Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of SBNation’s Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins to win their seventh in their last eight games.
STAMMEN’S THREE STRONG INNINGS IN RELIEF OF STRASBURG KEY
What started out as a matchup of Stephen Strasburg against Henderson Alvarez turned into a battle of attrition in the bullpens thanks to a hour-plus rain delay in the bottom of the second inning. But the Washington Nationals were able to overtake the Miami Marlins, then hang on to squish the Fish 4-3, before 24,394 at a soggy Nationals Park.
The Nats rode effective pitching by Craig Stammen, a homer by Jayson Werth and a clutch hit by Ian Desmond to beat the Marlins for the second night in a row and secure their seventh win in eight games and eighth out of their last 11 to up their record to 67-65. Unfortunately, due to Cincinnati’s 10-0 beat-down of Adam Wainright and the Cardinals, the Nats didn’t make up any ground on the last Wild Card spot.
Stammen didn’t figure in the decision, but he did pitch three mostly terrific innings of work in relief of Strasburg (2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K), who did not return after the rain delay. Stammen allowed one run — a solo home run — and five hits, striking out three without walking a batter.
The Nats jumped out on top in the second inning before the rains came. Desmond led off with a single off Alvarez’ leg and after two strikeouts came around to score on Steve Lombardozzi’s big two-out double.
When play resumed, the Nats doubled their lead in the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman’s one-out single preceded Bryce Harper’s double to left on a 3-0 count that brought Zimmerman all the way around to score. Harper showed good judgment to hit the pitch where it was and drove the ball the opposite way to drive in the Nats’ second run.
Marlins’ catcher Jeff Mathis led off the fifth against Stammen with a solo hot, his fourth of the year, but Stammen escaped the frame without further damage, despite giving up a double with one out.
Ryan Mattheus replaced Stammen as the bridge to the back of the bullpen, but unfortunately for the young reliever, he just set that bridge ablaze. The first batter he faced, notorious Nats-killer Giancarlo Stanton, crushed a 3-2 slider that hung in the zone for a massive homer to straight-away center field to tie the game at two. Mattheus then allowed consecutive singles to Logan Morrison and Donovan Solano to put runners at the corners.
The Marlins helped out a little bit on the next play. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded to third, and Zimmerman went home after Morrison foolishly broke for the plate. The ensuing rundown ended with Morrison out at third, but still with runners on the corners for Miami. Unfortunately, Mattheus couldn’t benefit from the break and allowed a single to Mathis that scored Solano to make it 3-2.
But the Nats tied it right back up in the bottom of the sixth, as Jayson Werth slammed an 0-1 fastball from Arquemedes Caminero to center for his 20th home run of the season to knot things at three apiece.
Washington took the lead for good in the seventh. Denard Span led off with a walk from lefty Mike Dunn (L, 3-4). Then Dunn tried to pick off Span at first and threw one away, allowing the Nats center fielder to move up a base. After striking out Harper, Dunn then intentionally walked Werth to face Desmond. Big mistake.
Desmond went up looking for something to work with on the first pitch, and handled Dunn’s 85-MPH slider for a line drive to left field that plated Span easily to make the score 4-3.
All that was left was for Tyler Clippard to pitch a perfect eighth inning, and Rafael Soriano to do the same in the ninth, to earn his 35th save and secure the victory for reliever Drew Storen (W, 4-2, 5.47), who worked around a hit and a walk in the seventh to get the win.
THE GOOD: Desmond. 3-for-4, run and RBI. Stud.
THE BAD: Adam LaRoche. 0-for-4, 2 Ks.
THE UGLY: Mattheus. He just hasn’t been the same pitcher since returning from the D.L. after breaking his hand punching his locker back in May. He’s a big part of this bullpen though so the Nats hope he can figure out why he’s been so ineffective, because apparently the short stint in Syracuse didn’t help any.
THE STATS: 10 hits, 5 BBs, 9 Ks. 1-for-12 with RISP, 10 LOB. E: Harper (5, fielding).
NEXT GAME: Thursday against the Marlins at 7:05 pm. Gio Gonzalez (7-6, 3.72) hosts Tom Kohler (3-8, 4.45)
Washington Nationals Game 130 Review: Nats’ seventh-inning comeback falls short in finale vs. Royals
Dan Haren recovered from a disastrous first inning, but the Washington Nationals’ seventh-inning comeback proved too little against the Kansas City Royals in what amounted to a 6-4 loss Sunday afternoon.
