Saturday, May 4, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Pirates 4

USA Today Sports Images
Stephen Strasburg allowed four runs (on two two-run homers) in seven innings.
Game in a nutshell: Davey Johnson gathered his players for a rare team meeting before they took the field for batting practice, telling them to relax and not put too much pressure on themselves. In some respects, the Nationals were able to do that, but they still didn't play a picture-perfect ballgame. Stephen Strasburg was victimized by a pair of two-run homers but battled through seven innings, striking out eight. His teammates scored an equal four runs while he was in the game, getting sacrifice flies from Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche, then a clutch, two-run single from Wilson Ramos. They had plenty of chances to add to that but wound up going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals finally pushed home the winning run thanks to a surprise double-steal from Ryan Zimmerman and LaRoche in the top of the ninth, with Tyler Moore then lofting a sacrifice fly to bring Zimmerman homer. Rafael Soriano closed it out and gave the Nats a much-needed, one-run victory.

Hitting highlight: They struggled all day to drive runners home, so the Nationals resorted to trickery to plate the winning run in the ninth. With a gimpy Zimmerman on second (he had just been hit in the knee with a pitch) and the notoriously slow LaRoche on first, Johnson put on the double-steal. It worked to perfection, with catcher Russell Martin not even able to get off a throw. That set the stage for Moore, who had struck out with the bases loaded in his previous two at-bats, to loft a flyball to right, deep enough to score Zimmerman with the game-winning run.

Pitching highlight: Overall, Strasburg did look better today. His changeup was especially filthy, and he used it effectively to record some big strikeouts when he needed them. But Strasburg's fastball command remains an issue. Both home runs he allowed were on fastballs over the plate, with Starling Marte and Clint Barmes each taking him deep for two-run shots. Strasburg also continues to have all kinds of trouble retiring leadoff men. He's now allowed 10 of the last 13 leadoff batters he's faced reach safely, a staggering total. That has forced him to pitch almost exclusively out of the stretch, which is never something any pitcher wants to do. In the end, Strasburg wasn't quite good enough, and the Nats lineup couldn't quite produce enough run support for him. He remains winless since Opening Day.

Key stat: Before delivering his two-run single in the sixth, Ramos had been 0-for-9 since coming off the disabled list.

Up next: The series concludes with a Sunday matinee at PNC Park, featuring a good matchup of left-handers. Gio Gonzalez faces Wandy Rodriguez at 1:35 p.m.

80 comments:

Drew said...

One shark ruins Quint's day, another ruins Clint's day.

GYFNG!

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO UNTUCK AND MORE TEAM MEETINGS!

EmDash said...

Early front-runner for most hilarious game of the year. Saved by a play requiring Adam LaRoche to steal a base!

Rich P. said...

Instant Analysis: Ghost of Steve M. needs to take his know-it-all attitude down to Potomac. His insight stinks worse than Espinosa.

BxJaycobb said...

Weirdest game of the year so far. No question. 5 hit batsmen. FIVE. 2 sac flies. Errors everywhere. A double steal by Ryan and ALR. Starling Marte trying to stop bounces with his glove on the wrong hand. And...say it with me....the GREAT. HOWARD DAVID.

SonnyG10 said...

Besides getting the win today, I saw some other encouraging signs. Ryan Zimmerman was swinging the bat with authority today, and Adam LaRoache is definitely coming alive. We really need them for the middle of our order while we wait for Bryce and Jayson to heal.

Eric said...

That was amazing. What a game!

MicheleS said...

I am worried about Bryce. Hopefully the two off days will do him some good this week.

SonnyG10 said...

FP was great as usual today, but this Howard...ugh! I thought his comment about FP not being a hockey guy kinda ticked FP off. FP said he's been a little busy with baseball.

Eric said...

PS - Shark finally come up with a HUGE clutch play. Nice to see.

Joe Seamhead said...

Hopefully that sac fly makes Tyler sleep easier tonight. I'm telling you all, get Werth and Span back in, rest the Kid for a day or so and watch out. This team is awakening and it going to really stink ( boy has that word gotten a lot of use today) for the rest of the division.

NatsJack in Florida said...

One good baeball game where the entire team can reflect on how a win can be achieved uing all aspects f thegae.

That was fun.

NatsJack in Florida said...

missing a couple of letters but you get my drift.

Joe Seamhead said...

BTW, that was a great tag by Espinosa on Bernie's great throw.

MicheleS said...

Can we hire Chipper as the assistant hitting coach? He is good at being a slump buster!

baseballswami said...

