Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Mets 3

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond is tagged out trying to steal third base in the top of the second.
Game in a nutshell: A prime pitching matchup between Jordan Zimmermann and R.A. Dickey lived up to the billing; even though Zimmermann labored through much of his five innings, he managed to allow only two runs and keep the game close. Dickey, meanwhile, thoroughly dominated the Nationals through six innings, his only blemish to that point a manufactured first-inning run. But then Tyler Moore came up to pinch-hit in the top of the seventh and crushed a game-turning homer, giving the Nats the lead. Kurt Suzuki and Bryce Harper (career-high four hits) plated a couple of big insurance run in the top of the ninths, and a pieced-together bullpen of Tom Gorzelanny, Christian Garcia, Michael Gonzalez, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard finished off the Nationals' 88th win of the season (though Clippard allowed a solo homer to Scott Hairston in the bottom of the ninth). At this moment, the Nationals lead the NL East by 7 games, the NL wild card by 13 1/2 games, with 20 to play.

Hitting highlight: It's been tough for Davey Johnson to find at-bats for Moore since Jayson Werth and Michael Morse came back from early season injuries, but the rookie is somehow finding a way to keep his bat hot despite the lack of action. He stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh inning tonight to pinch-hit for Gorzelanny and wasted no time inflicting damage on Dickey, crushing the first knuckleball he saw into the left field stands. That's nine homers this season for Moore in only 138 at-bats. Do the math: Over a full season, that's quite impressive.

Pitching highlight: While Zimmermann labored through his five innings, Garcia absolutely dominated his one inning of relief. Despite this being only his fifth big-league appearance, the right-hander was entrusted with a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, a major vote of confidence from Johnson. Well, Garcia earned even more with his explosive performance. He struck out the side, showing both a high-90s fastball with a devastating changeup and slider. In only 4 2/3 innings, he's already got seven strikeouts and zero walks. Could a rookie September call-up force his way onto the October playoff roster? It's happened before (remember Francisco Rodriguez with the Angels in 2002?). If Garcia keeps this up, he's going to have a strong case for it.

Key stat: In 32 career plate appearances against Dickey, Werth now has 13 hits and five walks. That equates to a .563 on-base percentage.

Up next: The series wraps up at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, with New York native John Lannan officially taking over Stephen Strasburg's spot in the Nationals' rotation. Lannan will face Mets rookie Matt Harvey, their top pitching prospect.

58 comments:

Joe Seamhead said...

Well, that was exciting!

NatsFanJim said...

christian Garcia is a Beast. Hard to believe he has that kind of slider!! 95-96 with Hop.

This double Tommy John ex yankee is here to stay!

Closers beware: you've got some major competition for '13.

Oh, and good game Nats. Way to futz around, Clip.

NatsFanJim said...

I meant to say that Garcia's fastball was 95-96, not his slider. But you knew that.

JaneB said...

I love the Instant Analysis and seeing the Maguc Numbers go down, down, down.

Tyler Moore is something else.

ehay2k said...

Mark Z with the Analysis post up faster than an "avoided diaper change!

Anyone think Morse could use a couple days off with Tyler Moore getting some extra AB's?

John C. said...

I don't think Moore should start over Morse - beware of SSS. That said, if Moore starts tomorrow then Morse gets to heal that hand for the series this weekend. Even one win in the three games would pretty much seal the NL East at this point.

peric said...

I meant to say that Garcia's fastball was 95-96, not his slider. But you knew that.

Actually, that gives the Nats four guys with that kind of stuff:
H-Rod, Storen, Mattheus, and Garcia ... it may behoove H-Rod to go down to that velocity to manage his control problems?

Everyone else (Burnett, Clippard, M. Gonzalez) are about 2-3 miles slower.

They really could use a lefty in the bullpen with that kind of velo.

NatsLady said...

Look! An interruption in the RG3 talk.

106.7 The Fan ‏@1067thefandc
106.7 The Fan is pleased to announce that Nationals Manager Davey Johnson will join the Sports Junkies every Wednesday @8:25 am.

peric said...

Anyone think Morse could use a couple days off with Tyler Moore getting some extra AB's?

Harper isn't the best CF ... he's still learning ... putting the onus on him to drift toward left to cover for Tyler is not a good idea. Harper ends up trying to catch everything over there.

If Moore plays, at least ast this stage of the game, he would have to replace Adam LaRoche at first base.

Really, you'd want Bernadina out there in place of Morse but both players are hitting. And Morse does have more power ...

ehay2k said...

Peric - good points. I was thinking Morse's thumb is still bugging him. A couple days off and he can heal a bit. Bernadina in LF is a good move.

ehay2k said...

