Sunday, August 18, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 8, Braves 7 (15)

USA Today Sports Images
Game in a nutshell: Tensions were high when this game began, with everyone at Turner Field wondering if Stephen Strasburg would retaliate for Bryce Harper's repeated plunkings by Braves pitchers. Only two batters in, he answered that question, drilling Justin Upton in the left hip with a fastball. Umpire Marvin Hudson immediately issued warnings to both dugouts and Upton quietly took his base, so that should have been the end of it. Except Strasburg completely lost his command in the bottom of the second, throwing seven straight balls, the last three of them wild pitches, the last two of them behind Andrelton Simmons' back. Hudson had no choice but to eject both Strasburg and Davey Johnson, leaving the Nationals in a real bind. Tanner Roark, though, came through with four huge scoreless innings of relief. The Nationals lineup pounded out seven runs and 15 hits off Braves pitching, with Jayson Werth reaching base four times to lead the way. Asked to protect a late lead, Drew Storen struck out the side in the seventh. Tyler Clippard gave up a homer in the eighth, but Rafael Soriano still was given a two-run lead for the bottom of the ninth ... which he still blew. Jason Heyward crushed a 1-0 fastball to right-center, tying the game and handing Soriano his second straight blown save (it would've been his third straight if not for Denard Span's highlight-reel catch on Wednesday). The game went to the 10th, with the Nationals going down in order against Craig Kimbrel. Ian Krol, who suffered the loss on Friday, turned in two scoreless innings to keep the game going, but the Nationals lineup couldn't get anything going late, going 0-for-16 between Ryan Zimmerman's homer in the eighth and single in the 13th. Craig Stammen, the last man standing in the Nationals bullpen, pitched valiantly through the 12th, 13th and 14th, setting the stage for Adam LaRoche to finally break the deadlock with a leadoff homer in the top of the 15th. And then who should finish it off to record the first save of his career? None other than Dan Haren, who wrapped this one up a mere 5 hours and 29 minutes after it began.

Hitting highlight: Just when you thought Werth couldn't get any hotter at the plate, he finds a way to turn things up a notch. With two more hits tonight, the veteran right fielder is now batting .521 (25-for-48) in August. This after he won NL Player of the Month honors for July. Put everything together, and Werth is now hitting .335 with a .409 on-base percentage for the season. He still needs another week's worth of plate appearances to qualify for the league leaderboard, but Werth would currently lead the NL in batting average and rank third in OBP.

Pitching highlight: Pressed into emergency duty after Strasburg's ejection, Roark would've been given a pass had he struggled. Instead, the rookie right-hander dazzled, tossing four scoreless innings of relief to save the Nationals bullpen. Very quietly, Roark is really impressing at this level. He's got legitimate big-league stuff and he seems to have the mental makeup for the job as well. He has now pitched 10 total innings for the Nationals, during which time he has allowed one unearned run on five hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts. Roark even put a charge into a pitch off his bat, coming a few feet short of a stunning home run in the top of the fifth. He had to settle for a mere double and RBI, the first of his career in each category.

Key stat: Five days after pitching nine innings for the first time in his career, Strasburg completed only one inning for the first time in the big leagues.

Up next: Who knows what to expect in Sunday's finale of this eventful series? All we know is that Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to take the mound against Julio Teheran at 1:35 p.m.

61 comments:

Nats 128 said...

Save #1 for Dan Haren

Holden Baroque said...

Finally untucked. And about time, too.

David Proctor said...

That was a fun game. I wish it didn't take 15 innings, but I love long extra inning games. Gutty performances from Roark, Stammen and even Haren. Soriano...not good.

Joe Seamhead said...

Great job, Mark.Thanks for keeping the bar open.Last call! Bottoms up, everybody!

Nats 128 said...

As I wrote earlier those who keep saying someone cant do something like Haren pitching out of the bullpen are wrong. He clearly showed he can do it if challenged. He got Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann and struck out Shafer.

Clutch save #1

NatsLady said...

Jessica and the kids--go to bed.

David Proctor said...

So what do you guys think about resigning Dan Haren next year to close? :)

Nats 128 said...

I guess Mick was wrong. The Nats didnt lose and they showed guts and never gave up.

JaneB said...

Man oh man. Every guy on the team brought this home. Though I blame Soriano for causing it. I'm so glad they pulled it out. SYFNS!

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Cool game!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I accidently left Storen off the good list in the game post.

So bullpen in review

Excellent

Ro-Ark
Storen
Stammen
Haren

Very good

Krol

Ok

Clip

Sucked

Abad
Soriano

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Also forgotton Haurston pathetic effort for tge foul ball before Hayward's first homer.

Nats 128 said...

Gio needs to go 7 tomorrow.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Really, David? Fun game? I wouldn't be surprised if I have a heart attack in my sleep thinking about this game.

I always want Nationals to win, more so tonight after a certain poster crawled out of his hole to talk trash to some insiders and some Nats players. As much as I want to curse this person out, I know that is not the civilized way (just like hitting someone intentionally is not either).

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Anyone who thought Haren was a mercinary, remember
This game.

Faraz Shaikh said...

128, more like 9 or 15 or however long that game lasts.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Ray says Stras did it all on purpose....

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I think he needs to pitch like Stras did last Sunday.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Faraz, you seem to be that type of person we all hear about who takes everything too seriously....

David Proctor said...

Don't forget Roark with the bat. Without his RBI, the Braves walk-off in the 9th.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

It is just baseball, not something that normal people have a heart attack about, Jesus.

Nats 128 said...

MNF, all I can think of is Rizzo was looking at 2012 stats for Scott Hairston or else thougt he was Jerry Hairston he was getting.

