Results tagged ‘ Detroit Tigers ’
5.9.13 – Nationals 5, Tigers 4
Stat of the Game: Washington scored five times in the first two innings, improving to a perfect 13-0 when scoring five or more runs this season.
Under-the-Radar Performance: The bullpen turned in three scoreless innings to preserve a one-run lead in the victory.
It Was Over When: Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder’s long fly ball came up short of the wall in center field as Denard Span squeezed the final out for the two-game series sweep.
Detroit Tigers (19-12) vs. Washington Nationals (18-15)
RHP Doug Fister (4-0, 2.38) vs. RHP Dan Haren (3-3, 5.01)
The Nationals look for a two-game series sweep of the Tigers, following Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory behind Jordan Zimmermann. Dan Haren rides a two-game personal winning streak into this afternoon’s affair against Detroit righty Doug Fister.
1. Span CF
2. Bernadina LF
3. Harper RF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Ramos C
9. Haren RHP
On Wednesday night, Jordan Zimmermann became the first Washington Nationals (2005-present) pitcher to garner a win in three straight starts despite Nationals bats posting three or less runs of offensive support (3-1 on Wednesday vs. Detroit, 2-0 on May 1 at Atlanta, 1-0 on April 26 vs. Cincinnati). Zimmermann has pocketed the win in seven consecutive starts at Nationals Park.
THE AMERICAN WAY
The Nationals are a perfect 4-0 this season against the American League (1-0 vs. Detrit, 3-0 vs. Chicago). Washington is also 22-15 in interleague play since the beginning of 2011. The corresponding .595 winning percentage paces NL clubs (fourth in MLB) in that 2+ year span, during which Washington is 12-7 (.632) at Nationals Park against the AL.
BRYCE HITS 10TH HOMER
Bryce Harper slugged his 10th homer of the season in his 111th at-bat of the season on Wednesday. In doing so, Harper reached the double-digit home run plateau quicker than any National (2005-present) with the exception of Adam Dunn, who blasted his 10th homer of the 2009 campaign n his 103rd at-bat, May 10 at Arizona.
Looking purely at the history of the matchup, not much favored the Nationals heading into Wednesday’s tilt with the Detroit Tigers. The franchise had never beaten Detroit since moving to D.C., going 0-6 over a pair on Interleague matchups since 2005. The Nationals also had never handed opposing starter Anibal Sanchez a loss in his 19 career starts against them.
But the Nationals had Jordan Zimmermann. And, as we’ve begun to learn this season, sometimes that’s enough to throw history out the window.
Behind seven strong innings from their emerging ace, the Nationals played great defense and found just enough timely hitting to pull out a 3-1 win. The victory also marked something of a first for Zimmermann, who took over the top spot in the National League with his sixth of the season. The righty lowered his ERA to just 1.59, trailing only Matt Harvey of the Mets.
Meanwhile, Bryce Harper became the first National to reach double digits in home runs, doing so before any of his teammates even hit their fifth of the season. His 10th blast, a no-doubter to right-center off Sanchez in the fifth inning, tied him with John Buck for second in the National League and provided the game’s final margin.
Wednesday night’s contest even included the proverbial “thing you’ve never seen before at the ballpark,” an idiom often used in baseball. The less-than-fleet-footed Adam LaRoche made an aggressive play to tag from second base on a fly ball to right field with one out in the fourth inning. Torii Hunter’s throw came in just as LaRoche went into his slide, but glanced off the runner’s hand, past third baseman Miguel Cabrera and into the photographer’s well next to the Tigers dugout, where it hit a camera and ricocheted back out onto the field. As the ball would have gone out of play, third base umpire Greg Gibson awarded LaRoche home plate for what would turn out to be the game-winning run.
And so, even though some previous trends suggested a victory was unlikely, the Nationals upheld another trend that D.C. baseball fans might find pleasantly surprising. With the win, Washington improved to 22-15 in Interleague play since the beginning of the 2011 season, the best mark in the National League over that span. The Nationals also are now 4-0 against the American League this season, including a three-game sweep of the White Sox back in April. And at three games over .500 for the first time since entering play at 10-7 on April 21, they are just two games behind what is hopefully the next “first” on the list.
5.8.13 – Nationals 3, Tigers 1
Stat of the Game: Bryce Harper became the first National to reach 10 home runs, and is now tied for second in the National League with 10 long balls.
Under-the-Radar Performance: With another stellar performance, Jordan Zimmermann earned his league-leading sixth victory, dropping his already paltry ERA to just 1.59.
