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Game 143: Nats at Mets

Sep 9, 2013, 3:27 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

NEW YORK — Hello from Flushing Meadows, where the biggest sporting event tonight is taking place across the parking lot from Citi Field (the U.S. Open Men’s Final). The Nationals and Mets, meanwhile, open a four-game series with not very much at stake at this point (unless you’re still clinging to the Nats’ hopes of making up an 8-game deficit in three weeks).

The more significance news here will involve Bryce Harper, who was due to have his left hip examined this morning in Washington. Hopefully we’ll have some clarity on his status later this afternoon. In the meantime, Tyler Moore gets another start in left field, even though the Mets are starting right-hander Carlos Torres.

Gio Gonzalez gets the ball for the Nationals, seeking his 10th win. That would make four consecutive seasons of double-digit victories for the lefty, no small accomplishment.

Plenty of updates and analysis to come from the ballpark, so please check back…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 68 degrees, Wind out to LF

NATIONALS (73-69)
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
LF Tyler Moore
2B Anthony Rendon
LHP Gio Gonzalez

METS (64-77)
LF Eric Young, Jr.
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Andrew Brown
1B Lucas Duda
SS Justin Turner
CF Juan Lagares
3B Wilmer Flores
C Travis d’Arnaud
RHP Carlos Torres

UMPIRES
HP Bob Davidson
1B John Hirschbeck
2B James Hoye
3B Jim Reynolds

7:12 p.m. — We are underway as Carlos Torres fires a strike to Denard Span in front of … well, almost nobody. This place is dead.

7:20 p.m. — Wow, what a start for the Nats. Span launched a 2-2 pitch from Torres over the right-field wall for his fourth homer of the season, in the process extending his hitting streak to an even 20 games. Moments later, Ryan Zimmerman hammered a pitch deep to left-center, his 21st of the year. Just like that, the Nats lead 2-0.

7:31 p.m. — A solid bottom of the first for Gio Gonzalez, through he did need 21 pitches to record three outs. His one mistake was a one-out walk to Daniel Murphy. But really, the Mets were just fouling off a bunch of pitches. Gio threw 15 of his 21 pitches for strikes, four of those balls obviously coming during the Murphy at-bat. He struck out Lucas Duda on a curveball to end the inning, the Nats still up 2-0.

7:46 p.m. — A more efficient Gonzalez in the bottom of the second. He retired the side on 11 pitches, striking out Juan Lagares on a fastball. It’s 2-0 after two.

7:59 p.m. — The power barrage continues for the Nats, but only after the hit parade continued for Denard Span. With a base hit to left, Span improved to 2-for-2 tonight and raised his season batting average to .281 (it sat at .258 when his 20-game streak began). Zimmerman then walked, and that brought Jayson Werth to the plate with two on, one out and a laboring young pitcher on the mound. So you had to know what was coming next: Werth tattooed Torres’ first-pitch fastball to left-center for a three-run homer, his 22nd of the year. The Nats now lead 5-0 as we go to the bottom of the third.

8:05 p.m. — Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez has yet to surrender a hit through three innings. He worked quickly to retire the side in the bottom of the third and, with a 5-run lead, is going right after the Mets lineup.

8:12 p.m. — Man, are the Nats hitter squaring up balls against Torres. Tyler Moore led off the fourth with a shot just to the left of the big apple in center, field the Nationals’ fourth homer in as many innings against Torres tonight. And none of them have been cheapies, either. These have been rockets. It’s 6-0 as Gonzalez takes the mound for the bottom of the fourth.

8:19 p.m. — Make it four hitless innings for Gio, whose pitch count is at 51. He has only let two balls leave the infield so far, each of them flyouts to center. It’s still 6-0 as we go to the fifth and Greg Burke enters from the Mets’ bullpen to replace Torres.

8:42 p.m. — Sweet. Fancy. Moses. Now Wilson Ramos crushes a 3-run homer. That’s five home runs by five different players in five innings tonight. Man, if you’re Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche or Anthony Rendon, you’re feeling rather inadequate at the moment. It’s 9-0 in the fifth. Oh, and if you were wondering: The Nats have 250 percent more home runs so far tonight than the Redskins have offensive first downs.

8:48 p.m. — And now Gio is just cruising, pounding the strike zone and working quickly and efficiently. He’s through five hitless innings on 61 pitches.

9:06 p.m. — Six hitless innings in the books for Gonzalez, who has now retired 17 in a row. The only Met batter to reach base so far: Daniel Murphy, who drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first. Gio has seven strikeouts, only the one walk and is sitting on 72 pitches as we move to the seventh. It’s still 9-0 Nats.

