Friday, August 9, 2013

Instant analysis: Nats 9, Phillies 2

USA Today Sports Images
Game in a nutshell: Maybe the Nationals just need to keep playing sub-.500 teams. Since the All-Star break, they're now 6-2 against the Mets, Brewers and Phillies, but 1-11 against the Dodgers, Pirates, Tigers and Braves. They certainly outmatched Philadelphia tonight, jumping out to an early 4-0 and dealing old pal John Lannan (eight earned runs in five innings) a beating. Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman each homered to get things started, and the hits kept coming after that. Pitching with a big cushion, Dan Haren continued his second-half resurgence, going seven innings to earn the win. The bullpen closed things out with no drama, and the Nationals (and their fans) were able to celebrate a victory once again.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals had two previous cracks at Lannan this season and came away with very little (two runs in 13 innings). But in the first start of his career at Nationals Park in which he wasn't wearing a curly W cap, the left-hander was torched. The Nats got a pair of homers off Lannan in the bottom of the second: Anthony Rendon launched a two-run blast to center, then Ryan Zimmerman launched a solo shot to left-center. They added a run in the bottom of the third. And then they really took their frustrations out on Lannan in the fifth, scoring four times to blow the game wide open. After going a pathetic 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position during their three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves, the Nationals went 5-for-7 in those situations tonight against Lannan.

Pitching highlight: When Haren landed on the DL on June 22, the right-hander joked that he didn't even know what ailment landed him there. Perhaps the two-week break — it was officially for shoulder inflammation — actually did him good. Haren can't dispute the results. In 15 starts before he went on the DL, he went 4-9 with a 6.15 ERA and 1.44 WHIP while allowing 2.09 home runs per nine innings. In six starts since coming back, he's now 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 0.49 homers surrendered per nine innings. That decrease in home runs allowed has perhaps been the biggest factor in Haren's success. There did seem to be some element of bad luck plaguing him through the season's first half. Not to suggest he was pitching great at the time, but it did feel like every fly ball he surrendered left the yard. Not anymore. Haren is keeping the ball down in the zone and keeping it in the park. It's too little, too late, but at least it's making his season look a lot better.

Key stat: Adam LaRoche had been 0-for-16 in his career against Lannan until he notched back-to-back hits off the lefty in the third and fifth innings tonight.

Up next: Game 2 of this weekend series sees one of baseball's wiliest veterans take on a fresh-faced rookie. Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies, with young Taylor Jordan on the mound for the Nationals at 7:05 p.m.

28 comments:

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Lannan just felt sorry for us.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Haren has beaten all 30 teams in majors. Congrats dude.

andrew lang said...

Nice win!

Eugene in Oregon said...

That's the kind of game I think most of us -- including Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo -- expected the Nats to play virtually every night of the season. Not winning them all, mind you, but playing a good, clean ballgame. Let's hope we'll see many more of those through the end of September.

David Proctor said...

So I'm guessing WODL will start another Denard Span argument instead of letting us enjoy a rare win.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Span put the nail in the coffin.

Dan only 2 homers since coming off DL have been by McCutcheon.

Finally i would give a 100% guarentee of making playoffs if we score at least 9 runs a game.

Of course that most likely could never happen

andrew lang said...

"NatsJack in Florida said...
Andrew, thanks. A lot of people here have no idea how great these kids are.

I'll be up next month and we'll get together."

Very true. Looking forward to seeing you in September!

natsfan1a said...

That's more like it. Nice to see some smiling faces on the diamond. Wearing white.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Loved hearing Davey saying Rendon has started to look "in" first and adjust to everything away.

That is vintage Rick Eckstein philosophy.

David Proctor said...

Dan Haren is incredibly candid.

Nats 128 said...

WODL can go to the COX Solution Store and meet Span tomorrow. I'm sure he can have a discussion with Denard on his batting.

David Proctor said...

LOL Nats 128.

paul brandt said...

yea, WODL, please go meet with Span tomorrow and explain to him what he is doing wrong...maybe you can bring a bat, a tee, a ball...please report back and let us know how he responded to your feedback.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I am trying to work it out so I can get thete. Have eye doctor appointmebt 1130 hopefully I can get there before he leaves.

Faraz Shaikh said...

What would be the headline of upcoming game story if WODL had a say in that matter?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Faraz Skaikh asks, "What would be the headline of upcoming game story if WODL had a say in that matter?"

That's so easy I'll take a swing at it:

"Nats overcome Span's two RBIs, rout Phils 9-2."

David Proctor said...

Miguel Cabrera is too good. Down to his last strike against Mariano Rivera, he hits a 2 run homer to tie the game.

Just wonderin' said...

WODL preferred headline:

"Nats Wins Twice: Beat Phillies, DFA Span"

DHamm said...

"Nats overcome Span's two RBIs, rout Phils 9-2."

Brilliant!

NatsLady said...

Just got home from the game. Nice one. Everything worked, Haren (player of the game), sparkling D, offense, relievers didn't screw up.

Checked the Syracuse box. Looks like Storen pitched a clean inning with 2 Ks.Tyler Moore got three hits and 2 RBI, Danny went 0 for 4 with 1 K, 10,842 attendance (which seems like a lot) and Syracuse won...

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

Someone needs to tell WODL that Span is appearing at the Cox Solutions Store, not the Cox Problems Store. Otherwise he'll never find the place.

NatsLady said...

Span made a great play, he got to a ball NO ONE thought he'd get to. Rendon--great play. LaRoche--great play. RZim, nice play, good throw. All the routine plays were made. Couple of baserunning adventures (LaRoche, Span). Lannan was afraid to pitch to Werth. Not sure how he managed to walk Haren after intentionally walking Rendon...

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JaneB said...

It's easier to sleep when they win.

Secret wasian man said...

I was there last night. Great game ALR had some real awesome plays. Light crowd though. The message is being sent.

m said...

This was good win and I am glad for the team. It would be great if we can continue this type of play. The only detracting result of the game was the cheap shots made against WODL by the likes of Proctor, Nats Jack, Just Wonderin, Sunshine, Bowden, etc. I actually find WODL comments objective and on point a lot of the time unlike the pollyannish comments that this crew usually spouts.

I was wondering what makes natsjack think he is so much more knowledgeable than the rest us. Give me a break.

Concerning Span, I saw two ground balls to the right side, a pop up to left center and a single to right. The only difference in Span's performance last night from his usual performance is his single. Usually if he does get a hit it is with no one on.

Oh yes the catch he made in center field was a catch any good CF would make. It was not all world as Carp and Natslady made it out to be.

I fully expect to incur the wrath of Natsjack and his gang since my view and opinion is differnt from theirs.

John C. said...

Hey M - no wrath here, you have your opinion. Personally I find WODL's perspective to be limited and his obsession tiresome. It's not pollyannish to disagree with WODL's assessment of Span.

I don't choose a side on Span; I think he's a solid major league player with a very good glove (he gets great jumps and takes great angles). He is a respectable, though not great, hitter who is having his worst season with the bat. I don't make the mistake of assuming that 2013 Span is all he will ever be, just like I don't assume that he's going to revert to the >.800 OPS guy he was his first couple of years in Minnesota.

A team can win with a guy like Span in CF. That said, if the Nationals got an impact bat and moved Span to the 4th OF role, he'd be a LOT better at it than Bernadina (sorry, Shark)

m said...

John C

Agree

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