Results tagged ‘ New York Mets ’

What to Watch for: 6.5.13

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New York Mets (22-33) vs. Washington Nationals (29-29)

RHP Dillon Gee (3-6, 5.68) vs. RHP Dan Haren (4-6, 5.09) 

After 57 games without a walk-off win, the Nationals earned their first of the 2013 season last night off the bat of Steve Lombardozzi, who looped a sac fly to left with to score Adam LaRoche from third base in the ninth inning. With Dan Haren on the mound tonight, the Nats look to build off last night’s late rally and provide better run support, after only collecting three hits in Haren’s last start against the Orioles.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Rendon 2B

7. Lombardozzi LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Haren RHP

NOW THAT’S A PLATE APPEARANCE

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Steve Lombardozzi’s nine-pitch sac fly was the longest plate appearance of the season to conclude in a game-ending RBI. In fact, the last player to end a game with a plate appearance lasting in excess of nine pitches was Jayson Werth, who homered on the 13th pitch of his ninth-inning at-bat in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against St. Louis to give the Nationals a 2-1 win.

FIRST BLOOD

The Nationals are 22-5 when scoring first in 2013 and their corresponding .815 winning percentage ranks second among National League teams behind only Atlanta (24-3, .889).

GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER

Ian Desmond has hit safely in eight straight games at a .333 clip (10-for-30) with three doubles, two homers, three RBI, a walk and four runs scored. Defensively, Desmond has played 39 consecutive errorless games (155 total chances) since last committing an error on April 21 against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Highlights: 6.4.13

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6.4.13 – Nationals 3, Mets 2

Stat of the Game: Steve Lombardozzi delivered Washington’s first walk-off win of the season, capping a two-run ninth with a game-winning sacrifice fly.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond extended his hitting streak to eight games with his eighth home run, then doubled in the ninth to move the winning run to third base.

It Was Over When: Lombardozzi’s fly ball forced Mets left fielder Mike Baxter deep enough on his heels to allow Adam LaRoche to race home from third with the winning run.

What to Watch for: 6.4.13

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New York Mets (22-32) vs. Washington Nationals (28-29)

RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.74) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-3, 2.37) 

After coming off a series loss in Atlanta, the Nationals look to turn things around at home with their most consistent starter on the mound. Jordan Zimmermann has paced the Nats pitching staff with a solid start this season and has not lost at home in his last 17 Nationals Park outings, dating back to May 17, 2012 vs. Pittsburgh. Jayson Werth returns to the lineup after over a month on the Disabled List with a hamstring injury and is joined by call-ups Anthony Rendon and Ian Krol. In nine games with High-A Potomac, Werth went 9-for-16 with two walks, a double and two home runs.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Bernadina LF

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

FIRST BLOOD

The Nationals are 21-5 when scoring first in ‘13 and their corresponding .808 winning percentage ranks second among National League entries behind only the Braves (24-3, .889).

‘TWAS A MERRY MAY

Despite barely sleeping in their own beds (18 of 28 road contests in May) and being burdened by an overpopulated Disabled List, the Nationals somehow went 15-13 in May. The Nationals winning May was especially impressive considering the weighted winning percentage of the their nine opponents on the month was .517 (using records at close of play on May 31). Dating to September of 2011, the Nationals have played winning baseball in eight of their last nine months.

GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER

Ian Desmond has hit safely in seven straight games, notching a .308 clip (8-for-26) with a walk, two doubles, a homer, three runs scored and 2 RBI over that stretch. Defensively, Desmond has played 38 consecutive errorless games (153 total chances) since last committing an error on April 21 at New York.

Highlights: 4.21.13

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4.21.13 – Mets 2, Nationals 0

Stat of the Game: Three of Washington’s top four batters in the lineup reached base twice, but the Nationals were unable to push across any runs in the loss.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Steve Lombardozzi came off the bench with a pinch-single, raising his average to .333 for the season.

It Was Over When: The Nationals could not capitalize on their best rally opportunity with two on and none out in the seventh inning.

What to Watch for: 4.21.13

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Washington Nationals (10-7) vs. New York Mets (8-8)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-0, 2.45) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (0-3, 8.36)

The Nationals squared the series with the Mets, courtesy of a 7-6 victory Saturday afternoon. Following the game, infielder Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 18, and infielder Anthony Rendon was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg to fill his spot on the roster. Rendon will make his Major League debut at third base and will hit sixth in the Washington lineup. Rendon’s debut comes exactly one week shy of one year after Bryce Harper’s, on April 28 of last season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Rendon 3B

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

EXTRA EFFORT

In Saturday’s victory, each of Washington’s seven hits went for extra bases (three doubles, four home runs). In so doing, the Nationals became the first Major League team to win a game and post as many as seven hits, all for extra bases, since the Tigers (four doubles, four home runs) did so in a 7-4 victory over Minnesota on July 10, 2010.

