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Marathon men

Aug 18, 2013, 3:00 AM EST

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ATLANTA — Their starting pitcher had departed some 4 1/2 hours earlier, ejected after plunking a batter in the first inning and then losing all semblance of his command in the second. Their manager had been ejected, too, not to mention their left fielder later in the evening.

Eight relievers (one of them actually a starter) had cobbled together 14 innings of work, though the last six of those innings wouldn’t have been necessary had their closer recorded one more out in the bottom of the ninth.

Their star 20-year-old, scratched from the lineup earlier in the day with a bruised left triceps muscle after getting drilled by a pitch the previous night, had been forced into action late.

Then again, pretty much everyone in uniform was forced into action for this 5-hour, 29-minute marathon, with 44 of the 50 active players on the two rosters appearing in the game.

So when it finally ended, when Adam LaRoche had homered in the top of the 15th and Dan Haren had pitched the bottom of the inning — in the rain — to earn the first save of his 11-year career, the Nationals could only sit back and enjoy the feeling that comes only after you pull off an 8-7 victory over your fiercest rivals.

“Golly,” LaRoche sighed. “What a battle.”
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  1. Teddy Rochlis - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    I don't know about you guys but i feel like Haren has really helped his case, and i want him back next year. I would also make a comment about how since ramos has came back Haren has pitched much better.

  2. jw - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    The team store still doesn't carry Stammen t-shirts. I don't get it!!!

  3. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    They needed to win this one, and they did. So many positives from this game. TyMo, for one. Zim crushing one to CF for another. Roark, for sure. We know Strasburg will protect his guys. Stammen was brilliant. No errors. Werth continuing to rake. Ramos, too. ALR is actually having a good month, which August usually is, for him. Haren wants to return to California next year to be with his family, so that is where he is likely to end up. Rizzo might still be able to trade him, and probably would, if he gets something of value, in return. I'd like to see him back, too, but it's very likely he will be elsewhere next April, if not sooner.The Nats should find out if Storen can close, again. Soriano has lost it. If they somehow make it to the post-season, they will not go far without a closeout guy, and definitely will not make it, anyway, if their closer keeps blowing games like Soriano has been blowing them. Better to find out if Storen is up to the job, now, because if he isn't, then getting a closer in the off-season will have to be Rizzo's no. 1 priority.Hairston is a veteran and knows better. Smart guy, too, but not last night.The Nats are not about to roll over, and anyone who wants to drill Harper can expect to get one from Strasburg, even harder. Strasburg and Harper just became close friends and mutual admirers, if they weren't, already.

  4. Steven Berke - Aug 18, 2013 at 6:11 AM

    I don't know that the Nats need to 'go out and get a closer'–you can argue that was the mistake made last offseason (and I do wonder to what extent that decision was the Lerners'). If you do get rid of Soriano, and you decide Storen still won't cut it, you make Clippard the closer (and maybe that's what should have been done this year).

  5. David Proctor - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    But Clippard was even worse last year in the closer role than Soriano. His ERA was worse (although maybe not after today's 2 runs, I haven't checked) and he blew just as many saves. Of course, the argument can be made that we shouldn't have spent 28 mil when we had someone in-house who could do the same thing. Valid point. But going to Clip isn't the answer, I don't think. He's an 8th inning guy and he's best there.

  6. NatsLady - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Looks like solid rain all afternoon in the ATL.

  7. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Just got up and cannot pick my jaw up off the floor. So impressed with the guys- well, mostly. Soriano basically does not have closer stuff. Here is the problem- every other reliever will do anything asked of them. Any inning. Soriano will " close" or nothing. Time for Drew, who does have closer stuff, to take his job back. And we have to find a way to keep Tyler here and use him, not sit him. So much adventure. Randy Knorr got more than he bargained for.

  8. m - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    If a pitcher can lose all semblance of control because of sitting on the bench then we have a real problem. Strasburg's performance in the second inning was not only embarrassing but comical. If he was trying to send a message to the Braves it certainly did not strike fear in them. He looked like a member the "Apple Dumbling Gang".Every time Strasburg pitches in Atlanta something stupid happens.It was great to win this game . There were a number of positives as well as negatives with Strasburg's performance in the second inning being one of the negatives. When I saw him pitch the first I thought he looked solid and in control. In the second he looked like Rick Ankiel. Does anyone have a explanation?

  9. D'Gourds - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    My feelings exactly. It looked like a case of the yips like Ankiel. Matbe purposely hitting Upton unnerved him. His next start will be very telling. I'm frankly worried. I truly hope he was trying to hit Simmons because the alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.

