Monday, July 22, 2013

Instant analysis: Pirates 6, Nats 5

USA Today Sports Images
Game in a nutshell: After a miserable weekend followed by an emotional afternoon in which they learned popular hitting coach Rick Eckstein had been fired, the Nationals took the field tonight hoping they might give everyone some reason to smile. They didn't. Four innings in, they trailed 5-0 via a pair of Andrew McCutchen homers off Dan Haren while also failing to hit even one ball out of the infield against Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton. Adam LaRoche's leadoff homer in the fifth did break up the no-hitter (and the shutout). And Jayson Werth's two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh (his third homer in two days) trimmed the lead to 5-3 and gave the Nationals life for at least a moment. But the positive energy was sucked out of the ballpark shortly after when Ian Krol put two men on base and Drew Storen uncorked a wild pitch to bring home a big insurance run. That really proved costly when Werth blasted another two-run homer in the ninth off Jason Grilli, trimming the lead to 6-5. Things turned serious later in the inning when Grilli writhed in pain after throwing a pitch to Steve Lombardozzi and had to leave the game. Vin Mazzaro entered in an emergency situation and got Lombardozzi to ground out to second to end the game and send the Nationals to their fourth straight loss, their ninth in 11 games. They're now three games under .500 for the first time since 2011.

Hitting highlight: Not many members of the Nationals lineup are hitting right now, but Werth sure is. He had already been on a hot streak entering the All-Star break, and he's really turned it up a notch since. With a pair of homers tonight, he now has hit four bombs in his last eight at-bats, giving him 14 for the season, one behind Ian Desmond for the team lead. It's unfortunate that more of Werth's homers haven't come in more significant situations, but you certainly can't blame him for the team's overall offensive struggles.

Pitching lowlight: Just when it looked like Haren had righted his ship after a dismal three months, he fell back into his old habits. The right-hander's pitching line tonight — 5 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR — represented his season in a nutshell. Despite the fact he got plenty of swings and misses, leading to those strikeouts, he again was victimized by the longball. McCutchen's two homers were the 20th and 21st surrendered by Haren this season, tops in the league. Quite simply, his stuff isn't good enough to get away with even the slightest misfire on location.

Key stat: In 27 career games against the Nationals, McCutchen is now hitting .431 with 13 homers, 26 RBI, a .496 on-base percentage, a .912 slugging percentage and a 1.408 OPS.

Up next: A couple of rookie right-handers (one highly touted for years, one who burst onto the scene this year) take the mound at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

77 comments:

Unknown said...

So proud of our boys tonight. No quit at all. This was a moral victory tonight, as close as you can get to a "W" as possible.

The turning point was tonight, folks. The division is ripe for the taking.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Unh unh unh.... We showed fight... Yeah... But that 8th inning run... Killer...

And then Lombo swings at balls no where near the SZ... Unh...

Lets win the next 3....*sigh*

SCNatsFan said...

Sell sell sell keep the pieces for next year. Don't give away players, don't make moves just to make them but don't sell what little minor league talent we have for a rental. Figure out what parts of this team that don't fit, clearly this team does not mesh with this staff.

David Proctor said...

Well I guess this loss was better than some other losses, but it's still a loss and losses suck.

SCNatsFan said...

Unknown the time has long past for losses that we can be proud of although I admire your spirit

David Proctor said...

I would consider trading for a RH bench bat. Don't give ANYTHING of value up, but something like what we gave up for Hairston. And then just watch it play out.

Definitely DO NOT BECOME SELLERS. We can't afford to give away what little minor league talent we have for a rental in a season that may be a wash. But a small move like that may be worthwhile.

Secret wasian man said...

If it wasn't for the nice bounce of the wall Storen would have wild pitched in 2 runs. Ahhhhh to be an Astros fan

David Proctor said...

I mean DO NOT BECOME BUYERS. But don't become sellers either. I'd stay put.

BigCat said...

Davey bout ready to cry in post game

Secret wasian man said...

