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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Astros 2

Apr 19, 2012, 1:47 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Jordan Zimmermann was fantastic, again. And got almost no run support, again.

Game in a nutshell: They've turned every game into a down-to-the-wire, heart-attack-in-waiting affair, so why stop now? Trailing 1-0 most of the night when they couldn't score a run to support Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals stormed back late and scratched out three late runs to pull off another one-run victory. At 10-3, they now hold a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL East.

Hitting highlight: For a team that has struggled so much with situational hitting the last two weeks, the Nationals finally got someone to deliver a quality at-bat in a crucial situation. With the bases loaded, one out and the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, Wilson Ramos lofted a flyball to center field. That was more than deep enough to score Adam LaRoche with the eventual winning run.

Pitching highlight: Run support or no run support, Zimmermann has pitched brilliantly this season. He only allowed one run tonight, and that came without a ball leaving the infield. Zimmermann also didn't walk a batter — he's issued only two free passes in three starts. It would beRead more »

  1. FS - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    holy smokes! this has gotta be a record breaking pace for an instant analysis post.

  2. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    "This is my kinda team Charlie!"

  3. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Nats are the first team in MLB with 10 wins. Who are these guys?

  4. TimDz - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Love. This. Team.

  5. rogieshan - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Never in doubt!

  6. MicheleS - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Wait.. 10 Wins.. We are the first team in the bigs to 10? Really? WOOOOO HOOOOO!

  7. Just wonderin' - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Love the win. Love the pitching. Love the pitching. But can someone remind me why we didn't sign Carlos Beltran as a free agent?

  8. NatsFan05 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Wow…Going to need a pace maker soon!Love My Nat!

  9. JaneB - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    I love that they are IN IT, every game, until the last out. Or the walk-off run. GO NATS! Not to copy Tim and MichelleS, but I. Love. This. Team. WOOOOHOOOO!

  10. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Magic number down to 148? ;-)

  11. MicheleS - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    JaneB.. the WOOO HOOO is universal and available to all!Just Wonderin' at the time we had Morse in LF and were thinking Harp would be up early in the season. Beltran wanted a full time job and the Nats didn't think they would need him.

  12. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Loving it!

  13. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Did you see Henry smiling, almost laughing as he walked with LaRoche? I have never seen Henry smile. Until today.

  14. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    If I was Jordan Zimmerman I would be a bit disappointed with my team mates. Ten out of 13 is very good, but, they can't score more that 2-3 runs per game. Sooner or later hitters will catch up with pitching. If this team cannot find a way to score runs, they will struggle. Miami will be here in a couple of days. And they can hit and pitch. I sure hope Morse is back soon.

  15. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    I think with the Mets' loss, the magic number drops by two to 147. Tee hee!

  16. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    I noticed that, too, NatsLady. Looked like LaRoche said something that cracked him up. Speaking of cracking up, how about that sou'wester getup that Screech was wearing? Wow.

  17. Gonat - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    (Warning: This is a joke) Maybe JZim should start in the 3rd inning so he can pitch his 7 and pick up a W

  18. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Yeah – anon at 10:07 is right! This team should be 13-0! With at least 10 runs per game. What a terrible terrible team. Not even worth tuning in to watch. They suck.

  19. NatsNuts - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    Anonymous said… If I was Jordan Zimmerman April 18, 2012 10:07 PM Spell his name right, then you can be him. It's Jordan Zimmermann

  20. NatsNut - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    For the record, that wasn't me. =)

  21. TimDz - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    I love that they are IN IT, every game, until the last out. Or the walk-off run. GO NATS! Not to copy Tim and MichelleS, but I. Love. This. Team. WOOOOHOOOO! _____________________Copy away…We are all in this TOGETHER…GYFNG (PFB) !!!

  22. SFNats - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    I got home just in time to see the 8th and 9th. Wow! All I have to say is these guys really need to start scoring some more runs, mostly to pick up the starters, but also so the games will last long enough for me to catch at least 3-4 innings after work!

  23. Subjunctive Mood - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    If I were JORDAN! Zimmermann…

  24. Nattaboy - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    This team reminds me of the 2010 San Francisco Giants. Hopefully that's still true at the end of the season.

