May 27, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 46 Review: Harper and Span go long but Cubs squeak by Nats

CUBS WIN ON WALK-OFF DOUBLE AFTER COSTLY DESMOND ERROR IN NINTH

The Washington Nationals fell 3-2 to the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night as second baseman Addison Russell hit his first career walk-off with a double against left-handed reliever Matt Grace, wasting a solid seven innings pitched by Jordan Zimmermann.

Despite a shaky opening with Zimmermann giving up a lead-off home run to Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler to start the game, the right-handed starter struck out five batters and only surrendered that one run while walking two. Zimmermann regained his dominance and maintained his momentum against Chicago’s offense after giving up that initial run in the first. He even tallied three strikeouts against the top the Cubs’ order in the fifth inning before finishing out the seventh inning with a Fowler strikeout. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for May 25

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped a Memorial Day matinee to the Norfolk Tides, 7-2, Monday afternoon in Norfolk. The game was 2-1 Norfolk to the bottom of the eighth inning, until the Tides broke the game open with a five-run eighth.

Syracuse (17-27) scored its first run in the fifth. Josh Johnson doubled to start the inning against Zach Davies. Johnson moved to third on a single by Darin Mastroianni, and scored on a Tony Gwynn, Jr. RBI single to square the game at one. The Chiefs would go on to load the bases in the inning, but did not score after Johnson’s run.

Chiefs starter Taylor Hill lasted six and one-third innings for the Chiefs’, allowing the two runs on eight hits. It was the Chiefs 17th quality start in 23 May games.

Syracuse did make the game interesting in the ninth. Mastroianni doubled to lead off against Pedro Beato followed by a walk to Gwynn, Jr. Matt den Dekker then doubled for the second time in the game, scoring Mastroianni to make the score 7-2 Tides. Two batters later, Caleb Ramsey walked to load the bases, to put the tying run on deck. However, Beato got Jason Martinson and Dan Butler to strike out and pop out to end the game.

The Chiefs and Tides will return to Harbor Park Tuesday night for game two of their four-game set. Mitch Lively is scheduled to start for Syracuse against T.J. McFarland for Norfolk. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Drew Vettleson‘s two-run, go-ahead single in the seventh inning lifted the Harrisburg Senators to a 3-2 win over the New Britain Rock Cats Monday at Metro Bank Park. The win for Harrisburg (20-23) secured a series victory over New Britain and five wins in the seven-game homestand.

Adrian Sanchez and Mario Lisson singled to put at the corners for the Senators in the seventh inning. With two outs and Vettleson at the plate, Lisson stole second base. Vettleson bounced a groundball back through the middle for the two-RBI single, which turned out to be the game-winner. Kevin Keyes was 2-for-3 with a double, and scored on a Pedro Severino groundball in the second inning. Lisson also had two hits, raising his average to .318 on the season.

Austin Voth turned in five solid innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked none and struck out five before giving way to James Simmons, who allowed New Britain to take the lead before becoming the winner. Simmons allowed a run on three hits in two innings. Abel De Los Santos earned his second hold of the year by pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Hector Ambriz finished the game with a perfect ninth in which he struck out two.

Harrisburg hits the road for six games, beginning tonight with a 6:35 p.m. start in Richmond. The pregame show will begin at 6:15 p.m. on Fox Sports 1460am, iHeart Radio, and on Tune In.

POTOMAC (High A-Carolina League): Myrtle Beach’s (26-15-Overall, 11-10-Home) RHP Jen-Ho Tseng pitched six shutout innings befuddling the Potomac Nationals (19-25-Overall, 9-15-Road) offense on the way to his second win of the season at TicketReturn.com Field on Monday night.

The Nationals, with a chance to split the series, sent RHP Lucas Giolito (1-3, 4.84) to the mound for his fourth start of the season.

Giolito lasted five innings, coughing up six hits and three runs (all earned) for his third loss of the season. He walked two and struck out three in his fourth start.

LHP Justin Thomas came in and pitched the final three innings, going perfect for the outing, nine up and nine down.

