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Werth delivers in Nats’ comeback win over Mets

Sep 2, 2013, 1:40 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

You could look at the Nats’ chip-away, comeback win Sunday night against the Mets as their most satisfying victory of the season thus far, or merely an avoidance of disaster. The alternative would have been a sweep to an injury-riddled team just as they head on a pivotal road trip.

However you classify it, the Nats came away victors and did so in a fashion that could be just what they need to regain momentum with 26 games left on the calendar.

A three-run eighth inning in which they tied the game and then seized it featured two RBI infield grounders, a sacrifice bunt by Bryce Harper and a pinch-hit single by Denard Span on a left-handed relief pitcher. All that in an innings work.

But that rally by the Nats wouldn’t be complete until Jayson Werth walked to the plate with two outs. The veteran outfielder, who has carried his team for over two months, clubbed a double into the gap in right-center field to bring Ryan Zimmerman all the way around from first. The relay throw was a moment late and gave Rafael Soriano the edge he would need to secure the 6-5 win.

Harper – who called his own bunt with no outs to put Scott Hairston and Span in scoring position – was glad to see Werth finish the job and perhaps save him from being second-guessed on the move.

“That was just an unbelievable moment,” Harper said. “I was fired up, just unbelievably fired up when J-Dub hit that double. He’s always coming up clutch for us. He’s been in that situation so many times in his career.”

Werth has been the Nationals’ savior before, most notably in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS. But ask him how it feels to be in that moment and he can’t tell you.

“That’s a secret,” he said. “Only people that do that sort of thing get to know what that feels like.”

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  1. veejh - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Werth definitely earning that pay this year. Just hope he can continue this clip next year. Hell yeah.

  2. Nattydread - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    One game at a time.

  3. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    I was just looking at the pitching probables for this series against the Phils. If we can win tonight, we have a very legitimate shot at a sweep. The Phillies are putting out Hamels today, Ethan Martin (6.39 ERA) tomorrow and the corpse of Doc Holliday (7.94 ERA) on Wednesday. We’re avoiding Lee which is good, although we’ve beaten him the last two times we’ve faced him I believe.

    Will be interesting to see what Davey does with the lineup against Hamels. Span is red-hot right now so I’m wary of taking him out of the lineup, especially on back-to-back nights and given what he did last night. But Hairston has absolutely owned Hamels in his career so I feel like he has to be in the lineup. And you’re obviously not taking Harper or Werth out.

    • Section 222 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Well, you have two choices of who to rest if you want Hamels in the lineup — Span or Harper. Which do you want in there? If you can’t decide, you can’t complain.

      • scmargenau - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Span. Pure gut feeling.

  4. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    lol, we had to do the same. Rather funny scene on the Metro as people were tracking the game on their phones. “They tied it up!” “Are you [kidding] me?” “No, I’m not. What the? Now they’ve gone ahead.” “#@$#%*& [Lerners, Metro, insert cursee of your choice here]!!” “Wait, maybe I’m bad luck. It happened after I left.” “OMG, maybe we’re *all* bad luck.” “Nah. #@$#%*& [Lerners, Metro, ____]!”

    Just finished watching the parts that I missed. I didn’t untuck, though. The time for that had kinda sorta passed.

    NatsLady – Sep 2, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Still catching my breath from the game. Too bad I–and 10,000 of my best friends–had to track the 8th and 9th innings on our phones in the Metro!!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!

    Why on the day before a holiday is Metro not running a Friday/Saturday schedule???

    • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      We left early Wednesday bcuz of the rain delay and that stinks when its sort of unforseen. With a 8 o’clock start its almost a given that the game would go longer then the Metro closing time. I guess if a car isnt a option then you are stuck with Metro. I also seem to recall that teams are forbidden per MLB rules to pay for mass transit.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        Regarding paying for Metro extended hours:

        http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-27/local/35494538_1_metro-service-nationals-park-navy-yard

      • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:06 AM

        ESPN should pay.

        I could have driven, I should have driven, and forked over the $20 as a late-season present to myself.I looked and looked, couldn’t find the Metro closing time on the day before a holiday. Finally decided to Metro…When the game got exciting, I was wondering how much a cab costs (if you can find one).

      • natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        We’ve always done Metro (from Fairfax County), even back in the RFK days. When we bought our tix for this game, back in February, the start time was 1:35 (on the team site’s flex plan page and on the paper-based tix we received in March). It’s against my religion to leave early but…

    • Sec317 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      For those considering taxi’s for special nights like last night, there is a taxi stand after each game at M & Van St, a block west of the Metro station.

  5. natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Haha, just noticed this funny exchange as retweetered by Chase. Also, that MiLB problems meme is kinda funny. :-)

    @Bharper3407
    This bus is killing the game right now! Bored,Hungry, and tired! Not a good 3 to mix together! At least I got pandora! #GoFaster

    @Ian Desmond ‏@IanDesmond

    @Bharper3407 try playing in the minors for 6yrs.

