Archive for the ‘san diego padres’ 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 . . .
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Stephen Strasburg had his best outing of the year, throwing eight complete innings of three hit baseball, and the Washington Nationals won their first of a four game series in San Diego, 6-2.
Not only did Strasburg look unhittable, he pitched around difficulties that previously derailed him. In the fifth inning, with the bases loaded and one out (and after a throwing error by third sacker Ryan Zimmerman), Strasburg induced a ground out and then struck out Will Venable to hold San Diego to a single run.
The San Diego native pitched in front of a large number of friends and relatives — which seemed to spur him on. “It’s just another place for me, to be honest,” he told the press following the victory. “That’s my hometown, I’m an Aztec. I look forward to pitching any place in the big leagues. Now, it’s a dream come true.”
Strasburg’s win was only his second on the year, but he looked better than he has since Opening Day. Strasburg threw 117 pitches, 68 of them for strikes. This was the first time that Strasburg had pitched into the 8th inning in his MLB career.
“I thought he pitched a heck of a ballgame,” Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said. “It was the first time he’s ever gone eight innings. It was a good homecoming for him. I liked it. I didn’t think he was as sharp as he usually is, but it was a good ballgame. It was nice to see some offense coming up to give him some run support.”
The Nationals punched out seven hits, but their scoring came on home runs from first sacker Adam LaRoche and the returning Bryce Harper — who hit his eleventh in the 7th inning. Harper’s shot was a monster: the ball traveled 431 feet to straight centerfield off of reliever Tyson Ross.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nats’ win came came against righthander Edinson Volquez, who has struggled on the mound this year. San Diego swapped Matt Latos to the Cincinnati Reds in December of 2011 for Volquez, who is 3-4 with a 5.55 ERA so far this year . . .
San Diego had high hopes for Volquez, but the Dominican fireballer has turned into more of an innings eater than an ace. He was 11-11 last year for the Padres in 182 innings. His best outing this year came at the end of April against Milwaukee, when he showed flashes of what he could be — throwing seven innings of five hit ball . . .
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Dan Haren notched his fourth win, the home towners sprayed nine hits and the Washington bullpen held the Tigers scoreless in three relief innings, as the Nationals swept the two game Detroit mini-series by a score of 5-4 on Thursday.
While the Tigers outhit the Nationals (12-9), Washington was able to put runs on the board early in the game. The Nationals scored three in the first inning and two in the second — and that’s all the team would need to notch its fourth win in a row. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano held the Kalines scoreless when Haren left after six complete.
The victim of the Nationals early run surge was Detroit righty Doug Fister, who entered the game with a snappy 2.48 earned run average. Fister, with Verlander, is considered one of Detroit’s elite shut down pitchers, but he gave up a lead-off double to Denard Span in the 1st and then three successive singles: to Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond.
Fister proved as ineffective in the second, hitting Span and walking Roger Bernadina before giving up two runs, courtesy of singles from (once again) Zimmerman and LaRoche. “It was probably his worst outing of the year,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said of Fister’s performance. “He’s pitched really good for quite a while now. You have to give him credit, he battled.”
Despite Fister’s troubles, the Tigers were able to rally against Haren in the 6th. The veteran righty walked Jhonny Peralta with one out and Omar Infante dropped a surprise bunt single to put two men on with two outs. Pinch hitter Matt Tuiasosopo then stepped to the plate and put a 2-1 Haren offering over the fence in left center.
The Tuiasosopo blast put Detroit back into the game, with a good shot at winning. But the Nationals’ bullpen, an otherwise worrisome unit so far this season, came on to shut down the Tigers. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano each pitched effectively, with Soriano gaining his 12th save of the season.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Doug Fister was 3-12 with the Mariners in 2011 when the Seattle front office decided they’d seen enough. The swapped Fister to Detroit for Francisco Martinez, Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells. It was a steal — Fister went 8-1 the rest of the way, with a breathtaking 1.79 ERA . . .
