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Instant analysis: Braves 6, Nats 3

Apr 12, 2014, 10:43 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: It’s a Nats-Braves game in Atlanta, so of course something strange was going to happen. Like Nate McLouth dropping a routine flyball while trying to transfer the ball to his throwing hand. Or Adam LaRoche cleanly catching a low line drive but having no ability to question the call of a groundball because the Nationals had already burned up their challenge for the game. Or Ryan Zimmerman getting picked off second base and injuring his right thumb in the process.

Wackiness aside, this game was won in the bottom of the first, when the Braves pounced on Taylor Jordan for four quick runs. Despite battling the rest of the night and managing to limit the damage despite three errors and untold other mistakes, the Nationals couldn’t overcome their inability to produce in the clutch. Thus they dropped another game at Turner Field and now head into Sunday’s series finale a desperate (and banged-up) team.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: You can’t say they didn’t have their chances. They put the leadoff man on base in six of the game’s first eight innings. They had tons of baserunners. But they went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, the lone hit coming on Sandy Leon’s RBI single in the top of the eighth. LaRoche had the roughest night of anyone, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and heading home wearing the ignominious Golden Sombrero.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: With an overworked bullpen, the Nationals needed innings tonight from Jordan. They did manage to get five of them, but they weren’t exactly quality innings. Jordan was battered around for four runs in the bottom of the first, with nearly every ball crushed. He managed to limit the damage after that, but he still found himself in trouble all night, failing to record a single 1-2-3 inning. Ultimately, it took 102 pitches for Jordan to make it through his five innings. He might well have gotten the hook earlier if the Nationals had more fresh arms in the pen.

INJURY UPDATE: Already without Denard Span (concussion), Wilson Ramos (broken hand) and Jayson Werth (groin), the Nationals lost Zimmerman to an apparent right thumb injury in the fifth inning. Zimmerman hurt himself diving back to second base while getting picked off, immediately looking down at his thumb and holding his arm gingerly as he left the field. There was no immediate word on his status, but the fact infielder Zach Walters was pulled from Class AAA Syracuse’s game shortly after appears a telltale sign that Zimmerman could be headed to the DL.

KEY STAT: The Nationals are now 1-4 against the Braves this season and 6-0 against everyone else.

UP NEXT: The series concludes at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, with the Nationals once again needing a win to avoid getting swept by the Braves. It’ll be up to Gio Gonzalez to put forth the first quality start of this series. He’ll be opposed by veteran right-hander Aaron Harang.

  1. David Proctor - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Beat Harang tomorrow.

    • stoatva - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      It’s the Lone Haranguer!

  2. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Hopefully Gio can help us not get swept…

  3. NatsLady - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    I hope you are going to write up Blake Treinen’s debut, Mark… It was a bright spot.

  4. nats128 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Lombo triples in the 12th and just misses a walkoff HR. Who knew.

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Bleep.

  6. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    J Upton…. 3/4… Can’t make this stuff up…

  7. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Still tied for first.

    1 for 16 RISP that is first 2/3 of the 2013 type of effort.

  8. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Only thing worse than our hitting with RISP tonight is my pitcher’s pitching in fantasy baseball.

  9. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Ray knight getting stirred up about replays.

    His beliefs is mine. The umps in New York are covering up for the field umps.

    What is the point of the replay. Joe Torrent needs to hire indepent observers.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      ++

    • zmunchkin - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      +100

      • chaz11963 - Apr 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        Completely agree. That appeared to be cover-ups. The umps could have at least agreed to take a look at the liner La Roche snagged.

  10. sjm308 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    So – what I need to process here is that once again, we are not as good as I thought (hoped) we would be and the Braves are better then what I thought (hoped) they would be.

    I was crushed last year when we went from 98 wins to not even making the playoffs.

    I told myself I would not let that happen again this year and that I would keep my expectations low. Of course that did not happen but now, I am going to reign it back in and try to hope we can just make the playoffs. I realize we are still in first right now but we just don’t play well against this team and now the injury thing has reared its ugly head.

    I really really really do not like losing to the Braves. I can remember when this was how I felt about the Phillies.

    This is not a happy day for this old fan.

    Go Nats (no exclamation mark and another new hat for tomorrow & I really liked this hat a lot)

  11. nats128 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Fractured thumb for Zim. I wish Ghost was wrong on that one.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      I was nervous it was broken… That’s about 4 to 6, I think???

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        Yes, 4 to 6 weeks. I can’t believe this. Each injury you absorb over a season but this is Ramos, Span, RZim and Fister. That’s 4 starters. Werth is day-to-day. What other team has lost 3 of their 8 starting position players?

        Unreal.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        Gotta be glad that we addressed the bench, at least… Gotta hope that, well.. We will see…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      I wish I was wrong also. Your new 2nd baseman is Danny Espinosa for 5 weeks.

  12. David Proctor - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Mark Zuckerman ‏@ZuckermanCSN 1m
    Fractured thumb for Zimmerman. Out 4-6 weeks.

    Welp…thank God we didn’t trade Espi.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      Well, all those people who wanted Ryan our get to rejoice… Espi can’t match Ryan’s offensive production….

      • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        I’m not sure Espi can match Gio’s

  13. nats128 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Espinosa is now your every day player.

  14. dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    In retrospect, one of my proudest moments in baseball was once one of my most embarrassing….Got thrown out of Nats Park in the 9th when the Braves came back from a 6-0 deficit against Strasburg, etal (July 20 2011 ??). I had a little disagreement with a chopper that got me tossed.
    Sadly, this was not the first time I was thrown out of a ballpark. 1977 Shea Stadium with two friends…the city was a mess then

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      I was thrown out of a Phillys/redskins game… In Philly… Beat up this pregnant chick… Not my proudest moment but whatever…

      • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        In both cases, I was the one beat up..in 1977, by a drunk ny mets guard that threw us down the stairs.
        In 2011, by the chopper who had a way of putting you to sleep by squeezing his hand behind your neck.
        but I used an inappropriate word.

      • naterialguy - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        That’s disgusting

    • stoatva - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      9-0 in the fifth inning. Lost, 11-10.

      Worst experience in a ballpark until game you know what of you know which.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        thanks…that’s the one.
        Picked a wrong decade to give up drinking

  15. stoatva - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    I hope Ray gets through this segment without having a heart attack!

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      Yeah, he’s hyped…. Nats just played a lot of stupid baseball today… Tonight wouldn’t have been so bad had we won last night.. Maybe..

      • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        so true….the fear of a sweep is stressful

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      Seriously, he looked bad for a second.

  16. dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Ramos is not the only unlucky one. Three of the starting 8 on the DL…yuck.
    Who’s next ?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      see my 11:03 comment above. Add Fister and you have 4 of the expected starters now out. 3 of 8 position players.

  17. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    As I said before, you can’t keep expecting the team coming back after our pitchers have rough first innings etc…

  18. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Matt Williams looks pissed off… As he should be.. Idk why these guys see the braves and feel like they need to put their stupid caps on…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      They lost their minds again. Lousy pitching, bad baserunning, poor fielding, bad situational hitting. At one point Wood stopped throwing the ball in the strike zone and our guys are chasing.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    The pitchers have been the problem despite a 1 for 16 RISP.

    Teams get injuries that happens every year.

    The Braves have 5 pitchers out with TJ surgury and they are not complaining about injuries.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      What do they have to complain about ?
      They keep beating us up when we’re down (and when we’re up too for that matter).

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Neither are the Nats complaining. You don’t think the Barves fans were whining? They at least were able to go out and get Ervin Santana because they lost Medlen in ST.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    I feel a win tomorrow.

  21. Section 222 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I’m not going to spend any more time defending replay, especially the challenge system which this game demonstrated very well is a crock, but I just have to say that FP and Ray have no evidence — and by that I mean ZERO evidence, not a scintilla, nada, none — that the umps in NY are covering for their brethren. That’s just sour grapes from homer announcers and biased fans. You can complain about replay all you want, but it’s absurd and insulting to pretend that professionals just trying to do their job have some ulterior motive. The Nats will win their share of challenges. They just need to pick their spots better.

