Posts Tagged ‘Tom Gorzelanny’

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 . . .


The Cards Stun The Nats, 12-4

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

During the regular season, this would have been one of those forgettable games — with a young pitcher having an off day, and the Nationals hoping to bounce back from a poor performance. But in the playoffs, a 12-4 loss at the hands of a rejuvenated line-up is a sign of a knock-down series where both teams will fight to the very last. And the loser will go home.

The Cardinals, the best hitting team in the N.L., banged out thirteen hits, including homes runs from Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso and Carlos Beltran, and notched a must-win victory at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to knot their five game series against the Nationals in the N.L.D.S. at one game each.

The Cardinals victimized seven Nationals pitchers while rolling to victory, including young starter Jordan Zimmermann, who lasted only three innings while giving up seven hits and five earned runs — one of his worst outings of the year. “It’s definitely tough. I wanted to go out there and go deep into the game and try to get out of here with two wins. I didn’t do my part,” Zimmermann said of the loss.

This was, by all measures, a debacle: Zimmermann’s breakdown is unusual for him, except when he pitches against the Cardinals. The young Auburndale ace has a snappy ERA against the rest of the National League, but when it comes to St. Louis, he seems to freeze up. The Post’s Tom Boswell points to his his 9.76 ERA against the Redbirds in his six career starts against them.

Washington’s relievers, a normally steady presence during the regular season, were also ineffective on Monday. Craig Stammen, Christian Garcia, Michael Gonzalez, Ryan Mattheus, Sean Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny combined to give up six hits and six earned runs in just five innings of work.


“It Wasn’t Happening Tonight”

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

“It wasn’t happening tonight,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said, after the Nationals were upended by the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, 12-2 on Friday night. But the stunningly lopsided score, the worst of the season for the D.C. Nine, still left the team just two games away from the N.L. East title, as the Braves lost to the Mets in Atlanta, 3-1.

This wasn’t much of a contest from the very beginning, as Nats’ starter Edwin Jackson struggled against a potent playoff bound Redbird line-up. Jackson was pulled after notching just a single out in the second inning, while giving up eight runs on six hits and walking four. The otherwise steady righty is now 9-11 on the season.

“Short-term memory, man. It’s not the first game. Just shake it off,” Jackson said of his outing. “I’m not dead from this game. It just definitely leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. But I’m not going to go jump off a bridge or anything because of the game.”

Jackson’s short sprint forced the Nationals to respond to St. Louis with four relievers: Tom Gorzelanny, Christian Garcia, Zach Duke and Michael Gonzalez. All pitched well, except for Gonzalez, who gave up another three runs to the Cardinals in the bottom of the eighth.


Seismic In San Francisco: Nats Shake The Giants, 14-2

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Monday night was the pitchers’ duel that wasn’t, with N.L. ERA leader Ryan Vogelsong facing off against Nats’ southpaw Gio Gonzalez in a showdown of team aces. But by the end of the night, with the score at 14-2, the Nationals had set a season record for runs and equaled a season mark in hits: with 21. And Vogelsong? He’d lasted all of 2.2 and fallen from first in the N.L. in ERA to fourth.

“The boys are in a good mood,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said after the blow-out. “Just like the skipper. It was fun to watch the offense. We beat up on a pretty good pitcher.” But San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, tossed early in the game for arguing a call at first, had a different perspective. “What could go wrong went wrong,” he said simply, “and they made some pretty good contact.”

The Nationals hitting and scoring onslaught began modestly, with the Nationals on the board with one run in the first inning. But the Nationals pushed across seven runs in the third — with two walks, six singles and a Kurt Suzuki double that cleared the bases. Suzuki was 3-6 on the night, with four RBIs.

“They’re going out there swinging it,” starter Gio Gonzalez, who notched his 15th win, said of his teammates. “It just felt like you could just feel this energy inside the dugout where everyone was just pulling for everyone.” Gonzalez’s outing was eclipsed by the chatter over Washington’s offense, but he provided another solid start — 6.2 innings with six strikeouts and two earned runs.


Shark Snag Shakes Houston

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Less than twenty-four hours after Washington’s 12 inning 3-2 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, baseball fans are still talking about what could well be “the catch of the year.” Roger Bernadina’s running snag against the wall in center field came off the bat of Brett Wallace with two men on and two outs in the bottom of the twelfth inning and preserved a 3-2 victory as the Nationals won their fourth in a row.

“That game took forever. We want to get out of here,” said Bernadina of his leaping extra inning game-winning gem. “Whatever it takes to get that out right there. That was big.” The catch was witnessed by Washington reliever Craig Stammen, looking on from the Washington bullpen.

Stammen jumped up and down after Bernadina emerged from behind a pillar with the ball. “It was crazy,” Stammen said. “I was trying to hide in that corner so I didn’t have to watch, but I ended up getting the best view of it.”

“That was an unbelievable catch. It saved the game. If he doesn’t catch it, we lose,” Danny Espinosa, Washington’s hit leader on the night added. “To go the distance that he did and leap, that’s a tricky little corner right there against a flat wall. That was an unbelievable catch.”

