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A Need for Pitchers; A Plan to Juggle Them

Ultimately, the Nats got Livo. Good enough. He walked into the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon, and it just felt like he belonged. Only a veteran can walk around like that. A few players (Ronnie Belliard, Cristian Guzman) pulled up chairs next to Livo and caught up. Hitting coach Rick Eckstein approached him and said, "We can't beat you so you might as well join us."

The Livan Hernandez acquisition satisfied, at least temporarily, Washington's need for a veteran pitcher. But here are two other notes contained under the hot stove header entitled, Ongoing Search for Veteran Arm.

First, per interim manager Jim Riggleman:

* The Nats made a run at other recently released veterans, including Vicente Padilla and John Smoltz. Both expressed a preference to play for a contender.

Second:

* Even with the Hernandez acquisition, Washington believes that starting pitching -- especially veteran starting pitching -- is its greatest offseason need.

"Well you know I think Mike [Rizzo] and Stan [Kasten] have talked about it, and I agree," Riggleman said. "I think we need a little more veteran presence on our pitching staff. Livan is that type of guy. The names that went by, we had an interest in those guys -- [John] Smoltz and [Vicente] Padilla and those guys. But they can pick and choose where to go, and ... they wanted to get with a first-place club, a team that had a chance to be in the playoffs, so they chose the Cardinals and the Dodgers. But that's the type of guy we are identifying now, people like that over the winter that maybe we can talk to.

* All season, the Nats talked about protecting their young starting pitchers, and accordingly, those in the front office mapped a plan to limit their innings, even if it meant holding them out of action in September. Now, as the Nationals head toward the final month, a different conundrum has emerged. The team has at least eight starting pitchers (all currently on the 40-man roster) who might be in the big leagues come September when rosters expand. It doesn't have enough rotation spots for all of them.

Thus, a new plan: In September, according to Riggleman, Washington will reserve rotation spots for John Lannan, Craig Stammen, Garrett Mock, and the newly acquired Livan Hernandez. The fifth spot will be juggled unconventionally. Depending on the hot hand and the matchup, the Nationals will mix and match with J.D. Martin (the current fifth starter), and Class AAA Syracuse pitchers Collin Balester, Shairon Martis and Ross Detwiler.

Though Riggleman didn't assure that Balester, Martis and Detwiler would all join the Nationals when rosters expand, he was ready for the possibility.

"That fifth slot we'll just be monitoring all of them to see where they are with their innings and maybe match up with the ballclub we're facing," Riggleman said. "Do we want a left-hander throwing so we could put Detwiler in there? Do we want a right-hander throwing so it could be Balester or Martis? It gives us an opportunity to play around with that, and the guys who aren't starting could pitch out of the bullpen."

General Manager Mike Rizzo was not willing to name the pitchers who will be called up, but he guaranteed this much: The Nationals will carry more than five starters in September, and they'd like to see all of them start at least a game. "I do believe we'll mix and match," Rizzo said.

Because of numerous off days in September, Riggleman said, a six-man rotation is not a possibility.

"Steve McCatty and I talked about that a little bit," Riggleman said. "The problem with that is every Monday for a while is going to be off soon. So now you're starting every seven or eight days because it's a six-man rotation and an off day. It just gets a little too much for guys to have that much time in between. I think we'll probably go four guys slotted and then play with that fifth spot, whoever we wanted to match up with."

* Nyjer Morgan, who has been battling the flu, was feeling better on Wednesday, but Riggleman held him out of the lineup for the second consecutive game. Morgan will likely start on Thursday afternoon.

* First baseman Nick Johnson, traded to Florida on July 31, is back on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Class AA Harrisburg pitcher Aaron Thompson, acquired in the Johnson deal, has a 2.78 ERA (22 innings) in four starts since joining the organization. He has an 0-2 record, but has walked six and struck out 23.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 26, 2009; 7:36 PM ET
 
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Next: Vintage Livan. Vintage Bullpen.

Comments

Why not use the young arms out of the bullpen? Isn't that the way it used to be done?

Posted by: cabraman | August 26, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Great to see Livo back in the Nats uniform!

Posted by: paklein84 | August 26, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Nice start Livan!

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

bases jacked no outs and we only scratch across 1 run? At least Livo was looking good w/ 2 Ks and a flyout.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 26, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Bynum's time is gone. His get up and go got up and went. 30!!!! Sheesh.

