Friday, August 31, 2012

Game 131: Cardinals at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez again seeks his 17th win tonight at Nationals Park.
A couple of significant accomplishments could take place tonight ... if the Nationals can beat the Cardinals. On an individual level, Gio Gonzalez could earn his 17th win of the season, matching Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto for the MLB lead.

On a team level, the Nationals could notch win No. 80 tonight. That would match last year's total, fall just one shy of the club record (set in the inaugural 2005 season) and just two shy of the first winning record by a D.C. ballclub since 1969.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves and look past tonight's game, which features a star-studded pitching matchup between Gonzalez and Adam Wainwright. Davey Johnson goes with his regular lineup, the only change from last night behind the plate (Kurt Suzuki starts).

Plenty of updates to come, so please check back...

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Clear, 90 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
NATIONALS (79-51)
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez

CARDINALS (71-60)
CF Jon Jay
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
1B Allen Craig
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
2B Skip Schumaker
SS Pete Kozma
RHP Adam Wainwright

UMPIRES
HP Mike Muchlinski
1B Wally Bell
2B Mike Winters (cc)
3B Mark Wegner

7:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a ball from Gio Gonzalez to Jon Jay. It's a steamy 94 degrees on the final night of August.

7:11 p.m. -- Gonzalez retires the side on three groundballs, though he wasn't exactly exhibiting pinpoint command. He fell behind Jay 3-0 before getting him to tap a comebacker. All told, Gio threw only seven of his 13 pitches for strikes.

7:26 p.m. -- Hey, what do you know? Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the first by drawing a walk, then Bryce Harper followed with a sharp single to right. The Nats' 1-2 punch strikes again. And they both came around to score on Adam LaRoche's RBI single to left, putting the Nats up 2-0 after one strong inning.

7:41 p.m. -- Now Werth just misses his second homer in as many nights by inches. He settles for a two-out double off the right-field fence. Nothing else happening in the second inning. The Nats still lead 2-0.

7:50 p.m. -- I don't know if I'd call Gio's stuff so far tonight dominant, but he has retired all nine batters he's faced. Can't complain about that.

8:18 p.m. -- Sweet Fancy Moses, what a beatdown the Nationals of Wainwright tonight. They knocked the right-hander out after only 2 2/3 innings, racking up six runs on nine hits and two walks, forcing him to throw an astounding 86 pitches. Great at-bats in the bottom of the third from Desmond, Espinosa, Suzuki and Werth, who all singled home runs. After Wainwright walked Harper to load the bases, Mike Matheny came out with the hook and threw Trevor Rosenthal to the wolves, with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate. Zim went right after Rosenthal's first pitch and sent it flying 355 feet to left field ... but just short of the fence and a potential grand slam that would've ignited an eruption in the stands here. Even so, the Nats lead 6-0 after three innings and have outscored the Cardinals 14-1 in the first 12 innings of this series.

8:31 p.m. -- A couple of walks to lead off the fourth inning -- not what you want to do when handed a 6-0 lead -- but Gio still hasn't surrendered a hit.

8:55 p.m. -- There's the first hit of the night for the Cardinals. Yadier Molina leads off the fifth with a double to left, so there goes that shot at history. No matter, because Gio has still completed five shutout innings.

9:05 p.m. -- And now the Nats take an 8-0 lead thanks to Harper's two-out, two-run single. He's got eight RBI over his last 2+ games. Werth, meanwhile, has reached base in 11 of his last 14 plate appearances. Stunning.

9:15 p.m. -- Six innings in the books. It's still 8-0.

9:29 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 29,499. Pretty energetic crowd.

9:38 p.m. -- And Gio continues to dominate. He just recorded his seventh strikeout of the night on his 99th pitch. He's through eight scoreless innings. Any chance Davey lets him go for the complete game? There's no action in the pen yet. We shall see. Still 8-0 Nats.

9:51 p.m. -- It's been a while since I had the chance to type this: Barkeep, a round of cortisone shots for me and all my friends! Ryan Zimmerman puts a definitive stamp on this one with a two-run shot to right. It's 10-0 in the bottom of the eighth.

9:56 p.m. -- And here comes Gio in search of the complete game. He gets a standing O from the crowd as he takes the mound for the ninth.

10:05 p.m. -- Ballgame. Gio gets his first career shutout, a 119-pitch masterpiece. The Nats get a 10-0 victory. And they get their 80th win of the season, matching last season's total, with a month still to play.

112 comments:

Section 222 said...

