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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Astros 3

Apr 17, 2012, 2:11 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg dominated for five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.

Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg was just about everything the Nationals could have hoped in his first home start of the season, though the young staff ace did let the Astros come back to tie the game in the top of the sixth. No worries, because the suddenly potent Washington lineup (led by Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman) plated four runs in the bottom of the sixth, giving Strasburg the win and keeping the Nationals in first place in the NL East for another day.

Hitting highlight: Entering this game, Lombardozzi had eight total hits in the big leagues. The rookie second baseman increased that number by 50 percent, going 4-for-5 and driving in the go-ahead runs with a huge, two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth. Lombardozzi also dropped a beautiful bunt down the third-base line for one of his four hits.

Pitching highlight: For five innings, Strasburg was absolutely brilliant, keeping the Astros from scoring while keeping his pitch count to aRead more »

  1. Adam Jarvis - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Glad Lombardozzi is getting his shot, having a utility guy like that can do a lot for a team. Hope the pitching staff keeps this great work up.

  2. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Gonat said… Davey has Espi back in at 2nd tomorrow. Doesn't say anything about LF April 16, 2012 10:28 PM Gonat said… Scratch that, Davey says Nady, Werth, DeRosa in the OF but maybe he rethinks that overnight. April 16, 2012 10:32 PM

  3. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Woooooooooo hooooooooooo! (For MicheleS, and me.) :-)

  4. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Lombardozzi starts tomorrow..the question is who is the starting 2b in one week? i say Lombo

  5. baseballswami - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Hey, guys – I think a win with six runs is good for half price food at Pappa John's tomorrow! I heard it on the radio and thought — well, a win, ok – but six runs? Woo Hoo. Speaking of Woo Hoo – I definitely heard some loud woo hoo-ings in the background during Strassie's interview. Was that anyone we know?

  6. Soul Possession, PFB Sofa - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    GYFNG.

  7. natsfan1a - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    Not me, swami, as I was watching at home.

  8. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Scott from Burke said… Lombardozzi starts tomorrow..the question is who is the starting 2b in one week? i say Lombo April 16, 2012 10:48 PM______________________________According to Davey, doesn't look like it for tomorrow. He said Espi will start at 2nd tomorrow and his OF will be Nady, Werth, DeRosa.Maybe he rethinks it and goes with the hot hand.

  9. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    He said Lannan was his fifth starter…it's gotta be lombardozzi…if Espinosa can't handl;e it too bad

  10. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    I miss the old days. I haven't had the need to hit the bourbon and Maalox in a week. Even with MPH Rod on the mound. So boring.On the other hand, 8-3 is so su-weeeeeeeet!Woo-hoo!!GYFNG!!!

  11. Anonymous8 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    Houston is pitching a Lefty tomorrow in Wandy Rodriguez. I could see that as another reason to play Espi who will bat RH tomorrow.Yes, Espi's swing & miss is tough to watch when he bats Lefthanded and maybe Lombo is the answer and maybe not. Its one game, one very good game. Davey is doing the right thing playing Espi tomorrow. Can Davey start Lombo in LF? I guess he could if he changes his mind from what he said in his post-game news conference.

  12. Exposremains - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    How come we never see Strasburg throw 100mph or more like he used to? He touches 98 but mostly around 96mph. Is it because he wants to locate better or its the surgery?

  13. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Lefty, yeah, in that case it will probably be espi..but lombo needs to be in there against right handers for a while..one game? that's right, now let's see if we can make it 4 or 5…too bad he didnt start lombo on sunday

  14. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    F that..Lombo goes both ways (no pun intended)..let him start tomorrow

  15. Tom in AR - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    They are both switch hitters.

  16. Austin Powers - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    Help I'm in a nutshell.

  17. Exposremains - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Desmond and Espinosa were great in their 1st spring training and september call up and then the league adjusted and then they were not so good anymore.Lombo can be great but you have to be careful to think that he can replace regulars because of one great game. the league will adjust to him too.

  18. greg - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    scott, don't hold your breath. they're not going to replace espi this quickly. it's just a handful of games (and even less for lombo). exposremain, stras is learning to pitch instead of just throw. he doesn't need to hit 100 to be effective. hitting 96-98 with slightly better location and slightly more movement gets more outs with less pitches.

  19. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    Exposremains: let him play until they adjust…btw do you think the Nats whould be wearing a Gary Carter patch on their uni this year? I do

  20. Whatsanattau - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    So is Nady our regular left fielder now? I think he might be. I like DeRosa and Bernadina but I think Nady is the guy.

