Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

Nats-Phillies: Rubber game

After the Nationals crushed the Phillies 10-2 in last night’s victory, they’ll look to take the rubber game and the series this afternoon. John Lannan, who was Mr. Efficiency in his last outing, will take the mound against Roy Oswalt.

 Phillies:

Placido Polanco – 3B

John Mayberry – CF

Chase Utley – 2B

Ryan Howard – 1B

Ben Francisco – RF

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Wilson Valdez – SS

Roy Oswalt – P

Nationals:

Roger Bernadina – CF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jayson Werth – RF

Laynce Nix – LF

Michael Morse – 1B

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Wilson Ramos – C

Alex Cora – 3B

John Lannan – P

 *Today is the last day of the homestand. Following this game, Washington hits the road for an 11-day West Coast road trip before returning home on June 14.

**Danny Espinosa hit homers No. 9 and 10 in Tuesday’s 10-2 win vs. the Phillies. In doing so, Espinosa became the first rookie second baseman in MLB history to hit 10 homers before the end of May.

Morse the Merrier

Michael Morse continues to fill in at first base while Adam LaRoche rehabs his shoulder. At the plate, Morse has been absolutely on fire recently, batting .382 with five home runs and 11 RBI over his last 10 games. Michael Morse is batting .386 (22-for-57) with 4 doubles, 6 home runs and 13 RBI in May. Among those with 55-plus plate appearances in May, Morse’s .389 batting average ranks third in MLB behind only the Rays Matt Joyce (.412) and Cardinals John Jay (.392). Morse has hit safely in a team season-high eight straight games at a .387 (12-for-31) clip with 2 doubles, 5 homers and 11 RBI. One more thing, Morse has hit safely in all 13 of his starts in May, going 20-for-48 (.417) as a member of Jim Riggleman’s starting 9.

Phillies:

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Placido Polanco – 3B

Chase Utley – 2B

Ryan Howard – 1B

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Domonic Brown – RF

John Mayberry – CF

Cliff Lee – P

 Nationals:

Roger Bernadina – CF

Ian Desmond – SS

Jayson Werth – RF

Michael Morse – 1B

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Ivan Rodriguez – C

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Brian Bixler – LF

Jason Marquis – P

 *Marquis has struck out the Phillies 58 times over his career.

 **Brian Bixler gets the start in left field today, while Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel get an evening off. Bixler has only appeared in one game against the Phillies in his brief Big League career, so it should be interesting to see what he does at the plate tonight.

Memorial Day Lineups

Phillies:

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Placido Polanco – 3B

Chase Utley – 2B

Ryan Howard – 1B

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Domonic Brown – RF

John Mayberry – CF

Roy Halladay – P

 Nationals:

Rick Ankiel – CF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jayson Werth – RF

Laynce Nix – LF

Michael Morse – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Jerry Hairston – 3B

Alex Cora – SS

Livan Hernandez – P

 *Against the Phillies, Livan Hernandez is 12-11 with a 3.59 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 29 games started. Roy Halladay has, so far in his career, handled the Nats well—today’s matchup could easily turn into a pitcher’s duel.

 *Former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth knows how to handle his old team: he’s batted .279 with a .407 on-base percentage and .628 slugging percentage against them. He’s also hit four home runs off of Philly.

John Lannan vs. Roy Halladay Lineups

The Nats can secure their second straight series victory with a win tonight and increase their winning streak to three games. It is a rematch of last year’s Opening Day but the Nats are hoping for a different outcome. Roy Halladay hasn’t allowed a Nationals run since he gave up a RBI double to Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning of the opener. He has a scoreless streak of 22.0 innings against the Nats. Halladay’s numbers against the Nats are usually reserved for video games like MLB 2K11 (quality commercial): 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA (23 IP/ 1 ER) with 20 strikeouts and a .198 BAA. On the other hand, Lannan is seeking his first win in 12 starts against the Phillies. Don’t they say… the 13th time is a charm? Adam LaRoche is back in the lineup after having Tuesday off.

Phillies (7-3):

Shane Victorino – CF

Placido Polanco – 3B

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Ryan Howard – 1B

Ben Francisco – RF

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Wilson Valdez – 2B

Roy Halladay – P

 Nationals (5-5):

Ian Desmond – SS

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Adam LaRoche – 1B

Laynce Nix – LF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jerry Hairston Jr. – 3B

Ivan Rodriguez – C

John Lannan – P

Jayson Werth and Co. take game one vs. Phillies

Right before the game started on Tuesday, Jayson Werth gave himself just a few seconds to notice the Phillies fans. When he finished completing his warm up throws with Bullpen Coach Jim Lett in the outfield, Werth turned around and looked up at the fans that had lined the first few rows of the right field seats. He simply nodded his head and turned around. He didn’t care what their signs read or what they shouted.

