Nationals Baseball: Broken

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Broken

I have nothing really new to say. The series is lost. The season grows ever closer to being the same.

Matt Williams repeats the same mistakes over and over again. I can sit here and guess once more at what he was probably thinking. How he wasn't crazy (well until Janssen came in in the 9th), how these weren't terrible decisions, just bad ones, etc. etc. The same stuff I've been doing for the past few weeks. But what's the point? When someone makes a mistake, however minor, you hope they learn from it. Matt Williams isn't learning.

It's not even to the point where these things are happening infrequently so you can maybe understand why he would stick to his guns. These things are happening day in and day out. Pitchers are disappointing necessitating early hooks that never come. Crucial situations are happening in the back half of games crying out for expanded roles for your two back end relievers which they never get. The Nats are playing close games more often that not, meaning each at bat should be carefully considered, but they never are.

Behind the fact that he keeps making these mistakes is the realization that no one must be telling him otherwise. Matt Williams isn't a maverick. I don't see him outright rejecting help from his coaches. I expect he tows the line with the GM. Why isn't someone grabbing him by both shoulders, shaking wildly and saying "Stop saving Papelbon for save situations that never come" But why should we be surprised that the team isn't doing this? The Nats are in fact only highlighting his weaknesses by limiting their September call-ups. It's a mess from the top down.  This is what makes the comeback potential of this team, even when healthy, limited. They have to win on talent alone, because nothing else is going to give them a boost. No trades, no hot hands, no smart managing.

The Nats may still pull off a miracle. You work backward. They need to be within 3 of the Mets by that last series. There's 20 games between that and the first Mets series. Picking up 4 games is, very unlikely, but not insane. To do that they need to be within 7 coming out of the first Mets series. That means you could even get to the Labor Day series 10 games back and hold out hope. That's a little bit into "every last thing must go right" territory for me. I prefer 5-6 out coming out of the LD series, and 8 games coming in, which gives a loss or two of wiggle room (but really - just a loss or two). But if you want to write off the team because of Williams and everything else... I can't tell you that's insane either. Missing the playoffs is the safer bet for sure.


Notes

If that inanity wasn't enough in comes "Joe Ross should be shutdown" talk. If he's going to get injured, he's going to get injured, be it this year or next, unless you are planning to pitch him 100 innings for the rest of his career. If you want to shut him down because he looked lost and you think Fister gives the Nats a better chance next time around, fine. If you want to shut him down to protect his arm then brush up on your Washington Nationals history.

Bryce Harper was walked for the 100th time last night. The next closest Nat has 33. THIRTY-THREE! That's another point in the 1000 points of darkness that have covered this season in eternal night. The injuries took away all the other walk threats in the Nats line-up.

I promise you Trea Turner will get a hit. I won't promise you Trea Turner will be a good major leaguer next year. Would I bet on him being at least usable, like slightly below average or better? Yeah, I'd bet on that. Would I promise you though? No. Not next year.

Drew Storen stinks (hitting a guy 1-2? come on man) but since you were probably watching the Nats broadcast, I'll let you in on something the Cardinals TV broadcast picked up on immediately, and Storen explained post-game. Lobaton was shouting to Storen "Three Three Three".  Why? Don't know. But I do know as a pitcher in that situation you trust your catcher. Storen can't see what's going on behind him. The runner on 2nd could have tripped. Rendon could be way late covering first. Lobaton has to tell him where to go.

108 comments:

Miles Treacy said...

I really don't blame drew for that throw. It was on the bag, Escboar got caught with the runner already on him, but Lobaton was definitely screaming three so as a pitcher you just turn and fire. I do take issue with Escobar taking his precious time running after the ball.

MW's decisions are definitely frustrating to watch every night lately, but I'm starting to turn that frustration to the owners and Rizzo. They really handcuffed this team by not getting reinforcements when everyone went down. If they really were treating this as a win or go home year, they sure didn't act like it at the deadline. The whole we were getting regulars back line gets old. There has been zero 'Plan B' with this team all year and feels like every year really. Not calling up a ton of arms yesterday was icing on the cake.

Rob Evans said...

Like an insane person, I continue to hold out hope that one DC sports team...just one, will show some semblance of competence and start winning. I fear this won't be the case in my life time.

Sigh.

Fire MW, he may even be more incompetent than RGIII at his craft.

JC said...

I think last night solidified for me the need to dramatically remake the team. I would trade Storen, Stras, Escobar at a minimum and restock the team for 2016-2017. Rebuild the team around Bryce

Anonymous said...

This is why you don't say things like "Where's my ring?"

Anonymous said...

You guys are past the Denial and Anger stages of grief and on to Bargaining. "Man if they could just be within 3 for that last series! Even 10 out for the first H2H would work!" Depression will hit soon... and then Acceptance..... that you guys will be handcuffed by paying Scherzer 35 million when he's 35,36,and 37. It really was suppose to be your year this year.... At least the Nats got the Paper World Champions trophy back in April.

a m s said...

Nats are starting to remind me of the Redskins.

Focus on the hype.

Deliver turds on the field.

Question if the obviously overblown hype was justified.

Rinse & repeat.

W. Patterson said...

"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."

And if you don't catch the ball, or if you catch it and then throw it at the mascot . . .
Or if you DON'T hit the ball, or if you hit the ball and then do something stupid after you get on base . . .

And someone in the Nats' organization also quotes LaLoosh when he said that you gotta play the game with "fear and ignorance."

(sigh) I'll still watch and will be at two games this weekend, but that's only because maybe, just maybe the Nats'll beat the Braves. And that would make me feel really, really good.

Rob Evans said...

@ Anon 7:13AM - 1986 is getting further and further in the rear view. You trolling our site is making that more than obvious.

Anonymous said...

@Rob Evans Hey man I wouldn't be trolling your site if you guys didn't start counting off rings like Lebron, Wade and Bosh

Rob Evans said...

Did you even hear the interview when he said it? It's clear it was made in jest. You're just looking for a reason to come here if that's all you have.

JC said...

Funny to see Mets fans trolling after they got bent over last night.

Robot said...

Last night was just painful to watch. The Ross meltdown was bad, but the team recovered. The offense has mostly been there the last few games.

As before, it's a completely unreliable bullpen, a manager unable to do anything beyond "this is my eighth inning guy, this is my closer," shoddy fielding.

Aaarrrrgh!!


The season isn't over until they're statistically eliminated, but come on. These are the games you can't give away. Especially when the Nymets lose.

Anonymous said...

@RobEvans At least we see a couple championships in our rear view mirror

Robot said...

Aldo, yeah, the whole ring comment has been blown absurdly out of proportion.

Rob Evans said...

Yea...but you still live in NY. Nothing could suck that bad.

cass said...

Are we going to have to go to the Mets blog and start trolling you guys back recounting the legendary history of Mets chokejobs or can y'all please STFU about the rings?

