Monday, September 3, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 2, Cubs 1

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche is greeted in the dugout after hitting his second-inning homer.
Game in a nutshell: Facing the Cubs for the first time since the season-opening series, the Nationals found themselves in the same kind of pitchers' duel they experienced five months ago at Wrigley Field. Ross Detwiler and Jeff Samardzija traded blows, with Samardzija making only one mistake: Adam LaRoche's second-inning homer. Detwiler never did cave in, tossing seven scoreless innings before turning it over to his bullpen. With Sean Burnett sidelined for at least a couple of days with elbow irritation, Drew Storen pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Tyler Clippard then closed out the ninth (despite giving up a run) to record his 30th save and give the Nationals their 82nd win of the season. That's right, D.C.: You've officially got yourselves a winning ballclub for the first time in 43 years.

Hitting highlight: Samardzija has had just about every member of the Nationals lineup's number this season. Except for LaRoche. The veteran first baseman crushed a ninth-inning homer of Samardzija way back on April 8 at Wrigley Field. Then he struck again in his first at-bat today, belting Samardzija's second pitch of the second inning into the second deck down the right-field line. After going through a month-long power slump, LaRoche may have found his stroke again. This was his second homer in three days, giving him a team-high 25 for the season and giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead that stayed intact almost the entire afternoon.

Pitching highlight: The Nationals have wanted Detwiler to be more aggressive, pound his fastball early in the game and go right after hitters. Well, he at times took the advice too much to heart in recent starts, forgoing his breaking stuff altogether. But today, Detwiler offered up his best mix of fastballs and offspeed pitches in weeks. He spread out four hits and three walks, only once putting more than one man on base in the same inning. He did have to pitch out of the stretch a lot, but delivered some big pitches when he needed them, especially in inducing a pair of double-play grounders to end the sixth and seventh innings (the last on a curveball). At 93 pitches, Detwiler might have been able to take the mound for the eighth. But with the Nationals clinging to a 1-0 lead, Davey Johnson preferred to use pinch-hitter Chad Tracy and turn to his bullpen to record the final six outs.

Key stat: Since the All-Star break, the Nationals are 32-5 when scoring three or more runs. They were 0-13 when scoring fewer than three runs ... until today.

Up next: The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday when Edwin Jackson seeks his ninth win of the season against left-hander Chris Rusin.

69 comments:

Drew said...

A Curly W SEASON is in the books -- our first winning season since 1969.

MicheleS, that's your cue!

Swift Eagle said...

Ross now has more wins than Ejax and the same as Jordan...

Eugene in Oregon said...

I know some folks had the Nats winning the division, even going to the World Series. I know others had them making the playoffs as a wild card. I know others (me included) had them with a winning record, but just missing the playoffs. But who -- anyone out there? -- had them with the best record in baseball as of Labor Day 2012?

Swift Eagle said...

Not me Eugene! I was hoping for 85-90 wins and a close chance for a Wild Card! I remember thinking in the Spring that the Stras shutdown and having to play the AL East would prevent a hug improvement over the 80 wins in 2011....Very happy to be wrong!

Nats In Athens said...

A winning season. The first of many. Can't say more right now.
GFNG!

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO! First winning season!

Drew said...

Strasburg 2.94
Zimmermann 3.01
Gonzalez 3.10
Detwiler 3.15
Jackson 3.53

That's one impressive group.

(Welcome aboard to Zach Duke.)

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I had them at 88 wins and hopefully I won't be close.

ehay2k said...

MicheleS, what's the cheer for a winning season?

ehay2k said...

Seems like it should be different from a won game.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Eugene.... I think the majority of the knowlegeable posters to this site saw this club as approaching 90 wins with a shot at a play in game spot. NOBODY had them as the best record in baseball.

Be prepared for every teams best shot because of that. Aside from the teams the Nats play that are in the hunt, those that aren't will treat a Nats series as their chance to shine.

Gonat said...

For some of you of previous generations in DC, congratulations, you have a winner!

Gonat said...

NatsJack, Ladson had the Nats as a 100 win team. Hah!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Gonat..... I can't remember the last time I read a Ladson article on purpose.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

What did Ross's hatsay?

