Posts Tagged ‘houston astros’
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
Ian Desmond went 3-4, which included a home run and an RBI double, and the Nationals won their fifth in a row in downing the Chicago Cubs, 7-3 at Nationals Park. Desmond’s hitting came at just the right time: Jayson Werth is poised to go on the D.L. and Bryce Harper sat out with an ingrown toenail.
While the Cubs pounded out more hits than the Nationals (10 vs. 9), Washington made their at-bats count: the Nationals left only eight men on base during the game, while the Cubs stranded 15.
“I go out there and try to play to win,” Desmond said after the victory. “It seems like every year that I’ve been here, we have gotten a little bit better. That’s all you could really ask for as a player”
The Nationals feasted off the fastball pitching of Chicago Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardzija, who gave up five earned runs in five innings. “I needed to make a couple better pitches and get out of those innings with no damage and get your offense back in the dugout to score some runs,” Samardzija said.
Washington lefty Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, was able to scatter eight Chicago hits over 6.2 innings of work, with steady Craig Stammen throwing 2.1 innings in solid relief. The victory marked Detwiler’s second win of the season, while Stammen sports an impressive 2.65 ERA in 17 innings of work.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Angel Hernandez was behind the plate for last night’s Nationals-Cubs match-up, and his strike zone was as wiggy as it’s always been. Hernandez is at the center of the storm over a blown call in Cleveland on Thursday. Given Hernandez’s reputation, that’s hardly a surprise . . .
The Hernandez home run controversy is now legion: with two outs in the top of the 9th, the A’s Adam Rosales launched a shot into the stands at Progressive Field which bounced off a railing above the fence and back onto the field. The umpiring crew called it a double, then retreated to the clubhouse to review the videotape . . .
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Adam LaRoche ended his standard early season drought with two home runs in consecutive at bats and the Nationals squeaked by the Chicago White Sox, 8-7 to bring their record to 5-2. LaRoche’s homers helped the Nationals stave off a surging Chicago line-up — and helped the team to survive some shaky bullpen outings.
LaRoche’s blasts came in the 6th inning with one on and in the 8th with no one on. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth also went deep for the home towners. “You get into the second week of the season, that’s never a good feeling to look up there and not have a hit,” Laroche said following the win. “I felt great that first series at home, I just couldn’t get the ball to fall. To come back and get a couple [tonight] was nice.”
The home runs were needed: Chicago’s Paul Konerko blasted a three run home run in the 7th inning off of Tyler Clippard to bring the score within one. Washington came back to tack on a run in the bottom of the 7th, which was followed by LaRoche’s second home run — but Chicago added two more in the top of the 9th off of Rafael Soriano, who then closed out the game.
Both Chicago and Washington were hoping their starters would turn Tuesday’s game into a classic pitching match-up, but Jake Peavy gave up six runs on nine hits in 5.1 inning, while Nats’ lefty Gio Gonzalez surrendered four hits in five innings. That wasn’t so bad, but Washington’s bullpen gave up seven hits and four runs in the next four frames.
Washington’s big inning came in the 6th, when the Nationals put four runs on the board — with home runs from Werth and LaRoche. “Obviously, the sixth inning got away from us,” Peavy said. “I didn’t have much there, and it was hot and humid, and I ran out of gas. I didn’t have much left with LaRoche, and he put a good swing on it.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: It’s deja vu all over again for the Los Angeles Angels, who are repeating their slow start from a year ago. The Angels dropped a slugfest at home last night, in their opener, against the forever surprising Oakland A’s. The Angels yielded a one run lead in the top of the 7th by giving up home runs to pinch hitter John Jaso and first sacker Brandon Moss. The A’s went on to dump the Halos 9-5 . . .
Nothing seems to be working for the Belinskys, and you can read the frustration in the face of Angels’ skipper Mike Scioscia. Ace C.J. Wilson came out of the clubhouse and promptly gave up three runs in the top of the 1st, but it could have been a lot worse: Wilson left the inning with the bases loaded . . .
Monday, September 24th, 2012
The Nationals magic number to win the National League East flag remains at six games. Winning that flag, and decisively, has thus far eluded the Nats; and while no one on the team says they’re worried, the hunt for the East flag suffered its most recent setback on Sunday, when the suddenly up-and-down D.C. Nine fell to the red hot Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park, 6-2.
