Saturday, September 22, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 10, Brewers 4

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche each homered to lead the Nationals' barrage.
Game in a nutshell: Only one word, really, is needed to put this game in a nutshell: Domination. Gio Gonzalez dominated the Brewers lineup, allowing two unearned runs over seven standout innings to become the first 20-game winner in the majors this season. The Nationals' lineup dominated Milwaukee's pitching, busting out with three homers and 13 hits. And the bullpen closed the door on a lopsided victory, one that moves the Nats one step closer to the NL East title. For the moment, they lead the division by 6 games over the Braves (who just got underway in Philadelphia). Their magic number to clinch is also down to 6.

Hitting highlight: How impressive was the Nationals' offensive performance today? Consider this fact: Their 1-through-7 hitters successfully reached base in 20 of their first 26 plate appearances. Poor Kurt Suzuki, who went 0-for-4 as the No. 8 hitter and didn't get to join the party. Everyone else did plenty to make up for it. Adam LaRoche went 3-for-4 and came up a triple short of the cycle. Ian Desmond went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs. Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper each reached base three times. Michal Morse reached base four times. They gave old pal Livan Hernandez a beating in the bottom of the fourth, scoring six times via a pair of three-run homers. (Guess Livo will help the Nationals win a division title after all.)

Pitching highlight: Obviously, it's easy to pitch with a 9-run lead. But Gonzalez was superb from the moment he took the mound this afternoon. He needed only 48 pitches to complete four scoreless innings, throwing a whopping 34 strikes. He issued only one walk and struck out five. And the only two runs he ultimately surrendered were unearned because of Bryce Harper's misplays in center field. Ultimately, this start will be remembered for Gonzalez reaching two big milestones. He earned his 20th win, becoming the first Washington pitcher to do that since Bob Porterfield in 1953. And he recorded his 200th strikeout, becoming the first Washington pitcher to do that since ... Walter Johnson in 1916(?!). Gonzalez is still scheduled to make two more starts in the regular season. With a strong finish, he's certainly going to be a strong candidate for NL Cy Young Award honors.

Key stat: LaRoche now has 32 homers for the season (matching his career high) and 98 RBI (two shy of his career high).

Up next: The Nationals will hope they still have some runs left in those bats when they return to face the Brewers at 1:35 p.m. Sunday. They'll also hope Chien-Ming Wang can pitch effectively in his first big-league start since June 19. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo takes the mound for Milwaukee.

66 comments:

Swift Eagle said...

Pitching, Defense, and a couple 3 run HRs...call today's game an "Earl Weaver Special"...

Hoping for a few more this week...

Bzl. said...

Wondering if it's permissable to root for the Braves today.. or, more accurately, root against the Phillies. My second priority of the postseason is that Phillies don't make it. Perhaps we just need to beat them enough to see to it.

Anyway, what a game today! GIO!!

SCNatsFan said...

I thought we gave up too much for Gio.

That's why I'm going to work on Monday and Rizzo's name is still on the door.

Love to see the team back playing well.

Swift Eagle said...

Same here...I had never seen Gio pitch until this year. I had heard he was good, but had no idea he was like this...A trade that helps both teams, but I'll take our side of it...

baseballswami said...

Gio and McCatty with a big, warm hug. Nice moment.LaRoche is amazing, so is Bryce but he is still 19 and an inexperienced outfielder. Nice day- feeling all warm and fuzzy.

NatsLady said...

Tagged Halladay for 3 in the first. Would have been worse except Bourne got picked off. Walked the leadoff batter in the second.

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Braves jump out with 3 in the first.

NatsNut said...

I love how 30 teams play 162 games each, for a total of 4,860 freaking games, and the season is STILL coming down to the last 11 days with about half the teams still in the fight. I love this game!

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Dang.
Coke.

baseballswami said...

Ninety freaking two wins, baby! Who predicted that? Not me.

Joe Seamhead said...

I admit it. I was royally pissed about the Gio trade the day they made it. Joe Seamhead regarding Gio = wrong.

NatsLady said...

The "Scout" on GameDay is hilarious. Says Doc has 45 pitches and his effectiveness might start to drop. I mean, because he's been so effective so far. :)

Joe Seamhead said...

