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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Marlins 2 (10)

Apr 21, 2012, 7:55 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg tossed six more scoreless innings this afternoon.

Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg was his usual brilliant self, shutting the Marlins out over six fantastic innings. But Anibal Sanchez was equally effective against a Nationals lineup that was without Ryan Zimmerman or Adam LaRoche. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth delivered a pair of late blasts to give the Nats a 2-0 lead, but Brad Lidge served up a game-tying homer to Logan Morrison in the ninth to blow the save. Thanks to a Gaby Sanchez error, Desmond had the opportunity to drive in the game-winner with a 10th-inning sacrifice fly.

Hitting highlight: Though he entered the day with a .309 batting average, Werth hadn't exactly been crushing the ball with authority. And after going 0-for-2 to start his afternoon, he found himself hitless in his last 10 at-bats. That was, until the bottom of the seventh, when Werth belted a 3-1 pitch from Sanchez down the left-field line and just over the fence for his first homer of the season.

Pitching highlight: You'd think by now the Marlins might have a little better idea how to handle Strasburg, since this was already the fifthRead more »

  1. JimHoy - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    The game LITERALLY just ended and you have this up already? I mean, it ended not 2 minutes ago. You rock HARD

  2. TimDz - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Five straight series wins to start the season…THIS is what the good teams do…

  3. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:10 PM


  4. LoveDaNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I am still sitting in leaving-the-ballpark-traffic and all I can say is WE BEAT THE FISH!!! Again!!!!

  5. SFNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    No Morse. No Zim. No LaRoche. No Storen. And we took the season opening series from the Marlins and Anibal Sanchez, who's always stymied the Nats in the past.It's a whole new ballgame this year.

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    I'm officially done with Lidge. Walking the leadoff hitter in a 2 – 0 game in the 9th inning is a demotable offense for a novice closer and totally unacceptable for someone with his experience.A leadoff home run is acceptable. Not a walk.

  7. SFNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    It's time to end the Lidge experiment in the 9th, for sure. He's just not a closer anymore. Either make Henry the closer until Storen gets back, or try out Stammen for the "Closer B" role, but it's clear that Lidge can't pitch the 9th.

  8. rogieshan - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Glad the game didn't go deeper. With the bench depleted, it looked like Gorzelanny was going to have to take one for the team again. I know Burnett is used as a loogy, but it wouldn't hurt Johnson to give him a chance to close games he comes in for once in a while.

  9. sjm308 - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I agree here with moving Lidge back to what we signed him for. If you don't want HRod going multiple days in a row, you have Stammen throwing lights out and actually Burnett has been unhittable this season and could be used if they have several lefties coming up. Impressed with Gorzelanny. Peric and I believe NatsJack have said time after time that he is someone who can get people out. One bad outing obviously does not put you in Davey's doghouse but I do hope Lidge gets scaled back.Just heard Zimm is out tomorrow as well. Amazing what we have done without so many of our key guys. Don't think Werth's swing is that pretty but he sure came through today!!Go Nats!!

  10. sm13 - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Good point, Mark about the fish not being able to solve Stras, despite how often they've faced him. That may say even more about his skills than the raw numbers.

  11. whereswilky - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    I'm with natsjack. Lidge right now is definitely the weakest link in this pitching staff. Some of the others -mattheus, gorzo – have had ups and downs, but Llidge has barely survived a couple of times by the skin of his teeth, and now failed a couple of times too. He may need a trip to the DL.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Guess Jesus Flores is feeling much better …Latest tweet translated from Espanol:What a great game today on the field showing supremacy and leaving the Marlins on the other side Reale Madrid (in the dirt) …

  13. Scott from Burke - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    look at his arm in the picture..the stress these guys' arms go's incredible

  14. Nats in Athens - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Lidge should go back to the role he was signed for… But I bow to DJ on everything else so I know he get what is best out of any situation.

  15. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    A leadoff home run is acceptable. Not a walk.Yup, make the hitters work for it. Don't give it for free. The main issue and bugaboo for Nats starters in the recent past … much less so relievers of late. Perhaps, Storen could end up sliding in there for Lidge after the AS game.