  10. baseballswami - Aug 18, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Stras mentioned recently that he has been battling his mechanics he is also just coming off that complete game, pitching under stress( hostile environment, pressure to plunk, warnings), and you know that in the past he had had composure issues- not lately, but a history is there. Add to that he had had a slight groin issue and the rain seems to bother him. Bad alchemy right there. What a night. I love it when there are unlikely heroes. Turns out we needed Row- ark's bat AND his pitching. Crazy times, but I love the must win attitude.

  11. A DC Wonk - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    DP, My response would be: Note that Clip has improved from last year. He's added a curve, and that's made a big difference. (Still in OBX)(WTF with the game thread last night? The members of LoD were relentless, making the atmosphere toxic. Yuck!)

  12. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    I didnt notice.

  13. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Since about once a game he loses tge release ppint for a batter of two, I had no problem with Stras like Marvin Hudson did.

  14. Candide - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    A few random thoughts:1) Anyone consider the possibility that Soriano's injured? I think someone suggested he has a hurt leg, can't push off as well as usual, resulting (somehow) in pitches upstairs in the plase-hit-the-crap-out-of-me zone.2) Yeah, maybe Storen caught a break on a pitch or two last night. But he also had swing-and-miss stuff. I liked the way he looked.3) So, going on the basis of 1) and 2) above, here's my idea of a plausible scenario: Soriano sits a week or so with a sore leg or flu-like symptoms or ruptured eyelash, while Storen takes over the closer duties and we find out if he has his mojo back.4) I know Haren wants to pitch closer to home. Wonder what it would take to get him to reconsider for a year or two. Probably everyone here thought he was washed up a couple of months ago, and the kindest thing anyone could say about him was that he was handling it with class. And probably everyone here would admit they were wrong about the former part of that. Which means we have a pitcher who takes the blame when he's going bad, and steps up for the team when it's in dire straits. That's gotta be worth some extra money.5) C'mon, tell me you weren't thinking of this when Stras threw three straight WPs.

  15. Whynat - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Statement game in terms of Harper's early August request: …to the last man…to the last minute..we fight.

  16. Nats 128 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Have to wonder if Rizzo brings up another starter or activates Ohlendorf now and puts Tracy on the DL.

  17. Doc - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Some good news–Stammen's hard slider is back in business!!What these as#@#@es Braves did to Harper still needs a response, and another!

  18. Nats 128 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    "Candide said… 2) Yeah, maybe Storen caught a break on a pitch or two last night. But he also had swing-and-miss stuff. I liked the way he looked."A break or 2? He goes 3-0 to Terdoslavich and throws him a ball 6 inches off the plate that was called a strike.Then he gets the K on Heyward where the Atlanta bench went nuts. That ball was 4 inches off the plate.Yah, I would say he got a break or 2. The K of Justin Upton was plain nasty.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    If Storen got those calls in Game 5 Nats win the World Series. ;). Read the Braves fans Tweets.They take their hatred to the Tweeter. Nats finally got the bulk of the bad calls last night in key times.Span's baserunning is beyond awful. His hesitation in the 1st inning killed a big inning with that play at the plate a nd the pickoff is just another WTF were you thinking moment.

  20. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Even if Storen got a break or 2 or 3, we are still well behind the 50% point in breaks

  21. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Candide I hadnt thought about it, but Soriano could have an injury.If so it would be the usual problem with many players, they hurt the team not help them.

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    MNF, it's the 1st game of the year I thought to myself the Nats got the key breaks. Every game since Game 5 the other teams have received the key calls. It's a little, too late, but take them when you can get them.Bring on instant replay. You can now challenge the neighborhood play at 2nd on doubleplays and calls at the plate. The Nats will help themselves with technology.

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    My respect for Haren went way up last night.

  24. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    For chalenge purposes, I wonder how quick the red flag will have to be tgrown. Will the teams be allowed to have one watching technoligy be able to contact manager like the coaches in the box ca for football?Thungs to work out.

  25. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    First half of the season he just looked unconfortable, second half he has been fine

  26. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Even then, tge pitch that Soriano walked Laird to me looked like a high strike not a ball, so the breaks werent all for us, which they shouldnt.

  27. A DC Wonk - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Yeah. Last year he relied strictly on fastball and change and batters had figured it out. So this year he added the curveball that he used to throw some years back. I learned that as part of a pre-game interview about two weeks back with Charlie and Dave.

  28. ehay2k - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    What about the impact on the Barves? To try to win a game against a team he has a 15 game lead on, Fredi just burned his bullpen and his Tuesday starter. We will see how Medlen performs, but if he stinks it up, or worse, injures himself, it will likely be a result of his multiple innings last night. Remember, Medlen has had arm issues.

