Chien Ming Wang has probably lost his rotation spot. The Rays showed him no mercy, even with their outs being hit hard. Ross Detwiler, who will probably be returning to the rotation, retired the first nine hitters he faced, 11 out of 12 hitters he faced in the game. Wang could not get more than three outs in a row and in both the first and third inning allowed three men in a row to get on base. When he walked the pitcher in the fourth his night was done. Davey Johnson let him face one more hitter, Desmond Jennings, who he struck out for his first strikeout of the game.
Wang gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced in the lineup, hard line drives up the middle, between short and third and between second and first. A hard double play ball hit to Danny Espinosa limited the damage to one run. He got in trouble in the third, issuing a lead off walk to Desmond Jennings. Carlos Pena followed with a homerun to give them the lead, 3-2. They added two more insurance runs on an Elliott Johnson triple that bounced off the wall in the left field bull pen area.
The National bats have been quiet, especially the 3-4-5 hitters. The Rays gave them a gift run in the first. Danny Espinosa ripped a single up the middle, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Michael Morse bounced a routine grounder to Will Rhymes at third. He bounced the throw to Carlos Pena who couldn’t handle the one hopper. With the run the Natonals tied the game at 1-1.
Ian Desmond went deep into the President’s race bullpen area to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. David Price was throwing bb’s for most of the game. His 94 -97 mph fastball struck out four. Three double plays by the Rays in the second through fourth inning bailed him out of some rough spots. Michael Morse just cleared a ball over the right field fence for his first homerun of the year. The ball bounced back onto the field forcing the umpires to review the homerun call to confirm it cleared the fence. It did.
There were other delays. Somone had decided to advertise selling Nationals tickets over the green backdrop in centerfield. The letters were unfortunately white, which was finally noticed by the leadoff batter in the eighth. There was a two minute wait for the grounds crew to cover up the buy Nationals ticket logo. Myworld did not notice when it was displayed.
There was also a delay in the eighth when ex-National Joel Peralta came on in relief of David Price. Davey Johnson asked the umpires to inspect Peralta’s glove and it appeared that it was standing too close to a jar of pine tar. He was ejected for having a foreign substance on his glove. Rays manager Joel Maddon was upset with Davey and asked the umpires to check Ryan Mattheus glove and hat in the ninth for any foreign substance. They found nothing.
Game Notes: Wang is effective when he is getting ground balls. He was not getting a lot of ground balls in tonight’s game. He also has trouble throwing strikes to the first hitter he faces each inning. He walked the leadoff hitter in the third and fourth and had a three ball count on Desmond Jennings in the first…Matt Joyce was removed from the game in the fifth inning with a stiff back…David Price has a pretty impressive fastball traveling between 94-98. That is excellent for a starting pitcher. He wasn’t afraid to throw it to Bryce Harper, striking him out on three fastballs in the first inning. Most pitchers throw Bryce the slow stuff…Mike Morse hit his first homerun of the year. Adam LaRoche is in a slump, with his average dropping to .259. Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse are struggling at .230 or below with slugging averages less than .350…Fernando Rodney was bringing his heat at 99 to close out the game.