September 1, 2014

Washington Nationals make roster changes before series with Mets

Sitting with a record below .500 after Memorial Day is no way for a World Series hopeful to conduct business.

Tuesday, before their game against the New York Mets, The Washington Nationals placed second baseman Danny Espinosa on the 15-day D.L. with a broken right wrist, recalled infielder Anthony Rendon, and designated Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke for assignment. In addition, the team called up LHP Ian Krol, who was acquired in the off-season trade of Michael Morse.

Saying Espinosa has struggled this season is a gross understatement. The 26-year-old was hitting .158/.193/.272 at the time of his disabling with just three homers and 12 RBIs this season. He had struck out 47 times and walked just four times. He injured his left shoulder last August and later was diagnosed with a partially torn rotator cuff. In April of this year, he was hit with a Paul Maholm fastball and was later diagnoses with a fracture and bone chips in his right wrist.

According to reports in the clubhouse, Espinosa cleared his locker out. It’s not usual protocol for a player on the 15-day D.L. to clear out his locker.

Rendon starts his second stint with the team. He was recently promoted to AAA and got three games in for Syracuse before being recalled. He played all three games at second base. Rendon hit .307/.452/.575 between Harrisburg and Syracuse this season.

Rodriguez, the 100-MPH fireballing reliever, owned a 4.00 ERA and 1.667 WHIP at the time of his release. Always one to have trouble with his control, he was walking a whopping 8.0 per nine innings while his usually stellar K/9 was down to 5.5.

Duke was 1-1 with a 8.71 ERA and 1.887 WHIP in 12 games, including one start.

Krol. a 22-year-old left-handed reliever, had a 0.69 ERA, 0.8080 WHIP and 10.0 K/p in AA-Harrisburg and has never pitched above Double-A.

 

Washington Nationals Game 57 Review: Middle relief culprit again in 6-3 loss to Braves

If the Washington Nationals want to consider their deficit in the N.L. East, they need to look no further than the team across the diamond from them Sunday. The Atlanta Braves took advantage of the Nats bullpen yet again, while Washington could muster nothing against the Braves’, falling in the series finale 6-3. With the loss, the Nats drop below .500 (28-29).

The Braves lead in the East stretched to a whopping 6 1/2 games — the largest in baseball currently. The Nats have a season series record against the Braves of 3-7, accounting for a large portion of that deficit.

As was the case Saturday night, the Nats bullpen could not handle their responsibility, as Zach Duke walked four and gave up two hits in his two-thirds of an inning, effectively digging the Nats hitters a hole they are incapable of rallying from these days.

Duke’s incapacity to throw strikes Sunday made a loser out of Nathan Karns (0-1, 6.00). Karns was not as strong as in his debut, but left two runners on base when he left the game, and Duke allowed both to score. The rookie, who made his second MLB start, gave up four runs — three earned — on seven hits and a walk, striking out six in 4 2/3 innings.

After the Nats went in order in the top of the first against Braves starter Paul Maholm (W, 7-4, 3.68), the Braves jumped right on Karns. Leadoff hitter Andrelton Simmons reached on a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman, his tenth of the season. The next hitter, Ramiro Pena, clobbered a fastball into the stands in right for an early 2-0 lead for Atlanta.

The Nats got both runs back in the second. Adam LaRoche doubled to lead off and went to third on Ian Desmond’s bunt single. Tyler Moore followed with a run-scoring single to left to get the Nats on the board. Later in the inning, Maholm butchered Karns’ popped up bunt. All hands were safe, and Desmond scooted home with the then-tying run.

The tie didn’t last long, as B.J. Upton homered off Karns in the bottom half of the inning to re-take the lead.

Things stayed that way until the fateful fifth inning. Justin Upton started the Braves rally with a one-out single off Karns. After the Nats righty got Freddie Freeman to fly out, he lost Evan Gattis on a 3-2 fastball after having the slugger down 0-2. Manager Davey Johnson called on Duke at that point, and Duke did nothing but pour gasoline on the fire. On Duke’s ninth pitch to Brian McCann, the Braves catcher finally got one he could handle, slapping a single to left field to plate Upton. Duke got out of the inning without more damage, but he wasn’t done yet.