Werth knew what he was getting into on Tuesday night. He has been to Nationals Park before and witnessed how the Phillies faithful had infiltrated the park on Opening Day last year—something he plans on changing. The same Phillies fans that praised him last year and heckled Nyjer Morgan with vernacular that HBO might even edit, are now giving standing ovations to Phillies right fielder Ben Francisco and booing Werth. It is the life of a Phillies fan. They say hello by booing and goodbye the same way.

“They’re Philly fans,” Jerry Hairston Jr. said. “Obviously, Philly is known to be hard on their own players. I knew Jayson kind of expected it. It’s to be expected. I can’t wait until we go back to Philly.”

The Phillies fan booed every time the ball was hit to right field. They showered Werth with boos every time he walked to the plate but they weren’t quite loud enough to drown out his at-bat song “November Rain.” In the bottom of the fifth, Werth silenced his critics by hitting a home run, clearing the left field fence by a few inches.

“Was it extra special against those guys?” Werth said. “Probably a little bit.”

That is also probably an understatement. How could it not be special? He was playing his former team and was booed by Phillies fans. There isn’t anything better than silencing your critics. The Nats bullpen sat in right field and listened to the Phillies fans for a few innings and they had heard enough.

“I haven’t pulled so hard for a guy to hit a home run in my life,” Sean Burnett said, who picked up his third save of the season. “It was something the bullpen really wanted, because we had to listen to those fans out there.”

Werth doesn’t plan on those fans being out there for long. He remembers how Citizens Bank Park was full of Mets fans four years ago, now it’s only Phillies fans. He expects Nationals Park to undergo the same transformation.

“The only way to change the culture here with this team in Washington, DC… is to win,” Werth said. “It was a big win tonight, but we’ve got to continue to do it. Essentially, we’re going to have to win a lot—not just play .500 ball or not finish in last place. You’re going to have to win a division, you’re going to have to win a Wild Card, and that takes work.”

It does take work but the Nats are planning on changing it one pitch, one at-bat, one inning and one game at a time. It won’t happen overnight but you don’t eat an entire pig in one sitting either—one bite at a time is the only way to think of it. The win moved them to .500 for the first time this season but the Nats showed the Phillies—with a makeshift lineup and Livan Hernandez throwing 61 mph curveballs—this is a different Nats team. Werth still has 125 games against the Phillies over the course of the next seven years but right now the score is 1-0, advantage Werth.

One day Werth will turn around to see the fans when the Nats play the Phillies and it will just be Nationals fans. Today it’s a dream but one day it could be a reality.

Nats place Ryan Zimmerman on the DL

The storyline tonight will certainly center around Jayson Werth. How could it not? He is playing his former team for the first time and for some reason when a star player faces their former team for the first time, it always seems to grab headlines. It will be interesting to see how he is greeted by the Phillies’ faithful who make the trip down the I-95 corridor to Nationals Park, but the reaction will only be part of the story and only last about 10 seconds. Whether he is cheered or booed is all but irrelevant at the end of the day. The Nats play the Phillies 18 times a year—so Werth and the Phillies will have several encounters. This is the first of many—126 to be exact—games that Werth will face his former team as a member of the Nats. By game 10, people will probably have forgotten he was ever a member of the Phillies, with our current information highway, today’s story is tomorrow’s long forgotten history.

The more pressing and pertinent matter is how the Nationals will play the next few weeks without their prodigious third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He was placed on the DL today with a strained abdominal muscle, a nagging injury he dealt with in Spring Training and aggravated when sliding into second base on Saturday at Citi Field.

Since Zimmerman appeared in his first game on Sept. 1, 2005, the Nats are 347-500 (.410). The Nats are 306-446 (.407) in games that he has appeared in and 41-54 (.432) in games he didn’t appear in, either from an injury or just a day off. In 2008, Zim missed 55 games and the Nats posted a nearly identical winning percentage with him in the lineup and on the DL. In 2010, the Nats went 60-82 (.423) in games that he appeared in and 9-11 (.450) in games he didn’t appear in. This isn’t to prove that the Nats are a better team without Zimmerman—that would be nonsensical and akin to saying the Washington Mall would be better off without the Washington Monument. Zimmerman has been a member of the Nationals for about as long as the Nationals have been a part of DC. There is no question Zimmerman is a key component to the team and will be a vital piece to the building process—he is one of the top players in the League. They won nine games without him last season but the key questions is how many additional games would they have won if he played in those 20 games?

