Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Nats open four game series vs. Giants

Last night, new dad Ian Desmond made an immediate impact on his return from paternity leave. Desmond led the offense with a triple in the fourth and launched a long ball into the visitor’s bullpen the following inning en route to a thrilling 4-3 win over the Mets. The win snapped a short-lived three-game losing skid and hopefully will serve to garner momentum into the series against the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants, who are in town for the first and last time for a four-game series starting tonight.

 Giants:

Aaron Rowand – CF

Freddy Sanchez – 2B

Aubrey Huff – 1B

Buster Posey – C

Pablo Sandoval – 3B

Pat Burrell – LF

Miguel Tejada – SS

Cody Ross – RF

Tim Lincecum – P

 Nationals:

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Laynce Nix – LF

Ian Desmond – SS

Alex Cora – 3B

Jason Marquis – P

 *Jason Marquis, tonight’s starting pitcher, is 4-3 in 10 career starts against the Giants. He’s struck out 42 over 74.2 career innings with an ERA of just 2.77.

 *Throughout his career in the NL, Adam LaRoche has seen a lot of the Giants. In 200 plate appearances against San Fran, he’s hit for a .302 batting average with 21 doubles, one triple and 10 home runs. He’s also maintained an on-base percentage of .370 against the Giants.

 *Against Tim Lincecum specifically, LaRoche has knocked out two home runs and a double for four RBI. Jayson Werth also has two homers against the multiple Cy Young Award-winner and has batted .267 in his career against him.

Nats-Mets Lineups

The Nationals reinstated shortstop Ian Desmond from Paternity Leave today and he will be starting this evening against the Mets. Desmond’s wife gave birth to their first son, Grayson, on Tuesday. To make room on the roster, Washington optioned outfielder Roger Bernadina to Syracuse. Bernadina went 2-for-3 with a double in this brief stint with the Nats.

 Mets:

Jose Reyes – SS
Daniel Murphy – 2B

David Wright – 3B

Carlos Beltran – RF
Jason Bay – LF

Ike Davis – 1B

Josh Thole – C

Willie Harris – CF
Chris Capuano – P

 Nationals:

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Michael Morse – LF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Ivan Rodriguez – C

Livan Hernandez – P

 *In 37 starts against the Mets—who he briefly played for in 2009—Livan Hernandez has a 4.21 ERA with 150 strikeouts.

 *Against Chris Capuano, Jayson Werth has an on-base percentage of .393.

 *23 games into the season and Washington is the only team in MLB that has received at least 5.0 innings from its starters in every game. While the 23-game string of 5.0 inning starts is impressive, the Nationals’ longest such streak is 28 games, accomplished May 31-July 1, 2009.

 *Furthermore… with a current team ERA of 3.96 and three April contests remaining, the Nationals hope to register their first sub-4.00 ERA in the season’s opening month. Washington’s top ERA in the opening month of a season came in 2005 via a 4.31 mark. They finished 81-81 that season.

Henry Rodriguez returns, Rick Ankiel’s arm and Lineups

The Nats reinstated right-handed pitcher Henry Rodriguez from the 15-Day Disabled List and placed right-handed pitcher Chad Gaudin on the 15-Day DL, retroactive to April 26, with right shoulder inflammation.

 Rodriguez missed 22 games after beginning the season on the DL, retroactive to March 22, with right shoulder inflammation. The 24-year-old posted a 0.73 ERA and .190 batting average against in nine games/one start during rehab assignments with  Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. Rodriguez recorded 16 strikeouts and a 2.67/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (16 K/6 BB) in 12.1 innings. Rodriguez is a flame thrower and went 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in 32 career relief appearances with the Oakland A’s.

 In news that is less relevant but still fascinating: Last season, Adam Dunn often showed off his arm before the team stretched. It was a competition between a few teammates and the rules were simple. Who could throw the ball furthest up into the 400 level of the seating bowl? Dunn usually won. It was fun to watch and pretty impressive how far he could throw the ball but Rick Ankiel might have just passed him on the “how did he do that scale.” Of course, Rick is known for his arm—he was a former pitcher—but today during BP he nonchalantly picked up a ball on the right field foul line, roughly 100 feet from first base and threw the ball on a line about seven rows up into the red porch seats. With a little quick math, the ball traveled approximately 370 ft—give or take a few feet, probably take—but thank you Pythagorean Theorem. There was one player that noticed this and he started clapping. It pretty much went unseen and that might be the biggest tragedy.

