Sunday, July 15, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 0

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg tossed six scoreless innings to earn his 10th win.
Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg was stuck in a three-game losing streak. Ian Desmond was out of the lineup with a lingering oblique strain. The Nationals were silenced at the plate. Reason to worry? Um, no. Strasburg tossed six scoreless innings to improve to 10-4 for the season. He also chimed in with another RBI single, setting in motion a two-run rally off Ricky Nolasco in the top of the fifth. The Nats added two more runs off Nolasco in the sixth, with Michael Morse driving in one run and Danny Espinosa driving in the other. Tyler Clippard got himself into a big jam in the ninth, loading the bases with nobody out. But he escaped it and thus secured the Nats' fifth shutout victory of the season.

Hitting highlight: With Desmond on the bench, the Nats needed an offensive spark from somebody. So they turned to their best hitter ... Strasburg. Seriously, nobody has consistently put up better numbers at the plate than the All-Star pitcher. Strasburg drew a two-out walk in the third, becoming the first player to reach base against Nolasco. Then with two outs in the fifth, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen decided to intentionally walk Jhonatan Solano and take his chances with the pitcher. Won't they ever learn? Strasburg laced an RBI single to right to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. He's now hitting .385 (10-for-26) this season with four RBI, a .448 on-base percentage and .654 slugging percentage.

Pitching highlight: Strasburg wasn't in top form today. He gave up six hits and a walk, bounced multiple pitches in front of the plate and put himself in trouble several times. But when he really needed to make pitches, he did. And that's how he still wound up tossing six shutout innings. With two on in the second, he struck out John Buck. With the bases loaded in the third, he struck out Logan Morrison and got Hanley Ramirez to ground out (with Ryan Zimmerman making a nice play). And with runners on second and third in the fifth, he struck out Ramirez on a 2-2 curveball. That's called rising to the occasion, and that's what the ace of a playoff staff is supposed to do.

Key stat: All seven of the Nats' hits today were singles, which means their consecutive streak of games with at least one extra-base hit ended at 85.

Up next: This series isn't over yet, folks. We're wrapping around the weekend and concluding with a 7:10 p.m. Monday game. Edwin Jackson will take the ball for the Nationals against the always-combustible Carlos Zambrano.

48 comments:

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Umm, hope everyone is okay after that collision!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Kardiac Kids do it again. Kardiac Klippard!

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

They looked okay afterward ... good to see both players in their natural positions (2b and right field) improved defense as a result. Much needed with the bats seemingly falling into another slump of inconsistency Desmond in the lineup or not.

Good to see Morse break the bad pattern he started. But as sec3 mentioned it would be nice to see some XBH action ... preferably with men on!

I see no problem with resting Desmond as long as necessary as opposed to as long as possible. They seem to have it covered unless another injury occurs.

NatsLady said...

Ghost, LOL! He overdid it in the Rox game, and came so close to overdoing it in this one. He shouldn't have walked that second guy.

NatsFanChris said...

Very exciting game today. Lots of excellent defensive plays and clutch at-bats. Love these Nats!

Just really hope Desi's injury isn't too serious. Feeling worse after several off days during the AS break is scary.

NatsNut said...

speaking of Chad Cordero, isn't he throwing out the first pitch on Friday?

NatsLady said...

peric, agree. Much easier on both Harper and Lombo to be in their "natural" positions. The Shark is, well, the Shark. I missed the double-play they didn't get, made it harder on Stras than it needed to be.

If only Ankiel could hit.

baseballswami said...

There was a collision? Clip look bad or get squeezed?

TimDz said...

Was good to get a win after yesterday...although they looked better yesterday, IMHO....

Not to look past tomorrow's game, but two big series coming up in this next homestand...can get some separation from the Mets and Braves...

Hopefully, this will be posted and not removed...apparently, I am in the spam zone...

NatsLady said...

