Posts Tagged ‘cincinnati reds’
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 . . .
Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Washington pitchers limited the Cincinnati Reds to one hit for the second night in a row, as Jordan Zimmermann tossed a one hit shutout, the first of his career, and the Nationals snuffed out the Redlegs 1-0 on Friday night at Nationals Park. Zimmermann is now 4-1 on the season with a 2.00 ERA.
“He pitches his butt off every time he goes out there,” Bryce Harper said of Zimmermann’s epic victory. “He is a competitor, he uses his fastball really well and he throws a lot of strikes. You are going to get a great performance out of him every night.”
Zimmermann’s gem may be the best game pitched in Nationals’ history, equaling or perhaps surpassing Stephen Strasburg’s 14 strikeout rookie debut. Nats’ manager Davey Johnson called it the best pitched game that he’s witnessed since his time at Washington’s helm.
This was the second game in a row where Washington starters had authored a one hitter. On Thursday night Gio Gonzalez held the Reds to one hit through eight innings. It was the first time that Washington pitchers had pitched back-to-back one hitters since Aug. 10-11, 1917, when the Senators faced the White Sox in Washington.
The key for Zimmermann on Friday was throwing first pitch strikes and pitching-to-contact. “I had a really good slider tonight, and a good fastball to go with it,” Zimmermann said of his outing. “We knew [the Reds] swung early, and we wanted to throw first-pitch strikes and quality pitches, let them get themselves out, and let the defense work. That’s what we did tonight.”
Lost in the Zimmermann performance was the savvy outing put in by Reds’ starter Homer Bailey, who held the Nationals to a single run in seven innings. Bailey gave up a run in the 4th inning on a Bryce Harper triple and a Jayson Werth seeing-eye RBI single.
The Wisdom of Section 1-2-9: Washington fans are savvy enough to know that the Zimmermann-Bailey tilt on Friday was a marquee match-up of franchise aces. It was a game of ground-outs: Bailey got ten ground outs in eleven balls put in play, while Zimmermann got 12 . . .
How brilliant was Zimmermann? He took his best pitch (a 95 mph fastball) and threw it at one of the major league’s best fastball hitting teams, and consistently beat them. Zimmermann got Joey Votto out four times in the game and each time the payoff pitch was a fastball. And Joey Votto eats fastballs . . .
Friday, April 26th, 2013
Gio Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano combined for a one hitter and the Nationals feasted off of Redleg pitching for twelve hits, to give Washington a decisive 8-1 victory over Cincinnati at Nationals Park on Thursday night. Gonzalez was dominant, pitching eight complete while striking out seven.
And the Nationals finally broke out in the runs column. Denard Span and Danny Espinosa drove in six runs — which included Espinosa’s second home run of the year. Bryce Harper also homered for the Nationals. But what will be remembered is Gio’s night-long mastery of a dangerous Redlegs offense.
“Gio was just outstanding,” Nat’s manager Davey Johnson said of his southpaw ace. “Probably any other time, after a couple of bad outings, I would have let him finish that ballgame, but he was over 110 pitches (112) and I didn’t want to do it. But outstanding effort. Great job.”
The victory came just in time for the Nationals, who’d dropped their previous four games — and just in time for Gonzalez, who’d struggled in his last two times on the mound. The lone Cincinnati run came on a home run from Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, his fourth of the year.
“Gio’s a guy with an All-Star track record and a guy who could have won the Cy Young last year and it’s not surprising,” Votto said of the Washington lefty’s outing. “I looked up his numbers on the board and he hadn’t had a very good season so far and I imagine he was about due. And tonight was one of those starts for him.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Our belated thanks to Frank Gray, who ran an interview with CFG prior to the Mets’ series on what Mets fans could expect from the Nationals. Frank runs the savvy and well written “Mets Menu” for Bleacher Report. We’ll return the favor when the Mets are next in town . . .
Speaking of the Mets: after taking two of three from the Nationals in New York, the Madoffs have struggled against the Dodgers — who have taken two of three from the New Yorkers. Jeremy Hefner pitched well last night, though he dropped a 3-2 decision. Hefner pitched seven complete while giving up only a single run . . .
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, April 6th, 2013
This is a game that should have gone into the books as a win in the 8th, and then again in the 9th, but it took the Washington Nationals, and five home runs, to down the Cincinnati Reds in 11 innings at the Great American Bandbox Ballpark, 7-6.
This was a game of firsts for the Nationals in 2013: the first solid start for lefty youngster Ross Detwiler, the first home run for Ian Desmond (in the 11th with nobody on), the first blown late lead for the team during the season — and the first blown save for fireballer and veteran save artist Rafael Soriano.
Soriano’s blown save was the result of a home run from Cincy slugger Shin-Soo Choo, followed by a triple from Joey Votto — and a wild pitch that brought Votto home. Soriano’s so-so outing knotted the score at five, with the Nationals reeling from the unexpected Cincinnati rally.
But the Nationals fought back in extra innings. The Nationals got back on the board in the top of the 11th with a home run from Ian Desmond (whose inexplicable boot at shortstop in the 8th could have cost the Nationals the win), followed by a long shot to center from Wilson Ramos. The Ramos dinger was his second of the game.
But the real hero of the nail biter might well have been Craig Stammen, whose mound presence seemed to calm the Nationals. Stammen entered the game in the 10th and pitched two innings of two hit, one run ball — picking up his first win of the season. Stammen’s two seam fastball and late-moving slider stifled Reds’ hitters, allowing the Nats to ring up their fourth win of the season.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: We love Carp and F.P of course, but F.P. is so unapologetically in the bag for Ian Desmond that, well, it makes ya think that ‘ol Frank Paul is channeling his glory days as an Expos infielder . . .
