Results tagged ‘ Los Angeles Dodgers ’
7.21.13 – Dodgers 9, Nationals 2
Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth homered twice to provide the entirety of the offense, and is now batting .322/.400/.538 with eight home runs in 40 games since returning from the disabled list on June 4.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Ross Ohlendorf delivered six innings of relief out of the bullpen, allowing just two runs.
It Was Over When: The Dodgers sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven times in the second inning.
7.20.13 – Dodgers 3, Nationals 1
Stat of the Game: Gio Gonzalez was brilliant, matching a career high with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless frames.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Tracy each collected three hits.
It Was Over When: Los Angeles plated a pair in the 10th to break the 1-1 tie.
There has been plenty written about the Nationals the past few days and what it will take for them to play in October this season.
We’ll leave the “to reach x wins, they need to go xx-xx the rest of the way” predictions to others. As Davey Johnson and his troops have expressed over recent weeks, what the team needs to do is play at the level its capable of with more consistency. It doesn’t really matter how many games are left, or against whom. We all know this team is capable – when they are playing their best – of beating anyone.
They’ll get their first test immediately out of the All-Star break. The suddenly hot Los Angeles Dodgers come to town to open an 11-game, 10-day homestand, during which they will throw recently acquired Nationals nemesis Ricky Nolasco, along with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Things don’t get easier from there, as the contending Pittsburgh Pirates visit for four games beginning next week. The homestand concludes with a Matt Harvey-headlined doubleheader followed by a pair of weekend games against the scrappy New York Mets.
Of course, the Nationals will counter with arguable the healthiest team they’ve fielded since the first week of the season. With the lineup at full strength, the only pieces missing are Ross Detwiler and Ryan Mattheus, both expected back off the disabled list soon. Washington will also be throwing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann in the three Dodgers games, putting its own best pitching foot forward. Dan Haren, who has a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts in his two outings since his own return from the DL may be starting to show signs of being the solid veteran pickup that Mike Rizzo and company were hoping for when they signed him last offseason. With Taylor Jordan solidly holding down the fort at the back of the rotation in the meantime, the starting staff looks poised to lead the way.
Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano has closed out 25 of 29 save opportunities with a 2.25 ERA on the season. Tyler Clippard has been one of the best relievers in the game, winning six games out of the ‘pen while posting better than a strikeout per inning and a sub-2.00 ERA. Ian Krol and Fernando Abad have given Washington two lefty relievers they did not have at the beginning of the year, both joining Clippard in the sub-2.00 club thus far. Factor in some solid contributions out of the long-man spot by Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.74 ERA) and the bullpen looks as solid as it has all year.
It’s taken a few months for all these pieces to come together and be on the field at the same time. But with a fully rested and healthy squad coming back from the All-Star break, these Nationals look as well constructed as they have been all year to finally put together the extended run that has thus far eluded them, the one they all know they will need to bring October NATITUDE back to The District.
5.15.13 – Dodgers 3, Nationals 1
Stat of the Game: Adam LaRoche homered for Washington’s lone run, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Craig Stammen allowed just two hits over 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, striking out three without a walk.
It Was Over When: The Dodgers added an insurance run in the eighth to provide the final margin of victory.
Washington Nationals (21-18) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (16-22)
LHP Ross Detwiler (2-3, 2.53) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.59)
Washington looks for a winning series to open its 10-game, three-city California road trip as the Nationals send southpaw Ross Detwiler against the recently reinstated Zack Greinke. Greinke has been out for four weeks following a broken collar bone, and allowed eight runs (three earned) in just 4.1 innings of work in his lone rehab start at High-A last week.
1. Span CF
2. Lombardozzi LF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Ramos C
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Berndina RF
9. Detwiler LHP
Washington’s pitching staff has logged 20.0 consecutive innings without issuing a walk, just 8.0 innings shy of matching the longest such streak in MLB this season. The Nationals (‘05-present) record for consecutive innings without granting a walk is 29.0, accomplished over parts of four games from September 16-20 during the 2011 campaign.
Nationals pitchers have thrown 47.0 consecutive innings without surrendering a home run, a stretch that has spanned five+ contests. On the flipside, Washington’s batters have been held inside the yard for three straight games and look to avoid their first four-game homer drought since the 2011 season (five games without a home run from September 12-16).
Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, Denard Span and Wilson Ramos have all missed time this season while dealing with injury or illness. Davey Johnson was last able to pen a lineup that included his standard starting eight (LaRoche 1B, Espinosa 2B, Desmond SS, Zimmerman 3B, Harper LF, Span CF, Werth RF, Ramos/Suzuki C) on April 14. Washington is 6-4 this season when Johnson’s standard starting eight play together.