  16. rogieshan - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    SFNats: "Either make Henry the closer until Storen gets back, or try out Stammen for the "Closer B" role…"He's been struggling a bit of late, but I think Mattheus is a better fit as 'Closer B' option. I hope Johnson puts aside his old-school respect for Lidge and make the necessary decision when the time comes.

  17. Cwj - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Wow, I was feeling all down in the dirt after Lidge blew it.But now? Happy as a camper :-)Agree with SFNats and NatsJack about Lidge.He should be fine in low leverage situations, but absolutely not the 9th inning.Absolutely no excuse for giving up a 2 run lead by walking the lead-off hitter. That walk probably ruined his chances of closing out games in the future.Not to be too hard on Lidge, of course. But he's just not suited for the 9th any more. It has got to be Henry most of the time, along with Stammen, Mattheus even Clippard the other times.

  18. baseballswami - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    It seems like we have gotten some wins where other teams have made mistakes. That's ok – it's very telling about our team that they capitalize on them almost immediately. Last year we were on the other side of that equation all too often. 5 series wins in a row to start the season is very special and I am getting very spoiled. I love this team!

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    And I should have qualified my statement. I'm done with Lidge as a closer. 6th – 7th inning guy OK.And, please, even if there is a topic we agree upon, NEVER, mention me and Peric (bold anon here).

  20. fpcsteve - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Mattheus closed games while he was in the Rox farm system. Agree with NatsJack–you can't walk people when you're supposed to be closing the game out. 29 pitches; 13 balls and 16 strikes. Bad ratio.

  21. Cwj - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Whats funny is that Henry CAN actually walk guys in a save situation and get away with it.He simply does not give up extra-base hits due to his non-hittable pitches. Big storms forming over here, gotta run before the power goes out.Go NATS!!!!!

  22. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Natsjack and wherewilky, I'm on the line with Rizzo and Davey now – who do you want us to bring up when we send Lidge down?Also, please let us know whether Espinosa should be replaced with Lombo.Thanks!

  23. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    He's been struggling a bit of late, but I think Mattheus is a better fit as 'Closer B' option. That's probably what SHOULD happen. Mattheus and Lidge should swap roles. Not sure Lidge would do any better coming in in the 7th or 8th but …Johnson believes that Mattheus still doesn't look like the pitcher he saw at the end of last season. That Mattheus looked every bit as good as Storen. Today, he brought back some semblance of that pitcher. I suspect Johnson is waiting to see if Mattheus returns to the form he had before the injury derailed him last season. But Davey also has a problem in that Clippard is teetering in the same direction as Lidge likely due to his arm having been abused by Riggleman for 3 years. Now, that's where Stammen and Gorzelanny have come in handy … Burnett also appears to be improving. Doesn't look like there's much in Syracuse in the way of bullpen depth outside of Erik Arneson and he is more of a spot starter middle relief specialist. Rafael Martin has started to come on … and there's Hassan Pena the stand-in for H-Rod.

  24. SFNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Henry has the overpowering stuff to pitch out of jams when he needs to. He's given up a few too many walks lately, but that's going to happen to anyone. But you really can't complain at all about the job he's done so far.

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Anon @ 4:39. Where did I say send Lidge down? If I want the best slider in the organization in my bullpen, I bring up Christian Garcia, but that's me.Lidge was brought here for the 7th inning and I'm OK with that, Peric.

  26. Rabbit - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Still not hitting. It will hurt us soon. Don't tell me we had two homers. Notice no one was on base when they were hit…again. We need the hitting to improve. So far it is AAAA. And, that's a fact. GO NATIONALS!!

  27. Scott from Burke - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    the marlins have been a bugaboo for the nats…very exciting start to the season…hope zim isn't too bad, but it is worrisome

  28. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    looks like we're gonna see lidge blow a few more saves

  29. NatsLady - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Davey's sticking with Lidge, says he has a "game plan." Don't know if that's a "Lannan-stick" or a "Desi-stick."

  30. NatsLady - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    However, Lidge or no Lidge THIS is still there!

  31. MicheleS - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Get used to low scoring, low hitting games. That is how the NL East is going to be all year. Too many good pitchers in this division.

