Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 3, Tigers 1

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper launched his 10th homer of the season in the fifth inning.
Game in a nutshell: It may have been delayed 25 hours by rain, but the opener of this big, interleague series didn't disappoint. Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez went toe-to-toe, with Zimmermann out-dueling his right-hnaded counterpart thanks to seven innings of one-run ball. Bryce Harper drove in a pair of runs, one of them on a homer well into the right-field bleachers. Aggressive baserunning by Adam LaRoche — yes, Adam LaRoche — forced Torii Hunter into a throwing error and produced another run. Tyler Clippard fired every bullet he had at the fearsome Tigers lineup during a 34-pitch top of the eighth, somehow escaping without allowing a run. And Rafael Soriano finished it off for his 11th save in 12 tries, giving the Nationals their third straight victory ... and first-ever in 20 starts against Sanchez.

Hitting highlight: Harper had been in a bit of a slump over his last eight games (3-for-26) and some of that may have beenattributable to his bruised left ribcage. But after getting essentially three straight days off, Harper looked refreshed and back in form tonight. He put together a solid at-bat in the bottom of the third, lofting a sacrifice fly to bring home the Nationals' first run of the game. Then in the fifth he stepped to the plate for his third at-bat against Sanchez and sat on a first-pitch curveball. Good move by the kid, because he absolutely crushed it to right-center for his 10th homer of the season.

Pitching highlight: OK, so he's human after all. Zimmermann finally gave up a run, ending his consecutive scoreless streak at 20 innings. But that third-inning mini-rally by the Tigers — a two-out double by Torii Hunter followed by an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera — was the only blemish of his evening. Zimmermann did have to work a bit harder against this tough Detroit lineup than he had in other recent outings, but he remained calm and in control throughout. He struck out Andy Dirks with two on and two out in the third, struck out Alex Avila with two on and two out in the sixth, then breezed through the seventh to end his night and earn a handshake from Davey Johnson. Zimmermann isn't just pitching extraordinarily well, he's doing it against some of the majors' best lineups. His last three starts have come against the Reds, Braves and Tigers, and during that span he's allowed one total run over 24 sterling innings. Zimmermann now leads the NL with six wins, and his 1.59 ERA ranks second only to the Mets' Matt Harvey.

Key stat: Harper's blast extended the Nationals' streak of series in which they've hit a home run to 67, dating all the way back to Sept. 2011. That's the second-longest active streak in MLB, behind only the Rangers, who have homered in 76 consecutive series.

Up next: Both teams were supposed to have Thursday off, but Tuesday's rainout canceled those plans. So Dan Haren and Doug Fister will take the mound at 4:05 p.m. for the newly scheduled finale of this two-game, interleague series.

57 comments:

Drew said...

Tiger, tiger burning bright ...

Not tonight!

GYFNG!

Gonat said...

That's the lowest runs scored by the Tigers since April 20th. They are a great offensive team and if RZ makes that one play, its still a W!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

go back to a pregame post from Wednesday I predicted a 6 game winning streak. i was close 5-1 in May.

Now Dan do it again tomorrow.

Dave said...

Okay, Julie Alexandria has been on the job for two weeks now. She needs to come up with questions that don't start with, "How great is it...?"

What's the answer to that? Seven?

Gonat said...

Untucked and feeling goooood!

Eric said...

Wow... WOW! Incredible game. Well done fellas!

ehay2k said...

Untucked in the airport!

GYFNG!!

MicheleS said...

WOOOOO HOOOOOOO

Teddy Rochlis said...

looking good nats, let's get on a hot streak and retake the division

Eric said...

Actually, I think Julie has been doing a great job, particularly in game.

JaneB said...

We beat Anibel. And Omar didn't hurt us tonight, like he has in the past. And neither did Miggy or Prince. ALR is back in business and so is The Kid. All in all, a really good night.

And congrats to Rick Eckstein, a new Dad.

JaneB said...

