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Saturday, May 25, 2019

This chaotic play serves as a microcosm for the Mets’ week

NEW YORK — The internally embattled New York Mets swept the hapless (and Harper-less) Washington Nationals this week and there are so many statistics to emphasize just how disappointing the first 50 games have been for two of the teams that were actually trying in a division that was supposed to be one of the most hotly contested. But maybe you’re more of a visual learner.

The four-game series — which started with everyone assuming Mets manager Mickey Callaway was going to get axed and ended with it looking increasingly likely that Dave Martinez’s days as the Nats’ manager are numbered — can be unfortunately illustrated by the following play from the sixth inning of Thursday’s 6-4 Mets victory. It’s not exactly emblematic — nowhere is the Nats’ bullpen imploding and there’s no direct manifestation of the Wilpons’ tiresome meddling — but it is certainly A Mood.

MLB.com Gameday described the play as follows:

Brian Dozier singles on a soft bunt ground ball to second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria. Juan Soto scores. Throwing error by second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria. Brian Dozier out at 3rd, pitcher Steven Matz to third baseman Todd Frazier.

Not sure I’d grant the play that much significance- however, I will say that it doesn’t well for the play of either team.

QLE Posted: May 25, 2019 at 06:04 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baserunning, errors, fielding, mets being mets, nationals

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Boswell: Dave Martinez is a good man. But he probably shouldn’t be managing the Nationals.

The Martinez Problem — and it seems to increase exponentially with each week, not pausing for the usual time frames, but forcing decisions near Memorial Day rather than the more sensible Fourth of July or Trade Deadline — is specific to this Nationals team. What they need — someone who can build a decent bullpen out of scrap (feel free to erase the “s”) and someone who can put the fear of a wrathful deity into anyone who screws up fundamentals — isn’t what he’s got.

The Nats still can’t defend a safety squeeze bunt, or remember that the cutoff man is not 20 feet tall, or grasp that a base runner’s first responsibility is to avoid getting picked off. The Nats still regard turning double plays as optional; they need a manager who regards it as a prerequisite to remaining in the lineup tomorrow. Pitchers, including Max Scherzer (and Wander Suero), don’t seem to grasp that giving up a gopher ball on an 0-2 pitch is about the dumbest thing you can do.

Martinez addresses all these issues. But after 210 games, they haven’t changed. The Nats now have a clubhouse — without super-duper Bryce Harper — in which no one is, supposedly above the law. So, why all the recidivist scofflaws?

The biggest Martinez problem is, in a sense, not his fault. Some managers have been pitchers. More have been catchers, who deal with pitchers constantly. Or they are ex-middle infielders, thought to exist in a mind-meld with pitchers. Or, at least, they have been managers in the minors or winter ball, or some darn place where they have to run a staff and a pen. It’s an experiential, not a theoretical art.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:32 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Friday, May 10, 2019

Real or not? The Nationals are in trouble, and so is Dave Martinez

I saw Joe Posnanski mention this in a tweet:

Nationals under Dusty Baker in 2017: 97-65
Nationals under Dave Martinez total: 96-100

That was published before the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 6-0 on Tuesday with a six-run seventh inning and five scoreless innings of relief from Freddy Peralta, dropping the Nationals to 14-21 on the season and marking the first time they’ve been seven games under .500 since Sept. 19, 2011.

The big hit was Lorenzo Cain’s two-out, bases-clearing double off a tiring Stephen Strasburg that made it 3-0. With Strasburg clearly laboring after a hit batter and two base hits and the resulting turn of events, the blame game turned more to manager Dave Martinez than Strasburg’s failure to escape the jam. While Martinez’s reluctance to turn to his bullpen was understandable, considering the way the pen has pitched most of the season, Strasburg was clearly pitching on fumes. That’s not post-double reaction. I saw tweets in real time wondering why Martinez left Strasburg in to face Eric Thames (he did strike him out) and Cain before those at-bats unfolded.

Obviously, Baker isn’t the only reason the records are different. That said, firing Baker always seems like a better idea than it actually is.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 10, 2019 at 09:55 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dave martinez, dusty baker, nationals

Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Nationals are one of the worst teams in baseball, and there’s plenty of blame to go around

The Washington Nationals sent a clear message when they fired Dusty Baker a season and a half ago: Simply making the playoffs was no longer good enough. The team had to do better.

