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Instant Analysis: Reds 2, Nats 1

May 21, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals entered the day with a chance to take the series against the Reds and head to Pittsburgh on a high note, but this time they could not solve Cincinnati’s starting pitcher as they did the night before. Alfredo Simon gave up one run, on a leadoff solo homer by Denard Span, but that was essentially it. He got into a groove and not even an hour-long rain delay could slow him down.

The delay happened in the bottom of the sixth inning and saw both pitchers return afterwards. Tanner Roark came back only to throw 12 pitches and record one out, while Simon continued pitching through the seventh. Though it technically worked out for both teams, it will certainly be something to ask Matt Williams in his postgame press conference.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: Simon took the mound enjoying the best stretch of his career as a starting pitcher, but the Nationals were able to strike early thanks to Span’s solo home run. After that, however, Simon settled in and had no trouble getting outs for the remainder of his start.

The Nats had another great chance in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded and one out before Roark grounded into a double play. Simon retired 11 of 12 at one point as the Nationals failed to get a runner in scoring position the rest of his outing. Jonathan Broxton took over in the eighth to keep the Nationals at one run, and Aroldis Chapman closed the door in the ninth.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Roark continued his mastery of opponents while pitching at Nationals Park with another strong start, all things considered. Yes, the Nats lost, but you can’t fault Roark. He tossed six innings with just one earned run. Along the way nine batters reached base, but it was more than enough to give the Nationals a chance to win. He now holds a 0.78 career ERA when pitching at home spread across 46 total innings.

DEFENSIVE LOWLIGHT: Starting at third base to give Anthony Rendon a day off, Kevin Frandsen contributed to the Reds’ go-ahead run with a fielding error in the fourth inning. Devin Mesoraco smoked a groundball that Frandsen booted, allowing Brandon Phillips to reach third and later score on a Brayan Pena single. That was the Nationals’ 41st error as a team in just 46 games.

KEY STAT: Span led off the game with a solo home run, his sixth hit in as many plate appearances. Amazingly, Ted Williams once reached base in 16 consecutive PAs during the 1957 season. That’s an MLB record.

UP NEXT: The Nationals head to Pittsburgh to play a four-game series at PNC Park. Blake Treinen ( 0-1, 0.77) will make his second start of the season as he fills in for Gio Gonzalez. Pitching for the Buccos will be right-hander Edinson Volquez (1-4, 4.71).

  1. Danny - May 21, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Only 1 run off Simon is the story. We can’t string some wins together bleh..

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      Look at the 2nd inning. The Nats had him.

  2. David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    3-3 homestand. So yeah, pretty much the definition of “staying afloat.” Not going to gain any kind of momentum with this lineup, but we’re holding our ground. The game Monday is annoying.

    I’m sure the LOD is out in full force. WordPress did me a favor by jumbling the game thread so I couldn’t see those comments.

    • secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      If you think LOD is out in force then you too must know deep down inside that this team is going nowhere this year.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        I assume they will win the East

      • secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM

        Hope your right. I’m getting impatient. As everyone here can tell

      • manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        I prefer winning 162, but whatever it takes. Now 6-6 in the second.

      • npb99 - May 21, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        I still they they will too. Won’t be easy, but they’ll do it. And if they have to fight their way to a division title, I think they’ll be better prepared for the playoffs.

      • dcwx61 - May 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        This could be your best or worst prediction of the year. Either way, i won’t let you forget it.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        N-o problem remembering it. I am not afraid of that prediction.

  3. dcwx61 - May 21, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    “Yes, the Nats lost, but you can’t fault Roark.”
    Thank you Mark

  4. veejh - May 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    So, who do we blame? I feel like lambasting someone.

    • Danny - May 21, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      Meh, these games will happen with this lineup unless someone gets really hot in the lineup. Just hope the Braves lose and we stay 1.5 back.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      The Frandsen error was the difference.

