Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 3, Marlins 0

Associated Press
Gio Gonzalez tossed six scoreless innings and homered for the Nationals.
Game in a nutshell: Two games. Two great pitching performances. Two clutch hitting performances. Two shutout victories. What more could the Nationals ask for? (Well, besides warmer temperatures than the 45-degree bone-chiller they were treated to tonight.) The star in Game 2 was Gio Gonzalez, who not only tossed six scoreless innings but also crushed a fifth-inning homer, providing the only offense the Nats would need. They did tack on a couple of insurance runs for good measure, taking advantage of an error in the seventh and then taking advantage of Bryce Harper's double and Ryan Zimmerman's RBI single in the eighth. Drew Storen opened his season in fine form, retiring the side in the eighth. And Rafael Soriano escaped a jam in the ninth, earning his second save in as many tries. Thus, the Nationals are 2-0, with a pitching staff that still sports a 0.00 ERA. What's not to like?

Hitting highlight: We could highlight Denard Span's three times reaching base (two walks and a double) but come on, how can we ignore the biggest blast of the night, by none other than the starting pitcher? Gonzalez had gone deep once before in his career, sending one over the short left-field fence in Houston last summer. This one, though, was far more shocking. It was a legit blast, into the wind on a cold night. And it earned the second curtain call in as many games at Nationals Park. Gio happily obliged, rising to the top step of the dugout and waving to the adoring crowd.

Pitching highlight: Though the end result was overwhelmingly positive, Gonzalez was far from sharp through most of his season debut. He ran up seven full counts, five of them in the first three innings alone. His fastball command was mostly at fault, but the lefty more than made up for it with a superb curveball, leading to five strikeouts. He got Giancarlo Stanton swinging twice, including a big out to end the sixth and strand the tying run on second base. But at that point, Gonzalez's pitch count was already at 91. Not wanting to push his No. 2 starter more than that on a cold night in April, Davey Johnson turned things over to his bullpen right then and there. No complaints from Gonzalez, who was happy to get his season off to such a strong start.

Key stat: With a first-inning single, Bryce Harper extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Wait, how is that possible when the Nats have only played two games this year? Well, MLB officially recognizes streaks like that that stretch over two seasons. There is one catch, though: It only includes regular-season games. Harper didn't record a hit in all five Division Series games.

Up next: The series wraps up tomorrow with a late-afternoon matinee. Jordan Zimmermann's first pitch against lefty Wade LeBlanc is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.

65 comments:

NatsNut said...

First series win! Wheee!

Drew said...

Love the formula!

MicheleS said...

UNTUCK!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Joe Seamhead said...

Tough 9th, but I'll take that outfield, and bullpen, small sample size, or not. What say you MicheleS?

rogieshan said...

"Harper didn't record a hit in all five Division Series games."

I could've sworn Harper hit a homer in Game 5 of the Division Series.

ehay2k said...

Oh, MicheleS has added Dominican flavor to the WOOO HOOO!! I like it!

Um, no runs yet against our staff. And our staff has one.

GYFNG!

Joe Seamhead said...

Oops, owe you one!

SCNatsFan said...

Anyone besides soriano untuck? Besides fans I mean.

Gonat said...

I can get used to the Untuck!

ehay2k said...

Oh, I untucked. Had to stand up though...

Teddy Rochlis said...

i think he means harper did not get a hit in every single game in the nlds so his hitting streak was broken but because the mlb does not record the playoff series it is an 11 game hitting streak

natsfan1a said...

Aoogah! Aoogah! The sledgehammer wasn't in Gio's head, it was in his hands. :-)

Gonat said...

Matt Harvey goes 7 innings of 1 hit shutout baseball.

Joe Seamhead said...

Roy Halliday, weird night, 3.1 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, and get this, 9 K's

baseballswami said...

Anyone hear what was up with Gio's head? Voices?

rogieshan said...

Thanks Teddy for the clarification. Cheers.

natsfan1a said...

He had a headache and was having his head massaged between innings.

natsfan1a said...

Said it felt like there was a freaking sledgehammer in there or something like that.

natsfan1a said...

(Hey, I just report it.)

UnkyD said...

That IS a weird night....

MicheleS said...

And the fact that Gio was making love to his hand on the mound.. (hello awkward)

natsfan1a said...

