Results tagged ‘ Stephen Strasburg ’

What to Watch for: 7.24.13

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Pittsburgh Pirates (59-39) vs. Washington Nationals (48-52)

LHP Francisco Liriano (9-4, 2.44) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-7, 2.97)

The Nationals look to end their season-high five-game losing streak as they send Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face Francisco Liriano. It will be Strasburg’s first appearance against the Pirates at home in D.C. since his Major League debut on June 8, 2010, in which he fanned 14 in a 5-2 victory.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Hairston LF

2. Rendon SS

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Ramos C

7. Span CF

8. Lombardozzi 2B

9. Strasburg RHP

THE BUC STOPS HERE

Strasburg has had great success against the Pirates thus far in his career, going 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA (7 ER/20.0 IP) and 35 strikeouts (15.8 K/9 IP) against just four walks (8.75 K/BB rats) in his first three starts. The Nationals have won all three of those games against Pittsburgh.

‘CATT’S MEOW

Gio Gonzalez (ninth, 2.89), Stephen Strasburg (12th, 2.97) and Jordan Zimmermann (14th, 3.01) all rank among the National League’s top 15 in ERA this season. Nationals Pitching Coach Steve McCatty’s rotation is the only one in Major League Baseball with three pitchers ranked among their respective league’s top 15 in ERA. Only St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle and Texas have two pitchers ranked on either of those lists.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .322 (48-for-149) with 20 walks, seven doubles, 10 home runs, 25 runs scored, 29 RBI and a .401 OBP in 42 games since returning from the Disabled List (right hamstring) on June 4.  Werth’s 1.126 OPS in July ranks third in the National League behind only Hanley Ramirez (1.167) and Andrew McCutchen (1.147).

Guest Blog: Looking Forward

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As you may recall, we gave away the opportunity to blog with us for a day as part of the 13 Days of NatsFest. And while it’s been six months since then, we didn’t forget about our winner. Her originally planned date got washed away by the rain, but we were able to get her out to Nationals Park Friday night for the first game of the season’s second half. This is the story of her experience behind the scenes at the ballpark.

Looking Forward

by: Michelle Hendley

The Nationals were back from the All-Star Break, rejuvenated and filled with optimism for what the second half can bring. The majority of the players were healthy for the first time in what seems like a century. Errors were down and hitting was up. Yesterday’s pitching match-up, featuring former Marlin Ricky Nolasco and Washington ace Stephen Strasburg, was a rematch of Opening Day. Though the late July heat was stifling, the excitement was clearly evident on the field, and everyone was hopeful that the team could pick up some momentum heading into the second half.

Strasburg survived the heat to post a quality start.

Strasburg survived the heat to post a quality start.

The excitement was palpable for me as well. While I have been to many Nationals games as a spectator – probably more than I could count –  this was the first time that I had experienced the game up close and personally as a member of the press. As someone who grew up in a sports-mad family, working in the media for a professional team is as close to a dream job as I could get. Whether it was related to me being scared or me being realistic (probably a bit of both), I took a job in another field immediately after college. However, in the back of my mind, I always did wonder what path pursuing my dream would have taken me on, and today was the day for me to find out. Who knows what I may decide to do after that?

While the crowds gathered outside, eating at the food trucks and playing games, I started by observing Davey Johnson’s pregame press conference. Well, to be completely honest, I started by disregarding the GPS and getting myself a little lost on my way downtown. But I digress. Davey injected his trademark bit of humor into the briefing as we got updates from him. He was incredibly optimistic about the prospects of the team heading into the second half, telling everybody that, “We are right where we need to be.”  He’s definitely got a point. With the exception of Ross Detwiler and his lingering soreness, he’s got as close to an Opening Day lineup as he has had since, well, practically Opening Day. Davey wrapped up his presser, and I headed down to batting practice.

The ball just sounds different coming off of Harper's bat.

The ball just sounds different coming off of Harper’s bat.

Now, to say it was hot was probably the understatement of the decade. It was hot in the sense that I could have probably fried an egg on the warning track. While I was prepared for several players to hit in the air conditioned, indoor batting cages, I was surprised to see all of the players out there taking their hacks. I had been told that Bryce Harper’s batting practice was not necessarily just worth seeing, but worth hearing. It really was. If you ever find yourself in the park early enough to catch him, take the time to do so. The best way I can describe it is that the sound of the ball hitting the bat echoes like a sonic boom. It’s really impressive – but so is pretty much everything he does.

I settled in the press box for the start of the game. The view is really beautiful, although I caution you if you’re afraid of heights. You could see the vast majority of the field perfectly, allowing me to get a good grasp of everything that was going on during the game.

