Results tagged ‘ Jim Lett ’

What to Watch for: 6/11

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Washington Nationals (35-23) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (31-29)

RHP Edwin Jackson (2-3, 3.11) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (7-3, 2.90)

The Nationals move on to another Interleague series at Rogers Centre in Toronto to face the Blue Jays starting Monday night. Washington is looking to strengthen its lead in the NL East, but Toronto ace Brandon Morrow may prove as a major challenge in tonight’s series opener.


The Nationals return north of the border for just the fourth time since relocating from Montreal to Washington, D.C. prior to the 2005 season. This marks their first Canada trip since June 2007 when they dropped two of three to the Blue Jays, and where they are just 2-7 in Canada since making the move. Two Nationals coaches have Blue Jays ties as bench coach Randy Knorr played five seasons (‘91-’95) and won two World Series rings with the Jays and bullpen coach Jim Lett coached on Toronto’s staff from ‘97-’99.


Edwin Jackson collected just his second win of the season in his last start (6/6 vs. NYM) despite seven quality starts in 11 outings so far in 2012. Tonight, he makes his 14th career start against the Blue Jays. He is 3-0 with a 4.43 ERA (20 ER/40.2 IP) in his last six starts against Toronto dating to July 30, 2008.


With a weekend series sweep over the Red Sox, the Nationals became the first National League team to sweep a series at Fenway since the Atlanta Braves did so in June ’02. Roger Bernadina broke a 3-3 tie with a RBI-double in the ninth inning off Alfredo Aceves, scoring Bryce Harper from first base. Jordan Zimmermann posted seven innings of three-run ball, before turning it over to Tom Gorzelanny (win, 2-1) and Tyler Clippard (8th save).


September Comes Early

Follow @Nationals on Twitter | Like the Nationals on Facebook

Of the 26,256 fans who paid to see the Nationals and Mets duke it out over 12 thoroughly entertaining innings Tuesday night, those that stuck out the entirety of the affair were treated to almost everything the game of baseball has to offer. A tightly fought contest throughout between the division rivals, with first place in the National League East on the line, there was even a slight chill to the air, which only added to the feeling that – despite the calendar reading June 5 – it felt like September baseball.

Tuesday’s contest certainly was not the prettiest of games, nor the most cleanly played. It may not have appealed to the baseball purist. But can you imagine if that was your very first game? If your introduction to watching the sport in person was punch followed by counterpunch, heapings of clutch hitting, costly errors and bases loaded situations, all wrapped into a three-comeback, 12-inning, four-hour 15-minute marathon, ending on the first walk-off of Bryce Harper’s career? Where do you go from there?

For at least one fan at the ballpark last night, it was their first Nationals game. Of course, the walk-off part is nothing new to fans who have been coming all season. In their 26 home games so far this year through Tuesday night, the Nats have walked off a Major League-leading six times, five of which have come in extra innings. They’ve done so twice against the Reds, and once apiece vs. the Marlins, Phillies, and now, the Mets.

The Nationals mob Harper following his first career walk-off hit.

Harper’s walk-off hit was the first by a teenager since Gary Sheffield, as a rookie playing for the then-American League Milwaukee Brewers, singled home pinch-runner Mike Felder in the bottom of the 11th inning to beat the Seattle Mariners, 2-1, on September 9, 1988. For those trying to do the math, that was more than four years before Harper was born.

That storyline overshadowed a tremendous game from Ian Desmond, who almost single-handedly kept the Nationals alive long enough to allow Harper’s heroics to even happen. After the Mets pushed in front for the first time with two runs in the top of the eighth, Desmond drove home Ryan Zimmerman with a two-out hit in the bottom of the frame to tie it up. When New York forged ahead once again in the 10th, Desmond hit a screaming liner to shortstop that ate up Jordany Valdespin, allowing Zimmerman to score the tying run again. And when he batted in the 12th, following Michael Morse’s leadoff double, he came through once more, ripping a two-bagger of his own down the left field line to level the score at 6-6 and set the stage for Harper’s game-winner four batters later.

