Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Game 7: White Sox at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nationals Park plays host to the White Sox starting tonight.
Who's ready for some early-April interleague play, baby! Yes, it's April 9 and the White Sox are in town for a three-game set between Barack Obama's former hometown team and his current hometown team. (The Prez made a surprise appearance here three years ago for the Sox's last appearance, but no evidence yet to suggest he'll make a cameo tonight.)

Adam Dunn, on the other hand, is here, his first trip to D.C. since his final game with the Nationals in 2010. Remember all those "Sign Adam Dunn!" chants? Feels like a long time ago, huh? The big guy won't be in Chicago's lineup for the opener, since there's no DH in the NL park and the Nats are sending left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the mound. Sounds like Dunn will start at least one of the next two games, though, at which point I expect him to get a nice ovation from the crowd.

The guy who replaced Dunn at first base here in Washington, Adam LaRoche, is back in the lineup after missing two games with a stiff back. LaRoche is still looking for his first hit of the season, having gone 0-for-13 before the back injury started acting up.

Updates to come...

CHICAGO WHITE SOX at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF
NATIONALS (4-2)
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Gio Gonzalez

WHITE SOX (4-2)
CF Alejandro De Aza
3B Jeff Keppinger
RF Alex Rios
1B Paul Konerko
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexei Ramirez
C Tyler Flowers
2B Gordon Beckham
RHP Jake Peavy

UMPIRES
HP Phil Cuzzi
1B Chris Guccione
2B Tom Hallion (cc)
3B Ron Kulpa

7:08 p.m. -- And we're underway on an absolutely gorgeous, 81-degree night in the District. Gio Gonzalez fires strike one to Alejandro De Aza. No sign of the First Fan here tonight.

7:24 p.m. -- Well, that was ... uh, interesting. Gio labored through the top of the first, loading the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. Then he very nearly pitched his way out of the jam, striking out Dayan Viciedo and then running the count full to Alexei Ramirez. And then ... total brain cramp. Gio stepped off the rubber with the wrong foot, essentially beginning his windup but never completing it, and was immediately called for a balk. That brought a run home. Fortunately, he got Ramirez to line out to center to end the inning and prevent any further damage. Still, that was a 33-pitch first inning for the lefty, featuring a run that scored because of nothing but a brain cramp on Gio.

7:36 p.m. -- The good news: The Nats made Jake Peavy work in the bottom of the first, with Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper all running the count full. The bad news: They had nothing to show for it. Harper lined a base hit to right, but then unwisely tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out. Werth appeared to have some words for the kid after that. Not a smart play at all by Harper. Nats trail 1-0 after one.

7:45 p.m. -- Strange night so far for Gio. He's got four strikeouts through two innings, but is already up to 51 pitches (31 strikes). He's not going to make it long tonight at that rate. We'll see if he can become a bit more efficient moving forward.

8:04 p.m. -- Gio's strange odyssey continues. He's got six strikeouts now through three innings, but his pitch count is all the way up to 74. Basically, he's been unhittable ... when he locates his pitches. Unfortunately, he hasn't done that quite consistently enough. Gonna be interesting to see how long Davey lets him go in this one. Still 1-0 Sox in the middle of the third.

8:10 p.m. -- Who does Gio think he is, Bryce Harper? He just produced his second hit of the season, but spoiled it by trying to stretch it into a double. He was, not surprisingly, DOA. So Peavy has faced the minimum and not had to pitch out of the stretch through three scoreless, even though he's allowed two hits.

8:27 p.m. -- Well, the Nats are on the board at last. Span battled his way through another at-bat and then singled to center (thankfully not attempting to stretch it into a double). He did show some nice baserunning skills going first-to-third on Harper's single to right. That put him in position to score on Zimmerman's sac fly to right. The inning ended on a sour note, though, with LaRoche striking out for the second time tonight, leaving him 0-for-15 on the season. This game is now 1-1 after four.

8:35 p.m. -- Here's one you don't see everyday: a 6-4 double play ... on a pop-up. Yep, De Aza broke from second on the pitch, then couldn't get back in time after Desmond caught Keppinger's pop-up. Weird night at the ballpark so far. Still 1-1 in the middle of the fifth.

8:46 p.m. -- Desmond puts the Nats up 2-1 with a bomb into the left-field bullpen. That's his second of the season and it puts Gio in line for the win ... because he's now out of the game after five innings and 99 pitches. Craig Stammen in for the sixth, trying to protect this slim lead.

8:54 p.m. -- Well, Gio won't get the win tonight. Or the loss. No-decision for the starter after Stammen gives up the tying run in the sixth. It wasn't totally his fault, because Ramos was charged with a tough error when his throw trying to catch Rios stealing second ricocheted off his helmet and into right field. Moments later, Rios scored on Konerko's sac fly. So it's now 2-2.

