October 15, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 136 Review: Rendon, Harper and Werth Come Up Big

NATS SWEEP BRAVES, NARROW DIVISION GAP TO 4

The Washington Nationals went for their first four-game sweep of the season Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park, and they got it, finishing the Atlanta Braves with an 8-4 thumping. The Mets lost in the ninth inning, and the Nationals won, bringing the deficit to be overcome to four games, just in time for a three-game series against the division leader. Powered by home runs from Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, and with 4.2 IP of scoreless ball from the bullpen, the Nationals completed the sweep. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 3 Review: Nats sweep Fish and go 3-0 with 6-1 win

If anyone was looking to put a dent into the lofty expectations surrounding the Washington Nationals after their first series of the season, they’d be hard pressed to find any reason for those doubts as the Nats finished a sweep of the barely Quad-A Miami Marlins, beating the Fish 6-1 on getaway day on Thursday. The Nats didn’t so much as crush the competition, but in a very workmanlike manner dominated in every facet of the game in the three-game series.

The Nats are going to find stiffer competition this season in many corners, but they took care of business against a team that was gutted over the offseason of much of their Major League talent.

The Nats jumped all over Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc in the first inning. Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper both hit one-out singles and Ryan Zimmerman drove a ball to center. Werth scored easily with Harper right on his heels, and Harper collided with catcher Rob Brantly, but beat the throw to give the Nats a two-run lead. Harper appeared to hit his face on Brantly’s shin guard and took a moment to collect himself, but dusted himself off and left under his own power.

The Marlins finally broke their 19 inning scoreless streak to start the season, with center fielder Justin Ruggiano’s first home of the season, into the first row of bleachers above the out-of-town scoreboard in right center.

Washington tacked on a run in the third. Denard Span led off with a perfectly placed drag bunt and took second when LeBlanc foolishly tried to flip the ball with his glove while diving. The ball carried down the right field line, allowing Span to advance. He came home on Harper’s single to right to advance the lead to 3-1.

The Nats made it 6-1 in the seventh inning. With Wilson Ramos (single) and Denard Span (base on balls) aboard, Jayson Werth hit his first homer of the year to clear the bases and give the home team a comfortable advantage.

The Nats received their third straight quality start, this time Jordan Zimmermann doing the honors. The righty allowed eight hits and two walks in six inning, giving up just the solo home run and striking out one. It was far from a dominant performance, but Zimmermann (W, 1-0) was able to mitigate damage anytime he found himself in hot water.

Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen all pitched hitless innings in relief.

The Nationals travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds Friday night at 7:10 pm. Dan Haren is scheduled to face Homer Bailey.

Washington Nationals Game 146 Review: Nats listless and punchless in 5-1 loss to Braves to complete sweep

Well, the Braves did what they needed to do to keep this division race interesting.

The Washington Nationals entered this weekend’s series with an 8 1/2 game lead in the N.L. East over their opponents, the Atlanta Braves. They will exit with that lead cut by three games as the Braves finished a sweep over the team they trail in the division standings with a 5-1 win before 29,094 at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

The Nats (89-57) were trailing 2-1 in another close, tense game in the seventh inning when the game got away from them. Reliever Craig Stammen walked Michael Bourn with one out in the inning and Bourn went to third when Ryan Zimmerman booted Reed Johnson’s ground ball for Zimmerman’s 17th error  of the season. Manager Davey Johnson called on lefty Sean Burnett to face Jason Heyward, and he got the slugger to roll over to first for the second out of the inning, but Bourn carried the third Braves run of the game home.

Burnett was asked to walk Chipper Jones intentionally to set up a two-out battle against lefty Freddie Freeman, but Burnett’s second pitch hit Freeman to load the bases. Dan Uggla then took a 2-2 pitch to left field for a single, which scored Johnson and Jones, before Freeman ran into an out at third base to finally end the inning.

A close 2-1 game became an insurmountable 5-1 deficit just like that.

The Nationals were held to six hits by four different Braves pitchers, including starter Mike Minor (W, 9-10, 4.31), who went six innings and allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks, striking out three. The lack of offense cost Gio Gonzalez a shot at his 20th win of the season. Gonzalez (L, 19-8, 2.95), who threw 110 pitches in just five innings, gave up just two earned runs on four hits, but he also walked four batter in a less-that-stellar outing.

The Nats’ lone run came in the sixth when Ian Desmond singled to score Bryce Harper, who had doubled and took third on a ground out.

THE TAKEAWAY: Just throw this one — and the whole series — away. The Nats are off Monday and look to get back on track against Los Angeles next week at home.

THE GOOD: Um, no one new got hurt? The Nats still hold the best record in baseball, two games in the loss column for homefield advantage in the playoffs and a 5 1/2 game lead in the division. Oh, what’s that? Is the sky falling?

(edit–1:15 am) Apparently, the joke above no longer holds true. Danny Espinosa has apparently been playing with soreness in his left shoulder and is scheduled for an MRI Monday.

THE BAD: Ian Desmond was picked off and was also caught stealing in what was a one-run game at the time. In the ninth, he swung at a ball outside and popped up ont he first pitch of the at bats instead of taking a pitch with a runner on base.

THE UGLY: Danny Espinosa’s weekend. He went 0-for-3 with a K and GIDP Sunday and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning for Steve Lombardozzi with a right-hander on the mound.  For the series, he went 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts and is 6-for-39 (.153) over his last 10 games with 18 Ks.

THE STATS: 6 hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. 1-for-5 with RISP, 5 LOB, 1 GIDP. E: Zimmerman (17), no DPs.

NEXT GAME: Tuesday at 7:05 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.01) hosts Aaron Harang (9-9, 3.79).

Washington Nationals Game 58 Review: Nats sweep Sox with 4-3 win

The Washington Nationals on Sunday swept the Boston Red Sox with a 4-3 win, thanks to some late heroics by Roger Bernadina, who had a game-winning RBI double.

With the game tied at three at the start of the ninth inning, Bryce Harper – who was not in the starting lineup due to tightness in his back – was inserted as a pinch hitter in the frame and then made the most of his opportunity, drawing a walk to set up Bernadina’s big hit. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Weekend Roundup: Bats bust out in sweep of Braves

The Washington Nationals sit atop the N.L. East so far this season mostly on the strength of their pitching staff, most notably their dominant starting pitching. But in sweeping three straight from division rival Atlanta Braves over the weekend, the Nats hitters served notice that as the weather starts to warm up, they too can contribute to the winning ways.

The Nationals scored 22 runs in three games, besting the fourth-place Braves by the count of 7-4 Friday night, 8-4 Saturday and 7-2 Sunday. [Read more…]

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