Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nats drop series finale to Reds

Photo by USA Today
Through three consecutive wins against the Reds it seemed as if the Nationals had everything going right for them. Their pitching was airtight and their offense suddenly woke up from its slumber from the series before. They were also getting fortunate bounces and calls, something that frustrated them during a previous losing streak.

But the Nats were in the middle of a four-game series against Cincinnati, not three, and had one more game to go on Sunday. And after seeing the Nats’ lineup three times, the Reds made the most of their opportunities and rode a hot pitcher to a 5-2 win over Washington before 36,457 at Nationals Park.

“When you play three good games like that, that’s why four game series are hard,” Ian Desmond said. “It’s hard to go out there and they got a pretty good scouting report on us after three offensive games.”

Nationals starter Ross Detwiler was able to prevent the Reds from making the game a blowout, allowing just one extra base hit through five innings of work despite giving up 11 total hits. The Reds made plenty of contact, but ten of them were singles and four didn’t even leave the infield.


“It happens, he pitched great and luck turns against you,” Desmond said. “That’s what happened today. They didn’t really square him up too well, but they were able to do enough.”

The four singles that didn’t exit the infield were spread throughout the game but each uniquely different. One ball hit the third base bag and bounced up and over a diving Anthony Rendon, another ricocheted off Detwiler’s thigh, the third was a weak pop up that fell right over Detwiler’s head, and the fourth was snagged by Rendon at third but late on the throw to first.

Detwiler was pestered with singles all afternoon, but never gave up a big homer or a really big hit. Still, the lefty did not feel his best on Sunday and was not pleased with his performance.

“I gotta make better pitches at the right times,” he said. “That’s something you gotta fight through and keep battling.”

Manager Davey Johnson agreed Detwiler was not as effective as he was in his previous starts this season.

“They bounced back with their bats, but when Det’s not really sharp, that’s gonna happen,” Johnson said. “There are times like that where he needs to use his whole arsenal. But he’ll get there.”

Detwiler gave up two runs in the first inning on a single up the middle by Brandon Phillips. Zack Cozart got on with a one out single and was sent to third on a double by Joey Votto. Phillips then took a 2-2 fastball straight into center field to score the runners.

Detwiler missed his spot on the pitch, aiming to go inside but saw it fall right down the chute.

“I didn’t want to throw the ball right down the middle,” Detwiler said. “But it’s just one of those things where I didn’t have a good feel for anything today.”

The Reds added another run in the second, getting started with the infield single off the third base bag, a grounder hit by pitcher Tony Cingrani. Shin-Soo Choo then got on because of a catching error by Danny Espinosa at second trying to turn a double play. Cozart then walked before Votto singled home the run.

Cincinnati scored a fourth run off Detwiler in the fourth inning, beginning the inning with the single off Detwiler’s thigh, this one hit by Corky Miller. Miller was bunted over by Cingrani and then reached home safely on a Cozart grounder because of an errant throw by Rendon to first.

Two more runs for the Reds after unfortunate bounces commenced rallies, things that happen in baseball but rarely multiple times a game.

“Ross threw great,” Adam LaRoche said. “Some of the hits he gave up, some of the infield hits, some of the bad breaks, the ball landed on the line for a double, that's baseball. We've gone through a stretch of a lot of games where we're not getting a ton of breaks and the other guys are.”

While Detwiler was having a long afternoon with four runs through five - three of them earned- Cingrani of the Reds baffled the Nats’ lineup with 11 strikeouts, two hits, and a walk in six innings of work.

Rendon was Cingrani’s teammate at Rice University and says the lefty with a deceptive motion is even better now with professional coaching.

“He improved his pitches a little bit more, he's more consistent now, he knows where he's throwing the ball now. If you reach this level, I think you improved,” Rendon said.

“Cingrani is a great pitcher, he worked both sides of the plate, that’s what a pitcher is supposed to do and that’s what he did.”

Desmond was also impressed with the rookie who is now 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA through three starts this season.

“He’s got good stuff, he reminded me a lot of Detwiler,” Desmond said. “He used his fastball a lot, changed speeds well, he was pretty good.”

Cingrani was effective for most of his start, but gave the Nats opportunities they just couldn’t take advantage of. Washington had the bases loaded in the fifth before LaRoche struck out to end the inning. LaRoche’s hitless streak is now 0-for-26 with 13 of them being strikeouts. In Sunday’s loss he was 0-for-4 with three whiffs.

