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Instant analysis: Padres 4, Nats 3 (12)

Apr 24, 2014, 11:21 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Fresh off a pair of tough series against the Cardinals and Angels, the Nationals now get a chance to close out their season-long homestand with four games against the offensively challenged Padres, who entered the day with the fewest runs in the majors. But a couple of clutch hits off Jordan Zimmermann gave San Diego a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning and left the crowd of 22,904 murmuring throughout the ballpark.

The Nationals, though, kept giving themselves chances to do damage at the plate, producing 11 base hits through the game’s first six innings. Eventually, they figured to turn those hits into some runs. Sure enough, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche each connected for solo homers in the sixth and seventh innings, tying the game 3-3.

The Nationals benefited from an overturned call in their favor — Matt Williams’ first successful challenge in five tries — in the top of the ninth when Yonder Alonso was ruled out on a stolen base attempt, preventing him ultimately from scoring the go-ahead run. The Nats nearly took advantage of that immediately, loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth, only to see Espinosa pop up to send the game to extra innings.

Things dragged on from there, not to mention got weird. Padres ace Andrew Cashner actually played left field for one batter in the bottom of the 11th. Then in the top of the 12th, they took the lead when Jedd Gyorko singled, stole second, took third on Jose Lobaton’s high throw and scored when veteran Xavier Nady (a member of the 2012 Nationals’ Opening Day roster) singled up the middle off Craig Stammen. The Nationals went down in the bottom of the 12th, ending a frustrating (and long) night at the ballpark.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: As has often been the case this month, the Nationals gave themselves plenty of opportunities to plate runs. They just couldn’t take advantage of them. They produced 16 hits in the game, yet their three runs came on a sac fly and two solo homers. Collectively, they were 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position, including abysmal stretches in the bottom of the eighth, 10th and 12th when they had a man on second with nobody out and couldn’t score him. The Nationals have now stranded 176 runners on base this season, tops in the NL.

DEFENSIVE LOWLIGHT: The Nationals played clean baseball all night. Until it really mattered in the top of the 12th. With two outs and a man on first, Gyorko stole second. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, except Lobaton’s throw sailed into center field, allowing Gyorko to advance to third base. That set the stage for him to score easily on Nady’s RBI single up the middle. The Nationals’ league-leading 25th error of the season helped create the Padres’ winning run.

KEY STAT: Danny Espinosa’s slash line on April 24, 2013: .155/.197/.293. Danny Espinosa’s slash line on April 24, 2014: .317/.377/.524.

UP NEXT: Game 2 of this 4-game series sees Stephen Strasburg on the mound facing his hometown club. Left-hander Robbie Erlin starts for San Diego, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

  1. Danny - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Failed 3 times to move the runner on 2nd to 3rd with no outs.. Basic baseball, improve your approaches.

  2. David Proctor - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Fitting that it ends on a lineout. The failure to get runners over from second may well have been the difference in the game. There was a lot of poor luck early in the game with RISP (lineouts galore), but no excuse late. They had A LOT of chances.

  3. Section 222 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Ouch. You gotta freeze on liners Bryce. Bad luck for Stammen, he pitched really well.

    Tough loss, but they had their chances.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      I seriously doubt because of his secondary lead could make it bad.

      • stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        Yeah, he was dead on that one, regardless. IMHO.

      • Section 222 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        I’ll bet he could have if he hadn’t started running to third at the crack of the bat. But we’ll never know will we?

        I’m surprised the guy who complains when hitters are fooled by good pitches off the plate or “don’t bother to swing” at strikes would defend a fundamental baserunning mistake. :-)

  4. texnat1 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Can someone who gets to watch the post game show post what MW says if he asked why he didn’t bunt either Walters or Moore?

    • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      He thought he was on the road ??

    • David Proctor - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      He tried to bunt with Lobaton and it didn’t work. I assume he trusted them to hit the ball to the right side more than he did to bunt.

      • texnat1 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        Well that would be silly if true. It’s not the world’s easiest thing to do to ground the ball to the right side just because you want to. You should be able to execute a bunt.

  5. dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    16 f’in hits and only 3 runs….That’s not easy to do

  6. stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    I sure thought that was an RBI single when it left Lobaton’s bat.

    • NatsLady - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      Me, too. Had a good sound.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      I was sure the game was tied. I forgot Cabrera is a lot better fielder than Desmond.

      • stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:30 PM

        Pfffft.

  7. NatsLady - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    My comment got lost.

    The average pitcher leaves 75% of runners on base, meaning 25% score. We should have CLOBBERED the Pads. I feel bad for Stammen, who pitched his heart out. Hope Lóbaton isn’t hurt, that throw looked terrible.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      ++++ if this post goes below NL’s
      No telling where it may go

  8. manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    He says he wants Walter grounding to second. Lame answer.

    • texnat1 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:12 AM

      You mean that is why he didn’t bunt him?

      If so that is a non-answer. Might as well say I wanted him to hit a home run.

      No kidding, we know what you wanted. But there is a reason people bunt rather than just hoping for a grounder in the right direction.

