Thursday, June 27, 2013

Instant analysis: D'backs 3, Nats 2 (11)

USA Today Sports Images
Denard Span leaps at the wall to snag Jason Kubel's second-inning drive.
Game in a nutshell: A premier pitching matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin absolutely lived up to the billing. The two young aces nearly posted identical pitching lines, each allowing only a two-run homer over seven strong innings. Ian Desmond went deep in the fourth to give the Nationals the lead, but Aaron Hill answered with the game-tying blast in the sixth. That left this game in the hands of both bullpens. Drew Storen turned in his most dominant performance of the season, striking out the side in the eighth. Ian Krol escaped a self-made jam in the ninth, continuing his scoreless streak of nine appearances to begin his big-league career and helping move this game into extra innings. In the eleventh, the D'backs took the lead on a Didi Gregorius bunt single to bring home A.J. Pollock. It would prove to be the go-ahead run as Heath Bell earned his 14th save of the season.

Hitting lowlight: After Desmond's home run in the bottom of the fourth, the Nationals managed five singles and a walk, but failed to score another run. They finished the day with 11 strikeouts as a team. Desmond, Jayson Werth, and Tyler Moore each finished with two apiece. Their one through four hitters (Span, Rendon, Zimmerman, & Werth) went a combined 3-for-20.

Pitching highlight: Strasburg was pitching well before his brief DL stint, and he's picked up right where he left off since returning from his lat strain. He's now allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his last eight starts, lowering his ERA to 2.41 in the process. That he's still stuck on four wins is a shame, because he's certainly pitched well enough to deserve more, as was the case today. Strasburg was in control all afternoon, his only hiccup coming in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff single to the opposing pitcher and then watched as Hill tagged his 1-0 fastball into the left-field bullpen for the game-tying homer. Strasburg did labor in that sixth inning and walked off the mound at 102 pitches. In the past, that would have automatically signaled the end of his day, but not necessarily anymore. Davey Johnson let him retake the mound for the seventh, and Strasburg rewarded his manager for the show of confidence, retiring the side on 11 pitches to cap off a very strong outing.

Key stat: Drew Storen hasn't allowed an earned run over his last seven appearances, striking out 10 batters over 5 2/3 innings.

Up next: After a nice homestand, the Nationals head out of town for a very quick road trip to New York. Ross Detwiler faces rookie sensation Matt Harvey in Friday's 7:10 p.m. series opener at Citi Field.

24 comments:

David Proctor said...

Dan Kolko backing up what I said about Davey very much leaving the door open for an early Harper return.

Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 21s
I wouldn't be shocked if we see Harper in NY this weekend. Davey left the door open. "I'll take him whenever he's ready."

Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 27s
When he heard reports on Harper, Davey says, "I'd like to have him in there. He can't be hurting too bad."

NatsLady said...

A well-coached and smart team. Too bad Heath Bell fixed whatever mechanical flaw was causing him to give up homeruns... Can't be too ashamed of losing this one. Two out of three from the NL West leaders, Stras went for the 7th inning.

Eugene in Oregon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eugene in Oregon said...

Do folks realize how incredibly fortunate the Nats are to be at .500? The team is averaging 3.5 runs/game, while giving up an average of 3.9 runs/game. That .500 record is not sustainable without run support. Playing .600+ ball is unthinkable unless the team finds a way to score more runs, on average, than their opponents. I can only hope the suggestion that Bryce Harper is ready now proves correct. And that his return jump-starts the offense.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

paul brandt said...
ghost, i hear ya but how much longer can this continue? shoot, put rendon there...prefer werth but understand he is not 100%.


Not much longer but I would hate to see the leadoff pressure put on a Rookie like Rendon. I'd rather go back to what worked last year with a healthy Werth against LHPs and stay a little longer with Span against RHPs. He has to start to bunt more.

David Proctor said...

My guess is that Harper takes off tomorrow and comes off the DL Saturday. I'm not sure throwing Harper into the fire against Harvey would be the best thing to do--although I'm sure he could handle it just fine.

Drew said...

That was an entertaining ballgame.

Of note in the minors: The Nats have promoted power-hitting shortstop Jason Martinson to Harrisburg.