Desmond homered in the top of the sixth to cut the Braves lead to 4-3. In the bottom of the frame, Duke walked the first two batters he faced. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Duke intentionally walked Justin Upton to face Freeman. The decision backfired, as Freeman doubled off the top of the wall in left field, plating two more runs. The play was reviewed as the Braves thought the hit was a home run, but the call on the field stood.

Not that it mattered.

The Nats went hitless in the last three innings, failing to muster any sort of comeback. Washington has yet to score on the Braves bullpen in their ten games this season. For the entire year, the Nats are hitting .194/.252/.286 in innings seven though nine.

THE GOOD: Right-hander Erik Davis, called up Saturday from Triple-A Syracuse, made a successful Major League debut, throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings of relief, recording two strikeouts.

THE BAD: The bottom third of the Nats order went 1-for-9 with five runners left stranded.

THE UGLY: Zach Duke. Whatever magic the lefty used last season to get his name back in good graces, he must have used all up. His ERA sits at 8.71 now and just continues to have poor performance after another, giving up multiple runs in four of his last five appearances.

THE STATS: 5 hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. 2-for-6 with RISP, 3 LOB. E: Zimmerman (10, throw). No DPs.

NEXT GAME: Tuesday at 7:05 against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Jordan Zimmermann (8-3, 2.37) hosts Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.74).

Washington Nationals Game 52 Review: Long ball powers Nats past O’s

Washington Nationals Nathan Karns MLB debut, May 28, 2013 (Photo Courtesy of Jenn Jenson)

Washington Nationals Nathan Karns MLB debut, May 28, 2013 (Photo Courtesy of Jenn Jenson)

At long last, the Washington Nationals (27-25) offense came alive Tuesday night as the team out-hit their Beltway rival Baltimore Orioles (28-24) 9-3 at Nationals Park.

After an 81-minute rain delay, right-hander Nathan Karns (ND, 0-0) took the mound for Washington, called up directly from Double-A Harrisburg as a result of Ross Detwiler’s placement on the 15-day disabled list. Karns tossed a less-than-stellar 4.1 innings, but there were clear indications that the potential is there.

For starters, the 25-year-old pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, forcing Nate McLouth, Manny Machado and Nick Markakis out on infield grounders. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 45 Review: Nats manage just three hits in loss to Giants

The Washington Nationals are struggling offensively. They rank statistically near the bottom of the pack in the National League in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and runs scored. It doesn’t matter how well they pitch right now, you still have to score to win the game. The San Francisco Giants seemed to be the perfect panacea to the Nats hitting woes, having given up 52 runs in their last six games.

Unfortunately, it was the Giants that got well, shutting the Nats (23-22) out 8-0, punishing each and every reliever the Nats threw out there last night, as the long-men in the bullpen were tasked with pitching in Ross Detwiler’s normal rotation spot.

The Giants started the scoring in the second inning off Zach Duke (0-1, 8.84). Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt hit back-to-back one-out singles. Andres Torres lashed a double to left and Pence scampered home from second base. Brandon Crawford grounded to second for the second out of the game, but Belt came in to score to make it 2-0.

In the fourth, the Giants added to their lead. Belt led off with a single and went to second on Torres’ single. Crawford hit a comebacker that deflected off Duke’s wrist. Duke was able to corral it and get the middle runner, Torres, at second. Craig Stammen relieved, and Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong executed a safety squeeze, with Belt scoring from third. Angel Pagan followed with a double to right field, bringing home Crawford. Marco Scutaro delivered a single to center and Pagan scored, increasing the Giants lead to 5-0.

Belt got his third hit of the night in the fifth inning, a solo home run off Stammen, his sixth of the season. Later in the inning, though, Vogelsong swung through a pitch for a strike that actually hit him on the right hand, forcing him from the game. Later, the Giants announced Vogelsong suffered a fractured hand and would have surgery and miss extensive time.

The Giants (25-20) went back to work in the seventh inning against Henry Rodriguez. Hot Rod walked Hunter Pence on four pitches to start the inning. Belt singled; Pence moved to third. Torres grounded to first and Adam LaRoche was able to throw home and eventually got Pence. No matter. Rodriguez walked Crawford to load the bases. After Gregor Blanco popped up, the Giants got their clutch hit, with Pagan singling to center, which scored Belt and Torres for the final 8-0 margin.

THE GOOD: Nothing. There was no good to come of this. No hitter had more than one hit. All three pitchers gave up two or more runs. Just lousy baseball all around.