Eugene in Oregon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I was hoping for a play in spot. Now I would be displeased with it.

baseballswami said...

When Ross was drafted, we all thought this was what we were getting. He had injuries, I think the beginning of his career was mis- managed, but to me, I was thinking The way we later thought of Stras. He can be really good. Needs seasoning still, and cookies, but his talent is tantalizing.

Gonat said...

Nats are still undefeated on Labor Day. Turned the luck today on winning games with 2 runs or less as this is 1st win of that type since All Star break.

NatsJack in Florida said...

That's why I got a kick out of reading posters yesterday talking about their "fear" of the Phillies. If you worry about other teams for any reason, you're beat. That's what losers do.

Play your game, beat the people in front of you and let things happen.

Eugene in Oregon said...

NatsJack: Exactly. Which is why I hope (expect) that Davey Johnson can keep them focused -- game by game, series by series. Don't worry about any other team(s) in the hunt; they're the ones who have to watch the out-of-town scoreboard, not you.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

When Detwiler was in the pen and got another chance to start he became a different pitcher after he decided to attack the zone and he changed to more fastballs.

The key with Detwiler is pulling him when he is over-throwing as his fastball flattens out and he becomes very hittable.

hiramhover said...

Gonat

Where'd you see that? In Mark's beginning of the season prediction post, he lists Ladson as having the Nats at 85 wins--Mark had 84, and Kilgore had 87.

Ladson writes enough silly things without us making them up for him.

Joe Seamhead said...

The Kid scoring from 1st on Zimmerman's hit was the cat's meow!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Also much credit to the 4 other starters for mentoring Ross.

Doc said...

Pulled out my old stop watch and timed Tinkerbell to HP. Much faster than Saturday's smozzel, at 1.25-1.28 to HP. He put that stiff leg down a lot quicker!


NatsJack in Florida said...

Ghost.....can't help but think Gio has been a big help to Ross.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Doc he was almost 2.0 on Saturday.

Gonat said...

Anthony Rendon has just hit his 3rd Home Run at AA Harrisburg. Hitting

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Bareback,.uh NatsJack, Det said it was watching how the other Nats pitchers were attacking with the fastballs and using Cats philosophy of pitch to contact which I think meant to stay off of the edges.

Gonat said...

Nats and Reds both with 82 wins but Nats 2 better in the L column.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yes....and Davey said he's learned to trust his 2 seam plus mix in his other stuff.

I really liked Samardja today He looks like somebody that's figured it out.

baseballswami said...

Bryce is becoming a nifty little outfielder. He is also quite fast. Breaking news-- the Nats won a game and Strasburg was not on the field. Winning season. Sweet. It hasn't sunk in yet.

Gonat said...

Bryce Harper now with 74 runs scored with a 17.1 R/AB percentage.

Positively Half St. said...

NatsJack-

I didn't predict anything, but just said I wanted a winning season. OK, I have it! I won't predict anything now, either, but I at least want to get to the NLCS! This is a jump from the previous desire to win the NL East. After almost 8 years since the move was announced, I am still a little gun-shy to hope for too much.

I will be grateful for this season if they win the East, but will be satisfied only with more. Dream scenario? Shut down Strasburg and have Lannan win the WS MVP.

+1/2St.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'm with you on Lannan but I'll settle for 4 solid starts from him.

peric said...

Anthony Rendon has just hit his 3rd Home Run at AA Harrisburg. Hitting

And if he continues in the AFL he sends notice that he probably will be ready at some point next season. No more errant side armed throws from third and a more athletic glove and bat at first base.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Tommy Milhone struggling in the 3rd in Oakland.

peric said...

Shut down Strasburg and have Lannan win the WS MVP.

He's done better than CM Wang and that's about it. Now you're beginning t sound like Ladson 1/2 Street. He has #6 starter stats when compared to the others? And particularly given that Dukes and Mandel both out pitched him in Syracuse this season. And Ryan Perry looked pretty awesome as a starter in AA.

The 1/2 Street Rocket is your new blog name.

Gonat said...

Cueto gave up 2 HRs today and 4 runs. One of his worst outings of the year.

peric said...

I really liked Samardja today He looks like somebody that's figured it out.

