Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 11-08-2009
Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Anderson Hernandez, Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Balco, Baseball Prospectus, Camden Yards, Centerfieldgate, Chatter Up, Chipper Jones, Cleveland Indians, Danny Haren, Derek Lowe, Elijah Dukes, Florida Marlins, Hanshin Tigers, Jason Bergman, Javier Vazquez, JD Martin, Jim riggleman, John Lannan, Josh Willingham, Lerner, Manny Acta, martin prado, Nate McClouth, Natinals, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Nick Johnson, oakland a's, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Boras, Stephen Strasburg, Syracuse, The Braves Baseball Blog, Tim Kurkjian, Tommy Hanson, Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals, Yankee Stadium
|Welcome to Chatter Up! here at NLEC. This edition will be the first between the Braves and the Red hot Nationals.Â Matt Fournier of The Braves Baseball Blog will join us for the second time and so will Mark Perry of CenterfieldGate.Â This time though, we have a lot more interaction from other members of NLEC or its affiliate blogs.Â Enjoy!|
|Wally L(FishGuts): Did Balco open up a D.C. branch over the past ten days? What’s gotten into the Nats?|
|Mark P(CFG): Good pitching has gotten into the Nats; but even better hitting. Even when the Natsâ€™ pitching hasnâ€™t been that good (like the last game of the Marlinsâ€™ series and the first game of the Arizona series) the Natsâ€™ bats have been the salvation of the team. And as I noted yesterday on centerfieldgate, I think Natsâ€™ fans have to give a lot of credit to Jim Riggleman. The hitting has been great, Riggleman has been better.Yesterday, for example, Riggleman brought Tyler Clippard in in relief of starter J.D. Martin. Clippard has been exceptional, one of the really great untold stories of this team. But he walked the first two batters in the sixth. Riggleman didnâ€™t hesitate: he pulled him and brought in Jason Bergman, who pitched them out of ajam. Clippard just didnâ€™t have it, and Riggleman recognized that. I think under Manny Acta that wouldnâ€™t have happened: Manny would have stayed with Clippard, believing that the kid needed to learn how to pitch the team out of a jam. Manny was a manager interested in teaching, Riggleman is a manager interested in winning.
Okay, Iâ€™ll admit it: the Nats are hitting like theyâ€™re the â€™27 Yankees, so your Balco reference is justified. The hitting has been extraordinary. Natsâ€™ fans now expect at least one long bomb every game â€“ from either Zim, or Dunn, of Willingham. Weâ€™re getting spoiled. But this wonâ€™t last: and we know it. One of these days weâ€™re going to run into a buzzsaw of a pitcher who will freeze us. I thought that guy would be Dan Heren. I was shocked that it wasnâ€™t. Maybe itâ€™ll happen in Atlanta, but I doubt it.
|Wally L.(FishGuts):Do you getting tired of constantly being referred to as the ‘Natinals’?|
|Mark P(CFG): You have no idea.In one sense, I suppose, we deserve it. The misprint seems to represent all that a lot of D.C. fans believe is wrong with the team: lack of attention to detail. Whatâ€™s really unfortunate is that the owners â€“ the Lerner family â€“ are not that way. They arenâ€™t absentee landlords. They know how to run a business. The team owners wrote a letter to the fans at the All Star break apologizing to the fans for the record and taking responsibility for it. I thought that was a classy thing to do.
There are a lot of fans (me included) who think that the team is being unfairly criticized. Earlier this year Tim Kurkjian at Baseball Tonight questioned whether the game belonged in this city. Kurkjian is a crackerjack reporter, but heâ€™s dead wrong. More people come to see our team than go to games in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Florida or Oakland. At the beginning of the year Baseball Prospectus called Nationals Park a â€œboondoggle.â€ Where did that come from? If you come to Washington come to Nationals Park â€“ itâ€™s not Camden Yards, itâ€™s not Yankee Stadium, but thereâ€™s not a bad seat in the house. Natsâ€™ fans know the truth: the owners and city got the ballpark right. Watching a game in Washington is a great experience.
