Posts Tagged ‘milwaukee brewers’

Ramos, Zimmermann Lead The Nats

Monday, September 16th, 2013


Washington catcher Wilson Ramos was 4-4 and drove in five runs, and righty starter Jordan Zimmermann notched his league-leading 18th win of the year, and the Nationals routed the Philadelphia Phillies 11-2 at Nationals Park on Sunday. The win, coupled with a Cincinnati loss in Milwaukee, brought the home towners within 4.5 games of the last Wild Card slot.

While the Nationals pounded out eighteen hits against a hapless Philadelphia pitching staff, Ramos was clearly the star of the show: the Nationals’ backstop singled in the bottom of the 1st (and plated Bryce Harper), singled again in the bottom of the 4th (scoring Harper again), homered to center in the 6th and singled in the 7th to score Zach Walters and Adam LaRoche.

Ramos has been a workhorse for the Nationals, appearing Sunday in his 23rd consecutive game. “He’s been hitting the heck out of the ball, catching good, throwing people out. He’s hard to take out of the lineup,” Washington skipper Davey Johnson said of his 26-year old catcher. “We’ve missed him for two years, so we’re going to ride him.”

But Ramos’ career day did little to overshadow the performance of righty Jordan Zimmermann, who’s been Washington’s staff ace for the 2013 campaign. Zimmermann turned in seven innings complete innings of seven hit baseball while striking out seven in taming the Philadelphia line-up.

“It feels good, but then again, I’ll trade all those wins in for a spot in the playoffs,” Zimmermann said after his victory. “That’s the only thing that matters right now. We’re playing good ball and scoring some runs, so it’s definitely fun.”

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It took the Nationals just over three hours to polish off Philadelphia, who sent five pitchers to the mound in an effort to short-circuit Washington’s attack. The Phillies have great hopes for starter Tyler Cloyd, a sleeper pick in the 18th round of the 2008 draft. But the Nats victimized Cloyd with ten hits and five runs in four innings.

“Any time you have a bad outing, no matter how many good ones you have, you’re always disappointed,” Cloyd said after the Phillies’ loss. “Obviously I’m more disappointed that I’m pitching bad and not giving the team a chance to win. I’ve got to figure it out somehow.

While Ramos led the Nationals attack, he had plenty of help. Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond had two hits each (with Span extending his hitting streak to 26 straight games), while Bryce Harper was 3-5 on the day and raised his 2013 batting average to .280. Harper was 6-12 in the Philadelphia series.


Nats Can’t Survive Phillies Fifth

Sunday, September 15th, 2013


The coulda-woulda-shoulda Nationals might have won Saturday night’s contest against the Philllies at Nationals Park, if only home ump Jim Joyce had not been so liberal with the strike zone, if only a liner off the bat of Wilson Ramos had been inches further up-the-middle: if only Gio Gonzalez hadn’t lost his command in the fifth inning.

Unfortunately, however, none of that happened: Jim Joyce called strike three on a pitch clearly out of the strike zone, the Wilson Ramos liner was deftly gloved in the bottom of the 9th by slick-leather expert Jimmy Rollins, and Gio Gonzalez gave up four runs in the fifth, as the Nationals were downed by the Phillies at Nationals Park, 5-4.

The Phillies victory ended the Nationals winning streak at seven, giving Washington its 70th loss of the year, a heartbreaker that, when coupled with a Redlegs win in Milwaukee left the home towners 5.5 games back in the race for the last Wild Card slot. There are just fourteen games left to play.

The key for the Phillies was catcher Carlos Ruiz, who was 2-5 on the night with three RBIs. It was a Ruiz double to deep right in the 5th inning (Jayson Werth waved at it as it sailed past), that cleared the bases and gave Gonzalez his seventh loss of the season. A furious rally by the Nationals in the bottom of the 7th, meanwhile, fell a single run short.

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“As a pitcher, it is a tough pill to swallow when you want to go out there and do your best, especially for the guys the way they’re swinging the bat,” starter Gonzalez said of his shaky fifth inning. “To give up those runs makes a huge difference. That could have changed the whole game.”

The Washington fifth showed that Philadelphia is still a formidable team: Gonzalez began the top of the inning by striking out left fielder Freddy Galvis, but then gave up a home run to John Mayberry, a long ball specialist with not much to show for his year in terms of BA.

And the inning was downhill from there. Cole Hamels and Cesar Hernandez followed Galvis with successive singles. While Gonzalez responded by inducing a fly out from Jimmy Rollins, Gonzalez loaded the bases by walking Chase Utley. Carlos Ruiz then authored the inning’s coup, hitting a bases clearing double into right field.


Span Catch Stymies Giants’ Rally

Thursday, August 15th, 2013


With two runners on in the top of the 9th and San Francisco rallying against a reeling Nationals’ relief corps, Giants’ right fielder Hunter Pence hit a line drive into the gap in left center field — a clutch hit that would have certainly tied, and might have even won the game for the McCovey’s.

But fleet-footed Denard Span raced back and to his right, leaving his feet to snag the drive — thereby preserving a 6-5 Nationals victory. Span’s game saving play was greeted with a standing ovation by Nats’ fans, who also celebrated the team’s fifth win in a row. “I didn’t think he had it,” Jayson Werth said of the play.

“I take pride in my defense,” Span told reporters after the victory. “Would I like to be hitting .400? Of course. But I love the feeling of taking a hit from somebody or robbing a home run or robbing an extra-base hit. There’s no better feeling than being able to do that, especially like tonight.”

The Nationals victory came at the expense of Tim Lincecum, whose no hitter several weeks ago was the highpoint of his season. Lincecum was not nearly as effective on Wednesday, giving up six runs and seven hits in just six innings of work, including a 448 foot blast off the bat of Giants’ killer Ian Desmond.

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Desmond’s home run and a double off the bat of Anthony Rendon with the bases loaded in the fourth inning provided a large and early Washington lead for starter Jordan Zimmermann, who was attempting to win his National League leading fourteenth game of the season.

The Desmond-Rendon heroics should have sealed the game for the home town Nationals, but San Francisco kept chipping away, especially after Zimmermann left the game after throwing seven innings of six hit baseball. Ian Krol and Ryan Mattheus proved ineffective in the 8th, with Tyler Clippard coming in to put out the San Francisco fire.


Nats Set To Face Braves In Key Series

Monday, August 5th, 2013


Stephen Strasburg will face Mike Minor and the Atlanta Braves tonight at Nationals Park in the first of a crucial three game set. The Nationals enter the series with high expectations, but trailing the N.L. East leader by 12.5 games.

The Nationals had hoped to cut that deficit in Milwaukee, but failed to sweep the Brewers — dropping the last game of the three game set by an 8-5 score. The Nationals seemed to have the game in hand, but the Brewers scored five runs in the 6th inning to cap a mid-game rally.

The defeat featured all of Washington’s shortcomings: a failure to hit with runners in scoring position, a shaky bullpen and a starter who pitched well to begin a game but proved unable to finish the job. Taylor Jordan was the latest Washington starter who was a victim. After five solid innings, the Brewers were able to get to him in the 6th.

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“I was feeling good,” Jordan said of his outing. “Everything seemed to be working . It’s just how I wanted it. And then the sixth inning came around and something changed. The balls were elevated a little bit. I was trying too hard. I think I lost a little bit of life and the ball started to cut a little bit.”


Looking For A Sweep In Milwaukee

Sunday, August 4th, 2013


The Nationals are determined “not to look at the clock,” as James Wagner said in this morning’s Washington Post, but to take the rest of the season one game at at a time. That sounds like a good idea, particularly for a team that is 11.5 games behind the National League East leading Atlanta Braves.

The Nationals have made a start on the long road back to contention, taking two of three games from the Brewers in Milwaukee, the most recent a snappy 3-0 shutout spun on the arm of up-and-down starter Dan Haren, who got help on home runs launched by Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos.

But it was Haren who was most impressive. The veteran righty gave the Washington Nine his second impressive outing in as many starts, holding the Brewers to just four hits in seven complete innings of work, upping his mediocre in-season won/loss record to 6-11. Haren handcuffed the Brewers, striking out six while walking just two.

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The Nationals sprayed a semi-meager seven hits, but scored their runs on solid at bats from Anthony Rendon (an RBI sacrifice fly in the second), Wilson Ramos (a home run in the top of the 5th), and a slumping Adam LaRoche, who connected for his 15th one inning later.

LaRoche’s round tripper was most welcome, as the first sacker has seen his batting average dip by more than ten points over the last ten games. LaRoche broke through after taking advice from Ian Desmond, who suggested he use Jayson Werth’s bat for his sixth inning at bat.


Robin Yount’s Legacy

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013


The Milwaukee Brewers took time out from their otherwise forgettable season on Friday night to pay homage to Robin Yount, one of two of their inductees into the baseball Hall of Fame. It was the 20th anniversary of Yount’s retirement, and he was joined on the field by Milwaukee favorite Henry Aaron and reliever Rollie Fingers.

It was a good interlude, a chance for Brewers’ fans to forget about Ryan Braun, the slugger Milwaukee partisans believed would one day join Yount in Cooperstown: an event that seems unlikely now. Friday, then, was a confirmation of sorts. It is Yount’s legacy that matters in Milwaukee, not Braun’s.

But then, the numbers alone should be proof that it’s Yount that counts, regardless of Braun. For twenty years, the Hall of Fame shortstop (and sometime center fielder), defined baseball for Milwaukee. A lifetime .285 hitter, Yount won two Most Valuable Player awards, accumulated 3142 hits, was a doubles machine and stole 271 bases.

Even more important, particularly if you’re a Brewers’ fan, Yount rooted the game in Milwaukee — a city that had seen the Braves head to Atlanta and only belatedly inherited the crippled Seattle Pilots. The move of the Pilots to Milwaukee was so sudden that the Brewers’ original uniforms were Seattle retreads, with a new Brewers’ logo sewn on.

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Zimmermann, Harper Down The Crew

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013


Jordan Zimmermann pitched six solid innings allowing just four hits without giving up a run, and Bryce Harper hit his sixteenth round tripper of the year as the Nationals downed the Brewers in Milwaukee, 4-1 on Friday night. The badly needed victory revived hopes that the Nationals could still make a run at the Braves in the N.L. East.

Zimmermann had been searching for his thirteenth win (after five so-so outings) and finally got it on Friday: he threw 100 pitches, 65 of them for strikes, and struck out five Brewers. The Nationals notched twelves hits against Milwaukee pitchers, including solid nights from Harper (2-5), Jayson Werth (who upped his BA to .309), Denard Span (2-4) and Wilson Ramos (also 2-4).

“You always want to do well in your home state in front of all your family and friends,” Zimmermann said following the victory. “I was happy to put up some zeros and get the month of July over with and get a new month.”

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Bryce Harper’s outspoken comments on the Nationals after the disastrous Detroit series continued to reverberate in the team’s clubhouse. Harper said that the Nationals needed to play more like a family, as they did in 2012. It seems as if most Nationals’ players agree with him, but it helped that he stepped up himself in the victory at Miller Park.