    @Bharper3407
    @IanDesmond20 Complain to @MilbProblems! #dontlikeitgetbetter

    • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      That is hilarious. I thought they would bus it up this morning and let the guys sleep in their beds.

  6. nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    MNF, posted Nats are 2-10 with RISP. That was before the 7th inning. The rest of the way the Nats go 2-5 with RISP. Keep in mind, Werths hit wasnt with a RISP since Zimmerman was on 1st base.

    ESPN mentioned at 1 point that the Nats were .240 as a team with RISP. Guess what, that just ticked up to .241! Hah! Also with 2 outs and RISP, Ryan Zimmerman bats .326 and Wilson Ramos bats .304. They seem to get better in those clutch situations.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/split_stats_team.cgi?full=1&params=bases%7CRISP%7CWSN%7C2013%7Cbat%7CAB%7C

  7. nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    1pm Cardinals/Reds Wainwright vs Latos. Go Cardinals!

    • natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      Go, Ca… Go, Car… Go, Carghhh – that is hard to say. :-)

      • NatsNut - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        Where’s the “like” button on this thing? :)

  8. nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Kilgore writes a article on Bryce Harpers bunt and the fact that he was facing a lefty where he questioned his own limitations played into his decision to bunt. That is all well and good however Kilgore writes this and makes this analogy to Ryan Zimmermans “heave” poor decision throw on Friday as to knowing your own limitations as a player.

    Normally dont see the beat writers taking Ryan Zimmerman to task.

    The best reason to support the bunt may have been what it said about Harper. After the game, he said he had decided to move the runners on his own. The bunt represented Harper’s honest recognition of his limitations. On Friday night, the Nationals allowed a crucial insurance run on Ryan Zimmerman’s heave across the diamond. He said afterward he would make the throw, “100 times out of 100.” But with his current arm strength, that is simply not a play he can make anymore.

    Zimmerman thought he could do more than he is capable of. Sunday night, Harper looked out at the mound, saw a left-hander reliever and did not make the same mistake. He bunted, and sometimes we have to admit that’s not the worst thing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/09/02/bryce-harpers-bunt-was-a-good-play/

    • Sec 309 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Zimmerman didn’t think he could do more than he was capable of. He just reacted. He didn’t have the luxury of time to think about it. Lousy comparison by Kilgore there.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Does Kilgore have a beef with Ryan Zimmerman? I don’t read him too often and surprised he would use his platform in that instance to compliment Harper while cutting down RZim.

      • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        We had this discussion quite a bit. How am I as a fan thinking faster than a pro ball player? Watched the play real-time–at the game–and I thought he needs to eat the ball before he threw it. I don’t buy the “he just reacted.” He’s paid millions to make the right decision in that situation and he didn’t.

        BTW, I’m not negative on Zim. I think his shoulder affected every aspect of his game. But Kilgore was right saying he isn’t ready to make that kind of throw and he should know it. I expect Zim to use the offseason to train and strengthen (as he always does) and come back next year being able to make those throws consistently.

      • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        Interesting opinion NatsLady.

        On strengthening the shoulder, what happens if it doesnt work? I think his throws have been more accurate however they are weak throws. As I watch Ryan between innings warming up he fires the balls across the field. Im hoping your right and he comes back stronger. If your wrong then the Nats are in trouble.

        Watching the constant fielding hilights of Arrenado and Machado making plays at 3rd keeps me yearning for the old Zimmerman that we may never see again.

    • Sec 309 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      NatsLady, sitting in the stands you’re basically playing a video game. You’re not in the foxhole like Zim is. Things look a lot different from that perspective.

  9. TimDz - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Great time at the game…drove, so I didn’t have any metro drama….took my son for our annual father/son birthday game….his,not mine (the Nats are 4-0 on our trips….
    Only negative…we were in section 201 and one of the Mets players apparently got tired of the fans in left field begging for baseballs…we were the only ones in section 201 at the time…I made eye contact with the player and pointed to my son….he tossed it right to me! FB moments all around…unfortunately, with all the excitement of the game, we left the ball sitting in the cup holder and, by the tine we went back, it was gone….my son was bummed out…..

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      That sucks.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      aww, bummer about forgetting the ball but cool that he threw it to you.

      Speaking of balls heading into the crowd, somewhat early in the game last night they started doing the wave behind the Mets dugout. I remarked to my hubby, “Oh no, the Wave is already breaking out.” Then Werth fouled off a ball that went straight into that section, with a flurry of non-Wave-related in-seat activity ensuing. Me to my hubby: “haha, Jayson doesn’t like the Wave either. That’s what happens when you don’t keep your head in the game, people.” :-)

  10. Section 222 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Thank for the link to the Morse interview NL. Several interviews worth watching there. That O’s lineup with him batting 5th is pretty fearsome. Are they planning to have him play the field regularly though? Yikes.

    The late metro situation is just embarrassing. Thanks for that reminder link 1a. There’s the $29,000 deposit, but you get back any revenues from riders so you only need 5,000 or so (and maybe less, the article suggests) to recoup the entire cost. Were there 5,000 people who left last night? Sure looked like it. That deposit is the equivalent of 3625 $8 beers.

