Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Murphy’

Done And Done? Nats Fall Hard To New York

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

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It might have been possible for the Washington Nationals to survive the 3-2 squeaker against the Mets on Friday, but it is going to be harder for Washington to keep its hope for a post-season slot alive after the Nats were routed by New York, 11-3 on Saturday. The Nationals now trail Cincinnati by 7.5 games in the N.L. Wild Card Race.

The hero for the New Yorkers on Saturday was Zack Wheeler, the young right handed hurler that has teamed with the now-injured Matt Harvey to give the Madoffs hope for the future. Wheeler tamed the suddenly hot Washington line-up by pitching into the 7th inning while holding the Nationals to five hits and two earned runs.

While the Nationals couldn’t get on track against New York’s rookie, Dan Haren had his worst outing of the year. Haren gave up nine hits and seven earned runs before being relieved in the third. Nearly everyone in the Mets’ line-up teed off against Washington’s pitching: Eric Young, Daniel Murphy, Josh Satin and Juan Lagares each had three hits in the game.

“We know that we’re running out of time,” center fielder Denard Span, who was 3-5 on the night, said. “Each game that goes by, it’s getting even more and more [important] for us to win. Tonight, just a terrible game. The type of loss like this came at the wrong time.”

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Despite the Mets’ seventeen hit barrage, there was little praise for Washington’s in-division competitors. Haren claimed that he had good stuff and Denard Span pointed out that the Mets were lucky to have some hits fall in. But it’s also true that the Nationals didn’t hit when they needed to, spraying eleven hits but leaving fourteen on base.

“We know what we’re up against,” Haren said following the loss. “Everyone is pretty down in here right now. We’ll go home and get sleep and come back and try to win tomorrow and go from there. There’s no use being down about it too long.”

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The 2003 Seattle Mariners were a heck of a team. Jamie Moyer won 21 games for the Navigators, while Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro anchored a sold staff, including a steady bullpen. But Seattle’s greatest asset was its defense: the team committed just 65 errors in 162 games, an MLB record . . .

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An Embarrassment . . . And A Walk Off

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

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Ryan Zimmerman’s walk off home run in the 9th inning of the second game of a day-night doubleheader gave the Washington Nationals a desperately needed 2-1 victory over the New York Mets on Friday. The Zimmerman home run salvaged a day that saw the Nats fall to the Mets 11-0 in an embarrassing first game that saw the team collect just eight hits.

The 11-0 blow out marked the nadir of the Nationals season, as the Mets victimized four Nationals pitchers, including hard-luck ace Jordan Zimmermann, who gave up five runs in 6.2 innings of work.

The Mets sprayed thirteen hits in the afternoon game, scoring six runs in the top of the 9th inning and shredding the Nationals relief corps.

“It’s over,” Nats’s skipper Davey Johnson said of the blow out. “I hate to even be in here talking about it.” The Mets kept the Nationals off the board by playing off the arm of rookie Jenrry Mejia, a former top prospect whose young career has been interrupted by Tommy John surgery and elbow tendonitis.

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Starter Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, just couldn’t seem to get on track. The Ace of Auburndale gave up a home run to Daniel Murphy in the 1st inning and then another one to Murphy in the third. Murphy was 4-5 in the game and batted in five of the Mets eleven runs.

The Mets 9th inning barrage was a home town nightmare: a walk (to Omar Quintanilla), a double (off the bat of Juan Legares), a single (from Murphy), another single (from David Wright), a double (from Marlon Byrd), and a home run, off the bat of Ike Davis. The runs came off of relievers Ryan Mattheus and Drew Storen, who was sent to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of the day.

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The Nationals needed to recover the confidence of their home town fans in the wake of their 11-0 thrashing, but they did so in fine style — and by relying on the arm of spot starter Ross Ohlendorf, who dueled Mets’ phenom Matt Harvey through seven complete inning of work in the D.C. nightcap.

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Nats Still Can’t Solve N.Y.’s Gee

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

There are just certain pitchers that the Washington Nationals can’t seem to hit — and the Mets’ Dillon Gee leads the pack. Gee scattered six hits over six innings while striking out three and the Mets downed the Nationals at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon, 5-1.

