Results tagged ‘ Arizona Diamondbacks ’

What to Watch for: 8.27.13

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Miami Marlins (49-80) vs. Washington Nationals (65-65)

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-4, 3.82) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 2.58)

With a successful 6-4 road trip behind them, the Nationals begin a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three against Miami, whom they swept at home to open the season. Washington has won 11 of its last 16 games, and looks to continue its winning ways with its next 19 contests coming against the Marlins (49-80), New York Mets (58-71) and Philadelphia Phillies (60-71).

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Bryce Harper LF

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Adam LaRoche 1B

7. Wilson Ramos C

8. Anthony Rendon 2B

9. Ross Ohlendorf RHP

AUGUST HEAT

After struggling offensively for much of 2013, the Nationals rank third in the National League in runs per game in the month of August. Washington has scored 108 runs in 22 games this month (4.9 per game). Only the St. Louis Cardinals (5.4 runs in 25 August contests) and Arizona Diamondbacks (5.0 in 23 games) have scored more profusely than the Nationals this month. 

GOING STREAKING

With Sunday’s four-hit effort at Kauffman Stadium, Denard Span has hit safely in nine straight games, at a .400 clip (16-for-40) with two walks, a double, two triples, a homer, five runs and four RBI. Span is in search of his first double-digit hit streak as a member of the Nationals. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper is 13-for-33 (.394) with six walks, five doubles, a homer, six runs scored and six RBI during his current eight-game hit streak. Harper has yet to register a double-digit hit streak at a big leaguer.

GOOD WOOD

The Nationals are 5-1 and have scored at least four runs in each of their last six games, during which they are batting .314 (72-for-229) with 28 walks, 14 doubles, two triples, and nine home runs, all of which have yielded a .387 on-base percentage, a .511 slugging percentage and an .898 OPS. Washington has also gone (.316, 18-for-57) with runners in scoring position in the same six-game span.

Highlights: 6.27.13

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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

What to Watch for: 6.27.13

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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).

Highlights: 6.26.13

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6.26.13 – Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 2

Stat of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann won his National League-leading 11th game of the season with seven strong innings.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon collected three more hits, raising his average to .354 for the season.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano stranded a pair of runners in the ninth for his second save in as many nights and 21st on the season.

What to Watch for: 6.26.13

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Arizona Diamondbacks (41-35) vs. Washington Nationals (38-38)

LHP Wade Miley (4-7, 4.70) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-3, 2.26) 

Following a series-opening win Tuesday on the strength of Adam LaRoche’s three hits — including a three-run home run to cap a five-run third inning — the Nationals look to grab a series win over the Diamondbacks with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound. Zimmermann, who has not lost at Nationals Park in 19 starts (May 17, 2012 against Pittsburgh), looks for his National League-leading 11th win of the season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Moore LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

ROOKIE RECORDS

Since being recalled by the Nationals on June 4, Anthony Rendon is 26-for-70 (.371) with three walks, eight doubles, a homer (game-winning blast in the ninth, June 15 at Cleveland) and nine runs scored. Rendon has tallied more hits his first 25 career games than any player to debut with the Nationals since 2005. In fact, the only player to debut with the Nationals/Expos franchise and post more hits in the initial 25 games of a career is Coco Laboy (34 hits in first 25 games with the Expos in 1969). Since 1900, Rendon and Gil Torres (32 hits in first 25 games for the 1944 AL Nationals) are the only D.C.-based players with as many 32 in 25 games to begin a big league career.

20 PUBLIC UNTUCKINGS AND COUNTING

Rafael Soriano earned the save in last night’s 7-5 victory to become just the third Nationals closer to register 20 saves before the end of June, joining Matt Capps (2010) and Chad Cordero (2005). Soriano’s 20 saves rank fourth in the National League.

