May 28, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 47 Review: Scherzer Tosses Seven Scoreless, Nats Shut Out Cubs

Starting pitcher Max Scherzer led the Washington Nationals to a 3-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night pitching seven strong innings, backed by a pair of home runs and a pair of defensive errors made by the Cubs.

Scherzer gave up five hits and one walk while striking out thirteen batters. He threw 108 pitches and 72 strikes. [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 Series Preview: Chicago Cubs

The Nationals (26-18) are living up to their pre-season hype as the best team in the National League. After taking two out of three against Philadelphia this weekend the Nationals are a half-game behind the Dodgers and two games behind the Cardinals as far as tops in the National League.

Just three and a half games behind the Cardinals, though, are the Cubs (24-19), who might have been the most talked about team coming into this season. The Cubs signed Jon Lester to add a veteran pitching presence to a young core and have hit their stride in recent weeks, showing that they’ll be an exciting team to watch for the rest of 2015…and probably for many more years to come. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 44 Review: Nationals win eighth straight series, beat Phillies 4-1

Gio Gonzalez had seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched, and Bryce Harper went 2-3 as the Washington Nationals beat Philadelphia 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for May 22

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped game one of a three-game series to the Indianapolis Indians, 6-4, on Friday night. Chiefs starter Scott McGregor threw six and one-third innings, striking out five while only surrendering three runs. Shortstop Emmanuel Burriss connected for his second home run of the year in the loss.

After dropping its previous five games, Syracuse (16-25) scored first in the series opener against the Indians. Burriss led off the top of the third with a drag-bunt single. In the next at-bat, with the hit-and-run on, left fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., lined a double down the right-field line that scored Burriss. The Chiefs led 1-0 at the end of three innings.

Indianapolis took the lead 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth. After center fielder Darin Mastroianni struck out swinging to lead off the inning, third baseman Ian Stewart hit his eighth double of the season to give the Chiefs a runner in scoring position with only one out. First baseman Mark Minicozzi then singled to right field, advancing Stewart to third. Following a Matt den Dekker walk, catcher Dan Butler stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and only one out. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Butler hit a fly ball to center, deep enough for Stewart to tag from third and score, evening the game at two.

The tie would not hold for too long, however, as Indianapolis scored two more runs in the top of the seventh. The Chiefs tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh off the bat of Burriss. Reliever Deolis Guerra came in and retired pinch-hitter Josh Johnson to start off the inning. With a 1-1 count and one out, Burriss connected and drove his second home run of the season over the right-field wall, cutting the Indians’ lead to 4-3 at the end of seven.

The runs continued in the top of the eight. Felipe Rivero came in at the start of the inning to replace Hill. Indians catcher Tony Sanchez led off the inning with a walk and moved to second after left fielder Jaff Decker hit a bunt single. Rivero then struck out Brent Morel before Hernandez hit into a fielder’s choice, advancing Sanchez to third and putting Hernandez on first. Manny Delcarmen then entered the game to relieve Rivero to face pinch-hitter Elias Diaz. Diaz singled on a ball to right field, driving in Sanchez for the Indian’s fifth run of the game, and giving the Indians’ a 5-3 lead.

The Chiefs would not go down without a fight. In the bottom of the frame, Stewart walked off of new pitcher Josh Wall. Wall retired the next two batters before giving up a single to Butler, and letting Stewart advance to third after he stole second on a wild pitch. With Cutter Dykstra at the plate and a full count, Wall threw a wild pitch and Stewart easily scored from third, bringing the score to 5-4 in favor of Indianapolis.

The Indians tacked on another run in the top of the ninth off of Chiefs pitcher Jose Valverde. Third baseman Debinson Romero doubled with two outs and came around to score when Sanchez singled to center, making the final score 6-4.

The Chiefs and Indians play game two of the three game series Saturday night with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. The Chiefs will send right-hander Bruce Billings to the hill to face right-hander Adrian Sampson.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Richard Bieler pitched eight innings of two hit baseball for his third win of the season (3-0, 2.48 ERA) while Hector Ambriz got the save as the Senators (18-22) blanked the New Britain Rock Cats 1-0 on Friday night at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg.

