Archive for the 'Nationals' Category

Brewers Outslug Nationals 15-13

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

The balls were flying out of Nats Park Friday night. Sean Doolitle came into pitch with a three run lead and he threw five strikes to the first four hitters he faced. He gave up three homeruns and a double into the gap. The last homerun, the eleventh in the game, was the game winner by Eric Thames, a two run shot in the top of the 14th inning to give the Brewers a 15-14 win. The Nationals scored one in the bottom of the 14th and had the go ahead run of first, with the tying run on third, but ran out of position players and had to pinch hit Joe Ross for Javy Guerra. He struck out to end the game.

The game started out innocently enough with the Brewers erupting for five runs in the top of the third off Anibal Sanchez without benefit of a homerun. With one out Anibal walked the pitcher Jordan Lyles and the leadoff man Trent Grisham. That proved costly as five consecutive hits, four singles and one double plated five runs for the Brewers to jump into a 5-0 lead.

The Nationals were the first to hit the ball out of the park. That came on a two run homer from Juan Soto in the bottom of the third, a ball that just reached the left field bleachers. The Nationals got three more in the bottom of the fourth and tied the game on a three run homer from Adam Eaton into the right field bullpen. What appeared to be a Brewer rout early was now a game.

The Brewers got their first homerun when Ryan Braun hit a ball off the top of the right field bleachers off Matt Grace. The umpires originally ruled it a double, but after review they reversed the call and gave Braun the homerun. Matt Grace gave up another homerun in the top of the sixth, hit by lefthander Trent Grisham to give the Brewers an 8-5 lead. That was it for Grace. As he left the mound the crowd was roaring something other than “Doooo”.

Just when they thought they had gained the momentum the Nationals struck back off Freddy Peralta, who could not get anyone out. Kurt Suzuki led off the inning with a double off the right field scoreboard. Victor Robles followed with a run scoring blooper down the left field line that he turned into a double. Peralta walked Howie Kendrick and then Trea Turner turned on a Peralta pitch and lined it into the left field bleachers just to the right of the left field foul pole for a three run homerun. The Nationals had the lead for the first time 9-8.

It appeared the Nationals put the game away in the seventh when Howie Kendrick launched a ball into the centerfield bleachers for a two run homerun and a 11-8 lead. Fernando Rodney retired the Brewers in order in the eighth. Doolittle had pitched the day before. Most in the stands wanted a rest day for Doolittle and felt a three run lead was enough for Daniel Hudson to pitch, but on came Doolittle.

He got behind Christian Yelich 1-0 and Yelich hit homer number 40 on the next pitch into the left field bleachers. He got behind Keston Hiura 2-0 and Keston ripped the next pitch into the left centerfield gap for a double. He got behind Mike Moustakas 2-1 and the Moose tied the game rifling a pitch over the center field wall. Not wanting to get behind anymore Doolittle threw his first pitch to Ryan Braun across the plate and Braun sent it deep into the left field bleachers to give the Brewers a 12-11 lead. Doolittle did face one more hitter, Eric Thames, who got the barrel of the bat on the ball and hit one deep into center, but Robles was able to catch the ball. That was it for the Doo.

Josh Hader came on to seal the game in the bottom of the ninth. Yan Gomes drew a walk. No pinch runner but no bench players left for Davey. Kurt Suzuki lined a 2-0 pitch into leftfield. Gomes raced for third and the throw from Braun was way off line. Suzuki advanced to second. Now you had two catchers on base. There had to be a pitcher that was faster than Suzuki on second who represented the winning run. Victor lined a single into right field to score Gomes but Suzuki was held at third. Robles advanced to second on the throw because the throw went home to get Suzuki. Robles run meant nothing. Kendrick was walked intentionally to lead the bases with no outs. Trea Turner ran the count to 3-2, even fouling a pitch into the left field bleachers but just foul. He swung and missed for strike three. Adam Eaton was overmatched against the lefty Hader, failing to make contact on three pitches. Anthony Rendon came up with two outs and he too struck out. Extra innings.

The Brewers got another homerun from Christian Yelich in the top of the 13th to take the lead again. The Nationals made it four comebacks with a Victor Robles sacrifice fly to tie the game.

A two run homerun from Eric Thames in the top of the 14th to make it 15-13 appeared to seal the deal. The Nationals still battled back thanks to a throwing error by Keston Hiura with two out that allowed one run to score and advance Soto to second. The Brewers chose to walk Asdrubal Cabrera intentionally to put the game winning run on base, knowing the pitcher’s spot was coming up next and the Nationals had no position players left to pinch hit. Davey pinch hit Joe Ross for Javy Guerra and he struck out. No fifth come back was in the cards because the Nationals had run out of players.

Game Notes: Victor Robles threw out two runners at second, Mike Moustakas and Keston Hiura, who were trying to turn singles into doubles. That is four assists for Robles in the week….After Joe Ross pinch hit for Javy Guerra the Nationals had run out of bullpen pitchers. If the Nationals had tied it would Davey had pitched Joe Ross in the 15th…Patrick Corbin had pitched the previous night. It was Patrick Corbin bobble head tonight…Christian Yelich inched closer to becoming the first player in major league history to 50/30 by hitting two homeruns and stealing a base to put him at 41/24…Both Hader and Doolittle are struggling. Hader has blown four of his last five save appearances with an ERA of 10.50 in his last seven appearances. Doolittle has given up seven homeruns in his last 10 appearances and seen his ERA rise to a non closer like 4.33. In his last seven appearances his ERA is 15.00, even though he has been credited with four saves during that time…The Nationals gave up five homeruns after the ninth inning, which tied a major league record, another one of many homerun records being broken or tied this year. Who says the ball is not juiced?…Other than Sean Doolittle Matt Grace is the lone lefty in the Nationals bullpen. He has given up 11 homeruns in 44 innings. Lefthanders are hitting .313 against him (righthanders .320). He is not too successful at getting anyone out.

