July 31, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 99 Review: Nats Squish Fish, Harper Homers Twice

HARPER HOMERS TWICE AS NATIONALS SURGE OVER MARLINS 7-2

Bryce Harper homered twice off Miami pitching, each time reaching the second deck at Marlins Park, as the Nationals experienced their first power surge in weeks. Michael A. Taylor added another long shot in the eighth. Doug Fister went six innings of sinker-ball excellence for the win, and Dylan Koehler was tagged for the loss. The Nationals will look for the series victory tomorrow with Max Scherzer on the mound.

The Marlins struck first on Wednesday night, a double off the bat of Ichiro Suzuki scoring Derek Dietrich, who was hit by a pitch. The Nationals responded in the top of the fourth with a Harper single, a Desmond triple, and a sacrifice fly from Michael A. Taylor. Taylor and Harper combined for six RBI on Wednesday night, going a collective 4-for-7 with three home runs.

Fister gave up a one-out single to Justin Bour ahead of an Ichiro Suzuki single up the middle. In trouble, Adeiny Hechavarria added to Fister’s woes with a single to left, scoring Bour. With a heads up play, Ian Desmond didn’t throw the cutoff home, but rather caught Ichiro in a rundown to end the inning.

With two outs in the fifth, the power explosion hit Miami. Singles from Yunel Escobar and Jayson Werth put Harper at the dish in a high leverage situation. He delivered. Harper hit a massive bomb to the second row of the upper deck in right field, easily a 450-foot shot.

Fister cruised through six innings, his sinker finally working. Fister got five ground ball outs on Wednesday, and four more strikouts, walking just one. Given his last starts where he struggled this was a substantial improvement.

The Nationals added a game to their lead in the NL East, as the Mets lost to the Padres.

HERO: Bryce Harper for his monster bombs at Marlins Park.

GOAT: No goats tonight! Here’s a cute ungulate.

NATS NOTES:

  • Every Nationals position player save Ryan Zimmerman had a hit tonight
  • The second of Harper’s home runs landed practically on the concourse in the upper deck.

NEXT UP: Rubber match is tomorrow, 12:10pm, Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.33) vs former National Dan Haren (7-6, 3.51)

Washington Nationals Game 97 Review: Pirates Top Nationals 3-1

GERRIT COLE QUIETS NATS OFFENSE, PIRATES GET TO ROSS

The Nationals hit the board first in the third inning, with Michael A. Taylor stroking a perfect pitch from Gerrit Cole. Taylor took a 1-0 fastball deep into the right field bleachers to continue his excellent road trip.

The Pirates would respond immediately, putting a single by Chris Stewart, a sacrifice by Gerrit Cole, and a Gregory Polanco RBI-single together for their first run. While Stewart is not the fleetest of feet, the throw from Taylor in center was a little off-line, not that it mattered much with Ramos unable to make a play on the ball.

Joe Ross hit Starling Marte to follow up the scoring play, resulting in a warning for the benches from home plate umpire Chris Conroy. Cole had drilled Yunel Escobar in the second inning as he worked the inside half of the plate. Andrew McCutchen followed that with a single up the middle, good enough to score Polanco from second, making a 2-1 lead for the Pirates.

Neil Walker added his second home run of the series in the fourth inning, taking a 2-0 sinker to deep center field and making it 3-0. Ross calmed down at that point, retiring the next nine hitters in order, his slider finally locating with devastating effect. Ross ended his day at 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 7 K, 1 BB. The rookie continues to put forth strong effort in spot start situations.

Gerrit Cole was nigh unstoppable for the Pirates on Sunday, holding the Nationals to their single run through 7.2 IP, throwing 103 pitches, and notching 8 Ks and surrendering just 6H. In the 8th, he was lifted after giving up singles to pinch-hitter Anthony Rendon and 2B Danny Espinosa, as Tony Watson was called in to face Bryce Harper in a very high leverage situation. Harper pulled the ball hard to the first base side, and defensive replacement Sean Rodriguez made a nice dive-and-pick to his right to retire the side with no damage done.

Casey Janssen threw a scoreless eighth for the Nationals, continuing his excelent performance of late. In the ninth, the Nationals sent Yunel Escobar, Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond to the dish to face Mark Melancon. Escobar popped out on the first pitch, Robinson struck out, and Desmond grounded out.

In 2 hours and 18 minutes, the Nationals dropped the series finale 3-1

HERO: Michael A. Taylor had the Nats’ only run, and had several stellar catches to bolster the defense.

GOAT: Wilson Ramos, for lackluster defense at the plate.

NATS NOTES:

  • The Nationals are off on Monday, resuming play in Miami Tuesday
  • In two innings, the Nats bullpen shut down the Pirates entirely.

NEXT UP: Jordan Zimmermann vs. Jose Fernandez, 7:10pm Tuesday July 28th in Miami

Washington Nationals Game 89 Review: Kershaw and the Dodgers Beat the Nats

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 41,426  as the result of a dominant performance by All-Star starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw struck out 14 batters — a season high for him and the most strike outs at Nats Park by an opposing team since 2005 — to give the Dodgers the win. He threw 101 pitches and 73 strikes in eight scoreless innings pitched and gave up three hits.

The pitching dominance exhibited by the Dodgers along with their productive offense left the Nats bats mostly dormant and Nats starting pitcher Doug Fister in a rough place.

Fister threw 91 pitches and 58 strikes in five innings of work. He gave up nine hits and four runs while striking out one, walking two (one intentionally), and hitting a batter.  [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 72 Review: Desmond’s Sacrifice Beats the Braves

A sacrifice fly hit to left field by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond off reliever David Ardsma in the eleventh inning with one out and the bases loaded led Washington to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in D.C. after a solid eight-inning performance from starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on Wednesday night. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 70 Review: Offensive Miracle in the First Allows Sweep

NATIONALS BAT AROUND IN FIRST, SCORE NINE IN SWEEP OF PITTSBURGH PIRATES

It didn’t take long for the Washington Nationals to build an insurmountable lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates, completing a three-game sweep, with a 9-2 victory. The Nationals sent 12 men to the plate in the first inning, scoring nine runs, and knocking out Charlie Morton before 2:15pm.

The first inning was a disaster for Pittsburgh, as the Nationals gathered 8 hits and a walk against Charlie Morton before he was finally relieved of his duties. Bryce Harper and Yunel Escobar each hit no-doubt home runs, and Clint Robinson and Gio Gonzalez added doubles. Before the end of the first, eight of the nine Nationals had reached safely. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 69 Review: NO-NO FOR SCHERZER

MAX SCHERZER STRIKES OUT 10, ONE STRIKE AWAY FROM PERFECTO

max chocolate

Max Scherzer and Dan Kolko covered in chocolate sauce. (Screengrab by @cnichols14/DistrictSportsPage)

Last time out, Max Scherzer came one broken-bat looper from tossing a no-hitter. As it was, the one-hit, one-walk complete game shutout was just the second complete game of his career, and his game score of 100 includes the performance on the list as one of the greatest pitching outings in Washington baseball history.

So what did he do for a follow-up?

How about a two-strike, two-out hit-by-pitch in the ninth inning being the only blemish on a no-hitter?.

In front of a capacity 41, 104 at Nats Park, Max Scherzer threw the second no-hitter in Washington Nationals history, striking out 10 in a performance as dominant as the one-hitter last Sunday. Though his game score was just a tick below his last outing, it was every bit as impressive. And he came one strike from throwing the 24th perfect game in baseball history. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 68 Review: Rookie Joe Ross Impresses in Win Over Pittsburgh

Rookie pitcher Joe Ross stepped up to help the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Friday night in front of a sold out crowd of 38,935 at Nationals Park while striking out eleven batters in his third Major League start. Ross was consistent through seven and one-third innings pitched. He threw 102 pitched and seventy three strikes while giving up one run on six hits, striking out eleven, and walking one batter. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 67 Review: Harper injured in loss to Rays

HARPER INJURED IN 5-3 LOSS TO TAMPA BAY RAYS

The Washington Nationals were washed away in a rain delay by the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night, giving up four runs after a short downpour delay, as manager Matt Williams left Doug Fister on the mound two or three batters too many. The Rays struck for four runs in the sixth, as Fister worked on fumes for ten pitches before Williams came out with the hook. Shortly before Fister’s departure, Bryce Harper came up lame on an errant throw in right field, clutching his left knee and hamstring. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 66 Review: Nats shutout 5-0 by Rays

NATS STRUGGLE AGAINST RAYS JUST A DAY AFTER 16-RUN OUTBURST, LOSE 5-0

The Washington Nationals were shutout 5-0 by the Tampa Bay Rays just a day after hanging 16 runs on the board. Stephen Souza Jr. and Curt Casali had home runs, and the Rays would score three additional runs after the Nationals defense fell apart in the rain.

When is a starter not a starter? When the Tampa Bay Rays come to a National League city. The Rays put Steve Geltz on the mound tonight in the first, knowing full well he wouldn’t pitch in the bottom of the third. Trying to combat an offensive deficit as an AL team playing in an NL city, the Rays pinch-hit for their “starter” Geltz in the top of third.

It didn’t work out quite like they planned. Pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer grounded into a double-play, ending a short-lived rally and leaving everyone scratching their heads just a bit. Matt Andriese took over for Geltz in the 3rd, after Geltz threw two perfect innings, and then departed in the seventh, scattering two hits and a walk through four. Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless seventh, and Ronald Belisario a scoreless eighth.

Former Stephen Souza Jr. brought his bat to face his former teammate on Wednesday. Famous for his no-hitter saving catch in the 9th inning of Zimmermann’s no-hitter in late September 2014, Souza was 3-for-4 on the night, complete with a solo home run in the fifth inning. Curt Casali followed Souza’s knock with one of his own on a pitch that got away from Zimmermann, making it 2-0.

Ian Desmond struggled with some defensive issues in the sixth, missing a grounder up the middle for what was arguably an unplayable ball, and then compounded the situation, bobbling what should have been an easy double play. The Nats would escape from the situation, giving up only one run, but the damage was done.

And then the rain came.

As the eighth inning began, a hard rain fell on Nationals Park, causing many to wonder if the game might be paused or even called as the storm cell arrived. With a runner aboard, and two men down, the umpires seemed not to want to suspend the game mid-inning, and despite a healthy downpour, let Blake Treinen pitch to Stephen Souza Jr.

Souza, looking to bunt his way aboard, put a squib down the third base line. Treinen would lunge for the ball with his bare hand, and threw the wet ball down the first base line over the head of Danny Espinosa, advancing both of the runners. Bryce Harper charged in on the errant throw, and attempted to fire a strike to Yunel Escobar at third. Only, the ball was still quite wet, and left his hand a little wild. The ball ended up in the Rays dugout, and Souza claimed his little league home run, making it 5-0.

The Nationals had two hits on the night, and no matter how good your starting pitching is (and Zimmermann went 7IP, 3ER, 8K, BB, a strong evening), if you can’t put runners aboard, you’re going to fall short. A night after they put 16 runs and 23 hits on the board, they made three fielding errors, got just two hits, and scored nary a thing.

Baseball.

HERO: No hero tonight, my friends. Well, maybe Stephen Souza Jr. But they traded him this off-season. So. There’s that.

GOAT: Ian Desmond, Blake Treinen and Bryce Harper for their error-laden performance.

NATS NOTES:

  • The 27-minute rain delay in the 8th was the shortest delay of the season so far for the Nationals
  • Former National Stephen Souza Jr leads all rookies in home runs with 13.

NEXT UP: Rubber match with the Rays tomorrow night, 7:05pm, Chris Archer (7-4, 2.00) vs. Doug Fister (2-2, 4.31)

Washington Nationals Game 65 Review: Bats explode in 16-4 win over Tampa Bay

After a 6-1 loss on Monday, the Washington Nationals rebounded for a borderline absurd 16-4 shellacking of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday behind five hits from Danny Espinosa and home runs from Bryce Harper, Clint Robinson and Wilson Ramos, who hit two off of two different position players.

[Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: