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Nats supply Karns with offensive firepower

May 29, 2013, 5:27 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Photos
Adam LaRoche and Tyler Moore combined to hit three homers in the Nats’ win.

Adam LaRoche could tell Nathan Karns was a tad nervous to make his big-league debut when he noticed the right-hander’s jersey was soaking wet. This was while Karns was still in the dugout, having yet to face his first major-league batter.

“Like he walked through the shower before he even took the mound,” LaRoche said. “That was fun. I’m sure his world was spinning real fast.”

Knowing their rookie starter — who only 24 hours earlier was preparing to face the Class AA Akron Aeros — was in a bit of a fog, the Nationals came up with the best possible plan to ease a young pitcher through that pressure situation: They went out and scored a ton of runs.

Behind four homers — two by LaRoche, plus back-to-back shots by struggling Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina — the Nationals pounded the Orioles and rookie Kevin Gausman into submission, cruising to a 9-3 victory before a boisterous crowd of 35,664 that waited out an 81-minute rain delay to see the two promising right-handers go head-to-head.
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  1. baseballswami - May 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    So nice to see the bats alive– especially the goonies. The kid looked good, especially when you think that he came from AA and had to endure a rain delay. If you are a Nats starter,, does your uniform number have to end in a seven??? I believe we now have 27,37,47 and 57. Noticed Eckstein coaching first again- any coincidence that the guys hit well when Eck was not in the dugout with his notebook?

  2. Laddie Blah Blah - May 29, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    I wish the kid had got the win, but I am happy to see that Davey wanted the win more for the team than for Karns. The ghost of game 5 haunting the skipper? Davey made the right move, this time. Nate will be back.As for Moore and Bernie – more of the same, please. Tyler hooked an outside pitch into the LF pen. Pretty impressive display of power hitting, but not a prescription for consistent success. Bernie, when he is going good, is a line drive hitter, and he hit some scorchers, but good, last night. If he gets on a hot streak and continues hitting like that, Harp can take another week off.And the pen looked great, but Clip sure likes to make the faithful nervous, late in the game, doesn't he?Manny Machado is a very, very impressive player. He's one of those players you like to watch, even if he plays for the other dugout. The Os were not afraid to bring him up and give the 20-year-old a ML job. Why are the Nats keeping 22-year-old Anthony Rendon down on the farm? Does anyone in the Os organization even care whose job Machado took?

  3. Gonat - May 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Michael Morse was pulled from his game last night with a leg issue. Not sure if it was cramps or a muscle pull.

  4. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    "Does anyone in the Os organization even care whose job Machado took?"Was Machado fielding .930 in the minors?Anyway, I agree Machado is great to watch. He's absurdly relaxed at the plate.

  5. Gonat - May 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… Manny Machado is a very, very impressive player. He's one of those players you like to watch, even if he plays for the other dugout. The Os were not afraid to bring him up and give the 20-year-old a ML job. Why are the Nats keeping 22-year-old Anthony Rendon down on the farm? Does anyone in the Os organization even care whose job Machado took? ___________________________________Machado is quite the player. He is very much what you'd expect of Rendon. Shortens up on 2 strikes and peppers the gaps with doubles. Gets HRs on mistake pitches.Unfortunately Rendon has lost weight and possibly will have to build back up to form after his impacted wisdom teeth were pulled.

  6. Nats 128 - May 29, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    "Eric said… "Does anyone in the Os organization even care whose job Machado took?"Was Machado fielding .930 in the minors?"The NL Rookie of the Year last year was even worse in combined fielding in his 3 outfield positions of .920. If you were looking at his fielding percentage in Syracuse you missed the real story. RF .917 CF .935 LF .857The Nats current 3rd baseman has a .915 fielding percentage.Anyone who keeps mentioning Rendons fielding percentage doesnt grasp the game.

  7. natsfan1a - May 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Didn't see the game, given the late start. Did click over a few times and notice that the Nats were ahead (what?). Maybe I'll watch the replay, although I might have to make frequent use of the mute button.

  8. Nats 128 - May 29, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    natsfan1a, this is one to watch. Every player in the starting lineup contributed. The Goonies came thru in a big way.

  9. natsfan1a - May 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Thanks, 128. Did do the DVR thing and will make a point to watch it.

  10. ehay2k - May 29, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Gotta love the reverse lock – Nats' bats come alive when I call for a new hitting coach. Or did they get one in Harper?I would love to see how the O's hitting instructor works – they seem to have a plan at the plate, choke up with two strikes, etc. That can't just be the caliber of the players, can it?BTW – if you wonder why Eck wasn't taking over at Jewett's normal spot, they wouldn't let Eck coach at third, because they worried that when he windmilled people home, he'd hit someone with his clipboard.

  11. ehay2k - May 29, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    1a, when you watch the game, be careful skipping ahead, especially in the fourth. I missed two runs walking from room to room, then another running back to the room with the DVR to see what I missed!

