Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Game 85: Padres at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After last night's heroics, the Nats look to win in more conventional fashion.
Did you know the Nationals' last three wins have all come in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth? You can even look it up!

Thursday vs. Mets: Ryan Zimmerman's sac fly scores Willie Harris. Nats win 2-1.

Saturday vs. Mets: Ivan Rodriguez's bases-loaded single to right scores Zimmerman to cap a three-run comeback and seal a 6-5 victory.

Last night vs. Padres: Zimmerman homers off Luke Gregerson to give the Nats a 6-5 win.

Actually, it could have been four walk-off wins in the last week had Roger Bernadina not been picked off second base Friday night and Harris had a chance to drive in the winning run.

So the Nationals clearly have established their ability to come from behind or pull out a late victory. Perhaps tonight they'll manage to take an early lead, hold it and then finish the Padres off in more conventional fashion. J.D. Martin faces Jon Garland on another disgustingly hot night on South Capitol Street.

Check back for updates before, during and after the game...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 96 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
2B Adam Kennedy
SS Ian Desmond
P J.D. Martin

PADRES (49-34)
CF Tony Gwynn Jr.
2B Jerry Hairston Jr.
1B Adrian Gonzalez
LF Scott Hairston
3B Chase Headley
C Nick Hundley
RF Aaron Cunningham
SS Everth Cabrera
P Jon Garland

6:14 p.m. -- If you haven't heard yet, Padres closer Heath Bell has been added to the All-Star team as a fill-in for injured Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. So that means Bell is no longer in the running for the "Final Man" vote, which leaves Ryan Zimmerman up against three competitors: Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez and Billy Wagner. Voting continues until 4 p.m. tomorrow.

6:19 p.m. -- Tyler Walker is eligible to come off the 15-day DL already, but it sounds like the Nats will wait until after the All-Star break to make that move. Walker (right shoulder inflammation) is just beginning to throw again after receiving a cortisone shot last week.

6:58 p.m. -- Very nice rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" by the Brothers Flanagan quartet, which includes a regular commenter on here you all know as "Section 222." Well done, sir, and I see your home section just serenaded you all with a standing ovation as you departed the field!

7:06 p.m. -- J.D. Martin starts Tony Gwynn Jr. with strike one. Tonight's gametime temperature: A chilly 98 degrees.

7:09 p.m. -- The Padres have one legitimate power threat in their lineup: Adrian Gonzalez. And he just showed why. Martin placed a first-pitch fastball on the lower-outside corner, hardly a poor location, and Gonzalez ripped it to left field for a solo homer. That takes some serious power to hit that pitch the other way and over the fence. San Diego leads 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.

7:30 p.m. -- Wow, what a beating the Nats just put on Jon Garland in the bottom of the first. Four runs. Four hits. First five batters all reached safely. Ryan Zimmerman's RBI single makes him 7-for-10 with three homers and seven RBI since he was named to the "Final Man" ballot on Sunday. Adam Dunn's blast into the Red Porch was his 18th homer of the year, but only his second three-run shot (he's only got five with ANYBODY on base). Just like that, Martin has a 4-1 lead to work with for the top of the second.

7:45 p.m. -- Things calmed down considerably in the second inning. Nothing doing on either side, with Martin allowing only a two-out double to Aaron Cunningham and Garland retiring the side. So the Nats still lead 4-1 after two.

7:59 p.m. -- As I said earlier, the only legitimate power threat in San Diego's lineup is Adrian Gonzalez. Who just roped another opposite-field drive, this one coming up a few feet short and only accounting for a two-out RBI double. First base was open. Interesting decision to pitch to Gonzalez instead of Scott Hairston behind him. Then again, the Nats were up three runs at the time. It's now, however, 4-2 in the middle of the third.

8:06 p.m. -- Adam Dunn strikes again. Clubs his second homer in as many at-bats, both of them into the Red Porch in left-center. Solo shot this time, but it's not like anyone had a choice. Dunn was leading off the bottom of the third. It's now 5-2 and looking like the kind of night that's going to include a lot of offense.

8:30 p.m. -- J.D. Martin is doing what J.D. Martin does: Keep his team in the game. Nothing spectacular out of the right-hander, but he's allowed two runs and four hits through five innings. Hasn't allowed a hit since Gonzalez's RBI double in the third. Nats still lead 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

8:46 p.m. -- Martin couldn't quite make it through the sixth. With two outs, he bobbled Chase Headley's comebacker for an error, then allowed a single to Nick Hundley. That brought Jim Riggleman out of the dugout and Joel Peralta out of the bullpen. Peralta proceeded to get a groundball out of Aaron Cunningham, extending his streak of scoreless innings since arriving in D.C. to seven. Not bad. Still 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth.

8:51 p.m. -- After homering last night for the first time since May 28, Ian Desmond said his shots "usually come in bunches." Well, he just struck again, blasting a pitch from Garland over the center-field fence for his second homer in two nights. Nats now lead 6-2.

