Results tagged ‘ Ian Desmond ’
St. Louis Cardinals (10-8) vs. Washington Nationals (10-8)
RHP Shelby Miller (2-1, 1.96) vs. RHP Dan Haren (1-2, 8.10)
The Nationals return home following a 3-3 road trip to take on the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since last year’s National League Division Series. The opener will have a different feel than 2012, however, as Shelby Miller will face Washington for the first time and former Cardinal Dan Haren will take the hill against St. Louis for the first time since 2010.
1. Span CF
2. Werth RF
3. Harper LF
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Rendon 3B
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Haren RHP
UP AND DOWN
Washington’s offensive output on the trek was literally up and down, as they scored (in chronological order) 10, 2, 6, 1, 7 and 0 runs in the six games. So Washington plated 7.7 runs per game in the three wins, but just 1.0 run per contest in the three defeats.
JIM LETT’S BUDDING BULLPEN
Jim Lett’s bullpen excelled on the roadtrip, going 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA (5 ER/15.2 IP) in five games (Jordan Zimmermann tossed a complete game on Monday at Miami). Lett’s relievers posted a 9.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .193 batting average against during the five-game revival.
Ian Desmond’s National League-leading 11 extra-base hits (seven doubles, one triple, three homers) are tied with New York (AL)’s Robinson Cano and Oakland’s Jed Lowrie for the Major League lead among middle infielders.
Washington Nationals (8-6) vs. Miami Marlins (3-11)
LHP Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.69) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.12)
The Nationals look to wrap up their first road series victory of the 2013 season after splitting the first two games of the series. Washington is 4-1 so far this season vs. the Marlins.
1. Werth RF
2. Lombardozzi 2B
3. Harper LF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Bernadina CF
8. Suzuki C
9. Detwiler LHP
EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!
The Nationals pace the NL as 40.2 percent of their hits have gone for extra bases. This season, Washington’s 117 hits include 27 doubles, two triples and 18 homers. Atlanta ranks second in the NL (38.6%).
IAN’S BEING … IAN
Ian Desmond paces all MLB middle infielders in extra-base hits with 10 (seven doubles, triple, two home runs). Desmond’s seven doubles are also tied for the MLB lead (all positions) with Seattle’s Kyle Seager.
With the series outcome on the line tonight, note that Washington has won only three of 18 series played in Miami since the beginning of the 2007 campaign. The Nationals and Marlins split 18 games last season despite Washington’s 20-12 advantage in home runs. Via a 10-8 mark in 2007, the Nationals/Expos franchise has won only one season series from the Marlins since ’98.
Washington Nationals (8-5) vs. Miami Marlins (2-11)
RHP Dan Haren (1-1, 9.00) vs. RHP Alex Sanabia (1-1, 4.91)
The Nationals scored a season-high 10 runs to win the opening game of this series over the Marlins Monday night as Jordan Zimmermann tossed his first career nine-inning complete game. With Bryce Harper and Denard Span out due to stomach illness, Washington will lean on several members of the “Goon Squad” to deliver the offense today.
1. Werth RF
2. Bernadina CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Moore LF
7. Lombardozzi 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Haren RHP
Nationals catchers currently lead MLB with a .458 on-base percentage. Collectively, Nationals backstops Wilson Ramos (DL) and Kurt Suzuki (Jhonatan Solano has not played yet), are batting .333 (13-for-39) with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI, eight walks and six runs scored.
DESMOND IN THE ROUGH
Ian Desmond’s nine extra-base hits (six doubles, triple, two home runs) are tied with Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips and Oakland’s Jed Lowrie for the MLB lead among middle infielders. Desmond’s six doubles are also tied for the MLB lead (all positions) with eight other players.
Davey Johnson and his 1294 career managerial wins appear poised to move into the top 30 all-time in the coming days. Johnson currently ranks 31st on the all-time list and trails Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson, who posted 1295 wins and a .578 winning percentage in 21 seasons (1875, 1879-98) primarily as a player/manager with the Phillies, White Sox, Chicago Colts and Giants. Before the season ends, Johnson has a strong chance to also catch and surpass Hall-of-Famer Ned Hanlon (#29, 1313 wins) and Chuck Tanner (#28, 1352 wins).
