clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wire Taps: Nationals' Dissapointing Loss; Denard Span's Ninth Inning Bunt...

Washington lost to Atlanta last night in the nation's capital and the Nationals fell 13.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East in a disappointing game the Nats could have won. Stephen Strasburg was strong. The Nats got some hits. But it went wrong as it has most of this season...

Patrick McDermott

Bottom of the 9th. 3-2 Braves. Anthony Rendon singles. Denard Span, who'd come on as a defensive replacement in the eighth, stepped to the plate and bunted. Span's sac bunt moved Rendon into scoring position with one down and a wild pitch by reliever Jordan Walden moved the Nationals' rookie over to third, but Scott Hairston popped out to the catcher and Chad Tracy flew out to left and the tying run was stranded at the end of another loss to the NL East's first place team from Atlanta. After the game Davey Johnson was asked if he called for Span to bunt the runner over there?

"It was a bunt for a base hit and he just decided to sacrifice," the Nats' skipper said. "I'd rather have seen him try to bunt and get on. That was something he hadn't done a whole lot of. I didn't want a straight sacrifice."

Span got the right sign, but didn't see how he could bunt for a hit with the infield in, as he explained to reporters including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore:

"'When he gave it to me, it was kind of tough, because you know it’s a bunt situation and both sides are crashing,' Span said. 'So, I mean, in hindsight, I’m like, ‘Why would he give me the base-hit bunt?’ It’s not surprising anybody.'"

Span sat most of last night's game because he's struggled to hit lefties all season and lefty Mike Minor was starting. In the ninth, however, he was facing Braves' right-hander Jordan Walden. Should be have been bunting there? If you're bunting for a hit, why not go for, you know, an actual hit? Span's #s against RHPs this season (.304/.354/.430) haven't been the problem... so? Swing away like Joaquin Phoenix in "Signs"? Are you okay with Span bunting Rendon over when it's one run the Nats need to tie it? Is the focus on the bunt missing the point? Scott Hairston (who stayed in vs a RHP when he's pretty much a platoon player vs LHP) stayed in because there wasn't a better alternative and popped out. Chad Tracy too failed to bring the runner in front third...

We talked about this all on Nats Nightly. I'm going to subtly insert a link to that show now so you can listen to Dave Nichols from the District Sports Page and I talk about last night's game:

Now on to some lunchtime reading... Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:


• "The Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal that has clouded Major League Baseball since January finally delivered long-expected suspensions to 13 players." - "Business as usual after Biogenesis bans: 'Nobody is bigger than the game'" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times


• "The Nationals, who had long been confident that [Gio] Gonzalez would not be suspended, reacted with expected but not unsurprising relief." - "Nationals react to Gio Gonzalez being cleared by MLB in Biogenesis investigation" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "[Gio] Gonzalez was not available to the media prior to the Nationals' game against the Braves on Monday night but released a statement through the team." - "Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez pleased to have name cleared by MLB" - Andrew Simon, News

• "The baseball world pulsed Monday as the news of an unprecedented swath of suspensions came down in relation to Major League Baseball’s investigation into Biogenesis." - "Nationals believed in Gio Gonzalez's innocence all along" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Tyler Clippard believes most MLB players want the game free of steroids as they throw off the competitive balance." - "Nats glad to move on from Biogenesis" - Chase Hughes,

• "'You have to be penalized if you cheat,' [Tyler] Clippard said. 'So hopefully this is all going to clean things up.'" - "Tyler Clippard has a ‘sour taste’ that now-suspended Jordany Valdespin cost him a save" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Not only were the Nats relieved that pitcher Gio Gonzalez was cleared of wrongdoing, but they expressed approval that the league was taking significant steps toward cleaning up the sport." - "Nationals applaud MLB for cleaning up sport" - Andrew Simon, News

• "The Nats took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, got seven strong frames from Stephen Strasburg and then watched things slip away." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson: 'Boy, we needed that one'" - Dan Kolko,

• "The opposite trajectories of the division rivals couldn’t have been more perfectly encapsulated into one moment." - "Nationals fall to Braves as division deficit grows" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The Nationals have two different signs for bunts: one to bunt for a sacrifice, the other to bunt for a hit. Span knew that this was a bunt for a hit. And that confused him." - "Johnson, Span and Monday’s ninth-inning bunt" - Thom Schad, All Nats All the Time

• "[Tanner] Roark started off the season slow but later found a groove. The 26-year-old has a 2.05 ERA and 6-0 record over the past 10 starts and has walked only four batters over 52 2/3 innings." - "With Ross Ohlendorf out, whom could the Nationals use in the rotation?" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "It was a night of missed opportunities for the Nationals, who saw so many little things break against them." - "Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals - August 5, 2013" - Andrew Simon, WSH Recap

