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Dan Haren: “If we got in, we’d be the team to beat”

Sep 28, 2013, 11:40 PM EDT

Nationals starter Dan Haren with your quote of the day, via Adam Kilgore:

Haren shut out the Diamondbacks tonight over seven innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 4.67. As that ERA might indicate, Haren has been part of the Nationals’ problem this year. Before he went on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation following his start on June 22, he had a 6.15 ERA.

The Nationals, however, surged at the end of August well into September, winning 23 of 30 games between August 20 and September 20. The hot streak revived their once-dead playoff hopes, but they ran out of time, having already lost too much ground to the Braves. Perhaps, had the Nationals — now 87-75 — pulled things together sooner, Haren might have been right, but it is hard to see the Nationals as presently-constructed being a post-season favorite on the National League side.

  1. David Proctor - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    *cue everyone saying the Nationals had a favorable schedule, ignoring that every good team beats up on bad ones*

    • David Proctor - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      Having said that, I still think Haren is wrong. But 23-7 is very impressive regardless of the opponent.

      • dan1111 - Sep 29, 2013 at 4:01 AM

        It was wrong to say it, because it comes across as an ungracious, sore loser comment. You can’t win making a statement like that, especially when you are a player who had a disappointing season.

        However, I don’t think it’s far off factually speaking. Before the season they were picked as one of the top playoff teams, and they still have the same talented roster. The only team I might favor over them is the Tigers. The Nationals are still a team that is built to go deep in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they flubbed the regular season.

      • heyblueyoustink - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        It’s a comment indicative of lack of hunger. As a Phillies fan, I’ve seen enough of this from various players/ managers/ front office folk since ’08.

        Except Washington has yet to even win the pennant. Which is the disturbing part. Their veterans are going to be getting older and their youth seem to be a tad fragile, we’ll see what happens.

  2. schmedley69 - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    The Nats couldn’t handle the pressure of being favorites. Once they were hopelessly out of it and the pressure was off because everyone stopped paying attention to them, they got hot and made things interesting. As soon as they got close enough to get their fans back into it, they faded again because the pressure was back on.

    • David Proctor - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      “As soon as they got close enough to get their fans back into it, they faded again because the pressure was back on.”

      Um…that’s not what happened. When they were swept in St. Louis, their E# was 1. So they were out of it. They played very well until the end, they just ran out of time. There was a lot of pressure when they won 2 out of 3 from the Braves and 2 out of 3 from the Fish. That’s not poor by any means, it just wasn’t good enough given how deep of a hole they dug. Then they looked completely deflated after being eliminated in STL.

      • schmedley69 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        Sorry, but the Nats season was a complete failure. They were overwhelming favorites, and they completely flopped. Living in the D.C. area, I listen to their sports radio station daily, and the arrogance that their fans and media showed before the season was off the charts. They actually had a segment where they asked callers “if we deserve a World Series this early in our existence?” They thought that they were a shoe in, and I think the Nats organization (GM, manager, players, announcers) thought that as well. I enjoyed seeing them get their come comeuppance.

      • emdash01 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:44 AM

        Dumb sports radio segments, you say? That’s unprecedented.

        That said, I’m honestly a bit amazed you found a segment where they weren’t talking football. Local radio still seems to think this whole ‘baseball’ thing is possibly just a phase.

      • dcfan4life - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        “The were overwhelming favorites”

        Is any baseball team really an overwhelming favorite at the beginning of a 162 game schedule. I think not.

      • Paul Zummo - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        They have gone from being arrogant and wrong on sports radio about the Nats to being arrogant and wrong about the Redskins, only they spend infinitely more time focusing on the latter.

      • dcfan4life - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:52 AM

        Hard to be arrogant about 2 teams that have had 3 combined playoff appearances, all loses, in the last 20 years… They both finally had good years last year and the Washington Fans liked to talk about them cuz they both appeared heading in the right direction. And we are dying for a championship in DC, as passionate as we are. Now with some failures you act as though we say such things every year. Give me a break.

      • Paul Zummo - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:10 AM

        Now with some failures you act as though we say such things every year.

        Actually you kinda do. There is a remarkable, pollyannish segment of the DC fan base. You have local hosts like Kevin Sheehan who perpetually have the Skins making the playoffs every post-season, and he happens to be right every five years or so.

