Archive for the ‘milwaukee brewers’ Category
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
If Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park proved anything, it’s that the book on righty ace Stephen Strasburg is fast becoming . . . well, the book on Stephen Strasburg.
Cruising along with two outs in the 5th inning (and pitching better than he had all season), Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error on a routine grounder seemed to unhinge Strasburg, who proceeded to give up four runs — and the Cubs went on to defeat the Nationals 8-2 at Nationals Park.
It’s hard to know what to worry about most: Ryan Zimmerman’s nagging inability to make an accurate throw to first, or Strasburg’s inability to roll with the punches. Nats’ manager Davey Johnson, it seems, has made up his mind. Anyone can make an error, he said after the Saturday loss, but it’s up to the pitcher to put it behind him and keep throwing strikes.
“It was unfortunate,” a puzzled Johnson said after the loss, “That inning he threw 40 pitches? It’s hard to explain. He’s throwing good. Good stuff. Hitting his spots. And then just seemed to — when we needed him to pick us up, he kind of — the air went out.”
Johnson wasn’t the only one who was befuddled. The stadium was deathly quiet as Strasburg seemed to suddenly struggle against himself: after Wellington Castillo reached on Zimmerman’s error, Strasburg walked Darwin Barney, gave up a double to pitcher Edwin Jackson, walked David DeJesus — then gave up successive singles to Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
If it had not been for a poor base running decision by Rizzo, it appeared that Strasburg would be lifted. “Just a bad throw,” Zimmerman said of his error. “It’s frustrating. Stevie’s throwing the ball well and has a heck of a game going and that obviously changed the momentum a little bit.”
Saturday, April 20th, 2013
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something happens to convince you you haven’t. That was true last night in Milwaukee, when Brewers’ shortstop Jean Segura stole second twice — er, didn’t. It happened in the 8th inning at Miller Park in a tilt pitting the Brewers against the long-suffering Cubs: and just as I was nodding off.
With the score at 5-4, Segura led off the bottom half of the 8th inning with a single and then, in a close play, stole second. With Segura on second, Ryan Braun walked. So: first and second — nobody out. But Segura wasn’t done. Having taken the measure of Cubs reliever Shawn Camp, he tried to steal third.
Camp was reading his mind, stepped off the rubber and threw to third base ahead of him. Segura might have been caught in a rundown, but he went back to second. Here’s the problem: when he showed up at second, there was Ryan Braun, who had taken the base when Segura took off for third. Cubs shortstop Luis Valbuena tagged both runners — and, by rule, the umpire called out Braun because he was the trailing runner.
This is where it gets good. Segura thought he’d been called out, so he trotted toward the home dugout. When he realized, too late, that he could still be on second, he scampered into first base (which is weird, but legal). In the next at bat he tried to steal second (again), but this time he was caught. So: Segura stole second, and then was caught stealing second, in the same inning.
Simple dimple, right? Segura was called out in his second attempt to steal second. But what if he’d been called safe (now would be a good time for you all old enough to remember to start humming the theme from “The Twilight Zone“) instead of out?
If that had actually happened, Jean Segura would be the only baseball player in major league history (so far as I can tell) to successfully steal the same base twice in the same inning. Honest, I was rooting for him.
Confused? Here’s the video.
The umpires claimed that they got the ruling right: “Bizarre,” veteran umpire crew chief Tom Hallion said. “Technically, he stole second, stole first, then got thrown out stealing second.”
Friday, April 5th, 2013
The Washington Nationals swept the three game inaugural series against the Miami Marlins on Thursday, 6-1, behind the pitching of Jordan Zimmermann and the hitting of Jayson Werth. Washington’s quiet ace gave up eight hits, but threw six complete in sealing the rout: the Marlins scored only a single run in the three game set.
While not as dominating as either Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez in their first outings of the new season, Zimmermann was able to stay out of trouble long enough to allow his teammates to feast off of Miami pitching.”I felt good. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Zimmermann said after the win. “It’s one of those days where I had to battle and make the pitches when I needed a ground ball.”