Phillies lose? Braves lose? Who cares? Nats win either way!
GYFNG!!!

NatsLady said...

Doc out after 1.2 innings (and 6 runs). I mean, that is getting shelled. Has he ever had such a short outing in his career?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, just getting ready to post that

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Just going to take longer to clinch.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Cardinals just won.

JaneB said...

I was counting on Doc to help us today. So, we wait another day.

Garcia didn't look like the Garcia I'd seen the last few times out, any clues why? Was it too big a lead?

baseballswami said...

Nats lady - I think he had had some short outings this season. So hard to root for either team. FP was choking on it during the broadcast. As much as I don't want the Braves to catch us, I also want Philly eliminated.

djinFl. said...

I liked the shot of the Phillies fan turning his hat inside out, in the second inning. Never to early to need a rally.

mick said...

Nats have no more days off, unless there is rain, they will play 11 days in a row

mick said...

If Phils lose they are 4 out of WC

Swift Eagle said...

Can't help it, can't pull for the Phillies...

Bottom line, I hate the Phillies, and have respect for the Braves...

No problem, the Nats don;t need any help, 6 more wins gets it done no matter what the Braves do...

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

I hate the Braves worse, and I still don't mind them getting the first wild card, and losing to the Cardinals. Works fine for me.

Did everybody notice in the Gio interview in the locker room, all the $20 bills stuck all over his locker? Hilarious.

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Well, here's to you, Gio!

Swift Eagle said...

Every time the Nats play an NL team outside the East, it feels like a vacation...So I agree, I'd love to see Atl lose the WC game to StL or LA or Mil...

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Garcia didn't look like the Garcia I'd seen the last few times out, any clues why? Was it too big a lead?

Jane, he did look like maybe he was just trying to throw strikes, merely, after McCatty came out. Maybe he does have that closer's mentality of needing the adrenaline? The dinger certainly seemed to focus his attention.

Oldguy said...

Good thing we didn't need Halladay for help.

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

Joe, from the other thread: You weren't the only one wrong about Gio

Doc said...

I predicted back in ST that the Nats would put 92 Curly W's in the win column for '12---I was wrong!

These guys are going to get real close to 100!!!

GooooooooooooNats!

Section 3, My Insufferable Sofa said...

(You'll need a subscription to see the full article, but the headliner and first grafs will suffice.)

Swift Eagle said...

My "I was wrong" was on ALR...I was one of those clowns who wanted Fielder...As usual, Rizzo knows best..

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I thought EJax start was good...well Gio was even better. Not sure why anyone was worried lefty vs. rightie vs Brewers.

Throw quality strikes and Gio.did that pitching to contact. I think it was his beat start and even better than his complete game.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Halliday never is that poor against Nats

Feel Wood said...

I bet the Brewers wish the Nats had fielded the team today that was pictured on the poster handed out to fans. There was one player who forgot about the photo shoot that day and showed up too late for it: Gio Gonzalez.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Swift, you weren't wrong given Fielders bat and his durability as nobody knew what ALR could do.

ALR has the best glove on the base of any first baseman since Keith H. If Dunn was the 1st baseman Zim would have 25 errors.

ALR, Desi and Werth with the Gio acquisition is why this team is where they are.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

You have to listen to the Danny Rouhier and Holden Kushner interview with ALR yesterday.

Holden told him in a confession that he wanted Prince. ALR paused and said something like that's ok.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I was starting to wonder if Zimmerman would out-RBI LaRoche. Doesn't look LaRoche is going to allow it. The most important number on G. Gonzalez's line is the no. of BB. If it's zero or one, not only is he pitching well but the Vole behind the plate isn't getting under his skin.

BallstonNat said...

Sorry if this has popped up on other threads, but have any season ticket holders gotten their post season books delivered yet? If not, any idea when to expect them?

original Nats Fan said...

Great game to watch, love the run support for Gio. He pitched so well, wanting the 20th win, and getting his team closer to the division title. He's just a joy to watch. [even when he face plants]

baseballswami said...

I am kind of ok with there being no more off days. I don't have stats to back this up, but I think they have not always played well on the day after they are off. Some of their best baseball was during stretches where they played 16 games in 15 days or some such thing. I think they get on a roll, get some momentum going and the off days distract them. Too much wedding planning going on - they lose focus. Just put your head down and play some ball!

