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Instant Analysis: Nats 8, Brewers 3

Jul 19, 2014, 10:24 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The saying ‘it was over before it started’ is an obvious exaggeration, but the Nationals came pretty close in their 8-3 win over the Brewers on Saturday night.

Before Milwaukee could even record their second out in the bottom of the first, the Nats were up 5-0 and starter Matt Garza had been chased from the game. Garza left after just a 1/3 of an inning pitched, the quickest an opposing pitcher has ever been knocked out by a Nats team without an injury involved.

The thing is, Garza wasn’t even hit that hard. What did him in were walks and softly hit singles, a barrage of well-placed groundballs aided by a lack of command by the right-hander.

Garza gave up two-RBI singles to both Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos, and another RBI hit to Ian Desmond on an infield single. The combination allowed the Nats to bat around their lineup in the first inning alone and give starter Tanner Roark a commanding lead to work with.

Roark himself was brilliant. Making his 19th start of the season, the 27-year-old went seven innings with one run, six hits, one walk and five strikeouts on 112 pitches. The one run he allowed was earned, but it was aided by a throwing error by Wilson Ramos.

Jerry Blevins would relieve Roark for the eighth inning and allow a two-run home to Ryan Braun. Blevins now holds a 5.13 ERA on the season through 41 appearances.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The Nationals wasted little time securing their ‘hitting highlight,’ as Washington exploded out of the gate for their best first inning of the season. The Nationals scored five runs before the Brewers could record their second out of the game, and saw Garza removed from his worst outing of the season.

The rally began with Denard Span leading off with a single. Jayson Werth then hit a bloop double to put both men in scoring position. Adam LaRoche walked to load the bases before Ryan Zimmerman singled home two runs. Ian Desmond would later bring LaRoche home on an infield single before Wilson Ramos singled to center field to score two more.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Roark needed just 12 pitches to get out of the first inning, and by the time he took the mound for the second had a five-run lead to work with. He ended up laboring through several innings to see his pitch count rise, but the end result was another solid outing for the Nationals’ fifth starter.

Roark’s lone earned run came in the second inning. All-Star Jonathan Lucroy doubled with one out, a line drive off the scoreboard in right field. The catcher then stole third base, just his fourth steal of the season. As he was sliding into third, Ramos fired an errant throw that sailed into left field, allowing Lucroy to come home. The Brewers would not see a runner get past second base against Roark the rest of his outing.

KEY STAT: After doubling twice on Saturday night, Werth is now batting .383 (18 of 47) with eight doubles, six home runs and 19 RBI in 13 games this month.

UP NEXT: The Nationals and Brewers will play the final game of both this series and their regular season head-to-head matchups on Sunday. Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.56) will make his first start of the second half while right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.68) will start for Milwaukee.

  1. unkyd59 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    DingDing!!!!

  2. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Great win….

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Very nice win. BABIP worked for the Nats tonight. Hard to believe no HRs with all the hard hits.

    • Eric - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      I love it when they win big without the long ball.

  4. David Proctor - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Baseball is a funny game. I thought we hit the ball far harder last night, but they all found gloves. Today we bloop ourselves to 8 runs. They say it all evens out…

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    “@ZuckermanCSN
    Lefties vs. Blevins this season: .117. Righties vs. Blevins this season: .349. Might be time to make him a true LOOGY.”

    When did you come to that conclusion? I understand why MW put him in and he couldn’t come out of a low lev inning unscathed. Looked like BP and Ryan Braun thanked him for that.

    How much longer do we need to endure the Hairston show. He forgot how to hit.

    McLouth killed the ball unfortunately right at the CF.

    LaRoche 0 for his last 18.

    Detwiler with another nice inning.

    Like I said yesterday, I understand the move to swap pitchers was due to Gio missing a flight but it made sense to pitch Roark at home tonight and push Fister to Colorado and use his veteran leadership and sinker. Roark pitches much better at home. Step 1. Excellent. Great job Roark. Brilliant pitching performance.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      +1 on Blevins.

      They used Stammen last night, so most likely, bringing in a righty tonight means bringing in Barrett. You’re going to do that in an 8-1 game, with 21 games coming up in the next 22 days?

      The only harm done tonight was to Blevins’ ERA. I’m ok with that.

      So to edit Mark’s tweet (hopefully still under 140 characters):

      “Might be time to make him a true LOOGY … when it matters.”

      • scmargenau - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:18 AM

        Well said !

  6. stoatva - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    I am also ready to see some changes in the Nats bench, but let’s be realistic. Matt Williams isn’t going to use them any more than the current crew, so they’d likely get similar results.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      You have to get proven bench pinch-hitting personnel not players who require regular playing time. It takes a special player.