The Senators scored their lone run of the night in the bottom of the third inning.  Derrick Robinson got it started with a single to right field.  Two batters later, Brian Goodwin singled to right field to move Robinson to third.  Then Mario Lisson hit an RBI single to left field to score Robinson.

Today at 6:00 is game two of the three game set vs. New Britain.  Joe Ross (2-1, 2.54 ERA) takes the ball for the Sens.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (18-23 Overall, 8-13 Road) snapped a three-game winning streak on the Grand Strand Friday evening on TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark losing the series opener of the best-of-four Memorial Day Weekend set opener to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (25-14 Overall, 9-9 Home) by the final score of 8-4.

Potomac is now a (5-9) club against teams from the Carolina League’s Southern Division.

Nationals RHP Reynaldo Lopez (2-1) suffered the roughest start of his Potomac Nationals’ career and the phenom took his first losing decision of the 2015 season.

Lopez, amid his fourth Carolina League start, pitched just 2.2 innings and surrendered five earned runs on five base hits including just one extra-base knock while walking one batter, striking out just two men, and unleashing one wild pitch.

The Nationals got to Myrtle Beach RHP Duane Underwood, Jr. (5-0) the eventual winning pitcher, in Act One using solo home runs from RF Brandon Miller and 2B Christopher Bostick in the 2nd and 3rd innings, respectively. Miller’s geyser to the last row of the grandstands in left field was his team-best fifth longball of the 2015 season, and for Bostick it was his first dinger this year which was sent over everything in left field out of the Home of the Pelicans.

Bostick, in his return to Pelicans Ballpark after serving as the Myrtle Beach second baseman last year for the 2014 Southern Division Champions before being traded this off-season to the Nationals in a package for former P-Nats LHP Ross Detwiler, went 2-for-5 with one run scored and one run batted in on the four-bagger.

Underwood, Jr. went on to hurl 6.0 innings in which the power big-bodied righty allowed just two earned runs on two homers and six total hits. Underwood, Jr. walked two P-Nats and fanned four batters en route to staying undefeated with his fifth win to no losses in the circuit.

Kevin Perez dealt 3.1 frames in relief of Lopez, served up just that one earned run on three hits and two walks, and struck out a duo.

Both clubs threw up a two-run spot on the scoreboard in their halves of the 8th stanza. For the Nationals off RHP Juan Paniagua, LF Isaac Ballou blasted a solo home run over the right field barrier, his third deep fly before 1B John Wooten dashed a triple into the left-center field gap setting up a one-out RBI single gunned into center field by 3B Khayyan Norfork to cut the Pelicans’ edge to 6-4.

Paniagua had not allowed an earned run in 2015 in 11.1 innings before this relief appearance.

This was the first three home run game of the 2015 journey for the red, white, and blue.

Pelicans RHP Jasvir Rakkar (6 SV) earned his sixth save in seven save chances with 1.2 scoreless frames in which the crafty reliever allowed one hit, a single to SS Stephen Perez in the 9th. Rakkar entered the game with runners at first and second base in the 8th and Myrtle Beach up two runs before inducing C Craig Manuel into a popup to shallow right-center field and retiring CF Narciso Mesa on a 3-1 groundout. Rakkar sidestepped the Perez single in the final inning by getting Bostick to fly out to left field before Ballou reached on a fielder’s choice groundball cutting down Perez at second base. Then, Wooten scorched a line drive at Pelicans SS Carlos Penalver who squeezed the hot shot to seal the victory for the home club, the Pelicans’ 25th win this season.

Tomorrow night in series Game Two Potomac sends RHP Tyler Mapes (0-0, 3.75) to the hill in a spot start to duel with Myrtle Beach RHP Paul Blackburn (2-2, 5.00) with first pitch slated for 6:05pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (21-20) fell to the Lexington Legends 5-1 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Kentucky.  Luis Reyes (1-3, 5.44 ERA) got the loss for Hagerstown.

