Results tagged ‘ San Francisco Giants ’

Do You Know Your Enemy?

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There was much speculation as to who the Nationals would be better off facing in the National League Division Series heading into last night’s CardinalsBraves Wild Card game. With the dust now settled and the team in St. Louis, we’re here to provide an objective analysis of the three National League teams that Washington has the possibility of encountering this postseason and how well the Nats match up against each. First, though, let’s take a look at what the Nationals have working in their favor, regardless of their opponent.


For the Nationals to be successful in the postseason, they will need to stick to the same approach they have had all season long: win the series. That has been the mantra since day one, and while a five or seven-game series differs from a two, three, or four-gamer, the principle remains the same. In that vein, the Nationals finished the 2012 regular season with a 32-12-8 series record. In other words, they won 32 of their 52 series outright (61.5%), and earned at least a split in 40 of them (76.9%). Washington was swept only four times all season long, while returning the favor on nine occasions, including three-game sets at Atlanta in late May and at home against San Francisco in early July.


While Washington’s 50-31 home record was tied for the top mark in the National League, it is their nearly equal 48-33 road mark that stands out. Not only is that the best away tally in all of baseball, but it includes 2-1 records in both Cincinnati and San Francisco and a 5-4 mark in Atlanta. The Nats ability to win away from D.C. will be a crucial factor in how far their October ride will take them.


St. Louis Cardinals

88-74 overall, 11.0 GB in NL Central (Second Wild Card)

Nationals record vs. St. Louis in 2012: 4-3

World Champions until they are eliminated, the Cardinals are a dangerous opponent that features the highest scoring offense of any postseason club in the National League. Combined with their veteran rotation and playoff experience, the Cards will not be an easy out, but it’s hard to say how Washington will match up, with both teams winning their home series convincingly during the regular season. The good news: the Cardinals rotation (Garcia: 0-1, 10.13; Lohse: 0-0, 6.94; Lynn: 1-1, 9.82; Wainwright: 1-1, 7.27) has not fared well against the Nats bats. We’ll have more on the Cardinals in a full NLDS preview tomorrow.

Cincinnati Reds

97-65 overall, NL Central Champions

Nationals record vs. Cincinnati in 2012: 5-2

Reds fans will point out that all of the seven matchups between these two teams occurred very early in the season, when ace Johnny Cueto was on the Disabled List. However, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman both missed the second series, while Bryce Harper was still in Syracuse for the first matchup and Michael Morse was absent for both. It could be very reasonably argued that the Nationals team the Reds could face in October is significantly better offensively (perhaps defensively as well, with Zimmerman and Harper) than the one that took five-of-seven from Cincinnati in April and May.

San Francisco Giants

94-68 overall, NL West Champions

Nationals record vs. San Francisco in 2012: 5-1

The Giants have improved offensively down the stretch, despite the loss of Melky Cabrera, but will rely on their formidable starting rotation to try to replicate their 2010 World Series run. However, the Nationals have fared particularly well against the San Francisco starters as well, with Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong’s worst individual starts of the year ALL coming against the Nats. In fact, add in top starter Matt Cain and the quartet that went a combined 55-36 with a 3.42 ERA (294 ER/772.2 IP) against the rest of baseball managed just a 1-4 record with an 8.80 ERA (30 ER/30.2 IP) against Washington this year.

Breaking Down the Signature Moments of 2012

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The Postseason Issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now through the end of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park.

Over the course of 162 regular season games, there are too many dramatic moments to recount in just a few short pages. So, we’ve picked out a few that we believe were some of the most vital and memorable in the Nationals 2012 campaign for our Postseason Issue of Nationals Magazine. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to reflect on each of these Signature Moments and realize that, of course, in their own unique way, each would prove pivotal to this memorable Nationals season. But in the excitement of the moment, with the rush of adrenaline still coursing through our veins, did we really, fully appreciate the splendor of what we had just witnessed? We dust off our coverage of each to help you relive every last detail. Once you’ve soaked it all in (again), vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of the page.

Lost in the fanfare of the home opener at Nationals Park, or even Gio Gonzalez’s sparkling home debut on the mound, was the southpaw’s handy-work with the bat as he notched his first career hit that day. Here’s how we saw it:

As Gonzalez ran to first, he watched the ball the whole way. As it finally fell to the grass, he whipped his head towards the Nationals dugout, mouth open in an ecstatic, toothy grin. After he rounded first, he walked back to the bag with his head tilted back skywards, an expression of relief, yes, but more so pure happiness. As the bat boy returned the ball to the dugout for safekeeping, he also retrieved the pitcher’s big red jacket, to help keep the hurlers arm warm through the rest of his sparkling home debut.

