August 31, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 128 Review: Zimmermann, Zimmerman lead Nats over Marlins

THREE HOMERS POWER NATS, EAST LEAD AT 5 1/2

Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven solid innings, Ryan Zimmerman homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 5-1 at Nats Park.

Coupled with the New York Mets 3-1 loss to Boston, the Nats cut their deficit in the N.L. East to 5 1/2 games. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 123 Review: Nats take 2 of 3 from Brewers

SUNDAY: Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon homered, Danny Espinosa drove in three with a double and the Washington Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-5 to take two of three in the weekend series.

The Nats (62-61) remain five games behind the New York Mets, 5-1 winners over Colorado.

Jordan Zimmerman got the win, improving to 10-8, but he wasn’t particularly sharp. The veteran righty allowed four earned runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out seven. Drew Storen allowed a solo home run to Kris Davis leading off the eighth inning, but struck out the next three batters, and Jonathan Papelbon made a rare appearance in a 1-2-3 ninth to lock down the win.

Bryce Harper doubled twice in five trips and Rendon drove in three.

SATURDAY: Rookie Joe Ross was sublime, giving up just one run on six hits and no walks, striking out four, to lead the Nats over the Brewers 6-1.

Blake Treinen and Matt Thornton both pitched a scoreless frame in relief.

Michael Taylor extended a recent power surge, homering for the 13th time this season, and Anthony Rendon finally hit his second of the year, going 2 for 2 with two walks. Wilson Ramos and Taylor had two hits apiece as well.

FRIDAY: The Brewers rocked Gio Gonzalez and knocked him out of the game after just five innings as the Nats dropped the series opener 10-3.

Gonzalez had one of his worst starts of the season, allowing four earned runs (five total) on eight hits and two walks, striking out five. His defense let him down with a pair of errors and several other miscues.

Doug Fister took over and was no better, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk in just 1 1/3 innings. Tanner Roark gave up a run on two hits in an inning and two-thirds.

Bryce Harper hit his 31st homer in the sixth inning off Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson (W, 10-9, 3.60) and Michael Taylor connected for his 12th of the year in the seventh off Kyle Lohse.

Washington Nationals Game 118 Review: Offense Awakes, Rockies Stunned, Nats Win 15-6

NATS SLIDE STOPS AT SIX, OFFENSE EXPLODES FOR 15 RUNS, 10 WALKS

With the season on the line, and a new batting order in place, the first ten minutes of Tuesday night’s game held a lot of hope for the Nationals. Bryce Harper drew a walk in the three slot, and Yunel Escobar crushed a homer to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.

And then the Rockies came to the plate.

The Rockies scored three in the first, and added another in the seconds, on a pair of home runs off Jordan Zimmermann, and some horrific defensive miscues by Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond.

Carlos Gonzalez was the first to strike for Colorado, sending a 1-1 fastball high in the air over the fence in right field. Jose Reyes came in ahead of Gonzalez after a smooth single. The Rockies would add one more on some ham-handed defense by Ian Desmond. With Nolan Arenado at third, Nick Hundley hit a routine grounder right to Desmond, who couldn’t pick it cleanly, nor hold on to the ball

The Nationals fought back in the third, getting a Danny Espinosa double, and a Bryce Harper walk to put the tying run at first base with one out. Escobar singled up the middle, scoring the fleet-footed Espinosa, and Harper gunned it for third on the play. Ian Desmond followed with the world’s luckiest bunt single, badly misread by David Hale. Hale came charging in, but didn’t complete the charge to cover home as Nick Hundley fielded the ball. Harper spotted the miscue and snuck right down the third base line to score the tying run, knotting the score at 3.

In the fifth, newly-minted leadoff hitter Jayson Werth racked out a single on the sweet spot with two outs, and Espinosa knocked him right in on a double to the right field corner to take the lead. Next frame, the Nationals would strike on another gutsy baserunning play, this time by Ian Desmond. With Wilson Ramos batting, and Desmond at third, Hale threw a wild pitch that just got away from Hundley at the plate. Desmond broke as soon as the pitch looked wild and charged the plate well ahead of the relay back from Hundley, making it 6-4.

