6.16.13 – Indians 2, Nationals 0
Stat of the Game: Anthony Rendon had three of Washington’s seven hits, and is now batting .361 on the season.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Stephen Strasburg allowed just one hit over five innings, but absorbed the tough-luck loss.
It Was Over When: The Indians added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to stretch the lead to its final margin.
There’s no other way to put it. This was a game the Nationals needed to win.
Especially after scoring just once behind Gio Gonzalez the night before, with the Indians winning in the bottom of the ninth. Especially with the offense responding for five runs, including three homers, through the first three innings behind Jordan Zimmermann. Especially after Zimmermann couldn’t hold that early advantage, the Indians chipping away and finally pushing ahead with a half-dozen two-out RBI.
And then, the hit that always seemed to be there in 2012, but seldom thus far in 2013, came to save the day. With two outs in the eighth, on an 0-2 pitch, pinch-hitter Chad Tracy smoked a rocket to the right of dead center field, the ball escaping the reach of a leaping Michael Bourn over the wall for a game-tying, solo home run.
Then, again, the Nationals saw something they had seen precious little of to this point in the season. The baseball gods smiled down upon them, as with two outs in the ninth, Anthony Rendon skied a pop-up behind first base in foul territory. Nick Swisher backed up to make the play, but stopped as he seemingly expected to be called off by second baseman Jason Kipnis at the last moment. The ball dropped between them in foul territory, breathing new life back into the Nationals rookie’s at-bat.
Two pitches later, Rendon cashed in, sending a line shot to the opposite field for what would turn out to be the game-winning home run. As anyone who follows the game closely knows baseball has a funny way of doing that, of making teams pay for giving the opposition extra opportunities.
“(Jhonatan) Solano and I were calling it after the miscue on the pop-up,” said Tracy of Rendon’s blast. “We could have easily put our heads down and folded up. But that’s the makeup of this team, (even though) we may not have showed it a lot so far.”
The Nationals still needed to survive the bottom of the ninth, though, which included a two-out double, followed by a bullet off the bat of Bourn right at Adam LaRoche for the final out. A night after the first baseman’s throw to the plate was a hair late to cut down the winning run, he secured the game’s final out in his mitt.
Instead of another setback for Washington, it was a step forward, a return to a winning record. With Stephen Strasburg rejoining the club and taking the hill Sunday, the Nationals can set their sights on winning a third consecutive series.
Even in just his 16th Major League game, Rendon recognized the importance of that single result, of what it means to any team, in any season.
“It’s great to have the comeback win,” he said. “Especially when we had a pretty good lead at the beginning of the game. (The Indians) fought their tails off to come back. We never gave up, though. We kept going out there and kept grinding.”
It’s a win the Nationals needed, but on a larger scale it is the exact type of win the Nationals needed to prove to the rest of the league, and to themselves, just what this team is capable of accomplishing.
The Nationals were expecting a lift from a player named Ross in this Colorado series, but it came a day earlier than anticipated. With the club slated to get Ross Detwiler back off the Disabled List on Thursday, it was Ross Ohlendorf – summoned from Triple-A Syracuse for a spot-start against a strong Rockies lineup at Coors Field – who provided an enormous performance Wednesday night.
Ohlendorf allowed just a single run on two hits over six innings of work as the Nationals emerged with a 5-1 victory to get back to the .500 mark at 32-32. The right-hander had enjoyed recent success at Syracuse, where he compiled a 1.56 ERA and 27 strikeouts over his final 17.1 innings of work. But his performance against the Rockies exceeded all reasonable expectations.
“I’ve been feeling really good all season,” said Ohlendorf, who has experienced a spike in his velocity and has seen his slider improve lately. “It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time.”
Ohlendorf had not pitched at Coors Field since July 28, 2010, when he was a member of the Pirates. With two outs in the first inning of that contest, Troy Tulowitzki ripped a liner back up the middle and off Ohledorf’s head, knocking him out of the ballgame. Nearly three years later, Ohlendorf took control in Denver.
“He used all his pitches, he went right after them,” said Davey Johnson when asked the most impressive aspect of the right-hander’s performance. “That ain’t easy in this ballpark.”
