Saturday, September 22, 2012

Game 151: Brewers at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez seeks win No. 20 today at Nationals Park.
Last night's loss certainly stung for the Nationals, but in the bigger picture it actually proved a net gain for them, because with the Braves' loss in Philadelphia they maintained their 5 1/2-game lead in the NL East. At this late stage of September, the calendar is the Nats' best friend, and any time you can cross a date off the calendar while maintaining your same lead in the standings is a good day.

A win this afternoon against the Brewers, however, would be nice. Especially for Gio Gonzalez, who makes his second attempt at securing his 20th victory of the season. Gonzalez actually remains the only 19-game winner in the majors, so he's still got some cushion.

No surprises in Davey Johnson's lineup against Milwaukee rookie right-hander Wily Peralta. Johnson said he'll pretty much be going with all his regulars (aside from the catchers) until the Nationals clinch the division.

Updates to come...

MILWAUKEE BREWERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM-JIP), XM 184
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees, Wind 15 mph out to CF
NATIONALS (91-59)
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

BREWERS (78-72)
RF Norichika Aoki
2B Rickie Weeks
LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Corey Hart
CF Carlos Gomez
C Martin Maldonado
SS Jean Segura
RHP Wily Peralta

UMPIRES
HP D.J. Reyburn
1B Ted Barrett
2B Marvin Hudson
3B Tim McClelland (cc)

1:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a fastball from Gio Gonzalez to Norichika Aoki for strike one.

1:13 p.m. -- Good stuff from Gio in the top of the first. He struck out Aoki with a curveball that might very well have induced the ugliest-looking swing in the history of baseball. Seriously, Aoki had no clue what he was doing. Ryan Braun did poke a two-out single to left (what else is new?) but otherwise Gonzalez was fantastic, throwing eight of 11 pitches for strikes in a scoreless top of the first.

1:25 p.m. -- Hey, what do you know? Jayson Werth (after working the count full and fouling off a couple of pitches) drew a leadoff walk! Unfortunately, he was quickly erased trying to steal second base on the back end of a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. So that kind of put a damper on the bottom of the first. No score as we head to the second.

1:44 p.m. -- Wily Peralta is all over the place so far today, but the Nats are doing their part to help out the Brewers rookie and bail him out. They had runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the second, only to fail to score as Danny Espinosa swings at a fastball at his eyelids and Michael Morse is easily thrown out trying to tag up and score on Kurt Suzuki's flyball down the right-field line. Some very poor offensive execution there, so the game remains scoreless heading to the third.

2:00 p.m. -- Davey Johnson talked this morning about how much he likes the way Bryce Harper has been "gliding" out in center field to track down flyballs, not taking a bunch of choppy steps. Well, I think we just saw that in the top of the third, with Harper gliding his way back to deep center field to make what turned into an easy-looking catch of Rickie Weeks' drive. The kid has really improved out there, so much so that the Nats probably don't feel the need to go after a center fielder this winter. They're pretty much convinced Harper can play the position.

2:26 p.m. -- Hey, we're finally through the third inning! Only took 1 hour, 19 minutes to do it. The good news is that the Nats have taken a 3-0 lead after knocking around Peralta in the bottom of the third. Werth and Harper started it off with back-to-back doubles. Harper then pulled off a play only Bryce Harper makes: He strayed too far off second base, so Milwaukee catcher Martin Maldonado threw behind him. So Harper just took off for third and easily swiped the base. Brilliant. LaRoche later battled through a brilliant at-bat of his own, going from down 0-2 to foul off four pitches and ultimately rope a double into the right-field corner for his 97th RBI of the season. An error by shortstop Jean Segura allowed another run to score, and eventually Ron Roenicke decided he'd seen enough and yanked his rookie starter from the game. In from the bullpen strode (and I use that term lightly) a familiar figure: Livan Hernandez. The big guy got a nice ovation from the crowd, then he dazzled us all with a Bugs Bunny special: a 62 mph curveball that Suzuki popped up to end the inning. After all that, the Nats lead 3-0.

