Archive for the ‘Ross Detwiler’ Category

Nats Notes For Game #3: It’s A Sweep In New York

Friday, April 4th, 2014

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The Washington Nationals swept the opening three game series against the Mets in New York, putting up eight runs on thirteen hits and downing the Gothams 8-2. This is one of those things where the score showed the game to be closer than it really was. This was a romp.

A three game sweep is a terrific start for a long season, even if (once again), the Nationals first inning was a little rough, both on young righty Tanner Roark and on the Nats’ defense. But after the shaky first frame, the team settled down and put on an efficient performance.

And once again Nats relievers went to work: Ross Detwiler pitched two solid innings and Raphael Soriano closed the book. Detwiler may not be happy in his new role as a lefty long reliever, but that didn’t show on Thursday.

In their first starts of the year, super-subs Danny Espinosa and Sandy Leon played well. Espinosa turned a great double play in the 5th and had two quality at-bats; if Anthony Rendon weren’t hitting the cover off the ball (and he is) Espinosa would be making a strong case for being back in the line-up.

And Sandy Leon was steady behind the plate, caught a Lucas Duda popup in foul territory in the 3rd, and scored a run after being walked in the 5th.

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The first series of the season is too small a sample size to come to make any conclusions about the team’s prospects for the rest of the season, but the Nationals have sprung from the gate — and made a strong claim to being the N.L. team to beat.

Nats’ starters gave up runs in the first inning of each of the three games, putting the team in the hole early. But the team in the other dugout was the Mets, so each starter’s job was to hold the Madoff’s close until the offense could get going. And that’s what happened, with Washington starters keeping their pitch counts low. Then too, the team’s first inning woes are probably due to an excess of adrenaline, which is no cause for worry.

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Nats Fall In St. Louis, Eliminated From The Postseason

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

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Carlos Beltran homered and Adam Wainwright subdued Washington’s line-up and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to defeat the Nationals, 4-3 at Busch Stadium. The loss eliminated the Nationals from the post-season: they are six games out of the last Wild Card slot with five games to play.

The key to the St. Louis win was Beltran’s fifth inning home run (his 24th on the year) that scored John Jay, breaking a 2-2 tie and putting the Cardinals ahead 4-2. Washington could only muster a single run the rest of the way. “It doesn’t feel too good,” manager Davey Johnson said of the loss. “We gave it a good fight. We just came up short.

The Nationals put on a run in September, going 16-6 on the month and winning a key day-night double header against the Atlanta Braves on September 17 that vaulted that team back into contention for a playoff spot in the National League. But the Cardinals has always played Washington tough, and that was true on Monday night.

Washington starter Tanner Roark notched his first loss of the season after an impressive 7-0 run, but the Cardinals heavy hitting line-up victimized him for nine hits in just five innings. “I was getting behind hitters a lot,” Roark said after the loss. “When you do that with a good team, they are going to hit your mistakes when you get them back in the count. They are going to battle like they did tonight.”

Washington’s scoring came early, on a home run from Jayson Werth that scored Denard Span and gave the Nationals an early 2-0 lead. St. Louis clawed back, despite an additional run put on the board from the Nationals in the 8th inning: a fielder’s choice on a Ryan Zimmerman grounder the scored Anthony Rendon.

But three runs are rarely enough to defeat the Cardinals, who score just under five runs every game. Then too, Adam Wainwright got stronger on the mound as the game went on: Wainwright’s night ended after the 7th, with five strike outs while scattering five hits. The St. Louis victory was Wainwright’s 18th win on the year.

The Nationals stared into the night after a three-up-three-down ninth inning, stunned that their run for the postseason was over. The clubhouse was reportedly silent after the loss, as the team took stock of its “World Series or bust” season. “You put the uniform on to win, and we didn’t get it done,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “So I feel bad for everybody.”

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Mea Culpa: We take no special pride in getting things right and, like everyone else who writes about baseball, we get plenty wrong. We said at the beginning of the year that the Los Angeles Dodgers were overrated and would tank: that players who finished with an attitude in Boston would bring that same attitude to Los Angeles. Well . . .

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Looking For A Sweep In Milwaukee

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

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The Nationals are determined “not to look at the clock,” as James Wagner said in this morning’s Washington Post, but to take the rest of the season one game at at a time. That sounds like a good idea, particularly for a team that is 11.5 games behind the National League East leading Atlanta Braves.

The Nationals have made a start on the long road back to contention, taking two of three games from the Brewers in Milwaukee, the most recent a snappy 3-0 shutout spun on the arm of up-and-down starter Dan Haren, who got help on home runs launched by Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos.

But it was Haren who was most impressive. The veteran righty gave the Washington Nine his second impressive outing in as many starts, holding the Brewers to just four hits in seven complete innings of work, upping his mediocre in-season won/loss record to 6-11. Haren handcuffed the Brewers, striking out six while walking just two.