  25. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Anonymous said… If I was Jordan Zimmerman I would be a bit disappointed with my team mates.Riiigghhhhttt . . . who could possibly be happy with a team that has the best record in the NL and, after only 13 games, leads the NL East by 2-1/2, despite missing Morse and Storen?Are you the guy that says "that glass looks 5% empty" ?

  26. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Hey — I just figured it out!The Nats are only scoring the runs they need — they're saving the big innings and big hitting for the games when the pitching breaks down. And, since the pitching has been so awesome . . . . ;-)But seriously, I have to say it again for the umpteenth time in this young season:awesome pitching with good enough hitting

  27. A DC Wonk - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Let's see:Win the series against the Cubs? Check.Win the series against the Mets? Check.Win the series against the Reds? Check.Win the series against the 'Stros? Check.Wish I could write more, but we've only played four series so far ;-)

  28. John C. - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    21st Century Offense doesn't need base hits to drive in runs. The winning rally? A hit. Walk. Walk. Walk (tying the game). Sac Fly.I wonder what the ML record is for highest percentage of runs scored NOT via base hit?

  29. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Folks, go to tomorrow's game if you are able, because it's a great pitching match-up that no one knows about. Jackson is unredictable, but can be awesome, as we saw his last game. Bud Norris is seriously good, Houston's ace, except no one knows about him because he plays for a small market team that's struggling. In any case, it's a great game to go see.On JZim's run support and W-L record, I don't think he cares as long as his club wins. That's what Johnson and Rizzo mean when they say this club's make-up is off-the-charts. I have no doubt he is thrilled the team got the W!

  30. baseballswami - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Once again, different hero in a different way every night.Sharkadina. Other observations – Zim's defense is jaw-dropping every single night. Our boys sure do know how to draw a walk this year. No one seems to be able to clear a wall. Let's hope the offense kicks it into another gear this weekend when the fish visit. Some tasty fishsticks,maybe? Some delicious fish tacos?

  31. NatsLady - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Magic number for division win is 147, for tie is 148. By the way, the answer to why teams with the same record have a different chance to have a playoff spot according to coolstandings.com is that they use the Pythagorean method to estimate future wins. Nats don't do too well by that method since we don't spare any extra runs… OK there was that one 4-0 win.Here is how the Nats stand:26.9% chance to win the division22.0% chance to win a wildcard48.9% chance to go to the playoffs.Cool Standings for Washingtonhttp://www.coolstandings.com/baseball_team.asp?id=WAS&sn=2012Here is how the calculations are done (with a snark at the Chicago teams!)Cool Standingshttp://www.coolstandings.com/welcome.asp

  32. Steady Eddie - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    What NotNegaAnon at 10:38 said.And yeah, just like JZimm, Gio sure did look disappointed with his ND at the end of the home opener last Thursday. Not.Of course, his personality is so uptempo, bouncing around and grinning might pass for disappointed/ ;-)

  33. rogieshan - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Nattaboy said…"This team reminds me of the 2010 San Francisco Giants." I was thinking the same thing, especially when comparing the two respective starting staff:Lincecum vs StrasburgCain vs ZimmermannZito vs GonzalesSanchez vs JacksonBumgarner vs Detwiler (Wang)

  34. SFNats - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Anon @10:38 — Right you are. That's going to be a good matchup tomorrow night. I started following Norris last season when I picked him up in fantasy baseball. He throws hard — and sometimes gets hit hard. But when he's on he's very good. Looks like it could be another 1-0 nailbiter.Or, now that I've said that, it could be 14-11.

  35. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Four series in a row!! Should I take a broom tomorrow night?? I have been able to wear just two hats in the last 7 games. Incredible. Will be there tomorrow to take my attendance = win streak to 3 (I am not counting the exhibition game).I actually went back and wasted 15 min. skimming over the posts during the game. Lets see, we wanted Bernadina sent down after two innings (I believe the exact line was Berndina and Ankiel suck – how did that work out later???), we had no chance of scoring any runs tonight, and we need to go in a time machine and sign Beltran who has been on the DL for the last week or so. Hmmm, there was also talk about a magic number when we have played 13 games. Think I will skip all that tomorrow when I return from another win.Anon at 10:38 is correct. This kid for the Astro's is the real deal. Surely we will hit the ball tomorrow.Go Nats!!

