Results tagged ‘ Philadelphia Phillies ’
Washington Nationals (77-48) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (59-67)
LHP Gio Gonzalez (16-6, 3.23) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (7-7, 3.95)
The Nationals dropped their series opener in Philadelphia, but turn to ace Gio Gonzalez to get them back on track Saturday night. With the Braves losing for the second straight night in San Francisco, Washington enters the day with a 6.5-game lead in the NL East with 37 games to play.
1. Lombardozzi 2B
2. Harper CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Werth RF
6. Bernadina LF
7. Espinosa SS
8. Suzuki C
9. Gonzalez LHP
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Before Friday’s 4-2 setback at Citizens Bank Park, Washington had won six consecutive series openers (not coincidentally, the Nationals were 5-0-1 in those six series) since July 31, when these same Phillies won, 8-0, at Nationals Park. With last night’s defeat, the Nationals have dropped four of their last five games against the Phillies.
GIO AND DOC
Gio Gonzalez looks to win his fourth straight start tonight, as he faces the Philadelphia Phillies for the third time in 2012. Gio is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA (1 ER/13.0 IP) in his two starts against Philadelphia this year. Opposing him is Roy Halladay, who is 0-1 against Washington this year. The Nationals are 2-6 in games started by Halladay since he joined Philadelphia, but have won the last two (8/21/11 in D.C., 5/22/12).
Washington Nationals (77-47) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (58-67)
RHP Edwin Jackson (7-8, 3.69) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (6-9, 4.20)
Following an off day, the Nationals travel to Philadelphia to open a three-game set with the Phillies as part of a five-game road trip. Edwin Jackson looks to get back in the win column as he follows up on his season-high 11 strikeouts in his last outing.
1. Lombardozzi 2B
2. Harper CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Morse LF
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Werth RF
7. Espinosa SS
8. Suzuki C
9. Jackson RHP
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
The Nationals tonight begin a shorter-than-usual two-city, five-game road trip with the first of three weekend contests at Citizens Bank Park. Following Sunday’s finale, the Nationals are slated to jet south to enjoy an off day (Monday) and a two-game series in Miami. However, Tropical Storm Isaac could potentially affect Washington’s travel plans. The Nationals are fresh off a 4-2 homestand that included series wins over the Braves (2-1) and Mets (2-1). Washington outscored their two opponents on the homestand, 21-18.
START ME UP
Coming off a dominating performance in his last outing, albeit a tough-luck loss in which he fanned 11 in 7.0 innings, Edwin Jackson accepts the starting assignment tonight against the Phillies. It is his fourth-career start against the NL East rivals, and third of the season. Note that Jackson has won games against 25 MLB teams and in 21 ballparks, but has yet to do so against either Philadelphia or at Citizens Bank Park.
NOTES OF NOTE
One year ago today (entering play on August 24, 2011), the third-place Nationals trailed the first-place Phillies in the NL East standing by 21.0 games. This year, the two clubs have swapped spots in the standings as Washington holds a 19.5-game advantage over the third-place Phillies in the NL East. Washington is 12-6 against the Phillies since Davey Johnson became manager, including a 4-1 mark in one-run games. Before going 10-8 against the Phillies in ‘11, the Nationals/Expos had won only two season series from PHI the previous 14 years (the Nationals went 10-9 in ’06; the Expos went 11-8 in ‘02). In four seasons (2007-‘10) as a Phillie, Jayson Werth hit .282 with 99 doubles, 95 homers, 300 RBI and 60 stolen bases. He earned a World Series ring as a member of the 2008 Phillies. Johnson played parts of two seasons for the Phillies (1977-‘78) and batted .273 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI in 122 games.
Philadelphia Phillies (47-57) vs. Washington Nationals (61-42)
LHP Cole Hamels (11-5, 3.31) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (5-4, 3.24)
The Nationals will look to beat Cole Hamels for the first time this season as they send Ross Detwiler to the hill in a battle of southpaws. Both pitchers are 1-1 in three starts since the All-Star break, but Detwiler’s 2.41 ERA (5 ER/18.2 IP) is more than a run and a half lower than Hamels’ 3.92 mark (9 ER/20.2 IP) in that span.
