Friday, July 5, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 8, Padres 5

Associated Press
Game in a nutshell: Who says these guys can't score runs in bunches? Four of the last six nights, they've had no trouble putting up crooked numbers on the scoreboard, capped by tonight's early explosion against the Padres. Five of the Nationals' eight runs came in the bottom of the second, with Wilson Ramos providing yet another clutch hit and Denard Span chipping in with a two-run double. The Nats tacked on another run in the third (on another Ramos RBI single) and then two more in the fourth, opening up a big lead. Gio Gonzalez took advantage of the cushion and authored another quality start before handing it over to the bullpen. Craig Stammen did surrender a three-run homer to Carlos Quentin to make this a bit more interesting than it needed to be, but Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano closed it out without incident. So the Nationals have won two in a row and find themselves two games over .500 once again. Even better: The Braves have lost three straight, so the deficit in the NL East is down to five games.

Hitting highlight: Guess Davey Johnson is going to have to stick with this lineup for at least one more night. How can he scribble out anything else after this group following up yesterday's eight-run explosion with another 8-spot? Truth be told, Johnson probably needs to give Ramos a day off after two straight in his return from the DL, though it's going to be tough to sit the red-hot catcher. With two more run-scoring hits tonight, Ramos is now 5-for-8 with eight RBI in the last 36 hours or so. Jayson Werth, meanwhile, is 6-for-7 with a walk since getting moved to the sixth spot in the lineup. Hey, whatever works.

Pitching highlight: There's something about the first inning that seems to spook Gonzalez. After giving up a quick run tonight, the left-hander's ERA in the first inning ballooned to 5.50. But as has been the case plenty of times this season, Gonzalez has shown a knack for getting past his early struggles and pitching well. His ERA from the second inning on is a mere 2.59. He wasn't completely dominant tonight, surrendering eight hits and needing a whopping 110 pitches to complete 6 2/3 innings, but he was plenty good enough considering the run support he received. And so, after a frustrating start to his year, Gonzalez now finally is being rewarded for his efforts, earning the win in three straight outings to improve to 6-3.

Key stat: Ramos has as many RBI (eight) in his first two games back from the DL as Kurt Suzuki had in his previous 23 games.

Up next: The Nationals will be looking to make it three in a row and improve to three games over .500 for the first time since May 18 when the series continues at 4:05 p.m. Saturday. Jordan Zimmermann, who will likely learn later in the day he has earned his first career All-Star berth, takes the mound in search of his league-leading 13th win. Old pal Jason Marquis starts for San Diego, aiming for his 10th win.

61 comments:

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Braves are now sweating it. Remember their meltdown in 2011!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

My TV Scrrwed up, it showed a 3 up 4 down for Soriano. What really happened?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

#EatFace and Nats capitalizing with 2 outs.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Wrong key 3 down.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Groundout, Flyout to left and groundout to 2nd to finish the game.

David Proctor said...

Nats have won 10 of their last 16. That's a .625 winning percentage. If we win at that pace, that's 92 wins. 5 back.

MicheleS said...

WOOOOO HOOOOO! last out shirts out!

David Proctor said...

Also the best part about this, Cashner is a legitimately good pitcher. He had an ERA not much higher than Gio's.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Those add-on runs really were the difference after the Stammen meltdown.

4.70 and got those extra 3!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Also Reds lost so 5 back in wild card too.

David Proctor said...

I'm sad that we'll probably have to bench Ramos tomorrow. But it makes sense. Zuke and JZimm are great together and Ramos always seems to handle Stras extremely well. So Ramos will be back Sunday, I assume.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Great, great win.... Faced adversity... Team pulled together... We beat up on Cashmere (*snickers*) ...

Great win...

Gio actually got run support... I bet SS is gonna beg for the same on Sunday...

MrsB loves the Nats said...

DP - I think Zook would catch tomorrow either way for JZimm.. But then Ramos should play the next 2/3 again... The rest will do Zook good...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

How do you all like the sound of cutting that deficit to 5 in the NL East!

SCNatsFan said...

Eck needs to go. Oh wait, we scored papa johns numbers.

Feel like a little run is starting. Anyone else?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Splitting between Ramos and Suzuki helps both of them.

RickH said...

Now let's get three in a row tomorrow!!!

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

I would not assume Suzuki tomorrow. Davey is holding a pair of eights, and he might be looking for that to go with the three aces.