“I don't know. I don't know what to tell you,” LaRoche said. “Come out of a game like today, game where you leave some guys on base, and we end up losing, makes it a lot tougher.”

Rendon was also involved in two baserunning mishaps that could have cost the Nationals runs. In the fifth inning he led off with a single to left field. Two outs later he was rounding the bases when left fielder Xavier Paul fumbled a line drive hit directly at him by Denard Span. Rendon rounded third and headed home, but Paul threw to the plate and had him by a few steps.


"It was two outs. I took off and I saw the left fielder and it looked like he was going to let the ball drop, I guess he lost it in the lights or something," he said.


“I didn’t want to be thrown out at third. You never want to make the last out at third base.”

Rendon also had a chance to score in the seventh inning off relief pitcher Sean  Marshall. The rookie was on first when Kurt Suzuki slapped a double off the wall in left field. Desmond scored from second, but Rendon stayed at third despite Paul dropping the ball while attempting to scoop it up. Rendon said afterwards he was held by third base coach Trent Jewett.

“He held me up, I gotta listen to the coach,” Rendon said.

The Nationals also had two defensive errors in the game, bringing their team season total to 23 in just 25 games. LaRoche explained the problems in the field as a parallel to their inconsistency at the plate.

“It's the same thing offensively. We know we're a great offensive club and we haven't scratched the surface of what we can do as far as putting up some runs,” he said.

“Same thing goes on defense. We've got a great defensive club with a lot of Gold glove type infielders and it's just not showing that right now. That's something that we need to turn around. It doesn't help our starting pitching.”

Despite dropping the final game of the series, the Nats will quickly turn the page as they head to Atlanta for another four-game set. Earlier this season Washington was swept at home by the Braves, commencing a stretch in which they lost nine of 12 games. Now having won three of four, the Nationals have a chance to even the score against their first place division rival.

“It's a big series,” LaRoche said. “Regardless of what time of the year it is, this is the time that we can turn the tides a little bit. They came in here and killed us so it'll be nice to try to even that out and keep the momentum going a little bit.”

69 comments:

Ivan Tuski said...

Show some class down in Atlanta boys/ 3 outa 4 will be just fine.

Eric said...

3 outta 4 would be fantastic.

SonnyG10 said...

We may have lost today, but we do have a good team. Bryce didn't do a whole lot today, but I consider it an honor to watch this phenom start his career. Now let's take the series at Atlanta and then we get Zim back for Pittsburg.

NatsLady said...

Just read that Sean Burnett is on the DL with "forearm irritation."

He's done pretty well this season, only allowed 1 run in 8.2 innings (11 appearances), though he has also allowed 8 hits and 4 walks (7 K's).

Sciosia says they are handling him with "kid gloves."

Eric said...

Tigers up 3 on the Braves, top of the 4th...now hold 'em!

NatsLady said...

My impressions from the game.

(1) Davey would have pulled Henry sooner but Mattheus was not warmed. Henry got the first batter easily, and lost the plate very suddenly. Hard to say why, he was messing with the mound, but if it was slippery he could have asked for the grounds crew and he didn't. Maybe Suzuki should have helped a little more.

(2) Just when Desi gets his focus on the field, Espy loses his. I don't think I've seen him make this many mistakes on the field in such a short period--ever. If he gets that ball in the first inning it's different game. Also, I wonder if he could shade a little more to his left.

(3) Harper made quite a few bone-headed plays when he first came up. We have forgotten them. That's not excusing Rendon, he needs to go back down and get fielding reps, but///

Interrupton--- the TIgers are giving this game back to Atlanta. What tha????



Eric said...

Ugh re: Tigers-Braves. C'est la baseball!

Good insights, NatsLady. Agreed on the timing of bringing in Mattheus.

Rendon clearly has talent, but one of the most mind-blowing things about Harper is his consistency. Sure, he makes bone-headed plays, especially on the base paths, but he consistently comes out very strongly in the positive.

I think what blows my mind more than anything is his patience at the plate. That walk at the end of the game was almost as enjoyable as a middle-deck blast.

baseballswami said...

I get tired of us tipping our cap to pitchers who baffle our line up. They are major league hitters. They should be able to figure it out. How much new and different can a pitcher do to them at this point? There was some bad breaks and bounces, but also some bad at bats. Harper-- having a rough day at the plate, follows it up with a fantastic long at bat leading to a walk. Man, that kid.

baseballswami said...