Johnson went on to indicate what the club made official today, that Ohlendorf’s tenure with the Nationals would last longer than just last night’s six sparkling innings.
“I’m going to try to find a way to keep him around,” Johnson said.
As Detwiler returns for Thursday’s start, the Nationals chose instead to option right-handed reliever Erik Davis to Triple-A Syracuse, where he will be available when the big league team again needs his services. Meanwhile, Ohlendorf will remain as the long man and emergency starter out of the Washington bullpen, giving the Nationals a Major League first.
With Detwiler’s activation, the Nationals become the first Major League team to ever employ a pair of players named Ross (though Ohlendorf’s first name is actually Curtis – Ross is his middle name). But that’s not the first bit of MLB history the two Ross’s have made. Detwiler’s first Major League start came at home against Pittsburgh on May 18, 2009, where he was opposed by none other than Ohlendorf, making them the first two players named Ross ever to face-off against one another in the Majors.
A momentous event took place among the crowd of 36,155 at Nationals Park last Wednesday night. While most fans settled in for just another evening of baseball along the Anacostia, some of the most powerful members of our government convened not to draft or debate policy, but to come together in a relaxed setting to get to know each other as human beings and take in a ballgame.
Partisan politics can hinder progress in Washington sometimes, which is why Representatives David B. McKinley (R – W.Va.) and Diana DeGette (D – Colo.) decided to try to bridge the two sides of the aisle through baseball. Admittedly, they didn’t know what kind of response they would receive for the first-ever Congressional Night at Nationals Park, but they were pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
More than 100 Members of Congress RSVP’d for the event, along with more than 450 of their staffers. While Democrats and Republicans will face off against one another in the annual Congressional Baseball Game tonight, Thursday, June 13 at Nationals Park, this event gave both sides a chance to come together, as colleagues instead of adversaries, to enjoy America’s game.
As evidenced here, baseball brings people together in a special way like nothing else can. We sat down with representatives McKinley and DeGette as they arrived at the ballpark to discuss how this all came about, and what they think they may be able to accomplish through the common ground of baseball.
Curly W Live: What was the genesis of this whole thing? How did it start and whose idea was it?
Congressman David B. McKinley: We just thought we ought to get together. I think too often the American public doesn’t think we know each other, and I think we can do a better job of it; I don’t think we get along very well either. So, we figured let’s get together and break down those walls. Because it’s hard (to disagree) after you have a drink with someone, or have a hamburger, once you get to know them a little bit. This was a positive step and (Congresswoman DeGette) was our first choice. That’s who I wanted as the co-chair (for this event). And we’re going to have over 100 congressmen and 400 staffers, so we’ll have over 500 people here on our first effort.
DeGette: We’re on the same committee together (the Energy and Commerce Committee). It’s his second term, my ninth term, and we’ve been sitting there for a couple years thinking — and there are probably people on both sides thinking — there’s a lot we could do together if we only got to know each other better. So when Dave came up to me on the floor and said, ‘Hey, will you co-chair this game?’ it was really perfect. And, he didn’t know this, but I’m a huge baseball fan and I’m a Colorado Rockies season ticket holder.
CWL: How did the specific idea for baseball come up?
McKinley: I think it’s just a good time, you get to be outdoors here and it’s convenient for Congress. We want our Congressmen to get to talk to each other.
DeGette: And, you know, baseball’s our national sport, so of course it’s the logical choice.
CWL: How long in the making has this event been?
McKinley: Probably a couple of months.
DeGette: And the Nationals have been very, very helpful to us.
CWL: This is a first-time event, but what do you hope to build off this to bring back to the Hill?
McKinley: (We want to) start to break down barriers, just so we talk to each other, because we don’t do that. There are not functions where Congress gets together. This is a beginning. DeGette and I first met when we went over to Normandy on D-Day to place a wreath there, and we realized that we can have a conversation. We don’t have to be adversaries. What we want to do is get more people doing the same thing.
DeGette: And, you know, we can’t agree on everything, but we have enough trust in each other now. When we disagree, we don’t have to beat around the bush. We can say, ‘Hey, you know, I can’t do that, but maybe we can do it this other way.’ I’ve found that in all my years in Congress that actually can be really beneficial.
