Results tagged ‘ Cleveland Indians ’

Highlights: 6.16.13

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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.

What to Watch for: 6.16.13

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Washington Nationals (34-33) vs. Cleveland Indians (33-34)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-5, 2.54) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (4-4, 4.08)

Following Saturday night’s thrilling, 7-6 victory, the Nationals activated Stephen Strasburg for the series finale in Cleveland. Strasburg was 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA (4 ER/25.0 IP) in his final four starts before landing on the Disabled List.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman DH

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Tracy DH

8. Solano C

9. Bernadina LF

Strasburg RHP

THE ROOKIE IS RAKING

Anthony Rendon brings a nine-game hit streak into today’s contest, having batted at a .429 (15-for-35) clip with three walks, five doubles, his first career homer, six runs scored and five RBI during the stretch. He has posted multi-hit efforts in five of the nine contests. Rendon has also reached base safely in 13 straight MLB games, pocketing a .472 on-base percentage (18 hits, 7 walks) during that stretch that spans two stints with the Nationals.

INTERLEAGUE UPDATE

After today’s matinee tilt against the Indians, the Nationals will take a 43-day hiatus from Interleague Play before opening a two-day series at Detroit on July 30. Washington is 9-5 against the AL this season, having gone 3-1-1 in series play against the junior circuit. The Nationals lead the National League and are tied with Tampa Bay (9-1) for the Major League lead with nine Interleague wins this season.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

In addition to GM Mike Rizzo, who came from a baseball scouting family (grandfather Vito, father Phillip), three Nationals players have followed in the footsteps of their big-league dads: Adam LaRoche (father Dave LaRoche played 14 seasons, ‘70-83), Steve Lombardozzi (father Steve Lombardozzi Sr. played six seasons, ‘85-90) and Jayson Werth (grandfather Ducky Schofield played 19 seasons, ‘53-71; stepfather Dennis Werth played four seasons, ‘79-82).

The Fresh Grind

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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.

Anthony Rendon's first Major League home run was a big one, giving the Nationals a crucial road win.

Anthony Rendon’s first Major League home run was a big one, giving the Nationals a crucial road win.

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.

Highlights: 6.15.13

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6.15.13 – Nationals 7, Indians 6

Stat of the Game: The Nationals matched a season high by swatting five home runs off the bats of five different players (Desmond, Rendon, Tracy, Werth, Zimmerman).

Under-the-Radar Performance: Chad Tracy came off the bench to swat the game-tying blast on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the eighth inning.

It Was Over When: Anthony Rendon‘s first Major League home run snuck over the right-field wall in the top of the ninth to put the Nationals ahead for good.

What to Watch for: 6.15.13

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Washington Nationals (33-33) vs. Cleveland Indians (33-33)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-3, 2.00) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (3-4, 5.33) 

Jordan Zimmermann takes the hill for Washington in search of his 10th win of the season, which would tie him for the Major League lead. He will be opposed by Scott Kazmir, who is a perfect 3-0 with a 3.68 ERA in four home starts this season, his first back in the big leagues following an injury during the 2011 campaign.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Marrero DH

8. Suzuki C

9. Kobernus LF

Zimmermann RHP

START ME UP

Following 7.0 innings of one-run ball last night from Gio Gonzalez, Washington’s starting staff ranks third in the National League with a 3.43 ERA (152 ER/398.1 IP) this season. Steve McCatty’s starters trail only the Cardinals (2.77) and Reds (3.16) rotations in the NL. Last season, Washington’s starting staff led the NL with a 3.40 ERA.

CATCH YOUR Z’S

Jordan Zimmermann has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 of his 13 outings this season, and has also turned in 11 quality starts thus far. He carries a league-leading 0.89 WHIP and 4.69 K/BB rate, sixth best in the National League.

GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER

Ian Desmond had hit career-high 15-game hit streak snapped last night, but he has still reached base safely in 16 straight contests, pocketing .383 batting average (23-for-60) and .422 on-base percentage with four walks, four doubles, two homers, seven runs scored and 12 RBI over that span. Defensively, Desmond has played a career-high 47 consecutive errorless games (190 total chances) since last committing a miscue on April 21 at New York (NL). This is currently the longest streak of its kind among big league shortstops.