Early in a young season, teams are still settling into the flow of the campaign, still forming the identities that will define them over the course of 162 games. A quick glance at Washington’s results through the first couple weeks may lead one to wonder what kind of team these 2013 Nationals truly are. But before jumping to any conclusions, positive or negative, take heed from someone who knows best.
“You’re never as bad as you look when you lose, and never as good as you look when you win,” said skipper Davey Johnson after the weekend series against the Braves.
He echoed that sentiment after Monday night’s 10-3, series-opening thrashing of the Marlins.
“You know, we don’t live in the past,” he said. “We don’t worry too much about things. We take it one day at a time, and this was a perfect example.”
The Nationals snapped out of their weekend funk with a roaring first inning, scoring four runs before Jordan Zimmermann ever took the mound. They added on with two more in the third, fourth and fifth to open up a 10-0 advantage behind their workmanlike third ace, who delivered his first-ever, nine-inning complete game. While it was a big game to reverse momentum and preserve the bullpen, it was only fitting that the even-keeled Zimmermann controlled the tempo throughout. Nevertheless, he allowed himself to relish in his accomplishment.
“It means a lot,” he said of his 103-pitch performance. “It means I’m doing my job, staying in the game, putting up zeroes. That’s the kind of pitcher I want to be. I want to be a workhorse.”
Zimmermann, who was the first Nationals starter to two wins, now leads the team and shares the league lead with three, to go along with his 2.45 ERA. After getting precious little run support through much of his 12-win campaign last year, he has been the beneficiary of 21 runs of offense through his first three outings this season.
“It seems like we all hit better when Jordan pitches,” said Ian Desmond, whose 4-for-5 night raised his average to .320 for the season. “Last year, we didn’t hit for him. This year, we’re hitting for him.”
Zimmermann will not finish the year 33-0 with a win in every start. The Nationals will not win every game they play against Miami this season, nor lose every one against Atlanta. It is important to keep perspective, especially considering this – entering play on June 4 last season, 39 games farther into the campaign than they currently sit, the Nationals were in a three-way tie for first place with Miami and the New York Mets. Seriously, see for yourself.
Regardless of how much stock you want to put in a single game’s outcome, though, it was a good night to get a win and get back on track.
You remember Gio Gonzalez’s first start of last year, right? Who could forget when the charismatic southpaw took the Nationals fan base by storm, delivering seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball, and introduced an adoring crowd to his trademark grin when he delivered his first Major League hit in the home opener? First impressions can go a long way to establishing relationships between players and fan bases.
Except, of course, that wasn’t Gonzalez’s first start as a National. That less-than-memorable occasion actually occurred at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field on April 7, 2012, when he allowed four runs on seven hits, failing to make it out of the fourth inning. Gonzalez’s first outing was quickly overshadowed by the lefty’s success in his initial opportunity in front of the home fans five days later. He used that success to shoot out to a 7-1 start en route to a Major League-best 21 wins and a third-place finish in the National League Cy Young voting.
All of this should provide solace to Dan Haren, who makes his home debut Thursday night in Washington. With three times as many Major League wins (119) and All-Star appearances (three) under his belt as Gonzalez had entering last season, the veteran righty doesn’t have anything to prove. But a return to the form that saw him compile a 2.81 ERA and 41 strikeouts to only five walks over his last eight starts of the 2012 season would go a long way toward further endearing him to the home crowd here in The District.
Haren’s teammates have done everything in their power to set the stage. With Wednesday night’s 5-2 victory over the White Sox, the Nationals moved to 5-0 at home to begin the season and 6-2 overall for the 2013 campaign. The bats continued to deliver, as Ian Desmond led the charge with a trio of extra-base hits. Since suffering their first loss of the year, a shutout last Friday night in Cincinnati, the Nats offense has scored 25 times over the past four contests, plating no less than five runs in each game in support of their pitching staff.
