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Instant analysis: Nats 2, D’backs 1

May 4, 2012, 1:34 AM EST

US Presswire photo
Ross Detwiler allowed just one run over 6 1/3 strong innings.

Game in a nutshell: Given his first opportunity to bat third in the big leagues, Bryce Harper delivered again. The rookie's one-out double in the bottom of the sixth brought home Ian Desmond to put the Nationals ahead, his latest contribution in a key spot. Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, kept doing what he's been doing all season: shutting down opposing lineups with ease. The left-hander allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, then handed things over to his bullpen. Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard and Henry Rodriguez combined to record the final eight outs and secure the Nationals' seventh series victory in eight tries.

Hitting highlight: It's not just that Harper has great athletic ability (which he does). The 19-year-old is also a very smart ballplayer with a true gameplan every time he steps to the plate. Just look at his sixth-inning RBI double. With the infield drawn in, Harper shortened his swing and poked an outside pitch down the left-field line to score Desmond with the go-ahead run. Harper now has an incredible four extra-baseRead more »

  1. terpman33 - May 4, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Another hard nosed win for our Nats. As usual, Bryce continues to amaze us. Espinoza continues his dismal season, but I'm hoping he will come out of it. And Detweiler continues to impress. Now we have to do our best to "take back the park" from the damage Katsen did. But, it's all good. GYFNG!

  2. Constant Reader - May 4, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Holy cow winning is fun. Bring on the Philthies!

  3. Cwj - May 4, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Awesome. A few thoughts:Henry redeemed himself. The more often he pitches, the better he is. Even the most pessimistic of Nats fans can't deny that Henry has been great minus one single game (the LA meltdown) this year. Harper is a game changer.Detwiler should be the #4 starter :-) But I do like Jackson. He's the "veteran" starter at the age of 28(!) and is doing fine.

  4. baseballswami - May 4, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    And not to be overlooked – Desi made major contributions in both wins – walk off hr last night and the double to get things started tonight. All the guys on the team play hard.

  5. natsfan1a - May 4, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Yay, back to winning series! Now to carry that on to the next one. We'll be there on Saturday. Have to check the tix to refresh my memory just where.

  6. NatsLady - May 4, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Still have the tix for Sat that I will not be using. If no takers I will sell them tomorrow…

  7. waddu eye no - May 4, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Dess rottweiler!!!

  8. natsfan1a - May 4, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    hmmm…I meant to add something else. What was it? Oh yeah, right. Woooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooo!! (copyright MicheleS, 2012)

  9. Section 222 - May 4, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Back from the game. A great win. Just four hits but we made them count. Harper is a force, his swing is just vicious. And I loved the way he took third on the groundout. You knew he was thinking about it the way he hovered off second and he just tore into third. Fun to watch. (Wish he would slide feet first though.) The biggest jeer of the night in my section was for Lombo's DP in the 9th, depriving us of one more Harper at bat. H-Rod had it tonight. Great command and his usual firepower. He went right after Upton, no nibbling. Nice for him to have a good, clean, 1-2-3 save going into this weekend. Wonder if DJ will trot him out tomorrow if there's a save situation.Great to meet Steady Eddie at the park tonight. Nice guy, as are most Insiders I'm sure.

  10. Unknown - May 4, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Mick – quick note on your Brinkman – Ted WIlliams story: Williams told Brink to stop trying to pull the ball and hit everything "line drive down". Brinkman actually batted leadoff quite a few times in 1969, especially vs. lefties. Williams ordered him to take 2 strikes the first time he came up — every time — until the league caught up with it. Think Desmond could learn a lesson from Old Teddy Ballgame, who knew the value of getting on base years before Bill James came along.Brink actually hit .266 in '69 with a .328 OBP. Not too shabby.Brink told me about how he changed his hitting approach for my book I wrote ont he 1969 club.

  11. zregime - May 4, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Another great post, Mark. The pitching, the pitching…peeps at my workplace are startin' to buy in to the Natties, big time. So we got swept by the Dodgers? Best ballclub in the NL right now. But payback in October is H-E-double toothpicks, you know? L E T ' S G O N A T S ! ! !

  12. Gonat - May 4, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    sm13 – From Mark "Harper shortened his swing and poked an outside pitch down the left-field"I'd add what I said earlier, he let it get deeper on the plate, and inside outed it.Professional hit. Blown away. Lucky he's batting 3rd while Zim is out.

  13. MicheleS - May 4, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!riding home and it was a great game . Except the wave

  14. Steady Eddie - May 4, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Great to connect with you too, 222, and to meeting some others in your seat group.I know it's not going to happen but after seeing Det dominate one of the better hitting lineups in the NL, the most rational thing when Wang gets back is a six man rotation. We have 3 #1s and 3 #3 or 4– and every single one of them power arms (yes, Wang was back to 93 in ST). Yeah, Da vey won't do it but if Wang still has what he showed against the Yanks, these arms are too good to waste in the pen. Not a decision he wants to make.

  15. Section 222 - May 4, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    I'm sure there won't be a six man rotation (do we really want to significantly reduce the number of times that Gio and JZnn take the mound this year?), but I hope Davey tries to Det a start every 10 days or so, either in place of someone who needs a rest, or to push everyone back a day every now and then. He will be valuable in the bullpen, but hopefully can stay sharp to rejoin the rotation when Strasburg reaches 160.

  16. Get Some Players - May 4, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Let's see, the next 3 games we have Stras, Gio and JZim. Nice.

