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Instant Analysis: Nats 3, Mariners 1

Aug 31, 2014, 12:06 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: One night after the Nationals made Felix Hernandez look human, their own marquee starter lived up to the billing.

Stephen Strasburg had arguably his best road outing of 2014 with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, the only score coming on his final pitch of the night. His final line included eight strikeouts, six hits and no walks.

Helping Strasburg out was an early lead in the top of the first inning on a home run by Jayson Werth. With how good Strasburg was, however, they wouldn’t need much. The final result was a 3-1 win that, combined with a loss for the Braves, leaves them with a seven-game lead in the NL East.

The Nats will now go for the three-game sweep on Sunday before heading to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. The Nationals now sit 77-57 overall on the year.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: After hitting six home runs on Friday night, the Nationals’ offense picked up right where they left off with a two-run shot by Werth in the top of the first.

The inning began with Denard Span reaching base on a fielding error by Austin Jackson in center field. Two batters later Werth crushed his 15th home run of the season to left field off Mariners starter Roenis Elias. It gave Werth his 74th and 75th RBIs on the season, the fourth time in his career he has reached No. 75. Two of those campaigns have come in Washington.

Jose Lobaton also had himself a night with three hits for the second straight game. He was brought home by Anthony Rendon for the Nats’ third run on a double in the top of the fifth inning.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: What stood out most about Strasburg on Saturday night was his efficiency. He needed just 85 pitches to get through the first seven innings before finally running into trouble in the eighth.

The only blemish on Strasburg’s night was a solo home run by Dustin Ackley with two outs in the eighth inning. Ackley just happens to have been the second overall pick in 2009, picked right after Strasburg.

Strasburg either matched or set a few career-highs on Saturday. For one, his 7 2/3 innings gave him 183 total on the year, tying his career-high from 2013. He also gave up his 22nd home run, extending a career-high. And with eight strikeouts, he set a new Nats record with 210 on the year. The franchise record is an amazing 305 set by Pedro Martinez in 1997. That year Pedro also held a 1.90 ERA.

Strasburg is now 11-10 with a 3.49 ERA this season.

KEY STAT: The Nationals are now 19-9 with one day remaining in August, clinching their best month since June of 2005 when they went 20-6.

UP NEXT: The Nats and Mariners close out their series with a 4:10 p.m. start on Sunday. Tanner Roark (12-8, 2.81) will go up against Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.83), who finished third in AL Cy Young voting last season.

109 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    Nats with a 7 game lead in the NL East. Magic # is 21

    • BurnedOnce - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      Magic magic numbers

    • rayvil01 - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:15 AM

      Good stuff.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    “KEY STAT: The Nationals finished August 19-9 (.679), their best month since June of 2005.”

    Chase my man, there’s 31 day in August and the Nats play tomorrow on August 31st.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      “Strasburg is now 11-0 with a 3.49 ERA this season”

      Strasburg is 11-10

    • BurnedOnce - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      And Stras is 11-10 yes?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        Yes

      • BurnedOnce - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        Oh you just said that

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      Gracious, Chasious. “All the rest have 31…”

  3. mdmcommish - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    Ghost you are all ver it baby.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      Just helping Chase out. I appreciate that he got the Instant up and I’m happy to help in edit.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:17 AM

        He corrected this one

        “KEY STAT: The Nationals are now 19-9 with one day remaining in August, clinching their best month since June of 2005 when they went 20-6″

  4. mdmcommish - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    All OVER IT BABY

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Great game… SS was electric tonight… 7 game lead… Yeah, things are good…

    Fingers are crossed for a sweep tomorrow…

  6. mdmcommish - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Nats .500 ball, braves would need +.700 ball to tie. Keep grinding.

  7. Section 222 - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    UNTUCK! Have to love this outing from Stras. He’s not 11-0 though is he?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      Chase needs a copy editor. Ghost is trying out for the job.

    • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Only in the mythic world of our expectations…

  8. scmargenau - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Strasburg is now 11-0 with a 3.49 ERA this season.

    Huh????

    • scmargenau - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:17 AM

      Ok, by the time I read and typed that apparently was o
      D new :/

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:18 AM

      11-10 he missed the “1”

  9. rayvil01 - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Ill be glad to see these guys get back in the Eastern time zone. Late Night Nats are wearing me out. =)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      Its Saturday night. Enjoy!