Good for you ehay!

SCNatsFan said...

Quality curly W. Jordan Z has a habit of making this team look real good.

Dave said...

Julie's not bad, but I just know she knows enough about baseball to avoid that formulation. Maybe it takes me back too much to the days of DebbieT. It should be easier to come up with more game-specific questions than that.

Harrumph. With that, and a brilliant Nats win, I go to bed.

Gonat said...

No crooked number innings but that's how you beat great teams by piecing together a few runs by your offense coupled with a solid pitching performance by JZ.

Gonat said...

JaneB said...
We beat Anibel.
_____________________

Yah, you can't say that often.

johnny nats said...

"who could frame thy fearful symmetry?"

Cabrerra is a beast.

Good game. GYFNG

David Proctor said...

Julie is good during her mid-game stuff, but her interviews are awful. In my opinion.

Gonat said...

Since April 20th, the Tigers have scored an average of 6.7 runs per game which makes tonight all the more special.

Nattering Nat said...

Great, classic game.

Mark, kindly change your lead sentence--"didn't fail to disappoint" means it disappointed. You just mean it didn't disappoint, as indeed it didn't!

Joe Seamhead said...

Listening to Johnson it sounds as if no Jayson Werth for a couple of days. Davey says he'll play Bernadina tomorrow.

Gonat said...

Mark Z writes... Zimmermann now leads the NL with six wins, and his 1.59 ERA ranks third only to the Cardinals' Jake Westbook and the Mets' Matt Harvey
________________________

6-1 record now and a 1.59 ERA. Hard to believe 2 pitchers have better ERAs but that Matt Harvey is good and he is getting all the calls from the umps. JZ got screwed in 2 at-bats tonight.

Drew said...

Stop the presses! Eury Perez hit a home run at Syracuse.

Since the start of the 2011 season he had one homer in his last 267 minor league games.

Gonat said...

Joe Seamhead said...
Listening to Johnson it sounds as if no Jayson Werth for a couple of days. Davey says he'll play Bernadina tomorrow.

May 08, 2013 11:12 PM
______________________________

Bernadina with another key defensive play in the 9th!

Gonat said...

Drew, Eury is having a great year so far. Was it an inside-the-parker?

Drew said...

As for the instant analysis, the game did fail to disappoint.

It was a dandy.

Eric said...

So can someone explain the logic behind advancing the runner when the ball goes in the camera banks? Even if it means a run?

Joe Seamhead said...

Gonat, a case of Davey knowing when to make a defensive replacement. Roger made that 9th inning catch, but not feeling very confident that Tyler makes that play.

Joe Seamhead said...

The ball was effectively thrown out of the field of play allowing each runner a base.

Nattering Nat said...

In low-scoring games against the best teams, the little things make all the difference. Tonight, (1) Span turns a double into a triple, so the Harper SF scores him, (2) LaRoche goes to third on a fly out to Hunter, scores on the error on the throw, (3) Desmond gets to a couple of grounders that could have eaten him up, and then who knows? Harper's HR was the only no-doubt run. Huge difference for them pitching ahead 2-1 and 3-1. All the little things they didn't do early in the season are back in synch, at least most of the time, now. And still not close to all cylinders hitting.

Eric said...

Bernie was clutch there. Denard's our only other outfielder that gets that without injuring himself, IMO. Maybe Bryce.

Eric said...

"The ball was effectively thrown out of the field of play allowing each runner a base."

Right. I guess I worded that too specifically. Why isn't the ball just dead at that point and runners have to hold? Basically, what's the logic behind the rule?

Eric said...

"And still not close to all cylinders hitting."

That's the crazy thing!!

Joe Seamhead said...

Eric,first, here is the rule:a runner advances:
(f) Two bases, if a fair ball bounces or is deflected into the stands outside the first or third base foul lines; or if it goes through or under a field fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence; or if it sticks in such fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines;
(g) Two bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw was made;
APPROVED RULING: If all runners, including the batter-runner, have advanced at least one base when an infielder makes a wild throw on the first play after the pitch, the award shall be governed by the position of the runners when the wild throw was made.

