Monday, August 19, 2013

Instant analysis: Cubs 11, Nats 1

USA Today Sports Images
Game in a nutshell: After a rough weekend in Atlanta, the Nationals arrived in Chicago hoping they might fare a bit better against a struggling Cubs team with a not-so-imposing lineup. Boy, were they wrong. Jordan Zimmermann got lit up for eight runs over five innings in one of the worst starts of his career. Nate Schierholtz and Donnie Murphy each homered twice for the Cubs, who launched five total homers on a warm night at Wrigley Field. Jeff Samardzija, meanwhile, dominated the Nationals lineup, going the distance for only the third time in his career. Put it all together and you've got one of the ugliest games of the season for the Nats, who opened this four-game series with a stinker.

Hitting lowlight: Let's see ... they produced five singles through the game's first six innings, getting only one at-bat with a man in scoring position. They finally got on the board in the seventh, when Wilson Ramos destroyed a 3-2 fastball from Samardzija out of the ballpark and onto Waveland Avenue. Ramos stood and admired it, too, perhaps not something you want to do when your team trails 8-1 at the time. That was everything the Nationals did against Samardzija, who mowed through the lineup with ease en route to a complete-game victory.

Pitching lowlight: Zimmermann has struggled through some rough nights over the last month, but this one took the cake. He put himself in a 3-0 hole after only four batters, and departed after five innings having served up three homers while allowing eight total runs. That matched the highest total he has ever allowed in the majors, a disturbing fact. What happened to the staff ace and would-be Cy Young Award contender? Only July 1, he was named an All-Star for the first time in his career when he sported an 11-3 record, 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. In eight starts since, he's now 3-4 with a 5.30 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. Zimmermann's arm appears to be fine; his fastball was 94 mph tonight. Perhaps his neck is acting up again. Whatever the reason, he simply isn't the same pitcher now he was six weeks ago.

Key stat: Nobody in the Cubs lineup tonight owned more than 51 career home runs. That lineup clubbed five homers in the game.

Up next: Dan Haren faces left-hander Chris Rusin in the second game of the series. First pitch on Tuesday is once again scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.

62 comments:

SCNatsFan said...

On a bright note tomorrow is a chance to set a new low

JaneB said...

Isn't it something when I feel like the stopper on the team is now Haren? Something's up with Jordan. And not in a good way.

baseballswami said...

Two hours and fifteen minutes- wow. Dan Haren, Nats ace tomorrow. It's been real, peeps.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Lets see. The Cubs have tge worse home record in the league this year.

Nats were not prepared to play both on the mound and at tge pkate.

Harper was fine as was Ramos.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Haren has been the best since the All Star game.

Clippard easily MVP for the season.

Joe Seamhead said...

JaneB, too funny, (in a sad sort of way).

MrsB loves the Nats said...

This was painful all around.... But lets win tomorrow...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Honestly, I think Rizzo is setting up the bench for next year. Let's face it, our bench sucks. The Braves bring guy after guy. Let's bring in Choo and look at bringing Morse back if no one else wants him. We aren't as bad as we look but right now we have a dispirited team and manager who is managing out the string, but only barely.

Mike Rizzo is no genius, but nobody is this bad. Things will be better next year and he will take all the credit, so criticize him all you want this year.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Anyone hear Davey?

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

How is Clippard MVP? Just because he has had a good season? He has. I am not sure how that makes him MVP because spot relievers have very little effect on a team's results. I am not a big WAR guy but I am fairly certain (and now I have checked) that Clippard's WAR is nowhere close to being the highest on the team, although it is good.

Long story short: Clippard is not the Nats' MVP unless you are weighing for expectations, but who cares? The Nats should not have an MVP this year.

With the exception of Werth and Clippard, and perhaps Rendon, I am not happy with the performance of any Nat, including Strasburg and Harper.

NatsLady said...

OK, that was a night off. Get 'em tomorrow.

karlkolchak said...

Sure am glad we now have two overpriced, declining ex-Cub outfielders on the bench...they were a big help tonight. I've been relatively muted in my criticism of Rizzo, but the DeJesus trade makes zero sense.

derwink said...

Is it time to sacrifice a live rooster to lift the curse? Perhaps Zimmerman's eyeballs are jamming. I have watched too much Bull Durham.

They just cannot seem to find their mojo this year.

alkyalvin said...

They should have put Zimm on the DL a month ago.Rizzo is overcompensating for blowing it last year by benching Strasburg for no reason.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Who has performed better this season when called upon?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

So it seems.

