Results tagged ‘ Jayson Werth ’

What to Watch for: 9.4.13

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Washington Nationals (71-68) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (63-76)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (15-8, 3.33) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (2-4, 7.94)

It wasn’t until this week that Jayson Werth finally amassed enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, his name suddenly appearing in the middle of stat packs across the National League. Perhaps that’s part of the reason his season, at age 34, has flown under the radar to some degree. But if Werth can continue to stay hot over the season’s final three weeks, he may etch his name into the baseball history books.

Entering play on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, following his team-leading 40th multi-hit game of the season on Tuesday, Werth was batting .321, just nine points off the league lead, held by the Braves Chris Johnson. But back to those multi-hit games – Werth has only played in 106 contests this season, due to a few lingering, minor injuries early on. That means he has collected multiple hits in 37.73 percent of his games, trailing only St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter (39.85) in such a percentage among the National League’s top 20 in multi-hit performances.

Not a fan of batting average as a metric? Werth’s .396 on-base percentage ranks fifth in the NL, his .526 slugging percentage fourth. A mechanical change in his approach – lifting his hands higher, so that they don’t have to travel up, then down through his swing – has helped him shorten the time from decision to contact, and the results speak for themselves.

“I think he’s a better hitter than he was over here,” said Nationals Manager Davey Johnson, referring to Werth’s days in Philadelphia. “He’s as good as I’ve ever seen him.”

Since July 1, Werth is batting .367/.451/.607 over a span of 233 plate appearances. If he continued at that pace for the season’s final 24 games, he would get 100 more plate appearances and finish at .330 (actually .3297, or 153-for-464), almost exactly what Atlanta’s Johnson is batting today. It will be another race worth keeping an eye on over the season’s final few weeks. 

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Jayson Werth RF

4. Adam LaRoche 1B

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Wilson Ramos C

7. Corey Brown LF

8. Steve Lombardozzi 2B

9. Jordan Zimmermann RHP

I TOOK A WALK

The Nationals drew a season-high nine walks, two with the bases loaded, en route to their 9-6 triumph over the Phillies. Adam LaRoche accounted for three of the free passes, including the second of the back-to-back walks that scored runs.

ATTENTION SPAN

Denard Span has hit safely in a career-high 16 straight games at a .415 (27-for-65) clip with five walks, three doubles, two triples, a homer, 10 runs scored and five RBI. Span’s surge has raised his season batting average from .258 to .278. He is currently tied with Adam LaRoche, (May 2-19) for the longest hit streak by a National in 2013.

SECOND HARVEST

Starting tonight, three Washington farm clubs will begin postseason play:

• Harrisburg (AA) - Eastern League West Division Champions – vs. Erie (DET)

• Potomac (A) - Carolina League North Division Champions – vs. Lynchburg (ATL)

• Hagerstown (A) - South Atlantic League North Division Champions (first half) – at West Virginia (PIT)

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.

What to Watch for: 9.2.13

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Washington Nationals (69-67) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (62-75)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 2.96) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (6-13, 3.58)

The Nationals staved off a sweep with a three-run eighth inning to complete a 6-5, come-from-behind win over the Mets to help them close back within 6.5 games of the final postseason spot with 26 games remaining in the regular season. Washington hits the road for a crucial 10-game swing through Philadelphia (3), Miami (3) and New York (4) beginning tonight. Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels match up in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Bryce Harper CF

2. Scott Hairston LF

3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Adam LaRoche 1B

7. Wilson Ramos C

8. Anthony Rendon 2B

9. Stephen Strasburg RHP

A WERTH-Y NAME ENTERS NL BATTING CHASE

After missing 28 games earlier this season due to a right hamstring strain, Jayson Werth finally appears among National League batting leaders. Werth’s .323 batting average currently ranks fourth in the Senior Circuit and trails only Michael Cuddyer (.328), Chris Johnson (.329) and Yadier Molina (.333).

ATTENTION SPAN

Denard Span has hit safely in a career-high 15 straight games at a .407 (24-for-59) clip with five walks, two doubles, two triples, a homer, eight runs scored and 5 RBI, Span’s surge has raised his batting average from .258 to .275. This marks the fifth double-digit hit streak of Span’s career. The longest streak posted by a Nationals player in ‘13: Adam LaRoche, 16 games (May 2-19).

BETTER BALL

At 17-11 (.607), the Nationals have the NL’s 3rd-best record in since August 1st…a closer look:

1. Dodgers: 24-6 (.800)

2. Braves: 20-8 (.714)

3. Nationals: 17-11 (.607)

What to Watch for: 8.31.13

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New York Mets (61-72) vs. Washington Nationals (68-66)

RHP Zack Wheeler (6-3) vs. RHP Dan Haren (8-11, 4.66) 

The Nationals have won eight of their last 10, but dropped last night’s series opener to the Mets. Washington will look to get back into the win column tonight, as Dan Haren takes the mound. Haren is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA (4 ER/20.0 IP) over his last three home starts, including a 4-1 win over the Mets on July 27.