 You will notice Wilson Ramos is in the lineup for the third straight game. This is the first time he has started three consecutive games this season—that’s the power of going 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI the night before.

Mets:

Jose Reyes – SS

Justin Turner – 2B

David Wright – 3B

Carlos Beltran – RF

Jason Bay – LF

Ike Davis – 1B

Scott Hairston – CF

Mike Nickeas – C

R.A. Dickey – P

 Nationals:

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Michael Morse – LF

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Alex Cora – SS

Tom Gorzelanny – P

Nats-Mets game 1 lineups

Today, the Nationals placed shortstop Ian Desmond on MLB’s Paternity Leave List, and his wife gave birth to their first child this afternoon, Grayson Wesley Desmond. In Desmond’s place, Alex Cora will start at shortstop today and Roger Bernadina was called up from Syracuse to take his spot on the active roster.

Mets:

Jose Reyes – SS

Daniel Murphy – 2B

David Wright – 3B

Carlos Beltran – RF

Jason Bay – LF

Ike Davis – 1B

Josh Thole – C

Jason Pridie – CF

Chris Young – P

 

Nationals:

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Michael Morse – LF

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Alex Cora – SS

Jordan Zimmermann – P

 *In five games against the Mets, Jordan Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 3.51 ERA. He has allowed only eight walks while striking out 22.

*Zimmermann will also look to continue the Nationals pitching staff’s streak of starters going 5+ innings over each of the first 21 games played so far this season.

Happy 100th Connie Marrero

Though fans may not realize it, this April is a significant milestone that connects both the history of Washington baseball and of Cuban baseball. On April 21, Connie Marrero celebrated the 61st anniversary of his Major League debut with the Washington Senators.

 And just yesterday, he celebrated his 100th birthday.

 Marrero is already the oldest living Major League Baseball alumnus, but this year he will become the only currently living centenarian to play in the Big Leagues.

 Born Conrado Eugenio Marrero in Sagua La Grande, Cuba, he was not the most imposing figure on the mound. Though he stood at just five-feet-five-inches, the right-hander made his presence known with a great set of breaking balls in his repertoire. Marrero spent time in the Florida International League with the Havana Cubans before finally making it to “the Show” with the Senators in 1950.

 As a 39-year-old rookie, Marrero was one of several of the American League Washington Senators’ Cuban players; the roster included Sandy Consuegra and Camilo Pascual on the pitching staff as well as catcher Mike Guerra. In his first campaign with the Griffs, Marrero appeared in 27 games—starting 19 of them—and finished the season with a 4.50 ERA.

His two best years came in 1951 and 1952. In ’51 he led the Senators in wins, going 11-9, and finished with a 3.90 ERA. He also pitched a one-hitter against the Philadelphia Athletics on April 26 of that year, one of the highlights of his career. In ’52 he would again go on to win 11 games and brought his earned run average down to 2.88, one of the best in the League. Washington improved to a 78-76 record that same year.

 Marrero’s Major League career ended on January 24, 1955, when he was released by the Senators. He finished with a 39-40 win-loss record and a 3.67 ERA. He pitched 51 complete games in his time in the Majors, including seven shutouts. And though he didn’t play, he represented the Senators in the 1951 All-Star Game.

 After his career in the Majors, Marrero returned to Cuba to become a coach. After the Cuban Revolution, he was one of the few players—and by far the most prominent—to remain in his homeland. He spent his time training players in the amateur baseball leagues, as well as providing instruction to Cuba’s powerful national team. He still lives there today, though he is blind at his advanced age and doesn’t often have the opportunity to leave his grandson’s home. However, he does receive visitors and is said to have a mind as sharp as ever.

 So happy birthday, Connie, and thank you for your contribution to Washington’s baseball history.

Let’s Play Two… again

The Nationals are playing a day-night doubleheader today thanks to yesterday’s game being rained out. Sound familiar? It should, since the same thing happened over the weekend—Saturday’s game against the Brewers was rained out, leading to a traditional double-header on Sunday. There are two main differences between the two types: a traditional doubleheader is started shortly after the first game ends and you get two games for the price of one and a day-night double header is just that, one game is in the afternoon and one is in the evening and you have to have two tickets to go to both games.