CWL: Does the ballpark provide a safe haven where you can check that at the door and everybody can get along?
DeGette: Oh, absolutely.
McKinley: I think so. But again, I’m just so delighted. This morning, we had 101 guaranteed tickets of congressmen and at least 400 staffers. How many thought we would have over 500 people on the first time?
DeGette: For our first one! So what we hope is that word will get around about how great this is, and then next year we’ll have 1,000 people.
Are you an avid Nationals fan? Do you follow the team day-to-day, so much so that it’s prompted you to start a blog about our boys in red, white and blue? Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. We’ll be hosting Blogger Day at the ballpark on June 22, as the Nationals take on the Rockies.
Want to come cover the game, sit in on Davey’s daily press conference, interview a player, try out some of our new food at the ballpark, and sit in the press box during the game? Well, here are the requirements for applying to be a part of Blogger Day. You must:
- Have an active blog where you write about the Nationals or local sports/events on a consistent basis
- Have been actively writing for at least six months
- Be available the morning and afternoon of June 22
We will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited, so we can only accommodate a max of two writers per blog. To apply, send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
Name of applicant(s)
Link to homepage and to 2-3 samples of your work
Short paragraph on why you’d like to cover the Nationals for Blogger Day
We’re excited to have you at the ballpark, and we’ll have a special social media announcement exclusively for those in attendance, so don’t miss out!
With Washington, D.C. as our home, the Nationals embrace the sacrifices made by those who bravely serve our country and we work year round to support military service members and their families. As an extension of our commitment to them, the club has teamed up with Major League Baseball and ‘PEOPLE’ magazine to highlight local veterans and military service members through the 2013 Tribute for Heroes campaign.
Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen – who joined Ross Detwiler on General Martin E. Dempsey’s USO Tour this offseason – played a particularly important role in this initiative, as he was a part of the panel that selected 90 heroes, three per MLB Club, for this special recognition. The finalists were announced Tuesday for this nationwide tribute and Nationals fans are encouraged to visit TributeForHeroes.com to vote for the local military service member they would like to see represent the Nationals at the All-Star Game. Voting runs through June 30.
Stammen, along with Major Leaguers Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers), Nick Swisher (Cleveland Indians), Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants), Jonny Gomes (Boston Red Sox), Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Chase Headley (San Diego Padres), helped select the brave individuals to show his appreciation for our troops’ service both locally and overseas. General Peter W. Chiarelli (retired) and General John M. “Jack” Keane (retired) also served on the panel.
Learn more about the following three heroes, who are the finalists selected to represent the Washington Nationals:
John Belcher of Tunkhannock, Pa., served honorably for nearly 10 years as a Marine with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning numerous citations and medals for his bravery in combat. After his discharge, John began his career helping veterans. He interned for a U.S. Congressman and after only a few months was promoted to serve as the office’s Veteran Affairs Representative. In this position, he helped more than 600 veterans work through issues with Veterans Affairs. After a year, John was again promoted, to his current position of District Director, where he continues to aid veterans. Additionally, John has served as the Veterans Service Officer with his local American Legion post.
“Service Before Self” is how Lori Kelly of Alexandria, Va., lives. Lori has served in the Air Force for 23 years and has earned many decorations throughout her career. She was recently named a Chief Master Sergeant select and handpicked to serve as the Senior Enlisted Aide to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Larry Spencer. Lori works frequently with the Honor Flight program, recently escorting a group of 102 WWII veterans from Alabama to all of the memorials in Washington, D.C. The single mom also volunteers frequently at DC Central Kitchen, a food recycling and culinary training organization, and is an Assistant Scout Master and a Band Mom at her son’s school.
Julie Weckerlein of Centreville, Va., served 13-plus years in the Air Force with assignments in Germany, Italy, Ohio and at the Pentagon, as well as deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat correspondent. As a public affairs non-commissioned officer, she shared the Air Force story through print and photography. A proud wife, mother and long time blogger, Julie has been interviewed on military and veteran matters by news outlets including NBC and CNN. She now works in social media for the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., where part of her job involves raising awareness for veteran employment opportunities.
