Sunday, April 17, 2011

Game 15: Brewers at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats look to sweep the doubleheader and the series from the Brewers.
Fresh off an impressive, 8-4 victory in Game 1 of this doubleheader, the Nationals are right back on the field for the nightcap. They're looking to both sweep this twinbill and sweep the series from the Brewers, which would put them over .500 for the season.

Livan Hernandez gets the ball, hoping to continue perhaps the most-impressive stat about the Nats so far this year. In 12 of 14 games, their starting pitcher has allowed three earned runs or fewer. If they can somehow keep that sort of thing up, this team is going to have a chance to win every day, weak lineup or not.

Marco Estrada, a one-time Nationals prospect who had a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues in September 2008 and '09, starts for Milwaukee. He's filling in for injured ace Zack Greinke.

Updates to come...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 5:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 183
Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees, Wind 19 mph out to RF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
RF Laynce Nix
SS Ian Desmond
3B Jerry Hairston
P Livan Hernandez

2B Rickie Weeks
CF Carlos Gomez
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
C George Kottaras
RF Erick Almonte
P Marco Estrada
5:01 p.m. -- You'll notice Jayson Werth is not in the lineup for Game 2. That means the only remaining National who has started every game this season is ... Rick Ankiel?!

5:15 p.m. -- And we're underway again. Looks like a lot of people decided not to stick around for the nightcap.

5:18 p.m. -- Real quick top of the first for Livan Hernandez, retired the side.

5:32 p.m. -- Chance for the Nats to take an early lead, with runners on the corners and two out. But Wilson Ramos, who has been pretty clutch so far this season, struck out swinging at an offering from Marco Estrada. Scoreless after one.

5:46 p.m. -- The home run barrage from unlikely sources continues. Next up: Jerry Hairston, who dropped one over the left-field fence to put the Nats up 1-0 in the second.

5:54 p.m. -- Here's my full story from Game 1, with quotes from Riggleman and Marquis.

6:14 p.m. -- Three straight two-out hits from the Brewers in the top of the fourth led to a run, with Yuniesky Betancourt rapping a single to center to score Prince Fielder. 1-1 now in the middle of the fourth.

6:18 p.m. -- You may have noticed the Brewers have been using infield shifts on an inordinate number of batters, both righties and lefties. It's a strategy employed by first-year manager Ron Roenicke, who used to serve as bench coach for the Angels and assembled "spray charts" showing where opposing batters typically hit the ball. He believes the shift is highly effective against plenty of hitters, especially those who have a tendency to hit the ball up the middle. It just worked on Adam LaRoche, who was robbed of a sure single. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a good story on the whole subject this morning if you want to check it out.

6:42 p.m. -- First failed squeeze attempt by the Nats in four tries this year, though Rick Ankiel nearly beat it out. Tried to drop one down the third-base line with two outs and a man on third. Not a terrible idea, and like I said, it almost worked.

6:53 p.m. -- There's some disagreement in the press box on this: Did that Ankiel bunt constitute a squeeze? Others are saying it can't be a squeeze if there's two outs and the batter has to beat it out for it to work. But Wikipedia (the ultimate authority on this if there ever was one) says it is a squeeze anytime you bunt with a man on third.

7:00 p.m. -- Impressive outing from Marco Estrada against his former team: 6 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 bb, 7 k. Kameron Loe now on the mound for Milwaukee, with the game still tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

7:05 p.m. -- Official paid attendance for the doubleheader: 23,047. Which is basically the equivalent of drawing 11,523 to one game and 11,524 to the other. That's not going to help the overall season average.

7:09 p.m. -- What a day for Danny Espinosa: Three-run homer in Game 1, three-run triple in Game 2. He just cleared the bases in the bases in the bottom of the seventh, putting the Nats up 4-1. And in your bizarre stat of the day: Espinosa now has 14 RBI this season. Jayson Werth has two.

7:31 p.m. -- Scoreless eighth for Drew Storen, who pitched around a two-out triple by Braun. We'll see if he gets a chance to pitch the ninth as well, with the Nats up three runs.

7:35 p.m. -- No real need to use a closer now. LaRoche crushes a solo homer to right-center in the bottom of the eighth, making it 5-1. If Storen stays in, he'd still get credit for a save, though, because he entered with a three-run lead.

7:52 p.m. -- This one is in the books. Nats win 5-1, sweep the doubleheader and sweep the Brewers. They're now 8-7 and flying high heading into this week's road trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Full story on both games on


Tim said...

Almost time for red-hot Desi to thump another one.

FS said...

I know Livan just gave up few hits and a run but he has to be the coolest presence on the mound ever. His face never shows any panic or stress. Two on, full count to Brewers' catcher, but Livan calmly collects the ball hit to him and throws him out. Walks off like he knew that was coming. Game tied at 1-1.

JaneB said...

What FS said. He is my all time favorite Nat.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Nats starters have gone at least five in all 15 games now. Only Rockie starters also have made it through 5 in their games.

Anonymous said...

Small typo, Mark: Your 5:46 pm update has the Nats with a 2-0 lead. Hairston's homer was a solo shot.

FS said...

I wonder if he will make it HOF. I kinda doubt it but if he does, I hope he makes it as an Expo/Nats.

Anyways, I am guessing that was a failed squeeze by Ankiel. I can live with that but seven strikeouts are hard to digest.

I hope offense can put up enough numbers so Livan gets the win tonight. He deserves it.

Jim Webster said...

My failing memory fails to remember Estrada ever pitching this well for Nats in 08 or 09. BTW I'm with FS and JaneB on Livo: his story is just too compelling, his sense of humor so keen, and his performance at his age a wonder to all (especially to those of us really old guys).

FS said...

Golden opportunity. Bases loaded, no outs, and Matt Stairs at the plate.

FS said...

You know the way Danny keeps performing in clutch, we might have to move him to cleanup spot soon. Triples in 3 runs with bases loaded. Gotta love the guy. He has been super for us today.

And I can't believe Nats almost traded him away for Zack. Thank goodness Greinke rejected.

Marty said...

How long before you give Bernadina a few games and put Morse on the bench? Dude needs some nights off to think about things.

FS said...

Fifteen games into the season, Danny Espinosa has passed Guzman's RBI total of last season (in 56 games as a 2B). I am pretty sure he will take over Kennedy's production of 2HR - 25 RBIs by the end of May (or most likely before that). Only field where Espinosa needs to improve is SB. He has none so far. Maybe coaches can work on his running game.

Neato Torpedo said...

So when does Espinosa become the everyday SS? He's lights-out better with the glove - shouldn't we be looking to put the best possible glove in the position that sees the most batted balls?

Anonymous said...

Desmond can=t make the turn on the dp

FS said...

Most likely Riggs will go with Burnett. He has kinda earned the job for now. Just like Kimbrel, who was originally supposed to split closer duties with Venters. I know Sean blew it last time but a show of faith would be nice. Also, he needs to get some work in today. He is on my fantasy team as well so I would like to see him earn a save.

And as I was typing, LaRoche homered. We might just see Storen out in ninth.

Unkyd said...

Ian Desmond: Hitting Machine!

Nattydread said...

When we win this one, Mark, please go to the Brewers locker room and ask Nyjer if he can remember the last Nats 3-game winning streak.

Nats Outsider said...

Interesting question, Nattydread. I don't think the Nats have ever had a 3-game streak. So, here's a related question: When was the last time that the Nats won a double header?

Nats Fan in TX said...

Since being in DC the Nats have only had two April sweeps: A two game set with the Braves in 2008 and a three game set with the D-Backs in 2005.

JaneB said...

Second most fun day if baseball ever.

How come no fireworks? Two wins and a bunch of homers .. No BOOMS!

Nats Outsider said...

The team has cut way back on fireworks this year. They've eliminated fireworks on Fridays, along with T-shirt Tuesdays. I guess they're contributing to the Jason Werth Fund. :-)

sjm308 said...

Jane: Nats announced a little while ago that there will be no fireworks during National Anthem, on Fridays or after homeruns. Not sure the article gave a reason.

Pretty sure we have won FOUR in a row not three.

How many times do Riggs and Rizzo have to repeat that they will be going with Desmond as the SS on this team? How many errors does he have this year? We just played 3 great games with 0 errors and people continue to complain or rag on certain people. I would rather celebrate the good instead of looking for the bad. Off to St. Louis where Lannan has a 2+ era against the Cards.

Go Nats!!

MGG said...

I am so happy with this team right now its insane. I was hoping to take two of three from the Brew Crew but to sweep them and allow only 5 runs out of two games is very exciting! Can't wait to see what they do against the Cards.

Anonymous said...

Our new TV color guy has now become my favorite in Nats history. Admittedly, this could be considered damning with faint praise (although I liked Dibble okay) but what won me over was FP's comment tonight straight to the fans that this year's Nats were a good, competitive bunch and the fans could let go of their doubts.

As I want to believe in this year's Nats but have been a bit hesitant to get too enthusiastic, FP's statement was just what I needed to hear.

Go Nats!!

Unkyd said...

Thanks, sjm308! Since I Officially made Desi "My Boy" on Wednesday night, he's done fairly well.... Ian Desmond is gonna be fine, and become a fixture on a very successful squad. BEGONE, YE SAYERS OF NAY!!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

OK, you Washington experts: when was the last doubleheader sweep in Washington? I'm wracking my brain, and can't remember. Was it 2005? 1971?

FS said...

LOL are you serious Nats Outsider? That kinda takes away from the whole going to ball game experience. I go to O's games from time to time. Fireworks and free stuff is one attraction to me.

last time nats had a 3-game winning streak was sept4-6. I cant believe u dont remember the 11 game winning streak nats had back in 2005.

I don't know about double headers. Someone else can comment on it.

Oh and I just saw Braun's effort at Danny's triple. That was really good, maybe not smart.

And our staff might struggle against an offense as hot as Cards. Billingsley quieted them down today but Berkman, Pujols, and Holiday have been on fire lately.

FS said...

August 7 2008

thanks to bbref.

Big Cat said...

Oh what a glorious day. Nats sent the Brewers packin. See people, when you get Halladay and Lee off the mound, we can hit a little bit. As long as we get pitching we can play with anyone. P-P-P.....PLAYOFFS! we talkin playoffs?!

Oh yeah, I can't bout those O's!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

dryw said...

I keep hearing "the Nats sweep the double header" all over radio and tv coverage. But what I want to know is can we say SERIES SWEEEEEP!!!!! Even better than taking both games of the dh. And a game over .500 even given a pretty darn brutal April schedule. Go Nats!!!

masnstinks said...

Did Nyger play at all? I thought maybe I saw him pinch hit once. Was the manager afraid of the fan reaction? Was he booed? Pretty obvious he is not a full-time player for them,though.

Drew8 said...

Meantime, Harper and Marrero shake off their slumps, too.

Harper has two run-scoring knocks to take over the Hagerstown team lead with 7 RBIs. In Syracuse, Marrero goes 3-3 with two jacks, raising his average to .306.

Everybody hits!

Anonymous said...

In 2009 the Nats had an 8-game streak (Aug 2-9) and a 7-game streak, including the last seven of the season. Clippard and Burnett had 4 of those 15 winds.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

FS, that wasn't what I was asking about. I asked when the last doubleheader sweep in Washington was. That Rockies DH sweep was in Denver. I remember that one. I think we have to go back to Senators' era. Mark, anybody know?

FS said...

I realized my mistake and tried to look up results until 2005 and Senators' results from 70's. Senators seemed to play lot of DHs away from home for some reason. Whatever DHs they played in 70-71, they did not manage a sweep. I can keep going back and see if I come across what you asked.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Just looking at NL leaders. Nats have 4 of the top 25 starter's ERA. Not bad.

Espinosa third in the majors with 14 RBIs, Fielder leads with 16.

Grandstander said...

On a different note, the first game of the DH was rockin'. So much electricity in the stadium. The lower bowl seats were packed too, they usually don't fill up like that, I was pretty surprised. Stadium cleared out for the start of the second game and was pretty much deserted by the 5th, which was too bad but understandable.

That was the best 8 hours I've spent at Nats Park!

Also does anyone know the timetable on when the new restaurants are opening up on the scoreboard pavilion? Midway through the second game I was craving a Shake Shack burger something awful.

Neato Torpedo said...

@ Anonymous...

ESPI IS MORE VALUABLE AT 2ND // Desmond can't make the turn on the dp

Admittedly a risk.

Except: 6-3 putouts happen more frequently in a game than turning a 6-4-3 DP. In 2010, the Nationals turned 146 DPs - 0.87 per game, and not all of those were 6-4-3. in 2010, Nationals' shortstops had 245 putouts - 1.46 per game. Presumably there's some overlap there (some of those putouts are also initiating DPs) and not all of them were 6-3 putouts (and I can't find the game-logs to get he number perfect). But regardless - continuing a double play as a 2B is a less-frequent action compared to a SS initiating a putout.

Further, Desmond has more than sufficiently demonstrated a capability of screwing up the initiation of a 6-4-3 DP anyway.

We should put our best glove @ SS to minimize errors and maximize outs, and reduce errors on top of that by moving Desmond out of that bullseye.

Arguing that Desmond can't turn the DP and so should stay as a SS is tantamount to arguing that I shouldn't wear my seatbelt because my cousin's best friend's older brother totally rolled his IROC Camaro this one time and he didn't have his seat belt on and he was thrown free of the car right before it hit a boulder that crushed the drivers seat, so clearly it's safer to not wear a seat belt than to fasten it.

FS said...

Found it Sunshine. Sept 1-2, Senators played four games in two days. First day they split decision, second day they swept CAL Angels. Earlier in the season, they also took two from Yanks on 13th July.


Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

So it's Sept. 2, 1969. Teddy Ballgame's first year. Thanks, FS, for the research. There will be a little extra in the tip jar for you this week. Many thanks. Wow. nearly 42 years between doubleheader sweeps in DC. Feels good. Let's play two. Onto St. Louie to beat those overrated Cards and Genius LaRussa.

Neato Torpedo said...

@ sjm308 -

Desmond had a GENEROUSLY unscored fielding error earlier this week (I think Friday night) - he total biffed a grounder and was unable to make the throw because he failed to control it in his glove.

Desmond already has 3 errors on the season, and we're only 3 weeks in. He had 34 last season in 149 games - more than 1 per week.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a SS - the position that sees more balls hit to it than any other the field - that doesn't average an error a week.

FS said...

You're welcome Sunshine. They need to play few more double headers so regular season does not go into late March and early October.

BTW Danny should be one of the two top favorites to win NL ROY right now, along with Craig Kimbrel. I hope he continues his type of play and improves defensively and running game to win ROY award. Some national recognition for the guy would be nice.

Unkyd said...

Dudes. If Desi was 28, and was holding back an otherwise championship caliber outfit, your points would be well founded. We'd need to bring in a solid, journeyman middle infielder, and roll to the playoffs. Such is not the case, here. Not every all star level position player shows up batting .350 and looking like the Wizard of OZ. Some really good players go a couple of years before they "get it". We're assembling a team... It's starting to look like there may be enough pitching here to trade for a piece or 2, at the deadline, or during the offseason. So, let's not be pissing in our collective cornflakes, 13 games in, having just swept a decent team, because our second-year SS isn't performing at a HOF level..... YET!!!!!

SonnyG10 said...

I think Ian and Danny are fine right where they are and I hope it stays that way!

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Robin Yount's first full season in the majors 44 errors, second 31 errors.

I am not saying Ian will be a Yount, but don't be so quick to be too worried about the error amount.

Speaking of errors. I said last week I thought it was totally unfair that Desmond got an error for the interference and Chipper Jones didn't.

I asked Mark to ask the official scorer why that happened. Apparently it is the scorer's prerogative. The Nats alternate 4 guys, and the guy that Mark talked to said that Jones would have gotten one had he been the scorer, but the one on the Sunday against the Braves decided to give Jones a break.

Unkyd said...

There you go, Manassas! I knew some bright fellow would pull a perfect example. As you say, it proves nothing about Desi, other than to suggest that patience can pay BIG dividends.

Joe Seamhead said...

OK, let's get this straight. Desmond is our shortstop.Desmond will be our shortstop.Espinosa is our second baseman. Espinosa will be our second baseman. Espinosa, barring injury to Desmond, will not be our shortstop.Baseball players make errors. Young shortstops tend to make a fair amount of errors. Riggleman and Rizzo really like Ian Desmond as the Nationals shortstop. The Nats actually are coming off of a sweep of the Brewers with that combo, along with Hairston at 3B. Let's cheer them, not jeer them.

Unkyd said...


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