Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Braves 4 (13)

US Presswire photo
Jordan Zimmermann labored through a rare, sub-par start.
Game in a nutshell: The biggest series yet for the Nationals opened with a classic, tense game worthy of a pennant race. Despite jumping out to 4-1 lead after one inning, the Nationals couldn't get anything else going against Tim Hudson. Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, labored through five innings and let the Braves come back to tie the game. Then it turned into a battle of bullpens, with both teams having golden opportunities to push across the go-ahead run but neither able to pull it off. Into the night the game went, with only the hearty souls among the original crowd of 21,298 sticking around until the very end. And then finally, a crazy finish to reward them: Danny Espinosa went from first to third on Kurt Suzuki's infield single, then scored when Dan Uggla couldn't get the ball out of his glove on Chad Tracy's grounder to second. With that, the Nats pulled off a stunning, 5-4, win and took a six-game lead in the NL East.

Hitting highlight/lowlight: After getting shut down by Hudson for years, the Nationals have suddenly found the right-hander's number this season. And they looked poised to do it again tonight when they exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first. Bryce Harper continued his recent hot streak with an RBI single. Adam LaRoche battled his way through a tough at-bat to record an RBI groundout. And then Ian Desmond jumped all over the first pitch he saw from Hudson, sending it flying over the left-field bullpen to snap an 0-for-11 slump since he came off the DL. But then they couldn't deliver the knockout punch to Hudson, who wound up reaching the seventh without giving up another run.

Pitching lowlight: In arguably the biggest start of his career, Zimmermann was uncharacteristically out of sync. He labored through a 24-pitch first inning and because of it was behind the 8-ball all night. Zimmermann had to battle just to get through five innings on a whopping 102 pitches. His biggest mistake: a low-and-inside fastball to Jason Heyward, who turned on that meatball and drilled it into the right-field bullpen for the two-run homer that tied this game 4-4. The Nationals are going to ask a lot of Zimmermann down the stretch, as their de facto ace once Stephen Strasburg is shut down. They're going to need better performances than they got tonight.

Key stat: In his first 14 starts this season, the Nationals gave Zimmermann an average of 3.3 runs of support. Over his last 11 starts, they've given him an average of 5.8 runs of support.

Up next: Get ready for plenty more Stephen Strasburg Shutdown talk when the right-hander takes the mound for the second game of this crucial series. He'll be opposed by lefty Paul Maholm, one of the Braves' key trade deadline acquisitions. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m., and the game will be on MLB Network for those who live outside the D.C. market.

62 comments:

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nice win and another signature win!

Drew said...

Nothing like winning Uggla.

Thirty games over .500 and six games up on the Braves.

GYFNG!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

All the credit to the Nats bullpen!

NatsNut said...

woo (yawn) hoo!

NatsLady said...

Every reliever contributed!!!! They all deserve a GOLD STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SonnyG10 said...

OMG, what a game. I had already decided we angered the baseball gods too much and figured we would lose. Shame on me!!! GYFNG!!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

If Braves played the infield at doubleplay depth, you have to wonder but who cares! Nats win!

Swift Eagle said...

A Walk Off Uggla...and how did the Braves botch the Suzuki play? They had nobody covering 3rd OR Home on that!...Great alertness from Danny

ehay2k said...

Crazy win! Womder what happened to Uggla? It was as if he didn't know where to go with the ball. With one out and a man on third, he actually looked to first when he bobbled the ball. Not the best time to take the sure out.

Gotta go to bed so I can see tomorrow's game.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

UgglaE

Kevin Rusch said...

we all just said "It'll be nice to not be playing out west" -- and now they play till midnight AT HOME! Not fair. But I'll take it.

Scooter said...

Holy socks.

Also, Suzuki still hasn't gotten to second, has he?

Timothy Folk said...

Hopefully the braves are deflated and don't come out angry tomorrow

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

What was he thinking. What was he doing.

Swift Eagle said...

Forget Moneyball...I like NatsBall, score 4 in the 1st, go scoreless for the next 11 innings, and in the 13th, hit it at Uggla...Works for me

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Braves have a losing streak now. 3 in a row.

ehay2k said...

