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Werth, Desmond homer as Nats continue offensive surge

Apr 10, 2014, 10:27 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

The Nationals completed their sweep of the Miami Marlins on Thursday in what ended up a 7-1 blowout in the box score. But for much of the game the Nationals were hanging on to a one-run lead thanks to an efficient start by Stephen Strasburg, and another big hit by Jayson Werth.

Werth gave the Nationals their first two runs on a homer off starter Tom Koehler in the third inning. He crushed a 3-0 fastball several rows into left-center field, only 18 hours after hitting a grand slam in the team’s win the night before.

Yeah, felt pretty good up there and got the green light from [Matt Williams]. Got a pitch up that was elevated and put a good swing on it. Good to get us out in front there and Stras pitched a heck of a game. And then we tacked on some runs late and Desi hit the big grand slam. It was good to get the sweep.”

Werth is now hitting .375 through nine games on the season with two homers, eight runs and eight RBI. He is currently slugging .625 and reaching base at a .487 clip.

The 35-year-old has picked up right where he left off last season when he finished 13th in National League MVP voting.

I feel pretty good. I’ve been kind of tinkering with some things lately, but all in all I like where I’m at up there.”

When asked if there was a carryover from last season, Werth said he is just taking it one day at a time, but shortstop Ian Desmond does see a continuation.

“He picked up right where he left off. He’s really comfortable in that 3-hole and it helps that [Adam LaRoche] is really raking right behind him, too.”

Desmond had a day himself, breaking the game open with an eighth inning grand slam to make it 7-1 in the Nats’ favor. He has also started the season off well with three home runs, most among MLB shortstops through the first two weeks.

The Nationals are clicking on offense, having won four straight games and averaging 7.3 runs over their last three. Now they head to Atlanta to battle the Braves.

“This is good. This is what we’ve been looking for. This is the lineup and this is the offense that we feel like we can put out there every day,” Desmond said.

  1. David Proctor - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Jose Valverde in to save the game for the Mets.

    • David Proctor - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      Mets win.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      he closed it out.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        I always liked Papa Grande

      • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        if he keeps doing to braves what he did tonight, I think I will like him too.

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    We should be really proud of one thing in this series against Marlins, keeping Stanton in check. From first two series, he was at .345/.406/.655 with 2 HRs and 12 RBIs. We kept him at 2/12 with just one RBI. That’s huge, especially considering his overall numbers against us and his numbers in Nats Park. What has changed? Have we finally come up with a plan to deal with this guy that works?

    • natinalsgo - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      I knew the Nats did good against Stanton, only I didn’t realize it was that good compared to the rest of his season.

      Here’s what I heard Nats pitchers were doing to him or should I say trying to do which was working from the pitchers arsenal to what they have and that’s curveball/slider and 2-seamer inside, 4 seamer outside and low and slider away and further away for him to chase.

      Barrett threw Stanton 5 sliders and 1 2-seamer. Barrett’s 3rd pitch was a 2 seamer that was supposed to be inside and ran over the middle with good movement and low that missed his spot and Stanton luckily wasn’t looking for that. PItch 5 was an inside slider that Stanton got in front and fouled off down the LF line and then Barrett goes outside slider that Stanton swung through which was the perfect pitch.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        between barrett and clippard, if we can shut down stanton in late innings, we can do real well against marlins all season.

  3. Sonny G 10 - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Just finished watching the game again on the MASN replay. It was even more fun watching the second time! Bonus that the Mets beat the Barfs.

  4. laddieblahblah - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    If the Mets can beat them, we can, too. I like Roark and TeeJay, low ball pitchers, against them. If Gio has his command, he will be tough, too.

    After all the screw-ups last time around, my guess is that the Nats club house is looking forward to this weekend.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      I agree. +1

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      +2

      Hope to see efficient ball being played. Also, I would rather jump on them early then have to rely on the 8th inning GS against their BP.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Strasburg was filthy and the Nats finally cooled down Yelich.

      The formula for this Braves series is manufacturing runs especially tonight vs Teheran.

