Archive for the 'Nationals' Category

Howie Homers Twice in Nats Win

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Howie Kendrick had hit a walk off grand slam on Sunday. After taking the day off Howie went deep twice in the Nationals 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. Gio Gonzalez pitched another near no-no, allowing his first hit on a Cameron Maybin infield single with two out in the sixth inning.

Tyler Skaggs pitched well for the Angles. He threw close to 50 pitches after two innings, putting himself in three ball counts to three batters in the second inning. Only Howie Kendrick could cross the plate against Skaggs, hitting solo homeruns in the third and fifth innings. He was pinch hit for in the top of the sixth with a pitch count of 91.

The Nationals scored a run in the sixth inning off Bud Norris in the sixth inning. Anthony Rendon led the inning off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Matt Wieters hit a ground ball underneath the glove of Albert Pujols, allowing the ball to trickle into right field, enough for Rendon to score from second. Pujols was given an error on the play.

Gio Gonzalez scrambled out of the sixth inning. After giving up a two out infield single to Maybin, Mike Trout lined a single into centerfield. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. When Gonzalez got behind Pujols 3-1 the Nationals chose to intentionally walk him. Jefry Marte hit a screaming liner that appeared to be heading towards the right centerfield gap, but Daniel Murphy made a leaping catch to end the inning.

The Nationals bullpen retired the Angels in order in the last three innings, except for a one out solo shot by Cliff Pennington in the eighth off Brandon Kintzler. For Pennington it was only his second homerun of the year.

Game Notes: Anthony Rendon finished the game with three hits to elevate his average back over the .300 mark…Ryan Madson has not been available for relief because of a finger issue. Matt Albers pitched the seventh inning in his place…Brian Goodwin was placed on the disabled list because of a groin issue…Myworld was a day late in reporting this game. Volleyball tryouts kept us busy.

2017 Top Ten Prospects Carolina League

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

These are the players myworld would rate as the top ten prospects in the Carolina League. A pretty impressive group at the top of the list with some impressive names at the lower end. These prospects have put up the numbers to earn a spot on this list and are not named for just potential.

1. Tristan McKenzie RHP (Indians/Lynchburg) - Myworld remembered when we watched the then 19 year old Clayton Kershaw pitch in an early spring training game at Vero Beach. That is the same kind of Wow we had watching Tristan pitch in a short season game at Williamsport last year. The supplemental first round pick in 2015 reminds me of a praying mantis, all arms and legs as his 6′5″ stick frame comes at you with a mid-90s fastball. There were a lot of swings and misses in that game. Those swings and misses continue in the Carolina League with 150 in 118.2 innings. While the opposition is hitting only .199 against him, some of those balls have gone a long way, with 13 homeruns given up. His command could use some improvement, but as his body fills out with maturity that fastball could be impressive if the secondary pitches improve with it.

2. Victor Robles OF (Nationals/Potomac) - Myworld likes Victor over Eloy because of his speed and ability to play a quality defense in centerfield. As he matures the power should increase. The Dominican has the five tools you look for in a superstar. The Nationals signed him for $225,000 in 2013. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in centerfield. A .289 average with a .872 OPS resulted in a promotion to AA. Currently his power is restricted to the gaps where he blasted 25 doubles and 7 triples. The 9 homeruns he has hit over the two levels is a career high. Expect him to fit into a crowded Nationals outfield sometime in September of next year.

3. Eloy Jimenez OF (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Cubs signed the Dominican Eloy for a splashy $2.8 million in 2013, the same year they signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million. Now both have left the Cubs, Eloy traded to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. Eloy has a power bat but his lack of blazing speed or a strong arm will restrict him to left field. The trade from the Cubs to the White Sox has seemed to give him a power surge. He batted .271 with 8 homeruns in 42 games for Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. For the White Sox he is hitting .362 with 8 homeruns in 28 games. It may be too late in the season to promote him to AA, but Eloy appears to be ready for that level now.

4. Forrest Whitley RHP (Astros/Buies Creek) - The 2016 first round pick was called up from Low A after 10 starts. He has not had a lot of time in the Carolina League but in six starts he has struck out 50 in 31.1 innings. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games with above average breaking pitches (curve and slider) and a decent change. Opponents still get some hits off him with a .243 opposition average between the two levels. Forrest has shown good command of his pitches, walking just 9 in his 31.1 innings. Drafted out of high school it will take him a couple more years before he reaches the Astros.

