Sunday, September 23, 2012

Instant analysis: Brewers 6, Nats 2

US Presswire photo
Chien-Ming Wang allowed two runs on eight hits over four innings.
Game in a nutshell: Forced to use Chien-Ming Wang in a spot start due to a doubleheader earlier in the week, the Nationals couldn't complain about the performance turned in by the oft-injured right-hander, who at least gave them a chance to win. In fact, the game was tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh before everything fell apart via a flurry of weak hits, intentional walks and flyballs lost in the sun. Thus a ragged ballgame turned into a ragged loss for the Nationals, who have now seen their lead in the NL East drop to 4 1/2 games. They've still got 10 games to play; the Braves only have nine to play. The magic number to clinch the division remains at 6.

Hitting lowlight: The Nationals had some great scoring opportunities, especially early on. But they took advantage only once, when Chad
Tracy came off the bench to deliver an RBI single in the top of the fifth and Werth followed with a sacrifice fly. Otherwise, the Nationals missed their chances. They hit into inning-ending double plays in the second, third and fourth innings. And they stranded the bases loaded in the sixth. Bryce Harper, in particular, had a rough day, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a killer, 6-4-3 double play.

Fielding lowlight: We usually reserve this spot for a pitching highlight or lowlight, but the bigger story today was what happened behind the Nationals' pitching staff. Or, more importantly, what happened high in the sky behind home plate. With a bright sun shining down on the field, Harper and Jayson Werth each let routine flyballs fall in for gift base hits, each of them helping the Brewers score runs. This was a problem on the last homestand, and you've got to think it's going to continue being a problem in October should MLB schedule any late-afternoon playoff games here. The sun wasn't the Nationals' only fielding problem today, though. Both Harper and Steve Lombardozzi were charged with errors in the top of the eighth, leading to another run to cap a sloppy afternoon for a team that has typically played flawlessly in the field this season.

Key stat: Today's paid attendance was 33,111. It was the ninth time the Nationals and Redskins have played simultaneous home games over the last eight years. The Nats' average attendance in those games: 29,802.

Up next: This series isn't over yet, folks. The Brewers are sticking around town and will return tomorrow afternoon for a fourth game in this wraparound series. Jordan Zimmermann and former National Marco Estrada square off at 1:05 p.m.

42 comments:

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

We are not good in day games.

Was hoping your anaysis was not this fast as I looked just Gomaz caught it.

was hoping Werth would homer so Marvin Hudson , who is terrible , could be the villain.

5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said...

Painful to see the Nat's limping into the postseason like this.

peric said...

I suppose you could say you're only as good as your weakest "link". Except both CM Wang and John Lannan aren't their weakest links and won't be on the playoff roster except perhaps as reserves.

You just might see Zach Duke who continues to impress. You might see Christian Garcia who will miss his AFL debut. And you will definitely see Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detwiler in the starters slot.

Zach Duke may just get invited to ST 2013 to compete for the fifth starter left-handed long relief job. Garcia seems a lock to be in the mix for back-end right handed reliever.

In any case? Its all dress rehearsal / tryouts for the playoff roster. Now its time for those top four starters to bear down and push for the best record in baseball and the Eastern Division crown.

Exposremains said...

Nats 3-6 in last 9 games
Braves 7-2 in last 9

Thats how a collapse happen. Time to stop it now.

peric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m20832 said...

What is going on with the defense? C'mon guys...get it together!!!

peric said...

Thats how a collapse happen. Time to stop it now.

If you are playing match ups? You don't start John Lannan against the Phillies on Tuesday ... but that's what will happen. Hopefully, he will only pitch the rubber match against the Cardinals and not any more against the Phillies.

baseballswami said...

Getting into the playoffs might not be the thing to focus on here. These guys are not playing well at all. Haven't looked at the record for the month so far but guessing it 's pretty bad. Just watching them you think " who are these guys, ---The Nats?I think the injuries, the pressure, the attention have finally started to wear on them. Their rise was meteoric and one season early. Still love them like crazy, but sad to see play deteriorate like this.

phil dunton said...

If the Nats didn't have the opportunity to torch washed up Livan yesterday, they would hve probably gotten swept by the Brewers. Now they have to contend with the Phillies and the Cardinals while the Braves have a cream-puff schedule remaining. Harper needs to learn how to use his glove to shield the sun in CF.

Secret wasian man said...

This is not a good team right now. No sense of urgency. They are just waiting around for the division to be handed to them. It wont. Dont be surprised if they blow the division.

sjb said...

@Exposremains--that's about the most pessimistic way to look at things, since it includes the Atlanta sweep. Since the sweep the Nats have gone 3-3, hardly a collapse, while the Braves have been 4-2. In September overall, the Nats have been 12-9, while the Braveshave gone 14-7. If the Braves run the table and win their last nine games (possible considering who they are playing but hardly a cinch), the Nats could go 6-4 in their last 10 and still win the division--so the Nats still have breathing room even if Lannan does lose his last two starts.

