Posts Tagged ‘Ian Kennedy’

Marlins Hook The Nats, 3-0

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

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Henderson Alvarez pitched seven complete innings and Giancarlo Stanton had two hits and drove in two runs as the Miami Marlins shut out the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on Tuesday night, 3-0. The victory was Miami’s sixth in a row and narrowed the gap separating them from first place in the National League East.

Alvarez showed why he’s one of Miami’s premier starters, particularly at home. Alvarez allowed just three hits while striking out four, outdueling Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg matched Alvarez’s numbers, also allowing just four hits. The Washington righty also struck out four Marlins.

The Nationals had plenty of scoring opportunities against Alvarez, but couldn’t find a way to get their runners across the plate. The Nats had the bases loaded in the second inning with no outs, but failed to score, and then had Anthony Rendon on third and Bryce Harper on first in the fifth but couldn’t push a run across.

Alvarez admitted that he struggled in the early going, before finding his command. “I was in the bullpen and I didn’t feel like I always feel before I hit the field. I wasn’t into it. For several innings I had to fight through it,” Alvarez said of his performance. “When the bases loaded with nobody out, I started to find my control of my pitches and of the game.”

After showing a solid ability to push runners across the plate earlier in the current road trip, the Nationals reclaimed their inability to score with runners on base. Washington left 26 on base last night, threatening Miami’s lead in the last of the 9th, when they again failed to score with the bases loaded.

The game also marked a revival for the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who entered the game at zero for his last nine at bats. But Stanton certainly looked good against the Nationals, lacing a double to left against Strasburg in the bottom of the 6th, scoring Jordany Valdespin.

“I haven’t felt good for a while now,” Stanton said after last night’s victory. “I did a little setup pregame. Hopefully I’m feeling better and more comfortable at the plate. Today was a good plus to that.”

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Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers are in the hunt for starting pitchers, with both teams inquiring about Boston’s Jon Lester, who’s a free agent after the season. The Redbirds have kicked the tires on nearly everyone who’s even remotely available, according to baseball analysts . . .

The once-upon-a-time pitching rich Cardinals are mired right in the middle of the pack with their staff, at least statistically, with both Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia sidelined with arm issues. Wacha has a tweaky shoulder while Garcia is out for the duration with nerve problems in his pitching arm . . .

The loss of Wacha and Garcia have not sent the Cardinals into a tailspin, but St. Louis will need to bolster its pitching to have a shot at another world title. Everyone is in play: the Redbirds have scouted Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and A.j. Burnett of the Phillies, Ian Kennedy of the Padres and Cleveland’s Justin Masterson, in addition to Lester . . .

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Nats Collapse In The 9th, Lose In Miami

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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In what had to be considered the most important game of the year for the Marlins, the Miami Nine scored four runs in the 9th inning on Monday night, and walked off with a stunning 7-6 win against the Nationals. The Nationals entered the 9th with what seemed a sure-thing victory, but Miami capitalized on a poor outing from Nats closer Rafael Soriano to win the game.

Soriano began the catastrophic 9th by walking Casey McGehee, the Marlins’ lead-off hitter, then gave up a double to Garrett Jones. A Marcell Ozuna single then scored McGehee and Miami was suddenly in the game with no one out. Jones then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Adeiny Hechavarria then laced a triple, after Soriano gave up a wild pitch.

Even then, the Nats were still in the game, though Miami had tied it at six. But after closer Soriano hit Donovan Solano with a pitch, Nats manager Matt Williams pulled Soriano in favor of lefty Jerry Blevins. Blevins struck out Christian Yelich before giving up the game winning single to Jeff Baker.

The game was an absolute heart breaker for Nationals fans, who’d seen their team take two of three from Cincinnati and play well on the road. Before Monday night, it even looked as if the Nationals might put some distance between themselves and the second place Atlanta Braves, who scraped by the Padres, 2-0.

The loss came at the expense of Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, who’d pitched one of his best games of the year. Zimmermann threw seven complete innings while giving up just four hits and striking out six. The young righty ace of the Nationals staff had a fastball that Miami’s hitters couldn’t seem to touch.

“He was really good tonight. He was down in the zone, he had a great slider,” Nats’ skipper Matt Williams said of Zimmermann’s outing. “Much better than his last one. The last one was just rust. Tonight, he proved that he is back on it.”

Ross Detwiler and Drew Storen came in in relief of Zimmermann, and while lefty Detwiler gave up a single run on two hits, the Nationals were still in line for the victory — with their top closer (“the best closer in the game,” as the Washington Post described him today) coming into the game.

“Bad day for me,” Soriano said of his performance in the ninth inning. “Every pitch that I threw, I had no command. Everything that I tried to throw didn’t work.”