As for Edwin Jackson’s gem later in the series, do you recall who provided the offensive support? Hint: You could look up Jackson’s no-hitter with Arizona back in 2010. Or just visit the link above.

NATITUDE Weekend just about speaks for itself, but they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Check the post from that series for even more of our favorite fan photos.


The Nationals and Giants went all out in recreating the feel of the 1924 World Series, from the throwback scoreboard and uniforms all the way down to a walk-off win for Washington. But if you haven’t seen the retro-inspired game highlights, there’s no time like the present to refresh your memory.

The improbable comeback win in Milwaukee – led by Michael Morse – undoubtedly stands as one of the signature moments of the 2012 season, but Curly W Live to puts it in its proper historical perspective:

Perhaps most importantly, it capped a 6-1 road trip that kept the Nationals a full four games ahead of division rival Atlanta as the weekend came to a close. It also left them at 61-40, the first time the franchise has been this many games over .500 since its relocation to the Nation’s Capital.

What to Watch For: 8/15

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Washington Nationals (72-45) vs. San Francisco Giants (64-53)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-5, 2.90) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (6-12, 5.35)

The Nationals and Giants are slated for a marquee rubber game on Wednesday afternoon after splitting the first two matchups. Hard-throwing righties Stephen Strasburg and Tim Lincecum go head-to-head as Washington looks to close an impressive road trip on a winning note.


1. Lombardozzi 2B

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Werth RF

7. Espinosa SS

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP


The Nationals are 4-2 in rubber games this year, having won 8-4 on July 1 at Atlanta, 5-2 on June 21 vs. Tampa Bay, 2-1 May 3 vs. Arizona and 4-0 April 11 at New York (NL). However, Washington is 0-2 all-time in rubber games at AT&T Park (L, 1-3 in ‘11, L, 4-5 in ‘10). The Nationals have not lost a road series since the O’s took two-of-three at Oriole Park from June 22-24. Washington is 5-0-2 (win-loss-split) in seven road series since.


California native Stephen Strasburg will toe the rubber for the first time at AT&T Park later this afternoon. His only other career start against the Giants came on July 9, 2010 when he outpitched Matt Cain, working 6.0 strong innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out eight to earn the win. Strasburg is looking for his third win in a row after claiming victories over Miami on 8/5 and at Arizona on 8/10.


The Nationals rank 2nd in MLB with 31 home runs from their middle infielders (Ian Desmond 17, Danny Espinosa 12, Steve Lombardozzi 2). Only the Yankees (34) have more.


What to Watch For: 8/14

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Washington Nationals (72-44) vs. San Francisco Giants (63-53)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-6, 2.35) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08)

The Nationals set an AT&T Park record by rapping out 21 hits in a 14-2 series-opening victory over the Giants on Monday night to move to 7-1 on their current 10-game road swing. Jordan Zimmermann squares off against Madison Bumgarner tonight in a matchup of two the brightest young pitchers in the National League.


1. Espinosa SS

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Moore LF

7. Flores C

8. Lombardozzi 2B

9. Zimmermann RHP


After his offensive brethren put up eight earned runs in 2.2 innings against Ryan Vogelsong last night, Zimmermann now boasts a National League-leading 2.35 ERA. Tonight, he will look to win his second game in a row after fanning 11 against the Houston Astros last Thursday. Jordan is 3-0 in his last three starts against the Giants including a victory on July 3, when he spun 6.0 innings of one-run ball. 


In the first eight games of the Nats current 11-game road trip, Steve Lombardozzi is 13-for-36 (.361) with a double, triple, three walks and seven runs scored. He has hit safely in six of the eight tilts, including multi-hit efforts in four of the last five. Lombo has more hits on the road (46) than he does at Nationals Park this season (43).


The Nationals 5.5-game lead in the NL East matches the club’s largest in eight years in D.C. The 2005 Nationals held 5.5-game advantages at the completion of play on both July 2 and 3. Note that this is also the largest lead of the season for the Nationals, topping their previous 5.0 game advantage on June 13. In addition to the 5.5 game cushion, the Nationals have matched their zenith at 28 games above .500. The ‘33 AL Nationals (99-53) were the last DC-based club to climb as many as 28 games above the break-even mark.


