Archive for the ‘atlanta braves’ Category
Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee threw eight complete innings of five hit baseball and held the Nationals to just two runs, and the Phillies came away with an easy 4-2 victory over Washington at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Lee’s victory was his ninth of the year against just two losses.
“Lee came right after us and threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. I mean, he came right after us — really hard stuff,” Nat’s skipper Davey Johnson said. “He cut the fastball a little bit . . . You have to tip your cap to Mr. Lee. He pitched one heck of a game.”
Lee’s performance overawed that turned in by Washington’s own lefty, Ross Detwiler, who turned in a six inning seven hit performance. The big bats for Philadelphia were Michael Young (who was 3-4), and second sacker Kevin Frandsen, who rapped two RBIs, both of them on a game deciding single in the bottom of the sixth.
The Nationals remain upbeat about their prospects this season, but are asked after every win and loss when they will start to play consistently. Wednesday night was no different, particularly given the fact that the Atlanta Braves dropped two games to the New York Mets in Atlanta.
“We need to get on a roll,” right fielder Jayson Werth acknowledged after Tuesday’s loss. “You got to have start rallies, winning streaks. Usually, that’s how you create an identity. That’s how you mash together, that’s where chemistry comes from.”
Sunday, June 16th, 2013
Anthony Rendon’s top of the 9th inning home run provided the Washington Nationals with a late inning come-from behind 7-6 victory over the Indians in Cleveland on Saturday night. It was Rendon’s first major league homer, and followed an eighth inning pinch hit home run from Chad Tracy that tied the game at six.
“I don’t even know how to explain it. It felt good, I guess.” Rendon said after the Nationals’ victory. “I thought the ball was in play because I saw it drop. But I didn’t know it went into the bullpen. I thought it was still on the field.”
The Washington victory followed a Friday night disappointment, where the Nationals were only able to produce two hits. Last night Washington’s bats came alive, sparked by five home runs: from Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Tracy and Rendon.
The Nationals needed the win, particularly since starter Jordan Zimmermann had a tough time against Cleveland’s hitters, who victimized the power righty with six earned runs in just five innings. What was even more unusual was that Zimmermann failed to hold an early 5-0 Washington lead.
“I felt terrible all night. Everything I threw was up in the zone. I wasn’t getting ahead of guys. I was 1-0, 2-0,” Zimmermann said of his outing. “Obviously, I had to come with the fastball then. Even when I didn’t come with the fastball, it was up in the zone. When those guys give me five runs, I’ve got to be able to lock it down and get us the win.”
As has happened lately, Washington’s bullpen stepped in to give the Nats’ hitters a chance to win the game. Craig Stammen, Ian Krol, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano provided four innings of one hit, no run baseball, with Soriano picking up his eighteenth save.
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
The Ooohs and Ahhhs you hear in the background are coming to you all the way from Los Angeles, where Dodger fans finally have something to cheer about. Or, rather, someone to cheer for. His name is Yasiel Puig (it’s pronounced “pwig”) and he’s the next big thing for the Trolleys, who remain in last place (and adrift) in the National League West.
Puig, a sensation in Cuba, was signed by the Dodgers to a seven year $42 million contract last June; everyone scoffed. He didn’t appear on anyone’s list of top prospects and large numbers of senior scouts were skeptical that he could hit major league pitching. He was great in Cuba? So what.
“The question around baseball is how the Dodgers could justify awarding such a lavish contract to a player who scouts considered more of a solid than a spectacular prospect,” Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote after the signing. Badler then quoted a top scout as calling the Dodger decision “crazy.”
But Puig has silenced the critics since being called up seven days ago. Puig arrived with the team in time for a face-off against the Padres, where his throw from deep right doubled up the Padres’ Chris Denorfia, and helped preserve a 2-1 Los Angeles win. Puig was 2-4 in the game.
The next day he was even better. He led off and went 3-4 with five RBIs. “I’ve played a long time, but I don’t think I’ve seen a guy have a first two games that he’s had,” Dodger veteran Jerry Hairston commented after the 9-7 Dodger victory. “Arm strength, speed, power to all fields. This is fun to watch.”
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
The Washington Nationals fell one game under .500 for the season after dropping a 6-3 decision to their division rivals, the Atlanta Braves. A combination of poor relief pitching and a (by now) predictable lack of hitting proved the be the Nats’ undoing.
The loss put the Nats’ 6.5 games behind the Braves in the National League East and was their third loss in their last four games. “We deserve to be where we’re at right now,” Nat’s first sacker Adam LaRoche said after the loss. “We’ve played like crap.”
As with most of their recent losses, the Nationals allowed their opponents to rally in the middle innings after a solid outing from their starting pitcher. Rookie Nathan Karns threw well enough through 4.2 innings, though he gave up home runs to Ramiro Pena and the struggling B.J. Upton.
But Atlanta pulled away from Washington in the 6th, when Zach Duke walked the lead-off and second batter. Duke looked like he might wiggle out of trouble after a nifty glove play by Ryan Zimmerman, but after intentionally walking Justin Upton, he gave up a double to Freddie Freeman.
After the loss, Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said that the offense could get a lift after the return of rehabbing Jayson Werth, who should be with the team on Tuesday for the start of their series against the Mets. But Johnson knows that getting Werth back is only a part of the solution.
