September 2011

Mr. Walk Off, Nats, Do it Again in Opener vs. Astros

There’s a reason why he’s called Mr. Walk-Off. Ryan Zimmerman, seemingly prone to late-inning theatrics, scored the winning run in Friday night’s 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros. Zimmerman and Michael Morse started off the bottomof the 11th inning by drawing walks. When Jayson Werth’s hard-hit ground ball couldn’t be handled by the Astros infield, Zimmerman came around to score setting off a dug-out clearing celebration in the infield, with Zimmerman in the middle of the action. It’s a scene that’s become all too familiar, especially this year, with the Nats’ 12 walk-off wins pacing all of Major League Baseball.

Zimmerman has had eight walk-off home runs in addition to numerous other walk-off hits. Just last week, he had a game-ending broken bat bloop single to drive in the winning run against the New York Mets. His eight game-ending home runs are more than any other Major Leaguer since Zimmerman made his debut at the end of the 2005 season.

Be sure to keep checking in with the Curly W Live blog for more updates on the Nationals’ third baseman, game previews and more.

Nats face Astros in first of three

With the rain appearing to have finally passed, the Nationals head into the weekend series against the Houston Astros. Tonight, Tom Milone and Bud Norris face off.
Here are tonight’s lineups:

Astros:
Jordan Schaefer – CF
Jose Altuve – 2B
Jason Bourgeois – RF
Carlos Lee – 1B
J.D. Martinez – LF
Chris Johnson – 3B
Clint Barmes – SS
Humberto Quintero – C
Bud Norris – P

Nationals:
Steve Lombardozzi – SS
Rick Ankiel – RF
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
Michael Morse – LF
Jayson Werth – CF
Danny Espinosa – 2B
Chris Marrero – 1B
Wilson Ramos – C
Tom Milone – P

*Nationals Manager Davey Johnson has said that, despite being activated from the Disabled List earlier in the week, Ivan Rodriguez is unlikely to get another start behind the plate this year. Pudge is only 158 hits away from 3,000. Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores will be used as the primary catchers for the remainder of the season.

*Jayson Werth, who hit a two-run bomb to the left field seats in yesterday afternoon’s game, has a .350 on-base percentage with a .268 batting average, six doubles, five home runs and 14  RBI in his career against Houston.

Nats look to split twinbill in nightcap

Though it’s currently raining in the Nation’s Capital, the Nats will look to take Game 2 from the Dodgers to split both the doubleheader and the series. It’s Ross Detwiler and Dana Eveland facing off in the nightcap.

Here are the lineups for Game 2:

 

Dodgers:

 

Justin Sellers – SS

Tony Gwynn – LF

Matt Kemp – CF

Juan Rivera – 1B

Russell Mitchell – 3B

Jerry Sands – RF

A.J. Ellis – C

Jamey Carroll – 2B

Dana Eveland – P

 

Nationals:

 

Ian Desmond – SS

Jayson Werth – CF

Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

Michael Morse – LF

Jonny Gomes – RF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Chris Marrero – 1B

Jesus Flores – C

Ross Detwiler – P

 

*The Nationals have transferred reliever Cole Kimball to the 60-Day DL, unconditionally released pitcher Adam Carr and designated RHP Garrett Mock for assignment.

 

*Detwiler has a 3.24 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched against the Dodgers.

Owner Mark D. Lerner on Strasburg’s 2011 Nats Debut

Hello again Nats fans. It has been a while, but I wanted to stop by and offer some of my thoughts on Tuesday night’s 2011 debut for Stephen Strasburg

Does AWESOME! cover it? I am not sure it does it justice. But it was truly exhilarating. This, I can confirm.

Tuesday  night’s start really was a year in the making.

But, I suppose most (myself included) will never know everything that went into the making. We may never know the pain, focus, trepidation, elation and isolation that Stephen endured to get to that mound last night.

Sure, I think we know the year-plus process was arduous at least and tedious at best. But something tells me even that does not tell the entire story.

So, who can relate to Stephen’s plight the last 13 months? Perhaps a marathoner breaking a foot? An artist smashing a hand? They can relate in their own worlds.

But, I have to think that those who can best relate to Stephen are those pitchers who have had arm injuries themselves.

Jordan Zimmermann and Ryan Mattheus (Tommy John Surgery) or Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder), they can relate. The Cardinals Adam Wainwright is likely beginning to understand, as has his teammate Chris Carpenter, who last fall lent Stephen a bit of knowledge as to what to expect. So can hundreds of others who have left this game prematurely, or the dozens currently rehabbing their own arm injuries.