Peri or someone else. Please show me one game that Mike Morse ever played at second base, despite the Chiefs calling him a 2B. He never has played there, not once, and he never will.

He's a corner or OF guy. End of story, morning glory.

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

Bynum probably also deserves a chance ... and his fielding might help? I assume he is a better fielder at second base than Morse?

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

A 5-or-6 man rotation, based on matchups could work for the last month of the season. The question is, how many guys will get called up, and who will they be?

The team has some variables with a few 60-day DL assignments still open (Flores, JZimmerman, Olsen, Mattheus, T.Young) that could expand the roster beyond the standard 25/40. Montz (C-HAR), and Desmond (SS-SYR), are the only other "every-day" players currently on the 40-man. Among the pitchers, the team has Strasburg (SP-unassigned), Martis (SP-SYR), Estrada (SP-SYR), Detwiler (SP-SYR), Balester (SP, SYR), Atilano (SP-SYR), and Chico (SP-HAR) as available options. Another handful of "every-day" players and relievers may be worth a look as well.

The first week of September 2009 could be interesting in terms of where the FO thinks the future lies.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

So, how much *are* they paying Livan, anyway? Not that it matters, just wondering.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Dibble just reminded us that the "Billy Goat Curse" on the Cubs was prompted by the team 86'ing an especially (and effectively, I might add) vindictive fan.

I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Livan is so calm, I like watching him.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I love Livan. I'm not saying he's the answer for 2010 or anything. But he's a darn easier to watch tonight than Bally Star serving up 400-foot home runs. If you don't like Livo, I think you've got a problem with people.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Nick on the Marlins' disabled list. Who could have anticipated that? Wow. Shocker. Another well-timed Rizzo move.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

nova_g: I think you & I are in agreement regarding S. Bynum - 29yo, .260BA+/-, 18E in 120+GP in 2009. If the Nationals call him up for a "cuppa coffee" in September, so be it, but he's not a part of the future. Sadly, Desmond strikes me as more of the same - Hitting well in SYR, but 27E in 83GP so far in 2009 is not good.

However, AGonz was error-free at 2B through 8/14; He may only be a #8 hitter, but at least he fields the position, and seems to work well w/Guzman at SS. WIth Viera-2010 to work on his DP-pivot, he might be more of a solution than most of the commenters here give him credit for.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo's done everything right. I feel bad for NJ.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Haha Nyjer doesn't look sick :)

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"soft ball", "soft ball". His pitches are averaging around 81MPH. JD Martin 88-90. Its all about control and technique dudes.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Sec3: A waiver / DFA resign is usually signed for the current ML minimum ($415K, pro-rated for time left). He'll cost the Nationals about $87k for 2009.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

"soft ball", "soft ball". His pitches are averaging around 81MPH. JD Martin 88-90. Its all about control and technique dudes.
Posted by: periculum |
-----------------------------
Your point being?

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"nova_g: I think you & I are in agreement regarding S. Bynum - 29yo, .260BA+/-, 18E in 120+GP in 2009. If the Nationals call him up for a "cuppa coffee" in September, so be it, but he's not a part of the future. Sadly, Desmond strikes me as more of the same - Hitting well in SYR, but 27E in 83GP so far in 2009 is not good."

BinM,

It does look like its Espinosa at short. But "what's at second"? Lambordozzi? Kobernus? With his power perhaps Bynum would be good there for a bit?

I think it should be just like the pitchers ...
The potential second baggers should all be "auditioned" and "interviewed". They should try Desmond at second, Espinosa at short. Variations with Bynum, Belliard, Guzman at second.

Its best to find out now.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

We interrupt Bob and Rob's ode to Livan with this Milton Bradley homerun.

