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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 3

Jul 30, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: At the end of a long trip that started off fantastic but hit a snag in recent days, the Nationals desperately needed a victory in their series finale against the Marlins. They got one, thanks to another big-time performance from Tanner Roark and some long-awaited clutch hits late.

Roark tossed seven innings of 1-run ball, his 14th quality start in 21 appearances this season, earning his team-leading 11th win in the process. He was credited with that win after a 3-run rally by his teammates in the top of the eighth, they key production coming from Scott Hairston (leadoff double), Jayson Werth (go-ahead sac fly) and Ian Desmond (2-run double).

Then came a surprising conclusion to the game. Up 3 runs in the ninth, Matt Williams gave the ball not to Rafael Soriano (who blew Monday night’s 3-run lead and was given Tuesday off due to his heavy usage) but instead to Drew Storen. Storen made it interesting, giving up a leadoff homer to Giancarlo Stanton, a broken-bat infield single to Marcell Ozuna, a double off the end of the bat to Adeiny Hechavarria and then a walk to Jarrod Saltamacchia. But with the tying run on second, he got Reed Johnson to earn his first save of the season and send the Nationals home with a 5-4 record on the road trip.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: It was a struggle all day at the plate, but finally the Nationals broke through in the top of the eighth, a rally ignited by an oft-forgotten face. Hairston, who had only 34 plate appearances since May 19 despite being on the active roster the entire time, led off the inning and roped a base hit to left-center. Then he turned on the afterburners and wound up with a hustle double. That set the stage for Denard Span to beat out a perfectly placed sac bunt attempt. Werth’s broken-bat sac fly to left brought home Nate McLouth (who was pinch-running for Hairston), but the Nationals weren’t done yet. Adam LaRoche drew a walk, then stole second base (yes, you read that correctly) to put himself in position to score on Desmond’s 2-run double. Just like that, a 1-1 game turned into a 4-1 lead.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: It’s tough to ask for much more out of Roark than this. The right-hander made one mistake over seven sparkling innings, leaving a 3-1 fastball over the plate to Jordany Valdespin, who belted it into the second deck in right field. Otherwise, Roark was fantastic as always, keeping the Marlins off-balance with his array of pitches. He wound up allowing just the one run on three hits, extending the Nationals’ recent run of dominant starting pitching. Over the last six games, Nats starters have given up a total of six earned runs in 42 innings.

KEY STAT: The Nationals haven’t homered in their last seven games.

UP NEXT: The Nats at long last return home, but they won’t be getting any time off. They’re right back on the field at 7:05 p.m. Thursday facing the Phillies. Gio Gonzalez and Cliff Lee square off in a matchup of left-handers.

  1. alexva6 - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    had it all the way

  2. micksback1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    back to work now…. maybe we will be 1 and half up after tonight

    Rizzo needs to work this out

    • secretwasianman - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      Yeah Mick the BP has been gross this week. Minus Clippard.

    • bowdenball - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      He’d better work this out. I demand that my team’s bullpen never ever allow a single ninth inning run in a save situation, let alone blow a save. That’ seems like a reasonable request. There’s gotta be, what, 50 guys in the league who get regular work and have 0.00 ERAs? Probably at least 20 closers with zero blown saves, too.

      • secretwasianman - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        STHU

      • Danny - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Your sarcasm meter is getting a tad high.

      • jd - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        As usual a reasoned well thought out response by SWM.

      • micksback1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        not sure if your post was directed to me or SWM or both. But to be clear, when I say “he needs to work this out”, how you spun it as I meant only the BP is a bit impulsive on your part. Rizzo needs to work out the issue at 2nd base, depth on the bench and another reliever. Your sarcasm is comical and where any poster ever stated that the ERA has to be 0.00, I would love to see myself. If Nats had lost today,I think losing two games after a 3 run lead in the 9th inning would have been serious and most fans would probably agree

        but, I forgot, your always right and no matter what any other poster’s opinion is, your rebuttal is always the same
        two responses, like clock work

        1) where are the facts
        2. if there facts, then you cherry picked

        but alas, i have to remember, you are always correct

        does that about sum it up

        lol

      • Dave - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        I like comical sarcasm.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Told you Mick. Nats win.