Uncharted Waters

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It happens all the time in sports. There are certain players that simply seem to play their best against one particular team. Nationals fans can certainly attest to the head-scratching numbers put up by Andrew McCutchen or Hanley Ramirez against their team over the years. But through the first four of six matchups between the Nationals and San Francisco Giants this year, something truly inexplicable has happened. Washington has thoroughly dominated San Francisco, specifically their starting rotation, considered by many as the Giants most obvious strength.

Roger Bernadina had four hits and another great catch Monday night.

The Giants staff is a lot like the Nats – they don’t often have bad days, and even when they do, they manage to limit the damage. But for whatever reason, Washington has had San Francisco’s number this year. Ryan Vogelsong, who had not allowed more than four runs in a game all season, was tagged for nine (eight earned) in just 2.2 innings of work on Monday night. He had not thrown less than 6.0 innings in a start all year long, and was coming off a 7.0-inning, three-hit masterpiece in a win over the Cardinals. Even more ludicrous, he had allowed just 12 earned runs at home all season before last night’s romp.

Meanwhile, the next two starters in this series – Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum – each had their worst outings of the season when the teams met earlier this year in D.C. Bumgarner allowed seven earned in that series opener and Lincecum was tagged for eight runs (seven earned) as he did not escape the fourth inning. In fact, including the series finale in which they came back against Matt Cain and walked off in the bottom of the ninth, the Nats have outscored the Giants 38-14 over their four matchups this year.

There’s almost no rational way to explain it. Of course, the Nationals know they’ll have to be at their best again the next two days as they face Bumgarner and Lincecum. They will counter with new NL ERA leader Jordan Zimmermann (who took over the top spot after Vogelsong’s outing Monday night) and Stephen Strasburg, both coming off dominant performances against the Astros and Diamondbacks, respectively.

The Giants face NL ERA leader Jordan Zimmermann on Tuesday.

That task must look even more daunting for the Giants when you consider the following: the Washington offense has scored more runs since the All-Star break than any team in baseball. On Monday night, the Nationals leap-frogged both the Cardinals and Yankees and now possess the game’s biggest run differential, having scored 108 times more than their opponents. They have won nine of their last 10 and 13 of 15 on the road, where they are 40-22, a full seven wins more than the next closest teams in the majors (Reds and Yankees, 33).

But the Nationals stand at a historic crossroads as they enter play on Tuesday. It marks the first time this season that they have been as many as 5.5 games ahead in the National League East. That separation also matches the most that the 2005 team ever approached, after a 5-4 win on July 3 at Wrigley Field left them at 50-31. Of course, we are five big weeks later in the season and this edition of the Nationals sits a full 28 games over .500 at 72-44.

Nevertheless, in a season full of milestones, this is one of the biggest yet, as ultimately, it is the only one that really matters when it comes to determining just how long the Nationals will be playing baseball this year. If they can continue to perform as they have against a playoff caliber team in the Giants, they may find themselves in truly uncharted territory.

Turning Back The Clock

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*** UPDATE: Watch the video highlights at the end of the article ***

The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants turned back the clock in more ways than one on Thursday evening at Nationals Park. Donning the 1924-style uniforms of the old Washington Senators and New York Giants, they celebrated old traditions like standing together on the field during the National Anthem, only organ music on the public address system, and a green, metallic looking scoreboard graphic made to replicate the classic manual boards of the sport’s cathedrals, like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

The Nationals line up for the National Anthem in 1924 Washington Senators uniforms.

The game itself turned out to be a throwback as well. Through the first six-and-a-half frames, the Giants rapped out 14 hits, but 11 of them singles and not a home run among them, their lead sitting at just 5-1 despite threatening nearly every inning. That’s when the Nationals finally made them pay for their inability to put the game away. Giants manager Bruce Bochy ran his ace, Matt Cain, back out for a seventh inning of work on a stiflingly hot night at Nationals Park, and the plan backfired. Ian Desmond powered an opposite field homer to right, and Danny Espinosa went back-to-back for the Nats, following with a shot of his own to center. The rally continued with two outs, as Bryce Harper overcame a tough call on a check swing to deliver a double that cut the margin to 5-4.

And with that, the crowd came alive. The buzz in the ballpark was different. Harper himself said after the game that when Desmond homered, Harper turned to Adam LaRoche and declared the Nationals would win the game. Following a scoreless eighth for both clubs and a dominant top of the ninth for Tyler Clippard, the Nats were left in the position of sending three rookies to face San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla needing one run to stay alive and two to win.

