Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 4, Phillies 2

Associated Press photo
Tom Gorzelanny allowed one run in a 3 2/3-inning spot start for the Nationals.
Game in a nutshell: After clinching the NL East title last night, Davey Johnson decided to rest nearly every regular and fielded a lineup more reminiscent of a split-squad Grapefruit League game than an early October game for a pennant contender. He also sat Gio Gonzalez and turned to his bullpen to churn out nine innings. And you know what? The Nationals still managed to win their 97th game of the season. That puts them on the precipice of clinching the best record in the NL and the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. If the Reds lose to the Cardinals tonight, that race will be over. Otherwise, the Nationals will merely need to win tomorrow's season finale (or have the Reds lose) to ensure an NLDS showdown with the winner of Friday night's Wild Card game.

Hitting highlight: He's been Mr. Consistent all season for the Nationals, and in possibly his final game of the regular season -- if he's given tomorrow off -- Adam LaRoche delivered once again. The veteran first baseman drew a walk in the second, doubled and scored in the fourth and belted the go-ahead homer in the sixth. That was LaRoche's 33rd home run of the season (his new career-high) and produced his 100th RBI (matching his career-high). That blast drew a curtain call from the crowd of 33,546, which later serenaded LaRoche with chants of "MVP! MVP!" He won't be taking home any hardware this winter, but the mere fact it's mentioned is testament to his importance on this team all season.

Pitching highlight: By choosing to rest Gonzalez in advance of Game 1 of the NLDS, Johnson was left to use Johnny Wholestaff to pitch this game. First up was Tom Gorzelanny, making his first start since July 23, 2011. The lefty delivered a solid performance, allowing one run over a 3 2/3 innings while throwing 65 pitches. Gorzelanny probably has the most thankless job on the pitching staff, but he's quietly done yeoman's work, posting a 2.88 ERA in 45 appearances. His bullpen mates picked up right where he left off, with Christian Garcia, Zach Duke and Ryan Mattheus combining to toss 3 1/3 scoreless innings and set things up for the back end of the relief corps. Tyler Clippard did serve up a homer to brand-new Nat killer Darin Ruf, but Drew Storen closed out the ninth to cap a collective victory for the Nationals pitching staff.

Key stat: With a fifth-inning base hit to right, Bryce Harper raised his batting average to .270. That's up 22 points over his last 33 games.

Up next: Game 162 tomorrow afternoon starts at 1:05 p.m., with Edwin Jackson squaring off against Cliff Lee. Thus will conclude the Nationals' eighth regular season ... and commence their first-ever postseason.

34 comments:

baseballswami said...

Even though we clinched last night, this win and another Barves loss are good things. I did not want to finish with them only one game behind us. 97 wins. That is really something !

MicheleS said...

This is really nice...

MicheleS said...

I love DeRo, you know, in a goon squad sort of way.

baseballswami said...

He is pretty much done playing - you heard him, he knows it. I really hope the Nats offer him a coaching position.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

MicheleS, I was just making the exact same comment to a friend.

Cwj said...

So the Nats didn't take the "back door" after-all, they won it "outright"!
I'm just kidding of course. :D

What the heck, lets see them win their 98th tomorrow.
What a simply amazing season. Aren't you all excited or what?
Go Nats!!!

NatsLady said...

They are playing extra baseball in Miami. Not sure why. Reminds me of those 15-inning games on the last day of the season with Riggleman.

Secret wasian man said...

Extras in ny with the Yankees

Secret wasian man said...

Just disgusted with the playoff setup this year. Ughhhh. Bud Zelig for whitehouse intern.

SCNatsFan said...

Good to see Duke battle back for a MLB win

Dave said...

Great to see a good Nats win with the Good Squad in force. I sort of wish I was there tonight--but I've been very sleepy all day after being there last night for the Clinch Party.

Got my post-season strip tickets at UPS this evening and have them all sorted out for all my partners. I drew game #1 of the Division Series, so I'm psyched for some October baseball next week!

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, Adam! Atta way, Gorzo!

Great clubhouse interview with DeRo in the postgame. For some reason, I got a little misty when he talked about his role and referred to himself as a past-his-prime player. Does seems like he'd be a good coach down the road. Heck, it sounds like he's doing that now for some of our guys.

Last night was catching up with me today, too, Dave. I plan to be out there tomorrow to say goodbye to our guys for just a while. :-)

natsfan1a said...

Oh yeah, Johnny Wholestaff was awesome. Maybe they should lock him up for next season. Just a thought. At least put him on the postseason roster. ;-)

JaneB said...