MicheleS said...

Lets see.. what was I wrong about... Hmmmm.. let me think, yup, just about Everything.

SonnyG10 said...

I am far more happier today than I was angry yesterday. These Nats are something else. We have a 20 game winner...how about that!

Drew said...

In this season of milestones, here's one to watch. Bruce Harper has 89 runs scored.

Has any teenager ever scored 100 runs in a season?

Mel Ott, Tony Conigliaro, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Trout didn't come close.

Drew said...

Er, Bryce -- infernal autocorrect.

Donald said...

What I was most wrong about was that I predicted CMW to have a comeback year and be one of the better arms on the staff. Oops. I was right about saying that Davey was a great manager that would make a huge difference to the team though.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Davey is a genius. How easily he solved the closer problem, just by having the Nats go into the 9th inning with an 8-run lead! I knew he would come up with something. All he has to do is get them to do that for just 6 more times, and the Nats are NL East champs, going away, and can eliminate the Phils while they are at it.

ehay2k said...

Amazing game - feel bad for Livo, but he seemed to take it all in stride, as always. I think k he actually was impressed by Desi's HR because he was looking at how far it was and smiled and shook his head.

Morse's hit on Livo's 63 mph curve was a thing of beauty.

As for Garcia, he was fine until people started the damn wave. One lady behind me said after the two run homer "What happened? how did they score two runs? I was doing the wave and missed it." I said (may have actually yelled it) "A young pitcher gave up a HR because he was very distracted by the damn wave." There some loud "Amens" and our section stopped after that. The Nats should do an announcement about not doing the wave when the Nats are pitching.

Also, when Gio fell down, we knew he was Ok when we saw Zimm laughing. Clearly Gio said something as he was sprawled on the ground. Someone with access to the players should ask Zimm about that.
;-)

Anyway, another win. Gotta tie the series or win it. Hope Wang has his best sinker tomorrow.

Six. Think about that.


Tom in AR said...

I predicted 92 wins so I was pretty much spot on. Wait, there are 11 games left? Oops.

mick said...

Gio's smile and demeanor reminds me a lot of Magic Johnson back in the 1980's with the Lakers.... it is infectious and the entire team feeds off of it in great ways

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!! :-)

mick said...

Tony Conigliaro is one of th saddest sports stories ever, no justice

mick said...

I can not believe the Yankees came back and won.....

mick said...

I predicted about 85 wins back in April and felt 2013 would be the first post season year for the Nats

Dave said...

I just got home about a half hour ago; had to do some house chores as soon as I arrived.

What a game! What a day! What an honor to be present at such a milestone performance for Gio and the team!

And what a performance by Gio in the 7th when he did a face-plant in front of the mound! Forty-thousand fans held their breath in horror while Gio messed with our heads, then popped up and got two more guys out, one with a K.

I hit the team store before the game and got my Natitude playoff shirt. My wife said she was going to wait for the World Series shirt. Noble restraint, but after the game I told her I didn't want to taunt the baseball gods by passing on the opportunity to wear a shirt celebrating the post-season in general.

What a beautiful day for baseball!

Incidentally, I was in 220 this afternoon instead of my usual perch in 313. (I sit in 220 for about 10 games a year.) I tried rather clumsily to lead the N-A-T-S cheer by visual remote control. Fortunately, with 10 runs scored by the Nats, we had plenty of practice, and by LaRoche's homer we pretty much had it down.

If you sit anywhere in the stadium, look toward 313 (the short section directly in front of the pressbox) after the Nats score. When the next batter's music is done, watch for the guys in 313 to give a big cap-waving signal. That's the cue. Get others in your section to join in.

By the NLDS we could have the whole stadium doing this cheer after each run. Remember: one spelling of N-A-T-S for every run scored, then a "Woooo" after the last one.

(And yes, Mr. Cheerleader Man, I'm the one who outed you as a Yankees fan. But everybody in 313 knew this years ago. And it only matters once every three years anyway. Or maybe even once every six years, depending on how the new inter-league scheme works.)

GYFNG!

Dave said...

PS, @BallstonNat, I too am very curious about when the season-ticket-holder post-season packages will arrive. I have tickets to distribute to 10 people in two sections.

