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Instant analysis: Nats 2, Giants 1 (10)

May 22, 2013, 11:23 PM EDT

Associated Press
Bryce Harper is congratulated by Ryan Zimmerman after homering in the sixth.

Game in a nutshell: On the final day of the season's longest road trip, the Nationals desperately needed a big-time pitching performance from Gio Gonzalez and some rare offensive support. They got the former โ€” Gonzalez carried a shutout in the eighth โ€” but they didn't get the latter. Bryce Harper's solo homer in the sixth represented their only run in regulation. Even so, the Nationals had a chance to eke out a 1-0 victory, if only their bullpen could hold the lead. It couldn't. Drew Storen entered with one on and one out in the eighth and immediately walked Marco Scutaro before surrendering the game-tying single to Buster Posey. Never fear, though, because Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless ninth to send the game to extra innings, at which point Harper doubled and later scored on Ian Desmond's clutch single to right field, giving the Nationals the lead again. Rafael Soriano then made up for his blown save last night with a clean bottom of the 10th, and the Nats headed back East with a 24-23 record and relieved to have at least ended this eventful trip on a positive note.

Hitting highlight: Just because you're hitting second doesn't mean you have to hit like a traditional No. 2 hitter. Harper didn't quiteRead more ยป

  1. Steady Eddie - May 22, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Nice touch – final out was Scutaro which broke his hitting streak.

  2. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    For all those saying Harper should bat second:Twenty-four of Harper's 34 career home runs have come with nobody on base. The other 10 all came with only one man on base.… and that's the downside.That said, I agree he should bat second until Werth comes back, but then he should drop to third.

  3. Cwj - May 22, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    I'm untucked. Go Nats!!

  4. Cwj - May 22, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Its certainly not Harper's fault that no one can get on base ahead of him when he homers.The whole "only hits solo homers" thing that I read sometimes is nonsense.(not directed at you Wonk)

  5. Cwj - May 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    [Re-posting this for NatsJack]:You don't like Phil Wood NatsJack? I think he's pretty good. Basically a walking DC baseball encyclopedia.Plus, whenever Johnny mentions a pitcher's win-loss record Phil is quick to point out how meaningless it is. I also enjoy the Saturday Nats Talk show he does with…jeez I can't remember his name! Former pitcher? Ugh gonna drive me crazy. Anyone know?

  6. natsfan1a - May 22, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Heck, yeah! I untucked, big time. I also freaked out my kitty, who was doing a little baseball watching and a little napping, just like me. I was subtle with the untuck, but earlier in the game my delivery of the "charge" song in a kazoo-like manner made him sit straight up and give me a "what the H was that?" look. It was totally worth it.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - May 22, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Phil Wood is great if you want to discuss the old Senators, both pre and post expansion.Todays game? He's horrible.

  8. natsfan1a - May 22, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Also, I liked how Span went over after Bryce made the inning-ending catch near the wall and gave him a high five and a little pat on the head. Now that there is some veteran leadership. Even my 2-year-old cat knows that. :-)

  9. A DC Wonk - May 22, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Cwj said… Its certainly not Harper's fault that no one can get on base ahead of him when he homers.Certainly — but batting third (if there's are two decent on-base guys in front of him) will increase the chances.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - May 23, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Yes…I have no problem with any of the controversial comments made by Soriano and Zim today.I have more of a problem with how they were reported.Bryce was not positioned properly last nite AND he had no busines bunting in those situations.And now he knows that.

  11. baseballswami - May 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Everyone sleep well No more phone grabbing in the dark just after the alarm goes off. Of course, the weekend could be interesting….

  12. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. David Proctor - May 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    What did Zim say? I only saw Soriano's.

  14. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    My darling 18-year old Wonkling is still learning some of the lingo.Check out this snippet, as she was updating me with the game.

  15. Ivan Tuski - May 23, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    I refuse to untuck until Soriano wins me back, and maybe not even then. After some consideration I see how it is pretty annoying if the team as whole does it. We have enough to deal with without finding other ways to energize and antagonize the opponent.

  16. Doc - May 23, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Echoing D. Proctor, what did Zim say?Which site is it on?

  17. Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    I agree with NatsJack. The press had a field day twisting a non-story.

  18. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    lol, Wonk.NJ, I understand about the positioning, but didn't care for his comparing Bryce to a four-year-old, or his conveying it via the media rather than to the kid's face.

  19. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    ("his" being "Soriano's)

  20. peric - May 23, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    That said, I agree he should bat second until Werth comes back, but then he should drop to third.2-1? Still scuffling? Resorting Riggleman-esque smart ball to manufacture runs?Hell NO! Put Werth at lead-off and either bat Span second or move him down. Put it back the way it was when they were scoring in bunches. Experiment failed. Time to go back to what worked.

