Results tagged ‘ Philadelphia Phillies ’

What to Watch for: 9.3.13

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Washington Nationals (69-68) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (63-75)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 3.56) vs. RHP Ethan Martin (2-3, 6.39)

Washington completed its round of September call-ups by bringing five more players up from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday. In addition to recalling left-handed pitcher Xavier Cedeno, infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus and outfielders Corey Brown and Eury Perez, the Nationals also selected the contract of infielder Zach Walters. The Cheyenne, Wyoming native – who will turn 24 on Thursday – makes his first-ever appearance in the Major Leagues.

Manager Davey Johnson hinted that Walters might be one of the additions to the roster when the topic was broached last week. Johnson has liked Walters since Spring Training, when the switch-hitter received an invitation to Major League camp. The organization asked him to focus on hitting for more power this season, and after Walters delivered a couple of home runs in the spring – including a walk-off shot – he took that change in approach with him to the regular season.

“I’d never really thought about hitting for power,” said Walters. “But when Davey says to do something, you’d better do it twice.”

The adjustments paid off, as Walters led all players in the organization by blasting 29 home runs, after hitting just 25 through his first three professional seasons combined. He added 32 doubles and five triples to that total, sending 54 percent of his hits for extra bases and improving on his previous career-best slugging percentage by 60 points.

“I liked him in the spring,” said Johnson of the young infielder, who played mostly shortstop this year. “He went out and expressed that talent.”

Walters also has a sense of humor, which he revealed when joking about the role that Johnson may have outlined for him for the month of September.

“Powerade mixes…probably blue tonight,” he quipped. “Guys like their seeds in alphabetical order.” 

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. Gio Gonzalez LHP

GO GO GIO

The Nationals have won both times Gio Gonzalez has taken the hill against Philadelphia this season, including a 7-3 win in Philadelphia on July 10. Gonzalez is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA (3 ER/14.0 IP) with four walks and 16 strikeouts in those two outings.

ROAD WARRIOR

Ryan Zimmerman blasted his 16th home run of the season last night, 12 of which have come away from Nationals Park. Zimmerman has hit multiple home runs at three visiting parks – Camden Yards (3), Petco Park (2) and Citizens Bank Park (2).

BACK IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY

Even with his 0-for-4 last night, Jayson Werth is batting .415/.468/.707 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 11 games vs. the Phillies this season. Three of those four home runs have come at Citizens Bank Park, the only ballpark outside of Washington in which Werth has homered more than once this season.

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: 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.

Community Weekend Recap

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The Nationals celebrated the work of Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and its community initiatives August 9-11, holding the organization’s annual Foundation Weekend during the team’s series with the Phillies.

The Dream Foundation kicked off the festivities with the fifth-annual Green Up Day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, teaming up with Anacostia Riverkeeper to rebuild natural barriers and remove invasive plant species that contribute to soil erosion at the wetlands. Close to 100 volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force and KPMG, as well as Nationals fans and front office staff, came out to support the project.

“The Nationals have a commitment to the environment and we’re playing off of that,” said Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Dream Foundation chair and one of the Nationals principal owners. “We’re hoping to expand that into the community.”

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens serves as a natural filter for the Anacostia River watershed and flood plain for the area.  Storm water overflow from the river accumulates in the Gardens; it is cleansed and partially absorbed as it passes through the vegetation, preventing or mitigating flood damage..  The filtered river and rainwater then flows back into the Anacostia. The volunteers reinforced bank stabilizers installed at last year’s Green Up Day, replenished soil in several eroded areas, and planted native grasses  and trees to aid in soil and plant retention.

“I’m a Nationals fan, so I thought it would be fun to be involved with the Nationals in one way shape or another and do something that’s good for the city,” volunteer Frank Santi said. “This is a great place.”

For their efforts, Green Up Day volunteers received a T-shirt, tickets for Sunday’s game and a free lunch at Nationals Park courtesy of Hard Times Cafe. Additionally, a select group was recognized for its work as part of the pregame ceremonies on Sunday.

Anacostia Riverkeeper Mike Bolinder praised the efforts of the Dream Foundation and the newfound attention the Nationals have helped steer toward the river next to which Nationals Park sits.

“It’s a very natural partnership for us to work with our most famous neighbor to bring local awareness to the Anacostia and both the trouble that it faces and the amazing beauty it can offer,” Bolinder said.

Other Dream Foundation projects were recognized over the weekend as well, including the Neighborhood Initiative, which benefits local non-profit organizations in the Southeast/Southwest D.C. neighborhoods, the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, and the newly opened Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center.

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The Stras SHO

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Several times each season when Stephen Strasburg takes the hill and cruises through two or three innings without allowing a hit, the press box begins to buzz.

