Auto Load Responses: 
Font Size: 

June 4, 2012

11:10
A.M.

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins, the Capitals, the Nationals, the rest of D.C. sports and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats

Total Responses: 30

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Thomas Boswell

Thomas Boswell

A Washington Post columnist since 1984, Thomas Boswell is known for the many books he has written on baseball, including "How Life Imitates the World Series" and "Why Time Begins on Opening Day."

About the topic

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins, the Capitals, the Nationals, the rest of D.C. sports and more.
Q.

Are the Mets For Real?

Boz, The Mets have been amazin'. The biggest surprise in the NL East? Thanks
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Congrats on theJohan  Santana perfect game. As for Collins allowing him to throw 134 pitches: Sometimes "really stupid decision" makes a great moment even better. Life can't always be about just playing it smart.

– June 04, 2012 11:03 AM
Q.

Nats and O"s and NBA observation

The Nats are going through a tough stretch but I think they'll overcome it. The Orioles are once again a tease which isn't suprising to me at all. Will the Nats make the playoffs before the O's and I'm not an NBA fan but I always notice that free agents don't want come to play for the Wizards. The Wizards should change their name to the Gladiators which has fight in the name. Do you think that David Stern never wants to see the Wizards win the NBA title or isn't just overanaylizing things.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

The Nats will make the playoffs, probably this year, before the O's who have a long way to go.

"Probably!?" Stat sites put Nats at 58.4% of making the playoffs. That sounds about right. O's at 33.6%. That seems quite a bit high to me.

The Birds are losing altitude. With Markakis out and starting pitchers Arrieta, Hunter, Chen and Hunter all reverting to the ERA's you'd expect, I think they'll be fighting for .500. Which is an improvement.

The Wiz are where they are entirely on merit!

The NBA's suspicious ping pong balls have come up big for the Wiz a couple of times __just when Michael Jordan started running the team (1/1 K Brown!) and when Leonsis took control (1/1 John Wall.)  

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Zim smells?

Tom, You alluded to "Zimmerman stinks right now" in your piece. The eyes say...duh. Since he came back from injury [brittle as Rendon?] last June, he has 10 homers in over 500 at bats. He is simply not producing in the 3 hole. The Harper hustle try for a triple was a good play IMO. With Zim coming up, there was no guarantee he would deliver Harp from second.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Sorry, gotta disagree, though right now he does stink. It's not your job to be patient. That's such an irritating virtue. It's a fan's job to get emotional! But I'm supposed to do the "research." So here it is.

Zimmerman is a streak hitter. Period. Always has been. EVERY YEAR he has a 35-to-50 game hot streak which defines his season and at all other times he just battles the best he can. That's why he's a very good hitter (career .286 and .825 OPS) but nowhere close to a great hitter.

in '07 Z'man got hot, starting on July 4, for 49 games and hit .323 with a .965 OPS.

In '08 he hads two hot streaks, one of 22 games and the other of 26. Combined, he hit .347 w .973 OPS. One started in May, the other in August.

In '09, over 37 games starting in April, he had a 30-game hitting streak and for the whole period hit .372 w 1.079 OPS.

In '10, starting July 4 (again), he went 35 games hitting .348 w 1.098 OPS.

And in '11, yes, last year, he got hot on July 3 __hey, one day BEFORE July 4th__ and over 40 games hit .373 w .998. Repeat, that's .373 over 40 games AFTER he came back from injury. 

It's conceivable that Z'man will never get hot again __well, it's conceivable in some other universe. In this one, he'll have a scalding 6 or 7 weeks in '12 when he carries the team.  That's just who he is as a hitter.

A different issue is: when does he move to 1st base to try to have less injuries that he must recover from. Hope it's not as early as '14 after option year on LaRoche is past.

On the Harper play, which several people mention, let me say this: At the time, I thought, like you, that Harper's decision wasn't all that bad and going for 3rd w one out a not-unusual gamble.

However, the Nats themselves disagreed w me/you! Johnson, 50 yrs in baseball, clearly considered it a mistake and Harper agreed. Davey NEVER says, "Mistake," especially with a young player, unless it absolutely is. The easy way out __"aggressive play, took a perfect throw"__ was available to him. DJ even said he'd taken Harper aside to explain it during the game.

