Archive for the ‘ryan zimmerman’ Category
Saturday, May 18th, 2013
Chad Tracy’s pinch hit 10th inning home run negated three Washington errors and a rare blown save from Rafael Soriano as the Nationals went on to defeat the Padres in San Diego to salvage a 6-5 win. The Tracy blast came off of Padres’ reliever Huston Street, negating a San Diego 9th inning rally.
This was a game highlighted by unsteady starting pitching (Gio Gonzalez struggled through his first two innings), fielding errors (Washington committed three), and a sudden back-of-the-bullpen collapse — Rafael Soriano gave up three straight singles to allow San Diego to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
But the Washington victory was also highlighted by the long ball: Washington hit four home runs — two by a suddenly revived Adam LaRoche (which gives him seven on the season), one from Ryan Zimmerman (his second of the season, in the 6th inning), in addition to Tracy’s game winner.
“Any time you win a ballgame you feel great,” Tracy said following the victory. “But when you do something to win it in that fashion, especially after they came back and had the guy on third with less than two outs in the ninth, I think everybody was a little bit more fired up.”
The Tracy home run in the top of the 10th might have gotten Washington the win, but even in the bottom of the frame, reliever Drew Storen had to battle back from two straight singles to strike out Chris Denorfia and induce a ground ball from San Diego’s Everth Cabrera to notch the victory.
“It was a big strikeout getting Denorfia,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said of Storen’s 10th inning performance. “That was huge. He threw a great breaking ball. It had bite to it. It was good for a couple of guys. We got Storen back and Tracy.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Nationals’ fans have to be pleased with their teams performance so far; despite an end-of-April swoon and two of three losses in Los Angeles, Washington’s two wins in San Diego have put them at four games over .500 and just half-a-game behind the Braves . . .
That said, Washington’s weaknesses have been exposed: a surprisingly shaky defense and a lack of offense. If it wasn’t for Washington snappy starting pitching (they are second in the league in ERA, just behind St. Louis), Washington would be worse than mediocre . . .
Some of this is a result of injuries; Ryan Zimmerman is only now getting his swing back after a longish stint on the D.L. and Jayson Werth continues to nurse a sore hamstring. And then there’s Danny Espinosa. The Nats’ second sacker has cut down on his strikeouts this year (he led the league, at more than one a game in 2012), but he’s hitting just .172 . . .
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Ace righty Jordan Zimmermann pitched 7.2 innings and notched his MLB league leading seventh win and third sacker Ryan Zimmerman drove in three Washington runs, as the Nationals topped the Dodgers in L.A., 6-2.
Zimmermann showed why he’s the ace of the staff and, as of now, the leading candidate for the N.L. Cy Young Award. While Zimmermann scattered nine hits, he was able to cut through the tough Los Angeles line-up, registering five strikeouts without walking a hitter.
“He just kept attacking the zone,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said after the D.C. victory “He was getting himself in good counts and it’s a good way to pitch, ahead in the count. He did a great job tonight of that.” As always, the key to Zimmermann’s success was his ability to throw strikes: 67 of them in a 101 pitching outing.
Washington’s league leading 7-1 fireballer was aided by a Washington parade that banged out ten hits, including a Ryan Zimmerman double in the 3rd that drove in two. “I’m starting to get back into the groove now. I’m starting to feel better at the plate,” Zimmerman said in his post-game comments.
The big news of the game was the 5th inning collision that Bryce Harper had with the Dodger Stadium wall in right field. Harper was tracking a ball off the bat of A.J. Ellis and collided with the wall, cutting his chin and slamming his shoulder. Harper walked from the field, but needed eleven stitches to close the gash on his face.
Sunday, May 5th, 2013
To hear the experts on “Baseball Tonight” talk about it (Rick Sutcliffe, Nomar Garciaparra et. al.), you’d think that Washington starter Stephen Strasburg struggled through Saturday’s start in Pittsburgh (in which the Nationals rallied to notch a 5-4 victory), and was lucky to get out the game alive.
But that’s not the way that Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson saw it: “I thought he was throwing well. The way he started the ballgame, he was going after them, making good pitches,” Johnson said after the Nationals’ win. “He made a couple of mistakes, right on the heart of the plate. You can’t do that. He held us in there and did a good job.”
True enough, Washington’s celebrated ace “made a couple of mistakes” (a home run to Starling Marte in the 3rd, and to Clint Barmes in the 5th), but he also threw 65 strikes and lasted seven innings — long enough so that Ryan Zimmerman could lead a double steal and score on a Tyler Moore sacrifice fly in the 9th inning to clinch the Nationals’ one run victory.
The Nationals’ win was a just-hang-in-there, grind-it-out kind of triumph. coming after a disheartening so-so start to the season. It was exactly what the team needed. The Nationals fell behind early, rallied to tie it at four apiece, then literally stole the game in the 9th, when Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche engineered a heads-up double steal that took the Pittsburgh defense by surprise.
