Saturday, August 25, 2012

Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 2

US Presswire photo
Kurt Suzuki slides in safely ahead of Erik Kratz's tag in the fifth inning.
Game in a nutshell: Who says Roy Halladay isn't still Roy Halladay? He sure looked like his old, Cy Young self tonight, cruising through the Nationals lineup with ease. His only blip: a two-run single surrendered to Steve Lombardozzi in the fifth, with Kurt Suzuki pulling off a nifty slide around catcher Erik Kratz to score the second run. Otherwise, Halladay was brilliant, out-dueling Gio Gonzalez, who gave up two runs in the first and then gave up the go-ahead run on John Mayberry Jr.'s leadoff homer in the sixth. Now trailing by a run, the Nationals couldn't muster anymore offense against Halladay or the Phillies bullpen, then gave up a costly insurance run in the eighth when Chase Utley was hit by a pitch, stole second and third bases and scored on Mayberry's sacrifice fly. Thus the Nationals lost their second straight 4-2 game in this ballpark and their third game in a row overall, seeing their lead over the Braves slip to 5 1/2 games in the process.

Hitting lowlight: They didn't have very many chances against Halladay, so the Nationals might have figured they'd have a better opportunity to score the tying (or go-ahead run) off the Phillies bullpen. They didn't. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo (who entered with a 5.35 ERA) struck out the side in the top of the eighth, getting Bryce Harper to whiff at a 90 mph high fastball, Ryan Zimmerman to swing and miss at a 93 mph outside fastball and Adam LaRoche to flail away at a 3-2 offspeed pitch. That seemed to sum up the Nationals' night at the plate. When they needed to get something going against a beatable pitcher, they couldn't even put the ball in play.

Pitching highlight/lowlight: The way his night began, Gonzalez appeared to be in serious trouble. He gave up two runs in the top of the first, throwing 31 pitches and falling behind just about everyone. But to his credit, the left-hander battled his way back to a quality start. He found the strike zone with more regularity, made more Phillies swing and miss and kept his pitch count to a relative minimum. Then one costly mistake to open the sixth inning: a high fastball to Mayberry spoiled Gonzalez's night. That solo homer broke a 2-2 tie, put the Nats in a hole and prevented Gio from a shot at earning his league-leading 17th win of the season.

Key stat: Halladay threw 86 of his 105 pitches for strikes tonight, an 82 percent rate.

Up next: The series concludes Sunday afternoon when Jordan Zimmermann (coming off his worst start of the season) faces Cliff Lee at 1:35 p.m.


mick said...

we have not lost 4 in a row this season, a few 3 game losing streaks early... so, tomorrow is big in that sense

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The Nats gave up a costly run in the 9th? Nominally. 99.9% of that is on Burnett who floundered away any real chance at a victory.

mick said...

I agree william O

NatsNutty said...

Nats haven't looked like a playoff team for the last three games. Fillies looking forward to being spoilers, and we STILL have to play them seven more times! I have a queasy feeling about this.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

162 games is a lot of games. It is a shame tonight because the Nats might have won if their two excellent pitchers, Gonzalez and Burnett had not lost complete focus on two pitches.

Both of them appeared to completely lose their focus on the two key playes of the game. Burnett has in many ways been one of their top pitchers; unfortunately he has had a couple of memorable glitches, notably tonight and against the Orioles when he lost a 1-0 lead in the 8th when Detwiler was making his return as a starter.

ehay2k said...

Tomorrow I want mUtley to get a fastball at his knees. See if he leans into that. Really need to hit back at these guys.

peric said...

Looks like John Lannan pitched a 3-hit 1 to nothing complete game shutout. He really wants it bad ... and that's good!

SonnyG10 said...

I think we left our offense back on the golf course. Our team has looked like crap before and they come back strong. I expect them to do it again. Hey, are we having fun yet?

NatsNutty said...

From what I understand from listening to Davey tonight, the Nats won't be able to "hit back at these guys" without Morse and Desi, and they will be out of the lineup until Tuesday. Hmmmm. Doesn't sound like a very confident manager to me.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The Nats beat the Phillies four in a row in the next to last game of the season last year, holding the Phillies to only 102 wins. One thing that I don't think a lot of baseball fans understand is that the post-season in baseball is about as unbridled as anything in pro sports. This is not the NBA or NFL.

