Results tagged ‘ Philadelphia Phillies ’

What to Watch for: 8.9.13

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Philadelphia Phillies (52-62) vs. Washington Nationals (54-60)

LHP John Lannan (3-4, 4.10) vs. RHP Dan Haren (6-11, 5.14)

The Nationals host the Phillies for the second of three series in the Nation’s Capital, where Washington took two-of-three in the first meeting of the teams back in late May. Second-place Washington sits 2.0 games ahead of fourth-place Philadelphia, with the Mets squarely between the two. Dan Haren looks to continue his strong run since returning from the disabled list, during which he has compiled a 2-2 record and a 2.40 ERA (8 ER/30.0 IP) and 32 strikeouts against just eight walks.

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. Dan Haren RHP

GRAND-IOSE OCCASION ON THE HORIZON

With 996 in the bag, Jayson Werth is just four hits shy of 1000 for this career. Werth looks to join teammates Ryan Zimmerman (1211) and Adam LaRoche (1202) in the 1000-hit club.

OFF AND ON

The Nationals are 7-3 this season in games after off-days, not including the four-day All-Star break. Included in that list is Washington’s 5-2 home victory over the Phillies to open the two clubs’ prior meeting in D.C. this year.

LUCKY NUMBER 13

Dan Haren has beaten every Major League team in his career except one – the Philadelphia Phillies. If he can earn the victory tonight, he will become just the 13th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to beat all 30 teams, joining Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett, Randy Johnson, Al Leiter, Derek Lowe, Jamie Moyer, Terry Mulholland, Vicente Padilla, Curt Schilling, Javier Vazquez, Woody Williams and Barry Zito. In seven career starts, the righty is 0-4 with a 5.54 ERA, the second-highest mark against any single club (Chicago Cubs, 5.58).

Highlights: 7.11.13

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7.11.13 – Phillies 3, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth continued to stay hot since returning from the disabled list, collecting two hits to extend his streak to eight games.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Bryce Harper scored Washington’s lone run (and, arguably, a second one) thanks to a sixth-inning triple followed by Ryan Zimmerman‘s sacrifice fly.

It Was Over When: The Phillies added a run in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final margin.

What to Watch for: 7.11.13

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Washington Nationals (47-44) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (45-47)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.57) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-6, 3.90)

The Nationals hope to follow up on their victory Wednesday night as they aim for a four-game road split in Phildelphia. Washington bashed at least four home runs for the ninth time this season in its 5-1 victory Sunday; five of those games have come with Gio Gonzalez, last night’s winner, on the hill.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

LUCKY NUMBER 13

Jordan Zimmermann takes his second crack at his 13th win of the season, which would be a National League high and would set a new career mark for the right-hander, before even hitting the All-Star break. Zimmermann is 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA in six starts against NL East foes this year and the Nationals have won five of his six intradivisional starts.

RISP-Y BUSINESS

The Nationals are 0-for-16 with RISP during their current series at Citizens Bank Park after going 12-for-35 (.343) during their just-completed 3-game home sweep of the Padres.

IT STARTED WITH A SLAM

Ian Desmond’s grand slam in the 11th inning capped the scoring in Washington’s 6-2 victory here at CBP on June 19. Desmond’s June 19 slam seems to have sparked the fortunes of Nationals, who are a 13-8 (.619) and sport a +23 run differential (104-81) since.

Back-to-Back, Back-to-Back

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After a pair of comeback attempts had come up just shy the previous two nights, the Nationals faced the tall order of trying to beat Cliff Lee Wednesday night in Philadelphia. That challenge appeared particularly daunting as Lee, named to the All-Star Game last week, entered the contest riding an eight-game winning streak, including a 4-2 decision just a few weeks prior over Washington at Citizens Bank Park.

After four scoreless innings to open the game, Lee sat at 135.2 innings pitched for the year, having allowed just nine home runs all season. He quickly got ahead of Anthony Rendon 0-2 to start the fifth. And then, out of nowhere, a quick flip of the rookie’s wrists sent the next pitch into the first row in the left field bleachers. Two pitches later, Wilson Ramos rode an outside fastball to the opposite field and out for a solo shot of his own. Just like that, 2-0 Nationals.