      The Mets solved Hale quickly and knocked him out after 4 1/3 and then beat up the front of the Braves bullpen. When Minor is ready to come off the DL it will be Hale going to AAA.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 3-2 game tonight.

      • laddieblahblah - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        If Roark and TeeJay have them driving the ball into the ground, they won’t be driving them over the fence. They are committed to a power offense. Take that away, and they don’t have much. They don’t manufacture runs, and they have no running game.

        If we score 3 runs per game, the odds are we will win 2 of them, maybe all 3. One weak point is that our pen is a little ragged. Their advantage there is exacerbated by our limited pool going into tonight. If Roark is hitting on all cylinders, Matt will ride him until his tank is empty.

        They have seen Teheran once. That should be sufficient to score enough runs to win.

        Of course, I could be wrong, which would add to an impressive list of precedents.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        Laddie, their pen had to eat up 5 2/3 yesterday so their front of the bullpen is ragged also.

        Good points on the groundball game. I like your TeeJay instead of TJ or calling him Jordan like some do. I hear TJ and I think of UCL and Jordan to me is JZim. TeeJay and TaylorJ are good ones.

  5. Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    My Gosh. It’s midnight and MASN is showing the game for a third time. Dare I watch it again….well, maybe a few innings. :)

    • NatsNut - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:39 AM

      Hee hee. I understand.

      • natsfan1a - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        As do I. Replay at 9 AM, right? ;-)

  6. Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    I also recorded the game. I could make this into groundhog day. :)

  7. Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    If we can take two out of three from the Barves, that will go a long way towards lifting that 800 lb gorilla off our backs.

  8. natsjackinfl - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    If you want to have some fun, go to MLB’s team websites for both the Braves and the Phillies.

    Unfortunately, there are some Nats trolls putting their idiotic comments on the Braves site but there aren’t any Nats commenters on the Phillies site.

    Well, now there is one, me. And all I said was that’s how bad the Phillies are. No Nats commenters feel it’s necessary to go on a Phillies site to rip their team, The average Phillies fan seems to be able to handle that chore perfectly.

    • MicheleS - Apr 11, 2014 at 7:44 AM

      Jack, I saw that. I really do not like when Nats Fans troll other fan bases. It’s bad form.

      • natinalsgo - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:07 AM

        Jack, if you ever read Tweeter comments during games under search its nuts. During the last Braves series the choppers were bashing Harper hard. Calling him overrated and he sucks. Then after Zimmerman’s error in Game 1 they were calling him a girl and other comments.

        The Phoolies are unraveling quickly. The Brewers embarassed them and I loved every minute of it.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        I hate it too Michele. Until we can show we are dominant against the Braves (ya know win a series, at least) I don’t think any Nats fans can talk at all.

        Its a long season, and we are just now getting started…

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        +1 I’d like Nats fans to be better than Barves and Phooie fans. Lets show some class!

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        I will say though, Sonny, Michele and GoNat, the reason that the Nats were trolling the Braves sight is because right after the Nats swept the Mets, Braves fans were talking about how we swept a Triple A team and other non-sense… and for them to lose 2 of 3… well the may have seemingly deserved…

        Its nothing wrong with friendly jibba and a little talking.. but come on, the Nats need to tie the series this season, at least in these next 3 games and send a direct message…

        We aint no punks!!!!!

  9. sjm308 - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Good morning all!

    Realize its a long season but it sure is better to wake up in first place then the other options.

    Would love to win 2 of 3 but even winning one will keep us at the least, tied with the Braves.
    I read every article Mark and Chase post but not all the comments. Has much been made about how competitive Barrett is? That stare down after striking out Stanton was great. Not sure he was actually trying to make a statement against Mr. Marlin but just so pumped after doing his job.

    Ghost, excellent point on Danny’s swing and I also like that he has bunted twice for hits this early in the season. I have not looked at stats but I am guessing his K’s are down as well. He will always strike out more then most because he is an aggressive hitter but I think he will be a huge key down the stretch. FP said something during the game, talking about how getting two at bats in one game as a utility guy is special and I had not thought of that before.

