Thursday, April 19, 2012

Game 14: Astros at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The first-place Nationals go for a four-game sweep of the Astros tonight.
For the third time in four series so far this season, the Nationals have an opportunity to sweep their opponents. Stop and think about that for a moment. Pretty remarkable.

If they are to pull off a four-game whitewashing of the Astros, the Nationals will need another quality start from Edwin Jackson, who five days ago was absolutely brilliant in tossing a two-hit, complete game against the Reds. They'll also have to hope to continue their trend of scratching out just enough runs late to emerge victorious.

One significant lineup change for tonight: Ian Desmond is getting his first day off this season. That means Steve Lombardozzi will start at shortstop and hit leadoff. No other surprises from Davey Johnson.

Though I'm here at the ballpark for pregame news and notes, I'll actually be leaving shortly after first pitch. Have some family matters to take care of that will keep me from covering tomorrow night's game as well. Never fear, though, because long-time local scribe Rich Dubroff will have complete coverage on CSNwashington.com, and I'll be sure to link to his articles right here...

HOUSTON ASTROS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 188
Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees, Wind 4 mph RF to LF
NATIONALS (10-3)
SS Steve Lombardozzi
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
LF Roger Bernadina
RHP Edwin Jackson

ASTROS (4-8)
CF Jordan Schafer
2B Jose Altuve
LF J.D. Martinez
1B Carlos Lee
RF Brian Bogusevic
3B Matt Downs
C Jason Castro
SS Marwin Gonzalez
RHP Bud Norris

UMPIRES
HP Chris Conroy, 1B Bill Welke, 2B, Dave Rackley, 3B Tim Tschida (cc)

103 comments:

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

GYFNG and sweep!

Be nice to each other.

NatsLady said...

Interesting. Desi's hitting cools and he gets a day off. Or maybe Davey just wants to stack the lefties (Lombo being a switch hitter).

I hear from the Marlins announcers that Detwiler is getting Zambrano tomorrow. Now, what can we do to get the big Z's temper going??

SpingfieldNatsFan1 said...

So is it SS vs Johnson for game 2 of the fish series?

NatsJack at the Tune Inn said...

Last game of my 7 game stay. Sure would love a sweep but Norris is tough.

Need another stellar performance from Edwin.

A DC Wonk said...

Fore! (oh, wait, not golf! . . . ;-)

A DC Wonk said...

Interesting. Desi's hitting cools and he gets a day off. Or maybe Davey just wants to stack the lefties

Or perhaps he's going to sort-of-alternate who sits down (Ian or Espi) when Lombo plays?

I'd love to know what the thought process was there.

Anonymous said...

What's more interesting Nats Lady is Bernadina starting in left field again ...

The things about Lombardozzi and Bernadina?

Lombo walks Desmond doesn't and he hits fastballs. Desmond is hitting fastballs.
Bernadina is hitting fastballs.

Most of the rest of the lineup are not hitting fastballs. Which may explain why Werth, LaRoche, and Zim have super low ISO's. NO extra base hits per se. Mostly bloopers and grounders.

Davey needs to find some fastball hitters and last night Bernadina crushed one. That was the problem they had last year as well no one was hitting fastballs!

A DC Wonk said...

Hey Mark -- if you're leaving shortly after the first pitch, does that mean the Nats will be scoring runs all game long?!?

Anonymous said...

That there is a negative. SS on Sat. JJ on Sun.

Davey's Head said...

Davey's thought process:

Lombardozzi is hitting .500 when he plays.

Nobody else is hitting .500 when they play.

Let's start Lombardozzi tonight in place of anyone.

NatsJack at the Tune Inn said...

What? How can that be? Bernadina didn't get released! I'm shocked!

NatsJack at the Tune Inn said...

I'll ne the first to say it......Lombardozzi at shortstop....uhoh.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
I hear from the Marlins announcers that Detwiler is getting Zambrano tomorrow. Now, what can we do to get the big Z's temper going??

April 19, 2012 3:43 PM
___________________________

Uh, Nats scoring 4 runs in the 1st inning with Z getting ticked at the umpire?

