -- the other shakes his head and says well, I don't know, I knew Camilo, and he never would have said such a thing...

Posted by: Traveler8 | July 21, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I thought that we had hit rock bottom, but the performance of the team since the All Star game shows that we have further to fall. They continue to make fundamental and mental mistake, but the effort is even that much more lacking than before. First Bowden gets fired. The next to go was St. Claire, a well respected pitching go. Finally, Manny gets shown the door. The team seems to spiral deeper into the black hole with each move. I am shocked that the Lerners do not realize that the tone of any organization, particularly a complex and competitive one like a major league baseball team, is set at the top. Since they are the owners, they will not be firing themselves. However, the one move that they can and should do is to get rid of Kasten. He is the first to blame others and then deflect responsibility to Bowden, St. Claire and Acta. He knows nothing about baseball and had the good fortune of having a great GM in Atlanta. Despite the successes on the field, the team did poorly in attendance and profitability under Kasten. The only reason he is in Washington is not because of his skills and talents, but because Bud wanted someone to try to control the Lerners and support Bud's commissionership. If the Lerners are serious about changing the culture of the franchise and the direction of the team, they need to fire Kasten and bring in a real baseball person who can transform the direction of the team. The fans are alienated, as recent attendance against popular opponents has shown. The pieces are there to build a very successful franchise, both on the field and in the stands. It will not happen under Kasten and the longer the Lerners keep him in his position, the longer it will take to fix things!

Posted by: firestan | July 21, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I thought maybe NATS40 was so we would win 40 games. Ha ha.

Posted by: Ringle | July 21, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

outsider6

I hope you are right about Storen. It has been said on this site that his 3.8 ERA in his last year of college and his 3.6 ERA as a Nats are due to a couple bad outings. But he could be terrific as a possible closer--we will see.

My wish is that the Nats are going for the best available player (Storen was projected as a late first and chosen in the 10th overall slot). Storen and Holden could beat the projections, even though they signed for under-slot money. The guy the Nats passed up in the 2008 draft was rated much higher and had better stats than Storen.

So the hope here is that the pick of Storen is valid and that the $2.4 million saved compared to Crow's salary demands meant nothing. The Nats are only focused on getting the best player available. That's the hope.

Posted by: EdDC | July 21, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

He does lead the league in obscure references though... if not for the cruel and unnecessary abuse of his fellow bloggers he'd be damned entertaining!

Posted by: outsider6 | July 21, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse
--------------------------------------
outsider6: Did you just infer that periculum is Dennis Miller?

Posted by: BinM | July 21, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"It will not happen under Kasten and the longer the Lerners keep him in his position, the longer it will take to fix things! "

See my post of 11:00. It never ends does it? You all keep guaranteeing we are one scapegoat away from putting everything together. And with every scapegoat axing, we slip further and further.

Posted by: Section506 | July 21, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"See my post of 11:00."

I just did. Hear, hear.

Keep the faith, 506.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | July 21, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I echo a previous comment; thought there'd be more fans last night. Nats Park is dead. Mgmt needs to move fast on that. Anyone hearing anything about naming rights?

Posted by: thegraneys | July 21, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

thegraneys ask: "Anyone hearing anything about naming rights?"

I think it will be Exxon Screws the Earth at Nationals Park.

Posted by: EdDC | July 21, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

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