Saturday, May 19, 2012

Instant analysis: Orioles 6, Nats 5

Associated Press photo
Ross Detwiler watches Wilson Betemit score on a second-inning single.
Game in a nutshell: What looked like a blowout in the Orioles favor turned into quite a compelling ballgame in the end. Ross Detwiler was blasted for six runs in only five innings, serving up homers to both Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. But the Nationals bullpen stopped the bleeding and gave Davey Johnson's reconfigured lineup a chance to storm back. The Nats did rally, getting one run in the fifth and three in the sixth thanks in part to RBI from Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina. And Ryan Zimmerman homered in the ninth. But they couldn't push across that final run and thus lost their third straight game, their 13th over the last 22 games.

Hitting highlight: Johnson's new-look lineup -- featuring Steve Lombardozzi in the leadoff spot, Ian Desmond in the 5-hole and Danny Espinosa on the bench -- made no difference early on, producing one hit off Jason Hammel through four innings. But it did finally start producing late, particularly a few guys who desperately needed to get going. Ryan Zimmerman had three hits, including a ninth-inning homer. Ankiel had an RBI double. And Bernadina had two hits, a walk and a deep flyball to the warning track in center. It didn't result in a win, but it was a step in the right direction.

Pitching lowlight: Before the game, Johnson said Chien-Ming Wang will likely pitch out of the bullpen when he returns from the DL next week. That would keep Detwiler in the rotation. But after the left-hander got rocked over five laborious innings, you have to wonder if the Nats might reconsider the matter. Detwiler was tagged for six runs on nine hits, five days after giving up four earned runs in five innings against the Padres. In that brief span, his ERA has skyrocketed from 2.10 to 3.65.

Key stat: The crowd of 42,331 (though technically not a sellout) was nonetheless the second-largest gathering in Nationals Park history. The largest crowd: 44,685 on Aug. 20, 2011 vs. the Phillies.

Up next: The finale of the weekend series features Stephen Strasburg in search of his fourth win of the year and left-handed sensation Wei-Yin Chen, seeking his fifth win of the year. First pitch at Nationals Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.


ehay2k said...

Instant analysis: Detwiler not sharp. Eckstein is still unable to teach the Nats to hit.

rogieshan said...

If Nady had made a productive out in the 8th to move Desmond over, maybe we'd still be playing. This team just can't seem to get all its cylinders clicking. Still, I applaud Johnson for his bold moves. There is now a controversy at 2nd base.

peric said...

Instant analysis redux. Eight strikeouts against only 3 walks won't get it done offensively even with 10 hits. Harper's 0 for 5 with no walks and 2 K's at the top hurt. Lombo's 2 hits were great but he didn't score instead drove in runs would have liked to see him work some walks.

Drew said...

I think the new lineup worked as designed because it gave the Nats opportunities.

Lombo continued to reach base at a .400 clip. Desmond got to hit with two men on base. That's what we're looking for -- more chances to score.

JaneB said...

I think Det as the fifth guy may go the way of Davey's declaration of Lannan as the fifth guy.
We'll get 'em tomorrow.

SonnyG10 said...

Really need to take the game tomorrow to keep Davey out of a deep depression.

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

The largest crowd: 44,685 on April 20, 2011 vs. the Phillies.

I think that was on August 20th, not April 20th.

Dr Trea (formerly #werthquake) said...

^right, i think it was august

Drew said...

Speaking of lead off hitters, Brian Goodwin (our fabled Speedy McLeadoff?) is back in the lineup, patrolling center field in Hagerstown.

Bout time we got some good news this weekend.

baseballswami said...

SonnyG10 - yeah, because it's always all about Davey, right? Espi is making Davey look bad - my guess is he is soon for syracuse. Who leaves when Wang comes up - Perry? Billy Ripken, who knows a lot about baseball, did not think Det pitched badly - some hot hitters. If they send him back to the pen now, that is not a good thing for his future. He is either a starter or he isn't and they need to decide and act accordingly. Either they are going to let him develop or give up on him. And his stuff is too good to give up on.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. We left 17 men on base tonight. Inning after inning.