NatsNow said...

So we get GG vs. JJ on Sunday? Go Nats!

Steady Eddie said...

SS vs. Anibal Sanchez on Saturday. JJ vs. GG on Sunday. (Worth coming out for the dueling initials alone, except the weather looks like a rainout.)

NatsNow said...

Mark - In case anyone really cares, 1580AM changed their calls to WNEW-AM to coincide with the launch of the all-news station on 99.1. WHFS no longer exists...

NatsJack at the Tune Inn said...

I'll be.... That's what I tried to punch in with this fat thumb.

HHover said...

Steady Eddie

I wouldn't despair too much yet about Sunday. Forecast earlier was for real downpours, but that's been scaled back to showers. Still a 50-60% chance of rain, but mostly before 2pm.

Just sayin' said...

DC Wonk: If Davey is serious about getting Lombardozzi 350 ABs, then Lombardozzi is going to have to start roughly 4 games out of 10 (plus assorted PH appearances, double switches with a couple of ABs, etc.). That probably means we'll see him substituting at 2B, 3B, and SS on a regular basis, plus some starts in LF. And that would mean that Dezi, Espi, and RZ would each be sitting roughly one game out of 10. Not sure if that's sustainable (particularly with RZ), but that's about what it would take to get those 350 promised ABs.

natsfan1a said...

Always a good thought. To put it another way, be excellent to each other. :-)

Be nice to each other.

natsfan1a said...

I'm pretty sure he can do that quite well on his own. ;-)

Now, what can we do to get the big Z's temper going??

Laddie_Blah_Blah said...

Good to see the Shark getting another look. He was really squaring them up in ST when he had to leave when his dad passed away. He is being more selective this season, as are most of the Nats. They also have a much better defensive OF with Shark, the Arm, and Werth.

But they have got to start hitting. Remember the Nats' 1st year here? They won many 1-run squeakers during the 1st half, and led the dividion at the All-Star break. Then reality set in and they started losing the close ones for the rest of the season and ended up in last place.

Of course, this staff is much, much better than that one. A little power would help. Bernie and Ankiel should be an upgrade over Nady and DeRosa, but we need RZ to start raking, and hope Mikey Mo makes it back in late April.

Harper still has not had a single dinger, either, and he's hitting about .220 against minor league pitching. Doesn't look like he is anywhere near ready to help out. Moore is the guy who has been driving the ball in AAA.

NatsBrat said...

Almost anything will ignite Zambrano's short fuse. Having President Teddy moon him might be a start.

In other news, why not have Espi, with the better arm, cover short, and Lombo play 2nd?

Desi deserves a day off.

natsfan1a said...

Note to self: pack poncho in game bag on Sunday.

Oh, and hope that all is well on the family front, Mark.

Section 222 said...

Not surprised that Desi is getting a night off. All the infielders should, every now and then. I doubt that it has to do with his performance recently, although he has cooled a good bit in the last few games. (Hit the ball hard last night though, especially that blast to center.)

I'm a little surprised that Espi isn't playing short in this lineup with Lombo at 2nd. He's better there than Lombo at the more difficult position, isn't he? Surely if Desi were injured for a few weeks, Espi would take over. No?

Fun with pitching stats -- Four of the Nats five starters are in the top 20 starters in the NL in ERA and WHIP. And all five are in the top 30. Four of the five are in the top 30 starters in all of MLB in both categories, and all five are in the top 52.

Strasburg -- 1.42 ERA (17th in MLB), 0.95 WHIP (30th)
Gio -- 2.04 ERA (30th), 0.91 WHIP (25th)
Znn -- 1.29 ERA (12th), 0.71 WHIP (10th)
E-Jax -- 2.57 ERA (40th), 0.64 WHIP (5th)
Det -- 0.90 ERA (8th), 1.10 WHIP (52nd)

Admittedly, these stats include just 2 or 3 starters per pitcher. But wow, just wow. By the way, I see stats comparing rotations. Is there a site that lets you easily aggregate the full rotation's stats, or do I have to get out a calculator?

Gonat said...