Hagerstown scored their lone run in the top of the fourth.  With one out Austin Davidson smacked a double to right field, then Brennan Middleton singled on a line drive to left field to score Davidson.

Tonight is game three of the four game series.  First pitch is at 7:05.  Phillips Valdez (4-2, 1.22 ERA) will take the ball for the Suns against Colin Rodgers of Lexington.

Washington Nationals Game 43 Review: Hamels stellar, errors plague Nationals as Phillies win 8-1

A four-run third inning, featuring a two-run shot to center field by Maikel Franco, ended Stephen Strasburg’s day early and was the start of a painful day at Nationals Park, as a sellout crowd was on hand for an 8-1 Philadelphia win over the Nationals on Saturday.

[Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 42 Review: Scherzer Dominates The Phillies, Harper Goes Long

The Washington Nationals treated a crowd of 35,893 to nine innings of one-run baseball on Friday night beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 after a strong eight-inning performance from right-handed starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

Scherzer gave up four hits, one run, and one walk while striking out six batters. He threw 110 pitches and 79 strikes.  And — thanks to some timely offense — he also helped the Nationals take their 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. [Read more…]

Nats Nightly: Nationals 2-1 over Phillies – Max Scherzer does it all in D.C.

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

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

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

For the first time this season the Nationals open up a series in sole possession of first place. After a two-game sweep of the Yankees (and two days off in four days), the Nationals (24-17) are a half-game in front of the Mets as they welcome the Phillies (18-25) to Nationals Park.

The Phillies still have the likes of Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon, likely to be surrounded by trade rumors until the trade deadline in July. But they’ve won seven out of nine in their best stretch of the season so far, and have shown no urgency to unload some of their veteran chips.

The Nationals are red hot, having won five in a row. They are also 12-6 at Nationals Park so far this year.

*The Last Time…

This is already the third series between the Nationals and Phillies this season. The teams played seven times in April, with the Phillies taking two out of three in Philadelphia and the Nationals taking three out of four in Washington.

*In The Other Dugout

The Phillies were not expected to do much in 2015. They’re not exactly blowing away expectations, but they have had a recent stretch of success. A six game winning streak helped lift them out of the division’s basement, and coupled with the Marlins’ current seven game losing streak, has the Phillies a game and a half in front of Miami. The Marlins suddenly look like a better bet to be the laughingstock of the National League East rather than the Phillies.

Because no matter how bad things get in Philadelphia this year, they are not very likely to see their general manager take over managerial duties on the field.

*Matchup To Watch

As though we needed any reason to believe Bryce Harper will stay hot: he was 2 for 5 with two home runs in the two games O’Sullivan pitched against the Nationals in April.

*Probables

Friday, 7:05pm: Sean O’Sullivan (1-2, 3.68 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (4-3, 1.75 ERA)

Saturday, 4:05pm: Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.24 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 5.98 ERA)

Sunday, 1:35pm: Aaron Harang (4-3, 1.82 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.94 ERA)

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for May 20

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs were swept by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs after a third consecutive one-run loss at home on Wednesday afternoon. Syracuse squandered Mitch Lively’s stellar start and Mark Minicozzi’s first home run of the year to drop the final game of the series by a score of 2-1.

The game was a pitchers’ duel until the sixth inning. Two Chiefs pitchers and Anthony Vasquez combined to allow only three hits into the fifth inning. Lively, in his first start since game three of the playoffs in September 2014, turned in four outstanding innings for the Chiefs. The right-hander allowed only one hit and struck out four before Erik Davis replaced him in the fifth inning.

Davis made his first appearance for the Chiefs since being optioned to Triple-A on May 18th. He threw a stellar inning against Lehigh Valley. The right-hander allowed a hit and struck out two in his first appearance back with Syracuse since 2013.

After Lehigh Valley took a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth, Syracuse (16-24) answered immediately in the bottom of the sixth. With one out in the inning, Mark Minicozzi lined an opposite-field drive over the right-field wall to cut the IronPigs’ lead in half. The solo shot made the score 2-1 at the end of six innings.