TWICE AS BRYCE

Bryce Harper homered twice to notch his second multi-homer game of the season and the fourth of his career. His two home runs and a double netted him 10 total bases for the afternoon, a new career high. Harper also walked as part of a 3-for-3 performance, scoring three times and driving in three runs.

TOUGH SLEDDING

Beginning with Friday’s series opener in New York, the Nationals are two games (1-1) into a 19-game stretch in which they play teams currently sporting at least a .500 record.

What to Watch for: 4.20.13

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Washington Nationals (9-7) vs. New York Mets (8-7)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.20)

The Nationals dropped the series opener Friday night in Flushing and are an even 2-2 on their current six-game road swing with two games left to play. Gio Gonzalez, who was 3-1 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts vs. New York in 2012, looks to get back on track as he matches up with Mets righty Jeremy Hefner, who was 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA in three starts against Washington last season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Tracy 3B

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ERRATIC BATS OF LATE

After taking two-of-three at Miami thanks to 10-3 and 6-1 victories, the Nationals plated just a single run on four hits in dropping Friday’s series opener at Citi Field. In its last six games, Washington has scored two runs or less four times and tallied just four hits in a game thrice. The Nationals have averaged 6.0 runs per game in their nine wins this season and only 1.6 runs per contest in the season’s seven losses.

PLUSES AND MINUSES

At present, Washington is the only team in MLB with both a winning record (9-7) and a negative run differential (-13). The defending World Champion Giants (10-7) come close, however, having both scored and allowed 77 runs.

DON’T WALK

Nationals starting pitchers rank third in Major League Baseball, having issued just 1.98 walks per 9.0 innings. Only the starting staffs of the Mariners (1.70) and Brewers (1.85) have been stingier with the free pass.

Highlights: 4.19.13

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4.19.13 – Mets 7, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Mets pitcher Matt Harvey allowed a single run over seven innings of work to win his fourth straight start to open the season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Filling in for Ryan Zimmerman at third base, Chad Tracy drove home the team’s lone RBI.

It Was Over When: After Washington scored once and loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh to cut the margin to 4-1, the Nationals were unable to score again and close the gap.

What to Watch for: 4.19.13

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Washington Nationals (9-6) vs. New York Mets (7-7)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 2.95) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (3-0, 0.82)

When Stephen Strasburg made his first career start against the New York Mets back in 2010, he was just five outings removed from his electrifying, 14-strikeout debut, and the talk of the town around Major League Baseball. He was clearly the most dynamic, exciting player on a team whose other most notable star held down the fort as the defending National League Silver Slugger at third base, an award he would go on to win again that season.

Now, nearly three full years later as the Nationals face the Mets for the first time in 2013, it is young hurler Matt Harvey of New York commanding the buzz. Having won each of his first three starts with a sub-1.00 ERA, the eyes of New York and beyond will be on the young right-handed fireballer Friday night as he takes on the Nationals. Harvey represents another emerging star to go alongside David Wright, the Mets two-time Silver Slugger-winning third baseman.

And who will be opposite Harvey on the mound? Why, fellow 24-year-old Strasburg, of course.

The two might have met up in a parallel universe last season, but instead it was John Lannan, returning to his home in New York, who bested Harvey as the Nationals snagged a 1-0 September 12 road victory. Harvey struck out 10 in that affair, but lasted only five frames, needing a full 106 pitches. With Denard Span recovered from the flu that ailed him earlier in the week and back atop the lineup Friday night, you can be sure Washington will look to grind away at the youngster, as they have done to many opponents so far this season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Tracy 3B

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

TWO OF A KIND

With his seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday night vs. Miami, Ross Detwiler earned his first victory of the season. He also became just the second pitcher in the history of the Nationals/Expos organization to ever start the season with three starts of at least six innings and one or fewer runs, joining future Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez (1994).

DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS

Bryce Harper shook off the flu to go 4-for-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in Wednesday’s series finale in South Florida. The defending NL Rookie of the Year is off to a hot start, batting .364/.417/.673 with a team-high five home runs and a share of the lead with 11 RBI (Ryan Zimmerman). Harper ranks in the top 15 in the National League in batting (tied, eighth), on-base percentage (15th) and slugging percentage (sixth).

PASSING CAP

With Wednesday night’s victory in Miami, Davey Johnson and his 1,295 career managerial wins have moved into the top 30 all-time. Johnson is currently tied for 30th on the all-time list with Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson, who posted 1,295 wins and a .578 winning percentage in 21 seasons (1875, 1879-98) primarily as a player/manager with the Phillies, White Sox, Chicago Colts and Giants. Before 2013 ends, Johnson is likely to surpass Hall-of-Famer Ned Hanlon (#29, 1,313 wins) and Chuck Tanner (#28, 1,352 wins).

Old School Meets New School

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Earlier today, Chad Tracy – the leader of the Goon Squad – made it official and joined the Twitterverse (follow him @catracy18). He joins an ever-growing number of Nationals players now active on the platform. And just like Denard Span did in Spring Training, and Ryan Mattheus did last season, Tracy is asking for your help to design his profile.

Check out the headshots (we’re partial to the Jedi, hooded look, but hey, it’s up to you) and backgrounds below and make sure to cast your vote for each one. There’s no limit on how many times you can choose, so vote early and often! We’ll tally up all the totals on Friday and Chad will update his profile before the Nats take on the Mets in their next series.

Profile Avatar – Option 1

NATSST_02152013_DM

Profile Avatar – Option 2

NATSST_02152013_DM

Profile Avatar – Option 3

NATSST_02152013_DM

Profile Background – Option 1

NATSST_02152013_DM

Profile Background – Option 2

NATSST_02152013_DM

Profile Background – Option 3

NATSST_02152013_DM

Welcome to the New Age

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There was a time, not long ago, when Ryan Zimmerman represented one of the only true threats in the Washington lineup. He trailed only Adam Dunn in intentional passes during the latter’s two-year stint in The District, and still led the 2012 Nationals in that category. Considering that, the thought of a player – any player – being intentionally walked to get to Zimmerman would seem almost farcical.

And yet, that’s exactly the situation in which the Nationals found themselves Thursday night, with Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura electing not to pitch to Bryce Harper and face Zimmerman instead with two on and two outs in the fourth inning of a game Washington led 4-3 at the time.

Ryan Zimmerman is surrounded by a lineup chalked full of talent.

Ryan Zimmerman is surrounded by a lineup chock full of talent.

Unsurprisingly, the plan backfired. Zimmerman kept his head down and extended through a pitch low and away from White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod, sending it darting through a steady wind and over the head of right fielder Alex Rios for a two-run double to break the game open. What may be much more surprising is that the pitch driven by Zimmerman was Axelrod’s 103rd of the night, after the starter had recorded just 11 outs.

The difference in this year’s Nationals lineup from those of years past is both its balance and its incredible patience, the tendency for every batter to grind out each plate appearance, making the opposing starter sweat for each and every out. Consider the first inning Thursday night, in which Washington scored just once, but forced Axelrod to throw 40 pitches to just six total batters, an average of nearly seven pitches per plate appearance.

With Zimmerman moving to the fourth spot in the order this season, opposing starters have to contend with a prototypical leadoff man in Denard Span, the active Major League leader in pitches per plate appearance Jayson Werth, and the dynamic, unpredictable Bryce Harper before ever even getting to The Face of the Franchise, Mr. Walk-off himself. Thursday night, that meant 20 pitches – six to Span, 10 to Werth and four to Harper.

The outfield trio of Span, Harper and Werth wreaks havoc on opposing pitchers.

The outfield trio of Span, Harper and Werth wreaks havoc on opposing pitchers.

“That’s the point of the left-right-left-right  in the lineup,” said Zimmerman, referring to the symmetrical balance achieved in the offseason by the addition of Denard Span. “There’s really not anyone in our lineup you’d rather pitch to. There really aren’t any breaks anywhere in our lineup.”

Given the many ways Washington’s batting order is capable of hurting opponents, it’s only fitting that no White Sox starter survived the sixth inning in the series, the three hurlers combining for just 14.1 total innings. That’s what happens when a group of players learns that they don’t have to try to be the hero – if they are pitched around, the guy behind them will pick up the slack.

“That’s their decision,” said skipper Davey Johnson with a wry smile after the game, about the White Sox choice to walk Harper to get to Zimmerman. “I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions.”

The decision to walk anyone in front of Zimmerman is not one that had crossed opposing managers’ minds in quite a while. In fact, only one batter had been intentionally handed first base in front of Zimmerman since 2009, when on September 3, 2011, Roger Bernadina was intentionally walked by Mets reliever Bobby Parnell to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, as New York clung to a 7-6 lead. In that instance, Zimmerman delivered – what else – a two-run hit to right field, as the Nats walked off to an 8-7 victory.

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