  9. stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    I only saw the last inning, having been stuck at work sneaking peeks at Gameday all evening. But if Bryce Harper is looking for a sign from the heavens that he needs to get back to busting his butt (as he used to say in commercials) on every play, he’s had several the last couple of nights.

    • Section 222 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      +1 Bryce needs to watch how his teammates Rendon and Desmond play the game. He’s developing some very bad habits.

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        Hopefully, he tries to model Rendon’s plate discipline, not Desi’s. :)

      • Section 222 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        Indeed. I’m thinking more about smart baserunning and running out grounders and fly balls rather than jogging until you realize you might need to pick up the pace.

  10. dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Better stop screwin with the lineups….boys need to feel comfortable and foolin around with the lineup everyday does not help….playin tight in the field and with RISP

  11. manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Padres 2 for 9 RISP

    • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      16 hits and 3 runs…16 hits and 3 runs….16 hits and 3 runs….
      Take away 2 solos…..14 hits and 1 run….
      Harper bunts with 2 strikes…
      No one bunts runners on 2nd over in extra innings….
      Painful…
      MW must come up with better answers to exude some kind of credibility. and trust from his players.
      If we don’t understand, they must be asking questions too.
      Only a matter of time before Jesus (Werth) and Moses (ALR) start losing their religion to start a revolution

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

    Gotta get Desi back on track.

    BTW, the team LOB is 14 (RISP = 16). But if you look at individual results, the guys left runners on base 30 times!!

  13. manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Had we been .222 like the Padres we win easily.

  14. manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    This is the stat that is a killer.

    0 for 16 RISP

    16 for 34 non RISP.

  15. BurnedOnce - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    When does “if we just keep putting runner on base eventually we’ll score. Didn’t happen to night but… We’ll take that every night” join “it’s early” become the reality check “we have a trend. And it’s a problem”

  16. Joe Seamhead - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    If you’re going to play smart ball it has to start with playing smart, with smart game management. ‘Nuff said…

    • texnat1 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM

      correct

  17. Natsfool - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Poor plate approach has been the Achilles heel of this team. Desi is way too aggressive in expanding the strike zone. Both Espi and Desi have been notorious for this, though Espi has adjusted this year. When it comes down to it, this is just a mediocre team. Desi has had his chances to tone the aggression down. It’s time to move him.

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      Yes, yes, by all means – he’s been a 5 WAR player and a Silver Slugger for each of the last 2 seasons (appearing in a total of 288 games), but he’s played poorly for the first 23 games of this season, so screw him.

      Genius.

      • unkyd59 - Apr 25, 2014 at 5:45 AM

        +1

  18. David Proctor - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    I know it’s probably a dumb play, but I’d have considered having Bryce try to steal third. If he gets caught, well that’s probably the ballgame. But I had that little faith in a hit with RISP at that point. I think Lobaton may have been able to elevate against Street, he’s a flyball pitcher.

    • NatsLady - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      Yes. It’s a dumb play. Sorry, but it is. Saying you aren’t going to get a hit with RISP in the 12th inning just because you haven’t gotten one in the previous 11 is like saying your 50-50 chance of getting heads is reduced because you got 11 tails in a row.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        bunt lil Abner over…bring in Gio to bunt him over (or hit a 2 run homer)

  19. dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    And who’s gonna argue with Moses and Jesus when the revolution begins

    • stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      Felipe?

      • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        lol

  20. manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Fielding still an issue. Not sure if out were occur with a good throw, but maybe leg doesn’t hit bag again.

    First throw also high, so I don’t blame the screen like FP

  21. stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Sacrifice fly seems to me like one successful at bat with runners in scoring position.

  22. manassasnatsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    We had 1 success and 0 hits

  23. NatsLady - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Honestly, I don’t worry about a loss like this. It’s going to happen, one run, extra innings. The guys are hitting (except Desi) and no one got injured. We had good pitching by the starter AND the bullpen. If the guys play like this tomorrow and the next day, they will win. We win this game if anyone is on base for Danny’s or Adam’s home run, or any of a dozen other situations. A game like this is very rare. You put guys on base, they will eventually score.

    I will say that if Tyler Moore can’t learn to hit off the bench he won’t be much good to us, with LaRoche’s productivity.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      So what you got to say about leaving so many runners on base so far.
      Bad luck BABIP

      • NatsLady - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Yes, basically. In the end, it should average out. There are cases where BABiP doesn’t normalize, but ehy are very rare.

        Haren’s beautiful ERA is about to go South. Puig just misjudged a fly ball.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:52 PM

        Does BABIP vary depending on situation (RISP vs non) ARod was always good for a homer when the game was basically over.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:42 PM

      With Hairston coming back, TMo will be no mo’

      • stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        Six vs half-dozen

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      I’m frustrated but not worried.

      These RISP statistics are maddening but not that meaningful. Keeping putting men on base and the runs will come.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        IF they aint too tight, agreed.
        I have faith in Moses and Jesus (Werth, Harper looks more like baby Huey)

      • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        and play smartly….eg bunt when the situation calls for it, learn to hit sac flys to firstbasemen in the outfield).
        I’m thinking they are playing a little tight still.
        Maybe choke up a little more and use more pine tar on the cheek (no, not you Bryce)

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        BTW – someone on the other thread asked how it is that the Nats could have so many men LOB but basically league average #s for hitting with RISP.

