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Game 109: Braves at Nats

Aug 2, 2011, 8:30 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals look to make it four in a row tonight against the Braves.

It's been an up-and-down season for the Nationals, who are suddenly back on an upswing, having won three straight. Two big reasons for that: Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth, who have each caught fire. Ankiel is hitting .339 with four homers, 10 RBI and a .987 OPS since coming off the DL July 1. Werth, meanwhile, is hitting .333 with a .447 on-base percentage and robust 1.062 OPS over his last 11 games.

Both guys are in the lineup tonight against the Braves, with Ankiel again leading off and Werth batting fifth. John Lannan starts for the Nationals, hoping to pitch deep into the game, but knowing there's a little more help in the bullpen now just in case.

Collin Balester was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse, with Atahualpa Severino getting optioned without having appeared in a game. Balester had been pitching in long relief in Syracuse, and Davey Johnson would like to use him (and Tom Gorzelanny now) in that role in the big leagues.

One other bullpen note: Keep in mind that Drew Storen has pitched three straight days. If the Nats hold a late lead tonight, don't be surprised if someone else (ie. Tyler Clippard) is used in the ninth inning. Updates to come…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 93 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF

CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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  1. Anonymous - Aug 2, 2011 at 8:31 PM

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  2. Anonymous - Aug 2, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I thought Davey said last night that he was going to run Storen out there again tonight if he could to see if he could take the abuse.

  3. Steve M. - Aug 2, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    FeelWood "MASN, the team-run network for Nationals games, did not exercise a 2012 option for play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter by yesterday’s deadline, a Nationals team official said." This is a true statement only if by "team" you mean "Baltimore Orioles". Feelwood, I am still laughing. Good one! The MAsNGELOS network, all about profiting off of Strasburg, Harper and anything else in Washington!

  4. natsfan1a - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    Go, LannEn. Go, NATS!!

  5. Knoxville Nat - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Nix not in the lineup tonight against a right hander? How bad is that achilles?

  6. waddu eye no - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    don't care as much about carpenter, but keep charlie and dave on the radio!GYFNG!

  7. Mark'd - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:41 PM


  8. Tim - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Knoxville… Nix looked hobled last night in the 7th chasing a ball in the corner. I predict DL.

  9. baseballswami - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    It's funny – there were years when I did not care for Bob Carpenter — but I think he is at his best now with FP Santangelo. They are a good team. Re: Nix – he gets hobbled when they run he out there too long, he takes time off, then he plays again. My guess is that they will just do it until the end of the season. If he goes on the dl, Bernie can come back, though. Really like the Balester move.

  10. Knoxville Nat - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Carpenter may not be the Casey Stengal of broadcasting but having to listen to the Braves network for a second night in a row makes me think he and FP are the second coming of Jon Miller/Vin Scully.

  11. waddu eye no - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    swami – i'll buy that about fp. bob was at his worst last year when he was always kissing dribble's butt.

  12. Unkyd - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    Jayson Werth……

  13. Unkyd - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    Attaboy, Desi…..

  14. Sunderland - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    Carpy had to work through some years where calling our games must have been painfully difficult. He deserves a multiyear extension.

  15. Sean Kelly - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    this year's booth combo is working for me this year as well. Heard Dibble on the radio driving home from Va Tech the other day and he kept on and on about embracing his outlaw role. The bad boy act is just sad to listen to as he amps himself up with "outrageous" perspectives… Thank god for FP

  16. flynnie - Aug 2, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Especially having to work with Sutton, who's ego was, to quote Flann O'Brien, "God Big."

  17. flynnie - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    Loaded. Let's get 'em home, boys!

  18. flynnie - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Jonny Gomes!!!

  19. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    RICK ANKIEL!!!!!!!

  20. Sean Kelly - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:23 AM


  21. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    This is kinda fun.