And as for HRod-- there should always, always be someone in the pen ready to go from the minute Henry throws a pitch.

Eric said...

Heh. I kinda agree, but I think it should be, if Henry fires a single pitch over 95 mph before there are 2 outs, get someone up. He's been pretty freaking solid when he's kept his speed down.

Today, I swear his first 5 pitches were 97 mph.

baseballswami said...

That was a nice trick, having the ball return itself to the mound like a boomerang??

NatsLady said...

Chapman was wild, too, just not as much as Henry. You can see what Henry could be, what Rizzo hopes he will be. It may be unreachable, but you can see the concept.

NatsLady said...

Swami, that was SO funny. Henry had no idea where the ball was. There were people booing him when he left, I'm like, Why? Why boo Henry--don't you think he would control the ball if he could?

baseballswami said...

So- was there any kind of a screen shot of Rizzo at the time? Was there steam coming off of him?

slidell2 said...

Swami @ 9:16: I agree totally, particularly if the game is at all in doubt. It seems as though Henry has the devil in him, showing flashes of brilliance JUST often enough to keep Mike from sending him packing.
Henry has had more than his share of chances both here and in Oakland. His occupying a spot on the 25-man roster on a contending team is a luxury we cannot afford.

A DC Wonk said...

baseballswami said...

I get tired of us tipping our cap to pitchers who baffle our line up. They are major league hitters. They should be able to figure it out.


Yes, but . . .

When we hit, it's because out hitters are on; when the other team doesn't hit, it's because our pitchers are on.

When we don't hit, it's because we're weak, unfocused, whatever; then the other team hits, it's because our pitchers weren't executing.

But that's awfully self-centered, no? Sometimes the result is because of what the other team is doing.

I think when a pitcher gets 11 K's (in six innings) against a good team, like the Nats, you _do_ have to tip your hat, at least some of the time, to the pitcher. He struck out Desi twice, Espi twice, and Harper twice (and one made Harper look foolish).

OTOH, fielding (and a bit of baserunning) was disappointing today. (As well as LaRoche's rally-killing automatic outs). I think today (and I mentioned it Friday) would have been a good day to start Moore. Anybody ask Davey why not?

baseballswami said...

Bullpen is feeling not quite in sync so we need every guy to be available and capable. Nowhere to hide him and can't just use him in the perfect situations. For one thing, perfect does not exist. Trust me.

A DC Wonk said...

Henry has had more than his share of chances both here and in Oakland.

I think you give fireballers as many chances prior to age 26 as is feasible. Lots of them get it together, but not until that age. (Yeah, he could have cost us the game today -- but he didn't).

Gonat said...

If Ryan Zimmerman can return and be very productive, this team will start to click offensively. The problem is it is hard to get going when the entire infield is hitting below .200 as a group.

NatsLady said...

Jeez, Cabrera can hit. Pouring down rain and a ground rule double.

Bob Saget Nats Fan 101 said...

3 out of 4 against a team as good as the Reds is a win in my book.

As for LaRoche, I believe his issues are in his head. Sure the issues in head could be caused by a lagging injury. If he has any type of injury, put him on the DL so he can work threw his issues. This was Moore can show everyone how good he can be.

The same could be said about Espi; his issues are in his head and he could have an injury that is causing his issues. DL could help him as well.

NatsLady said...

My impression from the game was ALR was feeling better, much better than when I saw him of Friday. He was sharp and energetic in the field (including a very nice unassisted play). He also hit a couple of long fouls, one of which had a nice sound.

Doc said...

So what happens to ALR in May?

Does Davey coax the Batting Fairy into giving him one last wish?

NatsLady said...

Some stats for Harper's first year.

Harper

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/bryce-harpers-first-162-games/

timeless46 said...

If u ask me,It's time to call that game in Detroit. Tigers lead and it's really raining

Eric said...

5 - 3 Tigers, bottom of the 7th...sweet. This time, hold 'em!

I definitely feel that HRod could become very effective at slamming the door shut...

Doc said...

As for Cingrani, he's like a lot of first-time-seen pitchers---it'll be different next time around, which in Cinci's case could be the playoffs.

Next time it'll be like hitting your 'grani!

EmDash said...

I think the difference between Rendon and Harper in terms of defense is that, in the outfield, speed and reckless determination can make up for a lot. In the infield, if you're not positioned right to start with there's no real way to compensate.