His analysis __game situation dictates. The 3-4-5 hitters were coming up in the 5th inning of a 3-2 game. The point isn't that 3-4-5 aren't hitting well. It's that they are 3-4-5 and you never know when they WILL hit. But they are your best. And in the middle innings, you may need a crooked-number inning to win the game eventually, not just gamble to tie it up. So, you have to make third "easily" or you shouldn't go.

It's a little mistake, based on a subtle situational analysis. But Johnson thinks it's also a clear mistake. I keep learning, too. Just the proverbial "detail" of the game. One of the small things they need to learn __and Harper is a sponge.

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Baseball's Unwritten/Written Rules of the Fan

Good morning, Mr. Boswell. Thank you for your many years of enlightening this Os/baseball fan with your sports writing. My question concerns the Nat's policy (new or newly enforced) of limiting movement in the stands to specific breaks in the game action. Got into it on the Bog with some folks (most evidently older than me, so I was surprised that their take was so different) on this issue. Has baseball always had an unwritten rule that people should only move/stand up/return to their seats during breaks in action? I had always thought that the ballpark - unlike a hockey arena - was a more relaxed place, owing to the more relaxed nature of the game. I certainly agree that individuals need to have greater "situational awareness" - awareness of how their actions affect others - whether at the ballpark, in the car, in the theater, etc., and should be more considerate of others at ALL times. But I don't like the strictures of this rule and never thought a baseball game demanded this. Your thoughts?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

This is ridiculous. You shouldn't tell people when they can and can't get in and out of their seat at a baseball game. Give me a break.

Here is the proper baseball etiquette when six people get up in front of you with the bases loaded: "Sit DOWN you MORONS. The bases are LOADED." And the 50 people nearby should agree. Loudly. 

Obviously I've gone to a zillion games in a lot of places. Most parks have an established fan base that has some common sense so umpteen people don't get up together and take their time walking down a row with the game on the line.  So, most places, you don't need ANY regulation of how people move. But then, recently, at Nats Park, the fans were encouraged to do the wave in a vital situation. Just beat my head against the wall, please.

Granted SOME Nats fans __a minority__ come too late, don't cheer until AFTER something happens, don't hate the "wave" and know it went "out" 30 years ago and, generally speaking, seem to think they have wandered into some odd Americana museum. So, the Nats are just trying to protect MOST of their fans from their MINORITY of dumb novice fans.

Summing up! I'd say that it's unAmerican to tell baseball fans when they can move around. But I'd also say its unAmerican not to speak up for yourself and __in whatever tone suits you__ let people know they are blocking THE GAME from your view.   

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Middle Infield: Odd man out?

Assuming the Nats (and other teams) view Lombardozzi, Espinosa, and Desmond all as MLB starters, one of them is a trade piece. If the Nats had to ship one off to make a deal happen, who in your mind is the one to go?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

You won't see any of these players traded this season, imo. Unless the price is very high. If I worked for another team, I'd try to steal Espinosa from the Nats every day of the week.

Until Werth returns, Lombardozzi can play as much in LF as his hitting justifies. He's hitting .352 LH and .105 RH, so he now starts vs RH at leadoff. If he can build up a 400 AB resume this year, THEN you might think about a trade. BUT the Nats are not trying to be a good team. They are trying to be an exceptional team. And exceptional teams have TOO many good players to get onto the field at once. It's called "depth" and a good "bench." In this era of Super Utility Men, there is actually an established method for getting tons of value out of a player who can be used at 2nd, 3rd, SS and LF. Mark DeRosa had WONDERFUL years in '06-'07-'08 with the Cubs and Rangers being started at 3rd, 2nd and RF.

 

– June 04, 2012 11:05 AM
Q.

Coach, where do bats come from?

It must be frustrating for reporters assigned to the NY Mets to cover a manager amd GM who are no where near as quotable as say a 19 year-old phenom. But the atmosphere here around the Mets today has not been this upbeat - and sober - in years. And the results? We're only a game and a half behind you guys! What Alderson and Collins have done so far with the Mets has been good for the game as well. They deserve to keep their jobs as long as they want.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Good baseball in NYC helps the game. Especially the Mets. (The Yanks don't need to win another Series for 30-to-300 years. JMHO, but a firm one.)

The Santana comeback __he's also had a shutout__ and Dickey's knuckleball give them a good SP core. But they won't last. This is one of the times when run differential shows you that a team has benefitted from lost of early season luck. Sat w a Mets fan yesterday at Nats Park and hated to break this to him. Mets have been outscored by six runs, "should" 26-28, not 31-23. Five games lucky.

However, many teams have used spring wins and enthusiasm to build a surprise season. If th Mets can reverse 77-85 from '11 to 85-77, then they can be part of the FIVE-WAY TIE in the N.L. East.

Hope Bud has his tiebreakers all figured out for his new four-wildcard world!

– June 04, 2012 11:05 AM
Q.

bunt is the play

Tom, I think Davey blew the game yesterday. He blew it by giving Zimmerman waaaaay too much respect. With the Nats down one run late and men on first/second with no outs, Davey should have had Zim bunt the guys over. Laroche, next up, flied out and would have tied the score. Instead, Zim hit into a very predictable DP. How would you have played it?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

You don't give away an out with your best hitter __which Zimmerman is__ so that the other team gets a LH vs LH match up.

Having Z'man bunt there __and I've actually heard other people suggest it__ would be an excellent way to tell the team: "I don't trust any of you to be able to do your jobs. I'll give up on you and show you up in a heartbeat if the whim strikes me."

It's a loooong season. You play the percentages, not the emotions of the last few games or at bats or even few weeks __not with $100M players, that's for sure.

– June 04, 2012 11:08 AM
Q.

OF trade deadline options

I read on ESPN that the Nationals are possible Hunter Pence suitors. If they were to make a trade for any outfielder, it seems like LaRoche would have to also be moved to allow Morse to go to first, right? Also, is there any sentiment among the Nationals organization that Werth's injury could be worse than initially reported?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

On Pence, no, the Nats have no need for a corner outfielder. ESPN can't be that dense. Werth is signed for eons, Morse for '13 and Harper may end up a corner outfielder, not a CF, for eternity. When Werth gets back, they'll be jammed.

No, Werth's injury, from all I've heard, if as originally described and, if anything, he may get back a little early. I'd say he's pointing for July 31 __when the Phils come to town.

The question would be whether he'd have full strength restored to his hitting by then. But I assume he would.

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
Q.

Ryan Zimmerman

Okay, can we all start worrying NOW about Ryan Zimmerman? He's an absolute rally-killer up there. Unlike LaRoche, who is legitimately "slumping," Zim's never had a run of big hits from which to slump. Yes, he's done wondrous things with the glove, but for pete's sake, let him bat 7th or something until he comes out of it! A few sports writers have already designated Bryce Harper the "face of the franchise," and the Kid is living up to the billing. F.P. all but said Zim looked lost at the plate during yesterday's game, and he leads the team in GIDP. Enough, already; big contract or no, Zim has to be dropped from the three-hole for a little while until he figures it out.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Your three-hole hitter is your three-hole hitter. And there have been plenty of effective No. 3 hitters who only had 15-to-230 homers, from Thurman Munson through Mark Grace, etc. Z'amn has 20-25 HR power in his sleep. The question is whether his >.900 OPS days are over. That concerns me. Can he hit >.280? Of ourse. Should be be written into No. 3 every day all season? Yes. Should it even be discussed? NO.

But it's nice to see panic in the streets because it means people care about the Nats, want them to stay in first place and, suddenly, the DC Metro Area has the potential for 5.5 million managers!

In some year in the future, I assume that Harper will bat No. 3 and Zimmerman will hit 4th or 5th. As recently as a month ago, I'd never have dreamed I'd be saying that. In early May, Harper went 1-for-19 after all the Hamels blow up. I wondered how he'd react. His average was down to .213. Since then in his last 19 games: .338/.427/.676! MLB constant Q: How long are you cold, how long do you stay hot? Good answers so far.

BTW, Harper has played in 32 games or about 1/5th of a season. It's comical to project a full season off those numbers. So lets do it. That's .288/.380/.542 with 110 runs, 35 doubles, 20 triples, 25 homers. No, no 19-year-old has done anything like that and projecting from limited data when somebody is on a hot streak is immoral. Long ago, I said that if Harper hit .260 with some signs of modest power, that's great for his age. That's still true.

But the Kid doesn't seem to want to stick with that program!

Just remember, when he has a slump, don't send him back to AAA in your comments, like people currently want Zimmerman to sacrifice bunt or hit 7th.