Potomac, after an off-day on Tuesday, welcomes in the Wilmington Blue Rocks for a three-day, four-game series opening with a double dip on Wednesday. The P-Nats will send LHP Matthew Spann (0-4, 4.66) in Game One against righty Alec Mills (2-3, 3.32). Game Two of the double header will feature RHP Tyler Mapes (0-0, 3.60) vs. the lefty Luis Rico (2-2, 2.70).

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage of the ballgame starting at 4:45 pm with the P-Nats Lead-Off Show.

HAGERSTOWN (Low A-South Atlantic): Brennan Middleton’s RBI single in the seventh inning gave the Hagerstown Suns the lead, and Grant DeBruin drove in an insurance run in the eighth in Monday’s 4-2 victory over the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League.
Tied at 2, David Masters led off the seventh with a double and took third on Austin Davidson’s sacrifice bunt to set up Middleton. Masters finished 3-for-4.

In the eighth, Osvaldo Abreu led off with a single and went to third on a two-base throwing error before DeBruin knocked him in with an infield single in the hole at short.

The late offense made a winner of Austen Williams (6-1), who allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five in six innings for the Suns (23-21). Williams’ ERA stands at 1.65. Mario Sanchez worked three scoreless innings for his second save.

Greensboro (18-26) took a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run double by Felix Castillo, who had two hits. Hagerstown answered with a two-run double by Alec Keller in the third.

Game two between Hagerstown and Greensboro is tonight at 7 with the pitching matchup TBD.

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Chicago Cubs

The Nationals (26-18) are living up to their pre-season hype as the best team in the National League. After taking two out of three against Philadelphia this weekend the Nationals are a half-game behind the Dodgers and two games behind the Cardinals as far as tops in the National League.

Just three and a half games behind the Cardinals, though, are the Cubs (24-19), who might have been the most talked about team coming into this season. The Cubs signed Jon Lester to add a veteran pitching presence to a young core and have hit their stride in recent weeks, showing that they’ll be an exciting team to watch for the rest of 2015…and probably for many more years to come. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 45 Review: Nats 2, Cubs 1

NATIONALS EKE OUT 2-1 WIN AGAINST CUBS ON THE LONG BALL

The Washington Nationals turned to their number six starter Tanner Roark for his first start of the season Monday against the Chicago Cubs. Wilson Ramos and Denard Span each had home runs, and kept the Nats in it against a parsimonious Cubs staff as the Nats won 2-1. Kris Bryant homered off Roark for the Cubs’ only run.

The best part of having a pitching staff as talented as the Nationals is being able to go to your long man for a spot start and have it come out as well as it did Monday. Tanner Roark made his first start of the year at Wrigley today, going five innings and striking out three. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 44 Review: Nationals win eighth straight series, beat Phillies 4-1

Gio Gonzalez had seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched, and Bryce Harper went 2-3 as the Washington Nationals beat Philadelphia 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for May 22

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped game one of a three-game series to the Indianapolis Indians, 6-4, on Friday night. Chiefs starter Scott McGregor threw six and one-third innings, striking out five while only surrendering three runs. Shortstop Emmanuel Burriss connected for his second home run of the year in the loss.

After dropping its previous five games, Syracuse (16-25) scored first in the series opener against the Indians. Burriss led off the top of the third with a drag-bunt single. In the next at-bat, with the hit-and-run on, left fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., lined a double down the right-field line that scored Burriss. The Chiefs led 1-0 at the end of three innings.

Indianapolis took the lead 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth. After center fielder Darin Mastroianni struck out swinging to lead off the inning, third baseman Ian Stewart hit his eighth double of the season to give the Chiefs a runner in scoring position with only one out. First baseman Mark Minicozzi then singled to right field, advancing Stewart to third. Following a Matt den Dekker walk, catcher Dan Butler stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and only one out. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Butler hit a fly ball to center, deep enough for Stewart to tag from third and score, evening the game at two.

The tie would not hold for too long, however, as Indianapolis scored two more runs in the top of the seventh. The Chiefs tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh off the bat of Burriss. Reliever Deolis Guerra came in and retired pinch-hitter Josh Johnson to start off the inning. With a 1-1 count and one out, Burriss connected and drove his second home run of the season over the right-field wall, cutting the Indians’ lead to 4-3 at the end of seven.

