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Instant analysis: Braves 4, Nats 0

Jul 21, 2012, 8:14 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Edwin Jackson allowed only one run over seven strong innings.

Game in a nutshell: Only 13 1/2 hours removed from a crushing, 11-10 loss, the Nationals took the field for the first half of their day-night doubleheader with the Braves needing a strong performance from starter Edwin Jackson. They got it, with Jackson tossing seven innings of one-run ball, Brian McCann's solo homer in the second the only blemish. But Ben Sheets was even better for Atlanta, tossing six scoreless innings in his second big-league start since 2010. Another Henry Rodriguez meltdown resulted in an insurance run in the eighth. And then Chipper Jones' towering, pinch-hit blast in the ninth put the Nationals in a 4-0 hole they could not escape. Just like that, their lead in the NL East is down to 1 1/2 games, with John Lannan now asked to reverse the trend in the upcoming nightcap. Oh, and Bryce Harper had to leave this game after fouling a bunt attempt off his left ankle in the first inning. Suffice it to say, this wasn't a good afternoon.

Hitting lowlight: It's not that the Nationals didn't have chances against Sheets or the Braves bullpen. It's that they couldn't comeRead more »

  1. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    When do playoff tickets go on sale???Sincerely,Jim Mora

  2. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Is it raining there? It is here in NoVa. Will leave for the game at 5:30. Well, this one isn't on Davey or the bullpen. With any offense at all Edwin could have gone CG.

  3. joemktg - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Lannan called upon to stop the bleeding, and probably wants to prove to the club that they made a mistake. Double the pressure. Hoping he stays within himself.

  4. peric - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    When do playoff tickets go on sale???They are still a work in progress. The gnashing of teeth and moaning will only get worse then I imagine. But either way you look at it the young players are getting invaluable experience. They are making progress and getting better. No one expected them to get this far. IN the playoffs no one would expect them to last a single series.Let's be realistic … its about developing young players to play meaningful games hopefully this year and a good number of years in the future. They appear to be achieving that.Albeit, JayB, they do need to do better in terms of their International presence and signings given how they've been handcuffed by the new draft rules.

  5. happy 2 pylon - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    peric – thanks for the positive comments. really. you're much more even tempered then many gie you credit for. and even when you're in a snit, you're nowhere near as obnoxious as some of the others. it's a glass half full thing maybe; when a lot of glasses here are empty. and bottles, too, lol.

  6. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Shame. With any offense at all Edwin could have gone eight with Mattheus for the ninth. Might have even gone CG although I think his pitch count was over 100 after seven. Can't put this one on Davey or the bullpen.It's raining here, sort of misting. Leaving for the game at about 5:30. Don't have hope for Lannan pitching beyond 6 or 7 but the Barves are in the same position, so we might just have a slop-fest.

  7. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said…When do playoff tickets go on sale???Sincerely,Jim Moralol best post my friend!!!

  8. NatsLady - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Sorry for double posts, am at work and having computer challenges.

  9. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    peric said…When do playoff tickets go on sale???They are still a work in progress. The gnashing of teeth and moaning will only get worse then I imagine. But either way you look at it the young players are getting invaluable experience. They are making progress and getting better. agreed and that is why I have said since April that 2013 is the year, because by then our stars in Potomac and Syracuse will be ready and the remaining over rated garbage that we count on to show leadership after games like last night will be some other teams garbage

  10. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Peric-The cliches are reaching an all-time high today. This team is every bit as talented as any in the NL this year. This is about performance and toughness…not talent level. Would you rather have the Braves roster or the Nationals roster? They don't have 1 pitcher that would be in our top 3, and Hudson isn't much better than Jackson.

  11. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    EJax really stepped up. It did not look like Sheets had stuff that was very good, or that his location was any better. He left a number of pitches out over the plate that the Nats just did not hit. Maybe pressing a little after last night.Ejax deserved better. I don't know where his game went for the past month, but he had it today.Wonder if Bryce is OK.

  12. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Good start by Edwin, keeping the game close and helping to preserve bullpen arms. Too bad it went for naught from a winning perspective, for him and for the team. And speaking of perspective, good post from peric.

  13. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Also wondering about Bryce here. If they said anything during the broadcast, I missed it. Was multitasking with multiple laundry loads. Good news is, no more dirty laundry left to air at my house. :-)

  14. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Oh, just found this from Mark in the game thread:2:21 p.m. — The official update on Harper: He was taken out of the game for "precautionary" reasons with a "sore left ankle." No word about any X-rays or other tests. Here's my full story, which I'll update as I get more info.

  15. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Fear and Ignoranceherein is the difference with Braves and Nats, Braves top players play like stars when it counts… Nats best players play like frighten puppies when its on the line. If the braves blew a9 run lead the night before they would have come out with attitudes, the Nats instead of coming back with an attitude, played scared. Until that changes, nothing changes.