  21. Andrew - May 23, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Man, the starting pitching is good.

  22. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 23, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Doc, I believe Zim was interviewed on radio. Said both bunts were bad ideas. I untucked, con brio.

  23. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Experiment failed.A fair experiment would be with Werth back, and with ALR not in his April-miserable slump.

  24. peric - May 23, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    One other thing of note. They asked about his errors. Ryan said, I feel fine for a few days, and then I don't.That makes me think it's physical, and when his shoulder is acting up, it affects his throws.yep, what I saw in ST. But that's why they have Rendon and a 2 year contract with LaRoche who is still hitting around .220 something to Zim who will likely hit around .300 if he can manage to stay reasonably healthy this season … and they way to do that is to move him to first base.As it is, just like Harper, (but no good ol' Soriano says nothing about it now does he and if Stras gets a bit miffed he is wrong?) he is olay olay with grounders he used to gobble up like Hoover. And a lot of those become doubles. Zim is slightly below average at third base at this point as he thinks about every grounder … trying to keep himself healthy. As he should given the dearth of offense they currently have.Still its a strong argument for Rendon at third base not too far down the road and if LaRoche doesn't bring those numbers up it could happen sooner than expected. Perhaps not on Davey's watch but very soon.

  25. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 23, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    2 points.On the saturday morning shoe Mike Wallace a lefty who pitched in the 70's. He grew up in Vienna.The 3 ame series and the Nats had 0 errors.

  26. DWS - May 23, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    Effort is all that is required. Every game. What was the difference from last night until today. Lights. Thanks for your effort Bryce and keep it up.And did anybody see the Soriano Bryce handshake? MLB cut off.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Joe Seamhead said… I agree with NatsJack. The press had a field day twisting a non-story. May 22, 2013 8:15 PM I agree and like I said this morning and in mid-April, the corner outfield positioning has been suspect as was Span's to start the season, and I never had to say that before this season. I believe it has now cost the Nats 3 games.

  28. DWS - May 23, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    The center fielder hasn't which up till know has been a sore point. Healthy Werth in right, Span in center, and Bryce in left is a no-brainer. What did I miss?

  29. baseballswami - May 23, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Little things make me happy. Zim is walked for Desi- who makes them pay. I just love stuff like that. Stras and Gio both with good outings. These guys need like three runs a game. Is that really so much to ask? And Bryce seems to have a dynamic effect on every game he is in. They have got to find a way to keep him safe and sound.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Its funny all the neganons who joined in to bash the Nats when the Giants tied the game up and now they disappeared.Bryce felt the burden of last nights loss and carried the team on his shoulders along with the great starting pitching.

  31. baseballswami - May 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Almost everyday I asks self how Bryce can possibly be 20. It 's not just on the field. It's his priorities and the way he handles himself. Can't believe there are still people who think he is a punk. I am in awe of this kid. And his family.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… WOW!….Danny with a walk and a hit…..2 for 30 on this road trip. He has to be proud.Maybe Soriano's words resonated with him and some others. It's a team. The small details affect everybody.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    baseballswami, well said. I think he is genuine in his sincerity on the field. I am so impressed by his hustle as that was the first thing I observed about him. So glad these guys have a day off.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    Also, the big discussion from the San Diego series where Davey didn't take TyMo out in the 7th inning for a defensive replacement, he sure did today.Davey managed the team to the win today. It didn't look pretty but credit to the Giants for playing well.

  35. baseballswami - May 23, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Classic pitcher's duel. Otherwise known as torture. Can we just out slug somebody once on a while just for fun?

  36. jeeves - May 23, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    My apologies to you and your wife, scnatsfan.

  37. Secret wasian man - May 23, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Ya hoooo. I'll take it. Still say we need to get some guys up for the bench.

  38. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 23, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    swami so far the answer has been very rarely will we have a slugfest.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    SWM, who do you suggest? Marrero? Corey Brown? Kobernus? Eury?Who do you get rid of?

  40. MicheleS - May 23, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    A belated WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!! Oh how I have missed that!Any who.. good win all around.. I think I will be good for a fewd days. Love Gio today, Love Bryce Today… Just Love Our TEAM..To the Neganons, the first two months were are toughest on the schedule.. in the words of Joe Seamhead .. We Got This..Joe S.. from the game thread..Is Mrs Seamhead's name "Elizabeth" Because if it is not, you better watch out if she thinks you are catting around on her. I NEED baseball on East Coast Time……

  41. NatsLady - May 23, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    Got home and watched the 8th 9th and 10th. Most impressive, to me: LaRoche's throw to second. I have no idea where Storen was, FP and Carp said he had a mental error and broke to cover home. Anyway, THAT right there is your demonstration of baseball IQ. No one at first. I'll get the force at second. Ten years of major-league decision making implanted in a player's brain.What is wrong with Storen, anyway? Everyone (except me, of course) was worried about Clip, but how many 1-2-3 outings has Storen had recently–maybe one?