The loss puts the Nationals still within easy striking distance of cinching the top spot in the N.L. East, but the Atlanta Braves are not out of the race yet and are a mere 4 1/2 games behind the Nats. The Nationals are at 92-60, the Braves are at 88-65. And no one is taking anything for granted.
The Brewers, who have won 25 of their last 32 games, are now only only 2.5 games behind St. Louis for the last spot in the Wild Card standings, and with just ten games to play. If the Brewers are to win that spot, with their playoff hopes surprisingly alive after an otherwise disappointing season, they will undoubtedly do it with hitting, as they did on Sunday.
Milwaukee stroked 15 hits against an array of Washington pitching on Sunday, putting together a three run seventh inning that included an infield single and a double. But Milwaukee also benefited from a brutal Nationals’ Park sun field: with both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth unable to make routine catches on soaring fly balls because of the sun’s glare.
The lost-in-the-sun flies weren’t the difference in the game, but they added to the sense of frustration among the D.C. Nine, who struggled for mastery of the Brewers throughout the contest, played in front of an expectant crowd of 33,000-plus. The Nats’ play was less than stellar. “Just one of those days, I guess,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said.
“You can’t catch what you can’t see. There is nothing you can do about it.” Harper said of the mishaps. “The sun monster got me. There is nothing you can do.” The problem for Washington was that its hitters were not able to put together a rally against Milwaukee’s pitching. “There wasn’t much offense,” Davey Johnson said after the loss. “We gave them a few runs. It’s tough to win.”
Friday, August 10th, 2012
Asked in 1954 to assess the impact of the French Revolution, Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai reportedly said — “It’s too soon to tell.” That’s our answer when asked how good the Nationals are, for despite the fact that they have the best record in baseball and would finish atop the N.L. East were the season to end today . . . the fact is the season will not end today.
The truth of the matter is that even with the Nationals most recent 5-0 shutout win (and their dominating sweep of the Astros), there’s still a lot of baseball to play. Two months worth. The Nationals are not shoo-ins for anything and anyone who thinks they are should look up what happened to the 1964 Phillies, or the 2010 Mets.
That the Nationals have yet to face Atlanta in the toughest part of their schedule ought to be enough to dampen any talk of how good the the Nationals are. They simply need to keep playing good baseball. As they did last night in Houston, when Jordan Zimmermann pitched one of his best games of the year and Michael Morse hit two bombs in leading the Nationals to a 5-0 victory over the Astros.
“That’s him,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Zimmermann following his outing. “Very dominant. Overpowered them.” Later, responding to reports that the team had come into Houston tired or “flat,” Johnson rejected the charge. “I was proud of our guys this series,” he said. “It wasn’t flat to me. We battled from the get-go.”
It’s true: the Nationals are as solid now as they have been all season, or better. Their acquisition of Kurt Suzuki makes them better defensively behind the plate and the addition of Cesar Izturis makes them tougher up the middle in the late innings. The teams has the best starting rotation in the game and, as last night proved, they can hit for power.
But as good as the Nationals are, there’s another way to look at the team that should give Washington fans some pause — hesitant though we are to mention it.
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Nationals’ southpaw Gio Gonzalez threw a seven strikeout nine inning complete game, and gained his 14th win of the 2012 campaign in leading the Washington Nationals to a 4-3 win over the Astros on Wednesday. The win was the Nationals fifth win in a row, and third successive over the Houston Nine.
Gonzalez also helped his own cause with a second inning two run home run, after Kurt Suzuki was hit by a pitch, putting a runner on first. It was the lefty’s first home run of his career. But the story was Gio’s gem: Gonzalez threw 117 pitches, 74 of them for strikes — while pitching around nine Houston hits.
“It was impressive,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said following the win. “Gio couldn’t have been any better. He pitched an outstanding ballgame. We hug a lot. I’m going to hug him more. My whole bullpen should hug him. What a great effort.”
Gonzalez was thrilled by both his complete game and his home run. “It means a lot. It’s the first time in my career going nine innings like that,” Gonzalez said after the game. “In a different league, also getting a home run, today is just one of those where you smile about it. But tomorrow is a new day.”
But the game was not without its moments of drama: home plate umpire Angel Hernandez squeezed an angry Bryce Harper on a number of strike calls, though Harper barely kept his temper; and Gonzalez had to pitch around a Houston mini-rally in the ninth inning to keep his win. Following the win, and on the advice of Jayson Werth, Harper did not speak to the press about his troubles with Hernandez.