  22. flynnie - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    From Tom Boswell, in answer to my humble question on July 18:Jim Palmer, I believe, never gave up a grand slam __in part because he never "gave in" to the hitter with the bases full and preyed on the natural tendency of hitters to expect a strike and "chase." Also, Tommy John __the person, not the surgery__ told me that he always suptracted one ball from the count so that the hitter would never know what to expect since he worked off his own count that only existed in his own head."What about a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded when there is no base open," I said."Same thing," said John. "There is ALWAYS a base open. But in that case it's home plate."Giving up one run is a lot better than two, three or four.

  23. Tim - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Johnny Gomes' play is the play of the game so far… kept the inning going and was "good ol' fashioned hardball". I wonder if his "tower will get buzzed" next time up to bat. It was a totally clean play, but Ross hit the ground extra-hard.

  24. Sean Kelly - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    ok I'm officially having fun again

  25. flynnie - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Ross wasn't on the plate. I guess that's why he was complaining to the ump. And Jonny's got a self-made triple!

  26. dj in Fl. - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Who thought we should move Desi for a centerfielder? Good thing Rizzo dosen't listenme, tonight would not be nearly as much fun. Who knew Gomes was that fast.

  27. MicheleS - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    I like Alternate Universe Ankiel! I think he took Desi there too!I wonder if the trade deadline impacted the mood of the clubhouse…A lot of decent players on a mediocre team – maybe they thought they would get traded and were stressed out. Now that it's past the deadline, they are relaxing!

  28. waddu eye no - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    at the beach. leaving the tv, heading to the boardwalk w wife and daughter for ice cream. proudly wearing my nats jacket surrounded by phils fans. i'll tell them the scoreGYFNG

  29. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:00 AM


  30. Tim - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    "Oppo-toppo"… very funny, FP.

  31. Sean Kelly - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Ha ha this day keeps getting better and better

  32. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    Wow, that was some shot by Mighty Morse. I thought FP said 'Oppo-Taco'?Would be great for Johnny to get through 8 innings, but the pitch count is high

  33. FS - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Well Adam Dunn left one thing when left past off-season, his streaky attitude. Nats offense has caught that same attitude which has been mainly the reason we go through these winning and losing streaks instead of any sort of consistency.No complaints tonight though. Wish Danny would get going again.

  34. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Full Beast Mode tonight. We'll be drug-testing the entire Nats team at 11 o'clock. Who are these guys?

  35. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Oh, Henry!

  36. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    I know many of you don't like Henry, but he is one of my favorite pitchers to watch. When he buzzed Uggla's head, then went 96, down the middle, then buckled his knees with that curve, Uggla literally had no chance. So to top it off, he goes 99 on the corner. It rarely is more fun to watch than that. I can honestly say that I was smiling from the first head buzz.Granted, he'll probably put two into the backstop next inning. But that just adds to the fun, for me. And he does it all with that sour expression on his face, like someone brought him a warm beer. How can you not like this guy.

  37. Knoxville Nat - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    FS said…"Wish Danny would get going again."Doesn't he already have two hits tonight including a double to center field? Looked like he got some rotten luck in the first inning or he would have 3 hits on the night.

  38. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Big confidence booster for HRod. I like getting Gomes out of there too, he ain't gonna win many games with his glove.

  39. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    Great game so far, but I'm leaving a bit early for a minor league game — I just can't bear to watch HRod right now.

  40. Tim - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Wally, I think he said oppo-toppo, indicating upper deck. It WAS a shot! Longest I've seen since Adam Dunn's upper decker last year… A little more to RF and further up.

  41. FS - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Knoxville Nat, last time Danny hit a HR or drove in a run was on July 17 against ATL two weeks ago.But I have read people post here saying he has had solid hits taken from him. So hopefully he is due to turn it around soon.

  42. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    4 up, 4 down….A COLD beer, and a smile, for the Big Guy…:-)

  43. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    That is the spirit, Unkyd.Eugene – embrace the chaos of Henry, don't fight it! Do you think that there is anyone on the Braves that wants to bat in the 9th? Down by 6, with Henry throwing close to 100 with little idea where it is going? He buzzed two more guys in the 8th, I am sure unintentionally.Tim, you are probably right. I mean, Oppo Taco doesn't really mean anything, does it?