If Haren can accomplish what Gonzalez did last year, Nationals fans will no doubt welcome him with open arms as the newest member of K Street.
The calendar may have read April 10, but there was the distinct feeling of summer in the air as the Nationals began their second homestand of 2013 Tuesday night. With a first pitch temperature of 81 degrees, baseballs were flying out of Nationals Park more the way they tend to do in summertime than in spring. Or, rather, more the way they did when the Washington lineup finally returned to health last summer than the way they did with the depleted, early-season edition.
It can be easy to forget, what with the team’s offensive success in the second half, just how much the Nationals struggled to score runs at times while key members of their lineup were missing. Even once the team was mostly healthy, Jayson Werth’s wrist remained at less than 100 percent strength, while Wilson Ramos would not play again until Opening Day this year.
But look at this lineup right now – there are no breaks, no easy outs. Not just that, but every hitter, one through eight (and even nine, as Gio Gonzalez would have you know), can take a mistake and deposit it over the wall. Werth slugged 20 or more home runs every year from 2008-11, blasting a career best 36 in 2009. Ramos swatted 15 out of the park in less than 400 at-bats two seasons ago before his 2012 was cut short. Considering the three through seven hitters between them combined for 122 homers in under 2,800 at-bats last season (roughly one per 23 at-bats), the current Nationals lineup may well be the most daunting they’ve ever put on the field as a franchise.
Washington has already hit 14 home runs through the season’s first seven games. With the traditional “small sample size” caveat, that puts them on pace for 324 this season, after setting a franchise record with 194 last year. Five players have hit more than one home run. Three – Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche and Ramos – already have a multi-homer game.
Last year, the Nationals had just four combined homers through seven games, and didn’t hit their 14th until Game #24 on May 2, when Ian Desmond rocked J.J. Putz for a two-out, two-run, ninth-inning, walk-off blast.
That home run ignited the first wave of offense to support the stellar pitching staff. Consider this year’s lineup already ignited.
The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the cover article The Highest Form, from Issue 1 of the 2013 Inside Pitch. Beginning this season, we will provide links, text shortcodes and QR codes to digital features like this one throughout Nationals Magazine and Inside Pitch.
Nationals fans who followed the team closely last season were introduced to a term that would carry throughout the year. With the propensity of the team to play close, back-and-forth, stress-filled, ulcer-inducing nail-biters, the phrase “Cardiac Nats” began being thrown around. The 2012 edition of the Nats were 27-21 in one-run games, and 13-7 in extra innings, playing past the ninth a league-high 20 times.
It didn’t take long for the Cardiac Nats to resurface in 2013.
Just five games into the season, Washington played one of the most gut-wrenching, roller coaster contests in recent memory, watching a 5-1, eighth-inning lead slip away, only to weather the storm and win, 7-6 in 11 frames.
One can only imagine what it would have been like to lose such a game, a thought neither Ian Desmond nor Jayson Werth were willing to entertain afterwards. If the afternoon itself hadn’t been filled with enough drama, the Nationals were coming off the heels of a 15-0 loss the night before, the most lopsided margin of defeat in franchise history since the team moved to Washington.
So what do you do the day after you get beat by 15 runs, then watch a four-run cushion disappear in the late innings? You get back up off the mat.
Desmond, whose pair of errors led to a couple of unearned Reds runs, made sure he took advantage of the opportunity afforded him for redemption leading off the 11th inning. He worked the count to 2-0, then fouled back two consecutive fastballs on big swings. With the count level at 2-2, he destroyed a hanging breaking ball from J.J. Hoover, sending it soaring into the upper deck in left field at Great American Ball Park, an estimated 439 feet from where it left the bat.
Two batters later, Wilson Ramos absolutely demolished his second home run of the game, a 3-2 fastball off the netting behind and above the home bullpen, just to the left of straightaway center field. There are some cheap home runs to be found here in Cincinnati, but Washington’s pair of 11th-inning blasts would have been long gone in any park in the game.
