Thursday, September 6, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 9, Cubs 2

Associated Press photo
Bryce Harper is restrained by Ryan Zimmerman as both benches empty.
Game in a nutshell: So, they played a ballgame on South Capitol Street tonight. The Nationals once again pulverized the Cubs' calamitous pitching staff, either scoring or loading the bases in seven of their eight offensive innings. Because of all that, plus seven strong innings from Jordan Zimmermann, they pulled off a four-game sweep of Chicago and maintained their 7 1/2-game lead in the NL East. But enough about actual baseball. This game will long be remembered more for the two incidents in the fifth and sixth innings that resulted in both benches and bullpens emptying. It all appeared to start when the Cubs took issue with Jayson Werth swinging away on a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded and the Nats up five runs in the bottom of the fifth. That led to a shouting match between Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk (who was ejected). One inning later, Chicago reliever Lendy Castillo's very first pitch just missed Bryce Harper's hip. The 19-year-old said a few words to the pitcher, and that set off an actual kerfuffle during which Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger shoved Michael Morse with some force. Clevenger was ejected, as were Chicago reliever Manny Corpas and Nats reliever Michael Gonzalez. Order was finally restored and the game continued without incident.

Hitting highlight: We could highlight Adam LaRoche's sixth homer in as many days (and his 29th of the season). Or we could highlight Harper's first-inning triple. But how about Kurt Suzuki, who is becoming a much more potent force at the plate the more time he logs with the Nationals. After struggling through much of his first three weeks with the club, the catcher has turned it up a notch. He's now homered three times in a week, including a three-run blast in the bottom of the second tonight. Suzuki later added a couple more singles, and all of a sudden he's hitting .269 since the trade. The Nationals will happily take that from their No. 8 batter.

Pitching highlight: Lost in the chaos of the benches and bullpens clearing twice, Zimmermann authored up one of his best starts in a month. And boy did he need it. The right-hander labored early, serving up a first-inning homer to Anthony Rizzo and a pair of triples in the second inning. But he quickly settled down and retired 12 in a row at one point. The long delay during the fracas left Zimmermann sitting on the bench for a long time waiting to return for the top of the seventh, and he faltered a bit in that inning. But at the end of the night, Zimmermann gave the Nats exactly what they needed from him: Seven innings of two-run ball, striking out nine, to right his ship entering the final month of the season.

Key stat: Harper is the first major-league teenager with seven triples since Buddy Lewis of the 1936 Senators recorded 13 of them.

Up next: After this wild, four-game series, the Nationals now welcome the Marlins to town for a weekend tilt. Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for his final home start of the season, looking to bounce back after getting shelled in Miami last month. Right-hander Jacob Turner will oppose him at 7:05 p.m. Friday.


Ghost Of Steve M. said...

15 HRs this series!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Magic #18

MicheleS said...

Wow! What a fun game to be at! Still up by 7.5

sjm308 said...

Does anyone else think that Garcia might actually make the 25 man playoff roster? I see no reason not to keep throwing him out there this month and if he stays this sharp I say why not. You will not need 5 starters in the first playoff series and probably not ever so he would be a perfect fit.

We did not score first but I love that favorite stat of mine. A WIN!!!

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

Steady Eddie said...

sjm308-- thanks for our exchange pre-game -- maybe I put in a little reverse jinx on KSuz's bat; but at any rate, I'm delighted to acknowledge that our lineup NOW has become fearsome from top to bottom!

GYFNG! 18 and counting down!

ehay2k said...

WOOOOOO "you throwin' at ME?" HOOOOOO!

18 Games. I know it's our magic number, but how many here actually believe we will flat out win most if not all of those? I certainly do.
Just think about that. 3 years ago that was almost one third of our season win total. Now it's simply our final push to the postseason. Crazy game, baseball.


baseballswami said...

The Cubs were ticked off from the first inning when Bryce stole that first run with his hustle. Just annoys people. I love it.

Unknown said...

The Nationals' next win will be number 86, a very special number for those of us old enough to remember the Senators' magical 1969 season.

I don't have to look it up. They played the Red Sox the last series of the season and if they swept, they'd slip past Boston for third place, which if I recall meant they'd get a little bit of extra money for finishing in the "first division."

They lost that first game but won the rest and finished one game behind the Red Sox.

This team could tie that Senators' team in wins with 25 games to go.


Steady Eddie said...

And yeah, I could definitely see Garcia on at least the NCDS roster. I was impressed with him from the time I saw him pitch for the Senators back in April, mixing that 95-98 heater with 80 breaking stuff and that vicious slider.

The real deal, and calm? I think Davey's on the case -- he originally warmed up Storen for the ninth but say him after Garcia's K of Soriano.

sjm308 said...

Steady - its been fun hasn't it. I think we have 25 games left and if we just go 13-12 (and why wouldn't we do even better??) that is 98 wins which is just incredible.

Not to nitpick but I was just over at and not one story on tonights game. They of course lead with the O's over the Yanks and include the Braves win but not one story about our lads. I guess hitting 12 homeruns in two games and then scoring 9 more is just not news. I guarantee you there will be some idiot writing tomorrow no matter what Stephen does.

peric said...

Its funny to think that Davey Johnson was a second baseman on a team that was so much better than those old Teddy Ballgame Nats it wasn't funny.