  21. A DC Wonk - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Just back from the game — a couple of observations:1. Stopped by Sec 308 to see our man "sjm308" holding court with a coupla guys. It was nice to meet him, his son, and the crew.2. My daughter was with us — she decided in the 6th inning she and her friend would go down to the field level seats, "because that's where the balls are going." Sure enough, within five minutes, she got a ball.3. Lombo handled the bat well (his bunt single was particularly impressive), but I think he got a bit lucky, too. His double was a flare/blooper, and his other two singles were, if I remember, grounders through the infield (although at least one was hit hard). That's not to take away too much from him, though — he handled the bat better than Espi has lately for sure4. MPHRod was amazing (despite walking one batter). His first pitch was 97 mph (and a guy in our section yelled out, "throw the heat, stop with the easy stuff!"), with the second batter he cranked it up to 99. and got it to 100 mph on the third batter. I think the first two batters might have been all fastballs. The last batter was a three-pitch strike out, the last two strikes were completely unhittable 85 mph sliders — the first called, the second swinging in the dirt.

  22. Anonymous8 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Exposremains said… Lombo can be great but you have to be careful to think that he can replace regulars because of one great game. the league will adjust to him too. April 16, 2012 11:28 PM That's kind of my point at 11:09. The league doesn't have extensive scouting on Lombo and maybe, maybe not, they find his weak spots. I like that he made contact tonight and 3 really nice hits and for the 1st time in his MLB career came through in a high leverage situation. That is a key even though it was a hit while fighting off an inside pitch.

  23. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Wonk, great for your daughter!

  24. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Lucky…he muscled that inside pitch and got a huge double..you know who doesn't get "lucky"? guys who strike out

  25. JaneB - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Just arriving home from the game. A few random thoughts.I don't care if Stras throws in the 90's instead of 100, personally. 98 is plenty fast. It was so fun to be there tonight! That Ankiel throw from center to home was not to be believed. I love how the crowd is paying attention! And is it a surprise to anyone here that the time when Stras got into trouble was when the crowd was doing the *(&^^& wave? ENOUGH of that already!So nice to see the love for Werth and ALR. Nice to see Zimm connect. SO nice to see Lombo have a great night.And — though I am glad he is not on our team now — how nice it was to see JMax do well tonight, and to see he is back in the bigs. Good for him. I like Nady too. And finally how nice to hear a home run submarine horn! Go Wilson!GYFNG!

  26. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    The junkies are fun guys and get atlhletes to loosen up but this was not a good ideahttp://tracking.si.com/2012/04/16/washington-nationals-p-tyler-clippard-guarantees-playoffs/?sct=hp_t12_a2&eref=sihp

  27. Exposremains - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    scott:about Carter, it would be great but it would have surprised me.

  28. Gonat - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Scott from Burke said… Lucky…he muscled that inside pitch and got a huge double..you know who doesn't get "lucky"? guys who strike out April 16, 2012 11:42 PM _____________________________Your point on not K'ing is so true. That's something Werth is learning also. I have to agree with Anon8 and Exposremains. Its one game in his career. The bunt was impressive and the way he fought off that pitch in the 6th to plate 2 runs was great.

  29. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    I don't think Lombo is the second coming of Joe Morgan but Espinosa does not instill a great deal of confidence..give the kid a chance and see what he does with it

  30. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. sjm308 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    Just got home – great win!! Nice to meet Wonk and appreciated him coming over. Also neat that his daughter was really into the game and got a ball as a reward.HRod is just electric. I know we are all waiting for him to hit the backstop but he was ahead of all 4 hitters and even on the walk he was 1-2. His pitches just look different then others.Its probably been discussed earlier but we were all surprised Davey let Mattheus hit when he had Danny in the dugout and two runners on.Ankiels throw was good but nothing like the rocket to third base last year. That is still one of the great plays I have seen in person. He also really misjudged that shot to center in the 8th and while it was a tough play we should have been out of the inning with no damage.Only negative was sharing the metro home with lots and lots of not so happy people in these funny red jerseys. Not sure what that was about.Go Nats!! Blue hat stays on for another day!!