THE BAD: 17 hits allowed with 3 BBs (all courtesy of Hot Rod). Every Giants starter had a hit and six had multi-hit games, including Brandon Belt’s 4-for-5 game.

THE UGLY: The Giants had surrendered 52 runs in their last six games. The Nats mustered all of three singles and two walks.

THE STATS: 3 hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. 0-for-2 with RISP, 4 LOB. No errors, 1 DP.

NEXT GAME: Tuesday at 10:15 pm ET against the Giants. Stephen Strasburg 92-5, 2.83) faces Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43).

NATS NOTES: After the game, the Nats revealed Ryan Mattheus broke his hand in Sunday’s game and would head to the DL. The team planned to recall RHP Yunesky Maya and LHP Fernando Abad from AAA Syracuse. OF Eury Perez will be sent down to make room on the roster.

Washington Nationals Game 44 Review: Padres tally 13 runs against Nationals’ rocky pitching

Dan Haren (L, 4-5) lasted but five innings and gave up seven runs as the Washington Nationals (23-21) fell 13-4 to the San Diego Padres (20-23) Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.

The Nats went down in order in the first against right-hander Andrew Cashner (W, 3-2), but the Padres by no means returned the favor.

Everth Cabrera led off  the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second base before Chase Headley walked to give the Padres first and second with one out. Carlos Quentin doubled in Cabrera and Yonder Alonso brought home Headley on a sacrifice fly to quickly make it 2-0 San Diego. Before Haren could regain control, however, Jedd Gyorko – who’s hit hard off the Nats this series – doubled on a sharp grounder to left to make it 3-0. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 27 Review: Gio inconsistent as Braves unravel Nats yet again

The very same Gio Gonzalez (2-2) who one-hit the Cincinnati Reds just five days earlier unraveled in just four innings Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals (13-14) fell 8-1 to the Atlanta Braves (17-9) at Turner Field.

As such, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde saga continues to play out on the mound for the Nats.

If you had focused in on only select portions of Gonzalez’s stint, you could strategically craft a recap of his performance quite unlike the actual outcome. After all, Gonzalez fanned a season-high nine batters, five of whom struck out in four pitches or less. His fastball reached 94 MPH consistently, he picked off B.J. Upton at first base and threw 56 of 95 pitches for strikes. [Read more...]

NATS: Happy Birthday, Zach Duke

HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY ZACH DUKE!

Washington Nationals pitcher was born on 04/19/1983 in Clifton, Texas.

Follow Zach Duke on Twitter (@zach_duke) and wish #30 a Happy Golden Birthday.

Zach Duke doesn't look happy with his at bat (grounded out to pitcher in 5th inning) - Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Zach Duke doesn’t look happy with his at bat (grounded out to pitcher in 5th inning) – Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Zach Duke pitching for the first time in a Nats uniform - Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Zach Duke pitching for the first time in a Nats uniform – Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

John Lannan and Zach Duke - Philadelphia Phillies v. Washington Nationals, October 1, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

John Lannan and Zach Duke – Philadelphia Phillies v. Washington Nationals, October 1, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

 

NATS/CHIEFS: Syracuse Chiefs Opening Day Roster, April 4

Today, April 4 is the opening day for the Syracuse Chiefs, Washington Nationals Triple-A Affiliate.

Syracuse Chiefs Press Release HeaderCHIEFS ANNOUNCE PRELIMINARY 2013 OPENING DAY ROSTER
12 players from last year’s team to return

Syracuse, NY—The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are pleased to announce their preliminary roster for the 2013 season. Syracuse, led by second-year manager Tony Beasley, will begin its season on Thursday, April 4, at 7:05 at Lehigh Valley, with its home opener on Friday, April 12 at 2:05 vs. the IronPigs.

Syracuse’s active Opening Day roster features 16 former major leaguers and seven players on the Nationals’ 40-man roster. The Chiefs also return 12 players from last year’s Syracuse squad and 15 former Chiefs in total.

The Chiefs’ opening day staff will consist of 13 pitchers, five of whom spent time in Syracuse last season. Yunesky Maya (11-10, 3.88 ERA in 28 starts with the Chiefs in 2012), Tanner Roark (6-17, 4.39 ERA in 26 starts) and Ryan Perry (1-1, 4.50 ERA in 11 relief appearances) are slated to hold three of the spots in Syracuse’s rotation. Maya returns for his fourth season with Syracuse, with Roark and Perry as second-year Chiefs.

