Monday, September 24, 2012

Nats, 'Sun Monster' get revenge

Photo by AP
Playing at home against the Brewers with the Atlanta Braves enjoying a day off, the Nationals were given a chance to create some separation and lower their magic number to win the division to five. The previous day they had lost to Milwaukee with the help of a few unfortunate encounters with the sun on outfield fly balls. But on this day, it was the Brewers who felt its wrath.

“You know, you gotta be lucky. We were lucky today. It really probably cost them the game today and cost us the game yesterday,” Jayson Werth said.

“I don't remember a worse sun field, worse sun conditions. Left field in San Fran is tough, but this borders on ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything like it. You almost don’t have a chance out there as the game goes on.”

Not only was Werth one of the Nationals players who lost a ball in the sun in Sunday’s loss, it was he who hit the fly ball that Carlos Gomez lost in Monday’s 12-2 win. 

Werth stepped to the plate in the fourth inning to face Brewers starter Marco Estrada with Jordan Zimmermann on second and Kurt Suzuki on first. He popped a towering fly ball to center field where Gomez jogged in to get under it. Gomez sidestepped slowly before realizing he had lost it and ended up diving in a last attempt to catch the ball. Both men on base scored as the Nationals took a 4-1 lead.


The two-out rally continued as Bryce Harper walked to join Werth on base. After a double steal by Werth and Harper, Ryan Zimmerman crushed a three-run homer to right-center to blow open the game and give the Nationals an early sigh of relief against one of the league’s hottest teams.

“My guys feel it. There’s no doubt about it. The ballclub, we ran into a hot club. They’re swinging the bats awfully good,” Davey Johnson said.

“We needed to hold our own with them and we did. So it’s a good win to go on this road trip six days against a couple good ballclubs, too. I mean, they’re feeling it.”

The timing was good but so perhaps was the nature of the win. Nearly every player on the lineup card today contributed on offense and defense, even pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.

The Nats starter gave up one earned run in 6 2/3 innings of work, a solo home run by Corey Hart on the very first pitch of the second inning. After that he settled down and kept Milwaukee scoreless until he was hooked after his 106th pitch of the afternoon. He finished with four hits and two walks allowed with seven strikeouts.

On offense Zimmermann also pitched in by going two for three with a pair of singles. He led off the third inning with his first hit and knocked in the team’s second run with a two-out grounder up the middle in the fourth inning.

As a pitcher he is now 12-8 on the season with a 2.90 ERA through 189 1/3 innings.

“I was throwing the fastball for strikes and getting ahead. When I do that, I feel like I can control the game and throw what I want when I want. Tonight I was able to do that,” he said.

As a hitter he had two hits, a run, and an RBI.

“It’s awesome. Anytime I can get on base is good. I saw a curveball and hit it up the middle and the other one was a fastball or I don’t know, maybe a changeup I broke my bat on and blooped it out there.”

Zimmermann’s all-around day also just happened to come against his hometown team.

“It’s definitely good to beat the Brewers. Everyone back home was probably cheering for the Brewers, so hopefully I put ‘em in their place a little bit.”

As much as Zimmermann did for the team on Monday, it was Ryan Zimmerman who had the biggest impact. The Nationals’ third baseman also added an RBI in the eighth inning on a fly ball to right. Two runners scored on the play as Milwaukee’s Norichika Aoki made an error fielding the ball. Zimmerman had two runs on the day and now has 24 homers, 90 runs, and 93 RBI on the season.

Next up for the Nationals is a three game series with the Phillies, a team they will see in six of their final nine games. The magic number rests at five as Atlanta gets set to host the Miami Marlins. Winning the division has been their goal for quite some time and with each win they get one step closer.

“We’re getting close. We’ve just got to take it one game at a time and not try to look too far ahead. Just go to Philly and try to take care of business there and see what happens,” Zimmermann said.

NOTES: Ian Desmond stole his 20th base of the season in the fifth inning to become only the second Nats’ player to do so since the club moved to D.C. (Alfonso Soriano in 2006)… Eury Perez had his first major league hit in the ninth inning when he ran out an infield groundball.

