Posts Tagged ‘Adam Wainwright’

Nats Boot The Ball, Drop St. Louis Series Opener

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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In his post game press conferences, Nationals skipper Matt Williams sometimes appears as a barely controlled caldera — like Yellowstone, he seems always on the verge of exploding, particularly after a loss. So it was on Thursday night, after his Washington Nationals dropped a sloppily played error-filled game to the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-0.

The loss led to a short post game team meeting, at which Williams spoke — but he said the message he conveyed would not be made public. “That’s for me and my team.” he said. “I seem very upset? I’m just not answering that question. That’s for me and my team, and nobody else’s business. Regarding the game, it was probably the worst one we played.”

Williams had plenty to be upset about. The first play of the game featured a booted ball by shortstop Ian Desmond, which was followed by starter Taylor Jordan’s inability to dig a squiggler off the bat of Kolten Wong out of his glove. The play was scored as a single, but it was an error — and suddenly the Cardinals, with the fans still filing into the ballpark, were threatening.

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That’s twenty errors in Washington’s first sixteen games, and this from a team whose manager prizes defense. “The first ball of the game, you boot it, that doesn’t set the tone,” Desmond said of his performance. “If I ever want to be the captain of this team — and I do — I’m going to have to be better than that.”

St. Louis, meanwhile, played flawlessly behind the two hit pitching of righty Adam Wainwright. Wainwright kept the Nationals off the bases and off the board, depending on an attack from Matt Holliday (2-3 with two RBIs), Matt Adams (1-4 with three RBIs) and Jhonny Peralta (who was 2-5).

We’ll keep grinding away at it,” Williams said. “We will go out there tomorrow and we’ll certainly take a full [batting practice], full grounders. It is scheduled to be extra work for the pitchers tomorrow. It’s part of the schedule. … We do it all the time. What to make of [the bad defense]? I don’t know.”

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: There was an odd semi-takedown of MASN broadcasters Bob Carpenter and F.P Santangelo on the Sporting News website last week. Headlined “Nationals broadcasters let cliches, homerism get in the way . . .” the article purported to show how amateurish and boorish the two are . . .

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Nats Take The Miami Series, Head Home

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

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The hobbled Washington Nationals escaped Miami with a 6-3 win on Wednesday night, taking two games of three from their division rivals. The Nationals were powered by sloppy Marlins fielding, a three run home run off of Miami starter Jose Fernandez by Jayson Werth in the top of the 6th (which tied the game at 3) and a pinch hit home run from rookie Zach Walters.

The errors from Miami and the two Nats home runs were the difference in the game, besting Miami ace Fernandez. In the 6th, the usually sure-handed Jerrod Saltalamacchia allowed Jose Lobaton to scamper to third on a throwing error and the Miami catcher then dropped a pop foul off the bat of Anthony Rendon.

“We’re in a funk out there, for whatever reason,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said after the loss. “We just have got to keep throwing these guys out there and get them going. Another pinch-hit home run. Stuff like that just can’t happen late in the game. We’ve given up a lot of big hits late in the game. Those are crushers. We’ve got to find a way to make an adjustment.”

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The Nationals were shut down by Fernandez, who owns a snappy 2.66 ERA on the season — and who only gave up a four hits in seven innings last night. “He’s an animal,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Fernandez. “He’s one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.”

The Nationals’ runs in the 6th inning were all unearned, leaving Fernandez the victim of his teammates poor play. After the Fernandez departure, the Nationals put three runs on the board off of two Miami relievers: Mike Dunn and A.J. Ramos.

After being swept in Atlanta, the Nationals needed the Miami salvage operation, and they got it. The team put up nine runs on sixteen hits in the first game of the series, and last night were able to get a solid starting performance from righty Tanner Roark, who pitched into the 7th inning while notching five strikeouts.

Roark was at his best in the 5th, when he ended a Miami rally that had Marcell Ozuna on third with one out. Roark struck out Giancarlo Stanton and Garrett Jones flied out to left to end the threat. “It was a big momentum swing,” said Roark of his clutch pitching. “I felt like we had a good weight off our shoulders and my shoulders as well.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: No one likes to hear this, but it’s true. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the standard of success in the American League is the New York Yankees; it’s impossible to read anything about baseball without reading about them. But that’s also true for the St. Louis Cardinals, the N.L. version of the Bombers. For good reason . . .

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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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Punchless Nats Fall In New York

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Nationals fell to Dillon Gee and the New York Mets, 2-0 in New York — dropping two of three games in their series against their division rivals. The Nationals, a strong defensive team in 2012, committed three errors.

