Results tagged ‘ Corey Brown ’

Highlights: 9.3.13

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9.3.13 – Nationals 9, Phillies 6

Stat of the Game: Wilson Ramos homered and drove in four RBI to lead the Nationals, who never trailed following his second-inning blast.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Only one of the five runs Gio Gonzalez allowed was earned, as he improved to 5-1 lifetime against the Phillies.

It Was Over When: Corey Brown extended the Washington lead to three runs with a mammoth home run in the seventh.

What to Watch for: 9.3.13

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Washington Nationals (69-68) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (63-75)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 3.56) vs. RHP Ethan Martin (2-3, 6.39)

Washington completed its round of September call-ups by bringing five more players up from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday. In addition to recalling left-handed pitcher Xavier Cedeno, infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus and outfielders Corey Brown and Eury Perez, the Nationals also selected the contract of infielder Zach Walters. The Cheyenne, Wyoming native – who will turn 24 on Thursday – makes his first-ever appearance in the Major Leagues.

Manager Davey Johnson hinted that Walters might be one of the additions to the roster when the topic was broached last week. Johnson has liked Walters since Spring Training, when the switch-hitter received an invitation to Major League camp. The organization asked him to focus on hitting for more power this season, and after Walters delivered a couple of home runs in the spring – including a walk-off shot – he took that change in approach with him to the regular season.

“I’d never really thought about hitting for power,” said Walters. “But when Davey says to do something, you’d better do it twice.”

The adjustments paid off, as Walters led all players in the organization by blasting 29 home runs, after hitting just 25 through his first three professional seasons combined. He added 32 doubles and five triples to that total, sending 54 percent of his hits for extra bases and improving on his previous career-best slugging percentage by 60 points.

“I liked him in the spring,” said Johnson of the young infielder, who played mostly shortstop this year. “He went out and expressed that talent.”

Walters also has a sense of humor, which he revealed when joking about the role that Johnson may have outlined for him for the month of September.

“Powerade mixes…probably blue tonight,” he quipped. “Guys like their seeds in alphabetical order.” 

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. Gio Gonzalez LHP

GO GO GIO

The Nationals have won both times Gio Gonzalez has taken the hill against Philadelphia this season, including a 7-3 win in Philadelphia on July 10. Gonzalez is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA (3 ER/14.0 IP) with four walks and 16 strikeouts in those two outings.

ROAD WARRIOR

Ryan Zimmerman blasted his 16th home run of the season last night, 12 of which have come away from Nationals Park. Zimmerman has hit multiple home runs at three visiting parks – Camden Yards (3), Petco Park (2) and Citizens Bank Park (2).

BACK IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY

Even with his 0-for-4 last night, Jayson Werth is batting .415/.468/.707 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 11 games vs. the Phillies this season. Three of those four home runs have come at Citizens Bank Park, the only ballpark outside of Washington in which Werth has homered more than once this season.

Returning Returns

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The Nationals announced Wednesday night that they have acquired right-handed pitchers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen, as well as a player to be named later from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse.

Originally drafted by the Nationals, the highly-regarded Cole returns to Washington.

Originally drafted by the Nationals, the highly-regarded Cole returns to Washington. (Burlington Bees)

Cole, who was originally selected by the Nationals in the fourth round of the 2010 First-year Player Draft and traded to Oakland for Gio Gonzalez last offseason, returns to Washington. The 6’4”, 21-year-old hurler ranked as the A’s number three overall prospect and top pitcher, according to Baseball America’s rankings released in November. Cole also came in at fourth in Washington’s rankings the year prior. He split his 2012 season between Low-A Burlington and High-A Stockton, putting up an impressive 6-3 record and 2.07 ERA (22 ER/95.2 IP) with 102 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 19 Midwest League starts. He ranked top-five in the Oakland organization in both ERA and strikeouts.

Treinen, 24, was taken by the Athletics in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft out of South Dakota State University. He compiled a 7-7 ledger with a 4.37 ERA (50 ER/103.0 IP) over 24 appearances (15 starts) in the hitter-friendly California League last year. Like Cole, he also posted great peripheral numbers, striking out 92 while walking just 23 (4.00 K/BB rate) on the season.

