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Fister battles, emerges with 8th win

Jul 10, 2014, 10:25 AM EST

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BALTIMORE — Early on a humid night at Camden Yards, it looked like Doug Fister might not have his best stuff. Staked to a 2-0 lead by his Nationals teammates, Fister took the mound for the bottom of the first and delivered a bumpy performance. Perhaps squeezed by a tight strike zone, the right-hander walked two of the first four batters he faced. A Chris Davis single brought in a run, but with runners on the corners, Fister induced a fly ball from J.J. Hardy to escape the inning.

From there, he found his slot.

“There were some pitches that were close,” Fister said of the first inning. “After that it was a matter of: ‘I’m going to attack the zone and just make them hit it. They might put the ball in play, put it in play hard, but that’s why I’ve got a defense.'”

Besides serving up a solo home run to a sizzling-hot Manny Machado in the fourth inning, Fister did exactly as he predicted. Keeping the ball down with his usual sink, the Nats starter induced a series of ground balls to a stout Washington defense that had the added advantage of Anthony Rendon at third base and Danny Espinosa at second. Playing in an American League ballpark, manager Matt Williams could keep Ryan Zimmerman’s bat in the lineup in the DH spot, and beef up his defense behind the groundball-heavy Fister.

“He had some pitches early that were really close,” Williams said after the win. “It’s a question of adjusting to the strike zone, too. But I thought he pitched really well.”

Fister’s final line — seven innings, two runs — looked solid, but he owed plenty of thanks to the defense behind him, especially Rendon at third. Multiple times Rendon made diving stabs down the line, sacrificing his body for outs.

“He’s going to sell out for you, that says a lot about him,” Fister said. “But it also says a lot about the team.”

In the bottom of the sixth, with the Nationals leading 5-2, Fister found himself in a bit of a jam. After he gave up a single to Davis, and a wild pitch let Davis advance to second base, another Machado hit gave the Orioles the chance to tie the game. With runners on first and second, Caleb Joseph hit a sharp grounder to Rendon, who was able to stop the ball, fire to second, and start an inning-ending double play.

Groundball outs, and the double plays that come with them, are part of the fun of having Fister on the mound.

“You don’t ever feel like you’re out of the game when he’s out there,” teammate Jayson Werth said. “I think there’s something about how he works. He works quick. He throws strikes. He keeps you on your toes.”

Unlike some pitchers, Fister seems content to count on his defense. Werth appreciates it.

“It’s a pleasure to play D behind him and watch him work,” the right fielder said.

  1. tcostant - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    I would trade Harper straight up for Manny Machado right now. I know it will never happen, because of the team marketing around each, but it’s fun to think about this stuff. Fun stuff to think about that will never happen.

    • David Proctor - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      Machado career wRC+ 99
      Harper career wRC+ 124

      Machado isn’t as good as he’s looked in this series.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      Seriously dude. I am no fan of what harper does in front of media or what he is doing at plate lately but harper-for-machado is ridiculous. Especially after the stunt machado pulled in As series.

      • tcostant - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        It far from ridiculous. Machado plays a more important defensive position (at 3B or SS) and they both have huge upside and both under team control for many years. Machado could have the better career from this point on. It far from ridiculous…

      • natinalsgo - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Pure stupidity by tcostant. What a lousy 1st post on this one.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        it’s fun to think about this stuff.

        That’s what fantasy baseball is for. I prefer the real kind, but ymmv.

      • nattydc - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        Obviously Machado isn’t an .800 hitter like we have seen this series but I’m pretty sure he led the AL in doubles last year (maybe fell off at the end due to the injury) and he has shown he has at least as much potential as Harper. It’s definitely silly to talk about trading one for the other straight up but if I had to pick one to be on my team I would lean towards Manny based on their careers thus far.