But Washington wasn’t done there. The very next inning, nearly the exact same scenario played out once more. Ryan Zimmerman fell behind 0-2 leading off the inning. Then he turned around an elevated fastball and crushed it to deep left-center to make it 3-0. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz tossed Lee a new baseball, which Jayson Werth promptly deposited into the left field seats on the first pitch of his at-bat. Back-to-back home runs in back-to back-innings.

Of course, you may remember that Lee’s only other game allowing multiple home runs this season was that start against the Nationals, when both Werth and Jeff Kobernus took him deep for the only Washington scoring of the game. But for those of you whose only knowledge of Lee has come from that other Nationals game, you may have a skewed view of just how stingy he normally is when it comes to the longball. By the end of the night, Lee had the following astounding split:

123.2 innings pitched vs. rest of the league – seven home runs

15.0 innings pitched vs. the Nationals – six home runs

That means the Philadelphia southpaw holds the rest of baseball to just 0.5 home runs per nine innings pitched. Meanwhile, the Nationals are averaging 3.6 big flies per nine frames against him.

With four games left on the final road swing before the All-Star break, it was a good sign that the Nationals have brought their newfound high-scoring offense on the road with them.

Highlights: 7.10.13

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7.10.13 – Nationals 5, Phillies 1

Stat of the Game: The Nationals hit back-to-back home runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, the fifth and sixth times they’ve gone back-to-back this season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Gio Gonzalez won for the fourth time in as many starts to improve to 7-3 and lower his ERA to 3.03.

It Was Over When: After Philadelphia scored in the seventh, Washington added a fifth run in the top of the ninth to provide the final margin.

What to Watch for: 7.10.13

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Washington Nationals (46-44) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (45-46)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-3, 3.14) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-2, 2.73)

The Nationals look to get back on track behind Gio Gonzalez in a battle of lefties, as they take on Cliff Lee in Philly. Gonzalez is riding a personal three-game winning streak, and his 2.20 ERA since May 11 is the fifth-best in the National League over that stretch.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ALL-STARS GALORE

Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann, Davey Johnson and Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz will represent Washington and the National League in the 84th MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City. Harper will be both the youngest player in history to start an All-Star Game for the NL and the first player to represent the Nationals in multiple All-Star games (also 2012). Zimmermann currently leads the NL with 12 wins and is 14-0 in his last 22 starts at home dating to May 2012. Ian Desmond has a chance to join them as a Final Vote candidate. You can vote for #DesiIn13 at nationals.com/vote through 4:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

CATT’S MEOW

Stephen Strasburg (sixth, 2.45), Jordan Zimmermann (seventh, 2.57) and Gio Gonzalez (18th, 3.14) all rank among the NL’s top 20 in ERA this season. Among teams with at least three qualified starters, the Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez triumvirate is baseball’s best as they’ve combined on a 2.72 ERA (104 ER/344.0 IP) this year.

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL HISTORY

2008 – Left fielder Wily Mo Pena records 11 putouts to establish a Nationals single game record for outfielders in an 11-inning 7-5 setback vs. Arizona.

Highlights: 7.9.13

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7.9.13 – Phillies 4, Nationals 2

Stat of the Game: Scott Hairston had a pair of hits, batting leadoff in his Nationals debut.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Jayson Werth launched his ninth home run of the season in the second inning off Cole Hamels.

It Was Over When: Washington scored once and got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but could not complete the comeback.

What to Watch for: 7.9.13

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Washington Nationals (46-43) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (44-46)

RHP Taylor Jordan (0-1, 2.70) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (3-11, 4.38)

Washington saw its four-game winning ride come to an end with a 3-2 loss in the series opener Monday night in Philadelphia. The Nationals look to rookie right-hander Taylor Jordan, making just his third Major League start, against Phillies southpaw Cole Hamels in the second contest of this four-game set.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Hairston LF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper CF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Jordan RHP

GREAT SCOTT

Scott Hairston will lead off and play left field in his first outing with the Nationals. Hairston is 12-for-30 with five doubles and five home runs in his career against Phillies starter Cole Hamels. Hairston’s career average of one homer every 22.3 at-bats ranks 21st among active right-handed hitters (min. 2500 plate appearances).

THESE GUYS ARE A-O.K.