2:49 p.m. -- Well, it looks like Livan Hernandez will help lead the Nationals to a division title after all. Just not the way he wanted to do it. The big guy just got hammered in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving up six runs while recording only one out. He gave up a three-run homer to Zimmerman (a round of cortisone shots for everyone!) and then another three-run homer to Desmond. Livo has now made five appearances against the Nats this season. His ERA: 13.50. He's put 17 men on base in only 7 1/3 innings, and he's served up three homers. It's tough to watch, but the Nats will gladly take a 9-0 lead after four.

3:05 p.m. -- Wow, wait til you hear this one: Gio Gonzalez just struck out his 200th batter of the season. He's the first Washington pitcher to do that since ... Walter Johnson in 1916!

3:21 p.m. -- So much for the shutout. And so much for all that praise of Harper's play in center field. He just gift-wrapped a couple of runs for the Brewers in the top of the sixth by getting a bad jump on one ball over his head and then letting another deflect off his glove for an error. It's now 9-2.

3:26 p.m. -- Er, make that 10-2 as LaRoche goes deep for the 32nd time this season, matching his career high. He's got 98 RBI, two shy of his career high. And get this: The Nationals' 1-through-7 hitters today have reached base in 20 of 26 plate appearances. That's beyond ridiculous.

3:41 p.m. -- Yikes, Gio just got a spike caught on the mound, fired a pitch to the backstop and wound up lying prone on the ground, face down. He appeared to wince after he finally got up, perhaps feeling something in his back, and Davey Johnson and a trainer rushed to the mound. But he's fine and stayed in the game. He even struck out Maldonado on his very next pitch and then deftly fielded a comebacker. So everything appears to be fine. He's done for the day, though, with a final line of: 7 IP, 3 HR, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. If the Nats bullpen can record six outs before allowing eight runs, Gio will get his 20th win.

3:56 p.m. -- Michael Gonzalez strikes out Nyjer Morgan to end the top of the eighth. The fans seemed to enjoy that. Still 10-2.

4:12 p.m. -- It's over. The Nats win 10-4 after Christian Garcia allowed a garbage-time homer. Gio Gonzalez becomes the majors' first 20-game winner this season. And the Nats, for the moment, take a 6-game lead over the Braves (who are just getting underway in Philadelphia). The magic number for the NL East crown is down to 6.

95 comments:

JaneB said...

Here's to Gio being lights out, the bats warming up for us, and a non-save situation win that cancels the bottom of the ninth. Go, Nats!
Turned out, when we were in the fancy seats last night, I was sitting in front of some cute twins, aged 3 1/2,, whose G-Dad was at work last night. In the dug out. Davey. From them, I learned that Abe Lincoln unvented Lincoln logs, and on the back of tne quarter is Screech.
Today back to the regular seats, the better from which to scream, GYFNG!

Faraz Shaikh said...

except aoki, all are right-handed I believe. anyways, good luck to Gio and Nats!!!

Joe Seamhead said...

LOL, Jane B!

Joe Seamhead said...

I can't help but be astounded by posters on the previous threads that want throw Tyler Clippard under the bus, and additionally make a guy a closer in the playoffs that ,
A: has a total of zero ML saves,
B: has no record of success in pitching back-to-back games.
Let's at least see him close at least one, or two games first. I like what we've seen so far, but let's not get too carried away too quickly here.Even Rivera spent a year setting up for Wettland before they made him a closer in the playoffs.

Section 222 said...

The gist of the majority of comments in the last two threads was:
1. Clip is injured.
2. With the Braves and Reds losing, Davey intentionally sent Clip out to see if he could handle ithe situation and to have an excuse to demote him if he blew the save.
3. Clip is now done as closer and Storen will take over, or Davey ought to go with someone who hasn't closed all year (Stammen or Garcia).


Sorry, but I don't buy any of this. Clip said he's fine, feels 100%. His velocity is the same as always. I'll take his word over the observations of people hundreds of yards away in the park or on TV any day.

Davey doesn't need an excuse to do anything, nor does he EVER intentionally risk losing a game to set himself up for a future move. He thought Clip was the right guy for the situation, rested from the night before and perfectly capable of getting the save. The team trusts him, the fans trust him. When he wants to replace Clip, he'll do it.

