Friday, October 12, 2012

Nats confident in "our guy" for Game 5

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez hopes to harness his emotions -- and command -- tonight in Game 5.
After their blowout loss in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, multiple Nationals players mentioned how significant a win in Game 4 would be, not only because of the obvious staving off of elimination but because it would allow them to get the ball back in their ace's hand for a decisive Game 5.

"If we win one game," Ryan Zimmerman said, "we have a good chance with our guy on the mound."

"Our guy," of course, is Gio Gonzalez, who now gets a chance to start the final game of this taut series against the Cardinals, erase the memory of his shaky Game 1 outing and propel the Nationals to a date with the Giants in the National League Championship Series.

Members of the organization have been referring to Gonzalez as "our guy" and "our ace" for weeks now, even before Stephen Strasburg was shut down in early-September and putting the onus on the left-hander to lead this pitching staff down the stretch and into the postseason.

And for good reason. No team in baseball was more successful with one starter on the mound this year than the Nationals were with Gonzalez. His 21 wins led the majors, but so did the 24-8 record this team posted in games started by Gonzalez.

They even managed to win Game 1 of this series despite their No. 1 starter's stunning loss of command: seven walks issued in five innings.

Gonzalez has chosen to focus not on the negative from that outing but the positive: the fact he was able to cobble together five innings and allow only two runs to score, keeping his team in the game.

"When you look at it, all said and done, seven walks, yeah, but you have five innings and two earned runs to a team that their starting pitcher went 5 2/3 and gave up one," he said. "It was a good battle between two pitchers. You find the strike zone, some way, somehow. It was my first postseason game. No excuses. But the way I see it is, playing in someone else's house, pretty rowdy, it's pretty exciting. You catch yourself at the moment, take a step back and take a deep breath and try to find it again."

The Nationals must hope Gonzalez is able to find "it" tonight and extend an already remarkable season at least another week.

58 comments:

Scooter said...

I'm confident too.

We're gonna win.

Section 222 said...

Wonk, thanks for posting that SI link. It's a great article about the Nats and the whole game, in addition to breaking down Werth's at bat. Nice piece of writing.

Section 222 said...

A-Rod benched for Game 5. Wow.

natsfan1a said...

Mark, did you cc this one to Rosenthal? ;-)

Go, GIO!! Go, NATS!!

SonnyG10 said...

Let's go Gio! He will have better command than in his first game and shut the Cards down. Our offence is due to come alive, so I'm expecting to put the Cards away tonight.

I don't like the Yankees, but I don't want to see the Orioles go farther than the Nats, so I hope the Yankees win tonight.

RickH said...

If you guys keep posting new stories, I won't even be able to PRETEND to be working!

Kirbs said...

Not to Jinx anything-but i dont believe bad Gio has ever showed up two games in a row. Now, if A-Rod can be benched, why cant Danny?

Section 222 said...

One good link deserves another: Joe Posnanski on Davey Johnson. That guy can write too.

Section 222 said...

Now, if A-Rod can be benched, why cant Danny?

Because that's just not the way Davey rolls.

Section 222 said...

Now this is very cool. If you were there last night, you can find yourself (and tag yourself if you're on Facebook).

Unless you were off getting a beer or something...

http://www.mlb.com/photos/gigapan/?gpId=fc0b2fd5d6882342e3bb7c21397264a2&c_id=was&partnerId=aw-5282459659376205660-1047

JaneB said...

SonnyG , sounds like you think we won't win. ;-)\

I totally trust Gio to be great tonight. We need a few bats to heat up -- it's the offense that is going to win it for us.
Counting the minutes until I can reasonably leave for the stadium without looking like the Nats equivalent of a Cat Lady. I figure: 73 more to go, given that it's rush hour,

Section 222 said...

You can see Mark, Chase, Amanda, and many other members of the press corp as well.

peric said...

Uh Kirbs? Danny isn't 50 years olld and washed up. He still has one of the highest ceilings in baseball.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I should not have come to work today. Pointless!

JaneB said...

Faraz, I hope you've planned next week better, in that case.

MicheleS said...