      • rayvil01 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:25 AM

        I did. But, nothing quite tucks you in like a Soriano Ninth. That guy is a panic. =)

  10. npb99 - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Great win! And great to see Stras have a great outing on the road. OK, that’s three “greats” but that’s how I feel about this one!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      +1

    • adcwonk - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      +3

      • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Saw a guy walking on a sidewalk Saturday morning in a red T-shirt that said Nationals Wonk. Yes? No? Maybe? Could we have some Wonk-theft or Wonk-cloning secretly at work here?

      • adcwonk - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        No — I don’t have a shirt that says wonk on it. Sorry!

    • David Proctor - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:34 AM

      Monday’s game against the Dodgers is at 8:10 so that’s not too bad.

  11. David Proctor - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    Apparently BJ Upton went after a ball lazily, allowing a runner to take an extra base on him. Jason Heyward was seen chewing BJ out.

    I’m amused that a guy with BJ’s numbers thinks he can get away with not hustling. Nobody should get away with it, but especially not if you’re one of the worst players in baseball.

    • natinalsgo - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      That was his MO in Tampa. Atlanta knew what they were getting and thought they could change him. They cant.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      It certainly isn’t the first time that “Don.’t Call Me Melvin” Upton has gotten called out by a teammate for his lack of hustle in the OF. He and Longoria almost came to blows over it in TB.

    • janebeard - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      Remember she so many people were agitating for BP Upton to come here? Thank goodness we got Denard instead. Though I will admit to agitating for standing pat with Morse, I am eating crow on Denard. he was a good pick up.

      • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        I was just explaining to a friend of mine, who has just become a true big time Nats fan this year, how badly for years Rizzo wanted a left-handed Centerfielder to lead off. The man’s got a plan that he sticks to. IRWT.

    • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Except when you play like BJ does you’re probably in your head more than you ought to be out there thinking who knows what. I imagine it can be a scary place to be…

  12. NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    The Nats now have a run differential of +108. Next best in the NL is the Dodgers, with +53. Let that sink in for a minute.

    • David Proctor - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      Mariners announcers were saying we’re the best and most deep team they’ve seen all year. And they play in a division with the A’s/Angels…the only two teams with a better record than us.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:27 AM

        Several of the serious Mariners fans I’ve chatted with in the past couple of days have said the same thing.

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:30 AM

        Of course, you always look good when you win.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:23 AM

        The M’s folks just got done a double-barrel dose of JZimm and Good Stras. And, he was very, very good last night. A couple of days of that kind of pitching will make an impression.

      • Section 222 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:44 AM

        That’s pretty cool. Kind of like we felt after the Nats’ series with the A’s.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Kind of like we felt after the Nats’ series with the A’s.

        And which, given how the As have performed this month, is a cautionary tale to us high-riding Nats fans.

  13. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    Another great night to be at the ballpark, although from my seat I thought Kendrys Morales’ 9th inning flyout was going to end up out of the park. Looking forward to wrapping things up nicely tomorrow.

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:01 AM

      You weren’t sitting in, and the Nats weren’t playing in Citizens Bank Sand Box. Big difference when the game is in in real major league stadium.

  14. llf0701 - Aug 31, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    So exciting. But so hard to stay awake! The work week coming up is going to be tough when we hit LA. (Correct me if I’m wrong…It is a work week even though it’s only 4 days, right?).
    I really appreciate your quick “Nutshells” Chase. Good to see Stras standing tall!

    • natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      Seconded, and he’s doing them on East Coast time, eh?

      “I really appreciate your quick “Nutshells” Chase.”

  15. scmargenau - Aug 31, 2014 at 3:41 AM

    Very impressive outing.

  16. Candide - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    • Candide - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:58 AM

      Damn spell check. STRASBURG.

      • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:02 AM

        Souza Jr. Good choice! Little conflict of interest now that the Chiefs are in the AAA playoffs.

    • Section 222 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:41 AM

      You da man!

    • natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      Niiice.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      +1!

  17. rayvil01 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    It was nice to see Lobaton get some hits. He sure catches Stras well.

    • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      Lobaton looks to be earning his keep here. Most liked the off-season pick up. Many drifted on him over the last couple months. But imo he’s a worthy back up. He calls a good game, frames well, and the days after he hits, hustles, and scores I wonder how much better do people expect a backup catcher to be? This is a deep team. I smell WS.

  18. Candide - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    If the season were to end today, guess which NL East team would NOT make the playoffs.