Just three pitches into Haren’s outing, Alex Gordon homered to right center to put the Royals up 1-0. From there, Emilio Bonifacio walked and came home on a single by Eric Hosmer. With Billy Butler batting, however, Nats catcher Wilson Ramos caught Hosmer in his attempt to steal second.
Butler went on to strike out looking at a 90 MPH fastball, but Haren was not yet ready to record a third out.
Instead, Mike Moustakas singled and Salvador Perez homered to left to give Kansas City a four-run lead into the second.
Through three innings, the Nats failed to come up with any answers against Royals’ righthander Ervin Santana. In the second, Adam LaRoche singled and, in the third, Anthony Rendon doubled before Denard Span singled, but all three innings resulted in nothing but zeroes for the visiting team looking to sweep. [Read more...]
The Washington Nationals, in dire need of a winning streak to spark any chance at catching Cincinnati for a wild card playoff spot, instead traded wins with the Atlanta Braves over the weekend to drop the series to the division front-runners. The Nats fell to 60-63 overall and 4-12 to the Braves this season. After play on Sunday, the Nationals trailed the Reds by 9 1/2 games for the final playoff spot with just 39 games to play.
SATURDAY: In a marathon, 15-inning affair, the Nats dropped the Braves 8-7, courtesy of Adam LaRoche’s 18th home run of the season leading off the 15th inning against the Braves’ Kris Medlin. Medlin (L, 10-11), who was slated to start Tuesday’s gave for Atlanta, was in his third inning of relief.
Both teams used nine pitchers and had to use a starter to pitch their final innings. For the Nats, Dan Haren came in to the bottom of the 15th and recorded the first save of his career, retiring the Braves allowing just one hit and striking out two.
The drama of extra innings would not have necessary were it not for the efforts of Rafael Soriano, who allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth, letting the Braves tie it up to force extra time.
The game had a strange feel to it all night, as neither starter made it two innings. Braves starter Mike Minor was done after 1 2/3 after he allowed four earned runs on four hits and four walks to put the Braves in a hole early.
On the other side, Nats starter Stephen Strasburg was tossed two batter into the second inning, after throwing three wild pitches — the last two behind batter Andrelton Simmons. Were it any other game, Strasburg would have been allowed to work out whatever problems he was having with his control. But Strasburg plunked Braves outfielder Justin Upton on the behind with his first pitch after allowing a homer to Jason Heyward in the first inning and both benches were warned.
After the two pitches behind Simmons, home plate umpire Marvin Hudson took matters into his own hands and ejected Strasburg and manager Davey Johnson, as per the rule after benches have been warned. Both Strasburg and Johnson face fines and suspensions as well.
The Nats built a 6-2 lead in through the sixth inning and entered the bottom of the eighth with a 7-4 lead. But Freddie Freeman homered of Tyler Clippard in the eighth, and Heyward hit his second of the night, a two-run shot, off Soriano in the bottom of the ninth to tie things up.
There were heroes abound for the Nats bullpen though, as Tanner Roark, Drew Storen, Ian Krol, Craig Stammen and Haren combined to throw 11 scoreless innings of relief. Stammen, who earned the win (6-5), struck out five in three hitless extra innings.
SUNDAY: The Nats went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 runners total, in a 2-1 loss to the Braves in the series finale. Despite putting two runners on with less than two outs in each of the first three innings, the Nats were never able to dent Julio Teheran’s ERA.
The offensive woes made a loser of Gio Gonzalez, who allowed two first inning runs before shutting the Braves down for the rest of his seven innings pitched. Gonzalez (L, 7-6), struck out nine in seven frames. He had his share of issues all day long, allowing five hits and four walks, but after Saturday’s marathon, the bullpen was fried and Gio was able to gut through 120 pitches, giving the Nats a chance to stay in the game.
Unfortunately, the hitters weren’t up to the task. The Nats got good days from Denard Span (3-for-5) Bryce Harper (2-for-4) and surprise starter Chad Tracy (2-for-4, subbing for Ryan Zimmerman who took a hard foul of fhis lower leg in the Saturday marathon). But they weren’t able to sustain an attack, as only one other hitter in the lineup was able to hit safely.
That one other hit belonged to Jayson Werth (19-for-39 in his last 10 games, .334/.407/.531 for the season), who drove in the Nats only run with a single in the seventh off reliever Scott Downs, which plated Anthony Rendon, who walked earlier in the inning.
Drew Storen pitched a perfect eighth inning, needing just five pitches to retire the side. Since returning from the minor leagues, Storen has pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out five.