9:23 p.m. — Well, so much for that. Pinch-hitter Zach Lutz led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive over Adam LaRoche’s head that just barely grazed the chalk for the Mets’ first hit of the night. It was close, really close. But it’s a hit. Gio, however, finished out the inning, so it’s still a 9-0 rout for the Nats as we move to the eighth.

9:44 p.m. — Make it eight innings of 1-hit ball for Gio, who is on 93 pitches. He should get the chance to finish this one.

9:53 p.m. — Here we go. Gio takes the mound for the ninth.

9:59 p.m. — That’s it. Gio does it. Nats win 9-0. They’re 5 games over .500, matching their season high point. And the Reds just lost to the Cubs, so the deficit is 7 games again.

  1. Doc - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    We’re building on next year, MarkMeister!

    TyMo for MVP! LOL

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Agree that not very much is at stake, but would still like to the see the Nats finish strong, like they did in 2011. Whether true or not, it seemed to focus their mindset on winning in 2012. Am I grasping at straws? Probably, but those straws are about all that’s left…

  3. pchuck69 - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Yeah, finish strong and pass the Pirates!

  4. bowdenball - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Although it’s still almost impossible, fans should note that an 8 game deficit to two teams is different than an 8 game deficit to one team. The odds of one of two teams collapsing and enabling a run from 8 back are much better than the odds of a single team collapsing.

    The odds still are incredibly slim, though.

  5. nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Would like to see Corey Brown in LF and Tyler Mo at 1st. Laroche is in a deeeeep slump.

    • David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      He’s actually been better lately. In September, he’s batting .316 with an .883 OPS.

      • natsjackinfl - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        David. There you go again confusing the issue with facts.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        NatsJack, LOL that’s deeep!

      • nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        Your using a 19 at bat sample size to say differently? Hes batting .211 in the last 2 weeks with 38 at bats. He got a few extra hits off of AAA pitchers.

        Hooray for Laroche!

  6. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    The Nationals have won 7 of their last 9 series with 2 sweeps. The Nationals have done their part–the problem is it was too little too late. A nice run was never going to cut it, they had to go on an otherworldly run and they weren’t able to do that. Also combine the fact that the Reds are, well, red hot.

    It is mildly interesting that the Pirates all of a sudden are struggling in a big way. Again, too little too late though.

    • Hiram Hover - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      I think you’re selling the Pirates short.

      If any team can manage that epic a collapse, it’s them.

      • 3on2out - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        DP: as always you present a reasonable and rational approach to all things National. I hate Snyder with a passion similar to my distaste for Angelos but the viewing choice tonight is clear. (With my MLB app turned on for regular updates)

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      “The wise man lets go of all results, whether good or bad, and is focused on the action alone.”

  7. sjm308 - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Except for the first two weeks of the season, have we been more than 5 games above .500? Would love to see us finish strong as well.

    • Sec 309 - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      At 42 games, they were 23-19. In the 100 games since, they are 50-50. Yeah, this season was all Espinosa’s fault.

      • David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        Espinosa was A problem, not THE problem. Many confused the two.

  8. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    I’ll be honest, I’m mostly going to be watching the football game tonight. I will check in and hope for the best though.

  9. Hiram Hover - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Watching Mark’s tweets in the tweeter-thingy sidebar.

    Interesting to see Davey’s comments re: Bryce’s hip, but I don’t put much stock in what Davey says in pressers.

  10. mrnat7 - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    With the patsy schedule we have had as late and in the coming week. We should be playing well and be above 500. Also, that’s why ALR and some of the others are hitting well! They are seeing some of the weakest pitchers in the Majors. If we had been and were playing the Reds and Pirates schedule, we would be under the 500 mark. So, don’t get false hope on what we are doing now. Let the younger guys see what they can do against these teams this week. No, Daddy (Davey) will continue to see if ALR can fatten his average against the lowly Mets and Phillies.. His career year was last year and he should be groomed to take Tracey’s place for 2014.

    • natsjackinfl - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      I guess all those games played against the same teams earlier in the season, their pitchers were much better

    • David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      Remember before the ASB? We had such a “cupcake” schedule with the Phillies and Marlins and a great chance to gain ground. We went 2-5 on that roadtrip if i recall correctly. If we had beat the teams we should’ve beat all year, we’d be in a much better spot. You still have to play the games. They are, and they’re playing them well.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        They split with the Brewers, swept the Padres, and then lost 3 of 4 to the Phils, and 2 of 3 to the Marlins, going into the ASB. Then they lost the next 6 to LA and Pittsburgh.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Well the Skins play tonight… But I will be checking in from time to time…. At least I will try to… I am recording the game and will watch it later…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      I’m in my bar seat with Monday night football on it and my favorite barkeep will put the Nats game on mute next to it in a few minutes.

