Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Game 109: Braves at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals look to make it four in a row tonight against the Braves.
It's been an up-and-down season for the Nationals, who are suddenly back on an upswing, having won three straight. Two big reasons for that: Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth, who have each caught fire. Ankiel is hitting .339 with four homers, 10 RBI and a .987 OPS since coming off the DL July 1. Werth, meanwhile, is hitting .333 with a .447 on-base percentage and robust 1.062 OPS over his last 11 games.

Both guys are in the lineup tonight against the Braves, with Ankiel again leading off and Werth batting fifth. John Lannan starts for the Nationals, hoping to pitch deep into the game, but knowing there's a little more help in the bullpen now just in case.

Collin Balester was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse, with Atahualpa Severino getting optioned without having appeared in a game. Balester had been pitching in long relief in Syracuse, and Davey Johnson would like to use him (and Tom Gorzelanny now) in that role in the big leagues.

One other bullpen note: Keep in mind that Drew Storen has pitched three straight days. If the Nats hold a late lead tonight, don't be surprised if someone else (ie. Tyler Clippard) is used in the ninth inning. Updates to come...

BRAVES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 93 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (52-56)
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
RF Jayson Werth
LF Jonny Gomes
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
P John Lannan

BRAVES (63-47)
CF Michael Bourn
LF Martin Prado
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
SS Alex Gonzalez
3B Brooks Conrad
C David Ross
RF Jose Constanza
P Derek Lowe
5:09 p.m. -- An update on Ivan Rodriguez, who spoke to Davey Johnson yesterday: Pudge is just about ready to begin a rehab assignment after missing 25 days with a strained oblique muscle. He's been at his home in Miami rehabbing and working with a physical therapist, but he's scheduled to come to Washington tomorrow to meet with team doctors and officials here, then embark on the rehab assignment as the club heads out on a road trip.

7:06 p.m. -- John Lannan fires a strike to Michael Bourn, and this game is underway under cloudy skies. By the way, for those wondering why Jonny Gomes is starting tonight over Laynce Nix against a right-handed starter, couple of reasons from Davey Johnson: 1) Because of his nagging Achilles' injury, Nix wasn't going to start both tonight and tomorrow afternoon, 2) Gomes has good numbers against Derek Lowe (4-for-9, 2B, HR), and 3) Because the Braves have so many good left-handed setup men, Johnson would rather have the right-handed Gomes in the lineup for most of the game, then use Nix late against closer Craig Kimbrel.

7:10 p.m. -- Lannan mows 'em down in the top of the first. Strikes out Bourn. Gets Martin Prado on a slow roller to third (helped by a nice sidearm throw from Ryan Zimmerman). Then gets Freddie Freeman on a comebacker that perhaps momentarily had Lannan's life flashing before his eyes. No worries, he caught the ball cleanly and threw to first to complete a 10-pitch top of the first.

7:15 p.m. -- You know who has really started looking like his old self? Zimmerman. He just singled to left to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Going back even farther, Zim is now batting a robust .355 over his last 25 games. A very encouraging sign. Still scoreless after one inning, though.

7:40 p.m. -- Speaking of guys on a hot streak ... Jayson Werth continues to resurrect his season. Led off the bottom of the second with a single to right, then stole second and took third on a bad throw by David Ross. Ian Desmond's sac fly to right brought him home and put the Nats up 1-0.

7:48 p.m. -- And the Braves get two runs back in the top of the third. Ross and George Costanza ... er, Jose Constanza started things off with back-to-back singles. A nice throw by Morse on a sac bunt attempt got Ross at third, but Bourn followed with an RBI double to right, and Prado added a run-scoring groundball. So it's 2-1 Braves.

8:12 p.m. -- The Braves are dinking and doinking Lannan to death right now. Three more hits in the fourth, all singles, to add another run. Making matters worse, he walked Derek Lowe on a high 3-2 fastball, prolonging the inning. Lannan has already thrown 72 pitches, though 52 of them have been strikes. He's not missing the plate much. The Braves are just making solid contact a lot and have taken a 3-1 lead in the process.

