Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Murphy’
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
While the debut of Double-A pitcher Nathan Karns will not go down in the scorebooks as a “W” for the young righty, the Texas Tech product threw a strike-filled impressive 4.1 innings — and the Nationals, behind two home runs from Adam LaRoche, drubbed the Orioles on Tuesday night, 9-3.
Washington’s interleague victory may mark the moment when the Nationals finally got their offense back on track. In addition to the two home runs from LaRoche, super-subs Roger Bernadina and Tyler Moore also went long, as the home towners cracked thirteen hits against a surprisingly ineffective Baltimore pitching staff.
“It was great to see [the offense come back to life],” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “Some guys usually take two or three strikes, and they went up there and hit line drives. We jumped all over a 97 mile-an-hour fastball, and that made my whole night.”
Johnson also praised his young starter, appearing on the mound in the place of injured Ross Detwiler. “I thought [Nathan] handled himself well, first start against a good hitting ballclub,” Johnson said. “I know he was nervous, but I like the way he went after the hitters. He is in for another start.”
In an up-and-down season, Tuesday’s game showed Nationals’ fans what their team can do. Their starting pitching was effective, the team hit with runners in scoring position — and the bullpen was lights-out. After Karns left in the fifth, Zach Duke needed just one pitch, inducing a double play, to save the Nationals from a potential Baltimore rally.
Duke was followed to the mound by Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Fernando Abad, all of whom kept the Orioles off the scoreboard. Storen was as effective as he’s been all year, giving up a single hit in a single inning of work. Tyler Clippard gave up two hits, but then induced three successive fly balls — and Fernando Abad authored a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
The New York Mets expect a lot from Mike Pelfrey. On the night that he opened against the Nationals at CitiField, MLB Trade Rumors called this “a make or break year for Pelfrey.” That seems right. The up-and-down righty has never lived up to the expectations the Mets placed in him when they made him their ninth overall pick in 2005.
Nor was there anything about last night’s Mets 4-3 win over the Nats that has changed anyone’s mind. Even so, Pelfrey — who flirted with disaster throughout the evening (as he does with nearly every game he pitches)– threw well enough to keep his team in the game: registering a workmanlike 5.2 innings, scattering ten Nationals’ hits and striking out eight.
Pelfrey’s “good enough,” outing was just what the Met’s needed, however, as the Madoff’s bullpen provided 3.1 innings of no-hit ball, and the Mets pulled off a walk-off bottom of the ninth single to down the Nationals 4-3. For the Nationals, on the other hand, this was the first “one that got away” of the season. “We just have to do the little things,” manager Davey Johnson later said. “We still have some work to do.”
It’s not everyday that Washington is able to pound out ten hits, including an early season slump-breaking triple from Jayson Werth. The Nationals coulda, shoulda and mighta won the game, but they left nine runners on base and lacked the timely hitting to pull out the win.
This was the first Washington outing for new acquisition Edwin Jackson, and like Pelfrey he pitched well enough to get the win — five innings of four hit baseball with six strikeouts. “I thought Edwin threw the ball well. First time out with a new ballclub, I didn’t want to push him too far,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said following the loss. “I had it set up for my bullpen. I had a fresh guy in Gorzo [Tom Gorzelanny], and Gorzo did a great job. We just didn’t do the little things. We had runners in scoring position and didn’t get the hit, We have to be better at that.”
In the end, it was an error that proved the Nats’ undoing. In the 9th, reliever Henry Rodriguez fielded a Ruben Tejada bunt and threw it past Danny Espinosa covering first. The resulting collision between Rodriguez and Espinosa allowed Tejada to take second, with Mike Baxter moving to third. Daniel Murphy followed with the game winning walk-off hit into shallow right field.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The loss in New York wasn’t the worst news of the day. Earlier the team announced that closer ace Drew Storen would make a visit to Dr. James Andrews in New York, a sure sign that something major could be wrong in Storen’s elbow . . .
“Storen will almost certainly not need Tommy John surgery, a typical fear when players visit Andrews,” Adam Kilgore wrote in the Washington Post. “But depending on the results of Andrews’s examination, Storen could miss at least half the season because of a loose body in his elbow and the surgery that would be required to remove it.
The news on Storen throws a wrench into Washington’s early season plans, and likely slots former Phillie Brad Lidge into the closer role — at least for the forseeable future. Storen felt pain when he threw on Sunday, and previous tests showed he likely had a “loose body” in his elbow. “I felt like last year, we had one of the best bullpens in the National League,” Johnson told Kilgore. “With the addition of Brad Lidge, we got even more depth. But any time you lose somebody the stature of Storen, that’s a big concern of me.”