  12. D'Gourds - May 29, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    I think the organization has to commit to Rendon as a full time 2b before they bring him up for good. He's not replacing Zim or LaRoche who are both producing at the plate. If you think it's an easy transition from 3b to 2b at the major league level, you don't know the game. To do it, they must fully commit to him playing 2b every day in AA Harrisburg for a while. They just aren't willing to do that with their love affair with Espinosa. I don't get it.

  13. baseballswami - May 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Remember the time just before ALR's amazing tear? He was squaring up but not yet getting results. That is where Tyler is right now. He has been hitting to the warning track in the wind and scorching the ball right at someone. He was intentionally walked. It's right there. Bernie's wrist might be finally better. Lombo making the plays, driving in runs. So why are we rushing Espi back? I felt last night that Adam almost willed himself to support Karns. Great play in the first, home runs. So nice for the kid. Let Det heal all the way and let's see how Karns does in another start without the hoopla and rain. O's then Barves? Quite the test for a pitching prospect.

  14. sjm308 - May 29, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Good morning all!1a – definitely watch! I moan about the announcers but actually did watch this one because I wanted to actually see these two young pitchers. I am, of course, a Nationals fan, but I wonder what the O's will do with Gausman. Do you keep running him out there and 1. let him get clobbered 2. lose the game or do you send him back down? Given his age and how Buck moves people (I think 11 different starters this year he will be down soon).OK back to the good guys. I don't post during and did not read much after but I hope everyone went nuts over Lombo's hustle play in, I think, the 3nd inning. Ball of LaRoche, Lombo backing up never gives up and they nail the runner by inches. Maybe Danny makes that same play but don't tell me we are hurting with Lombo at 2nd.Again, this has also probably been discussed earlier but if Davey is going to continue to play Espinosa, at least you can now move Lombo to LF and keep him in that 2nd spot in the lineup, with Moore moving to DH and hit Danny in the #9 spot. It is where he would hit if he was in the AL anyway and honestly, if the game were in a NL park I would still hit him 9th after the pitcher.So nice to get that win last night and so nice that it was not a nail bitter. We can use a few more of those please!!Go Nats!

  15. Joe Seamhead - May 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    ALR! What can you say about his month of May, eh? 12 million, or so, is looking like money well spent right about now. I think his hold on first base is secure for a while longer.LOL!Let's hope Tyler gets jump started from last night,swami.I'm not sold on him, but hope that I'm wrong.

  16. bowdenball - May 29, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said…"Manny Machado is a very, very impressive player. He's one of those players you like to watch, even if he plays for the other dugout. The Os were not afraid to bring him up and give the 20-year-old a ML job. Why are the Nats keeping 22-year-old Anthony Rendon down on the farm? Does anyone in the Os organization even care whose job Machado took?"This is really funny because it was a HUGE deal whose job Machado took. He came up as a SS prospect, but the Orioles were happy with Hardy at short and desparately needed a 3B, so they moved Machado to 3b after working him out there and getting comfortable with him playing the position. It was EXACTLY like what's going on with the Nationals and Rendon right now, with one very important difference: 3B is easier to play then SS, while 2B is harder to play than 3B. So short answer- yes, pretty much everyone in the Orioles organization cared whose job Machado took.

  17. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

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  18. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    "The NL Rookie of the Year last year was even worse in combined fielding in his 3 outfield positions of .920. If you were looking at his fielding percentage in Syracuse you missed the real story. RF .917 CF .935 LF .857The Nats current 3rd baseman has a .915 fielding percentage."You're not even talking about the same person, the same league, or even the same part of the baseball diamond. Also, your stats on Harper's fielding are way off.Anyway, Machado was fielding ~.960 at SS over 200 games. As has been pointed out, moving from SS to 3B is easier than 3B to 2B. If Rendon were moving from SS to 3B, I'd have fewer misgivings about his .930 fielding percentage.

  19. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    "Maybe Danny makes that same play but don't tell me we are hurting with Lombo at 2nd."We're not, it's just that until recently Lombo wasn't any real step up at the plate, meaning Espi's slightly better fielding and far better long ball potential put him over the top (at least for me).Now that Lombo's hitting (or, was, over the weekend), I agree with others that I hope they don't rush Espi back. And, even more so, that they don't rush Rendon to the majors.

  20. Doc - May 29, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Karns was like Bulldog II!Worked quickly, and kept pouring it on. Ran out of steam in the 5th, but an exciting performance. Would have done even better against a weaker hitting team.It'll be interesting to see if he gets more K's against the Braves free swingers on Sunday.

  21. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Er, sorry Nats 128, to clarify, you were way off only with your claim about Harper last year. You said his 2012 % was .920, but it was was .980.Your Syracuse claim was right, and covers all of 21 games (vs. 129 total games in the OF in the minors for a .955 percentage).Of course, infield skill is directly comparable to outfield skill and, even more importantly, fielding percentage doesn't matter, so this is meaningless؟

  22. Theophilus T. S. - May 29, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I think it will take three seasons before the Nats figure out what they have in Tyler Moore. Last year he was a big swing and miss hitter, but with big reward. This year, with almost half of last year's PAs already, not so much reward. It appears that he is "coming out of his slump" — if it was a slump, and he is more than a .226 lifetime hitter — but he probably has no more than a week or two of consistent ABs remaining before Harper and Werth return and Moore shows up in the lineup only as an occasional PH. It's going to take several more stints of temporary duty in the starting lineup to figure out his ceiling — if he has a ceiling. When he produces, it's fun.

