Posts Tagged ‘Roger Bernadina’

Mauled On The North Side

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Untitled

Jordan Zimmermann stood at his locker after Monday night’s game 11-1 loss to the Cubs in Chicago and explained why he’d just pitched one of the worst games of his career. “I’m not hitting my spots right now,” he said in explaining his poor outing. “The fastball’s up. I’ve got to do a better job of locating.”

Zimmermann’s explanation was, if anything, an understatement. The Ace of Auburndale threw five complete innings and gave up eight earned runs, including three home runs — to right fielder Nate Schierholtz, catcher Dioner Navarro and journeyman third sacker Donnie Murphy.

Zimmermann’s poor showing was replicated, at least in part, by the Nationals’ bullpen, which proved incapable of keeping the North Siders in check. Chicago banged out nine hits in racking up eleven runs, with Schierholtz, who has resuscitated his career in Chicago, notching six RBIs.

Lefty Fernando Abad and rookie Ian Krol relieved Zimmermann, but Abad gave up two earned runs, while the Cubs got to Krol when Donnie Murphy homered to center in the eighth inning. “This is a ballpark where you leave the ball up out over the plate, bad things happen,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said after the game.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 8.32.34 AM

The Chicago victory came in front of 31,290 Cubs fans, who have seen their favorites play poorly at home all year. The Cubs had been shut out in five of their last nine home outings. “The pitching, obviously, the hitting — everything clicked today,” manager Dale Sveum said after his team’s victory.

It was Zimmermann’s seventh loss of the year (against fourteen wins), and revived a Cubs squad that had been struggling both at the plate and on the mound. Zimmermann’s outing was a counterpoint to that provided by Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija, who threw a complete game, giving up six hits and striking out seven. Washington’s lone run came on a home run from Wilson Ramos.

(more…)

Eckstein Out, Schu In

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

The Washington Nationals have fired hitting coach David Eckstein and replaced him with Rick Schu, who spent his post-MLB career as a coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has served the last four years as the Nationals’ minor league hitting instructor.

Word of Eckstein’s replacement was issued by the Nationals front office on Monday. While the firing of Eckstein was a surprise, it was predictable from the moment that Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche admitted that he’d consulted with old friend and former teammate Chipper Jones about how to get out of his hitting funk.

Schu spent nine years in the majors, most of them with the Philadelphia Philles, but also with the Tigers, Orioles and Angels. He holds a career .246 BA. The press release announcing Schu’s promotion noted that he’s had prior experience with a number of Nationals’ hitters, including Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Roger Bernadina and Steve Lombardozzi.

Eckstein was the longest tenured hitting coach in the National League, having served in that position with the Nationals since October of 2008. But the Nationals have not produced at the plate this year: they are 14th of 15 in runs scored in the National League and thirteen in BA, at .240.

Friars’ Tucked

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Ryan Zimmerman knocked in the go-ahead run, Drew Storen pitched a brilliant inning in relief, Rafael Soriano notched yet another save — and the Washington Nationals rallied to defeat the San Diego Padres at Nationals Park on Saturday, 5-4.

This was to be ace Jordan Zimmermann’s thirteenth win on the season, but after leaving the game with one out in the sixth inning, righty Ross Ohlendorf gave up a game changing three run home run to Jesus Guzman to put San Diego ahead by a single run.

While Ohlendorf then retired the side, the damage was done and the Nats had to battle back to secure the victory. And they did, in the bottom of the 7th: after striking out Roger Bernadina, Friars’ reliever Nick Vincent allowed singles to Denard Span and Ian Desmond.

After Joe Thatcher relieved Vincent, Span and Desmond scampered to third and second respectively, before Bryce Harper hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Ryan Zimmerman then hit what looked like sure double, but the ball was cut off at the plate and Zimmerman was thrown out at second. It didn’t matter, Ian Desmond had already scored the go-ahead run.

(more…)

Nats Late Rally Stuns The Mets

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

The Washington Nationals waited for New York’s Matt Harvey to exit the game — then rallied late against the Mets’ bullpen and pulled out a stunning 6-4 victory at Citi Field on Friday night. Washington skipper Davey Johnson said the victory might be the biggest one of the season for Washington.