Nats Bury Bauer for Sweep of Reds

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Juiced baseballs can result in long ball games. The Nationals scored 16 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 17-7. Stephen Strasburg got a ten run fifth started with an RBI single and Adam Eaton kept the train rolling with a three run homer. The game lasted just over three hours.

It started out as a pitchers duel between Trevor Bauer and Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals scored first using Victor Robles legs. He led off the third with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a bunt by Strasburg and scored on a Trea Turner sacrifice fly to left. In the fourth the Reds scored a run when Kurt Suzuki could not prevent the ball from hitting the back stop. The inning started with a one hop single to Turner, who failed to handle the ball cleanly. Suarez advanced to second on a wild pitch and eventually scored on a swing and miss strike three wild pitch that went to the back stop.

The Nationals blew the game open in the fifth. Bauer had only given up one hit entering the inning. It started innocently when Asdrubal Cabrera beat the shift by hitting a single by Freddy Galvis, who was in short right field. Victor Robles lined a double into right center. With the infield in and runners on second and third, Strasburg poked a single into right field. Trea Turner followed with a seeing eye hit up the middle that Bauer failed to back hand and the middle infielders fell short of reaching the ball. Adam Eaton took a 3-2 pitch into right center for a three run homer. Anthony Rendon followed by hitting a pitch just to the left of the Eaton shot in right center.

Bauer lasted two more batters, giving up a single to Juan Soto and walking Matt Adams. Dal Romano came in to pitch and could not contain the damage. Cabrera got another single and Kurt Suzuki blasted one into the left field bleachers to complete the 10 run inning. All nine Nationals players scored in the inning with Suzuki plated twice.

Stephen Strasburg struggled a bit in the top of the sixth, slated to a 11-1 lead. He gave up an RBI double to Jose Iglesias and a two run homer to Tucker Barnhardt. After getting a second out Davey Martinez went out to the mound. Strasburg tried to wave him back with the glove but Davey continued his trek to the mound. After a discussion he decided to leave Strasburg in. Strasburg walked Jesse Winker on four pitches and he was gone.

In the sixth the first eight hitters in the lineup for the Nats got on base. It could have been back to back double digit innings, but Davey Martinez let Matt Grace hit even though he was not going to pitch in the seventh. Grace struck out. Trea Turner grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Nationals only plated six runs.

Javy Guerra pitched the last three innings for the Nationals. He gave up a solo shot to Aristedes Aquino in the seventh, his ninth homerun in 14 games, the fastest player to nine homeruns in major league history. Freddy Galvis took him deep in the ninth for a two run homer.

Nats Notes: Matt Adams hit a ball foul down the first base line that went out of the stadium. That is the first time myworld has seen a ball hit out of the stadium…The Giants came to town with playoff hopes and were swept by the Nationals. The Reds had the same hope and the sweep hurts their chances of making the playoffs…The ten runs in one inning are the most the Nationals have scored this season in an inning and the 17 runs in a game are also a season high…Myworld was surprised Gerrado Parra did not come in for Juan Soto late in the game. Martinez rested Rendon, moving Cabrera to third but Soto and his bad ankle stayed in the game…Suarez made a couple of border line baserunning errors in the fourth. When he was on second he failed to advance to third on a bloop single that fell in front of Soto. He did eventually get to third but went to far off the bag on a line drive to left field and was late getting back to the bag to tag up. He eventually scored on a strikeout/wild pitch.

Nats Hang on Despite Bullpen

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

When you are up 7-2 going into the eighth inning odds are good the victory is yours. Not with the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals survived a two run homerun in the eighth and two more runs in the ninth, and with the go ahead run standing on first, the Nationals closer was able to get a pop up to third for the final out in a 7-6 victory. Not the way you want to plan it.

Erick Fedde pitched well despite allowing his first pitch to Jessie Winker to be deposited into the left field bleachers. He was also helped by the Reds third base coach who sent Joey Votto home on a single to center. Joey does not have the fastest legs and he was thrown out by Victor Robles by five feet. Not much you can do when the catcher has the ball and you have not gotten far enough to home to start your slide.

The Nationals came roaring back in the bottom half. Adam Eaton started the rally with a walk. With two outs Matt Adams sent one deep into centerfield that hopped off the top edge of the fence and bounced back onto the field. The umpires reviewed the hit and it was confirmed to be a homerun. Asdrubal Cabrera continued his hot hitting since being acquired by the Nationals with a double to right center. Nick Senzel dove for the ball but it hit off his glove and rolled to the wall. Gerrado Parra lined a single into right center to score Cabrera to give the Nationals and Erick Fedde a 3-1 lead.

Fedde continued his early struggles giving up a one out hit to Tucker Barnhart. Jose Iglesias blasted a ball deep to right center for a double, scoring Barnhart. After that hit Fedde settled down facing the minimum number of hitters into the sixth. In the sixth he put two runners on with one out and got out of the jam with a whiff and a ground out. It would be his last inning of work.

Trea Turner provided Fedde with tremendous support in the fourth with a 3-run homer. Turner also delivered on an RBI single in the seventh to give the Nationals a 7-2 lead. But in the eighth with the bases loaded and two outs he grounded to short, meaning Sean Doolittle had to come on in the ninth for the save rather than Fernando Rodney.