    Suck it, Barves!

    • adcwonk - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      +1

      No. Wait:

      + 7

  19. natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I just love happy game results emails. Don’t you? Yeah. And, Atlanta lost, so there’s that. Will try to speed-watch the recording before today’s game. Good thing it’s a 4:10 start, because I have a bunch of stuff to do this a.m.

    On a somewhat related note, just noticed this headline on the Barves mlb.com site: Braves hit speed bump in WC pursuit. Wait, so now you’re waving a white flag instead of a tomahawk? I’m so confused.

  20. thelatencn - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    I sort of feel sorry for Stsoren. His magic number had a really short shelf life.

    • thelatencn - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      Storen! Yeah, I’m awake.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      lol

    • natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Hope that Desi’s does, too.

      • Section 222 - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:40 AM

        Yeah, that would be nice. I’d be ok with Frank doing the honors too. Hey Mark and Chase- how about a retweet for Candide’s magic number tweets?

      • natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        Good call on Frank. Desi’s is a tribute to him, after all.

      • janebeard - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:50 AM

        I was just about to type that very comment!

    • Candide - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      Drew, we hardly knew ye.

  21. NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Oh, what can it mean?

  22. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Adam Dunn has never played in the postseason. Looks like he could be traded today.

    My question is, will Marlon Byrd or any Phoolie be traded today.

    Does Mike Rizzo have any tricks up his sleeves to get another bench player. I say probably not but you never know with Trader Mike.

    • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      Is the deadline midnight, or earlier?

    • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        The Orioles were “in” on him also but who knows. He is the most dangerous lefty DH and bench bat out there.

        Nats could use one of those! Probably too expensive for a NL team that couldn’t use him much until the World Series.

  23. ehay2k - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Fell asleep listening to the game on the radio, Stras was still pitching, and dealing. Probably would still be awake if I’d heard Sori’s adventure in the ninth!

    I did watch the beginning of the game, so I saw the Werthquake and also how well Stras was pitching. I loved the groundball outs in the early innings – I believe he had a 5 pitch first! To see him pitch like that on the road was great, and it bodes well for the playoffs.

    Werth is really hitting the ball hard since his cortisone shot. Barkeep, a round of cortisone shots for all my friends, and make that a double for ALR! (You can skip Ramos because we don’t want to hurt people in the stands.)

    Lastly, all the guys are starting to hit well, and we are seeing some good plate approaches, especially with 2 strokes. Desi’s long AB Friday was so good to see. And the Lobaton seems to have found his stroke, along with Harper. So, kudos to Rick Schu.

    Another game today, let’s make this two series sweeps in a row! :-p

    GYFNG!!!!

    • Eric - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      And, Desi had at least one great AB last night, too.

    • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      And while you’re at it whiskey for my men and beer for my horses

  24. Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    How amazing has Matt Thornton been so far? Check it out:

    He’s been in 10 games, 8 innings pitched, has not given up any runs, has walked 1 batter, has 5 K’s, and has a WHIP of 0.75.

    As to Adam Dunn? Yes, he can hit home runs of the bench, but his salary is still absurd for what he brings to the plate, and there is nowhere that you can hide him. I always liked the big galoot for his sense of humor, but I also thought that he came across as taking losing way too gracefully. I have a hard time picturing Adam and Showalter together, though he may yet end up with a contender this post season.I wish him no ill will, unless of course he’s playing against the Nats in the World Series.

    GYFNG!!!

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      Edit: He can hit home runs OFF the bench.

      • thelatencn - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        Sometimes it has seemed like he could hit home runs FROM the bench.

  25. Section 222 - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I chuckled at the thought of Morse and Dunn on the same team. Can you imagine them playing the field at the same time?? Would they fight over who plays left and who plays first?

    • Candide - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      :-D

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      If Morse and Dunn were together in left field at the same time there would still be fly balls that they wouldn’t get to.

      • Candide - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        :-D :-D :-D

      • natsfan1a - Aug 31, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        And you would hear circus music (hat tip, Meat Hook).

  26. Eric - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    How about some props for Harper in the field last night? He made a couple if great plays and throws that held batters to singles.

    • Eric - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Oh, and for Werth, too. That running catch in the first was fantastic and very timely after we scored in the top of the frame.

    • realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      +1

  27. Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    I agree, Eric. My wife and I were talking last night that Bryce seems to be back, not just at the plate, but in the field, too. He has been looking great out there this series. As to Jayson Werth, that was one of his better catches of the year last night. It’s great to see him making plays like that.

    • Eric - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Agreed. With Werth’s age, you can’t assume he’ll ascend back towards peak form as the season goes on, but it seems he may be doing just that. He seems to be a bit quicker to the ball and has thrown some serious lasers right at the target lately.

      Really good to see.

      • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        F.P. says, “fresh legs,” which I can understand from a hockey/basketball context. It puzzled myehow any NBA player could ever miss a free throw–I mean, they’ve shot thousands of baskets since they were babies and the basket is still in the same place and no one is blocking shots. So–fatigue.

  28. Eric - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Can I just say, while Stras’ fastball command and quality were truly the real story of his outing last night, his change up was maybe better than I’ve ever seen it. It’s sharp drop and fairly significant lateral movement was like a lefty throwing a sinking slider (a slinker? ;) ) at 90 mph. I was literally awed by a few of them.

  29. realdealnats - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Whatever Stras had last night he needs to can it and save it like Popeye’s spinach.

    • Eric - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      +1

  30. adcwonk - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Can any of the major stat geeks find the answer to this question;

    When’s the last time a team hit six home runs but scored 8 or fewer runs in a game?

    • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      July 14, 2014. PIT @ CIN. Ask me something difficut.

      • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        37 times since 1935. Twice in 2013. Twice there were six solo HRs. Haven’t found any games where there were seven or eight solos. The most number of home runs in a nine-inning game is 10. TOR did that to BAL in 1987. There is one 9-HR game. CIncy beat Philly 22-3 9/4/1999.

      • adcwonk - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        Ha! I actually had you in mind when I asked the question.

        Nice job!

        I’m surprised it was that recent!

  31. NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    I don’t know if he is, but Billy Beane is coming across as desperately plugging leaks in his team, with each one he plugs (pitching), creating a new hole (Cespedes) that he must re-plug (Dunn). Rizzo also had holes (LH reliever, thin infield) but I get the sense he hunted around for relatively low-key plugs (Thornton, Cabrera).

    Rizzo traded a prospect (Walters) who, though he may turn out to be the next Adam Dunn, had no place on the team. He traded from excess. Thornton didn’t cost anything except money. Beane traded a key offensive piece on the major-league team (not a prospect), and now must replace him, and must replace him IMMEDIATELY.

    As noted, Zim went down and the clubhouse was devasted. But Rizzo didn’t panic.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      The day Beene made the big trade I thought it was odd for the team with the best record in baseball to upset their roster so radically, but I also thought that he was sealing the deal for the A’s. Since the big trades the A’s have not been quite so invincible and there is now even a chance that they won’t even make the playoffs. Gotta love baseball!

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        The A’s have gone 12-16 in August. They are still in statistically good shape to make the playoffs, but now as a WC team, not the division winner with the best record in baseball. Their biggest hope now is for the Tigers and Royals to beat each other up in their remaining 6 games against each other. The remaining schedule really favors the Royals otherwise.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        I posted too quick. The schedule favors the Royals compared to the Tigers. Oakland actually has what is probably the easiest schedule in baseball for September, but they still have to play better than they have in August. They still are a%99 percent probability to make the playoffs.

  32. Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    edit again: 99% probability

    • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      • NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        The A’s got Dunn for a minor-league pitcher. Doesn’t say if any money changed hands.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Well, I guess that I am happy for Adam that he now has some chance to play in the post season for the first time in his carrier. This A’s move reeks of desperation to me, but Dunn is a better fit there than anywhere else for a playoff bound team, in my opinion.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Here are some answers regarding the money and the trade:

        http://sports.yahoo.com/news/dunn-deal-athletics-trade-adam-154304079.html;_ylt=A0LEV0sfRgNUO.IAsD_BGOd_

  33. NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM

  34. NatsLady - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Mets announcers (I think it was Ron Darling) confirmed what I always thought: the first half of a day game seems to belong to the pitchers, because “a day game, second division teams, you can kind of sleepwalk.” And that could explain why a “second division team” might have a little more energy when facing a contender–who can’t afford to sleepwalk. They may be professionals, but they’re human.

  35. Pete "Hit 'n Run" Wood - Aug 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    thanks for the news about Adam Dunn. he deserves a shot at playing in the post-season before he retires.

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