Where are all the folks who back in April May said things would be fine? Can't find those folks. Maybe they are at OPACY.

BigCat said...

Wow. Someone asked davey if he thought they were trying to get him to quit, with the firing of eck etc. davey stood up and said angrily "I don't wanna go there." Atta boy davey. Get pissed. Throw a chair! World Series or bust!!! We ain't done yet!

Nats106 said...

Short post game interview

5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
phil dunton said...

Davey actually woke up for a few short seconds.

John said...

I would just get a box of Syracuse Chiefs Jerseys and start handing them out like on the first day of Little League. Ohh ohhh, I want #8... Taken by Danny, sorry.

SCNatsFan said...

I feel for Davey; he thought he was riding off into the sunset on a winner. Firing Eck had to hurt him. The team has let him down although, to be fair, for a guy who just won manager of the year he sure seems to have been out managed a number of times this year.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Mike Rizzo has had a terrible, terrible year.

A DC Wonk said...

So, to back to one of this afternoon's argument, about Davey playing Danny too long . . .

BigCat said...

MrsB. You are right on the money. Lombo swings at crap. Just horrible


That was one of my points: Lombo wasn't much better (yes, slightly better hitter, but slightly weaker fielder), and Rendon wasn't ready yet.

BigCat said...

Davey should know that he started this when he was quoted a while back as saying that the Lerners were glad this was his last year.

Its time to circle the wagons Davey.

notorius06 said...

unknowns says - " The turning point was tonight, folks. The division is ripe for the taking. "

You do realize that that Nats have a 6% chance of making the playoffs after the all star break and that was b4 they lost 4 straight....

Sorry but the season is over , this is no turning point in a 4th straight loss sir

A DC Wonk said...

SCNatsFan said...

I feel for Davey; he thought he was riding off into the sunset on a winner. Firing Eck had to hurt him. The team has let him down although, to be fair, for a guy who just won manager of the year he sure seems to have been out managed a number of times this year.

I think it just seems like he's been out-managed because our guys can't hit.

Frankly, with the hitting we've had all year, we're lucky to be only 3 games under .500 (after all -- look at our Pythag).

Hitting does seem to be picking up lately. It's (as so many others have been saying) frustrating because so often it it seems like we're _almost_ there . . .

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Wonk - I think people were just 'anyone but Danny' at that point... Lombo has proven that he a sub par player - a good utility player... Can do a lot of things okay it nothing great....

But did DJ/Rizzo give Danny too many chances - yes...

BigCat said...

Yes Wonk, but Espi was to the point where you questioned whether he could see he was swinging at such crap. Balls bouncing in front of the plate, balls above his head. It was embarrassing to watch.

Rendon is finding out it ain't that easy. Pitchers watch film too. And they adjust

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I think the number of people posting tonight tells the story. There is no chance anymore. Not only are the Nats not hitting, they don't have much of a pitching staff left anymore either. You simply can't forfeit one out of every five games which is what Rizzo's idiotic signing of Haren has given us. Then add in Detwiler being hurt or ineffective since May, plus the fact that only Gio is completely healthy among the big three and it just isn't going to happen.

I don't get the feeling that these guys even enjoy playing together anymore. Storen is out there scowling; Soriano doesn't seem to fit in, Span seems not to care about anything. Suzuki is spent. Harper and Zimmerman are off.

How much better would we be if we had re-signed all of our pitchers from last year except Jackson, kept Morse and Laroche and not signed Haren, Span or Soriano? Much better off. Now we wasted a draft pick for Soriano so he can go out and blow games for what is appearing to likely be a fourth place team.

NatsLady said...

Very frustrating. It seems like every night there are players who don't do their job. FIve runs would have won a lot of games--but Haren gets the team in a hole and Krol/Storen--> c'mon guys, ONE INNING? Please?

Gio and Stras would have LOVED five runs!!!

Tough seeing Grilli, I was only able to see the 9th inning.

