Posts Tagged ‘atlanta braves’
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.”
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
It probably never occurred to anyone in Milwaukee that lefty Denny Lemaster’s real name was Denver Clayton Lemaster — or that he would become anything other than the rightful successor to Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, the best pitcher in Braves’ history, and one of the two or three best left handed pitchers in history.
A graduate of California’s pitching class of 1958 that included Dick Ellsworth and Jim Maloney, the Braves thought Lemaster would outshine them both. He certainly had the skills: a zippy and moving fastball, a top-to-bottom hook — and an intuitive grasp of the strike zone.
Lemaster’s command was his most potent weapon, a talent he says that he perfected as a boy from Oxnard who spent his pre-school hours throwing rocks at fence posts. “I got so good at throwing rocks, I could knock a bird out of a tree whenever I wanted to,” he told one reporter.
Lemaster signed a $70,000 bonus with the Braves in ’58 (a heady amount in those days — and, come to think of it, it’s not too shabby now), and arrived in the big leagues in 1962. He looked less than impressive in his first two years in Milwaukee, going 3-4 in ’62, then following that up with a 11-14 record in ’63.
It took awhile for Lemaster to learn his trade, but his early numbers are deceptive. In 1963 he was second in the Braves’ rotation behind Spahn who, even at 42, was among the best pitchers in baseball (he was 23-7 in ’63). Lemaster was the overlooked number two starter and a workhorse, throwing 237 innings and striking out 190.
Lemaster’s best year was 1964, when he was 17-11, but his ERA spiked. His style had changed: he threw harder, with fewer strikeouts, but had nearly as many innings. It was in 1964 that his arm first began to hurt (it was shoulder tendinitis), and he led the league in wild pitches.
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
The Ooohs and Ahhhs you hear in the background are coming to you all the way from Los Angeles, where Dodger fans finally have something to cheer about. Or, rather, someone to cheer for. His name is Yasiel Puig (it’s pronounced “pwig”) and he’s the next big thing for the Trolleys, who remain in last place (and adrift) in the National League West.
Puig, a sensation in Cuba, was signed by the Dodgers to a seven year $42 million contract last June; everyone scoffed. He didn’t appear on anyone’s list of top prospects and large numbers of senior scouts were skeptical that he could hit major league pitching. He was great in Cuba? So what.
“The question around baseball is how the Dodgers could justify awarding such a lavish contract to a player who scouts considered more of a solid than a spectacular prospect,” Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote after the signing. Badler then quoted a top scout as calling the Dodger decision “crazy.”
But Puig has silenced the critics since being called up seven days ago. Puig arrived with the team in time for a face-off against the Padres, where his throw from deep right doubled up the Padres’ Chris Denorfia, and helped preserve a 2-1 Los Angeles win. Puig was 2-4 in the game.
The next day he was even better. He led off and went 3-4 with five RBIs. “I’ve played a long time, but I don’t think I’ve seen a guy have a first two games that he’s had,” Dodger veteran Jerry Hairston commented after the 9-7 Dodger victory. “Arm strength, speed, power to all fields. This is fun to watch.”
Saturday, June 1st, 2013
Washington starter Stephen Strasburg didn’t make it into the third inning in Atlanta on Friday night, complaining of a strained right oblique, but Craig Stammen came on to pitch four perfect innings, and the Nationals downed the Braves, 3-2.
The Strasburg injury is not thought to be serious and does not involve his elbow or shoulder. “It’s something where, the last few starts, I’d feel it warming up and I’d go out there and wouldn’t feel anything,” he said following the game. “Tonight it was more the reverse. I started to feel it a little more.”
The Nationals bullpen responded to the challenge by holding their division rivals to two hits and a single run in seven innings, with Stammen leading the way. Stammen was followed by Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, with Rafael Soriano coming on in the bottom of the 9th to notch his fifteenth save.
“He went out there and gave them four strong innings, mowed right through us, and we just weren’t able to get to him,” Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said of Stammen following the Atlanta loss. “But we got into the bullpen, so maybe that will help us out in the next two games.”
The Nationals swatted nine hits against the Braves, but the big contributor was center fielder Denard Span, whose two triples led the way. In both cases Span was able to score, the result of sacrifice flies from Steve Lombardozzi. Span was 3-4 on the night with Lombardozzi contributing two RBIs.
“It’s real big to get to third with no outs. It increases our chances of scoring runs,” said Span, who continues to be among Washington’s steadiest producers at the plate. “Lombo did a good job hitting behind me and getting me in and getting us on the board.”
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Dan Haren pitched eight solid innings and Denard Span knocked out three hits and two RBIs, as the Washington Nationals downed the Atlanta Braves, 3-1 to earn a split in their four game series. This was Haren’s best outing of the year: he allowed only four hits and struck out four.