Yes, the Nationals are playing back-to-back doubleheaders. It’s something of a rarity these days. But it wasn’t always so: the Washington baseball record for back-to-back doubleheaders was set in 1909, when the old Nationals played in eight straight doubleheaders between July 27 and August 5. During this time they swept one, split two and were swept five times, leading to a record of 4-12 in that period. That season, Washington finished 42-110. If you’re wondering: yes, that was dead last in the American League.

If eight doubleheaders played back-to-back makes your head spin, hold on to your seat for this one: The Major League record for consecutive doubleheaders was set by the old Boston Braves back in 1928. From August 31 to September 15, the Braves played in a staggering 11—yes, 11—doubleheaders. That included nine in a row. For that 23-game stretch they went 6-17, but managed to avoid the “last in the League” distinction. That went to the Phillies, who placed last in the NL at 43-109.

We like to think that the Nationals of today can appreciate such historic precedence for back-to-back doubleheaders. Since MLB returned to DC in 2005, the Nationals are 3-3-4 (sweeps, swept, splits) when playing twice in a single day, or 10-10 overall. They are 1-2-3 in day-night doubleheaders and 2-1-1 in traditional twinbills.

15 down, 147 to go

It is only 15 games into the season—just under 1/10th of the way through—and the Nationals moved over the .500 mark for the first time on Sunday. Granted, it is early and trying to predict future success on current records is senseless. At that same time, the current record isn’t meaningless and it is always better to be 10-5 then 5-10 even if neither record predicts future success. We don’t know what the future holds but we do know how the past 15 games have unfolded. The Nats are 8-7 and here are four things that probably flew under the radar:

On Friday night, the Nats won the game playing a brand of old-school, small ball baseball. The play is the epitome of who Jayson Werth is as a person, a hard-nose player willing to win at all costs and he doesn’t care if it is pretty. In the bottom of the 10th inning with the game tied 3-3, Werth reached on a throwing error by Yunesky Betancourt and immediately took second on the passed ball. It is tough to say how many runners would have remained at first base but Werth and all quality base runners look over their right shoulder when they get to first base in case there is a passed ball—it allows them to pick up the ball right away. Adam LaRoche stepped to the plate and on a 1-1 count, Werth stole third. “We’re having a hard time getting the bats going,” Werth said. “When that’s the case, you have to do something extra a little bit.”

LaRoche worked the count full and chopped a hard grounder to Prince Fielder at first base. Werth was running on contact and easily beat Fielder’s high throw to home. The ball didn’t leave the infield that inning and the Nats didn’t record a hit but they got their run. That’s all that mattered. It’s a brand of baseball that you will see more often.

There was an interesting three up, three down inning for the Nats on Sunday in the second game of the doubleheader. Michael Morse tried to stretch a single into a double but was gunned out by Ryan Braun’s right arm at second. LaRoche singled to right the next at-bat and then Wilson Ramos ground into a 5-4-3 double play. The Nats recorded two hits and only sent three players to the plate. Does anyone know of an instance in which three hits were recorded in an inning and only three hitters batted? I can think of many scenarios in which this could happen, all of which seem rather unrealistic, but conventional wisdom always seems to be turned on its head in baseball. The most obvious scenario is three straight batters trying to stretch a single into a double. It is the most obvious scenario and you would think the least likely. You can only assume after watching two teammates getting gunned out at second, the third batter would do everything in his control not to be that guy. That being said, I am sure it has happened.

Speaking of conventional wisdom, the common belief entering the season was that the Nationals starting rotation was their biggest shortcoming. That hasn’t been the case. The eclectic starting staff has strutted their stuff in the first 15 games, recording 10 quality starts (tied for second in the Majors) and pitching at least 5.0 innings in each game. They are the only team that can say that. The starters have a 3.30 ERA, good for fifth in the Majors, and have walked just 21 batters, good for 28th. That is a recipe for success.