Saturday, June 1st, 2013
Washington starter Stephen Strasburg didn’t make it into the third inning in Atlanta on Friday night, complaining of a strained right oblique, but Craig Stammen came on to pitch four perfect innings, and the Nationals downed the Braves, 3-2.
The Strasburg injury is not thought to be serious and does not involve his elbow or shoulder. “It’s something where, the last few starts, I’d feel it warming up and I’d go out there and wouldn’t feel anything,” he said following the game. “Tonight it was more the reverse. I started to feel it a little more.”
The Nationals bullpen responded to the challenge by holding their division rivals to two hits and a single run in seven innings, with Stammen leading the way. Stammen was followed by Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, with Rafael Soriano coming on in the bottom of the 9th to notch his fifteenth save.
“He went out there and gave them four strong innings, mowed right through us, and we just weren’t able to get to him,” Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said of Stammen following the Atlanta loss. “But we got into the bullpen, so maybe that will help us out in the next two games.”
The Nationals swatted nine hits against the Braves, but the big contributor was center fielder Denard Span, whose two triples led the way. In both cases Span was able to score, the result of sacrifice flies from Steve Lombardozzi. Span was 3-4 on the night with Lombardozzi contributing two RBIs.
“It’s real big to get to third with no outs. It increases our chances of scoring runs,” said Span, who continues to be among Washington’s steadiest producers at the plate. “Lombo did a good job hitting behind me and getting me in and getting us on the board.”
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
“It was a tough night, tough night,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Johnson said of Washington’s disappointing 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Johnson’s words reflected not simply the team’s latest inability to score runs, but a rash of in-game injuries — to lefty starter Ross Detwiler (who left with back tightness after the third inning) and catcher Wilson Ramos, who reinjured his hamstring and left the game in the top of the 4th inning.
Wednesday night’s loss to the Dodgers left the Nationals at just two games over .500, and allowed Los Angeles to take the three game series. The problem for Washington (aside from the two injuries) continued to be the team’s inability to drive in runs: the Nats’ stroked nine hits in Wednesday’s loss, but left 16 runners on base.
For L.A., the big story of the night was the return of Zack Greinke, who took the mound after more than four weeks on the disabled list. Greinke pitched five complete innings in notching his second win on the season. “I thought my stuff was pretty good,” he said after the victory. “My stamina needs to grow a little bit, but that could be next start.”
While there’s no doubt that Greinke pitched well, the Nationals had several opportunities to knock him out of the game — but were unable to capitalize. Before leaving the game, Wilson Ramos got on base in both of his at-bats, but was left stranded his teammates. The only Washington score in the early going (and all night) came in a home run off the bat of Adam LaRoche, his fourth of the season.
The only piece of good news for the Nationals was the continued brilliant relief pitching of Craig Stammen who came in after Detwiler left the game and kept the Dodgers scoreless in three innings of work. Stammen has been the best pitcher in the Washington bullpen and lowered his ERA to 2.25 on the year.
The best chance to win the game for the Nationals came in the 8th inning, when the Nationals had runners on first and third with nobody out but weren’t able to push across a run. “We had the right guys up there,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if we are trying to do too much instead of just hitting the ball and putting it in play. I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: It’s amazing but true — after losing two of three in L.A. (and after struggling at the plate), Washington is still only one game behind the Atlanta Braves in the surprisingly uncompetitive N.L East . . .
The reason? The Braves have a deplorable road record, going only 7-13 on their two ten game road trips this year. The losses have been keenly felt in Atlanta, particularly after the early 12-1 start. The Braves have only won ten of their last 27 games, and are 11-15 against teams better than .500 . . .
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Jordan Zimmermann allowed seven hits over just seven innings to notch his league leading sixth win of the season, and Bryce Harper hit his tenth home run of the year, as Washington downed a potent Detroit team 3-1 at Nationals Park On Wednesday night.
Zimmermann was spectacular. “Jordan is fun to watch. He attacks guys. I think this year, he’s just smarter, more mature,” Tyler Clippard said of the Nats’ ace following the victory. “This year, more than any other year, he is throwing a lot more breaking balls for strikes.”
Zimmermann entered the game having pitched 17 shutout innings in his previous two starts, putting himself into the top ten in every major N.L. pitching category. The only time the Tigers were able to put together good at-bats against him was in the 3rd inning, when Torii Hunter doubled and Miguel Cabrera singled him home.
Nationals’ hitters, meanwhile, pumped out three runs against Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez. Denard Span tripled off of Sanchez and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper in the bottom of the 3rd, Adam LaRoche scored in the 4th on a throwing error from Torii Hunter and Bryce Harper slammed a 427 foot home run to complete the scoring in the 5th.
Tyler Clippard came on in relief in the 8th inning and recorded his fifth hold, while closer Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth and recorded his 11th save. Washington has won three consecutive games and is now 18-15 on the year. The Nationals trail the Atlanta Braves, who won decisively in Cincinnati, by just two games in the National League East.
The Wisdom of Section 129 The PNC Seats: This was a rare opportunity, and a kind of betrayal. The CFG crew (here we are, in case you’ve forgotten) abandoned our regulars in Section 129 for a chance to sit in the PNC seats and “eat for free” — as it were. So we expected to be surrounded by Nationals fans. We should have known better . . .
The Tigers travel well, as was much in evidence at Nationals Park last night, and they were there in force in the PNC section. Tigers’ fans packed the third base boxes and were sprinkled throughout the ballpark, with Miguel Cabrera jerseys (#24) as much in evidence as Bryce Harper’s . . .