Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 5, White Sox 2

USA Today Sports Images
Ian Desmond had two doubles and a triple to pace the Nationals' lineup.
Game in a nutshell: The umpires -- and plenty of fans -- were late arriving at the ballpark thanks to bad traffic, but don't worry. They got there in time to see the mid-game fireworks display from the Nationals' lineup. Bryce Harper launched his fourth homer of the season to lead off the bottom of the fourth, igniting an offense that would go on score five times between the fourth and sixth innings. Jordan Zimmermann gave up one early run and another late but was otherwise effective and efficient during a seven-inning, quality start. Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano then closed out a comfortable victory, not giving the White Sox a sniff of a comeback they way they did last night.

Hitting highlight: Stymied through the first couple of innings by Gavin Floyd, the Nationals started to make a dent in the Chicago right-hander the second time around the lineup. And by the time they came up for their third at-bats, they had a very good sense of Floyd's repertoire. After going 1-for-10 in innings 1-3, the Nats went 9-for-14 in innings 4-6. Harper got the rally started with a towering home run into the second deck down the right field line, his fourth in eight games this season. Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI single in the fifth. And Danny Espinosa produced two RBI singles in a span of three innings, helping the Nationals create some space between themselves and the White Sox late in the game.

Pitching highlight: Zimmermann labored a bit through the top of the first, giving up an early run, but he settled into a nice groove after that and seemed to get stronger as his evening progressed. By the time the right-hander completed a scoreless seventh, his pitch count sat at a very manageable 90. He'd only been allowed to pitch into the eighth inning one previous time in 84 career starts, though, and Davey Johnson elected not to push the young hurler in this one. Johnson summoned Drew Storen from the bullpen and told Zimmermann to call it a night.

Key stat: Harper became the first player under 21 to record multiple hits in six of his team's first eight games of a season since the Tigers' Al Kaline in 1955.

Up next: Dan Haren struggled mightily in his first start in a Nationals uniform, getting rocked in Cincinnati. The veteran right-hander will get a chance to make another first impression Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. when he faces Dylan Axelrod in the series finale.

56 comments:

Drew said...

Break out the brooms. GYFNG!

ehay2k said...

Ah, a series win. Well-played ball. Timely hitting. JordanZ pitched a clinic - under 13 pitches per inning. Must be the cherry blossoms.

And tonight, I untucked. :-)

Cue MicheleS (if she hasn't already posted as I type this.)

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Second series win.

Sample size a little bigger 2 hits from Harper 6-0. 1 or les 0-2.

Bullpen more like it tonight.

natsfan1a said...

LOL at those dudes standing up all tucked behind home plate. I guess they must have untucked. I know I did. Too bad we're not the Padres. Then there could be a Friar Tuck mascot. :-)

Doc said...

Dan Haren tomorrow!

Everybody pray for the Nats tonight....and tomorrow!

A DC Wonk said...

Really wish drew was closing this thing. Just not impressed with Soriano

Guys in the booth were saying that Soriano is having trouble with his slider this spring, and that's a big deal for him, because that's his "out" pitch.

I suspect that he's just like any pitcher, has some rough spots, and that, when he gets that slider back he'll be pretty darn tough.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

come on Haren show what you have done most your career.

Joe Seamhead said...

I'm pretty happy with Soriano's inning tonight. It was great to see Danny get a couple of key RBI hits.JZimm looked terrific.Desmond sparkled at the plate and in the field.Harper? Good grief, what a treat! Ryan Zimmerman? Let's not moe him to first quite yet. We could on, and on. This team is looking good.
Also, the game thread was very civilized tonight. Gotta love it.

Candide said...

Mark, Kaline was 24 in 1959. His big age 20 season was 1955; he hit .340 that year to win the AL batting title - only time in his career.

Candide said...

1a, you can buy me that drink tomorrow night or Saturday.

baseballswami said...

We are in mid- season form!

Candide said...

Seamhead, agree, good thread tonight.

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

I'll be at Wallenstein (a story about free agency) tomorrow. Keep the crickets civilized in my absence.

baseballswami said...

I just think Danny looks better with a beard. He looks like he is about 14 since he shaved.

Drew said...

Bryce Harper update: 729 from Henry Aaron's record.

MicheleS said...

Untuck! WOOOOOO HOOOOOO! Just left the Park. Had a great time!

Jerry said...

That's 2 wins for JZim in 2 starts. How long did it take him to get to 2 wins last season? I remember him pitching well and getting a lot of no decisions thanks to lackluster run support.

baseballswami said...