Natslady, Davey will get bumped if RG 3 burps, or buys new socks.

baseballswami said...

It is a real luxury when you use your B team and there is not enough of a dip in performance to hurt you. Lose a bit on defense , but overall , it's all good.

peric said...

If the Nats make it to the World Series RG III had better be bumped all the way into the Anacostia. There's no way the Redskins finish with a winning record. They started out strong last season too.

Steady Eddie said...

I love it -- Miss Iowa, who knows the Mets are a better team than the Nats, just gave up a monumental dinger to Aramis Ramirez, and the crew is now up 5-0.

We're regathering momentum at just the right time, and should get the Barves with our mojo going in opposite directions.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Brewers 5-0 now

baseballswami said...

I say baseball, pointy ball, hockey, soccer. Bring it all on. World domination from the DMV!!!!!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Won despite batters 3. 4. 5. leaving 20 on base. magic number soon 13

peric said...

The Phillies are about to hit .500 ... and under 5 games behind the Braves. Here they come.

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

Five games behind the Braves is still 12 games behind us. I'm not buying it.

I hope Morse is helped by the rest Davey just promised him.

Steady Eddie said...

Not only did we keep RA from his 19th win, but we went 2-2 against him for the year, and thus have inflicted 2 of his 5 total losses this year.

rogieshan said...

Lannan's performance this month will go a long way in determining whether he or Garcia gets the final spot on the post-season pitching roster. Burnett's health could also factor in. My bet is Davey leaning towards Garcia.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Magic number now 13

Steady Eddie said...

And the magic number is down to 13!

JaneB said...

13!

Constant Reader said...

13! Ditto.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

To clinch playoff spot magic number 8. Depending on Dodgers game

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

13 to go!

natsfan1a said...

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! That is all.

natsfan1a said...

Eh, what the heck. Whoopee!! That really is all for tonight. :-)

NatsLady said...

Would you people just calm down and act like you've been here before? My kitty just heard you all screaming, jumped up on the windowsill and broke a flower pot. I mean, really!

SonnyG10 said...

NatsLady, hate to tell you, but I've been a Washington baseball fan for 63 years and I've never been here before. I just don't know how to act. :)

The Retired Journalist said...

But, NatsLady, the only people in DC who've been here before are in their 80s....

Doc said...

I'll bet Davey is leaning towards Garcia too! Davey knows talent when it's performing for him.

If only 3-4 Starting P's are needed, then Garcia's a cinch. Playoff roster is going to have a few surprises!

Like with SS, you can see his stuff break/sink on TV.

NatsFanChris said...

I was really impressed by Robert Griffin's at-bat in the 7th inning. And how about RG3 with a 4-hit night?! Hard to believe its his first.

I too think Bob Griff deserves a couple starts over the next week while Dick Griffin rests his hand/thumb.

Down to 13!!!

hiramhover said...

Are people so afraid of the Phillies they can't even count anymore?

The Phillies are 9.5 games behind ATL.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Look! An interruption in the RG3 talk.

106.7 The Fan ‏@1067thefandc
106.7 The Fan is pleased to announce that Nationals Manager Davey Johnson will join the Sports Junkies every Wednesday @8:25 am.

September 11, 2012 10:32 PM
__________________________________________

Its like Nats Wednesday with Davey and then Rizzo at 11:30

Gonat said...

Morse says he's worried about "hurting the team" while playing with injured hand. Actually hitting .298 over last 14 G (but only 2 XBH).
________________________________

He is still a guy who scares opposing teams when he is in the middle of the lineup. Get well soon!

Gonat said...

Zim has 1 RBI in 8 straight games which ties a franchise record.

Gonat said...

Davey: "It's time to be looking at magic numbers. And I've been looking at them for a while now." Are players looking? "No doubt about it."
_________________________________

That is great. I'm sure he reads NI. WTG Mark!

Gonat said...

Not sure if it was mentioned but the Nats knocked Dickey around fairly well. That probably puts Gio above Dickey in the Cy Young race this week.

peric said...

Lannan's performance this month will go a long way in determining whether he or Garcia gets the final spot on the post-season pitching roster. Burnett's health could also factor in. My bet is Davey leaning towards Garcia.

He'll need bullpen more than starters. You can leave someone in to see how they do ... because its a long season. If they look ineffective Captain Hook comes out. There has to be someone ready to cover.

Lannan is not, never has been a reliever. And, right now they have plenty of starters.

Section 222 said...

Couldn't watch the game tonight, but followed a bit on Gameday and checking out some highlights now, including TMo's tater and Garcia's great inning and a third. What a nice win against a fantastic pitcher. The Nats stepped up for Gio's Cy Young bid and lowered their magic number, the Brew Crew lowered it some more. Love it.