Stephania Bell tweeted that even a mild "oblique" usually necessitates a DL. I think the easy ride--such as it's been--is over for a while.

MicheleS said...

Swami, last play of the game a fly to the foul side in RF. Lombo/Bryce got tangled up. They looked okay, but it didn't look good.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Little late with this, but here goes:
"WOOOOOO-HOOOOOO!!!"
(Copyright, MicheleS, 2011).

NatsLady said...

swami, Lombo and Harper collided on last popup. Looked like no one was hurt. Clip not getting squeezed, just playing with fire a little too much. Need Drew back, Clip will lose the closer's job if he keeps doing that--Drew doesn't mess around. Mattheus excellent. If there is anything wrong with Burnett it didn't show.

m20832 said...

That stadium is too big. 418' to center with an 18' high fence? Guess it's a pitcher's park. Curious as to how many HR's have been hit there?

Nice pitching by Stras, Mattheus, Burnett and Clip (after McCat came out to talk to him).
Let's get this series! Mets fading into nothingness and the barves yapping at our heels.
Isn't this Great baseball?

GYFNG!!!

baseballswami said...

Thanks all!

MicheleS said...

Ozzie was complaining about the Pine Tar on the Harper's bat. Davey said got on his nerves.

Faraz Shaikh said...

agree that this stadium looks like where david ortiz can hit a triple.

djinFl. said...

Ozzie just said he was telling Harper how cute he was. Miami announcers just think he was trying to get in his head.

natsfan1a said...

The bottom of the 9th was a little too exciting for me, but was happy that the good guys held on for the win. Hope that nobody got hurt on the final catch.

Speaking of exciting, just read the comments in the game thread. I usually read them only for wins. Wow, some people were just not playing well with others in there. That's not the way you get taken out for ice cream after, now is it? ;-)

Speaking of not playing well with others, is it me, or is Ozzie even more, um, wacky than usual? Speaking of which, it's Zambrano going for the Fish tomorrow, right? Yeah, that should be interesting. Whoo-eee!

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, I can read lips a little bit, and I don't think so. :-)

Ozzie just said he was telling Harper how cute he was. Miami announcers just think he was trying to get in his head.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the bat info, MicheleS. I was also wondering if it was the pine tar (and thinking of Brett) before FP mentioned that possibility during the broadcast.

NatsLady said...

LOL, Davey on Clip: his heart wasn't pumping til he got men on base. Davey knows his customers, that's for sure.

Davey sure did like the way Stras pitched! I don't think Davey likes flashy managers, Maddon, Bobby V, Ozzie...

NCNatsie said...

BTW, it's red hats 2-0, blue hats 0-1. I like the blue better aesthetically, but maybe we should go with the hot cap???

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

waitaminute...Brcye talked to Brett, one of his heroes, at the All-Star Game. What if Bryce was trying to get in *Ozzie's* head, which is notoriously, er, hot? You'll never be quite sure now, will you, Ozzie? [evil laugh]

Ozzie just said he was telling Harper how cute he was. Miami announcers just think he was trying to get in his head.

rabbit34 said...

Stras should teach the "position players" how to hit.

NCNatsie said...

Re Bernadina and the squeeze. Obviously it's a huge mental mistake to miss the sign, but that pitch was way low and away, and I thought at the time he never would have gotten the bat on it if he had tried to bunt.

MicheleS said...

When did stras throw that high pitch at Infante.. HMMM... You try to intimidate my guy, I will intimidate one of your guys.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady.. and Davey took down Bobby V with the sweep (no verbal altercations), and I think he took Maddon down with the verbal altercations - made him look like an idiot. Davey will win the war with Ozzie.

greg said...

is it time to start pushing strasburg for a silver slugger award? was he getting hitting tips from livo?

DCJohn said...

This may have been the most important win of the season because the Marlins were poised in 2nd and especially the 3rd, to bust the game wide open. A year ago, that is exactly what would have hsppened. But we have one of the best pitchers in the game and he rose to the occasion. it would be nice to win tomorrow night, but it's not as desperate as it would have been had we lost today. This was a game where we could have buckled, but we held fast. Confidence in the clubhouse must be sky high.

