Archive for the 'Nationals' Category

Turner Leads Nationals Over O’s

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Myworld was in D.C. to watch the O’s play the Nationals. In the past the O’s have beaten up on the Nationals even though they were not the better team. In their first series in Baltimore this year the Nationals swept them. With Trea Turner hitting a triple short of the cycle in a 4 for 4 day the Nationals outslugged the Orioles 9-6.

Trea Turner started out the scoring for the game, turning on a pitch from David Hess in the second inning for a solo homerun into the Orioles bullpen. Jefry Rodriguez was getting his second start in the majors for the Nationals and after sailing through the first two innings he gave up a pair of two run homeruns in the next two innings. Jace Peterson tagged a pitch into the Nationals bullpen in the third inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Trey Mancini slugged a two run homerun into the Orioles bullpen in the fourth inning to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead.

The Orioles tacked on another run in the top of the fifth when Rodriguez walked pitcher David Hess to lead off the inning. A walk to Jace Peterson and a hit by pitch to Adam Jones loaded the bases with no outs. Rodriguez wiggled out of the inning coaxing Machado to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. A Trumbo strikeout ended the inning and kept the Nationals deficit to 5-1.

David Hess had a one hitter through four, the Turner solo shot in the second. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin popped to short. With one out Adam Eaton hit a slow roller into the hole at third base. Machado broke for the ball but it just missed the glove, dribbling out to left field and allowing two runs to score. A walk to Juan Soto loaded the bases again for a Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly to pull the Nationals within one. The slumping Bryce Harper blooped a double over third base to tie the game and ended the day for Hess. Miguel Castro got Daniel Murphy to ground to first to end the rally.

In the top of the sixth Jonathan Schoop led the inning off with a triple. After a walk to Danny Valencia, Trey Mancini bounced one back to the pitcher. Schoop broke off third base too far and was run down by Trea Turner for the first out. The Nationals tried to turn two with the bases loaded, allowing a run to score to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead. A double steal with Corban Joseph going to second and Trey Mancini breaking for home after the throw to second proved disastrous after Mancini was gunned down at home for the third out.

Down by one the Nationals turned on rookie Tanner Scott. Adam Eaton started the inning with a drag bunt single to second base. Juan Soto lined a single into centerfield. Anthony Rendon doubled to left centerfield to score two runs to give them the lead. With a runner on third and one out George Wright replaced Scott. Michael Taylor grounded a single past a drawn in infield, hitting the glove of Machado. A Wilmer Difo RBI single upped the Nationals lead to 9-6. Spencer Kieboom laid down a bunt but Turner was caught too far off third base. He was eventually tagged out as he encouraged Difo to take third. Wilmer Difo broke too late for third and he was also tagged out.

The Nationals used recently acquired Kelvin Herrera for the first time. He retired the side in order in the eighth. Sean Doolittle came on in the ninth and gave up a solo homerun to Joey Rickard to close to within two. That was all the O’s could accomplish.

Game Notes: Jefry Rodriguez had a fastball consistently hitting 96-98. He rarely threw his curveball, but when he did he got swings and misses. Judging from his performance, at this point he appears to be a two pitch pitcher, fastball and curve. Jace Peterson hit a first pitch fastball for his homerun in the third inning. Trey Mancini went deep against Rodriguez on a 2-2 count. The walk to the pitcher in the fifth was damaging…Trea Turner made an exceptional play at short, sliding to his back hand side to pick up a ground ball and gunning down the runner at first. Defensively he is superior to Machado at short…Buck walked Bryce Harper intentionally in the eighth with runners on first and second with two out. It paid off for him when Pedro Severino popped out to second…Kelvin Herrera was hitting 98 with his fastball.

Crawford Leads Giants Over Nats

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

There were eight hits in the game today. Brandon Crawford had four of them, two doubles, a homerun and a single. His two run homer in the upper deck in centerfield off Max Scherzer in the fourth inning was all the scoring in the game as the Giants took the rubber game 2-0.

Scherzer was not as sharp as he was his last game walking three batters, including Pablo Sandoval twice. The second time he walked Sandoval was to lead off the fourth inning. Brandon Crawford ran the count to 2-2 then buried a pitch into the second deck in right field for a two run homerun. Scherzer struck out nine in his seven innings of work, giving up only four hits, three of those to Crawford.