It Was Over When: Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano combined to record the final six outs and lock up the victory, Washington’s third in a row.
Detroit Tigers (19-11) vs. Washington Nationals (17-15)
RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 1.82) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-1, 1.64)
Following a two-day break – after playing 17 games in 17 days – the Nationals return home to take on the American League Central-leading Detroit Tigers in a short, two-game set. Familiar foe and former Marlin Anibal Sanchez matches up with Jordan Zimmermann, who shares the National League lead with five wins.
1. Span CF
2. Desmond SS
3. Harper RF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Moore LF
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Zimmermann RHP
In 13 games dating to April 23, Steve McCatty’s starting staff has fashioned a 2.96 ERA (28 ER/85.0 IP) thanks in part to a 3.4/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .218 batting average against.
The Nationals, since their arrival in the Nation’s Capital, have never beaten the Tigers, going 0-6. The Nationals have posted wins against each of Major League Baseball’s other 28 clubs. This is the Tigers first visit to Nationals Park, although Detroit did sweep a three-game set in D.C., June 15-17, 2007 at RFK.
THE AMERICAN WAY
The Nationals are 21-15 in interleague play since the beginning of 2011. The corresponding .583 winning percentage paces National League clubs (tied for fifth in MLB) in that 2+ year span, during which Washington is 11-7 (.611) at Nationals Park when facing AL competition.
The Washington Nationals wish to announce that all fans who purchased tickets for Tuesday night’s postponed game with the Detroit Tigers will be guaranteed their same seats for Thursday’s scheduled 4:05 p.m. makeup game, or will retain the option to exchange their tickets – as they have in the past – for any remaining regular or value home game during the 2013 season, subject to availability. Due to increased attendance at Nationals Park, “rain check” ticket holders are encouraged to contact the Nationals ticket office by phone or online to better ensure seating for those games. The Nationals apologize for any inconvenience.
Tickets for Tuesday’s game may be exchanged at the Nationals Park Box Office for any Regular or Value 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.* For more information on exchanging tickets purchased through nationals.com or the Nationals telephone charge line, please call 888.632.NATS(6287).
On game days, 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-game days 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.
*Subject to availability. Available game dates subject to change.
The Rule 5 Draft is one of the most intricately constructed of baseball’s many minutiae. It exists to give veteran Minor League players who are not on their team’s 40-man roster a chance to make another team’s Major League roster. However, if the players aren’t able to break camp with their new team, they are given back to their original club. Four Nationals Minor Leaguers were taken by other teams in last offseason’s draft, but two were returned in the final week of Spring Training, including the 50th overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Jeff Kobernus.
The UC Berkeley product batted .220/.291/.300 with a pair of triples and three RBI in 50 at-bats this spring for Detroit, and was thought by many to be a fairly strong candidate to make the 25-man roster out of camp as a reserve player. Instead, he rejoined an ever-strengthening Nationals Minor League squad at Triple-A Syracuse.
It is easy to see the tool that stands out the most in Kobernus’ game by looking at his stat line. The speedster has swiped 95 bases while being caught just 19 times over the past two seasons, good for an 83 percent success rate. But he has also maintained his other offensive numbers steadily as he has progressed through the system each year, despite missing time to injury.
“He’s a toolsy player who can run, swing the bat, play second base,” said Nationals Assistant GM Bryan Minniti of Kobernus.
After playing almost entirely at second base throughout his career, the Tigers began trying Kobernus in the outfield this spring. After all, their infield was full, and the 24-year-old’s athleticism and speed seemed to profile well for such a switch. Clearly, the Nationals saw the same in Kobernus when they first selected him back in 2009.
“There are some guys where that’s the only tool they have and that gets them to the big leagues,” Minniti explained of Kobernus’ speed. “Jeff has more than just one tool that can play in the big leagues.”
Kobernus’ ability to take his talents and use them in multiple spots around the field may be key in his advancement. With a Nationals squad fairly deep at most positions, it’s an asset to be a player able to fill in anywhere around the diamond.
“It helps you for when there’s a time that a position needs to be filled,” said Kobernus of his versatility. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be the one position that you play. If you can play multiple, it gives you a better chance of being able to go up there and stay up there.”
Kobernus need only look as far as Steve Lombardozzi to see his theory in action. A second baseman throughout his minor league career, Lombardozzi was able to stick in the majors last year thanks to his versatility, particularly at third base and in left field.
