The Nats dropped a true heartbreaker to the Cubs Sunday afternoon when they lost 2-1. Left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez pitched a spectacular game going seven innings, walking one batter, and striking out six while giving up just two hits on 86 pitches (55 strikes). He even held on to a no-hit bid through the fifth inning but his performance was overshadowed by Manager Davey Johnson’s decision to pull Gonzalez after the seventh inning.
“Obviously we’d been better off in hindsight but I have all the confidence going to my bullpen and [they] just didn’t do it,” Johnson said after the game. “I very seldom early in the season will let a guy go out there and [if] he gets a guy on I don’t want him to lose it, a ball game late in the game. It’s just the way I manage. You can chalk it up to me. You don’t like it, chalk it up to me.”
What started out as a four inning pitching duel between former Nationals pitcher and current Chicago Cub Edwin Jackson and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg quickly turned in favor of Chicago due to a messy fifth inning performance from the young phenom. The Nats went on to lose the contest 8-2 on Saturday afternoon. The Cubs hit four unearned runs off of Strasburg in the fourth inning and four more earned runs off left-handed reliever Zach Duke in the fifth to win it.
Strasburg has struggled for the entirety of the 2013 season minus Opening Day. When he lets his emotions get the best of him – like he did Saturday – it’s easier to remember just how young he actually is. When Strasburg’s got his three pitches working for him, he’s a force to be reckoned with, but he’s still in the growing phase where he’s learning to deal with the adversity within the game itself. Manager Davey Johnson acknowledged that fact that the game.
Despite giving up five doubles in six and two-thirds innings pitched, the Washington Nationals’ left-handed starter Ross Detwiler secured his second win of the season with a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
Detwiler threw 90 pitches, 57 for strikes, and gave up eight hits, two runs, and struck out two batters.
Coming into Sunday’s game against the Reds it could be argued that Ross Detwiler had been the Nats best starters, or at least one of them, as his 1.38 April ERA was among the tops in the NL. As they say in baseball, all things eventually regress to their mean, and Detwiler would have his first rough outing of the season. In the first inning he would get Choo to strikeout, before falling behind the next three hitters and giving up three straight base hits. All the balls were hard hit, but Cozart’s single ticked off of Espinosa’s glove, and Votto’s double just found chalk.
This is how it would go all day for the Nats and Ross Detwiler. Before the day was over Detwiler would give up 4 runs on 11 hits and 10 would be singles with more than a few of them having some luck tied to them. Take for instance Detwiler’s fourth inning in which he allowed his fourth and final run of the afternoon. Corky Miller would lead off the inning with a weak infield single that just happened to land where no fielder could reach it. After a sac bunt and a ground out moved him to third he would score on a Cozart single.
Right-handed starting pitcher Dan Haren threw his longest outing of the season Saturday afternoon leading the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. The game was a much stronger outing than the last time he faced the Reds during the first week of the season. The Nats lost that match-up 15-0, but Haren’s start and Washington’s offense gave the Nats their third consecutive win.
Washington made right-handed pitcher Mike Leake work hard early. After a three up, three down first inning, seven of the Nats’ starting nine faced him in the second while scoring two runs to give Washington a 2-0 lead.
Most of the focus on the Nationals coming into 2013 was placed on a pitching staff that finished first in the NL in ERA, but most of that focus was on the third place finisher in the Cy Young voting, Gio Gonzalez and the non-shutdown pending phenom Stephen Strasburg. Back when Jordan Zimmermann was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft, the same draft as Detwiler, there was a lot of talk about his upside and how he could be a top of the rotation star. Tonight in one hitting a dangerous Reds line-up Jordan Zimmermann showed why he was the man who could have been the Ace.