So off to pick up the degenerate nephew. Hopefully he hasn't done anything to get grounded in the last 24 hours

Joe Seamhead said...

I think we're just going to go ahead and head to the stadium now.
3:05 p.m.

Scooter said...

Nice, Triple-Deuce! I have found myself, and I didn't even have to chant or anything.

Scooter said...

Seamhead! Come to 312!

A DC Wonk said...

I've often wondered why pitchers don't figure, after four or five straight foul balls to the same batter, "Yeesh, I can't strike him out and I can't make him put it into play. I'd better simply walk the guy before I make a mistake and hang one for him.

As noted above: some do. But, not only would it have been a leadoff walk, but a leadoff walk with Harper-Zim-LaRoche to follow.

I forget who it is that said it, but some announcer said his favorite stats on Jim Palmer was that he had a handfull of bases-load walks, but never once in his career did he allow a grand slam.

Scooter said...

Also:

We're gonna win.

A DC Wonk said...

Now, if A-Rod can be benched, why cant Danny?

We've been through this how many times in the last 9 hours?

Because Danny contributes twice a much in the field compared to what he subtracts at bat. (Or, at least that's what the stats say).

But, I gotta say: I admire Girardi for making that decision

NatsLady said...

I'm dressing in layers for a baseball game. That says it all. Later, folks (might not make it to 312 in time...).

A DC Wonk said...

Section 222 said...

Now this is very cool. If you were there last night, you can find yourself (and tag yourself if you're on Facebook).

Unless you were off getting a beer or something...

http://www.mlb.com/photos/gigapan/?gpId=fc0b2fd5d6882342e3bb7c21397264a2&c_id=was&partnerId=aw-5282459659376205660-1047


Wow!! How cool! There are me and Mrs Wonk sitting right there!

I don't have Facebook, but at some point we'll figure out how to tag ourselves/her and then somehow communicate it to others.

Theophilus T. S. said...

The question is, what is Girardi gonna do w/ A-Rod next season?

A DC Wonk said...

http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2012/10/washington-baltimore-players-used-to.html

Thanks, 222, for the link! Joe Pos is one of the greatest current sportswriters, for any/all sports (but particularly baseball).

He says it all. I've been a Davey fan since day one (i.e., in the early 1980's). Davey's a rare case of someone who's a genius at stats, strategy, and managing _people_.

A number of folks criticized Davey mightily after the 9-0 win turned to a 10-9 loss and took the blame. Folks here agreed with the blame. Pos correctly notes that Davey was just taking the heat off the players. (And folks think Davey has too big an ego? Hah)

Pos also points something out that I noted last summer when Davey first got hired and some critics here noted he was a one-trick poney: the Davey manages the team he has and is not locked into any style, and cited the Reds leading the league in stolen bases as an example. Davey had a fast team, so he used it. If he has sluggers, he plays long ball. And so forth.

I'm so happy Davey got another shot at managing, so that folks will think of him come Hall of Fame time -- Davey deserves it. All he does is win over his players, and win ball games.

Scooter said...

Hear hear, Whonk.

Posnanski and D Johnson are two of my favorites. (Poz does profiles like nobody's business.) I loved reading that column.

Steady Eddie said...

Gio will be solid Gio at home tonight.

It's the hitters who need to remember their last home outing against Wainwright.

Reposted from Detweiler dominates" thread @ 12:07 --
FOR TODAY:
Just looked back at the play-by-play from the August 31 Gio vs. Wainwright game here at Nats Park. We won 10-0 and apart from our last two runs scored on a Zim dinger in garbage time, every one of our other runs (eight) was driven in on a single. And we knocked Wainwright out after only 2 2/3 innings on 7 singles, 2 doubles (tho one, by Werth, was stranded), and 3 walks.
Check it out (sorry for the non-embedded link):
http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_08_31_slnmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=was#gid=2012_08_31_slnmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=plays

I hope our hitters take a lesson from that and take what Wainwright makes available, NOT what several of them seem to have in their minds when they come up to the plate.

Think of that -- we scored 8 runs (6 vs Wainwright), ALL on RBI singles.