After falling behind 0-2, pinch-hitter Tyler Moore opened the frame with a bullet to the wall in left-center for a double. Steve Lombardozzi followed with a sacrifice bunt that Casilla could not come up with cleanly, and just like that there were runners at the corners with none out for Harper. After working the count to 3-1, the 19 year-old – who earlier in the day had finished behind Cardinals third baseman David Freese in the All-Star Game Final Vote – ripped a single through the hole on the right side, tying the game.

Nationals Park erupted. Three batters later, when Harper crossed home plate with the winning run after the Giants failed to convert the back end of a double play in a futile attempt to force extra innings, it erupted again. Single games are just that – only one contest of many in a season. But there are those, both wins and losses, that stand out above the rest. This was one of those wins, and everyone in attendance knew it.

It was only fitting that the Nationals won on a walk-off, just as the Senators did over the New York Giants in the dramatic 1924 World Series that the night was commemorating. Throughout the contest, there were recaps on the PA and videoboard between innings of each game, as the Senators fell behind three-games-to-two before coming back to win games six, seven, and the series in dramatic fashion.

From the Desk of Mark Lerner: Happy Fourth of July

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Greetings Nationals fans.

What a week for the ballclub.

In one week’s time, the offense seems to have clicked (thanks Coors Field for the spark!), we received thrilling news that we’ll have three All-Stars in Kansas City next week and we won a huge intradivision series down in Atlanta.

But perhaps most importantly, Ryan Zimmerman is again “right” offensively. I know Rick Eckstein, Davey and Ryan himself worked tirelessly to get him out of his funk. But the worm turned and he’s producing offense seemingly every night.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that you now see Michael Morse hitting the ball with authority. After almost two months without, we finally have our 3-4-5 hitters in place. The sky’s the limit.

The Nationals 2012 All-Stars (left to right): Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond and Gio Gonzalez.

As for next week’s All-Star Game, I really could not be happier for Ian, Gio, Stephen, their families and of course our fans.

With that said, take yourself back one calendar year. Ian was on the verge of emerging both offensively and defensively, but was not quite there yet. Gio was pitching well, at an All-Star level, but in the AL West with Oakland. And Stephen was on the verge of beginning his 6-start rehab stint in our minor-league system after having Tommy John surgery.

Nope, this All-Star trifecta was not on my radar. And I doubt it was on anyone else’s.

As for Bryce Harper’s bid for a spot on Tony La Russa’s All-Star roster, I say why not? What Bryce is doing at the age of 19 is remarkable. And to pair him with a talent like Mike Trout (age 20) on the AL  side would create great theatre that is likely to last in our memories a lot longer than the game’s final score.

Thank you for your efforts to send Bryce to Kansas City. Fans turned out in droves to vote for Bryce and the Orioles Jason Hammel as part of the Beltway Ballot at and for #BryceIn12 on Twitter.

While I am always excited for the Mid-Summer Classic, this year more than ever the game’s results just might matter to us directly. Yet another consequence of being in a pennant race I suppose. This really is fun isn’t it?

Those were enormous wins the last two days over Lincecum, Bumgarner and the Giants to begin the big homestand to close out the season’s first half. The series against the Giants is of special interest as it pits the top two teams in the NL, at least in terms of winning percentage. The Giants are coming off a big week in which they overtook the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West. Should be a great finale tonight.

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July and I’ll see you at the ballpark.

What to Watch for: 7/5

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San Francisco Giants (45-37) vs. Washington Nationals (47-32)

RHP Matt Cain (9-3, 2.53) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.30)

After the Nationals beat the Giants last night to earn another series victory, they look to put the finishing touch on a sweep the now second-place NL West team tonight. A win tonight will push the Nats to a season-best 16 games above .500.


1. Lombardozzi LF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Morse RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Flores C

9. Detwiler LHP


Wednesday’s 9-4 win was the Nationals third in as many games. During the three consecutive wins, Washington has scored 26 runs (8.7 per game) despite being opposed by Madison Bumgarner (career 3.14 ERA), Tim Lincecum (3.23) and Tim Hudson (3.42), who rank fourth, seventh and 16th, respectively, in career ERA among active pitchers.


Since debuting with Washington on September 10, 2009, Ian Desmond has blasted 36 homers to match the total hit by all other Nationals shortstops combined (Cristian Guzman 21, Felipe Lopez 8, Danny Espinosa 2, Alberto Gonzalez 2, Ronnie Belliard 1, Damian Jackson 1 and D’Angelo Jimenez 1) since the franchise’s 2005 arrival in The District. Ian’s 40 extra-base hits (24 doubles, 2 triples, career-high 14 homers) pace MLB shortstops (Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera ranks second with 31).