The chosen honoree will join 29 other representatives from across the League for All-Star Week festivities, including recognition during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16 on FOX. One of the 30 honorees will also be featured in the July 22 issue of ‘PEOPLE,’ which hits newsstands Friday, July 12, the week of the MLB All-Star Game.
Tribute for Heroes supports Welcome Back Veterans and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, as well as “PEOPLE First: Help America’s Veterans,” the magazine’s 2013 charity initiative.
Honor our military heroes and the red, white and blue by voting today.
The 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft concludes Saturday with rounds 11-50 taking place this afternoon. On Friday, the Nationals completed the first 10 rounds of selections, snagging eight amateur players to join their second-round selection Jake Johansen, who was taken on Thursday night. Here is a brief overview of the first 10 rounds of Washington’s latest draft class.
RD. PICK NAME POS. HT. WT. B-T SCHOOL
2 68 Jake Johansen RHP 6’6” 235 R-R Dallas Baptist
3 105 Drew Ward 3B 6’4″ 210 L-R Leedy (OK) HS
4 136 Nicholas Pivetta RHP 6’5″ 210 R-R New Mexico JC
5 166 Austin Voth RHP 6’2″ 210 R-R U. Washington
6 196 Cody Gunter 3B 6’3″ 195 L-R Grayson Cnty (TX) JC
7 226 James Yezzo 1B 6’1″ 190 L-R U. Delaware
8 256 David Napoli LHP 5’10″ 180 R-L Tulane (LA)
9 185 Jake Joyce RHP 6’0″ 185 R-R Virginia Tech
10 316 Brennan Middleton SS 6’0″ 185 R-R Tulane (LA)
Check out our detailed report of Johansen, who took no time at all in becoming the first player of the draft class to sign with the club. In the meantime, here’s more on some other notable names on the list. Drew Ward is a unique case, having graduated high school early to make himself Draft eligible after what would have been his junior year. Already 6’4”, 210 pounds at just 18 years of age, the Oklahoma University commit is the highest position player selected by Washington this year.
The Nationals also selected a pair of junior college pitchers as well as a pair of Tulane University teammates on the second day of the Draft. But perhaps the player who stands out the most from the college ranks is seventh-rounder James Yezzo, a left-handed hitting first baseman who becomes the first player selected out of the University of Delaware since 2010. Yezzo led the Colonial Athletic Conference in a host of offensive categories on his way to Conference Player of the Year honors and a first-team All-American selection by Louisville Slugger.
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft concludes Saturday night while the Nationals are taking on the Twins.
Tonight’s Nationals-Twins game scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., has been postponed due to inclement weather.
The team will play a split doubleheader Sunday, June 9 with tonight’s make-up game beginning at 7:05 p.m.* The two games against the Twins on June 9 will require separate admission.
Fans with game tickets to tonight’s postponed contest may use their original tickets for the 7:05 p.m. make-up game on June 9. Those unable to attend the 7:05 p.m. game on June 9 can exchange their tickets for any remaining regular or value home game during the 2013 regular season. Exchanged tickets will be issued from available inventory in the closest pricing category of equal or lesser value to the original seats. **
Season Plan Holders, whose season plan includes seats for tonight’s postponed game, will have their Card automatically activated for the June 9 contest at 7:05 p.m. Season Plan Holders who wish to transfer, forward or exchange seats for this make-up game should login to nationals.com/access to view or exchange their seats. Season Plan Holders who cannot attend the 7:05 p.m. game on June 9 may exchange their tickets for any remaining regular or value home game during the 2013 regular season.**
In the event that a seat for tonight’s game was forwarded from a Season Plan Holder Card to a print at home ticket, the print at home barcode will be active for the make-up game and will not return to the Card; as such, fans should retain their print at home tickets for tonight’s game to gain entrance to the 7:05 p.m. contest on June 9.
For more information on exchanging tickets purchased through nationals.com or the Nationals telephone charge line, please call202.675.NATS(6287). On gamedays, the Nationals Park Box Office is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 30 minutes after the end of the game, and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 30 minutes after the end of the game. Box office hours on non-gamedays are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
* First pitch, gate times and parking access for the second game is subject to change based on the conclusion of the first game
** All rain check exchanges are subject to availability
When fans of teams other than the Nationals think of Washington’s recent First-Year Player Draft history, they tend to focus on the pair of No. 1 overall picks, Stephen Strasburg from 2009 and Bryce Harper a year later.