68 comments:

JaneB said...

Milestone Game for Desi and Eury. Go Nats!

peric said...

Ian Desmond is now a 20/20 hitter.

MicheleS said...

Mark or Chase, when you get a chance.. can you find out how the Umps are picked for the Playoffs? Just wondering if it is on seniority or you know actually on Merit?

MicheleS said...

Mick from the last thread.. ON Eury..

It has a hard hit ball that the 1b bobbled a LITTLE, the Pitcher wasn't moving to fast to 1B (or at least not as fast as Eury). He beat it fair and square. Dugout was giving the scorer the stink eye when it was first called an error. Charlie & Dave were also squawking on the radio about it. It was changed (Eury got the ball - even the MIL Pitcher knew it was a hit. He tossed the ball over to the Nats dugout.)

Plus Eury was flying around the bases to score. I would love to see a race between Harper, Shark, and Eury to see who was the fastest.

MicheleS said...

Not sure if I can find the link, but NBC Sports did that show Caught Looking.. They did the Braves vs Nats. Good stuff on Ryan, Davey, Bryce.. most was Chipper, blah, Chipper, Braves, Blah blah blah.. I just skipped that stuff.

Gonat said...

peric said...
Ian Desmond is now a 20/20 hitter.

September 24, 2012 7:01 PM
___________________________________

Quite the accomplishment and less than 1/2 of what Alfonso Soriano did in 2006 which really gives you an idea of how great Soriano's 2006 season was. For good measure, Soriano also clubbed 40 doubles.

Positively Half St. said...

MicheleS-

It almost seems sometimes that Charlie and Dave hold some sway over the official scorer, but Charlie did say that he respects how the scorer in DC will make a call because he has to, and then takes his time right after to be sure he is right.

Of course, that might be a smoke screen. Charlie and Dave probably send their "overworked interns" to go work a little goon squad persuasion.

+1/2St.

MicheleS said...

+1/2 st.. Agree.. I do believe the "Interns" Run over to the scorer show him the replay and do what they can to ensure that the play is properly scored.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Mark or Chase, when you get a chance.. can you find out how the Umps are picked for the Playoffs? Just wondering if it is on seniority or you know actually on Merit?

September 24, 2012 7:03 PM
__________________________________

The World Series is merit based. I'm not sure how the playoffs are picked. I just hope Marvin Hudson and some of the other malcontents aren't part of the post-season.

Gonat said...

“You know, you gotta be lucky. We were lucky today. It really probably cost them the game today and cost us the game yesterday,” Jayson Werth said.
______________________________

Not sure I agree with Jayson. The Nats were up 2-1 when the sun got in Gomez's peepers and JZim was dealing. Maybe it cost them, maybe not and same with yesterday. Its a shame when that happened and the Nats got zapped twice yesterday and Brewers once today.

Gonat said...

A DC Wonk said...
It all happened when he accepted, embraced, and became, in my opinion, the best lead-off hitter in baseball right now.

Accepted it? He suggested it to Davey.

I'm glad you've changed your mind on this. Even though you won't admit that you have.

July 24: Werth is a bench bat...

July 29: Another case where the signing of Werth HURT and did not help... Werth == bench bat.

on July 30 you suggested that Werth might save himself from being a bench player by converting to catching.

Jul 31: Many other teams are dumping guys younger than Werth..." ... He doesn't do well under pressure as we observed last year.

Aug 12: As I said I bet that's the likely last Werth will see of CF he will be sitting more often

Wow -- google's got an amazing memory!


September 24, 2012 7:23 PM
_______________________________________

DC Wonk, this is great but it doesn't include all the bashing he & his other aliases did on WaPo and other blogs and early this season and last year.

A DC Wonk said...

From the end of last thread:

=================
Tuesda Sept 25@Phillie Detwiler
Wednesd Sept 26@Phillie Lannan
Thursda Sept 27@Phillie Gio Gonzalez
Friday Sept 28@StLouis Edwin Jackson
Saturda Sept 29@StLouis Wang or JZim
Sunday Sept 30@StLouis JZim or Wang
Monday Oct. 1 Phillie Detwiler
Tuesda Oct. 2 Phillie Lannan
Wed Oct. 3 Phillie Duke (?)