    End of rant.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      Replay could work if it didn’t take so freakin long. Have the umps on the field look at the replay…why go to New York for anything (except a good slice of pizza, pastrami and a 1/2 price broadway show). I think the umps on the field can make a more complete decision with the aid of replay than some schmo in NY with limited views.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      I have no evidence either except I have watched a lot of games and seen many blown calls not reversed, and only seen a few reversed.

      As I said I would like to hear the explanation of how a foot on the bag and a ball not in the glove yet is an out. They simply are not paying attention.

      If the point is to get the call right, then do so. If you refuse to get it right then dump it.

      • Section 222 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:58 PM

        mnf, some calls are tough. you and seamhead saw the same replay and disagree about the McLouth catch. The announcers in the Nyjer game thought the call would be upheld for lack of clear evidence, but it was reversed. Most of the crowd in ATL seemed to think McLouth was probably safe. You simply cannot say, based on the replays shown on TV, that McLouth’s foot is on the bag at the moment that MASN stopped the tape and showed the ball just outside Freeman’s glove. It sure looks like it but you can’t be sure. the camera isn’t close enough and the angle isn’t right to see the contact of the foot with the base or to see if there is daylight between them. i don’t know if the NYC operations center has better angles or the ability to zoom in, but I couldn’t tell for sure on my wide screen HD TV and neither could you on whatever screen you are looking at.

        What I do know, and what you admit despite all the games you have watched, is that there is no evidence that the umps in NY are biased in any way. FP and Ray should shut up about that. They are embarrassing themselves.

      • zmunchkin - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        Of course there is evidence. It is called circumstantial evidence. It is clear that replay is not fixing calls that are clearly wrong. And while the McClouth play was very close, it is clear that at worst the ball is in the glove no earlier then when McClouth’s foot hits the bag. And the old adage that tie goes to the runner is not only common knowledge, but it is also in the rules.

        I don’t know what TV you are watching, but it was clear on mine, it was clear to the Braves fans at the stadium and I’ve heard that it was clear to the Braves announcers.

        So you then have to look for motive. What motive could there be for the replay officials to do what they are doing. A very likely one is covering for their colleagues.

      • scmargenau - Apr 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        Ties do not go to runner:

        McClelland: That is exactly right. There are no ties and there is no rule that says the tie goes to the runner. But the rule book does say that the runner must beat the ball to first base, and so if he doesn’t beat the ball, then he is out. So you have to make the decision. That’s why umpires are paid the money they are, to make the decision on if he did or if he didn’t. The only thing you can do is go by whether or not he beat the ball. If he did, then he is safe.

    • chaz11963 - Apr 13, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      222, I don’t think anyone is saying there is some grand conspiracy by the umps on the replays. It’s just that there is clearly a lot of gray area when it comes to interpreting what is a significant difference between what is seen on the field on what is seen by the replay officials. The replay official is not obliged to over turn a call unless there is a clear and significant difference (I forget the exact words of the policy). McLouth was clearly safe in the replay on a very close call, which no one should ever expect an ump on the field to get right. But, the it was so close, there was not a significant enough difference to warrant overturning the call. I think the replay umps will always err on the side of the on field call simply to protect the integrity of the umpiring system.

      • Section 222 - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        I disagree that McLouth was clearly safe. You just can’t tell when exactly when his foot touches the bag. But I don’t disagree with the thrust of your comment on what the general approach of umps in NY is. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. The benefit of a reasonable doubt has to go the ump on the field. And if that is all that’s going on, then the vociferous reactions last night are clearly unwarranted. But all of the folks complaining bitterly, like Ray, FP, and ZMunchkin in this thread, think it’s more than that. They may not have used the words “grand conspiracy,” but they say the calls are influenced by the umps in NY wanting to “cover” for their colleagues on the field. There’s simply no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, of that. These people seem to think that’s the only possible explanation for McLouth being called safe. Yet I’ve given one alternative (it wasn’t clear he was safe), you’ve given another (it’s a very close call and it wasn’t clear enough that he was safe).

