Posts Tagged ‘Ross Detwiler’

Nats Notes For Game #3: It’s A Sweep In New York

Friday, April 4th, 2014


The Washington Nationals swept the opening three game series against the Mets in New York, putting up eight runs on thirteen hits and downing the Gothams 8-2. This is one of those things where the score showed the game to be closer than it really was. This was a romp.

A three game sweep is a terrific start for a long season, even if (once again), the Nationals first inning was a little rough, both on young righty Tanner Roark and on the Nats’ defense. But after the shaky first frame, the team settled down and put on an efficient performance.

And once again Nats relievers went to work: Ross Detwiler pitched two solid innings and Raphael Soriano closed the book. Detwiler may not be happy in his new role as a lefty long reliever, but that didn’t show on Thursday.

In their first starts of the year, super-subs Danny Espinosa and Sandy Leon played well. Espinosa turned a great double play in the 5th and had two quality at-bats; if Anthony Rendon weren’t hitting the cover off the ball (and he is) Espinosa would be making a strong case for being back in the line-up.

And Sandy Leon was steady behind the plate, caught a Lucas Duda popup in foul territory in the 3rd, and scored a run after being walked in the 5th.

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The first series of the season is too small a sample size to come to make any conclusions about the team’s prospects for the rest of the season, but the Nationals have sprung from the gate — and made a strong claim to being the N.L. team to beat.

Nats’ starters gave up runs in the first inning of each of the three games, putting the team in the hole early. But the team in the other dugout was the Mets, so each starter’s job was to hold the Madoff’s close until the offense could get going. And that’s what happened, with Washington starters keeping their pitch counts low. Then too, the team’s first inning woes are probably due to an excess of adrenaline, which is no cause for worry.


Nats Fall In St. Louis, Eliminated From The Postseason

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013


Carlos Beltran homered and Adam Wainwright subdued Washington’s line-up and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to defeat the Nationals, 4-3 at Busch Stadium. The loss eliminated the Nationals from the post-season: they are six games out of the last Wild Card slot with five games to play.

The key to the St. Louis win was Beltran’s fifth inning home run (his 24th on the year) that scored John Jay, breaking a 2-2 tie and putting the Cardinals ahead 4-2. Washington could only muster a single run the rest of the way. “It doesn’t feel too good,” manager Davey Johnson said of the loss. “We gave it a good fight. We just came up short.

The Nationals put on a run in September, going 16-6 on the month and winning a key day-night double header against the Atlanta Braves on September 17 that vaulted that team back into contention for a playoff spot in the National League. But the Cardinals has always played Washington tough, and that was true on Monday night.

Washington starter Tanner Roark notched his first loss of the season after an impressive 7-0 run, but the Cardinals heavy hitting line-up victimized him for nine hits in just five innings. “I was getting behind hitters a lot,” Roark said after the loss. “When you do that with a good team, they are going to hit your mistakes when you get them back in the count. They are going to battle like they did tonight.”

Washington’s scoring came early, on a home run from Jayson Werth that scored Denard Span and gave the Nationals an early 2-0 lead. St. Louis clawed back, despite an additional run put on the board from the Nationals in the 8th inning: a fielder’s choice on a Ryan Zimmerman grounder the scored Anthony Rendon.

But three runs are rarely enough to defeat the Cardinals, who score just under five runs every game. Then too, Adam Wainwright got stronger on the mound as the game went on: Wainwright’s night ended after the 7th, with five strike outs while scattering five hits. The St. Louis victory was Wainwright’s 18th win on the year.

The Nationals stared into the night after a three-up-three-down ninth inning, stunned that their run for the postseason was over. The clubhouse was reportedly silent after the loss, as the team took stock of its “World Series or bust” season. “You put the uniform on to win, and we didn’t get it done,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “So I feel bad for everybody.”

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Mea Culpa: We take no special pride in getting things right and, like everyone else who writes about baseball, we get plenty wrong. We said at the beginning of the year that the Los Angeles Dodgers were overrated and would tank: that players who finished with an attitude in Boston would bring that same attitude to Los Angeles. Well . . .


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.


Nats’ Slide Now At Five

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Taylor Jordan showed once again that he belongs in the majors, throwing seven strong innings against a tough Pittsburgh line-up on Tuesday night — but his teammates couldn’t support his strong outing and the Nationals fell once again to the Pirates, 5-1. It was Washington’s fifth straight loss.

Jordan, a lanky righty who is filling in for the injured Ross Detwiler, scattered nine hits and struck out four before being relieved with two outs in the eighth inning. It was an impressive showing, but Pittsburgh starter Garret Cole was better, stifling Nationals hitters and notching an RBI at the plate.

“I feel for my guy because he should have only gave up one run,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said of Jordan. “We made the error that gave them two more runs. He had pitched so good in the seventh. I was going take him out for the left-hander. But I thought he deserved the chance to win that ballgame.”

Cole, on the other hand, gave up just two hits to the anemic Nats, including a home run to catcher Wilson Ramos. But the single run is all that Cole would allow. The 22-year-old Cole threw 92 pitches, 54 of them for strikes. He gave up just one walk, to Bryce Harper in the bottom of the first inning.

