Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 4, Mets 3

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche is congratulated by Bryce Harper following his sixth-inning homer.
Game in a nutshell: Stop us if you've heard this one before: Jordan Zimmermann pitches brilliantly but gets precious little run support and finds himself facing a possible no-decision. Thankfully for the hard-luck right-hander, the Nationals strung together enough hits late to give him the lead. And Zimmermann didn't need much, because he didn't allow any runs over six strong innings. Adam LaRoche provided the big blast: a two-run homer in the sixth to snap a scoreless tie. Steve Lombardozzi then added the insurance knock: a two-run double in the seventh. That gave some cushion to the Nats bullpen, which unlike last night managed to close this one out in regulation (though Tyler Clippard did give up solo homers to both David Wright and Jason Bay in the ninth). Thus, the Nationals handed the Mets their sixth straight loss and dropped them eight games back in the NL East.

Hitting highlight: No, he's not raking at the plate the way he did during the season's first six weeks when he looked like a candidate for National League MVP. But LaRoche continues to come through with clutch hits on a regular basis for the Nats. The veteran first baseman delivered big-time in the sixth inning tonight, belting a 1-2 pitch from Chris Young into the Red Porch for his 16th homer and 54th and 55th RBI of the season. This may not turn out to be a career year for LaRoche, but he's basically doing exactly what the Nationals wanted him to do all along: Provide power, clutch hits and smooth defense at first base.

Pitching highlight: Just another quality start for "Mr. Consistency." Zimmermann was at it again, churning out six more scoreless innings and plowing through the Mets lineup with relative ease. He allowed only four hits, didn't walk a batter and in the process lowered his ERA to 2.35. That now ranks fifth in the majors. Perhaps most impressively, Zimmermann is getting better and stronger as this season plays out. Remember how the opposite seemed to be true last year as he made his comeback from Tommy John surgery? This is why the Nats limited him to 160 innings, and it's why they'll do the same with Stephen Strasburg later this season. You can't dispute the positive effect it's had on Zimmermann in 2012.

Key stat: Though he finally got his run support in the sixth, Zimmermann did go into the fifth inning without his teammates having plated a single run. That's the seventh time this season that's happened to the right-hander.

Up next: The series concludes with a fantastic showdown of the NL's only two 12-game winners: Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey. They'll square off in Thursday's 12:35 p.m. matinee at Nationals Park.

27 comments:

peric said...

Great game Harper and Lombo keying what little offense there was again ..

... and Natslady better start worrying about Clippard not Gorzelanny ... his xFIP is likely through the roof after these two appearances.

Jimmy DeMoney said...

Another nice win Nats, way2go!
Clippard starting to concern me a bit.
I think other teams are scouting his 1st pitch now.

Drew said...

If you don't have a wooden stake, garlic works, too.

GYFNG!

(Like I was sayin' this will be a tough call on LaRoche.)

Now let's go Giants!

Joe Seamhead said...

Wow! Clip sure has been "entertaining" lately.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Gotta believe the Mets are close to the point of dealing RA Dickey. Somebody will give up a few pretty good prospects for him. Hopefully we can get to him tomorrow and sweep the Mets out of town.

ehay2k said...

Another SERIES win against a division opponent. Young players contribute, starting pitching was again great. Zimnn even got run support. Hey, Flores even got a hit.
What's not to like?

natsfan1a said...

True that, Joe. He's also been "interesting." That said, the good guys won, the game and the series. Looking forward to tomorrow's match-up, which I'll see in person (my boss is very "understanding"). :-)

A side hitting note: after Flores singled and was standing on first, it looked to me as though Werth caught his eye and gave him an "atta boy, Flo" from the dugout.

baseballswami said...

Let's hope that Clip is just going through a rough time, it will be over soon and it will be the only one. Everyone talks about Bryce being old school? Look at Jordan - crew cut, no new age necklaces, high socks, throws strikes, no drama. That's old school.

natsfan1a said...

sec3, I LOLed and LOLed. :-D

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Is it just me, or is Andres Torres a bowler?
July 18, 2012 8:30 PM

sjm308 said...

