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Instant analysis: Braves 7, Nats 6 (10)

Apr 11, 2014, 11:30 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Not even Tolstoy would have enough ink to cram every detail of this ballgame into one leather-bound book, but we’ll try to present the Cliff Notes’ version…

Tanner Roark was beaten around for four early runs, putting the Nationals in another early hole. Ryan Zimmerman’s bomb off Julio Teheran in the top of the fifth tied the game back up. Zimmerman was involved in a bunch of wacky plays in the field, a couple of them prompting Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to storm out of the dugout and chat with second base umpire Angel Hernandez for several minutes … before being told by his coaches not to formally challenge the calls.

Adam LaRoche tried to score on a wild pitch — from SECOND BASE — and was called out, with Matt Williams challenging that call, which still stood after a long delay. Bryce Harper ignited an eighth-inning rally by beating out a bunt. He later scored the go-ahead run on Denard Span’s RBI single up the middle, which ended with Span on the ground in pain after colliding with Dan Uggla.

Trying to preserve a 6-5 lead in the eighth, Tyler Clippard served up a homer to Justin Upton, continuing his rough start to the season. In the ninth inning of a tie ballgame, Craig Kimbrel struck out the side. Then Drew Storen did the same in the bottom of the frame, sending this one to extra innings.

The game was lost in the bottom of the 10th. With two outs and pinch-runner Jordan Schafer on first base, Jerry Blevins fired over several pickoff throws, frustrating the crowd. When Blevins finally pitched, Schafer took off for second. So did Anthony Rendon, who was unfortunately out of position for Upton’s bloop hit to shallow right field, allowing Schafer to come all the way around to score the winning run.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: As painful as it is for him to throw a baseball overhand right now, Zimmerman insists he has no discomfort swinging the bat. The results suggest he’s telling the truth, because he’s been crushing the ball. Never more so than in the top of the fifth inning tonight. After Uggla’s horrible throw from second base kept the inning alive, Zimmerman took advantage of the opportunity by crushing a 3-2 fastball from Teheran way over the left-field fence for the 3-run homer that brought the Nationals all the way back from an early 4-0 deficit.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: It was pretty clear Roark was in for a difficult night right from the start. His fastball command was all over the place, resulting in three hit batters out of the first 14 he faced. The right-hander grooved a 91 mph fastball to Ramiro Pena, who crushed it for a 3-run homer in the second. Some nifty defensive plays (and some close calls that went the Nationals’ way) helped get Roark into the fifth inning, a fairly significant development given how much work the bullpen has done in recent days. Roark, though, couldn’t quite get through that fifth frame. After allowing a two-out double to Freddie Freeman, Matt Williams decided not to take any more chances and pulled his starter after 86 laborious pitches.

KEY STAT: Fourteeen of the last 27 games between these teams has been decided by one run. The Nats are 4-10 in those games.

UP NEXT: What else is in store when this series continues Saturday night with another showdown between these two rivals. Taylor Jordan faces Alex Wood in a rematch of Sunday’s game in D.C., won 2-1 by the Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

  1. W - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Ugh. These guys just own us.

  2. natinalsgo - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    It would have been nice to win this one and the Braves manager uses speed on the bench to steal this one. Schafer has wheels.

  3. Danny - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Man these Nats-Braves games aren’t good for my health. Tough end, but good fight. J Up just wears out our relievers.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      Not good for my health either.

  4. naterialguy - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    I hate the barves

  5. secretwasianman - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Bad loss after coming back. Pin this one on Clipp. Just can’t beat these guys. We will just have to let the Mets do it for us. I expect a sweep.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      I don’t expect a sweep. We need to win the next two. Can’t start out in such a big hole though.

  6. NatsLady - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    This is some game in Texas. 0-0 going to the 11th. Our boy Peacock got out of a bases-loaded NO OUT jam in the bottom of the 10th. Rangers could not get the winning run in against the worst team in baseball. You think YOU are frustrated?

  7. David Proctor - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    No doubles defense cost us there, by the way. I guess you have to do it, but if we’re using hindsight.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      Dan plesak said it best. I will stop the double, you don’t let bloopers drop.

      Said that during Rangers game in 9th when Astro were in no double defense. As a pitcher he hates it.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      Dan plesak said it best. I will stop the double, you don’t let bloopers drop.

