Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Instant analysis: NL 8, AL 0

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg tossed a scoreless fourth inning for the National League.
Game in a nutshell: Who says the National League's lineup can't stack up to the American League's thunder? The Senior Circuit sure looked dominant in the top of the first inning tonight against perhaps the best pitcher on the planet, piling up five runs off Justin Verlander. Ryan Braun sent an RBI double off the right-field wall, then Pablo Sandoval(?!) legged out a three-run triple off the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner. A Dan Uggla RBI single capped off the five-run inning, and the NL still wasn't done. A three-run fourth off the Rangers' Matt Harrison (highlighted by Melky Cabrera's homer to left) made it 8-0 and gave the NL pitching staff plenty of cushion. Not that those guys needed any help. They mowed through the AL's fearsome lineup, with 11 pitchers combining to toss a six-hit shutout. Nationals Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg each churned out one inning of relief to help the cause. Teammate Bryce Harper certainly made his presence known, though for more negative reasons than positive ones (see below). In the end, the NL happily took an lopsided victory. Which means Game 1 of this year's World Series cannot take place at Yankee Stadium, but it could take place at Nationals Park.

Harper highlight: He noted yesterday how awful he's been in previous All-Star games as an amateur or minor leaguer, and Harper continued that trend in his big-league All-Star debut. The 19-year-old did draw a walk in his first at-bat and showed off his hustle by tagging up from first base on a deep fly ball to left. But he was immediately caught in a rundown off second base, and he later suffered one of the more embarrassing moments in All-Star history when he lost a routine fly ball in the lights. Harper threw his arms out, clueless where the ball was, only to have it land 10 feet behind him. He also struck out on three pitches against A's rookie Ryan Cook. All in all, not a shining moment for the youngest position player in All-Star history.

Strasburg highlight: Handed the ball for the bottom of the fourth inning with his team up eight runs, Strasburg went to work against four of the most fearsome hitters he'll ever face in succession: Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and Prince Fielder. The flamethrower's stuff was good -- he fired in several 98 mph fastballs and a 90 mph changeup -- but his command was less than perfect. Strasburg gave up a leadoff single to Cano, got Hamilton to ground into a double play, then thought he had Bautista looking at a 3-2 curveball on the inside corner. Plate umpire Gerry Davis thought otherwise, so Strasburg had to face Fielder with two outs and a man on. Prince roped a drive to deep left field, but Ryan Braun made a nifty catch to end the inning and end Strasburg's All-Star debut with a scoreless inning in the books.

Gonzalez highlight: There was no drama to Gonzalez's one inning of work. The lefty entered for the bottom of the third and cruised through a 1-2-3 frame, showing off a 95 mph fastball and his trademark curve. That Uncle Charlie got Mike Napoli swinging for a strikeout. Gonzalez then got Curtis Granderson to fly out to left and Derek Jeter to ground out to second, completing a very efficient and very effective inning in the lefty's second All-Star appearance.

Up next: The Nationals' three All-Star participants get to spend a couple of days at home with family and friends. Then they'll rejoin their teammates Friday night in Miami for the season's second-half opener against the Marlins. Look for Drew Storen to make his season debut as well, assuming all goes well in his final rehab appearance Wednesday night.

16 comments:

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! We will see you in DC for Game 1 of the World Series! GO NATS!!!

Faraz Shaikh said...

Comprehensive win by National League! Very happy to see the AL's fearsome lineup shutdown by NL pitchers.

Gonat said...

I see Mark's note on Drew Storen. Is there a rush to get him back with so little rehab?

Frediemac said...

Who gets demoted when Storen comes up?

Frediemac said...

Which one gets release/reassigned?

1. Michael Gonzalez

2. Tom Gorzelanny

3. Henry Rodriguez

4. Ryan Mattheus

MurrayTheRed said...

Now that we have home field in the WS, let's work on getting it throughout the Playoffs!!!

peric said...

Mattheus likely gets optioned as he is "optionable". Its between Storen and Matteus. If Storen doesn't pitch well he gets optioned and Mattheus comes back.

Gorzelanny is the only LONG_MAN lefty in the bullpen. Burnett is now the setup guy albeit he could return to LOOGY with Storen possibly making Michael Gonzalez the odd-man out.

The only way Gorzelanny goes is via trade people!! Sheesh can we count how many teams need a proven, effective, major league left-handed starter who isn't a soft-tosser like John Lannan? I still can't believe they would ever even consider starting John Lannan over Gorzelanny and Stammen. I suspect most of what Rizzo says about Lannan is marketing hype to keep Lannan's trade value high. But I guess you never know.

SonnyG10 said...

All in all, a good showing by our boys.

NatsLady said...

Was working and had a challenge at home, so only saw snippets of the game.

Why did Wash leave Verlander in so long? Heard the first inning on the radio, what, there were no other pitchers available?

Gio was great - saw his inning, fantastic.
Stras was fine - saw part of his inning.
Didn't see Harper, or his shoes. But I would guess from the comments he had some flubs. Well, as he might have noticed, MLB is harder than it looks. Glad he will be coming home where he is loved!!!
Wash couldn't be bothered to put Adam Dunn in the game, or did I miss it?

Saw Melky get his award, seems like a genuinely nice guy.
Saw Tony LaRussa postgame, he is not long for this earth.

natsfan1a said...

Well, those cleats were pretty shiny. I'm just saying. Da-ang. :-)

"All in all, not a shining moment for the youngest position player in All-Star history."

baseballswami said...

He showed his age and inexperience, but also his awesome potential, In short, he was Bryce being Bryce, for now.

Squiffy said...

Stammen could also be optioned to make room for Storen, as he and Mattheus are the only ones in the bullpen with options available. I don't think that is likely since he is the righty long-man and has pitched the most innings so far out of all the relievers.

Unless they come up with a DL excuse for one of the other righties, I agree with Peric that it will probably be Mattheus.

Feel Wood said...

I still can't believe they would ever even consider starting John Lannan over Gorzelanny and Stammen. I suspect most of what Rizzo says about Lannan is marketing hype to keep Lannan's trade value high.

Lannan will get the spot starts in the Braves and Marlins doubleheaders. Good seats still available. Gorzelanny and Stammen will be sitting in the bullpen where they belong.

ehay2k said...

Natslady, I don't think anyone was ready to come in for Verlander. I mean, who would have thought he wouldn't last one inning? Not me.
I just think there was no one even starting to warm up yet and they had to leave him in to finish the inning.

Verlander and Harper are (undeservedly) beating themselves up today over last night's performances, you can bet on that.

Gio and Stras looked pretty good. Ok, Gio was PFB.

A DC Wonk said...

Best news, afaik: Gio has his curveball back!

So, folks, can you help me out? We want to go to a game in the next week, and would like to guesstimate who's pitching.

So, do we have any idea what the rotation line up will be starting Friday?

Kevin Rusch said...

"The only way Gorzelanny goes is via trade people!! Sheesh can we count how many teams need a proven, effective, major league left-handed starter who isn't a soft-tosser like John Lannan? I still can't believe they would ever even consider starting John Lannan over Gorzelanny and Stammen. "

Well, the problem with that is that Gorzelanny stunk as a starter last year. Remember how bad he was after a few innings? Same with Stammen - he'd had plenty of chances to start and Lannan was always much better. They're both quite good for 1-3 innings, but after that it's not pretty.

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