Tag Archives: Danny Espinosa

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I remembered to submit my DC-IBWA 2014 Nats predictions

Every year, the DC Internet Baseball Writers Association sends out questionaires for the Natmosphere about the state of the Washington Nationals. Some years I get to them, some years I don’t. This year, I got to it. Fire away:

1) Who will lead the Nats in home runs in 2014? – Bryce Harper
2) Who will lead the Nats in RBI? – Bryce Harper
3) Who will lead the Nats in stolen bases? – Denard Span
4) Who will lead the staff in wins? – Stephen Strasburg
5) How many games will Ryan Zimmerman play first base? – 11
6) Who starts more games: Ross Detwiler, Taylor Jordan, Tanner Roark, Ross Ohlendorf? – Taylor Roark
7) Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Danny Espinosa or Jamey Carroll? – Danny Espinosa
8) Which minor leaguer are you most interested in keeping tabs on this season? – Lucas Giolito
9) Who will reach majors first: Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole, Lucas Giolito or Matt Purke? – Matt Purke
10) How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who? – 3 – Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Wilson Ramos
11) Total wins and what place in the division? 92, 1st

Essay: What should be the single most important development for the Nats this season?

The Nationals single biggest development should be playing smarter. The talent is there, as we saw in 2012, but last season they had a tendency towards defensive lapses that extended innings and wore down pitchers. Another part of playing smarter is not playing with serious injuries. Harper played hurt for the bulk of the season and Espinosa played his way out of the majors. In the outfield at least, an improved bench should make it easier for manager Matt Williams to give Jayson Werth, Span and Harper some days off with Nate McLouth as the fourth outfielder, so nagging injuries may bee mitigated somewhat. In the infield, Espinosa is a big question mark as the utility man coming off of injuries to both arms.

Strasburg also faces a big year at the top of the rotation after an “off” year in 2013. A recent Post article suggests he had an epiphany about his approach. Strasburg has always come off as intelligent, but very sensitive at the same time. If he has overcome his perfectionist tendencies and self-flagellation, he could dominate with more regularity. Simply put, a focused Strasburg, more comfortable with being an ace and all that entails could be devastating to NL hitters.

Lastly, I believe that Williams approach to defense and hiring of a “defensive coordinator” could help address defensive lapses. Not necessarily because shifts in and of themselves can anticipate where batted balls are going, but also keeping the fielders a little more focused. The question will be whether this will help overcome the learning curve that Williams will face as a rookie manager. Thus far, the tone he is setting for the team is refreshing after Davey Johnson’s casual approach in 2013.

I’ll be surprised if the Nats win 98 games like they did in 2012 — I think that was the peak year in the regular season at least, but I don’t see the Braves winning 96 again either. I believe the Braves will challenge to for the NL East title and probably make the play-in game. After that, it’s all about matchups in the playoffs, so, who knows?

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Nats have 100 games to close 7 game deficit

The Washington Nationals swept a doubleheader on Sunday to take the 3 game series with the Minnesota Twins (take that Calvin Griffith!) and get themselves back to .500. One hundred games remain in the 2013 regular season and the 31-31 Nats probably need to win more than 60 of them to reach the playoffs and perhaps more than 63 to catch the Atlanta Braves. They start tonight in Denver with three games with the Colorado Rockies, a team the Nats have struggled against historically. Last year they went 3-4. This year they have Dan Haren, a call-up and Gio Gonzalez as probables for the Denver trip which doesn’t bode well. Curve balls don’t curve as much in the Mile High air and that hurts Gio. Haren is Haren and a call-up is always unknown.

The Post has a good outline of what awaits: The Nationals’ road ahead

The winning percentage of the Braves’ remaining opponents is .454, easier than the .467 winning percentage of the Nationals’ remaining opponents.

Thomas Boswell writes “who knows” what will happen. Getting back Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and Bryce Harper will go a long way, the question is when. The Nats have not said anything about Harper’s visit to Dr. James Andrews and yesterday evening, that had me concerned. Harper tweeted out though:

I felt better after that, but still no word from the Nats. So, ya, “I have a bad feeing about this.”

The Nats are significantly better with Harper in the lineup than without. MLB Injury News has a take on the situation:
Nationals’ Bryce Harper could return by the end of June . Also, perhaps there are shortcomings to an ironworker mentality for baseball players.

Other recent moves including ending the Henry Rodriguez experiment (remember he part of the Josh Willingham trade1 and speaking of, Willingham is Morse-ian in left2), getting rid of Zach Duke and getting Danny Espinosa out of the lineup via the DL with a trip to the minors likely. That’s a lot of dead wood gone. Anthony Rendon is learning second base on the job, but he can hit and could very quickly make Espinosa obsolete.