      Said that during Rangers game in 9th when Astro were in no double defense. As a pitcher he hates it.

  8. JW - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Blown save, Clipboard = Blown game, Clipboard.

  9. naterialguy - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    And what happened to Jayson?

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      Groin tweek/tightness according to M Williams…

  10. nats128 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    That no doubles outfield where Bryce is near the warning track was the difference. Even playing deep that ball is catchable by Bryce.

  11. manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    I believe Shaffer is out Harper fields it.

    I also believe ALR foot was on the plate when tagged. So far I am not impressed with replay. Not because the Bats have been hurt more than helped. I watch 15 or so games a week, and seen more in my opinion called wrong in my opinion then right. They keep saying inconclusive. To me there is no such thing. It either happened or it didn’t with HD nothing should be inconclusive. Let me in the booth I will call it conclusive.

  12. secretwasianman - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    I just want to be done with the Braves. It’s just too upsetting.

    • naterialguy - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      I share your pain

  13. manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    At least we didn’t quit which we did too often to the Braves last year.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      There is that.

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Couple of things.

    1. Tyler Moore showed his weakness as an OF. A better LF would have had the ball that Johnson hit over there.

    2. Thanks Tyler Clippard for giving this game away. You are supposed to throw strikes and you throw a damn meatball. it never fails. In the first braves series, ATL broadcasters said that Clipp gave up a run in most of their games last season… Just nota smart move.

    Had Tyler Clippard come in and thrown strikes, tyler Moore wouldn’t have showed his weakness as an OF…

    And that is the ball game.

    Hopefully we will win the other 2. Both BPs have been hit… Hopefully TJ can go past 6 tomorrow. I hope to not see Tyler Clippard again this series.. Hell, I don’t need to see him anymore.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      I know what you mean re Tyler Clippard, but we will need him to be the good Tyler down the stretch.

  15. David Proctor - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    Tweaked groin for Werth. He played through it last year, so I wouldn’t panic. That’s why he left the game though, per Mark and others.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      Thanks for that info. I was wondering what happened.

      • manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        MW said that in post game.

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

        Yea, I hadn’t heard the postgame at that point, but I did hear it a moment ago.

  16. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    Great game… just not the correct ending… Like these never give up nats… Was a little surprised, no stolen bases, especially given that the Mets ran all over them.

    Here’s to us taking the next 2…. and making the series even.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      Said we would run more, but not much yet.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:19 AM

        There really weren’t that many situations where running was the right call tonight. A lot of traffic on the bases in front of speed (Dusty Baker would say clogging the basepaths – but in that way Dusty was/is an idiot because you never turn down baserunners). Also, Carpenter is very quick to the plate making it hard to run, and Avilan of course is a lefty.

        Speaking of which, goodness, Blevins has a lousy pickoff move.

  17. paul brandt - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    hope MW sits Clip the next time…Braves own him.

    bad loss…Braves just seem to have their way with us…get the next 2.

    • nats128 - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      Wheres that new dirty split finger.

  18. manassasnatsfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Interesting. Was Waldon blocking the plate illegally?

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:09 AM

      MW said he wasn’t in the post game.

      • manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        Funny I thought he said it didn’t know at the time. Not that he wasn’t

  19. Eric - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    Last year we lost this game 4+ to 0 or 1.

    This year we made it into an incredible battle and Zim, our most pivotal question mark on D, was outstanding.

    We definitively outhit them.

    We had some clutch offense.

    It’s a gut punch, but a lot of elements of the script were flipped…

  20. Joe Seamhead - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    This was a great baseball game, so why am I so pissed? It’s not just because I hate losing to the Braves, but getting beat by Upton makes it particularly distasteful, but Justin came through. Hat’s off to him. Anybody know what happened to Werth? Also, I never thought Moore would get to that ball. Would Bryce gotten to it? Maybe, but I think that at least Bryce probably would have gotten a better jump on it. I don’t blame Moore, as I don’t think he should have been out there, but McLouth had been used and there was nobody else. Personally I don’t think TyMo plays a ML defense at any position. I also don’t blame Blevins. He got beat by two seeing eye bloops.
    Let’s get em tomorrow!

