Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Twins’
Monday, June 10th, 2013
The Nationals came from three runs down to take the second game of a day-night doubleheader, beating the Twins last night at Nationals Park, 5-4. It was the first time the team had rallied from three runs behind all season. After the victory, the Nationals headed to Colorado, where they will begin a three city nine game road trip.
“This was huge, we really needed this,” shortstop Ian Desmond said after the Nationals had swept the Sunday twin bill. After posting a 7-0 blowout on Sunday afternoon, the Nats continued to scorch Twins’ pitching with ten hits, scoring single runs in the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
“It was a good feeling when you’re behind and you keep chipping away, you don’t give up. This was probably our best ballgame,” center fielder Denard Span told reporters after the win. “Normally early on in the season when we would get behind, we would just fold and give away at-bats. [Today] we just kept fighting and having good at-bats.”
The key to victory in the second game, however, was not simply the hitting, but the bullpen’s continued ability to keep their opponents out of the scoring column. After a rocky outing from Nathan Karns, Craig Stammen pitched two innings of hitless ball to allow the Nationals to get back in the game.
The offense responded by mounting a comeback that was sparked by a Denard Span triple in the 6th (which scored Anthony Rendon — tying the game), and by back-to-back doubles (from Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond) that put the Nationals on top to stay in the bottom of the 7th.
In this game, at least, the victory proceeded as the Nationals intended: with Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano pitching the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Tyler Clippard got the win, Drew Storen notched his eighth hold and Rafael Soriano accounted for his sixteenth save.
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
It seems like forever, but the last time the Nationals won this big was against the Orioles, back on May 29. On Sunday, in the first game of a day-night doubleheader, the Nationals finally broke their bats loose for a 7-0 pasting of the Minnesota Twins, the first time they’d scored that many runs since beating the O’s 9-3.
The seven run outburst backed yet another top-notch outing from Nats’ righty Jordan Zimmermann, who held the Twins to just two hits while pitching seven complete innings. Ian Krol and Xavier Cedeno pitched the 8th and 9th innings in completing the shutout.
Zimmermann is now 9-3 with a 2.00 ERA on the season, but has been perfect at Nationals’ Park since losing to the Pirates at home in May of 2012. It is likely that Zimmermann might have been able to throw a complete game, but he ended the 7th inning having thrown 111 pitches, 77 of them for strikes.
The Nats outburst, meanwhile, was paced by two hits from newbie Jeff Kobernus, two hits from Jayson Werth and Adam Laroche, a 3-4 day from Ian Desmond — and three RBIs from new second sacker Anthony Rendon. The Nationals victimized Twins’ starter Scott Diamond, who wasn’t able to make it out of the 5th inning, when the Nationals put five runs on the board.
Diamond, a second year Twins’ southpaw gave up seven runs in all (with six of them earned) on ten hits. Diamond entered the game with his ERA at 4.82 on the season, but he left in the fifth inning with his ERA at 5.19.
The Nationals are now 30-31 on the season and have climbed back into second place in the National League East, the result of a 9-1 Philadelphia loss at the hands of the Brewers.
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
A Ryan Doumit single in the 11th inning off of reliever Craig Stammen gave the Minnesota Twins an extra innings 4-3 win at Nationals Park on Saturday, sinking the home towners to two games under .500. The Doumit single deepened Washington skipper Davey Johnson’s sense of frustration over the Nats inability to score.
Stammen was the seventh reliever used by Johnson on Saturday, and the only one of the seven to give up a run to Minnesota. The slate of relievers followed another good but not great outing from southpaw Gio Gonzalez who threw six complete innings while, unusually, giving up four walks.
Despite the walks, it’s hard to imagine that Gonzalez could have given his teammates a better chance to win. He threw 114 pitches, 75 of them for strikes. But frustration set in for Gonzalez when he walked batters, and he showed it on the mound. He remains stuck at just three wins for the season.
Washington’s bullpen was surprisingly effective, particularly given the new faces that now populate it. Fernando Abad, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Rafael Soriano, Erik Davis and Ian Krol all contributed on Saturday, holding the Twins scoreless in four complete innings of work.