  32. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    Why not? His manager said the same thing?Scott from Burke said…The junkies are fun guys and get atlhletes to loosen up but this was not a good ideawashington-nationals-p-tyler-clippard-guarantees-playoffs

  33. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    I hope that Davey is open to the idea of making Lombo a super-utility in the Ben Zobrist mold. Some 2b, some ss, some 3b, some lf and rf. If he plays 15 games at each of 2b, ss, and 3b, and another 15 in lf and rf combined, that is about 270 plate appearances as a starter, add another 50 or so plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, you've got 320 plate appearances, enough to give Lombo the work he needs, and the rest that Zimmerman, Desi, Espi, Morse and Werth need.Corky

  34. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    NatsLady your comments make me sad and tired…an 86 year old manager is one thing, the guy standing on the bump pitching against the Phillies in September to Ryan Howard, who knows you said they're gonna make the playoffs..why give these guys extra motivation? it's a rhetorical question

  35. NatsFanJim - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    Solid win tonight!! Stras was good, but a couple more changeups and curves would have helped him a lot.Lombo was phenomenal; just what we needed. talk about a sparkplug ….If Lombo is producing and Espi 'ain't,' then no question as to who is starting. Espi needs to take his overconfident self to the batting cage and get in some serious work. Obviously, he hasnt solved any of his holes from last year.

  36. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Corky, not sure if 3rd is the place for Lombo. He looked shakey in 2 games there.

  37. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    Expos, they gave Carter a film retrospective on the big screen and a moment of silence on opening day, so he was not forgotten.

  38. Section 222 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    And is it a surprise to anyone here that the time when Stras got into trouble was when the crowd was doing the *(&^^& wave? ENOUGH of that already!What is it about the wave that makes otherwise somewhat sane and rational people here and on Twitter (most of whom are just watching on TV anyway) absolutely lose their sh*t? It's embarrassing. Who cares if people who are less intense fans than you are are having fun at a game? You can't actually believe that the wave has any impact on what happens on the field? Can you? I can just as easily claim that that wave actually was responsible for us winning the game in the bottom of the inning. Its just took a few minute to take effect. I mean really. Now let me clue you in on something. No amount of complaining about the wave on Twitter or on a baseball blog is going to stop it from occurring. It's dumb, and it's a little annoying, but ultimately, it's harmless fun, like much that goes on at a baseball game. And it's here to stay. Sorry.

  39. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    @Scott from Burke: your comments have the same effect on me.

  40. Scott from Burke - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    hate the wave…but the team, via 'cheerleaders' and the like, encouraging it, is doubly annoying…taking attention away from the game? does that happen in Boston? of course Nats fans can't be compared to Sox fans, and never will…but it is annoying behavior…it will be interesting to see how this team draws and behaves if there in contention in September..that first season at RFK was fun

  41. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    I'm indifferent regarding the wave. I do remember one of our baby pitchers (Milone?) found the rally towels distracting in Pittsburgh, but the general consensus was he needed to get used to them. Same with the late afternoon shadows–players don't like them but they aren't going anywhere.

  42. Anonymous - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    nothing says passion like indifference…wow

  43. JaneB - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    There actually is a body of research on fan impact on the game, as it happens, by a guy names Ric Leskowitz. The wave DOES NOT help the players. You don't have to hate it, 222. But I do. And will, even if it is here to stay.And Scott, didn't Ryan Howard also once guarantee the Phillies would make it to the playoffs? As I recall, they made it right to the big fat finish line.

  44. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    Yeah, I don't pay no mind to the wave…Thass me, no opinion, no passion on that subject. Shocking, isn't it?

  45. SBrent - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:36 AM

    I agree that the wave is annoying and basically an insulting declaration to the home team that they've become boring.

  46. Exposremains - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    he didnt know that Natslady, thank you for telling me. Its great!

  47. Erik - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    SJM-I have been to probably close to 700 MLB games and the throw Ankiel made tonight was THE BEST I have ever seen…by far!!! I know I am negative sometimes, but that throw was SICK!!! And I was at the game last year when he made the throw you were speaking of…the throw tonight makes that one look like amateur hour. 300+ feet and the catcher's mitt never moved!!! Unreal!!! Still need some bats…lol!!!

  48. UNTERP - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    JaneB said… About the WAVE, it's that Terrance fellow that starts the wave. He is a Cheddar head…

  49. blovy8 - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Jimmy Rollins predicted postseason, and his team bailed him out, I agree that it was still a stupid thing to do. Unless you're Satchel Paige, you can't do it all yourself.

  50. JaneB - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    That's right! Jimmy Rollins, not Howard! Thanks…

  51. Jeff L - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Two thoughts:1. One h#ll of a bunt by Lombo!2. Ankiel's doesn't just have a cannon for an arm, it has to be a missile launcher!

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