September 20, 2019

Nats Nightly for April 23: Werth, LaRoche cap 9th inning comeback; more Harper hustle?

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals ninth inning comeback against the Los Angeles Angels, salvaging the finale of the series 5-4.

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Washington Nationals Game 22 Review: Nats rally from 3 runs down in ninth to top Angels 5-4

The Washington Nationals were staring down their first real slump of the 2014 season, trailing the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth, having dropped the first two games of the series. As Matt Williams said after the game though, “That’s why we play 27 [outs]. That’s why we have to play every out.”

The Nats made a furious comeback, capped by Adam LaRoche’s RBI single, which plated Jayson Werth from second base to deliver the Nats an unexpected 5-4 win, before 22,504 at Nationals Park.

The comeback started with Jose Lobaton homering off Angels closer Ernesto Friere (0-2, 9.35). After pinch-hitter Zach Walters struck out, Denard Span snuck a ground ball up the middle for a  single. Frieri walked Anthony Rendon on two close pitches, then Werth came to the plate.

The veteran, who seems to relish big ninth inning at bats, looked at three offerings — all outside the strike zone — then jumped on a 3-0 fastball, ripping it past the third base bag. The ball caromed off the jut in the left field fence and bounced into short left, where left fielder J.B. Shuck had to track it down. It took long enough for Rendon to scoot all the way home from first base with the tying run.

LaRoche then pounced on Friere’s next pitch, lining it over the shortstop to drive in Werth to start the celebration.

The ninth inning comeback made a winner of Drew Storen (2-0, 1.17), who gave up a run-scoring hit to Mike Trout in the top half of the inning.

The Nats struck first in what seemed like a different game. With one out in the second inning, Danny Espinosa bunted his way on and stole second base. A ground out by Lobabton moved him over to third, and Gio Gonzalez’ soft liner to left brought him home for the first run of the game.

Surprisingly, that single run didn’t stand up. Gonzalez cruised through five innings after a bit of a first inning scare. But he’d retired 11 in a row leading up to the sixth. Mike Trout drew a walk, and after ball one to Albert Pujols, pitching coach Steve McCatty came out to chat and Aaron Barrett started warming up. Pujols then smashed a double down the left field line that bounced off the jutting part of the fence in the same location Werth would later strike. Bryce Harper made a good play on the ball and his throw home was close, but Trout slid under the tag to tie the game.

Then, shockingly, after just 83 pitches, manager Matt Williams came out with the hook. Gonzalez finished with five innings pitch, two earned runs on four hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. After the game, Williams revealed Gonzalez experienced a bit of tightness in his shoulder in the cold weather, and the manager and player agreed that he should come out at that point.

Barrett was called upon, and after a ground out moved Pujols up a base, he scored on a single by Erick Aybar. Just like that, the Nats were trailing.

In the bottom half, Adam LaRoche beat the shift with a seeing-eye single. Harper came up an offered a bunt for strike one, then with two strikes inexplicable tried to bunt again, popping up foul for the out and slamming his bat in the batter box, showing his frustration.

The Angels added a run in the seventh. David Freese led off with a double off Barrett, went to third on a ground out to first, and scored on a wild pitch.

They weren’t done. In the ninth, Raul Ibanez scored from second on a single to left field by Trout. But all that did was set up the fireworks of the bottom half of the inning.

The Nats host the San Diego Padres in a four-game series starting Thursday at 7:05 pm. Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 3.94) hosts LHP Eric Stultz (1-2, 4.35).

Nats Nightly for April 22: Pujols’ historic night dumps Nats 7-2

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddingtonof Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, and Albert Pujols historic night, hitting home runs No. 499 and 500, becoming the 26th player in MLB history to reach the mark.

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Washington Nationals Game 21 Review: Pujols homers into record books and win column

Albert Pujols homered twice, including his 500th career homer — becoming just the 26th player in Major League history to reach the mark — to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Tuesday before 21,915 at Nationals Park.

The loss drops the Nats to 11-10 on the season.

Nats starter Taylor Jordan just didn’t have it from the start. J.B. Shuck doubled down the left field line leading off, and Mike Trout reached on an error by Anthony Rendon. Rendon bobbled the sharply hit ball, then recovered but threw wide of first. Albert Pujols then destroyed a belt high 90-MPH sinker that didn’t sink into the 10th row to straightaway left to put the Angels up 3-0 before most had settled into their seats. It was Pujols’ 499th homer of his career.

Jordan coaxed a lazy fly ball from Raul Ibanez for the first out, but Howie Kendrick smoked a double to the right field gap. Kendrick then went to third on Erick Aybar’s ground out to first. Jordan plunked David Freese, and Chris Ianetta made him pay, depositing a line drive single in front of Bryce Harper in left to plate the Angles fourth run of the inning.

