Results tagged ‘ New York Mets ’

What to Watch for: 9.11.13

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Washington Nationals (75-69) vs. New York Mets (64-79)

RHP Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (7-4, 3.38)

As Washington carries a four-game winning streak into tonight’s game in New York, two Nationals enter with notable streaks of their own. Denard Span’s third-inning double Tuesday night extended his hitting streak to 21 games. Not only is that both the longest run of his career and the longest by a National this season, it is also the second-longest in all of the Major Leagues this year, trailing only Michael Cuddyer’s 27-gamer.

Meanwhile, Wilson Ramos makes his 19th consecutive start tonight, a longer stretch than any catcher in Nationals history. After tonight, he will be just three games shy of tying Yadier Molina’s 22-game mark for the longest in baseball this year.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Jayson Werth RF

4. Bryce Harper LF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Adam LaRoche 1B

7. Wilson Ramos C

8. Anthony Rendon 2B

9. Dan Haren RHP

A WERTHY LEADING MAN

Jayson Werth homered and doubled twice in four at-bats on Tuesday, raising his batting average to .328 on the season. He currently ranks third in the National League batting race, trailing only Michael Cuddyer (.330), and Chris Johnson (.330). Werth leads the NL in OPS (.949) and slugging percentage (.548), and is fourth in on-base percentage (.401).

OH, TO BE 17 AGAIN

Jordan Zimmermann allowed three earned runs in 5.0+ innings of work, but left with the lead and recorded his National League-leading 17th win of the season. It was the first time in five tries that he beat the Mets in 2013, against whom he finishes just 1-3. In contrast, Zimmermann is 16-5 against the rest of the league.

BEAT THE METS

With two games remaining, Washington has already clinched the season series with the Mets, as the Nationals lead, 10 games to seven. Five lineup fixtures are batting better than .300 against New York, including Ian Desmond (.317), Bryce Harper (.303), Denard Span (.348), Jayson Werth (.333) and Ryan Zimmerman (.333).

Highlights: 9.10.13

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9.10.13 – Nationals 6, Mets 3

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth hit his team-leading 23rd home run and doubled twice, raising his slash line to .328/.401/.548.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Scott Hairston delivered a pinch-hit home run in the ninth to provide a pair of insurance runs.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano locked down the save with a scoreless ninth, becoming the third Nationals closer to record at least 40 saves in a season.

What to Watch for: 9.10.13

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Washington Nationals (74-69) vs. New York Mets (64-78)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (16-8, 3.30) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (11-9, 3.53)

On any other night, a shutout backed by five home runs in a 9-0 whitewashing of an opponent would be cause for celebration in any clubhouse. But on Monday night in Flushing, Gio Gonzalez was left wondering what might have been, if only for a couple of measly inches.

After walking Daniel Murphy, the second batter of the game, Gonzalez settled into a groove against the Mets, going on to set down the next 17 men he faced. Meanwhile, the offense continued to pile up runs behind him, as five different Washington hitters went deep, just one home run shy of the club record. By the time he took the mound after the seventh-inning stretch at Citi Field, Gonzalez had a nine-run advantage and just nine outs left to record the first no-hitter in Nationals history.

The Mets had double-switched Murphy – arguably their best hitter, and certainly the one who had done the most damage to the Nationals, batting at a .385 clip (25-for-65) with seven extra-base hits against Washington – out of the game. That left it to pinch-hitter Zach Lutz, who entered the game with all of 11 Major League plate appearances this year and 22 in his career.

Lutz slapped at a first-pitch fastball and hit a soft liner to the right side, just over the first base bag. Adam LaRoche went into an all-out dive, but came up just short of snagging the ball on the fly. As it escaped his grasp, it bounced on the chalk line, then skipped up the right field line, dashing Gonzalez’s hopes for history. The southpaw hardly let it affect the rest of his performance, though, walking just one more batter en route to his second career shutout and the low-hit game of his professional career.

Lutz

“It’s fun to be a part of something like that,” said Ryan Zimmerman, who homered in the first inning for his fourth roundtripper in the last three games. “It makes you want to make a play. Everyone wants to be a part of history.”

As for Gonzalez, what was his first thought when he saw Lutz’s liner escape LaRoche’s reach?

“Foul,” he joked, but later took the greater context in perspective. “It’s a bittersweet moment. You’re happy you got the win. The team did great, everybody looked alive today. It’s just a sad moment when you lose a no-hitter down the line.”

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Jayson Werth RF

4. Ian Desmond SS

5. Adam LaRoche 1B

6. Wilson Ramos C

7. Tyler Moore LF

8. Steve Lombardozzi 2B

9. Jordan Zimmermann RHP

THE KING OF QUEENS

Gio Gonzalez allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out eight in his first shutout of the season and second of his career. Gonzalez joins Ramon Ortiz, Jason Bergmann, and Scott Olsen as the fourth pitcher in Nationals history (‘05-present) to take a no-hitter into the seventh inning. The shutout was the 10th by a Nationals pitcher since 2005 and just the second one-hit shutout in Nationals history, along with Jordan Zimmermann’s gem over the Reds on April 26 this season.