The Reds started their comeback with a 2-run homer by Aristedes Aquino off Tanner Rainey. For Aquino that was his eighth homerun in 12 games, a major league record. Rainey started the inning by walking the first hitter he faced Joey Votto. Walks continue to be a big problem for Rainey.

Doolittle came on in the ninth. Phillip Ervin pinch hit for Barnhart and took Doolittle’s first pitch into the left field bleachers. Jose Igesias lined a single into right field. It appeared to be the Mets all over again with a three run lead looking thin. Doolittle was able to retire the next two hitters but Joey Votto hit one deep to left field. Parra made it an adventure trying to catch the ball, turning the wrong way and the ball hit against the fence, Iglesias scoring and Votto stopping at second. The Nationals chose to walk Eugenio Suarez intentionally to put the winning run on first but have Doolittle face the lefty hitting Josh Vanmeter. Josh swung at the first pitch and popped it up foul along the third base side. Rendon squeezed the ball to get the win and the fans all breathed a sigh of relief. Another win despite another bullpen meltdown.

Game Notes: Anthony DeSclafani surprised me with his fastball that hit 95-96. That was a surprise. he only lasted four innings, giving up six runs, one of his worst outings of the year…For Doolittle he finished his 48th game. That is more than any relief pitcher in baseball. Unfortunately his ERA is creeping closer to 4 as he gives up runs in the ninth inning. He has appeared in five of the last seven Nationals games and his ERA in those games sits at 11.57…Aquino hit his homerun off Tanner Rainey. Last year the two played for each other in AA Pensacola. Eight of Aquino’s 15 hits have left the park. They don’t call him the “Punisher” for nothing…Aquino has also driven in a run in seven consecutive games. That is three away from the Reds record of ten set by Joe Morgan in 1976…The Reds needed this win to keep their scant playoff hopes alive. The loss now drops them six games behind the Nationals for the first wild card spot…Kevin Guasman pitched two innings in relief. His career has taken a big down slide since he was a first round pick of the Orioles. Throwing strikes has always been an issue. His fastball was only 93, which is four miles slower than it was in his prime with the Orioles. He did pitch well in his two innings, giving up just one hit and striking out two…The throw home from Victor Robles to retire Joey Votto was measured at 99.5 miles per hour by Statcast, the fourth fastest throw to get an outfield assist…The sprained ankle from Soto has gotten much better. He should be back in the lineup in a couple days.

Donaldson Does the Doo

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

The Washington Nationals made a nice comeback on Wednesday, scoring three runs in the last two innings to tie the game at 4-4. They went with Sean Doolittle to start the tenth and after getting Freddie Freeman to ground to short to go 0 for 5 he could not do the same with Donaldson. Josh gave the ball a ride over the centerfield fence, despite a leaping effort from Victor Robles to give the Braves a 5-4 win. It was the first hit of the day for Donaldson. The Nationals had two runners on in the bottom frame with Anthony Rendon up. He hit a hard liner to left that had promise but Adam Duvall was able to chase it down to end the game.

The Braves Mike Soroka was tough on the Nationals. He allowed a solo homerun to Juan Soto in the second that tied the game. They had runners on first and third with one out in the fourth but Kurt Suzuki lined out to Freeman who stepped on first for a double play. In the sixth Trea Turner hit one into the gap for a double. Instead of holding Kendrick at third to have second and third with no out Kendrick was sent home and thrown out easily. That hit was just the third off Soroka. He went seven innings allowing just three hits.

Anibal Sanchez was not as consistent as Soroka. He also gave up a solo homerun in the second, to Adam Duvall, his third in two games against the Nationals. Duvall was batting .529. Sanchez loaded the bases with one out in the inning when Dave Martinez chose to walk the weak hitting Yohan Camargo intentionally. Myworld did not like the strategy, but pitcher Soroka grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to prevent Ronald Acuna from coming up.

In the third Acuna led off with a double and Ozzie Albies made it back to back. Acuna grounded his past a diving Rendon down the third base line. Albies grounded his past a diving Parra down the first base line. Sanchez was able to get out of the inning with no further damage.

The Braves nicked him again in the fourth on back to back two out singles from two of the weakest hitters in the lineup, Camargo and Soroka. Ronald Acuna drove a single into right center to score Camargo. Adam Eatton cut the ball off before it could get to the wall otherwise Soroka would have scored.

The Braves drove Sanchez from the mound in the sixth inning when back to back doubles from Ender Inciarte and Tyler Flowers almost landed in the same spot down the right field line. Tanner Rainey was able to end the rally, but Parra made a heads up throw to third on a ground ball to retire Flowers to make it easier on Rainey. Normally first baseman are content with getting the out at first.

The bullpen held the Braves allowing the Nationals to whittle at the lead. In the eighth Matt Adams clobbered a two out pinch hit homerun into the right field bleachers off Anthony Swarzak. The Braves brought in Luke Jackson to start the ninth but he gave up back to back singles to Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon. The Rendon hit was picked up in the hole by Camargo but he could not get a grip on the ball when making the throw. That brought in Sean Newcomb to close the game. He walked Juan Soto on four pitches to load the bases. He threw two balls to Kurt Suzuki and instead of waiting for a strike Kurt swung at the next pitch and lined a single to left field to score Eaton.

The Nationals had the bases loaded with no outs and down by just one, 4-3. Gerrado Parra came to the plate. He fouled two off trying to lift the ball into the outfield for a SF. The next pitch he hit the ball hard, but on the ground. The Braves were able to turn a 6-4-3 double play. Brian Dozier then struck out on a 3-2 pitch to send the game into extra innings.

