June 2013

What to Watch for: 6.30.13

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook 

Washington Nationals (40-40) vs. New York Mets (33-44)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (4-3, 3.31) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (1-0, 3.18)

The Nationals and Mets split the first two games of the series, setting up a rubber-match between promising rookie Zack Wheeler and lefty ace Gio Gonzalez in today’s Sunday matinee. Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in four career starts against the Mets at Citi Field.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

THE SERIES

Washington has won 14 of its last 18 games at Citi Field. The Nationals are also 10-2 in one-run games against the Mets since the beginning of 2011. Washington has claimed two straight season-series (14-4 in 2012, 10-8 in 2011), but are just 3-4 against New York so far this season.

HARPER HEALING

Playing for Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday, Bryce Harper went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored at Bowie. In four rehab contests (two in Double-A Eastern League, two in Single-A Carolina League) this week, Harper has gone 4-for-11 (.364) with three walks, a double, a triple, a home run, five runs scored and three RBI.

OPPORTUNITY’S KNOCKING

At 5-4 (4-3 at home, 1-1 on the road), the Nationals are nine games into a 49-game stretch (June 20-August 15) in which they will enjoy 34 games within the comfy confines of Nationals Park. Washington is playing .579-ball in D.C. (22-16), but has struggled some on the road (18-24, .429).

Highlights: 6.29.13

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

6.29.13 – Mets 5, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Kurt Suzuki had three of Washington’s seven hits and also drove in the lone run for the Nationals.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Taylor Jordan was solid in his Major League debut, as only one of the three runs he allowed was earned.

It Was Over When: The Mets scored twice in the sixth to double their lead, providing the game’s final margin.

What to Watch for: 6.29.13

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (40-39) vs. New York Mets (32-44)

RHP Taylor Jordan (NR, -.–) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.82)

Following Friday night’s thrilling, come-from-behind victory, the Nationals turn to Taylor Jordan, called up for his Major League debut for this Saturday matinee. Washington can secure its second straight series with a win in Flushing.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Jordan RHP

ROAD RALLY

Ian Desmond homered off Matt Harvey in the fifth inning and doubled home Jayson Werth to snap a 4-4 tie in the ninth to lift the Nationals to an unlikely 6-4 victory over the host Mets on Friday night at Citi Field. Trailing 4-1, Ryan Zimmerman’s three-run double with two outs in the eighth tied the game and set the stage for Desmond’s 10th game-winning RBI of the season. The Nationals posted their 17th comeback win and matched their largest deficit (three runs) overcome to win this season.

NATIONALS CALL ON THE KID WITH TWO FIRST NAMES

Taylor Jordan becomes the ninth starter to toe the rubber in a starting role for Washington in 2013. During last year’s 98-win NL East Championship, Davey Johnson employed the services of only eight starting pitchers. With today’s start, Jordan will become the 10th pitcher drafted and developed by the Nationals to start a game for Washington, joining John Lannan (124 starts), Jordan Zimmermann (97), Ross Detwiler (67), Stephen Strasburg (60), Craig Stammen (38), Tom Milone (5), Nathan Karns (3), Brad Peacock (2) and Marco Estrada (1).

JUNE BOON

With 25, Ian Desmond has already set a Nationals (2005-present) record for RBI in the month of June. The only Nationals to post as many or more RBI than Desmond’s 25 in any calendar month are Adam Dunn (27, May ‘09) and Ryan Zimmerman (26, September/October ‘12; 25, Aug. ‘07).

Highlights: 6.28.13

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

6.28.13 – Nationals 6, Mets 4

Stat of the Game: The Nationals matched their biggest deficit overcome on the season, rebounding from a 4-1 hole with just six outs to go.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond broke up Matt Harvey’s perfect game with a home run in the fifth and put Washington ahead for good with an RBI-double in the ninth.

It Was Over When: Kurt Suzuki‘s sac fly added an insurance run and Drew Storen slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the year.

What to Watch for: 6.28.13

Washington Nationals (39-39) vs. New York Mets (32-43)

LHP Ross Detwiler (2-6, 4.18) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (7-1, 2.05)

Following their series victory over NL West-leading Arizona, the Nationals hit the road for a quick, three-game pit stop in New York before heading back to D.C. next week. Ross Detwiler takes the hill against Mets ace Matt Harvey in the series opener as Washington looks to get back above the .500 mark.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER

Ian Desmond leads all Major League shortstops with nine game-winning RBI and 34 extra-base hits (19 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs). Remarkably, 10 of Desmond’s 13 long balls have been go-ahead homers. Defensively, Desmond has played a career-high and D.C.-baseball record 59 consecutive errorless games (235 total chances) as a shortstop since last committing a miscue, April 21 at New York Mets. This is currently the longest streak of its kind among MLB shortstops.

BULL-PENNINGS

In 19 games/62.2 innings dating to the June 8 series opener vs. Minnesota, Jim Lett’s bullpen is 4-4 with seven holds, six saves (zero blown saves), 62 strikeouts and a 1.72 ERA (12 ER/62.2 IP). In that span, the bullpen has lowered its season ERA from 4.06 to 3.46.

BREAKING EVEN

At 39-39, the Nationals currently own a .500 record for a Major League-high 17th time this year (excluding their season-opening 0-0 record). In recent weeks, the Nationals have sported almost methodical 27-27, 28-28, 29-29, 31-31, 32-32, 33-33, 34-34, 36-36, 37-37, 38-38 and 39-39 marks. Minnesota has been at .500 12 times, second-most in baseball.