9:13 p.m. -- And the Nats get the lead right back, thanks to none other than Werth, who destroyed a first-pitch fastball from Peavy into the left-field stands for a two-run shot (Span had doubled right in front of him). That was Werth's third homer of the season -- that wrist doesn't appear to be bothering him at all, does it? -- and it put the Nats up 4-2. ... For a couple of seconds. Before you could write that homer into your scorecard, LaRoche ended his 0-fer-the-season with his own two-run bomb to center. Just crushed it. The Nats now lead 6-2 and Peavy gets an unceremonious exit to this ballgame.

9:31 p.m. -- Man, the ball is flying out of Great American Ball Park tonight. Oh wait, we're not in Cincinnati anymore, we're back in D.C. Could've fooled me. Konerko takes Tyler Clippard deep in the seventh, a three-run shot, and all of a sudden the Nats' lead is down to 6-5. Must be the warm weather.

9:51 p.m. -- There's a very big insurance run, via Werth. Laced an RBI single to left to score Steve Lombardozzi, who drew a walk while pinch-hitting for Clippard and then took two bases when reliever Donnie Veal's pickoff attempt sailed into right field. That Veal kid looked a little raw out there, huh? It's 7-5 Nats as Drew Storen enters for the eighth.

9:59 p.m. -- A nice, 1-2-3 eighth inning from Storen, who struck out a pair. No nonsense there from the right-hander. Still 7-5 as we go to the bottom of the eighth and Rafael Soriano begins to loosen in the pen.

10:06 p.m. -- Wow, I guess LaRoche has broken out of the slump, huh? Just launched another homer, his second in three innings. This one off a lefty, too. It's 8-5 now.

10:21 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Soriano closes out an 8-7 victory. Wait, 8-7? Yep, he served upa 2-run homer to Rios with two outs in the ninth before recovering to get the save. The Nats improve to 5-2 on the young season.

55 comments:

A DC Wonk said...

LaRoche has hit well against Peavy in the past, no? Perhaps he gets of the shneid today?

3on2out said...

Adam is a notorious slow starter...last year being the exception to the rule. My friends in Pittsburgh tell me that, back in his Pirate days, he was commonly referred to as Adam "Oh for April" LaRoche.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Adam just needs something to drop. He's nailed the ball a bunch already, just right at people or barely foul.

bowdenball said...

I would think Dunn would probably get that ovation during a pinch-hit appearance tonight, no?

Tcostant said...

I kind of forgot the ALR usually start slow. That is a fact, thank for the reminder.

Steady Eddie said...

NatsJack -- or into the wind, here, at least four or five times in the three games. Squared up the ball pretty well, just the wrong places at the wrong times.

baseballswami said...

I feel that our guys have squared up a lot of balls that stalled, laser beamed directly at an infielder or otherwise ended up in an out. Also, the pitchers have had some tight zones and other adventures, including errors and ball boy interference and hit batters that were not hit. Those things have a way of balancing out. I hope. Warm night tonight, Gio should not have to make love to his hand.

MicheleS said...

GYFNG! looking forward to a great game tonight as i work.

mick said...

JD and SonnyG10 from last thread...

SonnyG10. I of course agree with that and baseball brings us back to such a time. Unfortunately, the real world (which is mostly sickening) plays a factor. In my youth days, only 4 teams out of 18 would make post season. i remember my team finish 10-4 one season and missed the playoffs, I cried like a baby. There were no feel good trophies, only one championship trophy and no runner ups. I miss those days as well and my generation played because we loved this game and respected our opponents. But inter league play I do not think takes us away from that time. I respect both JD and your view and deep down I wish for that time as well.

NatsLady said...

Miss Iowa to the Blue Jays (minor league).

http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/mlb/390603/baseball-headlines?r=1

MicheleS said...

Amanda Comak‏@acomak
#Nats have indicated they'll pick up GM Mike Rizzo's 2014 option, per source. Mark Lerner said focus is on extension

Good news for us.

natsfan1a said...

In Rizzo we trust.

GYFNG!!

JaneB said...

I'm
Ridiculously excited to see Dunn. Still
GYFNG!!!

Candide said...

How was that a balk?

MicheleS said...

Candide, he back off the pitching rubber with the wrong foot. FP explained it better. If you Follow @Plesac19 (dan plesac) he explained it as such:

Dan Plesac‏@Plesac19
#WhiteSox scores 1st,bases loaded balk byNat Gio.Good call,lefty pitcher CAN'T step back w/rt foot.That move constitutes start of delivery.

Candide said...

Thanks, Michele... I musta been upstairs when FP was explaining.

Jeff Wang said...

26 pitches by Peavy for 3 batters...

MicheleS said...

Jenifer Langosch‏@LangoschMLB

Jason Motte's MRI shows tear to ligament. #STLCards will give him until May 1 to show improvement; if none, then likely Tommy John
surgery.

HMMM.. looks like Motte won't be here for the STL series...

Unknown said...