BIG (FLY) 5

The Nationals tied a 2013 single-game high by clubbing five home runs, including back-to-back shots by Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman to lead off the game. The Washington club record for one game is six, last matched in back-to-back contests September 4-5, 2012 vs. the Cubs.

ATTENTION: SPAN

Denard Span has hit safely in a career-high 20 straight games at a .410 (34-for-83) clip with five walks, three doubles, two triples, two homers, 14 runs scored and seven RBI. Span’s surge has raised his batting average from .258 to .282, just one point off his career average. Span’s 20-game streak is the longest active streak and tied for the third-longest streak overall in Major League Baseball this season (Cuddyer – 27, Ortiz – 27, Freese – 20).

Highlights: 9.9.13

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9.9.13 – Nationals 9, Mets 0

Stat of the Game: Gio Gonzalez allowed a single hit over nine scoreless frames to record his second career complete game shutout.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Five different Nationals homered including Ryan Zimmerman, who blasted his fourth in three games.

It Was Over When: Gonzalez woke up Monday morning. He held the Mets hitless into the seventh, striking out eight.

What to Watch for: 9.9.13

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Washington Nationals (73-69) vs. New York Mets (64-77)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.49) vs. RHP Carlos Torres (3-5, 2.89)

Quietly, the Nationals have played their best extended stretch of baseball over the past calendar month, having won four-of-five, eight-of-12, 13-of-18 and 19 of their last 28 games. Unfortunately, the teams in front of them have continued to win as well, preventing Washington from closing any real ground in the chase for the final playoff spot. Entering the beginning of tonight’s four-game series in New York, Washington trails both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by eight games in the standings.

There are 20 games remaining in the regular season, as the Nationals follow these four in New York with 10 more at home – against Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami – then six final road games, three apiece at St. Louis and Arizona. That leaves their elimination number at 12 behind the Reds and 13 behind the Pirates, who have suddenly lost four straight. Washington will have to play the final 20 contests at least eight games better than one of those two clubs to continue their season into October.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Jayson Werth RF

4. Ian Desmond SS

5. Adam LaRoche 1B

6. Wilson Ramos C

7. Tyler Moore LF

8. Anthony Rendon 2B

9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

ATTENTION SPAN

Denard Span has hit safely in a career-high 19 straight games at a .397 (31-for-78) clip with five walks, three doubles, two triples, a homer, 12 runs scored and 6 RBI. Span’s surge has raised his batting average from .258 to .279 on the season. The 19-game streak is the longest active streak in MLB and the longest by a National this season.

START ME UP

Wilson Ramos has started 16 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Nationals backstop (2005-present) and the fouth-longest streak by a MLB catcher this season. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina paces that group (22 G, 4/20-5/14). During this stretch, Ramos has clubbed 3 homers and plated 11 RBI.

TURNING 40 SOON

With 39 in hand, Rafael Soriano is just one save away from becoming the third Nationals closer to record 40 saves in a season, joining Chad Cordero (47, ‘05) and Drew Storen (43, ‘11). Soriano eclipsed 40 saves with both the Rays (45, 2010) and Yankees (42, 2012).

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: 9.1.13

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New York Mets (62-72) vs. Washington Nationals (68-67)

LHP Jonathon Niese (6-6, 3.69) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 2.49)

Due to ESPN’s selection for its Sunday Night Baseball telecast, the first pitch for tonight’s game will be at 8:06 p.m. The Center Field Gate will open at 5:30 p.m. In addition, Kids Run the Bases will not take place due to the later game time. Fans should plan their travel accordingly, keeping in mind that Metro’s last train to all stations will depart Navy Yard at 11:20 p.m. 

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Bryce Harper CF

2. Anthony Rendon 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Wilson Ramos C

7. Tyler Moore 1B

8. Scott Hairston LF

9. Ross Ohlendorf RHP

ATTENTION: SPAN

With three hits last night, Denard Span extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. During the streak, Span has hit at a .397 clip (20-for-53) with five walks,  two doubles, two triples, a homer, seven runs scored and five RBI. This is the fifth double-digit hit streak of Span’s career and two games longer than his previous career-high, a 12-gamer accomplished while with the Twins from April 18-May 1, 2012.

GULF CHAMPS

After a record-setting regular season that saw them post a 49-9 record, the best mark ever by a stateside minor league affiliate, the Gulf Coast League Nationals swept through the playoffs, winning all three games en route to the title. They won their semifinal game 6-1 over the GCL Pirates on Friday, then beat the GCL Red Sox 10-3 and 7-2 over the past two days to win the best-of-three Championship Series.

20-20 VISION

Ian Desmond – via his 20-homer, 18-stolen bag effort so far – is on the cusp of posting the third 20-homer, 20-stolen base season by a National. Washington’s previous two 20-20 campaigns came from Desmond (25 HR, 21 SB) in ‘12 and Alfonso Soriano (46 HR, 41 SB) in ‘06.

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).

Highlights: 8.30.13

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8.30.13 – Mets 3, Nationals 2

Stat of the Game: Steve Lombardozzi recorded his first career pinch-homer in the eighth inning.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Jordan Zimmermann tossed 7.2 innings to earn a quality start, but took the tough-luck loss.

It Was Over When: The Nationals got back within one, but could not push across the tying run with two on and two out in the eighth.

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.

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