8:23 p.m. -- Wow, that was quite an interesting bottom of the fourth. Let's start with Jonny Gomes, who was on third base with the bases loaded and Lannan at the plate. Lannan bounced a ball to Freeman, who fired to the plate for what should have been an easy force out. Except Gomes gave David Ross a full-on take-out slide, preventing the catcher from keeping his foot on the plate. Can't say I've ever seen a player slide into the plate quite like that. Gomes was safe, but I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a pitch in his ear the next time he's up. Not that the Nats are complaining, because Ankiel came up after that with the bases still loaded and crushed a ball over the center-field fence. Grand slam for Babe Ruth...er, Rick Ankiel, who is absolutely on fire right now. The Nats have stunningly taken a 6-3 lead in the fourth.

8:40 p.m. -- Gomes leads off the fifth with a triple down the left-field line, setting up a potential reunion with Ross at the plate. Except there's no chance for a play at the plate when the next batter puts the ball in the seats. Ian Desmond with the 2-run shot, his first homer since April 28. Speaking of guys starting to come around at the plate ... Desmond has looked much better lately. Seems like this coincides with Davey Johnson moving him out of the 8-hole and into the 7-hole. As a matter of fact, it's been seven games since Desmond was bumped up in the order. His stats during that time: .316 average, .381 OBP, three extra-base hits, five RBI. Hmm ... Nats now lead 8-3, and Derek Lowe has been yanked.

8:59 p.m. -- Credit to Lannan, who was given a big lead and put the clamps down on the Braves. He struck out the side in the sixth, giving him a season-high seven for the night. ... And now Morse crushes a pitch from Christhian Martinez into the second deck in deep right-center for his 18th homer of the season. Can't say I remember too many right-handed hitters doing that in this ballpark. Elijah Dukes did it. I think Ryan Zimmerman may have, too. Nats now lead 9-3.

9:14 p.m. -- Davey tried to squeeze seven full innings out of Lannan, but he finally hit a wall. Gave up a couple of two-out hits, so Davey brought in Henry Rodriguez to put out the fire. Still, Lannan ends up with a season-high eight strikes and matches his career high with 80 strikes.

9:32 p.m. -- Henry Rodriguez: Four batters faced. Four batters retired. Two strikeouts. He, and the Nats, needed that. It's 9-3 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

9:49 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Rodriguez records seven outs, four of them via K, and the Nats win, 9-3. It's the most-lopsided victory since Davey Johnson took over, and a four-game winning streak, all against NL opponents.

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76 comments:

Anonymous said...

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NEW 2012 NATIONALS FULL SEASON TICKET OFFERS NOW AVAILABLE

“Buy 2 Get 2,” “Shake Shack Pack” and “Finish Strong” among the packages available

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Anonymous said...

I thought Davey said last night that he was going to run Storen out there again tonight if he could to see if he could take the abuse.

Steve M. said...

FeelWood "MASN, the team-run network for Nationals games, did not exercise a 2012 option for play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter by yesterday’s deadline, a Nationals team official said."

This is a true statement only if by "team" you mean "Baltimore Orioles".


Feelwood, I am still laughing. Good one! The MAsNGELOS network, all about profiting off of Strasburg, Harper and anything else in Washington!

natsfan1a said...

Go, LannEn. Go, NATS!!

Knoxville Nat said...

Nix not in the lineup tonight against a right hander? How bad is that achilles?

waddu eye no said...

don't care as much about carpenter, but keep charlie and dave on the radio!

GYFNG!

Mark'd said...

LANNeN!!!

Tim said...

Knoxville... Nix looked hobled last night in the 7th chasing a ball in the corner. I predict DL.

baseballswami said...

It's funny - there were years when I did not care for Bob Carpenter -- but I think he is at his best now with FP Santangelo. They are a good team. Re: Nix - he gets hobbled when they run he out there too long, he takes time off, then he plays again. My guess is that they will just do it until the end of the season. If he goes on the dl, Bernie can come back, though. Really like the Balester move.

Knoxville Nat said...

Carpenter may not be the Casey Stengal of broadcasting but having to listen to the Braves network for a second night in a row makes me think he and FP are the second coming of Jon Miller/Vin Scully.

waddu eye no said...

swami - i'll buy that about fp. bob was at his worst last year when he was always kissing dribble's butt.

Unkyd said...