9:00 p.m. -- I was just about to write something nice about Joel Peralta and note that if you combine his 34 relief appearances at Syracuse and Washington, his ERA is 0.89 and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 43-to-8. But before I could type that, Peralta served up a homer to pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia and was yanked by Riggleman. So now Sean Burnett is pitching the top of the seventh, his team up 6-3.

9:12 p.m. -- We go to the eighth, and who's pitching for the Nationals, protecting a three-run lead and facing the left-handed Adrian Gonzalez? Drew Storen, not Tyler Clippard. New setup man?

9:25 p.m. -- Well, that wasn't exactly a smooth ride for Storen, but ultimately he held the lead. The only problem: It's now 6-5 thanks to two singles, a double and an RBI groundout. Storen wasn't helped by plate umpire Andy Fletcher, who squeezed him on what looked like strike three to Hundley before the double. Too late now. Nats cling to a one-run lead heading to the bottom of the eighth. Keep in mind this: Adrian Gonzalez is due up fourth for the Padres in the ninth. No margin for error.

9:35 p.m. -- Wow, Adam Dunn with the hat trick! Just blasted his third homer of the night, this one a solo shot to right-center off a lefty! First three-homer game of his career, and the admittedly small crowd of 13,762 coaxes him out of the dugout for a curtain call. It's now 7-5 in the bottom of the eighth.

9:43 p.m. -- Here comes Matt Capps with a two-run lead in hand. It's a special All-Star edition of The Final Countdown! Amazingly, he hasn't been presented with a save situation since June 22 against the Royals.

9:48 p.m. -- And Matt Stairs greets Capps with a shot into the left-field bullpen. It's now 7-6 with one out in the ninth.

10:00 p.m. -- Breathe easy, folks. It's over. Nats hang on to win 7-6. Capps gives up the run and puts two more men on base, but he gets his 23rd save. J.D. Martin gets his first win in seven tries. Nats will go for the sweep of the first-place Padres tomorrow night.


Anonymous said...

Mark, for how much longer should we expect to see Dunn in the lineup? Rosenthal says the Nats are asking the ChiSox (who Olney says are really pushing for Dunn) for one of Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin.

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone was wondering, in the alternate universe where Bernadina didn’t get picked off second base, Willie Harris struck out looking.

Richard said...

The other day Mark said he thought the Nats, like most Nats fans, wanted to keep Adam Dunn and Adam wanted to stay, but the negotiations over a new contract might drag on into the off season. He commented that he thought they'd get it worked out. So I'd say Rosenthal is off his meds again.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Look, there are going to be a lot of Dunn rumors that crop up over the next three weeks. Most of them will probably come from other teams who are expressing interest in him. As was the case last summer, I expect Mike Rizzo's asking price to be pretty high (Beckham or Quentin would certainly qualify). I do believe that the Nats want to sign Dunn to an extension. It's just a matter of settling on terms that both sides can live with. If someone blows Rizzo away with an offer, maybe he gets moved. But I think the chances of that happening are pretty remote.

Les in NC said...

Personally, I don't think I would be happy with a Dunn trade that only landed either Quentin or Beckham. Maybe one of those 2 plus a top prospect like Mitchell or Danks. If Dunn doesn't regress terribly for the remainder of the season he will be a type A free agent worthy, of 2 top draft picks.

Anonymous said...

Well folks, it's a balmy 110 in Manassas. Enjoy the cool weather at Nats Park!

JayB said...

Keep Dunn and trade Willingham....any word on International FA signings Mark?

Jaxpo Nat said...

You Mid-Atlantic folk need to get over it. Sure, you might be hitting 100 degrees right now, hotter than us here in Florida even, but when you have to deal with 90-degree weather from March through December then you get the right to whine like you are. Until then, deal with your one hot month. ;)

court said...

If you think DC only has one hot month, you need to get out of Florida a little more. Considering we had 5 freaking feet of snow in addition to the hottest June ever leading into this July, we've got you beat.

Anonymous said...

There's also talk about Dunn to the Rays for Upton ... and the Angels are interested as well. Mike Rizzo did say that it would be very painful for the franchise to lose Dunn, but that it would also be very painful for any other franchise to acquire him.

Anonymous said...

JayB, Willingham is the better player both offensively and defensively. He has even been walking more than Dunn. He definitely manages left field far better? Sometimes you scare me.

Anonymous said...


Dude I've lived in both places. Believe it or not the humidity from all the nearby swamps combined with the heat make DC far worst than FLA and GA for that matter. Then there's the pollen and smog ... and then winter comes.

Fla types are spoiled. Just ask all the upstate NY types that live there now.

phil dunn said...

Gordon Beckham straight up for Dunn?? That's insanity. Beckham is hitting .206 with no power. Alberto Gonzalez can give us more than that at second base. If Rizzo make that trade, he should be fired.

Anonymous said...

Ditto phil dunn.

JayB said...

Willingham is selling high and will bring more than Dunn....This team needs so much and LF should be easier to find than Catcher which is what we should be trading for.

Anonymous said...