Two games are 8:40 p.m. DC time and the finale is a 3:10 p.m. start on Thursday. Friday, the Nats are in Cleveland and I should have a guest prognosticator Q&A on Thursday afternoon/evening.

So, is this the week that either George Will or Charles Krauthammer writes a Nats column? They do at least once a season.

1Willingham was traded for H-Rod and Corey Brown, currently at AAA Syracuse (who looks like a better option than most Nats 4th outfielders)

2Morse is hurting in Seattle

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Lost weekend for Nats as Braves sweep them

Oh man, tough, tough weekend for the Washington Nationals. They got swept by the Atlanta Braves, who are off to a very strong start and already hold a 4 game lead in the division. It is a long season. Especially when you are reminded more of 2008 than 2012. It isn’t time to panic, but the team has some stuff to work through. Also, Danny Espinosa needs to shut up (Hardball Talk). So does Stephen Strasburg. If your team gets swept, you aren’t the better team. It has been proven. Now go, get better (The Post) and return the favor at the end of the month and be the better team again.

Also, can you imagine if Bryce Harper had said what Espinosa said?

The heartbreak of the series though – Wilson Ramos is on the DL with a bad hamstring. Kurt Suzuki will get the bulk of the catching responsibilities for at least 15 days with Jhonatan Solano who had to wait 20 minutes due to the “rule prohibiting teams from having more than 25 active players in the clubhouse at once.” Just what a guy who woke up at 4 a.m. and flew in from Syracuse needs. Hey, I work up at 4 a.m. today! I wasn’t in Syracuse though.

FRIDAY

Stopper Ross Detwiler was done in by the bullpen again. Detwiler left after 7 innings with a 4-1 lead. He’s been the best D.C. starter thus far out of the 5th spot in the rotation. Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Craig Stammen blew it, as did Ryan Zimmerman, who made a critical throwing error in the ninth while playing in his 1000th game.

SATURDAY

Another Zimmerman error proves to be the difference as the third baseman extends the inning for the Braves, who capitalized with a Evan Gattis homer. Strasburg was okay, striking out seven and giving up no earned runs.

SUNDAY

Gio Gonzalez, fresh off of his visit to see D.C. United (2-0 loss to Red Bull NY) stunk up the joint, giving up 7 earned runs.

Now, the Nats get a little of what they need — a series with the Marlins. They probably don’t need a trip to Miami though, I’d be happier if they were going some place less exciting.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

IN SCORES OF OTHER GAMES

The Nats bullpen nearly did in the Caps, who also had a big lead on Saturday night.

Also, the New York Yankees triple play on Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles was sweet. More like OrioLOLes, amirite?

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ESPN says Gio Gonzalez is clean; Detwiler to World Baseball Classic

ESPN says Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez did not obtain banned performance enhancing drugs from the South Florida Biogensis Clinic Sources: Docs link 5 players to clinic:

According to two sources familiar with Bosch’s operation, however, the Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez, previously identified as being named in Biogenesis documents, did not receive banned substances from Bosch or the clinic.

Both sources, speaking independently, identified Gonzalez as the only Bosch client named thus far who did not receive performance-enhancing drugs. A document obtained by “Outside the Lines” bolsters their case: On a computer printout of clients, Gonzalez, identified by the code name “Gladiator,” is said to have received $1,000 worth of substances, but under “notes” are several substances not banned by Major League Baseball: “gluthetyn” (which a source said was a misspelling of glutathione), “IM [intramuscular] shots” and amino acids.

Glutathione is an anti-oxidant, and one source said the “IM shots” Gonzalez received were “MICs,” a medically dubious but legal combination of methionine, inositol and choline, often used for weight loss.

So, that’s good. I still wish he wasn’t pitching in the World Baseball Classic. I am not pleased that Ross Detwiler has joined him – 40% of the rotation is potentially pitching in it now. I’d rather they work up their intensity the traditional way. Throw in Danny Espinosa and his torn rotator cuff in his non-throwing shoulder and welp…

World Baseball Classic now a prime concern for Nationals The Wash. Times

Between the WBC and Bryce Harper on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the spring is nothing but doom for the Nats. Harper has bulked up in the offseason (The Post)

40 days until Opening Day…

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Nats: James Andrews/Lewis Yoccum appointments and cortisone futures trading well at mid-day; first Boswell column of spring

Day 3 of Washington Nationals spring training…

PLAYING HURT, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Playing through a torn rotator cuff (The Post)? Color me skeptical Danny Espinosa. How many cortisone shots will he take this season? Good news if you are Steve Lombardozzi I guess.

