Tag Archives: Henry Rodriguez

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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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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Gio Gonzalez is the ace, but could still improve; Nats survive H-Rod, beat Phillies

The Washington Nationals extended their winning streak to 2 and took a 3-1 season series/Cheesesteak/Half-Smoke Challenge lead over the Philadelphia Phillies last night. A few thoughts…

Everybody over the latest (last as a closer?) meltdown by Henry Rodriguez yet? Other stuff happened in last night’s game, like Gio Gonzalez striking out nine over 6 innings. In the sixth though, he needed some stellar defense and poor Phillies baserunning. Rick Ankiel made a great catch off a Hunter Pence liner that nobody tried to run on and Adam LaRoche throw out Placido Polanco at home. I wish MLB would let me embed those videos I just linked to!

Speaking of Gonzalez, his enthusiasm was on display on Saturday as MissChatter notes. She’s got video, part of which I shot so she could ask a question. BLOGGERS ASSEMBLE.

Gonzalez leads MLB in strikeouts (Nationals Journal, The Post), but I’d like to see him start pitching seven innings and giving the bullpen some rest. They need it with the closer situation being what it is right now with Drew Storen and Brad Lidge out and H-Rod ineffective in tight games in any role.

In stuff leftover from the weekend, Teddy did a Dexter Manley impression on the Oriole bird:

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Bryce Harper homers, Nats beat Padres 8-5 but lose another catcher

Somehow, after a day of rain, the Washington Nationals got in their game against the San Diego Padres last night. It was an eventful one:

Bryce Harper hit his first major league home run:

Sandy Leon made his major league debut at catcher. It lasted 4 innings — Chase Headley took him out at home plate (MLB video). A high ankle sprain is the official diagnosis (CSN Washington), he’s headed to the DL.

Ross Detwiler wasn’t sharp and had his worst outing of the season. He gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, in 5 innings.

Ian Desmond went 3 for 5.

Ryan Zimmerman
walked 3 times.

Craig Stammen had two big innings out of the bullpen to earn the win. Maybe he should close for a while?

Homers off the bench — Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady. Chaditude and Nadyitude!

Henry Rodriguez loaded the bases and had to be bailed out by Sean Burnett, who earned the save. Manager Davey Johnson says H-Rod is still the closer…

Did you know the Padres almost moved to D.C. in 1973?

A good, but costly, bounce-back win. Let’s try to focus on Harper’s homer and not all the Spinal Tap drummers that died the tendency for terrible injuries to Nats catchers.

FURTHER READING

Nationals vs. Padres: Bryce Harper’s first home run helps Washington overcome Sandy Leon’s injuryThe Post

Nats win an emotional ballgameCSN Washington

Nats’ Bryce Harper hits homer, Sandy Leon injured during Padres gameThe Wash. Times


Bullpen shaky in Padres’ loss to Nationals
San Diego Union-Tribune


Facing Strasburg not just another game for Padres
San Diego Union-Tribune

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Nats can’t hold on, lose game, sweep to Joey Votto, Reds

The Washington Nationals came very close to returning to D.C. with a winning Ohio River road trip and a sweep of a very good Cincinnati Reds team. The Nats have yet to complete a sweep yet. They went 3-3 on their recent swing.

On the bright side, in order to lose a sweep on the road, the following things had to happen:

A 3 hour 36 minute rain delay.

A rookie outfielder, Bryce Harper, terribly misplayed a fly ball in the 8th that cost the Nats 2 runs. Note to Davey Johnson, give Harper a day off.

The opposite team’s “face of the franchise,” Joey Votto, had to have the best day of his career 3 home runs (walk-off grand slam) and a double

A set-up man turned closer, Henry Rodriguez, pitching for the third day in a row on a sloppy mound had to have tough inning.

Tough loss like one that may have repercussions this week. The Nats have done okay bouncing back and get the San Diego Padres for two games. Then they get the Pittsburgh Pirates for two more. Thus far, the Nats won a series with the former while losing one to the latter.

In other bad news, Wilson Ramos is out for the season with a torn ACL. Hasn’t he suffered enough?

FURTHER READING

Nationals vs. Reds: Joey Votto homers three times as Washington falls, 9-6The Post

Rodriguez implodes as Votto slams Nationals in ninthThe Wash. Times

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Nats closers past and present blow saves in loss to Pirates

After a day off to think about a fully formed rivalry between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies, it was time to play baseball again. The Nats traveled to Pittsburgh to start their Ohio River road trip. Edwin Jackson faced A.J. Burnett. Other than two solo homers, Jackson was decent, while Burnett was striking out seemingly every other D.C. player. They both left the game with the score 2-2. Jackson had two hits too.

Tyler Clippard came in for Washington in the 8th and gave up a run. I thought to myself, don’t panic, Clippard is just trying to vulture a win again and Joel Hanrahan would be pitching for the Buccos in the ninth. Sure enough, the Hanrahan we all remember (though not as heavy and in need of a haircut) came out and blew a save. Ryan Zimmerman, in his first game off the DL, singled. Adam LaRoche, also back from the DL, homered to take the lead. Same ol’ Joel. The Nats couldn’t get any more runs across, even after a Wilson Ramos single.

The bottom of the ninth featured Henry Rodriguez, now the only closer in the bullpen. Rodriguez was taking an awful lot of time between pitches which gave me a bad feeling. Sure enough, he gave up a single and then threw two wild pitches. Rod Barajas made him pay, hitting his first home run of the season to walk-off with the win.

The Nats now have a two-game losing streak.

In other news, The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus texted me that there was a Presidents vs. Pierogi race. Teddy sat it out. The Pierogis won. No video though; neither on the Pirates site or youtube. C’mon Pittsburgh, get with the program.

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Nats Opening Day Eve: 2012 preview and prediction

The first pitch of the Washington Nationals season is 24 hours away in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Here is my preview and season prediction…

FROM SLEEPER TO TRENDY PICK IN ONE SPRING TRAINING
Experts predicting the Nats make the World Series – DC Sports Bog, The Post
Maybe it was always happening and I never noticed it before, but of late it seems a sleeper team gets trendy awfully quickly. I first noticed this with the San Francisco 49ers. It seemed like for 3 seasons, they were a popular sleeper team to break through into the playoffs. Were they really a sleeper if everybody was picking them in that role? They finally broke through after being on the cusp of contention in season 3. Now, the Nats are getting popular to pick as a playoff team, but I believe pundits are picking them for the playoffs just to be able to say “I told you” rather than basing it on actual analysis. The expectations are being raised a bit too high and if fans really buy into them, they are going to be really disappointed by what should be a fun, breakthrough season. I’m not arguing that contending for a playoff spot is an important expectation for the team, but I do not think they have enough offense.

MY TAKE

Let’s see, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa are the 1-2 in the batting order. There is nothing that shows me Desmond is up to that task, but I wish him well. I give him until Father’s Day to get his prove himself. If he hasn’t, let’s see what Steve Lombardozzi can do. Espinosa needs to get over things like small batter’s eyes in spring training. He was great in the first half last year, but awful in the second. Somewhere in between would be okay, but he’s probably capable of what he did last spring.

Ryan Zimmerman
probably won’t get to drive in as many runs as he could because of the guys in front of him, but then again, he’s never had much in front of him. I wonder if he’ll win the gold glove at third this season. LF/1B Michael Morse has to get healthy (figure mid-April) so we can see if he’s really a .300/30 HR hitter who doesn’t ever walk. 1B Adam LaRoche did nothing last year, so any production out of him is helpful. Mark DeRosa will also see some time at first, but he’s old. I expect Jayson Werth to bounce back closer to his numbers from the Philadelphia years. Wilson Ramos is probably going to be a star with Jesus Flores as a really solid backup behind the plate.

Rick Ankiel (on the DL), Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady aren’t exactly something to get excited about in the outfield or on the bench.

Pitching should improve upon last year when it was a team strength. 160 innings of Stephen Strasburg off of Tommy John surgery, plus Jordan Zimmermann with new additions Gio Gonzalez (acquired for 4 prospects from Oakland) and Edwin Jackson on a 1-year rental should be solid. Ross Detwiler beat out John Lannan for the 5 spot despite the latter being solid for most of 4 years and making $5 million. Tough break for Lannan, who may be done in D.C. Chein Ming Wang is on the DL with a hamstring injury.

The bullpen should be strong still, provided Tyler Clippard‘s arm doesn’t finally fall off. The All-Star set-up man has been lights out. Henry Rodriguez had a great spring (at least until yesterday against the Red Sox) while Brad Lidge brings the experience of a World Series champion closer. Those two will take care of closing until Drew Storen hopefully returns from elbow inflammation. Craig Stammen earned a job again too. Sean Burnett is still around as well, but for how long?

Looking at all of this, I see a team that with the right breaks could win at least 90, but I don’t see that happening. With excellent health and career averages from the heart of the order, I could see it, but I can’t get around the top of the order. I just don’t see Desmond and Espinosa getting on base enough to get the Nats over the playoff hunt. Also, Strasburg’s innings limit will hurt late in the season. I think the Nats will be close and have a shot in September to make the playoffs, but just fall short. Manager Davey Johnson has himself a pretty good ballclub, but they are a year away.

86-76

3rd place in the NL East. I think the Phillies will overcome a lack of an infield early on to win the division late. The Marlins will either be winners or a trainwreck, so they’ll be 2nd of 4th, can’t make up my mind. I figure the Braves will be opposite the Marlins. The Mets will be last.

MSM PREVIEWS

A PDF? Come on Wash. Times, it isn’t 2001 anymore. Fine, I’ll buy the dead-tree version. If I can find it.

I’ll also bought the Post, which isn’t that organized online either. Am I rewarding bad behavior or just unimaginative ad reps who couldn’t see the online side? They probably had print guys pitching it.

CSN Washington has a video preview:

PLAY BALL!

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