  36. Grandstander - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    Bud Norris is seriously good, Houston's ace, except no one knows about him because he plays for a small market team that's struggling.This made me lol. I don't know a single baseball fan that doesn't know who Bud Norris is. You've been hanging out with too many pink hats I think.As far as this game, I got into it with a couple people here on Lidge after his last heart attack save. Do any of those folks want to come out and say his performance was better than Henry's tonight?I gotta say, knowing Storen is unavailable for awhile isn't the kind of devastating news it maybe once was when you know there's a guy who can throw that kinda heat, and even drop in breaking balls for strikes.FP said it was "unfair" that he was able to drop in that hammer for a strike and I agree. HRod has been almost unhittable and I think he deserves some more looks in the 9th.Also thought Davey kinda left Mattheus out to dry during his presser. Saying he thought he'd improve over the season but isn't getting the job done. I've got wonder if he's thinking about switching Stammen and Mattheus around in their roles. Stammen has been a completely different pitcher this season and I'd like to see more of him personally.

  37. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    These are good times, my Nats fan friends. Savor them, and let us have hope: The pitching is terrific, the defense is good, and the offense, while a bit below average in production so far this season, is young, going to get better, and is already showing infinitely more strike zone understanding than last year's offense did. This all bodes well.Corky

  38. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Grandstander – I have loved HRod from last year, even when he was all over the place. Just electric and people were screaming at Rizzo about getting nothing for Willingham and I was politely telling them that we would end up with the better end of that trade. That being said, I love what Davey is doing. There is no need to rush HRod to be an every day closer. Lidge might scare people but he has thrown the ball in the World Series and this can only help us by alternating right now. I also like that Davey made a commitment to both and is keeping it. Remember, Lidge did not come here to close. He came here to mentor our young pitchers and give all of them a rest every now and then. Clippard did not pitch today. With Riggs, Clip would have been sent out again and again and again. We are 10-3, we have used the pen but I think, used it wisely. Lidge will pitch tomorrow unless we have a blowout.I do agree though that Stammen has shown me much more than Mattheus. I think Mattheus has closer stuff and can be that guy down the road but the great thing is, both he and Stammen have an option so when Wang is ready one of them will go down without the chance of losing either. Not really concentrating on the future but we have Perry, Severino, and a whole bunch of young arms in the minors that make me think we are going to be very good for a very long time.Tomorrow, Gorzo is rested, as is Burnett, Clip, Stammen and Lidge. If Jackson pitches a 2nd gem in a row it will be sweet but if not, we are still loaded for bear.Go Nats!!

  39. Cwj - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    Yeah the in-game comments are usually bad.I've recently stopped posting during the games as well.Yet another awesome win! Go Nats!sjm308 said… "I actually went back and wasted 15 min. skimming over the posts during the game."

  40. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    @sjm308: By all freaking means, take the broom tomorrow night. Another 2-1 final, and I'll even predict time of game: 2:16.Pretty freakin' bueno.

  41. Drew - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Speaking of great pitching performances, tonight Harrisburg's Danny Rosenbaum tossed a complete game and the only run he allowed was unearned. He struck out nine, allowed no walks, raised his record to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.25.Danny is another fabulous player development story for this organization. He's a 22nd rounder from the 2009 draft. Do folks realize how great his numbers are? Get this: Heading into tonight's game Danny's career ERA was 2.34 — in 60 starts.

  42. Whatsanattau - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    By this time next year, it will be all the rage … A/B closers …. "What, that team's going nowhere – they only have one."

  43. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Whatsanattau said… By this time next year, it will be all the rage … A/B closers …. "What, that team's going nowhere – they only have one."And with Storen, we actually have A/B/C closers.Grandpa is sitting on a seriously good pitching staff.

  44. Whatsanattau - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Congratulations to Pudge Rodriguez for a very fine career.

  45. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Off-topic alumni news from Miller Park:MILWAUKEE (AP) _ — Nyjer Morgan scored on a fly ball by Ryan Braun in the 10th inning, giving the Brewers a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s Milwaukee's second late-inning thriller in a row.I'm only surprised he ran to the correct base.