  44. Casey Stengel - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Sending HRod back out there? That's just asking for trouble.

  45. Sunderland - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    Carpy is still being deliberate about pronouncing Jose Constanza's name. He knows if he relaxes it will come out Jose Canseco or Jorge Costanza.

  46. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    H-Rod: the Nats new relief specialist. The man you want with a six-run lead.

  47. Natty Bo - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    What;s up with all those lame power necklases?

  48. Wally - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    Hinske made my point as well as it could be made. He starts rocking forward on the first pitch and can't hold up on a 90mph changeup that bounces 12 inches before the plate, fouls one off and then sits down after swinging at 100mph barely above the ground.And I think his main thought heading back to the dugout is 'thank god this guy didn't hit me'.

  49. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    How 'bout that?! Y'think Henry was worried about getting traded for a starting CF?

  50. flynnie - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Casey, I love Josh Willingham, but if Henry keeps this up, that was a good trade!

  51. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Dusting off my broom…..

  52. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    This from Ladson: — This past Saturday, the Nationals had a chance to acquire then-Astros center fielder Michael Bourn, but Houston wanted left-hander Ross Detwiler to be part of any deal the two clubs make and Washington declined, according to a baseball source.I know Ankiel is playing great now but I would of make that deal. We'll see thursday but Detwiler still hasn't shown that he's more than long reliever.I think DJ loves him. Anybody else here like that deal? Great win by the Nats!

  53. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    MPHROD with the top relief appearance of the season. Comes in with HRUggla with 2 on to get him! I was worried and just didn't want to kind anything. Another night a Nats pitcher out performs a Braves starter!

  54. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Interesting from Ladsen…..(would of?!)

  55. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    Expostemains, that from Ladson? Consider the source! Of course Rizzo does that trade! Detwiler may have a great start or2 but we have seen where he belongs.

  56. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    would have would have. Happy?? Can I write a comment without having someone correcting my mistakes????

  57. Unkyd - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    Hehehe… jes' pokin' ya….

  58. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Mark'dI'm guessing that maybe they were more players involved.Let's say Bernadina and Detwiler and a couple b-C prospect. Thats better than the Braves deal. I think it's all about the money that they didn't want to pay to Bourn next year, which is sad. This team will need a 100M payroll if they want to compete in the National East.

  59. Exposremains - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    Fair enough..

  60. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Nice win tonight. Lannen and H-Rod both came through, and the bats were lively. Nice to see Werth so happy and high-fiving guys in the dugout. I'm liking Mr. Gomes (and I determined that he was the rosin bag wielder the other day, btw). Was watching an MLB Network special the other day about the Reds' recent trek to the postseason. In one segment, they asked about his habit of wiggling his helmet and restrapping his gloves during ABs. He said that as a rookie he'd read about the mental game of baseball and picked up on the idea of developing a muscle memory to lock in hitting or some such. So, it's about the mental game and not a superstition. Riiiight… :-) But whatever works for you, Jonny!Tim (I think it was who asked), FP has used "oppo taco" numerous times in the past. He attributes the expression to a former teammate but I can't remember which one. I think the first time I heard him reference it was when "oppo boppo" was being bandied about in Harper talk.

  61. sjm308 - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Really nice win!! I have always been intrigued by HRod and him going 2+ innings was impressive, although being up by 6 had to play a part. Still, we need this kind of pitcher in our bullpen. Everyone else rested today so we are ready to go tomorrow. Wang will be lucky to make 5 so I am looking for Gorzo for at least 2 and then if we are winning its Clippard and then Storen for the sweep.We also have a tough road schedule looming and if we can keep hitting it will certainly help both our starting pitchers as well as the relievers. Another clean game and Danny and Ian continue to get better. I am still looking for 75-78 wins.Go Nats

  62. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Oops, I meant to type LannEn. It's all about the mental game of commenting and not a superstition…

  63. sjm308 - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    Just looked at the box score and am wondering why HRod does not get either a hold or a save for 2.1 innings of relief. Is it because the score differential was so big?