Josh Tomlin came on to pitch in the bottom of the tenth to get the save. Adrian Sanchez hit a one out single when both Freeman and Tomlin went for the ball and no one covered first. A walk to Turner put runners on first and second with one out. Tomlin got Eaton to pop out and Rendon hit the hard liner to left to end the game.

Game Notes: The way Adam Duvall is hitting the Braves are not missing Nick Markakis. With the return of Inciarte from injury it gives him a place to play in centerfield, Acuna plays in right field and Austin Riley and Duvall share playing time, though the way Duvall is hitting he is getting most of that playing time…Tanner Rainey was hitting the radar at 100 and 101, lowering his ERA below 4. With the new acquisitions of Daniel Hudson, Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elias his bullpen time could be reduced…The Braves had two runners thrown out trying to advance to third on ground balls to the infield. Flowers was an unconventional 3-5 ground out. Adam Duvall got thrown out at third on a grounder to short…Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson almost combined to go 0 for 10…Anthony Rendon appears to be running better. He went from first to third on a Suzuki single showing good speed in his legs as he motored to third…Howie Kendrick showed no speed in his attempt to score from first on the Turner double. It appeared he hit a wall of goo as he rounded third and could not race through it…The Nationals finished 2-4 at home in back to back series with the Dodgers and Braves, the two teams they will have to beat if they make the playoffs and want to advance to the World Series. Conversely the Braves went 4-2 on the road against the Phillies and Nationals…Ronald Acuna stole his 25th base in the fourth inning. That made him the third player in major league history to have 25 steals and 25 homeruns aged 21 or younger. The other two are Mike Trout and Andrew Jones.

Rendon Slam Triggers Nats Win Over Braves

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth inning Anthony Rendon came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Chad Sobotka fell behind in the count 2-0 and grooved a fastball that caught too much of the plate. Rendon blasted it deep into the left field bleachers for a 6-2 lead. That is all the Nationals needed in their 6-3 win.

Dallas Keuchel got the start for Atlanta. The Nationals got to him early. In the first inning Adam Eaton was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored when Juan Soto lined a single into centerfield. A Howie Kendrick single and a Brian Dozier walk loaded the bases but Victor Robles grounded to short to end the threat.

The Nationals scored again in the second, gifted again by Keuchel with a leadoff walk to Yan Gomes, the first of his four walks in the game. Patrick bunted him to second and Trea Turner drove him in lining a pitch down the left field line for a double.

Patrick Corbin was sharp for the Nationals. He shut down the Braves bats not allowing a hit in the first three innings. In the fourth a single by Freddie Freeman started the rally, his first of three hits in the game. A wild pitch advanced Freeman to second. With two outs Anthony Rendon made a tremendous diving catch on an Adam Duvall hit down the line. He got up, threw to first but the ball sailed over the head of the first baseman Howie Kendrick allowing Freeman to score from third. A Johan Camargo singled advanced Duvall to third but Corbin was able to whiff Austin Riley to end the inning.

Freeman also started a Brave rally in the sixth with his single up the middle. Dozier made a diving stop on a hit by Donaldson but the ball rolled towards first base. Dozier chased it, quickly flipped to first but Kendrick could not dig the ball out, Freeman advancing to third on the throw. Adam Duvall hit a ball deep to left field, Juan Soto leaped and caught it at the edge of the top of the fence to possibly rob Duvall of a three run homerun. Freeman tagged and scored on the fly ball to tie the game at two.

In the bottom frame the Nats struck back and it was again the kindness of Keuchel that hurt him. He walked Yan Gomes for the third time in the game. Adrian Sanchez pinch hit for Corbin and lined a single through the third base hole. Chad Sobotka came on to relieve Keuchel, striking out Turner for the second out. Adam Eaton walked to load the bases and that brought up Rendon to provide his heroics.

The Nationals bullpen came through in the seventh and eighth. Wander Suerro retired the Braves in order in the seventh. Fernando Rodney gave up a one out single to Freeman but retired the next two hitters. That brought on an appearance from Sean Doolittle, who was not seen in the Dodger’s series. He gave up a one out homerun to pinch hitter Charlie Culberson that carried over the left field bullpen, but otherwise struck out all three other Braves hitters he faced.

Game Notes: Soccer stars Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle threw out the first pitches. They got a little crossed up when throwing out their pitches, Mallory throwing a pitch to the National who was to catch the first pitch from Rose, leaving Rose to throw her pitch to the National stationed to catch the pitch from Mallory (or vice versa - I forgot who threw the ball first)…In the month of July Stephen Strasburg has driven in more runs (6) than earned runs he has given up (4)…Brian Dozier should have been charged with two errors in the game. He bobbled a ball in the first inning and in the sixth his errant throw allowed Freeman to advance to third…Dallas Keuchel was at 99 pitches after the fifth inning. With his fastball only at 87-89 he needs command of his pitches to be effective. That command does not seem to be there yet…In the seventh Jeremy Walker walked the first three hitters he faced. He was bailed out on a caught stealing by Dozier, the first batter he walked. In total he threw 14 balls and 7 strikes…The grand slam for Rendon was his third of his career and it got him to 500 RBIs for his career…The Braves were missing Nick Markakis (broken wrist) and Dansby Swanson (heel injury) from their lineup…Max Scherzer is back on the DL with his upper back strain.