Oh, in the presser (wasn't I going to bed?) Davey says Uggla was trying to turn two by tagging Zuki then going to first, but Zuki held up, which busted the play. Sweeeeeeeeet!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Loved Klip with his rally cap!

Swift Eagle said...

Yep ehay, that's the right play in that situation, when the infield is in, the only way they can turn 2 is with a tag...Excellent base running

The Z-Mantis! said...

ehay, the postgame on MASN with Davey was probably the most insightful I've seen. Lots of interesting little details like that. Davey was feeling like sharing and bragging on his boyz.

ehay2k said...

Great baserunning, or, Zuki is slower than ALR. I'm happy with the outcome either way. :-)

G'night all.

baseballswami said...

Ok, so you just knew I would mention the fact that Lombo came in and immediately hit the ball. Good boy. Jordan blinked, though. He does not seem to be adjusting to Suzuki- lots of shaking off. Seems like days ago. That last inning was insane and I am so far from being able to sleep. Oh, Nats. You complete me.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I think everyone in the bullpen is available tomorrow except Stammen.

Get a good night's sleep boys!

whatsanattau said...

I'm not worthy. I left after 12. Sheesh.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Hopefully the braves are deflated and don't come out angry tomorrow

It will be interesting to see how Davey plays this. Does he rest guys, or try to take it to them for the kill shot?

The Z-Mantis! said...

But this is top-shelf baseball against a very good team indeed, and everything they could do was just enough to keep them in the game, and that's all. Playoff-style baseball, in other words.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Zmantis, kill Shot. They have lost 3 in a row. Don't let up.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Did I mention I hate the Braves?

Sec. 409 for game 2.

Swift Eagle said...

Well said Z-Mantis...The Braves are GOOD...not going to be easy the next 6 weeks..but lots of fun

Good Night

baseballswami said...

Ghost- even though everyone pitched, they all only went one except for Stammen ( or Stay-men, if you are Davey). Don't think any of them should be burned up.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Ghost, I agree. I'm sure Davey is going for the throat if he gets the chance.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Can we do anything to piss of Strasburg before the game? He seems to pitch well when he's mad.

The Z-Mantis! said...

*off

The Z-Mantis! said...

Wait, they're giving Tracy a SINGLE for that???

Joe Seamhead said...

Just unbelievable! I think that we had a season's worth of either crummy AB's, or frustrating ones.Morse had a very tough game at the plate.
I sat thru yesterday's rain delay and game, stayed up for this one in the comfort of home, will be there tomorrow.
Wow, the official call is now a base hit by Chad Tracy to end the game!

Joe Seamhead said...

Oh, yeah, Ghost, gotta step on their necks and twist around! Give 'em the Tomahawk Choke.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Re Bullpen: they've got Thursday off, and Friday they're in Philly, which, OK, [aren't the Braves]. Davey will roast the full bullpen on an open spit for these next two games, and screw the rest of the week.

The Z-Mantis! said...

And lest we forget, Nice work, Mark.

Joe Seamhead said...

OT, but Goodwin and Remdon both went long tonight.

Anna Peregrina said...

I stayed up ALL NIGHT listening, as I am living in England at the moment ... but who could go to sleep in this one? (Except Uggla?) Now 6 a.m., might as well have breakfast.

peric said...

Great game ... now onto Stramasgate ... 2 more to go and get out the brooms!

rmoore446 said...

Amazing win. Easy to lose heart when all those long fly balls were caught on the warning track.

Bzl. said...

Thanks folks for the explanation on the Suzuki base running. Just saw a replay on ESPN with Kurt doing a little shuffle dance that confused Uggla. Sweet!

I was there, figured the Braves would surely score on Stammen, and I'd leave but they never did of course. After being near the Nats dugout, I watched the 13th from top of Nats pen, saw EJ come out during top of 13th and sit for a while, then get up and start throwing. Then those 2 wild plays, from a distance. Wild! GYFNG!!!!

baseballswami said...

I cannot believe Dan Uggla is not getting an error for that. Call Cole Hamels - he can arrange one for him.

Scooter said...

