Around the NL East - Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo spat, Logan Morrison, Vance Worley done for year, Mets want to finish third, Utley wants to play third?

If the Braves keep having difficulty catching up to the Nats, maybe their downfall can come from within?

I'm going to keep it short this week, because I'll be partying, indulging and being a bigger nerd than all of you this weekend, nerding it up at Dragon-Con, instead of partaking in the Braves/Phillies series, all the College kick-off games or any of the wide variety of festivities happening in the city of Atlanta this weekend.

Have fun and safe Labor Day weekends, everyone. Welcome back to the basement.

2012was_medium

Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo have sissy spat after getting swept by Phillies - Nats Enquirer
Topped off with the money quote, "You come down and manage the team!" Naturally, they later play it off and cite blowing off steam, though, and claim there's no rift.

THERE'S ONLY ONE OCTOBER SEPTEMBER - MASN
Eat your heart out, Dane Cook. Who cares what happens in the only October, when over the last few years there have been some dramatic stories involving heroes, goats and chokers every only September instead?

Purported smartest man in baseball, Bill James, thinks Strasburg Shutdown is "reasonable" - The Bog
The godfather of sabermetrics and obviously the smartest baseball analyst ever, Bill James finds the shutdown to be "reasonable." Argument's over folks

They might not have gotten swept if Adam LaRoche just hit the ball two more centimeters - Deadspin
If you haven't seen this video, take a look at what it's like to miss a home run by the most narrowest of margins. And who said Citizens Bank Park was a bandbox??

Would be the #1 seed be advantageous or disadvantageous? - Nationals Journal
No matter, the current playoff slotting system is kind of stupid, IMO.

Mike Morse and Ian Desmond have some nagging pains - Nats Insider
Mike Morse has deep bruise from getting hit in the hand by Kyle Kendrick. Ian Desmond tweaked his hamstring against the Braves last week, and has missed a little bit of time as a precaution.

Looks like umpires are sending a message to Bryce Harper's tantrum - Nats Enquirer
Helmet slams aren't necessarily always ejection worthy, but after several weeks of snapping bats, slamming helmets and displaying a little too many temper tantrums, umpires might be trying to send Harper a message, by giving him his first career ejection after a close play at first, resulting in another helmet slam.

Bryce Harper is having difficulty with left-handed pitching, Davey Johnson quotes Chipper Jones as advice - Nationals Journal

Johnson is of the belief — one that he learned longtime Atlanta Brave Chipper Jones shares with young players on his team — that young players shouldn’t worry about their power, and focus on hitting solidly for contact.

Appears to be working, too - Nats Insider
Small sample sizes, but he's hitting home runs and slugging pretty well as of this week now.

Nationals extend bench bat Chad Tracy for another year - Nats Insider
Financial specifics are not known, but it is speculated to be a modest raise up from the $750k he is making in 2012.

Fitness freak Roger Bernadina finding results in improved exercise and diet routine - Nationals Journal
And Chad Tracy is so happy to be secure in 2013, that he has some uncomfortable compliments about his teammate outfielder from Curacao:

"The guy is a Greek god,"

"If I had that body, I’d never have clothes on."

John Lannan ending his AAA tenure strong, team looking forward to more games against the Phillies - MASN
I wonder if the Nats themselves have reminded themselves that regardless of how Lannan is finishing out his Syracuse season, he's historically bad against the Phillies, who would no doubt love to see him at least twice in six of the last nine Nationals' games.

Prospect Matt Skole named Sally League MVP - Nationals Journal
Third baseman for the Hagerstown Suns for most of 2012, Matt Skole is named the Sally League MVP, with a batting line of .286/.438/.574, with 27 dingers. Not bad for a guy drafted in the fifth round, who will definitely be in the future picture towards the time when everyone starts talking about how Ryan Zimmerman needs to be at first base again.

Bryce Harper asked for clarification on being sexy - The Bog
At first, I was like what, when young Harper defined being sexy as being "loose and flawless," but then I thought about what kind of future ex-wife I'd want, and realized that maybe Bryce Harper might be right. But it's still not something I'd be telling the childrens.

Gio Gonzalez deserves a facepalm.jpg - The Bog
Gio Gonzalez missed out in the team and organization group photo. His rationale:

"That’s why we have Photoshop," he said. "They can pop me right in there."

Uh, unless you want to look like an MS Paint drawing, then no you cannot be "popped" right in there.

2012phi_medium

Vance Worley done for season due to upcoming elbow surgery - Beerleaguer
Fortunately for the Phillies, it's not Tommy John, but the becoming-agitating ailment of loose bodies. The rehabilitation alone is enough to effectively not make it worth having him come back in a faltering season, so the Phillies see fit to just deactivate him for the rest of it.

Is Chase Utley considering a possible move to third base? - Phillies Nation
The idea has gotten so strong that Utley has even been seen and photographed taking grounders at third during BP for a few games this past week now. But the question is if he can handle it? As PN notes, he has good range, but his arm might not be the strongest for handling throws from third to first.

Jimmy Rollins benched mid-game for, you guessed it, not hustling - Crossing Broad
And because it's been so popular over the last few weeks, the predictably ensuing Twitter reactions to J-Roll's loafing.

Crashburn Alley takes a great big dump on that pleasant feeling of sweeping the Nationals - Crashburn Alley

Just to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs, the Phillies would have to go on a historically-great month-long run.

Well, the Phillies did once rip out a .778 September back in 2010, with mostly this lineup...

Brown out! Get it LOL - High Cheese
22-year old Domonic Brown apparently has 42-year old knees, and has missed time due to soreness for the fiftieth time this season.