      I got on my Riggo jersey with my Nats curly dub cap!

  12. MicheleS - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  13. mrnat7 - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Yes, the Mets and Phillies were better teams before the All-Star break. They are playing their call-ups now and we are playing our #1′s. The Phillies are without Howard, traded their 3B to the Dodgers and now have our cast off (Bernadina) in the OF. The Mets have lost Harvey and the last time we played them they were without Wright. They also traded their catcher (Buck) and Byrd. So, stop living in a dream world about this team. We will not improve until the Davey Johnson days are over and he is gone. I see why he didn’t last with his former teams. He covers for most of his players mistakes and play favorites. We need a manager who makes his players accountable! If you are not one of his boys, you won’t get a chance!

  14. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    I’m not saying they’re going anywhere this season, they just aren’t that good right now. But saying Davey got fired from his other jobs for being a bad manager, and then talking about somebody else living in a dream world, is just … wow.

    • nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      Yah, thats revisionist history. Davey got fired from the Os because Angelos had issues other than winning. He just took them to the playoffs and was voted Manager of the year.

  15. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Go Nats!!! Beat the Mutts!?!?!?

  16. Joe Seamhead - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Denard Span, the “4th” outfielder now 2-2 with a HR and batting .281? Heavens to Murgatroid!

  17. Joe Seamhead - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Werth It!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      He did stand there and watch a long time for a ball that landed in the first row… just saying.

  18. Joe Seamhead - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    RG111 ain’t looking too good so far either.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      What, his committee meetings aren’t going well?

  19. Sonny G 10 - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Five to zip. Go Nats!!!

  20. breakbad1 - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    There’s a weird faux tribute going on in the TV booth tonight. FP just said no matter what happens in 2013 (covering up for the fact that we are doomed), there is NO WAY the 2014 Nats–or any Nats after that–are going to sneak up on anyone, ever again. He was saying the world knows how good we are, so we won’t surprise anyone in the future.

    It sure seemed like an odd statement to me.

    Won’t teams in the future know about our offensive futility with runners in scoring position?
    Won’t they know about our absolute determination not to hold runners, complemented by a steadfast desire not to establish a running game of our own?
    Will teams see that we didn’t do anything on offense in 2013, until the season was basically over?
    Will teams expect, in 2014 and beyond, our 3rd baseman will have a laser-like arm?
    Will team have some reason to expect we are going to be a great defensive team in 2014 and beyond, even as we contend for Worst NL Defensive Team in 2013?
    Will teams forget us repeatedly ruining sparkling pitching performances with a constipated, do-nothing offense?
    Will teams forget that our leadership–GM and manager–gutted our bullpen of lefties, saying we really didn’t need lefties…with disastrous results?
    Will teams forget the pathetic bench we started with in 2013, and the pathetic bench we finished with?
    Will teams in the future forget what a mental team we were in 2014? (Breaking our hands punching lockers, balking repeatedly from the set position, making inexplicable unforced defensive errors and bone-head baserunning mistakes.)

    Sorry FP. Gotta call you out on this one. Teams have EVERY reason to expect the same basic roster, with the same mental problems, and the same results, in 2014.

    • David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      Why? 2013 is no more indicative of what will happen in 2014 anymore than 2012 was indicative of what has happened in 2013.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:02 PM

      Well, yeah, but…
      Baseball isn’t linear.

    • nats6245 - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Will teams forget that our leadership–GM and manager–gutted our bullpen of lefties, saying we really didn’t need lefties…with disastrous results?
      Will teams forget the pathetic bench we started with in 2013, and the pathetic bench we finished with?

      Depends what GM Rizzo does in the off season, and how the minor leaguers do in camp….

      Will teams in the future forget what a mental team we were in 2014? (Breaking our hands punching lockers, balking repeatedly from the set position, making inexplicable unforced defensive errors and bone-head baserunning mistakes.)

      Since 2014 hasn’t happened yet, what do they have to forget? Maybe what year it is?

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Wow, neither was that flight path…
    T-Mo.

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    So either Mark isn’t superstitious, or he’s just checking to see if anyone’s watching.

  23. Sonny G 10 - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Well, you guys got wings. One more run and you get pizza.

  24. breakbad1 - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    A study of baseball history will show that teams with strong fundamentals and performance one season, tend to carry it into the next season. If you believe that, as I do, then you have much to doubt in the hype coming from the Nats PR machine.

    If you do not believe there is any relationship a team’s fundamentals and performance from one season to the next, then you should be exultant at our 2013 mediocrity. After all, since nothing is linear, the Saint Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros have the exact same chance of winning the World Series in 2014.

    Every team in 2014 has an equal, 1/30th chance of winning it all.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      Now you’re just being deliberately contentious.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        And on the Internet, no less. What are the odds?

