Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 4, Braves 1

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg and Jesus Flores played key roles in the Nationals' win.
Game in a nutshell: Who says the Nationals can't handle the pressure of a pennant-race series against their lone remaining competitors in the NL East. After pulling off last night's dramatic, 13-inning win over the Braves, they did it in more convincing fashion this time. There was, of course, a 51-minute rain delay in the top of the third, but that didn't faze anyone, least of all Stephen Strasburg. Allowed to retake the mound, the right-hander wound up tossing six innings and striking out 10. His batterymate, Jesus Flores, supplied a three-run homer, with Ian Desmond launching a solo shot of his own. Drew Storen, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard then finished it off out of the bullpen, leaving a crowd of 33,888 rocking and celebrating the home team's seven-game lead over Atlanta heading into tomorrow's series finale.

Hitting highlight: It's been a tough season for Flores, who was put into a tough spot after Wilson Ramos tore his ACL and has struggled both at and behind the plate. This, though, might have been his finest all-around performance of the year, and it came at a most opportune time. Flores clubbed a three-run homer into the flower bed beyond the left-field fence in the fifth (his fourth home run of the season, three of them coming against the Braves). Then he closed out the top of the sixth with a laser to nail Jason Heyward trying to take second on a ball in the dirt. In a season that has been frustrating on many levels for Flores, this had to feel especially gratifying.

Pitching highlight: Strasburg negatively affected by a rain delay? Pfft. So what if he had to keep himself warm during the 51-minute gap in action during the top of the third? He actually came back better and stronger. In fact, Strasburg might have displayed his best command of all three of his pitches the entire season. He painted corners with a 97 mph fastball. He dropped 83 mph curveballs off the table. And his 91 mph changeup was unhittable. Put it all together and you get six innings of one-run, 10-strikeout ball on 94 pitches (plus whatever he threw down in the batting tunnel during the delay). Remember Strasburg's inconsistent July, when he went 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA? Well, he's now 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in August. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Key stat: Over the last three days, the Nationals have sat through 253 minutes of rain delays.

Up next: The Nationals will go for the sweep (and possibly a knockout punch of the Braves) Wednesday night. Ross Detwiler gets the ball against right-hander Kris Medlen.


Drew said...

How 'bout the big fella?

How 'bout those Nats?

Yahoooo! GYFNG!!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

(Copyright, 2012, MicheleS,
All rights reserved. Void where prohibited.

31 games over .500. Seven-game lead over the Barves.

Hey, Fredi, there's always the wild card.

Secret wasian man said...

Wow. Mt airy md loves the nats. Bryce needs the day off. He's no Lombo. Go nats 7 up

Anonymous said...

Bang, Zoom :)

NatsLady said...

And Fredi leaves Chipper in the on-deck circle. Thanks!

RickH said...

Way to go, Nats!!!

ehay2k said...

Instant Hype-less analysis:

Despite this being the MOST IMPORTANT GAME EVER IN DC (See Kushner, Holden, or any other nabob on the Fan), the Nats look as cool as tonight's air, and take down the Barves. (Uggla's shirt a tad too tight on a cold night, just sayin...)

Strasburg handles freak - It's-only-raining-at-Nats-Park rain delay with aplomb, strikes out 10 in another truly dominant performance.

Desi looks to have finished his rehab.

JFLo knocks in 3, which turned out to be overkill, but was great to see.

Storen looked the best he has all season. Nats' timing for getting players back is impeccable.

Clip delivers another "Chief-like" save, with hearts aflutter.

Ho Hum, another series win. Another game tomorrow. No pressure on the Nats. Barves looking at another fight for a wild card spot.

I hope the attendance matched Boz' and the Fan's expectations.

Gonat said...

33,888 was the attendance tonight. I guess the local media won't be complaining

Anonymous said...

Nats magic numbers: 33 for division, 30 for wild card. GYFNG

natsfan1a said...

Great pitching performance and great win. Thought it might be another late night but got to watch it all in real time, despite the freak rain delay.

btw, Uggla's shirt is always a tad too tight, and who cares what some dopey sport-talk radio pundits think? :-)

mick said...