Washington will also receive a player to be named later from Oakland in the deal, the third made between the two clubs in the last 13 months. In addition to the aforementioned Gonzalez trade, the two defending division champions swapped backstops in August, with the Nationals receiving Kurt Suzuki for minor league catcher David Freitas. Washington also acquired right-handed pitcher Henry Rodriguez and outfielder Corey Brown from Oakland in December of 2010 for outfielder Josh Willingham.

The Ballad of John Lannan

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Perhaps the toughest personnel decision the Nationals faced all year long came well before the national spotlight shined upon their impressive run towards October baseball. Way back on March 31, after the Nationals finished their final exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox, manager Davey Johnson announced to the local press corps that the team had made the decision to keep hard-throwing lefty Ross Detwiler as the fifth starter in the rotation. With a top four that featured Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, that meant that John Lannan, the club’s Opening Day starter in both 2009 and 2010, was the odd man out. The man who led the team in wins the year prior would open the season at Triple-A Syracuse.

“It was definitely tough for him going down to Syracuse after being the Opening Day starter here two years in a row,” said Nationals outfielder Corey Brown, who played with Lannan much of the season with the Chiefs.

Amidst a trying season, Lannan delivered one of the Nationals biggest victories all year.

Lannan did not respond well at first to his new assignment. He gave up five runs in just two innings of work in his first start. While things slowly got better from there, he was still plagued by inconsistencies. But he put his head down and pushed forward, grinding through the long bus rides and small, sometimes rundown ballparks that are a way of life in the minors. When the Nationals faced a dire situation – needing an extra starter in a crucial July series against Atlanta – they called upon Lannan’s services for the first time. He watched the team build a 9-0 lead, only to let it slip away in an 11-10 series opening loss. The next day, the Nationals were shut out in the opening game of the doubleheader, cutting their division lead to a precarious 1.5 games. With the direction of their season at a crossroads, they handed the ball to Lannan.

He allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but shut the potent Braves lineup down the rest of the way, as the Nationals chipped away with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to retake control of the game and the direction of their season. His work done, Lannan was shipped back to Syracuse after the game.

Two weeks later, the Nationals faced the same situation, needing the services of a sixth starter for a doubleheader, this time against the Marlins. Again Lannan allowed a first-inning run, then cruised as the Washington offense scored seven times in the first four frames behind him. For Lannan, it was a second crucial spot-start, a second win and a third option, back to Syracuse, to wait until September and the expansion of the rosters. But the pitcher who had gone a pedestrian 6-10 with a 5.24 ERA looked like a whole new player on the mound. He pitched to a 3-1 record with a 1.63 ERA in August, finishing his minor league season with consecutive shutouts before rejoining the big league club for September.

“He battled, he continued to pitch,” recalled Brown. “He had a rough little patch, but he finished well and that’s definitely going to help him leading up to today’s start.”

Tonight, Lannan takes center stage in his hometown of New York. While the national media may not get to enjoy their anticipated frenzy over Stephen Strasburg’s final start of the season, they will instead get an even better story, one of a man who has done as much to earn his place on the mound tonight as anyone in a Nationals uniform.

“It’s great to be able to come back and pitch in my hometown, where I grew up watching baseball,” said the Long Beach, NY native. “Just staying in the city, just being back in the city, it’s a good vibe.”

Humble and thankful, Lannan is eager to help the Nationals down the stretch.

Lannan could be bitter from his time spent back in the minors, but instead he seems calm and collected, happy to be back at the top of the game, pitching in the most important games of his professional career with a Nationals club that is competitive for the first time in its young history.

“It’s been great. I’ve battled with these guys the last four years,” Lannan says of his second chance. “They’re my teammates, they’re my friends.”

One of Lannan’s close friends and teammates, Ian Desmond, has been one of the most vocal in supporting him through a trying season. The two played together as they rose through the system as well as the last several years in the District.

“Any time you go through struggles, in life or in baseball, it makes you stronger,” said Desmond. “Once you go back to the Minor Leagues, you remember where you came from. When you get back up (to the majors), it brings that joy back to you, helps you overcome. It kind of puts everything in perspective. I know he’s already bounced back twice, and I hope he continues to come out, pitch to the best of his ability, and help us to the promised land.”

