June 30, 2015

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 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 57 Review: Zimmermann pounded in 6-3 loss

Jordan Zimmermann had an uncharacteristically poor outing and the Washington Nationals fell to the Chicago Cubs 6-3, losing three of four to the Cubs at home over the weekend and eight of their last 10 games.

Zimmermann allowed four earned runs on a whopping 10 hits and two walks over five innings, striking out three. The Cubs two, three, five six and seven hitters all had multi-hit games while their cleanup hitter, Miguel Montero, walked twice. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 51/52 Review: Nats Split Doubleheader with Toronto

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN CRUISES IN GAME 1, BULLPEN SHANKS GAME 2

The Washington Nationals split their Tuesday doubleheader with the Toronto Blue Jays, winning the first game 2-0 behind Jordan Zimmermann’s excellent effort, and dropping the second game 7-3 after the Blue Jays cracked open the Nationals bullpen and ate them like a briny Rappahannock oyster.

Jordan Zimmermann was the star of the show on Tuesday afternoon, walking one, striking out four and scattering six hits in eight innings pitched. His command was top-notch, and he scored one of the two Nationals run in the fifth after a single. The weather worked in Zimmermann’s favor, with cold air deadening the carry in the outfield. [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 41 Review: Ump Show Deluxe

UMPIRE MARVIN HUDSON HERO OF GAME, EJECTS MISCREANTS HARPER AND WILLIAMS

The Washington Nationals completed a two-game sweep of the New York Yankees in a 3-2 victory marred by the ejection of Bryce Harper and Matt Williams for reasons only Marvin Hudson knows. Denard Span would single in a run late to break a tie, and Tyler Moore and Ian Desmond each had solo home runs.

There’s really no good time to get tossed from a game as a player. You’ve got one job when it comes to the umpires, as a player, and that’s steer clear of what’s going to get you thrown out of the game. You can’t hit from the clubhouse, after all.

All that said, home plate Marvin Hudson clearly had a bad night’s sleep last night. Or food poisoning. Or a rude flight attendant. Or got some bad news from family. He was charged up for a fight on Wednesday night, and Bryce Harper just happened to be the unfortunate man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Harper took a called first strike, low in the zone, and reacted slightly. There was barking from the first base dugout, mostly in objection to a strike called four inches below the bottom of the strike zone. As Hudson jawed with Matt Williams, Harper stepped out of the conflict zone. Hudson tossed Harper for stepping out of the box.

Williams came out of the dugout, incensed by Hudson’s quick heave-ho, and found himself headed for the showers shortly thereafter. He did cover the plate with dirt before giving up and leaving the lineup card in Randy Knorr’s hands, and expressed some vehement objections on the way out.

But back to the actual game.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead, getting a pair off Jordan Zimmermann in the first. Brett Gardner singled to right to start the game for the Yankees, and came around to score on a double by Carlos Beltran. Beltran would advance on a grounder, and then score on a sac fly off the bat of Brian McCann, whose sad beardless face made Braves fans everywhere gnash their teeth.

After that, it was all Jordan Zimmermann. He went seven full tonight, scattering 3 more hits through six more innings, and notching six strikeouts and just one walk. His curve was devastating at times, and his fastball places was light years better than his last start, and the Yankees couldn’t do much against it.

The Nats would strike back in the first, with Ian Desmond going yard off Adam Warren, a shot to deep center field just to the right of the gate. In the third, Tyler Moore, in for the injured Jayson Werth, pulled a ball out of the zone over the fence in left to tie the ballgame.

Adam Warren had a pretty good night for the Yankees. He was getting the low strike from Hudson behind the plate and racked up four strikeouts on the evening. He also surrendered four walks, including two in the seventh, before getting the hook. The Nationals started the seventh with Wilson Ramos reaching on an error by Chase Headley. Tyler Moore drew a walk to complicate matters for the Yankees. After a great play by Headley to catch a pop-foul bunt by Danny Espinosa, pinch hitter Dan Uggla walked to load the bases and end Warren’s evening.