Wait, that's not good, is it?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nats are 16-5 in games that Ramos plays in. 28-37 in all other games.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec 3, that's known as a Full Houses winner!

David Proctor said...

Davey saying he's gonna give Harper a day off.

David Proctor said...

Saturday and Sunday off. "Grinding too hard, trying too hard"

NatsJack in Florida said...

Wow. Davey is going to give Harper a couple days off.

Probably a good thing.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David, 2 days off or a day off.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Aces and eights, Ghost?

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

4:05 start tomorrow. Let's go get 'em.

David Proctor said...

You know, this might surprise a lot of people here but: Nats pitchers have walked the fewest batters in all of baseball.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec 3, that's 2 pair and 3 of a kind beats that. You are definitely holding those 3 Aces and at least one 8. ;)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David Proctor, I didn't know that stat and it does surprise me.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I remain humble and hope for the best in the near future.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Eck going wouldnt bother me

David Proctor said...

Well if you think about it: Haren never walked anybody (got hit around, but didn't walk). JZimm doesn't walk anybody. Det doesn't walk anybody. Strasburg is hit or miss, but generally doesn't. Gio is extremely hit or miss, he can walk the world or not walk anybody. Of the bullpen, who walks a ton of people? Storen doesn't. Clip does. Soriano doesn't. Etc. etc.

If you think about it, it makes sense, but it surprised me when I first saw it.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Better pinch hitter selection than Tracy.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

He said 2 days

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Bryce just looks frustrated with himself... He probably needs to sit near Gio, laugh a little bit... Shake off the rust and have fun...

#eatface in full effect...

David Proctor said...

I kind of thought this would happen with Bryce. I knew his timing would be off and his first home run didn't help the expectations. I suspected he'd slump for a bit and get frustrated. Didn't expect 0-for-17 or whatever, but still.

The thing I like about Harper is even when he's slumping, he takes his walks. He set up some big rallies yesterday with walks.

paul brandt said...

Harper & days off, have to agree with Davey, he needs it, don't think he's had a hit since his HR/first AB back...trying too hard.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Glad Davey saw it with Bryce. Would be nice to sit Bryce and Span vs the lefty on Sunday but that weakens the defense.

realdealnats said...

I'm gonna keep saying make sure we take care of Ramos' hammy so he keeps killing the ball. Really do hope he rests tomorrow though. Hot or not.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Paul, 1-19 since he came back and that was the 1st AB HR.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Yeah Ghost... Would totally not sit Span and Harp... I would sit Span and play Bernadina though...

karlkolchak said...

Great game--huge run total with no dingers for once. Not going to rehash the concerns about whether Harper is truly healthy, other than to point out the obvious that this development is troubling.

Here is an interesting question for the group: Mattheus is apparently on a timetable to return around the All Star break. If so, whom does he replace in the bullpen? Not Soriano or Clippard, obviously. The two new lefties are pitching as well as any of the relievers and Ohlendorf has so far been quite good filling the Gorzelanny role. That leaves Storen and Stammen. The latter is I believe out of options. Of course, they could also leave Matthues at AAA until an opening comes up as he has options left as well.

If it were me running the Nats I would STRONGLY hint to Mr. Storen that he'd better himeslf get right quickly.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I watch a lot a games a week, and see more bad hitting.

Eeryone wants to swinf hard. Just hit olidly is a better plan.

Brandon Belt just swung at 3 terrible pitches as hard as he can.

David Proctor said...

I still don't think Harper is physically hurt. At least not in any serious way. He's running fine and moving fine. You could tell before when he was hurt. He just doesn't look like that. I could be wrong, but I personally don't see it. He's slid into bases, run, stolen a base, dived for a ball, etc. and has no limp or anything. I think he's just trying too hard.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I liked the suggestion have him sit with Gio the next 2 days.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Harper is fine physically. He's just not seeing the pitches well and the ones he is seeing well he is just missing.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Uhmmmmm.... Has the 4th if July ended? They are still shooting fire works in my neighborhood....

My poor dog had a terrible day/night yesterday... He was ticked off with my neice, who thought it would be fun to chase him with a sparkler in her hand...

David Proctor said...

Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 23s
Denard Span apologized to reporters for a sub-par postgame interview tonight. I apologized for sub-par questions. We'll try again tomorrow.

LOL

MrsB loves the Nats said...

