Posts Tagged ‘Michael Morse’

“Just Brutal” — Morse Heads To Seattle

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

The first blush of comments are in on the trade of Michael “A-ha” Morse to Seattle, and the reviews are mostly negative. That is to say: they’re mostly negative in Seattle. “Lookout Landing,” the high profile Mariners blog, calls the trade “just brutal,” while “Baseball Nation” gives the Nationals an “A,” leaving a gaping “no comment” for the forever struggling Navigators.

Washington Nationals fans undoubtedly have a different perspective. Gone is the big galoot with the eccentric warm-up swing, the “Take On Me” walk-up music — and all the good memories. Which includes a well-I’ll-be’damned 2011 season in which the former White Sox prospect lifted the D.C. Nine from cellar dwellers to “most talked about.”

Morse’s 2011 season is worth remembering — a .303 BA with 31 HRs. The season lifted Morse into the stratosphere, with descriptions of how a “late bloomer” can finally find his way into the game. That reputation was only sullied slightly by an injury marred 2012, in which (if truth be told), Morse never could find his stride.

“Quite simply, the Nationals dealt from a position of excess (Morse) to replenish their farm system (starting pitching),” the Washington Post’s Jame Wagner writes. That’s true, but the Morse swap also is a certain signal that Mike Rizzo’s four player shipment to the A’s during the last off-season (another “gone in 60s seconds” moment), might well have left the G.M. with an untidy feeling that perhaps the Nats had shipped out one prospect too many.


Mattheus And Moore Snatch A Victory In St. Louis

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

The Washington Nationals fought back from a shaky Gio Gonzalez start, kept the game close, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on an eighth inning Tyler Moore pinch hit single to defeat the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The victory gave the Nats a 3-2 win in their first game against the Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

The victory marked the first ever post-season triumph for the D.C. Nine, who seemed on their way to defeat until a St. Louis shortstop Peter Kozma’s fielding error put Michael Morse on first with the potential tying run in the 8th. Ian Desmond followed with a single to right, sending Morse to third.

Even then, Washington had difficulty scoring: Danny Espinosa (who’d struck out in his previous three at bats) laid down a bunt, sending Ian Desmond to second. But the Espinosa bunt accounted for the inning’s first out. Kurt Suzuki followed Espinosa and struck out swinging.

It was then that super-sub Tyler Moore came off the bench and worked his magic, sending a Mark Rzepczynski offering into right field to give the Nationals the lead. “He threw some pretty tough pitches to me,” Moore said after the win. “I fouled off a couple. I was just able to kind of stick it out there and put the barrel on one, and it flared out to right.”

The Cardinals then had two chances to tie or win the game, but the Nationals bullpen proved equal to the challenge. Tyler Clippard worked the bottom of the 8th inning, setting down the Cardinals in order after the lead-off hitter reached on a throwing error from Ryan Zimmerman.


Nats Finish As The Best In Baseball

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

No one, but no one, would have thought this back in 2005 — when the Nationals arrived in Washington, D.C.. And only a handful (and maybe not even that) would have thought this at the beginning of this year.

But today the Washington Nationals closed out the 2012 campaign with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to seal the best record in the major leagues. It’s now official: the Nationals are the best team in baseball. This was their 98th victory.

The Nationals are not only the best team in baseball, they’re the team to beat in the playoffs. Today showed why. The Phillies (who used to be called the reigning N.L. East Champs, until the Nats snatched the title away) were tamed handily by Edwin Jackson, who threw 6.2 convincing innings, giving up a single run with six strikeouts.

The Nationals played their subs, or at least many of them, but it didn’t matter. The D.C. Nine boasted home runs from Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Morse, while Washington stroked eleven hits. Even Jonathan Papelbon, hoping to end his season on a high note, was victimized for two runs in the Nationals’ 8th.

Relievers Christian Garcia, Sean Burnett and Michael Gonzalez finished off what Jackson started, blanking Phillie in just over two innings of work: they made it look easy. This was a historic season for the Nationals: they not only locked up the top seed in the post-season, their 98 wins were 18 more than last year — nearly unheard of in baseball.


Suzuki, Stammen Save The Nats In St. Louis

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

The September roller coaster continues. The Nationals were nine outs away from a 4-0 victory, then three outs away from a 4-3 victory, but in neither instance could they hold the lead — and it took a heroic 10th inning that included a two RBI double from Kurt Suzuki and a lights-out relief performance from Craig Stammen for the team to come away with a 6-4 victory in St. Louis.

The extra inning triumph shaved the Nationals magic number to clinch the N.L. East flag to one, which could come today when they close out their series against the Cardinals. “We’re going to be ready, lace it up and let’s get it done,” Washington closer Drew Storen said after last night’s win.”

The Nationals were staked to an early lead from left fielder Michael Morse, whose line drive grand slam home run in the first inning provided a strange start for the game: after the umpires retreated to the clubhouse to determine whether the ball had actually left the field, they required Morse and his teammates to rerun the bases.

While at the plate, Morse added his own touch — swinging a phantom bat, complete with a phantom swing. “I guess I didn’t have to do that,” he admitted, following the victory, “but if I didn’t do it and they were like, ‘No! You’re out!’ I would never sleep again.”


21 & 21

Friday, September 28th, 2012

On the night that the Washington Nationals closed in on the National League East flag, Bryce Harper hit his 21st home run of the season (in the first inning) and Gio Gonzalez won his 21st game: and the Nationals beat the  Phillies 7-3 at PNC Park in Philadelphia. The victory put the Nationals number to clinch the N.L. East at three games.

The Gonzalez win solidified his hold as the National League’s premier starter, and the leading candidate to win the coveted Cy Young award. The southpaw threw six innings of six hit baseball, striking out six while giving up three earned runs.

Gio’s outing probably ended Philadelphia’s hope for a post-season berth, as the Ponies are six out of the Wild Card with six games to play.

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel had nothing but praise for his Washington rivals in the wake of the loss. “They’ve got a good team. They can beat you,” he said. “The shortstop [Ian Desmond] really put up a good season this year. The guy in left field [Morse] didn’t play a lot, but he looks pretty good when he’s playing . . . And Harper is going to be something really special.”


L.A. Answers Nats 8th Inning Rally

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

An improbable and heroic comeback from the hometown nine — a six run 8th inning that tied the game at six apiece — was undone in the 9th inning by a Matt Kemp home run off of Nationals’ reliever Tyler Clippard, and the Los Angeles Dodgers took the second game of a doubleheader at Nationals Park, 7-6.

The loss kept the Nationals from clinching a playoff spot, but brought the crowd at the Half Street stadium to their feet to cheer their team on in one of the more exciting rallies of the season. The comeback followed two three run sets scored off of Nationals starter John Lannan in the third and the fourth innings. But, as it turned out, the rally fell short of providing a needed victory.

The six run eighth inning started with a Michael Morse home run, followed by an Ian Desmond single. Steve Lombardozzi followed, with his third home run of the season, and suddenly the Nationals were back in the game, having cut L.A.’s lead in half.

After Jesus Flores grounded out and Corey Brown reached on an error by first sacker Adrian Gonzalez, L.A. manager Don Mattingly did what he should have done to start the inning — he pulled starter Josh Beckett, who had tamed the Nationals through seven complete.

But the Nationals had only begun their rally. With reliever Randy Choate on the mound, pinch hitter Mark DeRosa singled, pushing Brown to third. Bryce Harper then followed, with the fifth hit of the inning, plating the inning’s fourth run. Danny Espinosa then came to the plate, singled — and suddenly the bases were loaded.


Nats Take The First Of Two From L.A.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

After suffering through a three game funk in Atlanta, it appears that the playoff bound Washington Nationals have finally broken out, with a 3-1 victory over the up-and-down Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a double header on Wednesday at Nationals Park. The much needed victory gave Jordan Zimmermann his 11th victory on the year.

Kurt Suzuki and Ryan Zimmerman — and starter JZ, of course — were the heroes of Wednesday’s match-up, a postponed make-up game from Tuesday’s wash-out. Catcher Suzuki accounted for Washington’s first run, on a sacrifice fly that scored Michael Morse in the bottom of the second, while Ryan Zimmerman scored Bryce Harper on a ground out to the right side in the bottom of the 5th.

The Nationals stroked ten hits off of L.A. starter Aaron Harang, who registered his tenth loss on the season. But this was a tough and close game for the Nationals and for starter Zimmermann, and the Dodgers have always played the hometown nine tough.