Results tagged ‘ New York Mets ’

Meet the #NatsCaveCrasher Finalists

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It was a tough task, but we’ve whittled down our field of over 500 entries in our #NatsCaveCrasher Instagram Contest to five deserving finalists. Now, they’ll go head-to-head Saturday at Nationals Park, putting their photography skills to the test for a chance to win that all-expenses-paid trip for two to New York City.

Each finalist will receive a shot sheet of things to photograph and upload to Instagram during Saturday’s game against the Mets and the NatsLive Free Postgame Concert featuring Gavin DeGraw. We’ll then compile each finalist’s portfolio into a gallery here on Curly W Live, where fans will have 48 hours to vote for their favorite. The grand-prize winner will be headed to see the Nationals play the Mets and visit the MLB Fan Cave on September 10-11, while our runner-up will win four PNC Diamond Lounge tickets to a future Nationals game.

Before we host our finalists, though, let’s take a look at what makes these Nats fans worthy of a chance to crash the Cave.

Meet the Finalists:

Andy BatesAndy B.

@batesandy

Hometown: Chevy Chase, Md.

Age: 26

After moving to the DMV in October 2009, Andy latched onto the Nationals as buzz began generating around Stephen Strasburg’s 2010 debut. That 14-strikeout performance was enough to hook this Nats fan for life. Though his favorite player is Bryce Harper, Andy also claims “utmost respect for Jayson Werth’s beard,” untucks his shirt after every Rafael Soriano save and does his best to hit the high notes during A-ha’s “Take On Me” during the seventh-inning stretch.

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Jodie Curtis Nationals PicJodie C.

@jodieraecurtis

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Age: 30

Jodie moved to Washington around the same time baseball did in 2005. Having never had a team to root for growing up in Kentucky, she immediately called the Nats her own. Torn between Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond for who tops the list of her favorite Nationals, Jodie ranks Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS as “one of the best sports moments I’ve ever witnessed in person…I felt like Washington became a baseball town that October night,” she said.

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SueAnn CagleSueAnn C.

@natsfan224

Hometown: Oxon Hill, Md.

Age: 31

Free tickets from participating in a blood drive brought SueAnn to her first Nationals game in 2009. The rest is history has her love of baseball and the Nats has grown exponentially since. She counts the Nationals division clinch last year among her favorite memories and was in the crowd when Michael Morse brought a champagne shower to the left-field stands.

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Nick PalastroNick P.

@nickpalastro

Hometown: Springfield, Va.

Age: 22

Nick’s destiny as a Nats fan was cemented the last time Washington hosted a Major League ball club. His dad was a Senators fan, having attended the last game at RFK Stadium on September 30, 1971 and the Nationals’ first exhibition game on April 3, 2005. Though Nick braved Philadelphia while attending college at Temple University, he’s undaunted in his Natitude — even outfitting the city’s Rocky Balboa statue with a Jayson Werth jersey.

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Jonathan BaldwinJonathan B.

@jonnyb1221

Hometown: Fredericksburg, Va.

Age: 27

Jonathan had never been to a Major League Baseball game before the U.S. Navy stationed him at Washington Navy Yard in 2011. A whim brought him and his wife to Nationals Park for the first time that year, sparking their now-mutual love of baseball and the Nationals. Now, their nightly ritual involves switching on the Nats game, but nothing compares to being in attendance for Jayson Werth’s walk-off in the playoffs. “I will never forget the vibe in the stadium at that moment,” Jonathan said.

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***Voting is now closed. Thank you for your support, click here to see our winner!***

What to Watch for: 8.27.13

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Miami Marlins (49-80) vs. Washington Nationals (65-65)

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-4, 3.82) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 2.58)

With a successful 6-4 road trip behind them, the Nationals begin a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three against Miami, whom they swept at home to open the season. Washington has won 11 of its last 16 games, and looks to continue its winning ways with its next 19 contests coming against the Marlins (49-80), New York Mets (58-71) and Philadelphia Phillies (60-71).

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. Ross Ohlendorf RHP

AUGUST HEAT

After struggling offensively for much of 2013, the Nationals rank third in the National League in runs per game in the month of August. Washington has scored 108 runs in 22 games this month (4.9 per game). Only the St. Louis Cardinals (5.4 runs in 25 August contests) and Arizona Diamondbacks (5.0 in 23 games) have scored more profusely than the Nationals this month. 