This is not a general interest baseball blog. This is not Bryce Harper's twitter. This is a Nats fan blog. I'm tired of having to scroll past your infantile comments? Just about every person here knows the Nats have little chance of winning the division at this point. And even if we thought they could, so what? Do you want people coming in and trying to ruin your enjoyment of a disappointing season, trying to squash reasons to enjoy (heh) the game a few more weeks?

You have a problem with the best hitter on the planet, whom your pitchers are terrified of throwing a ball within a parsec of the strike zone to? Fine. Go troll Bryce on Twitter. He'd actually enjoy that, I think.

But here? No. It's to the point where I think we should probably turn off Anon comments.

Anonymous said...

@Rob Evans You're right. I hate living in the cultural capital of the world where people from every corner of the earth dream of just visiting just one time. You got me...

WiredHK said...

Yes, Anon, 1 our of every 10 posters here is a wild optimist all the time and you choose to characterize us all as "counting off our rings like Lebron" -- that's a special level of baseball insight. My guess remains that you're not even a Mets fan.

As for the post, Harper, that about sums it all up. There isn't anything to add, someone just needs to turn the lights off and close up the shop on 2015. I hope some of you caught MW on the Junkies this AM. If you didn't, go listen to the podcast when you can. He was angry, defensive and rigid. It was awkward and tough to listen to, but made for entertaining radio...

Anonymous said...

Was anyone else hoping Williams would put in den Dekker as a defensive sub for werth in the 8th? Especially since werth had made the last out in the top of the inning......

Harper: your thoughts on making infield defensive subs in the late innings with a lead? Rendon to 3b, Espinosa to 2b?

Anonymous said...

@cass You can try if you want. We get hundreds of comments on every post we'll just drown you out because we have more than 20 eleven year old fans.

Anonymous said...

@ Rob Evans, Live in DC but grew up in Queens, the fan base here was already putting up NL East champion banners when Scherzer was signed. You guys thought the Nats would go on a run like to 95-05 Braves! Watching the crash is much more satisfying than watching the hype bubble get blown.

Anonymous said...

It is not all we Mets fans have. Your team reeks of arrogance. Similar to the Yankees, except you haven't won squat. I won't go touting 1986 if that would make you feel better, but for the players to act like their stuff don't stink when the they have shown otherwise on the field deserves every bit of criticism. At least Davey was likeable - MW just makes that "Natitude" more pungent and less desirable. Being a Mets fan my whole life and growing up in Queens, now living in DC - it is very amusing to watch this fan base. My view of your organization is that you have a very HIGH sense of falase entitlement - a view that is certainly shared by the rest of the league. Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

Hey JC, we got bent over and laughed that our crappy pitchers sucked..... Looks like your team has gotten been Bent OVER ALL YEAR (by your own manager).............LMAOOOOOO

Nats just suck, can't gain ground on a night they had a lead late and Mets shat the bed.....

Whomever sent this link to our blog thanks! Mets Blog usually have 500-3,000 comments on a given night...Does't seem to be many Nats fans that give two craps in here

LEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGOOO METS

Will said...

Can we please have all anon comments turned off? I have never posted here and will probably never post again, but the trolling over the last couple of weeks has really removed the enjoyment from reading one of the most insightful blogs I have found on the net.

Anonymous said...

HEY "CASS"..............Lookout for "Where's MY RING CHANTS" When you losers roll into Queens.... I'll be in the Pepsi Porch leading the CHARGE


NA NA NA NA NA NA HEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD-BYE

Anonymous said...

Harper, I agree that perhaps the two most distressing things about MW's repeated failures are: (1) he doesn't seem to be learning from his mistakes; and (2) nobody (apparently) is pointing them out to him. Sometimes good process begets bad results. In such a case, sticking to your guns makes sense. Here, bad process is leading to bad results (or at least facilitating bad results) yet the process remains unchanged. It's mind boggling. Twice in the last week he's brought in Fister to relieve a failing starter in the early innings WITH THE PITCHER'S SPOT UP THE NEXT INNING, effectively forcing Fister to hit (this of course doesn't count the time he PH'd Fister voluntarily). This is just inconceivably moronic in the context of a close game you're trying to win.

Also, the point about reserving Papelbon for save situations that may never come acknowledges only part of why it's an idiotic practice. Holding Papelbon out for a save situation presupposes that he will be pitching with a lead. Yes that lead may never come. But if it does, pitching with a one run lead on the road in the 9th inning or later is EASIER than pitching in the same situation in a tie game! If you give up one run in the former situation, the game goes on. If you give up one run in the latter situation, you lose. Reserving Papelbon for the save situation almost necessarily means you're CHOOSING to pitch the better pitcher in the easier situation and the weaker pitcher in the harder situation. The only way to defend it would be lineup related, i.e., "the better players weren't up in the 9th so we were holding Papelbon out to face those guys." But of course, MW says simply "we want Papelbon to get saves."

MW is terrible, awful, dreadful, and getting worse, not better. He has to go. Period. I don't really care if it's now or in the offseason, but he just isn't a major league caliber manager. He makes too many terrible mistakes and he repeats the same ones over and over.

Al said...

You can always just read the post and not the comments... how about that?

Robot said...

Yuni on 3B remains one of the worst managerial decisions in a season teeming with terrible managerial decisions.

Anonymous said...

@Will You know I can just make a blogger account right?

Anonymous said...

Not sure if people saw this, but MW actually told reporters that he didn't use Papelbon in the ninth because the game was tied and "we want him closing games out": https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nationals-bullpen-implodes-again-as-cardinals-rally-for-8-5-win/2015/09/02/17b6af98-50f3-11e5-933e-7d06c647a395_story.html

What about after Janssen gives up the double and the walk and is closing in on 50 pitches in two nights? At that point, you still don't think of using Paps because a loss when you need every win is better than using Paps when he can't get his precious save?

MW's memoir can be called "The Power of Rigid Thinking"

Froggy said...

12 yo Anon...

There, there...get it out...that's it...get it all out.

Feel better?

cass said...

Back to the topic at and:

I was listening to the Cards broadcast and it seemed like they were saying "3" was first base like in the scoring system. But clearly Drew thought third base, though they seemed to blame him for not understanding 3 meant first. Though... I think it meant 3rd, probably - isn't that how it usually works these days?

But, of course, the lead runner is basically meaningless there - you worry about getting the out first and foremost.

-

Even if you don't bring in Papelbon to start the 9th, why on earth wasn't he warming up to come in if/when Janssen couldn't get it done? You cannot leave Janssen in after Janssen walks another runner on. You have to bring Papelbon in. Not warmed up? Fine. Have a little catcher-pitcher mound conference and when the ump breaks it up, McCatty can walk out to give him a long-winded pep talk. You do what you have to do to not lose the game with Papelbon sitting in the bullpen.

Starting to feel the same way about Rizzo. Matt Williams is his guy. Fix it. We all know this is Mike Rizzo's team. He's the one ultimately responsible.

Al said...

