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Instant Analysis: Braves 9, Nats 0

Apr 14, 2013, 8:21 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Game in a nutshell: Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals were in trouble right from the first pitch of the game. B.J. Upton took a fastball to left field for a leadoff double and the Braves never looked back. An Evan Gattis double two batters later took the lead and a Chris Johnson single two batters after that made it 3-0 in the first. Matters got even worse for Gonzalez in the third inning with a leadoff homer by Justin Upton and a three-run shot later in the frame by Andrelton Simmons. Seven earned runs later and Gonzalez had his worst day in a Nats uniform.
Hitting lowlight: The Braves are not only hot at the plate, but have one of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now in Paul Maholm. The Atlanta lefty tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings to extend his streak to begin the season to 20 2/3 innings without a allowing a run.

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  1. djinFl. - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Very ugly weekend!! Time to go south and take it out on the Marlins.

  2. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Crazy April so far. Can't see things staying this way. Jordan tomorrow. Hope he is the stopper. Go Nats!

  3. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Hopefully, Davey finds a way to keep things from unraveling further without having to wait for the ubiquitous DL stays.

  4. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Yuck. Shower that one off and hope for some good fishing in Miami.

  5. Secret wasian man - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Just not a good team right now. UGLY. But if we can beat the mediocre or less teams we will be fine. Hard to watch lately though.

  6. Secret wasian man - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Gotta get 5 of the next 6.

  7. David Proctor - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Loved Bob's line signing off: "Hope the Nationals are ready for some seafood." This next series should help us regain some confidence.

  8. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    they just need a win right now and try to win each series one at a time

  9. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Now the Barves will let down their guard and get cocky? It is not possible for them to keep this up. And it is not possible for the Nats to be this cold, unlucky and sloppy. Stay tuned and try to stay off the ledge and away from sharp objects.

  10. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    they just need a win right now and try to win each series one at a timeThey need to try to win one game at a time. They need to start getting on base and moving the line again.

  11. NatsJim - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Got new posted…peric said…Lots of empirical evidence for similar players at age 34 NatsJim. Lots and lots.Fine, prove it. Give me your best example of a 33-year old who hit 33+ HR and 100+ RBI and then fell apart the following season without suffering a major injury. I will allow that the possibility of getting injured is there, but we're talking strictly performance here so I want to see all this empirical data where MVP caliber 33-year olds suddenly can't hit as a 34-year old.

  12. David Proctor - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Just to maintain some sanity (and I'm not defending our play this series, it was bad..), at 7-5, we're on pace to win 95 games still. We have so much room for improvement still and the Braves will obviously come back to Earth. We have issues we need to fix, but we're 7% of the way through the season.

  13. EmDash - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Well, no one didn't think the Braves would be good; they and the Nats were both picked as top teams. And I had a feeling Upton would go off once he was out of whatever weirdness is in Arizona. It'll be a good battle between the two teams this season.Hope Espi' s hand is okay. Might be a good idea to rest him and some other regulars for a game or two of the Miami series.

  14. David Proctor - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    LaRoche always starts slow. He's notorious for it. My bigger concern is Zimmerman.

  15. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Fine, prove it. Give me your best example of a 33-year old who hit 33+ HR and 100+ RBI and then fell apart the following season without suffering a major injury.That's easy NatFansJim I'll start with the most familiar. And? There's plenty more. Prolly articles by Fangraphs on the topic.Frank Howard age 33: 15 doubles, 1 triple, 44 home runs. .283/.416/.962 132 walks.Frank Howard age 34: 25 doubles, 2 triples, 26 home runs. .279/.367/.84077 walks.By age 35 he was basically done.

  16. Mickey Vernon - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Left game after five innings. Had great seats but sight line to home was often blocked by endless stream of vendors and fans on way to/from concession stands. In DC, the national passtime appears to be eating and drinking. The Nats played lifelessly while the canned music and megatron hoopla went on and on. To make matter worse, the row behind me was occupied by Braves fans greeting each Nat ground out and strikeout with "All day long." and, of course, the chop.

  17. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    LaRoche always starts slow. He's notorious for it.He'll be 34 in June. There's a somewhat decently high degree of probability he may stay slow …

  18. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Zim can be streaky and is starting his season late. I predict a long hit streak this season. Lombo will hold the fort just fine for Espi to rest. The Onion will bring some energy.

  19. David Proctor - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    There is not a "high degree of probability" of that. 34 year olds are not decrepit old men. He is not 37 or 38. Is it possible? Yeah, it is. But we have absolutely no evidence that that is what is going on beyond the neverending torrent of negativity that has infiltrated this site.

  20. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    They need to find a way to get Moore into the lineup on a regular basis. That should solve some of what ails the offense permanently. Lombo, Span, Espy, Werth are all interchangeable parts. Espy with that rotator cuff can't be relied on as a run producer.Desmond showed some decent power last season. But its unclear whether that was an outlier or not.Zim is still rehabbing.Harper is Harper.

  21. Unknown - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    it was a great game! even though the Nats lost, it was Pups in the Park day, so Bailey got to meet plenty of new friends. And I tried Shake Shack for the first time, it was delicious.Go Nats!