The Haren outing followed a gem pitched by Jordan Zimmermann, with the duo (and closer Rafael Soriano) holding the Braves to just one run and seven hits in eighteen innings.
“What a heck of a ballgame Haren pitched,” Davey Johnson said after the victory. “The last two nights, with Zim and Haren, low pitch counts, going late in the ballgame, very few balls hit really hard … [Haren] was making his pitches all night.”
Washington’s runs were provided on a single from Steve Lombardozzi in the first (which scored Span, who had doubled to lead off the game), and Span’s double in the top of the second, which scored Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos. Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth to notch his ninth save.
The Braves mustered five hits off of Washington pitching, with their lone run coming in the bottom of the 7th, when Haren gave up a home run to Dan Uggla. No Atlanta hitter looked comfortable with Haren, who threw a mix of sliders and cutters. After the victory, Washington headed to Pittsburgh, where they will face the Pirates on Friday night.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: MASN analyst Ray Knight had an interesting, and not all that surprising, idea last night following the victory. Talking of Anthony Rendon, Knight said that the Nationals should think about keeping him with the club and slotting him in at second base . . .
“We have some trouble at second,” Knight said — expressing an obvious concern of the fan base. But Knight is extremely well-informed, acting as a kind of bellwether of management thinking. Knight pointed to Rendon’s steady defensive play at third and his recent abilities at the plate as a reason for keeping him in Washington . . .
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Washington righthanded ace Jordan Zimmermann was brilliant once again, holding the Atlanta Braves to just two hits in eight innings, and pitching the Nationals to a much-needed victory in Atlanta, 2-0. Zimmermann struck out eight and allowed only one Atlanta runner past first base.
“We needed that one bad and he went out and pitched a blueprint game,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said following the Washington victory. “I thought he was one of the elites last year. We just didn’t give him a lot of run support.
This was Zimmermann’s third superb outing in a row: Zimmermann threw a one hit complete game in his previous outing against Cincinnati and before that had been nearly untouchable against both the Marlins and Mets. In the constellation of Nationals’ starters, it turns out that it’s Zimmermann — and not Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez — who’s the “stopper.”
“He’s obviously got everything working right now,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said of Zimmermann. “He’s pitching up in the zone, down in the zone, in and out, he’s really mixing it up with his breaking balls, he’s throwing breaking balls for strikes. He’s got it working. Even during the game, he keeps it loose. He’s really fun to work with.”
Washington got its two runs in the fourth inning, the result of a walk to Bryce Harper and a home run to Ian Desmond. Atlanta’s Paul Maholm took the loss and Washington closer Rafael Soriano notched his eighth save of the season.The victory broke Washington’s eight game losing streak to the Bravos.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Stephen Strasburg outpitched Atlanta’s Julio Teheran and the Nats’ lineup outhit the Braves (ten hits to seven), but Washington couldn’t find a way to win — and went down to defeat at Turner Field 3-2 on Monday night. The Atlanta victory snapped their four game losing streak, while Washington has yet to find a way to consistently defeat their divisional rival.
While Strasburg was once again not at his best, he kept Washington in the game, throwing six innings of six hit baseball while striking out eight. Strasburg is now 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA, and has not won since opening day. Worse yet, the Washington ace reported that he’s some forearm stiffness.
Davey Johnson noticed that “something was off” in the way that Strasburg was pitching, and in post-game remarks told the press that “I’m sure they’re going to put him on some medication.” No matter: Strasburg is obviously anxious to keep throwing. “I’m not missing my next start,” he said after the game. “I’ll tell you that right now.”
The difference in the game came in the bottom of the 7th inning. Tyler Clippard was brought on in relief of Strasburg and walked the first batter, Gerald Laird, who was then sacrificed to second. Jordan Shafer then punched a single to right field and stole second. Atlanta’s third run then crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Andrelton Simmons.
Washington’s hitters, meanwhile, had a good bead on Teheran, but couldn’t push across the runs to give the Nats a victory. The Nationals were 2-9 with runners in scoring position. Strasburg got a no-decision in the game, with Tyler Clippard taking the loss.
The Nationals continue their series in Atlanta tomorrow night, with Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the home towners. He will face off against savvy righty, Tim Hudson.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nationals know they have to find a way to beat the Braves, but we’re stumped as to how they’ll do it. Nats’ hitters beat up Teheran tonight, just as they did in his last outing, but it didn’t seem to matter. Atlanta has now won eight in a row against Washington, dating back to last year . . .
Back on April 12, the Nationals forced Teheranto the pine after six innings, plating four earned runs and six hits in two innings — but ended up losing the game in extra innings, 6-4. You have to wonder if maybe the Nationals are snake-bit against the Bravos, despite finishing last season four games ahead of them . . .