April 20, 2014

Nats Nightly for April 3–Roark leads way to 8-2 win over Mets in season opening sweep

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 8-2 win over the New York Mets, sweeping the season opening series.

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Washington Nationals Game 3 Review: Roark strong, Zim homers as Nats sweep Mets 8-2

With Jordan Zimmermann, Thursday’s scheduled starter dealing with flu-like symptoms, the Washington Nationals turned to Tanner Roark in the series finale against the New York Mets. Roark turned in a very Zimmermann-like performance, keeping the Mets in check while the offense cruised in an 8-2, sweeping the opening series in easy fashion.

Roark went six innings, allowing six hits and striking out five — including K-ing the side in his last inning of work — to lead the Nats to their third straight win over the overmatched Mets to start the season. It’s undecided as of this posting whether Zimmermann will be strong enough to start the home opener on Friday, but reliever Ross Detwiler pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the game, so perhaps the extra day off will be enough to get Zimmermann well enough to pitch.

The Mets scored off Roark in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back one out singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright set up first-and-third for Curtis Granderson, who doubled and plated Murphy, but Wright was held at third. After a walk to Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares delivered a sacrifice fly that brought Wright home.

Ryan Zimmerman responded leading off the second with his first home run of the season, a mammoth clout to left center.

The Nats took the lead in the fifth. Sandy Leon, recalled to replace Wilson Ramos after Ramos’ hamate surgery, walked to lead off the frame. He went to second on Roark’s sacrifice, and scored on Denard Span’s single to right field. Curtis Granderson’s throw went through to home, which allowed Span to move up a base, which proved costly to the Mets. Bryce Harper flew out to the track in right center and Span took third, then scored on Jayson Werth’s single to right as the Nats went up 3-2.

The Nats got insurance against the Mets bullpen in the top of the seventh. Scott Hairston led off with a pinch-hit single off lefty Scott Rice. Span moved Hairston up 90 feet with a sacrifice. Harper got his first hit of the game, a smash off Rice’s foot. The Mets called upon Jeurys Familia, and he issued a four-pitch walk to Jayson Werth.

Adam LaRoche’s hard ground ball then kicked off Duda’s glove at first, scoring two runs, Zimmerman followed with his fourth base hit of the game, driving in the Nats’ sixth run of the day. A seventh scored on Ian Desmond’s fielder’s choice grounder when the relay throw skipped past Duda at first.

The Nats got a gift run in the eighth, as LaRoche walked with the bases loaded to force in a run.

Rafael Soriano made his first appearance of the season working a scoreless ninth inning to close out the sweep.

Nats Nightly for March 31–Opening day 9-7 win over Mets

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse from Federal baseball discuss the Washington Nationals opening day 9-7 win over the New York Mets.

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Washington Nationals Game 1 Recap: Nats comeback against Mets pen, win 9-7

If Opening Day was any indication, this will be a wild season of baseball for the Washington Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg allowed a three-run homer in the first inning, settled down to strike out 10 batters, and the Washington Nationals then came back against a porous New York Mets bullpen, capped by Anthony Rendon’s three-run homer off John Lannan in the top of the tenth inning to win 9-7 at Citifield.

The bad news: according to reports during the game, catcher Wilson Ramos broke a bone in his left hand and will miss up to six weeks. [edit -- After the game, manager Matt Williams indicated the x-rays taken on Ramos were "negative" and he would see a specialist in D.C. on Tuesday.]

The Mets got to Strasburg in their very first ups. Strasburg struck out Eric Young to start off the first, but Juan Lagares and David Wright singled back-to-back to put runners on the corners. Strasburg got Andrew Brown to 2-2, but a fastball that was designed to hit the outside corner tailed back into Brown, and he crushed it to left center for a three-run homer.

The Nationals got two back in the top of the second. Bryce Harper drew a lead-off walk and was erased on a fielder’s choice to short by Ian Desmond that would have been a double play were it not for Harper’s late, hard take-out slide. Harper was kicked in the head by Young for his troubles and stayed on the field for a few moments, but left the field under his own power and stayed in the game.

The next batter, Adam LaRoche, crushed an 89-MPH fastball 10 rows deep into the upper deck in right field to make it 3-2 Mets.

The Mets picked up another run in the bottom half. Travis d’Arnaud walked to lead off and Ruben Tejada singled. Dillon Gee’s sacrifice mived both runners up, and Young’s fly ball to right was dep enough to plate d’Arnaud.