Steve McCatty’s staff leads MLB in fewest runs allowed (275), ERA (3.18), starters ERA (3.28), batting average against (.229), hits per 9.0 innings (7.62), WHIP (1.20), baserunners allowed per 9.0 innings (10.99), OPS against (.656), fielding-independent pitching (3.46) and swing-and-miss percentage (24.1).


What to Watch for: 7/3

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San Francisco Giants (45-35) vs. Washington Nationals (45-32)

RHP Tim Lincecum (3-8, 5.60) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (4-6, 2.77)

The Nationals are back home to face the Giants in the opener of a three-game set this evening at 6:35 p.m. This is the first time the teams will face off this season. Jordan Zimmermann, taking the mound tonight for Washington, looks to carry on his impressive ERA (2.77) and WHIP (1.15) into July.


1. Lombardozzi LF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Morse RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Flores C

9. Zimmermann RHP


The division-leading Nationals (NL East) and Giants (NL West) enter the series with the first and second-best winning percentages, respectively, in the National League. The Nationals posted a 5-5 on their just completed three-city, 10-game roadtrip while the Giants just finished a seven-game homestand with a 5-2 record, going 3-0 against the Dodgers and 2-2 against Cincinnati.


Jordan Zimmermann takes to the hill tonight for the Nationals, looking to earn his second win in a row and first at home in 2012. In fact, Zimmermann has only one win (Aug. 18, 2011 vs. CIN) at Nationals Park since last year’s All-Star Break.


The Washington Nationals currently sport a run differential of +48 (316-268) over their opponents so far in 2012. That mark is the highest differential for the club in a single season in Nationals history (2005-Present).

Your Handy FAQ Guide to #IYNT

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What Is #IYNT?

You may have seen the hashtag floating around the last couple weeks and wondered to yourself, what exactly is this #IYNT thing? It’s the first event of its kind at Nationals Park: the inaugural Ignite Your NATITUDE Tweet-up! In short, it is a social event that will take place before and during the Nationals/Giants game on July 3.

Why Should I RSVP?

Let’s see: a special discounted ticket, a free commemorative poster, giveaways all night long, a great evening of Nationals baseball AND a fireworks show? The real question is why wouldn’t you RSVP?

But, if you still need a good reason, consider this: the more fans that RSVP, the better the seats will be. We will unveil the seating package on June 22, the day that tickets go on sale. So tell your friends, but more importantly, tell your tweeps – the more we spread the word among Nationals fans on Twitter, the more you will get to meet and interact with at the ballpark!

How Do I RSVP?

It’s simple: log on to Twitter, and simply tweet “RSVP #IYNT” to @Nationals – seriously, that’s it! We’ll record your Twitter handle, and when you come to the ballpark on July 3, we’ll tell you where to check in. Only those who have RSVP’d can take part in the special giveaways and win prizes, so make sure you do so right away!

How Do I Actually Get Tickets?

Right here!

How Much Does It Cost?

Just $20! No matter how much the seats improve, tickets will remain at the same low price point.

What If I Already Have Tickets To The Game?

That’s just fine. You may not be seated in the same section as everyone else, and you won’t get a discounted ticket, but you can still partake in all the fun activities as part of IYNT. Even if you already have seats, you will want to make sure you RSVP for the chance to win our great prizes, yet to be unveiled.

Why Aren’t My Tickets In Section 140?

We’ve got more spaces than seats in section 140 alone, so the event will spill into the surrounding sections in the area.

What Time Should I Show Up?

As early as possible. We’ll have some special prizes for those who get there early. Center Field Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.

Where Do I Check In To Get My Prizes?

We’ll be set up at tables right behind section 140 in the heart of the action. The first 450 to arrive get a special edition event poster, and the first 140 to arrive get a limited edition Ignite Your NATITUDE T-Shirt!

Did You Get My RSVP?

Yep. We’ve been tracking them since the beginning. As long as you used “RSVP” and “#IYNT” in a tweet, we saw it and tracked it. We’ll have Twitter handle name tags ready and waiting for when you arrive.

What Is The $6 Of Added Value On My Ticket?

Noticed that, did you? We’ve thrown in an extra $6 for you to use anywhere around the ballpark – concessions, team store, whatever you’d like. Just another bonus for following us on Twitter.

More questions? Ask us on Twitter and we’ll do our best to keep this page updated!