When Desmond launched a grounder into the 18th row behind first base in the 4th inning (“what the hell was that,” Nats Nation yelled, as one), F.P. told us that he does this early in the season — and that he’ll get on track. Well, we’re sure that’s right, or at least we sure as hell hope so . . .
Then MASN interviewed Desmond in the postgame and implied his 11th inning homer made the difference in the game, when it absolutely did — and didn’t. The final score was 7-6 and according to our book the winning home run in the 7-6 game was launched by (let’s see, we’re checking) Wilson Ramos . . .
Saturday, April 6th, 2013
Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart each homered twice, Xavier Paul hit a pinch hit grand slam and Cincinnati sprayed a breathtaking 19 hits as the Redlegs downed the Nationals 15-0 on Friday night. The earliest victim of the barrage was Washington starter Dan Haren, who gave up four of Cincinnati’s six bombs.
“I’ve had my share of bad games along with good games,” Haren said after the loss. “They’re tough to deal with, but the sooner you forget about it, the better.” While Cincinnati’s bats carried the Redlegs’ onslaught, the Nationals were able to scratch out only five measly hits on the game — and only two against Cincy starter Homer Bailey, who notched his first win of the season.
In the early going, at least, Bailey was the difference: the 27-year-old righty befuddled Nats’ hitters with a mix of up-and-in fastballs — the fastest clocked at 95.”I’ll take six shutout innings any night,” Bailey said of his performance. “You have, like, 10 guys in here with home runs, so I’m sure you don’t want to talk to me too much.”
This was Haren’s first start as a Washington National, and it did not go as he had hoped. The reputed back-of-the-rotation starter (who took Edwin Jackson’s place in the starting five), is looking for a more permanent home after a solid career that has yielded 119 wins. Haren was supposed to end up in Chicago during the offseason, but reported back and hip problems nixed a trade that would have sent Carlos Marmol to Los Angeles.
The Nationals had no such worries — and Haren seemed in perfect health last night. The problem was that he could not locate his pitches. After the loss, Nats’ manager Davey Johnson waved off concerns about his starter. “It’s just one game. He is a quality pitcher. He knows how to pitch. When you think of Spring Training, you are getting your arm in shape. He is working on a few things. Just move on.”
Friday’s loss came against a team that will undoubtedly contend with the Nationals for primacy in the National League, and the Nats got a taste of just how powerful the Cincinnati line-up can be. Cincinnati’s Votto-Phillips-Bruce-Frazier middle of the order accounted for 11 of the Reds 19 hits.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: How good are the Reds? Well, they have Billy Hamilton — probably have one of the best outfield prospects in the game — waiting in the wings. But the outfield is now set with the addition of Shin-Soo Choo, one of the games real gamers. Why rush Hamilton when you can score 15 runs against one of baseball’s best teams . . .
Friday, April 5th, 2013
The Washington Nationals swept the three game inaugural series against the Miami Marlins on Thursday, 6-1, behind the pitching of Jordan Zimmermann and the hitting of Jayson Werth. Washington’s quiet ace gave up eight hits, but threw six complete in sealing the rout: the Marlins scored only a single run in the three game set.
While not as dominating as either Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez in their first outings of the new season, Zimmermann was able to stay out of trouble long enough to allow his teammates to feast off of Miami pitching.”I felt good. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Zimmermann said after the win. “It’s one of those days where I had to battle and make the pitches when I needed a ground ball.”
The shape of Washington’s 2013 offense is now becoming clear: New Nat Denard Span is regularly finding himself on first base, Ryan Zimmerman was 3-3 in the contest, Jayson Werth powered a home run in the bottom of the 7th and Bryce Harper continued his torrid assault on N.L. pitching — he was 2-4 yesterday and is hitting .500.
Washington manager Davey Johnson said it was only a matter of time before Werth matched his Spring Training pace — when he was “seeing the ball” really well. “Today, it feels like the first real day of the season,” Werth said in a postgame interview. “I started feeling a little bit better today — batting practice. As the game went on, I felt like I had my rhythm. It showed up toward the end.”
The best news of the day might have been the dominance of reliever Henry Rodriguez, whose struggles last year raised the hackles of Nats fans. Rodriguez was credited with a hold after pitching a three-up-and-three-down 7th inning, which included a strike out of uber power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, who was buckled by a wicked slider.
Washington’s sweep of Miami puts them alone atop the N.L. East, as the team heads to Cincinnati — where the Redlegs have won two of three against he feared Los Angeles Angels. The Reds, who are predicted to be competitors (with Atlanta) of the Nationals for the top spot in the National League, tamed the Angles in a 5-4 win yesterday.
The Wisdom of Section 1-2-9: Everything changes — nothing stays the same. So there was some disappointment when it appeared that most of the regulars of 1-2-9 from last season were not in attendance on Thursday. Which did not stop the newbies from following the section’s tradition of thinking out loud about the Nationals.
“It’s great to see [Denard] Span out there in centerfield,” one of them said in the second inning. “So you can check that off your list. We finally have a leadoff hitter.” But by far the best comments came from a lifelong Brewers fan, in town to celebrate his daughter’s wedding. It was his first time at Nationals Park. “This is a complete team,” he said of the Nationals. “Out in Milwaukee, we’re headed in the opposite direction.”