Results tagged ‘ Minnesota Twins ’

What to Watch for: 6.11.13

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Washington Nationals (31-31) vs. Colorado Rockies (34-30)

RHP Dan Haren (4-7, 5.45) vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 4.59)

The Nationals hit the road for a nine-game swing following an off-day on Monday. Washington closed out its recent homestand with a doubleheader sweep of the Minnesota Twins, taking the opener, 7-0, and the nightcap, 5-4. Dan Haren takes to the mound at hot, high-elevation Coors Field, where he is 5-2 in eight career starts.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Bernadina LF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Haren RHP

OFFENSIVE SURGE

The Nationals have posted double-digit hit totals in each of their last four contests (16 times in initial 58 games). The current stretch of double-digit hit games is a season long, and the most since the team strung together five straight 10+ hit contests from September 4-8 last season. Washington scored 12 runs during its doubleheader sweep against the Twins on Sunday, going 24-for-67 (.358) in the twin-bill, including 8-for-24 (.333) with runners in scoring position.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Nationals begin a nine-game road trip to Denver, Cleveland and Philly during which they will cover approximately 3,500 miles. This trip wraps up a stretch in which the Nationals will play 28 of 38 games on the road (10-14 overall thus far). Washington is 2-8 in its last 10 road games, after going 11-10 in its first 21 contests on away from home.

ZIM KEEPS CLIMBING

Ryan Zimmerman owns the Nationals record having appeared in 1,038 contests (Cristian Guzman ranks a distant second with 550 games) and tonight will move into sole possession of sixth place in franchise annals, surpassing Warren Cromartie. The top five: Tim Wallach (1,767), Gary Carter (1,503), Tim Raines (1,452), Andre Dawson (1,443) and Jose Vidro (1,186).

Highlights: 6.9.13

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6.9.13 Game 1 – Nationals 7, Twins 0

Stat of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann cruised, allowing just two hits over seven scoreless frames to earn his ninth win.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon plated three RBI to guide the offense to its largest output since May 28.

It Was Over When: Ian Desmond‘s two-out, two-run single helped lead to a a five-run fifth frame and knocked Twins starter Scott Diamond from the game.

6.9.13 Game 2 – Nationals 5, Twins 4

Stat of the Game: The Nationals overcame an early three-run deficit with single runs in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Six different relievers combined to throw six innings of three-hit, shutout ball to preserve the victory.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano got the final out, popping up Josh Willingham to strand the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at first.

What to Watch for: 6.9.13 – Game 2

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Minnesota Twins (27-32) vs. Washington Nationals (30-31)

RHP Sam Deduno (2-1, 3.44) vs. RHP Nathan Karns (0-1, 6.00) 

Jordan Zimmermann’s seven innings of scoreless, two-hit ball led Washington to a 7-0 victory in Game 1 of this split twin-bill. Ian Desmond hit safely in each of his first three at-bats and Anthony Rendon plated three to lead the offense. Nathan Karns will look to deliver a sweep of the doubleheader and a series win as he takes the hill in his fourth Major League start at 1:05 p.m.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Bernadina LF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Rendon 2B

8. Solano C

9. Karns RHP

GAME 1 NOTES

Anthony Rendon has now reached base safely in eight straight big leagues games, going 10-for-26 (.385) with six walks, three doubles, two runs scored and three RBI…Ian Desmond has hit safely in 11 straight games at a .349 clip (15-for-43) with a walk, three doubles, two homers, six runs scored and six RBI…the streak matches the longest of his career (June 5-17, 2011). Meanwhile, defensively Desmond has played a career-high 42 consecutive errorless games…Jordan Zimmermann has not lost since May 17 of last season, a span of 19 starts. Zimmermann is 11-0 over that stretch at home, and the Nationals have not lost a game he has started in his last 13 outings in D.C.

Enjoy this GIF of Anthony Rendon’s fist-pump from Game 1.