But the loss is most likely to be remembered for a Jayson Werth at bat in the 8th inning. Werth came to the plate with two on and nobody out, and the Mets pressing for the win. But Werth squandered the scoring opportunity, hitting into a double play on a 3-0 count.

The Nationals might have looked forward to facing Gee in their final New York weekend contest, particularly since the New York righty had been ineffective in the early going. But Gee pitched his best game of the year, giving up just three hits while striking out six in 5.2 innings of work.

“I’m just happy to finally contribute to a win,” a clearly happy Gee said following the game. “That’s the truth — we needed to step it up. It’s been really eating away at me the past few weeks, not going out there and doing my job.”

Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann was not as effective as he was during his prior outing, when he pitched a complete game, but he gave his team a chance to win. Zimmermann pitched five complete, giving up just two hits and two runs. The big blow for New York came off the bat of John Buck, who stroked his 7th home run of the year in the second inning.

Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson was clearly irritated by the loss, and particularly by Jayson Werth’s swing on the 3-0 count in the 8th. It was the best chance the Nationals had of putting runs on the board. Johnson refused to comment on Werth’s at bat.

But while Johnson remained silent on the incident, Jayson Werth did not: “Looking back, I was trying to do too much, I was trying to win the game right there,” he said following the loss. “The situation got the best of me. It was probably one of the dumber things I’ve done on the field in a while.”

The Nationals return home today to begin a three game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, and hope to gain retribution for last year’s playoff loss. The Nationals will then face the Cincinnati Reds in a four game contest — a stretch of seven tough games against some of their strongest N.L. competition.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nationals and Cardinals are evenly matched. Both teams are 10-8 and both teams are having problems with their bullpen. Last night in Philadelphia, St. Louis got six-plus strong innings from starter Jake Westbrook before reliever Mitchell Boggs gave up four runs in the eighth . . .

The Cardinals don’t have the pitching the Nationals do (at least not on paper) but while their starting five is older it is also savvy. The likely end of Chris Carpenter’s career has vaulted Adam Wainwright into the first slot in the St. Louis rotation and he’s a gamer. Just two weeks ago he threw a complete game four hitter in Milwaukee . . .

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Bring On The Redbirds

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

The Nationals will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS starting on Sunday, the result of the Redbirds’ 6-3 win over the Braves on Friday night in Atlanta. The Braves lost the game on three errors and a controversial infield fly rule call, but were also victimized by timely St. Louis hitting.

The loss marked the end of an otherwise successful season for the 94-68 Braves, and the final game for third sacker Chipper Jones, who now heads to the baseball Hall of Fame. “I know one thing is for sure, you won’t be able to say that Braves fans don’t care,” Jones said after the loss. “They came out in full force tonight, 50,000 strong. We love each and every one of them.”

The controversy over the calling of the infield fly rule came in the 8th inning, when St. Louis shortstop Peter Kozma appeared to settle under a pop fly behind shortstop off the bat of Andrelton Simmons. The left field line umpire signaled that the infield fly rule was in effect, but perhaps too late, and Kozma failed to catch the fly: with the batter out in any event.

Fredi Gonzalez, the Atlanta manager, protested the call — and vehemently. But the ruling on the field was upheld, and Simmons was ruled out. “I was under it,” Kozma later said. “I should have made the play. I took my eyes off it. I was camped under it.”

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Nats Still Grasping For Elusive Flag

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.”

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Gio Gets His 17th, Nats Blast The Cards

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Gio Gonzalez showed on Friday why he’s in the running for the National League Cy Young Award. Washington’s young lefty threw his second complete game of the year, and the first shutout in his career, blanking the Cardinals 10-0 through nine complete and walking off the mound with his 17th win of the 2012 campaign.

Gio was backed by a barrage from Nationals batters, who stroked twelve hits with nearly everyone in the line-up contributing. Jayson Werth, who continues to deal a hot hand, was 3-3 on the night (he’s now batting .316 on the year), from the lead off position. Ryan Zimmerman was 2-5 with a home run, with Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche and Zim hitting in two runs apiece.

“We got things going pretty early,” Harper said after the win. “That was the biggest thing; we scored runs early and let Gio go out there and pitch.” Gonzalez gave up only five hits to the Cardinals, who have scored a single unearned run so far in their trip to Nationals Park.

The Cards, fighting for a spot in the post-season and attempting to catch Cincinnati in the N.L. Central (it’s almost over: they trail the Reds by 9.5), were stunned by the loss. “We face good pitching all season long,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “This shouldn’t happen to us one day, let alone four. These guys are embarrassed right now. We’re all embarrassed. That’s not the team we are.”

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