  42. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Agreed. Also, noticed on the post-game show that he had "Play 4 OK" written on the bill of his cap.baseballswami said… Almost everyday I asks self how Bryce can possibly be 20. It 's not just on the field. It's his priorities and the way he handles himself. Can't believe there are still people who think he is a punk. I am in awe of this kid. And his family. May 22, 2013 9:03 PM

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    MicheleS, I will say it again, great starting pitching, good back of the bullpen, great outfield when healthy.Not enough players that step into the batters box with a plan.Defense improving.Bad baserunning.Very concerned about Tarasco as a coach. Bench is inconsistent.2nd base is a mess.RZim's arm. Yikes.4.70

  44. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Definitely was heads up on the part of LaRoche, NL.

  45. MicheleS - May 23, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    Ghost.. I want to see RZ's arm in August. I really think that his brain and his muscles haven't sinked up yet. By August it should be okay, if it's not, then I will be worried.Gio and Stras are rounding into form – finally.. Jordo on the mound Friday.. Love me some good Mid Western boys (Biased since that is where I am from)1A/Swami.. agree on Bryce, good dude, learns quickly, and gets the LARGER Point (Pray 4 OK).

  46. David Proctor - May 23, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    I would bring up Corey Brown and send down Tyler Moore. You get a natural outfielder, for one. That helps a lot. You also get a bat. Maybe Brown struggles, but I don't see how he could possibly struggle more than Tyler is right now.

  47. A DC Wonk - May 23, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Did anyone think Bryce was a bit slow on scoring that winning run (despite running fine on the double)? He looked liked either his legs were tired or that something was bothering him? Did he bump his bum knee on that catch earlier a bit in right? (Or am I imagining things?).

  48. NatsLady - May 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Another thought. This is long, and it will take a while to get to the Nats, so bear with me.I was listening to the podcast Baseball Tonight. Buster Olney is interviewing a Cleveland beat writer. Cleveland was HOT, they won something like 18 of 22, are in 1st place in the AL Central, etc. Of course, they were in 1st place in the AL Central in May last year, they folded, Manny Acta got fired.So, anyway, Olney asserting this team is better than last year's, reviewing the players, asking about attendance. about Terry Francona, and so forth, and the beat reporter is kind of agreeing with him. Olney then says, well, now, you have this series with the Tigers, and even though it's only May, isn't this a "statement" series, to show the Tigers you are for real, you're here to stay?At that point, you can feel the beat writer squirming. He is definitely NOT ready to claim that the Indians are going to make a "statement" to the TIgers in a two-game series in May. Olney goes on and on about how excited he (Olney is about the series) and how the Indians are going to match up with Cabrera, Verlander, and company. The beat writer gets quieter and quieter. The Tigers won the first game 5-1 and they lead in the second, 9-5 (in a delay). Looks like they hung those five on Verlander, though, before the rain.My point is, the team can't be distracted by the "analysts" who are busy with expectations and narratives. This is a "big series." This is a turning point in the season, etc. etc. Maybe, after the fact, it is possible to point to a "turning point," but more often it's talent, health, and grinding out the games.

  49. David Proctor - May 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    No, you're right. Davey said he hurt his knee on the slide and it was beginning to swell again. Davey asked Bryce if he could go out there for one more inning (his upcoming AB) and Bryce said yes. There's no structural damage or anything like that, but it's bruised very badly and so sliding and things like that irritate it.

  50. baseballswami - May 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    NatsLady– ALR made a phenomenal stop of a ball that looked sure to be a hit getting through.Drew did not brain fart-, he was going to cover home, which would be the play on a base hit. He was stunned to see that Adam had stopped the ball but it was too late to go and cover. If you listen further in the game and post game, they backed off on the where was Drew statement.

  51. Section 222 - May 23, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Just saw the tape of the last few innings. That was a brilliant play by ALR, NL. Incredible. FP went on and on, with good reason, about the heads up nature of the play, but the stop was pretty impressive too. Also two nice catches by Bryce today. Hopefully the ghost of the LA wall is now gone. Soriano did a pretty good job of damage control I'd say, and then goes out and gets a save too. Glad they could have a happy flight.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    David, TyMo needs to get back on track and I think he will be a key bat off the bench. Just not sure if Davey would swap out another lefty but I also think it would help to make the swap when Corey is mashing.