And Davey sure hasn't made the decision to demote Clip yet. He said two nights ago after Storen's lights out performance in the clincher that he would use both Clip and Storen as the closer depending on matchups, and he basically reiterated that plan after the game last night. Storen will be the closer today, but I don't think we can predict anything beyond that.

Clip hasn't been as effective since the ASG as he was before, but he's still the most experienced and best reliever the team has. He's not going to end up being the 7th inning guy anytime soon. And Garcia and Stammen certainly aren't going to close games this year or in the playoffs. Garcia is a rookie, and Stammen is too valuable as a long guy.

ehay2k said...

We once again suffer the problem of too many pitchers. Life can be so unfair !!

ehay2k said...

We once again suffer the problem of too many pitchers. Life can be so unfair !!

Feel Wood said...

Clippard's not closer material. He's proved as much this week. He's the Interim Jim of closers, so now that Storen is back he'll return to that role. He'll close games whenever Storen needs a day off, and that will be it.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I have now been Maloox free 11 days (only because I was at the stadium and my Maloox was at home last night).

I have heard too often players say they are fine when they weren't so I will not take anyone's word for that. IS Clippard injured I don't know, but he sure isn't pitching nearly as effectively. 9 earned runs in last 7 innings is not good, and really not good if you are not injured.

I am not proposing throwing under te bus, just back to the 8th inning and Storen to the 9th like it was last year. How is that throwing someone under the bus.

I want Garcia to get time, but not 9th inning time.

The closer is one player who can deflate the game faster than anyone else (though 9th inning guys can almost do as much). Once we get to the close, everyone else has done what iss needed for the game to be won. The close normally just needs to get 3 outs, up ti;l then the other pitchers got 24 outs. When a starter goes 8 it makes it worse.

EJAX played great, and when I saw Tracy on the on deck circle in the 8th, I immediately got the Maloox feel, as I didn't have good vibes for Clippard last night (as I could remember the pitch that he couldn't elevate to Kemp kept running in my mind). I was hoping I would be wroong. I posted at 934 befire he ever entered I was regretting this move. I am mad at myself for thinking it, and even more mad at Clippard for letting what I thought could happen, happen.

Today is another day. Lets win this one.

Only 16 blown saves this year (and I hated each and every one of them.)

Section 222 said...

Oh come on. Not closer material? Seriously? 32 saves this year, sixth most in the NL even though he didn't start closing until May. Storen may very well be the better choice to close at this point in the season, but there's no need to denigrate Clip. His work this year has been key for the team.

And again, when Davey wants to make a change, he'll say so and do it. That hasn't happened yet.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Clipard can close, however he is slumping now, so give him a break to rest arm whatever he needs to get out of the slump. I prefer Storen in the long run, He seems healthy now.

Just for the record Nats are now 13-4 with me there. On the down note of the 4 losses Clippard has three of them giving up 3 runs in the last inning of three games, Reds in April, Marlins 2 weeks ago and last night. Gio has the other loss. CLip only has 2 saves kin my presence. SO maybe it is me, and the negative vibes I have when I see him come in games I am at causes the problems. Will let you know next game.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I am not bad for everyone as LaRoche has 7 dingers, and Harper 3 assists and 3 homers. Strasburg 4-0, SO some of the guys get good carma from me. Just clippard seems to have the negative energy from me.

MicheleS said...

GYFNG! GO GIO! GO BATS!

Feel Wood said...

Just as Interim Jim managers can win games, Interim Jim closers can get saves. But sooner or later the reasons why they are Interim Jims becomes clear. For Clippard, now is that time. In fact, we might as well start calling him Clipboard, because as a closer he's about as useful as an NFL backup QB.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Go Gio

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

12 To 13 pitches an inning.

baseballswami said...

Clip is going through a bad time right now and really taking it to heart and searching. Drew is hot right now and so when the game is close, maybe he should close. Let Clip get his feet back under him IF we ever have a game where we have a cushion again. I am much more concerned about the inconsistent hitting. That period we had where everything left the park has seemed to make everyone homer-happy and swinging for the bleachers. Thursday they showed some situational hitting and moving runners, etc. I hope to see that offense back in the house today. Get on, move over, sac in, works just fine.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hitting me less as long as we have more runs than opponents and we have mre than opponent.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Score 5 for Gio.

