Saturday, June 9, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 4, Red Sox 2

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond made multiple impressive plays at shortstop during the Nats' win.
Game in a nutshell: After last night's impressive show starring Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, the Nationals once again pounced on the Red Sox and took an early lead. Adam LaRoche's team-leading 10th homer got them on the board, and a three-run fourth off Daisuke Matsuzaka made it 4-0 and spoiled the right-hander's return from Tommy John surgery. Gio Gonzalez was dominant for six innings but got a quick hook after putting two men on in the seventh. Lefty Michael Gonzalez (no relation) then let two inherited runners score on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's laser off the Green Monster. No worries, though, because Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard shut the door on any possible Boston comeback, and in the process ensured yet another series victory for the first-place Nationals.

Hitting highlight: It took them a little while to figure out Matsuzaka, but once the Nationals got to the Red Sox right-hander, they really got to him. During a three-run fourth inning, they put four men on base and hit another ball hard for an out. Most impressively, both Michael Morse and Ian Desmond delivered RBI with base hits to the opposite field. Morse's double was his sixth hit since coming off the disabled, five of them hit to right field. Desmond's subsequent single brought in two more runs and gave him 30 RBI for the season (third-most among all MLB shortstops).

Pitching highlight: No pitcher in baseball has surrendered fewer hits per nine innings this season than Gio Gonzalez, who for six innings today gave up only two clean hits. But the wheels began to fall off in the seventh, and after issuing a one-out walk and then a single, the lefty was done for the day after 98 pitches. Thus continued a somewhat disturbing trend by Nationals starters, who despite their dominance this season are averaging only 6.04 innings per outing. Long-term, they're going to need to go a bit deeper into games.

Key stats: How good has Bryce Harper been at in-game adjustments? He's hitting just .250 in his first at-bat of the game, but he's hitting .394 in all subsequent at-bats against opposing starters.

Up next: Sunday's series finale features another intriguing pitching matchup. Jordan Zimmermann makes his first career start at Fenway, with left-hander Jon Lester on the mound for the Red Sox at 1:35 p.m.

17 comments:

Drew said...

Go You Freaking, Streaking Nats Go!!!

Another series win and the Nats are 11-8 in the tough stretch, with 13 games to play.

Scott from Burke said...

Michael Gonzalez came in and, on the first pitch he threw with the bases jammed, gave up a rip against the monster. Now what does he do? Fall apart and give up the lead? No..he gets the next two hitters out. Inning over. Great job.

sm13 said...

We need s solid 7 or 8 innings from JZimm on Sunday, the bullpen needs some rest. Be great to break the sweep curse in Fenway.

SCNatsFan said...

Be nice of we gave JZim a couple of early runs and let him weave his magic and we get the elusive sweep

Apache98 said...

Think Gio is establishing a great case for NL Cy Young. I have to admit the trade for him concerned me, I never got to see/hear about him as an Athletic. But his presence, poise, and production have won me over. Plus my mom doesn't miss Livo so much anymore.

MicheleS said...

WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!
Another series win! !"

SonnyG10 said...

I'm definitely happy about the trade for Gio now, especially if we can sign our first round draft choice. Restocking our pitching.

Eugene in Oregon said...

MicheleS - Finally! I was beginning to worry (both about you and about the possible jinx of not having you do your 'Woooo Hooooooo!' thing).

sjm308 said...

MicheleS - Mr. Eugene is correct - as we get deeper into the season the pressure is mounting on you!!

After meeting you and reading so many great posts, I know you are up to this

Go Nats!!!

sjm308 said...

SM 13 - while Clip and others have been used a great deal, Davey is not completely bare in the bullpen. Gorzo is fresh and the perfect replacement for Zimmnn. Last year, I was not sold on his style but I have to give him credit for using the bullpen in a very positive manner. For what it's worth, Lidge is also pretty fresh as is HRod. If we could get through tomorrow without Clip or Burnett, I would feel real good about Toronto.(of course our Woooo Hoooo is the unspoken secret weapon)

Go Nats!!

Tim said...

HRod is on the DL. I don't think the Sox were ready for us. We made three errors and still dominated.

Solano catching tomorrow, I'd guess. Espi leadoff. Tyler Moore in LF again vs LHP Lester.

Time to hack some gorse, oppo boppo-style.

baseballswami said...

So -- a dynamite pitcher with a great era and stellar stats is in the seventh inning after giving up only 2 clean hits. He gives up ONE single and ONE walk and already has one of the outs and that constitutes the wheels falling off? Are you serious? The only disturbing trend is the manager panicking at the least little blip. Strassie is the only one he has allowed to stay in and settle down.And he got out of it. The others he hooks immediately. Gio still had a lead to play with - if they thought he was rushing they should have said "slow the heck down". Pitching coaches and catchers come out and talk all the time. He needed to get two outs. Just because a couple of people finally get on base doesn't mean the sky is falling and he is going to give up ten runs. If he wants the pitchers to go deeper into games he needs to take a chill pill and let them work their way out of their own jams. Then Stammen walks ONE - and YOINK - the manager panics again - Gonzalez lets 2 runs in. Did it ever occur to you that Gio might have only let one of them in instead of 2? He over-manages the pitchers and then throws them under the bus afterwards. I thought maybe after last night when strassie cleaned up his own mess that he would start letting the others do the same thing. And Gio's mess was smaller. The baseball folks outside of the Nats seems to think our rotation is amazing because they seem to go six most of the time. It's not like they need to be pulled after 3 innings after giving up 6 runs. Clue for you - Davey would find some reason to fuss over his bullpen if every start went nine. It's what he does.

JaneB said...

I'm mostly with swami on the "wheels falling off the bus" thing. I was really wondering why Davey hooked Gio so early, I figure there must have been something they saw that we didn't see. But I'd like to know what it was.

I really liked when Desi and Flores and McCatty were out there talking to Gio, and the ump walked over and Gio made him laugh. He is who he is, even in a jam.

And Gio is making me miss Livo less, too, Apache.

I had plans for the afternoon but now I just want to watch the guys play.

GYFSNG!

John C. said...

Heh. Swami is an impressive baseball person indeed. Davey Johnson is a manager who has improved teams wherever he's gone, has a World Series title on his resume, and has led the Nationals through a blizzard of injuries to the second best record in major league baseball.

Thank goodness we have Swami here to identify DJ's unreasoning panic just from what Swami sees on TV! Very impressive indeed ...

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree with Swami often, but not this time. I was surprised that Davey gave Gio such a quick hook, but overall his handling of the staff has been superb. Joe Torre used to get the same feedback. Does Davey make mistakes? Certainly, but not too many. Johnson is the best manager in MLB right now.

rabbit34 said...

This is a great year. This year we are thinking about elusive sweeps. In the recent past, we were Hoping for one win in a series!! GO NATIONALS!!

Scott from Burke said...

http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/44889/nationals-pitching-has-been-more-than-ok

swami is wrong...it was the right time

i'll say this..to question a managers decision after it worked out well takes guts...not brains, mind you, but guts

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