Still looks like the best pitcher they've faced this season. As I said earlier. Scary good converted reliever who now knows how to mix his repertoire with that Stras level fast ball. The Cubs have a real find there if they don't burn his arm out.

NatsJack in Florida said...

How John Lannan pitched at Syracuse means absolutley nothing to the Nats talent evaluators.

His resume does.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Best pitcher the Nats have faced is Kris Medlin. Samardja is in the top 5 but Johnny Cueto, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels were better.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, also Lannan used his time in AAA to work on his pitches and approach. His last 2 games there were complete game shutouts which were his final tuneup games

Gonat said...

Did I see this correctly, Longoria pulled from the game for not running out a grounder?

baseballswami said...

No- they took him out because he has a has a hammy issue they don't want him to push. Guessing it was letting him know it was there. He is usually Harper- like in his effort level. I did hear that Uggla was not starting today for the Barves. Terrible BA.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Oh.... I left out that knuckleball guy from New York....you know, the probable Cy Young winner.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Gonat..... I was watching. They can't afford to lose him. Just being extremely cautious with his hamstring.

peric said...

His resume does.

Then I guess Detwiler has a better "resume" because he has definitely pitched better than Lannan has in any year with the Nats. Not to mention EJax who many here compared to Lannan? With that guy's stuff?

If AAA/AA don't mean anything then why is Christian Garcia so impressive to you?

Lannan was not the best pitcher in AAA or AA by a good margin.

Now, he's had two recent excellent starts in AAA to go with two good performances in the majors to prepare him to face the greatest amount of pressure he has ever faced ... a playoff/pennant run where he is replacing a guy who in all likelihood will eventually be the very best pitcher in baseball. And that's how the National media and all his homey's up near New Yawk are going to see it and portray it in the news.

NatsLady said...

Ghost: with regard to previous conversation. Charlie and Dave, in talking about why players had not been picked up, said Ankiel had been sick "for a while." Didn't say what was the nature of the illness.

Another_Sam said...

Gonat -- I've never heard of your R/AB stat, but -- in an uncharacteristic move -- I did the research. The club's R/AB is 12%. did you invent this stat? You're citing ABs and not plate appearances, I guess?

peric said...

Oh.... I left out that knuckleball guy from New York....you know, the probable Cy Young winner.

Even with the shutdown watch them pick Strasburg. After all the Mets are losing and the Nats are winning in his first almost full year as their #1 starter.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Guess all you want. It's the professional talent evaluators that call the shots and they say Lannan over Maya, Duke and anybody else you want to name and they're the ones that say Det over Lannan.

How hard is that to understand?

peric said...

Maybe its better to look at the runs above the average not the percentage? Find the average or standard deviation and then determine how far you are above that.

That figure stands at 27.6 (RAA) which is way above last year ... but the Cardinals currently stand at 98.9 which is the best. The Dodgers are on the negative side of the average or standard deviation at -34.6. Needless to say the Dodgers do not look like a team that should make the playoffs.

peric said...

How hard is that to understand?

They liked the power pitcher, Ryan Perry better. Some were fairly impressed with Jeff Mandel.

But, then we talk to different "evaluators" and read different articles I suppose.

Joe Seamhead said...

All true, Jack. The Samardja kid was impressive, however Medlin, Dicky, Lee. Cueto, Hamels, are definitely ahead of him in line. John Lannan's two starts this year for us are both highlights.He has earned his stripes and I have little doubt that he will play a big part before this has all played out. As to Ryan Perry, though the experiment to make him into a starter has looked pretty good in AA ball, I don't see him as being a serious consideration to start here this year, unless we sew up the division up early. I am anxious to see Garcia pitch against ML hitters, though. With all that he's been through I don't see him as being a rookie. I hope that we have a big lead sometime in the next few games and he gets a chance to show what he's got.

peric said...

With all that he's been through I don't see him as being a rookie.

Definitely a rookie given that this is his very first year relieving at these levels. Before this he was a starter in the Yankees organization.

But with Burnett down, H-Rod out, Storen still ramping up, and the general overall fatigue in the bullpen they do need help. I look for him to be sent out their fairly soon probably in the 7th inning.

baseballswami said...