Secret wasian man said...

SJB with are upcoming opponents do you honestly think we can go 6 and 4 playing like this?

peric said...

It think its pretty simple ... starters generally need to go deep into games for the Nats to win consistently. They aren't going to make it with starting pitchers who are throwbacks to 2008, 2009, 2010, and early 2011.

Their whole strategy is based on that premise.

Therefore, it behooves their opponents to knock the Nat's starter out early. Which happened today.

phil dunton said...

Mannassas fan--Werth homering? Dream on, he has no power left in his swing. He has diminished to the point where he only looks for walks or tries to slap singles to RF. His power is gone and so are his legs.

peric said...

SJB with are upcoming opponents do you honestly think we can go 6 and 4 playing like this?

Gio gets 2 starts. JZimmn gets 2 starts, Detwiler gets 2 starts and EJax gets 2? Sure they could do it.

sjb said...

Yes. Have we forgotten taking two out of three from the Dodgers just several days ago, or brushing aside the Mets just last week? The Braves were playing for survival and the Brewers are the hottest team in baseball and can make just about anyone look bad.

peric said...

Mannassas fan--Werth homering? Dream on, he has no power left in his swing. He has diminished to the point where he only looks for walks or tries to slap singles to RF. His power is gone and so are his legs..

We interrupt this blog for a public service announcement ...

I'm not the one who said it ...

Werth does make a great lead-off hitter until Goodwin or someone else is ready ... after that how do you permute the letters in Jayson Werth into Mark DeRosa?

Secret wasian man said...

Peric its not the pitching. The hitting is gone. Please dont count yesterday with Levan. That was sad for him.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Lets see the game I went to Saturday 2 weeks ago Werth homered to tie game in 9th to tie it. I can still cheer for Werth homers I believr.

Exposremains said...

sjb

I know its pessimistic but still true. I do tend to think that month w-l record can be misleading since it doesn't show the most recent trends.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

A lot of bad luck today plus many opportunities the Nats didn't take advance of. It happens.

Clip&Store said...

looking like crap lately. textbook definition of backing into the playoffs. not sure if it has anything to do with morale because of SS being shut down or what the excuse is, but they better pick it up if they don't wanna be 1 and done in the playoffs

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Jayson Werth is doing just what you want your leadoff man doing.

Santangelo for President 2012 said...

I think they still have enough to win the division but I can see them slipping to the third seed. Which may not be a bad thing since they would host the first two games before going on the road. I think the Marlins will give the Braves some trouble this week. But we have a tough road with the Phillies and the Cardinals. And it was not encouraging today to have several opportunities and not taking advantage of them.

djinFl. said...

Shouldn't be surprised the Legion of Doom is running loose. You all go on and moan and groan like you have since last season ended. I am going to continue to enjoy each and every game, maybe the one when we clinch just a bit more. They will have more they want to accomplish

SCNatsFan said...

Bit concerned about the pen, which is the one place I thought this team was strongest. Don't like that guys are imploding on a semi regular basis. Still have the faith this team can make a big post season run.

Steve J, Alexandria said...

Oh the Legion of Doom is out and about today.

Even folk who normally blast the Legion are themselves: Temple or Doom dwellers. Gird your loins, Wimps. This is baseball. And the division is our's. Take a chill pill. and kindly shut your mouths.

Swift Eagle said...

I can understand the concern...But this team has shown time after time that they can bounce back from poor games and difficult defeats...They aren't fragile.. this is a bump in the road

Still think these "meaningful games in Sept" are going to be good for the guys, both short term and long term....Lesson 1: You aren't going to win every big game, it's how you play the next one that matters

Bob Sagert said...

Look at their record. They are 92-60 for a reason. They are a good team. Even good teams and their players can struggle. You all know this as well as I do, they can and will bounce back from this. They will get some pep talk or something might happen to them which will make them one of the best teams in the league. We can do it.

Dave said...

A rough game, but a beautiful day in 313. They'll play another one tomorrow. Do not lose hope!

DJB said...

Must win game tomorrow. They have to split, or 50/50 they lose the division.

NatsLady said...

I was at the game. Whoever said they are not playing with "a sense of urgency" is semi-correct. After the Mattheus inning, they weren't. And the reason they weren't is because it isn't urgent. According to coolstandings.com Atlanta has a 2.8% chance of winning the Division. OK, that site pretty much goes by run differential. Let's give them a 5% chance. I'll take those odds.

The boys are playing with a "it will happen when it happens" approach. Davey may not like it, the fans may not like it, but that's what it seems like to me.

