Results tagged ‘ Wilson Ramos ’

What to Watch for: 7.30.13

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Washington Nationals (52-54) vs. Detroit Tigers (59-45)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-8, 2.85) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 2.68)

The All-Star break provides a number of opportunities for players. The four days are a chance to catch your breath, lick your wounds, and get a mental restart for the stretch run. For managers though, it also provides a chance to reset the pitching rotation to best match up with opponents.

In Davey Johnson’s case, that meant he could line up Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez for this two-game set against Detroit, beginning Tuesday night in the Motor City. It also means Jordan Zimmermann will get to start back in his home state of Wisconsin on Friday night in Milwaukee, where he delivered six strong innings to earn his fourth win in a very strong month of August last season.

Of course, it also means the rotation will roll over once more, setting up the top three Washington starters to pitch during the Nationals upcoming August 5-7 home series with Atlanta. With a little tinkering, Johnson could work around the off days to do the same for the road series against the Braves, August 16-18 at Turner Field.

The ability to set up the top of the rotation is great, but it is made all the more important by the success of the rest of the starters, like the three huge starts delivered by Ross Ohlendorf, Dan Haren and Taylor Jordan over the weekend. After one of their toughest losses of the season in the opening game of the doubleheader with the Mets on Friday – and with All-Star Game starter Matt Harvey and Nats nemesis Dillon Gee on the horizon – Washington needed big performances from all three to have a successful weekend.

That’s exactly what they got. Ohlendorf, Haren and Jordan combined to deliver 20 innings over which each allowed just a single earned run (1.35 combined ERA) on 14 total hits and four walks while striking out 21 Mets batters. The offense did just enough to muster a win Friday night, with Ryan Zimmerman providing the ninth-inning heroics, then powered three home runs Saturday and came alive to set season highs in hits and runs on Sunday. That gave the Nationals three straight wins heading into their current Midwest road trip.

If the rotation can continue to feed off of itself and the lineup behind it finds its groove, the Nationals will be as well positioned as they could possibly hope for the upcoming division showdowns with Atlanta that may well determine the fate of the division.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Ramos C

9. Tracy DH

RHP Strasburg

BETTER AT-BATS = BETTER BALL

The Nationals won four of the final five games on their season-long 11-game homestand. They batted .302 (52-for-172) and plated 29 runs during the 4-1 surge since last Thursday, averaging 5.8 runs per game over that stretch.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .331 (56-for-169) with 23 walks, seven doubles, 11 home runs, 30 runs scored, 32 RBI, and a .410 OBP in 48 games since returning from the disabled list (right hamstring) on June 4. During the month of July, Werth paces the National League in batting average (.376), OPS (1.103), on-base percentage (.455) and RBI (21). He also ranks among the Senior Circuit’s top five in home runs (tied-second, seven), slugging percentage (third, .647) and hits (tied-fifth, 32).

THREE GRAND

With Wilson Ramos’ bases-clearing blast in the third inning on Sunday, the Nationals have now blasted three grand slams in 2013. The club went 70 games before hitting a grand slam, with Ian Desmond providing the first of the year, in the 11th inning on June 19 in Philadelphia. Since then, Washington has collected three in 36 games, also including Ryan Zimmerman’s shot against San Diego on July 7 in The District.

Highlights: 7.28.13

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7.28.13 – Nationals 14, Mets 1

Stat of the Game: The Nationals set season highs in in runs (14) and hits (18) as Wilson Ramos blasted his first career grand slam and Denard Span homered for the second straight game.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Taylor Jordan struck out a career-high seven batters en route to his first Major League win.

It Was Over When: Ramos doubled the Nationals early lead with his third inning slam.

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.

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.

Turning Points

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When turning points of a game happen with mammoth home runs, like the one Wilson Ramos hit on Thursday afternoon, they are easy to spot. But sometimes there’s more subtlety to such events, especially when they take place on the other side of the ball. The Nationals used just such a moment Friday night, as Gio Gonzalez pulled a Houdini act to swing momentum for his team on their way to an 8-5, series-opening victory over the San Diego Padres.

Gio Gonzalez has finally received consistent run support, winning three straight starts.