Corey Brown is tweeting that he will be in DC tomorrow.

Section 222 said...

Nice win today. This series is a great opportunity to open up some ground between us and the Braves. I'd like to see the East clinched before the next series in Philly. Better yet, before the Dodgers come to town, though that would be a tall order.

As for starters down the stretch, Lannan will obviously replace Stras. Duke is almost certainly on deck if there is a need for a 6th starter. Perry and Maya won't see the pitchers mound in the 1st inning of a Nats game until after we've clinched. Jeff Mandel? Please.

sjm308 said...

Hi All:

Just back from another curly W

Probably discussed at length in previous posts but I just came straight to this one.

I hate the defensive indifference and wonder if Davey was asked about it. Two run game and you take away the force play at 2nd as well. That guy would never have scored on the bloop hit from the catcher if he was still on first.

Not a great crowd but it was a "no wave" crowd which I am sure made JaneB and others happy.

Got a visit today from Ron in Reston and his lovely daughter so my invisible friends continue to actually have faces and names.

Detwiler's last two starts have been solid and how great is that to have him peaking when we are losing one of our Five? I have been rooting for a variation of this club since the early 50's and its just an amazing feeling to keep getting more and more positive vibes during this season. I had them with 87 wins and love that I might be off by about 10 or so. I am also an idiot who planned an Outer Banks vacation Oct 6 thru the 12th. I have two playoff strips and my son will enjoy both tickets for the first series and I will just have to hope we make it through to the NLCS.

I will be back on Wed & Thursday looking for similar results like today.

Mark, do you have stats on winning percentage when we score first? I still think we are one of the best!!

Go Nats!! Go Playoffs!! Score First!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Joe.... you've pegged Perry correctly. He'll get his shot in the AFL and then next year in Syracuse but he has to show alot before he gets a shot at the big club.

sjm308 said...

I was excited to see Garcia warming in the pen with Gonzalez in a crucial spot in the game. Det got out of it with a nifty double play but it showed me that Davey didn't bring him up here for window dressing. What a situation that would have been for his first appearance. Did anyone notice how many Cubbies were in their bullpen. I swear it looked like about 15 guys or more.

Will they have Dukes Wang & LannEn in the pen even though all of them are basically starters?
Just wondering if Dukes has experience with that and I realize we want to stay away from Wang the way he is throwing right now. I also figure they have to keep LannEn on some sort of program now that he has a starting date in mind.

Go Nats!!

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

Now, *that* was fun. Happy trains home are so much better. Dang, do I love watching Harper run the bases. That boy just outran his helmet today.

Also so happy for clinching the first winning season in early September. Can't wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

btw, my husband and I are now 7-2 at in-person games (but with baseball buddies I'm 0-2 with a rainout). Good news is that I talked him into picking up another game with me, later this month. Come on, happy train! :-)

Was so excited that I forgot about Morse being taken out. Wondered at the time whether it might be his hand. Hope he's okay.

baseballswami said...

New post re Morse

natsfan1a said...

sjm308, sorry I didn't see your post before leaving for the game or I would have stopped by to say "hi."

Joe Seamhead said...

As to my statement of "With all that he's been through I don't see him as being a rookie," I'm well aware that Garcia was a starter with the Yank's system. My point is that after all he's been through, and is still playing ball, I think that he is quite seasoned,and has the makeup to deal with pressure.
With Corey Brown heading up, Davey's statement that getting all of these call-ups playing time is not a concern of his is something for us all to keep in mind. But having them have a chance to experience the MLB show, even on the bench,is a great reward for their season in the minors.

SCNatsFan said...

Went to my first games this weekend...116 for Thursday, Presidents Club for Friday (how sweet) and saturday we got too drunk and watched from Old Ebbitts. Love the stadium. Wish I lived closer although I'd go broke going to games!

Joe Seamhead said...

Scnatsfan, it's an art form to keep your expenses down. They allow you to bring in a soft cooler, though the only drinks allowed to brought in is sealed bottled water.We bring food from home, We always get down early, get $5 beers from the Miller bar until first pitch, and usually get one more from them right before going to our seats.the beer and food prices can be pretty oppressive if you get too carefree!

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