Dodgers Batter Ross and Nationals

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

The Dodgers had their way with the Nationals pitching staff yesterday, especially since it was the first time Dave Martinez decided to use the opener. One pitcher who looked good was lefthander Matt Grace, who was the opener and retired all six hitters he faced, three of them on strikeouts. After Grace the only lefthander the Nationals had in the pen was Tony Sipp and the Dodgers lefthanded bats assaulted Nationals pitching for a 9-3 win. One right handed bat that did most of the damage was Will Smith, who finished the day 3 for 3 with six RBIs. But he had the lefthanded bats getting on in front of him, who combined to score seven of the nine runs the Dodgers scored.

They say if you want to beat a good starting pitcher you get to him early. The Nationals were able to get to Clayton Kershaw early. Trea Turner started things off with a single and Adam Eaton punched one down the right field line for a triple. For some reason Cody Bellinger was playing near centerfield for the lefthand hitting Eaton. Eaton scored on a fly ball from Juan Soto. The Nationals had a 2-0 lead. All seemed good. Until the Nationals replaced Grace with Joe Ross.

Joe Ross came into the game with a ERA around 9. He did not improve on that. Will Smith jumped on his third pitch of the game to deposit a ball into the right field bleachers to put the Dodgers on the scoreboard. Ross then gave up a hard single to Joc Pederson but was able to retire the next three hitters to protect the Nationals lead.

In the fourth Ross completely lost it. After striking out A.J. Pollock the left handed bats poised to attack. Cody Bellinger walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Max Muncy lined a single over shortstop to drive in Bellinger. Corey Seager hit a double into the right center field gap. Eaton had trouble picking the ball up and Seager advanced to third, being credited with a double. Will Smith blasted another pitch that traveled to the warning track, but Robles was able to shag the ball down as his back hit the wall. The Dodgers were now up 4-2.

The Dodgers were able to add another run in the sixth when Muncy and Corey Seager hit back to back singles. Will Smith smacked one into the right center field gap, Robles attempted a diving catch and failed. The Nationals were fortunate that only one run scored. With runners on second and third Pederson was walked intentionally and Clayton Kershaw grounded out to end the inning with only one run logged against Ross.

The game really got out of hand in the seventh when the Dodgers exploded for four runs off Joe Ross and Javy Guerra. Guerra walked the first two hitters he faced to load the bases, setting the stage for Will Smith to clear the bases by driving one against the wall in left field to score all three runs, stopping at second with his second double of the game. He finished the day with six RBIs.

Clayton Kershaw did not have too much trouble with the Nats bats after giving up hits to the first two batters. He retired the next nine hitters. In the sixth he got into a little trouble, missing his pitches for eight straight balls to put two runners on. Brian Dozier flied out to right to end the inning. Kershaw was done for the day after that.

Yan Gomes did line a curve ball from Joe Kelly for a homerun in the seventh. That was all the damage the Nationals bats could do against the Dodger pen. Two double play ground outs in the last two innings flushed out any potential for a rally.

Game notes: Lots of Dodger blue mixed with the National red. A sellout crowd of 39,616 was at the game…Joe Ross has a nice fastball at 95. He did strike out 7 in his 4.2 innings of work. But there were just too many pitches the Dodger bats were able to barrel, especially the lefthanded bats. In the sixth inning both Ross and Kershaw had thrown 70 pitches, but Kershaw had gone two more innings than Ross…It appeared that starting Grace gave Dave Martinez no lefthander in the pen to counter the lefthanded bats. At no time did Tony Sipp warm up in the pen. The left handed bats were able to pepper the Nationals right handed arms for 9 runs…With two strikes on Juan Soto the Dodgers moved Jacob Turner from third base to the second base side of the bag. They seemed to think Juan Soto has a tendency to pull the ball with a two strike count…The last hit for Will Smith was a walk off homerun. Sent back down to the minors his first hit coming back was a homerun. He now has four homeruns in 29 at bats. Myworld thinks he will stick around awhile with Austin Barnes struggling to hit…Max Scherzer is again being bothered by his back and may miss another start. Austin Voth is not available because of shoulder issues…Because of a short bench the Nationals chose to bat Matt Grace in the second inning with two outs and no one on base. They brought in Joe Ross to pitch in the third.

Murphy, Desmond Go Deep in Rockies Win Over Nationals

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Both Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy hit solo shots in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game and the Rockies went on to beat the Nationals 8-7 to prevent a sweep of the four game series. Wade Davis struck out the side in the ninth, but did issue a walk to pick up his 15th save. Fernando Rodney is running low on arrows as he dropped to 0-4, blowing his second save by giving up the two runs in the ninth.

Max Scherzer got the start for the Nationals. Normally a quick worker, Nate was a little more methodical in this game. He did have a bad inning in the fourth when he gave up an RBI single to Ryan McMahon and a two run shot to Garrett Hampson that easily found the centerfield bleachers that gave the Rockies an early 3-0 lead. Scherzer only went five innings, striking out eight.

Jeff Hoffman looked solid in the first four innings with his 96 mile per hour fastball tough to hit after hitters saw his mid 70s curveball. He gave up just two hits, but walked three and hit one batter, an explanation for his 6.60 ERA coming into the ball game. In the fifth the Nationals finally got to him with a Trea Turner single and a walk to Adam Eaton putting two runners on for Anthony Rendon. Rendon did not disappoint, hitting a high shot into the left field bull pen, just over the glove of a leaping Raimel Tapia to tie the game at 3-3.