Speaking of the Braves/Tigers game - man, gotta give a lot of credit to Tigers fans. I wouldn't still be sitting there in that cold rain.

Eric said...

Dag, I guess the Tigers got hungry...3 run homer from Cabrera, 8 - 3 Tigers.

I don't know if it would be good or bad for us if the Braves are coming off a 4 game skid ending in a trouncing...

timeless46 said...

Ok, I am a Miguel Cabrera fan.

NatsLady said...

I don't know, Eric. But I do suspect that Stras is pretty d### ready to show that he is the Ace of our staff.

baseballswami said...

Don't get too excited. The Tigers are coming here next week.

NatsLady said...

Doc, Cingrani reminds me of Fieri last year--remember him. I thought not. Unless he has more that a fastball and a deceptive delivery he'll have a nice run and then the league will catch on.

Eric said...

"But I do suspect that Stras is pretty d### ready to show that he is the Ace of our staff."

He's most certainly due...

swami, gotta take it 1 day at at time...today, we need as little daylight between us and Atlanta as possible ;).

baseballswami said...

It does seem like we are not the only team running hot and cold.

Unknown said...

Last comment for a long while (until June 7!) -- LaRoche can't hit much so far, but he made 3 great defensive plays early that kept the game from becoming a blow-out. Nice to see the vet not let the massive slump wreck his smooth fielding. Hope he gets his bat going and isn't just getting 'old fast. With his high K rate, he's the type and at the age where many lose it and never get it back....

Gonat said...

EmDash said...
I think the difference between Rendon and Harper in terms of defense is that, in the outfield, speed and reckless determination can make up for a lot. In the infield, if you're not positioned right to start with there's no real way to compensate.
_____________________________

That's a good comparison. An overthrow of the cutoff man doesn't usually result in an error if it is backed up and no advancement of a base and even then the official scorer may not assess one.

Rendon just needs more reps at this level.

I think we all saw today how well he did with the bat. 1 for 2 with 2 walks. Not bad.

Daylos said...

It's time for Strasburg to step up and show the team he is the ace he is supposed to be. Less than a 30 pitch first inning would be a good place to start especially since Johnson won't let him go more than 110-115 in a game.

Doc said...

Agreed, MiLady.

One thing in his favor, he was still tossing 96-97 towards the end of his run at about 100 pitches.

But like Fieri, he won't survive long on his current pitch selection. Nats won't see him again the rest of the summer, but it'll be interesting to follow his stats with the other teams.

Eric said...

"I think we all saw today how well he did with the bat. 1 for 2 with 2 walks. Not bad."

Yeah, and that barehanded play was slick...and well-handled across the diamond...

Eric said...

"Less than a 30 pitch first inning would be a good place to start especially since Johnson won't let him go more than 110-115 in a game."

Not to mention we're like 2 - 10 in games where the opponent scores first. I seem to recall that clawing back into a game wasn't exactly a strong suite last year, either, at least not towards the end...

Gonat said...

Al Alburquerque trying to do a Henry Rodriguez impression and even he can't do that good of an impression with only 2 Wild Pitches and 1 walk and no runs. Nice K's of Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson and Evan Gattis.

Gonat said...

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/9221503/yasiel-puig-los-angeles-dodgers-top-prospect-arrested-traffic-stop

Puig arrested. Tinsel town problems.

Daylos said...

Looking like the Braves won't be getting home until about 3:00 am tonight.

A quick start would be nice tomorrow especially since the Nats aren't exactly knocking the cover off the ball right now.

SonnyG10 said...

Eric said...
...I definitely feel that HRod could become very effective at slamming the door shut...
April 28, 2013 10:03 PM


Knowing Henry, he'd probably catch his fingers in the door. :)

NatsLady said...

I wouldn't worry about the Tigers till they get here. Remember they swept the Yanks and then got swept by the Giants. If our pitchers are on their game, they can shut down good hitters.

The Padres, who looked so terrible at the start, just swept the Giants, also. You can't go by one game or one series, or even one roadtrip or homestand. Grind 'em out.

Gonat said...

BJ Upton hitting .151 and Freddi benched him for at least tonight. I hear his defense is good too.

baseballswami said...

April has been very bi- polar for lots of teams/ players.

Eric said...

I'm not opposed to the occasional benching of LaRoche, I just think as long as his defense holds, he should be the starter.

