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Instant analysis: Nats 2, Phillies 1

May 22, 2012, 1:51 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond homered and drove in another run with a single.

Game in a nutshell: In the second of six head-to-head series against their fiercest division rivals, the Nationals seized control and didn't let it go (despite a very tense bottom of the ninth). Ian Desmond clubbed a second-inning homer off Kyle Kendrick to put the Nats up 1-0, then delivered an RBI single two innings later to make it 2-0. Gio Gonzalez and the bullpen then took care of matters from there. Gonzalez was dominant from the outset, tossing six scoreless innings and striking out nine. Craig Stammen then churned out two innings in the setup role. Henry Rodriguez tried to finish it off, but the erratic closer was yanked after issuing a walk, a single and two wild pitches. Sean Burnett was forced to enter and bail the Nats out, which he did in impressive fashion.

Hitting highlight: Has Desmond found a home in the 5-hole? It sure looks that way. Since getting moved out of the leadoff spot, he's 5-for-13 with three doubles, a homer and four RBI. His solo blast off Kendrick in the second was his seventh of the season, tying Adam LaRoche for the team lead. And his fourth-inning single drove in Bryce Harper with the game's only other run. Would Davey Johnson keep Desmond in that 5-spot after Michael Morse returns to the lineup in a couple weeks? It seems unlikely. But the guy certainly is producingRead more ยป

  1. Don - May 22, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Can the Henry experiment be over now PLEASE????

  2. John - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Rodriguez is credited with a hold. Arguably, the most useless stat in baseball.

  3. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    So now we are .5 back of the braves. Sean needs to be the closer until Drew gets back (or split duties with Lidge)

  4. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Yeah, we had that one all the way. Whew.

  5. Doc - May 22, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Our favorite SS now has as many HRs as all of last year.

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Daveys credibility with Espi and Henry is taking a hit. Double barreled with Henry if you put him in.Vindication to Ramos to all those who I won't name that said Flores wouldn't have allowed those Henry wild pitches.Please, turn this page.

  7. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Oh, I almost forgot to Whooo. And Hooo. Copyright MicheleS, yada yada yada. :-)

  8. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    1A.. I was so sick, I forgot…WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!Again, the braves lost and we are now a .5 game back.

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Come on, another Save situation facing the bottom of the order. It went 2 batters too long. Burnett eats an inherited runner scoring again courtesy of Henrys ineptness.

  10. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Good news, MicheleS. Thanks.Kinda funny about the dinger breaking the scoreboard at Marlins new park (and Bob regretting that it hadn't taken out the Carmen Miranda Memorial Sculpture as well).

  11. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Mets just lost. I think the Marlins are still winning

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Mets just lost.

  13. JaneB - May 22, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    My heart is still pounding.I know Mark isn't reach g our questions, but this conference has to be 80% Henry/closer. And tomorrow, Jordan goes after the old guy. Youth will out, that's what I predict,I feel awful for Henry, but they need to get him some help. They really do.

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    MicheleS, you have quick fingers.

  15. btharner - May 22, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    I can't watch Henry without getting a headache.

  16. dan roberts - May 22, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Mark: do you know if the idea of making Clippard the closer is on the table? I never want to see HRod in the 9th inning ever again!!!

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Dave Jaegler by the way called the LaRoche to Flores play and didn't even mention Flores name at all. Gave all credit to LaRoche

  18. mick - May 22, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    mick, aka francis kept his cool tonight before posting. After a win, i will say this, HRod SUCKS!!!! He just sucks and he needs to go, i am done with this head case loser!!!!

  19. whatsanattau - May 22, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    Wow, what exciting baseball. What character, what fun. But a nice relaxing blowout would be good too.

  20. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Positives tonight, cause I can't talk closer anymore without going into a fetal position..Lombo.. SWEET! needs to play more.Stammen.. can we get another reliever as an All Star?IAN.. totally found his spot in the 5 hole.Good DP with Zim/Espi/LaRoche. LaRoche making that throw to home and JFlo tag.I want to start texting to win that Lunch with Rizzo, just so I can give him some Bourbon and Maalox. He needs to partake in our misery drink concoction of choice.