The thing I hate the most about all the National Blogs is they never give credit to the Mets actually being the better team. It's always some excuse, the injuries, Matt Williams being a donkey... how about the fact that you guys are a .500 ball club? The All Star rotation you guys were suppose to have, you know.... was really an average one? The line up, outside of the bobble head like inflated ego of Bryce Harper, is average.
It's not that the Mets are lucky, or the Nats are unlucky... it's just the plain fact that you guys aren't any good and then didn't do anything about it to get better.
While on the complete opposite side of the coin the Mets saw an opportunity this year and took it by making some key trades at the deadline.
I'm not saying the Mets will be winning the NL East for the next 5 years, but they saw an opportunity and they took it, which is much more than what the Nats did the past few years.

Anonymous said...

"And he was asked whether, in a similar situation in the future, he might turn to Papelbon instead of Janssen.

'In the ninth inning in a tied game? No,' he said. 'If we score a run, we have to have somebody to close the game.'"

If I own a baseball team, I use this as a litmus test for prospective managers. If you agree with MW, you're not qualified to manage a baseball team and you don't get the job.

Matt said...

I've posted in here before (as a Mets fan) and let me apologize for all these "hey the mets are good let's rip the Nats."

I agree with all of the Nats posters in here, this is their fan blog. Let them vent. If you have something intelligent to say or a comment I am sure they wouldn't mind, but don't act like we have won anything. Our last two trips down this road ended awfully.

Now, with my quick comment - Like I've stated, I follow a lot of NL East blogs just to get thoughts from varying fan bases on what is going on. One conclusion I have come to his no matter what team you root for we all hate the way our bullpen is managed. Just last night, two scenarios played out. The Mets just scored 4 runs to make 6-4 and yet the bring in Parnell. Fast foward a couple of batters and the game was quickly out of hand. The Nats last night don't bring in Papelbon which in turn leads to a loss. This one day could have swung either way for either team, but year bullpen management by both of these managers is just mind boggling (I still can't wrap my head around the Nats usage of Papelbon from the August series but I digress). Bullpens win and lose you titles now more than ever and we've seen it just how important it has been in this NL East race over the last month.

anyway, I don't think the Nats are dead...it is close, but all the Mets have to do is win 1 game next week to keep the Nats from really gaining any ground.

Rob Evans said...

Apologies to the Nats fans for feeding the trolls. Won't happen again. I figure we won't to deal with much after they're eliminated anyway.

SM said...

Are you finished, kiddies?

Good.

Now I have a question for you, Harper. Given the way the Nats have played, particularly during this period of urgency--by the way, St. Louis commentators were flabbergasted at the Nats' play last night--why do you persist in pointing to the two Home-and-Home series with the Mets as crucial? Is it simply mathematical?

If anything, the Mets will probably euthanize the Nats' hopes in the first series. And quite frankly, the sooner they put the Nats out of their agony, the better. This teams's a mess, and the cleaning up won't be pleasant. Might as well start sooner than later.

Fries said...

@mets trolls

PLEASE go troll another blog like Nats Insider or something. You're attacking the only intelligent blog out there where we actually enjoy smart discourse. Nobody on this blog has EVER said the Mets weren't deserving of being where you are. We all agree that you saw an opening, made the moves at the deadline that mattered, and put yourself in a position to win. If you want to get up in arms about "infalted egos" and whatnot, go troll somewhere else where you actually have those inflated egos. This blog in my experience is actually quite cynical, so just move on. It's annoying

Nats4Life said...

Don't apologize for your fellow fans, Matt. We don't care what you think either. Go back to your lame Mets Blog and brag about 1986.

Al said...

@ Matt
Collins actually gave a pretty good reason for putting in Parnell, it was the bottom of the line up and he wanted to slot him in there to build his confidence since he just came off the DL. I'm actually OK with Parnell last night. It just didn't work out.

How the Nats are handling Storen and Papelbon is a complete mystery. Storen was already an effective closer before the trade. He had 29 Saves out of 31 chances, his SO9 was 10.8 and his ERA was 1.73. WHY do you trade for a known head case who doesn't know the definition of team? They could have when out and two or three really good middle relief guys and just stayed with Storen as their closer. It makes no sense to get Papelbon!

Anonymous said...

Your team reeks of arrogance. Similar to the Yankees, except you haven't won squat. I won't go touting 1986 if that would make you feel better, but for the players to act like their stuff don't stink when the they have shown otherwise on the field deserves every bit of criticism. At least Davey was likeable - MW just makes that "Natitude" more pungent and less desirable. Being a Mets fan my whole life and growing up in Queens, now living in DC - it is very amusing to watch this fan base. My view of your organization is that you have a very HIGH sense of falase entitlement - a view that is certainly shared by the rest of the league. Peace be with you

Will said...

Apparently I lied. It wasn't my first and last post. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry that Al told me I didn't have to read the comments if I didn't like them, and then turned around and said what he hates about this blog. Then maybe don't read it Al....how about that??

Al said...

You can cry and laugh at the same time!

Anonymous said...

There might be some entitlement/arrogance in the fan base (this is DC) but this blog itself is a welcome island of analytical cynicism in the sea of despair that has seen the Bad Ship Matt Williams just sink to the ocean floor.

Anonymous said...

MATT GO TO BED

Fries said...

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/09/02/matt-williams-puts-up-another-strong-performance-in-his-quest-to-get-himself-fired/

this article sums up our pain

blovy8 said...

Three means 1st base. Maybe these guys haven't taken infield practice ever. There was no play at third there. Ramos, OTOH had a shot if Escobar caught it, but also should have made a better throw - he did have time. Defense remains that Achilles heel in all this. Bottom five in defensive efficiency.

blovy8 said...

Having said that Werth played better at least.

Anonymous said...

Matt shares the "truth" on his decision to go with Janssen: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/09/02/matt-williams-strongly-defends-his-bullpen-strategy-after-crushing-loss-to-cardinals/

JC said...

When the Mets win the division they will have earned it. If I was a Mets fan though I would be very nervous about the playoffs. The Mets have a weak bullpen and most of the offensive explosion in August was against the worst teams in baseball. In August the Mets were swept by the Pirates and split a series with the O's who are now sub-500. I would say that both the Nats and Mets are similar in their weaknesses and neither is ready for a deep post season run.

The last two days have not dramatically changed my belief that the Nats could possibly still win the division. What it has done though it make me accept that even winning the division by a miracle run would then be followed by a quick exit thanks to our completely unreliable bullpen.

Metsfan said...

@JC Let's be honest, dude. Whoever wins the NL east is getting swept in the first round.

Anonymous said...

@blovy8 - maybe you haven't taken infield practice before. "3" means 3rd base. We're not talking about how to work a scoring card which might be the closest you've been to the game...

JC said...

@Metsfan - Agreed

Max David said...

