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Instant Analysis: Nats 14, Giants 6

Aug 24, 2014, 5:25 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: With the way this recent homestand has transpired for the Nationals, it’s tough to count them out no matter the hole they find themselves in. It seems day after day a Nats’ opponent has earned a lead early in a game before watching it slip away slowly but surely.

On Sunday, the Nationals began the afternoon down 5-0 to the Giants before chipping away with two runs in the fourth inning. They then caught fire in the sixth, putting up six runs to take an 8-6 lead. They would then add six more in the seventh and eighth innings to secure a 14-6 blowout win over San Francisco.

The Nationals won this one despite one of Stephen Strasburg’s worst starts of the season and despite a sharp beginning to the day by Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong held the Nats hitless through three innings before coughing up a double to Jayson Werth in the fourth.

Once their lead was established, the Nationals bullpen did its job. Craig Stammen pitched two innings and gave up one run. Drew Storen pitched a perfect seventh inning. Tyler Clippard threw a scoreless eighth. Rafael Soriano added a perfect ninth.

The win pushed the Nats to 75-54 on the year and closed their homestand on a positive note, right before a nine-game road trip. They are also now 5-2 this year against the Giants, current holders of an NL Wild Card spot.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The sixth inning was a good one for the Nationals’ offense, in fact, it was one of the best in team history. The Nats pushed six runs across on eight hits (tying a team record). It began with Vogelsong on the mound with a four-run lead, who was removed after a one-out solo homer by Ian Desmond. Reliever Jeremy Affeldt then gave up RBI hits to Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Lobaton, as well as a run to Bryce Harper on a wild pitch.

Right-hander Jean Machi took over and allowed another run on a Jayson Werth single that was charged to Affeldt. He also gave up an RBI single to Adam LaRoche for the sixth run. The Nats entered the frame down 6-2 and came away with an 8-6 lead. Not a good showing from the Giants’ bullpen who essentially collapsed after what was otherwise a solid day from their starter.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: As we’ve seen far too often this season, Strasburg again found himself in trouble early in a game. On this particular day he would allow five runs in the first three innings, the first and second coming on leadoff solo home runs.

Strasburg’s numbers by inning this season are quite telling. In innings one through three this year, he has a 4.18 ERA (39 ER in 84 IP) with 13 home runs allowed. From the fourth inning on, he has a 3.05 ERA (31 ER in 91.1 IP) and eight homers.

Strasburg’s day started poorly with Gregory Blanco’s leadoff home run. Blanco worked a full count before taking advantage of a fastball that ran over the middle of the plate.

Strasburg now has a 3.59 ERA on the season through 28 starts. He has surrendered four earned runs or more eight times this season, or 29 percent of his outings.

KEY STAT: Though Strasburg was bad on Sunday, he did get to 201 strikeouts on the season. He is only the second Nationals player ever to reach that mark, joining Gio Gonzalez who did it in 2012.

UP NEXT: The Nationals head to Philly for the first leg of a nine-game road trip. Tanner Roark (12-7, 2.80) will face off against veteran A.J. Burnett (6-14, 4.42). The road trip begins in Philadelphia with Seattle and Los Angeles to follow.

  1. veejh - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Good series win. This team has grit.

  2. natfan33 - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Love this team. Strasburg not so sure.

  3. scnatsfan - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Bet it is a real fun clubhouse right now

  4. MicheleS - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:34 PM


    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      With Frickin added to the Woo Hoo it might need a new trademark 😉

  5. adcwonk - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:36 PM


    • scmargenau - Aug 25, 2014 at 2:50 AM

      I see how u did that!

  6. David Proctor - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Game of the year.

    Magic number is down to 25.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Yes, Game Of The Year as the D&G and LoD got going.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Agreed. Amazing game.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      The Nats have 19 games before they play the Braves in Atlanta; the Braves have 18 games.

      So . . . it is possible that the Nats could win the NL East on the Braves home field In September. While I would love for them to do it at home, it would be sweet to win it at Turner Field!.

  7. Uncle Atom - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Great job Nats! Now keep things rolling at Nats Park North.

  8. stoatva - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    I’m willing to start talk about elimination numbers when teams start getting eliminated. Texas is 8 games away from being officially out of it.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    Amazing stat of the day. All starting position players score a run but Denard Span.

