For the first time this season, the Nationals won in extra innings. They defeated the Blue Jays in 12 innings, 2-1, in interleague play.
Both starting pitchers limited the opposing offense to just 1 run, and both starters gave up 3 walks, 1 of which led to the other team scoring a run. Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched 5 and 2/3 innings and had 3 strikeouts. Blue Jays starter Brian Tallet lasted 5 innings. With the bases loaded in the 4th inning, Zimm2 got the first RBI of his young career when he grounded into a fielder’s choice; Anderson Hernadez was out at 2nd, but Josh Bard scored. The Blue Jays scored in the 5th inning, and the score remained tied at 1 at the end of 9 innings, sending the game into extra innings. Both bullpens pitched well — which is a surprising statement to be able to make about the Nationals bullpen — until the bottom of the 11th, when Jason Frasor gave up a single and 2 walks to load the bases. Then Adam Dunn singled in the game winning run, to give the Nationals their first extra innings win in 9 extra innings games this year.
Zimm2 is winless in nine starts since April 26. His 63 strikeouts lead National League rookies.
The Nats have now won 3 straight games…their first 3-game winning streak since May 7-9 and only their second 3-game winning streak of the season.
I am happy.
OK, I wore my Mussina Yankees jersey and my Nationals cap for this game. I was ready for whatever would happen tonight!
My prediction about the score of tonight’s game was wrong…and CC Sabathia didn’t pitch a complete game…and it wasn’t Kip Wells who replaced Shairon Martis. But I was right about Martis pitching well — I certainly didn’t expect him to leave the game with a lead. And I was definitely right about his effort being wasted when the Nats bullpen entered the game. Ironically, Ron Villone was the last pitcher I expected to give up the lead, since he has pitched quite well for the Nationals this season. Oh, and I absolutely did not expect Anderson Hernandez to hit that home run — just the second of his MLB career — off of Sabathia. My jaw nearly hit the floor when that thing left the park! I knew that 1-run lead wouldn’t last…and I was right.
Overall, this game turned out better than I thought it would. I really expected a blowout, so I’m pleased that the Nationals were not humiliated, and I’m pleased that the Yankees won to keep pace with the Red Sox, who defeated the Marlins.
One down…two to go………
0-8 is the Yankees record vs. the Red Sox this season. 0-8 is also the Nationals record in extra inning games this season.
I am not happy about this state of affairs.
I can’t help but wonder how long Chien-Ming Wang will remain with the Yankees after his latest ineffective performance in a Yankees uniform in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. Throwing 69 pitches in less than 3 innings, Wang gave up 3 runs (including a home run) on 8 hits. Wang wasn’t the only reason that the Yankees lost, of course — the fact that the Yankees left 19 men on base also had a little something to do with it. But Wang’s performance was certainly disheartening, to say the least. I don’t know if it’s a mental issue, or if his foot is still bothering him. Whatever the issue is, it doesn’t seem like something that will be “fixed” by keeping him in the starting rotation.
At least Wednesday’s game was close, unlike Tuesday’s 7-0 rout by the Red Sox. The Yankees pulled within 1 run on 2 home runs, by Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira, in the 7th inning, but that was as close as they got.
In tonight’s game, the Yankees were leading the Red Sox in the 7th inning, 3-1. And if the game had ended there, they’d have been fine. But the 8th inning had to be played, and the Red Sox fought their way back to take the lead in that inning. After a single by Nick Green and a walk to Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew singled, scoring Green. Then Kevin Youkilis singled to load the bases. Jason Bay singled, and Pedroia scored. Mike Lowell drove in the game winner with a sacrifice fly, scoring Drew. And that was the end of that. Final score: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3.
On Wednesday night against the Reds, the rain began to fall at Nationals Park in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Nationals were attempting to rally and possibly win the game. Over 2 hours later, the game resumed, and the Nats managed to tie the score, sending the game into extra innings. Unfortunately, they performed the way they’ve done all season in extra innings — poorly — surrendering 2 runs in the 12th inning to lose the game. Entering the game, Ron Villone had pitched 17 scoreless innings for the Nats, and he picked a crappy time to give up his first run of the year! Jay Bruce walked, then Alex Gonzalez was safe at 1st base on Villone’s error, sending Bruce to 2nd base. A passed ball enabled Bruce to go to 3rd, and Jason Bergmann replaced Villone. All would have been well if Bergmann hadn’t given up a double to Jonny Gomes (scoring Bruce) and a single to Jerry Hairston, Jr. scoring Gomes. The Nats did not get a hit in the bottom of the 12th and fell to 0-8 in extra inning games this season.
