Thursday, September 20, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 4, Dodgers 1

US Presswire photo
Nationals players celebrate in normal fashion after their clinching win.
Game in a nutshell: It had been 79 years since a Washington baseball team had the opportunity to celebrate a clinching victory, so no one would blame the Nationals had they partied like it was 1933 upon beating the Dodgers tonight and guaranteeing their place in MLB's 2012 postseason. All along, though, manager Davey Johnson and clubhouse veterans insisted they weren't going to make a big deal out of clinching a Wild Card berth, that the real celebration would come once they locked up the NL East. So the scene tonight at Nationals Park as Drew Storen recorded the final out, while joyous, was hardly over-exuberant. Make no mistake, though: This is a major accomplishment for a club that had not posted a winning season during its first seven years of existence and a town that has not witnessed postseason baseball since the Roosevelt administration. The Nationals still have loftier goals to reach before this season comes to an end, but it's perfectly OK to celebrate this milestone, one few in Washington have ever had the chance to celebrate before.

Hitting highlight: Ah, the healing powers of cortisone. Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa can certainly attest to that, each having received the pain-killing shot within the last three days. Both guys delivered clutch RBI doubles to pace the Nationals' offensive attack in this game. Zimmerman got things going with a two-bagger to the left-center gap in the third inning, bringing Bryce Harper all the way home from first base. One inning later, Espinosa sent a rope into the left-field corner, bringing Ian Desmond all the way home from first as well. The Nationals didn't need much offense in this one, but they did need a couple of timely extra-base hits from a couple of key contributors who are on the mend.

Pitching highlight: It's well-known that Ross Detwiler is the guy who makes the Nationals' postseason rotation because of Stephen Strasburg's shutdown, but what perhaps isn't as well-known is that the left-hander has pitched just as well as the presumed ace. With six innings of one-run ball tonight, Detwiler lowered his ERA to 3.10. That's a tick better than Strasburg's season-ending 3.12 ERA, over nearly an identical number of innings (157 for Detwiler, 159 1/3 for Strasburg). He was in top form from the start tonight, retiring the first nine batters he faced and letting only one of them hit a ball out of the infield. Mark Ellis ruined any hope of a truly historic performance when he led off the top of the fourth with a bomb into the left field bullpen, but Detwiler didn't make another mistake the rest of the night and was pulled after six highly effective innings, having thrown only 82 pitches. He thus becomes the fourth member of the Nationals' rotation to win 10 games this season (with Edwin Jackson one away from joining the group).

Key stat: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Nationals are only the fifth team in MLB history to increase their win total by 10 or more three consecutive seasons. The others: The 1901-04 Cubs, the 1906-09 Red Sox, the 1981-84 Twins and the 1994-97 Marlins. (The Twins and Marlins likely would not have made the list if not for work stoppages in 1981 and 1994.)

Up next: As one Wild Card contender leaves town, another comes to town. The resurgent Brewers open a four-game series, beginning Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Edwin Jackson faces Shaun Marcum in the opener.

95 comments:

Faraz Shaikh said...

OMG!!! First postseason in about eighty years. Holysmokes!!! DC be proud and show some more Natitude!!! Go Nats!!!

Sam said...

I've been waiting for this my whole life! I never saw my Expos in the playoffs. Go Nats!!!

Melissa Rabey said...

YAAAAYYYYY!

I was planning to go to the last Brewers game on Monday--when I'm there, I'm definitely going to grab one of those Natitude post-season shirts!

I followed the Nats in a lackadaisical way in the two previous seasons, but this season has turned me into a diehard. Keep going, boys, and sew up the NL East!

SCNatsFan said...

I saw the Expos play in person in the playoffs since I was in college in Montreal.... will be so cool so many years later to see them play again... I've worked many years to afford it this time!

MicheleS said...

I am getting a little misty right now!

I will have that Natitude t-shirt tomorrow night!

natsfan1a said...