Between Gio and Strass, 31 wins... are you kidding me?? I love it!!!!

mick said...

Dan said...
Nats magic numbers: 33 for division, 30 for wild card. GYFNG

I love it.... waited my whole life for a DC baseball team to be in such a conversation!

Gonat said...

mick and the Legion of BOOM!

mick said...

djinfl makes a great point about Flores /Suzuki sharing time and keeping them both fresh. Davey needs to do this with Lombo. This is my only beef with Davey

mick said...

Gonat.... lololo

ehay2k said...

Hmm.. not sure what to do. Not even midnight and the game is already OVER?!? bedtime, I guess. G'night all, and GYFNG!

Gonat said...

mick said...
djinfl makes a great point about Flores /Suzuki sharing time and keeping them both fresh. Davey needs to do this with Lombo.

Like you find out with a player like Stammen who wasn't a great starter however he's becoming a really good reliever is like what you have in Flores who isn't cut out to be a 5 or 6 day a week catcher but is an effective backup.

If he has a problem with that role then this will not be the right team for him.

Gonat said...

The Barves sites are in their Legion of Doom & Gloom.

JaneB said...

I think if the Braves fans stood by their guys more, and didn't spew venom in their direction, they might do a little better. But secretly I'm glad they don't, and they are.

How great ti see Ian get another dinger tonight. And Stras -- awesome. ANd Flores! Sweet!

Which kinda sounds like "sweep." As in, "Let's sweep" and be 8 games up.

Drew said...

Don't look now, but the Braves are not a shoo-in for a wild card berth. They're up three games on the Dodgers and the Cardinals in the loss column.

Gonat said...

It took Desi 3 rehab starts vs. the Mets to get into ambush form when it was really needed against the Barves. Nice to see him continuing his hot pre-All Star form.

sjm308 said...

Like I mentioned in an earlier post today and also when we signed Suzuki, this is a win/win. Flores has played much better with the rest and Suzuki showed our lads that we were serious about winning NOW.

Had to turn off the tv in the 9th with two men on and let Charlie & Dave bring it home for me up in my baseball card room. Reminded me of days with the Chief except that we are now playing for the NL East title.

Hoping tomorrow for a nice easy 7-1 sweep. I realize we have the next day off but I would love to get Stammen one more day off. Seems to me that Storen is getting better which can't come at a better time.

Go Nats!! Go Playoffs!!

zregime said...

We are this good, my brothers and sisters...we are this good.

Typing a little shaky as the wife and I went to meet our son for his 30th b-day at Growlers. He's a great kid and I'm so proud of him...engaged to an OH girl. Yeah my boie...my wife of 30 years is an OH girl. OH girls rule.

And then I come home and see our Natties have won again.

Listen, y'all: I feel like a whole buncha you are skeered about some coming collapse or sumpin'. Ree-dick-you-luss.

Would y'all just have some faith for a little bit?

I rode the '80 US Winter Oly Hockey Team. Bad times turned to good times, Look what happened thereafter.

The Washington Nationals are gomma bring us outta our current malaise. I'm serious.

Happy b-day Chris, mr son. and...


mick said...

Gonat.. Lombo as I said is a young BJ Surhoff, i hope he is here a long time

Gonat said...

Billy Beane has taken their young 2nd baseman Jemile Weeks and sent him to AAA. He was a star in the making last year and now is in a sophomore slump.

Davey turned Espi around without having to send him to AAA and Espi is once again on the top of his game.

Section 222 said...

Oh man was that fun. Great atmosphere at the park. Huge crowd, even with the rain delay. Wonder if all the radio chat jerks will comment on that tomorrow. Hey, I guess DC is a baseball town after all.

Strasburg really delivered. That 3 strikeout 5th inning reminded me of his debut. The crowd was totally into it.

I love that they pitched to Flores with 1B open, out of respect for Strasburg no doubt. And Flores made them pay for dissing him. They just can't win. The Braves have to be wondering what hit them. And did everyone notice that we won even though the fans did wave in the 8th? Wow, this team must really be good.