Neither team would score again as both bullpens were brilliant. Delcarmen allowed the only two runs for Syracuse in his third loss of the season. The IronPigs’ bullpen allowed only two hits and did not surrender a run for three and two-thirds innings to close out the Chiefs and complete the sweep in Syracuse.

After a day off on Thursday, the Chiefs complete the six-game homestand with a three-game series against Indianapolis. The first game of the series will be on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Syracuse sends right-hander Scott McGregor to the mound against right-hander Chris Volstad.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Led by a host of contributors, the Harrisburg Senators beat the Binghamton Mets, 10-1, Wednesday afternoon before 4,859 fans at Metro Bank Park. The Senators (16-22) will have a chance to win the three-game series tomorrow night.

Derrick Robinson’s three-run double in the second inning afforded Harrisburg a 3-1 lead. Harrisburg tacked on in the fifth inning when Shawn Pleffner drove in two with a single. Pleffner, who was 2-for-4 with two singles, has now recorded three consecutive multi-hit games. An inning later, Caleb Ramsey and Kevin Keyes both drove in a run with singles while Tony Renda hit a sacrifice fly. Then in the seventh, Ricky Hague doubled for a team-high 11th time and Mario Lisson launched a two-run, pinch-hit home run to extend Harrisburg’s lead to nine. Lisson now has a hit in 11 straight games.

In his first start with Harrisburg, Matthew Spann was fantastic. The tall lefty pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one run on seven hits. He walked none and struck three out. In his fourth MLB rehab appearance with Harrisburg, Casey Janssen breezed through the eighth inning with three consecutive groundball outs. Hector Ambriz finished the afternoon with a scoreless ninth inning.

Tonight’s series finale will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Dakota Bacus starting for Harrisburg in his AA debut. The pregame show beginning at 6:15 p.m. on Fox Sports 1460am, iHeart Radio, and on Tune In.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The P-Nats (17-22-Overall, 9-10-Home) plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning and closed out their second consecutive one-run win in the 4-3 victory that clinched the series against the Carolina Mudcats (19-17-Overall, 6-9-Road) at Pfitzner Stadium on Wednesday night.

Potomac sent RHP Lucas Giolito (1-2, 4.67), who was still searching for his first win in a Red, White and Blue uniform, to the mound for his third start.

Giolito set the Mudcats down in order to begin the ballgame and LHP Blair Walters returned the favor in the bottom of the first.

Potomac fired right back against Walters in the second on back-to-back singles from 3B Drew Ward and 1B John Wooten that put runners on first and second. 2B Khayyan Norfork came up and sliced a line drive down the right field line that scored both Ward and Wooten for a 2-1 Potomac advantage and he extended his hitting streak to six games.

The game remained 2-1 Potomac until the top of sixth inning. Giolito remained on the mound and struck out LF Keith Curcio to begin the frame. Unfortunately for the righty he fired a wild pitch on the final strike and Curcio was able to reach base safely. DH Sean Godfrey singled behind Curcio and 1B Joey Meneses followed with a two-run triple to push Carolina back out in front 3-2. Giolito, undaunted, proceeded to strike out the side, stranding Meneses at third base and fanning four in the inning.

Giolito finished with nine strikeouts over his season-high seven innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits and no walks. Giolito earned his first win of the season and threw 87 pitches with 63 being strikes.

Potomac answered the call in the bottom of the sixth trailing 3-2 when SS Stephen Perez walked. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Walters and moved to third on an infield single by CF Isaac Ballou. C Spencer Kieboom came up and hit an infield single that he legged out allowing Perez to score and tie the game at 3-3 before Ward hit into an inning ending double play.

Walters was lifted prior to the Ward at-bat and finished with 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, he walked two and struck out four. For Walters it was his longest outing of the season after beginning the year in the bullpen and he did not factor in the decision.