HOT AT HOME

Adam LaRoche has hit safely in 19 consecutive games at Nationals Park, going 30-for-69 (.435) with six walks, two doubles, two triples, four home runs, 17 runs scored and 16 RBI. LaRoche’s current streak at home is tied for the second-longest hit streak ever at Nationals Park, which opened in 2008. Ryan Zimmerman has posted separate 19- (Aug. 4-Sept. 19, 2012) and 24-game (July 3-Aug. 23, 2011) hit streaks at home since the ballpark’s opening.

Highlights: 6.25.13

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6.25.13 – Nationals 7, Diamondbacks 5

Stat of the Game: Adam LaRoche had three hits, including a three-run homer, to lead the Nationals offense.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Gio Gonzalez won his first game since May 5, allowing two earned over 6.1 innings of work.

It Was Over When: LaRoche’s opposite-field shot capped a five-run third inning to put Washington ahead for good.

Bonus Video: Bryce Harper’s rehab appearance at High-A Potomac

What to Watch for: 6.25.13

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Arizona Diamondbacks (41-34) vs. Washington Nationals (37-38)

 RHP Trevor Cahill (3-8, 3.92) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.34) 

Following a split of a four-game set with Colorado and an off day on Monday, Washington hosts NL West-leading Arizona for three games beginning Tuesday night. In a battle of former teammates, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill go head-to-head with the Nationals looking to draw back to the .500 mark.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Werth RF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Tracy 3B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER

Ian Desmond currently leads all MLB shortstops with 33 extra-base hits (19 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs) and nine game-winning RBI. Remarkably, nine of Desmond’s 12 home runs this season have been go-ahead blasts. Defensively, he has played a career-high and D.C.-baseball record 56 consecutive errorless games (221 total chances) as a shortstop since last committing a miscue, April 21 at New York (NL). This is currently the longest streak of its kind among MLB shortstops.

ELITE EIGHT

Gio Gonzalez has not earned a victory in any of his last eight outings, but for no fault of his own. The lefty is holding opponents to a .174 batting average over that span, amassing a 2.18 ERA (13 ER/53.2 IP) with 52 strikeouts. The Nationals have gone 3-5 in those eight games.

D-BACKS AGAINST THE WALL

The Nationals (2005-present) are 8-6-2 (win-loss-tie) in series play against the Diamondbacks, thanks in part to a 12-4 mark in one-run games. Washington is 16-11 (.593) against the D-backs since the beginning of 2009, and the Nats .538 winning percentage against Arizona is trumped by only a .545 mark against Pittsburgh as the best against any opponent over that stretch.

Top 12 of ‘12: #9 – Desmond’s Dunk

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington NationalsWhen you win 98 games and go almost wire-to-wire to take the division crown, the season doesn’t have too many turning points. However, in the midst of a season-long five-game slide, the Nationals looked as vulnerable as they had all year, trailing Arizona 4-3 at home on May 2 with Bryce Harper at second base and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Ian Desmond, who entered the game with just seven extra-base hits and a .260/.294/.375 line through his first 22 games, stood in as Washington’s final chance against D-backs closer J.J. Putz, who had shut the door for 45 saves the year prior.

With a nervous crowd clinging to hope, Putz delivered a 93 mile-per-hour, belt-high fastball in a 1-1 count and Desmond turned on it, sending it towards left-center field. Despite the cold, spring night, the ball carried deep towards the visiting bullpen. Just as center fielder Gerardo Parra and left fielder Jason Kubel converged at the 377 mark, the ball disappeared over the wall for a walk-off, two-run home run. The Nationals would go 84-55 from that night forward, and Desmond would go on to post a .300/.344/.542 line with 28 doubles and 23 home runs in his final 108 games, earning the first All-Star bid and Silver Slugger Award of his young career.

- SEE THE REST OF THE TOP 12 OF ’12 -

Year of the Rookie

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When Bryce Harper was called up to the Major Leagues on April 27, he became the favorite in many eyes to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award, well before he ever stepped on the field. The hype that has surrounded Harper since his appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16 year-old has been entirely overwhelming and unprecedented in the sport’s history. But they don’t give awards for hype – such honors have to be earned. And, whether Reds and Diamondbacks fans agree or not, Bryce Harper earned the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year.

