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Friday, July 27, 2012

WaPo: Nationals storm to the top of baseball

I fully expect a meteor to strike the team bus tomorrow.  Things are simply going too well.

MILWAUKEE – After the Washington Nationals shredded another victim Thursday night, a speed bump shaped like the Milwaukee Brewers, they reached a place that for years they could only imagine. When they look up, all they see is possibility. There are no teams to block their view. Late summer is approaching, joy is replacing disbelief and no team in baseball has a better record.

The Nationals thumped the Brewers, 8-2, at Miller Park for their sixth consecutive win. Adam LaRoche homered for the third straight game, Steve Lombardozzi smoked a game-breaking, three-run triple in the second inning and Edwin Jackson pitched seven scoreless innings. They played clean defense, snatched extra bases, took an eight-run lead and exchanged purposefully goofy low-10 handshakes.

The methodically dominant performance pushed the Nationals into uncharted territory. They stretched their lead in the National League East to a season-high five games over the idle Atlanta Braves. At 59-39, they moved to 20 games over .500 for the first time since baseball returned to Washington. (A Washington club last stood so far over .500 when the 1945 Senators finished 87-67.) They share the best record in the major leagues with the New York Yankees. Since the Nationals came into existence, they have never been better. [...]

The Nationals’ front office convened here to prepare for the July 31 trade deadline. It was suggested to an American League scout that the Nationals might not tweak their roster much between now and then. “Well, yeah,” he replied. “Why would they?”

Esoteric Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:19 AM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, milwaukee, nationals, washington

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   1. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4193448)
If I remember correctly, a month ago we were like 25th in the majors in runs scored.

We're now up to 15th and rising after having scored 160 runs in our last 27 games! To say this offense is on a serious extended tear would be an understatement.
   2. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4193455)
and this kind of negates all of the statistics thrown at us by Mets partisans. With Zim back and Werth coming..we should be at least average and with the pitching..who knows!
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4193462)
I still have some trouble believing the pitching is this good - Ross Detwiler? - but clearly the Nationals pitching is legitimately elite.

One interesting thing about the Nats offense - they have some significant holes in the lineup, but their bench has been a crazy strength. Among the "below-the-line" bench players on the Nats B-Ref page, 5 of 7 have an OPS+ > 100. (Leaving out injured starters like Morse, Werth, and Ramos.)

You could call that luck, and it probably is to some degree, but that's also the sort of thing a great manager can do. Recognize the talents that will respond best to part-time play, use them intelligently and keep them involved, and you can steal a win or two. Davey Johnson still seems to be getting less credit for this Nats club than he deserves.
   4. Chris Needham Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4193474)
_I still have some trouble believing the pitching is this good

Like they say... half of pitching (or whatever) is defense. If the Nats don't (or didn't before Desmond's injury) have the best infield defense in the league, they were top 2-3. Zimmerman is elite. LaRoche solidly above average (especially compared to the ox that usually man that position). Desmond has range, and he's learned what to do with the ball after he fields it. Espinosa is amazing. If you watch the team, slow ground balls just don't get through.

Now the outfield isn't quite as good. Morse isn't anything special -- but again, compared to some of the clods out there -- he's no worse than a tick below average for the position. Harper is raw still, but he's got decent enough wheels and makes most of the plays a very good CF should make.

Combine that with a strikeout staff that doesn't give up consistently hard contact, and the good pitching seems... somewhat sustainable! God help us.
   5. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4193486)
With Zim back and Werth coming...we should be at least average.

At least average? In a few weeks from now, when we're (hopefully) relatively healthy and Desmond and Werth are back, the Nationals are going to have one of the toughest, most balanced lineups from top to bottom in all of baseball, especially now that Espinosa appears to have righted the ship.
   6. John M. Perkins Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4193489)
Whatever Lola wants.
   7. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4193491)
Davey Johnson still seems to be getting less credit for this Nats club than he deserves.


Maybe the time isn't yet ripe for "Davey Johnson should be manager of the year" articles, but Davey Johnson certainly should be manager of the year. Although I guess Hurdle deserves a bunch of votes too.
   8. phredbird Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4193506)
bryce harper has struck out 66 times with only 9 homers, but he is carrying a 110 OPS+ ...

actually, i guess its lucky for him the spotlight is shining more on the team as a whole. he can reap the benefits of playing on a winner while he hones his skills. if it was all on him, that would be pretty tough to handle.

i'm not a washington fan, but this is a fun team to watch.
   9. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4193527)
Things always look their brightest when a team is playing at their best. Doesn't mean they'll do it for the rest of the season. Offensively this has been their best month and I doubt the team will continue to put up a .790+ OPS the rest of the season. Just like how the pitching staff put up a .572 OPS in the first month and have settled into a .685-.695 OPS the rest of the time.
   10. TerpNats Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4193565)
Agreed, McCoy, but OTOH, the Nats are now in a stretch where they are facing teams under .500 for the next two weeks (possibly 2 1/2 if Arizona keeps floundering). They don't face a contender again until a three-game set at San Francisco Aug. 13 -- and once that series is over, 27 of their final 44 games are at Nationals Park. They have a legitimate chance of pulling further away from the Braves, who only play them six more times.
   11. eddieot Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4193582)
I go to Vegas every January for a trade show and am not much of a gambler. But for 17 years, I've placed a single futures bet for $50 on what team will win the World Series. Since it's January I basically look for a team that has decently long odds but is up and coming. The only time I won was on the Phils in '08 at 15:1. This year I have the Nats at 30:1. Go Nats!
   12. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4193587)
Obviously they're not going to continue on THIS hot, averaging nearly six runs a game for the whole rest of the season; they're not the Yankees or Texas offensively. But I stand by my opinion that this is going to continue to be a talented, deep, and very well-balanced lineup when we're healthy.

It's too bad that Ramos isn't coming back this season. If we had him in there as well for the stretch, there wouldn't be a single black hole of suck anywhere from 1 through 8.
   13. Esoteric Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4193589)
It's too bad that Ramos isn't coming back this season. If we had him in there as well for the stretch, there wouldn't be a single black hole of suck anywhere from 1 through 8.
And when Strasburg was pitching, our biggest offensive threat would come from the #9 hole!
   14. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4193593)
Davey Johnson still seems to be getting less credit for this Nats club than he deserves.


There was an article by Boswell posted here last week that specifically talked about his bench usage.

Then they went and DFA'd Ankeil and Nady right after that.
   15. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4193595)
And when Strasburg was pitching, our biggest offensive threat would come from the #9 hole!


Are they planning to keep him on the roster to pinch-hit after shutting down his arm for the season?
   16. just plain joe Posted: July 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4193602)
Are they planning to keep him on the roster to pinch-hit after shutting down his arm for the season?


If they do truly shut him down they either have to keep him on the active roster and essentially be a player short until September, option him to the minors or invent some injury for him to go on the DL. If the Nats try to DL Strasburg with some phantom injury (hangnail/string warts/whatever) I would be disappointed in the rest of the National League if they didn't collectively didn't jump up and down and cry foul. This might not do any good as teams have traditionally been allowed to put players on the DL with little more justification than "he's hurt". We shall see.
   17. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4193629)
One interesting thing about the Nats offense - they have some significant holes in the lineup, but their bench has been a crazy strength.


Driving Xavier Nady out to the deepest middle of the woods and then abandoning him there has helped.
   18. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4193640)
What going on here? The Nat's offense is now hitting like the 2012 Oakland A's!
   19. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4193656)
Or maybe even as good as the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates!

I don't know how to track OPS+ over time, but IIRC As have gone from 70 to 89 in last few months, and Pirates from mid 70s to 95...
   20. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4193710)
If they do truly shut him down they either have to keep him on the active roster and essentially be a player short until September, option him to the minors or invent some injury for him to go on the DL.


We're just six more Strassburg starts away from expanded rosters. He's at 117.1 innings in 20 starts. At his current pace of just under six innings per start, he'd still be under 160 after his first September start.

EDIT: At his current pace, Strassburg would pitch fewer than 200 innings even if he started every fifth game for the rest of the regular season (which would include starting the last regular season game).

EDIT2: Jordan Zimmermann made his last start of 2011 on August 28.
   21. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4193712)
I don't know how to track OPS+ over time, but IIRC As have gone from 70 to 89 in last few months, and Pirates from mid 70s to 95...

That's the one thing I wish BRef would track that it doesn't.
   22. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4193717)
That's the one thing I wish BRef would track that it doesn't.


They have team splits.
   23. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4193745)
But I stand by my opinion that this is going to continue to be a talented, deep, and very well-balanced lineup when we're healthy.