Derek Holland was more effective than Scherzer. He only went five innings before turning it to his bullpen, allowing just three hits. Two of the hits were back to back singles in the second inning by Mark Reynolds and Juan Soto. Michael Taylor crushed any hopes of a big inning by grounding one to Even Longoria at third, who stepped on the base for one and threw to first to complete the double play.

The Nationals were helpless against the Giant bullpen. Four different relievers worked one inning each without allowing a hit. There were two walks. Hunter Strickland retired the heart of the order in the ninth to pick up the save.

Game Notes: O’s fans scream out “o” when the National Anthem is played and that lyric comes up in the Star Spangled Banner. National fans are playing copycat and scream out “red” when that lyric is sung in the National Anthem…At the end of April Brandon Crawford was struggling with a .189 average. The month of May he hit .412 to raise his average to .307. With his 4 for 4 day he is now hitting .533 in June with an overall batting average of .338…The Bryce Harper versus Hunter Strickland match up was uneventful in the 9th. Harper grounded out to short. Last year Hunter hit Strickland, resulting in a brawl and both players getting a suspension.

Giants Stomp on Nationals; Strasburg Departs Early

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

As baseball season turns to the “j” months injuries have a way of depleting a team’s depth. Yesterday was not a good day for pitchers. Injuries knocked out pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, Walker Buehler, Shohei Ohtani and Stephen Strasburg. Stras was hit hard by the Giants, lasting only two innings in a 9-5 loss. It was later announced he was having shoulder issues and an MRI would be performed to determine the extent of his injuries. This is the time of year Strasburg appears on the disabled list because of an injury. This will test the lack of depth in the Nationals farm system as far as starting pitching.

Andrew McCutchen got things started for the Giants in the first inning, tagging Strasburg for a deep drive just reaching the bleacher seats in centerfield. The first two hitters in the order also made solid contact against Stras, hitting balls solidly to the outfield. While his fastball hit 97 and sat at 95 he was not getting the swings and misses he normally does.

In the second Strasburg gave up hits to the first four hitters he faced. Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence smashed doubles into the gap and Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez ripped singles to score two. If not for a wild pitch that hit the umpire, preventing the ball from going to the back stop and allowing Pedro Severino to throw Hernandez out at second for the first out the inning, the score could have been worse.

Shawn Kelley trotted out to pitch the third inning. Max Scherzer got the opportunity to make his second pinch hitting appearance in the bottom of the third and grounded out to short.

Wander Suero came on to pitch the fourth. Alen Hanson lined a 3-2 pitch into right field and hustled it into a triple, sliding between the legs of Anthony Rendon as Bryce Harper’s throw came into third. Gorky Hernandez blasted a pitch from Suero into the first row of the bleacher seats into centerfield. He also gave up a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Brandon Crawford on a hit that fell short of the glove of a sliding Juan Soto. McCutchen, who had singled earlier scored easily when the ball bounced away from the sprawling Soto.

The Nationals brought some life to the 42,000 plus in attendance in the fourth. Their 19 year old rookie blasted a drive into the left field bullpen, just over the glove of a leaping Hunter Pence to score the Nationals first two runs. They scored two more in the bottom of the fifth on a Bryce Harper two run single, a rare occurrence over the last couple weeks. This knocked Anderew Suarez from the game, falling two outs short of pitching five innings to get the win. They pulled to within one in the sixth when pinch hitter Matt Adams bounced a single down the third base line to score Michael Taylor to make the score 6-5.

Brandon Kintzler came on to pitch the seventh. The Giants feasted on him. A leadoff double by Joe Panik, two singles and a hit by pitch to the four of the five hitters he faced gave the Giants three runs. A hard line drive to short was his only out. Matt Grace, who was warming up in the bullpen when lefties Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval got on base against Kintzler, came in too late to contain the damage. Evan Longoria hit a pinch hit sacrifice fly to score the third run to make it 9-5.

The Nationals were retired meekly in their last three at bats.