5. Austin Hays RF (Orioles/Frederick) - The third round 2016 pick did not last long in the Carolina League after hitting .328 with 16 homeruns. That batting average (.350) and power (12 homeruns) have improved since his promotion to AA. He did hit 16 homeruns for Jacksonville his junior year to lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in homeruns. After being drafted he slugged another four homeruns and hit .336 in the New York Penn League. The Orioles had him skip Low A to move to the Carolina League. Austin has a right fielders arm and decent enough speed to cover ground out in right field. That speed will not result in a lot of stolen bases. The way he is tearing up each league in the minors expect Austin to be with the Orioles sometime next year. They do not have a lot of players there right now to hold him back.

6. Michael Chavis 3B (Red Sox/Salem) - Michael was a first round pick of the Red Sox in 2014. It has been a disappointing first three years for Michael. The Red Sox have a need for a third baseman and if Michael had hit like he has this year perhaps he would get the call. It has been a breakout year for Michael with 17 homeruns in just 59 games with a .318 average and a 1.029 OPS in the Carolina League. His strikeouts are still prevalent, but they have been reduced from his first three years. In AA he has added 12 homeruns to give him 29 for the year. His defense at third is still a little suspect with 14 errors, which could result in a move to first base or left field.

7. Zack Collins C (White Sox/Winston Salem) - Zack was a first round pick of the White Sox in 2016. The 117 whiffs in 110 games has kept his average down at .220, but he does have 17 homeruns with 75 walks for a .362 OBP. His bat should always play but a thick lower half and plodding feet has resulted in 16 passed balls. He has thrown out 45 runners so he can sling it to second. The White Sox will be patient with him. The power will play well behind the plate, but if his defense remains weak he could move to first. It is still way too early for the White Sox to give up on his catching tools.

8. Alec Hansen RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The White Sox drafted Alec in the second round of the 2016 draft. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can dominate games, with frequent double digit strikeout outings. He started the season in Low A and after dominating there was promoted to High A, where he had back to back 12 K games. His secondary pitches need improvement (slider, curve and change) but that will come with time. The opposition hits him at a .210 clip with 155 whiffs in 119 innings.

9. Kyle Tucker OF (Astros/Buies Creek) - Kyle was a 2015 first round pick of the Astros. His brother Preston plays in AAA for the Astros Fresno affiliate. Kyle got the height (6′4″) while the shorter framed Preston inherited the Popeye arms. Kyle has the greater prospect potential. He has the speed to cover the ground necessary in centerfield and the arm and power to play right. He didn’t last long in the Carolina League, promoted to AA after hitting .288 with 9 homeruns and a .932 OPS in the Carolina League. AA has been a bit more of a struggle but expect Kyle to show case his outfield abilities at Minute Maid park some time next year.

10. Dane Dunning RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - The Nationals drafted Dunning in the first round of the 2016 draft, then traded him to the White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade. He was the lessor of Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito but in the long run he may turn out to be the greater. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can touch the mid 90s but his secondary pitches need improvement (slider/change). Dunning started his season in the South Atlantic League but needed only four starts to get his 0.35 ERA promoted to the Carolina League. His numbers (3.43 ERA) would be a little better if not for an 8 run outing in July when he coughed up four of his 12 homeruns. His command is good but a .260 opposition average could be indicative of being around the plate too much.

Other Players to Watch

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles/Frederick) - We talked about him in the AA Eastern League top ten prospects. He was leading the Carolina League in batting average at .314 but after his promotion he will not carry enough at bats to win the title. He also slugged 15 homeruns. His eventual position may be third base but the Orioles will keep him at short until he proves he can’t play it.

Ademar Rifaela OF (Orioles/Frederick) - The native of Curacao leads the Frederick League in homeruns with 22. Last year he broke out with 13 homeruns but this year he could double that quantity. The batting average (.290) and homeruns are a career high. It will be interesting if he can continue to produce as he rises up the minor league ladder.

Chase Vallot C (Royals/Wilmington) - A lesser version of Zach Collins the supplemental first round pick does not hit for average (.231) but has some pop (12 homeruns). He also has the patience to draw walks (.380). His defense with 10 passed balls and 12 errors may force a move from catcher. He only has thrown out 13 baserunners.

Josh Ockimey 1b (Red Sox/Salem) - The 2014 fifth round pick has shown the ability to hit for power. After hitting .275 with 11 homeruns in 100 games he was promoted to AA. Josh is not afraid to draw walks (.388).