As with many teams, the bullpen has been a big disappointment for the Nationals. Matt Grace came on in relief of Scherzer to face four lefties in the sixth. He could only retire two of them. Daniel Murphy hit a single and Ryan McMahon blasted a pitch deep into the right field bleachers to give the Rockies the lead again, 5-3.

The Rockies also went to their pen, calling on Bryan Shaw. After retiring the first hitter he walked Brian Dozier and Victor Robles. Brian took advantage of a disinterested Shaw and stole third, taking off while Shaw was still in his stretch. Robles took off for second on the pitch and the throw from the catcher Wolters was late. Pinch hitter Gerrado Parra took advantage of the gaffe, lining a double into right center to score both and tie the game. Trea Turner blooped a single over the head of the shortstop scoring Parra and giving the Nationals a 6-5 lead.

Tanner Rainey and Tony Sipp combined to put up a zero in the seventh but Rainey put two runners on. Sipp was able to snag a hard ground ball up the middle to end the inning. Matt Adams deposited a pitch into the right field bleachers in the bottom of the seventh to give the Nationals a 7-5 lead. It looked pretty good for the Nationals to complete the sweep.

Sipp stayed in to pitch to the lefties coming up. Daniel Murphy clobbered a 3-2 pitch deep into the right field bleachers to lead off the inning. With Sean Doolittle not available Fernando Rodney came on in the ninth to protect a one run lead. Ian Desmond did not make the lead last long with a leadoff homerun just over the flower beds in the centerfield bleachers. Rodney had trouble finding the plate, walking Blackmon, striking out Trevor Story but having the pitch sail to the back stop for a wild pitch to advance Blackmon to second. A single into left field put runners on first and third with one out. Daniel Murphy hit a slow grounder to the left of Rendon. His natural throw was to second, Turner pivoted with a throw to first but Murphy just beat the throw, Blackmon scoring the go ahead run.

Juan Soto was able to walk in the ninth and steal second but the Nationals could not bring him in.

Game Notes: Jeff Hoffman baffles hitters with a slow curve at 76 and then mixes in his mid to plus 90s fastball. Finding more control of his curve and issuing less walks would lower that ERA. He walked four in five innings and now has issued 17 walks in 38 innings. He also has given up 8 homeruns…The victory was only the Rockies third in their last 20 games. That has probably put them in the seller’s category…With Max Scherzer coming back from the IL with a bursa sac issue and the bullpen taxed from a double header the previous day, it may not have been ideal to pitch Scherzer if you felt he was only going to give you five innings and your closer Sean Doolittle was not available…Austin Voth does not look like he will be available as a fifth starter. He has been shut down with shoulder tendinitis…Northern Virginia resident and World Cup soccer star Ali Krieger threw out the first pitch for Thursday’s game.

Trea Cycles Nationals to Win Over Rockies

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

The bucket list for myworld got whittled down. For the first time we have watched a major league player hit for the cycle. Trea Turner hit for the cycle last night in the Nationals 11-1 win over the Rockies. It was the second cycle for Trea. The last time he hit for the cycle was in 2017 and it was against the same Rockies, but in Colorado.

Stephen Strasburg got the start for the Nationals and his curveball was unhittable. He struck out six in the first three innings. His pitch count was high with a lot of three and two ball counts, which limited his innings to six. During that time he only gave up three hits and walked two and left the game without giving up a run.

Trea Turner got things started for the Nationals with his line drive leadoff homerun into the centerfield bleachers. Adam Eaton followed with a double into right center. With two outs and Eaton on third Matt Adams ripped a line drive single into right center to make it 2-0. Rockies starter Peter Lambert settled down after the first.

Turner got his single in the second inning, hitting a ball off Lambert’s leg and beating the throw to first. That had followed a Stephen Strasburg single, but with runners on first and second and two out Adam Eaton struck out.

The Nationals next opportunity for a run came in the fifth after a Trea Turner leadoff triple bounced off the glove of a diving Blackmon. Eaton followed with a walk to put runners on first and third with no outs. Lambert was able to strike out Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Matt Adams to keep the game at 2-0.

In the sixth the Nationals drove Lambert from the game. Brian Dozier led off the inning with a double down the third base line. Yan Gomes hit a ball over the drawn in shortstop to score Dozier from third. It also drove Lambert from the game. Andrew Stevens pinch hit for Strasberg and hit a slow line drive between short and third. He used his speed to beat the throw to first. This brought up Trea Turner and the fans were hoping for a double. He hit a “double” but it was followed by “play” for a double play to end the inning and bringing groans from the crowd.

Turner got another opportunity to bat when the Nationals erupted for 8 runs in the seventh inning. This time he hit his double. Two throwing errors by the Rockies on plays to the plate allowed the Nationals to take extra bases, one of them by ex-Nat Ian Desmond that hit the foot of a sliding Robles and went into the camera well. After eight batters had hit Turner came up to hit his double into right center. The cycle was complete.

The Rockies finally scored their only run in the ninth inning on a Ryan McMahon double.

Game Notes: Both Daniel Murphy and Ian Desmond got cheers from the crowd when they went up to the plate in the second inning back to back. They both tipped their cap. Murphy and Desmond left as free agents. Desmond had left a year earlier for the Rockies and moved to the outfield to accommodate Murphy at first base…Ian Desmond is next to last in defensive rating for centerfielders. Last night he was playing in left field while David Dahl played center…With Seung-Hwan Oh undergoing season ending elbow surgery and out for the year, the team released him when they picked up Yonder Alonso. Yonder plays first base so this could complicate the lineup with Daniel Murphy, also a lefthanded hitter playing first base. Last year Murphy saw most of his time at second base, but his defensive ratings there were poor.