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The Nationals sprayed a semi-meager seven hits, but scored their runs on solid at bats from Anthony Rendon (an RBI sacrifice fly in the second), Wilson Ramos (a home run in the top of the 5th), and a slumping Adam LaRoche, who connected for his 15th one inning later.

LaRoche’s round tripper was most welcome, as the first sacker has seen his batting average dip by more than ten points over the last ten games. LaRoche broke through after taking advice from Ian Desmond, who suggested he use Jayson Werth’s bat for his sixth inning at bat.

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Stuck In Neutral: Nats Fall Again To Brewers

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

After high hopes among Washington Nationals fans that their team had finally broken out of their year-long slump at the plate (which has made them the fourth worst offensive team in baseball), a five hit one-run showing in a 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday left many of the hometown faithful believing the team is stuck in neutral.

The loss left the Nationals back at .500 — and suddenly well out of the race for the top spot in the N.L. East. The Nationals were victimized this time by Brewers’ starter Kyle Lohse, a former St. Louis Cardinals’ stalwart (and hardly a pushover), but not a top flight pitcher that a team like Washington couldn’t handle.

The Nationals five hits included a home run from Anthony Rendon, his second of the year, but that wasn’t enough against a suddenly lively Brewers team that has struggled on the mound all season. “It’s putting me in my loony bin,” Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said of Washington’s lack of offense.

Wednesday’s lack of production was particularly frustrating for left fielder Bryce Harper, who was 0-4 after powering two Milwaukee pitches, one of which seemed headed to the bleachers, but was caught at the warning track at Nationals Park. Harper is 1-12 since his return from the disabled list and is struggling in the field — where he dropped his second fly ball in as many games.

The loss was tallied against Washington starter Ross Detwiler, who threw six complete innings while giving up eight hits and striking out three. Craig Stammen and the suddenly invaluable Fernando Abad pitched in relief, holding Milwaukee scoreless while giving up two hits.

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Lee Stifles The Nats

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.”

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Nats Take The Colorado Series

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The Nats won their fourth game in five outings and won their away series in Colorado by taking the third game of the three game set, 5-4. The big hit in the game came off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, whose 8th inning double off of Colorado reliever Matt Belisle scored Roger Bernadina with the go-ahead, and deciding run.

The victory marked the return of lefty starter Ross Detwiler to the Washington rotation, and the youngster picked up where he left off. While throwing only five innings, Detwiler notched two strike outs without a walk. While Colorado put up three runs against him, the Detwiler outing was good news for the Nats, who have been pitching short.

The game was marred by a Rockies-umpire standoff in the 7th inning. With Ian Desmond on second, Colorado’s reliever Wilton Lopez was called for two back-to-back balks — which brought Desmond home. The Rockies sniped at the umpires for the calls, but they stood. Lopez used a rule-breaking “stop-start motion” with his hands.

“Actually, he did it three times. They only called it twice,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said following the victory. “He kept going toward his glove, and then he would stop. They called two out of three. But you can’t be moving toward your glove and stop. It’s an automatic balk.”

That might have been the least of Colorado’s problems. Super-hitter Carlos Gonzalez left the game after he had a foul tip hit off his ankle while he stood in the on-deck circle in the first inning, Dexter Fowler took a Detwiler pitch off his right hand in the third, and Troy Tulowitzki aggravated his sore ribs when he dove for a grounder in the eighth inning.

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The World Series Or . . . Bust

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

It’s the World Series or bust, Davey Johnson told Nats’ fans during Spring Training, and our expectations soared. As well they might: the team had league’s best starting pitching, a potent and potentially powerful line-up of young bats (including Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper), and a young and solid bullpen — with a new closer.

Now (with one-third of the season in the books), the Nats are mired in third place in the National League East, the starting pitching is not what it should be (Stephen Strasburg is on the DL, Ross Detwiler is rehabbing, Dan Haren has been ineffective), Bryce Harper is visiting a specialist to look at his knee and the team’s bullpen is shakey, at best.

Clearly, a kind of turning point has been reached. This morning, the Washington Post weighed in with a front page team assessment, complemented by a Sports section Tracee Hamilton offering that concludes that the team “cant hit, pitch or field with anything approaching consistency.”

All true. But Nats’ fans can at least be thankful that all of this seems to have seeped into the consciousness of Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson, who’ve spent the last week (and more) retooling a punchless offense — and providing a new look to an embarrassingly so-so bullpen.

Hence: Danny Espinosa was sent to the disabled list (and, truth be said, to Triple-A), Anthony Rendon was brought in to play second base, and Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke were sent packing. That’s four big moves (and counting), including a roster-shifting one: it’s not often that a team changes their second baseman in mid-stride.

And then there’s the bullpen. Once upon a time, Davey Johnson said that while he was comfortable with a single lefty out of the pen, he might want to have more. He now has three (and potentially four), and none of them are named Zach Duke, who started the season with confidence that he could get the job done. He couldn’t.

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