Archive for the ‘milwaukee brewers’ Category
Monday, September 16th, 2013
Washington catcher Wilson Ramos was 4-4 and drove in five runs, and righty starter Jordan Zimmermann notched his league-leading 18th win of the year, and the Nationals routed the Philadelphia Phillies 11-2 at Nationals Park on Sunday. The win, coupled with a Cincinnati loss in Milwaukee, brought the home towners within 4.5 games of the last Wild Card slot.
While the Nationals pounded out eighteen hits against a hapless Philadelphia pitching staff, Ramos was clearly the star of the show: the Nationals’ backstop singled in the bottom of the 1st (and plated Bryce Harper), singled again in the bottom of the 4th (scoring Harper again), homered to center in the 6th and singled in the 7th to score Zach Walters and Adam LaRoche.
Ramos has been a workhorse for the Nationals, appearing Sunday in his 23rd consecutive game. “He’s been hitting the heck out of the ball, catching good, throwing people out. He’s hard to take out of the lineup,” Washington skipper Davey Johnson said of his 26-year old catcher. “We’ve missed him for two years, so we’re going to ride him.”
But Ramos’ career day did little to overshadow the performance of righty Jordan Zimmermann, who’s been Washington’s staff ace for the 2013 campaign. Zimmermann turned in seven innings complete innings of seven hit baseball while striking out seven in taming the Philadelphia line-up.
“It feels good, but then again, I’ll trade all those wins in for a spot in the playoffs,” Zimmermann said after his victory. “That’s the only thing that matters right now. We’re playing good ball and scoring some runs, so it’s definitely fun.”
It took the Nationals just over three hours to polish off Philadelphia, who sent five pitchers to the mound in an effort to short-circuit Washington’s attack. The Phillies have great hopes for starter Tyler Cloyd, a sleeper pick in the 18th round of the 2008 draft. But the Nats victimized Cloyd with ten hits and five runs in four innings.
“Any time you have a bad outing, no matter how many good ones you have, you’re always disappointed,” Cloyd said after the Phillies’ loss. “Obviously I’m more disappointed that I’m pitching bad and not giving the team a chance to win. I’ve got to figure it out somehow.
While Ramos led the Nationals attack, he had plenty of help. Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond had two hits each (with Span extending his hitting streak to 26 straight games), while Bryce Harper was 3-5 on the day and raised his 2013 batting average to .280. Harper was 6-12 in the Philadelphia series.
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
The coulda-woulda-shoulda Nationals might have won Saturday night’s contest against the Philllies at Nationals Park, if only home ump Jim Joyce had not been so liberal with the strike zone, if only a liner off the bat of Wilson Ramos had been inches further up-the-middle: if only Gio Gonzalez hadn’t lost his command in the fifth inning.
Unfortunately, however, none of that happened: Jim Joyce called strike three on a pitch clearly out of the strike zone, the Wilson Ramos liner was deftly gloved in the bottom of the 9th by slick-leather expert Jimmy Rollins, and Gio Gonzalez gave up four runs in the fifth, as the Nationals were downed by the Phillies at Nationals Park, 5-4.
The Phillies victory ended the Nationals winning streak at seven, giving Washington its 70th loss of the year, a heartbreaker that, when coupled with a Redlegs win in Milwaukee left the home towners 5.5 games back in the race for the last Wild Card slot. There are just fourteen games left to play.
The key for the Phillies was catcher Carlos Ruiz, who was 2-5 on the night with three RBIs. It was a Ruiz double to deep right in the 5th inning (Jayson Werth waved at it as it sailed past), that cleared the bases and gave Gonzalez his seventh loss of the season. A furious rally by the Nationals in the bottom of the 7th, meanwhile, fell a single run short.
“As a pitcher, it is a tough pill to swallow when you want to go out there and do your best, especially for the guys the way they’re swinging the bat,” starter Gonzalez said of his shaky fifth inning. “To give up those runs makes a huge difference. That could have changed the whole game.”
The Washington fifth showed that Philadelphia is still a formidable team: Gonzalez began the top of the inning by striking out left fielder Freddy Galvis, but then gave up a home run to John Mayberry, a long ball specialist with not much to show for his year in terms of BA.
And the inning was downhill from there. Cole Hamels and Cesar Hernandez followed Galvis with successive singles. While Gonzalez responded by inducing a fly out from Jimmy Rollins, Gonzalez loaded the bases by walking Chase Utley. Carlos Ruiz then authored the inning’s coup, hitting a bases clearing double into right field.
Monday, August 12th, 2013
Sunday’s game at Nationals Park provided a model of how to win in the major leagues: superb pitching, timely hitting and seamless defense provided Washington with a 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies and a rare Nationals’ sweep of their three game series.
The game’s hero was the all-but-unhittable Stephen Strasburg, who threw the best game of his career. The imposing 6-4 righty spun a nine inning complete game shutout, striking out ten Phillies and holding the Philadelphia line-up to just four hits.
“Stephen obviously threw a great game,” third sacker Ryan Zimmerman said of Strasburg’s afternoon. “It has been fun to watch him learn, progress as a pitcher. I think he is starting to do some things that he has been proud of. It’s going to be fun to continue to watch him develop.”
Strasburg’s gem was also economical: he threw 99 pitches, 66 of them for strikes and entered the ninth inning to chants from the fans of “let’s go Strasburg.” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel praised the Washington righty, saying that Strasburg’s “breaking ball really set up his fastball in the middle innings until the end of the game. He was good.”
Washington’s bats came alive in the series. The Nationals outscored the Phillies 25-7 over the three game stretch and on Sunday sprayed thirteen hits. Jayson Werth and Steve Lombardozzi were 3-4 on the day, with clutch hits coming in the first inning from Werth and in the fourth inning from Denard Span and Wilson Ramos.
Philadelphia helped the Washington cause in the fifth inning, when Philadelphia catcher Erik Kratz mishandled an infield hit off the bat of Denard Span, allowing Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond to score in a close play at the plate. Washington’s defense, on the other hand, was seamless — with the game ending on a Ryan Zimmerman lunging catch of a hot liner off the bat Kevin Frandsen.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
The Milwaukee Brewers took time out from their otherwise forgettable season on Friday night to pay homage to Robin Yount, one of two of their inductees into the baseball Hall of Fame. It was the 20th anniversary of Yount’s retirement, and he was joined on the field by Milwaukee favorite Henry Aaron and reliever Rollie Fingers.
It was a good interlude, a chance for Brewers’ fans to forget about Ryan Braun, the slugger Milwaukee partisans believed would one day join Yount in Cooperstown: an event that seems unlikely now. Friday, then, was a confirmation of sorts. It is Yount’s legacy that matters in Milwaukee, not Braun’s.
But then, the numbers alone should be proof that it’s Yount that counts, regardless of Braun. For twenty years, the Hall of Fame shortstop (and sometime center fielder), defined baseball for Milwaukee. A lifetime .285 hitter, Yount won two Most Valuable Player awards, accumulated 3142 hits, was a doubles machine and stole 271 bases.
Even more important, particularly if you’re a Brewers’ fan, Yount rooted the game in Milwaukee — a city that had seen the Braves head to Atlanta and only belatedly inherited the crippled Seattle Pilots. The move of the Pilots to Milwaukee was so sudden that the Brewers’ original uniforms were Seattle retreads, with a new Brewers’ logo sewn on.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
Jordan Zimmermann pitched six solid innings allowing just four hits without giving up a run, and Bryce Harper hit his sixteenth round tripper of the year as the Nationals downed the Brewers in Milwaukee, 4-1 on Friday night. The badly needed victory revived hopes that the Nationals could still make a run at the Braves in the N.L. East.
Zimmermann had been searching for his thirteenth win (after five so-so outings) and finally got it on Friday: he threw 100 pitches, 65 of them for strikes, and struck out five Brewers. The Nationals notched twelves hits against Milwaukee pitchers, including solid nights from Harper (2-5), Jayson Werth (who upped his BA to .309), Denard Span (2-4) and Wilson Ramos (also 2-4).
“You always want to do well in your home state in front of all your family and friends,” Zimmermann said following the victory. “I was happy to put up some zeros and get the month of July over with and get a new month.”
Bryce Harper’s outspoken comments on the Nationals after the disastrous Detroit series continued to reverberate in the team’s clubhouse. Harper said that the Nationals needed to play more like a family, as they did in 2012. It seems as if most Nationals’ players agree with him, but it helped that he stepped up himself in the victory at Miller Park.
Friday, August 2nd, 2013
This last Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Mike Wise penned an article that was sure to raise some hackles in the Nats’ clubhouse. Under the headline “Nationals could use a refresher in team dynamics,” Wise opined that the Nats might you might consider the Anacostia Nine a “family,” but only if the term is preceded by the word “dysfunctional.”
Wise baldly stated that the Nats had “mishandled” Drew Storen this season and that, in doing so, we have “a window into a culture of doing business, one the franchise might have to re-think at some point before it goes beyond their clubhouse.”
Wise didn’t exactly say that the Nats’ clubhouse was in chaos, or that the team was fighting with its own front office, but the implication was clearly there. The Wise piece was followed by a Nationals Journal article by Adam Kilgore that opened with the words “simmering resentment” — hardly a description of clubhouse amity.
It impossible for us to pass judgement on Wise or Kilgore’s description of what’s happening inside the Nationals (they’re the beat reporters, we’re hardly), but we’re not entirely convinced that “good clubhouse chemistry” (or, as Wise puts it, good “team dynamics”), is a sophisticated indicator of how a team is doing.
The 1977 New York “Bronx Is Burning” Yankees counter the notion that you have to have “good clubhouse chemistry” to win. Manager Billy Martin and star Reggie Jackson repeatedly clashed, owner George Steinbrenner regularly criticized Martin’s managing skills: and the team went on to win the World Series in six games over the Dodgers.
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Some events demand a blog post, whether you want to write about them or not. Such it is for Ryan Braun, suspended for the rest of the season by major league baseball for violating its drug program. The suspension has been the talk of baseball today, though not always with particularly edifying results.
Among the commentators who seem to make the most sense on the Braun scandal is Jeff Passan, who describes the 2007 MVP and Rookie of the Year as “a liar nonpareil, a serial doper, a raging narcissist” and (above all), a “self preservationist.”
Passan has it right — particularly the part about Braun’s self-preservation, which was most prominently on display yesterday. Even more shocking, at least from our point of view, is that this self-preservation strategy actually seemed to work.
Take, as an example, the nearly universal sentiment expressed by Braun’s teammates, who spent much of the day carefully navigating the shoals of the issue, albeit not particularly intelligently. Jonathan Lucroy, for example, implied that Braun’s critics don’t understand human nature — or at least not as well as he does.
“We all do things we have to learn from,” Lucroy informed his questioners while standing in front of his locker. “We all make mistakes. Every single one of us.” Reliever and sometime starter Tom Gorzelanny agreed: “No one’s perfect,” he told the press.