I know this is the appetizer, and I know there's more to come. And yet, there I sat in front of the tv set, with a silly grin on my face and tears streaming from my eyes. Atta way, Nats! I love you all. <3

sm13 said...

This is what we've all been waiting for since 2005! October baseball for the Nats!

Drew said...

In the words of that famed GM, Winston Churchill:

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Oh yeah, WSC says WOOHOO!!!

NCNatsie said...

And when the innings all are played
We'll lead the victory parade.
The thirty years will seem as naught
With all the longing long forgot.

natsfan1a said...

And I'll pick up my Natitude t-shirt on Saturday. :-)

NatsNut said...

this feels great.

Constant Reader said...

It has happened. It has really happened. Like a lot of you, I am a season ticket holder since day one. Here we are: the night we clinched our first playoff appearance.

IT FEELS SO GOOD!

Thank you Mark for giving us this place to share as our Nats community.

NatsNut said...

I think I'm gonna wear my "Washington Nationals...I loved you when you sucked" shirt to the game tommorow. =)

Secret wasian man said...

Where can one get a natitude shirt. This is great. Woo hoo. Dare I say go phillies. Great to see nationals baseball in this series.

baseballswami said...

So much for all of us playing it so cool about the wild card not meaning anything. We are all full of it. I am thrilled for them. More to go, but awesome just the same.

Swift Eagle said...

"What's the big deal?" Davey's opening line at the press conference...Awesome

baseballswami said...

And kind of fitting that Drew closed it.

Swift Eagle said...

Striking Out Nats-Killer Hanley to end it was so great!

MicheleS said...

NatsNut.. have to agree..

Having watched CRAPPY cubs baseball and only seeing winning seasons when I moved to DC - O's with DAVEY and then in LA with the Angels. IT feels so good to have this now for a team that I have been invested in since Day one. I remember that Trailer in the RFK parking lot in 2004 that I bought all the Christmas presents for. All the horrible years, This is just a great day.

ehay2k said...

Congrats to our fearless leader, Mark Z., who started this blog and KEPT it going even when the Nationals were not necessarily deserving of such excellent coverage!

GYFNG!!!!!!!!!!

Gonat said...

It feels pretty good! Bryce Harper may expect this every year!

djinFl. said...

Wow, what a great season we've had so far.
Hard to remember tonight how tough it has been getting here.
Way to go boys.

Swift Eagle said...

Totally agree...Mark Z started this blog when the Nats were horrible, his newspaper ditched sports, and he had to pay his own way to go to Viera....And here we are...Thanks so much Mark

DannyEllinosa said...

Congrats Nats! Posting aboard a flight with frustrating wifi. But had to keep tabs on this historic night for DC & all loyal Nats insiders! GYFNG!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nats win another series!

How's about the irony of doing it in front of StanK.

Davey said the players did a champagne toast.

MicheleS said...

A toast to our fearless leader, Mrs Z, Baby Z.. Thanks for putting up with us and sticking with the Nats!

Melissa Rabey said...

Davey's in rare form in his press conference. I think he's a bit excited, even with knowing the real prize is still ahead of the team.

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, NatsNut. :-)

NatsNut said...

I think I'm gonna wear my "Washington Nationals...I loved you when you sucked" shirt to the game tommorow. =)
September 20, 2012 10:16 PM

Constant Reader said...

Michelle --

December 22, 2004. The day they re-opened that crappy little store in the RFK parking lot after the hiccup with the DC Council. I was there and bought Curly W's for my extended family.

I remember it well. The beginning of an investment with your heart that was paid back tonight.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I am dancing like this right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

natsfan1a said...

I'll drink to that. Thanks, Mark and family!

MicheleS said...

A toast to our fearless leader, Mrs Z, Baby Z.. Thanks for putting up with us and sticking with the Nats!
September 20, 2012 10:22 PM

MicheleS said...

NatsNut.. where did you get that T Shirt?

Gonat said...