The Rockies tied it in the sixth on a monster shot from Jose Reyes, leading many to question why perhaps Zimmermann was still in the game. Clearly struggling after five innings, he had given up five runs, but there he was, batting for himself in the top of the sixth.

With the game tied, the Nationals had to make a push. The Mets had finished their victory over the Baltimore Orioles, and moved to a five-game lead over the NL East. And push they did. The Nats put up nine runs from the seventh onward, including four in the eighth and ninth. Bryce Harper drew his fourth walk of the night, Danny Espinosa drew up a 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, Jayson Werth went 2-for-5 in the leadoff slot, and Yunel Escobar racked up 4 RBI in a 3-for-4 with two walks.

The bullpen did a remarkable job of shutting down the Rockies, with Drew Storen throwing a scoreless eighth and Tanner Roark doing the same in the ninth to shut the Rockies down for good. Jordan Zimmermann did surrender six runs, including a pair of unearned runs thanks to bad defense, but the young pitcher looked gassed after five full, and why he was left in despite that remains a mystery. Thankfully for the Nationals, the Rockies had their own troubles Tuesday night.

HERO: Let’s give this one to Matt Williams, who shuffled the lineup to some actual success. Whether it was the movement, or some other psychosomatic change, let’s give this guy one. After all, if they lose the next two he might still be in the BLS report next month.

GOAT: Wilson Ramos puts up an 0-for-5 on the day and looked atrocious at the plate.

NATS NOTES:

  • Harper’s four walks are a career high
  • Escobar’s four RBI match a season high
  • The Nats’ 15 runs and 10 walks are both season highs

NEXT UP: Rematch! Nationals/Rockies return tomorrow night at 8:40pm. Strasburg vs De La Rosa.

Washington Nationals Game 113 Review: Nats blanked by Kershaw

TWO-RUN THROWING ERROR BY RENDON IN EIGHTH SEALS NATS’ FATE

Facing Clayton Kershaw in the rubber match of a three-game series is a daunting task. On Wednesday, the Washington Nationals — with Bryce Harper less than 100 percent with a bum knee — were not up to the task, falling to the overpowering lefty and the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0, starting the Nats almost do-or-die 10-game west coast road swing at 1-2 in the City of Angels.

With the loss, the Nationals fall 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the N.L. East, 3-0 winners over Colorado.

Kershaw (W, 10-6, 2.39) allowed three hits — and no walks — over eight innings, striking out eight. Kanley Jansen mopped up in a hitless ninth for his 22nd save.

The hard-luck loser was Jordan Zimmermann, who was pretty good in his own right, though no perfect, which he would have had to have been to outduel Kershaw. Zimmermann (L, 8-8, 3.34) allowed one run on two hits and a walk, striking out nine, in his seven innings.

Drew Storen struggled once again, allowing two runs in two-third of an inning. Though his defense let him down in a big way as well.

The Dodgers scratched a run out against Zimmermann in the third. Rookie Joc Pederson drew a walk, went to second on fellow rookie Jose Peraza’s ground out and scored on Carl Crawford’s line drive single to left.

It was goose eggs the rest of the way until the eighth.

Storen struck out Alberto Callaspo, but hit Pederson on a 1-2 count. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier then laced a line drive to right for a double, with Pederson stopping at third. Harper played the relay into Anthony Rendon, and he inexplicably threw the ball up the third base line and over everyone’s head and into a camera well, allowing both runners to score on the out-of-play ball.

Storen has allowed eight runs in his past three outings.

If you were looking for offense out of the Nats, well, there was none, save for Michael Taylor’s 2 for 3 night. Other than that, Kershaw was dominant against a Nats lineup that lately has been making the mediocre look like Cy Young.

NEXT GAME: The Nats move up the coast to play the defending World Champion San Francisco Dodgers in a three-game set. Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 4.76) takes the hill against Ryan Vogelsong (7-8, 4.26) at 10:10 pm ET.