Now, Johnson is managing these Nats. Maybe that's the difference ... as Teddy Ballgame never won a world series and his teams never got past the arrogant Yankees.

mick said...

Unknown said...
The Nationals' next win will be number 86, a very special number for those of us old enough to remember the Senators' magical 1969 season.

God Bless you, I remember that 86-76 team like yesterday!!!

I hate to beat a team when they are down, but did the Cubs manager not know that the Nats lost a 9-0 game beginning in the 6th inning verse Braves?? I mean, this clown needs to coach in a league where no score is kept and every player gets a trophy... no wonder this franchise is a laughing stock.

mick said...

Adam LaRoche is now on an all time list with Ruth, I love it!!!

Candide said...

Sjm, were you in section 214 tonight? 'Cuz I saw someone leaving late in the game who looked a lot like I remember you looking at that get-together Mark and comcast arranged a few months ago.

BTW, regarding the Cubs being annoyed at the Nats' aggressive play with a five run lead: I remember a game last year where we led them 8-0 and they came back to beat us.

So bite me, Sveum.

mick said...

watching the brawl you notice the veteran players were the peace makers. Ejac, Storen, Burnett and Morse wanted to rock and roll, and as my wife said, Gio is adorable and was smart and stayed by the dug out and just took it all in with a grin.

baseballswami said...

Bo Porter is a stud.He would have taken on the whole dugout.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Kogan was cruising in the game against the Cubs when all he'll broke loose.

Section 222 said...

Can't wait to watch the replay of the brawl cause from upstairs we had no idea what was happening. But it sure was a wild and fun night. I loved the Harper manufactured run. It sure looked like he'd finally get thrown out, but no, he's got an uncanny sense of when to take the extra base, and when to stand pat.

Suzuki's bomb was great to see. So great to have confidence in our No. 8. Garcia looks like the real deal, although let's face it -- this Cubs team was not a huge test.

But the really exciting thing about tonight was the return of the bulldog. JZnn had a rough start but really got it together. And that, more than anything else, made this game and important step. Now bring on the Marlins.

By the way, did everyone see the tweet from Ozzie tonight?

"taxis in washinton are terrible".

Hahaha. Wait till he sees Strasburg again. That should be fun.

Anonymous said...

The media are of no use.

I was watching an ESPN highlight show, which showed the brawl while the commentator said, "Even Roger Bernadina couldn't be held back." Unfortunately, the video was of EJax being held back. Sad.

Local stations 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 were worse. The girl on 4 said of Bo's jawing with the Cubs' coach, "Words turned into arguments as..." Just a pathetic non-sequitur. None of our local stations could explain what actually happened or why, they were so concerned about working-in their 4th weather update in a 30 minute broadcast.

Meantime, last night, and the night before, with the Nats clubbing 6 homers, MASN showed the Orioholes as the replay game. Local media sucks and MASN is the worst mafia operation of all of them. I truly pray the Ho's lose every game till the end of the season.

What is happening on the field for the Nationals is glorious. What is happening on ESPN, on local TV and radio, and on MASN, is pathetic.

Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa said...

22,447 paid. I think there must have been a fair number of freebies.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sjm, Garcia could definitely help an 8 man pen in the postseason.

Unknown said...

I was watching the Cubs' broadcasters and they mentioned something I didn't notice.

When that ball whizzed past Harper, their catcher didn't move a muscle, didn't try to grab the ball, did nothing at all.

They said that was because he knew what was coming and expected the ball to hit Harper.

"Of course it was intentional," said Bob Brenly.

Conclusive? I'm thinking so.

Farid @ Idaho

JaneB said...

You know that commercial that goes, "where were you" during a big game? That is about to be me, tomorrow, during the rehearsal dinner for the wedding of one of our kids. Then the wedding the next night. I can't take my eye off the Gameday app that tells me how the Nats are doing when I can't watch.

And now I'll know what, "game delayed on the field" means.


Anonymous said...

@mick - there is another reason to be excited about 86 wins...if you combine them with the team's 14-4 finish from a year ago, the Nats will be 100-56 in their last 156 games. Incredible.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

sjm, don't worry. On after Gio's win the other night, the headlines were stacked to read something like this: Nats home 6 times as Gio gets 18th win/Dickey also gets 18th. It was funny enough that even my friend who loves the Mets had to laugh!

Anyway, ESPN can ignore us all the way to the playoffs. :-)

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Does anyone else think that Garcia might actually make the 25 man playoff roster?"

Definitely looking at him. Burnett's elbow has been a problem all year. Garcia seems to be the guy who they would plug in as a replacement, if needed. Of they could go to an 8-man pen with 4 starters at some point in the playoffs, with Garcia being the 8th guy. in the BP.

Love the way the guys rallied around Harp, just like big brothers should.

These Cubs are the sorriest excuse for a professional baseball team I have ever seen. The Cubs fans are among the best in all of professional sports, and deserve better.

ehay2k said...

JaneB, ignore the games for just two days. Weddings come once a lifetime. (Well, FIRST weddings do!)

The Nats will cruise with or without you.

Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa said...

These Cubs are the sorriest excuse for a professional baseball team I have ever seen.

The world is made for people not cursed with self-awareness. Or memory.

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