Drew - "A very professional celebration" talking about the champagne toast.

natsfan1a said...

Well, I guess I'll try to get some sleep now. Hope the blanket doesn't fall off the ceiling. :-)

MicheleS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NatsNut said...

I think this is PERFECT. It's classy and acknowledges the milestone, yet recognizes there's more work ahead.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
Davey said the players did a champagne toast.

NatsLady said...

I hope they made plenty of those shirts. I hope they are out of date by next Thursday! Thanks to all, Mark, Legion of Doom, I love you all today!

sm13 said...

Natitude is pride! We are proud fans!

Gonat said...

I am going to wear my Natitude 2012 Postseason tshirt to bed tonight!

MicheleS said...

Constant.. As someone who lives in VA, I was pacing and ranting and raving at the DC City council during that time.. Trying to figure out a way to bribe some council members (figure I could get Marion Barry easy)

NatsNut said...

Michele, I got it here

Joe Seamhead said...

Wow! Just, WOW!
I'm feeling just so...what is the word...damn, I don't think there is a word yet. No, maybe there is, I'm feeling a very strong sense of Natitude!
GYFNG!!!

MicheleS said...

Thanks NatsNut..

I think we need to do a NatsInsider T Shirt.. Mark has got to put something up again. My Favorite was the one about having your own personal sportswriter.

Constant Reader said...

MicheleS ... Arlington here. I attended the 'protests' calling for Baseball in Arlington (still have a poster on a wall). Attended similar gatherings in DC after the Council snafu. Was interviewed on NewsChannel8 in line to buy stuff the day the store re-opened. I said it was my son's first birthday and I was beginning a tradition of buying Nats stuff for his birthday.

He'll be sitting next to me at the first playoff game. OK, now I'm tearing up again.

baseballswami said...

So four of our five starters have ten wins now and Ejax is stuck at nine? How cool is that? And Det didn't even get a full season of starts!

MicheleS said...

OMG.. I was totally overcome..

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Swift Eagle said...

I love winning, man. You know, it's like better than losing...

Does this mean the fungus on my Nats shower shoes now makes me "colorful"? Or am I still a slob?

Theophilus T. S. said...

Really stinks when the only thing in the house with which to mark the occasion is a Miller Lite. But I'm makin' do. Need to pack in some of the good stuff for the real thing.

baseballswami said...

Hey, guys, let's act like we've been there before. Oh, wait- we actually haven't been there before!!!!! Ok, anything goes!!!

MicheleS said...

Theo.. Just before the 9th.. I opened a delicious Sauv Blanc to enjoy this moment

Swift Eagle said...

Haha..in case anyone misses watching an inept sports team, the Duke Football Highlight Show is coming up after the Nats coverage on MASN...

Maurymania said...

This is an historic night...with more to come. Thank you Davey, thank you Riz, thank you Ryan, thank you Bryce...and everyone in between, onward and upwards my friends.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Swift, are you kidding me? No extended MASN coverage?

MicheleS said...

Ghost.. no extended coverage.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Phil wood sounds like me. so thrilled

Exposremains said...

I was one month old the last tine this franchise was in the playoff, took my entire lifetime to see it again. I lost my quebec nordiques and they went on to win the Stanley Cup in Colorado. Im looking for the Nats to do the same thing.

Duane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS, I don't get it. What is wrong with those people at Angelos headquarters. Are you telling me the Hoes won't have extended coverage if they clinch?

By the way, Go Yankees, A's and Angels

zregime said...

We Are The Natitude, hear our noise
As we blow our lungs out for the DC boies
They're modest and humble, to a fault
But they're right on the verge
Of doin' a John Galt
And sayin' yeah y'all we can win this thang
Gimme gimme gimme gimme that ring
First step now
Next step soon
As Desi hits a tater over the moon
And Lombo's line drives have their men guarding nuts
Drew's sick stuff feezin' all the chump butts
Yeah now oh yeah how does it feel
Our Nattie Bad Nasties are the realest deal
That's what I'm sayin'
Here we go
To the prime time stuff
And the big October Show
Natties in six
I don't care who face
Then the NatsInsider will be the place
To party
It's awesome
The trophy
Some huggin'

We got this, guys.

Doc said...

Congratulations to all you Nats' fans wherever you are in the world. You deserve to be rewarded for your faith.

For me it's the Nats forever!

But a small part of me, as with other Expos' fans, is still remembering 'what might have been' for that star-crossed Canadian team.

Last guy that I saw walk off the field for the Hated Dodgers was coach Tim Wallach---best 3rd base guy that the Expos ever had.

Baseball always has a way of coming full circle.

On to the WS Nats fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

As usual, Davey said it best: "We're not done yet."

Congrats to all: Mark, Mrs. Z, Baby Z, all the Nats Insiders, Rizz, Davey, coaches, players. They deserve it. One loud, long:

"WOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOO!!"
(Copyright, MicheleS, All rights reserved.
Any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of MicheleS is prohibited.)

RickH said...

Congrats, Nats!!! Let's hope we have 4 more celebrations (clinch division, win playoff, win division, win World Series)!

RickH said...

Yes, congrats to Mark for launching this blog and bringing us all together. But, Swift, I think technically WE paid Mark's way to Viera.

baseballswami said...

Let's all drink a toast to cortisone, the wonder drug!!!

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

It's really real.

baseballswami said...

Once again I will point out that we are all frauds. No way we were going to celebrate that low-rent wild card spot. Busted. Feels better than we thought it was going to, right? Not ashamed at all. After where we have been, 91 wins and a wild card berth? It does mean something.

JaneB said...

I was holding out for the Division Clinch, but I cried anyway. To quote MichelleS woooooooooooohoooooooooo. 8 more to the next celebration. I love them no matter what. I truly do. But tonight I love even the dust mites under the bed. GYFNG!!!!!

JaneB said...

PS Thank you to Mark for this community of Imaginary Friends, who make it all the richer and a lot more fun. ANd thank you, Imaginary Friends!

peric said...

Finally, finally here ... I do hope Ted Lerner is celebrating ... it was impetus to see a winner before too long given his advanced age.

The Nats will now be the youngest team in the playoffs and the most inexperienced. No expectations is probably the best way a true Nats fan should approach it. Just be happy in the moments;

For they will longer be few and far in between thanks to Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson and all the talented people they hired. Look out National League the Nats have arrived! At the end of the Mayan Calendar there is a curly W sign, full of hope, pointing to the future!

Joe Seamhead said...

Thanks,Mike Rizzo, and Davey Johnson! And a very special, heartfelt thank you to Stephen Strasburg.

Scooter said...

Swift Eagle said...
Striking Out Nats-Killer Hanley to end it was so great!


Post of the week. That's just what I thought.

peric said...

Maybe now we can put those cantankerous ghosts to rest : Teddy Ballgame, Curt Flood, Denny McLain, Del Unser, Hondo, Stround, Casanova, and Dave Nelson plus Jeff Buroughs that era's Espy and Harper (what a joke) and Pete Broberg (as the Stras). And most of all Bob Short as the AngelHoes. Oh well maybe NOT HIM!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Peric, Angeloser is kicking his dog if he has one. He has to hate this while he calls MASN to make sure the postgame show doesn't go a minute over schedule and tells them to add some extra WB Mason commercials

You know the old saying, what comes around goes around.

whatsanattau said...

So, it seems unlikely that the Nats will be at home when they clinch unless the Braves simply refuse to lose ... What's the protocol here. Do we root for the Braves to hang in there or just go ahead and blow them out of the water?

Section 222 said...

Fantastic to be in the park for this historic night. And the on-field celebration complete with understated bang zoom fireworks was perfect. A really tight, well played game too. Great pitching, and clutch situational hitting. (Thank you KSuzuki for that sac fly.) And Harper, once again, showing that hustle and speed pays dividends on the scoreboard.