Harper has a .672 OPS in July.
Lombardozzi has a .608 OPS
Flores is being even more Flores this month.

Basically Zimmerman, Desmond, and Espinosa went nuts this month and none of them are likely to come close to repeating this performance in the months to come. Plus Bernadina is not going to hit .409/.480/.409 again as well. This team in the first few months had some serious holes in the lineup and they'll contintue to have some serious holes in the lineup the rest of the season.
   24. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4193747)
They have team splits

I mean I wish that you could go to the game logs and look up a player's or team's OPS+ for say June 15th or so.
   25. Esoteric Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4193751)
McCoy, you seem to be pretty down on the Nats in general. There a reason for that?
   26. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4193759)
McCoy, you seem to be pretty down on the Nats in general. There a reason for that?

How am I being down? Irrational exuberance is the order of the day or something?

I don't think the Nationals are a talented, deep, and very well-balance offensive team. That isn't being down on them that is being a realist.
   27. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4193763)
I mean I wish that you could go to the game logs and look up a player's or team's OPS+ for say June 15th or so.


Yeah that would be pretty cool.
   28. Esoteric Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4193774)
How am I being down?
Well, it's not unreasonable to say that the Nats offense has holes in it. That's a true statement, and in isolation it's nothing worth noting. But you have a fairly long pattern, going back to at least 2010, of having a stick up your posterior about the Nationals as a franchise. In that thread you were gleefully anticipating Strasburg blowing out his arm, and others noted that you'd already established a pattern of dumping on them whenever possible.

I mean, I say nasty things about the Braves myself now and again, and once upon a time in my younger and more irresponsible days I was a pretty inexcusable anti-Mets troll, so I'm not trying to get up on a high horse here. I'm actually genuinely curious: there seems to be something in general about the team (franchise? ownership? Joey B.? ME?) that you dislike, and you therefore default to a sour orientation w/r/t them whenever you comment about them...what is it? Like, I can't stand the Braves because I view them as the kid that perpetually steals the NL East's lunch money year-in, year-out -- I envy their consistent competitiveness and excellence, oh and also Sam H. (though I know it's a schtick). What's your motivation?

Seriously: not meant as an attack or a criticism (which is why I phrased my #25 the way I did). Just always interested in the reasons people conceive a disdain for one team or another.
   29. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4193777)
McCoy, you seem to be pretty down on the Nats in general. There a reason for that?

He's just in his deliberately obtuse, contrarian mode. I already made it perfectly clear that the Nats (obviously) aren't going to hit as well the rest of the season as they have over the last month, and I think I made it pretty clear that I'm talking more about a few weeks from now when Werth and Desmond are likely to be back in the lineup.

But we'll see how things go the rest of the season, won't we? That's why we watch the games.
   30. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4193781)
I think I made it pretty clear that I'm talking more about a few weeks from now when Werth and Desmond are likely to be back in the lineup.

And I mentioned Desmond in my rebuttal. My statement is simple. The Nats are not a talented, deep, and very well-balance offensive team. They have a ton of offensive holes even with Werth in the lineup.
   31. thetailor Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4193783)
Clearly, this is all just because Jayson Werth is a winner, in the same manner that Jose Reyes is a loser.
   32. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4193787)
Well, it's not unreasonable to say that the Nats offense has holes in it. That's a true statement, and in isolation it's nothing worth noting. But you have a fairly long pattern, going back to at least 2010, of having a stick up your posterior about the Nationals as a franchise. In that thread you were gleefully anticipating Strasburg blowing out his arm, and others noted that you'd already established a pattern of dumping on them whenever possible.

Well, no. In that thread I was poking you, a person who is extremely sensitive about his favorite team. My problem with the Nationals has always been that they rip their fans off when it comes to ticket pricing. You for whatever reason took exception to this.

   33. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4193788)
They have a ton of offensive holes even with Werth in the lineup.

We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Other than Flores, I love the lineup that we're hopefully going to be putting out there every day come September. We'll see what happens.
   34. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4193804)
I love this team (after seven years of disappointment) and while acknowledging their areas of weakness I still think they have an outstanding opportunity this year..we will have to see, of course.
   35. just plain joe Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4193807)
We're just six more Strassburg starts away from expanded rosters. He's at 117.1 innings in 20 starts. At his current pace of just under six innings per start, he'd still be under 160 after his first September start.