JZim is really espousing the pitch to contact philosophy. He is giving up random singles, but when you look at the scoreboard, you see zeroes.

timeless46 said...

baseballswami -- but he is hitting clean-shavened. so I think he actually looks much better when he is using the razor......

timeless46 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NatsLady said...

Was working so missed most of the game. No errors, bobbles or brain cramps?

Scott Margenau said...

Anyone notice Bryce shifts his weight way before he makes contact? I can't imagine the power he would have if he timed his shift like LaRoche. (His timing is immaculate)

NatsLady said...

Joel Hanrahan imploded to the tune of a solo homer, walk, WP, three run homer... 5 runs. It went from 5-3 Red Sox to 8-5 O's (Final).

baseballswami said...

NatsLady- everyone was quite well behaved. Danny and Zim hit, middle infield turned a nice dp, couple of nice bunts, no balks or caught stealing- we did catch one of the other guys, though! JZim is so calm and under control and has a nice pace. It seems to be contagious out there. Drew and Sori both gave up one random hit- no drama.

NatsNut said...

Danny is starting to disappear in this lineup, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's very good to see.

NatsNut said...

My brother and I have been cracking up about the poor umpires. Stuck in traffic, late for work, knowing people are waiting for you is stressful enough, but how hopeless must it have felt knowing an ENTIRE STADIUM of people are waiting for you? When do you finally decide to make that telephone call? And who do you call first? And if all 4 are in the car together did they get testy with each other? "Dude, i told you to take that left back there." LOL

Gonat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gonat said...

What a game. Desi was amazing in the field. I thought Jayson got some poor breaks on balls tonight but again made some nice plays getting to balls down the line. It was the best defensive game of the year by the team! Another night that RZim wasn't needed on defense.

Real happy to see that JZ and Zuk were on the same page and they called the changeup at some good points. I can't remember that many bats cracked by a pitcher in an outing.

MicheleS said...

Wonk..

Just saw your posts from your daughter. That was so cool. Makes me miss my dad.

Cwj said...

Scott Margenau- There was an interesting comparison last week done between Harper's swing and someone named Babe Ruth :-)
They both shifted the same way.

A DC Wonk said...

FWIW, if anybody drove down town today, it was awful. I work about 15 blocks north of the stadium, and I'm in a carpool. Today's traffic was outstandingly bad.

A DC Wonk said...

MicheleS said...

Wonk..

Just saw your posts from your daughter. That was so cool. Makes me miss my dad.

Very touching. Thanks.

SonnyG10 said...

A nice comfortable stressless game tonight. Man, 6 and 2 sure sounds a lot better than 4 and 2.

I like Danny better without the beard and also Desi without his mustach.

You know, if I were a fan of another team, I would really fear the Nats lineup. Power up and down the lineup, my gosh.

Cwj said...

Here's the link Scott M:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/04/05/masn-compares-bryce-harper-and-babe-ruth/

peric said...

Let's wait and see if Haren has improved and for more consistency from Clip and new closer Soriano, but most of all we'll get a good measure of where they really are starting this Friday when the newly minted more powerful Braves come to town for the first time.

peric said...

Let's see what the combined record against the Reds and Braves is at the end of the weekend ... that's the yardstick until they reach 40 games in.

Section 222 said...

My friend who went to umpire school says the umps are required to get to the park one hour before game time, and get fined if they are late. They usually stay at the Hyatt on New Jersey Ave., just at the bottom of the Hill. So if they left their hotel in time to get to the park at 6:05 with regular traffic, and arrived around 7, that must have been one heck of a traffic jam!

Great fun at the game tonight. Harper's bomb was just that, a bomb. The sound of him hitting the ball is really unique. Almost as impressive was his sharp single to right with the bat breaking.

Desi was impressive. Some very solid plays at short and three extra base hits. JZnn was his best bulldog self, and the pen was solid. i tucked in my shirt when Soriano came in and Untucked once the save was recorded. Awesome.

sjm308 said...

Love that we had zero errors tonight!
Love that apparently JZimmnn can throw to both Ramos and Suzuki (never did buy that stuff about a favorite catcher and neither does Davey)
Love that both Desmond and Espinosa had solid at bats
Love that Drew appears to be thriving in the set-up role
Love that Soriano was a little more efficient and I think he gets stronger as the year goes on
I have said it before and I will say it again, the more I see Bryce Harper hit the ball, the more I think of Mickey Mantle

I will wonder what worries will be posted tomorrow though. I guess some just can't enjoy success.

Looking at Seattle box score and they are resting Morse against Peacock. Not sure why. Hope the big guy is not nicked.

peric said...

