Friday, July 13, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Marlins 1

US Presswire photo
Ryan Zimmerman clubbed his sixth homer in 15 games.
Game in a nutshell: The Nationals opened the second half of their season with a bang, pouncing on Marlins ace Josh Johnson for five runs and handing the ball to Jordan Zimmermann to mow his way through the Miami lineup. Big hits came from Ryan Zimmerman (who went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer), Adam LaRoche (3-for-4, two runs scored) and Ian Desmond (2-for-4, RBI). Zimmermann had a shutout going through six innings but was surprisingly pulled by manager Davey Johnson in favor of Henry Rodriguez, who struggled again to find the strike zone and was yanked after four batters. No worries, though, because the rest of the Nationals bullpen hung on to close this one out and start the pennant race off in style.

Hitting highlight: How nice was the four-day All-Star break for the ailing members of the Nationals' lineup? Apparently very nice, because they came out raking in the second-half opener, no one more so than Zimmerman. Zim launched a third-inning shot to deep left-center and clanked the home run sculpture for a two-run blast. He added a single in the fifth and another in the seventh. In 15 games now since receiving a cortisone shot in his ailing shoulder, he's hitting .359 (23-for-64) with six doubles, six homers and 20 RBI.

Pitching highlight: In what has to be considered one of his best outings of the season, Zimmermann sliced and diced the Marlins lineup, getting better and stronger as the night wore on. With a devastating slider, he struck out four batters in a row in the third and fourth innings, and when the sixth inning ended he had retired 14 of 16 batters and had yet to allow a run while throwing only 87 pitches. And then he never emerged from the dugout for the bottom of the seventh. It was a curious move, to say the least, one Johnson is going to have to explain. Regardless, it was another fine start for Zimmermann, who lowered his ERA to 2.48 and got his record back to .500 at 6-6.

Key stat: Only two major leaguers have made 18 starts this season and completed at least six innings in each of them: Zimmermann and Justin Verlander.

Up next: The Nats wanted to sign Mark Buehrle last winter, but after he signed with Miami, they instead traded for Gio Gonzalez. No complaints about that now, but we will get to see the two lefties go head-to-head Saturday night in Game 2 of this series. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.

47 comments:

Drew said...

Fifty wins and Giolito's in the fold.

Most excellent.

NatsLady said...

Sorry for the Fish fan who joined us, but gotta love this win! Good for JZ, Clip, RZ, Desi, ALR, and if I left anyone out, love you all. Oh, Mike Gonzalez and Sean B.

NatsLady said...

Oh, Danny from the left side. Got my Desi All-Star Jersey tonight. Will wear it Wednesday if it doesn't rain... Totally in love with the Nats!

Nats212 said...

Did anyone noticed that the NATS have FIVE relievers with a sub-2 ERA? It´s only me or isn´t that amazing?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Sitting at the top of section 8/9 next to the camera set up waiting for Flo Rida.

Fish fans are pretty fed up with everything Marlins, especially Hanley and Jose. And don't even mention Ozzie to amybody with Cuban heritage.

mick said...

Mark is right, tomorrow's match up should be a good one!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Nats212.....that's exactly what a Fish fan said to me as I was walking to a better view of Flo Rida.

mick said...

Natsjackin FL, I bet Fish fans are fuming, lol

Feel Wood said...

It was a curious move, to say the least, one Johnson is going to have to explain.

My brother Phil with a good point in the postgame show. Jordan Zimmermann should probably be on an innings limit himself this year of around 190. If his season ended in September, that wouldn't be an issue. But this team hopes to be playing games in October. Davey may well be saving innings now for Jordan that he can use in October.

Swift Eagle said...

Wow, just what that crappy field needs...Another post game concert...

peric said...

Giolito plus a win. Progress is a go! Nice job to all, and Mike Rizzo succeeded in signing all of his top 10 picks again. Lost one at #15 and then the future top picks at #'s 25, 26, and 27 but a job well done indeed!