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Charlie gave tonights Great Move of the game award to Davey for pulling Henry. LMAO

  22. mick - May 22, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    Dan, I dont want to see HRod in the 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd or 1st lol

  23. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Storen, Mattheus, and Henry Rodriguez are the designated closers. Clippard and Lidge were designated as the setup guys. Gorzo and Stammen, middle/long relief spot start as needed. Its worked so far. Not sure why you are complaining? Look at last year's record? And Storen was the closer and Clippard setup? Was the record this good? Ask yourself that before questioning who is or is not manning the closer's spot.

  24. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    Burnett? Situation relief and LOOGY.

  25. SonnyG10 - May 22, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    I think they need to get Henry to see a sports psychologist. He has a lot of talent, but we're not going to see much of it if he doesn't get his head straight.

  26. Drew - May 22, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    We're 25-17 and 2-2 in running the gantlet with 29 games to go.Let's go get Halladay. (It would be so nice…)

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Henry has to go back to mop up and long relief. Can't get those 3 blown saves back which I put mostly on Henry but Davey's the one that keeps trotting him out there without a safety net.When is enough enough?

  28. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    At least Davey is looking at alternatives.

  29. Steady Eddie - May 22, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    At last! Davey is "looking at alternatives"to Henry. "Lots of alternatives."

  30. MicheleS - May 22, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    I have a feeling Clipp may get moved. He said something about 8th inning guys moving to 9th, no names mentioned.

  31. Steady Eddie - May 22, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Ulp! Coke time for you, Michele. But let the record show that it was only because I gave a longer quote.And the O's lose to the BoSox.

  32. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    When is enough enough?He yanked the guy in the middle of an at bat. That's embarrassing to the extreme. What more do you want? Blood? Its going to affect his confidence … Still, Davey has tried to alternate him a bit of late … backing off from using him consistently in save situations. Depending on the state of his plantar fasciaitis Matheus perhaps should alternate with Burnett for now. Clippard is too valuable right where he is. Don't mess with success. Don't break that which is not broken and in fact: EXCELS! That should be a cardinal rule of baseball.

  33. Kevin Rusch - May 22, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    peric, you're right about HRod. Look guys, the problem isn't in his head. It's in his arm. He's been this same guy his whole career — he throws crazy fast, gets tons of Ks and tons of BBs. Now, if that guy shouldn't be a closer, I won't disagree with you. But I really don't think he'd be performing any differently in the 7th inning.

  34. Steady Eddie - May 22, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    And the excellent Mr. Gonzales is #1 in the majors in Ks and BAA (.167)!GEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOO! GEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOO!

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Kevin, wrong, he succumbs to nerves. You see it quickly. He also has never had pinpoint accuracy.On Peric, don't know what he is saying. Should have been pulled after Mayberry.

  36. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Now, if that guy shouldn't be a closer, I won't disagree with you. But I really don't think he'd be performing any differently in the 7th inning.Its both Kevin Rusch. Henry tends to overthrow when he comes under stress … thus the wild pitches in the dirt. That is likely an artifact of his 100 mph arm. Similarly with Aroldis Chapman. He backed off on the radar gun and worked more on guile and location at 2-3 miles an hour less on his fastball. Not sure why that hasn't been suggested / addressed with Henry?

  37. hiramhover - May 22, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Peric, are you on some kinda Andy Kaufman comic roll tonight?Not sure why you are complaining?I can't speak for all NI commenters, but for me, it's because he's blown three saves, and was on his way to blowing 2 others before he got yanked off the mound. Also, he has 8 wild pitches, and it's not even Memorial Day.Its going to affect his confidence …Right – because his confidence has been rock solid so far, and wouldn't suffer at all from leaving him out there to actually … you know … blow those saves.Look: it was an experiment that the team was forced into by injuries to Storen and Lidge. It didn't work. No need for HRod to shed any blood over it, but it's time to move on.

  38. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    By the way, Henry has no confidence. Put him in tomorrow versus those same hitters and a 6 run less in the 7th and he will now them down.HE CAN'T HANDLE THE PRESSURE.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    HIRAM, jinx!

  40. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    On Peric, don't know what he is saying. Should have been pulled after Mayberry.You know darned well what I am saying Mr. Ghost. Perhaps you are right but Davey stuck with him and ended up pulling him in the middle of an at bat after he threw a single pitch to that batter. That embarrasses the guy, it shows him up, it might affect his confidence from here on out. I am certain Davey will take the blame for it. But it still won't bring back the confidence a reliever needs when he goes out there.