Plus, they ain't all as capable and determined as Werth was last night in repeatedly fouling off tough pitches until they get one to drive or even just get a hit on. Even Werth has a hard time being Werth last night in the ninth.

Feel Wood said...

Thanks, 222, for the link! Joe Pos is one of the greatest current sportswriters, for any/all sports (but particularly baseball).

He says it all.


He says too much. I've tried reading him, but by the second paragraph he's off on one of his tangents and I'm saying to myself what's the point? So now if I see his byline I just pass it by.

Anyone care to provide an executive summary of his article today?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gio once again gets to show why he is considered by many to be the best pitcher for the National League.

Steady Eddie said...

Wonk -- that Facebook tagoramic thing IS very cool. Except there's a guy in front of me who's mostly in front of me. Oh well.

But I have a conundrum to pose. Look at the strip scoreboards (1st and 3rd base lines). They show Lombo at bat and Lohse pitching in the bottom of the sixth.

So why are the Nats clearly in the field, with Det pitching to Molina as the third (out of five) batters in the top of the sixth, who was about to hit into the almost-DP? Clearly the pictures of the two strip scoreboards were taken at the same time, with a 2-2 count on Lombo. I imagine there's some technical explanation, but it's weird.

rogieshan said...

Kirbs said, " Now, if A-Rod can be benched, why cant Danny?"

It's a legitimate question. I would even include Harper in that debate.

Section 222 said, "Because that's just not the way Davey rolls."

That is 100% correct. End of debate.

A DC Wonk said, "Because Danny contributes twice a much in the field compared to what he subtracts at bat. (Or, at least that's what the stats say)."

Well, yes and no, at least based on we've witnessed in this series. His defense has been near flawless, but his lack of offense has unquestionably hurt the team. I could accept that argument if we were talking about Kurt Suzuki hitting in the 8th hole and catching.



Mac Guire said...

"Danny isn't 50 years olld and washed up. He still has one of the highest ceilings in baseball."

The most ridiculous comment I have ever heard in my life. Not just one of the most. the very most. Wow.

Feel Wood said...

So why are the Nats clearly in the field, with Det pitching to Molina as the third (out of five) batters in the top of the sixth, who was about to hit into the almost-DP? Clearly the pictures of the two strip scoreboards were taken at the same time, with a 2-2 count on Lombo. I imagine there's some technical explanation, but it's weird

Read the fine print under the photo.

Panoramic image from the NLDS game four between the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, DC on October 11, 2012. The final image was made by combining 275 overlapping photos taken in a grid pattern (25 across by 11 down) during a 36-minute period spanning the fifth and sixth innings. The final hi-res file is 78,394 x 23,872 pixels or 1,871 megapixels. Photos by David Bergman.

There could easily be a case of the same person showing up twice in this photo, such as if they got up right after their section was photographed and walked over to another section to talk with a friend while that section was being photographed.

baseballswami said...

All the focus on Gio -- the offense needs to get cooking against Wainright. They have done it before, they need to remember how they did it.Facing the same team five times in a row is strange. I guess everyone has the scouting reports memorized.

sm13 said...

Game 5 and the NL Cy Young winner on the mound. That's Nattitude!

Scooter said...

Steady Eddie, I'm guessing that the big picture is a whole bunch of smaller pictures stitched together. (That's how they got all the faces to be in focus.)

Steady Eddie said...

Feel Wood -- thanks for reading the fine print. I generally only do that when I'm signing a contract. ;-)

swami -- take a look at my 3:58 post just above. The hitters succeeded against Wainwright a month ago by taking what he gave them, not by trying to do things that his pitches wouldn't allow.

peric said...

And mac guire? Bandwagon dude? Its thevtruth. A-rod is old just like I-Rod idiot. He's gone were it not for rge contract. As it us he is benched.

Bandwagon morons worthwhile to buy tickets abs rgat is all.

Steady Eddie said...