Are they pulling him early to be pulling him, or is he making a lot of pitches and not going deep into the games as a matter of course? I don't pay much attention to the Nats (I might see them occasionally if they show up on a game I was going to watch anyway), but I do know that Strasburg typically strikes out a lot of guys. If that's the case then they might need to be more concerned about the actual number of pitches he throws and not so much the innings.
   36. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4193808)
We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Other than Flores, I love the lineup that we're hopefully going to be putting out there every day come September. We'll see what happens.

But you have to admit that Bryce Harper isn't the same Bryce Harper that we saw in his first month up and Lombardozzi is being Lombardozzi. That's three holes in the lineup right there plus the pitcher spot. A lot is also riding on Werth and Desmond coming back and not missing a beat.

And despite what Esoteric thinks I'm looking forward to the Nationals making the playoffs this year and when they do I'll be getting playoff tickets.
   37. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4193825)
I don't see any reason Harper isn't likely to bounce back. I think it is natural for him to have a tough stretch. I'm not sure what my goal would be for the trade deadline if I were Rizzo. Maybe a tough offensive catcher but that's a tall order.
   38. Esoteric Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4193832)
I'm not sure what my goal would be for the trade deadline if I were Rizzo. Maybe a tough offensive catcher but that's a tall order.
The FO has stated a couple of times that the only things that are really on their wishlist are 1.) a solid backup catcher; 2.) middle infielders, presumably reserves. But that they're perfectly fine with standing pat if need be.

Seems to match my understanding of their needs too.
   39. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4193837)
Yep, Harper is definitely going through a slump now, and I'm assuming he will bounce back somewhat even while Zimmerman cools off. Maybe I'm just wearing big rose-colored glasses, but I think it's reasonable to assume he eventually breaks out of the slump.

Lombardozzi and Bernadina are obviously bench guys, and they will both be back on the bench if and when Werth and Desmond are back.
   40. Esoteric Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4193838)
Yep, Harper is definitely going through a slump now
Let's trade him to the Cubs. I hear Soriano is available.
   41. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4193841)
1.) a solid backup catcher;


Kelly Shoppach can be had. He's not a great fit with the Nats catchers already being righty but he's a useful player.

I like the Nats a lot but I don't think it's unreasonable to see their offense as a bit wanting. NL teams always flummox me though, with the pitcher batting 1 or 2 other holes really stick out quick. Harper's at that point that most rookies hit where it is his turn to make adjustments. Long term I have no doubt he will but I don't think it is a certainty for this year. That loss of Desmond really hurts though because he gives them a big bat at a position where they aren't typically at. Put Harper at somewhere between his first month and the last month and give them Desmond back and I don't see them particularly weak offensively.

If they sit Strasburg for the playoffs though....man that just seems like a horrible idea to me. That's an exercise in trying to prove how smart you are rather than trying to win in my opinion.
   42. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4193848)
I don't see any reason Harper isn't likely to bounce back. I think it is natural for him to have a tough stretch. I'm not sure what my goal would be for the trade deadline if I were Rizzo. Maybe a tough offensive catcher but that's a tall order.

Is there any history of young rookies bouncing back? Isn't it generally that rookies wear down as the season goes along?
   43. TDF, situational idiot Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4193853)
I still have some trouble believing the pitching is this good - Ross Detwiler? - but clearly the Nationals pitching is legitimately elite.
What's better than elite? Going into today, the Reds' ERA+ is 127; the Nats' is 124.
   44. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4193962)
Are they pulling him early to be pulling him, or is he making a lot of pitches and not going deep into the games as a matter of course? I don't pay much attention to the Nats (I might see them occasionally if they show up on a game I was going to watch anyway), but I do know that Strasburg typically strikes out a lot of guys. If that's the case then they might need to be more concerned about the actual number of pitches he throws and not so much the innings.


I don't think they've been pulling him early to limit him. He's had a couple of short outings, but mostly has gone six or seven. It's the NL and he plays for a team that doesn't score a ton of runs, so you figure he's mostly going to get pinch hit for if his spot comes up after the sixth inning or so (something like 13 of his 18 non-DH starts, I think). And of course innings are just a proxy for pitches, but he's only thrown 105 or more five times.

Also six more starts would give him 26 for the season, same as Zimmermann in 2011.
   45. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4193967)

Is there any history of young rookies bouncing back? Isn't it generally that rookies wear down as the season goes along?