Great to see huge crowds at Nats Park. Attendance is now up 32.6% over '11 after the same number of gate openings. Nats just moved past Arizona, Mets and Cincy in attendance into 16th plavce and, within a month, will be pass Miami (28,543) and probably Atlanta (29,035). Nats now 28,308. But that new popularity brings new fans with it who aren't used to the pace and patience required in baseball evaluations. "Snap Shot Analysis" is forbidden. You HAVE to see a player when he's hot, cold and in-between __then put the WHOLE picture together. That applies to pitchers, too. We probably just saw what three "bad" Strasburg starts looked like. I was waiting. What happens when he's mechanics get messed up or he "rushes."

The answer seems to be that he comes back and pitches the highest "Game Score" start of his career.

– June 04, 2012 11:37 AM
Q.

Davey Johnson

Good Morning Tom! Thank you for your time, as always. I have heard this statement several times about Davey Johnson, and to a lesser extent, Frank Robinson. A position player, who is scuffling with his hitting over an extended of time, suddenly starts to come out of his funk. It invariably comes out that he has been putting in time with Davey Johnson to work out his problem. What is Davey doing that the hitting coach wasn't? Is the player obligated to listen more to the manager? I used to hear this same thing said about Frank Robinson too. What is the answer?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Frank and Davey are both excellent teachers of hitting. But they both act the same way __court of last resort. Let the hitter, the hitting coach, the ex-college coach and seven taxi drivers try to fix his swing first. Then they are ready to admit they need to listen to a Frank or Davey and DO IT, not just listen and nod.

Davey has played with, picked the brains of or managed  Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Griffey, Jr., Larkin, Strawberry, Ripken, Murray, Palmeiro, R Alomar and so many others that it's just crazy.

Latest project, Espinosa. Last 22 games: .274/.361/.548. Still strikes out too much, but vastly improved. Nice drag bunt hit and opposite field double (hitting LH) on Sunday.

– June 04, 2012 11:42 AM
Q.

TV's affect on sports reporters?

I was wondering what you think of the quality of sports coverage in the quick analysis ESPN era. I see long time sports reporters, ex news paper guys, veterans, swing positions back and forth like drunks every day and it's just bizarre. Young golfers with the fresh natural uncoached swings will crush technicians like Woods? Cause he's mean, or unfaithful, or something? No one has ever seen the home teams in an NBA conferance finals hold serve in their own buildings? A team up 2-0 is invincible, same team tied 2-2 is finished? Anybody left out there that can remember what they've seen over these many years?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

We think we're in the age of briliant provocative Instant Analysis w ESPN in charge. What we're really in is an age of Instant Forgetfulness and Disinformation.

BTW, loved the Celts win last night. With Chris Bosh out and the huge coaching mismatch in favor of Doc Rivers, Boston actually has a chance. They are ancient & Ray Allen only had one decent game. But Miami is under such mean-spirited public criticism (you can probably hear me screaming "CHOKE!" if you open the front door at your house) that the Celts have an opening. Not much of one. But Wade DID miss a wide-oipen trey to win and LeBron did foul out in OT. Ya never know.

 

– June 04, 2012 11:48 AM
Q.

Fathers' Day

Tom, Fathers' Day is less than two weeks away. I know that there are some fathers of Nationals players who have gone way above and beyond with their time and their financial support and their connections to help their sons make it to the big leagues. Ron Harper and Bob Clippard come immediately to mind. I'd love to see a column or article about these dads & what they've meant to their sons. And, of course, other dads I don't know about. Good idea?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Yes, very nice. Lotta great moms sacrificing, too. It'd almost be hard to find many Nats without influential positive parents. Storen, Werth, Espinosa, Strasburg, Z'man, Ramos, Jackson, Gio w his dad's unique "unteachable" curveball  __on and on__ always talking about impact of one or both parents.

– June 04, 2012 11:52 AM
Q.

Harper's Approach

I can't believe how disciplined Harper has been at the plate. I never expected a 19-year old to lay off big-league breaking balls like he does, or to cut down his swing with two strikes. I always saw him projected as a .260 hitter with 40 homers. Do you think that was too conservative? Couldn't he hit .300 consistently in the majors with that approach?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

I asked him yesterday, "Are you 'seeing the ball' especially well or is this (gulp) just you?"

