Posts Tagged ‘Denard Span’
Monday, May 20th, 2013
The Padres rapped out fifteen hits — which included three home runs — and San Diego went on to thrash the Washington Nationals at Petco Park on Sunday, 13-4. Washington’s attack against San Diego starter Andrew Cashner, on the other hand, was punchless: a scattering of ten hits, but few of them that did any real damage.
Washington had hoped to take the series, particularly given Saturday night’s tough one-run loss that victimized ace Jordan Zimmermann. “It was good to bounce back in beating Zimmermann, who is arguably the best pitcher in the National League right now,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “That was a big win last night.”
Black added: “Then to come back today against Haren, who’s a great competitor. We got to him early and got him there in the middle part of the game with a couple big swings. Good for our guys. It was a good win.” Haren’s outing breaks a solid streak for the veteran righty, who gave up seven runs on nine hits in just five innings.
“I made a bunch of mistakes in the first inning. I was able to keep it close for a while. You can’t keep letting balls over the plate to a professional lineup like that,” Haren said after his loss. “I was fighting myself out there with mechanics. I was working behind in the count too much. That’s a recipe for disaster.”
This was all good news, but only if you were a Padres’ fan. Stuck in mediocre, starter Andrew Cashner proved he belonged in the San Diego rotation with 6.2 innings of steady strikes, while the Friars received long bombs from a trio of little monks: Will Venable, Kyle Blanks and rookie second sacker Jedd Gyorko.
The Padres got on the board early, scoring three runs in the first inning off of Haren, then extended their lead by scoring four more off the righty in the fifth. The Washington bullpen wasn’t much better: the usually steady Ryan Matheus gave up five runs on four hits in a single inning to raise his ERA to 4.96.
“I just fell behind hitters,” Mattheus said of his outing. “I had to come back and make a pitch and they put good swings on the ball. It’s inexcusable to not come in the strike zone and leaving balls up.”
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Ace righty Jordan Zimmermann pitched 7.2 innings and notched his MLB league leading seventh win and third sacker Ryan Zimmerman drove in three Washington runs, as the Nationals topped the Dodgers in L.A., 6-2.
Zimmermann showed why he’s the ace of the staff and, as of now, the leading candidate for the N.L. Cy Young Award. While Zimmermann scattered nine hits, he was able to cut through the tough Los Angeles line-up, registering five strikeouts without walking a hitter.
“He just kept attacking the zone,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said after the D.C. victory “He was getting himself in good counts and it’s a good way to pitch, ahead in the count. He did a great job tonight of that.” As always, the key to Zimmermann’s success was his ability to throw strikes: 67 of them in a 101 pitching outing.
Washington’s league leading 7-1 fireballer was aided by a Washington parade that banged out ten hits, including a Ryan Zimmerman double in the 3rd that drove in two. “I’m starting to get back into the groove now. I’m starting to feel better at the plate,” Zimmerman said in his post-game comments.
The big news of the game was the 5th inning collision that Bryce Harper had with the Dodger Stadium wall in right field. Harper was tracking a ball off the bat of A.J. Ellis and collided with the wall, cutting his chin and slamming his shoulder. Harper walked from the field, but needed eleven stitches to close the gash on his face.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
No one in the stands at Nationals Park on Sunday was fooled by the argument over balls and strikes that Nats’ catcher Kurt Suzuki had with home plate umpire John Tumpane in the bottom of the 9th. The issue wasn’t balls and strikes, the issue was Suzuki’s errant throw to third to stop a double steal in the top of the frame that fueled a disappointing 2-1 Nats’ loss.
“You’re a princess, Suzuki,” a fan shouted along the third base line. “Stop whining and start playing.” Another fan, nearby, was as outspoken — if less vocal. “He wants us to remember that he argued balls and strikes,” he said, “so that we’ll forget his error. Well, good luck with that.”
But Suzuki’s errant throw (the ball actually skipped off the bat of Welingon Castillo) was only one let-down in an otherwise hard fought Nats-Cubs contest. The other was Drew Storen’s inability to keep the Cubbies off the board in the top of the 8th, when he gave up the tying run on a single from Starlin Castro that scored pinch runner Travis Wood.
The Suzuki error and Storen’s blown hold reversed a stellar outing from starter Gio Gonzalez, who threw seven innings of near perfect baseball. The Gonzalez performance promised to be a gem: the lefty was perfect until the top of the 6th, when Cubs backstop Dioner Navarro notched the first Cubs hit.
The Suzuki throw and Storen’s blown hold were, at least in some respects, explicable: Suzuki’s error could be put down to bad luck, Storen’s blown hold could be explained as just one of those things. But Washington fans also wondered why Davey Johnson decided, with Gio cruising along, that he would pinch hit for his near-perfect lefty in the bottom of the 7th. Why not let Gio finish?