Gio Gonzalez has finally received consistent run support, winning three straight starts.

Before we get to the moment itself, let’s take a step back to Gonzalez’s last start on Sunday against the Mets. Lost in the melee of the 13-2 Washington onslaught was the fact that Gonzalez was in trouble in the first inning, with two runners on and just one out. But the lefty buckled down to get out of the frame unscathed, and the offense responded with four runs in the next half inning to take a lead the Nationals would never relinquish.

On Friday night, the Padres had already plated a first-inning score when Logan Forsythe and Jesus Guzman opened the second with a single and a double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. But again Gonzalez stepped up his game, striking out the next three batters to get his team back in the dugout still down just a run. This time the bats responded with five runs and never looked back, scoring eight runs for the fourth time in six games.

While that still hasn’t happened every game in the last half-dozen, four out of six is pretty solid. If the Nationals went on to win four-of-six each time over their remaining 76 games, they would finish with 95 wins. While it’s easy to look for a prolonged winning streak to prove a team turnaround – and the Nationals would certainly gladly take one of those – sometimes it is the smaller shifts, the ones that often go unseen, that can have the most profound impact.

What to Watch for: 7.5.13

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San Diego Padres (40-46) vs. Washington Nationals (43-42)

 RHP Andrew Cashner (5-3, 3.31) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 3.09)

After celebrating our nation’s birthday with a 8-5 win over the Brewers Thursday, including five RBI off the bat of newly-returned Wilson Ramos, the Nationals look to make it back-to-back wins as they welcome the San Diego Padres to D.C. tonight. This is the second time and final tiem the Nationals will face the Padres this season after May’s series in San Diego ended in a 2-2 split.

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. Gonzalez LHP

RAMOS RETURNS

Wilson Ramos returned from a 44-game stint on the disabled list with a (literal) bang, as his three-run homer in the seventh inning capped the scoring in Washington’s 8-5 Independence Day victory over the Brewers. Ramos finished with a career-high five RBI as the Nationals split the four-game series against the Brewers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ramos was the first player to post five RBI in the first game after a seven-plus week stint on the DL since Nelson Cruz did so on July 28, 2007 at Kansas City.

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 currently thriving in Jim Lett’s bullpen. Collectively, Abad, Ohlendorf and Krol are 1-2 with two holds, zero blown saves and a 1.49 ERA in 33 appearances. The trio has stranded seven of eight inherited baserunners and posted a .189 batting average against, a 0.83 WHIP and a 6.33/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (38 K, 6 BB).

OPPORTUNITY’S KNOCKING

At 8-6 (6-5 at home, 2-1 on the road), the Nationals are 14 games into a 49-game stretch (June 20-Aug. 15) in which they will enjoy 34 games within the comfy confines of Nationals Park. Washington is playing .571-ball in D.C. (24-18), but has struggled on the road (19-24, .441). The Nationals will play more home games in July than any other month this season, as 18 of July’s 27 contests will be played in The District.

Ramos Returns

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Having spent the past 44 games on the disabled list, Wilson Ramos’ return to the Nationals lineup on Thursday couldn’t have come soon enough, and the catcher wasted no time reasserting himself.

Ramos plated a career-high five RBI (surpassing his previous high of three) capped by a three-run bomb in the seventh that broke open a tie game and helped lift the Nationals to an 8-5 Independence Day win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

“That pitching must have been awful tough down at Potomac,” quipped Davey Johnson, alluding to Ramos’ struggles to regain his offensive prowess during his rehab stint at High-A Potomac prior to his breakout game Thursday.

Ramos took a curtain call from the crowd after his three-run home run Thursday.

Ramos took a curtain call from the crowd after his three-run home run Thursday.

While it was just one swing, one can only imagine how therapeutic it must have been for Ramos, watching the ball sail over the visitor’s bullpen in left field, landing in a sea of red-clad fans.

“It was a great moment,” Ramos said. “I have to keep working. A lot’s happened in my career. A lot of bad moments, a lot of good moments. I have to learn from the bad moments and enjoy the good moments.”