Saturday, September 19th, 2009
The Nats need a semi-miracle to pull out a 6-5 victory against the Mets on Friday, but they got one, as a hard bouncing grounder that might have led to a walk-off Mets’ winÂ resulted inÂ the final out in a Nationals’ victory. Closer Mike “Heart Attack” MacDougal knocked down the sharp bounder off the bat of Mets’Â hitter Jeff Francoeur and lobbed it to first to give the Nats a much-needed win. With the Nats in the lead and coasting to a victory, MacDougal started the 9th inning with an out, but then pitched himself into trouble: he walked two batters, then gave up a clean single to David Wright and a fielder’s choice smash to Carlos Beltran. Daniel Murphy then hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Ian Desmond — who threw the ball away. Francoeur’s hot grounder up the middle took off MacDougal’s glove and might have ended up in centerfield (and ended the game), but MacDougal speared the ball and threw Francouer out.
After playing a flat — and losing — series in Philadelphia, the Nats cameÂ alive against the Mets. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 30th home run of the season (the most of his major league career), Josh Willingham hit his 23rd (and ended his three week slump at the plate by going 2-4)Â andÂ Josh Bard added three RBIs. Bard was the heroÂ of the game: the hobbled catcher was one for three with three RBIs, which included his fifth home run of the season. “I finally got an advantage count for myself. I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit,” Bard said. “I just told myself, ‘Just make sure that you are really aggressive.’ I was able to get a good pitch.” Bard was also key in dampening a Mets rally in the sixth. With the bases loadedÂ Bard, in a close play at the plate,Â tagged out Carlos Beltran on a short-bounce throw from Josh Willingham in left field. It was the play of the game. J.D. Martin pitched well enough to take the win (giving up two earned runs in 5.1 innings), while Mets fireballer Mike Pelfrey (now 10-11) took the loss.
Friday, September 18th, 2009
The Nats head to New YorkÂ to face the faded and no-account New York Chokes after being swept in three games in Philadelphia. The latest instance of Nats futility was a 4-2 sigh at the hands of Phuzzie lefty Cole Hamels, who appears to have returned to his 2008 end-of-season form. Hamels, pitching like he meant it, had a perfect game through five.Â Up and down all season, Hamels attributed his good outing to the heat of the pennant race: “I think it’s being able to go out there, knowing what’s at stake,” he said following his outing. “I think anytime September rolls around, and fortunately enough, I’ve been here when we’ve had to win every game. You still have to go out there.” Hamels was aided in his victory by the continued no-show of Washington lumber: Guzman, Zimmerman and Willingham were a combined 2 for twelve against the leftyÂ (Dunn, the only Anacostia bopper who’s actually hitting was given the night off), bringing the middle-of-the-order Nats to a stunning 2 for 27 over the last two games. If there was any good news from the last game of the sweep it was that Ross Detwiler looked passably competent: pitching five innings of four hit ball — for his sixth loss without a win.
The New York Stinks host the NationalsÂ today on the heels of a five game losing streak, which included a just-yesterday three game sweepÂ at the hands of the Chops, and a record of 1-9 over their last ten games. The good news for Mets fans is that they won’tÂ have to suffer through a September collapse this year:Â they did thatÂ all the way back in June. The Mets are in terrible shape. Unlike the Nats, they don’t seem to have a firebrand prospectÂ (Ian Desmond) wowy-zowing the crowd, or a potential game-changing hatchlingÂ (Stephen Strasburg)Â waiting to flap his wings, or a tested and still-young lumberjack (Adam Dunn) that can put the horsehide in the cheap seats. Even the most tried and truly tested Chokes’ fanatics are desperate. We here at CFG say that advisedly because the last time we talked about the Chokes at any great length there were riots in New York. We had to put on our kevlar. We had to call in airstrikes. Even so, we’ll give it another try: so what should the Mets do.
Over at The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Rusty has been going on about shaking up the dugout — a “bold move” that would change the tectonics of Citi Field and give the Moribunds some hope. His recommendation? Bring in Orel Hershiser. Not a bad idea. Hershiser has been in the running for a number of managerial posts (Rusty points out) and he was “a thinking manâ€™s pitcher.” Hershiser might, in fact, be the spark theÂ Mets need to shake up the on-field operations.Â What I mean to say is this:Â Jerry Manuel has lost faith in his players, and they’ve returned the favor.Â Manuel hasÂ made a hash of the season (injuries or no injuries) and he’sÂ flapped his mouth on so many things so often that it’s hard to figure out what he really thinks.Â Worse yet, he doesn’t know how to handle the kids.