Posted by: Section220 | August 26, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Dukes is playing himself right off of this club. Mr. Nonchalant.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I’m with you on AG’s skill at 2b, BUT I also like him a lot more than most at SS. He has an absolute gun. AG has made 0 errors in the majors at 2B (30+ games); BEFORE THIS YEAR, IN THE MAJORS, HE MADE 1 ERROR IN 63 GAMES AT SS (compare to Bynum, Desmond, God help us, and other SS) Yes, AG has made a lot of errors at SS this year, an anomaly. He is a slick-fielding SS and/or second baseman, with a gun arm, good-field.

nova_g: I think you & I are in agreement regarding S. Bynum - 29yo, .260BA+/-, 18E in 120+GP in 2009. If the Nationals call him up for a "cuppa coffee" in September, so be it, but he's not a part of the future. Sadly, Desmond strikes me as more of the same - Hitting well in SYR, but 27E in 83GP so far in 2009 is not good.
However, AGonz was error-free at 2B through 8/14; He may only be a #8 hitter, but at least he fields the position, and seems to work well w/Guzman at SS. WIth Viera-2010 to work on his DP-pivot, he might be more of a solution than most of the commenters here give him credit for.
Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

66 pitches 3 innings. He can't last long at this rate.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that scared me. That was Duke's ball so Gonzalez needs to get out of the way. He seemed kinda pissed that Dukes got it.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record ... I posted an opinion a few stories back about my disdain for Debbie Taylor's performance on MASN, but I want to be quick to disassociate myself from the subsequent idiotic comments about women not belonging in sports coverage. Good grief, there are plenty of bad male broadcasters and plenty of great female broadcasters. I just can't stomach the pandering, poorly conceived, awkwardly executed, and nauseatingly mind numbing interviews that Debbie Taylor is providing.

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 26, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

"Dukes is playing himself right off of this club. Mr. Nonchalant.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009"

He's in the top 5 according to 320 major leaguers of guys with lots of talent who have gotten the least from it.

We again see why.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

There goes know-it-all Elijah again, yapping and yapping at AG, after questionable fielding.

What was the name Tony Plush gave him?

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"The first week of September 2009 could be interesting in terms of where the FO thinks the future lies.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009"

We've already seen some based on who they are sending to the AZ Fall league. I am interested in seeing who the pitcher will be ... and the reserve.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm maybe getting mad helps? That was a great at bat by Dukes. He really worked the pitcher.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Dukes can protest all he likes, and Rob Dribble can make excuses on TV, but the simple fact is Dukes never had the ball. It would be interesting to know how Riggleman's conversation with the umpire went. Maybe something like, "Can you believe that guy? All that talent and he can't catch a simple fly ball? Thank you for listening while I pretend to argue the call."

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | August 26, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Just reading the paper, GoingGoing, just reading the paper. There are dozens and dozens of stories and features out there that spoke about them in exactly the same vein. The jugular one, in Bowden’s case.

“When MLB failed to sell the franchise during the 2005 season, Bowden maintained his job into 2006. During that time, sources familiar with the situation said, Bowden developed a CLOSE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Mark Lerner, son of real estate magnate Ted Lerner, the patriarch of the family that would buy the team.” Chico and Barry Sv, March 2, 2009


No problem with Mark Lerner and funny Nova_G can read his mind as far as how he feels today about Jim Bowden.
Posted by: GoingGoingGone | August 26, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

Are you sure you wouldn't like to see what Bynum can do? At the very least he will bring the right attitude with him.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Livan 70 pitches at the top of the 4th. Wonder if he will make it through 5?

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

you know this how?

Are you sure you wouldn't like to see what Bynum can do? At the very least he will bring the right attitude with him.

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Watch Soriano pound one out on his old team.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

i hate this commercial!

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

"you know this how?
Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009"

Ronnie Belliard told me.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

nova_g: I think I'm with you, in that I see AGonz as a part of the MI future in NatsTown. I really like him at 2B, and would be willing to see him get other opportunities at SS. He's got a good glove, and a very-good arm. Teams throughout the ages have proven that a steady, but singles-hitting infielder can be covered by other players in the lineup.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Great at bat by Guzman for the men who wear the Walgreen's logo!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | August 26, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Dukes was transferring the ball. Clumsily, for no good reason, and without paying enough attention, but he was in the act of removing it. Chickenbleep call.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

when did nationals journal become a stream of consciousness monologue?

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Guuuz! Taste the cold wood of a Guzman RBI, doubters!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Hi, guys. My take on Livan is that he's the same pitcher (exactly) that he was when he left DC in '06. Exactly the same. He was 9-8 with a 5.34 ERA then and is 7-89 with a 5.47 now.)and Same stuff. Same results. He's not what he used to be. His last good year was probably '05. He could still hit 89-90 then. But he's very useful. And I think he has 2-3 more good Livan-type years in him. What is "Livan type?"