A.J. Puckett RHP (White Sox/Winston Salem) - A second round pick of the Royals in 2016, he was traded to the White Sox mid year in the Melky Cabrera trade. He has not had a great year in the Carolina League (4.01 ERA) with a .262 opposition average, but 102 whiffs in 112 innings shows a swing and miss quality.

10 PM Start Too Much for Myworld

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Myworld was at the Nationals game last night but we were done by 9 PM. Our own personal policy is that if a game does not start an hour after the scheduled time of the game then we are gone. An earlier departure could not be done because of the deluge that started at 8 PM.

Myworld is a little surprised that the player’s union does not have in the collective bargaining agreement that no game should start past 10 PM. Players biorhythms get used to certain start times. A 10 PM start time can not be too enjoyable, especially when you have a double header the next day. It could be why relievers perform better in certain innings because they are used to getting into a game around that time. Mess with those biorhythms and performance suffers.

Bryce Harper was injured in the game last night, slipping on the wet bag when crossing first base trying to beat out a grounder. It was the first inning of the game last night. One has to wonder if Bryce would have planted himself better on the bag if not for the long layoff and late start time. Or was the wet bag the main culprit in the injury.

It appears the Nationals escaped a serious injury with Bryce. They will lose him for a month, but this will give Brian Goodwin more opportunity to play. And it will provide a spot for Jayson Werth to play when he gets healthy for September. Michael Taylor was called up to replace Bryce to play centerfield. Brian Goodwin will probably move to left. The Nationals will rotate Andrew Stephenson, Adam Lind and Howie Kendrick in right, although with Kendrick his weak arm may be better suited for left.

Volleyball camps prevented myworld from attending two National games earlier this week. The rain prevented me from staying for a third. Hopefully we can get in one Angels game when they come to town next week.

Bay Sox Rout Senators with Impressive Offensive Prospects

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

The Bowie Bay Sox slugged five homeruns from four different players in their 14-2 clobbering of the Harrisburg Senators. It is an impressive group of prospects not seen at Bowie since Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop manned the left side of the infield. This current group mainly patrols the grasses in the outfield, though the left side of the infield is well represented.

The first inning was started by Cedric Mullins, who led it off with a monster shot over the high second fence in right field. At 5′8″ Cedric is not a big man but he has some big pop. The homerun was his 11th, pretty good since he missed a good chunk of the season with an injury. He is also hitting .315 with 17 doubles and a .899 OPS. Cedric patrols centerfield with speed and grace, though that speed does not seem to translate into stolen bases.

Ryan Flaherty, on rehab followed the homerun with a single up the middle. An Austin Hays pop up was the first out. That brought up Anthony Santander. He was a Rule V pickup for the Orioles this year but has spent most of his year rehabbing from injury in extended spring training. One look at him and you recognize he is a strong dude. He proved it by powering a pitch over the second fence in right field for what would be the first of two homeruns on the evening. He was hitting .400 coming into the game but had only played 10 games. He also homered in the eighth for his fourth homerun in 11 games. What is impressive about Santander is his seven walks and six whiffs during that time. What appears not impressive about him is his left field play. He did try to leap over the fence to rob Drew Ward of a homerun but lost his glove over the fence. He seemed tentative out in left, letting Cedric make the plays out there.

D.J. Stewart made it back to back and three homeruns off poor Taylor Hill in the first inning. Myworld is not as enamored with D.J. but he does have 16 homeruns and he was a first round pick. The big concern with D.J. is his below average defense will keep him in left field and the power isn’t really there to justify a below average glove. He does have a .356 OBA, showing the ability to take a walk.

The most impressive of the prospects is Austin Hays. He went deep with the bases loaded in the sixth. It was his 11th homerun in AA and his second grand slam in eight games. Combine that with his 16 homeruns in High A and he has 26 homeruns on the season. He also hit a triple, showing pretty good speed as he rounded the bases. His play in right field looked pretty solid, though it is difficult to assess after one game. What myworld likes about Austin is he hits without a batting glove. His mom grew tired of him tearing his batting gloves after weekend tournaments and told him she would buy no more. Since that time he has hit without them.

A prospect recently brought up but who failed to hit a homerun last night was Ryan Mountcastle. He was the Orioles first round pick in 2015. Earlier this year he played shortstop for the Frederick Keys, hitting .293 with 15 homeruns. He has only played 17 games in AA with a .161 average. Last night he was playing third base and handled a couple balls cleanly. He had an infield single and a double into the gap, a multi hit game that could be a confidence booster for him as the season progresses.