Harper, Desmond, and Espy still pushing the envelope with their speed. Zim completely on track (but for how long?). Still need Morse to come around. But, there's Tyler Moore. LaRoche keeps making it harder to move him off of first base ... and Flores has a big day at the plate.

peric said...

My brother Phil with a good point in the postgame show. Jordan Zimmermann should probably be on an innings limit himself this year of around 190.

He'd be right with any other pitcher perhaps .. but JZimmnn is a bull, a veritable horse ... he can do 200. That said ... Davey is seeing what I am seeing. This second half is going to be all about Jordan Zimmermann. He is going to pick up the baton and become the ace of the 2nd half. Davey is preserving this resource as best as he can.

NatsLady said...

peric, glad to see you appreciating someone over thirty, because ALR is a terrific asset to this team!

JaneB said...

If we are having this much fun, what do you think the guys are feeling? A memorable season is happening right in front of our Nats loving eyes!
And speaking of eyes, how fun to hear from the Carmen Miranda Memorial Stadium....thanks guys!
Tomorrow...Gio beats Mark. Expect it.

Swift Eagle said...

I'm starting to feel like we are preserving all these young arms now, so they'll be strong into their 30's...when they'll be pitching for the Yankees..

I'm all for being conservative with Stras, that's the medical advice they've been given

But let the other studs pitch

NatsJack in Florida said...

Derek....the field plays like a golf green that has been sprigged and sanded. It looks worse in person.

NatsLady said...

The worst, IMO, was Harper "stealing" 3rd while the Fish were gabbing. Not a well-coached team, and you have to lay that on Ozzie.

Swift Eagle said...

Amazing Jack, b/c it looks terrible on TV...they should just go to the turf like the Trop

NatsJack in Florida said...

At least the people that got stage passes are limited to the infield dirt.

Swift Eagle said...

Haha NatsLady! If there's one thing Ozzie can coach, is talking! So funny to see Bryce catch them napping! Tim McCarver probably will still call it false hustle though...

NatsLady said...

Was it Johnson that stumbled on the infield "sand" while trying to field? That is also unacceptable in MLB. I mean, we'll take it, and it's not like the Nats didn't stumble in the new Park, but get the basics, Fish, get the basics.

Swift Eagle said...

Johnson stumbled, and a lot of bloops for both teams fell in, maybe the footing in the OF had something to do with it...Saw some bad jumps and strange routes to the ball (both teams)

Nats212 said...

Swift I think the nats have enough money to compete with the yankees. Not enough money to go giving on free agency, but enough to keep our players

NatsJack in Florida said...

Flo Rida ROCKS!

Swift Eagle said...

You're right Nats212, an over-reaction on my part...but I really disliked that move tonight, Jordan deserved a shot to throw a shutout tonight, and to get the attention/credit on SportsCenter, etc..

Not a big deal, but he's been overlooked for too long

Swift Eagle said...

HAHA! NatsJack and Flo-Rida!! A couple of "Wild Ones"

Feel Wood said...

I'm all for being conservative with Stras, that's the medical advice they've been given

But let the other studs pitch


If they end up going deep into October that could be 220-230 innings for the starters. Not an issue for Gio and EJax since they've got multiple complete seasons under their belts. But could be bad for a pitcher like JZimm who's only had one season of even 160 IP. Makes sense to limit his innings now wherever possible and save them for later.

Tcostant said...

I thought OF grass look bad, all patchy. That did not look a new stadium OF. A great win and our first round pick signs. Teasers!

baseballswami said...

Out of town with no computer, no MLB network, in Philly territory. Thanks for all the in game stuff as all I have is my phone and dwindling data. 3 more days- help me hang on! I did see Bryce highlights on the 4 letter channel. I swear he is the only Nat they know. It was pretty cool, though . Tough on me to miss a JZim start.Gogol Nats!!!!!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, glad you got 1/4 of your birthday present tonight.

Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

Swami, if you saw Bryce in the first and the Zim HR, you got the best of it.

NatsLady said...