'06 13-13 4.83 216ip/34s
'07 11-11 4.93 204/33s
'08 13-11 6.05 180/31
'09 7-8 5.47 135/23, 7-8 more starts.

How can a guy with an ERA over 5.00 for the last four years have a (winning) 44-43 record?

Partly it's "he's a winner, clutch pitcher, better in close games, bunts and hits well, etc."

But mostly it's just his percentage of quality starts. When he gets rolling, he has a good game. He gets other lineups muttering to themselves and feeds off it. When he has a bad night, it's sometimes really bad __5-6-7-8 runs. But half the time, he wins and the team wins. And I think he'll be that way with the Nats. Do they need 31/33 starts, 185/200 innings, and 11-11 record with a 4.90/5.30 ERA? In '10, probably. By '11, sure hope not.

This year, Livan has 12 quality starts in 23 starts __52%. Only one Nats starter, Lannan (15/26) is even close. Nobody else is over 40% (Martis, 6/15). Aside from Lannan, all the rest of the Nats staff has 31 quality starts in 100 games.

THAT is why their records are so bad despite the team's fine offense. They often pitch respectably (for rookies) but they only pitch well enough to WIN about a third of the time. Livan does it more than half the time. I'm not worshipping the 'quality start stat.' Create your own standard. Livcan will come out much higher than any Nat except Lannan.

Also, Livan goes 7 innings or more far more often than any Nats pitcher __eight times in 23 starts. Ballester, Zimmermann, Stammen, Mock, Detwiler, Cabrera and Martin have only gone 7 innings six times in 74 starts. They almost NEVER give the bullpen an easy 0-1-or-2 IP night. Livan gets KOes occassionally. But overall he's easier on your bullpen.

Because his bad games can make his ERA fluctuate (and pitching in Colorado inflated it one year), it's easy to think that Livan has "better or worse" seasons. He doesn't. He's the same. Exactly the same, at least the last four years. He's an average big league pitcher who can have a .500 winning percenatage and, even at 34 or whatever age he is, pitch about 200 IP. For his whole career, he has averaged 53% quality starts. In '06-'07-'08 he had 50 QS in 98 games (51%). This year, 52% entering lastr night. The major league average for QS is 49% __much better than every Nat except Lannan, but not quite Livan.

Regardless of how tonight works out for him in Chicago (and he's thrown 85 pitches through 4 which isn't good, even for him), the Nats should be patient with him and consider him very seriously for next season. That is, unless, with Zimmermann hurt and Strasburg unproven, they think they have five starters who are better than 11-11, never miss a start, have 17 QS in 33 games and 11 games with 7IP or more. (IMO, they probably don't.)

Of course, if his last three bad starts in NY mean that his arm is suddenly dead, that's different. Someday, it'll die. But it looks just the same to me. And he's always had brief slumps when his mechanics got off and he "misplaced a pitch," and needed a week or two to "find it" again.

I enjoy Livan a lot and hope the young pitchers, especially the RHers with marginal stuff, like Stammen and Martin, can lean a lot. Martis told me he wants to learn the swing-back fastball. Except Maddux, Livan has one of the best. Mock is more a stuff pitcher, at this point, but maybe he can pick up some tricks, too. JMO. Hope to see some of you at the chat tomorrow. Cheers.

Posted by: Thomas Boswell | August 26, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Dibs does read this! Hey Rob!
And he likes the Livo trade, too.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Signing. Livan signing. The trade comes later.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Boz. Your analysis is spot-on. As usual.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

That's funny Ponce, The curly W is exactly like the Walgreens W.

Posted by: chris88 | August 26, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

bisquit: I think Debbie is being used poorly by MASN - Perhaps if she were allowed to think for herself, viewers might get a better Q&A on her snapshot interviews during the game, and on her occaisional extended post-gamers as well.

She might have (or develop) the "chops", but she hasn't been allowed to use them; Sadly, a lot of female "sportscasters" seem to get that treatment early in their careers.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

And hey, Boz!
Question: Is Riggleman to managing what Livan is to pitching? Because if they can get to .500, everybody gets to keep their jobs.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Livan is looking anything but dead in the fifth.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Boswell's post is too long. ;( Too tired to read.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the game on delay, so I'm posting this without knowing what has happened or what others have said, but it's just disgusting how Bob 'n Rob have been fawning over Livo the first few innings. Ok, yes, he's a veteran, and I'm certainly not opposed to the decision to sign him, but come on, the guy is not the second coming or even a hall of fame pitcher.