With the Nats offense struggling to score runs and facing a pitcher that shut them out the last time they saw them Jordan Zimmermann was going to have to be on the top of his game. Instead of giving the Nats that he elevated his game. Earlier this season in Miami Jordan Zimmermann pitched a complete game win, but it was not a shutout. Against the Reds he pitched what may be the most dominate performance in Nats history. He allowed one hit on 91 pitches with 59 of them being strikes.
For the second time in that many days, the Nationals fell to St. Louis, losing 2-0 Tuesday night, on six strong innings of work from left-handed starting pitcher Ross Detwiler. Detwiler gave up two runs on eight hits, walked two, and struck out two on 93 pitches (60 strikes).
Washington’s defense was the strongest positive worth noting in a game where their bats fell short. In the first five innings, the Nats turned four successful double plays to rob St. Louis of additional runs. But not even spectacular defense from shortstop Ian Desmond, second baseman Danny Espinosa, first baseman Adam LaRoche, catcher Kurt Suzuki, and Detwiler could win them the game. Continue reading →
Nats starter Dan Haren pitched one of his finer games of the 2013 season on Monday night but Washington fell just shy of a win over their National League foes from St. Louis. The Cardinals one upped the Nats wining 3-2 in the first game of a three game series.
In the clubs’ first match-up since the 2012 postseason, Haren held the Cardinals to six hits and three runs on 98 pitches, 56 for strikes, through five innings plus four batters. He walked three, struck out three, and hit a batter — a play which sparked the rally that won St. Louis the game. Continue reading →
As I walked up to Desperados on U Street, I was greeted by a man collecting tickets who describes himself to be “5 foot, 19 inches”. He appeared to be just a guy manning the front door until I found out he was Richard Bennett, LYGO DC co-founder and host of the comedy show I was attending.
As I went into the basement bar/restaurant I immediately spotted the stage: a small black wooden crate that couldn’t have been more than two feet long with a height of probably six inches. Behind the makeshift stage was a long sheet of black plastic that resembled a shower curtain. To say the set-up of the event was no-frills would be an understatement, but it is the bootstrapping approach that has helped the local group grow from a brunch-time comedy show at to quickly growing addition to the DC comedy scene.
The Nationals lineup was no match for Atlanta’s right-handed starter Tim Hudson who secured his second win of the season with a 3-1 Braves victory in Washington. The afternoon’s loss was Washington’s second in two days versus Atlanta.
An early throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman in the third inning cost Washington two runs when left fielder Justin Upton stole second ahead of catcher Evan Gattis’ two-out two-run homer. It wasn’t Stephen Strasburg’s strongest outing either, which didn’t help the Nats. Continue reading →
Like Game 5 and 7/20/12 before it, the Nats looked to have a game well in hand. They jumped on Braves rookie starter Julio Teheran early and managed to score two runs in the first and second inning. In the first, Span hustled down the line and beat out a throw that pulled Braves first baseman Evan Gattis off the bag. Two batters later, Harper would lift his fifth homer of the season the opposite way into the left field stands. It was an impressive display of strength by the second year, 20-year old, player.
In the bottom of the second the Nats would add two more as Suzuki would lead off the inning with a walk, get sacrificed to second by Detwiler, and score on a Denard Span single. With one out Span would steal second, his second steal of the season, and Werth would single him home.
Right-handed starting pitcher Dan Haren earned his first win in a Nationals uniform Thursday night leading Washington to a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox and a 7-4 victory. The theme of the night for Haren was dancing himself out of trouble, though it was an improvement from Friday night’s 15-0 loss in Cincinnati. Haren pitched five innings, gave up ten hits and three runs with five strikeouts in addition to throwing one wild pitch and hitting a batter.
Chicago fought hard to prevent the sweep, shelling the Nats with thirteen hits, but they weren’t quite as successful on the base path. The White Sox stranded eleven runners leaving the game in Washington hands if they were able to maintain the lead. Continue reading →
This Friday just got even better since a friend of mine showed me “The Panel Crasher.” The two day old blog documents the exploits of a former Hill staffer/Non-profit associate turned unemployed sequestration victim with a ton of time and no funds as he crashes Think Tank/Hill events, eats their food, pays no attention to their discussions and then makes fun of them on his blog. There have only been two entries to date, but they feature a problem intern girl, Michael Jordan fashion, a Luke Perry reference and tons of other hilarity.