A couple of items:

1) The whole "save your closers on the road until you have the lead" is complete bullshit! Like the Mets series what's the point of saving your closers......if you never even take the lead anyways! Saves are overrated, and as Shelby Miller (5-12 under 3 ERA), Nathan Eovaldi (14-2, low 4 ERA) and Drew Hutchinson (13-2 high 4's ERA) a pitchers win/loss record is incredibly meaningless and overrated. Get rid of the win/loss record for pitchers and saves and use your best reliever for the most high leverage situations and then if another one comes up later in the game, use your next best reliever and so forth. Terry Francona used his "closer" in the 5th or 6th inning once this year for Christ's sake! Old PBN wouldn't even use his 7th inning guy in the 6th inning, and his head would explode at the thought of using his closer there. These games matter!! Janssen threw like 50 pitches (mostly bad ones) on Monday, why do you even have him warming up, much less in a game we needed to win?? It's September 1, we can add 15 extra players to the team call up some ****ing relievers if your short on the bullpen arms.

2) I know it's noted by everyone, but Escobar is the worst 3b on the team so why does he continue to play third?? Maybe Rendon doesn't catch that throw either, but he'll make a better effort to go after the ball then Escobar's laxadasical Sunday jog after it. If Matt takes Harper out last year for jogging to first on a ball hit to the pitcher in April, why doesn't Matt replace Escobar for jogging after an errant throw in September??

3) The more I watch this team, and the fact we have a complete idiot as a manager, the more I realize we aren't doing anything in the playoffs anyways. We have no chance against the Cardinals, Pirates or Dodgers and will probably lose to the Cubs as well, so at this point I say let the kids (and Espinosa) get regular playing time for the rest of the year. Yah I know the division is still in reach Harper, but really of the Mets 30 remaining games 21 are against the Phillies, Reds, Marlins & Braves three of the 4 worst teams in baseball. I just can't see how they can make up 6.5. IF they do make a miraculous run (and at this point it would be miraculous) make it with Espinosa getting regular playing time

4) These anonymous Mets fans are completely annoying. Go back to your board you little pests!

Bjd1207 said...

@Metstrolls -

1. "You can try if you want. We get hundreds of comments on every post we'll just drown you out because we have more than 20 eleven year old fans." - Please keep demonstrating how much more mature you are

2. Seriously where is this arrogance you're talking about? Bryce's one joking ring comment? A 22 year old was overly confident in his team (in just that sentence, not the 7 preceding it)? Someone call the papers.

@Al - The reason we don't talk about the Mets team is because we're much more intersted in what WE'RE doing that can fix the problems we identify. If you want to read about how good the Mets are go back to your freaking Mets blogs. The rest of the stuff you said: "Matt Williams being a donkey... how about the fact that you guys are a .500 ball club? The All Star rotation you guys were suppose to have, you know.... was really an average one? The line up, outside of the bobble head like inflated ego of Bryce Harper, is average. " -- We literally have been saying this stuff for the past 3 months. Seriously, go back and read the posts and you will see EXACTLY THOSE POINTS MADE.

You guys are barking up the wrong f*cking tree and like cass said I'm sick and tired of it. This blog used to be a place where we could come to get away from stupid homerism of the typical DC fan base and actually discuss our teams and their steps (or lack of steps) to get better.

We get another thread full of these trolls and I'm outa here. Got better ways to spend my time than listening to them make the same stupid and tired points over and over again, half of which we've already made ourselves and the other half are just plain ignorant

Anonymous said...

@Bjd You mad, bro?

Bjd1207 said...

What gave it away? Don't you have a fucking life to live?

Anonymous said...

Woahhhh. Cursing. Not very gentleman like.

Bjd1207 said...

Sooooo. No?

Anonymous said...

Nope. No life.

Bjd1207 said...

Finally something we agree on.

Avoiding the rest of my post though, see if you can waste some time answering that

Robot said...

@Bjd - The #2 reason I'm a regular at this blog is the quality of commenters here (#1, of course, being Harper's fantastic analytical discussions that avoidthe crap about having heart, wanting it enough, etc)

I realize I'm still fairly new as a commenter myself (been reading for years, though), but i agree that the horde of Mets trolls since July is ruining a great thing.

Seriously, guys, if you don't have anything real to add, stop being pathetic and shut up.

Harper said...

Harper: your thoughts on making infield defensive subs in the late innings with a lead? Rendon to 3b, Espinosa to 2b?

I say do it more often. This isn't a healthy Werth to Mike Taylor drop. It's Yuney to Espy. I think Nats can weather it. I don't think they will though. They really like Escobar in the line-up.

-why do you persist in pointing to the two Home-and-Home series with the Mets as crucial? Is it simply mathematical?

Pretty much. I don't think the Nats will comeback. I think the Mets are likely to win 2 of three in that first series and end it for real. But as long as those 6 are out there you can't dismiss a comeback from about 6 games out. Worst case scenario IMO is the Nats take 2 of 3 to get within like 6 and we're spend Sept talking about Nats desperately trying to gain 3 games over 20 to make last H2H relevant (even though Nats are very unlikely to sweep)

Rob Evans said...

It ain't gonna happen, but would it not be sweet justice to pull a miracle run out and shut these guys up permanent? I can dream I guess.

Mitch said...

Just a couple of two-cent comments:

Max David summed things up just about perfectly, especially #3 (making the playoffs would be moot, as this team gets completely shut down by good pitching, not to mention the awful bullpen.)

"3" does in fact mean third base. I believe it was Tim McCarver, known moron, on the Cardinals broadcast saying it meant first base. If that was the case, what's second base? 6? 4?

Stop feeding the trolls. It's 2015... don't we all know that by now?

Harper said...

Rob Evans - you'd think but you know what? I bet if you go to a Braves blog in 2014 you can find annoying Nats trolls. 2015 could be their justice. The cycle never ends

Mithc - yeah I noticed McCarver tossing that in. 3 means third. In my head "3" being first doesn't sound terrible but I've never heard anyone yell out "5" for 3rd. Never.

Justin Beegel said...

Serious question for the Nats fans here... as a Mets fan I see people come on to comment on Metsblog all the time from other teams; Braves, Nationals, Phillies, and others. Of course no one likes trolls, and they are not welcome on any blog by any person. However, the ones who come on and have intelligent conversation, debate, and good back and forth are always welcome on Metsblog, and people take well to them and engage in great team vs team conversation.

So the question is, what is the problem here that many of you seem to have with engaging in conversation with another team's fan base, ASSUMING it's actual conversation? Of course ignore the idiots Mets fan who are just rubbing it in your face when you're down, as we would ignore (or try to) Nats fans earlier in the season who were trolling us, or fans of other teams who do so.

There are several intelligent, normal Mets fan who I see commenting on here to have genuine conversation. Yet I see many Nats fans telling them to get lost. So I guess I'm not understanding the sentiment towards not even wanting to have solid conversation on various topics about either team. And answering this with "this is a Nats blog, go talk about the Mets on a Mets blog" isn't a good answer. Having convo between fan bases is in my opinion (and obviously others too) a very fun activity, so long as trolling is left out of it. All in good fun conversation and banter between fan bases should be embraced, no?

