Posts Tagged ‘Troy Tulowitzki’

Desmond Is 5-5 In Nats 7-2 Win

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014


Ian Desmond was 5-5 with two RBIs, Doug Fister threw 5.2 innings of solid baseball and reliever Aaron Barrett snuffed out a dangerous Rockies’ rally, as Washington went on to beat Colorado at Coors Field, 7-2. The victory, coupled with a Braves’ loss, put the Nationals in first place in the N.L. East.

Desmond’s night was the talk of the Nationals clubhouse following the victory. While the Washington shortstop has hit for power all season, he’s struggled to raise his batting average. But his 5-5 night against the Rockies raised his 2014 batting average to .253, a distinct improvement from his anemic April and May.

“I just thought he stayed middle of the diamond and didn’t overswing,” Nats manager Matt Williams concluded. “He hit a couple of balls back through the middle, one the other way. When he’s swinging it and going good, that’s what you’ll see.”

“I just look for the ball and swing as hard as I can,” Desmond said after the Washington victory. That may be, but whatever the shortstop is doing, it seems to be working. Desmond hit his 17th home run of the season in the top of the 4th inning to spark Washington’s offense.

The Washington win gave starter Doug Fister is 9th victory of the year, as the right hander suffocated Colorado’s bat-heavy line-up into the sixth inning. But the turning point in the game came when reliever Aaron Barrett was called on to douse a Colorado rally with two outs in the 6th. Barrett struck out Brandon Barnes with the bases loaded to end the threat.

The Washington win was also spurred by Colorado’s sloppy play. Two throwing errors by Colorado starter Franklin Morales in the 4th inning sparked a big inning for the Nationals. Morales threw wide to first on a Doug Fister sacrifice bunt, then overthrew first on a pickoff attempt. The second error cost Colorado a run, as it scored Danny Espinosa from third.

For the second night in a row the Nationals broke out their bats. In addition to Desmond’s impressive five hit performance, Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa (who started at second base) were 2-4. Espinosa was particularly impressive, with a triple and a long fourth inning double that scored Wilson Ramos.

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Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: This is turning into an ugly, ugly year for the Colorado Rockies. Their loss to the Nationals on Monday night was their sixth in a row and the team now finds itself mired in last place in the National League West . . .

It’s easy to identify the Rockies’ failings — lots of injuries and lack of pitching. But that’s only a part of the story. The front office is in chaos, the owner seems to mistrust the team’s head of baseball operations and it’s not clear what the General Manager is doing . . .

Fox Sports reports that team owner Dick Monfort said in a recent radio interview that he blames Bill Geivett, who is the senior vice president of major-league operations, for the Rockies rough year. Geivett has put his office in the clubhouse, putting pressure on manager Walt Weiss — and making Geivett a kind of deputy manager, or perhaps advisor-in-chief . . .

The Geivett move has touched off a kind of civil war inside the Rockies organization, with players befuddled by the teams plans — and wondering if there are any . . .


Strasburg, Werth Crush The Rox

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014


Nats ace Stephen Strasburg recouped from his last outing, when he gave up seven earned runs against the Brewers, by thrashing the Colorado Rockies in 7.2 dominant innings. Coupled with Jayson Werth’s stellar 2-3, three RBI night at the plate, the Nats forged a 7-1 laugher at Nationals Park.

Strasburg’s outing was among his best of the year. The righty threw into the eighth inning, giving up five hits while striking out eight and was only relieved after giving up a home run (to D.J. LeMahieu) and a walk (to Cory Dickerson) in the 8th inning. Long reliever Craig Stammen finished the game on the mound for the Nationals.

“I was able to command the fastball a little bit better,” Strasburg said after his strong performance. “They were fouling them off. I wouldn’t say they were great pitches. I was able to execute the pitch a little bit better. I had them put it in play and make weak contact.”

Rockies’ starter Christian Friedrich, meanwhile, was victimized by a line-up that hit him hard. But Colorado pitching, suspect all season, gave seven free passes on the night, which included Friedrich’s two walks to start the game. Washington scored three runs in the 1st and four runs in the fourth.

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Friedrich’s first two walks came back to haunt him. The Colorado youngster walked Denard Span and Anthony Rendon to start the game and they were driven home by a Jayson Werth double down the left field line that followed an Adam LaRoche single. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman accounted for the first inning’s third run.

The Nationals continued the onslaught in the fourth inning, starting with a Stephen Strasburg double after Wilson Ramos struck out. Chad Bettis came on in relief of Friedrich, after the embattled starter walked Denard Span. But Bettis couldn’t close the door: An Anthony Rendon double scored Strasburg and Span, while another Jayson Werth double scored Rendon.

The Nationals have now won four in a row and are seven games over .500, their best mark of the year. “For the better part of the last few weeks, just the way we are going about it, the pitching has been great, the defense has been good,”┬áJayson Werth acknowledged after the team win. “The offense is coming around. I like the way we are setting up here going into July.”


The Wisdom of Section 1-2-9: There were complaints about the game from season ticket holders on Tuesday night, but they had nothing to do with the Nationals. “The only reason I got Rockies tickets was to see Troy Tulowitzki play,” one of the section’s regular complained, “and wouldn’t you know it — they decided to rest him . . .”

The comment sparked a lively argument on Tulowitzki’s career, which has been marred by injuries. “He’s the best hitter in the National League,” one fan claimed, a statement that garnered broad agreement, along with one dissent. “[Giancarlo] Stanton is better, more power,” this fan said . . .

This year’s statistics show the two in a dead heat: Tulowitzki leads the league in batting average, but Stanton has three more home runs (21 for Stanton, 18 for Tulowitzki). But Tulowitzki leads everyone in OBP, Slugging and OPS. The numbers show that Tulo is having a monster year . . .

Nor surprisingly, the other main topic of discussion focused on remarks made by Bryce Harper about who should be starting for the Nationals — and where. The comments generated a lot of criticism from baseball analysts, who reflected that Harper would be better off playing the game, while leaving the job of filling out the line-up card to Matt Williams . . .


Purple Haze

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

It’s great to have the Rockies in town, even if we no longer get to watch Todd Helton. Helton was the face of the franchise for a decade before the arrival of Troy Tulowitzki. They were and are (both) great hitters, but then the Rockies produce hitters, which is not a surprise considering that they play in the thin air of Denver. Coors field is a hitters paradise, a stadium where hitters tee-off in those gaps, just as Helton once did.

But then there’s Troy Tulowitzki. He’s the best shortstop in the game, one of baseball’s best hitters and still the one in Colorado — the primary and perhaps the only reason why the people of Denver show up to watch their pathetically poor pitching team play (particularly with Carlos Gonzalez out with a very ugly, but apparently healing, finger injury).

Only once, one time, in the team’s twenty-one year history have the Rockies had a top-of-the-line overpowering arm on the mound. That was back in 2010, when Ubaldo Jimenez was 19-8, with a rising fastball that struck fear into anyone who dared crowd the plate. Even in 2007, when the Rockies climbed to the top of the National League, their pitching was just average.

So it was that last night (smack dab in the middle of the Nationals win) that we asked ourselves to rank the greatest Rockies pitchers of all time. Our speculation then was that the list would read a lot like the list of Belgium war heroes — not that long. And we assumed that former Rockie Ubaldo Jimenez would be right at the top of that list.


Nats Take The Colorado Series

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The Nats won their fourth game in five outings and won their away series in Colorado by taking the third game of the three game set, 5-4. The big hit in the game came off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, whose 8th inning double off of Colorado reliever Matt Belisle scored Roger Bernadina with the go-ahead, and deciding run.

The victory marked the return of lefty starter Ross Detwiler to the Washington rotation, and the youngster picked up where he left off. While throwing only five innings, Detwiler notched two strike outs without a walk. While Colorado put up three runs against him, the Detwiler outing was good news for the Nats, who have been pitching short.

The game was marred by a Rockies-umpire standoff in the 7th inning. With Ian Desmond on second, Colorado’s reliever Wilton Lopez was called for two back-to-back balks — which brought Desmond home. The Rockies sniped at the umpires for the calls, but they stood. Lopez used a rule-breaking “stop-start motion” with his hands.

“Actually, he did it three times. They only called it twice,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said following the victory. “He kept going toward his glove, and then he would stop. They called two out of three. But you can’t be moving toward your glove and stop. It’s an automatic balk.”

That might have been the least of Colorado’s problems. Super-hitter Carlos Gonzalez left the game after he had a foul tip hit off his ankle while he stood in the on-deck circle in the first inning, Dexter Fowler took a Detwiler pitch off his right hand in the third, and Troy Tulowitzki aggravated his sore ribs when he dove for a grounder in the eighth inning.