As a team the Bay Sox were hitting a league leading .288, an offense that has vaulted them into first place in the Western Division. Because of the rehab appearances of Flaherty and Santander other pretty good hitters have been forced to sit the bench. Garabez Rosa is leading the Eastern League in batting average at .320. Stephen Wilkerson hit .323 in High A and since his promotion is hitting .294 for the Bay Sox. His power (5 homeruns) has been better in AA than High A (2 homeruns).

The Bay Sox are also sporting some pretty good pitchers on their roster. David Hess pitched tonight. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s but towards the end of his appearance he struck out five of his last six hitters, many on a good breaking pitch the Senator batters were taking for a called third strike or swinging and missing at the pitch. Super prospect Victor Robles was a strikeout victim on a Hess breaking pitch.

Two other arms throw some heat. Jesus Liranza consistently hits 100 miles per hour with his fastball but has difficulty finding the plate. The Bay Sox appear to have moved him to the bullpen where he carries a 5.14 ERA. Tanner Scott is another impressive arm that hits the mid to high 90s with his fastball. The Bay Sox were limiting him to three inning starts, though lately they seem to have increased that amount. He has struck out 74 in 59 innings, but like Liranza has trouble finding the plate.

Mike Bordick was at the game last night with his two sons. Kudos to Mike for picking up all his trash and giving warm smiles to all who approached him.

Michael Taylor was on a rehab assignment as well. He went hitless in four at bats, but a couple of the balls were tagged hard.

Myworld got a chance to watch Victor Robles play. He also went hitless and did not do anything to make me think of him as a super prospect. He was playing left field in deference to Michael Taylor, ran a long way, reaching out for a ball and taking it away from Michael Taylor, who appeared to have settled underneath it. Robles will have to learn to yield to a centerfielder if his ultimate position is a corner outfield.

Yadiel Hernandez was playing right field. He is a 29 year old Cuban defector. His bat has been hot, hitting .413 since July 8. Hernandez is hitting .287 with 8 homeruns and a .372 OBA. If the Nationals have room on their 40 man roster he could get a September callup, if they need outfielders.

Marquez Muzzles Nats Bats

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

A game after the Nationals hit eight homeruns, including five in one inning, German Marquez had them swinging and missing at his 97-99 mile per hour fastball and his diving breaking pitches. The Nationals were retired in order in eight of the nine innings in the 4-2 loss. Marquez struck out a career high 10 in his seven innings of work.

Tanner Roark was undone by his wildness. He walked four but his inability to find the plate put his pitch count at 108 after five innings. In the second inning he walked Carlos Gonzalez on four pitches. Trevor Story followed by taking a 2-2 pitch into the right centerfield bleachers for a 2-0 lead.

Roark walked D.J. LeMahieu in the fifth. That also haunted him when Gerado Parra lined one over the glove of the lumbering Adam Lind in left field. By the time Lind tracked the ball LaMahieu had scored and Parra cruised into second. Mark Reynolds followed with a double that hit the bottom of the fence to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead.

Marquez had a perfect game through the first five innings. Matt Wieters ended that by lining a single into left field with one out in the sixth. Pinch hitter Howie Kendrick got his first at bat as a Nat and lined a pitch over the head of the left fielder for a double. With two outs Wilmer Difo dumped a single down the left field line to score two runs.

The Nationals would not get another baserunner after the sixth. The Nationals bullpen also retired the final 12 hitters they faced, with Matt Albers giving up the only baserunner on a Gerado Parra single, but he was erased on a double play. Oliver Perez struck out the side in the ninth, including getting pinch hitter Pat Valaika to swing and miss at a 96 mile per hour fastball.

Game Notes: Sammy Solis returned with his 14.73 ERA. He looked good with his fastball hitting 95. He retired the side in order on a strikeout and two weak ground ball outs to the pitcher…Mark Reynolds stole third base in the fifth inning, taking advantage of the Nationals playing the shift, with Rendon playing closer to short. He also took a lead halfway down the third base line with Rendon still playing near short. Carlos Gonzalez struck out to end the threat…The Nationals hit two balls that cleared the fence in right field, but both went foul. Daniel Murphy pulled one up into the third deck in the fifth and Adam Lind hit one just to the right of the foul pole in the ninth…Bryce Harper ended the sixth by swinging and missing at a high 98 mile per hour fastball by Marquez. His 19 game hitting streak ended with an 0 for 4 day…Pat Neshek, acquired from the Phillies on Wednesday made his Rockie debut and retired the Nats in order in the eighth.