The four runs represented the fifth time already this season the Nats have allowed at least three runs in the first inning and the ninth time they’ve given up two runs or more.

The Nats started chipping away at the deficit in the third. Sandy Leon doubled down the left field line and went to third on Jordan’s bunt single. Denard Span walked to load ‘em up with no outs. Skaggs uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering to Danny Espinosa and Leon chugged home with the Nats first run. Jordan then hit Espinosa in the front leg to load the bases once again. Jayson Werth then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, but Jordan jogged home with the second run of the inning.

In the fifth inning, everyone at Nats Park got to witness history. With Trout aboard on a single, Albert Pujols crushed a fastball to the Red Porch, becoming the 26th player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs. Pujols hit his 400th at Nats Park as well, off Jordan Zimmermann on August 26, 2010. The most recent player to join the 500 Home Run Club previously was Gary Sheffield, who accomplished the feat April 17, 2009.

The Angels got another in the eighth against lefty Jerry Blevins. With one out, Erick Aybar doubled to the left field corner and stole third, though Matt Williams challenged the play and lost. Aybar then scored on David Freese’s sacrifice fly to right field.

The Nats failed to record a base hit after Jordan’s infield single in the third inning.

The two clubs face each other in the third game of the series Wednesday at 7:05 pm, with Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.88) hosting Jared Weaver (1-2, 4.74).

Nats Nightly for April 21: Clipped by the Angels

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball were joined by Joe Drugan of The Nats Blog and Tom Bridge of WeLoveDC.com to discuss the Washington Nationals 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

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Washington Nationals Game 20 Review: Clippard meltdown leads to Nats 4-2 loss to Angels

This series between the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Angels has been billed as a matchup between the Nats two-time All-Star Bryce Harper and Angels’ phenom Mike Trout. Neither player had much to do with the outcome of the first of the three-game series, as Tanner Roark and Garrett Richards hooked up for an old fashioned pitcher’s duel.

Unfortunately, one of the Nats most consistent performers the past few seasons continued his early-season struggles, as Tyler Clippard suffered a meltdown in the eighth inning and the Nationals fell to the Angels 4-2 before 24,371 at Nationals Park.

Roark and Richards traded zeros much of the evening, with the Nats managing just one hit through Richards’ six innings, and the Angels (9-10) scattering seven hits off Roark through 6 2/3.

The Nats (11-9) finally got to Richards (sort of) in the fourth. Richards had some control problems, issuing walks to Denard Span and Bryce Harper, then hitting Jayson Werth on the shoulder to load ‘em up. Adam LaRoche grounded to short to force Werth, but Span came in to break the scoreless tie. Albert Pujols made a nice play on a bouncer to nab Harper at the plate, then Desmond grounded to second to end the threat.

Roark left with two outs in the seventh with a runner on first and Trout coming to bat. Manager Matt Williams summoned Drew Storen from the pen, and after a steady diet of high sliders and inside fastballs, Storen finally went away with a 95 MPH heater, and all Trout could do was lift a fly ball to medium center field that Span casually drifted under for the third out of the inning.

Clippard undid all that in the eighth. Pujols reached on an error by Ian Desmond on a tough play to his left. Pujols then stole second and went to third on Howie Kendrick’s infield single. After Brennan Boesch popped up, Erick Aybar delivered an opposite field single to plate Pujols with the tying run. A walk to No. 8 hitter Chris Ianetta brought up notorious Nats-killer Raul Ibanez, and the veteran did it again, crushing a high fastball to the gap in left center, clearing the bases and putting the Nats down 4-1.

Desmond led off the bottom of the ninth with his fourth homer of the season, a massive blast to the Red Porch seats. But Angels’ closer Ernesto Friere settled down to K the side and secure the save

The Nats face the Angels again Tuesday night at 7:05 pm, with Taylor Jordan (0-2, 5.94) hosting lefty Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 3.43).

Nationals 2014 Regular-Season Schedule Released

The Washington Nationals unveiled their 2014 regular season schedule Tuesday.

The Nats will open the season on the road at Citi Field against the New York Mets on Monday, March 31 at a time to be determined. They will have an off day on Tuesday, April 1, before completing the three-game series April 2-3.

The Nats’ first home series will be against the Atlanta Braves from Friday, April 4 through Sunday, April 6.

Interleague schedule highlights include a home matchup between Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels, April 21-23, and a Beltway Series at home, July 7 and July 8. Additionally, on the road, the team will face the Oakland Athletics, May 9-11, and the Seattle Mariners, Aug. 29-31.

The team will also host one 11-game home stand– April 17-27 – and one 10-game home stand – Aug. 15-24.

The full schedule is available online at nationals.com.

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