Game Notes: The Nationals were forced to use seven pitchers on the mound because of the early Strasburg departure. They actually used 8 pitchers in the game if you count the Max Scherzer pinch hit…Alen Hanson singled and tripled in his first two at bats. That made him 6 for 6 with two doubles, a triple and a homerun during that time. The streak ended in his third at bat when he popped out to short…On the defensive side myworld was not impressed with the arm of Hanson at third base. On a play in the first inning he bounced a ball in the dirt on a ground ball down the line. He doesn’t appear to have the strong arm to play the position on a consistent basis, though he was a shortstop in his early years. He was slow getting up diving for a stop on the Matt Adams single down the line, Difo advancing to third with no one covering the bag. Juan Soto also made a couple poor defensive plays. He failed to come up with a sliding catch in the fifth inning, which would have been a good play, but he allowed the ball to bounce away from him to allow McCutchen to score from first. In the eighth he broke back for a ball hit by Mac Williamson and then had to come in, but the ball bounced in front of him…It appears Adam Eaton will be able to play on Saturday. Michael Taylor has started to hit, Juan Soto is impossible to get out and Bryce is in a big slump. The odd man out would appear to be Harper, who is hitting .174 for June with no extra base hits. The logical choice would be Taylor, but if he hits his defense saves a lot of runs. For the month of June Taylor is hitting .318 with three doubles and one homerun.

Rendon Celebrates Birthday Strafing Rays

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Anthony Rendon celebrated his 28th birthday with four hits against the Tampa Bay Rays. He strung together two doubles, two singles to score four times and drive in three runs. His one out was a deep fly to the warning track in center field. The Nationals sprung for five runs in the first inning to pound the Rays 11-2.

The Rays trouted out reliever Johnny Venters to start the game. He only retired one of the six batters he faced, walking two, giving up two doubles and a single. Ryan Yarborough came on to relieve Venters and after walking Pedro Severino intentionally to load the bases to face Tanner Roark, he ran the count full. Roark poked a single over the second baseman’s head to drive in the last two runs in the five run first. Anthony Rendon drove in the first two runs with a double.

The Nationals scored another run in the second with Rendon starting the inning with a infield single. Brad Miller made a diving stop at short, the umpire had originally ruled Rendon out, but further review reversed the call. Juan Soto advanced Rendon with a hard single up the middle. Michael Taylor, who ended the day with three hits, scored Rendon with a line single to left center. Matt Duffy made a diving stop on a grounder by Wilmer Difo and threw Taylor out at second. Dave Martinez wanted a review, but waited too long to make the call and the umpires disallowed the request. If the call had been reversed the Nats would have scored another run.

Tanner Roark pitched well for the Nationals. He gave up his first run in the fourth after retiring the first two hitters. Brad Miller lined a double along the right field line and Carlos Gomez poked one into left field to score Miller. In the fifth C.J. Cron hit the foul pole in left field for his 13th homerun. Roark went six innings.

In the fourth inning Bryce Harper got his first hit in the series. He tried to stretch the hit into a double. As is the norm for Harper tearing around the bases his helmet usually flies off. This time it flew off in front of him where he appeared to trip over it. The throw barely beat him to second. The original call was safe, but after further review the call was reversed. Harper must have known he was out because he walked into the dugout while the review was being done.

With the Rays creeping up the Nationals got some insurance runs in the sixth. Trea Turner started the inning with a single to left. After a Harper strikeout Rendon lined a Yarborough pitch into right center for a double, scoring Turner. With two out Soto doubled down the left field line to score Rendon. Michael Taylor singled to right and the throw home from Gomez got past Ramos (who was never very good making the plays at home), Taylor advancing to second on the throw. That ended the day for Yarborough, but it did not end the scoring. Taylor broke for third and Ramos threw the ball into left field, allowing Taylor to score the fourth run of the inning.

The Nationals scored one final run in the eighth and it was started of course by Rendon. Rendon and Reynolds hit back to back singles. A ground out to first by Soto advanced them a base. A low pitch by Jose Alvardo slipped between the legs of Ramos to allow Rendon to score with run number 11.