Nats Barrage of Homers Buries Brewers

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Poor Michael Blazek. It was his first start this year. You begin to feel sorry for a pitcher when he gives up back to back to back to back homeruns, two of them by hitters on the first pitches they saw. He gave up six of the eight National homers for the day in their 15-2 thrashing of the helpless Brewers and became the first pitcher in major league history to give up five homeruns in one inning. The one bright spot of the day is Hernan Perez pitched the last inning for the Brewers without giving up a run to save the pitching staff.

The day did not start out well for Blazek. Brian Goodwin lined a pitch over the head of Hernan Perez to lead off the first inning. Myworld was not impressed with speed of Perez as he chased after the ball. Difo bunted him to third. The last time Bryce Harper had a runner on third with one out he struck out and was thrown out of the game. In this at bat he did not wait for a strike call to get him upset, driving the first pitch from Blazek into the right field bleachers.

It got a little better for Blazek after that. He struck out the next four hitters and got Lobaton to fly to center. It turned bad in the third inning when he walked Max Scherzer to begin the inning. Brian Goodwin took a ball to run the count to 1-0 then drove the next pitch from Blazek into the same general area as Harper into the right field bleachers. The fans were just finishing their second chorus of “N.A.T.S Nats, Nats, Nats, Wooo.” when Wilmer Difo turned on the first pitch from Blazek and sent the ball flying at 103 mph into the right centerfield bleachers for back to back shots. Harper was a little more patient in his second at bat, running the count to 3-2 before he blasted a line drive into the centerfield Brewhouse. Ryan Zimmerman didn’t waste any time lining the first pitch 111 mph into the left field bullpen.

At this time you have to feel bad for Blazek. He retired Daniel Murphy on a fly to center. The crowd playfully issued a chorus of playful boos. After a sigh of relief Anthony Rendon turned on an 0-1 pitch and socked it over the left field bullpen for the fifth homerun of the inning. That was it for Blazek. The forgotten Willy Peralta came in to pitch and the Nationals were not too kind to him. Adam Lind lined a single and then stole second when the Brewers chose to play the first baseman back. That could not have pleased the Brewer players. Lobaton lined one into right centerfield for a double to score Lind. Scherzer then beat out a slow roller to short. With runners on first and third with one out in an inning you thought would never end Goodwin lined into a double play, the third baseman Travis Shaw catching the ball and finding Scherzer advancing too far past first.

Max Scherzer felt like Joe Ross. Someone has to take the mantle of getting tremendous run support now that Ross is out for the year. Max struck out six in the first three innings. In the fourth, with a 9-1 lead Travis Shaw sent one into the third deck over the right field bullpen. It was the longest homerun of the day but small consolation when going against back to back to back to back.

The Nationals did not make it easy for Willy Peralta. Difo lined a single into left and Harper scored him with a lined double into the left field corner. Ryan Zimmerman smacked the third straight opposite field hit into the right field bleachers for his second homerun of the day. A walk to Murphy and a double by Rendon set up another run after a Adam Lind ground out. Lobaton then buried a Peralta pitch over the right field bullpen to finish off the scoring in the six run fourth.

The Nationals finished the day with eight homeruns, tying their franchise record. The Brewer bullpen shut them out for the last four innings, even with Hernan Perez pitching a scoreless eighth. Enny Romero did give up a Lewis Brinson solo shot over the left field bullpen in the seventh inning but this game was over after four.

Game notes: There was a pigeon that parked itself behind the home plate circle in the first inning. It stayed there until the end of the game. In the fifth a pitch that got by the catcher scared the pigeon to fly next to the pitcher’s mound, but after two or three pitches it flew back to his spot behind home plate. A couple players and the bat boy tried to shoo the pigeon away, but it must have liked the feeding in that area. It took a few steps away but returned to the same general area…Adam Lind showed better range than Hernan Perez in left field, going back on a ball to the warning track and making a nice catch…Willy Peralta seems to have gained some weight since the last time myworld saw him pitch. He is taking on the Bartolo Colon look…Andrew Stevenson got his first major league hit in the game. It came in the eighth inning off position player Hernan Perez. Don’t know how many hitters got their first major league hits off position players but that could be another first…Blazek became the first pitcher in major league history to give up five homeruns in one inning. Ironic that of the five teams who have hit five homeruns in one inning, the last team to do it was Milwaukee in 2006…Ryan Zimmerman tied Frank Howard for most franchise homeruns with his two today to give him 237.