Manager Jim Riggleman has shown that he will rely on three arms when the Nats are up by a run: Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Sean Burnett—it has been in that order so far this season. The big three have a collective ERA of 1.55 (29.0 IP/ 5 ER) with 27 strikeouts. We don’t quite know who will be the closer in September though. The Nats haven’t officially named Burnett the closer but he has been given every opportunity in the ninth so far this season, so it is tough to call it a closer by committee. “I’ve got the chances so far,” Burnett said. “But I understand that Drew was drafted for it with the kind of arm he has. I kind of feel that it’s more my job right now to do as well as I can, but to also help him potentially take over.” Drew Storen did pick up the save on Sunday in the night cap but it wasn’t a save situation entering the ninth inning.

Nats look to sweep series and doubleheader

Happy sixth birthday Screech.

Thanks to a strong outing by Jason Marquis—just two runs over seven-plus innings—and some heavy hitting, the Nationals took the first game of today’s doubleheader. Here are the lineups for Game 2:

Brewers:

 Rickie Weeks – 2B

Carlos Gomez – CF

Ryan Braun – LF

Prince Fielder – 1B

Casey McGehee – 3B

Yunesky Bentancourt – SS

George Kottaras – C

Erick Almonte – RF

Marco Estrada – P

 Nationals:

 Danny Espinosa – 2B

Rick Ankiel – CF

Michael Morse – LF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Laynce Nix – RF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Livan Hernandez – P

 *In his career against the Brewers, Livan Hernandez is 8-6 with a 3.66 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 21 shots.

 *Former Nat Nyjer Morgan, who was traded to Milwaukee towards the end of Spring Training, is still not in the starting lineup for the Brewers.

 *Marco Estrada, a former sixth-round draft pick by the Nationals, will be facing his former franchise for the first time. He had been claimed off of waivers by the Brewers in February of last year.

It’s a beautiful day for a doubleheader

Todd Coffey won’t be seen sprinting out of the Nationals’ bullpen anytime soon—the team placed him on the 15-day DL with a left calf strain, retroactive to April 9. In his place, Washington has recalled Collin Balester, who earned his promotion after pitching five scoreless innings with Triple-A Syracuse. Balester, who transitioned to the bullpen last season, pitched to at 2.57 ERA in 2010 with the Nationals.

 Lineups:

 Brewers:

2B Rickie Weeks

SS Craig Counsell

LF Ryan Braun

1B Prince Fielder

3B Casey McGehee

RF Mark Kotsay

C Jonathan Lucroy

CF Carlos Gomez

P Yovani Gallarado

 Nationals:

2B Danny Espinosa

CF Rick Ankiel

RF Jayson Werth

1B Adam LaRoche

LF Michael Morse

SS Ian Desmond

C Ivan Rodriguez

3B Alex Cora

P Jayson Marquis

 *This is the first game of a traditional single-admission doubleheader between the Nats and the Brewers. This is due to the fact that yesterday’s game was pushed back due to the heavy rainstorm the soaked much of the east coast.

 *In 19 plate appearances against Yovani Gallardo, Adam LaRoche has batted .313 with a double, a home run, and three walks.

 *Former National leadoff man and center fielder Nyjer Morgan has yet to appear in the starting lineup in this series thus far. However, former Nat Wil Nieves started in Game 1.

 *Game 2 of the doubleheader will begin approximately 30 minutes after the first game ends. A second lineup post will be made when that information becomes available, so be sure to check this space.

Nats-Brewers will play two tomorrow

Today’s Nationals-Brewers game scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. at Nationals Park has been postponed due to rain. The team will play a single-admission doubleheader tomorrow beginning at 1:35 p.m., with the second game taking place approximately 30 minutes following the completion of Sunday’s first game.

The pitching probables for Sunday’s doubleheader will be RHP Jason Marquis (0-0, 3.65) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 2.70) in game one, and RHP Livan Hernandez (1-1, 3.50) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (1-0, 5.14) in game two.

Season tickets and individual game tickets for today’s game do not allow admission to Sunday’s contest, but may be exchanged at the box office for seats of equal value for Sunday’s doubleheader or any remaining home game during the 2011 regular season, subject to availability. Tickets for Sunday’s game will be valid for both games of the doubleheader. Parking passes for Saturday’s game will be honored for any home game for the balance of the season.

Individual-game ticket holders can exchange their tickets at any Nationals Park box office. For exchanges for tickets purchased through nationals.com, Tickets.com or the Nationals telephone charge line, please call 888.632.NATS(6287). Keep in mind all rain check exchanges are subject to availability.

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