A day after being eliminated, the Washington Nationals were no hit for 8⅔ innings by St. Louis Cardinals rookie righty Michael Wacha. #Natitude! Expect it! Let Yourself Go!
Ryan Zimmerman, Mr. Walk-Off, was all that stood between Wacha and IMMORTALITY. Then, this happened:
Don’t apologize Ryan, it makes you look weak
The best part — Pete Q#@$%&-ing Kozma, destroyer of Nats dreams, could not get the throw to first, pulling the first baseman off the bag. Zimmerman was safe, an infield single secured and the tying run at bat. Nothing came of it, but at least the Nats didn’t get no-hit.
The “best fans in baseball” reaction to Kozma was often NSFW, so I won’t share those tweets here.
The series finale is at 1:45 with Jordan Zimmermann going for his 20th win of the season. The Nats are trying to win their first over St. Louis since Game 4 of last year’s NLDS.
What was fait accompli in July became reality in late September — the Washington Nationals will not make the 2013 postseason. Last night’s Nats loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis and wins by the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates officially eliminated the Nats from even the play-in game. That makes two seasons in a row the Cardinals ended the Nats postseason hopes, though this year was much less agonizing than last year.
The Nats played below their talent level for much of the season, no more so than in July when they went 11-16. Injuries, a weak bench, a ill-prepared bullpen (no lefties), questionable managing and significant regression defensively combined with poor hitting through the first half to doom the squad. Even with all that, the Nats would not go quietly, raging for over a month in a half:
They reached this point after a desperate six weeks of trying to overcome the sluggish first four-and-a-half months of their season. They were 13-14 after April, 48-47 at the all-star break and 54-60 on Aug. 7. They have been the best team in baseball since, but they found their stride too late. They also faltered against top competition, going 14-29 against the five NL playoff teams.
Surely, some will suggest the Nats “needed” a season like this which is just nonsense. That being said, the team, the next manager and certainly the general manager need to learn from this season. A better bullpen, a better bench and more attention to details like playing defense in the future will hopefully top of mind. That and of course, HITTING which was the biggest problem for most of this season.
The Washington Capitals host the Jets in a critical South(L)east Division game. Brian McNally has the Caps playoff math in The. Wash. Examiner. In short, if the Caps win in regulation or overtime (but not the shootout) they clinch the division. Other scenarios are also presented in the link in the preceding paragraph.
Hockey players often take naps in the afternoon before night games.
Down the Green Line the visiting St. Louis Cardinals ran into some problems during their warm-ups before tonight’s game with the Washington Nationals:
This is all amusing, at least before the games, but if I were on the the Jets or Cards, I might be slightly more motivated. Not that the Jets need it, after all there is a division title on the line. As for the Cards, it is an early regular season game, but given the recent history between the two clubs, they may have some heightened awareness.
I’m hoping it’ll all be a fun anecdote as fans joyfully head to the Gallery Place/Chinatown and Navy Yard Metro stations post-game. If either of the visitors prevail, I kind of expect to here post-game remarks about these little incidents.
Much like the current Nats, the shenanigans had a .500 record.
Meanwhile, the Nats could not get across the plate again, wasting another quality start by Ross Detwiler. The Cards took the series behind 8 strong innings of Adam Wainwright pitching. Final score, 2-0. Davey Johnson is mad (Nats Enquirer). We’re all mad. There is no way this team should be 10-10. The Caps do provide a recent reminder that a bad start can be overcome, but then again the Nats aren’t in the SouthLeast division like the Caps.
Last night goes down as one of the great nights in the Washington Nationals history. Following 9 innings of 1 run (unearned) pitching by Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the 9th inning. The outfielder, oft-maligned for his enormous contract, faced 12 Lance Lynn pitches – 10 after taking the first 2 for called strikes and worked a full
count. A fascinating stat:
Ridiculous stat from a ridiculous game: Jayson Werth alone saw 26.3 percent of the #STLCards pitches in the game (30 of 114). #Nats
Werth’s homer created pandemonium at WWN headquarters. The four year old resident — the same one who wanted to “play baseball” before the game and wound up pitching a hollow plastic ball to his father (holding his son’s hollow plastic bat) for a little bit was bouncing around yelling “THEY WON!”
