Sunday, September 23, 2012

Game 152: Brewers at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang tries to lead the Nationals over the Brewers today.
It's been three months since Chien-Ming Wang last started a big-league game for the Nationals, but today the veteran right-hander will be handed the ball by Davey Johnson for a pennant race game in late September. If ever the Nats could hope to get something out of their $7 million investment over the last three seasons out of Wang, today would be the day.

Wang will face a potent Brewers lineup, but one that was silenced yesterday by Gio Gonzalez. Johnson feels like a right-hander should have an even better chance of success against the right-handed-heavy Milwaukee club, so Wang was his choice for this start.

Fellow righty Yovani Gallardo gets the nod for the Brewers against a Nationals team looking to lower its magic number for the NL East title to either 5 or 4.

Plenty of updates to come...

MILWAUKEE BREWERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Ch. 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Sunny, 68 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF
NATIONALS (92-59)
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Chien-Ming Wang

BREWERS (78-73)
RF Norichika Aoki
2B Rockie Weeks
LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Corey Hart
C Jonathan Lucroy
CF Logan Schafer
SS Jean Segura
RHP Yovani Gallardo

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

1:37 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Chien-Ming Wang to Norichika Aoki. It's another absolutely gorgeous afternoon here in the District, 67 degrees and clear skies.

1:47 p.m. -- Pretty good stuff from Wang in the top of the first. He threw 13 of 15 pitches for strikes, and though he allowed two singles (one never left the infield). He also got three groundball outs, a good sign that his sinker is working. So far, so good.

2:04 p.m. -- Two scoreless innings in the books for Wang. He continues to throw strikes (20 of 27 pitches) and continues to keep the ball down in the zone. He struck out Jean Segura on a sinker to end the top of the second. He even got some help from Kurt Suzuki, who gunned down Logan Schafer trying to steal second base.

2:17 p.m. -- The Nats had a golden opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the second, thanks to Adam LaRoche's double and Ian Desmond's infield single. With runners on the corners and one out, Danny Espinosa smoked a line drive ... unfortunately right at Corey Hart, who needed only to step on first base to complete the inning-ending double play. Scoreless after two.

2:27 p.m. -- Wow, what a 3-6-1 double play turned by LaRoche, Desmond and Wang to get the speedy Aoki at first base. Looks like old pal Marvin Hudson blew the call -- perhaps a makeup for last weekend's botch job in Atlanta -- but regardless it required a great turn by Desmond and some impressive athleticism from Wang to even make that a close play. Wang then notched his second strikeout of the game, giving him three scoreless innings on 39 pitches so far.

2:36 p.m. -- OK, what was the more stunning development in the bottom of the second: Wang scorching a double to the left-center gap, or Harper grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and leave Chien-Ming stranded at third base? Talk about a bizarro inning. After all that, it remains scoreless heading to the fourth.

2:56 p.m. -- That was an ugly top of the fourth from the Nats' perspective. It began with Harper losing another flyball in the sun (at least his third this season). This one was especially costly because it turned what would've been a routine and rare out off the bat of Braun into a gift double. And that set the stage for Braun to score on Lucroy's single to right. Moments later, Schafer smoked a double off the wall in right, giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead. Wang was able to get out of the jam without any more damage, thanks to two nice plays at third base by Zimmerman. But Chien-Ming is fading fast, and the Nats now trail by a pair.

3:22 p.m. -- After four innings and 69 pitches from Chien-Ming Wang, Davey Johnson decided it was time to turn to his bullpen. So in came Craig Stammen for the top of the fifth, and though the right-hander put himself in a jam by walking two and giving up a double to Aramis Ramirez, he got out of it unscathed. The Nats have let 11 Brewers reach base already, yet only two have scored. It remains 2-0 in the middle of the fifth.