  23. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    "It'll be interesting to see if he gets more K's against the Braves free swingers on Sunday."I'm curious about this, too. I recall reading that he put up a LOT of Ks in AA…If that's the kind of pitching we can expect from him (maybe increasing endurance, of course), then I would be thrilled to see him take the number 5 role next year assuming Haren is gone.Also, I rather enjoyed Abad's performance…again, if that's what we can expect, I wouldn't mind if he stuck around, either!

  24. phil dunton - May 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    The Beast strained a quad sliding into home plate last evening. Too bad as he is in his contract year. I recall a quad strain kept him on the DL for a significant time period last season.

  25. Caps Fan - May 29, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Espi back tonight, according to Davey on the Junkies show this morning. Who will DH? Lombo or maybe Tracy. He was coy about that. Let the Espinosa Stinks Overture begin. The opera ain't over til the fat NatsJack sings!

  26. Doc - May 29, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Yeah, I have been pleasantly surprised by Abad too Eric!Initially, I just thought in ST that he was just another Astros' reject. But low and behold Abad does well in 'Cuse and has done well in his brief stint here.He also seems to be more than just a LOOGY. Threw some 97 mph gas on the weekend against the Philthies.Maybe he's a keeper???

  27. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I was camping all weekend so missed details like that from the Phillies series…but if last night was a repeat performance then I'd say, yes, quite possibly a keeper!

  28. Nats 128 - May 29, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    "Caps Fan said… Espi back tonight, according to Davey on the Junkies show this morning. Let the Espinosa Stinks Overture begin. The opera ain't over til the fat NatsJack sings!" Also let the conspiracy theorys fly. Espy sits for 6 days and is back to starting. He will probably get a couple of hits tonight.

  29. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Here's hoping, Nats 128!

  30. Nats 128 - May 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Eric, take the time to read peoples posts. It said "fielding percentage in Syracuse" and he improved in the big leagues. Those numbers are 100% accurate.Your looking for excuses on Rendon and adding slick to make a point talking about his defense. Bowdenball made the correct point about players who move around the infield positions and thats why you play Rendon for a few weeks at 2nd base and then make your determination.As Caps Fan pointed out, Espy is back to your starter at 2nd base.

  31. Nats 128 - May 29, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    New Post

  32. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    "Eric, take the time to read peoples posts. It said "fielding percentage in Syracuse" and he improved in the big leagues. Those numbers are 100% accurate."Er…take time to take your own advice ;). You clearly missed a LOT of my other posts.

  33. Nats 128 - May 29, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    "Eric said… Er, sorry Nats 128, to clarify, you were way off only with your claim about Harper last year. You said his 2012 % was .920, but it was was .980.Your Syracuse claim was right, and covers all of 21 games (vs. 129 total games in the OF in the minors for a .955 percentage)."Eric, no, once again, I never said 2012 overall fielding percentage. I clearly wrote Syracuse. My point was Harper wasnt that great before his callup and even tho it was a small sample size, Rendons sample size is small also and outfield fielding isnt as difficult as infield fielding especially when they are moving you around in positions.

  34. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    ARGH! Where's the edit button!? ;)Maybe I misunderstand this part?"The NL Rookie of the Year last year was even worse in combined fielding in his 3 outfield positions of .920."That sounds to me like you're referring to his performance last year, most of which was in the MLB. Apologies if that's not what you meant.Anyway, regarding the minors, Harper's OF sample size extends back through A, AA, and AAA and comprises 129 total games with a fielding percentage of .955Rendon's sample size at 2B is 5 games in AA. His sample size at an easier position–3B–is 56 games. His fielding percentage at that easier position is .938 (sorry, not .930).If this doesn't bother you, that's A-OK with me. It bothers me, though. If it bothers you that it doesn't bother me, I don't know what to tell ya.

  37. Eric - May 29, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Oh, one other thing: imo tight fielding is more critical in the infield than the outfield, and we have holes enough in the infield on the left side. Adding one to the right side just doesn't sit well with me.If Rendon could play the outfield, and we needed someone in the outfield, I'd be much less worried about his fielding record.

  38. SonnyG10 - May 29, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Eric said…"Maybe Danny makes that same play but don't tell me we are hurting with Lombo at 2nd."We're not, it's just that until recently Lombo wasn't any real step up at the plate, meaning Espi's slightly better fielding and far better long ball potential put him over the top (at least for me).Now that Lombo's hitting (or, was, over the weekend), I agree with others that I hope they don't rush Espi back. And, even more so, that they don't rush Rendon to the majors.May 29, 2013 9:11 AMWith you on this, Eric…spot on!

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