Soooo....I know we've been over and over this. But remind me. If we win and so do the Reds, we still get home field advantage because we won more games with THEM than they did. Is that right? So we get Atlanta and not SF. I was just curious about the text that said we had to win and they had to lose for us to ensure we play the wild card team. I thought, in the event of a tied overall record, we were still better than the Reds due to our results playing the Reds -- not in terms of a record, but in terms of seeding.

It was so much simpler when we were done on the last day of the season. But so much sadder and MUCH less festive, too.

NatsLady said...

James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP
Davey Johnson again seemed unconcerned about the top seed now. Players, too. Davey wants Edwin Jackson to get win No. 10.

JaneB said...

Oh, I hope Edwin can get the tenth win!

SCNatsFan said...

JaneB, if we tie with the Reds then we win because of the better head to head this year.

GinaG said...

The last sentence says it all for me...
"Thus will conclude the Nationals' eighth regular season ... and commence their first-ever postseason."

Come on...who'd have thunk it a couple of years ago when we were languishing at the bottom of the pit? I couldn't be happier!

natsfan1a said...

NatsLady, seeing as how you're reading Twitter tea leaves, he also said it would be nice not to travel cross-country.

Section 222 said...

Jane, in order to clinch No. 1 seed tonight they had to lose and we had to win. The Magic No. was 2. Now it's 1, so a Reds loss or a Nats win clinches the No. 1 seed. If they hold on tonight and we both win or both lose tomorrow, we get the No. 1 seed based on the tiebreaker, which in this case is the season series.

I want to pause and recognize the return of "Instant Analysis." Glad it wasn't gone forever. Thanks Mark.

PIcked up my strips from UPS today too. What a moment. And back in April, such a moment was almost unthinkable.

peric said...

Can Bryce Harper steal two more bases tomorrow night? That just might cement the ROY for him. Next year he'll be shooting for MVP and it does seem as if he'll get a lot of help from his whole team to get there.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Somewhat off-topic, but I note that Fredi is bringing out that rusted-out 1977 Olds Cutlass for his regular-season finale against the Bucs.
Yes, folks, Ben Sheets (4-4) is slated to start Wednesday. Now, I KNOW that game is meaningless.

I am so tired of the Barves, Fredi, the chop, Chipper, DUH-Uggla, and all the rest.

C'mon, Cardinals or LA or whoever, punch out this club on Friday.

Oldguy said...

In the postgame Phil said Bam Bam is sitting tom0rrow.

SonnyG10 said...

When this game tonight started, I wasn't too concerned whether we won or not. But as we took the lead, I thought 97 wins just sounds a lot nicer than 96 wins. 97 or 98 wins is just an awesome year. I am going to be happy, no matter what happens next.

peric said...

In the postgame Phil said Bam Bam is sitting tom0rrow.

Davey announces it then he ends up playing. Davey hates being pestered to death in the dugout. He'll play and Phil will look silly as he so often does.

Joe Seamhead said...

I like Phil. Wish he was on post game for two hours. Meanwhile Davey Johnson said that Bryce would not start today's finale.

sjm308 said...

How can you not like anyone who ends each broadcast with "Eddie Yost". I saw him on the elevator at the park one night and let him know that Eddie had been my favorite ballplayer growing up. We chatted and I also let him know I was devistated as a 10 year old to find out he smoked. Phil just casually said, oh, he quit about 12 years ago. Man is a walking piece of Senator/Nationals knowledge.

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree, sjm. Like I said, i wish that he was on the air longer, and more often. He is refreshing these days in comparison to the very loud, and often juvenile, sports media personalities that permeate the air waves today.And as you noted, his Senators/Nationals knowledge is unsurpassed, even by the esteemed participants of Nationals Insiders.

Dave said...

Here's another vote in favor of Phil Wood. His knowledge is very wide-ranging, yet he is humble. I have never understood what people have against him.

And his orchestration of the throwback day against the Giants in July was a work of genius.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Funny how Phil can look silly reporting what wr all heard Davey say. "I'll rest both Bryce and Adam tomorrow against the left hander (Lee)."

m20832 said...

The Goon Squad will Ride Again One More Time!!!

GYFNG!!!!!!

m20832 said...

Or is it: GYFNGSG!!!!?

Raise the Jolly Scooter said...

Yay! Instant analysis! I did miss it.

Dave said...

+1, Sunshine Bobby at 11:18 last night. I am very much over the goodbye-to-Chipper-hand-chop show. Very tedious.

I'm sure the Cardinals won't be a pushover, but Gio's CG shutout was against the Cards, so...

Go Cards. Beat the Barves.

And I'm certainly a Cardinals fan today, because I want to see the Nats get the Z.

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