What to Watch for: 6.9.13 – Game 1

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Minnesota Twins (27-31) vs. Washington Nationals (29-31)

LHP Scott Diamond (4-4, 4.66) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-3, 2.16) 

The Nationals will play the second and third/final games of this series as part of a split doubleheader, with Game 1 beginning at 1:35 p.m. Washington will send Jordan Zimmermann to the hill, still in search of his ninth victory of the season after a loss and a no decision in his last two outings. The Nationals need wins in both games to secure a winning homestand before hitting the road for nine games, beginning Tuesday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Kobernus CF

2. Lombardozzi LF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

SAINT ANTHONY, RAKING

Anthony Rendon has reached base safely in seven straight big leagues games, going 8-for-23 (.348) with five walks, two doubles and two runs scored. The seven-game surge spans a pair of stints with Washington. Incidentally, in between the big league stints, Rendon combined to hit .316 (25-for-79) with 18 walks, eight doubles, two triples, four home runs, 11 runs scored and 17 RBI in 22 games for Double-A Harrisburg (19 games) and Triple-A Syracuse (three games).

GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER

Ian Desmond has hit safely in 10 straight games at a .308 clip (12-for-39) with a walk, three doubles, two homers, four runs scored and four RBI. Desmond now has five career double-digit hit streaks to his credit, two this season (also a 10-gamer, April 24-May 3). He is currently a game shy of matching the longest hit streak (11 games, June 5-17, 2011) of his career. Meanwhile, defensively Desmond has played a career-high 41 consecutive errorless games (164 total chances) since last committing a miscue on April 21 at New York (NL). This is currently the longest streak of its kind among big league shortstops. The longest previous string of errorless games during Desmond’s career was 39 straight games, May 5-June 21, 2011.

HOME COOKING

Jordan Zimmermann has been particularly strong within the confines of Nationals Park, where he has not lost since May 17 of last season, a span of 18 starts. Zimmermann is 10-0 over that stretch at home, and the Nationals have not lost a game he has started in his last 12 outings in D.C.

Highlights: 6.8.13

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6.8.13 – Twins 4, Nationals 3 (11 innings)

Stat of the Game: Denard Span had three hits in his first game against his old club.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Jayson Werth belted his fifth home run of the season, his first since returning from the Disabled List earlier this week.

It Was Over When: The Twins pushed across a run in the top of the 11th with an RBI-single.

What to Watch for: 6.8.13

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Minnesota Twins (26-31) vs. Washington Nationals (29-30)

RHP Kevin Correia (5-4, 4.09) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.64) 

After two rainouts, the Nationals are ready to get back on the field as they welcome the Minnesota Twins to Washington for the first time since 1971 in the first of a three-game set. Exactly a week after his last start in Atlanta where he received a no decision, despite only allowing one run on three hits, Gio Gonzalez takes the mound again, looking to replicate his stellar performance.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Rendon 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

YOUTH IS SERVED HERE

At the completion of play on June 4, the Nationals had the fourth-youngest 25-man roster in Major League Baseball with an average age of 28.11 years. When combining each team’s active roster and Disabled List, Washington is tied for the second-youngest MLB roster at 27.74 years. Of the 32 players either on the Nationals active roster or DL, nine are aged 25 or younger: Nathan Karns (25), Wilson Ramos (25), Drew Storen (25), Steve Lombardozzi (24), Stephen Strasburg (24), Jeff Kobernus (24), Anthony Rendon (23), Ian Krol (22), Bryce Harper (20).

THE NEWEST NEOPHYTE NATIONAL

Ian Krol struck out three (Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Lucas Duda) during a scoreless sixth inning in an impressive MLB debut for the Nationals on Wednesday. vs. NYM. Krol became the fifth Nationals to make an MLB debut this season. Krol joined Anthony Rendon (April 21 at NYM), Jeff Kobernus (May 25 vs. PHI), Nathan Karns (May 28 vs. BAL) and Erik Davis (June 2 at ATL) on this list. Only three teams in MLB have had more players make MLB debuts this season: Cardinals (7), Marlins (6), Twins (6).