Five Run Fifth Rocks Nats

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

After hitting .290 with 27 doubles, 18 home runs and 72 RBIs in 2012, Tyler Colvin was shocked that the Colorado Rockies didn’t include him on their 25 man roster out of Spring Training. But he knew that sooner or later he’d be back with the big club — and would contribute in a big way.

So Tuesday night’s performance by the former Cub was a vindication for the young and talented outfielder, as he led the Colorado Rockies in an 8-3 slaughter of the Washington Nationals. Colvin went 2-4, hitting two home runs and notching four RBIs.

“It’s one thing to be here, but I know I can contribute to this team and help this team win,” Colvin said following the Rockies’ victory. “Games like tonight justify why I’m here.”

Colvin’s victorious return came at the expense of Nats’ starter Dan Haren, who pitched well into the 5th inning, but then gave up two home runs, three singles and a double in the single frame. “He was pitching a great ballgame, making all his pitches. I don’t know what happened,” Nats’ skipper Davey Johnson said of Haren’s outing.

The problem for Haren all season has been the big inning, and the long ball. “I just can’t keep the ball in the ballpark,” Haren said. “That’s what it’s coming down to. They’re good hitters too and they’re going to make me pay for my mistakes, but I’ve never had so much trouble with homers in my career.”

The Nationals scattered eight hits in the game, but they couldn’t match Colorado’s power numbers: and they couldn’t take advantage of a so-so outing from Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin, was having a mediocre 2013, until the Nationals came to town. Chacin scattered seven hits in just five innings but, unlike Haren, he kept the Nats in the ballpark.


Mets Pummel The Nats, 10-1

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Mets got healthy at the plate on Wednesday night, notching 15 hits and three home runs against a quintet of Washington pitchers as New York downed the Nationals 10-1. The primary victim of the Mets’ offensive was Washington starter Dan Haren, who gave up seven hits and five runs in just four innings of work.

“Haren was struggling hitting his spots. To me, it looked like his pitches were a little flat,” manager Davey Johnson said following the loss. “When he throws that many pitches, you know he is having some problems locating the ball.” Former Nats Marlon Byrd had two home runs in the game, while David Wright had one.

The Nationals’ bullpen was no more effective than starter Haren. Craig Stammen gave up two runs in a single inning of work, while rookie reliever Erik Davis was tagged with four hits and three earned runs in a single frame. If there was good news in the game it was that lefty Ian Krol made his major league debut and looked solid, striking out the side in the sixth.

The Mets’ Dillon Gee, who has struggled on the mound this season did not struggle last night against the Nationals. The righty scattered nine hits, but kept the Nationals to a single run in throwing seven solid innings. “I can’t be satisfied,” Gee said. “I’ve got to continue to do it. It feels good to do it again, give the team a chance to win, and the guys did an awesome job scoring a bunch of runs. Thankfully I was able to keep them there.”

The loss to the Mets not only brought the Nationals back to a single game under .500, it plunged them into third place behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East. The Philllies, behind the pitching of hard-luck lefty Cole Hamels, downed the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, 6-1.


Rocky Mountain Low

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The Nationals now travel to San Francisco where they will take on the mad-as-hell Giants, who have just lost three of four to the Rockies in Denver, including Sunday’s ho-hum 5-0 pasting. This was the first series the Rockies have taken from the Giants in two years, since May of 2011.

The Giants are suddenly reeling: they return to the Golden Gate city after going 1-5 on the road, accumulating an embarrassing 9.82 ERA and booting thirteen balls in six games. The Giants are now 24-20 and tied with Colorado for second place — one game behind the out-of-nowhere Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Giants might wonder what hit them, but at least the verb is right: the Rockies are a hitting machine, topping the National League in runs, hits, home runs and RBIs. Still, this might have been predicted. The Giants are twelfth in the league in team ERA, with their opponents hitting a workmanlike .255 against them. And this for a team that boasts (let’s see) Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito in their front four.

“Is it a rough patch, a streak or a small sample? We’ll see,” Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said following Sunday’s loss. “I think we need to get further into this before we can answer that question better.” A rough patch? The Giants starting rotation is one of the worst in the N.L. Exhibit #1? Matt Cain has given up more home runs than any starter in the league.