Washington Nationals Game 55 Review: Strasburg leaves after two innings; Stammen leads Nats to win over Braves
The Washington Nationals entered play Friday 5 1/2 games behind their hosts, the Atlanta Braves, for first place in the N.L. East. The Nats trimmed that total by one, defeating the Braves 3-2. But the topic foremost in everyone’s minds was the status of starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who left the game after the second inning, reportedly suffering from discomfort in his lower back, first experienced during warm-ups for the game.
After the game, Davey Johnson said Strasburg suffered a strained oblique muscle in his lower back and would head back to D.C. to be examined by team doctors.
Strasburg looked to continue his recent run of dominance and cruised through the first inning without incident. In the second inning, Strasburg gave up a long home run to Braves 1B Freddie Freeman to lead off the inning. Strasburg got Evan Gattis swinging on a changeup, but appeared to wince and experience discomfort on the mound. His velocity noticeably dropped to Brian McCann and Dan Uggla, but Strasburg was able to retire both of them.
Strasburg trudged to the dugout, where he conferenced with pitching coach Steve McCatty and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. At that point, Strasburg was lifted from the game after 37 pitches, 23 for strikes.
Craig Stammen entered for the third innings and was simply dominant. The right-handed long-man pitched four perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts.
The Nats got on the board quickly against Braves starter Julio Teheran. Denard Span laced the second pitch of the game into right field for his fourth triple of the season. Steve Lombardozzi followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Span and give the Nats a 1-0 lead. They got back to it in the second. Roger Bernadina hit a one-out single to right, took third on Danny Espinosa’s single, and scored on a fielder’s choice of the bat of Kurt Suzuki.
Washington added their third run in the sixth inning in the same manner as in the first. Span led off the inning with another triple to right field, and Lombardozzi lofted a fly ball deep enough to score Span from third.
Atlanta cut the lead to one in the seventh inning off Tyler Clippard. Ramiro Pena led off with a smash to first. Adam LaRoche knocked it down, but his feed to Clippard covering was high and Pena reached on what was scored as an infield single — but should have been an out. Clippard struck out Justin Upton with a high fastball for the first out, but on the ninth pitch of the at bat to Freeman, including a wild pitch that allowed Pena to move up 90 feet, the first baseman singled to right field to bring in Pena to make it 3-2.
Clippard then hit Gattis and McCann to load the bases with one out, but rebounded to strike out Dan Uggla and Chris Johnson to leave them stranded.
Drew Storen pitched a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano tossed a perfect ninth to earn his __ save of the season.
THE GOOD: Craig Stammen. He was sublime, recording 12 straight out against the Braves. If the Nats need a fill-in starter anytime soon, Stammen firmly threw his hat into the ring.
THE BAD: The Nats scored all three of their runs as the result of someone making an out.
THE UGLY: Strasburg. Here’s hoping it’s just a little muscle tightness and the big guy will be ready to take his start in five days.
THE STATS: 9 hits, 1 BB, 10 Ks. 0-for-5 with RISP, 5 LOB. No errors, 1 DP.
NEXT GAME: Saturday against the Braves at 7:15 pm. Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.90) faces Tim Hudson (4-4, 5.37).
The Washington Nationals are struggling offensively. They rank statistically near the bottom of the pack in the National League in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and runs scored. It doesn’t matter how well they pitch right now, you still have to score to win the game. The San Francisco Giants seemed to be the perfect panacea to the Nats hitting woes, having given up 52 runs in their last six games.
Unfortunately, it was the Giants that got well, shutting the Nats (23-22) out 8-0, punishing each and every reliever the Nats threw out there last night, as the long-men in the bullpen were tasked with pitching in Ross Detwiler’s normal rotation spot.
The Giants started the scoring in the second inning off Zach Duke (0-1, 8.84). Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt hit back-to-back one-out singles. Andres Torres lashed a double to left and Pence scampered home from second base. Brandon Crawford grounded to second for the second out of the game, but Belt came in to score to make it 2-0.
In the fourth, the Giants added to their lead. Belt led off with a single and went to second on Torres’ single. Crawford hit a comebacker that deflected off Duke’s wrist. Duke was able to corral it and get the middle runner, Torres, at second. Craig Stammen relieved, and Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong executed a safety squeeze, with Belt scoring from third. Angel Pagan followed with a double to right field, bringing home Crawford. Marco Scutaro delivered a single to center and Pagan scored, increasing the Giants lead to 5-0.
