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Instant analysis: Nats 7, Rockies 1

Jul 1, 2014, 10:27 PM EDT

AP AP

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With the hubbub (and a dash of controversy) of Monday night behind them, the Nationals got down to business tonight and resumed the grind of the season with their healthy lineup still intact. On a sweltering night at the ballpark, they picked up right where they left off Monday, pounding the Rockies’ beleaguered pitching staff once again.

The Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the first, then scored four times in the bottom of the fourth, getting contributions from nearly everybody and giving Stephen Strasburg a huge cushion for a change. Strasburg responded with his best start in a while, carrying a shutout into the eighth inning before succumbing at last.

So, the Nats secured their fourth straight win and improved to 7 games over the .500 mark for the first time this season. They’ll go for the series sweep tomorrow night.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: You have to be careful reading too much into this, given the opponent they’re facing, but the Nationals’ lineup has come to life the last two nights, now that everybody’s healthy again. Especially encouraging tonight: Jayson Werth, who reached base four times, with a pair of doubles, two walks and three RBI. It’s been a struggle the last few weeks, with the veteran chasing pitches out of the zone and not showing his typical plate discipline. Perhaps this is a sign of better things still to come for Werth.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Strasburg’s night began in a bit of unsettling fashion: He needed 21 pitches just to get through the game’s first three batters, with the top of the Colorado lineup fouling off pitches left and right and really making him work. But then the big right-hander settled in and cruised the rest of the night. He needed only 72 pitches to complete a 6-inning stretch after the laborious first and took the mound in the eighth inning for only the second time this season, only the seventh time in his career. D.J. LeMahieu did take him deep in the eighth to break up the shutout bid, but Strasburg could hold his head high at night’s end. This was a much-needed, bounce-back start for him, erasing what concerns developed last week in Milwaukee.

KEY STAT: The Nationals have scored at least seven runs in three straight games for the first time since September 2012, when they did it five straight times en route to the NL East title.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up Wednesday when Doug Fister takes the mound against the Rockies’ third straight left-hander: Tyler Matzek. Note the special starting time of 6:05 p.m. in advance of a postgame fireworks show.

  1. stoatva - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    13 pitch 3K 9th for Kimbrel. Thanks for nuttin, Mets.

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Key point from ‘Hitting Highlights” above (which could also be applied to the game as a whole): “You have to be careful reading too much into this, given the opponent…” That said, take the W and try to get another tomorrow.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      You got to beat the team you are playing. Never understood, why people got hung up on this. Over the season each team a division will play basically the same schedule.

  3. Candide - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Enjoyed watching the last couple of nights. But honestly, the Rockies reminded me of the’09 Nats. AAAA pitchers, zombie-like fielding, and overmatched at the plate.

    I’ll feel a lot better when I see the Nats slap the Cards and the Barves around like this.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      I once got a fortune that said “You will succeed at anything if you compete against small stupid children.”

    • adcwonk - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      They’ve had so many injuries to their staff, that, yes, there are a bunch of AAAA pitchers. In fact, I think their starter was 1-8 in the minors and had to get called up they were so short of pitchers!

      For tomorrow: Tyler Matzek — another lefty. He’s got four MLB games in his career under his belt (two pretty good, two pretty bad).

      Let’s whomp him, too!

      • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Braves are taking advantage of the Phillies and Mets. No reason Nats can’t do the equivalent.

      • veejh - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        Fister = sweep

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        Braves are taking advantage of the Phillies and Mets. No reason Nats can’t do the equivalent.

        Yes, but I’m sure the Braves fans feel just terrible about it.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      Nats took 2 of 3 from Brewers and 3 of 4 from Giants, two teams with better records than the Braves and the Cards.

  4. manassasnatsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Even when we win people can’t enjoy it. Simply amazing.

    • veejh - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      Oh, come on. We’re suppose to win these games. No need to think all is well suddenly now that Harper is back. Bring on some real teams and we’ll see.