As the game progressed, I had a feeling that even though rest and a seemingly fresh start can really boost morale and infuse positivity, they aren’t necessarily magic. All bad things don’t turn into good things overnight. The most you can hope for is progress, and although the Nationals lost, they definitely showed progress. In tough conditions, Strasburg pitched superbly. The Nationals made several defensive gems, and put nine hits up on the board. Historically, Ricky Nolasco has had a lot of success against the Nationals, but they put up a great fight. There is a lot to build upon in this second half, and the team needs to continue to look forward. As Davey said, wrapping up his postgame presser, “Tomorrow is another day.”

You can’t keep looking back and talking about what you could have done differently – a lesson that applies to both baseball and life. All you can do is to continue to improve. I think the team is learning that. And I think I am as well.

Highlights: 7.19.13

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7.19.13 – Dodgers 3, Nationals 2

Stat of the Game: Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each collected multi-hit performances in the first game after the All-Star break.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Stephen Strasburg allowed just two runs over seven frames for his 12th quality start of the season.

It Was Over When: Andre Ethier broke a 2-2 tie with a ninth-inning home run for the last score of the game.

What to Watch for: 7.19.13

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Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47) vs. Washington Nationals (48-47)

RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.76) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-7, 2.99)

The Nationals look to get off on the right foot when they kick off the season’s second half with a critical 11-game homestand, which includes a three-game set against the Dodgers that starts tonight. Stephen Strasburg, who is third in the National League with a 1.65 ERA at home, will face Opening Day opponent Ricky Nolasco (then of the Marlins). Strasburg has allowed one earned run or less in six of nine starts in The District, including four starts allowing no earned runs.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Harper LF

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Tracy 1B

8. Ramos C

9. Strasburg RHP

REST FOR THE WEARY

The Nationals closed the season’s first half by playing the maximum of 20 games in 20 days. Washington went 11-9 (.550) in that span and outscored their 6 opponents by 16 runs (94-78). At 48-47 (.505), the Nationals entered the All-Star break with a winning record for the second consecutive season. Washington has completed the season’s first half at .500 or better each of the last 3 seasons (49-34 in ‘12, 46-46 in ‘11).

HOME COOKIN’

At 27-18 (.600), Washington is one of five National League squads playing .600 baseball or better at home this season. The Nationals are joined on this Senior Circuit short list by the Braves (31-15, .674), Reds (30-16, .652), Pirates (32-18, .640) and Cardinals (27-16, .628).

AGAINST ALL ODDS

The Nationals (48-47, -14) and Yankees (51-44, -2) are the only two Major League teams to sport winning records despite carrying a negative run differential for the season.

The Second “Half”

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There has been plenty written about the Nationals the past few days and what it will take for them to play in October this season.

We’ll leave the “to reach x wins, they need to go xx-xx the rest of the way” predictions to others. As Davey Johnson and his troops have expressed over recent weeks, what the team needs to do is play at the level its capable of with more consistency. It doesn’t really matter how many games are left, or against whom. We all know this team is capable – when they are playing their best – of beating anyone.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

They’ll get their first test immediately out of the All-Star break. The suddenly hot Los Angeles Dodgers come to town to open an 11-game, 10-day homestand, during which they will throw recently acquired Nationals nemesis Ricky Nolasco, along with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Things don’t get easier from there, as the contending Pittsburgh Pirates visit for four games beginning next week. The homestand concludes with a Matt Harvey-headlined doubleheader followed by a pair of weekend games against the scrappy New York Mets.

Of course, the Nationals will counter with arguable the healthiest team they’ve fielded since the first week of the season. With the lineup at full strength, the only pieces missing are Ross Detwiler and Ryan Mattheus, both expected back off the disabled list soon. Washington will also be throwing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann in the three Dodgers games, putting its own best pitching foot forward. Dan Haren, who has a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts in his two outings since his own return from the DL may be starting to show signs of being the solid veteran pickup that Mike Rizzo and company were hoping for when they signed him last offseason. With Taylor Jordan solidly holding down the fort at the back of the rotation in the meantime, the starting staff looks poised to lead the way.

Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano has closed out 25 of 29 save opportunities with a 2.25 ERA on the season. Tyler Clippard has been one of the best relievers in the game, winning six games out of the ‘pen while posting better than a strikeout per inning and a sub-2.00 ERA. Ian Krol and Fernando Abad have given Washington two lefty relievers they did not have at the beginning of the year, both joining Clippard in the sub-2.00 club thus far. Factor in some solid contributions out of the long-man spot by Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.74 ERA) and the bullpen looks as solid as it has all year.

It’s taken a few months for all these pieces to come together and be on the field at the same time. But with a fully rested and healthy squad coming back from the All-Star break, these Nationals look as well constructed as they have been all year to finally put together the extended run that has thus far eluded them, the one they all know they will need to bring October NATITUDE back to The District.