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Less than twenty-four hours after Washington’s 12 inning 3-2 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, baseball fans are still talking about what could well be “the catch of the year.” Roger Bernadina’s running snag against the wall in center field came off the bat of Brett Wallace with two men on and two outs in the bottom of the twelfth inning and preserved a 3-2 victory as the Nationals won their fourth in a row.
“That game took forever. We want to get out of here,” said Bernadina of his leaping extra inning game-winning gem. “Whatever it takes to get that out right there. That was big.” The catch was witnessed by Washington reliever Craig Stammen, looking on from the Washington bullpen.
Stammen jumped up and down after Bernadina emerged from behind a pillar with the ball. “It was crazy,” Stammen said. “I was trying to hide in that corner so I didn’t have to watch, but I ended up getting the best view of it.”
“That was an unbelievable catch. It saved the game. If he doesn’t catch it, we lose,” Danny Espinosa, Washington’s hit leader on the night added. “To go the distance that he did and leap, that’s a tricky little corner right there against a flat wall. That was an unbelievable catch.”
The Bernadina play brought immediate speculation that it would outpoll an earlier spectacular fielding grab at the wall from the Angels’ Mike Trout, the holder of some plus-30 Baseball Tonight web gem championships. Indeed, the BBTN and Washington Nationals’ twitter universe was abuzz with talk of the Bernadina-Trout competition into the early hours of this morning.
The Bernadina catch tended to overawe what was yet another tough win for the Nationals, and a victory that was much more difficult than it should have been. After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first to Houston, Washington starter Ross Detwiler was nearly perfect, throwing a seven inning three hitter.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
A win is a win is a win is a win. But there are some wins that are particularly painful and last night’s 5-4 extra innings Washington Nationals win in Houston proved to be one of those — particularly if you were Houston. The deciding run came on two errors in the 11th, as Houston fielders collided while fielding an attempted sacrifice bunt from Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki.
The 11th inning Houston error came with Roger Bernadina on first and Suzuki at the plate. When Suzuki bunted, the ball bounced to the right of the mound, where Astros reliever Wilton Lopez and first baseman Steve Pearce collided while trying to field it. Pierce recovered and threw the ball to Jose Altuve covering first, but the ball went past him. Right fielder Brian Bogusevic retrieved the ball, but his throw to Chris Snyder at home went wide — and Bernadina scored.
Houston’s two error play salvaged a win for Washingon, which had entered the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead. But closer Tyler Clippard failed to hold the lead, with Houston’s Jose Altuve doubling off the wall in left field to score Lucas Harrell. “It doesn’t always have to be pretty,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said after the victory, “We bent a lot, but we didn’t break. That’s the good news.”
The night starting out promisingly enough for the Nationals, coming off two wins in a row and a series victory over the Miami Marlins. Washington righty Edwin Jackson was effective into the sixth, ending his night with 5.1 innings pitched and eight strikeouts. And Washington had given Jackson a 4-1 lead on an Adam LaRoche two RBI single in the fourth and successive singles from Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse in the fifth.
But Houston rallied in the ninth off of closer Tyler Clippard, who registered his fourth blown save. But with a Houston runner on third, Clippard struck out Marwin Gonzalez and Brett Wallace to send the game into extra innings. “You’ve just got to forget that you let the game slip away a little bit and lock it back down,” Clippard said of his outing. “I’m thankful I was able to do that.”
Reliever Craig Stammen pitched the 10th and 11th innings, keeping Houston off the board, to get the win. “It’s a character-builder right there,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said of the victory. “You say, ‘I can survive it.’ That’s the character.” That may be true for Washington, but it was another tough loss for Houston — and in front of yet another sparse crowd at Minute Maid Park.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Our article on Cubs’ rookies Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters brought immediate comment from readers who say we forgot to mention that the North Siders have called up lefty Brooks Raley from the minors to start against San Diego on Tuesday . . .
True enough. But we’re right about what the Cubs have in the way of pitching in the minors. We’ll gladly add Raley to our compilation of the best-of-the-best in the Cubs’ system: he’s 4-8 at Iowa and has given up 87 hits in the 82 innings he’s pitched. Hope springs eternal . . .