So, as a non-anonymous Mets fan, perhaps a Nats fan can explain this to me.

Rob Evans said...

@Justin - I think that's more of a function if this blog for a long time was a safe haven for us to talk Nats. Now we're having to deal with trolls for the first time. Once that dies down, I'm sure it will normalize to talking baseball, regardless if you're a LOLMets fan or not :-)

Bjd1207 said...

No you only saw one person telling "Matt" to just get lost, and that poster does not represent the general population here. Please see my comment from a few days ago applauding "MetsFan2015" for bringing actual contributions to the discussion.

It's the trolls we hate. And I tried not feeding them for the past 2 weeks, I've had enough

Sammy Kent said...

Miles Treacy, you are absolutely correct about the blame belonging to Rizzo. Even before the starters went down he failed to do anything to replace the 30 home runs and 95 RBIs (not to mention the power spot in the lineup that made pitching around Harper and Zim impossible) that left with Adam LaRoche. It's one thing to think you don't need more offense; it's another problem entirely to think you've got so much great pitching you actually need LESS offense. The only corresponding free agent pickup Rizzo made in the off season was Dan Uggla. Dan Uggla for Adam LaRoche. Really?

Even though everyone will try to blame the injuries to Werth, Zim, Rendon, and Span for the failure to win this year, NO ONE should let Rizzo or Matty get away with that excuse. The bench guys had this team in first place at the end of July. Werth and Rendon started the year on the DL, but their play between DL stints and Zim's before he went down was absolutely wretched. Danny, Clint, and Michael A. have all done admirably--better, in fact, than the guys they replaced.

Span's absence, OTOH, was and is a huge blow to the Nationals' offense. He's the go button, and without him we really don't have a prototypical leadoff hitter. Werth certainly doesn't belong there. His average may have gone up since he moved to the one hole, but he's no threat to steal or put any pressure on the defense if he does get on. And so far, (correct me if I'm wrong) since he's been batting at the top he has exactly ONE leadoff base hit in what, fifteen or so games? He might be hitting better in the middle innings, but keeping him leadoff has given virtually every opponent one out in the can to start the game.

Bryceroni said...

This blog was always like the secret corner of the internet where smart nats fans could discuss the team. Sucks that it's been discovered by the raving internet masses.

And speaking to the arrogance point, I encourage all mets fans to go back to preseason posts where the general sentiment was "oh no the 'experts' are picking us again, its all over". Once you get annointed the frontrunner, everyone wants you to fail.

Anonymous said...

I don't think someone who's name is Bryceroni can be very smart.

NatsVA said...

Get lucky (seriously, so damn lucky) and have an actual winning season, and in typical fashion Mets fans act like they've been good for years. Pathetic.

Can't wait for this average team to get smoked by the Cardinals/Giants/Dodgers/Pirates in the playoffs. We may suck, but the 2015 Mets are mostly products of us sucking.

VI said...

"This is our clubhouse, so get out and go home! We're smart and you're not!" Wow, Spanky and Alfalfa are really upset!

I do get it. People like to feel smart and superior, and band together so they can mutually reinforce those feelings. Excluding others is critical to making that happen. Otherwise, someone always comes along who sees the emporer as he really is and can't help laughing. If the vocal objectors really want to sit in a circle and look down on the masses, and not let your insecurities show, then send Go Daddy a few bucks and start a password protected site. Then you can censor who says what and ensure all are in lock step. No ideas that conflict with doctrine, and everyone group thinking together. Of course, those who would follow would most likely have the least to offer and that would defeat the feeling smart part of the deal. Failure means you then have to search for another group with a shiny object and convince yourselves you're special and different.

It's a baseball team blog, get over it. It's a little unique as the blog author appears to invest considerable personal capital developing essays and thought pieces on an almost daily basis. If it were me, I'd welcome comment, criticism, debate and discussion from every corner of the baseball world. It's not much effort to sort the wheat from the chaff and ignore that which is counterproductive to my objective.

Of course, It's not the author doing the whining, it's a select segment of his followers.

Chaz R said...

wow, I think this might be a record for Comments on Harper's blog. The Mets trolls have really gotten bad this year. Their time will come though.

Chaz R said...

Of course Nats fans had great expectations for this season. So, dis every baseball media person and expert. What did Mets fans think at the beginning of the season? I suspect they thought it would be a long shot for them to have a chance at a Wild Card. No question, things didn't work the way the Nats or their fans planned and hoped. Does that mean that every baseball expert on the planet was crazy? I don't think so. The 2015 Nats are a team loaded with talent and had a bunch things go wrong. That happens in baseball. I'm still going to watch my team tonight, just as I did back in 2008 - 2010, and just as I did in 2012 and 2014. Doesn't matter, win or lose. I'm a Nats fan and proud of what they have accomplished in 10 short years.

Anonymous said...

Barry S. drops the bomb on Williams: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/09/02/matt-williams-two-nights-in-september-two-leads-two-collapses-and-what-impact-they-might-have-on-2016/

Mets2015 said...

It's not over yet. It's far from over. I just read an ESPN article about September collapses by Terry Collins-led teams in the '90s and all Mets fans are aware of what happened on '07 and '08. I won't feel comfortable until we have a double digit lead or a 5-6 game lead after the first series with the Nats.

The whole idea was to hold serve during the Cards series until the schedule really softened up. Win tonight with Scherzer on the mound and you've effectively accomplished that. Yes the last 2 losses were embarrassing and soul-crushing but they don't count as double losses because of they were. Hell, the Mets completely turned their things around after their most soul-crushing lost of the season against San Diego.

@BJD - It's not just Harper's preseason comments. It's Werth saying that "everyone knows" the Nats were the team to beat and that's just the way it is. It's Span saying he'd put money on the Nats winning the division before he even got off the DL. It's Rizzo saying it's ok to shut down Strasburg because the Nats will be in the World Series for years to come. It's MW not managing with any sense of urgency. It's the whole #NATITUDE bs. But again, it's a matter of perception. One fanbases' sense of quiet and appropriate confidence is a rival fanbases' sense of arrogance and unearned entitlement. And everyone loves to see "arrogance humbled."

Off-topic, while busy trolling this site the last few weeks, I've noticed that Harper has had this blog up since 2005. Kudos man, that's quite an accomplishment!

JE34 said...

Heh - 76 comments. Trolls? What trolls?

One of the most frustrating parts of this slow motion train wreck of a season is enduring the same stupid decisions and mistakes over and over again. Einstein's definition of insanity, right?

That insanity is making me turn the game off more often. That said, I've listened to more Charlie and Dave lately (vs Bob/FP/Crazy Uncle Ray), and you can hear them starting to crack too. Dave Jaegler sounded like he wanted to punch something last night. "Annnnnnnnd he throws the ball away" with that disgusted undertone that says "of COURSE. AGAIN."

