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The Nationals are looking pretty scary right now

Aug 14, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT

Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants Getty Images

I’m loathe to ever say a team “made a statement.” There are a lot of damn baseball games, see, so no “statement” can last much more than 24 hours. For example, if the Giants come back and kick the poop out of the Nats tonight and tomorrow afternoon, that statement would be something like “pardon me, I seem to have stepped on your toe, oh, don’t get up … OW!! Stop Kicking me!”

That said, the Nats sort of made a statement last night.

In a possible playoff preview, Washington destroyed San Francisco, 14-2, batting the NL’s ERA leader Ryan Vogelsong for eight runs on nine hits in two and a two-thirds. The Nats led 14-0 after five. Their 21 hits were the most ever for an opponent at AT&T Park.

Overall, the Nats’ dominance is becoming clear. The win was their 11th in 13 games. On this current road trip they are 7-1. They have baseball’s best record, its second largest division lead and its best run differential. Since the All-Star break they have also scored more runs than anyone.

They look pretty good, on the whole, against NL contenders as well.  On the season they are 8-4 against the Braves, their closest division rival. They are 5-2 against Cincinnati. They’ve beaten the Giants, soundly, in all four games they’ve played. They’ve taken four of six from the Dbacks. The Dodgers have handled them, however and they’ve lost three of five to the Pirates. They’ve yet to play the Cardinals.

Obviously the playoffs are a different beast — and I still think the decision to go voluntarily bench Stephen Strasburg in October will haunt them — but at the moment everything is coming up Nationals.

  1. paperlions - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Natitude!

    • ajcardsfan - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      I still think that sounds like the mood of somebody drinking Natty Light, “It’s cheap, and I don’t give a s***”

    • bsynn - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Ignite it!

  2. bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    gNats are pests but take a good firm swat at them and nuisance gone.

    They can be beat in the playoffs.

    They will be beaten in the playoffs.

    And this is coming from someone – me – who believed they would win their division all along and generally like what they have done in constructing that roster.

    Nat’s fans should not fret, however. This team is gonna be real good for a while.

    • paperlions - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      Anyone can be beaten in the playoffs. Indeed, you pretty much need to make the playoffs 8 times to expect to win 1 WS. Even if you were the BEST team every year, you would still only win (on average) 1 WS every 6 years….such is baseball and the crap shoot that is a 5 or 7 game series (of which you have to win 3 in a row).

      Oh, and saying they’ll wilt if they are swatted at is 12 kinds of stupid.

      • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM

        only 12?

      • paperlions - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        As far as I know, that is all the kinds of stupid there are.

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        Uh-huh.

        paperlions, you know I like and appreciate you. just recently I praised some comments you made.

        However, pause for a moment. Remove Strasburg from the Nats equation and then ask yourself what that does to your averages.

        Also, on average, teams do not make the playoffs 8 times with anything resembling the same roster.

        Also, plenty of teams have won multiple World Series within a narrow time span. Why? Because they are better than everyone else, odds be damned.
        Remove Strasburg from the Nats and quite simply, they are no longer better than everyone else.

        Contrary to the popular coping mechanism – 7 games series are not a crap shoot. Craps, as you are probably aware, involve rolling die to exact an outcome. Baseball is far more complex and dynamic.

        So, in a vacuum, your theories may have some merit . . . but in the real world they are, well 12 kinds of stoopid.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:38 AM

        I think when they say the playoffs are a crapshoot, that’s not meant literally. What’s meant is the “best” team (by WAR or run differential or regular season W/L record or whatever) doesn’t necessarily romp to the World Series, and certainly is not a lock to win it. Can you honestly say that the Cardinals–on paper–were a better team than the Rangers, or even the Fillies? No. But in short series, with luck and better managing and other factors, they got to Game 6, and the rest is history.

        My feeling is what I have expressed previously. The Nats great rotation, including Stras, will get us to the playoffs–the long grind. After that, we still have a stellar top of the rotation (Gio, JZ) and two other guys who can get the job done (Det, EJax). We have a fine bullpen, great defense, and WOW, some offense.

        Due to injuries, there is not a day this season that the Nats have put up all their regulars, and with Ramos down, there won’t be.