Kobernus has taken full advantage of his current situation, bursting out of the gates to post an absurd .579/.625/.885 slash line with a triple, a home run, eight runs scored, six RBI and three steals in his first five games with the Chiefs. And while he was understandably disappointed not to make a Major League club out of camp just yet, the experience he gained – especially in terms of mental preparation – was invaluable.
“It was really fun seeing all the big-name guys over there, how they work, how they go about their business,” he said. “Not just preparing for a season, but preparing expecting to get to the World Series.”
That experience will no doubt serve him well as he strives to make it to the Major League level on a Nationals squad filled with many of the same expectations.
Jordan Zimmermann was dominant against the defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers on Monday, setting down the final 18 batters he faced after allowing a leadoff single to begin the game. And as impressive as he was in dismantling one of the best offenses in baseball, he accomplished a feat even more rare off the field just last week.
As they have done each of the last three years, a collection of Nationals players, coaches and staff joined together for a par three scramble challenge on the Doral course near Space Coast Stadium last Monday night. With the off day on Tuesday, the tradition allowed for the group to come together off the field and bond over some friendly competition.
If you didn’t already know, the Nationals feature a number of very good golfers, mostly members of the pitching staff, particularly the bullpen. Each group of four on the course had a designated A, B, C and D player, based on respective skill. Zimmermann, whose golf score hovers around his fastball – somewhere in the mid-90s, according to the pitcher – was the “C” player on Tyler Clippard’s squad, which began the day on the third hole, just over 100 yards long. And while Clippard may have been the designated “A” player, it didn’t take long for Zimmermann to establish himself as the ringer of the team.
“First swing of the day,” explained Zimmermann. “I pulled my pitching wedge, spun it back, and it went in.”
A hole-in-one on his very first swing, and style points to boot with the backspin.
Along with Clippard, Zimmermann’s team included Syracuse Chiefs hitting coach and “B” player Troy Gingrich, as well as Nationals strength and conditioning coach John Philbin, holding down the “D” player spot. Together, they combined to go 11 under par over 18 holes, forcing a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, Zimmermann again stepped up to finish what he had so masterfully started.
“He buried a 20-footer to win,” said Clippard, whose team knocked off the foursome of Drew Storen, Rick Eckstein, Harrisburg Senators pitching coach Paul Menhart and Kurt Suzuki.
It was both Clippard and Zimmermann’s first win in the tournament’s three-year history, but Philbin’s second consecutive win. Simply known as “Coach” to most in the clubhouse, they gave him a hard time for backing into his success again.
“Somehow Coach always finds his way onto the winning team,” said Zimmermann, who certainly earned the right to make the joke.
The par three scramble challenge will no doubt remain an annual tradition, as it is one of the only times all year the entire team is able to convene outside of the ballpark, just relax, and enjoy each other’s company.
“I wish we could do it once a week,” said Clippard of the event.
Of course, winning probably helps.
After competing in a postseason type of atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic the last couple of weeks, Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez returned to the much more low-key confines of Viera, rejoining their teammates in Spring Training this week. Detwiler made his first spring start since the tournament on Sunday, bringing a sharp changeup, as well as his trademark, self-deprecating wit along with him to Lakeland as he squared off with the Tigers.
Despite the change in venue, Detwiler used the same approach for this outing as he did for his shining WBC moment, in which he shut down Team Italy over four scoreless frames to help Team USA advance to the second round.
“I don’t think it was that different,” said the southpaw of the two environments. “I had the same mentality to just go out there, throw strikes and get ahead.”
Limited to 56 pitches over four innings, the lefty allowed just three hits and a walk, surrendering a single run on a towering home run to Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter in the first inning.
“My first outing in Spring Training I faced the Braves and their Opening Day lineup,” he explained, noting that he has run into a tough string of opponents already in spring. “You don’t want to take any less intensity out there or they’re going to hit a ball right back at you. Or over the tiki hut in left.”
Detwiler went on to throw 15 more pitches in the bullpen, as he stretches himself out for his first start of the season, likely in Cincinnati – a well-known hitter’s haven – on the team’s first road trip. Good thing he’s getting his practice in now in tough pitching environments.
“That’s a ridiculous lineup,” he said of the Tigers, who rolled out nearly all of their starters on Sunday. “You’ve got to focus on keeping the ball down, or you’re going to have to throw with an L-screen out there.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, an L-screen is the protective barrier from behind which coaches throw batting practice to the players. Hopefully he won’t need any such equipment should he run into them again when the two teams meet during the regular season, May 7-8 in D.C.
