Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Instant analysis: Braves 5, Nats 1

US Presswire photo
Ross Detwiler dominated early but faded in the fifth and sixth innings.
Game in a nutshell: With a chance to pull off a rousing series sweep and extend their lead over the Braves to a commanding eight games, the Nationals were silenced by the unheralded Kris Medlen. The right-hander, who has pitched brilliantly since moving into the rotation, tossed seven scoreless innings, out-dueling Ross Detwiler, who faded quickly after a strong start to his evening. Ultimately, a lack of clutch hitting and some very shaky defense -- Bryce Harper took a bad route on a two-run double, and Ryan Zimmerman and Kurt Suzuki each committed errors during an ugly top of the ninth -- did in the Nationals. They didn't sweep the series, but they still took two of three and still hold a six-game advantage on the only team still challenging them in the NL East.

Hitting lowlight: How bad is Harper struggling at the plate? Really bad. After wearing a Golden Sombrero Tuesday night, he looked silly again in his first three plate appearances tonight. How you can tell Harper is lost at the plate: He's taking first-pitch fastballs for strikes, then swinging at breaking balls out of the zone. The rookie did redeem himself in the eighth, knocking Eric O'Flaherty's pitch into left field and then hustling into second base. But the way he's going right now, especially against left-handers, you have to wonder if Harper might be looking at some more bench time moving forward.

Pitching highlight: They say there's no better pitch in baseball than a well-placed fastball, and Detwiler proved that theory correct through the first three innings of this start. Relying almost 100 percent on his heater, the lefty retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and looked ready to cruise through the start. But a two-out, four-pitch walk of the opposing pitcher seemed to unnerve Detwiler; he wasn't the same after that. Martin Prado drilled a two-run double to deep center (after Harper took a bad jump) to put the Braves ahead. A couple more hits surrendered in the sixth ended Detwiler's night much sooner than anyone would have expected only a few innings earlier.

Key stat: On June 3, all five teams in the NL East were separated by only 3 1/2 games. When play began today, the Mets, Phillies and Marlins were all 20 games back, with the Braves seven games back.

Up next: After a day off, the Nationals head north to Philadelphia for a weekend series with the fading Phillies. Edwin Jackson takes on Kyle Kendrick in Friday's 7:05 p.m. opener at Citizens Bank Park.


NatsFanJim said...

I really think Harp has to sit some especially agaInst lefties and get Lombo in there -- Werth to CF, Morse to RF.

He's been holding the team back. Teach that boy pitch selection.

Nats Fan in Brazil said...

From last thread, Mick, i think this was daveys thinking process, im down by 1, however I have my botton of The lineup coming up, against kimbrel! Hmmmm..... No chance! Not gonna burn anyone tonight. I think he was right :)

baseballswami said...

What does Lombardozzi need to do to get a start? It's not for him - the Nats offense needs him in there. Why is the hot rookie sitting and the flailing rookie killing us? Not saying every day, but every few games, maybe? Sloppy game. Day off tomorrow, hope the guys don't think Philly will go easy on them. Remember how much we looked forward to spoiling their fun?

Steve J, Alexandria said...

Can Gorzo ever relieve without giving up at least one run?

Did Davey give this game up tonight?

baseballswami said...

Also don't get why Storen or Mattheus didn't come in for the 9th. I feel unreasonable gloominess creeping in - will fight it. We gained ground in this series. OK.

Nats Fan in Brazil said...

Swami, i think The reason harper still playing is defense, werth is not confortable in CF so an OF of Lomb.,werth and morse would look pretty bad defensively

Nats Fan in Brazil said...

Swami for why not storen look at my post From 10:31, i think would help You sleep :)

Steve J, Alexandria said...

Harper is a future Super Star -- he ain't a star today. He hit rock bottom tonight by swinging at a pitch that bounced -- yes -- bounced in the dirt 8-12 inches inside. Just Terrible.

Lombo is tearing it up. Enough of the enabling of Harper. NatsFan Jim is right. Sit his butt against lefties and somebody -- Anybody teach this kid how to really hit in the big leagues. He's been stinking the place up FAAAAr to long.

Gonat said...

Anyone know what the attendance was tonight?

ehay2k said...

Instant Weatherman's Analysis:

Like the air tonight, the Nats were just cool, not crisp.

Detwiler shone brightly early, but as happens at Nats Park, a pop-up storm in the fifth - precipitated by walking the opposing pitcher with two outs - dampened the memory of his otherwise fine outing.

The humid air played havoc with the Nats fielders tonight as well, as bad hair may have caused Werth to miss a pop fly in foul territory.

Low atmospheric pressure may have caused Zimm to thow errantly to first base late in the game. For Zuki, used to playing in drier climes, the damp air may have contributed to what looked like rust. Or maybe it was the hail-sized baseball that hit him on the hand.

The Barves take their stormy season on the road, leaving the DC boys to a well-deserved day off, then up to play the Phillies, whose aging team may have increased joint problems due to the damp air.

Swift Eagle said...

29,111 Gonat

Steve J, Alexandria said...

Brazil: haha and you actually think Harper is in their for Defense?????????

He rarely ever takes the proper path to the ball. He's a catcher and still learning the OF.

If Defense were the issue, you'd see Bernie in their every night.

NatsFanJim said...

What is Detweiler's bag? Throwing 94% fastballs? Huh? You think a major league hitter will eventually figure that out? I'm shocked he lasted as long as he did.

Nats Fan in Brazil said...

Steve J, for all the reasons this one sounds more reasonable To me... Would love To see what u guys think about it

NatsFanJim said...

Hahaha now that's Funny.

Low air pressure 'caused Zim to make a throwing error" You are daft.