Wonder of wonders, the Nationals managed to pull out a win in today’s game against the Reds, 3-2. Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, with the bases loaded, Ryan Zimmerman hit the ball to Alex Gonzalez, who got the force at 2nd. Alberto Gonzalez slid hard into Brandon Phillips at second, as Phillips was trying to get Zimmerman out at first for the double play, and Phillips’ throw to 1st was off-target. Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman scored to take a 3-2 lead. Joe Beimel pitched a perfect 9th inning to preserve the win and get his first save in a Nationals uniform.
The save was the Nationals’ first since May 24th.
The Nationals are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and 2-3 in their last 5 games. Those numbers are a lot better than 0-8.
Phillies 9, Nationals 6
Once again, the Nationals took the early lead over the Phillies, when Josh Willingham and Alberto Gonzalez scored on a Wil Nieves double, and then Nieves scored on an Anderson Hernandez single. But Ryan Howard hit two home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the Phillies over the Nats. Shairon Martis got his first loss of the season, after a poor performance in which he surrendered 7 runs on 7 hits, including the 2 homers to Howard, in just 4 innings. Shockingly, the 6 Nationals relievers who followed Martis did not give up any earned runs; Mike MacDougal — recently called up from Triple A Syracuse — had two unearned runs thanks to an error from Anderson Hernandez. How ironic and frustrating that when the bullpen finally seems to be pitching a bit better, the starting pitching falls apart!
As if ANOTHER loss isn’t bad enough, it looks like Jesus Flores will be out for a lot longer than expected. He had been scheduled to return from the disabled list this weekend, but he has suffered a setback in his recovery from a shoulder injury. Jesus experienced some pain in his shoulder. His shoulder has been examined by the Nationals team physician, and he’ll be examined by orthopedist James Andrews on Monday. This does not sound good at all…I am worried.
Yankees 10, Indians 5
There were 4 home runs hit in this game…and it wasn’t even played at Yankee Stadium!
Jorge Posada (HIP HIP JORGE!) and Nick Swisher hit home runs for the Yankees, while Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo hit home runs for the Indians. Jorge had just one hit for the night, but he made it count!
CC Sabathia had a no-hitter going into the 5 inning against his former team. Choo broke up that no-no with a single in the bottom of the 5th. For the night, CC allowed 3 runs on five hits, with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. Even without a no-hitter, it was a pretty good way to return to Cleveland. Good job, big guy!
Oh, and it should be noted that this was the 16th consecutive errorless game for the Yankees. That is one short of the MLB record set by the Red Sox in June 2006. That deserves another thumbs up……
Is interleague play really necessary anymore? In my opinion, the novelty has worn off. It was fun at first, but it’s just not as interesting as it initially was. This weekend, in particular — with some of the so-called “rivalries” games — was just…well, boring. Was anyone other than the fans of the respective teams really interested in the result of the series between the last place Nationals and the last place Orioles, or the result of the series between the last place A’s and the next-to-last place Diamondbacks? Of course, last place teams in each league do play other last place teams within their own leagues, but those aren’t hyped the way interleague series are hyped.
Another reason why I’m no longer a big fan of interleague play is because it creates a major, and possibly dangerous, disadvantage for AL teams when they play in NL ballparks. Thanks to the lack of a DH in the AL, pitchers don’t normally have to bat, and therefore aren’t used to running the bases. At best, they risk tiring sooner than they normally would; at worst, they risk injury. Remember, it was during interleague play last year when Chien-Ming Wang’s season ended due to a foot injury suffered while running the bases.
Fans generally still seem to enjoy interleague play, as evidenced by the fact that attendence rises for it. I googled “interleague play” tonight out of curiosity, and I found an article showing that ballplayers apparently are far less fond of interleague play than fans. According to Jayson Stark at ESPN.com:
Players we surveyed this week told Rumblings they would estimate the number of players who dislike interleague play is somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-75 percent.
Stark mentions several of the players’ complaints regarding interleague play, most of which make a lot of sense, IMO.
One suggestion made by a ballplayer caught my attention in that ESPN.com article.
Phillies pitcher Chad Durbin proposed an idea we’ve campaigned for forever: “Use the visiting team’s league rules,” he said. “Show the fans something unique.”
I think that’s pretty interesting. It would definitely be unique.
What do you think? Do you still find interleague play fun and/or interesting?
