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Bested by Buehrle

Jul 15, 2012, 3:41 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs over six strong innings but still took the loss.

MIAMI — In hindsight, the Nationals were perfectly happy to wind up with Gio Gonzalez in their rotation instead of Mark Buehrle. It was only seven months ago, however, that general manager Mike Rizzo’s focus was set squarely on Buehrle, his top offseason target.

It wasn’t until after Buehrle spurned the Nationals’ three-year offer for a four-year deal with the Marlins and Rizzo’s gaze turned to Gonzalez and the six-player trade that brought the left-hander to Washington.

The Nationals aren’t complaining at all, not with Gonzalez tied for the league lead in wins and coming off an appearance in the All-Star Game. But on Saturday night, everyone else did get a good glimpse at what made Buehrle so attractive to them in the first place.

With pinpoint command a breakneck pace on the mound, Buehrle carved up the Nationals’ lineup for seven innings, leading the Marlins to a 2-1 victory and making a hard-luck loser out of Gonzalez, who was in top form himself but came out on the wrong end of a difficult decision.
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  1. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    Jordan Zimmermann to Gio Gonzalez…."Welcome to my (previous) World".

  2. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 15, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    Tight game, got nipped on the road by a superb pitcher, one-run loss, no shame in that. Still in soul possession, with Jesus going on Sunday. I'm fine with this one.

  3. Doc - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    It happens. On any given night…..Six K's in two nights for The Beast. Don't remember him doing that before. Let's hope that Mickey breaks the spell tomorrow–along with a few other guys!

  4. peric - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Three or four more like that and they won't be in first place and the Braves will.

  5. peric - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    Wasting quality starts is never a good thing.

  6. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    That Buerhle guy looked pretty good too. I know Miami has him as their #2. He would be the Nats #4 here in front of EJax. "Clutch" was just not there for the Nats offense, and they had their opportunities multiple times.

  7. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Jordan Zimmermann to Gio Gonzalez…."Welcome to my (previous) World". July 14, 2012 11:52 PM ______________________________Sadly yes. The lack of placing bat on ball was the difference in the game.You look at Buck who reached down and got that soft liner over Espi's head for an RBI was the difference. He was the worst batter in both lineups except the pitcher. Key was contact. Won't drive in runs with STRIKEOUTS!

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Tyler Moore had a pretty bad baserunning gaffe that went unmentioned on the TV when Gonzalez's bunt resulted in Moore getting thrown out by a hair at third. Moore was glued to second way too long on a sac bunt attempt. Learn from that one Tyler.Give the Fish credit, they beat us in a good game of small ball in their home park.Zimm, Morse and ALR all failed to produce against their pen and Desi looked like it was very painful to swing the bat.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Three or four more like Friday nights game and the Nats will have a 5 game lead.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Credit has to go to Buehrle. His ability to throw quality strikes early in the count kept hitters off balance and guessing. Both Bryce and Espinosa were totally overmatched with Bryce having an "Andy Pettite" night with Buehrle's breaking stuff.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    While Moore may be criticized by breaking late on the sac bunt try, he had to make sure the ball was on the ground. And credit again goes to Buehrle for bouncing off the mound as quick as he did to make the play.

  12. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=320714119Pitcher wandering with his back to 3rd base and Padres steal home. 2 runs in 9th. Dodgers lose.

  13. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Credit has to go to Buehrle. His ability to throw quality strikes early in the count kept hitters off balance and guessing. July 15, 2012 7:56 AM ____________________________Strange. A few months ago some of the talent evaluators here said Buehrle was not a good pitcher and was a "soft tosser" and was an older more expensive version of Lannan. Heard the same thing about Dempster. Heard the same thing about Joe Saunders. Heard the same thing about Wandy Rodriguez.It only seems if they are wearing Nats uniforms and not named Lannan or Wang that they are good.Someone here a few weeks ago was saying Edwin Jackson was a better pitcher than Jordan Zimmermann.No matter what you say, end results were Jordan Zimmermann gave up no runs in 6 innings and Gio gave up 2 runs in 6 innings. Both faced the same batters in the same stadium.I like all the Nats pitchers and I respect pitchers from other teams. Those that don't have open minds usually fail.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    You are right Gonat. I almost stated that Buehrle pitched a "John Lannan at his best" type game. Aside from throwing quality strikes early in the count, Buehrle's quick pace and the fact that he fields his position so well helped him as well. He grabbed a couple of comebackers that could have leaked through for hits.

  15. Jim Webster - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Wonder if Buehrle has second thoughts … could have been part of NL's best rotation, on a team leading the division.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Jim Webster…. And he could have lived anywhere he wanted with his pet Pit Bulls.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    However… Nope. I'll take Gio over Buehrle every time.

  18. Secret wasian man - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    If Desmond is seriously hurt and misses any time I fear the season is over. Not enough bats without him.

  19. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… However… Nope. I'll take Gio over Buehrle every time. _________________________Yes, but I would take Buehrle over EJax.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Gonat… not for the money and the years. For one season, yes, but Ejax allows Rizzo alot of wiggle room for future moves.

  21. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    NatsJack, I would have done Buehrle for 3 years knowing he would be a good #4 Leftie on this team. Its hindsight now.By the way, how is Yu Darvish doing that so many wanted? Since May 17th he hasn't had a start with less than 2 runs. Last night, 7 runs. ERA of 3.96. He would be a #5 on this team.

  22. JaneB - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I take Gio over Buehrle all over again. Mark beat our bats, not our pitcher.

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Gio is back. He attacked and once again has the hook as his K pitch.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Did I mention, no walks.

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Ghost… that 14 pitch first ab by Reyes had me worried but Gio rebounded terrifically to go on. And you are correct, his hook was sharp and in the strike zone.

  26. SFNats - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I don't understand comparing Buehrle with EJax. That was never an option. Missing out on Buehrle resulted in the Gio trade, which was definitely a positive for the Nats. If they had gotten Buehrle, they never would have gone for Gio. And Gio is younger and better and they have him locked up for multiple years at a good price. All the way around, they're better off having missed out on Buehrle.Now, would Buehrle be a better 4th starter than EJax? Absolutely. Would anyone pay Buehrle money for a 4th starter? Nope. Well, maybe Steinbrenner on a bender. If they had signed Buehrle to be the left-hander to slot between SS and Zim, that wouldn't have prevented them from signing EJax as the No. 4. If just would have meant no Gio, and we're better off with Gio. Much better off.

  27. Secret wasian man - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Sunshine, I assume when you refer to Jesus you mean Strasburg. Strasburg is a human being. I understand you reference meaning he is the Nats savior. But it is offensive to call anybody Jesus (GOD) who is not. Also, they way Stras is pitching lately he is surely not even the nats savior.

  28. BigCat - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Is it just me, or has Michael Morse lost a step this year?

  29. MicheleS - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Hmm Mark is tweeting that Espi is taking grounders at short. WHy not put Lombo their if it is only for a day.

  30. MicheleS - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    and Espi at short today

  31. sjm308 - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Mick – espi was a shortstop for years in the minors. Lots of people say he might even be better then Desmond. Lombo was a 2nd baseman for most of his minor league career. Its a win/win to put them both in a stronger position. Lombo honestly does not have the range or arm to play SS. Only difficulty is that Espi has not been there for over two years.Go Nats!

  32. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I hope Strasburg has a good day today. He needs a good rebound game after struggling just a bit. Worried aboit Desi but hoping the Nats can continue pulling rabbits out of hats. So far they have been able to rise above almost everything.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Rizzo has got to be working the phones like Frank Wren was Friday. Losing Desi's bat for any length of time hurts

  34. baseballswami - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Is there anything official yet? Dl or day to day? Is this all conjecture?

  35. natsfan1a - Jul 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Only saw the first three innings of the game because we were taking a friend out for a birthday dinner and then chit-chatting back at our house. Interestingly, I saw those early innings in the bar of the (Kingstowne) King Street Blues, where our party was seated. We got there a bit before 7, and they had the late innings of an O's game on. As Nats game-time approached, I asked my husband whether I should be a [pest] and ask them to switch over to the Nats, us not being in Baltimore and all. I didn't have to do that, though, as one of the guys seated at the bar asked them to change the channel and they did. Here's to you, bar dude! :-)

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