The shape of Washington’s 2013 offense is now becoming clear: New Nat Denard Span is regularly finding himself on first base, Ryan Zimmerman was 3-3 in the contest, Jayson Werth powered a home run in the bottom of the 7th and Bryce Harper continued his torrid assault on N.L. pitching — he was 2-4 yesterday and is hitting .500.
Washington manager Davey Johnson said it was only a matter of time before Werth matched his Spring Training pace — when he was “seeing the ball” really well. “Today, it feels like the first real day of the season,” Werth said in a postgame interview. “I started feeling a little bit better today — batting practice. As the game went on, I felt like I had my rhythm. It showed up toward the end.”
The best news of the day might have been the dominance of reliever Henry Rodriguez, whose struggles last year raised the hackles of Nats fans. Rodriguez was credited with a hold after pitching a three-up-and-three-down 7th inning, which included a strike out of uber power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, who was buckled by a wicked slider.
Washington’s sweep of Miami puts them alone atop the N.L. East, as the team heads to Cincinnati — where the Redlegs have won two of three against he feared Los Angeles Angels. The Reds, who are predicted to be competitors (with Atlanta) of the Nationals for the top spot in the National League, tamed the Angles in a 5-4 win yesterday.
The Wisdom of Section 1-2-9: Everything changes — nothing stays the same. So there was some disappointment when it appeared that most of the regulars of 1-2-9 from last season were not in attendance on Thursday. Which did not stop the newbies from following the section’s tradition of thinking out loud about the Nationals.
“It’s great to see [Denard] Span out there in centerfield,” one of them said in the second inning. “So you can check that off your list. We finally have a leadoff hitter.” But by far the best comments came from a lifelong Brewers fan, in town to celebrate his daughter’s wedding. It was his first time at Nationals Park. “This is a complete team,” he said of the Nationals. “Out in Milwaukee, we’re headed in the opposite direction.”
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
The Nationals improved their record to 93-60 with a decisive 12-2 pounding of the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park on Monday afternoon. Jordan Zimmermann provided the decisive spark on the mound, picking up his 12th win against eight losses, while Ryan Zimmerman contributed his 24th home run to go along with four RBIs.
The loss was a setback for the hopes of the Brewers, perhaps fatal to their playoff hopes. The Brewers are now 3.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the last Wild Card spot. The Brewers have just nine games to play. Under normal circumstances, a 2-2 road split with the Nationals would look good, but with the Wild Card in play, it doesn’t.
After an inconsistent month of outings, Jordan Zimmermann has returned to form, pitching beautifully in his last four starts. Yesterday he gave up just four hits in 6.2 innings while striking out seven. “I was throwing the fastball and getting ahead, and when I do that, I feel like I can control the game and do what I want, when I want, and I was able to do that,” Zimmermann said.
While the Nationals pounded out fourteen hits, they were helped in the field by the same “sun monster” that had victimized them on Monday. A routine fly ball off the bat of Jayson Werth in the fourth inning was lost in the sun and could not be caught by center fielder Carlos Gomez, who let it drop for a two run double. The sun field is now becoming notorious in Nationals Park.
Monday, September 24th, 2012
The Nationals magic number to win the National League East flag remains at six games. Winning that flag, and decisively, has thus far eluded the Nats; and while no one on the team says they’re worried, the hunt for the East flag suffered its most recent setback on Sunday, when the suddenly up-and-down D.C. Nine fell to the red hot Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park, 6-2.
The loss puts the Nationals still within easy striking distance of cinching the top spot in the N.L. East, but the Atlanta Braves are not out of the race yet and are a mere 4 1/2 games behind the Nats. The Nationals are at 92-60, the Braves are at 88-65. And no one is taking anything for granted.