Yankees vs. Phillies
The home run total at the Bronx Bandbox increased by 12 during the weekend interleague series between the Yankees and the Phillies — 6 by each team — as the Yankees lost 2 of 3 games to the Phillies. There have been 87 home runs already at Yankee Stadium, and it’s not even at the end of May. Just imagine how the home runs will be flying out of the park once the temperature and humidity go up later in the season!
Friday: the Yankees lost, 7-3, in a game that included a total of 7 home runs. The testosterone level on the field skyrocketed on the field in the 1st inning when Brett Myers threw a pitch behind Derek Jeter, in obvious retaliation after A.J. Burnett hit Chase Utley in the shoulder. The plate umpire then warned both dugouts. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to throw a pitch at a batter. If you hit him, you give the opposing team a baserunner, and you risk injuring him. Why not just have the pitcher and hitter drop their pants, whip it out to see which one is bigger, and then get on with the game.
Chien-Ming Wang was activated before the game, replaced Burnett in the 7th inning. He threw 51 pitches, giving up 2 runs (including a home run) on 6 hits. His pitches had more velocity, but his location was off a bit. Maybe he’s just rusty?
Saturday: the Yankees were victorious in a 5-4 come from behind win. Those 9th inning comebacks seem to be becoming a Yankees trademark this season. Oh, and “only” 4 home runs were hit in that game.
Sunday: the Yankees lost, 4-3, in 11 innings, before a crowd of 46,986. That’s the largest Yankee Stadium crowd since opening day. Melky Cabrera did his best to be the hero for the second night in a row, hitting a game-tying single in the 9th inning. But it wasn’t meant to be…no wild celebration for the Yankees after this game. CC Sabathia pitched very well, allowing just 3 runs on 9 hits over 8 innings. But with two outs and the score tied in the 11th inning, Brett Tomko walked Chase Utley, and after Utley stole second, Carlos Ruiz doubled to score Utley. The Yankees were unable to score in the bottom of the 11th.
Interleague play resumes for the Yankees on June 12th, vs. the Mets at Yankee Stadium.
Nationals vs. Orioles
The Battle of the Beltways — i.e., the interleague series between the Nationals and the Orioles — wasn’t quite as much of a snoozer as I thought it would be. Yes, both teams stink, and the games probably held very little interest for anyone other than Nats or O’s fans. But the Nationals starting pitchers had very good games on Friday and Saturday, although the usually prolific offense fell asleep on those nights in losses to the Orioles. However, the offense woke up in time to bail out a less than spectacular effort from Sunday’s starter to prevent a sweep.
Friday: the Nationals lost, 4-2 in 12 innings. Jordan Zimmermann had the longest start of his young career, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings. Zimm2 walked 1, struck out 7, and gave up a home run. But the Nationals offense took the night off, scoring just 2 runs (on Ryan Zimmerman’s 4th inning homer, with Nick Johnson on 1st). It would be easy to blame the bullpen again for this loss…but if the offense had not fallen asleep, the game’s outcome might have been different.
Saturday: I was at this game, a 2-1 loss, getting to see Ross Detweiler for myself. He did not disappoint, with a 6 inning, 1 hit and 1 run performance. Justin Maxwell sparkled on defense with an outstanding catch above and over the wall in centerfield, robbing Brian Roberts of a home run. Julian Tavarez gave up a run in the 7th to give the Orioles a lead that they never lost. The Nats’ normally porous bullpen prevented the Orioles from scoring additional runs, but for the second night in a row, the Nationals offense took the night off. Another game…another loss. Ho hum.
Sunday: I was at this game as well, an 8-5 victory to avoid the sweep. Shairon Martis did not have his A-game, but his offense finally woke up and let him off the hook. His defense helped him out as well…in particular, a leaping catch in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field by Austin Kearns, robbing Nick Markakis of a hit in the first inning. Martis also helped himself out with an RBI single in the 5th inning, scoring Wil Nieves to tie the score at 3. Adam Dunn got it done with 2 homers, including a grand slam in the 7th inning after the Orioles intentionally walked Ryan Zimmerman to get to Dunn. Anderson Hernandez added to the defensive highlights with a spectacular diving catch of a Brian Roberts line drive in the 8th inning. Wonder of wonders, Ron Villone, Joe Beimel, and Joel Hanrahan combined to shut down the Orioles over the last 3 innings — no hits, no walks, no runs. Amazing!!
Interleague play resumes for the Nationals on June 12th at Tampa Bay.