There's something about this team that is not clutch. Our LOB and average with RISP are just lousy, year after year.

We've got a very, very rough stretch of games coming in the next month. It is going to get ugly.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, care to discuss Detwiler with me again? Another short outing clunker on 5 day start.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Bottom line we play to inconsistant, but sure beats 2006-2010

LaRoche who carried us before ironically made the final out the last 2 nights on weak swings. Sounds like he needs a rest.

Faraz Shaikh said...

ehay2k, I thought Nats had some great at bats. Nady's at bat, Carlos' each at bat was neat, Zimm finally had a good game, and more. It clearly was Detwiler who seemed hittable from inning one.

UnkyD said...

8. 8 left on base, not 17...

hiramhover said...

Odd to read so many complaints about the hitters.

Whatever you think of individual ABs or batters, the fact is that they produced 5 runs. That would have been enough to win 30 out of the 39 games the Nats played before tonight, and would have tied the opponents' RS in 4 others.

Point being--this one is on Det. He gave up 6 runs in 5 IP tonight, after giving up 5 runs (4 earned) in 5 IP to the light hitting Padres on Monday.

I'm not rushing to any conclusions about his future as a starter (that will come soon enough, if he doesn't turn things around). But tonight's game is on him.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Nady's ground out to third was a very unproductive out.

Unproductive outs have really started to escalate lately. It is one thing to make an out, but if you advance someone at least a positive comes out of it.

Last night when I was told that Eckstein is only there to advise those who asked still sits with me wrong. That is like the patients running the assylim it makes no sense.

I wish Mark could find out what Eckstein's roll really is. Is he a coach or an advisor, as the two roles are very different. The Nats do not need an advisor they need a coach.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

5 runs good enough most nights, but not this night, and this is the one that counts today. needed 7 this day. Five not enough.

Five last night would be fine. Three last night would be fine.

Each night is different.

Exposremains said...

I was afraid this would happen it almost always do. The pitcher are struggling a bit just as the offense is warming up. I do think they tried to be so perfect the 1st month that it took a lot out of them. Constant stressed innings.

DaveB said...

Has always amazed me the amount of angst over Eckstein. You would never hear similar focus on, for example, an NBA assistant coach. I guess the difference is that baseball gives them a title ("hitting coach") that implies that they are responsible for the teams hitting results (which is just as silly as expecting a Lakers assistant coach to be responsible for Kobe's shooting results).

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

Yeah, how come when the bench isn't performing well no one wants to fire the bench coach? And if there are too many blown saves, shouldn't the bullpen coach be fired? And the third base coach better watch out if Zimmerman starts making too many errors.

NatsLady said...

All the teams in the NL East lost. Would have been nice to grab this one, the atmosphere at the park was great! No complaints about O's fans after the anthem. True exemplar of a "friendly rivalry." Also helps that they mostly have to drive or metro home, no buses.

Overheard older couple in Nats gear, making plans to go to Camden Yards, saying, "This was really fun." And it was.

My observations:

- ALR needs a few days off.

- RZ is something to see when he's healthy. That play in the first inning was top-notch. The double, especially, had a great sound off the bat.

- Detwiler is not ace material. He may have "great stuff" but that's all it is, and how many seasons do you wait? The announcers can say what they want, but he was in control for exactly ONE inning. OK, Bernie misplayed a ball and a double became a triple and that's all it took to throw Det???? Stick him in the bullpen and over the winter try stretching Henry out.

- OTOH, Perry was in control, especially the 2nd inning he pitched. Those three fly balls were things of beauty.

- Werth better get in there and kick Desi's a** for not running out that third strike in the dirt that got away from Wieters. What was he thinking? Where was he not going?

That said, the home plate ump (not Joe West this time) was pretty chancy and late with his calls.

Never like losing, of course, but I don't see any reason to panic.

Anonymous said...

