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Everything comes up Nats in win vs. Reds

Apr 26, 2013, 5:24 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Losers of four straight with a searching offense and erratic pitching, the Nationals’ 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night was perhaps the perfect medicine for a team in an unexpected position as they near the end of the season’s first month. Their bats woke up, they got the breaks their opponents had been getting, and their starting pitcher was buzzing right from the first pitch. Finally, things were going the Nationals way.
Whether it was offense, pitching, or defense in the field: everything seemed to work out for the home team.
“That was a big day,” manager Davey Johnson said. “A lot of guys were saying to me, ‘It’s been a long time since we were shaking hands.’ I said no doubt about that.”
“It was just a good all-around game. That’s more like who we are: Good pitching, timely hitting.”

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  1. Joe Seamhead - Apr 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Chase, thanks for the feel good report from the boys. They really needed something to give them a break from the frustration level that they had reached. So did we for that matter!

  2. Rabbit34 - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    It will take a lot more than this to convince me. Don't get me wrong. I loved this win. But any team is capable of beating another. The Nats have not proven that they can do it consistently…THIS YEAR. Last year means nothing.

  3. baseballswami - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    But this was a good reminder that the talent is there and that they can play like this. It was such a relief to see Gio being Gio again.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    So, who's on third tonight against RHP Bailey? Does Lombo get another start, giving him a chance to get his bat going,leaving Rendon on the bench?

  5. Dave - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Take a look at the photo of the Gatorade shower in today's WaPo (in the online app, at least.). Note the position of the bucket. Note that Gio's cap is unmoistened. This was not for Gio's benefit at all, methinks.

  6. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    With a good 8 game winning streak like the Brewers had we would be back where we want to be.

  7. baseballswami - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    I think it's unfair to stick someone in his least experienced position , in a different spot in the line up, for one game. The guy gives you a good at bat. Should have had a double to left field- Cozart came out of nowhere to catch a ball that should have dropped in. Lombo will make contact and some of those will get through or fall in. I think he is the best sub option at third. Guy can truly play anywhere out there and will rarely have an o- fer.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Well, Lombo sure held his own defensively last night. I still am not sold on him at third for any length of time, but I'd give that whole lineup another look see tonight, but who knows what Mr. Johnson will do?

  9. MicheleS - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Swami, Lombo was fine last night playing 3b. That is where he made his contribution last night. The rest of the team picked up the hitting – as it should. Also, on the Gatorade shower, you can hear Drew/Ryan say "Welcome Julie" after they doused her. And yes, it was a total setup. And Actually, I am okay with Julie – agree,I would rather have her do the post game than Carp. Gatorade showers are just good clean fun.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    From there previous postbaseballswami said…The pretty , young sideline girls just seem all the same. Fluffy , inane stuff. And the shaving cream and Gatorade – so junior high. Guy has a great game and you destroy his interview? Ha, ha, very funny. So professional and mature.April 25, 2013 10:26 PM–————————————————————–And ballplayers started maturing and quit pulling junior high school antics when?

  11. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. sjm308 - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Good question about 3rd base tonight. I realize Rendon is struggling but they have said repeatedly that he needs to play. I think he is back in tonight. Lombo is probably not happy with his role but for right now he is a utility player and they don't play every day. He did a nice job tonight at 3rd and you could make the case to keep him in. I just don't think Rendon needs to sit.

  13. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Corrected version, before I have my second cup of coffee.My husband would like more data points but gave Julie a conditional acceptance. Haven't watched the postgame but from photos it looks like she took the Gatorade shower well.On the antics, either someone's complaining that the guys aren't focused and are horsing around too much or another one's complaining that they're acting too goofy. It's nice to have something to complain about, right? Win games and I don't care what you do afterwards, boys. ;-)

  14. Gonat - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    “Today was just get the ball and go,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “He was rocking fire. That’s what Gio needs to do. That’s what Gio does. And when he does that, he’s successful most times out of not because his stuff is that good.”__________________________________That's interesting as I thought the pace was quicker as I watched. I can use the new buzz word here "rhythm" was going well even with those longer at-bats where Cozart and Frazier fouled off 5 or 6 pitches.

  15. baseballswami - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    About Lombo — Yes, I like the guy – hardworking, blue collar underdog. He is truly an asset as a utility guy. Rendon looks a little overmatched but they should play him while he is up – the experience will be great for him. The rest of the season I think Lombo should be the go – to sub, not Tracy, as we all know this is not the last time Zim will be out of the line up :( The new girl will probably be fine – seems to be the mlb type way that things are done. As for the antics – I am happy that they had reason to celebrate, but I always take issue with the shaving cream and gatorade stuff. Just seems like someone is going to tweak something. The shaving cream can damage eyes. Just wish they could find a safe way to honor the player of the night. I actually can't believe we are talking about such mundane things when Gio came very close to pitching a no hitter last night! It has been kind of lost among the resurgence of hitting. One hit and then three more outs – that is very, very close!!! When Gio is on it's a thing of beauty.

  16. Gonat - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    sjm308 said… I realize Rendon is struggling but they have said repeatedly that he needs to play_______________________________________Stuggling? The kid has played 4 games, give him a break. If he goes 2 for 4 tonight he will raise his BA to .211 and another 2 for 4 the next day and he is up to .261Tiny sample size.

  17. Gonat - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    I read a stat that Adam LaRoche has never hit Bronson Arroyo well. His career BA was like .065On the other hand, Danny Espinosa entered the game with a 4-6 vs Arroyo which was further reason to have him in there. Yah, I know small sample size.Everything worked out last night but LaRoche still looks horrible. I saw Youkilis just missed his 5th game with back pain. I just don't believe LaRoche is healthy but who knows. His swings are lousy but also his eye is bad. He actually stepped back from a fastball that zipped right over the plate for a strike 3 looking last night.

  18. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 26, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    "Gio was superb. Gio, JZ and Detwiler are all pitching lights out. The pen is now rock solid. When Strasburg gets it going, they will dominate. Desi is the key guy on defense. He has played better the last 2 games, as well. Things are going in the right direction, finally. It was good to see Espinoza have a good night, offensively, but that's not why he is in the lineup. He is 7 for 12 against Bronson Arroyo after last night, and was 5 for 9 against him going into the game. Too bad he can't face Arroyo every night.Give Davey credit for knowing his team and how to motivate them. Most of us were confident they would be back, but it's good to see them have one like last night. If they get pitching and defense like they had last night, they are going to win a lot of games.Bryce Harper is even beter than I thought. Last year he let his emotions get the best of him, at times. This year, he has the look of a Mafia hit man at the plate, or Arnie's Terminator. Stone cold killer eyes. Last year he went into a 2-month slump. This year he had a little 13 AB hitless streak before he made the necessary adjustment. Like the Terminator, he observes, learns, reprograms, readjusts and rearms. I am certain he wants to break Mel Ott's standard of 42 HRs by a 20-year-old. I wouldn't bet against that kid.Biggest offensive story was Span's 3 hit game. If he gets on, the Nats will score. Wait until Zim comes back healthy and Starsburg gets into a groove.Anyone who thinks Rendon is overmatched after 4 games needs to take a deep breath. That kid is going to be a great player. Only Harper has more potential than Rendon. If Davey has faith in Espinoza because he had a "great spring training," then what must he think of Rendon, who had a much, much better one?

  19. A DC Wonk - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    He actually stepped back from a fastball that zipped right over the plate for a strike 3 looking last night. In LaRoche's defense, if you're thinking about the same pitch that I'm thinking of, it was a pitch that was, indeed, inside, then tailed in over the inside corner. That was a mighty fine pitch, IIRC.

  20. Doc - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Great game–at last, I can take the brown bag off. It was getting in the way anyhow. I almost banged my head on the way to grab another beer!Lombo fans must have been pleased with his offense last night–almost overshadowed my guy Danny's modest display.Now about ALR…..

  21. Dave - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    I'm sure Julie will be fine. I just want to hear her ask some real baseball questions, not just "How does it feel to get a win?"Like, for example, "You went 112 pitches through the 8th. Do you feel like you had another inning in you?" For example.

  22. NCNatsie - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Joe Seamhead said: "So, who's on third tonight against RHP Bailey?"I Don't Know.