Yet again, ANOTHER loss due to a crappy performance by the Nationals bullpen. The Nats spotted the Pirates a 5-0 lead in the 3rd inning, and then came back to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th inning to send the game into extra innings. Mind you, the Nats had a chance to win the game in the 9th, but failed to do so. Nick Johnson hit a triple, Ryan Zimmerman walked, and then Johnson scored on a wild pitch by Pirates’ starter Russ Ohlendorf. With Zimmerman on 2nd as the potential game-winning run, Adam Dunn struck out. Josh Willingham walked, but then Willie Harris struck out, sending the game into the 10th inning. Since the Nationals had not won an extra innings game yet this season, I changed the channel from the Nationals game to the finale of “Dancing with the Stars.” (Congrats to Olympic champion gymnast Shawn Johnson, who won the DWTS mirror ball trophy!)
Changing the channel was a good idea.
Joe Beimel pitched a scoreless 9th inning, but then Ramón Vázquez singled, and Nyjer Morgan hit a sac fly, sending Vázquez to 2nd. Freddy Sánchez was intentionally walked, Nate McLouth flied out, and Vázquez moved to 3rd. And then…Adam LaRoche doubled, scoring Vázquez and Sánchez. Anderson Hernandez, Wil Nieves, and Alex Cintron (pinch hitting for Beimel) came to bat at the bottom of the 10th, but failed to even get a hit, much less score a run.
For some reason, Beimel seems to have some sort of cult following among at least a few Dodgers fans.
Personally, I can’t figure out why. The guy’s record is 0-3 for Washington, and he’s got 3 blown saves. I am not impressed.
I will give the Nats credit for coming back from a 5-0 deficit. They did make the game exciting. Too bad Beimel had to screw up the comeback.
Monday’s loss to the Pirates was thanks to a blown save by Garrett Mock, and it spoiled Ross Detweiler’s first start of the season. Detweiler allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits while pitching 5 innings, with 6 strikeouts. All of the damage came in the 3rd inning, when Detweiler gave up a home run to Craig Monroe. Although the Nationals scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 5th to take the lead, the Pirates scored 5 runs in the top of the 6th and never looked back. The loss was just the same old same old for the Nats, but Detweiler’s performance was somewhat encouraging. I hope that he remains in the rotation when Scott Olsen comes off the DL, and the Daniel Cabrera is sent packing.
Yep, baseball’s worst team beat baseball’s best team. (I know…I can’t belive it either!)
One way to keep the Nationals dreadful bullpen from giving away a lead and a game is for the starter to pitch a complete game. That’s exactly what Shairon Martis did on Saturday, and the Nationals defeated the Cardinals, 6-1. In fact, Martis took a no-hitter into the 5 inning, until Yadier Molina singled. Until this game, the 22 year old Martis had never pitched more than 6 1/3 innings. He struck out 6 and did not allow a walk in his 110-pitch effort. This game was the first complete-game win for a Nationals pitcher since 8/15/2006, when Pedro Astacio beat the Braves.
An assist, so to speak, should be given to Cardinals first baseman Chris Duncan, who dropped what would have been out #3 of the 5th inning. With the Nats leading 1-0 and Cristian Guzman on first, Ryan Zimmerman popped up into foul territory. Instead of being the final out of the inning, he got one more chance at bat when Duncan dropped the ball. Zimm made the Cardinals pay for that error by hitting a single. Adam Dunn then hit a 3-run home run into the upper deck in right field, above the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals added two more runs in the 8th inning when Elijah Dukes scored on an Austin Kearns triple and Kearns scored on and Anderson Hernandez single.
Speaking of Hernandez, he had the #1 web gem on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight…an incredible diving catch in the first inning. That catch was also #4 of the top plays on ESPN’s Sports Center. (Simeon Varlamov’s save in the Capitals’ win over the Penguins was #1 — see below.)
I was lucky enough to be at this game…it was a great one! What a performance by Martis! And the scattered showers that had been in the forecast for the afternoon did not materialize, which was nice for a change.
Of course, I have tickets for Sunday’s game as well, and there is once again rain in the forecast for the afternoon. The chance of rain is 70% for “later in the day”…so I hope that means the rain will wait until after the game is over.
Gotta give a shout out to the Washington Capitals, who won defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, in Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals. GO CAPS!!!!
One more thing. As a lifelong Washington Redskins fan, I absolutely despise the Dallas
Cowchips Cowboys. But I was relieved to hear that no one was critically injured (or worse) when the roof of the Cowboys practice facility collapsed on Saturday afternoon during a storm. Several injuries do sound serious — including the broken vertebrae suffered by special teams coach Joe DeCamillis — but the reports about the incident say that everyone is expected to recover. I wish everyone who was injured in the incident a speedy and complete recovery.