      • chumthumper - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        “….they just ran out of time.” Yep, that’s it. Obviously, a 162 game schedule is simply not enough.

    • emdash01 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      Not really. They had a lot of injuries early in the season, and – unlike a lot of other teams who were able to compensate by having strong bench players fill in when they had injuries – their bench performed terribly. Their offense improved in July when they had Harper, Werth, Rendon and Ramos playing every day instead of Bernadina, Moore, Espinosa-Lombardozzi and Suzuki. Depth was the problem, not psychology.

      • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:53 AM

        I agree. Dayton Moore (Royals) said it takes 6-8 years to develop a championship team, and me, personally, I’d say more like ten. Ten years to start from the scraps that MLB left behind when the Expos came here, to build a farm system, develop an organizational strategy, build a ballpark, negotiate with towns for minor-league teams, and a thousand other things that go into having the depth to support a WS run.

        Those (few) analysts who didn’t think the Nats were going to cruise to 103 wins pointed to depth as the problem–and so it turned out to be.

      • emdash01 - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:17 AM

        While that’s true, it’s also due to front office lack of flexibility to a pretty large degree. When the bench collectively hit somewhere around .200 in May, that should’ve been a sign to try something different – new minor league guys, trade for players like the Yankees did – but instead Rizzo stuck with his plan, and it cost them.

        That Chad Tracy stayed on the roster the entire season, when probably half of his plate appearances ended in a shallow pop-up, and he can’t run or field, blows my mind a little bit.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:38 AM

        Holy excuses batman! Depth is your excuse now? Dayton Moore, who”s team has won what? Your team shit the bed this year. Admit it. It happens. You aren’t the first wont be the last. The Braves did it for around 19 out of 20 years.

      • emdash01 - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:36 AM

        …lack of depth is an excuse? lol, okay. I mean, if you consider identifying a flaw in how the team was constructed an excuse, sure.

      • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:51 AM

        I’ve said the same many times. Most of the time I think underperformance is really some hidden injury or a miss evaluation of talent. In Haren’s case, it’s clear from his comments, his repeated comments, that it’s mental. That makes me wonder about the first half of the season for some other players, and the team as a whole–how much was mental? I resist the mental thing, but I do wonder…

        And, if that’s the case, how much is on Davey, for not shutting out “expectations,” and how much on Rizzo for not seeing that, say, Henry Rodriguez, didn’t have it?

        I’m sure this is true for most teams, but it’s hard to imagine there weren’t FIVE games in the season that we blew that we couldn’t have won, and be at 91 wins at this point. Ironically, if the Nats were fighting for a WC, a lot of commenters would still be saying the season was a “failure.”

        Interesting season. A lot to mull over.

      • apmn - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        “I resist the mental thing, but I do wonder…”

        Remove this sentence from the context of your comment and it could become the unofficial HBT motto! 😉

  3. spudchukar - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    They are still in denial. And until they start blaming themselves for their poor play, they are apt to repeat it.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      If there is one person who has been brutally honest about his poor play, it’s Dan Haren.

  4. David Proctor - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Sports radio is garbage. It’s garbage in DC, it’s garbage in New York, it’s garbage everywhere. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a local sports radio station that WASN’T like you described. Basing your opinion on a season based on what you hear on sports radio is very poor. Of course, the Nationals season WAS a failure. But to form your opinions of what the team or their fans thought based on what you heard on sports radio is foolish.

    • schmedley69 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      Like I said, I live in the D.C. area, so I think I have a pretty good overall view of what the vibe was before the season. It’s not just sports radio. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post was totally obnoxious in his columns and on Twitter. Their was a lot of arrogant talk from Rizzo, Davey Johnson, the players and their completely biased and obnoxious TV announcers (Carpenter and Santangelo). It’s not easy to win a championship (just ask Cubs fans), but the Nats and their fans acted like it was their birth right. Maybe next year they will be a little more humble.

      • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        No. Next year they’ll be tougher, wiser, healthier, and just as talented. And they’ll do it!

    • peterjohnjoseph - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      I live in Boston, and our sports radio bashes everything about our teams, even when we’re winning. It’s like an extension of the way the rest of the nation looks at us, with even more bias.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      I’m sorry, but I don’t consider the season a failure. Period. It didn’t live up to “expectations,” and I might not call it a “success,” but it was a winning season, only the second one we’ve had here. A lot was learned. A winning season is not a failing season–by definition.