Highlights: 6.14.13

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6.14.13 – Indians 2, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Gio Gonzalez allowed just three hits and a run, striking out eight over seven frames, but did not factor in the decision.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Kurt Suzuki scored Washington’s lone run, coming home on a wild pitch in the third.

It Was Over When: Adam LaRoche‘s throw home came in just behind Drew Stubbs’ slide in the bottom of the ninth.

What to Watch for: 6.14.13

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Washington Nationals (33-32) vs. Cleveland Indians (32-33)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.59) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (8-5, 3.68) 

The Nationals come into Cleveland winners of two straight games and two consecutive series, as they have floated back above the .500 mark with 97 games left in the regular season. Although he has not earned a win in his last six outings, Gio Gonzalez has compiled a 2.27 ERA over that span entering tonight’s series opener.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Bernadina LF

3. Zimmerman DH

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Tracy 3B

8. Suzuki C

9. Lombardozzi 2B

Gonzalez LHP

GIO BE GOOD

Gio Gonzalez’s 5-0 career mark (six starts) against Cleveland is tops among active players. Additionally, he is the only pitcher to have made as many as four starts at Progressive Field without suffering a no-decision or loss, going 4-0 with a 0.68 ERA (2 ER/26.2 IP) in his four outings at this ballpark.

GETTING OFFENSIVE

Washington has won four of its last five games, during which the club has batted .292 (49-for-168), averaged 5.0 runs/game (25 runs total) and 4.4 walks/game (22 walks total). The Nationals have gone 15-for-48 (.313) with runners in scoring position in their last five contests.

ALL-STAR NOD

It was announced yesterday that Davey Johnson will serve as a coach on Bruce Bochy’s staff for the 84th All-Star Game, which will be played July 16 at Citi Field in New York. Johnson, the National League Manager of the Year in 2012, skippered the New York Mets from 1984-2000 and guided the Mets to a World Championship in 1986. This marks his seventh All-Star appearance, as he managed the NL in ‘87, coached under Whitey Herzog in ‘86, and was a four-time All-Star as a player (‘68-70, ‘73).

Down on the Farm: Tyler Moore

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Ed. Note: Here at Curly W Live, we will be taking a closer look at some of the top up-and-coming prospects in the Nationals farm system throughout the 2012 season. Make sure to vote in our poll at the end of this article to help determine which player we will profile next.

There have been plenty of heralded prospects making their way up the ranks of the Nationals farm system over the last few years. Strong, talent-rich drafts have stocked Washington’s minor league affiliates to the point that prior to the Gio Gonzalez trade – which sent four of the club’s top 13-rated prospects to the Oakland AthleticsBaseball America had the Nationals ranked as the top overall minor league system in the game heading into 2012. Even after that deal, there are plenty of big names left, led of course by Bryce Harper. Those who keep their eyes on the minors will get their first glimpse of the likes of Anthony Rendon and the first regular season action for Matt Purke, who made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League. These few will dominate the headlines, but we begin this season’s slate with one of the most promising power hitters in the system, Tyler Moore.

Moore sizes up a blast while with Potomac in 2010. (Steve Mihelerakis)

At the minor league level, where seasons are shorter and younger players are still filling out their athletic frames, large power totals are rare. In fact, only 15 minor leaguers hit 30 or more home runs in 2011, and only two have turned the trick in each of the last two years. The first name may ring a bell: Paul Goldschmidt. He was the rookie phenom who, after swatting 35 longballs for Double-A Mobile, was called up in September and played a key role in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ run to the National League West crown. The other player was Moore, a soft-spoken first baseman who, even after such an impressive two-year run, still does not appear in Baseball America’s top 10 prospect list for the Nationals.

Ranking or no ranking, that kind of power will earn you some respect and, in Moore’s case, some investment from the organization. The slugger was added to the 40-Man Roster in November, along with Eury Perez, Jhonatan Solano and the recently traded Derek Norris, to prevent him from being selected by another club in the annual Rule V Draft.