Jayson Werth......

Unkyd said...

Attaboy, Desi.....

Sunderland said...

Carpy had to work through some years where calling our games must have been painfully difficult. He deserves a multiyear extension.

Sean Kelly said...

this year's booth combo is working for me this year as well. Heard Dibble on the radio driving home from Va Tech the other day and he kept on and on about embracing his outlaw role. The bad boy act is just sad to listen to as he amps himself up with "outrageous" perspectives... Thank god for FP

flynnie said...

Especially having to work with Sutton, who's ego was, to quote Flann O'Brien, "God Big."

flynnie said...

Loaded. Let's get 'em home, boys!

flynnie said...

Jonny Gomes!!!

Anonymous said...

RICK ANKIEL!!!!!!!

Sean Kelly said...

WOW!

NatsJack in Florida said...

This is kinda fun.

flynnie said...

From Tom Boswell, in answer to my humble question on July 18:

Jim Palmer, I believe, never gave up a grand slam __in part because he never "gave in" to the hitter with the bases full and preyed on the natural tendency of hitters to expect a strike and "chase." Also, Tommy John __the person, not the surgery__ told me that he always suptracted one ball from the count so that the hitter would never know what to expect since he worked off his own count that only existed in his own head.

"What about a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded when there is no base open," I said.

"Same thing," said John. "There is ALWAYS a base open. But in that case it's home plate."

Giving up one run is a lot better than two, three or four.

Tim said...

Johnny Gomes' play is the play of the game so far... kept the inning going and was "good ol' fashioned hardball". I wonder if his "tower will get buzzed" next time up to bat. It was a totally clean play, but Ross hit the ground extra-hard.

Sean Kelly said...

ok I'm officially having fun again

flynnie said...

Ross wasn't on the plate. I guess that's why he was complaining to the ump. And Jonny's got a self-made triple!

dj in Fl. said...

Who thought we should move Desi for a centerfielder? Good thing Rizzo dosen't listen
me, tonight would not be nearly as much fun.
Who knew Gomes was that fast.

MicheleS said...

I like Alternate Universe Ankiel! I think he took Desi there too!

I wonder if the trade deadline impacted the mood of the clubhouse...A lot of decent players on a mediocre team - maybe they thought they would get traded and were stressed out. Now that it's past the deadline, they are relaxing!

waddu eye no said...

at the beach. leaving the tv, heading to the boardwalk w wife and daughter for ice cream.
proudly wearing my nats jacket surrounded by phils fans.

i'll tell them the score

GYFNG

Unkyd said...

GORSE!!!!!!

Tim said...

"Oppo-toppo"... very funny, FP.

Sean Kelly said...

Ha ha this day keeps getting better and better

Wally said...

Wow, that was some shot by Mighty Morse. I thought FP said 'Oppo-Taco'?

Would be great for Johnny to get through 8 innings, but the pitch count is high

FS said...

Well Adam Dunn left one thing when left past off-season, his streaky attitude. Nats offense has caught that same attitude which has been mainly the reason we go through these winning and losing streaks instead of any sort of consistency.

No complaints tonight though. Wish Danny would get going again.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Full Beast Mode tonight. We'll be drug-testing the entire Nats team at 11 o'clock. Who are these guys?

Unkyd said...

Oh, Henry!

Wally said...

I know many of you don't like Henry, but he is one of my favorite pitchers to watch. When he buzzed Uggla's head, then went 96, down the middle, then buckled his knees with that curve, Uggla literally had no chance. So to top it off, he goes 99 on the corner. It rarely is more fun to watch than that. I can honestly say that I was smiling from the first head buzz.

Granted, he'll probably put two into the backstop next inning. But that just adds to the fun, for me. And he does it all with that sour expression on his face, like someone brought him a warm beer. How can you not like this guy.

Knoxville Nat said...

FS said..."Wish Danny would get going again."

Doesn't he already have two hits tonight including a double to center field? Looked like he got some rotten luck in the first inning or he would have 3 hits on the night.

Anonymous said...

Big confidence booster for HRod. I like getting Gomes out of there too, he ain't gonna win many games with his glove.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Great game so far, but I'm leaving a bit early for a minor league game -- I just can't bear to watch HRod right now.