A “Never Say Die” Weekend

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The Washington Nationals have made a name for themselves in the 2012 season by winning two different types of games. The first and more common type involves a healthy serving of solid starting pitching, a clutch piece of offense or two to snare the lead, and a lockdown performance by an ensemble bullpen. It is the kind of affair that the Nationals have found themselves involved in ever since their 2-1, Opening Day victory at Wrigley Field. But then there is that other kind of game, the nail-biting, nerve-fraying, mind-boggling variety that has made this season truly memorable.

This weekend’s matchups in Milwaukee provided one game from each mold. After splitting the first two of the four-game set with the Brewers, the Nationals sent hometown hero Jordan Zimmermann, originally from nearby Auburndale, Wisconsin, to make his first-ever start against the team he grew up supporting. The emerging ace delivered a sterling performance, allowing a single run on five hits, fanning six Milwaukee batters over six strong innings to extend his streak of throwing at least that many frames to 21 consecutive starts. In so doing, he lowered his ERA to the third-best mark in the National League at 2.28 and matched his career high with his eighth victory. He also improved to 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA in the month of July, during which he allowed just four earned runs and four walks while fanning 31 in 37.0 innings pitched.

Jordan Zimmermann finished off a spectacular month of July in his home state.

Meanwhile, the Nationals rookies came through with huge contributions again, as Corey Brown opened the scoring with a solo shot and Tyler Moore added a two-run bomb to provide more than enough cushion in a 4-1 final. In all, it was a solid, shutdown performance that both the team and the coaching staff could be proud of.

Then, there was Sunday’s game.

In a battle of 2004 first-round picks, it was the less-heralded Mark Rogers who seemed poised to best All-Star Gio Gonzalez, as Milwaukee had forged a 3-1 lead through five fairly normal innings. Right about then, all convention went out the window. The Nationals led off the sixth with back-to-back doubles from Ryan Zimmerman and Moore, cutting the lead to one and putting the tying run in scoring position with nobody out. But they failed to plate that tying run, and Milwaukee responded by scoring twice in the bottom of the frame to push the lead to 5-2.

In the seventh, Washington looked poised to strike again, using singles from Brown and Steve Lombardozzi followed by a walk from Bryce Harper (all rookies!) to load the bases for Zimmerman, again with none out. But Cody Ransom turned a slick 5-3 double-play, limiting the Nats to just a single run once more. And again, the Brewers came right back for two more runs in the bottom of the frame, sitting pretty with a 7-3 advantage though seven frames.

This is, as they say, about the time when things got really interesting. With one out and a runner on first, Roger Bernadina flipped an opposite field home run into the bullpen in left-center field to cut the margin in half. Jesus Flores followed with a single, Brown with a double, and Lombardozzi with an RBI-groundout to cut the margin to one and put the tying run at third with two outs. One wild pitch later, and it was suddenly tied at 7-7. But the Brewers were not about to go quietly. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez blasted back-to-back shots, reclaiming a two-run lead.

For the fourth straight inning, the Nationals were looking uphill at a discouraging scoreline. And for the fourth straight inning, they mustered a rally. Mark DeRosa drew a one-out walk, bringing Michael Morse (featured in this homestand’s Inside Pitch… Pick one up at the ballpark!) to the plate as the potential game-tying run. After Milwaukee reliever John Axford forged ahead in the count, 1-2, his catcher set up low and inside for a fastball, anything to keep Morse from getting his arms extended. Axford missed his spot, leaving his pitch up and over the middle of the plate. Morse did not miss, sending the ball on a line over the right field wall, and once again, the game was tied.

Michael Morse unleashed Beast Mode twice – in the ninth inning to tie the game, and in the 11th to win it.

Craig Stammen kept Milwaukee off the board in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings, and neither team scored in the 10th inning. In the top of the 11th, Harper walked and Zimmerman singled, bringing Morse to bat with a chance to summon Beast Mode one more time. He delivered once again, pulling a double just inside the third-base bag to score both runners. Tyler Clippard would allow a solo shot to Corey Hart in the bottom of the frame, but shut the door in time to lock down the victory, with Morse himself gloving the final out on a foul pop in front of the Brewers dugout.