    • dcwx61 - May 21, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      When in doubt, blame the injuries resulting in the death valley tail end of the lineup.
      By Sunday, we should be moving out of the shadow of the valley.

      Otherwise, Peric

  5. scnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    I’m convinced Moore and Espinosa make their mind up before the pitch if they are going to swing or not. The location of the pitch makes no difference.

    I’m sure MW will have his usual sunshiny presser. We cannot put together a run with the injuries and Desi, Werth and Ramos failing at the plate.

    • David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      “I’m convinced Moore and Espinosa make their mind up before the pitch if they are going to swing or not. The location of the pitch makes no difference.”

      Well against Chapman, you basically HAVE to do that. You can’t hit 103 otherwise. But I agree they seem to do it against all guys and it’s a poor approach.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      Werth has barreled up some balls that have been a few inches (Mets series) to several feet short of bouncing off of a wall.

  6. secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    I’ll slam WERTh and Ramos for today. Oh and MW for that stupid bunt in the 8th. Pirates stink gotta take advantage. Another mediocre homestand

    • knoxvillenat - May 21, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      So says one of the leaders of the LOD.

  7. NatsLady - May 21, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Brewers 6-1 on Atlanta. Let’s just take the series in Pittsburgh. I really wonder if Ramos didn’t come back too soon, but nothing can be done about it now.

    • David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Eh. If he feels good, what more can be done? He was hitting homers in his rehab assignment, keeping him there does no good. He’s going to have to find his timing at the major league level. He shouldn’t be hitting cleanup until he finds it, though.

  8. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Again an unearned run in a 1 run lost.

    41 errors way too many.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      That’s the only big negative I could find.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        And not scoring in the 2nd when you have men on 1st and 2nd and no outs.

      • manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:15 PM

        The 0 hits with RISP have been the big 2 negatives all season.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        Given this depleted team, its a negative but look how you can pitch Werth. Just nibble inside and outside and hope they swing thru. That’s how weak it looks right now.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Here’s a debate point. Span hits that ball in the 8th that Hamilton traps. What if Span keeps running and gets to 2nd. They called him out so do they send him back to 1st or let him stay on 2nd?

    • secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      Great point. I still say you look to maybe steal with Span. The bunt was just giving away an out. With that being said you assume WERTh or Ramos would deliver.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:15 PM

        Before I could type “steal” Frandsen already squared to bunt. I agree with you but would’ve had him steal then bunted him to 3rd and then I think they intentionally walk Werth and go from there.

        LaRoche has really been missed. Rendon was also missed today.

    • secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      They would probably only given him first great question though.

    • dcwx61 - May 21, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      Play called dead on the field, even though it was wrongly called so where ever he was which was first.
      Span’s avg continue to rise

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM

        That’s what I was thinking too. Hamilton got lucky that if the grass wasn’t wet that ball probably bounces over his glove.

      • letswin3 - May 21, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        Also, I think Hamilton would have been able to easily throw him out at second ……and I think he would have come up throwing, because just the sight of Spann still running would have caused him to throw.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 21, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      If the 2nd base umpire signaled out, which I’m pretty sure he did, they would have sent the runner back to first (at least as I understand the system). Very good question, though. A couple of broadcasters I’ve heard have raised similar hypotheticals, including one walk-off scenario that I just can’t quite remember — but it was a good one.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        Yes, it was the 2nd base ump. Oh well. Nats had a few chances.

  10. dcwx61 - May 21, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    So Today
    Span, Frandsen,Werth,Ramos,Des, Moore,Espi,McL
    Sunday
    Span,Rendon,Werth,Ramos,Desi, ALR,McL,Espi
    Around June 1
    Span,Rendon,Werth,ALR,Ramos,Zimm,Desi,Espi/McL
    with a much stronger bench (Frandsen, McL,Dobbs,Hairston, Lobo)

    It will get much better and fairly quickly

  11. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Batters 3 and 4 go 0 for 8.