  41. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    No need for HRod to shed any blood over it, but it's time to move on.This isn't the Cardinals or the 2008 Philthies. This is the Nats who have a plethora of young players who are all still under development, they are going to suffer growing pains and that is all a part of the process. And, yes, putting Henry in there is a part of that process. Stop complaining. Its all good. In the end they will field a team that will be nigh on invincible if they stay the course.

  42. Theophilus T. S. - May 22, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Ideally, Rodgriguez's next appearance should be in the third inning on the short end of an 11-0 blowout — Johnson would hand him the ball and say, "You're going three innings before I even think of letting you off the hook. Use your head as well as your arm and gut through it." The Spanish term for Henry's problem — which I bet he's heard a number of times — is "duro," and it is not a compliment.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Peric, Nobody wants anyone embarrassed and Davey would never embarrass him. This is about building a winning team and getting Wins.

  44. Section 222 - May 22, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Davey said in the postgame that he's considering other options, as he should. Henry still has a lot of potential, but he shouldn't be closing one run games on the road. Just not his thing at this point in his career.It doesn't sound like Davey wants to annoint Sean the interim closer. Not sure why since he doesn't have a defined role in this bullpen. But with two decent long men (Gorzo and Stammen) in the bullpen and potentially adding a third (Det), Davey could do a closer by committee and have good options available most nights.Let's not forget though that Lidge blew a few games before he was injured. He's not the answer. I'd like to see Burnett and Mattheus share the duties depending on matchups, and try a two inning save with Stammen on nights that Clip is unavailable.And speaking of Clip, spill the beans NatsNut. What's was up with him? He didn't work yesterday so should have been available, right?

  45. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Peric, Nobody wants anyone embarrassed and Davey would never embarrass him. This is about building a winning team and getting Wins.I am not saying it was the wrong move Ghost. I think you are right about pulling him before the previous hitter Mayberry. 24 guys are out there leaving it all on the line to win this game. He had to get yanked. Its just that the circumstances were unfortunate and perhaps could have been avoided.

  46. Theophilus T. S. - May 22, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Peric — Stop weeping for Henry's savaged ego. Knight said tonight, FP said a week ago, Johnson has an obligation to 24 other guys on the roster, not just one guy who right now needs either Zenmaster Phil Jackson or Applegate.

  47. Section 222 - May 22, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Stop complaining. Its all good. In the end they will field a team that will be nigh on invincible if they stay the course.Stop telling other commenters what to do and what to think. Your opinons are interesting. Your style is not.

  48. Theophilus T. S. - May 22, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    One last thought, unless I am provoked: hope Topps got a picture of the pivot on that 5-4-3 DP for Lombardozzi's baseball card.

  49. SonnyG10 - May 22, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Peric, I agree with you on how pulling Henry like he was pulled tonight will embarassass him and ruin his confidence. Henry has already lost his confidence and I think the best thing for Henry is to not put him in a situation where he has to be pulled. He can't handle the stress right now, so stop putting him in stressful situations.

  50. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Stop telling other commenters what to do and what to think. Your opinons are interesting. Your style is not.I don't really care what you think. My 'opinions' and I have been disparaged here for at least five years. I don't NEED YOU telling me what style I should use. Go play in traffic kid.

  51. peric - May 22, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    I think the best thing for Henry is to not put him in a situation where he has to be pulled.At least not in the middle of an AB. That speaks volumes about the confidence the manager and perhaps the players have in you. As Steve M. said it should have happened earlier … he was right to say that.

  52. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 22, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    HEnry is easy to figure out and it doesn't takle Rocket science. I ahve been saying for three weeks, and I believe you can go back over each of his games and it is the same. There are two Henrys good Henry and bad Henry. You know which one is pitching by pitch 3. (probably actually know during warm ups, but I can't tell for sure). If he throws one more than a foot from the zone in the first three pitches bad Henry is in. take him out after the walk. If he deoesn't pitch one bad in the first three good Henry is there. he will be lights out.Now to whoever suggested he go to a sports psychiatist to work on this. I trust the nats medical staff less than I trust bad Henry.But it is all good now we won. Need 1 of the next two to win the series, I say lets go for the sweep.