Washington Nationals Game 108 Review: Nats blow 4-0 lead, lose 5-4

ZIMMERMANN SOLID, STOREN DREADFUL

Everything looked great for the Washington Nationals on Friday night, right up until it didn’t. Jordan Zimmerman had the Colorado Rockies guessing through six, and only allowed a single run to score. The Nationals’ offense worked out well, scoring four on three separate skeins of decent offense. And then Drew Storen, who’d been untouchable all season long, gave up a grand slam to Carlos Gonzalez in the eighth, now trailing 5-4. The Nationals couldn’t get to Tommy Kahnle or John Axford in the late innings, and that was that. Everything was fine, right up until it wasn’t.

Danny Espinosa got the Nats started off right in the first tonight, with a double to the left field corner that got past Kyle Parker, allowing Espinosa to race into third. Espinosa has been a spark plug for the Nationals in 2015, a bright spot amid an offensive grey zone. Bryce Harper would plate Espinosa on a grounder to the right side, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the first.

Ryan Zimmerman continued his hot streak, returning from injury. With Harper aboard, Zimmerman drove a double to the right field gap. Harper was hustling from the crack of the bat, and scored standing up, coming all the way home from first.

Jordan Zimmermann continues to impress this season, retiring 16 of 17 in the middle innings, and scattering four hits through 6.2 innings at Nationals Park. Zimmermann’s fastball was his strength tonight, but his slider gave him a number of outs the second time through the order. The Rockies got to him in the seventh, scoring their first run of the night on a double and a single. Zimmermann gave way to Casey Janssen, who retired Nick Hundley on one pitch to end the threat.

Drew Storen ran into some trouble in the eighth, as Jose Reyes singled with Daniel Descalso aboard after a walk. With two out, Storen faced Nelson Arenado as the tying run, and Arenado hit a swinging bunt single down the third base line to load the bases. Carlos Gonzalez took a challenge fastball into the Nationals’ bullpen for to give the Rockies the lead. Storen would finish the eighth with a strikeout up in the zone to end the inning.

John Axford pitched the eighth for the Rockies, allowing Ian Desmond aboard on a walk. Desmond would steal second, and advance to third on a grounder. With clutch hitter Michael A. Taylor at the plate, the Nationals had every chance to even the score. Alas, Taylor struck out, stranding the tying run 90 feet from home.

The Rockies bullpen-by-committee sent Tommy Kahnle to the mound to finish the game. Pinch hitter Clint Robinson was a strikeout victim, but Yunel Escobar saw everything he needed during Robinson’s short at-bat. Escobar drew a five-pitch walk as Kahnle’s change-up couldn’t find the plate. Danny Espinosa popped up, bringing Bryce Harper to the plate as the winning run.

Tommy Kahnle opened the at-bat with a 96mph fastball right down the pipe, which Harper took for a strike. Ball one came on a fastball to the outside of the plate, and then Harper swung through an 88mph changeup to fall back 1-2. He fought off a fastball up, but succumbed to another changeup to strikeout and end the game.

54 games remain in the 2015 campaign, 108 are past. The Nationals will need to win at least 32 of those if they want to be in the mix for the post-season. They need to win games like tonight if they want to be in the hunt for October. Alas, it wasn’t to be tonight, and the Nationals fall further behind the surging Mets in the NL East.

HERO: Danny Espinosa had a helluva night, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored

GOAT: Drew Storen, for giving up two walks, a hit and then a grand slam to Carlos Gonzalez.

NATS NOTES:

  • Bryce Harper reached base for the 200th time this season in today’s game.

NEXT UP: Rockies/Nats continues Saturday night, Stephen Strasburg’s return from the DL (5-5, 5.16) vs. Eddie Butler (3-8, 5.45), 7:05 first pitch.