With the well-documented turmoil of his past two years, including a twice-strained hamstring this season, it would have been easy to allow for some degree of rust in his first game action since May 15. No such pardons were necessary on Thursday, however. Instead, in his first pressure situation of the day, Ramos poked a sixth-inning, bases-loaded single up the middle to score Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth.

An even bigger opportunity presented itself again just an inning later. After taking a slider for ball one and waiting out a mound conference, Ramos drove Brandon Kintzler’s second slider over the Brewers bullpen, putting Washington ahead for good.

It was the kind of moment that has been eluding the Nationals for most of the year, a clutch, late-game instant that carries the team to victory. But it wasn’t the kind of moment that’s new to Ramos. Just last season, he drilled a bases-loaded, walk-off single up the middle in an 11-inning, 4-3 win against the Phillies to open NATITUDE Weekend. On June 22, 2011, Ramos capped a five-run ninth inning with a three-run walk-off homer for a 6-5 win over the Mariners, one of the most dramatic triumphs in franchise history.

“You see what the guy has gone through, more than anybody can imagine,” Drew Storen said. “That’s why we were excited to have him back, because he comes up in those big spots. He does big things.”

If his first game back forebears any of what he might achieve this season, Ramos could be the missing piece to the Nationals puzzle as they look to take off in the season’s second half.

Nationals Independence Day

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Few cities know how to put on an Independence Day celebration like our Nation’s Capital. Add baseball to the mix and you aren’t likely to get more patriotic than if you were eating apple pie dressed as Uncle Sam. This year, the Nationals put together a truly special lineup of guests and entertainment to celebrate the birth of our nation and the third game of the 2013 Patriotic Series, presented by SAIC.

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Prior to the game, the Nationals joined with SAIC and the Wounded Warrior Project to donate tickets to our Wounded Warriors. A giant American flag in the shape of the United States was unfurled in the outfield during the pregame ceremonies prior to the National Anthem.

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As for the anthem itself, it was sung by the highest ranking soldier in the United States Army. General Martin E. Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, performed the Star Spangled Banner with members of the Army Chorus.

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For Thursday’s military salute at the end of the third inning, the crowd was treated to a performance from music legend Neil Diamond. For the first time ever, he performed his new song, “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down),” with 100% of proceeds from the single directly benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Finally, the Nationals sported their blue patriotic jerseys and special hats as they took on the Milwaukee Brewers. Wilson Ramos provided the fireworks for the afternoon, plating five RBI including three on his game-winning home run in the seventh inning as the Nationals won, 8-5.

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Highlights: 7.4.13

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7.4.13 – Nationals 8, Brewers 5

Stat of the Game: Wilson Ramos returned to the lineup and plated 5 RBI, including three on his game-winning home run in the seventh inning.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth, who were flipped between the second and sixth spots in the lineup, combined to go 6-for-7 with two walks, four runs scored and an RBI.

It Was Over When: Ramos’ blast over the visiting bullpen in left field broke a 5-5 tie, leading the Nationals to victory.

What to Watch for: 7.4.13

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Milwaukee Brewers (34-49) vs. Washington Nationals (42-42)

RHP Donavan Hand (0-1, 2.63) vs. RHP Taylor Jordan (0-1, 2.08) 

Washington and Milwaukee close the Brewers lone visit to D.C. of the 2013 campaign with a matchup of two rookies with three combined career Major League starts. The Nationals get Wilson Ramos back from the disabled list for his first game since May 15 as they aim for the series split and attempt to move back above .500.

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. Jordan RHP

WELCOME BACK, WILSON

Wilson Ramos returns to the Nationals for the first time in nearly two months, following a rehab assignment at High-A Potomac. Ramos batted .250 (12-for-48) with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI in 14 games before landing on the DL.

REN-GONE

Anthony Rendon accounted for Washington’s lone run last night, blasting his second Major League home run. The rookie is batting .330 (34-for-103) with 13 runs scored and eight RBI since his early June recall.

BREAKING EVEN

At 42-42, the Nationals own a .500 record for the 19th time this year (excluding season-opening 0-0 record). In recent weeks, the Nationals have sported almost methodical 27-27, 28-28, 29-29, 31-31, 32-32, 33-33, 34-34, 36-36, 37-37, 38-38, 39-39, 40-40 and 42-42 records.

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