Game Notes: The Nationals stole two bases in the game. Ramos has only thrown out one runner in the 21 attempted steals against him…Carlos Gomez made two poor throws home. He also broke poorly on a double by Taylor in the first inning that was slicing away from him. Since he is batting below the Mendoza line and struggling to play defense the Rays may want to look at other alternatives for right field…Juan Soto appears to be a faster runner than the reports myworld have read. He is impacting the game beating balls to first and advancing the extra base. He has also scored twice on slides at home plate where he has used his hand to sneak in, sliding on the foul side of the plate…For Johnny Venters this was his first career start. It was anticipated he would only pitch one inning. The Rays have one bullpen game where they start a reliever to pitch one inning. They are 3-5 in games in which a reliever is used as a starting pitcher. The start by Venters makes him the first starting pitcher to start after three Tommy John surgeries. Heck, he may be the only pitcher in the major leagues still pitching after three Tommy John surgeries…Diego Castillo made his major league debut for the Rays. He retired the Nationals in order in the seventh, with one fastball hitting 100 on the radar…The Rays hope to turn around their six game losing streak by calling up first baseman Jake Bauers. He lacks the power usually associated with first baseman, but he will hit for average. He also has more range than C.J. Cron on defense.

United States 18 and Under Team Dominates MLB Draft

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Last year in Thunder Bay Canada the United States 18 and under team won the gold medal, defeating Korea 8-0 for their fourth consecutive gold. Matthew Liberatore pitched six shutout innings in the game to get the win. Triston Casas drove in three runs with a double and homerun to trigger the offense. Brice Turang made the first team as a shortstop, Alek Thomas and Michael Siani made it as outfielders and Ethan Hankins was named the top starting pitcher. Major league teams were paying attention. Ten players on the United States 2017 18 and under World Cup team were drafted in the first round by major league teams. Only 16 high school players were taken in the first round, and that does not include Canadian Noah Taylor, who played for Canada’s 18 and under team and was drafted in the first round by the Indians giving them two world cup stars.

Below are the ten players taken in the first round of the major league draft:

6. Jarred Kelenic (OF) Mets - first high school player selected in draft
7. Ryan Weathers (LHP) Padres - didn’t allow a run in 9.2 innings. Won two games.
16. Matthew Liberatore (LHP) Rays - won championship game, 2-0 with 0.00 ERA in 12 innings
19. Nolan Gorman (3B) Cardinals
21. Brice Turang (SS) Brewers - Hit .364 and made all-tournament team as shortstop
23. Anthony Siegler (C) Yankees
26. Triston Casas (3B) Red Sox - drove in 13 runs and voted MVP of the tournament
27. Mason Denaburg (RHP) Nationals
30. J.T. Ginn (RHP) Dodgers
35. Ethan Hankins (RHP) Indians - Voted top pitcher with 27 whiffs in 12 innings

Alek Thomas, who made the all tournament team as an outfielder was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the second round (63rd pick) and Mike Siani who also made the all tournament team was drafted in the fourth round by the Cincinnati Reds (109th pick).

Ryan Rolison, who played on the 2015 18 and under team was drafted in the first round (22nd pick) by the Colorado Rockies as a lefthanded pitcher out of Ole Miss.

Scherzer Carves up Rays

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Max Scherzer became the first pitcher this year to reach double digits in victories, dominating the Rays with 13 strikeouts in eight innings to put his record at 10-1. In the sixth inning he struck out the side on 9 pitches a record held by many. He did not reach a two ball count to a hitter until the fourth inning when Wilson Ramos took him to a 2-2 count. The next time he reached two balls to a hitter he went to a full count on Joey Wendle in the seventh.

The 19 year old super star Juan Soto was the spark to the offense that gave Scherzer the runs he needed to earn his 10th win. Matt Adams provided the first spark in the second inning when he lined a 3-2 pitch from Nathan Eovaldi over the right field bullpen, hitting the railing of the second deck. Soto followed, showing some speed when he beat out a dribbler to third for an infield single. A Michael Taylor single up the middle saw Soto racing for third. Wilmer Difo hit a grounder to first, Soto broke for home, C.J. Cron threw home and Soto slid to the outside of the plate, beating the throw to score the second run.

In the fourth inning Soto led off with a walk. With one out Difo lined the first pitch into the right centerfield gap, the ball rolling to the wall. Soto churned his legs, racing for home. Again his slide into home barely beat the throw giving the Nationals a 3-0 lead. With two outs and Scherzer at the plate Eovaldi bounced one in the dirt that got away from the catcher. Difo easily beat the throw home to give the Nationals a 4-0 lead.