WiredHK said...

JE34 - I'm with you, and then I listened to Rizzo today around 1:30pm on 106.7. Don't listen to his interview with Grant and Danny. I'm not kidding. It will only make things way, way worse for fans. Saying that he fully backed Williams would be a tremendous understatement. He sounded completely and utterly like Williams himself. He went so far as to say Williams managed things "masterfully" last night and even worked in a "hey, that's baseball sometimes" to complete the impression.

Williams and his plain vanilla horribleness is less important to me, after hearing that. This post alludes to it, but the fact is, Williams is managing things the way Rizzo wants him to manage things. Precisely the way he wants it. And, to him, the people asking tough questions are simply non-baseball, non-thinking, second-guessing idiots. That we keep losing, that is keeps happening the exact same way, that these games are of the same importance as any others are, to him (and to Matt), and that we lost them late is simply pure bad luck. To both of them, but especially to Rizzo, it has absolutely nothing to do with strategy, repeated mistakes by the same people, etc, etc.

It's not good.

VI said...

Tyler Lyons is now tonight's starting pitcher for the Cards.

WiredHK said...

Also, I have a response for the genuine Mets fans who come here to talk baseball and are seemingly surprised as to why people here are perhaps not receiving all Mets fan well (this is not for the trolls, who don't really care to talk baseball anyway): I think what's probably bothering folks here is that many of us have been here quietly, calmly, rationally discussing Nats baseball for quite awhile. In fact, for years. No air of superiority. No arrogance. We sucked for awhile as a team, and lately we've been decent as a team. But during these years (bad ones and lately good ones), we have had zero visits from pretty much any Mets fans. Not a few, zero. We had a few Braves trolls come and go, but nothing from anyone else.

So, if you honestly just like to have people on your sites from other teams, and you honestly just like to go to the sites of other teams, all to just talk baseball no matter how the teams are doing -- I think some folks here are wondering why we didn't see any of you when the Mets sucked (or when the Nats sucked)?

While your question seems honest (why can't we just come here and chat, fellas? Ignore the trolls), you have to appreciate that it appears disingenuous. You never came here, like ever, until the Mets started playing better than the Nats this year. Just looks....odd.

Come here when you suck, come here when you're good, come here when you're average, and I'm betting most people here will have zero issue with you posting differing points of view. Come here only when you're better, and it's harder to take you at your word.

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

Relatively new commenter here - just discovered Harper's blog a couple of weeks ago thanks to Dan Steinberg's mention. Glad to be here - great work, Harper!

@Mets2015 - appreciate your comments and your tone. Would be glad to talk on that level (true baseball fan to true baseball fan) with any adult Mets supporters. For Mets trolls, my New York baseball credentials: before moving to DC in late 2007, third-generation New Yorker. My grandfather's first date with my grandmother was at a Giants-Philadelphia game at the Polo Grounds in the Matthewson era. She bet him a necktie on the outcome. Grew up on my father's stories of 1933 (Giants world championship) and 1934 (Giants lose the pennant to the Cardinals on the last day of the season. "Do you think Bill Terry is crying tonight?" my grandfather asked my father...) And of course the Greatest Moment in Human History (TM), the Bobby Thomson home run. My Mets experiences - toddler in front of the tube during the '62 season, fourth grade in '69, at Game Seven in '86. Rooting for the Nats now because baseball is local and I'm one of those people that's got to follow it live every day (about 40 in-person games a season). Think of it as a kind of free agency. But if you want to talk NY baseball chops, those are mine. How 'bout you?

OK, with apologies for the rant, back to our regular programming, already in progress...

Is it possible that Rizzo is just standing by his man for the balance of the season because that's how you play it, and that once the season is over, he pulls the plug on Williams? I'd like to think so... even though I have no basis for thinking so...

Does anyone else share my concern about how the Lerners are playing this? There was an ominous note in the most recent version of the semi-annual Rizzo Leaks to Boz column - the one where Boz flagged the MASN litigation as the root problem (budget maxxed out at $175m, no give for trade deadline pickups or player extensions or free agent signings). It feels like a kind of brinksmanship - MASN and MLB and the judge had better play things our way or we'll take the franchise over the cliff with us. The Lerners have a history of running the Nats as though the ballclub was just another of their business units (remember the early, backward strategy of "fill the stands first, then use the gate revenue to sign free agents"? A failure because in baseball, if you don't build it, they won't come). This feels like another such play. If so, we could be in for some serious downside years.

Speaking of the Lerners and the business of baseball - great time to jack up the ticket prices, isn't it? This might be my personal beef but not mine alone, because I've heard it from everybody else in my section who made the three-year season ticket commitment in 2012, and just had prices come out of lockdown and escalate to current levels, which means a 40 percent increase. I'd like to know how many people are happy about paying the new market rate. The air of desperation around the "renew your season tickets" campaign suggests sales aren't healthy. It would have been smarter to step the prices up a couple of years at a time. As it is, I was treated to a panicked call from my sales rep - "we wanted to get to you before the invoice hit" - which may be some kind of indicator as to how things are going. The poor guy even tried to convince me that things were good because I'd already had the benefit of lower prices the past three years - technically true, but not exactly a winning sales pitch. I don't blame him - he's working from a script. Ownership is another matter.

Addendum to my post yesterday - I withdraw everything positive I said about Ray Knight as a color commentator. Last night was excruciating.

I sure do miss his '86 incarnation, though.


Mets2015 said...

@Wired

Thanks for your post. I've never seen this blog before this season simply because..there was never any reason to. The Mets were never in a competitive race with the Nats at any point during the Nats existence. We were good when the Nats sucked and vice versa. After the Mets success in April I found this site because I wanted to see what the Nats fanbase thought of the Mets this year. And I've followed all season because it is a very good and thoughtful blog and the race has come down to the wire.

I actually usually never post on message boards, but I did in this case because the quality of discussion was so good. I read through Metsblog often but I don't post there..the quality of most posters there is well...let's just say they make the trolls on this site look like Ph.D's. Amazin Avenue is a good site but you've got to register to post, which I am never felt compelled enough to do.



Mets2015 said...

@Alan Thanks! I've been a die-hard Mets fan since I was 7 years old in 1986. I moved to L.A. in 2009 (although I might move back to NYC soon) but I could never ever adopt another team. The Mets are in my blood, for better or worse. Plus it's so easy to follow a team from anywhere these days - I catch every Mets game on the mlb package.

WiredHK said...

@Mets2015 - that's fair and makes complete sense. I'm certainly the kind of reader who (and this doesn't vary from sport to sport) reads my teams' stuff and that's it. I follow entire sports, of course, but when it comes to reading and posting, I stick to my teams' sites. I can certainly respect how you've come upon this site and you seem pretty civil. So, I would expect your civility to pay off and for folks here to engage in honest discussions with you.

But, yeah, the constant trolls showing up here lately is probably more to blame than anything else, in terms of your more civil discussion desires getting pushed aside a bit. If/Once that settles down some, things will likely be fine all around.