The game marked the debut of Washington newbie Taylor Jordan, who threw into the fifth inning before being pulled by Nationals’ skipper Davey Johnson. Jordan, slotted as a sinker specialist, pitched well enough to merit another start: and he will face the Brewers at Nationals’ Park on July 4.

The Nationals defeat was marked by sloppy defensive play, with Washington committing three errors, two of them on the same play in the bottom of the 5th inning that gave New York two runs. The errors broke up a 1-1 tie.

Two of those errors were accounted to Ryan Zimmerman, on a booted infield ball and then an errant throw to the plate. Ian Desmand was given an error trying to get a runner at third. Zimmerman now has an inexplicable twelve errors on the season, which leads the team.

New York, meanwhile, got to Washington’s pitchers for nine hits, which included a 3-5 day for second sacker Daniel Murphy and a 2-4 day for shortstop Omar Quintanilla. Craig Stammen, relieving Jordan, provided his first poor outing since early June. Stammen gave up two runs on three hits in just 1.2 innings of work.

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Karns Throws Strikes: Nats Win

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.

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Mets 9th Edges Nats In New York

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 Andrewss 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, thats a big concern of me.”

Nats Survive NY 9th

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’ win resulted in the final out in a Nationals’ victory. Closer Mike “Heart Attack” MacDougal knocked down the sharp bounder off the bat of Mets’ 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 came 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) and Josh Bard added three RBIs. Bard was the hero 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 loaded Bard, in a close play at the plate, 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.

Swept In Philly, Nats Head To The Apple

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The Nats head to New York 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. 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 lefty (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 Nationals today on the heels of a five game losing streak, which included a just-yesterday three game sweep 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’t have to suffer through a September collapse this year: they did that all the way back in June. The Mets are in terrible shape. Unlike the Nats, they don’t seem to have a firebrand prospect (Ian Desmond) wowy-zowing the crowd, or a potential game-changing hatchling (Stephen Strasburg) 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 man’s pitcher.” Hershiser might, in fact, be the spark the Mets need to shake up the on-field operations. What I mean to say is this: Jerry Manuel has lost faith in his players, and they’ve returned the favor. Manuel has made a hash of the season (injuries or no injuries) and he’s flapped his mouth on so many things so often that it’s hard to figure out what he really thinks. Worse yet, he doesn’t know how to handle the kids.

In truth, the great collapsable Mets don’t have many young stars that could form the nucleus of a future pennant winner, but even if they did Jerry wouldn’t know what to do with them. I’ll give you three examples. There was a lot riding on Mets 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, after 27 games the Mets’ brain trust (Manuel concurring) decided that Danny boy couldn’t play left (they called him “a disaster”), so they switched him and his leather rag to first, in the apparent belief that playing first is easier. 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’s ”big bat” has 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. 

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. So what did the Mets do? They spent a boatload of money on a couple of free agent relievers and took Bobby out of the bullpen and made him a starter: in the belief that anyone who’s a good reliever will be an even better starter. So, how’s that 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.” 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: they treated it like a demotion. Mets fans blame Parnell for his failure as a starter. Jerry Manuel blames Parnell for his failure as a starter. The GM blames Parnell for 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 know about the problems with the team. Pelfrey is the one guy (he’s 25) who has the kind of stuff and tenacity the Mets need. He throws hard and shrugs off losses with an I’ll-get-em-next-time attitude. Along with his better-than-average stuff, he’s a gamer who’s only going to get better. Strangely, that’s not good enough for Jerry and Company, who lost faith in Pelfrey in early September after a rocky outing against the . . . Rockies. And things haven’t been quite the same since. This is 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 Santana he’s just no damn good.

But all is not lost. There’s hope in Metsland. 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, a still-in-his-prime long ball hitter and game changer and the Mets (with Johan and Maine and a healthy bullpen) are (arguably) a better-than-.500 team and good enough to challenge for the wild card. 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.