Front end of bullpen in tough shape now, If Jordan gets in trouble, what do you do, ask JZ for a couple of innings?

BigCat said...

Don't you have to take a few shots at McCutchun sometime. You don't have to throw at his head or anything. Just maybe one in the ribs. I mean, come on man, the guy is absolutely killing us. If anyone should of done something it should of been ol Boom Boom Haren. He sits out there and guys tee off on him. Its depressing

BigCat said...

Davey is from the old school. Surprised he didn't tell someone to drill him.

Where is HRod when you need him?

sjm308 said...

Have not read a damn thing! Just got out of the Robert Plant concert at Wolf Trap. Honestly, the best Rock & Roll concert in my 68 years! Oh, was there a game? Ears are still ringing!, second row!!

NatsLady said...

LOL BigCat--was McCutch showboating? I would be surprised. No, you don't take shots at a guy because he's a good hitter. You might want to, but you don't... After all, Werth hit just as many... and just as many RBI. Cutch left a guy on base... Werth was marvelously efficient. ;)

Lincecum has given up 3 HRs already, and it's only the 3rd inning.

Joe Seamhead said...

Just read tonight's posts. Wow....

BigCat said...

When a guy has hit almost 500 against you over a 2-3 year time period...oh yes you can pop him a couple times. He is much to comfortable in the box. You need to pitch him hard in...waaaaay in, and if one runs in on his hands or wrist....too damn bad!

A DC Wonk said...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I think the number of people posting tonight tells the story.


It does tell a story, but not the one you want.

It tells the story that many NI-Nats fans are sick and tired of posters that come on here only to trash the team. I gave up in-game threads long ago -- I only posted a few tonight because I had to work in an office at a computer and had the game on the radio, so I could pop in and out.

But I stay away from game threads generally speaking, whether winning or losing.

A DC Wonk said...

BigCat said...

When a guy has hit almost 500 against you over a 2-3 year time period...oh yes you can pop him a couple times.


Sounds like the same kind of old school that Colbert Hamels went to, and why so many Nats fans hate him now.

I don't see throwing at a star who's generally been a class act. (afaik)

Charles said...

So do you think this is the last for Haren for now?

David Proctor said...

The tone over here has just been too toxic. And it's not guys like WODL, who I respect, even if I often disagree. It's people like NatsFanSinceStart who are constantly rude and attack other posters. That's where I draw the line.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I saw some positives tonight. If Ryan Zimmerman can get going this team will start to roll. Werth tried once again to carry this team on his back.

David Proctor said...

There were lots of positives tonight. Unfortunately, we're running out of time for moral victories. But it was somewhat encouraging I guess.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Saw on the Twitter tonight that a serious bidding war has erupted for Rick Eckstein's services. Both Papa John's and Hard Times are after him, since he's saved them millions on 50% off pizza and free wings.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The All Star break put Desi in a little funk. I really expected a 2 TD run scoring effort by the Nats tonight. 5 should have done it as we know what more than 4.7 does for this team.

Ivan Tuski said...

still don't understand why on earth you even pitch to cutch

Faraz Shaikh said...

SWM @ 10:35, I was one of them and still am and still around of course. And I am not the only one.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David, after those 2 heartbreakers and the blowout vs the Dodgers you have to love the comeback attempt even if it fell short. It was a sign of life and yes, maybe a little too late.

David Proctor said...

Interesting that Span had 2 hits tonight including a big double (sadly couldn't get driven in, but he did his part). He had a few hits in Miami too. Both while batting 7th.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I didn't see the Postgame but heard Phil Wood talking about it on the radio. Did Boswell really disrespect Davey and cause Davey to storm off?

Bigfish said...

Re McKutcheon: I'm with Big Cat -- sort of. You don't need to plunk him, but you sure need to bust him inside & make him squirm. None of our pitchers seem to have that old Bob Gibson instinct: the plate is mine, and you better back away, buster.

David Proctor said...

That's pretty dramatized Ghost. Davey didn't "storm off" he was in the process of walking away anyway. Davey said "I'm not going to get into that" and walked off.