The Nationals have been outscored 26-11 over their five game losing spiral, with only Jayson Werth’s time at the plate worth mentioning. While the right fielder was 0-2 on Tuesday, he’s hit .353 over the last ten games and is the only Nat whose average is hovering at around .300.

Werth has also emerged as the ever-optimistic team leader. “I think at some point, the tide’s got to turn,” Werth said after Tuesday’s loss. “The luck’s got to swing in our favor. And hopefully when it does, we can grab hold of it and run with it.”

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: It’s always worth waiting for awhile to assess a trade, but in sending Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers, the Cubs have completed the rebuilding of their infield. The centerpiece of the Garza trade was Mike Olt, an MLB-ready third baseman (and outfielder) with oodles of power . . .


Getting Garza

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

If we didn’t know it before, it seems all-too-true now: the Nationals are in need of a starter, a veteran arm that will carry them over the hump and into October. The problem for the Nationals is that no one is waiting in the wings to take on that role — and those starters it was counting on are either headed to the D.L. (Ross Detwiler), or just coming off it (Dan Haren).

So it’s no surprise that the Nationals are now being prominently mentioned as possible suitors for the Cubs’ Matt Garza, the kind of still-young time-tested righty that skipper Davey Johnson could send out every fifth day without too many worries. The problem? The problem is that Garza won’t come cheap.

What the Cubs want, for sure, are prospects or (at the least) youngsters who are close to “sure things” as any team would want: what Chicago front office types describe as “highly skilled athletes who can make a difference at the big league level.” The Nats, as it turns out, have plenty of those.

Will they give them up? It’s all speculation at this point, but if we were the Cubs we’d ask for a package of prospects that includes a pitcher (always a requirement, it seems), a solid hitter and even a shortstop: particularly if the North Siders unload slow-to-mature Starlin Castro (though, clearly, Castro won’t be coming here).

Some names come to mind in any trade for another starter — Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi, pitchers Taylor Jordan, southpaw Matt Purke and Nathan Karns and (if Castro ends up elsewhere), shortstop Zach Walters or outfielder Brian Goodwin.

But there is a point at which Garza (or anyone else) would become too expensive. Then too, Garza has a disturbing injury history and he’ll be a free agent after the season.


Stuck In Neutral: Nats Fall Again To Brewers

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

After high hopes among Washington Nationals fans that their team had finally broken out of their year-long slump at the plate (which has made them the fourth worst offensive team in baseball), a five hit one-run showing in a 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday left many of the hometown faithful believing the team is stuck in neutral.

The loss left the Nationals back at .500 — and suddenly well out of the race for the top spot in the N.L. East. The Nationals were victimized this time by Brewers’ starter Kyle Lohse, a former St. Louis Cardinals’ stalwart (and hardly a pushover), but not a top flight pitcher that a team like Washington couldn’t handle.

The Nationals five hits included a home run from Anthony Rendon, his second of the year, but that wasn’t enough against a suddenly lively Brewers team that has struggled on the mound all season. “It’s putting me in my loony bin,” Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said of Washington’s lack of offense.

Wednesday’s lack of production was particularly frustrating for left fielder Bryce Harper, who was 0-4 after powering two Milwaukee pitches, one of which seemed headed to the bleachers, but was caught at the warning track at Nationals Park. Harper is 1-12 since his return from the disabled list and is struggling in the field — where he dropped his second fly ball in as many games.

The loss was tallied against Washington starter Ross Detwiler, who threw six complete innings while giving up eight hits and striking out three. Craig Stammen and the suddenly invaluable Fernando Abad pitched in relief, holding Milwaukee scoreless while giving up two hits.


Detwiler Set To Face “The Flushing Phenom”

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The no account, stinking, absolutely lousy New York Mets are . . . well, actually — they’re not that bad. Just ask the Colorado Rockies. Yesterday in Denver, Mets’ center fielder Marlon Byrd sent a Matt Belisle fastball into the left field seats to give the Madoffs a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.

“We didn’t come here for a 100-loss season,” an ebullient Byrd said after the Colorado victory. “We didn’t come here to play for fourth place. We came here to win. It’s just one of those things where we were in a funk for too long, and we’re coming out of it.”

Byrd can be forgiven his excitement because, in fact, the Mets actually do have a lot to celebrate: Rookie Matt Harvey has turned into one of the best pitchers in the National League, Zack Wheeler has finally arrived in New York — and yesterday’s win closed out a surprising 7-4 road trip.

So it is that when the Nationals roll into Citi Field tonight (after their own series win against Arizona — albeit capped by an exhausting 11 inning loss), they’ll be facing a surprisingly revived New York Nine that is finally starting to see the faintest glimmers of a brighter future.

It all starts with pitching, and that’s where the Mets have taken the greatest strides. Matt Harvey, just 24, is 7-1 and leads the National League in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Now New York fans are mounting a (largely unnecessary) public campaign to make sure he’s named to the All Star team.