    • David Proctor - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:02 AM

      Yep. We were down 4-0, came back, outhit them, played better defense than them and lost on two bloop hits. That’s baseball. Let’s hope Jordan pitches well tomorrow.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      Bryce doesn’t get that ball, simply because with you can’t lay out and miss because that puts the winning run in scoring position, possibly on third. Keep the runner at first and get the next hitter.

  21. Section 222 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    No shame in losing this one. A tense and exciting game and they came back from a big deficit. Haven’t seen the postgame yet, but I’ll bet MW said he was proud of the way they battled and he should be.

    I’m more worried about Clip than angry at him. We need him to be nails this season. If he is, we have an imposing bullpen. Without him, it’s just ordinary.

    I don’t get FP and Ray Knight’s obsession with Blevins throwing over several times. First of all, FP said no one ever throws over three times, and Blevins did. And he didn’t pick off Schaffer. So I guess FP was wrong about that. So what’s Blevins supposed to do? Not throw over at all? Throw over only once like most guys? Not throw over a third time? Throw over the 4th time? Maybe Schaffer is just able to take off when someone is going to the plate and he’s really fast. Second, there’s no evidence that throwing over kept him from paying attention to Upton. Upton got a bloop hit. That’s not a failing of Blevins. Dan Plesak is right. No doubles defense stinks.

    Too bad Bryce couldn’t come up with that ball. A play at the plate ould have been a great way to either end a really good game or keep it going.

  22. Sonny G 10 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    We’re 7-3. Still in a good position. I think the Barves were incredibly lucky. They are also pretty good. We can come back and take two from them and get the 800 lb gorilla off our back.

  23. David Proctor - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    Clippard ERA through his first 6 games:

    2014: 4.76
    2013; 6.35
    2012: 6.00

    This is normal for him. I’d keep him away from the Braves, but I would not be worried about him the rest of the year.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      That is a very interesting stat DP.

    • Section 222 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      It’s an interesting stat. It’s also a misleading stat. ERA for relievers in a small number of innings is heavily affected by one bad game. In 2012, Clip gave up a run in 2 of his first seven appearances. The 6.00 ERA after six games was due to one 3 run outing. In 2013, he gave up a run in 2 of his first 7 appearances. Again, the 6.35 ERA was due to a single 3 run outing. In 2014, he’s given up a run in 4 of this 7 appearances. And he’s given up 2 HRs in 6.2 innings. Not good. Your confidence notwithstanding, there’s reason to be worried I’d say. Not to predict he’s through, not to be sure he won’t get his mojo back. But to be worried, absolutely.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        More Tyler Clippard Stats:

        Tyler Clippard last year:
        72 games, 6-3, 71 IP, 2.41 ERA, .152/.238/.279 splits allowed, a .517 OPS (are you kidding me?),, 0.859 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 3.04 K/BB. Those are amazingly good stats, legit All-Star stuff. BUT …

        Tyler Clippard last year against the Barves:
        6 games, 0-2 record, 5.2 IP, 11.12 ERA, .391/.531/.783 splits allowed, a 1.314 OPS (are. you. kidding. me??), 2.647 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 0.67 K/BB. Clippard gave up 9 HR in 71 IP last year, but 3 to the Barves in those 5.2 IP.

        Actually makes this year’s stats for Clippard against the Barves look … well, less bad anyway: But it hasn’t gotten any better. 3 games, 0-1 record, 2.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, etc.

    • Section 222 - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:02 AM

      And by the way, in 2012, Clip didn’t give up his 1st HR until his 43rd appearance of the year. In 2013, he didn’t give up his 2nd HR until his 23rd appearance. Still not worried?

      • David Proctor - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:11 AM

        Not particularly. Clippard has always been prone to the solo homer. That bug has bitten him earlier than usual this year, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out.

  24. Section 222 - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    Mark asked MW about Blevins throwing over to try to hold Schaffer close. MW indicated they called those throw overs from the dugout. He wasn’t buying that there’s any problem with doing that. Schaffer was in to steal. We tried to stop him. Didn’t work out. But to argue that somehow it was a mistake to throw over makes no sense.

  25. secretwasianman - Apr 12, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    Trouble sleeping after this one. Great comeback but once again we can’t finish these guys off. Poor decision to bring in Clipp

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