“This was his protection year,” explained Doug Harris, the Nationals Director of Player Development. “With power being a premium in today’s game, we felt like it was an easy decision for us.”

While Harris was not yet with the organization back when Moore first came into the system, he saw him as an opposing player while Harris was with the Cleveland Indians and Moore was at Low-A Hagerstown in 2008.

“As an opposing scout watching him, he was a guy that could always impact the baseball,” recalled Harris. “When he was in Hagerstown, it was really pole-to-pole power. Really his best power was to right-center, which is a true indicator of a guy who has a chance to come into bigger power down the road. So you saw glimpses of it, and I think a lot of the doubles he hit in Hagerstown got turned into home runs over the last couple of years.”

Moore slides feet first into second. (Steve Mihelerakis)

After hitting 30 two-baggers but just nine home runs in 111 games at Hagerstown in 2009, Moore got off to a rough start his next season at High-A Potomac. In 79 games through July 12, he had collected 47 RBI, but was batting just .191. Moore made an adjustment, though, and turned his season around completely. Over his final 50 contests, he went a staggering 76-for-193 (.394) with 21 home runs and 64 RBI. He would go on to lead the Carolina League in home runs (31), RBI (111), doubles (43), slugging percentage (.552), extra-base hits (77) and total bases (277), earning both league MVP honors and the Nationals Organizational Player of the Year. Moore put together another impressive campaign last year in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League, where he matched his home run total of 31, and again lead the league in RBI, extra-base hits and total bases.

In fact, in 189 games played since his remarkable turnaround, the 6’2”, 210-pound righty has swatted 52 home runs and driven in 154.

“When you break down the 2010 season that he had at Potomac…he really came into his own in the second half,” explained Harris. “It’s a credit to him. He’s a tireless worker, he never wavered in his approach or his intent day-to-day, and it really speaks volumes about who he is.”

Like many sluggers with such impressive power numbers, Moore also racks up his fair share of strikeouts, averaging 125 K’s over the past three seasons. However, he has also batted a very respectable .277 over that same stretch and it’s hard to argue with the run production.

Clearly, the Nationals have seen something in Moore’s potential ever since he was just a prep player at Northwest Rankin High School in Brandon, Mississippi. They actually drafted him on three separate occasions: in the 41st round straight out of high school in 2005, in the 33rd round after a year at Meridian Junior College in 2006, and finally in the 16th round after two years at Mississippi State in 2008. Moore signed at last, and has spent each of the last four seasons at a different level of the farm system, slowly playing his way up to Double-A in 2011. Now, as he enters his first big league camp in Florida, Moore will face new pressures and expectations from the Nationals staff. So, just how high is Moore’s ceiling?

Moore's power continued at Harrisburg in 2011. (Will Bentzel)

“I think a lot of that is really up to Tyler,” said Harris. “He’s obviously put together two very productive years back-to-back. He’s going to be given an opportunity at a higher level and a chance to continue to show what he’s capable of doing. I know that our Major League staff is excited to get a glimpse of him in Spring Training.”

As for how Moore will respond to the challenge, Harris is not worried.

“Tyler is a very high-character young man, a tremendous teammate,” said Harris. “He’s an early-to-the-ballpark kind of guy. He blends with every mix of player. He’s a quiet leader, not a big-time vocal leader, but he’s got a great presence and he’s very well-liked amongst his teammates.”

Those traits should serve him well, as Harris suggested that the coaching staff may try Moore out at several defensive positions to see where he can best fit into the Nationals’ future plans. Originally drafted as a third baseman, he has played exclusively at first base (or been a designated hitter) in his 448 career minor league games. Harris said the staff has tried him in the outfield a bit as well, and that they will continue to “kick the tires” on that experiment moving forward. Either way, it will just be one more adjustment, something Moore has shown that he’s good at making.

“There’s an adjustment period going to a new level each year,” said Harris. “I know that he’s preparing himself to be ready to go out of the gate this year. He’s a kid that’s had to earn everything he’s got.”

While Moore seems destined for Syracuse in April, if he is able to find similar success at the Triple-A level in 2012 as he has the past two years, fans in the District may get a glimpse of him before the year is out.

Video: Moore goes deep for Harrisburg

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