1. Espinosa SS
2. Harper RF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Morse LF
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Werth CF
7. Leon C
8. Lombardozzi 2B
9. Detwiler LHP
HIT STREAK HYSTERIA
Michael Morse has hit safely in 10 straight games, going 14-for-41 (.341) with two doubles, three home runs, nine RBI, two walks and eight runs scored. With a hit tonight, Morse would match the longest hitting streak of his career (11 games, May 22-June 2, 2011). Adam LaRoche, meanwhile, is riding a nine-game hitting streak.
WERTH THE WAIT
Prior to the game, outfielder Jayson Werth was reinstated and activated from the 60-day Disabled List. He returns to face Hamels and the Phillies in D.C., the same opposing pitcher, opponent and location of the game in which he sustained his injury (broken left wrist) back on May 6.
Despite Morse, Werth, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos missing significant time due to injuries, the Nationals have hit 113 homers in 103 games or 1.1 long balls per contest…in seven previous years in D.C., only once has Washington hit more than 1.0 home run per game: in ‘06 the Nationals blasted 164 long balls in 162 games (1.01 per game).
Philadelphia Phillies (45-57) vs. Washington Nationals (61-40)
LHP Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76)
The Nationals are coming off their only off-day in a 34-day span following a road trip that saw them go 6-1 in New York and Milwaukee. They will take their MLB-best 61-40 record against a Phillies team that has just traded outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence and sits 16.5 games behind entering play on Tuesday.
1. Lombardozzi 2B
2. Harper RF
3. Espinosa SS
4. Morse LF
5. Moore 1B
6. DeRosa 3B
7. Flores C
8. Bernadina CF
9. Strasburg RHP
AND ON THE 7TH DAY …
Michael Morse hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth and laced a game-winning, two-run double in the 11th to lift the Nationals to a stunning 11-10 victory over the Brewers on Sunday at Miller Park. Washington won for the eighth time in nine games despite trailing 3-1, 5-2, 7-3 and 9-7. The Nationals equaled their largest deficit (four runs) overcome to win (also: July 5 vs. Giants: down 5-1, W 6-5) this year.
THE WEEK’S DOCKET
The Nationals begin a key seven-game, six-day, homestand tonight with the first of three against the Phillies. From there, the Marlins invade for a four-game weekend set that includes a traditional 4:05pm twinbill on Friday, necessitated by an April 22 postponement.
Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76) faces off against Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95) tonight, the third start of his career against the Phillies. Note that Strasburg was the top pick in the 2009 draft of the Nationals, while Lee was a fourth-round pick of the Montreal Expos in 2000.
For all of the hype surrounding this weekend’s three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on the road at Fenway Park, perhaps Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa summed it up best when reflecting upon the feat.
“I think we were the team to beat right here,” he explained. “We’re the first-place team.”
Indeed, they are. They were when the weekend began, and found their lead padded to two games when Atlanta finally saw its six-game win streak come to an end on Sunday. Nevertheless, the national media was paying more attention this weekend to all the things that Nationals fans have been watching since Opening Day, now more than two months in the rear-view mirror.
That’s the thing about playing at Fenway: wherever the Red Sox reside in the standings, everyone is watching. It is one of those venues that puts you under the magnifying glass of the entire country. Peter Gammons, the Hall-of-Fame writer who covered the Sox for decades before ascending to the National stage, was unapologetic in his gushing over the Nationals fan support, those who showed up to cheer the team on in a hostile environment. As The Washington Post’s Tom Boswell pointed out in his column this morning, The Boston Herald even called the Nats “The most exciting team in baseball.”
Peter Gammons just said on NESN that he couldn't believe how many Nats fans were in Fenway. He called it great for baseball.—
Bram Weinstein (@BramESPN) June 10, 2012
The last such moment of national attention for this team came during NATITUDE Weekend against Philadelphia in early May. While the Nationals won that encounter – taking two-of-three including a dramatic, extra-inning victory to open the set – they lost in the nationally televised finale, missing perhaps the opportunity to claim the attention that they demanded this weekend in Boston.
Given the opportunity to close out the sweep once again, they did not disappoint. Following a dynamic team performance Friday and a solid effort on Saturday, the Nationals were in a battle in the finale. Bryce Harper, who was given his first day off since his call-up, found himself thrust into the middle of a tie game with one out in the ninth inning. He drew a five-pitch walk, then spent the bulk of the next two at-bats trying to size up Boston reliever Alfredo Aceves for the best time to steal. With a quick delivery to the plate, Aceves kept Harper on the bag until two outs and two strikes, when the rookie finally broke for second on the perfect pitch, a letter-high fastball that Roger Bernadina laced towards the right-field corner. With his momentum already at full blast (nearly overly so, as he struggled to keep his footing heading into second base), Harper tore around the 270 feet toward home, slapping the plate with the go-ahead run as he slid across well ahead of the relay throw back to the infield.
