Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 5-0 win over the Miami Marlins.
The Miami Marlins came into this three-game series with the Washington Nationals in unfamiliar territory of late: first place. The Marlins 5-2 record to start the season was surprising, but the Nats showed Miami that there’s more to the season than two series, as Gio Gonzalez dominated for six innings, Adam LaRoche went 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs, Anthony Rendon drove in three, and the Nats cruised to a 5-0 win before 21,728 at Nationals Park.
The Nats got to Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Jayson Werth doubled to the left center gap and scored on LaRoche’s single. LaRoche forced the cutoff, allowing Werth to score, and was thrown out 7-5-3.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez was busy retiring Marlins, but having to work for it. In the second, he gave up a bunt single to Garrett Jones against a heavy shift, and walked Marcell Ozuna with one out. Gonzalez buckled down ad retired Reed Johnson and Alvarez to get out of the trouble. Gonzalez needed 59 pitches to get through three scoreless innings.
While Gonzalez was sitting down Marlins, Alvarez matched him out for out. After Danny Espinosa’s bunt single in the second, Alvarez retired 11 of the next 12 Nats batters, allowing a walk to LaRoche in the fourth, but nothing else.
But with one out in the sixth, Bryce Harper singled the other way and went to third on LaRoche’s single. Alvarez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing LaRoche to move up to second (barely) and after second baseman Jeff Baker bobbled the throw, Harper sprinted home with the Nats second run of the night.
LaRoche moved up to third on a wild pitch — which was ball four to Ian Desmond — and Anthony Rendon followed with a single as LaRoche walked home with run No. 3, chasing Alvarez.
Jerry Blevins and Drew Storen combined for a scoreless seventh and Tyler Clippard dominated with two strikeouts in the eighth, including a splitter that Giancarlo Stanton swung right over.
Rendon’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth with Werth and LaRoche aboard iced it.
Aaron Barrett got the last three outs to send everyone home happy with the shutout.
In his pregame press conference before Tuesday’s game with the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams clarified his remarks about Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing right shoulder. Saying he misspoke, Williams said Zimmerman’s shoulder is “degenerative” as opposed to “arthritic” as he described following Sunday’s win over Atlanta.
Williams stopped short of calling the inflammation Zimmerman continues to experience — even after surgical repair — as chronic. But the team is working with Zimmerman to alter his throwing motion — once again — to an even lower arm slot to alleviate the discomfort Zimmerman continues to experience.
The Nats new skipper said that cortisone is not an option for Zimmerman at this point, though he did not rule it out in the future. Zimmerman went though an exhaustive cortisone regimen in 2012 to help him get through the season as the Nats were playing for their first chance at the MLB postseason.
Asked where Zimmerman would play looking forward, Williams said during interleague play Zimmerman would DH. He also indicated Zimmerman would start to see some playing time at first base in an effort to reduce the wear and tear on his throwing shoulder, as the discomfort is not present when he swings a bat. Williams also offered that the team would limit Zimmerman’s between game and pregame throwing. But Williams also maintained that “as long as he’s feeling good” Zimmerman would be the Nats third baseman.
What was not asked was: what if Zimmerman is feeling “good” but still not performing up to his — or MLB standards — at third base.
Just how long will the Nats allow the situation to play out? It seems, at least at this point, the answer to that question is “as long as it takes.” But the obvious situation is that a comprised Zimmerman in the field affects this team with a negative impact. They need to get this sorted out, and quickly. How many errors is acceptable? What level of reduced range at third is acceptable. Zimmerman’s sinking defensive contribution will continue to bear watching as the season unfolds.
**List updated 04/14/2014**
It is a brand new season and we’re excited to hear which songs the Washington Nationals players have selected as their batting music. District Sports Page will do its best to keep up them, however, invite fans to help us out. Please feel free to comment on this post or tweet to @cnichols14 when you hear a new song.
Fans love walk-up music. It is always a popular topic on Twitter, Facebook and discussion boards. Some players select music that gets them fired up, suits them perfectly or even pokes fun of themselves (i.e. Matt Stairs two years using Toby Keith’s “As Good As I Once Was“). It can be a small window into the player’s personality.
There are superstitious players that change their music when they are slumping at the plate. And some have a handful of songs that are used in rotation.
Some players stick with the same song season after season and even years after leaving the Nationals or baseball all together, fans immediately think of that player every time they hear the song (i.e. Chad Cordero and Metallica’s “King Nothing“).