“I’m going to throw to the American League the same way I throw to the National League, I just won’t have to hit in half the games,” he explained, as the only difference in his approach. After a pause, he quipped, “That’s a good thing.”
While Detwiler was out facing the defending American League Champions, Gonzalez took his day off to head to Disney World. He threw on the Minor League side on Monday as he works his way back into the rotation.
With Detwiler and Gonzalez’s return, and with the starters scheduled to play more innings both at home and on the road this week, it was time on Monday morning to make the next round of cuts in camp. The Nationals optioned right-handed pitchers Erik Davis, Yunesky Maya and Ryan Perry, catcher Jhonatan Solano, infielder Chris Marrero and outfielder Corey Brown to Syracuse and reassigned right-handed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and infielder Zach Walters to Minor League camp. The Spring Training roster now stands at 34 players heading into play against the Tigers once again on Monday.
1. Span CF
2. Werth RF
3. Harper LF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Ramos C
9. Zimmermann RHP
2/23 @ New York (NL) – L, 5-3
2/24 vs. Miami – T, 2-2
2/25 @ New York (NL) – W, 6-4
2/26 @ Atlanta – L, 9-5
2/27 vs. Miami – L, 5-1
2/28 vs. New York (NL) – T, 4-4
3/1 @ Atlanta – W, 6-5
3/2 @ St. Louis – W, 6-2
3/3 vs. St. Louis – W, 7-6
3/5 vs. Houston – W, 7-1
3/6 @ Philadelphia – L, 6-3
3/7 @ Houston – L, 4-2
3/8 vs. Cardinals – L, 16-10
3/9 vs. Marlins – W, 8-7
3/10 @ Detroit – L, 2-1
3/11 vs. Atlanta – L, 7-2
3/13 SS vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-5
3/13 SS @ Houston – W, 9-7
3/14 vs. Houston – W, 6-3
3/15 @ St. Louis – L, 5-1
3/16 vs. Houston – L, 4-2
3/17 @ Detroit – W, 12-10
Overall Record: 10-10-2
Nationals fans who attended games early in the season may remember Ryan Perry’s name and wonder why he is the subject of a Down on the Farm report. Wasn’t he, after all, a Major Leaguer already? In fact, Perry has pitched parts of the past four seasons in the big leagues, logging a 6-6 record and a 4.36 ERA over 169.1 innings pitched, all out of the bullpen. While he has showed promise since his debut as a 22 year-old back in 2009, he had yet to progress in the way that his powerful arsenal of pitches promised.
As such, Perry and the Nationals both came to the same conclusion earlier this year – perhaps it was time to give starting a shot. Often times starters from the college ranks will move into the bullpen as they reach the higher levels of the Minor Leagues. Perry, however, possesses a potent array of pitches, including a high-90s fastball to go along with his changeup and slider. It was that raw talent that led the Tigers to draft him with the 21st overall selection back in 2008. But the transition to using those weapons over 100 pitches or more, instead of simply an inning or two, required an overhaul in approach. So the 25 year-old Perry packed his bags for Double-A Harrisburg to stretch out his arm, build his workload and try to make the successful conversion to the rotation.
“I’ve been in the big leagues, but I’m still learning,” Perry reflected when we caught up with him towards the end of his Minor League season in Harrisburg back in August. “There are still many things for me to learn and to hone in on to get back there.”
Perry made 13 starts for the Senators, his 2-4 record undermining his 2.84 ERA (23 ER/73.0 IP) over that span. He allowed just three home runs, while posting an impressive 1.11 WHIP and striking out more than twice as many batters (46) as he walked (22). That was enough for the Nationals to send Perry, along with some of their top prospects, to the Arizona Fall League.
Perry has been on both sides of the success spectrum so far in the AFL. He allowed seven runs over just 5.0 innings in his first two starts, walking four while striking out five. But he rebounded to throw four perfect frames in his next start, then followed that up with five innings of one-hit ball, completing a nine-inning stretch in which he allowed just one baserunner while fanning seven.
While his overall ERA sits a shade below 5.00 at 4.98, his peripheral stats have mirrored those he put up in Double-A. With a 1.15 WHIP and a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk rate, the tall, powerful righty continues to show the type of promise the Nationals were hoping when the two sides agreed to the experiment earlier this year. Keep an eye on Perry and the rest of the Nats prospects as they wrap up their AFL schedule this week.