Washington’s line-up, meanwhile, was again ineffective against a starter that they should have hit — but couldn’t. Minnesota’s Kevin Correia threw into the 7th inning, while registering seven strikeouts. “We got some hits, but didn’t string them together,” Washington first sacker Adam LaRoche said following the loss. “We need to start getting three and four in an inning, pushing some guys across.”
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Nats southpaw Gio Gonzalez pitched brilliantly in San Francisco on Wednesday, and the Nationals denied the Giants a sweep of their series, winning in ten innings off of an Ian Desmond single. The team needed a pick-up after Tuesday night’s now-controversial debacle, and Gonzalez provided it.
Gonzalez gave up only four hits and struck out five, limiting the McCoveys to a single run in almost eight complete innings of work before being relieved by Drew Storen. The suddenly unsteady righty then proceeded to give up the tying run to San Francisco, and the Nationals went into extra innings knotted at a run apiece.
But in the 10th inning, with Bryce Harper on second and Ryan Zimmerman on first, shortstop Ian Desmond guided a Jeremy Affeldt offering into right field, scoring the go-ahead run. Rafael Soriano came on in the bottom of the 10th, setting down the Giants in order — and preserving the win.
The Ian Desmond single came after Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy decided that Affeldt should intentionally walk Ryan Zimmerman and pitch to Desmond, who’s been slumping lately. “Numbers may have indicated that was the right move to do,” Desmond said after the win. “But I was 100 percent confident I was going to get the job done right there.”
The Nationals win was only their fourth in the last ten games and came during a classic pitching duel that pitted Gonzalez against an as-effective Madison Bumgarner, who matched Gonzalez pitch-for-pitch. Their pitching lines were exactly the same — except for Harper’s home run.
“He’s one of the best guys I face all year. He knows what he’s doing out there, and the Giants are very lucky to have him,” Harper said of the San Francisco southpaw. “Going out there and facing a guy like Bumgarner is a lot of fun. I look forward to those matchups for hopefully the rest of our careers.”
The big stories of the game were Gio’s mound performance, Desmond’s go-ahead single — and Bryce Harper’s day at the plate. The Nats’ right fielder was 2-5 on the day and hit his 12th home run.
The victory lifted the teams’ spirits as the Nationals boarded a flight for their return to Washington, where they will face the Phillies, Orioles and the surging Braves (they beat the Twins today, their sixth in a row) in a ten game home stand. “It’s going to be a good flight back home,” Gonzalez said.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Ross Detwiler dominated the Marlins, holding Miami to seven hits in seven complete innings, and the Washington Nationals went on to take the third of three games in their South Florida match-up, 6-1. Detwiler, Washington’s fifth starter, struck out five without walking a single Miami hitter.
“He’s definitely not [a fifth starter],” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said of Detwiler following the victory. “He’s got great stuff and he locates it well. He uses both sides of the plate as good as anybody I’ve seen. He’s still in the learning stages. But he’s awfully good just right where he’s at.”
The Nationals’ victory, which provided a series win, was a relief for a team that has often struggled — and was coming off a three game series sweep at the hands of the Braves in Washington. Last night, in addition to Detwiler’s magic, the offense made a strong showing: catcher Kurt Suzuki notched a triple and home run and Bryce Harper was 4-5.
Bryce Harper’s output remains prodigious (he’s hitting .364 with five home runs) as does, apparently, his desire to play the game. Last night he played with the flu, bent over at the plate and throwing up between innings. “I thought he was going to die every time he went up there and he got a hit,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Nationals, now at 9-6, head north to face the Mets in a series that opens on Friday night. The first game provides a key match-up of contending fireballers: ace Stephen Strasburg vs. up-and-comer Matt Harvey. Harvey has been stunningly good, flirting with a no-hitter in his last outing versus the Twinkies in Minnesota . . .
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
These are the “sinking like a stone” Phillies: aging, slow, confused and hobbled — Philadelphia may be headed to last place in the N.L. East, behind even the Miami Pathetics. Okay, okay, it’s too soon to tell, but if last night’s effort against the Mets is any indication, the Ponies are in trouble. And Roy Halladay is exhibit number one.
Last night in Philly (with some 35,000 looking on), Halladay struggled against a line-up that, just two years ago, he would have easily tamed. He allowed seven runs and six hits in four-plus innings on the way to a 7-2 Philadelphia loss. Halladay’s earned run average after two starts is 14.73 and while he says his problems are mental, his fastball velocity is off — from 94 mph two seasons ago to 90 mph last night. He didn’t scare anybody.
But Halladay isn’t the only problem. A passel of aging veterans (Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre) and developing or back-of-the-rotation arms (Vance Worley, Joe Blanton) are gone, but the team hasn’t gotten any younger. Philadelphia G.M. Ruben Amaro replaced the aging Polanco with the aging Michael Young and failed to cut any overhead (Halladay will cost $20 million this year, Cliff Lee will cost $25 million) — with the payroll at $159 million plus.
If there’s a bright spot here it’s that Amaro has shorn up the outfield with the addition of Ben Revere, a defensive speedster that is the first piece in where the Phillies need to go. The problem is that Amaro gave up fan favorite Worley (who was 11-3 just two years ago) and a young prospect, Trevor May, to get him. That’s not good: the farm system is embarrassingly light on talent: their top prospect, pitcher Jesse Biddle, is no closer than AA Reading.
What the Phillies are banking on (so to speak) is that Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels (signed to a long term contract last year) will return to their 2011 form and that the geriatric infield quartet of Young, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will hit well enough to carry Philly into the post-season.
It could happen, we suppose, but the possibility is slowly closing. Just take a look at last night. While Halladay labored, Mets’ newbie Matt Harvey hardly broke a sweat. Harvey struck out nine hitters in just seven innings (Ryan Howard, twice), leaving the fleet footed Revere stranded three times.
After the game, “Baseball Tonight” analyst Curt Shilling said that Halladay needs to re-learn how to pitch now that his fastball is no longer what it was. That seems right: everyone on the Madoffs (hardly a ball crushing team) was catching up to Halladay last night, including nine hole hitter Harvey. The big blast came in the second, with journeyman catcher John Buck homering on a Halladay “fastball” that was up, out — and slow.
Philly commenter Joe Santoliquito has this right — comparing Halladay to an aging fighter. “He’s groping,” Santoliquito wrote this morning. “Like an aged world champion fighter who can’t accept reality. They can’t get out of the way of a punch anymore. Their feet don’t move when their mind wants it.” So Halladay is reeling — but then, so is the entire Philly line-up.
From "My Mets Journal"
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
So far so good: in 18 innings of baseball in the new 2013 season, the Nationals have held their opponents to seven hits and no runs, shutting down the punchless Marlins in two games. The hero in chilly Nationals’ Park on Wednesday was Washington southpaw Gio Gonzalez, who not only shut down the Marlins in six innings, but homered to give the Nats their first, and lasting, lead.
The Nationals are only the 13th team since 1900 to begin the season with back-to-back shutouts. There’s little doubt that Nationals’ starters are the backbone of the ball club — and provide the team with the best chance of taking the N.L. East. “With the stuff they’ve got, it’s pretty special, and it doesn’t surprise me at all one bit,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said of the Nationals’s starters after the 3-0 Nationals win. “You look at the bullpen, too, it’s tough.”
Indeed, the bullpen, which struggled late in 2012, might be the surprise of the year. After notching his first save on Opening Day, Rafael Soriano got his second last night. But the most impressive bullpen outings came from Ryan Mattheus and Drew Storen. The duo allowed a single hit, walked none and struck out two. The Marlins looked baffled.
The Nats scored three in shutting out the Fish: the Gonzalez home run came in the bottom of the 5th, with the Nats adding a single run in the 7th (on a Denard Span groundout) and then in the bottom of the 8th — on a single from Ryan Zimmerman that scored Bryce Harper, who had doubled.
The Nationals will attempt to sweep the series today, with a 4:05 start at what promises to be another cold day at Nationals’ Park.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Denard Span must think he’s in heaven. After spending his first five years in centerfield in Minnesota for the up-and-down Twinkies, he has landed on one of the best teams in baseball. But it’s doubtful he has any regrets about playing for the Killebrews, who’ve spent years defying the small market odds . . .
The Twins finished at 88-75 in his first year, good for second place and only one game behind the White Sox. The next year the Gardenhires took the N.L. Central in a squeaker over the Tigers. They won their division again in 2010; Carl Pavano and Kevin Slowey were their aces, with power provided by Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome — and this on a team where Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were considered the big bats . . .