May 2013

Pirates and Tigers- Aaaah!

The Nationals just completed a series win in the Steel City, taking 2 out of 3 against the Pirates.  The Pirates took the first game 3-1, and a lot of Nats fans started to go monkey tilt again. 

Before the second game, Davey Johnson gave his team a pep talk.  It worked!  The Nats took the next 2 games 5-4 and 6-2. Even after a disastrous first inning where Bryce Harper got ejected and Gio Gonzalez gave up a home run to Starling Marte, they didn’t go monkey tilt and won the game with big homers by Danny Espinosa and Tyler Moore.

On the same road trip, the Nats saw Turner Field for the first time with the Upton brothers controlling the big gaps. The Braves had a 5 game winning streak against the Nats entering the third game of the 4 game series. However, the Nats dominated the Braves and won the 3rd and 4th games.  Jordan Zimmermann pitched a masterpiece backed by a two run homer by Ian Desmond in the 2nd.  He must have been eating a lot of #steak.  Denard Span hit 3 doubles in the 4th game.

But now we have a challenge coming. Today the Nationals fly back to DC. One of the Nationals’ biggest enemies, Anibal Sanchez, is flying into DC and getting ready to pitch against 2013 surprise ace Jordan Zimmermann. I thought when Sanchez was traded from the Marlins to the AL that we wouldn’t have to face him again.  But here he is in Nationals Park this week, and we may have to face him again when the Nats travel to Detroit to continue the interleague series in late July.  And what about the post-season?  Man, THAT’S going to depend on who scores first!
 
Some are calling this week’s short Nats-Tigers series the World Series preview. Loyal fans get to watch Marquee Matchups. Dan Haren and Jordan Zimmermann are squaring off against Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer. This is where the season really begins. Competitive games vs. Anibal makes it feel like October. Fortunately, we miss Justin Verlander in this short series (Phew!), but we’re unlucky that we don’t match up against Tigers #5 Rick Porcello. Dan Haren pitched a gem last time, but I hope that Dan Haren doesn’t have the kind of game he did against the Reds (15-0) facing off Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.  That could get ugly real quick!  Dan Haren knows these Tigers from the time he spent in the AL as an Angel.  For Nats fans, if you can control your emotions, this is going to be great baseball to watch!

TUESDAY NATS GAME

TIGERS @ NATS

ANIBAL SANCHEZ VS. JORDAN ZIMMERMANN

A MARQUEE MATCHUP! 

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Davey Johnson’s Lineup Choices

Coming into 2013, most Nats fans were thinking the lineup would always be “the rubber stamp lineup” of:

1. Span
2. Werth
3. Harper
4. Zimmerman
5. LaRoche
6. Desmond
7. Espinosa
8. Ramos/Suzuki
9.

But, the Nats have been struck by injuries to Ramos, Zimmerman, Werth, and others. And, of course, Adam LaRoche started off the year in a major slump going 0-for-26 for most of April.  The Nats ended April at just about .500, with a bunch of sad losses.  (I guess people thought the Nats were going 162-0 this season!)

Because of this drought, Nats manager Davey Johnson has tried strategic ways to find wins. He has shaken up the lineup, trying out both Desi and Espi in the 2 hole.  He gave both Werth and Desmond the chance to bat cleanup and Desmond hit a home run in this role.  LaRoche has mainly stayed in the 5th hole, but there was a game he dropped a little lower in the order.
 
After the unexpected Friday loss to the Pirates 3-1, Davey announced a really weird-looking lineup for Saturday:
1. Espinosa
2. Desmond
3. Harper
4. Zimmerman
5. LaRoche
6. Moore
7. Ramos
8. Bernadina
9. Strasburg.

This is the first time the catcher has batted higher than  8th.  It’s also the first time Espinosa led off, but that’s because Span was out with a foot injury.  Danny Espinosa is just not a lead-off guy, and Desmond isn’t really either because he likes to swing at the first pitch.

 That’s way different then the Opening Day lineup!

Here are more examples of the unusual line-ups Davey has used:

April 28
1. Span
2. Espinosa
3. Harper
4. Werth
5. Desmond
6. LaRoche
7. Rendon
8. Suzuki
9. Detwiler

After Davey’s Saturday pep-talk and the win that followed, what will we see for Sunday’s game and when they return to Nats Park after their day off to face the Tigers on Tuesday.  Nats vs. Tigers could be a preview of the World Series.  Would Davey go with something other than the “rubber stamp lineup” for this series???

TODAY’S GAME AT PNC PARK IN PITTSBURGH

GIO GONZALEZ VS. WANDY RODRIGUEZ
1:35 PM
 
NEXT NATS GAME AT NATS PARK

TIGERS @ NATS

ANIBAL SANCHEZ VS. JORDAN ZIMMERMANN

A MARQUEE MATCHUP! 

Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

                  IGNITE YOUR MATT-ITUDE!

Movie Review: Bryce Begins

Yesterday morning, I watched the brand new ESPN  documentary Bryce Begins. The movie is about Bryce Harper and his journey to the big leagues. It’s a good movie if you are interested in the live of MLB players and how they make it to the big leagues. The movie shows how tough Bryce is, and you won’t believe what Bryce did during the offseason to get stronger!  He worked with his dad, who is an iron worker, carrying heavy pieces of metal.  He also lifted very heavy weights at the gym.  Of course, he also takes a lot of batting practice.

My favorite part is when Bryce makes the move from Syracuse to become a big-league National.  You see behind the scenes when he meets with his family after his MLB debut in L.A. and talks to them during this awesome experience.

It was also cool seeing Bryce hit a monster 502 foot homer that hit the back of the dome at the Trop when he was 17.  That video on YouTube made him famous.

You also get to see his room in Las Vegas, which looks like an ordinary kid’s room.

Here is an interesting fact:  Bryce Harper used to play catcher. Could you believe a guy with all this power can be a catcher?

It may also surprise you that Jayson Werth, like Harper, is a catcher-turned outfielder.

Ryan Zimmerman is also in the movie.  Bryce talked about how Ryan was helpful to him when he was a rookie.  Another coincidence is that Bryce Harper’s mom and Ryan Zimmerman’s mom are both named Cheryl (Bryce’s mom is spelled Sheryl).

This was just a quick summary of the movie.  I encourage people to watch it.

Tonight’s game:

NATIONALS @ BRAVES

TURNER FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DAN HAREN (2-3, 6.29 ERA) VS. KRIS MEDLEN (1-3, 3.26 ERA)


Let other baseball fans know about my blog (www.mattsbats.com) and Twitter (@MattsBats).  I write almost every day about baseball, and especially the Washington Nationals.  I love getting new followers and RTs.  If you want to receive an email whenever there is a new post you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

                  IGNITE YOUR MATT-ITUDE!