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Instant analysis: Nats 1, Astros 0

Apr 18, 2012, 1:19 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Jayson Werth's bloop double in the fourth led to the game's only run.

Game in a nutshell: It's become their tried-and-true formula: Get an outstanding pitching performance, then scratch out just enough offense to win. This time, the Nationals pulled it off by only the slimmest of margins. Gio Gonzalez tossed seven scoreless innings for the second straight outing. Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche produced the night's only run in the bottom of the fourth. And Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge closed it out to leave the first-place Nationals 9-3.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored only one run, so not a lot of options to choose from here. Even that one run came about thanks to back-to-back bloop base hits from Werth and LaRoche in the fourth. Werth's ball just fell in front of a sliding Justin Maxwell in center field, resulting in a hustle double. LaRoche then dropped a single in between three Houston fielders in shallow left field to bring home Werth with the game's lone run.

Pitching highlight: What else can you say about Gonzalez? He's been nothing short of brilliant in the first two starts of his career at Nationals Park. And he's been remarkably consistent. Five days after allowing two hits over seven shutout innings against the Reds, the left-handerRead more ยป

  1. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    WOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Well Pitched game and quick! How awesome is that!

  2. Jim Webster - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    and all in 2:12, the way baseball is supposed to be played. Great fun.

  3. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    We could use Joe Orsulak

  4. rogieshan - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    The pitching has been phenomenal. Hope Johnson can find a way to get more offense from his outfield. Hard to fathom, but DeRosa is hitting at the exact same clip after 25 ABs as Matt Stairs did last year. (Stairs: 2-for-25; .085 BA; 2 R; 6 BB; 9K)

  5. Wally - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Davey keeps call Rodriguez 'Wendy'. Gotta love Davey.This has been a great streak, enjoying it immensely.

  6. sjm308 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    9 & 3 people, 9 & 3!!I just can't imagine a finer pitching staff although I guess there are a couple of clubs who could argue. When Davey took over last year I was critical of his use of the bullpen but in fairness, he did not put that staff together. I realize this can't continue but how sweet this is!! These wins early count just as much as the ones in Sept.Having nothing to do with this win, Why would they schedule a Springsteen concert in Sept. when we will have meaningful games left to play? That can't be good for our playing field and I think I remember another stadium having difficulties after a Stones concert a few years ago. Let Bruce play at that monstrosity in Raljon. Go Nats!!

  7. Cwj - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Wow this pitching staff is nothing less than amazing!Go 9-3 First Place Nats!

  8. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    I've already lost count how many games I've said this after:awesome pitching combined with good enough hittingAlthough, for tonight, we'd need to add "just barely" before the good!But, like others have been saying: wins in April count just as much as wins in Sept.

  9. SFNats - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Finish the sweep of the 'Stros and take the first 2 from the Marlins and…10 games over .500. That's a good cushion to start with.

  10. natsfan1a - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    How's my post count? Yeah, I think I'm okay. Still got a few left in the tank. Okay, here goes nothing…Yay, Nats win!!

  11. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    why not 17-3 before we hit the road again, lol

  12. FS - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    LOL nice post 1a.is it just me or GG and Wilson Ramos have become best of pals already? or is it just a battery thing (I know Flores started this game)?Good to see first win in front of GG's name.Very lucky to win this one in nine innings because LaRoche's hit was an out. Glad to see us secure another series.

  13. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    We need to hit the fing ball!!!

  14. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    sjm308, I hear ya Coach about the Bruce concert, LOL

  15. Naturalist - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    I love the sound of a good bang-zoom!

  16. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    I am loving this!!!! Don't know if I can take 150 more of these

  17. Mick - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Naturalist: bang zoom, one of these days Alice one of these days, pow, right in the kisser,lol

  18. Gonat - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    DeRosa needs to call his High School coach for help. Eckstein needs a new approach.

  19. Naturalist - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    It's official: Mutts lose 9-3 to Atlanta. We're up by a gane and a half. Obviously still early in the season but dang does that feel good.

  20. whatsanattau - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Another fun night at the park. Lidge made it a little too interesting, but then he finished it with emphasis. Shortest home game of the year right?

  21. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Hmmm well the Syracuse Chiefs had the reverse happen. Yunesky Maya threw 7.1 innings of shutout ball. And Josh Wilkie lost it to the PawSox 1-0. Tyler Moore continued his hitting streak … Bryce Harper got a hit he's raised his average back up to .245 with 5 XBH. Not much else given the score.

  22. Naturalist - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Now that's interesting… Maya has started three games and has a 2.60 ERA with an .087 WHIP. Any chance he's finally coming around/ready to pay an ROI? And in a complete turnaround from ST, guess who has the highest batting average on the team?

  23. Anonymous - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    So we're squeaking by bad teams. We need more offense folks or this honeymoon will be over quickly.

  24. Scott from Burke - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    you got a point anon, but the '27 yankees aren't coming into town anytime soon…5 teams make the playoffs..are there 5 good teams in the NL?

