Thursday, May 9, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Tigers 4

USA Today Sports Images
Ryan Zimmerman helped spur the Nationals' early rallies.
Game in a nutshell: In the matinee makeup for Tuesday's rainout, the Nationals stormed out to an early 5-0 lead with a flurry of base hits off the previously unbeaten Doug Fister. That provided some cushion for Dan Haren, who didn't seem to need it early but ultimately benefited from it after he served up a three-run homer in the sixth. That put the pressure on the Nationals' bullpen to close out what turned into a one-run game, and that unit delivered with flying colors. Ryan Mattheus pitched a scoreless seventh, Drew Storen tossed a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano got Prince Fielder to fly out to the warning track in center with two outs in the ninth to notch his 12th save in 13 tries. With that, the Nationals pulled off a two-game sweep of Detroit and earned their fourth straight win overall, improving to 19-15.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals wasted no time pouncing on Fister. Five of their first six batters recorded base hits, with Denard Span getting things started with a leadoff double, Roger Bernadina dropping down a perfect drag bunt and Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond all singling in succession. The hits kept coming in the bottom of the second, with Zimmerman and LaRoche again rapping out back-to-back RBI singles to extend the Nationals' lead to 5-0. But as we've seen more than a few times in the past, the Nats' lineup went silent after an early explosion. Despite knocking Fister out after only three innings, they couldn't make a dent into the Tigers' bullpen, and because of that this remained a tight ballgame throughout.

Pitching highlight: Coming off far and away his best start of the season, Haren wasn't quite in peak form. But he was effective, holding the Tigers to one run through his first five innings. He very nearly navigated his way through the sixth, as well, but then left a 2-2 pitch up to Matt Tuiasosopo and spun around in horror as the Detroit pinch-hitter clobbered it to left-center for a three run homer. That left a sour taste in Haren's mouth as his afternoon ended, but overall the veteran continued his recent upward trend, and the Nationals can't be too upset about that in the big picture.

Key stat: LaRoche now has nine hits in his last 16 at-bats.

Up next: After a tough stretch of games that saw them face five straight opponents with winning records, the Nationals now get a weekend with the hapless Cubs. Ross Detwiler faces Jeff Samardzija in Friday's 7:05 p.m. opener.

74 comments:

MicheleS said...

WOOOO HOOO!.. Love it.. took 2 from a pretty good team..

Secret wasian man said...

WHEWWWWWWWW Prince going DEEEEEEP with a guy on. Gotta go change the under pants. Great job guys keep it going

Drew said...

Two straight from the AL champs!

That's pretty impressive. GYFNG!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Great job by the bull pen. Mattheus, Drew and the Assassin. Love those guys.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

haren one bad pitch.

hitters took last 6 innings off. Please play the whole game.

Section 222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NatsJack in Florida said...

SWM...under pants or diapers?

Section 222 said...

Now that was a sweet ending. Untuck indeed.

Mark, you're probably on the road already, but the Nats lead was 3-0 and then 5-1.

Hey folks, a mini sweep of the defending AL Champs. We'll take it!

Harpo said...

I really thought Prince got that one onto the putting green in CF.

Each reliever was aggressive and that's how you have to do it.

Haren gets the W.

David Proctor said...

Nats bullpen has pitched 15 straight scoreless innings now. Things are shaping up nicely. Just need to continue getting the bats warm. Zim is heating up, but would like to see his power return.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Have everyone joind my side yet? i was excited about getting Span right fron the beginning.

David Proctor said...

I love Span, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous every time he's on first base. He's "only" been picked off twice, but it still worries me.

Still love the pickup though, for sure.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Manassas....there is only maybe 2 who really don't like the fact that Span is here.

Most of Nats fans understood what his acquisition was all about and couldn't be happier.

David Proctor said...

Nats are 4-0 since Davey's team meeting in Pittsburgh. They've won 6 of their last 7 against the Braves, Pirates and Tigers.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

i knew Davey would butcher Matt Tuisasosopo's name.

natsfan1a said...

Hello, Insiders. Just got back in town after a trip to Hawaii. No baseball there (other than a few innings of a televised Giants game) but a few other things to see and do.

After unpacking, tuned in to see the last couple innings of the Nats game. Am now unpacked and untucked. Oh, yeah...