Washington Nationals Game 98 Review: Marlins top Nationals 4-1

FERNANDEZ QUIETS NATS BATS, ZIMMERMANN VULNERABLE IN LOSS

The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins dueled on Tuesday night in Miami, with the Nats falling 4-1. Jose Fernandez, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2014, went six full, allowing one run on four hits, walking four, and striking out five. Jordan Zimmermann matched Fernandez for five innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out two and walking none, but came apart in the sixth, surrendering three hits, two more runs, two walks (both intentional) and left the game after six.

The Nationals’ only run came on a sacrifice fly in the second. Wilson Ramos drove in Bryce Harper on a deep fly ball to right field, having advanced to third on Ryan Zimmerman’s double to the wall in left. That was all the Nationals could do off Fernandez, who was working the edges like a professional.

The Marlins answered in the fifth with a pair of singles from J.T. Realmuto and Ichiro Suzuki with one out. Adeiny Hechavarria popped the ball out to Bryce Harper, and that looked like all they would get on the night. The sixth inning told a very different story, unfortunately for the Nationals.

Dee Gordon (2-for-3 on the night) started things off with a long fly ball to the wall, a stand-up triple. On the next pitch, Martin Prado singled to left to score Gordon, making it 2-1. Christian Yelich singled to right, letting Prado advance to third without issue. With no one out, the Nationals opted to walk Derek Dietrich to set up the force at home. J.T. Realmuto would drive in Prado on a ground ball to Escobar that was just far enough in and slow enough to put Escobar’s only play at first, making it 3-1. Zimmermann would issue another intentional pass, this time to Ichiro Suzuki to load the bases with two out. Thankfully for the Nationals, Hechavarria would ground out to Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning with limited damages.

Sammy Solis was called on to pitch the seventh inning, and it did not go well for the young left hander. Cole Gillespie, entering the game as part of a double switch, immediately pounced on the rookie, raking it up the middle. Dee Gordon laid down a beautiful bunt to move him up, just barely out on a quick relay from Solis. The Nats would issue their third intentional walk of the night to noted Nat-killer Martin Prado,

Against Miami closer A.J. Ramos, the Nationals would put up some fight. Michael A. Taylor drew a one-out walk, followed by a pinch-hit double for Clint Robinson off the bench. A borderline walk to Anthony Rendon gave them the go-ahead run at the plate, but an unfortunate grounder from Yunel Escobar ended the game on a 6-4-3 double play without a run scoring.

HERO: Ryan Zimmerman got aboard three times in his return from the DL, going 2-for-3 with a walk.

GOAT: Sammy Solis for his lamentable 7th inning performance.

NATS NOTES:

  • Tonight marks the first game since May 15th that seven of the Nationals “expected” starters appeared in the starting lineup. They have yet to have all eight expected position starters this season.
  • Jayson Werth was 1-for-4 with a single in his return from a broken wrist.

NEXT UP: Doug Fister vs. Tom Kohler at 7:10pm tomorrow night.

Washington Nationals Game 93 Review: Taylor, Espinosa lead comeback over Mets

TAYLOR DRIVES IN THREE IN COMEBACK WIN OVER SECOND PLACE METS

Michael Taylor and Danny Espinosa delivered clutch hits in the eighth inning to trigger a three-run frame, helping the Washington Nationals to come from two runs down and beat the New York Mets 4-3 at Nationals Park, rescuing the rubber match of the three-game series.

The Nats (51-42) lead in the N.L. East returns to three games over the Mets. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 88 Review: Suspended!

The Washington Nationals have played in several strange games this season, but perhaps none as strange as Friday night — a game that ended up not even played to completion.

Due to continued power failures in a bank of lights on the third base side of the field, the opening game of a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended in the fifth inning with the Nats leading 3-2. The game will be finished Saturday before the regularly scheduled afternoon game.

The Nats reached Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger in the third inning. Yunel Escobar reached on a double to the left field corner and went to third on Danny Espinosa’s bunt single. Bolsinger fell hard on his left knee fielding the bunt, but after a visit by the trainer, he stayed in. Bryce Harper grounded to second to force Espinosa, but Escobar carried home the first run of the game. Clint Robinson then drew a walk, but Bolsinger escaped further damage by getting Wilson Ramos to ground out to end the rally.