Neither Fernando Abad, Ross Ohlendorf nor Ian Krol were member of the Nationals Opening Day roster, but all three joined the Nationals in June and are a combined 2-2 with two holds and a 1.72 ERA in 36 appearances/one start. The trio has stranded seven of 10 inherited baserunners and posted a .197 batting average against, an 0.85 WHIP and a 7.2/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (43 SO, 6 BB).

THE POWER OF 3

When scoring three or more runs this season, the Nationals are 41-10 (.804). However, when plating two or fewer runs, Washington is just 5-33 (.132).

What to Watch for: 7.8.13

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Washington Nationals (46-42) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (43-46)

RHP Dan Haren (4-9, 6.15) vs. LHP John Lannan (1-3, 5.15)

The Nationals finished a three-game sweep of the Padres to cap their final homestand before the All-Star break with a 5-2 mark. Washington will put its four-game winning streak on the line, opening a four-game set in Philadelphia Monday night before traveling to Miami for the final series of the season’s first half.

There’s plenty of other news in Washington, where Dan Haren will come off the Disabled List to make his first start since June 22. The Nationals placed left-hander Ross Detwiler on the 15-day disabled list earlier this week, and optioned Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse to help make room for Haren. The other spot on the roster will be filled by veteran outfielder Scott Hairston, who was acquired for Ivan Pineyro, a right-handed pitcher who had been in Single-A in the Washington system.

The move was lauded by Nationals Manager Davey Johnson, who was happy with the extra depth he now has from the right side on his bench.

“He’s the kind of player we need,” said Johnson before Monday night’s game. “You need a veteran presence on the bench. He knows the pitchers, knows what he needs to do.”

Hairston certainly knows the Phillies well. He is 12-for-30 (.400) with five doubles and five home runs in his career against tomorrow’s scheduled starter, Cole Hamels. Hairston’s success against lefties (over .500 career slugging percentage) and particularly those in Philadelphia were two of the reasons the Nationals pulled the trigger on the trade prior to this series, according to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo.

“He fit the parameters of what we were looking for in terms of the history of exactly what he was brought in here to do,” said Rizzo.

One other piece of news broke shortly before the game Monday night. Bryce Harper, already elected as the youngest National League starter in All-Star Game history, has been chosen by captain David Wright to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby, taking place at 8:00 p.m. ET next Tuesday, July 15. Harper will be joined by Wright as well as Colorado Rockies outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Haren RHP

GRAND SLAMMIN’

This is Washington’s second of three visits to the City of Brotherly Love this season, but their second in 19 days. Ian Desmond’s 11th-inning grand slam on June 19 allowed the Nationals to claim the series finale of the three-gamer here, June 17-19. Desmond’s game-winning slam has sparked a 12-6 surge for the Nationals, who have sliced 3.0 games off the Braves lead in the NL East in that span.

GREAT SCOTT!

Scott Hairston is a .244 career hitter with 126 doubles, 103 home runs, 298 RBI and 289 runs scored in 10 big league seasons. He has a trio of 15-homer seasons to his credit, including a career-best 20-home run effort in 2012. Hairston’s average of one homer every 22.3 at-bats ranks 21st among active right-handed hitters (min. 2,500 plate appearances). Hairston was originally drafted in 2001 by Mike Rizzo, who at the time was Arizona’s Director of Scouting. Hairston’s older brother, Jerry Jr., played for the Nationals in 2011.

TRIUMPHANT TRIO

Stephen Strasburg (sixth, 2.45), Jordan Zimmermann (seventh, 2.57) and Gio Gonzalez (16th, 3.14) all rank among the NL’s top 20 in ERA this season. Among teams with at least three qualified starters, the Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez triumvirate is baseball’s best, as they’ve combined on a 2.67 ERA (104 ER/344.0 IP) this year. St. Louis (2.91 ERA from Adam Wainwright-Shelby Miller-Lance Lynn) and Cincinnati (3.16 ERA from Mike Leake-Mat Latos-Bronson Arroyo) rank second and third, respectively, on that list.

The Walking Dead

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For six innings Wednesday night, as they have much of the season to date, the Nationals struggled to find any sort of offensive rhythm against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. And then, slowly, piece by piece, the offense collected itself, as the bats awakened just in the nick of time to force extra innings and steal a win to end a long, grinding road trip.