SCNatsFan said...

I have to admit getting Hairston and DeJesus seems to make very little sense to me

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Damn if I don't agree with WODL's comments.... It's comments like that, I can read...

I think Clippard has been the most consistent but I can see why Werth got his name cursed a few times as when we needed him to show up, it seems as if he didnt.... BUT he has played exceptionally well lately...

I'm glad to see Rendon adjust back after his hot start...

MrsB loves the Nats said...

The bench has been putrid... I mean look at what a hot/over-achieving bench does to a team (see 2012 Nats and 2013 Braves)....

I guess Rizzo says, lets start the upgrading now.. And I mean why not... I hate that Roger had to get cut but he hasn't done anything this year that warrants him staying right now...

I get that once I put my fan-domness aside... I mean I think every bench player should go (with the exception of Lombo and maybe Moore- if you think he is your first baseman of the future and Suzuki, although I don't think he is a bench player)...

David Proctor said...

I don't understand why getting Hairston, or especially DeJesus, doesn't make sense to some of you. It's not for this year. We tried the whole "young bench players from within the organization" thing and it didn't work out at all. So Rizzo went after some guys. Hairston can hit lefties. DeJesus can hit rigties. Both are good role players. Now granted, Hairston is a liability defensively, but DeJesus is a very good defensive outfielder. Both have salaries or buyouts that enable Rizzo to cut them loose after this year if he thinks he can find someone better, and if he can't find someone better, we're still much better off than we were this year.

I like it.

natsfan1a said...

Holy moly. Didn't see the game (still on sightseeing/hostessing duty). Just read the score now. Da-ang.

Ivan Tuski said...

ha ha ga you're funny

David Proctor said...

And the Nationals have placed DeJesus back on waivers. That was quick.

Dan Strong said...

2013 is like the anti-2012. Hopefully the cubs don't dominate us for four in a row like we did to them last year.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

If the MVP goes to the guy who exceeded expectations then it definitely should go to Clippard. Usually, it goes to the guy who is most important overall to the team, still arguably Clippard, but not if you go by WAR or if you equate for innings played.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Where did you read that DP?

David Proctor said...

Well if you go by WAR or innings played, your boy Denard Span will be in the coversation, WODL. :)

David Proctor said...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/washington-nationals-david-dejesus-chicago-cubs-trade-081913

MrsB.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The A's and the Rangers swapped a guy on waivers 4 times a couple of weeks back. Strange system.

Maybe Rizzo was reading Nats Insider....

Ivan Tuski said...

I tell you, agame like that almost makes a skins preseason game watchable...... almost. on a positive note it's much nicer to lose to the Cubs than the barves.

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

It might be Denard Span. And if you think about it, that only supports my arguments, sadly. But it really is one of the starting pitchers or Werth or Desmond or Harper if he gets even a little hot.

James Joyce said...

The bench has not been the problem so much as it has been a problem. The reason that the club is losing is because the regulars have not played well enough. Zim, Harper, Span, LaRoche among others have not performed to expectation. The D and the pen have struggled too. Can't bunt or run the bases very well either. Rizzo tacking on higher paid, high character guys for the clubhouse might pay-off, but both moves are too little too late for 2013 and $9M on 2 bench players who don't look to get much playing time in 2014 is a head scratcher. And if the plan is to have the flexibility to simply release the guy(s) (and pay Millions to do so should some other option appear, I think that does not really pass the laugh test). Rizzo might be looking to move Span and go with a platoon in CF/LF -- with Harper getting some time in CF against LHP. Who knows.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Orioles with 15 hits and 3 runs tonight, must have been learning from us. The Cubs were efficient tonight with 9 hits and 11 runs.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Well I'll be danged.... So what was the point?

Secret wasian man said...

Turn out the lights the parties over.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I honestly think that Span has lost half a step down the line to first base. This is not a big deal in the outfield, but it makes a huge difference in obp and stolen base percentages. Given his utter lack of power, Span has a very low margin for error on offense and losing a step may be huge in his case. There is nothing wrong with being a 4th outfielder on a good MLB team. I am not sure why so many take it to be an insult to simply state that the emperor has no clothes.

Better for Span to be a great back-up on the Nats and an upgrade over Bernadina than to be a mediocre center fielder. Of course, if you believe in WAR, then the Nats never even won the NL East last year. It never happened because of Morse's negative defensive rating.

David Proctor said...