But while the Fister theft was lopsided, it was (arguably) no more so than San Diego’s decision to trade first base prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs six months later. While it’s a baseball given that you should never give up young pitching, new Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer decided his team needed Rizzo so badly that he was willing to part with uber prospect Andrew Cashner . . .
Friars’ fans will argue that the Rizzo-Cashner trade isn’t even close to being a Fister-like bust. After struggling all of last year, Cashner’s arm has finally come alive and the imposing (6-6, 220 pounds), Texan has regained his command. Exiled to the bullpen, Cashner emerged in only his second start of the season to throw 7.1 effective innings against the Marlins earlier this week . . .
Sunday, April 21st, 2013
Bryce Harper homered in the third inning and then again in the 8th to help the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 victory over the Mets in New York. Harper’s homers salvaged a shaky outing from Washington starter Gio Gonzalez, whose puzzling fourth inning meltdown provided the lefty with an early exit.
It’s one of those things you can’t explain,” Nats’ catcher Kurt Suzuki said of Gonzalez’s fourth inning problems. “He threw some good pitches and started falling behind the count a little bit. The curveball started popping up . . . It happens, you learn from it and move on.”
Gonzalez was nearly unhittable through the first three frames, giving up a lone single to Marlon Byrd in the second. But after two outs in the 4th last year’s contender for the Cy Young allowed ten batters to come to the plate — resulting in five Mets’ runs.
But the Nats struck back in the top of the 5th, when Mets’ reliever Aaron Laffey walked Jayson Werth and gave up a double to Harper. The slumping Adam LaRoche (.191 BA in fourteen games), then came to the plate and launched his third home run of the season, scoring three. When the Mets fought back to tie the game, Harper put the game away with a shot over the right centerfield wall.
“You don’t see a lot of holes in that swing. You have a guy that can go foul ball to foul ball,” LaRoche said of Harper. “He is getting better on the offspeed stuff. He is going to be deadly. He is really good now. I can’t wait to see him in a couple of years.”
The pitching star for the Nationals was Craig Stammen, who came on in relief of Gonzalez and suffocated the New York offense. Stammen threw two complete and struck out five, giving the Nationals the breathing room they needed to recover from New York’s fourth inning onslaught.
The Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann face the Mets on Sunday to decide who takes the New York series, before returning home to take on the Cardinals.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The fallout from Jean Segura’s epic odyssey around the bases on Friday in Milwaukee is sparking debate over whether what the Milwaukee shortstop did in returning to first from second (we wrote about it, yesterday) was within the rules . . .
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 . . .
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.
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
This was Stephen Strasburg’s worst outing as a major league pitcher, and as a front-of-the-rotation “stopper” for the Washington Nationals. The young righty, the ace of the N.L. East’s division leader, was anything but an ace, or a stopper, on Tuesday — giving up five runs on nine hits, with only one strikeout in five innings of work. The Nationals went down to their fifth loss in a row, getting pummeled by the Miami Marlins 9-0.
“They had a little different approach this time, and I didn’t make the adjustment,” Strasburg said after the loss. “I just kept trying to do the same thing.” Nor were their excuses from Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson. “We’ve played really good 90 percent of the year,” he said. “We’re in a rough spot here. That makes the metal hotter. The tougher it gets, the stronger you get, so we’ll be fine.”
That may well be, and we certainly hope it is; but the Nationals are now officially mired in a slump, combining all of the bad habits from the beginning of the 2012 campaign (their inability to hit), with the ones they’ve only recently discovered — giving up key hits to key hitters in key situations.
The Nationals have slumped before and recovered. But this slump comes at a particularly bad time for the team: it has been against division rivals, and is happening at the same time that the Braves are doing their best to close the gap between the two teams. The Braves are in San Diego, and won on Tuesday, 2-0. They now trail the Nationals by just four games.