        And of course, this only possible explanation doesn’t explain calling back the Desi inside the park HR at all.

  22. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Sigh… Hopefully we will win tomorrow….

  23. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Just saw a bang bang in the Angels game ball was in glove like 1 frame before foot on the bag. No challenge asked for.

    My guess is most time a challenge is asked for the call was wrong, as managers don’t want to lose challenges, but only about 1/4 being reversed, when in reality it should be closer to 75% reversed if not higher.

    Like Knight I believe the umps in New York are intentionally calling to nit conclusive. With today’s HD I believe less then 5% would be inconclussive.

  24. David Proctor - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Right now, we just need to tread water. Don’t dig a hole. Keep pace. If we can do that until Zimmerman, Ramos and Fister come back, I like our chances. If we dig ourselves a big hole, I’ll be very concerned. Win tomorrow and we still leave 1 game up on the Braves. That’s a start.

    • stoatva - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      Ramos is He Who Cannot Be Replaced.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      and get out of hotlanta

  25. Danny - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    This is honestly ridiculous. Zimmerman 4-6 wks. We have waited so long to make up for 2013. It hurts.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      At least he can rest his shoulder.

      I broke my thumb. Granted not in athletic shape, but 4-6 seems fast. Broke my thumb in 2003 and have not golf since as there is pain in the thumb after 35 swings. Again I am not an athlete, just more concerned than most on recovery time.

      • Danny - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:44 PM

        Well that makes me feel worse

      • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        and probably not 35 either

      • manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:15 AM

        I was about 50 when it happened, but you use the thumb more than you know.

  26. manassasnatsfan - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    When I first see a play I watch with my heart hoping it goes our way. But with the super slow HD I clearly see the truth. So far every challenge except the McLauth at first were all incorrectly called. All not reversed.

    The old inconclussive crap is crap. With today’s technology there is almost no inconclussive.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      +1

  27. Danny - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    DC sports are cursed.

  28. dcwx61 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    It is still early. I like phil wood’s 54/54/54 game evaluation criteria.

  29. sjm308 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Who would have thought as we enter the 3rd week of the season that we would have Leon, Walters, Souza, Treinan, on the 25 man roster and Espinosa starting. Hoping that Fister continues to get better quickly but that will still not help having 3 position players out. I am hoping that Harper thrives in CF, that McClouth shows the same ability he did last year with Baltimore and that Werth is a quick healer. Have to admit that Fransden looked pretty decent in LF (sure better than Tyler Moore) so I guess we do have some depth there. Our infield defense will not take a step back with this blow but our offense sure will. Gio has been great so far this year. I just want one game with no crazy plays or even challenges.

    Go Nats!!

    • scmargenau - Apr 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      I’d like to see Ty mo at first vs lefties. ALR with the golden sombrero struggles vs lefties. Moore needs reg at bats…he’s a near 300 guy when he’s full time

  30. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Interesting I found a website video.umpires.review that shows all replays for the season.

    Today 5 reviews 2 overturns 3 not. The way I saw all 5 should have been overturned. I remember the one in Yank game, that was even worse than the Bats one.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      yes and room 222, you must admit the obvious, that replay as it currently stands has several flaws that should be corrected:
      – lengthy delays that may have as much of a detrimental effect on the game as correcting a call would have a positive impact
      – Evaluating a call from a remote location without the advantage of seeing the play in 3D (umpires on the field).
      I think they should be reviewing the replay.
      – inability of umps to ask for a review without a team coach challenge.
      – probably others, but it’s so darn late

  31. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Looked at last night’s challenges. 1 of 5 reversed. I would reverse 4 of 5. Not sure why the Reds challenged that was clearly correct.

    More I watch the more convinced the system needs fixing.

  32. manassasnatsfan - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    After looking at more and more. It seems in time now managers are asking for less reviews now, but when they ask they are usually right now. However only a few are being overturned.

    Not surprisingly Hernandez’s crew is challenged every day.

    I think the managers have figured it out. Just waiting for those in New York to figure it.

    Still think having umps in there is not a good idea.

    • chaz11963 - Apr 13, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      This umpire crew seems particularly bad.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
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