Jeff Wang said...

1 of Span's pick off he didn't get tagged. I blame the blues.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

NatsJack. now 2 but at the time many more didnt like.

NatsJack. Big Cat tells you were a catcher a generation befor Big Cat were in high school at the same high school. If so you caught a future major league pitcher.

baseballswami said...

Nice, quiet, not flashy streak going on here. Shhh. Do not alert the national media. Things are better this way.

baseballswami said...

So Haren is pretty funny!

tayo said...

Good win, even though we had luck on our sides today. Saying that the Tigers lineup is scary is an understatement. Lets keep up the momentum.

Eric said...

"Nice, quiet, not flashy streak going on here. Shhh. Do not alert the national media. Things are better this way."

Uh. Greed.

Steady Eddie said...

Manassas -- you must have the LoD confused with NI regulars. For the latter, NatsJack's recollection is correct. I was mostly excited about Span from the start as a real lead off hitter with a high OBP, an ingredient that's essential to a winning team that's balanced enough to win in whatever way the game allows.

What I didn't expect is that he'd be such a freakin' effortless vacuum cleaner in CF whose reads and routes are the best on the team. And that he covers so much ground in CF that Werth and Harp can shade so far towards the line that they can turn sure doubles into singles with a quick cutoff as Bryce did on Jackson's drive in the 7th last night, right in front of where I was sitting.

paul brandt said...

Haren has 4 wins and its May 9th. the guy he replaced, Ejax had 10 all of last year...so far, so good. Realize there are much more stats to compare the two, but am pleased with the 4 wins. Wins are wins!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Manassas... not sure what you mean but Tom Bradley and I grew up together and I caught him all through high school.

baseballswami said...

I have been so focused on my daily baseball angst. Now I look back-- Reds, Braves, Pittsburgh, Tigers. Not a cakewalk. Reds and Tigers and Braves, oh, my! Not too shabby my friends. Not too shabby. Kind of worried about the Jayson thing. Sickness, dehydration, cramps, antibiotics-- this does not sound like your garden variety stomach bug. I have never actually heard if anyone getting antibiotics for their stomach. That's kind of an infection thing. Very weird.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Imagine that. Dan Haren with 4 wins on May 9th.

Gonat said...

Back from the game! I was there with Jahidi White who is in town this weekend. When the rain storm started we went up to get some food. Funny all the people that wanted his autograph and most had no idea who he was but knew he was someone who played something.

Great game. Nats have now won the season series against the Tigers and the Reds. The Braves will be a work in progress to get the upper hand on that season series.

We thought Bernadina's bunt just got in Fister's head. He wasn't right after that.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Watching Mets/Rays and man, did the Blue Jays get hosed on the Dickey trade.

Eric said...

So... Yeah... Braves kick off against San Fran a few hours... Fingers crossed! Would love to wake up tomorrow only 1 back...

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Watching Mets/Rays and man, did the Blue Jays get hosed on the Dickey trade.
________________________

You mean Blue Jays/Rays and yes, I think that the Mets are quietly smiling like they had a bad feeling on Dickey.

NatsJack in Florida said...

But he does have a GREAT pick off move that he needs to teach Stras, Jordan, Storen, T-Clip, and Mattheus.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yes, Blue Jays?Rays.

A DC Wonk said...

Let's have some extra love for Mattheus today. Six days without pitching, comes in to face the dangerous 2-3-4 guys -- gets the first two, gives up a single to #4 (Fielder) but then retires #5 in two pitches.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Funny because I'm flipping between Mets/Pirates and Blues Jays/Rays.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Tip of the hat to Ray Knight today who said in the Pre-game Show when Johnny Holliday said "Fister is undefeated at 4-0" Ray said "Not after today".

NatsJack in Florida said...

When Ryan Mattheus throws his power sinker and his slider down, he's virtually unhittable.

LoveDaNats said...

I've got nothing to say. Just happy! :)

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

i loved watching Span andcRevere play center and right last years. Twins covered lots of ground there.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

that is exactly what I meant. My sister was class of 63 and I walked up to the school and watched the games. loved watching Tom Bradley. I was in second grade and was president of the Wally Brown fan club. rightfielder.

He talked to us little kids all the time.

Gonat said...