Kinda thought his expression said, "This is just me, dude. Get used to it."  Or "Mr. Dude" in deference to age, since Harper's polite.

He CAN'T be this good. I refuse to extrapolate. But they are already pitching him like he's a five-year veteran who's been an All-Star. He's seeing LESS fastballs than any player in baseball. Pitchers see what he did to Venters fastball on the HR to LF. Sometimes I think he has a better idea at the plate than any other Nats hitter. I need to see a 2-for-35 to calm me down.

But like almost any hitter he has trouble with two strikes, even though he "spreads out and battles." Avg: .145.

To answer your question, he's more disciplined at 19 than I thought he'd be at 21. And, yes, he could hit .300. Or, if he developes as much as most successful 19-20-year-old MLBers,  maybe .330 some year with his speed and willingness to use the whole field.

– June 04, 2012 12:01 PM
Q.

Nationals Mangement Goes Retro

On Friday afternoon the Washington Metro area had 23 tornado warnings, several inches of rain, high winds, flooding and a tree blocking the Orange Line tracks. The Nats didn't call their game with Atlanta until 20 minutes before scheduled first pitch. What is wrong with them! I know they got burned with a too-soon cancellation earlier this year. But an amateur look at radar, and what was actually occurring in real-time made it clear this game could not be played. They endangered the safety of their fans by this obstinancy. My wife and I are 8-year season ticket holders. We are not happy about this, at all.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Hey, they had to set that world record for Most Trombone Players in One Band. Lined 'em all up on the warning track during a lull in the monsoon and just shattered that sucker.  

– June 04, 2012 12:03 PM
Q.

Baseball etiquette

Maybe you've spent too much time in the press box, but at the majority of MLB parks that I've been to in my life, people wait until the inning break to get up or go down to their seats. Go to a game in Baltimore and you'll see people queuing near the stairs waiting for the break to return to their seats. DC fans need to learn the polite way to act so as to not interfere with other fans' enjoyment of the game.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

A good voice in the discussion. Thanks.

(I go to about 10 games a year as a fan. Fans at Nats games get up and walk in front of us during action all the time. Fans at Camden Yards, for many years, were much more knowledgeable. But what would you expect? They didn't go without baseball for 33 yrs. )

– June 04, 2012 12:06 PM
Q.

No fans in the aisle during innings

Boz, just wanted to applaud the decision at Nats Park to have the ushers stop fans from going to and from their seats during play, which has been a real annoyance for me. I didn't see the Strasburg homer recently because a fan just had to go to shake shake right then and was pushing by me.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Okay. Maybe the era of tennis stadium manners and Masters Grandstand rules is upon us. Got a feeling this is going to be a good debate this summer.

– June 04, 2012 12:07 PM
Q.

Re: Santana game

1. It wasn't a perfect game. 2. If MLB had replay, it wouldn't even have been a no-hitter (Beltran liner called foul but actually kicked up chalk from the foul line).
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Sorry, of course not a perfect game. My usual Monday brain cramp. Lets hope I hold it to just 2 or 3 of 'em.

'Tis said that three of Nolan Ryan's seven no-hitters were aided by calls that __on slo-mo__ were incorrect. I can't prove it. The human element rarely bothers me. 

– June 04, 2012 12:09 PM
Q.

NBA

Just to move off baseball -- go nats! -- the redskins are again world champions in june. Any reasonable optimism merited that it's different this time? have they put in enough pieces around RG3 to get that offense going?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

No, the offensive line is still a problem. The receiving corps is way below average. Their salary cap penalty tied their hands to a degree. This will be a rebuilding year. RGIII is the real deal, if they can keep him in one piece until they put more quality players around him. That won't be this year. Look at the rookie years of past GREAT QB's picked 1/1. Their average in their first season is 6-10. That'd be a perfectly adequate rookie year for RGIII. More important is how he LOOKS at the NFL speed of play. Does he have to adjust to them? Or do they have to adjust to him!  

– June 04, 2012 12:12 PM
Q.

Early lead

This past week every game the Nats lost they had a lead. It appears out pitchers are not used to having leads. Is it complacency of the pitchers knowing they have a cushion?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Perhaps it's absolute and total shock.