This was a great way to start off my vacation. I'll miss all of my imaginary friends here, but will be following along from afar. Cheers everyone!

waddu eye no said...

Had to turn off the tv in the 9th with two men on and let Charlie & Dave bring it home for me up in my baseball card room
Reminded me of days with the Chief

That brings back great memories of AM radio on the deck before i sprung for satellite for the second season. Hearing the game end with "take me out."
Wish they'd bring that song back.

I think this seasons memories will have those beat hands down


mick said...

waddu and sjm... your posts bring back memories of Ron Menchine along with Shelby Whitfield... WWDC AM back in 1969..

I know heaven is a baseball diamond, lol!

mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mick said...

tell you guys what... I love to the Nats bring back Chicago's 25-6 to 4 as their theme music, like it was in 1968 for the Senators. that music is still so cool!! man I'm tearing up right now

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

The late Ron Menchine, R.I.P.

SonnyG10 said...

Well, I got soaked at the park tonight, but it was worth it. Series win in the bank and going for the sweep tomorrow. Seven games up on the Barves and I love it.

mick said...


and he is somewhere on that baseball diamond.

MicheleS said...

WOOOOO HOOOOOOO! Just got home! That was a great game!

Now let's step on the Barves throats tomorrow!


peric said...

I love to the Nats bring back Chicago's 25-6 to 4 as their theme music, like it was in 1968 for the Senators. that music is still so cool!! man I'm tearing up right now

You mean MASN ... that was the lede for the Senators TV broadcasts on WTOP/WUSA.

peric said...

I hope they sweep ... because the wider the gap the more Davey will be able to rest guys and see if he can acquire some new bullpen arms like Garcia and H-Rod. Need to try 'em before he decides on the playoff roster.

Holden Baroque said...

Got wet, mostly from some drunk running away from security (FAIL, they got him), but a pretty good crowd for a Tuesday.

Section 222 said...

Repeat after me: "H-Rod and Garcia have zero chance to be on the playoff roster." If there's an extra spot on the roster created by the need for only four starters, it will be taken by a bench guy. With off days during the playoffs, the bullpen will be well rested.

Extra bullpen help will be welcome in September, but the guys we have there now are the only ones who will be there in October.

whatsanattau said...

So no wild card game. With best record, they would open on the road in round one with final 3 in DC as needed. So possibly first playoff game at home on oct 9th. May need to be a nationals holiday.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a charter bus going to Philly Saturday for the Nats vs Philly game? Philly fans have it so easy to get here, but not the case for us.

Unknown said...

Ah, Shelby Whitfield and Ron Menchine ... those were the days.

Like it was yesterday: "The Washington Senators are on the air" and the intro had this kind of "cha-chata-cha-chata cha" ..... with Shelby Whitfield .... "cha-chata-chata-cha" ..... and Ron Menchine .... "cha-chata-chata-chat" and now, live from RFK Stadium, here is Shelby Whitfield!

I remember hearing that even when it was raining or the weather was bad, (rot in Hell) Bob Short wouldn't let them report it lest some poor schmuck on the highway would turn around and go home.

Box seats in '69 were $4.50, reserved $3.50--I still have my tickets--(about $29 and $19 respectively). How does that stack up against today's prices? I live in Idaho and the only game I went to I was in the press box.

I also remember that they were the highest priced tickets in the majors.

Farid @ Idaho

Joe Seamhead said...

I got home from the park a little while ago, quickly scanned through the game threads, and then this one. After last night's game they said the Braves were shaking their heads. Well, they must be hanging their heads tonight, but don't discount them entirely. They are still a good team.
Davey Johnson seems to just keep pushing all the right buttons. He decided a long time ago that Danny Espinosa was his 2nd baseman. He hasn't wavered on that decision. Lombo did great in Desi's absence, but he is the utility player.Period. Lombo will get some playing time, but Desi & Espy will get the lion's share.
As to Jesus Flores, like most everybody, I was very, very happy for him tonight. Suzuki is the starting catcher. Get used to it.
Johnson is playing the team chemistry thing to near perfection
I didn't hear any chop action tonight.Good grief, I despise that crap.
Back to the park tonight. Must sleep!