  46. Whatsanattau - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    Always Be Closing. (ABC)

  47. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Marquis wins. Capps saves.

  48. Cwj - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Sunshine- Yeah I watched that play with Morgan scoring the winning run from 3rd on a sac fly.Guess what, not only did he run despite the 3rd base coach holding him (possible fine?), but the replays showed him to be out at the plate!I don't miss Morgan at all.

  49. Cwj - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Matt Cain and Cliff Lee are having quite the pitching duel tonight.

  50. couch potato - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    Were the 2011 Nationals (or any other Nationals team, for that matter) EVER 7 games above .500?Nice job, guys.

  51. lesatcsc - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    This is a team with a HOF pitching staff and minor league position players. I sure hope one doesn't waste the others.After those three performances, I sure hope the Nats starting 8 are buying Jordan dinner for the rest of the year. They have absolutely sucked in every one of his starts. There can be no nice way to put it. When you are failing on an epic level, you should accept that you're failing on an epic level. Two more starts like this with this kind of run support and JZimm will be demanding a trade to a team that has real hitters. Who could blame him?

  52. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    Frank's first team here was 51-30 at the break, then gassed in the second half.Despite Grandpa managing this club, these are not your grandfather's Washington Nationals.

  53. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    During the 1933 season, the Nationals were 48 games above .500. they finished 46 games over .500.

  54. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    38 straight strikes by Bartolo Colon…now that is amazing!!!

  55. Cwj - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    You mean he would value his personal W-L record over the team's? I highly doubt that.Demand a trade? For heaven's sake that's just silly. He's a part of one of the best pitching staffs in Baseball. And the team is 10-3!lesatcsc said… "Two more starts like this with this kind of run support and JZimm will be demanding a trade to a team that has real hitters. Who could blame him?"

  56. Cwj - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    I can't wait until the Nats beat the Marlins and Phillies. :-)Philly will be lucky to score at all! :D

  57. Nats in Athens - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Credit for the low ERA should not go simply to the pitchers but also to the position players (who some of us put down to often). Put Dunn in the place of ALR, Guzman in SS instead of Desmond and anyone from the 2009 team at 2b and let us see what the ERA would be then… (this is not to demean our superb pitching but to recognize our very good infield and the efforts made over the past two off seasons to promote defensive skills in the IF)

  58. Rabbit - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Pity about the run support for Zimmermann. I hope he can not think about his W-L record and just concentrate on his ERA. Actually, run support for everyone is a pity. Yep, great slam of an out by Ramos to score a run. Can't wait for the real hitting to begin. Go Defense. GO NATIONALS!!

  59. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    I don't think lesatsc meant that literally. And Znn's got to be wondering what it might like to pitch with a lead, someday.

  60. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    38 straight strikes by Bartolo Colon…now that is amazing!!!Wow, they should trade for that guy! ((ducking))

  61. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Nice pic, sec3. :-)

  62. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Can't believe lestac actually meant that -I think R Zimm & company could easily win the Internatonal League Championship!!Great point by Athens, I said long ago that LaRoche was making plays look simple that Dunn would just be watching as the ball went by (both throws from our infielders and hits from the batters).Off to find the broom I bought my spousal equivalent for christmas a couple of years ago.

  63. MicheleS - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Wait.. SJM, you bought your spousal equivalent a broom for Xmas? Did you get hit over the head for that?

  64. m20832 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Luv Granpa and his chilren!GYFNG!!!

  65. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    If my hubby had done that I might have given a whole new meaning to the "sweeping off one's feet" construct. Nah, probably not. ;-)MicheleS said… Wait.. SJM, you bought your spousal equivalent a broom for Xmas? Did you get hit over the head for that? April 19, 2012 8:38 AM

  66. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    The test of this team for me is Miami over the weekend — we never seem to be able to beat the Marlins, and the Dodgers next week. If the Nats are over .500 for both series' combined, then this team is going to be a handful this year for the other teams in the National League.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 83 18.5
x-Clinched NL East title

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
LOS ANGELES 87 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 85 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 68 4.0 +2.0
PITTSBURGH 82 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 74 9.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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.
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