Henry Rodriguez thinks his elbow pain is normal, he did have a bone spur removed last summer. I’m just wondering if he does tear his UCL, who does the Tommy John surgery? If it is either Lewis Yoccum or James Andrews, the team considers him really important. If it is the team doctor, well…

THEN THERE IS THOMAS BOSWELL…

Boswell’s column is restrained, by his standards. He writes better when he has a real reason to get excited.

Nats Enquirer on Harper’s view of the state of D.C. sports.

NEWLY ACQUIRED SORIANO LATE FOR SPRING TRAINING, WELL I NEVER…

New closer Rafael Soriano is expected this weekend after dealing with visa issues Hardball Talk, NBC Sports. My theory is visa issues are modern version of holding out to just avoid spring training (Frank Howard did that annually) – American players are jealous.

D-SPAN LEAPS FROM THE FISHES

Denard Span isn’t a fan of osprey’s bombing fish into centerfieldDC Sports Bog, The Post.

FLORIDA TODAY VIDEO COVERAGE

Don’t forget, Florida Today has Nats Spring Training coverage, including this cluster of videos.

45 days until Opening Day…

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Nats rout, sweep Cubs; worst week for Chicago since 1871

After hitting six home runs in each of the previous two games, would the Washington Nationals make history last night?

I don’t know if I’d go far enough to say they made history, but the destroyed the Chicago Cubs, 9-2. The score was not the big story though, the benches and bullpens emptied twice with the Cubs frusturated about being dominated all week long.

It had only been 48 days since the Nationals carried a nine-run lead into the sixth inning of a crucial game against the Braves and watched it all crumble away in horrifying fashion. So when they entered the fifth inning Thursday night against the Cubs, leading this time by five runs, they weren’t about to ease off the gas pedal.

Thus, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa each stole second base off Chicago rookie reliever Lendy Castillo. And later Jayson Werth was given the green light to swing away at a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded.

Delivering the KO punchNats Insider

Swinging at a 3-0 pitch up by five runs, wasn’t appreciated by Cubs coach Jamie Quirk, who yelled at Bo Porter which started a commotion. The bullpens emptied.


By the way, the 3-0 greenlight might be the Ombudsman’s favorite part of baseball. Quirk got ejected. Porter did not. Remember, the Nats blew a huge lead to the Atlanta Braves back in July, so they aren’t letting up. By the way, Porter did a little boxing in his youth.

Tempers continued to rise until Bryce Harper got thrown at a few innings later.

(Davey) Johnson held back (Michael) Morse and bench coach Randy Knorr held back (Edwin) Jackson. (Afterward, Jackson declined to comment.) Johnson was protective of his own players — they had everything to lose, and they were feuding with a team with nothing to lose.

Thankfully, the Nats, save for Michael Gonzalez (ejected) stayed out of further trouble.

The Nats just beat the Cubs about as bad as you can beat somebody in baseball:

The seeds had been sown for days by the combustible combination of a ticked-off team and a manager, Davey Johnson, who gives no quarter.

“If they get mad at my guys in the fifth inning swinging 3-0 or running,” Johnson said, “they better get used to it.”

All series, the Nationals had battered the Cubs as soundly as one major league team can trounce another. Wednesday night, Chicago Manager Dale Sveum called their meeting “men against boys.” By the end of Thursday night, the Nationals would outscore the Cubs 31-9 over four games. The Cubs lost their 86th game. Frustration filled their dugout.

Nationals vs. Cubs: Bench-clearing incidents overshadow Washington’s four-game sweep
The Post

Lost in all the fussin’ an’ fightin’ was Jordan Zimmermann having a strong outing, particularly after giving up two early runs.

MOAR VIDEO

Somebody said the Nats “weren’t a team that you want to get in a snowball fight with” but I couldn’t find it. Great line.
AND HERE COME THE PRETZELS

IT GETS HARDER TONIGHT

The chance of a letdown here is huge, but Stephen Strasburg is making his final home start of 2012 against the Miami Marlins.

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Another 6 homer game for the Nats clinches Cubs series

Remember on Tuesday night when the Washington Nationals hit six home runs off the Chicago Cubs?

It took over 110 years and almost 80 seasons to reach that mark and the Nats did it again less than 24 hours later. Wow.

Bryce Harper hit two of those homers, earning the coveted “Must C” embeddable video on MLB.com:

You know what would be funny? Finding a Cubs pitcher in the offseason and playing the “rapid ascent” submarine horn for him. He’d probably collapse into the fetal position.

Sorry, I probably just jinxed the Nats to being shutout tonight.

Roger Bernadina hit a homer before Harper’s first, then Adam LaRoche hit one two batters later in the 3rd. Three out of four batters homered in one inning! Then in the 7th, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa went back to back. Harper’s second homer came in the sixth.

Gio Gonzalez pitched 7 shutout innings for his 18th win.