        It really irks me that the media and some fans act like it is a foregone conclusion that Harper is destined to have a HoF career. The new MLB commercial in particular is just cringe worthy. It will be interesting to see how the 2 develop over the years. If Bryce lives up to half of the hype then we will be blessed!

      • mauimo22 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Just because you don’t happen to agree with someone’s post doesn’t make that post “stupid”. This forum is about respecting opinions and deliberating ideas.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        +1. “Pure stupidity” was unduly harsh.

        He’s still wrong, but that’s not the point.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Which reminds me … Friday marks a major milestone in modern baseball: the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s first game.

      • Doc - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Thanks for reminding us, Sec. 3.

        The Babe re-invented the game that we now know.

        Long live the Babe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • unterp - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      tcostant, i might disagree with you but not for baseball reasons but for the reason that Harper is ours as in a National (until he isn’t), for better or worse, like my son is mine, for better or worse, and I’m not trading one of my own, for better or worse…

      • tcostant - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        I actually noted it wouldn’t happen because each team is wrapped up in the player. The Yankees and Red Sox discussed trading Joe Dimaggio for Ted Williams, but it never happen, likely for similar reasons.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        tcostant, according to Ted Williams the Dimaggio-for-William trade was born from the idea of putting Dimaggio into Fenway where he would be shooting hits at the Green Monster instead of “Death Valley;” left-center in old Yankee Stadium was originally 490′! – shortened to a “mere” 457′ in 1937, Dimaggio’s second season. It was nicknamed Death Valley because that’s where fly balls went to die. Such a trade would also have let Williams, a dead pull power hitter, take aim at Yankee Stadium’s short porch in RF. A scary thought – and knowledge of the ballpark’s dimensions also makes 361 career HRs for Dimaggio much more impressive. Well more than half (213) of his career HRs were hit on the road.

        Ironically, in discussing the trade in his autobiography My Turn At Bat (a great read, I highly recommend it) Williams noted that despite the dimensions he never liked hitting in Yankee Stadium – the air was always hazy thanks to local heavy industry, and the “batters eye” backdrop was not very good.

    • zmunchkin - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Good thing you are not the GM. Harper’s upside is much higher. And other than Machado being hot for a week or so, their offensive numbers are somewhat comparable.

      And unless you move Machado back to SS and trade Desi, do you really want to put Rendon at 2B long-term (he can certainly play the position, but he is better at 3B).

      Frankly, I’d much rather have Rendon than Machado.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        tcostant must have missed Machado chucking a bat at the 3rd baseman, getting into it with the As 3rd baseman causing benches to clear, and the long backswing to hit the As catcher in the head twice.

        It was a flashback to Nyjer Morgan. I would not want that guy in my clubhouse.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Well we have both positions filled out, hopefully for years. Can machado play CF?

    • tcostant - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      I’m done for now on this, you may remove your rose color glasses now.

  2. Doc - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Rendon made some amazing plays last night!

    His cat-like reflexes are like an NHL goalie!

    And the guy can hit too! Dang!!!

  3. Section 222 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    It was funny to hear MW field a dumb question from someone last night: “Considering that he missed the first month of the season, are you surprised that Fister leads the team in wins.” It was all he could do keep from saying, “Do you need any more evidence that wins are a stupid stat?”

    • natinalsgo - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      +1 I was at the game last night which kept me from watching any of the MASN feed.

      BTW, have you ever heard OPACY that quiet.

  4. alexva6 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    while I don’t worry about who is designated as our #1, #2 etc., if the playoffs started tomorrow I would want Fister on the mound for game 1.

    • Brookstoor - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Doug Fister and Anthony Rendon are going to become best friends if they aren’t already. I hope they extend Fister this off season. I can’t believe anyone would ever trade a guy that can dominate on the field like that and bring that kind of camaraderie to the club house. The guy gives all the credit to his defense.