  16. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Harper MRI is negative… just heard, he probably will not play today

  17. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    It was an X-ray per Mark's Tweeter (as opposed to an MRI):"X rays on Harper's ankle negative. Don't know yet if he can play tonight."

  18. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    natsfan1 Davey said it was an MRI

  19. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Thanks, got it. Puppies = bad. Stars = good. Next up, kittens vs. celebrities. :-)

  20. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Thanks for the sourcing, Mick. Evidently there is some confusion as to which test was done.

  21. JayB - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    HROD = Rick Ankel without the talent and feel for the game……Rizzo has to face it….his trade of Willingham failed and was just about saving money….just like Chapman was not worth the money and Maya and Martin are much better International Signings……Rizzo is a JOKE

  22. djinFl. - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Mick- you called these men over rated garbage?You wish you could play half as well as any of them. They all worked hard to get here and you must have not put forth the effort they did, so now you can only criticize. I hope the young kids reading this site have been instructed by their parents that you are just one of those folks that have no class.

  23. JayB - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Billy Bean had a much better Winter than Rizzo…..cleaned up on trades and spend money on International signings…..Rizzo….Nothing Internationally and taken to the cleaners of trades and spent 3 times what A's did

  24. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Most important series of the year. Just needed a split to keep the status quo (still can do that).Pitchers Strasburg fine for 5 inning sucked the sixth, EJax fine for 7 inning.Bullpen at best terrible. (some say overused. No way over used. Since all star break only Gio's start Thursday less than 5 (and one other was 5) innings. So that is nonsense.Hitters great through 5 innings. pathetic since.They reminded me of the 2008-2010 Nats these last 2 games. i expect more now. What has happened to the great pitching? McCatty your paid to fix this, so do it.

  25. JayB - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    agreed on the word garbage…..issue is picking players who do not have the same level of talent and performance as others who were available…..that is what Rizzo must take a good long look in the Mirror on……Chapman not worth the money…Maya is better value……still recall that line.

  26. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I , for one, am looking forward to John Lannan's start tonight. The man has paid his dues the last few years and by going down to AAA this season. My best memories — he broke Chase Utley's hand and got tossed in his first outing. Hilarious. But really, last year , I think June first? he beat the Phillies 1 to 0 and Laynce Nix made a phenomenal catch to save it. Great game. He is a tough dude, don't count him out. I wish I could be there to cheer for him and I hope he gets a nice reception. As to the 3 game losing streak and all the gnashing of teeth.Did you really think the Nats would be in first place almost wire to wire this season? We still could, but really? We have beat up on the Braves and they obviously didn't give up. The Dodgers won't, the Mets won't the giants won't and we won't, either. Over two months left.Every time the team has hit a bad time, they have come back. My money is on these guys – they are young and inexperienced but they seem to learn from ugly series.

  27. DWS - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Tell me JayB, how would you improve this team?I believe the question was asked previously. And how come somebody hasn't hired you?

  28. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    In all the craziness, it's kind of been lost that another veteran bench player is gone. I don't think anyone is sorry, just with the catching carousel, the DL march and the DFA's I think some of the guys might feel like there is a guillotine in the clubhouse and if they stand in the wrong place it might fall on them.Things just feel uneasy right now – I am hoping that there is some mid-course re-adjusting going on and once things settle out they can get back on track. So what's left at this point? Are we keeping this catcher or will Solano return? Just Werth and Tracy now? 2 more moves?

  29. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Oh – and Davey sounds depressed. I wonder when we will have line ups. DeRosa for sure?

  30. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    peric, your 4:21 is right on! This team is a work in progress that happens to be playing excellent thus far. Contrary to what Mick says, there is no garbage on this team. However, we do need some upgrades.

  31. NatsJim - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    There is garbage on this blog, however… and apparently drunks.

  32. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    NatsJim – and not even the night game yet.

  33. Section 222 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    I hear Phil Wood going on and on about how if John Lannan has a quality start tonight that means the Nats can forgo getting another starting pitchr for the September stretch run. Ok fine. Now how about if he gets shelled tonight? The Braves are on a roll, and I for one am worried. The most concerning thing about the last two games has been the collapse of our until now spectacular bullpen. Who can go tonight? Are we now needing Lannan not only not to get hammered, but to go deep into the game? Yikes.I'll be there cheering my loudest though. Now is no time for the fans to give up on our guys.

  34. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    baseballswami said… Oh – and Davey sounds depressed. I wonder when we will have line ups. DeRosa for sure? July 21, 2012 5:14 PM Yeah, Davey looks and sounds depressed. I think he is beating himself up a little bit. We need to cheer him up with a couple of wins now.