LHP Matt Marksberry (2-1, 4.00) induced the double play ball from Ward and then emerged for the seventh inning as well. He retired the first two hitters with ease and then RF Brandon Miller singled. Miller extended his hitting streak to five games before being pulled for a pinch runner in the form of OF Narciso Mesa. Marksberry proceeded to walk the next two hitters to load the bases and with Perez up he delivered a breaking ball that was headed for the back foot of switch hitter. It was ruled the ball hit Perez on the foot and Mesa came home to score the go-ahead run to make it 4-3 P-Nats.

RHP Derek Self came into the ballgame for Giolito and pitched a scoreless eighth inning before turning things over to RHP Cody Davis (SV 1) for his first save opportunity.

Davis walked 3B Carlos Franco to begin the ninth and Briceño followed with a fielder’s choice ball that Wooten threw into left field for an error that pushed Franco all the way to third and allowed Briceño to reach safely. The right fielder Oliver was up next and what happened was wild, Oliver hit a comebacker to Davis who checked Franco at third and threw to Perez at second base to retire Briceño. When Davis spun to throw, Franco broke for the plate causing Perez to throw back home to Kieboom. The ball beat Franco there by five feet and he was eventually tagged out in a rundown by Ward. During the rundown Oliver tried to advance into scoring position and Ward, after applying the tag to Franco, fired to Norfork at second base, who applied the tag to a sliding Oliver but it was just late and Carolina stayed out of what would have been a game ending triple play. Davis then punched out Lien to end the ballgame and notch his first save of 2015.

Potomac, with the victory tonight, has won the series and looks for a series sweep tomorrow night in the finale. It’s the first series win for the P-Nats since they defeated the Wilmington Blue Rocks two games to one on April 20th through April 22nd at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium in the first state.

Potomac, after back-to-back one-run victories are now 7-9 in such affairs and improve to 9-10 at The Pfitz. For the Mudcats the loss is their fifth in a row, the longest losing streak of the season.

The series finale with Carolina begins tonight at 7:05 pm and Potomac will send the RHP John Simms (0-4, 5.60) to the mound against LHP Yean Carlos (0-6, 4.23).

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will have the game starting at 6:50 pm with the The P-Nats Lead-Off Show and take you up to first pitch.

Tonight is a Thursday Cheers night at Pfitzner Stadium presented by Yellow Cab and will feature discounted beverages all game long.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (20-19) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Wednesday afternoon, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending Hagerstown to a 5-2 win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers (17-22). The win gives the Suns a season-best four-game winning streak, and wrapped up the team’s first series sweep of the year.

The eighth inning rally for Hagerstown began with two outs in the eighth. Catcher Jorge Tillero got the rally going by hitting a ground ball single up the middle into center field. Third baseman Brennan Middleton then caught the defense off guard by bunting for a base hit, putting runners at first and second. Right fielder Alec Keller smacked a third straight single, and this one brought home Tillero from second to give the Suns the lead for good. Shortstop Osvaldo Abreu then made it a three-run game with a bases clearing double on a fly ball to center field.

The Suns jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning with a home run off the bat of center fielder Dale Carey.  He led off the frame by jacking a pitch over the center field wall and into the visitors’ bullpen. It was Carey’s third homer of the season and second of the homestand.

The Suns lead increased to 2-0 in the fourth. With a runner on third and one out, LF Jeff Gardner smacked a ground ball double to right, driving home 1B Jose Marmolejos for the two-run lead. It was Gardner’s third RBI of the series and eighth of the homestand, and he’s now on a six-game hitting streak.

RHP Justin Amlung (1-0) was the beneficiary of the eighth inning rally by Hagerstown, as he wound up with the win. He threw 1.1 innings of scoreless relief without allowing a baserunner. RHP Austen Williams started for the Suns and went 5.2 innings without giving up a run. RHP Luis Castillo (1-1) suffered the loss for the Grasshoppers. In 1.2 innings of work he surrendered three earned runs on four hits while striking out two.

The Suns next head to Lexington, Kentucky to begin a four-game series against the Lexington Legends (17-21) starting Thursday May 21. The Suns will send RHP Drew Van Orden (1-1) to the mound for his fifth start of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.

 

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