– June 04, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

Harper satisfies both Schools

I think one of the great and perhaps unique things about Bryce Harper is that he is like the poster boy for both old school and new school baseball. He has all those things the crotchety scouts from Moneyball look for - good looking kid, works hard, good arm, aggressive base runner. Then has what the Jeames devotees love (points to Jonah Hill) he gets on base!
A.
Thomas Boswell :

He plays VERY hard and always has. At lower levels he's had injuries but not enough to concern you. If he keeps playing at this pace, what toll does it take? It never bothered Pete Rose. So you can't say, "He can't play that way and survive." It can be done. But it's still an honest question. But you CAN'T change him. That's who he is. And it's part of why he's so magnetic.

The Nats have five players with career OPS over .800. Z'amn, Werth, Morse, LaRoche and I'm going to include Harper. Espinosa, Desmond and Flores/Ramos are in the .700's w Ramos in the high .700's. In time, when healthy, this SHOULD actually be a GOOD offense. When Strasburg and Gio pitch __No. 1 and 2 in MLB in strikeouts__ this has the potential to be a Show Time baseball team.

Come on, lets have some Tiger questions, folks.

To me, the best part of his win the Memorial was the obvious delight Nicklaus took in it and how much he is rooting for Tiger and likes him. And it's obviuous that Tiger, at a time when plenty don't support him and definitely don't embrace his comeback, that the one person who carries the most weight in golf is just tickled to see him win. 

At the post-win presser, Nicklaus, sitting next to Tiger, was asked about Woods tying him for 2nd place in all-time PGA Tour wins. "He had to rub it in my face right here, didn't he," Nicklaus, both of them smiling.

The greatest of the great in all sports know how tough it is to keep ANY privacy in a "private life" __it's actually called that for a reason. Nobody goes through decades without doing some damage to somebody __their family, their employees, somebody. Long ago Nickaus ran McGregor, the golf equipment company. He (or somebody) ran it right into the ground. If you went back 30 years, you could probably find some ex-McGregor people looking for work who didn't love Jack's business judgment then.

Both Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have seen it all and come out very broadminded. They've both backed Tiger enthusiastically. And he's won at both their tournaments this year. This whole picture __spirit of generosity, respect for talent, willing to give second chances__ is "the best of golf."

– June 04, 2012 12:26 PM
Q.

HORSES!!!

What is the buzz for the Belmont???
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Just so they don't send me! I've been the columnist for almost ALL the failed attempts at the Triple Crown after often covering the Preakness. This spring just too much Caps, Nat, golf, Skins draft, etc. So "I'll Have Another" won't have to drag me the whole 1 1/2 miles along with the million other Triple Crown jinxs. Hope he makes it. Doubt he will. The Belmont is a killer. NO WAY to tell how a 3-yr-old will react to that length. You can study blood lines until you go blind and not have a clue.

It really is sad to watch all the horse lovers go into disguised mourning as soon as the Triple Crown ISN'T won. The sport needs it. But it's needed it for the last 20 years.  

– June 04, 2012 12:30 PM
Q.

Sign of the times?

I am a Red Sox fan and I bought tickets to see the Nats this weekend. Less so than the Sox
A.
Thomas Boswell :

!!!

Red Sox are slated to see Strasburg, Gio and Zimmermann, in that order. Or you could say that Stephen, Gonzalez and Jordan are scheduled to meet The Monster.

– June 04, 2012 12:31 PM
Q.

Fenway

Boz, the spouse and I bought tix to the Nats-Sox series in Boston. It sounds like quite a few Nats fans are going to make the trip. First of all, I'd like to say its refreshing that nats fans are "invading" other teams' parks. But more importantly, are there any can't miss spots to pregame around the park?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

The entire park is "can't miss." Come 3at least 0 minutes before the gates open so you can do The Neighborhood around Fenway. That's all part of it.

– June 04, 2012 12:32 PM
Q.

Is this just a bad stretch?

I know I can't expect them to beat Atlanta EVERY time, but yesterday was deflating. Is this the best the bats are going to get? Is it a trade off? We can have the pitching but not the bats and vice versa?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

The bats will get better. That game showed that, bit by bit, the Nats just need to tighten up all parts of their game over the next 50 (or 500 games) to be the best team they can become in this era. It is a LONG process. And they need to be hard-eyed in evaluating themselves. Maybe you noticed that Davey said he'd almost gone deaf from hearing McCatty scream "Get OVER" at Gio this season.

– June 04, 2012 12:34 PM
Q.