        The team has matured since the Dodgers swept in April and the Yanks in June, and, critically, since they blew the 9-0 lead. There is no team that the Nats could face in the playoffs they should be afraid of, even without Stras. No guarantees, of course. But there are no guarantees even with Stras. So let’s play the games, and just regard it as yet another injury. Go NATS!

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        YIKES,

        I’ve been sucked into a Nats’ fanboy/fangirl vortex here.

        Yes, you are all right. The Nats’ are the 2012 National League Champions.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        LOL. That’s what you call, showing your work?

        Seriously, we’re not there yet. But we got, y’know, “high apple-pie-apple-pie in the sky hopes.” (Showing my age here).

    • kkolchak - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Sounds to me like you beat off.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:23 AM

        Not true. The best Nats player (by fangraphs WAR) is Gio Gonzalez. Remove him and the Nats still have a better record than every NL team except the Reds. Take away Joey Votto (the Reds’ best player by WAR) and the Nats stay on top. Here is the article.

        Oh, and btw, this was written before last night’s game, when Jordan Zimmermann became the NL ERA leader. Yes, we will miss Stras. But he is not the Nats best player or even–right now–their best pitcher.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/daily-notes-every-team-minus-its-best-player/

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:48 AM

        Sorry, kk, my comment was in response to bigleagues for this

        “Remove Strasburg from the Nats and quite simply, they are no longer better than everyone else.”

        Never quite sure where the reply is gonna go.

      • kkolchak - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        No sweat…I figured it out. :)

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        Let’s start with a trivia question:

        Before his last Start, how many times had Gio Gonzalez pitched into the 8th Inning this season?

        Answer: ONCE

        Granted, Strasburg has yet to pitch into the 8th – but at least he had TJS last season as an excuse.

        Next, let’s just dismiss that Gio Gonalez is the Nats’ best player because Fangraph’s WAR says it’s so. No one uses or loves Fangraphs more than I, but WAR is not the be all and end all, especially when discussing Starting Pitchers. When the 2012 season is all said and done maybe NatGio is clearly the best pitcher on the Nats’ roster. Great.

        So come playoff time, your rotation is Gonzalez, Zimmerman and WHOM? Jackson? Uninspiring. Detwiler? Hasn’t quite proven himself yet. Lannan? I mean, c’mon people. Let’s get a sense of reality here.

        Also, as an aside . . . no offense to Carson Cistuli, but that’s a pretty lame and misleading use of WAR. Why? Go ahead and add up the WAR for all the player’s on a given roster – the total doesn’t come out anywhere near the team’s total Win’s. Why? Because it isn’t designed to do that.

      • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        bigs, the Nats playoff strategy is as follows: Gio, rain, Zimmerman, more rain, flash flood, Gio, Zimmerman, hurricane, bomb threat, earthquake, Gio, and hope you win 3 of those games against the other team’s two top pitchers.

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        CJ,

        LOL – that sounds about right!

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        OK, bigleagues. Remove one player from every team (their “best” player) by whatever measure you want to use, except make that one player from the Nats be Stephen Strasburg, and demonstrate that the Nats wouldn’t still have the best record in the NL. OK, give the best player back, wouldn’t the Nats be better than everyone except the Reds? Pick a method and–

        As they say in math class, show your work.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        CJ, good one.

        Suzuki will help Gio a lot, and hopefully the rest of the pitching staff. With our bullpen, going long into games is not the issue.

        Already knocked around one Cy Young contender (Vogelsong), and we tied with R.A. Dickey. If we can get to Dickey again, Gio and JZ should have a shot. Oh, wait, Cueto, and the relievers (Chapman and Kimbrel). Very close on the Cy Young this year. Do you think a reliever could get it?

      • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        what are you talking about? The Nats don’t get Stras for the playoffs. That doesn’t mean any other team is going to sit their best starter to “be fair”. This isn’t little league where everyone gets a trophy. You don’t get to take away any team’s best player, nor is that anyone’s point.

        The point is, you’re playing real well right now, but one of your best 3 starters isn’t pitching in the postseason. So when evaluating the Nats playoff chances, Stras should rightly be removed from the equation. You need 3 solid starters to win in the playoffs…you can’t just punt 1 game in a 5 game series (or 2 in a 7) and still expect to win. Your other two starters are good, but they’re not guaranteed wins against a playoff teams top two starters by any stretch.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        OK, so without Stras they are better than everyone expect the Reds, the Reds with Votto. Can we stop now?