I'm not gonna even tell you what Gio said about making love to his hand (while trying to keep warm). Oh, wait. I just did. (And I just report it.) Anyway, going to bed now. Night all. :-)

natsfan1a said...

Also, I owe Michele a drink.

baseballswami said...

He is quite a character...

Gonat said...

Joe, Halladay got all but 1 out by strikeout but he walked 3 and gave up 2 HRs as part of those 6 hits. The Braves are like an all or nothing swing and miss group this year and BJ Upton K'd 4 times today.

peric said...

Talk to the hand ... no .. Mr. Bill ... nooooooooooo .....

Gonat said...

Fernando Rodney in his 1st appearance blows the save.

peric said...

Freeman has 3 RBI batting behind Justin Upton who hit his 2nd homer. The experiment that finds Heyward batting 2nd appears to be working. They've got 7 runs right now.

tayo said...

Was I the only one hoping that we didn't score any more insurance runs after seeing Hrod warming up with Untuck(Soriano)? I am just not ready for that yet.

Greg said...

"Fernando Rodney in his 1st appearance blows the save."

But gets the win instead. Joyce Walk-off.

Nats Fan in Brazil said...

Mike just homered again! Man!

Gonat said...

Greg, correct!

Gonat said...

John Mayberry stands flat-footed and let's a HR got right over his glove. Pathetic effort.

mick said...

Overall, another solid night of pitching and defense. Zim gets also gets a hit and first RBI, Nats only 13 team in MLB history to start 2-0 with two shutouts... and it is too darn cold to play baseball.

SCNatsFan said...

NF in brazil, best case scenario - Nats keep winning and Morse has a monster year

Gonat said...

I don't remember 1 ball hit to RZ tonight. Am I right?

Joe Seamhead said...

Note Morris' was off of Tommy Milone.

Mayberry won't cut it up there.Their OF is pretty bad.

Gonat said...

Joe, Papelbon was pitching at the time of that HR. He was ticked. The Phillies after only 2 games, are a mess!

Faraz Shaikh said...

Yeah, that Atlanta offense is coming together nicely. Next weekend series would be interesting.

Yes, you are right Gonat.

peric said...

NF in brazil, best case scenario - Nats keep winning and Morse has a monster year

Or Tyler Moore gets 350-500 AB's and makes it look like a brilliant move. If Mikey has a monster year he's going to be worth some big $$$. Pujols is in a decline. There's Votto but after him it just might be Morse offensively. Mikey is still in left field. Same spot they would put T-Mo in.

peric said...

IMO the Nats offense will struggle given Werth's wrist, Danny's adjustments plus rotator cuff and the not unexpected drop-off of Dessie and LaRoche after career years. If Zim can stay healthy I expect him to hit and Harper should be improved. But will that be enough?

Span just doesn't replace Morse in the lineup. But Moore might.

SCNatsFan said...

Peric I hope Morse has a monster year, same with Moore. I still don't believe you need both of those guys on the roster. Given the same number of ABs I think Moore puts up similar numbers.

peric said...

I suppose we should wait for the 40 games which should give us enough of a sample size ... but it sure seems like they are playing Riggleman's Smart Ball just squeezing by on hit-and-run, defense/fielding, and pitching.

tayo said...

We need to let this thing go with Morse. It was really unfortunate to see him go, but he could have an MVP type season, and I'll still understand and accept the direction Rizzo decided to go regarding Morse/Laroche/Span. These are the tough decision good teams have to make and we probably have a few more coming and I can live with it.

Steady Eddie said...

SCNats fan -- I looked but didn't see any other players untuck. But I took an iPhone photo of the team onfield lineup do I'll try to double check.

peric said...

Given the same number of ABs I think Moore puts up similar numbers.

I entirely agree given Moore's stats from last season which were scary good power-wise. The point is they need Moore in the lineup possibly batting behind Harper. Followed by LaRoche and then Zim. I don't think Zim and his shoulder are entirely back yet ... as with Werth's wrist.

They are just squeezing by the supposed to be pathetic Marlins.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Atlanta.

I eventually expect to see Moore playing more and more and Werth + Span less.

Drew said...

Let's wait and see. I think they'll score more runs when it's not 45 degrees.

Pitch until you hit, boys.

That said, Mikey is a Beast.

peric said...

