Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 5, D'backs 4

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper narrowly missed his first career home run in the fourth.
Game in a nutshell: Bryce Harper did his part, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles off the right-field wall. Then Ian Desmond finished the deal, crushing a two-run, walk-off homer off J.J. Putz to lift the Nationals to a dramatic victory. Harper twice came within inches of hitting his first career home run, scored a key run with his hustle and dazzled in the field again. His leadoff double in the ninth set the stage for Desmond to be the hero and snap the Nationals' five-game losing streak.

Hitting highlight: With the anticipation and pressure of his home debut a thing of the past, Harper was free to go out and just play a ballgame. And what a game he played. The 19-year-old beat out a little dribbler in the second inning. He missed his first career homer by inches in the fourth, settling instead for an RBI double. Moments later, he scored by knocking the ball out of catcher Miguel Montero's glove. He even made a barehanded catch of a flyball in center while falling to the ground. Yeah, he misread the ball off the bat, but still. And then he just missed a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, rattling another double off the wall.

Pitching lowlight: Considering how little run support the Nationals' pitching staff has gotten this season, Jackson had to be thanking his lucky stars when he took the mound in the fourth with a 1-0 lead (and again in the sixth with a 3-2 lead). Each time, though, the right-hander gave the run(s) back. He served up a solo homer to Justin Upton on a 2-0 fastball to lead off the fourth. Then he gave up back-to-back two-out RBI hits in the sixth to put the Diamondbacks ahead. It was a disappointing performance for Jackson on a rare night in which his teammates gave him some help.

Key stat: Xavier Nady has one hit in his last 29 at-bats and is now batting .123 for the season.

Up next: Ross Detwiler looks to bounce back following his first shaky start of the season, taking on 2011 NL Cy Young Award runner-up Ian Kennedy at 7:05 p.m. in the finale of this series.

71 comments:

NatsLady said...

We needed this one. It's 13-12 Atlanta in the 9th inning. Can't trust them Phillies for anything!!

whatsanattau said...

This just in ... Harper is good.

Desmond should be winning a lot of fans too!

natsfan1a said...

My instant analysis follows: Woooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooo!! Copyright MicheleS, 2012.

I thought Desmond was going to knock Gio down the dugout steps, he was so pumped. Luckily, he did not. I repeat. Wooooooooooo Hoooooooooooo!!

whatsanattau said...

wait, ... what? Halladay gave up 8?

NatsLady said...

Kimbrell walked the leadoff hitter. Announcers just said 37% of the time a leadoff walk scores, not sure the context.

NatsLady said...

Phils got JOBBBED, called 3rd strike was at least 6 inches outside, but they tie it up anyway, 13-13.

MicheleS said...

Thanks 1A..

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

That was a great win! Ian said it was his first walk off ever! Good for him. Ian/Lombo/Bryce/Bullpen all contributed. Good win!

natsfan1a said...

That's great about Ian! Missed that part of the postgame. I thought he was going to knock Gio into the dugout, he was so excited.

natsfan1a said...

Good Henry, too.

A DC Wonk said...

Ian had some interesting words: he credited Frank Robinson with telling him "watch watch watch the pitcher" -- Ian, batting fourth in the inning, noticed that Putz was pitching a bit up in the zone, and so Ian was waiting on it. It came. Then: bang-zoom

NatsLady said...

Yes. You have to count Henry. Kept his cool after that hit.

natsfan1a said...

To #20, ladies and gents. Cheers (glug glug glug).

SBrent said...

Sweet win after an anxious game! It looked like Ian just about broke Davey's arm with the post-walk-off high-five. Easy there, big fella, the skipper's not in his twenties any more!

NatsLady said...

(sigh) We could win three games with 13 runs, and somebody's gonna get 14...

natsfan1a said...

So true, NatsLady.

natsfan1a said...

And somewhere Unkyd is grinning ear-to-ear. :-)

hiramhover said...

Great write-up, Mark, and not to nitpick - but that was only a five game losing streak, not six.

NatsLady said...

Kimbrell blew the save, his first. See, Henry, it happens to every closer.

I don't think Davey minded the high-five, he was grinning from ear-to-ear, as they say.

lls45 said...

Craig Stammen could also be considered a pitching highlight.

sm13 said...

Caps and Rangers going to 2nd OT tied 1-1. Caps getting great pitching, but no run support.

natsfan1a said...

Eh, the Bravos/Phillies will have to fight it out on their own. I have to get some shut-eye.

NatsLady said...

sm13 LOL!!!

baseballswami said...

Wow and I still say again, Wow. Harper has some intangible thing, an energy field or something. Lombo, Desi, Stammen - that was exciting to watch.

SonnyG10 said...

Did ya hear Davie's postgame. He said he asked his coaches if it was too soon to move Bryce up in the lineup, and he said they said Noooooooooo! (Not too soon) big grin...