What to Watch for: 7.12.13

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Washington Nationals (47-45) vs. Miami Marlins (33-57)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-6, 2.45) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.55)

The Nationals head south for their final series before the All-Star break, as Stephen Strasburg leads the charge into Miami for a three-game set beginning Friday night. Since May 11, Strasburg owns the National League’s second-lowest ERA at 1.74 (12 ER/62.0 IP), and has struck out 63 batters over that 10-start span.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Werth RF

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Strasburg RHP

DESTINATION D.C.

At 16-18 (6-5 at home, 10-13 on the road), the Nationals enter the final series before the All-Star break with a sub-.500 record against the NL East this season. However, 26 of their 39 contests vs. NL East opponents after the All-Star break will take place in D.C. By the end of this weekend, the Nationals will have visited each of their four NL East rivals twice and hosted each just once. That trend will reverse itself after the break.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .328 (40-for-122) with 16 walks, six doubles, six home runs, 21 runs scored, 21 RBI and a .403 on-base percentage in 34 games since returning from the DL (right hamstring) on June 4. Werth has hit safely in eight straight games, with a .538/.594/.769 slash line, along with two home runs and four multi-hit performances during that stretch.

CRUISING PAST CRISTIAN

With tonight’s series opener, Ian Desmond moves past Cristian Guzman into sole possession of second place on the Nationals’ all-time games played list. Here is how that list looked at the completion of play on Thursday:

Ryan Zimmerman: 1068 games

Desmond: 550

Guzman: 550

Roger Bernadina: 450

Nick Johnson: 414

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.

What to Watch for: 7.7.13

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San Diego Padres (40-48) vs. Washington Nationals (45-42)

LHP Robbie Erlin (1-1, 4.34) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.24)

The Nationals earned their third consecutive win and second straight over the Padres Saturday, clinching a third season series in as many years. Washington sends Stephen Strasburg – the Major League ERA leader since May 11 at 1.29 (8 ER/56.0 IP) – to the mound in search of the three-game sweep.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. Rendon 2B

7. Moore 1B

8. Ramos C

9. Strasburg RHP

WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARS

Bryce Harper became the youngest position player ever elected to start an All-Star Game and Jordan Zimmermann was named to the National League pitching staff for the 2013 Midsummer Classic in New York. Davey Johnson will also be participating as a member of the coaching staff, as will athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. Ian Desmond has been named as a Final Vote candidate, and can reach the game with the help of fan voting at nationals.com/vote.

SAFE AT HOME

Though he did not earn his 13th win of the season, All-Star Jordan Zimmermann extended his personal unbeaten streak at Nationals Park to 22 consecutive starts. The Nationals have won the last 14 games Zimmermann has started in D.C., with Jordan earning the win in 11 of them.

THE POWER OF 3

When scoring three or more runs this season, as they did in their 20th comeback win of the year on Saturday, the Nationals are 40-10 (.800). However, when plating two or fewer runs, Washington is just 5-32 (.135).

What to Watch for: 7.5.13

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San Diego Padres (40-47) vs. Washington Nationals (44-42)

RHP Jason Marquis (9-4, 3.74) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.46)

The Nationals got their second 8-5 win in as many games in last night’s series opener against the Padres. Gio Gonzalez recovered from a rocky start to notch his third straight win, while Wilson Ramos drove in three more runs after racking up five RBI in his return from the Disabled List on Thursday. Washington sends Jordan Zimmermann to the mound today, in search of his National League-leading 13th win.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Werth RF

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

GREAT 8

By posting five- and three-RBI efforts in twin 8-5 victories the last 48 hours, Wilson Ramos became the fourth National (2005-present) to record as many as eight RBI in two consecutive team games, joining Josh Willingham (9, July 2009; 8, July 2009), Ryan Church (8, April 2006) and Vinny Castilla (8, April 2005). Ramos’ eight-RBI feat is impressive considering it required only eight at-bats.

THE POWER OF THREE

Stephen Strasburg (third, 2.24), Jordan Zimmermann (sixth, 2.46) and Gio Gonzalez (18th, 3.14) all rank among the NL’s top 20 in ERA this season. All three will face the Padres this weekend. Among teams with at least three qualified starters, the Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez triumvirate is baseball’s best as they have combined on a 2.62 ERA (97 ER/332.2 IP) this season.

WERTH THE WAIT

Thanks to a second consecutive three-hit game, Jayson Werth is now batting .311 (32-for-103) with 12 walks, six doubles, four home runs, 17 runs scored and 18 RBI in 28 games since returning from the DL (right hamstring) on June 4.

Highlights: 7.2.13

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7.2.13 – Brewers 4, Nationals 0

Stat of the Game: Stephen Strasburg twirled seven scoreless frames, lowering his ERA to 2.24 for the season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon picked up another multi-hit game, his 12th in 32 big league contests.

It Was Over When: The Brewers broke scoreless tie with a four-run eighth inning for the only scoring of the game.

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