After failing to make the playoffs in 2018, things don’t look promising for the Nationals this season either. The team suffered its fourth-straight loss Wednesday, dropping a 7-3 game against the Milwaukee Brewers. With the loss, the Nationals now sit at 14-22 on the season.

That record gives the Nationals the second-fewest wins in the National League. It also gives the team one more win than both the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, two clubs clearly in rebuild mode.

Where did it all go wrong?

When four wins is the difference between one of the worse records in the league and a .500 record, it seems far too early for one of these articles…

 

QLE Posted: May 09, 2019 at 05:36 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: blame, davey martinez, mike rizzo, nationals

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Nationals stuck on plane all night

It’s been a rough go of it lately for the Washington Nationals. They’ve lost eight of their last 11 games. They are riddled with injuries to important players. Now they are sleep-deprived and still haven’t made it out of Philadelphia even though they have a game in Milwaukee this evening.

The team’s charter plane out of Philly experienced mechanical issues last night and the entire team was stuck on the tarmac for hours. The plane was boarded at 6:30pm. Sometime around 4AM the decision was made for players to go back to the team hotel and try to get a couple hours of sleep. As of 8:45AM the plane was still in Philly. I’ve not seen word if it has taken off yet.

And people wonder why I prefer trains….

 

QLE Posted: May 07, 2019 at 04:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aviation, nationals

Sunday, May 05, 2019

MASN Must Pay Nationals Tens of Millions More

The Washington team won’t actually receive almost $100 million. That’s because MASN must restate its financial results for those five years, reducing its profit in order to pay the higher TV rights fees. The more money MASN pays in rights fees, the less it has available for profits.

After those and other adjustments are made, the Nationals would net somewhere between $60 million and $70 million from the decision, according to people familiar with the case.

On top of that, Governor Larry Hogan wrote to Manfred that he has paused negotiations on renovations and the ballpark lease which expires in a couple years because the MASN dispute clouds the future of the Orioles. Could the Orioles be moving back to St. Louis??

Bote Man Posted: May 05, 2019 at 03:33 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: masn, money, nationals, orioles, television rights

Friday, May 03, 2019

Washington Nationals: Pitching Coach Derek Lilliquist Fired

Just a few moments ago Mike Rizzo met with the media and announced the Washington Nationals have parted ways with pitching coach Derek Lilliquist. Paul Menhart, who currently is the Nationals minor league pitching coach, will replace Lilliquist.

In his press conference, Rizzo stated that there were “preparation issues” that could have led to this decision to let go of Lilliquist.

Lilliquist took over as the Nationals pitching coach in 2018 after Mike Maddux was let go when Washington parted ways with Dusty Baker. In 2016 and 2017 under Maddux Washington was top three in the National League in team E.R.A. In 2018, Lilliquist’s first year, Washington finished ninth in the National League with a 4.04 team E.R.A.

The producers of Broadway musicals in trouble demonstrate panic by firing their choreographers, and the general managers of baseball teams in trouble demonstrate the same by firing their pitching coaches.

 

QLE Posted: May 03, 2019 at 03:32 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: derek lilliquist, fired, nationals, pitching coach

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Surging Cardinals dump slumping Nationals

Adam Wainwright gave up just two runs in 6 1/3 innings and the St. Louis Cardinals used a big fourth inning to beat the Washington Nationals for the second night in a row, prevailing 3-2 on Tuesday in the nation’s capital.

The Cardinals have won nine of their last 10 games while the Nationals have lost eight of 11. Washington is 4-6 in one-run games while St. Louis is 5-3.

Wasn’t Surging Cardinals, Slumping Nationals a major cross-over hit close to twenty years ago?

 

QLE Posted: May 01, 2019 at 05:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, nationals, slump, streaks

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Bud Norris to sign with the Nationals

Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the Washington Nationals are in agreement with reliever Bud Norris. The deal is pending a physical.