3:45 p.m. -- And the Nats tie it back up in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a couple of excellent at-bats by a couple of real pros: Chad Tracy and Jayson Werth. With runners on second and third and one out, Davey decided to use his best weapon off the bench, much earlier than usual, but probably sensing this was his best chance to get back in the game. And Tracy delivered, battling back from an 0-2 count, fouling off three pitches and ultimately stroking an RBI single to right. Werth then followed with exactly what the situation called for: a fly ball to deep left, easily scoring the tying run from third. Just like that, this is a 2-2 ballgame heading to the sixth.

4:09 p.m. -- Another great chance for the Nats in the bottom of the sixth after Morse drew a two-out walk and Desmond doubled into the left-field corner. At that moment, Ron Roenicke decided to intentionally walk Espinosa and load the bases for Suzuki. Seemed like a bit of a surprise, considering how Espinosa has struggled from the left side of the plate and how Suzuki has swung a hot bat. But I guess that's why Roenicke is a big-league manager and I'm not. Suzuki struck out on three pitches to leave the bases loaded. So we go to the 7th, the game still tied 2-2. Meanwhile, Atlanta just won 2-1 in Philly, so the Nats will need to win to maintain their 5 1/2-game lead over the Braves.

4:25 p.m. -- Yikes, the Nats just got burned by the sun again. This one was really costly, with Werth losing sight of a routine flyball to right and letting it fall in for an RBI single. That helped prolong the top of the seventh, with the Brewers ultimately scoring three times to take a 5-2 lead. Now the Nationals are in a big hole and down to their final nine outs, with reason to worry about MLB scheduling any late-afternoon home playoff games.

4:27 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 33,111. This was the ninth time in eight years the Nationals and Redskins have played simultaneous home games. The Nats' average attendance in those nine games: 29,802. That's probably much higher than you would have expected, isn't it?

4:42 p.m. -- And this one keeps getting uglier. Lombardozzi is charged with an error on a grounder to his left. The next batter smoked a liner off Michael Gonzalez's glove, the ball scooting into center field. Harper tried to pick it up bare-handed, came up short and allowed the runners to take another base on that error. That allowed Braun's flyball to deep left-center to bring home another run. It's now 6-2 in the eighth.

4:54 p.m. -- The Nats have given themselves several opportunities at the plate today, but they haven't taken advantage of them. And they haven't done anything at the plate against the Milwaukee bullpen so far, with Francisco Rodriguez and Jim Henderson combining to retire all six batters they've faced, four via strikeout. They're down to their last three outs now.

5:19 p.m. -- It's over. The Nats lose 6-2. Their lead in the NL East drops to 4 1/2 games, their magic number stays at 6.

101 comments:

ehay2k said...

Curious to see the lineup. Werth, Zimm, ALR and Morse all got some rest yesterday thanks to the outburst of offense. What are the odds that the Shark start in left today against a eighty? Morse looked to be wincing after every contact swing.

A DC Wonk said...

Gallardo has been undefeated in over two months.

He's going against Wang.

Can we get a reverse lock here? Please?!

I'm going with my 17 yo daughter -- I want her to leave the stadium with a big smile on her face!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Go Wang

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Go Wang Go Wang Gone. GYFNG

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

This is a case where Davey must prove that it was worth the expense to keep Wang for an additional year. They won't make that mistake next season. As far as Wang making the playoff roster ... Zach Duke deserves it more.

This may be as much about ego as anything else.

peric said...

Wonder what happened to all those Taiwanese who were posting for a while? Maybe they all became Ori-hoe fans.

NCNatsie said...

If Wang does well today, he'll probably be first in line for a start after the clinch. If he does well in that one, it will complicate Davey's postseason roster-making, not to mention Rizzo's winter.

But these are good problems, right?

GYFNG.

pk24 said...

Just heading to the game. I'm hoping that CMW will pitch OK, but am expecting to see a lot of the bullpen guys...

Go Nats!

Knoxville Nat said...