Thursday Oct. 4 Off-Day

Friday Oct. 5 WILD CARD TBD
Sat Oct. 6 3rd Div winner play @ 2nd Div Winner
Sunday Oct. 7 Best record team plays @ Wild Card


If this is correct -- how many days will it be between starts for Gio and JZim until Oct 6 or 7? Would it make sense to pitch Gio for, say, a 3 inning start on Sept 1 or 2 so as to keep his rhythm?

Sheesh -- it's been so long since a team that I've followed closely has been in post-season, that I can't remember how teams line up their starters for post-season in situations like this!!

Gonat said...

Wonk, that's a great question on Gio getting a tuneup in the Phillies games in DC but he would certainly get a side session. My schedule is based on the Nats clinching on or before October 1st.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Just back from a lovely suntan session along the right field line. Lovely, just lovely. Too bad Mr. Gomez couldn't share the good time with the rest of us.

Oh, did I need this laugher. I was breaking out the bourbon and Maalox at BREAKFAST, which is not the way to go. I got there (after fast-breaking out of some business) when it was 1-1. I was a basket case until the Sun Monster reared its lovely head. Zim's three-run homer finally allowed me to relax.

I am so much better with this game (and this curly W) in the books. Magic number 5 with 9 left. We can do this. It's a lock.

Oh, thank god.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Again, I'm late to the party. So busy typing I missed the bus and posted on the last thread after Mark had moved on. So, again, I will repost:

Burnett is not a FA, exactly. There's a mutual option for $3.5, which is pretty good money for a set-up guy, recently a LOOGY. And I don't think Burnett has any illusions about being a closer. The Nats will quickly pick up their half of the ticket.

Werth has not lost his power. First, his wrist is still mending, muscles down his arm rebuilding. Second, he is doing his job as a lead-off man, looking at a lot of pitches, hitting to the opposite field, etc. Next year he will be a 20+ HR guy, again.

I think Peric has part of the story right. I don't think Werth agreed with Riggelman that he was a L/O hitter. And in that lineup last year, he might really have helped more as the #5, except that he was having a really lousy year. Mostly I think Werth disagreed w/ Riggelman moving him all over the lineup. I think he hit everywhere from 1 to 7. (Might even have batted 8th once.) He was probably telling everybody who would listen -- Rizzo and up included -- "Put me in one damn place and leave me there!"

This is the year of Davey Johnson, where everyone knows his role, everyone has his place in the batting order, everyone stays there, Werth is doing great, LaRoche and Desmond are having career years, Espinosa has seen the light.

Gonat said...

"Davey has been real nice to have around for me, personally. He always believed in me," Desmond said. "When we came in during Spring Training, he said 'You are going to play every single day. I don't care what you do. You are out there, you are my shortstop. No matter what.'

"To me that was like getting a multi-year contract. That's all I needed was someone's word to say, 'Hey, you are the guy.' The audition kind of went away. Now it's like go out and play your game. He believes in you, you go out and perform, and just play the game the way you know how."

NatsLady said...

Was the prez at the game today, or just a fly-under? I was working and only heard a snippet.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo, I have been a Werth guy for years and while I agree he will regain power Like we saw in ST this year, I think 15 HRs is his ceiling for next season. I think his new role of shortening his swing in 2 strike counts will cost him in his power numbers.

His OBP is off the charts!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

DC Wonk, great research on the 50 Shades of Grey glasses for Peric.

Gonat said...

NatsLady, looked like the Prez heli's were headed to Andrews.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady.. The Helicopters went over. C&D made a crack about how it happens all the time around here.

Gonat said...

MLB Network reporting Drew Storen is the Nats new closer.

Gonat said...

MicheleS, you owe me another beer!

Theophilus T. S. said...

Wonk --

Interesting pitching lineup. Assuming Nats (A) win division and (B) have best record (hard to determine in advance), and (C) Johnson intends to go w/ G. Gonzalez in Game 1 of NLDS, I almost think Zimmermann should start September 29 in St. Louis and October 3 against the Phillies on three days rest.

Otherwise, he would be starting October 8 on 8 or 9 days rest, which -- given his complaints about being too rested -- could be disastrous.

Probably better to let everybody get as much rest as possible and let the chips fall where they may -- but the wheels within wheels are turning.

MicheleS said...

Dang Gonat! Add it to the tab.

On Gio/Jordan schedule, can't remember where I heard this (if it was from Phil on the Postgame or on MLB somewhere) but speculated that DJ might do a 3 inning outing for Gio just to keep him loose.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Ghost --

I guess things could be shuffled around in the off-season depending on what happens w/ LaRoche and Morse but if everyone comes back . . ., Werth could be hitting ahead of a .285, 25-30 HR, <100K Harper. And he could have a lot more opportunities to swing from his heels without hurting his OBP.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo, JZim will pitch a side session in between the Cards game and his scheduled day in the playoffs.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo, I expect Harp to be even better next year in that 30/30 club.

MicheleS said...

I would also like to know which member of the Legion of Doom called into Phil's Nats Talk program after the game. Person predicted that the Braves would win out and the Nats would be the wild card. It nearly caused a pile up on the GW Pkwy. You could see all the Nats fans on the parkway screaming.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Ghost --

Will concede your point re Z'mann side session for now. But a part of me is concerned about so much time, for both G. Gonzalez and Z'mann, between facing live hitters. Jackson not so much because, his last start notwithstanding, I don't expect much from him anyway.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo, Davey and McCatty will figure it out. They may have him face live pitching behind a L Screen.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS, probably just a disgruntled Orioles dbagger calling in.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Before last post re Werth/Harper, I decided 30 HR for Harper was possible but not a safe prediction. So I fudged. I foresee some further maturation before he gets "full power." His doubles nos. suggest that, right now, he's "all or nothing," especially since a number of them are legged out, not ripped into the gaps and corners. But Steve's Ghost may be right.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Be easy on the Oreos fans. They've suffered a long time. I've been watching the Os-Jays DH and find myself rooting for the Os. I hate the Yankees more than Angelos -- they've been in business about 95 years longer. I hate every Yankees fan I've ever encountered, not just Jeffrey Maier. I was an Os fan from at least '66 when they thumped the Dodgers, and while the Tigers su...d. And was a partial season ticket holder from '91-'98. And I like some of the players, including Markakis, Wieters, Roberts (I know he probably won't play again this year), although I also can't stand Mark Reynolds (same reason I didn't like Adam Dunn so much). So I hope they beat the Yankees, that Angelos gets screwed on the Nats TV deal, and that we figure out another way to punish them next year.

Gonat said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
But Steve's Ghost may be right.

September 24, 2012 8:38 PM
_________________________________

I tend to think Harp will be a more powerful version of Trout without all the SBs. I think a 30 HR guy for sure, just not sure he will see 30 steals in the 2 hole.

MicheleS said...

Well considering it was an older man that was calling in, It was probably Angelos!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS, probably right. it wouldn't surprise me. Or Gary Thorne.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theo/Gonat, good point. 30/20 is a more conservative projection but Harp is an over achiever.

Theo, I spent many days in Memorial Stadium and love the players if the 60's to 80's and while I don't respect the evil empire, nobody is worse than Angelos. He is a despicable person capable of almost anything.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I like the Ravens. I like the Redskins more. When Angeloser sells, they will be my #2 but until then I'm a Rays fan in the AL East and the Angels in the AL West.

Gonat said...

Did you notice #11 for the Oreos pulls off the HR hitters helmet like Desi does for the Nats?

Interesting...

Gonat said...

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/20351991/nationals-johnson-will-sit-regulars-after-clinch

sjm308 said...

If Espinosa improves on the same level that Desmond did this year our lineup will be nuts next year. Werth is obviously crushing the #1 spot and Harper will just continue to improve.

I asked this at the game, even as he was striking out his first two at bats. Who is a better shortstop in the National League than Desmond? Or maybe I should ask, would you take any other shortstop if you were starting a team? There might be one but I am blanking on him if there is.

Go Nats!!

Candide said...

Ray was commenting on yesterday's post-game show that there used to be a company that made sunglasses that were very effective in blocking out the sun; he said you could see the ball even if you were looking directly into the sun - the ball was the darker circle. But the company evidently went out of business. I googled "darkest sunglasses" today, and saw several claims that Oakley (they make ski goggles, among other things) make the darkest sunglasses around today. So why aren't players wearing them, instead of those red-orange things that probably make the world look like it's on fire?

Gonat said...

sjm, a healthy Tulowitzki is the only one over Desi in the NL.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Blanking? Oh . . ..

Just saw Machado (on TV) for the first time. He looks like a high-schooler. God, what a swing.

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. that "healthy" comment is the key. How many leg muscle injuries this year? Groin or Hammy? Not good for his base running abilities

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sjm, I wouldn't even take Tulo as he can't stay healthy.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I've heard that Oakleys are the glasses of choice in the major leagues. At some point the darkest, most-polarized glasses in the world won't do you any good. When the ball passes the face of the sun, you've gotta you can pick it up when it comes out, or there's nothing you can do.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Tulowitzki is closer to Ripken's size but I think it makes him more injury prone than durable. This is the third year he's had injury issues. I don't think he has Desmond's range and I'm suspicious of any hitter's nos. in Coors Field at 5,000 ft AMSL.

Candide said...

Theophilus T. S. said...At some point the darkest, most-polarized glasses in the world won't do you any good.

That's not true.

Drew said...

I get Davey's idea of resting the regulars once they've clinched the division title.

That said, I'd hate to see the guys miss out on some gaudy milestones. Zim is seven RBIs from his third season with 100.

I think Harper already is the first teenager ever with 50 extra base hits (23 doubles, 8 triples, 19 homers.) I'd love to see him add the record for runs scored.

Harper has scored 91 runs. I think the Nats' Buddy Lewis set the record by scoring 100 at 19.

Drew said...

Here's an eye-opener. I wondered whether Harper's 8 triples were the record for a teenager.

Cobb, Mantle and Yount had 5.

At 19, the Nats' Buddy Lewis had 13 triples in 1936.

MicheleS said...

Baseball Tonight is going to replay the Teddy Losing story.. On ESPN2

A DC Wonk said...

You know, I actually tried to call into Phil's program. I missed the phone # when he first said it. Then I sat in the car in the driveway, listening -- and after he went into the second or third commercial break without saying the number again (hello?), I gave up waiting, and went into the house.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

DC Wonk, great research on the 50 Shades of Grey glasses for Peric.

Thanks Ghost. ;-)

Gonat said...

"Davey has been real nice to have around for me, personally. He always believed in me,"


Frankly -- this is another reason why we should all love Davey. Face it -- he can see talent, and he supports it, and sticks with it. How many folks here were screaming to sit Desi down, move Espi to short, and Lombo to second? Then, later: how many wanted to sit Espi down and insert Lombo. How many questioned Davey's sense that Lombo and the Shark would be better as part timers? How many questioned Davey's commitment to Morse, knowing that when his "May-spring-training" was done, he'd be a slugger again?

Davey's just an awesome manager. He knows how to manage players (as well as managing a pitching staff, in-game strategy, etc.). After all, he's now managed five teams, and with every single one he's gotten them to the playoffs in the first or second year (except the Mets -- they won 98 the second year, didn't make it, but won the WS the next year). And every one of those teams was a below-.500 before he arrived.

Gonat said...

Speaking of Adam Dunn, he is carrying his team on his back tonight. 2 HRs tonight and 4 RBIs.

Eugene in Oregon said...

For West Coast Nats fans (I know there are a few of us who frequent this blog):

The SF Giants are holding a lottery for the right to buy any playoff tickets that their STHs don't purchase. To enter, you have to go to:

http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/ticketing/postseasonopp_form.jsp?partnerId=ed-6464535-399767770

You don't have to put down a deposit (or give your credit card number), but it appears they'll expect you to purchase any NLDS tickets you 'win' within a few days of the drawing (which seems to be tomorrow). The drawing for the NLCS is later in the week, again with a quick (although unspecified) turn-around time for purchase.

I went ahead and put my name in, figuring it can't hurt. If I should win the right to buy a ticket or two, I'll do the math (i.e., odds of Nats playing SF, odds of selling tix on secondary market for a profit if Nats don't play SF, etc.) and figure out what to do. Just wanted to give other West Coasters the same opportunity...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

41st HR for Dunn and that last HR was a 3 run jack to put them ahead in the 8th and to keep pace with Detroit who won. He was in a 0-2 count with 2 outs.

Impressive.

ehay2k said...

Wonk, nice post. I was skeptical about Davey at first - he'd been away from baseball a while and I wondered if he would still have the passion for the game, the stamina for the season, and the ability to develop players. So, I guess we won the trifecta!

Was at the game today with a bunch of friends and colleagues. More people than I thought there would be. I think the concession stands thought the same thing, given the line I stood in.

Good to see the Nats bats come alive - but I also wish they could hit a bit more consistently. I know, that's just baseball, but still.

Lastly, the arc of the sun now is really causing problems for the fielders. I don't remember that from past years, but perhaps we didn't have as many day games at home this time last year? I haven't seen anyone talk about the shadows affecting the hitters, but late in the game the pitcher was in the sun, and the pitch sent the ball through a wide shadow, then a narrow band of sun, then the spotty shadow created by the stadium lights, then finally through a narrow band of sunlight before getting to the hitter. Must have looked like the ball was in a strobe-lit tunnel!

Five. Amazing just to type that.

GYFNG!

Gonat said...

Great points on Davey and player development. I don't think the media outside of DC understand his impact.

Probably every player but Zim and the catchers have benefited by Davey's one on one approach and the ones that didn't show improvement, they are sitting at home or playing in SanFran if you know what I mean.

NatsLady said...

They talked about the shadows a lot when we had those 4:05 starts over the summer because of TV Players hate that start time (in addition to the heat).

peric said...

Quite the accomplishment and less than 1/2 of what Alfonso Soriano did in 2006 which really gives you an idea of how great Soriano's 2006 season was. For good measure, Soriano also clubbed 40 doubles.

As the Nat's very effective POWER "larry lead-off" hitter. He never repeated but he his fielding has improved and he's averaged over 20 homers in the succeeding years with the Cubs.

peric said...

I get Davey's idea of resting the regulars once they've clinched the division title.

So far that has RARELY included Harper because he hates not playing, he's 19 and needs the experience and practice, and I genuinely think that Davey, and the entire team enjoys watching him play even when he goofs up. They all had a part in raising him as it were I suppose ...

peric said...

Best shortstop? I don't think its the right question?

Rizzo isn't building this team around a Cal Ripken or Barry Larkin. Its more of an ensemble of talent that works in unison. It used to be the left-side of the infield is the key ... but now we can see what a truly athletic, balls to the wall infield is like. And its night and day compared to the recent past.

Its why I think Zimmerman ends up at first base with Rendon at third. That would have to be the most talented and athletic ensemble infield in major league baseball taking defense, range, talent + potential and offense all into account.

Section 222 said...

I think the Braves magic number to clinch a WC spot is now 1.

Another_Sam said...

Regarding Zimmerman and 100RBIs: I know that 100 is the standard. That's what Jim Lemon hit in I think 1959, his best year. He hit 33 HRs that year. My childhood hero. That's how long it's been for this long suffering fan of Washington baseball. I'm still stunned. Thank you Nationals.

Expos4Ever said...

The good: Nats in Philly means the games are on TV!!!

The bad: I have to listen to their annoying announcers

The good: I don't have to listen to them on Thursday because I'm going to the game!

SteveRep said...

If they're the top seed, Tuesday/Wednesday starts would be on-rest with Sunday (Gm 1)/Monday (Gm 2).

Pappy said...

I wonder if our just knowing, and being familiar with, this sun issue could give us any sort of home-field advantage. What I don't know is if we could find a solution for it before then, or if any post-season games would be day games (I guess weekends, right)?

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