  22. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    peric your Hondo analysis is better served from age 34-35. In all fairness to Hondo, in 1970, his stats are not bad considering that Ted williams began to platoon Mike Epstein and Hondo. this means that neither Epstein and Hondo were always in the lineup like they were in 1969. Epstein hit 30 HRs in 1969 and Ken McMullen hit 25. McMullen was traded in April 1970 for a young Aurilio Rodrigues. This meant that 2 power hitters were out of the Nats lineup which made it easier for pitchers to pitch to Hondo, thus his HR's went from 44 to 26

  23. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    But we have absolutely no evidence that that is what is going on beyond the neverending torrent of negativity that has infiltrated this site.Uhhh I just produced some above dude? What are you smoking David Proctor? Berkman, even Pujols and both are elite hitters far higher in the stratosphere than LaRoche? Look at Texiera between the ages of 30-32.Unless they are converted to DH's, with around 1/2 the number of plate appearances they usually go down very quickly like Hondo did.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    The numbers quoted by that poster were for Howards 34 and 35 year old ages, not 33/34 as stated. And you can look it up.

  25. NatsJim - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    According to baseball reference, the most similar player to ALR at age 32 is Tony Clark; in his age 33 season (which is what ALR is in now, not sure why you say he'll be 34 in June – his birthday is in November) Clark hit .304/.366/1.003 with 30HR & 87 RBI. He was then injured in his age 34 season and was basically done thereafter, hitting 17HR as a 35 year old and not much after.Do you have a more recent example of the 33/34 decline than Frank Howard? Something from the 21st century with modern training and workouts in play?

  26. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    peric your Hondo analysis is better served from age 34-35. In all fairness to Hondo, in 1970, his stats are not bad considering that Ted williams began to platoon Mike Epstein and Hondo.No Mick I remember it well. Hondo was in left field when Epstein played. At first base against left-handers. He got his 600 at bats. He was their best hitter.Hitters like Matt Stairs declined at that age. He was rescued by reducing the number of plate appearances, the DH and his pinch hitting.There is a high statistical probability that LaRoche could experience a steep decline especially considering his ongoing back issues. Which affected him last season as well.

  27. NatsJim - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Thank you mick for the background on the Howard numbers, I was 2 years old in 1970 so didn't catch many of the Nats games… 8)

  28. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  29. pk24 - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    I'm not worried about ALR. He has been making good contact. The ball just hasn't been dropping for him. He was robbed of a double by Heyward yesterday and had several other solidly hit long fly balls during this series.

  30. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    But NatsJim you are right … LaRoche was born in November I don't know how I got June but yes he is going to be 33 throughout this season which as you suggest is a good thing statistically.

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    That poster must know more than Baseball Almanac.

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    And comparing an 33/34 yo athlete of today versus a guy in 1970 that smoked 1 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day doesn't cut it much, either.

  33. Travis Williams - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    This team is in trouble folks…they played over their heads last year. They will finish in fourth place in their division this year and it will take 2 more years before reaching another playoff.

  34. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Those are the ages and stats listed by Baseball Reference … and as for Howard smoking?You mean no athlete in the 21st century smokes packs a day?Scott Olsen is laughing at you Natsjack.

  35. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    How many home runs did Scott Olsen hit and where is he today? I'll take LaRoche.

  36. Gabor Mehes - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Interesting but nobody seemed to notice that Gio's two seamer topped at 89 and his four seamer at 92. These are four miles lower than his speed last year. Considering that he cannot spot his pitches very well, walks and home runs will be on the table. Perhaps it is time to call the clinic in Miami.

  37. UnkyD - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    1970 was Hondo's age 33 season (turned 34 in August). Career #s in HRs, RBI and BB. Precipitous drop in all these, the following year, in 8 fewer games (though 10 more 2B, in '71). According to BB Ref…Point for Peric, although it hardly proves his blanket statement, IMHO…

  38. DJB - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    This is a bad team folks. Enjoy the park, but don't expect them to win much. Rizzo will need to be fired. The Braves obviously improved and we took a step back.

  39. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    We are showing some issues but the sky is not falling. I don't think I have ever in my life seen a hitter go the first two weeks and be as downright unlucky as Adam Have you been watching the games or just checking box scores. He has been not only unlucky but robbed, too. They will start to fall in. I hope we go back and read these posts later. Utter panic after 12 games, 4 series. For goodness sake, it's Aoril. We are not 0 and 12.

  40. DJB - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Its the pitching Swami. Gio's velocity and location are down. Our bullpen is prone to blowups. Haren is a disaster. Our team batting is middling to above average. There is much at stake for this franchise.

  41. UnkyD - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Marathon. Not sprint.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Frank Howard turned 22 on August 8, 1958 and played his first Major League game on September 10, 1958 establishing his first season as age 22 season. Had he played a game prior to his bithday, that would have established his age as 21 but he didn't.Baseball Almanac has it correct.

