Monday, April 18, 2011

Nats Sweep Brewers; Move Above .500

There are a lot of reasons to be excited in NatsTown today after an exciting series with the Milwaukee Brewers. Great starting pitching is probably the biggest headline, but on Sunday, the Nats offense exploded as the weather warmed up, which is exactly the kind of thing you want to see from a team that hasn't been able to explode at all this season. As an aside, we'd like to add that this is our 300th post here at Capitol Baseball. Thank you sincerely for still reading.

But back to the sweep. Let's go over some headlines by game during this impressive 3-game sweep of Nyjer Morgan's Brewers.

Friday Headlines:
  • Nats Score 4 Runs, None Batted In: This is almost impossible to believe, but of the 4 runs the Nats' offense scored, none of them were actually batted in. Two of them were walks by Chris Narveson, one was a sac fly by Michael Morse, and one was a sacrifice grounder by Adam LaRoche that scored Jayson Werth to win the game. By the way, Werth was only on 3rd because of an error: really bizarre way to end the game.
  • Gorzelanny Goes 6 Innings; Gives Up Two Runs: Gorzelanny, the Nats "big" pitching acquisition in the offseason, got rocked by the Mets for 5 earned runs despite striking out 8 in his season debut, but he got it together to face the potent Brewers lineup.
  • Burnett Blows First Save of 2011: Despite this negative headline, the Nats and Chad Gaudin got it together in the 10th inning for a walk off victory.
Sunday Game 1 Headlines:
  • Nats Offense Breaks Free of Slump: This is clearly the main headline of the first game of the double header. Both Espinosa and Pudge rocked 3-run homers, and Desmond broke free of his 0-for at home by hitting a double and a line drive home run to left. More good news: they stranded just 4 runners.
  • Marquis Wins First Nats Game at Home: It's hard to believe that it's Marquis' second season with the Nats and he just got the first home win, but it's true. He did it in commanding fashion in 7+ innings. The first time that Marquis faced the Brewers as a Nats pitcher... well... it wasn't so pretty. Marquis gave up 7 of 10 earned runs in the 1st inning, and we lost him for most of the season. This is a nice rebound for Jason, as he got his first Curly W at Nats Park against the same team.
Sunday Game 2 Headlines:
  • Livo Dominates in 7 Innings and Gets Win; Nats Above .500: Hernandez threw just 88 pitches in 7 innings, giving up just 1 earned run and walking none. He's now 2-1 on the season. This is what you want to see from the Nats substitute ace; he needs to eat innings and manage runs scored. He succeeded in every way and continues to put the Nats in a position to win every outing. The Nats are now above .500 for the first time since May 2010.
  • Hairston Breaks Free; Triple Short of Cycle: Jerry Hairson, Jr. exploded from his sub-.100 start to the year and went 3 for 3. His first AB of the game resulted in a home run, and it was nothing but offense from there for the 34 year old switch hitter.
  • Nationals Defense Posts Error-Free Weekend: The Nats were able to get through the weekend in flawless fashion defensively, largely due to two major factors: a younger catcher (Ramos) behind the plate in 2 of the 3 games and Adam LaRoche at first base. LaRoche easily saved 2 overthrows from the other side of the field, not to mention 2 incredible picks on line drives to first. It's nice to have a solid defenseman over there.
  • Desmond Completes 4-for-8 Double Header: After Desmond's disappointing start that resulted in his move from the lead off spot, he made a case to move right back up into it. It's incredibly unlike that it'd happen, especially since Riggleman said in his post-game(s) press conference that he likes Espi leading off now, but he made the decision a lot harder. He landed 2 singles in the game and stole his 6th base; he hasn't been caught stealing yet in 2011.
So there's a ton to be thrilled about about this sweep. Now, the Nats hit the road for 6 games to face two very beatable teams: the Wainwright-less St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Nats aren't even scheduled to face Chris Carpenter while in Missouri. Then the Nats come back to town for a 3 games series against the NL East cellar-dwelling New York Mets. It'll be exciting to see if this resurgent offense combined with an over-achieving starting rotation can capitalize during the next 9 games and continue the magic of the weekend sweep of the Brew Crew.


  1. Fun day at the park yesterday--a reminder of what is GOOD about baseball. Great weather, great crowd and I love the fact that there is ample free street parking on Sundays over by Barrack's Row, which allows for brunch at Eastern Market before the game. :)

  2. I'm really disappointed I wasn't able to make it. It looked like a blast. Lots of great headlines to be excited about from the weekend.