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Game 73: Braves at Nats

Jun 21, 2014, 3:39 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

There are perhaps two ways to look at last night’s game from the Nationals’ perspective. On one hand, they lost to the Braves, yet again, perhaps in a fashion more excruciating than any previous loss to Atlanta this year. On the other hand, they staged a fairly epic rally in the bottom of the ninth to tie it, with Anthony Rendon becoming the first player to hit anything more than a solo homer off Craig Kimbrel since 2011. If you want to take the glass-half-full approach, the Nats at least know they can get to Kimbrel, should the situation arise again.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. The ninth inning tonight won’t mean anything if the first eight innings don’t go well. So there’s some pressure on Doug Fister to put forth a strong effort in his first career start against the Braves. And there’s some pressure on the Nationals lineup to do some damage against Atlanta ace Julio Teheran.

A reminder that tonight’s game is on Fox; it’s actually the lead game, with Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci on the call. Most of the country will get this game. Here’s a coverage map if you’d like to check it out…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
TV: FOX (coverage map),
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 89,
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from RF

CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Doug Fister

BRAVES (38-35)
2B Tommy La Stella
CF B.J. Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
C Evan Gattis
RF Jason Heyward
LF Justin Upton
3B Chris Johnson
SS Andrelton Simmons
RHP Julio Teheran

HP Clint Fagan
1B Mark Carlson
2B Tim Welke (cc)
3B Todd Tichenor

7:16 p.m. — And we’re underway on a surprisingly chilly late-June evening in the District. Doug Fister fires strike one to Tommy La Stella to get this one started.

7:23 p.m. — Just like that, the Braves had runners on the corners and one out against Fister, as the ballpark began to get restless. But Fister was able to get Evan Gattis to pop out, and then Danny Espinosa made a heck of a play sliding to his backhand side and then throwing to Ian Desmond for the force out that got the Nats out of the jam unscathed. Impressive play there by Espinosa.

7:30 p.m. — The Nats got a 1-out single by Rendon in the bottom of the first, but that was it. Freddie Freeman made a fantastic, over-the-shoulder catch while sliding toward the tarp on Jayson Werth’s foul-pop. Adam LaRoche then lofted a flyball to left on the first pitch he saw. So that was only six pitches thrown by Julio Teheran to four Nats hitters. Did they step to the plate with an aggressive gameplan against the right-hander, or did they simply become overaggressive once they dug in?

7:43 p.m. — Well, the Nationals took a few more pitches in the bottom of the second, but the end result was still a 1-2-3 inning for Teheran. Zimmerman struck out, and he’s now hitting .194 with a .544 OPS in 18 games since coming off the DL. Not good. Desmond struck out as well before Espinosa lined a ball right at Heyward in right field. To the third inning we go in a scoreless game.

7:51 p.m. — Fister, meanwhile, has cruised through three scoreless innings on only 36 pitches. Consider this: At the same point last night, Stephen Strasburg had thrown 62 pitches … despite facing only one more batter! Amazing.

8:06 p.m. — Rendon delivers yet another clutch hit, this time a 2-out single to center to drive in the night’s first run. Nice slide by Jose Lobaton on the play, sneaking his left hand over the plate just before the tag after a strong throw by B.J. Upton. So the Nats take a 1-0 lead after three.

8:28 p.m. — A couple of the Nationals’ big bats are really having trouble making contact right now. Werth is 0-for-2 tonight and is now 1 for his last 21 with 12 strikeouts. Desmond, meanwhile, has struck out twice tonight, giving him six K’s in 11 at-bats so far this series. Tough for them to score runs when those stalwarts aren’t even putting the ball in play. Still 1-0 Nats after four.

8:36 p.m. — Andrelton Simmons’ 1-out blooper to shallow left field gave the Braves their first hit since the top of the first, and he then moved to second on Teheran’s non-bunt non-sacrifice dribbler in front of the plate. But Fister came up bit with the man in scoring position and got La Stella to ground out to short to end the top of the fifth and preserve the Nats’ 1-0 lead.

9:00 p.m. — Nice job by Fister again to pitch out of a jam in the top of the sixth, getting Justin Upton to pop out and strand two men on base. He has been outstanding tonight, and he’s needed to be, because the Nats still have nothing other than Rendon’s RBI single back in the third. Still 1-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth.