Former National Michael Morse (now with the San Francisco Giants), had the team’s most eclectic taste in his walk-up music, thanks in part to his brother helping select songs. His most popular song was “Take on Me” by A-ha, which has now become the “fans’ Natitude anthem” and is currently being used as the Nats 7th inning stretch song. The music is usually cut off before it gets to the high part of the chorus, so the fans finish it off! It started in 2010, but finally caught on and fans voices are even heard on TV. Join in next time you’re at the park.
While on the topic of music, the Nats have used “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC to take the field for several seasons. That has changed for 2014. The Nationals are now jogging out to their positions to “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy. Personally, I wish the songs would remain the same because baseball is all about traditions and would like there to be a few traditions at Nationals Park.
All of the following songs have been confirmed through various sources including programs like Shazam, Soundhound, as well as players tweets, interviews, etc. We’ve included links to videos, however, remember that there is only a few seconds of the song used during the walk-up so it may sound different at the beginning at first. There is a lot of Natitude on the list!
Please help us keep list up to date and post additional songs that we may have missed in the comments. Thank you! Enjoy!
Ian Desmond – One Sixteen by Trip Lee (feat. KB & Andy Mineo)
Ian Desmond – Sun is Shining (Smoke Out Dubstep Remix) by Bob Marley
Ian Desmond – My Conclusion by Stephen Marley Feat. Akon & Buju Banton
Kevin Frandsen – Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Scott Hairston – Blue Sky by Common
Sandy Leon – Watch Out For This [Bumaye; Daddy Yankee Remix] by Major Lazer
Aaron Barrett – This Is What It Feels Like (W&w Radio Edit) by Armin van Buuren Feat. Trevor Guthrie
Jerry Blevins – Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones
Tyler Clippard – Ready or Not by The Fugees
Ross Detwiler – Wherever I May Roam by Metallica (pitching)
Gio Gonzalez – Trophies by Young Money & Drake (batting) [clean version]
Taylor Jordan – Collide by Skillet
Tanner Roark – Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue
Craig Stammen – Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Drew Storen – When the Lights Go Out by The Black Keys
Stephen Strasburg – Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
Jordan Zimmermann – Hell On Wheels by Brantley Gilbert (pitching)
Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.
DESMOND HOMER LIFTS NATS, BLEVINS RECORDS FIRST WIN AS A NATIONAL
With Bryce Harper out of the lineup Sunday afternoon, the Washington Nationals tallied just four hits to top the Atlanta Braves 2-1 by the skin of their teeth.
Taylor Jordan (ND, 1.42 ERA) allowed one run, six hits and two walks over 6.1 innings pitched, but he kept the Nats in contention despite their slow-to-produce offense.
Manager Matt Williams gave Bryce Harper the day off after the 21-year-old outfielder went 0-for-4 Saturday in the Nats’ 6-2 loss to the Braves. Harper, who is 3-for-21 with 10 strikeouts, has shown visible frustration over the past few days, throwing down his helmet and stomping back to the dugout in dismay.
The Nats also sat Ryan Zimmerman for the start of Sunday’s matchup due to shoulder soreness, but he pinch-hit for reliever Tyler Clippard in the eighth, alleviating some fears for now.
Testing yet another new lineup, the Nats took an early lead in the first off left-hander Alex Wood (L, 1-1).
Leading off for the first time in his MLB career, Anthony Rendon reached on a bunt single and advanced to second on a single by Kevin Frandsen. Jayson Werth hit an infield single, allowing Rendon to come home on a throwing error by second baseman Dan Uggla. To bring the Nationals to a halt, however, Wood retired the next three batters.
In fact, Washington failed to send another runner to base until Sandy Leon reached first on an error by Chris Johnson in the fifth.
Before that point, Jordan found himself in a bit of a jam in the fourth after walking Johnson and Justin Upton with one out. The situation went from bad to worse on a throwing error by Danny Espinosa, which allowed Dan Uggla to reach first to load the bases. But, Jordan pitched himself out of the inning, retiring Gerald Laird and Andrelton Simmons to end the inning.
And, in the top of the sixth, the Braves seemed to figure out Jordan’s repertoire. [Read more...]
ZIMMERMANN STRIKES OUT 9 IN FIVE INNING NO-DECISION
Expect another dozen and a half of these.
The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves played in a tightly-contested, low scoring contest that came down to which team made the most critical errors — and maybe benefitted from a peculiar interpretation of a ground rule — as the Nats fell to the Braves 2-1 in the Nats home opener before a capacity crowd of 42,834 at Nationals Park.
Jordan Zimmermann rebounded from the illness that forced him to miss Thursday’s start in New York to pitch five quality innings, but the Braves scored a run off Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning and the Nats were futile in a comeback against Craig Kimbrel, in addition to making three outs on the basepaths during the game which contributed greatly to stifle the offense.
The play in question was a ball off the bat of Ian Desmond in the fifth inning, which came to rest under the padding of the fence in left field. Outfielder Justin Upton originally lifted his arms to signal the ball was stuck. The on-field umpires did not rule timeout, and Desmond rounded the bases for an apparent inside-the-park home run.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked for a replay, and the replay umpires in New York overturned the play on the field, ruling the ball was “stuck” under the padding, though Upton eventually retrieved the ball easily when it became apparent the umps would not stop the play.
Regardless, the Nats had four more ups to right the perceived damage, and could do nothing against the Braves pitching.
After the pomp and circumstance of the home opener, the teams got down to the business at hand and both starters cruised through the first three innings. Zimmermann allowed a second inning single to Dan Uggla; David Hale back-to-back singles by Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond in the bottom — though the hits were sandwiched around Harper being caught stealing 2-4-3-6.
Zimmermann’s big inning came in the fourth. Following a leadoff single to Freddie Freeman, 2013′s 19-game winner proceeded to strike out Chris Johnson, Justin Upton and Dan Uggla in succession, with Uggla being rung up on an inside curveball. All Uggla could do was shake his head in acknowledgement.
The Nats had Hale on the ropes in the bottom of the inning, but let him off the hook. With one out, Adam LaRoche drew a base on balls. Ryan Zimmerman nailed a liner to left that Justin Upton misplayed into a double. But third base coach Bob Henley decided to send the not-fleet-of-foot LaRoche and Andrelton Simmons’ relay beat LaRoche to home by several feet, and LaRoche was out easily. Harper then K’d to end the frame, and slammed his bat and helmet for good measure.
Predictably, after the Nats wasted the opportunity, the very next Braves batter was Evan Gattis, and he sent a mammoth clout over the bullpen in left center for his first home run of the season, breaking up the scoreless tie.
Ian Desmond led off the bottom of the inning with a line drive into the left field corner. The ball came to a rest underneath the lip in the padding of the fence, and Desmond raced all the way around the bases for an apparent inside-the-park home run. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez requested a review, and the umpires then ruled that the ball was lodged under the padding and brought Desmond back out of the dugout and awarded a ground rule double, much to the anger of Nats fans.
Desmond was promptly thrown out trying to steal third base.
In the sixth, Anthony Rendon led off with a single and took second on reliever Gus Schlosser’s wild pitch. Werth walked, and Adma LaRoche followed with a ground ball to second. Werth was able to break up the double play attempt, and Ryan Zimmerman’s fly to center was deep enough to bring home Rendon from third to tie the game.
The Braves got to Tyler Clippard in the eighth. He walked leadoff hitter Jason Heyward. After B.J. Upton struck out — for the third time on the day — Heyward went first-to-third on Freddie Freeman’s single, then scored on Chris Johnson’s sacrifice fly to right.
The Nats got a single from Anthony Rendon and walk from Werth to start off the bottom of the eighth, but David Carpenter settled down for the Braves to strike out LaRoche, Zimmerman and Harper — the last looking — to squelch the rally.
The Nats went quietly in the bottom of the ninth against All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, with Desmond and Jose Lobaton striking out before pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen popped up to end the game.
The Nationals host the Braves Saturday night at 7:05 pm. Stephen Strasburg (0-0. 6.00) hosts Julio Teheran (0-1, 3.00).
The Washington Nationals play the Atlanta Braves in the first of a three-game series Friday at 1:10 pm. Sounds clinical when it’s put in those terms. That could describe any series opening game at any point in the season.
But this series opener is also the home opener on the schedule — the first of 81 games in the regular season for the Nats to play with a homefield advantage. It’s also the first time for many in attendance — yours truly included — to see the Nats for the first time in person this calendar year. Unless you were fortunate enough to make a pilgrimage to Viera for Spring Training, or shuffled up to New York to see the Mets series, you’re in the same boat.
This game would have been special – for fans, the players, the organization, the city – regardless of circumstances. But it comes on the heels of a three-game sweep of the division rival Mets. Most opening days come with as much uncertainty as excitement. But Friday’s home opener comes with added enthusiasm. We’ve already seen a lot of what the Nats could be this season in just three games
We’ve already seen Stephen Strasburg recover from a shaky start to strike out 10 in six innings. We’ve seen Gio Gonzalez dominate an undermanned Mets team — and smack a home run to boot.