My barbershop group helped gather the patients before an appearance by Nats players and Screech at the National Rehabilitation Hospital today. Clipp, Storen, and Desi showed up, looking relaxed and happy. No media around as far as I could tell, just players giving back to the community.

The first gathering was a fairy small group of children. Many had Nats jerseys on and they had put up drawings and stickers all over. Several of the drawings said "Natinals". Somehow when it's in a kids handwriting, it doesn't seem bad at all.

MicheleS said...

I really recommend that everyone read this from Kilgore. John has been a trooper and this year has been tough on him. Hopefully tomorrow we can say welcome back to the show.

John LannEn

MicheleS said...

Xavier Nady is getting called up by the Giants. Anyone know what happened to Ankiel?

sjm308 said...

Thanks MicheleS - really good article and I hope he continues his success with us the rest of the season. I realize a couple of posters here have some issues with Kilgore's writing but I think we are lucky to have so many good people following our team. Amanda, Mark and Adam really seem to "get it" and the blogs on the left of the Insider are also terrific reading at times. I especially like National Prospects and you should see how Peric behaves himself over there.

OK, off to the park early today -
Looking to keep wearing my new red Curly W for a 4th day tomorrow!

Go Nats!! Score First!! Go Playoffs!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec222, thanks for sharing

Another_Sam said...

My erudite remarks, thoughtfully composed and carefully typed, didn't get posted last night, even though I pressed the PUBLISH button. I use a Google account. Did anyone else have this problem? [I'm presuming, of course, that this comment gets posted.]

Another_Sam said...

[Looks like it's working now.]

Michele -- did I read another thread correctly, that you're on pace to attend approximately half of the home games? That's amazing.

MicheleS said...

Another Sam.. i can see you!

Well, I have had problems when I try to post from a phone, but not last night.

MicheleS said...

Sam, yup, it's insane, but my boss thinks its great that I like baseball so I am always getting invited to the company seats.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

HenRod won't be back this year after a bone chip was removed. If roster spot is needed, could be moved to 60 Day DL

SonnyG10 said...

Nice post, 222.

SonnyG10 said...

Hmmmm, I wonder if the bone chips contributed to his control problems. Thanks for the info Ghost.

Gonat said...

SteveM, you called it on Eury Perez a while ago. He will be called up tomorrow with Lannan, Sandy Leon and Mark DeRosa.

Corey Brown will have to wait for the AAA season to end.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sonny, probably didn't help his control and his velo started to drop a few MPH but doubtful that it was his problem in April and May.

Could still be ready for Winter Ball.

MicheleS said...

Henry had BONE chips removed! Well that explains alot

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Xavier Nady is getting called up by the Giants. Anyone know what happened to Ankiel?

August 31, 2012 3:51 PM
_____________________________

Ankiel is still getting paid by Ted Lerner and is sitting at home still waiting for the phone to ring.

Personally I would take Ankiel over Nady. All a team would have to pay on either player is the prorated portion of the league minimum and Nats still pick up the remainder.

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
HenRod won't be back this year after a bone chip was removed. If roster spot is needed, could be moved to 60 Day DL

August 31, 2012 4:31 PM
________________________________

Couldn't they move him to the 60 Day DL to move Zach Duke to the 40 man and call him up?

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Henry had BONE chips removed! Well that explains alot

August 31, 2012 4:43 PM
______________________________

It may not explain anything. Many pitchers pitch through bone chips as it is painful and doesn't affect their accuracy or velocity.

NatsLady said...

It's not clear Ankiel could pass another team's physical. As mentioned, Rizzo offered him the DL for an injury that he actually HAS, and he declined. He may be waiting for that call and to heal.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I disagree NatsLady. Ankiel didn't feel his ailment warranted a DL stint and thought he would be picked up.

Gonat said...

“I’m watching how Gio [Gonzalez] or [Ross] Detwiler is pitching these hitters,” Michael Gonzalez said. “And that’s what these guys are doing. This guy swung at this pitch and this guy swings at this pitch.”
_____________________________________

Nice to read our lefty is into the game.

A DC Wonk said...

Bone chips removed from where?

Gonat said...

Wonk, his pitching elbow.

NatsLady said...

Brian McNally ‏@bmcnally14
One more: Rodriguez elbow pain colors his season, Davey Johnson admits. Hid extent of pain. Dominant in March and April. Bad afterwards


NatsLady said...

Ghost, I think it's another example of players maybe not properly evaluating their own medical situation. Why wouldn't he be picked up over Xavier Nady if both are healthy?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, it's a head scratcher to me. I would take Ankiel on expanded roster just for late inning defense. Best OF arm in baseball.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat at 4:49, it is a may or may not. We will see in Sprung Training.

