August 29, 2014

Washington Nationals Game 125 Review: Nats Walk off Yet Again to Extend Win Streak to Nine

ANTHONY RENDON’S PINCH-HIT SINGLE HELPS NATS EDGE DIAMONDBACKS

For the fourth time in five games, the Washington Nationals won in walk-off fashion – this time, to record a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

Anthony Rendon started the day on the bench, but with one out and two on – and the game on the line – Nationals manager Matt Williams opted to insert Rendon into the order. And, in return, the Nats earned their ninth consecutive “Curly W,” improving their record to a National League-best 72-53 and extending their lead over the Atlanta Braves to seven games in the NL East.

Starter Tanner Roark was sharp as he allowed no runs on five hits and one walk through seven innings pitched.

The Nats provided Roark with a 1-0 lead in the second inning when, with runners on first and third, Wilson Ramos hit into an RBI fielder’s choice off the Diamondbacks’ Trevor Cahill. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 124 Review: Nats Shut Down Diamondbacks to Extend Win Streak to Eight

With their current win streak numbering eight games, the Washington Nationals would likely invite the Arizona Diamondbacks to stay in town if given the option.

Tuesday night brought their largest margin of victory of the Arizona squad thus far as Ian Desmond and Asdrubal Cabrera together batted in seven of the Nats’ runs en route to an 8-1 win.

The heavy hitting likely helped starter Stephen Strasburg (W, 10-10) find his comfort zone as he allowed just one earned run – a homer by David Peralta – on three hits and one walk through 8.0 innings pitched. He also threw 61 of 95 pitches for strikes, and struck out four batters.

Arizona pitching didn’t fare so well.

Starter Chase Anderson (L, 7-5) lasted just two innings, during which he gave up six runs on six hits and three walks. Perhaps surprisingly yet, all six of Anderson’s runs allowed occurred in the third inning – before an out was recorded.

It was actually the Diamondbacks who struck first – the only time in which they posted a run on the board.

After Strasburg retired the first two batters of the game, Peralta worked him to a 2-2 count on five pitches before powering a four-seam fastball over the right-center field wall.

Following two fairly quiet innings, the Nats answered. Oh, did they. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 123 Review: Nats Walk Off for Third Straight Game to Extend Win Streak to Seven

It’s been the same story for three consecutive games, but for the Washington Nationals, it hasn’t gotten old.

To cap off an up-and-down performance against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Adam LaRoche hit a solo home run to hand the Nationals a 5-4 walk-off win in 11 innings at Nationals Park Monday night.

The victory marked the Nats’ third straight walk-off win – a feat that has never before happened in Nationals history.

Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann came up with a decent performance, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks through seven innings pitched, while striking out only two. It was, however, enough to keep the Nationals in the hunt, although Zimmermann did allow the Diamondbacks to retake the lead in the eighth before being relieved.

Until that point, Zimmermann’s only run allowed came by way of a Mark Trumbo walk, Miguel Montero single and, following a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly by Jake Lamb that made it 1-0 Diamondbacks. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 122 Review: Nats Top Pirates Again in Walkoff Fashion

For the second straight game, the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in a walkoff scenario, this time in 11 innings by the score of 6-5 at Nationals Park Sunday evening.

Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston came up with the game-winning sacrifice fly that plated Jayson Werth, who reached base on a smoker double off the left-field wall.

Washington starter Doug Firster was solid through seven innings pitched, allowing just two unearned runs on five hits and a walk. Unearned runs proved a menace to both teams’ starters as Pittsburgh’s Edinson Volquez allowed four runs – only one of which were earned – on six hits and two walks through 6.1 innings pitched.

In the top of the sixth, Gregory Polanco reached on a fielding error by Ian Desmond to start things off before Josh Harrison singled to right.

Neil Walker then grounded into an otherwise easy fielder’s choice, but on the play, Anthony Rendon committed a throwing error which allowed Harrison to take third as Polanco came home.

Russell Martin then singled to plate Harrison to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

The Nationals earned one back in the bottom of the inning, however, after Rendon singled and Adam LaRoche drew a walk, allowing Desmond to bat in Rendon with a single of his own.