  32. Scott from Burke - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    wait until you see the dodgers..billingsley would be an ace on many teams..kershaw best pitcher in baseball..jansen and guerra in 'pen…kemp best player in the game..ethier kills righthanders…they're good

  33. Wally - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    12-4. Remarkable run. All the points about schedule, not hitting, luck: all true, but that is baseball, and right now they are falling our way, so let's enjoy while we can, since it is sure to balance out the other way at some point. All the sweeter because it is the Marlins. But in the category of 'my, how things have changed': what's up with Hanley? He usually kills us, and at least for these two games, he might be the biggest zero in either lineup. He and Reyes were the two guys I used to fear the most with a bat in their hands against us.Re Lidge : he isn't what he was, but he is still good and these things happen. I agree the walk was the killer. We have enough guys that Davey should be able to work with them, although they are going to blow some games.Hitting is what I would hope for in our Christmas stocking. Somewhere, somehow. Trade, minors,whatever, ideally we could use two more hitters, but one seems critical. These super tight games have to take its toll on the team.

  34. Hanging On - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Lidge is done. He is walking people because he knows his stuff can't get past bats. If he's not getting swings at his sliders in the dirt he's in big trouble no matter the role in the bullpen. Don't understand those who want Mattheus to close. He's been more lucky than good with a lot of loud outs, and is not geting the K's. I will gladly take Henry every day. Dude is just scary. He doesn't need some silly beard to scare the hell out of hitters. He'll get wild, but in my opinion a great closer is one who can pitch his way out of his own trouble.I'm still not sold on Espi at all with the bat. When are we going to stop making excuses for him? If we are going to be stubborn and keep him starting, he needs to get out of that 2 hole. After seeing him for parts of 3 years now, I am not seeing the improvement or even potential. Even when Desi was struggling he never looked overpowered like Danny does. Desi would chase that outside pitch but he never completely whiffed balls in the zone like Espi. Funny we were talking about Danny taking over SS but now he looks like the problem that needs to be addressed.Starting pitching makes it almost all moot though. Ankiel looks promising for a nice year.

  35. NatsLady - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. NatsLady - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    The Dodgers are looking pretty good. We'll have to do to Kemp what we did to Votto==> pitch around him or intentionally walk him. Who hits behind him? Ethier? No slouch at .292. So that may not work as well because we got lucky Rolen was in a bad slump behind Votto.But let's chew up the Pads first. Feel sorry for them, but not THAT sorry.

  37. sjm308 - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Nats jack – it will never happen again!Funny how people read into what is said here. No one was calling for Lidge to be sent down, just move him to where they had him slotted. His role was to eliminate Clip going two innings and it's still a smart move.

  38. The Fox - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    NatsJack in Florida I was not sold on Lidge when they signed him because his fastball was only in the upper 80's the end of last year. When I saw that he was now throwing it around 91,92 I thought he could still be effective with his slider. I was only listening to the game on the radio while I did yard work and I missed the walk and heard the HR. He gave up the HR on a fastball his second best pitch so was he having trouble with his slider?I hate seeing a closer with the tying run hitting giving up a hit with his second best pitch. Lidge is still effective if his slider is working and you know he's not going to melt down either. That said I've been very happy with Henry and he definitely has the stuff to be a closer it's the mental part and his confidence I'm still worried about.

  39. ehay2k - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Awesome game. Desi's snag and mid-air turn and throw to Espi was a huge out. Lodge was up 0-2 on Hanley, then started nibbling and walked him. I agree with other posters: that is not acceptable with a two run lead. Heard the post-game from DJ and Zimm hurt his right shoulder making a diving stop. Best to rest him 3 days (2 games and an off day). DeRosa needs to get some ABs and field time,so let him take 3rd.

  40. Candide - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Cunegonde and I were at the game. What was Ozzie's beef with the home plate ump after he got clocked? They didn't have a mic on Ozzie for the whole park to hear, unfortunately; I would have paid a dollar to hear whatever he might have been spewing…

  41. SFNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    I'm still not sold on Espi at all with the bat. When are we going to stop making excuses for him?This is exactly what people were saying about Desi last year (and in ST this year). Truthfully, you have to give these guys a couple years in the major leagues before you know. Everyone doesn't hit like an All-Star when they first come up. It takes a lot of players a couple years to figure it all out (the dreaded sophomore slump). It's taken a few years, but now Desi looks like he's getting it. Espy will, too. He's a great defensive 2nd baseman with a decent bat. He's never going to be Robinson Cano, but he can be a plus defender who hits 20-25 homers and bats around .250. Nothing wrong with that. But he's young, and he's going to have an adjustment period that might last into next season.