And speaking of Bryce... Y'all should check out the story Adam Kilgore did on him this evening about spending time with a terminally ill cancer patient....

Heartfelt and sincere.... Bought a tear to my eye...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/07/05/bryce-harpers-visit-with-gavin-rupp/

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Low average in the last 2 game's line up .254

Tomorrow 2 low averages will be back.

David Proctor said...

If Bryce is out of the lineup, the lowest average will be MUCH lower this weekend.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I'm not sure I like Bryce being out of the line up... Granted he didnt have a hit or run tonight, but opposing pitchers still have to respect him and pitch to him safely as he has a power bat that can flip on at any minute...

Pitchers respect him... I do hope he gets his timing back, sooner rather than later... I'd rather he not play in the AS game...

But that's just me...

David Proctor said...

The AS game will be good for him. It's a low pressure environment with great pitchers. That'll be a great time for him to get some ABs and work on his timing. I don't like him out of the lineup either for the reasons you said, plus he walks, but I trust that Davey will do what he thinks is best.

paul brandt said...

MrsB, thanks for sharing at 1055pm...what a wonderful story, am really pulling for the kid, how sad...and we bit%& & complain about Storen throwing gopher balls...really puts everything into perspective and kudos to Bryce for spending the time he did & making this kid's day...tears.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

If Bryce swung a few milliseconds later on that sac fly, we'd be celebrating his grand slam and having a totally different discussion. I think he does need to take a deep breath, but I don't see anything else.

Section 222 said...

Great game tonight. So much fun to watch the bats come alive (stay alive?) and Gio battle. Our defense was really solid. Some very nice plays by Desi on some very hard hit balls. Zim made at least two excellent charging plays with strong throws, and Rendon was reliable too. I think the DP he turned surprised even Desi. Span tracked down that one deep drive with his usual smoothness. And Harp made a nice running in the corner -- no wall fear evident.

I was concerned to hear Davey talking about giving Bryce two days off. I can see one, but why two? There's clearly something going on with him though. He didn't hustle on the comebacker to the mound and barely made it to first base on the pop fly out to left. Not like him at all. What happened to the old Bryce? Don't tell me he's already going to play like all the other guys, taking it easy when it looks like he's going to make an out. Booo!

Clip was so strong tonight. Those strikeouts were a thing of beauty. I was sitting with my friend's 17 year old niece who was seeing her first game and explaining how Clip basically throws two pitches with exactly the same motion, but one 10-12 mph slower than the other. And it's really hard for the batter to figure out which is coming. Clip then demonstrated the pitches perfectly on those two batters. Thanks Clip!

And let it never be said again that Soriano ALWAYS creates drama. 1-2-3 baby. That guy is a solid closer. Just what the doctor ordered at the end of very long game because of Gio's early struggles and the Nats' hit parade.

Drew said...

Apologies if someone noted this earlier. I'm out of state on uncle duty and haven't read the game thread.

Nats pitchers on the farm had two steps forward and one step back.

Robbie Ray gave up one earned over 5 to win his AA debut for Harrisonburg. Brett Mooneyham allowed one run over 5 and lowered his Hagerstown ERA to 2.21.

The bad news is A.J. Cole got rocked, allowing 7 earned for Potomac. His ERA in high-A is back to 4.58.

SonnyG10 said...

Just got home from the game tonight. A nice win for us. Gio looked a little shakey tonight, but came out of it ok. Craig Stammen almost made Davey sorry he took Gio out, but alls well that ends well. I haven't read the thread yet, so will do so now.

NatsLady said...

It's kind of fun to read the game thread when you already know the result--and it's a good one! Today's game thread wasn't too bad, yesterday (some) people declared the game was over when the Brewers scored a run in the first inning. Nats nipped that in the bud today by scoring five in the second inning...

Phil Wood counsels patience. He was talking about Storen, but he could just as well have been talking about Stammen. First question, is Stammen hurt in any way, shoulder, dead arm, etc? He pitched one VERY nice inning last time out, then got rescued by that sac-fly misplay.

Drew said...

Re: Robbie Ray -- I meant Harrisburg, not Harrisonburg.

With their latest two-game streak, the Nats are 5 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 5 games behind Cincy for the second wild card.

natsfan1a said...

Am behind on reading posts and comments again after spending last night at the Pfitz (spoiler alert: curly W = no; fireworks = yes). Did DVR the Nats game and plan to watch it later.

Post a Comment