Mets4life said...

Enough with the trolls. At the end of the day, we're all East coast guys who love the game. Let's all meet up at Citi Field for the Mets/Nats series in 4 and half weeks and have a pint of lager.

blovy8 said...

There's finally a reason to have Dan Uggla on the roster - he's been activated to give out hugs.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Wacha is not pitching tonight. My memories of the near no-hitter from September 2013 are still too fresh. Nats may have a reasonable chance to win (or at least lead until our seventh or eighth inning guy gets in there).

Kenny B. said...

I have to say that the Phillies during their run, the Braves in their recent good years, neither of those fanbases have tried the infantile invasion of the comments section of this blog the way they Mets fans have in the last few weeks. Sometimes opposing fans come in and say interesting things and contribute to the conversation, but so many of these Mets jags are just here to engage in low level Twitter-style trolling. It's really ruining the whole experience, because up until recently, the commentariat here has always been very good, even most of the opposing fans.

And where is this sense coming from that Nats fans are arrogant? Everyone I know was excited for this season at the outset, but never just expected an automatic championship. And they're also mixing in the notion that Nats fans are 12 year old homers. But that doesn't fit with the "arrogant/entitled" premise. It feels like a lot of ironic projection.

Butas to the actual content, I was not on the "fire Williams" bandwagon until this Cards series. I was highly skeptical of his ability, but was along Harper's line that he is no worse than most managers. But at this point, it's gone too far. Even if he can make defensible arguments about his choices, he's getting the wrong result from relievers too consistently for me to believe it's just random. I also agree that this rigid adherence to "Plan A" is endemic to the organization, and even if plan A was very good to begin with, we need more adaptability in the manager, general manager, and the ownership. Of course, the latter two are unlikely to change, but we can easily drop Williams. Even if there's no one out there who would be better, there must be someone who is at least a little luckier.

Bryceroni said...

I am a fan of rizzo, so I will put on my blinders and hope that those comments are the vote of confidence that precedes firing, probably still when the season ends.

However, if rizzo blames injuries for not making the playoffs and ole PBN escapes...

@mets4life I went to 1 game at citifield this year (game 3 of a sweep aug2) and I have never been in a more hostile fan environment... Including chase field. Won't be going back any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Nats fans are not any more arrogant than any other team fanbase. It's just an unfortunate part of human nature that some people become unpleasant when their team enjoys success. We've seen it from Braves fans, Mets fans, Phillies fans, and from our own fans.

Has anyone in baseball not affiliated with the Nats defended Matt Williams' handling of his bullpen?

Kenny B. said...

@ Last anon, Rizzo has defended PBN (trying to make that nickname stick because it is accurate), but not specifically on bullpen management that I'm aware of. Rizzo does have a point that the player WAR has fallen precipitously since last year, which is not PBN's fault, but this Cards series has really demonstrated the problems in bullpen management that we all saw in the 2014 playoff series.

Also, why is the whole Cards espionage thing not getting much play? We have a freaking national inquisition over a possibly deflated football, but a baseball team that consistently pulls diamonds out of the rough using the performance metrics of an up and coming team's management gets nothing? I say we start calling them the St. Louis Cardsharks. Because cheating.

Chaz R said...

@KennyB agree though alas we forget the torment we suffered at Nats Park at the hands of Phillies fans for all those years. We silenced and humbled them. We could have been the same way with the Mets at Citi Field over the last few years when the Nats could hardly lose there, but we didn't do that.

Anonymous said...

Tough loss to the best team in baseball, but end of the day, Mets lost, too - to the worst team no less. The Nats stayed within 6 in the loss column so within reach of the 6 H2H. They still control their own destiny.

The Mets are having their own problems. They're beatable, and Nats have the easier schedule after leaving St. Louis.

VI said...

@Kenny B.

Um, the Braves don't have much of a fan base, and lost a good chunk of what they had when MLB took the Braves games off TBS. The Phillies are rabid fans who are eager to try out this internet thing you speak of.

This year the Nats are easy pickings. The Lerners act as if every decision must have the underpinning of a SWOT chart, the GM thinks he has a plan and is sticking to it, what the Manager know about pitching is he could hit it (stole that from Kornheiser), and their key players tend to say and do the wrong things at the worst times. It's kind of a perfect storm.

Baseball fans need thick skins. The relationship between fans and their ball club is always a roller coaster, within and between seasons. It's part of what makes the game great. As Showalter says in that commercial, 162 games - nowhere to hide.

Myself said...

You're entitled to root for your team and believe they can come back. You're fans. You should. but what rubs a lot of Met fans the wrong way is the injury talk. Every time one of you mentions injuries you're saying that if not for the injuries, you would be in first place. That the Mets didn't earn it. That it was handed to them by bad luck and that they don't deserve it. Now you can use all the semantics you want (i.e. I was just saying, just explaining, just letting you know...) but no matter how you slice it, it's an excuse.

Some of the trolls are here because they are trolls but some think it's playback time. Is it infantile? Somewhat. But maybe it's time for you all to stop saying the Nationals lost the division and acknowledge the Mets are winning it. That means saying without qualifiers i.e.
"the Mets are winning, but..." No buts.

blovy8 said...

yeah, brain fart. You use three when you are sretting the pick off play, not in directing a bunt.

Joe Janish said...

What in the world is happening in DC? Why is Matt Williams still employed? How was he still employed as of July 31st?

I don't get it. Maybe because I grew up in the NYC area, where when things don't go as planned, heads roll. The Nats, even with the injuries, had a better collection of personnel than at least 20 other MLB teams, and certainly better than the minor league clubs in the NL East that began waving white flags during the first week of May.

Here's my question: do DC fans not care enough about baseball, or as a group not "in tune" enough with what's going on, to accept this Nats' disaster of a season? Does ownership figure that the bulk of fans who are buying tickets have no idea that Matt Williams is completely inept and a main reason the team is behind a mediocre and lesser-talented Mets club? Does ownership not care about getting to the playoffs because the bottom line is profitable in spite of the under-performance?

As has been mentioned numerous times on this blog, Williams continuously makes mistakes that he doesn't learn from, the front office refuses to fill multiple holes with outside fortification, and there is absolutely no sense of urgency from any level of the organization, from the top down. Why? I'm asking sincerely as an outsider, and am curious to understand. Many thanks and apologies for the rant.

Sammy Kent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sammy Kent said...

Joe Janish, you only in your last paragraph got to the heart of the matter. It ain't Matt. As you so well said, "the front office refuses to fill multiple holes with outside fortification." Mike Rizzo has built a roster that for five years now, even in the division-winning years, has relied solely on loading up on starting pitching and sweating out the late innings while trying to make superstars out of a bunch of six hole hitters.

Every year the same thing: the lineup can hit average, but not good pitching, cannot get timely hits late with men on base, and has a bullpen that is more like an anti-coagulant than a tourniquet. They beat up on the lesser teams and play less than .500 against the good ones. They average four runs a game by scoring no runs in three games, then having a two touchdown night against a bottom feeder. They don't have enough speed and average to play small ball, and they don't have enough power to play long ball.

Don't blame Matty for playing the hand he's dealt. Casey Stengal or Tony LaRussa would struggle to have a championship caliber team with Mike Rizzo as the boss.

Justin Beegel said...

Very simple reply; never heard of or knew of this blog until a few weeks ago. Someone on Metsblog in the comments section of a post mentioned there was a solid Nats blog where actual conversation took place. That's what caused me to check the site out. Was reading the daily post for weeks and then decided to join the conversation a bit.

Can't fault us for not being here sooner when we didn't know here existed. You guys say it yourselves, this was a pretty hidden site for a while. Well, not so much anymore

Kenny B. said...

Mets fans keep saying "you guys aren't talking about how good the Mets are." News flash: THIS IS NOT A METS BLOG. On paper, at the beginning of the season, nearly everyone in baseball thought the Nats were one of the best teams in baseball, and zero people that I know of thought the Mets were primed to surge to the top. That is why we are discussing what went wrong with the Nats, rather than how wonderful the Mets are. But above all, let me reiterate: THIS IS NOT A METS BLOG. I can't believe the Mets come to a Nats blog and complaint they aren't talking enough about the Mets. Don't the Mets have their own blog to gush over how ably they have dispatched the Philadelphia powerhouse?

jesterboo said...

Joe Janish and the rest of the stupid mets fans have now invaded this blog...

FML....

I was about to give up rooting for this team..you have now given me extra motivation to stick with them.

WiredHK said...

@KennyB - it's odd, right? I keep laughing every time I see those posts on here from Mets fans (the "Why aren't you giving us MORE credit?" posts that come in lots of forms). It's weird. What validation is needed beyond the fact that you're about to win the division? You guys are good? Yes, you guys are good. Better than us this year, no question. But this is simple: our discussions happen to be mainly focused on us dissecting why this team underachieved relative to our own expectations. Because, and this is shocking, this is a Nats blog. It's interesting to us to discuss this. If that bothers you, umm, ok?

Pretend this blog is a bar and Harper is the bartender. The people sitting on the stools (regular Nats fans here) are calmly discussing the Nats with our bartender and each other - and we talk about a lot of stuff. Most of it is about what, specifically, is bad or good with our team. What we like, don't like, trends that suck, trends that are encouraging, future moves or non-moves, etc.

And in mid-August, in walks a bunch of Mets fans running around wildly behind the patrons, listening to the usual chatter, and shouting "Hey, hey, hey!! Give us some damn credit, you a-holes! You guys SUCK!" It's totally out of place. Nobody is giving or taking credit here for anything, we're just talking about our team and the season as it unfolds.

Is it that hard to understand? And yes, you get different types of Nats fans here. It's like a bell curve - there's a few that remain wild optimists, there's a few that are pretty pessimistic even when things go well, and then there's the middle that just likes to engage in regular chatter about the team - in good or bad times.

Relax and chat, if you want. But getting all pissy about "getting credit" or shouting "no excuses, you losers!" should probably be left at the door. It's not really interesting discussion to anyone.

blovy8 said...

Rizzo is a stubborn cat. As long as the claim can be made that MW hasn't lost the clubhouse, he's probably not going to can the guy. However, it would surprise me to see no changes after the season ends. It could be McCatty that goes. While, yes, it is mostly on the players for their performance and lack thereof, the pitching was the thing that was supposed to carry the club. This last burst of reasonable decent hitting might save Schu from the chopping block. It would be interesting to see if a guy like Bud Black would take a coaching job if the salary was right. A lot of people like Randy Knorr, but he's never managed an ML team either. What about an experienced bench coach? I suppose under the circumstances it would be seen as get results or we have the next guy ready, but two years is long enough to evaluate this guy, the third year itself after this season would be a form of respect.

Sammy Kent said...

I know some of y'all don't agree with me, and that's fine....we're still friends....but before anyone wants to kick Matty to the curb for the season, and particularly for the handling of the pitching, I ask you to consider the following:

Who made the decision to trade away Jerry Blevins?
Who made the judgment that Aaron Barrett, Blake Trienen, A.J. Cole, Matt Grace, and Sammy Solis were ready for the show?
Who built a bullpen on the faulty premise that a starter, a set-up man, and a closer was all the team was likely to need in most games this season?
Speaking of closer, who chose to not sign a big bat before the trade deadline, and instead opted to pick up a closer that 1. wasn't needed and 2. rarely gets to pitch for a save anyway?

For years the Nationals' bullpen has been a crap shoot for whoever is managing the team. This isn't a new problem, and firing Matty won't solve it. Mr. Rizzo ought to have to bloody answer to somebody for his tenure as General mis-Manager.

That said, I regretfully admit that I honestly think Matt has probably lost the team...not because of his bullpen management, but because of his poor handling of the post-DL lineup and his arbitrary dispensing of discipline. Espinosa, Taylor, and Robinson, despite their meritorious play, were buried on the bench the instant Zim, Werth, and Rendon came off the DL, and they STAYED BURIED THERE for two weeks while the three saviors pittered and foundered and generally cost the team its division lead. It's hard to hold the clubhouse when everyone knows the guys that actually accomplished something are thrown under the bus for the GM's dollar boys, even if you're losing 14 out of your next 20. That's one.

Here's two: Players don't loaf when they respect or fear the manager. They do loaf when they don't. Bryce Harper was sat down last season for not running out a grounder WHEN HE WAS HURT. That got everyone's attention. But this season, Wilson Ramos has cost this team bases by admiring homers that weren't and thus became long singles, cost it runs by an inability to simply catch the ball and make a tag, and by failing to back up first base, daydreaming behind the plate...and he hasn't sat a pitch because of it. Escobar loafed after the ball on the botched throw to third in the eighth inning two nights ago. Storen stood in the middle of the diamond doing his best Strasburg imitation instead of backing up home. Speaking of Strasburg, every time he gets knocked around a little he has to go on the DL or skip a start and be bottle-fed until his pitiful little ego is assuaged. Last night Rendon jogged down the first base line on a hit and then had to scramble to make second when it was errored and darn near got thrown out. None of that would happen if the manager had their respect and attention. You can't throw half the team under the bus and coddle the stars at the same time and expect everyone to give their best for you.

SM said...

Do the Giants win World Series because they're afraid of Bruce Bochy?

Kind of interesting, but Bochy was Jim Riggleman's third-base coach in San Diego. I'm sure the players were afraid of Riggleman, not physically, but because he was probably nuts as a bunny. When Bochy replaced him, the Padres began to win.

Yes, respect is important, principally because you can rely on the manager's knowledge and ability to deploy and encourage his talent properly in order to win.

But fear? Matt Williams could carry a knife to the mound, but that wouldn't improve his bullpen.