  42. DWS - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Love the win and when are we going to have a four run lead? My nerves. Off topic…somebody posted a link to an old Sinatra tune a few days ago, I thought it was the Astro shellacking but I don't see it. Refresh my memory if you recall the tune.

  43. Candide - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    I've decided I don't hate Desmond any more.Just want it to be on the public record…

  44. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Candide, on that pitch, the batter may have fouled it–that was apparently the call, ultimately–but what they missed was the bat hitting Ramos's mitt, which should have put runners on first and second. He was probably asking if any of the other umpires saw that, and from his reaction, I'm guessing they told him maybe that happened, but we didn't see it. It definitely did happen, though. Nats got a break.

  45. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Does anyone know when they would announce a rain out tomorrow?

  46. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    The Best Is Yet To ComeThere ya go, DWS!

  47. Joe Seamhead - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Just got home from the game. Lidge is knocking years off of my life, but we still cheered him on. I'm right there with Nats Jack as far as feeling that it's pretty much the end of the rope for him as the closer. One more blown save like today a

  48. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    5:35, they probably won't call it until they have no choice, but it's a getaway day for the Marlins.

  49. Joe Seamhead - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Oops. I got blipped by my iPad. Anyway, one more like today and I'm going to think that Brad is a Philthy conspiracy.

  50. Candide - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Thanks, Sec3. From where we were, it looked like the ball got past both the bat and Ramos untouched, so it was pretty surprising to see the ump go down like that. Of course, they (rightly) don't show replays of close calls, so we never knew what had happened.* Had a great time cheering the ump when he went back to his position, and then an even greater time booing Ozzie.* Note to self: Bring headphones so you can stream Charlie and Dave from your smartphone…

  51. Nats in Athens - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    If we are doing the low scoring and the opposition is doing the low hitting I have no problem with that!

  52. ehay2k - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    @Hanging onI'm not sure if you've seen any games this year, but Espi has improved a lot at the plate. Batting average could be better, but what is very clear is that he has a much better approach – he walks a lot and has a plan with two strikes. That is a big improvement from what is clearly a very coachable with good tools.

  53. SFNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    So sounds like Zim will be back Tuesday for the Padres. Hopefully that's all it is.

  54. Hanging On - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    SFNats…I disagree with a lot of that. Espi has had 2 mini hot streaks and has hit under .200 the rest of his short career so far outside of those streaks. If we gave every player on the team the same benefit of the doubt we give Espi, we would have a lineup that gets no hit weekly with 25 stikeouts a game. The difference between him and Desi is that Desi never looked physcally overmatched. His approach and discipline were bad, but he was an athlete up there with obvious bat speed. Danny on the other hand swings and misses more than any player in MLB I would guess. He needs major not minor adjustments to his swing. He is such an easy out that I just don't understand why he is untouchable and beyond criticism. The other 2b's in the system are pros too and just as deserving of a shot to play. Decent fielding second basemen are everywhere. I don't need a .300 hitter there but at least a pesky tough out would be nice.

  55. DWS - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Thanks Section3 fitting and all that but not the tune that was mentioned in the comments from the peanut gallery as they say.

  56. MicheleS - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    DWS .. Summer Wind?

  57. SFNats - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Hanging On,It may very well be that Espy can't hit at the major league level. But it's far too early to make that determination. He's certainly shown flashes of being a very good hitter. And, as ehay2k said, he's showing a much better approach at the plate this year so far.It could be that Lombo, for instance, winds up being a better every day player than Espy. But that's obviously not what the scouts and coaches who've worked with them think. So they're going to give Espy time to figure it out, which is what happens with a lot of young players. We're only a year and a month into his major league career. It's way too early to consign a player with his skills to the trash heap.