But can we as fans empathize? I am not so sure we can with complete and true appreciation.

With Strasburg’s 2011debut still fresh in our minds, I have to remind myself that this rehab process is not yet complete. With that said, I believe it is appropriate to acknowledge the precision, expertise and wisdom of Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed Stephen’s surgery on Sept. 3, 2010, and Nationals Medical Director, Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, who assisted on the procedure.

Let us not forget those that stood behind Stephen the entire way. For it is their hard work, scheduling, communication and (most importantly) execution of the Strasburg rehab calendar that made Tuesday’s outing possible. Job well done to our athletic training staff of Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz, Assistant Athletic Trainer Michael McGowan, Medical and Rehab Coordinator Steve Gober, Strength and Conditioning Coach John Philbin and Senior Medical Consultant Dr. Bruce Thomas. And I should not forget the athletic training staffs in Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac, Hagerstown and Viera, too.

What a thrill it was for many of us last night to re-engage and reconnect with Stephen Strasburg the pitcher. And coupling that enjoyment with how much I personally admire Stephen for his talents, it really made me wonder what the last year was like for Stephen Strasburg the person.

Well, thank you for checking in. I will be back in touch in the next couple of weeks. I have a few more thoughts and observations I’d like to convey about the big league and minor-league levels as we put a bow on the 2011 campaign.

Have a great weekend and hope to see you at Nationals Park….as soon as the rain ends!

Let’s play two

Following yesterday’s rainout, the Nationals take on the Dodgers for a traditional single-admission doubleheader starting at 1:05 p.m. today. Chien-Ming Wang gets the start in Game 1.
Here’s the first of today’s lineups:

Dodgers:
Dee Gordon – SS
James Loney – 1B
Matt Kemp – CF
Juan Rivera – RF
Aaron Miles – 3B
Jerry Sands – LF
Rod Barajas – C
Justin Sellers – 2B
Chad Billingsley – P

Nationals:
Ian Desmond – SS
Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
Michael Morse – LF
Jayson Werth – CF
Rick Ankiel – RF
Chris Marrero – 1B
Wilson Ramos – C
Chien-Ming Wang – P

*While Lombardozzi technically made his Major League debut in a pinch-hit appearance on Tuesday, this will be his first MLB start.

*In his career against the Dodgers, Rick Ankiel has hit .309 with four home runs, five doubles and 13 RBI.

Nationals Go for Two in a Row vs. Dodgers

With light rain falling, the Nationals will try to take the field against Los Angeles for Game 2 of a four-game set. The Nationals won Game 1 last night, 7-2, behind John Lannan and a power surge from Ian Desmond (HR no. 7), Jayson Werth (18) and a pair from Michael Morse (25 and 26).

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Dodgers:
Dee Gordon – SS
James Loney – 1B
Matt Kemp – CF
Juan Rivera – LF
Andre Ethier – RF
Aaron Miles – 3B
Rod Barajas – C
Justin Sellers – 2B
Ted Lilly – P

Nationals:
Ian Desmond – SS
Jayson Werth – CF
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
Michael Morse – LF
Jonny Gomes – RF
Danny Espinosa – 2B
Chris Marrero – 1B
Wilson Ramos – C
Stephen Strasburg– P

*Michael Morse, who had two home runs for 3 RBI in last night’s victory over the Dodgers, has hit .324 since the All-Star Break. He is also .400 with a double and a home run against Ted Lilly.

*Ryan Zimmerman has six home runs and 21 RBI against the Dodgers in his career.

Lannan, Nats Face Dodgers on Labor Day

Today, the Nationals face off against the Dodgers in a Labor Day matchup. John Lannan gets the start for DC in the first of four games against Los Angeles. Here are today’s lineups:

Dodgers:
Dee Gordon – SS
Jamey Carroll – 2B
Matt Kemp – CF
Juan Rivera – RF
Aaron Miles – 3B
Russell Mitchell – 1B
Tony Gwynn – LF
A.J. Ellis – C
Hiroki Kuroda – P

Nationals:
Ian Desmond – SS
Rick Ankiel – RF
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
Michael Morse – LF
Jayson Werth – CF
Danny Espinosa – 2B
Chris Marrero – 1B
Wilson Ramos – C
John Lannan– P

*Wilson Ramos is on an eight-game hitting streak.