  29. A DC Wonk - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    And the night before didn't he also have a strike three that was called a ball?

  30. Secret wasian man - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Although Haren has only been here this season he appears to be a guy who will do anything for the good of the team (LANNAN) this is what you need. Sorry oh no is not good and is not a team guy. he needs to go.

  31. Candide - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    ehay2k said… What about the impact on the Barves? To try to win a game against a team he has a 15 game lead on, Fredi just burned his bullpen and his Tuesday starter.I think this was message-sending. "Yeah, we have a 15-game lead, but we are going to eat your face. Just because you retaliated for Harper's multiple HBPs, don't think we're going to let up on you. We don't just want to beat you; we want to break your spirit."And it almost worked. Imagine what the mood in the Nats clubhouse would have been if the Braves had come back to win that game. Maybe a punch or two gets thrown? Enough clubhouse poison gets spread around that Harper and Strasburg start seriously entertaining thoughts of moving to The Bronx when they've finished serving their sentences in DC?So Fredi burned his bullpen. From his point of view, big deal. So they lose seven out of ten while the bullpen regroups, and in two weeks find the Nats breathing down their necks only twelve games back. Small price to pay if you can sow a little long-term misery in the clubhouse of the team that's going to be your biggest opponent for years to come.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Candide, good take on it. Last night was a statement game for the Nats while showing the naysayers that there is still a lot of fight left in this team.Ramos with an injured hammy stayed in the crouch for 15 innings and collected 3 hits and a key 2 out 2 RBI hit. Haren volunteered his arm as he threw a ton of pitches in the bullpen. Stammen went 3 innings after going 2 the night before. RZim stayed in after taking a shinburger and chiefed it out for 15.

  33. Another_Sam - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    I hate to say this: Plunking. Win. Coincidence? I think not.

  34. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    You can clearly see Haren fired up. He said like 'f yeah' or something.

  35. natsfan1a - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. natsfan1a - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Yeah, can't even type a coherent comment, which is part of the reason that I'm taking the day off from sightseeing. :-)Didn't see the game or read any articles/comments (performing hostess/sightseeing duties for houseguests). Am taking the day off from sightseeing and will try to watch today's game between hostessing catchup "to-do" items. That said, going by a WaPo dead-tree edition story (for which I broke out the red pencil, but that's another story) and the boxscore, looks like last night's game was a humdinger. Future MASN classic, perhaps? Good on Haren for the save.

  37. Candide - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    natsfan1a said…Future MASN classic, perhaps?Well, that depends on your definition of a classic.For starts, I think MASN would have some serious question about featuring a game in which Strasburg deliberately hit a batter in retaliation in the first inning and then went all Nuke-LaLoosh-deliberately-hitting-the-bull in the second before getting tossed, along with Davey.(BTW, was it just me, or did Stras, after he threw his third WP in a row, charge the plate? He looked to me for all the world like he was thinking, "It's ON! Get the first punch in…" before pulling up short.)Classic? Soriano gives up his second consecutive save-blowing gopher ball? Uh, maybe not.On the other hand… Tanner Roark comes in and puts out the fire again, and gets his first MLB RBI to boot.Storen, getting the benefit of a couple of blown ball/strike calls, has his second successive strong relief outing.LaRoche wins the game with his 15th-inning shot. Zimm goes oppo boppo despite practically breaking his leg fouling off a pitch.Werth – try to keep him off the bases.TyMo 2-for-4, including a sparkling scoop on a low throw at first base.Lots to like in this game – if you didn't kill yourself first.

  38. Candide - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Oh, almost forgot: Haren telling Knorr, "Put me in, coach – I'm ready to play!" and getting the save when the bullpen has been drained dry.

  39. natsfan1a - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    I don't know, Candide. Sometimes classics aren't perfect but rather are rollercoaster/seesaw games. That said and as noted, I didn't see it.

  40. John C. - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Candide, Strasburg "charged the plate" because there was a runner on base (who came around to score). On a wild pitch/passed ball the catcher goes and picks up the ball while the pitcher covers the plate. Strasburg wasn't gunning for a fight, he was doing his job covering the plate.

  41. JaneB - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I'm wondering if we're not about to watch STore pitch himself back into the closer's role.

  42. Candide - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    John C. said… Candide, Strasburg "charged the plate" because there was a runner on base (who came around to score). On a wild pitch/passed ball the catcher goes and picks up the ball while the pitcher covers the plate. Strasburg wasn't gunning for a fight, he was doing his job covering the plate.Yeah, looking at the replay in slow-mo, I see you're right. It was just that at full speed, the way the ball deflected away from Simmons, I thought it had to have hit him.

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