Faraz Shaikh said...

WOW just saw Ramos throwing out Mercer. He may not have thrown out the fastest guy but that was a terrible pitch to throw someone out on.

David Proctor said...

I'm really surprised Ramos didn't tie the game. He got 2 or 3 really good pitches to hit. One breaker that hung and probably should've been a walkoff home run.

Lombardozzi's AB was dreadful.

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

Just a reminder to any of you still reading...Andrew McCutchen signed a deal for 6 yrs. and $51 million. THAT is a guy who is willing to sacrifice to win. Our face of the franchise "Air Mail" could have done something like that (as could Werth) enabling the Nationals to keep Desmond, Zimmermann, Strasburg, Gio and Harper here long-term. Seriously doubt that happens now. I would be amazed if even 3 of those 5 stay here. I hate to tell you guys this, but this is more than just a bad year. They honestly might be 2 more years away, and by that point, Desmond and Zimmermann are going to be looking at $100 million contracts and Harper, Strasburg and Gio will be due huge contracts the next year. How's that Kool-aid taste to all of you Rizzo supporters???

David Proctor said...

Tastes pretty good, thanks.

Faraz Shaikh said...

LOL yes it does and RZ's first extension was 5/$45MM.

David Proctor said...

I guess we're supposed to be upset that we have a bunch of good young talent under control for many more years and eventually they'll get paid. What a horrible problem to have. That bum Rizzo, giving us talent.

John Williford said...

Love the NATS. But the off-season acquisitions haven't worked out and the bench hasn't been an asset. This isn't all Davey's fault. Rizzo built this team and said it required little upgrading after last year. Looking forward to the bench being cleared after this season.

David Proctor said...

As I've said, the core of this team is still very good. The supporting cast isn't. The supporting cast is what needs to be overhauled in the offseason.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

That was Ladson who asked the question that caused Davey to end the news conference. Boswell only works the postgame on Sundays.

Faraz Shaikh said...

the only fault I can find with Rizzo is sticking with his guys for too long.

John Williford said...

DP, I agree the core is good. But did we just waste a year by not building enough support around it for the days when the starters need a break?

This past off season we didn't go after any strong bench players or true situational player. We had no one pushing the starters. Can you imagine if we had a Shane Victorino as our 4th outfielder? Teams that man up and go after a player like that say to the rest of the league "World Series or Bust".

David Proctor said...

I agree with you. Rizzo miscalculated the bench. But we all did too. I did not expect Tyler Moore to suffer the regression he did. Tracy, I expected to suck. But not Moore, I expected him to hit well. Lombo, I expected him to be what he was last year--a mediocre, but fairly dependable utility guy. He's somewhat done that, I guess, but he's 30 points under his average last year. I expected Bernadina to be decent--he's been absolutely awful.

I won't argue with you that Rizzo screwed up, but he, and everyone else, thought the cast was good enough. All the analysts picked the Nats to win it for a reason. Just happened to be wrong.

I fully expect that Rizzo will learn from this and make some moves for bench bats this offseason. Hairston provides good pop off the bench and he can hit lefties. They need more and I think he'll get another guy. Maybe even during the season.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I was at the game a play beforen Storen's drop was big.

Fly to lmedium left Harper throws home. Zim cuts it. The fly was high. Had Ian slid over to third, Zim would have picked him off and the wild pitch would have not happened as the inning would have been over.

What was Storen doing throwing 2 to tge back stop.

From my seat near the on deck circke the pkate didnt looked tagged. How did it look on TV?

Faraz Shaikh said...

I agree, not many thought last offseason support cast needed major overhaul.

David Proctor said...

He never touched the plate, MNF. Ump blew that call. But for some reason, the broadcast didn't focus much on it.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

RISP 6 for 75 now.

Ramos and Desmond both swubg way too hard with 2 strikes.

Werth's swing not nearly as hard.

The key is cintact. Not swinging hard.