Braves Thump Nats in Worse Loss of Season

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Myworld does not know what is worse. Waiting three hours for a ballgame to be played because of the possibility of rain. Or watching the home team get spanked 13-0. The Nationals were shutout for the first time this season, the last team to do so, with Julio Teheran getting credit for the zeroes. He also did pretty good job with the bat driving in three runs.

It was not a very good day for Stephen Strasburg. The Braves were pricking him to death with seeing eye singles through the infield. The first hit off him was ruled a double but it was a low fly ball that Adam Lind lumbered for. A Goodwin out in left might have caught the ball but Lind could not reach it and then had the ball bounce past him. That led to an intentional walk to Matt Adams after the first two pitches missed. Kurt Suzuki found the hole on the left side of the infield for a single to score Nick Markakis. Johan Camargo hit a grounder to short. If Stephen Drew had taken it himself by stepping on second he may have turned two but he flipped to Murphy who made a tough pivot and throw to first that did not beat Camargo to the bag. Teheran made it hurt by bouncing a single through the left side to score Adams to make it 2-0.

The beatdown continued in the third. Freddie Freeman hit a legitimate double into the left centerfield gap. Matt Kemp bounced a single up the middle to score Freeman. Nick Markakis lined a pitch off the hip of Strasburg. He picked the ball up, threw to second but one hopped it. Drew could not handle it and the ball trickled into centerfield, advancing Kemp to third. Matt Adams flied out too shallow to score Kemp, Brian Goodwin rifling a one hop throw to the plate. Unfortunately for Strasburg the bottom of the order came through again. Suzuki, Camargo and Teheran all singled, Teheran driving in two runs to give the Braves a 6-0 lead. Strasburg would not come out in the fourth.

Teheran only gave up four hits in his seven innings of work. The Nationals put two singles back to back in the first inning by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman but the Nationals could not score. The Braves played excellent defense behind Teheran with Brandon Phillips making three excellent defensive plays, including a diving catch on a liner by Murphy that appeared to be going into right field. Nick Markakis also made a diving catch in right field and Matt Adams made a nice diving stop at first base. Freddie Freeman made an error at third, but the Braves were already up 6-0 at that time.

Tanner Roark came on to eat some innings for the Nationals. He gave up three runs in his five innings of work including a Nick Markakis line drive solo shot into the right field bullpen. He retired the side in order in the first two innings but then got nicked with single runs in the next three innings.

Sammy Solis came on for the ninth with an ERA of 10.94. Before he was done that ERA had risen to 14.73. He retired only one of the seven hitters he faced. Matt Adams took one of his pitches for a ride into the second row of the Brewhouse. Solis fed him a fat 0-2 pitch. The Braves got three hits on his 0-2 deliveries. Solis got one strikeout on an 0-2 pitch.

Game Notes: The first two hitters in the Braves order went 1 for 11 with one walk. The last two hitters in the Braves order, which includes the pitcher went 5 for 7 with two walks and one sacrifice…Brandon Phillips played stellar defense at second base. He let very few balls get by him, diving three times to make outs…The Braves hits were squirting through the infield. The Nationals hits were being robbed by excellent defensive plays by the Braves…Jose Lobaton hit the ball hard his first three times up but his average dropped to .136. That slash line of .136/.202/.235 is ugly…It took 87 games but the Nationals were shutout for the first time this season. They were the last team to be shutout…An announced crowd of 38,459 watched this ugly affair.

Nats Have Fans Wait…And Wait….And Wait for Rain and Baseball

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Myworld attempted to watch a baseball game. We arrived at the park at 6:30 PM. There was no rain. At about 7 PM the scoreboard informed the fans that the start of the game would be delayed as the Nationals monitored the weather situation. In the meantime the video board showed the Philiies playing the Pirates, the second night in a row the fans were treated to a game on the video board.

The fans waited. And waited. No tarp was on the field. If rain was expected you would have thought there would be a tarp on the field. 7 PM turned to 8 PM and still no rain. The Phillies game on the video board was into the fourth inning. Still no tarp on the field. There were dark clouds in the sky but still no rain.

At about 8:18 the grounds crew appeared and the tarp went on the field. Still no rain but a mass exodus by the fans who had waited for an hour and fifteen minutes. Myworld joined them.

When we got home at about 9:30 the game had still not started. It did not begin until 10:05 PM. For those people who rely on the Metro for their transportation the most they could see of the game would be three innings. That would not qualify as a complete game. A poor decision by the Nats to wait to play the game.