Peric, not looking for a debate but I don't follow you when you say "Davey must prove that it was worth the expense". Wouldn't the burden of proof be more on Rizzo or Wang himself?

Feel Wood said...

Yesterday's headline: Milestone Man.

Today's headline: Millstone Man.

Doc said...

A good performance by Wang to-day, might give Davey some slight pause for Davey's post-season roster.

But good or bad performance to-day, I doubt that future FA Wang is of any significant Rizzo consideration for next season's roster. He once had some future expectations with this team, but that time started to disappear last April with the current starting rotation and bullpen.

I see CMW pitching in Japan next season.

JaneB said...

Just walked over to the stadium to give away two of our seats we couldn't use today. If I knew how to give them to an Imaginaty Friend here, I would have. LOTS of Wang shirts on people buying tickets. Yovani has to lose sometime. I think today's the day.

Morse maybe looked to be wincing yesterday...I couldn't see that closely from where we were...but his last line drive had real whack to it. It made me feel even better about him.

And it goes without saying: go Nats! Go Nats Bats! Pitch the great game of a lifetime, CMW! GYFNG!

Donald said...

Does anyone know how the playoff schedule works? It looks like the wildcard playoff game is on Friday. I think the 2 vs. 3 seeds start their series on Saturday and the 1 seed vs. the wildcard winner start on Sunday. Is that right? If so, then getting the #1 seed might be worth a fair amount to the Nats in that they start Gio in his natural spot in the rotation. If they start on Saturday, presumably against SF, then I'm not sure that Gio gets 2 more starts. It will be interesting to see how that plays into his Cy Young chances if he and Dickey are tied with wins.

Theophilus T. S. said...

What's wrong w/ offering Wang a minor-league contract next year? Let him play Lannan's position -- call-up in case of emergency. You're pretty sure Jackson and Lannan aren't coming back, don't know who they're gonna snag in free agency, don't know if there's anyone else in the minor league system that will be ready in 2013. So what's the risk in giving Wang a chance? (Assuming that this and maybe the next start go okay.)

NatsLady said...

CMW is gettting Suzuki and the first-string lineup. I think Davey is not conceding this game. Off to the Metro, and not sad that it's the last regular-season game I'll be at. Have to get my yearbook. GO NATS!!! Chien-Ming, show 'em what ya got. I want peric to totally HATE ON ME tonight, LOL!!!!

SonnyG10 said...

Go Nats!!! Go CMW!!! Take magic number to 5 or 4 today.

A DC Wonk said...

This may be as much about ego as anything else.

Wha?! Oh puleeze. You think Davey would think: "gee, Duke give us the better chance to win, but I'd rather prove I'm right about something, so I'll start Wang anyway" ?!?!!

First off -- even if Davey _was_ thinking "me-first" (which I don't believe in a minute), he'd wanting to win this game with _whoever_ he starts, because then people will think: "that was great that he started x and got the win".

Secondly -- even if Davey _was_ thinking "me-first" (which I don't believe in a minute) -- the biggest boost to Davey's ego would be to guide the '12 Nats to the best record in baseball and to win the WS.

I don't know why Davey is starting Wang today -- I don't know the full processes going on in his head -- he probably liked what he saw last time out, and likes Wang's experience. But I'm sure that -- bottom line -- he's starting Wang because he thinks it's the best option for the Nats today.

The Retired Journalist said...

I'll join the chorus hoping for the magic of a reverse lock. I do have some experience at this, having been in attendance at the Hubert H. Humprhrey Metrodome in Minneapolis on June 9, 2007. On that date, the Nationals sent Levale Speigner out as the starting pitcher to duel then-Twin Johan Santana. Final score, Nats 3, Twins 1, with Speigner going six innings while giving up only two hits and one run.