There are few living legends in the game whose presence looms as large as Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. The now 85-year-old has been the voice of the Dodgers for 64 years, dating back to their days in Brooklyn. He is a walking encyclopedia of baseball and cultural knowledge and always makes for a tremendously entertaining interview.
Scully sat down with Nationals radio man Charlie Slowes prior to Tuesday night’s game in Los Angeles. He told stories of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey, his start in broadcasting in Washington D.C., and discussed Bryce Harper’s collision Monday night.
“The only good thing about it is it knocked his beard off,” Scully mused, as Harper had to shave in order to receive his stitches.
Scully went to the clubhouse before the game Tuesday to see Harper, who seemed caught off guard to see him in Davey Johnson’s office. As Harper shook Scully’s and offered a customary pleasantry, Scully retorted with, “Well, how are you young man?” in reference to the play the night before. The two went on to chat for several minutes as Johnson made his away around the clubhouse.
“He’s such a fine young man and an outstanding player,” said Scully of Harper. “It’s none of my business, but I hope he stays clean shaven.”
Listen to the full interview below. The Nationals wrap their three-game set in Los Angeles tonight.
Washington Nationals (21-17) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (15-22)
RHP Dan Haren (4-3, 5.17) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 1.62)
The Nationals opened their 10-game California trip with a 6-2 victory on Monday night and hope to keep their winning ways going against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Dan Haren takes the mound for Washington riding a three-game winning streak over which he has fashioned a 3.15 ERA, striking out 12 and walking just two.
1. Espinosa 2B
2. Lombardozzi LF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Desmond SS
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Moore RF
7. Ramos C
8. Perez CF
9. Haren RHP
BETTER THAN LAST YEAR’S BEST
Nationals starting pitchers rank second in the Major League Baseball with a 3.19 ERA (83 ER/234.0 IP). Last season, Washington paced the National League in starters ERA at 3.40.
Adam LaRoche enters tonight’s action riding a 10-game hit streak, one shy of his career-long of 11 (accomplished twice, last July 22-August 3, 2012). During the stretch, which began on May 2, LaRoche has gone 14-for-34 (.412) with two doubles, four RBI, six walks and five runs scored, posting a .488 OBP and a .958 OPS. LaRoche joins Ian Desmond (10 games, April 24-May 3) as the only Nationals to put together double-digit streaks this season.
NO DOUBLE DIPPING
With just 20 GIDPs, the Nationals have been the second-toughest club in the NL to double-up this season (NYM, 15 GDP). Denard Span, who has not grounded into a double play since September 24 last season, currently ranks third in the NL with 137 at-bats without a GIDP.
5.13.13 – Nationals 6, Dodgers 2
Stat of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann won his Major League leading seventh game of the season, allowing just two runs in 7.2 innings of work.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Ryan Zimmerman plated three RBI, on a sac fly and a two-run double, to key the offense.
It Was Over When: Washington knocked out Los Angeles starter Josh Beckett after just three innings of work.
Washington Nationals (20-17) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (15-21)
RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-1, 1.59) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (0-4, 5.13)
The Nationals open a three-game series and 10-game road trip with this evening’s tilt in Los Angeles. Washington sends six-game winner Jordan Zimmermann to the hill against a heretofore winless Josh Beckett in a matchup of right-handers.
1. Span CF
2. Lombardozzi LF
3. Harper RF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Zimmermann RHP
The Nationals open a 10-game road trip to the Golden State’s cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. The 10-game trek, which matches the longest road swing on the 2013 schedule, marks Washington’s lone visit this season to the Pacific Coast and the first action against the NL West this year. The Nationals went 17-13 against the NL West last season (8-8 at NL West ballparks), the club’s first single-season winning mark against the division since ’05 (16-14).
Adam LaRoche enters tonight’s action riding a nine-game hit streak, looking to join Ian Desmond (10 games, April 24-May 3) as the only Nationals to put together double-digit streaks this season. During the stretch, which began on May 2, LaRoche has gone 13-for-29 (.448) with six walks, two doubles, two RBI and five runs scored, posting a .528 OBP & 1.045 OPS. His hit streak began after batting just .129 (11-for-85) in his initial 25 games this season. LaRoche’s career-long hitting streak is 11 games, accomplished twice (last, July 22-August 3, 2012).