Tonight, in his first game, he's got a double and knocked in two.

He might not have the glove, but he's an RBI machine.

sjm308 said...

Not sure what the conversation was before this but I want to repeat that I am all for Rendon hitting first and Harper 2nd. I don't think there is any different pressure on leading off. This rookie has hit the ground running and he sees the ball and hits the ball. If Werth bats 1st and Rendon 2nd, I am ok with that but Span needs to hit 7th or 8th in my opinion.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David, I like your idea of bringing Harp back on Saturday. Who do you send back? Kobernus or Marrero?

David Proctor said...

Marrero. Kobernus is at least versatile and can be used a pinch runner. Marrero is useless. Moore can be the big RH bat off the bench (he was robbed of a double today).

Eric said...

I would still be kind of surprised if Harper's timeline is sped up; however I agree Davey left the door open, and in earnest. He was practically begging the media for reports on his performance in Harrisburg.

Still, in the end, I think they'll let it play out. At the very least I think you're right that he won't come back against Harvey, DP.

David Proctor said...

I just don't see any benefit of keeping him down there. It's not like we'd be rushing Harper back-3 games is about the norm for a position player. Werth played 2. If the knee is fine, and all indications are that it is, Harper has no business boosting the record of Potomac and Harrisburg. We need him.

David Proctor said...

From Kolko:

But with Harper continuing to rake on his rehab assignment (he went 2-for-4 with a triple, walk, two RBIs and two runs scored tonight while playing for Double-A Harrisburg) and looking good moving around (my colleague Byron Kerr reports that Harper scored from first on an extra-base hit early in tonight's game and had good speed around the bases), don't be shocked if Harper ends up joining the Nats in New York this weekend.

"I'll take him whenever he's ready," said Johnson, who had yet to get a report on Harper from the organization by the time he met with reporters. "I think we just need to talk to him, see how he's feeling. But tomorrow was gonna be (a day off for Harper), then he was gonna go back to playing. So we'll just have to wait and see.

"I'd like to have him in there. He can't be hurting too bad."


Sounds like he'll be back before Monday to me.

karlkolchak said...

The match is pretty simple this weekend--win the series and finish the first half above.500, lose it and finish below the break even mark at midseason.

karlkolchak said...

Ugh..."math" not match.

David Proctor said...

Harvey is a tough matchup. I think we lose tomorrow. Wheeler has been erratic, I think we can get to him. Gee is the wildcard. Unfortunately, he's owned the Nats in his career.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Here is a great preview of Taylor Jordan. It sounds like he will be the choice for Saturday. I gave my 2 cents on him. I do think the Mets would be a good matchup for him and the lack of scouting on him should help.

http://www.masnsports.com/byron_kerr/2013/06/taylor-jordans-funky-arm-action-has-ability-to-deceive-hitters.html

d'grviii 8 said...

Rendon is too slow to be a leadoff hitter, no matter how often he gets on.

David Proctor said...

Rendon is really slow for a guy his size. I mean, I never thought he was "fast" but he's SLOW. Maybe it just seems that way and he's not actually as slow as I think.

sjm308 said...

I saw Rendon score from 1st yesterday on Zimms double into the corner. Do you want a "slow" guy who gets on base or do you want a "fast" guy who doesn't get on base and then when he does, does not run the bases well. Just wondering?

NatsLady said...

DP, I read old scouting reports and Rendon used to be reasonably fast. I think the injuries slowed him up. Hopefully he can recover at least some of that speed tool.

LOL, Delmon Young picked off 2B.

David Proctor said...

Wow, I didn't realize the Giants were 2 games under .500.

Scott Margenau said...

David Proctor said...
Harvey is a tough matchup. I think we lose tomorrow. Wheeler has been erratic, I think we can get to him. Gee is the wildcard. Unfortunately, he's owned the Nats in his career.


BS- when we should loose we win. Span can't bat vs lhp - he's below 150. Adjust. Common sense

natsfan1a said...

Haven't taken the time to read comments, so this may be a random rehash. Some sparkly defense on both sides. Druuuuu looked good, and I rewound and watched the Hill AB a few times. Is it me, or does Hinske look like Kevin James? Today is another day, or something.

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