Tim said...

Wally, I think he said oppo-toppo, indicating upper deck. It WAS a shot! Longest I've seen since Adam Dunn's upper decker last year... A little more to RF and further up.

FS said...

Knoxville Nat, last time Danny hit a HR or drove in a run was on July 17 against ATL two weeks ago.

But I have read people post here saying he has had solid hits taken from him. So hopefully he is due to turn it around soon.

Unkyd said...

4 up, 4 down....

A COLD beer, and a smile, for the Big Guy...:-)

Wally said...

That is the spirit, Unkyd.

Eugene - embrace the chaos of Henry, don't fight it! Do you think that there is anyone on the Braves that wants to bat in the 9th? Down by 6, with Henry throwing close to 100 with little idea where it is going? He buzzed two more guys in the 8th, I am sure unintentionally.

Tim, you are probably right. I mean, Oppo Taco doesn't really mean anything, does it?

Casey Stengel said...

Sending HRod back out there? That's just asking for trouble.

Sunderland said...

Carpy is still being deliberate about pronouncing Jose Constanza's name. He knows if he relaxes it will come out Jose Canseco or Jorge Costanza.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

H-Rod: the Nats new relief specialist. The man you want with a six-run lead.

Natty Bo said...

What;s up with all those lame power necklases?

Wally said...

Hinske made my point as well as it could be made. He starts rocking forward on the first pitch and can't hold up on a 90mph changeup that bounces 12 inches before the plate, fouls one off and then sits down after swinging at 100mph barely above the ground.

And I think his main thought heading back to the dugout is 'thank god this guy didn't hit me'.

Unkyd said...

How 'bout that?! Y'think Henry was worried about getting traded for a starting CF?

flynnie said...

Casey, I love Josh Willingham, but if Henry keeps this up, that was a good trade!

Unkyd said...

Dusting off my broom.....

Exposremains said...

This from Ladson:

-- This past Saturday, the Nationals had a chance to acquire then-Astros center fielder Michael Bourn, but Houston wanted left-hander Ross Detwiler to be part of any deal the two clubs make and Washington declined, according to a baseball source.

I know Ankiel is playing great now but I would of make that deal. We'll see thursday but Detwiler still hasn't shown that he's more than long reliever.I think DJ loves him. Anybody else here like that deal? Great win by the Nats!

Mark'd said...

MPHROD with the top relief appearance of the season. Comes in with HRUggla with 2 on to get him! I was worried and just didn't want to kind anything. Another night a Nats pitcher out performs a Braves starter!

Unkyd said...

Interesting from Ladsen.....

(would of?!)

Mark'd said...

Expostemains, that from Ladson? Consider the source! Of course Rizzo does that trade! Detwiler may have a great start or2 but we have seen where he belongs.

Exposremains said...

would have would have. Happy?? Can I write a comment without having someone correcting my mistakes????

Unkyd said...

Hehehe... jes' pokin' ya....

Exposremains said...

Mark'd

I'm guessing that maybe they were more players involved.Let's say Bernadina and Detwiler and a couple b-C prospect. Thats better than the Braves deal. I think it's all about the money that they didn't want to pay to Bourn next year, which is sad. This team will need a 100M payroll if they want to compete in the National East.

Exposremains said...

Fair enough..

natsfan1a said...

Nice win tonight. Lannen and H-Rod both came through, and the bats were lively. Nice to see
Werth so happy and high-fiving guys in the dugout. I'm liking Mr. Gomes (and I determined that he was the rosin bag wielder the other day, btw). Was watching an MLB Network special the other day about the Reds' recent trek to the postseason. In one segment, they asked about his habit of wiggling his helmet and restrapping his gloves during ABs. He said that as a rookie he'd read about the mental game of baseball and picked up on the idea of developing a muscle memory to lock in hitting or some such. So, it's about the mental game and not a superstition. Riiiight... :-) But whatever works for you, Jonny!

Tim (I think it was who asked), FP has used "oppo taco" numerous times in the past. He attributes the expression to a former teammate but I can't remember which one. I think the first time I heard him reference it was when "oppo boppo" was being bandied about in Harper talk.

sjm308 said...