Then, with Zimmerman on third and LaRoche on second, Tyler Moore short-stroked a fly ball to Pirate Travis Snider, which brought the winning run home. Moore’s hit was a vindication for the young slugger, who’d struck out twice in his previous at bats, leaving the bases jammed both times. “Just to come through at the end was huge. I battled it out for the team,” Moore said of his 9th inning heroic.
Tyler Clippard picked up his second win of the season by pitching a scoreless eighth inning, while Rafael Soriano was credited with his 10th save. The Nationals banged out only six hits in the win, leaving an astonishing 21 runners on base. Still, a victory is a victory: “Well, we got a few more guys on base,” Davey Johnson said in the clubhouse afterwards. “We didn’t get many in — but it’s a start.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The big news of the day (outside of the win) was a team meeting that Davey Johnson had prior to the game. “So, just trying to clear the air, make it simpler,” was the way Johnson later described the confab. “Let’s keep having fun. We are here to do things that we are capable of doing. It was that kind of a meeting . . .”
The Johnson meeting had an immediate impact, as did his decision to take some batting practice with the players before the game. He took about 40 swings, but the lesson wasn’t lost on his team — nor were his comments afterwards: “I wanted to see if it was that hard to hit a baseball,” he joked . . .
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
One day after a much needed bounce-back 10-3 win against the Marlins on Monday, the Nationals suffered yet another team meltdown, dropping an 8-2 game against the Marlins in Miami. The loss puts the Nats at 8-6 for the season, 4.5 games behind the surging Atlanta Braves in the N.L. East.
This was the team’s fourth loss in five games and was punctuated by what has ailed the team over the early going: an unneeded and puzzling error from Ryan Zimmerman at third base (his fourth in the last five games) and a poor outing from starter Dan Haren.
While Haren was cruising along through three innings, Miami hurler Alex Sanabia was quieting Washington’s hitters. Then, in the 4th inning, Ryan Zimmerman allowed Marlins’ veteran Placido Polanco to reach first when he threw wide of the bag on a gimme grounder — and the floodgates opened. The Marlins put up four runs in that frame.
The Zimmerman error might have been just another glitch in a tough contest, but it seemed to unnerve Haren, who proceeded to give up singles to Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano — and a home run to all-field-no-hit rookie Adeiny Hechavarria. “I’m searching right now. I’m searching for answers,” Haren said following the loss. “I’m trying in between starts, and I’ve got to get better. I do. I feel worse about it than anybody.”
But Haren isn’t the only one looking for answers. The Nationals are befuddled by Zimmerman’s wide throws, particularly considering the former Gold Glove regularly makes the most difficult plays look easy. “Nobody’s more frustrated than me,” Zimmerman said of his error. “Danny’s rolling along and throwing the ball well, and I’ve got to get the ball and throw it. I feel like I throw it fine, so it’s frustrating for me.”
The Nats might have salvaged the game after the 4th inning, but in the 5th the Marlins piled in. Haren gave up three singles and then, working with one out, walked in a run. Davey Johnson had seen enough and ended Haren’s night. But Justin Ruggiano doubled off of reliever Craig Stammen and suddenly the Marlins were up by seven.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Colorado Rockies are the surprise team of the National League, at least so far. The Rockies — projected to finish well behind Los Angeles, San Francisco and Arizona in the N.L West (and maybe even behind the Friars) — notched a double header win against the Mets in chilly Denver, bringing them to 10-4 on the season . . .
Yesterday’s twin bill killing of the New York Mets came after eight inches of snow was removed from the field, with both teams playing in frigid mid-30s weather. The Rockies won the first game 8-4, then won the second on Jordan Pacheco’s walk-off single with two outs in the 10th . . .
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
The Washington Nationals needed this. After being swept by the Atlanta Braves, the Nats started their away series in Miami with a 10-3 shellacking of the Marlins. But it was Jordan Zimmermann who turned in the performance of the night. The Ace of Auburndale threw a six hit, six strikeout complete game for his third win of the season.
That’s the kind of pitcher I want to be,” Zimmermann said after the victory. “I want to be a workhorse and someone that can eat up innings and stay out there as long as possible.” This was Zimmermann’s first nine inning complete game, and he looked untouchable. He threw 103 pitches, 70 of them for strikes.
The Nationals’ rebound included plenty of run support for the team’s young righty: Ian Desmond led the way with four hits and Ryan Zimmerman finally got on track, going 2-5 with four RBIs and a home run. Subbing for Adam LaRoche at first base, Tyler Moore notched three RBIs including an over-the-head third inning double.
Davey Johnson denied that the team needed a lift, telling reporters after the victory that Atlanta’s weekend sweep in Washington didn’t mean the team had panicked. “We don’t live in the past. We don’t worry too much about things,” Johnson said. “We take it one day at a time, and this was a perfect example.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Tyler Moore kills southpaws, which is why a lot of scouts had him pegged as a platoon player. But it’s going to be increasingly hard as this year goes on to keep him on the bench, no matter who’s on the mound facing the Nationals . . .
The question is, where do you put him? It’s only a matter of time before Adam LaRoche gets on track and what’s-his-name is in left field. But he’s hit 31 home runs in the last two seasons off the bench and he’s now 26 — in his prime. Davey Johnson is aware of the problem, telling reporters during Spring Training that his challenge would be getting ABs for Steve Lombardozzi — and Moore . . .