Brian Schneider and his McCann-beating defense put on DL again - High Cheese
Welp, there goes the season, officially.

Tyler Cloyd named International League's top starting pitcher - Beerleaguer
The 25-year old righty in AAA-Lehigh Valley takes top honors among AAA IL starters, with a 12-1 record and 2.35 ERA and a 1.006 WHIP. But he doesn't strikeout enough hitters (93K in 142.0IP) to garner much attention, and the Phillies are kind of well stocked in the starting pitching department.

And is immediately called up when Hamels has to go to the bathroom - Crashburn Alley
Ahh, the old "gastro illness," right up there with "stomach cramps" or "intestinal sickness," all pseudonyms for "time in the office," opens the door up for Tyler Cloyd to make his debut. To which he comes out and delivers a traditional quality start, going six innings, yielding three earned runs.

Phillies will open up Citizens Bank Park in 2013 against the American League - Phillies Zone
Interleague-all-year-long in Philadelphia starts right away, as the Kansas City Royals will be the first regulation opponents of the Phillies in the 2013 season. Some things change, but I'm already predicting Jeff Francoeur making statements about how the park is a bandbox, proving that some things will stay the same.

Minor leaguer breaks Ryan Howard's MiLB homer record - Reading Eagle
I saw this guy out in Arizona last fall, and in the three times I happened to see the Scottsdale Scorpions play, I wondered what the hullabaloo was about Darin Ruf. But apparently, his stock is rising faster than ever and he's becoming more and more known with Phillies fans as a beacon of hope for the future. Earlier this week, Darin Ruf hit a home run that was his 20th in August alone, and 38th on the season, which passes Ryan Howard's single-season HR mark for the AA-Reading Phillies.

2012mia_medium

Does Giancarlo have a chance to hit 40 homers this year? - Fish Stripes
At first, this doesn't sound like an impressive question, but considering Giancarlo is, at the time that this post was published, sitting on 29 homers, it also happens to have happened in 356 at-bats. To put this small sample size into perspective, with an average of 12.58 at-bats in between home runs, this would sit behind just Mark McGwire and Babe Ruth's rates, and ahead of Barry Bonds,* Ryan Howard and Jim Thome's all-time marks. With a little over a month left in the regular season, it's not impossible, but it will be a challenge for Giancarlo to make it to the big 4-oh.

According to Ozzie, there's really no other reason to watch the Marlins this year than Giancarlo - Palm Beach Post
With zero concern to the feelings of the 24 other members of the Marlins roster, Ozzie Guillen pretty much says all of them are boring, and that there's no real reason to bother watching the Fish except whenever Giancarlo comes to the plate.

Ozzie Guillen on the Dodgers - Fish Bytes

God bless' em... We spent a lot of money. We brought in a lot of names. And look at where we are right now. Hopefully it'll work for them. It didn't work for us.

God bless Ozzie Guillen as well, for his endlessly ironic humor and candor.

Logan Morrison set to undergo knee surgery again - Fish Stripes
The timetable for rehab would be six months, which means he'll pretty much miss a good chunk of next year's Spring Training as well.

Naturally Ozzie Guillen has something to say about this as well - Sun Sentinel
Ozzie's getting tired of all his players being hurt or having nagging injuries and such, so to contract the notion that his guys need to shut up and play, he's now saying he wants his guys to have surgery and rehab sooner rather than later, than to miss so many games on the DL when pain flares up. He also insinuates that LoMo is not guaranteed a job unless he's healthy next season.

The Diehards pretty much show how much Marlins beat guys have phoned it in - Marlins Diehards
The beat writers for the team are all apparently following the same source, and naturally instead of properly re-tweeting the intel they're reading, they're tweeting the verbatim messages as if it were their own.

2012nym_medium

R.A. Dickey's season in historical context - AA
Look at that ERA. No other stat matters than ERA. Who cares if Dickey's Kay/Bee-Bee ratio is better than Tom Seaver or Doc Gooden's greatest seasons after 26 starts. That ERA is atrocious.

Mets' goal for the remainder of 2012: Finish third - NY Post
All I can think of is the plot to Bernie Mac's (RIP) Mr. 3000, where the team's goal was to finish out the season in third place.

Sandy Alderson thinks next year's payroll will be $100M - MetsBlog
And the irony behind this massive figure is that it would still be barely middle-of-the-pack when it comes to the payrolls of other teams in baseball today. I still remember when the Braves were the highest-spending National League team at like $105M, back in the Uncle Ted days.

Alderson also feels confident that the Mets can extend Dickey and Wright - NY Daily News
Both players are already securable for 2013 with their options, but according to Sandy Alderson:

It's not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013.

Scott Hairston has been claimed on waivers - MetsBlog
At the time of writing this, the claiming team has not been identified. But Hairston would be a solid fourth outfielder as well as a strong right-handed bat off the bench.

Kelly Shoppach capitalizing on league switch, making good impressions - NY Times
The 32-year old catcher is making a good impression on the Mets, who are rumored to be interesting in retaining him beyond 2013. He's citing the league switch is giving him an opportunity to simply get back to the basics, and that it's paying off until the book on him is revised and everyone will be getting him out soon.

The Post tries really hard to jerry-rig the Mets under the bus amidst the Dodgers/Red Sox deal - NY Post
Apparently, it's the Mets' fault that Jason Bay and Johan Santana couldn't produce and/or were too oft-injured to have any chance of being bloated contracts unloaded to the Dodgers instead of all the bloated contracts the Red Sox sent instead.

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