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Washington is 15-2 when scoring first this season, compared to 5-15 when its opponent gets on the board first. The Nationals have been outscored 21-15 in the first frame this season, but have outscored their opponents 21-9 in the second inning.
It’s only appropriate, on this last day of summer, that we can officially begin to discuss postseason baseball in Washington D.C. no longer as a “likelihood” or a “probability,” but as a reality. That’s the thing about the baseball season – a hot start is great, like the one the Nationals stormed out to by winning 10 of their first 14 games, but in the scope of a six-month marathon, it means very little. All the excitement of holding down first place is fantastic fun, but it does not mean anything until this time of year. There are no cheaply won postseason spots in our sport, and only sustained success over the duration of the spring and summer will lead to those meaningful games in October that Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and everyone around the organization have been talking about since Spring Training.
Yes, the National League East remains undecided, with a combination of eight Nationals wins and/or Braves losses still needed to determine the division crown. Beyond that lie the fight for home field advantage through the various rounds of the playoffs. These Nationals have taken nothing for granted so far this season, and you can be sure they won’t start now. Nevertheless, one indelible fact remains: there will be postseason baseball in our Nation’s Capital for the first time in 79 years.
“What’s the big deal?” an exuberant Johnson jokingly questioned of the press corps, as fans watching his post-game press conference in the adjoining Lexus Presidents Club cheered his arrival.
The Nationals almost clinched their postseason spot Wednesday night in dramatic, surprising fashion, coming from nowhere to overcome a six-run, eighth-inning deficit, only to fall to the Dodgers, 7-6 in the ninth. While that would have been a game for the ages, long remembered by those who stuck it out to the end, it would have supported the script that is often preached, but not necessarily accurate, about this year’s Washington club, that all of this sudden success is a surprise. In actuality, it is the culmination of years of building the right way, from the ground up, and simply watching the pieces come together at the Major League level all at once. In a sense, it was much more fitting that the history was made thanks to a well-pitched, well-defended game, trademarks of a team that Washington fans have fallen in love with this season.
Drew Storen gave the game and the fans their endearing moment to cherish, as he faced the daunting middle of the Dodgers lineup – Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez – holding a three-run lead in the ninth. The cushion would turn out to be more than enough. Storen painted a perfect, outside corner fastball to freeze Kemp, Wednesday night’s hero. He then handcuffed Gonzalez, the powerful lefty’s bat waving helplessly over a disappearing changeup. Finally, he blew away Nationals nemesis Hanley Ramirez – who owned a career .339 (147-for-433) mark with 27 home runs against the Nats coming into the at-bat – on a nasty slider to end it, pounding his mitt once and high-fiving catcher Kurt Suzuki in celebration.
“I didn’t even think about it until I saw it on the scoreboard afterwards,” said Storen of the clinching moment. “I was just having fun. The crowd was real into it. If you’re not out there having fun in that situation, you shouldn’t be out there.”
And though Storen provided the coup de gras, seemingly everyone chipped in. Ryan Zimmerman opened the scoring with a booming double to the left-center field gap, scoring Bryce Harper in the third inning. Danny Espinosa had an RBI-double of his own, and came in to score on a Suzuki sacrifice fly, the culmination of a hard-fought, professional at-bat. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth each had a pair of hits, with the shortstop stealing one bag and the outfielder swiping a pair. As it has been all year with this team, you never know who the hero will be, and there were many of them Thursday night.
Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, continued to impress, and continued to show why this team has a real chance to make a deep October run. With six nearly flawless innings, in which a solo home run and a pair of singles were the only bumps in an otherwise smooth road to his career-best 10th victory, he quieted the powerful Dodgers lineup to put the Nationals in position to clinch.
“It was great seeing all of them on their feet,” the lanky lefty said of the crowd. “It really gives you the chills a bit to see how into it all of them were.”
Detwiler has consistently gone about his business, and though he is sometimes overshadowed by his teammates, there is no hiding his 6-3 record and 2.76 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break. He also became the fourth Nationals starter to hit double-digits in wins on Thursday, with Edwin Jackson sitting on nine victories heading into his start tonight against Milwaukee.
Speaking of those pesky Brewers, they are suddenly hot, and have clawed their way back into the race for the second National League Wild Card spot. In fact, the final four series on the Nationals schedule – Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Philadelphia again – all bring teams fighting for every game, their postseason lives at stake. Each game will be its own challenge, as the Nats try to wrap up the division. Those battles begin again tonight. But for today, at least, allow yourself to soak in the reality.
This is happening.