NatsLady said...

Al Al finally succeeded in his Henry impression. Papa Grande time.

EmDash said...

LOL Tigers bullpen. Al' s got a little Henry in him.

EmDash said...

Of all the teams, Boston's probably impressed the most so far. Great consistency, starting pitching. Wasn't expecting that.

Gonat said...

Alden Gonzalez ‏@Alden_Gonzalez
#Angels have traded Minor League catcher Chris Snyder to the #Orioles for Minor League RHP Rob Delaney (not the comedian), team announces.

Gonat said...

Barves lose! nice!

A DC Wonk said...

He also hit a couple of long fouls, one of which had a nice sound.

FP mentioned that he thought ALR was starting to get it together, except that his swing was consistently late -- thus the long fouls that sounded good, but down the left field line.

A DC Wonk said...

Gonat said...

Barves lose! nice!

Given the Barves' super-hot start, given that the Nats are still trying to get on track, given that Nats' schedule is harder than the Barves this early season -- it's hard to complain too much about being 2.5 back.

If Nats can win 3 of 4, then it's just 0.5 back.

(I can't help but think that Stras, after Gio's and JZ's one-hitters, is really going to want to step up)

NatsLady said...

So, on April 24 we were 5 games back and in panic mode. Now we are 2.5 games back, we are in "steady as she goes" mode, and Atlanta fans are in panic mode. Gonna be a long season. :)

NatsLady said...

Is it too soon to conclude that the way Boston played last year was Bobby V's influence?

Eric said...

"given that Nats' schedule ... -- it's hard to complain too much about being 2.5 back.

Honestly, given our starting schedule, I'll be happy to get out of April above 500, which means splitting the next two at worst. If we come out of Atlanta 16 - 13 and a half game back, awesome.

Eric said...

PS, something about the Braves' "Show Your Gattitude" marketing push falls beyond flat. Defining yourself by referencing your opponent seems I'll advised... But, we'll see...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

just win every series.

Eric said...

Y'know, its really interesting that the Nats have this vaunted pitching rotation and the good teams that beat us hit a ton of bloops, chops, and we'll-placed ground balls. I can't help but wonder if this is what it was like watching baseball in the deadball era and other eras when pitchers dominated.

NatsLady said...

Here is Gattis for the last 14 days (not including today).

.158/.195/.421

All that can be said is he's hitting better than Dan Uggla.

.143/.250/.343

Atlanta last 14 days

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=np&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2013&month=2&season1=2013&ind=0&team=16&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

Steady Eddie said...

NL- agree that it's too early to look ahead to the Ztigers especially with the tough seven games ahead of us.

BUT if the current rotations hold, looks like it'll be our old friend Anibal Sanchez facing off against JZimm on the 7th, and with a slow starting Rick Porcello vs Haren on the 8th.

whatsanattau said...

Last year was an exception, but it is very common for Laroche to start the year off slow. There is plenty of history to suggest he will come around. Espy not so much. But if the rest of the team was hitting, his defense would allow him to get by with a .230 avg. unfortunately they are not and he is not. My fix, Zimm, Ramos activated, Rendon, Solano down, Lombo plays. HRod replaced with Romero.

sjm308 said...

Huge series coming up! Split would be ok but if we can win 3 I will be very happy. Sad that I have to put my new hat at the bottom of the rotation. I loved the new Sunday hat with the blue brim and red hat. Up next to start our next streak is the 1916 blue hat with the Block White W. It is not a thin W but fairly thick.

Will Ramos catch the first game of this series? I do think Suzuki needs a rest.

Go Nats!!

Joe Seamhead said...

For what it's worth, I thought Moore should have started today, but ALR was not the only reason, nor the primary reason we lost today. Look at the box score. How many K's were there? How many crappy infield plays were there from the left side? How many base running gaffes? We laid a collective rotten egg today.That's the bad news. The good news is, so did Atlanta.

sjm308 said...

You have to like the first 3 guys we are throwing down there! If we win two of the first 3 and Haren can continue to improve we should be ok. Ramos back tomorrow, Zimm on Friday. Help is on the way. We face a righthander tomorrow. Where will LaRoche bat? I am guessing he goes back to 5th.

baseballswami said...

There is no way this organization lets Zim play a game at Pfitzner tomorrow night on wet ground- no way. If he plays Wed I might go if it's not sold out.

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