Leadoff hitter Denard Span fought back against Justin Wilson, ahead in the count. He poked a grounder back through the left side. The Yankees were playing in on the grass, and were out of position to catch the weakly hit ball as it transited the infield dirt. Ramos sprinted home with the go-ahead run, and the Nationals claimed their first lead of the night.

Matt Grace and Drew Storen combined for two scoreless innings in relief, and Storen added a pair of strikeouts to clinch his twelfth save. Storen fanned Alex Rodriguez on three pitches to end the Yankees’ late threat, and claim the Nationals 7th straight series win.

HERO: Marvin Hudson, obviously. Who else did everyone come to see?

GOAT: Bryce Harper, who gets tossed for the second time in a week, in a conflagration with Marvin Hudson. Look, it’s clear Hudson was off his rocker, but you don’t poke the bear. You can’t win games from the showers.

NATS NOTES:

  • Harper’s ejection was his second in seven days.
  • Williams’ ejection was his second in seven days.
  • Wilson Ramos’ 19-game hitting streak came to an end Wednesday night.
  • The Nationals take sole possession of first place on their seventh consecutive series win.

NEXT UP: an off day! The 17-24 Phillies arrive on Friday for a three-game set. Scherzer (4-3, 1.75) vs TBA, 7:05pm start.

Washington Nationals Game 37 Review: Bats alive as Nats pound Padres

The Washington Nationals pounded out 10 runs on 16 hits and three walks while Jordan Zimmermann cruised through six innings and the Nats pounded the San Diego Padres 10-0 before a subdued crowd at Petco Park.

Bryce Harper, has he has all season, led the hit parade with three, including his 13th home run of the season, and also drew his league-leading 34th walk of the campaign. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 32 Review: Nationals Sweep Braves on 5-4 victory

NATIONALS SCORE TWICE IN EIGHTH TO RALLY, SWEEP BRAVES

Jordan Zimmermann had a semi-rough outing, but the Washington Nationals offense bailed him out. A two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth lifted the Nats to a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves, completing the three-game sweep of a division opponent.

The Nats have won four in a row and 8 of 10. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 27 Review: Late Offense Lifts Nats Over Fish, 6-4

BATS WAKE LATE, POWER NATS OVER FISH

The Miami Marlins went blow-for-blow with the Washington Nationals on Monday night for eight innings. It wouldn’t be enough. Despite a strong seven inning outing from Jordan Zimmermann, in which he surrendered just two runs, the Nats’ bats fell silent until late on the game. The Nationals staged a comeback on the bats of Ian Desmond, who crushed a ball into the center field batter’s eye to tie the game in the eighth, and Yunel Escobar, who went 5 for 5 and drove in the go-ahead runs in the eighth.

All told, the Nats won 6-4, but it wasn’t decided until Tanner Roark — filling in for Drew Storen — punched out Giancarlo Stanton a runner on in the ninth.

What happens when two hot teams collide? After a 3-11 start, the Miami Marlins have gone 9-2, and their defensive lock on the infield was in full display Monday night against the surging Washington Nationals. The home team, on a 5-1 tear themselves, was just as ready to put on a defensive show themselves.

Adeiny Hechevarria for the Marlins and Denard Span for the Nationals each made highlight reel plays to rob their opponents of runs and perpetuate the pitchers’ duel.

Jordan Zimmermann was impressive on Monday night, working through six innings on just 65 pitches. The one run he did give up in the first was unearned, as Jayson Werth misread a bullet off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton, which allowed Martin Prado to advance on his way around the basepaths.

Zimmermann’s only mistake of the night came in the seventh inning against Justin Bour, who took a 3-2 four-seamer just out of the park to left field, landing just past the flower beds atop the wall. His 7IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 4K, 0BB performance went just 81 pitches before he gave way to Clint Robinson as a pinch hitter in the seventh.