The lead was short lived. Jordan Zimmermann grazed Justin Turner leading off the top of the fourth, and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a mammoth homer to the upper tank  in right.

Then things got weird. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, a bank of lights on the third base side of Nats Park went out — and stayed out for an hour and ten minutes. It took 10 more minutes before play resumed, and they managed to get the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth in before the same bank of lights went back out.

Tanner Roark came on for Zimmermann in the fifth, who gave up two earned runs on three hits and a walk, striking out three in his shortened appearance.

After a second delay, Roark doubled and then scored on an Escobar home run, before the lights went out for good, causing the suspension of the game — and some unhappy Nats fans that sat around through the delays.

 

 

Washington Nationals Game 82 Review: Zimmermann sublime as Nats sweep Giants

ZIMMERMANN SHUTS DOWN GIANTS, RAMOS HOMERS, DRIVES IN PAIR

Jordan Zimmermann was sublime once again and the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants 3-1 before another terrific holiday weekend crowd at Nationals Park.

Zimmermann threw 100 pitches in his seven complete innings. He allowed one run — a solo home run to Brandon Crawford — and two other hits while walking just one and striking out eight.

The only time the Giants got a runner as far as third base was in the first inning. Angel Pagan singled, stole second and went to third on Buster Posey’s two-out single, but was stranded there after Crawford flied out to the track in center.

After that — save for Crawford’s homer — it was smooth sailing for the quiet Midwesterner.

The Nats (46-36) got on the board first in the second inning. Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa drew back-to-back walks from Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. They both moved up a base when Vogelsong threw a wild pitch, which struck out Ian Desmond swinging. Michael Taylor’s single then plated Ramos.

The Giants struck back in the fourth on Brandon Crawford’s 12th home run of the season.

In the bottom of the fifth, Vogelsong — along with Giants skipper Bruce Bochy — was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.

The Nats retook the lead in the sixth, when Ramos hit his eighth homer of the season, over the scoreboard in right center, off reliever George Kontos.

Bryce Harper led off the eighth with a double to left center off lefty Javier Lopez, went to third on Tyler Moore’s liner to right, and scored on Ramos’ single off Hunter Strickland.

David Carpenter and Matt Thornton combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and Drew Storen nailed down his 25th save, allowing a walk and striking out one.

NATS NOTES: The Nats placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique suffered in Saturday’s win, and recalled righty Taylor Jordan from AAA-Syracuse. The Nats don’t need a fifth starter until after the All-Star break, when Strasburg’s condition can be better evaluated.

Earlier in the day, the National League All-Stars were announced and — in no surprise — Bryce Harper led all NL stars in votesd to garner his third All-Star nod, and second start.

NEXT GAME: Monday at 7:05 pm against the Cincinnati Reds. Doug Fister (3-4, 4.34) hosts Anthony DiSclafani (5-6, 3.68).

Washington Nationals Game 77 Review: Stellar Zimmermann leads Nats over Braves

Jordan Zimmermann threw 7 2/3 shutout innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves for the ninth straight time, 6-1, at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The winning streak extends back to April 28, when the Nats overcame a nine-run deficit to win courtesy of Dan Uggla’s ninth inning homer.

Zimmermann allowed six hits and no walks, having no trouble mowing down the Braves well into the eighth inning. He struck out six and threw 85 of his 109 pitches for strikes.

Meanwhile, the top of the order was getting things done offensively. The 1-4 hitters, Denard Span, Danny Espinosa, Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper all had multi-hit games, with Espinosa going 3-5 with two runs scored.

Clint Robinson hit his third home run of the season, which capped a four-run rally in the first inning against Braves starter Shelby Miller, who allowed a season-high five runs total on eight hits and three walks in his five innings.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7:10 pm in Atlanta. Doug Fister (3-3, 4.15) faces Rookie Matt Wisler (1-1, 3.75).

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