The Brewers, who have won 25 of their last 32 games, are now only only 2.5 games behind St. Louis for the last spot in the Wild Card standings, and with just ten games to play. If the Brewers are to win that spot, with their playoff hopes surprisingly alive after an otherwise disappointing season, they will undoubtedly do it with hitting, as they did on Sunday.
Milwaukee stroked 15 hits against an array of Washington pitching on Sunday, putting together a three run seventh inning that included an infield single and a double. But Milwaukee also benefited from a brutal Nationals’ Park sun field: with both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth unable to make routine catches on soaring fly balls because of the sun’s glare.
The lost-in-the-sun flies weren’t the difference in the game, but they added to the sense of frustration among the D.C. Nine, who struggled for mastery of the Brewers throughout the contest, played in front of an expectant crowd of 33,000-plus. The Nats’ play was less than stellar. “Just one of those days, I guess,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said.
“You can’t catch what you can’t see. There is nothing you can do about it.” Harper said of the mishaps. “The sun monster got me. There is nothing you can do.” The problem for Washington was that its hitters were not able to put together a rally against Milwaukee’s pitching. “There wasn’t much offense,” Davey Johnson said after the loss. “We gave them a few runs. It’s tough to win.”
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
This was Gio Gonzalez’s day: the Nationals’ lefty won his 20th game of the season, the first time that has been done by anyone in franchise history since southpaw Ross Grimsley did it for the Expos back in 1978. ‘It doesn’t feel like a 20th win for myself. It feels like a 20th win for the team,” Gonzalez said of his victory. ”This is a childhood dream, but at the same time, to do it with a team that’s in first place makes it that much better.”
Gonzalez was brilliant in his outing, throwing seven innings of three hit baseball, while striking out five and walking only one. The Brewers couldn’t touch him, scoring their only runs off of Washington reliever Christian Garcia. Gonzalez’s season strikeout total now stands at 202: the most since Washington hurler Walter Johnson had 313 in 1910.
The Gonzalez win was not much in doubt past the fourth inning, when Washington put six runs on the board, after putting three runs on the board in the third. In all, Washington demolished Milwaukee’s pitching: with home runs from Ryan Zimmerman (his 23rd), Ian Desmond (his 24th) and Adam LaRoche (his 32nd).
It’s worth focusing on Adam LaRoche, who was 3-4 with two RBIs on the day. The Washington first sacker ought to be considered in any discussion for league MVP. “LaBomb” has nine home runs in September, and has eclipsed any mention of Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, whose Pirates have been sliding, for the award.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Edwin Jackson’s eight inning gem, backed by a two run home run from Adam LaRoche, gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead going into the 9th inning, but closer Tyler Clippard couldn’t hold the lead and the surging Milwaukee Brewers walked away from Nationals Park on Friday night with a 4-2 win.
The loss left Nationals fans clamoring for a change in the back of the bullpen, particularly given Atlanta’s 6-2 loss in Philadelphia. This was righthander Clippard’s fifth blown save of the season, and followed on an outing in which he gave up a home run in the ninth inning to Dodger slugger Matt Kemp.
Nats’ manager Davey Johnson defended his closer, pointing out that if Brewer Norichika Aoki had not gotten a bunt down to start the ninth, the game would have been different. “He’ll be fine,” Johnson said of Clippard following the game. “That one just got away. One battle. He’s been awfully good.”
“The play of the ninth inning was Aoki’s bunt,” Johnson said. “The bunt was the key, because the guy can run, he’s going to be on second base. That was the whole inning, really. ” The Brewers followed Aoki’s surprising play with a Rickie Weeks fly to center (which pushed Aoki to third) and a Ryan Braun single — which scored him.
The Brewers then took the lead when Braun stole second, and Aramis Ramirez doubled to score him. After Jonathan Lucroy lined out, a Travis Ishikawa infield grounder scored Ramirez. That gave the Brewers four runs, and the 4-2 lead. That is all they would need to seal the 4-2 victory.