|Wally L(FishGuts): Strasburg watch: you gonna show him the money?|
|Mark P(CFG): Yeah, sure. Weâ€™re going to show him the money. The question is, will he take it? I think the Nats are committed to making a bank busting offer to Strasburg â€“ topping any amount paid to any draftee ever. But that might not matter. It may be that the Scott Boras agenda is to use Strasburg to transform the dollars paid to draftees. So any offer might be dead on arrival. Which is too bad: because the owners will get blamed. But I think I would break ranks on this and defend them. Strasburg questioned the way the team was run and said he might play in Japan. Hereâ€™s a kid whoâ€™s never thrown a pitch in the majors, and heâ€™s in the position to judge how a team is run? To turn down a payday that will make him rich? I donâ€™t like threats. Bust the bank. Fine. And I hope he takes it and turns into a star. But if he doesnâ€™t take it, he can play for the Hanshin Tigers.|
|Matt R(NLEC): Since being recalled from the minors when Johnson was traded, Elijah Dukes is on fire. Do you feel this is the player you traded for? And do you think the Nationals will be able to control his temper on and off the field going forward?|
|Mark P(CFG): Ten RBIs in three games. Unbelievable; it shows just what kind of talent this guy has. But Iâ€™m still skeptical. Prior to being sent down to Syracuse, the rumors that Dukes was a problem in the clubhouse were just too persistent to ignore. And the Nats have a short attention span just now. Look at what happened to Anderson Hernandez â€“ he pouted, just once, and that was it. He was shipped off to the Mets. The days of experimentation are over; there will be no more trades made for guys with attitude problems in the belief that the front office can teach maturity. Thatâ€™s not their job. The team will expect players to come to Washington as adults â€“ or they wonâ€™t come at all. Elijah Dukes is on a short string. But if he can control his temper, if he can adjust to being in the majors and if he can be a plus in the clubhouse then the upside here is just tremedous. But thatâ€™s a lot of â€œifs.â€|
|Matt R(NLEC): What Braves hitter and pitcher strike fear into you and Nats fans the most?|
|Mark P(CFG): I was going to say Chipper Jones, because Chipper Jones seems to play well against the Nats. I can remember specific Chipper late-in-the-game at bats where I thought: well, time to go home. But Chipper might get some rest against the Nats in this upcoming series. So Iâ€™ll say Tommy Hanson. Weâ€™ve always done well against the Braves, for some reason, but I think Hanson could end our streak. Heâ€™s that pitching buzzsaw I talked abut earlier. Heâ€™s young, fast and deceptive. He was great against us the last time he faced us â€“ on July 4. I was there. He pitched like a veteran. The Hanson-Lannon match-up is, I think, something that will happen again and again over the next years. The beginning of a great player and team rivalry. Itâ€™ll be fun to watch.|
|Thanks again Mark, now for the Nats opponent, Matt Fournier of The Braves Baseball Blog.|
|Wally L(FishGuts): Would you have liked to have seen the team do more before the deadline?any waiver moves on the horizon?|
|Matt F(BB): The answer would be similar to the one below a player that provides speed and average for a team that is last in stolen bases. They added McLouth, but I don’t think that is enough. They need speed !|
|Mr North Jersey(NLEC): With the Marlins having just swept the Phillies to pull within 4 games and the Braves 4.5 games back with six games coming up this month vs the Phillies, three this coming weekend. Which player on the Mets would you want to rent (at no cost to you) to help get you past those pesky Phillies?|
|Matt F(BBB): If I could rent one player from the Mets who was healthy it would be Angel Pagan. He could provide the Braves the speed and consistent average that they have been lacking for many years now.|
|Matt R(NLEC): I saw you posted on the forum about this, but did anyone actually think Martin Prado was this good? Is this a one year wonder or can this possibly continue?|
|Matt F(BBB): I had heard of him before this year, but never saw him play consistently enough to see what he was truly capable off. I honestly don’t think he is a one year wonder, he has shown signs of being a a reliable fielder and consistent hitter. I think he could be the teams second baseman for a good amount of years.|
|Matt R(NLEC): Better offseason aquisition: Javier Vazquez or Derek Lowe?|
|Matt F(BBB): If you asked me before the season I would have said D. Lowe as he has had a more consistent career than Vazquez, but as the season has progressed the answer is definately Javier Vazquez. He has been solid all season with a 2.70 ERA 10 wins and has 170 + strikeouts. He should have more wins, but the stagnent offense for Atlanta hasn’t helped his cause. But I still love the D. Lowe acquistion.|
|Matt R(NLEC): Which pitcher AND hitter on the Nats scares you the most?|
|Matt F(BBB): The pitcher that scares me the most has to be John Lannan, he has been very good lately and last time he faced us he tossed 8 solid innings. For hitters it has to be Ryan Zimmerman, easily one of the hottest hitters in baseball, watch out for him, but don’t fall asleep on anyonne in the top portion of this Nats lineup.|