      • Paul Zummo - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:42 AM

        When you are legit World Series favorites and the general expectation is that you will at worst win the NL pennant, then yes, your season was a failure.

  5. thomas844 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Well, ESPN is still picking the Nationals as World Series favorites this year.

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda, didn’t. Maybe Rizzo can go beat up his side of Chicago as a consolation prize.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      This is coming from a Milwaukee fan–?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:25 AM

        Yes it is because our seasons resulted in the same result, no playoffs. And he’s the one who once made a big seal out of where he’s from. And also, it was a damn joke, get ober the fact that your team who made a bog deal about being a favorite this year shit the bed.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:26 AM

        And I should’ve proofread that one better, but I didn’t.

      • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:52 AM

        I’m from Chicago. South Side.

  7. Kevin Gillman - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Does Danny Espinosa still think the Nations are better than the Braves?

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      Probably. At least the “Nations” coaches don’t fight with their players in public.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:31 AM

        Wow natslady , why are you so offended that your team talked the talk this year then couldn’t keep up? Hopefully you’re not a Redskins fan also because you’re in deep shit there to.

      • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:32 AM

        No, I don’t root for the Washington football team. At all. There are 31 other teams, thankyouverymuch.

      • Kevin Gillman - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Maybe, but the Nationals need to know that division titles are not just handed to them, they still have to go out and play the game. It was obvious too that some of the younger players would struggle, since many of them had career years last year. So the question becomes how will they answer this next season? I am a Braves fan, but they are my second favorite team, first are the Indians. But the Braves have been consistent for many, many years. Nationals need to respect that, and try and do what the Braves do.

  8. emdash01 - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    Yeah, as a Nats fan I wish they’d take this stuff down a notch. Just say “we’ll try to come back stronger next year,” and move on.

    Though I suppose it’s significant that the only ones saying it at this point are Davey and Haren – one last bit of “we coulda been a contender!” melancholia on the way out the door to a dull consulting gig and a cheap one-year make-good deal with the Padres, respectively.

  9. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    He has a funny sort of logic to him there.
    “We would have been the best team if not for all those other teams!”

    Next thing you hear they’ll be blaming the season on those meddling kids and their dog.

  10. thebadguyswon - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    The Nationals are legends in their and their fan’s own minds.

  11. nbjays - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    “We’d be the team to beat… if we hadn’t already gotten beat.”

  12. Anoesis - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    His logic is undeniable: “If we hadn’t lost we would’ve won.”

  13. unsportsmenmic - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    Reblogged this on UnSportsMenMic and commented:
    If yall would have not been BEAT by everybody early in the year, maybe this would be true.

  14. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    Well, as was pointed out above–this comes from a rental pitcher who (probably) won’t be back.

    We’ll see if the core Nats have learned from this experience to shut out “expectations” from so-called experts, and the opinions–such as they are–of people like the posters here.

    • Anoesis - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Nice. Distance yourself from the guy who said something stupid, he’s not really a part of your team anymore. Maybe. And if the Nats are paying any attention whatsoever to comments from rabble like us then they have way bigger problems than a failure to live up to their own expectations. Have a nice fall.

  15. bbk1000 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    If they didn’t shut down Strasburg they’d already have a championship…

    If my aunt had b@lls she’d be my uncle….

    Milk milk lemonade, around the corner fudge is made…..ok, I digress….

  16. junglerat524 - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    Further proof baseball has more work to do concerning drug testing.

  17. drone501 - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    but you didn’t and your not.

  18. chill1184 - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Pro Tip to Haren: When your out of the hunt, stop talking

  19. kennj1957 - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    If you were the team to beat you would have made the playoffs….LOL

    • nbjays - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      They WERE the team to beat… so other teams beat them.

  20. 12strikes - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Rizzo would have found a way to shot the team in the foot if they got in.

  21. Ducky Medwick - Sep 29, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    If my grandmother had two wheels, she’d be a bicycle.

  22. bkertz - Sep 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    If I would’ve been an elite baseball player, I’d be making millions in the major leagues. We can all dream too, Danny.

  23. hildezero - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Haren ain’t good anymore like he was with the D-backs or Angels a few years ago.

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