NatsNow said...
So we get GG vs. JJ on Sunday? Go Nats!

April 19, 2012 4:00 PM
___________________________
Agree with Steady Eddie, advance weather forecast looks very rainy which may mean just overcast.

Young Pitchers said...

SS Lombo? should be interesting.

anyways, first game tomorrow, and got a question for VA folks - do you bail out SE Fwy at Maine Ave then go east on M, or stay on it and get off at 6th exit then go west? the parking lot is at M & Half (lot H). plan to get there 6:30-ish. tks!

NatsJack at the Tune Inn said...

I can see Jordan Scheafer hitting a routine ground ball to short and beating it out. I saw it hapen at Viera with Lombo at short.

Scott from Burke said...

Adam Dunn hitting 200 with 1 tater..nick johnson has not gotten a hit this year..michael morse ..well, who knows? Mr. Laroche, please avoid black cats and walking under ladders..first base for nats has a bad history

Anonymous said...

Young pitchers: Metro

Gonat said...

NatsJack at the Tune Inn said...
I can see Jordan Scheafer hitting a routine ground ball to short and beating it out. I saw it hapen at Viera with Lombo at short.

April 19, 2012 4:26 PM
_________________________

Glad to see Desi get a day-off. Next they need to get a day-off for each of JWerth, RZim and ALaRoc.

sjm308 said...

Off I go! No broom (whisk or otherwise), will just have to yell "sweep" a bunch of times. Really wasted more time on the last posting. Amazing how nasty some can get. I love disagreements but it doesn't mean either person is an idiot.

Sec 222, I remember someone asked Davey this spring about Espi moving to short and he nixed it then. I think if this thing with Lombo as a utility player is really going to work then he has to get thrown into big time. Just hope NatsJack is wrong on this one. Nice thing is, if he is wrong he will man up and not call anyone a name.

We need to be PFB tonight!!

Go Nats

sjm308 said...

thrown into "it" big time

pdowdy83 said...

Scott, shouldn't last year count as enough bad luck for LaRoche? lol

I'm not saying that Lombo is a great shortstop but I would like to think the guy can handle it for 1 night. If Mike Fontenot, Wilson Valdez, etc can do it so can he. This forum just always has to have something to worry about. It is quite ridiculous sometimes.

Anonymouse said...

This is an offensive explosion for Syracuse but lousy pitching so they lost.

http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t552&t=g_box&gid=2012_04_19_pawaaa_syraaa_1

Corey Brown back at it. HR to go with a double. Tyler Moore 3 for 4.

Feel Wood said...

In other news, why not have Espi, with the better arm, cover short, and Lombo play 2nd?

As Davey has said, he's not going to move Espi to short for a day every now and then so Lombo can get a game in at second. But if Desi gets hurt and is going to be out for a while, he would move Espi to short and have Lombo play second. That makes sense, because Espi and Desi are regulars and Lombo is the utility guy. You don't turn your regulars into utility guys by making them switch positions for a night, because being able to play a different spot every night is the utility guy's job. Davey wants players to know their roles, and he respects those roles, which is what keeps the players happy in their role. It's a chess-playing manager's kind of move, something Riggleman would never understand.

JaneB said...

Hope all is well at home, Mark.

I don't know how to break it to my dogs that Ian will not be in the line up tonight --hence, no Ian Desmond Cookies to dole out. Headed to the park shortly. Maybe they will get some Lombo cookies, instead.

Section 222 said...

I remember someone asked Davey this spring about Espi moving to short and he nixed it then.

I remember that too, but then he turned around and gave Espi some time at short during Spring Training. I think @FeelWood is probably right that for one night he won't make the move, but if Desi is hurt for an extended time, he will. But then again, if Lombo stinks up the joint tonight, maybe he'll reconsider that plan.

I'm happy to take the risk since the alternative is a good field no hit type like Cora or Blanco, and I'd much rather our utility guy be an offensive weapon as well.

Gonat said...

Read these comments about RG3 on Donovan McNabb and his father's being an Eagles fan, and thought how nice it would have been if Bryce Harper said something similar about his "fandom" of the Yankees.

