The Nationals’ offense exploded for four runs in the first inning on the overcast Labor Day afternoon, all on home runs, to give John Lannan a lead to work with against the Dodgers. While Lannan would at times struggle against their lineup, he still went 5 1/3 IP of 1-run baseball. Lannan would strand 5 trolley-dodgers on the base-paths, strike out four and walk two to earn his 9th win.
The Nats tore through Hiroki Kuroda today, getting to him for 5 runs on 8 hits, with four home runs, but Kuroda also put up a season-best 9 strikeouts against the Nationals today. The Dodgers’ bullpen added three more Ks for an even dozen against the Nats, four by Danny Espinosa, who’s in a bit of a slump of late.
Michael Morse continues to make a run at the MVP slot for the club, hitting his 25th and 26th home runs for RBIs 80 through 82. After the game, when asked if Morse’s performance this year has been “for real,” Skipper Davey Johnson was adamant that it was: “He knows his approach, he knows how they’re trying to pitch him…he knows how to get at it. He’s learning more about the strike zone inside.”
There’s no question that Morse has had a breakout season, hitting .315/.369/.562, with 82 RBI and 26 homers, with 32 doubles as well. The question will be: is this what we can expect from Morse going forward as a starter? The skipper believes it is, and his 3 RBI and 2HR today certainly suggest that Morse has what’s necessary to make it.
Notes: Stephen Strasburg’s first start of the season is scheduled for tomorrow night against Ted Lilly, but with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee making their way into the area, it’s not clear how likely Strasburg’s appearance is. Johnson said before the game that if Strasburg warmed up and the game was taken into delay, he would likely not come out to pitch the game.
In the sixth, when Davey Johnson came out to the mound with one out, he wasn’t set on taking Lannan out quite yet. Lannan plead his case saying, “C’mon, one more hitter, I’ll get the double play ball.” Johnson replied, “Nice try,” and signaled for Collin Balester to relieve Lannan. Nice to see Lannan fighting for his innings.