Beckham hit .270 with an .808 OPS last year. 28 double 14 homers. Sounds like he has some power. That was his rookie year, he is 24, the season is still only half over. He fields flawlessly. Now, who would you rather wait on? Second baseman want-to-be Willie "I am right where I want to be at .153" Harris? Or this guy's second half? Especially if another player like Quentin is thrown in? I'll admit it would be better to get another prospect like a Jason Castro, or Wilson Ramos for Dunn instead of Quentin. But ...

Anonymous said...


I am firmly convinced that former catcher Willingham would play a far better first base than Adam Dunn. Imagine BJ Upton out there? With Bernadina, Morse and Morgan?

I agree that Gonzalez should be given a shot to play second base full time over Guzman. But Beckham was a legitimate B prospect.

Prefer pitching plus a player like Beckham, Quentin, Upton ... suspect that Rizzo is demanding a B pitching prospect in addition to one of these players.

phil dunn said...

The Nats should never pitch to Adrian Gonzalez, just like they should never pitch to Albert Pujols. It as simple as that, but they never seem to figure it out.

Slidell said...

Martin has something to work with now. Let's see what happens.

Smatt1001 said...

It looks like a good start for the Nats tonight. Now for the roller coaster of trying to see the Nats hold on.

Les in NC said...

Smatt, that was exactly what the rest of us were thinking (but not saying)! :)

phil dunn said...

There we go again--another big fat pitch to Adrian Gonzalez. The Nats never learn.

Sec3MySofa said...

tystoneman said...
In case anyone was wondering, in the alternate universe where Bernadina didn’t get picked off second base, Willie Harris struck out looking.
Unless, of course, you follow the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, in which case there exists an infinite number of alternate universes, including an infinite number of universes where he didn't get picked off and Willie Harris struck out, where he didn't get picked off and Willie Harris hit a home run, singled, doubled, tripled, inexplicably bunted up the third base line ... an infinite number of universes where consecutive balks scored the run ...

Anonymous said...

The price keeps going up to keep Adam Dunn.

David said...

and another big fat pitch to Dunn :-) make that two HR's for him, apparently they don't learn either

A DC Wonk said...

"Willingham is selling high and will bring more than Dunn"

Right -- and then that only leaves us with yet another hole to fill.

(And, he's selling so high that he couldn't rate even a mention, except in DC, about all start possibilities)

Richard said...

Hey, Mark, look, in short, if they trade Dunn I'm finished with them.

A DC Wonk said...

Despite the homer allowed, it seems Peralta is underappreciated and underused, no?

David said...


Anonymous said...

Matt Capps--All Star closer--What a joke!

Smatt1001 said...

And another close game on this roller coaster. Let's go for the sweep tomorrow!!

Michael J. Hayde said...

Nobody said he doesn't walk the tightrope... but Capps got it "Dunn" tonight. Ugly or not, it goes in the books as another save for the All-Star.

Sec3MySofa said...

Yeah, tied for the league lead in saves -- which is his ONLY job -- You go ahead and laugh, Anon 9:57. Feel free.

Anonymous said...

Capps--39 innings pitched--52 hits given up. It's only a matter of time before his luck runs out. His 23 saves are a fluke.

Cwj said...

Anon10:20 - Capps' BABIP going into tonight was .361 (very high). He gives up lots of hits, but with a nice K and BB rate he can get results.
I gotta admit though, he allows LOTS of hits. Perhaps he's an example of the theory that you can throw too many strikes.

Sec3MyAnonymous said...

See, this is the problem with stats--people quoting random numbers without half an idea of what they're talking about. Might as well let parrots post here.
He's a CLOSER. The only stats that count are Saves, and Blown Saves. Period. Full Stop.

Anonymous said...

Fellas, what a game. I saw Soriano hit 3 at RFK and now Dunn hit 3 at Nats Park. Sometimes I'm very critical of the team, but I have to tell you I loved this night at Nats Park.

Anonymous said...

ahm sec3my whatever? Storen is 0.5 wins above replacement while Capps is 0.6 wins above replacement? There's a reason for that don't you think? Clippard is 1.1 wins above replacement. Burnett is 0.5 above replacment? Just perhaps he is better as a tradable commodity than as a keeper?

Cwj said...

Sec - I agree with you. I was merely pointing out to Anon that despite all the hits he gives up (and bad luck), he is still successful.

natsfan1a said...

Dang. I didn't see most of last night's game, as we were catching up with 1b, who is in town for a visit. Did manage to watch the bottom of the 9th, which was, um, eventful but gratifying. Sorry to have missed sec 222's anthem as well.

We will be at the park tonight and tomorrow, however. Bought the tix months ago in anticipation of 1b's visit, but she it looks like she managed to pull an SS start for tomorrow. Nice. As it worked out, it's also the first of his starts that I'll witness in person. Wish us luck. :-)

Cwj said...

Natsfan1a - For some reason I thought SS was starting today...but apparently it's Atilano (did they flip flop in the rotation?).
Anyway, have fun at the games.

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