The runs continued in the top of the eight. Felipe Rivero came in at the start of the inning to replace Hill. Indians catcher Tony Sanchez led off the inning with a walk and moved to second after left fielder Jaff Decker hit a bunt single. Rivero then struck out Brent Morel before Hernandez hit into a fielder’s choice, advancing Sanchez to third and putting Hernandez on first. Manny Delcarmen then entered the game to relieve Rivero to face pinch-hitter Elias Diaz. Diaz singled on a ball to right field, driving in Sanchez for the Indian’s fifth run of the game, and giving the Indians’ a 5-3 lead.

The Chiefs would not go down without a fight. In the bottom of the frame, Stewart walked off of new pitcher Josh Wall. Wall retired the next two batters before giving up a single to Butler, and letting Stewart advance to third after he stole second on a wild pitch. With Cutter Dykstra at the plate and a full count, Wall threw a wild pitch and Stewart easily scored from third, bringing the score to 5-4 in favor of Indianapolis.

The Indians tacked on another run in the top of the ninth off of Chiefs pitcher Jose Valverde. Third baseman Debinson Romero doubled with two outs and came around to score when Sanchez singled to center, making the final score 6-4.

The Chiefs and Indians play game two of the three game series Saturday night with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. The Chiefs will send right-hander Bruce Billings to the hill to face right-hander Adrian Sampson.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Richard Bieler pitched eight innings of two hit baseball for his third win of the season (3-0, 2.48 ERA) while Hector Ambriz got the save as the Senators (18-22) blanked the New Britain Rock Cats 1-0 on Friday night at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg.

The Senators scored their lone run of the night in the bottom of the third inning.  Derrick Robinson got it started with a single to right field.  Two batters later, Brian Goodwin singled to right field to move Robinson to third.  Then Mario Lisson hit an RBI single to left field to score Robinson.

Today at 6:00 is game two of the three game set vs. New Britain.  Joe Ross (2-1, 2.54 ERA) takes the ball for the Sens.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (18-23 Overall, 8-13 Road) snapped a three-game winning streak on the Grand Strand Friday evening on TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark losing the series opener of the best-of-four Memorial Day Weekend set opener to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (25-14 Overall, 9-9 Home) by the final score of 8-4.

Potomac is now a (5-9) club against teams from the Carolina League’s Southern Division.

Nationals RHP Reynaldo Lopez (2-1) suffered the roughest start of his Potomac Nationals’ career and the phenom took his first losing decision of the 2015 season.

Lopez, amid his fourth Carolina League start, pitched just 2.2 innings and surrendered five earned runs on five base hits including just one extra-base knock while walking one batter, striking out just two men, and unleashing one wild pitch.

The Nationals got to Myrtle Beach RHP Duane Underwood, Jr. (5-0) the eventual winning pitcher, in Act One using solo home runs from RF Brandon Miller and 2B Christopher Bostick in the 2nd and 3rd innings, respectively. Miller’s geyser to the last row of the grandstands in left field was his team-best fifth longball of the 2015 season, and for Bostick it was his first dinger this year which was sent over everything in left field out of the Home of the Pelicans.

Bostick, in his return to Pelicans Ballpark after serving as the Myrtle Beach second baseman last year for the 2014 Southern Division Champions before being traded this off-season to the Nationals in a package for former P-Nats LHP Ross Detwiler, went 2-for-5 with one run scored and one run batted in on the four-bagger.

Underwood, Jr. went on to hurl 6.0 innings in which the power big-bodied righty allowed just two earned runs on two homers and six total hits. Underwood, Jr. walked two P-Nats and fanned four batters en route to staying undefeated with his fifth win to no losses in the circuit.

Kevin Perez dealt 3.1 frames in relief of Lopez, served up just that one earned run on three hits and two walks, and struck out a duo.

Both clubs threw up a two-run spot on the scoreboard in their halves of the 8th stanza. For the Nationals off RHP Juan Paniagua, LF Isaac Ballou blasted a solo home run over the right field barrier, his third deep fly before 1B John Wooten dashed a triple into the left-center field gap setting up a one-out RBI single gunned into center field by 3B Khayyan Norfork to cut the Pelicans’ edge to 6-4.

Paniagua had not allowed an earned run in 2015 in 11.1 innings before this relief appearance.