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

I'd like to join in with a
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

JD said...

swami,

it's called talent.

baseballswami said...

Who are we rooting for in the Phi/Atl game, which, by the way, is tied at 13? And may I add a chorus of WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!

Section 222 said...

Just back from the game. Fantastic win. Ian's homer looked like it was too high and then it just kept going and going. And by the time I looked up at him after following the ball, he was almost around the bases. He was pumped! The small but enthusiastic crowd went crazy.

Harper was the star of the game though. Both of his doubles were crushed, and how he managed to score on from the second on that play behind second, well, I can't wait to see the replay. And his arm is already scaring third base coaches into being conservative. As Desmond said, "the kid's good."

NatsLady said...

I think we are rooting for Philly, but only after about 19 innings so we stay 1.5 games ahead in the standings and the Phils come dragging in here Friday.

Wanderer08 said...

Stammen continues to come thru for the Nats... not flashy, but consistently good. Way to go Craig!

NatsLady said...

Agree, Stammen is turning into a treasure. Just the one bad outing and Davey had the quick hook, so he must have shown something.

Corky said...

We are quite fortunate to have this team, and this set of players, my friends. Enjoy it. Savor it. Revel in it. The Bryce Harper Show will be the cherry on top of our ice cream sundae for years to come. G Y F N G!

NatsLady said...

Ex-Nat Chad Durbin and his 9.00 ERA comes in and gets the Phils out easy (they had a pitcher in there to pinch hit.)

LoveDaNats said...

Fantastic win! Woooooo Hoooooo! (peer pressure)

JaneB said...

Harper is really contributing.

And the Braves and Phillies are really duking it out. I hope it goes about five innings more.

NatsLady said...

Chipper walks them off in the 11th.

A DC Wonk said...

Oh well . . . but they used 14 pitchers between them!

Scott from Burke said...

pseudo interesting stat..only 3 teams in mlb are better than 6-4 in their last 10 games..and they're all in the AL East

NatsLady said...

I have a (maybe stupid) question. Harper had his batting gloves in his hands the whole time he was on second base. What happens if he drops one running to third and a D-backs player slips on it--is that interference or something? (I mean, not when Ian hits a walkoff homerun, but in general).

A DC Wonk said...

Way-too-small-but-not-necessarily-meaningless stat of the evening:

Harper: BA .385; OPS 1.015

Does he lead the Nats in almost every offensive category in the last four games? Most hits, most doubles, most xb-hits, most runs scored, most RBI's? (I haven't checked, just asking)

A DC Wonk said...

over 1/7th of the season in the books -- Nats have been in first place every day of the season

peric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peric said...

Patience is a virtue.

At this point if its me I'd swap Desmond and Harper in the batting order.
I'd bat Harper first not in the middle ... not yet. The operative word again is yet. Until more prospects develop to join the fun over the next 2 years.

Why? Quite simple.

1.) He looks like he is about to break out looking at some of the balls he was able to reach and crush. The rest of the lineup is still pretty meh. And consider Desmond saying that Harper was ** the spark? *** This has to scare the bejesus out of opposing pitchers the way H-Rod scares opposing batters. Brady Anderson was asked for the best lead-off hitter prototype and he basically picked guys like a Pujols, Votto, etc. because they had that power element which frightened pitchers. The pitchers and opposing manager will never know what Harper is going to do. He might surprise them with a bunt.

He might be the ticket to getting the rest of the lineup out of its funk. Analogous to the way Strasburg has raised the pitching level of all the starters.

2.) If Harper does start to annihilate and tear through opposing pitching, they are then going to try the "cute stuff". Perhaps even unintentional to intentional walks. Last thing you want so you bat Harper lead off and they will mostly have to pitch to him. He'll see the most pitches, and learn from that experience.

3.) Harper has plenty of speed for the lead off spot, in fact he beat out an infield hit tonight. He's not afraid to take a walk unlike Desmond and Espinosa.

John C. said...

Sorry, DC Wonk, but the Mets were in first place right out of the gate. Nats tied them on 4/11 when Strasburg outdueled Santana, and haven't looked back :)

peric said...

Natslady no need to worry about the Braves record in the beginning of May. Makes no sense. Its a marathon not a sprint remember? Teams should only be worrying about preparing themselves for the post AS run for the playoffs. Working through the kinks ...

Its a shame Rendon got injured ... he could have been another key to a stoked offense perhaps even toward the end of this year.

Oh well, Strasburg and Harper sure look like a great team-up of Baseball superheroes. I guess we should be thanking our lucky stars and the horrendous losing records ... ;)

peric said...

14 wins in April. Hopefully, repeated in May. Guess we'll see ... certainly if Harper and Stras have anything to say about it ... more than 14.

Section 222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Section 222 said...