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. Steve Lombardozzi 2B

9. Dan Haren RHP

IN THE HUNT

Now with enough plate appearances to qualify, Jayson Werth’s .325 batting average ranks third in the National League, behind just Yadier Molina (.330) and Chris Johnson (.326). Since July 1, Werth’s .380 average has paced the National League, while Victor Martinez (.391) leads the Majors.

ATTENTION: SPAN

By legging out an infield single in the eighth inning, Denard Span extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. During the streak, Span has hit at a .377 clip (20-for-53) with two doubles, two triples, a homer, four RBI, six runs scored and five walks. This is the fifth double-digit hit streak of Span’s career. He has topped his previous career-high 12-game hit streak, accomplished while with the Twins from April 18-May 1, 2012.

SECOND HARVEST

Of the Nationals 6 domestic farm clubs, 4 have secured spots in the Minor League postseason: Harrisburg (Double-A, Eastern League), Potomac Nationals (High-A, Carolina League), Hagerstown Suns (Low-A, South Atlantic League) and the GCL Nationals (Rookie, Gulf Coast League).

What to Watch for: 8.30.13

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New York Mets (60-72) vs. Washington Nationals (68-65)

RHP Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (15-7, 3.32) 

Often in baseball, we talk about the intangible benefits of veterans in the clubhouse. They seem to have an effect on the team dynamic by their mere presence, leading by example, letting their play speak for itself.

It’s less often we hear about the tangible benefits of veteran leaders. Sure, they’re frequently the ones making an impact in the box score night in and night out, but their role as teachers for the less experienced players can be easy to overlook.

Yet, if it weren’t for one of those moments of tangible leadership, the Nationals might have had a more difficult time dispatching the Marlins, 9-0, on Thursday night.

On paper, pitcher Gio Gonzalez’s seven shutout innings look about as solid as a manager can hope for from his starter. For the first two innings, though, Miami appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough, as Gonzalez walked three and gave up two hits, striking out just one batter. While he managed to strand three runners in scoring position over the first two frames, his pitch count rose to 43, not a good sign with a depleted Nationals bullpen that threw seven innings Wednesday due to the rain.

Cue that veteran guidance. Dripping with sweat after the two long frames, Gonzalez retreated to the clubhouse and found closer Rafael Soriano waiting for him. The 12-year veteran had noticed something off with Gonzalez’s delivery and had some words of wisdom for the Nationals starter.

“After the second inning, I came up here to change my shirt, and I had Soriano standing right in the entrance telling me, ‘Stay back, your arm is dropping way too low and you are trying to rush,’” Gonzalez recalled. “That meant a lot, especially when he is out there watching.”

Gonzalez made the adjustment. Over his next five innings of work, he gave up just one more hit and struck out seven Miami batters on just 65 pitches. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson flirted with the idea of sending him back out for the eighth, before handing the ball over to Tanner Roark. The rookie reliever made quick work of the eighth and ninth innings, needing just 13 pitches, 12 of which were strikes.

The Nats offense helped alleviate any lingering pressure, with Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond each launching multi-run homers over the left field fence. If the Nationals are to make a run at a National League Wild Card spot, offensive performances like those that have marked their current hot streak will be crucial. But so, too, will the small adjustments like Gonzalez’s, and the veterans that spot the need for them.

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. Jordan Zimmermann RHP

D.C.’S HIT MAN SOON TO BE EXPOSED

Jayson Werth’s .329 batting average would rank a close second in the National League and trail only Yadier Molina (.333) with enough plate appearances to qualify. Werth’s 411 plate appearances to date are only one shy of the 412 presently required (133 games x 3.1 plate appearances per game) to qualify for the NL batting title. The outfielder is batting a Major League Baseball-best .389 dating to July 1.

18 AND UP CLUB

The Nationals are the lone National League club to feature four players with 18 or more home runs. The team’s long balls have been fairly evenly distributed, however, as each of the top four power players in Washington are within just three dingers of one other:

Jayson Werth – 21

Ian Desmond – 20

Bryce Harper – 19

Adam LaRoche – 18

AUGUST HEAT

After struggling offensively for portions of the 2013 season, the Nationals rank third in the NL in runs per game in the month of August. Washington has scored 123 runs in 25 games this month (4.92 per game). Among Senior Circuit entries, only St. Louis (5.19 runs in 27 August contests) and Arizona (5.04 in 25 games) have scored more often per contest than the Nationals this month.

Highlights: 8.29.13

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8.29.13 – Nationals 9, Marlins 0

Stat of the Game: The Nationals swatted three home runs – by Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond – en route to the rout.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Gio Gonzalez allowed just three hits over seven scoreless frames, striking out eight.

It Was Over When: Werth’s team-leading 21st blast, a three-run shot, landed about 20 rows deep in left field.