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Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Marlins are trying to decide whether to be buyers or sellers, with the decision hinging on how they would do against the Nationals. Their stunning win tonight will undoubtedly help them to make the decision, though they remain under .500 by a single game and six games back in the standings . . .

It’s easy to see what the Marlins need: all you need do is take a look at their line-up. The Marlins can hit; they are an on-base team that registers just a tick above the Nationals in runs scored. That’s not true for their pitching staff, which ranks 11th in the National League with a 3.92 ERA . . .

The problem is that pitching isn’t that easy to find and Miami would probably hesitate to give up a top prospect for either a rental or a high-priced starter. Nor are the Marlins willing to part with any of their bullpen pieces, though they’ve reportedly received calls on fireballer Steve Cishek, who wracked up five saves in Miami’s just-completed 6-1 road trip . . .

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Nats, Strasburg Fall To D-Backs

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

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Stephen Strasburg was his usual steady and solid self on Tuesday night in Arizona, but the Diamondbacks’ veteran righty Bronson Arroyo was better, as the Nationals fell to the Rattlers in Phoenix, 3-1. The Nationals were only able to push across a single run against Arroyo, who threw a seven hit complete game for his fourth victory of the 2014 campaign.

The lone Washington run came in the second inning, when Ian Desmond’s triple scored Wilson Ramos. But the National failed to capitalize on their chances that inning, as Monday’s hero Kevin Frandsen hit into a double play to end the threat. Strasburg kept the Nationals close, nearly matching Arroyo, by throwing eight innings of eight hit baseball.

“Overall I thought he pitched fine,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Strasburg’s outing. “Bronson was better tonight though. All over the zone with all the pitches that he had, he kept everybody off balance.”

Arizona scored on Strasburg in the bottom of the 4th on a Paul Goldschmidt double and a Miguel Montero single, then again in the fifth when Goldschmidt scorched another double, scoring Bronson Arroyo and Martin Prado. But it was Arroyo who was the difference in the game.

“That’s the great thing about baseball,” Arroyo said following the victory. “I don’t really have to beat Stephen, I just have to beat their batters for the most part.” A finesse pitcher, Arroyo threw 110 pitches in his complete game outing, 79 of them for strikes.

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Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Arizona G.M. Kevin Towers might be the most unpopular man in Phoenix, with rumors swirling of his imminent firing — the result of a terrible start (4-14 in their first three weeks, the worst in franchise history) and a series of bad trades that have stripped Arizona’s pitching rotation . . .

Even the players have been speaking out. “I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest with you,” third sacker Eric Chavez said at the end of April. “I’ve been on teams that weren’t very good, but at least I felt like we were competitive. So, it’s a bitter pill to swallow . . . ”

There seems little doubt, Towers has a lot to answer for. Nicknamed “the Gunslinger” for his penchant to pull the trigger on big trades, Towers’ hasn’t hesitated to swap home-grown players who (as he would say) haven’t panned out, for aging if experienced veterans who match manager Kirk Gibson’s “tough and gritty” mold . . .

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Kennedy Pitches Padres To 4-2 Victory Vs. Nationals

Monday, April 28th, 2014

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San Diego righty Ian Kennedy stymied the Nationals’ offense on Sunday, throwing seven innings of three hit baseball and striking out nine, as the Padres went on to gain a split in their four game series against Washington, 4-2. Kennedy outdueled six Washington pitchers in gaining the victory, his second of the season.

San Diego’s offense, meanwhile, was powered by eight hits, two of them from outfielder Cameron Maybin, who was seeing his first action of the 2014 season. “Ian pitched his butt off,” Maybin said after the San Diego victory. “Fun being behind a guy like that who can command the zone like he does.”

The Nationals came up nearly empty against Kennedy, with Jayson Werth the only Washington regular who was able to notch two hits against him. It was a rough day for Washington hitters, but also a rough day for the pitching staff. Starter Taylor Jordan was battling the flu when he took the mound and lasted just four innings.

A host of Washington relievers who followed Jordan to the bump battled San Diego hitters — and their own control. Ross Detwiler gave up four hits in just 1.1 innings of work and Aaron Barrett walked two batters while registering a single out. Jerry Blevins, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard pitched well, but by then it was too late.

Huston Street notched his league leading ninth save without a blemish, wrapping up the game. “It’s a really good lineup they have over there, and I know that Adam LaRoche had a big series against us, so having Ian pitch so well was very important,” Street said of the victory. “To see him settle down and get into a groove, it put the momentum back on our side.”

The Nationals have Monday off, but will travel to Houston for a short series against the Astros that begins on Tuesday.

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Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Major league teams dump salaries, they dump old starters and relievers and they dump washed up veterans. But the Arizona Diamondbacks, it seems, dump young and talented starters. How else do you explain last year’s swap of yesterday’s pitching hero, Ian Kennedy, to the Padres back in 2013 . . .?

