Friday, June 8, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 7, Red Sox 4

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper rounds the bases after hitting his sixth career homer in the fourth.
Game in a nutshell: A star-studded team from Washington invaded Fenway Park and overwhelmed the hometown Red Sox and their stunned fans. How incredible is that statement? It's true. Bryce Harper put on a show with three hits, including his sixth career homer. And on the second anniversary of his major-league debut, Stephen Strasburg put forth his most dominant start since that magical night in 2010. Strasburg struck out 13, one shy of the career high he set in his debut. And he uncorked a career-high 119 pitches over six brilliant innings. Throw in some clutch hits from Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa and a Washington baseball club snapped a 10-game losing streak at Fenway. The city's last win here: May 25, 1971, when the Senators won 6-5 in 11 innings.

Hitting highlight: How can you not go with the kid? Harper talked before the game about how psyched he was to stand in the same batter's box as Ted Williams. Then he went out and put on an offensive display that would have made Teddy Ballgame proud. Harper doubled in the third, crushed a homer near the 420-foot sign in deep right-center in the fourth and then singled in another run in the sixth. Most amazing: He recorded all those hits against left-handers. The 19-year-old is now batting a robust (.366, 15-for-41) against lefties. Pretty impressive, no?

Pitching highlight: Strasburg's entire evening deserves praise, but let's focus on the bottom of the sixth, maybe the biggest inning he's yet pitched in the big leagues. With his pitch count rising to levels he had never experienced before, the right-hander was allowed to stay in the game and face Jarrod Saltamacchia and Kevin Youkilis with the bases loaded. And what did Strasburg do? He struck out both guys, getting Saltamacchia swinging at a curveball and Youkilis looking at a (borderline) 3-2 fastball at the knees. That last K came on Strasburg's 119th pitch of the night, 11 more than he had ever thrown in a professional game.

Key stats: Before Harper, the last visiting 19-year-olds to homer at Fenway Park were Robin Yount, Al Kaline and Mickey Mantle. Before Strasburg, the last pitcher that young to strike out at least 13 batters at Fenway Park was Roger Clemens during his 20-strikeout classic in 1986.

Up next: The Nationals' No. 2 ace, Gio Gonzalez, takes the mound at 4:05 p.m. Saturday attempting to outdo his top-of-the-rotation mate. He'll be opposed by Daisuke Matsuzaka, making his 2012 debut after undergoing Tommy John surgery.


MicheleS said...

WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Another win!!! Thank you!!!

Drew said...

(Whew) HOOOO!!

Unknown said...

Big big big win. Wow.

Joe Seamhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sjm308 said...

This is just so exciting

MichelleS - don't go getting horse on us with all this Woooo Hoooing!!! Its a marathon not a sprint but it sure is fun to be leading the race!!

Think about the inexperience in the outfield in one of the toughest places to play and we did just fine. Also loved Nady's catch and things are just going our way right now.

Did not go back to the previous post but I am guessing there are some screaming for Espinosa to never bat left-handed again. I am not smart enough to call for anything but more of what we have been doing this year. Davey really seems to be pulling all the right levers.

Go Nats!!!

The Natidude said...

Two years ago when they drafted Harper to pair with Strasburg we all dreamt of a night like this, when the two of them would dominate. And in one of the great ballparks! What a game. Can't say enough.

ehay2k said...

Dang you SJM, now I gotta get a cocktail! :-)

First win in Fenway ever by the Nats, and first win by a DC team in 41 years? Wow, I'm sure Boz will write about that tomorrow.

Great win, Strasburg impresses every time out, and Harper just flat out was born to play baseball. What a night!

BTW, I had to step out with the kids to get ice cram, so I paused the game right after Harper's HR. At the local pub we passed, they had the TVs outside showing a soccer game!?! I told them they were missing out on the Nats and that Harper just hit a HR in Fenway Park! When we walked back from ice cream, they still had soccer on all three screens. I'm sure the score ended 0-0 but the blue team probably won on aggregate goals from 1973.

DWS said...

sjm308. Funny thing, the haters have disappeared..
The NESN crew finally admitted that the Nats have a good young team.


Not used by the authority of MicheleS. All rights...

sjm308 said...

I am really interested in seeing how Gio will pitch with the big wall. I can imagine that Bobby V will stack the lineup with righthanders (except Gonzalez and Ortiz) but I also think Gio's curve will be the neutralizer.

We win the first two and things become easier for JZimm.

Can't wait to get nervous again around 4 pm

Go Nats!!!

SonnyG10 said...

Wow, this is high stress for me. Even with a big lead, I still sweated the outcome with Boston's offense and the hitter's park. Our boys were up to the task though. I'll really enjoy the replay now that I know we win. A lot of great plays for us.

JaneB said...

We can't forget that webgem catch by Nady. Best catch of the year so far! Just stunning. I really think that that catch, robbing them of a homer, made those fans really sit up and take notice, on top of the pitching and the hitting.

Plus, Davey's post-game quote about The Kid bunting: "I don't know what Bix of Cracker Jacks he got that out of." It is going down in my book with Pretty Freaking Bueno from Cat.

Lidge scared me. Enough said about that.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Harper's bunt attempt will bring 3b in more and will create more hits later in the season. GO gio let's get that second one out of the way tomorrow. back to normal, brush off last Sunday's game.

Adamnational said...

@The Natidude I like your style Dude.

NCNatsie said...

Both the MASN and MLB TV pitch track machines show the Youkilis strikeout pitch to have been a strike.

Some call it borderline. Some call it paint.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NCNatsie, definitely a strike. Not even borderline.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Right now Scott Boras is smiling about his #1's.

baseballswami said...

Missed the entire night with a family event. It's recorded - I may just have to stay up and catch some highlights. Pretty sweet. So proud.

Gonat said...

Here's Strasburg's K chart:

Bigfish said...

Check out the standings: the Nats have the second-best record in Major League Baseball. Let's savor that for a while.

Scooter said...

Well, the pitch to Youkilis was borderline, but the border is a strike.

I don't quite understand the few comments about left in Fenway being so hard. Yeah, there's a big wall, but the ground to cover is about six square feet. Yaz was certainly a master. But Manny played there too.

Scooter said...

Wow, Gonat. Interesting chart. And thanks, Bigfish.

Drew said...

I imagine Little Gio is looking at these highlights and pawing at the dirt. Who wouldn't want to
Play with these young stars?

Meantime, Corey Brown sends Rizzo a nice forget-me-not, a grand salami for his 15th home run.

Robbie Ray goes five strong in Potomac to win his third.

Alex Meyer has won three straight starts at Hagerstown and lowered his ERA below 3.80. In his last 10 starts his ERA is 3.19.

Goodwin, Purke, Rendon, Giolito... This good team is only going to get more exciting.

Anonymous said...

An immensely satisfying evening.

Lidge was worrisome but if he turns out to be ineffective the team has plenty of other options, especially once Storen returns, so it's not the end of the world. The only unfortunate thing was that they had big enough lead that Clippard should have had the night off.

But in every other respect, a terrific night.

pRAA said...

Yaz was certainly a master. But Manny played there too.

You might say Manny really marked his territory there.

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