Archive for the ‘Jesus Flores’ Category

L.A. Answers Nats 8th Inning Rally

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

An improbable and heroic comeback from the hometown nine — a six run 8th inning that tied the game at six apiece — was undone in the 9th inning by a Matt Kemp home run off of Nationals’ reliever Tyler Clippard, and the Los Angeles Dodgers took the second game of a doubleheader at Nationals Park, 7-6.

The loss kept the Nationals from clinching a playoff spot, but brought the crowd at the Half Street stadium to their feet to cheer their team on in one of the more exciting rallies of the season. The comeback followed two three run sets scored off of Nationals starter John Lannan in the third and the fourth innings. But, as it turned out, the rally fell short of providing a needed victory.

The six run eighth inning started with a Michael Morse home run, followed by an Ian Desmond single. Steve Lombardozzi followed, with his third home run of the season, and suddenly the Nationals were back in the game, having cut L.A.’s lead in half.

After Jesus Flores grounded out and Corey Brown reached on an error by first sacker Adrian Gonzalez, L.A. manager Don Mattingly did what he should have done to start the inning — he pulled starter Josh Beckett, who had tamed the Nationals through seven complete.

But the Nationals had only begun their rally. With reliever Randy Choate on the mound, pinch hitter Mark DeRosa singled, pushing Brown to third. Bryce Harper then followed, with the fifth hit of the inning, plating the inning’s fourth run. Danny Espinosa then came to the plate, singled — and suddenly the bases were loaded.

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Nats Bomb Chicago, 11-5

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The Nationals, who struggled with their hitting through April and May, have had little difficulty scoring runs lately. Their powerful offense was on full display on Tuesday night, as the team stroked out 19 hits, including a record six homes runs, and went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs, 11-5.

Almost everyone in Washington’s line-up had a hit: Adam LaRoche was 4-4 (and hit two home runs, his 26th and 27th), lead off hitter Jayson Werth was 4-5 (and scored twice), and Ian Desmond, Jesus Flores, Tyler Moore and Ryan Zimmerman each went long against Chicago’s hapless staff.

“We know we are capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark,” shortstop Ian Desmond, who hit his 20th home run of the season, said after the victory. “It’s good to see the guys barreling the ball up as a unit. We played well today — offensively and defensively.”

The Washington barrage came against seven Cubs’ pitchers, and backed starter Edwin Jackson, who won his ninth game against nine losses. Jackson pitched well early, but began to tire in the 6th, and was pulled for Christian Garcia, who joined the team after spending the season in Syracuse. Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Mattheus and Michael Gonzalez closed out the game.

“The most important thing is, we come up with a win,” Jackson said of his outing. “I just have to do a better job in the late innings with two outs and be more aggressive, like I was earlier in the game. I can’t allow myself to get away from that aggressiveness and [let the other team] put up late runs like that.”

The Nationals have now taken two in a row from the Cubs, and will face them again on Wednesday night at Nationals Park. Coupled with Atlanta’s loss to Colorado, the Nationals now sit 7.5 games ahead of the Braves in the N.L. East.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: No team in baseball has been as surprising as the Baltimore Orioles, who now are tied with the Yankees for first place the tough A.L. East. Baltimore’s success is the result of the deft wheeling and dealing of baseball magician Dan Duquette, and the on field wizardry of manager Buck Showalter . . .

But actually, that statement doesn’t do justice to the play of the Eutaw Street Nine who, come to think of it, shouldn’t be winning at all. The Orioles are 9th in hitting in the American League, and seventh in pitching. What gives? The answer is that the O’s have played their best baseball against their A.L. East competitors. They are 30-21 against the Yanks, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays . . .

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Nats Can’t Hold Cards, 10-9

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Jordan Zimmermann had his worst day as a starting pitcher, and a barrage of hits and runs from Nationals’ batters could not save the D.C. Nine from a loss, as the Nationals went down to defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, 10-9.

