Cliff Notes: Whirlwind Baseball and Vacation Tour Edition


Bonjour Mes Amis! We are back from our trip through Syracuse, Rochester, Batavia, Toronto, Montreal and Brooklyn-and 1600 miles later we are wiped out. Today during the Nats 14-1 victory, I was completely zonked out listening joyfully to run after run score in a half asleep haze. Happier days then when we first left on our trip North, as the Nats dropped 6 in a row (to go with the 2-5 road trip before the All-Star break). Winning four of five is a great way to end the home-stand though, miraculously only losing 1 game over the last ten in ground to the Braves. (Oh to imagine a world where the Nats might have won one, or even two, of those first six games at home…)

Anyway, here some excellent links from the week we were gone, and some photos from our trip.

  • Here is an 9 year old’s take on last week’s losing streak. Rational and accepting of his own need to stay positive, Matt’s Bats summed up the dire need of a this team to win games without losing his cool. (Happy Birthday Matt!)
  • From time to time we write about fan etiquette. Maybe you’ve noticed? This is a ONE World Sports article discussing baseball etiquette. I agree with most of it (Particularly the Ripken Nats Jersey…Dafuq?), and the stuff I don’t fully agree with (some of the other Jersey foul stuff) I also have no real problem with-so eh. The great philosophers of the ancient world couldn’t fully agree on things, didn’t mean they weren’t worth reading. Onwards to the ideal form of fandom!
  • Natstradamus has two great posts. He doesn’t write often, but when he does it is very very good. The first is a mea culpa regarding his original Nats projections (but he shouldn’t feel too bad about them, as he is in good company), and the second looks at why Drew Storen has struggled this year (answer: it has nothing to do with any lingering Game 5 shadows you have decided must be the case).
  • Half Street Heart Attack agreed with Natstradamus, btw. There are facts, not imaginary story threads, at work on Drew Storen.
  • One more Drew Storen note, and then I’m done: HowDoIBaseball smartly suggests that this time being sent down might be a good place for Drew Storen to practice being a starting pitcher…now where have I heard THAT idea before… ūüôā
  • Chris Needham has a tumblr. This short little post is almost poetry- perfectly capturing the spirit of every garment rendering Nats fan who, then, keeps showing up for games.
  • The Nationals Archive Wanted posters are can’t miss. They also got a special invite from the team to visit the players and stuff before a game the other week. They wrote about some of it here (mostly Julie Alexandria).

Cliff Notes: “Flooded Basement of the Heart” Edition

Flooded Basement

EDIT:  Hawaiian Shirt Party is Sunday!  Wear one to the Park!

It’s hard to blog when you’re moving into a new house.¬† It’s harder to blog when you’re used to working from home and you’ve been in the actual Office for the last few weeks (I know…poor me).¬† But really, when your basement where you have your computer and desk all set up floods and you have to tear up the floor of the house you JUST MOVED INTO…I think you get a little “slow blog week” allowance.¬† Podcasting…just forget about it.

So let me give you some of the things I’ve at least had the chance to glance at in the last week from Natstown:

  • His Favorite Letter is K– A Matt’s Bats piece on Craig Stammen.¬† Hope Matt gets to be a blogger journalist for a day on Saturday, as I’ll be missing that window.¬† The Stayman fruit picture is very funny, and it’s an excellent piece on one of the few consistent Nationals this year.
  • Anytime @ouij enjoys himself at a baseball game these days, it’s worth reading about.¬† The joy of going to a minor league game in Potomac to watch a Ross Detwiler rehab start.¬† Plus, he’s a great photographer.¬†
  • #NatsHaiku¬†took off yesterday, and was a fun bright spot in a cruddy day for baseball.¬† Nats losers of 4 of their last 5-it’s bound to echo deep in the dark parts of our creative brains.¬† Here is the Bog article about it.¬† Also, if you ever needed evidence that most WaPo¬†commenters are dopes, half their Haikus aren’t Haikus.¬† So there’s that.
  • Henry Rodriguez is still hitting things.¬† Like Batters and Umpires.¬† That’s so…Cubs, how did we not see it before?¬† This may be a perfect fit for him.
  • Also, Jayson Werth probably broke the Phanatic’s ATV.¬† Well, no¬†he didn’t.¬† This is Philly, so it’s much more likely some street¬†tuffs (like Cole Hamels) stole the spark plugs, but some people in Philly need a reason to boo Jayson Werth three years after he left having helped win a World Series for the city and those booing fans.¬† What’s the other option for them, really?¬† Not boo Jayson Werth and fill the void in their soul by accidentally pausing to¬†reflect on their wasted lives?
  • Speaking of reflections on wasted lives… Joe Strauss, a man who seems to be employed professionally to be a twitter troll for a St. Louis Newspaper, finally caught the eye of Dan Steinberg.¬† I stopped following Strauss months ago because, well, he’s annoying and clearly baiting Nats fans (and really, what did Washington ever do to him? Did he get at ticket on Metro for drinking his coffee on a visit or something?) from halfway across the country and…well…why should I give him what he wants?¬† I figure if you’re gonna get mad at a guy for stupid things but you’re following him on Twitter, it’s kind of your own fault.¬† Anyway, Dan tears him apart, and it’s worth reading.¬† Not much in happy Nats land on the field…so might as well laugh at that.¬†

Cliff Notes: Red Porch Wedding Edition

Last week, Davey Johnson said changes would be coming, and he might as well have said ‘Winter is Coming.’¬† The House Lerner did some serious Spring Cleaning a few weeks before the official start to summer much as we suggested on Monday.¬† Of course, lots of people had the exact same suggestions, so not gonna break my arm patting myself on the back here.¬†

  • Let’s start with the easy ones.¬† Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke were both Designated for Assignment.¬† If you’re not sure what that means, you can check out our podcast from last year on DFA¬†or wait until I do a post on it later today/tomorrow.¬† For now though, it basically means they have been cut by the team and can be claimed by another club.¬† If no one claims them they are free agents and can sign where they like.
  • Next, Jayson Werth returned to the line-up.¬†
  • Third, Danny Espinosa was placed on the 15 day Disabled List.¬† He is going to visit with a specialist today and then figure out what to do for his health there.¬† Teams will look at his bust up wrist and have a look at the torn rotator cuff while they are at it.¬† What’s more based on comments from Rizzo and Johnson, and the fact that he cleaned out his locker, it seems almost certain that he won’t return directly to the club but go to AA or AAA to work on his swing.¬†
  • Which is why Anthony Rendon¬†has been called up.¬† He’s going to get time with Steve Lombardozzi at second base, which I am a bit skeptical about.¬† Guy’s only played 3B, and had about 3 games in AAA Syracuse at 2B, so he is going to learn on the job.¬† Plus, defensively, he’s going to replace Danny Espinosa’s elite level defense, so there was going to be a drop off already.¬† Still, if he can hit it will help-and maybe it’ll end up giving Danny some props when folks see how not-routine some of the balls hit to second are.
  • Ian Krol also gets called up. He’s a lefty and is in the bullpen.¬† Looks like i¬†have some new Get To Know A Nats to do!
  • Oh and lastly, the Nats won!¬† For the first time all year, the Nationals came back from a deficit after the 6th inning to win a game.¬† Plus, they tagged a reliever with a blown save and had a walk off win.¬† Woot!

Singular topic this time given how big yesterday’s story was.¬† Plenty of stuff to write/talk about this week, so please stay tuned!¬† We are in our house and should be back to a more steady content stream presently.

Cliff Notes: Walkin’ Wounded Edition

Nathan Karns debuts for the Nats tonight.  This is courtesy of DCSportshopped who took my awful execution of this idea and made it much better.

Nathan Karns debuts for the Nats tonight. This is courtesy of DCSportshopped who took my awful execution of this idea and made it much better.