Section 222 said...

Agreed Joe. It was a blessed bonus tonight that the chop theme was never heard. I guess that comes from a wire to wire win with only a few tough innings. Fantastic.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Anyone else remember how excited we (or at least most of us) were last season around this time (and extending into September) when the Nats were trying to climb back to .500 ball and striving to finish 3rd in the division?

baseballswami said...

I know I am going to sound like a broken record ( if you know what that means, you are officially old), but we have got to get Lombo into games more. Bryce seems to do a little better with days off - perfect time to put Lombo in the game. We need his bat. GYFNG!!!!! I guess rain delays have actually become lucky for us. Either that or it was the preying mantis.

natsfan1a said...

zregime, congrats to your son. OH guys are pretty cool, too. I married one. :-)

Eugene, yes, I remember how excited I was at the game when they went over .500. Then came watching the postgame show on a team store monitor and - what the heck? Was a shocker then but worked out very well for us, so thanks, Jim. ;-)

fast eddie said...

Agree on Lombo as super-utility guy.
TyMo needs more playing time. Davey should think about resting Harper vs. soft-throwing lefties. We can't have him getting frustrated and losing confidence. As of now, he's the only starter not hitting (except catcher, which is fine as long as they're throwing out occasional runners).

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

And did everyone notice that we won even though the fans did wave in the 8th?

There seems to be something about Sean Burnett that brings on the wave. Watching on TV, it was distracting to me to watch the people in the Presidents Club right behind the plate jumping up seemingly at random to participate in it. So I would have to imagine it's distracting to the pitcher too. Whether that had anything to do with Burnett plunking Bourn I don't know, but it took that to stop the freaking wave and get the fans back into the game. Fortunately Burnett got out of the jam unscathed.

If that wave was started by that amped-up idiot Nat Packer Terrance, he should be shot. Merely firing him would be too humane.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

.My tidbits.

Speaking of Ron Minchein. Dan Daniels the orginal vocie of the second Senators from 1962-1968 died last week at the age of 92.

Brye harper when we play against lefties with a lot of junk (Maholn) needs the day off and Lombo bat second. (Placing Morse in right and Werth in left).

Does anyone know of any bus tour going to Philly Saturday (asked before, but not answered).

Flores plays better afte a few days rest for sure. He was worn down.

natsfan1a said...

I remembered seeing something about this on Nats Insider. Just did an online search and found the NI post that I've cut and pasted below. Sounds like the trip was almost full then, but maybe that person can direct you to other options. I'm a Luddite but I believe that the address given is for the Tweeter. :-)

Begin NI post quote:

A group of us started planning a trip back in December. In January we put down a deposit for two blocks of tickets for the Saturday August 25th game. We have with a few tickets remaining. We also have coordinated with Ballpark Bus to provide transportation for that game (from Arlington directly to CBP).

We originally wanted to get group tickets for the Sunday day game, as that would make it an easy day trip for everyone. However, weekend day games are nearly impossible to get group tickets for - and I called the first day that the ticket office was selling group tickets. There are lots of tickets available on StubHub for the Sunday game, but it would be extremely difficult for a group to sit together for the 8/26 game.

That said, if you're interested in joining us for the 8/25 game, please let me know. I need to make the final payment in a little over a week. If you want to wait and make a decision later, that's fine - you can still take Ballpark Bus even if you aren't sitting with the group.

July 12, 2012 1:11 PM

End NI post quote.

natsfan1a said...

And, after another quick search, I believe that this is likely the Ballpark Bus trip that was mentioned in the post I quoted above.

natsfan1a said...

Addendum, I believe that would be for the bus trip only, without game tickets, but you'd have to ask the Ballpark Bus folks about that (not affiliated with them and have never taken the bus).

Anonymous said...

So nice to see Desmond back in his groove after his DL.

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