    • David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      So explain 2013. We were very fundamentally sound last year.

    • nats6245 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      I’m confused.

      If, as you say, a study of baseball history will show that teams with strong fundamentals and performance one season, tend to carry it into the next season, how does every team in 2014 have an equal, 1/30th chance of winning it all?

  25. Joe Seamhead - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    We have a remote control war going on here. Missed Tyler Moore’s HR..Can anybody tell me what kind of pitch that he hit?

  26. breakbad1 - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    There is more good news for those not worried about the fundamentals or performance of the 2012 Nats: It turns out that, since 1962, the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals have won the same number of games, and the same number of World Series championships.

    So there really is nothing to be worried about with our 2012 Nats.

  27. knoxvillenat - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    There is more good news for those not worried about the fundamentals or performance of the 2012 Nats: It turns out that, since 1962, the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals have won the same number of games, and the same number of World Series championships.

    So there really is nothing to be worried about with our 2012 Nats.

    Really? How many World Series championships have the Astros ever won?

  28. Sonny G 10 - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    OK, you folks can have 50% off on Papa John’s pizza now.

  29. breakbad1 - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Sorry, everyone. Not being contentious. I believe we have serious, systemic, and organizational culture problems on the 2012 Nationals. I know my baseball and love my Nationals; I am no troll.

    The worst threat to this organization is the belief that the dropoff from 2012 was random-negative, so therefore our prospects in 2014 are random-positive.

    We have serious problems to fix. If we fail to fix them, 2014 will be like 2013, or worse.

    Our most urgent issue is the naming of the new manager, as soon as possible after the last day of the regular season. The rebuilding effort starts at that moment.

  30. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    One more inning and my eyes will be opened.

  31. nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Time to put in some reserves like Corey Brown and Eury Perez and Solano and Lombo.

  32. breakbad1 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Knoxville: I was being sarcastic. I was trying to point out that, statistically, the winning of championships is not randomly distributed.

    • Sonny G 10 - Sep 9, 2013 at 11:39 PM

      ¿A good way we indicate sarcasm on this blog is with the upside-down question mark¿

  33. Joe Seamhead - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Werth It again. And #4 OF is 3-4, now hitting .283.
    I feel encouraged….about what,I’m not sure.
    Well, except as long as Danny Boy owns the football team I couldn’t care less about Kyle’s Piles and the rest of that cursed organization.

  34. Drew - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    The Nats just passed the Yankees in run differential.

    The Nats are back to -3.

    The Yankees are -4.

  35. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    This is getting interesting.

    • nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      Absolutely. Free pizza if the Nats score 10 runs, right. 50% off for the 1st 5 and another 50% off for the 2nd 5 runs.

      Yep, this is getting real interesting.

  36. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Someone needs to tell Davey to put Corey Brown in LF. Defense is important right now.

    • nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      Like you said defense is important. That stunk. If Laroche gets that Gio wasnt covering. Better it went past Laroche for a hit then a brain fart by Gio.

  37. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Damn it.

  38. janebeard - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    You know, it’s just nice to see them do so well. It’s kind of ridiculous how much happier I am when they win than when they, you know, don’t.

  39. nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    The no-hitter was given up once MASN sent out the no-hitter text message. Way to go Angelos!

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      For what it’s worth, ESPN also sent out an alert after the 6th.

  40. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Zach Walters in for Zimmerman. Let’s hope nothing gets hit to him.

  41. secretwasianman - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Glad the nats doing well tonight. That other DC team, who I just can’t mention is getting there glasses handed to them

    • natsfan1a - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      Just got back into town after a trip to Ohio to visit family. As soon as we got into DC radio range this evening, we tuned to WTOP for traffic and weather. Dang. There were more pointy-ball updates than traffic and weather updates. Not being really big on pointy-ball, we were making fun of them. OMG. RG III ran through the tunnel. And he HAD A FLAG! OMG. And they all – wait, there’s a Nat update. Oh, make that a gnat update. One landed on RG III’s head. AND IT BIT HIM! OMG. (I don’t know what happened after that because we tuned to another station.) Anyhoo. Nice to be back home, and am looking forward to watching some baseball. btw, we were in Cleveland area, and football rules there, too. Was reading the local paper at breakfast this morning. I asked my husband, “Where’s the main section? I want to see the news.” He’s like, “That *is* the main section.” I thought it was the sports section, as the whole page was football. Dang.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      That must have been quite a spectacle. (Sorry, but that one was just hanging there.)

      That other DC team, who I just can’t mention is getting there glasses handed to them

  42. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Hey Walters fielded a ball successfully.

  43. nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Reds lost to the Cubs!

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