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Instant analysis: Nats 8, Diamondbacks 4

Sep 28, 2013, 12:37 AM EST

Associated Press Associated Press

Game in a nutshell: The Nationals opened their final series of the season, one with zero playoff implications, but put forth a solid all-around effort to earn the victory. Stephen Strasburg allowed two runs over seven strong innings to cap his year. Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each clubbed 3-run homers to pace a well-balanced offensive attack. And Ryan Zimmerman made several spectacular plays at third, continuing his late-season defensive surge. Put it all together and the Nationals enjoyed a comfortable win, their 85th of the season.

Hitting highlight: After a torrid summer, Werth had cooled off somewhat over the last few weeks, but he reminded everyone tonight just how potent his bat remains. The veteran right fielder reached base in his first three plate appearances, singling to right, drawing a walk and coming around to score and then launching an absolute bomb to left field. That 3-run homer, Werth’s 25th of the season, struck the facade of the second deck at Chase Field, nearly landing in the TGI Friday’s up there right into some unsuspecting soul’s plate of Extreme Chicken Crispers. Werth is going to wind up in the top-5 in the NL in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS. Had the Nats made the playoffs, you have to wonder if he’d be getting MVP consideration right now.

Pitching highlight: It wasn’t his crispest performance, especially early on when he walked the Diamondbacks’ No. 8 hitter and then plunked the opposing pitcher on a 1-2 curveball when he was trying to bunt. But Strasburg got better as the night progressed, retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced and ended his season on a high note. Aside from an 8-9 record that mostly wasn’t his fault, Strasburg wound up with some really solid numbers: a 3.00 ERA, 183 innings over 30 starts, a 1.05 WHIP, 191 strikeouts and 56 walks. He pitched at least seven innings in 16 of his 30 starts (after doing that only five times in 28 starts last year) and completed at least eight innings five times (after never doing that in his career). There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but Strasburg did take some real steps forward this season.

Key stat: Since his recall from Class AAA Syracuse in mid-August, Tyler Moore is hitting .364 (20-for-55).

Up next: In the penultimate game of the season, Dan Haren will try to wrap up a disappointing year on a high note and earn his 10th win. Haren will face his former club, with right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the mound for the D’backs. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. EDT.

  1. David Proctor - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Good game, but there were some things that have to be cleaned up before next year. I can stomach a caught stealing every now and then, but Bryce and Desi both making outs on the basepaths in the same inning is unacceptable. Stras failure to bunt a runner over very well could’ve hurt us. Small things like that add up. Mike Rizzo said in the pregame show today that he thought the biggest reason our offense sputtered is because we weren’t “efficient.” He said we don’t necessarily have to play small ball, but you have to be smart. We weren’t moving runners, we weren’t getting guys in from third with less than 2 out, etc. The home runs will come, but w need to be more efficient with the baserunners.

    • Eric - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      It’s not that you *have* to play small ball, it’s that you have to *be able* to play small ball when the long ball ain’t working for ya. Whether it’s because the line up is cold or the opposing pitcher that night is hot, it needs to be in the arsenal, imo.

      I don’t have a lot of complaints about Davey, and I wish he were coming back next year, but I do wish he incorporated small ball tactics more often, particularly early on.

  2. Sonny G 10 - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    I’m really happy to see Stras end his year on a good note. He should feel good about going into next year.

  3. natsfan1a - Sep 28, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    Cool, a happy game results morning email.





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