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        Sorry, “except” the Reds. Anyway, I’m done for today. At some point, hopefully the Nats will get to the playoffs and we’ll see how they do, y’know, “playing the games.”

      • seeinred87 - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:51 AM

        @ bigleagues

        Regarding WAR:

        It is designed to come out pretty close to a team’s W/L, you’re just forgetting to add in the wins the team full of replacement players would have. For rWAR it’s like 35 wins, but I’m not sure what Fangraphs’ formula is. Sometimes it’s off because of fluky stuff, but it’s usually pretty close to their actual wins, and even closer to their Pythagorean W/L.

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        natslady:

        First, I don’t care how many Nats’ fans thumb my comments down and yours up, you (and paperlions) are straying off the reservation here. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of rebuking Gio as an ace – which he is clearly becoming. But he has not displayed lock-down ability nearly consistently enough for me to get to excited about the prospects of him being my #1 in the playoffs.

        Second, even if he isn’t fooling anyone outside of the greater DC metro area, Mike Rizzo is apparently winning the PR battle down there. I’m not interested in games and exercises that have no real merit and serve only to appease the fanbase in rationalizing why Strasburg won’t be pitching in October.

        Finally, I’ll take what CJ said and add this:

        Gio, Career vs possible play-off teams:

                                                                                       
        I                           Split W L  ERA GS CG   IP ER BB SO  WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
            Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 7 2 2.54 10  0 60.1 17 17 64 1.077  9.5  3.76
                     Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1.29  1  0  7.0  1  3  7 1.143  9.0  2.33
                           Atlanta Braves 2 1 4.86  3  0 16.2  9 10 19 1.380 10.3  1.90
                        Baltimore Orioles 1 2 3.26  5  0 30.1 11 13 25 1.451  7.4  1.92
                        Chicago White Sox 0 4 5.86  5  1 27.2 18 22 24 1.771  7.8  1.09
                          Cincinnati Reds 1 0 0.95  3  0 19.0  2  5 25 0.842 11.8  5.00
                           Detroit Tigers 1 3 5.33  5  0 25.1 15 16 25 1.658  8.9  1.56
                      Los Angeles Dodgers 0 1 3.00  1  0  6.0  2  5  7 1.333 10.5  1.40
                         New York Yankees 1 5 6.75  6  0 32.0 24 22 33 1.625  9.3  1.50
                       Pittsburgh Pirates 1 0 2.77  2  0 13.0  4  6 12 1.077  8.3  2.00
                     San Francisco Giants 2 2 3.26  5  0 30.1 11 11 27 1.418  8.0  2.45
                           Tampa Bay Rays 2 1 4.37  3  0 22.2 11 16 24 1.676  9.5  1.50
                            Texas Rangers 4 2 2.55  8  0 49.1 14 18 38 1.277  6.9  2.11
        

        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 8/14/2012.

        Zimmerman, career vs. possible playoff teams:

                                                                                       
        I                           Split W L  ERA GS CG   IP ER BB SO  WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
            Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 0 1 0.00  1  1  8.0  0  1  4 0.625  4.5  4.00
                     Arizona Diamondbacks 1 2 2.75  3  0 19.2  6  4 14 1.169  6.4  3.50
                           Atlanta Braves 2 1 3.09  4  0 23.1  8  7 21 1.071  8.1  3.00
                        Baltimore Orioles 1 2 2.70  4  0 26.2  8  5 16 1.163  5.4  3.20
                        Chicago White Sox 0 0 0.00  1  0  7.0  0  1  4 1.000  5.1  4.00
                          Cincinnati Reds 2 0 1.88  4  0 24.0  5  6 19 1.083  7.1  3.17
                      Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 9.00  1  0  6.0  6  3  4 1.500  6.0  1.33
                         New York Yankees 0 0 3.00  1  0  6.0  2  3  6 1.333  9.0  2.00
                       Pittsburgh Pirates 0 1 6.00  1  0  6.0  4  1  6 1.333  9.0  6.00
                     San Francisco Giants 3 1 3.19  5  0 31.0 11  5 29 1.065  8.4  5.80
                      St. Louis Cardinals 0 2 8.62  3  0 15.2 15  3 13 1.660  7.5  4.33
                           Tampa Bay Rays 0 0 1.80  1  0  5.0  1  2  6 1.200 10.8  3.00
        

        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 8/14/2012.