But nonetheless I shall remember Mark Twain's advice that "a pessimist can only be pleasantly surprised" as I await the first pitch.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Wonk.... don't get worked up over the "over the top" drama. Remember, this is the "Koye Hill is the fall back catcher, Rendon will get a September call up, Bryce needs to go on the 15 day DL so he can visit Mommy and Daddy, Werth will be the back up catcher by 2014, Zim will be at first base next year, Ryan Perry will be the starter today instead of Wang, and on and on and on.

RPrecupjr said...

At the game with the wife and daughter. She asked if any of my imaginary friends would be here today. So far I've seen that JaneB and Wonk are here, cool. We're in Sec 108, Row MM, right in the middle. What a beautiful day!!

Kirbs said...

Im calling right now stammen will throw more innings then wang. I really hope im wrong. But lets hit the ball boys!!!!!!!

NCNatsie said...

Good point TRJ, but then again, another wise man once said, "No one has enough information to be a pessimist."

Okay, it was my friend Bill who said that, but I think it's pretty thoughty even so.

RPrecupjr said...

Ok, so apparently on this device I'm Rprecupjr, but usually I'm Ron in Reston, so come by and say hi :)

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

GYFNG I have been Maloox free 12 days

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hope Brewers dont start as fast as Bengals

Sam said...

Marvin Hudson is at first base again. This doesn't bode well for the Nationals.

The Retired Journalist said...

MNF; Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers are scoreless in the second inning. What other "Bengals" are you talking about?

Joe Seamhead said...

Good start for CMW, nothing but ground balls, everything close to the zone.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Harper's threat to throw Weeks out at third saved a run.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Sam i.meant to mention my eye is on Hudson

djinFl. said...

If Wang keeps this up, people might start to think Davey knows what the heck he is doing.

A DC Wonk said...

At game in section 404 with daughter and another teenager girl. They're having fun (as am I).

Wang looked great in second inning. LaRoche just hit a double. Weather is great!!

Sam said...

Wow. Make up call by Hudson a week later.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Marvin Hudson with a make up call

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Hudson still in the Hall of Shame

A DC Wonk said...

You know, it's really useful to have four gold glove (or near gold glove) quality infielders when a sinker ball pitcher is going.

After three, still no fly ball outs against Wang.

Another_Sam said...

NatsJack - very nice chatting with you and Charlie while watching a couple of innings yesterday. Great to see you again. See you next time.

Joe Seamhead said...

You are kidding me! CMW!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Sorry I missed all you that are there today but had to fly home this morning and ger ready for work this week. Sure did love seeing the clinch and Gio's 20th in person and catching up with the ones that that I did.

Sitting here in Winter Park in my man cave with the Nats game, the Deadskins, the Braves/Phillies game and the Bucs/Cowboys. Man this is great.

djinFl. said...

Wang knows what he has to do to sit with the rest of our starters. Hit as well as you pitch.

ehay2k said...

Lol - Wang acted like he wasn't sure taking two bases was allowed.

FP said "he turned his left turn blinker on..." Classic FP.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Marvin hufson wrong afgain replay clearly showed Harper safe.

Joe Seamhead said...

TRASHED AGAIN BY HUDSON!

Joe Seamhead said...

I don't know if Hudson sucks or if he's just flat out on the take.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And tomorrow Hudson's behind the plate.

Yep....It's always good to catch up with you and your brother, Sam. And Gator John says hello to both of you.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I knew the key inning was 4th

Joe Seamhead said...

Bad breaks for CMW.

A DC Wonk said...

Before this inning started I said to my daughter: I hope he's not tired from running the bases. We'll be able to tell if guys start hitting flies. Sure enough....

ehay2k said...

FP said "all those bats died heros." Feel free to quench your thirst!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Mark please find out if indeed Hudson is as pathetic ss he appears

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

LaRoche needs to foul off that pitch not take it

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

3 Double plays m
now. lets get to work better

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Harper had he been safe might have been in field 4 minutes later. sun slightly moved.

just a thought how much Hudson is involved

Joe Seamhead said...

a very good point MNF.

Joe Seamhead said...

