Thursday, June 21, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Rays 2

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs over six innings to improve to 9-3.
Game in a nutshell: On a steamy night on South Capitol Street, the Nationals stayed hot against the Rays. A couple of runs in the bottom of the second put them ahead, and though Gio Gonzalez gave the run back, the left-hander battled his way through an effective outing and kept the game tied entering the bottom of the sixth. That's when Danny Espinosa delivered a clutch, two-out, two-run double off Joel Peralta to give the Nats a 4-2 lead and put Gonzalez in line for the win. They added an insurance run on Roger Bernadina's double in the seventh, then saw relievers Ryan Mattheus, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard slam the door on the Tampa Bay lineup, in the process giving the Nationals another series victory over a tough AL East opponent.

Hitting highlight: It looked like this would be another one of those nights when Espinosa looks unstoppable from the right side (and only the right side) of the plate, but the switch-hitting second baseman had even more in store for everyone. After drawing a walk in the third and then doubling as a right-handed hitter in the fourth, Espinosa was turned around for a key at-bat in the sixth against Peralta. How did the .188 hitter from the left side respond? By roping another double down the right-field line, this one bringing home both Jesus Flores and Adam LaRoche to give the Nationals the lead for good.

Pitching highlight: The evening got off to a bit of a ragged start for Gonzalez, who was falling behind just about every hitter he faced in his first two innings and saw his pitch count ratchet up to 50. But a mound conference with pitching coach Steve McCatty with two outs in a second seemed to get Gonzalez on track. He wound up retiring 10 of the next 11 batters he faced, then came up with a big strikeout of pinch-hitter Elliot Johnson to strand two men on base in the top of the sixth. It wasn't necessarily Gonzalez's best start of the year, but it was a gutty effort from the left-hander, who was rewarded for it with his ninth win of the season (matching Stephen Strasburg for the club lead).

Key stat: With a paid crowd of 29,551 tonight, the Nationals surpassed the 1 million mark for the season faster than any year since the inaugural 2005 season at RFK Stadium.

Up next: This year's interleague slate concludes with Round 2 of the Battle of the Beltways. The Nats will make the long trek north to Baltimore Friday night, sending Jordan Zimmermann to the hill against the Orioles' Wei-Yin Chen.

38 comments:

Drew said...

At 17-12 the Nats clinch a winning record for the 32-game gantlet. Fabulous.

Don't know about you folks, but I'm looking forward to the Padres and the Cubbies.

On to Balmer to fight the dreaded Hon.

GYFNG!

JT said...

Be nice to get at least 2 of 3 this weekend against them crabbeers.

Gonat said...

Pitching highlight -- How's about Ryan Mattheus bases loaded ROOGY strikeout?

Gonat said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/robin-ficker-heckles-joe-maddon-receives-signed-ball/2012/06/21/gJQAzCGstV_blog.html

HILARIOUS

Drew said...

Congrats to shortstop Jason Martinson, who has been promoted to Potomac after driving in 63 runs in 69 games at Hagerstown.

Jason is DHing tonight. (That might be his best defensive position.)

Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said...

Just saw the replay from another angle of Ankiel getting thrown out--he held out his hands, palms up, as if to say "WHY did Bo send me?? I was just out by 20 feet!"

baseballswami said...

Someone posted on twitter that ankiel was upset with flo for not signaling him to slide. Would not have mattered?

sjm308 said...

How sweet have Burnett & Clippard been? Its just crazy. Marlins and Phillies both lose and we are 13 games over .500. Someone pinch me!!

I have a bet with my nephew who pitches for Stevenson University outside Baltimore and we need to win two of three so I do not have to wear Orioles gear to a Nationals game next season. I won't mind getting him a ticket, its the Orioles gear I will not be happy with. If we sweep I get to go to an O's game with him in Nats gear.

Go Nats!!

Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said...

Ah, Swami, that would better explain the gesture I saw, but still, he was out by 20 feet.

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO! Nats win

baseballswami said...

All's well that ends well? So many decisive moments in the game. Some games they go our way , some games they don't. Glad they did this time. The minor league home plate ump missed a few. (dozen) Good to see Ryan hit, Danny hit, Gio recover, awesome baserunning with the double steal and Desi "harpering" from first to second when they infielders don't call time. Nice hustle all around. Pretty sweet and with a nice, big crowd full of Natitude.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Don't mean to nit-pick, MicheleS, but you're a little late with the "WOOOOO-HOOOO!!," don't you think?

Did ya have to walk the dog or something?

OutsideTheLaw said...

I was sitting three rows right in front of Ficker. It was so incredibly annoying. He wasn't heckling, except for calling out about pine tar 6 times in the first two innings, then spending the whole game yelling for "Bryce Harper come on home," and other inane BS. He's one of those cretins who thinks he bigger than the game and that people come to be entertained by him.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

That's an insult to cretins, Outside. But you're totally right. Just an imbecile.

mick said...