        After reviewing the above, can you still honestly state that “There is no team that the Nats could face in the playoffs they should be afraid of”?

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        seeinred87 – this isn’t all in response to your post, but you gave me a good jumping off point :-)

        Incidentally, thank you for adding that clarification, but for me, at least, theoretically close isn’t actual or accurate.

        I say this as an engaged fan of sabermetrics, there are no amount of stats that than can quantify the actual overall effect a missing player has on a team.

        And losing an ace from the top of your Starting rotation can become even more nebulous.

        During the regular season is there any #2 Starter better than Gio this year? Without even checking . . . I’d say probably not.

        Is there a #3 better than Zimmerman? Again, probably not.

        Is there a better #4 than Jackson? He’s certainly toward the top of the list (although with his team a collective 9-13 in games he Starts I’m not so sure)

        And Detwiler has got to be considered the best 5th Starter in MLB to this point (furthermore – an argument can be made that he’s their 4th best SP).

        If we are truly viewing this with a scrutinizing eye, when you remove Strasburg, everyone else moves up a rung, right? So now their rotation becomes 1) Gio 2) Zimmerman 3) Jackson and 4) Detwiler. Still a pretty good front four.

        First question that pops into my mind is this: would those 4 still be a collective 53-34 without the contributions of Strasburg? Secondly, would the bullpen be enjoying as good a season as they’ve had? Possibly but not likely. They have been dominant because all of the parts have done what is needed and expected to keep it running efficiently and effectively.

        The Nats’ Pitching Staff is amidst one of those seasons that everyone dreams of their pitchers having. If not for the failed Wang rotation experiment, the Nats’ would have all but one Start made by 5 pitchers to this point.

        Remove someone like Strasburg from that equation and everyone moves up a rung.

        Are there better #1’s SP than Gio in the playoffs. Depending on the mix of teams, there are several that come to mind.

        Are there better #2’s than Zimmerman? Again, yes.

        Are there better #3’s than Jackson? Dumb question, but yes.

        Are there better #4’s than Detwiler? Probably – and mainly because the others are likely to be better battle tested.

        So by subtracting Straburg the Nats’ go from having almost unquestionably the best Rotation 1-5 to possibly having an advantage in 1-2 slots each series- depending on who the opponent is.

        Furthermore, you are almost certainly gonna place added pressure on that bullpen – which has enjoyed a relatively easy run of it.

        Which, in turn places more of a burden on the position players in the field and at bat.

        All of which can have a fatal effect on team’s chances to advance.

        But go ahead and join Linus in the pumpkin patch.

      • The Rabbit - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        @Big Leagues
        Not a Nats fan and also invested the time in researching saberstats and in what situations they should be applied.
        Agree with almost everything you’ve written except your comments regarding Zimmermann. On this subject, I’ll cede to natslady’s fandom.
        Young pitchers mature. He’s only 26. Zimmermann also needed TJ surgery. To look at his career numbers as a predictor of future outcome is as much of a mistake as taking this year’s success and projecting similar results long term.
        At this point in time and for this year, Zimmermann could be the best #2 pitcher in the NL and could be a #1 on some staffs.
        That said, the postseason will be interesting if the Nats participate and Strasberg is benched.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        Bigleagues, I thought about it. Here’s the problem with the who bumps who. Strasburg is not the No. 1 on this team, this year. He is the No. 3. Not just by the stats, but by watching the pitchers game in and game out. So, you are shutting down No. 3, and expecting Detwiler/Ejax to be as good, and you are right, they aren’t. But it’s not as great a handicap as everyone assumes, because Stras is not your No. 1 pitcher. (Forget Lannan, he is just reserve for injury and unlikely to see the playoffs).

        Strasburg will be No. 1 next year. There is no doubt in my mind he is the most talented of the four (not counting EJax) by a long shot. Strasburg is a once-in-a-generation, a Verlander, whatever superlative you want to use. But he is at least a year away from being that pitcher, both on physical and mental grounds.

        No one is happy about shutting Stras down. But don’t exaggerate, Rizzo is not shutting down the No. 1 pitcher on the staff.

    • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Appreciate your work bigleagues, will look in detail later. On the surface, I would just say you are underestimating JZ by including stats from last year, he is a far superior pitcher both physically and mentally this year. I didn’t see Gio last year, so can’t speculate on his development, but he’s cut down substantially on walks.

      Also, Rizzo’s PR is not directed at saying the Nats can win it all without Stras, or that the Nats are just as good without him or anything like that. He’s just looking toward long-term, and so are we, as local fans, and don’t want to blow it all up in one “magical” season as outsiders seem to expect we should. The Nats have other problems besides the Stras shutdown, problems that we hope to solve for next season while still retaining the great pitching.

      – Our outfield is substandard. Bryce is just learning CF, Werth is injured, we have no left-fielder (although like other teams we use that position for offense).

      – We have no leadoff hitter, though that has not hurt us as much as it could have.

      -We are young, and inexperienced with the pressures of the playoffs.

      – The bullpen is sold but not rock-solid.

      -I am not at all sure that Kurt Suzuki “solved” the catcher problem.

      We have no star–no position player who will be even close to 5.0 WAR. It’s rare for a team to go far in the playoffs without a Votto, Hamilton, Pujuls, etc. It can be done, but it’s rare.

      • bigleagues - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        natslady,

        Fair enough!

        The lowest I’d rank Strasburg is as the 2nd starter. But you really have to make that determination by who he has been matched up against.

        Just for the record I’ve watched a lot of Nats’ games this year and have been high on them since the pre-season. I’ve been fascinated with where that team has been going for a couple of years now, so I’m not making my assessments blindly solely based on the numbers.

        Listen, I admire your passion for your team. I do think, Strasburg or not, that the Nats’ can go deep into the playoffs (certainly capable of getting to NLCS) – but I’d cautiously temper my expectations because Gio does not have a good track record against most of the AL field – and some of that (ie Yankees, 8.00+ ERA last season in 2 Starts) are recent performances.

        I really do like Gio. I think he is a gamer and one of those guys who really takes his craft very seriously. But he is prone to throwing a lot of pitches, high ball counts and allowing too many base runners and that can and does get him into trouble. Less so since he came to Washington, but never-the-less it has crept up from time-to-time this season (particularly in June during inter-league).

        In any event, you should be excited and enjoy this run!

    • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Appreciate your work, bigleagues, will look in detail later. On the surface, I would just say you are underestimating JZ by including stats from last year, he is a far superior pitcher both physically and mentally this year. I didn’t see Gio last year, so can’t speculate on his development, but he’s cut down substantially on walks.

      Also, Rizzo’s PR is not directed at saying the Nats can win it all without Stras, or that the Nats are just as good without him or anything like that. He’s just looking toward long-term, and so are we, as local fans, and don’t want to blow it all up in one “magical” season as outsiders seem to expect we should. The Nats have other problems besides the Stras shutdown, problems that we hope to solve for next season while still retaining the great pitching.

      – Our outfield is substandard. Bryce is just learning CF, Werth is injured, we have no left-fielder (although like other teams we use that position for offense).

      – We have no leadoff hitter, though that has not hurt us as much as it could have.

      -We are young, and inexperienced with the pressures of the playoffs.

      – The bullpen is sold but not rock-solid.

      -I am not at all sure that Kurt Suzuki “solved” the catcher problem.

      We have no star–no position player who will be even close to 5.0 WAR. It’s rare for a team to go far in the playoffs without a Votto, Hamilton, Pujuls, etc. It can be done, but it’s rare.

      • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        not sure how that got double-posted. Am enjoying the back-and-forth. I think your first comment, “don’t worry, this team is gonna be good for a while,” is the operative phrase, and that is EXACTLY what Rizzo has been telling us from day one.

  3. aceinthehole12 - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    They’ll end up like the Phillies of 2011.

    • nolanwiffle - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      Now that’s a piss-poor nattitude!

  4. cleverbob - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Craig, was this just an excuse to start another thread about shutting down Strasburg? Well done.

    • heyblueyoustink - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      I’m shocked there wasn’t some kind of mention about the sensational, probable son of Zeus, Bryce Harper. I mean hell, we were good for a story per day earlier in the season. My oh my, what happened?

