Sunday, May 5, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 6, Pirates 2

Associated Press
Gio Gonzalez survived a shaky first inning to earn a quality start.
Game in a nutshell: The finale of this series and the road trip began in crazy fashion, with Bryce Harper ejected after arguing a check-swing called by third base umpire John Hirschbeck in the top of the first. Gio Gonzalez then gave up a homer on the very first pitch he threw and loaded the bases with nobody out. But Gonzalez settled down and the rest of the Nationals followed suit. Danny Espinosa delivered a big, two-run homer in the fourth, and Tyler Moore added a three-run blast in the eighth. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano then closed out the victory, ending this road trip with four wins in five days and leaving the Nationals two games over .500 for the first time in more than a week.

Hitting highlight: Once again, just when it looked like he was going to have a nothing day, Tyler Moore suddenly made it all seem worthwhile. Yesterday, he struck out twice with the bases loaded before lofting the game-winning sacrifice fly. Today, he struck out three times before stepping to the plate in the eighth inning (just after Adam LaRoche had been intentionally walked) and clobbered a three-run homer to left to turn a 1-run lead into a 4-run cushion. It's been a struggle for Moore so far this season, but that right there is why the Nationals remain so confident in the 26-year-old outfielder/first baseman.

Pitching highlight: The way his first inning went — Starling Marte homered on his very first pitch, then three more Pirates reached in succession — few would have been surprised had Gonzalez crumbled. But the left-hander dug deep and righted his ship, turning in what turned out to be an impressive outing. Gonzalez retired 15 of 17 batters during one stretch, issuing only one walk and a single to the pitcher during that span. We've seen him struggle in the past to get himself back on track once things begin to go downhill. This might have been an important moment for Gio, proving he can not only stem the tide but completely reverse the trend and take back control of a ballgame.

Key stat: After homering today, Espinosa's career splits against left-handed pitchers is: .271/.342/.469. Against right-handers, his splits are: .224/.299/.389.

Up next: After a long trip, the Nationals will enjoy a day off Monday before opening an odd, two-game, interleague series with the Tigers. Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez meet Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. in a matchup of red-hot right-handers.

52 comments:

Nats106 said...

That's how a season starts a turnaround. A split here, win an away series there. Win a game that looked bleak the first inning.

I think I saw Manassas wearing a Caps Jersey....Good game.

NatsLady said...

Maybe the TIgers will just wear themselves out against the Stros. It's 5-0 in the 2nd inning already.

JaneB said...

Yay yay yay. Take that, Blue. SO GLAD Espi had another good day.

Day off on a win is a good thing.

Who else untucked?

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO! We now have a win on a Sunday

peric said...

Thanks to the two Baby Nats who need to keep starting: Espinosa and T-Mo.

With Anthony Rendon coming soon.

Secret wasian man said...

Oh yeah. Thinks are looking up. Off day tomorrow. Then Detroit comes in. You know one of those teams from that league that doesn't play real baseball. NATTTTTTTTS

peric said...

But of course Natsjack probably still likes the washed up LaRoche better ... he's in a decline and is the one who really stinks.

David Proctor said...

Best win of the year easily for me. It really looked like the wheels were gonna fall off and Gio rebounded amazingly and the bats performed. Love it.

terpman33 said...

Way to go Nats. It's still early, and I know that 7-8 game winning streak is coming. GYFNG!!!

A DC Wonk said...

Nats106 said...

That's how a season starts a turnaround.


Indeed. The road series started at 0-2, ends up 4-3 by winning 4 of the last five.

A DC Wonk said...

BTW, was I not seeing things, or did Soriano not untuck?

peric said...

Bats. That's how it turned from .500 or slightly above to 98 wins. Bats and a synergistic lineup of them.

David Proctor said...

Soriano only untucks for a save, Wonk.

sm13 said...

The team showed some character today. They fought back instead of rolling over. Go is a fighter. Don't know what Davey said yesterday, but he till has a magic touch.
Go Nats!

NatsLady said...