      • adcwonk - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        One of Rizzo’s biggest moves, imho (2d place: getting Gio)

      • mauimo22 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Another wonderful acquisition by Mr. Rizzo!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        I’m hoping to say after this season that the Fister acquisition was the best trade Rizzo ever made. Right now, it’s looking real good.

  5. scnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Amazed that no one has signed Garcia yet, to the best of my knowledge.

    On one hot shot to third I found myself thinking ‘oh no, the throw” then saw Rendon throw a seed across the diamond – for a second I thought Zim was there.

    • natinalsgo - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      Are you talking about Christian Garcia?

      • scnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        yes. Thought someone would take a chance on him.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        He was injured at the time he was released, wasn’t he?

      • natsjackinfl - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Yes. Shoulder.

      • scnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        yes but I thought some team might sign him on the cheap and try to rehab him, maybe have a live arm later this year or have him get familiar with the organization for next year.

  6. natsbro - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    This is very random, but apparently Kevin Frandsen’s single home run this season against Arizona had the highest APEX (highest point reached) at 147 feet and longest time in air (6.77 seconds) of any other home run hit this season (that includes the entire league).


    • natsbro - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      Here’s the video just for fun..cant really see the arch on the ball though:

      Danny homered first to tie, then Frandsen hit the go-ahead.

      • Doc - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        Thanks natsbro.

        You really dug up an amazing stat!

        That was also the last time (2 months ago) that Espi hit a homer.

      • natsbro - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        It’s amazing what you can find when you’re bored at work ha

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      A ruthian blast, indeed.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I completely forgot about some of these players… I cracked up when I saw L Milledge though…

    • Candide - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      Had to look up Milledge, see how he was doing. Evidently, he’s having a pretty good career in Japan.

    • natsfan1a - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      I got ’em all right. So, what do I win? Oh, okay. Never mind…

      “I completely forgot about some of these players… I cracked up when I saw L Milledge though…”

  8. DaveB - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Toss-up question: With ALR scuffling right now, does he get a game off tonight? If so, does Zimmerman play first, or is that jerking him around too much? If not RZ, who is our back-up 1B right now?

    • adcwonk - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      I’m thinking: he got a day off two nights ago (rain-out), and he missed a grand-slammer by about 7 feet last night: (as well as 2 RBI’s with a sac fly, and with a single) . . . so, he might be coming out of it.

      Further, I’m thinking (of the top of my head), if he needs rest, give him a day off against the weaker Phillies.

      I want to win the series against the O’s tonight.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        As for ALR – vs a lefty SP, tho.

        As for Zim – he’s played 1B more recently than he’s played LF. Don’t think it would be moving him around too much, nor does it seem he’s responded badly to being moved.

      • adcwonk - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        HH – ALR’s righty/lefty splits are the same (in BA and OBP)

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:50 PM


        This year, yes, but over the span of his career, no. And both this year and for his career, he has a substantial lefty-righty split when it comes to power.

    • Eric - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      I believe Frandsen would be next in line after Zim, but if ALR is off, I bet it’s Zim at 1B.

      That said, I think MW lets LaRoche swing his way out of it unless he’s hurt.

  9. adcwonk - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    I mentioned last night that I watched the game with the MASN-O announcers, who were very complimentary of the Nats, at pretty much every turn. I noted a number of comments last night, I wanted to add three more:

    1. They said in a “by the way” fashion (i.e., they were making a different point), as if it were an obvious fact that: the Nats are a playoff-World Series-contender every year.

    2. They noted the difference between the O’s starters and Nats starters in terms of how deep into games they go. They said that the O’s bullpen has the 4th most IP in MLB, while the Nats “are on the other end”

    And my favorite (not that it was complimentary, but it was one of my favorite moment’s of the game):

    3. After Fister gave up the single to put runners on 1st and 3rd (with one out), McCatty went out to talk to Fister. Based on an interview (perhaps late last season? that McCatty once gave, I was thinking that he was probably telling Fister: no biggie, take a deep breath, one pitch and you’re out of the inning.