Well handled by RG3:

“All respect to Donovan McNabb, he had a great career,” Griffin said. “He was one of my dad’s [favorite] quarterbacks when he was a Philly fan. He’s not a Philly fan any more, because I’m about to get drafted..."

NatsLady said...

Davey seems to make minimal changes. So he keeps Espy at his usual position and plugs Lombo in at SS rather than have two changes in the infield. Same with the lineup.

On the radio an ad informing me that Tyler Clippard and the Nats are going to beat the Astros and Ryan Zimmerman is going to beat Josh Johnson and the Marlins. I hope it comes true.

Theophilus said...

In case anyone wants to start another food fight -- pardon the expression -- tonight's weather should be a fairer test of Nats fair-weather fandom.

A DC Wonk said...

Gonat said...

Read these comments about RG3 on Donovan McNabb and his father's being an Eagles fan, and thought how nice it would have been if Bryce Harper said something similar about his "fandom" of the Yankees.


Agreed. But remember, Bryce was, what, 17 or so when he said that? Maybe 18. RG3 had a couple of years in college, and is 22.

Gonat said...

DC Wonk, I don't disagree on anything you said. Just think Bryce didn't do himself any favors with his Yankee comments.

Glad RG3 quickly moved away from any Eagles fandom. Smart and well said.

Steady Eddie said...

Huh! Didja see Mark's Tweet on Davey's comment about Lombo at short? "He's adequate."!!! That's an interesting way to get Lombo psyched.

But I'd have to say that he's on probation anywhere but second. His arm was routinely inadequate at 3d in ST and I'll be holding my breath on hard shots into the hole. Not doubting that Lombo can get to most of them, but what the throw to first will look like.

Here's hoping that he'll rise to the occasion....

NatsJack section 235 said...

Trust me. Davey is being very kind saying "he's adequate".

jeffwx said...

If Lombo hits, we can live with his arm.
We need to score more than 2-3 runs in most of our games. It's our offense that is most offensive. Pitching/Defense is amongst the best I've ever seen.
Can't expect our staff to be near perfect with less than 2.00 ERAs.
One more bat....I know that management is looking for ways to improve the offense...Will be interesting to see what happens on/after April 26,

Gonat said...

If Lombo hits, I think Davey has to give him more time at 2nd base and get him some time in LF. He just never looked comfortable at 3rd and just a little better at Short.

natsfan1a said...

Have fun, sjm. Hope that you won't need to change hats for some time.

Re. the Virginia driver question, we take Metro, so I don't know. Hope that someone else may have the info.

NatsJack section 235 said...

Edwin coming out for warm ups. Hollered "strike one an tempo" just like I did Saturday.

NatsNut said...

SYFNS!!

Anonymous said...

FP and Carp positive they changed the team's luck last night when they switched pens. It was an eerie coincidence of timing...

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, that was an amusing bit about the pens at the end of the broadcast. FP is a funny guy. (I'm funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?)

NatsJack section 235 said...

Just met sjm308.....it's always great meeting fellow Insiders. Still not one neganon though.

skidge said...

It was a thrill to say hi to you in Viera, NJ! (Back to lurkdom now...)

Anonymous said...

Unreal. 1-0 already. Settle down big guy.

Anonymous said...

Strange. MLB Pitch Track different than MASNs. That 2nd strike to Carlos Lee was almost totally on the black.

Anonymous said...

Oh noooooooooooo

Anonymous said...

Nice catch Ramos.

Waddu eye no said...

Ick

Anonymous said...

Where is EJax's changeup?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Nice catch Ramos.

April 19, 2012 7:13 PM

Have you ever tried to catch a ball with a catcher's mitt stuck in the grass?

Mick said...

oh well, one of those nights. Just hope this is Edwin's worst game , if not then Wang should replace him

whatsanattau said...

Yikes, this would be the Mr. Hyde performance. Oh well, best to get it out of the way all at once. Team ERA might be over 2.00 now.

MicheleS said...

I met SJM308 and his son at Justin's cafe. Good times! Its going to be a doozy tonight! 5-0 stros bottom of the first

JaneB said...