Soriano has such great body language. So they hit a double? Next batter up, please. No change in his rhythm, nothing.

Joe Seamhead said...

Today Hirshbeck was a disgrace, but Harper needs to learn to know when to just walk away.I was just thinking yesterday how much Bryce had grown in the last year.I think of what the primadonna Votto got away with a couple of weeks ago and I think ...double standard for some guys? Not exactly, as Joey didn't confront the ump directly.
Thrilled for Espy and Tyler. They both have gotten little respect lately by a lot of us, me included. Honestly many of our players have struggled mightily and have had the wrath of many here directed towards them. I have felt that it was only a matter of time before our team started gelling. Well, it has started. I'm sticking with my mantra...
Relax! We got this!
GYFNG!!!
BTW, What a recovery by Gio today!

baseballswami said...

So glad to see Gio recover so quickly. Bats seem to be hearing up. Bryce will tend to be a target, but probably needed the rest.

UnkyD said...

Harpo will love this, after the fact, and all.... Haren's gem was the turnaround moment, for me... Walking the pup, and smiling broadly, I DID make the observation...to myself..... ;-)

GYFNGOGOGO!!!!!

baseballswami said...

And Joe-- I was thinking about Votto today-- he threw great big tantrums with thrown equipment and major jawing. Same thing with the balking --- no common standard. Too easy for an ump to make ejections selectively. If they don 't like the player, they toss him. Others get away with much more. But Bryce needs to realize that he will be a target.

Nattering Nat said...

Raise your hand if you thought a week ago the Nats would be only 2 games behind Atlanta as of today, the way the gears were not meshing. My hand is down.

These past two games were classic Nats of last year. And Harper even needed the rest, not that this is a good way to get it. Now imagine the Nats are slowly getting their act together and play really good baseball the next few weeks. To infinity, and beyond, here we come. Why not get carried away--you can see the character of this team willing them to rise above their funk.

Teddy Rochlis said...

Something tells me he wanted the rest secretly, 2 off days for bryce and hopefully his ribs feel better

peric said...

Something tells me he wanted the rest secretly, 2 off days for bryce and hopefully his ribs feel better

Or Davey could use it as an excuse to keep him off the field a bit longer. Its hurting his offense. He probably needs a break.

baseballswami said...

Off the subject, but the Ray Knight and Jhonny Holiday show is getting tired and tiresome. Knight fawns over Davey, Holiday fawns over Knight. Knight is smug and right about everything. Starting to grate on my nerves. Love having a recap show with player interviews but have to DVR so I can be selective.

baseballswami said...

And as for Bryce- he is young and has been in pain. I don 't care how great your pain tolerance is, hurting and not being able to do what you want because of it can make you pretty cranky. He may not even be comfortable sleeping. Not so far back he was sick and weak. So the kid got irritable. He needs a break. Hope folks are not too hard on him.

NatsLady said...

Folks here won't be hard on Bryce, but I don't want to hear the barbs he gets from outsiders.

David Proctor said...

I don't at all think that Bryce wanted the day off, but I'm sure Davey was secretly thanking the umpire.

Joe Seamhead said...

Like I said, everything is starting to gel as we hoped. Everybody has contributed in varying degrees in this turn around. Ryan had a couple of great plays yesterday to go with a couple of not so great throws today. Espy had a good day, and Tyler had a good ending to his with no small thanks to a generous call by the 1st base ump on his check swing on what would've been a K before the HR. ALR has given every indication that he has turned the corner from his opening season slump.Ramos looks pretty formidable at #8. Clip and Storen both look better every outing, and Soriano is looking like a brilliant Rizzo move.Span is doing his job beautifully, just need the other guys to keep the line moving behind him.Desi has been looking more and more like 2012 Ian, and lastly, Bernadina has also contributed!
I wish everybody would stop going after each other with the vile. Disagree about strategy, or who should or shouldn't be here. That's healthy baseball discussion. Going after each other with name calling, and repeating the same statements really reduces the quality of what is over all a terrific blog. Carry on, as I'm sure we all will.

Rabbit34 said...