Just another bad signing. His defense is worse than Michael Morse and he just adds to the Mendoza bench that was a problem to start with.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

At the time I was ok with it, and still am.

I wouldnt do more tgan Upton, but I have no problem with it.

David Proctor said...

After Soriano blew the save, I was expecting us to lose. So I just enjoyed some extra innings baseball and all the quirkiness therein. I mean, in a game started by Strasburg and Minor, Stammen is the winning pitcher, Medlen the losing pitcher and Haren got the save. I love that stuff!

David Proctor said...

Hairston is fine against lefties.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I take it seriously too, if I didnt care with intensity I wouldnt bother watching. Older I get the more I hate losing.

I thought I would get calmer.

Each decade losing gets worse.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I won't forget this one, probably ever, so thank you Mssrs. Soriano and Haren.

Joe Seamhead said...

I wonder if one of the posters on here is Robin Ficker.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I believe he was just using a figure of speech.

Faraz Shaikh said...

David, I also like long games. After all, that is free baseball but this was a bit too much for me.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Let's not forget the wrestling aspect to this. We were supposed to get emotionally involved with the hits by pitch and all.

All the world's a stage. Let's not forget that everything we type here supports the Nats. They would rather have bitter fans than no fans.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Last year he killed lefties. This year not so much.

Morse would never cone close to the foul Hairston got close then stopped running.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Robin Ficker? I love that guy!!!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I never ever expect us to lose.

Though according to Mick we only 3 more wins in us.

Nats 128 said...

"David Proctor said...
Hairston is fine against lefties."

It all depends on how you define fine.

There were better choices out there.

Joe Seamhead said...

David Proctor, that foul ball that Scott Hairston suddenly pulled up on was a catchable ball, and if caught would have retired Heyward before he hit his first homer.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

This year he hasnt been . He is only hitting .200 this year. Lat year about .350

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Haren the new closer. Like Smoltz 10-12 years ago.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Unless nats are playing i like 20+ inning games

Nats 128 said...

"Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Morse would never cone close to the foul Hairston got close then stopped running."

Watch Morse August 2, 2013 in the 2nd inning on the 3rd out he made a Web Gem in foul ground as he was playing RF. It was a tougher play than Hairstons.

D'Gourds said...

What got me was hs getting thrown out of the game arguing a called strike. First, it was a strike. Second, he's a veteran and should know better. He hurt the team.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

He is basjetball related and I hate the NBS

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I fussed right then and there.

Nats 128 said...

Josh Hamilton walkoff ruins Bo Porters night.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Knorr's a good interview....

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Once in a while he makes a play. When he does it regularly, then I will give him credit.

I am not thrilled with his fielding.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Morse is actually a better fielder than people think.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Both points correct.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

We will just not agree on that.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

That we will agree on.

Nats 128 said...

"Manassas Nats' Fan said...
Once in a while he makes a play. When he does it regularly, then I will give him credit."

The point is as bottom of UZR as Morse is, Hairston is worse and every once in a while Morse comes up with a big play. When he is healthy his arm is much better than Hairston is a total noodle arm.

Joe Seamhead said...

Adam LaRoche has to feel pretty good with himself. And where are all of the Haren haters tonight? Don't forget Zimmerman had a homer tonight, too.And Jayson and Ramos each had two RBI's, one by Desi, and of course the big one from Roark.

Too bad for all those Braves fans that had to drive home with sore shoulders from all that chopping they did in vain.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

There are a lot of people on here who like Haren when he pitches well and who dislike him when he pitches terribly.

Haters? I haven't seen any.

David Proctor said...

Joe did you hear FP's line? He said something along the lines of all the fans needing Tommy John surgery from all the chopping they've been doing.

sjm308 said...

Love waking up to the analysis by mark, win or lose.
From the comments I can guess that Mick lost his mind once again. Remember that he has that football mentality and does wish our lads well.

Most wont care but I have never seen so many beautiful young women in one place as Split. Oh, there is this really old palace as well.

Joe Seamhead said...

LOL, 308! Hope your trip has many more beautiful sights to see.

jw said...

@Fariz -- clicking on any poster's name brings up the profile. Then (at last in Chrome) their name is red in the comments. So in this case, seeing red has made me less irritated, since I could easily scroll past a trash talking poster's comments.

Scott Margenau said...

8 back.

soriano doesn't seem a part of this team. tymo looked good on first. His defense was stellar.,

D'Gourds said...

good points

37a17dce-0802-11e3-82c8-000f20980440 said...

I've watched nearly every game of the Nat's this season and just about every game that Soriano has "closed". It's absolutely stunning to me that anyone could watch this guy pitch for any length of time and consider him better than Clippard or Storen to close a game. His signing not only destroyed the already shakey confidence of a promising young pitcher(Storen)but also disrupted the winning team comraderie when he made the "4 year old" comment about Harper back in May. Yes..Haren received quite a bit of money for his pitiful performance the first half...but at least he fought back to some degree of professional performance?...Hairston...an unbelievably bad signing...just exactly what is his strength and what was he supposed to add to this team? I say the team should bite the bullet($12 million) and put Soriano's butt on the bench and finish the season trying to win games...they're out of any playoff hopes and are just deluding themselves if they think they aren't....so...they just might as well try to win every game they can..

natsfan1a said...

Didn't see the game or read any articles/comments (performing hostess/sightseeing duties for houseguests). Am taking the day off from sightseeing and will try to watch today's game between hostessing catchup "to-do" items. That said, going by a WaPo dead-tree edition story (for which I broke out the red pencil, but that's another story) and the boxscore, looks like last night's game was a humdinger. Future MASN classic, perhaps? Good on Haren for the save.

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