SonnyG10 said...

Gonat said...
MicheleS said...
Henry had BONE chips removed! Well that explains alot

August 31, 2012 4:43 PM
______________________________

It may not explain anything. Many pitchers pitch through bone chips as it is painful and doesn't affect their accuracy or velocity.

August 31, 2012 4:49 PM


You may be right gonat, but if it were me, I might be thinking more about the pain than my release point during my follow through. Guess it depends on Hrod's pain tolerance.

Ron In Reston said...

Ok, I just some fun...

Went back and looked at posts from the days leading up to Opening Day to see what all the brilliant folks in here (myself included) predicted for this season.

Wow. Following the post of the media predictions (Mark, Kilgore, Comak, et al) there were some incredible rants about "Desi in the All-Star Game?? Are you serious??" and Jayson Werth hitting .290?? (This was Ladson's prediction....he's currently hitting .305)

Some real beauties like "Lidge will turn out to be Rizzo's best pickup" (oops) "Harper will have little to no impact this year" (yeah, right)

Most had the team in the mid-80s for wins, hoping to make maybe the second wildcard. One poster nailed it though, saying the Phils would collapse and "the real dogfight will be between the Nats and the Braves". I had predicted 88-74 and with 32 games to go, I could not be more thrilled to be wrong.

I didn't bother to look at predictions for Morse and Storen, none of us knew what was really going on there, in fact Mark's post had Morse going on rehab and joining the team two weeks into the season.

What a fun season this has been and will continue to be

Ron In Reston said...

*had* some fun....sheesh

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the story link, Michele. Also, your boss sounds like a swell person who might be interested in knowing that I really like baseball, too. What? :-)

Looking forward to watching Gio and the guys on tv tonight. Gotta go grab some dinner now.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Good news that Henry Rodriguez won't be pitching again this year. Bad news: now nobody will trade for him. Don't think his bone chips (they were in his elbow? Not his head?) had anything to do w/ his performance in the majors. I'm not saying anything about the minors. But he was chuckin' to the backstop when he was supposedly "hot."

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

In my seat in section 314

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Sorry if this was posted earlier, I've been out all day. Call ups announced:

http://districtsportspage.com/washington-nationals-to-recall-lannan-others-for-september/10115

Looks like NatsJack may have been right about Garcia. DeRo is a complete mystery. He adds absolutely nothing to either the offense or defense. They could have brought up Rivero, instead. At least he can hit.

Brown, Lannan, Leon, and Perez also to come up.

sm13 said...

Big numbers for Gio (17) and the club (80) on the line tonight. More big milestones in this magical season. GO GIO, GO NATS!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Regarding Henry Rodriguez: Whether the bone chips contributed to his meltdown or not, let's all hope that the surgery and rehab process allows him to make a fresh start in either winter ball or at Spring Training. If the problems were physical, let's hope they get fixed and he comes back as a 100-MPH pitcher with better (he'll never have perfect) control. And even if the problems were more mental than physical, then the surgery/rehab could still give him the opportunity to do a complete mental/physical reset and resume his career. Because I, at least, still remember that incredible inning he threw against Atlanta last September and would love to see a return of that particular Mr. Rodriguez in 2013.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Oh, and by the way: Keep the pressure on the Cardinals -- offensively and defensively -- and don't let up.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Some real beauties like "Lidge will turn out to be Rizzo's best pickup" (oops) "Harper will have little to no impact this year" (yeah, right)

I also had Ramos in the All-Star game. Cue the Sombrero.

Old Wino said...

Ummm, did someone say let's go Nats!

Theophilus T. S. said...

"Because I ... still remember that incredible inning ... against Atlanta ... and would love to see a return of that particular Mr. Rodriguez in 2013."

That, my friend, is why you have a DVR: you can see it there, and only there, any time.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Play ball

Eugene in Oregon said...

Theo: Maybe you're right, but the optimist in me still hopes that that particular MPHRod can -- and will someday -- return.

DWS said...

Play ball and hope for the best. Yes the Nats are going to shut down (arguably)their best pitcher. Deal with it.The bonus is if they advance in the play offs without SS how scary are they going to be next year?

DWS said...

GYFNG!

MicheleS said...

GYFNG!! NatsLady. I have a medium for you

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

2 steaks for LaR

Section 222 said...

I'm in sec 110 tonight and actually seem to have cell coverage. Great to be back at Nats Park although it is pretty freakin' hot (PFH).

The T shirt tonight is sponsored by American Univ. and says "Nats Wonk". I sure hope DC Wonk is here and got one.

Great 1st inning. Way to score first and put the pressure on.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Yadier Molina cant squeeze the foul tip 3rd strike which leads to a 2 run single.

Joe Seamhead said...

Werth starts it, Harp keeps itmoving along, Zimm pushes them forward,ALR drives them in. Good start.

Old Wino said...

Despinosa.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Keep up the pressure.

Drew said...

Good way to start. Two runs and they used up a quarter of Wainwright's pitches in the first inning.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The wall taketh from Werth but nice double. Who was complaining the guy has no.power?

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Ghost, that one, at least, wasn't me.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Desi deadly with man on 3rd while punishing the 5.5 hole!!!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Zofa, it wasn't you!

Section 222 said...

Nats are all business tonight. Timely hitting. Good D. Looking like a playoff caliber team all right.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Making Wainwright work!

djinFl. said...

And Pilly leads Atl 1-0 in their third.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Pressure. Keep the pressure on. Keep pressing. Keep hitting. Keep scoring.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Making him work? What's he at, 90 pitches? Must feel like it.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Harper seeing the ball well. Fortunately, so is Blue.

djinFl. said...

Great quote on twitter

Amanda Comak‏@acomak

Adam Wainwright is dying a slow death in the third inning

Cwj said...

Wow! The Nats just KOd Wainwright!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Dying? Dead.

Section 222 said...

Well, I was going to say something about Wainwright's pitch count being up. But we've already knocked him out of the game. Nice work.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Wainwright the last month regained his pre-TommyJohn form but the Nats obliterated him. He pitched a games worth of pitches in 2 2/3.

Cwj said...

Ohhhhhh!
Zim JUST missed a grand slam!!!!!!!! So close!
Oh well, awesome inning :)
Go Nats!

Drew said...

What great offensive execution.

Zim lines a double, LaRoche walks, Morse's long fly advances Zim and Desmond's knock brings him in.

Espinosa takes up nine pitches and lines an RBI single. Suzuki joins the party, then Gio lays down a nifty bunt, advancing Espinosa.

Werth's knock scores Espinosa, Harper walks and Zim nearly goes salami.

Wow, what a team!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

No free passes

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

This is where Gio can tear your heart out. Two walks and then rolls over the doubleplay.

NatsFanChris said...

Hahahah. I lol-ed at Mark's "Sweet Fancy Moses" line.

Regardless of how this game and series end, you cant ask for a much better way to rebound from a 5-game skid.

Drew said...

Nice comeback, Gio!

As FDR once said so stirringly:

The only thing we have to fear is ... a 9-0 lead.

Steady Eddie said...

Ghost, normally I'd agree re Gio, but uou've got to cut him some slack as he must have been sitting a good half hour and had to reestablish his rhythm. He's not nibbling tonight.

JaneB said...

We watched the Cards- Rangers Game 6 DVD this afternoon. It was fun to see EJax on the rail in the dugout the way he is for us, and joking with Carpenter. Then I began to notice that the Rangers were really game face in their dugout (Improper phrasing but I hope you know what I mean). They were serious and stoic (except for Elvis) and hanging on, even when they were ahead and only 1 strike away from winning. The Cards were laughing and watching and celebrating all the good stuff. Not scared. Made me realize that Davey's meeting, when he got them to laugh and relax, was genius.

I love that the crowd is screaming for Gio!

NatsJack in Florida said...

No Eddie..... can't cut him any slack. He and Edwin are the veterans and there ia no excuse to not be able to throw strikes with a 6 run lead.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Pressure, pressure, pressure. Keep it up.

JaneB said...

The Kid is definitely back!

Swift Eagle said...

Hope you took the Over again tonight Eugene...

Eugene in Oregon said...

Not (much of) a betting man; just not keen on close games.

sm13 said...

Gio is in full control tonight -- he's poised, relaxed, not over-throwing. He looks like a legit Cy Young candidate out there, which he is with a great shot at 20+ wins. Gi-O!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Phillies-Braves now at 4-4.

Drew said...

Looks like the Kid wants to reopen the NL ROY debate.

Harper is a gem at 19. Rendon and Goodwin are learning in a challenging AA league. Meyer looked great.

Matt Skole was just named MVP of the Sally League. Giolito will be back at 18 years old.

The young talent is really exciting.

P.S. He gets no fanfare, but keep an eye on OF Brandon Miller. The Nats picked him in the fourth round of this year's draft out of Samford, where he led Division I in home runs as a senior. In his first 25 games at Auburn he has 4 homers, 3 triples and an OPS over .900.