Agreed that this was a weird day. I thought Zim not only played well, but had a different demeanor. More intensity? Leading by example? And that guy with FP was awful !! First time I have seen Jordan in that national broadcast interview situation. He did ok, but it was awkwardly funny. So glad Tyler finally got the RBI!! He just happened to be up at all the critical times. What an adventure. Hope Zim is okay- he got hit hard. Too many nicks and dents going on.

Joe Seamhead said...

Jack, I was worried for Espinosa when I heard Davey took BP today. I was afraid Davey would send Danny down and activate Davey Johnson to play second base.

baseballswami said...

And you are correct ZnJ that this game required all types of baseball tricks. Zim and Adam on the double steal- that was priceless! And Jayson is just pacing the dugout . We need everyone in the lineup at the same time!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Cole Hamels has given 2 dingers tonite and now has given up 7 home runs in 7 starts.

And Ben Revere is not popular in Philly these days.

NatsJack in Florida said...

This kid Fernandez for the Fish can pitch.

Secret wasian man said...

Great job today. very encouraging. great to see Tyler More get a clutch sac fly
. THATS GOOD BASEBALL. And a CAPS win too. WHOO HOO Sure Ill have another Margarita

baseballswami said...

So interesting to hear what national "experts" say about Stras. I think he has to work on staying within himself on the mound. Every feeling shows on his face. He could never play poker. His demeanor does not inspire confidence. Cannot imagine that the defense feels calm and secure these days with him out there. He needs to get a grip- and I do not mean the two or four seam variety.

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Ryan Zimmerman was swinging the bat with authority today, and Adam LaRoache is definitely coming alive."

Ryan looked like the guy who led the team to the division championship last year. He looked as loose and comfortable as he has in a long time. And ALR's bat has finally come alive. Those 2 guys can carry the offense.

The rotation is coming around, and the starters are going deep into games. Strasburg is still not there, but he's getting closer. The new closer has been effective, and the pen always has a few guys who are well-rested because the starters are going so deep and Davey has managed them so well.

The defense has been much better. Desi has really tightened things up. Span has been sensational. Ryan looked fine today at 3rd and Bernie came through in the clutch.

Maybe Span and Werth will be back by Tuesday's game with the Tigers, and Harper will have fully recovered from that nagging injury. They will have JZ on the mound for that one. Tuesday could be when they finally put it all together, and jell. Then we can just enjoy the ride.

Ryan is the key.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

leaving the park now.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Rich P. said...
Instant Analysis: Ghost of Steve M. needs to take his know-it-all attitude down to Potomac. His insight stinks worse than Espinosa.

May 04, 2013 7:10 PM


You have major issues. Like I said 2, 3, 4, or 5 days until he got going. Yes, he didn't get going yesterday but got to face a lefty today who decided to twice pitch him in. I think it was a breaking ball in and Zim ripped it. Was he covering the outside of the plate? Didn't need to. That's Pittsburgh's issue and Zim's execution.

I'm thrilled he got 1 hit. It's called BABIP. Hopefully he will have himself on a roll now.
Like I also said he plays better when he's mad.

NatsJack in Florida said...

So far, 3-1 in May. Braves 0-3.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

wore Zim jersey. Tomorrow should I wear Zim again or Harper.

zim scored 3 runs.

NatsLady said...

I think Fox should consider using a local guy in the booth for all their "national" broadcasts. Their guy was awful. FP has greatly improved over the last two years.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The first real good come from behind victory. Davey should have meetings more often. They had a little fight in them and some more month of May luck.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

in Florida said...
So far, 3-1 in May. Braves 0-3.

May 04, 2013 8:05 PM


I'm liking that! The Braves also don't have the starting pitching everyone thought they would have especially with Medlen struggling. They also have a lot of their lineup in a slump.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just so everyone knows, Danny Rosenbaum got shelled last nite but he's still doing better than Chris Young.

And Rick Hague is hitting a robust .206 while Jeff Kobernus is still in the .350 plus range but is at his standard .280 over his last 10 games.

NatsLady said...

Trying again.

FP seemed to think RZ did the double steal on his own, but I don't. I think Davey gave the signal. A while back I looked at the double steals in 2012... I'm thinking I'll keep it up for 2013.

Take Two

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/02/take-two-daveys-not-so-secret-weapon.html

sjm308 said...

Manassas Fan - if it was me, I would stay with what worked which was the Zimm jersey but go with your gut.

I turned off the sound in the 2nd inning when the guy said that Zimm had two hits yesterday! If that had been Carp, FP would have corrected it but I am guessing on national tv that is not the way to go.