  53. David Proctor - May 23, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    I really like TyMo. But right now he looks lost. I think a trip to AAA to gain some confidence and regain his timing etc. will be good for him.

  54. NatsLady - May 23, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    swami, I didn't record the postgame,so I didn't hear the comments about Storen, maybe what he did was reasonable. But what LaRoche did reminded me of the time he waved off the pitcher so he could let a popup bunt drop and get a double play.

  55. Dave - May 23, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Dave - May 23, 2013 at 2:26 AM

    I heard that podcast today too, NL. And I had pretty much the same impression. Buster was all "rah-rah" about Cleveland, but the guy who covers Cleveland every day for a living, not so much.It's awfully easy to get seduced into paying attention to things like power rankings and other rather superficial analyses by these national media guys. Very often, if not usually, these rankings mean very little. Those guys, like Buster Olney, have a story to tell, and they make game-by-game developments fit their story, whether or not it's a smart thing to do.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 23, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    MicheleS said… Ghost.. I want to see RZ's arm in August. I really think that his brain and his muscles haven't sinked up yet. By August it should be okay, if it's not, then I will be worried.I hope he improves but I'm very skeptical based on this isn't a new problem just a greater frequency of the errors. I think it's mental but if Ryan really thinks it's his shoulder than maybe he can improve as it's mind over matter.Today he was spared an error because Posey jogged to first base. He's also been spared other errors by LaRoche. I think you have to make side notes that these unforced errors just can't happen at this frequency.

  58. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 23, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    Only 1 nat has more runs scored than Ks Harper 28 runs 27 K.Second closest Werth 17 runs21 Ks

  59. DWS - May 23, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  60. Drew - May 23, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    I got excited for a bit when I saw that Rendon didn't play today in Harrisburg, but one of the beat guys said it's an illness.I hope it's the Syracuse flu.Rick Hague had just one hit tonight — a home run.Oh, lest we forget: Harper is 721 from Henry Aaron.

  61. Section 222 - May 23, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    So as Mark tweeted, Harper is the first player since Orlando Cepeda to hit 12 or more HRs in his team's first 50 games of his age 20 season. Quick Pitch fleshed that out a little bit. Three other players have done it — Cepeda in 1958 (13 HRs), Frank Robinson in 1956 (13 HRs), and Mel Ott in 1929 (12 HRs). The Nats just played their 47th game of the season. So if Harper hits a HR during the series against the Phillies, he will tie Cepeda and FRob for the most bombs during the first 50 games of his age 20 season. And if he hits two — well, you know, he'll just have had the greatest long ball start to an age 20 season in MLB history.

  62. Section 222 - May 23, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    By the way, in case you're curious, Mel Ott hit 42 HRs in his age 20 season. and Frank Robinson hit 38. They are the top 2 HR hitters at age 20 that Harper is chasing and might very well beat.

  63. Eric - May 23, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    "Drew did not brain fart-, he was going to cover home, which would be the play on a base hit."Excellent pick up there, thanks for sharing.

  64. DWS - May 23, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    Sorry, must have been cuss words. Trying to remember why my comment may have offended. I apologize. Simple really. Somebody on the team making a point. It's nobodies fault until somebody says it is. And good on you for saying so.

  65. sjm308 - May 23, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Nice to be able to walk around the city with a smile on my face!

  66. sjm308 - May 23, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    Did not see a post from my friend Mick. Does he only post after losses? He had Soriano off the team after last night. Guess he is back on today.

  67. Another_Sam - May 23, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    Ghost – what's your thought regarding thirrd base coaching? I thought they missed Bo in spring and early this season but I've not noticed any glaring screwups there lately.

  68. NatsLady - May 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  69. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    NL, funny you should mention the Cleveland game. Was just responding to last night's email from my octogenarian aunt, who was waiting out the rain delay. She said that if they were still losing by her bedtime (11), she'd give up on them for the night. Sorry to hear that they didn't come back all the way for her, but she understands that it's a long season and will be fine. :-)222, thanks for the additional HR history. Too bad they didn't have a Tater Trot Tracker back then…

  70. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    (To clarify, my aunt was watching the game on tv, although she is also planning to go to a game in person this year, which is what we were corresponding about to begin with. But I digress. Again.)

  71. Eric - May 23, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Yer nuthin but a rank digresser! ;)

  72. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 23, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Oh, yes, I'm the Great Digressor (oooh-ooh ooh-ooh)Digressing when I'm not germane.It's not to be mean, That's "re-gression" it seems.I'm O-T, but Eckstein's to blame.

  73. natsfan1a - May 23, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I found they were all rank digressors to me.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 86 63 -- 2
ATLANTA 75 75 11.5
MIAMI 73 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 17.5
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