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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Orioles 2

Jul 9, 2014, 9:58 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Playing their first game in an AL park with a healthy lineup, the Nationals had an opportunity to field a lineup built both with offense and defense in mind for a change. And both aspects of Matt Williams’ starting nine played roles in this convincing victory at Camden Yards.

A lineup that included Ryan Zimmerman as designated hitter thumped Orioles starter Bud Norris and reliever Brad Brach for six runs in seven innings, getting home runs from Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth. And thanks to some elite glovework from Anthony Rendon at third base and Danny Espinosa at second base, the Nationals were able to overcome something of an off-night by Doug Fister and still reward the right-hander with a quality start.

Put those two facets of the game together, and the Nationals looked very much like a first-place club tonight, beating a good Baltimore team and also opening up a 1-game lead on the Braves, who dropped their fourth straight.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: We’ve seen the healthy Nationals lineup produce runs over the last week-and-a-half. Tonight we saw that lineup produce runs in a specific manner: via the longball. Ramos, Desmond and Werth all homered off Orioles pitching, taking advantage of the cozy dimensions and warm air here at Camden Yards. This is what the Nats have been waiting to see. They know everyone in this lineup is capable of putting the ball over the fence, but they haven’t quite seen it happen as much as they’d like. This was the Nationals’ first 3-homer game since May 31.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: This was by no means Fister at his best. That much was obvious during a 31-pitch first inning in which the guy who walked six total batters in his first 11 starts put two of the first four batters he faced on with free passes. Dan Iassogna’s meandering strike zone didn’t help, but neither did Fister’s inability to keep the ball down. And yet, the right-hander still managed to go seven innings while allowing only two runs. It’s testament to Fister’s composure on the mound and ability to adjust in-game. And, quite frankly, and it’s also testament to some stellar defense behind him tonight. That’s one reason why Williams wanted Espinosa at second base, though, recognizing defense would be a priority with Fister on the mound.

KEY STAT: Though he’s only 4-for-28 at the plate, the Nationals are now 6-2 since Bryce Harper returned from the DL.

UP NEXT: The Battle of the Beltways wraps up with what will prove to be the rubber game of this abbreviated series at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. It’s a pair of lefties on the mound: the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez and the Orioles’ Wei-Yin Chen.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Jul 9, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    WooooHoooo!
    Glad to whoop ‘em in OPACY.
    Glad Rendon was on 3rd tonight.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      Good call by MW going BEST defense.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:05 PM

        Problem is, if he goes with the best defense every game then Ryan doesn’t play. This is going to be a juggling game all year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        Yes, and need to do that for Fister.

    • scmargenau - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      I agree. No way Zim could make those throws- lucky 4″us

    • secretwasianman - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:18 PM

      yes sir. I hate OPACY

  2. manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Secretwassian who loves to only show up when he is miss able, I hope enjoyed hyena game.

    We will win NL east, now headed to number 1 seed

    • scmargenau - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      I think he was at the game.

    • secretwasianman - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      just got in the car from the game. So now I am here. I don’t bring my electronics into the stadium. so you watched on you couch while I sat up top in a sea of orange. THAT A WAY.

      With that being said that was probably the best game I have ever seen the Nats play. Fister is a true pro.

      P.S. the ump sucked.

      • letswin3 - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        Yeah, you can see the plate coverage on every pitch from “up Top” to know whether the ump is getting it right, lol.

    • secretwasianman - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      So now that I told you were I have been are you going to apologize? or are you not man enough?

  3. conatsguy - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    +1

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    GoSM, I love reading your posts but we gotta break this cycle of calling them out after a win and them calling others out after a loss. Just some free advice! :P

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      I don’t like them. That won’t change and I grew up a Os fan and Angelos ruined it for so many.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:26 PM

        I meant the posters. I don’t really care for Os.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        Oh, I gotcha!

    • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      The difference is: he asserted that it _would_ be a sweep. That’s worth calling out, imho.

      Especially after he disappeared right after I said “wanna bet” ?

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        it is their job to make such assertions. I like Sec3′s policy, that’s all I am saying.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Do.
      Not.
      Feed.
      The.
      Trolls.

      Plate discipline, people.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        it is like swinging first pitch after the pitcher has walked two batters in front of you.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        You know all for hitting first pitch cookie fast balls, but after a 4 pitch walk, it better be a great cookie.

    • Eric - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      LMAO @ “plate discipline”!

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    It’s kinda like beetle juice… Don’t mention him and he won’t show up….

    Great win Nats…. Game ball to Fister, who didnt have it and it wasn’t the prettiest but he gave it all he had and held that line up to just 2 runs….

    What else can be said about Anthony Rendon…. He’s en feugo….

    So I guess tomorrow, Werth is the DH and Harp in RF and Ryan in LF…

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      I hope not. I say DH Ryan again. Give Espinosa another start against the LHP.

      • David Proctor - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:12 PM

        Dave said Ryan is 3-34 with 0 HR and 0 RBI as a DH. Something to consider.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        You can still give Espi the start at 2nd if Werth dh’s… But yeah, if ain’t broke don’t try to fix it… Leave it as is…

        Whatever has these guys winning… :-)

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:15 PM

        I just don’t want to see his weak arm in LF.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:18 PM

        If Ryan is in left Espi will be at second don’t you think. Seems logical to me.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:02 PM

        Espinosa starts at 2b, Ryan at first, Hairston DH vs. LHP

        Span 8/Rendon 5/Werth 9/Ramos 2/Zim 3/Desmond 6/Harper 7/Hairston 10/Espinosa 4

      • natsbro - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        I’d like to see LaRoche rest against the lefty, with Ryan playing first, Espi second, Rendon third, Hairston DHing.

  6. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Uhm, I don’t remember…. Desi didnt strike out in any of his at Bats tonight did he?

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      No K’s for Ian tonight, MrsB

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        Thanks…. I was going over the game log…. That’s great, considering where he is right now..

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      Correct, swinging at first strikes is good for his method.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Liked the win! even more so because we kept two of our relievers out for tomorrow.

  8. Doc - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    He’s wrong big time, Ghost!

    Some contest between Rendy and Espi, eh?.

    Mark was thinking that Rendon might have to be sent down to AAA after ST to get some more AB’s. Guess he was he too was wrong about that.

    Did Rendon play some 3B tonight, or what!!!!!!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      Slick. I came in for the game on my way to an Ocean City vacation.

      Bought one hot Nats souvenir. What a game. That place went quiet. They didn’t pipe in the fake fan noise tonight.

  9. adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    My MASN-2 was messed up — and so I watched it on MASN which had the O’s announcers.

    I gotta say — they were very complimentary towards the Nats. All game long.

    During Harper’s first at bat, they talked about MW’s comments about how long it can take to come back from a hand injury, and that the same thing happened to Machado, etc.

    After Ian’s HR, they said, flat out: “most dangerous hitting SS in the NL”

    They raved about Rendon’s defense. And Span’s, too, after that catch in the gap.

    For whatever it’s worth . . . .

    • David Proctor - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Gary Thorne is good, though he often mispronounces names to the point of hilarity. My biggest issue is with Mike Bordick who is boring to listen to and Jim Hunter who is an unabashed homer. Of course, we have our own unabashed homers, so it’s hypocritical.

      • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        Yeah — Thorne sounds like a professional.

        OTOH, I have no clue who his sidekick was tonight. Anyone know?

    • Eric - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      That’s good to hear. Bob and FP have been the same way. I actually think they tend to be complimentary in general, but seem to have gone an extra step these last two games.

    • coollikelivo - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      re MASN-Orioles announcers announcers — BORING!!! To me FP is one of the most interesting and intelligent color men in baseball. His inside/been-there comments are fascinating and his sense for the flow of the game is terrific. WAY underrated imho….

      • coollikelivo - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Oh, and “that bat died a hero”…. LOVE IT! even if it’s predictable!

      • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        FP’s “inside been there” comments are indeed terrific.

        But his excuses for bad plays and the like are too much for me. (The other night — I didn’t hear it — but somebody here said that he said “great throw” on one of Zim’s lollipops?)

      • Eric - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:01 PM

        I have almost nothing to compare him to, but I agree he’s great. Love the inside insight, and love dry, sarcastic humor, which is totally his bag. I also like that and Bob aren’t afraid to get surreal, a la the seagulls bit in San Fran. Freaking hilarious!

  10. rayvil01 - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    Funniest line of the night; Dempsey on “Ho’s Extra” “Matt Williams had to pull Fister because the Orioles were starting to get to him.” Oh really?

    • secretwasianman - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      Dempsey is really bitter. he usually blames the ump.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        The ump really poor for all.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Ump cost Fister 11 extra pitches and an earned run. Cost the Nats more. Then he punches Espi out on Ball 4

      • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        That Espi at bat was amazing. Four straight pitches that were the exact same distance off the plate: first two were balls, the second two were “called strikes”.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Span’s at bat in 7th the same. 4 same spot 2 strikes 2 balls

      • Eric - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Really an incredible at bat. Also liked the shot of Williams showing support as Espi walked into the hallway immediately after.

      • Steady Eddie - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        Correctamundo, and I think FP was right that Danny earned himself a start against LHP Chen tomorrow.

        He just sees the ball better from the right side. Hard to imagine him with a 12-pitch PA (and it was successful, the failure was blue’s not Danny’s) from the left side.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        +1

  11. natsfan1a - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Nice win, fellas. Let’s get ‘em again tomorrow.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    I liked Ian greeting Jayson after Werth’s HR with a big ah-HOO!

    • natsfan1a - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      That was a nice touch.

  13. scmargenau - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Best presser I seen MW do. Looked confident, in charge and sharp.

  14. scmargenau - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Wow 13 games no errors!

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      Are we up to 8th in fielding yet?

  15. secretwasianman - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Great game. Tough to sit with all the Orange. a lot of those folks are rude. The NAts were awesome tonight. goin back tommor for more insults and another Nats victory.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      Glad you fraught a tough fight.

      • secretwasianman - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        thank you. I also pledge to try not to e such a D——k

      • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        thank you. I also pledge to try not to e such a Dā€”ā€”k

        That would, indeed, be awesome. Thanks.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      Way to represent, SWM

  16. manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    A lefty going tomorrow how about giving ALR the night off.

    Span CF
    Rendon 3B
    Werth DH
    Zimmerman 1B
    Ramos C
    Desmond SS
    Harper RF
    Frandsen LF
    Espinosa 2b

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Harper needs an off night more than AlR, no?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        Yes, both can and give Frandsen LF and RZim 1st.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:02 PM

        MW says he needs to play to get timing, so I don’t see him sitting.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        Sounds like a plan, GoSM. Let’s see what MW does.

    • coollikelivo - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Nah, ALR is OK vs most lefties. What we need permanently is to keep Espi off against righties. His “switch hitter” charade is about 3 years past its prime….

    • Steady Eddie - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      No, I agree MNF — ALR could use a night off, get RH hitting Danny and DH Hairston as long as Chen is pitching. Very few chances to do that the rest of this season, so give Scott a start without having to give him a glove.

      • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        ALR can use a night off — but I’d rather rest ALR against a weak starter of the Phillies. He still leads the team in BA and his right/left splits are, at least for BA and OBP, are about the same.

        ALR had a night off yesterday ;-)

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        Hadn’t though of Hairston DH vs. Werth, but that would good to get him a couple at bats.

        Once Harper gets started this hitting will more than just good.

  17. manassasnatsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    No National League team has less losses than the Nats

    • adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:08 PM

      Nice observation.

      Or, to avoid the double negative, how about:

      The Nats have the fewest number of losses of any team in the league.

      And, just ‘cuz I like to think about it: the Braves have lost three straight to the Mets. Other nice sentences: Braves were 0-for-7 RISP tonight. Also: B.J. Upton was tagged out on the bases twice tonight: once making the first out trying to steal second; and once making the last out after hitting an RBI double (throw coming in from outfield was cut off and he was hung up between 2d and 3rd)

      • scmargenau - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        I don’t see a double negative Lord Byron. Less is not.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        Is less a negative when counting.

        The statement they the fewest losses is not entirely true. Two rwms have 40 losses, so I didn’t wanted to phrase it that way.

  18. adcwonk - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Who would have thought they’d ever read this during the 2014 season:

    The Astros, by virtue of completing a three game sweep in Texas, have more wins than the Rangers!

  19. David Proctor - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    10 ā€@SimplyAJ10 2m
    You have an absolute gun from SS @IanDesmond20 makes u feel like u aren’t even running hard cause u throw ppl out by so damn much.

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