Bryce Harper fought off a strong field to win 2012 NL Rookie of the Year.

First, some respect for his competition. Todd Frazier was very impressive, coming out of relative obscurity when Joey Votto was injured to post a .273/.331/.498 line, slugging 19 home runs and notching 51 total extra-base hits. Wade Miley, the Arizona hurler, came up huge with 16 wins and nearly a 3.9/1 strikeout-to-walk rate over almost 200 innings in his first full campaign. Both are worthy candidates, and either could have been Rookie of the Year, had it not been for Harper.

To start, there are the now-20 year-old’s overall numbers. He collected more home runs (22) and extra-base hits (57) than Frazier, while also stealing six times as many bases (18/3). His .270/.340/.477 overall line was slightly weaker, but he ripped through September and October at a .330/.400/.643 clip, finishing far stronger in the season’s final month than either Frazier (.176/.235/.257) or Miley (2-2, 5.40 ERA). And perhaps the biggest difference was that Harper did all of this while playing above average defense at one of the game’s toughest positions.

While Frazier actually compiled a negative dWAR (defensive wins above replacement) of -0.2 at first base, third base and left field (according to Baseball Reference), Harper notched a dWAR of 1.4, leading to an overall WAR of 5.0, nearly twice Frazier’s 2.7 total. And while measuring pitcher WAR against position player WAR is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, Miley’s was 3.2, just for frame of reference. The point is, Harper’s all-around excellence defined his season as being greater than a simple look at his slash line.

But if you love raw offensive stats, he led in plenty of categories there, too. Harper paced all NL rookies with 98 runs scored, 17 more than his next closest competitor and 43 more than Frazier. His nine triples were also best, even one more than AL Rookie of the Year winner Mike Trout. Even if you discount the intangibles and individual moments – like his steal of home off Cole Hamels on national television – Harper had an impact on the game in 2012 that few, if any, could match.

All that’s left now is to wonder just how much better he might be next year.

Spring Into Fall

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The closer you follow baseball, the more you realize how year-round the sport really is. The average American may take notice around Opening Day, then have their fandom tail off as their team is eliminated from contention, perhaps watching the World Series, if they are so inclined. The more passionate follower is more likely to count down the days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, their baseball awareness stretching from mid-February to the end of October. But for the true obsessives (like us), there are compelling games for the Nationals being played even now, as the Arizona Fall League began this week at the Spring Training complexes around Phoenix.

For those unfamiliar with it, the AFL is a prospect showcase, where all 30 Major League teams send some of their top talent, often including players whose regular seasons were limited for whatever reason, to see how they perform in a highly competitive environment. The 30 clubs are combined into six squads, with five MLB teams apiece represented on each. Last year, the Nationals were assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions, with Bryce Harper the most well known representative of the organization. In 2012, they are members of the Salt River Rafters, along with the Diamondbacks, White Sox, Rockies and Blue Jays.

This year’s crop of Nationals prospects includes:

Matt Skole (second from left) was honored as the Nationals 2012 Minor League Player of the Year.

Pitchers 

Aaron Barrett

Paul Demny

Cole Kimball

Ryan Perry

Infielders

Jason Martinson

Anthony Rendon

Matt Skole

Outfielders

Brian Goodwin

We will be conducting a more thorough Down on the Farm report for many of these prospects this offseason, but wanted to give special attention to one – Matt Skole – whom we have already profiled before here on Curly W Live. The 2012 Nationals Minor League Player of the Year, Skole has busted down the Fall League doors, batting .533/.650/.867 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI through his first four games on the circuit. His early success among some of baseball’s elite prospects helps back up the case that his tremendous 2012 numbers were no fluke. The third baseman batted .292 with 28 doubles, 27 home runs and 104 RBI in just 118 games between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac in his first professional season.

Make sure to check in to Curly W Live on Wednesdays throughout the offseason for more on many of the Nationals rising stars. And if you’d like to keep up with the AFL on a daily basis through the end of the season in mid-November, check out the home of the league here, complete with scores, stats, stories and more.

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