Throughout the day, few Nats fans made the effort to conceal their anxiety following yesterday’s 12-4 beat-down. Elation prevailed as the series would be extended to the full five games.
It would not have gotten that far without the performance of Detwiler’s career, to date. The Missouri native pitched 6 innings with no earned runs and more pitches than he had ever thrown as a major leaguer. Zimmermann made his first relief appearance since his days at A-Carolina League Potomac and struck out three, hitting 97 m.p.h. Clippard struck out three and walked one. Storen pitched in danger a little bit, but Ian Desmond, atoning for the earlier error that contributed to the Cardinals one run, made a running, back-handed overhead catch in left field to end the ninth inning.
The Nats prevailed on two solo home runs — a runner never reached scoring position. While unorthodox, that proved an effective way to deal with awful hitting with runners in scoring position during this series. Kyle Loshe pitched well for St. Louis and has nothing to show for it but some attaboys in the dugout.
The series concludes tomorrow with Gio Gonzalez facing Adam Wainwright for a trip to the NLCS to face the San Francisco Giants who came back from 2-0 to win 3 straight on the road to eliminate the Cincinnati Reds.
DOES THE CREDIT GO TO “THE MAN IN THE DUGOUT, NOT ON THE 25-MAN ROSTER?
Mark DeRosa, who is not on the 25 man roster, but still with the team, read aloud the famous “Man in the Arena” speech. He closed it by saying, “do you know how said that? Teddy expletive deleted Roosevelt.
And play again the Nationals will. They’ll be right back on South Capitol Street at 8:37 p.m. Friday for a winner-take-all Game 5 of what has become a remarkable series between one young ballclub that posted the sport’s best regular-season record and a veteran-laden squad trying to retain its World Series crown.
And they’ll do it in front of another sellout crowd that experienced more dizzying highs and terrifying lows over 2 hours and 55 minutes Thursday — not to mention over the last five days — than three generations of Washington baseball fans ever hoped to realize.
So, all Washington Nationals are washing finding their lucky t-shirts, eating and drinking the same thing as they did on Sunday, right? In this 5-game series, a 2-1 deficit seems like one that cannot be conquered, right? Particularly after giving up 20 runs in two games to the defending world champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. DOOM had descended on Natstown. Bad Natitudes seem rampant on Twitter.
Ross Detwiler, a Missouri native, is the starter for D.C. He’s not been good lately. Against the Cardinals too. Jordan Zimmermann may be called in if Detwiler falters. Because he pitched so well in game 2?…..
On the bright side, this is a real elimination game instead of the ones that used to happen in September and August. Maybe July.
Something was missing from the 2012 Washington Nationals season – the annual Ryan Zimmerman game-ending home run. A walk-off. Zimmerman has hit at least one annually starting in 2006 when he homered off Chein Ming Wang on Father’s Day. He then hit one on July 4, 2006. When he christened Nationals Park with a game-winning home run on Opening Night 2008, the legend only grew and I named him Mr. Walkoff. Or Mr. Walk-Off if you prefer hyphens. He’s come through with one annually. Until this year. More reading before Game 3, the first playoff game in Washington, D.C. since 1933…
Mr. Gambino said his work to prepare the stadium for its first postseason game was similar to readying the riverside facility for Opening Day.
The difference, he explained, is that around the All-Star break in mid-July, Major League Baseball issues binders “with various requirements for the postseason.”
“That ranges from ticket requirements to hospitality and broadcasting, field preparation, things like that,” Mr. Gambino said. “Obviously, this year we need to pay close attention to it, so right after the All-Star break we started regular committee meetings, and as our season became more and more successful, it broke into subcommittees.”
The months of preparation winnowed down to weeks. Finally, last weekend, Mr. Gambino’s crew put the finishing touches on the ballpark.
Frank Robinson throws ceremonial 1st pitch for Game 3, Frank Howard for Thursday’s Game 4. #Nats#Cards#MLB
Now, Washington is in the National League and its Nationals will play here Wednesday afternoon in Game 3 of their division series against St. Louis. It will be the first postseason baseball in this city in 79 years, and Johnson’s daughter, now 89, is following along avidly.
The little girl turned great-grandmother represents one of the last direct connections to her father’s life. Her only remaining sibling, Edwin, died at 94 in August. According to the Baseball Hall of Fame, no one is alive now who played in the major leagues when Johnson pitched and managed.
Thomas watches many Nationals games on television and reads newspaper articles about the team, which relocated here from Montreal in 2005. A color photograph of the rookie outfielder Bryce Harper graces her living room mantel, next to a stuffed-eagle doll in a Nationals uniform. On a nearby bookshelf rests a baseball signed by the team’s former first baseman Dmitri Young. “You are the sweetest lady,” Young wrote on it.
She’s not a fan of the statue of her father in front of Nationals Park.
The Johnson statue, situated in a Nationals Park concourse and depicting the pitcher releasing the ball with multiple arms, should be done in “with an acetylene torch,” said her son, who was visiting on the day his mother was interviewed. He was not smiling.
The Nationals are making amends. They now plan to dedicate an eight-foot-tall Johnson monument, a replica of the one that President Harry S. Truman unveiled at Griffith Stadium, then the home of the Washington Senators, in June 1947. It was shortly after Johnson’s death. The original monument now stands at the entrance to Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md.
Cortisone: Is it worth the shot? - USA Today
GOOD: Zimmerman’s season was saved by cortisone. NOT SO GOOD: Carlos Beltran‘s may have been as well. The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder hit two home runs on Monday.
Hasn’t anybody done the obvious “Kodachrome” parody?
An interesting mayor’s bet with St. Louis is happening too –
In D.C.’s baseball bet with St. Louis, flags are on the line – The PostThe terms are these: Should the Cardinals somehow take three of the four two of three remaining National League Division Series games from the Nationals, Gray will fly the official St. Louis flag above the John A. Wilson Building for a day. Known as the “three rivers” flag, it alludes to the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers near St. Louis.
Should the Nats win, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) will, for a day, fly a D.C. flag above his own City Hall — and not the official D.C. flag, but the modified version with “Taxation Without Representation” written on the two bars of the Washington arms.
That’s a little bit different from the half-smokes-for-toasted-ravioli bet you might have been anticipating. Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said comestible-based gambling is “played out”
Comestible-based gambling is NEVER played out. Why not do both? The flag idea is pretty sharp. I’m sure Mark Plotkin is a very excited boy, he might not even yell at any co-workers or service employees today.
Isn’t it something how a blogger isn’t motivated to jump out of bed and write after a loss?
The Washington Nationals lost game 2 of the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals, 12-4. That and the fact that tomorrow’s game 3, the first playoff game in D.C. since the 1933 World Series is at 1 p.m. and on MLB Network which is not as widely available as other channels has certainly made the Natmosphere cranky.
As for yesterday’s game, the Nats started off well with 2 walks in the top of the first. They didn’t convert those runners into runs though. Jordan Zimmermann then went 1-2-3 in the bottom frame. Things were looking good. In the top of the second, the Nats got more baserunners and Zimermmann pulled up from a bunt and went the other way to knock in a run. Things looked really good, but getting only one run out of those innings seemed like the same scenario that went the other way the day before.
Zimmermann then came undone in the bottom of the inning and the Cardinals had 4 runs. He gave up another in the third and was pulled. The bullpen threw gasoline on the fire with Craig Stammen, Michael Gonzalez and Sean Burnett gave up 7 runs to eliminate the chance of the comeback.
Back to back home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche were nice though. They only got the Nats within four though and St. Louis expanded their lead. Just a tough ugly game.
The challenge ahead is getting the Nats to put it aside, but more so for strong starting pitching. Edwin Jackson starts tomorrow and needs to pitch a strong outing. His last outing against the Redbirds was brutal. The top of the order needs to step up too, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper need to get going.
Davey Johnson, the 69-year-old managing his first postseason game in 15 years, sent left-hander Chad Tracy to pinch-hit. Rookie manager Mike Matheny countered by calling on Marc Rzepczynski, his only left-handed reliever. Johnson responded by pulling back Tracy and sending up Moore, the rookie who had a 10-homer season in limited time.
“I told Tracy when he went up there, if he takes him out and brings in Rzepczynski or whatever his name, I’m hitting Moore,” Johnson said.
Moore went the opposite way, dropping a single in right field to drive in the tying and winning runs.
Moore’s heroics were preceded by others. Jayson Werth made an important catch, 1-out, 1-runner on catch at the wall in the sixth:
The KMOX audio is quite something, make sure you watch the whole video to get it.
As you may recall from last week, above top of the padded wall is a home run. Not an easy catch in the sinister shadows of Busch Stadium III.
In the 7th, Ryan Mattheus came up huge, getting out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam. Two pitches, three outs:
I watched the game with my family and a friend from preschool. He was always one of the biggest Redskins fans I knew. He had no objection to switching to the Nats game at 3:05 p.m. Hey, the Redskins were beating the Falcons when we switched. Or flipped over during a commercial. I can’t remember the specifics.
For the big DC sports doubleheader, we had Manger half-smokes (purchased at Canales at Eastern Market on Saturday morning) with homemade chili and DC Brau’s The Public pale ale. We’re going to have to do it this way again.
TODAY IS HIS BIRTHDAY TOO
Hey, there’s Tom Bridge at 0:26 on this NBC Washington report–
I was busy last week doing various home improvement projects — now that’s a vacation! I haven’t blogged much about the Washington Nationals in that span, so I’ll try to catch up here. The magic number is 1 with 3 games to play. It seems like we’ve been in single digits for about a month. I’m getting nervous. Hopefully, John Lannan can shut the door on his all-time nemesis, the Philadelphia Phillies this evening and clinch D.C.’s first ever division title. It didn’t happen yesterday with Ross Detwiler on the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals, who play something like 30 miles from his hometown in Missouri.
I’d be okay with those Cardinals beating the Atlanta Braves too, I’m okay with the Nats backing into the title. Just get it done!
Saturday night was fun though, Michael Morse’s phantom grand slam was pretty awesome.
The CityPaperjumps on the Nats bandwagon. Really. What next, DCist? (Lemme know if that happens, they’ll probably mess up the players names)
The Sports Illustrated “Beltway issue” was really disappointing, especially the cover and the lack of “Nats are forced to subsidize the Orioles” mention, but the Davey Johnson profile was good, but isn’t online yet.
After winning Thursday night, the Washington Nationals continued their series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gio Gonzales goes all the way for a complete game shutout. Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper, continue being awesome at the top of the order. Final score 8-0.
Jordan Zimmermann has a terrible outing, loses 4-0 lead. Nats fall behind, but retake the lead in another case of Harper being Harper, scoring from first on a single:
Great base-running by Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, who by going to second distracted the Cardinals. Sadly, it wasn’t the winning run.
It was not their lack of power or poor pitching in a 10-9 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, in which the lead changed hands three different times, that ultimately became their undoing. But rather it was the runners, standing on first base, who knew they could take second if they want it.
In the top of the ninth inning, with the game tied at nine, it was Allen Craig – who’s had 271 opportunities in his career to steal second or third base and has only attempted it on eight occasions – timed Drew Storen’s nearly two-second delivery and took off. Moments later, when David Freese singled to left field and Craig scored the go-ahead run easily, it was that weakness that cost them the game.\ Nationals can’t hold off Cardinals in 10-9 loss – The Wash. Times
Sean Burnett and Drew Storen also struggle and the Nats inability to hold base-runners costs them dearly.
Stephen Strasburg made what is likely his penultimate starts of the 2012 home schedule. He pitched through adversity on a few occasions and left with a 2-0 lead after six innings. C Kurt Suzuki homered and drove in a run. Strasburg would get a no decision though, as Burnett gave up a two out, two run homer Daniel Descalso. Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa drove in runs in the 8th. The Cardinals got one back off of Ryan Mattheus, but he got the win. Tyler Clippard slams the door shut for the save.
The Nats take on the Chicago Cubs this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. I’ll be at work, hoping I can get the game on WGN, since the Angelos channel isn’t carried at work.
Yesterday’s win was the 81st of the year, topping the modern high water mark of 2005. There is a month of baseball yet to be played. The streak of losing seasons ends at six.