  17. Grandstander - May 4, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. greg - May 4, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    i'm sure there won't be a 6 man rotation, either. even if you really thought it was an idea that could work (and i don't), these guys are pitching lights-out with their current 5 day routine. why would you change their routine and risk messing that up? baseball players, and pitchers in particular, are creatures of habit.something i just noticed on BBTN web page. web gems by team. nats at the top of the list, and it's not even close. almost half again more than the next closest team. TOP TEAMS TOTALNationals 46Royals 32Blue Jays 26Dodgers 23Mets 21

  19. Grandstander - May 4, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Here's a fun stat. Since calling up Harper, the Nats have scored 11 runs. Harper has 2 runs and 3 RBI, which means he's directly contributed nearly half the runs scored since he's arrived.Here's another one.Since the beginning of the season, Nats LFs not named Bryce Harper have had 7 hits. In 6 games, Harper has 6.

  20. Section 222 - May 4, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Was just watching the postgame, and Ray K just realized that by pumping up how hard Bryce is playing, they are implying that the other players don't hustle as much. So he said, "all these guys play hard all the time." Sorry Ray, none of them are playing like that. None of them tear down the line when they hit the ball back to the pitcher. Tonight when he popped out to left, he flat out sprinted around first and was nearly to second by the time the ball was caught. No one else runs nearly as hard on balls that are going to be easy outs. That's just a fact. Can the rest of them pick up his work ethic, or will Harper get with the program and ease up? It will be fascinating to see.

  21. UnkyD - May 4, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Grandstander:"Since the beginning of the season, Nats LFs not named Bryce Harper have had 7 hits. In 6 games, Harper has 6."———-4. 4 games, Brother…..

  22. Gonat - May 4, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Grandstander, count the hits from the "starting" leftfielders this season not named Bryce.

  23. Grandstander - May 4, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    I think that's a really great point 222. In fact, I was kinda stunned by Desi's post game interview in which he seemed to almost dis Harper and how he steals the show. While not overtly calling him out, he did seem to subtly indicate others on the team felt he was showing them up a bit.It'll be interesting to see how the clubhouse dynamic plays out, as I'm sure these guys don't want the appearance that some 19 year old rookie is carrying the team on his back and "showing them how to play the game the right way".

  24. Theophilus T. S. - May 4, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    When Wang returns . . . Nats best rotation would feature Jackson whittlin' corn cob pipes at the far end of the bench. Probably won't happen that way, tho. So I agree Johnson's got to find ways to get Detwiler into the rotation and keep him "stretched out" or what ever the jargon is for keeping his sharps as a starter. Maybe we'll get a bunch of rainouts in June and some double-headers. What I'm thinking is, when the Phillies get Utley and Howard back, the Nats will need all their LHP on deck.

  25. Grandstander - May 4, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    I was counting all of Bryce's hits, including the ones he hit while playing CF, since he'll factor in more in LF than CF imo until Morse is healthy.

  26. UnkyD - May 4, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    Okay…. I'll split the difference: 5 (SSTWT… off Monday, although I understand he jacked a few softballs…)

  27. Grandstander - May 4, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    And that would be 5 games. Too much lemonade at the game, sorry fellas (and ladies).

  28. Gonat - May 4, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    With Ryan Zimmerman sidelined until what appears to be Tuesday, Johnson has rotated several players in and out of the spot generally reserved for a team's "best" hitter. So he sat at his desk Wednesday night and made out Thursday's lineup against the Diamondbacks and Ian Kennedy. Then he "kind of hid it on my desk." He looked at it again today and liked it just as much."Why not?" Johnson said. "He’s swinging the bat good and had quality at bats. It’s what you do. I don’t care if his name is Harper or whatever or how old he is. If you’re swinging the bat good, we’re trying to put out guys who are swinging the bat best in order to do the most damage."_____________________________For those who don't think batting order matters much. The above was written by Amanda Comak.I think Davey thinks it matters and lets face it, almost anyone would be better than Xavier Naday batting 3rd.

  29. freshee - May 4, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    Section 222: Harper's hustle is great, but I don't read it as pure as you. What I saw at the ballpark tonight was a mixed bag. He hustled too much on his first at bat (possibly cause the rushed throw but still missed the bag). Didn't hustle enough on his double (yes he got two bags, but he sat in the box watching the ball for the first second). He hustled impressively on the pop-out, but it was a pop-out. And taking third on two outs was not a wise move. My guess is Bo told him good work not being out but never to do that again. Blowing the inning would have been a huge failure. You need a base hit with two outs, and with Bryce's speed it's not worth the risk to get to third. He can score from second.I like the kid, but he's still got plenty of things to figure out. Maybe I'm just sore the fans at the game voted him player of the game. Ross deserved it.

  30. Cwj - May 4, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    The Nats are 16-9! :-)

  31. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 4, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Brink told me about how he changed his hitting approach for my book I wrote ont he 1969 club. Cool. Which book?

  32. Dryw Loves the Nats - May 4, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Whatever you think of his talent, I have to put in a word for Ian if we're going to discuss hustle That boy runs to first like he was being chased by angry lions, no matter how he hit the ball. And he always looks like he WANTS to steal, even when the situation doesn't call for it. He's not always the smartest baserunner in the books, but you can't fault Ian's hustle.

  33. ehay2k - May 4, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    I believe that book would be: "Ted Williams and the 1969 Washington Senators, the Last Winning Season”





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