Davey said the players did a champagne toast.

At 7 pm tonight a friend emailed me with the following question:

"I wonder what they'll do if they win tonight. Does protocol prevent a full post-game hootenanny if it is only a WC berth?"

I responded as follows:

"I sure hope so. A quiet toast would be fine."

So I guess I can be insufferable now too. :-)

peric said...

Clinching in Philadelphia would be my preference ... then let the bell toll; it tolls for thee Philthy fans, it tolls for thee!

Steve J, Alexandria said...

Just got home from game: Awesome!!

Gonat said...

MLB Network got video of Mike Rizzo in his suite pumping his fist. Very cool shot!

peric said...

MLB Network got video of Mike Rizzo in his suite pumping his fist. Very cool shot!

If Chase can grab that for Mark it would be a cool piece to put along with tomorrow morning's coffee and Nats blog post.

SonnyG10 said...

Nice to read all the happy comments from my virtual friends. So happy for myself also.

Gonat said...

Nats Pitchers #6, #7, #9, and #11 in the NL

Impressive. Great pitching and timely hitting and great Natitude!

http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/pitching/_/league/nl/order/false

Gonat said...

Puh, puh, pah, playoffs, playoffs!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

JaneB wrote: "I love even the dust mites under the bed. GYFNG!!!!!"

You have a way with words, lady!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

BTW, for those who can't get enough, MLB is running the game in its entirety right now. An instant classic!

Scooter said...

It actually was a good game, wasn't it, Sunshine?

Gonat said...

At least CSN is covering the Nats and there's Mark Zuckerman on "live"

Natitude said...

The postseason gear is up on shop.mlb.com - cheaper than it was at the ballpark.

http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15499666

http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15499696

http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15380046

They didn't make this for the Reds, but rightly figured DC would want it immediately.

MurrayTheRed said...

Got my Playoff hat and t-shirt before I left the stadium tonight.

Oldguy said...

The players were very reserved, but the crowd was really amped up. When Drew was pitching to Hanley, the place was really rockin'.

sjm308 said...

Just really really happy maybe moreso than I thought I would be! I was standing up, clapping and my spousal equivalent just didn't understand (although she let me watch the entire game). Will be there Saturday and Monday and will definitely get that shirt!

Congrats to all!!

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

Dave said...

I'm waking up very sleepy tonight, because I stayed up later than I intended to last night. It was great to see the Nats clinch the playoffs, but priceless to see and hear Ray Knight's unbridled enthusiasm on the air.

It's a great day in Nats Town.

Do any season-ticket holders have an idea when our STH post-season "strip" tickets are supposed to arrive? The post-season starts two weeks from today. I have partners who will want to have tickets before the games are played.

Dave said...

PS: I'll be there Saturday and Sunday for my playoff T-shirt. (Like I need another T-shirt--but this one's special.)

Incidentally, Christmas 2004, my wife gave me a Washington Nationals T-shirt, with the old baseball-background logo. I still wear it frequently to Nats Park. Maybe I will this weekend.

Anna Peregrina said...

It's a lonely life for a Nats fan here in England. I was brought up properly by my mother (a diehard Cubs fan, so she knew the meaning of suffering) as a Senators fan from 1958. A lifetime of waiting! My kids had to be brought up as O's fans (they're pretty happy too right now), so I'm glad I have you all to share the joy with. GOOOOOOO NATS! YAY! Keep up the good work!

JaneB said...

Headed down soon to stay the weekend down there -- three games without a 1.25 hour commute each way! YAY! Will be there, WILL get the teeshirt. But I will also rock by Livan Nats shirt for old times sake. I kinda hope the Brewers get in so he gets to go, too.

Dave said...

Actually, nothing at all against Livo, but I hope we knock the Brewers out of contention this extended weekend. Let's clinch the division--sooner better than later!

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