In the seventh, the Nats looked positioned to run away with the lead.

Michael Taylor took first with one out on a hit-by-pitch, before Kevin Frandsen and Denard Span hit back-to-back singles. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 121 Review: Nats Rally Late, Walk off against Pirates

ADAM LAROCHE, WILSON RAMOS LEAD LATE CHARGE FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN

The Washington Nationals rallied late to top the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in walkoff fashion Saturday night at Nationals Park to tally their fifth straight win.

The Nats struggled offensively all night against Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, who held Washington scoreless through 5.2 innings with just four hits and two walks allowed.

Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez’s performance, yet again, was middle-of-the-road. The 6-9 starter allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks through 5.0 innings pitched in what later became a no decision thanks to Adam LaRoche & co.

All three runs came in the third after Gonzalez allowed a single to Josh Harrison and a walk to Russell Martin. The next batter, Starling Marte, doubled on a line drive to left to knock in a run, before Gaby Sanchez singled in Martin and Marte. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 120 Review: Nats Hang on to Top Pirates in Series Opener

WIN MARKS WASHINGTON’S FOURTH STRAIGHT

Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche drove in two runs apiece to help Tanner Roark and the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park Friday night.

Having scored all five runs within the first three innings against Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton, the Nats nearly let their 67th win of the season slide through the cracks.

Morton gave up nothing but singles and walks to account for the Nats’ first three earned runs. Denard Span started the bottom of the first with a single, before Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Anthony Rendon and LaRoche hit back-to-back singles to put the first run on the board.

Ian Desmond then walked on four pitches before Harper hit a two-RBI single.

In the bottom of the third, the Nats kept with the strategy that worked.

Cabrera led off with a single, Rendon walked, and LaRoche hit an RBI-single to make it 4-0 Washington.

After Desmond grounded into a force out and Harper struck out swinging, Wilson Ramos batted in the run that would later round out the Nats’ win with a single on a sharp grounder up the middle.

In the top of the fourth, however, Roark nearly lost his footing.

After getting Russell Martin to fly out, Roark allowed a double to Neil Walker and a two-run homer to Starling Marte to cut the Nats’ lead to 5-2.

Then, Roark walked Travis Snider before getting Ike Davis to fly out without advancing the runner. But, Pedro Alvarez doubled in Snider to make it 5-3.

Roark lasted for just 5.2 innings pitched to earn the win, allowing three runs on just five hits, two walks, four strikeouts and a homer.

The win was all but in the bag until closer Rafael Soriano cut things pretty close in the ninth.

Soriano allowed a leadoff single to Marte who advanced on Snider’s grounder. Soriano then got Gaby Sanchez to fly out, but Alvarez answered with an RBI single.

The Pirates then opted for pinch-hitter Chris Stewart who singled to right, advancing the tying run to third.

But, Soriano lucked out with a 93 MPH fastball that jammed up Josh Harrison, who popped out to Ramos in foul territory.

With the win, the Nats remain six games up on the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.

Washington Nationals Game 112 Review: LaRoche, Espinosa Go Deep to Help Nats Top Mets

For those who criticized the Washington Nationals for their as-of-late inability to drive the ball deep, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche did just that Wednesday night to contribute to a 7-1 win over the New York Mets at Nationals Park.

Nats starter Doug Fister asserted his standing as arguably the Nats’ top pitcher this season, allowing just one run over six hits and no walks through 7.1 innings pitched. His seemingly all-too-easy victory marked his 11th of the season, making him the team’s wins leader.

Mets left-hander Jon Niese did not have quite the same luck.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Niese gave up a double to Anthony Rendon. Jayson Werth followed through with a single, setting up Adam LaRoche for a two-run shot to put the Nats up 3-0 heading into the second.

All was quiet on both fronts from then onward, until the Nats reached the bottom of the sixth. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 111 Review: Gio’s Shaky Outing No Match for Wheeler

NATIONALS FALL TO NEW YORK METS IN SERIES OPENER

Gio Gonzalez allowed four runs on six hits and two walks through six innings Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals fell to Zack Wheeler and the New York Mets 6-1 at Nationals Park.