    At the exact same time I was thinking that, the O’s announcers were noting that the O’s were second in the league in HR’s, and one swing could tie the game. And I talked back to the TV, “yeah, but one swing could end the inning, too” while remember that the guy at the plate (Joseph) already hit into a DP in the 2d inning.

    Sure enough, on the fourth pitch, Rendon turns that wicked double play. The O’s guy (Thorn) was blown away, and one of the things he blurted out was: “that could be the game right there”, and then tried to cover by saying words which tried to put the context as: that ended the O’s best chance for a big inning, or something like that.

    It was awesome to be a Nats fan at that moment.

    • Brookstoor - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Great thoughts wonk. Rendon is turning heads all over the league. It’s good to hear the O’s announcers giving the Nats credit. Bob and FP were doing the same for the O’s, namely Davis and Machado. If you never went on the internet you might never know that the O’s and Nats are supposed to hate each other. Those feelings mostly exist on forums and message boards in comments between fans and aren’t held by the players themselves. Even Matt Williams and Buck Showalter talked about their fondness for each other.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Im just so glad that we don’t have to endure the combined broadcasting team again… Thank goodness we don’t have to listen to that..

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:42 PM

        I thought exactly that on Monday! +1

      • natsfan1a - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        Agreed. That combined broadcasting was awful.

  10. manassasnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Here how to vote a lit today, I have voted well over 1000 times today. Each tweet has #VoteRendon in it counts as vote.

    So I went to the search and searched for #VoteRendon tweets. I then just started at the top and started retweeting by clicking retweet buttun. I get about a retweer a second.

    If we all do we could maximize his vote.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Honestly I am fine with him resting.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        Me too… I am fine with no Nat going…

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        JZ can spy on rest of NL squad.

    • Section 222 - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Excellent idea. Maybe you could retweet during the game tonight, and just take a break every half hour or so to post a comment. :-)

  11. Section 222 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I’ll bet that MW goes with the same lineup tonight. Makes sense vs. a lefty, and he doesn’t seem to care that Hairston, Frandsen, and McLouth are withering on the vine. Everyone got a night off on Tuesday. Werth bounced back last night, maybe ALR will tonight.

    • natinalsgo - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      I think he cares but winning now is more important. Hairston hasn’t gotten a hit in over a month. I would find a way to get Frandsen into the lineup in LF and then replace him with McLouth as soon as Chen departs.

  12. NatsLady - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Kershaw and Gio tonight. We’ll see who blinks first. Of course, Kershaw has the Padres, and Gio has the O’s at Camden Yards band box. Gio could go nine scoreless and Kershaw could get plastered in the first inning and Kershaw would still be ahead though (scoreless innings).

    As for trades, Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps isn’t looking too bad right now, especially if Ramos stays healthy.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      Even with Ramos’ injury history, Nats came out ahead in that trade.

      I think Gio loses his streak tonight. orioles have a good lineup, in a hitters park. It is gonna be tough to hang a zero all night.

      • scnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        Agree but to be the elite catcher we hope he will be he needs to step up his defense and pitch framing. Injuries aren’t anything he can control but he has to stop jerking close pitches and get the smooth movement the really good catchers do.

        Nevertheless, a steal for Capps.

  13. Drew - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Off topic: Does anyone know what’s up with Brian Goodwin? I know he’s been struggling, but now he’s not playing at Syracuse.

    Is he hurt?

    • NatsLady - Jul 10, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Apparently. He’s on the minor-league 7-day disabled list.

      I don’t see any report on the nature of the injury. I sent out an inquiry.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        It’s hard to say whether he’s really hurt or not; the 7 day minor league DL is as often used to play a roster “shell game” as it is to rehab from injury.

    • scnatsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      Has to be a tough year for him; he struggles while Taylor blooms. Will test his mental strongness for sure, hope the kid rebounds and has good 2nd half numbers.





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