    On an unrelated topic. I do read a lot of you and there is always hope that Walters will get it together in the field. I just checked the box score for Syracuse and he made his 3rd error in 7 games. It must be freezing up there and I am sure the fields are nowhere near the quality of what the big team plays on but I sure hope he improves.

    Would love to win this first game, just to set the tone and actually even up the teams records in this early part of the year. You win pennants in April just as much as you do in Sept.

    Go Nats!!!

    • kirbs3256 - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      I don’t think it was so much of a stare down, I think it was more of a “Holy crap, I struck out one of the most pure power hitters there is….and he is having a temper tantrum and throwing his stuff down” Look at that!”

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        That was also the moment Stanton was slamming his bat into the ground, so he might have been watching that as much as anything.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:11 AM

      Danny’s approach has been a mixed bag. Last night was the good Danny. It appears to me that the coaching staff is staying on him and doing its best to prevent a reversion to bad Danny. He still appears to be a work in progress, but they are making progress, 2 steps forward, one step back, at a time. But they are going in the right direction.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        Agreed. I also noticed Danny smiling and seeming to enjoy playing. That was nice to see. I’m glad he’s not brooding about having to come off the bench.

      • letswin3 - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Yeah Sonny, I made a note of Danny smiling and joking with teammates in the dugout too. The brooding Danny from last season probably exacerbated his struggles. If he can accept his current role, he might just become an asset to the team, and if moves are made with Zim, it’s possible that he might regain a starting spot at second when Rendon moves to third.

    • natinalsgo - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:16 AM

      Walters is proving he’s a defensive liablity and we are only a week into the season. Notice, back as shortstop. Yesterday played 2nd base.

      Danny really did fix that rightie swing yesterday on that double. We were encouraging after he returned to the dugout. He has the golden opportunity here. The short swing works and he used his speed for a nice bunt single. By having the defense thinking bunt it helps him by drawing in the defense when he swings away. Danny batting .294 in a small sample size and I will take it!

      • karlkolchak - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:06 AM

        Yep, Walters committed his third error of the season last night, costing Syracuse a couple of runs. He’s also sitting on a .696 OPS an has walked exactly once in 27 PAs.

        I never understood the hype on this guy. He has one plus skill and does everything else poorly. I’d take the current version of Espinosa anytime over Walters–and I was as hard as anyone on Danny last year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        A big ugly for Walters. He is just just portraying my defensive assessment of him and I hoped NatsJack was right and I was wrong.

        I guided a commentor yesterday and others in the past on Walters is in no way a fair comparison to the path of Ian Desmond. Nothing there to compare other than 2 shortstops that had errors in the Minors. Most errors are created differently as are all players.

        Again this is my opinion, Walters needs a permanent position switch to either 2nd or LF and sooner than later. Try 2nd base initially like he did on Wednesday and see how he does. If that doesn’t work is try LF or 1st base. Times a ticking.

        Walters has a good arm when he takes his time. You don’t have that luxury all the time at SS.

        karlkolchak is correct that 1 walk a week won’t cut it either. His game needs work, a lot of work, but first order of business is getting him a defensive position.

      • laddieblahblah - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        Give them a season to work on both Espinosa and Walters, and we’ll see by September where they are. If Danny keeps listening to his coaches, he is the easier fix. Walters could still have a spot as a 5th outfielder if he can’t cut it in the IF.

        Somebody needs to play 2nd base next year when Zim moves to 1b. I don’t think the Nats care whether it is Danny or Zach. May the better man win.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        Laddie, we are on the same page there! It’s Danny’s job to lose. Very clear cut plan as I see it.

    • adcwonk - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Would love to win 2 of 3 but even winning one will keep us at the least, tied with the Braves.

      We’re two games on on the Braves — so even winning 1 of 3 will still leave us one game in front of them.

      • sjm308 - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:56 AM

        Wonk, I never let real math get in my way!!

        thanks

    • Candide - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Here’s the video of that stare-down.

      It doesn’t look to me like he’s staring at Stanton – note he’s looking directly at Sandy Leon as he walks off the mound.

      But the cut to his expression right after that – WHOA! That’s the look of someone who’s just eaten some face and enjoyed the taste.