Nats are on a 91 win pace now.

TimDz said...

Gonat....
The Nats still play two in Detroit....
They can still split...

Gonat said...

TimDz, thanks for the correction. I didn't realize that.

MicheleS said...

Jack, is Taylor Jordan the one you said to be on the look out for?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yep. Taylor Jordan and Robbie Ray.

MicheleS said...

Cool..thanks.. saw that Jordan was bumped up to AA.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Taylor is the next Jordan Zimmerman.

NatsNut said...

These wins feel like the Boston sweep did last year. As in, dang, I think this team really can hang with the big dogs (or cats, in this case).

NatsJack in Florida said...

NatsNut.......this team IS a big dog.

Gonat said...

Rendon having another big night. 2-3 w/ a double, walk, RBI, run scored

sjm308 said...

Hey everyone!! Still battling my stomach virus. If Werth has what I am dealing with I am surprised he is even in the dugout.

Got to read lots of comments on lots of posts. I still skip the in-game stuff but I just wanted to let Eric know what a breath of fresh air he is.
Yes, I actually read some Peric way down where he is still beating the drum for Tyler. Now don't get me wrong, I want Tyler Moore to do well but its just silly right now. Peric - span will not be on the bench, neither will LaRoche. Just find a new mantra and like Eric, we will beware the bold (what a joke).

Had to laugh at our boy Bobby Carpenter today on TV. He has always had a hard time calling where the baseball might land. Lots of excitement for popups and sometimes he has no idea a ball is going out. Today he actually missed the call on the weather. They came back from break and he starts going on about the sun coming out and no more rain and then, what do you know - its a total downpour. At least he is consistent.

Great win and our bullpen is just so solid right now. Haren with 4 wins makes me happy. I realize that lots of you use all kinds of stats and percentages and letters and numbers to prove who is best. Guess what? The team with the most runs wins! Haren is doing what LannEn did in years past. He just wins. I love it.

Go Nats!!

SonnyG10 said...

I thought it was really cool when Ryan Mattheus struck out Cabrera with that splitter, Cabrera looked at Ryan with a slight smile and you could read his lips saying "you got me".

baseballswami said...

34 games-- how many of those games do you guess we have had our ideal offensive lineup? I am guessing not many. I just keep thinking if we could ever just have everyone in the right place for a few games.......

TimDz said...

NatsJack,
What do you see in Taylor Jordan?
I don't have any idea who he is....

Candide said...

Was looking at the scoreboard, and I mentioned to Older Nephew, "Hey, Haren's ERA is finally under 5!" (was 4.50).

O.N. says, "Don't say that."

The very next pitch Tonawonadingdong hits a 3-run shot.

Sorry, everyone.

Fun game, though. One thing bothered me: When Moore ran a long way for that foul pop and it dropped out of his glove, he tossed the ball into the stands, and whoever caught it threw it back. Didn't like that one bit. From where we were sitting, I couldn't tell if the round of booing that followed was directed at the fan or at Moore. I certainly hope not Moore. No, he's not a great fielder, but it was a tough play, and he didn't deserve to get booed for it.

MicheleS said...

Candide.. From what I saw on twitter from the person that threw the ball back was a tigers fan and Nats fans were giving him hades about it

SonnyG10 said...

Hope he got ejected from the park for throwing something on the field.

Candide said...

Thanks MicheleS. Good.

JaneB said...

I woulda kept in Roger instead of Tyler today. I'm so happy we have Mattheus. And that we beat the Tigers.

I will say I am one of the ones who was unhappy we got Span. Not that it matters. I'm finally loving Soriano, and I was mad about that originally. So far I love 24 of the guys. One day I'll quit blaming Span for no more Mikey. I know I really ought to blame Rizzo, but there you have it.

A DC Wonk said...

FWIW, Mikey is down to .226; and in his last 17 games (dating back to Apr 18) in 71 plate appearances his hitting .185

rmoore446 said...

Nice that Ryan Z.,and LaRoche came through today despite all the chatter about their fading skills. One day, true, but a nice day. And hasn't there been some talk earlier this season about what a bad move it was getting Span? Not much in the field and a slap hitter, wasn't it? Lately, he's looking like a very valuable player. Bernadina contributed as well. Only cousin Tyler failed in his one chance but I have faith in him down the road. The guy is a horse and once day we will enjoy the ride.