True — Kennedy was struggling at the time, but he was two years down the road from a 21-4 season. The D-Backs got reliever Joe Thatcher, a minor leaguer (righty pitcher Matt Stites) and a draft pick in return, hardly enough to justify the swap of a proven youngster with electric stuff . . .

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Werth, Strasburg Skin The Snakes

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

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Stephen Strasburg pitched seven solid innings and Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each hit three run home runs, and the Washington Nationals easily downed the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday night, 8-4. The victory capped the first of a three game series, with two games remaining in the Nats’ season.

Strasburg, who is one of the ERA leaders in the National League (at a snappy 3.00), notched only his eighth victory on the year, throwing 101 pitches, 63 of them for strikes. Strasburg was undoubtedly disappointed with his 2013 win total, but Nats’ manager Davey Johnson acknowledged that the young righty didn’t always enjoy good run support from his teammates.

“We didn’t score many runs for him,” Johnson confirmed following the victory. “A bunch of times, we didn’t score any runs, one run or two runs when he was starting. His numbers indicated he should have won 15 ballgames, at least. He was certainly consistent all year long.”

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Despite the 8-9 campaign, Strasburg is 3-0 in his last three starts. “I think physically I held up pretty well,” he said following last night’ victory. “I think one thing I learned is sometimes less is more. I like to work really hard and when you reach a point in September you’ve really got to back things off or it’s going to be counterproductive.”

The Nats powered Strasburg to victory on home runs from Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos. The Werth home run came in the top of the fifth with Anthony Rendon and Jeff Kobernus on base, while the Ramos home run came in the top of the 8th with Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond on base.

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Ohlendorf’s Spot Start Lifts The Nats

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Ross Ohlendorf returned to the major leagues on Wednesday night, and led the Washington Nationals to a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Ohlendorf threw six innings of two hit baseball and, after the win, Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said he was going to find a way “to keep him around.”

Signed this past winter by the Nationals as a minor league free agent, Ohlendorf pitched for the Padres in 2012 (he was 4-4), and was anxious to get back to the big leagues. His most successful season was in 2009, when he was 11-10 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I knew that I needed to pitch well,” Ohlendorf said. “Their lineup’s really good, too. I knew I was capable of having a good game, I just needed to make sure to do it.”

“He had good movement on [his pitches],” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said after the win. “He used the curveball and slider, used both sides of the plate, and I liked his windup, too. That reminded me of some old-fashioned windups.”

Three of the Nationals five runs were produced by shortstop Ian Desmond, who was 2-3 on the night with three RBIs. Desmond is in the midst of a fourteen game hitting streak, and is 14-34 in June, raising his batting average to .282. Desmond is hitting .421 over the last seven games.

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The Rattlers “Disappointing” Season

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

After winning the World Series back in 2001, the D-backs were set for immortality. After all, the championship came in just their fourth full major league season and their roster was packed. The problem was the team was old (there was no one under 31 in the front nine), and it was only a matter of time before it needed to be retooled.

Still, D-backs fans had reason to hope: the team sported a solid ownership and front office, a good scouting staff and a solid minor league system. Which is why it’s somewhat of a surprise that the team hasn’t returned to the series since, while making a run at it in 2007 and being in the hunt in 2011.

This was supposed to be the year. Early season projections had Arizona winning the N.L. West, based on an improved starting rotation and a bullpen that was a surprise in 2011. Give 2011′s 29 game improvement over the previous year, this made sense: the D-backs got a new ground ball pitcher in Trevor Cahill in a trade with the A’s, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was pegged to have a breakout year and the team signed slugger Jason Kubel to roam the outfield.

But things haven’t gone as planned in the Valley of the Sun — and it starts, as always, with pitching. The D-backs have a less-than-stellar 3.93 team ERA, and while their front line rotation doesn’t walk anyone, it gives up a lot of hits: opponents are batting a disturbing .259 against them. Only five other N.L. teams are worse.

The problems start with Ian Kennedy. A 21 game winner in the 2011 campaign, Kennedy has won all of 11 games this year, while his ERA has ballooned to 4.34. Then there’s Daniel Hudson, a sixteen game winner last year. This year? He’s just emerged from Tommy John surgery — an injury that’s the equivalent of a knock-down punch for a team least prepared to suffer it.

The rest of the rotation has been a blur: Joe Saunders and Trevor Cahill have been serviceable, though not brilliant, with Wade Miley emerging as the good news. The former first rounder (in 2008) has become the staff ace, with a 12-7 record and a 2.85 ERA.

And then there’s Justin Upton: his power numbers are down, he’s been booed by fans, and his play has bordered on laziness. Last month, on the eve of the trade deadline, General Manager Kevin Towers called him into his office and informed him that if the D-backs got an overwhelming offer (a young ace to buttress their staff) they’d ship him out of town.

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