The team performance in Zimmerman’s absence just shows that a) when he goes down, someone usually steps up—Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora will get the majority of the starts at third base b) the Nationals have been able to fill the void left by Zimmerman for a short time and c) quality pitching when a player is injured is probably more important than who the replacement is for the injured player. The starting staff will need to continue pitching well in Zimmerman’s absence.

The Nats recalled Jesus Flores to replace Zimmerman on the 25-man roster. It was a surprising move in the sense that conventional wisdom predicted outfielder Roger Bernadina or utility infielder Brian Bixler to be recalled. This will allow Pudge or Wilson Ramos to be used off the bench as a pinch hitter without the Nats using their last catcher. The 26-year-old Flores was the Nats’ everyday catcher in 2009 before a foul tip struck him in the shoulder on May 9 in Arizona. He returned at the end of the season to pinch hit three times but never fully recovered until this season.

Below is a Nats lineup that you haven’t seen before tonight.

Phillies:

Shane Victorino – CF

Placido Polanco – 3B

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Ryan Howard – 1B

Ben Francisco – RF

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Wilson Valdez – 2B

Joe Blanton – P

 Nationals:

Ian Desmond – SS

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Matt Stairs – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Laynce Nix – LF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jerry Hairston Jr. – 3B

Livan Hernandez – P

It is a FREE ticket Fiesta at Nats Park


ford fiesta.jpgTonight is a big deal at Nationals Park. It is the final home game of the season and that means one thing–party. The Nats are having a party–or you can call it a Fiesta–at Nationals Park and it is your last chance to watch the Nats at home in 2010. It’s FREE too.

The Nats have teamed up with Ford so you don’t need to buy a ticket. All you have to do is test drive a Ford Fiesta at the Corner of First and N Street next to Nationals Park today and you’ll get two FREE tickets above the home or visitors’ dugout for tonight’s game. Yes, all you have to do is drive a car to get great tickets–it is as simple as drinking water to get hydrated.

The test drives begins at 4:30 p.m. It has never been easier to get tickets. If you already have tickets for the game, test drive a Ford Fiesta and you will be entered to win 2011 Opening Day tickets against the Braves on March 31.

Here is a random fact: the Fiesta gets 40 miles per gallon–that’s better than 21 hybrids currently on the market. In baseball terms, you can drive around the warning track 160 times or round the bases 587 times and use just a gallon of gas. Think about that for a second… we round the bases just once and we are out of gas.

The penultimate home game is upon us

If Matt Capps was still here, we would be playing the “Final Countdown.” Since he is not, well, we will be wondering what if there was a song named “The Penultimate Countdown.” As you know it is the penultimate home game at Nationals Park. I don’t know what it is about the word penultimate… but it’s great. At what point did someone get tired of saying “next to last” and started using penultimate–it is efficacy in its purest form. According to dictionary.com, it was around in 1677 and it comes from the earlier noun penultima, “the next to the last syllable of a word or verse,” and from the adjective penultimus.

 

Last night’s game–or the game before the penultimate game–will eventually be a footnote in the Nationals’ 162 games season but the game will likely be used as a reference point when the team makes it to the playoffs–it may seem like a distant thought right now but it will eventually happen. When that day comes, they will reminisce about how it once was and how drastically it has changed.

 

I can just imagine the conversation that may (but probably won’t) take place as the players pour celebratory champagne on each other while looking back at how far they have come from their early days in DC, celebrating as if Santa Claus just brought them a bike when they were five.

 

“Remember when the Phillies clinched the division at Nationals Park back in 2010?”

 

“When they celebrated on our field and in our ballpark.”

 

“Not today, baby,” he said as he downs a bottle of champagne.

 

“How things change.”

 

That is then but right now the Nats will try to rebound tonight after being shut out by Roy Halladay and the Phillies as they clinched the division in an 8-0 win. It was a forgettable game in many ways for the Nationals.

 

“Kind of embarrassing,” rookie shortstop Ian Desmond said, “when everyone in the stadium is clapping against you when you’re at home.”