I actually ponied up the money for ML At Bat, or something like that. It gives me audio from either team plus a decent set of charts on my ipad. What do you guys think of that app?

Ghost, as long as you don't go all nuts with patting yourself on the back about when you said something and how you were the first etc etc, I still enjoy your thoughts and comments. Pretty sure Rich P is not a fan.

Grandkid now crys whenever I hold him but it was still great! He is rolling over and we should have a bat in his hand in the next few months.

Two games back and we need to win this series!!
I am guessing the Braves will have to play a double header which can't help their bullpen after what they did yesterday.

Go Nats!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

From Mark Z...#Nats knew Tony Watson was really slow to plate, 1.8 sec. So they gave Zimmerman green light and let him decide pitch to try double-steal

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

On buc broadcast said Zim called double steal.

jersey question still opened for a resolution.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'm enjoying following the two pitchers I said should make major up ticks in their developement at Potomac. Robbie Ray and Taylor Jordan are doing what I expected along with Taylor Hill. These guys are working their way up wirh impressive numbers.

NatsLady said...

Nice! Was pretty sure it came from the dugout, loving that they let RZ choose the pitch!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

sjm, Feelwood aka pRAA aka Rich P. and his other hater IDs he posts as. He was probably Tony also.

He can keep working on Zim's muscle memory theory.

MicheleS said...

Manassas. Stick with Zim

NJ we obviously got the better CF from the Twins

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, the last time Davey put on that steal of 3rd with Harper they did it with a lefty at-bat and Harp was caught.

This worked with the element of surprise and the fact TyMo occupies a lot space in the RH batter's box.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Man this kid Fernandez is at 64 pitches through 6. He's just mowing down the Phillies. 2-0 Fish starting the 7th.

baseballswami said...

Did anyone else cringe when they saw Zim sliding in on his stomach? AND he got nailed by a pitch! Guy is a crap magnet these days. Also- I understand the macho stay in the game thing, but should Bryce be playing? I am concerned that playing hurt will affect his mechanics. Werth hates it, but he is sucking it up. Look how well Ramos and Zim are running right now!

Eric said...

"The first real good come from behind victory."

Agreed, and, as I said a few days ago, I think a gritty, claw back win was the last great unconquered frontier of 2013. And, it's the kind of victory that I think can really create momentum because you're really leaning in all the way to the end.

We'll see!

sjm, I used atbat towards the end of last season and really liked it. Forgot to opt out before the auto renew this season, but I use it quite a bit, so I'm not TOO annoyed with myself ;).

NatsJack in Florida said...

He's retired 17 Phillies in a row, giving up 1 hit and hasn't thrown more than 12 pitches in an inning.

RickH said...

Yes, I like MLB At Bat. Together with my DVR, I can sync up the radio broadcast with the TV during these national broadcasts.

Eric said...

"I am concerned that playing hurt will affect his mechanics."

Yeah but at the same time, the way he fought the inside pitches of until he got a single was pretty impressive. That kid is insanely tenacious.

Still, yeah, Zim was FLYING on that triple... Really surprised me.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Pitch F/X is already up for today's game. That was a curveball on the inside corner that Zim hit for the triple in the corner.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=502046&game=gid_2013_05_04_wasmlb_pitmlb_1&batterX=25&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

Eric said...

"jersey question still opened for a resolution."

I say Zim after his performance today. Really good to have him all the way back for this one.

sjm308 said...

Also pleased with Zim's speed on the tag to score the winning run. Hate to bother people with the MLB At Bat but when the season is over I am guessing they stop the monthly billing? or do I have to do something else. As natsfan1a can attest, computers are not my strong point.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Fernandez walks the lead-off man...

baseballswami said...

Eric- your phrase describing Bryce was appropriate. After watching Bryce Begins, it's not a mystery. His father is one hard nosed man. This man child was not pampered or spoiled. But he is a kid, and will not always make the best decisions for himself. I guess if he could play while puking, dizzy and white as a sheet he can play with a banged up side. And his father is really one intimidating dude. Intense.

sjm308 said...

OK Manassas, you have 3 votes for Zimm. I think this issue is settled.

SonnyG10 said...

Manassas, what MicheleS said. Stick with Zim.

baseballswami said...

Yes, Zim- in honor of his blinding speed.

NatsLady said...

Ghost, do you remember when that was? I would like to put it in my table, the failed double steal, I mean.

Eric said...

sjm, AtBat billing will stop at the end of season unless you as on post season.

It will auto renew in 2014 if you don't explicitly opt out.

I missed Bryce Begins, for better or worse...

From the twitter feed:
"That was the first time Ryan Zimmerman has stolen third base in his career, according to @NationalsPR."