After that, it was a pitcher’s duel, with both hurlers trading outs for the next three innings, until Strasburg departed after the sixth. The big righty settled down nicely, retiring his final 10 batters and 12 of his last 14. He finished with five hits, four earned runs, two walks and 10 strikeouts, with 64 of his 102 pitches for strikes.

Meanwhile, Gee carved up the Nats, retiring 15 in a row until Harper reached on a hard-hit single off the glove at Young at second base. Desmond forced him again, but LaRoche followed with a walk. Anthony Rendon delivered a run-scoring double to the right field corner to plate Desmond, but the slow LaRoche was held at third.

Pinch-hitter Nate McLouth drew a four-pitch walk to set up a bases loaded, two out situation for Denard Span against reliever Scott Rice.

Rice couldn’t find the plate. Four straight balls handed Span first base and the Nats their fourth run of the day, tying the game. Jose Valverde was summonsed to pitch to Ryan Zimmerman, and the big righty got Zim to swing through a ball fro strike three.

The Mets breathed life back into the Citifield faithful in the bottom of the eighth, as Juan Lagares homered off Tyler Clippard leading off the frame.

But that only set up the Nats heroics in the top of the ninth. Ian Desmond led off with a single and went to second on Danny Espinosa’s tow-out, pinch-hit, eight-pitch base on balls. Denard Span then ripped a double to left center, which scored Desmond from second to tie the game at five.

For the second inning in a row though, Zimmerman ended a rally with a fly ball to center.

After a 1-2-3 MLB debut with two strikeouts for Aaron Barrett in the bottom  of the ninth, the Nats went back to work against reliever Jeurys Familia. Jayson werth led off with a sky-high fly ball that eluded the Mets in short left center, then Jose Lobaton (in for injured Wilson Ramos) sent a broken bat liner past second base.

Ian Desmond fought through an eight pitch at bat before delivering a fly to medium right that allowed Werth to walk home with the go-ahead run.

The Nats weren’t done. The Mets brought in old friend John Lannan to face LaRoche, and issued a five-pitch base on balls. Anthony Rendon then greeted Lannan’s first offering with a huge clout to left center. The three-run shot made it 9-5.

Jerry Blevins coughed up a two-run, two-out gopherball to David Wright in the bottom half, but it was too little, too late for the Mets.

Washington Nationals Game 146 Review: Nats complete sweep of Mets; 5 1/2 out of Wild Card


Every single game matters for the Washington Nationals at this point as they valiantly try to keep their scant playoff hopes alive. In a Thursday matinee, the Nats beat the Mets 7-2, sweeping the four-game set. It was the Nats sixth win in a row overall, their longest winning streak of the season.

The Nats (77-69) out-homered the Mets in the series 13-0, the second-most homers the Nats have hit in any single series. They are now 5 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the wild card standings with 16 games to play and one game yet in hand.

Tanner Roark, making his second start since his recall, gave the Nats six solid innings wrapped around an hour-long rain delay for his sixth win of the season against no losses. He allowed two earned runs on six hits and one walk, striking out three.

The Nats got started early in this one. After Denard Span struck out to lead off the game, Ryan Zimmerman delivered a bomb to straightaway center off the Mets’ recently acquired starter Aaron Harang for his 23rd of the season and his eighth home run in his last 10 games to put the Nats up 1-0.

The Mets got that run right back against Nats’ starter Tanner Roark. Eric Young, Jr. led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice by Juan Lagares. Daniel Murphy then doubled to bring home Young to tie the game at one.

Then the rains came.

An hour-plus rain delay ensued, and when play resumed, Harang came back in to pitch for the Mets. Maybe he wished he hadn’t.

The first batter back, Ian Desmond took one to the wall that was caught. The following batter, Adam LaRoche, then rocked one that appeared off the top of the wall and he cruised into second base with a double. But upon video review, the ball struck a railing above the home run line and bounced back into play off center fielder Young’s glove and the umpires ruled it a home run to make it 2-1 Nats.

The Mets tied it in the fourth. Lucas Duda led off with a single to right field. With one out, Mike Baxter singled to left to move Duda up one base. Catcher Anthony Recker followed with another single which plated Duda easily, but Harper threw out Baxter trying to advance to third on the play.

Wilson Ramos delivered the lead back to Washington in the fifth inning with a solo home run, his 13th of the season.

The Nats added insurances run in the seventh and eighth.