  5. temporarilyexiled - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    I for one (a Giants fan) hope the Nationals don’t play it safe and take this year, with it’s real shot at a championship lightly. They’re a really good team. And looking at the rest of the National League, so are the Reds and Braves. And the Pirates, Cardinals, and even the Dodgers aren’t exactly chopped liver. As much as many in the media constantly proclaim the superiority of the American League, when I look at the various contenders, it’s really hard to find anyone other than the Rays who have a deep pitching staff. And the Rays are too dependent on Evan Longoria. It’s just my opinion, but I think the battles of the best teams will all happen in the National League – before the World Series ever gets played. Oh, and if you’re thinking I’m a tired, National League lifer, just know that I’ve given up on the idea that the strategy of having the pitcher hit, with all its various switcheroos is interesting. I’ve become a heretic. DH? Fine with me. Bring in the fences at the gem by the bay? Sure. More interleague play, so that it’s more like the other professional sports? I’m okay with it. Somehow, all of the hallowed principles seem to have melted away with time, at least with me. I like the National League better…this year…because I think the teams are better. But in general, I’d like to see both leagues be different…in name only.

    • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      that sir, is heresy. you should be temporarily exiled from this blog.

      • temporarilyexiled - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        If I start rambling on about who plays who how many times and when I’ll never be allowed back.

  6. kkolchak - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    All the focus on Strasburg and Harper has obscured just how deep the Nats really are. In addition to a five-strong rotation and a bullpen in which every currently active member has an ERA below 4.00, they’ve been able to overcome injuries to Desmond, Werth, Morse and Ramos with production by rookies from their rejuvenated farm system.

    Some knock Rizzo by saying that any GM would have drafted Strasburg and Harper, but it was Rizzo who pulled off the gutsy trade for Gio Gonzalez, traded Ryan Langerhans for Mike Morse, allowed Adam Dunn to walk and brought in LaRoche to replace him, stuck with Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa while they learned to play at the MLB level, made the tough decision to add Detwiler to the rotation over Lannan, shrewdly hired Davey Johnson, and whose scouting department was high on Jordan Zimmermann (2nd round), Tyler Moore (15th round) and Steve Lombardozzi (21st round) when they were not highly coveted by other teams before draft day. Even the Werth signing doesn’t look so bad right now as he has become a leader in the clubhouse and has produced this year when healthy.

    • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Drafted Tyler Moore three times! Rizzo one stubborn cuss. Hope Werth’s ankle is ok. Could use him in RF. TyMo, um, not a great outfielder. Great hitter though, and got another one coming along, I just heard Rendon got promoted. Giolito making his first pro start today. Future looking bright.

  7. jea1978 - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    This is our time baby. The Dynasty has begun!!!

    • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      hey look Mike Vick is back. win one first and then you’re a champion. Win another, and then you can talk Dynasty. Maybe.

      • jea1978 - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        Mike Vick was talking about a sport where season and career ending injuries are vastly more likely. Anyone that calls a dynasty ahead of time in football is a moron.

      • CJ - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Anyone that calls a dynasty ahead of time in ANY SPORT is a moron.

        Fixed it for you.

  8. johnnyb1976 - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    That 5-2 against the reds was back in the first month plus of the season when the reds played their worst ball. I hope we see them in the playoffs.

    • natslady - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      That is true. Nats were able to “pitch around” Votto because Rolen was hitting something like .130 behind him. Would be an exciting match.

    • kkolchak - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Oh, I do too, especially since the Nats were one bad call and one Henry Rodriguez blown save away from going 7-0 against the Reds.

  9. mianfr - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    You were actually loath. Two different words.

    • fearlessleader - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      Thank you so much for posting this so that I didn’t have to be the only pedant on the board. I’m not proud of it, but I lose sleep over things like this, and I hate to see my grammatical pet peeves on my favorite baseball blog. “Loathe” is a verb; “loath” is an adjective. Carry on.

  10. Stiller43 - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    If you watched the game, they had 3 straight infield hits!!! I mean, kudos to them for hitting the ball hard and the other team not being able to play it, but they should NOT have scored that many in the 3rd. It was like a blooper reel out there for the giants infield, even once kicking the ball into right field while making a diving attempt. It was a joke.

    Plus bernadina was out at 1st whichcould have ended it earlier as well!