If the boys go 6-4, there is NOTHING Atlanta can do.

If the boys go 5-5, Altanta has to win out--JUST TO GET A TIE.

If the boys go 4-6, Atlanta has to go 8-1--JUST TO GET A TIE.

If the boys go 3-7, Atlanta has to go 7-2--JUST TO GET A TIE.

If the boys go 2-8, Atlanta has to go 6-3--JUST TO GET A TIE.

Tell me you think the Nats aren't going to win 4+ games with Gio making 2 starts, plus Detwiler being hot as a firecracker, Jackson at full strength and Zimmermann showing what he did in his last start. Tell me that.

The team that is playing .605 ball is not going to crawl into a cave, especially since everyone is more or less healthy.

And Atlanta is already adjusting their rotation with the idea of Medlen pitching the coin-toss game. They are not playing to win out. They are playing to win the coin-toss game and line up their rotation for the NLDS.

DJB said...

The Nats were swept by the Phillies the last time they met. They play them twice. A good chance we lose both series. We've lost the last two. Thus, in a best case scenario. That's two wins. Now, to get to four wins, they would have to win two in St. Louis. That's four wins. If we are swept in any of these series, like we were last time by the Phils, then it gets even scarier. The Braves face the Mets, Marlins, and Pittsburgh. They swept the Mets last time, and lost 1 game in Miami. Pittsburgh is in freefall. Thus, 7-2 is eminently doable. That is why tomorrow is a must-win game, not technically, but psychologically. Remember, a tie does not go to the winner of the season series.

bobfromalexandria said...

Here is my worry -- Michael Morse. He's getting the singles and doubles, but I'm worried the power is missing since the wrist injury. Any thoughts?

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Thank you for that shot of perspective, NatsLady. After reading some of the other posts on here, I was wondering if I needed to try to return my Postseason t-shirt!

Oh, and Dave, that's the 313 spirit!!

MicheleS said...

thank you NatsLady...always keeping it real.

DJB said...

I looked over the matchups and you can almost bank on Atlanta going 8 and 1. I'm putting the one loss with Miami. They will easily sweep the Mets and Pittsburgh, especially since Pitt is not a division rival. On the other hand, by looking at the matchups, I'm even more convinced that the Nats must win tomorrow. The pitching matchups for Philly are Hamels, Cloyd and Kendrick for first series, then Cloyd, Kendrick and Halladay for the second Philly series. With the exception of Cloyd, not favorable. St. Louis is more of a wild card. I think you can assume a tie with Atlanta if they don't win tomorrow. It's going to be close in any case. St. Louis is not going to be swept this late in the season.

Michael Dempsey said...

Geez people relax....read Swift Eagles post three times and have a cocktail....

Swift Eagle said...

I can understand the concern...But this team has shown time after time that they can bounce back from poor games and difficult defeats...They aren't fragile.. this is a bump in the road

Still think these "meaningful games in Sept" are going to be good for the guys, both short term and long term....Lesson 1: You aren't going to win every big game, it's how you play the next one that matters
September 23, 2012 7:07 PM

Shark Attack said...

The team is 92-60 and in first place, why is everybody going through the schedule and counting losses when the team has shown that they are more than capable of winning

Joe Seamhead said...

You all are starting to sound like a broken record. We will win the division. We may, or may not, end up with the best record in the NL. Jayson Werth is not batting cleanup, or in the five hole. He'll still jack one over now and then, but that is not his priority right now. I haven't looked up the stats, but I'll bet you dollar for donuts that he has the best OBP of any lead off hitter we've had since the team got here. That's what Johnson wants from him right now. Bryce had a crappy day. The one play when he tried to barehand it was a learning experience. He lost a ball in the sun. Personally, I think contact lenses make you more sensitive to glare. It may be part of his problem, but the sun was brutal this afternoon.He'll be fine. CMW pitched "okay," but had very little luck go his way. He and Stammen gave us a fill in for the starters.I'm more concerned about Ryan Matheus, but the defense really collapsed on him today. Davey will surprise us all with the playoff rosters.Hudson is a gawd awful umpire. He had three wrong calls today. One went our way, so I really think that he just sucks.

Dave said...

I agree with the optimists and am baffled by the pessimists. Sounds like you Legion of Doomers just don't have any fun at baseball games at all.

If you look really hard for something to worry about, you'll find it, guaranteed.

In the meantime, they actually go ahead and play all nine innings in all 162 of those games each season, no matter how good the teams are "supposed" to be. So a statement like "you can almost bank on Atlanta going 8-1" just escapes my ability to comprehend.

PS: The mighty Halladay went 1.2 innings yesterday. So I'm not going to toss and turn tonight about how he's going to chew up the Nats.

TheBorg said...

it's all good. breeeeeeathe....

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