Looking at Seattle box score and they are resting Morse against Peacock. Not sure why. Hope the big guy is not nicked.

That is one of the things they held against him ... he keeps getting more and more nicked as he gets older ... he will probably need to become a DH eventually but I suspect there will be lots of teams vying for his services as a part time outfielder/first baseman and full time DH.

gail said...

Lovely game tonight. Was at the Park - felt like mid-July. JZ was outstanding. He could have pitched the whole game. Bryce was, well, Bryce. Always exciting. Nice clutch hitting throughout the lineup. Good to be back.

peric said...

In other news guess who's coming to Syracuse to meet a really amazingly powerful Chief's team in Syracuse. Yep, Miss Iowa Miguel Batista will be coming to Syracuse with the Buffalo Bisons (the Mets) after the Iron Pigs.

peric said...

Maybe the MLB needs to hire helicopters for the umpires in heavy traffic areas like DC ... but the Lerner's would have to put a hell pad on top of the one of the nearby buildings.

peric said...

Did somebody say Walters was a better "prospect" than Kobernus?

I think Chase did ... I still can't figure out why?

But yeah former Owl Rickey Hague, college teammate of Anthony Rendon does look interesting playing again in the same infield with him. Even if he is starting out hitting .174 as the starter at second base.

Of course all those strike outs has caused Chase's prospect of the week or whatever batting statistics to plummet. Chase seems a very poor judge of minor league talent.

MurrayTheRed said...

I don't like the untuck, especially for myself. Besides he hasn't really earned an untuck following yet.

Nattering Nat said...

Worst traffic I've ever experienced, without an accident, coming down GW Parkway to the game tonight--and I've experienced a lot.

Harper's blast was mammoth.

A clean game, defensively, well-rounded offense. Mark of a great team is winning ugly some of the time, and winning pretty when all cylinders are running. I think that describes the current Nats in a nutshell.

baseballswami said...

Is there any way to measure bat speed? When you watch Bryce, his bat is literally a blur it's going so fast. Hits that look bobbled are just too hot to field. Rockets. His swing actually reminds me of a young Tiger Woods' golf swing with all that torque that is created.

Rabbit34 said...

Like the comments about facial hair. Look at pictures of players of Ruth's era and Ted Williams. You don't see baseball players looking like a cave man, they look like baseball players. Clean shaven is a Yankee policy and they look so much better. I don't care if they are winning or losing. Look respectable.

sjm308 said...

Swami: look at old film of Mickey Mantle, especially when he missed. Babe Ruth as well. They had so much torque and bat speed that they almost fall down on a regular basis when they missed the ball. Harper is right there.

natsfan1a said...

"Swing by the Tidal Basin, he says. The blossoms are just beautiful at this time of year. Trust me, it won't take that long. Clown."

NatsNut said...

My brother and I have been cracking up about the poor umpires. Stuck in traffic, late for work, knowing people are waiting for you is stressful enough, but how hopeless must it have felt knowing an ENTIRE STADIUM of people are waiting for you? When do you finally decide to make that telephone call? And who do you call first? And if all 4 are in the car together did they get testy with each other? "Dude, i told you to take that left back there." LOL
April 10, 2013 11:14 PM

natsfan1a said...

I will be there on Saturday for my bobblehead. :-)

Candide said...

1a, you can buy me that drink tomorrow night or Saturday.
April 10, 2013 10:18 PM

UnkyD said...

" I don't care if they are winning or losing. Look respectable."
----------------------------
Really? Well.... For the record, I DO care if they are winning or losing. PLAY respectable. They can even loiter on my lawn.... (C'mon, Rabbit.... That was just silly...)

Rabbit34 said...

Hey UNKYD....my point wasn't about winning or losing...it was about looking respectable. One has nothing to do with the other. C'mon UNKYD, stay in context.

Doc said...

Hey Rabbit, aren't you the same clown that kept harping on the poor lineup during ST?

Wad are you, a graduate from the same beauty school as the ChiSox reliever last night?

'Looking respectable' has nothing, and never did, have anything to do with being a ballplayer.

You probably should start a movement to have them get rid of their tats while you at your petty obsessions.

Stick to baseball, sport!

Doc said...

Thanks Cwj for the link to Harps and the Babe.

I've been wondering for the past while if Harper's swing bore any ressemblence to the Babe's.

Interesting read.

Rabbit34 said...

I'll tell YOU what "sport", to me that's part of the game and someone like you certainly won't change MY mind. Your comment is just a clown comment....bro.

Scott Margenau said...

CWJ: thanks! That's awesome! If only it worked for my golf swing! My shift sucks and I slice everything lol

Post a Comment