That sounds like work to figure that out. I'm more into gut feelings and such.
   46. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 27, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4193980)
I fully expect a meteor to strike the team bus tomorrow. Things are simply going too well.


Let's see. The Nationals are in Milwaukee. The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the biggest fly-in in the world, is this weekend. The chances that someone will show up with one of these? Not impossible, although all five of the airworthy Meteors are based in either the UK or Australia.
   47. TomH Posted: July 27, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4193993)
backup catcher? George Kottaras was D'dFA (DFA'd?) by MIL. Career OPS of 728. OPS this season was higher, altho he was in a long slump. NL OPS overall is 718, and I suspect catchers hit wose than that.

   48. zack Posted: July 27, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4194004)
I mean I wish that you could go to the game logs and look up a player's or team's OPS+ for say June 15th or so.


It's not on bb-ref, but that's what the day by day database is.
   49. zack Posted: July 27, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4194026)
I don't think it's unreasonable to state that the Nats have at-best a questionably average offense, even with their ideal line-up. I mean, just look at their ZiPS.

Here are their projected and current OPS+ for the main attractions:

Pos     Player          ZiPS    Current
C       Flores           70      62
1B      LaRoche          95     126
2B      Espinosa         91      97
3B      Zimmerman       123     114
SS      Desmond          84     120
LF      Morse           116     107
CF      Harper           94     110
RF      Werth           105     120

UT1     Moore            75     132
UT2     Lombardozzi      88      75
UT3     Bernadina        82     107 


Basically, in order to believe the Nats have an above-average offense, you have to believe that Ian Desmond is suddenly a 120 OPS+ hitter, when he was an 85 the last two years, when the only thing noticeably different about his batting line is that he's suddenly hitting 13% of his fly balls out of the park, after averaging 5% the last two years. And you have to believe that Zimmerman, Werth, Morse, and Desmond, who are all coming back from significant injuries, can maintain their production, and in the case of Zimmerman and Werth, not get injured yet again.

And if all that is true, you get a mildly above average offense. This is not a juggernaut. Especially not in an AL park...
   50. bunyon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4194055)
And if all that is true, you get a mildly above average offense. This is not a juggernaut. Especially not in an AL park...

Ah, but you miss the subtlety that is NL ball:

good pitching and defense, timely hitting in the regular season and first two rounds. Then let the Rangers get close to winning and pounce when they stutter.
   51. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4194058)
We're 60% of the way through the season; I don't give a flying crap at this point about what ZiPS said.

Let me clue you on in something: young players have been known to suddenly and unexpectedly improve after a few years as they approach their prime. Jose Bautista went from an average hitter to a MVP caliber type of player, virtually overnight.

If you want to be a slave to some speadsheet that came out six months ago, knock yourself out. Personally, I'm going to just enjoy spending the next three or four years watching my awesome team win lots and lots of games.
   52. bunyon Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4194069)
FWIW, I've seen several of Strasburg's last few starts (so this is a stats report, not scouting) and he hasn't gone more than 5 or 6 in those starts because he became quite ineffective toward the end. He probably should hvae been pulled sooner in them.

I don't know if that means he needs to be limited or it's just a small sample size. I've argued the limit is stupid - if they're still playing for a title, their best pitchers should be on the field. However, I would be receptive to an argument that, due to the injury and rehab, he's tired to the point he isn't one of their best pitchers. Obviously, I'm extrapolating from here to a point where he isn't effective even early.

Anyway, Nats fans who are here: is my impression correct? Has he been getting pretty shaky after 4 or so innings?
   53. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 27, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4194083)
young players have been known to suddenly and unexpectedly improve after a few years as they approach their prime


And who on the Nationals fits this description? Even just the "approach their prime" part, much less the "suddenly and unexpectedly improve." Maybe Bernadina and Desmond, but that's about it as far as I can tell. Morse is 30 and having a down year compared to his last couple. LaRoche is 32. Espinosa and Ramos are young, but doing about what you'd expect based on their past performance.

EDITED to add a little more detail.
   54. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4194085)
I don't think Ian Desmond has suddenly "got it" and that we can expect him to put up .900 or better OPS from here on out. That isn't to say that we should expect Ian to put up sub .700 OPS year in and year out. I'd guess somewhere around .750 to .800 or so based on this season so far.
   55. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4194146)
In the month of July the Nationals have played exactly three games against a team with a staff ERA above league average (July 3-5 against SFG.) They're not suddenly superpowered offensively. This entire conversation - in total, and around Ian Desmond:Masher! - is a case study in the stupidity of small sample size theater. Someone go get Voros to explain baseball to Joey, please?
   56. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4194170)
My problem with the Nationals has always been that they rip their fans off when it comes to ticket pricing. You for whatever reason took exception to this.

