April 2013

Highlights: 4.19.13

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4.19.13 – Mets 7, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Mets pitcher Matt Harvey allowed a single run over seven innings of work to win his fourth straight start to open the season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Filling in for Ryan Zimmerman at third base, Chad Tracy drove home the team’s lone RBI.

It Was Over When: After Washington scored once and loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh to cut the margin to 4-1, the Nationals were unable to score again and close the gap.

What to Watch for: 4.19.13

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Washington Nationals (9-6) vs. New York Mets (7-7)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 2.95) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (3-0, 0.82)

When Stephen Strasburg made his first career start against the New York Mets back in 2010, he was just five outings removed from his electrifying, 14-strikeout debut, and the talk of the town around Major League Baseball. He was clearly the most dynamic, exciting player on a team whose other most notable star held down the fort as the defending National League Silver Slugger at third base, an award he would go on to win again that season.

Now, nearly three full years later as the Nationals face the Mets for the first time in 2013, it is young hurler Matt Harvey of New York commanding the buzz. Having won each of his first three starts with a sub-1.00 ERA, the eyes of New York and beyond will be on the young right-handed fireballer Friday night as he takes on the Nationals. Harvey represents another emerging star to go alongside David Wright, the Mets two-time Silver Slugger-winning third baseman.

And who will be opposite Harvey on the mound? Why, fellow 24-year-old Strasburg, of course.

The two might have met up in a parallel universe last season, but instead it was John Lannan, returning to his home in New York, who bested Harvey as the Nationals snagged a 1-0 September 12 road victory. Harvey struck out 10 in that affair, but lasted only five frames, needing a full 106 pitches. With Denard Span recovered from the flu that ailed him earlier in the week and back atop the lineup Friday night, you can be sure Washington will look to grind away at the youngster, as they have done to many opponents so far this season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Tracy 3B

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

TWO OF A KIND

With his seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday night vs. Miami, Ross Detwiler earned his first victory of the season. He also became just the second pitcher in the history of the Nationals/Expos organization to ever start the season with three starts of at least six innings and one or fewer runs, joining future Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez (1994).

DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS

Bryce Harper shook off the flu to go 4-for-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in Wednesday’s series finale in South Florida. The defending NL Rookie of the Year is off to a hot start, batting .364/.417/.673 with a team-high five home runs and a share of the lead with 11 RBI (Ryan Zimmerman). Harper ranks in the top 15 in the National League in batting (tied, eighth), on-base percentage (15th) and slugging percentage (sixth).

PASSING CAP

With Wednesday night’s victory in Miami, Davey Johnson and his 1,295 career managerial wins have moved into the top 30 all-time. Johnson is currently tied for 30th on the all-time list with Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson, who posted 1,295 wins and a .578 winning percentage in 21 seasons (1875, 1879-98) primarily as a player/manager with the Phillies, White Sox, Chicago Colts and Giants. Before 2013 ends, Johnson is likely to surpass Hall-of-Famer Ned Hanlon (#29, 1,313 wins) and Chuck Tanner (#28, 1,352 wins).

Highlights: 4.17.13

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4.17.13 – Nationals 6, Marlins 1

Stat of the Game: With seven innings of one-run ball, Ross Detwiler became just the second pitcher in Nationals/Expos history to go at least six innings while allowing one or fewer runs in each of his first three starts of the season, joining Pedro Martinez.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Coming off a missed game to to the flu, Bryce Harper matched a career high with four hits, including an RBI infield single with two outs in the ninth.

It Was Over When: The Nationals bounced back from their only run allowed (on a questionable call in the bottom of the fifth inning) to score single runs in the sixth and seventh and put the game out of reach.

Old School Meets New School

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Earlier today, Chad Tracy – the leader of the Goon Squad – made it official and joined the Twitterverse (follow him @catracy18). He joins an ever-growing number of Nationals players now active on the platform. And just like Denard Span did in Spring Training, and Ryan Mattheus did last season, Tracy is asking for your help to design his profile.