      • stoatva - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Greg Dobbs? Matt Stairs?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        Both were taken off the scrap heap. Heck, the Marlins paid Dobbs to leave and Stairs was a favor to Werth.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:50 PM

      By the way, they are clearly out there. Other teams have players that can do it. Matt Williams doesn’t. Hairston hasn’t had a hit in the months of June and July.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        Excuse me, Hairston hasn’t had a pinch-hit in the months of June and July.

  7. stoatva - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    Strangely, the Nats are 17th in MLB in total pinch hits, although their PH-BA is among the worst.

  8. Section 222 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Very nice night at Nats Park tonight. It occurred to me as Roark carved up the Braves — how many times have we heard excuses for Gio, or Stras, or JZnn — “oh, he had extra rest so he wasn’t as sharp, oh, the rotation got scrambled and that messed things up for him”? Stras has 20 starts this year other than his first and the one last night which involved lots of rest. In 12 of them he had 4 days rest, in 7 he had 5 days rest. Look at Tanner Roark. He’s had 18 starts this year other than his first and the one tonight. Only 12 of them were on 4 or 5 days rest. He’s had 3 on 6 days rest, one on 7 days, and one on 8 days. He just goes out there whenever they tell him to and does his job. Very impressive tonight.

    I said to my friend after Braun’s homerun: “Just watch, some folks on NI in all seriousness will blame that on the wave.” You guys are hilarious.

    • scmargenau - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      Lol. I was in the section where the guy (idiot) started it. I silently blamed the wave.

      Guilty.

    • dcwx61 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      +1
      Go to Game, sit in seat, stand for only predetermined cheers, comrade
      Fun must be strictly constrained and defined.
      Nats, Nats, Nats, whooh

  9. sjm308 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    Great night!!

    So many positives
    First inning let us relax and talk even more baseball
    Got to meet Mr. Oregon toward the end of the game – how great is it that this community of fans has people take a flight across country to watch a baseball game and then go out of his way to come meet others – just a good feeling

    Detwiler continues to impress and I think he will be a huge asset in our march to the NL East title

    Really happy to see Harper have a couple of nice at bats. Last time up vs. Gorzolany was not something to write home about but I really hope he continues to get on base and drive the ball

    Agree with Ghost that McClouth hit the ball hard but right at the CF’r. If he starts to pick it up it only helps.

    Surprised we didn’t get to see Danny in the last two innings but they did rest Werth

    And finally, I hate the wave and was not happy as it built to a pretty decent cresendo as people were obviously not watching the game – as soon as the HR was crushed I might have cursed and let my section know that it was definitely a combination of Blevins pitching to a RH hitter and the wave. My section is pretty much an anti-wave group although we don’t control the entire area. So yes dueces, I am one who curses the wave and blames it for any bad mojo to our team.

    Go Nats! and again, how great to meet Mr. Oregon.

    • Section 222 - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:14 AM

      So glad Eugene from OR’s flight got in on time to make the game. Very cool you could meet him.

      You and everyone else who curses the wave need to give it up. Life is too short to moan about things that are so trivial. I don’t like the wave, never start it, never stand up (though I do raise my hands as it goes by), but it’s here to stay. and apparently lots of fans really enjoy it. Let them have their fun.

      And I just think it’s hilarious that people think it actually influences a game. And no one except the people who start it are distracted from watching the game. Plenty of other things distract me — beer vendors, people crossing in front of me during an inning, an unusual walkup song, a pretty girl walking by. But the wave? Nah.

      • scmargenau - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:27 AM

        ” Plenty of other things distract me — beer vendors, people crossing in front of me during an inning, an unusual walkup song, a pretty girl walking by. But the wave? Nah.”

        Hall of fame comment.

      • Sonny G 10 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        I don’t think the people that blame bad things happening on the wave really believe the wave causes the bad things. If they’re like me, they hate the wave and the bad things that may happen just provides an excuse to bad mouth the wave. On the other hand, as I was watching the game from home through the center field camera, just as Blevins was about to throw the ball, all the fans in the front rows right behind home plate stood up for the wave. It was disconcerting to me and maybe it bothered Blevins, but who knows. Would have to ask Blevins if it did.

    • dcwx61 - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      Personally,I blame Jason Werth’s music
      Great game, though and exhuberant crowd.
      The drizzle towards the end of the game, did not deter fans, but most left before the post game concert as did I as I am over 15.
      If it was a more typical July night, Jason would have had a couple dingers.

  10. secretwasianman - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Apparently jerry Blevins doesn’t like the wave. But other than that a great game all around. Keep it going.

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