• "Not to nitpick, but the deficit actually is 13 1/2 games now after Monday's 3-2 loss to the Braves, the latest in a long line of agonizing losses suffered by the Nationals this season." - "Nats lose opener to Braves, fall 13 1/2 games back" - Mark Zuckerman, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "It doesn't make the defeat any easier to stomach, but while the Nationals have had losses this season where the bats were nearly completely silent, at least they stuck the ball well tonight." - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from Hairston, Clippard, Span and Desmond" - Dan Kolko,

• "Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was in manager Davey Johnson's original lineup for Monday's series opener against the Braves but was scratched about two hours before the first pitch." - "Werth banged up, scratched from lineup vs. Braves" - Andrew Simon, News

• "The Braves’ winning streak reached 11 games as the Nationals squandered a now-or-never chance to gain ground." - "Nationals unable to capitalize on chances, fall to red-hot Braves, 3-2" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "When they make the commemorative DVD of this season, they might just want to show every Nationals at-bat from this game." - "Instant analysis: Braves 3, Nats 2" - Mark Zuckerman,

• "Stephen Strasburg has a 2.14 ERA in four starts against the Braves this season. He's allowed just five runs and struck out 26 in 21 innings against Atlanta." - "Nationals Pastime: Frustration, confusion continue to build" - Dan Kolko,

• "The Nationals sit four games below the .500 mark as they enter Tuesday's tilt, the second of a three-game series against National League East-leading Atlanta." - "Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals - August 6, 2013" - Zack Meisel, Preview

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):


• "Justin Upton led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking homer, and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves extended their winning streak to a season-high 11 games..." - "Justin Upton's blast powers Atlanta past Nationals 3-2" - Howard Fendrich, AP/

• "Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty returned to work yesterday after being hospitalized for three nights and missing a total of six days with an irregular heartbeat." - "Pitching coach Steve McCatty rejoins Nationals after hospitalization" - Aaron Gleeman, HardballTalk

• "But Gio? He seemed like a fun guy, a nice guy, not a buff and brawn kind of a guy. Was he a PED user? Could he be?" - "Gio Gonzalez — the player linked to Biogenesis who found redemption " - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports


Class-A Auburn: "Auburn's David Napoli will be representing the Doubledays in the 2013 New York-Penn League All-Star Game." - "Napoli To Represent Doubledays In ASG" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (27-17, 65-46) put together two three-run innings and totaled 13 hits in an 8-4 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws (18-26, 44-67) on Monday night." - "Suns double-up Lakewood 8-4" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Nationals RHP Paul Demny (0-1), the losing pitcher, struck out eight hitters in 3.0 innings but allowed four runs, two earned, on two hits and three walks." - "Mudcats Edge Nationals 5-3 by Exploiting Potomac Mistakes" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Since his demotion to the Chiefs from the Nationals last month, OF/1B Tyler Moore has been crushing as he tries to earn his way back." - "Tyler Clippard, Tyler Moore, Rob Wort and Narciso Mesa spied in this week's Nationals/Senators organizational glance" - Geoff Morrow,

Triple-A Syracuse: "Syracuse slugger Tyler Moore hit .308 this week with seven extra-base hits and a whopping 13 RBI, five more than any other International League player." - "Moore named IL Batter of the Week" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Tuesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson,


• "The Washington Nationals fell 3-2 to the Atlanta Braves Monday night in the first game of a must-win series against the NL East leaders." - "Washington Nationals Game 111 Review: Nats drop first game in critical series against the Braves" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "Washington Nationals Records by Opponent 2005 to 2013" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Four local breweries will begin serving their beers at the Washington Nationals game at Nationals Park on Monday night, WTOP reported." - "Local breweries headed to Nationals Park" - Washington Business Journal

• "Yet, in the intervening weeks and months [Stephen] Strasburg has managed to win only five games, barely one for every month of the season." - "Nationals Buzz: Seeking 2.75 million heroes for 2013" - Ted Leavengood,

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 60" - The Nats Blog

• "So the NL East is over, but there is still the WC play-in play-off. What's the current situation look like?" - "WC scenarios" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Davey: 'Boy, we needed that one.'" - Nats Enquirer

• "July 2013: Minor League Monthly Rotation Review" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "Teddy Roosevelt kicked off Shark Week by donning a shark mask for Monday night’s presidents race at Nationals Park." - "Teddy kicks off Shark Week with attack on Taft" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!


Mets: "Jordany Valdespin has confounded the Mets with a mixture of talent and immaturity." - "Demoted Mets’ Jordany Valdespin among players to accept MLB’s 50-game ban as part of Biogenesis investigation" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

Marlins: "It’s no secret the Marlins came together once their rotation solidified, with a crop of young arms leading the way." - "Young Miami Marlins pitchers making impact" - Rohan Nadkarni,

Phillies: "Ryan Howard, who underwent left knee surgery last month and hasn't played in a game since July 5, shouldn't play in another game in 2013." - "Phillies' Ryan Howard should get the rest of the season off" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Braves: "The Braves extend their win streak to 11 games, their longest streak since they won 15 in a row from April 16 to May 2, 2000." - "Braves win streak at 11 games" - Carroll Rogers,