Highlights: 6.27.13

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

6.27.13 – Diamondbacks 3, Nationals 2 (11 innings)

Stat of the Game: Ian Desmond blasted his 13th home run – his 10th which gave the Nationals the lead – with a two-run shot in the fourth inning.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Stephen Strasburg allowed just two runs over seven frames for his second straight quality start and 10th this season.

It Was Over When: The Diamondbacks pushed ahead with a run in the 11th and the Nationals were unable to match it.

Video Bonus Feature: Bryce Harper’s rehab start with Harrisburg vs. Bowie

Thursday Twitter Takeover

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

As you know by now, the #VoteNats Tweet-up is coming. But we don’t see any reason to wait until then to get you in on the fun.

That’s why today, Thursday, June 27, we are letting the fans take over the play-by-play on Twitter as the Nationals go for the sweep of the Diamondbacks with Stephen Strasburg on the hill. Instead of tweeting out updates throughout the game as we usually do, we’ll RT your reactions instead. Just be sure to use the hashtag #NatsTTT with your tweets, and we’ll pick our favorites every time something good happens on the field!

We’re looking forward to your creativity as we call the game together this afternoon. Don’t forget, first pitch is at 4:05 p.m. See you in the Twitterverse!

What to Watch for: 6.27.13

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Arizona Diamondbacks (41-36) vs. Washington Nationals (39-38)

LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.40) 

After getting another steady performance out of National League wins leader Jordan Zimmermann in last night’s 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks, the Nationals look for their first series sweep since blanking the Chicago White Sox back in April. Stephen Strasburg, whose current batting average against of .208 is a career best, will take the mound for the Nats tonight.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Moore LF

8. Solano C

9. Strasburg RHP

ZIMMERMANN WINS 13TH STRAIGHT D.C. DECISION

Jordan Zimmermann earned the win, his 13th straight positive home decision, as he became the National League’s first 11-game winner. After allowing two D-Backs runs in the first, Jordan’s final 6.0 innings of work included five 1-2-3 frames. With the 3-2 victory, Washington is now an NL-best 15-9 in one-run games.

ST. ANTHONY

In 18 games since being recalled by the Nationals on June 4, Anthony Rendon is 29-for-74 (.392) with three walks, nine doubles, a homer (game-winning blast in the 9th, June 15 at Cleveland) and 10 runs scored. With 35 hits in 99 career at-bats, Rendon has matched a franchise mark for most hits registered within a player’s first 100 major-league at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rendon has matched Coco Laboy’s franchise mark (35-for-100), which he set with the inaugural-season 1969 Expos. Rendon can claim the record with a hit in his next at-bat.

DOWN ON THE FARM

On Wednesday, Harrisburg right-hander Taylor Jordan was selected to participate in MLB’s 15th Futures Game on Sunday, July 14 at Citi Field. In 15 combined games/14 starts for Double-A Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac this season, Jordan is 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA (10 ER/90.1 IP) thanks to an ability to keep the ball in the yard (one homer allowed this season), a strong strikeout rate (7.2 per 9.0 innings) and a stingy walk rate (1.5 per 9.0 innings).

Painting The Town Red

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation held its annual Dream Gala this past Saturday evening at Sidney Harman Hall, across the street from the Verizon Center in downtown Washington. The black tie optional affair celebrated the recent ribbon cutting of the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center, and looked forward to the opening of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy later this fall. The event included 550 attendees and netted more than $200,000 for the Foundation’s efforts. The Nationals and the Dream Foundation would like to thank all of those who contributed and those who worked hard to help this event come together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leading By Example

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

We often look for gregarious personalities in our leaders, people whose voices often capture our attention before anything else. Yet sometimes they’re really just the guys quietly going about their business.

The Nationals have found their leadership lately in the unlikely duo of rookie second baseman Anthony Rendon and pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. They have quietly carried the Nats this season as the likes of Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos recover from injuries.

Consider for a moment the numbers Rendon has posted in his first 26 big-league games. The rookie is sporting a .354 average, even accounting for his eight-game stint in April and May when he batted just .240. He was recalled on June 5, and since June 8he has accumulated 28 hits and a .400 average. That doesn’t just put him among the best of the league’s rookies. He’s batting as well as anyone in the majors in that time frame. No, seriously.

MLB Hit Leaders since 6/8

While Yasiel Puig has gotten all the attention, Anthony Rendon has quietly been among the best hitters in the game since early June.

While Yasiel Puig has gotten all the attention, Anthony Rendon has quietly been among the best hitters in the game since early June.

1. Yasiel Puig (LAD) 29

David Wright (NYM) 29

3. Anthony Rendon (WSH) 28

4. Mike Trout (LAA) 27

5. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) 26

Jason Kipnis (CLE) 26

7. Brett Gardner (NYY) 25

Manny Machado (BAL) 25

Joe Mauer (MIN) 25

Buster Posey (SFG) 25

Michael Young (PHI) 25

Through his first 25 games, Rendon amassed 32 hits, more than any player to debut with the Nationals since 2005. He then proceeded to go 3-for-4 in last night’s 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks, just missing a home run on a towering shot to left field in his final at-bat.

Zimmermann’s impact has been less unexpected, but perhaps just as unheralded. The righty ace is silently leading the National League with 11 wins (sharing the Major League lead with Detroit’s Max Scherzer), having turned in another stellar outing last night. After giving up two runs on two hits in the first inning, he allowed just one more hit though the seventh inning, giving way to Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano to close out the final two innings.

With Harper set to return as early as Monday, and Ramos expected shortly thereafter, the Nationals are slowly building a winning foundation to build upon when they get those other crucial pieces back.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 543 other followers