  25. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    OK, 2 Anon postings in this thread–whew, I'm safe.Had a student, 8th inning–could only glance at Gameday. Clip is on, SINGLE goes across in big letters!! Oh, no!!! Palpitations. In tiny print I read, "previous hitter, bunt single." OK, well, that happens. Then I see two out. Then I see STRIKEOUT. It's over!!!!! I breathe again, finish teaching, get in the car with the radio, Lidge is on, it's NOT over. Yes, it is.Comments. I could barely hear Davey in his press conference from yesterday, but I noticed long ago that he mumbles, so I'm not sure it's worse.Yes, we need more offense! Not a single game of the nine wins that could be called a blowout, 4-0 was the greatest margin of victory.Davey is managing the bullpen and the pitching staff just fine by me, and I was very critical last year when he made several blunders and didn't listen to McCatty. Henry worked two days in a row, you can't bring him in again, Davey had Burnett warming, that's enough backup. Even when Drew comes back you don't want him used as much as he was last season. Lidge is a card-carrying elder in the club of the Kardiac Kids, apparently that's his M.O., give you a heart attack and come through in the end.Maya had two good games with a bad one in between. Not sure I'm ready to conclude he's golden, but what on earth do we do if he is????

  26. SFNats - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    The '27 Yankees aren't coming to town anytime soon, but Morse, Harper, and Moore may be.

  27. baseballswami - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    I like winning very much. I can see why it is so addicting.As a charter Nats fan, though, I am having a hard time trusting it. I think I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. We all need to send positive thoughts for Jordan tomorrow night. Lots and lots of run support, please. And they are doing this on a shoestring, without Storen and Morse. GYFNG!!!

  28. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Anonymous said… So we're squeaking by bad teams.I'm not so sure the Reds are a bad team.Mick said… We need to hit the fing ball!!!I'm guessing they're saying that in the 'Stros dugout, too ;-)

  29. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    1959 Dodgers didn't have much hitting either, and they made it all the way to the World Series.Jesus, Zimm'nn, Gio and EJax …The modern day version ofKoufax, Drysdale, Craig and Podres.Post-steroid era baseball is different, and Nats are on the cutting edge with this staff.

  30. lesatcsc - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Flash – DeRosa is NOT back. Same guy as last year – one year older with less bat speed. Stairs Part Deux. Unless he gets going, it won't be a hard decision who goes when Morse comes back. Nady, Tracy and Bernadina have hardly cemented spots either. Keep developing baby Nats, there is room in the play park for you!Can this starting staff be this good all year? Wow, this has been two very special weeks.

  31. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    RE DeRosa — I know spring training doesn't mean anything, but he was mashing the ball all spring against at least a few guys who had to be trying to get him out. He's only got 2 Ks (against 5 walks) and has a BABIP of .100. Now, he might be done, but that ratio shows that he's still got good strike-zone judgement and can make contact (someone who's getting to enough deep counts to walk 5 times should probably be in a lot of two-strike counts)Maybe he's just hacking at whatever in a 2-strike count, but you'd still expect to see more Ks when that's the case. I say have a scout look at him and see if he looks lost; otherwise give him another 30-40 ABs and see what happens.

  32. Laddie_Blah_Blah - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    Haven't seen the stats on DeRosa, but he seems to be swinging over the ball and topping it, weakly, resulting in ground-outs to the infield most times he puts the ball in play. Whatever he is doing, he is doing consistently. He and Rick should be able to figure it out, and make the correction.The OF has produced exactly 1 HR in 12 games, and that was a wall-scraper, literally, that Nady put into the visitor's bullpen in Nats' Park. Without Mikey Mo, they are a Punch and Judy bunch. And its not as if DeRosa and Nady make up for it with stellar defense.They are winning, but they will need more offense from their OF than what they have so far produced.

  33. Will - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Laddie,You're exactly right. Before last night, 65% of all balls hit in play were groundballs.But really, I don't know why anyone was expecting much of anything out of DeRosa. Since he joined the Cardinals in 2009, he's been downright miserable, sporting a slash of:0.224/.298/.338It's not that he's past his prime now…. he passed it four years ago! He's been bad since, but has had the ability to use injuries as an excuse, when in fact he's a 37 year old, who was never very good to start (career .271/.341/.414).

  34. Rabbit - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    The formular will only last for so long. Eventually there will be a crack in the dam. What a gutty performance by Lidge. That guy is tough. Once AGAIN, pitching did it. They are really carrying this team. GO NATIONALS!!

  35. Nats in Athens - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    I think the next two series will tell us a lot about this team. But whatever the outcome this team is going places and will do so for a long time. We need to support them and trust Davey who I believe is the best manager in baseball bar none.

  36. NatsNut - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Amen, baseballswami. Everything you said – my sentiments exactly.

  37. Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Laddie Zimmerman is good for 2–30 HRs and 95-120 RBIs. Werth is 20 last year. Punch and Judy over the long haul, this team is not. The rotation is the real deal as is the bull pen. Morse is a needed component but he did not carry the team on his back last year nor will he this year. By the way, I miss the Desmond haters. Come on out and eat crow.

  38. lesatcsc - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Sec 204,I think the point was that the OF is a Punch and Judy affair, unless you're aware of a position change we aren't, Zimm can't be included in the discussion. So far none of the OFs are showing any power. That would be okay if they were hitting for average but other than Werth they're not doing that either. Until Morse returns it is hard to see who is going to provide any pop out of LF. Ankiel will probably provide a bit out of CF and Werth will eventually pop a couple playing RF, but who is that guy in LF? With Brown's ave in a free fall and Harper muddling along at .245 with no HRs and 1 RBI, it's hard to see relief coming from that quarter. If Espy and Zimm heat up it may not be a huge problem, but for the time being it's hard to argue that our OF has any bite to it. It is Punch and Judy. So it's that K Street rotation and the Punch and Judy Show!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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