A single game-tying RBI makes for a decent night. To turn the trick twice is quite an accomplishment. But to help your team come from behind to tie the game three times in the same night, all in the eighth inning or later? That is a truly impressive performance, punctuated by a stellar, pure reaction defensive play on a bad hop at shortstop that shows just how complete a player Desmond is growing into this season.

Yet, it is the sign of a truly epic game that Desmond’s performance will be forgotten by many, or at least take a backseat to the ending, complete with the compulsory Gatorade bath. It was fitting that by the time eventual winning pitcher Ross Detwiler departed the bullpen and made his way to the mound for the 11th inning, the only man left in uniform behind him was Nationals Bullpen Coach Jim Lett, who saw each of his hurlers contribute to the victory. And the best part about it? We get to do it all over again tonight, and 55 more times after that at home this season.


Nats finalize coaching staff

The Nationals finalized their coaching staff today. Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein, Pitching Coach Steve McCatty and Third Base Coach Pat Listach will return in the same roles in 2010. The club also named John McLaren bench coach, Jim Lett bullpen coach and Dan Radison first base coach.


rick eckstein coach 1.JPGEckstein
returns for a second season in Washington. He played an instrumental part in reshaping the offense and it showed significant gains in 2009 in runs per game (+0.40 per game), home runs (+39), batting average (+.007), on-base percentage (+.014), slugging percentage (+.033) and OPS (+.047) compared to the previous season.


steve mccatty coach 2.JPGMcCatty
was the Nationals Triple-A pitching coach for four seasons before being summoned to Washington on June 2. McCatty employed numerous pre-existing relationships with Nationals pitchers to help his staff post an ERA exactly one run better than that recorded in the season’s first two months (5.69 ERA from Opening Day-May 31, 4.69 ERA from June 2 through season’s end).


Listach will return for a second season as Nationals third base coach. Last season, Listach’s judgment saw only 11 Nationals thrown out at home plate on non force-outs, a figure bettered by only the Cardinals (eight) in MLB. With added responsibilities as the Nationals infield instructor, Listach had a hand in Ryan Zimmerman earning his first career Rawlings Gold Glove.


McLaren, 58, will draw on 22 seasons of Big League coaching experience, including a stint as Mariners manager for portions of the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He replaced Mike Hargrove as Seattle’s manager on July 2, 2007. While skippering the Mariners, McLaren hired Riggleman as his bench coach in 2008.


McLaren worked on Lou Piniella’s staff for 15 seasons, and also enjoyed stewardships under Mike Hargrove, Cito Gaston, Jimy Williams and Joe Morgan. He has experienced five postseasons, including four division titles (Toronto in 1989 and Seattle in ’95, ’97 and 2001). McLaren spent the 2009 campaign as a Rays special assignment scout. He also served as Team USA’s bench coach during the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.


Lett, 58, will draw on 15 seasons of Major League coaching experience, 11 spent as a bench coach with the Reds, Blue Jays, Dodgers and Pirates. He served as the Dodgers bullpen coach from 2001-04, where he worked alongside Riggleman, who was Jim Tracy’s bench coach at the time.


Lett joins the Nationals after spending the previous two years coaching in Milwaukee’s Minor League system. Lett has worked in professional baseball for each of the last 35 seasons as a player, coach, manager or front office executive. Lett is also a highly respected catching instructor.


The 59 year-old Radison begins his third tour with Riggleman, as the two worked together during Riggleman’s managerial stays in San Diego and Chicago (NL). Outside of his stints with the Cubs and Padres, Radison has managed, coached or scouted for the Yankees, Cardinals and Mets organizations from 1984-2006.


He spent the previous three seasons as the Cardinals Minor League Hitting Instructor. While there, Radison worked closely with Eckstein, and helped Rick Ankiel (as a hitter), Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus graduate to St. Louis.



listach riggleman coach 3.JPG