Happy Birthday, NatsJack! Just catching up!

baseballswami said...

I know I got the offensive stuff , but I just love to watch Jordan throw strikes over and over and over . When is he going to be allowed to finish a game?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Keep winning every series. WIn 75% of series and you win the regular season fairly easily.

SonnyG10 said...

Folks, per Davey's postgame interview, he pulled Jordan early only because Jordan had only played catch over the all-star break and didn't want him to go too long the first game back. Apparently Jordan was not doing his normal between starts routine. He said he also wanted to knock some rust off the bull pen also.

peric said...

I'm starting to feel like we are preserving all these young arms now, so they'll be strong into their 30's...when they'll be pitching for the Yankees.

Perhaps, but last time I looked the Lerners had a lot more money than the Yankee owners. And they now appear to be doing things the right way relative to signing draft picks, and with the over-slot signings the past two or so years under Rizzo.

Baseball players notice things like that. Especially young players.

Gonat said...

Dickey vs. Hanson tomorrow in the Mets/Braves game. Maybe the Mets can win this one.

Gio needs to do his job for the Nats.

From Mark: Updated NL East standings: #Nats 50-34, #Braves 4 GB, #Mets 5.5 GB, #Marlins 10 GB, #Phillies 15 GB

NatsJack in Florida said...

So who (owners) were the "young" players noticing before the Lerners?

That's so much friggin hogwash it doesn't deserve consideration.

Donald said...

Watched the game on MASN. It might just be me, but I HATE the way Johnny Holiday calls games early, chalking up the win for the Nats by the seventh inning and calling the end to some Marlins hit streak in the 8th. It seems to be tempting the baseball gods to be doing that.

Secret wasian man said...

WOW, Donald I agree. In the 3rd FP said if nats win they will keep these road helmets. Theres 21 outs left. I also don't think Johhny Hol knows fouling off the 3rd strike while bunting is an out. UGHHH

Scott from Burke said...

Donald...100% agree! That comment about the hit streak was a disgrace..he did the same thing a few years ago in SF when Zim had a hitting streak, saying the streak was over in the 8th after he was retired...SO DUMB..and the 3rd strike on the bunt? crazy..BUT I dont' blame Johnny..he is clearly ol and out of it..shame on MASN for putting him on the air..if Carp (not a fan but at least he's cognizent of the rules) is out get someone else in there..PLEASE

natsfan1a said...

Nice win against the Fish - let's have another one! Missed the middle innings because of cat-sitting duties. May try to watch those at some point today. My fave part was when Zimm hit the Carmen Miranda Memorial Home Run thingy. That was awesome, and, having just read the game post (but not yet comments), also loved Mark's line about the teddy bear. Got back home and turned on the tv just in time to see the replay of the LaRoche/Desi footrace. Whew. Fish for dinner? Sounds good to me. :-)

Doc said...

A belated happy birthday wish, with the belated birthday win for Natsjack!

Let's get the broom out and cover a few more birthdays!!

GoooooooooooooooNaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaats!!!!

Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

I think the baseball gods will cut Johnny some slack; he means well, and that makes a difference. And if he lost track of the count on the Znn bunt, well, no harm done. He's not annoyingly wrong in the same way as, say, McCarver, who absolutely should know how a catcher's mitt is measured, but botched it Tuesday night when they showed Chooch's mitt for catching Dickey.
But maybe that's just me.

natsfan1a said...

Oh, yeah. I forgot to add this: "WOOOOO HOOOOO!!"*


---

*MicheleS. 2012. Natsinsider.
http://www.natsinsider.com/2012/02/pitching-plan.html (accessed July 14, 2012).

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'm with you on that re: McCarver, Sofa.....He's worse than Joe Morgan who became almost imbecilic at the end of his run at ESPN.

It's like both Fox and ESPN are out to sabatoge MLB.

Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

I prefer to remember Joe, like Harry Caray, from the earlier part of his career, when he was very good indeed. Later, as you say, a cartoon of himself.

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