9:17 p.m. — Teheran has been stepping off the mound all night, especially with runners on base, apparently having all kinds of trouble getting on the same page as Gattis. Well, it finally cost him because he was called for a balk on a particularly egregious move. That allowed LaRoche to advance to second base, and then moments later score on Zimmerman’s RBI single to center. Boy did Zim need that. He was hitting .191 with a .536 OPS since coming off the DL before that clutch hit. So the Nats have opened up a 2-0 lead as we go to the seventh.

9:27 p.m. — Make it seven scoreless innings for Fister, who is now at 101 pitches. He’s due up second in the bottom of the inning, the Nats still leading 2-0. What to do? Well, there’s nobody warming in the pen, so it looks like he’s staying in.

9:38 p.m. — You know, the fact Fister is so adept with the bat only helps make the decision to leave him in. He put down his second perfectly placed sac bunt just now, and that helped set the stage for another huge insurance run. Rendon drilled a double to deep center, scoring Lobaton and giving the Nats a 3-0 lead as Fister takes the mound for the eighth.

9:46 p.m. — That, folks, was a big-time start by Doug Fister. His line: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 116 pitches. He got a standing ovation as he walked off after a 1-2-3 eighth. Still 3-0.

9:52 p.m. — That’s a Golden Sombrero for Desmond tonight. Not good. OK, here’s Rafael Soriano for the ninth, the Nats up 3-0.

10:00 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 3-0. They take back first place in the NL East.

  1. Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM


  2. natsfan1a - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Carrying forward.

    I think I may have tracked down that back-monkey:

    Okay, boys. You know your mission tonight. Go get ‘em. :-)

  3. David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Fister pitched against the Braves last year and pitched well. It is not his first career start against them.

    Remember our only win this year against the Braves was a game started by Taylor Jordan. So maybe the answer is a sinkerballer and not a flamethrower.

  4. scnatsfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    I see Harper is headed to Potomac… I have tix on the dugout wednesday in myrtle I hope he travels. Usually I would say he wouldn’t but hoping they let him take a trip and play a road series with his brother.

    • whitennerdy898 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      His brother’s already been promoted to Harrisburg. Saw him throw 2 scoreless last night in a close loss to Akron.

      • scnatsfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Ha ha and I just read he is off wednesday too

  5. chaz11963 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    I hope they can get themselves clear of the current offensive slump, especially Zim and JW. Really need the offense to step up tonight against a good pitcher.

  6. 9rhrssy01 - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Can anyone tell me why Strasburg was so hyped by the sports media before being drafted? Descriptions such as “a once in a decade pitcher were used” Clearly not the case.

    • chaz11963 - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      Because he is one the best pitchers in baseball today, and even measured by the greatest in the history of the game, he is setting an impressive pace for a young pitcher not quite even in his prime yet:

      • 9rhrssy01 - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Thanks for the great article on Strasburg. I wish there was a stat reflecting how he pitches out of jams after fielding errors or after putting two men on base. In other words pitching out of jams as Fister did last night. I have no objective evidence,but I think those situations arealso reflected in his high BABIP. Even with the stats in the article which show he is very good,he isw not the best to come along in decade yet. Hopefully he will be.

  7. Another_Sam - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Call me a fair weather fan, but I’m not really that. I had it penciled in to go tonight. But I couldn’t work up the enthusiasm. I need to be benched for not running it out. What a wretched performance — offensively and on the mound — we’ve been treated to.

    • chaz11963 - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Wretched??? I think it’s all relative. Giving up on a contender in June? Ok, well, come talk to me in October.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        We had a great time last night.It’s baseball. It was a terrific game.

  8. Another_Sam - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Of course, the score of tonight’s game is 0-0 right now.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Lefty Raul Ibanez is available. Will Werth lobby Rizzo to get him?

    • David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      ‘The 42-year-old has had a tough year at the plate, slashing .157/.258/.265 with three home runs and 21 RBI in 190 plate appearances. It’s a far cry from the numbers he put up with the Mariners last season, when he hit 29 home runs and posted a .793 OPS.”


      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        I’d say so. His body isn’t doing what his mind wants it to do.

      • David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        I assume he’s going to retire now. He had to make sure and cost us one last game before doing so. Of course.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        Yep, wasn’t that a 3 run double.

  10. David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    The Brewers scored 3 runs on a wild pitch.


    • David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      This happened with 2 outs and the pitcher batting, by the way.