Scherzer appeared to tire in the eighth even though he came into the inning having thrown just 77 pitches. Matt Duffy led off the inning lining a pitch that fell in front of Bryce Harper for a single. Carlos Gomez bounced a hard single up the middle to put runners on first and second with no outs. The next two hitters struck out. Brad Miller pinch hit for the pitcher getting ahead of Scherzer 2-0, the first hitter to really get ahead in the count. The next pitch he lined over the head of Michael Taylor that scored two runs, ending the shutout and a possible complete game for Scherzer. Max finished the inning by striking out Daniel Robertson for the third time in the game.

Sean Doolittle came out to pitch the ninth. He retired the side in order, ending the game by striking out Wilson Ramos. For Doolittle it was his 15th save of the year.

Game Notes: The fans gave Wilson Ramos two big ovations, the first when his name was announced for the lineup, and the second when he came to hit for the first time in the second inning. Chants of “Wilson” could be heard in the crowd. Both times he tipped his cap to acknowledge the crowd…During Scherzer’s struggles in the 8th inning the catcher went to the mound twice. That knocked the visits from 6 to 4. When a coach visited the mound twice that required an automatic removal of a pitcher. Myworld would like to see that added to the six visits per game rule, with two visits to the pitcher in the same inning resulting in the automatic removal of the pitcher…Ryne Stanek struck out the side in his one inning of work for the Rays. He hit 98 with his fastball. Myworld saw him pitch on rehab in Durham last year…Wilmer Font pitched two perfect innings, coming into the game with an ERA over 10. Of the six hitters he faced he had two or three ball counts to five of them and two hitters skied pitches to the deepest part of the warning track. Font came into the game giving up 11 homeruns in 21 innings. Now we can see why…With the 13 whiffs Scherzer has reached double digit in strikeouts in 9 of this 13 starts. He also joins Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax and Lefty Grove as the fifth pitcher to throw the perfect inning more than once, according to MLB.com…This was the second start for Nathan Eovaldi this year. In his first start he pitched six innings of no hit ball. After retiring the side in order in the first, the first hit he gave up was a bomb to Matt Adams…Mallex Smith got ejected in the 8th inning for objecting to a check swing call.

Soto Energizes Nats Offense

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

The Nationals had trouble scoring runs off the Dodgers during their weekend series. Robbie Erlin retired them in order in the first inning for the game tonight. It appeared to be more of the same for the Nats. A Mark Reynolds single and Pedro Severino double down the left field line in the second inning got the crowd excited. Juan Soto came to the plate for his second major league at bat. He struck out in his first at bat, a pinch hitting appearance on Sunday. Juan sent the first pitch he saw from Erlin into the left field bullpen to give the Nats an early 3-0 lead. They would go on to win the game 10-2.

The Nats would score two more runs in that second inning. Wilmer Difo followed the Soto homeruns with a bloop single to right. A Gio Gonzalez bunt moved Difo to second. Back to back doubles by Trea Turner and Bryce Harper upped the Nationals lead to 5-0.

The homer by Soto led to more homeruns by Nationals hitters. Mark Reynolds homered twice in the third and seventh inning to the same location in left field near the foul pole area, both of them solo shots to lead off the innings. Bryce Harper led off the fifth with a homerun, one that he watched as it went into the second row of the bleachers in left field. He might have been a bit embarrassed if the ball did not leave the park. That has happened to him before.

The Padres scored their only run in the fourth inning. Gio Gonazlez had only given up one hit up until that point. A one out walk to Jose Pirela set it up for rookie Franmil Reyes, who was only batting .188 entering the game. He tagged the first pitch he saw from Gonzalez deep into the right field bleachers, also his first major league homerun. After the homerun Gio Gonzalez retired 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced.

The Nationals scored two runs in the sixth. Juan Soto started the inning with a bouncing single up the middle into center. With one out Michael Taylor hit a soft single to left field. Rookie Franmil Reyes made the unwise decision to try to dive for the ball. It skipped past him and rolled just short of the warning track. Juan Soto scored on the hit. Trea Turner slapped a double into the left centerfield gap for a double to score two more and make the score 8-2.

Game notes: The homerun by Soto was the first by a 19 year old in the major leagues since Bryce Harper did it in 2012…With a 10-2 lead the Nationals brought up Tim Collins to pitch the eighth. He has not pitched in the major leagues since 2014, two Tommy John surgeries putting him on the shelf.