 

The Phillies are where the Nationals want to be. It is where every team wants to be. The Phillies will send Roy Oswalt to the mound. He is 7-0 with a 1.40 ERA (70.2 IP/ 11ER) with 65 strikeouts since the Nats handed him the loss in his first start in a Phillies uniform on July 30.

 

“You work your whole year to get to that next level,” Nyjer Morgan said. “The other team gives you motivation so you can try to succeed and get to that level where those guys are at. We just got to put the pieces together.”

 

“They’ve got a special thing going,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “They play great baseball. They’re prepared. They pitch. They work hard. They’re professional. For years, to win the division you had to go through Atlanta. Now you have to go through Philadelphia.”

 

Maybe someday people will say it goes through NatsTown. Crazier things have happened.

 

Speaking of crazy things: it’s a little crazy to think that Ryan Zimmerman turned 26 today. He just seems a lot older. Happy Birthday!

 

Phillies (94-63):

1.    Jimmy Rollins – SS

2.    Raul Ibanez – LF

3.    Chase Utley – 2B

4.    Ryan Howard – 1B

5.    Ben Francisco – CF

6.    Domonic Brown – RF

7.    Greg Dobbs – 3B

8.    Brian Schneider – C

9.    Roy Oswalt – SP (13-13, 2.80 ERA)

  Nationals (67-90):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Roger Bernadina – LF  

3.      Ian Desmond – SS

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Michael Morse – RF

6.      Danny Espinosa – 2B

7.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

8.      Alberto Gonzalez – 3B

9.      Jason Marquis – SP (2-9, 7.18 ERA)

 

Happy Birthday John Lannan

There could be showers on the way–most likely rains showers and possibly champagne showers. The tarp has been off the infield for a while but it is still in the outfield. The Nats didn’t take outdoor batting practice either. The Nats have zero control of the rain showers and can only do so much for preventing the Phillies from celebrating the NL East title at Nationals Park. The Phillies magic number is 1, meaning it will take a magical event for the Phillies to not celebrate at Nats Park. Even if the Nats sweep the series, it won’t prevent the Phillies from clinching unless the Braves sweep the Marlins in Atlanta. It seems inevitable that the champagne will be off the ice one of these next three days.

It is hard to believe just 25 weeks ago, John Lannan and Roy Halladay toed the rubber to begin the 2010 season at Nationals Park. Ryan Zimmerman hit a RBI double in the first inning but that was all the offense they could muster in the 11-1 loss. Halladay hasn’t allowed a run against the Nationals since the first inning on Opening Day. It sounds more impressive than it actually is but it is a stretch that has lasted 13.0 innings. Lannan and Halladay take the mound again tonight.

A win for Halladay would give him a Major League-best 21 wins and could sway a few votes his way in a very tight NL Cy Young race. He is also pitching on five days rest which is only notable since he is 8-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 starts when he gets five days of rest. A win for Lannan will tie his career high of nine, but more importantly would continue his impressive surge since he was called up from Double-A Harrisburg. The shaggy-haired southpaw is 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA (62.2 IP/ 22ER) in 10 starts. Not that Lannan needs any additional motivation but it is his birthday, 26th birthday at that. There isn’t anything significant about turning 26 but it will be a memorable night with a win against the Phillies. He pitched on his birthday two years ago–a loss against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. If he gets the win today, he will become the second Nationals starter to pocket a win on his birthday this season. Can you name the first pitcher?

*Jim Lett’s legion of bullpen arms ranks third in MLB since the All-Star break with a 2.95 ERA. Only postseason contenders San Diego (2.75) and Atlanta (2.78) have fared better. Oh it gets better, Washington’s 2.07 bullpen ERA in September ranks second in MLB behind only San Francisco (1.29).