  3. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    The good news is I watched the whole thing, and I didn’t fall asleep. Oh, and the good guys won. The bad news is, my blood pressure is through the roof. But it was totally worth it. Um, yeah.

  4. David Proctor - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    This series was bad, but it’s still a winning road trip and we’re still guaranteed to be in first place another day. The Braves get to take on Greinke and Kershaw the next two nights. You’re not going to win every series, but if you win most, you’ll be fine. We’ve done that.

    Still hope Rizzo makes some moves.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    That gets a Whew- HOO!

    • natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      lol, good call

  6. stoatva - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Oh, lawzy.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Amazing. Hairston’s hit ended up being huge.

    • David Proctor - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      So did LaRoche’s steal.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Tru dat

      • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        So did LaRoche’s steal.

        Wow. You’re right — I’d forgotten.

        Now — who in 100 years would have thought that “LaRoche’s steal of 2d base” would end up being huge in _any_ game?

  8. stoatva - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Followed the finish on At Bat on my phone during lunch break. If they had tied or won it I might have pitched it through a window. Thank goodness.

  9. secretwasianman - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    If this one had been blown I think half the Nats fan base would have been out sick tomorrow. Breath in breath out. Wax on wax off

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      We are a game up now. Braves go against Granke tonight.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    5-4 road trip… I will take it… Hope to catch the replay of this later on… Saw where Drew labored but I was scared to comment as I didn’t want to jinx him…

    • secretwasianman - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      Labored is right. I know women who have had twins not labor that much.

  11. TimDz - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    At the beginning of the road trip, posters here were saying that a 5-4 trip would be a great result….
    Well….we got a 5-4 road trip

    I guess if it started off poorly and ended well….say, we lost the Series to both the Rox and Reds and then swept the Fish…the road trip would have ended up…..5-4….

    At the end of the day, the Nats won…not pretty…but they won….Giving up a solo shot to Stanton is much better than giving him a cookie over the plate with two men aboard….

    It was a successful road trip and the Nats now have four at home against Philly…

    Everyone take a step or two back from the ledge, please…

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Tim, though I know that the Nats have to watch out for their own house, in addition to it being a reasonably successful road trip, the Braves have a couple of tough games tonight and tomorrow. With a little luck we open up a bit of a cushion this week.

  12. corkybb - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    On one plate appearance, Bryce hit the ball fair and did not run. I hope he has a legitimate reason, or else the Nats have a problem.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      He thought it was foul. Not a problem.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Do we have to wait 1 day short of 2 months for Hairston to get his next pinch hit?

    I celebrate it and congratulate him but this is what’s expected. He swings level and gets a nice hit.

  14. veejh - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    That Dez double was huge.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Yep.

  15. Nats fool - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Rizzo is making no moves I see. We need a bat at second or third. Marlins will be winning the division within two years. Time is now.

    • Dave - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      You have inside knowledge? Still a day to go.

    • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Marlins will be winning the division within two years.

      Trading away some of our future can help with that ;-)

  16. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Hairston’s overdue hit, ALR’s steal, Span beating out the bunt all were key. Real key. And hats off to Ian Desmond for coming through with a huge hit!

    • Nats Amore - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      Saw the game on Fox Florida. Tommy Hutton pointed out that if Valdespin stretches for that Span bunt, they probably get him, and while you can’t say the ensuing plays would have played out the same, there would have been two outs when the sac fly was hit. In some ways, Valdespin’s lack of effort was also a big factor, one reason the Mets gave up on him.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Mike Redmond said that not getting Span on that bunt was the decisive play of the game.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Nats inquired on Daniel Murphy. I think the Mets probably are in hold mode until Aug 31.

    • Danny - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Where did you see that?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        I’ve just made some calls to my sources. Just seeing who they are looking at. Rizzo definitely doesn’t mind rejection.

        No word on Utley or Beltre or Hill or Prado.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Hasn’t Murphy been dinged up? Maybe I’m confusing him with someone else.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Not sure. I know he’s been hitting well but his fielding is suspect. He was an All Star and I think was the Mets lone rep.

      • ratiocinational - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        Maybe a different Murphy? Daniel Murphy leads the NL in ABs and hits right now.

      • jd - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Ghost,

        I live in the NY area so I see Murphy a bit. Very solid hitter, not much power, below average 2nd baseman.He would really help our lineup. The Mets are looking for position players namely a SS or an outfielder with pop. I don’t think we match up well with them.