OutsideTheLaw said...
I was sitting three rows right in front of Ficker


say it aint so?
please don't tell me that stooge goes to Nats games?

mick said...

OutsideTheLaw said...
I was sitting three rows right in front of Ficker


say it aint so?
please don't tell me that stooge goes to Nats games?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I know I am bias, but it appeared the ump at home squeeze first Giom then Satammen. While giving the Rays pitchers a much wider zone. Pitch track said this ump didn't like knee high strikes at all.

mick said...

having now seen all the AL East teams, no doubt that Yankees are on a different level, followed by Rays and O's a close second, Sox and Blue Jays in that order.

MicheleS said...

Driving and posting do not mix

mick said...

In fact, Yankees and Rangers are top AL teams, Yanks get the edge right now. NL, Dodgers and Giants may be top 2, and Nats and Braves 3 and 4

mick said...

MicheleS said...
Driving and posting do not mix

nor does drinking... just joking

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@MicheleS: You're excused! Be careful out there!!

We need you for Baltimore.

Steady Eddie said...

As I lumber home from the Metro through muggy streets -- having spent a very pleasant couple of innings hanging with DC Wonk and his intensely Nats fan family (raisin' em right!), I wondered how long it took us to get to 40 wins in seasons past. (40+ wins is a distinction we now share with the OTHER 3 best teams -- Rangers, Dodgers, Yanks.).

Also noted that NO TEAM has fewer losses (27) than we do. And if Timmons had done us justice on Saturday, we would have the fewest losses -- and a better record than the Yanks. No, I'm not going to give that up quite yet.

mick said...

the only thing bad about tonight is that LeBron will get his title.

mick said...

steadie eddie... i hear you about Timmons, lol

Bzl. said...

Man, I thought Ficker was exorcised from DC sports arenas, and that he was limiting himself to those annoying quixotic runs for elected office. Glad I don't sit near him.

Great win!

SonnyG10 said...

Winning the series against the Rays does a lot to get our mojo back after getting swept by the Yanks. GYFNG!!!

NatsLady said...

As noted by Davey, Joe Madden has a Tweeter. This is how he used it after tonight's game:

Joe Maddon ‏@RaysJoeMaddon
You don't like to see them but you are going to make mental mistakes. Today we were just chock full of them.


Yeah, Joe==> including yours!!! You don't try a double-steal when the batter is going to swing and foul. Take lessons, sir, take lessons from the MASTER!!!!

A DC Wonk said...

Back from the game -- spent a couple of innings with Steady Eddie. It's nice hanging with nice and knowledgeable folks! Thanks Eddie!

A DC Wonk said...

Gonat said...

... give Lombo some time at 2nd?

After watching Espi the last few games batting LH, looks like the same results. 0-3 last night with 2 K's. Oh yah, that's right, Espi is perfecting his shorter swing.


Gonat, thanks for the reverse lock! Maddon was thinking the same thing -- walking LaRoche to pitch to Espi-as-lefty.

NatsLady said...

Good video from BJ Upton on the Rays' loss and his mental lapse. Took responsibility (which is more than Joe Maddon did, I mean, seriously). I expect Rizzo will go for Bourne, but I wouldn't mind BJ.

video-upton-thursday-loss

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/rays/content/video-upton-thursday-loss?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

Me to my husband after watching a rally in last night's game: Who are these guys and what have they done with my team?

My husband to me: Who cares? I like these guys better.

(I've always loved my Nats no matter what but danged if he doesn't have a point. :-))

Laddie Blah Blah said...

NatsLady

"I expect Rizzo will go for Bourne, but I wouldn't mind BJ."

There has been some buzz lately about Jacoby Ellsbury. He is a free agent after this year and his agent is - whatsisname? - oh, yeah, Scott Boras. The Bosox may not be willing to resign Ellsbury, given his recent history of injuries, and they have a young guy who they think is ready to take Ellsbury's place for a lot less money.

Ellsbury would solve so many of the Nats problems - CF, lead-off, another leftie bat with power, speed and a high OBP, and who is a real pro. He would fit right in.

And they still have Corey Brown. Not in Ellsbury's class, but an upgrade at the plate over Ankiel.

mick said...

Nats lady.... I obviously like both Bourne and BJ, however, what would Nats lineup look up and where does Moore and Lmbo fit in?

mick said...

I am not so sure about Corey Brown in DC long term due to hiss age.... i think he would be a good part of a trade down the line

mick said...

I like Ellsbury too

fresh2death1997 said...

What's so good about Corey Brown? I don't know him very well. But anyways, i like Zim needs a break. Lets him sit a game, and put in Lombo at 3rd. Moore at left!

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