      • Eric - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:55 PM

        In the last month the Nats have taken 3 of 4 from the Giants, split with the Braves, and taken 2 of 3 from the Brewers.

        Too bad these teams are too terrible to take seriously!

      • veejh - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        What about the splits and losses to the crap teams?

    • Section 222 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      That’s the pot calling the kettle black if I’ve ever heard it.

      manassasnatsfan – Jul 1, 2014 at 7:57 PM
      Could you bunt it worse next time.

      manassasnatsfan – Jul 1, 2014 at 10:12 PM
      Stammen I hate starters walking guys, but really hate relievers do it. Start off 0-2 then you nibble kike our lefties do.

  5. scnatsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    No need to worry about Atlanta. We keep winning and they will go away.m

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    I think the Bryce Bias continues. With 1 out and runners on 1st and 2nd the ump rung up Harp on a 3-2 pitch that really wasn’t close. It was up and outside. I’m glad Harp took it well and also glad it didn’t factor into the final outcome.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      I am glad he took it to. Was shock it was called a ball. Pitch tracked showed it to be about 2 baseball lengths outside.

      I find incredible with all the technology we have that the guys in blue have not figured out to be more accurate with balls and strikes. It seems that if a lasar can do it a human should be able to as I am told the brain is the best computer.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        I have said the replay system should allow you to use your challenge for balls and strikes. That could’ve turned the game.

        The technology is there.

      • veejh - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        Once you do that, I feel like it opens the door to undermining everything an ump calls. No good.

      • Section 222 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:55 PM

        Ghost, you can’t be serious about challenging balls and strikes. So the manager goes out in the middle of the at bat and vamps until someone can tell him whether pitch track says the pitch is a strike and then he challenges? Really?

        Someday balls and strikes may be called by a machine (like the technology used for tennis), but challenges? Never.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:01 AM

        Veejh, you get at most 2 challenges if you get the 1st one right. I would have challenged that Bryce play if allowed. It would have loaded the bases with 1 out. That’s worth the challenge if it were allowed.

        That doesn’t undermine a thing. It takes any “bias” out of the game that may exist. I’ve said this before that there seems to be a Bryce Bias. That was an egregious strike call.

        I’ve seen pitchouts that were almost that far out. ;)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        Sec222, I don’t think it will ever happen either but I’m sick of these poor calls against Bryce. He doesn’t deserve that. Look how far that ball was outside. It was a critical play at that point in a 3-0 game.

      • veejh - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        Of course the call was horrible.

        What about all those close calls? The waters could get quite mirky and really slow the game down.

      • Section 222 - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        We all hate bad calls. I don’t think there’s any bias against Bryce, just as I don’t think there’s any bias against the Nats. There’s just bad umpiring. It happens, and it tends to even out over the course of a season. But allowing challenges of balls and strike calls would be insane, and I think you know that.

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:06 AM

        I go for my original idea that they some how rig up a shock collar from the home plate umpire to the graphics box that displays pitch location. When the ump makes a bad call he gets zapped with the charge based on how bad the call was. A close pitch makes him twitch a little while that pitch called against Bryce would have him writhing on the ground behind the catcher.

        At the least it would serve as a great training tool.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:04 AM

        I’ll endorse the shock collar idea.

        I’ll also endorse the idea of challenging balls and strikes.

  7. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    when the Joe West’s of the world are no longer umpiring, a lot of problems will go away. West is a egotistical slob and every game is about him. Case and point, MW asks the fat bastard what Barrett did to cause a balk and he gave no answer! I rest my case. If he was a decent ump he would have explain to both the kid and manager what he did fundamentally wrong. West needs to go period

  8. dcwx61 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    I agree with the BB, that K should have been a BB

  9. Kyle - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    I know we are facing the Rockies but I still think this hitting will continue. Our lineup is definetly the best in the division and maybe the best in the NL.

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)*
*if necessary

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ON THE RADIO

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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