Down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Nationals staged an unlikely comeback. Robinson, batting for Zimmermann, drew a four-pitch walk with one out. Michael A. Taylor came on to pinch run for Robinson as Matt Williams opted for speed on the basepaths. It almost came back to bite him. Yunel Escobar singled to right, notching his fourth hit for the night, and on the hit-and-run, Taylor didn’t pick up third base coach Bob Hendley and missed an opportunity to score, and had to settle for third as Stanton booted the ball ten feet. It would’ve been a tight play had Taylor gone full bore from the get-go.

Jayson Werth, at the time 0-for-3 on the night, and with many wondering exactly what he was doing in the three hole for the Nationals, poked a timely single to right to score Taylor from third. Bryce Harper wasted an opportunity with runners at the corner on a pop-up to end the inning with the game just tied at two.

With Zimmermann gone, the Nationals turned to Blake Treinen in relief. Rolaids were in evidence all over Nationals Park as he came in. Almost immediately, he was in over his head.

A five-pitch walk to Dee Gordon, followed by a stolen base, put Treinen in a nearly untenable position. The Nats opted to give Stanton a free pass to setup the best force play, and that was it for Treinen. Matt Grace came in to face Jeff Baker, who promptly put the Marlins ahead 4-2 on a single down the right field line. The bullpen had collapsed a touch and all looked lost.

Neither Ian Desmond nor Yunel Escobar were ready to let things go quietly into the May evening. Ryan Zimmerman lead off the eighth with a full-count walk, Ian Desmond just crushed the ball into the batter’s eye in dead center, about 420 feet from home to tie the game at four.

The Nats weren’t done yet.

Tyler Moore, pinch-hitting for Grace, singled to right, and went first-to-third on a double from Denard Span, which set up the critical at-bat. Escobar was the only National who hit all night long, with five singles off Marlins pitching, and he took 1-1 slider to right field, which plated both Moore and Span.

That meant the Nats took a 6-4 lead into the ninth against the Marlins who’d nickeled and dimed them all night long. With Drew Storen unavailable, having pitched three games of the last four, Matt Williams turned to Tanner Roark, in his first ever save situation. He did not disappoint.

Roark quickly retired Reid Brignac on a brutal curve, a strikeout victim. Dee Gordon racked his first hit of the night on a single up the middle, and that setup the evening’s most dramatic moment. You can’t ignore Giancarlo Stanton when he’s anywhere but ninth in rolling order. You especially can’t ignore him when he’s in the on-deck circle.

A double play would avoid Stanton coming to the plate as the tying run — perhaps one of my own worst nightmares — but that did not come to pass. Martin Prado popped out, bringing Stanton to the dish to face Roark as the tying run. At first, it appeared that Roark would issue an unintentional intentional pass to Stanton, falling behind 3-0. But Roark dialed in a two-seamer for strike one, before fooling Stanton consecutive 87 mph sliders for his first ever save.

HERO: Yunel Escobar was on fire tonight, going 5-for-5, and his eighth inning single drove in two to put the Nats ahead for good. Ian Desmond, honorable mention for his two-run bomb in the eighth.

GOAT: Blake Treinen, for the walk to Dee Gordon, where they needed an out. Treinen has struggled in his eighth inning role, and the Nationals are going to need to streamline the roles in the bullpen.

NATS NOTES:

  • Anthony Rendon was in DC today to see the team doctor. He has been sidelined with left oblique tightness for the last few rehab starts, and it was announced after the game he would be shut down with a strain.
  • Casey Janssen will begin a rehab assignment later this week and could join the Nationals late next week.
  • Reed Johnson is possibly done with the season after undergoing foot surgery to repair a ruptured tendon.

NEXT UP: Nationals/Marlins continues Tuesday night at 7:05pm, Latos (0-3, 6.86) vs. Strasburg (2-2, 4.60)

Nats Nightly: Nationals 13-4 over Braves to take 2 of 3 in Atlanta

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 13-4 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio
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