Belt got his third hit of the night in the fifth inning, a solo home run off Stammen, his sixth of the season. Later in the inning, though, Vogelsong swung through a pitch for a strike that actually hit him on the right hand, forcing him from the game. Later, the Giants announced Vogelsong suffered a fractured hand and would have surgery and miss extensive time.
The Giants (25-20) went back to work in the seventh inning against Henry Rodriguez. Hot Rod walked Hunter Pence on four pitches to start the inning. Belt singled; Pence moved to third. Torres grounded to first and Adam LaRoche was able to throw home and eventually got Pence. No matter. Rodriguez walked Crawford to load the bases. After Gregor Blanco popped up, the Giants got their clutch hit, with Pagan singling to center, which scored Belt and Torres for the final 8-0 margin.
THE GOOD: Nothing. There was no good to come of this. No hitter had more than one hit. All three pitchers gave up two or more runs. Just lousy baseball all around.
THE BAD: 17 hits allowed with 3 BBs (all courtesy of Hot Rod). Every Giants starter had a hit and six had multi-hit games, including Brandon Belt’s 4-for-5 game.
THE UGLY: The Giants had surrendered 52 runs in their last six games. The Nats mustered all of three singles and two walks.
THE STATS: 3 hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. 0-for-2 with RISP, 4 LOB. No errors, 1 DP.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday at 10:15 pm ET against the Giants. Stephen Strasburg 92-5, 2.83) faces Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43).
NATS NOTES: After the game, the Nats revealed Ryan Mattheus broke his hand in Sunday’s game and would head to the DL. The team planned to recall RHP Yunesky Maya and LHP Fernando Abad from AAA Syracuse. OF Eury Perez will be sent down to make room on the roster.
The Washington Nationals have not hit a ton of home runs yet this spring. That’s not really a source of concern, as pitchers are usually ahead of the hitters for the first couple of weeks at Spring Training. Saturday, however, the Nats broke out their big sticks, hitting three homers in an 8-7 win over the Miami Marlins at Space Coast Stadium in Viera.
Bryce Harper (2) and Ryan Zimmerman (1) went back-to-back in the fifth inning, while SS Zach Walters added his second of the spring in the eighth. Harper finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs and Zimmerman went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. The Nats pounded out 12 hits total against four Miami pitchers.
Steve Lombardozzi added a two-run single and Danny Espinosa had a run scoring single as well.
It was a tough day for pitchers overall, as some may be entering their “dead arm” period as they try to strengthen their bodies to be ready for opening day. Free agent signee Chris Young started for the Nats with Ross Detwiler away for the World Baseball Classic. Young went three innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits and three walks, striking out two.
Craig Stammen followed and was punished — allowing three earned runs on four hits and a walk, all in just two-thirds of an inning.
The Nats received credible relief after that, as Erik Davis provided 1 1/3 scoreless innings (1 hit, 1 K), and Ryan Perry had another good outing, throwing two scoreless frames and allowing just one hit. Fernando Abad was credited with the victory for his scoreless inning of work, and though he gave up a run on three hits, Jeremy Accardo “earned” his second spring save.
The Nats travel to Lakeland Sunday for a 1:05 tilt against the Detroit Tigers.
Those who made the trek to the Washington Nationals’ Space Coast Stadium to witness powerhouse hitting were undoubtedly disappointed as the Nats fell 5-1 to the Miami Marlins.
That said, this is Grapefruit League ball, and both teams’ rosters were comprised of a motley crew of players by midway through the game.
Dan Haren tossed 24 of 35 pitches for strikes over two innings. He allowed one earned run, but struck out three of the last four hitters he faced in his spring debut with the Nats.
Christian Yelich led off with a triple against Haren and Donovan Solano flied to Bryce Harper in left, allowing Yelich to score. During the next at-bat, Joe Mahoney reached first base on Haren’s fielding error, but the newbie to the Nationals’ rotation settled in from there to get Alfredo Silverio and Chris Coghlan.
The Nats struggled to connect against the Marlins’ pitching staff, however imaginative the day’s roster may have been. Miami right-hander Nathan Eovaldi earned the win by pitching two scoreless innings in which he allowed no hits, one walk and struck out three. [Read more...]
Thanks to DistrictSportsPage.com fan contributor Wendy McDowell, here are some photos from Sunday’s chilly workout from Viera, FL. Most of the day players were bundled up underneath hooded sweatshirts, but most of the pitchers threw in the bullpen and there were some recognizable faces (and facial hair) floating about as well.
If you (or someone you know) is attending Nats spring training and would like to be a fan contributor for us this spring, please reach out to us at email@example.com. [Read more...]