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Instant analysis: Nats 2, Braves 0

May 2, 2013, 1:25 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Ian Desmond rounds the bases after his fourth-inning homer.

Game in a nutshell: In a game the Nationals absolutely needed to win, who better to send to the mound than Jordan Zimmermann? The right-hander once again was brilliant, tossing eight scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out eight. The Nationals didn't offer him much run support, but they got the one big blow they needed when Ian Desmond launched a two-run homer in the top of the fourth. They also suffered another potentially crushing injury when Bryce Harper appeared to tweak something on a sixth-inning swing and had to leave the game. No matter, Zimmermann took care of things for eight innings, then handed it over to Rafael Soriano to close out the ninth. Thus the Nationals finally beat the Braves for the first time in 10 tries and got themselves back to the .500 mark with one more game to go in this big series.

Hitting highlight: Desmond had never hit cleanup before in the big leagues, but he certainly looked comfortable in the role tonight. Pressed into services with Jayson Werth and Ryan ZimmermanRead more »

  1. MicheleS - May 2, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!!! JORDAN IS A BEAST!!! UNTUCK EVERYONE!

  2. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 2, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Jordan Zimmerman shows again how to win despite poor hitting. The rest of the team needs to just follow suit. If the teams scores 1 or 2. Winning only happens by shutting them out.

  3. Sj - May 2, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    JZ was awesome 2nite. Consistent ang strong.

  4. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Very strange that the Legion Of Doom stayed away tonight.Baseball Gods smiled on RSoriano. That K to Shafer was a ball all night but then again the K Zone got larger on 3-2 counts.

  5. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Combined 2 hitter and could've been a no-hitter.

  6. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Wasn't able to watch this one, so once again I'm going to have to watch the recording of Znn pitching rather than the Nats scoring. At least this time, I know that you can't fast forward too fast or you miss the inning altogether!

  7. Joe Seamhead - May 2, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Meanwhile Philly losing 5-0. Lee gives up 5, 4 earned with a little help from our old buddy Jimmy Rollens.

  8. David Proctor - May 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 29sApparently good news on Bryce Harper. Just a bad bruise from crashing into wall last night.James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP 18sDavey says Bryce Harper's injury is related to yesterday's catch. Bruise on left side. Meds given. Day to day.This is the best case scenario. Even if he misses a few days, we need to exhale if that's all it is.

  9. SCNatsFan - May 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    All night long I was waiting for something bad to happen and I am so glad I was wrong. Shame on me.

  10. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Some people think I am the Legion of Doom. I still think we can win 95 to 100. I just report what is happening.

  11. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    I hope every other pitcher on the bench and in the bullpen is watching Jordan- that, my friends , is the art of pitching. Not one person on our staff is putting it together like he is. Masterful. And you know what? Bryce has been carrying this team. Time everyone else picked up the slack. Last year when all the good people were out, others rose to the occasion. Step up.

  12. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Scooter - May 2, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    O how I love my Jordan.

  14. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Manassas Nats' Fan said… Some people think I am the Legion of Doom. I still think we can win 95 to 100. I just report what is happening._____________________________I don't think so. It's one thing to critique and analyze and another to be a doom and gloomer like Secret Wasian was last night and a few others.

  15. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    baseballswami said… I hope every other pitcher on the bench and in the bullpen is watching Jordan- that, my friends , is the art of pitching. Not one person on our staff is putting it together like he is. Masterful. And you know what? Bryce has been carrying this team. Time everyone else picked up the slack. Last year when all the good people were out, others rose to the occasion. Step up. May 01, 2013 9:39 PM __________________________The 1-3 hitters + Desi and the catchers and JZim and Det with some good performances by the other 3 starters.Stras would look great on paper if he was getting run support.

  16. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 2, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    i get disappointed, but always assume we will end up with the President's Cup.Oops forgot they only have that in hockey. 95 wins this year minimum.