The other two spots in Syracuse’s season-opening rotation will be held by right-hander Ross Ohlendorf and left-hander Danny Rosenbaum. Ohlendorf, a veteran of 108 major league games with the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres, is in his first year with the Nationals’ organization. Rosenbaum, recently returned from Colorado after being selected in the 2012 Rule V draft, will begin his fifth professional season in the Nationals’ organization. He sported a 3.94 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg in 26 starts last season.

The bullpen will feature returning right-handers Erik Davis and Jeff Mandel, with Mandel also entering fourth Syracuse season and Davis his second. Right-hander Ryan Tatusko also rejoins the team for the second time after spending the entire 2012 season in Harrisburg, where he sported a 3.50 ERA.

Two other former Chiefs join the bullpen – left-hander J.C. Romero and right-hander Jeremy Accardo. Romero, a veteran of 680 major-league games, pitched in five games for the Chiefs in 2011. Accardo, who’s pitched 262 games in the majors, tossed five games for the Chiefs in 2008, the final year of Syracuse’s affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The remaining three spots in the bullpen are filled out by two former major leaguers – left-hander Fernando Abad (Houston) and right-hander Mike Crotta (Pittsburgh) – and left-hander Patrick McCoy, who finished 7-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 50 games for Double-A Harrisburg last season.

Offensively, both Chiefs catchers return from last year’s squad. Jhonatan Solano rejoins Syracuse for the fourth time after a season in which he made his major league debut (.312 batting average in 12 games with Washington), while veteran Carlos Maldonado also returns to Syracuse for the fourth time. The two have combined to play in 306 career games with Syracuse.

Syracuse’s infield is split between three returning Chiefs and three newcomers. First baseman Chris Marrero, shortstop Zach Walters, and third baseman Carlos Rivero – a postseason International League All-Star last season – will rejoin the Chiefs after spending time in Washington’s major league camp this spring. Infielder Jeff Kobernus, who led stole 42 bases for Double-A Harrisburg to lead the 2012 Eastern League, will join them for his Triple-A debut. Former major leaguers Mike Costanzo (Cincinnati) and Will Rhymes (Detroit, Tampa Bay) round out the six-man group.

In the outfield, postseason International League All-Star Corey Brown will return to Syracuse for the third time. Brown led all Chiefs players in 2012 with 25 home runs and also appeared in 19 major league games for Washington. He’ll be joined by 22-year-old Eury Perez, the youngest Chief on the Opening Day roster. Converted pitcher Micah Owings, who’s appeared in 174 major league games, and former Canadian Olympic outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand will both join the Chiefs for the first time.

Tickets for all Syracuse Chiefs home games are on sale now and can be purchased online at SyracuseChiefs.com, by calling 315-474-7833, or in person at the Chiefs ticket office. Full- and partial-season ticket plans are also available through each of the same three methods.

Washington Nationals 2013 Season Preview: The Bullpen

This week, District Sports Page will take a look at the players that should comprise the 2013 roster of the Washington Nationals. Following a record-setting season last year that saw the Nats finish first in the N.L. East and advance to the playoffs for the first time since the relocation, GM Mike Rizzo has tweaked the roster a bit and expectations have never been higher for the organization, which is expected to be a legitimate World Series contender this season.

Monday, we looked at the starting pitchers. Today, it’s the bullpen.

PROJECTED OPENING DAY BULLPEN: Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen, Zach Duke, Henry Rodriguez/Christian Garcia [Read more...]

Washington Nationals 2013 Season Preview: The Starters

by Dave Nichols and Alyssa Wolice

This week, District Sports Page will take a look at the players that should comprise the 2013 roster of the Washington Nationals. Following a record-setting season last year that saw the Nats finish first in the N.L. East and advance to the playoffs for the first time since the relocation, GM Mike Rizzo has tweaked the roster a bit and expectations have never been higher for the organization, which is expected to be a legitimate World Series contender this season.

Today, we evaluate the Nats’ candidates at starting pitcher. As they prepare to report for Spring Training, the Nats will look to lay the Strasburg Shutdown debate to rest once and for all in the months ahead. The team – which ranked first in ERA and third in strikeouts in the National League in 2012 — boasts a talented Top 5 that can match any on baseball, But injury — or suspension — could put them in a precarious position due to the lack of top-end options in the minor leagues. [Read more...]

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