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Instant analysis: Nats 11, Phillies 2

Sep 15, 2013, 4:41 PM EDT

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Game in a nutshell: The Nationals opened the game hitting several balls hard against Tyler Cloyd but not having much to show for it. That changed in a hurry. The Nats blasted the right-hander for 10 hits in four-plus innings, opening up a comfortable lead. Then they went hog-wild on the Phillies bullpen, particularly during a 5-run seventh inning that blew this game wide open. The biggest star was Wilson Ramos, who in his 23rd straight game went 4-for-4 with a homer and 5 RBI. But Ramos hardly was alone in inflicting damage at the plate. Bryce Harper had three hits, including two doubles. Ian Desmond drove in three runs. And Denard Span had two hits to extend his streak to 26 games, one shy of the longest hitting streak in the majors this season (set by the Rockies’ Michael Cuddyer). Jordan Zimmermann took advantage of all that run support to earn his NL-leading 18th win. And the Nationals won for the 25th time in 35 games, improving to 79-70 but running out of time to catch the Reds for the league’s final Wild Card berth.

Hitting highlight: Who says Ramos can’t be productive after playing every day for more than three weeks? Making his 23rd consecutive start behind the plate, most by any major-league catcher this season, Ramos enjoyed a career afternoon at the plate. He singled in a run in the second, singled in another run in the fourth, launched his 15th homer in an injury-plagued year in the sixth and then for good measure drove in two more runs with a single in the seventh. He now has 49 RBI in 54 games since returning from the DL for good on July 4. Extrapolated out over 162 games, that would equal 147 RBI. That’s kind of a lot.

Pitching highlight: There wasn’t much particularly notable about Zimmermann’s performance today, aside from the fact he pitched well and churned out seven innings to put himself in line for the win. That’s his 18th of the season, tops in the National League and second-most in Nats history. Only Gio Gonzalez (21 last year) has won more games in a Nationals uniform. Zimmermann won’t get a chance to match that mark, but he can get to the 20-win plateau if he wins each of his final two starts.

Key stat: The Nationals went 14-5 in their now-complete, 19-game stretch against the Phillies, Mets and Marlins.

Up next: Now the Nationals get their first real test in a while when the Braves come to town for three games, with a chance to clinch the NL East title while they’re in town. Dan Haren faces Mike Minor in Monday’s 7:05 p.m. series opener.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    May have a real game in Milwaukee. Brewers just scored two, now 5-4 Reds, but Brewers have a runner on third and no outs.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Now 5-5.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        Saw the comeback on MLB Network before I ceded the clicker to my husband for non-baseball-related programming. :-(

  2. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    I guess we won’t see Teheran. He was the losing pitcher in Atlanta. They lost 4-0. Looks like BJ Upton and Uggla didn’t play, but they still didn’t get any offense, and struck out 13 times.

  3. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Hindsight is always 20-20 (or better), but I kinda wish they had given Wilson Ramos the day off ahead of the Atlanta series.

  4. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Milwaukee seemingly trying to give the lead back.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Oh my. Carlos Gomez should be every Nats fan’s hero.

      • Chazz - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        +1
        See my comment below.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Ramos has been other-worldly.

    Bryce kept his head down, right on the ball and had very good at bats today.

    Davey says Stras is fine and he does not want Atlanta to clinch the division here. Extra motivation for the Nats.

    I am taking great joy in Denard Span’s overall play. I took a lot of crap for defending him, especially when it was getting pretty hard to do so. I really appreciate high quality outfielding. Posters that compared him to Nyjer Morgan were certainly entitled to their opinion, but my opinion was that those posters were just wrong.

    I am very happy for Jayson Werth’s personal success, but I wish it was happening to him with the Nats winning the division.

    Really wishing Dan Haren nothing but the best tomorrow night!

    GYFNG!!!

  6. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I love Span, but did you see Carlos Gomez’ catch? WOW!!!!!!!

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      My new hero (at least for an inning or two).

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      After that animated video you posted the other day I can’t look at Joey Votto at first without chuckling to myself.

  7. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Zach Duke now pitching.

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    And just gave up the game-losing (for the Reds) home run!

  9. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    BREWERS WIN!!!

  10. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    4.5 way to go Halton.

  11. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Can I get a “woo hoo!” for the Brewers? :-)

  12. David Proctor - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Zach Duke just made by far his biggest contribution to the Nats this season.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Well said!

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      Let’s hope Dusty Baker keeps using him in close games.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      That’s nice way to put it.

  13. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    6-5 Brewers, final. Despite my despondency this morning, I’m much happier right now. GYFNG!

  14. ehay2k - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Listening to the Reds / Brewers game on the road. Thank you Zach Duke! Always knew you were a Nat at heart!

  15. Whynat - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Brew Crew – come from behind walk off!!!!

  16. secretwasianman - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    WHOOO HOO FOR THE BREW. I think ill have a beer or 2

    • natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      You’re a poet and don’t know it. (Or maybe you do.) :-)

  17. David Proctor - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    We’ve got to win 2/3 to prevent the Braves from clinching at Nats Park. And needless to say, we need to win 2/3 to keep our own hopes alive. And then sweep the Marlins.