The games of this second variety, of the seemingly impossible string of back-and-forth momentum swings, of comebacks from the proverbial dead, seem to keep reaching more and more epic levels of absurdity at every pass. Sunday’s contest lacked only the walk-off hit, as it took place away from Nationals Park, but may have once again set the bar as the most dramatic of them all so far.

Perhaps most importantly, it capped a 6-1 road trip that kept the Nationals a full four games ahead of division rival Atlanta as the weekend came to a close. It also left them at 61-40, the first time the franchise has been this many games over .500 since its relocation to the Nation’s Capital. The Nats get a well-deserved off day on Monday, their only such breather in a 35-day stretch that sees them play 36 games, including seven more in a six-day stretch at home beginning on Tuesday. A word to the wise: take advantage of the day off yourself. You’re going to need every ounce of energy you’ve got left for the final 61 games of the regular season.

In the meantime, enjoy Morse’s theatrics one more time (as even Davey lets himself loose at the 1:04 mark) and both Bob Carpenter’s and Charlie Slowes’ calls of the action.

What to Watch for: 7/29

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Washington Nationals (60-40) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (45-55)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 3.13) vs. RHP Mark Rogers (NR, -.–)

Jordan Zimmermann continued his strong run of late with 6.0 innings of one-run ball on Saturday, and the Nationals used three home runs to guarantee no worse than a split of the four-game set with the Brewers. In today’s finale, Gio Gonzalez goes for his National League-leading 14th win of the season against the recently recalled Mark Rogers.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Lombardozzi 2B

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Espinosa SS

7. Bernadina CF

8. Flores C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ZIMMERMANN, BROWN AND JOHNSON MAKE MEMORIES AT MILLER PARK

With the collective eyes of his native Auburndale, WI upon him, Jordan Zimmermann made his long awaited Miller Park debut a memorable one, earning the win as Washington bested the Brew Crew, 4-1, on Saturday evening. Zimmermann tossed 6.0 innings of one-run ball to register his MLB-leading 19th quality start in 21 assignments. Rookies Corey Brown (solo) and Tyler Moore (two-run) both homered during a decisive three-run third inning. Brown’s blast was also his first Major League hit, as he joined Justin Maxwell and Tommy Milone on the short list of Nationals (2005-present) whose initial big league hit was a home run. The win was the 100th of Davey Johnson’s 183-game tenure as Washington’s skipper.

CLASS OF 2004

Gio Gonzalez looks to collect his 14th win today against Milwaukee, a club he has yet to face in his career. He is, however, 3-1 with a 3.02 ERA in eight career starts against the NL Central. In his five starts against the NL Central in 2012, Washington is a perfect 5-0. Gio’s opposition, Mark Rogers, will be making his 2012 debut after going 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 18 starts for Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League. Both Gonzalez (38th overall) and Rogers (fourth) were among the top 40 selections in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.

WHEN THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD

The Nationals enter today’s series finale with an eye on winning their first series at Miller Park since 2006 and putting an exclamation point on what to date has been a 5-1 roadtrip (3-0 at NYM, 2-1 at MIL). The Nationals have outscored the Mets and Brew Crew this week, 30-15.

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. BREWERS LIVE -

Almost the Real Deal

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There was something about Wednesday’s contest against the Mets in Port St. Lucie that felt a little more real than the previous games leading up to it. Fans who have followed the team closely, through the end of last year and the offseason additions over the winter, understand this. The Nationals were guided in this contest by their great pitching, with Jordan Zimmermann starring in the lead role, tossing six innings of two-hit, scoreless ball. Runs were at a premium, with only Ryan Zimmerman’s sacrifice fly in the third and Jayson Werth’s solo home run in the fourth bringing anything other than goose eggs to the scoreboard through the first six frames.

We had some lively, bilingual company in the press box in St. Lucie on Wednesday.

When Lucas Duda’s chopper escaped the leaping reach of Chad Tracy at first and rattled down amongst the bullpen chairs, allowing Jason Bay to score all the way from first, it was obvious this would be one of those nail-biters. Even in Spring Training, the crowd was very much involved in the result. You could feel the sway of emotions as the Nationals scored in the top of the eighth to re-establish the two-run cushion, only to have the Mets close the gap to one again with a run in the bottom half.