MicheleS said...

Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP

Good news is, with Carlos Zambrano starting tomorrow, there's no way this insignificant incident will escalate into something bigger.


Lord Tomorrow night will be interesting.

NCNatsie said...

Kristina should have given us the story, but the fact she didn't has to be policy, not her fault. The question is, whose policy? MASN or the Nats? Maybe the policy is where she is stationed during the game? Anyone know?

MicheleS said...

And for NatsLady:

coolstandings‏@coolstandings

WAS 4, FLA 0. #Marlins playoff chances now 1.4%.

coolstandings‏@coolstandings

WAS 4, FLA 0. #Nationals playoff chances now 81.5%.

MicheleS said...

NCNatsie, it's probably the Nats, they never show controversial plays on the Big Board at the game.

JD said...

The Mets are fading and we have a chance to really make this a 2 horse race for the division when we face the Mets this week.

Storen was shelled today in Harrisburg (4 runs in 2/3 of an inning) so he's not quite ready yet.

Lannan is pitching tomorrow for Syracuse so he lines up for the double header next Saturday; Duke was hit pretty hard today.

Secret wasian man said...

Ozzie is an embarassment to himself and his team. Hes a terrible manager and an even worse human being. It was nice to stick it to him. especially when he walked Salado to get to Stras. Great job guys.

JD said...

Id Desmond must go on the DL I'm guessing we have to bring up an infielder (Rivero?) who else can play short?

Maurymania said...

Gentlemen, (and ladies!), I think everyone is missing it. If I interpret Ozzie's motions correctly, I think that Bryce, awaiting the first bat of the inning, so, in Ozzie's estimation, a bit too close to the plate during warmup and was "timing" his bat moving with the warm up pitches. You can see Ozzie saying "that's bullsh*** kid/" Clearly directed at Bryce. Give the rook credit again, he stayed out of it.

Secret wasian man said...

nice spot. I think your right. I think what Ozzie was really mad at was that his guys had stranded about 100 runners. HAHAHA love it

JD said...

NatsJack,

I disagree with your assessment that SS is 75% the pitcher he was before the injury. I think he's much more polished, does a great job with men on base and his curve ball today was awesome.

I think he has dialed down his fast ball a couple of miles an hour because you can't live at 99 - 100 mph for 100 pitches. SS is still a work in progress because too often he's not throwing his out pitch with 2 strikes on the hitter prolonging the at bat and causing him to leave after 6 innings. Once he masters that he will be absolutely devastating.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Clutch pitching and clutch defense can win a lot of games. I hope you noticed, JD, who caught the shutout and who called the game, today.

First game all year that the Nats did not get an extra base hit, but ALR and Danny would have hit 2 out at Nats' Park, or almost anywhere else except Miami. They hit the ball better than the box score looks, because the ball just dies out there. Only 1 HR in 3 games (by Zim in the 1st game) and only 3 runs, total, for Ozzie's mashers. They are lucky to have won even one of those three. He should be happy he got that one.

Let's really set him off tomorrow, with Bryce getting the winning hit, a pine tar aided shot over the doohickey in left-center would be just about perfect.

natsfan1a said...

Yes, I believe he is.

NatsNut said...

speaking of Chad Cordero, isn't he throwing out the first pitch on Friday?
July 15, 2012 4:27 PM

scarylawyerguy said...

Great post - great team. My blog on why the Nats need to stick to the plan and shut down SS in September:

http://scarylawyerguy.blogspot.com/2012/07/shutting-down-strasburg.html

Twitter: @scarylawyerguy

Squiffy said...

So glad I will be there on Friday to give the Chief a well-deserved ovation.

Squiffy said...

And a free Beer Stien, to boot!

Squiffy said...

er, stein

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