Sorry for the thrown together nature of today’s post. This is our big move into our new house week!¬† Tomorrow I get up at 5am fly out to Indianapolis Indiana pick up a Uhaul and some furniture and drive back on Thursday only to immediately load up the truck so we can move on Friday!¬† Yay!¬† (As you might imagine, content here and on twitter might be….lacking for the next week or two).¬†

Hey, have you heard?  There is a problem with the Nationals offense.  While thinking folk might come up with the fact that the team is missing Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper has a bum knee, most folks seem to have focused their ire on the second base position.  It turns out the Danny Espinosa has been playing with a broken wrist (that no one seemed able to diagnose for the last few months).  Here are some articles about that:

  • First, Dave Nichols writes up perfectly why the Nationals refuse to make Steve Lombardozzi a starter over Danny Espinosa.¬† I, as well as many others, have been beating this drum for a while-but Dave does the best job of summing it all up and making it read well.¬† A must read for folks worried about the 7th spot in the order.
  • Speaking of a broken wrist, I guess Danny is feeling better. Many folks have wanted Danny to be put on the DL so he can get surgery, but the team can’t make him get surgery and they don’t seem in a rush to do that.
  • Steve Lombardozzi is playing like a man possessed…I guess.¬† He’s 5 of his last 21 including a big 3 hit day against the Phillies. That’s pretty good, and he’ll need to keep that up if he wants to keep his job.¬† As it stands, his best is about 30% better than Espinosa with a broken wrist.¬† If the team thinks Espi is healthy, it is still his job while Lombo keeps the seat warm for him.
  • Related- Jeff Kobernus is now on the team.¬† Welcome Rook!

Also, there is other health news:

  • Ross Detwiler is going to be on the DL for a week at least with lower back issues.¬† Nathan Karns gets a shot tonight against the O’s, here is Zuckerman’s preview of him.
  • More Injury Dates, here is Wagner talking about more return dates.¬† Ramos is done for at least 6 weeks, and so again it’s tough luck for him.¬† This has gone from “oh no” he’s hurt to “oh no” he’s injury prone.¬† Also, Mattheus the locker puncher (who single handedly -no pun intended – screwed up the bullpen) is also out for a while.¬† Werth is due back next week, which the team desperately needs.

If you want to read some stuff that will make you angry, how about this Machado v. Harper thing from some hack on Yahoo.  

Speaking of hacks, Natstradameus is not hacky at all.¬† This week, Luigi does respond to hacks that think something is wrong with Drew Storen.¬† Small sample size-it can’t be overstated. The article also has an excellent bit on xFIP which fans of this blog may like as educational.

Cliff Notes: The “Hawaiian DL Look Where You’re Running!” Edition


By now, you’re seen or heard about Bryce Harper going full steam ahead into a chain link fence for a very scary injury on a very “Bryce-like” type of play.¬† I’m not posting the GIF or Pictures here, but I will link to them below if you want to see them.¬† Frankly, after once it’s upsetting and unless you’re really a fan of watching people get hurt there is no reason to see it again. (And if you’re a fan of watching people get hurt….)

  • First, the Post does a great job covering the 7-Day Disabled List that MLB started last year.¬† It’s basically a special DL for players with concussions only. Note, the photos and the GIF are both in the article, but if you can bear it-read it.¬† The article explains it well.¬† Even though he was listed as having no concussion, a second opinion is probably going to happen.
  • Danny Espinosa has a cannon.¬† I know this because Section 138 showed me.¬† Here is Danny with pin point accuracy throwing from deep RF to 3rd base¬†to get an out.
  • Back to Injured people for a minute, here is a running tally of all players salaries paid to players on the Disabled List so far this year.¬† Why? Because its the New York Times and they get to put the Yankees at the top of a list again, probably.
  • Nats Prospects keeps track of, well, Nats Prospects.¬† Anthony Rendon and Paul Demny were named the Eastern League player/pitcher of the week.¬† Rendon’s bat is on fire, let’s hope his defense at 2B is coming along.¬† The Nats want him on the bench somewhere, but he’s got to pick it up in the field a bit.
  • UPDATE: Added this one cuz it posted seconds after I posted this:¬† Dave Huzzard destroys local and sports talk radio.¬† I am always a fan of that. Really though, he takes a sledgehammer to 99% of sports jargon that destroys actual discussion of the (any) sport.¬† Give it a read.
  • The Half Street Irregulars are hosing a Hawaiian Shirt Day at Nationals Park!¬† It’s Bryce Harper Bobblehead Day, so you were probably coming anyway.¬† Wear a Hawaiian shirt and get into the relaxed spirit of Kurt Suzuki…well unless you saw him cuss out the ump.¬† We’re going to try and relax more than that ūüôā