GOING STREAKING

With Sunday’s four-hit effort at Kauffman Stadium, Denard Span has hit safely in nine straight games, at a .400 clip (16-for-40) with two walks, a double, two triples, a homer, five runs and four RBI. Span is in search of his first double-digit hit streak as a member of the Nationals. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper is 13-for-33 (.394) with six walks, five doubles, a homer, six runs scored and six RBI during his current eight-game hit streak. Harper has yet to register a double-digit hit streak at a big leaguer.

GOOD WOOD

The Nationals are 5-1 and have scored at least four runs in each of their last six games, during which they are batting .314 (72-for-229) with 28 walks, 14 doubles, two triples, and nine home runs, all of which have yielded a .387 on-base percentage, a .511 slugging percentage and an .898 OPS. Washington has also gone (.316, 18-for-57) with runners in scoring position in the same six-game span.

Your Chance to Crash The Cave

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As a Major League Baseball team in one of the country’s most progressive technological markets, we’re always looking for new and creative ways to use the expanding world of social media to connect with our fans. In that spirit, we are hosting our first-ever Instagram-based event, which is the first of its kind in all of Major League Baseball.

We’re partnering with the gracious folks at the MLB Fan Cave in New York to present the #NatsCaveCrasher contest. Simply tag your best Nationals Instagram photos with the hashtag #NatsCaveCrasher for your chance to win pregame field passes, access to the Nats Fan Cave and field passes for yourself and a friend to the Free NatsLive Postgame Concert featuring Gavin DeGraw on Saturday, August 31 as the Nationals play the Mets.

As a finalist, you will be tasked with compiling a portfolio of photos from the evening, which will be displayed right here on Curly W Live and voted on by your fellow fans. Whoever receives the most votes will win an all-expenses paid trip for two to New York City September 9-10 to visit the MLB Fan Cave and see the Nationals take on the Mets at Citi Field.

Not bad, right?

We’ll be picking finalists on a rolling basis between now and August 21, so be sure to keep tagging photos for your chance to be chosen. We’ll announce one finalist on each of the five following dates:

Monday, August 12

Wednesday, August 14

Friday, August 16

Monday, August 19

Wednesday, August 21

For official rules and a gallery of entries, visit nationals.com/natscavecrasher today. Make sure you’re following @Nationals on Instagram and send in your submissions. Maybe you can crash both the Nats Fan Cave and the MLB Fan Cave in New York City.

Highlights: 7.28.13

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7.28.13 – Nationals 14, Mets 1

Stat of the Game: The Nationals set season highs in in runs (14) and hits (18) as Wilson Ramos blasted his first career grand slam and Denard Span homered for the second straight game.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Taylor Jordan struck out a career-high seven batters en route to his first Major League win.

It Was Over When: Ramos doubled the Nationals early lead with his third inning slam.

What to Watch for: 7.28.13

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New York Mets (46-55) vs. Washington Nationals (51-54)

RHP Carlos Torres (1-1, 0.94) vs. RHP Taylor Jordan (0-3, 3.68)

Fear the goggles.

Tyler Clippard works in what can sometimes be a thankless role, almost always pitching the seventh or eighth inning in close ballgames. Occasionally, when the game is tied or if the Nationals are trailing, that puts him in a position to pick up a win; after all, he’s got six of them this year. But usually, the only time he ends up in the spotlight is if the other team scores a run. That hasn’t happened much lately, which is why Clippard’s tremendous season is largely flying under the radar.

His overall numbers speak for themselves: a 6-1 record, 1.74 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched. But those marks have gotten better and better as the season has progressed. Since June 1, he’s allowed only one run in 23.2 innings, holding opponents to a .108 batting average. And in his last 15 appearances since June 26, Clippard has allowed just two hits and four walks over 15 scoreless frames, striking out 17.

Simply put, it’s hard to pitch any better than Clippard has the past two months. For the season, he’s picked up 19 holds and has not been dealt a single blown save all year. Every time Davey Johnson has handed Clippard the ball with a lead of three runs or less, he has handed it back with the lead intact.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Ramos C

9. Jordan RHP

DAN THE MAN

Dan Haren earned his fifth win – his first in 12 starts, or since May 9 vs. Detroit – by allowing just one run on three singles and a walk in 7.0 strong innings, striking out six. In four starts since his return from the disabled list, Haren owns a 3.13 ERA (8 ER/23.0 IP) and 26 strikeouts against just six walks.

POWER SURGE

Ian Desmond hit his team-leading 16th, Bryce Harper notched his 15th and Denard Span got on the board with his first home run of the season. Desmond and Span went back-to-back, marking the seventh time this season that Nationals players have homered in consecutive at-bats. Washington has hit 12 home runs in its last eight games at Nationals Park, representing its largest eight-game power output in The District this season.

THE SERIES

The Nationals have won the past two season series from the Mets, going 14-4 last season and 10-8 in 2011. Washington currently holds a 6-5 margin in this year’s matchup, including a 3-2 mark at Nationals Park.

Highlights: 7.27.13

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7.27.13 – Nationals 4, Mets 1

Stat of the Game: Dan Haren earned his first win in 12 starts thanks to a dominant performance, in which he allowed just three hits over seven frames.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Bryce Harper homered for the second time in three games, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBI.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano struck out Ike Davis to lock down his 26th save in 30 opportunities.

What to Watch for: 7.27.13

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New York Mets (46-54) vs. Washington Nationals (50-54)

RHP Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.07) vs. RHP Dan Haren (4-11, 5.79)

Some time ago, Ryan Zimmerman earned the title of Mr. Walk-off. He seemed to play the leading role in every significant victory in Nationals history, displaying a unique flair for the dramatic. But it had been a while since Zimmerman’s last walk-off home run, which came back in the 2011 season. That drought ended with a bang on Friday night.

In classic Zimmerman style, he punished a high fastball from LaTroy Hawkins to the opposite field, clearing the out-of-town scoreboard to break a 1-1 tie and give the Nationals a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets. Following Bryce Harper’s walk-off blast Thursday, Zimmerman’s long ball gave the Nationals walk-off homers on back-to-back days after not hitting any since Ian Desmond’s May 2, 2012 blast beat the Diamondbacks.

More impressively, Zimmerman has now hit nine game-winning home runs. Since his Nationals debut in 2005, that’s the most of any Major League player. It’s also the most by any player in history before his 30th birthday, surpassing Albert Pujols’ mark of eight. Oh, and Zimmerman won’t turn the big 3-0 until September 28. Next year.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Ramos C

9. Haren RHP

OOOOOHLENDORF

Ross Ohlendorf turned in his second excellent spot start of the 2013 season, allowing a single run over 7.0 innings of six-hit ball, walking two and striking out eight. In his two starts, he is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA (2 ER/13.0 IP) and has allowed just 12 baserunners while striking out 10.

BEING IAN

Ian Desmond has posted a NL-best .989 fielding percentage in 84 games at shortstop dating back to April 22. In that three-plus month span, only Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta (.994) has registered a better fielding percentage among big league shortstops.

THE SERIES

The Nationals are 11-2 in one-run games against the Mets since the beginning of 2011. Washington has claimed two straight season-series (14-4 in 2012, 10-8 in 2011) from New York. The Nationals also improved to 3-1 when facing Matt Harvey, despite the righty lowering his ERA to 1.00 (3 ER/27.0 IP) in four career starts against Washington.

Highlights: 7.26.13

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7.26.13 Game 1 – Mets 11, Nationals 0

Stat of the Game: Steve Lombardozzi collected his second straight multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ryan Mattheus returned to the roster, making his first appearance since May 19.

It Was Over When: The Mets broke the game open with six runs in the ninth inning.

7.26.13 Game 2 – Nationals 2, Mets 1

Stat of the Game: Ryan Zimmerman blasted his ninth career walk-off home run, the most by anyone in the Major Leagues since his debut in 2005.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ross Ohlendorf allowed a single run on six hits over seven frames, striking out eight.

It Was Over When: Zimmerman’s shot carried the Nationals to their second walk-off win in as many days.

What to Watch for: 7.26.13 – Game 2

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New York Mets (46-53) vs. Washington Nationals (49-54)

RHP Matt Harvey (8-2, 2.23) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 2.03) 

NATIONALS GAME 2 LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Lombardozzi LF

8. Ramos C

9. Ohlendorf RHP

*    *    *

Don’t let that windup fool you.

Ross Ohlendorf’s delivery has been described as “old-school.” Sure, it’s a swinging, kicking windup that hearkens back to baseball’s bygone times. And, yeah, it might betray a little vintage sensibility.

Still, the Nationals right-hander is hardly stuck in the past. In fact, that retro motion might be more a sign of progress than anything else.

The fact that the motion is reminiscent of legends like Bob Feller “wasn’t a motivation at all,” Ohlendorf said. “I knew that they used to do it…I’ve liked it a lot. I feel like it’s helped me pitch well.”