That allowed Tyler Clippard to come out of the ‘pen for the third straight day, and for the third straight day he shut the door on the Red Sox, silencing the Fenway crowd. His final masterpiece, a literally knee-buckling changeup to Dustin Pedroia, iced both the game and the cake of the weekend’s heroics. It marked the second road sweep in just over two weeks for this team, showing the continued growth that they have already experienced since that Phillies series just over a month ago.
Speaking of those Phillies, they now trail the front-running Nationals by eight games in the NL East, and by a staggering 10 games in the all-important loss column. So, yes, a three-game road sweep of a team with the history and tradition always makes for a great weekend. But with a much-less talked about three-game set against a less-heralded (yet quite talented) Toronto team beginning Monday night, it is where the Nationals sit as a result of that sweep that matters far more.
Hello again Nats fans,
I hope everyone is well and enjoying the season thus far.
I’d like to start with last weekend’s crowds at ‘NATITUDE Park.’ I am very proud to say that over 100,000 were in attendance for the three-game set against the rival Philadelphia Phillies. D.C. baseball fans left little doubt that they take their baseball seriously. Taking two of three from the Phillies is always welcome, but to do so in front of back-to-back-to-back large crowds made the weekend memorable for all.
Being a part of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball was a thrill for all of us. It was our first ESPN Sunday Night game since Nationals Park opened on March 30, 2008. Everything looked fantastic, as usual, in HD and the entire atmosphere was electric.
How about Bryce’s steal of home on Sunday? Not only won’t that moment be forgotten, it’s likely to be talked about with reverence for years to come. I have had friends tell me this week that the swipe was Bryce’s “arrival” on a national stage.
I know that Jayson Werth and Bo Porter both had a hand in educating Bryce on Cole Hamels’ pickoff tendencies. That was a true team effort. All in all, everything about last weekend went perfectly, Sunday’s result and especially Jayson’s wrist injury notwithstanding.
As I write this, the Nationals are caught in a three-game losing streak. The bats have been a tad flat, but that should be temporary, especially with Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche now back in the lineup. And Mike Rizzo tells me that Michael Morse and his Beast Mode are progressing quite well. We can really use that jolt in the middle of the lineup.
I’d also like to recognize the strong play of LaRoche thus far. He’s leading the club in the Triple Crown categories: a .316 batting average, five homers and 19 RBI. After an injured left shoulder hindered his play last season, I am glad to he is back this season and playing at the levels he expects for himself. Rizzo calls Adam a two-way player. In my mind, he is a three-way player, as there is also no finer gentleman or community advocate in our clubhouse.
Adam’s homer in the ninth inning on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh was the 1,000th home run hit by the Nationals since arriving in Washington in 2005. I remember being at the Nationals first game in Philadelphia and watching Terrmel Sledge launch our first homer at Citizens Bank Park. Why does that initial game in April of 2005 seem like such a long time ago? And at the same time, why does it seem like yesterday? I suppose that is the nature of this game.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the continued excellence of Steve McCatty’s starting rotation. Collectively, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler are the best rotation in the game right now. I don’t think anyone can objectively argue this point. Consider, in 16 the last games, the rotation has posted 15 quality starts and allowed one run or less 8 times. That’s sustained dominance.
Tonight, Strasburg takes the mound at PNC Park. Here’s to this three-game slide being temporary!
The NHL playoffs, and the Capitals series with the New York Rangers, also have my attention.
Game 6 was really something last night. I attended the game with Drew Storen as my guest. Drew along with many of his teammates, are really enjoying the Caps and their march through the Eastern Conference. Incidentally, Drew’s elbow is feeling fantastic and he is very anxious to get back on the mound.
As for the game, Ovechkin’s early goal really set the stage for loud evening at the Verizon Center. In between the pipes, Braden Holtby played with a grace and poise well beyond his years. He’s been just fantastic.
After further review, I just noted that the Nationals play in Cincinnati on Sat. at 7:05 p.m. And the Caps play Game 7 that same night at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m.
Nearly simultaneous starts, again? That’s two straight weekends! Not that I am counting!