Joe Seamhead said...

Does that explain the logic of why?

Eric said...

Interesting. I guess I find myself wondering why a dead ball results in awarded bases for the runner. Is it because a fielder could hypothetically kill as ball by throwing it out of play? Something like that?

This is getting very esoteric, but I just wonder about this kind of thing.

MASN is having as very interesting Harper segment right now.

ehay2k said...

Eric, I think that the rule is there because if the camera well or dugout were not there, the ball would be in play, and the runner could make a decision to run or not. Similar to the man-made obstacle/impediment rule in golf perhaps?

Joe Seamhead said...

I think that is a good take on the rule, ehay. If Espinosa had already been on 2nd the ump could have advanced him 2 bases, resulting in a second run scored.I only saw where ALR was, I assume Danny hadn't advanced to second on Hunter's throw, at least not before the ball went out of play, thus explaining why he ended up on third.

Eric said...

Yeah that makes sense, ehay... Sorry don't mean to harp on this kind of thing... There's gotta be a reason why the ruling benefits the offense, not the defense...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Zim is second in ERA he is ahead of Westbrook not behind him.

David Proctor said...

Interesting that Rizzo said today that he approached Jordan Zimmermann's agent about a contract extension. They've talked about it before, but this is the first time we've heard about action.

Eric said...

JZim is a beast. Damn.

Section 222 said...

What a great game. Superb pitching from JZnn. And boy does he move the game along. And Harper truly gets situational hitting. Man on third, he's going to drive him in. But bases empty, sit on that breaking pitch and crush it. So cool to see that shot in person from behind the plate.

Really nice catch by the Shark in the 9th.. I didn't even realize he was in the game. Nice move by Davey to put him in the right place at the right time. His defense has really paid dividends in the last few games.

Finally, great to see Sofa in the house. We untucked with gusto, as did quite a few people in our section. We even made it onto the Jumbotron, after the untucking!

Eric said...

Good game to catch 222!

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

Heard Phil Wood mention this after the game...Jordan Zimmermann hasn't lost at home for over a calendar year (as of next start)...9-0...pretty darn good. Hopefully Stras and Gio are watching what it looks like to "pitch"...those two are just exhausting to watch lately. Work fast and throw strikes...should be pretty easy with their stuff yet they make it soooo complicated.

Section 222 said...

ALR is on board!

Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko
LaRoche joined Soriano's untuck club.“I can’t let my man do it and be on his own out there. If he’s doin it, I’m doin it. I’ll support him.”

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Wait, what? Jumbotron? I did not notice that.

Candygram!

Good to see Deuces and a good game!

baseballswami said...

And when Jordan does not get calls he does not react at all. He just throws another pitch. Stras and Gio can be a bit high strung. Great night at the game - surrounded by Tiger fans, but they were fun. No rain, a Nats win, JZ on the hill, Bryce bomb and a shark special. All the right ingredients. We sure do have that sac fly RBI thing down at this point. A run is a run.

Whynat said...

Span untucked. Batboy untucked.

Scott Margenau said...

Eric. Dead ball would benefit the defense, by effectively removing the option to advance on a error or such. Cheers.

mick said...

J. Zim and Harper will be playing in the All Star game in July and Ziim should be the NL starter

NatsJack in Florida said...

mick...remember.... the All Star game is at Citi Field this year.

If young Mr. Harvey continues what he is doing I doubt Jordan gets the start.

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

Makes sense, thanks Scott.

mick said...

I forgot about that Nats Jack... good point, oh well, maybe Zim pitches in 4th or 5th

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Late to the question, but the simple answer, Eric, is so that the defense does not get the option of stopping play by simply throwing the ball out of bounds.

Eric said...

Yeah, I think that makes the most sense (preventing an exploit).

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