Saturday, August 11, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 9, D'backs 1

US Presswire photo
Steve Lombardozzi had four hits and scored four runs.
Game in a nutshell: After a four-game sweep against a hapless team in Houston, the Nationals figured to face a stiffer test tonight against an Arizona club trying to hang on in the NL wild-card race. But what began as a tight pitchers' duel between Stephen Strasburg and Trevor Cahill turned into a rout. Ryan Zimmerman launched a two-run homer in the fifth. Michael Morse crushed a solo shot to deep right-center in the sixth. And the Nats piled on in the ninth to run away with it. Strasburg, meanwhile, merely tossed a one-hitter over six strong innings to earn his 13th win of the year. Thus, the Nationals earned their seventh consecutive victory, and at 70-43 they're on pace for 100 wins at season's end.

Hitting highlight: We could highlight the homers by Zimmerman and Morse, each of them towering shots. But how about some love for Steve Lombardozzi? The rookie tripled in the third, singled in the fifth, singled in the seventh and then was credited with another single in the ninth (though pitcher Mike Zagurski may have tagged him on the back before his foot hit the base). Regardless, it was the second time this season Lombardozzi has compiled four hits. He also scored four times, helping lead an impressive offensive attack against the Arizona pitching staff.

Pitching highlight: What would Davey Johnson have done if Strasburg didn't allow a hit through six innings but had a pitch count of 105? We'll never know, but the veteran skipper is probably glad he didn't have to contemplate such a scenario, because he probably would have had to make a very unpopular decision. Despite the dominant numbers, Strasburg wasn't totally sharp during this outing. He uncharacteristically walked four batters and expended a lot of energy (and sweat) throwing those 105 pitches. It's a testament to his overall stuff and ability to pitch that he could still hold a pretty good lineup to one run and one hit over six innings. Sadly, there were no offensive fireworks from the right-hander in this one. Strasburg went 0-for-3 with three groundouts, seeing his batting average plummet from .343 to .316.

Key stat: Nine of Morse's 11 homers this season have been hit to center or right fields. Tonight's blast to right-center traveled 446 feet, the longest opposite-field homer in the majors this season according to ESPN Hit Tracker.

Up next: Game 2 of this series features veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson against left-hander Wade Miley, who at 12-7 with a 2.85 ERA is making a case for NL Rookie of the Year honors. First pitch will be at 8:10 p.m. EDT.

20 comments:

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! 70 WINS!!! Good Night everyone!

NatsFanChris said...

7 in a row and 70 total. Way to go boys!!!

Nice to have a laugher, for what seems like the first time in awhile. Great game all around.

peric said...

27 games over .500! Three to thirty. Hope they can sweep in AZ because th the last time they met the Giants they swept them ... they look all synced to keep the streak going.

Thank god Morse is finally breaking out ... heard tonight his shoulder is still bothering him as I suspected. No weight lifting for Mikey Mo. Probably a good thing. Hope Zim is following suit with his shoulder.

Timothy Folk said...

I get off late.. loving these late games

djinFl. said...

well Timothy you will love next week

Eugene in Oregon said...

Mark Z: I hope you're keeping notes for a book, because this is a season that might just warrant one.

The Fox said...

Eugene I think each instant analysis will be in the book.

These guys are really coming together and playing like a championship team. When they are interviewed you can see the determination. They are all working toward a goal. As long as they stay healthy I don't think they can miss the playoffs.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Michael Morse's homer extended his hitting streak to 19. I refuse to acknowledge Joe Torre;s decision, because it was quite evident that the official scorer who was there knew what he was doing, that ball was smiked. Sometimes you get and that is a web gem, when don't its a hit. Not much debate.

As for tonight good to see harper get 2 sacrafice flies with 2 strikes (the first putting us ahead to start with).

70-43. Sounds good. Let's win tomorrow to take that series before Sunday.

Schumatrix said...

Keep mashin' em, Morse. He's just seeing the ball huge lately.

Drew said...

This just in: The Nats are really good.

Hey Timothy: With wins like this, we all get off late.

peric said...

This is just the first season ... now it looks as if the Nats will make it into the second season where its survival of the fittest. Soon, Davey will have to start thinking about getting guys in the best possible condition to the post season.

Sure looks to me like they may just add Christian Garcia to the 40-man roster giving them another reliever to go to. Releasing Severino seems to point to that happening eventually ... Adding Garcia and Henry should be enough to get them the rest of the way. Unfortunately both Lannan and now Perry are starters. Albeit Perry has plenty of experience as a reliever.

Secret wasian man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Secret wasian man said...

Fell asleep. Just woke up. OR DID I? 27over .500. Maybe I'm I'm dreaming. NO I'm not. This is AWESOME. GO NATS

natsfan1a said...

Yay, a happy game results email! Looks like they busted out the bats, too. Gotta watch the replay later.

In your morning Shark Report, Bernie bested the, uh, Royals infield (What's up with that?). Next up, a Hairston (Scott, to be precise). The new poll isn't posted yet, but you know the drill. Vote early and often.

baseballswami said...

If Cole ends up in the top of some categories for era - there should be an asterisk.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Couldn't find any lowlights, Mark? Neither could I! GYFNG!!!!!

natsfan1a said...

Lowlight = late start time.

ehay2k said...

Lowlight was Espi not covering second on the play where Stras covered first and LaRoche pivoted to make the throw and then final out of the inning. That lowlight was offset, I believe, by the highlight of Stras alertly covering first. A lot of young pitchers (am I the only one who forgets how young SS really is? ) would have assumed the force at second and not covered first. Heads up play for a guy without even a complete MLB season under his belt.

I guess Stras' maxim regarding his defense is "Trust, but verify (or cover)”

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

The lowlight would have to be the ump taking one in the chops or the head or whatever. Strasburg lost his rhytem for 10 pitches or so. I am bettung (though we would never know) Stras doesn't walk Monterro had he not waited 10 minutes to complete the at bat.

NatsFanSinceStart said...

Go Nats!!!! A faithful fan of the Senators as a kid, I watched them leave -- I watched numerous cities use Washington in their blackmailing attempts to get new stadiums and other concessions. I remember when we thought the Astros, Mariners, and even the Seattle Pilots (remember them?) were coming here. I watched as MLB awarded two Canadian teams????? franchises, but not us!!

Later, out of starvation, I reluctantly, but then enthusiastically became an O's fan. Still, it wasn't really our team.

But now we have a winner; a team chock full of just nice guys. Fun to watch.

I am so proud to be a Nats fan. Thank you, Lerner Family. Now I'm glad my mother used to shop in your store and bore the heck out of me. Like waiting for these Nats, it was worth it.

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