Ramos’ redemption may have been even greater than Desmond’s. After all, his last Major League home run came right here, in Cincinnati, on May 12 of last year, when he tied the game with a solo home run in the fifth inning. Just two frames later, while racing to the backstop to retrieve a passed ball, his foot would plant awkwardly, his knee would buckle, and his season would come to a premature end.
With the Reds scoring again in the bottom of the 11th, trimming the margin back to one and putting the tying run in scoring position, Ramos’ second blast became the difference in the game.
The dramatic Saturday affair also highlighted one of the reasons the Nationals are so good in these types of games. With all the momentum against them, Craig Stammen – arguably the fourth or fifth option in Davey Johnson’s bullpen – came on to deliver two huge innings of relief. He fanned four, including a flailing Jay Bruce to end the game, mixing a nasty, darting two-seamer with his trademark slider.
All of it, the clutch hitting, the big performance from deep in the bullpen, can mean only one thing. The Cardiac Nats are back.
Washington Nationals (3-1) vs. Cincinnati Reds (3-1)
LHP Ross Detwiler (0-0) vs. RHP Mike Leake (0-0)
Washington absorbed its first loss of the season last night at the hands of the Reds, but will look to get back in the win column this afternoon in Cincinnati.
1. Span CF
2. Werth RF
3. Harper LF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. Tracy 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Ramos C
9. Detwiler LHP
In four games as the Nationals center fielder, Denard Span has registered four hits, a double, five walks and one RBI. Thus, Span owns a .563 OBP from Davey Johnson’s top spot. As recently as 2011, Washington ranked dead last in MLB with a .285 OBP from the leadoff slot. Last year, the Nationals improved to 18th in MLB with a .325 OBP from those batting first in Johnson’s order.
THE 500 CLUB
With 498 in the bag, Jayson Werth is just two RBI shy of reaching the 500-RBI plateau for his career. 92 of Werth’s 495 career RBI have come as a member of the Nationals. 300 of his RBI came as a Phillie, 90 as a Dodger and 16 as a Blue Jay.
Washington’s double-play combo of Ian Desmond and a freshly-shaven Danny Espinosa combined to go 3-for-8 with a double in Friday’s series-opening setback at Great American Ball Park. Desmond and Espinosa were a collective 1-for-21 during the Nationals season-opening three-game series sweep of the Marlins.
So far, so good in 2013. Washington is off to a 3-0 start for the first time in five seasons and stands alone atop the NL East. And before you go belittling the fact that the only team they’ve beaten so far is the Marlins, think back for a moment to the beginning of last year.
The Nationals also got off to a good start in 2012, but they were unable to fully put away any of their early season opponents, setting themselves up to sweep a series 10 times before finally sealing the deal. Of course, considering the litany of injuries the team weathered, particularly through the season’s first half, it was impressive that the Nationals were ever in a position to be able to sweep anyone in the first place.
Just look back at the roster in the beginning of the 2012 season. Mark DeRosa was the Opening Day left fielder. Brad Lidge was the closer. Bryce Harper was still in Syracuse. Michael Morse and Drew Storen did not come back to Washington until mid-season, while watching Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman all hit the disabled list before their return.
The story has been much different so far this year (knock on wood). The Opening Day lineup most fans envisioned when they saw the club for the first time this year at NatsFest was the actual Opening Day lineup on the field in D.C. on April 1. With the young and untested Marlins first up on the schedule, a sweep was almost expected, as unfair as that may be.
And yet, the Nats lived up to that expectation. At the end of four days of play, they are the lone remaining undefeated team in Major League Baseball.
Of course, the season is long, and will no doubt take its twists and turns, with players missing time here and there for the various bumps and bruises that come with the territory of a 162-game slate. The jokes about 162-0 will soon be forgotten, whenever the team drops its first contest of the year.
Washington encounters its first true test tonight, facing off with the defending National League Central Champion Reds in Cincinnati. With a lineup of mashers, especially from the left side, it seems unlikely that the Nationals will be able to count on allowing only a single earned run over three games in this series. It will be a tough first assignment for Dan Haren, but one that he no doubt welcomes as he – and the Nats – hit the road healthy here at the outset of the season.