LaRoche led off the seventh with a double to center. After a pitching change, Ramos grounded out to the pitcher. But because Mets third baseman Josh Satin came in on the slow infield grounder, LaRoche snuck behind him and advanced to third. Anthony Rendon then lifted a fly ball to medium center field that plated LaRoche without a throw.

Span led off the eighth inning with a double to extend his hitting streak to 23 games and Zimmerman plated him with a double of his own to make it 5-2.

Reliever Frank Francisco then hit Jayson Werth with a 3-0 pitch. Bryce Harper’s grounder to the right side forced Werth at second but moved Zimmerman over to third and he scored on Ian Desmond’s grounder to short when Harper’s hard slide forced a bad throw by Ruben Tejada on the relay.

Anthony Rendon added to the hit parade in the ninth with a line drive home run to left field, his seventh of the season.

THE GOOD: Tanner Roark. The swingman put together another impressive starting performance, perhaps tossing his hat into the ring with the other candidates that could be considered for the fifth starter spot next season.

Also, props to reliever Xavier Cedeno, who struck out lefties Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda on six pitches in a scoreless eighth inning.

THE BAD: Jayson Werth. 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Average dips to .324 in his chase for the batting title.

THE UGLY: Frank Francisco. The pitch he hit Werth with was definitely intentional. There was simply no reason for Francisco to bean Werth there except being mad at himself for stinking up the joint. Mets television commenter and former MLB pitcher Ron Darling called Francisco “a fool.”

THE STATS: 8 hits, 1 BB, 11 Ks. 1-for-4 with RISP, 3 LOB. No errors, no DPs.

NEXT GAME: Friday at the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:05 pm. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96) faces Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.51).

Nats Nightly: 3-0 win over the Mets; Haren strong; Zim homers

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse from Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 3-0 win over the New York Mets. Nats still five games back of the Reds in the loss column with 17 games to play.

Washington Nationals Game 145 Review: Nats move to seven over .500 with 3-0 win over Mets

Dan Haren gave up one hit in six innings and four relievers pitched the final three innings as the Washington Nationals (76-69) won their fifth in a row and seventh in their last eight games to move a season-high seven games over .500 with a 3-0 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field in Queens, NY.

Ryan Zimmerman led off the sixth inning with his 22nd home run of the season off Mets starter Zack Wheeler (L, 7-5, 3.22) to break a scoreless tie and Anthony Rendon’s two out, two-run double in the eighth provided all the necessary insurance.

Haren (W, 9-13, 5.02) rediscovered the magic he had during a string of starts he made immediately after returning from the disabled list mid-season. He walked one and struck out eight holding the Mets scoreless through six innings.

Xavier Cedeno retired both left-handed batters the faced in the seventh, and Drew Storen recorded the last out of that frame after allowing a single. Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect eighth inning for his league-leading 32nd save of the season, and Rafael Soriano earned his 41st save of the year to solidify the win.

THE GOOD: Ryan Zimmerman. I’ve been as hard as anyone on the guy this season, but he’s been on absolute fire the past 10 days with his power, hitting his seventh home run in that timeframe. Props to Haren as well rebounding from three miserable starts to give the Nats a fighting chance in this one.

THE BAD: Wilson Ramos went 0-for-4 and stranded four runners.

THE UGLY: Home plate umpire James Hote. On four different occasions, Hoye granted time to a Mets batter while Haren was in the middle of his delivery. Also angered Storen on a pitch called a ball immediately preceding the base hit Storen allowed.

THE STATS: 11 hits, 1 BB, 9 Ks. 1-for-10 with RISP, 9 LOB. No errors, no DPs.

NEXT GAME: Thursday at 1:10 pm against the Mets. Tanner Roark (5-0, 0.93) faces Aaron Harang (0-0), recently acquired after Seattle released him.

Nats Nightly: Zimmermann earns N.L. leading 17th in 6-3 win over Mets

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse from Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 6-3 win over the New York Mets. The Nats pound three homers and Jordan Zimmermann earns his N.L. leading 17th win.

Washington Nationals Game 144 Review: Werth continues to power Nats late surge


The Washington Nationals hit three home runs, including Jayson Werth’s 23rd of the season, and Jordan Zimmermann gutted out five innings when he wasn’t his best, to defeat the New York Mets 6-3 before 20,307 at Citi Field.

The Nats have won four in a row to move six games over .500 for the first time all season, and with Cincinnati’s 9-1 loss to the Cubs, they pull within five games in the loss column behind the Reds for the final wild card spot in the N.L. [Read more...]

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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