“It’s just the way I manage,” Johnson said of his decision. “You can chalk it up to me. You don’t like it, chalk it up to me. It didn’t work out.” Which is to say that, while Gio might have been on his way to a complete game, Johnson felt that the Nationals had to somehow get more runs on the board.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Dan Haren notched his fourth win, the home towners sprayed nine hits and the Washington bullpen held the Tigers scoreless in three relief innings, as the Nationals swept the two game Detroit mini-series by a score of 5-4 on Thursday.
While the Tigers outhit the Nationals (12-9), Washington was able to put runs on the board early in the game. The Nationals scored three in the first inning and two in the second — and that’s all the team would need to notch its fourth win in a row. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano held the Kalines scoreless when Haren left after six complete.
The victim of the Nationals early run surge was Detroit righty Doug Fister, who entered the game with a snappy 2.48 earned run average. Fister, with Verlander, is considered one of Detroit’s elite shut down pitchers, but he gave up a lead-off double to Denard Span in the 1st and then three successive singles: to Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond.
Fister proved as ineffective in the second, hitting Span and walking Roger Bernadina before giving up two runs, courtesy of singles from (once again) Zimmerman and LaRoche. “It was probably his worst outing of the year,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said of Fister’s performance. “He’s pitched really good for quite a while now. You have to give him credit, he battled.”
Despite Fister’s troubles, the Tigers were able to rally against Haren in the 6th. The veteran righty walked Jhonny Peralta with one out and Omar Infante dropped a surprise bunt single to put two men on with two outs. Pinch hitter Matt Tuiasosopo then stepped to the plate and put a 2-1 Haren offering over the fence in left center.
The Tuiasosopo blast put Detroit back into the game, with a good shot at winning. But the Nationals’ bullpen, an otherwise worrisome unit so far this season, came on to shut down the Tigers. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano each pitched effectively, with Soriano gaining his 12th save of the season.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Doug Fister was 3-12 with the Mariners in 2011 when the Seattle front office decided they’d seen enough. The swapped Fister to Detroit for Francisco Martinez, Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells. It was a steal — Fister went 8-1 the rest of the way, with a breathtaking 1.79 ERA . . .
But while the Fister theft was lopsided, it was (arguably) no more so than San Diego’s decision to trade first base prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs six months later. While it’s a baseball given that you should never give up young pitching, new Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer decided his team needed Rizzo so badly that he was willing to part with uber prospect Andrew Cashner . . .
Friars’ fans will argue that the Rizzo-Cashner trade isn’t even close to being a Fister-like bust. After struggling all of last year, Cashner’s arm has finally come alive and the imposing (6-6, 220 pounds), Texan has regained his command. Exiled to the bullpen, Cashner emerged in only his second start of the season to throw 7.1 effective innings against the Marlins earlier this week . . .
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Jordan Zimmermann allowed seven hits over just seven innings to notch his league leading sixth win of the season, and Bryce Harper hit his tenth home run of the year, as Washington downed a potent Detroit team 3-1 at Nationals Park On Wednesday night.
Zimmermann was spectacular. “Jordan is fun to watch. He attacks guys. I think this year, he’s just smarter, more mature,” Tyler Clippard said of the Nats’ ace following the victory. “This year, more than any other year, he is throwing a lot more breaking balls for strikes.”
Zimmermann entered the game having pitched 17 shutout innings in his previous two starts, putting himself into the top ten in every major N.L. pitching category. The only time the Tigers were able to put together good at-bats against him was in the 3rd inning, when Torii Hunter doubled and Miguel Cabrera singled him home.
Nationals’ hitters, meanwhile, pumped out three runs against Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez. Denard Span tripled off of Sanchez and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper in the bottom of the 3rd, Adam LaRoche scored in the 4th on a throwing error from Torii Hunter and Bryce Harper slammed a 427 foot home run to complete the scoring in the 5th.
Tyler Clippard came on in relief in the 8th inning and recorded his fifth hold, while closer Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth and recorded his 11th save. Washington has won three consecutive games and is now 18-15 on the year. The Nationals trail the Atlanta Braves, who won decisively in Cincinnati, by just two games in the National League East.
The Wisdom of Section 129 The PNC Seats: This was a rare opportunity, and a kind of betrayal. The CFG crew (here we are, in case you’ve forgotten) abandoned our regulars in Section 129 for a chance to sit in the PNC seats and “eat for free” — as it were. So we expected to be surrounded by Nationals fans. We should have known better . . .
The Tigers travel well, as was much in evidence at Nationals Park last night, and they were there in force in the PNC section. Tigers’ fans packed the third base boxes and were sprinkled throughout the ballpark, with Miguel Cabrera jerseys (#24) as much in evidence as Bryce Harper’s . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .