Archive for the 'Nationals' Category

Nats Blow Up Reds with TnT Demolition

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The Nationals brought out the TnT with Trea Turner stringing together five hits and a walk in a five for five day and Michael Turner going deep twice in a 4 for 5 afternoon, resulting in a 18-3 slaughter of the Cincinnati Reds. Joe Ross did his magic again. For the sixth time in his 10 starts the Nationals have scored 10 or more runs. Unfortunately for Joe he has only won three of the six starts when the Nats have scored more than 10 runs.

Homer Bailey got his first start of the year, trying to come back from bone spur surgery. It was not a promising start with the Nationals bats tagging him for eight runs before he could get the third out in the second inning. Ryan Zimmerman drove in the first two runs with a line drive double into the right field corner in the first inning. Daniel Murphy emptied the bases in the second inning with a three run double with the Nationals scoring six in the inning. Bailey had walked the two previous batters to load the bases for Murphy.

The Reds showed a little sloppiness in the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman had struck out for what appeared to be the second out but the pitch went to the back stop allowing Ryan to reach first. After two were out Lisalverto Bonilla walked Anthony Rendon. Matt Wieters singled to right field scoring Zimmerman. Right fielder Scott Schebler threw to third but the ball skipped past Suarez and into the dugout to allow Murphy to score the second run of the inning. It was the third error of the game for the Reds. Michael Taylor followed with his first of two homeruns.

Patrick Kivlehan came in to pinch hit for Joey Votto to lead off the sixth with the score 13-0. He drove a ball into the left field bleachers to put the Reds on the score board. Joe Blanton would give up the other two Red runs. He came on to pitch in the eighth entering the game with a 9.19 ERA. He gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced and left the game with a 9.72 ERA.

Both Turner and Taylor scored four runs. Daniel Murphy drove in four.

Game Notes: Brian Goodwin and Bryce Harper were heroes in the game the day before. Goodwin hit two homeruns and Bryce had the walkoff single. In this game Goodwin walked twice but also struck out twice. He got his only hit in the eighth inning. Bryce struck out his first three times up, getting his only hit in his fourth at bat. Ryan Raburn batted for him in the sixth. This offense can provide different heroes every night…Adam Duvall showed a strong arm in left field…Joe Blanton lacked command and velocity in the one inning he pitched…For Michael Taylor it was the first four hit game of his career.

MyWorld’s Top Eastern League Prospects

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Myworld watched the Bay Sox blow a 6-2 lead, giving up five runs in the ninth. The Bay Sox were able to rally for one in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. The Reading Phillies went on to win the game in 13 innings 7-6 but needless to say we were long gone before the game ended. Instead of recapping the game we thought we’d list our top ten players who are impressing us in the Eastern League. These may not be the top ten prospects but they are the ten we like.

1. Francisco Mejia C (Akron/Indians) - This guy has an arm to discourage base runners. Usually those type of catchers come with weak bats. Not Francisco. He may have the best bat and the best arm of all the catchers in the minor leagues. A couple four hit games has given him a .447 average in his last 10 games, raising his average for the year to an Eastern League leading .363. That is more than 30 points better than the hitter closest to him. Francisco also has hit 8 homeruns to put his slugging average at .625 and his OPS at 1.026. This guy is a beast with all the tools but his legs.

2. Scott Kingery 2b (Reading/Phillies) - When you look at him you don’t see a big guy. Myworld had that same impression when we looked at Brian Dozier. Like Dozier, Kingery is flying balls over the fence with great regularity, blasting an Eastern League leading 18 homeruns. Some would argue the small park at Reading is responsible for a lot of his power, but only 10 of those homeruns have been hit at Reading. Power is not the only tool in his game. Kingery is second in the Eastern League in stolen bases with 16 out of 18 attempts. If he isn’t promoted to the Phillies he has a chance to be a 30/30 player. Myworld has also been impressed by what we saw of his defense. The power has come as a surprise since he has only hit 8 homeruns in his first two years. In 2016 he had a .388 slugging average, this year it is .609.

3. Ryan McMahon 3B (Hartford/Rockies) - Ryan was not long for the Eastern League. After hitting .326 with 6 homeruns he was promoted to AAA. In 13 AAA games he is hitting .404 with three homeruns. McMahon has the unfortunate luck of playing the same position as Nolan Arenado. To ease that dilemma the Rockies have had him play 19 games at second base. The good thing is the Rockies are in a pennant race so Ryan could get traded to acquire veterans quickening his pace to the major leagues at his regular position. The surprise stat for Ryan this year is his 9 for 9 success rate in stolen bases. Prior to that he was below 50 percent in his stolen base success rate.

4. Yefry Ramirez RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Trenton has the top pitching staff in the Eastern League. Ramirez does not lead the league in ERA but his 61 whiffs in 57 innings puts him tied for first in the Eastern League in strikeouts. His fastball has good velocity, hitting the mid-90s and freezing Eastern League hitters to a .193 average. Yefry was placed on the disabled list to begin June otherwise he may have been called up by the Yankees. He only worked 3.2 innings in his last outing giving up one run. Yefry began his career as a position player but after one year moved to the mound.

5. Ronald Herrera RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Ronald got the callup to the Yankees after leading the Eastern League in ERA (1.07) and going 7-0 in his first 8 starts. His secondary numbers are not as dominating as Yefry with only 41 whiffs in 50.1 innings. The soft contact is still there with the opposition hitting him at a lackluster .166 average. One thing you have to like about Ronald is he throws strikes with just 9 walks. He did get one two inning appearance with the Yankees and struggled, giving up two runs. At 5/11″ he is a couple inches smaller than Yefry and his fastball is a couple ticks slower sitting in the low 90s. Ronald could be due for a promotion since he had 24 starts last year in the Eastern League.

6. Miguel Andujar 3B (Trenton/Yankees) - It will either be Gleyber Torres or Miguel replacing Chase Headley at third base. Miguel is leading the Eastern League in RBIs with 47. He makes good contact with the ball which allows him to hit for average (.308). There is also a little pop in his bat with 7 homeruns. His defense is solid but not as flashy as Gleyber so if Greg Bird continues to have injury issues a move to first base may be in the future. The errors need to be reduced with 22 last year and 10 so far this year. Most of his errors are on bad throws.

7. Andrew Pullin LF (Reading/Phillies) - The bat has been solid (.310) with lots of pop (13 homeruns, .559 slugging). Most of his homeruns have been on the road so he has not been helped by the small Reading ball park (9 homeruns away with a .689 slugging). Coming into this season he was not on the Phillies prospect list but that will change after this year. He is tied with Kingery for the Eastern League lead in extra base hits with 34. Not noted for his speed, left field will probably be his best position.

8. Tanner Scott RHP (Bowie/Orioles) - We saw him pitch last night. His fastball is consistently in the high 90s. His breaking ball is a little inconsistent and he has trouble finding the plate. Tanner is not on the league leader boards because the Orioles pull him from his starts after three innings. The opposition is hitting him at a .150 clip and he has struck out 48 in 39 innings. His 26 walks put him a bit short of the 2 for 1 whiff to walk ratio you would like to see. Tanner has not allowed a run in his last four outings covering 12 innings to lower his ERA to 1.38.

9. Erick Fedde RHP (Harrisburg/Nationals) - The Nationals have moved him to the pen and promoted him to AAA. While in the Eastern League he got seven starts and 10 relief appearances. The first round pick could have his mid-90s fastball in the major leagues before the year is out. In the Eastern League he limited the opposition to a .215 average with 54 whiffs in 56 innings. His 3.04 ERA put him tenth in the Eastern League.

10. Rafael Devers 3B (Portland/Red Sox) - The bat can play and if Pablo Sandoval does not get his act together the Red Sox may promote Rafael to the major leagues. His .308 average just misses the top ten but his 12 homeruns and .561 slugging averages are career highs. He has hit homeruns in his last two games. With the Red Sox having a black hole at third base there is no longer any talk of moving Rafael to first base. Speed is not part of his game.

Honorable Mentions

Adam Brett Walker OF (Bowie/Orioles) - He was recently released by the Braves and picked up by the Orioles. At one point he was considered a top ten prospect. He is trying to get scouts to talk about him again with a .444 average, four doubles and two homeruns in his first four games. When he was with the Braves in the Southern League he hit only .122, striking out 23 times in his 49 at bats. The strikeouts will always be there but if the power reappears he could be a player to watch. Last night he went 5 for 6.

Christin Stewart OF (Erie/Tigers) - The one Erie game we watched Stewart did not start. He pinch hit with the bases loaded and two outs, striking out on a high fastball. The bat has some thunder with 16 homeruns, second in the Eastern League but his prevalence for the whiff will keep his average down (.257). Stewart does not have a lot of speed and his defense will limit him to left field.

Chance Adams RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Chance would be the highest rated pitcher on this list if he spent some time in the Eastern League. He only got six starts but dominated with a 4-0 record and 1.03 ERA. The opposition hit him at a .183 average. Chance is also pitching well at AAA with a 2.52 ERA and a .151 opposition average. At 6′1″ he is not intimidating on the mound but he has a mid-90s fastball and a slider that he uses as his strikeout pitch.

Braves Roast Roark

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

The Tanner Roark fastball is down a couple ticks. The balls seem to be hit harder off his deliveries, especially the Braves bats seemed to have their way with the Roark pitches. The first three hitters in the lineup combined for 10 hits in their 13-2 rout of the Nationals. If this had been an international competition this game would have been over after the seventh inning when the beleaguered Nats bullpen gave up six runs.

The top three in the Braves batting order, Ender Inciarte, Brandon Phillips and Nick Markakis all started the game with hits, Brandon Phillips gapping a double into left center to score Inciarte and Markakis driving in Phillips with a single. Matt Adams, another bat that has been destroying Nats pitchers drove in the third run of the inning with a single.

For a brief period the Nationals attempted to make a game of it. Brian Goodwin hit a ball over the Nats bullpen into the second deck for a two run homer in the second inning to close the lead to 3-2. After that Julio Tehran quieted the Nats bats for three hits in the next five innings. By the time he departed the Braves were ahead 13-2.

Roark gave the runs back in the top of the third, plus one. Nick Markakis got the inning started with a single into right field. Matt Kemp followed with a hit and run single up the middle that went past a diving Murphy. A lot of hits this day were scooting past the glove of a diving Murphy. Ryan Zimmerman was not looking when Jose Lobaton threw a ball to first base in an attempt to pick off Kemp. The ball went untouched into right field. Bryce Harper was able to retrieve the ball and throw out Matt Kemp at third for the second out. Kemp came up hobbling, holding his hamstring and was replaced by Danny Santana in the bottom of the third.

The Braves did not stop scoring in the inning. Roark walked Matt Adams. Kurt Suzuki struck a 1-1 pitch from Roark and sent it into the Braves bullpen for a 6-2 lead. For Nationals fans the only hope was for the rains to come to avoid another loss.

The fifth inning saw more of the same ineffectiveness of Roark. Back to back singles by Phillips and Markakis and a walk to Danny Santana loaded the bases with no outs. Matt Adams hit a sacrifice fly to left to score a run. Fortunately for the Nationals it was the only run the Braves would score.

It appeared Dusty was trying to save his bench. Michael Taylor, Matt Wieters and Anthony Rendon were not in the starting lineup. In the bottom of the fifth he let Tanner Roark hit despite being down 7-2 and Roark at 102 pitches. In the top of the sixth Trevor Gott went in to pitch. In the ninth inning, down 13-2 Joe Ross would pinch hit.

Gott gave up two hits in the sixth but still prevented the Braves from scoring a run. In the seventh he was not so lucky, his issue with throwing strikes got the best of him. With the bases loaded and two outs he walked Julio Teheran for a run after getting ahead of him in the count 0-2. Ender Inciarte finished his day with a two run single. Blake Treinen replaced Gott and could not stop the bleeding, giving up a two run double down the third base line to Brandon Phillips and an RBI single to Danny Santana to put the score at 13-2. It was an inning you had to wonder had an end to it.

Fortunately, it did and the game mercifully was finished with the Nationals suffering a big beat down 13-2, finishing the home stand 2-5 after doing so well on a west coast road trip.

Nats Notes: Odd occurrences in the top of the eighth when Ryan Raburn was announced as the left fielder. Before the inning was started he walked back to the dugout and Adam Lind returned to left field. Blake Treinen pitched to one hitter and retired him. Raburn then trotted back out to left field, Lind went to first base and Zimmerman left the game with Joe Blanton coming in to pitch. The explanation given was after Jose Lobaton grounded into a double play Blanton was not sufficiently warmed up so Treinen was left in to pitch to one more hitter. Raburn obviously did not get that message…Lobaton is an anchor in the Nats offense. After an 0 for 3 performance his average dropped to .127. if he was a superior defender who managed a pitching staff well myworld would have a bit more patience, but he appears to have no qualities in his game to put him in the lineup. Roark and Lobaton seemed to require a lot of mound communication about what pitches Roark wanted to throw..Trea Turner had stolen second base in the first inning but was called out after popping up after the slide and being tagged by Swanson, who kept his glove on Turner. In the eighth Trea hit a ground ball to Phillips at second with the team down 13-2. He did not run to first with the speed he did in the first inning when he hit a ground ball to Phillips and beat it out. Tough to stay motivated when you’re down 13-2…Matt Kemp hurt his hamstring sliding into third and had to be taken out of the game…Daniel Murphy seemed to be spending a lot of his time diving at balls that skipped past him for hits…Nats pitchers threw 196 pitches in the game, 124 of them for strikes…Joe West was umpiring at second base. At one point he was seen talking to Murphy asking him if this was the spot he should stand. In the game yesterday the second base umpire argued with Murphy after Murphy asked him to move because he was in his sight line. Some umpires think they are above the game…The Braves had lost 23 of their last 25 games in Nats park. Winning two out of three in this series had to feel good. It was their first series victory in Washington since April 2014.

Another Nats Bullpen Meltdown

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

They say closing can be a different animal. Matt Albers found that out as he struggled to find the strike zone in the ninth inning in an 11-10 loss to the Atlanta Braves. He had to groove a 2-0 pitch to Tyler Flowers, who had struck out in his first three at bats against Stephen Strasburg, but drove Albers pitch into the Nationals bullpen for a three run homerun. That drove up his ERA.

Both starters got assaulted for homeruns in five or less innings of work. For Mike Foltynewicz he had perhaps his worst outing of the year. He gave up a lead off homerun to Trea Turner in the first, a ball that just eluded the leaping Ender Inciarte in centerfield. A walk to Bryce Harper and back to back singles by Adam Lind and Matt Wieters scored Harper. The Braves were still up 3-2 when he got Micahel Taylor to hit a hard grounder to second.

In the second Brian Goodwin took a Folty pitch down the right field line with the ball not stopping until it had reached the Nationals bullpen. Two singles and a walk would load the bases. Anthony Rendon hit a fairly shallow fly to right field with Trea Turner challenging the gun of Nick Markakis. That gun does not appear so lethal anymore with Turner easily beating what appeared to be a loopy throw from Markakis.

The Nationals added another run in the fourth on a single by Matt Wieters and a double into the left field corner by Brian Goodwin. Stephen Strasburg hit a hard grounder to second with Brandon Phillips choosing to get the out at first rather than throw it home. Despite the run the Nationals were still down by one, 6-5.

In the fourth the Nationals chased Folty. Bryce Harper led the inning off with a rocket line drive that barreled into the right field bleachers to tie the game. Daniel Murphy singled and Adam Lind hit a high, routine fly ball to Inciarte in center. Murphy seemed to put on a burst of speed as he rounded second and raced to third with only one out. Did he forget how many outs there were? Inciarte lost the ball and it bounced behind him for a double with Murphy scoring easily. Perhaps Murphy recognized Inciarte had lost the ball? That was the end for Folty. Michael Taylor singled into left center with the dive by Matt Kemp not being caught and bouncing the ball away far enough to allow Lind to score from second. Brian Goodwin lined a single to right with Markakis diving and bouncing the ball away enough for Michael Taylor to score from first on a single. The four runs gave the Nationals a 9-6 lead.

Strasburg had his troubles as well. He gave up a two run homer to Nick Markakis in the first inning, only the second homerun of the year by Markakis. Matt Kemp followed with a solo homerun off a 97 mile per hour fastball into centerfield reaching the first two rows of the Red Porch. The Nationals were quickly down 3-0.

After the Nationals had strafed Folty for four runs to take a 4-3 lead Strasburg got lit up again. Brandon Phillips singled and Nick Markakis walked to put two runners on. With two out Matt Adams connected into a pitch and hit it over the 402 marker in centerfield to give the Braves a 6-4 lead.

When Strasburg departed after the fifth inning he was still in good shape to be the winning pitcher. The Nationals were up 9-6. Strasburg had given up three long balls but he had whiffed 10 hitters, many of them swinging and missing at his curveball. At close to 100 pitches and clearly not sharp Dusty Baker chose to go the bullpen.

Oh that bullpen. It is turning into a nasty word in D.C. From Drew Storen to Jonathan Papelbon to now Blake Treinen the fans have not seen a closer they have liked in a few years now. Jacob Turner worked two scoreless innings, but the signs should have come in the seventh inning when his outs were hard hit. Perhaps there is not an arm in the pen Dusty can trust except for maybe Matt Albers, but he wanted to get to the ninth inning before using Matt.

Matt Adams hit the first pitch thrown by Jacob Turner in the eighth inning for a homerun into the right field bleachers. Rio Ruiz doubled and a four pitch walk to Dansby Swanson ended the day for Jacob Turner.

In comes the fireballing Enny Romero. He is lefthanded and throws bbs that consistently hit 100 plus miles per hour. His first bb was fired into the arm of pinch hitter Danny Santana. The problem with Romero is he has no control where his bbs are going. With the bases loaded Ender Inciarte hits the next pitch deep enough into left field to score Ruiz. That made it 9-8. With two out it was enough to bring in Matt Albers.

Matt got Brandon Phillips to ground to short to end the inning. The Nats went down meekly in the bottom frame and Albers came on to protect the one run lead in the ninth. The animal began to roar in the head of Albers. He couldn’t find the plate. After getting ahead of Nick Markakis 0-2 he threw four balls to walk the leadoff hitter. A called third strike to Matt Albers gave the fans something to cheer about, but then Matt Adams walked on a 3-2 count. That brought up the hitless Tyler Flowers who had struck out three times and grounded to second. Albers threw two balls to Flowers. Not wanting to walk him to load the bases and put the tying run on third with just one out Albers next pitch was grooved and Flowers blasted the pitch into the right field bullpen. Bryce could only turn and watch it sail into the arena that has been the bane of the Nationals season.

Bakers trusted reliever was tarnished as all the other bullpen arms. His 1.06 ERA climbed to 2.10. Shawn Kelley came on to pitch and made fans moan even more with a two base throwing error. Fortunately he got out of the inning without another run scoring. Kelley has only given up 8 homeruns in 16 innings. That lost him the closer job.

The Nat bats finally perked up against the Braves bullpen, realizing they were behind and had to score some runs. After scoring in four consecutive innings to start the game they were shutout by the Braves bullpen in the next four innings. A Michael Taylor double and Trea Turner single had given the Nationals one run. Bryce Harper failed to provide the walkoff, lining to center for the third out.

Game Notes: Overall the Nationals are hitting .274. After the sixth inning their batting average drops to .249. That means that in addition to having a poor bullpen, the Nationals have trouble hitting against the opponents bullpen, a double edged sword…The Nationals 11 blown saves are still two behind the Mets and Rays who lead the majors with 13. But only Minnesota has a worse OPS (.812) than the Nationals (.810) bullpen. The Nationals 5.11 ERA is third worst in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (5.14) and Minnesota Twins (5.55) falling behind them. Surprisingly the 63 walks by the Nationals bullpen is tied with Cleveland for the least walks by a bullpen. Perhaps the bullpen should think about throwing more balls…Stephen Strasburg had his curveball working. Most of his strikeouts were swings and misses at his curveball. His fastball was hit hard…Nick Markakis arm is no longer a threat. There is too much loop in what used to be a cannon for an arm…People in the stands refer to Matt Albers as Fat Albers in reference to Bill Cosby and his Fat Albert character. Let’s just say Albers does not have a svelte figure…It was $1 ice cream night. In order to get the ice cream you had to use an app from MLB. Myworld still uses a flip phone which does not take kindly to apps. So much for our $1 ice cream…Brian Goodwin was a triple shy of the cycle. He was intentionally walked in his fourth at bat and struck out in the ninth in his final at bat to miss hitting for they cycle.

Rangers Rip Roark on His Bobblehead Day

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

It was Tanner Roark bobblehead day. It was also an opportunity to face his original team who drafted him in the 25th round of the 2008 draft. The Nationals traded Christian Guzman to acquire Roark. Neither of those facts helped Roark Friday night.

The biggest statement of the night was the two run homer hit by Jonathan Lucroy in the fifth inning to turn a 1-0 game into a 3-0 game. The Rangers would go on to beat a listless Nationals team 5-1. Roark gave up 11 hits in his six innings of work. He was gone after giving up a leadoff homerun in the sixth to Rougnod Odor. The Nationals committed two errors behind him, three in the game, that made two of the five runs Roark gave up unearned.

It was a rough day for Roark. He had only one inning in which he retired the side in order, the fourth. All the other innings Roark put at least two runners on base. Even the outs were hit hard.

On the other side, the Nationals could not get to Andrew Cashner. He only retired the side in order in the third inning, but he was less charitable in putting runners on base. The Nationals wasted a scoring opportunity in the fourth when back to back singles by Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy put runners on first and third with one out. Anthony Rendon popped out to short and Matt Wieters grounded out to end the threat.

The Nationals scored their first run in the sixth, but even that was a let down. Ryan Zimmerman doubled off the left field wall and barely beat the throw into second. With two out Anthony Rendon came through with a single to left field. Zimmerman raced home and when the throw was off line Andrew Cashner cut it off and threw Rendon out trying to advance to second. Zimmerman scored but the third out was made.

The Nationals committed three errors on the day, two by Trea Turner. Trea committed his first error in the sixth when he was playing on the right side of the infield for Joey Gallo. He cut in front of Murphy to field the ball, but bobbled it. A single by Delino Deshields followed, a bunt by Cashner moved them over. Roark walked Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases with one out. He struck out Elvis Andrus but then threw four straight balls to Nomar Mazara to force in a run.

The Nationals appeared to rally in the ninth to get back into the game. Singles by Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters put runners on first and third. Michael Taylor grounded into a force play with a run scoring to make the score 5-2. Pinch hitter Stephen Drew hit a lazy fly to left center. Centerfielder Jared Hoying and left fielder Nomar Mazara each watched the other watch the ball hit the grass between them. That brought up Trea Turner as the tying run, but he grounded back to the pitcher to end the game.

Game Notes: It was a sold out 38,000 plus for Tanner Roark bobble head day…Alex Claudio had both Ryan Raburn and Bryce Harper swinging and missing at his 72 mile per hour changeup in the eighth inning on back to back whiffs…Joey Gallo had no problem pulling a Enny Romero 100 mile per hour fastball into the right field corner for a double. Romero was still able to strike out the side after an error and walk loaded the bases…Joey Gallo seems to like to get the ball high into the air, hitting a lot of popups or high flyball outs. A little less arc when he makes contact could result in more distance…A Ryan Zimmerman error in the fifth inning led to an unearned run. The three Nationals errors resulted in two unearned runs scoring…Jurickson Profar was playing for the injured Adrian Beltre. He went 0 for 5 in the game to drop his average to .119. Hard to believe he was at one time considered the top prospect in baseball a few years ago. A couple shoulder injuries stalled his career…Adrian Beltre returned the next day in the Rangers extra inning win. Myworld was at that game for the first six innings but left after the Nats built a 3-1 lead. Koda Glover blew a save giving up two in the ninth to send the game into extra innings where they eventually lost 5-3. Myworld had an end of the season volleyball banquet to attend.

Cruz Late Shot Leads Mariners

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

In the opener Nelson Cruz misplayed a fly ball that turned a possible one run inning into an eight run inning. He made up for it in the third game with a three run homer off reliever Jacob Turner to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Cruz giveth and he taketh away. The Mariners went on to win the game 4-2.

Because of potential thunderstorms in the afternoon the game was moved up from 4 PM to 12. It accounted for the sparse crowd that attended the game. The weather held up and the game was played in its entirety to beautiful weather. The rains came around 5:30 PM.

Both pitchers were sharp to begin the game. Ariel Miranda did not give up his first hit until the fifth inning. Up until that time the only Nationals baserunners were a walk and a two base error by firstbaseman Danny Valencia. Unfortunately the first hit Miranda gave up was rocked into the left field bleachers by Anthony Rendon to lead off the fifth inning. For Rendon it was his fourth homerun in three games against the Mariners.

Michael Taylor followed with a walk but was caught stealing second. That proved costly when Jose Lobaton pulled a double into the left field wall, lumbering his way into second just ahead of the throw. Trea Turner walked and Jayson Werth ripped a single into centerfield. Lobaton was sent home and the throw was off line, cut off before reaching the plate. A good throw from Guillermo Heredia may have gotten Lobaton at home.

Gio Gonzalez had a no hitter until the fifth when Kyle Seager rifled a one out double into right field. Gonzalez walked the next two hitters to load the bases with just one out. It would be his third and fourth walks of the game. He bore down and got Mike Zumino with a 91 mile per hour fastball. It took Gonzalez only three pitches to whiff pitcher Ariel Miranda to extinguish the inning.

Gonzalez was not so lucky in the sixth. Jean Segura led off the inning with a line drive single into left field. Guillermo Heredia struck out on a 2-2 pitch. Mariners manager Scott Servias seemed to step out of the dugout and was given the heave ho by the home plate umpire. An argument ensued and this seemed to motivate the Mariners. Robinson Cano lined a single into centerfield. Gio was given the hook to have righthander Jacob Turner replace Gio to face the right handed bat of Nelson Cruz. Nelson didn’t seem to get good wood on the ball but it carried far enough into centerfield to reach the Red Porch bleachers and give the Mariners a 3-2 lead. Turner gave up a walk and single to the next two hitters but was able to get out of the inning without further damage.

Turner gave up two singles to lead off the sixth inning, Boog Powell with a pinch hit single and Segura with a single. A hard grounder to Trea Turner seemed like a double play but Heredia was able to beat the ball to first. Jacob Turner was replaced by the lefty Matt Grace to face Robinson Cano who singled to drive in a run. Blake Treinen came on to replace Grace to face Cruz and walked him to load the bases. The double play tends to be Blake’s best friend and he got Kyle Seager to hit into a 4-6-3 DP, Murphy making a nice play on the hard hit grounder to prevent it from going into right field.

The Nationals could not do anything against five relievers the Mariners threw out there. Bryce Harper beat the shift by bouncing a slow grounder past the third base bag. Since the third baseman was playing shortstop Bryce easily turned the hit into a double. Neither Ryan Zimmerman or Daniel Murphy could drive him in. Edwin Diaz pitched the last inning to pick up the save.

Game Notes: Matt Albers struck out the side in the eighth, his fastball hitting 95. Myworld does not recall Matt ever throwing the ball that hard, at least not when he was with the Orioles. He has been the Nationals best reliever but that is not saying a lot from a group that has seen nothing but failure in protecting leads…With runners on first and second and two out in the fifth Harper grounded one to second, slowly jogging to first. If the second baseman would have bobbled the ball myworld would have been upset with Harper’s lack of hustle. Myworld does not expect a sprint to first on every routine grounder, but a slow jog is unacceptable unless you are a pitcher or are trying to protect a leg injury…Attendance was listed at 18,881 but the stadium seemed much emptier.

Nats Run Support Continues for Ross

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

In his first three starts for Joe Ross the Nationals have provided him with ample run support, winning by scores of 14-4, 15-12 and 23-5. Poor pitching on his part left him with only one victory. The run support was not as great last night but Ross will take the 10 runs. He also pitched well, allowing just one run in his eight innings of work for a Nationals 10-1 win.

It was an overcast night with the clouds raining drizzle from the first inning to the eighth. During the third through fourth innings the rain came down harder creating small pools of water collecting throughout the infield. The grounds crew came on a couple times to pour dirt into those pools to dry out the infield. When the rain tapered down in the fifth the pools of water failed to reappear.

The Mariners started Christian Bergman. All their normal starters are on the disabled list so the Mariners are going with a new group of five. Bergman pitched decent his first three innings. Anthony Rendon tagged him for a towering homerun near the foul pole in short left field for two runs. When Bergman got to the fourth inning it was a disaster.

The Nationals hit for the cycle in the fourth. Anthony Rendon started the inning with a double into the right centerfield gap. Matt Wieters drove him in with a single. A Michael Taylor single put runners on first and second with no out and pitcher Joe Ross up. Dusty Baker had Joe swinging and he hit a sharp grounder to Jean Segura who turned a double play.

Just as things looked as if they were going good for Bergman, Trea Turner lifted a high drive in right field that could not be caught by Nelson Cruz, who was caught turning the wrong way on the ball. Trea Turner glided around the soggy infield for a triple. Jayson Werth blasted a pitch from Bergman over the left field bleachers for a homerun. Bryce Harper followed by powering a pitch over the 402 marker in right center that banged against the back wall, easily a 450 foot blast. Bergman stayed out there and the assault continued. Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy hit hard singles. Anthony Rendon lifted one into right center that just carried over the 402 foot mark for his second homer of the day. When the inning was over the Nationals had scored eight runs. The only fear from Nats fans is the rain would continue, the Nationals would not make an out and the game would be called before it reached the fifth inning.

The final out was made and Ross quickly disposed of the Mariners in the top of the fifth. Mike Zunino gave the Mariners their only run by leading off the sixth with a homerun into the left field bleachers. Jean Segura hit a two out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ben Gamel drove one into right center but Michael Taylor leaped and caught the ball at the scoreboard to end the inning. The Mariners would threaten no more with Joe Ross striking out the side in his last inning of work, the eighth.

Hats off to Emilio Pagan who came in to start the sixth. He gave up a leadoff single to Michael Taylor, but then retired the next 12 Nationals. With the game out of reach the Mariners saved their pen by having him bat twice and complete the game. His ERA went south to 6.75 while Bergman’s travelled north to 6.30.

Game Notes: Rendon had a chance for his second three homer game of the year in the seventh but popped up to second…Hard to believe the run support for Ross would drop after the Nats scored 10 runs for him. In four games the National bats have scored 62 runs, the most in major league history to start the season according to Elias…This was Robisnson Cano’s first game back from the disabled list. He failed to cover a lot of ground in the second inning on a single by Ryan Zimmerman. Robinson was shading him to pull, playing more up the middle but Zimmerman grounded it to the second base side of the bag.

Nats Win Bullpen Blowup Battle with the Phillies

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Or perhaps you can say more accurately the Phillies won, since their bullpen was the last to blow a lead. The Phillies bullpen let a 4-0 lead disappear on Friday, giving up a walk off Bryce Harper homerun. The Nationals returned the favor on Friday giving away a 3-0 lead, allowing three runs in the top of the ninth. After the Nationals let a 4-3 lead escape in the top of the eighth the Phillies Pat Neshek was lit up in the bottom of the eighth by a Micahel Taylor two run homer. Dusty Baker turned to the only bullpen guy that has been getting hitters out, a pitcher released by the Orioles who has the least velocity on the team, Matt Albers. He got the save by retiring the Phillies in order. Despite his lack of stuff he could be the bullpen answer because he gets outs.

The Nationals drew first blood in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of a Cesar Hernandez error on a hard bouncer hit by Trea Turner that bounced off the foot of Hernandez. A wild pitch advanced Turner to second where he scored on a Bryce Harper single. Bryce tried to advance to second on the throw, but Brock Stassi cut the ball off and easily threw Harper out at second.

In the top of the fourth the Phillies took advantage of video replay to show a ball glanced off the knee of Aaron Altherr. Michael Saunders rocketed a shot off the knee of Max Scherzer, who spent the next five minutes hobbling around the mound. He did not seem as sharp after he was hit. Brock Stassi slapped a single through the hole in right field to tie the game at 1-1 and Andrew Knapp rifled a single to right to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

The Nationals recaptured the lead in the fifth. Despite throwing between 95-98 Vince Velasquez struggled. Jose Lobaton hit a shot that rolled into the gap in right center to hustle it into a double. Lobaton again used his legs to advance to third on a fly out to right by Max Scherzer. The throw from Michael Saunders was a little off line. Trea Turner lifted one to left and again Lobaton used his legs to race home, barely beating the throw from Aaron Altherr. Chris Heisey kept the inning alive with a single. Bryce Harper smacked his third hit of the day, pulling a pitch into the right field corner for a double and scoring Heisey from first for a 3-2 lead.

Scherzer could not hold the lead in the sixth. Michael Saunders opened the inning with a double against the right centerfield wall. Andres Blanco drove him in with a single. The inning could have been worse. With runners on first and second and two out Daniel Nava bounced a single up the middle. Trea Turner made a diving stop to prevent it from going into centerfield. Stassi had rounded third, Turner threw it to third and Rendon fired home to get Stassi at the plate for the third out and prevent the Phillies from taking the lead.

The Nationals took the lead back after a leadoff single and stolen base from Anthony Rendon. With a runner on second and two out Dusty Baker chose to pinch hit Brian Goodwin instead of Adam Lind. Goodwin poked a double into the left field corner just over the outstretched glove of Aaron Altherr.

It does not matter who Dusty Baker brings in as a reliever. All of them have failed to protect the lead. Shawn Kelly and Koda Glover were failures in the opener. Baker tried Matt Grace and Jacob Turner in game two. Grace was successful in his first inning of work, retiring the side in order. In his second inning he threw four straight balls to lefthanded hitter Michael Saunders. With a runner on second and one out and Tommy Joseph pinch hitting for lefthander Brock Stassi Baker went with Jacob Turner from the right side. Turner walked Joseph and Freddy Galvis gave the Phillies the lead with a two run triple. The boos rained in on the bullpen for blowing another lead. Turner was able to strike out Andrew Knapp with Galvis at third and one out, and got Ty Kelly to fly out to left to keep the Philly lead at one.

It was the Phillies turn to blow a lead. That task went to Pat Neshek. He gave up an Anthony Rendon single and then the two run shot by Michael Taylor that hit the foul pole in left field. The two runs were the first to be given up by Neshek.

Dusty Baker went to the Nationals most effective reliever Matt Albers. He retired the Phillies in order in the ninth to give the Nationals a win.

Game Notes: Max Scherzer struck out the side in the fifth inning on nine pitches. That ties a record held by many…Ryan Zimmerman made a lob throw to second on a double play grounder. A crisper throw may have gotten a double play. He was rescued by Trea Turner who made a diving stop on a grounder up the middle and threw out the runner at home, who should have been erased on a double play…It was Trea Turner bobble head day…Vince Velasquez throws the ball hard, with his fastball consistently hitting 95-98. You wonder why his ERA is at 5.63. He struck out the first two hitters he faced, then showed his wildness giving up a hit and walking two to load the bases. He threw close to 30 pitches in the first inning…Michael Taylor struck out his first three times up, failing to make contact with the ball on 12 pitches. Dusty Baker stuck with him in the eighth and he came through with a big two run homer, hitting the first pitch thrown by Neshek…Cesar Hernandez was called out on a bunt attempt after the ball hit him out of the batter’s box. The Phillies asked for a review and when the umpires put the headsets on to get a ruling they were told this event was not reviewable…Only three teams have a worse ERA than the Nationals bullpen of 5.20 (Mariners, Padres and Tigers). The Phillies bullpen is not that far ahead at 4.77. The Phillies are tied with the Rays and Mariners for most blown saves at 9. The Nationals only have 7 blown saves. The Phillies bullpen is tied with the Mariners for giving up the most homeruns at 24. The Nationals are not that far behind giving up 20, but they have been a little stingy giving up homeruns the last week. The Nationals .484 slugging percentage is the worst in the major leagues. The Phillies are next to last at .470. The worst AL team is the Tigers at .468.

Wieters Walkoff Against Old Mates

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

It was supposed to be a good day in D.C. with the Capitals battling the Penguins in game 7 and the Wizards in Boston to face the Celtics for game 5. Nationals park was relatively empty as the Nationals battled with their cross town rivals the Baltimore Orioles. Only the Nationals prevented this day from being a disaster.

The Capitals could muster no offense in losing to the Penguins to continue their disappointing playoff appearances. The Wizards played no defense in getting spanked by Boston and now face elimination in their NBA playoff series. At the same time the Orioles were controlling the game against the Nationals until the ninth inning.

Stephen Strasburg struggled early. He got the strikeouts with nine in six innings of work but a rough second inning did him in. He hit Jonathan Schoop to start the inning. J.J. Hardy rifled a single into right field. Caleb Joseph barely got his bat on the ball and blooped a hit over the head of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to drive in the first run. With runners on first and third Wade Miley laid down a bunt for a base hit to load the bases. The Nationals were not expecting the bunt, playing the infield back. Seth Smith drove a pitch deep into centerfield. Michael Taylor caught it at the fence and Nationals fans breathed a sigh of relief as only one run scored instead of four. Adam Jones slapped a single into right field to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth the Nationals rallied for a run after two were out. Anthony Rendon walked. Matt Wieters began his torment of the Orioles with his second hit of the day, a single to right center. Michael Taylor got his first of two clutch hits lining a single into left field. In his first at bat he struck out with runners on first and third and one out.

The Orioles did the Nationals one better after Strasburg retired the first two hitters. Chris Davis lined a single up the middle. Mark Trumbo put an end to his power outage by almost reaching the Red Porch bar in center field with a shot that easily cleared the left field bull pen to give the Orioles a 5-1 lead.