Oldguy said...

The one that really ticked me (and quite a few other STH's) off last night was Clippard getting booed. You do not boo your own guys! Ever. Exceptions may include starting a brawl, obviously loafing or doing the other kinds of crap we have seen from FORMER players in the past. You do not boo your own guys for giving it their best shot. Clippard faced the middle of the order of a hot team desperately trying for a playoff. Veterans, guys who have been there. This is new for us--whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Get used to it.
--"Been there since the 1940s"

Oldguy said...

Swami,
Dead on. After ALR's home run we did very little at the plate. You give a closer a run one lead and stuff happens.
And that pitcher never threw anything over about 87 MPH. In that case you punch, go for the small ball stuff. Maybe bunt for a hit. Whatever. How many popups did we hit last night? That comes from exactly what you describe--trying to hit junk over the fence.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

11Pitches good first.

old guy I boo non hustle not bad play

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Reyburn blows Ball 4 call to Werth but then throws 3 more pitches to officially walk him.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Instead of Bryce walking and have 1st and 2nd and no outs its now 2 outs and bases empty.

Umpire strikes again!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I have said as technology gets better umps get worse.

baseballswami said...

You know, I love the Nats, but that inning was just unacceptable to me. I know the ump blew a call - again - but that guy could not find the strike zone at all and we did not take advantage of it. I just feel that was very poor execution.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Gio 22 pitches. an 11 excellent

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Espi has 5 balls thrown to him and he swings at e of them. Why?

Smatt1001 said...

Can't believe Morse was running on that pop up. But at least it's a nice day to be at the park.

Secret wasian man said...

Really? Really? Espi swings at 3 BALLS. Bo sends a guy hom with a piano on his back. Really? PlayoffS? Playoffs?

NatsLady said...

Why did Morse go? He had no chance, and now we have the pitcher leading off the next inning. I would rather he stayed on 3rd and maybe the guy will make another WP.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

0-2 Pitch time for a K and instead a topped ball single.

baseballswami said...

Again - poor offensive execution. They are not going to hand us a win. This kid is pitching poorly - don't give him a chance to settle in.

NatsLady said...

Love that kid! Now, GET SOME RUNS. Gio is pitching his heart out!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Harper great play in sun.

ump called time way too late.

I am thinking clsssic plush

Bzl. said...

One thing we can all be thankful for, regardless of what happens in today's game: after today, no more Dierks Bentley mentions on TV every 10 minutes!

Swift Eagle said...

One of the best ABs of the year by ALR, impressive

Secret wasian man said...

great job adam

Secret wasian man said...

Dont help the kid. I hoped everyone learnd from Dannys AB.

Secret wasian man said...

Ill take it baby. Just put the ball in play and you never know. Patience Danny.

Secret wasian man said...

Actually Bzl it may rain later. Dierks could be back.

UnkyD said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you......: THE BATS!!

NatsLady said...

Well, even Danny couldn't strike out on those pitches! A Livo sighting!!!

JaneB said...

Uh oh. How do you explain Livo to Kurt? I hope Kurt bests him

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Kurt could have broken it wide open.

his best atribute is controling putchers. he went right out when Gio was pissed about the time iut. Jesus needs to do thst more.

baseballswami said...

Nice top, nice bottom. So much better. Livo won't be easy, though. He is just so crafty.

Swift Eagle said...

BOOM!! 6-0 Way to go Ryan Z!!!

MicheleS said...

HELLO BATS!

Secret wasian man said...

YES I almost feel bad for Levan. Nah. He is a good guy though. In the words of Elton John. "He shall leave Levon."

Swift Eagle said...

BOOM!! Ian checks in, and it's 9-0!!

Two 3 run HRs in one inning? somewhere Earl Weaver is happy..

waddu eye no said...

Looks good from 214.

Drew said...

Uh oh. It's 9-0.

:)

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Our kind of inning.

JaneB said...

I'm glad Livan kinda blew up there and I still love him. But there is no longer a shred of me that wishes we had him in our pen. I know. Don't say anything or call me names.

djinFl. said...