  53. hiramhover - May 22, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Peric, in the long term, I think we all see the potential for the team as a whole. I know you're all about the development of young players, but not every single one is going to pan out. And in HRod's case, "staying the course" with him in the closer's role was never in the long-term picture anyway. He got a short-term try out because of Storen's injury. And it didn't pan out. It doesn't mean he can't be a valuable contributor out of the BP–but not in the closer's role.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Theophilus T. S. May 21, 2012 10:42 PMPeric — Stop weeping for Henry's savaged ego. Knight said tonight, FP said a week ago, Johnson has an obligation to 24 other guys on the roster, not just one guy who right now needs either Zenmaster Phil Jackson I said it in 2011 after seeing him in Spring Training. Many long discussions with NatsLady who supported him up until a week ago.I haven't waivered at all. He needed more time in the Minors but he was out of options.

  55. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Hey all . . . I had a nice bonding experience with my daughter watching the entire game on TV. (She,in the first 17 years of her life never ever liked sports on TV, and (probably because of taking her to enough games at Nats park) become suddenly addicted to the Nats just two weeks ago. She already can name the lineups, and recognize players by their faces.)Anyways, so I missed the comment thread, and belately want to nominate post of the game:===========Gonat said… Swift Eagle said… Has Flores made it home on that wild pitch yet? May 21, 2012 7:59 PM _________________________ Strasburg is still on his way also.===========I want to nominate another:John said… Nats trade Josh Willingham to Oakland for Corey Brown and a player to mature later.============You guys are hilarious, thank for helping make my night!In defense of Flores, of course, had his lead (pronounced "leed", not "led" ;-) foot been on the ground, he would have been safe.Other comments: as to whether Flores would have made that play at the plate — one person noted his agility, but I'm surprised no one mentioned (or I didn't see mention) Ramos' propensity to drop balls when a quick tag is required.I was very disappointed in RZ's hitting tonight (2K's and a GIDP). Also: LaRoche's fourth straight hitless game, no?As for Desi — finally he's in a place where he can swing at the first pitch and no one will jump all over him about it.I really like this lineup.And Gio has been an incredible addition to the team. He really gutted it out well to finish the sixth. Nice to see Stammen do well. And Burnett.As for HRod — I also feel sorry for him. He may get it together some day, but apparently not soon. Carp or FP said something like "Henry has done everything he can to play himself out of the role of closer"Indeed. Sad. He still has terrific potential upside . . . the question is whether he will ever realize that potential. We'll see . . . But — bottom line: Nats win, every other team in the NL East loses except for Miami.GYFNG. Let's get Halladay — who is clearly not invincible this year (Padres beat him twice) — tomorrow!

  56. Scott from Burke - May 22, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    peric..i dont have a probolem with your opinions..it's with you…when you start telling people to follow the o's..you know, it gets annoying..so lose that nonsense…don't be so bitter because of your mismatched legs..i have nerve damage in my right arm but i dont cry about it

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Peric at 10:47, thanks. Glad we can agree on that.

  58. SCNatsFan - May 22, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    If the constant wild pitches and lack of control isn't embarrassing HRod then being pulled in the middle of an at bat shouldn't do it.I've defended HRod but this is a team sport, not an individual sport. He is letting his team down and I'm sure he feels horrible but lets be serious, no way this guy should be in late in the game for us right now. If his ego cannot take it then I wish him luck in a new profession; he might be a really nice guy but if he can't handle pressure he shouldn't be pitching in MLB.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    SCNatsFan, well said. I have no gift for writing that well.

  60. SonnyG10 - May 22, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    DC Wonk, congratulations on your daughter becoming a rabid Nats fan. I envy you that. Thanks for taking her to the games to get her interested. We need all the rabid fans we can get.

  61. JaneB - May 22, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    As much bourbon and maalox as Henry makes US chug, imagine the dugout,when they can't help and they can't drink, either. If only to quit subtracting years from their lives, HRod In high stakes situations has to end.Poor Henry, let's get him some help. Do you have to have a physical injury to end up on the DL?

  62. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 22, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    On the good side of tings. Gio again outstanding. A few scrapes, but worked through them. Harper another multi hit game. Desmond another multi hit game too. Among the league leaders in that category.Fielding was sharp too.