I missed that conversation, McCoy. Would you be more specific as to the seats in question? My season tickets are situated 10 rows behind the visitors' dugout and, since the stadium opened in '08, I have paid a very reasonable* $60 per seat per game.

* They are reasonably priced considering the location. I would be surprised if they don't get raised by at least $10-15 for next season.
   57. TerpNats Posted: July 27, 2012 at 08:11 PM (#4194182)
You can get some decent seats at Nats Park for $10 (upper outfield gallery, upper right field terrace -- and the lower RF terrace are $15). Moreover, the two furthest sections in the upper deck on the third-base side are available first-come, first-served the day of the game for $5.

Are there a lot of overpriced seats in Washington? Certainly. But if you pick and choose, you can find some reasonably priced ones, too.
   58. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4194206)
I missed that conversation, McCoy. Would you be more specific as to the seats in question? My season tickets are situated 10 rows behind the visitors' dugout and, since the stadium opened in '08, I have paid a very reasonable* $60 per seat per game.

$60 for a season ticket (which comes discounted) for a team that has been crappy since almost day one is not very reasonable to me. For years the Nationals have had trouble selling tickets to the park and yet all that time they've had rather expensive tickets as compated to the actual demand of those tickets and for the quality of the team on the field.
   59. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4194269)
$60 for a season ticket (which comes discounted) for a team that has been crappy since almost day one is not very reasonable to me. For years the Nationals have had trouble selling tickets to the park and yet all that time they've had rather expensive tickets as compated to the actual demand of those tickets and for the quality of the team on the field.

I have a different perspective. The Nationals may have had difficulty filling the seats in the upper deck or outfield, but they have not had too much trouble selling the seats where I am situated. (I have only two seats, yet have never been unable during the offseason to move closer to home plate.) Also, don't forget about the generous Red Carpet Rewards program, which I imagine will be discontinued after this season.
   60. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4194418)
They have a red carpet reward program in part to justify the prices they are charging. While 10 rows behind the dugout might be in demand 15 to 20 rows behind the dugout are not in as much demand and they charge the same price for them. For instance I checked 4 or 5 games over the next month and all of them have dugout box seats available within 15 to 20 rows of the dugout and they cost $80 to $90 dollars as single game tickets.



Of course since we start talking about the Nationals and their offense they get blanked.
   61. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4194432)
They have a red carpet reward program in part to justify the prices they are charging.

And I can tell you that the plan succeeded, at least for my season ticket group. The thought of seeing 24 games for the price of 16 or 15 for 10* has its appeal.

* The extra games usually consist of seats in the club level behind home plate.

Your point is taken though. I was talking only about my little piece of real estate and those ticket holders even closer to the field. I can only imagine how much I would pay for the same seats at Citi, let alone NYS.

With a Nats postseason spot nearly certain -- CoolStandings lists their playoff odds at over 89% -- it will be interesting to see how the team prices games for next season and then how fans respond, both in terms of '12 season ticket sales and overall attendance during the first two months.
   62. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4194434)
The thought of seeing 24 games for the price of 16* or 15 for 10 has its appeal.


Of course it does because the tickets are cheaper. If the tickets were cheaper I wouldn't have a beef with the Nationals and their ticket pricing. This year I discovered seatgeek and have gotten tickets for about 75% off their face value and have gone to about 10 games or so.

For instance right now I can get tickets to Wednesday night against the Phillies behind the Nationals dugout and about 15 to 20 rows up for $25. If I went through the Nationals it would cost $90*


*obviously both prices don't include service fees.
   63. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4194438)
Do many fans still buy individual game tickets via Nationals.com though? And how are Seatgeek and Stubhub different?

EDIT: Ah, it appears that Seatgeek is the Kayak of event tickets, an aggregator site.
   64. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4194444)
Do many fans still buy individual game tickets via Nationals.com though? And how are Seatgeek and Stubhub different?


Just because a lot people have realized that the Nationals are ripping them off in terms of prices doesn't free them from the scorn caused by trying to rip people off.

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