In truth, the great collapsable Mets don’t have manyÂ young stars that could form the nucleus of aÂ future pennant winner, but even if they did JerryÂ wouldn’t know what to do with them. I’ll give you three examples.Â There was a lot riding on MetsÂ Daniel “can’t miss” Murphy this year. The Chokes needed a big bat from one of their youngsters and Murphy was picked to supply it. Unfortunately, afterÂ 27 games the Mets’ brain trust (Manuel concurring) decided that Danny boy couldn’t play left (they called him “a disaster”), so theyÂ switched him and his leather rag to first, in the apparent belief that playing first is easier.Â As recently as early August, the Mets were trumpeting what a fantastic move the switch had been. But the shine has worn off and when Murphy made two errors on Wednesday, you could hear the groans all the way to Secaucus. Then too, Murphy’sÂ ”big bat” hasÂ disappeared: going AWOL at just about the same time that the genius’s in the Mets front office decided that DM would look great at first.Â
The same kind of thing happened to Bobby Parnell, who began his career as a whiz-bang reliever, giving so much hope to Mets’ faithful that they were charting the World Series parade route down Broadway. The Mets finally had the one thing that might have saved them from the Tsunami of their 2007 season: a home grown reliever who enjoyed his job and did it well.Â So what did the Mets do? They spentÂ a boatload of money onÂ a couple of free agent relievers andÂ took Bobby out of the bullpen andÂ made him a starter: in the beliefÂ that anyone who’s a good reliever will be an even better starter. So, how’s thatÂ worked out? Since arriving on the mound, Parnell’s ERA is 5.60 and Jerry and Company keep talking about how he’s “a work in progress.”Â Most recently, the Chokes announced that “the experiment” was over and that Parnell was back behind the fence in center. It was the right decision. No doubt about it. But, as usual, the also-rans did it in exactly the wrong way:Â they treated it like a demotion. Mets fans blame Parnell for hisÂ failure as a starter. Jerry Manuel blames Parnell for his failure as a starter. The GM blames Parnell forÂ his failure as a starter. Now they’ve set him up to fail as a reliever. Guess what: it’s not his fault.
Then there’s Mike Pelfry. The way the Mets have handled Pelfrey tells us all we need to knowÂ about the problems with the team.Â PelfreyÂ is the oneÂ guy (he’s 25)Â who has the kind of stuff and tenacity the Mets need.Â He throws hard and shrugs off losses with an I’ll-get-em-next-time attitude.Â Along with his better-than-average stuff,Â he’sÂ a gamer who’s only going to get better. Strangely,Â that’s not good enough for Jerry and Company, whoÂ lost faith in Pelfrey in early September after a rocky outingÂ against the . . . Rockies. And things haven’t been quite the same since. This isÂ classic Mets stuff: one or two bad outings and Manuel starts looks like he’s about the weep, the front office issues reassurances to the fans that next year’ll be different and Fred Wilpon passes out radiation sickness tablets. It’s almost as if they’re signaling to Pelfrey that unless he pitches like Johan SantanaÂ he’s just no damn good.
But all is not lost. There’s hope in Metsland.Â Jose Reyes (once the best shortstop in the game) will return in 2010. As will Carlos Beltran. Eric, over a The Real Dirty Mets Blog, thinks that, because of the injuries to Reyes and Beltran in 2009, the Mets won’t trade them, but will try to win with them next year. They’re good, very good — and they’re the core. They’ll give it one more shot. But Eric adds: “I believe that next year will be the last for the core unless they win.” Will they? There’s a reason why you never hear the phrase “good team, bad shortstop,” and it’s because the heart of any winner is the guy up the middle with the soft hands. Reyes has that, and the bat to go with it. If he’s anything like he was just three years ago, the Mets will instantly improve. Add Beltran,Â a still-in-his-prime long ball hitter and game changerÂ and theÂ MetsÂ (with Johan and Maine and a healthy bullpen)Â are (arguably) a better-than-.500 team and good enough to challenge for the wild card.Â But here’s the thing: even with all of that, the Mets need a change in culture and they need it desperately. They might want to start in the dugout.