  17. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Espinosa could be back starting on Friday if Lombo doesn't get his butt in gear. His ABs tonight were as effective as Espi.Rendon has to be the future 2nd baseman here. He had all good ABs tonight even though he went hitless with the walk he still has a sound approach.

  18. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Stras would look great if he ever got his head together.

  19. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 2, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    However Stras out of the stretch not good enough.

  20. MicheleS - May 2, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Mannassas, you are NOT a member of the Legion of Doom

  21. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    Hi MicheleS! The in-game thread was actually fun tonight!

  22. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    If Werth and Bryce are out tomorrow it will look like a split-squad roster for Thursday.

  23. Doc - May 2, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Da Bulldog done took a bite outta da Braveless!

  24. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    Once again the pitchers were pitching like they had a train to catch. While some teams went six and a half hours this week , our games have just flown by. Silver lining of absolutely no offense.

  25. Secret wasian man - May 2, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    I saidm21 wins this month. That's 1

  26. LoveDaNats - May 2, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    New Day! New Month! Love the result! Keep it up, boys. No pressure, Haren.

  27. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    Good to hear that the X-Ray on Werth's ankle was negative. Anyone hear an explanation why they didn't get him an X-Ray right after the game when he was hurt?

  28. Secret wasian man - May 2, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    One topic of doom however. ALR. PLEASE wake up

  29. Teddy Rochlis - May 2, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    anyone else feeling the rendon, instead of lombo???

  30. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. William O. Douglas Loeffler - May 2, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    1975 Reds started off 18-19….

  32. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    I hope every other pitcher on the bench and in the bullpen is watching Jordan- that, my friends , is the art of pitching.Especially Storen. Laboring over each pitch is not going him any good. Tank up and fire it.Soriano is setting a great example too. Did you see how he refused to be distracted or unnerved by the antics of the guys in the batters box . Moving as he delivered the pitch, calling time out at the last second. Nothing bothers that guy. Untuck is right!

  33. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    I have been a huge cheerleader for Lombo but he is ticking me off. Not making errors, not k- Ing a lot, but he has changed his approach and he is not having good at bats and seeing lots of pitches,working the count the way he used to. If he is going to be a Espi clone, we might as well have Espi. Who wants a job?

  34. Rich P. - May 2, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    There's no reason to give him an X-ray right away. If the swelling went down quickly and the pain subsided, that would be an indication that nothing was broken, and an X-ray would be superfluous then. Exposure to ionizing radiation is cumulative, so it makes sense for the patient's overall health to not give them X-rays unless they are really necessary.

  35. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 2, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    II do have a legion of doom evil twin who has equested Eck to leave 3 years now.

  36. Secret wasian man - May 2, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    Give Lombo a break. He's a young kid. If we're gonna let ALR bat .130 you can't get pissed at the young guys.

  37. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Once again, I stayed away from the game postings.Does anyone comment on how Soriano keeps his same expression no matter what the situation. You honestly can't tell what the count is. I also wonder if he writes new stuff in his hat each game or if it is the same. FP insinuated it is a prayer, would love to know.Great win. Even though Mick will be trashing him from the get go, I am looking for Haren to build on what he did last time. Split with the Braves and then 2 of 3 from the Pirates and we head home in decent shape.Manassas Fan – how can you be a LoD when you predicted or came close to predicting one of our best wins? Baseball is a game that was meant to be analyzed, just don't sell your season tickets yet my friends.

  38. Secret wasian man - May 2, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    I mean lets be real. If j Zimm is anything short of awesome we lose again. 3 hits?? The bats are terrible. Haren goes tomorrow. Gonna need more than 3 hits. Where will it come from?

  39. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    JZim the stopper!

  40. baseballswami - May 2, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    I thought that the Barves shenanigans at the plate in the ninth were pretty bush league. Sori did not bite.

  41. Amr Khani - May 2, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Lombo can't work a count. His pitches/plate appearance was 3.30 last year – last for all NL second basemen. He's not a guy that you want batting second.

  42. mick - May 2, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    J Zim is right now the best pitcher in MLB!all you who are blasting Lombo, i find it amazing that you can cut ALR slack but not him, just amazing.

  43. mick - May 2, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Nats only 3 hits tonight… there are major problems

  44. David Proctor - May 2, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Lombo is vastly overrated on here. If you dislike Espinosa, we can have that discussion, but Lombardozzi is suited for a bench role, not a starting job. If your choices are limited to Espinosa and Lombardozzi, you take Espinosa every time.Espinosa has a higher OBP (although roughly the same, .310 vs .307). Espinosa runs the bases better (he can steal). Espinosa has better defense. Espinosa hits for WAY more power. This isn't to say Espinosa is a good player, especially not as he's playing now. Just to point out that Lombardozzi is extremely overrated by some on here and elsewhere.

  45. mick - May 2, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    "Great win. Even though Mick will be trashing him from the get go, I am looking for Haren to build on what he did last time."Coach, I hope your right

  46. mick - May 2, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Secret wasian man said…Give Lombo a break. He's a young kid. If we're gonna let ALR bat .130 you can't get pissed at the young guys.BINGO!!

  47. JD - May 2, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    MickAlr had 30 homers and 100 RBIs last year. That's why we cut him some slack.

  48. Less Platu - May 2, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Good Game, Nats!

  49. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Feel/Rich P. — You're telling me they delayed having an X-Ray out of concern about the cumulative exposure to radiation? Baloney. It's not like he's having an X-Ray every day or every week. Maybe someone who actually has some medical training can explain this. I'm pretty sure you don't.

  50. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    sjm, an article I saw said that Soriano was asked if he talks to his hat. His response was, "Yes, but I'm not telling you what I say to it." !!! I'm with you on his unflappability. It really inspires confidence. This is a closer who is simply un-phased by the pressure.

  51. Scooter - May 2, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    To be fair, 222, it sometimes seems like your preferred method WOULD have them getting x-rays (or MRIs or CAT scans) pretty much daily.I tease, because I love.

  52. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    Let me try 222 – until the swelling goes down there is not much use for an x-ray unless you are looking just for a broken bone. Actually, in today's medicine the x-ray lags far behind in telling an orthopod much about any joint damage. The key, if he was really hurt would be the mri but I have absolutely no knowledge of what is wrong. Just wanted you to know about the x-ray situation. No one is more critical of our staff than I but in reality, our Doctors do not make all trips so this is probably being handled by our trainers and the Braves doctors.

  53. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    mick said… J Zim is right now the best pitcher in MLB!all you who are blasting Lombo, i find it amazing that you can cut ALR slack but not him, just amazing. May 01, 2013 10:17 PM ___________________________________Here's the problem as I see it with Lombo. I want him to have the opportunity and he has 2 days to prove himself or else Davey goes right back to his boy Espi. Day 1 was almost as bad as Espi. He topped everything and was swinging 1st pitch on everything. Come on, that's not approach. Work it.

  54. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 2, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Nats and Blue Jays now have the 2 lowest batting averages in the league. They haven't exactly faced tough pitchers yet either…that is what is scary. They need offense and in a hurry. Overhyped teams tend to disappoint.

  55. Less Platu - May 2, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    You "Untuck" First, Michelle. Ooh La la.

  56. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    Scooter, most of us that post here need that CAT scan except it would show that we are missing important grey matter from the cerebral cortex.

  57. SonnyG10 - May 2, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    Zimmermann did a great job tonight, and I think Kurt Suzuki also deserves a lot of credit for calling a great game. He quite often had Zimm throw the curve ball, or slider on first pitch to keep the Barves from sitting on a fast ball.

  58. SCNatsFan - May 2, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Sec222 I'm not sure on an athlete who bangs one off his ankle why you don't X-ray it but it isn't because of cumulative dosage or wanting the swelling to go down.

  59. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    SonnyG10, glad you mentioned that. Zuk and JZim got on the same page and how's about when they threw that changeup to Freeman!Oh yes!!!

  60. Rich P. - May 2, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    What does it matter that they waited a day to X-ray Werth's ankle? It's not like an X-ray would heal it, and as long as he wasn't doing anything that would aggravate the injury (which I'm sure he wasn't) waiting a day didn't cause any harm. So who cares what their reason was? Maybe Werth wanted to get his affairs in order, you know, just in case.

  61. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    This is just my opinion and I realize that this blog loves it some Lombo, BUT, to me, he is a fine utility player and not much more. He is scrappy and has achieved a great deal but he does not have the raw talent of an Espinosa or a Rendon. Now, Espinosa is struggling mightly, but his defense and his range and his arm far surpass Lombo. His raw power is far better than Lombo and didn't he lead our team in doubles last year? Yes, he strikes out like crazy and right now he can't hit at all but he is our 2nd baseman (again, in my opinion). I do think that if Zimmerman plays well we might see Rendon playing more 2nd in the minors and that would be who would move there if both Lombo and Espinosa struggle. One encouraging sign is that I did not see Espinosa pouting when they showed him on the bench. I am sure he is getting the message on this and I am hoping it works.Go Nats

  62. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    Can't believe we are arguing over an x-ray but yes 222 the fluid would or could obscure that is going on in the joint. The only reason they x-ray at an emergency room is that they really don't want you to be there any longer than necessary. Again, the x-ray is now considered a poor tool for diagnosis unless you are just looking at the bone for a fracture.

  63. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    not that but "what"

  64. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Just read an interesting piece at ESPN – only one team that was in first place last year on May 1st went on to win their division (yes it was our Washington Nationals). Do you guys remember Cleveland? Only 8 of the 24 eventual division winners since 2009 were leading as of May 1st. Like Ghost and Natsjack have been saying, its a long season. Don't give up yet Mick!!

  65. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. Rich P. - May 2, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    "But I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV or on this blog unlike some people."He says right after he rants about how he would have handled that medical situation. Seems like someone who's not a doctor would just let those professionals go about their daily business without constantly questioning their competence or motivation.

  67. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    sjm, I totally agree that the X-Ray is not the be all and end all of a diagnotic tools. I'm the one that thinks they should use dye for every MRI of a joint to make sure they don't miss something like they did with Flores. But after a player hits the ball off his ankle or foot don't they want to know right away if there is a fracture? Feel/Rich P. asks what difference it would make knowing a day or two sooner. Well for one thing, if the X-Ray shows a fracture, he goes on the DL immediately and a replacement player comes up and is available for last night's and tonight's game. With Bryce going down tonight, our bench was pretty darn short by the middle of the game. And another reason is that I would think that some kind of treatment or immobilization other than just putting ice on it to try to get the swelling down would be in order. But I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV or on this blog unlike some people. I'm just asking the question and looking for an educated and informed answer if there is one to be found. If you don't care why they didn't do it, that's fine. But it's not a good reason for making stuff up just to be disagreeable.

  68. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    Feel, unlike you I ask questions and look for information rather than attacking other posters and telling them they are stupid. Nor do I ever claim to be certain of an answer if I'm just guessing. We just have totally different approaches to commenting here. You don't like mine, and I don't like yours. We knew that two years ago at least.

  69. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 2, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    xrays work better once swelling down. No rush tonight was fine.

  70. A DC Wonk - May 2, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Section 222 said… sjm, an article I saw said that Soriano was asked if he talks to his hat. His response was, "Yes, but I'm not telling you what I say to it." !!! I'm with you on his unflappability. It really inspires confidence. This is a closer who is simply un-phased by the pressure.In the (often silly) "debates" about whether Rizzo is good for the Nats — add the Soriano signing (even though he had Clip and Store) to his list of good moves.

  71. sjm308 - May 2, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    222 – for what its worth (werth?), I pretty much always enjoy reading your posts. I was not trying to do anything but give my opinion on the medical issues and I think you knew that.go Nats!!

  72. Gonat - May 2, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    That tv guy who had the heart attack in Atlanta died.

  73. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    sjm, of course I knew that my friend. You and I can disagree without being disagreeable. And I enjoy your posts too. About 30 years ago, back when I could actually play ball, I took a line drive off my thumb while playing short. (Don't ask how I did it. It had to do with trying to catch the ball with both hands and the thumb of my throwing hand somehow making it into my glove just before the ball arrived.) I went to the ER and got an X-Ray. My thumb was pretty darn swollen by the time I got there. The X-Ray showed the thumb was broken. The next day I saw an orthopedic surgeon and had a screw put into my thumb to hold it together. Got some good drugs too if I recall correctly. I'm pretty sure that the E-R docs didn't give me an X-Ray to get me out of there quicker, and I'm quite sure they didn't think twice about doing it because of the risk of radiation. But who knows, maybe they should have waited a few days to see if the swelling went down. It was back in the dark ages of medicine after all. So I really am interested in why they waited two days to do one on Werth. Some questions just can't be answered here though. That's not news.

  74. Eric - May 2, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    What's all this madness about Werth's x-ray? Who cares? Dude's ankle ain't broken is all that matters IMO.

  75. Rich P. - May 2, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    "Some questions just can't be answered here though."So why do you ask them and then go off on posters like myself who provide speculation? Isn't that what you're asking for?

  76. Eric - May 2, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    The only reason I *really* know of to delay an x-ray has to do with scar tissue. With a very miniscule, hairline fracture, the break may not show up until it starts healing. I know this applies to pediatric situations and the much softer bone tissue at play. For instance, my two year old broke his leg and the break was completely invisible day of; two weeks later it was extremely clear.Not sure it applies to adults or on a two day turn around, but again, again, Werth's ankle's not broken, which is all that matters.

  77. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    So why do you ask them and then go off on posters like myself who provide speculation? Isn't that what you're asking for?Actually no, Feel. Here's my original post from 9:56 pm: "Good to hear that the X-Ray on Werth's ankle was negative. Anyone hear an explanation why they didn't get him an X-Ray right after the game when he was hurt?"I wasn't looking for speculation, though anyone is free to speculate if they want to. You, of course, didn't speculate. You asserted in your usual very sure of yourself style that there was "no reason to give him an X-Ray right away." That's not speculation, that's being dismissive of the question, which is the way you usually approach my comments. You went on to say, again without any indication that you were just speculating, that not giving an X-Ray for few days was the medically sound thing to do because of the risks of cumulative radiation. That's what I went off on because it was patently ridiculous.Later you asked "what difference does it make?" when they gave him the X-Ray, again suggesting that my inquiry was stupid. I gave two good reasons why the Nats would like to know right away if there was in fact a fracture. Apparently, you have no response to that. But you're clearly paying very close attention to my comments so you can pounce on anything you think you can make fun of. So have at it.

  78. Section 222 - May 2, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    Thanks for that constructive thought Eric. Maybe that's why they waited. Then again, they could always do a second X-Ray a week later if Werth is still having problems with the ankle. Unless of course, the radiation is too dangerous. :-) And yes, the ankle's not broken so we can breathe a sigh of relief. Unless, of course, it is broken and the X-Ray still can't pick it up. I have a long running concern that the Nats' medical staff is not appropriately aggressive in using the best tests to diagnose injuries. There have been several examples of the team delaying ordering the more expensive enhanced MRIs, which end up, when they are finally done, uncovering a more serious injury than originally diagnosed. Jesus Flores's once promising career may very well have been damaged, if not ruined, by misdiagnosis of his shoulder injury. This is the root of the dispute that Rich P. (aka FeelWood) and I have that reared its head tonight. Feel will defend the medical staff till his last breath. He's entitled to his opinion, as am I.

  79. Eric - May 2, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    According to Werth in WaPo, they did the x- ray "just for fun"… Heh. We'll see. Certainly hope it isn't a hairline that didn't show up yet, but I'm pretty sure that's mostly a pediatric concern.

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