        I like your Castro idea, I also like the thought of Martin Prado. I think Souza can play everyday for the DBacks. I think we match up better with them.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        It just dawned on me. I was having a brain spasm. I was thinking of David Wright. Sorry for any confusion. He wouldn’t look bad in red and white, though.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      I read where Rizzo looked into Beltre and got turned away. My gut is that RZ is done for the year. He hurt the hamstring on July 23. Eight weeks is Sept. 22. Then he has no time to get his batting eye back before post-season. But, if he has a G3, as is rumored, it’s more like 12 weeks if no surgery needed. Looking for an infielder that can hit makes a lot of sense.

      I still was Castro but have not heard a peep about that as a possible move outside of in here as a wish list item.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        What you say about timetables could be right.

  18. secretwasianman - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    mill dial it down. Enjoy the nice weather everyone.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    “@Nationals: McCatty’s starters have worked 7.0 or more inn. & allowed 2 or less runs in 6 straight games, the longest steak in #Nats 10 years in DC.”

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    “TimDz – Jul 30, 2014 at 4:19 PM
    At the beginning of the road trip, posters here were saying that a 5-4 trip would be a great result….”

    They were and not sure why people put numbers on it like as 5-4 isn’t great. I think going 4-2 against the Reds and Rockies was good but the road trip to me is a letdown going 5-4 after coming into Miami 4-2.

    • jd - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      Good points and if it wasn’t for the Monday meltdown we would have finished the trip 6-3. At the same time Miami is very hot and very pesky. It was critical not to get swept by them but it’s not a tragedy finishing 5-4.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Still amazing how well the starters have been.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Amazing is the correct word. Stunning would be equally appropriate. The most surprising is Roark. Is he cloning off of Fister? I think those two are at the top of the bunch.

        I remember the 4 X 20-game winners of the Orioles’ heyday. A bit different game back then. But, if all these guys were to stay healthy next year… Interesting thought to contemplate. Could we get 5 X 15-game winners?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Check out the stats I just posted. Here we have people ragging on Strasburg and he still has the 54th best ERA out of 125 qualifying pitchers.

      • scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        54/125 for your ace??? That’s not good.

  21. coop202 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Tuned out after it was 4-1…. Happy I did. 5-4 is what I said before the trip, but I sill feel disappointed given this series. At least I think we skip Hamel?

    • coop202 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:14 PM

      Ie what ghost said

  22. davecydell - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    I apologize to those on this board that were offended by my pet name for Soriano.
    I will even get down on my knees to kiss his butt,
    if those fine gentleman I offended will move aside and give me room.
    But he is trade material for prospects.
    The Nat’s bullpen can perform well with out him.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      Oh, you were the one who set the NI board nuts. I never saw your post.

    • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      The Nat’s bullpen can perform well with out him.

      Why do you think so? How do you replaced a guy who in 42 games has allowed runs only 5 times? And that’s just in 105 Nats games — that’s 40% of our games.

      If you think Storen or Clip can be moved up to the 8th and 9th innings, then who replaces Storen for the 7th inning? Storen has pitched in 41 games and allowed runs in only 5 of them? (BTW, Clip’s record is: 47 games, allowed runs in 7 of them).

      Who replaces them?

      Sorry — I just think it’s crazy to part with either Storen, Clip, or Soriano. There’s a reason why the Nats BP is among the tops in MLB is so many categories. Actually, there’s three main reasons: Storen, Clip, and Soriano.

  23. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    Not sure if any of you were listening to Charlie and Dave as I couldn’t stand the background noise on MASN but when Storen was melting down, they said it was Detwiler who got up and made mention that Stammen, Blevins and Barrett were all sitting.

    Clearer than ever that MW needs help in the bullpen.

    • micksback1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      no question about that

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Barves:

    Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale 6m
    #Braves minor leaguers get _72-game suspensions_Victor Joaquin and Alvaro Silvestre_for a metabolite of Nandrolone/Boldenone, respectively.

  25. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Clearly the boys wanted a one-run win after those one-run losses. Y’know, because it’s really important that teams improve their record in one-run games. Winning 4-1 does nothing toward that goal. Ergo…

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      HA!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

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SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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MON: OFF
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