The bats lay dormant, unable to generate anything more than Adam LaRoche‘s second-inning single through six frames. Meanwhile, two batters in, the Phillies were out to a 2-0 lead on the strength of Michael Young’s two-run home run. Gio Gonzalez settled in after that, as he did not allow a hit the rest of the way through seven innings of work. He notched 11 strikeouts, the most he’s ever recorded as a member of the Nationals, matching his career high.

Jayson Werth deilvered a pair of clutch, two-out, RBI-singles to force extra innings.

Jayson Werth deilvered a pair of clutch, two-out, RBI-singles to force extra innings.

Finally, a solid, patient at-bat by Ryan Zimmerman led to a one-out walk in the seventh, and he stood at second base with two outs and Jayson Werth coming to the plate. The former Phillie reached out and rapped a single to right field to score the run and cut the lead in half, a big clutch hit in a season sorely needing more of them.

After a quiet eighth frame, the Nationals would be tasked with trying to deliver Jonathan Papelbon his second blown save in three nights after entering the series a perfect 13-for-13 on the season. Denard Span, whose job in most any situation – but especially this one – is to get on base, did just that, chopping an infield single. He remained at first until, with two outs, LaRoche walked, bringing up Werth once more. He, of the “be ready to eat some face” comment following the tough loss the night before, ripped another two-out, RBI-single, this one to left, as Span flew around third, scoring the tying run without a throw. But, as had been the case Monday night in Papelbon’s blown save on Chad Tracy‘s pinch-hit, two-out, two-strike home run, the Nationals were unable to push ahead. Ian Desmond struck out, stranding runners at the corners, spiking his helmet in frustration.

“After the at-bat against Papelbon, I’m just thinking, ‘Give me one more chance,’” Desmond said after the game.

The Washington bullpen conspired to afford Desmond and the Nationals that opportunity. Tyler Clippard fired an inning and two thirds of scoreless ball, giving way to Ian Krol, who got Dominic Brown – Monday’s hero – to end the bottom of the ninth. After the Nationals offense threatened, but failed to score, in the top of the 10th, Drew Storen fanned a pair and put up a zero in the bottom half, taking the game to the 11th inning.

Ian Desmond's first career grand slam won it in the 11th.

Ian Desmond’s first career grand slam won it in the 11th.

With one out, it was again Zimmerman who got the wheels turning, lacing a low liner to the left-center field wall for a double. That prompted Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies to play matchup, deciding to intentionally walk LaRoche to get to the man with both of Washington’s RBI, Werth. An unintentional walk later, the bases were loaded, Desmond stepping to the plate with the second chance he begged for earlier. After falling behind 0-2, the shortstop worked the count back to 2-2, where he annihilated a hanging slider from Michael Stutes into the seats beyond the left-center field wall.

“I did the same thing I always do,” said Desmond when asked about the blast after the game. “See the white ball, put the barrel on it.”

Before Desmond had reached the jubilant visitors dugout, rivers of Phillies fans had already begun streaming for the exits, an actualized shifting of the tides. Rafael Soriano quietly shut the door, and the Nationals returned to Washington with an enormous win and a positive end to their road trip, thanks to perhaps the biggest swing of the season from their shortstop.

“He’s quite a character,” said Nationals skipper Davey Johnson of Desmond. “He’s got a lot of big hits for us in the past.”

It was Desmond’s first career grand slam (and Washington’s first of the season), but he has had plenty of success with the bases loaded, as it was his 17th hit in 40 such at-bats, good for a .425 batting average. The timing and importance of the blast hearkened back to Desmond’s game-winner on May 2, 2012, when he swung a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory with a two-out, walk-off blast off Arizona’s J.J. Putz.

“That’s like how I remember it from last year,” said catcher Kurt Suzuki of the feeling in the dugout after the blast. “It was pretty exciting.”

If Wednesday night’s series finale in Philadelphia turns out to be a microcosm of the 2013 Nationals season, recounting what has happened to date and foreshadowing what lies ahead, we are all in for a nerve-fraying, heart-stopping, hair-graying ride before the year is done. But if the ending portends anything of the future, it will have been worth the ride.

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