Wouldn't it be great if Rizzo's men found a Baby Hammer?

Drew said...

Dr. Yocum did Giolito's TJ surgery today.

Good luck, young man!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Re Matt Skole (sort of): I saw his brother (Jake?) play the other night; he was a first-round draft choice by the Rangers a couple of years ago. He's younger than Matt by a year or two, but didn't go to college so he started pro ball earlier. He apparently was demoted from full-season A ball to short-season A (I guess that counts as a demotion). Big, rangy, third baseman. Didn't get a hit, but hit a couple with authority.

ehay2k said...

I said the other day that against the Philthies, we were playing BAD baseball. Last three games - good, NATS baseball. Everyone looks crisp, no one pressing. Personally, I credit the Davey factor.

Not that there's no room for improvement - Morse needs to find his groove, and his thumb needs to heal. Desi still needs to get his swing/timing back as well. Other than that, I'm OK with how they are playing.

Sec.3, My Sofa said...

Looks like Davey is starting to get them stretched out for October.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

All you negative nabobs are now seeing the true Nats....

ehay2k said...

Both Reese and Molina just walk back to dugout after strikeouts at dirt pitches. Loser mentality?

I love me some Lombo, but Espi's arm at 2b is a weapon for DPs.

djinFl. said...

Pretty good crowd, 29,499 tonight.
The NFL quit opening the season over the Labor Day holiday due to lousy crowds.

Great game Gio!

NatsJack in Florida said...

This is fun.

peric said...

He gets no fanfare, but keep an eye on OF Brandon Miller. The Nats picked him in the fourth round of this year's draft out of Samford, where he led Division I in home runs as a senior.

He doesn't bat left-handed so he isn't as interesting as Skole who could end up at first base for that reason. Right now they have Keyes plus Destin Hood. Outfield looks rather full and he's a college player in Auburn he still has to prove it translates to Hagerstown and Potomac.

djinFl. said...

Pity Werth never gets on.

djinFl. said...

Nats Rally Napkin‏@RallyNapkin

Been Dazed & Confused for so long it's not true...Wanted a Napkin, never bargained for you...


Retweeted by F.P. Santangelo

ehay2k said...

I looked at all the stat sites, but there is is just no way to correlate Werth's OBP to the trimness of his beard.

Swift Eagle said...

Slaughter rule...

Eugene in Oregon said...

Okay, enough with the pressure. Save some runs for the weekend.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Or send some runs to the Phillies.

MicheleS said...

OMG HOW FUN IS THIS!!!!!

ehay2k said...

Swift - the Cards waived the slaughter rule. They want to keep playing against a better team in order to build their skills.

ehay2k said...

I do wish Morse would get a breather and TMo would come in. Those inside pitches cannot feel good on the hands/thumbs.

sm13 said...

After sweating through the squeakers of April and May, how fun it is this to watch??

ehay2k said...

Sm13, I'm still sweating for Gio to get the shutout!

Swift Eagle said...

Haha Ehay...we'll give the Cards some orange slices and a trip to 7-1 for Slurpee's either way...

Swift Eagle said...

BOOM

ehay2k said...

Gio seems like a good pickup, to me anyway.

sm13 said...

GI-O!!!

Swift Eagle said...

Haven't seen anyone posting Tom Millone and D. Norris stats lately...guess Rizzo actually did make a good trade

ehay2k said...

Swift - LMAO at the orange slices reference!

peric said...

Haven't seen anyone posting Tom Millone and D. Norris stats lately...

Milone is doing far more than any A;s fan expected. He has to be considered the defacto ace of the staff dude! Doh! And Norris is a an OBP machine but doubtless they will miss Suzuki's defense because that was never Norris' strongest suit.

The trade benefited both sides. Mostly Oakland will benefit in the near future. But a power pitching left-hander like Gio is worth the additional cost. Particularly with both Solis and Purke with injury issues and Rosenbaum more of a control / pitch-to-contact pitcher like Lannan. They really don't have anyone else with that kind of upside that looks as ready as Gio except Detwiler who appears to finally be coming around.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"8:18 p.m. -- Sweet Fancy Moses, what a beatdown the Nationals of Wainwright tonight."

Sounds like somebody's really into RIP HAYWIRE.

natsfan1a said...

natsfan1a said...

That was awesome! As they showed fan's cheering Gio as he headed back to the dugout after the 8th, he was so focused and serious, I said "He doesn't think he's done yet. He's going back out again in the 9th unless somebody physically restrains him." Loved the smiley face on the up-ended Gatorade bucket during the postgame interview. Perfect for Gio. :-)

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