However, Nationals fans know as well as anyone how important the second round of the draft can be. They drafted Jordan Zimmermann in the second round in 2007 out of little-known Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and two years later found another big leaguer in the recently promoted Jeff Kobernus. When their first pick came around at No. 68 this year, took the route they traveled six years ago, again daring to dream on a powerful, right-handed arm from a small school in Jake Johansen, a 6-foot-6 hurler out of Dallas Baptist University.
There were differing opinions of Johansen from the draft experts, but ESPN’s resident guru Keith Law had the Allen, Texas native ranked 63rd on his board heading into Thursday night. The Nationals liked what they saw, especially Director of Scouting Kris Kline, who watched Johansen pitch twice in games this year before inviting him to a workout in D.C. earlier this week.
“This is what we seek when we go out to the ballpark every day,” said Kline of finding a player like Johansen among the countless hours of driving around the country scouting amateur players.
Kline does not like to make Major League comparisons when discussing draft selections, but he conceded that Johansen’s arm action and delivery very were similar to that of Josh Beckett, another hard-throwing Texan.
With a fastball that can top out in triple digits, Johansen’s upside is obvious. Kline says he usually sits around 94 with his fastball, which is complemented by a pair of breaking balls – a hard cutter/slider that he throws around 88-90 and a curveball. Kline suggests that the former is already an out pitch, but sees both developing as the Nationals coaching staff gets a chance to work with him.
“There’s no reason why, with a few tweaks from our staff, this guy can’t be a front-line guy,” said Kline, who went on to compare him to Washington’s first selection in last year’s draft. “If you put him next to (Lucas) Giolito, you’ve got some pretty good-looking bookends.”
Of course, the Nationals had the different experience of patiently sitting through more than four hours of proceedings before they could finally make their pick. While that’s a good thing in the larger view of it all – drafting later means you’re performing better on the field at the Major League level – it was nonetheless a relief to finally be able to choose the player they hoped would be available after all that time.
“I’m glad he fell into our laps at 68,” said Kline. “When I called him up, I said, ‘Are you as excited as I am? I’ve been waiting all night for this.’”
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft continues Friday at 1 p.m. with selection number 74. The Nationals next selection does not come until the 105th pick.
Tonight’s Nationals-Mets game scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., has been postponed due to inclement weather.
The team will play a split doubleheader Friday, July 26 with tonight’s make-up game beginning at 1:35 p.m. The second regularly scheduled game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.* The two games against the Mets on July 26 will require separate admission.
Fans with game tickets to tonight’s postponed contest may use their original tickets for the 1:35 p.m. make-up game on July 26. Those unable to attend the 1:35 p.m. game on July 26 can exchange their tickets for any remaining regular or value home game during the 2013 regular season. Exchanged tickets will be issued from available inventory in the closest pricing category of equal or lesser value to the original seats.**
Season Plan Holders, whose season plan includes seats for tonight’s postponed game, will have their Card automatically activated for the July 26 contest at 1:35 p.m. Season Plan Holders who wish to transfer, forward or exchange seats for this make-up game should login to nationals.com/access to view or exchange their seats. Season Plan Holders who cannot attend the 1:35 p.m. game on July 26 may exchange their tickets for any remaining regular or value home game during the 2013 regular season.**
In the event that a seat for tonight’s game was forwarded from a Season Plan Holder Card to a print at home ticket, the print at home barcode will be active for the make-up game and will not return to the Card; as such, fans should retain their print at home tickets from tonight’s postponed game to gain entrance to the 1:35 p.m. contest on July 26.
For more information on exchanging tickets purchased through nationals.com or the Nationals telephone charge line, please call 202.675.NATS(6287). On gamedays, the Nationals Park Box Office is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 30 minutes after the end of the game, and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 30 minutes after the end of the game. Box Office hours on non-gamedays are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
* First pitch, gate times and parking access for the second game is subject to change based on the conclusion of the first game
** All rain check exchanges are subject to availability