The Nats clinched another series last night. There isn’t a better story in baseball than this Nats team.

Hard Times Cafe is going to go broke on giving out wings.

More fun:

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Nats take Blue Jays series, go for sweep at 12:37 today

The Washington Nationals won another series last night and look to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays with Stephen Strasburg on the mound. I’ll be listening at work to the finale.

Bryce Harper crushed a home run at that was good enough to get the automatic MLB video embed:

As I have said before, MLB’s refusal to allow embedding of all videos is strange, but the Nats have had the kind of highlights MLB lets us embed from the start. So, that’s good, I guess.

Danny Espinosa also homered. Chein Ming Wang got the win with 5 innings of work, though the Tony Armas Jr. comparisons keep coming. Ouch. Jhonatan Solano hit his first MLB home run (The Wash. Times) too.

It is so weird watching this series — artificial turf and indoors. Ugh.

I REALLY HOPE THERE ISN’T A GRANTLAND JINX

The Great Bryce Hype | Break Up the Washington Nationals Pitching Staff

TWEETS OF NOTE

He’s scary good.

Here’s the video:

Well played young man, well played.

If one of my teams moved away, I don’t see myself having any allegiance to the departed. That some Montreal fans still do is interesting. I still maintain that the Nats don’t need to acknowledge the Expos .

I’m not burying the Phillies yet. There is a lot of baseball yet to be played and if they can keep their head above water, they just need one timely streak and they make the playoffs.

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Nats beat Reds 7-3, Harper kabongs himself, draws blood

Washington Nationals Gio Gonzales was going uphill on K Street last night. From Gio Gonzalez fans nine, escapes jam for fourth win (Nationals Journal, The Post):

He struck a season-high nine batters. All of his victims swung at strike three, eight of them on a mid-90s fastball that he zipped over the outside corner all night. His strikeout total for the year climbed to 50 in just 41 2 / 3 innings, one behind rotation mate Stephen Strasburg for the National League lead.

But Gonzalez also issued four walks and used 115 pitches, the most of any Nationals starter this season, in only five innings

The Nats had 7-0 lead over the Cincinnati Reds at one point (homers by Roger Bernadina for the second day in a row and Danny Espinosa contributed) but it wasn’t a comfortable one. The Reds kept putting runners on, getting a few across, and threatening to tie it up late. The Nats bullpen held on, but there was some anxiety.

But that’s not the story…

Rookie Bryce Harper has, in the views of some, gone against type since his promotion to the big leagues by being a model citizen. I joked with someone the other day that douchy thing about him was his hair. Well, the skullet was gone last night (Nats Enquirer) — too beautiful for this world, right?

Harper finally slipped — he went 1 for 6 last night. At the plate, he went 0 for 5. It was in the dugout he got his hit — his face above high right eye. In frusteration, Harper banged his bat against the wall in the dugout and got hit with it on the rebound. Harper went onto the field with his face covered in blood (Nats Enquirer). Had this happened at Nationals Park, the old “Blood Field” name for the neighborhood might have come back.

Seeing Harper covered in blood isn’t a happy sight because it makes a Nats fan worry that this 1.) an actual injury that will keep him out of action 2.) a sign of a bad temper that will hinder his play 3.) a serious injury that will hurt his development or limit his potential.

Let’s try not to think about that though and try to look on the bright side of life — the rookie “hazing.”

Ian Desmond has already declared that Harper will be known as Bam Bam (@AdamKilgoreWP). Given that last year, the “hazing” was sending the Nats rookies up to New York on the train dressed as Smurfs, it stands to reason that this year’s rookies will be dressed as the citizens of Bedrock. Harper will get to be Bam Bam of course. Wilson Ramos will probably volunteer to be Pebbles even though he’s not a rookie though if he doesn’t improve his defense behind the plate, he’d probably deserve it. It won’t be quite as fun as the Smurfs because no hazing ever will be.

By the way, YouTube doesn’t seem to have any clips of Bamm Bamm (proper spelling it turns out) saying “BAMM BAMM!” Baby boomers, you are letting us down.

The final word on Harper’s incident (ha! People are still talking about his getting hit by Cole Hamels) comes from @JeffPassan:

Dear Bryce Harper: Hitting yourself with a bat in the head is so passe. Use me next time. I’m the new hotness. Sincerely, Fire Extinguisher.

Uh, actually one more, this time from @craigcalcaterra

That bat that hit Harper in the face is classless, gutless and chickenfeces. It’s fake tough.

Remember everyone, no matter the score, the Internet always wins.

Nats have clinched the season series with the Reds, but have two more to go this weekend, tonight (overlapping with the Capitals game 7) and tomorrow afternoon.

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