I will be at the game tomorrow, and I plan to ask about this at Guest Services. If I get any info, I'll share it here on NI.

MicheleS said...

Kilgore's gamer on WaPo has a pic of Gio's Face Plant and if you are on twitter Cindy Boren has been tweeting out a couple of other shots of Gio's face plant..

Swear to god, my heart stopped when he went down.

https://twitter.com/CindyBoren

SonnyG10 said...

mick said...
I predicted about 85 wins back in April and felt 2013 would be the first post season year for the Nats

September 22, 2012 7:18 PM


I didn't publically say it, but that's exactly what I thought also, mick.

sjm308 said...

Enter me in the 85 win prediction and boy am I happy I missed that. I also thought CM Wang would end up the top #5 starter in baseball (another miss). BUT I did love the Gio trade and defended it strongly. I realize it worked for both teams but I just felt a proven starter for 4 prospects was a no-brainer. I also wanted LaRoche over Fielder so I am 2 for 4 in my mind.

Just got my first post-season shirt in 67 years! Its a pretty good day when you can bike to the park with your son, watch a complete offensive rout, see some pretty nice plays in CF and just relax. If there had not been the wave, this might have been just about perfect. Ehay2k - we obviously sit in 308 and there was a woman up there who did the same thing realized they had scored two, and then yelled for everyone to stop. She looked silly but then again, so is the wave.

No playoff strips for me yet either. Can't wait.

Go Nats!! Score First!! Win the Division!!

natsfan1a said...

I didn't yell for everyone to stop, but put in the Not. A. Wave. Fan. At. All. category, if we're keeping track. :-)

Joe Seamhead said...

I was wrong about Gio, felt strongly about keeping ALR, felt even stronger about no Fielder.

Joe Seamhead said...

One of the most impressive things about the 2012 Washington Nationals has been the lack of ugly individual ego. What a bunch of just great guys.

peric said...

I sure am glad I picked them to win the division because of their bullpen ...
... and the Nats decided to back me up even though the bullpen may not be the best in in baseball as I prognosticated. I expected a lot more from Henry.

peric said...

Looks like its going to be right down to the end for the best record in baseball and the division title ... I never expected this still very young team to be vying for best team in baseball. They must have easily surpassed everyone's expectations.

Its a surprise that the contest is between the Votto-less Reds and the Nats.

peric said...

felt strongly about keeping ALR, felt even stronger about no Fielder.

That's still a one-and-done mentality ... and its not what Rizzo has been planning for nigh on over three years now? He doesn't believe in one-and-done Ori-hoes baseball.

Adam LaRoche is approaching 33 years old in November. Prince Fielder is under 30. Let that soak in for a moment.

Now, Davey (let's face it if he leads this team deep into the playoffs he will have an awful lot of say when it comes to the roster) may ask to keep LaRoche. But, I would find it very hard to imagine Davey (or Mike Rizzo for that matter) wanting Adam LaRoche at first base at age 36? LaRoche will likely be looking for a minimum three year contract after what is now turning out to be a career year? There is MVP talk ...

But if you ask me the MVP of this team and perhaps the NL should either be Bryce Harper. A 19 year old kid set the tone for this season as he hustled as if 10 hornets nests were pursuing him. He hustled his way through his rawness and inexperience and now looks to be a better than decent CF at this point. And, its not like the veterans didn't notice ... and other teams didn't notice. And it affected their play both individually and as a team.

LaRoche is a pretty fair glove at first and has done a decent job driving in runs in streaks. But its nothing compared to full speed ahead, damned the torpedoes Harper. He has been nothing short of amazing in my opinion.

Joe Seamhead said...

peric, I am not/was not talking about anything other then this year regarding ALR. I thought he would have a 25-30 HR/85-100 RBI season. More important was the glove that he brings. I am not a huge Prince fan when it comes to his play at first, and I think as he ages it will get worse.I certainly would not want him for the length of time Detroit signed him for. I'm also cynical as to how his persona and ego would have fit in with this team. I'll leave worrying about the future at first base to others. All I am sure of is that we have a pretty damn fine infield right now.
I also agree with you in that Harper could certainly be considered the team MVP.

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