Check out the headshots (we’re partial to the Jedi, hooded look, but hey, it’s up to you) and backgrounds below and make sure to cast your vote for each one. There’s no limit on how many times you can choose, so vote early and often! We’ll tally up all the totals on Friday and Chad will update his profile before the Nats take on the Mets in their next series.

Profile Avatar – Option 1

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Profile Avatar – Option 2

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Profile Avatar – Option 3

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Profile Background – Option 1

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Profile Background – Option 2

NATSST_02152013_DM

Profile Background – Option 3

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What to Watch for: 4.17.13

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Washington Nationals (8-6) vs. Miami Marlins (3-11)

LHP Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.69) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.12)

The Nationals look to wrap up their first road series victory of the 2013 season after splitting the first two games of the series. Washington is 4-1 so far this season vs. the Marlins.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Werth RF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Bernadina CF

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!

The Nationals pace the NL as 40.2 percent of their hits have gone for extra bases. This season, Washington’s 117 hits include 27 doubles, two triples and 18 homers. Atlanta ranks second in the NL (38.6%).

IAN’S BEING … IAN

Ian Desmond paces all MLB middle infielders in extra-base hits with 10 (seven doubles, triple, two home runs). Desmond’s seven doubles are also tied for the MLB lead (all positions) with Seattle’s Kyle Seager.

GONE FISHIN’

With the series outcome on the line tonight, note that Washington has won only three of 18 series played in Miami since the beginning of the 2007 campaign. The Nationals and Marlins split 18 games last season despite Washington’s 20-12 advantage in home runs. Via a 10-8 mark in 2007, the Nationals/Expos franchise has won only one season series from the Marlins since ’98.

Highlights: 4.16.13

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4.16.13 – Nationals 10, Marlins 3

Stat of the Game: The Marlins third team home run of the year proved to be huge, opening up a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Steve Lombardozzi delivered two hits and an RBI in his second straight spot start off the bench. He has four hits, including two doubles, a run scored and two RBI this series.

It Was Over When: Following a four-run fourth frame, the Marlins added three more in the fifth to open up a 7-0 lead.

A Close Second, With Number Two

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The Racing Presidents are off and running again in the 2013 season, with new addition Bill joining the daily scamper from the center field wall to the home dugout at Nationals Park. However, there was another participant present at one of the first races of the young season, marking the race’s first venture into Vice Presidential territory.

COVER PHOTO_VEEPOver the weekend prior to the Nationals-White Sox series, Teddy announced that the Racing Presidents would run their first relay race of the season since the field expanded to five. When George and Tom partnered up, then Abe and Bill formed their own pact, the lovable Teddy was left to his own devices to find a running mate. Searching online, he asked around for suggestions for #TeddysRunningMate, and offers flowed in from around the interwebs.

As luck would have it, Teddy found someone perfectly suited to run with – Selina Meyer, the fictional Vice President from HBO’s “VEEP.” The two were spotted around Washington in the days leading up to the race, and seemed primed for victory as Teddy stormed out to an early lead in the Tuesday night race.

But given Teddy’s less than illustrious history, combined with Selina’s propensity for finishing second, it should have come as little surprise that the two were unable to collaborate on a victory. They fumbled their baton exchange, leaving Selina with a ton of ground to make up in the race’s second half. And while she made a valiant effort, per the usual, she finished second.

That left Teddy – along with rival Bill – still winless for the 2013 campaign, as both continue to search for new and inventive ways to break the tape first…or at least ensure their counterpart’s defeat.

- SEE THE FULL PHOTO GALLERY HERE -

What to Watch for: 4.16.13

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Washington Nationals (8-5) vs. Miami Marlins (2-11)

RHP Dan Haren (1-1, 9.00) vs. RHP Alex Sanabia (1-1, 4.91)

The Nationals scored a season-high 10 runs to win the opening game of this series over the Marlins Monday night as Jordan Zimmermann tossed his first career nine-inning complete game. With Bryce Harper and Denard Span out due to stomach illness, Washington will lean on several members of the “Goon Squad” to deliver the offense today.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Werth RF

2. Bernadina CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Moore LF

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Haren RHP

CATCH THIS

Nationals catchers currently lead MLB with a .458 on-base percentage. Collectively, Nationals backstops Wilson Ramos (DL) and Kurt Suzuki (Jhonatan Solano has not played yet), are batting .333 (13-for-39) with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI, eight walks and six runs scored.