Glad to see Bryce ejected. Now he's got both boots on the ground. But, you notice I'm saying that after a win with the game won!

NatsLady said...

Yeah, he wasn't missed. Hopefully, he noticed that. He's great, maybe Hall-of-Fame great eventually, but games can be won without him.

Knoxville Nat said...

Swami,

In regards to the post game show I'm with you all the way. I was tired of Johnny Holiday several years ago and have never cared for Knight, not as an analyst anyway. That show, and their pre-game show needs fresh blood!

NatsJack in Florida said...

I would like to know exactly how many people on this site think Adam LaRoche is washed up?

ehay2k said...

I really feel this was a huge game for the Nats. When they focus, they play well. Bryce's ejection focused everyone.

Gio didn't melt down, which is huge. I hope Stras is taking notice of the cool and calm demeanors displayed by other pitchers. He really should spend time with Soriano, who must have Livo's ice-blood in his veins.

Happy for Espi and TyMo, but both need to keep it up. ALR is starting to catch fire, which if history serves as a guide means he is in for a wicked hitting streak. I can't wait.

ehay2k said...

NatsJack, I am pretty sure ALR washes up after every game. But he can still play.

Eric said...

"I would like to know exactly how many people on this site think Adam LaRoche is washed up?"

Not I. Not even a little bit.

MicheleS said...

Jack.. didn't know if you saw this:

John R. Finger‏@jrfingerCSN
Halladay did not tell anyone with the Phillies about his injured shoulder until today.

He is hurt. Sad, and it's a shoulder

sm13 said...

LaRoche looks like he's putting April behind him, offensively and defensively. He's still got time to flirt with 30 hr and 100 FBI. And, to save Ryan and Ian a dozen or more errors.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yes... I saw that Michele. Too bad as Halladay is one of those real competitors you like to your team battle.

NatsJack in Florida said...

see your team battle.

Candide said...

Cunegonde and I listened on Sirius driving back from NY. We both wondered what it was that McCatty said to him in the 1st inning that made him turn it around so suddenly.

Pirates' announcers are awful. No info on what pitch was just thrown, just whether it was a ball or a strike, nothing about fielders' positioning. They even got the score wrong, TWICE. Last time I ever want to hear anyone complain about Charlie and Dave.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

After the thirf, we moved dow to Hershbech and rode him the rest of the. Game

Trewitt game us thumbs up several times.

Joe Seamhead said...

On the ALR question put forth by Jack, at the risk of catching it from people in disagreement, I still agree with what Davey said during the off season, in that re-signing Adam was the most important move that the front office had to do. And I don't think that he is quite to the point of being washed up, not by a long shot. He still seems to be a little " not quite right" to my eye, but less and less so every day. Plus, like any player in a slump, he was pressing. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his own skin now.I really think the cold weather has been a factor, but that's only my own speculation. The older I get the harder it is for me to work outside in cold weather!

NatsLady said...

That is really sad about Halladay. Everyone thought he was injured when his velo was down in spring training. He tried to find his way around it, but when you give up that many runs to the Fish...

MicheleS said...

Good going Manassas!!! Did the Zim jersey make it to the game?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Yes once at third to ride Hershbeck made sure zun saw it. Scored 2 more today.

NatsLady said...

Cards are the first team to 20 wins. I hate that we helped them get there.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

well before Wednesday's game I predicted 6-0 in first ,6 games in May, dut 4-1 not bad.

MicheleS said...

You keep it up Manassas!!!

mick said...

Hirschbeck, you are bum with a capital B, you are full of your self and nobody comes to a major league game to watch you make an ass your yourself. what are the odds that 2 of the biggest asshole umps could in the same ball park?

sjm308 said...

Nats jack - LaRoche will be just fine. Why are you asking?

sjm308 said...

Manassas - hope your trip home is a smooth one.

Did someone on hear ask about SanDiego. I have recommendations

baseballswami said...

Not one, but a couple of new posts.

rdexposfan said...

LaRoche is not washed up just a slow start. We got spoiled last year with his fast start.

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