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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Braves 0

Sep 17, 2013, 9:32 PM EST

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Game in a nutshell: It had already been an emotional day for the Nationals when they took the field at 7:05 p.m., with two pregame ceremonies honoring the victims of yesterday’s Navy Yard shootings and a visit from Admiral James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Throw in their come-from-behind, walk-off win in Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader, and the Nationals were plenty exhausted before Game 2 even began. Then Tanner Roark took the mound and re-energized everyone in the ballpark. The rookie tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing only two hits in his latest dominant performance. The Nationals gave Roark one early run, which stood as the only one of the game until the eighth, when they exploded for three huge insurance runs, including Ryan Zimmerman’s latest homer. Rafael Soriano entered in a non-save situation and immediately got himself into trouble but battled through it to earn the save and sweep the doubleheader. The Braves now can’t clinch the NL East in D.C., but the Nationals will likely remain 4 1/2 games behind the Reds (winning big in Houston) for the final Wild Card berth with only 11 games left on the schedule.

Hitting highlight: Though they scored three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, let’s focus on the Nationals’ first run of the night, which looked like it would have to hold up throughout the game. Bryce Harper led off the bottom of the second with a base hit to left, then stole second off Freddy Garcia. Ian Desmond’s drive to left only reached the warning track for the first out, but Adam LaRoche followed by drawing a walk. That set the stage for Steve Lombardozzi, who poked Garcia’s pitch to right field. Harper came charging around third and scored, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead that remained until the eighth.

Pitching highlight: It’s not just that Roark tossed seven scoreless, two-hit innings. It’s that he did it against the Braves in late-September, with the Nationals needing every win they can get to make a last-ditch playoff charge. And that in doing so, the rookie improved to 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA. Seriously, who in their right mind could have seen this coming? Roark, though, continues to go above and beyond what the Nationals expected. And the more he does it, the less it appears to be a fluke. The right-hander is proving he’s got the stuff β€” and, more importantly, the moxie β€” to succeed at this level. He hasn’t been fazed by anything, least of all pitching in a pennant race. What an incredibly pleasant (and unexpected) development for the Nationals.

Key stat: Denard Span’s 28-game hitting streak is the longest in MLB this season and only two games shy of Ryan Zimmerman’s club record of 30, set in 2009.

Up next: The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday when Ross Ohlendorf (filling in because Stephen Strasburg needs one more day to return from his tight forearm) takes the mound for the Nationals against Atlanta rookie left-hander Alex Wood.

  1. nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Oh yes! The f’ing Braves cant clinch in DC! Nice win!

  2. nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I think Freddy Freeman changed there karma when he gloated over the opportunity to clinch on the Nats field. What a DBag.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      Let us not gloat now in return. No need since they are still winning the division and we are not.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      The baseball gods have turned their backs on the Braves before. They could do it again.

  3. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Hey, Freddie. I got something for you.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM


    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM


  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    I think Tanner Roark is winning all the games they owe to Taylor Jordan.

  5. nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Wow, Nats are 11 game over .500! 1 more win to a guaranteed winning record and 9 more wins to 90!

  6. smatt1001 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Nice sweep but i don’t think Houston is going to give us any help tonight 9-0 Reds going into the top of the 5th

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Cards are winning, Reds are winning big, but the Padres are beating the Pirates.

  8. adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Who woulda thunk it?

    Braves, sporting the best record in the NL, come into DC, right after the Nats had used Stras, Gonzo, and JZimm. Their licking their chops that they get to face Haren (owner of one of the worst ERA’s in the league for starters) and newbie Roark.

    And Haren goes 6 IP with one run, and Roark does him one better with 7 IP and 0 ER and 2 hits.

    Really nice job!

    • nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Actually the Nats didnt use Stras as he was scratched.

      • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:49 PM

        Nice catch. Thanks.

        (Of course, what I meant was: Brave got to avoid Stras, Gio, and JZ.

  9. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Does it seem to you we get better results with Tanner Roark than Stephen Strasburg–and a lot less drama? Seriously, you give this kid ONE run and he pitches a shutout.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      Roark is 7-0. Strasburg is 7-9.
      You tell me.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        you guys can’t be serious? the guy has not pitched 50 innings and you are thinking he produces better than Strasburg?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        He has, this year.

      • nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Small sample sizes. Shairon Martis looked like a Ace when he started our based on his W/L. Lets not compare a few starts vs 5 months of starts this season.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when they moved him into the rotation.

    • nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      Rizzo was also. He was hesitant. Roark was very good in the bullpen. Hes showing everyone. Its small sample sizes so lets not hand him the Cy Young just yet.

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Funny, Tanner’s from central Illinois, well south of Joliet, but his accent sounds like he’s from Canada.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Something else, every team that will face the Braves in the playoffs will be paying attention to this start.

    • Sonny G 10 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      I’m thinking the Braves are only going to face one team in the playoffs, then they’re done!

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Good point, Sonny. I stand corrected.

  13. nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    The Os in a tie game in the 8th had men on 2nd and 3rd and no outs with there 3-4-5 hitters due up and score ZERO! Hah!

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Sofa, I refuse to believe you are serious.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      Believe whatever gives you comfort, my friend. Myself, I believe I’ll go get a beer and celebrate.

  15. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    The AAA Championships in Allentown PA is on NBC (848 in DC Comcast). Jesus Flores leading off the ninth for Durham vs. Omaha, down 2-1.

  16. adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    I just saw a replay of Span’s attempt to score. I agree with Sofa — Jewett made the right call.

    Not only did it take a perfect throw, but the Braves catcher had to turn the other way and make a blind tag on Span. The Braves announcers said “I don’t know how they got him.”

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      Thank you.

      • nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        Span was running the equivalent of a inside-the-park-HR. He was on fumes. It was the wrong call. No doubt about it given there was only 1 out and Ryan Zimmerman was on deck with Jayson Werth in the hole.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        There’s plenty of doubt. He was out by six inches on a great throw. How is that not reasonable doubt?

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    quite a finish going in Allentown. Omaha, up 2-1 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, gives up a bloop, and then a long AB for a walk. Pitching change, 2 on, 2 out, bringing in the lefty for all the marbles.

  18. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    I’m not saying Tanner Roark is a better pitcher–but he has “composure” on the mound, and a composure is what Stras could use. Far from clear Roark will be in the rotation next year.

    • nats128 - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      I agree with that. I cant stand the way Stras gets easily agitated.

      • David Proctor - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM

        Still better than Gio. Everyone needs to take lessons from JZimm.

      • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        Stras is still only 24. Two years younger than Roark. (And three years younger than JZ).

        He’ll get it together.

      • scmargenau - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        Stras may be a bust…

  19. NatsLady - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    I tell you this, I am glad to see the last of Freddy Garcia… What has that guy got on us?

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    but I gotta say, these announcers … the difference between AAA and MLB is huge.

  21. Candide - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Just back from the game. Looked like there weren’t going to be many people out tonight, but I’d say it was about 23,000 – 25,000. Thought there’d be more, what with so many people switching from the rescheduled game like we did.

    Haven’t seen the replay on Span’s out at home, but it looked like TOOTBLAN to me. Will have to watch the replay. But yeah, with the heart of the order coming up, why risk it?

    Got a couple of Section 222’s tickets in 314 last week and picked up on the cheer they do whenever the Nats score a run, and imported it to 221 tonight. Was pretty much by myself in the 2nd inning, but by the time we got to the 4th run, I’d say I had about 20 people joining in. Didn’t hurt that we were in row A, so I could turn around and do a bit of a cheerleader kind of thing. I would LOVE to see that thing spread like a virus throughout the park – imagine 30,000 people all yelling “NATS! NATS! NATS! WOOOO!” all at once.

    Speaking of cheerleaders, I got a good view of Terrence tonight, as he was on the first base side, almost right in front of us. I have to say I respect the guy’s work. He never runs up and down the aisle while the play is actually on; once the play stops, he’ll run up and down, wave, lead cheers, clap, do all the cheerleader stuff, then a couple of seconds before the pitch, crouch down at the end of the aisle so as not to interfere with anyone’s view of the game. He interacts well with the fans, especially kids, and I estimate runs the equivalent of a couple of marathons every night – or tonight, anyway. I’d probably drop dead of a heart attack after trying to keep up with him for five minutes.

  22. Eric - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Amazing day of baseball… Wow… Was supposed to go to the game last night, just me and Dad, but due to the shooting we went today. As a bonus, my sister, her newborn son, and my oldest (3) were able to come too, thanks to an ever so accommodating ticket source my parents know (hi, and thanks!!! :) )

    The tribute to start the game was intense for dad, but the end of the game was a great antidote. Just really amazing to watch live! To follow up with tonight’s performance is fantastic stuff.