Bryce Harper followed by Tyler Moore == Justin Upton followed by Freddie Freeman.

peric said...

If you get T-Mo in the lineup everyone will wish Mikey the very best and not second guess the move.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Gonat, I didn't notice it at the time (about no balls hit to Zim), but I think you may be right. There were a couple of grounders to Ian and a couple to Danny, but I don't remember Ryan getting any work on defense tonight.

I will happily fess up to being part of the adoring crowd. I adore these guys, one through twenty-five.

peric said...

Let's wait and see. I think they'll score more runs when it's not 45 degrees.

Davey likes to play it the old-school Oriole way and that means a very big lead and fast start. So, we shall see what we shall see.

tayo said...

The only future spot for More on the field is at First base. He can play left but is not very good there and has a weak arm. We cannot afford to play him continuously in left as his POTENTIAL offense does not make up for his defensive liability. So unless you want him replacing Laroche, he has no spot to play everyday for now.

Joe Seamhead said...

Do you think that in the opener if Tyler Moore was in LF that Stanton wouldn't have scored? The trade off of more of Moore and less Span is that the staff's ERA goes up,

Faraz Shaikh said...

how many times are we going to talk about the same thing? let's just wait and see how the season unfolds instead of being rigid about our views on how Nats should/would play in coming months.

sjm308 said...

Seamhead, excellent point! We are two and Zero and yet the talk continues about Morse/Span/ etc etc

Last time I checked, Span had a double and two walks tonight. Also eased into a catch in the 9th that might have been more difficult than he made it look.

Why can't people just enjoy the players that Davey puts out there. Peric are you just trying to make us all realize you are the smartest blogger out there? Moore will be a bench player, Span is the centerfielder and just enjoy us the way Rizzo built it.

Go Nats!!

phil dunton said...

Morse hits homer # 3 in first at bat tonight.

baseballswami said...

Pitching - check, defense- mostly check, offense- starting to stir.

Gonat said...

Dryw Loves the Nats said...
Gonat, I didn't notice it at the time (about no balls hit to Zim), but I think you may be right. There were a couple of grounders to Ian and a couple to Danny, but I don't remember Ryan getting any work on defense tonight.

I will happily fess up to being part of the adoring crowd. I adore these guys, one through twenty-five.

April 03, 2013 10:45 PM
______________________________________

Ryan handled one ball. It was a slow grounder foul and he threw the ball into the crowd.

Scott Margenau said...

I'm admmitingly a Ty Mo fan. I think he is a 300, 30, 100 guy...but I agree that he needs to be at first. d is too good to put him out there. I'd like to see TMo get starts vs lefties and rotate with ALR. This way we wean ourselves off ALR and get TMo bats. He's pretty good with the glove at first.

NatsJim said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
how many times are we going to talk about the same thing?
...
April 03, 2013 10:55 PM

The delusional one is like a dog with a bone, he's not gonna let it go... so, a lot.

Joe Seamhead said...

From all I saw and heard in FL, Tyler's outfielding has improved, but that said, the OF quality drops noticeably with him in LF. As to RF, do you think he plays the caroms as well as Werth played them out there tonight? I don't. Tyler will play a role, baring injury, as a big, hairy chested, goon squad guy. If I'm on the mound in a tight game I want Harper, Span and Werth backing me up.

baseballswami said...

I would also like to see Tyler get some games at first. No, he is not Adam, with a full career of experience, but he is very good there. If we want to keep his bat, maybe we don't want his defensive abilities at first to erode. If Adam's bat doesn't 't get going or he gets a little dinged up , that could help.

natsfan1a said...

Seconded (not that it will make any difference, of course :-)).

tayo said...

We need to let this thing go with Morse. It was really unfortunate to see him go, but he could have an MVP type season, and I'll still understand and accept the direction Rizzo decided to go regarding Morse/Laroche/Span. These are the tough decision good teams have to make and we probably have a few more coming and I can live with it.
April 03, 2013 10:39 PM

NatsJack in Florida said...

If by "very good" you mean "compared to Adam Dunn" , then what you are really saying is that Moore is "adequate" at first base.

Tyler Moore is the Nats version of a right handed bat Chad Tracy and viewed as such by Nats brass, which includes Davey. He may develope into something better than that but not this year.

Timothy Folk said...

Peric is annoying

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