Norris, 34, posted 3.59 ERA with 28 saves and a 67/21 K/BB ratio over 57.3 innings with the Cardinals. He started spring training with the Blue Jays, injured his forearm and was released.

And now, the snapping-up of players in response to injuries begins….

 

QLE Posted: April 10, 2019 at 07:56 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: bud norris, nationals, relievers

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

MASN Has Stopped Paying the Nationals

Now comes a new dispute with some stink from the last one — specifically, the $25 million that MLB secretly advanced to the Nationals to soothe team owner Ted Lerner’s problems with being forced to license its games at a discount.

According to documents filed Monday in New York, MASN has made cash flow payments to both teams every year early in the season. By June 2018, though, the Nationals hadn’t received their payout and accordingly inquired about the missing money. Thus began months of correspondence between the two clubs and the MLB Commissioner without resolution. The Nationals apparently went into this offseason without TV money.

Bote Man Posted: April 09, 2019 at 01:47 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: masn, money, nationals, orioles, peter angelos

Monday, April 08, 2019

Trevor Rosenthal has yet to retire a batter this season

Nationals reliever Trevor Rosenthal has had a forgettable start to the 2019 season. The right-hander missed all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery, which allowed the Nationals to sign him on the cheap: a one-year, $7 million deal. Rosenthal, a former All-Star closer, entered Sunday’s action without having retired a single batter.

Steve Blass syndrome strikes again!

 

 

QLE Posted: April 08, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, trevor rosenthal

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Nationals and Phillies trade bullpen meltdowns as Craig Kimbrel still sits on the market

For all the money both teams spent in the offseason, the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies have the same weakness: Their bullpens.

Both teams provided a masterclass in late-inning failures during the Nationals’ 9-8 win Wednesday.

The Nationals bullpen collapsed first, giving up four runs in the eighth inning. Tony Sipp, Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough all played a role in the disastrous inning. While Barraclough gave up the hits that allowed all four runs to score, Rosenthal’s performance is far more concerning.

With the Nationals now down by two runs, it was Philadelphia’s turn to implode. Seranthony Domínguez allowed a single and then a run-scoring double to cut the Phillies’ lead to one run in the eighth. A few batters later, the tying run came around to score on an error.

Bullpens blow games on the Eastern Seaboard!

Bullpens blow games while Craig Kimbrel sits!

 

 

QLE Posted: April 04, 2019 at 05:16 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: craig kimbrel, nationals, phillies

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Bryce Harper outclassed, outplayed DC fans in Phillies-Nationals game

You’re allowed to boo. It is absolutely your right as a fan. You shelled out big money to see Bryce Harper’s return to Nationals Park, and short of being abjectly racist, homophobic or violent, you’re free to express yourself however you want while you’re there.

Boo Bryce Harper if you want. He knows he signed up for a heck of a lot of games against his old team when he inked that 13-year, $330 million deal with his new one, and he even anticipated the boos in an earnest and classy thank-you message he sent to his former club before the game. Again, it’s within your rights to do that. No one’s here to decry freedom of speech.

But it’s also within my rights to call you small-time for doing it. Look at this clown show of Nationals fans, people who were probably Orioles die-hards just 15 years ago, doing arts and crafts to let the foremost player in franchise history know he’s a “traitor” for failing to re-sign with a club that wanted to defer payments up to 2052 — roughly the time Mad Max: Fury Road takes place. 2052! A “$300 million” deal deferring payments that long is not a $300 million deal at all: It’s something you put together so you can say you offered $300 million to cover yourself when your man flees in free agency, like he did.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2019 at 08:03 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, nationals, phillies

Friday, March 29, 2019

Nationals lose 1st game of 2019 with 2018-type miscues

WASHINGTON (AP) — In some respects, the first game of 2019 felt a bit like a remnant of 2018 all over again for manager Dave Martinez and the Washington Nationals.

As much as the roster has been reworked after missing the playoffs, with plenty of folks gone — most prominently, of course, Bryce Harper — and plenty arrived to replace them, the sorts of things that ailed the Nationals last season were again on display in a 2-0 loss to the New York Mets on opening day.

That included an up-and-down-the-lineup inability to hit in the clutch and one particularly bad example of baserunning by rookie center fielder Victor Robles.