Come on, boys! Two good AB's. Now, let's keep it going ,Suzuki!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Arggg k not good . Travy bail him out.

Swift Eagle said...

What an AB from Tracy!!

Joe Seamhead said...

Great at bat by Tracy!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Good job Tracy. Now Werth do the job

Swift Eagle said...

If Davey were ever going to squeeze....this would be the time

Swift Eagle said...

That works

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Good job Eerth

Joe Seamhead said...

I'll take it! Two runs after the "Despinosa" start to the inning!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Quit wasting opportunities

Gonat said...

You are kidding me...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

How come we lose balls and they dont. Of course should have been out st second possibly double play.

zin
m started the whole mess guarding line.

our hitters hit right at the guys and they field them,

Swift Eagle said...

B/C the Nats have only hit 2 fly balls...

Just bad luck today

Gonat said...

Lombo now with 2 uglies in 2 innings.

Swift Eagle said...

Lol...I actually think he lost that ground ball in the shadows...

Actually, this looks like one of the worst sun/shade fields I've ever seen...How many different shadows are there in the infield? 20?

We need to stick with night games

Gonat said...

Bryce tries to field with the barehand and looks up.

Come on guys, use your heads.

djinFl. said...

You wanted him to pick it up with his head?

Swift Eagle said...

Frustrating day for Bryce..Today is the first time I felt like his tough day at the plate effected him in the field...

Funny how the ball always find you on days like this

peric said...

I sure hope Luke of Nationals Prospects was just talking smack about Rendon playing 2nd base in the AFL because it sure looks to me like they may need him at third with Espinosa ensconced at second and Zim + a lot more range than LaRoche at first base.

The Nats are close to having a great athletic infield. Desmond hitting .300+ with Espy following suit next season I imagine.

The outfield is what it is. Werth is there until he gets too old either at the plate or in the field and then becomes an expensive Mark DeRosa. Harper will get better. And they've got some OF's on the way, some already on the 40-man.

mick said...

Bottom line gang.... 4 1/2 up 10 to play, I like our chances

mick said...

Brewers need this game more than Nats

Gonat said...

Nats need baserunners to get something going.

Gonat said...

mick, I'm not conceding anything today. Nats have rolled off 6 runs in an inning like its nothing. Need baserunners!

peric said...

They definitely always do best when starters go deep into games. The bullpen isn't as good as I thought they would be at the beginning of the season ... and a part of that is that it's been a long high pressure season for this bullpen ... that's for sure. Even with a far better than major league average defense behind them.

I don't think Lannan and CM Wang as starters work. Their games often look like throwbacks to those "halcyon" losing seasons that ended just last year.

They need to hopefully get Sammy Solis and Matt Purke untracked. Nate Karns, Alex Meyer, and Ryan Perry to AAA and the majors as soon as possible.

Gonat said...

Jim Henderson just sliced through the Nats heart of the order like a cardiologist.

Exposremains said...

I sense a little playoff pressure from the players.

Gonat said...

Peric - I believe Ryan Perry is out of options and if that's the case doubtful he will be back.

peric said...

It just means they MUST get this final game behind JZimmnn to knock Atlanta back to 5. And the magic number minus another game. They absolutely must get the split. They are kind of sputtering offensively ... seems like they are having issues with consistency there.

Because Lannan starting in Philadelphia is almost a sure loss statistically.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

There fielding much cleaner than ours

peric said...

Peric - I believe Ryan Perry is out of options and if that's the case doubtful he will be back.

I don't think that's true. Otherwise they would not have decided to send him to the AFL this fall. One of the early choices.

Remember, EJax might not be back. CMW not back. Soft-tossing over 4 betcha it pushes 5 before the season is out John Lannan? OUT.

They are going to need a fifth starter if they bump Ross Detwiler (deservedly so) to the #4 slot.

Meet Ryan Perry. And if he doesn't pan out? Nate Karns + Alex Meyer very, very close.