  11. letswin3 - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    I just read about 20 posts today by Micksback in a previous thread. He threw everyone under the bus except 2 ticket takers and the taller bat boy. I wonder if there has ever been a Nats player he liked for more than a 3 game series. It must be tough to go through life with such a negative perspective. Oh well, I can’t let others mess with a glass that’s obviously half full right now. There are 90 games remaining, and with any luck at all we might win one or two.

  12. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    maybe I’m delusional, but its time to be positive, to paraphrase old Muddy, “everything, everything, everything goin be all right tonight, oh yeah”

    go Nats!

  13. BurnedOnce - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    I see the Phillies managed to beat the Cards….and the Braves this week. It be some magic that eludes us. Playing up to or beyond your talent level. Hmmm. How in the world do they do that?

  14. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Got my version of bourbon and Maalox: French cognac and bicarbonate of soda. Got my Norah Jones warmup music. I’m ready. I’m positive. Score four or more and we got this. GYFNG.

  15. Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Sec 3 My Sofa on June 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    “The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom.”
    William Blake!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:26 PM


  16. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Harold Reynolds giving Desi some love, nice.

  17. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    Fister fields well. But cone on don’t throw strike 1 right over the middle.

    They explained why we lose to the Braves. Way too many strikes. I love strikes but I guess maybe not against the Braves

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    If only Blevins did that in the 13th. Wait to hold em down Dougie.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    Wow. Great play by Freeman. If he was not a Brave he would be easy to like.

  20. kirbs3256 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    For some reason Fox has the Cleveland game for me…NOOOO

    • kirbs3256 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      and i’m in central VA…i don’t get it

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Ramos 3 run HR in Harrisburg.

  22. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    BJ Upton saw the full assortment. Fastball, cutter, curve, changeup.

  23. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    how anyone can write this off and say that these 4 games are just part of a long season is simply amazing and there are no words that could adequately express how absurd such a sentiment is. This series could define this franchise for the rest of the season. MW is not impressive and clearly has no ability to motivate and change this culture of accepting defeat to the Braves

    • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      Seems like you don’t remember 2012 when soar things happened. Just sayin’

  24. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Hop on that, A Rendon. Slightly off topic, in the Lexus section, they need to come up with some sort of rotation system, at least for nationally televised games. I know people want their free food, but ehh. Empty seats just look bad.

  25. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Rochie tags first pitch, works for me. :)

  26. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    There has to be something wrong with Werth… I believe he will go on the 15 day DL when Harper returns.

    • David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      I think you’re looking too hard for an explanation. He’s been moving better lately than I’ve seen him in a while. Guys slump, sometimes for no real reason.

  27. Dannyellinosa - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Fox stinks. Watched Laird interview inning with TV on mute. And better muted for rest if game.

  28. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Well, if JW needs a blow, now might be a good time, Harp in right, Zim stays in left, and infield stands pat.

  29. Richard H. Lawson - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Can We Watch The Game? FOX ? Yap! Yap! Yap!

  30. EllieEspinosa - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Go Nats! GYFNG! Listen to radio ! No FOX!

  31. philipd763 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    If Fister wants to win this game, he had better pitch a shutout!

  32. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Put it in the bullpen Rochie.

  33. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Walk works.

  34. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Harold Reynolds has no clue about the nats, but he knows baseball.

  35. David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    Desi got completely screwed in his AB.

  36. natszee - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Danny K rally killer ..

  37. Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    My wife says, “We love you, Fister!.” Nice bunt.

  38. natszee - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Anthony Again!!! I love it!!

  39. Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    The Loboton scores on the double from Anthonty!

    N-A-T-S ! NATS, NATS, NATS!!!

  40. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Nice job Fister. Got out of 1sr inning and rolled.

  41. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Debate this one by Freeddy G

    “@AdamKilgoreWP: One swing ties it in the seventh and the pitcher hits? Uh, strange.”

  42. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Sori getting hot. Where’s the soda?

  43. Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    Tucken it up here boss.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      Untucked. Go get ’em tomorrow! GYF1PNG!

  44. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    “Golden Sombrero for Desmond tonight.”

    Yeah but two called strikes were balls on that last AB. Still worrisome.

  45. jonnynats - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    #lolmets top the fish. Werth is 3-4 tomorrow and Desi hits a dinger. GG. Thanks Mr Mark





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