  23. mick - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I never doubted Gio and have said all along the Nats have 4 good starters, although Stras is only above average, he is not dominate right now. The pitching staff is what makes the Nats competitive. As long as you have pitching your team will be a contender.Good to see Desi and Espi hit. I have no idea what is up with ALR. I fear the worst that he is on a permanent decline, he reminds me of Richie Zisk after the up and coming Texas Rangers spent a boat load on him Zisk was gone before the end of the 1975 season. I mean how many more third strikes is ALT going to watch??

  24. mick - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    peric said…Dave Jageler had me in tears laughing, after Bernadina's hit, he says to Charlie Slowes, "thats a huge weight lifted off of Shark's dorsal fin"I wouldn't say that in mixed company … ~smiles~hee hee, I suspect you and I have the same sense of humor…."this one time at band camp" lol

  25. Dave - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Good one, NCNatsie.

  26. Joe Seamhead - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    mick, at this point I'm hesitant to say ALR is is serious decline, especially with his history of lousy Aprils for most of his career. I think the word "slump" is more appropriate at this point. It is supposed to start getting warmer soon. Let's hope Adam heats up, too.

  27. Joe Seamhead - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Is He Any Good, NCNatsie?

  28. EmDash - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Strasburg was dominant after the first inning in his last game – most really good pitchers will still have the occasional hiccup.I predict LaRoche will start heating up in the Pittsburgh series in early May – I remember that he generally does very well against them.

  29. Rich P. - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    It's not about Rendon. It's not about Lombo. It's about the team. Davey shook things up by re-arranging the batting order to put Lombo in the 2 hole. It worked great,so now you want him to change it after one game?If Lombo settles in at third base and #2 hitter until Zim gets back, that doesn't mean Rendon will ride the pine the whole time. He could be sent back down when Ramos comes back. They could go with three catchers for a week or so, allowing Ramos to get pinch hit ABs on the days Suzuki is catching to help ease him back from his DL stint. Sort of like an extended rehab assignment.Rendon is not up here for good yet, no matter how well he does. That was known the day he was called up, and nothing has happened to change that.

  30. NCNatsie - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Joe Seamhead said: "Is He Any Good, NC Natsie?"Well, sorta like Kobernus and Karns, I think.

  31. EmDash - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I think we have to be careful about assuming the offensive breakthrough happened because of the line-up shake-up. It's maybe more likely that Arroyo was just a good match-up for our line-up, or that they were due some luck in the other team committing errors and/or bloops falling for hits.I like Lombo, and he played a good third base – I was wrong about that. But he also didn't do anything, offensively speaking; that could be some bad luck, of course, but it's still true.

  32. mick - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Joe…. I hope you are right, but this is the worst start I can remember for ALR. In 2011, he was injured and saw the ball better than he does now before he went on the IR. With his age, I just wonder if this is teh classic over night turn for the worst

  33. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    (I'm just starting on my second cup.)Let it be officially recognized that Drake said it first, in yesterday's pregame. ;-)Joe Seamhead said…mick, at this point I'm hesitant to say ALR is is serious decline, especially with his history of lousy Aprils for most of his career. I think the word "slump" is more appropriate at this point. It is supposed to start getting warmer soon. Let's hope Adam heats up, too.April 26, 2013 8:51 AM

  35. NatsNut - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    =)I thought it; was waiting to see who'd post it. NCNatsie said… Joe Seamhead said: "So, who's on third tonight against RHP Bailey?"I Don't Know.

  36. 3on2out - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    After listening to Peric for the entire spring, I think I have it figured out how to fix the Nationals:New GM: PericNew Manager: PericNew 1B: ZimmermanNew 2B: KoberusNew 3B: RendonNew LF: MooreNew CF: HarperThe only thing I am not clear on: do we trade LaRoche, Span and Espinosa for prospects or have them join the goon squad and trade Lombo, Tracy and Bernadina? The devil is the details but I think I have outlined his basic solution. You get rid of the tried and true Major Leaguers who have had success at their respective positions and replace them with unproven, untested unknowns. It is really simple. Don't know why we all couldn't see it.

  37. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    He's on third; we're not talking about him.NatsNut said… =) I thought it; was waiting to see who'd post it. NCNatsie said… Joe Seamhead said: "So, who's on third tonight against RHP Bailey?" I Don't Know. April 26, 2013 9:30 AM 3on2out said…

  38. Doc - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    In his own mind 3on2out, I'm sure he already is the GM.

  39. A DC Wonk - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    mick said… Joe…. I hope you are right, but this is the worst start I can remember for ALR. In 2011,He's actually had worse (once)March/April batting average for LaRoche2012 .3292011 .1932010 .2962009 .2692008 .1742007 .1332006 .2002005 .2062004 .214career: .217But — still — strikeouts in six at bats in a row?! Yowza!

  40. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Evidently Julie knows her baseball and grew up a Mets fan. Here you go, boys.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Peric is right on Rendon for now. You have to get him back in there or send him back to AA. Those that are talking about Rendon's BA being bad have to consider its only 4 games.Also, those 2 errors were just both brain freeze types of plays. He's also made some really nice looking plays like charging for a short hop play and a backhanded play by the line that were really nice.The kid has a glove and an arm and definitely has a bat. Unfortunately he got called up and had to face 3 tough Cardinal pitchers and hasn't had the luxury of facing some Miami Marlin hacks to get going.I think the expectation levels sometimes are too high because we've been spoiled by Bryce Harper who is on pace for a very special season. Remember those goals he wouldn't disclose [TOP SECRET]

  42. John C. - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    In Peric's defense (phrases I never thought I'd type for $100, Alex), he is certainly not unique in managing/GMing from the stands or the internet. He does have more faith in his own acumen than virtually anyone else, sometimes perhaps to a fault, but the basic behavior of second guessing and pontificating to the point of tedium is a time honored baseball tradition :)

  43. NatsNut - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Hey Chase, I think WaPo has the right version of Suzuki's quote" "rock-and-fire" vs. "rockin' fire." Either way, it's still how we want Gio to pitch though.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Wonk, in 2011 LaRoche was injured so you can throw that stat out. In 2007 LaRoche was traded to Pittsburgh and wasn't too happy with the trade. Yes, he started off slowly. Did circumstances affect things more? Who knows. In 2008, he went into the season not looking right. Injured? Who knows. In fact in 2008, he really didn't get over the Mendoza line until May 18th. On June 6, 2008 he was batting .210Both of those Pittsburgh teams he played on were 90+ loss teams.LaRoche's career April numbers are still .217/.311/.397/.708

  45. JaneB - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    This makes my whole day better.

  46. Scott Margenau - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    3on2— that cracked me up! Swami– r u for real? U sound like a barell of fun.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    natsfan1a said… Evidently Julie knows her baseball and grew up a Mets fan. Here you go, boys. April 26, 2013 9:55 AM So you have Ladson who's a die-hard Yankees fan and Julie Alexandria who is a die-hard Mets fan.At least the Yankees don't play in the NL East but then again Ladson doesn't have a smile like Julie Alexandria.

  48. A DC Wonk - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    A few random comments from baseball prospectus this morning:- Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton: 3-for-12 with three singles. And in completely unrelated news, the Angels lost.- The Pirates dropped 14 hits on the Phillies, begging the question, which Pennsylvania team would you rather be over the next five seasons? (Neither is not an acceptable answer.)(note: that's three straight wins for the Pirates over the Phillies — who started Hamels, Halladay, and Lee in those games)

  49. Candide - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Keep hearing Rendon is finding the game is moving too fast for him, which happens all the time with young prospects (Harper being the outrageous exception).So I have no problem with sitting him for a day or so and absorbing things, getting a feel for the flow of the game at the ML level. I'd like to think he's sitting next to Zimm and getting the benefit of FoF's insight, but I don't think I saw him once in the dugout last night. There was one shot of Zimm talking with someone else (forget who), but it would really be good for everyone if Zimmerman took it upon himself to be Rendon's Werth-Harper mentor.BTW, Cunegonde called a while ago:"Did you have anything in mind what to do tonight?""Well, I checked the Airmen of Note's site" (Air Force band) "and they don't seem to be playing tonight. Why – you have some ideas?""Did you want to go to the game tonight?"Dang. I'm starting to wonder if next year she'll want to get season tickets…

  50. sjm308 - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    3on2 – very funny!!gonat – agreed it is only 4 games but what do you call a .100 batting ave.? if not struggling. Not sure the game is moving too fast for him, its probably an adjustment for every young player whether they are moving from A to AA but you have to think that his first time in the majors was just a bit exciting for him. Glad he did get that one nice double in his 2nd game and hopefully he can settle in, but he won't settle in by sitting on the bench.

  51. sjm308 - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Candide – if you guys do get a package of games next year I think it would be great to have Candide and Cunegonde printed on the Red Rewards Cards (or whatever they are calling them next year).Go Nats!

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    A DC Wonk said… A few random comments from baseball prospectus this morning:- The Pirates dropped 14 hits on the Phillies, begging the question, which Pennsylvania team would you rather be over the next five seasons? (Neither is not an acceptable answer.)Neither is still my answer.In other news, Jason Grilli is 36 years old and up until this year had 5 career saves and already has 9 saves with a 0.00 ERA. I only recall him as a horrible starter who then bounced around as a reliever. This is one of those moments where you go, how does that happen and can it last?

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    sjm308 said… 3on2 – very funny!!gonat – agreed it is only 4 games but what do you call a .100 batting ave.?Hey hay, he's well over .100 It was Adam Dunn who started yesterday's game at .099 and that wasn't a misprint although he hit a HR yesterday and is on pace for 32 dingers!Agreed 3on2 – very funny!! I will say that with all of Peric's chirping that if Ryan Zimmerman doesn't improve with his fielding that Peric was right about moving him to 1st sooner than later.Thinking back, I always thought it was too premature and even Ryan scoffed last year at the thought of moving across the diamond.If his yips can't be controlled then it has to happen and the Nats will have to figure something out.I still believe the 2 week funk the Nats were in were started by that meltdown after the error against the Braves.

  54. JD - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    JMO but I think that Rendon will be better served returning to Harrisburg, playing every day, working on stuff without the pressure cooker that is major league baseball. I think Lombo can man 3rd base for another week and we can use another power bat off the bench (Owings?). I think that when Ramos returns Solano goes back to Syracuse. I think he needs to show that he can produce enough offense to merit a full time job next year which should open up as Suzuki gets his next gig elsewhere,

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    JD, I mentioned Owings yesterday and the only issue as you are probably aware is that once he comes up and RZim comes off the DL someone is going to have to be sent down or to the DL or DFA'd.Owings has no options left.Marrero may be the better choice. He is tearing the cover off of the ball and has 6 HRs with the highest OPS on the Chiefs (1.047).

  56. JD - Apr 26, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Ghost,I didn't consider the options issue (I didn't know Owings status).I have to take Marrero's numbers with a grain of salt. I would like to give the player the benefit of the doubt but I've never really been impressed with his game.When I told Sam that Marrero is having a great April his reaction was: 'good, now may be a good time to trade him'.

  57. JD - Apr 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Ghost, I am not down on Rendon one bit. I think he'll be great. I am a great believer in making sure a player is put in a great position to succeed and I don't think Rendon is in that position now. It's not a tragedy; Trout was a disaster when 1st called up but the Angels nipped it at the bud quickly, send him down and when he came back up it was for good. I think Rendon can really put up nice numbers in AA and AAA and when he comes up he will know that he belongs.

  58. NatsLady - Apr 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Isn't Owings on a minor-league free-agent deal? I don't think options are an issue. He may have an opt-out, though.

  59. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 26, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Hey Chase, I think WaPo has the right version of Suzuki's quote" "rock-and-fire" vs. "rockin' fire." Either way, it's still how we want Gio to pitch though.Although, I have to say, "rocking fire" has a lot going for it. I think I like "Rocking the Fire!" better than "Natitude," but only if they give up on the "pitch to contact with 100MPH fastballs" thing.

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    NatsLady said… Isn't Owings on a minor-league free-agent deal? I don't think options are an issue. He may have an opt-out, though. April 26, 2013 12:15 PM Once he is called up, he would have to pass through waivers if the Nats wanted to send him back down.

  61. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    3on2out…….Great post…..made me laugh even harder then when I read his actual posts.Finally got a vacation win last nite and looking to make it 2 – 3 for our visit. And I'll continue to holler "throw friggin' strike 1" before ever first pitch by a Nat.

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