    /not a fan of either team

  11. dcsuperfan - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I don’t understand all the Nats hating. Must be coming from fans of other teams that are jealous because the post wasn’t titled “The _____ are looking pretty scary.” I’m not crowning my team in August, but if you think we don’t have as good a shot as anyone, even without Strasburg, you’re a fool. BTW (unrelated) we shouldn’t be shutting him down. How many innings was he at when he blew out his elbow? Too lazy to look it up but I believe he surpassed that total a month ago. We need to watch his mechanics, not his IP total.

  12. tomtravis76 - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Here in DC the fans are start to buy in, going to games is a fun experience. Tickets are not expensive. This town is excited about what is going on with the team, you go into bars and the game is on, you drive around town and you can catch people listening to the game on the radio when you pull up to a light. Winning does change everything. Being a transient city, more casual fans and fair weather fans are talking about the Nats and the playofffs rather than the skins, which is great.

    Fans are paying attention to 37’s situation, and this is one that Rizzo has to change his stance on. How do you tell Stras, thanks big guy, know you have dreamed about playing for a title but we are not going to let you play in the post season, but yiou are a main reason that got us here? Rizzo could quickly become the most hated man in DC, if they make it to the playoffs and lose with no Stras. Leave it up to 37.

    • voteforno6 - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      The most hated man in D.C. is Dan Snyder, hands down. I don’t even like the Redskins, but I hate him, mainly because he makes me feel sorry for Redskins fans. That being said, Rizzo is not going to change his mind on this one. He is making the right decision here. If that article in the Post is any indication, the other pitchers on the team are supportive of this decision. I don’t see there being a lot of fallout from the fans over this decision. Besides, even without him, this team has enough talent to go deep into the postseason.

      • cleverbob - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        Snyder’s pretty well liked in Philly, NY and Dallas.

      • tomtravis76 - Aug 14, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        dan snyder is the most hated guy in dc, you are correct. rizzo does know what he is doing and everyone will get over it, but this is a special team. Stras is a young guy and to be healthy and not be allowed to help your team out in the playoffs will be difficult to digest years from now if they dont win it all.

        Look at some of the great players who only got to one series or never played in one, you never know if you will get another chance.

        its just a wait and see what happens…it would be great if it was o’s v nats.

    • kinggw - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      Rizzo has to change his stance because some bandwagon fans just started to take notice of the Nats? Please. If they are real fans they will know that Strasburg isnt even the best pitcher on the staff. I find it comical that people assume a team is going to fall apart because someone who pitches once every 5 games is shut down.

      Strasburg is not the end all be all for this team. If you’ve been watching you’d know that the Nats have gone all season without having all of their top guys in the lineup at the same time. This team has gone through long stretches without Zimmerman, Morse, Werth, and now Desmond. When someone goes down, the next man steps up. That will be no different when Strasburg gets shut down.

  13. vcupats - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    The Nats’ record in non-Strasburg games is 56-37, for a .602 winning pct. That is STILL higher than the rest of MLB. You’re damn right they are scary.

  14. vikesfansteve - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    It doesn’t make sense to sit Strasburg in the playoffs if the whole goal is to have him be available for eventual playoff teams in the future. The need to use him if they make it. It’s not like he is being Dusty Baker’d into blowing out his arm. Sit him from now until the final week of September then. If they don’t win the division they will easily be a Wild Card. NATS stadium is an awesome atmosphere too. Talk of the town.

  15. mrredlegz - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Nah, shut him down. Then you’ll have an excuse for losing the NLCS to the Redlegs.

  16. Marty - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    Giants come back tonight 6-1. Granted that’s 1 of 4 this season against the Nats. But the Giants clobbered STL 15-2 a couple weeks ago, and I don’t remember the big scary Gigantes headline.

  17. jimeejohnson - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Giants outhit the Nationals 13-5 last night. NL ERA leader Zimmermann gave up 8 of those hits in only 5.2 innings of work but still only allowed 2 earned runs. Harper didn’t get a hit. That dynasty talk is a little premature, but I think it’s great to finally have a first place baseball team in the nation’s capital. Of the three mid-Atlantic teams (Orioles, Phillies, and Nationals), only the underachieving and overpaid Phillies are not having a good season.

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