Thankfully, no more soft-tossers who can't beat Livo out for the starters job.

Gonat said...

peric said...
Because Lannan starting in Philadelphia is almost a sure loss statistically.

September 23, 2012 4:58 PM
_____________________________

Like those who said that Wang was an automatic "L" its nice to see your Legion of Doom approach.

peric said...

There fielding much cleaner than ours

Sloppy game. Got a little cocky after yesterday afternoon didn't they? Hopefully, this cues their focus back up.

Still 2 series against the always, really tough Phillies plus one against the defending world series champion Cardinals.

Forget the rally caps get those focus like a laser beam caps on now!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Perry = Colin Balester. Traded in the off season for somebody with options.

Gonat said...

Peric - The Nats control Ryan Perry and I'm thinking they are sending him to the AFL to see what he has against future All Stars.

Its a long-shot for Perry to make the Nats but still could come back in the bullpen or compete for #5 starter.

Gonat said...

NatsJack, are you saying Perry has Minor League options for 2013.

peric said...

Like those who said that Wang was an automatic "L" its nice to see your Legion of Doom approach.

Check Lannan's record against the Phillies. How many games has Lannan pitched beyond 5? Even in AAA? Compare to Zach Duke who you saw today?
And there's a reason Wang got yanked way too early ... an over 6 ERA?

Again, the Nats do not do well when their starter can't get through 5. And that was especially true WHEN THEY WERE LOSING 100 games! Or have you forgotten?

Lannan is not a fifth starter for a playoff team. Nor is CMW. Those are just the facts.

As a result the other starters must find a way to pitch outstanding games as EJax and Gio just did. They've lost Stras, time for the other four to put it into high gear.

Gonat said...

What is it with Ian Desmond and all these walks. I think that is 4 in the last 3 games. They are pitching him like Ryan Braun in this series.

peric said...

NatsJack, are you saying Perry has Minor League options for 2013.

He doesn't. But, he's too valuable to release. As far as a trade? He was their 2nd best pitcher in the minors this season after Karns. But both Karns and Meyer have options and the Nats can afford to wait a year with them. More with Meyer. Both Purke and Solis will be rehabbing next season.

Trade Natsjack? No that'll be Danny Rosenbaum just like Tommy Milone.

NatsJack in Florida said...

No. I'm saying he's done here and will be part of a trade deal that gets Rizzo options, just like Balester.

peric said...

What is it with Ian Desmond and all these walks. I think that is 4 in the last 3 games. They are pitching him like Ryan Braun in this series.

He is now gasp their best hitter. He's hitting over .300 ... ahead of Morse. Has 24 home runs ahead of Zim? He is actually hitting better than the much ballyhooed Adam LaRoche.

Hell yes you don't pitch to him!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

We were out played in all areas

marvin Hudson bailed out.

Gonat said...

Peric, there's a reason they play the game.

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
No. I'm saying he's done here and will be part of a trade deal that gets Rizzo options, just like Balester.

September 23, 2012 5:12 PM
__________________________________

That's what I'm thinking with an outside chance he makes the bullpen.

sjb said...

Every game is important til the Nats clinch, but I don't know that tomorrow's game is more vital than the others. With the Braves now 4 1/2 back (the first time they've gained a full game since last weekend's sweep) if they run the table and win all of their last nine games (not easy despite who they are playing) the Nats could still go 6-4 in their last 10 and win the division. The Phillis may be 'always tough' and the Carda may be defending chamipions, but neither is as hot as the Brewers.

Secret wasian man said...

This is not a good baseball team right now. They are flopping along like the Division is already won. The Magic number moves at a snails pace. There is NO sense of urgency. I will be surprised if they win the division. TIME TO WAKE UP GUYS!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

This is 162 game baseball. There is no such thing as playing with "a sense of urgecy" until you are playing an elimination game and even then, trying to play beyond your capabilities will lead to failure.

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