  63. JaneB - May 22, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    I agree with Sonny, Wonk. My daughter knows more than the people around us at games, and I love it. She was screaming at the TV louder than I was tonight, and her brother called us to share the potential misery all together. Thank goodness it ended well.Loved MichelleS's high points. She is right. Fun to see Ryan to Espi to ALR DP on webgems,Till tomorrow….

  64. baseballswami - May 22, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    As if Drew Storen needed any more motivation to get back…..I wonder if he can stand to watch.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 22, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Manassas, thanks for pointing out the good things. The defense was amazing. Gio threw too many pitches for my liking.

  66. Dave - May 22, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    Noticed Laroche was working his arm/shoulder after throwing out the runner at home. I am sure he is fine but wondering if anyone else noticed or he was asked about it Post Game.

  67. Drew - May 22, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    On MLB Network, Mitch Williams had some pretty good shtick about the Nats' win.Brian Kenny: "We're you ever taken out in the middle of an at bat?"Williams: "No, I usually ran four balls up there pretty quick."Williams on Gio Gonzales: "If I had his hook, I could have pitched another six or seven days."

  68. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    I am re-watching the 9th. Did you all see when Galvis hit the flyout to Bryce in right field they threw trash down on the warning by Bryce?

  69. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 4:11 AM

    Also, that Wild Pitch while Fontenot was batting were thrown at Flores right foot then when Wigginton was up the same thing.That's 2 wild pitches at Flores back-hand at his right foot.Where did all the boo birds go who said that Flores would have stopped those Henry wild pitches?

  70. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    I know Ray Knight reads NI. He used the word "Accountable" which is what we were talking about over the weekend. Execution and accountability.

  71. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 4:26 AM

    That LaRoche play as I'm watching it again was great. He is playing back and conceding the run. On his way to 1st base he sees the baserunner froze to make sure he didn't catch it and LaRoche gives a waggle and throws off-balance to throw him out at home.He made it look so easy he probably doesn't get a Web Gem but that a huge degree of difficulty.

  72. Gonat - May 22, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Desi is batting .340 over his last 10 games and raised his BA to .280Desi had both RBIs and again came through with RISP.

  73. Kevin Rusch - May 22, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    "At least not in the middle of an AB. " Well, when the first pitch of that AB gets the tying run into scoring position, you have to make the move. It's like having Frank Robinson pull LeCroy in the middle of an at-bat — they were just stealing at will on the guy, and while you want as a manager to be sensitive to the guy's ego, you also need to run the team.Now, about the actual performance, compare his 2012 stats to his 2011 stats. Since last year, his walks are _down_, his strikeouts are _up_, his hits per outs is down, his WHIP is _down_. The wild pitch rate is up, and he's given up 2 homers as opposed to 1 all last year, but on the whole, he's pitching just as well or better this year than he did last year. I don't really see how being in the 9th inning is negatively affecting his performance. The problem is that he's being put in positions where failure costs the team the game, and we have to sit there and freak out over every batter. If it were in the 7th, I really don't think we'd notice anywhere near as much.

  74. lawprof - May 22, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    If Davey doesn't see that Rodriguez isn't ready to close yet, then I don't get it. There is a point where loyalty becomes stupidity. I say try Stammen as closer and use Rodriguez in the 7th (like Aroldis Chapman). Alternatively, try Clippard as closer. Though, of the two of them, I think Stammen is better suited.

  75. RaleighNat - May 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Three Points:Gio is amazingHow nice is it to see Desmond putting it all together?HRod can still be valuable, just not as a closer any time soon – get him in some low pressure situations (like they happen with this team!) and build back his confidence – then consider the best long-term role.

  76. natsfan1a - May 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    No, fwiw. See, for example Dontrelle Willis.Jane B said…Poor Henry, let's get him some help. Do you have to have a physical injury to end up on the DL? May 21, 2012 11:05 PM Maybe he does, but accountability is not an esoteric concept, in baseball or elsewhere. Pretty sure he could have come up with that one on his own. ;-)Gonat said… I know Ray Knight reads NI. He used the word "Accountable" which is what we were talking about over the weekend. Execution and accountability. May 22, 2012 12:23 AM In other news, I think Peric made some excellent points in his posts (and the mismatched leg comment was a cheap shot, Scott).

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FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

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MIAMI 77 85 19.0
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