Defensive miscues in the outfield due to a standard case of sun-in-the-eyes came back to to haunt the Nats. That coupled with relieve pitcher Ryan Mattheus’ performance in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon’ is what lost Washington the game 6-2 versus Milwaukee. While it wasn’t a particularly poor outing for Mattheus, the Brewers mounted a three-run rally in the seventh that the Nats couldn’t come back from.
The game’s starter, Chien-Ming Wang, had a better day on the mound than his line (and the game’s results) indicate. Wang pitched four innings, giving up eight hits and two earned runs while striking out two over 69 pitches (47 strikes). Manager Davey Johnson was happy with the starter’s performance going on to say that could even see Wang getting at least one more start this season. Though, that is still to be determined.
During the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. a blinding light called the sun peers over the stadium façade directly into the eyes of center and right field. This is something that rookie outfielder Bryce Harper is still getting used to – he had a couple gaffs in the field due to losing fly balls mid-air. He’s still learning out there, Johnson said, but Harper wasn’t alone in his struggles. Continue reading →
When this season started, I thought the Nationals might well win about 72 games this year. An improvement over last year’s tally of 69, but hardly a big step forward. With four games remaining, the Nationals are 77-80, still in reach of .500 ball. The Nationals are 14-9 in September, their best span of the second half, and have been playing meaningful baseball in September for the first time since 2005. While winning out isn’t a given, with Atlanta playing for their lives, and the dominance of the Marlins over the Nats, it’s still a distinct possibility that this team could finish at 81-80.
Today’s victory over the Braves can largely be placed in the hands of the battery, with Chien Ming Wang throwing 6 strong innings and limiting the Braves to a single run, and Pudge Rodriguez’s eighth inning rally-killing theft-prevention throwout of Michael Bourn. The veteran catcher’s final home start of the year (and possibly in a Nationals uniform) was certainly one of his more memorable ones, calling a phenomenal game against the very tough Braves offense, and nabbing two runners on the basepaths, as well going 1-2 with a walk.
After the game, manager Davey Johnson was very complimentary of both. Of Wang, he said, “[he had] a remarkable season, got better every time out… If I’m here [next year] he can have my salary. If you’d seen him throw in December, and where he is right now, my hat goes off to him.” Regarding his catcher, Johnson was praising of his training routine (5 hours a day, 7 days a week), and gave no thought to pulling Pudge early for a standing ovation.
The critics: an overflowing Press Box with Taiwanese media swarming.
The stage: Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The Man of the Hour: Chien-Ming Wang
When right-handed starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was acquired by the Washington Nationals in 2010, many wondered if he would have a successful recovery following surgery on a capsule in his right shoulder.
Wang, who won 19 games each in 2006 and 2007 for the New York Yankees, missed the rest of the team’s championship season in 2009 due to injury. Friday night was his first night back on a Major League mound.
It was a shaky start but Nationals manager Davey Johnson admitted he was impressed with what he saw despite Wang allowing four runs, four singles, and a leadoff walk to the first five batters he faced. Continue reading →