Concur with Bzl. My picture here was grainy (confound this protracted and luxurious beach interlude!), but I might not have understood Suzuki's running anyway. So, thanks.

Oh, and I like "winning Uggla." Hee hee.

JaneB said...

Just got home. SO glad we won but it was exCRUCiating in the stands to watch this! My heart was pounding like I'd spent hours on the treadmill. We are on the first base side and saw Kurt hold up and dance back and Danny sprint home. So good to be at 30 over and 6 up.

We all need to go into some sort of emotional training for the fall. Or at least I do.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Anna, you're in England? Can you get me a pair of those mantis goggles??

The Z-Mantis! said...

We all need to go into some sort of emotional training for the fall. Or at least I do.

It's been a long two generations for a lot of folks, Jane. Clearly, some heart-toughening is in order. It's good for you. Trust me.

The Z-Mantis! said...

(confound this protracted and luxurious beach interlude!)

And yet somehow I'm the only one getting cussed out in this thread??

The Fox said...

Just got home too Jame. Tough game to watch with balls hit up against the fence and runners stranded at 3rd. This win goes to the bullpen, excellent defense, and heads up base running. The Nats waited out the Braves and had them make the unforced error that cost them the game. Yea I know the error was taken down but that is because Uggla did not throw the ball and it created a catch 22 situation for the official scorer that would take too long to explain.

30 games over .500 in August sure looks good.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Fox, thanks for the reminder. Actually, by rule, if the fielder simply takes too long, and doesn't throw the ball, it's scored a hit.

Rule 10.12(a)(1) Comment: Slow handling of the ball that does not involve mechanical misplay shall not be construed as an error. For example, the official scorer shall not charge a fielder with an error if such fielder fields a ground ball cleanly but does not throw to first base in time to retire the batter.

SonnyG10 said...

JaneB, I think I need the emotional training also.

SonnyG10 said...

Bed time for me. I'll be going to the game tomorrow night. Hope there's no rain delay.

tayo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tayo said...

Just read this about Edwin Jackson.
Amanda Comak ‏@acomak
Edwin Jackson on going to 'pen 2 days after 103P, 7 Inn: "I wasn’t doing it for heroism. The bullpen was done... It’s not a give-away game."

This increases my respect of him. Wouldn't mind us doing a 3 year deal with him.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Tayo, well said, and it's why you get veterans like EJax. These guys know the stakes and know the drill, and they are all in for Davey.

Anna Peregrina said...

I heard or read each of the following statements: Uggla realized he had no chance of throwing Espi out. Uggla had a chance of throwing him out at the plate. If Uggla had thrown home, Espi would have been DOA. Which is it?
Z-Mantis -- "mantis goggles"? I guess I haven't been paying attention around here. Obviously the Nats need them!

Anna Peregrina said...

Or do you mean these, Z-Mantis? You can buy them for yourself! http://www.gardeningwithkids.org/15-1009.html

natsfan1a said...

What with the rain delay, I was only able to stay awake until about 11:30 (yawn), but awoke to a happy game results email this morning. Glad that they were finally able to put another one over (and hold off the Bravos). Hope my DVR got the rest of it, as the guide showed an O's replay coming up next. Atta way, Nats!

baseballswami said...

Again, I sometimes get to thinking that we are winning because someone else makes a mistake. But it has become a hallmark of this team not to blink first and to just keep up the pressure. Those within - inches, almost homers had to have taken something out of their pitchers. The aggressive and smart base running causes brain farts eventually. They just keep finding a way to hold on until an opportunity presents itself and then the grab it. We thought it would be a pitcher's duel with JZ and Hudson. It was a bullpen duel.

The Z-Mantis! said...

Anna, exactly. The ones I saw were from the UK. Candide doesn't think much of them, but he can tend his own garden. I think mantis motorcycle goggles would look cool.

Swami, you said it!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Suzuki's baserunning was what made Uggla so damn confused. Had he just run Uggla tags him and soft toss to first for the dp. But dancing did the trick. Actually Uggla just needed to go tag him and run to first and he the double play, I am just glad he got cinfused with the dance move.

As for Ejax, I have said for a while sign him to a 3 year extention. By then some of the yong guys in the next wave will be ready.

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