Do you think Mike Rizzo ever regrets his hubris from 2012 at all?

QLE Posted: March 29, 2019 at 08:52 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, opening day

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Nationals OF Victor Robles, 21, gets his turn to turn heads

WASHINGTON (AP) — Every team has a “next big thing” in the minors, waiting for the chance to dazzle in the majors, and Washington Nationals fans have been hearing about Victor Robles for years.

He’s an outfielder whose speed fuels his offense and defense. He’s shown power, too. “Toolsy” is the way new Nationals second baseman Brian Dozier described him. “Explosive,” was first baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s adjective.

Robles started in center field and went 0 for 3 in Washington’s exhibition finale Monday, a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees at Nationals Park. That’s also where he’s expected to be on opening day, finally getting his turn to begin a season in the big leagues, moving into an outfield that lost Bryce Harper to free agency.

Yes, but in what direction?

 

QLE Posted: March 26, 2019 at 06:18 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, prospects, victor robles

Monday, March 25, 2019

Phillies fans are planning a takeover of Nationals Park for Bryce Harper’s return

Washington, this is your warning. On April 2, the fans of the Philadelphia Phillies are planning a takeover.

While Citizens Bank Park is going to be packed with Phillies fans all season, busloads of Phillies fans are taking the trip down I-95 to Nationals Park for the first road game of the season. That is, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Joe DiBiaggio, founder of Phans of Philly, which organizes trips and tailgates for Philadelphia sports fans, took a chance even before Bryce Harper signed and purchased a block of 500 tickets for the April 2 game in Washington, Harper’s return to the city he spent his first seven seasons. The tickets will likely be sold out.

Site members who live in and around the District- I would recommend being as far away as possible on that day, ideally in a location in the Central Time Zone or further west.

 

QLE Posted: March 25, 2019 at 10:26 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, fans, nationals, phillies

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Nationals’ Martinez wants Trea Turner to run more

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Trea Turner led the National League in stolen bases last season, and Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez wants him to run even more.

Turner was successful on 43 of 52 attempts last year. He had a career-high 46 steals in 2017. Martinez wants the speedy shortstop to attempt close to 100 this year.

Turner got his third steal of the spring during Saturday’s 4-4 tie against St. Louis.

Come to think of it, players who run every chance they get could very well be worth exploring- at any rate, it’s the perfect response to how twitchy modern pitching has become…..

QLE Posted: March 24, 2019 at 07:05 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dave martinez, nationals, stolen bases, trea turner

Saturday, March 23, 2019

‘Trader Jack’ McKeon back in baseball, his ‘love,’ with Nats

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — “Trader Jack” is back at spring training and couldn’t be happier. Back in baseball, where he belongs, after a season away.

Now a special adviser to the Washington Nationals’ general manager, Jack McKeon feels refreshed after a bit of a break from the place that’s been his world for most of his 88 years. He managed more than 1,000 wins in the majors, another 1,000-plus in the minors and was a GM, too.

“This is in your blood. It’s your love. When I used to manage the Marlins, I’d get up at 7, go to church at 8:30, then turn around and go right to the ballpark. People said: How come you went to the ballpark alone at 9 o’clock, 9:30? I’d say that it was like my living room. My home,” McKeon said during an interview at the Nationals’ spring training facility. “I’d go out and jog. Read the papers. Smoke a few cigars and wait ’til the game started.”

Wishing that Jack McKeon keeps going strong- he started managing when my father was three, and is still in the game three years after my father retired.

 

QLE Posted: March 23, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jack mckeon, nationals

Monday, March 11, 2019

ESPN - Keown - Bryce Harper is One Very Big Deal

When Harper told his agent, Scott Boras, that he wanted a lifetime deal—with a no-trade clause and none of the agent’s signature opt-outs—Boras said, “Well, teams don’t want to employ you at 35, much less 39, so we’re going to have to give something up to get that.” The casualty, to use the term loosely, was the average annual salary—$25.3 million. Manny Machado’s, to pick one, is higher. Harper didn’t care.