“He’s got no-hit stuff tonight.”

“I know it’s early, but…”

Etc., etc.

With all his pitches working, Strasburg dominated for his first career shutout.

With all his pitches working, Strasburg dominated for his first career shutout.

Any such talk was wiped away on Strasburg’s very first pitch of Sunday’s game, as Jimmy Rollins lobbed a broken-bat floater into right field for a leadoff single. But the Phillies would manage just three more singles and a walk the rest of the way, as Strasburg completed his first-ever shutout in a 6-0 Nationals victory.

Impressively, he combined the dominant power pitching that he burst onto the scene with in his first big league start, with the more pitch-to-contact-heavy approach he has implemented this season. Despite striking out 10 Philadelphia batters, the 25-year-old needed just 99 pitches and faced just 29 batters, two over the minimum.

“It’s something you try to do every time out,” said Strasburg of his performance. “Try to get more outs with less pitches.”

He fanned seven different Philadelphia starters, with only Chase Utley and Erik Kratz bucking the trend. Instead, those two combined to make seven outs in just five at-bats, as Utley twice grounded into double plays.

Perhaps most impressively, Strasburg did all of this after enduring an early scare, when he stumbled a bit off the mound after spiking a changeup past the ankles of Domonic Brown. The trainers went out to check on the right-hander, and both Strasburg and Davey Johnson would later confirm that he had tweaked his groin on the delivery.

Jayson Werth kept hitting, while Ian Desmond provided a jolt of energy.

Jayson Werth kept hitting, while Ian Desmond provided a jolt of energy.

Ironically, it was something that only happened in the first place – and that he would only feel afterwards – as a result of flying too far open to his glove side, a mechanical glitch that he has worked to rein in all season. Perhaps the added awareness helped Strasburg stay on a better line to home plate, as he would go on to strike out seven of the next 10 batters he faced following a walk to Brown, his lone free pass of the afternoon.

“If he didn’t fly open, it didn’t bother him,” said Johnson after the game. “Obviously it didn’t bother him.”

The masterful performance overshadowed other story lines, like the fact that the 6-0 victory gave the Nationals their first-ever home sweep over their division rivals. Former Phillie Jayson Werth also collected his second straight three-hit game, and is following his NL Player of the Month Award in July with a .571/.647/.821 slash line thus far in August. The Nationals showed aggressiveness on the basepaths, with Ian Desmond scoring from second base on a fielder’s choice, coming all the way home after the ball trickled away from Kratz following Utley’s bounced throw home on a force attempt. And there was terrific defense, capped by Ryan Zimmerman’s diving snare of Kevin Frandsen’s liner to end the game, which, of course, brought the storyline full circle, back to Strasburg’s shutout.

“You expect more of those from him, with his talent,” concluded Johnson.

Strasburg’s next scheduled start will come against the Braves in Atlanta this weekend.

Highlights: 8.11.13

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8.11.13 – Nationals 6, Phillies 0

Stat of the Game: Stephen Strasburg needed just 99 pitches to record his first-ever complete game and shutout, holding the Phillies to just four hits while striking out 10.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Jayson Werth turned in his second straight three-hit game and now owns an August slash line of .571/.647/.821.

It Was Over When: Ian Desmond scored from second base on Wilson Ramos‘ fielder’s choice to put Washington ahead 5-0 in the fifth inning.

What to Watch for: 8.11.13

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Philadelphia Phillies (52-64) vs. Washington Nationals (56-60)

RHP Kyle Kendrick (9-8, 4.29) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.01)

The Nationals take aim at a three-game sweep of Philadelphia as they send Stephen Strasburg to the hill. Despite winning six of the past seven home series from the Phillies, Washington has never swept its division rival in D.C.

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. Stephen Strasburg RHP

CLIFF JUMPING

The Nationals overcame a four-run deficit – their largest of the season – against Cliff Lee and the Phillies in Saturday night’s 8-5 victory. Entering the contest, Lee had a personal record of 84-1 when being staked to a lead of four runs or more in his career (he received a no decision). Also, Lee’s teams had won 86 of the 92 games in which he had pitched with at least a four-run cushion.

WERTH ANOTHER LOOK

Since July 1, Jayson Werth leads all National League players in all three Triple Crown categories with a .404 batting average (46-for-114), nine home runs and 27 RBI. The .404 mark is also the best in Major League Baseball over that span, easily in front of Adrian Beltre’s .370.

BANNER START FOR TANNER

With two perfect innings of relief, Tanner Roark collected his first Major League win in just his second appearance out of the bullpen. Roark needed only 12 pitches – six per inning – to set the Phillies down in order twice. The righty has allowed just one baserunner in his first four innings with the Nationals and has faced the minimum 12 batters over that span.

Highlights: 8.10.13

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8.10.13 – Nationals 8, Phillies 5

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth had three knocks, the last of which was a go-ahead, two-run home run for the 1000th hit of his career.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Tanner Roark recorded six outs on just 12 pitches for his first Major League win.

It Was Over When: Anthony Rendon‘s two-out, bases-loaded single in the seventh capped a five-run frame to put the game out of reach.

What to Watch for: 8.10.13

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Philadelphia Phillies (52-63) vs. Washington Nationals (55-60)

LHP Cliff Lee (10-5, 3.13) vs. RHP Taylor Jordan (1-3, 3.76)

The Nationals look to pick up where they left off last night, after tagging former teammate John Lannan for easily his worst loss of the season in a 9-2 final. Washington will face the tall task of toppling another lefty in 10-game winner Cliff Lee. However, the Nationals homered four times against Lee in Philadelphia on July 10, incuding two pairs of back-to-back shots.

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. Taylor Jordan RHP

HITTING DOWN THE LINE

All eight Nationals position players recorded at least one hit in Friday night’s victory and Washington got a hit from every spot in the lineup, thanks to Scott Hairston’s pinch-double in the bottom of the eighth inning. Half of the 12 Washington knocks went four extra bases (four 2B, two HR).

SUMMER’S SCORCHER

Jayson Werth was named NL Player of the Month for the month of July and owns the top batting average in Major League Baseball since the beginning of July:

1. Jayson Werth .388

2. Adrian Beltre (TEX) .381

3. Mike Trout (LAA) .380

HEAVY SPLIT

Friday night’s game marked the first in this year’s season series in which either team scored more than six runs. However, each Washington victory has been by at least three scores (closest game: 5-2 on 5/24), while Philadelphia has not won by more than two runs in any of their triumphs (four two-run games, two one-run games). As a result, despite going just 5-6 so far, the Nationals have outscored the Phillies 45-32 (outhomering them 12-5) through the first 11 contests between the clubs.

The 13th to 30

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There were several remarkable aspects to Dan Haren’s solid start on Friday night against Philadelphia. It marked the fifth time in six starts since his return from the disabled list that he allowed two or fewer runs in an outing. He struck out five or more (seven, to be exact) without a walk for the fifth time this year. But perhaps more impressively, it was the first time in the 11-year veteran’s career, during which he spent parts of six seasons in the National League, that he had ever beaten the Phillies.

When Ian Krol rung up Darin Ruf looking to end the game, Haren could officially claim a piece of baseball lore. He became just the 13th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to beat all 30 franchises in his career.

While that feat has been made more accessible by the advent of Interleague Play and the higher frequency of today’s players changing teams, specialized pitching roles and pitch limits have made it harder and harder to earn wins as a starter. And regardless of other mitigating factors, the list is a rather illustrious one:

Kevin Brown (211 wins, six-time All-Star)

A.J. Burnett (142 wins)

Randy Johnson (303 wins, 10-time All-Star, five-time Cy Young)

Al Leiter (162 wins, two-time All-Star)

Derek Lowe (176 wins, two-time All-Star)

Jamie Moyer (269 wins, All-Star)

Terry Mulholland (124 wins, All-Star)

Vicente Padilla (108 wins, All-Star)

Curt Schilling (216 wins, six-time All-Star)

Javier Vazquez (165 wins, All-Star)

Woody Williams (132 wins, All-Star)

Barry Zito (164 wins, three-time All-Star, Cy Young)

That group includes one sure-fire Hall of Famer, a couple borderline candidates, and 11 All-Stars, six of whom were selected for the Midsummer Classic multiple times. Haren, of course, is a three-time All-Star himself, and earned his 126th career victory with Friday night’s triumph.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Haren of the feat, of which he had become aware back in July, the last time he faced the Phillies. “I think it’s something to be proud of, it shows longevity. I face them a couple more times this year, hopefully I’ll get the same result.”

Haren’s performances have been consistent with his heralded career since his return to action on July 8. His 2.43 ERA (10 ER/37.0 IP) is easily the best in the Washington starting rotation over that stretch, during which he has struck out 39 batters while walking just eight, good for a 4.88 K/BB rate.

His overall ERA of 4.99 is the lowest it has been since May 14, and just the second time he has ended a start under the 5.00 mark this season.

“I’ve had a little bit of luck and I’ve pitched a little better,” he explained of the difference in results, also noting that his split-fingered pitch has been particularly sharp, aiding his elevated strikeout numbers. “Put those together and good things happen.”

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