For just the 13th time in major league history a baseball team has opened the season with back to back shutouts. The 2013 Washington Nationals backed by Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez are the first team to do so since a 2002 Diamondbacks team that featured Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling atop their rotation. It was thought that the Nationals could make history in 2013, but who knew it would be so fast? On Opening Day Bryce Harper became the youngest player to hit two homers on Opening Day and just two days later the Nats became just the 13th team with back to back shutouts to open the season.
It is no mystery that the Nats starting staff is a formidable one and we’re only 2/5 of the way through it. The Marlins line-up is nothing special featuring such luminaries of the game as Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Miguel Olivo, and Casey Kotchman. Speaking of Kotchman he had to exit the game with an injured hamstring after grounding into a double play in the fifth inning. That sequence was in itself Kotchmanesque.
We here at WLDC are constantly trying to do two things: 1) make this site ever more awesome and 2) reward those who help contribute to making this site ever more awesome. With that in mind, we are starting a new regular photo post. Specifically, it will be highlighting pictures that are submitted to our Flickr pool during the week.
We’re calling it “Week In Review.” It will run every Friday at 1pm, and it will be a clone of Weekend Flashback (ie: light on text, heavy on photos). Put simply, the photos we get from our contributors are amazing and we don’t have enough posts to do them justice. This will slightly rectify the problem. We will start the posts next Friday (3/22).
Along with this, we’ll be moving Featured Photo from Tuesday at 9am to Wednesday at 11am. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to change your photo uploads accordingly. I’m also hoping to do more photo posts, and possible photo related events, during the year. If you recently got a new camera (and your phone does count), and always wonder where are photos come from, they come from people like you; please share.
If you watched the horror show in Philadelphia last night, you know the Caps just looked bad. As in, start-of-the-season bad. The team floated the “we were tired” balloon as an excuse, as the game was their third in five days.
It’s an excuse that would hold more weight if the Caps were firing on all cylinders from the start and deep in the playoff race. But they’re in catch-up mode and in danger of missing out on this year’s Cup run. “Being tired” just doesn’t cut it at this point.
Most interesting, however, was NBC Sports commentator Mike Milbury’s diatribe about Caps captain Alex Ovechkin. I’ll caveat by saying I’m not a huge Milbury fan for innumerable reasons. But considering the Caps woes right now, including Ovie’s less-than-stellar stats for this point in the season…I think Milbury has a point buried in his overemotional pontification.
Are the Caps in danger of tanking out this season if Ovie can’t get it together?
The Capitals had flashes of greatness on Thursday night, slicing through the Devils lines like the team that won the Presidents Trophy in 2010, but a maddening display of undisciplined behavior in the third period undermined what should’ve been a Caps triumph. New Jersey 3, Capitals 2 was the final as the Caps dropped to 5-11-1, their 11 points is worst in the league.
There were some highlights, though: Braden Holtby made 35 saves — a number that usually means a win for the young net-minder — but tonight it wasn’t enough, as penalties mounted late. Twice in the third period the Caps were missing two men, part of a disastrous collapse marred by mistake after mistake. The Caps racked up 12 penalty minutes in the third on six minor penalties, giving the Devils the edge they needed to even the game, and then move ahead, on tallies from Loktionov and Kovalchuk.
One last thought: tonight was the first time since last May that we saw Alex Ovechkin display any of his unique talents. There were three breakaways tonight that carried that same fire that the talented forward can demonstrate. When he chooses to, Ovechkin can dazzle your senses, and do things that mortal forwards cannot, but so often this season that Ovechkin is absent from the ice. Tonight he was present and accounted for, if he was shut out by the Devils’ Brodeur. We also saw a careless tripping penalty (which really looked like a roughing penalty from where I was sitting. I’m fairly sure it’s hard to trip someone with an elbow to their face) from the Russian, though, which made him look petty amid the pretty.