*Danny Espinosa’s next home run will match the single-season franchise record for home runs by a rookie.

*In four career starts against the Dodgers, John Lannan is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 13 strikeouts.

Strasburg speaks before scheduled Tuesday start

Fans won’t have to wait much longer for the 2011 Major League debut of Stephen Strasburg, who is scheduled to make his return to the Nationals this coming Tuesday, September 6. Strasburg, who has spent a year off recovering from Tommy John surgery, spoke to the media on Saturday of his progression and rehabilitation since going under the knife.

“I’ve been fortunate to have no real setbacks this whole time, so I’m just following the program and I’m going to keep doing that and do everything I can to stay setback-free,” Strasburg said.

The Nationals’ ace has also been spending time in bullpen sessions between his Minor League rehab starts.

“It went really well, just going out there and maintaining the same routine I’ve been doing, and that’s all I’ve got to do to know that I’m going to be fresh on Tuesday,” he said.

The time spent out of the Big Leagues went slow at first, according to Strasburg, but once he got back on the mound and started throwing again, the pace began to quicken. The entire process was a learning experience for Strasburg.

“I’ve learned a lot of patience. I learned that you’re really not going to see the big improvements day in and day out, you just have to trust the work,” he said. “You’re going to see the improvements more one month at a time… I think this rehab process has helped me focus. Last year, I was still kind of feeling it out to see what it took to get through a season, and I fell short, unfortunately. But I learned from it and I think I have a much better idea of what it takes to go a whole year and be healthy.”

Strasburg’s quick recovery time mirrored Jordan Zimmermann’s, who underwent the same surgery and rehabilitation a year prior. Now that they’re both healthy, the duo is expected to become the 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation in 2012.

“It’d be great. Obviously, I’m going to be on a limit like he was this year,” Strasburg said. “For me, I’m looking a little bit further ahead where we won’t have the reins pulled in on us, where we’ll be able to put in 200 innings every year and get this team to the playoffs and hopefully win a World Series.”

Be sure to check the Curly W Live blog for more updates on Strasburg’s Nationals debut throughout the coming days.

Milone makes debut against Mets in Game 2

The Nats will look to regain control of this series against the Mets in tonight’s game. Tom Milone is making his Major League debut on the mound tonight for the Nationals against Dillon Gee.
Here are tonight’s lineups:

Mets:
Jose Reyes SS
Justin Turner 2B
Lucas Duda RF
David Wright 3B
Angel Pagan CF
Jason Bay LF
Nick Evans 1B
Ronny Paulino C
Dillon Gee P

Nationals:
Ian Desmond SS
Roger Bernadina RF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse LF
Jayson Werth CF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Chris Marrero 1B
Jesus Flores C
Tom Milone P

*In addition to selecting Tom Milone from Triple-A Syracuse, the Nationals reinstated C Ivan Rodriguez from the DL and transferred 1B Adam LaRoche to the 60-Day DL.

*According to manager Davey Johnson, Livan Hernandez will be making his final start of the 2011 season tomorrow. He will remain with the team for the rest of the year, but will be used as a pinch-hitter and a mentor to the other members of the pitching staff. He will not be pitching out of the bullpen.

Labor Day Weekend gets started in DC

After a quick road trip, the Nationals return home to kick off another 10-game home stand, starting with a series against the division rival New York Mets. Ross Detwiler gets the start tonight against R.A. Dickey.
Here are tonight’s lineups:

Mets:
Jose Reyes – SS
Justin Turner – 2B
Lucas Duda – RF
David Wright – 3B
Angel Pagan – CF
Jason Bay – LF
Nick Evans – 1B
Mike Nickeas – C
R.A. Dickey – P

Nationals:
Ian Desmond – SS
Rick Ankiel – CF
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
Michael Morse – LF
Jayson Werth – RF
Chris Marrero – 1B
Wilson Ramos – C
Alex Cora – 2B
Ross Detwiler – P

*Danny Espinosa, who is out of the lineup tonight, is keeping his name in the mix for Rookie of the Year by leading all NL rookies with 18 home runs.

*Against the Mets, Detwiler is 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA and has allowed only one walk in three previous games (one start).

*The Nationals today recalled OF Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Syracuse. Over the road trip, they had activated LHP Doug Slated from the Disabled List.

*Don’t forget to check out all of the other great events happening this weekend at the ballpark, including the free Lifehouse concert tomorrow night. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

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