My heart hurts for him.

NatsJack section 235 (ex catcher) said...

Catching a throw with a catchers mit stuck in the grass????Many times. It's not that hard. Especially if you're getting paid.

RickH said...

3 up, 3 down. We needed that,

baseballswami said...

The Nats have the Astros right where they want them :)

RickH said...

Welcome back, Mr. Zimmerman!!!

NatsLady said...

Swami--Apparently!!

Steady Eddie said...

The Z-man is back!!!

A DC Wonk said...

Here's something that's different (related to confidence about the Nats) than last year.

Last year, down 5-0, a bunch of neg-anons would start posting "I guarantee the Nats can't come back". (Hmmm, come to think of it, I think I recall some such falderal in a few early games of this year, too).

Imagine my surprise as I log in, and in between the time it was 5-0, till it was 5-4, not a single post of that sort.

That's awesome!

baseballswami said...

What did I tell you?

MicheleS said...

JaneB
I am in section 134 row MM.

baseballswami said...

DCWonk - my something different from last year is this -- even when the crowds at the park are numerically small, I hear loud, enthusiastic cheering. Seems like they are really into it all through the game. The larger crowds really roared!

Mick said...

bummer, 1st and 2nd no outs and heart of order gets nothing, I hope we can still come back

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that every time the camera shows the pitching staff Gio is talking? I think he is keeping them quite entertained.

Mick said...

I love Gio, every good team has a personality like him. He is going to be a fun player....


GD Werth, hit the fing ball!!!!

Mick said...

glad Edwin settled down, it looks like Norris has too

Anonymous said...

Fish tomorrow - ugh.

Steady Eddie said...

Gonna be amazing matchups in LA next week -- SS, GG, JZIMM on successive days. We're bringing out our best.

NatsJack section 235 but headin back to Fl. said...

I love steamin' me some fish.

Mick said...

well Gorzo SUCKS tonight, but hey, you gotta sort out who stays and who goes by July

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Ladies and gentlemen, the role of Joel Gascanrahan tonight is being played by Tom Gorzelanny.

Gorzo must go said...

Ah, the Gorzo we know and love. He's got nothing tonight, like most nights.

baseballswami said...

Gorzo= sacrificial goat of the night. Any idea why Jackson didn't stay in? Seemed like he had pulled it together. Certainly would have been better than this steaming pile of turds. Now we still have outs to get and can't burn the whole bullpen.

Anonymous said...

Nice knowing you Gorzo...now get Bernadina and go play the waiver wire!!!

rogieshan said...

After Gorzelanny's outing tonight, everything is setting up nicely for Wang to return.

Mick said...

I would trade Gorzo now before other teams realize how much he SUCKS

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

EJax had thrown 89 pitches through five. I guess Grandpa thought that was enough. There might've been a lefty-right matchup thing too.

Ladies and gents, I'm breaking out the bourbon early tonight. Hold the Maalox. Going neat tonight.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Caught a break there with Shark at first. Is this one too far gone to matter?

Mick said...

Gorzo is GONZO

Mick said...

Nady swings like lady

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I really do prefer 2-1 games...

Hmmm... said...

Good news:
No gorzy tmorrow

NatsJack in section 235 said...

And now Davey says "Ryan, show me why you shouldn't be in Syracuse".

NatsLady said...

Mattheus comes in for the vulture win, right?

baseballswami said...

Tonight's bullpen -- people we don't want to use against the fish.

NatsLady said...

Why did Davey take Ejax out? First pitching change he's made this year that I didn't understand unless Ejax was not feeling well.

Anonymous said...

Wang, Storen up = Gorz, Mattheus down?

Morse up = Bern down?

Im outta town...did Davey take EJax out to pinch hit or double switch?


Lipty,

NatsJack still in section 235 said...

So Davey figures we can't win 149 in arow and if we have to lose one then lets see who can do what.

Gorzo and Mattheus have not done themselves any favors.

NatsLady said...

He did a double-switch. Took Ankiel out.

NatsLady said...

If Gorzy passes through waivers Syracuse will have SOME payroll.

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