Notice that Zim had plenty of time on that grounder; Zim tried for the first time in a very long time to throw somewhat OVERTHETOP, which he lost his ability to do two years ago. Well, his little experiment did not work == the poor guy cannot throw over the top. -- kinda sad.

Did you see the most pathetic throw of the year in the 9th by Zim? Taking Suzuki errant throw, the ball caromed 5 feet behind the bag. Bourne breaks for home -- BOURN NEVER WOULD HAVE GONE HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR ZIMMS POOR WEAK ARM. how sad is that.

Zim's throw didnt even get to the plate? We will never will a World Series without a 3B who can't throw -- he lobs. sad and pathetic

NatsFanJim said...

Brazil: hmm I just told you what I think.

NatsFanJim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ehay2k said...

NatsFanJim - it was a low pressure throw. Sorry you didn't get it.

NatsFanJim said...

ehay: haha no I didn't. But I do now lol.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

2 oit of three, but a few things concerned me

Det walks pitcher to extend inning on 4 pitches. That happens becuase one loses focus. Physical errors happen. Mental ones should never happen.

Second thing. again men in scoring position and double plays. 2 this game.

thrid. All three batters in the 9th swung at strike 3 (that would be balls if not swing.) That is before all star batting

Harper isn't swinging at enough fast balls and at too many breaking balls. Needs Eck to throw him more breaking balls in cage so he can recognize them better and not bother swinging.

Gorzalanny lives up to the nickname I told Big Cat I call him "White Flag." Once he is normally we have given up, and gives up more. Monday an exception (but then again we were not behind). I bet most of his runs fiven up have been in games we want him to maintain that we are behind in.

Zim needs to throw all side arms, and rush all throws. has trouble when he has time.

Gonat said...

Swift Eagle said...
29,111 Gonat

August 22, 2012 10:38 PM

Thanks! I thought it was going to be 32,000.

whatsanattau said...

Gorzelany has been pitching very well before tonight. 3.16 era and mostly scoreless appearances. He had a killer game early in the year. Throw that one game out and he's under 3.00.

sjm308 said...

Just got home - disappointed of course.
The key to me was walking the pitcher with two outs on 4 pitches. If he gets out of that inning, getting Medlen then we are still scoreless and things change.

Will not even bother to reply to the negatives on Zimm. He made 3 major league plays tonight including starting a huge double play with runners on 1st and 3rd. His error hurt but he is one of the top defensive 3rd basemen in the game so no need to respond.

Harper took the wrong route on the double but it would have been a tough catch no matter what. He is our best CF even if he is still learning on the job.

I don't know what Davey can do to get Lombo more time. He really is swinging the bat. I think he has had 3 pinch hits in 3 games. Very impressive.

We leave for Philly 6 games up which is better then where we were before the Braves came in. They have to fly to San Fran. and play tomorrow against a team that is hot and needs to win as well. Should be a great last 5 weeks!!

Go Nats!

Swift Eagle - looks like you have some new members on your team. Hope you are not out recruiting but if you are, remember the NCAA rules (oh wait, this a pro league bro).

whatsanattau said...

Espinosa looked pretty bad in all aspects tonight. Lombo might need to get some of his starts at 2nd. Harper probably sits some in August once the callups get here.

Scooter said...

Okay, the REAL question, for anyone who watched the after-game-talking-thing: did Davey Johnson pull off a mask, Scooby-Doo style, and say, "We would have swept them, too, if it hadn't been for that Medlen kid!"?

Guy made some fantastic pitches.

Scooter said...

Good stuff, as usual, sjm.

whatsanattau said...

You get to pick one player from the Nats in the first round to build a foundation for the next 5 years. Who do you pick?

peric said...

As Dave put it a couple of nights ago. Its a learning experience for all the young players. Zim is still under 30 and he's never been in a pennant race so? All are learning ... its all a part of player development as is playing 19 year old Bryce Harper, a future superstar, versus Steve Lombardozzi who has played extremely well ... he is known of overachieving.

They have more than one budding superstar. The evidence is clearly laid out for the discerning fan. Ian Desmond last year and the year before and Ian Desmond this year. Same thing is going to happen for Espinosa and Harper. Count on it.

The Nats have a far better chance with they youth they have now of winning this year and 3-4 years hence than the Braves.

Another sign of a young team still learning. The spits and starts and inconsistent hitting. It is what it is. It'll get better. Once they Rendon in the lineup the complement will be complete. You'll have four athletic gold glove players at every position in the infield and each should have potent bats.

Stop bellyaching.

natsfan1a said...

Eh, you can't win 'em all. Glad that Desi's knee and Kurt's hand seem to be okay. A little bit of R&R today and then take it to Philly. Yeah, that'll work. :-)

Anna Peregrina said...

After all, as Mark says, the great thing is that Desi didn't pull a hamstring and Suzuki didn't break a bone in his hand. Now to roll through Philadelphia. "ite Nationales!" as we Latin teachers say.

fast eddie said...

I agree the future is bright with all our young players under team control. Re: Rendon, do you let ALR walk and move Zimm to first which solves his throwing problem?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I looked and you are correct Firzt gas pitched better t. I will try and get them, but just seems that I can'the last 10 games. Only 2 games he gave an earned run. Not sure about unearned runs. For some reason when he is in I never get those positive vibes. I did notice in the game he lost in the last 10 he gave uup no earned runs.

pRAA with the ISO said...

Re: Rendon, do you let ALR walk and move Zimm to first which solves his throwing problem?

No way that would ever happen. A decision on ALR will need to be made shortly after the WS. If they do decide to let him walk, it won't be so they can commit to moving an All Star/Gold Glove third baseman in the prime of his career over to first base to make room for a rookie who hasn't played even one full season in the minors and has never played one game above AA to be the new starting third baseman. I don't care how much potential that rookie has. It ain't gonna happen.

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