      • NatsNut - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Hahaha! I totally forgot about Eating Face!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:25 AM

        Stone cold killer look. Barrett sure is auditioning for a bigger role. Read Gonat’s comments on how he slayed the giant err Marlin.

        5 sliders all to the edges and out of the zone and a mistake fastball that was sizzling and didn’t bite him.

        Nats play in Miami on Monday to Wednesday. Barrett has to watch out as Stanton swung a split second early on that inside slider and he won’t miss that pitch again as he will sit on it. Barrett better remember this for Stanton 2.0 I suggest 2 seam in and throw it again further in and then slider away and come back in with the 2 seam in while he’s thinking slider.

      • Eric - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        Yikes! I don’t wanna see that look in a dark alley!

    • Eric - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      Danny’s K rate is down to 17% going back to the beginning of ST (70 ABs). Right respectable, I’d say. And, due small sample size, his BA for the regular season is up from 180 to 294 after yesterday…! It’s 243 if you include ST. Looks like his BABIP luck is finally leveling off.

      Regardless of all that, I’m really glad to see him go 2 for 2 last night, and via a bunt and a double, no less. Really speaks to just how versatile he could be if he continues on this path. And, the fact that the double came from the right side after looking hacktastic from that side the day before is really encouraging, imo. I think that’s also some powerful positive reinforcement to stick with the game plan.

      Keep it up, Espi!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        Eric, it’s still a mixed bag and no Hi Lev hits. He will have to at some point come through in the clutch which was always the biggest knock on him as there is a runner on 3rd. If he passes that test like Leon failed yesterday, then I think he starts to force MW into giving him some starts.

        0-6 in RISP and 0-7 with runners on base.

        Matt Williams has those stats too. Ambush bunts and a double when you’re 6 runs ahead just pad stats. I like it as it’s a confidence booster but he’s failed all times with men on base.

        He has to give MW a compelling reason to start at 2nd.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        Within 5 minutes of writing my previous bots I get an email reminding me he had a clutch walk in Game 1. Yes, and I’m referring to hits and for anyone who was watching he got the benefit of a 3-2 pitch that some umps would punch you out for.

        Go get them Espi!

      • Eric - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        No question he needs to do better with runners on, especially RISP. Doesn’t take away from his walk, but the walk doesn’t change the lack of clutch hits.

        He has to give MW a compelling reason to start at 2nd.

        I just want him to prove he can keep this up over a month or two…the early returns are encouraging, especially the K rate and the ability to move past a bad day at the plate and get back to the new game plan.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        All good points Eric!

      • texnat1 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        If history is any guide, Espi will get some serious starts as it is highly unlikely that either Zim or Laroche avoid the DL over the course of the season.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Thank you to Candide (and I think Joe S) for reminding me about ‘face eating’ I am still laughing at Jayson Werth saying that last year.

    He definitely ate face yesterday and the day before with the GS… What an awesome game. I recorded it and ran some errands and then got home and watch the recorded game and then the replay on MASN… I was in Nationals heaven…

    SS —> Good job, man.. the day we needed him to go kinda deep and save the BP, he did. I, like most of us, wish for consistency now with SS. We all know he has some nasty stuff… just want to see if on a consistent basis.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    is anyone else excited for angels vs nats? we finally see trout vs harper. hoping harper is firing all cylinders by then.

    • Eric - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      I’m feeling ambivalent about it, honestly. I think what I’d really like is to see Harp channel Ty Cobb more so than the Mick for that series ;)

      • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        definitely ty cobb for me. that 1st to 3rd on a groundout was awesome.

    • natsjackinfl - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      I marked that on my calendar the day the schedules came out. My buddy Gator John and I will be at all three games as that is the middle of our annual baseball trip to DC. 9 games in 9 days.

      Starts next Friday against the Cardinals.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Nice! Cards series is much more important to me. Hopefully we can do some damage this time around.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        Jack, we will be at the Fri game. Would love to touch base, maybe even before the game if you’re in early.

  12. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Minor league errors need to be significantly discounted. I remember when Strasburg was in Syracuse the IF was like a pool table — and not in a good way.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
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SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
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