9mil is a lot for two bench guys, don't get me wrong. But you have to figure they'll get 300+ ABs next year. Werth hasn't shown an ability to stay healthy a full year. Harper should be fine next year if he stops running into walls, but you never know. You can move guys around and get them ABs. Certainly the bench isn't the reason why we are where we are, but it's a contributing factor. I don't have a problem with Rizzo spending to fix that problem.

Now, this could all be for nothing. If DeJesus is already back on waivers, that implies we never wanted him. I'm confused.

NatsLady said...

Really? Morse? He's not even in Seattle's line-up.

Morse has hit just .161 in 14 games since coming off the DL with a strained hamstring and Thompson said opposing pitchers will continue pitching him inside until he shows he can hit that pitch.

"Right now, they're just pounding away at a weakness. Everyone has advance scouts and they're saying, hey, until he proves us differently we're going to continue pounding away at it," Thompson said. "It's up to Michael to be able to make that adjustment and either lay off those pitches that are inside or get the ball out over the plate.

"But each time he steps up to the plate, you're thinking big things can happen. It just hasn't happened of late. So he'll get the day off today and we'll see where he's at tomorrow."

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

How come Davey Johnson never got to be on an episode of Seinfeld?

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Morse's injury problems are not secret. That may be what prevents him from having many other avenues. I don't buy the whole thing about guys being injured somewhere else. He was injured here. When he played, he was pretty damn good. I thought Adam Dunn was decent too. There are fairly many good hitting left fielders/1st basemen, which is why you don't want to sacrifice offense in center, if you have a left fielder who can play center decently at all.

An outfielder might have a chance to make one or two important plays a game in the outfield, or even none. When he does make a difference, it is usually on the order of preventing one base, with the exception of throws to home, which are most important. He will bat four or five times which gives a good offensive player much, much more ability to change a game than any other defender, except for a pitcher.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Werth is my second choice, but I would not fuss about Werth winning it.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Luckily my sister is visiting and I didn't watch the game.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Clippard has been a highlight. It is nice to see Werth outperform at 34.

My disappoint is Harper. It just hasn't been the same since he hit the wall. I don't enjoy watching him as much anymore. I think that has to infect the team.

Bring back the crazy Bryce of last year. I love that kid.

David Proctor said...

Bryce will be fine. He's hobbled. It's hard to play run-til-they-tag-you when everytime you slide, you hurt your knee. Hopefully he gets the surgery in the offseason is himself again next year.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I will say that I have rarely seen a team have one season as magical as the Nats had last year, followed by one so accursed. Snakebit.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Giants 2010 and 2012 World series champs 2011 and 2013 stinky.

Didnt have to go back far.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

My favorite set is 1970-76 Reds maybe we will be like them

1970. 102
1971. 79
1972. 95
1973. 99
1974. 98
1975. 102 (finally back)
1976. 108

SW said...

So DeJesus is Rizzo playing "Flip this House?"

Jeez... or should I say "DeJeez"...?

David Proctor said...

From what I'm reading, it appears the Nationals are going to try and flip DeJesus, yes. The question is why. Nobody knows that.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Still like the 70's Reds better than any other team in history since I didn't grow up here and the Senators had moved during their heyday. That is my hope as well.

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

Could be that a three-team trade has to take place in slow motion when waivers are involved.

David Proctor said...

Good call Feel Wood. But if that's the case, it seems odd they'd put him in the game. If he were to get injured, we'd end up stuck with him.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Was the Shark hurt all year or just regressing?

David Proctor said...

Probably both, WODL. Shark overperformed last year, but he's not a .170 hitter. You have to think the injuries factored in somewhere.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The Shark will be remembered.

Almazar80 said...

The Reds from the 70's? We lack a gambling type to fire up the team. Besides, those teams had several Hall of Famers. The Nats lineup, while not devoid of talent, does not measure up. It was said earlier that Rizzo is not a genius. That he is not. Hopefully, he does a MUCH BETTER JOB this offseason than what he did last offseason. This team has holes and some players have to live up to the hype.

Almazar80 said...

Can we get a Sparky in town? Those Reds teams not only had great players, they had a GREAT manager as well.

Rabbit34 said...

It seem we are trying to figure out what is wrong with this team. Everything is wrong with the team.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

My hope too.

alkyalvin said...

Charley Manual.That is all.

ruggeds1000 said...

whatever happened to Bryce Harper? No longer a must watch at-bat. Rather ordinary lately. Is he hurt?

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