Really nice win!! I have always been intrigued by HRod and him going 2+ innings was impressive, although being up by 6 had to play a part. Still, we need this kind of pitcher in our bullpen. Everyone else rested today so we are ready to go tomorrow. Wang will be lucky to make 5 so I am looking for Gorzo for at least 2 and then if we are winning its Clippard and then Storen for the sweep.

We also have a tough road schedule looming and if we can keep hitting it will certainly help both our starting pitchers as well as the relievers.

Another clean game and Danny and Ian continue to get better. I am still looking for 75-78 wins.

Go Nats

natsfan1a said...

Oops, I meant to type LannEn. It's all about the mental game of commenting and not a superstition...

sjm308 said...

Just looked at the box score and am wondering why HRod does not get either a hold or a save for 2.1 innings of relief. Is it because the score differential was so big?

natsfan1a said...

I think Bob said he would have had to get 9 outs.

sjm308 said...

Well, he gets a save in my scorebook

natsfan1a said...

FP said the same thing. :-)

Mark'd said...

Exposremains, I don't think it was about the money for the Nats as they would have paid Upton. Would like to hear Rizzo comment on it.

Oldguy said...

We were near a bunch of Braves fans tonight. Sure was nice to shut off those chops. Frustrating that we always play these guys tough but can't get past the Marlins.
Somebody commented above that the trade talk had the team nervous. Clip confirmed that on AM 980 today--talking about helping Storen prepare to pack. (They're roommates.). We're a club on the edge, and losing guys you have come to count on can't be good. Tonight sure felt like they have a load off their minds.

Willie Gandébol said...

Saves:
Rule 10.20 in the Official Rule Book states:
Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions:
(1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and
(2) He is not the winning pitcher; and
(3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
- (a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or
- (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces; or
- (c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

MLB Rules said...

The "Hold":
The hold is not an official statistic, but it was created as a way to credit middle relief pitchers for a job well done. Starting pitchers get wins, and closers -- the relief pitchers who come in at the end of the game -- get saves, but the guys who pitch in between the two rarely get either statistic. So what's the most important thing one of these middle relievers can do? "Hold" a lead. If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold. But you can't get a save and a hold at the same time.

Natslifer said...

Had my two young boys at the game tonight. Took a walk for Dippin Dots and wound up in the center field bleachers right before Ankiel's shot landed just to our right - I've got lots of great Nats memories already but that one's the first for my boys that they will hold onto for a while.

Here's to many, many more.

Joe Seamhead said...

Just got home from the game. What a bag of treats this one was,, from Rick's grand slam, to J Lannan's well pitched game, to Desi and Michael's dingers to Werth's 1st to 3rd steal, to the unsung hero of the game, Mr. Jonny Gomes for that take out at the plate, and oh yeah, I still think that we gotta give Henry a chance. I heard Davey's post game talk and man did he sound like this four game streak has been fun, especially tonight. He was just glowing over HRod's performance.He also predicts a good game from Wang tomorrow.
GYFNG!

flynnie said...

Very interesting, Exposremains. If Detwiler is a starter, that changes the equation, good young starters under club control being the coin of the realm in MLB. I share NatsLady's affection for Bourn, but would defer to Davey's and Frank's instincts in seeing the potential in a young player. Maybe it's because I won and am optimistic, but when you look at this year's Jose Bautista (MVP in MLB after 5 clubs gave up on him); Gas Canrahan being an All-Star closer; Emilio Bonifacio being an MVP for the Marlins and Marlon Byrd for the Cubs. Should we have held onto all of them (would have had to acquire Bautista)? Looks like it.

John Long Ball LannEn said...

Flynnie, I know Alfonso Soriano is persona non grata in some quarters here, but still, money aside (and why not, it ain't my money), don't leave him off your list.

Anonymous said...

On HR not getting a save. I thought that a pitcher that comes into a game with two runners on base and seven outs to go would be equivalent to getting 9 outs and a save. I guess not.

m20832 said...

Great Game! LannEn got stronger the more he pitched, the Boys came through with 14 hits (Werth has been showing up more and more-I like it!), HRod looked like a real pitcher and a WIN!!!
I think this team owns the Braves.

Winning is a heck of a LOT more FUN than losing, eh?

GYFNG!!!

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