  10. Nats Amore - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    I’ve tried to remain objective and cautiously optimistic up to now, but this game made me a believer. The streak, albeit impressive, was against bad teams or teams with key injuries, but this game and series was won against a good team by a team that showed the heart of a champion. The way they absolutely crushed the Giants in just a few innings today was stunning.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:55 PM

      To me, as well, the way that some of the Giants players, postseason winners among them, seemed to be rattled by the Nats. Wait, are we that team now? Da-ang.

      • karlkolchak - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        I was at the game yesterday and what struck me is how lousy the Giants are at fielding the ball. Beyond the obvious errors, they kick the baseball around a lot and it is clear that a lot of their guys (cough. cough, Morse, cough, cough) are there for their bats and not their gloves.

      • Candide - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

        I was at the game yesterday and what struck me is how lousy the Giants are at fielding the ball.

        To be fair, the field was wet yesterday and the ball had to have been pretty slippery.

      • sjm308 - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        Karkolchak – totally agree with you on the Giants d-fense. I thought the same thing yesterday and watching today FP pointed out that Posey was not the greatest at blocking pitches. Panda at 3rd is a minus. We know all about Morse who watched balls bounce around him all game. The other thing that strikes me is how weak their outfield arms are. I am guessing Pence can bring it but Morse and whoever they have in CF depending on the day are both incredibly weak.

        Just a great week of baseball for this fan 4-0 in games attended and I believe we have won 12 of the last 13.

        Go Nats!!

  11. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle, this is some team!

    • rayvil01 - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      Rocky agrees.

  12. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Hey, Unk, if you’re out there. I’m pretty sure a hootenanny broke out in bottom of the 6th, and the 7th, and the 8th. Or was that a hittenanny? Whatever it was, I liked it. A lot.

    • unkyd59 - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      I went out to do the lawn, just as the first hootenanny got rolling…. When I came in, I found out that they had really put the HOOT into the hootenanny!!! Oboy…. GYFNGOGOGOGO!!!!!

      • scmargenau - Aug 25, 2014 at 2:57 AM

        Hootenanny and the blowfish just played at wolf trap. Amazing,

        Ps: this is mt new fav word

  13. David Proctor - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Yasiel Puig just TOOTBLAN’d into a triple play.

  14. davem23 - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Is 100 wins out of the question?

    • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      They are scheduled to play 162 games, of which they have played 129, which leaves 33. They are now 75-54, so they would have to go at least 25-8 the rest of the way to get to 100.
      Does that answer your question?

      • Section 222 - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        In other words, yes. :-)

        But 92 or 93 will be just fine.

  15. veejh - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    8 games up, and I’ll repeat, put a bow on this season.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      For a Wild Card, maybe. Still work on the Division.

    • Nats Amore - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      Agree Wild Card. As for division (or league) title, see ’64 Phillies, ’69 Cubs, ’07 and ’08 Mets. Not saying that is likely to happen, but still too early for champagne. Besides, they won the division two years ago, making some noise in the playoffs this time is the least we should be hoping for.

  16. veejh - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    I don’t know if I buy into all that a team peaking too early jazz, but I hope this isn’t the case.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    The Giants fly out in shock by what just happened.

    About 2 hours ago a poster was suggesting moving Asdrubal Cabrera to SS when RZim returns and Desi to the bench.

    Funny stuff. Scott Hairston with his biggest hit of the year.

    • MicheleS - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      THIS IS WHY I don’t read the in game thread

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        It’s gotten much better since Mark banned a few. Why do people turn so quick on Desi. He ends up with a big HR to cut the deficit to 6-3 and finsihed the game with 2 RBIs.

      • sjm308 - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        I am with MicheleS on this – LOD or no, I want to spend time watching the game and rewinding the TV if I have to so I can make sure I actually saw what I think I saw. I could care less what people think during the game, they have a right to opinions positive or negative but it drove me crazy at times so I just stopped. I won’t even go back and read them after the game is over. Just start with the Instant Analysis and go from there.

      • RPrecupjr - Aug 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Amen, Michelle and sjm.