        Part of the answer is that the Nats put more men on base than most other teams (3d in the NL before tonight, probably higher after). So even if they stranded men at a league average rate, they’d still rank up there. It’s also why they’ve scored more runs than all but two other NL teams.

    • Section 222 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:01 AM

      +1 to this. When you get to the 11th and 12th innings, it’s a war of attrition, guys are worn out, and the game often comes down to one swing, a wild pitch, or an errant throw on a steal attempt. You win some, you lose some. Thankfully, Stammen saved our BP from complete exhaustion. We have Storen, Barrett, and Det all rested for tomorrow if needed. And Soriano will be available. Probably Clip too, though tonight’s effort sure didn’t give me any confidence that he’s turning things around.

      Moore is kind of taking up space at this point. I’m not sure I’d keep him over Walters when Zim gets back, and his days may be numbered anyway if Hairston gets back sooner.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        Not so much concerned about winning or losing one game.
        More interested in lack of production with RISP…
        Lots of mental mistakes on the basepaths early on of course,
        Still playing tight…classic A Rod approach in situational hitting, high impact situations (playoffs, etc)

        Padres will be exhausted for tomorrow’s game. I’m predicting a no-hitter. Tell Ghost you heard it here first.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:44 AM

      He looked like a pitcher flailing at those curves tonight..Yes, he got one hit off of a curve last week, but I can’t otherwise remember him hitting a ML curveball.Tonight was an example of why no one should throw him anything but breaking balls until he shows that he can hit them. Let Kevin Frandson be ALR’s backup. He did an okay job covering for Ryan Howard in Philly.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Wow, I was commenting on NatsLady’s post re: Moore.

  24. dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Why can’t we hit more balls to 1st basemen in the outfield

    • stoatva - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:42 PM

      The game ender by Lobaton was on its way to him, but Cabrera snagged it. Might have wound up a triple!

      • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        more lol
        late night jocularity

      • stoatva - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        If you can’t laugh when you lose, you need to find another pastime.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        Bottom line, its only a game and life goes on, la,la,la,la, Life goes on.

        One thing, The padres will be exhausted tomorrow. I’m predicting a no hitter

    • Section 222 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      Hey watch it! Tyler Moore resembles that remark. :-)

      • dcwx61 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM

        oh yeah…That was a big strategy last year with Moore, Lombo and the other infielder playin OF

  25. David Proctor - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    The Dodgers are disaster defensively too, FWIW. They’re only 1 behind us in errors.

    • dcwx61 - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      We spent a whole lot less per error but they have a better TV contract so they can afford it (and save money with only one TV announcer….Scully probably not even being paid anymore and he’s probably forgotten that he’s supposed to get paid or that he’s not in Brooklyn )

      • NatsLady - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:09 AM

        OK, I really laughed out loud on the Scully thing. I know I’m in the VAST minority, but I can’t listen to him. Have the Philly announcers on.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:19 AM

        Yes….I can go to sleep now. I got a laugh from NL ;)
        Gotta Believe (in Moses and Jesus…not Felipe)

  26. stoatva - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Interesting challenge by the Dodgers on a “blocking home plate” call.

    • stoatva - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:01 AM

      Hard to argue that he didn’t have a route to the plate when he stepped on it after being tagged out.

      • stoatva - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        Out.

  27. dcwx61 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Would love to watch it but girlfriend has commandeered the remote

    • NatsLady - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      That’s what computers (and MLB.tv) are for.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        Yeah…It’s time to buy in.
        These shows she watches are more painful than listening to a Matt Williams post game interview.

  28. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Haren looks thin to the point of being gaunt and his uni is hanging off him. I don’t remember him being quite that thin when he was here.

  29. wmlsays - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    The Nats are 3-7 in their last ten games. They are in third place and sinking. They can’t play fundamentally sound baseball. Their supposed stars are all slumping. It’s early in the season, people say. They’ll get everything back together and win the East, people say. Maybe 2013 wasn’t a fluke. Maybe what they are is an overrated, average to slightly above average team that got lucky in 2013.

    • Eric - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      16 his from a lineup of slumping stars… Sad.

    • David Proctor - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:49 AM

      Yet we still have a better record than the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m sure their fans are panicking.

      • wmlsays - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:29 AM

        Cards have a history of success. The Nats have one playoff appearance. Cards have more cache value at this point. They could explode and become the terror of the NL. Or they can be what they were last year and what they are so far this year. A decent to good, non contender.

  30. Eric - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Looks like a rain out tomorrow… I’d be bummed, but I’m sure the guys could use a rest.

    Harper looked a lot less flat tonight to me. I bet by the end of this series he starts warming up.

    Frustrating loss,, but it was a fantastic game at various points. High drama, albeit little light on pay dirt.

    • secretwasianman - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:57 AM

      1game over ,500. Wow, better start printing playoff tickets.

  31. natsguy - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    2014 vs 2013
    Some of these things are just like the others, some of these things are really the same.

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