Even without Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen in their familiar eighth and ninth inning roles, the bullpen acquitted itself nicely. Henry Rodriguez, locking up his second save in three days, got some help on a nice diving catch by Corey Brown in right,. It all incorporated the feel of a regular season, intra-division game, full of drama up until the final out was recorded. It was the type of game many of those who follow the organization expect to see the team play this year – well pitched, low scoring and close. All in all, it almost felt like the regular season.

Almost.

After all, sitting to our right in the press box was a trio of Spanish broadcasters, announcing (live?) into their microphones about happenings around Mets camp. We picked out names like Ronny Cedeno and Johan Santana, and even a “los Nacionales de Washington.” With all the commotion in the box, we almost missed the fact that Ian Desmond’s four-hit game makes him 11-for-his-last-26.

We caught another impressive performance from Henry Rodriguez (and ensuing celebration) from the seats.

To clear our heads, we went down to field level to watch Rodriguez put the finishing touches on this one. The Venezuelan has quietly put together a very impressive spring campaign, holding the opposition scoreless in all nine of his outings, allowing just three hits and two walks while fanning seven over 9.0 innings of work. His success in smoothly converting both save opportunities presented to him this week can only help his chances of officially stepping into the closer role until Storen’s return.

We’ve officially hit the home stretch of Spring Training, with just six games left before the season officially begins a week from Thursday (!) at Wrigley Field. Here are the Nationals spring results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4

vs. Detroit – L, 6-3

@ Atlanta – L, 6-5

vs. New York (AL) – L, 8-5

@ New York (AL) – L, 4-3 (10)

vs. Miami – T, 1-1

vs. Detroit – L, 11-7

@ New York (NL) – L, 2-0

vs. Atlanta – L, 3-2 (10)

@ St. Louis – L, 9-0

@ Houston – L, 5-1

@ Baltimore – L, 12-3

vs. New York (NL) – W, 12-0

vs. Houston – W, 7-4

@ Miami – L, 3-1

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-2

Split Squads Thursday: vs. Atlanta, 1:05pm, @ Detroit, 6:05pm

Overall Record: 8-14-3

The Red Hot Corner

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The Nationals continued to score runs and play well in a win over the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals yesterday. They scored single runs in each of the first three innings, then added two in the fourth and three in the fifth on the way to an 8-4 victory. While there were contributions from all over the lineup, one player continues to stand out in the early going: Ryan Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is absolutely dialed in right now. After doubling in his first two plate appearances on Saturday, the Nats third baseman hit two more balls hard to the opposite field, the first for a double and the second for his second home run of the spring. After Monday, he led all MLB players in batting average in Spring Training, sitting at a scorching .583 clip (7-for-12) with five extra-base hits.

The Nationals knocked off the defending champs on Monday.

The question is asked every year of whoever starts the spring hot if they are worried that they are hitting their stride too soon. Zimmerman dismissed that notion and said he was just happy to be seeing the ball well. Needless to say, if this is a precursor of things to come in the regular season, it may be a special year for the Washington third baseman.

Corey Brown also played a solid game Monday. After coming up just short on a diving attempt for a shallow fly down the line in left field in the first inning, Brown made up for it in style in the third frame. Yadier Molina led off with a single to bring up Matt Holliday, who stung a ball towards the gap in left-center. Molina was running all the way on the play, but Brown raced over and made a diving catch, then sprung to his feet and gunned Molina down at first base for the double play. Brown also singled home runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

However, he was one of the casualties of the first round of cuts as he was sent to Minor League camp, along with fellow outfielder Xavier Paul, infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir, catcher Sandy Leon and pitchers Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Rafael Martin. The Nationals also optioned pitcher Matt Purke and infielder Anthony Rendon to High-A Potomac and infielder Carlos Rivero to Triple-A Syracuse.

Such is life in the world of Spring Training, where a 54-man camp must be trimmed to 25 players by Opening Day. The good news for those players is that they will all get more action on the field, as Minor League games begin this week. We’ll have more on those as they happen, but here are the Nationals results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4

vs. Detroit – Tuesday, 6:05pm

Overall Record: 5-3-2

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