Trea Turner may never think he is good enough, and that means he will only get better - The Washington Post

“I was frustrated by myself last year. I could have done so many more things,” Turner says. “I’d think, ‘Why did I do that?’ or ‘That was dumb.’ I slid past the bag by an inch one time, got tagged out. ‘Come on.’

“I expect more from myself. And there’s more there. Am I going to hit [.342] like my rookie year? Obviously, no. But how much better is ‘better?’ Is it hit .290,” he says, pausing to think before each number. “Is it 20 home runs . . . 50 steals?”

Turner shakes his head — no, that’s not enough. He ups the ante: “With my speed and my hard-hit-ball percentage, there’s no reason I shouldn’t hit .300.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, trea turner

Thursday, March 07, 2019

New-look NL East suddenly baseball’s deepest division

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — For years, the NL East has been soft as a bunt single.

Not anymore.

Even before Bryce Harper decided to stay inside the division, four of the five teams spent this offseason swinging for the fences. In addition to defending champion Atlanta, the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals all have enough firepower to potentially contend for the playoffs.

Mind you, the Marlins can by themselves make any division weaker just by being in it.

QLE Posted: March 07, 2019 at 03:51 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, mets, nationals, nl east, phillies

Nationals make controversial backpack ban worse by charging fans for storage lockers

The Washington Nationals’ controversial plan to ban backpacks for the 2019 season was already met with anger from fans. The team somehow managed to make the issue worse Wednesday, announcing fans could pay a fee to store their backpacks in lockers at the park, according to the Washington Post.

A company called Binbox will install 500 medium to large lockers at the right field and home plate gates where Nationals fans can store their backpacks for either $2 or $3 per hour depending on which locker size the fan needs. Those prices will cap at $10 and $15 during games.

Fans will also be encouraged to download an app and pay for lockers using Stripe, according to the Washington Post.

For those of you who wish for a reminder as for why baseball ownership has such a negative reputation….

 

QLE Posted: March 07, 2019 at 03:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: backpack, dollah dollah bills, y'all, nationals

Friday, March 01, 2019

The Nationals use a mannequin to keep their uniforms straight

I try to avoid “back in my day-ism” as much as possible because it’s simply not a good look on a person. Or a logical approach. Stuff changes, Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and a default assumption that it’s always for the worse blinds you to the better. Be open to the possibility that new things can be good before reflexively, and inaccurately, assuming that everything was perfect for a two week period when you were 12 or 22 or whatever.

One has to work at this, however, and we all have areas in which we need to work harder. A particularly tough topic for me is uniforms.

I’m a classicist when it comes to baseball livery. Yes, there are new styles and patterns that I can appreciate once I work through my predispositions, but I have to work and since no one likes to work I tend to default to the basics: clean white home uniforms, basic gray road uniforms and a minimum of solid-colored alternate tops which, frankly, only the Oakland A’s tend to do particularly well. My list of best uniforms skew sharply traditional: I think the Dodgers, Tigers and Yankees — the teams whose uniforms have changed the least over the ages — tend to look better than most teams and always have.

All right, let’s see how many jokes we can make concerning the mannequin and Bryce Harper in the comments!

 

QLE Posted: March 01, 2019 at 06:15 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: mannequin, nationals, uniforms

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Meet the Man(nequin) Keeping the Nats Uniforms Straight

That’d be the mannequin stationed inside the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse since spring training kicked off. Situated in front of the double doors that lead out to the practice fields, Manny—as he’s known around Nats camp—has one job and one job only: to save ballplayers from making a fashion faux pas.

And he might be making history in the process.

In the past, the Nationals’ dress code du jour was pinned to a bulletin board, posted on a wall across from a fridge full of water bottles. But that was before things got complicated.

This year, Washington’s spring training wardrobe, already more varied than most teams’, expanded even further to feature three caps, three jerseys and two pairs of pants. In other words, on any given day, there are 18 distinct uniform combinations that could be in play. Clearly, the Nats needed a new sartorial security system.

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: February 27, 2019 at 03:43 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, uniforms

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens.

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner.

To be fair, abruptly running like crazy might be a perfect way to end the pitcher-and-batter shenanigans we’ve been so irritated by.

QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, stolen bases, trea turner

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