Posted by: Section222 | August 26, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

"when did nationals journal become a stream of consciousness monologue?
Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 9:34 PM"

I think it was just after the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

omg what a bunch of whiners in here tonight!

"It's tooo lo-ong." "He's too o-oold."
"Too stream-of-consciousness." "It's got too many notes."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"The first week of September 2009 could be interesting in terms of where the FO thinks the future lies.
Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009"

We've already seen some based on who they are sending to the AZ Fall league. I am interested in seeing who the pitcher will be ... and the reserve.
Posted by: periculum |
--------------------
peri: The AFL postings are normally reserved for either mid-level MiLB players who the orginization wants a closer look at, or older "prospects" coming out of college.

It helps shape the next-years' Spring-Training invitations, but has little effect on the 40-man roster in the off-season.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Sec3

that's not exactly what i meant.

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

"The first week of September 2009 could be interesting in terms of where the FO thinks the future lies.
Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009"

We've already seen some based on who they are sending to the AZ Fall league. I am interested in seeing who the pitcher will be ... and the reserve.
Posted by: periculum |
--------------------
peri: The AFL postings are normally reserved for either mid-level MiLB players who the orginization wants a closer look at, or older "prospects" coming out of college.

It helps shape the next-years' Spring-Training invitations, but has little effect on the 40-man roster in the off-season.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Gonzalez needs to work on some stuff...

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

And another quality start.

Livan has only thrown more than 116 pitches once this season with the Mets. (127 in CG win over Nats of Manny). He's at 116 now. So it probably wouldn't hurt to get him out now.

It's a myth that Livan always has huge pitch totals. He's higher than most pitchers, but nothing like the insane days of his youth. In '98, he had 11 starts in which he averaged 140 pitches! Including a 152 and 153. But that was long ago.

Posted by: Thomas Boswell | August 26, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Livo. All he did was give us a quality start. Nice job...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

It was funny, though. Hi, peeps. How did Livo look tonight? Just got home.
========================================

Sec3

that's not exactly what i meant.

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

mlbtraderumors talks about how the Nationals are going to pursue veteran pitchers in the offseason. Drew Silva mentions names like Lackey, Berdard, & Harden but says they will want large amounts of money and to play for a contender. Drew Silva proposes Randy Wolf and Doug Davis.

I think both could work, but Randy Wolf is a Type A free agent and would cost the Nats their 2nd round pick. Not sure if he would be worth that.

Posted by: wrw0601 | August 26, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

thx for the comments, boz. livan did just great and we're in the game, thx to him. the young righthanders have a real opportunity to listen and watch.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

So who managed the Arizona League team that the Nats played on last year? Eckstein! Wonder who it is this year.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

knew the nats should have saved some of last night's runs.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 26, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

wrw: 2010 FA speculation is just that - speculation. mlbtr can pump out all the crap they want; It means nothing until rosters are set at the end of the season, and offers are tendered in November.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Got the Shift key unstuck. Two runs guys, just two runs please.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 26, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

guh... does Bergmann ever NOT give up runs anymore? Talk about a guy who's stock has plummeted. Remember when he was one of those "young arms of the future"?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 26, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The "reverse psychology" hasn't worked tonight - Sosa is in, and the 9th inning approaches. G'night Gracie.

Posted by: BinM | August 26, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Bob Carpenter aarrrrggghh! I am soooo tired of Carpenter being a manure salesman on players that the Nationals either wanted or had (Strasburg, Johnson, Soriano, etc.). Soriano was a 40/40 guy here and according to Carps you'd think he could barely hit above the Mendoza line! I think Carpenter has been reminded that he works for the LERNERS, cause I see no reason for his Philly hate.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | August 26, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

just so disappointing. I was rooting for him... as accessible as he was being a part-time NJ contributor and that 1 hitter against the Braves where Smoltz threw a tantrum and injured himself was brilliant. All that and he doesn't even look like a serviceable arm out of the pen most nights now.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 26, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

and now...another appearance by the arsonist-in-residence.

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Sunshine is downright cloudy on Soriano. Too bad he's not half as critical on the home side.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, he did take after Sosa. I mean, what WAS that?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Livo can field so well-- no bunt sacrifice he gets the guy at 2nd, Sosa forgets to field his position? "A little erratic"?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Now Bob 'n Rob are dumping on Alberto Gonzales, Dibble with his know it all tone: "Some guys auditioned, and they failed, and they are gone." Somehow I don't remember them heaping the same kind of derision on Kearns even though he was consistently bad all year, and was playing in a power hitting position. But I guess AG isn't a great guy in the clubhouse.

Posted by: Section222 | August 26, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Sosa is KILLING us...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Kears has pics of Rob's butt buddy.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | August 26, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

1 run down is manageable. 3 runs, not so. Good night all...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The collapse continues. Thanks, Dukes - your fielding STINKS!

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I think Dukes needs to be drug-tested after this game.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

SO we just give up and leave Sosa in?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Dukes caught it ... he just dropped it while he was transferring it to his bare hand.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | August 26, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

That decision was made when they left Dukes in.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | August 26, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the livo thoughts, boz. I agree - he is what he is, but I don't think you can really excuse the nights he gets bombed out early for the nights his slop gets through six with less than 3ER. His MLB average rubber arm has value, but really part of the issue for the nats is to see which/if any of the young mediocrities has a chance of being something more - if mock is really going to have potential I'd rather watch him struggle through than watch livo be livo. Besides that, comparing quality starts really isn't apples to apples - all the young guys are pitch counted and innings limited - if they get to five full with 90 thrown, they're likely to be coming out, where livo's just warming up. Besides that, I'm not sure w-l is a fair measure, since livo's pitched for better teams - though I'dhave to go look at gamelogs to be sure.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | August 26, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of saying it -- DFA Sosa before the team gets back on the bus to the hotel. He doesn't care, can't pitch and is collecting a paycheck only. Kearns has hit miserably this year but he doesn't fall asleep in the field or duck on a suidcide squeeze or just plain not care -- that's what distinguihes him from AG who is a miserable excuse for a ballplayer, both at bat and in the field. Ray Knight could still outplay him today.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | August 26, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer must be really sick.

==========================================================
That decision was made when they left Dukes in.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | August 26, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

All I wanted from Dukes was for him to play well enough to be trade-able. Thanks Dukes! Kiss my mit!

Posted by: soundbloke | August 26, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

@grclarkdc1: Can this be the second guy named Alberto Gonzalez to be run out of DC?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Fundamentals, folks! If Sosa had covered first on the ground ball, and if Dukes broke correctly and caught the fly ball to right, we'd be out of this inning and the damage would have been much less. This is painful to watch. Now, Sosa walks two in a row to load the bases. Get someup up in the pen, Riggs, while you still have a little bit of chance in this game. Sheesh...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

NOW it's over...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Guess Riggs is just gonna let Sosa run up his ERA.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Good night, nurse. Nice hanging breaking ball on 0-2, Sosa! At this point, leave him in so we don't waste another arm.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | August 26, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Riggs, wait a little longer for the hook next time, why don't you? Sosa should have been pulled after his fielding goof. Oh, and retiring only one of seven batters didn't help either.

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

jdschulz50

And is there's any "justice" it will take this AG just as long to find a new job as it did the one who was a miserable excuse for an Attorney General

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | August 26, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

BGinVA: Didn't you say "good night" about 4 runs ago?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

This was a while back, but I laughed at the 'too many notes' reference!

Posted by: misschatter | August 26, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

yeah, but I'm too lazy to get up and turn off the TV :) Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, which I think is a requirement to be a fan of this team.

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

BG

you're just a card-carrying natsochist, that's all.

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

There's a silver lining in every dark cloud:

There are ** a lot ** of bullpen prospects in SYR and Harrisburg that want these jobs. Starting with Drew Storen. It is highly likely they will given preference over retreads like Villone and Sosa, and apparent failures like Bergmann.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"Natsochist!" Nice, Surly_W.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | August 26, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

thanks, missc. and welcome back.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Yuck. That's not the warm DC rain. That's cold windy Chi rain.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Marmol walks this guy and the faithful at Wrigley will be booing again. Friendly Confines? I haven't seen it. Not this year. And if these are the real Chicago Cubs fans, they can kiss...ah, you know the rest.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

jd, yeah, that was weird how the Cubs fans booed after a blowout inning. Maybe they know something we don't know?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 26, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Two on, none out. Let the comeback begin!
Oh, sorry, must be the natsochist in me talking.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | August 26, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

"There are ** a lot ** of bullpen prospects in SYR and Harrisburg that want these jobs."

How is this different? Before now they got veterans who were willing to "sign on" for a pay check. Now guys are going to want to play on this team and Rizzo will be picky ... hopefully engendering a different attitude.

That in the end is all we can hope for this year.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

At some point Guzman shouldn't be allowed to bat second. They need a player who doesn't mind working the pitcher and taking a walk instead of a strike out.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Boz. Delighted to read your posts tonight.

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 26, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

18 games to 100 losses.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

"mlbtraderumors talks about how the Nationals are going to pursue veteran pitchers in the offseason. Drew Silva mentions names like Lackey, Berdard, & Harden but says they will want large amounts of money and to play for a contender."

With a key trade or two this team is a contender. They have to know that better than we do.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I still think there will be deals made this season. Rizzo said just as much to Debbie during the game. She's not worthless, guys. She's a decent reporter, IMO. Get off her back.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

That was a quality start by Hernandez. Its the bullpen that didn't back him up ... and the offense petered out after last night's fireworks.

It may be worth it to make deals now given Rizzo's uncanny abilities ... (at least this year, next may be a different story) and the desperation of some of the teams in contention.

Perhaps the September call ups along with some trades will demonstrate some potential for next year.

As for Bryce Harper. I don't think we should to wait five years for the guy to be old enough to drink a beer and join a major league club.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Boz,

I know you like reminiscing about the windy city ... but this city still is the only one in the major leagues that has a high school named after a hall of famer. No one in Chicago played baseball on the governor's front lawn as they did not the white house lawn during the Grant Administration. They didn't write "Damned Yankees" to bewail the fate of the Cubbies. At least they never lost Wrigley field or their team.

DC, the Nation's capital deserves a winning baseball team.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

You said it all, periculum, you said it all.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 26, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I seek not to persecute Debbi Taylor alone, but her producers as well. I strongly suspect she is capable of more insightful and interesting interviews, but my appraisal of the overall performance stands. When she fails to ask good questions, she does not fail by herself and when she succeeds in eliciting some interesting information she does not succeed by herself.

The interview process does not start and stop when you click the camera on and off. There should be preparation of thoughtful questions, let the subject know the general direction of your questions, and then listen to the answers and respond accordingly. Granted she only gets 60 seconds at a time, but that is not unique in the industry.

The challenge to MASN in general and Debbi and her producers in specific is to re-examine the approach. Do you need to use air time to ask leading questions that are often longer than the answers they are intended to elicit? Is it a best practices approach or even a pleasing style to ask "Can you tell us [fill in the blank]?" or "Just how inmportant was it to you to [fill in the blank]?" or would it be better to use that air time to uncover facts rather than predictable feelings.

There will be still be bad interviews if the subject is uncooperative. For example, if you ask Adam Dunn if he's doing anything differently and he says simply "no" and leaves you hanging, it's hard to go anywhere with that. But, if you anticipate "no" as one of the possibile answers you can follow up with, "If its not something different you are doing, then why do you think you are hitting 40 points above your career average this year?".

I don't dislike Debbi, but there is an opportunity for improvement.

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 27, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I like this plan and I think going into 2010, Lannen, Stasburg, Livo, veteran free agent (we should have signed Randy Wolf this past offseason) and whoever (Mock/Stammen/Detweiler/Martis) sounds like a great rotation to me.

Posted by: markfd | August 27, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Veteran presence is another of baseball's many myths. Its about talent. Livan's 5.50 ERA and 1.59 WHIP speak, poorly, about his ability. On the current staff, Lannan, Stammen, Martin and Mock, only Mock's Mock is worse.

If the Naitonals added him to spread out starts for the rookies, fine. If this acquisition is a precursor for next year, I hate it.

Livan is a veteran which, means nothing more than he is old. He cannot pitch any longer.

Veteran presence is not something that the team should be paying for. Hire another coach for that. The team should be paying for talent.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 27, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

No one is mentioning Clippard. Management is talking about their eight starters, a laughable number. Clip could be stretched out to start - he's better than most of the current starter crop - or used to close games. MacDougal's magic mirror will break eventually. In one stretch Clippard struck out 15 batters in 9 innings over 5 days. No one else on the Nats can match that talent.

Posted by: mockingbyrd7 | August 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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