  18. veejh - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    I know everyone is happy because we thumped the Giants in huge comeback fashion, but what the hell is up with Stras? Comes out and pitches a gem, and then goes out the next outing and stinks up the joint, over and over. I don’t think we can trust him in the postseason. Stras to the pen, kinda like what the Giants did with Lincecum when he had that terrible season 2 years ago? Timmy was silly good out of the pen and helped them with a WS that year.

    • David Proctor - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      Strasburg isn’t going to the pen. You just have to hope we have good Stras that day. You get 3 or 4 great starts and one clunker. Rinse and repeat.

      Lincecum was far worse than Stras is.

      • veejh - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        I don’t see it happening either, I was just throwing out a hypothetical situation. I dunno though….if we lose a playoff series on a Stras clunker, it gonna be ugly.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        Veejh, quick hooks. 8 in the bullpen in the postseason.

        Stras has to locate that fastball but might want to look at working on increasing movement. That 4 seamer was straight and the 2 seamer had cut but didn’t have the downward movement it had in his last start.

  19. Candide - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:04 PM


    • Section 222 - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      Make that your first post, every day after a Nats win or Braves loss. By, say, 8 am? Then we won’t need a countdown clock.

      • Candide - Aug 25, 2014 at 8:12 AM

        I’m on it.

        Could be a few gaps in there. We don’t have anyone for 16, 14, 10, or 1 (sorry, Lombo).

      • Candide - Aug 25, 2014 at 8:19 AM

        Update – I got 16 and 1 covered. Still need 14 and 10.

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Story behind the Giants ejections.

    • Candide - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      Heh. They obviously forgot the first rule of warfare: When your opponent is killing himself, STFU and let him do it.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Baggarly is always a good read, imo. Some funny stuff in his gamer (well, maybe not if you’re a Giants fan).

      • RickH - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        The “gale-force Nationals.” I like it!

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        Thank you 1a for sharing. I like this guy already.

    • thelatencn - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      Probably if they hadn’t been thrown out, they would have complained when the Giants pitcher didn’t get called for the balk he committed when he threw Span out in the 6th, too…not.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        Great point. That could have been the nail in the Nats coffin if Werth doesn’t come through.

  21. thomaswell - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    okay, i’ll admit it, i doubted for a bit there….. the percentages guy in me

  22. Candide - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Oh my God, what a game. Sitting there growling and glum, but by the time the 8th inning rollaed around, I had people in my section 219 and the two adjacent sections all cheering “N-A-T-S NATS NATS NATS WOOO!” along with me. Repeat something a dozen or so times (I think the 313 guys missed one) and even the slowest-on-the-uptake fans catch on.

    A few icings on the cake:

    1) The rally pigeon that showed up in left center in the 8th inning.
    2) The Cincinnati scoreboard showing 9th inning with two outs FOREVER and finally showing the Barves with the bases loaded and suddenly the big “F” showing up in place of the 9. I yelled, “Braves lose! Suck it, Braves!” to which Cunegonde scolded me mildly for not being nice.

    This game showed me something. It’s one thing to win ten straight when seven of those ten are against the Mets and the DBacks and the other three are against the McCutcheon-less Pirates. But the Giants are a pretty good team and we beat them two out of three AND came back from a big deficit today to do it.

    This was a very good team today; they could have rolled over and died, but didn’t. Best game I’ve ever been to.

  23. natsfan1a - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    I lol’d at this:

    to which Cunegonde scolded me mildly for not being nice

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Just like the 4-2 deficit on Friday which unfortunately widened to a blowout, never count this team out to the last out.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      Keep the deficits small and chip away. 6-2, 6-3, 6-9, 6-14 Winner Winner!

  25. Candide - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Couple of questions for those who were watching from home:

    1) How many pitches did Vogolsang throw?
    2) Did he appear gassed when Bochy yanked him?

    I suspect his numbers were getting high, as he’d given several free passes. But I was kinda surprised to see him yanked after Desmond’s HR. Were his pitches starting to come upstairs?

    My initial impression for the star of the game award was to give it to Bochy, pulling a pitcher with a 6-2 lead.

    Or to the rally pigeon.

    • thelatencn - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:45 PM

      Vogelsong threw 95 pitches, Candide.

    • thelatencn - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      Bochy wanted the lefty to face Harper.

  26. conatsguy - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Could not comment during last two game threads. Catching up with the MASN replay for today.

    6-6 after the Hairston double- Nice watching the game knowing it’s only going to get better!





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