I am guessing the doomers have left for the day, and it is safe to enter. Missed last night due to Ian Anderson and his Thick as a Brick tour. Only scanned enough to see our new found fans booed.
Glad to see the sun is back out and everyone is feeling better this afternoon. Not to mention the boys are raking. GYFNG

waddu eye no said...

Thick as a brick, eh?
Really dont mind if you sat that one out

Oldguy said...

Manassas (from above, re booing--I had to go out for a while),

I'm cool with that--lack of hustle. But I haven't seen that from our guys lately.

Faraz Shaikh said...

now that's pretty historic. Walter Johnson! WOW. Go Gio!!!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Old guy i have not seen any.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Suddenly Harper not seeing ball well

baseballswami said...

No need to panic, here. Just get the third out. Any time we are up by that particular number - 9 -- I get deja vous all over again. Nightmares.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

No maloox needed. Harper let ball hit outside of glove.

NatsLady said...

Yeah, but it's not raining. And it's a day game. And there's some kind of after-game entertainment. They ain't letting this one get away from them.

Swift Eagle said...

BOOM! #32 for ALR! Talk about a sweet swing. Double Figures today

djinFl. said...

That takes care of your number 9 phobia.
ALR MVP!

NatsLady said...

OK, it's 10 runs. Whew!

djinFl. said...

With two more againist the Brewers, I am glad to see us wearing out their pen today.

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

I get deja vous all over again.

I'm having a jamais vu there myself.

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Well, if Gio hadn't polished his shoes this morning that call could have gone the other way. Just did get the base there.

Swift Eagle said...

Haha..Look at Gio mixing up his pitches! The fling to the backstop perfectly set up the nasty hook for the K...

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

"I wouldn't get too comfortable in there. I have no idea where it's going.

I really don't."

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Gio tips his hat.

mick said...

A 20 game winner is a BIG DEAL, last time in DC was 1952!!

mick said...

Cards are up in their game, this really hurts the Brewers

mick said...

ALR at the very least is the MLB comeback player of the year!

Swift Eagle said...

I love how a big lead for the Nats turns the NI in-game thread into the "Chillax Room"...

mick said...

A's just tied Yankees, O's lead 6-5 in 8th..... pennant race cant get any better

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

ALR second in cime back player as much as I wish he could win. Buster Posey after tearing knee will win as well as MVP

mick said...

Manassas Nats' Fan I think you may be right, unfortunately

Swift Eagle said...

Nats on their way to improving their record to 27-10 v the NL Central this year...Wish we could play in that crappy Division all year...

No wonder the Reds have such a good record, 41 wins in the NL Central...

JaneB said...

Dunno if anyone has posted this yet but Twitter days Atlanta jiggered the rotation so Medlen starts the WC game. Says me: they're not really chasing us AND we won't see him in the playoffs.

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

It does take some time to set that up, and they have to assume they have that play-in game. They do have to go with Medlin for that, I think.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I hope we can win this game.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Fp the damn wave comes up and we give up runs.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Garcia trying to make clip look good.

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO #20 for Gio!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Magic number 6

Swift Eagle said...

Congrats to Gio, for the rest of his life he'll be referred to as "20 game winner, Gio Gonzalez"...

JaneB said...

Swift eagle....until he's referred to as "world series MVP Gio Gonzalez?"

Joe Seamhead said...

20 game winner for the first time since 1953? First time a DC pitcher gets 200 K's since Walter Johnson? Yep, I might of been wrong.

Swift Eagle said...

Haha..Yes Jane, I'm hoping for several accolades to go before the last comma!

"World Series MVP, Cy Young, 20 Game winner, Gio Gonzalez"...

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Nice of you to notice you "might have been wrong" there, Joe! Did I mention I had them winning 86 games, and third place?

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

"International celebrity philanthropist Gio Gonzalez, who, before he cured cancer and brought lasting peace to the Middle East, was a professional baseball player ... "

natsfan1a said...

Just got home as we stayed for the concert. All I'm going to say for now is that was fun! Atta way, GIO!! :-)

ehay2k said...

Lol Sofa. Also some great posts by old guy (I did boo Morgan today and FLop when he was dogging it with us.), swift, and others. Fair to criticize the team, just not warranted to throw players under the bus or personally attack posters. That is the way of the LoD.

Post a Comment