We will start at our homestand Monday night against the San Diego Padres. Please come out and support the team. They are playing great ball and as we all know they are fun to watch.
Let’s go Caps!
Let’s go Nats!
Please enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!
Two up, two down. The Nationals have done everything the rowdy crowds at Nats Park could have asked for so far this weekend, coming from behind for the second game in a row to beat the rival Phillies, this time by a 7-1 score. Jayson Werth’s game-changing, two-out, three-run laser beam into the visiting bullpen in the fifth inning will be the moment everyone remembers from this contest, but fans would be remiss to overlook the huge performances by Gio Gonzalez, Rick Ankiel and Chad Tracy.
The Phillies offense got to Stephen Strasburg for a pair of home runs in Friday night’s game, but had no such luck against Gonzalez on Saturday afternoon. In fact, Philadelphia managed just four hits, scoring once in seven innings against the Nationals left-hander. Gonzalez struck out seven in another sparkling performance and now leads the National League with 41 punchouts on the season. He also improved to 2-0 in three starts at home, where he has allowed just nine base runners in 21.0 innings of work, striking out 22 and posting a 0.43 ERA.
Ankiel, meanwhile, has very quietly caught fire. He turned in his second consecutive three-hit performance to open the series, raising his average to .309 for the season. With the range and arm he possesses in center field – and if the Nationals continue to get this kind of offensive production from him – Ankiel could be a vital piece for the team throughout the 2012 season.
Tracy provided the final bit of support on Saturday, a two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the game on ice. It was the second home run of the season and the second in as many days for the lefty, who has found himself starting at first base in the wake of Adam LaRoche’s absence from the lineup the last few games.
Over the first two games of the series, the Nationals have pounded out 29 hits, following up on their 14-hit performance Friday night. They have now out-hit the Phillies 29-11 through the first two games of the series. While the Phillies can claim some injury woes of their own, all the Nationals have accomplished, it should be noted, has happened without the help of their top three offensive threats – Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche.
“They’re short-handed,” said manager Davey Johnson after the game. “We’re short-handed, maybe more than them. This shows that we can compete with them.”
It certainly does. The Nationals will go for the sweep in front of a National audience beginning at 8:05pm on Sunday, as Nationals Park hosts ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball for the first time since the park opened in 2008.
“It should be exciting,” said Johnson, of the nationally televised affair. “I don’t have to give any motivational speeches.”
It may not have been a perfect Hollywood ending, but it was as good as it gets for the folks in D.C. on Friday night. With the rival Philadelphia Phillies in town for the first of three defining games between the two franchises, the pressure to get a series–opening win, especially with ace Stephen Strasburg on the hill – was enormous. And while things didn’t start all that well, they ended just fine, as they have seemed to do quite often for the Nationals so far this young season.
Washington battled back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to tie the game at three in the eighth and eventually force extra innings. Wilson Ramos would ultimately play the hero, capping a two-out, 11th-inning rally with a line single up the middle to score Steve Lombardozzi and send the fans into that familiar frenzy to which they have grown accustomed over the season’s first month.
Sure, a Bryce Harper game-winner would have really brought the house down. The chants from the crowd, far more boisterous than your average game, would have been heard from across the Anacostia. But it was perhaps more fitting that it came from Ramos, the last man available on Davey Johnson’s bench.
The Phillies are somewhat short-handed, missing their starting first and second basemen in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. But the Nationals are making due without their top two offensive threats from last year, with Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse both on the Disabled List. As such, the matchups between these teams become more a test of depth than of star-power, right down to the last name that hasn’t been scratched out yet on the lineup card.
Tonight, that was Ramos. And as so many Nationals have done already, he delivered when his team needed him most. The walk-off Curly W marked Washington’s fifth in just 14 home games, and the fourth to come in extra innings. The Nationals improved to a National League East-best 17-9 on the season and 11-3 at home with the victory.
It will be a quick turnaround to Saturday’s 1:05pm start, but the atmosphere should be electric once again. With the largest anticipated crowd of the series, expect another boisterous day of baseball at Nationals Park.