DESMOND IN THE ROUGH

Ian Desmond’s nine extra-base hits (six doubles, triple, two home runs) are tied with Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips and Oakland’s Jed Lowrie for the MLB lead among middle infielders. Desmond’s six doubles are also tied for the MLB lead (all positions) with eight other players.

CATCHING CAP

Davey Johnson and his 1294 career managerial wins appear poised to move into the top 30 all-time in the coming days. Johnson currently ranks 31st on the all-time list and trails Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson, who posted 1295 wins and a .578 winning percentage in 21 seasons (1875, 1879-98) primarily as a player/manager with the Phillies, White Sox, Chicago Colts and Giants. Before the season ends, Johnson has a strong chance to also catch and surpass Hall-of-Famer Ned Hanlon (#29, 1313 wins) and Chuck Tanner (#28, 1352 wins).

Bouncing Back Big

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Early in a young season, teams are still settling into the flow of the campaign, still forming the identities that will define them over the course of 162 games. A quick glance at Washington’s results through the first couple weeks may lead one to wonder what kind of team these 2013 Nationals truly are. But before jumping to any conclusions, positive or negative, take heed from someone who knows best.

“You’re never as bad as you look when you lose, and never as good as you look when you win,” said skipper Davey Johnson after the weekend series against the Braves.

He echoed that sentiment after Monday night’s 10-3, series-opening thrashing of the Marlins.

Jordan Zimmermann steadied the ship and gave the bullpen a day off.

Jordan Zimmermann steadied the ship and gave the bullpen a day off.

“You know, we don’t live in the past,” he said. “We don’t worry too much about things. We take it one day at a time, and this was a perfect example.”

The Nationals snapped out of their weekend funk with a roaring first inning, scoring four runs before Jordan Zimmermann ever took the mound. They added on with two more in the third, fourth and fifth to open up a 10-0 advantage behind their workmanlike third ace, who delivered his first-ever, nine-inning complete game. While it was a big game to reverse momentum and preserve the bullpen, it was only fitting that the even-keeled Zimmermann controlled the tempo throughout. Nevertheless, he allowed himself to relish in his accomplishment.

“It means a lot,” he said of his 103-pitch performance. “It means I’m doing my job, staying in the game, putting up zeroes. That’s the kind of pitcher I want to be. I want to be a workhorse.”

Zimmermann, who was the first Nationals starter to two wins, now leads the team and shares the league lead with three, to go along with his 2.45 ERA. After getting precious little run support through much of his 12-win campaign last year, he has been the beneficiary of 21 runs of offense through his first three outings this season.

“It seems like we all hit better when Jordan pitches,” said Ian Desmond, whose 4-for-5 night raised his average to .320 for the season. “Last year, we didn’t hit for him. This year, we’re hitting for him.”

Zimmermann will not finish the year 33-0 with a win in every start. The Nationals will not win every game they play against Miami this season, nor lose every one against Atlanta. It is important to keep perspective, especially considering this – entering play on June 4 last season, 39 games farther into the campaign than they currently sit, the Nationals were in a three-way tie for first place with Miami and the New York Mets. Seriously, see for yourself.

Regardless of how much stock you want to put in a single game’s outcome, though, it was a good night to get a win and get back on track.

Highlights: 4.15.13

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4.15.13 – Nationals 10, Marlins 3

Stat of the Game: Ryan Zimmerman‘s first home run of the season gave him four RBI for the evening, making him the team leader in that category with 11 on the year.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Needing just 103 pitches to do so, Jordan Zimmermann notched his first career nine-inning complete game.

It Was Over When: The Nationals scored four times in the first inning and never looked back on the way to their largest offensive output of the young season.

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