Agreed, the bullpen is bad and to play the game, then wait out a rain delay and have to go to the bullpen when the rain stops is suicide for the Nats if they want to win the game. But they screwed the fans with that decision. They would have gotten four innings in, waited out a rain delay, and then given the fans another two innings and at least given the fans who take the Metro a compete game to watch. As it was, most of those fans get nothing and the game was played so no refund. Thank you for your support and hope to have you back soon. Psyche.

In Battle of Atrocious Bullpens Mets Lose

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Or win. Depending on how you apply atrocious. In a game that would be dictated by two of the worst bullpens in baseball it was the leftfielders play that ultimately determined victory. The Nationals two leftfielders executed their jobs. The Mets leftfielder did not. The Nationals pull out a 3-2 win, with thanks not given out to either bullpen.

The two starting pitchers Steven Matz and Stephen Strasburg were excellent. Both went seven innings without allowing a run. Strasburg allowed just two hits while he struck out six. His curveball was inconsistent resulting in three walks, all in the fourth inning. Matz gave up four hits and struck out four.

The fireworks started a little early when the teams turned to their bullpens. In the top of the eighth Matt Grace got two outs, but the opposition batting average against him was 1.000. Brandon Nimmo started the inning with an infield single. Steven Matz came up to bat even though he would not pitch the eighth and laid down a bunt. Grace was a little casual fielding the play, made a soft toss to first and Matz was out by half a step. Jose Reyes grounded a single through the hole on the left side of the infield. Nimmo streaked home but the throw from Brian Goodwin one hopped to the plate and Nimmo was out. A walk to Cabrera finished the inning for Grace - two hits and one walk, his only two outs a sacrifice bunt and a runner thrown out at home. Chalk one positive for the Nationals left fielder.

Joe Blanton came on to pitch with his 8.44 ERA to face the right hander Yoenis Cespedes. He got ahead of Cespedes 0-2, grooved too good a pitch and Cespedes hit a 97 mile per hour grounder right at the shortstop for the third out. It was a hard hit ball but it was an out. Chalk one negative for the Mets left fielder.

In the bottom frame the Mets brought in ex-National Jerry Blevins. He retired pinch hitter Dan Murphy on a ground out to short. Ryan Raburn pinch hit for Brian Goodwin and took his second walk of the season. Michael Taylor drove a ball high just over the right field wall for a two run homer to give the Nationals the lead. A walk to Bryce Harper finished the day for Blevins and Paul Sewald came on to get the last two outs. The walk by Raburn was another positive for the Nationals left fielders.

In the top of the ninth the Nationals brought in Sammy Solis to face two lefthanders. He came in with an ERA just short of 9. He retired the two lefthanded batters but gave up a single to T.J. Rivera, the one right handed batter he faced. Frank Robinson called on Matt Albers to get the last out. Matt has been pretty good in a set up role but as a closer he has blown two saves. The Mets called on Curtis Granderson to pinch hit. He has been bothered by a sore hip, but he hits lefthanded. Granderson blasted an 0-2 pitch into the right field bleachers to tie the game. The sagging look of Bryce Harper as he leaned against the wall in hopes of catching the ball said it all. The Nats bullpen had squandered another lead.

The game went into the bottom of the ninth. Sewald walks Matt Wieters on four pitches. After Wilmer Difo pops out on a failed bunt attempt Stephen Drew is announced as the pinch hitter for Adrian Sanchez. The Mets call on their lefty Josh Edgin. Josh does not get the job done throwing four straight balls to Drew to put runners on first and second. Pinch hitter Adam Lind drives a pitch deep enough into centerfield to allow Wieters to tag and advance to third. Fernando Salas comes on to face Ryan Raburn, who slays lefthanders but struggles against righthanded pitching. The only player the Nationals have on the bench is the below Mendoza line Jose Lobaton. Raburn has to hit, despite his struggles against right handed pitching.

Raburn pokes the second pitch from Salas into left field. Cespedes tries to make a sliding catch but comes up short. Raburn had the walk off single. Chalk up another positive for the Nationals leftfielder Ryan Raburn and another negative for the Mets leftfielder Yoenis Cespedes for not reaching what appeared to be a catchable ball hit to left. He did limp off the field and said he was cramping up as he was trying to catch the ball.