 

Phillies (93-63):

1.    Shane Victorino – CF

2.    Placido Polanco – 3B

3.    Chase Utley – 2B

4.    Ryan Howard – 1B

5.    Jayson Werth – RF

6.    Raul Ibanez – LF

7.    Carlos Ruiz – C

8.    Wilson Valdez – SS

9.    Roy Halladay – SP (20-10, 2.53 ERA)

 Nationals (67-89):

1.      Danny Espinosa – 2B

2.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

3.      Ian Desmond – SS

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Michael Morse – RF

6.      Roger Bernadina – LF 

7.      Wilson Ramos – C

8.      Alberto Gonzalez – 3B

9.      John Lannan – SP (8-7, 4.58 ERA)

Mr. Walk-Off and today’s lineups

From the time Zimmerman’s Major League career began on September 1, 2005, he has hit seven game-ending home runs, more than anyone else since that date. Andre Ethier and David Ortiz hold second place with six. Zimmerman also leads the Majors in any type of game-ending hit/event since September 1, 2005 with 12: seven home runs, three singles, one walk and one sacrifice fly. Just call him “Mr. Walk-Off.” Here’s a look at Zimmerman’s seven “game-over” homers:

 

June 18, 2006 over the Yankees–Final score: 3-2

Only 21 years old and a Major League Rookie, Zimmerman hit a two-run long ball with one out and his team down one in the bottom of the ninth to give his team their second straight comeback victory. He said he’d never done that before in all of his years of playing baseball: “No walk-off nothing–single, anything.” It must have felt great, but he would experience the feeling again, less than three weeks later.

 

July 4, 2006 over the Marlins–Final score: 6-4

He’s getting good at clutch hitting on the holidays. Just a few weeks after Zimmerman hits his first career walk-off home run on Father’s Day, he hits his second on Independence Day–a three-run long ball in the ninth with two outs. “You sit in the dugout and dream — nothing wrong with that,” the Nationals then-manager Frank Robinson said. “And sometimes, it comes true.”

 

May 12, 2007 over the Marlins–Final score: 7-3

The game started on Saturday night. Then Sunday morning at 1:42, Zimmerman finally ended it with a walk-off grand slam–two separate rain delays and one nearly-vacated stadium later.

 

March 30, 2008 over the Braves–Final score: 3-2

Don’t tell Zimmerman how to throw a housewarming party. On Opening Night in brand-new Nationals Park, Zimmerman launched a solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to christen the team’s new home. It landed in a section of seats directly behind a “Welcome Home” sign. Braves pitchers had successfully retired 24 consecutive Nationals batters and the host had not scored since the first inning when the face of the franchise also became the hero of the night. “You can’t really write up a script better than that,” Zimmerman said. “It turned out perfect.”

 

September 6, 2009 over the Marlins–Final score: 5-4

I’m beginning to think the Marlins are not huge Zimmerman fans. In his third walk-off homer over the Marlins franchise, Zimmerman hit a two-run homer to cap a furious finish in what originally looked like it would be a 2-0 snooze fest in favor of the Marlins. “Zim doing what Zim does,” Willie Harris said. “Coming through.” The Marlins twice blew two-run leads and the Nationals frantically scored all five of their runs in the last two innings.

 

July 6, 2010 over the Padres –Final score: 6-5

On a day where the game-time temperature was 99 degrees, Zimmerman proved he was even hotter, connecting on his second home run of the game, a solo shot to center field, to put away the Padres for good. “When you make a mistake, [Zimmerman] makes you pay for it,” one of Zimmerman’s home run victims, Padres starter Clayton Richard said. “That’s [been] proven to us over and over again.”

 

July 31, 2010 over the Phillies–Final score: 7-5

The Phillies broke a 4-all tie in the top of the ninth when Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI single off Drew Storen. But in the bottom of the ninth, Michael Morse singled and Adam Kennedy walked to set up Zimmerman at the plate with one out. He looked over towards Adam Dunn in the on-deck circle. “He let me know I’m not hitting again,” Dunn said. “It’s like, ‘You don’t get the win today.” Then Zimmerman followed through with a 3-run homer to start the fireworks.

 

Now for today’s lineups:

 

Phillies (56-48):

1.    Jimmy Rollins – SS

2.    Placido Polanco – 3B

3.    Jayson Werth – CF

4.    Ryan Howard – 1B

5.    Ben Francisco – LF

6.    Domonic Brown – RF

7.    Carlos Ruiz – C

8.    Wilson Valdez – 2B

9.    Cole Hamels – SP (7-7, 3.48 ERA)

 Nationals (46-58):

1.      Roger Bernadina – CF

2.      Ian Desmond – SS

3.      Adam Dunn – 1B

4.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF 

6.      Michael Morse – RF

7.      Alberto Gonzalez – 2B

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      John Lannan – SP (2-5, 5.76 ERA)

* The Nationals have posted a .500-or-better record at home every month this season: July (9-6, .600), June (6-6, .500), May (7-4, .636), April (7-6, .538).

 

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