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Instant analysis: Nats 7, Cubs 2

Jun 28, 2014, 10:55 PM EDT

AP AP

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: If you’re going to spend the entire day and night at the ballpark, might as well win two ballgames. The Nationals will leave Chicago exhausted but happy to have taken both ends of their doubleheader with the Cubs, salvaging a 4-game series split at Wrigley Field.

And few will be happier than Blake Treinen, who in his fifth career start finally earned his first career win thanks to five strong innings and some well-deserved run support. Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos each homered off Jeff Samardzija, while Anthony Rendon, Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth all added RBI to knock out the Cubs ace.

Add three innings of relief from Ross Detwiler, who earned his first career save, and the Nationals managed to keep their bullpen in one piece at the end of a long road trip that included seven games in six days, one of them a 16-inning marathon that was the longest game in club history. They wound up 4-3 on the trip, and they’ll head home 43-38 at the official halfway point of the season, tied with the Braves for first place in the NL East.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There were no shortage of big hits for the Nationals in this game, but let’s highlight Ramos’ fifth-inning blast. The leadoff shot into the left-field bleachers was his first homer since coming off the DL and continued his strong return. In three games since coming back from his hamstring strain, Ramos is 4-for-10 with two walks and that home run. For a Nationals lineup that has been struggling of late to produce runs, the re-emergence of the big catcher has certainly been welcome.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: This wasn’t exactly an easy assignment for Treinen. Summoned from Syracuse to make a spot start in the second half of a doubleheader, he also had to navigate his way through a 55-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fourth. But the rookie right-hander responded well. He showed off the same upper-90s sinker that impressed Nationals officials earlier this season during his previous call-ups, and he also showed better command of his off-speed stuff this time around. It certainly had to help that Treinen was able to pitch with a lead for a change. Entering this game, he had faced 131 big-league batters, but only 16 of them with the Nationals leading. Thanks to that much-appreciated run support tonight, Treinen was able to head back to Syracuse with the ball from his first career win.

KEY STAT: This was the first scheduled doubleheader at Wrigley Field in 31 years, and tomorrow will be the Cubs’ first scheduled Sunday off in 82 years.

UP NEXT: After their highly unusual Sunday off, the Nationals open an 8-game homestand Monday against the Rockies. And it looks like Bryce Harper (who launched three homers tonight on rehab with Class AA Harrisburg) will be making his return from the DL when Jordan Zimmermann faces Colorado lefty Yohan Flande at 7:05 p.m.

  1. David Proctor - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    This team fights. They lose the first two games and have to win the last two games in a doubleheader, which is very hard. And they sweep the doubleheader convincingly.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Ross Detwiler now has 7 1/3 scoreless innings and has dropped his ERA from 5.24 on May 22nd to 4.00 today. A few more great outings and Ross could look like a key piece in the Nats bullpen.

    The Dayton Duo are now the weak links in the bullpen and they need to get their heads out of their backsides.

    Treinen and Gio both were impressive. It just shows you with better baserunning in this series and better bullpen in Games 1 & 2 that the Nats could have turned a 4 game sweep and they know it. They cruised today.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      Just saying: if Stephen Stasburg is the worst pitcher on your team, how bad can it be?

    • David Proctor - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      It’s unfair to say Stammen is a weak link. He had one bad game. Stammen is still great.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

        Who said Stammen was a weak link?

      • David Proctor - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        He said the Dayton Duo are the weak links. Stammen is part of the Dayton Duo.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 29, 2014 at 3:31 AM

        I agree, David. Stammen has overall been a rock solid performer.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      Do you know how Mark Z does the Stock Watch. Its the current ups/downs on this team.

      Soriano, Clippard, Storen, Barrett have all been doing great and Detwiler has been nails the last 2 outings.

      Blevins is not doing well and the month of June for Stammen has been a mixed bag as he has taken 2 losses (Padres and Cubs) but he’s also had some very good outings but his ERA has gone from 2.40 to 2.83.

      I’m sure Stammen will bounce back but in rating the bullpen at this point in time, Detwiler moves from bottom of group in the newest trending. By the way, in his career, Stammen has done best in May and September. His June, July and Augusts have not been good.

  3. dcwx61 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    offense came alive as they took advantage of opportunities with the automatic strikeouts of Espi and Lobo out of the lineup. Very interesting that Espi was not in either game. I think MW has had enough of the killer Ks esp when it counts.

    And McLouth looking like a good pickup. Don’t be afraid to use him to the OF an occasional rest.
    Great day of baseball.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      A good manager tries to put players in a position to succeed, and for Danny right now, that does not include the batters box. He wants Dannny to do well.

    • 6ID20 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      Espinosa was a defensive substitution in both games.

  4. Steady Eddie - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    And once again, the 2014 Nats find a way to beat another ace — Cueto, Wacha, Bumgarner, now Samardzjia.

    And a 16-11 record for June so far not too bad either.

    Not to mention Gio and Treinen coming up big after Stras, Fister and Tanner had off nights.

    Also great to see Det looking capable and confident again, what an asset to the BP or as a trade asset.

    With all the big boppers now back — and bopping in big spots — and Rendon turning white hot with his line driving mode locked in — it’s a great way to start the second half of the season on Monday, and 13 games before the ASG against the Rocks/Cubs/Os/Phillies will set the tone for the second half.

    Either they will finally hit their stride or continue in inconsistency (June record: L1, W 8/9, L 4, W 2, L 2, W4, L 3, W 2 !!!).

    Harp will be the missing piece who lengthens the lineup to relentlessness, but who goes where will test MW’s command of team chemistry.

    Things about to get very interesting. Intoxicating excitement, or unprecedented frustration.

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Great game… Split the series… 4-3 on the road trip…

  6. natsfan1a - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:08 AM

    Oops, wrong thread:

    natsfan1a – Jun 29, 2014 at 6:05 AM

    Missed the first 4 but saw the rest of the game (well, I did turn away during the BOS/NYY bonus rain delay coverage). Another nice win and a winning road trip to boot, I do believe. Come on home, boys. We’ll leave a light on for you.

  7. nats128 - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Crazy how fast the pendulum swings. People here

    “And McLouth looking like a good pickup”
    “Det looking capable and confident again”
    “Gio and Treinen coming up big”
    “Stammen is still great.”
    “This team fights”
    “Rendon turning white hot”
    “sweep the doubleheader convincingly”

    12 comments before mine and I pulled 7 great sound bites. Nothing surprised me more than the 1st one about McLouth and the 2nd one about Det. Those 2 guys were ready to be tarred and feathered a week ago!

    • natinalsgo - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      As they say, things change quickly. One day the goat, the next the hero. Add to that some other comments and tweets that I had to dig for to compliment some other players who did well and not included on this page.

      “LaRoche is .359 BA, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs in his current streak”
      “Nate McLouth goes into the ivy. Emerges with the ball. Alas, not with Andre Dawson”
      “Wilson Ramos is back, ladies and gentlemen. The Buffalo smashed his first homer since coming off the DL to lead off the fifth, putting the Nats back on top. He’s now 4-for-8 with two walks and a homer in his return. Pretty good”
      “Denard was spectacular today. That catch in the ivy was shocking in the park”

    • dcwx61 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      I’ve been a fan of McLouth for some time but a lot of it could not be backed up by stats. i’m just a fan. Remember different poeple were doing the tarring on different ball players. My comment speaks only for myself and not for the whole blog….The great thing about America…Freedom of Blog

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