  64. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    I think Bob said he would have had to get 9 outs.

  65. sjm308 - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Well, he gets a save in my scorebook

  66. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    FP said the same thing. :-)

  67. Mark'd - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    Exposremains, I don't think it was about the money for the Nats as they would have paid Upton. Would like to hear Rizzo comment on it.

  68. Oldguy - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    We were near a bunch of Braves fans tonight. Sure was nice to shut off those chops. Frustrating that we always play these guys tough but can't get past the Marlins.Somebody commented above that the trade talk had the team nervous. Clip confirmed that on AM 980 today–talking about helping Storen prepare to pack. (They're roommates.). We're a club on the edge, and losing guys you have come to count on can't be good. Tonight sure felt like they have a load off their minds.

  69. Willie Gandébol - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    Saves:Rule 10.20 in the Official Rule Book states:Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions:(1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and(2) He is not the winning pitcher; and(3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:- (a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or- (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces; or- (c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

  70. MLB Rules - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    The "Hold":The hold is not an official statistic, but it was created as a way to credit middle relief pitchers for a job well done. Starting pitchers get wins, and closers — the relief pitchers who come in at the end of the game — get saves, but the guys who pitch in between the two rarely get either statistic. So what's the most important thing one of these middle relievers can do? "Hold" a lead. If a reliever comes into a game to protect a lead, gets at least one out and leaves without giving up that lead, he gets a hold. But you can't get a save and a hold at the same time.

  71. Natslifer - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:51 AM

    Had my two young boys at the game tonight. Took a walk for Dippin Dots and wound up in the center field bleachers right before Ankiel's shot landed just to our right – I've got lots of great Nats memories already but that one's the first for my boys that they will hold onto for a while.Here's to many, many more.

  72. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:54 AM

    Just got home from the game. What a bag of treats this one was,, from Rick's grand slam, to J Lannan's well pitched game, to Desi and Michael's dingers to Werth's 1st to 3rd steal, to the unsung hero of the game, Mr. Jonny Gomes for that take out at the plate, and oh yeah, I still think that we gotta give Henry a chance. I heard Davey's post game talk and man did he sound like this four game streak has been fun, especially tonight. He was just glowing over HRod's performance.He also predicts a good game from Wang tomorrow.GYFNG!

  73. flynnie - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:57 AM

    Very interesting, Exposremains. If Detwiler is a starter, that changes the equation, good young starters under club control being the coin of the realm in MLB. I share NatsLady's affection for Bourn, but would defer to Davey's and Frank's instincts in seeing the potential in a young player. Maybe it's because I won and am optimistic, but when you look at this year's Jose Bautista (MVP in MLB after 5 clubs gave up on him); Gas Canrahan being an All-Star closer; Emilio Bonifacio being an MVP for the Marlins and Marlon Byrd for the Cubs. Should we have held onto all of them (would have had to acquire Bautista)? Looks like it.

  74. John Long Ball LannEn - Aug 3, 2011 at 4:04 AM

    Flynnie, I know Alfonso Soriano is persona non grata in some quarters here, but still, money aside (and why not, it ain't my money), don't leave him off your list.

  75. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    On HR not getting a save. I thought that a pitcher that comes into a game with two runners on base and seven outs to go would be equivalent to getting 9 outs and a save. I guess not.

  76. m20832 - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Great Game! LannEn got stronger the more he pitched, the Boys came through with 14 hits (Werth has been showing up more and more-I like it!), HRod looked like a real pitcher and a WIN!!!I think this team owns the Braves.Winning is a heck of a LOT more FUN than losing, eh?GYFNG!!!





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