  58. Hanging On - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Ehay2k…I have watched every single inning the last few years. He hit under .200 after his Sept callup and was still annointed the starter. Lasy year he was probably the worst hitter in MLB the last 4 months of the year and still was handed the job without reservation. Eveyone wanted to give him Desi's job even after Desi finished very well last year. Now this year he is striking out alot again, and often in clutch spots, and scraping around .200 again. How much slack can you give a player? You want to excuse all that because he's getting a couple more walks? You must admit his K's are very bad looking. Misses the ball by a mile. I want a player who is going to PUT THE BALL IN PLAY! Do you really think Lombo or any average 2b is going to do much worse?

  59. Tom in AR - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Candide – I was listening on the radio and they thought Ozzie was complaining because the guy on first stole second thinking it was a passed ball/wild pitch and Ramos turned to check on the ump instead of getting the ball. Then all the sudden it was called a foul ball and the runner had to go back. They watched the replays and didn't think it was a foul ball, but they also said it hit the ump pretty good in "Foul ball territory" if you know what I mean.

  60. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    DWS, sorry for the misunderstanding. Yes, Summer Wind was the tune (Eric? I think) mentioned, but I didn't like the implications of that one–bad metaphor to follow, if you know the lyrics–so I went with something more anthemic.

  61. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Hanging On, everyone wants a player that puts the ball in play, and hits .300. Of course they do. And sometimes you get that by being patient with a player who strikes out too much and hits .200 for year or so. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

  62. Scott from Burke - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    The best two songs ever recorded are Summer Wind by Sinatra and That's Alright Mama by The King…coming in 3rd is Johnny Be Good by Chuck Berry…Lidge looks lost

  63. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    There's a concept in baseball that used to be called "Gin Rummy managing"–constantly discarding your own guys and picking up other teams's players–exactly what the pointy-ball team here has done, as a matter of fact. It's not a compliment.

  64. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Scott, was that you and not Eric? Sorry.

  65. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    And I'll go with The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King, somewhere on that short list.

  66. Laddie_Blah_Blah - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Agree about Lidge. It makes no sense to have the weakest pitcher on your staff as the closer. HRod and Stammen, or Burnett, can handle closer duties until Storen returns.Lidge had no command, walked the 1st hitter and then grooved a FB to a FB hitter. In 2 games and 19 innings, the Fish have failed to score on Detwiler, Stammen, Burnett, Matheus, Strassburg, MPHRod, Gorzo, and Clippard – that's 2/3 of the entire staff that have shut them down! In just 2 ABs they plate 2 runs in the top of the 9th before Lidge gets out numero uno, and he then proceeds to walk 2 more Marlins. If the guy has vertigo put him on the DL and bring up someone from the minors until he is whole. Whatever the problem, he is just not cutting it.

  67. Candide - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel.

  68. Laddie_Blah_Blah - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Wally"…what's up with Hanley?"He is one of the worst fast ball hitters in the majors, and now he is hitting against SS, Detwiler, and other Nats power pitchers. The Nats starters have the most power pitching of any starting rotation in the majors, bar none.In years past, he was eating up Lannen, Livo, Marquis, and other such soft-tossing Nats hurlers. Those days are gone. Bonafacio has the same problem with the hard stuff.

  69. Candide - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Laddie_Blah_Blah said…… and he then proceeds to walk 2 more Marlins.To be fair, the last walk was intentional, to set up the force at second and third. And it worked.

  70. DWS - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Summer Wind! Thanks folks! Just the Way You Are is perfect.

  71. natsfan1a - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    For Sinatra, I gotta go with this over Summer Wind. But that's just me. Too hard for me to pick best recording ever but I'd have to throw something by Billie Holliday in there. Maybe some Sam Cooke, Otis Redding. Like I said. Too hard to pick one.

  72. natsfan1a - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Eh, I'll take a pass on the Billy Joel.

  73. m20832 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    The replay showed the ball being foul tipped past Ramos glove and straight into the umps boys. HD doesn't lie. And he went down on one knee. It does hurt pretty badly.Put Lidge back to where he was hired to pitch and use HRod or Stammen.Good Win Nats! I just luvit when Christina Akra gets splashed with the gatorade! Means the Nats won another one. And way to fry those fish!GYFNG!!!





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