DaveB-I think it is more similar to a swing coach in golf...and they CAN make a difference, even if it is just from a mental standpoint. I don't know if Eckstein makes any difference at all, but he is certainly not helping them, so why not try something else. Probably doesn't matter one way or the other, but the chemistry doesn't seem to be there. I realize it is 99% about the players, but this team really has some bad at bats on nightly basis.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Other thoughts, day off for Adam LaRoche tomorrow. Desi back at leadoff, Lombo 2nd and Bryce 3rd, Zim 4th, Tracy 5th, Nady 6th, Moore 7th, Flores 8th

Wendell said...

NatsLady -

Agree on all points. Os fans were fine. Respectful of both teams. Proud of their accomplishments.

One problem I have about the experience at Nats Park is people moving in and out during play. I was at the game tonight and - despite the outcome - had a great time for the most part. But in key parts of the game dozens of people got up in the middle of play to get food and drink or to answer calls of nature. I missed some key at bats as a result.

I totally understand that - especially since Washington baseball fans are fledgling in many cases - lots of the 40,000 fans were there for the experience and not following the game closely. But I think that teaching baseball manners would instill a greater appreciation for the game. Ushers should not let people take seats during play.

I love the Nats & the Nats experience is clearly better than that at FedEx Field. I'm just sayin' . . .

Dave said...

Wendell, I saw on Twitter a tweet to the effect that all the ushers in the ballpark had been instructed to enforce "baseball etiquette," i.e., to hold people at the top of the aisles during at-bats.

In section 220, where I was sitting, this did not happen at all. People came and went as if they were watching television at home, in the middle of at-bats, throughout the night. We had a different usher on our normal aisle, so I thought for awhile that it might be that he was new. But no, they were coming into the section from the other aisle as well.

I do with the Nats would really enforce the no-walking-in-during-at-bats rule. It would really enhance the ballpark experience for serious fans.

natsfan1a said...

I believe that there are announcements made about it before games, but it's not really enforced. Heck, even some of the vendors do it. We were at a game this year where our upper deck section was full, which it usually isn't. People were constantly moving in and out of our row, and up and down the aisles, in the middle of at-bats. Also, they kept tripping over one of the steps near our seat - I don't know if the riser is off on that one or not. Luckily, nobody was hurt. A few times, we came close to having beer spilled on us, but that was about the extent of it.

natsfan1a said...

Carrying forward:

Thanks to ehay and Steady Eddie for standing up for JaneB, who was only answering a question from another (and male, btw) poster. What is this, Ballpark Guys or NatsInsider? ;-) Speaking of which, I agree with my esteemed colleagues MicheleS and JaneB: it's Gio.

Thanks for sharing re. FP's tweet, MicheleS.

On a game note, was really disappointed to lose a series, particularly to the O's. That said, as I remarked to my hubby afterwards, I didn't find this loss as frustrating as Friday's. I liked that the team almost came back from the deep hole into which Det put them. I liked that the bullpen, including Henry, held the O's down the rest of the way. I liked that Zimm's bat may be heating up.

m20832 said...

Well, another series's going to be hell to go back to work Tuesday as most of the people I work with are O's fans. Three Nats fans against 18 O's fans. And now I owe one of them a McDonalds coffee every morning for a week. Sheesh, nice job and thank you for an interesting...loss.
Isn't Mickey Hatcher still available?
Get 'em today Stras!


Anonymous said...

Thanks UnkyD for the note on LOB numbers. I was using the individual LOB total (17) while you are using the team LOB total (8). For anyone who might ever visit this thread again, the definitions of individual LOB and team LOB follow, courtesy of Wikipedia:

There is an individual LOB category as well as a Team LOB category. An individual accumulates LOB stats no matter how many outs in the inning. Team LOB, however, counts only those left standing on the bases when the third out of an inning occurs. Accordingly, adding together the individual LOB for all players will usually exceed team LOB.

Also...(back to me now) for the record the Orioles had 9 individual LOB to our 17, and had 4 team LOB to our 8. Which reflects the bad trend we've seen over a couple of years now, and portends bad things for the next month as we start playing winning teams regularly.

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