Up All Night to Get Lucky

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Like the legend of the phoenix…

Even a rookie reporter on the baseball beat will quickly learn the primary difference between a Major League clubhouse after a win and a loss. Following defeat, there is almost total silence, just the hiss of showers in the distance, the shuffling of feat and the murmurs of somber postgame interviews. But following a victory, the clubhouse stereo blares any number of upbeat tunes, often a similar playlist over the course of the season.

Deep into the 11-o’clock hour, following Washington’s 4-3, rain-delayed win Wednesday night over Miami – the second straight single-run triumph over the Marlins – there was a new song pulsing through the home clubhouse at Nationals Park: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It was probably pure coincidence, but the lyrics seemed to have something of a connection to these Nationals, fighting an expiring schedule and tall mathematical odds in a final push to rise from the dead and claim the last postseason spot.

Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond teamed up to lead the Nationals comeback Wednesday night.

Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond teamed up to lead the Nationals comeback Wednesday night.

We’ve come too far to give up who we are…

As the huddle moved towards Ian Desmond, whose RBI-single provided the game-winning run in the seventh inning, Jayson Werth snuck over to the stereo, pumping the volume back up. Werth, whose homer had tied the contest in the sixth, had been intentionally walked in front of Desmond. The shortstop admitted that “it was probably the right move” for the Marlins to make. But following an hour and 12-minute rain delay, after which the Nationals coughed up their early lead, only to come back and win, you get the sense that maybe it’s worth sticking it out to the end, just to see if this team can get hot enough to find its way back to October.

So let’s raise the bar…

The Cardiac Nats, that scrappy bunch that eked out one- and two-run wins all of last year, seem to have been at least momentarily resurrected. Quietly, Washington has won seven of eight and 13 of its last 18 games. Since the beginning of play on August 9, the Nationals have gained 2.0 games on Cincinnati, 2.5 on Atlanta, 3.5 on Arizona and 6.0 on Pittsburgh, the four teams currently in front of them in the NL East and Wild Card chase.

There is still a lot of work left to be done to even sniff the possibility of claiming one of those spots. It would take a run of epic proportion to do so, and probably some misfortune to befall one of the teams within striking distance. But hey, this is baseball, and you never know what might happen.

We’re up all night to get lucky…

Highlights: 8.28.13

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8.28.13 – Nationals 4, Marlins 3

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth tied the game with a solo shot in the sixth, becoming the first National to 20 home runs this season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond came through with the go-ahead RBI in the seventh, following an intentional walk with two outs.

It Was Over When: For the second night in a row, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano put up zeroes in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to preserve the one-run win.

Highlights: 8.23.13

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8.23.13 – Nationals 11, Royals 10

Stat of the Game: The Nationals rallied from a 6-0 deficit, their largest comeback win of the season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Tyler Moore continued his hot hitting, collecting three of the Nationals 13 hits. He has multi-hit games in each of his four games since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse.

It Was Over When: Moore caught a short fly ball to left field for the final out, giving the Nationals their fourth consecutive win.

What to Watch for: 8.22.13

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Washington Nationals (62-64) vs. Chicago Cubs (54-72)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 2.93) vs. LHP Travis Wood (7-10, 3.13)

Stephen Strasburg takes the hill at Wrigley Field for the first time since Opening Day 2012, a game won 2-1 by the Nationals with some late heroics from Chad Tracy and Ian Desmond. The lineup he will face Sunday includes just two players who started that game for the Cubs, shortstop Starlin Castro and second baseman Darwin Barney. Chicago will go with All-Star left-hander Travis Wood, who is making his 91st appearance (87th start), but first against the Nationals.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Bryce Harper CF

2. Anthony Rendon SS

3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Wilson Ramos C

6. Tyler Moore 1B

7. Scott Hairston LF

8. Steve Lombardozzi 2B

9. Stephen Strasburg RHP

POWER OF 3:

The Nationals came through with a trio of three-run innings against the Cubs Wednesday night, powering their way to an 11-6 victory in the Friendly Confines. Jayson Werth and Scott Hairston blasted three-run homers in the winning effort, giving Wilmington, Illinois native Tanner Roark his third win – in front of more than 100 family and friends in attendance.

MORE GOOD THINGS COME IN 3s:

Werth’s three-run shot came on a 3-0 pitch. It was the first such home run for the Nats since Bryce Harper took a 3-0 pitch into the second deck in Miami on August 29 of last season. Wednesday’s contest also marked the first time all season the Nationals hit more than one three-run homer in a game.

200 CLUB

Washington Manager Davey Johnson earned his 200th victory with the Nationals Wednesday night, the third team he has piloted to 200 wins. He went 595-417 with the Mets, 204-172 with the Reds and improved to 200-171 with the Nationals. He has also tallied 186 victories for the Orioles and 163 more for the Dodgers in his illustrious career.

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