Welcome to NATITUDE Weekend at Our Park. This three-game set will feature the top of the Nationals rotation taking on the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time since Washington completed a four-game road sweep at Citizens Bank Park last September. For a complete guide to everything you need to know, click here. As far as the basics are concerned, the matchups are as follows:
Philadelphia Phillies (13-13, 4th place, -3.5 GB) vs. Washington Nationals (16-9, 1st place, 0.0 GB)
Game 1: Friday, May 4, 7:05pm
Probable Starters: RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 6.59) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 1.13)
Tickets: Still available
Breakdown: Reigning National League Pitcher of the Month Stephen Strasburg takes to the hill looking to lead the Nationals to their third consecutive win. The right-hander has allowed one or fewer runs in four of his five starts to date. Facing the Nationals lineup will be Kyle Kendrick, normally the Phillies swingman who is filling in the rotation for the injured Cliff Lee. Kendrick has allowed nine runs on 16 hits in 9.0 innings of work in his two starts so far, losing both.
Game 2: Saturday, May 5, 1:05pm
Probable Starters: RHP Vance Worley (2-1, 1.97) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.82)
Tickets: Very limited
Breakdown: Gio Gonzalez saw his scoreless innings streak reach 25 before coming to an end in his last start. He shares the team lead and the fifth-highest total in the National League with 34 strikeouts as one of the four Nationals starters with both a sub-2.00 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP. Vance Worley continues to be a solid find for the Phillies after an impressive campaign in 2011, but has surrendered a team-high four home runs.
Game 3: Sunday, May 6, 8:05pm
Probable Starters: LHP Cole Hamels (3-1, 2.78) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 1.89)
Tickets: Still available
Breakdown: Jordan Zimmermann will toe the rubber for the Nationals in the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball feature. A victim of low run support, the righty has won just one game despite striking out 22 batters against just three walks and posting a team-low 0.84 WHIP. The report on Cole Hamels shows that he is having another solid year, leading the team with 36 strikeouts. He has not been untouchable, though, allowing a run in every start and two or more in four of his five outings.
Well, it’s finally here. Welcome to NATITUDE Weekend at Nationals Park, the first three-game set of the year against the rival Phillies. If you are planning to attend any (or all) of this weekend’s games, here’s a handy guide to help arm you with the NATITUDE you need to show the Philly fans who decided to make the trip south to Our Park that Washington is ready to turn the tide both on the field and off.
1. Knowledge is power
The Nationals are off to a great start to 2012, and it helps to understand just how good they’ve been so far. As any Phillies fan will tell you, pitching is all-important in building a winner. So far, the Nationals have had the best staff in the game, and by a decent margin at that. Stephen Strasburg, who is scheduled to start the series opener on Friday, just took home National League Pitcher of the Month honors for April after going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA (4 ER/32.0 IP), striking out 34 batters while walking just six over his first five starts of the year. In fact, four of the five Nats starting pitchers – including all three slated to start in this series – have ERAs under 2.00 going into Thursday night’s game. That’s something neither Phillies starters Cole Hamels (2.78) nor Roy Halladay (3.40) can claim.
2. Understand your history
Yes, the Phillies have won five straight National League East titles. You already know this, but you will no doubt be reminded of it several times this weekend. However, were you aware that the Nationals beat Philadelphia, 10-8, in the season series in 2011, including the final five games? Before completing a four-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park in September, the Nats won their last home game over Philadelphia in an extra-inning walk-off affair. Two days before that, Ryan Zimmerman cleared the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off grand slam.
3. Speaking of walk-offs…
The Nationals enter their series finale with the Diamondbacks Thursday night with a 9-3 home record, best in the division. Four of those victories have come in walk-off style, including Wednesday’s dramatic, two-out, two-run, come-from-behind, game-winning home run off the bat of Ian Desmond. The winning run in those games has been scored by four different players (Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, and Desmond), so you never know who the hero might be when you come to the ballpark.
4. There’s this guy named Bryce
They may boo him, but every opposing fan will have their eyes trained on home plate when 19 year-old Bryce Harper digs in. The outfielder turned in the first three-hit game of his young career on Wednesday, and is already altering games on defense with his cannon of an arm. Make sure you’re in your seat when Harper bats – you just might witness a piece of history.
5. Root, root, root for the home team
Bring your passion and energy to Our Park to cheer for the Nats. It’s going to be a fun, rowdy environment for sure, so bring your yelling voice. But should you run into some unruly visiting fans, don’t worry about wasting it on them. Let them regale you with stories about their .500 ballclub, and about how good they used to be. You know, in the past. Just take the high road and Ignite Your NATITUDE to support the NL East-leading Nats, the most exciting young team in baseball.
See you at Our Park this weekend!