    I’ve never been part of the Lerners are cheap crowd, but in this case, the Lerners are cheap.

    • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Saw Morse make a nice grab in LF in the game yesterday. He looks healthy and motivated. Probably isn’t that much worse than Hairston in LF, and he has a better arm. Too bad Seattle waited so long.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Seemed like there were, 222. As we left I was telling my husband: “The ESPN booth is probably talking about all of us fans leaving now. Hope that somebody enlightened them about the Metro situation.” My husband: “Eh, at least *we* won’t be on camera because we left out of the side gate.” Me: “Heh.”

      • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        Just watched the 8-9 innings. ESPN never mentioned fans leaving, and pretty much avoided the empty seats, using crowd shots that showed a lot of people in the park. Can’t fault them on this.

    • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      Again like I posted above, MLB prohibits teams for paying for public transportation. Do you not understand that.

      • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Was about to post the same. Lerners can’t pay for late-night Metro. Either the city has to pay or they have to get a sponsor (as they did last year). ESPN should pay, in this case, since they are the one that moved the time to 8 p.m.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        Are you addressing me? I have no desire to get into an argument about this but fyi, according to the piece below, there was a public misstatement last fall about there being an official MLB policy. Rather than there being an official policy, MLB did not want to “set a precedent.”

        http://dcist.com/2012/09/parsing_the_nats_objections_to_payi.php

      • Section 222 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        No, I don’t understand that because it’s not true. See the various comments and links by 1a. How about getting your facts straight before you criticize other posters?

  11. Sec 309 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    Re late night Metro, the Lerners are simply refusing to be enablers of Metro’s constant attempts to weasel out of its responsibility to provide adequate transit service for the region. They are holding Metro accountable, and I for one applaud them for that.

    • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Thats probably why MLB has there blanket policy on public transportation and public safety. All police agencies are responsible for providing adequate amounts of police. Isnt that why the ticket prices include 10% or more towards taxes?

      • nats128 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Dont get me wrong with my last comment, Im not complaining about the DC Police. Im just agreeing with you on public transportation. Metro needs to budget for it and ALL they need to do is charge a higher amount to Metro riders. Still cheaper than driving and paying for parking. it would also increase ridership overall. I always am afraid of extra innings games and rain delays like Wednesday.

    • Section 222 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      Holding Metro accountable? Really? By inconveniencing their loyal fans they are holding Metro accountable. Hmm, that’s a head scratcher. As the articles that 1a linked to show, the Nats paid for Metro to stay open late back in May 2012. Other event sponsors have standing arrangements with Metro if events run late. They get most of the money back anyway because Metro reimburses out of the fares collected. Why should Metro (and the taxpayers) bear the risk that not so many people will actually use Metro when it’s kept open? Haven’t the taxpayers given the Lerners enough money already by financing the stadium??

      • Sonny G 10 - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        I don’t see how financing the stadium is giving the Lerners a lot of money. True, the Lerners don’t have to finance it themselves, but isn’t this an investment for the city. Don’t the Lerners have to pay rent or some kind of usage fee to the city? Doesn’t the city participate in some of the concessions? (I don’t know, just asking). Eventually the city’s debt will be paid off and they will be making pure profit. Also, with the attraction of the ball park, other businesses are being attracted to that area of Washington which will bring in mega-revenue, so the city is making out just fine.

      • Section 222 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        Not saying it’s a bad deal for the city, but a publicly financed stadium is $600 million that the Lerners didn’t have to spend or finance. And now some people here think Metro or the city (i.e. the taxpayers) should pay to keep the Metro open, or more accurately, take the risk that there aren’t enough riders to pay for the extra hour of service. Seems to me the Lerners could make a real statement about how much they care about the fans by stepping up and putting down the deposit to cover any game that might go late. Much more meaningful than giving away signed bobbleheads on the Jumbotron for “Fan Appreciation Month.”

  12. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Just watched the condensed version of the game; glad I knew the result beforehand because those first few innings would have been disheartening. Happy about the comeback win, but concerned that any effort — no matter how long the odds may be — to somehow slip into the play-in game requires better pitching from the 4/5 slots in the rotation than the Nats have right now. That said, with the Reds playing the Cards this week, now’s the time to pick up a few games. Keep hoping, but without getting my hopes up.

  13. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Apologies if this was posted before Fangraphs chat with Zach Walters.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-very-powerful-nats-prospect-zach-walters/

    zach walters

  14. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    It’s not your imagination that Lagares is good. Defensive Player of the Month, beating out Simmons.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/76967/augusts-top-mlb-defender-juan-lagares?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Lagares

  15. scmargenau - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Did anyone notice on sat night game that JDubs walk up music was game of thrones theme? That was bad ass.

  16. David Proctor - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    Bryce has hit Hamels well, albeit in a fairly small sample size. He’s 6 for 19 against him (.316) with a .409 OBP. You want Harper in the lineup as much as possible.

    Now if he’s injured, that’s another story.

    Hairston is 14 for 34 against him (.412) with 5 HR. Hairston has to get in there somehow.

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