I'm not afraid of the Phillies, but I still don't think they have a chance to make it. The Brewers are hot too, and the Cards and Dodgers play each other next week. The Phils are going to have a tough time making up all the ground they lost by being awful early in the year. Especially since 6 of their last 9 games are against the best team in baseball. (Um, that would be us.

Boo hoo for them. :-)

Oh, and I can't believe FP told a security guard to tell a fan to stop clapping. What the heck!

Gonat said...

https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/245732427320922112

More jumping on the Phillies bandwagon. Dibble is on it. Now Harold Reynolds is on his soapbox. They are all acting like they just discovered fire.

peric said...

Sorry meant to say Phillies are now only 4.5 games behind in the wildcard hunt.

Maurymania said...

We need to secure the division BEFORE we even get to the Phillies on Sept 25th. The Nats play 11 games in that stretch before the Phils, against the Mets (1), Atl (3-desperate), LA (3-desperate), Mil (3-desperate). Those last nine games of the year (Phils 3-desperate, Cards-3-Desperate, Phils 3-desperate) are slightly terrifying. End this thing earlier boys. Winning tomorrow and 2 of 3 in Atlanta should put us in the driver's seat. Still, "finishing" is hard and this schedule against desperate teams is worrisome. But great prep for the playoffs, where cold weather makes for cold bats and unbearable pressure. Witness the Yanks who dry up at the plate every October seemingly.

SonnyG10 said...

This rarified atmosphere is terrifying to someone whose never been there before and can not actively do something about it like the players can.

Secret wasian man said...

Who the heck is RG3? And when does football season start? NATTTTTTTS

Secret wasian man said...

My office mate is a Philthies fan. It's tough to hear it every day

NatsJack in Florida said...

Swm....with all your whimpy hand wringing, it's not hard to understand why.

natsfan1a said...

That kitty needs to get its head in the game or it will never achieve rally kitty status. :-)

NatsLady said...

Would you people just calm down and act like you've been here before? My kitty just heard you all screaming, jumped up on the windowsill and broke a flower pot. I mean, really!
September 11, 2012 11:16 PM

Rich said...

Uh,

Mark, I love your instant analysis but you could be less of a homer in your emphasis sometimes. For instance, the nats left 24 men on base and you didn't even mention that. that must be close to a record. in a 9 inning game you can only leave 27 men on base! Mostly by the middle of the lineup by the way. Also, glossing over Clippard again not having a clean closing inning again is a disturbing fact that truly worries me for the post season as bats tend to get quieter and pitching is magnified. Am I the only one worried about Clippard's propensity to have very iffy saves?

I hate to be Debbie downer and I know I am knit picking but I am now looking for trends that will be magnified in the post season in the best-of formats.

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, I thought that was a little weak myself, although it was pretty much nonstop clapping and right under the booth. It was a young guy who looked to be with his mother. I wondered whether he might have special needs (I'm not being mean, I did seriously wonder that). At least the Mets gave him a Mike Piazza bobblehead.

Oh, and I can't believe FP told a security guard to tell a fan to stop clapping. What the heck!

natsfan1a said...

What is "football"?

Secret wasian man said...

Who the heck is RG3? And when does football season start? NATTTTTTTS

natsfan1a said...

Er, not to pick, but it's "nit" not "knit" (and just my opinion but I've never found Mark to be a homer). Clip does make me nervous, but then again most closers do. :-)

Feel Wood said...

Mark, I love your instant analysis but you could be less of a homer in your emphasis sometimes. For instance, the nats left 24 men on base and you didn't even mention that.

No, they did not leave 24 men on base. You can't just add up the LOB numbers for everyone in the lineup to get the total, because you're double or triple counting if you do. Look lower down in the box score for the Team LOB number. Last night, it was 9 for the Nats. Not great, but also not terrible.

natsfan1a said...

I like FP but I felt rather uncomfortable with that. fyi, since you couldn't watch, the guy was pretty much clapping nonstop and seated right under the booth. However, it was a young man who looked to be with his mother. MASN put him on camera after they figured out who was doing the clapping, and they also showed the security guy talking to him. Then they showed him sort of trying to start clapping and then stopping, and FP laughed because "he didn't know what to do with his hands." I wondered whether the guy might be hyperactive or have some other condition that made it difficult to sit still, or maybe he was just unfamiliar with clapping protocol. It felt a bit Bartmanesque the way the broadcast focused on him. At least the guy did later get a Mike Piazza bobblehead (yeah, they showed that, too).

Oh, and I can't believe FP told a security guard to tell a fan to stop clapping. What the heck!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yes. If you want to critique Marks postings, be prepared to be factual or suffer the consequences. This site does not suffer fools very well.

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