Colorado won 19 games in a row a few years back, including their first 7 in the play-offs. They then promptly lost 4 straight in the World Series. When did their slump start?

Cincinnati won 14 play-off and World Series games out of 17 in 1975 and 1976, which is a fairly stupendous record when you consider the level of competition, and yet, they came within an eyelash of not winning the 1975 World Series. Tons of mediocre teams have won the World Series and many, many great ones have not, see, e.g. 1969 Orioles, 1954 Indians...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I agree about beaning Utley. I normally am adamantly opposed to throwing at guys, but it is a bit different when a player like Utley attempts to not get out of the way. Guys like that deserve to be drilled and drilled to the point where they start trying to get out of the way of the ball.

I am all for Moneyball in general, but basically, Utley is a cheater in my mind by not trying to get out of the way. The umpires who refuse to enforce the rules against not trying to evade pitches are to blame as well.

NatsFanJim said...

It's a slump. Never seen this team play so flat -- for a good week now. bound to happen; this team hasnt had a bad streak all year.

We've also been magical all year - winning games on wild pitches, bad bounces, brain farts (Uggla). Baseball always balances its books. And it's auditing the Nats right now!!!

Hey Davey, Didn't you win without Werth, Morse, and partly without Zim? Time to manage now, Davey -- the magic is wearing off.

NatsFanJim said...

It's a slump. Never seen this team play so flat -- for a good week now. bound to happen; this team hasnt had a bad streak all year.

We've also been magical all year - winning games on wild pitches, bad bounces, brain farts (Uggla). Baseball always balances its books. And it's auditing the Nats right now!!!

Hey Davey, Didn't you win without Werth, Morse, and partly without Zim? Time to manage now, Davey -- the magic is wearing off.

peric said...

I think Davey should give Tyler Moore a shot against right-handers, not just left-handers, in the starting lineup batting fifth. But, its not likely to happen because of his still weak defense I suppose.

He needs to get some potent bats in the lineup because right now both Zim and LaRoche especially are starting to look completely ineffective offensively. There's no heart of the batting order ... and as you could see from last season and this one when there's no heart of the batting order it doesn't matter how many times your lead-off guy gets on. And Lombo has been doing a better than average job when he's in ...

Offense needed.

Swift Eagle said...

Breathe people! Lol...The last 5 months were not a mirage, this is still a good team..The last 3 games, the Nats have run into good starting pitching and have made critical, self-inflicted mistakes... Detwiler walks a pitcher to get to Prado, Espi's caught stealing down 2 in the 9th, Burnett not holding Utley tonight...I'd rather they learn from this now, not in the playoffs

Part of the Process

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Mick the Nats lost 5 in a row April 26- May 1' 1@
SD 3@ LA 1@ HOME VS. Arizona.

peric said...

Honestly, I don't see all that much difference now in the offense compared to the beginning of the season. I expected the offense to be pretty inconsistent as the high ceiling younger players developed and matured. That is happening as expected.

What I wish Davey would do is try removing LaRoche more often and replace him with Tyler Moore. LaRoche just isn't doing the job right now and there is a potentially very good offensive prospect that could man his position. Harper isn't that much of a problem. Its the heart of the batting order. Without anyone behind him Zim won't see much to hit and that could be exacerbating his ongoing shoulder issue. Werth isn't scaring anyone right now power-wise. Davey seems okay with playing Lombardozzi and batting him lead-off but it won't matter if someone doesn't drive him in.

In the past few games the runs have been generated mostly by rookies and new players. Not the veterans. Time to play the youth, the same group primarily responsible for getting you this many wins.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I. was really pIssed during that streak as Held started his nonsense and the hitters were terrible

ehay2k said...

Swift, I agree that learning is part of the process. However, how LoNG does it take them to learn? mUtley stole last night as well. And also scored the insurance run.

Espi's attempted steal in the ninth last night? He should have learned better in Little League.

I know, our guys are young and have not played many (any?) meaninful games. But sometimes they illicit WTH?!? moments, and it needs to stop before the games actually get meaningful.

Steady Eddie said...