    On a side note, there was one guy in our section today doing the chop. I can’t stand the chop. I feel it’s racist (feel the same way about “Redskins”, for the record) and annoying, too boot. So, when when the Nats won the day game, I started doing the chop, but chanted “no” instead of “oh”. People around us seemed to get really into it. I only wish I thought at the time about moving the chop side to side instead of up and down to more fully divorce it from the racist overtone.

    I really think this would be a great thing to see stadium wide when the Braves are in town and their fans start doing the chop.

    Regardless, GO NATS!

    • Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      If any family deserved a good day today Eric, it was yours. So glad your dad is safe, and that you all got to enjoy that incredible walk off win. Fantastic.

      • Eric - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:39 PM

        Thanks, it is deeply appreciated and was greatly enjoyed!

  23. Eric - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Candid, we were in 222’s seats today and doing the N-A-T-S NATS NATS NATS WOO! cheer, too. I agree that would be fantastic as our ballpark’s thing… Way classier than, say, the chop.

    • Eric - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      Oops, Android prefers “candid” to Candide” πŸ˜‰

    • Candide - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Was just going to commend you to my post regarding the NATSNATSNATS cheer when my phone went blooey.

      Maybe this is something NIers should set to work on to make our project for next year.

      How cool would it be to have the scoreboard cooperate?

      (Answer – one a scale of one to ten, about 6,350.)

      • Eric - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:40 PM

        That would be great… Kind of a no brainer if you ask me!

      • Dave - Sep 18, 2013 at 5:50 AM

        Oh yeah, and how cool would it be to have the Nat Pack cooperate? We’ve been trying to get that going for two years, but Terrance the Nat Packer doesn’t seem to want to play.

    • Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      That’s a low bar. Just about anything is classier than the chop. I like mocking the chop by singing it off key, like a drunk. Adding a sideways motion and saying “No” would be a good addition. Have to try that tomorrow night.

    • Dave - Sep 18, 2013 at 5:48 AM

      Always look to section 313. We were waving our caps like crazy. The cheer generally starts after the NEXT batters walk-up music ends.

      One thing we discussed last night, and that we experienced last week, is that timing can get a bit screwy if the opposing manager comes out to make a pitching change right after the Nats score a run. If that happens, the waiting-for-the-music-to-end rule takes a back seat. You just have to look to section 313.

      If you haven’t memorized your section numbers yet, 313 is the shorter section (with an ADA wheelchair pad) right in front of the press box.

      We also do one cheer right after a victory, “one for the win.” My wife noticed last night that several Nationals looked up toward 313 and tipped their caps to us after we did that one last night.

  24. MicheleS - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    WOOOOO HOOOOOO! a long but wonderful day at the park! I am exhausted and have no voice. Can’t wait for tomorrow

  25. Expos Dan - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Wondering what a Canadian accent is?

  26. Theo - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    I always sit in the 300s behind home plate but usually between 315-319 on the first base side. Might try for 222’s 314 Friday night

    • Section 222 - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Theo, if you’re looking for tix, I still have a pair in 314 for Wed, Sat, and Sun. Plus 2 for Thurs in 311. Email me at Section314not222@gmail dot com to get in touch.

      I like the behind the plate or the 3B side because it’s easier to look at the scoreboard. Also, I sat in 320 for Game 5. Bad memories. :)

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        Would a “meetup” page on the NIDO+ be an appropriate place to post things you might want to erase later, which you can’t do her (without asking Mark to do it for you)?

        We could add a worksheet to the spreadsheet where you can put your contact info, much less visibly and totally under your control, and direct folks to it from here. Just a thought.

      • Section 222 - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:49 AM

        That sounds like a great idea. I remembered after I hit post that our comments can’t be erased any more. Thanks.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        *can’t do HERE

  27. Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Having now seen the replay, I’ll join the “Trent shouldn’t have sent him” camp. Mainly because Span was clearly gassed, and with one out and Zim coming up, it was unnecessarily risky. Yes, it took a perfect relay throw from Freeman, but that’s only because Uggla made a very lame throw to Freeman. A good throw home by Uggla gets him easily.

    Luckily, it didn’t make a damn bit of difference, so all is forgiven.

    I made the comment after the first game that that might have been the most miraculous comeback ever by the Nats, and certainly the most dramatic given the importance of the game, the stage of the season, and who the opposing pitcher was. Anyone have any other nominations?

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    I still like Desi’s walk-off home run for that.

    • Section 222 - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM

      That was a great moment for sure, even if it was in May. But I think our chances of coming back from 1 run down against J.J. Putz were better than scoring 3 against Kimbrel.



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