Cliff Notes: The “36 Chambers of Det(wiler)” Edition

What happens when Jon Feng, Chris Ford (DCSportsNexus) and Nationals101¬†join forces over the love of the Nationals and some of the best early 90’s hardcore rap albums?¬† You get #RallyWuTang, and you get the above Nationals Rally Wu Tang Mix tape.¬†

  • It might surprise you to know this, but Stephen Strasburg is not god, or a god, or anything like that.¬† He’s just a pitcher with 50ish¬†starts over four years figuring out how to be the dominant pitcher he probably will be.¬† The Natsbaseball¬†blog on Blogspot explains all this while referencing the Fantastic Four, which is why it makes our Cliff Notes this week.
  • I’ve written once or twice¬†about why not to panic, including¬†highlighting other good clubs that started slowly.¬† Amanda Comak did a bunch of¬†research on the topic last week.¬† An excellent article for the next time you feel the freak out happening.¬†
  • This Yu Darvish GIF is fantastic.¬† If pitchers pick up information based on the hand location of the pitch, good luck.
  • Pat Reddington¬†of Federal Baseball uses his guest¬†spot on MASN (Seriously, who do I have to buy a beer to get this gig?) to talk about stopping the worry and¬†learning to love H-Rod.
  • Gavin doesn’t post enough.¬† Really.¬† Here, Mr. Section 138 uses his Danny Espinosa¬†bobblehead to show differences in beard length-including drawing directly on the bobblehead.

Cliff Notes: Angsty April Edition


Anthony Rendon called up on Sunday is now 2-15 with 5 strikeouts.

No Review-Preview this time around gang I’m not sure I can bring myself to do one. ¬†Okay, the Nats got swept by the Cardinals, but strangely looked better (on the pitching and defense anyway) doing it. ¬†The Cards have great pitchers and great bats. ¬†The Reds are coming into town and they have good pitching and great bats. ¬†The Nats could have all, or none, of any of those at any given time because it’s only April and no one knows what the heck is going on.

Okay that’s your review-preview. ¬†On to the Cliff Notes:

  • Dave Huzzard knows a ton about baseball. ¬†When he writes up stuff for MASN as a guest blogger, it’s top notch stuff. ¬†This week he put in crystal clear terms why you the Espinosa/Lombardozzi debate at second base isn’t even a debate.¬† Basically, I’m with Dave the right thinking people can’t honestly compare the two. ¬†(Also, I need to figure out how to get one of these guest blogging gigs).
  • Speaking of the Huzz, here is Twitter Convo we had today naming excellent baseball books. ¬†It’s a good idea to get a book list for new fans that want to know more about the Nats, the sport or the stats that explain it. ¬†In fact, we did a podcast last year about it. Still updating a page with books is probably a good idea.
  • Matt’s Bats watched BP from the field, and basically everyone you’d want to come say hi came and said hi. ¬†I do not wear my jealousy well, particularly when it is directed at an 8 year old.
  • From the Sports Bog: Henry Rodriguez throws a ball into the President’s Club. ¬†To be fair it took the long way round, and he’s actually been a much better pitcher so far this year. ¬†Also “Full Monkey-Tilt” might be the early candidate ¬†for this year’s “Clown Question Bro.”
  • Lastly, Nationals Prospects is a blog I’ve been reading more of lately. ¬†This weekend they ran a story about the call up of Anthony Rendon which included some skepticism regarding the timing of the call-up. Being a high level top prospect is a tough job on a call up, especially when a chunk of the fan base expects you to fix things as soon as you get to the show. ¬†Couple that with the fact he’s following two “once in a decade” type of players like Harper and Strasburg, and well…expectations can be outsized very quickly. ¬†(and yeah, lying to reporters-while part of the gig-is still cruddy).