Saturday’s loss was unusual for the home towners. The usually steady Jordan Zimmermann, trying to bounce back from two early poor outings, was inconsistent — and the usually lights out and even brilliant back of the bullpen of Sean Burnett and Drew Storen handed the Cardinals the win.

Saturday’s loss was a slugfest from nearly the very first pitch. Aided by two St. Louis errors, the Nationals scored four runs in the first inning, then tacked on two runs in each of the next two frames: leading Nats’ fans to hope that this game would result in another “laugher” over the reeling Cardinals, who’d scored only one unearned run in each of the last two Nats’ wins.

But St. Louis matched Washington’s output, fighting back with eight runs, including four in the fourth inning to take an 8-6 lead. The Cardinals early game rally came against a struggling Jordan Zimmermann, who gave up eight hits and eight earned runs on the day. This was the third straight shaky outing for Washington’s young righty.

“I left a few balls over the middle,” Zimmermann said after the loss. “They hit a couple of home runs. I tried to throw a back-foot slider and I let it up a little bit and it was a double [to Carpenter] and that sums up my day.” But the contest was decided long after Zimmermann’s departure.

In the top of the 9th, reliever Drew Storen gave up a single to Allen Craig, who then easily took second on a stolen base. Storen was so slow to the plate that it looked almost as if the Nationals had decided to let him take the base. David Freese then singled to score Craig, one the league’s slower runners. That was the difference in the game.

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Edwin K’s The Cards

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Edwin Jackson pitched his best game as a starter for the Washington Nationals on Thursday — an eight inning gem that brought out the best in a team that had recently suffered a five game losing streak. The final 8-1 result reestablished the Nationals as the team to beat in the National League East, in which the D.C. Nine have maintained a 5.5 game lead on the Atlanta Braves

Jackson was brilliant. He held the Redbirds to four hits, while striking out ten and walking two. Jackson had “electric stuff,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said after the win. “It’s just a matter of throwing strikes,” Jackson confirmed. “I really don’t pitch to strikeouts. I really don’t know how many strikeouts I have until someone tells me after the game. I just pitch and try to go as deep in the game as can.”

Jackson’s gem was accompanied by a thirteen hit performance from his teammates, which included home runs by Bryce Harper (that’s three in two games) and Jayson Werth. Harper’s line drive home run into the Nats’ bullpen in the first inning gave the Nats’ a lead they would never relinquish.

The Nationals barrage highlighted the team’s ability to put runs on the board when they need to. In Thursday’s game, their latest victim was Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia, who gave up nine hits and six earned runs in just 5.1 innings. Michael Morse (3-4), Ian Desmond (2-4) and Jesus Flores (2-4) also had big nights for the hometowners.

The home crowd of some 23,000-plus was thrilled to see Bryce Harper continue his revival at the plate. And Harper was also pleased. “It felt pretty good,” Harper said of his first inning blast. “I think having Werth hit in front of me just gets me going and he sets the tone. It just calms me down and he lets me go up there and just swing it.”

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Nationals Swept In Philly, 4-1

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

We sometimes forget: for all of their problems, the Philadelphia Phillies still have a very fine pitching staff — and one that, on any given day, can beat the opposition senseless. That was the case on Sunday, as the much maligned Cliff Lee showed that he’s still one of the premier arms in the game. Flashing his old stuff, Lee pitched the Phillies to a 4-1 win at Citizens Bank Park.

Lee came into the game with a 2-7 record, and left it 3-7, a symbol of how poorly his own hitters have performed when he’s on the mound — something that Jordan Zimmermann can himself attest to.

The savvy southpaw dominated the Nationals for seven innings, allowing the home towners seven hits and holding them to a single run. Lee’s teammates, meanwhile, feasted off of Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, who gave up five hits and three earned runs in just five innings.