Schedule

If the Nats can get through their brutal next month playing .500, should we consider that a win?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Yes. But with Morse back, if he starts hitting by the time they get to Fenway, they do better. But the 3-4-5 has to do much better. Of course, they will __law of averages. It would be very useful if that happened DURING the next 18 games, not afterwards. (LaRoche is simply falling back to his normal very good career level as a hitter.)

– June 04, 2012 12:36 PM
Q.

Shortstops beware

Morse is belting some rockets directly at the opposing shortstops. As soon as he gets some elevation, they'll be homers or at least deep flyouts. But for now, shortstops beware! With Morse back in the OF, do you think Lombo will continue to get ABs? Do you think Harper or Lombo are in the majors to stay?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

I doubt that either will ever spend anolther day in the minors. Unless they think so highly of Lombo that, after Werth comes back, they just have to get him at bats EVERY day in the minors until the AAA season ends.

– June 04, 2012 12:38 PM
Q.

The Worst Question in Your Queue

I'm so sorry for submitting a Wizards offseason question when there are SO MANY other great things going on. But I can't get this idea out of my head. Steve Nash is a free agent. Conventional wisdom has him taking less money for the traditional late-career title chase with a 'contender' like the Knicks. But Steve seems the sort who could retire happily without a title. Perhaps he might find better uses for 2 years of max salary from the Wizards to give some real vet leadership (and help push the reset button on John Wall). What say you (besides, "Get a hobby"?)
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Steve Nash is one of my 'most favorite' players. I wouldn't wish that remedial education project on one of my 'least favorite' players. The Wiz will improve in direct proportion to the increased weight they put on "makeup" in their players rather than just physical talent. But are they good judges of makeup?

– June 04, 2012 12:41 PM
Q.

Enjoying the Nats 2012 Roller Coaster Ride

I am so ready for the Nats to have a good season, but they're young, they're in an insanely tough division, and they have a lot to learn -- I know you say to not stress and enjoy the ride, but can you give us Nats' fans some time-honored tips for how to do that? Thanks, Bos!
A.
Thomas Boswell :

"Enjoy the ride" is one of those peices of Fake Good Advice that everybody gives, including me, and nobody knows how to do.

What the hell, just go ahead and stress out. Maybe that IS enjoying the ride!

– June 04, 2012 12:42 PM
Q.

Stasberg This Fall

Tom- could you clarify exactly what is known about the Nats' plan for "shutting down" Stasberg? Are they really going to do that if the Nats are still in the playoff hunt come August/September?
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Strasburg is only averaging 5.9 innings a start. At that rate, the first start he will miss will be about Sept 20th. (Do the math, as they say.) THAT is the "shutdown" everybody is wasting time talking about.

Just a note on the nats 16th overall pick in the baseball draft tonight. It's a useful pick, but hopeless to predict if it will be worth while. At that level, you get a big winner about once every 5 years. Since '65 these at the 16th-overall players who had impact: Brett Lawrie '08, Nick Swisher '02, Lance Berkman '97, Shawn Green '91, Roberto Hernandez (326 saves) '86, Lance Parrish (324 HR at catcher) '74.

That's all for this week. Thanks again. See you on Twitter at ThomasBoswellWP.

– June 04, 2012 12:47 PM
Q.

All the beer in Columbus

Is what Jack Nicklaus famously said he tried to drink while a student at Ohio State leading him to be a little chunky early in his career. I'm sure he was able to have a few personal stumbles during this time because (a) he was still an amateur and (b) it wasn't the age of Deadspin, TMZ, Radar, etc. Even if Tiger had stayed in college another year or two to sow his oats (instead of doing so much later in life) he would have been under more of a microscope than Jack at the same age in a different time. Maybe that's why there's not alot of Tiger questions or interest here today.
A.
Thomas Boswell :

Nice point. I'd forgotten "all the beer in Columbus."

I just realized that the questions about the Nats ushers making people wait to move around is because The Crowds Are Now Big! Never had the problem before with 20K empty seats! Amazing what a few wins and marketable players will do.

Last year, the Nats only had one crowd of more than 35K (excluding Opening Day) until June 18. This year, excluding the Opener, they already have seven >35K, inluding their last five home games in a row, as well as a 34K and 33K.  

– June 04, 2012 1:16 PM
Q.

 

A.
Host: