October 20, 2019

Washington Nationals trade for Asdrubal Cabrera, per source

The Washington Nationals have traded for middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, late of the Cleveland Indians, per the Indians MLB.com beat writer. According to a further report, the Nats will send SS Zach Walters to Cleveland.

Cabrera will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Washington Nationals Game 68 Review: Indians shut out Nats in rubber game

In perhaps the Washington Nationals’ (34-34) most frustrating display of offensive insufficiency this season, the Cleveland Indians (34-34) took the interleague series rubber game 2-0 at Progressive Field Sunday afternoon.

Bypassing any minor league rehab assignments, Stephen Strasburg (L, 3-6) allowed just one run on one hit in his first appearance off the disabled list, showing no evidence of lingering back pain.

Strasburg’s sole run allowed came in the bottom of the fourth after Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk and stole second, only to advance to third on a throwing error by Jhonatan Solano. In the next at-bat, Carlos Santana singled Kipnis home to position Strasburg for the not-so-deserved loss. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 67 Review: Tracy ties, Rendon wins game with solo homers

If someone told you the Washington Nationals had a five-run lead with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound, you would assume –correctly, in this case — the Nats would win the game. It didn’t work out the easy way, though, as Zimmermann was roughed up by the Cleveland Indians and left the game trailing after five innings. But Chad Tracy tied the game in the top of the eighth with a two-out solo home run, then rookie Anthony Rendon won it with his first career homer, a solo shot with two down in the ninth inning.

The 7-6 win allows the Nats to remain 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the N.L. East, moving their record over .500 again to 34-33.

The Nats jumped on Indians starter Scott Kazmir right off the bat in the first inning. With two outs, Ryan Zimmerman launched his eighth home run of the season to right center, a blast over 400 feet. Jayson Werth (2-for-3, BB) followed Zim’s lead, blasting one in the same direction for his sixth of the year, giving the Nats a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

Ian Desmond led off the second inning against Kazmir with a home run of his own, a laser to the left field corner that hit off the rail above the yellow home run line on the top of the tall fence in Progressive Field’s left field corner.

The Nats had a chance to really bust this one wide open in the third, loading the bases with no outs on a lead-off double by Anthony Rendon (3-for-5, two runs, RBI) and back-to-back walks by Zimmerman and Werth. Adam LaRoche smoked a grounder to second baseman Jason Kipnis, who started a 4-6-3 double play. Rendon scored on the play, but Zimmerman got a late break as he had to make sure Kipnis didn’t catch the low liner, and he was almost picked off on the relay from first baseman Nick Swisher over to third base — a potential triple play.

Zimmerman later scored on a wild pitch by Kazmir on what turned out to be ball four to Desmond, to make it 5-0. Desmond was Kazmir’s last batter.

The Indians got on the board in the bottom of the third. Mike Aviles doubled with one out, and Kipnis brought him home one out later with a single through the hole on the left side to make it 5-1. Cleveland cut the score to two in the fourth inning, as back-to-back homers by Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds made the score 5-3 after four innings.

 Zimmermann had more trouble in the fifth. Mike Aviles reached on a one-out single, then Michael Bourn flied out for the second out and it looked like Zimmermann would breeze. But then, Kipnis singled, moving Aviles up a base. Nick Swisher followed with another single and Aviles scored to make it 5-4. The big blow came when Michael Brantley smashed a double to center, scoring both Kipnis and Swisher.

The Indians had come all the way back from five runs down to take the lead against one of the National League’s best starting pitchers.

The Nats were confused against several Indians relievers after Kazmir (2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) was lifted. Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen combined for 4 1/3 shut out innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four. But in the eighth, Chad Tracy pinch-hit for Chris Marrero against righty Joe Smith with two outs, and got a high fastball he could handle, driving it to center field for his second home run of the season, tying the game at six.

That set the stage for the ninth inning. Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano got Lombardozzi and Denard Span without incident, which brought Anthony Rendon to the plate. On an 0-1 count, Rendon popped up to foul territory done the right field line. But even though RF Michael Brantley or 2B Jason Kipnis could have made the catch, it inexplicably fell between them for a foul ball. On the next pitch, Rendon drove one down the right field line that just cleared the fence for his first home run of his MLB career — and a 7-6 Nats lead.

Rafael Soriano gave up a two-out double in the ninth, but LaRoche snared a live drive off the bat of Bourn for the last out. Soriano earned his 18th save of the season.

THE GOOD: Chad Tracy. The much maligned pinch-hitter had not reached base in his last 21 plate appearances and was hitting .131/.172/.180 entering play. But he came through big-time when the Nats needed it Saturday night.

Also, Rendon. Kid looks like he belongs, eh?

THE BAD: In the top of the sixth, with two down and a runner at third, Steve Lombardozzi pinch-hit for Jeff Kobernus. Lombo hit a soft, spinning line drive off the end of his bat toward short. Off the bat, it looked like there was no way Mike Aviles would be able to make a play. But Aviles bare-handed the spinner and got the generous call at first. Lombo’s supposed to have decent speed and he was thrown out on a play he should have beaten.

THE UGLY: With the season he’s having, it’s tough to call Zimmermann’s outing ugly, especially since he had a two-run lead with two outs and a man on in the fifth. But three straight hits gave the Indians the lead and ended his night. Overall, six earned runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings — on a night he had a 5-0 lead — was indeed ugly.

THE STATS: 8 hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. 0-for-5 with RISP, 5 LOB. No errors, one DP.

NEXT GAME: Sunday at 1:05 pm against the Indians. Stephen Strasburg (3-5, 2.54) returns from the D.L. to face Corey Kluber (4-4, 4.08).

Washington Nationals Game 66 Review: Indians Top Nats in 9th on Questionable Baserunning Call

The Washington Nationals (33-33) managed just two hits in their series-opening 2-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians (33-33) at Progressive Field Friday night, thanks in part to what could have been deemed interference by Jason Kipnis in the ninth.

Gio Gonzalez (ND, 3-3) allowed just three hits and one home run over seven innings pitched. He walked four batters and struck out eight, throwing 73 of 127 pitches for strikes. Entering Friday’s matchup, Gonzalez boasted a 5-0 career record against Cleveland with an 0.72 ERA.

But, as has so often been the case, the Nats’ bats remained quiet. Their first – and only – run off right-hander Justin Masterson (W, 8-5) came in the third inning via two walks, a single and a wild pitch that brought home Kurt Suzuki. [Read more…]

FORMER NATS: Nick Johnson Retires

Former Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson filed his MLB retirement papers today at only age 34 according to several sources.

Nick Johnson was drafted by the New York Yankees in the third round of the 1996 amateur draft and made his major league debut on August 21, 2001 at only age 22. Johnson was traded by the Yankees to Montreal Expos with Randy Choate and Juan Rivera for Javier Vazquez.

Johnson joined the Nationals when the Expos moved to Washington in 2005 and #24 quickly became a fan favorite. In fact, there were still several Johnson jerseys worn at Nationals Park in 2012. Johnson was traded by the Nats to the then Florida Marlins after the all-star break in 2009 for Aaron Thompson.

Unfortunately, after the terrible collision in right field with outfielder Austin Kearns at Shea Stadium on Sept. 26, 2006 that left Johnson with a broken femur, Johnson could never quite get healthy again. After a half season with Marlins, Johnson bounced around from the Yankees to Indians and played last year with the Baltimore Orioles.

He only played 233 games in the big leagues after the 2006 injury, however, the guy could get on base. Since 2001, Nick Johnson has 10th best OBP (.399) among players with 3,000 plate appearances.

Some of the media poked fun of Johnson’s injury history and Sabremetricians hero.

 

 

Thanks for the memories, Nick Johnson.
We wish you all the best.

Former National 1B Nick Johnson at Nats Park, 5/4/2008 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson at Nats Park, 5/4/2008 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson at Nats Park, 6/4/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson at Nats Park, 6/4/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson at Nats Park, 5/21/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson at Nats Park, 5/21/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson sliding back for first base, 4/17/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson sliding back for first base, 4/17/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson sporting a beard, 4/17/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former National 1B Nick Johnson sporting a beard, 4/17/2009 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

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