Scooter -- as Feel Wood wrote also, I figured it was probably something like that (there are areas where lots of people aren't paying attention, maybe between innings or ABs). It was just weird that the two strip scoreboards in widely different areas of the picture were taken at the same moment. Maybe the "unpopulated" parts of the picture were taken in a very few shots for structure and the "populated" parts were taken seriatim.

Makes it a little bit surreal, though.

baseballswami said...

Steady Eddie - hope they do the same thing tonight. You know, I think that the Nats and their fans are developing their own personality at long last. The Morse and Werth walk up music seem to work. The wave does not. The Teddy speech has become wildly popular with everyone immediately. Teddy losing is not. This season things have really started to come together and I hope it keeps growing. It's been just so much fun. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home in NOVA and random people were wearing their gear, had their cars decked out and were approaching each other in the store and the parking lot to chat about yesterday's game, are you going?, can't wait for tonight, etc. It was really cool. I needed to purchase additional alcohol as yesterday I almost hyperventilated.

peric said...

Good to hear since Snyder is Angelos the younger.

Scooter said...

I can see how the apparent time paradox would throw you off, Eddie, notwithstanding how steady you are.

And in case you were wondering: we're gonna win.

Steady Eddie said...

Oh, Scooter, I'm actually kind of into surreal. As I get older, as long as I'm sitting down.

baseballswami said...

You know, I think Jordan's annihilation of the Cards hitters in the seventh took less time than Jayson's at bat. He works fast anyway - that was just murderous. I know JDub went six minutes. JZim did not throw many pitches. As for tonight, 3 and a half hours now, some of our hitters have been ice cold, but you just know that they are still dangerous and any one of them can hurt you at any time. I kind of hope the cards get complacent. I would love to see the bats early in the game. But I know that's probably not how we will roll. For some reason there has to be torture involved. It looks pretty windy out there - ah, October baseball. I wonder which way the wind is blowing at the park?

NatsLady said...

I think A-Rod can still field, just not hit. But they had used him as a DH (not an alternative open to Davey), moved him down in the order, etc. Personally, I think it was win-win for Girardi. If he pulls A-Rod he's a hero, especially if the replacement produces. If he doesn't, well, who could blame him?

Feel Wood said...

It was just weird that the two strip scoreboards in widely different areas of the picture were taken at the same moment.

The information displayed on the strip scoreboards doesn't change very fast. The scoreboards are also on the same level. A camera could have panned from one end of the stadium to the other on that level in 30 seconds to a minute, shooting all the way, and caught the same info off both boards.

Pappy said...

I really wanna see Bryce turn it on tonight. I wanna see him take a page from his mentor JWerth. Stare down the pitcher. Foul off 3, 4, 5 balls. Then lace one down the line and eke out a triple, ...just because he can.

Go Nats!

JT said...

I hope the payoff for J Dubs bomb pays off tonight in a game 5 curly W and we go on to downsize the Giants in I don't care how many games it takes. GO NATS!!!!! NATITUDE

baseballswami said...

Ok, so in preparation for the game tonight I am watching highlights from yesterday on DVR. I timed Jordan 's top of 7---- four minutes and that is real time. Three batters. Yowza!

Steady Eddie said...

Pappy, don't you mean "stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn't."

natsfan1a said...

Expect to be leaving for the park within the hour. Hope to see some of you at picnic tables behind 312 about an hour before the game. Look for a Natsinsider sign on the table. Be there. Aloha. Go, GIO!! Go, NATS!!

Steady Eddie said...

I want the Nats to create our own Field of Dreams there tonight!

Section 222 said...

Stub Hub market has gone crazy. Only 663 tickets left in the whole park, 28 in the Infield Gallery. Prices through the roof -- lowest price ticket in the IG is $143.53. Standing room tickets going for over $100. What a difference a day makes.

DJB said...

All I can say is GO NATS!

Steady Eddie said...

Lineups, lineups, lineups, lineups!

Of course we know exactly what it's going to be.

GYFNG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nicky said...

Gio Gio
Let's win this one

NatsFanSinceStart said...

Damnit. Gio was gassed LAST inning. Bases Jammed, no one out

and the Bullpen remains idle.

Damnit, Davey; this ain't the middle ofJuly!!!

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