As expected, the talented Harvey provided a solid outing for the New Yorkers: he gave up just three hits in seven innings of work, while striking out eleven. His only mistake came in the fourth inning, when he gave up a home run to Washington shortstop Ian Desmond.

Harvey showed why he’s considered the best pitcher in the National League. He struck out Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth three times, more than half his strikeout total. “He’s always got no-hit stuff. He throws 97 miles per hour with a breaking ball, cutter, slider, changeup, everything else you got. He has it,” Ian Desmond said of Harvey.

Washington rallied after Harvey’s departure, scoring three runs with two outs in the eighth inning. The Nationals’ runs came off of reliever Brandon Lyon, who entered the game with Denard Span and Roger Bernadina on second and third. Lyon then walked Anthony Rendon and gave up a clutch double to Ryan Zimmerman, who cleared the bases and tied the score.

Reliever Tyler Clippard entered the game to pitch the bottom on the 8th, and kept New York off of the board. Washington then put the game away by scoring two in the top of the final frame: Ian Desmond doubled scoring Jayson Werth and Kurt Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly to score Desmond. Drew Storen picked up his second save of the season by pitching a perfect, lights-out ninth.

“The beginning of the year, we had no comeback wins, no runs scored late,” Ryan Zimmerman said following the victory. “The past couple of weeks, we have been getting a lot better at that. That’s the team we were last year. Hopefully we can continue to do that, because we are not going to get to the starter every day. Sometimes you have to come from behind. It’s not easy, but good teams do that.”

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: It was another night of entertaining Left Coast baseball, especially in Oakland — where the St. Louis Cardinals, the National League’s best team, got a whiff of A’s ace Bartolo Colon. Colon made it look effortless: he threw eight innings of six hit baseball in notching his eleventh win as the Elephants stomped the Redbirds, 6-1 . . .

Colon is 40-years-old (but who knows, really), stands 5-11 and weighs 267 (but who knows, really) and (as you might recall), won the the Cy Young while pitching in Anaheim in 2005 (he was an eye-blinking 21-8). This year, at 11-2, he might actually be better . . .

(more…)

Six Run 7th Dooms The Nats

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Ryan Zimmerman had a career night in Baltimore, hitting three home runs in three consecutive at bats — and notching four RBIs — but the Nationals were victimized by Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis and a six run 7th inning, and the Nationals lost at Camden Yards, 9-6.

Zimmerman’s home runs came in the first, fourth and fifth innings, sending Baltimore starter Chris Tillman to the pines and staking the Nationals to a 6-2 lead. But in the 7th inning the Orioles leaped on Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals for six hits, including home runs by Steve Pearce and Davis.

The Baltimore victory showed just how lethal their line-up can be: while Davis could not equal Zimmerman’s home run total, he went 4-4 on the night and hit two round trippers of his own. His second, in the seventh inning off of reliever Tyler Clippard, put the game out of reach for the Nats.

“That one hurt,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of the loss, and noted that the Orioles victory came in a ballpark with a reputation as a launching pad for free swingers. “I thought Zim had pretty good stuff,” Johnson said, “but this ballpark can eat you alive.”

Indeed, the Ace of Auburndale’s “stuff” was effective for six innings, as Zimmermann seemed headed for his ninth win. But Zimmermann couldn’t make it out of the seventh, surrendering singles to Ryan Flaherty and Nate McLouth, a double to Manny Machado — and a Davis home run — before being relieved by Clippard.

“I look up, and we’re losing,” Zimmermann said after the loss, his third of the season. “Those guys give me six runs like that, I’ve got to do a better job and we should win this ballgame. It’s solely on me [with] this one.”

Despite the loss, the Nationals showed again that they’re capable of putting the ball in play. In addition to Zimmerman’s three home runs, Roger Bernadina also went long and the Nationals accumulated eight hits, with Zimmerman, Bernadina and Denard Span coming away with RBIs.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Ryan Zimmerman wasn’t the only National Leaguer hitting the long ball on Wednesday. Out in Chicago, back-up Cubs’ catcher Dioner Navarro hit three of his own, as the Cubs pummeled the White Sox, 9-3 . . .

Navarro had never hit more than one home run in a game, telling reporters after the win that he might have hit two in one game when he played Little League baseball. Navarro’s homers came in the 2nd, 4th and 7th innings and (unlike the Zimmerman home runs) each of them was pulled . . .

(more…)

Karns Throws Strikes: Nats Win

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

While the debut of Double-A pitcher Nathan Karns will not go down in the scorebooks as a “W” for the young righty, the Texas Tech product threw a strike-filled impressive 4.1 innings — and the Nationals, behind two home runs from Adam LaRoche, drubbed the Orioles on Tuesday night, 9-3.

Washington’s interleague victory may mark the moment when the Nationals finally got their offense back on track. In addition to the two home runs from LaRoche, super-subs Roger Bernadina and Tyler Moore also went long, as the home towners cracked thirteen hits against a surprisingly ineffective Baltimore pitching staff.

“It was great to see [the offense come back to life],” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “Some guys usually take two or three strikes, and they went up there and hit line drives. We jumped all over a 97 mile-an-hour fastball, and that made my whole night.”

Johnson also praised his young starter, appearing on the mound in the place of injured Ross Detwiler. “I thought [Nathan] handled himself well, first start against a good hitting ballclub,” Johnson said. “I know he was nervous, but I like the way he went after the hitters. He is in for another start.”

In an up-and-down season, Tuesday’s game showed Nationals’ fans what their team can do. Their starting pitching was effective, the team hit with runners in scoring position — and the bullpen was lights-out. After Karns left in the fifth, Zach Duke needed just one pitch, inducing a double play, to save the Nationals from a potential Baltimore rally.

Duke was followed to the mound by Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Fernando Abad, all of whom kept the Orioles off the scoreboard. Storen was as effective as he’s been all year, giving up a single hit in a single inning of work. Tyler Clippard gave up two hits, but then induced three successive fly balls — and Fernando Abad authored a 1-2-3 9th inning.

(more…)

Pen Preserves Haren Win

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Dan Haren notched his fourth win, the home towners sprayed nine hits and the Washington bullpen held the Tigers scoreless in three relief innings, as the Nationals swept the two game Detroit mini-series by a score of 5-4 on Thursday.

While the Tigers outhit the Nationals (12-9), Washington was able to put runs on the board early in the game. The Nationals scored three in the first inning and two in the second — and that’s all the team would need to notch its fourth win in a row. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano held the Kalines scoreless when Haren left after six complete.

The victim of the Nationals early run surge was Detroit righty Doug Fister, who entered the game with a snappy 2.48 earned run average. Fister, with Verlander, is considered one of Detroit’s elite shut down pitchers, but he gave up a lead-off double to Denard Span in the 1st and then three successive singles: to Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond.

Fister proved as ineffective in the second, hitting Span and walking Roger Bernadina before giving up two runs, courtesy of singles from (once again) Zimmerman and LaRoche. “It was probably his worst outing of the year,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said of Fister’s performance. “He’s pitched really good for quite a while now. You have to give him credit, he battled.”

Despite Fister’s troubles, the Tigers were able to rally against Haren in the 6th. The veteran righty walked Jhonny Peralta with one out and Omar Infante dropped a surprise bunt single to put two men on with two outs. Pinch hitter Matt Tuiasosopo then stepped to the plate and put a 2-1 Haren offering over the fence in left center.

The Tuiasosopo blast put Detroit back into the game, with a good shot at winning. But the Nationals’ bullpen, an otherwise worrisome unit so far this season, came on to shut down the Tigers. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano each pitched effectively, with Soriano gaining his 12th save of the season.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Doug Fister was 3-12 with the Mariners in 2011 when the Seattle front office decided they’d seen enough. The swapped Fister to Detroit for Francisco Martinez, Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells. It was a steal — Fister went 8-1 the rest of the way, with a breathtaking 1.79 ERA . . .

But while the Fister theft was lopsided, it was (arguably) no more so than San Diego’s decision to trade first base prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs six months later. While it’s a baseball given that you should never give up young pitching, new Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer decided his team needed Rizzo so badly that he was willing to part with uber prospect Andrew Cashner . . .

Friars’ fans will argue that the Rizzo-Cashner trade isn’t even close to being a Fister-like bust. After struggling all of last year, Cashner’s arm has finally come alive and the imposing (6-6, 220 pounds), Texan has regained his command. Exiled to the bullpen, Cashner emerged in only his second start of the season to throw 7.1 effective innings against the Marlins earlier this week . . .

(more…)