  18. Chazz - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I want a Carlos Gomez Brewers jersey with wings embroidered on the back. He brought a would-be 3-run home run back in to the park to end the 8th and keep it tied.

    • Chazz - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      Excuse me, to end the top of the ninth.

  19. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Wish we had won yesterday…. Oh, well. Gotta take 2 of 3 from ATL or they will clinch here. Can’t have that! Not to mention, we need the WINS.

    OK, we can beat Mike Minor, especially now that Span has figure out how to hit lefties….:) We’ve done very well against him twice this season.

    I’m still p***ed we let Freddy Garcia beat us when he was with Ballmer and he was DFA two weeks later. Gotta get him.

    Then we have TBD against Wood on Wednesday. I understand Stras is pitching on Thursday, so is TBD Ohlendorf ro a bullpen game–actually, Ohlendorf IS a bullpen game.

    • David Proctor - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      If we can win 2/3 against the Braves with Haren, Roark and Ohlendorf starting, I’m going to buy playoff tickets. You know the Gods have decided to smile on us if that happens.

    • natslive - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      why isn’t Stras pitching wed? – isn’t that his normal turn in the rotation? you’d think we’d want him to pitch against the Braves…

  20. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Ex-Nat Brad Peacock is starting tomorrow for the Stro’s, We remember him fondly, right???? Do a good job, kid!! Bo Porter, you too!

    • David Proctor - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Maybe this can become a thing. A bunch of ex-Nats help the Nats storm into the postseason. Zach Duke today. Brad Peacock tomorrow.

    • NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      Got that wrong, Peacock is starting on Wednesday. Well, still holds.

  21. janebeard - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    I’m so glad that Zach Day found a way to help us. I’m not being snarky either.

    GO NATS!

  22. janebeard - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    FOr anyone who stayed for the game AFTER the game — did someone come rescue the broken pigeon?

    • NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      I didn’t see the game, what is the story with the pigeon?

      • ericfuller - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        From ESPN:
        “A pigeon wandered near the pitcher’s mound, shortstop and second base for several innings. During warmups at the start of the eighth, the bird had a staredown with first base umpire Jim Wolf on the edge of the outfield grass. The crowd cheered whenever the pigeon attempted to fly, but the bird appeared to be injured and couldn’t stay airborne for more than a few yards. “You could walk right up to him, and he wouldn’t budge,” Nationals 2B Steve Lombardozzi said.”

        http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/gamecast?gameId=330915120&version=mobile&teamId=20&src=desktop

        Do HTML tags work here?

  23. Doc - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Way to go Zach!!\

    Hope the Nats cut you a little extra World Series share!!!

    Let’s take 3 from the phony Braves—our time has come!

  24. Doc - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    We couldn’t have done it to-day, without our pigeon.

    Hope he’s being taken care of???

  25. Steady Eddie - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Rally Pigeon!

  26. Whynat - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    What happened to our Rally Pigeon? (worried)

  27. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    If you don’t think a “good” team can collapse, look at Texas.

  28. David Proctor - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Brandon Phillips just tweeted:

    @DatDudeBP: #WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t drink but PLEASE, somebody take a #ShotForMe! Thanks

    Think they’re feeling the pressure?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      Dusty will crack. He’s just not a good Manager.

  29. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    The Nats thrive on being the underdog.

  30. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Two huge stats is Wilson Ramos extrapolation of 147 RBIs over the full season and JZim’s 18 wins. Zach Walters continues to get on base and has the perfect BA and OBP and Bryce Harper’s BA is slowly climbing again and I expect his power to return too.

    This team is in full stride and if they can get into the dance–watch out!

  31. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    The funny part is Zach Duke had actually been doing well in (limited) outings for the Reds, he hadn’t given up so much as a hit in a couple of weeks.

  32. paul brandt - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    have we beat the braves at home this year??

    i know the record is not pretty,

    we need to sweep them…really don’t like them at all.

  33. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Is it just me, or us anyone else starting to get annoyed with the seemingly-obligatory “…but of course they probably won’t do it” tacked onto every fricken mention of the standings, or catching the Reds. WE KNOW. Anybody who cares to read this or any other Nats blog already knows.

    As Groucho once said, “I love my cigar, too, but I take it out once in a while.”

    • nats6245 - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      “…but of course they probably won’t do it” tacked onto every fricken mention of the standings, or catching the Reds.

      The obvious response is “there’s what’s probable, and there’s what happens on the field. The games are played on the field.” Corollary — ” Sure, it’s a long shot, and not entirely in the Nats hands. But that’s not the same as saying the Nats are already eliminated. Since they haven’t been eliminated, they’re still in the hunt.”

      (Of course, there are certain commentators and commentors who have a laundry list of the negatives that they expect to carry over to the memories of the rest of the league for next season. But I think the Nats may be putting together a list of things that the league will remember — like their lead off man’s hitting streak, and their left fielder’s throwing the ball to in so that runners can be out at second with balls he’s caught at the bullpen fence.)

  34. nats6245 - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Game in a nutshell — Ramos was a one man wrecking crew – but the rest of the team got in on the fun.

  35. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Where are our friends who guarenteed us 4th place?

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