Nice!

Eric said...

"unless you [add] on post season."

SonnyG10 said...

baseballswami said...
Did anyone else cringe when they saw Zim sliding in on his stomach? AND he got nailed by a pitch! Guy is a crap magnet these days. Also- I understand the macho stay in the game thing, but should Bryce be playing? I am concerned that playing hurt will affect his mechanics. Werth hates it, but he is sucking it up. Look how well Ramos and Zim are running right now!
May 04, 2013 8:33 PM


Swami, my thoughts exactly on all accounts. Good post.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady said...
Ghost, do you remember when that was? I would like to put it in my table, the failed double steal, I mean.

May 04, 2013 8:44 PM


I will research it. My recollection was the trail runner stayed at 1st base so it wasn't a double steal.

Rich P. said...

Here's what Ghost of Steve M. said:

Again, Zim needed a rehab of 2, 3, 4, 5 games or whatever it took for him to prove he was ready to come back to the lineup and contribute.

And here's what I said:

He can hit the outside strike, or at least foul it off the other way, like he did last night. If the opposing pitcher can consistently paint the black while trying to get him to fish for something outside the zone, you tip your hat to him and move on. As Zimmerman gets his timing back, he'll see the pitches outside the zone and lay off them. Eventually the pitcher will come inside or make a mistake, and Zimmerman will hit it a ton.

Who was right? Let's go to the rule book.

Rules for discussions with Ghost of Steve M.:

(1) Ghost of Steve M. is always right.

(2) If Ghost of Steve M. is wrong, see rule #1.

(3) Brown-nosing and sucking up to Ghost of Steve M. is optional. But it won't get you anywhere anyway, even if you're Gonat.


Looks like Ghost of Steve M. is a Rule 2 guy today.

BigCat said...

Zims steal of 3rd won it for us. Also, I'm sure he has a signal with Roche when he's going . Wait .... Sharks throw was tremendous. Eck has pretty much run roger out of MLB, but he can still play D with the best of them

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

It was April 27th. Bryce Harper caught stealing third. On the play, Jayson Werth advances to second. Runner on second with two outs and Adam LaRoche at the plate.

BigCat said...

Darn ghost., what's up? You attacking people or what? I generally think you know what you're talking about

NatsLady said...

Thanks, Ghost, I will add it in.

BigCat said...

Bottom line. Curly! I don't care how it looked Let's move on. Gio got something for the Bucs ass tomorrow!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

BigCat, Feelwoods new moniker Rich P aka Tony has nothing better to do then trying to cause controversy. I stand by what I said. The fact Ryan Zimmerman hit a triple on an inside curveball changes nothing and of course I am thrilled because that may jump start Ryan.

Let's face it, yesterday's game for Ryan ostensibly served as his 2nd rehab start. It is what it is.

NatsLady said...

Looks like the Barves could keep three catchers when McCann comes back.

/brian-mccann-set-to-rejoin-the-braves-on-monday

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/04/brian-mccann-set-to-rejoin-the-braves-on-monday/

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Big cat come with us nex year.

Now if the outback watress doesnt spill anything on me Zim it is.

last night I wore division champ shirt. it has been barred for the rest of the series

baseballswami said...

It feels good that we are talking about little things that helped us WIN a game instead of the opposite.

Eric said...

I'm OK with Zim having played yesterday, though, as he was solid on the throws. Woulda been nice if he had something to offer on offense, but they were almost all sitting ducks yesterday.

Eric said...

Swami - yes!

baseballswami said...

And about ATL and McCann-- he will not be able to play full time for a while. They cannot afford to depend on him yet where they are sitting in the standings -- for now, that is.

JaneB said...

Happiest for Danny and ALR and the Shark. I love love love my boys. That double steal was hilarious and perfect and THANK YOU Tyler for making it worth it.

baseballswami said...

Matt Kemp just got eaten up by the sun monster.

MicheleS said...

New post

the-tav said...

We just need to get everyone back healthy, and to continue to manufacture runs and we will be fine.

Rabbit34 said...

Well it seems like SS is still struggling but hopefully things will get turned around.

peric said...

Here come the baby Nats Natsjack: T-Mo and Espinosa.

Anthony "Rincon" Rendon coming to a field near you soon.

peric said...

I'm enjoying following the two pitchers I said should make major up ticks in their developement at Potomac. Robbie Ray and Taylor Jordan are doing what I expected along with Taylor Hill. These guys are working their way up wirh impressive numbers.

Throw in Purke and Solis and you may have the best future starting rotation AA has seen in decades.

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