Whew, have to say I was just a bit concerned. I did go to the comments on the in-game post and saw that Mick was using my advice so I had to put something there. We just keep winning series and that is the key. 2-4 against the Marlins, at least 2 against the Mets. That puts us at 4 -2 in the 1st 6 games after the break. We really can do this!!! How long will Davey stick with Clippard? Right now, he really doesn't have options unless you consider Mattheus.

Go Nats!!

A DC Wonk said...

Clip may have been shaky, but let's not forget that David Wright is one helluva player, and is also on fire lately

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Always for you first, 1a. : )

JaneB said...

MichelleS, if you see this, enjoy Cooperstown!

I love love love these guys.

Grandstander said...

The only divisional series we've lost this year was the sweep at Miami and we've got a 20-11 record vs. divisional opponents. Not bad.

Doc said...

Time to start Davey's idea of an A & B bullpen, Drew B. amd Clip A. Matteus or GStam at set-up, opposite Lefty, depending on which one isn't sent down.

Can't keep trotting Clip out there, even with the breaks he's had before, during, and after the ASG. He's been in 41 games this year already.

Both of Clip's HR pitches had location problems.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

I know the Mets are 8 back, but they don't look like a team that's beaten yet, to me. I'm starting to think there's more fight in that dog than I, for one, figured.

Drew said...

Corey Brown hits his 20th homer, steals his 12th base and nudges his batting average back over .300.

Hope he's still hot when he gets the call in about 45 days.

Swift Eagle said...

Every outing by Jordan reminds me why the Nats are shutting down Stras early this year...

SonnyG10 said...

Clip has had bad streaks before. Its like the other teams figure out his pattern and start sitting on a particular pitch. In the past he has been able to work himself out of the bad streaks and go lights out again. We really need Storen back so Clip doesn't get overworked.

SonnyG10 said...

Yes, Swift Eagle, agree. I expect Stras to be a lot better next year. Stronger, plus more experience.

baseballswami said...

Atlanta playing into tomorrow. Boy are they going to be tired and have a spent bullpen.

Section 222 said...

Home from the game. So great to be back at Nats Park. A crisp well played game with timely hitting from ALR and Lombo and a wild ride from Clipp. I just watched Davey's postgame comments. Boy is he having a good time.

He's absolutely right about Znn, that guy is a horse. Just so sharp in this game. He's not going to be a secret weapon for much longer. TyMo had a few nice plays, but also should have made two catches that he didn't make. And Harper had a very long run for that catch early in the game. Hard to believe our outfield has two guys who less than two years ago had never played the position.

Finally, it was a pleasure to not have most of the between innings entertainment tonight because Clint was filling in as the P.A. announcer. And he did quite good job, I must say. Credit where credit is due. I've concluded I really don't dislike Clint. I just dislike what they make him do most nights.

Section 222 said...

I'm enjoying the Giants wearing out the Braves bullpen and killing their spirit. Keep it up.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew said...

Way to go Giants!

Nats are now up 4.5 games on Atlanta and 8 on the Mets.

natsfan1a said...

Agreed.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

I know the Mets are 8 back, but they don't look like a team that's beaten yet, to me. I'm starting to think there's more fight in that dog than I, for one, figured.
July 18, 2012 10:57 PM

ehay2k said...

On Clippard's giving up the HR to Wright - I looked at the recording and it was straight down the middle, which was exactly where Flores wanted it because his glove did not move an inch. Bottom line, this wasn't a control issue. My best guess is that he had a 3 run lead, and wanted to get ahead of Wright. He threw the pitch he wanted. The result just turned out to be less than optimum.

Still, we won. If Clipp had melted down, I would worry, but it just does't happen with this ballclub's stars.

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