  35. OutsideTheLaw - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Wife sick for tonight's game, I have an extra ticket in 3rd row behind Nats dugout, half price to any regular poster on this board, email to gmail, can meet on Half Street up until game time.

  36. OutsideTheLaw - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    email OutsideTheLaw at gmail

  37. JayB - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    signing Chapman and A's Cuban CF from this off season would have been smart.Stop wasting roster spots of Nady types would have been smart.Stop sinking good roster time on HROD in hopes of saving face on a horrible trade of Willingham would be smart.Sign bats that are in their prime in the winter…..Lots of options were there….They just did not want to spend on them. Mike C, Rick A, Nady, Tracey….you get what you pay for…..all under a million.Stop wasting good money and roster space on Wang….that is a joke.I am not the GM and an not qualified under any pipe dream…..just Rizzo has the job and has to step up and make the tough decisions….and he has failed in the international market place. He has failed in the Bench area and he he has failed to make the decisions this year that move the team forward……treading water does not win championships or even wildcards.

  38. David Proctor - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. SonnyG10 - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    I've been applying UnkD's advise and just concentrate on enjoying watching my Nats play. They are in development mode and it pays to not get too serious about them. Just enjoy the ride. They are going to be good for a long time.

  40. hmm... - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    To live, outside the law, you must be honest, darlin

  41. baseballswami - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    SonnyG – I also have been adjusting my mindset and just enjoying the baseball. I love this team and everything they have brought this season. They are just so young and bound to have struggles. Every team has bad times. I agree that this team is going to be a force for a long time. They still have some stuff to work out, but have over-achieved this season in the face of a lot of challenges. Go Nats! – Go Johnny Boy!

  42. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Phillies fans. You wait two generations, and then it turns out you're Phillies fans. Didn't see that coming.

  43. Nats212 - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    JayB U sound ridiculous, just saying…..

  44. natsfan1a - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Nor did I. Booooooooooo! Oh, wait. :-)Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… Phillies fans. You wait two generations, and then it turns out you're Phillies fans. Didn't see that coming. July 21, 2012 5:58 PM

  45. peric - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    This is about performance and toughness…not talent level. Would you rather have the Braves roster or the Nationals roster? The Nationals roster is young and high ceiling. They lack experience which they are now getting. Rome wasn't built in a day. Just ask Jim Palmer F&I.

  46. snopes1 - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    "Braves top players play like stars when it counts …." Really? I always thought the last month of a season was the definition of "when it counts."You seem to have forgotten, in your zeal to pull everyone's chains, that most people here still remember September 2011. I was at the final weekend against the Braves at Nats Park last year, when the Braves needed to win desperately and completely choked.To refresh your memory — entering the final month of the regular season with a record of 80–55 and an 8 1⁄2-game lead in the Wild Card standings, the Braves went 9–18 in September to finish the season with a record of 89–73. That didn't "count"?—————————-mick said…Fear and Ignoranceherein is the difference with Braves and Nats, Braves top players play like stars when it counts… Nats best players play like frighten puppies when its on the line. If the braves blew a9 run lead the night before they would have come out with attitudes, the Nats instead of coming back with an attitude, played scared. Until that changes, nothing changes.

  47. peric - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Ok fine. Now how about if he gets shelled tonight? The Braves are on a roll, and I for one am worried. The Nats have plenty of BETTER starters in AAA and perhaps AA if Karns makes it there … than Lannan. Starting with Zach Duke and Jeff Mandel. Really, this is a case of placating Lannan and his agent. Lannan gets shelled and its we paid you 5 million for all you did when this team was the dregs. But you contributed to that … face it, look at it John Lannan. If not for Riggleman with quick hooks and a bullpen that was very loyal to Lannan watching his back he would have looked a lot worse … well kind of like he does today in AAA. Really horrendous. His friends had to bail him out one time to often and in Clippard's and Storen's case leading to their arm issues. He has been paid 5 million guaranteed by a grateful organization but that does not make him an effective major league pitcher. Look at how many quality starts this team has gotten from pitchers paid a lot less?

  48. Secret wasian man - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    So natsjim. If someone has a different opinion than you then there DRUNK. Nice attitude.

  49. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Not all drunks. Just certain ones. And you say that as if it were a bad thing!

  50. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. mick - Jul 21, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    mick said…djinFl. said…Mick- you called these men over rated garbage?You wish you could play half as well as any of them. They all worked hard to get here and you must have not put forth the effort they did, so now you can only criticize. I hope the young kids reading this site have been instructed by their parents that you are just one of those folks that have no class.you need to lighten up pal, you obviously cherry pick the post from by me that you don't like. For starters, ge it right, i said there was some garbage and that 2013 the Nats will be very good, so at least get what I posted right.stop being a nasty troll, I won't cross the bridge your under, lol

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