August 29, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 101 Review: Nats lose 2-1 to Mets in 12 innings

WILMER FLORES HOMERS IN THE 12TH BEAT NATS

Wilmer Flores, who Thursday thought he’d been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, homered in the 12th inning off lefty reliever Felipe Rivero, sending the Washington Nationals to a bitter 2-1 defeat to the New York Mets, trimming the Nats lead in the N.L. East to two games.

Matt Harvey pitched 5 1/3 innings of perfect baseball on Friday night before a sellout crowd at Citi Field, as Gio Gonzalez struggled through 4 2/3. Harvey worked with a 1-0 lead from the fourth inning onward, working through the Nationals’ order with little difficulty.

Gonzalez struggled with his control tonight, walking four, but striking out six. Gonzalez pitched with runners aboard in the fourth and the fifth, loading the bases in the fourth before retiring the side, and giving up a single and a double in the fifth before being lifted for Tanner Roark with two outs in the fifth.

Roark pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief, getting the Nationals clear of the jam in fifth, and retiring the Mets in order in the sixth and seventh. His corner work was stellar on Friday night, and he struck out four batters out of seven.

The Nationals struggled mightily against Matt Harvey, with Harvey working 5 1/3 perfect innings before Jose Lobaton singled to right to break up the perfect game. Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth added two more hits in the sixth and seventh, but until the eighth, Matt Harvey was Superman.

Sadly for the Mets fans in attendance, Harvey was human in the eighth inning. With 100 pitches under his belt for the evening, Harvey hit pinch-hitter Clint Robinson with a 1-1 pitch in the dirt. Anthony Rendon singled up the middle to move pinch-runner Danny Espinosa to second base, bringing up Yunel Escobar. On a 98-mph fastball down the middle, Escobar drove the ball through the gap to score Espinosa and tie the game at one apiece. That would be all for Harvey, replaced by familiar reliever Tyler Clippard to face Jayson Werth.

In a simulated game at the end of the 2014 season, Tyler Clippard pitched to Jayson Werth on a wager. Werth ended up shelling out $100 when Clipp struck him out. It took 13 pitches tonight, but Clippard repeated his earlier performance. On a pitch on the lower left-hand corner, Werth left the bat on his shoulder, expecting to get the call for a walk. Instead, he owes Clippard another $100.

Aaron Barrett worked the eighth for the Nationals, giving up a single before retiring the side. The slider that Barrett was throwing was fearsome and fooled both Juan Uribe and Travis d’Arnaud for strikeouts.

Bryce Harper lead off the ninth against his former teammate with his 45-road-game on-base streak and 23-game on-base streak on the line, flew out to start the ninth inning. Clippard went on to walk Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond to end his night after just the two outs. Jeurys Familia was successful at protecting the Mets’ tie, getting Michael A. Taylor to swing at a ball in the dirt, and then neutralized Jose Lobaton on a fly ball.

Barrett came back out to face the Mets in the ninth, and though he’s a high energy pitcher usually good only for one inning, he rocketed through the Mets order. Barrett retired Flores, Lagares and Campbell in order, getting two short pop-ups and a ground out to send the game into extra innings.

Familia pitched the tenth, and faced the minimum, getting three easy ground outs to retire the Nationals, and Felipe Rivero matched him in the bottom. Rivero worked through Kelly Johnson (flyout), Curtis Granderson (strikeout), and Ruben Tejada (soft grounder) and looked very impressive.

In the eleventh, the Mets turned to Hansel Robles for pitching duties. Jayson Werth grounded out, and then things turned ugly. On a pitch that was well out of the strikezone, home plate umpire Jerry Meals rung up Bryce Harper for the second out of the inning. Harper objected vehemently to the strike call, and said some uncharitable things. He was ejected. Keep in mind that, due to Tyler Moore pinch-hitting in the ninth, and Clint Robinson pinch-hitting in the eighth, the Nationals were entirely out of outfielders on the bench.

Jayson Werth moved over to right field, and Ryan Zimmerman ran out to left field. Dan Uggla slotted into Harper’s spot in the order, and took over at first base. This is not what you would call a defensive matchup in the Nationals’ favor. It didn’t factor into the eleventh inning, as Rivero retired the Mets in order.

Carlos Torres pitched the twelfth for the Mets, and retired the side on three strikeouts. At one point, final remaining position player Wilson Ramos warmed up and swung a bat in the on-deck circle, while pitchers Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimermann were both spotted stretching and preparing to pinch hit. They were not necessary in the twelfth. Or at all on Friday night.

Wilmer Flores lead off the bottom of the twelfth against Felipe Rivero and a fastball down broadway got driven into the Party Deck in left center, just 48 hours after he was in tears on the field over a potential trade. If anyone deserves a good day, it’s Flores, but it was tough to see the Nationals drop such a critical game.

For reasons not yet explained, Jonathan Papelbon, Matt Thornton, Drew Storen and Casey Janssen never entered the game, despite the high pressure situation and facing a divisional opponent only just a few games back. Lack of offense remains a frequent problem for the Nationals, and tonight’s onr-run effort was definitely indicative of a larger problem.

The Nationals’ lead in the NL East shrinks to two games.

HERO: Tanner Roark, for his relief work, and Yunel Escobar, for a clutch single in the eighth to tie the game when the Nationals needed it most.

GOAT: Bryce Harper, who argued yet another called third strike and found himself ejected, but this time when the club had no spare outfielder. Dumb move, Harper. Dumb move. Bad call, but dumb move.

NATS NOTES:

  • Mike Rizzo met with Drew Storen and his agent Brodie van Wagenen on Friday, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson
  • At 45 games, Harper’s on-base streak is second in franchise history, and the longest since the Nationals returned to Washington.

NEXT UP: Nationals vs Mets continues tomorrow night, Joe Ross (2-3, 3.03) vs Jacob deGrom (10-6, 2.05) at 7:10pm at Citi Field.

Washington Nationals Game 96 Review: Nats Bats Crack in Pittsburgh

OFFENSE STRONG AS NATIONALS TOP PIRATES

The Washington Nationals broke a short skid against the Pirates on Saturday night, picking up a 9-3 victory against the Wild Card leaders. Gio Gonzalez cruised through 5 innings, scattering 5 hits and not issuing a single walk. A.J. Burnett proved too wild for the Pirates’ own good, hitting two in a crucial fourth inning failure, and throwing a wild pitch in the second that would score Ian Desmond.

The Nationals were due a night where things went their way, after a pair of hard luck losses in the Pittsburgh series. They got it Saturday night, as bounces went their way, and as the defense behind Gio Gonzalez was solid enough to keep the crafty lefty in business. Gio would go 5+ innings before departing after a wild bottom of the sixth.

Working with a 5-0 lead, the particulars of which we will get to in a moment, Gio’s day ended poorly. A single by Pedro Alvarez, followed up by a fielding error by Clint Robinson on a ball put in play by Gregory Polanco put Gio at a disadvantage. The Pirates would capitalize on singles from Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, driving Gio from the game.

With no out, and two men on, Aaron Barrett was summoned from the pen to douse the nascent fire. Barrett got an easy double play off Aramis Ramirez, before walking Jung Ho Kang and giving up a single – and Gio’s third charged run – off the bat of Paul Cervelli. Manager Matt Williams saw enough, and got Barrett before things got worse. Felipe Rivero finished the job Barrett could not, and with four pitches got Neil Walker to pop up to right.

The Nationals would strike back in the top of the seventh, putting two back up on the board. A double from Yunel Escobar off the left field wall, followed by an Ian Desmond homer off a Deolis Guerra changeup clocked at 81mph.

The Nationals’ offense quieted the Pittsburgh crowd early, with a run on a Burnett wild pitch in the second for a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Burnett would give up a double to Escobar, then hit Clint Robinson and Jose Lobaton with curve balls at their feet to load the bases. Burnett would get a key strikeout of Matt den Dekker to bring up pitcher Gio Gonzalez to the dish.

This is where things started to really go the Nationals’ way. Gio hit a comebacker to Burnett, who couldn’t react fast enough, and the ball rolled away into no-man’s-land, scoring Escobar. Michael A. Taylor drove the ball through the left side of the email, and Bob Henley sent both Clint Robinson (who scored), and Jose Lobaton (who didn’t), but the damage was done.

Matt den Dekker would add one more to the tally in the fifth on a pair of singles, and a pair of sacrifices, with Anthony Rendon – in his first game off the disabled list – getting the RBI for den Dekker’s run. That would end Burnett’s night at 5.2 IP, 11H, 5ER and 8K.

After the Pirates’ rally in the sixth, the Nationals would add four more runs on monster home runs from Ian Desmond and Michael A. Taylor, both with no-doubter shots into left field at PNC Park. Desmond’s hot streak is music to Nats’ fans ears, who had started to wonder if it would ever come. With the Nationals’ roster decimated by injuries to other starters, the Half Street Regulars might not be the team you were dreaming of in February, but they are the team with three games up on the Mets and now 8 games over .500.

It’s hard to think that this season has been a disappointment, but when the expectations were so high coming into Spring Training, this season has been a challenge for the Nationals. While Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmerman are all returning in the near term, there’s still a lot of baseball to play this season. Getting Desmond back from a season-long slump around the same time might be the catalyst this team has needed to get back on 90-win pace.

HERO: Let’s give this one to Ian Desmond, who is just having a stellar week. He’s 10-for-19 this week, with 4 HR, 7 RBI, and 4 BB. His night was pretty stellar. Good to see Desmond finally getting hit.

GOAT: No goats tonight. Well, except these adorable fainting goats.

NATS NOTES:

  • Ian Desmond is a pretty strong player of the week candidate for the NL right now.
  • Anthony Rendon returned to the lineup tonight, with Abel de los Santos optioned back to AA. His 0-4 was, at least productive, with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
  • Michael A. Taylor had his first four-hit game of the season tonight.

NEXT UP: The series finale is tomorrow at 1:35pm, Joe Ross (2-2, 2.70) vs Gerrit Cole (13-4, 2.31).

Washington Nationals Game 95 Review: Pirates out-slug Nationals, win 7-5

NATIONALS DROP BRUISER BATTLE TO PIRATES 7-5

The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates battled like heavyweights on Friday night before a sold out crowd at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Pirates would blast a trio of knockout home runs off Scherzer – with Pedro Alvarez’s two-run shot in the second inning ending up in the Allegheny River – before forcing him from the game after five innings. The Nationals would strike for four runs against Jeff Locke in the fourth inning, and Ian Desmond would tie the game at five in the sixth with a muscled home run.

Sammy Solis would surrender a pair of runs in the sixth inning, putting the Pirates back on top just after the Nationals had tied the game. Francisco Cerelli started the rally with a single to right, and scored on Brent Worel’s pinch-hit double. Gregory Polanco, fresh off a moon shot home run off Scherzer, singled up the middle to score Worel, and give the Pirates a 7-5 lead after six.

Scherzer’s night (5IP, 7H, 5ER, 8K, 1BB) was marred by three mammoth home runs by the Pirates. The first, by Pedro Alvarez, would come to rest in the river beyond right field. The second, a two-run blow by Gregory Polanco, would end in the last row off the right field leachers. The third, a solo shot by Neil Walker, landed on the berm past the center field wall. The Pirates had their A-game on Friday, hitting Scherzer’s secondary pitches, and reading his rhythm very well.

Aaron Barrett threw a scoreless seventh inning for the Nats bullpen, giving way for Casey Janssen to do the same in the eighth. Both are pitching like they know who’s going to get cut if there’s a trade for Aroldis Chapman.

The Pirates’ pen combined for three scoreless innings after Desmond’s solo shot, with Hughes, Watson and Melancon shutting down the Nationals without much effort. Robinson, a late scratch, would ground into an untimely double play in the ninth to shut down their only rally attempt in the late game.

The Mets dropped their game to the Dodgers on Friday night in New York, keeping the division lead to three games.

The Pirates and Nationals return to PNC Park on Saturday night, the Nationals facing a 0-2 deficit in the series.

HERO: No hero tonight. Honorable mention for Ian Desmond for his 101st home run.

GOAT: Games like this one are a team effort, no goat tonight.

NATS NOTES:

  • Clint Robinson was a late scratch today, moving Moore to 1B and putting den Dekker in the lineup.
  • The Pirates’ three home runs off Scherzer matches a season high.

NEXT UP: Rematch with the Pirates tomorrow, Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.93) vs A.J. Burnett (8-3, 2.44), 7:05pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for July 1

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs slugged their way to a series-clinching 10-1 victory over the Louisville Bats Wednesday night at Louisville Slugger Field. Kevin Keyes hit two home runs and drove in five runs and Trea Turner hit his first Triple-A home run in the victory.

Syracuse (28-52) got its first of three home runs in the second inning. Keyes hit a solo home run to lead off the inning to give Syracuse an early 1-0 lead. It was Keyes’ first Triple-A home run. An inning later, Turner picked up his first Triple-A home run, a two-run shot, to give the Chiefs a 3-0 advantage. It was also Turner’s first Triple-A hit in his fifth start.

Louisville (39-41) ended the streak of two shutouts to start the series in the fourth. Jermaine Curtis homered off Joe Ross to left field to cut the lead to 3-1. That would be the only run Ross allowed in five solid innings.

Keyes was not done, however. The Chiefs left fielder hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, to the back row of the seats beyond the left-field wall to extend the lead to 5-1.

Syracuse broke the game open in the eighth. Nick Christiani walked Scott McGregor and Darin Mastroianni to start the inning. After a force out and strikeout, the Chiefs had runners on first and second with two outs. Keyes then picked up his fourth RBI on a single up the middle scoring Mastroianni to give Syracuse a 6-1 lead. Christiani then walked Mario Lisson and Caleb Ramsey to force in a seventh Chiefs run. The Bats brought Joe Paterson on in relief of Christiani. Paterson surrendered a single to Ricky Hague to score an eighth run. Then with Steve Lerud batting, Patterson threw a wild pitch, scoring Lisson to extend the lead to 9-1.

Keyes finished off his stellar night in the ninth. A ninth-inning single scored Turner, who had reached on a force out, for Keyes’ fifth RBI and a 10-1 Chiefs lead.

Syracuse hits the road and opens a two-game series with the Buffalo Bisons Thursday night. Paolo Espino is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Jeff Francis for the Bisons. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Matt Skole’s walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the 13th inning sealed a 6-5 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels Wednesday at Metro Bank Park. The win extends Harrisburg’s (38-41) season-high winning streak to eight games.

Brian Goodwin doubled to lead off the 13th and Skole followed with a long fly ball that landed on the warning track in left-center field, allowing Goodwin to score and win the game. Skole also homered earlier in the game for Harrisburg’s first run in the fourth inning. Chris Bostick drove in a run with a bases loaded walk in the fifth inning, but Harrisburg trailed 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh. The Senators scored a run in the seventh on an RBI fielder’s choice by Wilmer Difo. In the eighth, Pedro Severino doubled in a run to cut the deficit to one and Shawn Pleffner beat out a potential double play to bring home the game-tying run. Severino, Goodwin and Derrick Robinson all had two hits while Skole finished 4-for-6 with the homer, the double and a pair of singles.

Dakota Bacus allowed five runs in 6.1 innings of work, and was mainly victimized by a pair of home runs. His fifth run allowed came across when Paul Demny surrendered a run-scoring double in the seventh inning. Demny, however, did not allow a run of his own in 1.2 innings. Bryan Harper and Abel De Los Santos followed with two scoreless innings each while Sam Runion received the win after pitching a scoreless 13th inning.

The Senators will try to extend their winning streak to nine and clinch a series win Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (37-39-Overall, 16-22-Road, 4-2-Second Half) was two outs away from history with RHP Aaron Barrett, RHP Lucas Giolito and RHP Manny Rodriguez having thrown a combined no hitter through 8.1 innings before it was broken up by a single in the ninth but they held on for the 4-0 win over Frederick (34-43-Overall, 20-19-Home, 2-5-Second Half) on Wednesday night at Nymeo Field.

RHP Manny Rodriguez entered in the ninth inning after Major Leaguer RHP Aaron Barrett, on a rehab assignment with Potomac, threw a hitless, scoreless first frame, allowing a walk and striking out two. RHP Lucas Giolito’s (3-4, 3.08) entered in the second inning and threw seven hitless, scoreless innings where he walked one, hit two batters and struck out seven to earn the win before giving way to Rodriguez in the ninth.

Rodriguez retired the first hitter in the ninth, CF Josh Hart on a fly ball to centerfield. 2B Jeff Kemp was the next hitter and he lined a hard single to left field that LF Alec Keller came rushing in on and at the last second decided not to dive and played it on a bounce, it went off his glove and Kemp moved to second base after breaking up the no hitter with a single and moved to second on an error charged to Keller. Rodriguez retired the next two hitters to complete the 4-0 shutout victory for Potomac, their fourth win in a row.

LHP Chris Lee (2-4, 4.58) made the start for Frederick, his second against Potomac in 2015.

The P-Nats broke the scoreless tie in the top of the second when Lee, with one out, issued back-to-back walks to DH Grant Debruin and RF Brandon Miller. 2B Adrian Sanchez, the reigning Carolina Player of the Week, lined an RBI double to give Potomac a 1-0 lead and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

That was the only blemish for Lee on the night as he hurled six innings allowing one run (earned) on two hits, he walked three and struck out six, logging a quality start despite taking the loss.

RHP Jimmy Yacabonis entered in the seventh and pitched a one, two, three seventh inning to keep it at a 1-0 lead for Potomac. The eighth inning wasn’t so kind to Yacabonis. Potomac scored three times when Keller reached on an infield single followed by a CF Narciso Mesa RBI double to make it 2-0. SS Stephen Perez, the hero from an evening ago, reached on an error charged to Kemp at second base to put runners on first and third. Two batters later C Spencer Kieboom lined a two-run double down the left field line to make it a 4-0 lead for the P-Nats, which was plenty for Giolito and company.

Yacabonis pitched two innings allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits, he didn’t issue a walk and struck out three.

RHP Donnie Hart pitched one inning, allowing two hits and no runs with a strikeout.

Potomac tied their season high winning streak with their fourth straight win after sweeping the Carolina Mudcats and look to win back-to-back series for the first time in 2015 tonight in Game Two against Frederick.

Potomac is now 8-4 in shutouts.

Potomac fell two outs short of throwing the franchise’s first no hitter since May 19th, 1995 when RHP Rich Pratt hurled a seven inning no hitter against Frederick in a 3-0 Cannons win. The last franchise combined no hitter was on April 8th, 1995, as a White Sox affiliate, when RHP Brian Woods and RHP Archie Vazquez combined for an 8-0 win over Salem in a nine hitter no-no.

Game Two tonight from Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium puts RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-4, 4.88) for Potomac against RHP David Hess (3-4, 5.43), the reigning Carolina League Pitcher of the Week, for Frederick.  First pitch in Game Two is set for 7:00 pm

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (3-4, 38-37) were in a scoreless duel with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (1-6, 30-46) on Wednesday night until the top of the ninth inning, when Greensboro plated three runs to come away with a 3-0 win. It was the seventh time this season the Suns have been shutout, and it was the first win this season for Greensboro in Hagerstown.

The ninth inning rally for Greensboro began with one out. Third baseman Brian Schales started it with a line drive single to left. Catcher Roy Morales followed with another single to left, and that was followed by LF Ryan Aper reaching on a fielder’s choice play at second in which the runner was safe, thereby loading the bases. That’s when CF Zach Sullivan came to the plate, and he delivered with a line drive single to right to knock home the first run of the game and break the scoreless tie. Then, two batters later, with the bases still loaded and two outs, RF John Norwood hit a fly ball single to right, driving in two more runs and setting the final score.

LHP R.C. Orlan (2-1) was responsible for letting up all three Greensboro runs and thus was tagged with his first loss of the season. The ninth inning was his only inning of work, and he wound up allowing four hits while striking out one. RHP Josh Hodges (3-2) earned the win for Greensboro. He threw three innings in relief, also giving up four hits while striking out one. LHP Michael Mader started for the Grasshoppers and threw six innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five. LHP Matt Purke and RHP Deion Williams combined to keep Greensboro off the board for the first eight innings, with Purke tossing five frames and giving up five hits and one walk while striking out two, and Williams surrendering two hits and two walks while striking out two over three frames.

In total the Grasshoppers outhit the Suns 11-8, and the teams combined to leave 17 men on base. These teams will continue their four-game series at Municipal Stadium with game three on Thursday July 2. The Suns will send LHP Connor Bach (1-1) to the mound for his ninth start and 15th appearance this season. He will square off against LHP Ben Holmes (2-4) for Greensboro. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.

 

Washington Nationals Game 60 Review: Washington Falls to Milwaukee After Late-Inning Throwing Error

The Washington Nationals fell 6-5 against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night after a throwing error by second baseman Anthony Rendon in the eighth inning allowing the eventual go-ahead run to move into scoring position in a tied game.

Starting pitcher Tanner Roark had a solid outing despite giving up nine hits. Roark gave up five runs, one of which was a solo homer to outfielder Gerardo Parra in the seventh inning, while walking one batter and striking out four. He threw 101 pitches and 67 strikes. [Read more…]

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 Game 40 Review: Zimmerman Hits His Tenth Career Walk-Off Home Run, Nats Beat Yankees in Extras

ZIMMERMAN JOINS IMMORTALS MUSIAL, PEREZ, SCHMIDT, PUJOLS AND BONDS WITH 10-PLUS WALK-OFFS

The Washington Nationals and New York Yankees held the same record of 22-17 going into Tuesday night’s game at Nationals Park.  But after ten innings of baseball played in the nation’s capital, the Nats emerged victorious beating the Yankees 8-6 thanks to a two-out, two-run walk-off home run hit by Mr. Walk-off himself — first baseman Ryan Zimmerman — against left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.

Offense is what kept the Nats in the game despite a shaky starting appearance made by left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez. The Nats got a jump start with home runs hit by shortstop Ian Desmond and outfielder Bryce Harper off right-handed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in the first inning making it a 2-0 game in favor of Washington. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 28 Review: Strasburg Struggles Due to Shoulder Issue, Marlins Take Advantage

A previous streak of success against the Miami Marlins didn’t provide much solace for Washington’s right-handed starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday night. The Nationals fell to the Marlins 2-1 while Strasburg made an early exit after three innings of work due to discomfort under his right shoulder blade.

Miami took advantage of the opportunity presented to them while Strasburg struggled to settle due to the shoulder irritation. Strasburg’s problems were apparent from the start. Outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna singled and walked with two out in the first inning. Strasburg got out of that situation unscathed but the Marlins found a way to get ahead of the Nats and score.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto led off the second inning with a triple hit past shortstop Ian Desmond, off of Strasburg, before scoring on a RBI-single hit by outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. A bunt attempt by Miami’s starting right-handed pitcher Mat Latos with nobody out and two men on base initiated an error made by Strasburg allowing Ichiro to score and giving the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

Washington answered back with a run in the bottom half of the second inning thanks to a  patient yet aggressive offensive appearance at the plate by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman led off the second inning  against Latos by drawing a walk in an eleven pitch at-bat. Catcher Wilson Ramos followed Zimmerman with a double off Latos moving Zimmerman to third. Second baseman Dan Uggla drove in the only run with a RBI-groundout sending Zimmerman home, allowing the Nats to score, but Miami’s starting pitching proved superior when compared to Strasburg’s short-lived appearance.

Strasburg’s three innings of work included four hits, two runs, two walks, two strikeouts, and one hit batter. He threw 64 pitches and 37 strikes before being replaced by recent call-up and left-handed reliever Sammy Solis in the fourth inning.

Solis made his second Major League appearance with three innings of work while giving up one hit and striking out two batters. Manager Matt Williams was impressed by the amount of strikes Solis has thrown in his pair of outings with Washington thus far. He has thrown five scoreless innings and retired nine of 10 batters faced, including seven straight.

Unfortunately, Washington’s offense tallied only three hits and left eight men on base while drawing six walks against Miami. The Nats’ bullpen posted six spotless innings of work thanks to right-handed relievers Blake Treinen and Aaron Barrett and left-handed reliever Matt Thornton — in addition to Solis, but the lack of offensive productivity left the Nats a run behind; Marlins 2, Nats 1.

HERO: The bullpen for preventing the Marlins from scoring any more runs from the fourth inning onward and Ryan Zimmerman for showing patience in his first at-bat of night, ultimately allowing the Nats to score their sole run.

GOAT: Stephen Strasburg. He’ll be getting his shoulder looked at on Thursday. The silver lining here is that there was mutual acknowledgement from Strasburg and the coaching staff indicating that the best choice for the starter’s health and the team as a whole was to remove him from the game shortly after identifying the issue. Washington made the right move taking him out in order to play it safe and not have him alter his mechanics.

NATS NOTES:

  • Nationals Manager Matt Williams said it seemed unlikely that Strasburg’s shoulder strain will warrant a trip to the disabled list but his condition will be reviewed on Wednesday.
  • Doug Fister had a solid pinch hit at-bat when he hit in Strasburg’s place during the third inning. He had a hard-hit single drop in the outfield but was called out due to a double play induced by outfielder Denard Span. Great piece of hitting though.

UP NEXT: RHP Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67) and the Miami Marlins face RHP Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26) and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday.

 

Washington Nationals Game 15 Review: Cardinals capitalize on Nationals mistakes, win 4-1

With the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals tied at a game apiece in the series, Thursday’s getaway day matchup was intense. Michael Wacha and Max Scherzer went toe-to-toe in a pitchers’ duel at Nationals Park. The cool weather didn’t deter the crowds, nor did the 7pm faceoff of the Capitals game. The cool heads, though, weren’t to be found. The Cardinals capitalized on the Nationals’ defensive miscues again, and won 4-1, despite an excellent start from Scherzer.

The Cardinals scored their first run early on a Matt Carpenter double, a Jason Heyward single, and a rare wild pitch from Scherzer, and that was all the offense the Cardinals assembled until the sixth inning. The Nationals responded in the fifth, getting a double off the bat of Danny Espinosa, who moved to third on an error by first baseman Matt Adams on a grounder off the bat of Scherzer. Denard Span drove in Espinosa — and Scherzer went from first to third! — on a single to the right field gap. [Read more…]

Statistically Speaking: Aaron Barrett’s Third Pitch

In a continuation of my personal infatuation with the members of the Washington Nationals bullpen, this week’s Statistically Speaking looks at the contributions and success of one of the non ‘Big Three’ relievers, rookie Aaron Barrett. A 2.79/2.52/3.09 ERA/FIP/xFIP pitching slash line to go along with a 0.6 fWAR has all been made possible for the righthander due to a solid fastball-slider combination, with the breaking pitch being particularly tough on hitters, as alluded to by Barrett’s 28.7% strikeout rate.

Not immune to many of the foils of a rookie season, Barrett’s 2014 has been bisected by a brief return to the minors—the entire month of August was spent at Class AAA Syracuse—which saw him work not only on a small mechanical hiccup, but also on a third pitch, a circle changeup.

[Read more…]

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