In the bottom frame the Nationals pecked back, loading the bases with no out on singles by Trea Turner and Bryce Harper with a walk sandwiched in between by Jayson Werth. They could only salvage one in the inning after Ryan Zimmerman struck out and Daniel Murphy barely beat a throw to first on what was almost a double play ground out. Turner scored to make it 5-2.

Blake Treinen came on to pitch the seventh. The Nationals bullpen has given up more homeruns than any other bullpen in the National League. After retiring the first two hitters Treinen continued that trend grooming a pitch to Manny Machado who stroked it into the left field bleachers for a solo shot. The Orioles appeared to have a commanding 6-2 lead.

Michael Taylor whittled into that lead. Daniel Murphy started the inning with a single. Alec Asher came on to strike out the first two hitters he faced. Michael Taylor did not take long in his at bat, flicking his wrists on Asher’s first pitch and lining a drive into the left field bleachers to pull the Nationals to within 6-4.

The Orioles went with Brad Brach in the ninth with their closer Zach Britton on the disabled list. Jayson Werth ran the count full and then poked one into right field that barely landed into the bleachers for a solo shot. Bryce Harper also went the other way by slicing a double into left field. Ryan Zimmerman had an opportunity for a walk off, something he has not done in awhile, but he grounded to the pitcher. After throwing three balls to Daniel Murphy the O’s put him on with an intentional walk on the fourth pitch. Anthony Rendon lined a single into centerfield to load the bases with one out. Matt Wieters swung at the first pitch from Brach and lined one the other way, past the glove of Chris Davis and into right field for a base hit to score two and give the Nationals the 7-6 win. Wieters was mobbed at first base.

Game Notes: The Orioles now know how the Nationals felt after their bullpen blew a lead the previous day. The Orioles are struggling to find a closer after an injury to Zach Britton could keep him off the field for a couple months…The attendance was listed as 32,984, a small crowd considering this was an Orioles game. The Penguins and Celtics playoff matches could not have had that big an influence on advanced ticket sales…Michael Taylor did strike out in the second inning with runners on first and third and one out. He made up for it in two of his next three at bats with clutch two out hits…Bryce Harper swings and misses at too many fastballs…Ryan Zimmerman had a rough night going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts and a ground into double play. He was robbed of a hit in the first inning when J.J. Hardy made a leaping catch on his line drive. He is 1 for 14 in the first three games of this series, dropping his average below .400…Hyun-Soo Kim is not hitting for a lot of power, which could limit his playing time in left field. With no DH spot available Seth Smith got the start with Kim slugging only .311. Kim got an opportunity to pinch hit but struck out in his one at bat against Strasburg…The loss ended a six game winning streak by the Orioles…Matt Albers, another former Oriole struck out the side in the top of the ninth.

Scherzer Quiets Diamondbacks Bats

Friday, May 5th, 2017

When Max Scherzer reaches double digits in strike outs his stuff is good. He had extra motivation today with the Diamondbacks as his opponent, the team that first drafted him in 2006. Before the day ended he whiffed 11 in the Nationals 4-2 win. Only three runners reached base in the first six innings, none of them advancing past second. Jake Lamb led off the seventh with a blast into the left field bullpen to ruin the shutout but Scherzer was able to strike out the side between a hit by pitch to contain the damage. The last two innings were left to the shaky Nationals bullpen to finish.

Braden Shipley was not sharp in his first outing of the 2017 season. He walked six hitters in less than five innings, three of those walks scoring. It was not the kind of outing that should get a second opportunity.

In the second inning Ryan Zimmerman led it off with a walk. Singles by Daniel Murphy and Michael Taylor load the bases with one out. Rally killer Jose Lobaton popped up to short. That left it up to Max Scherzer, whose .091 average was still 11 points higher than Lobaton. Max nubbed one to the third base side of the mound, Shipley could not field the ball cleanly and the Nationals scored their first run.

Shipley walked three straight hitters in the third inning after retiring the first hitter. Anthony Rendon lined a shot over the head of left fielder Chris Hermann to score two. Chris is used to seeing balls come to him from behind the plate, not off the bat. Michael Taylor walked to again give Jose Lobaton a bases loaded opportunity. He failed again, grounding into a double play to end the inning.

The Nationals scored an insurance run in the eighth. Turner singled and Jayson Werth drew a walk. The duo pulled off a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Chris Heisey hit a slow grounder to short, which was enough to score Turner to increase the National lead to 4-2.

Matt Albers has been the Nationals best reliever. He retired the side in order in the eighth. Joe Blanton has been the Nationals worst reliever. He came into the game giving up five homeruns in just 11 innings. His second pitch to Paul Goldschmidt was deposited into the left field bleachers to pull the Diamondbacks to within two runs. Blanton has now given up six homeruns in 11 innings. Enny Romero came on to face the lefty.

Romero struck out Jake Lamb with a fastball hitting 100 miles per hour. Dusty must have liked what he saw because he kept Romero in to face the righthanders. He struck out pinch hitter Yasmany Tomas. After Chris Ianatta singled Daniel Descalso grounded to second to end the game. Romero got the save and may get more opportunities if he continues to hit triple digits on the radar that entices swings and misses.

Game Notes: Lobaton stranded nine runners. He grounded out to first with two outs in the fifth with runners on second and third. In the seventh with a runner on second he grounded to short. His batting average is anchored at .069…Bryce Harper was removed late in the game. The reports indicated he was bothered by a tight groin but it should not limit him. He is day to day…The Diamondbacks failed to reach double digits in strikeouts, ending the major league record they broke yesterday with nine consecutive games with double digits in whiffs.