Matt Counters Matt Pinch hit to Ensure Dodgers sweep

Monday, May 21st, 2018

The rainout on Friday forced myworld to attend a split game doubleheader on Saturday, not getting home until past midnight. A wakeup call for 5 AM for a volleyball tournament on Sunday and a gold medal victory created a time for celebration. I don’t know if myworld is built for these up and down swings in emotion. Needless to say, it created a delay in our reporting of the double header. We crashed early Sunday evening.

The night cap on Saturday was the more exciting game. The Nationals came from behind 2-0 to score four in the sixth, two of those runs scoring on a Matt Adams two run single to finally excite the crowd in what was a downer day waiting for the Nat bats to awake. But the celebratory mood was only temporary as the Dodgers Matt Kemp hit a two run pinch hit double in the top of the ninth to erase a 4-3 deficit and give the Dodgers a 5-4 win.

The Nationals are in trouble with their bats. Bryce Harper is scuffling, Michael Taylor is mister swing and miss and half the lineup is on the disabled list. In the opener the Nationals could not muster an extra base hit against starter Ross Stripling and three different relievers. It was the kind of game that left you blankly staring at the scoreboard waiting for the Nationals to generate some excitement.

Ross Stripling struck out the side to start the game, the lack of aggressiveness at the plate a concern for the Nationals. Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon were called looking and six of the nine Stripling K’s were caught looking. Stripling would end his day striking out the last five National hitters he faced, going six innings and giving up just four hits. He struck out nine for the day, a career high for him.

Tanner Roark had a decent outing giving the Nationals seven innings. He gave up a leadoff triple in the first inning to Joc Pederson, who later scored on a Yasmani Grandal fly ball. His fastball no longer hits 95, sitting in the low 90s, but he battles for his outs.

The Nationals tied the game in the third, getting three of their four hits off Stripling. Bryce Harper fought off a pitch and blooped a single into centerfield to score Wilmer Difo for their only run of the game. The third, fifth and seventh innings were the only innings when the Nationals could get anyone on base.

The Dodgers took the lead in the fifth, putting runners on first and third with one out on singles by Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson. Cody Bellinger hit a hard grounder to second. The Nationals attempted to turn two but Bellinger beat the throw to first allowing Forsythe to score the second run.

Max Muncy drove in the last two runs for the Dodgers with an RBI double in the sixth and a sacrifice fly in the eighth. The rather ordinary Dodger bullpen closed out the Nationals bats for the last three innings to seal the 4-1 win.

The nightcap almost saw an interesting trivia question, i.e. the fewest pitches thrown by a starting pitcher in a no-hitter. Rich Hill could only throw two pitches before he had to be removed because of a blister. Three Dodger relievers then no hit the Nationals for the next five innings before the Nationals bats awakened for one inning in the sixth when they scored four runs.

Max Scherzer was strong for the Nationals. He went seven innings and struck out 12. He left the game with a 4-2 lead, giving up a leadoff double to Joc Pederson in the first followed by a run scoring single by Max Muncy. Scherzer struck out the next three Dodgers. Muncy did it to Scherzer again with a solo homerun in the fifth, an unlikely player to drive in the Dodgers last four runs.

The quiet Nationals bats briefly erupted in the sixth for four runs. Trea Turner started the inning off with an extra base hit bouncing off the scoreboard wall for a double. Harper was hit by a pitch. With runners on first and third and two out Mark Reynolds came through in the clutch with an RBI double that one hopped the scoreboard wall. That put runners on second and third with two outs. The Dodgers chose to walk Michael Taylor intentionally to face Pedro Severino. Matt Adams pinch hit for Severino and lines a 2-2 pitch into right field for a two run single and a 4-2 lead. All four of the Nationals hits occurred in the sixth inning.

The Nationals pen fails to hold the lead. Sammy Solis gave up a solo shot to Cody Bellinger in the eighth. Sean Doolittle gave up hits to the first three batters he faced in the ninth, the killer being a two run pinch hit double by Matt Kemp.