    Span a whipping boy for many. 2 more hits today.

    • dcwx61 - May 21, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      1

  12. secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    Pirates blow. 4 run lead and are down 6 4 in top of second.

  13. secretwasianman - May 21, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Get Ramos out of the 4 spot. That’s for WERTh or Rendon.

  14. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Pirates coming back now . Hope the O’s and Bucks score 20 each and play 20 innings.

  15. texnat1 - May 21, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Unfortunate to be losing series right now with the schedule set up the way it is. Nats will get help as ALR and Zim return, but the schedule gets hard in June.

  16. npb99 - May 21, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Why didn’t MW give Span a chance to steal second in the 8th? Instead, Frandsen bunts right away, so Span is on 2nd with one out. Then Werth hits a long fly that brings Span to 3rd, but would have scored him if he’d already made it to 3rd. MW bet on a hit making up the extra base, but he should have bet on Span stealing 2nd instead.

    • letswin3 - May 21, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      Span is not a good base stealer. He looks to be a pretty good base runner, but MW made the right move for the bottom of the eighth and down only one run.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 22, 2014 at 7:05 AM

        If it had been the right decision the Nats would’ve tied the game up.

      • letswin3 - May 22, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        The other alternative would have likely resulted in Span getting thrown out at second and leaving us with the bases empty ….. would that have been a better result?

  17. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Could go through lots of pitchers tonight in Pittsburgh

  18. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    Nothing but hits in Pittsburgh

  19. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    This server is terrible

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Phil Wood says Treinen is a 3 pitch guy? Names fastball, slider, changeup.

    As usual Phil talks without doing research. In his MLB career he has never thrown a changeup. He throws a fast and faster fastball and the occasional slider. Now then, he’s been working on a changeup but until he throws it in a MLB game, he’s a 2 pitch guy.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      I agree with you regarding Phil Wood. He’s terrific regarding ancient history, not so much regarding current events.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        He has amazing recall of plays from the 1959 Senators but then can’t remember what happened yesterday with the Nats.

        Heck of a nice guy. Has an amazing collection of Senators memorabilia.

    • tcostant - May 22, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      I love listening to Phil Wood, he is not perfect but he has insights beyong our years.

  21. manassasnatsfan - May 21, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Pitching so far non resistance in Pittsburgh now 8-6

  22. David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Chase Hughes ‏@chasehughesCSN 50s
    Denard Span on Tanner Roark: ‘He has nuts… can I say that on TV?’ #Nats

    LOL

  23. Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Well, personally I thought that Frandsen bunting Span to second was about the stupidest move that I’ve seen since Manny Acta was here. If you don’t have confidence in Kevin’s bat then get somebody in there that you do.Honestly, I think Williams played a huge part in both losses in this series, once when he didn’t call for a bunt, and once when he did. I still think he may, and I underline the word ” may,” develope into a good manager, but he has a long ways to go.

    • David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      I’m sure if you think about it, you will think of far more stupid moves between Acta and today. Recency bias and all that. But yeah, the bunt was a dumb play. Now, if Span steals second, you can bunt him over to third and Werth’s flyball gets him home. There is never a time where it’s appropriate to bunt a runner from first to second, unless it’s the pitcher batting. On second, there are some times where it makes sense (mainly when you’re playing for one run, as was the case on Monday).

      • Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Maybe, David, you are right, but I took the decision to have Frandsen bunt to be darn close to conceding the game.

      • IsawTeddywin - May 21, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        Ridiculous. You have Werth and Ramos coming up, two of your supposedly best hitters. Anyone who isn’t the equivalent of Jdub or Buffalo is bunting, 1 run down and game on the line.

      • letswin3 - May 21, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        I liked the bunt too, isawteddywin…. and for the same reason as you gave.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        To each their own opinion. I would never concede that first out in that situation, especially with Werth and Ramos coming up.The strategy didn’t work, and I wasn’t surprised. Nor did the strategy of bringing in the Loboton on Monday.

      • texnat1 - May 21, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        The stats show that you don’t bunt a runner fro first to second. It doesn’t increase your chances of scoring the run.

        Williams doesn’t seem to know when to bunt.

    • Sonny G 10 - May 21, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      Agreed. Yeah, he has a ways to go, but I hope he is a fast learner.

    • knoxvillenat - May 21, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      +1

      • knoxvillenat - May 21, 2014 at 10:22 PM

        That +1 is in reply to Seamhead’s 8:42 post.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 10:34 PM

        Did Frandsen bunt on his own or did MW call for it? Do we know that before we criticize?

        I’m also confused with strategy. I’m seeing more bunts then ever before but hate it when you concede the easy out. If you bunt, bunt for a hit!

      • Section 222 - May 21, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        Ghost, do you really think that Frandsen would bunt on his own? He likes to hit. Plus, that sure looked like a sacrifice, not an attempt to bunt for a hit.

        Also, if we couldn’t criticize without getting that kind of info, this blog would be much less interesting.

  24. Hiram Hover - May 21, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    McLouth got on base in 2 of his 3 PA – walk, flyout (to the warning track in center-left center), LD single.

    I made a comment in an earlier thread about him hitting weak GBs, and he had none of those today. So kudos on that.

    If he can string together a couple of weeks worth of games like today, he’ll be the player the Nats thought they were signing.

    PS – I just reported DPs comment at 8:48 and got a pleasant message thanking me for my feedback. The feedback I really want to leave is, Word Press put the “reply” and “report comment” buttons too fr#@king close together.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Wow! And DP’s post disappeared.

    • Hiram Hover - May 21, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      I really am sorry about that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        Can DP post it again.

      • Hiram Hover - May 21, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        It is now back – I emailed Mark and he promptly responded. (Thanks, Mark!)

        Is that why comments disappear and the threads go all higgledy piggledy? I don’t remember this sort of thing happening last year with WP, but it’s become a real problem.

  25. David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Braves lost

  26. David Proctor - May 21, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Braves lost

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Brewers beat the Barves. Lohse with a gem.

  28. Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Did you just see the Orioles execute a bunt with no outs and men on 1st and 2nd. 21 year old Jonathan Schoop. Easy as pie. Hard bunt to the 3rd baseman.

  29. Section 222 - May 21, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Can’t blame Espi for not swinging at the last pitch. Crappy call.

    Chase, if you’re reading, WordPress was absolutely a mess in the game post. Are you guys looking into why that happens? I for one would be delighted to go back to Google Blogger, but that might be too much to hope for.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      +1 a thousand times.

      • knoxvillenat - May 21, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Amen, amen!

  30. Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    I hope you all are watching the Cardinals game. Men on 2nd and 1st and no outs and Yadier Molina bunted them over.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      10th inning by the way in a tie game and Cardinals are the home team. The bunt worked. Now lets see what Alan Craig does.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      10th inning by the way in a tie game and Cardinals are the home team. The bunt worked. Now lets see what Alan Craig does.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        They walk bases loaded and Jon Jay comes in with bases loaded and 1 out.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:44 PM

        Jon Jay strikes out! Now 2 outs and bases loaded.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        Daniel Descalso comes to bat and works it to 3-2 count and grounds out. Inning over and on to the 11th.

      • nats128 - May 22, 2014 at 7:43 AM

        Did you watch the Yankees and Cubs game? In extra innings the Yankees relief pitcher with no at-bats and men on 1st and 2nd lays down the Sacrifice Bunt. Who? Preston Claiborne.

        Then the pitcher uncorks a wild pitch and the winning run scores.

  31. Ghost of Steve M. - May 21, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Ervin Santana gives up 6 earned runs tonight for the Barves. The only NL East team that won tonight was the Marlins.

  32. scmargenau - May 22, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    This is just one comment module of dozens that plugin. All are customizable – the Dev of this site and the ux people are just awful.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
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