Joe Seamhead said...

Can't give Moore to hard of a time for dropping the foul ball. He covered a lot of ground and, for him, if he had hung on it would've been a heck of a play. That said, I honestly think every other outfielder on the team makes the catch. I understood Davey's logic in pinch hitting for Shark, but I didn't like it because of the potential dropoff in defense. That could have blown up in Davey's face, but it didn't. Johnson is uncanny sometimes. I'll be glad when Werth is back.

Other observations from today:

Maybe the stats don't give Haren a "quality start" as Mark says, but I thought that he pitched a gutsy game against a heck of a great lineup, and as was said earlier, a win's a win. He is a good back of the rotation guy.

The team overall is starting to really start not just playing better, but with more self confidence. You see that they have cast away the demons from two weeks ago.Ryan and Adam are waking up. Hope some stats get padded against the Cubs staff.

Other than the bonehead non-doubleplay on Haren's toss to 2nd, Desi and Espy looked like a middle infield on a championship team.

Span is just terrific in CF. And I don't want to start a big argument, but he is, in my opinion, the overall best defensive centerfielder we've had. No, his arm isn't in the same breath as Ankiel's but I don't think that Rick ever get the jumps, or ran as great of routes that Denard does. Again, my opinion. He has had some baserunning guffaws, but he is showing that he is capable of being the best leadoff hitter since the Nats got to DC.

Soriano is just a treat.

GYFNG!!!

A DC Wonk said...

LaRoche: six game hitting streak, during which, in 24 plate appearances has 9 hits and 6 walks - and OBP of .625 (and BA of .529)

Thanks, Chipper!

A DC Wonk said...

Seamhead wrote: Span is just terrific in CF. And I don't want to start a big argument, but he is, in my opinion, the overall best defensive centerfielder we've had.

Yep. See my comments after game #2 (my first in-person game this year). I was blown away by how Span covered huge ground by gliding. And I learned -- once again -- that you can see things in person that you can't see on TV. How much ground Span covers is one of those things that you have to see in person to fully appreciate how much it is.

Dominats Vobiscum said...

Today he actually missed the call on the weather. They came back from break and he starts going on about the sun coming out and no more rain and then, what do you know - its a total downpour.

He had that call exactly right. The rain stopped, the inning ended, I left my seat to use the mens room, and when I came back the sun was out and nothing but blue skies above. I got to my seat and...downpour. Still nothing but blue skies above. It kept raining for several minutes while the field was bathed in sunshine. Today was a total WTF weather day.

Joe Seamhead said...

I wish Tyler Moore nothing but good luck. I'm not sure where you can hide him to get his bat in the lineup. In leftfield he reminds me of Willingham, a converted catcher that was never a very good outfielder. He was passible, at best, and has flourished much better in the AL.

baseballswami said...

Tyler Moore is not an outfielder. He is a first baseman. Think you could stick Adam out there and he would make that play?? How about Prince? It's just a shame to see a promising young player on this path. Not saying there is an easy answer. He is well and truly blocked and Chris Marrero is raking. Just very unfortunate.

Eric said...

Thanks for the shout, sjm.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Seconding sjm ... thanks Eric.

Drew said...

Tim Dz:

Taylor Jordan was a 9th round pick in 2009 out of Miami Dade.

He was having a promising year at Hagerstown in 2011, going 9-4 with a 2.48 ERA, when the Nats shut him down and he had TJ surgery.

He spent 2012 in recovery and made a few starts.

He entered this year as the Nats' No. 17 prospect and got off to a good start at Potomac, going 2-1 with a 1.26 ERA.

Candide said...

I don't see how Moore stays in DC; he seems to be well and truly blocked here. Unfortunate, but I think he ends up in the AL as a DH. Hope the Nats can get some real value for him.

baseballswami said...

I wish he could get a first base job somewhere as I think he plays that position well for his she and could be a good one in the future. He and Lombo are languishing on the vine.

TimDz said...

Thanks Drew...

JamesFan said...

Denard Span is the unsung hero of the early season. The guy was sensational in centerfield yesterday and day in and day out. He is a terrific leadoff man and brings a competent maturity to the team. One of my favorite players in 2013.

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