Ryan Zimmerman’s second inning blast Thursday reminds us of just how important a player he is for the team, just as his throwing error Wednesday reminds us that his defense isn’t what it used to be, and may never be again.
Tanner Roark showed more of the promise in Thursday’s emergency start that he gave a glimpse of at the end of last season. Denard Span, Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa all had a promising opening series after last season’s disappointments. And Jayson Werth kept on hitting.
What we haven’t seen yet is Bryce Harper bust out with any noise yet. Manager Matt Williams indicated in his pregame press conference that Harper’s swing was a “tick off” so far. Asked to elaborate, Williams declined, saying he was not at liberty to talk about it. Cause for concern? Maybe, but worry? Not yet.
The Nats have won coming from behind late. They’ve dominated a game. And they’ve grinded a win out for a late-blooming prospect. We’ve seen a lot so far in just three games, and that makes the home opener that much more exciting for the home fans. This is a season of big possibilities. It’ll take six months to play out.
But we’ve already seen a lot.
Happy Opening Day everyone.
Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 8-2 win over the New York Mets, sweeping the season opening series.
With Jordan Zimmermann, Thursday’s scheduled starter dealing with flu-like symptoms, the Washington Nationals turned to Tanner Roark in the series finale against the New York Mets. Roark turned in a very Zimmermann-like performance, keeping the Mets in check while the offense cruised in an 8-2, sweeping the opening series in easy fashion.
Roark went six innings, allowing six hits and striking out five — including K-ing the side in his last inning of work — to lead the Nats to their third straight win over the overmatched Mets to start the season. It’s undecided as of this posting whether Zimmermann will be strong enough to start the home opener on Friday, but reliever Ross Detwiler pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the game, so perhaps the extra day off will be enough to get Zimmermann well enough to pitch.
The Mets scored off Roark in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back one out singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright set up first-and-third for Curtis Granderson, who doubled and plated Murphy, but Wright was held at third. After a walk to Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares delivered a sacrifice fly that brought Wright home.
Ryan Zimmerman responded leading off the second with his first home run of the season, a mammoth clout to left center.
The Nats took the lead in the fifth. Sandy Leon, recalled to replace Wilson Ramos after Ramos’ hamate surgery, walked to lead off the frame. He went to second on Roark’s sacrifice, and scored on Denard Span’s single to right field. Curtis Granderson’s throw went through to home, which allowed Span to move up a base, which proved costly to the Mets. Bryce Harper flew out to the track in right center and Span took third, then scored on Jayson Werth’s single to right as the Nats went up 3-2.
The Nats got insurance against the Mets bullpen in the top of the seventh. Scott Hairston led off with a pinch-hit single off lefty Scott Rice. Span moved Hairston up 90 feet with a sacrifice. Harper got his first hit of the game, a smash off Rice’s foot. The Mets called upon Jeurys Familia, and he issued a four-pitch walk to Jayson Werth.
Adam LaRoche’s hard ground ball then kicked off Duda’s glove at first, scoring two runs, Zimmerman followed with his fourth base hit of the game, driving in the Nats’ sixth run of the day. A seventh scored on Ian Desmond’s fielder’s choice grounder when the relay throw skipped past Duda at first.
The Nats got a gift run in the eighth, as LaRoche walked with the bases loaded to force in a run.
Rafael Soriano made his first appearance of the season working a scoreless ninth inning to close out the sweep.
Gio Gonzalez couldn’t have had a better day.
The left-hander allowed a single run on three hits, striking out six, and homered in his first start of 2014, leading the Washington Nationals to a 5-1 win over the New York Mets at Citifield.
Gonzalez (W, 1-0, 1.50) was exceptionally sharp, throwing 60 of his 91 pitches for strikes. The only Mets hitter to have any success was outfielder Juan Lagares, who doubled and tripled for two of the Mets’ three hits.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez’ homer in the fifth inning came off of Bartolo Colon, making his Mets debut (3 ER on 9 hits).
The Nats pounded out 13 hits in total. Jayson Werth went 4-for-5 on the day, while Denard Span and Anthony Rendon, hitting 1-2 in the order, both had a pair of hits. Span scored twice. Ian Desmond homered in the fifth against Colon as well.
Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen each threw a scoreless inning of relief. Storen and Stammen struck out two apiece and Clippard K’d the side while walking one.
About the only negative on the day was Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error.
The Nationals finish off their opening series against the Mets on Thursday at 1:10 pm. Jordan Zimmermann looks to follow up his 19-win season against Zack Wheeler.