Top Venezuelan Prospects National League

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

There have been some graduations from the list put together last year. Rookie of the year Ronald Acuna had a pretty good year and is no longer considered a prospect. He was the top player on the National League list. Other than that no other graduating player. With all the internal strife in Venezuela the quality of prospects out of the country has dropped. The National League seems to have a lot of promising catchers. The top five players on this list appeared here last year. The bottom five are all new to the list.

1. Keibert Ruiz C (Dodgers) - After Acuna won rookie of the year last year Ruiz went from number two to the top spot. In his first couple years in the minors he hit over .300, entering the 2019 season with a .330 career average. His bat took a bit of a dive last year with a .268 average. The Dodgers kept him in AA for a second season and the hitting has continued to suffer (.245). Not noted for his power his slugging percentage has really dipped from .401 last year to .321. The bright note is his ability to make contact is strong (28/21 walk to whiff ratio) and his defense has not suffered. His arm is not strong so he will not control a running game but his ability to block pitches in the dirt is solid. If his bat had been strong myworld would have expected a promotion sometime this year. With the Dodgers in a pennant race it may not be until next year when Ruiz wears a Dodger uniform.

2. Andres Gimenez SS (Mets) - At one point Amed Rosario was the Mets shortstop of the future. Defensive struggles have the Mets talking about moving Rosario to centerfield, which would open up a spot for Gimenez at shortstop. The bat is not as strong as Amed but his defense is superb. If Rosario stays at short the Mets could always convert him to a utility player. Last year he carried a useable bat, hitting over .277. This year the bat has dipped to .232 in AA. Andres lacks the speed of Rosario but he still has the ability to steal bases (16). The biggest issue for Gimenez is the rise of Ronny Mauricio, coming up from A ball.

3. William Contreras C (Braves) - The younger brother of Wilson carries his brothers pop with the bat and his strong arm. The bat has struggled a bit this year with a .263 average and .368 slugging percentage in the Florida State League but that is a pitcher’s park. Myworld only became aware of Wilson when he was at AA but at this point the older brother has more power. William may develop that power but it has yet to surge with regularity. His arm is strong enough to catch and he has the intangibles to fit behind the plate defensively. The Braves have Alex Jackson in AAA but William is the stronger hitter and better defensively. Alex may have more power. William may have to wait until next year to debut for the Braves.

4. Anderson Espinoza RHP (Padres) - The world continues to wait for the Espinoza breakout. He was one of the top minor league pitchers in baseball until Tommy John surgery felled him. He has not pitched since 2016, missing more than two seasons. Despite standing only 6′0″ his fastball hit the high 90s. Scouts compared him to Dennis Martinez. Originally signed by the Red Sox in 2014 for $1.8 million they traded him to the Padres for Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox ironically complaining about the trade because of a perceived undisclosed injury to Pomeranz. A second Tommy John surgery in August of last year will delay Espinoza’s return until mid 2020.

5. Ranger Suarez LHP (Phillies) - The Phillies signed Ranger for the bargain basement price of $25,000 in 2012. He lacks an over powering fastball, sitting in the low 90s but a excellent change enhances the velocity of the fastball. Swings and misses are not part of his game with just 6.6 whiffs per nine innings. He also has excellent command of his pitches, throwing to the corners and hoping for soft contact. Last year he had some success at AAA (2.74 ERA), which led to a promotion to the major leagues. That proved to be a challenge with a 5.40 ERA and a ,339 opposition average. This year he started his season in AAA and that was a struggle (5.68 ERA and .281 opposition average). Despite those poor numbers he did get promoted to the Phillies where he worked out of the bullpen. At best he is a back of the rotation pitcher. If that does not work out he could still be used out of the pen as a middle reliever.

6. Francisco Morales RHP (Phillies) - Francisco was not the bargain as Suarez. He has a little more pop to his fastball, with his mid-90s velocity motivating the Phillies to pay $900,000 to sign him. Francisco has a plus slider but still needs more consistency with his change to give him a third pitch. Francisco has more swing and miss with his pitches. This year is his first season in full season ball and his swing and miss has not lessoned. He has given up some homerun balls (7) in just 62.1 innings, which is responsible for his high 3.90 ERA.

7. Francisco Alvarez C (Mets) - The Mets have had trouble finding a catcher. At 17 years old and signed in 2018 for $2.7 million Francisco will not provide any immediate answers. This is his first year of minor league baseball and the Mets have already promoted him to the rookie leagues where he has shown some pop with the bat with three homeruns in 15 games. He is also torching rookie league pitchers for a .404 average and a 1.189 OPS. He is still learning the tools of catching but the arm is strong so that is a start. If the bat continues to rake he could be one of the youngest players in full season ball next year. That is quite an accomplishment for one so young, especially at a position that is so demanding. Mets fans will have to wait at least four years before seeing him in a Mets uniform.

8. Jesus Tinoco RHP (Rockies) - Tinoco was the throw in player the Blue Jays included in the Troy Tulowitski trade. Jesus has a pretty good fastball and breaking ball combination. His change still needs work if he wants to be in the starting rotation. Coming into the 2019 season his career ERA was 4.75 with an opposition average of .286. There is also not a lot of swings and misses to his pitches. This year he has career numbers in AAA with a 4.34 ERA and a .259 opposition average. His strikeout numbers continue to be disappointing. Jesus made his major league debut this year with 7 bullpen appearances. He has been prone to the homerun ball in the NL (5 homeruns in 13 innings).