Message sent to James Wagner and Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post----------

As sportswriters at the Washington Post, when you are conducting an interview in the process of writing a story, I find it hard to believe that you don't challenge ridiculous and inaccurate statements made by the person you are interviewing. In your article on Michael Morse of 4/9/13, you state that Davey Johnson said "I'd rather have a better hitter (Span) than a long ball (Morse)". Michael Morse, in addition to his awesome power, has a .294 career batting average. Denard Span has a .284 career batting average with absolutely no power. Ridiculous statements like this one by Johnson beg to be challenged. In addition to his home runs, Morse had a lot of clutch hits during his career with the Nationals but he is characterized by Johnson as being just another oaf like Adam Dunn, who only hits homers in between his many strikeouts. How insulting to The Beast! Re-signing Adam Laroche for big bucks off of a career year (following many mediocre seasons) at the expense of Morse will likely turn out to be a huge blunder by Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson.

MicheleS said...

Well, at least the game is tied up.

baseballswami said...

Who are these guys in curly W hats doing zany things?

RickH said...

IAN!!!

MicheleS said...

Desi BOMB!..

Unknown, I suggest you register your editorial complaints with WaPo on their site, seriously doubt that James or Adam read the comments section on this blog.

MicheleS said...

Swami.. lots of TOOTBLAN's tonight. That was a really nice decoy play by Ryan. Very heads up. And Glad to see Desi get a HR.

Is the Umps strike zone crappy? Some of the pitches that ALR was called out on were like 6 inches off the plate.

Candide said...

Had to look up tootblan... Would be ROFLMAO except that we had two of the three tootblans.

MicheleS said...

Candide.. at least the Sox have had a Tootblan too.

Why was Ramos running, Was that a hit/run play?

Candide said...

Per Carp, yes - said Ramos would get a good jump on the 3-2 pitch.

Candide said...

Sure wasn't because of Wilson's blazing speed on the basepaths...

Candide said...

Dammit, that's about the fourth catcher throw that's gone into the outfield this year.

MicheleS said...

Candide, hit the runner on the helmet, throw looked good.

RickH said...

JASON!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Too bad Jayson isn't a power hitter anymore.

Steady Eddie said...

Right, another JDub wrist alert.

RickH said...

ALR!!! (Finally!)

Steady Eddie said...

RickH -- just another one he's squared up, but in warm weather and not fighting the wind this time.

SCNatsFan said...

Why is it some cant seem to remember morse could walk at the end of the year but span will be roaming cf for awhile

Joe Seamhead said...

So at the game. Here in the 6th we've had an Werthquake and an Adam Bomb.

Drew said...

The Syracuse game was called after five innings because of rain.

So Syracuse only scored 8 runs on 11 hits.

Goodness, that club can play.

waddu eye no said...

Ahhhh. Summer air& balls leaving the park

RickH said...

Steady Eddie ... Yep. He has hit well; just at people. As you say, you can tell the difference with the temperature tonight.

MicheleS said...

Mark just tweeted that DSpan has a .500 OBP. wowzer! Gonna love having him around this year

Nattering Nat said...

The good news is that despite not playing on all cylinders, the Nats still keep finding ways to take leads and, generally, avoid paying too high a price for the mistakes. The bad news is that there are too many cases so far of lack of really sharp play or positioning, be it getting thrown out at second by a mile, running behind the bag at second to get a throw from Ramos that then hits the runner, or not picking up a slow roller at short, no one of which is the end of the world by itself, but taken together suggest this team is not near fulfilling its potential yet, on defense or offense.

So that, finally, is the good news--still 4-2, maybe will squeak by for 5-2, while not playing to its potential. When they do--and I of course think they will, soon--watch out, Atlanta and Cincy!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Drew...re: Syracuse....yes, they are a talented club but they've opened up against thr Phillies AAA club and are now playiing Torontos club.....both notoriously weak at the AAA level.

Drew said...

Point taken, NJ. The Chiefs can't stay this hot, but that's a talented club.

Speaking of hot starts, in his first 5 games, Potomac shortstop Jason Martinson is hitting .412 with 3 homers and 8 RBIs.

Scott Margenau said...

Drew was filthy there.
DSpan is the definition of lead off. Peric! Get on board!

Scott Margenau said...

ALR. Wow.

RickH said...

Two hits. Two home runs. Who does Adam think he is ... Bryce Harper???

Drew said...

Adam L. Is putting on a show for Adam D.

Scott Margenau said...

Tymo just missed the barell.

Scott Margenau said...

Unknown:

Morse has only had over 100 hits twice in carreer. 4 of those years, in his prime he was well under 20 hits. That's not a good risk vs Spans carreer stats. Still it was not smart for Davey to say that.

RickH said...

I'm glad Adam Dunn didn't get a chance to hit tonight. Had a bad feeling about that. Way to go, Nats!!!

SCNatsFan said...

Well that was interesting

RickH said...

ALR: "I found out the only safe place to hit it was in the seats."

Secret wasian man said...

A win is a win. Great hitting. The bullpen minus storen was terrible. Does anybody feel good about this guy Soriano. I'm thinking Drew needs his job back.

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

Fun game. Suspense, Drama. Curly W. Untuck. Good stuff.

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