SAINT ANTHONY

Anthony Rendon was selected by the Nationals two years (June 6, 2011) with the sixth overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Rice University. During a pair of big league stints, Rendon has played in nine games for the Nationals this season. The only other position player from the ‘11 Draft to have played in more MLB games is Boston’s Jackie Bradley, Jr. (19).

Desmond Driving Donations

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This Sunday, June 9 the Nationals will host a baseball equipment drive before they take on the Minnesota Twins at 1:35 p.m. at Nationals Park. The drive will take place at the Center Field Gates from when gates open at 11:00 am until the end of the third inning. During this time, fans are encouraged to donate new and used baseballs, softballs, bats, batting gloves, catcher’s equipment, youth batting helmets, bases, baseball pants and cleats. All equipment donated will benefit youth baseball in Washington, D.C. and will specifically help the Capitol Hill Little League.

The drive will be hosted in conjunction with The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, which will provide a $5,000 grant to Capitol Hill Little League. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a combined effort between Major League Baseball and its players to promote and help fund baseball and softball.

Ian Desmond is again serving as the player ambassador for this initiative for the second season in a row. Desmond has a history of supporting youth baseball and has previously visited Capitol Hill Little League. Desmond will be on hand for Sunday’s pregame ceremonies as the Baseball Tomorrow Fund presents its check to Capitol Hill Little League.

Spanning The Future

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After much speculation about how they would handle center field for the foreseeable future, the Washington Nationals answered that question today, acquiring Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins. In exchange, Washington sent Minor League right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer back to the Twin Cities.

“He fits very well for us,” said EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo of Span. “His skill set is something we have been looking for for some years now. He’s a front-line defensive center fielder and a consumate leadoff type hitter.”

Span, after hitting a walk-of single last season with the Minnesota Twins.

Span is expected to lead off and play center field for the Nationals in 2013, allowing Bryce Harper to shift to a more natural corner outfield spot and Jayson Werth to return to the middle of the lineup. Rizzo cited the Nationals wealth of defensive outfielders, mentioning that all three were capable of playing center field at a Major League level.

“I’m definitely excited, I’m very excited to be coming to Washington,” said span of his trade to the Nats, specifically singling out Harper and Werth. “I’m ready to be coming to a team that is already in place to win. They’re definitely going to elevate my game, just playing alongside them.”

Rizzo also said on Thursday that he has had his eye on Span for a while now, and even saw him play as a prepster at Tampa Catholic High School. He explained that discussions with the Twins have been ongoing for the past three to four weeks, but that they accelerated at the General Managers Meetings in Indian Wells earlier this month.

Span has compiled a career .284/.357/.389 Major League slash line playing almost entirely in center field over the last five seasons for the Twins. He has also stolen 90 bases over that time, including 17 in 128 games last year. Rizzo believes that speed may develop even farther with Span’s move to the more small ball-oriented Senior Circuit.

“We think he’s really going to come into his own as a base-stealer here in the National League,” the GM said, also noting Span’s strong ability to make contact. “He’s one of the tougher guys in the league to strike out.”

Span is expected to lead off and play center field for the Nats.

The 28 year-old whiffed just 62 times in 568 plate appearances in 2012 while drawing 47 walks. Born in D.C., the Tampa, Florida native was originally selected 20th overall by Minnesota in the first round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. After spending his first 10 years as a professional with Minnesota, Span said his change of scenery makes him a little nervous, but more so excited.

“That’s the greatest feeling any ballplayer can have is know they’re wanted,” said Span of Washington’s – and particularly Mike Rizzo’s – desire to acquire him. “I could hear it in his voice, how excited he was to have me.”

With the trade, the Nationals do not give up any Major League talent while acquiring a player in Span who is under contract for the next two seasons with a team option for 2015. Meyer, the return in the trade, just finished his first professional season, which he split between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac.

“To get a good, established Major League player at Denard’s age with the contract that he has, you have to give up a quality player,” said Rizzo, explaining that it is always a tough decision to part with young prospects, but that it was the right time for the move. “We feel that we have great depth in the Minor League system.”

With tonight’s trade, the Nationals have filled the first missing piece of their 2013 puzzle.

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