Results tagged ‘ Wilson Ramos ’

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.

Leading By Example

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We often look for gregarious personalities in our leaders, people whose voices often capture our attention before anything else. Yet sometimes they’re really just the guys quietly going about their business.

The Nationals have found their leadership lately in the unlikely duo of rookie second baseman Anthony Rendon and pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. They have quietly carried the Nats this season as the likes of Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos recover from injuries.

Consider for a moment the numbers Rendon has posted in his first 26 big-league games. The rookie is sporting a .354 average, even accounting for his eight-game stint in April and May when he batted just .240. He was recalled on June 5, and since June 8he has accumulated 28 hits and a .400 average. That doesn’t just put him among the best of the league’s rookies. He’s batting as well as anyone in the majors in that time frame. No, seriously.

MLB Hit Leaders since 6/8

While Yasiel Puig has gotten all the attention, Anthony Rendon has quietly been among the best hitters in the game since early June.

While Yasiel Puig has gotten all the attention, Anthony Rendon has quietly been among the best hitters in the game since early June.

1. Yasiel Puig (LAD) 29

David Wright (NYM) 29

3. Anthony Rendon (WSH) 28

4. Mike Trout (LAA) 27

5. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) 26

Jason Kipnis (CLE) 26

7. Brett Gardner (NYY) 25

Manny Machado (BAL) 25

Joe Mauer (MIN) 25

Buster Posey (SFG) 25

Michael Young (PHI) 25

Through his first 25 games, Rendon amassed 32 hits, more than any player to debut with the Nationals since 2005. He then proceeded to go 3-for-4 in last night’s 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks, just missing a home run on a towering shot to left field in his final at-bat.

Zimmermann’s impact has been less unexpected, but perhaps just as unheralded. The righty ace is silently leading the National League with 11 wins (sharing the Major League lead with Detroit’s Max Scherzer), having turned in another stellar outing last night. After giving up two runs on two hits in the first inning, he allowed just one more hit though the seventh inning, giving way to Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano to close out the final two innings.

With Harper set to return as early as Monday, and Ramos expected shortly thereafter, the Nationals are slowly building a winning foundation to build upon when they get those other crucial pieces back.

Highlights: 4.30.13

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4.30.13 – Braves 8, Nationals 1

Stat of the Game: Wilson Ramos returned to action and drove home Washington’s lone run with an RBI-groundout in the fifth. 

Under-the-Radar Performance: Henry Rodriguez struck out one, needing just 12 pitches in a scoreless eighth.

It Was Over When: After Washington got on the board in the fifth, Atlanta struck back for three runs in the bottom half to provide the final margin.

What to Watch for: 4.16.13

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Washington Nationals (8-5) vs. Miami Marlins (2-11)

RHP Dan Haren (1-1, 9.00) vs. RHP Alex Sanabia (1-1, 4.91)

The Nationals scored a season-high 10 runs to win the opening game of this series over the Marlins Monday night as Jordan Zimmermann tossed his first career nine-inning complete game. With Bryce Harper and Denard Span out due to stomach illness, Washington will lean on several members of the “Goon Squad” to deliver the offense today.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Werth RF

2. Bernadina CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Moore LF

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Haren RHP

CATCH THIS

Nationals catchers currently lead MLB with a .458 on-base percentage. Collectively, Nationals backstops Wilson Ramos (DL) and Kurt Suzuki (Jhonatan Solano has not played yet), are batting .333 (13-for-39) with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI, eight walks and six runs scored.

DESMOND IN THE ROUGH

Ian Desmond’s nine extra-base hits (six doubles, triple, two home runs) are tied with Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips and Oakland’s Jed Lowrie for the MLB lead among middle infielders. Desmond’s six doubles are also tied for the MLB lead (all positions) with eight other players.

CATCHING CAP

Davey Johnson and his 1294 career managerial wins appear poised to move into the top 30 all-time in the coming days. Johnson currently ranks 31st on the all-time list and trails Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson, who posted 1295 wins and a .578 winning percentage in 21 seasons (1875, 1879-98) primarily as a player/manager with the Phillies, White Sox, Chicago Colts and Giants. Before the season ends, Johnson has a strong chance to also catch and surpass Hall-of-Famer Ned Hanlon (#29, 1313 wins) and Chuck Tanner (#28, 1352 wins).

What to Watch for: 4.10.13

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Chicago White Sox (4-3) vs. Washington Nationals (5-2)

RHP Gavin Floyd (0-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 1.50)

The Nationals and White Sox match up in the middle contest of a three-game set, after Washington rode four home runs to an 8-7 victory in the series opener Tuesday night. Last night’s victory marked the first ever win at home over Chicago’s American League ballclub at Nationals Park.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

TRIPLE DOUBLE

Adam LaRoche collected his first two hits of the season last night, as he homered in each of his final two at-bats. With the multi-homer game, LaRoche becomes the third National in just seven games this season to turn the trick, joining Bryce Harper (April 1 vs. Miami) and Wilson Ramos (April 6 at Cincinnati).

POWER PACKED

The Nationals have blasted 14 home runs in their first seven games of the 2013 season. That is a 10-homer increase on the initial seven games of last season. In fact, Washington’s previous homer high in the first seven games of a season was 10 in 2006.

I WOULD WALK 500 MORE

Jayson Werth notched his 500th and 501st career RBI last night, thanks to a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Werth is also closing in on half a thousand in another counting stat, as he needs just 23 more walks to reach 500 for his career.

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