Gonzalez was shaky from the start, as he allowed a one-out triple to Daniel Murphy before David Wright brought him home with a single to left.

Wheeler helped himself to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second after Travis d’Arnaud led off with a double. Chris Young went down on strikes and Ruben Tejada grounded out, advancing d’Arnaud to third before Wheeler singled in d’Arnaud off a first-pitch fastball.

The Nats earned one back in the bottom of the inning, not by awakening the offense but by taking advantage of Wheeler’s short loss of control.

Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond started the inning with back-to-back walks before Bryce Harper went down on strikes. Then, Asdrubal Cabrera walked to load the bases, allowing LaRoche to come home on a wild pitch with Jose Lobaton batting.

Lobaton managed to hit a sharp grounder, but the ball hit Cabrera who was running toward third base at the time. Cabrera was called out and Desmond was forced to retreat to third, while Lobaton was awarded the single. Gonzalez came to the plate next, but could not repeat Wheeler’s earlier luck, ending the inning with a fly ball to center fielder Juan Lagares.

The Nats threatened again in the bottom of the third after Denard Span and Anthony Rendon started things off with back-to-back singles. On his own gnome night, however, Jayson Werth grounded into a double play that advanced Span to third. LaRoche drew a walk to keep the inning alive but the struggling Ian Desmond could only manage a ground ball to end the inning.

Gonzalez held on to match Wheeler until the top of the seventh.

In the seventh, however, it quickly became apparent that the Nats’ left-hander had run out of gas.

Young worked Gonzalez for a nine-pitch walk to start things off before Tejada chopped an infield single to short.

At that point, Nationals manager Matt Williams called on Drew Storen to pitch to Wheeler, who advanced Young and Tejada on a sacrifice bunt. Storen managed to hit the next batter, Lagares, with a runaway sinker, before allowing Daniel Murphy to single in Young and Tejada.

Storen did manage to strike out Wright, but Lucas Duda singled to left to add the Mets’ third run of the inning.

In the eighth, the Mets tacked on their sixth run of the night with Blake Treinen on the mound for Washington.

Treinen hit his first batter, d’Arnaud, with a pitch before allowing Young to single. Tejada lined out in the next at-bat, but pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled in d’Arnaud to make it 6-1.

 

THE GOOD: On a night when the Nats’ offense never fully came to life, Adam LaRoche went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Filling in for catcher Wilson Ramos, who is on paternity leave, Jose Lobaton was the only other Nat to post two hits on the night.

THE BAD: There were innings in which Gio Gonzalez looked like the Gio Gonzalez of old, and then there moments where he just didn’t seem to have his stuff. Add to that, Drew Storen and Blake Treinen each allowed a run.

THE UGLY: The Nats went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven. On a night when Mets’ pitching worked its way into jams with control issues, the Nats failed to capitalize.

THE STATS: 1 R, 8 H, 4 BB, 7 K, 7 LOB, 2-for-9 RISP

 

BREAKING: Nats Claim Left-handed Reliever Matt Thornton off Waivers

The Washington Nationals have reportedly acquired left-handed reliever Matt Thornton off a waiver claim from the New York Yankees, according to CBSSports.com writer Jon Heyman.

In 24.2 innings pitched this season, Thornton has held a 2.55 ERA and recorded 20 strike outs. Most importantly, he has posted solid numbers against left-handed hitters. This season, he has held left-handed batters to a .250/.306/.250 slash line through 64 plate appearances and, all-time, he has held left-handed batters to a .234/.297/.345 line.

The 37-year-old is set to earn $3.5 million in 2015, per his current contract.

Although the MLB non-waiver trade deadline has passed, teams can acquire players through the waiver wire.

Washington Nationals Game 110 Review: Orioles’ Late Push Hands Nats Series Loss in Make-Up

Torrential rains prevented the Washington Nationals from posting a Curly W against the Baltimore Orioles on July 8. But, on Monday night, it was the Orioles’ late push – and perhaps some poor bullpen management – that short-changed the Nats of a win opportunity.

Despite the fact the Nats entered the seventh inning up 3-2, they headed to the clubhouse with a 7-3 loss, bringing them to 60-50 with a three-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. [Read more...]

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