The Bernadina play brought immediate speculation that it would outpoll an earlier spectacular fielding grab at the wall from the Angels’ Mike Trout, the holder of some plus-30 Baseball Tonight web gem championships. Indeed, the BBTN and Washington Nationals’ twitter universe was abuzz with talk of the Bernadina-Trout competition into the early hours of this morning.

The Bernadina catch tended to overawe what was yet another tough win for the Nationals, and a victory that was much more difficult than it should have been. After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first to Houston, Washington starter Ross Detwiler was nearly perfect, throwing a seven inning three hitter.


Nats Lose Ugly To Division Rival Braves

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

There are endless adjectives to describe what happened to the Nationals at Nationals Park on Friday night — “disastrous,” “castastrophic,” “inexplicable.” All of them are accurate, with the Nationals dropping an 11-10 decision to division rival Atlanta after holding 9-0, 9-4 and 9-8 leads.

For one of the very few times this year, the culprit in the dispiriting loss was the bullpen: three of five Nats’ relievers (Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Clippard) accounted for six earned runs after starter Stephen Strasburg gamely kept the Braves at 9-4 — though clearly he struggled with his command. Strasburg left after pitching into the sixth inning.

But the most dispiriting reality of Friday night was not the performance of the bullpen, but that for the first time this year the D.C. Nine seemed incapable of shutting down a division rival once they had taken a decisive lead. Forget the one run victories (and there have been plenty of them), the Nationals could not sit on nine runs and get a victory. Or perhaps that was the problem: the team seemed particularly listless as the Braves battled back.

The Braves scored four runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to put themselves back in the ballgame after being down 9-0 — a lead provided courtesy of separate three run home runs from Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse. The Nationals hit Braves’ starter Tommy Hanson hard. But the Braves never gave up, with Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla providing six hits in ten at bats.

For the Braves, their nine run comeback was their best since 1987, while the Nationals suffered their gravest meltdown in franchise history — which includes the time the team played in Montreal. Even with the loss, the Nationals did not go easily: with Danny Espinosa putting a fastball into the left field bullpen in the 9th inning to tie the game at 10. But it wasn’t enough, as Paul Janish’s 11th inning bloop single gave the Braves their final lead; one they kept.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Are the Nationals concerned about Tyler Clippard? They ought to be. Friday’s outing was his fourth poor one in a row — and it was a beaut. He’s given up the long ball recently, but on Friday night it was something different. Against the Braves in the ninth, Clippard gave up a walk, a wild pitch, a hit batter and then a triple . . .


Nats Sweep Sox, Bobby V Whines About The Umping

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Roger Bernadina’s ninth inning clutch hit double scored Bryce Harper from first base, giving the Nationals a one run lead that held up for a 4-3 victory — and a three game sweep of the once mighty Red Sox in Boston. Bernadina’s double (the Shark ended up at third on the throw home) backed the seven inning, seven strike out pitching of Jordan Zimmermann, with closer Tyler Clippard notching his third consecutive save. The victory went to Washington’s Tom Gorzelanny.

The Nationals struck first in the game, getting a first inning double from Danny Espinosa, who later scored on a Ryan Zimmerman infield grounder. Espinosa accounted for two doubles, one of them off of Boston’s Green Monster in left field, going 2-4 in the game and registering two RBIs. Boston’s runs came on a third inning fielder’s choice and a home run from David Ortiz.

But righty Jordan Zimmermann was fully in charge, even when he ran into trouble in the sixth inning. The “Ace of Auburndale” threw 105 pitches, 70 of them for strikes and walked only two batters. While he did not come away with the win, Zimmermann lowered his ERA to 2.91, putting him thirteenth in the league. Each of the Nationals’ four core pitchers are in the top twenty in ERA — and the team leads the league in pitching, well ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Boston series was viewed among baseball pundits and experts as a kind of coming of age for the upstart Nationals. Boston regularly outplays its opponents before its own home crowd, and is one of the most potent offensive units in the game. It is ranked third in runs scored at home in the majors. But against Nationals’ pitching, Boston’s hitters seemed frustrated and, at times, over-matched.

The most obvious symbol of Boston frustrations came in argued balls and strikes. Kevin Youkilis was tossed by the umpires on Friday night for arguing the strike zone, and Bobby Valentine today — after Dustin Pedroia complained about a called strike from Tyler Clippard. The Red Sox are 1-5 at home in their last six games.

Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: A sign that things have changed in Boston came in the seventh inning of the final Nationals-Red Sox match-up. The inning opened with singles from Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore. With Jesus Flores attempting a bunt, rookie Will Middlebrooks crept down the line from third, allowing Desmond to steal the base behind him, with Moore going to second . . .

The on-field mix-up would seem like a minor hiccup for any other team, but not the usually well-drilled Red Sox. The wound could be rubbed raw by Boston writers who are already complaining that the Red Sox are playing sloppy. And it looked bad, real bad: Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw down to Middlebrooks, who caught the ball halfway to home, then shook his head at his catcher . . .