Ok, just watched the replay of Harper scoring on Ramos's hit. We had quite a debate a few days ago about Hairston's "swat" at the ball when he scored on Harper's first incredible throw. Can someone who watched both replays explain to me how Hairston's play was illegal and Harper's was legal. (Remember, it turned out that Ramos and Davey complained about Hairston trying to knock the ball out of his glove, not about him trying to swat the ball when it was on the ground.) Thank you.

FP on the replay said, "that's legal, you can do that." I thought Davey was saying on Saturday that it isn't.

A DC Wonk said...

Sorry, DC Wonk, but the Mets were in first place right out of the gate. Nats tied them on 4/11 when Strasburg outdueled Santana, and haven't looked back :)

Hmm . . . ok, how about this: Nats have been in first place every day during _their_ season (meaning: since the Nats 1st game).

Does that work?

Scott from Burke said...

I didnt see Hairston do anything wrong on that play..it seemd the only people who did were biased

whatsanattau said...

No, no, no. Switching Desmond and Harper in the batting order would minimize both of them.

whatsanattau said...

I am currently of the opinion that Desmond, Lombo, Zimm, Morse, Harper, Werth, Laroche, Ramos will be the game one playoff lineup. And Gio will get the start. And the sun will shine, birds will sing, and the park will be full.

peric said...

No, no, no. Switching Desmond and Harper in the batting order would minimize both of them.

Based on what? I don't see any justification for the comment?

Desmond doesn't walk his OBP is almost a flat-line .300? Look at Harper's. Both Rizzo and Johnson have raved about Harper's batting eye. Desmond belongs where Espinosa belongs.

Harper would be more effective as a "spark" at the top of the lineup. Its certain he'll get chances to drive in runs because he'll come to bat the most?

Scott from Burke said...

Harper HAS to get more updates...get him up there

Scott from Burke said...

at bats

whatsanattau said...

Well Hairston did try to do something wrong it was very clear. He swiped at the ball a second time and if he had hit a live ball in play it would have been interference.

Scott from Burke said...

not the hairston play again...gracious..IF he had..and IF the ump had called it...pathetic

Scott from Burke said...

it was very clear

that play was dissected like the zapruder film..intent not clear

whatsanattau said...

Desmond's batting avg at the bottom of the lineup is poor, he needs protection. Harper hits with such power that batting him lead off misses RBI potential.

Scott from Burke said...

clone harper and bat him 1 through 8

gail said...

Was at the game. Harper is fantastic - such hustle - such maturity. Nats need a new hitting coach. Nady should be released. Davy shouldn't put anyone in the lineup with a .125 batting average. Play Tyler Moore. Get Jason Werth some hitting lessons.

Gonat said...

Bryce goes from an 0-2 count and works it to a full count and then drives his pitch within a few inches of a HR.

Amazing to make the adjustments from Tuesday into Wednesday.

A DC Wonk said...

Caps lose towards the end of triple-OT

Scott from Burke said...

RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yesssssssssssssssss

Gonat said...

Jerrod Weaver NO HITTER

peric said...

clone harper and bat him 1 through 8

A right-handed Rendon could very well be a close, somewhat older right-handed clone of Harper. Still yet to come ...

PATIENCE ...

natsfan1a said...

You can see him swiping at (and missing) the rolling ball here.

whatsanattau said...

Well Hairston did try to do something wrong it was very clear. He swiped at the ball a second time and if he had hit a live ball in play it would have been interference.
May 03, 2012 12:03 AM

Scott from Burke said...

Natsfan1a..he may have been clawing at the dirt triying to get up so he could touch the plate..it was VERY CLEAR?...perhaps he realized he was about to touch the ball and moved his hand away from it..he is a professioanl athlete who hits 95mph fastballs...wouldn't he have the hand eye coordination to touch a ball moving as fast as a toy train? do you think he tried to touch it but missed>? give it up

natsfan1a said...

I didn't bring it up, someone else did, but clearly we are not in agreement, and that's fine with me.

Tcostant said...

Hey Section 222 -

You can hit the cathers glove to knock the ball out. But you can't "swat it away", which was DJ issue earlier in the week.

do1teach1 said...

I was at the game last night. And I am starting to wonder if Harper is just, something, different. Something really special, like a Jordan, Montana, or Ali. I am really starting to wonder.

When Espy had ten homers before Memorial Day his rookie season--the first second baseman in MLB history to do so, I wondered if he was something special too. It looks like he is not.

Harper has king-size presence. I watched him standing in center last night and thought how lucky we are to have him. Usually, when we've seen greatness at RFK or Nats Park (Griffey, Randy Johnson, Bonds, Chipper) it was just passing through.

I believe he is developing by the day. I saw him in spring training the last two years and saw him in Hagerstown. But I had no idea he had the kind of arm he's shown off since being called up.

We just might be looking at the genuine article here, and it is incredibly exciting.

Post a Comment