Ohlendorf has pitched so well out of the Nationals bullpen that he’ll take that swinging style onto the mound with him today as he makes his second big league start of the season. His presence on the Major League roster was meant to be short-lived, but after an impressive spot start in Colorado while Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg were on the Disabled List in June, manager Davey Johnson knew he had to find a way to keep Ohlendorf around.

Ohlendorf has used his old school delivery to great success so far this year.

Ohlendorf has used his old school delivery to great success so far this year.

He might have his pitching motion to thank for that.

A veteran of seven Major League seasons, Ohlendorf switched to the vintage delivery method this year, though he can’t pinpoint exactly when he made the change. Starting with his hands together, he raises them slightly before swinging his arms behind his back with a step back on his left leg. His hands meet again once more when he finally grips the ball from his mitt. His elbows fold in, and then, stepping forward on his left foot with all that momentum, he lets it fly.

“It helps me, gives me rhythm and it helps me stay loose and the ball has been coming out well pitching that way,” he said after his Washington debut.

So far, it seems to be working for him. After struggling over his last three seasons with Pittsburgh (2010-11) and San Diego (2012) and battling injuries, Ohlendorf has posted some impressive numbers in eight appearances with the Nats. After that initial win at Coors Field, the Princeton graduate has provided solid innings in long relief with a 2-0 record and a 2.03 ERA to show for it. He’s recorded 21 punch outs to just six walks.

His velocity is also spiking. Throughout his career, Ohlendorf’s fastball has averaged 90.8 mph and he hasn’t hit the upper 90s in a few seasons. This year, he’s averaging 92.6 mph, and hit 97 on the gun in Sunday’s relief appearance against the Dodgers. That’s helped in coming out of the bullpen. Accustomed to starting ballgames — he’s had 74 starts in his 116 Major League appearances —Ohlendorf says his location isn’t as sharp as if he’d warmed up to start the game.

“My command isn’t as good necessarily right away for an inning or so because I’m throwing hard,” Ohlendorf said. “But as I’ve kind of eased in to the later innings of a game, my command has gotten sharper and I haven’t needed to throw as hard.

“I feel like my command is usually sharper starting. I think it’s a little more difficult to have command right away out of the bullpen.”

With so much working in his favor these days, Ohlendorf can expect to be a more permanent fixture among the Nationals stable of arms. That’s what Johnson had in mind when he refused to send him back to Syracuse.

Now that the novelty of Ohlendorf’s windup has worn off, his impressive numbers have instead begun to define his year with the Nationals.

What to Watch for: 7.26.13 – Game 1

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New York Mets (45-53) vs. Washington Nationals (49-53)

RHP Jenrry Mejia (NR, -.–) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-5, 3.01) 

The Nationals look to continue their winning ways following yesterday’s ninth-inning, walk-off victory over the Pirates as the welcome the Mets for a day-night doubleheader to open a four-game series over the next three days. Jordan Zimmermann will take on rookie Jenrry Mejia, making his 2013 debut in the opener.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

HARPER’S HEROICS

Bryce Harper’s game-ending, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning capped a 9-7 win over the Pirates Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park. Harper’s blast was made necessary only after the Pirates, who trailed 7-3 after eight innings, plated four runs in the top of the ninth to extend the contest. Harper became the first 20 year-old to club a game-ending blast since Miguel Cabrera turned the trick on June 20, 2003 vs. Tampa Bay as a member of the Marlins. Harper’s shot was his first long ball since July 1 and it also rendered Washington’s first game-ending home run of 2013.

K STREET

In Washington’s last two games, Stephen Strasburg (season-high 12 strikeouts, Wednesday) and Gio Gonzalez (11 K, Thursday) have combined on 23 strikeouts to establish a team-mark for the most strikeouts posted a consecutive games by Nationals (2005-present) starting pitchers. With their respective 12- and 11-K efforts the last two days, Strasburg and Gonzalez also became just the second set of Nationals starters to register double-digit strikeout tallies in back-to-back games. John Lannan (11 strikeouts, April 17 at New York) and Tim Redding (10, April 18 at Florida) were the first to turn this trick back in 2008.

RISPY BUSINESS

The Nationals pounded out 14 hits, 5 of which came with RISP (Washington entered the game in a 13-game 7-for-81 rut with RISP) and 11 of which came from Davey Johnson’s 1-4 hitters (Harper, Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman with three, Adam LaRoche with two).

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