NatsLady said...

I was listening on the radio. C&D were pretty sure the plate had not been touched. Not sure why Davey didn't at least argue it. C&D looked at several replays but didn't seem to have one with a good angle, but they said by eyeballing they could not see his hand on the plate.

David Proctor said...

Davey wouldn't have been able to see the play from where he was. At least not the hand. He would've been blocked by bodies. None of the players argued it though.

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

David Proctor-The majority of the "nucleus" of this team happened before Rizzo got here (Desmond, Zimmermann, Zimmerman, Clippard, Storen, Detwiler, Bernadina, Stammen) or were no brainer #1 picks (Strasburg, Harper). Rizzo is responsible for only Rendon (#1 rated hitter in the draft, so no hidden gem), Gio (best move he made, but hardly a steal giving up 4 players), and Ramos (who he got from a team in a pennant race who needed a closer and had Joe Mauer as their catcher). He has brought in LaRoche, Span, Soriano, Suzuki, Tracy, Maya, Wang, Haren, Edwin Jackson, Matt Stairs, Brad Lidge, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Henry Rodriguez, Xavier Nady, and Zach Duke. He let 3 good LH pitchers leave the bullpen and has to rely on rookies, he has done nothing in the international market, and he shut down Strasburg!!! There are a lot of mozza balls in that soup.

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

Oh yeah...and Werth...who will be 57 by the time this team starts to realize any potential.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

From our angle you could see his hand extend for the plate but was 4 to 5 inches in the air. The body was off to the side, it obviously didn't touch the plate.

We all yelled for Storen to pick up the ball and tag Alverez, but he didnt bother.That is why I booed Storen (though dropping the ball was reason eough)

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

David Proctor, in addition to the runner not touching the plate, Storen dropped the ball. It's hard for an umpire to call a runner out when the fielder obviously drops the ball. Storen was in a good position to see that he missed the plate if indeed he did. Why didn't Storen pick up the ball, apply a tag and point out to Laz Diaz that the runner missed the plate?

BTW, the Laz in Diaz's name must be short for Lazy. When there's a conference at the mound, every other ump in MLB walks all the way out to the mound to break it up. Diaz stands right in front of the plate and starts clapping his hands together.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Looking right down the baseline we could see clearly, as we had great angle his hand was above the ground, it clearly didnt touch the pkate. The body looked off line, but that would have to had touch the plate.

All that would have been mute had Storen caught the ball.

He has really gone sour since tge break.

NatsLady said...

Matzoh balls in soup----yummmmm!!!!!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Lazy Diaz was slow about calling him safe, he might have called him out had Storen had tagged him, as he was not really commited to calling him out.

Check earlier post, the play could have been mute had Desi been on the ball (unless 3rd base coach was really on the ball).

NatsLady said...

Storen, for all his education, doesn't seem to have a high baseball IQ, like LaRoche or even Tracy (that throw home). However, that is a pretty rare play. Perhaps McCatty should give a little warning in PFP about that sort of thing.

Alphabet Soup Erik said...

Rizzo drafted Storen...sorry. The point is, this guy is made out to be some sort of brilliant GM and he just isn't. The firing today says a lot more about Rizzo than it does about Eckstein. I never even like Eckstein, but to can him this way just speaks volumes about the arrogance of Mike Rizzo. You know, kind of like continuing to throw Haren and Espinosa out there day after day.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Of course we yelking for Haren to walk McCutchen from the first pitch first inning

Didnt listen to the fans, so he was booed nicely after the third.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

2 wild pitches in 3 innings (only counts as 1) not real brilliant either.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Well bringing someone on board who believes the same is no improvement.

Did they notice how McGwire engaged with the batters during the game, Eck was always hiding. That is not engaging.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Jayson Werth is the only hitter who took my Howard Beale appeal seriously. Most are obviously not mad enough yet.

6 for last 75 RISP is pathetic. I wish someone would get mad as hell. Not enough are. Most are to passive about losing.

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