Sunday, April 14th, 2013
The Washington Nationals are a good baseball team, and perhaps even a great baseball team. They are 7-4, have swept two separate series (including an interleague series against the White Sox), play well at home (where they are 6-2), and are in second place in the National League East.
But so far in this young season the Nationals have failed to win the big games against their toughest competition. They were outscored by the Redlegs (27-10), and their bullpen has collapsed again and again — most recently on Friday, in a game they should have won against the Braves — and their star third baseman has made a number of unforced errors, calling into question the health of his shoulder.
“We need to do better,” Tyler Clippard said of the pen after Friday’s late inning 6-4 loss. But stating the obvious isn’t likely to quiet the fears that the bullpen is righty heavy — that the Nationals are missing a key left hander who could make a difference. “The Nationals miss Sean Burnett,” Mitch Williams said on MLB Network on Saturday. “They need another lefty out of the pen.”
The one counter-argument is that today, in their 3-1 loss to the Braves, a great bullpen would not have made the difference. Even with Stephen Strasburg on the mound, the Nationals couldn’t get a bead on Braves’ starter Tim Hudson, who gave up just four hits in suffocating a suddenly anemic Nats’ offense.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Today’s game might seem to point the way: Ryan Zimmerman committed another throwing error, reliever Ryan Mattheus gave up an unnecessary insurance run to Atlanta in the top of the 9th — and the Nationals couldn’t score when they needed to.
Glass-half-empty fans will say (and have been saying) that it’s time for the Nationals to start solving their problems: it’s time to begin the long transition of shifting Ryan Zimmerman to first, it’s time to go out and trade for a lefty out of the pen — and it’s time to make some tough but necessary decisions on relievers (like Henry Rodriguez) who aren’t producing.
But glass-half-full fans will look at the season and decide what Davey Johnson has decided: it’s way too early to worry. “We’re gonna be fine,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said in the wake of today’s loss. His team seems to agree. Adam LaRoche dismissed concerns about Zimmerman’s shoulder (“He’s one of the best defenders out there”), and Johnson shrugs when asked about his pen, saying that Friday’s loss was his fault.
Then too, there’s this. Tim Hudson is a savvy and solid pitcher, as he proved today. Stephen Strasburg pitched well, the Zimmerman error was not the difference in the game, Rodriguez looked good — and the best bullpen in the world couldn’t have and wouldn’t have won that game. The Nats didn’t throw away today’s game, the Braves won it. And the difference was Tim Hudson.
“He doesn’t throw quite as hard as he used to, but he knows how to pitch,” Zimmerman said of the Atlanta righty. “You don’t do what he’s done in this game for as long as he has without having a really good idea of what to do out there . . . . he’s one of the best guys out there, and he usually does well against us. Like I said, if you don’t get him early, it’s tough.”
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Here’s the message from last night’s game: don’t piss off Ryan Zimmerman. After White Sox pitcher Dylan Axelrod intentionally walked Bryce Harper in the 4th inning (preferring to pitch to Zimmerman), the clearly irritated Washington third sacker stroked a line drive down the right field line, scoring two and putting Washington in the lead.
The Nats went on to win the third game of their three game set against the Comiskeys, 7-4. The victory marked a sweep of their interleague series with the South Siders and was the first sweep notched by the Nationals this year.
Zimmerman went 2-3 on the night, accounting for two RBIs. “Well, I think Harper is hot. You are just rolling the dice either way. You just take your chance and he got him,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said of the move.
Washington righty Dan Haren started the game and didn’t pitch well, but he pitched well enough to win. Haren gave up ten hits and three runs to the Chicagoans, but he came up with his first win in pitching five innings. It was a step forward for Washington’s new fifth starter, who had been hit hard in his first outing.
“I took a few steps forward,” Haren said of his performance after Washington’s victory. “I think I threw the ball better than the line score would dictate. The conditions weren’t great out there. The most important thing is we won the game. Obviously, I was a little better than last time.”
In addition to Zimmerman, Washington’s attack was led by Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper, who each had two hits. Zimmerman and Harper accounted for four of Washington’s seven runs. While Haren was struggling through his five innings, the Nats were teeing off on Axelrod, who was knocked out in the fourth after giving up seven hits and six runs.
In addition to victimizing White Sox pitchers for ten hits, the Nationals turned in their best bullpen performance of the year. Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano held Chicago hitters to a single run and three hits in four innings of work. Soriano notched his fifth save.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines:
If you attend a Nationals game, drive home and then just noodle around doing nothing — well, you never know what you’re going to miss. Last night, at about 12:10 am Washington time, MLB network tuned into the Los Angeles-San Diego tilt at Petco, and what a scene it was . . .
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Carlos Quentin came to the plate for the Friars and, on a 3-2 count, was hit in the left arm by a Zack Greinke fastball. Quentin dropped his bat, then hesitated — but it appeared that Greinke said something to him (“take it,” is how we read it) and Quentin charged the mound. It’s really worth watching, and here’s the video . . .