  43. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Point for Peric, although it hardly proves his blanket statement, IMHO…Its not "blanket" but the statistical probabilities do slant heavily against the player outside the steroid era.

  44. UnkyD - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    That seems a little nit picky, NJ… But that makes it entirely in keeping with the argument…. He was 33 for …2/3 of the season?

  45. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Either way LaRoche is actually 33 which in the end is statistically a good thing as opposed to about to turn 34 as I mistakenly assumed. Next season is the season to be on the watch not this one.

  46. UnkyD - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Classic baseball discussion; plenty of room for both sides to claim to be right… About something that doesn't much matter…lol

  47. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    And by next season Rendon could be ready …

  48. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Gio is young, he is not Halladay. He can be erratic at times. You don't go from winning 21 to nothing within less than a year. And the clinic comments are just not classy. Jordan and Det looking great, Stras inconsistent, Haren so so. 2 or 3 starts so far. Even Cain and Verlander have had stinkers. Well at least most of the bullpen will be fresh as a daisy! And — news flash. HRod has not been giving up runs and plunking people! It's a process.

  49. DJB - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    By the way, was Rizzo general manager when Zimmerman was signed to the long contract? It doesn't seem his MO. Just curious.

  50. EmDash - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Gio's velocity was around 94 in the previous start, if I recall. Could just be an off day.Seriously, the team has problems, but bailing on the season at this point is just strange.

  51. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    By the way, was Rizzo general manager when Zimmerman was signed to the long contract?Assistant GM for the extension. And GM for the most recent long-term contract. But unlike Werth he does not have a no-trade clause.

  52. peric - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    And hopefully Davey will let Espy sit a few games to get some reps to Lombo.

  53. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Was at the game and noticed no life from the team anytime long before the game and into it.The last 20 innings 1 run (espi homer) and 10 hitsDo i need to start my annual throw Eck out campaign.

  54. gail - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    Awful series. No offense, poor pitching. Team seemed lifeless. Too many kudos before the season began got to their heads. I was at today's game – and I didn't see any oomph.

  55. baseballswami - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    You know – morse and DeRosa were known to keep everyone loose in the dugout. They do seem awfully tight and serious. I understand the not getting too high or too low thing, Will adversity pull them together? Who are the leaders? Werth and Tracy?

  56. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    My error. In the last 26 innings. 1 run 10 hits

  57. oscar ballestero - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Chop chop chop….man my boys are rolling right now!!!And we aint even at full strenght…..11—1

  58. Positively Half St. - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    I took my three kids today for my middle kid's birthday. I was ready to bribe them to leave after 7-0, it was so clearly a lost cause. To their credit, though, they insisted we stay the whole game.Getting swept by Atlanta engendered more passion for the rivalry, but not as much as the Braves fans starting with the chop and "accidental racist" chant in the last third of the game with the sole purpose of rubbing it in. Many continued as we filed out; are these Phillie fans in disguise?+1/2St.

  59. natsfan1a - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    As Mr. Burns might say, excellent…UnkyD said… Classic baseball discussion; plenty of room for both sides to claim to be right… About something that doesn't much matter…lol April 14, 2013 6:03 PM

  60. John C. - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    I see that adversity has brought out the Legion of Doom in full force. We had to listen to the LoD throughout last year, as each month last year the Nats imploded/ran into a buzz saw at some point. In April getting swept by the Dodgers (5 game losing streak); May was the sweep by the Marlins; June the sweep by the Yankees; July was the first two games of the Braves' series; August another five game losing streak including getting swept by the resurgent Phillies. September, swept by the Braves.And every. single. time. the LoD came out and explained that the Nats were overrated, doomed, overachieving, etc. And the LoD never, ever tired of being wrong. It's remarkable, really.

  61. Eric - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Somehow I am more relaxed about everything now. I dunno. Thomas Bozwell had a great article in the Post a couple of weeks ago about how no team catapults directly to the WS in their first winning season. They need to learn how to choke and lose and then…just let it go.Honestly, I don't think the Nats have emerged from playoff mentality. I know I only just did during game two of the series with the White Sox. Zimm's throw to second yesterday reeked not of a lingering injury to me, but of panic.But, we'll see.

  62. Eric - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Somehow I am more relaxed about everything now. I dunno. Thomas Bozwell had a great article in the Post a couple of weeks ago about how no team catapults directly to the WS in their first winning season. They need to learn how to choke and lose and then…just let it go.Honestly, I don't think the Nats have emerged from playoff mentality. I know I only just did during game two of the series with the White Sox. Zimm's throw to second yesterday reeked not of a lingering injury to me, but of panic.But, we'll see.

  63. btharner - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Made the 370 mile round trip today and the Nats got drubbed. Shouldn't be surprised, they are 2-8 over the last three years when the Mrs. and I show up.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 92 64 --
ATLANTA 76 81 16.5
NEW YORK 76 81 16.5
MIAMI 75 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 86 21.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Tuesday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (2) 92 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 70 5.0
-------------------------
y-PITTSBURGH 86 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 0.5
MILWAUKEE 80 77 6.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
TUE: OFF
Full season schedule

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