This was the first three home run game of the 2015 journey for the red, white, and blue.

Pelicans RHP Jasvir Rakkar (6 SV) earned his sixth save in seven save chances with 1.2 scoreless frames in which the crafty reliever allowed one hit, a single to SS Stephen Perez in the 9th. Rakkar entered the game with runners at first and second base in the 8th and Myrtle Beach up two runs before inducing C Craig Manuel into a popup to shallow right-center field and retiring CF Narciso Mesa on a 3-1 groundout. Rakkar sidestepped the Perez single in the final inning by getting Bostick to fly out to left field before Ballou reached on a fielder’s choice groundball cutting down Perez at second base. Then, Wooten scorched a line drive at Pelicans SS Carlos Penalver who squeezed the hot shot to seal the victory for the home club, the Pelicans’ 25th win this season.

Tomorrow night in series Game Two Potomac sends RHP Tyler Mapes (0-0, 3.75) to the hill in a spot start to duel with Myrtle Beach RHP Paul Blackburn (2-2, 5.00) with first pitch slated for 6:05pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (21-20) fell to the Lexington Legends 5-1 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Kentucky.  Luis Reyes (1-3, 5.44 ERA) got the loss for Hagerstown.

Hagerstown scored their lone run in the top of the fourth.  With one out Austin Davidson smacked a double to right field, then Brennan Middleton singled on a line drive to left field to score Davidson.

Tonight is game three of the four game series.  First pitch is at 7:05.  Phillips Valdez (4-2, 1.22 ERA) will take the ball for the Suns against Colin Rodgers of Lexington.

Washington Nationals Game 43 Review: Hamels stellar, errors plague Nationals as Phillies win 8-1

A four-run third inning, featuring a two-run shot to center field by Maikel Franco, ended Stephen Strasburg’s day early and was the start of a painful day at Nationals Park, as a sellout crowd was on hand for an 8-1 Philadelphia win over the Nationals on Saturday.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 42 Review: Scherzer Dominates The Phillies, Harper Goes Long

The Washington Nationals treated a crowd of 35,893 to nine innings of one-run baseball on Friday night beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 after a strong eight-inning performance from right-handed starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

Scherzer gave up four hits, one run, and one walk while striking out six batters. He threw 110 pitches and 79 strikes.  And — thanks to some timely offense — he also helped the Nationals take their 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. [Read more…]

Nats Nightly: Nationals 2-1 over Phillies – Max Scherzer does it all in D.C.

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

For the first time this season the Nationals open up a series in sole possession of first place. After a two-game sweep of the Yankees (and two days off in four days), the Nationals (24-17) are a half-game in front of the Mets as they welcome the Phillies (18-25) to Nationals Park.

The Phillies still have the likes of Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon, likely to be surrounded by trade rumors until the trade deadline in July. But they’ve won seven out of nine in their best stretch of the season so far, and have shown no urgency to unload some of their veteran chips.

The Nationals are red hot, having won five in a row. They are also 12-6 at Nationals Park so far this year.

*The Last Time…

This is already the third series between the Nationals and Phillies this season. The teams played seven times in April, with the Phillies taking two out of three in Philadelphia and the Nationals taking three out of four in Washington.

*In The Other Dugout

The Phillies were not expected to do much in 2015. They’re not exactly blowing away expectations, but they have had a recent stretch of success. A six game winning streak helped lift them out of the division’s basement, and coupled with the Marlins’ current seven game losing streak, has the Phillies a game and a half in front of Miami. The Marlins suddenly look like a better bet to be the laughingstock of the National League East rather than the Phillies.

Because no matter how bad things get in Philadelphia this year, they are not very likely to see their general manager take over managerial duties on the field.

*Matchup To Watch

As though we needed any reason to believe Bryce Harper will stay hot: he was 2 for 5 with two home runs in the two games O’Sullivan pitched against the Nationals in April.

*Probables

Friday, 7:05pm: Sean O’Sullivan (1-2, 3.68 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (4-3, 1.75 ERA)

Saturday, 4:05pm: Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.24 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 5.98 ERA)

Sunday, 1:35pm: Aaron Harang (4-3, 1.82 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.94 ERA)

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