Game Notes: Yasiel Puig must be a terrible defensive outfielder or is still not healthy. Matt Kemp went out to right field to play for him defensively in the second game…Myworld put a jinx on the Nationals. Taking note that five games had ended in 5-4 finals and the Nationals score at 4-3 we hoped that there would not be a sixth game ending 5-4. Unfortunately, there was…Cody Bellinger is swinging and missing at too many 92 mile per hour fastballs. That does not define a feared slugger. He does look pretty good in centerfield. The fact that he is playing there over Joc Pederson is a pretty impactful statement on both players defensive capabilities…Howie Kendrick hurt his Achilles heal turning awkwardly for a fly ball he caught at the warning track. He will be out for the year. Rafael Bautista also hurt his knee and will be out for the year. Short of healthy outfielders the Nationals were forced to call up Juan Soto…Spencer Kieboom got his first major league hit in the first game of the doubleheader…Yasiel Puig had an issue with the strike zone of the umpire in the second game of the doubleheader. Puig had a couple border line pitches called strikes that resulted in whiffs his first two times to the plate…The Dodgers used eight pitchers in the second game of the doubleheader, three relievers for more than one inning…In the 18 innings played on Saturday the Nationals were only able to get hits in three of the innings.

Nats and Yankees Battle to Tie

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Rain can be a pain in the rear at the ballpark, especially when you know there is a 100 percent chance that it will arrive sometime in the middle of the game. That means standing around in the concourse with nothing to do, not something that is enjoyable as you reach your elder years. It also means waiting around for at least an hour doing nothing when there are so many things you can get accomplished if you were not waiting around standing at the concourse, watching the deluge in front of you and the Capitals get beaten on the video board.

When the game started the sun was out. There was some hope the game would get in, but the forecast was for rain one hour after game time. There is always hope the sun will win out. Anthony Rendon lifted the spirits of Nationals fans early by lining a Masahiro Tanaka pitch into the left field bleachers to take a 1-0 lead.

The second inning was even more productive for the Nats. Howie Kendrick started the inning by one hopping the wall in left field for a double. Andrew Stevenson grounded a single past Didi Gregorious into left center to score Kendrick to up the score to 2-0. Pedro Severino lined a double into the left centerfield gap to score Stevenson and the National fans were celebrating.

The thunder started growling in the distance around the fourth inning, reminding one of Godzilla making his trek to the stadium. There was not much hope of getting this game in before the arrival of Godzilla. In that fourth inning Didi Gregorius hit a routine fly ball to left center. Matt Adams looked as if he had it covered but Stevenson wanted the ball too. They collided and the ball hopped out of the glove of Stevenson. Tyler Austin fouled a number of two strike pitches, worked the count to 3-2 and then drove a Gio Gonzalez pitch over the scoreboard into right centerfield. The Yankees had pulled to within one.

In the fifth inning the Yankees sandwiched in a Giancarlo Stanton bloop single in between two walks to load the bases with no out. They were only able to score one run on a Tyler Austin fly ball to the warning track in centerfield. The score was tied and the roar of Godzilla was getting louder. Fans were asked to move to the concourse to get away from the threat of Godzilla.

It was a game of wasted opportunities for the Yankees. In the first inning they had second and third with two out and Didi Gregorius grounded to second. In the second a Tyler Austin single followed by a Miguel Andujar double put runners on second and third with no outs. Gonzalez struck out the side to squelch the rally. The fifth saw them load the bases with no outs and come out of it with just one run.

Godzilla arrived in the sixth inning. After Aaron Judge struck out to end the inning the umpires called for the tarp. The rains came crashing down after that. It would not stop to allow the game to continue, though myworld was gone long before they called the game. Godzilla had won.

Game Notes: Aaron Judge takes a lot of pitches. This results in a lot of inactivity. In his second at bat he took all six pitches for a walk. All that taking resulted in two walks and two strikeouts…Andrew Stevenson took over in centerfield to give Michael Taylor a rest. He did not look good in center. In the third inning he did not take charge of a fly ball forcing Bryce Harper to lurch for the ball at the last second to make a catch. In the fourth he was too aggressive running into Matt Adams who had settled under a routine fly ball, resulting in a two base error and an unearned run…In the fifth inning the fans were told to take cover because of an impending storm. While the fans took cover the game went on for another inning and a half. One had to wonder what the players were thinking about when the fans were told to go to the concourse for their safety…Didi Gregorius did not look too good going for a ball to his right for a backhand play. It showed a lack of range…Aaron Hicks lost the ball in the lights in the fourth inning. He was fortunate Aaron Judge had come all the way from right field to make the catch…Gio Gonzalez had reached 110 pitches by the fifth inning. He was pinch hit for in the bottom of the fifth.