9. Diego Cartaya C (Dodgers) - Diego may be a stronger defensive player than Ruiz. He only signed in 2018 for $2.5 million and did not play last year. Only 17 years old Diego was recently called up to play in the Arizona Rookie League. His .200 average and 2/17 walk to whiff ratio is evidence that he has a long ways to go. A player to watch as possible trade bait with Ruiz and Will Smith ahead of him in the minors. Time will tell if the power will develop but at 6′2″ he has a large frame.

10. Israel Pineda C (Nationals) - The Nationals signed Pineda in 2016 for $450,000. He spent his first two years in short season ball hitting .277. He is still a teenager so there is a lot of development to do. This is his first year in full season ball and where his average has struggled (.212) but he has already hit a career high 5 homeruns. His arm is above average with the ability to throw out greater than 40 percent of the runners who attempted to steal against him last year. The Nationals have a lot of young depth at catcher in the minor leagues so it will take at least five years before Israel makes his debut.

Scherzer Looks Good in Blue

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

It was throw back afternoon at Nationals park with the Nationals wearing the powder blue uniforms of the Expos. Max Scherzer looked good in the powder blue, throwing seven innings of shutout ball and striking out 11 in the Nationals 6-0 win over the Royals. In the seventh Scherzer struck out the side throwing only four fastballs, getting the Royals to swing and miss at his sliders and change. Max even had a single and stolen base in the game.

The Nationals also scored early to support Scherzer. Glen Sparkman got the start for the Royals. Trea Turner started the Nationals off with a single to left. Adam Eaton lined one into right center that advanced Turner to third but Eaton hustled it into a double. Anthony flied to shallow right to hold the runners. Juan Soto lined one into left center. It stayed up and was close to being caught with Turner staying glued to third, breaking for home once the ball hit the ground. Eaton was more than halfway to third and Henley tried to hold him up. Eaton ran through the red light and the Royals cutoff man Mondesi gunned Eaton out at home. A potential big rally was stunted by a baserunning error.

In the second Matt Adams worked a walk. Kurt Suzuki piled into a pitch and sent it over the bullpen just reaching the left field bleachers for a two run dinger. The Nationals were not done. Victor Robles followed with a double down the left field line. Trea Turner blooped one over the first baseman’s glove for a single, Robles stopping at third. Turner made a late break for second stopped halfway. Mondesi chased after Turner, Robles broke for home about the time Mondesi tagged Turner. It appeared the throw beat Robles to the plate but Gallagher was in front of home and by the time he turned to make the tag Robles had slid his hand across the plate. The Nationals had a 4-0 lead.

The Nationals loaded the bases in the third inning, just like they had done three or four times in their loss the previous game, but just like that game they failed to score when Kurt Suzuki grounded into a double play. Sparkman settled down after that, allowing just one baserunner in his last three innings of work.

The best shot the Royals had of scoring against Scherzer was in the first inning when a lead off single and one out walk put two runners on with two out. A fly to center advanced Merrifield to third, but Scherzer ended the rally by striking out Jorge Soler. The Royals could not get more than one baserunner for the last six innings, failing to get anyone past second.

The Nationals tacked onto their lead in the seventh off reliever Jorge Lopez. Sloppy fielding by the Royals led to the two runs. Pinch hitter Gerrado Parra started the inning with a single. Jorge Soler let the ball go through his legs. Parra broke for second with Soler recovering in time to have his throw beat Parra to the bag, but the ball skipped past Mondesi at second. Adam Eaton hit a slow bouncer to third, which Dozier allowed to eat him up, the ball skipping past his glove into left field. Most third baseman are expected to make that play. It was ruled a hit but myworld has an error in the scorebook. Parra scored on a deep fly out by Rendon in left. After an Eaton stolen base Soto lined a single to center to score Eaton to make it 6-0.

Tanner Rainey came on to relieve Scherzer in the eighth. He was a bit shaky, issuing a one out walk to Merrifield and a single to Alberto Mondesi. Alex Gordon, who Scherzer had failed to retire in three previous at bats, hit the ball hard against Rainey, but right at Kendrick who turned a 4-6-3 double play.

Matt Grace came on in the ninth to preserve the shutout and lower his ERA to below 6.00.

Game Notes: Vladimir Guerrero threw out the first pitch in the game. Nationals manager Davey Martinez caught. Davey also played for the Expos after he had played for the Reds. Vladimir threw a strike. It appears life has been good to Guerrero since his waist line shows he has been eating well. Like all of us once we get past 40 he has gained a few pounds in the middle…Max Scherzer stole a base in the fourth inning, breaking for second while Glenn Sparkman was in the stretch. Sparkman went to the plate instead of stepping off the rubber and throwing to second. For Scherzer it was his second career stolen base…Jorge Lopez was in the starting rotation at the start of the season. His ERA rose close to a 7.00 after a decent start to the season. The Royals were forced to move him to the bullpen. His fastball is good, sitting at 95-97. The velo may not be at that level when he is starting, but he has good stuff. The location of that stuff is a bit spotty…Scherzer failed to retire Alex Gordon, who walked, doubled and singled in three at bats. He got on base more times than his teammates combined while Scherzer was on the mound. He also has a .390 batting average against Scherzer when Max pitched for the Tigers…Anthony Rendon has decided not to participate in the All Star game to rest his legs. Myworld did comment about his apparent lack of hustle as he ran around the bases, but he has been bothered by leg injuries, which restrict him from running too hard. So myworld takes back what we said about his lack of hustle when running around the bases…Max Scherzer had just returned from paternity leave to pitch in this game. On Thursday his wife gave birth to their second daughter.