Game notes: Terry Collins was very animated with the umpires asking them to look at the replay to confirm that Cespedes did not catch the sinking liner by Raburn in the ninth. He had already lost one replay challenge. It took the umpires five seconds to look at the replay to confirm the ball was not caught…A sellout crowd of 41,681 showed up for the game which included fireworks after the game. Dusty Baker had criticized the attendance at the Cubs series where there seemed to be more Cub fans than Nationals fans. In what should have been sellouts there were just barely over 30,000 at the Cubs games. This was the Lerners playing it cheap, charging the highest ticket prices for the Cubs series and not allowing season ticket holders to switch their games to the Cub series. They may have gotten more revenue by charging the higher prices but they lost the home town support…Matt Wieters had Orlando Cabrera picked off at second in the fourth inning. Cabrera continued on to second and Zimmerman did not make the throw. Zimmerman seems hesitant to throw the ball and teams may use this strategy of getting picked off first and continue to second if Zimmerman does not throw to second…Cespedes was having leg cramps as he attempted to make the sliding catch on the Raburn game winning hit. With his leg issues he may be better suited in the American League as a DH. Myworld has never been impressed with his defense, even when he played for Cuba…The Nats relief pitching is an NL worst 5.16. The Mets are a little better at 4.93, ahead of the Twins (4.96) and the Tigers (5.09). The Mets .351 OBA by relief pitchers is the worst in the major leagues while the Nats .812 OPS is a major league worst.

Strasburg Dominates Cubs

Friday, June 30th, 2017

It is a little late but between volleyball camps, softball games and attending baseball games myworld has been a little busy. Strasburg started on Thursday and struck out 13 Cubs in seven innings of work, leading to the Nationals 8-4 win. He allowed three runs, two coming on a Wilson Contreras two run homer in the fourth and the other coming as a result of a Ryan Zimmer boot.

John Lackey of the Cubs was not so fortunate. He gave up eight runs in just a little over five innings of work, six of those runs coming in the first three innings. He retired the first two hitters he faced but a Bryce Harper double into the right center field gap and a Ryan Zimmerman single into left center gave the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.

They poked a hole through Lackey in the second when Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters led off the inning with back to back homeruns. A Strasburg single followed by a Trea Turner single seemed to unnerve Lackey. Walks to Brian Goodwin and Bryce Harper forced in a run and a boot by Kris Bryant scored another run. Daniel Murphy grounded into a double play to keep Lackey in the game.

In the third a Rendon leadoff double led to the sixth run to up the lead to 6-0. Albert Almora took a poor route to the ball and let it get by him. Rendon advanced to third on a ground out to second and scored on a fly ball to Almora in center. Lackey settled down after that, shutting the Nationals down in the fourth and allowing only a solo homerun in the fifth to Daniel Murphy.

A one out Trea Turner double down the third base line in the sixth finished the day for Lackey. A Bryce Harper hustle double up the middle off lefty Brian Duensing scored Turner and notched eight runs given up by Lackey to his total, raising his ERA to an unsightly 5.24.

Strasburg was dominant for most of the game. He struck out the side in the second and third innings. In the fourth Kris Bryant doubled down the left field line. Wilson Contreras got ahead of Strasburg 2-0 and then drove a pitch high and far into the left field bleachers. That made the score 6-2.

Albert Almora drove a pitch over the head of Brian Goodwin for a double to lead off the fifth. He scored from second when Ryan Zimmerman booted a Mark Zagunis grounder. A first baseman that could throw the ball may have been able to get Almora at the plate but the Cubs recognized the bad limb of Zimmerman and had Almora break for home. After that Strasburg retired the final eight hitters he faced.

The Cubs added another run in the eighth inning when Anthony Rizzo drove an Enny Romero 98 mile per hour fastball into the second deck of the right field bleachers.

Game Notes: In a fluke play the Cubs will miss Kris Bryant for a couple weeks. He caught a routine pop up, evidently did not know where the third base bag was and when he made a step forward he caught the corner of the bag and twisted his ankle. Cubs trainers had to help him off the field. The final injury report is a high ankle sprain, which can take some time to heal. The Cubs anticipate two days but myworld believes it will be longer…The Cubs also released Miguel Montero after he was critical of Jake Arrieta keeping runners on base. He faulted Arrieta for failing to hold the runners, resulting in seven National steals, adding to his poor 1 for 32 success rate in caught stealing. The Cubs did not like him airing his grievances in public and released him…John Lackey did not give in to Bryce Harper when he walked him in the second inning to load the bases. All four pitches to him were breaking balls…Seeing Jon Jay hitting fifth for the Cubs makes me wonder if I was dreaming that the Cubs won the World Series last year…Stephen Strasburg was forced to leave his start after seven innings because of back spasms.