The Capitals are running out of time. Now at the one-third mark of the shortened season, the Caps are six points behind the division lead and the last playoff slot. They will rematch with the Devils on Saturday at the Phone Booth. Tickets, as you might imagine, are plentiful on the open markets.
Going into the third period last night, it looked as if the drubbing the Caps delivered to the Florida Panthers over the weekend was a fluke. Down 5-3 just over six minutes into the final frame, the Caps were at a point familiar to fans this season: the fold-n-fade.
Fortunately, not so last night. Eric Fehr tipped in a Joel Ward-to-Mike Green pass to put the spark back into the Caps. That culminated into an Alex Ovechkin power play goal with just under three minutes to go, tying it up at 5.
Troy Brouwer finished the Panthers off 32 seconds into overtime with a sweet breakaway, giving the Caps a much-needed divisional win. The victory also gave the team a morale booster shot. “Two points is two points,” Brouwer said to reporters after the game. “We’ve had a few games we’ve given away two points, now it’s our turn to battle back and get those two very important points. The way we did it is very encouraging, too, because we rely on our skill a lot of the time, but this time it was ugly. It was good bounces, guys going to the net. Those are the ways that you score those goals, and that’s how you get back in the games, guys working hard.”
A two-game win streak is promising, even if both come against a struggling Florida team. The real test will be if this can turn into a string of wins to put the Caps back on track. They’ll face Tampa Bay tomorrow at 7:30 pm.
Going into last night’s game in Pittsburgh, the Caps had gone 9-0-1 in the Penguins’ own home, a streak dating back to 2007. So if there was any night the Caps could break out of their dismal start and begin the arduous climb back into the playoff picture, now was the time.
Until the second period, it looked as if the Caps were on the upswing. And then it all fell apart. The Pens scored five goals in the second, including two in the span of eleven seconds, and put the game out of reach. Michal Neuvirth was pulled after Pascal Dupuis put the Penguins up 2-1, but the goalie switch didn’t spark anything. The Penguins lit up Braden Holtby for three more goals. Final result? Penguins 5, Capitals 2. Streak broken.
Alex Ovechkin and Ribeiro got a goal and assist in the loss. Ovechkin continues to do well, struggling only in the points department. He was his usual aggressive self, even as he continues to adjust to his new spot on the right wing. He’s got five points in five games – but it’s just not enough to spark a flagging and apparently mentally drained Caps team.
After the game, Ovie was clearly upset. Reporters asked how angry he was. “Angry enough,” was his simple response.
It’s a sentiment many long-time Caps fans identify with these days.
Next game is tomorrow as the Caps host the equally-struggling Florida Panthers. Puck drops at 7 pm.
After leading through most of three periods, the Caps couldn’t contain some of Toronto’s younger talent. Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin scored just over two minutes apart in the middle of the third, giving the Leafs the lead and eventually, a 3-2 win.
Michal Neuvirth earned the night’s third star for his 37 save effort but it wasn’t enough to keep Washington from its fifth loss of the season. The Caps are now 1-5-1 and off to a dreadful start of this shortened campaign.
Upsides are a little hard to find. The Caps did stymie seven of eight Leaf power plays on the night, though it also means the Caps took too many penalties in the game. Alex Ovechkin scored his second goal of the season. And Neuvirth was a solid presence in the net.
“It’s a very disappointing loss obviously, we were up 2-1 after the second like in Ottawa,” a dejected Neuvirth told NHL.com. “Maybe we are missing a little bit of luck and we definitely have to stay out of the box.”
The Caps are at home tonight and face a stuttering Philadelphia Flyers team. Puck drops at 7 pm.