Peric, Davey won't do it but should give TMo a start by giving ALR a blow. Unlike Zim, who has gotten some singles latly and at least hit the ball hard once tonight, Adam has been K'ing at an alarming rate and hasn't been squaring up much of anything lately. No dingers for 3 weeks now.

Swift Eagle said...

Haha, baseball fans have been asking that question forever ehay!

Of course they know what to do, now doing the correct thing in late-inning, pressure packed situations is what they have to improve...

In MLB, there's a very fine line between winning and losing, especially in the playoffs

peric said...

Well one thing is certain Davey does see what's going on. He went out of his way to express his agreement with Chipper on young hitter and how they should concentrate on learning to spray line drives everywhere first (Lombardozzi / Marerro) instead of trying to crush every pitch (Espinosa, Desmond, Harper, Moore). When both Moore and Harper first arrived they were much more selective. Although both Harper and Moore appear to have regressed Moore had to learn to be overly aggressive for his role as a late inning pinch hitter in Davey's scheme of things.

In any case this may be why Davey is reluctant to use them. But LaRoche of late looks exactly like these young players Davey mentions. And he's a veteran?

ExposedinDC said...

Tommorow is another day and we owe mr. Lee one, I suspect Davey will load up on the right handed sticks and stir things up a bit

Fear and Ignorance said...

August 25th, 2011

Boston 80-50
TB 70-59

Atlanta 79-53
St. Louis 68-63

5.5 games is starting to feel very, very small. The Braves schedule is much easier than ours and we are voluntarily shutting down our best player (although Tony Gwynn still doesn't think it should, or will happen...maybe he has been talking to Stras).

Braves schedule:
Phillies 6
Marlins 6
Mets 6
Rockies 4
Padres 3
Brewers 3
Pirates 3
Nationals 3

peric said...

The Braves schedule is much easier than ours and we are voluntarily shutting down our best player (although Tony Gwynn still doesn't think it should, or will happen...maybe he has been talking to Stras).

Best pitcher not necessarily best player.

The Braves are shutting down their best pitcher voluntarily? How is that different? How is Tony Gwynn's opinion as yet another ex-player any different from all of the others? Where is his medical degree?

This is the reason why Rizzo managed to sign Lucas Giolitio and if you think about it, future top prep school arms perhaps even in the later rounds for over slot money. Because unlike a college (where Mr. Gwynn happens to be employed) better care will be taken of the young pitcher's arm.

So,, there IS NO IF. Rizzo has yet to change his tune on this.

This really is a tired, beat-up 78 RPM, old school, scratched from a zillion playings, broken record ... its time to stop.

hiramhover said...


The Braves schedule is not "much easier" than the Nats. The winning percentage of the teams they face for the rest of the season is a cumulative .483--the Nats opponents clock in marginally higher, at .485.

We also play more games at home--21 of 36, while the Braves play 19 of their 35 remaining games on the road. And, yes, I know the Nats have a slightly better road than home record this year, but you can't seriously tell me that they (and the Braves) wouldn't prefer to be playing any final clinching games before a home audience and with last ups.

Fear and Ignorance said...

Lucas Giolito??? What does that have to do with anything??? He will not be in a Nats uniform before 2015 and even then will be on an innings limit. He means about as much to the Nationals right now as a freshman in high school means to USC.

Until he is actually shut down, there will remain an IF. How do you know they are not just trying to take the pressure off of a very young team by keeping this distraction going? Do you really believe Davey and Rizzo aren't capable of doing this?

rabbit34 said...

50 posters. 50 opinions. None of them mean anything. Everyone thinks they know a lot. They don't. It doesn't make any difference anyway. We are not going to make the playoffs. We need BATS. Hopefully Chipper will end his career with a World Series win. No more Lexus seats for me this year.

ehay2k said...

Got it rabbit. See you next year. No need to post here anymore until the Nats meet your expectations.

F&I, I think you should stay up all night, every night, to make sure the sun rises. Until it does, it's just an IF.

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

Wait, if everyone thinks they know a lot, but they don't, wouldn't "everyone" include rabbit? Gosh, now I'm really confused. I don't know what to believe. Eh, I guess I'll just keep watching the games. I'm pretty sure there's a reason they play them and all.

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