Zimmermann did not look good in his Sunday performance, throwing 97 pitches, 54 of them for strikes. But Philadelphia hit him hard, and were able to capitalize on a number of unexpected bounces. The “Ace of Auburndale” is now 9-8 in the 2012 campaign.

As usual, Washington’s nemesis was Jimmy Rollins, who took Zimmermann deep in the 5th inning with a two run home run. But the Rollins’ knock, important as it was, had been preceded by a Cliff Lee double, which soared over the head of center fielder Bryce Harper. Lee’s double gave Philadelphia its first run. Those three fifth inning runs put the Nationals behind to stay.

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Strasburg, Flores Hand The Braves Another Defeat

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Stephen Strasburg struck out ten and Jesus Flores hit a three run home run to lead the Washington Nationals to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. The victory put the Nationals up by seven games against their N.L. East rivals.

Strasburg was dominating in his outing: in addition to the ten strikeouts, he threw six complete innings while giving up only four hits. “He was on with everything, fastball, and he threw some change ups that had almost split-finger-type, forkball type action on it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the loss. “He was good. He was difficult to try and square up.”

The big blow of the game came in the fifth inning, when Washington catcher Jesus Flores put a Paul Maholm offering off the railing in left field. The home run, Flores’ fourth of the year, came with Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond on base. “I knew going in that Flores hits [Maholm] pretty good,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said. “I think he had two home runs in six at-bats and was hitting .500.”

Strasburg pitched despite a 51 minute rain delay after 2.2 innings. Davey Johnson said that if the delay had reached a full hour that Strasburg would have come out of the game. The delay seemed to have little impact on Strasburg, however, who picked up where he left off against Atlanta hitters.

“He was throwing the heck out of the ball,” Johnson said in recounting his decision to leave Strasburg in the game. “He had the luxury of being able to throw a couple of times in our batting cage, so I felt like he was still pretty hot.”

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Assessing The Suzuki Swap

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

It now seems obvious that the Nationals have been looking for a catcher from the moment that Wilson Ramos went on the disabled list — while hoping, the whole time, that Jesus Flores would make that search unnecessary. But on Saturday, Nationals’ G.M. Mike Rizzo traded catching prospect David Freitas to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki, making it clear that Flores would be his back-up.

The swap elicited a community wide ho-hum from the usual national baseball gurus, but it was big news in Oakland, where Suzuki was a fan favorite and once deemed a crucial part of the A’s future. Oakland G.M. Billy Beane signed Suzuki to a five year contract worth $16.25 million back in 2010 — an unusual, if not unheard of, splurge for the small market White Elephants.

“Trade Shocks Kurt Suzuki, A’s Teammates,” was the headline of the San Francisco Chronicle article that gave details of the Suzuki swap. “The move shook the clubhouse, left the team without its longest-tenured player and turned Derek Norris into the No. 1 catcher,” the article intoned, and then went on to imply that not everyone in green was pleased.

“Kurt took me under his wing when I got here,” A’s righty fastball artist Jarrod Parker told the Chronicle, “like the other young (pitchers) without much experience, and made my transition easier. I attribute the success I’ve had to him. It sucks, but it’s the nature of the beast.”

Pitcher Brett Anderson was also circumspect, describing Suzuki as “an integral part of our team on and off the field, especially for a guy like me who throws a lot of balls in the dirt. We’ve got ‘Ninja’ back there. He’s the most agile catcher I’ve ever seen.” Beane apparently knew the move would be controversial but defended it by implying that Suzuki needed a change of scene. “I think this will be good for Kurt,” Beane said. “He gets a chance to play every day.”

The “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for you” explanation is standard practice for raising children, but it doesn’t wash in baseball. What Billy Beane means is that having paid Suzuki for performing as a backstop that everyone believed would be at the heart of the Oakland franchise for years to come, he became disenchanted with Suzuki’s performance at the plate.

There’s nothing worse than someone who heads to the bank and then fails to produce.

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