Nats Steal One from Phillies

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth the Nationals scored two in each inning to steal a win from the Philadelphia Phillies. They took advantage of four walks, a hit batsman and an error to eliminate the deficit. Wilmer Difo took advantage of the two man outfield driving a pitch to centerfield to drive in the game winner.

Max Scherzer deserved to get a win in this game. He struck out 15 in just 6.1 innings. Unfortunately all those strikeouts drove up his pitch count and after he struck out Jorge Alfaro with his 111th pitch Dave Martinez came out to pull him. At the time the Nationals were ahead 1-0. The bullpen was ineffective, giving up four runs.

Jake Arrieta pitched well for the Phillies. In the second inning Matt Adams led off with a drive over the right field bullpen into the second deck. It was the second time in three days he had provided a souvenir to the fans in that area. Jake gave up a single to Andrew Stevenson later in the second inning, but did not allow another hit through six innings. The Phillies pinch hit for him in the seventh inning.

Between the second and fourth inning Max Scherzer had struck out seven in a row. In the seventh he gave up a leadoff single to Pedro Florimon. After a stolen base and strikeout the lefty swinging Nick Williams was announced as a pinch hitter for Arrieta. Martinez chose to go with the lefthander Sammy Solis.

Solis got ahead in the count 1-2 but Nick Williams blooped the next pitch into centerfield. It was enough to score Pedro Florimon from second, stealing the win away from Scherzer. Brandon Kintzler was asked to get out of the inning, but with two out Rhys Hoskins drove a 1-2 pitch into left centerfield for a double, Williams scoring on the hit. Hoskins had struck out in all three of his at bats against Scherzer. Odubel Herrera chopped a slow single up the middle to score Hoskins. With the anemic Nationals bats the 3-1 deficit appeared daunting.

Maikel Franco made it tougher by driving a ball into the left field bullpen off Carlos Torres for a 4-1 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, after a Michael Taylor strike out Luis Garcia walked pinch hitter Moises Sierra. That brought in Tommy Hunter to close out the inning. He walked Wilmer Difo but had to face Bryce Harper, who represented the tying run. He got Harper to swing and miss for strike three. Trea Turner had a check swing grounder that rolled to second, but beat the throw to first to load the bases. Anthony Rendon, a day back from the disabled list bounced a single through the third base hole to drive in two. Hunter threw a pitch to the back stop to put the winning run at second, but he struck out Matt Adams on a pitch in the dirt for the third out.

The Phillies closer Hector Neris came on for the ninth. Matt Wieters bounced one to short right field, beating the throw by Florimon. Rafael Bautista pinch ran for him and got the attention of Neris. After a couple throws to first he made one too many, bouncing a throw past Carlos Santana. Bautista streaked around second and slid into third representing the tying run with no out. Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch and Michael Taylor walked to load the bases. Ryan Zimmerman stood in the on deck circle as a pinch hitter during the Taylor at bat. After Taylor walked Pedro Severino was announced to pinch hit for the pitcher. The day before Severino walked in all three of his at bats. He made it four in a row, Bautista scoring on the free pass to tie the game. With the bases loaded and no outs Kapler stacked the infield with five players, settling for only two outfielders. Difo took a pitch for a ball and then drove the next pitch up the gut in center to drive in the go ahead run.

Game Notes: Ryan Zimmerman indicates he should be healthy for the game Monday, but if he could not pinch hit in a crucial situation in today’s game myworld would be surprised to see Zimmerman play. His injuries tend to stretch out until it makes more sense to put him on the disabled list…Jorge Alfaro made back to back throws to second, gunning down both Andrew Stevenson and Michael Taylor at second base. His throw to second to get Stevenson was clocked at 88.2 miles per hour, the second fastest time for a throw to second. He holds the top spot with the hardest throw (90.1). Alfaro still has problems making contact, striking out three times today, all of them against Scherzer…After Howie Kendrick pinch hit for Stevenson it was Matt Adams who went out to left field and Howie Kendrick played first. Last year Howie played a number of games in left field…Scherzer became the first pitcher to strike out 15 hitters in 6.1 innings. If not for pitch counts he could have broken a record he shares with five other pitchers of 20 K’s in a nine inning game.