Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Flores’

Edwin K’s The Cards

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Edwin Jackson pitched his best game as a starter for the Washington Nationals on Thursday — an eight inning gem that brought out the best in a team that had recently suffered a five game losing streak. The final 8-1 result reestablished the Nationals as the team to beat in the National League East, in which the D.C. Nine have maintained a 5.5 game lead on the Atlanta Braves

Jackson was brilliant. He held the Redbirds to four hits, while striking out ten and walking two. Jackson had “electric stuff,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said after the win. “It’s just a matter of throwing strikes,” Jackson confirmed. “I really don’t pitch to strikeouts. I really don’t know how many strikeouts I have until someone tells me after the game. I just pitch and try to go as deep in the game as can.”

Jackson’s gem was accompanied by a thirteen hit performance from his teammates, which included home runs by Bryce Harper (that’s three in two games) and Jayson Werth. Harper’s line drive home run into the Nats’ bullpen in the first inning gave the Nats’ a lead they would never relinquish.

The Nationals barrage highlighted the team’s ability to put runs on the board when they need to. In Thursday’s game, their latest victim was Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia, who gave up nine hits and six earned runs in just 5.1 innings. Michael Morse (3-4), Ian Desmond (2-4) and Jesus Flores (2-4) also had big nights for the hometowners.

The home crowd of some 23,000-plus was thrilled to see Bryce Harper continue his revival at the plate. And Harper was also pleased. “It felt pretty good,” Harper said of his first inning blast. “I think having Werth hit in front of me just gets me going and he sets the tone. It just calms me down and he lets me go up there and just swing it.”

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Strasburg, Flores Hand The Braves Another Defeat

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Stephen Strasburg struck out ten and Jesus Flores hit a three run home run to lead the Washington Nationals to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. The victory put the Nationals up by seven games against their N.L. East rivals.

Strasburg was dominating in his outing: in addition to the ten strikeouts, he threw six complete innings while giving up only four hits. “He was on with everything, fastball, and he threw some change ups that had almost split-finger-type, forkball type action on it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the loss. “He was good. He was difficult to try and square up.”

The big blow of the game came in the fifth inning, when Washington catcher Jesus Flores put a Paul Maholm offering off the railing in left field. The home run, Flores’ fourth of the year, came with Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond on base. “I knew going in that Flores hits [Maholm] pretty good,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said. “I think he had two home runs in six at-bats and was hitting .500.”

Strasburg pitched despite a 51 minute rain delay after 2.2 innings. Davey Johnson said that if the delay had reached a full hour that Strasburg would have come out of the game. The delay seemed to have little impact on Strasburg, however, who picked up where he left off against Atlanta hitters.

“He was throwing the heck out of the ball,” Johnson said in recounting his decision to leave Strasburg in the game. “He had the luxury of being able to throw a couple of times in our batting cage, so I felt like he was still pretty hot.”

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Assessing The Suzuki Swap

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

It now seems obvious that the Nationals have been looking for a catcher from the moment that Wilson Ramos went on the disabled list — while hoping, the whole time, that Jesus Flores would make that search unnecessary. But on Saturday, Nationals’ G.M. Mike Rizzo traded catching prospect David Freitas to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki, making it clear that Flores would be his back-up.

The swap elicited a community wide ho-hum from the usual national baseball gurus, but it was big news in Oakland, where Suzuki was a fan favorite and once deemed a crucial part of the A’s future. Oakland G.M. Billy Beane signed Suzuki to a five year contract worth $16.25 million back in 2010 — an unusual, if not unheard of, splurge for the small market White Elephants.

“Trade Shocks Kurt Suzuki, A’s Teammates,” was the headline of the San Francisco Chronicle article that gave details of the Suzuki swap. “The move shook the clubhouse, left the team without its longest-tenured player and turned Derek Norris into the No. 1 catcher,” the article intoned, and then went on to imply that not everyone in green was pleased.

“Kurt took me under his wing when I got here,” A’s righty fastball artist Jarrod Parker told the Chronicle, “like the other young (pitchers) without much experience, and made my transition easier. I attribute the success I’ve had to him. It sucks, but it’s the nature of thebeast.”

Pitcher Brett Anderson was also circumspect, describing Suzuki as “an integral part of our team on and off the field, especially for a guy like me who throws a lot of balls in the dirt. We’ve got ‘Ninja’ back there. He’s the most agile catcher I’ve everseen.” Beane apparently knew the move would be controversial but defended it by implying that Suzuki needed a change of scene. “I think this will be good for Kurt,” Beane said. “He gets a chance to play every day.”

The “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for you” explanation is standard practice for raising children, but it doesn’t wash in baseball. What Billy Beane means is that having paid Suzuki for performing as a backstop that everyone believed would be at the heart of the Oakland franchise for years to come, he became disenchanted with Suzuki’s performance at the plate.

There’s nothing worse than someone who heads to the bank and then fails to produce.

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Gio Outduels Dickey, Nats Win 5-2

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

In a face-off of the National League’s best pitchers, the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez bested R.A. Dickey in New York, and the Nats came away with a win at Citi Field, 5-2. There’s little question, the Nationals had problems with Dickey — with the knuckleballing righty holding the Nationals to a single run through five complete innings.

But, at least on this night, Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez was better, spinning a seven inning two hit gem that resulted in his 13th win. So if Dickey was good (and he was, even into the troublesome 6th) then Gonzalez was masterful. Eschewing his legendary strikeout fastball, Gonzalez induced eleven ground balls on sixteen balls put in play — then added four strikeouts while walking only two.

The Nats got to Dickey in the sixth inning, when a Michael Morse single was followed by a right field upper deck home run from Adam LaRoche. It was “LaBomb’s” 17th round tripper of the year. The crucial sixth also included successive singles from the surging Danny Espinosa, Roger Bernadina and Jesus Flores. The Flores single plated two runs to end Washington’s offensive onslaught.

This was Dickey’s first loss since April, which shows how much the Mets have depended on him. And for the most part, key Washington hitters flailed away at his frisbee. The normally unflappable Dickey seemed to be just that on Tuesday night. He had seven strikeouts and walked only one batter in his outing. But in the sixth something happened: he gave up five straight hits after notching two outs.

The resulting loss plunged the Mets further into third place. The Kranepools have lost eleven of their last twelve, with little help on the way. Nor is there any guarantee that things will somehow get better. Tomorrow the Mets will trot out no-name righty Jeremy Hefner (1-3 on the season, with a 5.85 ERA) to face Stephen Strasburg. Yikes.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Who is the winningest team in July? Must be the Angels, right? Or the Rangers — or even the Yankees. Those three would make sense. But the winningest team in July is your Oakland Athletics, who are 15-2 for the month and are climbing up the A.L. West standings.

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Miami Duel Yields Marlins Win

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Saturday night’s much anticipated duel of lefties didn’t disappoint, as Miami’s Mark Buehrle faced off against Nationals southpaw Gio Gonzalez — with the Washington Nine coming up one run short in a 2-1 loss at Marlins Park. “It was a must-win game against the team we are chasing,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said after the Miami victory.

The difference in the game came in the 5th inning, on a John Buck single that broke a 1-1 tie. Gonzalez was brilliant in his outing, but Buehrle was just a tad better. Gonzalez pitched six complete innings, giving up five hits and striking out nine, while Buehrle pitched seven complete, striking out seven.

In the end, the Nationals couldn’t muster the hits the needed against Miami reliever Steve Cishek, who pitched the final 1.2 innings of the game to secure a much-needed Miami triumph. “It’s a shame,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said after the loss. “Gio pitched a heck of a ballgame. We had many opportunities out there. We just couldn’t get it.”

The Nationals will need a victory today to secure a possible series win. And the team needs to hit: last night the lone Nationals’ run came on a sacrifice fly from Jesus Flores in the top of the fifth, which scored Ian Desmond. The rest of the Nationals line-up was anemic, though Washington outhit the Marlins, seven to six. Flores was 2-3 for the night, with Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina making up the Nationals attack.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Hope springs eternal in Chicago — the Cubs are pitching better and hitting better, with their young infield scooping up anything in sight. Saturday’s win against the D-Backs might well have been a sign of things to come: the D-Backs were never in the game, with veteran righty Ryan Dempster throwing another gem.

But this year, at least, Cubs fans are unlikely to be disappointed by a last minute slump: the Cubs aren’t anywhere near contending, and everyone knows it. Then too, what Cubs fans see on the field (and especially on the mound) won’t be there by the end of the month. Dempster is a case in point: there were scouts from no fewer than four other teams in the stands yesterday, and it’s known that the Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers, Braves, Indians and White Sox are interesting in acquiring him.

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Nationals Win Their 50th

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Ryan Zimmerman hit his ninth home run of the season and Jesus Flores knocked in two to back the four hit, six inning pitching of Jordan Zimmermann — leading the Nationals to a 5-1 victory over the Marlins in Miami. It was the Nationals 50th win of the 2012 campaign.

In fact, the game was not nearly as close as the score indicates — and Miami, once viewed as a contender for the N.L. East title, continues to struggle. Marlins’ fireballer, the formidable Josh Johnson, gave up eleven hits and was only able to pitch into the 6th inning. By then, the game was out of reach.

“I don’t think he was very sharp at all,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of Johnson, who fell to 5-6 on the season. “He wasn’t throwing the ball where he wanted to. He was a little bit off today, a little bit off.” The same could not be said of Zimmermann, who was dominating. Zimmermann threw 87 pitches, 61 of them for strikes — and struck out six. His 2.48 ERA ranks him fifth in the National League.

Two of the Nationals runs came in the sixth, when Zimmerman’s left field shot gave the Nationals an insurmountable lead. Zimmerman has picked up from where he left off before the All Star break. Zimmerman was 3-4 on the night, and raised his average to .250 on the season — which is a 22 point increase from late June.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Fish have always had an uncanny ability to take themselves apart, and this year is no different. The latest squabble pits sometimes shaky closer Heath Bell against slumping catcher John Buck.

“Im not going to say anything bad about our catchers and Im not going to say anything about our situations calling games,” Bell told reporters in explaining his ineffectiveness to reporters last Thursday — after another blown save. “Im not going to call anybody else out.”

Buck responded: saying that Bell had a head on his shoulders — and if he didn’t like a pitch call he could always shake him off. Yesterday, Bell and Buck “cleared the air,” with Bell saying he was simply rambling on with reporters. It ended up being absolutely nothing, just a misunderstanding, Buck said in reviewing his discussion with Bell. . . . He seemed pretty sincere.

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Morse Rescues Nats In Atlanta

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

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Michael Morse’s eighth inning blast salvaged a nail-biting 5-4 victory in Atlanta on Friday — giving the D.C. Nine their first win of the three game set against their N.L. East rivals.

The Morse home run came after the team squandered a four run, 4-0, lead: the result of a second inning Ross Detwiler single, a third inning Ian Desmond extra base knock, and a home run from Jesus Flores. The Nats pounded out fifteen hits in the win.

Morse’s home run came in the 8th inning, and it was the difference maker. “I’m starting to have better at-bats, starting to recognize pitches and see pitches,” Morse said after the win.

The Nationals got a good start back-of-the-rotation guy Ross Detwiler, but it was Sean Brunett and Tyler Clippard that kept the Nats in the game. Burnett got the win for the Nationals, while Clippard registered the save.